A to Z Challenge – O


 

 O – Ocean

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The ocean – ahhhhhh. Relaxing, calming, soothing, refreshing. Some people recharge in the mountains. For me it’s on the beach or on the deck – yes those are my thick calves in the capris! We celebrated our anniversary with a cruise to the Bahamas last year. I absolutely loved Freeport Bahamas!

O – Onion

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Do you  know why onions make you cry?

Onions contain amino acid sulfoxides that form sulfenic acids. The enzymes and the sulfenic acids are kept separately in the cells. When you cut the onion, the otherwise separate enzymes start mixing and produce propanethiol S-oxide, which is a volatile sulphur compound that starts wafting towards your eyes. The gas that is emitted reacts with the water of your eyes and forms sulphuric acid. The sulphuric acid  produced causes burning sensation in your eyes and this, in turn leads to the production of tears.

Does it make me stop using onions?  NOPE.  Tonight we are having chicken fajitas, with lots of sliced peppers and onions.

O – Office

You may notice the distinct lack of images for this.

WHY? Because I don’t have an office. This is a problem.  I had one for a while,  then it was taken over. Then I moved to my daughter’s room while she was at college. But when she would come home on break,  or for the summer, I had no place for my office. My office has been a corner of the kitchen table.

I need my own office with places to put my writer stuff, and craft stuff, and research stuff, and  . . . . my STUFF! We have five desks and four people here. One is in the garage covered with Guy stuff. I think it’s too large to fit down the stairwell. One is being used by my youngest daughter, one is my writer’s desk that is in the oldest daughter’s room, one is in the living room and is my husband’s computer desk, one is in the downstairs office, which has become my husband’s office, and one desk is a corner desk that I painted for my oldest daughter when she was in junior high.  It’s purple zebra print.

At this point I don’t care. I need a desk, I need an office, and I need some storage shelves /cabinets/bins – whatever! OPERATION PERMANENT OFFICE IS GO!

 

Have a fabulous day!

 Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie

 

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A to Z Challenge – N


 

N- Notes & Notebooks

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20160415_100654Old school is still the best way for me to brainstorm. I pot my notes into a notebook, this one is a cheap composition book  purchased during back to school sales. I think it was all of 49 cents. I tab my pages at the beginning of a section. When I have something I add to it. It may sit untouched for weeks, but when I need to go find that one thing that I wrote down, I will have it. Those tab things from post-its are great!

 

 

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N-Nails

Such handy little things, nails.  These are for hanging decor and picture hangers. No, it’s not the same thing.  Sometimes you need a nail to hang something, other times you need one of those angled metal hook things –  a picture hanger. I’ve been tackling a few  things on my to do list.

I’ve waited for the hubs to “get around to it” for ages. It’s actually better if I tackle it because I know what I want. Never mind the extra holes in the wall.  They will get patched next time we paint. I’m nonplussed by little details like that –  I try to get it right the first time,  but hey, life goes on when you get your nail half an inch to the left too far and have to do it over. A little dab of toothpaste, smoothed out with an old gift card hides that sucker. And a little dab of paint from the leftover can we keep stored in the basement.

N-Noodles384106

The beginning  of one of my family’s favorite meals:

Crab alfredo

Bear with me on this one,  I am trying to remember as if I were making it because  this was a throw together meal.

1 package of medium egg noodles

3 cups water

1 package of artificial crab meat, torn into pieces

1 package of scallions chopped into small pieces ( about 1/2 cup of scallions)

fresh spinach with the stems removed ( about 2 cups of fresh spinach)

1 jar alfredo sauce

1/2 cup of  parmesan

1 cup milk

2 Tablespoons butter

salt and pepper

In a large skillet or electric skillet (this is what I use to make this dish), put noodles in skillet, add water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil. Stir occasionally to keep pasta from sticking to the pan. Water will absorb. Once the pasta is cooked al dente –  which is only about seven minutes – egg noodles cook fast. Add butter and stir around. Pour jar of alfredo sauce over noodles. Stir to coat evenly, pour milk into the jar, shake up and add. ( Sauce thickens so this isn’t going to make your sauce too thin, plus you’re going to add more cheese.)  Add milk, stirring in.

Make sure the pasta is evenly coated. Add torn pieces of crab meat. Add scallions.  Layer  fresh spinach over the top. Add salt and pepper, cover for just a couple of minutes while preparing your salad and setting the table.

Uncover, scoop onto the plate, top with  some grated parmesan and a twist of freshly ground black pepper.

Super simple, healthy and satisfying.

Let me know if you decide to try my concoction! My kids love it and they have never complained about the spinach!

Have a fabulous day!

 Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie

 

A to Z Challenge – M


 

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M- Macaroni

One of my kids favorites! It matters not that they are young adults now,  it’s still a favorite.

In fact, I think I’ll share a recipe.

 

Macaroni and Cheese ala Ellie

Ingredients:

1 cup (8 ounces) uncooked elbow macaroni

2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese ( I sometimes use a combination of shredded cheddar and American slices because the American slices make it creamier.)

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

3 cups milk

1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick)

2 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup bread crumbs

Directions:

Cook macaroni according to the package directions. Drain.

In a saucepan, melt butter or margarine over medium heat. Stir in enough flour to make a roux. Add milk to roux slowly, stirring constantly until   creamy and fluid. Stir in cheeses and cook over low heat until cheese is melted and the sauce is a little thick, still stirring constantly. Put macaroni in large casserole dish, and pour sauce over macaroni. Stir well.

Melt butter or margarine in a skillet over medium heat. Add breadcrumbs and brown. Spread over the macaroni and cheese to cover. Sprinkle with a little paprika or black pepper. I prefer the black pepper myself.

Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 minutes. Serve.

Present dish to your hungry family, and watch their mouths water. Make them want it.  Take your time in setting the table.

Serve.

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M- Maraschino Cherries

Sorry but I wasn’t about to open the jar as these are for my favorite fruit salad to have with barbecue, which my husband will be cooking this weekend!  My job is the salad, corn, deviled eggs, and strawberry shortcake!

OK, fine. Since you insist, here’s the recipe for that as well.

 

Ambrosia Fruit Salad

Ingredients:

1(20 ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained

1 (15 ounce) can mandarin oranges, drained

1 (16 ounce) container whipped topping

1 (10.5 ounce) package miniature marshmallows

3/4 cup shredded coconut or to taste

I jar maraschino cherries cut in half and drained

Directions

  1. Mix pineapple, oranges, whipped topping, marshmallows, and coconut together in a bowl. Fold in cherry halves. Stir lightly, cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until flavors blend about 2 hours.

M- Me

In one of my favorite shirts, at one of my favorite stores – Hobby Lobby, and what do I find but an oversized martini glass! Now if I can just find a wine glass this size!

Ignore the no makeup hair pulled back in a ponytail look. This is me.  This is who I am. Life is too short to stress over putting on makeup to go to the store, or drive for hours, or anything that I do in my nonwork day.

Speaking of driving, I’m  heading out on the highway once again.  I may have to put some Motley Crew, Maroon5, Metallica, Megadeath, and Michael Franti on the playlist.

Have a fabulous day!

 Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie

 

A to Z Challenge – L


 

L- Love, laughter, life, . . . how would I photograph those?

I was pondering over my long drive on Saturday what L words I could photograph. The first things that came to my mind were the above. Those weren’t accessible.  A studio, props – my mind started going ninety miles an hour.  Now how was I going to do that while riding in a car?

After stopping for gas and bathroom breaks, I rethought my approach. There had to be something that I could use for L.  My daughter suggested a llama. AND WHERE AM  GOING TO GET A LLAMA? 

Cue the giggling laughter of my eldest spawn. I swear, sometimes that girl is way too much like me.

colorful sunset

colorful sunrise

L- Light

Getting up before sunrise can have its advantages. Maybe so but there isn’t enough coffee in the world for me to make this a habit.

My make up roses.  Aren't they beautiful? L – Love

Loaf of freshly baked sourdough bread.

                Loaf of freshly baked sourdough bread.

One of the ways that my husband expresses love to me.

L- Loaf

There is nothing that smells as good to me as freshly baked bread. This is also one of the ways that I express love to my husband. His primary love language is acts of service, so I do the things that make him feel appreciated. It just so happens that we all benefit from the baking. OK, well maybe not my waistline,  but come on –  its freshly baked bread without any chemical preservatives.  Speaking of acts of service, this leads me to my next L word  . . .

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L-Laundry

The never-ending job that isn’t noticed unless it hasn’t been done. I have some theories on this:  if you leave it very long unattended, it multiplies. There is a sock portal that opens inside of the dryer where socks escape to another dimension. Somewhere socks roam free. Or else they are transported to a very personal hell for someone who is given the eternal task to pair socks without their mates.

L-Laughter

Hopefully, that last bit made you laugh or at least smile. Life is too short to not enjoy. Bake some fresh bread, get some freshly cut flowers, have a cup of coffee while the laundry is running. Be thankful that you have more than one change of clothes  to have to do laundry. Be thankful that we don’t have to go down to the creek and beat our clothes  on the rocks. Be thankful that someone had the brilliant idea to pour  water over burned coffee beans.

Make every moment count, even the ones that aren’t as exciting as others.

Live life to the fullest! Love passionately! Laugh every chance you get!

 

Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie

 

A to Z Challenge – J, K, and other stuff.


 

Before we dive in . . .

I want to add an important “I” word.

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I-Inch

The American standard measurement.  The amount I’ve lost in my waist that boosts my mood exponentially! The difference between misery and comfort in your clothes.

By the way, just in case you missed that –  I’ve lost ONE INCH so far in my waist. That one inch has  lifted my spirits and given me the stamina to persevere in my continued endeavors.

Now, to address J.  AHEM. Well, yesterday should have been J.  I spent the bulk of my free time yesterday visiting with my 92-year young aunt in a skilled nursing facility. She is currently in the rehabilitation section, but will be transferred this week to the assisted living.

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Blogging doesn’t  mean that you put everything else on hold.  It means that I fit it in when I can.  The important things in life come first. Family matters. As much as I appreciate my followers and visitors here, the family will always come first.

You may not get that at first from my usual Jovial demeanor,  but my family is extremely important to me. You can call that justification for not posting my J’s  or not, but family is not a JOKE to me even though we laugh and have good times.

However, because  my sense of order and balance requires it,  here are  my J pictures.

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J – Jellybeans

I bought this bag of jellybeans for Easter, then promptly forgot to put them out. After photographing them, I did a daring thing –  I ate a couple of the black ones. I usually only pick out the red and orange, but I had a few of each except the white. *shudders*  The licorice flavor of the black can be managed in small doses.  The whatever the heck flavor the white ones are – a big heaping dose of NOPE.  The pink ones –  yeah I only ate one of those, but technically I tried it. Purple – that was so not grape. After a long day, I hate to admit that I ate nearly half of the bag by myself, with the sugar buzz to prove it!

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J – Java

Elixir of life, go juice, writer’s lifeblood. The stuff that fantasies are created from, the magical brew that allows morning people to exist, miracle working beverage that transforms the walking dead into vibrant functioning human beings.

If you don’t drink it, I’m sorry you are missing out on its earthy goodness. Non-drinkers don’t get it. But the rest of us – I can see all of those heads nodding, lifting their cups.

My apologies for missing J day,  but then again I make no apologies for giving my time to family.

Shall we move on?

I thought as much.

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K- Keys

Keys to open doors, and keys  to entertain.

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K- Kale

An amazing super food that is great in soups, salads, and on sandwiches.

Just a note though,  the main stem is woody.  I cut the leaves from that main stem. Also, when the temperatures get above 80 it turns bitter if you are raising it in your garden.

Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie

 

A to Z Challenge – I


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I-Iowa

Iowa  – where I was this weekend for Romance Rendezvous.

Some of the most pleasant people I have ever met in my life were in Iowa!   Shared a bathroom with Mennonites, shared a different bathroom with Amish,  confused when drivers were courteous, and bewildered when everyone seems to obey the speed limit.

Just a note but we didn’t get a ticket for our St. Louis stop!

 

I-270

I-270

I-Interstate

Because we spent way too much time on the highway! Just an observation but Iowa is flat. Where I live, you are lucky if you can get a piece of property  with less than a fifteen percent incline,  you are getting a deal! Unless it’s a landfill and that possibility of getting a piece of  land without hills makes it suspect.

Just an observation but Iowa is flat. Where I live, you are lucky if you can get a piece of property  with less than a fifteen percent incline,  you are getting a deal! Unless it’s a landfill and that possibility of getting a piece of  land without hills makes it suspect.

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I – Iris

 

My all time favorite flower! I love  the variety of colors from purple to pink to nearly white but the ones that we have on the end of our house are yellow.

Do you have a favorite flower?

Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie

 

A to Z Challenge – H


H – House

 

 old town house

old town house

I absolutely love this old house! This is not my house! This house was built in the 1800’s. There are at least ten  homes from the 1800’s in our town. This one is by far my favorite. There used to be a porch swing on  the wrap around porch but the current owners removed it. This house has character and history which I would much prefer over a cracker box lookalike home.

If there was something worth a touristy stop in our little town, this would make a perfect bed and breakfast, or a tea house. Some day when I am rolling in the dough and can buy this house I may make it into a Victorian Tea Room that serves Mint Juleps and Hard Lemonade along with delicious strawberry shortcake and lots of pie!

I’ve always wanted to buy an old home and do renovations on it. This one has been kept in pristine condition so there wouldn’t be much work to be done.

Some day!

Write on my friends, write on! Dream on as well!

Ellie

 

A to Z Challenge – G


 

G – Grass

Grass

Grass

It’s that time of year when everything greens up, the pollen is flying, and we have to get the mower out. I love the smell of freshly cut grass. Since I have more free time now, I guess I will be the one to cut the grass. I really hope he gets the riding mower fixed!

G- Graduate

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I have two of them and I couldn’t be prouder!

It’s hard to believe that my girls are grown women ready to start their own life journeys.

They are both enrolled in college, different colleges.

 

 

 

Gladiolas

Gladiolas

Gladiolas

I just love the bright pop of red from my gladiolas at the end of my driveway!

 

 

 

Going –

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I’m going here this weekend!  YAY! If you are in the area stop in to see me!

Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie

 

 

 

 

A to Z Challenge – F


I have two pictures to share. Two completely different F words.

FIRE

FIRE

FIRE

There is something soothing about sitting around a fire, listening to the crackling wood, roasting some hot dogs on the open flames, enjoying s’mores, and seeing the night sky. Where I live, there is little ground light so the stars are beautifully visible. The warmth of the fire against the slight chill of the night air is invigorating! Not to mention that I rather like the smell of wood smoke.

Fabric

Fabric

 

FABRIC

I have a craft project in the making and this is the gorgeous fabric that I found for it. I absolutely love the Paris and wine bottles! It doesn’t show up well in the photograph, but the white one has silver metallic designs.  Have I mentioned lately that I am a craftaholic?

Can’t wait to share the repurposed dragonflies that I made.  Right now they are drying. I might slip them in for Repurposed since D has already gone by.

I couldn’t decide on the next image, so I am going to ask a question instead:

What does FUN look like for you?

Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie

 

 

 

 

A to Z Challenge – E


Eggs

eggs

eggs

Eggs have gotten a bad rap a few years ago,  with doctors telling their patients they were too high in cholesterol and they needed to limit their consumption. egg-white protein however, is one of the best sources of protein available. Eggs provide the binding for cakes,  bread, pancakes, and fritters. One of our favorite ways to enjoy eggs is deviled eggs – especially when we have barbecue!

For your pleasure:

Deviled Eggs

6 eggs
1/3 cup mayonnaise (I use Miracle Whip)
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1  1/2 teaspoon yellow mustard
1/8 teaspoon salt
Smoked  paprika, for garnish

Place eggs in a single layer in a saucepan and cover with enough water that there is 1 1/2 inches of water above the eggs. Heat on high until water begins to boil,  cover and reduce temperature to medium heat,  and cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat and leave covered for 15 minutes, then rinse under cold water continuously for 1 minute.

Crack egg shells and carefully peel under cool running water. Gently dry with paper towels. Slice the eggs in half lengthwise, remove yolks to a medium bowl and placing the whites on a serving dish. Mash the yolks into a fine crumble using a fork. Add mayonnaise, vinegar, mustard, salt, and mix well.

Now here’s a handy trick that will make your deviled eggs look professional and makes clean up a cinch – Scoop the yolk mixture into a quart sized freezer bag (they are sturdier than a storage bag). drape the bag over your hand, making a funnel, so the mixture fills one corner, like a pastry bag. Snip the corner, twist the bag tight as you fill the egg whites. They come out smooth and creamy every time!

Sprinkle with paprika and serve or chill until the ribs are done!
Bon Appetit!

Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie