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!!!

Jane


Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Super Simple Dessert - Buttermilk Pie



Warning:  This post will most likely appeal to baby boomers and people who like to eat...so, 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.....


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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!  

Thanks!!!





Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Our Special Weekend Visitor

This past weekend was pretty special - and not just because Sunday was Valentine's Day.

It was a busy weekend, to be sure.  My sister was in town, so there was a large family lunch out on Saturday; and yet another dinner that evening.  In the midst of it all, our precious little princess of a granddaughter, Autumn, came to our house for a sleepover!  Her mommy and daddy needed a night out, just the two of them, so Mimi and Papa Ed came to the rescue.  

The weather was beautiful and warm on Saturday.  When Autumn arrived at our house before dinner, it was still warm; so, her mommy forgot to pack a jacket.  Sensing it would be much cooler when we left the restaurant after the sun set, we had to go into my closet and make do.  Here's what we came up with - I'm sure it will be all the fashion rage next season!


Since this was a sleepover, Autumn and I bunked down in the guest bedroom.  I had forgotten how it is to sleep with a 2-year old!  Heavy on elbows and knees....and light on the sleep.  But, it was all worth it to wake before dawn to the sound of little girl giggles.  And have breakfast of pancakes and bacon while watching the Disney channel.  And wash her hair and let her splash in the tub and blow dry those beautiful curls.  It was a wonderful time with this little cutie and I relished every moment!  


The rest of Valentine's Day was devoted to taking care of the regular weekend routine - housecleaning, laundry, preparing for the week.  After a quick exchange of simple and useful gifts and cards with Eddie Dale (a cookbook for him, some warm knitted scarves for me, which he found end-of-season at the store), he was off to work - not a single chocolate or flower in sight.  

Still, it was a fabulous day - because it doesn't take chocolate, flowers or expensive gifts to make a day special.  Family, being with the ones we love, the opportunity to make our little home a more comfortable place - these are the blessings.  For these things, I am grateful!

I hope you had a special day.  But, more than anything, I hope you were able to look around and recognize the blessings in your life.  

Hugs, 

Jane 

Monday, December 7, 2015

Oh, Christmas Tree - 2015 Version

The Christmas tree - centerpiece of almost everyone's holiday decorating.  And it's no different at our house.  I start thinking about the year's "theme" just about the time I finish putting out our Fall decor in September!

I wanted to do something a little different this year.  So, I started pulling together the elements from scratch, using the vision in my head as my shopping guide.....

I started with ribbons, three different styles and colors, and made bows which I scattered around the tree first.
Wide green fabric ribbon with fun glittery polka dots

Elegant wide white ribbon with silver edging and glittery blue snowflakes
This plaid ribbon brought all the color elements together

Next came a variety of different ornaments, most of them shiny or glittery, to better reflect the light....
Blue pine cone orbs, with a frosting of snow
Swirly green orbs with a matte finish
Glittery blue ornaments for lots of sparkle
Oversized beaded ornaments in various shades of green
Gold and silver ornaments for a different shape and simple crystal drops for their prism reflections
 
Large frosted snowflakes for their magic




 A lighted star for the topper this year, surrounded by gold beaded stems.  Before I added them, the tree had a sort of flat appearance on top....just looked funny to me.  But, this turned out to be a good addition - they reflect the light beautifully and round out the top nicely!
And notice the gold icicles dangling from the branches - I end up using these every year, no matter what the theme!

I love the way these beaded stems glisten - it's almost like a crown for the tree!
The view from a vertically challenged person's my point of view...
I love the way this year's tree turned out!  Eddie Dale says he thinks it's one of the prettiest yet!  And we have it in a new spot this year, so we can enjoy it while we are sitting and watching tv - it's front and center - and I don't know why we've never put it here before....
The skirt is just an old sheer gold curtain panel wrapped around the base of the tree - but, it works!
 

So, there you have our tree for Christmas 2015.  I've been tweaking and working on photos of the rest of the decor - I don't just decorate the living room, you know!  Hopefully, I will have a tour of the rest of our cozy little cottage posted over the next few days.  By the way, I'm always posting over on Janie's Porch Facebook page, so hop on board and follow over there for daily updates.  

Back soon, sweet Friends!

Jane


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