Monday, January 28, 2013

Brightening the Indoor Landscape

 In January I like to find little ways to bring life and color to my surroundings.
As we all know the landscape can be a bit gray and bleak at this time of year.
I find sometimes a few small changes are just the ticket to brightening the indoor landscape.  Take, for instance, this fern sitting next to my bathtub.  For months there had been a nearly dead Peace Lily in it's place.  It seems that through the busy Christmas season I barely noticed how sad and neglected (not to mention dusty) it had become.  While perusing the houseplant department of Lowe's yesterday I decided a replacement was in order.  I must admit that this fern looked so much nicer that it inspired me to give the bathtub and surrounding area a good cleaning. 

The slower pace of January has found me spending more time in the kitchen.  All of those recipes that I tend to clip are being sorted through and many are even being tried out.  Bravo :D.

 Hubby and I went grocery shopping together yesterday.
While he slipped away to look for something in the hardware area, I slipped a bouquet of fresh flowers into the cart.   I figure if I'm going to be spending so much time in the kitchen, it should be bright and cheery too.

 Now, lest you think it's all work around here,
I've also been gathering inspiration for the upcoming gardening season.

 I would love to be seated at this gorgeous table right about now, wouldn't you?
Instead I am content to sit in front of the fire and enjoy this breathtakingly beautiful book. 

A special Christmas gift given to me by someone very special to me, my dear sister.  

For most of us it's too early for outdoor gardening, but it's never too early to plan and dream and even bring a touch of the garden into the house. 


Friday, January 18, 2013

First Snowfall of the Season :)

It looks like my plans for hot cocoa sipping and snowman building won't materialize today.  Our snow event which promised 2-5 inches turned out to be a mere dusting.

But, that's okay by me as we also have this:

  which, after a week of gray skies, fog and rain, is truly a sight for sore eyes.  

I'm off to fill the bird feeders now.

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend.


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Of Christmas Trees and Chia Seeds

Yep, sure enough, that is my Christmas tree shining brightly on this dreary morning.
  Yep, I'm aware of the fact that today is January 16th.
Normally my tree would have been tucked away by now, but there's a good reason for it to still be up this year.  More on that later.
This post has to do with ch-ch-cha-Chia.  Chia seeds, to be exact.
I've been reading about the numerous health benefits contained in this little seed and have finally decided to give them a try.

 Inspired by a blog post I had just read on this very topic, I decided to try her recipe for Chia Oats.  If you're interested you can find it here.

Before bed last night I mashed up one banana and added oats, milk, chia seeds and a dash of vanilla.  After covering the bowl I set it in the fridge until morning.

In the morning I added a spoonful of peanut butter and a drizzle of honey.  I let mine sit on the counter for a while to take the chill off.  When I took the first bite it seemed to be very sweet and that was before I added the honey.  Next time I think I'll use a half of a banana.  Other than that, I found this to be a very tasty and filling recipe.  Plus I like the idea of waking up to a breakfast that is ready and waiting to be eaten.  

If you eat chia seeds I'd be interested in hearing about the ways you use them.  If you haven't tried them and think you'd like to, I encourage you to visit the link listed above where she shares the many health benefits of this tiny seed and many more recipes.  Yes, they are good for many things besides growing "Chia pets" :).  

 Now, as for the reason the tree is still up ...
I received this adorable frame from my son's girlfriend, but in the busyness of the day there were no family pictures taken :/.  Because the frame is dated I want a picture of us as we look now.  The problem is two family members have been out of town for two weeks.  They are due back tonight (hooray) so I'm hoping to get that picture this weekend and then send the tree to the attic.  
In truth, I am going to miss it.  We have had an unusual number of dreary days and the beautiful lights have been a bright and cheery way to combat the gloom.

 Before I sign off I'd like to say thanks for sharing your stories of how your blogs were named.  I thoroughly enjoyed reading all of them.  The story of how I named my own blog isn't all that riveting, but since I promised to share, here goes...

For as long as I can remember I have loved all things home.
 As a child my favorite thing to play was "house", closely followed by "school" or "army nurse" (if I was playing with my brother and his friends).

To me home was a place of comfort and love.  
A cookie jar on the counter filled with cookies freshly baked by mom, the smell of fresh bread greeting me as I walked in the door from school on a Friday afternoon.  Climbing into bed inhaling the scent of sheets dried in the fresh spring air, the anticipation of family arriving to share the holidays, a little garden to gather a bouquet for the table from, the sounds of children playing , neighbors helping neighbors.

When I wasn't playing "house" I could often be found watching tv shows centered around the idea of a warm and happy home.
Secretly, I wanted to be June Cleaver when I grew up. ;-)
Fast forward to being a "grown up" and it seemed as though women everywhere were burning their bras (ha) and rebelling against the role of the lowly "housewife".  So, I began hiding my aspirations for becoming the next June Cleaver.  But, deep inside I knew this was my calling.  

While I consider myself lucky to be able to be home with my kids as they grew up, I always had this feeling that unless I was fulfilling a career I would be perceived as a total boreThat familiar question "what do you do for a living?"  always bugged me when meeting someone for the first time. 

 Fast forward to a point in my life when life was feeling a bit off kilter.  My mom was in the later stages of Alzheimer's disease and a lot of tough decisions were being made.  Nothing felt right in my world at that time.  But, one night as I was searching for inspiration on cozying my house up for the fall season, I stumbled across a blog sharing pictures and thoughts on her love of creating a cozy home.  At the time I didn't even know what a blog was, but I was instantly smitten.  As I visited more and more blogs from her sidebar, I nearly sang the Hallelujah chorus.  Finally a place to share my love of homemaking!!  

When I decided to start my own blog the name Happy@Home popped into my head.  I think in many ways discovering this blog community was like coming home.  It felt comfortable and happy.  
My mom often said that everything happens for a reason.  
It wasn't long after I stepped into the blog world until the illnesses and losses among my family members started happening at an alarming rate.  In my real life I'm not comfortable with talking about my grief very much.  I try not to talk about it a whole lot here either, but at times it has spilled over.  In ways too numerous to count I have received support from you.  I have learned so very much from you too and I know, without a doubt, that discovering the blog world when I did was no accident.  There was indeed a reason.  


Monday, January 7, 2013

Enquiring Minds Want to Know

 It seems as though we are officially in limbo here.
Most, but not all, of the Christmas decor is in the attic,
Sparkly glitter decorating the floor (where is that vacuum),
None of the accessories have been returned to their regular spots.  That is a whole other thing...
figuring out what fills all of those empty spaces once the Christmas decor is stowed.   Egad, it's enough to make my head spin.

I have a better idea.
I'm pulling a Scarlett O'Hara and worrying about it all tomorrow.
For now I'm thinking I'd like to play a little game.
Would you like to play along?  I hope so because I'd LOVE to have your input.

  So often when I'm reading all of your blogs I am amazed at all of the interesting names you have given your blogs.  They are so imaginative, charming, interesting, cute, etc...
I've often wondered about something...
how did you decide what to call your blog?
Did you spend a lot of time thinking about it?
Did you pull it out of a hat :) ?
Would you be willing to share your story of how you came to settle on the name of your blog?
If so, I'd love to hear about it and I, in turn, will share my story if you care to hear it.
I'm really hoping you will share so that I can read your stories while avoiding the limbo-land my house has become.
Who wants to go first???
I'm all ears.


Thursday, January 3, 2013

Take Three

 If you were to look into that secret place where I hide my blog drafts, then you would setake one:  a year in review type post which halfway through hit the editing floor.  Those always seem so interesting when I read them on other blogs, but boring was the word that came to mind as I got about one third of the way through mine.  Perhaps it's because I seldom include "people" photos in my posts.  How many times do my dear readers want to see pictures of my knick knacks, old books, vintage what-nots, etc?  Next ....

Take twoa photo of a vintage greeting card with a New Year's theme.  Hmmm... been there, done that (more than once).  Boring once again.  That one slowly fluttered to the editing room floor too.  I can see I'll be busy sweeping up the pile in there.  That is once I get the rest of the Christmas decor put away.

For better or worse, take three is what you're getting here today.
A review of the year in my garden.
I thought it might hold a little appeal to those of you who are dealing with snow and also to those of us who are gearing up for the next gardening season.

 Since there isn't much to do in the garden in January, I used that time for some indoor gardening in the form of tending to my houseplants.

February brought the first color to the garden in the form of daffodils.  Always a welcome sight.

 In March things really start to take off.
Perennials are coming back to life as the cherry trees and dogwoods put on their glorious spring show.  

 April brought the first lettuce and radish harvest from my wee vegetable garden.  More pink in the form of knock-out roses, azaleas and dianthus or "pinks", as my mom used to call them.
The first chickadee family of 2012 was born right here in the fluffy nest that their parents so lovingly created for them.  

 Pink seemed to give way to white with a touch of blue in May.
Peonies, Easter lilies, magnolias and the beginning of the hydrangeas.  Springtime in the south is a beautiful thing ... not only to the eyes, but the nose as well.  The sweet fragrances permeate the air (along with the pollen).

 When we weren't working in the garden in June, we enjoyed watching the birds from the comforts of a new glider perfectly situated for ideal bird and butterfly watching.  The new retractable awning proved to be a good move for shading this very sunny patio.  A little wren thought so too and promptly built her nest where the awning met the brick wall.

 July found me escaping the heat with a bit of indoor crafting.
An old pallet was turned into an adaptation of the American flag, thrift shop glassware was turned into a garden sculpture and the old blue bike was decked out for the Fourth of July.

 In August the butterflies are frequent visitors to the butterfly bushes and perennial garden.  They add such beauty and graceful notes to the garden.

 For some reason I took very few pictures in the September garden.
This was just to remind me of a combination of annuals that worked well for me near a little water fountain.  The pink flowers are Penta.  I started planting them a few years ago and have found them to be great performers and the butterflies love them.

 In October the Morning Glories were in their glory and the front porch received a face lift with the help of some pumpkins and a new potted arrangement of baby mums, ornamental kale and some interesting pumpkins from the farmer's market.

 While doing the fall clean-up in November, I found a lot of hidden treasures waiting to be discovered.  Their colors looked particularly vibrant against the clear blue sky and the beauty of the changing leaves is always a welcome sight at the end of the gardening season.

 December brought indoor gardening in the form of Christmas Cactus, Amaryllis, Tulips Hydrangeas and one very special surprise in the outdoor garden... one very pretty white bloom on a clump of confused narcissus.  I think of it as my White Christmas snowflake here in the sunny south.

And that, my friends, is a wrap!
I'm looking forward to this fresh new year and wish you all Happiness & Good Health in 2013.

With Love,