Monday, April 30, 2012

A Few More Roses

I know, I know.......enough flower pictures already!
I'm so sorry - I just can't seem to help myself.

The drought robbed us of our growing season last year,
 so I guess I'm making up for it.

I'll stop soon - I promise.

But honestly, the roses are intoxicating this year.

Thanks for stopping by,


Sunday, April 29, 2012

A Little Behind

A moment I have dreamed of for a very long time is about to happen in my life.  My first born is about to have her first child, and my first grandchild.

Although the joy I'm feeling right now is very much about having a little one to love and hold again, it really goes much deeper than that.

Nothing in my life has made me as complete as having my children.  When I had my Baby Girl, my first child, I wondered how I ever thought what I had before was living.  

To know that this is what my daughter and her husband are about to  experience - takes my breath away with excitement.  I was blessed to be a part of giving her life.  Now, I get to watch as she is given love and life at its deepest level.  I don't know when I have ever felt more grateful.

This was my Baby Girl this morning!

To my precious daughter and amazing son in law:  hold on tight for in just a few short hours, or days, this ride is going to take you to places you haven't even begun to imagine!  You are about to join the truly blessed of this earth by becoming parents.  Nothing will ever be the same for you once you hold the perfect gift that is your child.  I'm so very proud and thrilled!

This is my little niece in her sister's cowboy boots, 
and.......not much else.  She is so precious!

To you, my friends and readers:  I may get a little behind around here, but that's exactly what I've been praying for. Her little behind could show up at any moment.......and I can't wait to share some pictures once it does!

Thanks for stopping by,



Saturday, April 28, 2012

Hamburger-Vegetable Soup

I found this soup recipe over 20 years ago in a Betty Crocker cookbook, and it is one of my favorites.  It is so easy to prepare and you don't even need to have chicken or beef stock on hand as with most soups.  The best part is it only needs 20 minutes to cook.


1 1/2 lbs. hamburger
3 Cups Water
3 Medium Carrots, chopped
2 Medium Stalks Celery, chopped
1 Large Potato, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 Medium Onions, chopped
2 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Brown Bouquet Sauce
1/2 tsp. Pepper
1 Bay Leaf
1/4 tsp. Dried Basil Leaves
1 Can (28 oz.) Whole Tomatoes

Cook and stir hamburger in Dutch oven until light brown; drain.  Stir in remaining ingredients; break up tomatoes with fork.  Heat to boiling; reduce heat.  Cover and simmer just until the vegetables are tender, about 20-25 minutes.

I also like to add:

1 Can Corn
1 Can Green Beans (add at the last minute)
Extra Water
sometimes Zucchini

This soup is quite healthy and very satisfying, especially when I'm watching my calories.  It is delicious when freshly made, but the flavors continue to meld over the next few days and the soup just gets better and better.  I know you'll enjoy this on a cold, rainy day.

Thanks for stopping by,


Friday, April 27, 2012

Freezer Jam Even Easier?

For years I've made freezer jam and it is so easy!  Just mash some fresh fruit, add a bunch of sugar to it, boil some pectin in water, and finally mix everything together.  The results taste so much better than anything you can buy, and it couldn't be simpler.

Oh, yes it can!

Last year I picked up some pectin at Wal-Mart at the end of the canning season.  It was good until 2014, so no worries about it losing its effectiveness by the next growing season.  Well, it's berry season around here, so I purchased several pints of strawberries and set about to make freezer jam - business as usual.

Now, regardless of how many times you've made jam before, it is always a good idea to use the method described in the packaging of the pectin you are using.  Different manufacturers have different methods, and it's best not to assume they will all work the same.  By the way, pectin is the gelling agent you add to fruit and sugar to allow it to become jam or jelly.  While you can cook down fruit and sugar to thicken it into a jam, you must have pectin to make freezer jam.

I was so delighted when I read the instructions on this particular pectin and learned that you do not need to boil water to dissolve the pectin - or cook anything at all.  You simply 

crush your fruit,
stir the powdered pectin into the sugar,
and then mix everything together.

After it sits for 30 minutes -  BAM!  You have jam.  It is that simple!  I know, right?!

Usually when you make jam, you do not want to double or triple, etc. the batches.  There is something in the multiplying that prevents the jam from thickening like it should.  With this pectin, you can triple the recipe with each batch, allowing you to make more jam faster.

Here is how it worked out for me:

We crushed enough strawberries to yield 15 cups of crushed fruit.  To make one triple batch,  I needed 5 cups of fruit.  With 15 cups, I could make 3 triple batches.  I carefully measured 5 cups of crushed strawberries into 3  8-quart bowls.

Then working one batch at a time, I measured 2 cups of sugar into a bowl and mixed 6 Tbs. of pectin into each.  It is important to measure carefully when making jam, so be sure to do that.  After the dry ingredients were well combined, I simply poured the sugar/pectin into the strawberries, stirred for 3 minutes, let rest for 30 - and the jam is ready!  Not much work for 12 cups of super yummy jam.

What I love about freezer jam is that it tastes so fresh, and you can get your fruit from the local growers in your area.

What I love even more about this freezer jam is how easy it is to prepare, plus it requires much less sugar than the pectins I've used in the past.  It also set up with a nice gel and wasn't as runny as some seem to turn out.

If you've every wanted to make jam, I hope you will try this pectin by Ball.  I promise, you will be so glad you did.  There is nothing as wonderful as that fresh fruit taste, especially when you still have some in the middle of winter.  I bet you can even impress Mom and Grandma with this one.

Thanks for stopping by,


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Diaper Baby

I just had to share what a young lady in my church 
made for my expectant daughter.  

BTW, does it feel like she's been expecting 
for a very long time?  It's feeling that way to us - 
my daughter especially.

Isn't this adorable?  
It feels like a real baby when you hold it.
Oh, I'm so anxious.

She makes these for baby showers, 
and I must say they look very cute 
on the gift table.

Thanks, Felicia!

Have an especially blessed day,


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Everyday Silver

I have always been a garage sale shopper - even when it wasn't cool.  My family never had much money growing up and garage sales were just how we acquired many of the things we needed and wanted.

As an adult, I still prefer to shop 2nd hand to supply things for my family.  It seems crazy to me to spend so much on clothing, kitchen items, toys, etc. when you can find these items in almost perfect condition at garage sales.

Can anyone tell me about these little bowls?  
They are not really silver.  Are they sugar bowls?

A great example of this is silver.  Silver, or silverplate in most cases, can be purchased at yard sales for nickels, dimes, and quarters.  It is almost always quite tarnished, often engraved (who cares if the monogram is not yours - people might thinks it was passed down on your mother's side), probably handed down, and something the owner does not wish to mess with.  Since it looks so bad, the price is usually very inexpensive.

This is a larger version.  When were they popular?

As my daughter was growing up, I would see a pretty piece at a sale for next to nothing and pick it up - thinking we would use it for entertaining at her wedding and other events.  Well.......brides have minds of their own....... and all that old silver did not fit the plan.

And another.  Where did they come from?

It's OK, though, because as I collected pieces I just put them to use.  I use silver to water plants, hold soap, contain my makeup and jewelry - really anything that one would need a container for.  I also love to loan it to my friends when they are in need of silver service.

I'm sure you're thinking, yeah, but you have to keep it polished - who has time for that?

I have found some ways to keep up with that and it really takes no more time than if you were cleaning any other container.

Can you see the damage caused by the foil baking soda method?

The first step, or worst step I should say, is when I first bring the silver home all tarnished and dark.  This is what requires the most effort.  Now, there is a method of cleaning silver going around on blogs and pinterest that I highly do not recommend.  It is where you fill a sink or pan with hot water, line it with foil, and pour baking soda into the water. This method is too harsh and will remove silver from your piece.  I have learned the hard way that while the silver comes out very clean and sparkly, it may have spots where the silver has been removed.  Bummer!  I would only use this method if you have tried to clean it with silver polish and elbow grease, and there just is no hope for the piece.  Then, what have you got to lose?  You can take a chance since the piece is not going to be silver anyway.  At least it will be very clean so you could then spray paint it, chalkboard it, or glue mosaics to it.

In most cases, however, I find the silver will clean up nicely if I just work at it a bit.  For best results, I use Wrights Silver Polish.  If the piece needs a little scouring action, I sprinkle it with baking soda and continue with the silver polish.  Honestly, I never spend the time to remove all the tarnish - just enough to get it looking mostly clean.  I think the tarnish in all the little grooves adds to its character, anyway.

This tray is one that I cannot get all of the tarnish off.
It would be a good candidate to dip,
but it still works great as is!

If it's a teapot or something I'm not going to use for everyday, I wrap it in fabric and stick it in a rubbermaid container in my garage.  The type of fabric you use really does not matter that much, so use linens or remnants you don't need for a while.  This kind of kills two storage birds with one stone!  Just remember where you put that Christmas tablecloth come December.  By wrapping it in fabric, your silver should remain mostly tarnish free until you're ready to use it.  

I rubbed this basket with toothpaste for about 45 seconds.
Can you believe the difference?  So easy.

To keep up with the silver I'm using for everyday, I just squirt a little toothpaste in my hand, wet it the tiniest bit, rub my hands all over the piece, and then rinse. That's it!  You only have to do this once every 3-6 months, and it doesn't take anymore effort than if you were cleaning a glass container with dish soap.  I could use the silver polish to do this, but since I go through seasons of couponing where I collect extra tubes of toothpaste for free, this works great for me.

Not bad for a bunch of castoffs.
One man's junk.......

Silver may not be your thing and I realize it doesn't look good in every decor.  I mainly wanted to write about it to encourage you that if would like to add a little silver to your life, you really can do that inexpensively and without a lot of fuss.  And if anyone ever borrows your silver and returns it with a scratch, Meh - don't worry about it - it only cost you 50 cents.  

Thanks for stopping by,

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Framed Nursery Pictures

 This is a quick post to share some pictures of what the kids framed for Paisley's nursery.  Nice job, mommy and daddy!

Thanks for stopping by,


Monday, April 23, 2012

To Kill A Mockingbird

You know the line in the song, "Mama's gonna buy you a mockingbird"?  Can I just say, "if you ever really bought your child a mockingbird - you would be one terrible parent!"

This is the Mama Bird!  Do not buy her for your children!

 For the past several summers our yard has been plagued with mockingbirds.  While they are beautiful birds and I like the idea of them, to actually live with them is extremely challenging.  Mockingbirds are obnoxiously territorial and behave as though your entire yard is their domain.  They squawk constantly when you are outside, and they dive bomb anything in sight.  Bicyclists, the mailman, squirrels, our poor cat - no one is safe.  Honestly, I feel like I'm in a scene from The Birds when I try to go from my car to the house.

Anyway, our side yard is a rose garden and since we have been blessed with a lot of rain this spring, the roses are growing like crazy.  One of my roses is a miniature, red, climbing rose, and it has turned into what Edward refers to as "The Mother Weed".  It is in desperate need of being cut back.

Lucky for me, NOT, the mockingbirds decided to build their nest IN my rose bush this year.  Great!  Now that the rain has tapered off, there is much work that needs to be done in the rose garden, and I can't get anywhere near it!

Here are two of the babies peeking out at me.  One is inside the heart.

Well, never let it be said that I cannot live with nature.  Since I really did not wish to kill or hurt the mockingbirds, especially when their babies were enjoying the protection of my roses so much, I decided we would have to find a way to get along together.  Arming myself with Edward's Indiana Jones leather hat and the garden hose set on jet spray - I bravely entered the rose garden.

We actually did quite well.  While I did endure hour upon hour of screams from the parents, they seemed to finally realize that no harm was going to come their little ones, and they never attacked.

I can't say that we are friends, and I am truly delighted that the babies have now flown the nest.  The parents are still letting me know that they are keeping their eyes on me, but at least I can get near "The Mother Weed" to give her some attention.  And, it's nice to report that no animals, or humans, were harmed in the gathering of material for this post!  

Thanks for stopping by,


Paper Fabric

Sometimes when I'm decorating a room or making a project, I realize the amount of fabric I purchased is not going to be enough.  That may be due to poor planning or a mistake, but usually it is because I fall in love with the fabric as I'm working with it, and keep thinking of more things I wish to add to the room.

 When Baby Girl purchased this fabric for her nursery - she bought all they had.  We were very careful with the fabric and managed to make it stretch for all of her original ideas. However, as we were decorating the walls we realized that putting some of the paisley fabric in the frames above the crib would tie things together very nicely.  The problem was there was not much fabric left, and we were concerned about making a mistake when we cut out a "P" to frame.

I suggested to Baby Girl that she make some color photo copies of the fabric for us to practice different fonts with. Once we came up with the perfect option - we could then cut the "P" from the original fabric.

Much to both of our delight, the copies turned out Amazing! You can't really tell from my pictures, but the colors are extremely vibrant, and the clarity is perfect.  She made 11" x 17" color copies at a copy store, and they cost her about 55 cents each. 

Since the quality was so high, we decided the paper would be a better choice to cut the "P" from, and thus she could save her remaining bit of fabric for another project.

At 55 cents a copy, I don't necessarily think this option ends up being cheaper than purchasing another yard of fabric, but it certainly opens up some new project options - like enlarging/reducing the pattern, decoupaging with some cut-outs, or making scrapbook pages.  I also don't know if the paper will fade faster than fabric, or if it will smear with Mod Podge, anybody know?  I would also be careful with the fabric copyright if you choose to make copies to use on items to sell.

Happily, this is the last project (well, until we think of more) to finish Paisley's nursery.  It's a good thing, because Baby Girl is due on May 1!  I'll be sure to share pics when she gets the frames up.

Thanks for stopping by,

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Rose From My Garden

Just sharing a rose for fun.  Love ya, Ellie

Parties I Will Be Linking To:

Blingy Mascot Charm Necklace

In our state you can find OU or OSU (Go Cowboys!) anything, because they are the big state schools in Oklahoma.  For our smaller universities and colleges it is a little harder to find jewelry and other paraphernalia with our teams' mascots on.

My alma mater is Oklahoma Baptist University.  I am a very proud graduate of this fine school and thrilled to be known as an OBU Bison.  Needless to say, there are times I want to wear something a little blingy to support my school in upscale fashion.

I created this little charm so I can wear some sparkle - and support my team at the same time.

I started with these charms I found at Hobby Lobby.  I have seen them at Wal-Mart, as well.

Using only one of the squares of glass, I cut 4 strips of jewels with 4 stones each from this trim - also purchased by the yard from Hobby Lobby.

I found it easiest to place the glass inside the charm holder first, and then glue the strips onto the glass - using E6000 glue.

Finally, I took a bison charm that I've had for a long time, snipped the tiny ring off the top, and glued it onto the rhinestones.  I suppose finding the right charm for your team will be the hardest part, but there are so many charms available right now hopefully this will not be a problem.

Every time I wear this necklace I get lots of inquiries as to where it was purchased.  If I can find more bison charms, I might just have to make a few to give as gifts.

Don't we girls love supporting our teams with a little flash?  Why, yes ma'am we do! And for my fellow Bison all I can say is, "Ka-Rip"!

Thanks for stopping by,

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Corn Custard

This is one of those recipes that is just comfort food.  It's the kind of dish you serve during the holidays because it is a family favorite, and everyone is really disappointed when it is not on the table.   Plus, it can be prepared quickly, put in the oven, and forgotten about until it is ready.  It is not healthy, but it is easy and very delicious.


1 Can Creamed-Style Corn
1 Box Frozen Corn (or 10-12 oz of frozen)
1 Box Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix
8 oz. Sour Cream
1 Stick Butter - melted
1 Egg - beaten (not pictured)

Simply mix all of the ingredients together and spoon into a 8" x 8" (or similar volume round) casserole dish.  Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes or until the center is set and the edges are brown with some additional browning on the top.

Serve in the baking dish as is, or fluff and serve in a decorative bowl.

I almost always double the recipe and bake in a 9" x 13" pan. YUMmmmmmmm!

Thanks for stopping by,


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Hen and Chicks Succulent Basket

 Several years ago I saw a sphere of succulents in a Martha Stewart magazine.  It was so breathtaking - I've always wanted to make one.  The problem is - I'm not really sure where I would hang it.  So, for now, I've decided to put together a basket that I can actually set on my outdoor patio table.

(My poor knitting needles are so abused - they rarely see any knitting action.)

To create this arrangement you'll need a wire basket, a pot of Hen and Chicks succulents, strips of sphagnum moss, potting mix, and a knitting needle.  

First, soak the moss until it is good and moist.

Next, begin layering the moss inside of the wire basket, followed by potting mix.  It is a bit of a juggling act to add some moss and then hold it in place with the mix.  Taking it a small layer at a time seems to work best with a rounded basket like the one I'm using.

For my design, I wanted the succulents to form a ribbon around the neck of the basket.  I added the moss and mix layers until I reached the neck.  At this point, I began adding the Hen and Chicks.

I think it's best to take the time to separate all the Chicks from the Hens so that you can position each one where you want it.  You could keep them attached in clusters, but by pinching the Chicks from the Hen, it will allow you start all new plants.  To learn more about Hens and Chicks, go here.

The Hen does not have a long root like the Chicks, so I carefully tucked its tinier roots in with the knitting needle.  Also, as my design developed, I went back to places where the moss and mix were already filled in and poked a hole with the knitting needle to create an opening for a Chick.  After I inserted a Chick into a hole, I used the knitting needle to gently push the mix and moss firmly around the root.

Once all of the Hens and Chicks are in place,  finish by adding more potting mix and top the arrangement with a final layer of moss.  Finally, give the entire arrangement a good watering.

The Hen may die off after awhile, but you can replace her. Also, the Chicks should continue to grow and start adding new little chicks themselves - adding to the beauty of your design.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this project!

Thanks for stopping by,