Sunday, February 18, 2018

Taking a Winter Break in Florida

We spent a delightful three weeks in Florida -- two weeks at Fort DeSoto Park near St. Petersburg and a week in Leesburg north of Orlando. The weather was cool on the water with most days very windy, but we still did a lot of bike riding and walking, bird-watching, and shelling along the beach. We found a dozen intact sand dollars which we've NEVER found at the Outer Banks except in the shops. We also found two little starfish and a wide variety of other shells: scallop, clam, oyster, little conchs, and tiny cats paws, etc. If I could find my shell book I could identify them, but alas it's not where I thought it would be. Maybe I gave it away in a purge. I tend to do that.

We had a Great White Egret in our campsite almost every morning and could look out on the boat channel at the White Pelicans and the Great Blue Herons. One morning a Snowy Egret graced us with his "golden slipper" feet giving me a smile.

Monday, December 18, 2017

A Christmas Play to Delight the Heart!

"Do not fear, Joseph, to take Mary
your wife into your home. That
which is conceived in her is
by the Holy Spirit."
We spent the weekend visiting our daughter and her family in the Pittsburgh area so we could attend the Christmas play in which her children were performing, The Promise: A Christmas Musical written and directed by Bernadette Calvino

My expectations were low. I've been to a lot of children's productions and, well, usually the best I can say is that you just gotta love your children and grandchildren. This production was different. There were some rough edges, especially with the stage crew, but the performance was splendid! The play, an original piece written by the DRE of All Saints, one of the area churches, told the Christmas story through the eyes of a maggid, an itinerant Jewish preacher and storyteller played by one of our granddaughters. She sang beautifully as she linked the different events of the Christmas story often setting the scene and then being a silent watcher. The play was a musical with short scenes of dialogue connecting the various songs most of which were written by Michael Card.

The youngsters playing Mary and Joseph projected a tender respect and affection for each other that was touching. Joseph was much taller than Mary so there was always a sense of his gentle protection over her and later Jesus. Joseph's Song expressing his trepidation about rearing the Son of God was tone-perfect. Joseph didn't have a strong voice, but he so captured Joseph's strength and humility that it diminished his performance very little. Mary on the other hand had a beautiful, almost ethereal, soprano that made every song she sang a delight.

Friday, December 15, 2017

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas at Camp Kreitzer

Our first Christmas with the new front porch gave us extra opportunities for welcoming visitors!
For some reason, I'm not sure why, I have been going all out this year with the decorations. Perhaps it's because I was feeling down in the dumps and grinchy after Thanksgiving and needed to "light"en things up. So every day I've been adding to the decorations.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Serendipity and Follow the Star Cookies


My life is filled with serendipity (the art of happy accidents)! It makes every day an adventure. Here's just one example.

A few of we ladies were planning a cookie swap and one of my favorite cookies is molasses crinkles. Usually I frost them by drizzling a thin confectioner's icing (sugar and water) on them in a swirly pattern. But this time I remembered I had a lot of unwrapped Hershey kisses left over from making peanut butter blossoms with my grandchildren. Hmm...a spice cookie with a chocolate kiss on top? Can't go wrong with that -- spice and chocolate?

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Healthy Mind, Healthy Spirit, Healthy Body

My favorite workout because it's easy and I don't have to remember anything. (I used to mess up aerobic dancing all the time! Don't think I could ever have been a Rockette!) So stand up at your computer and take a "walk with Leslie" break.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Advent Traditions: The Jesse Tree and the First week of Advent


 The older I get the faster time flies. We used to put our Christmas tree up on Christmas Eve and felt scandalous if we broke down and put it up a few days earlier. But now, Advent seems over almost before it starts and I've decided that to have the decorations up long enough to fill my cup to the brim, I need to start a lot earlier.

So I've embraced the Jesse Tree tradition with gusto. Putting up the tree in time for the first Sunday of Advent makes perfect sense if you are going to slowly journey through the generations before Christ's birth culminating with the coming of Christ on Christmas.

So the tree is up and during this first week of Advent we are reading the first chapter in Christ's family tree book -- Genesis. We started a few days early because we had visiting grandchildren on Friday. So we put up the tree and the oldest plugged it in as we read the creation story -- "...and God said, 'Let there be light.'" After that we read about the creation of the plants and animals: the birds of the air, the creatures of the sea, and all the land animals including the creepy crawlies. (Of course, we have a bee on the tree in honor of our apiary.) And God gave man dominion over them, the responsibility of being a good steward and caring for them with care.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Crockpot Lasagna for the Busy Mom (or Grandmom)

Leftovers going fast! Glad I made a lot.
I haven't made lasagna in years. Too much trouble. So when I came across a recipe in Slow Cooker Creations, I decided to try it. I tend to fiddle with recipes which I did. I never have tomato paste so I nixed that ingredient and went for spaghetti sauce instead. Even with that, the recipe got too dry as it cooked, so I added more sauce about four hours into the cooking time when the noodles on top appeared to be drying out. I decided the cooking time needed to be seriously reduced and the liquid increased. I mean, really, everything is already cooked before you start so does it really need SEVEN HOURS to finish? I also fiddled with the herbs since I like more oregano. I also added cumin.