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The Little Things Newsletter #417 – Life, laughter, and lots of great food!

Welcome to the weekend, my friends! It’s rainy and drizzling again here in Ohio. (And if I’m being 100% honest, I’m pretty much over it.) But it’s still going to be a lovely weekend – there’s a bit of sunshine sneaking into the forecast too! While the rain isn’t nearly as exciting here as it was in Phoenix, (where it only rains a few times a year) this is still some of my favorite weather. I love the way rain washes everything clean again and smells so fresh!

At this point though, I’d sure enjoy walking again without an umbrella or a cap on my head. We have had a LOT of rain lately, as evidenced by the brilliant green growth everywhere around us. It makes for a beautiful world, doesn’t it? 

ON THE BLOGS THIS WEEK:  My family went crazy over this Blackened Ranch Dressing the first time I made it. It is a smoky, slightly spicy blackened ranch dressing like Popeye’s! So far, we’ve enjoyed it with vegetables, chicken bites, and french fries – there’s no wrong way to enjoy this awesome dip.

Spicy Cajun potatoes are a great side dish for grilled and roasted meats. They are also delicious chopped up with a soft egg on top or tossed into egg burritos with a bit of sausage or bacon. (They’re awesome dipped into that blackened ranch too!)

Leftover roasted potatoes? Try them in this Cajun Potato Salad next time. Tender chunks of potato, along with hearty bites of bacon and egg are tossed in a creamy, tangy, smoky, and slightly spicy dressing to lightly coat every bite.

A few weeks ago, when I was craving a tuna salad and my eyes fell on the honeycrisp apple in the fridge, I decided to try something new. Lucky for me, this new Tuna Apple Pasta Salad combination is a win!

Garlic Butter Broccoli is super easy to make while it’s also flavorful and bright with fresh herbs and a squeeze of lemon just before serving.

Dr Pepper Ice Cream blends the nostalgia of a soda fountain drink with the indulgence of freshly churned ice cream. The creamy texture balances perfectly with the unique soda taste, creating a refreshing frozen treat.

Homemade Cherry Pie Filling tastes infinitely better than store-bought! And while you can certainly use the pie filling to make a spectacular cherry pie, you can also top cheesecakes, pancakes, waffles, or crepes with it. And it’s fantastic when spooned over ice cream or layered into yogurt parfaits for a treat.

What I’m CRAVING: Rebecca’s pan pizza!! Oh man, when the craving for her homemade pizza hits, there isn’t a restaurant pizza out there that will satisfy it. It’s like no other. I’m hoping to convince her to make it for me when she’s here in a few weeks. <hint, hint>

My FAVORITE THING this week is my Bird Buddy. I don’t typically share pricier items as part of my favorite things, but I am thrilled with this bird feeder. (And I’ve never watched birds before in my life!) I can’t resist showing everyone the “postcards” it sends me. It was a gift from a friend and I can’t even put words to how exciting it is each time the wifi camera in this bird feeder sends me videos and photos.

Want to see my favorite birdie photo from this week’s postcards? It’s at the bottom of the newsletter!

Of course, now the squirrels have found the feeder and I do not enjoy their photos and videos at all! We’re going to move the feeder from a tree to a shepherd’s hook with a squirrel baffle this weekend. Fingers are crossed that will help keep the squirrels away from the bird’s food. 

What I’m LISTENING to: The Comet Tides by Kevin Kerrigan. This one is still on repeat over here. It’s so peaceful and relaxing. It’s been the perfect soundtrack for our rain this week too.

What I’m READING: Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl. This is the fourth time I’ve read this book and I can’t recommend it highly enough. Viktor Frankl was an Austrian psychiatrist and neurologist, a Holocaust survivor, and the founder of Logotherapy. He believed that we cannot avoid suffering but can choose how to cope with it, find meaning in it, and move forward with renewed purpose.

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” – Viktor Frankl

“Live as if you were living a second time, and as though you had acted wrongly the first time.” – Viktor Frankl

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10 ESV

Wishing you a beautiful week full of little things that make you smile!

Mary

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