Monday, May 30, 2011

Mufasa says, "Remember who you are... are... are"

I'm going to be a little vulnerable with you today. Maybe I'm odd, but I like cemeteries. (An no, it's not because I love Buffy the Vampire Slayer, who frequently hung out in cemeteries.)

I can't exactly put my finger on it. All of these people lived their lives, fought their own battles, changed the world a little, and left us. Now we live, fight our battles, change the world a little, and then we will leave others to live, fight, and change. Maybe it puts me in my place a little - my time becomes short but part of a big, great story.

Last year on Memorial Day, my family and I visited a lonely old pioneer cemetery in the middle of the burbs.
We were the only ones there until a man stopped in a pick-up truck and pined a large Memorial ribbon on the fence. He simply explained, "I drove by and noticed there were no ribbons," and he went on his way. This man didn't seem very educated or well kept, but he went out of his way to buy a ribbon acknowledging the people in that cemetery. He was not forgetting or taking for granted what had been done. It may be the most patriotic thing I've personally witnessed.

This morning I went back to that cemetery and put flags by two graves of American Revolution soldiers. I get such I kick out of standing at the grave of someone who fought to free our country!!!

The graves of the two American Revolution soldiers read as :

In Memory of Nicholas Johnson
a native of Dumfries, Scotland
who departed this life
December 24th, 1821
Age 57 years and 11 months.
Nicholas Johnson was around 13 when the war began, and was a first generation immigrant.
In Memory of Francis Nichols
a native of New Hampshire
who departed this life
September 30th, 1808
Age 43 years, 3 months & 13 days
Francis Nichols was also around 12 when the war first began, and 20 when it ended; a boy soldier.

Here are some more pics of the awesome-cemetery-of-history :

(forgive the filters, I'm experimenting )

So happy Memorial Day! I'm going to count my blessings and remember that I'm a part of a loooong, interesting history.

For anyone I have creeped out by my cemetery talk, I'll end this post with some colorful flower pictures from our projects this weekend.

Happy! Bright! Colorful!

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Face of Kansas City Coffee

Meet my sister, the face of Parisi Artisan Coffee.

Sister A has always been good in front of the camera (particularly at the hand of Sister K), but now she gets to rock it for her employer. These photos are advertising the upcoming Parisi Coffee Shop, of which Sister A is the event planner and coordinator, in beautiful Union Station, Kansas City, MO (formerly the site of mob assassinations, American cattle crossroads, and my senior prom).

Doesn't she look great?!

Photo by Sara Nieman

Photo by Sara Nieman

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Better Late than Never....

You might ask yourself, really? Is this an Easter post? really? But it is, sorta. And to that I say, "Better late than never." I'm sure glad Jesus didn't take that philosophy on Easter. He was right on time. I am not though.

This is my best egg of the day. Sticky birthstone jewels from the scrapbooking section and a silver paint pen allowed me to create this, uh, masterpiece? I call it : My Family in an Egg Shell. Sub-title : Bio-Family! I was thinking of you on Easter!

(I often feel the need to differentiate which family I am referring to. I have my Bio-Family [my birth family], and Hop-Family or New-Family [Hubs' family, my in-laws]. I also have my Friend-Family or Natti-Family [close friends of no actual relation living in Cincinnati because we don't live around the Bio-Family or Hop-Family]. Enough! That thing is happening to "family"; I've seen/written it so many times it's starting to look weird.)

Here is the cumulative result of all our egg dying with my Hop-Family. As a child, dying eggs is great fun, but I think there is something lovely about dying eggs as a group of adults too.

While we are on the topic of eggs...Hubs and I disagree on this dinner :

I made it for myself one night when Hubs was out. He says gross. I say best meal of the week. Avocado, mango, and hard boiled egg sprinkled with sea salt and fresh cilantro. What do you think? Is it a gender thing?

Fondant Fleurs

My teaching semester is over...and that means that my source of required creativity has ceased for the summer. Without a regular outlet, my creative juices start to over take my down time. (Has anyone actually proved the existence of 'creative juices'? I have the outcome...what exactly is the cause?)

I'm in a wedding this summer for a dear friend. One of my jobs for her bridal shower waaaas....CAKE GIRL! With creative juices bubbling, I decided to experiment with fondant for the first time.

Step One : Fold and shape fondant base for three sizes of flowers

Step 2 : Paint dried flowers with gel food coloring. Add sugar accents.

Step 3 : Bake cupcakes and frost with fudge frosting

Step 4 : Place flowers onto cupcakes and arrange!

I did enjoy making these flowers, and honestly I will do it again. However, if you want to attempt something similar, know that it takes about 3 hours spread over a couple of days. Consider your self prepared for a time investment and fun.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Fresh Kale Salad with Tangy Lemon Dressing

Ha. Originally I titled this post "Kale Salad with Lemon-Mustard Dressing." These names are maybe descriptive, but not creative or enticing. Hm. Update! That's much better yes?

Monday has become Vegan Monday. So typically, Monday for dinner, it is time to get creative. Here's what we made tonight :

Fresh Kale Salad
1 Bunch Red Kale
1 Medium Green Bell Pepper
1 Cup Shredded Carrots
1/2 Cup Walnut Pieces
1/2 Lemon's Lemon Zest

1. Remove Kale leaves from stalks. Break into bite sized sections. Wash, and dry.
2. Toss remaining ingredients with Kale and dressing of your choice.

Tangy Lemon Dressing
1 Medium Lemon's Juice
1/2 Lemon's Zest
1 Tbs. Olive Oil
1 tsp. brown mustard
1 Dash Salt
1 tsp. sugar
4-5 Leaves fresh cilantro
3-4 Leaves fresh basil

1. Smash and mince the fresh herbs.
2. Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly with a whisk.

The lemon makes is fresh, the Kale makes is hearty. Mmm. The best part of this combo is the acidity of the lemon on the sweetness of the green pepper.


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Art Rhymes with ....

I hope you finished that sentence with "heart" or "smart" or "flow chart". Mostly I just wanted to get your attention. Fair? Maybe not.

In high school, I had two teachers that impacted my choices in ways that deserve great thanks. Their influences guided me to make an informed decision to confidently enter a field of study in which I am still working today. They helped an overwhelmed, inexperienced high school girl find a way through mixed messages and mixed motivations to a good decision and healthy perspective.

Okay, why the heck write this? For one, to say thanks to those two teachers, but also to express my support of teachers on Teacher Appreciation Day, 2011! (Today!)

Teachers have direct contact daily with the lives of students. If students are valuable, then teachers are valuable.

So support your teachers! Encourage them! As a friend to many teachers and a wife to one teacher, I know any expression of support is so valuable.

Here is a limerick I wrote for the teachers today, much love to you all :)

Teachers work hard to convey,
Truths beyond what the textbooks can say.

On this day, May 3rd,

Let praises be heard
For the work that they do every day.

Pretend I made something like this for you :

Awesome Cake Image from :

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