Archive for ‘Uncategorized’

September 26, 2012

Spider Mama

Garden Spider 2

Mommy garden spider preparing her egg sack with food for her babies.  Right on time for Fall, she laid her eggs yesterday next to the compost pile and wrapped them in silk.  I’m glad I didn’t hesitate to take her picture.  Her fate is the same as Charlotte’s.

December 28, 2011

Out with the old. In with the new.

New YearsWell this is the last post of 2011.  And just like a roller coaster, the year was full of ups and downs.  It started so bad for us with the death of my DBL, my neighbor and our beloved cat Luna, all in less than 3 weeks.  Then we watched my sister deal with chemo from afar.  My Dad suffered several heart attacks and his prognosis is not a good one.

But God is good and only dishes out things He knows we can handle.  So not everything in 2011 was bad.  I won my 1st online give away from the lovely Sew It All team.  The timing was so perfect as I received the box when I got back from my DBL’s funeral and I split the goodies with my grieving DML.

Then I found my great grandparents on the 1910 census records on Ancestry.com.  My Dad then confirms they were farmers and were known as the Pigeon Pea Clan. Di decided to do the Relay for Life and raised a good amount of money to fight cancer.

I survived the March 31st tornado hiding in my linen closet.  The only loss we suffered was a chunk of the loquat tree being ripped off.  After Main Coon kitty’s constant lonely cries we decided to adopt another kitty; a Chartreux mix we call Niza.  She has brought much-needed laughter to the home even thought she drives us crazy :P

Journey picked my sister as one of the fan VIP winners for their concert live on the Today show.  It was the 1st time she had the chance to actually touch the hand of one of the band members.  I cheered while I watched her on TV.

I was brave enough to move and makeover this blog.  I also added an annual flower bed to the garden to produce constant arrangements for the house and some extra to share with others.  And speaking of sharing, how about my mission trip to Honduras?  I met wonderful people in Moroceli and hope to one day see them again.

So when you go out to celebrate the New Year and say good-bye to all the bad stuff that happened, don’t forget to include the good things on your list.  I can almost bet they will out number the bad.  Celebrate all the good stuff that happened…the best is yet to come!

Linking to Transformation Thursday.

December 7, 2011

Rice with Pigeon Peas

Gandules
So what’s all the fuss with my pigeon pea bushes?  Well, our traditional Christmas Eve dinner depends on them.  Oh yeah, I could buy the canned ones but nothing beats fresh ingredients for taste.  If you can’t get them fresh, try frozen.  You can find them at your local Spanish bodega (market).

A large cast aluminum or cast iron pot works best.  Remember to always keep in mind the rice to water ratio.  That will make the difference between uncooked rice and mushy mess.

Arroz con Gandules

Rice with Pigeon Peas

Ingredients:

  • Olive oil
  • ½ cup diced smoked ham
  • ½ cup chopped onions
  • ½ cup chopped green peppers
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic minced
  • 2 Tbs of ”Alcaparrado”
  • 1 packet of “Sazon with coriander and annatto/ Sazon con cilantro and achiote”
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 Tbs of chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 8oz can “Spanish style tomato sauce”
  • 1 ½ cup fresh/frozen or 16oz can pigeon peas
  • 2 cups “Canilla rice”
  • 3 cups water
  • Adobo seasoning
  1.  Heat pot on med.  Coat bottom of the pot with olive oil.  Add smoked ham.  Sauté ham and stir occasionally until it starts to turn a little brown.  Add chopped peppers and onions and stir.  Cook until onions are translucent.  Add garlic, olives/capers, sazon, cilantro and oregano. Cook and stir until garlic is fragrant.  Add tomato sauce and pigeon peas, stir until bubbly.
  2. Add 2 cups of Canilla rice and stir mixture coating the rice.  Raise the temp to high and quickly add 3 cups of water (some people combine the water with broth or beer to give more flavor).  Stir the rice occasionally to keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pot.  Taste the liquid.  Sprinkle adobo to taste.  When the liquid bubbles, stir once scrapping the bottom of the pot, quickly cover and lower the temp to low.  Do not touch the pot or uncover until 20 minutes have gone by.  If you do, you will release the steam and the rice will not cook.
  3. After the 20 minutes, uncover, turn the rice and taste.  Make sure the rice is cooked all the way thru.  If not, cover and cook for another 10-20 min on low.  Enjoy!

What kind of traditional hand me down recipes do you make for the Holidays?

Linking to Transformation Thursday

November 30, 2011

Lesson on Simplicity – Honduras

MoroceliThere is nothing like fresh air. That thought was fixed in my mind while my body was bouncing in the pickup truck of the priest who picked us up at the airport. The drive to Moroceli is about 1 hour from Tegulcigalpa. It’s located in a district with a name that certainly does it justice: El Paraiso. I totally ignored the bumpy dirt roads as my eyes feasted on the raw beauty of the countryside in Honduras. This trip was a missionary one. I volunteered to translate for my fellow parishioners. We are part of a team working to help our sister church. Like any experience of this nature, there are lessons learned on the journey. Here are mine:

Part of the goal of the trip was to document the progress of current church projects. One of them is a scholarship program. Children in Honduras must wear uniforms and bring their own school supplies in order to go to school. Most parents are not able to provide this for their children and so our church provides a scholarship program for them. It was amazing to know they would all like to continue to go to school and graduate from high school. Half of them dream of going to higher education. As a parent, it’s impossible not to daydream about what they and the town of Moroceli will become in the future. Investing in others reaps the highest returns.


Moroceli
Mission trips are not vacations and there is much work to be done while overseas. I was lucky to have time to immerse myself in their culture and daily lives. I had plenty of questions and they happily answered them all. I personally thought I was just going to translate but I surprised myself by being able to offer ideas for some of their projects. One of them is gardening, which is not a hobby in their community. It’s a matter of survival as they depend on their crops for their meals. Fr. Carlos gave me lessons on how to grow chayote squash, lemongrass and ginger. The last day of our visit he wanted to give me several root cuttings and some of his baby chicks to take home. I sadly had to turn him down explaining to him I wouldn’t be allowed to take the items out of the country. Keep in mind his rectory is a small 1 room building with another room built on the outside with a couple of 2 x4’s and tarps. This is how he lives with his wife, mother in law and 3 children. Even while living in this extreme poverty he was willing to share some of his precious food supply with me. We all have something to share. Moroceli


When we returned from the trip we arrived right in the middle of Thanksgiving and Black Friday. Every year we get an overload of commercials, flyers, ads, spam, you name it. You just can’t ignore it. I sadly saw in the news how people trampled each other because somehow, objects have become more valuable than human beings. I couldn’t help thinking about the people of El Paraiso and how they manage day by day with so little compared to what we have. They place a high value on their relationships and show it by helping each other. Objects have not clouded their appreciation of other human beings. Having lots of material things does not guarantee happiness, well being or progress.


I can’t stop thinking about my trip and especially the children. I’m counting the days to my next trip to see my new Honduran friends. If you’ve been thinking about going on a mission trip, don’t ask yourself if you should go…ask yourself when.

I took tons of pictures while in Honduras.  You can see them here

I heard on the news last night Polk County has 1,300 homeless children.  So sad.  What are your plans to reach out to others during the Holidays?

Linking to Transformation Thursday and Inspiration Friday.

November 9, 2011

Treasure Hunting

The weather here in Central Florida was perfect last Saturday. I decided to head out to the 39 Mile Scenic Highway Yard Sale. I missed it last year. This year I made sure to make time to go. It runs along scenic highway state road 17 from Haines City to Frostproof.

I started the day early. First stop was St. Ann’s Catholic Church in Haines City. I saw a couple of baskets but decided not to buy them because they looked too big to hang on the walls of my little house. The ladies at the tables were very friendly. Too bad they didn’t have any maps to hand out to customers but they did let me know the “official” stops were all marked with big orange flags.Melonie's Cafe

Empty handed I left and drove all the way to downtown Dundee. I saw 2 unofficial yard sales and a café that looked interesting so I parked. Again I left the tables with my cash intact but decided it was time to get breakfast and lucky me I found a little gem.

Melonies, Main st, Dundee

Melonie’s Café is a quaint restaurant with a family friendly atmosphere. I was promptly seated, given a menu and served fresh hot coffee. The waitress recommended their house stir fry’s and I was not disappointed. I watched as the owner, Melonie cooked my meal at the grill, assured me my dish would be served soon and directed her staff all at the same time like a seasoned orchestra conductor. The meal was made with fresh ingredients and the toasted rye bread was hearty and full of flavor. I noticed the staff knew all the patrons names and by the time I left, Melonie and her staff also knew mine. I will return with DH for sure.

Lake of the Hills Community Center

With a full tummy I headed out to Lake of the Hills Community Clubhouse. I was greeted by a friendly elderly woman who invited me to come back for a dinner event later in the month. She had plenty of maps but when she handed me one, I realized I missed one of the stops. Some of the shoppers mentioned the Dundee Community Center stop was not open, so I didn’t miss out after all. I found a cute Americana chest and some whimsical up cycled birdhouses, but nothing I wanted to bring back home.Americana chest

Whimsical upcycled birdhouses

I continued driving down the highway past Lake Wales. I could see Bok Towers in the distance. At the Lake Wales Care Center Thrift Shop I found 2 books on how to build little houses for a dollar each and yes they ended up coming home with me. Driving thru Babson Park I stopped at the Ridge Audubon Center. Again I was greeted by very friendly staff and was immediately invited to walk their ¼ mile trail. I made a mental note to return to this stop to take pictures, possibly in the Spring. Further down in Babson Park I bought a Depression glass frog that I’ve wanted to have for a while. Across the street the antique store pulled out beautiful furniture on to the sidewalk. Inside they were full of china, kitchen gadgets, paintings, dishes and more furniture.

Last but not least was downtown Frostproof. Part of the center of the town was closed off and several tables were set up with books, leather belts, clothes and jewelry.

Downtown Frosproof

The entire drive took me 3-4 hours including my breakfast stop. In between stops the vistas were very pretty. It’s a shame there were no areas built on the side of the road to park and take photos. I will return another day when there is less traffic to take a couple of shots.

Lake of the Hills

So with the 2 books, the glass frog and the café I called it a winning day!

Yard sale treasures

What new places have you wanted to go to? Do you drive around just for the ride and the views? What places have you discovered by just driving around?

Linking to Transformation Thursday and Inspiration Friday.