Monday, January 30, 2012


Unexpected Daisies has a new look!

It has me so very excited!!

The Husband mentioned a few weeks back that he thought it was time I got a makeover.

I was totally taken by surprise. I thought I was looking pretty good. I mean, okay, sometimes I wear yoga pants and I look a bit casual. I try to keep it cute casual though. Maybe I'm not keepin' it as cute casual as I thought I was!

Seeing my stricken expression the Husband quickly told me he was referring to the blog.

In the future, I think he should definitely lead with that!!

I wasn't convinced he wasn't just trying to cover until he showed me the idea he'd been working on. For the blog! 

I may avoid the yoga pants for a week or so anyway.

I'm super thrilled with the blog's new look! A huge thank you to the Husband, Genius Graphic Designer Extraordinaire! 

That's not his official job title. His official job title is Senior Art Director. Boring. I think it should be changed to Genius Graphic Designer Extraordinaire. That's much more exciting! And in my opinion, accurate.

Since I'm talking about job titles, I would like to change my job title as well. It was fine to say I was a stay-at-home-mom when the girls were little, glazed over looks aside when I told certain people that's what I do, but now that the girls are older I think I need something more official. I think I would like the title of Vice President of Operations for the Van Tassel Domestic Cooperative. I like it! I especially like the sound of it when I say I'm the VPO of the VDC! How cool does that sound? Yep, I'm going to use that title from now on.


I'm delighted with the fresh new look the Husband created for the blog. It's very light, and easy breezy. It makes me think of springtime. And springtime means that the Husband will be sporting his kilt once again. YAY!!

I can't wait!!

I'm even wearing a very springlike blue nail polish in celebration of the new look of the blog!

Of course I'm still drinking hot beverages to keep warm because it's not spring yet. Not even close! We have, at the very least, 3 months before we'll see anything remotely springlike outside in Minnesota. Bah.

So anyway...leave a comment and let me know what you think of the new look? Please and thank you!


P.S. I've added several blogs that I enjoy to my favorite blogs list. Check them out!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Cold Comfort

It's cold season. Boooo!

Both of the girls have colds. Double boooo!

Though we take the usual cold medicines to try to help, the fact remains there simply is no cure for the common cold. I booo again!

I have found a few things that offer some comfort though, and a little comfort is often the best medicine for what ails us.

1. Johnson's soothing vapor bath!

A little squirt of this across the shower wall and by the time your shower is done the sinuses are clear! Thank you Johnson and Johnson! Cheers and applause!!

2. Chicken soup of course! While homemade chicken soup is delightful, who has the energy to make homemade soup when they're feeling miserable with a cold? Booo!

Just give me simple and tasty Lipton's chicken soup with extra noodles! Ready in under 10 minutes, with the same sinus clearing ability of homemade, and all of those little tiny noodles. Love it! It also comes with all of the nostalgia of, my Mommy made it for me when I was little. Bonus! Thank you Lipton! Cheers and applause!!

3. Last but not least a hot cup of lemonade with honey. Oh that's nice!

A cup of hot water.

Add in 2 to 3 spoonfuls of Country Time lemonade mix.

Add a nice heaping spoonful of local honey.

Oh yeah! That's gonna clear the sinuses, soothe a sore throat, and calm a cough! Thank you Country Time and Bees! Cheers and applause!!

You'll be feeling groovy in no time!

Miss Sofi Bug was feeling groovy enough to participate in her school's dress for your favorite decade day.

Wow. I really need to take down those Christmas cards in the background!


P.S. I was not paid to say I like these products. I just like them. That's all.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Truth and Lies

 Genesis 1:1  In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

God created all things. And it was good. (truth)

Genesis 2:16-17  And the Lord commanded the man, saying, "Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die."

Genesis 3:1  Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, "Has God indeed said, 'You shall not eat of every tree of the garden'?"

Genesis 3:4  "You will not surely die." (lie!) said the serpent. "For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God (lie!), knowing good and evil." (truth)

I think we all know how the story goes from here. Eve did eat the fruit of the tree. She gave the fruit to Adam to eat as well. And that was the moment, the moment when Eve doubted God's character, and acted on that doubt by eating the fruit of the forbidden tree, that we began to know not only good, which God had already shown, but now we also know evil.

Yes, we now know evil. We see it in our world every day. Greed. Theft. Oppression. Lies. Murder.

It was wicked lies that encouraged Eve's doubt. Lies that came from an enemy. Lies that came from the Father of Lies. Satan. (truth)

But it was Eve's doubt, her loss of focus on God's character, her willingness to listen to lies and not hold on to truth that opened the door to sin, that has allowed sin to become part of our nature from the moment of birth.

I remember filling in for Miss Sofi Bug's Sunday school teacher once. The class was discussing Adam, Eve, and original sin.

The girls felt angry with Eve for her sin and for all that the world suffers because it.

I understood. I felt the same way when I was their age. I wondered how God could justly make all mankind suffer for one woman's choice. Today I see things more clearly...mostly.

I asked the girls if they thought that they would have made a different choice than Eve. Would they have refused to eat the fruit?

Of course they would have chosen differently! They would never have eaten the fruit!

I thought that was wonderful! And then I asked them, "So you always obey your parents because God says in Colossians 3:20 Children, obey your parents in all things for this is well pleasing to the Lord."

The girls who were angry at Eve for her failure to obey, the girls who were certain of their ability to obey God and never touch the fruit in the garden, suddenly realized that they, even they, disobey God's commands. 

These beautiful, wonderful girls, like all of us, have a sinful nature.

These girls were confident in their goodness. Confident that had God created them first, instead of Eve, the outcome would have been different. (lie)

I once heard said that we can see our sinful nature from birth. Parents you will certainly understand this example. No parent has to teach a child to lie, it seems to come so naturally...I didn't eat the doughnut! I don't have a clue how that sugar got all over my face!

Children need to be taught to be honest! 

It is truly a lie to think we ourselves do not sin.

Our sin may not seem as bad as the "BIG" sins. (lie)

I do not steal...I don't's no big deal to just take a...

I have never killed anyone!

I mean really! We haven't disobeyed any of the "BIG 10" commandments! Right?

Either did Eve, exactly. She just started by listening to lies. She gave in to doubt. She followed doubt to disobedience.

I understand how doubt creeps in.

The Husband and I have had one struggle after another lately. It becomes so easy to doubt when life gets difficult. Why is God allowing life to be so hard? Will He really provide? Does He know how difficult this is? And if I take my eyes off God, if I don't focus on His character, His goodness, His love, His greatness, struggles can quickly lead to doubt. Doubt wants to lead me away from God. Anytime I think my way is better than God's way, it's sin. (truth)

But God is so merciful. God loves us so much, that He was not willing to let our knowledge of evil and death be the end of the story.(truth)

1Timothy 2:3b-6a and7b  God our Savior, desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, The Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all. I am speaking the truth in Christ and not lying.

If you have been listening to the lies that say you are fine, you are a good person and that is enough, please don't listen any longer. 

Romans 3:23  For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

God longs for you to know Him, feel His love, be safe in the shelter of His forgiveness. 

Romans 10:9  Confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

Then death's only power over you will be to deliver you to the gates of heaven. To God.

If you, like me, struggle because lies can lead to doubt, let's keep our focus on God's true character and send doubt packing!

Psalm 23  The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake. Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil! For you are with me! Your rod and staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table for me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over! Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever! 


Today my friends, let's believe only truth and stop accepting lies!


P.S. A special thanks to my pastors, John and Dave for teaching truth!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Oh How The Mighty Have Fallen

We had the most lovely snowfall yesterday.

Finally, enough snow that the neighborhood kids want to be out sledding and playing!

We even had enough snow that a friend's car got stuck in it. Another girlfriend and I pushed the car out of the snow drift. That's right! Two women pushed a car out of a snow drift!

Afterward I was feeling pretty mighty! I kept thinking to myself...that's right, who's strong? Uh huh! And who's mighty! Yep, that would be me!! The incident may have gone to my head a little, but I enjoyed feeling strong for a moment!

My confidence continued on this upswing as I went outside later to shovel the snow from the driveway. Oh yes, mighty woman shoveled the snow from the driveway, patio and the sidewalk. Woop woop!

And since it was such a lovely day, and I was feeling mighty and all, I tromped through the snow to take a few photos. I realized a few days ago that I haven't taken many photos lately. Yesterday was a perfect day for it!

The snow covered doorknob the Husband found in an antique shop for the garden door.

Snow covered weeds that still cling to a fence.

Moss and snow.

Snow covered, dried blossoms.

Ice coated branches.

Not only was I feeling mighty, I felt like quite the winter explorer too. Oh yeah!

Who would have thought, after pushing a car out of the snow, the strenuous shoveling of the driveway, and tromping through a winter wonderland that a simple walk down the driveway to the mailbox would do this mighty woman in?

I was nearly at the end of our slightly downward slanting drive when my foot hit a patch of ice and WHAM!

Mighty woman hit the dirt...cement actually.

Today I awoke with a sore wrist. A very banged up and extremely painful elbow, that might need an x ray. UGH! A very grateful tailbone as I landed instead on, shall we say, my left cheek. And one mightily bruised ego!!

I was just walking out to get the mail!!

Clearly, mighty woman's got nothin' on gravity!

At least I got some mighty good photos.


Monday, January 23, 2012

Weekend snack

We invited extended family over to play Wii on Saturday.

The Family really enjoys playing the Wii. We all have a good time and we laugh and laugh.

I especially enjoy playing Mario Kart!

I like my Mario Kart racing character to be Daisy.

When Daisy wins a race on Mario Kart she says, "I'm the best!" She says it in a very sing song kind of way. I love it!

Daisy gets to say that a lot when I play Mario Kart.

The Family doesn't want to play Mario Kart with me very often anymore. 

I think they're tired of hearing Daisy say, "I'm the best!" And they might be slightly offended by my need to do a victory dance every time Daisy says, "I'm the best!"

So, to appease everyone, and as a peace offering (bribe) I made caramel corn for our snack.

My friend Amy gave me this recipe.

It's so good!

I love when friends share their good recipes!

Speaking of friends sharing good recipes, my friend Jean sent me a book full of wonderful bread recipes to encourage my goal of becoming a good bread baker. Friends who encourage and share their recipes are a wonderful thing! I can't wait to make bread. I'm going to try one of the recipes this week!

Anyway...Caramel corn!

Air pop 1/2 to 1 cup corn kernels, depending on how much caramel coating you want. I like a lighter coating of caramel on my popcorn. I pop about 1 cup of kernels.

Spray a large roasting pan with Pam and add popcorn.

In a sauce pan combine 1cup firmly packed brown sugar, 1/2 cup butter, and 1/2 cup light corn syrup.

Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly.

Once the mixture begins to boil, stop stirring and allow to boil for 4 minutes.

1 minute.

3 minutes!

4 Minutes!!

Remove pan from heat and add in 1/2 teaspoon baking soda.

 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla.

And stir until well combined. Pour mixture over popped corn.

Doesn't that look good?

Stir again. 

Place roasting pan in 250˚ oven for 45 minutes, stirring caramel corn every 15 minutes to coat all of the popcorn.


Now everyone will be so grateful for the wonderful snack that they will gladly play Mario Kart with you even though you do a victory dance after each race you win!

If you can get them to keep their hands out of the caramel corn long enough to hold the Wiimote (Wii remote) that is!!


P.S. Still working on the 1000 piece puzzle. Will it ever end???

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Bitter Cold and Beautiful

I had begun to think we would escape the Minnesota winter without any significantly cold weather.

Silly me!

The cold has arrived! This morning it was 12˚ below zero before adding in the nostril freezing, eye watering, mind numbing windchill. It's awful!

There is beauty to be found in this cold weather though, if you're willing to look for it.

Actually, I didn't have to look very hard. It was blocking my view when I opened the shades this morning. Several windows were frosted over!

I had to take some photos!




But that's enough. Now the cold may go away!!


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Great Balls of...Peanut Butter

When Miss Emma Bean was in preschool...

Oh my word, she was such a little cutie pie! You do realize that I begin my blogs with, when one of the girls was little, just so I can show you pictures of them when they were little right? Just checking!

Anyway, when Miss Emma Bean was in preschool she brought home instructions for making edible peanut butter playdough.

I was not thrilled with the idea of making a dough that the girls were supposed to play with and then eat. Yuck! The girls thought it sounded great and really wanted to try it though.

I finally gave in. We made the peanut butter playdough. It was a combination of peanut butter, honey and powdered sugar. 

I need not have worried. No one spent much time playing with the dough! It was so yummy! We pretty much went right to the eating of the dough.

I never made it again!

Oh boy it had a lot of sugar in it. Not a good everyday treat!

However, I never got rid of the instructions for making the peanut butter playdough. Thank goodness! 

A few years later my good friend Amy shared some of the  peanut butter balls her Mother-in-law makes with me.

Me and Amy

They were incredible!

I had never had a peanut butter ball before! I don't know how that was possible, but I had never.

I begged Amy for the recipe.

The first time I made them I discovered, already in the process of making them of course, that I didn't have all of the ingredients. I seem to run into this problem a lot. You'd think I would learn to check that I have everything I need. Not so much. But I did have all of the ingredients for the peanut butter playdough! Good thing I still had that recipe!

That's right, I substituted the edible peanut butter playdough recipe for Amy's Mother-in-law's peanut butter ball recipe! That's how I've made my peanut butter balls ever since!

And they are so good!

I had intended to share the recipe with you before Christmas, but with all that was going on, I forgot. And the fact that I intended to share made me think I had shared. I had to look back through my blog posts to see whether or not I had blogged the recipe. I have mild anxiety that I will blog about something I've already blogged about and you will think I've lost my marbles! Then with all my anxiety about whether or not I had blogged about the peanut butter ball recipe or not, I had a dream that my cupboards were full of peanut butter balls! Ugh!

Now that I've shared that, you may have good reason to think I've lost my marbles!

That's okay. The peanut butter ball recipe is still good!

In a large bowl mix together 3 cups powdered sugar, 2 cups creamy peanut butter, 3/4 cups honey, and 3 cups Rice Krispies.

Once ingredients are combined, roll into 1 inch balls and place on a jellyroll pan.

Chill for 3 hours.

In double boiler, melt together 6 ounces chocolate chips, 8 ounces Hershey's chocolate bar, and 3 tablespoons of paraffin.

I will admit that I thought adding paraffin to my chocolate was strange. I have made my peanut butter balls with and without the paraffin. Both ways were fine!

Dip peanut butter rolls into chocolate to coat. Set dipped peanut butter balls on a waxed paper lined jellyroll pan.

Once all of the peanut butter balls are coated with chocolate, place in refrigerator until cool. Once cool, store peanut butter balls in an airtight container in the fridge.

YUM YUM YUM!!! They're are so good!

This recipe makes about 80 peanut butter balls. I suggest you share them! That's my disclaimer. I can't be held responsible if you eat them all yourself!


P.S. Only 800 puzzle pieces to go! Yay!!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Promises, Promises

I shared with you on January 6th, in my blog post More Goal Than Resolution, that I intend to become a bread baker in 2012. I also mentioned that learning to bake bread is one of two goals I have for this year.

The second goal is all about promises!

When the girls were little, they often wanted their Dad, the Husband, and me to make promises to them.

They wanted us to promise it would always be okay to play dress up.

Absolutely! An easy promise.

They wanted us to promise that we would always love them.

With our whole hearts! That promise had been made before they were born.

Promises like these were easy to make. Others, not so much!

The girls wanted the Husband and I to promise we would never die and leave them.

Wow! That was a promise we so wanted to make. It was also a promise we knew we could not make. We knew we could not promise the girls the number of our days. It simply is not fully in our control.

Frankly, there were times we couldn't even promise them what the afternoon would hold.

Sometimes we would be out running errands on the weekend and the girls would ask if they could play with the neighbors when we got home. We learned very quickly that it was a mistake to yes because if when we got home, playing with friends didn't work out, they would be upset and say, "But you said we could! You promised." There was no amount of explaining that could resolve for them that we had said they could do what they were not getting to do!

Promises can be a very tricky thing! There is so much in life that we cannot control, that promises can be broken even though we do not intend to break them. We need to be very careful when we make a promise, and there are some promises we simply cannot make.

Everyone of us wants to be able to count on a promise!

Everyone of us wants someone who will make promises to us and keep them!

This Christmas, before anyone opened any other gift, my parents had each of us choose a small scroll of paper tied with ribbon from a basket. On each scroll of paper was written a promise. They weren't promises from my parents. They were far better, which my parents knew. They were promises from God. Promises found in the Bible.

In turn we read out loud the promises.

Isaiah 25:8  He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears off all faces.

Psalm 103:17  But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.

The promises on those little scrolls of paper, promises that came directly from God's word, were precious reminders that God who loves us, the Almighty, the Alpha and the Omega, is the only one we can count on with certainty to make promises and keep them.

God's promises are hope!

God's promises are comfort!

God's promises are for all who believe!

So this is my second goal for 2012; to seek out God's promises in scripture, to write them on my heart, to hold on to them, for they will sustain me!