Sunday, March 29, 2009

Playing With My Food

While my husbands been away I've been having a little fun playing with my food. There's been a little personal challenge going on around here and it's all about food. Sometimes when he's gone it doesn't seem like it's worthwhile to do much cooking just for little ole me. So, in those times I often heat up a lot of canned soup, stop at Wendy's, Lean Cuisine, chicken potpie . . . You get the drift. But, I must admit I really don't like to eat like that.
So, this time I made a deal with myself that instead of doing that I would take something out of the freezer or pantry and brainstorm on ideas of how I could turn it into a delicious meal for one. I tell you I've been surprised by the good results I've gotten and in the process the freezer is getting better organized and I'm not wasting money on going out to eat. What started out as my little game has turned into a new way to look at meal preparation.
Take this morning, for instance. I had a lot of strawberries and several overripe bananas on hand. After a quick Internet search I decided to try out a new recipe for Strawberry-Banana Muffins. My son stopped in this morning and we both loved these muffins. If you'd like the recipe you can find it here.

While my son was here he brought my Easter boxes down from the attic for me. To show my appreciation I thought a strawberry smoothie was in order. Oh goodie I get to play with food again!!
I appreciate your kind comments on my back problem. It is almost back to normal.
Wishing you a wonderful week!!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Tea Party That Was Over Before It Began

Something told me at the time that I shouldn't end my last post promising to drag all my Easter boxes out of the attic and have my home all decorated the next time we met. Superstitions?? Foresight?? I'm not quite sure, but I wish I would have listened to my inner voice.
My husband has been out of town for over a week and you may remember what happens then.
Well, I decided on Sunday that it was the perfect day to start hauling the boxes out. I brought out a few things and had grand illusions of a bunny garden tea party in front of the fireplace. I was ready to get creative and went into the attic to grab the first box. It was a bit heavy and when I picked it up and went to turn I heard a "crick" and felt excruciating pain in my lower back. I dropped the box and eventually had to crawl back downstairs as I couldn't straighten up. I have never had my back "go out" and mean to tell you it is not a good feeling to be home alone in the attic and have it happen for the first time.
I was hugely disappointed to have my grand plans dashed, but at the same time it scared me enough to know that taking care of myself was more important than the "Bunny Tea Party". I think sometimes it takes a big "wake up call" to remind us to put things into perspective. For if I look back on last week I guess it isn't surprising that this happened. My mom had a rough week and was taken to the ER 3 times after falling and hitting her head. We left the ER Friday night at midnight and at 1:45 I was called again telling me that she had fallen and hit her head in the bathroom so it was off to the ER once again. Fortunately she didn't seem to have any adverse effects from these falls, but it is so sad to see this happen. It is such a challenge to convince an Alzheimer's patient not to try to walk without assistance when their brains will not allow them to remember anything.

I know that in order to be of the greatest help to my mom in her time of need it's important to make sure I keep myself in shape. I spent the day yesterday alternating between the heating pad and laying on the floor. Today my back is feeling quite a bit better, but I can tell if I'm not careful I'll be back to square one. My husband was supposed to be home today, but now has to remain where he is until April 8th. I don't think I want to risk hauling out those boxes and by the time he gets home it will be a bit late. Oh well, the tea party can wait. I know in the grand scheme of things I will never regret the time I have had with my mom.

I still may sneak a few Easter decorations in here and there. This guy is doing the "Happy Dance" for the arrival of Spring. I hope to be joining him soon, but at this point I don't think I'll try that move.

Now this may seem really silly, but I was so happy to be able to return to work today that I made a stop at the thrift shop on my way home. I happened to see this precious baby girl outfit. Do I have any baby girls in my life now? NO. However, being the blue and white lover that I am I fell in love with the fabric and then when I saw the bunny buttons I had to have it. I guess it's the decorating deprivation getting to me. :-)

~Take the time to take care of yourselves ~

Friday, March 20, 2009

Welcome Spring

~ No Matter How Long The Winter, Spring Is Sure To Follow ~
- Proverb

The day that we have been waiting for has finally arrived.

Welcome Spring!!!

Look at what welcomed me at the breakfast table today. A bowl encircled with a wreath of forsythias and beautiful, fresh berries livening up my Multi Grain Cheerios. As I sat and ate I couldn't help thinking about this glorious season that begins today. It is so exciting to watch the earth spring back to life and to know that it won't be long until fresh berries will be growing in our own backyards.

Something else that I was thinking about this morning was that I am no longer storing this antique half & half bottle in my cupboard. From this day forward I will be transferring my half & half from that ugly cardboard carton to this sweet little vintage bottle. It's a simple thing, but it will bring a happy start to my day in a small way and I don't think we should ever underestimate the small things in life.

When winter loses it's grip and the milder temperatures and fresh air of spring move in, it seems we're all ready to get outdoors and enjoy it. It's time to see what's happening out there. In my yard the pansies that were covered in snow a few weeks ago are once again thriving.

If we look closely we will gain a new appreciation for all of the beauty that surrounds us in nature.

This little clump of pansies was either planted by a passing bird or maybe a gust of wind dropped the seed that sprang to life. Now when I step off my patio this little bit of sunshine greets me.

A red bud blooms outside my bathroom window. When I am getting ready for the day this pretty tree is reflected in the mirror. I know that it will only last for a short time, so I will enjoy it while it lasts. I think that is one of the lessons to be learned from the springtime.

~ The Day The Lord Created Hope Was Probably The Same Day He Created Spring~

- Bern Williams

How exciting to think that in a few more months these pretty blossoms will become juicy peaches.

Seeing these young chives springing out of the earth once again makes me think of what I'll be having for breakfast tomorrow. A fluffy omelet with minced chives and a sprinkling of cheese melted over the top.

I see the parsley is perking up again. That reminds me that I need to plant the cilantro and lettuce seeds that I bought last week.

It's also time for me to plant the morning glory seeds in the little peat pots I bought. I absolutely adore morning glories, but some years I seem to get them planted too late and then just when they start getting really pretty jack frost comes nipping. This year I am determined to get them started and ready to go outside on April 15th which is the start of our planting season in these parts.

~ Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers today,

And give us not to think so far away

As the uncertain harvest; keep us here

All simply in the springing of the year. ~

- Robert Frost

Looks like I'll be busy in my garden in the next few days. I'm feeling energized, excited and hopeful for the plans I have in my yard this year.

I really hope to be able to do a post or two in a few months from now showing you my Morning Glories. If you don't see a post, don't ask. You know how even the best laid plans don't always work out. But for now, I have great faith that this will be a successful year for the morning glories. :-)

In the next few weeks I will be bringing my (many) boxes of Easter decor out of hibernation. I love this time of year and will be back to share my happy home when it's ready for the Easter Bunny to come a callin'. Until next time, take time to really enjoy the beauty that begins unfolding in the beautiful season of Spring!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Spring is in the Air . . .

Waking up to the cheery melody of a sweet little songbird is one of the best ways to start the day.

We enjoyed a most beautiful weekend with temperatures in the upper 70s. The windows have been opened and the fresh spring air has been perfuming every room in the house.

After breakfast I took a little walk around the yard and couldn't resist bringing a bouquet of daffodils in with me.

While my sister was visiting last week we did a little bit of shopping. We each bought a few of these clear birdie vases. We thought they were just the thing to add a bit of spring cheer to a special spot in the house, a desk top in the office or a nice little gift to take a friend. After my sister had left to return home I discovered this darling little book called "The Bluebird of Happiness" on the guest bed. What a nice reminder of our time together, not to mention it fits in perfectly with my garden style decor.

Every year in Charlotte there is a special event called The Southern Spring Show. Highly talented landscapers transform an indoor building into many beautiful themed spring gardens. If you didn't know better you would swear you were outside.

If you don't already have spring fever when you go, you will have it for sure when you are done visiting.

This small fountain made from smooth stones and surrounded by moss and daffodils was just as sweet as it could be.

This picture turned out a bit blurry, but I thought the pie cooling in the window was too cute to miss.

In addition to breathtaking gardens there were also some themed tablescapes. This tea party in the garden was beyond precious. Whoever designed this has some beautiful dolls and the details on the table were gorgeous.

There was even a little baby doll enjoying the tea party.

~ Breakfast with the Bees ~

~ Mother's Favorite Things ~

I bought some of these large leaves at a garage sale last fall, so I had to take a picture of this clever idea.

Here's another clever idea!!

Look at the birdseed sprinkled around the table. This might not work too well outside :-)

Some of the local garden clubs designed themed windows. This was my favorite. I just love the window box with the signs saying "Imagine a Simpler Thyme" and a dear little grandma figurine tucked in with the geraniums.

Wouldn't you love to attend a picnic with this picnic basket?

This was a cute Alice in Wonderland themed window. Here's another clever window box covered with playing cards.

This one with the fresh herbs made me want to cook something yummy with some freshly cut herbs. Mmmmm...

One last clever idea. Wouldn't that cup of tea taste better if it were served this way?
I hope that wherever you live you are starting to see the signs of spring. If snow is still on the horizon, hang in there ~ it won't be too much longer.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Cupcakes are Ready

The cupcakes are ready & so am I. Just waiting for her car to pull up in the driveway. Once she arrives we will have 3 days to catch up, make memories with mom and have fun.

Brownie cupcakes with fresh strawberry/cream cheese icing.


She's bringing our family favorite chocolate cake from Michigan - Sanders Bumpy Cake.

When your family lives far away, I think it is especially important to savor every moment that you do get to spend together. So while I savor the moment (and the chocolate) I will be away from blogging for a few days. But, once I return I will be ready to swing into spring ~ my very favorite time of the year. I just heard that this weekend we will spring forward with the time change. Can't you just feel it in the air ~ new life in the form of budding trees, baby birdies, pussy willows, spring bulbs bursting forth with gorgeous, fragrant flowers. How about bunnies, bunnies and more bunnies? I can't wait.

See you soon.