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Monthly Archives: May 2018

Hot and Smoky Baked Beans with bonus Recipe by Leah

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Way back when, I used to work in a dental office.  I worked for wonderful doctors and with wonderful people and hey, free dental care.  But you know the best part of working there?  Magazines!  Dental offices always have lots of magazines and this office was no exception.  Every Friday we’d get a stack of new ones and we’d all grab our favorites to borrow over the weekend.  Can you guess which magazines I grabbed? People, of course, and Bon Appetit!  Oh, how I loved that magazine.  So much beautiful food!  So many tips and techniques!  I tried a lot of new things just because I’d seen them in that magazine.  This recipe for baked beans is from those days and I’ve been making it ever since.  It’s wonderfully savory and leaves people clamoring for the leftovers.

These make frequent appearances as a side at barbecues, but when I serve it as a main dish I like to serve braised cabbage with vinegar and cornbread.


Hot and Smoky



Hot and Smoky Baked Beans

© of Bon Appetit Magazine™

yield: 8 to 10 servings



6 bacon slices

1 1/2 cups chopped onion

1 1/4 cups purchased barbecue sauce

3/4 cup dark beer

1/4 cup mild-flavored (light) molasses

3 tablespoons Dijon mustard

3 tablespoons (packed) dark brown sugar

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon soy sauce

4 to 6 teaspoons minced canned chipotle chilies*

6 (15- to 16-ounce) cans Great Northern beans, drained

Chopped fresh parsley, garnish



  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Cook bacon in large skillet over medium heat until crisp. Transfer to paper towels and drain. Transfer 2 1/2 tablespoons bacon drippings from skillet to large bowl.
  2. Finely chop bacon; add to bowl.
  3. Add onion and next 7 ingredients to bowl and whisk to blend.
  4. Whisk in 4 to 6 teaspoons chipotle chilies, depending on spiciness desired. Stir in beans.
  5. Transfer bean mixture to 13 x 9 x 2-inch glass baking dish. Bake uncovered until liquid bubbles and thickens slightly, about 1 hour. Cool 10 minutes.
  6. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.


*to taste, since these can be a bit too spicy for delicate palettes.


This cabbage dish also comes from my dental office days.  I like to serve it with baked beans because the vinegary tang  compliments the heat and smokiness of the beans.  It’s a beautiful side dish with rich purple tones.


Braised Red Cabbage with Vinegar

yield: 6-8 servings



1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 cup chopped onion

4 garlic cloves, peeled, crushed

1 2 1/2-pound red cabbage, quartered, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch strips

1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds

1 1/2 cups low-salt chicken broth

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar



Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; sauté until beginning to brown, about 8 minutes. Add cabbage and caraway seeds; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss until cabbage is wilted, about 4 minutes. Add broth. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 15 minutes. Add vinegar. Cover and cook until cabbage is tender, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

I’m Getting More Techy

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Well, I finally did it.  I uploaded SL pictures to my Flickr account.  Although I started it years ago, so I could look at vendor posts and lately SL photographer pictures, I decided that it was silly that I have a ton of SL pics in my computer that I don’t share.  I know only a small portion of you are following for the SL side of my life, and I absolutely love sharing it, but wanted to give you the option to check out the tons of pics I don’t post on my blog.


So, look to the right and see my dandy little new Flickr widget!  *grin* I didn’t know if more than two would be distracting and bog down users, but I thought that was more reasonable.  If it sits on a bloody Harley Quinn picture if I did a single picture, that might disturb some people.  *laugh*  I am disturbed, but try to limit showing it on here except for the occasional slip ups.


I’m super excited to be uploading pictures to albums in Flickr and finding another outlet for my creativity.  I’ve really gotten into SL photography lately, although I have a lot to learn.  It’s been really enjoyable during a time when I’m restless and have little interests in my usual activities.  Anyway, if you haven’t noticed it and are interested, there are around a hundred loaded so far with a lot more to come soon, once I dig them out of my archives.  *grin*  I hope you enjoy and have a wonderful day!

Neighborhood Watch

Gaming Logo


It was a rare night that most of us were able to be on at the same time and hang out.  I’m known for having really weird things in my inventory that I’ve collected over the years (I’m ancient in SL time) and the habit of collecting creative items has spread.  Instead of playing a game or something like that, we found funny animals to ride around the property on.  


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Sis’s snail is new, but I bought all of us dinosaurs to ride at an Arcade event nearly a year ago, and we decided to check the new landscape via our critters.  By the way, the dinosaurs truly do make little huffs and grunts like you’d imagine.  So I (Bre) am on the Raptor on the left, Z is on the blue Triceratops, and Sis is on the funny as all get out snail.



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Z took off on his own for a bit, so I got out my new snail and the Sarcastic Sisters let our snails mingle while we chatted and laughed.  I’m thinking that we should take a stroll on one of the SL roadways and see what kinds of reactions we get.  Once we learned that Z had taken his Dino into the kitchen to eat the pastries I so neatly rezzed in there, we activated our neighborhood watch.


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Sis had also won a wandering snail that she gifted me, so we grabbed it to make the last stand as Z and Blue came out of the house.  It might not be the most intimidating neighborhood watch, but it’s the most unique you’ll ever see!!  Never fear, the Regulus Watch is here!



Grilled Pork Chops Recipe by Leah

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Pork chops were a frequent dish in my home growing up.  My mom would lay a bed of sauerkraut in a casserole dish, lay the chops on top, and then pour sauce on top of that before baking.  It seemed we ate them weekly though I’m sure that’s an exaggeration.  Nevertheless, I was raised with a love of pork chops.

These chops were some I tried only a few years ago.  I saw someone post about them on Facebook and thought they were so simple they must be delicious.  They are!  They’ve been both a company meal (served with Fuji Apple Salad and Crispy Smashed Roasted Potatoes with Dill Aioli) and a weeknight meal (with applesauce and mashed potatoes).  Though I always make these out on the grill at home, I have also made them with great success on my mom’s indoor electric grill.  In fact, those are the pork chops pictured.






Grilled Pork Chops


pork chops

olive oil


kosher salt

fresh ground pepper

fresh or dried thyme


  1. Rub pork chops with olive oil and a drizzle of honey.  Sprinkle with kosher salt, pepper and thyme.
  2. Grill on high flame, just 3-4 minutes per side.  Don’t overcook or they will be tough.  They should be soft, like a steak.




Well, I made the incredibly difficult step of starting a GoFundMe campaign to help on our adoption journey. The legal costs are minimal, but due to our matches being national, we will have to do some unexpected traveling.  We all ready spent a lot on all of the renovations we did last year, getting her room ready so she can move right in and then change it to her heart’s content later, and starting to gather school supplies.  Since we always figured it would be a local adoption, we didn’t expect to have travel expenses.  We will also have additional school supplies and may have to buy a wardrobe for Kiddo, since we have no idea if the foster family/facility will be able to send much along with her.  So, we set aside our pride and started the campaign, since providing for and bringing home Kiddo are the most important things to us.


We created three puzzles that have inspiring adoption phrases for Kiddo and any donations will be written on the back of the puzzle pieces.  Later on we will get double sided frames, so she can see not only the phrases, but how many people worked to bring her to her forever home and show her how much she matters.  She will not be “one of the forgotten”. 


First Puzzle Lid:

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Second Puzzle Lid:puzzle 2


Third Puzzle Lid:

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We’re fundraising locally for $10 USD per puzzle piece, but we appreciate any donation and any forwarding of our campaign information.  I’m notoriously bad about not being on Facebook, so if you are willing to share the information with your contacts, that would also mean the world to us. 


We have a match as far away as Georgia (thoroughly ironic, right?!), so we truly don’t know what to expect.  According to our new Social Worker, it sounds like we might be at the next step with one young lady that is thankfully closer, so please cross your fingers or say a prayer for us.  It would be amazing to spend the summer getting to know our daughter.  I created a static site page for the campaign and will put the updates on the campaign on there, so you won’t hear much about the fundraising again, unless you look at that page.  This blog wasn’t made with this in mind, and wasn’t even in the realm of my thoughts for a blog post actually, so I want to keep the blog my version of normal.  *laugh*  I’ll still post adoption updates themselves, because even if it falls apart and shatters me, I’m going to go all Mama Bear and yell from the hills if we get far enough to meet one of the girls soon!  


So, for the fun facts…Our GoFundMe campaign is  My site page for additional details and updates is  Again, we are so thankful for your time reading this, any sharing of this to your social media or people or churches you know, or any donations.  The support and encouragement has been such a help all ready, when we hit forks in the road, and lost our hope.  We have the most incredible support system and we appreciate each of you.

Without You

I found this pose on SL a few days back and couldn’t resist, since I’ll be able to use it for a lot of other purposes and change things up with different windlights. For now, though, during this season of life, it tells two parts to the same story, for me.

Luke is leaning against the door and represents the adoption process in general. The ones that walk away or don’t match, the ones who get chosen by their foster parents upon the declaration of interest; all those hard moments adoptive families face. While I’m touching the door, trying to keep some connection without fully losing this big piece of life. Until we get to the good part, now that we’re past that cheerful, exciting beginning stage, there’s time I just collapse, wrap an arm around myself to try to keep control, and feel like my future is right outside that door, but still lost to me right now. Not much different from a breakup, which is probably why this pose touched me so deeply.

Secondly, people don’t usually think about the toll it takes on a couple while walking through this journey. All too often we’re on different sides of the door. I can’t vouch for his feelings, but sometimes I feel so alone when that door is closed. He is more reserved and not as involved in the process. I can’t stop myself from loving some of these young ladies, their stories, at least a bit, and it’s devastating when it doesn’t work out. When we forget to work as hard on us as on everything else going on, we’re left on different sides of the door with very different feelings. We want to understand each other, but sometimes it just isn’t possible and so we just continue down the path, recommitting whenever we can. It’s so frighteningly easy to be holding the door or be the one walking away. Even a united front can end up on different sides sometimes, with different emotions and traumas caused by this whirlwind.

I thought the loss, the grief, and longing in the pose was the perfect representation right now. The middle of a beautiful story isn’t always pretty. But it’s still our story and we’re still reaching out, so that’s all that matters in the end.

Stormy Beach

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When I’m restless I tend to lately get on in the wee hours and wander the places listed in the destination guide or where my favorite SL bloggers have taken pictures at.  One forever night I went to a recommended beach and it was so beautiful.  There are a lot of areas to the sim, Gale Storm Retreat, but after checking out the country fun areas, the beach called to me.  I haven’t been back to a beach since just before my 15th birthday, right before we moved from CA.  And I miss the call of that wild and beautiful ocean.  So this is just a “oh, pretty pictures” post.  At first I played with my windlights, since I generally leave it on CalWL, so that’s why it’s a little lighter at first.  Then I turned on local WL and my jaw dropped.  I turned up my graphics while hanging out and imagined myself into the storm.  If you’re in the mood for a very fascinating place, you must check out this sim.  Like I said, this is only the beach.  There’s a barn dance hall, some fun little buildings, and join the group (500L, but you get GG poses and more…); once you join you can rez vehicles to drive their roadway, which is the best scenic roadway I’ve found so far in SL since I became a mesh only snob.  If you’re into building your flickr feed as an SL blogger, I highly recommend you visit.  You’ll find so many themes to work with.  And on we go…


First, I found my first pose and started playing with WLs.  Although this is far from the best, there’s something magical about it, so I kept the picture.  Plus, check out that skirt!  I’m hardly out of it since Facepalm put it out.  Jean skirt top with a sheer skirt that is uber feminine.  As fun sized as I am, I’d need to be on Gene Simmons’ shoes to wear something this long and flowy in real life! *laugh*

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After the Red Moments WL I hit the dusky and that’s when I realized that there was a storm experience built into the sim.  Turn to local WL, turn up graphics, and turn up your ambient noises.  *happy sigh*  This is the realization pic that there is something awesome going on…

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I finally got everything set and was so mesmerized I forgot to change pose even.  *grin* Gives me a chance to show off the killer Letis Tattoo I found while cleaning inventory the other night.  I lost that for a few months.  Anyway, check out the lightning, the sun beams poking through, the birds flying around the little stilt house, and the crashing waves.

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Back to the left is a cute little seating spot (which I also happen to have at home), where you can see the ramp leading to the ocean, the start of the beach, and really get a good view out into the storm clouds.

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Down on the beach were several seating areas.  While listening and watching I felt a bit nostalgic for those annual trips to the ocean, plus, it kind of mirrored how my mind and heart have felt lately with all of the roller coaster emotions.  When I found this pose I sat back and did the same thing.  Closed my eyes, bowed my head, and listened.  I threw every fear, financial worry, and swirling emotions out into the raging storm, and I let them rage until the weight lifted.  Maybe that’s what I missed most from my youthful trips to the ocean.  I always sat and mentally threw my problems into the ocean, and let them be wild, and when I picked up the last of them at the end of the day my heart and mind would be calm again.  I forget to lay down my problems to The Maker and instead I pray for strength to keep managing or learn to control.  I forgot to turn over my emotions to Him and tried to get help to be a strong fighter, when we’re doing His work.  He is giving us the chance to find and love someone without a forever home, and is arranging for us to find her.  Thank you, Aunt Ina, for helping me remember.  I was blessed to learn about this sim at just the right time.

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Curled up in the chair with the storm raging in front of Bre and I, I found some peace.

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Asian Peanut Butter Pork Recipe by Leah

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Asian Peanut Butter Pork.  Anything with peanut butter in my house is certain to be a hit and this is no exception.  I’ve made this Asian Peanut Butter Pork in the slow cooker before, but wanted to try it in the pressure cooker.  Even better!  Serve over rice and you absolutely HAVE to serve it with Once Upon A Chef’s fabulous Thai Crunch Salad with Peanut Dressing.






Asian Peanut Butter Pork Pressure Cooker

yield: 4 servings


1 1/2 – 2 lbs pork tenderloin

1 onion, sliced in rings

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup brown sugar

3 Tbsp white wine vinegar

3 Tbsp water

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1/2 cup creamy natural peanut butter

2 Tbsp chopped peanuts

1 lime, cut in wedges

prepared rice


  1. Turn your pressure cooker to saute function and saute the pork on all sides, approximately 2-4 minutes per side.  Set aside.
  2. Add onion to the pot and saute until tender.
  3. Put remaining ingredients in the pot and add the pork.
  4. Cook 2 minutes then natural release for 15.
  5. Let the pork rest, then slice into medallions.  Serve over rice.  Top the pork with sauce, peanuts, and lime juice.

*Note: Recipe created using the Power Pressure Cooker.  Time and button functions may vary with other brands of pressure cookers.

Loving Adoption


Although it is such a hard process, and trauma is wrapped up in every edge, it’s absolutely beautiful. The dreams, the hopes, the ability to love another person so completely, and a new season to life.

The adoption process creates a unique bond for the prospective (and hopefully eventual) parents, and we can sometimes see that another is on this journey too. We’re part of a community that we never really expected.

In light of the intriguing traits and behaviors we can see, and totally understand, I wanted to share an incredible post by Kathy Lynn Harris,Dear Moms of Adopted Children“.

Fundraising in SL

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Since I’ve had fundraising and donations on my mind lately, debating what may work in a small town and with my not being able to campaign in person, I’ve been a little more aware than usual about SL fundraisers.  I have attended a ton in the years I’ve been on.  Relay for Life is one of the main ones I go to on a regular basis and then one for a friend to raise money to get her trained medical assistance dog.  There are always fundraisers going on and what’s really cool is just how generous people can be.  The exchange rate for a Linden (SL currency) is 1 USD for 250L (lindens – currently; the exchange rate fluctuates).  With such a wide exchange rate, people don’t usually bat an eye at dropping 2500-5000L when it’s a touching need.    Although it’s a relatively small donation in USD, there is massive exposure, so a person can get some true help, and it’s awesome to read the stories about how the donations helped.


Anyway, I went to two this past week and one the week before.  One was a Sci-fi themed Relay for Life event and another was a group of designers that got a silent auction together to help a friend designer who is facing some very scary medical costs and issues.


This is a shop during Fantasy Faire with some donations for the American Cancer Society.  I’m absolutely fascinated by this designer’s artistic ways of bringing beauty into SL.  I bought the light systems, except for the rays of light coming down on the left side.  *scratches neck self consciously* I’m kind of obsessed with the designer right now and am slowly buying a lot of their artistic decorations to incorporate into our second lives.  Plus, this looks like the perfect place for fairies to jump from star to star or angels to hover in pure beauty while watching over their ward.  *sigh*  I absolutely love the artistic creativity in SL just as much as the generosity.

New landscaping_013



Then I hit the Sci-Fi Relay for Life.  I’ll confess and you can throw tomatoes at me (I’ll bring the spices and we’ll have a mild salsa), but I generally prefer Star Trek and The Orville-type versions and not the Star Wars kind.  I don’t know why, but just recently discovered this.  I still usually really enjoy this event and the “space” creativity is so much fun.  This year just didn’t have the same feel for me, but I’m hoping it was really successful.  I got a few fun space-based poses and props from a favorite designer that was donating part of her proceeds, but mostly I just appreciated the designs.  There were space ships flying all over, but I somehow never got a good shot.  I actually sat in the diner and used my cam to explore that area of the sim, honestly.  The designer did an amazing job on the detail.  Plus, there were wolves walking around in Next Gen uniforms and that was a community that I am not very knowledgeable and sound like a freak when I try to make small talk.  *facepalm*

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I have several pictures of the event for the sick designer.  It really hit home that her body has turned against her and is killing her if she can’t get the money together to have a special procedure.  With all of my health issues, I cried a few times while reading the explanation and seeing the pics of her avi that an SL photographer took to sell for donations.  The photographer made sure that there was one very broken type, while all of the others were incredibly empowering and optimistic, and very phoenix rising from the flames.  Ugh, I’m going to have to stare at the ceiling if I write much more.  Anyway, it was a neat silent auction and the extra venue they had (which was empty because it wasn’t event time, thankfully, since I’ve been extra introverted even on SL lately) was so nostalgic, although I’m not THAT old to have caught it the first go around.  So Z, no smart mouth comments about my age and nostalgia.  I’m not over 40 yet, so don’t start. *laugh*   It did, however, remind me of all of the Soda Shop Oldies infomercials that still play now, with clips of the singers in the beautiful venues, which I watched with my parents throughout the years (and listened to).  All sexy Rat Pack-kind of beauty.  So I actually hung out at the venue for the beautiful scenery as I cleaned up some of my latest inventory.


First though, I couldn’t resist bidding for a live performance by a country singer on SL.  Have I mentioned that I love how I can hear singers, thespians, authors, and musicians perform around the world even when I’m in pillow city to ease the pain?  I took a moment to utilize their hay area pose to chill and cam around for some other things to bid on.

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This is the auction area on the left, with the concert venue on the right, which is where I hung out for a few hours.

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I bought a lot of 100% proceed items and straight up donated to the nearby tip jar, and kept Bre in the praying position, so we could both offer a prayer for this bright soul who is looking at a young death if this doesn’t work.  My practical part of the brain was screaming about needing to save and be humble enough to ask for help, too, but my soul needed that, especially with all of the turmoil for the last few months.


Gaming tends to have such a bad reputation, but I hope this helps someone change their mind and see that there are some incredibly generous people who are helping people they will never meet in person.  In what some would say is just a game.  I’m proud to be part of this other world that reflects all of us.  You can find more edgy pursuits if you want to, but there are so many incredible people to support, meet, and even appreciate their talents.  It was really beautiful to go to three fundraisers within mere days and see the amazing generosity.  Sometimes all you can see is the bad and what needs reform when you look at the world.  I’m thankful to be part of another world that is huge, but has a small village, “we look after our own”, atmosphere in some places.

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