Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Thoughts for the End of the Year....2013

New Year's Eve.....only hours away from 2014.  How the heck did that happen!?!?!?  I know this much for sure - it snuck up on me when I wasn't paying attention. 


At any rate, I don't have any resolutions for the new year.  I don't have a post about my top ten projects or posts - a "year in review" post, if you will.  I don't have a word selected for 2014 - or even a post about the word that I chose for 2013.  I honestly don't have a plan or direction for "Janie's Porch" for the new year.....

However, I am not going to let that deter me from writing. 

Sure, there are days I would love to have one of those beautiful, glossy blogs that never fails to impress multitudes of readers with professional quality photos and original craft or decorating ideas.  You know - the ones that are always perfect and on target with blog trends?

As much as I would like to have a blog like that, it's just probably never going to happen.  I don't have the time to "develop" a blog that would be a widely followed, money-making machine.  But, even if I did, would I want to? 

I look at it this way -

Janie's Porch is not a "crafter" blog because I'm not a really crafty person.  Face it - if I did a craft project a week to share on the blog, I would have to find a place to use the crafted project.  Never mind the fact that we have a small cottage and our style is growing increasingly "pared down" and "simple", so there's not room for lots of projects.

Janie's Porch is not really a "decorator" blog because the number of decorating projects in our modest home is limited.  While it was lots of fun to show you the transformation of our living room this past summer, the only other decorating I did for the year was shifting a little here and there and finding new curtains for our two bedrooms.

Janie's Porch is not really a "foody" blog because I don't cook much.  Honestly, my wonderful husband cooks way more than I do around here.  So, recipes and kitchen tips are going to be pretty darn sparse over here, folks.

Janie's Porch is not really a "spiritual" blog because my faith is very personal to me.  I have a daily walk and relationship with Christ that is an extremely important part of my life.  However, I am not a devotional leader or teacher who feels qualified to try to guide others.

Janie's Porch is not really a "family/motherhood" blog, even though you do see a lot of family related posts crop up.  However, we are empty nesters, so there is not a lot to share about the trials and joys of motherhood on a daily basis. 

Goodness, I've just given you a huge list of what Janie's Porch IS NOT.  But, at the same time, I was really giving you a pretty good list of what Janie's Porch actually IS.  Because, you see, Janie's Porch is a little bit of a lot of those things.  Someone once asked me what kind of blog I wrote.  And my response was that it is a "life blog".  I just write about my life, our life, on a variety of different levels and topics.

That's actually pretty simple, when you get right down to it.  Janie's Porch is just about whatever suits my mood when I sit down in front of the computer.  I don't have a posting schedule - heck, I probably post at the wrong time of the day.  I do have a Facebook page, because I really enjoy Facebook.  But, I am sure I don't utilize social media in a way that "grows" my blog.  But, heck, my blog is not my business!  It is my hobby!  It is a fun and creative outlet for me.

SO, I'll just keep it that way.  I post when I can and when I feel like I've got something to share.  I love to hear from folks that they enjoy a post now and then.  I like to look back through my own posts and relive events and feelings that I've written about.  It works for me, though.  

I hope you will keep dropping by, even though I am just flying by the seat of my pants over here.  I know I will keep writing because Janie's Porch is a labor of love for me!  

P.S....a quick update on my recovery: 

Today marks four weeks since my surgery - anterior approach total hip replacement.  It's been a bit of a blur for me - albeit, the first few days were a drug-induced blur - but, still it's hard to believe that it's already been nearly a month.  My recovery continues and I notice small improvements almost daily.  Physical therapy will be ongoing for a while yet, but I get around the house pretty well now.  The mornings are still stiff and painful, until I get moving around.  I still can't find any other comfortable position to sleep in other than flat on my back.  The area around the healing incision sight still feels like a big block of cement embedded in my thigh rather than my own skin and muscle.  But, the healing continues and I only have a couple more weeks of wearing these awful compression hose and no driving!!!  Hope to have more good progress to share next time.  

Check back "next year" to see how things are going over here in my little corner of the world....Janie's Porch.  Until then, wishing you a blessed new year - stay safe!


Monday, December 23, 2013

Our Holiday Home Tour - Finally!!!

Now that I am "getting back on my feet" - literally - I thought I would share a bit of our Christmas cheer with you.  Although we kept it really simple this year, it has felt warm and cozy while I have been mostly homebound during my recovery this holiday season.  Won't you step on inside and have a look around????

We only have one tree this year....and it is has been pared down considerably.  Nestled to one side of the living room, this is the second year we have used this "pencil" style, pre-lit tree.  The size is just right for our space and I love how quickly it fills up with ornaments!
 

Rather than drag out our bins and boxes of our cherished ornaments (after all, anything you unpack and use has to be repacked!), I went to Walmart and purchased all new silver, gold and cream colored ornaments.  For about $15, I got plenty of these shatterproof ornaments and glittery snowflakes to dress the tree; then I dug around in storage and brought out our gold icicle ornaments and crystal drops to fill in the empty spaces. 

 I love the beautiful gold fabric ribbon from Michael's - and better yet, it was on sale 40% off!  I wrapped it around the tree and made double bows for a tree-topper.  I absolutely love the simple elegance of our tree this year! 


Again, keeping in mind that anything I unpacked would have to be put away after the holidays, I kept our credenza display very simple.  This beautiful nativity was purchased at Kirland's several years ago for only $10.  I admit, I hadn't found a spot for it here at our new home in the last three years.  So, it felt new again when I brought it out.  (Unfortunately, Baby Jesus got a hand broken off during the unpacking, and I have yet to get it glued back....)  I used the beautiful mercury bulb lights that I purchased at Big Lots a few months ago - simply draped over some greenery and finished with some more ivory and gold fabric ribbon from Michael's.  With a crystal hurricane lamp and some simple votives, this vignette is a reminder of the reason for the season! 


I was looking forward to working in some decor on the round coffee table, since this is it's first year in our living room.  Ivory "prayer candles" from the grocery store, a gold charger, some silver glass balls and a few little bottlebrush trees.....and I have a glowing display in the center of the room!  



The burlap wreath was the result of a "project party" at work.  One of the ladies gave us the supply list and we all met up at the office one evening and to create these rustic wreaths and share a meal.  I used more of the ivory and gold ribbon and an inexpensive floral pick with greenery, berries and pine cones to dress this up.  


In the kitchen and dining area, I once again dressed the corner hutch with greenery, twinkle lights, jingle bells and my beloved little elves.  We started out with multi-colored lights (because they were already twined around the greenery), but had to replace with a new string of clear lights a few days ago.  I think I am really loving the brighter look of the clear lights! 


To add just one more bit of simple Christmas style to this area, I hung a grapevine wreath with some holly and a red & white gingham ribbon on the architectural window hanging on our bead board wall.  It's a small touch, but really adds some cheer!


Since I have been home from the hospital, I have received two lovely baskets of poinsettias.  Mom helped me set up some small tables to display them in the living room, so we could really enjoy the pop of seasonal color in that room.  I think they are the crowning touch to our simple holiday decor! 



So, that is it - our cozy little cottage, dressed for the holidays.  We are very blessed to have such a warm and inviting home to share with family and friends.  And I am very thankful to feel recovered and well enough to share this post with you - even though it is already only a couple of days until Christmas! 

Have you ever taken the approach of downscaling in your holiday decorations?  While it has been a nice change for us around here, how did it work for you?  I hope you will take a moment to leave a comment below and share your thoughts with me!  

Wishing you many Christmas blessings....

Janie 


Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Skinny on Recovery...

Christmas is right around the corner and I haven't really done a "holiday" post, shown you our holiday decor, shared any yummy recipes......Should I be feeling a bit guilty????


Well, to be honest, I don't feel guilty.  I won't allow myself to....(even though, as I sit and browse all the beautiful posts on other blogs, I am slightly tempted to feel just a wee bit like I've been slacking.)  

Of course, most of this is due to the fact that I am still recovering from my total hip replacement on December 2nd.  Things went well - except for the reaction to the morphine that left me totally nauseated and unable to keep anything down the first 24 hours.  I ended up only spending two days in the hospital, as the doctor wanted me home before a winter storm hit and things got icy.   Once I was home and settled, the real recovery began.  

The first few days are a bit of a drugged blur, thank goodness.  I remember hurting; I remember needing help just to get out of bed, feeling totally dependent on my husband and my mom, who were taking care of me around the clock.  But, by the end of the first week, the physical therapist from the home health agency was coming to the house and working with me.  Once I was moving around more, each day seemed to get just a bit better.  The anesthesia and heavier drugs worked their way out of my system and I felt stronger and more like myself every day.  

I rested, slept and watched TV in the recliner.  (I think I have seen every single Hallmark Christmas movie ever made!)  I fell in love with green Jello.  I gradually regained my ability to focus and read e-mails and texts (although answering those the first few days was difficult, as the medication had letters floating in front of my eyes).  It took me over a week to actually pick up a book and concentrate enough to read!  But, the haze began to clear as my body began to heal. 

As for regaining my mobility - at first, I leaned heavily on the walker and it was a lifesaver when I was using the toilet.  (I swear, I never realized how much upper body strength would come into play!)  Now, I only use it when I first get up in the morning - I am so stiff and ache all over from lying so rigid on my back while asleep.  During the day, I have already graduated to the cane and am allowed to walk short distances inside the house without the use of the cane, as long as my gait doesn't become compromised.  (No limping allowed!)

This week, I have been out of the house daily - to the doctor's office and P/T, to the office for a few minutes, and even to Kohl's with my trusty walker for a single spin around the store (which was plenty, believe me!).  Just last night, Eddie Dale loaded me and the dogs up and took us to the Sonic for supper and to prowl around a nearby neighborhood to look at Christmas lights. 

I have to say, I am thrilled with how recovery is coming along - as is my doctor and my physical therapist.  I am trying really hard not to be impatient and overdo it!  I have no doubt that as I continue to heal, I will be so glad to have this new non-arthritic hip!  And, although this holiday season has been quite different from the usual "hustle and bustle" of prior holidays, I am sure it will be one I will always remember.  

With my mom's help, I was able to get the house freshened up a bit and drag out the camera for a few photos.  I am working to get them edited and hope to have a post up shortly to show you how we ended up decorating for Christmas.  Trust me, it is simple this year, but still very cozy and festive around here.  

So, how about you?  Are your holiday preparations coming along as planned?  What's happening in your little corner of the world as we barrel full-steam towards the 25th?  

Hugs, 

Janie



  

   

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Ready for December....and All It Brings!!!

December 1, 2013.......

We have made it through Thanksgiving and what a delightful day it was!  Bonnie hosted the celebration at their new home this year and it was such a treat not to have to make all the preparations here.  Ben traveled in from San Antonio; Sam and Savanna were there; Bonnie and her brood; and Mom brought Bob from the nursing home.  We were all together, except Matt - who is a manager at a nameless store that decided to open on Thanksgiving....thus causing many of their employees to miss family time that day! 



We feasted and laughed....and enjoyed being together!   Not only were we celebrating Thanksgiving, but it was also Eddie Dale's birthday. 


Tomorrow is the BIG DAY!  After rounds of doctor visits and tests, I am preparing to be at the hospital tomorrow at 10:00 to get my new hip.  Although I had lists a mile long, I know there are bound to be some things that I didn't get done.  But, all will be well!  I will have no restrictions - other than driving for the first six weeks.  (And, let me tell you - that is a restriction that has me pretty chapped!)  

I am so antsy today, that I can hardly sit still and make myself write a post!  But, the next few weeks will be slow and I plan to do a lot of "catching up" here on the blog.  I am looking forward to it!!!

Back soon!!!


Friday, November 8, 2013

Happy Birthday, Bonnie!!!

Sending out birthday wishes for a most special young woman - my daughter, Bonnie!!!

As she puts it, this her "sequel to being 30".....so, that would make her 31.   
Sorry, baby girl, if it makes you old....imagine how it makes me feel! 

You are an amazing woman and we all just love ya to bits.  You are like a force of nature, a momma bear and a nurturer.  
So proud to be your Mother and Friend!!!


If you haven't read the story of Bonnie's grand and dramatic entrance into the world, you can read it HERE.

And, in case you didn't know, she is just getting started at blogging.  You can check out her blog here -
Hope you will stop by and show her a little comment luv!


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Warning - Detour Ahead!!!

December 2.....that is the date around which my world is revolving at the moment. 
 
After struggling with the nearly constant pain of osteoarthritis in my right hip for more than a year, the orthopedic surgeon has set a date for my hip replacement surgery.  December 2. 

November will be a whirlwind of activity as I prepare for recovery time in the month of December.  As of now, my deadline for preparing for Christmas - decorating and shopping - is December 1.  
Everything leading up to the holidays has been accelerated!  

I am a little overwhelmed, to say the least.  Although my surgeon is planning on using the anterior approach to the surgery, resulting in a faster and less restricted recovery, I am looking at being out of the loop for most of the month of December.  

With this in mind, I have begun making arrangements and preparing for the down time.  I already have a plan for scaled back Christmas decorating - and will be sharing our new holiday look as I put it into place over the next couple of weeks.  

Next, we will be making our shopping list and getting that all "wrapped up" prior to Thanksgiving.  I am so thankful that Eddie Dale will be helping with this part - he loves to shop for Christmas presents!  And I am already a big fan of getting the shopping done early to avoid the crazy crowds.  So, this won't be such a big change for us.  

As for work, the holidays are traditionally slow in the Real Estate business.  I am blessed that I work in an agency where we help each other out and work as a team.  So, I can pick up the phone and enlist the help of another agent when I can't handle something from home.  

All in all, December is pretty much the optimum time for me to go ahead and get this fixed.  While I don't particularly look forward to the procedure, recovery and rehab, I do look forward to "healing" and being done with the steadily increasing pain.  As my orthopedist stated at my last visit, "It is time."  

And, so, I move forward, albeit slowly, one foot in front of the other. 

I hope you will tag along with me as I travel this part of the journey.  I know that blogging will be a good creative outlet for me during this time.  And I can sure as heck use your encouragement as I navigate the detour ahead!  

Until next time, wishing you many blessings....

 


Monday, October 21, 2013

Super Simple & Speedy - Pumpkin Muffins

Oh, the wonderful feeling of Fall in the air!  It's been noticeably cooler here - even dipping down below 40 degrees one night.   B-b-b-rrrrrrrrr.....I'm lovin' it! 

The porch is dressed for Halloween, thanks to some beautiful, and inspiring, weather this past weekend...
 

And I am instinctively "nesting", as I am prone to do this time of year, in preparation for the holidays! 

I have seen - and pinned - this recipe for "2 ingredient" muffins before.  Here is the version I pinned from the Sweet Verbena blog - and she credits Big Red Kitchen for the recipe. 

So, today, I finally got around to making them.  

I couldn't imagine they would be very good, what with only two ingredients......a 15-ounce can of pumpkin and a box of yellow cake mix. The directions said just throw it all in a bowl and mix.

But, what the heck?  They were absolutely awesome!!!  You'd never know how simple and quick they were because THEY TASTE DIVINE!


The batter is pretty stiff, so be warned!  I had to mush the "peaks" down a bit with my fingertips.  Also, I decided to throw in a splash of vanilla extract - maybe about 1/2 teaspoon.  And I sprinkled some cinnamon & sugar over the tops before baking in a 350 degree oven for about 22 minutes.  This made a dozen muffins, filling the muffin cups about 3/4 full.  I checked for doneness by inserting a toothpick in the center and coming out clean.  
(Is doneness a word???)   

Baked up nice and moist - and the sweet topping gives it just a bit of crunch!

I will definitely be making these again - they will be perfect for fast breakfasts and snacks, especially during the holidays.  Oh, Pinterest, you done me good this time!!!

Linking up with Kathy at Life on Lakeshore Drive.

How about you?  Does this time of year have you hankering to do a little "nesting", maybe a little extra cooking in the kitchen? 

Nest away, sweet friends!!!




Saturday, October 12, 2013

One Heck of a Day!!!

Most of yesterday was been spent trying to get us all ready to head out of town for a 4-day weekend.  Here's a quick run-down of the day......

Work at the office from 8:30 til noon.

Stop at HEB on the way home for coffee creamer and Coke Zero - because we are flat out of both.

See Eddie Dale off to work at 2:00 - he has to close tonight and won't be home til nearly midnight, so I am on my own, with my "to do" lists.....

Start cleaning out the trailer - wipe everything down, sweep, vacuum, mop, straighten the cupboards....the whole enchilada!  I admit - we did not clean it up very well after our trip in June.  Well, you can imagine......

Decide to wash the pillow top mattress pad before making the bed in the trailer.

Clean up the washer and laundry room when said pillow top mattress pad falls apart in the washing machine and there is polyfill everywhere.....

Go on a wild goose chase to three different stores before finding the right size foam topper and new mattress pad for the bed in the trailer. 

Make up the bed in the trailer.  Needless to say, with the temp outside hovering around 90 and no A/C running in there, I sweated like a pig!

Are you getting a little tired yet?  Because at this point, I was about ready to throw in the towel......

Keep working on laundry. 

Give Pepper a bath - because she stinks - really bad!!!  Clip her nails.  Go back in the bathroom about 2 minutes later to clean up the nail clippings - only to discover that they are all gone - every single one!!!  Realize Pepper is sitting in the hallway, licking her lips.  Ewwwwww, disgusting...... 

Go ahead and clean the house - because I hate coming home to a dirty one after a trip.  Dust, vacuum, mop, straighten up, scrub the bathroom and kitchen.....

Keep working on laundry.  Seriously?!?!?!? 

Check the weather forecast and decide which clothes to take.  Take them and snacks out to the trailer.....keep loading.

10:00 pm rolls around and I realize I have not eaten, all day.....and I forgot to make the pumpkin muffins I was planning on taking on the trip!  

I am so excited, though, because we are going to Ponca City, Oklahoma to see Jimmy, Anita and the newest grandbaby, Paisley!!!  When I get back I will have tons of new photos to share - because I even remembered to charge the camera battery and pack that!

Hoping each of you has a terrific weekend!








Wednesday, October 9, 2013

What I Wore Wednesday.....

I have so been looking forward to cooler weather so I can break out some different clothes!  Particularly since last week when Mom and I went out to Kohl's and I scored an awesome pair of brown boots (which were on sale and I had a 30% off coupon on top of that)......

Well, the mornings have been chilly enough,but the afternoons quickly warm up.  I've resorted to blending clothes from one season to the next.  You know - lighter weight top so I don't sweat to death, paired with skinny jeans and boots.  This way, all that sweats is my feet, right?

This is what I wore last night to meet with the ladies in the book club for dinner.
 

Lightweight 3/4 length shirt, blue & green print,over a cool cami - Apt. 9 from Kohl's
Stretchy skinny jeans - Jennifer Lopez at Kohl's (key word being "stretchy")
Boots - Apt. 9 from Kohl's
Earrings and bracelet - James Avery 
(oh, wait, you can't even see the earrings - in either of these shots - but, trust me, they're pretty!)
Watch - Fossil


Gee.....do you see a pattern with Kohl's developing here!  Maybe I should buy some of their stock?

 Okay, so y'all chime in and tell me......

Which "selfie" works best???  Should I take one of those shots where I hold the camera in front of my face (perhaps in an effort to convince everyone I am a serious photographer), or do I go with the camera down lower as I struggle to compose my face while feeling like a dork in front of the mirror????

At any rate, this was comfortable for a casual dinner.  The lighter weight on top seemed to kind of balance out the boots on bottom.  Do you have any tricks to share on balancing the change of seasons in the wardrobe department?  If you do, please share!!!

Keeping it real.....








Tuesday, October 8, 2013

AUTUMN DELIGHTS.......

Autumn delight is.......

Plump pumpkins sitting on the front porch and steps

A hint of color creeping into the trees

Sleeping with the window up and having to burrow beneath the blanket before dawn

Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks

Bright blooming chrysanthemums in clay pots

Halloween decorations making their annual appearance

Pulling the sweaters, boots and scarves out of the back of the closet

The softer slant of the afternoon sun

Sweet nesting instinct as we feather our "nest" for upcoming Winter

An entire aisle of trick-or-treat candy at the market

Caramel apples

Smell of woodsmoke from the first fire of the season drifting across the neighborhood

Leaves floating down in the breeze

Sunday afternoon naps to the sounds of football on the tv

The first pot of chicken & dumplings

Earlier arrival of dusk

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

What are some of your favorites things about Fall????

For a peek at images that inspire me during this time of year, visit my Pinterest board -  "Fabulous Fall". 

I am so glad you stopped by my porch for a visit today.  Please leave me a note below in the Comments section, so I can say "hello, my friend" back at  you!



Friday, October 4, 2013

Oh, the Joy of a Simple Day.....

The pace is a bit slower today, thankfully.

We are anticipating a cold front, which should move through during the night.  This means a chance of rain in the morning and much cooler temperatures - in the lower 60's tomorrow for our high and down in the 40's tomorrow night!  Doesn't that sound delightfully "fall-ish"???

While I look forward to the change in weather, I am enjoying getting caught up on some things here at home today.  Yes, I worked some - it's wonderful to have a job where I can work from home, making phone calls and sending out e-mail.  I found time to get in for a haircut this morning and that feels mighty good.  I even took the time to sit on the porch for a bit!  (Of course, I struggled with that familiar sensation of being lazy when I first sat down - but, never fear, I booted that old guilty feeling to the curb as I enjoyed an extra cup of coffee and listened to the birds chirping.)


Making this an even better day, I heard from Son No. 1 (Ben) that he passed his property and casualty adjuster license exam at his new job at USAA.  Way to go, Benjaturtle!!!!

Tomorrow morning, Ed and I are having breakfast with Son No. 2 (Sam) at the Dixie Pig, a local "greasy spoon" type of cafe.  It is a local institution and, while it's not the healthiest cuisine, it sure is tasty! 

Later in the morning, I will be heading out to Bonnie and Matt's new place to help measure for some new blinds in one of the bedrooms and hang some curtains.  So, I get to love up on all my grandbabies!!!

Eddie Dale is home from an early day of work and we are going to grab a bite at the new McAlister's Deli, which opened this week, followed by an evening at home - watching movies, no doubt!  We are going to pass on the cross-town rivalry football game tonight - which is fine by me.  I am never sure who to root for at that one, anyway - I graduated from Cooper, but the district lines changed and all my kiddos graduated from Abilene High.  It's quite a dilemma! 

So, all in all, life is good.....very good.  Don't see that it can get much better!  Sometimes, it is the simple things, friends.....just the simple things......

I hope you're stealing a few moments to simply enjoy your day!

Hugs & smiles.....








Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Written Word - Are You a "Reader"???

I have always been a "reader".

Some of my earliest memories from childhood are going to the public library.  Mom tells me I must have been about five years old the first time she took me down for "story hour".  We carried a bag and when story time was over, we selected books to carry home.  It was dark and raining that day....I remember that.  Even now, when I walk into a library, that somewhat musty smell of books transports me back to those warm and fuzzy memories.....

Through the years, I read voraciously!  I looked forward to my class's weekly trips to the school's library; in the summertime, one of my parents would drive me downtown to the library and allot me a certain amount of time to go in and restock on reading materials.  As an adolescent, Friday and Saturday nights were all about seeing how long I could stay awake to read.....into the wee hours of the morning, as there was no school the next day.

As an adult, I have continued to read, regularly and regardless of the "busy-ness" of my life.  There is nothing like curling up with a good book for a few minutes before bedtime.  It helps calm my mind and get my focus off the events of the day somewhat......much better than a sleeping pill.  I read a variety of books - novels, biographies, non-fiction - just whatever seems to be good at "feeding my soul" at the moment.  I love everything from romance to thrillers, mysteries to devotionals.....

One of my favorite reading spots.....on the guest room bed

Through the years, I tried to instill a love of reading in my children.  We made frequent trips to the library  (it was free entertainment, after all) and I like to think this is a legacy, of sorts, I gave them.  I know some of what I was trying to impress upon them rubbed off.....my daughter now regularly schedules trip to the library with her own growing children, despite the hectic pace of their lives.....and my oldest son was the A(ccelerated) R(eader) King (he read the most books of all the boys) in 5th grade.

Although I enjoy using my Kindle, I still love the feel of book in my hands.....turning the pages, gauging how much I've read by the growing thickness in my left hand and the waning weight in my right. 

My Kindle, upcoming reads and those trusty reading glasses...


I am in a very small book club, meeting once a month with three other ladies for a meal and discussion.  I've discovered some books I might not have otherwise picked up with this group.  And, even though it is just as much about the socializing and eating as it is about the reading, I am thankful to be a part.

In the past week, I read a really wonderful book by Francine Rivers - Redeeming Love.  It touched my heart and fed my spirit.....truly, a beautiful book that can change one's outlook on life.

 Right now, I am in the middle of Tuesdays with Morrie, by Mitch Albom, in preparation for our book club meeting next week. I have a feeling this one is really going to be one of those that makes a life impact, too.!  After that, I have several books that a colleague brought to the office to pass around.  (She gave them to me first because she knows I am a "reader".....)

What about you?
Would you label yourself a "reader"?
When do you carve out time to lose yourself in a book?
Do you use an electronic reader or prefer "the real thing"?  

I would love to hear what you are reading right now!!!  








Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Oatmeal & Toffee Cookies....Baked on a Warm Autumn Afternoon

Welcome, friend!  Glad you could stop by today!!!

Is it feeling more like Fall in your neck of the woods yet?  It did for just a few days here, but it's warmed back up in to the low 90's again.  It's a little difficult to get into the swing of October when it is still so dang hot!  But enough belly-achin' about the weather......

This afternoon, I fired up the oven and cranked the A/C down so I could bake some cookies.  Oh, I longed to be able to just open the windows and feel a cool breeze pass through while I baked.....but, sometimes you just have to make do with the hand you're dealt, right?  

Since my work as a Realtor can eat up a lot of my time, I find myself taking little shortcuts in the kitchen when we are craving some homemade goodies.  This is one of my absolute favorite cookies and it seemed like time to whip up a quick batch since I had a couple of hours between appointments today.  (Funny thing is, my last appointment ending up having to cancel since my client got detained on a work site an hour away from town and had to cancel - for the second day in a row....but, that's neither here nor there and I am enjoying the extra "down time".....)

At any rate, here the simplest version of Oatmeal & Toffee Cookies, in a nutshell -

1 pkg. Betty Crocker Oatmeal Cookie mix
1 stick of butter, softened (and, yes, I use real butter 'cause it makes them so much richer)
1 Tablespoon water
1 egg
1/2 cup Heath toffee bits - in the baker's aisle, next to chocolate chips

Simply dump it all in a bowl, mix well, drop by teaspoonfuls on your favorite cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees.  We like 'em a little soft and chewy, so I pull them out of the oven after about 8 minutes - once the edges barely turn golden brown.  (Well, there was one sheet full that went a bit long because the phone rang, so we have a dozen that are slightly crunchy....)  Cool on the cookie sheet for a couple of minutes before removing to cool completely on a wire rack.....or, as I do, on a paper towel.

So good....so easy.....and so perfect for filling my pumpkin shaped jar!!!  



Please, please.....someone tell me that they "cheat" and doctor up cookie mix this way and that I am not a bad "domestic diva" for doing this?!?!?  

 Hugs  & Love.....




Sunday, September 22, 2013

Mercury Glass String Lights....warming it up for Fall!

Saw these awesome faux mercury glass string lights a few days ago over on Shannon's Fox Hollow Cottage blog and my heart went pitty-pat!!!  I ran right out to Big Lots and picked some up for my very own.....


Fanciful little things!  They are battery-operated, so you can put 'em just about anywhere.  I have tucked mine into some Fall garland in the living room......


added a pumpkin scented candle.....


and am totally enjoying the ambiance here on the first day of Fall! 

 
Welcome, Fall.....so glad you have finally arrived!  This is my favorite time of year.....the sights, the smells, the cool evenings and soft afternoon sunlight.....perfection!!!

How was the first day of Autumn in your neck of the woods???






Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Welcoming FALL at HOME!!!

Signs of approaching Autumn have arrived here at Janie's Porch!!!

I finally found the motivation and energy to drag out the bins of Fall decor this past weekend.  In keeping with the simpler, pared down look we've been bringing to the interior of our little cottage, I didn't utilize everything I own.  Instead, I opted for some of my favorite items, in softer, muted tones to complement the new palette in the living room.  
 




And focused on PUMPKINS!!!




Out on the porch, I brought back my standing scarecrow and utilized the potted mums and pumpkins that made their way home with me the last few days.  I picked up an "outdoor" pillow for the rocker at Home Depot - half price at the end of summer clearance - $5.98.  Doesn't it look cozy with its Autumn hued stripes?!?!?


It will be easy to add a few more items when we get into October for Halloween.  "Layering" is one of my favorite ways to jazz it up as we move through the season! 


I'm sure I will be tweaking as September rolls over to October.  But, for now, it feels good to have a jump on the Fall decorating.  What about you?  Have you taken the plunge and done it yet?!?!?  

Thanks for stopping by!  I hope you will take a moment to leave a comment below and share how you're coming along with welcoming Fall at your home!!!

Check out some other great Fall sites!!!
Linking up with -

"Inspiration Exchange Link Party" at Yellow Bliss Road
"Treasure Hunt Thursday" at From My Front Porch to Yours 



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