Monday, July 20, 2015

Cinnamon Apples

I probably shouldn't count this as a recipe, but I couldn't help sharing this delicious snack idea.  Many who read this may have thought of this idea before, but I was clueless!  I had Cinnamon Apples at a church dinner, and I couldn't believe it was just apples and cinnamon!  I had to try this for myself.

For years, I put lemon juice on sliced apples to keep them from browning.  I did not know that sprinkling cinnamon on apples would also keep them from turning brown!  Bonus: they taste like apple pie!!!!  

So, all there is to Cinnamon Apples is:

1.  Slice up an apple

2.  Sprinkle on some cinnamon

3.  Eat now, or package up to eat later

Incredibly easy, amazingly delicious!  If you haven't tried this before, you must.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Life and Our "New" Kittens

I've been positively terrible at blogging for, oh, what... a couple of years now?!?  So, 2013, our shower upstairs started leaking into our basement and caused a house overhaul that lasted for nearly a whole year.   I wanted to write posts on before and after.  I had so many grand plans that never happened.   Ellie and I will be talking about things we planned to do and then... life happened.  2014 looked like a great year to get back to "normal" (really, what is normal?).  Lot's to catch the blog up on from 2014, too.  We'll start with this:  May 9, 2014 we brought home these three, adorable, wonderful kittens.  

Sweet, wonderful family who gave us these kittens:  Please, forgive me for taking SO LONG to write any kitten posts!  This first picture is the babies in the laundry basket that we took them home in.  The oldest daughter of their family made the collars for them.  The dark kitten is the little girl, the other two are her brothers.  

The children whose cat was the Momma named them.  The girl was Juliet, the middle, pale colored boy named Scruffy, and the more orange brother was named Peaches.  The name Peaches did not last.  He is Wyatt's kitty, and that first day, he kept calling him Princess Peaches (like Mario Brothers!).  We had to keep reminding him that his kitten was a boy kitty.  

So, here I am with Thomas and I's kitten, pretty little Juliet.  Her name stuck, sort-of.  I started calling her Julieta (said like the Hispanic nurse says Juliet in the Clare Danes/Leonardo DiCaprio version of Romeo and Juliet), like Who-Lee-Etta.  That shortened to Julie (said Who-Lee).  She is also called Julie Bear, Little Bear, Saucy, Saucy Bear, Care Bear, Jetty, Jedi Jetta, and Jetta.  She loves attention.  She is a sweetheart.  She is very loved.  All the kittens are very loved!

Wyatt really wanted to name his kitten Muffin, like the cat I had growing up.  He ended up with a crazy long name:  Bobo Fluffy Peach Muffin Garfield.  Wyatt calls him Dr. Bo.  We all call him Fluffy, Fluffy-pants, Fuzzy, Handsome and Bobo.  He is longer haired than his brother and sister.  He is super tolerate of handling, and love of all sorts.  Here, the little guy is exploring the shelves of a tool box in the garage, which is the cats "bedroom".

Here is little Julie checking out the food and water dishes.

Here are the boys finding the cat food.  Scruffy is at the front of the picture.  He looks longer haired there than he does today.  He and Julie look like regular short haired cats today.  Scruffy's name stuck better than all the others.  Though he has some nicknames, too.  He is also called Handsome, Scruffle, Roo-roo, Scruffly-duffily-da, and Scruffy Pants.

Lots to things have been rearranged since I took these pictures. The boots no longer sit under the bench.  I need to get some new pictures loaded soon!

The children with the Momma cat said that the kittens had not been out doors until the day they met us to take them home (I believe I remember that correctly.  I apologize, if I am remembering wrong.).  We had to take off their collars soon after we go them home. The babies were getting their paws all stuck in them.  They would have soon grown out of them anyway.  We still have the collars, hanging up in the garage.

At first we didn't let the kittens out unless someone could watch them.  We always picked them up and brought them back to the house if they wandered off too far.  They learned really well where home is.  Now we can let them out, and they don't roam too far from home.  They have new collars.  We started off by making tags for them, and buying normal collars.  Those tags were way too noisy!  No stealth for the hunting kittens (and they are awesome hunters!).  We ordered collars that have their names and my phone number embroidered into the collar.  Now anyone who finds them will know they have a home, and they can be stealthy hunters, too. They have killed mice, rabbits, birds, shrews, bugs, and snakes!

I love this picture of the siblings in the sun.  I believe Thomas took it, it's his style, artsy.

I don't know how much yarn these little cuties used up.  I do know they are still played with lots!  I eventually got my laundry basket back.  They have all sorts of other cool places to sleep (even a kitty condo, as I have named it).

The picture above, was a day or two after we brought the babies home.  Thomas sent it to me while I was at work.  They played so hard, they all fell asleep together with their toys.  AW!

So, the baskets were our egg baskets.  We don't have all of these baskets anymore, but while we did, the kittens thought they were a great place to cuddle and nap. That is Scruffy and Julie in the baskets.

Sleepy little Bobo with gloves, in a shelf that used to have shoes.

I was so worried about running over one of the kittens with a vehicle.  This is why:  
When I was about four, or five, years old, I had more than one kitten that got under my Dad's car, or under the lawn mower... and I didn't have a kitten that lived till my brother's cat, Tiger, had babies (That was Muffin.  He was the runt of the litter, but lived from me being 5 years old until I was 21 years old).  But more about my nervousness and worry about running over these little ones.  They were sleeping on the bench above their food dishes.  Ellie was watching them. I started up my SUV and they woke up.  I didn't realize the garage door wasn't all the way up yet.  In my hurry to get out of the garage before the kittens got active, I ran into the garage door... and damaged the door, which had to have a panel replaced.  Ugh...  I should have bought this pet carrier before we brought the kittens home.   We began putting them in the carrier every time someone went in and out of the garage. Now they are over a year old, and unless we need them to stay in the garage, they are free to come and go when the garage door is opened.  They learned to stay away from the vehicles when they are running.  When the vehicles are not running, the cats love to play on them and sleep on them.  

These are pictures from when the kittens first started climbing trees.  I really enjoyed seeing them figure that out.  They are so smart.  Scruffy is on the tree in the above picture, with Julie watching from below.  Wyatt has his back-up chicken coop next to the deck.  The blue gloves are for handling yucky things, like chicken business.

Wyatt told me that the babies ripped off his glove here.

Both boys up the tree!

The kittens were very curious about the chickens.  Thankfully, they don't do anything more than watch them, or sometimes scare/surprise the them like our cat, Butter, used to do.  That is Bobo on top of the little coop. That was a temporary coop for chickens that were not big enough to integrate with the older flock yet.

I caught Scruffy mid-jump onto the tree above.  Below, the boys practice fighting, with Julie looking on. She is a fighter, too, though.

Cute Julie Bear.  All the kittens are so unique.  They have their own personality.  I didn't realize how different cats could be.  I've never had more than one cat at a time for a long period of time.  Julie meows, but is not as talkie as her brother, Bobo.  She mostly meows when she doesn't think she's getting enough attention.  She is the littlest of the cats, but still a fierce hunter.  You should see her handle a snake!  She loves to lick people when she is loving on them.  Julie knows she belongs to me and Thomas; we are not allowed to pet the boys more than we pet her, or she gets totally jealous.  She enjoys being cuddled in your arms like a little baby.

Sweet Scruffy Boy.

Told you Julie fights, too!

Handsome Fluffy Pants (aka Bobo).  He is the talkiest kitty I've ever known.  He has a happy meow, a "pet me" meow, a "pay attention to me" meow, a "let me in, or come and see me" meow, a "pick me up" meow, and more.  He paws at the door to the kitten for attention.    He has made slick spot on the door where he paws.  He is the neediest kitty I have ever known, and the most loving.  He is the quickest to purr, and the loudest!  If you are not giving him enough attention, he will jump up on your leg!  He loves hiding under maxi skirts.  He attacks and bites skirts, and he claws jeans.  You can hold Bobo any way you want.  He just likes to be held.

Spoiled me, with the automatic litter box.  That was originally my parents (Thank you, Mom and Dad!!!).  We used the litter box for our old cat, Butter.  The kittens were surprised when the litter box scooped and dumped all on it's own, but they got used to the box right away.  Thank you God for that one!  Bobo is the neatest in the box.  He will even jump in and cover up things if his brother, or sister, has not covered up their business well.

Scruffy getting ready to pounce.  I love when I find one of the cats all scrunched down in the grass ready to hunt.  Scruffy is the most timid with people, but fierce with animals, even with our "new" puppy (that's a story for another post).  He hated to have his face touched at first.  Ellie worked with him, and he is her kitty.  He doesn't mind her touching his face at all now.  He loves her so much.  If I come out and he thinks I am Ellie, then he realizes I am not, you can tell he is disappointed.  He still doesn't like his face, or head, touched as much as petting the rest of him.  Don't surprise him, and pet his head when he is unaware; he will walk away from you.  But if he wants some pets, he will rub up your legs, and sometimes wrap his arms around your legs.  He occasionally love-bites.  Scruffy likes to be held with his head against your shoulder.

Thomas loves that Scruffy follows him around when he is outside working.  He does just like our old cat, Butter, used to do. Thomas loves his companionship.  

This was just too cute, with Scruffy's arms all wrapped around the basket!

Julie and Fluffy taking a nap, but Scruffy wants to play!

The kitties all come in at night to sleep. They come in and out during the day to eat, drink, nap, and get pets and cuddles.  They have been in the house far more than our old cat.  Sometimes we let them in just to play with and love on them.  Our old cat just had a path from door to door when he wanted in or out.  These babies are spoiled and loved, and they know it.

Sometimes one of us will look out at the kitties and just say, "Awww!".  Then someone else will ask what they are doing.  And the other will say, "Just being cute."  They manage to do that even just sitting, or sleeping. They make me smile, and sigh.  They are such stress relievers.  People thought we were a little crazy to get three kittens.  Sometimes I thought we were a little crazy to get three kittens.  I am so glad we did though.  I am thankful to the family who gave them to us, to my husband who insisted these were the kittens for us (even though we had to travel over an hour away to pick them up), and thankful that God blessed us with these sweet kitties to care for.

I have plans for more kitty posts in the near future.  I'll also be posting on the movie War Room from the Kendrick Brothers and Provident Films.  I was able to attend a pre-screening of the movie, and I can't say enough good about this movie.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Old Fashioned Movie Review #OldFashionedMovie

Meme from

Old Fashioned is not so old fashioned, it's a real movie about messy life that has been around since the beginning of time, and the happiness that forgiveness and real love can bring.  I have to admit, that when I saw the first trailer for Old Fashioned, I really wasn't very excited for this movie.  I had an opportunity to prescreen the movie, but I was going to pass.  I thought, "Maybe I'll see that movie when it comes out on video."  Thankfully, my hubby saw the trailer, and he said, "We have to see this movie!"

There is only one other movie that my husband took me to that I really didn't know what I was in for, but just like this movie, I was so glad he took me.  That first movie was Joshua (2002, starring Tony Goldwyn and F. Murray Abraham), and that has been one of my favorite movies ever since.  Old Fashioned is definitely in my top 10, maybe even my top 5.  This is not your typical seen-it-all-before "Hallmark" type romance story.  It's not an "everyone is perfect" Christian movie that some might think any movie associated with the term Christian might be.  My daughter pointed out to me the other day that books at the library get an "R" on them for Restricted, but they also get an "R" on them for Religious.  50 Shades of Grey was rated "R" for "unusual behavior", and from what I've read about that book to movie adaptation, it's not the type of unusual behavior I want to see.  In contrast, Old Fashioned is the Romans 12:2 kind of "unusual behavior"... you know "Do not conform any longer to the patterns of this world...".

So, for me, the trailer made the movie look slow.  I agreed with what everyone said in the trailer, it just didn't excite me.  Now that I've seen the movie, the original trailer makes me smile.  You can see for yourself what you think of that trailer:

I have to tell you, Old Fashioned is an awesome movie.  Visually, the movie is beautiful to look at, the background, the costumes, the actors and actresses, even the furniture and vehicles.  The main female character dresses modestly.  I really like her outfits; some of them were cute dresses with leggings and boots.  She only wears pants once in the movie that I can remember, that is the sign of a timeless movie to me. The soundtrack enhances the experience of the movie, and I love how an old fashioned record player is used multiple times.

Old Fashioned  is a real story, the characters are people you might know, with real pasts and struggles, and real hope and love.  Rik Swartzwelder is the Writer/Producer, but since the actor playing the main character in Old Fashioned dropped out at the last moment, he also became the main character, and I'm glad he did.  This video on "The Heart of Old Fashioned" tells the story behind the film, and is really worth watching.

Amber is Clay's love interest in the movie.  She breezes into to town with the end of her tank of gas.  That tank of gas took her to be a tenant in the apartment above Clay's antique shop.  The antique shop where Clay makes old things like new again.  Which is an underlying theme in the movie.  2 Corinthians 5:17 says "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.  The old has gone, the new has come." That verse is great, and makes sense, but the actual quote was part of Revelation 21:5 where Jesus says:  "... I am making everything new!..."  (This is an edit since we took the kids to see the movie today, and I thought that Revelation was the right verse when I was writing originally, but I kept second guessing myself!  I am terrible at doing that.)

So, Clay was a bad-boy, frat boy for most of college, but then he found God, and became a Christian.  He set some really high standards for himself, especially in the area of women.  I say "really high standards", but I agree with Clay that they are God's Standards, and honestly, 90 years ago, when my great-grandparents were courting none of those standards would have seemed strange.  (Yes, I met my great-grandparents, knew them, and heard their stories.  They were married 73 years and 11 months before they passed away within about a month of each other.)  So, Clay's theories on dating intrigue Amber, and she finds ways to talk to him.  It's in the trailer, so not a spoiler, that Amber breaks things in her apartment just to get Clay to come up and talk to her while he's fixing them, even though she has to stand outside the screen door, wrapped in a quilt.  Eventually they begin courting.

Clay and Amber's friends are different, quirky, okay, they are the folks you work with, your neighbors... and they are just a hilarious, as are Clay and Amber.  I do not remember the last time I laughed so much at a movie!!!  And I know the last movie that I laughed so hard I nearly cried at was Mom's Night Out; if you've seen that movie, you have some idea of how funny Old Fashioned is.  I said that if I had to put Old Fashioned in a genre, it would have to be Romantic Comedy; my hubby said he would have to change the genre name to Hilarious Romance.  And it's good funny, not stupid, or potty humor funny, but genuine "Wow! I could not stop myself from laughing."  Everyone has their funny moments, but Clay's Aunt Zella is a character you do not want to miss.  I cannot think of anyone to compare Aunt Zella to, but she is just fabulous. Check out this clip from the Old Fashioned Facebook page on Aunt Zella (which my hubby says doesn't even do her justice):

And back to the real-ness of the movie, there are moments when I was on the edge of my seat.  I didn't know what the main, or side characters, were going to do in some tough situations.  Oh, seriously, I was holding my breath, and just hoping for them to do the right thing.  We also get glimpses into Clay's past, Amber's past, and the current seedy life of one of Clay's college friends.  So, this is not a movie for young children.  Nothing is distasteful or anything that I wished I could go back and cover my eyes, or my ears, but you will know what is being referred to, or going on.  I said in my notes at the theater that they did a good job showing bad things, without actually showing bad things.

I will tell you that my hubby and I are talking our 12 year old son and 14 year old daughter opening weekend.  There is so much good to talk about with your teens, so much to think about if you are planning on getting married, or are already married.  Here's a comparison between Old Fashioned and 50 Shades of Grey, custom made for parents; these are two "Valentine's" movies coming out this weekend.

I also like really like this quote, which I believe was one from Clay in the movie:
from Old Fashioned's Facebook page

For the happy ending/romantic in me, Clay and Amber are so cute; she calls him "Stress Boy" and he calls her "Pretty Girl".  I smiled, laughed, held my breathe and hoped, cheered, and I think I even cried once.  This is one of the best movies that has come to theaters this year.  If you have a theater playing Old Fashioned near you, take the opportunity to support a story about real love, and support good filmmakers. #OldFashionedMovie

SPOILER ALERT:  I love the boxes they make for each other to choose what they are going to do on their next date/outing.  I love when Amber is reading the Bible she bought and reads out loud:  (Hebrews 13:5 or Joshua 1:5) "I will never leave you nor forsake you." (not sure which it was, so that quote may not be exact). "...."Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.""  You can just tell she had a moment with God.  I especially love the happy ending, with a whirlwind makeover including so many touches that show how Clay listened to Amber, and which includes a kiss on the check.  Only, I would have rather they gave Amber an up-do with her pretty hair, rather than straightening the curls.

P.S.:   So, we took our children (teen and preteen) to the movie today.  Daughter loved it!  Son thought it was boring.  I did not laugh as hard, or hold my breath as much, but I knew what was coming.  I smiled A LOT!  I saw a few things I missed before.  I forgot to tell you all that the movie takes place in Ohio, which is Rik Swartzwelder's home state.  I really enjoyed the setting.  It reminded me of any random small town in the Midwest (like home), and the back roads looked like the roads around my grandparent's farms.  After watching the movie again, I want the soundtrack.  There are some really pretty songs on there.  And the record player was a Victrola; I wanted to say that before, but, again, second guessing myself.