Saturday, September 28, 2013

Gluten Free Blueberry Pancakes

I turned my kitchen into a food chemistry lab this morning,  in search of a recipe for gluten-free pancakes that are worth making again.  Sometimes it seems more like a battle than a search.

Victory! These turned out thick and hearty, not light and fluffy, but a good texture nonetheless for GF pancakes.


In large mixing bowl, whisk together:

2 C Red Mill oat flour
1/2 c Red Mill arrowroot flour
1/4 t.    xanthum gum
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t.   baking soda
pinch of salt

In separate , medium bowl, beat:

2 eggs
1 1/2  C milk plus 1 T lemon juice
4 T softened butter (I actually only had Blue Bonnet spread on hand, so used it)
1/2 t.   vanilla
2 T sugar

Do NOT mix blueberries into batter!

1 1/2 C frozen blueberries, thawed 90 seconds in microwwave
1 t sugar sprinkled over berries

Slowly add flour mixture into egg mixture, till just mixed.   
Spoon batter onto medium-high hot skillet.

Add berries by the spoonful to the top of the pancake and cook about 2.5 minutes. Flip and then cook 1.5 minutes more or until golden brown.

Serve with real maple syrup. Bon appetit!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Five Minutes of True

I was so glad to see the word prompt "true" today over at Lisa Jo  Baker's blog, because I was pondering truth this past week as a dear friend lay dying.    Lisa Jo mentioned she wants true stories from moms (not limited to this topic, of course, but it fits).  Five Minute Friday is  like a "writing flash mob" (her words)  of bloggers writing for five minutes on the same topic. No editing, overthinking, backtracking, or self-consciousness allowed .Just five minutes straight from the heart and mind to the keyboard.


I had my first three children in four years.  Not necessarily my plan, but it was God's, obviously.   We wanted four total , my husband and I , something we talked about before marriage. Four was the ideal number for us, we agreed.   A true and whole family for us was a picture with four children at our table, on our vacations, under the Christmas tree. 

But after the third was born , I was not so sure. Three was ideal, and sometimes not ideal at all. I had only two hands, two legs, and one brain. Or sometimes half a brain, frazzled by 10 a.m. 

When the third was three, however, I began wanting the fourth baby. I was ready .Almost eager. 
I thought it would be easy. It wasn't. I had two miscarriages three years apart without explanation. I was so afraid. After the first one, I was bitter toward God and didn't speak to HIm respectfully or lovingly for nine whole months. How dare he take from me what I wanted so badly., and  good thing at that. 

In his kindness, he led me to repentance and I asked forgiveness for my  bitterness and ingratitude and demanding heart. I had truly forgotten that children are a gift from God, His reward, not MY reward for being a good and true mom of three. 

When I was finally 11 weeks along with the fourth ,I was terrified. I knew one person who would understand my fears and my temptation to be bitter if I lost again. My friend Diane, the one laying now near death. She had had six miscarriages, some in her third trimester. I called her  one night, 12 years ago, and confessed that I had read "all" the books, the articles, talked to my doctor, took the medications to sustain pregnancies, was not exerting myself and avoiding paint fumes, but still I feared losing this baby .

She said, "Zo, you've read a lot of words and while there's nothing wrong with reading all you can about this, only Jesus has the words of eternal life. Where else can you go? It's what Peter said. Where else can I go? Only You have the words of eternal life. "  She encouraged me to simply read God's Word. No matter what happened, it is true.  It has the words of the eternal life.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Dare to Do Just Five in the Hodgepodge

I just got home from praying with teachers, students, and other parents this morning for our "See You at the Pole" gathering.  How heartwarming to know this is happening nationally as students congregate beneath the American flag on campus to pray for their school,  their state, and our nation .  God be praised we still have this freedom!

Short on time with much to do , I'm going to answer all these questions with only five words each.  Think I can? You know how I love words. And challenges.

 1. What's one thing about you that's the same as when you were young?

I'm a short, social gal.

2. What's more important-history or science? Why?

Neither. God authored them both.

3. Lima, kidney, string, garbanzo, black or pinto-your favorite bean?

String, fresh from the garden.

4. What's something people come to your town to do?

Eat crabs and see National Aquarium.

5. When was the last time you were in a meeting? Sum it up for us in five words or less. 

Yesterday.  God hears our prayers!

6. What special event would you like a VIP pass to attend?

I'm not enamored  of celebrities.

7. What's one piece of advice you'd give a writer?

Be fresh by avoiding cliches.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

My friend is close to death.

Friday, September 20, 2013

"52 Things" Birthday Card(s)

A close friend of mine had a birthday back in July. She was almost a Yankee Doodle Dandy. 

You might deduce from
the photo below how many fingers she would have to hold up
if asked how old she is. 

My daughter-in-law actually found this idea on Pinterest
and made a "52 things" for her beloved--my son--
                                                                    as a Christmas gift.

I adapted it to suit (pun intended) my friend.


1 deck of playing cards, hole punched
2 binder/ book rings
Scrapbook paper cut to fit as a cover for the front
Letter stickers for the title on the front

 If I had thought to make this gift ahead of her birthday I would have typed out the messages,
but it only occurred to me that day, and I was busy making a pillow for her as her "big" gift.

The deck of cards came from Dollar Tree. When I told the cashier what I was making, she said, "It must be hard to come up with 52 nice things to say about someone."

I replied, "Not when you love them."

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Happy Birthday, Hodgepodge Hostess!

Let me start by wishing our Hodgepodge hostess, Joyce, a very happy birthday today.  She sounds  a little like me when it comes to her birthday. It's kind of a big deal and we like to make much of it for as long as we can.  

In honor of her birthday, I am going to post this  hilarious card  that my sister sent to me--or at least the text of it, right here: 

         IN  THE NUDE....



1. When did you last sing happy birthday to someone? When were you last sung to? Does that embarrass you or do you enjoy being the center of attention on your special day?

I last sang happy birthday to my son who turned 11 on Valentine's Day.  It was a hard day for him this past year because his dad was in the hospital after a traumatic incident at work, and our daughter was moving out, and I put the dog to sleep that day.  I managed to get to the school and sing happy  (???) birthday to him with his classmates because it would have been a TOTALLY lousy birthday if he didn't get any attention at all on his birthday.

I feel just a tad embarrassed about being sung to. It's not horrible, but I feel sorry for the people who really hate to sing because they feel obligated. Being sung to is probably the least favorite part of the birthday celebration for me. 

2.  Name a famous or 'infamous' person (living or deceased) who shares your birth day and month. Is that someone you'd like to meet in person if it were possible?

I share a birthday with Mother Teresa.  I would LOVE to meet her someday in heaven. 

3. Someone hands you a box tied up in a lovely bow...what are you hoping to find inside?

This year, a sewing machine (Janome DC 1050).   I knew it wouldn't have a bow on it, but a UPS sticker was just fine. My hubby was very generous this year.

4. What can you guarantee about yourself?

That I'm a beloved child of God.

5. Talking art and beautiful cities here...'The Last Supper' in the Santa Maria della Grazie Abbey in Milan Italy or 'The Mona Lisa' in The Louvre, Paris...which would you most like to see up close and in person?  Why?

The Last Supper, no question.  The Mona Lisa does nothing for me.  Especially considering "she" was probably a "he" .  And because I would rather visit Italy than France if I had to choose.

6. Your favorite dessert?

New York style cheesecake with strawberry topping.

7. This coming weekend marks the official start of autumn (in the Northern hemisphere)...what is something you do to get ready for fall? What is one thing you're looking forward to on your fall calendar? Spring or fall-which do you prefer?

I usually make new throw pillows for the family room.  My husband doesn't understand my quirky ritual, my obsession with pillows, my desire to replace 'perfectly good' pillows with new ones just because the weather is cooling and the leaves are turning color.  But that's okay. I'm 40-some years old and comfortable with my quirks.  Just like he is 50-some years old and the only time he yells his head off is at the TV but the rest of his life he is a calm, quiet, mature individual,and nothing's going to change his quirks.

But where was I? Oh yes, fall...pillows.

Here's a throw pillow I made this summer for the family room. Next to it is fabric for fall porch pillows. I'll simply be covering the existing cushions which aren't technically "seat cushions" but "knee cushions" for gardening that happened to be the perfect size for my front porch swing when I paired two side-by-side. (And they were only $3.99 each at Ollie's a few years ago!) . Naturally, sprucing up with pillows is going to mean I need to paint the porch swing afresh, and then the concrete porch itself and then...

Doesn't it seem like decorating the house is kind of like giving a mouse a cookie?

I'm looking forward to making and finishing a fall table runner before winter. Ha!

I think I look more forward to spring after a long, cold winter, as opposed to shorter, busier days following longer, lazy ones of summer. But, once the autumn season is here. it's my favorite because the color of the trees just wows me every single day of the fall season.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

I volunteered last Thursday in my daughter's classroom and thoroughly enjoyed it.   I got to help them review fact vs. opinion.  You know, it's really hard for seven year olds to believe that their own opinion is not a fact.  I mean, my daughter put up examples on the board.  

One was this: "Cake is delicious."  They all said it's a fact! Why? "Because I like it! It IS delicious!"

I think there's an inner 7-year-old in me. 

Friday, September 13, 2013

Homemade Quilting Table

This is ingenious.  I read about it on the Quilting Board and absolutely must make one for myself.  Or commission my handy hubby if he begs me for yet another project to make me happy.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Grace and Peace in the Hodgepodge

A bit more somber today, remembering our nation, never forgetting how this day in history changed us.

Thank you, Joyce, for bringing the theme of peace to the forefront.  It would be too easy to focus on fear and trauma and to get riled up about the state of affairs. Instead, for those of us in Christ Jesus, we have peace. 
We know how the story ends.  "Let not your heart be troubled. Believe in God ,believe also in Me," --John 14:6

1. What's the best thing about growing older?

Being one day closer to meeting  Jesus face-to-face.  That's the best.  Second best would be watching my children grow up into people I'm really proud of. 

2. When did you first feel like a grown up?

In a positive way? The day when my firstborn was about a week old and I was getting ready to go somewhere with him. My husband had returned to work, so I was on my own.   I had packed up the diaper bag, snapped Benjamin  in his carrier,  made sure I had my wallet, and the whole "nine yards."  As I pulled the front door shut, I gasped. 

The baby! I had everything but the baby! He was still in his seat, sleeping, on the couch.
I knew then my life belonged to someone else; I was fully responsible for another human being.

In a negative way, I remember the first time I felt like  a grown up.   A boy (maybe 16 years old) at the grocery store was cashiering.  After he rang up my order,  I paid, he handed me my receipt, and said, "Thank you, ma'am. Have a nice day."     Ma'am?  Did he just call me ma'am?  Ma'am is what you call old ladies  Why, has it been that many years since I was dating a boy like you? Really?  I sank into mild depression. 

I was 30. 

3. Chocolate cake with white icing or white cake with chocolate icing?

White cake with chocolate icing.    Better yet, yellow cake with chocolate icing. 
Best yet, chocolate cake with chocolate icing. 

4. What's the nicest thing a stranger has ever done for you?

Picked me up close at 11 pm on the Baltimore beltway when I was out of gas, single, afraid,
praying for a hero. Along came a Marine who gave me a ride to a gas station.  He didn't even try to hit on me. 

5.  What's something you learned from your grandparents? 

To love animals.  My Grandpa  R, who was a Kansas farmer, loved his cows ,and named them.  (My mom named her three favorite cows growing up--Faith, Hope, and Charity. The greatest of these was....).  My grandmother loved her Siamese cats, Fritz and Joy.  My Grandpa loved his Beagle, Hector, and was circuit rider (on horseback, going town to town) as a preacher.  My Grandma D  liked songbirds.  My Grandma R (who divorced Grandpa R in the 1960's)  liked her son's German Shepherd, Machen.   These stalwart, hardworking Midwesterners old people just seemed to "go soft and fuzzy" when they loved on their animals.

6. Wednesday marks a sad day in the history of planet earth-9/11...what's something you do (or can do) to bring peace to your little corner of the world?  

A sad day indeed. I was just reminding my 11 year old this morning that I was pregnant with him when the planes hit the Twin Towers.  Come to think of it, I believe I was telling him this
this fact at 8:53 a.m--the minute the first plane hit.   

What am I doing to bring peace to my corner of the world?  Great question.  Praying, I think, so it's not I who is bringing peace, but God.

I pray for peace for my husband on the job, for my kids at work and school, peace for widows who are fearful and grieving, peace for marriages, peace for lost souls who need Jesus (who is our Peace). 
7.  Share a favorite quote, scripture, or song containing the word peace.  

Just this past Sunday, our pastor started a series on Galatians.  The apostle Paul opens
with a salutation and says "Grace and peace to you through our Lord Jesus Christ."  

The pastor said that it wasn't just a nicety that he was saying en route to the heart of his letter.
It was important to remind the church that grace and peace come through Jesus Christ and you can't have one without the other.  No grace, no peace. If you truly understand grace, not merely 
say you do, then you know peace.  That's given me a lot of food for thought this week.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Please pray for a co-worker of my husband's today. She was in the second Tower
in 2001 and escaped with her life, but she has had PTSD from it.  For many month after
9/11, this woman (who had been on about the 103rd floor)  was mentally just "out of it" much of 
the day. Paul said it was like she was numb, distant, unable to focus, not really able
to follow conversations.  She is much better, but when you know someone who was there, when you see firsthand the effects, you can't help but feel something deep in your soul. 

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Daybook 9.8.13

The Simple Woman's blog provides the inspiration for me to blog sometimes.


Outside my window... cool and crisp with a choir of crickets caroling choruses.


I am thinking... of pursuing my daughter's offer (plea?) to have me come in her to first grade class once a week (on a day she doesn't have a professional aide) to help her with a group during phonics sessions.   

I am thankful... that I think we have finally found a new home church.   

In the kitchen...  the dishwasher chugs and swishes rhythmically, albeit loudly.  I have been less than enamored of the sales pitch about this machine being "quiet."  Were it any louder, I'm afraid I'd have to fasten my seatbelt and secure all overhead compartments.

I am wearing... a sleeveless royal blue shirt and purple shorts, AKA  one of my "do not answer the door looking like this" outfits.

I am creating... a new budget, more storage space in my sewing room, and soon my first sampler quilt. 

I am going... to be asking questions --uncomfortable questions-- of two different people this week and am intimidated, but must know the answer. Please pray.  

I am wondering... how on earth I could be any more joyful about a new baby in our family than I am about my new niece.  A few days ago my daughter and I were having lunch exactly next door to the chiropractor's office where my sister was and we got to see little one for 15 minutes! Oh, my, she fits on the doctor's forearm and seems to love the treatment up and down her back, and she doesn't squeal one bit when he flexes her legs and holds her upsidedown. 

I am reading... . The God-Shaped Brain, upon a strong recommendation by my friend Sandy who shares my intrigue with how the mind works.

I am hoping...that I can be my sister's and niece's travel companion in October. They're flying to Texas for four days to meet the other aunties.

I am looking forward to... starting my quilting class. 

I am learning. a lot about vintage and antique sewing machines. I even acquired one last weekend for $50 and can't wait to have it rewired. (For inquiring minds, it's a 1950-51 Singer 15-91) and came with a loaded, beautiful cabinet and retro stool. 

Around the house...I am getting ready to decorate for fall--my favorite season. 

I am pondering... something Jesus said about his followers: "I am not ashamed to call you brothers."    

A favorite quote for today..."I think I might build my own guitar," said my husband, smiling, showing those dimples I'm still in love with after all these years.

One of my favorite things... finding a GREAT deal on fabric. Yesterday at a community yard sale I bought about $165 worth of quilting fabric for only $14.   Happy dance! Woot! Yippee!

A few plans for the rest of the week:  have labwork done, attend Bible study, take my new old sewing machine in for new wiring, finish cleaning out the craft room closet, take a quilting class, see and hold my niece again. I need a baby fix at least once a week. So far so good. 

A peek into my day...   

How about you just imagine it? You wake up a full hour earlier than you have to because the neighbor's border collie is yapping on and on and on. A shrill pitch in an otherwise totally quiet morning air. 

Arf!Arf!Arf! Arf! Arf! Arf! Arf! Arf! for at least a half hour.   Arf! Arf! Arf!  You start your day with prayer--for forgiveness of murderous thoughts toward dog and oblivious owner.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Honey, I Shrunk the Hodgepodge

Jumping in late this evening after a full day doing things I made myself do.  I'll shrink my typical size HP answers.
(Don't thank me, just send money.)

1. What's something you're never too young or too old to enjoy?

Breasts.  Seriously, that was my first reaction to the question.  Newborns--the youngest people I can think of--come into the world ready to enjoy breasts.  Little kids are curious about them. Adolescents are obsessed with them. Women appreciate having them. Don't even ask me how old men are when they're too old to enjoy breasts.  
2. Share one happy memory from your high school years.

Most of my happiest high school memories happened in our church youth group, not at school.  We went to Pizza Hut as often as possible on Sunday nights after the service, or to Friendly's for ice cream.  

3. A nationwide strike of fast food employees took place in the U. S. last week...they're calling for higher wages and the right to unionize? Your thoughts?

Let them call for higher wages, but let them also understand that companies will have to raise prices or cut some of the employees.  Fast food jobs are supposed to be steppingstones to better paying jobs or careers.  Americans can  get more nutritious, better-tasting food for almost the same price as fast-food meals not (excluding the crap on dollar menus) at sit-down places.  
4. September is National Honey Month...what's a favorite dish you make or eat that calls for honey?

Charoseth. At Passover it's eaten during the seder. It's  pronounced "ha-RO-seth" (no "ch" sound--and the first syllable is guttural).  Chopped walnuts, chopped apples, and honey  are mixed together and represent the "mortar" used  with bricks and stones by Hebrew slaves working for Pharaoh.  Charoseth on matzah is yummiful.

5.  If you notice someone with a tag sticking out, a button unbuttoned, a shirt on inside-out, or some leftover lunch stuck between their teeth do you say something or do you keep quiet? 

Tag sticking out? I say or do nothing to a stranger. Someone I know? I tuck it in for them.  Button unbuttoned? Depends how "strategically located" it is.  If it would save them embarrassment in front of more people, I might mention it to a woman.  Shirt inside out? Nothing unless I'm related to that person. Leftover lunch in their teeth? Well, I would ask them if they're saving it for an afternoon snack.  If it's my best friend with broccoli in her teeth, I'd say, "Girl, you've got a daggone TREE in your TEETH! What ARE you, a  dam beaver?"  

6. What movie always makes you cry?  Or at least makes you feel like crying?

A Beautiful Life.   
7.   'Mary Had a Little Lamb' was written in May of 1830, and published in Juvenile Miscellany in September of that same year.  Now for the fun part...create your own four line rhyme using that same tune.

My daughter burned her hand real bad, 
hand real bad, hand real bad, 
Hot glue from gun dripped on her palm,
Now she's at Patient First.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

I don't think my answers shrunk the Hodgepodge much, nor do I think "shrunk" is grammatically correct, but at least it matches the poor grammar in my silly little song.