Thursday, July 29, 2010

There Really is a Christmas in July

You may recall this post where I mentioned that I was going to a Christmas in July sale.  I did go to the sale and while it was fun to go and everything looked nice, I came away a bit disappointed.  Not quite sure if they had scaled back on their decorating or if it was the fact that the air conditioning didn't seem to be working, but I came away feeling a bit bah-humbug.  How silly of me to think it could really feel like Christmas when it's pushing 100 degrees outside.  Everybody knows there's really no such thing as   Ho Ho Ho, silly me.

Not long after my shopping trip, I was going about the business of summer and went out to get the mail.  Sitting atop the stack of bills and junk mail was a package with my name on it.  How exciting and when I looked at the adorable gift tag, despite my previous bah-humbug attitude, I couldn't help but think it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

These sweet little feet greeted me when I opened the package.  I instantly felt my Scrooge-like attitude begin to soften.

One glance into those baby blue eyes and I fell in love.  This darling little snowman was made by Elizabeth at Creative Breathing.  Her blog is a delightful place to visit.  If you have never been, please do yourself a favor and stop by.  You can't help but feel happy after experiencing Elizabeth's creativity.  On a recent visit she provided the pattern and instructions for making this sweet snowman.  I studied them for awhile and wondered if there was any way I might consider giving it a try.  Deciding that if I did it would never look anywhere near as cute as Elizabeth's, I left a comment instead telling her how adorable I thought they were.  Shortly after that I received an e-mail from Elizabeth telling me that she would like to send one of her snowmen to me if I would provide my address.  I must say I don't think I've ever typed my address that fast in my life :-).
Oh my goodness, there really is a Santa.

Looks like there really is such a thing as Christmas in July after all.


Thank you Elizabeth.  Your dear little snowman will be a well-loved member of my Christmas collection.  Your kindness will be remembered every time I look at his sweet little face.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Dog Days of Summer

Have these hot summer days got you feeling a little droopy?  Are you lacking energy and moving around at a snail's pace?  If so, I'd like to invite you to join me for a dip.  I've got my new life jacket on and I'm all ready.  So, come on ~ let's go.

Ah, yes ... there's nothing quite as refreshing as a bit of dog paddling on a hot summer's day.  It's fun to do by yourself, but even more fun with a friend.

Recently I went swimming with one of my best friends.

He's a pretty good swimmer, but I can swim circles around him.  ;-)

If you come swimming with me, I promise not to do that.  But, we could have a race.  I'm pretty fast.

When we're done swimming my mom will make us some iced tea.

Or if you don't like that, she also knows how to make lemonade.

Personally, I think I'll just have a few slurps of water and then be ready for a little siesta.

Thanks for joining me today.  I had fun and hope you did too.  I also hope you're feeling cooler.  If you want to take a siesta now, go ahead.  It will be our little secret.


Saturday, July 24, 2010

Beating the Heat and Announcing the Winner

Good Morning to you!

Looks like it's going to be another hot day in North Carolina.  The weather forecast is for the temperature to hit 98 and the humidity ... oh my, I'm not sure it's possible to chart how high the humidity is right now. 
In an effort to beat the heat, I'm heading to one of my favorite stores for a little ...

Christmas in July

This is the weekend that this particular store decorates from head to toe for Christmas.  They have beautiful displays and inspiration can be found in every nook and cranny.  There is one whole room dedicated to Dept. 56 villages and another room with food related items (cookbooks, kitchen items, dip mixes, etc.).  Samples are available of many of the dips, desserts and drink mixes.
It's a great time to pick up Christmas gifts and gather ideas for Christmas decorating.  So, while I'm glad it's not really time to have the Christmas decorating done in my own home, I always enjoy being inspired by how the pros do it.  Not to mention, I'm hoping that all of those snowman will make me feel cooler.

Before I go, I want to announce the winner of the the CSN Stores giveaway. 

The winner is #35 ~ Stacey at Poofing the Pillows
Congratulations Stacey.  I will be sending you an e-mail.
Thank you to all who entered and thanks again to the CSN Stores for making this giveaway possible.

Hope you are all finding ways to stay cool.
Wishing you a wonderful weekend.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Memories From The Recipe Box

Even though I love the ease of looking for recipes on the internet, it can't quite compare to going to my recipe box and pulling out a handwritten recipe.  So many memories come to mind as I look through the recipe cards.  A bit of family history can be found within that little box.  When I took out this recipe for my Mom's Peach Pie, I was instantly taken back to my Aunt June's kitchen.  Aunt June was not really my aunt, but she was mom's good friend so we were allowed to call her "Aunt" June.  She was a big part of my life when I was a child in the 60s.  She was one of the few neighbors who had a built in pool in her backyard and she graciously invited the neighborhood moms and kids to come and swim almost every day of the summer.  One day she served this peach pie and my mom fell in love with it.  While we kids were swimming, the moms were copying the peach pie recipe.

As a kid, I wasn't a huge fan of pie.  But, I did like this one.  My mom made it often.  What makes it different from a lot of peach pies is that you don't bake the filling.  It has such a fresh peach taste.

Over the weekend we bought a big bag of local peaches.  It seemed a good time to bring out this recipe.  As I rolled out the crust and peeled the peaches, I was taken right back to that summer day in the 60s.  I thought of all the times we enjoyed this pie and even the day my mom and I sat at her kitchen table enjoying a cup of coffee as she copied the recipe for me.

I have recipes from magazines, books and the internet.  I have prepared and enjoyed many of them.  But, somehow those taken from the recipe box seem to taste just a bit better.

A little reminder:
If you haven't entered my giveaway and would like to, please leave a comment on the previous post.  One lucky person will win a $60 gift card to be used at any of the CSN Stores websites.  I will be announcing the winner on July 24th.

Friday, July 16, 2010

A Flower Story & A Giveaway

It all began with a bouquet of flowers.
The limelight hydrangeas are blooming and that meant an early morning trip outside with pruners in hand.  I look forward to seeing them all year, so when they come a callin' I welcome them with open arms.

 To let them know that they are loved and appreciated, I  placed them front and center on the kitchen island.  In anticipation of their arrival I went to work scrubbing the counters and clearing the clutter.  Some of the knick knacks went up to the attic.

But, a few were left out in strategic spots.
This happy little mug was something I couldn't pass up at the thrift shop this week. 

Paired with a few other old treasures, it makes me smile :).

It not only began with a bouquet of flowers...
it ended with one too.
The black-eyed susans are also blooming now. 
They remind me of an "out in the country" flower.

They asked me if they could come in with the limelights.  Said they'd like to hang out on the kitchen table with a few other country things.  Who am I to argue with a flower ;-).

Now, about that giveaway . . .

I was contacted by CSN Stores and asked if I would like to do a giveaway.  Of course I couldn't turn down a generous offer like that, so here are the details.

They will give to one lucky winner a $60 gift card which may be used at any of their websites. The gift card may be used once and does not cover shipping costs. I was doing a little looking around at some of their sites this morning. I visited their dining room  site.  I dream of new furniture in my dining room.  My husband thinks the stuff we have is fine, so for now we will keep it.  But, hey a girl can dream, can't she?  I also  spent a lot of time looking around at which is another one of their sites.  They have over 200 of them!!!  Shouldn't make it too difficult to spend that $60, should it?

If you would like to enter, please leave a comment on this post.  I will announce the winner on July 24th.  Good luck to all who enter and thank you CSN Stores for making this giveaway possible.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

~ A Simple Summer Supper ~

After a couple of wild storms this week, the basil plants had taken a beating.  It seemed a good time to trim them up a bit. 

I just knew those "trimmings" would be perfect for the summer's first batch of pesto.  The kitchen smelled so good while I was working with the basil.  The recipe I like to use can be found here.

For years we have been enjoying this pesto slathered on nice crusty slices of bread.
Tonight I decided to change things up a bit.
After preparing some multigrain penne pasta, I poured the pesto over the top, sliced up a few tomatoes from the garden and . . .

dinner was ready. 

Very fresh, very flavorful, very healthy and very easy.

Just the way summer meal preparation should be ;-).

Friday, July 9, 2010

~ A Happy Surprise ~

Colorful flowers make me happy :-).

When I received this pretty package wrapped in colorful flowers, I was very, very happy!

I guess it's no secret that I have a soft spot for birds.

When I opened the card that accompanied this pretty package, this is what I saw.  A little girl hugging an adorable bluebird.  Oh my goodness, I want to be her. :-)
Inside the card was a sweet note from Carrie at Cottage Cozy.  She said she wanted to surprise me with a gift that she had made for me.  If you have visited Carrie, you will know that she is a very talented craft artist.  She recently moved to a new home and gave a tour.  After seeing her craft room, I knew I was in for an exciting surprise.

In addition to my love of birds, you may have noticed a little blue & yellow love taking place around here :-).  When I tore into gently opened the package, my heart skipped a beat when I saw this little birdie.

And when I spied this little blue mug, I was over the moon.  That swirl of whipped cream on top reminds me of my favorite summer coffee indulgence ~ Starbucks Java Chip Frappuccino.

Flowers embellished with buttons & pearls ~ swoon, swoon...

All add up to a very sweet surprise from a very sweet blog friend.

I am constantly amazed at the vast array of talent out there in blog land.  The extent of my craft supplies could be found inside a shoebox.  In other words, I wasn't at the front of the line when they were passing out the craft genes.  So, to be the recipient of such a beautiful, handmade gift makes me very happy.

I'm off to find the perfect spot to display this treasure.

Hope your weekend is colorful & happy.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Secrets From The Porch

Do you ever sit outside in the early morning hours?
If so, do you get dressed for the day before going outside?
Excuse my nosy questions, but I'm just curious.  You see, I'm one of those people who doesn't mind getting up early, but if I don't have to be somewhere early I don't always like to rush into the getting dressed part.

Instead, I prefer to take my first cup of coffee and head for the front porch in my jammies.

Our house is on a bit of a hill, so when I look across the street I can see rooftops and treetops.  But, the nicest part is that since I'm up high, nobody who happens to be out walking, running or dog walking can see me and therefore, I don't have to worry about being caught in my jammies.

As I'm enjoying the sounds from the fountain and the chorus from the birds . . .

I can check out the activity below and nobody even knows I'm here.

From my secret vantage point I am able to water the flowerpots ...

Observe the new growth on my hostas ...

Hang the flag and then take pictures of the shadows on the wall ...

This morning I even took a picture of this passing hot air balloon.  Peeka Boo ~ I see you.

Once the coffee cup is empty I am ready to take on the day.  I'm glad to be able to ease into the day in this manner and I'm sure my neighbors are glad too.  I imagine that if they saw a middle aged (ugh) pajama clad woman snapping pictures at 7:00 in the morning they might have me committed. :-)