Friday Five: 2015, Year of the….

3dogmom writes:

I’m not really a “resolution” kind of gal. You? There are things I appreciate, however, about the idea of taking a fresh look at life when a new year dawns. I hear that it’s the Year of the Sheep for those who follow the Chinese calendar, and since I love sheep, that makes me smile. That got me thinking about what other kind of year it might be.  For instance, I’ve got more than a handful of unfinished products lying about: knitting, cross-stitch, scrapbooking… With an eye toward freeing up some space where these projects are stashed I’ve decided that it would be a win-win to make this the year of the finished project. Get my drift?

What sort of year would you like this to be for you? New vacation destination? Recipes to try? Item to check off the bucket list? Let’s have ‘em. Five of them!

Personal Note: So not a resolution girl. I’m not so great with the finishing. Plus, it’s semi-arbitrary.

1. Church involvement – So, I’ve been seeing a new church. It’s early, but things are going well. We believe the same things, but we have enough differences to make it interesting. I don’t really believe in soul mates, but it may be that this church could be “the one.” After I’ve recovered from my surgery, we’re going to see a lot more of each other, and I’m hoping things keep going well.

2. US Exploration – I usually take one international trip a year, but I feel like this year might be the year that I stay in the country and visit some spots I’ve either never seen or haven’t seen in a while. I really want to go to New Orleans and I also want to do an east coast trip from DC to Boston. I’ve discovered that seeing water is kind of important for me to keep my sanity, so there will be a few trips to California and hopefully one to Hawaii.

3. Kitchen Re-org – For my hysterectomy shower, I’ve gotten a lot of great cookbooks. I need to find a place to put them and then I need to make space for some of the new kitchen tools I’ll need to make some of these magnificent creations. I’m going to spend next weekend getting the kitchen moved around and then I’m buying another bookshelf for my living room and some of them will go there as well.

4. Back to yoga – I’ve not been to yoga in a couple of months for some personal reasons but I really need to go back. I’m going to rejoin my studio in March and get my practice on.

5. Career progress – I’ve got some irons in the fire with work stuff and I’m hoping this will take me to SF a few times. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Friday Five: Oh! Christmas Tree!

3dogmom writes:

beagle-wrapped-in-christmas-lights

It’s been a week of wrangling with the Christmas tree at our house. Multiple strands of new lights were strung carefully on the tree for big impact, but here and there malfunctions and blackouts occurred. On the third day we still don’t have fully functional lights, which is problematic mostly because until that is resolved, nothing else goes on the tree.

In light of that (no pun intended) I thought The Christmas Tree might be a good launch pad for today’s FF. So…

1) Real tree, or “fake?”

Real. Fake trees make the Baby Jesus cry.

2) White or colored lights?

I prefer white. I feel like colored lights steal the thunder of the ornaments. However, I prefer colored lights for the exterior.

3) When do you put up and take down your tree?

Mmmm..I’ll probably do it this weekend. In these parts, trees quickly become fire hazards, so we don’t have them up too long.

4) Tell us about your favorite ornament (share a picture, if you can).

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5) What goes on the top of your tree (again, share a photo, if possible)?

I have both an angel and a big red bow. This year, the bow wins.

Be sure to link to your blog page where we can visit your Friday Five and say hello!

Friday Five: Advent Random

revkarla writes:

I hope this Friday Five finds you happily wandering through these deep long twilight days with a reasonable  amount of hustle, bustle and peace in between.  Knowing however, that this can also be a jam-packed  or stressful time, my first FF question is:

1.  How are you?  How can we pray for you?

Overall I’m well, but some life changes are afoot and I have some decisions to make. It’s all contingent on a phone call that I should get next week, and once that happens, things will be in motion.

2.  On another level, I am sure that many of you have treasured Christmas ornaments.  Tell us about one of your more treasured, and why it is special.

I have a box of ornaments that I didn’t use this year because I went with a tiny tree, but I will always have them and they will always be special. I don’t know if this still exists (since I have small strokes when I go into craft stores) but back in the 70s you could buy fabric that had pre-printed shapes and instructions on it. My mom and I got some to make ornaments back in 1976 (I was 4). They are fabric ornaments in the shapes of stars, candy canes, and some other stuff. Mom stitched them on the sewing machine and I stuffed the filler into them, and then she closed them and added a yarn hanger. I love them. Great Christmas memory with my mom.

This year, however, this is my favorite ornament:

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3.  Since I have started in a new call in a new city, I have a new guilty pleasure calledShubies which is a store of wine, cheese, craft beer, gourmet foods, fun kitchen gadgets and more, besides a bakery/lunch counter.  I am currently enjoying an (overpriced)  kale-avocado-goat cheese pressed sandwich on cranberry sunflower seed wheat bread. O.M.GOODNESS.   What is one of your current guilty pleasures?

First, congrats on the new call & new city! I’m currently in a place where I’m trying to make choices that exclude guilty pleasures – not judging you of course. Just need to make better choices for me. However, if I were indulging this time of year I’d be eating a lot of Mt. Tam cheese from Cowgirl Creamery and Candy Cane Jo-Jos from Trader Joes (either in cookie or ice cream form).

4. I picked up a beautiful hank of handspun wool in heather grays and purples in October that I am sending my sister for her birthday this month.  I have been looking forward to giving it to her.  What is something (tangible or less tangible) you are looking forward to give in the next few weeks?

I didn’t know “hank” was a thing. Did I mention that I have small strokes in craft stores? The only making stuff I do is cooking. I can’t get specific on the things I’m going to give because I don’t want to give things away. However, there’s a couple of things I’m stoked to give to my dad this year. He’s really hard to shop for so when I have something good, it’s kind of a big deal.

5.  We must have random words for a random sentence or story, right?  So, here are your words (or forms of) to use in a sentence or two:   earth, cranberry, codfish, kettle corn, pitcher, love, joy, hope, peace, Santa, artist.

The artist stepped back from his painting of Santa, took a bite of codfish and washed it down with a pitcher of mulled wine, a sense of peace washing over him.  The whole earth loved his work and look forward to the painting with joy, hoping to be able to give copies as gifts in time for Christmas.

Thanks for playing!

Friday Five: Let’s Pray Together

3dogmom writes:
I am always grateful for the prayers of others, but I am especially touched when someone asks, “How may I pray for you?”

During this season of fullness, how may we pray for each other?

How may we:

  • Pray for you – you know how it is. Just when you get yourself settled (or think you have yourself settled), more possibilities arise. There are some things on the horizon that might mean some life changes. No idea, could be nothing. I would appreciate prayers for discernment, budgeting, transitions and relationships.
  • Pray for someone you carry on your heart – I have a dear friend who is leaving on Sunday for the Congo to film an important documentary. Pray for her safety, the safety of her crew and that the film would bring light to the subject of healing from trauma.
  • Offer thanksgiving with you – where to begin? I have such a great life and so many things for which I can be thankful. I have rock star family, a job I love, a perfect apartment, lots of great opportunities, and a brilliant circle of friends. I am super blessed.
  • Ask God’s blessing in your life – I always go back to the Greek for blessing, which is about knowing God more than it is about getting stuff or being happy. I always want knowing God to take precedence over anything else I might request.
  • Lift up anything else in your heart – I’ve had some interesting things happen this year from which I am almost healed but still curious about the reason I needed to have these experiences. I know that clarity isn’t something God usually hands out, but I’d appreciate some in this case.

Friday Five: Thanksgiving Food Edition

Deb writes:

This week’s Friday Five is because of my preparations for our Thanksgiving dinner celebration, which here in the US will be next Thursday, November 28th. I hope our RevGals and Pals who are not in the US will play along, particularly as it relates to menus and food!

1. Turkey: love it? hate it? self-basted? fry it or roast it? Tofu-turkey? Tell me more. (I’ve only had one roasted turkey come out totally delish so I’m fishing for your tips!)

Turkey is amazing. Love it. But only white meat. Usually when my mom does it, we do it upside down in a roasting bag, brined all night the night before of course. Since we alternate with my brother’s in-laws, this year we’re doing our main dinner on Friday at his house and he’s doing the turkey on the grill. He’s got a smoker thing.

2. Stuffing: bagged? homemade? sage? sausage? cornbread? oysters? nuts? Got any inspiration for me?

My family is from the Midwest so we do DRESSING. That’s basically just stuffing that is baked on the side, not stuffed in the bird. Let me tell you, this is my paternal grandmother’s recipe and it is RIDICULOUS. We have converted more than one dressing-hater with this stuff. It’s got cornbread, regular bread, sausage, onions, celery, mushrooms, pecans, sage, the works. It’s amazing. If it were up to me, I’d experiment with throwing a few dried cranberries in there but my dad would probably disown me for messing with it. Perhaps I’ll do it on the DL at my house 🙂

3. Cranberries: When we celebrated Thanksgiving in Europe one year, our French friends thought we were nuts to choose a very sour berry and then load it with sugar. (Let alone the stuff that comes out of a can in a blob of gelatinous ooze!) What do you do with cranberries?

Again, paternal grandmother to the rescue. We do what’s called Cranberry Fluff. So, the night before you use a food processor or blender to chop up your cranberries and then pour a bunch of sugar in them and let them macerate overnight. The next day you mix in red grapes (that have been cut in half), chopped apple (honey crisp, golden delicious, something firm but sweet), pecans and then fold it all together with whipped cream. It’s amazing and super popular. Converts a lot of haters.

4. Potatoes: (Boil ‘em, mash ‘em, stick ‘em in a stew…) What’s your pleasure?

Mashed. Mashed. Mashed. Mashed. With butter and half and half. Mashed.

5. Pie: I’m married to the Pie Man. Anything but coconut pie floats his boat. What do you make? (or buy?) Pumpkin? Pecan? Apple?

I’m the pie woman. Normally, I do pumpkin pies, one with pecans in it and one without. This year, my neice has specially requested an apple pie so I’m doing some recipe research and see what I can come up with. I’m probably going to do something with a caramel sauce in it because that’s how I roll. PS – also might try using a vodka pie crust recipe, because, well, vodka.

BONUS: A recipe that you’ve tried out and will make it to your table this year.

This is actually something I’m bringing to the church potluck this Sunday because my last initial means I bring dessert:

Pumpkin Pound Cake with Buttermilk Glaze

Cake:
Cooking spray
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour (about 13 1/2 ounces)
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup fat-free buttermilk

Glaze:

1/3 cup fat-free buttermilk
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon baking soda

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. To prepare the cake, lightly coat a 10-inch tube pan with cooking spray; dust with 1 tablespoon flour. Spread pumpkin over 2 layers of paper towels; cover with 2 additional layers of paper towels. Let stand about 10 minutes. Scrape drained pumpkin into a bowl.
  3. Place 3/4 cup granulated sugar, brown sugar, and 1/2 cup butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed 3 minutes or until well blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in pumpkin and vanilla. Lightly spoon 3 cups flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine flour and next 4 ingredients (through salt) in a bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Add flour mixture and 3/4 cup buttermilk alternately to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture.
  4. Spoon batter into prepared pan. Bake at 350° for 55 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes on a wire rack. Remove from pan, and cool completely on wire rack.
  5. To prepare glaze, combine 1/3 cup buttermilk and remaining ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat; bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute or until thick, stirring constantly; remove from heat. Drizzle cake with glaze.

Friday Five: Random!

revkjarla writes:

oh my, I have really lost track of time!

but I won’t get into THAT now, because what you really need is an extreme random Friday Five, so here goes it:

1. How are you? What’s up with you?

I’m doing well! I’ll be honest, I had a couple of rough weeks there, but I’m back! I’ve discovered that I need to get more involved at work. I’ve been getting a bit bored, but that’s on me to fix. There’s plenty of learning that needs to happen here and it’s up to me to get people trained. Church has been crazy busy! I’m both in charge of worship and on the pastor search committee. I’ve never done that before, so it’s pretty fun. We have an interim coming soon (phew!) and then we begin the search for a new pastor. Starting to get a bit pumped for the holiday season. Fall/winter is my favorite time of year and I’m beginning to think about plans.

2. Last Saturday, I went to the outlet store and stocked up on underwear for the year. I love a bunch of new fresh underdrawers! I also love a cabinet full of paper towels. What silly thing makes you happy?

I love the feel of freshly-shaven legs inside jeans. I also love the smell of printing chemicals (grew up in a print shop).

3. Give a shout out to someone you love, appreciate, or want to thank!

This week’s shoutout goes to the bestie from way back, Lilyan, who celebrated 41 on Wednesday. Yes, I know what OTHER thing that we’re supposed to observe also was Wednesday, but Lilyan was born first, and if we take away her birthday, the terrorists win. Lil and I have been friends for almost 30 years and she’s amazing. You guys should totally meet her.

4. Miss Kansas has the Serenity Prayer tattooed on the side of her body. I sadly do not have a tattoo, and maybe you do, but if you were going to get a prayer tattooed on the side of your body, what would it be?

For me it would either be the Prayer of St. Francis or something from St. Patrick’ Breastplate

St. Francis

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
To be understood, as to understand;
To be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
And it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.
Amen.

St. Patrick’s Prayer is really long. Well, too long for a side body tattoo. Here’s the part I would choose:

I bind to myself today God’s Power to guide me,
God’s Might to uphold me,
God’s Wisdom to teach me,
God’s Eye to watch over me,
God’s Ear to hear me,
God’s Word to give me speech,
God’s Hand to guide me,
God’s Way to lie before me,
God’s Shield to shelter me,
God’s Host to secure me

5. Use some or all or a form of the following words in a sentence: jello, kittens, mercy, dump-truck, tabouleh, terror, skipping, monkey, Rev., health, and snoring.

Snoring loudly, the Rev. was awakened from the dream that filled her with terror, the dream of a dump truck full of kittens driving toward a river of jello.

I am off to interview for a dog-walking job. When I am back, I will look forward to reading your randomness!

Love ya!