Friday, September 30, 2011

Playing Hooky!!!

Yesterday was one of those rare days when Eddie was off and I could play hooky from the office, too!  So, we decided to take full advantage of the possibilities.....

After sleeping in til after 8:00 am, we got up and around and headed over to a huge church rummage sale.  Oh, my!  We were just darting from one thing to the next....it was nearly overwhelming to see so much in one place.  We did actually buy a few items ~ a wood magazine holder, some great produce baskets, fabulous Halloween votives (unopened) from Bath & Body Works, a couple of pieces of jewelry and assorted paperbacks for Eddie.  We even hit the bake sale table and indulged in some chocolate chip cookies!

While we were out, we went by Academy and Target did a little shopping.  I found some terrific little 3/4 length sleeve cardigans on clearance at Target ~ I am in heaven!  We also picked up some henleys for Ben and Sam at Academy, marked down to $4.88.  And I snagged some great clearance tee's there, also.  I see a major closet~cleaning/decluttering in my very near future......

After taking care of a few more errands and a late lunch, we headed home.  Once we arrived, I "hit a wall".....and "crashed".  I laid down and took a 3-hour nap!  It felt insanely wonderful!  Eddie cooked some simple hamburgers on the propane grill and then we lazed around and watched programs we had recorded on the DVR. 

So, my Prince and I had a terrific day together.  We didn't do anything "special", but we enjoyed each other's company ~ immensely!  And we had some much needed down time. 

Once in a while, you just have to steal a day and play hooky!!!

xoxoxo,
Jane

P.S.....Be watching upcoming posts where I will share some of our rummage sale treasures and a few ideas on how they will work into our decor!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Freshening Up Out Front....and Welcome to Fall!!!

Once in a while, Life seems to pick up the pace and race by so swiftly!  That seems to be the case with September.  Wasn't it the beginning of the month just yesterday.......and here we are, finishing out this page on the calendar in a dead rush.

I had grand intentions for September.  And many of the ideas I had for projects around the house got trampled in the race to the get through the month.  Traditionally, I have my porch - and the inside of the house, for that matter - dressed for Fall before the middle of the month.  There have been many years when I took care of changing out decor for the season during the Labor Day weekend.  But, it just seemed I couldn't get to it this year....

Finally, though, this past Sunday, Eddie got a day off and the weather was wonderful.  Yes, it got a bit warm, but there was lots of sunshine and a delightful cooling breeze.  We worked together to get the front yard mowed, edged and cleaned up.  Then he dug up that monkey grass that filled part of the contoured bed along the front of the house.  Yea!!!  I had been dreaming of that monkey grass going away for a long time!  Adios!!!

Grubby from working in the yard, we headed out to Lowes and prowled through the garden section.  Admittedly, it was pretty picked over.  But, what they did have was mostly marked down to half price!  So, I grabbed more mums, a couple of new Indian Hawthorne shrubs to replace some dead bushes we had just dug up, and even some ornamental grasses.  To top it all off, several bags of mulch.  And, as we were headed to the check-out, I spied a nearly empty bin of fantastical pumpkins! 

And we were off!  We planted, swept, laid the soaker hose out.....and, voila!  We have a freshly landscaped bed along the front of our little cottage!  I'm loving it!!!




The yellow mums are blooming out nicely....



These purple ones on the clearance table seem a bit bashful, but they're getting there....



Don't you just love the texture of this ornamental grass?



I was inspired to get the front porch set up for Fall!  Still some tweaking to do, but at least it's a start!


So, now I can enjoy Fall on Janie's Porch for another year.  Stop by for a visit.  We'll head out and pick up some more pumpkins while you're here!!!


Enjoy the Blessings of Autumn, my Friends!!!

Jane

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Pioneer Woman....I Ain't!!!

One of the first blogs - and still one of my most favorite - I discovered was Ree Drummond's, "The Pioneer Woman".  Don't you just love her?!?!?  Many aspire to have as huge an impact and as large a following as the original blog-pioneering woman, but few will ever equal her - in Blogworld or in the kitchen.

I did a post some time ago about some of my favorite cookbooks.  Eddie had recently given me a signed copy of "The Pioneer Woman Cooks".  What a fabulous cookbook!  I have spent many hours, thumbing through the pages and dreaming of creating such yummalicious meals as she does. 



And now she has a terrific new show on The Food Network!  Have you caught it on Saturday mornings yet?

A few weeks back, she made macaroni & cheese for her son's birthday celebration.  Oh, my Lord...it looked so tasty!!!  I pulled out the cookbook, found the recipe and decided to give it a try.

Now, I could tell from the ingredient list that this recipe was going to make roughly a ton of mac & cheese (you need four cups of raw macaroni elbows - that's a lot for us empty-nesters).  But, that was okay....

We love mac & cheese.
We will enjoy this for days!!!

So, I proceeded to put together all the ingredients and give it a whirl.

Right away, I encountered a problem.  The recipe calls for plain ol' flour - all I had was some whole wheat flour.  But, I figured since I use it a lot in cooking, this shouldn't be a big deal. 

WRONG!!!  

As I started simmering and stirring the rue, I realized that both the color and texture of whole wheat flour were going to change the appearance of the dish drastically.  Maybe I'm just so accustomed to seeing that neon-glow-in-the-dark-orange tint that you get with the box of Kraft mac & cheese.  In comparison, this just looked so.....

Unappetizing!

The cooking progressed and I grew more and more dismayed that my mac & cheese wasn't going to look like her's.  I got so upset about it that I completely forgot to stir all the seasonings into the rue before I started adding cheese.  In fact, I forgot all about them until I spotted the small bowl of pre-measured seasonings sitting there by the stove when I shut the oven door to start baking the prepared dish!!!! 

I immediately grabbed the large skillet filled with about 20 pounds of yucky, tan-toned mac & cheese out of the oven and stirred in the seasonings.  At this point, I was just about in tears....which, for some reason, seemed to annoy Eddie Dale immensely.  So, I slammed the dish back into the oven, shut the door and began to clean  up the mess in the kitchen.  (I might insert here that I was already a little PMS'y this day...)

Let me point out that my selection of the oversized oven-proof skillet in which to bake the dish was not optimal, either!  After the required cooking time, I pulled out the finished product and started serving it up.  Unfortunately, the crust was truly a "crust" - thick, dark brown and overcooked, downright crunchy.  So, I realized we would just have to scoop out the inside and avoid the vast burnt expanse of the edges.  Ugh...

All I can say is that it was an "experience".  Not a pleasant one, necessarily....nor a tasty one.  The use of the whole wheat flour definitely changed the dish - and not for the better! After we suffered through the meal, Eddie carefully avoiding making any eye contact with me, I carried the skillet of leftovers straight to the trash can and unceremoniously dumped it!

The silver lining to this debacle - we had prepared her "comfort meatballs" as the main dish and I can say that they turned out to be awesome!  Thank goodness!!!  Because my version of the mac & cheese was a total disappointment.

And now you know why I love to collect cookbooks and gaze longingly at them.....because my experiences in actually preparing dishes according to the recipes are sometimes quite disastrous!

Keeping it real in the kitchen, y'all....

Jane

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Welcome, AUTUMN!!!

It is officially the first day of Autumn....however, you sure wouldn't know it by looking around my house!!!

Remember how the Porch looked by this date last year???

On Janie's Porch - September, 2010
This year, the Porch still wears her Summer wreath (and a heavy coating of West Texas red dirt).  Eight "unpotted" mums from the nursery sit lined up along the edge of the steps, patiently waiting for me to get them transplanted into the planter box and ground. 
 
My welcoming scarecrow is simply a ghost in the storage shed out back, waiting to be sprung from behind the lawn tools.

Inside the house, it's not much better.  Not one pumpkin sits on display yet.

In Janie's House, September, 2011

Despite the lack of Autumn decor, I am feeling a bit more in the Fall Mood.  The morning dawned cool and crisp here today.  A front from the north blew in during the night and the weather was well-beyond-fabulous. 

I'm inspired to get my rear in gear and get everything decked out this weekend (if work and other such responsibilities will just cooperate....).  After all, this is my most favorite time of the year!


I know this is true for many of you.  Something about those days of Indian Summer feels so idyllic and....perfect.  And the decorating, well....it's right up there with the Christmas decorating at our house. 

So, how far have you gotten this year?  Bet you're ahead of me!!!

Blessings,
Janie 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

A Change in the Weather....

We have been having cooler temperatures here since Sunday.  The mornings dawn crisp and clear, downright chilly....and I love it!!!  I have been donning my fluffy pink robe to sit on the patio and have my coffee with the dogs as the sun comes up.

It puts me in the mood for a little of this.....


And a whole lotta that....


Maybe a cuppa Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks....


However, the cooler air dropping down from the north has brought extremely dry winds.  Here in the state of Texas, we are having a terrible problem with wildfires.  Already in a prolonged state of drought, conditions have reached a critical level.  There has been devastating loss of life and property in our Lone Star State. 

Please keep the folks and animals affected by the wildfires in your prayers! 

Warm hugs on these chilly mornings, y'all....
Jane



Capturing a Magical Light

After several gray days of frigid temperatures, along with a bit of ice and a flurry or two of snow, the sun shone brilliantly on New Year&...