Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
1 Corinthians 3:17

Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter & Customer Packaging and Thank You Card Ideas

I was really happy when we woke to beautiful clear and sunny skies yesterday for Easter Sunday. Easter is magnificent no matter what, but it just feels so right when the sun is shining. Plus, my hair and Isabelle's often-unruly hair cooperated beautifully, which was an extra special treat since I have to leave before everyone else for choir and Daddy breaks out in a cold sweat at the thought of being on "hair duty."  ;) We had dinner here with my parents - it was such a lovely day.

Today is the 118th Boston Marathon and it looks like another gorgeous day. We'll be cheering on some friends (from home), and praying for everyone's safety. When we visited Boston last weekend, things were already well underway for the big race. We New Englanders are a tough breed. Boston Strong.

Now onto the packaging details for the items I make and sell... several of you have asked me about my packaging and Thank You cards. I wrote up a post about it HERE.

Have a wonderful Monday!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Scalloped Potatoes: The Ultimate Comfort Food

 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit...
1 Peter 3:18
Today is Good Friday. I'm forever thankful for a savior who loves us just as we are, flaws and all, and who wants nothing more than to call us His own. I know lots of people think that God might not love them because they aren't perfect. That isn't true; He knows we aren't perfect and He loves us!

With our Spring weather teaser last week and the now near-freezing temps this week, I've got comfort food back on my mind. Scalloped Potatoes fit the bill perfectly. I didn't start making Scalloped Potatoes until recently, mainly after I bought a cookbook dedicated to solely to spuds. (One of those $1.99 Clearance deals, which not only screams, "Buy me, buy me" but simply jumps straight into my cart. True story.)


They are so, so good. The top gets slightly crunchy while the underneath layers get soft and tender and creamy. Yum! I altered the recipe slightly by avoiding heavy cream and using a lighter alternative.

4-5 potatoes, peeled, sliced thin
3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
salt & pepper 
1 cup half and half (or light cream)
1/2 stick butter
parsley, fresh or jar
ham, diced (optional)

This is the longest part of the process: after you peel and slice the potatoes, let them sit in very cold water for at least a half an hour.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

You don't need to use fresh parsley, but it sure looks pretty.

To begin, coat the baking dish with butter. I used a large ceramic 9x13 dish; a heavy 2-quart dish would work, too. Then sprinkle some half the chopped garlic around the edges/sides of the dish; layer with potatoes. Add a splash of cream to cover potatoes, 4-5 pats of butter randomly placed, salt and pepper, a few more garlic bits, and a sprinkling of parsley.

If you add chopped ham, layer it with everything else.

Repeat these layers until all the potatoes are used.

You don't need to cover it at all. Bake for about an hour. Edges of the pan will brown, but you know the potatoes are done when they begin to brown.

Turn up the oven to 400F for the last 10 or so minutes if you want a nice browned topping; I didn't do that this time.

Sprinkle with more parsley and let sit for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Since I made slow-cooker ribs, I omitted the ham and used the potatoes as a side dish. It's more suitable as a main dish when you add the ham.

During the throes of soccer season, we learned that you can set the oven temp to 325F and bake for up to two hours, slightly longer. Delicious and versatile? Yes, please!

Check out this Hash Browns recipe for another great potato option.

Later this morning, the boys and I will be making these yummy things...

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Winter Beach Day: North Hampton & Rye State Harbor Park

Exactly one month ago, we ventured out to North Hampton Beach, our first beach trek of 2014. (I keep trying to catch up, and I keep, well, not catching up...) The parking lot was a slushy, gooey mess, and drifts of snow covered the embankments still; but once we cleared the hill and navigated the slippery rocks leading toward the sand, it was so wonderful and freeing. Just what we needed after months and months of cold and dark and sub-zero temperatures.

And today, mid-April, we have fresh snow on the ground. Yikes!
I'm making this puff pancake for breakfast to try and ease the pain...

We savored riding along the coast with the windows rolled down a little bit. There's nothing like breathing in ocean air. 

Here we are at Rye State Harbor Park. Caleb and I had a special date over the summer at this very spot, and here we are again a few months later.

Isabelle can't bear to see me posing with anyone else before jumping in for her turn. I think I love that.  =)

We were in a slight rush to get back home because Ethan had a youth group outing that night. It was such a nice ride back, us chatting up front while the movie The Tooth Fairy had them laughing in the back. Then it was easy supper, baths and showers, and someone may have even picked up Chinese from our favorite place for a special little late-night dinner, just the two of us. What a wonderful day.