Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Patio Picnic

I love the word picnic. It has such a carefree, relaxed, happy connotation. I associate picnics with the "Walton's Moments" that I spoke about in a recent post. ;0) However, I'm a bit fussy. I don't prefer to sit on the ground, or spread out food on the ground. The only ants that I like are "artificial ones". So my solution is to have picnics, but have them on a picnic table, a deck, or from the tailgate of a vehicle! The picnic I am inviting you to today, is going to be held on our back patio. So please come over and have a seat. It won't be on the ground, but on a chair with a nice soft cushion.


I never tire of red and white. (Maybe it's the Canadian blood.) I can't have a picnic without a fabric tablecloth of some sort...and my favorite is this large checkered pattern. I also lined the picnic basket with a smaller checker print with black ants all over it! Well over ten years ago, I bought that as a metre of fabric , and just finished the edges.


Hubby installed an old pot rack above the table. It is perfect for hanging different candle holders, mason jars, etc from it. I found these cute red bottle tea light holders at my favorite store...can you guess where? Fred and Ginger are always invited to my picnics. See them there by the red candle holder? They love to "dance" all over my table cloth!


I placed my dollar store place mats on top of the table cloth. The white plates were a thrift shop score! The yellow plate is a cheap melamine plate from a grocery store end of season clearance and the red plate...


Just keepin it real folks!!! The red plate belongs to my set of Majolica Christmas dishes!!! ;0)





I combined two napkins for a bit more interest. As a nod to our little black visitors, I decided to use a black ribbon instead of a napkin ring, and black cutlery.


Food covers to protect the food from bugs. "Fred & Ginger" are the only ones allowed on the table!


Fred & Ginger


If you would like to make some sweet ants of your own, just go visit Craftify It. There is a great tutorial to make this little guy out of jingle bells!!!

*All photographs taken by Nicole Payzant Photography

Please come back on Sunday for "Take 5 with Kathy".

Take Six is on Facebook.


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Sunday, August 28, 2011

Take 5 with Kathy - "Sea glass..."

I’m finally feeling rested following my son’s wedding two weeks ago! It was an absolutely gorgeous sunny day, my son looked so handsome in his tuxedo, my daughter-in-law was radiant and sweet in her lovely dress, the ceremony was a powerful testimony to God’s love and faithfulness, and everyone enjoyed the warmhearted fellowship and fun.

The next day, however, my body rebelled and my brain turned to “mush”. What better way to relax than at my parents’ cottage along the seashore?! I could hardly wait to pursue one of my favorite pastimes – collecting sea glass while taking long walks on the beach. After several years I’ve learned much about this treasure. Where does the glass come from? Why are certain colors so rare? How old must the pieces be? Of particular fascination too are the sparse fragments of pottery.

I’ve learned that the most precious and sought-after pieces are defined not only by their color but by the degree of smooth edging and surface etching. Many people think it is simply the rubbing of the glass along the rough seabed that gives it this well-worn texture, but wave action, water temperature, and chemical changes also play significant roles. It can take many decades, or even centuries, to smooth the sharp edges and cause a shard to become a prized and valuable possession to serious collectors.

That really got me thinking…often we look at ourselves or others and see the brokenness, jagged edges, flaws, inabilities, anger, bitterness, and all those other things that make us feel or appear useless. How could one so full of imperfections ever be valuable and useful to God?

For hundreds of years three basic ingredients have been used in making glass - sand, soda, and lime (although other additives may be introduced). Eventually, sea glass will break down and become sand once again creating a useful habitat for sea creatures and providing for our enjoyment. It must go through that long process, though, of having all its rough edges worn smooth. This never happens in calm waters.

God created the first man out of the dust of the earth. He creates each person with a free will to choose the direction of his life. When that person surrenders her life to her Creator, trusting it to His care, God will use every circumstance she faces to smooth off the rough edges, etch His character on her own, and shape her into a precious and rare individual who is both useful and significant.

We may find ourselves being roughly scraped along the sands of life, crushed against the rocks that bruise and scar us, tossed to and fro by currents that threaten to drown us in despair, or embedded in hidden places for extended periods of time, but that is exactly what God uses to refine us.

Are you feeling overwhelmed on the seashores of life? I have…many times. It is then I remind myself of this hope, “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” (II Corinthians 4:17)

Sea glass…often overlooked or discarded with disinterest…but what an invaluable truth it holds!

Until next Sunday,

Seasonal Sunday

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Friday, August 26, 2011

Chokecherry Jelly

While I walked around the field that surrounds our trailer this summer, I watched the choke cherries turn from this pretty shade of green, to. . .

the most beautiful shade of cherry red.

I can see that the birds beat me to a few on this stem. When we arrived this past weekend, I figured we better get what we could before we lost them all to the local wildlife! So my daughter and I each grabbed a container and filled them with beautiful ripe choke cherries. We picked 6 or 7 cups. There are all kinds of recipes for choke cherry jelly on the internet. However, I just opened the box of Certo and followed the very simple instructions there.

I put the fruit in a pot and just covered it with water. I brought it to a boil and cooked the berries until they started to all split open. I strained off all the beautiful pink liquid and then poured the cooked fruit into my jelly bag.

I squeezed as much of the liquid out as I could. It was still quite hot. Isn't the color of the juice gorgeous!

For every 3C of juice you add 6.5 C of sugar. Bring it to a boil and boil for 1 minute. Stir it so all the sugar dissolves. After boiling for 1 minute, remove it from the heat and add the 2 envelopes of Certo liquid. (2 came in one box)

I prepared my jelly jars, in the usual way, while the fruit was cooking. So they were ready for me to pour the liquid into them. From 3C of juice (one batch), I got 7 jelly jars. Choke cherries make the prettiest jelly.

Certo Tip: If you are making jelly, and notice that the box of Certo you are going to used has passed it's expiration date, you really should not use it (even if it is 10:00 at night). It will tell you on the box that the jelly won't "jell" properly if the Certo has expired...they weren't lying...they are definitely the professionals when it comes to jelly making!! I. Am. Not.

But we will eat it anyway...

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Sunday, August 21, 2011

Take 5 with Kathy - "Looking Ahead..."

Yesterday as I shopped for last-minute wedding items, I was struck by the aisles of school supplies. “It can’t be that soon!” I thought. I even saw a sign about Halloween – horrors! Our pastor commented he’d seen Christmas decorations - all of this by mid-August! If you’re like me, you live in an area where we haven’t had much summer this year, so it seems inconceivable that these events are coming soon.

For me, this week has been all about looking ahead to my son’s wedding August 13 (I’m writing a couple weeks ahead of this posting). By the time you read this, I plan to be relaxing at my parents’ cottage, overlooking the ocean, collecting seashells on the beach, and taking a well-deserved rest. I’m really looking forward to that! But, for now I’ve been finishing table favors, sewing on buttons and shoulder pads, wrapping gifts, folding wedding bulletins, getting our home ready for company, helping my son pack and move, and making sure his shoes are shined for tonight’s rehearsal dinner.

I’m looking forward to a wonderful time of watching my son marry his beautiful bride, sharing in their happiness, re-connecting with relatives and friends, meeting people who will now become a significant part of this young couple’s lives, and seeing them begin their new life together. I’m also anticipating the lovely weather predicted for the weekend – three days in a row would be a rarity and true blessing.

As wonderful as all these things should be, there is something else I am looking forward to with certainty. It’s the day when I meet my Saviour, Jesus Christ, face to face and spend eternity with Him in the beautiful Heaven He is creating for all those who believe in Him. The apostle Peter spoke about it in 1 Peter 3:13, “But in keeping with His promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.” I also look forward to the promise of Revelation 21:4, “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” As the song says,

“It will be worth it all, when we see Jesus!

Life’s trials will seem so small when we see Christ.

One glimpse of His dear face, all sorrows will erase.

So, bravely run the race till we see Christ.”

It’s the same faith Moses possessed as He looked forward to the promises God had given to him. And what a faith he had! Because of it, he was included in the Hebrews 11 “Hall of Faith”. He looked forward to his reward mentioned in verse 26. Once he was assured of God’ presence, power, and protection, he led the Israelites “out of Egypt and did wonders and miraculous signs in Egypt, at the Red Sea and for forty years in the desert.” (Acts 7:36) What an inspiration he has been to me in my journey!

What are you looking forward to these days?


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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Quinoa Quiche

Although I had seen the name before, I was first introduced to Quinoa last Christmas when we had friends over. My friend, Gina, brought a Greek Quinoa Salad. I've been sold ever since. For quite sometime, I made that salad almost weekly! Then I picked up the cookbook, "Quinoa - The Everyday Superfood" at Costco. It includes over 170 recipes. Today I'm sharing the "Tomato & Basil Crustless Quiche" recipe.

Tomato & Basil Crustless Quiche

2/3 C water
1/3 C quinoa (I used white quinoa,
but it is available in red and black as well)
1 tsp veg or olive oil
1 C diced red onion
1/4 C quinoa flour or all purpose flour
4 large eggs
2 tbsp minced fresh basil OR
2 tsp dried
1 1/2 C seeded and
diced Roma tomatoes (about 3)
1/4 C milk or half and half cream
1 C shredded mozzarella cheese
1/3 C freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp salt
pinch ground black pepper

Bring the water and quinoa to a boil in a small saucepan.
Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 10 minutes.
Turn the heat off and leave the covered saucepan on the burner for an additional 5 minutes. Remove the lid and fluff with a fork. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Lightly grease a 9" round baking dish or spray with cooking oil.
Heat the oil in a large skillet on med-low heat.
Saute the onion until tender and opaque, about 10 minutes
Whisk together the flour and eggs.
Add the quinoa, basil, tomatoes, milk, mozzarella and Parmesan cheese,
salt, pepper and sauteed onion; mix well.
Pour into the prepared dish and bake for 50 minutes
on the center oven rack, until the center is firm.
Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes.
Slice into wedges and serve hot or cold.

If you prefer a crust, pour this mixture into your
favorite pie crust and bake.

Strawberry Salad

Red onion
Feta cheese, crumbled

I assemble this salad right on the plate.
My favorite dressing for salad with fruit is yogurt.
For this one I used strawberry yogurt.

TIP: Another great one is peach yogurt with a bit of dill weed. YUM!

This time I did not chop the tomatoes as the recipe said, but sliced them and laid them gently on top prior to cooking. I also used 2% milk instead of the cream and feta cheese instead of mozza! I know, I know not as rich...but not as much fat either!! ;0) This is a great recipe for using up things you have. (chopped ham, asparagus, peppers) Whatever floats your boat!

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Clay Pot Wreath

In the Spring, I saw the cutest wreath on Shelley's blog, Prairie Cottage Rose. She made it by wiring lots (and I do mean lots) of clay pots onto a grapevine wreath.

Shelley's Wreath

I was totally inspired to make my own. Shelley graciously emailed me with the particulars. My first stop was Michaels, to pick up an 18" wreath. Then off to the Dollarama (you're shocked, I'm sure!) for all my clay pots.

I started by wiring 4" pots all around the outer edge.

Then I filled in the front with all three sizes. (4", 3", 2")

Due to the fact that I am just a tad impatient, I wanted to "help" the pots develop a bit of a weathered look. I took out my jar of White Lightening, which gives a white washed look, and painted on some areas of the pots. I also added some white and green paint in a few areas as well.

What do you think? I'm pretty pleased with the way it turned out. Shelley cautioned me about the weight of the finished wreath. Wow! She wasn't kidding. That's one heavy wreath. Hubby helped me hang it on the side of our new shed at the trailer. He used L O N G screws and wired it to the screws, at the top and bottom of the wreath.

Please click on Shelley's blog link at the top of my post, and pop over to visit her at Prairie Cottage Rose!!

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Sunday, August 14, 2011

Take 5 with Kathy - "What is in Your Hand?"

I love photography and especially enjoy pictures that portray varying perspectives. Sometimes I like seeing the wider angle and how everything relates to each other. But zooming in on some detail of the same shot provides a different kind of focus and appreciation.

I’ve been reflecting on perspective and how vital it is for maintaining a balanced view of my life. My ability to live the abundant life God promised is very dependent upon it. What I know from past experience and what I envision for the future helps keep my present reality healthy, peaceful and joyful. Both viewpoints are valuable and assist me in having a well-rounded perspective. The balance is tricky though. I know how little it takes to tip the scales when I’m too preoccupied with either the future or the past. If I only look at something from one perspective my scope of understanding is limited. Therefore, it is crucial for me to use both so I can clearly perceive what I experience today.

Moses was having difficulty striking that balance. He was so focused on his past problems that they were causing him great anxiety about his future. But God, with His unconditional love, was guiding Moses in regaining a proper perspective. His next approach was to zoom in on one detail. “Then the Lord said to him, ‘What is that in your hand?’” (Exodus 4:2)

As Moses glanced down, he saw the simple shepherd’s staff he was holding. It was a relatively insignificant stick with which he had herded sheep for forty years. Beyond that, it had no potential in Moses’ eyes. God saw things differently. “Throw it on the ground,” He said. Moses obeyed, the stick became a snake, and he fled from it. “Reach out your hand and take it by the tail,” God instructed. (Now that is when my obedience would have been severely challenged!) Without hesitation, Moses did as God instructed and the snake once again became his staff.

Although God gave two other signs to Moses as proof that He had appeared and spoken to him, the staff was the one God would use most powerfully. “Take the staff in your hand so you can perform miraculous signs with it,” God said (4:17). Reading further, we see how that staff was instrumental in accomplishing unbelievable wonders.

What God is teaching me through this is the importance of offering to Him whatever resource is in my hand. A few weeks ago God whispered to me, “What is in your hand?” On my lap were my Bible, journal, and pen. “Give it to Me and I will use it in ways you never would have anticipated.” It was a big leap of faith, but I’m glad I listened and obeyed! He has restored so much joy and given me a whole new perspective on the abilities He has given me.

What is in your hand that God desires to use?


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Thursday, August 11, 2011

Flow Blue China

"Flow Blue pottery and china is one of the most popular, collectible ceramics in the United States antique market. More than 1500 Flow Blue patterns were produced in Victorian England, Germany, Holland, and the United States. The peak production was from the mid-eighteen hundreds to the early 1940's. Now it is again popular, but as a collectors' item rather than dinnerware."

(Excerpt from an article by Barbara Nicholson Bell) Read the entire article HERE.

A couple weeks ago, Lisa and I popped into a thrift store while out to supper one night. I always head right for the dishes. I picked up a couple blue and white dessert plates, as well as a teacup and saucer. Then at the back of one shelf I spotted a bowl. A blue and white bowl. I picked it up and looked at it, and it looked old to me. I asked Lisa what she thought, and she agreed it was probably old. It was pretty so I put it in my cart. After we got home, Lisa decided to go online and check out my new bowl. In a matter of minutes she was looking at a picture of my bowl, at an antique store. It was the same pattern, and the same size. It was selling for $350. This past week she saw a platter like it at a local antique store for $150.

It is 10.5" in diameter.

The beautiful decorative edge.

The center pattern.

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Monday, August 8, 2011

Poker Pots

I love campfires!
What is it about a fire that enables you to sit there and stare at it for hours?
Once it gets dark, I also enjoy staring at the sky while enjoying the fire.
The "Big Dipper" is the one I always find first!

This is our campfire area at the trailer.
My pet peeve about campfire areas is the "Pesky Pokers"
(aka marsh mellow and hot dog sticks).

It is usually dark out when we use the "Pesky Pokers". They do their job of toasting marsh mellows to a delicious sticky golden brown. Or they hold the hot dogs nice and close to the flame so the legs on the "spider dogs" curl up nice and crunchy. However, once their job is complete they are often forgotten on the ground and someone ends up tripping over them.

Here is my solution. Poker Pots!!
I have used these buckets before with candles in the sand.
But, I decided while we were on vacation that this would be a much handier use for them.

We filled the galvanized steel buckets with sand from the river.

I put all the shorter marsh mellow sticks in one pot
and the longer hot dog sticks in the other one.
It works great, because they are portable.
During fine weather the buckets sit by the fire pit,
and if rain is in the forecast we put them in the shed.

Poker Pots...a very good thing!

Fire's burning, fire's burning
Draw nearer, draw nearer
In the glowing, in the glowing
Come sing and be merry!

-Girl Guide Campfire Song

Metamorphosis Monday
Masterpiece Monday
Transformation Thursday
The Tattered Tag Blog Bash
Strut Your Stuff Saturday
Seasonal Sunday
The Sunday Showcase Party
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Sunday, August 7, 2011

Take 5 with Kathy - "What if...?"

I tend to ask lots of “What if…?” questions. My husband often says, “Kathy, you worry too much. It will all work out.” And he is usually right, but I like everything to be perfect and well-ordered. With my son’s wedding fast approaching I’ve been preoccupied with “What ifs”.

I’m not sure about your “what ifs”, but as women we are more likely to become overwhelmed with them. Most of us simply accept it as our responsibility to ensure everyone and everything is properly cared for. Perhaps we feel things just won’t get done, or done the way we prefer, if we don’t do it. Maybe some past experience makes us fearful or doubtful and we find ourselves saying, “But…”, “However…”, “Still…”, “What if…?”

Often I chide myself, especially when I have uttered such a comment in public and think, “Now that really wasn’t a very good testimony of your faith in God! Your words need to be an accurate representation of what you believe in your heart.” That reminds me of Proverbs 27:19, “As water reflects a face, so a man’s heart reflects the man.”

Moses was full of “What ifs” when he met God at the burning bush. “What if I’m not the best person for the job?” “What if I can’t speak eloquently?” “What if they won’t listen to me or believe me?” “Oh, Lord, please send someone else!”

I find it hard to fault Moses too much for his fears and insecurity. He was, after all, an ordinary man who had tried to lead (yes, he should have used a different approach), been rejected by his own people, lost his self-worth and confidence, and was feeling his age and lack of usefulness. The key here is that he had lost his focus and his eyes were fixed on his shortcomings.

God saw exactly where Moses was coming from and in the beginning was very patient and gently reassured Moses. With every question or concern Moses proposed, God attempted to re-focus Moses’ eyes on “I AM”, “The LORD”, “Jehovah” (YHWH in Hebrew). This was the name for God the Israelites revered most and even refused to pronounce for fear they got it wrong. God instructed Moses to tell the people, “I AM has sent you.” and to remind them of God’s promises and past protection. It should have been all Moses needed to boost his morale and confidence, but it wasn’t. Moses was still too focused on himself and his problems.

I love the song, “Call Upon the Name of the Lord” by Travis Doucette. The first verse says,

“He is near to the broken

Close to the weary of heart

In His name is a refuge

A safety for the weak and discarded.”

His name, “I AM”, is the answer to all our “What ifs”.


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