Mid-Afternoon May Day Surprise

May first is our wedding anniversary. This past Friday was our thirty-fourth. I took a day off from working at home and turned it into a three day weekend.

Before Terry went upstairs for a nap shortly after noon, he warned me to answer the door if the door bell rang. Since I had no where else to be, I stayed in the living room, watching obscure dramas I stumbled across via the Tubi channel on our Roku. As foretold by Terry, sometime around two or three o’clock the doorbell rang and I receive a beautiful bouquet from a local flower shop with a note that brought tears to my eyes and warmed my heart.

Click photo to see rest of album.

Next year, our thirty-fifth, we hope to spend a weekend in a remote location, preferably a dark sky site, so we can enjoy some star gazing and some peace and quiet. I’m hoping for a Flint Hills cabin or camping site myself. But we’ll see. We have a year to plan.

Throwback Thursday Family Film Print Photos

My new desk arrived this morning, earlier than I expected. I returned to the spare bedroom yesterday evening to continue my decluttering and organizing. I spent way too much time on a box full of old print photos all over twenty five years old.

None of the photos I found were taken before we moved back north from the Wichita area to the Kansas City area. Once we relocated, I switched from taking photos to taking video in VHS-C format, at least for the next ten or fifteen years, until both our kids were in college. So all the sports, concerts and family vacations are locked up on video tape that I haven’t converted to a more current digital media format.

I selected a dozen photos from the dozens I sifted through and snapped quick digital versions of them using my smartphone. I can scan these with our multifunction printer device once I get my new office setup this weekend. But for the purposes of this post, I felt this method would suffice.

Terry (on the right) and me (taken at a wedding where he was a groomsman in August 1985)
Click the photo to see the other eleven photos in this throwback photo album.
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Whimsical Wednesday

I made my weekly jaunt to Dillons to partake in my Seniors Moment (aka the senior’s discount granted by virtue of my spouse being over 60 – but now that I think about it I think I’m eligible now anyways as of last October because I’m officially over 55). Anyway, as I was discarding some empty water bottles from the van into the recycle bin, I noticed our cherry tree blooming. Just a few days ago it didn’t show any evidence of buds but now they are all over the limbs.

I also found my old hummingbird feeder and a package of the nectar concentrate mix yesterday. I cleaned everything thoroughly, mixed up a small batch and placed the feeder outside my upper patio door, which I sit near in my current home office setup. I haven’t seen a hummingbird yet, but it’s only been twenty-four hours. I’ll need to switch out the nectar today as it got up to the mid-80s and was very sunny yesterday and will be so again today. My back patios are not in the shade so the nectar will go bad quite quickly. Once I move upstairs to the spare bedroom, that won’t be a problem, if I hang the feeder outside the upper east facing window.

While on my first conference call of the day, I heard strange noises coming from my front yard including on my roof. I surmised, since I could not get up and check, that the lawn service had arrived that we contracted last week to power wash the house, refresh the landscape mulch, haul in some dirt to fill in under our huge black oak tree and seed that portion of the front lawn. The finished the house scrubbing within an hour or so and will be back this afternoon to complete the rest of the work.

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Tuesday Tidbits

For no other reason than I feel the need to write a post about all the ‘firsts’ I’ve done this week.

Sunday

  • I scissor cut and clipper trimmed my husband’s hair. I’ve done the latter before but never the former. I watched several YouTube videos and my husband was gracious enough to say it was a better haircut than he normally gets from a salon or barbershop.
  • Made scrumptious hamburger buns for our grilled burgers Sunday dinner. Melt-in-your-mouth goodness!

Monday

  • Made oatmeal cinnamon raisin bread – an upgrade to my oatmeal sandwich bread recipe that I’ve made at least a half dozen times in the last three weeks.
  • Terry converted his previously scheduled doctor’s appointment to a telehealth remote link. So we had to get his camera and microphone working on his computer last night. His doctor is using Zoom unfortunately, which is not secure and has been in the headlines this past week. I chastised the scheduling person stating that I work for a law firm and we are not recommending Zoom to our clients and strongly prohibiting its use internally. We successfully tested Terry’s setup and he’s ready for his appointment Tuesday afternoon.

Tuesday

  • Low and slow – smoking a pork butt today on our pellet smoker (see photos below).
  • Terry successfully connected remotely with his doctor, who was late, but eventually the chatted via Zoom for about 30 minutes.
  • Enjoyed smoked pulled poke on homemade buns with smoked baked beans for dinner.

Have a wonderful evening and thanks for stopping by!

Friday Fast and Prayer

The very first email I read this morning in my fourth Monday of sheltering at home and work from home contain this call to fast and prayer this Friday (which also happens to be Good Friday):

This Friday, April 10, I invite you to join with me and many others from around the world in fasting and prayer that the COVID-19 pandemic “may be controlled, caregivers protected, the economy strengthened, and life normalized.”  The principle of fasting transcends denominational and doctrinal differences and is practiced by many world religions including Buddhists, Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus and Taoists.

A Husch Blackwell Partner, Kansas City, MO

I’ve added this as a reminder to my calendar as an all day event this Friday. It’s been ages since I purposely fasted and prayed so I will probably do a juice fast. I will also research some appropriate verses to study and prepare appropriate meditations and prayers from.

37 “If there is famine in the land, if there is pestilence, if there is blight or mildew, locust or grasshopper, if their enemy besieges them in the land of their cities, whatever plague, whatever sickness there is38 whatever prayer or supplication is made by any man or by all Your people Israel, each knowing the affliction of his own heart, and spreading his hands toward this house; 39 then hear in heaven Your dwelling place, and forgive and act and render to each according to all his ways, whose heart You know, for You alone know the hearts of all the sons of men,that they may fear You all the days that they live in the land which You have given to our fathers.

1 Kings 8: 37-40

Join me this Friday for a day of fasting and prayer for all.

Baking Buns

Seeded Hamburger Buns

Terry asked me earlier this week to make some hamburger or slider buns for Sloppy Joes or grilled hamburgers since the weather is starting to warm up. My son had provided me a recipe he’d made a few weeks ago. I compared it to three or four recipes I found at the King Arthur Flour web site. The first one I leaned towards trying (and dividing in half) was the Hamburger or Hot Dog Bun recipe (and I do actually have the KAF hot dog bun pan). The second one I looked at was the Beautiful Burger Buns recipe, which required a quarter cup of sugar and no milk.

I chatted with Amanda at the King Arthur Flour live chat and asked if I could substitute honey for the sugar. She confirmed I could but I should halve the amount. So for the Beautiful Burger Buns recipe, I would use two tablespoons of local honey instead of a quarter cup of sugar. I also added milk to the water (a half cup of each).

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Back to Beethoven

Today I start my third week of sheltering at home and working from home. Also my first week in that scenario of on call rotation. Thankfully, the weekend was quiet, and the weather improved to the point where both Terry and I got out of the house and worked in the yard Sunday afternoon. I needed the exercise to counteract the back and neck pain I’ve been suffering from in my non-ergonomic home office.

Terry also accompanied me to pickup our second order from Dillons (local Kroger affiliate) and we decided to run the van through the car wash. For Terry, it’s been weeks since he has let the house. He’s at increased risk for the coronavirus and it would likely prove fatal for him. He self-isolates during flu season, and the coronavirus pandemic meant he’s had to extend an already months-long isolation. The sunshine and brief excursion did both of us good.

I work up Sunday knowing I needed to make a fresh loaf of the Oatmeal Sandwich bread to go with the sourdough stuffing, boneless chicken thighs and corn I’d made the day before as a ‘care package’ from my father and uncle. I’m still tweaking the recipe and Ron, my uncle, had expressed interest in trying the ‘original’ version which uses three tablespoons of molasses. I had just popped that loaf in the oven when he messaged me to state he and Dad were going on a road trip to Cottonwood Falls. I was a bit confused as I though they were going to meet us at Dillons when we picked up our order and I would transfer the care package to them. Since it was going to be a gorgeous perfect spring day in Kansas, my only warning was the Flint Hills ranchers would probably be burning their fields this time of year (they were) and a request for a sketch of the oldest still in use county courthouse in Kansas. Now I wish I’d let the bread rise just a tad longer since I didn’t need to have it finished by noon and cool by one o’clock.

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Shoutout to Sandlot: Retooling to Produce Masks

This morning I received an email from our local Managing Director of the law firm I work for. We’ve all been working from home officially since last Wednesday (I have been since the afternoon of March 16th). She shared the following information about her nephew’s company, Sandlot Goods.

In this time of uncertainty many of us are asking is there anything we can do to help those that are on the front line fighting the coronavirus. I wanted to make you aware of a local company, Sandlot Goods, that received a grant from the Kauffman Foundation to begin producing masks. Sandlot Goods is a locally owned KC company that typically produces handsewn leather goods that are really cool, but in response to the crisis is converting their production lines. Their goal is to produce 12,000 masks in week 1.


You can help in three ways:

  • Share this message and the link below on social media;
  • Donate money to help cover the costs;
  • Sign up to sew at home

Learn more via this link: https://sandlotgoods.com/


I donated enough to support creating two dozen masks towards the Million Mask May Day campaign. And I’m blogging and sharing this message today.

Join me in supporting this local Kansas City company doing it’s part to make us all safer and healthier.

Recipe Review: Oatmeal Sandwich Bread (5 stars)

Oatmeal Sandwich Bread

Take One

On my sixth day of self-exile in my own home, and several sourdough loaves later, I wanted to try something different. My lazy self, before the world turned upside-down, would buy a loaf of Pepperidge Farm Oatmeal bread once or twice a month. Baking bread, especially sourdough, isn’t onerous (Thank you Lord for my bread machine!) but does require you set aside the time necessary to manage the process. It doesn’t require a lot of brain cycles, but in my previously ‘normal’ routine, starting bread after six o’clock at night meant being up past my bedtime before it was done and cool enough to bag. Weekends were usually spent running errands, volunteering, shopping, visiting friends and relatives or attending events. For the foreseeable future, my bread machine and I are going to be BFFs!

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Puppy Treat Love

3-Ingredient
Home-Made
Dog Treats

When my daughter came to visit over the Christmas and New Year holidays, I made several trips to Trader Joe’s to purchase food she could eat without having an adverse reaction (she’s allergic to corn). While I was there I bought a box of peanut butter dog treats for Lexy. By the middle of January, we’d given Lexy all the treats from that box. I decided that since I’ve been making her dog food for a couple of months now, I might as well make her treats. That way, I control the ingredients and it’s also fun.

I searched for a peanut butter dog biscuit recipe and found several but one in particular caught my eye – a peanut butter pumpkin recipe. I was intrigued because our vet had us give Porthos pumpkin with his food whenever he had diarrhea. Apparently, pumpkin and chicken are easy for them to digest so that’s what Porthos ate for a couple of weeks last year until his tummy settled down.

I reviewed a half dozen recipes, most of which were just three simple ingredients – oats, pumpkin and peanut butter. Among the other items purchased at Trader Joe’s, I found myself with a couple of cans of organic pumpkin. So I added oats and peanut butter to my grocery list and came home with enough to make a large batch of this recipe I found among my dog treat search results: https://www.rachaelrayshow.com/recipes/peanut-butter-dog-treats-with-pumpkin-susan-holmes-mckagan

Click on image for album.

Please be VERY CAREFUL which peanut butter you give your dog – it must NOT contain the artificial sweetener xylitol. Most Natural peanut butters are xylitol free but double-check the ingredients to be safe.

https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/paws-xylitol-its-dangerous-dogs
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