Field Stone Cottage Blog

Friday, May 30, 2008

Price of Gas: May 29, 2008

I swung by the gas station on the way home from stopping by Kim's house last night and here's the latest in gas prices for Crystal Lake, IL. I don't have to whine (well, at least not quite as much) since the price dropped 6 cents per gallon from last week. Think there's any coincidence with it being right after Memorial Day?

Check out what everyone else is paying for gas at Rebecca's. So far, Mummymac is in the lead on gas prices, a distinction I'm sure she'd be glad to relinquish.

Nip Cancer in the Bud: The Answers: Part 2

The final installment of Karen's very important series on cancer awareness and screening is in at Simply A Musing Blog! This is must read material for all of us! Karen, a huge thank you for the large investment in time and effort to bring us these posts! And of course, a very big thanks as well to the oncologists who generously gave of their time and expertise. I've learned a lot and I'm sure I'm not the only one.

P.S. Don't forget to check back later at Karen's blog for the answer to the one last question that required a bit more research. You don't want to miss anything here!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Look What I Got in the Mail Yesterday!

Look at this! Here are the two cookbooks I won from Ann at Whatever Things... in our last Recipe Round Up! Wasn't that generous and sweet of her to have that drawing and send me these cute little cookbooks! I love them! Thank you, Ann!

The little books are full of delicious sounding recipes and interesting pictures alongside them. In the case of the Irish Teatime one, there are pictures of historic life in Ireland. Favourite Boating Recipes is illustrated with scenes of narrow, canal boats of England. And there is no way that Ann could have known that the name of the boat in the picture on the cover of that one is the name that I am called by in my family of origin...Annie.

So now I have the fun of pouring over them, deciding which recipe to try first. And every time I turn a page, I'll think of my friend, Ann, and her thoughtfulness.

15 Words or Less Poem

His purposes and plans
Overarch all;
I can rest
Beneath them.

Update: More poems here. And Kim's stunning poem with information on the cathedral are here.

Much Better Day at the Cottage

Charlie saw his cardiologist yesterday and it was a much better day than last Friday! He had a exam there and an echo cardiogram. That echo cardiogram did not require Charlie to lay on his back so things went much more smoothly from that point of view...Charlie's! And from my point of view, the news was much more encouraging. Yes, Charlie has some degenerative mitral valve disease as a result of the aging process. He is twelve years old, after all. But it seems that his murmur sounds much worse than his heart function really is and to quote the cardiologist "he is compensating very well." That translates to no need for medication right now. Just monitoring by doing chest X-rays (for which she had a positioning suggestion to prevent the stress on his hips) every six months and another echo cardiogram next year. We can live with that! The bill was even less than I was afraid it might be. So praise God and heartfelt thanks for your prayers!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Quotes from the Cottage

Of what high importance is the hope of the Gospel, both to the Christian's comfort and holiness! This hope rests on the faith of the Gospel. This faith springs from the knowledge of the meaning and evidence of divine truth. These are to be found in the Bible. The influence of the Divine Spirit is necessary to enable us to find them there. That influence is promised to all who ask it. "Search the Scriptures." "Seek ye out of the book of the Lord, and read." "Ask, and ye shall receive; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you."
--John Brown

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Sunday's Hymn: Blessing and Honor and Glory and Power

Blessing and honor and glory and power,
Wisdom and riches and strength evermore
Give ye to him who our battle hath won,
Whose are the Kingdom, the crown, and the throne.

Soundeth the heav'n of the heav'ns with his Name;
Ringeth the earth with his glory and fame;
Oceans and mountain, stream, forest, and flower
Echo his praises and tell of his power.

Ever ascendeth the song and the joy;
Ever descendeth the love from on high;
Blessing and honor and glory and praise—
This is the theme of the hymns that we raise.

Give we the glory and praise to the Lamb;
Take we the robe and the harp and the palm;
Sing we the song of the Lamb that was slain,
Dying in weakness, but rising to reign.

Horatius Bonar, 1866

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Rough Day at the Cottage

Yesterday was a rough day here for me...and Charlie. I had an appointment for him at the vet in the morning. Now, I think you all know how I feel about Charlie but in case you don't, I love that little dog of mine! But he has a checkered medical past. And he's twelve years old. Anyway, I'd noticed a lump on his belly a couple of days ago and decided to move up his routine bladder X-ray for stones and get that lump checked while we were there. All is well on those fronts. Not so for his heart. He's had a bit of a murmur for a while. Now he's got more than that and he needs to see a cardiologist. I'm sure some people would think that is a bit over the top. Insane, actually. But fortunately for me...and Charlie...Andy is not one of them. I thank God for giving us the same point of view on that.

This morning, Charlie saw his chiropractor. That he has one is part of his checkered medical past too. He's got a history of back and neck problems but this time it was his hip. While taking chest X-rays to send to the cardiologist, Charlie squirmed in protest against being held on his back with all four legs splayed out and the strain on his hip was the result. Thank God it just seems to be a pulled muscle. He should recover from that in a few days.

Here's a picture of my much loved old boy waiting for me at the end of our bed. And if you are the sort who prays for animals, Charlie and I would appreciate that. Thanks, friends.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Belated Reminder

Did you make it over to Simply A Musing Blog today to check on the first round of answers from the oncologists that Karen has enlisted to answer our questions about cancer screening? If not, better go now. And thanks again, Karen, for sponsoring this important and valuable service to us all.

Price of Gas: May 23, 2008

Well, here's the bad news on the price of gas today in Crystal Lake, IL. While I know others (like Rebecca...and Mummymac) are paying more, it does seem like the price for us is going up faster each week. But enough whining.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Cookies for Prayer Meeting

Our little church had prayer meeting last night. We've been gathering every other Wednesday evening in our homes and sharing a meal together afterwards. The host family has been providing the main course and this time it was Kim and Tom's turn. We had grilled burgers and hotdogs fixed on their new grill. Yum!

I made the dessert and, since Kim had broadly hinted in her comment on my Half Moon Cookies that she'd like to sample them, that's what I made. I think everyone enjoyed them though. That means I can share positive reviews outside of my own family now! And outside of Upstate New York!

Also per Kim's request, I added a picture to the post with the recipe but I am duplicating it here so you don't have to click back to the recipe just to see it. They are rather pretty, don't you think?

15 Words or Less Poem

Shades of green,
Dark and cool.
God's creation,
Peace and renewal.

More 15 Words or Less Poems here.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Quotes from the Cottage

Faith is the belief of what God reveals respecting the way of salvation; hope is the expectation of obtaining that salvation."'The assurance of faith" is a full persuasion of the truth of what God reveals; "the assurance of hope" is a full expectation of obtaining what God has promised....
The means calculated for this purpose are just the faith of the Gospel, and living under the influence of the faith of the Gospel. Our faith and our hope will just be in proportion to each other, and our holiness will be in proportion to both.
--John Brown

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Sunday's Hymn: Crown Him With Many Crowns

Crown him with many crowns,
The Lamb upon his throne;
Hark! how the heav'nly anthem drowns
All music but its own:
Awake, my soul, and sing
Of him who died for thee,
And hail him as thy matchless King
Through all eternity.

Crown him the Lord of love;
Behold his hands and side,
Rich wounds, yet visible above,
In beauty glorified:
No angel in the sky
Can fully bear that sight,
But downward bends his burning eye
At mysteries so bright.

Crown him the Lord of peace;
Whose pow'r a scepter sways
From pole to pole, that wars may cease,
Absorbed in prayer and praise:
His reign shall know no end;
And round his pierced feet
Fair flowers of Paradise extend
Their fragrance ever sweet.

Crown him the Lord of years,
The Potentate of time;
Creator of the rolling spheres,
Ineffably sublime:
All hail, Redeemer, hail!
For thou hast died for me:
Thy praise shall never, never fail
Throughout eternity.

Matthew Bridges, 1852

Saturday, May 17, 2008


There are not many dogwood trees in Crystal Lake, IL but I am fortunate enough to have one in my yard. Here's a close up of the blossoms on it this year. Like the bleeding hearts, the dogwood blossoms seem especially lovely this spring.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Spring 2008

The long awaited spring of 2008 is now in progress in Crystal Lake, IL and it is certainly not a typical spring for these parts. Most years we seem to go almost directly from winter to summer. But not this year! We've been enjoying a prolonged spring. Days of moderate temperatures and nights of cool ones. The night before Mother's Day, just one week ago, it dipped back into the thirties. And its not like it has even been very rainy which can happen in spring here.

The effect has been glorious days of prolonged pleasure in our spring flowers. Tulips have been around for weeks now. Depending on how much sun they've gotten, some are not even fully opened in my neighborhood. The Charlie walks are a riot of springtime color!

But right here in my yard, my bleeding hearts are more profuse and longer lasting than I would have imagined they ever could be! I love them! And I am basking in them this year.

Price of Gas: May 16, 2008

After doing some yard work, Charlie and I took a walk up to check out the gas prices today. Okay, Charlie wasn't doing any yard work but I was. Anyway, here it is...$3.97 per gallon in Crystal Lake, IL. Check out what others are paying for gas at Rebecca Writes. It might make you feel better about your gas price. Or it might make you feel worse. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Cancer Awareness and Screening

Karen at Simply A Musing Blog has a post up today that you DO NOT WANT TO MISS! Could I make that any more emphatic? Karen starts her post by saying that cancer is one of the ugliest words in the English language. I can personally attest to that. I can clearly remember the impact the "C-word" had on me when my surgeon walked into my hospital room and told me I had thyroid cancer twenty-some years ago. And thyroid cancer is usually slow growing and highly treatable! I've had a couple of other bouts with thyroid cancer over the years but I'm here to tell you about it! And I'm healthy! Please get your cancer screenings of all types and don't cause yourself or your family unnecessary suffering. Read Karen's post. She has so graciously involved some Texas oncologists in a question and answer session on her blog. Take advantage of that. You can't protect yourself or your family from this ugly word if you don't know the facts. Get them! And if you have a blog, partner with us in getting the word out to others, please!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

15 Words or Less Poem

Big eyes
Wet nose
Soft warm body
Love on four paws
Creeps into my heart.

More 15 Words or Less Poems here.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Recipe Round Up: Half Moons

Here's another Upstate New York specialty for Ann's Recipe Round Up at Whatever Things... The big day is Thursday, May 15th and that's tomorrow! I've noticed a few international recipes surfacing among the Round Up group but I know there are more coming!

But back to my recipe for today. Half Moons are, as far as I know, the only unique food which actually started in the Utica-Rome area. I believe they started as a creation of Hemstrought's Bakery in Utica, to be precise, but their popularity caused them to be imitated by many others including lots of us home bakers. They are a large cakey sort of cookie which is turned over and frosted on the bottom side with half white frosting and half chocolate frosting. Hence, their name, Half Moon Cookies. So let's get to the recipe!

Cream together:
1 c. sour cream
1 1/2 c. sugar
3/4 c. shortening
Beat 2 eggs and add to mixture.
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt
3 c. flour
Mix well.
Drop by rounded tablespoons, two per cookie, on a cookie sheet and spread a bit with the back of the spoon to make the cookies more round and flat.
Bake at 375 degrees F. for 12-15 minutes.

Now for the frosting. Cream 6 tablespoons of softened butter in a small bowl. Blend in 2 2/3 cups confectioner's sugar alternately with 1/3 cup milk. Add 1 tsp. vanilla and beat until creamy. Move just slightly less than half of the frosting to another bowl to be made into chocolate frosting. To the smaller amount, add 1/3 cup cocoa powder and 1-2 tablespoons of milk, beating until creamy.

Now frost the baked and cooled cookies remembering to turn them upside down. Enjoy with the beverage of your choice. Mine is tea, thank you very much.

Variation: You can make the cookies themselves chocolate by substituting 1/2 c. of cocoa powder for 1/2 c. of the flour.

Update: As requested, here's a picture of the finished product.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Recipe Round Up: Buffalo Chicken Wings

Only three more days until this month's Recipe Round Up! Its hosted by Ann at Whatever Things... this time and the details are here. The theme is Recipes from Around the World and I'm really looking forward to acquiring some new and interesting ones! My first contribution follows and I hope you enjoy it!

We've lived in Illinois twelve years now but we lived in Upstate New York for 17 years before that. The Utica-Rome area was where we called home and that's quite a ways from Buffalo, the true home of Buffalo chicken wings. Still no one there would dream of eating a pizza without wings. It simply wasn't done! And we missed those wings with our pizzas for years after arriving in Chicagoland so it was imperative that a good recipe be found. This is it.

Brush both sides of wings (2 1/2 pounds of them) with vegetable oil and place on broiling rack. Broil 15-20 minutes or until nicely crisped. Meanwhile, heat 1/2 cup of butter, 4 1/2 tablespoons of Red Hot Sauce and 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar in a large saucepan. Add wings to saucepan and immediately toss them in the sauce. Transfer to a platter and serve.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Sunday's Hymn: Come, Holy Spirit, Come

Come, Holy Spirit, come;
Let thy bright beams arise;
Dispel the darkness from our minds,
And open all our eyes.

Cheer our desponding hearts,
Thou heav'nly Paraclete;
Give us to lie with humble hope
At our Redeemer's feet.

Revive our drooping faith;
Our doubts and fears remove;
And kindle in our breasts the flames
Of never-dying love.

Convince us of our sin;
Then lead to Jesus' blood,
And to our wond'ring view, reveal
The secret love of God.

'Tis thine to cleanse the heart,
To sanctify the soul,
To pour fresh life in ev'ry part,
And new create the whole.

Dwell, therefore, in our hearts;
Our minds from bondage free;
Then we shall know and praise and love
The Father, Son, and Thee.

Joseph Hart, 1759

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Quotes from...Caribou

Andy and I really enjoy the occasional Saturday morning "date" at Caribou. I'm not sure exactly why since we don't have any children at home anymore...except Charlie, of course, who can be just as distracting as a human child. Then there is the phone and the computer and seeing all the tasks that need doing around the cottage. I guess I do know why we like to have our Caribou getaways!

But I digress. Back to the point. We were at Caribou this morning and I was especially rewarded to see this perfect blog fodder quote on the back of a T-shirt.

In case you can't quite make it out, the T-shirt says:

the feeling you have
before you understand
the situation.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Price of Gas: May 9, 2008

No improvement on gas prices here in Crystal Lake, IL. But Mummymac pretty much cured me of complaining about our prices last week so I'll just keep my mouth shut about it. Or should I say "my fingers quiet."

Check out what others are paying for gas at Rebecca Writes. Then again, you might not want to know!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

15 Words or Less Poem

Cast off,
Alone in the world.
God is with me.

More 15 Words or Less Poems here.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

May's Recipe Round-Up

This month's Round Up is hosted by Ann at Whatever Things... and the theme is Recipes Around the World. Ann is encouraging us to contribute "recipes unique either to the part of the world or country you live or where you’re from originally." I am already thinking about what recipes I can share and I hope you are too! The big day is scheduled for Thursday, May 15th and I can't wait to see what everyone comes up with! New and exciting recipes are always welcome at the cottage. So head on over to Ann's place to get the guidelines for participation. While you're there, check out the giveaway Ann is featuring too!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Saving the Violets

Finally, it really is spring in Crystal Lake, IL. So much so that Andy even had to mow the lawn this weekend! But he knew how much I was enjoying all the violets in the lawn so look what he did. He mowed out around the majority of them so that we can still enjoy them from the screen porch! What a guy!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Sunday's Hymn: Lord, My Weak Thought

Lord, my weak thought in vain would climb
To search the starry vault profound;
In vain would wing her flight sublime
To find creation's utmost bound.

But weaker yet that thought must prove
To search thy great eternal plan,
Thy sovereign counsels, born of love
Long ages ere the world began.

When my dim reason would demand
Why that, or this, thou dost ordain,
By some vast deep I seem to stand,
Whose secrets I must ask in vain.

When doubts disturb my troubled breast,
And all is dark as night to me,
Here, as on solid rock, I rest,—
That so it seemeth good to thee.

Be this my joy, that evermore
Thou rulest all things at thy will;
Thy sovereign wisdom I adore,
And calmly, sweetly, trust thee still.

Listen to it here.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Price of Gas: May 3, 2008

This morning, Andy and I took a little trip out to get gas for the lawn mower from our local station about four blocks from the cottage in Crystal Lake, IL. We paid $3.73.9 per gallon. See that little sign next to the gas station sign? If you look closely, it says "Cruising Prohibited 7 PM to 5 AM." I am wondering how much cruising is happening with gas at this price.

Want to know how much those in other areas are paying for gas? Rebecca is keeping tabs right here.

But to check out prices globally and put things into perspective, read this article.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

15 Words or Less Poem

Feeling out of step.
Who sets the rules?
Maybe me.

For more 15 Words or Less Poems, visit here.