Monday, April 30, 2012

Living in a Material World

As a child during the 1980's, I grew up with songs on the radio like Madonna's "Material Girl", my mother was not at all happy with the MTV era, and for quite some time, until we were much older, had the channel locked out from our TV.  Despite her bet efforts, it was hard to avoid hearing popular songs such as "Material Girl", and just like the song says- we are living in a material world- and despite my best efforts, I sometimes fall into being a "material girl".

My son, who patiently follows along during our shopping trips, is often baffled by how much enjoyment my daughter and I get from browsing through the store's many offerings.  He says I suffer from the "Oooo shiney" effect, and wishes we would just diligently stick to our list.  It is true, I can get so excited about the silliest things, and new spring colors, and cute trinkets draw me in.  Granted, there is nothing wrong with enjoying a good shopping outing, and looking at all the new items can be very fun, but also a little overwhelming and stressful.  I work very hard at avoiding adding new items to the home which will eventually become clutter, and eat away at our budget, sometimes I succeed, sometimes I don't, it is an area that I continue to grow in, and try to find a balance.

I thought I would share about three wonderful books that really help put things into perspective, in regards to our material possessions.

The first one is called Material World- A global Family Portrait by Peter Menzel , I really enjoy this book.  The book looks at typical families from various countries all around the globe, it lists average income, size of home, and then includes wonderful pictures of actual family's homes, and then brings all of their possessions outside and you can see everything in one picture.  The book was made in 1995, so the American page looks a little outdated, but swap out the TV for a flat screen, add some more ipods, and laptops, and update the appliances to stainless steel, and you still get the idea, American's have a great deal of "stuff".  People in third world countries have a lot less "stuff", mostly just limited bedding, and a few pots and pans, the houses are smaller, and the families are often including elderly family members.  

When I teach my Sunday school class about missions around the world, I often bring in this book to show them how certain cultures live, so they will have a better understanding of the culture we are learning about. (Note of caution- there are a few pages with "national geographic style" pictures of women in a few of the countries not wearing a top garment, one may wish to cover these pictures with a sticky note to avoid the distraction it could cause.) 

This book fascinates me, I love seeing how other cultures live, and you can see how some of our things are just not necessary, I would highly highly recommend this book, your local library may have a copy, and you can also find it at Amazon.

When I was browsing books at Amazon a few months ago, I spotted two other books by the same people, and was excited to have more of this information.  One entitled Women in the Material World, similar in structure to Material World, this book shows pictures, and talks about women around the world, how they live, what their chores and work are like, their place within the community and their rights, how marriages differ country to country.  Another truly fascinating book, and a great companion book to Material World.

Then I also found another book, also by the same people, Peter Menzel and Faith D'Aluisio, called Hungry Planet, and as you might guess, deals with food around the world.  This book also has amazing pictures, and also goes through what a family eats in a week, and lays it all out in one big picture, as well as the the cost of the food, and it breaks it down into how much is spent of beverages, water, grains, proteins, etc.  along with a special recipe from each culture.  This book is very interesting to read, you can see some of the various struggles, as well as how even though we have more access to various foods, our diet is not the healthiest, and would probably benefit from some simplifying, and more produce.  As someone who is always trying to improve the food I feed our family, and stay on a budget, this book was very inspiring.

I have read many other books on the topic of simplicity, the nice thing about these three books are the pictures, "a picture is worth a thousand words" holds true here.

I will leave you with one of my favorite bible verses on the subject of "stuff".

"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
Matthew 6:19-21

Saturday, April 28, 2012

52 Weeks of Fairy Tales Week #17- The Precious Gift

I have been excited to share this next fairy tale since I began this series- for week #17 I have chosen to share the tale called - The Precious Gift.

The Precious Gift was a tale that was included in my Book of Classic Fairy Tales by Eric and Lucy Kincaid, and is probably right up there in my top five favorite fairy tales.  It took me a little while to find the background of this fairy tale, as it goes by many names, and has origins in many countries.  It is similar to the story called Cap O' Rushes from England, The Most Indispensable Thing from Germany, and even one called The Dirty Shepherdess from France, there were also tales from Italy and Austria and probably more. As is often the case with fairy tales, which were often stories passed own orally, before they were collected into books, there are many variations from many different sources.  I however, will stick with the one I heard growing up entitled- The Precious Gift.

The story begins with a King and his three daughters, they were all beautiful and clever, and the King was having a difficult time deciding which one would be the queen.  So to help him choose, he decided to request a gift from each of his daughters, whichever daughter brought in the most precious gift would become the queen.

So each of his daughters chose a precious gift, and brought it to the king.  The eldest daughter brought the king a beautiful silver bird cage with a wind-up singing silver bird inside.  The king was very pleased with this gift.  The second daughter brought the king a robe of the finest silk, the king also thought this was a very precious gift.  The third daughter presented the king with a tiny china bowl, when the king lifted the lid of the bowl to see what was inside, he became furious and smashed the gift to the floor, and shouted to his youngest daughter "How dare you bring me common salt!"

The youngest princess tried to explain, but her father was so angry he banished her from the kingdom.

The youngest princess wandered sadly until she came to an inn, she begged for a place to stay, and since the inn keeper had no idea she was a princess, he sent the young girl to work in the kitchens to earn her keep. The cook was a kind old woman, and taught the princess everything she new about cooking, when the cook became too old, the princess took over most of the cooking.  The young princess's  food was well known to be very delicious, and everyone enjoyed dining at the inn.  Soon the king came to hear about this wonderful cook at the inn, and insisted that she come to work at the castle, and so the young princess went to work in her own father's castle kitchens.

Soon the day came for the eldest daughter to be married, and a large banquet was being prepared for the occasion.  The young princess along with the entire kitchen staff made a beautiful meal, the young princess was in charge of preparing the King's own meal.  The banquet was served, and everyone was waiting for the king to take the first bite, but when he did he was displeased, every dish he tasted was horrible and tasteless.  The King ordered the cook to be brought to him.

The youngest princess, who the king didn't recognize, came and stood quietly in front of the king.  The king yelled at the cook, and asked why there was no salt in any of the food, and how he was furious that the banquet was ruined.  "How could you forget something so important as adding salt to the food?"  The King yelled.

The girl responded " A long time ago you banished a daughter because she gave you the gift of common salt."

The king remembered, and he had been very sorry since, he looked closer at the cook, and finally recognized his daughter, he embraced his daughter, and asked for her forgiveness.  He said that her gift really was very precious and he was just too foolish to notice.  Of course the daughter forgave her father, and then she had the servers bring out new food that she had already had cooked and waiting.  The king was happy to have his daughter back, and the princess was given her rightful place in the palace.


I am not sure exactly what it is about this story that I love so much, I do love that it shows how the simple things in life are often the most important.  I also love that in the end she has reconciled with her father, and she is given back her rightful place in the kingdom.

I had fun creating a page for my fairy tale scrapbook for this story.  Here is how it turned out.

Originally I wanted to add the king to the page as well, but I still need practice drawing the king outline, and each one I tried didn't look quite right, so I decided to skip adding the king.  I gave the china bowl a little floral pattern, and then repeated that pattern in the boarder.

I hope you will all remember this wonderful little fairy tale next time you reach for the salt. :)

Monday, April 23, 2012

Earth Day Gardening

This weekend the weather was beautiful, we all got out in the garden together and made quite a bit of progress with our weeding, and planting.  I love working outside with the whole family, we get so much done, and so much quicker than if it was just one of us working alone.

As always, I like to walk through the garden and take pictures of its progress during each season, it helps me remember where different plants are planted, and also what time I can expect something to bloom.  Here is a picture of the red tulips that come up under the bird feeder every year, I love the bright red.

The shrubbery around my old birdbath is really filling out, next weekend some pruning will be in order, for now though I love how it almost hides my birdbath.

The creeping jenny is doing well, I love how it comes back every year, and its chartreuse leaves are one of my favorite colors of green in the garden.

For Earth Day/Arbor Day weekend, we decided to plant a cherry tree in our backyard, we needed a little height in our yard, and hopefully, over the years, this tree will add a nice element to the yard.   Joseph has always enjoyed digging, and was quite happy to dig the planting hole for us.  Before we got started, we removed a holly bush that was doing poorly in the corner, and moved it under the bird feeder, I think the birds will appreciate it there.

Getting ready to plant our new tree.

Making sure we have the right depth.

Here it is,  our new tiny little cherry tree, we are all excited to watch it grow.  This cherry tree is a Lambert, and I am still on the lookout for Cherry tree number two, so I can find the best pollinator for this tree.

After we finished planting our tree,  I planted a few other plants I had purchased last week.  Some "Sweet William" Dianthus, and a few more little plants that I look forward to watching grow.  Our moss garden is looking nice and bright green, I love how this sedum has popped up through the moss.

Before we planted the Dianthus in the front yard we removed the ornamental cabbage that we planted at the end of last summer, the pretty purple leaves looked nice all winter, and my daughter was especially fond of the pretty yellow flowers that appeared on them this month, the yellow flower with the purple stem was very pretty, we will definitely put in a couple more this next fall.

Our tulips are doing very well in their first year, I bought a mixed bag, and was quite happy with the colors we we ended up with, lots of pinks, and a few coral, and even a pretty striped one.

Here is a picture of the orange and red striped tulip.

Because of the bright sun, I couldn't get a great picture of my bluebells, I will have to try again this week, I am so excited to finally have these in my garden, I have wanted to plant English bluebells for many years, and finally put some in last fall, I just love them!

Here is a pretty tulip I found hiding way behind my shrubs.

Gardening was wonderful, it is so nice to get out into the sunshine, and enjoy working with the family.  I also thought I would share a picture of my newest orchid, I have been wanting to add a chartreuse green and burgundy orchid to the orchids in my kitchen window.  Orchid flowers last for such  a long time, and will re-bloom again if you wait patiently, they are a very rewarding houseplant, and very easy to maintain.

I also thought I would share information about the fairy garden contest over at The Magic Onions Blog.  Last year Sarah and I had a great time making our fairy garden, you can read about it at Our Fairy Garden, we were excited to have been one of the chosen winners in last years Fairy Garden contest.  We have already started coming up with new ideas for this years fairy garden, a little green frog has taken up residence in our fairy garden, we will have to try and get a few picture of him as well.

Stop by The Magic Onions Fairy Garden Contest 2012 to learn more.


This week my daughter, along with her concert choir, will be going on tour to Anaheim, California.  They will be visiting Disneyland, and the other surrounding parks, as well as preforming.  This will be my daughter's first plane flight, and first trip to Disneyland.  I am looking forward to hearing about her trip and am excited for the fun experience she will be having, and you can imagine I am a bit (okay, a little more than a bit) nervous about her first time away from home all by herself for an entire week, prayers for her and her choir's  safe travel would be very welcome. :)

Hope everyone has a wonderful week!

Friday, April 20, 2012

52 Weeks of Fairy Tales Week #16 - Snow White and Rose Red

Yesterday I caught up on last week's fairy tale post, and chose to share the story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs for Week #15.  While I was reading about Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, I kept coming across the Grimm's story of Snow White and Rose Red, in fact my Grimm's collection only has the story of Snow White and Rose Red.  The two stories are completely different and different characters, so I thought I would share Snow White and Rose Red this week.

The story starts with a kind poor widow, who lives in a cottage with her two children.  In her garden she has two rose bushes, one is as white as snow, and the other bright red.  Her two very kind and loving daughters were just like the rose bushes, one was called Snow White and the other Rose Red, they loved each other very much and were the best of friends.  Snow White was the quieter sister, and preferred to help around the house and read to her mother, and Rose Red was the more rambunctious sister and loved to frolic and play outdoors.   Both sisters were always very kind to one another, and shared everything.

One winter evening, the girls and their mother were sitting by the fire when there was a knock at the door.  Mother told the girls to answer right away as it might be a cold traveler that needed warming by the fire.  When the girls answered the door, they were startled to find a bear.  The bear was cold and asked to come in and sit by the fire, and promised not to hurt them, mother let the bear in, and after awhile the girls decided it was safe and came and sat next to the bear and helped to remove the snow from his fur.

Through the whole winter the bear came every evening to warm himself by the fire, and the girls became his friend.  When winter came to an end, the bear said that he must leave for the summer to protect his treasure from a wicked dwarf, the snow had kept the dwarf in his mountain tunnels, but now that the snow was melting the dwarf would be able get out.  The girls were sorry to see their friend go, and as the bear left, a bit of his fir snagged on the door hinge, snow white thought she saw a glimmer of gold beneath his fur.

One day mother sent Snow White and Rose Red out to gather sticks, as the girls were gathering wood, they came upon a dwarf who was  having quite a fit because his beard was caught in a tree.  The dwarf called the girls to help, but the only way that his beard could be removed was for the girls to cut it out with scissors.  When the girls freed the dwarf he was angry at them for cutting his beard, and very ungrateful, he grabbed a bag of treasure from the tree and ran off.

Throughout the summer the girls came upon the dwarf a few more times, once saving him when his beard was caught in his fishing line, and a large fish was about to pull him under, another time when an eagle had a hold of him and was about to carry him away. Each time the dwarf was mean and ungrateful, and ran off with his treasure.

They came upon the dwarf one last time, as the dwarf was pouring out his treasure to admire it.  The treasure was beautiful and the girls stopped to stare at it shining in the sunlight.  The dwarf became very furious at Snow White and Rose Red, and was about to go off on an angry rant, when all of a sudden there was a large growl, and a bear came out from the woods.  The dwarf offered the bear his treasure to leave him alone, then he told the bear not to eat him, but instead the little girls.  The bear didn't listen to a word the dwarf said, and instead gave the dwarf a mighty hit with his paw, the evil little dwarf never moved again.

The girls had of course run off during this, but the bear called after them, "Snow White, Rose Red! Don't be afraid!"  At once they recognized his voice, it was their friend, the bear.  As the bear approached the girls, his skin fell off, and a handsome prince dressed in gold appeared.  He explained to the girls that the wicked dwarf had stolen his treasure and turned him into a bear, and the only way to break the spell was for the dwarf to die.

The prince married Snow White and the prince's brother married Rose Red, they split the dwarfs treasure, and all lived very well.  Snow White and Rose Red's mother came to live with them in the castle, and brought with her, her two rose bushes, each year she had the most beautiful white and red roses.  They all lived happily ever after.


I really enjoyed this story, and loved learning a new tale.  Here is the Wikipedia link to Snow White and Rose Red, they have a very nice picture of Snow White and Rose Red.

For this story I decided to do a page for our fairy tale scrapbook, and had fun working with glitter and paper.  

Here is another look at my Snow White Rose Red fairy tale scrap book page.

Hope everyone has a nice weekend, I am very excited for the weather which is supposed to be summer temperatures, perfect for my Earth Day Plans to plant my new Cherry Tree with the family, and maybe even fire up the grill!  

Thursday, April 19, 2012

52 Weeks of Fairy Tales Week #15- Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Needle Felt

For this week's 52 Weeks of Fairy Tale post I have chosen the very well known fairy tale- Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.  This was an especially fun tale to craft for, I have been looking forward to making all seven dwarfs as well as Snow White. Last week my back was not in a crafting mood, so I was delayed in getting started, I was very happy to finally finish up today.

Snow White is a well known fairy tale, most people are familiar with the Disney version, I will be sharing the slightly different Grimm's version. ~

Once there was a queen, who sat in her window sewing, she pricked her finger and a few drops of blood fell on her snow covered, ebony window sill.  The queen sees this, and wishes for a beautiful daughter who has skin as white as snow, lips as red as blood, and hair as black as her ebony window frame.  Not long after the Queen gives birth to a beautiful baby girl who has skin as white as snow, lips as red as blood, and ebony black hair.  Sadly however, the Queen passes away.

The King is remarried to a beautiful, but vain woman.  The new queen has a magic mirror, to which she asks the well known question.  "Mirror, Mirror, on the wall, who is the fairest one of all?"  to which the mirror always replies " You, my queen, are fairest of all."  The years go by, and Snow White grows up into a very beautiful young women.  The queen, as usual, poses her question to the mirror " Mirror, Mirror, on the wall, who is the fairest one of all?"  this time the mirror answers "You, my queen, are fair; it is true.  But Snow White is a thousand times fairer than you."  The queen is furious and becomes full of hatred toward Snow White.

The Queen orders a huntsman to take Snow White out into the woods and kill her, and as proof to bring back her lungs and liver ( in other versions it is the heart).  The huntsman, upon seeing Snow White's beauty, falls in love with her, and cannot kill her, he tells Snow White to run away and hide from the evil queen.  The huntsman kills a boar (in some versions a deer) and brings its lungs and liver to the queen.  However when the queen again questions her mirror, and it still answers that Snow White is the prettiest, the Queen knows she has been tricked.

Meanwhile, Snow White comes upon a small house in the woods, it is the home of seven dwarfs.

The seven Dwarfs agree to let Snow White live with them, in exchange for her cooking and cleaning.

The Queen learns that Snow White is alive and living in the woods, and devises and evil plan to kill Snow White.  One day the dwarfs left to work in the mine, and warned Snow White to not let anyone inside.  The Queen however has disguised herself as a kind old peddler woman, and when the dwarfs leave, she is able to trick Snow White into buying a lace up bodice.  The Queen in disguise ties the bodice laces too tight on Snow White and Snow White faints dead.  The Queen is happy and returns home.  Luckily the dwarfs return in time to help Snow White, and when they loosen the laces, she can breath again, and comes back to life.

The Queen again learns that Snow White is alive after hearing from her mirror that Snow White is still the fairest.  Again the queen disguises herself as another kind looking women, who after the dwarfs leave, is able to trick Snow White into letting her comb her hair with a poison comb.  Snow White collapses again, with the poison comb still in her hair.  The Queen returns home, and luckily the dwarfs come home in time to save Snow White who is revived when they remove the poison comb.

The queen is furious when she learns Snow White is still alive, and comes up with another evil plan, this time creating a poisonous apple.  When the Queen returns in disguise to Snow White, the queen offers her the apple.  This time Snow White is more hesitant, so the queen, who has made only the red half of the apple poison, offers to eat the whiter half of the apple to prove to Snow White that the apple is not poison.  Snow White is then tricked into taking a bite of the poison apple, at which time she falls down dead.

This time the dwarfs do not arrive home in time, and are unable to save their beloved Snow White.  They build her a glass coffin, as Snow White still looks as beautiful as when she was alive, and looked as if she was  only asleep.  Some time passed, and a Prince happened upon the Dwarf's cottage, he saw Snow White in her glass coffin, and fell in love with her.  He begged the dwarfs to let him have her, as he loved her so much.  The Dwarfs could see how the prince loved Snow White, so eventually they decided to let the Prince keep Snow White in her glass coffin.

As the Prince's servants are carrying her away they stumble upon a root and Snow White is jostled, which causes the piece of poisoned apple to dislodge from her throat, and she wakes up, alive again. (Of course in later versions, it is a kiss from the Prince that brings her back to life)  Everyone is very happy, and the Prince proposes to her right then.  The happy couple are married.

The Queen once again asks her mirror who is the fairest- this time the mirror answers "You, my queen, are fair; it is true.  But the Young Queen is a thousand times fairer than you."

The Queen was very angry, and eventually decided to go see who this young queen was, when she went to the wedding, she recognized Snow White right away.  As punishment the Queen was captured, and forced to wear red hot iron shoes, and she danced herself to death.

Snow White and her Prince lived happily ever after.

I remember reading this version as a child, it has been quite some time since I have seen the Disney version, which I also remember enjoying as a child.  

I had quite a fun time crafting Snow White and the seven dwarfs- Originally I was going to sew a wire framed Snow White doll, but I realized I didn't have black doll hair, so then I started needle felting Snow White.  I love how needle felting is almost like modeling from clay, each project takes on a life of its own.

I gave Snow White a red apple, her dress is trimmed in yellow.

I tied her hair with blue embroidery floss, and gave her a nice long braid.

Each dwarf turned out a different size, I decided on a simple shape, and gave them each a different colored outfit, and various beards.

This project was quite a lot of fun needle felting and took a couple of days and quite a few hours to complete.  I loved working with all of the different wool roving colors.  Needle felting is one of my favorite crafts, and I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys fiber arts projects.

Tomorrow, in order to catch back up with my fairy tale posts, I will be sharing another Grimm's story with a very similar name- Snow White and Rose Red.  While researching Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, I kept coming across this Grimm's tale, which is a completely different character and story, so I thought I would share it for Week #16.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Getting out to the Garden

Yesterday the beautiful sunshine came out, and it felt like an early summer day.  Despite my back being persnickety the last few days, I was not about to let such a beautiful day go by without a little spring planting getting done.

The first project on my list, since Gary was free to help in the garden for a couple of hours, was to revamp my herb garden.  My rosemary had grown quite large, and the majority of it was not doing very well, and my sage was also getting on with age.  I had some other herbs planted that I didn't really use, and also wanted to reclaim that space.  So after Gary dug out the large old herbs, I got started planting new ones.

Here is my tiny new rosemary plant, this is the same size I planted before, and it is amazing how fast they turn into pretty large shrubs.  I will look forward to the blossoms next year.

The old rosemary bush was so large that it had completely covered this garden obelisk, so it is nice to have it uncovered. The other large herb in the picture is my lemon thyme, I left both of my thyme plants in the herb garden, they needed a little pruning, but they are still doing very.

I decided to plant parsley again, I love having fresh parsley in the garden, this time, however, I will not let it go to seed. The first year we planted it here, it went to seed, and planted itself all through the garden, and was quite a nuisance.  I do think it is very pretty, and may buy another one to tuck into the herb garden next time I am in the garden center.

Here is one of the new little sage plants I put in, I am hoping this does well, I love it for fall cooking, I am still on the lookout for a purple variety that I enjoyed at our last home, I love purple next to the blue/green of the other sage.

I also decided to re-purpose the birdbath that was in the herb garden, It wasn't getting cleaned properly, and the birds really prefer the birdbath that I have a dripper attached to.  I had seen a picture of a birdbath planted with succulents, and decided to fill it with succulents that I have all around my garden.  Over the years with the dogs running through the garden, they have kicked up little bits of sedum that have replanted themselves throughout the garden.  I always just let them grow wherever they land on our gravel pathways, I think it gives the garden a more natural look.  So this was a free project, I used the last of a bag of potting soil from last year that I found while I was tidying up the garden, then I went around and plucked little bits of various sedums and hens and chicks, and tucked them into the soil.  I look forward to watching this birdbath garden fill out.

Here is one of my stray patches of sedum, I think this one might be babies tears, which is one of my favorite varieties.

I also planted some basil in pots, I don't plant basil in with my other herbs, since it has different water needs.  I look forward to white pizza. :)

The swiss chard is doing well, and I will probably be able to pick some in a week or two.  Swiss chard is my favorite green leafy veg.

Another sign that the garden is up and running are all of the dandelions that have sprouted up over the last couple of weeks.  We take out most of them, but leave the rest for the finch who enjoy them, and I happen to think their sunny yellow blossoms are very pretty.

The tulips are getting ready to bloom, the red tulips have already opened, the rest of the colors are going to be a surprise as I purchased a mix bag last year.

The grape hyacinth are still doing nicely, and a fancy variety that I tried out this year has just come up, it has a tighter blossom and is lighter purple, I look forward to seeing what it looks like when it is all the way up.  I am also eagerly awaiting the black iris whose leaves have popped up.  I am always fascinated by black flowers, I found a very pretty black petunia that I will be planting this week as well.

I am looking forward to the warmer weather season, and am enjoying getting the garden ready, all of the veggie and summer flower seeds are ready to go as soon as the weather is warm enough.

Just a quick note- my 52 Weeks of fairy tale post for this week will be delayed for another day or two, with my back giving me troubles this week I was unable to sit and craft my project that I have planned.  Back pain can be beyond frustrating, heat always helps out my back, but I can't stand laying around on a heating pad all day. A couple of years ago I found a very useful item at my local pharmacy, it is a wrap that can velcro around your back and holds a gel pack which can be heated or used cold.  It is so nice to be able to pop the gel pack into the microwave for a minute then be able to walk around with a nice heat pack, definitely takes the edge off, my stomach doesn't tolerate anti-inflammatory medicine very well so this item is a must have for me.

Here is a link to the back heat pack I use, it is nice that it is reusable, mine has lasted for quite some time.

I hope everyone is having a nice Sunday, I look forward to catching up on my Fairy Tale posts this week, as well as getting back out into the garden some more.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Asparagus Bacon Linguine and Spring Jello Pie

We have been busy busy these last few days, Easter was wonderful, we had a very nice morning at church, the kids enjoyed their Easter basket goodies, and we had a very yummy Easter dinner.  We didn't have company over for this Easter, and enjoyed some nice family time, the kids hid eggs for each other, and we all had fun with the new "Just Dance" video game that was one of our Easter treats, a very fun way to burn off those extra holiday calories. :)

My hubby and son surprised me with this pretty Easter Lily.

I thought I would share with you one of my favorite Easter/Spring recipes that I love making.

When Easter arrives, it opens up Jello season for me in the kitchen, I love the multiple, easy, light and refreshing desserts that one can make with Jello, and always find some yummy Jello dish to make for special spring and summer meals.  For Easter, I like a lighter tasting dessert to complement our Ham and salads meal, years ago I found a wonderful recipe from a Kraft cookbook for an Easy Spring Pie made with Jello and Cool Whip.

This year I made a lime jello pie and a raspberry jello pie.  The recipe is very simple.

You need two regular size boxes of Jello or 1 large box in any flavor you want.  In a bowl mix all the Jello with 1 1/2 cups boiling water, stir until completely dissolved.  Then measure out 1/2 a cup of water along with enough ice to equal 1 1/2 cups water, and add that to the Jello and mix until the ice cubes have melted.  Remove two cups of the Jello and chill in the fridge for about 5 minutes until the Jello just ever so slightly starts to set up, the recipe says like the consistency of egg whites.  While that is chilling, mix in two cups of Cool Whip to the remaining Jello until Cool Whip and Jello are completely combined.  Chill the whipped topping mix for about 10 minutes or until it is set up enough to mound on top of the pie.

Remove two cups of reserved jello from the fridge, and pour into a graham cracker crust, chill until topping is ready, carefully add the topping layer, then chill for about 3 hours or until set up completely.

Here is the first layer of the pie, with the two cups of reserved Jello poured into a graham cracker crust.

Here is the second layer of the Cool Whip/ Jello mixture mounded on top of the Jello layer.

Here is what the pie looks like when chilled and sliced, I love how pretty the layers look!

The complete recipe can be found at Kraft's Easy Spring Pie, this recipe calls for an additional dollop of whipped topping to serve on the pie, but I prefer it without the extra dollop, the pie is delicious as it.

This is such an easy recipe, and it is always a hit, this year I think I will make a pie with the berry blue and cherry Jello for fourth of July.

Another of my spring favorites that we enjoyed on Easter was Asparagus, for Easter I served the asparagus steamed with a little melted butter.  Last night I was in the store, and couldn't pass by some beautiful bunches of asparagus.  I decided to make some into a simple pasta toss for our dinner tonight.

Here is my recipe for Asparagus Bacon Linguine.

Steam a bunch of asparagus that has been chopped into 1/2 -3/4 inch pieces, steam long enough so asparagus is tender, but not so long that it is falling apart. Heat up a can of Fire Roasted diced tomatoes, with a few dashes of Italian herbs and half a teaspoon of dried minced onion, simmer for about 5 minutes.

(This is one of my new favorite pantry staples)

Cook about 5-6 pieces of bacon and crumble when cooled.  Cook a package of linguine and drain.
In a bowl toss linguine with steamed asparagus, tomatoes and bacon and a drizzle of olive oil.

Serve topped with Parmesan cheese.

Great simple dinner for a busy evening.

I hope everyone had a nice Easter celebration!