A to Z Challenge?

I started blogging in March of 2012. When April rolled around I started seeing people take part in the A to Z Blogging Challenge. It looked like so much fun, so the next year I joined in. And the next year I did to. And the next year, and the next year, and the next year, and the next year. And wow, that makes it look like I’ve been blogging for a really long time. (Which, come to think of it, I have.)

Each year I had a different theme, and each year I had a lot of fun. Some years I was serious, like in 2013 when I talked about Lyme disease on my blog for the first time.

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Some years I chose things I was passionate about, like last year when I went with a kitchen theme and shared tips, tricks, recipes, and even cooking vlogs.


One year I choose creativity as my theme and spent the month doing crazy things – like the day I tied my hands together, just to see what aspects of creativity and my imagination I’d have to use to go about everyday life.

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Each year it’s been an adventure. Each year I’ve made friends, visited cool blogs, and come up with some great ideas. Each year I’ve had a lot of fun, spent a lot of time working on the challenge, and learned about whatever theme I had chosen for that year.

And then came this year. The timing wasn’t right, so I opted out. And that’s okay, but I do kinda miss the fun community and adventure that goes along with the challenge, so maybe I’ll do it again next year…

In the meantime, if you want to see any of my posts from previous years, just search A to Z Challenge on the sidebar, and you’ll have dozens of posts to choose from. 😉

Finishing (strongish) the A to Z Challenge 2018


I is for Indian Food
Curry is one of my all-time favorite dishes. Tikka Masala being forefront in my mind when I think of mouthwatering foods. The first time I remember making curry (although I’d eaten it plenty of times) was at the beginning of 2015 when I went to Ghana, West Africa. We stayed with some friends for a couple of weeks while helping them paint their house. My painting skills are in need of much help, so I sometimes had kitchen duty which was a lot more fun. One day I was handed a cookbook, asked to make curry, and an hour later decided it was nearly magic how the meal came together. Y’all should give it a go.

G is for Garden
I’m a country girl through and through, and I grew up devouring Laura Ingalls books over and over again. Having a garden is a lot of work, but totally delightful. As life has gotten busier I’ve set gardening aside for a few years, but my little sister took up where I left off.
Running out barefoot to grab a few armfuls of veggies right off the plant for supper has got to be one of the most rewarding parts of growing your own food. There’s nothing like eating fresh food to make you feel healthy and alive.

S is for Salt
Y’all. I have a salt deficiency. Which is a good thing because that means I need salt more than most people. Why is it a good thing? Let’s just say I crave it like crazy. I have a two-pound bag of pink Himalayan salt sitting next to my desk right now. At mealtimes, the running joke (which isn’t actually a joke at all) is that I have my own salt shaker at my place. Salt is truly a spice for life and I’m incredibly thankful I live in a time when it’s not rationed.

V is for Vengence
I’m not sure how true the story is, but all growing up I heard stories about the women in Occupied France (during WW2) who were forced to cook for the enemy. How the story goes is that they’d snip off the tip of their hair into the food because no one would see it, but it would cause indigestion for the Germans. That’s one way to get vengeance in the kitchen, folks.

X is for eXtra (I know, I know)
My parents are really hospitable, something for which I’m very thankful. All my life we’ve known that it’s not unusual for guests to be added at the last moment – our table which is three times as big as we need and is often full – is evidence to that.
Figuring out an extra dish to throw on the table at the last minute is second nature to me. It might be bread and butter, corn chips (a favorite with our family for some reason), a canned veggie, relish tray, or plater of cheese. It doesn’t always go with the meal, but in the end if everyone leaves the table satisfied, then it works.

Y is for Yams
Growing up I disliked yams with a passion. I thought they were beyond gross. (Have I mentioned that being a picky eater was very much a part of my past?)
It wasn’t until I had to stop eating white potatoes for a while (due to health issues) that yams and sweet potatoes suddenly became a favorite of mine. Even now the thought of a baked yam with melted butter and sprinkled salt and cinnamon makes my mouth water.

Z is for Zeal
There’s no questioning the fact that I have zeal when it comes to the kitchen. Cooking and baking is one of my most favorite things to do. I’ve had a lot of fun sharing some of my kitchenish things with y’all this month, even if I did get behind. #ooops Thanks for joining me for the ride!

U is for Utensils {A to Z Challenge 2018}


I regularly work in several kitchens: The one in my house, the one at the coffee shop, the one at the retreat, and the one at church. Throughout my experience working in various kitchens there are some things that I’ve discovered are really helpful to have around, and other little tips and tricks to make life easier when trying to cook.

Today we’re going to talk about….


Silverware – Instead of keeping it in a drawer our family keeps ours in a basket that has four sections. (I think it was originally meant as a wine carrier….) This is perfect because we can carry it to the dishwasher to unload the silverware container, to the table when we’re setting places, and when we eat outside, we simply lug the basket with us. I’m pretty sure this is one of my favorite things about our kitchen.

Knives – Keeping them sharp cuts down on so much work. There’s nothing like going from a dull knife where you’re pretty much using your body weight to make the slice to a sharp knife that slides right through.

Whisk – We have some skillets that aren’t supposed to have metal spatulas used in them. I also sometimes like to whisk gravy, etc… while it’s cooking. Having a silicone-coated whisk is the perfect solution and is kinda pretty, too.

Crocks – We keep most of our kitchen utensils in a crock on the back of the counter by the stove. That way everything is easy to get to and right within reach, plus it looks pretty cool.


What I Listened to While Blogging:
Where I Blogged:
Hanging out in my office
Fun Fact:
Princess Kate had her baby yesterday! *cue excitement*
Question of the Day:
Do think it’s strange or interesting to read about Royalty?

T is for Taco Tuesday {A to Z Challenge 2018}



Several years ago the tradition started up out of nowhere and soon took over with fun and memories that lasted until the weather got too cold to eat outside. It was a community event that took place every Tuesday and brought lots of laughter, fun, and delicious, mouth-watering food.


Taco Tuesday is high on my “favorite summer memories lists.” There were several of us families who live close by and work together and getting together every Tuesday evening with whatever offerings each family could bring was perfect. We’d eat out under the shelter of tall trees and sit around talking and laughing. After the food was gone we’d pull out the soccer ball and play a game with plenty of cheering from the sidelines.

We don’t do Taco Tuesday anymore – that was a season of life that has passed, but it remains one of my favorite meals. Here are the Taco Tuesday helpings I like best:

Rice (seasoned with lime and cilantro)
Corn Chips
Taco Meat
Corn Salsa
Hot sauce (preferably from Taco Bell)
Sour cream
and Olives


What I Listened to While Blogging:
Lindsey Stirling
Where I Blogged:
At my desk
Fun Fact:
Tofu is another “T” food I greatly enjoy
Question of the Day:
What is your favorite topping for tacos?

R is for Raspberry Matcha Smoothies {A to Z Challenge 2018}


At work, we’ve begun serving Matcha smoothies. Here’s what Matcha Source has to say about the tea:

What are the Health Benefits of Matcha Tea?
*One serving of matcha tea is the nutritional equivalent of 10 cups of regularly brewed green tea
*When you drink matcha you ingest the entire leaf and receive 100% of the nutrients of the leaf Matcha powdered green tea has 137 times more antioxidants than regularly brewed green tea

The matcha powder is pretty bitter though, so we like to use honey to sweeten our smoothies, and then raspberry syrup to flavor it. I’ve only had it a few times, but I hope to enjoy this delectable and healthy treat in the future.

Q is for Quinoa Salad {A to Z Challenge 2018}

Happy Thursday, folks!

Today the letter “Q” is for Quinoa Salad. It’s one of my favorite meals to make because you can do so many variations of them and they’re all delicious!

I did things a little different this time and my little brother actually stood on a chair to film me. Not quite the best set up, but I’ll master it one of these days, folks! 😉

P is for Plantains {A to Z Challenge 2018}


Plantains are delicious. We don’t have them very often around here, but when we do they’re always a treat and barely come out of the frying pan before they’re gobbled up by whatever family members are lurking around the kitchen.

Have you ever had plantains? What’s your favorite way to eat them? We generally fry them in olive oil and then sprinkle salt on top – yummy! 

(And, I’m fighting some kind of flu today, so this short post is all I’ve got. Blessings!)

O is for Onions


I was nearly nine when my oldest sister got married. One of my favorite things to do in the following years was to visit her. At one point, she and her husband and firstborn lived in the woods in a little cabin down a steep ridge. They didn’t have electric or indoor plumbing and when I would visit I’d have to haul my bags down the exhausting 75 steps that were built into the hill. I thought it was delightful and longed to live in a cute little place like that when I got married, too.

One day when I was visiting Betsie asked me what I wanted to do that day. I promptly replied that it had always been a dream of mine to make noodles. She assured me it would be a long process, but if I wanted to spend my time in the kitchen with her then she would be happy to oblige.

That day in the kitchen was a happy one – full of laughter and talking and reminiscent of when she lived at home and we cooked together nearly every day. What stands out in my mind the most though is when we were making supper to go along with the noodles we’d fashioned.

Betsie made venison burgers, then began chopping onions to go along with them. It wasn’t long until both of us had red, stinging eyes, so I asked her why in the WORLD anyone would go through such misery just to have onions to eat. She explained that since her husband liked onions she served them regularly. When I vehemently declared that when I got married and had my own kitchen I would never cook with onions, she laughed and said I might change my mind when I fell in love. I found that hard to believe.

That was far more than half my lifetime ago, and yet I’m still often amused by little ol’ me when it comes to what I’m willing to put up with in the kitchen to provide a tasty meal.

And onions? Well, I’ve gotten to a place where I’ve actually prayed that my (future) husband likes them because I enjoy cooking with them so much. So, I bid adieu to my emphatic declarations of childhood and conceded that my sister really was right after all.

N is for Nutmeg {A to Z Challenge 2018}


I guess with April in full force around us it’s not exactly the right time of year, but it still felt like this delightful winter tradition should be shared with all. Maybe you’ll bookmark it and while sifting through your websites eight months from now with the December wind screeching around you, you’ll see it and try it for yourself.

N is for…


In the winters it gets dry around here – hands cracking, lips bleeding type of dry. To add humidity to the air sometimes we put a pot of water on the stove to boil in addition to the humidifiers stationed around the house, trying valiantly to do their part.

Around the holidays, we sometimes spice up the water (literally) and that creates the most pleasing aroma that wafts around the house.

There’s no cut and dry list of ingredients that need to be used, but the same ones generally find their way into the pot – nutmeg, cinnamon sticks, cloves, and orange peels.

With this boiling away on the stove the house is warmer, cozier, more comfortable for the extremities, and welcoming indeed.


What I Listened to While Blogging:
The silence of an early morning
Where I Blogged:
At my desk
Fun Fact:
The highest-calorie fast food item in the world is a milkshake
Question of the Day:
What is your favorite season?

A is for Alphabet Soup {A to Z Challenge 2018}

Since I missed three letters in the A to Z Challenge, I decided to catch up with them on Sundays. Enjoy!


As a writer, I’m not sure if I should even confess this, but it might help some other struggling author out there, so I decided to just blurt it out for the whole world to see…

I’ve never, ever, in my whole entire 9,328 days of life enjoyed alphabet soup.


Yes, that’s right. Folks, I’m a word-lover. I read a dozen or so books a month and write all the time – blog posts, stories, letters, emails, notes… And yet alphabet noodles, which in reality should be the crowning glory of a writer’s diet, are kinda gross. In reality, I don’t think it was the noodles themselves that bothered me, but instead the soup we ate the noodles in. I couldn’t stand it.

Okay, a little redemption here, folks. I do like alphabet pretzels. In fact, if you want to make my little heart happy, you can just let me loose with a whole bag of them. I’ll create words, play with my food, and generally act like a happy kindergartener. And of course, I’ll eat them in the end because they’re delicious.

If you’re concerned, let me just assure you with one last tidbit before I sign off: Even though I disliked alphabet soup, I was always thrilled when we had it. Because yes, I’m a writer. Words in food? What could be better? But eating it? Actually putting it in my mouth? Um… #nothankyou


What I Listened to While Blogging:
Movie soundtracks… again
Where I Blogged:

Hanging out in my office
Fun Fact:
Alphabet soup has been around for more than 150 years

Question of the Day: 
Do you like alphabet soup?