December 11, 2013

An Evening out...Pier 1 and Starbucks

Last night the family and I each picked out one new ornament for our Christmas tree. We've made it a tradition to do this most every year. We planned to go to Pier 1 Imports, and I'm glad we did.

They usually have such an awesome selection, and this year did not disappoint. There were so many beautiful and adorable ornaments, I could have bought 10! My hubby picked out this cute little sock monkey....he is so adorable with his little scarf!

My oldest son Everest picked out this scruffy, copper glittered squirrel. I just love him! I was eyeing up this one as well!

I chose this adorable chubbsey little sparkley penguin! I love his scarf and candy cane.

My youngest son Easton, picked out this transparent, red bulb with a white shimmery swirl. It is soooo pretty! He had a really hard time choosing as well...but this is the one that first caught his he went for it.

After we purchased our ornaments, we stopped off at Starbucks for a nice hot beverage! It was freeeeezing cold last night.

I think it was in the high 20's and the wind was really blowing.....wind chill baby! So, it was pretty nice and cozy inside the land of Starbucks...not to mention how good it smells in there!

I hope Starbucks doesn't mind...but I went a little "Andy Warhol" on their logo....just for fun!

I'm glad we got to get out of the house for an was very nice!
Merry Christmas!

December 10, 2013

special ornaments

Hello everyone! I've been absent from my blog for a few months now, and I have tried to get back to it a few times. I think what keeps me from writing, is that I am too conscious of what I THINK others want to read about and look at.  And that's just silly. So, I'm going to start again....and try to relax about it a little more. Enough said....onwards and upwards! Yay!

We put up our Christmas tree this past weekend. My youngest son, who is 12, kept asking to do it since December 1st. I hadn't been motivated yet...but finally, we got to it on December 8th.  My youngest son and I rearranged the furniture and brought the tree up from the basement while my hubby was at work for a few hours Saturday morning. 

He assembled the tree by himself and tested all of the lights. Him and I also did the not-so-fun task of putting the lights on the one here seems to like that part much...and no we don't have one of those pre-lit trees...this tree came to us before pre-lit. So, the best part.....hanging the ornaments...all of the stories that came out about each ornament....when we bought them, where we bought them, who bought them, who made them...lots of "oooooh, I remember this one"....and "here Dad, this one is yours, you put it on the tree". 

I have a few ornaments the boys made in grade school...not a lot...I don't know why other people have so many more than I do. I think  it depends on who you get for a teacher...(I guess). Anyhow, I really love the ones with their school photo....just to die for. Sooooo sweet! 

I'm sure my boys don't think these are sooooo sweet...probably roll their eyes...haha! ...but these ornaments warm my heart so much. I miss "them" so much. What I mean by "them" is their little tiny kindergarten selves. So tiny...their little voices, little hands, little noses, sweet little smiles....oh my goodness....the best, just the best! Of course they are still so sweet and they will ALWAYS be my babies!!

Most every year, after we put up the tree...we make a special shopping trip where we each pick out a special ornament. Tonight we are going to Pier 1 Imports...they always have awesome ornaments! We also need a new star for the top of our tree. Pier 1 is right near Starbucks...and my youngest son Easton is now in love with the hot apple cider. My hubby brought one home last weekend after doing some trail running in 20 degree weather! yikes! Easton tasted it and LOVED it! So, why do I have this feeling that after we stop at Pier 1, someone, or two, is going to be pointing at Starbucks and pleading! Oh my! We have created a monster! haha! Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you all enjoy putting up your tree this year and having a lot of fond memories with each special ornament that's hung!!

August 26, 2013

End of Summer Rut

Dear World,

Hello. How are you? I'm okay. I mean, I good. I'm pretty good. All is well with me. I mean, I'm in a rut. A classic rut. Everything is fine. Everyone is healthy. I have no worries and nothing to complain about. For that, I am very, very grateful to God. I mean that..I truly do.

My Facebook status this morning stated that I am in an "end of summer" rut and I don't know what to do with myself. That's just the best way I can explain it. Although, I think I may be at the verge of pulling  out of this rut....I've been in it for about 3 days now...guess I'm tired of my little rut. LOL!

Oh, I've been in ruts before. They don't last forever. Eventually the rain will come and soften the edges of my rut and I can climb out. Wow, if that's not dramatic! haha!

So, the garden looks like the Sahara. I'm not as excited to play in there as I was a few weeks ago. My goodness, last month you could not pull me out of there. I was in there sun up to sun down. Weeding, and pulling and caring and cursing. Yes, I curse in the garden. Every time I accidentally knock off a green tomato from the vine...or twist off a yellow leaf and accidentally twist too much that I killed a perfectly healthy part of the plant. Yep, I'm a-swearin' fool when that happens.

One thing that's a bit weird with me right now....I'm wanting to rush the next season. What the heck? I mean, I'm in Walmart scouring the aisles for Fall candy. I'm checking the local fruit market to see if they've put out pumpkins yet. What is my problem? Oh man, too funny. I usually do not do this. I am usually the one that gets all huffy when the season is rushed. I'm usually the one rolling my eyes when I see hay bales and corn stalks for sale the first of September. Not this year. Nope, I'm an idiot this year. LOL! I'm just laughing at myself here.

I feel like August has been the longest month for me. I don't think school will ever get here. Well, it will "get here" in exactly 2 days. It's just time. Sometimes the summer just flies by. This year, I think the summer was just about right. And today, I feel like summer should wind itself up and take a chill pill. I wanna go out and cut the grass today, but it is way too hot and humid. I'll think I'll save that task for this evening.

What's getting to me? What's getting under my skin? What's the deal here? The only thing I can think of is this: monotony. I mean, we all experience it at some point or another. The dishes, the laundry, vacuuming, sweep the kitchen floor, clean the bathrooms.  I mean, whaddya gonna do. It is what it is...and I really don't want any life shattering events coming in to mess up a good thing...I just have to get through it. And I will. (I started a sentence with "And" sue me. hee hee)

Well, I guess I have poured out my heart. There really wasn't much to pour, not really....feels a bit dusty and the earth in my garden. Please God, breathe a spark into my attitude. I don't even feel right asking God for that. That's not right, is it? I should be responsible for my own attitude. Is attitude even the word? What is the word? Good heavens, I can't even put a finger on it. It's my inner being, my self, my consciousness, my purpose, my....what? I don't know.

What can I do but put one foot in front of the other. Everything is fine. I'll go through the motions. Before I know it, something will spark my interest...I'll get going...the leaves will change color...I will change color. I'll be bright and vibrant...full of energy and interest. So, until then my friends...I need to go water the garden.

Good day to all!

Love to all!


August 21, 2013

license plate words

My hubby made me an awesome sign for my garden! 

August 2, 2013

my garden runneth over, my cup runneth over

 The garden is producing, and I am a dirty mess.  
 And I am loving it!!


Isaiah 58:11
 The Lord will guide you always;
he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail.

To all of you, happy gardening! If you don't have a garden, happy farmer's market! 
I am so grateful to all of you that stop by my blog. Especially considering that I took a few months off and left this space quiet and lonely. I am happy to be back and I am working to reconnect with all of you.

July 31, 2013

my funny facebook status

Hi! I thought I'd share with you, my most recent facebook status. It's pretty humorous, and I thought you could use a laugh.

"ok, another funny garden my expense!! picked 9 zucchini and put them in a big mixing bowl just inside of the garden, next to the wire electric fence. picked about 8 cucumbers...time to go inside, as my nephew Lucas keeps running away behind the house where I can't see him and it's lunch time anyway. I put Lucas in the house, run outside to plug in the electric fence, start heading back towards the house when I glance over to see the bowl of zucchini....oh, I think to myself, I better get that instead of leaving them lay in the hot sun. I am aware the fence is on....I carefully stretch and reach over the fence, bend down and pick up the bowl, clearing the fence with ease. Wait, a huge ant crawls over the zucchini, I stop to flick it off so I don't take it in the house with me. Now, I am distracted. The ant crawls under the zucchini, I look for it for one second, oh well, forget it. I pick up the bowl but forget to keep my arms extended out away from the electric wire. BA HAHAHAHA!! I catch the fence on the fatty, soft skinned, sensitive part, of the upper arm, on the under side. I have no clue what has happened to me until it is over lightening quick! I screamed, out loud, kinda like a "YOWWWWWL" sound...pretty loud! The jolt of electricity went down my arm out my finger tips...and completely down my body and out my right foot and toes!! Did I mention I was barefoot???!!! Much worse! If I had rubber flip flops or tennis shoes, I may not have been shocked or may have been mild! Of course, I truly did think it was pretty funny and I laughed out loud! Also, I laughed out loud so my neighbors would think I meant to do that! hahaha! or so they would think I thought that was just plain old fun! Oh yes, anything to avoid embarrassement! I just love getting shocked up and down half of my body on a Wednesday afternoon! Once again....circus act! LOL"

Oh my, I seem to always have a gardening story for my facebook friends! Hope you enjoyed it!

mini date night

The hubs and I went out for a little dinner last night. I've been wanting to try to get out a little more, and I came up with a brilliant idea of how I can achieve this. Go LOCAL, spend little TIME, spend little MONEY. I tend to forget all of the great little restaurants tucked here and there, in our neighboring towns. I'm on a mission to try these paces, some of them, for the first time. It's a great way to get in some "alone time", a mini date, with my hubby. Here's the thing: when I get the itch to have date night with my hubby, I tend to agonize over details like: where, when, cost, and fun factor. I set my expectations too high. Date night for us is pretty rare and so I guess that's why I try to make it special. So, instead of making date night a rare occasion, I've decided to make it semi frequent, close to home, and 2 hour increments....give or take. I've also decided to take advantage of the little "gems" in our neighboring towns. There may not be a lot in each little town around here, but each little town does have a precious few. The few that have stood the test of time because they are "mom and pop" places with good eats! So, our first mini date last night went great! I loved it. It was sweet, nice and to the point. We were gone about an hour and a half and it was just right and enjoyable. I'm liking this!

July 29, 2013

Beer Battered Fried Zucchini

{{Zucchini}}  What can I say about it? It's easy to grow, and it's usually, always, a bountiful producer!! Not to mention....zucchini is just one of those versatile vegetables you can do a lot with.  You can make bread, cookies, lasagna, salad.....bread it, batter it, fry name it. One of my favorite "go to" meals for zucchini is breaded and lightly fried, with a sprinkling of salt and pepper {{Yum!}} The other day, I was about to pull out the 'ol bread crumbs, when I realized.....I was out of bread crumbs. Well, what's a girl to do? I could make some bread crumbs, yes, that 's true. But I didn't feel like it, and the oil was already heating on the stove  Think..think!  Oh! I know! How about some beer batter! Total yum!

Here's a quick and easy beer batter recipe that I just love. It always turns out so light and crispy!  ****In a bowl, beat 2 eggs, add 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup beer, 1 cup flour, some salt and pepper to taste, mix well****Dredge thin slices of zucchini in flour, dunk into beer batter, fry in heated oil in skillet. Lightly brown on both sides. Remove from oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cool. Eat! Close eyes, smile and say yum!

PS  **I like to dip my beer battered zucchini in Caesar salad dressing...just your basic, off the shelf, bottled dressing.

July 26, 2013

flop or artsy?

I love this photo of daisies from my kitchen window. I played around with editing...having fun, trying new things. I really like the way this looks. It's funky and least, that's what I think. Anyhow....I posted this pic on Facebook last year and ..................nothing! You could hear crickets! So, one "got it" which is quite possible..........or it is really ugly! hahaha! What do you think? I think it's artsy.

July 24, 2013

a day in the garden

I spent hours stringing up tomatoes today. I'll be back at it bright and early tomorrow morning. I have really been enjoying my time in the garden this summer. Therapeutic!

July 23, 2013

Hand Embroidery Show and Tell

Hand embroidery. I love it! I make pieces....and then I kinda just keep 'em hanging around. I don't know what to do with them. But, I think I am going to start framing them in these wooden hoops and hang them on a wall....just a nice little collection all hanging together. I'm not sure which room in the house though. Maybe in the upstairs hallway. 

All  the way....across the sky! It's so bright and vivid! It's full on! What does it mean?! What does it mean?! Remember the popular YouTube video Double Rainbow?  One of my all time favorite videos! That was the inspiration behind this piece. I wanted to embroider a rainbow....just one rainbow...hence "full on single rainbow."

Last year's summer vacation...Cape Cod. A truly nostalgic, beautiful, wonderful, salty dog place! I love it there! I wish I could move there. Twas my inspiration for this piece. 

Sweet little birthday owl...I copied this from a book of iron on transfer designs for embroidery, painting or crafting. Why did I pick this design? Because it's an owl...and I like owls...and he's got a birthday hat on...and I like birthday parties. LOL! Seriously though, I love this big book of transfers. It is from my childhood! I traced so many patterns from it! My mom held onto it for all these years and recently gave it back to me. She keeps everything!! I'm so glad she kept this! This is the book.

Only a homemade birthday cake will do

Hi there! I wanted to share my latest baking adventure with you. My mother in law turned 90 this past week, and I volunteered to make the cakes. It took me all day to bake 2 cakes and make 2 kinds of frosting. It was a long day...but it was fun! I'm a baker at heart, so what can I say? For this first cake, I used this recipe for "Classic Vanilla Butter Birthday Cake" from Sweetapolita and it turned out great!  I decided to go with a flags/bunting type of decoration for her main cake. I think buntings are just so adorable on cakes, and I've been wanting to make one. My mother in law got a kick out of the flags as well, and was excited to put them on display in her China closet where she keeps such memorabilia. I made my bunting with scrapbook paper, bakery twine and a dowel rod.
And.......onto the chocolate cake! Once again, I used a recipe from Sweetapolita. For the cake part, I used this recipe called "Chocolate Celebration Cake". For the frosting, I used this recipe: Nutella Cloud Frosting. I loved the flavor and texture of this dense and such a deep chocolate flavor. The key ingredients are dark cocoa powder, dark chocolate and strong coffee! So delicious!!

I've baked many birthday cakes in my time....for my kids, my hubby, my parents, my co-workers, friends, extended family. It is my personal belief that everyone deserves a homemade birthday cake for their birthday!

Do you enjoy baking birthday cakes for your family and friends?

July 15, 2013

How to find a local swimming hole in your neck of the woods

swimming hole
definition: a place, as in a stream or creek, where there is water deep enough to use for swimming.

My son and  I spent  Sunday afternoon at one of our local swimming holes. Swimming out in nature is so refreshing and exhilarating!  It's been said that cold water swimming is good for you. I can tell you from personal experience, I feel absolutely fantastic during and after swimming in cold, fresh water... no chemicals, just plenty of fresh air and sunshine!  Do you have a  local swimming hole you love to swim at? 

1)  ask the locals,  especially people who've grown up in your area

2) the internet, scroll down to the the bottom left hand corner there is  a box that says "move map to:"....simply type in your county and state and it will bring up the known swimming holes in the area...hover over each spot marked for more information on each spot.

*As always, use caution and common sense when swimming in nature. Beware of shallow spots and hidden bolders beneath the don't go diving without first checking out if it's safe!! 

Don't forget to pack a picnic basket full of snacks or sandwiches and plenty of cold  drinks.  We get mighty hungry and thirsty swimming in cold water and climbing around on rocks.

July 12, 2013

I am back!!

Oh my goodness....I'm back! I'm so happy to be back! I took a long break from blogging...and I am ready to get back at it.  I just wanted  to stop in and make a quick post tonight to say HI! ... and I'm looking forward to reuniting with all of you out there in blog land! I'm leaving you with a photo of my garden. I am so proud of  it!! 

This is just ONE part of the entire garden. We are  hosting a community garden at our house for a few of our friends that don't  have a good space to garden at their home. There are 4 of us all together. Here's a shot of the whole thing. We each have our own space and maintain our own gardens.

 It's been fun chatting with our garden buddies and comparing notes!

February 5, 2013

My Boy Scouts

My Scouts. My 2 boys and my hubby. I absolutely love this photo. It is so classic and timeless. I snapped this shot back in the Fall, just a few months ago. I just knew it would look great altered into something reminiscent of olden times. I fell in love with how it turned out. I want to frame this one for the mantel.

A slightly different version, though still vintage inspired.

The original shot. Love it!!

Just wanted to share this photo with you all. As it happens, my guys are at Scouts right this very moment. It is snowing like crazy out there and the roads are very icey!! Tonight, they are having a gear inspection for winter camping this month. They must have at least a 0 degree sleeping bag, and at least 2 sets of thermal underwear, snow pants, water proof boots, hat, gloves, winter coat....and a slew of other cold weather, mandatory necessities to pass inspection and be permitted to winter camp.

My oldest has winter camped in single digit temps! He's gone 3 times now. This will be the first winter camping for my youngest. My hubby, his Dad, will be there for this camp out so I will be feeling pretty confident he will be just fine.

When I say winter camping....I mean, camping outside, in a tent, on the ground, in the snow. Scouts are educated on cold weather survival and they take it very seriously. The adult Scout leaders are all trained in how to look for signs of hypothermia and exposure, trained in CPR and First Aid...and the Scouts themselves are trained in those areas as well.

My oldest son's 2nd time winter camping was in 18 inches of snow. Hiking through 18 inches of snow to the spot and then shoveling out a spot for their tent, putting down straw first, then a tarp, then your tent. They are outside the entire time from Friday night til Sunday morning when they pack up and head home.

It is definitely a confidence booster for the boys and also a good understanding that they CAN survive against the elements, that they are not helpless and dead out in the cold and snow of winter. I know it will help them in other things in life that come along...they will think about how tough winter camping was and how they got through it and will know they can get through other situations in life equally as hard.

Winter camping is completely voluntary. You do NOT have to participate. Also, if you feel you do not want to stick it out, you can go home at any can call your parents and have them come pick you up any time of day or night. A few Scouts did end up going home last year. Fortunately, it is not forecast to be as cold this time around....supposed to be around 40 degrees.

As a parent, I am able to go winter camping with them as well. I am not quite sure that I could do it....but how would I know if I never tried. Do I have a desire to do it??? No, not really....but in a way, I guess I do wonder how I would fare. I have camped in 32 degree weather in that was the low over night and about 50 during the day. Does that count?? This will be my hubby's 2nd winter camping with the Scouts.

Have you ever winter camped in the snow?? If you have, I'd love to hear about it. Or, if not, do you think you could handle it??

Okay, now I'm freezing just talking about this! It is 26 degrees outside right now, snowing cats and dogs, I'm freezing my gazoogies off, and I'mma 'bout ready to go put on some water for tea! {What are gazoogies you ask? I really don't's something my mom always said, so if it is inappropriate, I blame my mom! haha!!!}

Happy winter!

February 3, 2013

super soft, sugar cookies

I love soft sugar cookies!! Well, I love the crunchy ones too....but, if I had to choose...I would go with soft. I came across this recipe on the net and was intrigued by the claim that this cookie was guaranteed to turn out a soft, puffy cookie. I have to say, I was not let down!! The dough was perfect...easy to roll out, easy to cut out and easily lifted from the table with a metal spatula. The secret to this dough: cake flour. Buy it, use it, you'll like it!!

These little colorful heart shaped sprinkles I used are the bomb! They remind me of the 80's with their bright colors. And....being as I was a teenager in the 80' just kinda warms my heart is all.

I also had some teeny tiny heart sprinkles: red, pink and white. See below.

I really liked the recipe for the butter definitely try it if you get the chance. I'll use it again for sure. It is really just a basic butter cream recipe but was just right in my opinion.

{recipe found on the wonderful blog A Bountiful Kitchen}

Soft Sugar Cookies

1 1/2 cups butter
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 cups cake flour

Cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix well. Add dry ingredients and mix. Chill dough before rolling. Roll out dough to 1/4 inch thick, cut out shapes and bake in 350 degree oven for 10 minutes.

Butter cream Frosting

1 cup butter
4 cups powdered sugar
a bit of milk, start with 1 Tbsp and mix, add more milk as necessary to desired spreading consistency
1 teaspoon vanilla

Beat softened butter and powdered sugar til smooth. Add milk and vanilla, mix well. Tint frosting with food coloring. Decorate with sprinkles while frosting is still wet. Enjoy!!