Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body,
but rather to skid in broadside, totally worn out & proclaiming “Wow, What a Ride!”

Thursday, October 31, 2013

thursday's garden ~ ouch ! beauty with a punch

a friend who recently moved to Tennessee sent me this photo, of a  type of “bug” in his garden. He wanted to know if I had any idea what it was; apparently he found several while harvesting some kale and picked it up- “BAD IDEA” he nearly screeched in his email. Apparently their spines are painfully poisonous. what is it? here is what I found.

The saddleback caterpillar (Acharia stimulea, formerly Sibine stimulea) looks like a colorful cross between a Chinese parade dragon and a Scottish terrier. It's the larva of the saddleback caterpillar moth. Although it may look cute enough to pet, watch out — its spikes, called "urticating hairs," are full of venom and deliver a painful sting.

Among all of the insects gardeners come across, the saddleback caterpillar with its horned head and fuzzy body is one of the strangest. While this insect might look cute as far as bug larvae go, it is far from helpless. If accidentally touched, it gives a venomous sting that can cause a severe reaction depending on the individual. Therefore, gardeners who live in the region where these insects occur need to take proper steps to prevent contact. 

Where Do Saddleback Caterpillars Live?
This insect has a wide range along the eastern half of the United States due to hardy nature of the adults. Specimens have been found as far north as New York and as far south as Florida. Even the eastern half of Texas is included in the range. However, this species is mainly found in the southeastern United States, particularly in Alabama, Georgia, and "you guessed it" Tennessee. The larvae tend to emerge from the middle of summer until early fall. 

"Ok Joshua, wear gloves when in your garden....
and don't pick it up with a "wow, how cool is the little guy curiosity."

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

meals ideas ~ breakfast anyone?

The Quick and Easy Omelet
Fresh herbs, spinach, and a simple red pepper relish elevate the look, taste, and nutrients of a plain omelet. Like most egg dishes, the protein level is high, 16 grams per serving, and the carb count is low at 7 grams.

 Nonstick cooking spray
 2 cups refrigerated egg product, thawed, or 8 eggs
 2 tablespoons snipped chives or Italian parsley
 1/8 teaspoon salt
 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
 1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese
 2 cups fresh baby spinach leaves 
 1 recipe Red Pepper Relish 

 Coat an 10-inch nonstick skillet with flared sides with cooking spray. Heat skillet over medium heat.

 In a large bowl combine the eggs, chives, salt, and cayenne pepper. Use rotary beater or wire whisk to beat until frothy. Pour into prepared skillet. Immediately begin stirring the eggs gently but continuously with a wooden or plastic spatula until mixture resembles small pieces of cooked egg surrounded by liquid egg. Stop stirring. Cook for 30 to 60 seconds more or until egg is set but shiny.

 When egg is set but still shiny, sprinkle with cheese. Top with 1 cup of the spinach and 1/4 cup of the Red Pepper Relish. With a spatula, lift and fold one side of omelet partially over filling. Arrange remaining spinach on warm platter. Transfer omelet to platter. Top with remaining relish. Makes 4 servings.

Red Pepper Relish
In a small bowl combine pepper, green onion, vinegar, and black pepper. 
2/3 cup chopped red sweet pepper
2 tablespoons finely chopped green onion or onion
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Quick Breakfast Pizza   ~ yep! you heard right.
With 23 grams of carb per serving, this breakfast entree is a little over our 20-gram carb target, but its high protein and fiber content make it a healthy and hearty breakfast pick. The thin sandwich rolls in the supermarket are the perfect base for these quick homemade pizzas.
Makes: 1 serving: 2 halves,Carbs: 23
Nonstick cooking spray
 4 slices turkey pepperoni, quartered
 2 tablespoons diced green sweet pepper
 2 tablespoons presliced mushrooms
 2 egg whites
 1 tablespoon milk
 1 deli flat 7-grain thin roll, split
 2 teaspoons pizza sauce
 1 slice mozzarella cheese, cut diagonally into quarters
 4 slices Roma tomato (optional)

 Coat a small nonstick saucepan with cooking spray; heat over medium heat. Sprinkle pepperoni, sweet pepper, and mushrooms into saucepan; cook for 2 minutes.

 In a small bowl, whisk together egg whites and milk; pour over pepperoni mixture in saucepan. Cook until egg white mixture begins to set. Using a spatula, fold the partially cooked egg white mixture over; cook about 2 minutes more or until it is cooked through.

 Meanwhile, toast the deli flat halves. Place cut sides down. While still warm, spread each half with 1 teaspoon of the pizza sauce; place two of the cheese quarters on each half.

 Spoon half of the egg mixture over each of the prepared deli flat halves. If desired, top with tomato. 

just in case you haven't heard of these little gems... this is a Sandwich Thin. just like a bun...but thinner and healthier ~ :)

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

healthy living ~ Flu information update

Anyone who knows me or has been a part of this blog over the years knows my feelings and opinions on the Flu and vaccinations. After my post a couple of weeks ago a friend said I really should lay all the information on the line, not just my opinions~ he’s right... so here it is. This information is compiled from the CDC and the Chief Physician overseeing the Flu Clinics at Kaiser Health Foundation. Here are some updates for the upcoming flu season.

The flu vaccine for the 2013-14 year is now widely available. And there are more vaccine choices than ever. It can be overwhelming.

How bad will the flu be this year? 
The severity of the virus varies from year to year. Just how sick people will get and how widespread the infected populations will be this year are unknown at this time. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) will be tracking the effects of the virus as it starts to infect communities.

What is influenza?
Cause. A respiratory virus that infects the nose, throat, and lungs and causes the flu.
Symptoms. Common symptoms are fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, and fatigue. In children, vomiting and diarrhea are also common.
Spread. It is extremely contagious.
Complications. Besides being a miserable illness that can leave you tired for weeks, complications such as pneumonia, ear infections, and hospitalizations are common.
Children less than 2 years of age have the highest risk of complications and hospitalizations.

How do you prevent getting the flu?
By getting the vaccine. Influenza vaccination is the best way to prevent getting sick from the flu. (Hibernating in the house through flu season is not an option for most of us.)
What about the influenza vaccination?

You need to get vaccinated every year. The flu virus itself is constantly and spontaneously changing; this means that each year scientists must reformulate the vaccine so it can protect us against the latest variation of the virus.

The vaccine is probably never 100 percent effective. But, even in years when the vaccine is not a good match with the circulating viruses, getting vaccinated generally offers some protection, and those individuals who do get the flu vaccine will have a less severe bout of the flu.
September and October are the busiest months for the flu vaccine. The flu season frequently occurs from October through as late as May, with January and February usually being the peak months for infection.

The vaccine (all versions of it) can be given all through flu season—just be aware that the immune system needs about 2 weeks to generate a protective defense against the virus.

                                                        New for 2013
Better protection. A vaccine has been developed that contains versions of the four influenza viruses that scientists have identified as the ones most likely to be circulating during this year’s flu season. This quadruple-barreled vaccine, however, may not be available everywhere because it came out relatively late in this year’s vaccine production and ordering. (Previous years’ vaccines contained three versions of the virus.)

More options for those with egg allergy. There is a “recombinant” vaccine available for egg-allergic individuals. However, it is currently approved only for 18- to 49-year-olds. (Keep in mind, though, that almost all children with an egg allergy can get the regular injected influenza vaccination safely. Talk to your child's pediatrician.)
Less pain. There is an “intradermal” version of the shot available. (The “classic” shot is injected into a muscle.) This intradermal version uses a far smaller needle—it feels like you’re just getting a tuberculosis skin test—so you have less pain during the injection and no sore arm the following day. Currently, however, this improved injection is only approved for 18- to 64-years-old.

Updated intranasal vaccine, too. FluMist is squirted into the nose. It too is available with the four versions of viruses that are being used this year, and is approved for use in otherwise healthy 2- to 49-year-olds.

Who should get vaccinated? 
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that any child 6 months or older get the vaccine.
  • High-risk children—those with chronic medical disorders that include such things as asthma, diabetes, heart disease, immune conditions, or neurologic maladies. 
  • All household members and caregivers of high-risk children, as well as of infants less than 6 months of age. 
  • Pregnant women are at increased risk of complications if they get sick with influenza. Vaccination is the best prevention. 
  • High-risk children and pregnant women are advised to get the standard influenza shot of vaccine, which contains a killed version of the viruses. (The intranasal version contains live weakened virus; so, theoretically, someone with a weakened immune system could get the flu from that particular vaccine.) 
  • Health care professionals~ quite a few of whom still stubbornly refuse (I raise my hand) to get the vaccine, believe it or not. 
  (click any image to enlarge for better viewing)

Monday, October 28, 2013


Recently I have acquired a “habit” that I thought wasn’t in my nature...procrastination. Oh yeah, I was one of those “get it done!” gals. But lately my getting it done is spending time on making  my famous “to do lists” and then making more “to do lists” listing the order I need to do my “to-do lists” in. Poop, there went my system for making sure my "to-dos" get done. Pretty soon I'll be making lists for my list of my list..... seeing the future issue... I decided to change strategies.

Then, I spent an entire day making two boxes which I labeled Small Projects and Big Projects, and... proceeded to write down all my “to-dos” on little pieces of paper with the understanding that a couple of days a week I would reach into the “Small P” box and pull out a random to-do-task-note that was “to be completed” that day, and once a week pull out a note from the “Big P” box for something that would take a day or two to complete. Whew...after all that work I was too tired to do anything else...!
oh s*^t ! I need to nip this problem in the bud and now!

While procrastination might not be something you can avoid entirely, becoming cognizant of the reasons why you procrastinate and how to overcome those tendencies can help.

If you’ve found yourself putting off important tasks over and over again, you’re not alone. In fact, many people procrastinate to some degree – but some are so chronically affected by procrastination that it stops them fulfilling their potential.

The key to controlling this destructive habit is to recognize when you start procrastinating, understand why it happens (even to the best of us), and take active steps to manage your time and outcomes better.

What is Procrastination?
In a nutshell, you procrastinate when you put off things that you should be focusing on right now, usually in favor of doing something that is more enjoyable, that you’re more comfortable doing, or... like me ... I am guiltless, I JUST DON'T do it and say that’s okay...NOT. 

According to psychologist Professor Clarry Lay, a prominent writer on procrastination; procrastination occurs when there’s “a temporal gap between intended behavior and enacted behavior.” That is, procrastination is occurring when there’s a significant time period between when people intend to do a job, and when they actually do it.

How to Overcome Procrastination 
Recognize That You're Procrastinating
If you're honest with yourself, you probably know when you're procrastinating.

Here are some things I do that are indicators signaling when I am procrastinating: 
  • Sitting down to start a high-priority task, and almost immediately going off to make a cup of coffee, water a plant, stand in the room wondering what you should do at the moment....
  • Leaving an item on the To Do list for a long time, even though you know it's important.
  • Filling the day with low priority tasks from my “To Do List.” Like, thinking about making a new to-do list of things for that day.
  • Saying "Yes" to unimportant tasks that others ask you to do, filling your time with these instead of getting on with the important tasks on your list.
  • Reading e-mails several times deciding what to do with them.
  • Waiting for the “right mood” or the “right time” to tackle the important task at hand. 
  • Being very busy doing things I don't need to do in order to not do anything that I am actually suppose to be doing. (this one is my favorite thing to do)
If you have a genuine “good reason” for rescheduling something important, then you’re not necessarily procrastinating. But if you’re simply “making an excuse” because you really just don’t want to do it, then you are.  (an excuse is given in order to lessen liability or remove liability altogether~ looking for approval for an action . a reason is an explanation given to an event or series of events ~ no approval needed, it just “is”.)

Why you procrastinate can depend on both you and the task. But it's important to understand which of the two is relevant in a given situation, so that you can select the best approach for overcoming your reluctance to get going.

One reason for procrastination is that people find a particular job unpleasant, and try to avoid it because of that. Most jobs have unpleasant or boring aspects to them, and often the best way of dealing with these is to get them over and done with quickly, so that you can focus on the more enjoyable aspects of the job.

Another cause is that people are disorganized. Organized people are also better placed to avoid procrastination, because they know how to break the work down into manageable “next steps”.
Even if you’re organized, you can feel overwhelmed by the task. You may doubt that you have the skills or resources you think you need, so you seek comfort in doing tasks you know you're capable of completing. Unfortunately, the big task isn't going to go away – truly important tasks rarely do.

Surprisingly, perfectionists are often procrastinators, as they can tend to think "I don't have the right skills or resources to do this perfectly now, so I won't do it at all."

Adopt Anti-Procrastination Strategies
Procrastination is a habit – a deeply ingrained pattern of behavior. That means that you won’t just break it overnight. Habits only stop being habits when you have persistently stopped practicing them, so use as many approaches as possible to maximize your chances of beating procrastination.
  • Make up your own rewards if you've completed a certain task.
  • Ask someone else to check up on you. Peer pressure works!
  • Identify the unpleasant consequences of NOT doing the task.
  • If you're procrastinating because you're disorganized, get organized!
  • Keep a To-Do list so that you can’t “conveniently” forget about unpleasant or overwhelming tasks.
  • Use an Urgent/Important Matrix to help prioritize your to-do list so that you can’t try to kid yourself that it would be acceptable to put off doing something on the grounds that it’s unimportant.
  • Become a master of scheduling and project planning.
  • Set yourself time-bound goals!
  • Focus on one task at a time. 

Remember: the longer you can spend without procrastinating, the greater your chances of breaking this destructive habit for good!

When it comes to glamorous procrastinators, Scarlett O’Hara is one of our most enduring icons. The infamous Gone With the Wind lines:
 “I can’t think about that right now. If I do, I’ll go crazy.” 
 “I’ll think about it tomorrow, when I can stand it.” 

And, of course, her famous closing line: 
“After all… tomorrow is another day!”

Friday, October 25, 2013

Thursday, October 24, 2013

thursday's garden ~ bee wow'd

What happens when you ignore lots and lots of bees in your garden...i’m talking a lot more than one would expect...thinking it was a good are helping “To Save The Bees”? then suddenly realize that they are taking all that pollen back to a specific a patio column at your front door? 
what happens?
oh, about 73 pounds of honey, comb, and bees fill up that column...
and it happened here..

   sadly we waited too long for someone to come in and simply remove the bees to another location.  they had to be killed before the “bee guy” could clean out all the comb, honey, and bees; if it wasn’t removed and the area sanitized before repairing the column we would then get rats and other critters we don’t want in our home.
moral of this story: if you find a ball of bees entertaining in your garden, be happy but bee wise and act fast... and, in fact, you can safely get them a new home :)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

meal ideas ~ simple lunch/supper bowls

Both of these recipes can be a simple lunch on a wintry afternoon, or a light supper after a busy day. and... both of these dishes are great for cholesterol me. :)

Red Bean Stew
A quartet of seasonings-garlic, cilantro, oregano, and adobo seasoning-adds a zesty kick to this low-cholesterol meal in a bowl.  Makes: 4 Servings: 1/2cup stew and 1/2 cup cooked rice Carbs: 44

 1 teaspoon cooking oil
 2/3 cup chopped red onion
 3 cloves garlic, minced
 1 cup water
 2 tablespoons tomato paste
 1 tablespoon snipped fresh cilantro
 1 teaspoon snipped fresh oregano or 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
 1/2 teaspoon adobo seasoning
 1 15 - oz can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
 2 cups hot cooked brown rice
 Fresh cilantro sprigs (optional)

 In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add red onion and garlic; cook about 5 minutes or until onion is tender. Carefully add the water, tomato paste, the snipped cilantro, the oregano, and adobo seasoning. Stir in beans. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cook and stir over medium heat for 5 to 10 minutes or until soup is slightly thickened, mashing beans slightly while stirring.
 Serve stew with rice. If desired, garnish with cilantro sprigs. Add a spinach, cucumber, and tomato salad.

Nutty Orzo and Vegetables
Need a no-brainer quick wintery lunch? It's easy to liven up left-over spaghetti sauce. Here, fresh thyme, garbanzo beans, stewed tomatoes, and cashews add gusto to pre-made sauce.  Makes: 2 servings Carbs: 67

 1 cup loose-pack mixed vegetables
 1/4 cup dried orzo pasta (rosamarina)
 1/2 15 - oz can (3/4 cup) garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
 1/2 14 1/2 - oz can (3/4 cup) low-sodium diced tomatoes, undrained
 2/3 cup spaghetti sauce of your choice
 1 1/2 teaspoons snipped fresh thyme
 2 tablespoons chopped cashews or slivered almonds, toasted
 2 tablespoons shredded reduced-fat mozzarella

 In a large saucepan cook the frozen vegetables and pasta according to pasta package directions, except omit any oil or salt. Drain. Return pasta mixture to saucepan.
 Stir in garbanzo beans, undrained tomatoes, spaghetti sauce, and thyme. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 5 minutes.
 Before serving, stir in cashews. Sprinkle each serving with mozzarella cheese

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

healthy living ~ homemade facial serum-it's simple

Homemade Face Serum
When out in Colorado it becomes apparent to me that I need to adjust my skin care regime for a climate that it very dry. With that knowledge, I have been looking into the use of facial serums, but when I checked what is out the in the market I found the products had ingredients that were worse for my skin than the weather. So, of course I looked into making my own natural facial serum and found it easier then you think and with a few simple ingredients. AND you can skip those harsh chemicals found in store bought products and the cost is much lower.

Why use Face Serums as opposed to Face Creams.
Both have their benefits. But the main reason why women avoid using oil on the face is the misconception that oil creates more oil. And the fact that for years skin care companies have told us we need to remove oil from our faces. But oils protect our skin. Granted you don't want to take your vegetable cooking oil and slather it on your face. Below I’ll discuss which carrier or base oils to use. Which essential oils can benefit the skin; and how to make your own face serum at home with those simple instructions.

Applying it the right way
For best results, incorporate the serum in your daily beauty routine. Use only a dime size or less of the product. After cleansing your face, use an alcohol-free toner and leave it damp on the skin before applying your serum. This way, the ingredients will penetrate deep within the skin. Wait for a few minutes until the serum is fully absorbed by the skin before applying a moisturizer.  Keep your moisturizer in the refrigerator as when it is applied cold, it pushes blood away from the skin and in the process, creates a vacuum effect to pulls the potent serum ingredients deeper within the skin.

How to make homemade natural face serum
It's as simple as this.... First choose the correct carrier oil; know which is best for your skin type. You can mix 1 or 2 or even 3 of them together. Next choose the essential oils you'll want to add to your face serum based upon what your skin needs. You can use just 1 or use up to 5. And that's it!

What you'll need:
4 tablespoons your choice carrier oil or oils
30 drops your choice essential oil or oils. You can use up to 45 drops for a more intensive treatment.
A dark colored, glass dropper bottle. Can be found at any craft store

to make your homemade natural facial serum:
  Place half your carrier oil in the bottle
    Next, add the essential oils.
  Then add the rest of your carrier oil
    Shake or roll the bottle for 2 minutes.

Some people let their serum sit for 24 hours for the oils to mix. This is optional.
Store your bottle in a cool dark place. Depending on if you used any oils that have high anti-oxidant levels, which keep the shelf life longer, oils can generally be stored for up to 6 months. If the serum begins to smell bad, it's gone rancid and needs to be discarded.

Suggested Carrier and Essential oils for your skin type:

Normal Skin
Carrier oil: Almond , Hazelnut, Apricot kernel, Jojoba, Borage Seed, Evening Primrose, Carrot
Essential oils:  Chamomile German, Lemon, Geranium, Fennel, Lavender, Jasmine, Rose, Bois de rose, Neroli, Frankincense, Palma Rosa, Benzoin

Dry Skin
Carrier oil: Almond, Olive oil, Apricot kernel, Soy bean, Avocado, Wheatgerm, Jojoba, Borage Seed, Evening Primrose, Carrot
Essential oils:  Chamomile German, Benzoin, Lavender, Calendula, Sandalwood, Geranium, Patchouli, Palma Rosa, Rose, Rosemary, Bois de rose, Neroli, Hyssop

Oily Skin
Carrier oil:  Almond, Hazelnut, Apricot kernel, Grapeseed
Essential oils:  Roman & German chamos, Cedarwood, (atlas, red, Texas) geranium, Clary, lavender, Ylang-ylang, lemon, peppermint, Niaouli, Cajeput, cypress, calendula infusion, frankincense, patchouli, sandalwood, juniper, Melissa, yarrow, coriander, Petitgrain, grapefruit, Lavender, spike lavender, rose.

Mature Skin, Anti-Aging
Carrier oil:  Almond, Hazelnut, Apricot kernel
Essential oils: Carrot seed, elemi, Citrus, frankincense, galbanum, fennel, geranium, myrrh, patchouli, rose, Clary, rosewood, sages, cypress, fennel, lavender, neroli, Sea Buckthorn Berry Extract, Rose Hip Extract. Grapefruit, Sandalwood

Additional skin Types- Essential Oils
Essential Oils For Acne: Tea tree, Manuka, Helichrysum, lavender, spike lavender, rose geranium, tea tree, Petitgrain, grapefruit, sandalwood, Vetiver, German chamomile, atlas Cedarwood, rosewood, Palma Rosa, thyme, Cajeput, Niaouli, peppermint, lemongrass
Essential Oils For Combination skin: Australian niaouli (melaleuca quinquenervia C), calendula, chamomile, carrot seed, geranium, lavender, palmarosa, rose, rosemary
Essential Oils For Sensitive Skin: Roman & German chamomile, rose, Palma Rosa, lavender neroli, rosewood, carrot, angelica, jasmine, Neroli, Chamomile
Essential Oils For Psoriasis: Bergamot, Helichrysum, Cajeput, carrot seed, German or roman chamomile, Lavender, Juniper, Sandalwood, Tea tree

links to Mountain Rose Herbs, best source and information regarding Essential and CarrierOils.

Monday, October 21, 2013

tears~ come from the soul

Last week a couple of my friends shared in the memory of Jesse’s voyage; the last a gift from a wonderful friend in the UK. As I was showing others the beautiful bracelet I felt tears filling my eyes. Someone said, “Why would you wear it if it made you unhappy?” My answer: “These tears are of joy from the kindness and love that someone I have never met in person, but have a bond with, would do such a wonderful thing. These are happy tears.” She replied, “Well, I’m a rock, you’d get no tears from this girl, happy or sad.” I smiled and thought, “Now, that is sad.”

How wonderful it feels to give in and let tears flow when we are overwhelmed with emotions, whether we are happy or sad. Tears come from the soul, from our well of feelings rising from deep down. When we give in to the prickling behind our eyes and the lump in our throat to let teardrops fall from our eyes, we allow our feelings to surface so they can be set free.

Proud parents shed tears of pride in a child's accomplishments, a baby's first step, birthdays, and graduations. Long lost friends fall into each other's arms, tears rolling down their cheeks when they reunite after years of separation. Tears may flow from us when we are witness to a commitment being made at a wedding or even while we are watching a love story. Tears of relief may spring forth from our eyes when we hear that a loved one has survived an ordeal, and tears may fall when we bow our head in sorrow over a loss or death. Tears born from heartache can flow like they'll never cease, whether our tears are for a love that is over, a friendship lost, or an opportunity missed. We shed tears because of disappointment in ourselves, tragedy in the world, pain, and illness. Tears of anger can burn with emotion as they fall down our faces. 

Tears offer us a physical release of our feelings.

Shedding tears can sometimes make us feel better, although it can feel like the tears will never end once the floodgates are open. There is no shame in letting tears flow freely and frequently. Tears are as natural to us as is breathing. There is beauty in allowing yourself to be vulnerable enough to shed tears. 

Open up, release your tears, and let your feelings flow.

Friday, October 18, 2013

fun friday ~ snow plunger

last weekend i went through some of our photos of our friends/companions of the past and found these adorable photos of Kodiak of Cripple Creek. he was about 12 weeks old in these and absolutely loved plunging his face into the deep snow...getting a rush no doubt. we loved the way the snow would form little balls on his fur, which never seemed to get wet.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

thursday's garden ~ mushroom madness

just a few of my favorite colorado mushrooms- can you find the fairies?


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

~from across the seas~

a beautiful gift from my wonderful friends across the seas at BERNTOAK
Liz, aka: mummy & the Ogre,    
Fizz- Jesse's welsh princess, 
and Deshka, the Goblin ~but really a spanish princess.

they had this made by a woman in Washington who works to eliminate canine cancer,
 such as the kind that took our wonderful Jesse from us. 
I love the "berner" colors and will wear this with loving memories!
thank you !!!

meals ideas~ colorful slovic and indian inspiration

oh no.... Mr. Bill, not more crock pot dishes~ yep! looking for something that has fall colors and flavors? it's here....we love both sauerkraut and curry, and these colorful fall dishes satisfy those flavor cravings. 

Kraut, Pork, and Potatoes
The delicious pairing of pork and potatoes makes this easy slow cooker meal a go-to comfort food recipe. It is chock-full of protein and can be thrown together in 15 minutes.
1 1/2 pounds tiny red new potatoes, quartered
1 14 3/4 - ounce can sauerkraut
1 teaspoon caraway seeds (more if you love this spice)
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
2 pounds boneless pork shoulder
2 tablespoons stone ground mustard
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup beer
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

 In a 3-1/2- to 4-quart slow cooker, place potatoes, sauerkraut, and brown sugar

 Cut pork shoulder in 1 1/2-inch pieces, trimming away and discarding any excess fat. In a medium bowl combine pork, mustard, and pepper; toss to coat. Place pork in the cooker. 

Pour beer over the mixture. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 6 hours or on high-heat setting for 3 hours. Skim fat from cooking juices. Serve in shallow bowls with juices and garnished with parsley.

Curried Chicken, Barley, and Vegetables
For an Indian-inspired meal that won’t derail your diabetes meal plan, make curried chicken and vegetables ahead of time in the slow cooker. Top the finished product with peanuts, raisins, and green onions.  Makes: 8 servings Carbs Per Serving: 34
Serving Size: 1 chicken thigh plus 3/4 cup barley mixture

 2 cups packaged peeled fresh baby carrots
 1 cup regular pearled barley
 1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
 3 cups coarsely shredded cabbage
 8 bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed
 2 tablespoons orange marmalade
 5 teaspoons curry powder
 1/2 teaspoon salt
 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
 3 1/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
 1/2 cup unsalted peanuts, coarsely chopped
 1/4 cup raisins
 1/4 cup sliced green onions

 In a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker combine carrots, barley, and garlic. Top with cabbage and chicken thighs.

 In a small bowl, whisk together orange marmalade, curry powder, salt, and pepper. Spread over chicken. Pour broth over mixture in slow cooker. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 8 hours or on high-heat setting for 4 hours.

Garnish each serving with peanuts, raisins, and green onions.