Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Kitchen hello...

First course is, of course, salad. Love to serve salads in my bread pan for some reason!

Next some beef short ribs, Pioneer Woman style...

Oh, what a surprise to wake up to this on Sunday morning! I wasn't expecting to see the room in the blue glow reserved for snowy, reflective lighting...  We had about three inches, but it melted in a day...

I wonder if any of you might enjoy sharing your traditions that you or your family have created. We might just share them and be filled with traditions that truly make each season more special. I have one that I created myself that brightens one of the coldest days each year at random and relaxes the hottest day each summer with its promise... It features little emerald peas! These came from my sister/cousin's garden, and oh, were they ever tender and delicious! The note on the package said, "For the first snow. Packed June 23rd, 2016." I have celebrated this tradition for at least 27 years! It all began when I had my own garden, and I had a tiny crop of peas with only two packages to freeze. I "accidentally" took them out of the freezer on our first snow that year, and it just brought back the hot day I had put them away... The next year I was harvesting in June, and I thought about the icy snowy day the past winter... and I had a light bulb moment to begin this tradition. I penned a little reminder to save these until the first snowfall... I no longer garden so I have bought the peas from the Amish several times and been blessed with peas from my friend's gardens... A very few times I have simply repackaged store-bought, frozen peas on a hot summer's day with a note to my winter self! The smallest of pleasures, but it makes me incredibly happy as I think of my mother and two grandmothers who used to sit with five gallon buckets snapping peas each summer... "These will taste so good when the snow flies,,," I can hear them say it...

Mmm...   Banana nut muffins! I freeze these and pop them in the microwave for 30 seconds... or gnaw around the edges of them while they are stone cold hard!

Beautiful plan books from Planner Perfect...  I love her stuff! by Jenny Penton.

Whimsy and Hugs!

Sunday, December 4, 2016

A Look Around!

Just a few more little peeks at the house! I have been trying to be completely done and just set for enjoying the season. Actually think I am done with shopping and close to finished with wrapping...  I love to just watch movies and visit with family and friends.

Someone is guarding Mama's oatmeal! Brown sugar maple and strawberry are top favorites! She always thanks me for cooking! So tough!

I did not get the gingerbread village out this year. Truthfully, that room is such a mess I can't get to the totes or the Christmas closet! I think Christmas will come anyway, according to Dr, Seuss!

Adding more teacups every day...  and this tree needs a skirt! Happy second Sunday of Advent!

Whimsy and Hugs!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Signs of Christmas!

As everything begins to speak the language of Christmas, our home is taking on a festive flair! Today is a little birthday party or a friend. Yesterday was the hanging of the greens, so to speak...  My sister/cousin and her hubby helped decorate the front porch. Mr. Weather has been cooperating...

These photos were taken as we celebrated the first Sunday of Advent. Are you all ready for the    blessings of the season?

Since this photo, Mr. Fan has disappeared, and I put up a teacup tree, which is still in progress. Pardon my planner corner! I am into the lovely, fun, helpful, and therapeutic world of planners...  the journaling kind.

None of the main portion of the house is ever really dark. With my mother's fear of the dark, we leave on almost all the lights. My dining room turned bedroom is the only exception, and even it has much filtered light through the big double doors..

Mother has collected all the little house ornaments from Hallmark. She has them all, I believe, 36, maybe? I know I definitely tried anyway. These are the longest running series Hallmark has ever done. On a couple we have two because I used to be so frantic I'd forget or not be able to get one that my friends always helped me out. They are hanging on our buttercream tree...

I had really considered just doing the houses and maybe heart shaped ornaments, but when I got out the box, I heard all this oohing and ahhing...  M old favorites were so excited to see me, and I just know it would have broken their little hearts to be left in that ornament box another year while somebody else got to spend Christmas with us...  so I used them all...  I very well have a box or two of sad ornaments up at my old home...  Such memories cry out for attention in each little one. 

This little painted ornament came to life during my years in college. I bought those kits to paint by number and gave them to my family for Christmas gifts. Those and the decoupaged ornaments were done, sometimes, underneath the covers with flashlights because I didn't want to keep my roomie awake through the night, my favorite time to craft.

Today is December 1, and I  no longer feel much ahead of the game. I do think all my gifts are purchased and many are wrapped. The decorating is mostly done because despite the clamor, several totes are hushed in the closet. Too much daily to-do's is keeping my life simpler.

Take care and I'll be back soon!  Merry Christmas in the wings to you and yours.

Whimsy and Hugs!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

It is what it is

Whimsy and Hugs!

I was hoping our sugar maple would not disappoint..  OH, honey. She did not. I love the branches of this tree so much. I remember my mother's excitement as Daddy planted it as a tiny, tiny little sapling she had brought home in a pork and bean can from her uncle's sugar maple grove in Indiana. It seems I caught her in her glory here today in the direct beams of the sunshine...  Gorgeous! It is my window to the world every morning as I get the mail. Sometimes I measure the wind, the rain, the ice, the frost...  or the heat by her little leaves so in my face and revealing of nature's moods and mysteries. She is about four years younger than I am...  so still a young sprout? haha..  you bet. And the maple syrup from this tree will feed my family for decades...  haha..  Not!

It's safe to say that I am not showing off any part of my home today...  I started to snap a few pictures, and in order not to capture just a lot of clutter and kind of mess, I would have had to really narrow down my focus to a few feet of goodness. I have no business writing a blog when I have so much to do and several parties in the wings before Thanksgiving....  But yet, here I am. I miss writing, just sitting down and chatting with my friends across the way. I decided to just visit as I most often have to do when dear friends come by. What do you see when you look through the open door below? My Mom is in her hospital bed, right by the front door. I know. That in itself seems odd. We debated many times putting her back into her bedroom where she loved to sleep. However, it is indeed BACK..  The far door goes around a crooked little hallway and then her bedroom is back there. I see the arched eyebrows of a good deal of people when they ask if she is still in the front room, right BY the door? Yes. She is. It is central to the home. I can hear her cough, choke, laugh, cry out, curse, or sing her perpetual little songs, no matter what I'm doing... I can hear her mutter, "Oh, my elbow hurts,"so I can slip a foam rubber pad under it so we don't get any pressure sores....  If I sleep, I can jolt my eyes awake and immediately hear her breathing. So it is. Would I like it if I were looking in? You know? I have no idea at this point. I'm not defending or giving a rebuttal. It is what it is....

What we see in the next couple of photos is the result of trying to make a dining room into a bedroom. I am in love with the view from this west window. I can see the moonset, the driveway, the sunsets, and the trees. I love to watch those gaily lit semi trailer trucks at night. I feel so aware and in control in this room plus the window vantage. I'm only about thirty feet from my Mom, although she cries through some nights because I am SOOOOO far away...  There is no headboard or footboard, I hope to remedy that by Christmas. I'm in search of the iron headboard from my childhood...  If it's not in a pile of rust.  I have an old stereo with all kinds of JUNK.  That is my new war cry... JUNK, Clutter...  and yet, I've mentioned it a few times, eh?

I have a wintry, Christmas comforter for this bed, and I am hoping to locate it before the New Year hits...  But, you know? The past few days have been filled with UTI tests, and the obvious rantings of some little Mama with one. She has been "on a toot." She believed I raised sheep, believed there was such a word as insanealism, which she was sure I had..  She promised to slap me to death and lay me out on the ironing board.  She has been singing "Come around the Mountain," "Zip a Dee Doo Dah," and "Dixie." not to mention a few others she just makes up to suit herself. My son calls it making her own sunshine, and I call it kinda dear...  But it is odd when company comes.

I am planning for Christmas with all my heart, hoping as my son said, we get to spend another Christmas with Granny... What an odd life I am living...  as if every day could be the last and as if some of this will never give me a break. I think that can be said for anyone with any kind of introspection...  I just have more "noise" at times to accentuate the trials. The Bug Man reported a six foot plus black snake that stood its ground, turned around to intimidate him, was stabbed repeatedly by a fence rod...  but got away...  in my basement. Oh, that makes me want to move. I suppose I would definitely take my Mom and my planners, and my computer.... I had to buy a new one this week, and after that the old one began to purr and work and just be wonderful again...  Go and figure, will ya?

I am searching through this new gift, the First Christian Church Cookbook, for something delicious to make for lunch tomorrow..  I am working my way through the indoor freezers, the pantry and all my things, pitching anything remotely near or past its due date. It's time for some ORDER.  Order... order in the court....  of which Mom is still Queen, and I am still the joker..

Love you all..  Now when you look at your home, you will feel so good about yourself!  Right? I would...

Signing off in Clutterville, US of A. Insanealism...  Insanealism...  yeah..  I have it.

Monday, November 14, 2016


Like a train roaring out of the heavens......

How beautiful but my photos are not!

Making my back yard surreal.....

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Get out and vote!!!

Crossing my fingers the good guys win! I made two big kettles of chili. My son's is Paleo, of course. I think mine is sweet enough to be counted as a dessert. I always add a little maple syrup and some molasses....  My gramma called it "sweetening the pot"!

Mom and I voted absentee, so our votes went in weeks ago.

Mama has another touch of UTI so we are hoping to stay home and take our meds. She is snoozing right now after a WILD night of falling off a cliff if I didn't hold on...  I think I finally convinced her she was in bed and the cliff was just sleep... but then she thought the whole house was going in... Hey. She was pretty convincing! Having a good day today with chili in the menu. It is a favorite. I have been known to crank up the AC so /I could make it in the summer. This gorgeous November day has the right chill without that.

It has been a long campaign. Time to look forward to Thanksgiving!

Whimsy and Hugs!

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Soup Weather

Today, a lightly cloudy kind of hazy Saturday seemed my opportunity to seize the moment and make some warm soups for Mama, my son, and anyone else hungry and available. My son is really hitting the exercise trail and Paleo diet hard, so my first soup was Italian Roasted Chicken Vegetable.

It was a success, reminding me of that earlier soup I used to fancy with even more vegetables and delicioius bits of cabbage. He walked over from his home and was hot and tired, but a little bowl of goodness seemed to perk him up. My second soup was Cream of Chicken with Tortellini, and it was also rather yummy. I bought the tortellini from Schwann. Some day I hope to actually make a batch of the real tortellini with my Italian friends. A June wedding is in the cards for one of my best friend's daughter. That will necessitate tortellini...

I can safely say I've had a lot of pumpkin spice creamer. I am not exactly tired of it, but I am ready to branch out because it is the only kind of creamer I've had for about three months. I usually drink my coffee black, but sometimes a little treat is in order. The real use for coffee creamer these days is to perk up my mother's oatmeal breakfast...  "Mmm! Good?!" She always murmurs as she slurps it up every morning.

No spiced trees, I think. I had been holding out, but notice the silhouettes of the beauties in the front yard and see a pile of toasted brown chiffoning across our green grass.... I'm okay with it, of course. I don't ever rake leaves, so our yard is all snuggled in under these leaves the entire frosty winter. I think that's the lazy mentality trying to rationalize perhaps? But the grass doesn't seem to mind. One mowing in early spring, and the leaves are mulched and splayed across the yard...  Another week, and the grass looks like Easter Sunday.

I am in luck this year as many days have had this hazy quality. We have already put up the tree I bought Mom, but it is only lit, so I won't show it until I do something. I bought it early, and it arrived on Halloween. Immediately Mom began to yell that she wanted to see HER tree. I put her off a couple days, but I decided with the fragility of our days, never knowing if a trip to the ER is a thing or what...  I would just put that tree up for her.  I might just tinge it with a few Autumnal treasures first...  or as my son gallantly put it when I told him my idea: "Oh, Mom..  just go ahead and throw the Christmas Crap on it."  I guess my eyes betrayed my shock because in a couple of silent moments he said gruffly:  "I didn't mean actually crap. I just used that word interchangeably with stuff...  you know?"  I do know, Son. I know how you are about holiday decorating because I'm the one who burned YOU OUT!!!  hahaha..

This is the way to my door. Come in and enjoy a nice cup of coffee, tea, or hot soup...  You are more than welcome!

Whimsy and Hugs!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

November One

Had a lovely Halloween. A couple of my friends came down and brought grilled chicken salads from Pizza Hut. I don't know if you've ever tried one of those, but they are spectacular and kinda relatively healthy... if you don't eat the croutons and little add-ins...   My son was here also and had a good time entertaining some of our trick or treaters. It was a lower volume year, so again I have a ton of bagged candy to share with friends or later visitors. We had fourteen trick or treaters plus the little dinner party of four. Not too bad for a country Monday night.

Looking out the window into a sea of deep green etched with just the slightest touch of amber, I am wondering again this year if the vibrant color is going to miss us. It's so late for a hard frost, but according to the Almanac we are going to get one very soon. I could sit out today in summer clothes and feel cool but not chilled.

Thoughts in November turn toward the holidays. I ordered a buttercream Christmas tree this year. I saw its stunning photo in our catalog from "Through the Country Door," and I had to find one. Walmart actually had the same tree quite a few dollars less, so I ordered it. Mom is quite excited since she has been fussing to put up Christmas since I decked out the mantle in Fourth of July colors...  I think we have had a Santa somewhere in her line of vision since her stroke December 27th. She knows what month it is, but she just loves Christmas.

Here are a few shots of the loot from last night. I gave away Orange Pop, too...  Far be it from me to be outdone by the "Trunk or Treat" festivities in town.  haha..

I met the day with the ever present drive within me to try something absolutely new. Have you seen the egg molds? I posted about wanting one of these a couple years ago I think, and dear Nana Diana from her blog Nana Diana Takes a Break.... found it for me online. I ordered it then, but didn't try it until the last minute yesterday morning. I think there might be a learning curve on these egg mold thingys...  or at least there was for me! I had a little bowl for wasted attempts, and although this one was technically done wrong (eye broke too soon)...  I ended up with only a couple scrambled eggs for my lunch! haha,,  It is hard to get the yolk done enough without spreading it out. I finally learned to turn the heat really low and cover the pan. The oven might have done well, too...  But other than the fact my son exclaimed, "Oh, cool! a SKULL AND CROSSBONES!"  ... when it's clearly an owl on a limb...  haha..  it was a success.

Have a wonderful All Saint's Day. I plan to enjoy a nice piece of carrot cake and coffee and these beautiful flowers from my sister/cousin.

I have been tweaking my mix box cakes when I make them lately. It seems to add a different taste and delicious moistness to them, I think. I add an extra egg to what the box calls for, at least a teaspoon of really good vanilla, and a big dollop (couple tablespoons) of mayonnaise. I also change the oil to melted, cooled butter. Well, that adds some extra calories in the mayo and the egg... and possibly the butter but I don't know...  but the cakes are usually pretty good. I have also tried valiantly not to overbake things...  It's so hard to tell with me....  Too much or too little...  story of my life.  See ya soon I think.

I'm not a USUALLY a skull fan, (see the little sugar skulls in the beautiful arrangement?) but since I taught Spanish and the Mexican customs so many years, I grew to appreciate and actually enjoy the tradition of Day of The Dead. It's rather like our Memorial Day .... with cookies! On this sunny November First, I do think of my dear ancestors and their lives entwined in the making of my own. Where would I with my colorful fancies be without the magic and Christian faith of my dear Aunt Matt...  the tea leaves she read, the Bible she left my mother. My own grandparents worked their whole lives to leave us a legacy of values, traditions, foods, and family... They live within us all. Leaves are falling fast from these burnt green trees. I'm trying to imagine a color bouquet in my childhood 96 crayola box that symbolizes this 2016 autumn....  I think I'll go with sienna, olive green, and a touch of yellow orange from our Sugar Maple in the front yard brought and transplanted about sixty years ago in a tin can from Indiana...  more ancestors to share my morning...

Love you all...

Whimsy and Hugs!

Missing for a while...

Sorry for the long absence. October has been a busy month with 24 days spent with Mom in the hospital. She has bounced back to almost where she was, which is wonderful! I guess one of the side effects of massive strokes can be seizures, and scarily, that's what happened to Mama on September 30th. After 24 days of adjusting the anti-seizure medicine down, she finally was awake consistently. Our doctor has a sense of humor a mile long (at times) and he swooped into the room a couple of days after she was awake and herself. She was giving me, the nurses, and even absent people a little bit of her "piece of her mind" she likes to distribute...  He came in and silently mouthed the question: "More Dylantin?" haha..  I shook my head with only half a smile, and he said softly, "Too soon."  haha..

Now this morning? a little sleep would have been lovely. But not the drug induced kind, you know.

I was up at the crack of dawn with all kinds of good ideas. I made a little hoot owl egg for my son on his way to work. He often grabs a little bite of protein breakfast here before his long days. Right now he is again exercising and losing weight with Paleo and a more common sense calorie reduction diet combined. Through the month when I was going into the hospital every day, I was also rather "good." But now... it's every bite for itself as I try to get back into the swing of things.

Happy November!

Whimsy and Hugs!

Monday, October 31, 2016