Thursday, September 10, 2015

Five Ideas on a September Eve

1.  Lazy Girl Iced Tea ~ I love to drink iced tea.  So refreshing.  But sometimes I get tired of brewing a pitcher full every few days.  So I took a short cut one day, and found it works pretty decently.  I put a tea bag in a glass of cold water and let it sit 20 minutes.

Voila!  My berry flavored green tea infused into the water, and was tasty, even if not quite as strong as if I'd brewed it.  I leave that tea bag hanging out in my glass all day, and just refill it with water.  The berry flavor infuses the water and gives me a tasty drink all day long.  :)

2.  Put people on your weekly To-Do list ~ I'm naturally very project oriented, so on my weekly to do list, I add chores, meals, errands, and projects.  Lately I've been realizing that I have  people I want to connect with, but they get lost so easily lost in the shuffle of my projects.  So now I'm adding people to my list, and it's making a difference.  People matter so much more than projects, so this is helping me to remember to build time into my week for letters, texts, emails, and visits.

3.  Crafting with cans ~ In November I will be having a booth in my very first craft show!  I'm excited as well as anxious, hoping I can have plenty of items made and ready for the big day, along with filling Etsy orders.  I'm experimenting with some new products for the show.  These upcycled tin cans were fun to put together.  I have quite a few decorated cans that I use in my crafting...they hold paint brushes, pens and scissors, etc.  I'll be making lots of these to sell this fall, and some will even have their tin lids with little knobs on top and can function as a gift holder for wrapped candies and more!

5.  Writing letters to my little Grands ~ Living long distance from my 3 (soon to be 4!) little grandgirl and grandboys means I have to be creative in finding ways to connect with them.  We usually Face Time, which is GREAT!  But one week I decided to mail them letters.  I added pictures to the letters, so they could help Mom read it.  Please forgive my amateur grands certainly did.  :)

I hear that 3 year old Carson has his hanging on his bedroom wall, and wants to turn it over periodically so the pictures on the other side can be seen.  :)

Notice I employed some Ed Emberley books to help me with some simple drawings.  :)  The internet also helped me with some simple drawings to copy.

Eloise loves my stuffed Charlie Brown, so he usually travels with me when I go to visit her.  She's already put in her order of things Mimi should bring when baby brother is born. :)

Thank you for stopping by! 



Sunday, August 16, 2015

Two Things on a Sunday Afternoon

1.  Bran Muffins ~ Home Schooling starts back up for our son and me tomorrow.  And it's my very. last. year.  He is a Senior, the baby of the family, and this is my 23rd year of full time I have very mixed feelings.  Sad.  But glad I get to do this for one more year.  It's been a grand, wonderful, fulfilling journey.

It's always nice to have muffins ready to go for the new school year, and these are my very favorite.  Moist and easy, plus they make a ton.  You can even keep the unbaked batter in the refrigerator up to 6 weeks, and have warm muffins in a snap.

This recipe comes from my friend Debbie, and has been around for years.  You can also make some substitutions with the recipe, which is always nice.  Here are the ingredients I use:

1 cup boiling water
1 cup Bran flakes (or Raisin Bran Flakes)
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup honey
2 eggs
2 cups buttermilk (or make sour milk by adding 2 Tablespoons white vinegar to  2 scant cups regular milk)
2 1/2 cups flour (I use 1 cup whole wheat flour in this mixture)
3 tsp soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 more cups of Bran Flakes (or Raisin Bran Flakes)
chocolate chips and/or nuts to top dress muffins

I made the batter Saturday (use the directions in the original recipe) and refrigerated it.  This afternoon I baked it after top dressing each with some mini chocolate chips and pecans, making a dozen nice muffins and 8 mini loaves.  They rise up so nice and are sooooo moist and wonderful.

I froze the mini loaves for next week.  Husband and I love a little something sweet first thing in the morning with our coffee.

  .Warm right out of the oven
So good I ate two!  Shhhh....  :) 
2.  Making Lesson Plans ~ Sat down today and wrote up the work we will accomplish the first day.  Since it is still mid-August and hot, I lit a candle, drank some coffee with the fan blowing on me (haha!) and pretended it was Fall.  That's when school should start, in my book.  :)

Curriculum  for this year, along with several classes at the local high school.  How can this be the last time I will ever buy homeschool curriculum for my children?

Well, muffins and coffee will make my back-to-school morning pleasant and tasty.  Hope you give them a try soon, too!  


Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Five Favorites

1.  Sauteed Okra ~ I'm a southern girl who grew up eating fried okra.  Delish!  But alot of trouble and probably too greasy for me today.  But after reading that you can grill okra and it's delicious and non-slimy, I decided to try sauteeing it.  I left it whole, used minimal oil, and in just a couple of minutes it was done and soooo good!  Looking forward to the next batch of okra I pick from my little garden!

2.  My evening walks include this little lake in the neighborhood.  Loved the sky this particular night.
3.  Boy Doll ~ Our only granddaughter, Eloise, is getting a baby brother this Fall!  She is such a good mommy to her dollies, and spends lots of time tucking them in for naps, I asked her Mama if I could look for her a baby boy doll for her for when brother arrives.  It took some doing, but I found this sweet, soft little boy doll...he's so huggable!

I made him a knit blanket and put him in the mail this week.  Her Mama will save him for when she goes to the hospital for the birth.  I hope this little doll will help her with the adjustment of a new baby in the family.  I know she will feed him, doctor him, and tuck him in for lots of naps while singing "You Are My Sunshine."  I think she will love that he has a paci.  :)
4.  New Paints ~ As I have taken some watercolor painting lessons, (and have tons of practicing to do to be able to not giggle at my attempts,) I decided to buy the paint set the teacher recommends.  

Winsor & Newton's student set of paints only set me back $15 with a coupon for the art store in town, and I'm already a big fan.  Making the color chart above with the paints, I can already tell that the pigment is much richer than the set I was using.  When these little paint cakes get used up, I can buy tubes of that color and refill the pans, which will dry into cakes.  
This little whimsical bird was my latest attempt, with my old paints.  Yes, you can giggle at him.  :)

It's a treat when I have a quiet afternoon and can pull out my paints and play.

5. Face Timing with Granddarlings ~ All of our little grands live about 6 hours away, so I'm very thankful for Face Time and Skype.  I  like to have some fun stuff set out to use during our video chats, as they love to see things at Mimi's house.  Face timing with Eloise yesterday was so fun as she loves my Charlie Brown.  I wrapped him in a blanket (like her dolls), had him snack on play food, and then we looked at my old Eloise Wilkens book about the little girl who gets a new doll and a new baby brother. Ellie made playdoh cakes and cookies to feed Charlie through the screen.  Sweet memories made over the distance.  

Thank you for stopping by today!  
Enjoy your last weeks of summer!


Friday, July 24, 2015

Seven Sweet Things

Hello, friends!  So much has been happening around here the past month, so writing has been on the back burner.  I'm done traveling for the summer now, so am catching my breath and regrouping before school starts.  Here are a few fun blessings from the past few weeks.  :)
1)  Backing up a bit to June, I wanted to share the fun Father's Day cards I made for our Dads.  I found a site online that will let you create a word search using words that you plug in.  It arranges them all, and even lets you set if you want the words to only go forward, which I did.  These words are all things to pertain to my father in law.  I loved personalizing the cards with just the touch of a key.

2)  I love fresh grapefruit.  But cutting between all the sections, the way our parents did it was too much trouble.  So glad to figureout that you can just cut a grapefruit in slices, like an orange, and enjoy it immediately!  Pink grapefruit is sweet and delicious.  They are even good to cut up and add in a fruit salad.  Give it a try.

3)  June also allowed me to spend time with all 3 of our granddarlings.  Little Eloise is getting a baby brother this Fall!  And Carson and Sawyer are enjoying each other more and more as Sawyer is more mobile now.  Love these girls and their darlings!

4)  After searching for a necklace to go with several new summer coral colored outfits, and coming up short for just the right thing, I decided to search for a pendant to go on my long sterling silver chain.  Surprisingly, I found a great pendant with coral, cream, and turquoise in it for 50% off at JoAnns, of all places!  For $5 I got a 'new' necklace.  Going to be looking for more pendants to go with other outfits, too.  Alot less expensive than buying multiple necklaces.  And I can layer a shorter silver chain and smaller pendant with it, for a double look.

5)  In July, our daughter and family came for 3 wonderful days.  This was the first time I had to baby proof the house for Sawyer!  I love this sweet photo of him peeking at my Dad.  :)

My darling grandboys. 
6)  Walking in our country neighborhood has been one of my favorite parts of the summer.  The minute I'm on my way, I feel like I can deep breathe...physically, spiritually, and mentally.  I try to walk 2-3 miles a day, and find sunset to be the most enjoyable time of the day.  There is usually a little breeze, and the hot sun has gone behind the houses.  The farm fields are so beautiful!

The little neighborhood lakes often have mallards, herons, or geese nearby.  

This lot is one of my favorites...the house has a farm field right behind their house and the corn is gorgeous this year.  The sky at dusk is gorgeous here.

And counting baby bunnies along the way is part of my fun.  Lots this year.  Can you tell I love wildlife and nature? ;)

7)  I've gotten to do something on my bucket list this summer...take some watercolor painting classes.  I don't have a natural eye for painting, so I'm going to have to practice.  Alot!  But it's been fun to learn some techniques and I'm looking forward to learning more.

There's more!  But I'll save it for next time.
Thank you for stopping by!
Enjoy these last days of July, and take care....



Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Two Sweet Things

1. ~ Michigan Beach Town Vacation ~ We took our family vacation in early June to southwest Michigan.  We beat the crowds and heat (loved that part!)  It was such a wonderful, pleasant can come along via some photos.

This cottage near Coloma, MI was our home for 3 days.  It was clean, clean, clean...that means alot to me.  You can find information on it at this link, if you are interested.  Scott and Dawn were good hosts of this rental cottage.  We had plenty of room and a full kitchen.  We ate breakfast and dinner here, with a fun lunch out every day.  The laundry room was a big help, with all those sandy clothes.  :)  And it was could easily sleep a couple of kids on air mattresses in there.

Just a 10-15 minute walk through a wooded area to get to our own little beach ~ Hagar Shores, MI

We enjoyed walking down to it our first night there, just after a rain shower moved through.  Beautiful clouds with a sunset peeking through.

Day 1 ~ Saugatuck, MI
The historic chain ferry is a fun way to get to the town from the beach side of Saugatuck.  It is a hand cranked ferry across the Kalamazoo River.  The town is small enough that it is fun to walk and visit shops and sites.

An excellent lunch at The Mermaid Bar and Grill along the riverfront.  Our son Tanner enjoyed his shrimp.
I had read about Uncommon Roasters on  And its charm and Carmel Latte lived up to the reviews.   Trip Advisor is a great way to find good places to eat while traveling.

Oval Beach, an award winning beach in Saugatuck, was our first real beach adventure of the trip.  Feet are so happy in sand and water.

Day 2 ~ St. Joseph, MI
Our daughter and grandboys drove an hour from their home and met us here for the day.  Sweet Carson must have thought the beach was the world's best sandbox.

And baby Sawyer was all eyes and ears during his first beach visit.  So fun to make this memory with them.

We ended the evening with a fire in our cottage's fire pit, roasting hot dogs, making S'mores, and toasting our toes.

Day 3 ~ South Haven, MI
This might have been my favorite place.  The white sands were clean, the light house was gorgeous, and the town was charming.

Walking out on the pier to the lighthouse was a treat.

The shops were fun, Clementines made us a tasty lunch, and the Lord was kind to make it only rain for a few minutes while we were warm and dry indoors at lunch.  Murphy's Antique Mall was a huge treat...possibly the best/cutest antique mall I've ever visited.  We all found a treasure to buy...even our 17 year old son.  :)

The marina was a fun place to sit and breezes and cool boats.

North Beach in South Haven, one of seven beaches in this town.  So clean.  So peaceful.  So beautiful.  My favorite beach of the trip.

And they served Sherman's Ice Cream (a Trip Advisor favorite) at this beach.  Completely delish.  Who wouldn't want to eat ice cream perched atop these adorable vintage stools?
It was a wonderful, peaceful, relaxing trip...I'd highly recommend a Michigan Beach Town vacation.

2. ~ A Handmade Card for our favorite new Medical School Graduate.

Our friend Jacob has wanted to be a doctor ever since we met him at age 9.  And this past month, he achieved that dream at the early age of 24.  I enjoyed making a card for his celebration, using the page of an old hymnal.  Don't you think this song title is perfect?

I didn't have room for the 'refrain' on the front of the card, so added it inside the cover.

Jacob loves the Lord, and will be relying on Him as he begins his residency in Chicago.  So proud of this fine, young man. 

Thanks for stopping by!
Always enjoy your comments!


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