Monday, October 3, 2016

Our Fall Porch at the Cottage

Hello, friends!  

I hope your Monday went well.  Mine was busy, busy, busy at the office.  However, I felt blessed with an extra measure of energy today.  It's almost as if this time of year carries its own special magic for me, spurring me to get things done and kicking off a fresh round of nesting! 

And now, I am eager to share our Fall front porch with you!  

My greatest desire is to keep things SIMPLE this year.  

It has been my recent goal to simplify in many areas of my life.  This has spilled over into seasonal decorating, as well.  With our new paint color, everything looks so different - more vibrant and intense.  The details stand out starkly now, so a little goes a long way.  The purple mums, though still tightly budded at the store, looked full and healthy; so, they made the trip home with me.  The pumpkins are arriving in different colors and sizes, one or two each time we visit the supermarket.  My asparagus ferns are stunning this year, having done so well in the super-sized pots I found at Big Lots this Spring.  We will enjoy them through the first freeze and they provide beautiful greenery and texture as a backdrop for the more autumnal colors!  

~ My Camera ~ 
When I was home for the lunch hour, I popped the battery for my Canon camera onto the charger so I could play with it a bit this evening.  It's not a terribly fancy camera and I am still learning to use it.  (My husband surprised me with it a couple of years ago - and I mean it was a wonderful surprise, totally unexpected!  He took all the pocket change he had saved for the last few years over to the bank and had it counted - coming up with enough to purchase this camera out at Sam's - so generous!)  The model is a PowerShot SX510 HS, and I can transfer images directly from the camera to my tablet via our wifi network!  Imagine that, no pulling the SD card or searching for the USB cable!!!  I am still learning the settings, but I took all these images using the auto setting. 

Something NEW - If you hover over any of the post photos in the blog now, you will notice that I have added the ability to "pin" directly from this page to Pinterest.  
So, by all means, please PIN AWAY!!!

Now, that I have gotten my camera back out, I can't wait for some great lighting so I can get photos of some of our interior Fall decor!  

Now, there are a couple of things you can do for me.  First, I would love to know that you've stopped by - so, leave a comment for me and say "Hello"!  Then follow along with me on social media, by clicking on the following links ~ 

It's much simpler for me to find moments throughout the day to post on those platforms and you will see me there much more often.  So, I hope you will pop over and take a peek. 

Back soon for another visit on the porch! 


Sunday, October 2, 2016

Winding Down the Weekend....

Sunday evening....again.  I find myself reflecting on the weekend, trying to figure out where those precious two days went.....

Yesterday was our "lazy day".  Well, not so lazy, actually.  We traveled the 20 miles over to Merkel to watch our granddaughter cheer for a junior pee wee football team.  It was deliciously cool earlier in the morning, but by the time we got settled on the metal bleachers under the midday sun, it had warmed considerably!  There were moments when it felt like we were roasting alive as we sat and watched the game and visited with Bonnie.  We sipped our Big Gulps and munched on Fritos from the snack bar - and survived the heat.  By the time we stopped at a small diner and split a hamburger and an order of fried pickles after the game, we were wiped out.  Naps in front of the television, listening to the Ryder Cup were definitely in order and well deserved!

This morning, we grabbed our list and headed out to do our weekly grocery shopping.  This is always a "date" for us - and we try to make it fun.  We browsed the pallets of assorted pumpkins out front of HEB before heading inside.  We picked up another couple to add to the collection growing on the front porch.  

After giving the house a cursory cleaning, I drug out some more seasonal decor to layer in.  The last couple of years, I have picked up some cute reproduction vintage Halloween items and it was fun to shift things around in search of the perfect arrangement while the husband continued watching the Ryder Cup.  

I had planned to take a slew of photos on my iPhone, only to get sidetracked by the issue that my phone's storage is just about full.  Deciding how to handle that seem to eat up an inordinate amount of my time this evening.  In short, I found that I couldn't power up my laptop and download my phone photos because the power supply seems to be fried.  (Considering that I haven't turned it on or used it in several months, I guess this was something that was just waiting to be discovered, at some point....) Thankfully, I have my trustworthy little Surface Pro tablet to keep me connected.  I just don't want to try to load it up with the tons of photos that need to come off the phone.  It is a dilemma, to be sure.  But, something I should be able to get resolved so I can get back to taking more photos.  Either that, or I will have to break out my Canon digital camera, that sits largely ignored these days!

So, the weekend has wound down and it's nearly time to turn in and try to get a good sleep before the new week begins.  Sunday evenings always seem to feel a little melancholy, like the end of a vacation when you know you have to go back to work.  Don't get me wrong - I like my job.  I truly do!  But, I love being off on the weekends and wish they lasted just a bit longer.  Can you relate?  

Hope to have the photo issue resolved soon because I would love to share some new photos with you! Our little cottage has seen some good changes this spring and summer.  And beyond that, there is so much to see and share.  Hey, maybe I will just get my "real" camera out and keep it handy!!!

Peace to you and yours....


Sunday, September 25, 2016

Simply Listening to the Storm....

Tonight I am thankful for the steady drumming of the rain on the roof and against the windows.  The brilliant flashes of lightening and the occasional rumble of thunder.  The drops of moisture that will give our lawn and flowers a much needed drink. 

I am thankful for the quietness of the house, as my beloved and our pup sleep after a long and full day. The time to sit and reflect, without interruption, on the week that has passed.....
and the one about to begin. 

In our lives, filled with busyness, moments like this can be rare.  Moments of stillness and focus.  They must be sought out, with purpose, and nurtured.

Be still and listen. 

Monday, July 4, 2016

Independence Day & Vintage Campers

Happy Birthday, America!!!  

Hope you're all having a wonderful July 4th and enjoying a three day weekend, as we are.  We were able to join Bonnie, Matt and the kids last night for their annual Independence Day cookout and fireworks.  Since they live outside the city limits, their neighborhood is host to many of these parties along the block.  The heat was almost unbearable, even at 6:30 - 99 degrees, with a heat index of 108!  But, we were mostly in the shade and there was a decent breeze now and then to help cool the sweat on our bodies.  Matt and his buddies did an awesome job with the fireworks and we enjoyed the friendly competition between them and some neighbors down the street doing the same thing.  

Today has been more or less lazy for us.  Eddie Dale did mow the lawn this morning, early!  I did a couple more loads of laundry, early!  (Honestly, where do all those dirty clothes come from with only the two of us?!?!?)  And we got out and ran around to a couple of stores.  But, even though he knew how I wanted to browse at TJ Maxx and Ross, it was pretty apparent that the hubs was bored and growing impatient.  Our final stop at Lowes was to the outdoor center and we were just about melting in the midday heat - read "heat index of 109"!!!  So, we headed home to cool off and rest.  Now, we are about to get some steak fajitas on the grill and enjoy an early supper and some leftover cherry cheesecake from last night's festivities.  Tomorrow morning will be back to work as usual - with Monday on Tuesday....

I wanted to share the new Scentsy warmer Bonnie gave me as a "late" birthday present last night.  It seems it was ordered way back in May, but was so popular that it got back-ordered and only came in this weekend.  So, I feel lucky to have one!!!  

Isnt' it cute?!?!?  Bonnie thought it was perfect for us since we love to have adventures in our fifth wheel.  In fact, she intended it to be for us to use in the trailer.  But, it is just too adorable to enjoy only on our travels.  So, I had to find place for it to be displayed in the living room - where we will see it most often.  It meant shifting things a bit, but I was feeling the need to move some things around....even some subtle changes can make things feel new, right?  

I was pretty happy with the new vignette on our little sofa table (which, by the way, does not sit behind the sofa).  I just put away a couple of items and switched out some of the stuff with what was on the piano.....just a refreshing of decor as we languish in the summer and dream of putting out Fall decor!  

Now, something I hope you will do for me.....

First, leave a comment below - I love to know you've been by.  

Secondly, follow the links over in the right column to find me on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest - then, follow me there, also.  I am on those social media platforms almost daily between blog postings and would love to keep in touch with you that way!   

Enjoy the rest of your July 4th and meet me back here soon!!!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Showers and Turtles

Today brought unexpected rain showers.

The rain started as I left the office for lunch and kept up for much of the afternoon.  It was mostly a nice, soaking type rain - much needed after a couple of weeks with no moisture from the heavens.  I was most thankful.  It means no dragging the hose and sprinkler around for a few days!  That's always a blessing in my book. 

Our office sits very near a creek and one of the little critters that lives down there found its way up from the banks and across our side yard this afternoon.  Let's just call him "Little Zippy".

He seemed pretty intent on getting across that gravel pathway.  But, the steel landscape edging was creating a bit of a problem.  

Unfortunately, I didn't get the opportunity to see how he fared or where his journey landed him as we were having a pretty busy afternoon.  I am still playing a serious game of "catch up" after having last week off for vacation.  

I certainly hope Little Zippy found his way back to the creek!  

Hope your Tuesday was great, friends!!!


Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Super Simple Dessert - Buttermilk Pie

Warning:  This post will most likely appeal to baby boomers and people who like to, read on!

Remember when Sunday dinners were special?  Maybe a nice pot roast with carrots and potatoes waiting in the crock pot after church.  Or, perhaps a late lunch, smelling that chicken frying in the kitchen and hearing your tummy growl. And, of course, there was dessert!!!  Even if it was just a Jello mold topped with whipped cream, there had to be dessert to finish off the meal and push us into the stupor resulting in that other tradition known as the Sunday afternoon nap!

Did we, as youth, even realize how hard our mothers or grandmothers worked to pull off a big meal like that?  Did we truly appreciate their efforts?!?!?!  Knowing what is involved in such a cooking endeavor, I am more than a little daunted by the traditional Sunday Dinner.

Now, I have to brag and say that we do cook and eat homemade at our house quite a bit.  We like to watch what we eat and keep the amount of highly processed and unhealthy foods down to a minimum.  We might have one meal out each week - more like a "date" than anything.  So, there is quite a bit of cooking that goes on at our casa, most of it pretty simple in nature.  Eddie Dale is way more creative and adventurous in the kitchen, whereas I am definitely one of those "the fewer the ingredients, the better" cooks.

With that in mind, let me just say that this pie recipe is the epitome of EASY and can make any simple meal special.  And, on top of being EASY, it is DELICIOUS!!!  Does it get any better?!?!?  (I know, I know...if someone else would just cook it for you......)

Buttermilk Pie 

8 Tbsp. butter, melted - do NOT use margarine, NEVER EVER! 
1/2 cup buttermilk
3 eggs, at room temperature 
1/4 cup flour 
1-1/2 cup sugar
1/2-1 tsp. vanilla extract
9-inch unbaked pie shell - doesn't require a deep dish, although I have used one with no problem

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Mix first six ingredients together in large mixing bowl; whisk until well blended.  Pour into the  uncooked pie shell.  Bake 38 - 45 minutes.  Top will brown nicely and the center will be just about "set" somewhere after the 38 minute mark - so keep an eye on it. As long as the middle isn't jiggling when you slide it out, you should be good.  

Helpful Hints - 

I use a store bought crust - either frozen, or refrigerated.  I have to admit that the Pillsbury refrigerated crust looks more like I made it from scratch, though; especially when I bake it in my Pyrex pie plate!

I have this terrific pie crust cover that I can put over the pie plate to to keep the edges of the crust from getting overcooked.  If you don't have one, you can easily rig some foil around the edges to protect the crusts during cooking.

Since we don't guzzle buttermilk around our place, I buy the smallest container of buttermilk I can find.  Typically this is a pint "chub" for less than $1; if I don't use it all, I don't feel guilty about washing it down the drain. 

We prefer salted butter for this recipe; I lean heavy on the vanilla extract, using a full teaspoon; 
and, I haven't experienced any difference in the results if I don't let the eggs come completely to room temperature.  Just sayin'....

My pie didn't turn out particularly pretty - mostly because I was using such a deep dish, so it sort of collapsed into itself.  But, gosh dang, it was delicious!!!

Oh, and by the way, why don't we have Jello molds anymore?  Those were pretty cool.....especially if there was fruit cocktail mixed in!  When was the last time you had that?!?!?  If you were a child of the 60's, even the 70's, you know exactly what I'm talking about.....

The link to comments is below - your comments make my day!  So, please take a moment to let me know you stopped by. 

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Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Food, Fiction & Fellowship - Don't Get No Better!

Life just gets so dang busy!  Often, it is difficult to find the time for something I really want to do!!!  (Imagine just a bit of foot stomping as I type that....)

If you know me, then you know reading is a passion for me!  It's definitely one of those things I really WANT to do!  Even as a child, one of my favorite outings was a trip to the library.  I could have spent hours upon hours there, browsing the shelves and making my selections.  I would read any chance I got, sometimes into the wee hours of the morning.  To this day, I love to get lost in the pages of a good read!  So, making the time to just curl up with a book is a priority for me.  

Last night brought a meeting of a very small book club, which I have participated in for the last several years.  There are only five of us - and one doesn't even live in town full-time anymore.  So, we don't make it together once a month.  These days it is more like once a calendar quarter.  We have read a variety of books through the years - fiction, non-fiction, inspirational Christian works, you name it.  

Our current selection was "Hold Me Close - Revolutionary Faith Book One"
by local author Marguerite Martin Gray. 

You can order this book HERE
Marguerite teaches French at one of the high schools AND I have discovered she writes beautiful books.  (One of our members used to teach with her and knows her quite well.)  This series is historical fiction, set in pre-revolution Charles Town, with Christian themes and light romance.  (You know, it's hard to "categorize" a book at times - I hate just classifying it as one genre when it's really more complex than that!)  I was pleasantly surprised as I read this book and look forward to the next in the series this Fall.  

Now, as for this book club, one of the things we enjoy most about our little get-togethers is the fellowship and food.  We spend as much time selecting the restaurant as the book!  We dined at Miguel's MexTex Cafe last night and I am sorry to tell you, friends, but this is a LOCAL restaurant. Too bad for those of you who don't live in Abilene!  I totally over-indulged on puffy beef tacos - they were amazing!!!  And I got in two full tumblers of water with my meal - which sorta offsets the dessert of bread pudding with bourbon sauce and vanilla bean ice cream I ended up devouring......

I was home well before 8:00 pm - just before the heavens opened and poured some more blessed rain upon our town.  With the sound of rain and thunder just outside the windows, I slipped into some comfy flannel pj's and curled up with a book.  What a way to end the evening!

By the way, our next selection is "The Husband's Secret" by Liane Moriarty. 

For sale at Amazon - HERE

I can't wait to get started on this one!  But, I will probably wait until closer to the time of our next meeting in May  - so, it is still fresh in my mind.  (Can you relate???)  

I have not read anything by this author before - have you?  Would love to hear about it in the comments below, if you have - but, hey!  No spoilers on this one!!!  In fact, our group is always looking for new authors and writings to explore - so, we welcome suggestions. 

What are you reading right now???

The link to comments is below - your comments make my day!  So, please take a moment to let me know you stopped by. 

Also, please take a moment to follow me on PinterestFacebook and Instagram.  I visit one or the other almost daily - so, you're going to miss out on something if you don't follow along!  


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