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Archive for the ‘About me’ Category

Peach-Oatmeal Cookies Luscious sweet summer peaches won’t be around forever, so try to serve them in as many ways as possible. For me, that means peach cookies! To assuage my guilt for craving cookies, I decided to try this recipe; it contains rolled oats, two types of fruit, less fat, and less sugar than an average cookie recipe. One bite of these cookies and everything will be just “peachy.”

Peach-Oatmeal Cookies
Martha Stewart Living Magazine, July/August 1996

INGREDIENTS
3 large peaches, or 1¼ pounds frozen peaches, thawed and drained
1 T fresh lemon juice
3 T unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup dark-brown sugar, packed
6 T granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 T pure vanilla extract
1½ cups plus 1 T rolled oats
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup sun-dried cherries, chopped

DIRECTIONS
1. Heat oven to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. Pit, peel, and dice two of the peaches. (If using frozen peaches, set aside 3/4 cup). Place diced peaches in a saucepan; add lemon juice. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring, until the peaches are broken down, about 20 minutes. Using a whisk, mash peaches; let cool.

3. Meanwhile, dice the remaining peach or reserved frozen peaches and set aside.

4. With an electric mixer, beat butter and sugars on high until well combined, about 2 minutes. Add egg and vanilla; beat until combined. Beat in mashed peaches. Add diced peaches; stir in by hand.

5. In a bowl, mix oats, flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and cherries. Stir into the peach mixture by hand until well combined.

6. Drop a heaping tablespoonful onto prepared sheet; dampen finger (with water) and gently flatten. Repeat, spacing 2 inches apart.

7. Bake until very golden brown and crisp around the edges, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool cookies on wire racks.

Makes about 3 dozen

LINNELL’S NOTES
1. Most recipes call for 1 tsp of vanilla extract, so make note that the 1 T of vanilla extract specified is not a typo.

2. Because of the peach juice, this is not a thick batter.

3. One recipe yielded 42 medium-sized cookies for me.

4. The introduction to the recipe states,”If you want these cookies crisp, leave them overnight uncovered; for moist cookies, wrap them well once they’ve cooled.”

Enjoy!

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August 14, 2015 Edition Resembling a drunk, my granddaughter Charlotte teeters back and forth on unsteady legs as she walks towards me. Deciding to carry the largest and heaviest toy in the room, she makes frequent balance adjustments as she plows her way through a minefield of toys on the floor. I smile at the scrunched-up-nose grin on her face; that happy grin appears during moments when she is most proud of herself. “Slow down little one,” I say to her, not wanting her to fall, but, in a grander sense, not wanting her to grow up too fast. Although she’s not quite a year old, it’s hard for me to remember what life was like before this precious bundle of joy blessed it.

#1 – Stop Complaining!
How to Complain Less Some days I watch Charlotte for 15 hours straight, but I’m not complaining. I consider myself lucky that I’m physically able to do it and that my son and daughter-in-law trust me enough to care for their child. The act of complaining zaps the joy out of life, so stop complaining or at least do it less frequently. Read What It’s Like To Go Without Complaining For a Month and learn a few tips on how to complain less.

#2 – Coloring Stress Away
25 Free Coloring Pages Back in the “good ol’ days” before the invention of televisions, computers, and cell phones, kids would entertain themselves by coloring in their favorite coloring books. Remember the happy feeling you had after buying a new box of crayons and a new coloring book? Regain that happy and carefree feeling of being lost in art as you color away your day’s stress. Check out The Country Chic Cottage’s list of free coloring pages. Coloring is not just for kids!

#3 – Salads in a Jar
20 Recipes for Salads in a Jar Vacations are over. It’s back to school or back to work we go. And that usually means back to routines. Break the monotony of bag lunches by taking out unappetizing sandwiches and substituting tantalizing salads. Better yet, make the salads ahead of time in a jar and the next morning grab a jar and go. These 20 Mason Jar Salads to Pack for Lunch will give you a few recipe ideas for next week.

#4 – Admiring Glass
#0 Most Amazing Glass Artists Alive Today One would think that glass is a cold and lifeless medium, but not in the hands of these 30 Most Amazing Glass Artists Alive Today. In their hands molten glass solidifies to become expressions of emotions and beauty. Ikuta Niyoko, one of the artists featured in the article, says this of her work, “My motifs are derived from feelings of gentleness and harshness, fear, limitless expansion experienced through contact with nature, images from music, ethnic conflict, the heart affected by joy and anger, and prayer.”

#5 – Be Surprised
“We get a limited number of milestones in life, but we never run out of opportunities to be surprised by joy.”
Connie Schultz

Now go and spread joy!

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Tuesday's Thoughts (8/11/15)
Running into neighbors at a local restaurant last week, I mentioned that my husband and I were celebrating our 38th wedding anniversary. A young couple sitting at the next table overheard the conversation and said, “Congratulations! What’s the secret to being married for so long?” I jokingly wanted to say, “As you grow old together, you become blind and deaf.” Instead, I thought about the question and quickly replied, “Patience and compromise.” After I got home, I gave the matter more thought and concluded that there is no one secret to making a marriage last. It’s a hundred little things. Being married is work, hard work. And having been with my husband for 43 years, I can honestly say, it doesn’t get easier with time. Growing up and growing old together necessitate that you refocus and make adjustments along the way. I can’t speak for all couples, but the following elements and qualities helped us to have a long and happy marriage. Here is some additional advice for that young couple:

1. Patience and Balance
Yesterday, I received a Note from the Universe that read, “Maybe it’s not just about finding the perfect friend, partner, or tribe, but finding the perfection in those you’ve already found.” No one is perfect. Remember that the next time you feel exasperated with your partner. A little patience goes a long way. Together, my husband and I make a good team. Our personality traits compliment one another and we strive to balance our lives together, never letting any outside influence tip the scale.

2. The Four C’s: Communication, Consideration, Compromise, and Commitment
As a fiery Aries, I always keep the lines of communication open, whether my husband likes it or not. My general rule: do not build up emotional “walls” without “doors” to let someone in or without “windows” that allow conversation to flow. Be considerate of your partner’s feelings. Never make assumptions and try to put yourself in your partner’s shoes. Marriage is a partnership, not a corporation. There is always room for compromise. Commitment means more than just being in a relationship. It means you are committed to do whatever it takes to make the marriage work. You strive to work out problems and not retreat or escape from them. It means when the going gets tough, you get tougher and become each other’s stalwart supporter. It means you are committed to the well-being and happiness of your partner.

3. Respect and Trust
My parents, my siblings, and even my children got me by default. My husband is the only person who really chose me for me. I am eternally grateful that he chose me to love and that he respects me. I am mindful to respect his being and his rights as well. Trust must be earned. Once it’s broken, it’s extremely difficult to reestablish. Think twice before jeopardizing the gifts of your partner’s respect and trust.

4. Separate and Together
Yes, my husband is my soulmate, my partner in crime, my travel companion, my best friend, and the light of my life. That being said, do I need to spend every waking moment with him? No. Although we spend a lot of time together, we still need time apart to nourish our individuality. Allowing for individual growth makes us a happier couple.

5. Appreciation and Gratitude
We work hard at not taking each other for granted. Never a day goes by that we don’t express, in some form, our appreciation for one another. Life can change in the blink of an eye, so be grateful for that special person in your life.

6. Love
The giant umbrella of love encompasses much. Love cannot exist without joy and happiness. Sparked by passion and compassion, it grows when nurtured by commitment and patience. It thrives on acts of kindness, consideration, and compromise. Love endures when built on a foundation of trust and respect. To have love in a marriage is to have all these things.

What advice would you give to the young couple?

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August 7, 2015 Edition It had to be “UKE;” it had to be “UKE.”
I wandered around and finally found the somebody who
Could make me be true, could make be blue,
And even be glad, just to be sad, thinking of you . . .

Because two colorful ukuleles arrived the day of my 38th wedding anniversary, I took a little liberty with the lyrics from the song “It Had to Be You.” For my husband and me, the thrill of being married hasn’t worn off, nor has the fun of playing ukuleles. Despite being novice ukulele players, we enjoy the time we spend together strumming and singing, so much that we recently purchased a pair of waterproof soprano-sized ones. Beach, lake, swimming pool, rainforest, or shower – there’s no stopping us now! My kids should be scared.

#1 – Make It and Play It
DIY Musical Instruments Whenever I take my ukulele out of its case, my baby granddaughter becomes very excited. Although, I look forward to making some of these musical instruments with her, I question why kids are the only ones allowed to be silly and wildly creative? Last week some of my friends and I discussed the idea of letting loose and holding adult creative play-days. Check out 42 Splendidly Creative Homemade Musical Instruments and feel your inner child come to the surface.

#2 – Tree Houses
Houses Built Around Trees This series of photographs depicts ways in which buildings were designed around existing trees. How I would love to relax and strum in some of these homes!

#3 – Proverbs
Inspiring African Proverbs Wise proverbs and bold graphics make these 11 Inspiring African Proverbs standout.

#4 – 100 Ways to Get to 100
100 Wonderful Ways to Live to 100 Whether you’re on the younger or older side of life, there is no time like the present to start incorporating some of the 100 Wonderful Ways to Live to 100 into your life. Most likely, you can already check off many of them, but there is always the possibility to do more. By the way, ukulele playing falls under number 86 – “Find the healthy hobbies that make you light up.”

#5 – The Food of Love
“If music be the food of love, play on.”
William Shakespeare

Now go and spread joy!

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July 31, 2015 Edition Shapes, curves, and lines make up our world, but we often don’t notice or acknowledge them. Going through life on autopilot or in a state of distraction causes many of us to miss out on seeing some of the truth of what’s in front of our eyes. For example, this echeveria plant has an interesting ruffled appearance and a nice medium green color. But when using the power of black and white photography, the elements of the plant are stripped down to their essence. The dramatic shapes, curves, and lines of the plant now stand out and beg our eyes to take note. So, the next time you’re out and about, stop and look at something around you. In your mind, imagine what that item would look like if it were in black and white. You may discover that you appreciate it in a different way.

#1 – The Power of Black and White

100+ Awe-Inspiring Black & White Photographs

Berenger

The dramatic power of black and photography can be seen 100 times over in 100+ Awe Inspiring Black & White Photographs. Which photo is your favorite?

#2 – Display Those Photos
Creative Ways to Display Photos Taking photographs is one thing, but displaying them is another. If you store photographs in shoe boxes like me (bad, bad, bad idea!), get them out and and try using one of the creative ideas from Buzzfeed’s 27 Unique Photo Display Ideas That Will Bring Your Memories To Life.

#3 – Architectural Winners
The Coolest Buildings on the Planet, According to Architecture Fans Architects play with lines, shapes, and forms for structural and interesting effects. To see some incredible award-winning architectural designs from around the world check out, The Coolest New Buildings On The Planet, According to Architecture Fans.

#4 – Sweet Black and White
Chocolate Icebox Cakes Not everything in the world of black and white is austere. Take this icebox cake for instance. Layers of chocolate wafers and whipped cream, make for one sweet treat. Click here for the recipe.

#5 – Clothes or Souls?
“When you photograph people in color, you photograph their clothes. But when you photograph people in black and white, you photograph their souls!”
Ted Grant

Now go and spread joy!

 

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July 24, 2015 Edition “Stop right there! Don’t take another step!” I called out to my dad. He stopped suddenly, looked around for signs of potential danger, and then looked at me as if I’d lost my mind. “Why?” he replied impatiently. During a walk to the beach with my family, I noticed words etched into the sidewalk. As I read the words, I saw that my dad was on the verge of stepping on them. The moment was too perfect; I had to interrupt his stride. At his feet, scrawled in the concrete, were the words, “WE LOVE YOU GRAMPA.” Surrounded by his family for the weekend to celebrate his birthday, I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to capture our love for him more “concretely.”

#1 – Ageless Graffiti
Senior Citizens Learn to Graffiti According to Merriam-Webster, “writing or drawing made on a public structure without permission” is graffiti. That means the etchings in the sidewalk could be considered graffiti. Is graffiti always a bad thing? That’s not so, in sections of Portugal. In an attempt to “banish ageist stereotypes through the art of graffiti,” an urban art workshop called Lata 65 brings together senior citizens and well-known street artists. Read the article and take a look at some of the artwork that comes out of this unique creative workshop by clicking here.

#2 – The Power of One
Great Invention: Shoes That Expand Imagine buying shoes for your children that grow with your children’s feet and last for years. Kenton Lee, “a normal guy with an idea,” designed a sandal-like shoe that does exactly that. His invention The Shoe That Grows can grow 5 shoe sizes and last at least 5 years. These leather and compressed rubber shoes protect the feet of children in Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Peru, Columbia, Vietnam, and Laos and prevent the children from having to go barefoot. One person with one idea is helping children around the world.

#3 – The Hubbub About BookBub
BookBub: Free EBooks BookBub is a daily email service that finds free or discounted ebooks for its subscribers. It provides readers with opportunities to sample new authors and discover new books. Since readers can specify genres of books they are interested in, BookBub sends out emails with titles matched to readers’ preferences.

#4 – You Have Today
Interview with Tom Rath Don’t dwell on the events of yesterday and don’t fantasize about tomorrow; today and the present moment need your attention. Susan Cain shares her interview with author, researcher, and speaker Tom Rath on her blog Quiet Revolution. Mr. Rath’s philosophy of life resonates with me. Click on the link above to read the entire interview. Here’s one of my favorite quotes from it:

The broader learning for me, after battling cancer for a couple of decades, is: you have to do something today that will continue to grow after you’re gone. I may have a more constant threat to my mortality than the average person, but in reality the only thing any of us can count on with extreme certainty is that we have today to do what matters most.

#5 – A Bit of Perspective
“My granddaughter came to spend a few weeks with me, and I decided to teach her to sew. After I had gone through a lengthy explanation of how to thread the machine, she stepped back, put her hands on her hips, and said in disbelief, “You mean you can do all that, but you can’t play my Game Boy?”
Author Unknown

Now go and spread joy!

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July 17, 2015 Edition Under silhouettes of tree canopies and a summer sky sprinkled with shooting stars, I swim laps in the dark tranquil water of my pool. My strokes, while unrefined, transport me back and forth, during what I call my hour of peace. House lights, patio lights, and even pool lights are flicked off. Only the stars, the moon, and surrounding ambient light illuminate my way. But for the faint strains of favorite music playing in the background, the quiet rippling of water soothes the tension of busy days. Every night while I float serenely on my back and admire the view above, I thank my lucky stars for having lived another day.

#1 – Stargazing
Star Gazing Calendar Decades ago, when I moved into my current home and when ambient light from auto malls, shopping centers, and the like did not exist, my husband, my children, and I would take advantage of our steep driveway and place sleeping bags on it to stargaze. Our driveway became our amphitheater to the sky. If you enjoy stargazing, don’t miss out on exciting upcoming celestial events. Here are 3 sites that will keep you informed. For a quick preview, click on the photo above to learn about events in July and August:

Astronomy Calendar of Celestial Events
Skywatching in 2015: 9 Must-See Stargazing Events
Weekly Stargazing Tips

#2 – Wet Workouts
Although swimming under the stars is one of my favorite things to do, I also use my swimming pool to get additional exercise. Below are two great videos that show a variety of exercises you can do in a pool.
Calorie-Burning Pool Moves:

Tighten Your Abs in the Pool:

#3 – Playing With Food
Carl Warner's Incredible Foodscapes What if the water in your swimming pool were really blue jello and the trees providing you that lovely little bit of shade were made of parsley and ginger root? Carl Warner, a London-based photographer creates incredible landscapes using food. In his world, loaves of bread create mountains, celery stalks form a verdant forest, and romanesco becomes undersea coral. The ingredients in these detailed “foodscapes” don’t go to waste either. He or his crew take the food home and eat it or they donate it to a homeless shelter.

#4 – Naturally-Flavored Water
10 Natural Flavored Waters Why drink plain water when you can sip refreshing naturally-flavored water? Check out the tantalizing combinations in 10 Natural Flavored Water Recipes.

#5 – Lose to Find
Swimming Inspiration

Now go and spread joy!

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