Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined. Henry David Thoreau

Saturday, December 31, 2011

a clean slate

It's New Year's Eve and  another year is about to end.  I've been thinking about fresh starts,

new calendars
 new planners
new goals
new resolve

Over Christmas break, the kids were taking personality tests,
trying to figure out how to describe themselves in personality test terms.

I decided that I am too old to care what number I am,

but I am not too old to change.

I want more grace.

Grace to forgive,
grace to love the irritating,.
grace to endure whatever the new year throws my way,

grace to grow old gracefully..

Grace to admit what needs admitting.

Grace to keep my mouth shut when it needs keeping.

Realisticallly speaking,
I am unable to be this graceful...

That's the good news - I don't have to try and do it on my own.

God of the universe cares and hears my  franctic calls for grace,

He is the Master of the Clean Slate.

the Fresh Start

the New Beginning

the Do Over.

I'm so glad I don't have to start the new year without His

Amazing Grace!

He's there waiting for me to ask for it..

You too!

Happy New Year!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Christmas Comes In

In a few days it will be December
and the season
and Peace
will be upon us.

Years ago, I realized that things like love, joy and peace 
don't just happen because 
Tis the Season.

Every year,
somewhere in the midst of 
the hustle and bustle,
the stress of getting all the teacher's presents
the grandparent's presents,
and the kid's presents bought,
the children's pageant rehearsed,
some random regional attempt at the Nutcracker  attended,
the cookie exchange cookies baked,
and the white elephant  wrapped,
I tend to really dislike what Christmas has become.

What I have let it become.
What I have made it.

I become tired, bone tired.
Distracted and grumpy.

Christmas Comes In.

Some years it is a memory.
And some years, a song 
or a sweet act of kindness
when least expected.
A hug.

A verse.

It's like the whole mess has no meaning until that moment-
that magical moment when I remember
the beginning, 
the wonder 
the reason.

Christmas Comes In 

I never know when it will happen
but in the weeks to come, 
I will be watching for it,
and hoping for it
for you too.

In that quiet moment,
I hope you feel the 
and love
that we have 
because He came.

When Christmas Comes In.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

So Thankful!

I'm so thankful that

the weather is so mild and mellow right now, mild enough for us to sit out on the deck and drink our coffee. Jim spied an 8 point buck charging across the road yesterday morning while he was out there.
A flock of about 25 geese have been visiting our pit for the last couple of evenings too.

The smell of wood smoke is in the air.

On a really still day I can hear these guys practicing from the deck...

and the Gorillas are now MIAA Div II champs and I will get a couple more chances to hear and see this band perform!  GOOOOOOOOORILLAS!  Go Pride of the Plains Band!!!!

And in a very few days,
most of my family will be gathered around the table, giving thanks for each other,
for loved ones far away,
for another year of blessings,
for health

for growth and change and traditions that draw us together.

We will eat.
We will shop.
We will watch football.
We will slap up my Christmas decorations.....

And I will begin packing for a very special trip.
I will get to hold this baby...
for days and days on end.
And kiss him for days and days on end.

And in between those hugs and kisses, I will be chasing this precious little girl and reading her stories enough to last for the next year.  Maybe we will do a craft, or go for a walk in the park, or take a nap together.
God willing.

I am so blessed and thankful!

Giving Thanks!

   Have a wonderful day.....hug your loved ones....count your blessings!


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Comfort Food

Once upon a time I knew how to do this.

Make pie dough.
We discussed this last year around Thanksgiving time,

and not much progress has been made.

I've been busy.

(Man that's embarrassing to look at!)

My Daddy had some great blackberry patches, 
 He would pick those berries and freeze them, 
knowing that sooner or later
I would come down and bake him a bunch of pies.
I made pumpkin pies too and froze them whole
and have since read that 
pumpkin pies do not freeze well.


I have just finished the best book.

American Pie
Pascale Le Draoulec

It is about so many things,
things that I love and think I would love...

girls in an old car
on a road trip 
searching for pies
and junk.

and recipes!

It has just turned cold and rainy here,
and I am in a mood.

A mood for pie!

What I am about to share with you is two recipes.

The pie one I made up.
I wanted the taste of my Mom's apple dumplings,
but without having individual apples wrapped up in dough.

I found a GREAT recipe on the Internet
that involves taking a frozen pie, thawing it, and placing the pieces in a 9x13 baking dish,
then pouring this heavenly sauce over it all and then baking.
I have taken this to several church dinners and turns out, it serves more folks than
a regular pie would, especially if you sit a container of good vanilla
ice cream right by it!

It is out of this world!

One day I wanted this stuff BAD, 
and wouldn't you know it....
no frozen pie in the freezer!

If you have issues with cutting up a perfectly good frozen pie
and redistributing it in a pan,
then this recipe's for you!
It's also cheaper this way, even though it doesn't serve as many.

Seriously, have you noticed how expensive frozen pies have become?
I use Plush Pippin because it's the cheapest and in my humble opinion,
the best out there!
They use tart apples, which is good because 
the sauce you are going to add is very sweet!

It just so happens that I had a refrigerator crust 
and placed it in a square pan, which was a little smaller than 
my deep dish pie pans.

I peeled and sliced 6-8 Jonathan apples
placed those in a large saucepan,
added  this heavenly sauce and 
cooked the apples for about 10 minutes,
or just until tender.

Pour the apples and sauce into the 
pan and let the dough kind of fall over the apples
around the edge, giving it kind of a 
Rustic Tart look.

 Sprinkle generously with walnuts or pecans
Bake for 50-60 minutes at 350
Keep an eye on it, you don't want this thing to burn!

Apple Dumpling Tart!

Here's the recipe for the sauce:
1/2 cup water
1 stick butter
2/3 cups sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
Heat these all together til the butter is melted
add 1 tsp vanilla and blend it in

Add the apples and simmer gently til apples are tender

Pour over the pieces of frozen apple pie in a 9x13 dish 
and top with 1 cup nuts.

I'm not actually making this pie today.
I have about worn this recipe out already
and am moving on to something
more like pumpkin or sweet potato or chocolate.

I am pledging to make the crust from scratch.
None of this refrigerator stuff!

While the pie is in the oven,
I will whip up some of this magic

Facebook Soup
(you have to try this!)

1-2 lbs hamburger, browned and drained
2 cans Minestrone soup
2 cans Veg-All, or store brand equivalent
2 cans chili beans
1 can RoTel

Brown meat, drain; Dump all the other ingredients into pot
Simmer 20 minutes. Eat! Enjoy!
It sounds kind of boring, but 
it is gooooooood!

Comfort in a bowl!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

New Life for an Old Broad!

Just look at her ~

She's a new woman!

It's been a long hot summer
and this reno took way longer than I ever dreamed it would.
(see previous post)
I'm pretty proud of the way she came through the transformation,

but now Hubs is insisting that I do the leaves too!  arggh.
I don't know if I have it in me....maybe next week!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Lady In Waiting

I am excited for this phase of the

 kitchen table and chairs

to be over.

Tomorrow I will remove the newspaper

and start staining 

the top.

The top that was always covered with a tablecloth,

because the varnish had come off in several places,

and looked terrible.

I figured it would be easy 

to get the rest off....


I have sanded my fingers down to a nub

getting her ready!

  1. The chairs are off together
curing and getting waxed....sounds like a girl's day out, doesn't it?

They are getting impatient.

So is my husband...

He is tired of eating his supper at the bar~

Here is my secret weapon.

It really does cover twice as much 
and gives you a very nice finish.

I was trying to show the whole can so that you could see
it's called Dark Walnut.

I didn't count how many cans I used,
but figure 1-2 per chair,
6 chairs,
2 for the table....yikes!

oh well, it's cheaper than a new set, right????

While we're watching the paint dry,
let's have a look around, shall we?

I had never planted this before,

but it went gangbusters here on the east side of the house.

It's called Autumn Sage.

It never stopped blooming \
even in the 100 degree heat and high humidity.

It quieted down for a while,
and now that we are having rains and cooler temps
it is glorious!

The hummingbirds liked it a little,
but the blooms are pretty small and 
they had to work hard for the nectar.

I love discovering something new that will
thrive in this hot prairie town!

Here it is with the Double Knock Out Roses.

They almost took over the flower bed!

These plants are definitely Kansas Tough!

That chair up there on the front porch is calling my name...

think I'll grab my book and a big old glass of tea
and admire the view!

See you tomorrow!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Labor of Love

In case you were wondering,

I have been busy.

I have put away the vacation pictures
and gotten back to work.

Children of mine:

Take a good long look
because this chair

When I casually mentioned to my youngest that I had been working on these chairs, he gasped

"you mean the chairs we grew up with?"

My children have a tendency to get attached to things around the house

When I sold my tacky metal  kitchen canisters in a garage sale,
my dear Blee about had cardiac arrest,
and I was made to feel so bad
that I had to go buy some matching ones
at somebody else's garage sale!

I don't know what Kevin will do when I ditch the sofa,
I'm sure there will be some drama...

I did play with the idea of buying a new dinette set
 and moving these monsters downstairs
for a game area.
But these chairs are built strong and heavy,
and I have not seen any new ones out there that could hold up
to my family.

Why spend money on new ones when
you can make the old ones look great,
with a little sanding and some spray paint?


I tried the mouse sander, the sanding blocks, stripper on the first one,
and have discovered
that removing 20plus years of grime and wax and dirt
takes a little more than a little sanding!

It has boiled down to this...
hours and hours
of sanding with little bits of 100 grit paper.
Gallons of coffee.
Gallons of sweat.
Entire trash bags full of used bits of sandpaper,
and some very sore fingers, back and shoulders!

Do you see all those spindles?
Do you see all those curves?

Please be patient Grasshopper.
Three down.

And three to go.

I gave myself two days to rest my fingers and shoulders
and today I'm back at it.

Celebrate Labor Day!

Go do something you've been wanting to do
but were afraid it was too big, too hard, too messy.

Go throw yourself at something you've been putting off.

Go give something all you've got.

Don't be afraid....you can do it!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Road Trip part 4..South Dakota!

Although we didn't plan on being in the middle of

the annual

Sturgis Rally Week,

that's where we ended up.

 and tens of thousands of

Harley Bikers.

We really just wanted to see these guys.

And we DID see them!

They are impressive,
and though I enjoyed
seeing them,
I was more interested in
reading about how they were sculpted from the granite
and the tools that were used to do it.

How one man with an idea
got together with the sculptor
and they put their heads together
and said "we can do this!"

One sculptor and a team of men,
ordinary men,

with ordinary tools...

it blows my mind.

Look closely and you can see the carvings.....
trust me, they're up there!

As impressive as this feat was,

it paled in my book,
compared to the natural beauty that surrounds it.

One of our most scenic days by far was the day
we drove through Custer State Park
to get to the Mt. Rushmore site.

Breathtaking beauty up close and personal!

The eye of the needle...

I know now why this is such a magnet for bikers...

The scenery is awesome, the air is cool and clear, and the roads are winding and curvy...
Biker Bliss!

We tried to fit in,
but the only leather between us was Jim's white tennis shoes!
I had bought a do-rag at a truck stop along the way,
but it was just not that flattering,
and you know how fussy I can be about that!

No pictures of that nonsense...you know what they say,
what happens in Sturgis, stays in Sturgis!

 We just did silly things that tourists do...

I'm not sure that was flattering either! ;)

Back in Hill City, where we spent our nights
away from the roar of tens of thousands of Harleys,
these two were enjoying a little peace and quiet

me too!
Do you realize how noisy tens of thousands of Harleys are???

Bone rattlin noisy!

As much as I hated to leave this beauty behind,
I must confess
I was starting to get homesick...
and sick of riding around in a truck!

The road called out again,
and this time,
we would really be headed for home!

Next stop...Mitchell, South Dakota!
Who knew SD had so much to see and do???
Not me!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Road Trip part 3...water and rocks and bears! Oh my!

Are you hot, sweaty and tired of summer?

Well, sit back and enjoy
the breathtaking views
and up close and personal


Beautiful Yellowstone National Park
Grand Teton National Park!

Can you tell that we loved the water?  Waterfalls around every bend in the road!
Clear, cold , running water. Roaring rivers, meandering streams, and sparkling lakes.
I need a job writing travel brochures!

The second most photographed item in the Yellowstone National Park is...


My husband's biggest regret of the entire trip is
that he couldn't
get the zoom feature on my little camera to work...
 when he discovered this friend,
munching berries a mere 30 feet away from him..

(Note: There is a reason that signs everywhere state: Do NOT get closer than 100 feet of wildlife!)

Everyone else had left the area,
 had grown tired of waiting
for this guy to amble out of the brush.
 They had wisely moved on.

Not easily discouraged,
my hubby waited.
And waited.

His patience was finally rewarded
when this guy's head popped up
from the berry bush,
and he looked straight at the photographer~

My man did not run.
He stood there and fiddled with the zoom button.
They say you should not run,
so he didn't!

Damn zoom!
Oh well,
I know it's a true story,
because my husband
took about 30 minutes
to calm down!

Once his hands stopped shaking,
we moved on.
Hubs took one million up close shots of
Safe, unmoving, rocks.

Massive Rocks.

Rock climbing school seems to be  in session...
either that, or they are both taking a pee break!

Ready everyone?

Do you see them?

Let's have some more of that cool, peaceful water - shall we?

Ahhhhhhhhh! We don't see much of this in Kansas.
In fact, we don't see any of this!

I chose to sit right here
and rest while my man
climbed on up to the top.

Thanking the Lord for allowing me to be here, for my family,
praying for each of them, one by one....

I sweet place I will not soon forget!

It was so much fun to see all of the wildflowers EVERYWHERE

Unfortunately, some of the prettiest ones were right on the edge of the road
on a hairpin turn with no shoulder,
where you wouldn't dare stop your truck!

and the luscious plantings EVERYWHERE
something about the dry, cool mountain air .... the flowers love it!

What a wonderful 4 days....
we didn't see it all,
I know we will come back for more someday.

We must move on...
the road is calling once again.

It's Rally Week, after all!

Stay tuned!
"Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense." Ralph Waldo Emerson

About Me

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Welcome to my happy place. A place where I can share ideas, projects, and dreams. I am a nester, a crafter, a creator and a dreamer I hope you will find inspiration and encouragement for the journey you are on. I am a Jesus follower, wife, mother and nana. Blessed beyond measure, just trying to live my life gracefully and make a difference in my small world. Join me!