Thursday, January 29, 2015

Root Vegetable Hash

I've been enjoying my root vegetables.  They are delicious, satisfying, and full of vitamins and minerals, (especially iron, beta-carotene/vitamin A and vitamin C). They satisfy that winter comfort food craving that I often get.  This dish is a simple preparation of diced root vegetables stir fried together in Olive oil. 

It is as simple as pulling together any of your favorite root vegetables; such as potatoes, beets, sweet potatoes, parsnips, carrots, turnips, onions, garlic, any that you like.  Pre-cook all but the garlic and onions, by boiling them in a pot of water with skins on.  Pull them out when they are just beginning to get tender, but are still slightly under cooked.

Cool until you are able to handle them comfortably, peel them and dice them up.

Place them into a hot pan drizzled with olive oil.  I like to brown the onions first, add the garlic, and then the vegetables.  Leave the vegetables unstirred to cook and brown for a couple of minutes, then stir all together getting a good brown on them.  Add salt and pepper to taste. You could also bake them instead of frying them if you desired.

Dish them up and sprinkle generously with chives or green onions.

Serve as a side dish for dinner….

Or top with an egg and serve for breakfast. 

Root Vegetable Hash

4-6 root vegetables of choice, including onions, and garlic.
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh chives or green onions
Olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

  1.  Pre-cook all but the garlic and onions, by boiling them in a pot of water with skins on.  
  2.  Pull them out when they are just beginning to get tender, but are still slightly under cooked.
  3.  Cool until you are able to handle them comfortably; peel them and dice them up.
  4.  Place them into a hot pan drizzled with olive oil.  I like to brown the onions first, add the garlic, and then the vegetables.  Leave the vegetables unstirred to cook and brown for a couple of minutes, then stir all together getting a good brown on them.  
  5. Add alt and pepper to taste. 
  6. Dish them up and sprinkle generously with chives or green onions.
  7. Serve them as a side dish, or serve them with eggs for breakfast.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Behind the Scenes of National Geographic

In the summer of 2011, I published a post about my boys.  In the post, was a picture that Nathan and his crew took while they were doing some scouting for a film they were working on.  I had mentioned in that post that there was a story behind this picture… and yes there was;  They took the picture and did a little "editing" to it as a joke; inspired by a "girlfriend" of one of the Guys. She was worried about the bears that they might encounter while scouting in the mountains of Colorado. Now I understand her worries…"bears happen" in Colorado, so we weren't laughing at her concerns, but were just full of fun and  there were many jokes about "those bears" that kept us all laughing; I'm sure we all remember the jokes about the "pepper spray" that was offered as a solution to that bear problem, but the final joke the guys came up with, was this picture.  I love the picture.  It is really fun isn't it?

Nathan put the picture on his Facebook, and I think the other guys probably did as well.  I snagged the picture from Nathan's Facebook and put it on my blog.  I also pinned it on Pinterest onto my "Funnies" board. Within a few months of that pin,  I started getting all kinds of traffic to that post from a travel blog in France. They had the picture with the caption in French, saying something like "you don't have to be faster than the bear, just faster than your friend". Soon after that, the picture was all over the internet, with captions like the title of this post.  It got funnier and funnier to see it coming and going. The conversations about the pictures that evolved were a marvel. People would say "how foolish these guys were", and how "it couldn't be real because of this or that". It was never intended to go out as a "real" picture, but it seemed to gain momentum for the debate as to whether it was "real" or not  as it got passed around.  Nathan and Himilce recently posted this article on their Facebook pages; The article was pronouncing it a "Fake".  It is a good article written by Matt Novak on, and really added to the fun when it had to be debunked in this way.  Our friend Tim Sparks the redhead on the back right was able to set the record straight in an e-mail with Matt Novak for the article.

A great story don't you think?  The article tells you who is who, but let me just say this; Nathan is the guy in the right in front; He's my boy.  That gives me a little button popping privileges don't you think?  You can go back to that first post that I posted this on and read a few more of the details and see a few more of the pics from this story…. mostly from a "mother's" perspective about boys, life and the empty nest etc, then be sure to click on the link above and read about this "Fake".. and check out the Godzilla version, you'll love it.

            Have a great weekend everyone.

A joyful heart is good medicine,
but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

Proverbs 17:22

Monday, January 19, 2015

Fresh Strawberry and Mint Tea

Fresh herbs in winter, are like sunshine after a week of rain; and that is what I am enjoying today by the way.  We are having some wonderful sunshine after a week of rain; it feels so nice.  I am also enjoying a much needed cup of tea.  After having cleaned out my pantry and mopped my floors this morning.  I wanted something refreshing.  So I made a  pot of  Fresh Strawberry and Mint Tea; its delicious, refreshing and even little therapeutic.  I decided to share it with you.  This is a special tea using the fresh Strawberries and fresh Mint that I got from the farmers market on Saturday. I am sure enjoying the benefits of living in Florida; fresh fruits, veggies and herbs in the winter time, yes, that works well for me.

The Strawberries add a subtly sweet flavor to this tea, and the mint goes wonderfully with it adding an invigorating, while still soothing factor.  I love the little bit of lime zest as well.  It is a nice change from the same ol' thing. In Russia they often put fruit preserves into their tea, and this puts me in mind of that somewhat. So, in remembrance of Russian tea, I am using my Russian teacups… and thinking how glad I am that I am not in Siberia right now.

Here's all you need to do:
Put four cups of water into a medium sized pot and bring to a boil, then turn it off.  

Finely chop a small bunch of mint (about 1/2 of a cup chopped).  

Crush the mint slightly to release the oils and mint flavor.  Add this to the pot of hot water along with 2 tea bags.

Finely chop 8 - 10 Strawberries, pour it, juice and all, into the pot.  

Add 1 teaspoon of lime zest to the pot, cover and steep 10 minutes.

Place a strainer over your teapot.

Strain the tea into the pot.

  Add fresh mint and sliced strawberries to each cup.

 Add hot tea.


Fresh Strawberry Tea

4 cups boiling water
2 tea bags (black tea)
1/2 cup fresh mint finely chopped
8 -10 strawberries, finely chopped
1 teaspoon lime zest

Fresh mint leaves, strawberry slices and lime zest for each cup


  1. Bring water to boil in a medium saucepan.
  2. Add tea bags, mint and strawberries to the water.
  3. Allow to steep about 10 minutes.
  4. Strain tea, mint and strawberries from liquid and into the teapot.
  5. Cover with a tea cozy.
  6. Prepare each cup with 2 slices of strawberries, one mint leaf and a pinch of lime zest.
  7. Pour tea and enjoy (Sweeten if desired)

Monday, January 12, 2015

Clothespin Makeover

I'm having fun with clothespins again.  I might be getting addicted to decorating these ordinary little items. Last year about this time, I used clothespins to make some airplanes for Valentines Day;  I think it gave me a "thing" for clothespins, because I keep finding myself in the craft store looking at them and mulling over ideas of what to do with them.   So now I am decorating them with pretty scrapbook paper, Mod Podge and flowers. Here's a list of ideas that you can use them for:

  1. Clip Valentines or flags on a line for bunting for Valentines day or any occasion.
  2. Glue a magnet onto the backside to hold a picture or message on your refrigerator.
  3. Clip together bags of goodies, or leftover chips and snacks.
  4. Use as a name tag holder for a gift.
  5. Enhance a scrapbook project.
  6. Make a wreath with them by clipping them to a circular wire or cardboard wreath base.
  7. Use them in your laundry room to decorate with.
  8. Why not try hanging out the laundry with your pretty little clips and see if it doesn't add some sort of pizazz to the ordinary everyday mundane tasks.
  9. Put them in a cute jar and give them as a gift to a friend.

  1. Wooden clothespins of various sizes.
  2. Mod Podge.
  3. Glue brush or small sponge brush.
  4. Scrapbook paper.
  5. Pencil
  6. Ruler
  7. Scissors
  8. Paper flowers, ribbons, or buttons for decorating.
  1. Using your clothespins as a template, place a clothespin onto the back of your scrapbooking paper and draw around it.  
  2. Use this drawing to measure and draw as many "paper clothespin covers" as you want.
  3. Cut them out.
  4. Cover the top of the clothespin with Mod Podge glue.
  5. Place the "paper clothespin cover" on top of the glue.
  6. Run your finger over the top to smooth and seal the paper to the clothespin.
  7. Brush Mod Podge glue over the top of the "clothespin cover" to seal the top.
  8. Allow to dry approximately 30 minutes.
  9. Have fun.

I used the standard sized clothespins and also, the next size down… they also make the little bity ones that are irresistible, but those not as easy to decorate. 

Draw your pattern on the back of the scrapbook paper.

 Cut out as many as you want to make.

 Cover a clothespin with glue.

 Top with paper clothespin cover, running your finger over the top to smooth and seal the paper to the clothespin.

 Brush the clothespin with another coat of Mod Podge over the top.

  Allow to dry 30 or more minutes.

 Have fun!

Have a great Week Everyone!!!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Thoughts About Adoption 8 1/2 Years Later

This June, our family will celebrate our nine year anniversary of the adoption of three of our children.    The years have gone by quickly. It is hard to believe 8 1/2 years have come and gone since our kids came home from Russia. Olga turned 23 in December, Eddie turns 19 tomorrow and Russ will be 24 in another week. That is a big wow! for Steve and I. I rejoice and give thanks when I think of all that God has done in these 8 1/2 years.  It hasn't necessarily been an easy journey, but a rewarding one.  I am amazed that God reached down and transplanted these three children from a very sad situation into a fresh start.  It was rough for them, and it was rough for us, but we have all grown greatly through it all.

I recently read a blog post that wonderfully expressed the process and feelings that are happening in the adoption of older children in the first year, and I decided to share the link at the end of this post. The post is a sincere, open, difficult, funny, and encouraging story of the authors heart; and I laughed and cried all the way through; but whereas the author of the article was writing  about the common stages of adoption, and she was describing those stages within the course of a year, I can say it still applies eight years later.  There are cycles that continue and repeat in a milder degree of expression  as the years go by.  For those of you who are still in some stage of the adoption process, saying that isn't meant to seem discouraging,  just let it be a reality check, to help undergird your perseverance. Things get better every day, week, month and year, but the struggle to "become" a family is always in process. Most of us start this journey with a calling in our heart to reach out to some very precious and hurting children.  We think that in a short season we can reap the joys and rewards of that task.  We  imagine the joyous bonding and loving relationship of parent and child to take a week, or a month, or even a year, but it is really a life long journey.  We think our children will be so happy to "at last" be in a safe and cozy place, that they will love us and enjoy us and life will be great in a short time.  But it doesn't usually work in that kind of a time frame. When little souls are wounded even from their mother's womb, healing needs to begin in order for bonding to begin and healing takes time.

It has helped me tremendously, to come to the realization that success is a journey, your calling is worked out in a life time. So, if you are in the middle of this adoption journey, take a deep breath, give yourself a break and don't be so hard on yourself, give your children a break; don't place burdensome expectations on them….and don't take upon yourself the rejection they have had to overcome; let go of your expectations, give your Father in Heaven a chance to do His work,  get a nice box of Kleenex, a cup of tea and sit down and read a little and you will be glad you did.

by Jen Hatmaker on August 21st, 2012

Here are a few pics of our kids through the years, starting with this one at our first meal together in Russia.

Russ and Olga together a few years later.

Eddie and Russell Eating the Piroshki's we had all made.

Russ and Eddie when Russ first came home after being assigned in the Navy.

Here's Russ that same trip.

Aren't they cute.  I love them.

They have caught a few fish with Steve over the years.

Eddie graduating from 8th grade.

A Holiday meal together.

Some fun in the snow.

For more about our story click here and here.  As a conclusive note to our own story, our children are doing well.  We stay in touch via phone, e-mail, Facebook and texting, since they live in Arizona and California now, and we live in Florida. We are in a different phase of our life with them since they are grown and making a life for themselves. We got the sweetest card from Russell this Christmas (he writes us cards and letters that bless us beyond words and he always gets us choked up…. truly a reward… but let me say all  three of the kids have written us some very precious notes and letters; these are what we cherish from them).  I mentioned in a previous post that Eddie is living in Phoenix with Olga, a situation that has had its ups and downs, but all in all they are getting along pretty well.  We rejoice in our children, and in the family God has given us.  We are all still in process, but we have also had the joy and reward of  love.  Our constant prayer for them is that they continue to seek out the abundant life that is found only in Jesus.