Saturday, May 30, 2009

After The Rain . . .

The Sun!!!

This little sign is nestled among the daisies at the beginning of my garden.
I love it's message ~ so true.

It's hard not to be happy on a day like this. It seemed like with the sun's return everybody in the neighborhood was out enjoying the glorious weather. It was a perfect day for a walk, bike ride, boat ride or even reading a good book in the fresh air.

The bees were happily buzzing along from flower to flower.

I spent my day working in the garden. The weeds came out easily after all that rain and it was also much easier to dig holes in the red clay.

These are the best kind of bunnies to have in your garden.

The hydrangeas are starting to bloom.

Let the bouquets begin!!!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Dear Mr. Rain,

I know that you have a very important job to do. For without you we wouldn't have beautiful green lawns and pretty flowers to look at. Without you there would be no shade to sit in on a hot, sunny day and our fruit trees and vegetable gardens would dry up and die. Trust me I appreciate you and know we couldn't live without you.

However, I don't quite know how to tell you this . . .
But, I think you need a rest now. After a solid week I imagine you are getting tired and weary. Aren't you???
The weather has warmed up and it is time for picnics on the patio (hint hint ;-)

While I do appreciate not having to fill up the fountain as often, I really need to plant those last 2 flats of vinca . . . before they drown.
Because I do appreciate you and don't want you to wear yourself out, may I make a suggestion?
Why don't you take a little vacation. You've been working very hard. I'm sure Mrs. Sun would be more than happy to fill in for you a while. Then after you are all rested up you can come back for a visit.

Only keeping your best interests in mind . . .


Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day 2009

Just popping in to wish you all a Happy Memorial Day. It's been a rainy weekend in these parts. We may be grilling under the umbrella today. I've got my flag flying and when I look at it I can't help but take some time to remember the many people who have lost their lives while serving our country. Such brave people who gave so much to defend the freedom we enjoy in this country. I will always be grateful to them and to all of the men and women who are currently serving.

Well, I'm off to make my potato salad. Before I go I wanted to share the babies latest photo. While my husband and I ate our dinner on the patio on Friday we were entertained by the momma bluebird flying back and forth feeding her little family. We could also hear the little "cheep, cheep, cheeping" coming from the birdhouse. We couldn't miss this photo op. If you click the picture it should enlarge and you will be able to see some of the blue feathers are starting to come in. So sweet. I think it won't be long until they will be flying the coop.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Sweeten Every Day With Love

The week began with an afternoon call from the assisted living center where my mom resides. They were worried about some troubling symptoms they noticed in her and were sending her to the ER to be checked out. This has been happening with more frequency as her progression with Alzheimer's continues. We spent 3 hours there and were eating dinner at 10 pm. Fortunately it wasn't anything too serious for mom and she was able to go back home. The next morning I was feeling unusually exhausted. My husband told me he thinks it is because of stress. While I am glad to be able to be my mom's caregiver I know he is probably right. Either way, I was trying to figure out how I could rise above my exhaustion and get going with my day. I decided to go outside and water the plants on my front porch. When I opened the door I saw the box in the above photo and I instantly started to feel a bit more energetic.

Recently I saw this delightful giveaway.
Of course I thought the giveaway items were fabulous, but I also loved how Tracy asked us to share a way that someone had sweetened one of our days with Love and/or to share a favorite chocolate treat that we enjoy.

I shared one of the ways my husband sweetens my days. I was thrilled to receive an e-mail from Tracy telling me that I was the winner!!!

I was even more thrilled to open the box and see the beautifully wrapped gifts that Tracy had sent to me. Everything was coordinated so nicely. Look at this sweet little gift tag. Everything was so bright and cheery. I was truly feeling more energetic just looking at these lovely packages. Tracy surely has the gift for sweetening every day with love.

Oh how I love this plate. It has found a home on the kitchen counter that I consider to be my baking center. I will enjoy it's beauty and be reminded daily of the special community we share through our blogs. I also hope it reminds me to think often of things I can do to help sweeten the days of others.

Be still my heart!!
This apron was also included. How can you not feel upbeat and happy in this adorable apron? Polka dots and rick rack are a winning combination in the cheerfulness department.

There were some extra surprises in the box too.
Adorable recipe cards, a super cute note card with a cherry emblem attached and a super generous sized Dove chocolate bar. How did she know that is my hands down favorite brand of chocolate?

And, not to be forgotten, this sweet Gooseberry Patch cookbook full of chocolate recipes.

My day and week has been sweetened by Tracy's generosity. Thank you so much Tracy.
A week that started out a bit sad and stressful has ended on such a sweet note. I feel very blessed today. This afternoon I baked a recipe from this new cookbook. It is called Chewy Chocolate Cookies. Mmmm... they are slightly crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside.
Chewy Chocolate Cookies
1-1/4 c. butter, softened
2 c. sugar
2 eggs, beaten
2 t. vanilla extract
2 c. all purpose flour
3/4 c. baking cocoa
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
Blend butter and sugar until creamy; add eggs and vanilla. Mix well and set aside. Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt; blend into butter mixture. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 to 9 minutes; do not over bake. Cookies will be soft and will flatten while cooling.
Makes 4-1/2 dozen

And in an attempt to sweeten somebody else's day with love, I have wrapped up a basket of these delicious cookies to take with me when I visit my mom tomorrow. The basket will be given to the CNAs who are with her every day. I am so thankful for their watchful eyes and compassion. This will be a small way that I can show them appreciation for what they do. I will also take a small plate to mom. The lady I visit now is someone very different from the lady I have known as my mom. Very little of that lady remains. However, there is one thing that has remained and that is her love of chocolate. She always was a chocaholic. So now while she doesn't remember most things she still gets a big smile on her face when I bring her anything chocolate and she still says yum after every bite. This warms my heart because it is one of the few glimmers of the mom I remember.

What a beautiful reminder sweeten every day with love is. Sometimes it doesn't take a lot to show someone else that they are appreciated and loved and it is something we all can benefit from.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

From My Cupboard To Your Table

In my kitchen there are two cupboards that don't contain what you might expect. Nope, behind this door you will not find dishes, pots and pans, Tupperware, stemware or mixing bowls. But, what you will find is . . .


Lots & lots of cookbooks.

They are narrow cupboards and they each contain 4 shelves and each of those shelves is full of cookbooks. I would be willing to bet that 3/4 of those cookbooks are from thrift shops. I have a hard time passing them up when I see them. I know from many of the blogs that I visit that I am not alone in my love of cookbooks. So, I've decided to start a periodical feature on my blog where I will be selecting one of the books from my collection and featuring one of the recipes to share with you.

Here is my first selection. The author is Marcia Adams. I recall watching her show on PBS several years ago. I didn't watch it often, but when I did I enjoyed seeing her cook some of these recipes in her cozy kitchen. I did a quick search and found
this information on her.

Cookbooks with beautiful photographs are among my favorites.

This one delivers in that area. Look at these luscious peaches.

Freshly picked baby carrots and new potatoes bring to mind the beautiful farming countryside that I saw when I visited the Amish community in Shipshewana, Indiana.

I can just imagine these apples being plucked from a backyard tree and baked into a delicious apple pie.

Since it is just about time for local blueberries to come into season, I have chosen this recipe to share today.

With just a little mixing,

A little sifting,

Stirring in some fresh blueberries and . . .

Sprinkling a little streusel on top.

In no time you will begin to smell the sweet and cinnamony scent of Blueberry Cake with Streusel Topping. Doesn't this look like the perfect thing to go with a hot cup of coffee or tea?

With all the spring cleaning, yard work & end of school deadlines going on at this time of year, wouldn't it be nice to treat yourself to a little coffee break? You deserve it.

~ Click to enlarge ~

If you are unable to read the recipe clearly, please let me know and I will type it out.

Have a happy & wonderful weekend.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Gardening ~ the good, the bad & the ugly (real ugly)

You may remember these from here.

Yesterday they looked like this.

And today they look like this. Sorry for the slightly blurry photo, but mommy was nearby and I didn't want to make her too nervous.

In between rain drops I've been busy planting. A few pots for the patio containing lantana, purple fountain grass and sweet potato vine. Lantana is such a great flower for attracting butterflies and that is definitely good.

A pot of coral colored geraniums in a tall plant stand to sit right next to my favorite chair on the front porch. I will enjoy it's beauty while I'm enjoying my morning coffee or reading a favorite book or magazine. An added bonus is that I can see this beautiful flower from my kitchen and dining room. No doubt about it that is really good.

A good looking iris.

Pretty purple clematis
Oh so very good.

I'm hoping that everybody who comes up my front steps will feel good when they pass by the six pots of impatiens I planted.

Of course I feel good when I reach into my mailbox which is currently surrounded by these pretty clematis.

The beauty and joy we can receive from our gardening efforts are definitely a good thing (Hi Martha). But there are a few things in the garden that aren't so good. In fact they're just plain bad. Take, for instance, those pots of impatiens I planted on my front steps. Only one day after planting them I was watching a squirrel sitting on my window sill fluffing his bushy tail. I thought he was so cute ~ until I later found out that he jumped off the window sill and proceeded to dig up some of the impatiens I had just planted. This would definitely fall into the bad
Another bad thing has happened and it involves the trellis you see pictured above.

It also involves this plate. See those morning glories on the plate?
Well. . . you may remember the last part of this post.
Oh how I envisioned those morning glories winding their way up that trellis right next to this vintage plate.
I planted seeds plenty early, they sprouted, I planted them in the ground and then watched them disappear. I have no idea what happened. I wasn't going to let that get me down so I soaked some more seeds overnight and planted them directly in the ground. I watched them like a hawk and they never came up. Need I say it?? This is definitely bad. Bad & sad & it makes me mad. There ~ now I feel better :-)


If you are squeamish especially when it pertains to reptilian things in the garden, close your eyes now or turn your head and scroll past the next picture real fast.

If you were brave enough to peek, it's not quite as bad as it looks. This is only the skin. Makes me a little nervous to think where the rest of him went. This is the UGLY side of gardening. Since I began gardening in the south I have seen some huge snakes. One year I had one a few feet away from me and it had to be at least five feet long. I have a real phobia when it comes to them and almost gave up gardening that year. I think I would have for sure if I didn't enjoy it so much.

I guess gardening is a lot like life.
We take the good with the bad and hope to avoid the ugly all together.
But the beauty and contentment we receive from this hobby are so rewarding that we continue on. In my case a little more cautiously.