Friday, November 29, 2013

The Perfect Apple Pie

  When the recipe is titled The Perfect Apple Pie, it seems like there's a pretty good chance it is going to taste good.

 Thinly sliced Granny Smith apples paired with sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.  The perfect combination of sweet and tart.

 My secret weapon for adding interest to the top crust.
I found this at TJ Maxx a few years ago.  It's like a giant cookie cutter.  Position it over crust, press and gently pull away.

 a pretty and tasty pie for the fall season.
Judging by the comments of those who ate it, it lives up to it's name.
If you're looking for a perfect apple pie recipe, this just might be the one.  The recipe can be found here

I made this same pie last Thanksgiving too.
Just to shake things up a bit I used the other side of the giant cookie cutter featuring apple shaped cutouts.  This was the result of that pie:

After all of the hours spent preparing for the Thanksgiving meal, it never ceases to amaze me how quickly it is devoured and we are left with a gargantuan pile of dirty dishes and...
happy memories of time spent with our loved ones.
Of course all those leftovers will be very welcome as we set-up Chrsitmas Central here today.

I hope you all enjoyed a happy and memorable Thanksgiving and the upcoming weekend will be a good one.  In the midst of this busy time of year, don't forget to schedule a few moments for rest and relaxation.


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thanksgiving Wishes

It's heartwarming to know that in homes all across the country preparations are being made to come together and give thanks for our many blessings.
Since we won't be hosting this year I've decided to relax this evening.  In the morning I look forward to some quiet time in the kitchen baking the apple pie and butternut squash dish I will be bringing.  It will be a good time to reflect on the many things I have to be thankful for.

Tonight I'd like to wish all of my American friends a very
Happy Thanksgiving
 and to all who take the time to visit and share kind words with me I am thankful to have come to know you through the blogging world.

Blessings and Love from my home to yours,

Monday, November 25, 2013

Beauty in the Small Things and Stitching Progress

I was greeted by a flash of pink on my kitchen counter Saturday morning.  It seems hubby couldn't resist snipping this last bunch of Knock Out roses when he was out earlier to get the newspaper.

I was impressed that he knew where to find a vase and also impressed by the way the sunlight was shining right on the rose at the moment I walked in the room.  It was in the spotlight and provided a happy start to my day.  Beauty in the small things, I guess. 

Speaking of small things...
This tiny little pot of succulents was a wedding favor from the wedding I went to in Seattle.

 I always thought I didn't like succulents.
That was before these little cuties took up residence on my kitchen counter.

Now they are keeping me company as I stand at the kitchen sink.
Did you know that if you empty your cosmetic bag and fill it with tissues and tiny succulents and then position it into the middle of your suitcase they will survive a flight from Seattle to Dallas and then another flight from Dallas to Charlotte?  It's true and when I unpacked them not a single speck of dirt had spilled.  
I know, amazing things you read on this blog.
And to further the amazement, I bring you this weeks progress (two days late):

The left side has been finished and the presents are starting to appear under the tree.

I've also started adding the pesky gold metallic thread to the border.

As I've been plodding along on my cross stitch, I've been inspired by the Christmas decorating and creating going on all over blogland.  On one hand I am already feeling behind.  I suspect the day after Thanksgiving I'll be switching gears and finding great joy in decking the halls.  Until then I am savoring the moments leading up to Thanksgiving.   

Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Autumn Leaves and a Healthier Pumpkin Bread

 We're still enjoying the fall colors here.

Although I know that one big blustery storm is all it would take to bring down the rest of the leaves.

So, today I took advantage of our unseasonably warm day and headed out for a long, long walk.  
At the end of my walk I pointed the camera up into this maple tree and started clicking.
Before they are all gone I wanted to savor the beauty of the autumn leaves.  I just love when they are showing a bit of yellow, green and orange all on the same leaf.  So pretty. 

 Once home I decided to savor the autumn season in another way.
Awhile ago I had come across a healthier pumpkin bread recipe in a Good Housekeeping magazine.  Today was the day to try it out.
The recipe promised that nobody would ever know it had been tinkered with.
The moist texture and delicious flavor made us believe that promise.
If you'd like to try it the recipe can be found here.
It went together quickly and smelled delightful as it baked.
The only change I made was to toss in some chopped pecans.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Stitching Progress

Just popping in for a minute today as I'm busy being entertained by my favorite little man.  He is giving new meaning to that age old expression putting your foot in your mouth.
Oh how I'd love to be that flexible :  D

 The main reason I'm doing a post today is to show my cross stitch progress since last week.  I got the red stitching finished up the left side and had full intentions to have the entire left side finished.  Didn't happen :(.

I also decided to give the angel her halo.
Took a lot longer than it looks like it should have.
That gold metallic floss is a real challenge to thread through the needle with these old eyes.  This piece has a lot of backstitching to be done in gold metallic.  Oy!  We may be looking at 2016 before this is done.  Ho Ho!!

Jaxson has just told me this is a boring post.
If you don't believe me you can hear for yourself:


 I have to admit he's right...
this is a boring post, but I'm trying to hold myself accountable on the cross stitch front.  Not exactly riveting content for the rest of you.

Perhaps a pair of big blue eyes are what's needed to liven things up around here today

What's happening in your neck of the woods on this November Saturday?  


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Wedding Bells Did Ring

Way back here I was assembling an outfit to wear to an upcoming wedding.  You may recall our conversation about bra fittings??
Well, the wedding has come and gone and I'm just now getting around to doing a post. Yes it's true what they say about time flying.

I must say that the whole ferry experience was new to me.
My husband thought it was no big deal, but I found it fascinating to see how many cars could fit on this one big boat and even more fascinating to see how all day long these ferries filled up and traveled back and forth from the mainland to the islands.
I know... it doesn't take much for some people.
Moving on....
this was the best way to travel from Seattle to:

Which is where the wedding was to be held.
My nephew and his bride selected a most beautiful venue for their special day.  Unfortunately  I don't have a photo of the entrance to The Farm Kitchen .  If you are interested in knowing more about it, simply click the link.

 The weather for their outdoor ceremony could not have been more perfect.
The setting was so peaceful.
All around us were trees filled with ripening apples and plums.
We all had to laugh when a few plums decided to drop during the bride's mothers reading.  Luckily they didn't land on her head :).

The new Mr. & Mrs.
The bride's dress was gorgeous and fit in so well with the vintage flair of the wedding.

After the ceremony it was a short walk to the reception.
Under this billowy white canopy, the bride and her sisters had put their own special touches to the tables.  Much to my delight there were unique vintage touches all around.

At the bar.

On the tables.
The bride's sister began collecting vintage tablecloths and accessories as soon as she was told about the upcoming wedding.
The flowers were picked from the surrounding flower gardens.
I think it all came together so nicely.

My nephew and his mom both have large record collections.
I thought the use of record albums as chargers was a cute idea.

Love this idea instead of the boring guest book.

The desserts at this wedding were all homemade and out of this world.
Yum. Yum. Yum.

One of several cakes.

There was another table set up with trays of cookies.
I never even saw those until after the wedding when I was looking at the photographer's photos.  Probably a good thing I didn't know at the time ; -)

Wishing a very special nephew and his beautiful bride a long and happy marriage.

Because some of you asked for a photo of the dress I selected to wear that day, I had intended to have my son take one in the beautiful flower gardens of The Farm Kitchen.
However, we were so caught up in enjoying every happy detail of the wedding that I nearly forgot.

Better late than never, as they say.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Come in From The Cold

 Not long after moving to North Carolina, I learned (through an article in Southern Living) the secret to getting your holiday cactus to re-bloom every year.  They recommended moving it outside for the summer into a mostly shaded spot.  It should stay there until just before the first frost when it will then be brought into the house and given a home in a cooler room out of direct sunlight.
I brought mine into the garage for a few days to acclimate to the slightly warmer temperature before bringing it into the warm house.  I also sprayed it good with an insecticidal soap.
When I brought it in it was covered with tiny buds.
The above photo was after it had been in the house for a week or so.  You can see the blooms are about ready to open.

 I placed it in my living room which is always on the cool side and gets very little sunlight.
It's been a busy week and I haven't been in the living room much.
Until last night that is.
I sat down to read and looked across the room to see this:

As you can see it doesn't take long for the buds to turn into blossoms once it is in the house.
So pretty and I like the way it is brightening up the corner in this dark room.
Speaking of dark rooms, I broke the cardinal rule of blogging and used the flash in this photo.  It was that or a very dull and drab photo.  Sometimes ya gotta do what ya gotta do :-).

While I was taking photos I couldn't help but notice how pretty the inside of this tea cup is and it coordinates well with the cactus.

I brought one more plant into the house for the winter.
It's a Meyer Lemon Tree.
I bought this one from QVC last spring.  I had been wanting one and happened to be watching one of their gardening shows when they explained everything I needed to know about growing it.
It spent the spring and summer on the patio and doubled in size.
It came with a nice booklet of growing instructions which I am keeping in a handy spot.
It will now spend the winter in the sunniest window in the house.
It is normal for it to shed many of it's leaves, which it has just started to do.  Once it goes back outside next spring the new leaves are supposed to pop out quickly.  I'll let you know how it goes.
Have you grown a Meyer Lemon Tree before?  Any words of advice?  I hear the flowers are supposed to smell wonderful.  I'm looking forward to that.

 Now that it is the time of year to spend more time indoors, I am planning to renew my efforts to work on a long neglected project.
We won't even discuss when this Christmas cross stitch project was started.  I can't really figure out why I don't just stick with it until it's done.  I think I'll just blame it on my eyesight.  It's a lot harder to see those tiny holes than it was when I used to love to cross stitch.
Anyhoo, I saw something on HappyOne's blog that has inspired me to get to it.  She will be posting a picture of her weekly progress on one of her cross stitch projects every Saturday.  You can read about it here .
If you read her blog you already know that she whips out afghans and dishcloths and all sorts of beautiful things at record speed.  She will no doubt have her large cross stitch piece done long before mine.  However, I think doing a weekly update on progress could be just the thing to hold me more accountable to finishing this project in time for Christmas.  It might not be til Christmas of 2014 or even 2015, but sooner or later it shall get done.  
Once completed it should look something like this:

Kind of hard to see, but the angel's skirt is a Christmas tree.
The sentiment is  Enter Friend and Welcome Be Share Warmth and Joy Beneath our Tree.

 Wish me luck (I have a feeling I'm going to need it ;-).