September 30, 2009


Okay people, I am so excited!

I should preface this by coming clean with the fact that I

am not a


I was when I was a kid - and maybe in my early twenties -

but sometime after that

the crafty left me and I became

a shopping-kind-of-girl.

Well, these days I am an


so I decided maybe it was time I did some


and see if I could


the crafty-kind-of-girl.

So, here's what I found...

maybe I'm not so crafty


I'm a pretty good copier! (thank you oh thank you sweet Sarah at Thrify Decor Chick for allowing girls like me to copy your creative genius!).

Anyway, the other day I was over at Sarah's place oohing and goohing over her cute ideas and I ran across a beautiful Fall floral arrangement she made using a Southern Living Bucket.

So, back when I was employed I never bought the SL bucket and when I saw Sarah's arrangement I said to myself, "self, you should have bought that bucket back before you became unemployed."

Okay, so much for the bucket, right?

Actually, no!

Lo' and behold, the next day I'm roaming around my neighborhood "junk" store and what do I come across but the SL bucket priced at a mere $5.95!


People, that kind of stuff never happens to me!

Okay, bottom line is this...I took my $5.95 bucket, used Sarah's arrangement


my inspiration



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I made it!

And yes,

I feel a real sense of accomplishment!

And yes,

that gets me excited!

A Gift To The Soul...

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tran quil li ty


quality or state of being tranquil; calmness; peacefulness; quiet; serenity.


Such a lovely "place".

What is your idea of tranquility?

What takes you there?

To that place of calm and peace?

Where serenity surrounds you?

Do you actually have to "go" somewhere to find it


is it a state of mind you achieve through prayer

or meditation?

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To achieve a state of tranquility do you need to be surrounded by "beauty"

or nature

or a special someone?

Or is it a place you can go all by yourself?

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Perhaps you are able to find it in a mixture of all these things.

What if we allowed ourselves to take fifteen minutes each day to go there?

We get so caught up in the world.

In the news,

the weather,

the sports.

In the homework,

the laundry...

You get my drift.

If we would just take a few minutes every day to find our "tranquility"

maybe our blood pressure wouldn't be quiet so high.

Maybe we'd get just a few more minutes of sleep each night.

Perhaps fears
wouldn't lurk like giants in the shadows of the mind.

And self doubt would find another place to live.

So I ask you, how do you find your tranquility?

Is it in the sunrise with a cup of coffee

or maybe the porch or lawn in the late afternoon?

Is it in the eyes of a child

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or a game of fetch with a pet?

Is it in mountains,

or the ocean,

or the trees?

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The list could go on and on.


every day...

set a goal to find it...

search it out...

it is ours for the taking...

a gift we can give to our own heart and soul.

September 28, 2009

Pumpkin Patch...

October is just around the corner...

Which means it is about time to start seeing these in your



Don't you?

I also love seeing a CORN MAZE...

although I've never actually been through one.

I may have to gather up my niece and nephew

and see if they will go through the one in their


with me.

Sounds fun, huh?

Each year we carve a pumpkin...

It's the great TRADITION, Charlie Brown!

It is really fun to look back over the previous year's pictures

and see how they've changed

and what we were doing from year to year.

McKae and Taylor Halloween 2008...

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Jessica, McKae, me and Taylor Halloween 2007

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Do you think they'll ever outgrow

pumpkin carvin'

with Mimi?

Nah, surely not!

September 27, 2009

Chococlate Decadence...

A few days ago Mary over at

One Perfect Bite

posted a recipe for

Chocolate and Hazelnut Pie With Vanilla Ice Cream.

I took one look at it and knew I had to make it for

my sweet sister-in-law Sandra.

She loves chocolate pie and from the looks of this recipe it appeared to be the

ultimate in chocolate pie!

It just so happens that Sandra's birthday is next week so we

celebrated early

over the weekend with a surf and turf birthday dinner.

I served the pie after dinner and it was a huge hit

so I thought I'd share the link to this

chocolate decadence

with each of you.

Mary's blog is

packed full of wonderful recipes

so you may find that you want to

become a regular visitor.

I drop by there a couple of times a week and have snagged

some pretty yummy recipes along the way.

I believe you'll enjoy it it too and

might even find your inner cooking goddess


right in to the kitchen!

September 26, 2009

I Am A Traditionalist...

I am a traditionalist.

Family and tradition are at the core of who I am. One of my most favorite traditions is that of our annual Dove Days celebration.

Dove Days started out as a small get-together of six friends and their families. They would gather for the weekend, do a little dove hunting, have a bar-b-que and basically use this yearly event to celebrate their friendship.

Twenty-five years later the small get-together has grown in to a group of over eighty people who gather for the weekend, do a little dove hunting, have a 3-day bar-b-que and celebrate their friendship!

The most amazing thing about these six friends is the fact that they have been enjoying this crazy thing we call life together for the past sixty something years – give or take a few. And through these years they have brought together a unique group of individuals, in some form or fashion, to develop what we refer to as our Dove Days family.

We just completed our 25th annual Dove Days celebration. Over that weekend I took a step back and had a good look at those six men who have had a direct influence on who I am as a person.

And who am I?

Well, one thing is for sure, I am a traditionalist.

And that is one of the qualities I must have acquired from them.

They've taught me the lesson of friendship throughout my life...the importance of nurturing friendship through love and laughter, through trials and sorrow, through births and loss through forgiveness and through tradition.

Because of each of them, I am blessed...and I am thankful.

***Photos courtesy of Cory Hendricks-Seebackwards Photography -

September 24, 2009

And I'm Off...

You know those girls you see in the gym who look all cute and sporty in their color-coordinated work out suits?

Their hair is pulled back in a spiffy little pony, nice rosy glow to their cheeks, maybe a slight bit of perspiration on their brow?

They have rock-hard abs, a tight tush and not a single jiggle can be seen from their arms.

Well, let's just make one thing perfectly clear - I am NOT one of those girls.

Oh NO, I could not be FURTHER from one of those girls.

Let's just get the truth out there. I am not a fan of exercise.

I have always hated the idea of perspiration and, quiet frankly, never wanted mine or that of anyone else to touch me. And, yes, that includes the sweat of the man I love and small children!

Now, those of you who know me are all too aware of my rather compulsive personality.
Whether it be related to Texas Hold'em, collecting (let's just not talk the pumpkins or the dishware or the music) or my love of all things food. You're getting the picture, right?

Unfortunately my compulsiveness does not carry over to exercise.

Lord, oh Lord how I do wish that it would.

I know of people who claim to be addicted to the rush of exercise. They claim it takes them to some special place - a special exercise world where everything becomes golden.

As far as I can tell the only place exercise has ever taken me is to my own little version of hell. In this place I become a huffing, puffing, dripping-wet, red-faced, uncoordinated, overweight, generic middle-aged white woman.

And let me tell you folks, when I get there, I ain't pretty. Not inside or out. In fact, I become angry...and dangerous!

With the obvious out there on the table I'll go ahead and say that I fully acknowledge the benefits of exercise.

I understand that as a person living with Multiple Sclerosis exercise is essential to my ability to continue to MOVE long term.

I understand exercise is essential to weight loss and that with weight loss comes more health benefits than I care to discuss here today.

I understand that it is time (AGAIN) that I commit myself to an exercise plan. (This time I'm saying a little prayer, Lord, please help me become obsessed with exercise. Amen.)

Once again the exercise bike and I are going to become one...blah, blah, blah...

It shouldn't be too hard, should it? After all, there was a time we were pretty tight.

Okay, who am I kidding? Starting over is never fun. It is almost as if the bike remembers the abandonment from the previous "commitment to an exercise plan" and purposely turns up the resistance while no one is looking.

Maybe that old saying "hell hath no fury" applies to a scorned piece of exercise equipment too?

I've got my non-color-coordinated work out clothes now and I'm off to the gym. Somewhere in the back of my mind I can already hear the conversation I'm about to have...

Me: "Please forgive me Mr. Bike. When I left you it really wasn't personal. It was me, not you. All I ask is that you give me another chance".

Mr. Bike, "Oh I'll give you another chance all right."

**Silently the resistance meter increases higher and higher**

Mr. Bike, "Now peddle faster you huffing, puffing, dripping-wet, red-faced, uncoordinated, overweight, generic middle-aged white woman!"

Hmmm, I can only imagine the fun that awaits me...

September 23, 2009

Fall Tablescape...

I MUST share this with those of you who enjoy a
GORGEOUS tablescape.

Michelle over at sweetsomethingdesign has put together in my opinion THE perfect fall table.

I am so impressed - not only with the beautiful choice of colors and texture but with the detail she is able to share through her lovely photographs.

I hope you will click over and check out her Fall table -

it has inspired me

and I think it will do the same for you!

September 22, 2009

Half The Fun...

I just love the Emile Henry red tabletop collection. I always stop by and admire the pieces when I visit our local Williams Sonoma. Aren't they pretty?

The Salad/Dessert Plates...

The Mugs...


The Butter Pot...

Ruffled Serving Dish...

Ruffled Cake Plate...

I've read all about the quality of the Emile Henry product. They are "handcrafted of fine Burgundian clay, then finished with an extremely durable glaze. They are microwavable; freezer, oven and dishwasher safe." Of course, these are all lovely qualities; however, they are also a bit on the pricey side for breakfast dishes so even though I do admire them I choose to pass them on by.

Yesterday I visited a local Home Goods/TJ Maxx and you can imagine my excitement when I ran across these for $3.99 each!

Precious red and white polka-dot mugs with a matching creme pitcher...

Mug, creme pitcher and what I plan to use as a sugar bowl...

Too bad they didn't have the matching breakfast plates or the serving pieces...all that really means though is that the search continues...and after all, isn't the search half the fun?

September 21, 2009

Welcome Fall...

Out of curiosity I did a little research and learned that, officially, Fall begins tomorrow, September 22, 2009 at 5:18 pm EDT. And to this I say, finally! Of course, before I get too excited I need to remind myself that I do in fact live in Texas. This basically means there is a large possibility that I won't see Fall temperatures until well after Christmas. Now, with this disclaimer out of the way, I officially proclaim the Season of the Pumpkin is upon us.

The pumpkin collection is out of the attic and scattered throughout much of our house. I feel certain each pumpkin will be moved from one spot to another several times over the next few days until I find their perfect spot for TSOTP 2009 but I couldn't wait to share a few of them with you so here's a preview for now...

Wishing you a happy Fall, a blessed harvest and a joyful Season of the Pumpkin!

September 20, 2009

Poulet Roti...

Some of you may remember when a few weeks ago Mark and I (I really - thank goodness he is such a good sport!) decided it was high time we took a stab at Julia Child's Boeuf Bourguignon recipe. Afterward I was oh-so-proud and threw out the mention that soon I would be on may way to Central Market to purchase "the perfect roasting chicken". Well, it took me a little longer than expected but today was the day and let's just say it out loud - I conquered that bird!

Now, according to Julia, it "does not require years of training to produce a juicy, brown, buttery, crisp-skinned, heavenly bird". Today I learned she was exactly right. It does however require a lot of babysitting! Basically, I basted and turned that bird (a 90 degree turn each time) every 10 minutes for an hour and a half. The result - a juicy brown, buttery, crisp-skinned, heavenly bird!

I think it is important to mention that I have roasted chickens before - and they were good - but nothing to compare to this. Maybe it was all the butter Julia asked me to bath the bird in? Anyway, in Mastering The Art of French Cooking Julia suggests the following sides with Poulet Roti, otherwise known as Roast Chicken. At her suggestion I went with Gratin Dauphinois (Scalloped Potatoes), Green Peas and dinner rolls. And so here you have attempt at a simple, elegant, French dinner for my sweet husband and I...

The table...

And the bird...

And those yummy potatoes...


So if Julia were around I wonder which of her recipes she would suggest I try next? One thing for sure, no matter the recipe, if I'll follow her lead it is sure to be delightful. Once again - Bon Appétit!

The Season of The Pumpkin Draws Near...

Okay, so today I couldn't stand it any more. I had to have a pumpkin on the premise and quick!

I figured a great place to start was the front porch. I mean seriously, who can resist the idea of having a gorgeous basket full of Fall colors and a sweet pumpkin on their porch? Certainly not me...

September 18, 2009


Rarely do I find a restaurant that can literally transport me to another time or place. Last night we left the hotel expecting to have a nice Italian meal and, remarkably, we ended up in Italy.

To give credit where credit is due, our niece Laura told us about Vespaio, claiming it as her favorite restaurant in Austin. I had read about it in the past but had never had the pleasure of having a meal there.

The restaurant is located along a fun, funky and trendy section of South Congress Avenue, otherwise known as SoCo. When the cab driver dropped us off there was a young, James Dean looking guy standing in front of the restaurant playing the saxophone for tips. He was very pretty in a bad-boy-needs-a-bath kind of way; however, his lack of hygene was completely over-shadowed by the music he made. Imagine our pleasure when the hostess sat us right inside the window from where he was playing and we were able to enjoy his beautiful music throughout dinner.

We started with a little antipasti and a gorgeous Italian red wine. We enjoyed a beautiful peach stuffed with goat cheese, an assortment of olives and slices of salami with an olive tapenade. These were served with warm, fresh-baked bread.

For his entree Mark chose the Seafood Cioppino which is basically a seafood stew. It was full of clams, shrimp, tuna, squid and fresh tomatoes in a wine sauce and served with the most gorgeous toasted baguette. I had a taste of the broth, clam and bread together and it was sinfully delicious. In fact, I could have made a meal out of just the broth and the bread.

My entree was the Vitello Saltimbocca. It is described on the menu as sautéed veal scallopine layered with sage & thinly sliced Parma prosciutto with wilted baby spinach finished with a veal-lemon butter. This dish is to me what Italy is all about. It was simple, beautiful and rustic.

We shared a side order of homemade linguine tossed with shallots, garlic, fresh basil & extra virgin olive oil. Comfort food at its best!

After dinner we went in to the bar for a drink. I had already expressed to Mark that dinner at Vespaio had transported me to what must be Italy. Everything was so LOVELY and SIMPLE and ROMANTIC and COZY. As I understand, it is an Italian tradition to drink Limoncello as an after dinner "digestivo" and as it just so happens I love tradition and Limoncello so I proposed a toast to my favorite dinner companion, Italy and the lovely Vespaio. Acclamazioni!