Monday, May 31, 2010

Lovin' those lemons...

I have a BIG thing for lemons. They are one of my favorite fruits. I love how they smell, taste, and make other foods taste so good!

Since high school, I've had a favorite chocolate candy--the lemon truffle from See's Candies. It is divine! Every time we go to California to visit family, we just have to stop by and get some of these indulgent treats.

One of my scented lotions from Bath and Body Works is lemon. It's part of their summer vanilla collection. Try it and you'll smell so sweet!

I enjoy making lemon desserts and eating meals where lemons have been sprinkled on for added flavor. Fresh-squeezed lemon juice in water is an awesome variation from just "plain ol' water."

However...there is a certain lemon something that I have a hard time with because its taste varies from place to place....and that is ice cold lemonade. Sometimes it is too sweet, too watery, too sour and it is not pleasing to my taste buds at all! If any of you have a great recipe for this, I'd love to have it.:) I have tried Sonic's lemon cream slush and I really like that. This is my new treat for the summer.

I thought it would be fun to share some lemon recipes that I've tried (or want to try soon) and share them with you all this summer. Lemons are a refreshing taste for this new season upon us!

As promised, I wanted to start off by sharing the recipe for lemon gems from Taste of Home. I made these and bagged them up for some graduates as one of my gifts to them. You'll love its melt-in-your-mouth lemony taste! Enjoy!

Lemon Gems 

3/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup colored nonpareils

Lemon icing:

1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel

In a small mixing bowl, cream butter and confectioners' sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in lemon peel. Combine flour and cornstarch; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or until easy to handle.

Shape into a 1-3/4-inch diameter roll; roll in nonpareils. Wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours or until firm.

Unwrap and cut into 1/4-inch slices. Place 1 inch apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 375 degrees for 9-11 minutes or until set and edges are lightly browned. Cool for 1 minute before removing to wire racks to cool completely.

In a small bowl, combine icing ingredients. Spread over cookies. Yield: 28 cookies

Sunday, May 30, 2010

I'm proud of my man!;)

As many of you know, Quentin works another job besides being pastor of our small church. He works with disabled adults at a home in Boulder. Currently, there are six people living in the house. Quentin is one of a few employees who work with these individuals with cleaning, cooking, giving them their medications and getting them to appointments, jobs and activities. He thoroughly enjoys working with them to help them be the best they can be. 

Yesterday, Q sent me a link to an article that was written about him in their "staff spotlight." It's a publication put out by Imagine!, the company he works for. I'm very proud of Quentin! He is doing so well. I'm thankful that God has given him this other job, not only because he is a good testimony of Christ's love to these people and coworkers, but also because it supplements our income and gives us great health insurance (which we've already had to use). God has been good!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

My garden: hoses and seeds...

Q has been doing a wonderful job with the garden. I should really call it "Q's garden" because he has done most of the work, spending several hours each week outside tending to it.

Here's what's been happening these last few days...

The soaker hoses are up and running! This will make watering so much easier.

Q planted seeds for green beans, carrots, corn, lettuce, peas, pumpkin and zucchini. The potatoes have been placed in their own plot of land, too.

We've noticed mushrooms popping up in our strawberry/herb patch. We don't know if they're edible or not. Either way, they will have to go. We don't want them killing our plants. So far, the strawberry plants are doing okay. We've also noticed a couple bunnies checking out the garden, so we're thinking about putting some fencing around it.

The cantaloupe plants are thriving. They took a long time to germinate. They will be planted outside soon. 
The group of tomato and pepper plants have been doing well indoors. However, my roma plants didn't do so well. After transplanting them into bigger pots, they all died. We think that they got root-bound because there were sometimes 3 or 4 in a dixie cup. Because of the unpredictable weather, they stayed in those cups too long. 

The picture above shows the beginning of my second try with the romas this year. I only placed one (and sometimes two) seeds per cup. We'll probably get a mid-fall harvest, but that's okay. I just want these guys to make it! The weather is gorgeous now, so as soon as they're a bit bigger, we'll put them out.

How's your garden going? I can't wait to see things growing outside, and of course, I'll show you some pictures.:)

Friday, May 28, 2010

Anniversary day treats

Even though Q and I celebrated our anniversary last weekend by going to see Fiddler on the Roof, I still wanted to do something special on our real anniversary day which was yesterday.

This bouquet of roses was given to us by a member in our church. The pot is sitting on our dining room table and it makes me smile. We hope to plant them outside soon.

I was trying to come up with a unique card for Q and this is what I came up with. I went a little "doodle crazy" with it! It is a scratch-art card. I colored on the front of the card using different colors of crayons. Then, I painted a few coats of black acrylic paint. I used scissors to make my design. I wrote, "Do you love me?" because it is the title of one of the songs from Fiddler on the Roof. 

On the inside of the card, I drew a heart with the words, "Yes, I love you" (again from Fiddler). However, when Q scratched this part, the words came out with it! I guess it would work if the words were written directly onto the card with the crayon, instead of on top of the other color. So, I wrote on it again for him to see my message. 

I made him this yummy dessert with some almond filling he bought a while back. This was the perfect day to make something out of it. I found the recipe for almond filled cookie cake on It is delicious! 

Here's the recipe for ya! Enjoy!:)

Almond Filled Cookie Cake


2-2/3 cups flour
1-1/3 cups sugar
1-1/3 cups butter
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon almond flavoring


1 cup grated or finely chopped almonds or 1 (12-1/2 oz) can Solo brand almond filling
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1 egg, beaten (optional, if using Solo filling)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease 9 or 10-inch springform pan or glass cake pan.

In mixer bowl, blend all crust ingredients at low speed until dough forms a ball. Divide dough in half and with floured hands shape into 2 balls. Place between waxed paper or plastic wrap. Press 1 ball flat to the size of the pan. Prepare the second ball in the same way or the top of the cake.

In a small bowl, blend all filling ingredients. Spread over crust to within 1/2 inch of sides of pan. If using Solo filling, make shallow impressions in the bottom crust to help hold the filling. Place second layer of dough over the filling. Remove paper. Garnish with almonds, if desired. Bake in preheated oven at 325 degrees for 60 minutes or until golden brown.

If using Solo filling, test center with a sharp knife to make sure the center is not liquid. If it is, bake 10 minutes more. Cool 15 minutes and remove from springform pan. If using a glass pan, use sharp knife to loosen cake sides from pan while still warm. Cool completely. Serves 24. Store covered in refrigerator. This tastes better after a day or two. Cut thin slices; it's very rich!

I'm thankful for four great years with Q. He is a special guy and I love him so much. I hope God gives us many more years together.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Spring cleaning: the guest room

Working on the guest room took a little longer than a week, but I'm so glad it's done! We had two college girls spend the night a couple days ago and they said that it was a comfortable room. We also call it the family room. There are games and toys as well as a t.v. to watch movies.

Here's what was accomplished in this room.

1. The main closet was organized (it was a disaster before!).
2. Storage under the beds was rearranged.
3. Movies and audio cds were organized.
4. A couple furniture pieces were rearranged.
5. The bookshelf was organized and a few decorative pieces were added to the shelves.
6. Windows and mirror doors (on main closet) were cleaned.
7. The room was thoroughly dusted.
8. The linen closet was organized. Old medicines were thrown out.
9. I made curtains for the two windows and linen closet.

I'm so glad the main closet is in better shape! I can now walk in there without tripping over things. Coats hang on the left; games and toys are on the shelves; Q's outdoor equipment and our suitcases line the top shelves.

With our guests coming, I had to get these curtains done. Q helped me by putting up the rods. Then after several hours of work during a couple of days, the curtains were finished. I found both fabrics at Wal-mart for great prices! The bottom patterned fabric was only a dollar a yard, and I didn't need too much of it for all three curtains.

We like the look of the two fabrics together. I made two panels for both windows. When we want to let the light in, we just push each panel to the side.

I bought a small tension rod for the linen closet to hang the third curtain I made. It matches the window curtains. Inside the closet are extra towels, personal items and cleaning supplies. It's all neatly arranged, but in the future, I'd like to place an extra shelf in there.

That's all for now! How's your spring cleaning coming? I'm almost done, and I can't wait!:)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

This year's graduation gifts

I had fun making cards and gifts for this year's graduates. The 3x3" card below is similar to ones I've made before. I used the cap and confetti stamps and used stamp pads that matched the school colors.

This year I wrote "Congrats!" on the front. Other options would be to write, "Class of...", "You did it!", "Congratulations Graduate!", etc. I used a quote stamp for the inside of the card.

For the grads who I had as third graders, I made this picture collage. I chose my favorites and took them to an office supply store to get them printed on one page. I used stickers to decorate the top. I wrote a note to each of them on the back then slipped them inside a clear page protector. I've done this another time, and they really seem to like this.

I was waiting for the perfect opportunity to make these cute little cookies called lemon gems. They look so pretty in the bag tied with ribbon. I found sticker labels especially designed for packaged baked goods at a Borders store. The cookies are delicious....but you'll just have to wait for the recipe. It will be coming soon....

What handmade gifts have you made especially for graduates? I'd love to hear your ideas!:)

More of our kids....

Here are a few more pictures from the graduation I went to on Saturday. They turned out so well that I just had to share them!

These guys are "our kids" because Q loves and cares for them like I do. From having them in youth group, teaching them in a class or helping them prepare a sermon for the annual competition, he has been there for these guys. As you know, just a couple of them were in my third grade class, but a few more were in my high school choir.

Bronner graduated from the academy last year. Last week, his mom called me and asked if I could write a letter of recommendation for him to receive a music scholarship at a Christian college in California. He had started off in another school, but the Lord has directed him to transfer to get a better music education. I'm so glad I can do this for him. He did a great job singing in my choir both years I taught. He is currently interning at his church leading the choir. 

I know you've already seen her, but I thought this picture of me and Bethany came out really cute. Isn't she gorgeous?;)

Ryan had his open house on Sunday, so mid-afternoon, Q and I drove to his house about forty-five minutes away. It was so good to see our last Pastor and his family there. This picture of he, Ryan and Q is a great reminder to me of how much a pastor can influence young people to serve the Lord. Ryan's got great models to look up to. 

These are all the graduates who we taught in the school. Katie and her twin brother Andy (on the far left) went to the academy for many years and were in my third grade class, too. This year they have been finishing up their senior year home schooling.

We had a great time with these kids, their parents, and friends from our last church at Ryan's open house. It was such a sweet memory and one that I will never forget.

By the way....a few of these pictures were taken by Ryan's sister, Leah, who is a professional photographer. I've had the privilege of knowing her for several years as she also went to the academy. She's got such a great spirit about her--as well as a good eye with her camera! Check out her website called Leah Christine Imagery. You'll love her photos!

Monday, May 24, 2010

My Kids

Even though I don't have any children of my own, I've always considered my students as my kids. I've got close to two hundred of them from the twelve years I taught in the elementary and high school levels. I felt like a mom to so many of them, especially when I taught kindergarten. From giving hugs and calming fears to putting on band-aids and pulling out loose teeth, I was their "mom" eight hours a day.;) 

My first four years of teaching were in the third grade classroom. Three of those classes have already graduated from high school. My fourth year's class graduated this past Saturday, and I just couldn't miss it. After my anniversary get away, I drove an hour to Fort Collins to be a part of this special celebration. 

I thought I'd show you a few pictures from the 2000-2001 school year. Three from the class picture below stayed through all these years and graduated from Front Range Baptist Academy.

I really liked this class a lot. They were a lot of fun and a joy to teach.

Bethany is the only girl who graduated from the original class. She was--and still is such a great girl. She's so full of talent.

Nathan was a great student, but was always so full of energy. He and the other Nathan were best of friends and both could rattle off capitals of countries better than anyone!

Iman loved playing his drums, and still does as a matter of fact. He talked a lot about his rockets and even brought one to school to show us how he could make it zoom into the air.

Here I am with the three...Iman, Bethany and Nathan. Besides playing the drums, Iman still loves his rockets. He is staying close to home to attend college and will be an engineering major. Bethany was the salutatorian of the class. Although she already knows where she's going to school, she is not sure what she will be majoring in. Her mom and I think she would make a great elementary school teacher because she is so good with kids. Nathan was the valedictorian this year....still so very smart! He will be majoring in music in college. He is a super trumpet player and also sings well.

I'm so proud of them! I'm so excited for them in the days ahead and how they will continue to use their talents for the Lord. It has encouraged my heart that I've been able to see them grow up and that I had a small part in their lives over the years.

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. III John 4

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Anniversary Getaway

Q and I will be celebrating our fourth anniversary on Thursday. We had an early getaway this past Friday and Saturday to celebrate! 

The first thing we did when we arrived in Denver was check into our hotel, The Hotel Teatro. It is a gorgeous building inside and out. Theater costumes and pictures of stage actors decorate the walls. The service was phenomenal, too! It was such a treat to stay there.

Next, we strolled along 16th street and visited a few shops.

Q treated me to three new lotions from Bath and Body Works. I bought three on my trip to CA, too, so I feel like I'm well-stocked for a while now. I even left the store with a few in mind to get the next time. I suppose you can never have too many of these sweet scents!:)

We enjoyed dinner at The Broker Restaurant. It is located inside a bank vault. It was very fancy and so unique looking. We loved it. The food was also wonderful. Q had a delicious rib eye steak and I had walnut dijon chicken.

Since we were so full from dinner, we decided to walk around for a bit before getting dessert. There is a Kevin Taylor restaurant inside the opera house where we were going to see a show, so we decided to eat there. Q had creme brulee' and I had this chocolate ice cream sandwich. The description of it said that it had "raspberry paint" so I wondered what it would look like. I thought that the sandwich would have a drizzle of raspberry sauce on it. Instead, the plate looked like it was painted with the raspberry sauce and the ice cream sandwich was placed on top of it. I'm definitely keeping this idea in mind to use on home made desserts.

So, you want to know what show we got to see? Take a look at our tickets:

Fiddler on the Roof is an outstanding production! We had both seen the movie before, so we were familiar with the story line. There was lots of comedy woven in, so we laughed a lot. You've got to go see it if you haven't yet.

We arrived at the hotel after eleven, so we were so tired from a fun and busy day. We slept in on Saturday morning, then had a brunch before leaving. There was another big event that I couldn't miss an hour away from home. As soon as we got home, I changed, gathered a few things and got in my car and drove to the next location. You'll have to come back tomorrow to find out where I went...

I had a wonderful time with my Q. I'm thankful that God gave him to me and that we are celebrating another year of wedded bliss. 

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Waldorf Apron

I made my first apron using the book, A is for Apron that my sister-in-law gave me. I bought some vintage fabric at a thrift store and thought that I could make a hand bag as a birthday present for my mother-in-law. Instead, I decided to make her the Waldorf apron.

Isn't the fabric gorgeous? I was glad to hear that she loves it!

The directions were fairly simple to follow. The only trouble I had was trying to figure out how to attach the waist band, but it came out all right at the end. 

My favorite part about this apron is the scalloped edge on the bottom. The colors of the flowers are also very bright and cheerful.

I really enjoyed making my very first apron for a special lady. I've already begun gathering materials for the full-length apron I promised Abigail (my sil). It is so cute and you'll love the look of that one, too!

Happy Sewing!:)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

My Birthday Week, part 2

The next three days of my birthday week were great! 

Day 4: (my actual birthday) Quentin took me to The Egg and I--one of my favorite restaurants. We went there last year, too, so I think it's becoming a tradition.

Q spotted this hot sauce on the table and said that he was going to try it. Not me--I don't like anything really hot and spicy!

I ordered my favorite meal there--stuffed french toast. This is the picture I took last year, but it was still the same. In between the two toast layers was egg, cheese and sausage. On the side were ranch potatoes--yum!!

Day 5: Q had this wonderful idea for me to try driving the riding lawn mower, but it was pretty wet from all the rain and snow (yes, I did say snow) so I didn't do it. Instead, Q taught me how to plant my strawberry plants.

Day 6: I've always wanted to try knitting again since it's been years since I was taught the basics. My fourth grade teacher had a knitting club, but I didn't get very far with it. By the looks of the picture, you can see I didn't get very far with it this time. I am determined to get it some time!

I borrowed this book from the library thinking that I would get it because it's a kid's book. I think I need to be more patient with knitting, and perhaps have some one show me hands-on. I do much better that way! 

Have any of you thought to have a special birthday week for yourself? What ideas have you come up with? I'd love to hear them...

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Almond-Raspberry Meringue Bars

These scrumptious bars were part of my birthday week and I just had to share the recipe with you. I found the recipe on Enjoy!

Almond-Raspberry Meringue Bars

1 cup butter, softened
1 egg
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
7 ounces almond paste
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup seedless red raspberry jam
3 egg whites
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup flaked coconut

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x13 inch baking pan with greased aluminum foil.
2. To make the crust: In a large bowl mix together the butter, almond paste, and brown sugar until smooth. Beat in one egg and the almond extract. Mix in the flour and stir until well blended.
3. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden. Cool slightly, and spread the raspberry preserves over the crust.
4. In a large glass or metal bowl, whip egg whites until they form soft peaks. Gradually beat in 1/2 cup sugar until peaks become stiff. Spread the meringue over the jam and sprinkle with coconut.
5. Bake 15 to 20 minutes, or until firm. Let cool on wire racks. Lift foil from pan and cut into 16 bars with a sharp knife.

Monday, May 17, 2010

My Birthday Week, part 1 are you ready to hear about what I did on each of the days during my birthday week? I'll share the first three days in this post.

It encouraged my heart to receive a bunch of cards, mostly from the folks at church. They were all really sweet....

Day 1: I don't have a picture of this one, because we ended up leaving early and nothing was caught...but I went fishing with Q! It is something I rarely do, so I went for it. We fished at the end of the dock. It was really windy and the dock kept rocking. I felt like I was on a boat. Some of you may not know this, but I get dizzy (and sometimes nauseated) doing things like this! I used to be able to swing on the swings at the park, but not anymore. The whole world spins before my eyes. Anyway, we only stayed an hour at Waneka Lake and we didn't catch a thing. I promised Q that I'd go with him again. I know it made his day for me to join in on something he likes doing. 

Day 2: I decided I'd like to check out a new store, preferably a thrift store. Q joined me on this one, too. We went to a couple stores in Longmont. The first one was Ares Thrift Shop. We didn't find anything there to purchase, so we went to Hope's Thrift Store. There I found this cute skirt....

It's an Old Navy brand and I love it. They had a great deal that day: buy one item for three dollars and get a second one for just a buck! So, I also bought a cute blouse (not pictured).

I also bought this vintage pattern for a quarter. It was too cute to pass up!

Day 3: I chose to make a new recipe--almond-raspberry meringue bars. They were divine! I brought a bunch over to church for prayer meeting. Everyone really liked them. 

Coming up next...the recipe to those delicious bars and the last three days of my birthday week. Stay tuned!;)