Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Ladies of Grace - September 30

Have you experienced a gift of grace this week? Have you given grace to someone else? Have you felt your heart softened and warmed, or hardened and cooled toward an experience or situation? If so, take a moment to share your experience and link up to Walk a Mile's experiment called "Ladies of Grace." We take a moment each week to notice how our thoughts or actions - or others' actions towards us - affect how we live out grace in our lives. Here's mine for this week:

My gift came from a youth group member from my church in Wisconsin... from seven years ago! She found me on Facebook today and sent a nice note - informing me that she is now a senior in college and applying for law school! Whoa! I feel so old...

But what a wonderful surprise! One, that she remembers me. Two, that she chose to make contact with me. And three, that it was so fun finding out that life is treating her well and she seems happy.

I don't think anyone understands how weird it is to leave behind a whole community of teenagers when, as a youth director, you leave a church - unless you've been there. These kids trust you with their joys, their questions, their doubts, their fears, and their hopes... And then, life changes and either they leave you or you leave them - and you may never hear from them again. I think about my old kids all the time - I wonder where they are and if they've found their way through life. Some have found me, and I have found some - mostly on Facebook - and it's so fun to see where life has taken them. I am so proud of so many of their accomplishments and the people they turned out to be!

So, thanks, Ashley, for making me smile today!

Things I am thankful for today:

1. One more morning at home, to sleep and rest.
2. Wearing my cute new Keens!
3. More cherry tomatoes on my desk this morning! Yum!
4. Funny emails back and forth with the hubby this morning.
5. Talking with my sister today about her new life in Alaska. So fun!
6. Papa John's pizza - I usually crave this when I'm getting over being sick... but I think my hubby has been craving it for me this time!
7. I got a travel magazine in the mail today with a whole section about Ireland - so fun to look back!
8. Ashley's Facebook invitation!
9. Make-up. Everyone told me I looked good today when I still felt kind of icky. It was the make-up. Ha ha ha.
10. A cleaned out work back pack - so much lighter!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Only the Heart

"Only the heart knows how to find what is precious."
--Fyodor Dostoyevsky

"Only the heart knows what's working in our lives. The heart is our authentic compass. If we consult her, the heart can tell us if we're headed in the right direction. But the heart also tells us when we've made a wrong turn or when it's time for a U-turn. For a lot of us, this is information we don't want to know. Knowing might mean choice, and choice often means change."
--Simple Abundance
(Photo courtesy of StrwbryBlnd_album, found on google images.)

Interesting how sometimes readings pop up when you need them, isn't it? I'm home sick again today, so in between napping, trying to work, and staring at the TV... I've been catching up on my daily readings that I missed most of last week. The above quotes were from Sunday's readings - and they caught my attention.

I know
I personally don't usually take enough time to stop and listen to my heart. That's why I love Open Sanctuary nights at my church - I can sit in the quiet, candle lit sanctuary and simply clear my mind of all the craziness of the day, or week, and just listen. Listen to God, listen to Spirit, listen to my heart... All of the things that bubble up inside of me all week long, at last have a place to pour out in prayer... It's a gift. I love these nights.

But this reading was a nice reminder. With all the choices we make everyday - choices about the future, about relationships, about work, about finances, about who knows what else?! It's a nice reminder, that sometimes I just need to stop. Stop and listen to what my heart is crying out to me. Today is one of those days.

What is your heart telling you today?

Things I am thankful for today:

1. The blog "Pause." Check out what she wrote today!
2. A listening ear.
3. Fuzzy socks.
4. Catching up on readings - I missed them.
5. The hubby making me mashed potatoes.
6. My paycheck arriving in the mail - what a thoughtful treasurer we have!
7. Fresh air.
8. Emails from youth group kids to get well soon!
9. Ha ha ha - a visitor to Monday's blog post just commented asking if I was pregnant?! Uh. Nope. I'm sure. Just the flu. Ha ha ha.
10. Beth sending me a note about her first pumpkin shake of the year! I'm so jealous... But it made me chuckle.

Monday, September 28, 2009

A Simple Woman's Daybook - September 28th Edition

For Today...

Outside my window... it's cold and grey - and WINDY! The whole house shakes!
I am thankful... that I no longer feel like throwing up. TMI?
From the kitchen... hmmm... still eating saltines and toast. Can't quite think about real food yet.
I am wearing... pink, white and green striped flannel pj bottoms, a white t-shirt, and a red hoodie cardigan. Cozy!
I am creating... nothing.
I am going... to get better really soon!
I am reading... "So You Want to be a Innkeeper" and "The Scandalous Gospel of Jesus Christ," and "Spiritual Literacy."
I am hoping... to feel better soon. I hate feeling sick - and I have so many things I want to do this week!
I am hearing... wind, wind, and more wind.
Some plans for the week... at this point I'm not sure... Depends how quickly I get better. Possibilities? Meetings, book group, coffee dates, youth meetings, open sanctuary... We'll see!
One of my favorite things... cinnamon toast.
A picture thought I am sharing: My sister moved to Alaska this weekend - she's already seen 6 moose! (This picture was taken from google images.)
Things I am thankful for today:

1. 12 hours of sleep.
2. Orange juice. (The first thing I've tasted in over 24 hours!)
3. Clean pjs.
4. Time to read.
5. Clean sheets.
6. The hubby got me soup for dinner! More taste!
7. Watching the hubby excitedly get ready for his backpacking trip this weekend.
8. The hubby made homemade granola for his trip - the whole house smells so good!
9. More hot showers.
10. The show, "Castle." It makes me chuckle.

Sunday, September 27, 2009


"Joseph Campbell tells us to 'follow our bliss' if we want life to be rich, deep, and meaningful. Follow your bliss and doors will open. Follow your bliss, and you'll get on the track created especially for you at the beginning of time.

"Could your bliss and an authentic life be one and the same? What if, whatever it is that makes you ecstatic, brings you joy, sends you soaring, satisfies your hunger, fulfills your yearning, ignites your passion, makes you reach out to others, and gives you peace - in other words, your bliss - is also the Kingdom of Heaven?"
--Simple Abundance

Things I am thankful for today:

1. An understanding boss. I woke up with the flu today. Yuck.
2. Having everything ready to go at church - so hopefully, it got done without me.
3. My "magic couch." I sleep well on this couch no matter what!
4. My hubby going to pick up the dog from my parents.
5. My dog - she cuddles so well when I don't feel good!
6. Sprite and saltines.
7. Hot showers.
8. Comfy pjs.
9. My hubby describing "The Amazing Race" to me while I had my eyes covered due to a bad headache. (Especially the part with the wasabi bombs!)
10. The season premiere of "Brothers and Sisters." I've missed that show!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Happy Birthday, Hubby!

Ha ha ha - his name is Mike - and he rocks my world!

Today is his birthday and we spent it in Madison, WI at a Badgers game,
and strolling down State St - finishing with dinner at an Irish Pub before we started the long drive home to MN.

ten reasons I am thankful for my hubby:
1. We've got a great life together.
2. All the little things he does everyday that say "I love you."
3. Phone calls and emails during the middle of the day to say "hi" and share a joke.
4. Hugs - he gives GREAT hugs.
5. Being able to share a thought with just a look (or raised eyebrows). Ha ha ha.
6. Knowing we're in this life together - through thick and thin.
7. His listening to me - my crazy ideas, my venting, my joys.
8. His big heart - he's always willing to help anyone with anything!
9. His eyes - the most beautiful eyes.
10. His hands. I love to hold his hand...

I could go on and on... But I'll save some for next year!

I love you
, babe!

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Yep - Mom and Hubby share the same birthday! Crazy, huh? (They also share it with Mike's twin sister, Michelle, and my friend Carol - busy weekend!)But this one goes out to Mom! Here are ten reasons I am thankful for my Mom:

1. She gave me life. Ha ha ha. And it's a good life.
2. She read me books - and I love reading!
3. She always made our house a home - a place that's always safe, cozy, and welcoming.
4. She's protective of her girls. (And a worry-wart!)
5. She taught us the value of family.
6. Her giggle. Guess where I got that from?
7. She's strong and faithful.
8. She's a good listener.
9. She's thoughtful.
10. She's patient.

I love you, Mom!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Friday Fave Five - September 25th

It's Friday! Time to look back over the week and pick out our favorite five moments! If you'd like to link up and share yours, pop on over to Living to Tell the Story!

1. Coming home from Book Group to a massage. Lovely.

2. Spending Wednesday with my sister, Em, and her family. So fun to catch up and have fun as they are on their way to Alaska to LIVE. Craziness! We got to hang out, celebrate Mom's and my Hubby's birthdays, watch Finley (my baby niece) dance and "break it down," and play cards till midnight. So fun.

3. Lunch with my friend, Tracie, on Thursday. A pumpkin latte, a grilled cheese, and lots of laughs. Perfect.

4. Friday morning breakfast with Em, Karlin, Finley, Mom, and the Hubby! So fun - but bittersweet, too. It was our good-bye breakfast with Em's family. So fun to see them begin this new phase of their life with excitement... but so sad to see them go...

5. Heading to Janesville, WI, to spend the weekend with my sister-in-law and her family. They got tickets to the Wisconsin Badger Game for my hubby for his birthday - so fun!

Things I am thankful for today:

1. Pumpkin spice pancakes at the Good Earth.
2. Finley telling us about visiting my Dad on his School bus. "Bus bus bus!"
3. A cool, rainy day...
4. Road trip! The hubby even threw my pillow and blanket in the car for me!
5. A good music mix in the car.
6. My parents - for taking good care of my dog while we're gone.
7. The hubby's excitement to see his sister and her family.
8. Lasagna and salad for dinner - Yum.
9. Watching our niece, Lauren, kick my hubby's butt on the Wii! Ha ha ha. (She just gets to practice more...)
10. My in-laws' dog, Uno - so cute.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


Things I am thankful for today:

1. Friends.
2. Family.
3. Forgiveness.
4. Past experiences that have taught me well.
5. Grace.
6. Open Sanctuary - a place to clear my head.
7. Lunch with Tracie - so fun!
8. Sharing and learning from other people's life experiences.
9. My first pumpkin latte of the year!
10. Grey's Anatomy. A good cry.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Ladies of Grace - September 23

Today is the day we link up to Walk a Mile and share where we have experienced grace, given grace, or even just noticed our hearts softened and warmed - or hardened and cold - due to an experience... This is an experiment in noticing where our hearts are opened or closed in our daily lives - and learning from those moments as we move forward in our day-to-day lives. We call this little experiment "Ladies of Grace" - and everyone is invited to take part!

My moment for this week is a happy moment! Today I got to spend time with my sister, Emily, her husband Karlin, and my niece, Finley. They are on their way to Alaska, where Karlin will be serving his first church as an Associate Pastor.

My sister and I are five years apart and have certainly had our ups and downs over the years. Sometimes, I think we've been too much alike... Sometimes, complete opposites... We've had very different life experiences and have chosen different ways to lead our lives. I used to think we would never be close...

But we are. I feel so lucky to finally, over the last couple of years, feel close to Em and her family. We're friends, we're sisters - and it is good. It's been such a blessing to me to be able to listen, comfort, and giggle with her as she gets ready for this huge new endeavor in their lives. She knows it's going to be hard, scary, and maybe lonely at first - but she also knows she can call anytime and that's pretty cool.
And my hubby and I can't wait to go visit - in ALASKA!

There were lots of other blessings that occured today too - including my little niece referring to me as "Annie May" (instead of Auntie Meg). Ha ha ha. I kinda like it.

Things I am thankful for today:

1. Pastor Penny's graceful reaction to an embarrassing moment with my dog...
2. Finley saying everyone's names - so cute.
3. Talking with Em and Karlin about Alaska.
4. Playing the card game, Hearts, till midnight!
5. Yummy steak dinner at Mom and Dad's.
6. Celebrating my Mom's and Hubby's birthdays over dinner.
7. Family photos - I can't wait to see how they turned out!
8. Dad running around like a goof with Finley and the dogs! So fun to see him playing!
9. Trail mix - with candy corns. Yum. Thanks, Mom!
10. Finley dancing with "hand in the air" and "breaking it down!"

Yummy Wednesday - Margherita Pizza Bread

I lived on this for three days straight - it's THAT good! It's easy to make... and the leftovers are fabulous! If you have a friend handing out fresh tomatoes from their garden - that makes it even better! (And this goes great with Trader Joe's Honey Moon Wine... Just saying...)Margherita Pizza Bread

Fresh french bread loaf
Pizza sauce (I love Trader Joe's)
Fresh tomatoes, sliced (I used heirloom cherry tomatoes given to me by a church friend - Fabulous!)
Fresh basil
Mozzerella cheese

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
Cut your french bread loaf into 6-8inch sections, and slice in half (like a sandwich).
Place each section cut side up on a cookie sheet coated with non-stick cooking spray.
Spread a thick layer of pizza sauce over each of the sections.
Top with sliced tomatoes.
Add fresh basil leaves (As many or little as you like. I used 6 medium leaves.)
Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Generously cover with mozzerella cheese.
Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly and edges are slightly brown.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009


"I would like to learn, or remember, how to live."
--Annie Dillard

"In the Old Testament, God uses donkeys, rocks, and burning bushes to deliver Divine messages, so don't question the validity of what you hear or how you hear it if the truth resonates within. You might be reading a story, watching a video, or chatting casually with a friendly grocery clerk. Don't cut yourself off from sources of inspiration."
--Simple Abundance

Things I am thankful for today:

1. Waking up. It's a new day.
2. Honesty.
3. Diane's surprise inheritance! God works in amazing ways!
4. Getting a lot of work done, despite multiple distractions!
5. Coming home for dinner.
6. Book group at a wine bar... Yum.
7. Carol's company - fun stories, interesting books, lots of giggles.
8. Missing the rest of the group - I'm thankful that I value this group so much that I truly miss them when they can't get together!
9. Surprises.
10. Massages. Mmmm....

Monday, September 21, 2009

A Simple Woman's Daybook - September 21st Edition and a GIVE-A-WAY!

For Today...

Outside my window... finally! A cool, breezy morning! The sun is out for now... but I hear rain is on the way!
I am thankful... for a quiet, restful weekend.
From the kitchen... leftover chai buttermilk pancakes for breakfast. As for the rest of the week, I'm not sure yet... Any suggestions?
I am wearing... my black sweatpants (with a hole in the knee) and a comfy natural-colored henley top. In other words, lounge wear.
I am creating... my plan for the busy week ahead.
I am going... to see my sister and her family in just a couple of days! So fun!
I am reading... "So You Want to be a Innkeeper" and "The Scandalous Gospel of Jesus Christ." Oh! And I finally finished my Dean Koontz book...
I am hoping... for the WI Badgers Football team to win this weekend (the hubby and I will be at the game!). Oh - and for good weather (it's supposed to rain...).
I am hearing... The Ellen Show, hammering, and puppy snores.
Some plans for the week... meetings; book group; time with the Bilchuks (my sister's family); open sanctuary; going to Janesville, WI to see the hubby's sister's family; Badgers game; church and paintball with some of our youth group kids... Phew. Busy week.
One of my favorite things... getting packages in the mail...
A picture thought I am sharing: A Give-a-way!!!!
Leave a comment on this post by Friday at 5pm, and you'll be entered into a random drawing for this flip calendar of fun quotes about living simply - and gratefully! I love these things... Sometimes, it's that little quote that makes me smile and keeps me going! (If you post about my give-a-way on your blog, you'll get a second entry!) Good luck!

Things I am thankful for today:

1. A day to work from home. Nice.
2. Playing with the dog and her ball. So silly.
3. Getting our church Facebook site up and running - and inviting "friends"!
4. Pastor Penny's funny "oops" on Facebook.
5. Overhearing the hubby giving relationship advice on the phone... He's good at it!
6. More reading about starting up a B&B.
7. The hubby ordering me shoes that I like! Yeah!
8. Butterscotch cookies and coffee for an afternoon snack.
9. An easy, quick grocery trip - and a burger and tator tots for dinner!
10. "House" season premiere!
11. A phone call from Kelsey!

Sunday, September 20, 2009


I recommend Hotels Combined and sent $20 to World Vision!

You can shout and help too.

I got an email today from a someone who recently read my blog and saw that I support Feed My Starving Children - and she told me about this program through Hotels Combined. Hotels Combined is an Austrailan company that searches the internet for the lowest rates and availabilities for hotels. They also are beginning a campaign to give to charities when people mention them on their blog, Facebook, or Twitter. So... I'm mentioning them! And for this brief little message, $20 will go to World Vision.

So, if you have a moment, and want to painlessly give to starving children - post this on your blog! $20 can go a LONG way!

Things I am thankful for today:

1. Waking up in time - despite my alarm not going off... (Thanks to the dog for wanting her breakfast!)
2. My confirmation guys. So fun.
3. Candy corn! One of the best parts of fall...
4. Hitting all green lights on the way to church!
5. A two hour nap.
6. The act of cooking... Even when I'm home by myself, I really just like cooking.
7. Neil Patrick Harris hosting the Emmy's!
8. All kinds of ways to support charities.
9. A cooler day today... So nice.
10. The hubby's on his way home!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Another Saturday

Phew. A busy day.

Things I am thankful for today:

1. Making a nice breakfast, even when the hubby is out of town. Chai buttermilk pancakes!
2. Stopping by the Neighbor's Inc Duck Race. Such a fun family event!
3. Visiting my family for a bit.
4. The dog's excitement at visiting my parents - so funny!
5. The Georgia O'Keefe movie on Lifetime. So good. Yet so sad.
6. Baking cookies. Butterscotch and cinnamon. Great with coffee... otherwise a bit too rich for me...
7. Indulging in magazines.
8. Chuckling at the poor goldfinches that are in their "molting" stage. Their feathers are so disheveled you just have to feel sad for the little things! (Do you think they make fun of each other?)
9. More reading in bed - with a glass of wine. Lovely.
10. The dog enjoying the hubby's pillow while he's away...

Friday, September 18, 2009

Friday Fave Five - September 18th

Take moment to look back over your week and notice (and say thanks) for your favorite five moments! If you'd like, you can than link up with Living to Tell the Story and share your uplifting stories with others! Here's mine:

1. Date night last Friday, in Stillwater. I wore my new dress. We finally tried a little bistro/bar that we had wanted to check out for a long time (Ruby Begonia's. They have THE best french fries!). We planned to see the band performing that night... but they were starting too late. So, we walked down the street to the patio that overlooked the river and had a couple of beers and just talked and enjoyed the evening. Perfect. My favorite part? On the walk back to the car, a girl stopped us and told us that we looked like such a sweet couple. So cute!

2. Pumpkin recipes! Pumpkin waffles Saturday morning, and pumpkin bread and muffins Sunday night (I had to use up the rest of the can of pumpkin...). Yum!

3. Book group! It's been a while since I was there and it was so nice to hear what's going on in everyone's lives! Next week I'll look forward to actually talking about the book... Ha ha ha.

4. Spending my day off today cleaning the house and getting the fall decorations up. I didn't go as overboard as I usually do this year. Kept it simple. It looks and feels nice.
5. Dinner tonight was scrumptious! I was given more tomatoes from a church member's garden - a whole assortment of red, orange, yellow, and purple(!) cherry and grape tomatoes. They are the BEST tomatoes I have ever tasted, let me tell you! We used them in a pasta last week - a few nights in a row, cause they were so good. And tonight, I made a Margherita Pizza Bread with them and had a glass of yummy white wine. Wowza! Delish.
And... things I am thankful for today:

1. Sleeping in til 9am. So nice.
2. The hubby coming home for lunch before leaving for the weekend.
3. Pumpkin bread.
4. Being organized. It makes decorating for the seasons so easy!
5. A clean house. Time to relax.
6. New recipes to try this weekend.
7. Fresh tomatoes and basil (from my little plant - thanks Beth!). So good.
8. A fun book to read in bed.
9. Fall candles. My new one is "spice market" from Yankee Candles - yum!
10. Sinking into bed. I love that feeling!

Thursday, September 17, 2009


"In the muddled mess of this world, in the confusion and the boredom, we ought to be able to spot something - an event, a person, a memory, an act, a turning of the soul, a flash of bright wings, the surprise of sweet compassion - somewhere we ought to pick out a glory to celebrate."
--Samuel H. Miller

On a hurried, busy, crazy day - reading this during Open Sanctuary was just what I needed. Thank you, God.

Things I am thankful for today:

1. Being a part of Neighor's Inc - and looking forward to their future.
2. The kind and caring people that I spent the day with (other Board members for Neighbor's Inc).
3. Little glass bottles of soda - I haven't seen those forever!
4. Unwinding from the earlier part of the day with a friend. Talking and laughing helped me to finish out the day!
5. Plans to go to a high school football game - I haven't been to one in YEARS!
6. The smell of lit matches. I love that smell.
7. Visiting with Diane. I'm glad she stopped by at the end of the night.
8. A nice chat with my sister - finally!
9. The memory of The Night of "L'il Abner." Ha ha ha. That was the longest high school play EVER!
10. Uncle Cracker's song, "Smile."

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Ladies of Grace - September 16

So today is the day we share those moments in the week when we have noticed our hearts warmed and softened by acts of grace, or cold and hardened by a lack of grace. We share our stories through an experiment called Ladies of Grace, a blog carnival hosted by Walk A Mile, where we try to notice all the ways God's grace surrounds us in our daily lives - both in how we experience it, and how we offer it to others.

...And part of this experiment is being honest when we notice ourselves not being very graceful, when we notice our hearts hardening against a person, a situation, or an experience... So today, my friends, the honest truth must be told. I am a cold, hardened, ungraceful person today.

As I was leaving my house this morning, I found a note from our neighbor on my garage door complaining about our dog - and signed, "your friendly neighbors." At first I laughed - because they are anything but friendly. And then, I just got mad. Mad mad mad. They are loud, obnoxious, lazy, slobs - we have put up with their bad behavior and lack of respect for property for four years... and not complained. We tried to be graceful and accept that they don't share our ways of living. They have different standards and ways of doing things. We've tried not to start ill feelings between us. We've tried to "let it go."

But this morning, I wanted to write an endless letter to the association complaining about every thing this family has ever done to annoy and disturb our peaceful little life - and... yes. I would like them evicted. (Don't worry... nothing will happen.)

AHHHH! Cold cold hardened heart. This is not me. I have done no such thing. I will do no such thing. I will calmly attend to my dog a little more... and maybe start leaving them friendly (hopefully not sarcastic) little notes when I could be reporting them...

And so it goes. Sometimes, even I can be a victim of giving into such ugly ways. Which is why we pray, right?

I hope you're having a better day! God's grace does abound (sometimes we just have to look a little harder...)

Things I am thankful for today:

1. Sleeping in just a bit this morning.
2. Lessons in humility.
3. Fun finds at the church rummage sale - early. One of the few perks to working in the church building.
4. Teaching my pastor how to use Facebook - very funny.
5. Meeting with Jason today - he always makes me smile.
6. More cherry tomatoes! Yum!
7. A good cry. No worries - I just needed it.
8. A beautiful drive home.
9. Cinnamon ice cream - makes everything better.
10. A note from Cheryl. Makes me smile.

Yummy Wednesday - Pumpkin Waffles

Mmm. Mmmm. Mmmm. We tried these last weekend and they are to DIE for! A perfect way to welcome in Fall! I found these on the website Heck. I just liked her name!Pumpkin Waffles

2.5 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
4 large eggs, separated
2 cups well-shaken buttermilk
1 cup canned solid-pack pumpkin
3/4 stick (6 tbsp) unsalted butter, melted
Vegetable oil or cooking spray for the waffle iron

Preheat oven to 250 degrees and preheat waffle iron.
Sift together flour, brown sugar, bakig powder, baking soda, salt, and spices.
In a separate bowl, whisk egg yolks with buttermilk, pumpkin, and butter until smooth.
Whisk in dry ingredients just until combined.
In a mixing bowl with a whisk attachment, whisk the eggs whites until they hold soft peaks.
Fold them gently into the waffle batter, until just combined.

Brush waffle iron lightly with oil, or spray, and spoon batter into waffle iron, spreading quickly.
(The recipe calls for 2 cups batter for one belgian waffle, my waffle maker holds 1 cups at a time - so be sure to follow directions for your machine! That goes for cooking times too! Mine was one cup for 5 minutes.)

Transfer the cooked waffles to rack in oven to keep them warm and crisp.
Makes about 8 pancakes?


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Authentic Success

"Authentic success is having time enough to pursue personal pursuits that bring you pleasure, time enough to make the loving gestures for your family you long to do, time enough to care for your home, tend your garden, nurture your soul... Authentic success is knowing that if today were your last day on earth, you could leave without regret. Authentic success is feeling focused and serene when you work, not fragmented. It's knowing that you've done the best that you possibly can, no matter what circumstances you faced; it's knowing in your soul that the best you can do is all you can do, and that the best you can do is always enough.

"Authentic success is accepting your limitations, making peace with your past, and reveling in your passions so that your future may unfold according to a Divine Plan. It's discovering and calling forth your gifts and offering them to the world to help heal its ravaged heart. It's making a difference in other lives and believing that if you can do that for just one person each day, through a smile, a shared laugh, a caress, a kind word, or a helping hand, blessed are you among women.

"Authentic success is not just money in the bank but a contented heart and peace of mind... It's earning what you feel you deserve for the work you do and knowing that you're worth it. Authentic success is paying your bills with ease, taking care of all your needs and the needs of those you love, indulging some wants, and having enough left over to save and share. Authentic success is not about accumulating but letting go, because all you have is all you truly need. Authentic success is feeling good about who you are, appreciating where you've been, celebrating your achievements, and honoring the distance you've already come. Authentic success is reaching the point where being is as important as doing. It's the steady pursuit of a dream. It's realizing that no matter how much time it takes for a dream to come true in the physical world, no day is ever wasted. It's valuing inner, as well as outer, labor - both your own and others'. It's elevating labor to a craft and craft to an art by bestowing Love on every task you undertake.

"Authentic success is knowing how simply abundant your life is exactly as it is today. Authentic success is being so grateful for the many blessings bestowed on you and yours that you can share your portion with others.

"Authentic success is living each day with a heart overflowing."
--Simple Abundance

That's what I needed today. Thank you Sarah Ban Breathnach.

Things I am thankful for today:

1. My sleepy dog - she went back to bed without me this morning! Goodness...
2. The routine of the school year.
3. Beautiful music.
4. A spontaneous dinner with the hubby.
5. A wonderful new print for our house - from a discount store. So fun!
6. Venting. Sometimes it's needed.
7. Book group. I love these ladies.
8. Funny dreams. The kind that make you do funny things - and your spouse tries to help... Until you realize you're just dreaming... Then you feel dumb. Ha ha ha.
9. Melissa is pain-free!
10. Beth H. made it home safe and sound from Japan after an interesting plane landing today!

Monday, September 14, 2009

A Simple Woman's Daybook - September 14th Edition

For Today...

Outside my window...
a cloudy, gray morning - but warm and muggy!
I am thankful... for so many breakfast choices today! Pumpkin waffles... Homemade granola... What to choose?
From the kitchen... yummy leftovers... but nothing new...
I am wearing... black workout capris and a blue t-shirt. Guess who's planning to hit the elliptical soon?
I am creating... a Christmas present... Ha ha ha - sorry! Can't tell you what it is!
I am going... to decorate for fall this weekend. Yikes. It seems so soon!
I am reading... "So You Want to be a Innkeeper" and "The Scandalous Gospel of Jesus Christ." Interesting...
I am hoping... for cooler weather.
I am hearing... birds, geese, the garbage truck, and the dog's snores.
One of my favorite things... already working on some Christmas presents! Woo-hoo!
A picture thought I am sharing:
Isn't this a funny picture? They were sitting on my desk, looking so cute - so I snapped their pic! They've been hiding in our church the last couple of Sundays - whoever finds them each week gets a free entry into the Annual Neighbor's, Inc Duck Race. I just think they make a hilarious photo opp!

Things I am thankful for today:

1. Yummy granola for breakfast.
2. Working out. A novel idea.
3. Catching up on reading for work.
4. Exercise balls. They make sit ups do-able.
5. Dark chocolate covered macadamia nuts. Thank you, Trader Joe's.
6. Pink clouds and blue clouds in the evening sky. So pretty.
7. The neighborhood kids playing with my dog - frisbee, tricks, wanting to walk her on her leash. So funny.
8. New moisturizer and eye cream... I think I like it so far...
9. A nice walk this evening. Bugs were much fewer than the last time we tried to take a walk!
10. Book group tomorrow!
11. Pumpkin muffins! Lord have mercy, they're good!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Life Psalm

"Let us, then, be up and doing
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait."
--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

"Dreams are not enough. They must be backed up with effort. Success is as simple and as profound as that... We must be doing something about bringing our dreams into the world every day, even if we only have fifteen minutes out of every twenty-four hours to concentrate on our calling.

"As long as you're actively pursuing your dream with a practical plan, you're still achieving, even if it feels as though you're going nowhere fast. It's been my experience that the very moment I feel like giving up, I'm only one step from a breakthrough. Hang on long enough and circumstances will change, too. Trust in yourself, your dream and Spirit."
--A Simple Abundance

This is for all of you who are supporting my dream - and sharing your dream with me! You'll get there - just keep plugging on!

Things I am thankful for today:

1. Rally Sunday at church! A good vibe all around this morning.
2. Jake's solution to my forgetting a lighter for our candle during prayer time, in confirmation class - he "lit up" the candle application on his phone and placed it on the candle holder! Ha ha ha!
3. Tommy telling me funny stories (he's maybe 10 years old... so cute).
4. My new clothes came in at REI - smartwool long undies and windbreaking fleece pants. Sexy, I know!
5. A trip to Whole Foods. I love that place.
6. The hubby made home-made granola - the house smells SO GOOD!
7. Manwich and brown beans for dinner - a childhood classic. Gotta love comfort foods.
8. Magazines! I got 2 in the mail this week - so nice to ignore the rest of the world and enjoy looking at house decorations and new recipes...
9. A new musician, Forest Sun - we've been listening to him all weekend.
10. Clean laundry for the week! ha ha ha.

Saturday, September 12, 2009


Here are some pieces to my Saturday - a good one!

Things I am thankful for today:

1. Waking up laughing at the dog.
2. Then going back to sleep.
3. Pumpkin waffles for breakfast - Yes, fall is here and I'm thoroughly enjoying it!
3.5 And the hubby's comment, "Well, you hit another recipe out of the ballpark! I think when we do have a B&B, you should sell a book of your breakfast recipes..." Cute!
4. A mom and daughter holding up traffic, helping a turtle cross the road. So funny and cute!
5. WI Badgers won! And yes - Bailey was wearing a jersey... though not very interested in the game...
6. The woman at the Renaissance that was SO excited to find a frog, that she picked it up, cuddled with it and KISSED it! Whoa. I like animals... but there IS a boundary.... I guess I'm thankful for her excitement and love of God's creatures... and for the laugh it gave me when my hubby and I both looked at each other with raised eyebrows!
7. A beautiful sunset.
8. All kinds of new music on the ipod due to free downloads!
9. Dirty feet. It means we had a fun afternoon at the Renaissance Festival.
10. More pumpkin waffles for dessert - with a little cinnamon ice cream. Oooo la la!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Friday Fave Five - September 11th

Friday Fave Five time! Take a moment to look over your past week and find five things you loved and were blessed by, then link up to Living to Tell the Story to share yours! Here are mine:

1. A weekend of rest and relaxation. I had 3 days to myself last weekend to sleep in, read, and pamper myself. It was great!

2. A Labor Day Bluegrass Festival - so fun! It's at a local park - so we spend the day outside, listening to music, eating scallop tacos and yummy ice cream cones! The crowds are always fun to watch and so friendly! This is becoming our Labor Day tradition. (And my hubby wore his "my wife rocks" t-shirt! Lots of funny comments!)

3. Wednesday, we volunteered at Feed My Starving Children with youth and parents from our church. We had dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings first and then went and served. What a fun evening with a bunch of fun people!

4. Awaking to a surprise from my hubby yesterday morning - a bag from a favorite store on my dresser... When I opened it, it contained a dress I've been eye-ing all summer! So fun! (And no, my hubby doesn't normally buy me dresses...)

5. Trying lots of new recipes over the last week - Sweet and Spicy Pork Tenderloin (yum!), White Chocolate Strawberry Trifle (delish!), Funky Spaghetti (fabulous!), Coconut French Toast (mmm. mmmm. mmm.). I'm getting my "cooking mo-jo" back! Ha ha ha.

Things I am thankful for today:

1. Several silent reminders of 9-11. We will always remember and mourn that day... but at least we all do it together.
2. A new pair of jeans. Praise God! Ha ha ha.
3. A yummy reuben sandwich.
4. Date night!
5. Beautiful weather for sitting on the patio!
6. Being told we were "such a sweet couple" as we walked through Stillwater, holding hands.
7. Stopping at the grocery store at 10:30pm for pumpkin so we can make pumpkin pancakes for breakfast!
8. A vanilla walnut candle on clearance - I can't wait to light that one!
9. A new CD by Cory Chisel and the Wandering Sons!
10. Looking forward to the Renaissance Festival tomorrow!

Thursday, September 10, 2009


"You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face... You must do the thing you cannot do."
--Eleanor Roosevelt

"Make no mistake, when you start on the path to authenticity, Love will change you, transforming your life in countless ways. Your family and friends may not notice the changes in the beginning because they're so small. But you will, and you'll know that miracles are taking place. Love will sustain you when passion's path takes unexpected twists and turns. Love will dissolve your fears by creating opportunities you couldn't have imagined before you began the search to discover and recover your authentic self. And when doubt, despair, and denial threaten to dismantle your dreams, Love will rear up in your defense. The next time you feel frightened and fragile, stand very still. If you do, you might feel the tip of an angel's wing brush against your shoulder.

"...Today if you feel afraid, take comfort in remembering that courage is fear that has said her prayers... Dreams are gifts of the Spirit meant to alter us. Trust that the same Power that gifted you with your dream knows how to help you make it come true."
--Simple Abundance

My greatest fear is usually failure. Whenever I think about trying something new - that's where it ends. What if I fail?

My latest dream, though... The fear isn't there yet... Everytime someone asks, "what if it fails?" I've been able to say, "it won't!" Ha ha ha. I don't know if that's wishful thinking - or the courage to take the risk and make it come true... Or silly naivity on how the world actually works.

Either way, I love the quote "courage is fear that has said her prayers." And I'm praying!

What is your fear when pursuing a dream? What helps you to push forward when the going gets tough?

Things I am thankful for today:

1. Surprises!
2. A new dress. Ooo la la!
3. Fun "crafty" projects at work.
4. Being ready-to-go for Sunday morning (first day of Confirmation for the year)!
5. Unexpected help moving tables today. Thanks Andrea!
6. Making my own "God's Inbox." 7. Offers to help do handywork, paint, and shop for our future Bed and Breakfast - you guys crack me up!
8. Date night tomorrow!
9. Chats with Diane - they help me feel sane.
10. A BEAUTIFUL sunset - a big ball of fire in my rearview mirror on my drive home... Gorgeous.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Ladies of Grace - September 9

It's that time again - time to link up with Walk A Mile and share a moment in your week when you have noticed grace in your life. Maybe your heart was softened by an act, a word, or a simple awareness of another's situation... Or maybe you were offered grace when you least expected it. God's grace touches us in so many ways! If you'd like to share a story, please do! This is part of our journey through this world together...My story happened tonight. All day long I've been wondering what I was going to share for my Ladies of Grace entry this week... All to find out, it was about to happen!

While I was volunteering at Feed My Starving Children tonight, with some very cool people from my church, I ended up at a station away from the rest of my group... This always happens to me! We rush to a station so that we can all work together - and of course, there's always one or two too many of us. Since I'm usually the coordinator of our group, I step back and see where else I can fit in so that they can still work together.

(I really don't mind. I always have fun. It's just a little bit of a bummer.)

So, tonight my hubby and I joined another table with a mom, dad, and daughter. Then along comes one other woman - also an "extra" from her group looking for a table to work with. So we start working, asking what groups we're with, teasing each other about how we work together, singing along to the radio... When she realized Mike and I were married, she immediately asked if we had kids. I told her nope. Then... She told me about her daughter in 4th grade and how she was in the process of trying to have another. She's been trying for a long time for this one, and is on her "last shot." I took that to mean she must be trying some kind of treatment or procedure - and this is the last time...

In the middle of dumping my dried veggies into the bag, I asked her her name and if I could keep her in my prayers. She smiled and said she would like that very much.

Maybe there's a reason I was separated from my group tonight... You never know...

If you think of it tonight, can you send up a prayer for Lynn? She could use it!

Things I am thankful for today:

1. Crosswords.
2. Thom got a job!!!
3. Eating lunch with our UMW (United Methodist Women) ladies. So fun - and great dessert!
4. Pastor Penny in her gardening clothes! Very cute.
5. Office supply stores... It's like a toy store for me.
6. Feed My Starving Children - we packaged over 17,000 meals in 1.5 hours tonight - that will feed 49 kids for an ENTIRE year!
7. Church friends. So fun.
8. Hair-nets. They make for great (embarrassing) pictures!
9. The kids that came with us tonight - Lydia, Jake, and Matt - so fun and such hard workers!
10. Being home after a LONG day!

Yummy Wednesday - White Chocolate Strawberry Trifle

Another AWESOME recipe from that funny little cookbook... "Intercourses: An Aphrodisiac Cookbook" by Martha Hopkins and Randall Lockridge. The hubby scarffed this one faster than I've ever seen him eat a dessert! His comment? "It's like strawberry shortcake - but so much more!"White Chocolate Strawberry Trifle

1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 egg yolks; large
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
3 oz cream cheese; softened
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 tsp espresso; instant, dissolved
4 oz pound cake
3 oz white chocolate; shaved
3/4 cup strawberries; sliced, around

Mix the sugar and egg yolks in a blender for one minute.
Add the vanilla and blend one minute.
Add the cream cheese and blend until smooth.
Beat the whipping cream until stiff.
Add the cream cheese mixture and chill.
Slice cake into 1 x 3-inch strips.
Dip the strips in hot espresso.
Layer half the cake strips, white chocolate, cream cheese mixture, and strawberries in a clearbowl.
Repeat layers.
Cover and chill until ready to serve.


Tuesday, September 8, 2009


"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. To keep our faces toward change and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate is strength undefeatable."
--Helen Keller

Things I am thankful for today:

1. Reading in bed this morning.
2. First day of school for my youth group kids, their parents, my teacher friends, and my youngest sister!
3. Youth group kids getting into their first-pick colleges! Go Clayton!
4. A hot day! Unusual this summer...
5. The hubby brought me a favorite beer - Magners Cider. Mmm. Thanks babe.
6. The dog playing ball and using the sunspot as her "home base." Ha ha ha.
7. Planning to make a dream happen... even if it might take 10 years!
8. Leftovers. All delish.
9. 25 free itunes - love it!
10. A good marriage. (Can you tell I'm watching the Jon Gosselin interview right now? Yikes.)

Monday, September 7, 2009

A Simple Woman's Daybook - September 7th Edition

For Today...

Outside my window... sunshine, birdies, blue sky, and an irrigation system that just won't stop! My poor dog can't play frisbee, because the grass is always soaked!
I am thankful... for one more day to this splendid weekend! And that I get to share it with the hubby!
From the kitchen... coconut french toast for breakfast and a yummy, light, summer pasta for dinner!
I am wearing... a light blue tank top and my light, comfy hiker pants. (Guess what the hubby is wearing? His "My wife rocks" shirt! Ha ha ha... I didn't think he'd actually wear it...)
I am creating... hmmm... nothing new this week.
I am going... to the Laughing Waters Bluegrass Festival at Minnehaha Falls Park! So fun!
I am reading... "So You Want to be a Innkeeper" and a Dean Koontz book in those rare moments when I can read for fun - still.
I am hoping... for some scallop tacos at Sea Salt Eatery this afternoon!
I am hearing... kids playing outside - their high-pitched giggles and screams.
One of my favorite things... a hubby that would wear this shirt in public!
Things I am thankful for today:

1. A long weekend.
2. Sleeping in. (The hubby's home, so he put out the dog and fed her!)
3. Coconut French Toast - yum-a-roo!
4. Lounging around for the morning!
5. Bluegrass music.
6. Minnehaha Falls - what a nice place to hang out and people (and dog) watch!
7. Running into friends.
8. Sharing scallop tacos and a beer.
9. Ice cream cones on a hot day.
10. Making an excellent dinner and sharing some wine by candlelight!
11. A perfect day.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Communion Bloopers

Ahhh... The sacred act of partaking in communion... Sometimes, even that can make you giggle.

First, our pastor didn't give instructions on HOW we do communion at our church (the pastor hands you a chunk of bread, then you dip it in the chalice and eat it - intinction); then... just a series of bloopers. First, our substitute pianist/organist (who is a lovely lady), tried to take the chalice from me to drink from it - when I realized what she was about to do, and that she had already eaten her bread, I guided her to the communion rail which was supplied with individual cups of juice. Embarrassment averted.

Then, the sister and guest of one of our members tried to do the same thing - hands already on the chalice before I realized what was happening! I calmly pulled the chalice toward me and guided her to the communion rail as well. Goodness! I felt like the guard of the juice!

Then, the best part... One of our members brought his little grandson to church (maybe 5 years old?). His grandson decided he wanted to take communion for the first time (and yes, in the Methodist church we believe you can take communion at any age). So, the grandfather took his piece of bread, and the grandson too. Then the grandfather came to me, dipped his bread, and ate it. I bent down to the little boy's level expecting him to do the same... instead, he THREW his bread into the chalice! Ha ha ha. Drops splattered, the grandpa jumped, and I laughed. Before I knew what was happening, the grandpa and grandson were fishing with their hands in the cup looking for the piece of bread!

Ohmygoodness. I didn't even know what to say or do - other than laugh. And everyone sitting in the first few pews were laughing, too!

So yes. Even in the midst of sacraments and remembering Jesus' sacrifice for us all - there can be laughter and joy!

Things I am thankful for today:

1. Janet sharing a piece of her faith journey with the congregation.
2. Sandy playing the harp during communion - beautiful!
3. Sacred laughter.
4. Children's innocence.
5. The ways we protect each other from embarrassment.
6. All our congregation members supporting Neighbor's Inc by buying ducks for the Duck Race! 29 sold today!
7. A gift of fresh tomatoes from a garden - Delish!
8. The hubby getting home safe and sound!
9. White Chocolate Trifle for dessert - I've never seen the hubby scarf dessert like this! It's a winner! 10. It's nice to have the hubby home....

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Saturday Thanks

A great day! Slept in. Played with the dog. Had lunch with Em. Took a nap. Read a book. A restful, relaxing day... Love it.

Things I am thankful for today:

1. No alarms.
2. House finches at my bird feeder.
3. The dog's cold, wet nose against my neck - that's what I woke up to.
4. Brunch with Em - Mmmm.... Banana pancakes at Jensen's Cafe in Burnsville.
5. Em not laughing at my B&B dream.
6. Ficus and Fig gift shop in Burnsville. I love their stuff!
7. The author Dean Koontz - fun, thriller-type books. (Although, also scary! I really shouldn't read them late at night when I'm by myself for the weekend!)
8. Mom calling me late at night to ask who my chemistry teacher is... Oops. She meant to call my sister, who was DOWNSTAIRS from my mom! Goodness. They make me laugh.
9. Doing absolutely no work today!
10. My sister's husband was ordained today! Hello, Reverand Karlin! Ha ha ha.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Friday Fave Five - September 4th

It's that time again! Here are my Friday Fave Fives - a time when we think about a few of the blessings of our past week. If you'd like to join in, link up at Living to Tell the Story!

1. Saturday, we spent the day with my husband's sister's family. We picnic-ed and played with Lauren and Evan (our niece and nephew) ALL DAY! Their energy, excitement, and creativity were so much fun to watch. I don't get to see them very often - but so fun when I do!

2. Sunday was a powerful worship service at church. We wove our Open Sanctuary experience into the worship service - dimmed the lights, experienced silence, and allowed people to get out of their seats and light candles during their prayers. It was beautiful and powerful all at once. I'm so proud of our congregation and their willingness to experience new things.

3. Monday came with a visit from my friend Em, and her daughter, Elly. We shared lunch, and played and played and played! Elly is starting to walk and get a little more adventurous - she went up and down the stairs over and over and over, and would explore new rooms, and even let the dog come near! Such fun!

4. I managed to get to the State Fair for a few hours on Monday night. We walked around, explored the Eco-experience, saw the baby animals (some of which were JUST born!), and of course, ate some fried food on a stick! I think the mini-donuts were my favorite this year (I hadn't had those since I was in high school!).

5. I haven't been feeling well - and have been EXTREMELY tired! (No, that's not a fave.) But I went to the doctor yesterday and tested negative for mono, thank goodness! So, most likely it's a virus and should be going away any day now... And the hubby's out of town, I have very little planned - so sleep and rest are first priority! So the fave is, I should be feeling better any time! :)

Things I am thankful for today:

1. 12 hours of sleep. Awesome.
2. A leisurely morning.
3. Cleaning the WHOLE house (except the bathrooms... those will wait for the hubby. Ha!)
4. Laundry is DONE.
5. Did more research for the B&B. Uff-da. Getting overwhelmed.
6. Went for a lovely drive in the country - the sun was golden on the farm fields and prairies - GORGEOUS! (Oh! And I saw the funniest dog - a big 'ol boxer sitting at the end of his driveway with a soccer ball in his mouth! No one was around. He was just begging any person that happened to be driving by to stop and play... I really wanted to!)
7. Chocolate covered sunflower seeds.
8. Crickets chirping on a perfect summer evening.
9. A good hair day - even though no one saw it. Ha ha ha.
10. A nice chat with Mom on the phone.

Thursday, September 3, 2009


“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matt. 11:28-30)

"This invitation seems an entirely appropriate way to end the day. As we let go of the busy-ness, the fragmented-ness, the weariness, we pause to ask ourselves how far we have lived out of that gentle humility that Christ displayed and that we too will know as we are “yoked” to him.

"Echoing the words of Jesus, Benedict said that he wanted to offer “nothing harsh, nothing burdensome” to his monks. Jesus struggled to take time out from his ministry to replenish his tired spirit, to continue the dialogue with his Father. Our choosing to follow Jesus means we accept the discipline of doing the same. The discipline feels like a burden that requires some effort, but it also enables us to receive the gift and so becomes lighter as we shoulder it. God graces us with rest; and, as we respond with our gratitude and receive the gift, we begin to enter that balanced life that is our destiny as the people of a loving creator."

--"Heart Whispers" by Elizabeth J. Canham

“Thank you, God,
For those moments in my life
When You opened a window
And offered a word
That nourished the hunger in my soul.
Give me the grace to realize
That these are the words I live by,
Not by bread alone,
Whatever form that bread may take
However satisfying it may seem at the time.
Give me the grace to live not just reflectively but receptively,
That I may not only notice when a window is opened
But also receive what is offered,
Understanding that what is offered
Is my soul’s daily bread…”
--A Prayer for Grace,
from the book Windows of the Soul, by Ken Gire

Ahhhh... rest. That's what I need. Doctor's orders. This weekend, the hubby is gone on a fishing trip. I'm mostly caught up on work. I have one lunch date planned, and have stocked up on goodies in the kitchen. I'm ready to hibernate. To sleep. Read. Craft. Listen to music - or enjoy the silence. Go for walks. I even have a little adventure planned for myself. Hopefully, by Tuesday, I will feel like myself again!

Things I am thankful for today:

1. Not having mono or strep. Woo-hoo!
2. I'm so brave when I get my blood drawn these days... Ha ha ha.
3. Ben got his driver's license!
4. Jason brought me oatmeal raisin cookies - that HE baked! (He's one of my senior high kids!)
5. A quick nap - it got me through the day.
6. Talking to the hubby on the phone.
7. Enjoying a little solitude.
8. Bagels with cream cheese and smoked salmon.
9. The friendly people at Trader Joe's.
10. Cuddles from the dog. So cute.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Yummy Wednesday - Funky Spaghetti

Mmmm... I was given a bag full of fresh, ripe, beautiful tomatoes of varying sizes and colors - and found the perfect pasta to use them in (on the Oprah show, of all places!)! Give this Jamie Oliver recipe a try - you won't be disappointed!Funky Spaghetti

1 pound spaghetti or linguine
11 to 14 ounces cherry tomatoes , red and yellow
2 handfuls of fresh marjoram and basil , leaves picked
6 to 8 glugs extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove of garlic (peeled and finely chopped)
Splash of red wine vinegar
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Parmesan cheese, freshly grated (optional)

Put pasta in large pot of boiling water and cook until al dente.
Halve tomatoes, put in bowl and add herbs, olive oil, garlic and vinegar.
Season to taste, then scrunch tomatoes until slightly mushed.
Drain pasta, and while still steaming, mix with tomatoes.
Separate onto plates and serve (with Parmesan, if you like!).

Makes 3-4 servings.

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