Monday, October 29, 2018

Pumpkin Patch

We broke tradition of sorts and went to a pumpkin patch instead of the farm we've gone to for a number of years.  The prices were far too high and between the long drive and costs involved, we made the decision to support locally and stay in the mountains near home.  It was a beautiful afternoon.  We watched the amazing sun setting and the near full Hunter's Moon rising.

Tractor pulled hay rides, face painting, pumpkin decorating, homemade goodies for sale, and grey pumpkins!

...this may become our new tradition!

family gathered together - missing Daughter M who had to work

How tall this fall?  They grow up too fast!

Love at the pumpkin patch

...and because pregnancy and infant loss is real and never forgotten.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Counting it all Joy! - October 27th

252  | a sweet baby boy that stretched and grew love
253  | my daughter being alive despite emergency
254  | parental car settings
255  | surgeon's skilled hands
256  | a medical team who tried their best
257  | meal provisions
258  | a shared place of rest
259  | strong sisters
260  | family teamwork
261  | my elbow slowly healing
262  | blue hydrangeas
263  | memory candles creating a wave of light
264  | friends who read my text messages
265  | a new car
266  | arrival of autumn
267  | first wood burning fire of the season
268  | new cell phone carrier with working service
269  | pumpkin patch memories
270  | scents of fall - apples, baking, pumpkin
271  | pain that humbles and allows me to see slow
272  | new beginnings

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies

Our favorite!  Came upon this recipe from my now son-in-law.  On a baking date with my daughter, they really messed up the first batch - obviously distracted by each other.  They redeemed the baking day with a batch of really good cookies that has now made our go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe.

Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies


4 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt (optional)
1 ½ cups butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 Tablespoon vanilla
2 cups real semi-sweet chocolate chips


  • Preheat oven to 375ºF

  • Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in medium mixing bowl.

  • In separate bowl, mix butter, eggs, and vanilla and blend well.  Add in sugar and brown sugar to make it a smooth creamy texture.

  • Slowly add in dry mixture on a low speed until thoroughly mixed together.

  • Add in chocolate chips.

  • Drop onto cookie sheets.  (approx. 1 heaping Tablespoon)

  • Bake for 10-15 minutes (adjustment may be needed for oven type / elevation)

Cool on wire racks and ENJOY!

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

slow moments - among the sorrow

...because dear husband brought me flowers.

...because birthdays still happen and life moves on.

...because there is love.

...because fresh green beans meant that we had a meal to be grateful for.

...because hot Hawaiian Mocha offered comfort.

...because the sun still rose without fail.


...because a friend in another country provided a meal.  A needed family gathering to bring moments of smiles among the tears.  Nourishment for not only body, but for our souls.  God met us at the table.

...because 1st birthdays are to be celebrated!

Monday, October 22, 2018

Walk with Nature - they whisper


They whisper in the breeze.  Glistening in the sunshine with their fluffy tops that look like nature's pipe cleaner.  Beauty in Creation - the pause gives rest. 

O Lord, in distress they sought you;
    they poured out a whispered prayer
    when your discipline was upon them.

-Isaiah 26:16

Saturday, October 20, 2018

When there are no words

. . . but it's part of our story.

In loving memory of baby Aaron Samuel
Nothing is ever really lost to us as long as we remember it. — L.M. Montgomery

This story isn't fully mine to tell.  It's my daughter's. It's emotionally heartbreaking.  It's a similar grief that has met me before and challenged my faith.  It creeped up again in the dark hours of the night and before sunrise had ripped open the scars upon my heart.  Carrying your own grief is one thing, but now watching two of my daughters both experience this heartbreak is emotionally crippling.  When they were little, I could put a band aid on a wound and give it a kiss and the owie would go away.  Mama can't do that when the wound is so deep and the heart won't stop bleeding and the tears keep flowing and blurred vision is accompanied with red swollen eyes.

Baby Aaron's death dug up feelings I forgot I had experienced with the loss of our little Nathaniel.  They were buried deep in my heart over the years, but as we dug up our baby boy's grave to share with our grandson Aaron, the painful feelings resurfaced.   I tried to prepare myself for the empty grave that they would share.  It was gently hand dug by the cemetery, but the memories haunted me.  The ocean of grief was in storm mode and the waves were crashing hard.   We couldn't just evacuate and escape.   As much as I never wanted to forget these feelings, I never wanted to experience them again, or worse, see my own child know this pain.

 .... but here we are with another chapter.

There are no other words.  Grief tells it's own story and in its own timing.
Mourning brings a different kind of rhythm and rest.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Lemon Pudding Cake

This is my middle daughter's favorite cake. She does not really like cake of any other kind and by chance was forced to taste this at a family Thanksgiving dinner gathering and has since asked for it to be made for her birthday.  I'm saving this recipe just for her special day.  I'm not a big cake fan myself, {like mother, like daughter} but I really did enjoy this with a cup of my favorite hot tea.

Lemon Pudding Cake

Ingredients: (cake)

1-  4 oz. Instant LEMON pudding
1-  18 oz. LEMON boxed cake mix (any brand will work - approx. oz.)
4 eggs
¾ cup LEMON juice
1/4 cup water
1/4 oil

Ingredients: (glaze)

1 ½ cups powered sugar
2 Tablespoons LEMON juice
5 drops yellow food coloring (optional for tinted glaze)


1. Using electric mixer, blend all ingredients for cake in a large mixing bowl.  Beat for 2 minutes on medium speed.

2.  Bake in a well greased and floured bundt pan.

3.  Cool in pan for 15 minutes.

4.  Make glaze - slowly add lemon juice to powdered sugar to make a nice smooth consistency.

5.  With small knife, make small slits in top of cake.

6.  Drizzle glaze over cooled cake. 

Friday, October 12, 2018

Citrus Park Field Trip

We had the opportunity to take a field trip to a Citrus Park.  The views alone were worth the trip!  I hope one day to go back when the citrus is in bloom as I can imagine the dreamy smells of orange blossoms.

 An educational video on the history of the orange making it's way to our country.

 A small indoor museum.

Sorted by size

Citrus tasting!

Australian Finger Lime - sooo good!  I hope to find some.

Buddha's Hand Citrus - really refreshing and I do buy this locally.

The oranges were still not ripe at our time of visit.

 A smudge pot once used to keep citrus from freezing.

...but the views...

...were breathtaking!

This spontaneous field trip while visiting family, was full of fond memories.  Nana's orange tree still is held every so dear to my heart.  Her oranges were the best I've ever tasted.  Although sad that I will never get to have an orange off of Nana's tree, I have special memories and with this field trip it was a learning moment on just all the work that went into growing oranges and distributing them.  Over the years, many of the orange groves have now been over taken by housing tracks and other businesses.  I'm glad that park is preserving and sharing the history of Citrus.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Taco Bean Soup

Taco Bean Soup

2 pounds ground beef (or ground turkey – heart healthy)
     OR chicken (cut into pieces or shredded)
1 onion, finely diced
salt & pepper
- – - – - – - – - – -
1 packet taco seasoning*

  • *OR SUBSTITUTE with the following:
  • 1 Tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • dash of cayenne pepper

- – - – - – - – - – -
1 large (29 oz) can diced tomatoes - we prefer petite diced
1 small can diced green chilis
1 large (29 oz) can pinto beans
2 cans black beans
2 cans corn, drained** - I usually add this the last 30 minutes to avoid overcooking the corn.
- – - – - – - – - – -

NOTE:  My slow cooker has a 7-quart capacity.  If you have a smaller slow cooker, you may need to adjust recipe ingredients down accordingly.


  • Brown ground beef & onions together (lightly salt & pepper as desired)

  • Add ALL ingredients into crock pot together and stir.**

  • Set crock pot on HIGH for 4 hours.

Serve HOT, topped with some grated cheese, sour cream, and slices of avocado.  Even better if you top with a few tortilla chips!  


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