Tag Archives: New England

Blizzard of 2013 & Chicken Sausage Veggie Soup

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Blizzard… opening the garage door…

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This is going to take a while…. nuff said.

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Let’s make some soup, shall we?  Let’s call it “Blizzard Soup”.

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I can’t think of a better day to stay inside during the Blizzard of 2013 and create some culinary art for a change.  I’ve been due to post a recipe and this took me about 20 minutes to make.. no kidding.  Plus, feeling a bit under the weather, so soup is perfect.

Now, for those that know me, I do not measure much, especially in cooking… Baking, well, that’s a science and I don’t do much scratch baking.  Well, if you consider scratching your…. well, never mind… what? I meant my head.

So, this starts out real simple.  I had this in my fridge:  winter squash, zucchini, chopped kale, onions, cabbage and celery.  In my freezer, I had a 1/2 bag of frozen mixed veggies that included corn, carrots, peas and green beans.  Repeat after me… “frozen veggies are my friend”.

In a large pot, put in 2 tablespoons of Olive Oil. Now saute…

1/2 of medium onion, chopped small
1/2 of the winter squash and zucchini, chopped small
2 medium size stalks of celery, chopped small

… for about 10 minutes until onion is transparent.

Defrost your frozen veggies in the microwave, then add them to the pot. Stir.

For spices, I just put in to taste:  salt, pepper and granulated garlic.  Whatever you want.. it’s your world.

Then add:

About 1 cup of chopped cabbage
About 2 cups of the fresh chopped kale (I bought mine already chopped and in a bag).

Stir all this together and incorporate; you’ll see the cabbage and kale get soft.

In the meantime, I defrosted the Sweet Italian Chicken Sausage and squeezed the meat out of its casing and cooked that in a frying pan until fully cooked.  Put aside.

Once the cabbage and kale are cooked down, (but not too much, you want it to stand up to the broth.  This is why kale is a good choice, as it’s stronger than spinach and doesn’t wilt as much)…. I added…

1 – 32 oz carton of Fat Free, Low Sodium Chicken Broth to the pot.  Add as much as you like.

Add the sausage (you can keep it all vegetarian if you want by eliminating the sausage and using vegetable broth instead).

Get it nice and hot and …………Badda Bing.. Badda Boom.  Done!

Add some grated romano cheese if you want and or serve with a nice piece of crusty bread.  Yum!

So, say you didn’t want to get into the sautéing and all that.  In a microwave safe bowl, defrost as much frozen veggies as you want and add enough broth to make a soup, heat and ….Bam.. done! Add some leftover pasta or rice to it, maybe… Bam.. done!  You get the idea, folks.  Easy peasy. It’s your world.. rock it!  ENJOY!

If you are in my neck of the woods, I hope you are safe from the storm. We managed to keep our power.. Amazing!  Pray that the ones without power will get it back soon.. Especially, the elderly and the ones with little kids.  Such as my nephew in Sandwich, MA with two little ones.

I hope you enjoyed this recipe and post.  I would love to hear from you.

Thanks for stopping by.

Judy 

Snow…… Happy March 1st

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Just when you thought you were going to squeak by winter with no more snow, since the freak storm in October,that is, and being one of the driest winters on record………… this happens.

              

…but I know who’s enjoying it the most…..

         

.. and it’s still snowing…  Enjoy.

Judy

Judy? Are you out there?

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Yes Yes, I’m here.  I was only gone a minute, wasn’t I?

Wow.. what a couple of crazy weeks, I tell you.  Between working my day job and surviving the New England October snowstorm with no electricity, I have been completely un-creative.  I’ve lost my MoJu (get it? instead of  “mojo”   MoJu for Judy?).  No?

Just when we were enjoying our New England Walk, a freak Nor’easter hits us like we never expected.

I took a few pictures to capture what was going on.

The night of the storm, outside my front door in the flower garden:

Kind of pretty at night like this.  You can see my roses peeking out from the blanket of snow.   We really didn’t get a lot of snow.. about 6″, but the weight of the snow and the leaves that hadn’t fallen yet, is what did all the damage.

As we drove out of town, we took a couple of pictures along the way.

This is only a couple a SEVERAL trees that obstructed our roads.  Lots of wires were down on the roads also.

Check this tree out.  We actually drove underneath it which was probably not a good idea.

Many towns were out of power for about a week… and I believe that most have their power back.   The roads are still a bit messy and it’s disappointing that they are still not entirely cleared yet.  This is only the beginning of the season.  One can only hope these towns have their acts together and prepare for a tough winter so we can avoid another outage.

But, really, this is nothing compared to the devastating and tragic occurences that have happened in other parts of our country and around the world.  I am grateful that this is all that happened.  Just because I could never be a pioneer woman, doesn’t mean I can’t whine about it.

Well, Dixie doesn’t care.. she’s just glad to be home sleeping on her warm pillow… what a life!   Love the tongue.

Before the storm hit, I was able to get in the studio to create a few hand-made embellishments.

If you follow my blog, you know how I just enjoy making these.  I love to manipulate them to make them my own. You can see that I added cheeks to the faces. I have many molds that I made when I first began working with polymer clay about 10 years ago.  I recall bringing wads of it with me wherever I went and when I saw a cool texture, I’d impressed it and carefully take the clay home to bake.  Yes, my family thought I was coo coo.

I probably won’t post for about two weeks now as I have a business trip coming up and then a week off to prepare for Thanksgiving at my home this year.  HELP!   I plan on getting in some studio time after the holiday since it will be a long weekend.  No Black Friday shopping for me…. no sir eee.

Thanks for your patience, everyone, and for stopping by to see if I was still in existence.

Judy

A New England Fall Day Walk

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My husband and I went for a long walk today.  It was just gorgeous out.  I decided to take my camera with me and take YOU along too.

The colors this years are not the greatest, but remember saying that last year and then two weeks later, it was vibrant.  But, we had such a harsh summer with the heat, that the trees got a beating.  Did I say that last year too?  Check out last year’s posts HERE and HERE – wow pretty last year.

Ok, ready?  C’mon.. bundle up.. it’s chilly and keep up.

Let’s start out heading down the road from our street… take a left..

I’m trying to get the effect of the “tunnel of trees”.   Are you feeling it?

There’s a little color, but no bigness here…. keep on going.. I tried to get some bigger trees…

I just love that this back hoe is just sitting there for years, nature growing all around it.  Don’t you wonder why someone left it there… Isn’t John Deere missing one?

Ok.. that’s better… close up next…

Let’s go down the road some more here.. we’ve only just begun.

And.. look what I came across.. tried to shoot a short video…

Ahh.. wasn’t that nice?  Thought you’d like that… c’mon there’s more…

Crossing over into the next town… my feet hurt.

That rusted horseshoe has been there for months, untouched.  I thought about grabbing it to make something out of it.. but it seems to belong there.

The honor system.

.. and there’s another piece of equipment.. an old tractor.  I think it actually works.

You with me still?  I know it’s a long walk, but don’t you feel good?  My feet hurt.

Oh, and look who took a quick top to check us out.  Cute.

I know, I know.. there are a lot of pictures… I’ve really cut some out too.  Hang in there with me, please.

Now, this tree is the same one in my post from last year.  Look at the difference in the colors.  Maybe it will pop in a week or so.

Once we get over this little hill, I have a surprise for you… watch..

It’s Laverne & Shirley (I actually just made that up..I don’t know their names).  They were never out this summer on my walks.. but so glad they came out for us today.

..and I took a little video for you

Enjoy that?

Ok, let’s turn around and go home…

It’s getting there…

..and there you have it… you just did about 4 miles.   Thanks for joining me.  I wish the colors were more fantastic for you this year, but it gives you the feeling of our Fall season right now.  I hope you enjoyed it.  Now go relax and drink your water… My feet hurt.

Thanks for walking by.

Judy

Ready for Spring and Chili

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This winter has certainly brought come challenges to New England.  Our latest is the ice dams on so many houses in the area.  Let me show you the latest shots from our recent storm which is just yet another layer of snow, forming ice on the roof which can equal troubling leaks in homes… and we did have some leaking.  As a matter of fact, two of my art studio windows has some small drippage going on.  So, I have to move my supplies out of the way and now I’m not able to play in my studio until the rug dries.

Here’s my little Dixie below waiting to get out of the damn cold and probably wondering why I’m taking pictures outside in my jammies.. God, hope the neighbors weren’t peeking.  Ah, give them something to talk about.

… and here are the trouble makers.. they are beautiful, but they shouldn’t be there… and these are the smaller ones.

I have to say.. being forced to move my art supply drawers and whatever was in the way, made me realize how much crap I have in that small room of mine.  So, time to purge things I thought I needed.. Back to basics.  I’m even going to throw away some of my art.. start a new.. NO MORE SUPPLIES to buy.  If I can’t create with what I have, then there is a problem.  No more printing out AC Moore, Michael’s or JoAnn coupons that I think I’ll use just in case I go shopping.  I print them and never go…..Why do I do that?  I’m wasting ink and paper.  I want to be able to say that I used something all up and I need to get more and only then, will I get it because I NEED it, not because I want it.  I want to dwindle down my supplies.  Ok Ok.. just one thing.. I have a $20 coupon to a great store..I need a heat gun.. but after that, I’m dwindling…. Stop laughing!

Well, at least someone enjoyed the storm or ignored it is more like it…

Be honest, have you had enough about the New England weather and my birds?  C’mon, you can tell me.  Ok.. no more weather.. promise.  But,  you have to love the birdies a little…

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Well, today is Superbowl Sunday.  Even though our Patriots are not playing, it’s always fun to watch with no stress.  I decided to make a batch of low fat-chili to let simmer for a few hours before the game.

Let me share the recipe, but keep in mind, I am not a exact recipe follower and this is just from my memory of making it for years.   You cooks know what I’m talkin about.

Judy’s Low-Fat Chili:

I used almost 2 lbs, split equally of ground chicken and ground turkey.  This will be chunky.  Isn’t that was chili is all about?

1/2 of a large sweet onion

Crushed garlic, as much at you want.. I used about 3 cloves.

2 cans of red kidney beans, thoroughly rinsed in a strainer.

1 28 oz. can of Pastene Crushed Kitchen Ready Tomatoes… my favorite, by far.
(you can put in a 1/2 can more of the tomatoes or a can of tomato paste, then add a cup of water).

Spices:  salt, pepper, ground cumin, chili powder and a dash of ground red pepper.
Now, these spices are all according to your taste.  But the cumin and chili powder is the magic.  See what I mean about just going with it?  But if you need a measurement…  start with a 1 tsp of cumin and about 2 Tblspns of Chili Powder.  Always better to add less than to put too much in and you can’t take it out.

Saute the sweet onion until just starting to turn golden brown.  Add garlic and saute just a minute; you don’t want it to burn.  Add the chicken/turkey.. Break apart with a wooded spoon and cook until no longer pink.  Add the beans, tomatoes and spices.

Let simmer for a few ours on low and enjoy.. stirring occasionally.    Add some low-fat shredded cheddar cheese on top and pair this with a garlic toasted lite english muffin.  I had them around.  Spread Olivio or something you like on 1/2 the muffin, sprinkle garlic powder, put under the broiler to toast.  When they start to turn golden, put some of the shredded cheese on the muffin to melt.

If you want to make a vegetarian chili, you can substitute the meat for a bag of frozen mixed veggies such as broccoli, carrots, cauliflower.  Thaw the veggies in the microwave, then saute them in the pot before you add the beans and meat.  This is a quick way without all the chopping of the veggies.

My favorite veggie chili is made with fresh produce such as summer squash, zucchini, mushrooms, onions, red peppers, whatever you love.  You can roast them in the oven tossed with olive oil first then add them to your pot or you can saute them all in the pot before you add the beans, tomatoes and spices.   You’ll never miss the meat.

Have a great Sunday.

Thanks for stopping by.

Judy

Snow, Birds, Ruts and Art

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I’m sorry I’ve been gone a little while.  I’ve been buried in work and snow.  This week, I was beginning to feel like an eskimo in an igloo.   We got hit with another snow storm this week.  Ok, the snow is pretty…..for December… but this is enough.  I think it will finally thaw out in June.

Take a look and see what I mean?   And this is the pretty stuff.. the town and cities are loaded with banks and banks of snow.  No place to walk,  no where to park in some cases and the streets are narrow.  Nuff of the complaining now… enjoy some pictures.

Back deck…

From the back deck to back yard… I can hardly see my grill.

Here’s a pretty one that hubbie took…before the storm…

All all my feathered friends did not mind the snow storm at all… I caught some really good pictures of them…

some played see saw…. (Titmouse and Woodpecker)

some played peek-a-boo… (Juncos)

some were anti-social….

Then some come together to socialize… they love that tree.. that’s where they all gather and chat…

I’ve been invited to an art day with some friends tomorrow.  I really need this.. I’ve been in an art rut… Know what I mean???  Work, family, life is just taking priority lately and I need to get a grip of it and get in the studio.  Not that I’m going to make my family last priority, but a little “me” time is due.  I don’t think anyone will come to me and say “honey, mom, we till take care of everything today, you just go relax and do what you want”.

As for my art rut, this is a discussion that I’ve had with some of my artist friends lately about kinda going “dormant” for a while, brain takes a vacation, chilling out.   Eventually it will come back.  It will, won’t it?

Have you ever had that happen… Blank stares at the canvas, at the art table and at the page?

I have signed up for some fun “me” workshops. I AM going to put time aside for myself.   There, Ive said it and “it’s in the books” (as “Uncle Buck” says).

In the meantime, I’m still fiddling (as in very little) in my little sketchbook for the “Sketchbook Challenge”.  Here’s a few pages to share.. size 5″ x 3 1/2″…done with fine black marker and watercolor paints.

The theme for January is still “Highly Prized”.. and I consider MY TIME.. the time I create, to be highly prized.

More art soon… pray for no more snow and  thanks for stopping by.

Judy

Winter What-a-Land – Massachusetts Blizzard 1/12/11

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Well,  I’m sure you’ve heard of our winter blizzard hitting the New England area today.

As we are snow bound in our country home and lucky for me, I work at home full-time in my office (well, not sure how lucky that is).. so no snow days for me anymore.. those days have been long gone.

Here are some beautiful shots at the peak and toward the end of the storm today.

Total inches of snow – about 20″.

Click any picture for a closer look.

Below is our back deck looking out from the kitchen…

Below is the view from my office window.. I watched that pile up all day… cool.

Oh, look who stopped by.  Caught this picture at the exact time the wind blew the birds hair up like a spike.  Funny.   I’ve been waiting for a male cardinal to come by, but not today.

If you are experiencing the same today,  be safe and warm, my friends.  If you have some pictures, send them along or link us to your blog.

I’ve joined the Artchix Studio challenge this week called A Snowy Art Challenge.  I hope they enjoy my snowy pictures..  stop by their site and take a look at their beautiful offerings.

How many more weeks until summer?

Thanks for stopping by to take a look.

Judy

Birds of a Feather…….

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I was never one to care much about nature as a young adult or even up to about 10 years ago.  I never really stopped to watch any outdoor life.  That is…. until I started to do art.   I think I just became more aware of colors, shapes, textures and yes, nature (but, please NO SNAKES).

One year, I was sitting with an old friend in her back yard as Robins flew down to pick in the grass.  She said to me “watch how they turn their heads to listen to the worms moving under the ground”.  I said “whatchyoutalkinbout”;  I thought she was pulling my leg, but damn if she wasn’t right.  I did watch and I was amazed.  Since then, I’ve always watched out feathered friends live their little lives –   flying, flitting, hopping and bopping around the yard.  Since that time, with my friend, Annie,  I put a hummingbird  and wild bird feeder outside our windows, and man, I’m so glad I did;  they are hours of entertainment.  Since the hummers have left the cold here, I still get to enjoy all the wild birds..  AND.. can they eat.. I can’t keep up with the food.  They love snow storms, rain, wind.. they never disappoint.  I can’t name all the birds, which makes me want to get a bird book to identify each one.

Sooooooooo.. where am I going with this? ……… sit tight…..

I dedicate this blog post to my beautiful friend, Annie… the “Bird Whisperer”.  Love you Annie.

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I recently got a new Canon camera for my birthday in September.  I’m still learning the features, but I’ve enjoyed taking pictures of the birds that come to visit me.. Ok, well they are not coming to see me, but they know someone if feeding them.  So what if I pretend I’m Snow White; I’d like to get them to make my coffee.  Ok, imagine this is me… but forget the prince charming and cleaning the stairs and that voice.

Hey, I like feeding people, ask my friends… and now I like feeding birds.  The feeder is directly outside our front door to the right, in the flower garden (which is sadly bare and brown now).  I can watch from the front window where I sit and  read and have my cup of coffee in the mornings before my work day starts and every weekend.

I would love to share with you here, my latest successful shots of my feathered friends.  As I said, new camera, I’m not a photographer with any experience except to point and shoot.

Enjoy…….. there a a lot of pictures…

Here comes the female Cardinal… munching away on some seeds.

Here comes the male… sorry for any blurring picture.. remember.. amateur here

Male Cardinal in the tree.. I find it amazing how the change their shape and puff up.  Sort of like the way we feel after a big meal.  I think a little Pepto might help him.

Oh look who came for a visit….. a Morning Dove…

… and here comes Woody the Woodpecker… we have two of them.. one smaller than the other..   Look how they grab the feeder.. such tiny feet.

.. and they puff up too.  So cool.

I believe this is a Red Bellied Woodpecker…

.. and now come the “jay walkers”… tough crowd, they are… These Bluejays have such a striking blue colors.  The are too big for the feeder.. although the try, but can’t stay on long.. they end up eating what is dropped on the ground.

“hey look, jasper, i think the crazy lady is taking our picture again”.

.. and finally.. I caught this little guy outside my office window..

It took me hours to get these photos.  They don’t stay in one place long enough; by the time I get focus and click they are gone.

My plan is to print some of these pictures and do image transfers in my art.

I’ll let you know how that goes with a show and tell.

Have a great weekend and Happy Thanksgiving to you and your families.

Judy

A Mix in New England

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It’s been raining here in Massachusetts for two days.  I secretly like the rain and I work in a home office so I don’t have to leave if I choose not to.  I am fortunate, I know.  How I wish I could just play in my studio listening to the rain pitter patter against the house.  A very comforting sound to me.

We also had our first frost this week.. it’s always a milestone to see the evident while layer of coldness on the grass.  The frost that has to be scraped off of car windows.  Brrr.. winter is coming; that’s what it says to everyone..so get ready.

Here is a couple of pictures of frost on my roses and hydrangeas.

This past weekend.. the strangest thing happened.. all of a sudden a huge flock of black birds (not crows) descended on our yard.. I mean hundreds of them.. I ran for my camera and caught this:

Front yard above

Backyard

Attacking my bird feeder. …. and then they were gone… never to be seen again.  Did someone tell them there was a free buffet or something?  Strange, don’t you think?  A sign.. or nothing?

I’ll be back in the studio next week and I take a few days off of work and enjoy some art play.  I’ll be posting some new works in the works.

Thanks for stopping by.

Judy

Mixed Media Citra Collage Tutorial

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Last year about this time I did two posts on the beautiful Autumn that we had… you can see the posts HERE and HERE.  Well, that was last year.  This year is a different story.  I have no pictures because the colors are dull this year.  The summer was so hot for so long, the trees just got too stressed and couldn’t generate enough chlorophyl.   I guess that’s like us really isn’t it.. sometimes?  Dontchya think?   Let’s hope that next year it comes back in full force with beautiful backgrounds.

Speaking of backgrounds… I wanted to show you a very cool technique that’s been shown here and there using CitraSolv.  It’s a degreaser used for household cleaning.. well, check it out HERE.  Then check out the CitraArt HERE.  Pretty darn cool if you ask me.. go ahead ask me… .. It’s funny you should ask… Yes, I thinks it’s so cool that I made a mixed media canvas collage with it.

Let’s start from the very beginning.. …(wait do you hear Julie Andrews?)  Sorry.

I looked all over for a bottle of Citra Solv.. nothing in the local stores even though the CS website listed the retail store locations.  So, I finally found a bottle at Vitacost.com.   Citra Solv works well with the National Geographic magazine pages the best, as it is contains a clay coating used for the crisp images the magazine is known for.

Moving on….

Here are the steps I took to make my Citra Backgrounds.  Start with your bottle of Citra Solv and a Nat Geo magazine. Now, you may want to work with a window open or go outside.. it’s not a terrible smell.. just a very STRONG orangey odor.  I got sick of it after a while.

I put my CS in a small plastic spray bottle instead of using a brush.  I thought it would be easier to spray.  I started to use a small plastic “solo” bathroom cup and a brush to spread it on and this is what happened…

Ummm.. apparently the plastic in the cup did not agree with the CS.  However, this plastic spray bottle is fine…

Let’s begin… can you stand it????

Open the magazine to some colorful pages and begin to spray.  Spray, turn to next colorful page.. spray,  next and so on…  now don’t be stingy with the liquid.. if it’s drippy that’s ok…

See how it begins to “melt”.. oh so fun.

Spray all the pages you want and close the book and let it sit for a while.. at least 15 minutes.. if you don’t see a change when you open the page.. spray some more and close the mag… some pages are better than others…. BUT oh look and see some of my results…

Do you see where I have the pencil pointing above?… I saw a face in that blotch and I started to enhance it further.  Look for images and play.

Above, I started to rubber stamp and play with the face.

So, there you have the way to make the Citra Backgrounds.  Now, let me show you how I applied it to a new mixed media canvas piece.

I started with a blank canvas, put down some fluid acrylics, letting each layer dry.  Then on the far right I put a large strip of heavy acrylic paint.

I let it dry then put my heat gun to it really close.  This will make the paint react with the intense heat and start to bubble… I got this technique from Gary Reef.  You’ve heard me mention him before.. such a love; you can see the video HERE.

Look at that beautiful texture.  I’m excited now.  When you are happy in bubble town, let it cool down (that rhymes, by the way).

I painted the white with gold acrylic paint and heated it again causing more bubbles… and then another layer of gold…

Once the paint was dry and cooled, I put random ripped masking tape over the gold.

Then painted it red then pulled the masking tape off revealing the gold underneath.

I DIDN’T LIKE IT…I needed to tone down the red.. just wasn’t working for me.

So, I painted the gold over it…..

Close up below.. love the texture…

OK… let’s get on with using the Citra Backgrounds….

So, here you can see the citra pages on the left and going up and on the top… Did a little rubber stamping on them and “antiqued” with some brown shoe polish around the edges..  On the bottom is a ripped resin music page.  It’s coming along, but still needs some lovin.

Ah Huh…. one of my favorite techniques.. pushing molding paste through stencil… Here, I tinted molding paste with black acrylic paint.. and mixed to make a black paste.

A little boo boo on the top left of the fleur-de-lis.  I’ll need to let it dry and redo that section.

Below is a picture after the fleur-de-lis was done and I added some gold trim along the red strip, hand made polymer clay embellishments, ribbon and gold paste that I rubbed over the molding paste design.  People, I’m just in love with Inka Gold waxy paste by Viva Decor.  I can’t get enough of it.

Here is the last picture I took.  At this point I’ve added, black tissue paper, black stenciling, fabric, lace paper and I blinged up a boring metal pendant.  However, I have to admit.. I know it’s not done.. it still needs a final image above the music paper.  It’s look very royal.. maybe a queen?  Beeswax?    What do you think?

I had so much fun creating this piece.  Hope you enjoyed the post and tutorial as much I as enjoyed creating it for you.   I’ll show my final canvas in my next blog post.

Thanks for stopping by.

Judy  ❤