Inspiration: March

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If you believe the calendar, spring has officially arrived in the Northern Hemisphere.  Hurray!  Unfortunately, the weather hasn’t quite gotten the message.  This means I’m dreaming more of spring than actually experiencing it.  Still, the sun is higher in the sky and the willow trees are beginning to turn green – events promising that Nature and the calendar will eventually get on the same train.  Then, the rejoicing will truly begin around here.

I’ve found all kinds of inspiration this month. Some is directly related to the season: Easter, spring cleaning, and my birthday. Some of the links just caught my fancy in one way or another and I thought they might do the same for you.

Enjoy!

Inspiration: March

  • The perfect perspective of home.
  • Speaking of home, springtime often means spring cleaning.  Some ideas for tackling the job.
  • Listening to audiobooks while cleaning the house?  I never have, but think it’s a lovely idea.  Here are some great suggestions.  I’ve been wanting to read The Buried Giant and The Goldfinch.  Maybe I’ll listen to them instead.
  • Cleaning is not really my favorite sport.  These cleaners might tempt me to do it more often simply because they would smell so good!
  • After the house is clean, it’ll probably be time for an Easter Brunch.
  • This also belongs on the menu.  Actually, it could be the menu and I’d be happy.
  • Of course, there must be flowers on the Easter brunch table.  Or any time, really.
  • More flowers.  And way more creativity.
  • And speaking of creativity, just give me one small corner of this space and I could create whimsical creatures, too!
  • I’ll be celebrating my 46th birthday in a few days.  This interview came at just the right time.
  • Did you know that a fully illustrated Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is in the works?  It looks perfectly wonderful.
  • I’m heading to Scotland this summer.  Steven Carter is whipping my anticipation into a frenzy.  I. Can. Not. Wait.
  • Finally, I’ve been finding Hillsong’s The Creed to be especially inspirational coming into this Easter season.

 

I’m feeling very inspired.  I think I’ll head to the grocery store and collect some more flowers.  Even if it’s not quite feeling like spring outside, there’s no harm in making it look like spring inside.

 

Seeking Spring

Spring is taking her sweet, old time arriving at my house and the dilly-dallying is wearing my patience thin.  I’ve started looking elsewhere for the promises of renewal and growth I’ve been desperately craving after this long and dreary winter.  The substitutes I’ve found, the bouquets of tulips and the forced daffodil and hyacinth bulbs purchased from the grocery store and humble road-side stand, have been more than adequate stand-ins for the real thing.  They’ve brought a freshness and grace to my winter-weary home and temporarily satisfied my need for the beauty and color of this long-awaited season.

DSC_2159 DSC_2164  { Sam, the photo-bombing feline }

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Because this half of the Flufflypants Gang was so intent on interfering with my carefully composed images (ha!), I thought I’d satisfy his ego and give him the spotlight for a moment, too.  What a poser!

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Have a wonderful day!

– (whether Spring actually makes an appearance or not)

Today I Am…

Today I Am….

Enjoying a lazy Saturday after one doozy of a week.

Wearing my PJ’s, even though I oozed out of bed hours ago.

Sporting my sexy new wedge sandals.  With my PJ’s.  Yes, I love them that much.

Anticipating my May graduation, and dreading all the work I still need to complete to get there.

Rejoicing in the news of a friend’s wedding engagement.

Praying for those I love who are traveling through very dark valleys.

Ignoring the needy baskets of clean laundry that demand folding to type this post.

Relishing the very last day of being forty-two, amazed at the incredible blessings in my life.  God’s goodness overwhelms me.

Celebrating the delicate beauty of spring on a drizzly afternoon

A Sweet Taste of Spring

Yesterday, I woke to the trill of songbirds and something fluttered in my spirit.  Had spring officially arrived?  I opened the windows and let the fresh cool air meander through the house.  The cats lounged on the sills for hours, tails twitching at robins and noses sniffing the breeze.  To my nose, the air smelled of dirt, and growing things, and promise.  The neighbor’s weeping willow had sprouted graceful wisps of flourescent green hair and daffodils lazily nodded their sunny yellow heads. Yes, spring had arrived and was working its magic.

My response to all this renewal and rebirth?  I set out some eggs to warm up and butter to soften and decided to bake something lemony.  Lemon, in my humble opinion, is the perfect taste to complement spring – fresh, clean, and bright.  I grabbed some lemons from the fridge and began mentally sifting through my favorite lemon recipes.  Lemon bars, lemon cookies, lemon pudding cake, lemon quick bread, lemon poppy seed muffins.  I finally settled on Lemon Cream Cupcakes, a recipe I found years ago in a Taste of Home magazine.  The choice was pretty easy.  Just the thought of these cupcakes made my mouth water.  Besides, I’d recently bought really cute baking cups at Michael’s that I was itching to use and this was the perfect opportunity.

Although simple in appearance, Lemon Cream Cupcakes are to die for.  I mean this with the utmost sincerity.  My husband phoned me five minutes after leaving for work this morning simply to talk (a.k.a. rave) about the cupcake he’d just eaten for breakfast.  Lovey’s friend describes them as “life-changing”.  I don’t know about that, but I will say that they offer a few minutes of edible heaven.  Now I ask, what better way to celebrate spring than by baking and eating these morsels of lemon perfection?

 I want to personally thank Ruth Ann Stelfox of Raymond, Alberta, whoever you are, for submitting your fabulous recipe to Taste of Home and sharing it with the world, and more personally, with me.  And now, it’s my turn to be gracious, because something this sublime is just too wonderful to keep to myself.

Lemon Cream Cupcakes (from Taste of Home, date unknown)

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

2 cups sugar

3 eggs

2 teaspoons grated lemon peel

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups sour cream

Frosting:

3 tablespoons butter, softened

2 1/4 cups confectioner’s sugar

2 tablespoons lemon juice

3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon grated lemon peel

1 to 2 tablespoons milk

For Batter:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line muffin tins with paper liners (the cuter the better).
  2. In a mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar (approximately 2 1/2 to 3 minutes).
  3. Beat in eggs, one at a time.
  4. Add lemon peel and vanilla; mix well.
  5. Combine dry ingredients; add to creamed mixture alternately with sour cream.  Begin and end with dry ingredients.  Batter will be thick.  Go ahead – taste it.  Bet you can’t stop with just one lick.
  6. Fill liners with 1/4 cup batter.  Don’t overfill or you’ll end up with wide flat tops on your cupcakes – still tasty but not pretty.
  7. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean.
  8. Cool for ten minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

For Frosting:

  1. Cream butter and sugar in a small mixing bowl.
  2. Add lemon juice, vanilla, lemon peel, and milk.  Beat until smooth.
  3. Frost cupcakes.  I’ve found that dipping the cupcakes in the frosting works just as well as the traditional method and it’s quicker.
  4. Time for a sample (or two).  Ah, springtime from the oven.

This recipe yields about 2 1/2 dozen cupcakes.