December 10, 2012

Happy Thoughts


This morning, as I look out my window at a blanket of fresh snow swirling around outside and children headed off to school all bundled up for the blustery weather, I think to myself about how happy I am to be nestled here in my house along with my little girl, feeling all nice and cozy and wonderful.

I wasn't feeling quite so joyful yesterday when the snow kept falling and falling. "Will it never end?!" I thought. My daughter just couldn't figure out why I wasn't happy about the snow and began telling me all the fun things I could do outside during the winter...sledding, making snowmen or finally wearing the snowshoes I got last winter, when there was no snow. She must have figured that I wasn't quite convinced when, exasperated, she finally said, "Well, snow is white and you LOVE white, remember?" Well, this is true. 

When I thought for a moment about all she had to say, I started to remind myself that sometimes a person just needs a different outlook on life. Lately, I've been busy with this and that, just taking in the season and trying to enjoy the moments that each day brings...obviously, I overlooked the benefits of snow :)

I really love this time of year and all its festivities. How happy everyone seems and how that joyful spirit seems to shine. It's a feeling that wish I could capture all year long.


I got a new book the other day called Every Day a Friday. Have you heard of it? It's written by Joel Osteen. I've always thought that he seems like Mr. Positive, a ray of happiness no matter the circumstances.

Anyway, I just happen to come across the book. I like thinking that God put it in my path and that reading it will perhaps give me an extra little spark and a fresh outlook. Who doesn't need that sometimes, right? I might even put my boots on and play outside today :)

Well, lovely people, I hope your week is off to a wonderful start and that you're filled to the brim with happiness. I'll be back in a few days with a decorating post.

See you soon...

Tricia ♥

November 16, 2012

Planning for Christmas and Forcing Paperwhites


Hello everyone! Happy Friday to you. I hope you all had a good week.

The weather here has been a little chilly and I've started to think more and more about the upcoming holidays, especially Christmas. I always look forward to this time of year...the hustle and bustle of getting out the holiday decorations and trying to give a cozy, festive feel to my house.

As I've done in the past, I'm forcing paperwhites again. I always like my decorating to have kind of an earthy, natural look and, of course, I can never pass up an opportunity to have fresh flowers.


Last week, I stopped at my favorite gardening shop and bought a few bulbs. I always like to use a variety of containers...some big, some small, since I never know quite what the decorating plan is until I'm arranging things around the house. You know what I mean?  

A lot of you have probably forced paperwhites before...there's not really much to it. The bulbs can be planted in either pebbles or soil. I prefer soil. I've just had the best luck with that in the past and, I figure, it's always easy to layer moss or pebbles over the top of the dirt if you decide you want a different look later. 


Then you just nestle the base of the bulbs into the dirt, give them a little water and put the container into a cool, dark room for a few days so that the roots can develop.

Once the shoots are a few inches long, I usually start added a smidge of rubbing alcohol to the water. This helps to stunt the plants' growth and keeps them from getting too leggy.

And that's pretty much it.


For whatever reason, I always tend to think of my holiday decorating in terms of color themes. Do you do that too? Some years I'll have red as an accent or green and then other times I'll try to keep everything really neutral...that's what I did last year.

This time around, I think I might go with neutrals and little bits of green. That's why I choose those rustic pots with green and white accents for my paperwhites. I'm trying to think of some other things I could incorporate.

Oh, one other thing I've bought for this year's decorating is a preserved boxwood wreath. I bought a fresh one last year and for some reason I thought it smelled like urine...ugh, gross. I ended up hanging it outside. Thankfully, the one I just got seems fine though :)

Well, that's all for today.

Have a good weekend!

Tricia

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November 01, 2012

Witchy Ways


Hi everyone! Hope you had a great Halloween. It seems like I was busy with my kids' costumes up until the last moment, but it all came together pretty well. 

Here's a few pictures of my daughter in her outfit. As she was walking up into the woods she told me that she was going to imagine she'd been flying around and just landed. See her magical broom there? She also spent a lot of time jumping around pretending to do spells and such...she's not very cooperative with it comes to taking photos. Now, if only our black cat, Maisy, was a good girl, we could have had her in the picture too...she'd be perfect for this Halloween scene.


Hope you all have a good weekend!  Do you have any fun plans?

Tricia 

October 19, 2012

This, That and the Other


Hello, lovely people. I hope all is well in your corner of the world.

Not much going on here, I've been busy with a little of this and a little of that. Much of my life, at the moment, seems to be focused on fall and all its happenings...like a lot of you, I'm sure.

The leaves here have already changed color and many of them are now carpeting the ground, fulfilling their new purpose...a form of exercise and play. The other day, as more leaves dropped all around us, we raked a bunch of them up into a big pile and had a lot of fun jumping in them. My little girl would pick up an armful, toss them into the air and they'd float down landing on her head...she'd just laugh and laugh. I mostly just worked the rake and the camera, enjoying her happiness.


As the seasons change and the weather gets crisp it makes a person want to bake more, don't you think? That's kind of how I've been feeling anyway.

Last week, I kept thinking about how good something with pumpkin sounded, but since I was a bit undecided on what that something might be, I made a spice cake instead. Topped with some cinnamon, cream-cheese frosting and a handful of pecans, it was yummy, just like I'd hoped.

So good, that I threw part of it in the garbage so that I wouldn't eat it all ;)


Speaking of food, I have a funny story for you.

The other evening, while my kids were at church, I decided to pass the time by lounging around on the couch, watching The Voice and gobbling down some crackers. So after a little me time, I finally head back to church and while I'm there I go into the bathroom, look in the mirror and discover that I've been strolling around the building with a big cracker stuck to the front of my shirt!  Good heavens, I'm so lame :)


Well anyway, I guess I should go and figure out my kids' Halloween costumes now...a witch and a hippie are their selections. The witch is coming together pretty good...the hippie, not so much.

Have a great weekend!

xo

September 07, 2012

Flower Power


Hi everyone!  Happy Friday to you!

I thought I'd show you a few photos that I took recently when my girl and and I went on a little outing to the park. We're so lucky to live so close to such a wonderful place. It's just across the road from our neighborhood...1,600 acres of beauty and fun, full of all sorts of things to do...walk, bike, swim, ski, golf and ride horses, just to name a few. I guess I should add photography to that list too, shouldn't I?! 

Up near the community center there's a little flower garden brimming with all sorts of pretty plants...roses, zinnas, cosmos...too many to list, really. Anyway, that's where we went to snap a few photos shortly before the sun completely hid itself behind the trees.


My daughter had so much fun singing and dancing...pretending she was putting on a show for me while I sat on the bench. I think I told you last time how she started Kindergarten this week...well, it couldn't have been worse timing because she has been so sick with pneumonia that so she was only able to go to school for one day!  

I'm praying that next week has better things in store for us.


On a happier note, the weather here has been absolutely glorious! I'm trying to get outside and enjoy it as much as I can. It certainly is beginning to feel like autumn and while I have the urge to start decorating for the season, there's a part of me that's trying to hold onto summer for just a bit longer.

Well, so long for now. Hope you have a good weekend!

xo

August 28, 2012

Farm Fun


Hi everyone!  Hope you're doing well.

Sorry, I've been kind of absent...I've had a lot going on lately. Anyway, I'm finally getting around to sharing a few photos that I took a couple of weeks ago when my kids and I visited the Oliver Kelley farm.

I wish I would've been able to get more pictures, but my camera battery died almost as soon as I got there. I know...great planning on my part! I threw a few other photos into this post that I took recently...ones that have a farmy-feel to them just to mix it up a bit. But anyway, maybe I should share a few tidbits about our outing since I don't have a whole lot to show you.

The first thing I love about this farm, is that it's located not too far from where I live. Situated just off the highway, down a long dirt road, it's nestled behind a grove of trees alongside the Mississippi river...such a pretty setting. I kind of feel like it's a little hidden gem. The thing that makes it so interesting is that it's a working farm from the 1860's. The workers dress in period clothing and carry out the typical farm duties from that era, such as plowing the fields, gardening and tending animals. Visitors are welcome to join in, if they like, too.


If I remember correctly, the farm has a total of sixty-two animals. We found many of them freely wandering and grazing on the land. We'd be standing there and a huge ox would meander past or a group of pigs. I can't think...what would a group of pigs be called? A herd? Anyway, we loved it.


We had to laugh when we saw this pig rolling around in a muddy hole. He seemed so happy!


Of all the animals there, guess what my kids loved the most? The kittens! Something we see plenty of every single day. I have to admit, those kitties were pretty darn cute. I wish I could've gotten a photo, but they were so crazy running this way and that, that it just looked like a blur. One of the guys there told us we could take the little cuties home with us, if we'd like. Yeah, we wanted to, but we have our hands full with the two we have now. This is the sort of face I got when I told my kids no...over and over.


Lastly, let me show you this guy. He was quite the character! From the first moment I saw him, until the last, he spent all his time strutting around this coop, looking at all the other chickens inside and crowing. Round and round he walked...peering in. Isn't he handsome fellow?


I think having a few chickens around would be such good entertainment. We had ducks once and found them to be so funny! Well, that's all for my day of farm fun. I hope you enjoyed it.

Best wishes for a wonderful week!

xo

August 17, 2012

In the Bag


Hello, my lovelies. I hope you've had a wonderful week.

I want to start out by saying thank you for all the love you gave me about the passing of my sweet, old dog, Murphy. Your kind words mean the world to me. I can see that a lot of you share the same love of animals that I do.

As for today's post, I'm not feeling particularly talkative. I mostly just wanted to post a few photos that I took the other day. My hydrangeas are starting to fade, so I thought I'd cut a few and put them in this pretty woven bag. When life gives me flowers, I take pictures. 


The light was so nice. It had that warm glow that sunset brings...little bands of gold twinkling through the leaves. It's been rather dry this summer so some of the leaves are starting to fall. It makes me think that autumn is just around the corner. Although it's such a pretty season, I wish summer didn't end so soon.


Well, that's all for today. I hope you're enjoying the last days of summer. Best wishes for a beautiful weekend :)

xo

July 20, 2012

A New Post...Finally


Hello? Hello? Is anybody out there?

I've been away from my blog for so long that I'm starting to wonder. I stayed up until the wee hours last night uploading photos for this post because every single day, for about two weeks now, I've been telling myself that I need to give my blog some love.

But then you know what happens? I start playing with the kids or eating a cucumber sandwich or doing laundry or making no bake cookies or eating no bake cookies or painting the bathroom and, before I know it, another day has passed. Sigh.

Anyway, I finally managed to pull a few things together and take some photos.


Lucky for me, the temperature was a wee bit cooler yesterday when I was shooting this group of pictures. Holy cow, has it been hot and humid!  It was so wonderful to be outside enjoying the weather. There was a little bit of a breeze too...that's always nice. I enjoyed every minute of it, except for when I almost stepped on a snake. Yeah, that part wasn't so good.


I stopped by my favorite garden center this week and purchased a few pots of English Lavender and after looking at how pretty they were, thought I'd pair one with a few other things for a simple tablesetting. I got out a bottle of lemonade that had been stashed in the cupboard...something that I'd forgotten all about until just the other day. And, of course, I added one of my favorite things to the mix, other than the flowers...fruit.

I could just imagine us sitting here in the dappled sun, chatting about the day's happenings and having something to drink and nibble on. Wouldn't that be nice?


The weather calls for lots of sunshine today and I'm looking forward to fun and time spent visiting with my family. Anyway, I'm hoping that's how it works out...my little girl isn't feeling so well. This is birthday week around here. My mom, dad, father-in-law and brother-in-law all have their b-days, so tonight we're supposed to be having our festivities. Lot's to do, so I'll bid you farewell for now.

Hope you have a great weekend!

xo

July 03, 2012

I Like Cake and Summer and Strawberries


So, here it is July already and, I don't know about you, but I feel like the summer is flying by. Living in Minnesota, I tend to think about that a lot since the season doesn't last too long. Do I mind that it currently feels like I'm living in a furnace and I'm going to melt? Noooo, for me, it's all good.


Except for mosquitoes, I pretty much love everything that summer brings...the smell of fresh cut grass, warm breezes, flip-flops, buzzing bees, flowers and fruit. Ahhh, it's all so wonderful!

I bought something last week that always makes me think of summer...strawberries. Some on plants...some in packages. I like strawberries. And since I also like cake, I made a cake with strawberries.


There's someone else in our family who also really likes cake...or any kind of sweet for that matter. Let me give you a hint...she's little, cute, and very mischievous. Yep, that would be my daughter. I have to tell you, she was sooo excited to eat this particular cake. I think the little strawberries and piles of whipped cream were calling her name.

When I went outside to take my photos, she asked me if I was going to do it down by the road so everyone could see my cake creation :) Ummm, that would be a...no. Then, when I was finished and came back in the house, she had plates already set at the table and was yelling, "Take your places everyone!" It was quite the event apparently.


I'm thinking that I might make that cake again tomorrow for Fourth of July...maybe with blueberries too. It would be the perfect festive color combination. I know one or two people who would be happy about it :)

xo

June 14, 2012

Freshening Up and Summer Fun


Hi everyone!! Oh, how I've missed you.

On the off chance you've been sitting around, wondering to yourself, "Gee, where's Tricia?" let me tell you that my computer decided to quit working. And since I have a lame phone and no laptop, I've been in a state of limbo since my new computer arrived, which it finally did. Yay!!

Anyway, since I wasn't spending time online, I freshened things up around my house a bit instead. I'd been keeping a watchful eye on my neighbor's peonies...waiting...waiting...waiting for them to bloom so I could talk her out of a few. She happily obliged.  


I actually took more than a few. I filled a big bucket full of blooms for my living room and then once they started to fade, I thinned them out and moved them into the dining room. Oh, aren't peonies such a pretty flower?!



Okay, just so I can pretend this cute photo of my son is somehow related to all the other pictures in this post, I'll tell you that the window to the dining room is right there behind him. See? Now it fits in with all the others :)


Oh, one last thing, I have to show you something new that I added to the dining room...our summer fun list. After I saw the one that Tara at Between You and Me made, I decided that we needed one too. My daughter sure loved that project. She was coming up with totally random things that had nothing to do with fun though...like that her brother couldn't eat any apples. What? In her mind, he eats way too many apparently. A lot of the things on our list did seem to involve food. Doesn't a s'more and picking fresh strawberries sound good?  

I used a chalk marker to write out my list. Have you ever tried one of those? Wow..loved that thing. I got it from Tracy at Loving Pretty Thingsalong with a bunch of other goodies that I had won in a giveaway she held awhile back. Thanks, Tracy :)


Well, people, that's that.  Hope you're having a stellar week :)

xo


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Feathered Nest Friday

May 31, 2012

Very Cherry...and an Almond Oatmeal Crust


Happy Thursday to you!  Just thought I'd pop in for a quick hello

Last weekend was pretty wonderful here...warm weather, time with my family and, of course, food. We had a get together at my parents' house on Monday. Our gatherings always involve something to nibble on and, while we all tend to really watch what we eat, we did decide to make an exception that day, splurge and have dessert.

Our minds were all aflutter with possibilities. "Oh, what should we have?" we wondered. My sister eventually came up with the idea of ice cream with a smorgasbord of toppings. Yes, it's true...we went crazy with the idea. There was to be no half-hearted treats here. It was a feast for the eyes, as well as the taste buds....strawberries, pineapple, chocolate, caramel, crushed cookies...the list went on and on.

I very rarely buy ice cream, not to mention all the goodies that go on top, so needless to say, my children were thrilled!


Although I've been vowing to stop, I spent a lot of time baking last week...trying to come up with a simple, yet delicious sweet crust.  Why I do this to myself? I don't know.

While one would normally think of eating ice cream in a bowl or a cone, I figured that a crust would be a good base for our dessert and that way I could test my recipe on everyone too! Excellent plan, don't you think? My first attempts at playing crust creator resulted in something that was a bit too crunchy, to say the least, but I finally got it to where I want it...a nice and chewy oatmeal crust with a hint of almond.


While I do admit to having a sweet tooth, I also really love fruit. As I was preparing my dessert and getting ready for the all important taste test, I thought about the bag of cherries that I had just bought. Ripe and red, I figured they'd look and taste pretty good with that oatmeal crust and a bit of chocolate. Ummm, yes...it was very good.  A little too much so, since I had another "taste test" later that day ;)



Almond Oatmeal Crust

Makes four 4" tart crusts.

  • 1 3/4 generous cup quick oats 
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup almond meal/flour
  • 1/4 cup oat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 tablespoon honey

In a medium size bowl, combine the quick oats, brown sugar, almond meal, oat flour, cinnamon and salt. Set aside. In a separate container, melt the butter and then add the almond extract and the honey. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir well.

Divide the mixture among four mini tart pans with removable bottoms, being sure to press the raw crust into the sides and bottom of the pan. Place the tart tins on a cookie sheet and bake at 325 degrees for approximately 13-15 minutes. Do not overbake or the crust may get too hard. Let the crust cool and then remove it from the pans.

Top it with whatever your little heart desires...or just eat it like a big cookie. Yes, it's very good that way too :)

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Well, lovely people, that's all I have for today.  Hope you have a great weekend!

xo