Friday, April 30, 2010

Tree Planting....Happy Arbor Day!!

It is that time of year! We plant trees with the Boy Scouts in April. This was one heavy load. There is a secret to successful tree on.....

Wow! I would love to have one of these augers to help me along in my yard. Go baby, go!
It is like magic!
What a perfect hole....looks somewhat like Gopher's hole from Winnie the Pooh-ha!
And, the planting begins.
Finishing touches.
Looking really good. Several more to go!
Here is the secret to planting and caring for evergreen trees. Plant evergreen's only in the months of the year that include an "R" in that months name. There you have it! So, take time to plant a tree today. We are busy with 2 peach trees, 2 apple trees and I need to throw a marker in the ground where I planted an evergreen last year. It was a tiny seedling and has done well, but, I fear my husband will forget and mow it down with his huge tractor. There was an incident last year...not once, but twice with my Grandmother's rose. Need I say more? HA!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Upcycle is in

This bracelets at LilBlueBoo are so cute! Made out of recycled tee-shirt or other knit fabric they are easy to make and perfect for summer! (Find her tutorial at the link)

I stopped by Walmart to get flour and found $3 summer tee-shirts I'm trying to "up-cycle" (my new word) but my camera is hiding so as soon as it decides to come out, I'll take pictures and post my progress!

What are you doing today?
If I had a million dollars..


I would still like pretty things! These pictures and links at

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Beef Taco Skillet

This is soooooo good and soooooo easy!
This is a very quick fix dinner. Start with a pound of browned hamburger. Now, pay attention (ha) because this goes fast and you are nearly done.
Add to the hamburger in your skillet, one can of tomato soup (not diluted), 1/2 cup of Pace Chunky Salsa, 1/2 cup water and 6 small flour tortilla's cut into 1 inch squares. There you go! Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. DONE!!!! I added a little shredded cheese to top things off. It is delicious and filling. My husband and son both ate this for dinner and took it in their lunches the next day to school and work. It's a winner.
( Foods Magazine)
p.s. This ones for you, Genevieve. Happy cooking and happy new baby!!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Spring Top

I have been doing a little sewing for myself and have quite enjoyed creating something to wear...actually, something I knew I would wear. I found this lovely bright and fun fabric at JoAnne's. And, a very smart and basic top pattern by New Look 6705. New Look patterns cost $3.99 a piece, which is a steal compared to the everyday price of other patterns...which run in the neighborhood of $12-15 smack-a-roo's! So.......
I am really happy with how this spring top turned out. It is so comfortable. You can't really see it in these pictures, but, the pink fabric has tiny little polk-a-dots. And, I could not help but embellish the yoke with fabric flowers (Moda Bake Shop tutorial)., here is a side view...
I even like the back with the simple tie.

Here is a closer view of the front pleats on the top. They are cute and quick and easy.

And, I just dearly love fabric flowers. I just can't seem to get enough of them. They just seem to make this top "pop"! A very wise woman once told me (my mom) that when you learn how to sew a new pattern, do it again. The second time round you will be surprised at how quickly it comes together and how much you have learned from sewing the pattern one time through. Tis true! I am going to make this top again in blues or lavendars...or both. Ha!

P.S. Hop on over to MadeByRae to check out her Spring Top Week entries. There are so many wonderful Spring Tops to look at. I am putting this new top in the photo pool of Spring Tops, as well. Happy sewing! xo Sydney

Friday, April 23, 2010

Cookie of the Week- Pizookies!

Today's Cookie of the Week is brought to you by The Little Red House!

Every Friday...

she posts...

Friday Feet!

I enjoy seeing her beautiful pictures and the creatively healthy recipes she posts. Here is her not-so-healthy but decidedly DELICIOUS recipe for Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Pizookies!

I love browned butter.

Please tell me you've tried it??

I really think it might be one of my favorite flavors....


I love it so much, I'm always trying to sneak it into recipes....and I thought,

"why not a cookie?"

But then I remembered that we had vanilla bean ice cream, so I thought,

"why not a pizookie?"

Do you like hearing these conversations I have in my head?

enough chit chat.

let's get on with the recipe, shall we?

makes 6-8 pizookies

1 1/2c flour
1/4 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
3/4 c brown sugar
1 stick butter, browned
1 egg
1 t vanilla (I used mexican vanilla in these...yum!)
3/4 c semi-sweet chocolate chips
chopped pecans

Mix flour, soda and salt. Set aside

To brown butter:
Heat pan on medium heat.
Cut butter in to pieces and melt in pan.
Stir continuously. Butter will foam up.
After foam subsides, small brown flecks will start to appear in bottom of pan.
Continue stirring, until butter has reached a nice brown color, and nutty aroma.
When you want to lick the spoon, you know it's ready.
Remove from heat--don't burn it!!

Add browned butter and sugar to stand mixer. Mix. (you will want to eat this up!)
Mix in egg and vanilla.
Slowly mix in flour mixture.
Mix in chocolate chips.

Scoop dough into individual ramekins. Sprinkle some pecans on top (they get all toasty in the oven!)

Bake at 350° for 8-10 minutes....remember you want the edges set, and the center nice and gooey!

Top with your favorite vanilla ice cream.....and enjoy!

::Jenna is currently offline right now making pizookies!::

Thursday, April 22, 2010


Happy 40th Earth Day!

I was mowing the lawn yesterday and came across this little guy. He was so tiny and looked somewhat like a piece of bark from a tree. Great camouflauge! I had to stop and look for awhile. I do love nature and the beauty of the earth. In fact, I would rather be outside than inside. Thanks to parents who love and appreciate the great out-of-doors, growing-up I received a healthy and happy "earth-friendly" education. The beauty of the earth brings me peace and calm in a very fast paced, crazy world. So, today, I honor Mother Earth and all her beauty, grace and miracles.

Here is a little "earth friendly" quiz for you all....(Today Show-4-21-10)

1) Do you save more water by washing dishes by hand or by washing dishes in the dishwasher?
2) Recycling a single 12 ounce aluminum soda can, could provide enough energy to power a standard laptop for how many yours? 20 minutes, 1 hour, 4 hours, more than 5 hours.
3) What percentage of household energy use is caused by appliances in stand-by mode? 5%, 8%, 10%, 15%
4) True or false. Every 20 minutes a distinct species of animal or plant becomes extinct.

Answers....1) a dishwasher uses about 3 gallons of water per load...less than doing a load of dishes by hand.
2) more than 5 hours.
3) 10%. This is called Vampire-load. We have so many gadgets plugged in and using energy even when our gadgets are off. You can save 10% on your energy bill each year, by using a power strip and turning off the power strip when you leave your house, go to bed, etc.
4) True
What will you do today to celebrate Earth Day?
Me, I am going to prepare the ground for our root vegetables, continue to weed and prep some very sad/ugly areas of the yard, and stay steady with my own personal challenge of using only fabric or reuseable bags for shopping or lugging things around (lunch, books, projects, etc). I think I will start all of this after I finish my cup of cocoa. It is a beautiful, but, cold Michigan morning. Brrrr!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Tales of a Birthday II

The few days leading up to my birthday, I was feeling frumpy and rotund. Decidedly unattractive and easy prey to street vendors. So it wasn't surprising to wake up on my birthday feeling less than my normal self.

This pot belly can no longer be mistaken for a few too many desserts. I'm at the point where I wear the same pair of pants 3 days in a row because suddenly it's the only pair that fits. When turning over becomes akin to a beached whale trying to flail back into the water and unsolicited advice and gifts are becoming the norm. Everyone's eyes flicker from my face to my stomach and every compliment includes the words "pregnant" as in "what a cute pregnant woman you are" or "You're such a thrifty pregnant woman" and I wonder why I am no longer simply "cute" or "thrifty". Does a round figure push me past the perimeters of "attractive" and into the small category that needs extra definition to be true? Like "You're smart for a college drop-out".

I've been more then happy this pregnancy and so this shift in emotions was startling. As the day of my birthday dawned, I heaved into said only pair of pants and the longest tee-shirt I could find, resolute in spending the day proactively reviving some of my former self-esteem. Hesitant about going to a restaurant by myself, I braved the unfounded ridicule and enjoyed a burger at Mimi's Cafe. The hostess and server both slipped into a gentle tone when asking if I'd just follow him to my seat and is my meal satisfactory
? As they were both men, I felt that instead of treating me as an oddity at the end of a stick, they were honoring the stage of life I was in by adjusting their manners as they did. I've never met more soft spoken men then I have these last few weeks. Even my nail technician bent over to remove my foam slippers and put my normal sandals on for me so I wouldn't have to do it myself. Sometime soon I'll tell you about the treatment I received flying back from MI. Thankfully, it's all been kindness.

My next step was "needs physical improvement". Normally I would have found a new outfit to celebrate the day but buying a tent-like top from Motherhood Maternity seemed contradictory to my goal of reviving attractiveness. Nails it was. Not someone who keeps a running appointment at the nail salon, I was surprised at how a manicure/pedicure helped me feel so much more put together and polished. Even Aaron commented on how ladylike I looked. (Goal achieved! Wasn't it to get a few more non pregnant compliments?!)

Gifts, emails and cards from friends warmed my spirits with reminders of how important I was. And Aaron knows how much I love flowers AND Joanns! A good dinner at Benihannas was only slightly off-roaded when a woman refused to take our group pictures because she was "too old". Wha? To her credit, she brought back her husband to have him take it but by that time our group had just taken pictures of each other.

Pregnancy reared her protruding belly again when I heard Jason (Jason and AnnMarie, our couple friend and whose birthday it also was) say that his gift from us was "the most awful present I've ever received." We said our goodbyes but as Aaron was out buying me a birthday cake box and frosting Jason's uncharacteristic comment simmered inside me. I asked Aaron if he thought Jason really meant it. "No," Aaron said. "He said it was 'the most thoughtful' present he'd ever received." Suddenly the ensuing conversation we'd had with them was much more clear and my faith in Jason's good naturedness was restored. Unfortunately, as the simmering sadness was vaporizing through relief, a tragic, truly awful sight met my eyes and combusted into uncontrollable tears.

Aaron's ice cream was melting into his cake.

I have only broken down twice this pregnancy, once because my burger wasn't cooked all the way through and it was too late to re-heat it (ha!) and now.

So while I felt successful in my solo journey of reviving some of the old me, I'm aware that pregnancy still has a firm hold on my emotions. Luckily, Aaron understood and wrapped his arms around me while we ate the "ruined" birthday cake and I cried through an entire episode of Gilmore Girls, feeling much better afterwards :)

Tales of a Birthday

Welcome 24. May you be just as good as year 23..

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

It's Your Birthday!!!!!!


Your cake is on it's way....Lemon Sour Cream! Yum!


Monday, April 19, 2010

Doing This...Getting Rid of That!

Yipes and ugh! Here's my fix/repair project for this week.

My heart broke (a little), when I saw this on my front porch. This is one of my three matching Limoge pots that I bought back in 1999, when we lived in France. I have been so careful with them. So, one fine sunny day, I put my potted minature rose out on our sunny front porch know the rest. I went out around dusk to bring my plant inside and all my potted plants were turned over and de-potted. Did not take me long to figure out who was responsible. The guilty party had left dirty paw marks on the porch and was near by. What to do????

Yes, the picture is blurry. I think that is because I was a bit cautious/nervous being this close to a WILD animal. After bringing my Limoge into the house and whimpering about it...a little, I headed back out to clean up the dirt on the porch and Hello! Said raccoon was eating our cat food. All I did was open the front door...the raccoon looked up momentarily, and then went back to eating our cat food-ha! Can you believe this raccoon never budged as I took this picture? Now, let me say loud and clear....Raccoons are not our friends! They may seem friendly and darn cute when their little ones are with them, but, they are a wild animal. No touching, no befriending, and no more cat food on the porch for said raccoon. The end. Ha!

So, what are you doing this week?

Friday, April 16, 2010

Let's Dish!!!!

This is one of my better finds. Aren't they so pretty?'s the dish on the dishes. I'm browsing in a store. These little beauties catch my eye. I take a closer look. Why yes! They are on sale....clearance to be exact. They were $59.00. Now, going for the new sale price of $19.99. Now you're speaking my kind of language-ha! I hover over the box of dishes...looking to the right...and then to the if someone might slip in and snag them away forever!! Not a chance. I head right to the check-out and as the clerk scan's my purchase, the dishes are now $17.99. Oh yes!

Got home, unpacked them, and ran them through the dishwasher.

So, what is a gal to do when everyone is out for the evening? Celebrate by using the new dishes. How fun. A special little dinner for one. A lovely treat.

Pizza for one and a heaping bowl of fresh strawberries. Yum-yum and yum!

And, the quickest tutorial ever on how to make this divine pizza for one. You can do this! It is by far, one of my favorite pizza's...turns out perfect every time...great for celebrating anything and everything. Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees. Open a cute little box of Freschetta "Singles" Brick Oven roasted portabella mushroom-spinach pizza. 14-16 minutes later, Voila.

Oh happy day!

Cookie of the Week- Pecan Sandies

Whew! It's Friday again! We made it to the weekend! This week has been incredibly wonderful with so many good things: being at home again, the company and generosity of good friends, and cleaning out my closet, finally! So this week's cookie is an all-around favorite, Pecan Sandies! Recipe courtesy of Martha Stewart (you've done it again, Martha) and one I am dying to try out! There is nothing like a few Sandies and a tall glass of cold milk!

image courtesy of Martha

Makes 18

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
  • 1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with racks in upper and lower thirds. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy; beat in vanilla and salt. With mixer on low, gradually add flour, beating just until combined. Fold in pecans.
  2. Roll dough into 1 1/2-inch balls, and place on two baking sheets, 2 inches apart. With the dampened bottom of a glass, lightly flatten each ball.
  3. Bake until cookies are golden brown, 15 to 17 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Transfer to wire racks, and let cool. (To store, keep in an airtight container, up to 5 days.)

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

One Fine Day!!!

It was a beautiful spring day...a perfect day for a Baby Shower.

Having a good time unloading for the shower. Good help was not hard to find.

Seeing family and friends...does not get better than this!

What in the world? Ok, a baby shower game....diapers and candy bars. It was fun and a success. Here we have the melting of the candy bar and the smallest diaper in the world. Ha!

OK...well, my son is not being truthful...ha! What a face. We had six tiny diapers filled with 6 different candy bars. So cool. Each person had to "sniff" and determine which candy bar was in that particular diaper.
Yummy menu card, designed and made by the dearest friend ever! She also made a dessert table card, giving credit where credit was due to a gal who did the baking of the dessert.
Here I am in my extra large kitchen! Just kidding. Making yogurt/fruit parfait in the kitchen in our church building.

My good husband keeping an eye on the hash browns and wearing his man apron.

Hello parfaits. Wish I had one of these right now. They were so good, fresh and were divine with homemade granola on top.

Two sweet gals who served Brunch to all of the Baby Shower guests. They were such good helpers. And, loved giving them their aprons.

Tables were "spring-time" fresh!!!

Our honored guest who we enjoyed celebrating with so much.

Room full of wonderful people.

The gift table was so bright and beautiful. It was down right festive.

Jenna received such marvelous and thoughtful gifts. So fun to see all the sweet baby gifts. Nothing like a room full of women, oohing and ahhing over each gift opened.

These orange cheesecakes with chocolate cookie crusts were so divine. It is hard to express how delicious they were. One taste is all it took!!!

Whew! What a celebration! What a happy and delightful time for one and all. We had a blast. Time to rest after so much fun and happiness.

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