Thursday, March 26, 2009

Blue Skies

Mom & Me
I'm taking a trip to see my Mama. She is turning 86 this Saturday and I haven't seen her in 1 1/2 years. When we moved to Kansas I thought I'd be able to fly and see her more often, and I'm so very thankful that I am finally able to see her. She is an angel on earth, the best Mom in the whole wide world. So very patient, so kind and gentle. Everyone that knows here loves her, but not more than her kids. She taught me how to cook, sew, crochet, knit, craft, but her biggest gifts where teaching me how to be giving and loving. Such an example of what a person should be, and how to treat others, she is my mentor and I love her dearly! I'll be back next week and will catch up with you all then!


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Speechless

I can't tell you what a big teary- eyed sap I was when my friend Martha told me to come over to her blog and that she had a surprise for me. To my complete astonishment she passed on to me the Sisterhood Award. I've have been blogging for a couple of months, and had no idea that I would meet so many nice people. But Martha, especially has just been such a sweetheart. The fact that we both live in the same state makes it an added bonus, and the fact that we are in driving distance makes it even more exciting that we'll actually get to meet each other someday.
For those of you who are familiar with her blog, already know what a wealth of information she shares. Gourmet cook, Master Gardner, lover of Antiques, and just a joy to visit each day. Thank you so very much for passing these awards to me!

She also sent along this award which really touched me as well and it came with this message:

"These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind of bloggers aim to find and to be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated."

I would like to send these awards along to Cathy
and to Valerie !!

Cathy has a wonderful cooking blog and has been very generous sharing multiple tidbits of information on blogging tips, help with photography and has helped me become a better blogger. Always up and positive with nothing but kindness and support at all times, she deserves special recognition!!!!

Valerie is just a breath of sunshine. When you visit her blog you can just feel her enthusiasm for her home and her family. She has two beautiful children and is such a goof Mommy to them. I would recommend going on over for a visit and sitting on her front porch for a spell!

Art Room

I got this hutch top for "free" when I was garage-selling last summer. It was painted heather blue, so I took it outside, got my super-grit sandpaper and showed it who was boss. I finally just now got around to painting it, although still want to put a matte coat on...couldn't wait to put it up on my table and organize my supplies. Eventually I will have dan-the-man hang it up with some monster toggle bolts, but I just couldn't wait!
These are some wood letters I bought and finally painted to remind me what I should be doing each and everyday!

I can see my rubber stamps now instead of having them shoved in a Tupperware box in the closet. I scrapbook more than I stamp, but I love looking at them. They make me smile! It's so much nicer having the frequent flyer art supplies within reach. I am much more apt to get things done if it's easy to get to. Plus seeing everything on the hutch makes me want to do something creative!


Monday, March 23, 2009

Celebrating Spring

My daughter brought me some sunflowers when she was visiting from college and I added some forsythia from out in the garden.
Here's a "SPRING" banner that I made just to jazz things up around here. I was inspired by Cherry, and her adorable banner she made. I couldn't find any cute scalloped chipboard like she used, so I improvised. I also couldn't find any die-cut letters larger enough for the letters, so I used some I had bought. In hind site, the letters should be darker in color, but it's a happy little banner.

Here's a close up. The light blue swirls actually have glitter on them, but my camera isn't very good doing close ups.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Farm Tours

You know the anticipation you had as a child when your parents told you they were taking you to Disneyland? (okay...I still LOVE going to Disneyland) That is the feeling I get when I know that the upcoming Spring Farm Tours are going to take place. Now mind you, it isn't until May....but I'm already giddy with excitement. I thought I would share a few pictures from years past with you. I would encourage you to see if you have something similar where you live, because NOTHING beats a day of fresh air and getting to hang out with my mentors. A great web site to find out what farms are near you is www.localharvest.org This is the gravel pathway up to SOMERSET Ridge Winery. Yes, we have wineries in Kansas, and it's great wine. My girlfriend from California bought a case of wine from here...yes, it's that good! Watch out Napa! The owners Dennis & Cindy Reynolds are the nicest people. They always have special tastings and events going on, and they drive to visit them......just heaven.
This is an iris farm situated out in the country where you can buy bulbs. The colors in the photograph don't do these beauties justice.Rambling roses and a picket fence....does it get any better than that?

These are Alpacas. My Dad had an Alpaca sweater and I remember how incredible soft it was when I was a kid. They have a wonderful assortment of yarns and sweaters at this Alpaca Farm.


This is one of my favorite farms to visit. This is Dee of Cy & Dee's Blackberries. Two of these nicest people ever. Every year it's such a treat to go visit, and Dee always has something fantastic that she has baked. This year it was fresh blackberry cobbler with homemade vanilla ice cream. Now c'mon....it really doesn't get any better than that!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Someone's 21!!!

My baby boy turns 21 today! Where did the time go? He's turned out to be such a fine young man. I'm ridiculously proud of him. He has a heart of gold. Makes me cry with his acts of kindness and makes me laugh all the time. Always happy, loves to joke around. NEVER has a problem saying "I love you Mom" in front of ANYONE.
Lover of music, lover of life...Always curious to learn. Crazy about animals, his friends, and loves his family like there is no tomorrow.

Happy Birthday Son!!!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Circle of Kindness

These books are the most wonderful, magical books I have ever read. I found the last one first when I was meandering around Borders one day. I really believe sometimes we are just drawn to things for a reason. Like we are being guided, attracted to something, even though we don't quit understand why at the time.

I don't even know how to describe the books...how to categorize them, except that you will become enchanted by them, and transformed by them. They are visually wonderful. They will remind you of when you were a child and were given a brand new pop up book. The excitement and anticipation of opening up the special contents within.

The stories themselves are enchanting. Making us realize the potential we have within ourselves. Gently reminding us that random acts of kindness and love are what life is all about.

You will be transformed into a lovely world that will bring out the goodness in all of our hearts.

I realize the photographs are small. The authors are Jana Kolpen and Mary Tiegreen.
They can easily be found on Amazon. I hope you will enjoy them as much as I have and would be interested in hearing back from anyone who has read them.




Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Fishes

Just a completely random picture I took that doesn't have anything to do anything ....just my mood, feeling very tranquil. Enjoying my family, this lovely weather and feeling very peaceful inside my soul. I can imagine watching these fish swim again. Reveling in the colors, how each one is different....and how relaxing it always is to be near water...a pond or stream, or ocean. The sounds, the smells and it's calming charms.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

3 Day Countdown

Three days until Spring.....just thought I'd share a few pictures around the yard. There are those of us who are relishing this wonderful spring like air....finally things are turning the corner in the Midwest and it feels good! Patiently waiting for my daffodils to open up.
Waiting eve more patiently for my lilacs to open up. When I lived in California, I would drive AN HOUR to a farm out in the country just to buy fresh cut lilacs, and NOW....I have them growing in my yard. Did I mention I am in heaven?

Dan-the-man started our garden and planted some spinach. I love spinach sauteed with olive oil and salt and pepper....or creamed spinach...or spinach salad...don't get me started!


Here we have some a couple varieties of lettuce. Nothing better than going out to your own back yard to pick a salad. Nothing beats that. Unless you are eating that salad with the man you love, and maybe drinking a nice glass of refreshing Vignoles from Stone Hill Winery...while sitting outside, listening to the birds chatter. That might be better!



Monday, March 16, 2009

Amaretto Cake

This cake is simple to make and is always a crowd pleaser. I personally like it drenched in the glaze and adjust the glaze quantity to my liking.

Cake


1 package yellow cake mix

4 eggs

3 1/2 ou.) package of instant vanilla pudding

2 Tbs. amaretto liqueur

1/2 c. water

1/2 c. vegetable oil

1/2 tsp. almond extract

1/4-1/2 c. lightly toasted sliced almonds


Glaze

1/2 c. amaretto liqueur

1c. confectioner's sugar


Preheat oven to 350 degree. Grease and flour bundt pan. Put toasted almonds in the bottom of the pan. Mix all cake ingredients and pour into pan (I told you this was EASY). Bake for 40-45 minutes. Check to make sure done with a toothpick. Mix amaretto glaze. While cake is still warm, poke holes and pour glaze over cake. Let cake cool at least 2 hours before removing from pan.


Note: You can add more amaretto according to your taste.





Sunday, March 15, 2009

Downtown Kansas City

This store is one of the treasure at the downtown City Market. It's called PLANTERS and it's an institution for anyone who loves to garden. The company was founded in 1924 by a German immigrant and he moved to the current location in 1928. The actual building was built in 1870! It has hardwood floors that creek and old-fashion seeds bins that are built along the wall.
For those of us who prefers to buy flowers or herbs they always have a nice selection.
Now you have to remember, it just thawed out around here, so this is showing about 1/8th of the merchandise the usually have out for sale in front of the store. (I nabbed the periwinkle blue and yellow pansies on the bottom rack!)

Inside is trouble, trouble, trouble. Not only do they have everything you could possibly think of to help you maintain your garden, they have home goods. Gnomes, tea towels, aprons, Easter decorations, nice soaps and lotions...treasure around every corner.

This is the section where I really get into mischief. Any they have every spice you can think of under the sun at very reasonable prices. If you ever find yourself in Kansas City, be sure to stop on by. You won't be disappointed. You can also go to the Steamboat Arabia Museum which is probably 50 steps away. It's another Kansas City treasure!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Glitterama!!

Aren't these just the cutest little things? Where were STICKLES when I was growing up? My whole life might have changed direction. If I could only have one supply in my art room, this would be it. I use it on almost everything. Anything that could use an extra little somethin' somethin'...and trust me that's just about everything! My daughter and I took a soldering class up at Urban Arts and Crafts and when we got home, we made jewelry charms embellished with STICKLES. There isn't a card I make that doesn't get a squirt on it. A firm believer in fairy dust, it's the next best thing I can get my hands on, and now they make some colors in SUPERSIZE!!! That's right. I give you this warning now, watch out! Once you start using it, there's no turning back. Everything will look blase...you'll want it on everything.


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Grand Houses

Pretty spectacular isn't it? The craftsmanship that went into the homes built over a century ago almost seem like a lost art. When you walk inside and see the beautiful woodwork, built in cabinets, the hardwood floors...it takes your breath away. I always wonder who built it, what did they do for a living, what was it like when they moved in? It warms my heart when I see people lovingly care for a historic home. I have always believed that homes need love like people, and they are happiest when they have a family inside them. Have you ever read "The Little House" by Virginia Lee Burton? Then you know exactly what I'm talking about it. If not, then I'd head down to the nearest book store. Oh, and by the way, it's in the children's section. The best place in the store, almost up there with cookbooks!


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Day Dreaming About Spring...and Jane Austen

We've had two days of rain mixed in with occasional thunderstorms....which I love! I like turning off all the lights in the house, lighting a few candles and watching the storms roll in. Usual from the west, heading east. Our bedroom is upstairs and I love hearing the rain coming down on the roof and being in bed, safe, cozy and warm. I even have a rain c.d...it has a mix of birds and piano in it too, so relaxing to listen to....and then I want a cup of tea, followed by the urge to bake something....then an urge to watch Emma on dvd for the 487th time usually follows. I love the evening scenes in the movie when the houses are lit by candlelight, all the ladies looking so elegant and the men so handsome. I love the Regency era and Jane Austen.

What is your favorite Jane Austen movie???

Monday, March 9, 2009

M.I.A.

I might be M.I.A. for a few days because my baby girl came home from college to get some loving from her Mama! Forgive me. I will be back! Family first though!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Heavenly Flowers

Can you smell it? The wonderful intoxicating scent? Are you transformed the moment you close your eyes and deeply inhale that you are a princess laying on a bed of petals in a palace. Netting surrounds your bed and gently moves with the light breeze. It's dusk and warm sunlight and is gently streaming in, warming your mind body and soul.
What about these poppies? What comes to mind? A hillside, bathed in sunshine with the smell of fresh grass and little dew drops of mist tickling your toes as you walk basking in the warmth. Not a care in the world. In a complete state of contentment wondering how lucky you are to be alive on this glorious day.

What about these cottage flowers? Memories of walking through a magical garden, certain if you look hard enough in the most dense part of the flowers that you will see a fairy. For there could be no other place they would want to live. Laying on a leaf, gazing up at a ladybug casting a shadow above them. Hearing a cricket. Birds chirping. All is well in the world.


Thursday, March 5, 2009

French Bakeries

I don't know if I need to write any words. I'm actually probably going to make people grumpy. Thoughts will be running through your head after just looking at this photograph. You'll be asking anyone within earshot "Do we have a french bakery in town?" Then you'll be digging through the phone book, mumbling "bakeries, bakeries...bakeries"..under your breath. Yeah, the withdrawals are starting to get bad. Somehow that Hershey's Dark chocolate bar stashed in the freezer behind the frozen peas just doesn't seem interesting anymore. And how could it? You can already imagine biting into one of these luscious desserts. The lightness of the cake, the creaminess of the filing and the satisfaction of a good 70% plus dark chocolate melting in your mouth. But wait....there's hope! A brand new category on my blog dedicated to the GODDESSES who actually know how to make these kinds of things AND are willing to share their recipes and give step by step instructions! Please visit my new category and check out "The Gourmet Chefs" for yourself! You'll probably even find something for dinner, a side dish, and a whole bunch more. I highly recommend CATHY and MARI !



High Hat Coffee House



Isn't this one of the cutest little places? It's a little teeny, tiny coffee shop a little off the beaten path near where I live called "High Hat". They have pictures inside (maximum capacity 5 and that's including the barista!) with historical photographs back in the the day when it used to be a gas station. Thank goodness someone saw the potential for it and converted it into this unique coffee shop. In the warmer months they set up tables and chairs outside to leisurely enjoy your latte outside.

Wanna go for a cup of Joe?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Jamesport Part II

Okay....since I don't have a picture of the cake recipe, I thought I would give you a picture of a nice latte that you could have with a piece of this cake. But first, I must tell you a little story about obtaining this recipe. On one of my trip to Jamesport, as tradition we had lunch at the Gingerich Dutch Pantry . They were serving a wonderful dessert and also had a VAT O'SAUCE that you ladled on top of your cake.
Well you didn't know I died, went to heaven, and came back to share this recipe with you...did you? ANYHOW....many months later, unable to get the recipe out of my mind, and asked after the recipe and the owner Ada Mae personally came out, with her recipes in tow and shared it with me! If you every get a chance to visit this lovely community, stop by. You won't regret it!

Mystery Cake
1 1/4 c. flour
1 tsp. soda
1 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
Mix dry ingredients. Beat in one egg, add 2c. Fruit Cocktail(this is the mystery ingredient wink...wink) and mix well. Put into greased 13 x 9 pan. Top with 1/2 c. brown sugar and 1/2 cup nuts (I use pecans or walnuts). Sprinkle on top of cake and bake at 325 degrees for 40-50 minutes.
The Sauce
1/2c. butter
1/2c. cream
1c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
Mix all ingredients on stove top and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes until nice and golden. Serve over cake.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Jamesport Missou-RAH

This picture is a gentle reminder of days gone by. Take notice of the sign "Self Serve Please". This is a lovely town out in the countryside in Missouri where a very nice Mennonite community lives. This particular farmers stand always has the best produce and I only happen to come across it because I live for taking the little dirt roads and am rewarded with finds like this! Now, I didn't get a picture of the PUMPKINS I bought from him...but what the supermarket would sell for $20.00, his price was around $1.50 to $2.00! Yeah, you know what I'm talking about...the giant ones we all want on are porch during fall.

I'm always conscientious of not trying to STARE...because I want to interact, learn, and truly appreciate their way of life. It is humbling. Such a simple way of life, they take great pride in their yards, and although they don't wear any fancy colors...they choose to display brilliant colors with the flowers the plant in their yards.

Every time we go visit their community I am in awe. There is a carpenter who hand makes things for the yard..porch swings and such. I told Dan-the-man we are going down their with the truck one year and are going to get a swing, ropes, lassos and all!


I have two stops that I can't do without when I am there...the general store that has things in bulk at prices you cannot believe. (ie. a container of whole nutmegs for $2.45...yeah, that's what I'm talking about) and a wonderful restaurant that I will have to get into detail on my next post including a recipe you won't want to miss!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Another Giveaway!!!!

First I discover Cynthia's blog, which has been a slice of heaven daydreaming through all of her lovely pictures and the cutest cottage ever, and now she is having a giveaway. It's too much! If you haven't been over to visit, go check it out. I'm warming you, you won't be able to leave for hours, so grab a cup of Earl Grey tea and some cookies before you click on the link or you'll be sorry. Don't say I didn't tell you so!

Farm Chicks Giveaway!


HURRY!!!
Scramble over to the the FARMCHICKS and see what kind of trouble you can get yourself into! I can't wait for their new cookbook to come out, and I saw someone already got their mittens on a pre-ordered copy. I'm so jealous! Can't wait to try their recipes out. I still have the original article that was in Country Living magazine many moons ago about their farm party and loved them both from the start!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Acorns Everywhere!!!!

Here are the cutest little place card holder I purchased at Nell Hill's store in Atchison, Kansas.
No surprise to anyone in my family that I found fall leave & acorn confetti to put on our table!

Oh yes...Acorns are EVERYWHERE at Acorn Cottage. The kids have given up that our home looks like perpetual Fall, and for better or worse realize their Mom has an
issue when it comes to acorns. They are in the hall......

They are in tea sets. Now C'mon! How cute is that? That was a surprise one day on my desk when I went to work from a co-worker who knows my heart!

This little decoration just happened to have Acorns on it....it needed to come home with me and is on our fireplace mantle!

Nutcracker with of course a real acorn in it's mouth!


My oldest sister Barbara bought this for me for a birthday present. She's the best!


Of course there is an assortment of Acorns that I've collected or have been given as gifts over the years.

My most favorite coffee mug in the whole wide world!

A gift from my Mother....I couldn't live without! And of course if you scroll down the page a tad, you'll see me acorn plates....and there is more around the house...the acorn trim that Dan-the-Man installed above our bead board in the dining room, the acorn napkin rings from my dear friend Melinda, the acorn chocolate molds I just had to have, the acorn birdhouses out in the yard....oh yes, the list goes on and on and on.


What collections do you have that you would like to share?
(curious minds need to know )