Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Are you a quilter? Donations of quilted baby blankets needed for the newborns....


of our military men and women.  Please visit KaHolly's blog to see what I am writing about.  She is requesting quilters to donate a blanket for these precious newborns at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Brooke Army Medical Center (BMAC) located in San Antonio, Texas.  If you are willing to donate or repeat this message on your blog, please see her post here.  Thank you so much.

This pretty blanket is the one that KaHolly has made and is sending out.  

Another favorite, The Three Graces

Introducing Grace, Grace and Grace.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Great advice....

This goes along with my general philosophy in life.  My parents tried to teach me these things as I grew and without me knowing at the time, those seeds were planted.  I now understand what they were trying to teach me.  One of the joys of getting older, a little wisdom seems to follow.  

If you give in to the disapproval of others, you’ll simply encourage them to disapprove even more. If you fight against their disapproval, that will also cause their disapproval to grow stronger.

Your most effective response is to gently accept the disapproval, then let it go and move forward. That strategy will dilute and dispense with the resistance you encounter faster than anything else.

Stop needing the approval of others, and you’ll receive more approval and support than ever. Live each moment from your own inspiration, not from your desire to look good in the eyes of others.

You can be exceptionally kind, loving, giving and respectful without being a slave to the opinions of others. Accept that other people will disapprove of some things you do, and you’ll free yourself to do truly magnificent things.

Your great value does not derive from the approval of others. You are entirely worthy and able to give much to life, regardless of what anyone else may think.

Graciously and enthusiastically accept that others will disapprove, no matter what you do. And delight in the freedom of doing whatever you know is right for you.

Ralph Marston

Saturday, January 28, 2012


A pretty bouquet of flowers brought home from the supermarket, on a bright sunny day in the middle of winter.  

TODAY’S FLOWER’S was created by our good friend Luiz Santilli Jr.

Camera Critters # 199 - Video link to Gorillas visiting a camp in Uganda

If you want to see an absolutely amazing video please go here.   It shows a very rare visit from a troop of Mountain Gorillas visiting a camp in Uganda.   I think you will find it as fun to watch and as astonishing as I did, a once in a lifetime experience for the people involved.   The facial expressions of the man they chose to sit next to just makes you smile from ear to ear.  I am trying to put myself in his place but I think there was astonishment, a little bit of terror and absolute joy all rolled into one.  How I would have loved to be in his shoes, lucky man!

I would love to visit the Mountain Gorilla in their own natural world.  Maybe in my next lifetime.  But you never know, if the opportunity ever arose I'd be on that plane faster than you could say 'Hello Baby!"

These photos were taken of Western Gorillas at the San Diego Zoo two years ago.  I am revisiting them to go with this post.  

I would also like to thank my friend Kathy for sending me the link to the video.  Thanks Kathy!

Thank you Misty for hosting Camera Critters.
To see other fun critters please click here.

Friday, January 27, 2012

A favorite photo revisited....

I wonder why when I look at this photo it reminds me of The Magnificent Seven riding off into the sunset?

Spending many hours as a child watching westerns with my Dad maybe?  

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Huntsman's Lake

Yesterday I made my way over to Huntsman's Lake as two Bald Eagles had been spotted in the area.  On this outing I did not see any but I will be going back again the weekend, and to Lake Mercer nearby where four more have been sighted.

There were several of us who were on the look-out and everyone was only too willing to give helpful information.  One man had been able to take some great photos of them fishing the day before, but he had had no luck today so far.

This lady was with her husband, grandson and great dane, a puppy!  

Just beautiful!  So, no there were no eagles today but I thoroughly enjoyed spotting this beauty of a dog.

Any luck?  No, not yet, plenty of seagulls though.

I have just found out about Huntsman's Lake, a happy discovery as it is a real pretty area.

The sun was in the wrong direction and I discovered once again how important lighting is in photography, but it made for some pretty effects as the sunlight bounced off the lake making it sparkle.   

I was very surprised to see so many seagulls, there must have been a hundred of them, very active and flying over the lake.

If you look closely you can see the reflection of a seagull in this one, hard to spot I know.

Time to move on and get home before rush hour traffic.   I said goodbye to the great dane and his family....

and on the way home I took photos of things and places I had passed by a thousand times.

It was a pretty day but still cold enough for these horses to be wearing their winter gear.

Notice the baskbetball net in the church parking lot?  Ready and waiting.

No eagle sighting today but a nice trip out nonetheless.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Another wise quote.....

Added note as of 7.50 a.m. - 1-25-2012

You've left some wonderful comments and I have loved reading them.  I agree with Elephant Child when back in our childhood we used to hear, and still do no doubt, "If you can't say anything nice, say nothing at all." and Arija's comment, "All too true.  It may be a truism to say nothing if you have nothing good to say, but it is as much of a sin not to say something good when you can."  I agree whole-heartedly.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Cauliflower Gratin with Almond Crust

Every now and again, as you may already know, I like to do a food post.  I fixed this dish last night.  It came from my Southern Living 2010 Recipe Annual.

Cauliflower Gratin with Almond Crust - makes 6 servings

Preparation time is 25 minutes.
Total time is 43 minutes.

1/4 cup butter
1 head of cauliflower (about 2-1/4 lbs.) separated into florets
1 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Gruyere cheese
2/3 cup Panko crumbs (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat .  Add cauliflower, the chopped onion and minced garlic.  Saute ten minutes or until golden and just tender.  Sprinkle with flour, the salt and fresh thyme.  Stir well.  Remove from heat.

Spoon the cauliflower mixture into a 11 x 7 inch baking dish and drizzle with cream.  Sprinkle with Gruyere cheese, Panko crumbs, sliced almonds and grated Parmesan.

Bake at 400 for 18 to 20 minutes or until golden.

This came out lovely, a definite keeper and one Gregg and I enjoyed a lot.  The cauliflower mixture was delicious and we loved the crunchiness of the topping.  Also the taste of the cheeses wasn't overpowering but very nice and subtle.

You can use it as a side dish or eat it on its own for a light supper.  I served it with a Jacket Potato and the combination went together really well.  A green salad would finish it off beautifully for a nice vegetarian meal.

It has been a long time since I cooked with cream, but if you need to watch these things you can probably lighten the calories by substituting the butter and cream for lighter versions.  As this is the first time I made this recipe, I wanted to try the results unadulterated and was not disappointed.

Added note: 6.57 p.m.

I met up with Gregg for lunch today and neither of us felt like a full dinner, so tonight we had the leftover cauliflower gratin  with a small side salad of romaine lettuce, diced onion, sliced radishes and diced avocado.  We enjoyed this combination of veggies with a vinaigrette.

Monday, January 23, 2012

We've come a long way.....

We still have an old typewriter somewhere down in our basement.  It belonged to Gregg, a Hermes.  I learned to type on something like this one below, in the grand scheme of things not so long ago really but 42 years does sound like a very long time but good grief, was it really 42 years ago?  

Now I don't know what I would do without my laptop but even this is becoming old hat as I read up on what else is out there.   Even the spell checker is going to become obsolete but do you remember the first time you discovered you had one and that the days of 'white-out' were gone?

Spell chequer
Martha Snow

Eye halve a spelling chequer
It came with my pea sea
It plainly marques four my revue
Miss steaks eye kin knot sea.

Eye strike a quay and type a word
And weight four it two say
Weather eye am wrong oar write
It shows me strait a weigh.

As soon as a mist ache is maid
It nose bee fore two long
And eye can put the error rite
It's rare lea ever wrong.

Eye have run this poem threw it
I am shore your pleased two no
It's letter perfect awl the weigh
My chequer tolled me sew.

One day we won't even have a spell checker.  We will just be able to talk to our computers and it will answer us back.  There is a program out there that actually does that.  No doubt it will become a better conversationalist than we are.

Did you ever see Star Trek IV?  Remember the scene when Scotty tried to talk to the computer?    I think I'm going to watch it again as it was my all time favorite Star Trek movie, when the crew of Enterprise went back in time.  Very amusing and even my non-Star-Trek loving hubby enjoyed it and as we all know, a lot of the space-age stuff they used years ago on the show have already come to pass, and now even talking computers.  To see the wonderful scene I am talking about you can go here.

Sunday, January 22, 2012


Cinnamomum zeylanicum
Laurel Family - Lauraceae

This is true cinnamon, native to Sri Lanka and Indonesia, and has a mild flavor reminiscent of citrus.  

Most cinnamon sold in the United States is Cassia (Cinnamomum cassia), which is native to China and the East Indies, and has a stronger, harsher taste than true cinnamon.

TODAY’S FLOWER’S was created by our good friend Luiz Santilli Jr.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Camera Critters

This delightful little critter is the Lubber Grasshopper.  It is a giant, slow moving grasshopper that I found in the live insect exhibit at the Natural History Museum.   Those bright colors tell any predator that what they think of as a tasty little meal, actually contain toxins that will make them very ill. 

If you find one and pick it up, the grasshopper will make a loud hissing noise and secrete an irritating, foul-smelling foamy spray.  These four-inch grasshoppers are too large for most predators, so they don't need to move very fast.   It cannot fly and can only jump short distances.

Despite their relatively large size, lubber grasshoppers usually eat less and cause less damage than their smaller relatives.  Lubber grasshoppers also rarely occur in large enough concentrations to cause significant damage.

Thank you Misty for hosting Camera Critters.
To see other fun critters please click here.