Saturday, December 27, 2014

Irish On My Mind *Lots of Videos*

I happened to re-watch some videos from Celtic Thunder early in the week and I've got the songs stuck in my head.
Songs like this:
Which by the way, I've never heard the original of. Listen from 1:17-1:20 in the video to the word 'more' as Colm (blue shirt) fills in the bottom sound with his singing. That's musicianship.

Keith in this song demonstrates the fun that can be had by simply making faces and gestures. He allows Daniel to take the lead. And between the 2 of them they show how funny (and annoying) copycatting someone's every move can be. :P

Sadly, George passed away almost 1 year ago, but this song was a signature of his. For some reason, as I was looking through the videos I kept thinking of the song in "White Christmas" - 'We'll Follow The Old Man Wherever He Wants To Go'. I miss hearing that Scottish burr in Celtic Thunder's songs.

Ryan Kelly and Neil Byrne of Celtic Thunder have formed their own group and have done several tours already and just released their 2nd album.

A new favorite simply for the bouncy melody, the lyrics are a wee bit odd.

*A/N* 1/8/15. Now HOW could I forget this song? The fun and joy radiates from them.

I can't forget these ladies
This was recorded after than the next video. I love Celtic Woman's bouncy, beautiful songs. Lisa Kelly's voice is heavenly. Chloe Agnew is my age - hard to believe sometimes.

This is such a fun song

Another favorite with Alex Sharpe who I still miss - her voice is amazing. It's got such a warm tone and you know she means what she's singing about.

 These lads are awesome - listen to the first verse. THEY SING IT A CAPELLA! (yes, the shout was necessary, that is an extraordinarily hard song to sing.) 

beautiful voices

                                                      Hehehe, a fun lil' bit of a song.

Finally the group that sparked my love for Celtic music - The Chieftains. They have been touring for 50 plus years and this past March, I was privileged to see them in person!

They play a lot of instrumentals.

They make vocals sound amazing. The way Sinead sings this song is enhanced by the Chieftains.

This is my favorite version of 'Raggle Taggle Gypsy'. Bluegrass-y Celtic country at its finest.

 'The Chieftains with The Belfast Harp Orchestra'  was the first I ever heard of their music. My Nana let me listen to the CD she had and I was hooked.


The Chieftains have collaborated with everyone from reggae, rock, folk, country, pop, and I'm sure a few more genres I missed. And, as a happy result showed the world where so much of the roots of music - particularly in America - comes from.

Cheers and one last song to listen to......

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Make Your Own: Trail MIx

My dad loves trail mix, but he doesn't like almonds, but he loves chocolate and sunflower seeds. And it's so darn expensive for a small bag of the stuff - even at a bulk store like Sam's Club or Costco.

A couple of years ago, Mom and I came up with the solution - homemade trail mix.

Peanuts- the XL Virginia ones for Dad. We get this at Sam's Club.

Cashews - yummy! Sam's Club

Peanut M+M's- Sam's Club

Raisins - more than enough for 1 enormous batch (2 30 oz. bags). Get at Sam's Club

These (either flavor works well). 

Sunflower seeds - Dad likes to buy these at Menards. We also have gotten them at the new Fresh Thyme Market that opened near our house and they are delicious.

Honey Sesame Sticks - have gotten them at Meijers but they are better from Fresh Thyme. Not so sugary, but full of honey flavor.

The pot I ended up having to use holds................ 2 generous gallons. (Had to go and check.)
 when you make this, just start dumping it in and then use a large spatula to combine everything. Oh yea - put in the sesame sticks and sunflower seeds last. They sink so fast.

You can see how full it ended up. 
To store the mix, just put it into the empty nut jars and the bags. I took the pictures of the process a month ago today and Dad is still working on the final jar of the trail mix.

For best freshness - do store this in the freezer if you can. 

Try this recipe if you have biiiig fans of trail mix around your abode, and personalize it to suit your own tastes. Cheers to trials of awesome trail mix.

Shared with:
 Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Dancin' Duo of Awesome

I love old movies, so when I found 'Singin' In The Rain', immediately loved it and thought the actors were interesting. Soon I started to look for clips of them on YouTube.

Then I discovered this video and was confirmed in my suspicion that Gene Kelly and Donald O'Connor should have made more movies together.
To compare them would be like comparing the merits of apples vs. oranges.
Gene Kelly had a muscular, extremely athletic style of dancing. 

Witness this. He dances on roller skates. Yes, you read that right! What's more - Gene makes it look easy.

Donald was graceful - when he wanted to be - light on his feet and athletic also.

 THIS is why Gene and Donald should've made more movies together.

And this...

Sunday Worship

Monday, November 17, 2014

Family Sadness

Wilbur Maust Obituary
It's been over 4 months since this dearly beloved father, uncle, grandfather and husband left this life.

He is my great uncle, my paternal grandmother's brother-in-law. One of 2 "Uncle Bill's" in my Nana's family connection, Uncle Bill Maust was an ardent musician, inveterate optimist and with a gentle way that captured the heart of this great niece of his.

One thing you could always count on was his gentle humor. Towards the end of his life he was able to make the visit from Canada to my Nana's 80th birthday celebration. While there he asked my Mom if he could keep her company at a table. (She was in the middle of a nasty cold and didn't want to 'contaminate' anyone.) The way he asked was so graceful, as if Mom was doing him a favor, that it sticks with me almost 2 years later.

I can never remember hearing him talk about how bad his health was. What a shock it was to me to read of his battles with cancer.

Uncle Bill Maust, musician, husband, friend, father, uncle and too many more things to be named; we will miss you.

One Of My Favorite Things

I want to tell y'all about one of my favorite tricks for packing lunches.

I live with several hearty eaters who have raging sweet tooth's. And not every day can there be cookies or any other dessert.

My solution? The pint size plastic deli containers you can find at restaurant supply stores. (Or at the deli counter!)

They're perfect!
Seriously, though. Instead of trying to scoop the jello or pudding once it's already been made in a big container, put whatever fruit (for jello) or Nilla wafers for banana pudding into the bottom of your containers and top with jello or pudding, refrigerate. 

Next morning, plop a container into the lunchbox along with anything else needed and ice packs. 
Boom - instant dessert, no work in the morning!

Shared with:
Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Sunday Worship and Thankfuls

I am thankful for my mom and brother back in safety from their trip(s) 
I am thankful for my sister-in-law to-be, E.M. She is awesome.

Saturday, November 8, 2014


Changes are aplenty 'round here at the moment.

I started working with my dad and brother in the drywall business at the beginning of September. My dad's been in business for 30 years.

Drywall is among the most hated jobs to have, but it is a important one. Where would we be without drywall on our house walls? Physically, the job is very demanding. Mentally it is not bad at all.

Youngest brother and his fiance are steadily getting closer to their wedding date - it's the day after our mom's birthday!

My maternal grandmother is also visiting for about a month.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Emerald's Emma

Awesome News... that's kinda late

It's been a month - or so - since the big event happened.

I'm getting a sister!!!

Yeah - me - the girl with 2 brothers and another waiting in heaven - is gonna have E. M. for a sister.
I like her. She is so good for my baby brother, J.K.G.

K is a good man who follows the Lord. He works hard, is a very talented musician, knows how to fix things when they break and he loves his fiance.

E. loves animals, is studying vet medicine, is a natural artist and thoroughly enjoys coffee. She also works at a vet office.

They are planning an early January wedding. I am so excited.

Many things are going to change, and it's going to be the start of a new time in all our lives.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Tomatoes - Part Deux

Yeah - about that little numero dos in the title. The first round of tomatoes was completed with absolutely NO fanfare whatsoever. Saturday (9-13) marked batch 2's debut. (lol)

I actually was able to have my Nana help me with making applesauce on 8-30-14, then on 9-6-14 she was able to lend her wealth of canning experience to me and my mom for making a type of tomato juice cocktail which my dad highly enjoys. (He likens the juice to V8, but with less salt.)

 And yes - the recipe again comes from this gem of a book.
Early bird to the market catches the canning tomatoes. But going home was an adventure! My car's muffler decided to finish breaking and drag when I got onto the road back to the house. I am so thankful for AAA - they saved my bacon once again! Originally, they told me it would be an hour, but within 5 minutes called back to say it would be just over 30 minutes for the tow truck to arrive. He showed up before then!
Once home and with 45 lbs tomatoes. (20 for juicing, the rest for puree that will make Tomato batch #3) I quartered 8 onions and cut (about) 5 stalks celery. Mom seeded and cut 2 bell peppers, and just to add a dash of difference - 3/4 of a jalapeno. We plopped 'em in the pot. Then per Nana's directions from the last time, added water; and got them cooking.

(Why? Well, those 3 veggies take longer to cook than tomatoes.)

Midway thru cooking
One mistake I made this time was not stirring it enough. Dad and I had an awful time fishing burned stuff out of the cooked, un-pureed vegetables when we started putting it through the Victorio. Our kettle, despite a decent bottom, is just really prone to sticking in the middle of the bottom of the pot.  :(

Set up on the stove.
 While Dad was checking out 3 jobs during the morning, I cooked it, then because I didn't know how to put Dad's old Victorio strainer together, I let everything wait till he got back.
The Victorio goes to work once again!
Mom and I actually had to move a table that's been in the living room for several years into the kitchen so we could use the strainer. The tables in the kitchen were either curve edged or too thin.

Dad and I proceeded to make a glorious mess on the table. In the back is the kettle full of cooked tomatoes. In front and to  the right is the Victorio clamped to the table with a wide, shallow bowl under the spout to catch the good stuff. There's another smaller bowl to be "back up" to the big one. The white pail on the left is almost full of tomato-y goodness and down in the left hand corner of the picture is another stainless steel container for the juice that's still in the pot.

The above was the set up for putting the hot juice into jars for canning. Mom and I moved the table so we stood in front of the longer side. On the right of the picture is the kettle of juice, then a small plate with a Pyrex measure cup on it. To the left of that is a doubled small towel with the jar, the lifter; then on the butcher block on the far left of the picture is a small pot of hot water with the flat lids for canning. Behind the jar of tomato juice is the kettle of water for heating the jars before I fill them.

Final heating of finished product
All told (with the time of my adventure with my car) 8:30 a.m to about 5 p.m. was my work time. (Including the hour or so of wait time for Dad to get home in the afternoon)

12 quarts of goodness!
There was a 13th can that ended up in the fridge because it was only 3/4ths full.

1/2" x 1 & 3/4" address labels are my new jar labeling system

Yeah - so happy about my new labeling "system". Cheap? Yep - 800 labels for $4.99. Effective - you betcha!

Shared with:
Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Adventures In Canning Part 2

  Saturday, 8/16, it was time to dip my toes into pickling. There's a first time for everything! My DAd was initially going to help me, but ended up having to work.
I decided on 2 recipes.....
 Sweet Pickle Relish - was recommended by a friend who was also kind enough to lend me her food processor and a julienne slicer. (Thank you so much A. D. - they came in very handy!)
 And also bread and butter pickles from the;
which is the cookbook my beloved Nana uses and has gifted both my mother and myself with. (I love it! Old fashioned? Yes. Effective - definitely!)

First up - relish. You had to let the cut veggies marinate in the salt and cold water for 2 hours.
The grater attachment on the food processor was used to cut the cucumbers. 
cut/grated veggies in salted water.
I modified the relish recipe slightly. Used 6 cups grated cukes instead of 4 but kept ratio of vinegar/sugar mixture the same. Fortunately it worked pretty well. (The recipe reviews said that 4 cups of cucumbers left too much extra juice after ladling everything into jars.) Putting 6 cups of cukes in was a happy accident though!
(I only took 1 picture of the process of the relish.)

Next up were the bread and butter pickles from the Mennonite Community Cookbook. I ended up hand slicing the gallon of cucumbers called for in the recipe. Mom helped me with the onions. : ) 
The plastic jar I used for the pickles is at least 2 gallons 
The big plastic jar was the only thing Mom and I could find to fit the gallon of sliced cukes + salted water called for in the bread and butter pickle recipe! It worked perfectly. : D
You had to let the cukes sit for 3 hours with the salted water - which I did. 
Turmeric is the component of bread and butter pickles that turns the pickle that bright yellowy green. Some utensils (plastic ones) ended up with bright green on them. Didn't come out in the wash either.
pickling liquid heating, jars in the back and canning kettle on the left

Halfway done. (1 batch of relish & the bread'n'butters)

8 pts+1 qt. bread'n'butter pickles on right. 4 pts.+ 7  1/2 pts relish on left and back row

Shared with:

Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Adventures in Canning Part 1

I love cooking and preserving. In my search for awesome recipes I came across this one.. Peach Butter. I liked the fact that you didn't need to peel the skins off the peaches. 

Yesterday was Friday and I worked until 4:30. When I got off I raced up to Penzey's Spice Store near my house to pick up the cardamom and nutmeg I knew I didn't have at home. 

Earlier in the week I'd pitted, sliced and pureed 10 (or so) lbs of peaches. (Blessed that my parents own a VitaMix so blending all of that was a snap.) Once the fruit was liquified, I put everything in silicone ice cube trays..... And after I ended up with much more puree than ice cube trays, so I looked around and hit upon...
Yup - muffin pans! I put paper liners in and filled 'em up! (The pans at my place are much more beat up though!) I even used some of those disposable aluminum pans you can get from supermarkets.

Welllll, fast forward to Friday afternoon....................... 
After I got home from the store I quickly started pitting and slicing the rest of the peaches. (I ended up with roughly 15 lbs of the puree. w00ps! Rcipe called for 15 lbs of fruit - before pitting!) I cut way down on the cinnamon in the recipe - only used 1 tablespoon as opposed to 3 in the recipe. I added 1 vanilla bean and roughly 2-2 1/2 cups of cane sugar; neither of which were called for in the recipe.

The frozen peaches were dumped into the pot while I buzzed the freshly cut fruit in the VitaMix and added it.
Canning kettle on 2 left burners, pot with 1/2 pt. jars on back right and fruit right front .

I cooked the butter for an extra hour, as it had taken that long for the frozen puree to fully thaw. Spices were added, per the recipe, at the beginning.

about an hour into simmering

The results below
24 1/2 pint jars + 1 pint. 
Oh yeah - I broke a 25th 1/2 pint jar when I put it into the hot water bath. There's a first time for everything!

Result? Not too sweet fruit butter that is excellent on hot buttered toast.

Shared with:
Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Putting up corn

My Mom saw a video similar to this one...
and showed it to my Dad who was inspired.

 This ^ happened last Friday..
Unfortunately, the yield wasn't as great as I had hoped for. We ended up with 14 qt bags plus a partial one after blanching & cooling 100+ ears.

Of course - it would've been slightly more if I hadn't kept nibbling on the kernels I cut the old fashioned way.
Dad and I are both hoping to put up another batch of corn, but first up?
Bread and Butter Pickles
Sweet Pickle Relish
Peach Butter - the nutritious way from Nourished Kitchen - Peach Butter

Shared with:
Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Sunday Worship & Musings

The battle is already won, it's time to STAND in the victory we have through Christ Jesus.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

God's Smuggler

Been listening the the audio version of this. Now am half way thru a second listening and it's still as gripping as my first listen.

I read my parent's old copy to pieces when I was a girl, and recently wanted to reread it again, but after browsing my library's online books came across an audio version.

Brother Andrew simply trusts God to provide. Has since the early '50's as a young, reckless Dutch soldier when God confronted him.

From 'The Game Of The Royal Way', to innumerable near misses (that should've been captures) upon entering Communist countries with stacks of Bibles and tracts.

The soldiers at the various borders literally could NOT stop the work that God wanted Brother Andrew to be doing.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Sunday Worship & Musings

There's a lot going on in my life right now, I'm praying about some things... where God is leading me from here... and so on.
Fear is an ugly, crippling thing.

Saturday, May 31, 2014


Life has been kinda crazy over the past several weeks. I've got tomatoes and peppers that still need to be planted, 3 raspberries, assorted perennials and a spicebush that needs to go in the ground - oh yea and 2 more roses!

I need to dig out 3 shrubs to plant 3 more, decide if I'm going to take out several others so the rose can be planted near the house.

And that's just the plants.

Window screens need fixed, rooms need a serious case of deep cleaning (my fault!); the grow light that was used for my plant growing this spring needs to be taken down so we can have the living room back.

Well, only 1 rose actually made it through the winter in its pot. (2 did, but the other has already found a home.)

Went to one of the local farmer's markets this morning & got scallions to chop up for baked potatoes tomorrow and 2 quarts of awesome strawberries that are currently marinating in sugar.

Sunday, May 11, 2014


My Mom is a living, breathing, walking miracle. By all the natural laws of man, she should be dead. But she is still with us.

I inherited her height - and many of her features. Before her hair started to go silver, my brothers and Dad would call me - thinking it was Mom they were calling.

Just Like my Mom, I cook by mixing a hint of this, a dash of that; also the 'dump and eyeball' method.

I love pickles even more than she, but we both love all things chocolate.

Thank God for His loving kindness - and for my Mom - GMG


Friday, April 18, 2014

Birthday Wishes

Can't believe that my baby brother's turning 21! JK has grown into a fine gentleman that I am thankful to call brother.

May this next year bring you ever richer blessings as you grow in Christ Jesus.

Your sis

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Sunday Worship & Musings (late)

It's only mercy, but believe me, it's enough.

I am so thankful for girlfriends who love Jesus enough to push me to walk more closely with the Saviour. 
3+ very happy hours were spent walking in the glorious sunshine Saturday, and talking of many subjects. N.dV & CJM and myself roamed around Greenwood, to old haunts and new places - sunny skies above and wind pushing at us, tangling hair and burnishing skin unused to the brightness.
As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend. - Proverbs 27:17 NKJV


Shared with;
Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth