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 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 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 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 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.....

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