Monday, November 26, 2018

Mac N Cheese

I had a lovely Thanksgiving did you?  Very low key, all the usual food, my only sorrow being that for the first time since she got married my Pennsylvania daughter wasn't here because now she is my Oklahoma daughter and golly, why is she even further away?  It was a full weekend, and now I'm just trying to catch up on the laundry, housework and all the things that need to be done this week.

We also woke up to the beginning of a snowstorm.  It has been snowing nonstop since at least 5 a.m. and is supposed to keep going right through the early afternoon.  It hasn't reached the epic (Grab the milk! Grab the Bread! Grab the water!) proportions that the overexcited weather person was predicting but they always seem to predict snowmageddon and then we get a sprinkling that doesn't even slow us Michiganders down. We laugh in the face of snow. Ha!  And then most of us flee to Florida for the winter.

Not me. I'm no lily livered snowbird. I may hate the cold and the dark, but I will prevail.  I may kiss the budding earth in the Spring, but I have earned my joy by braving old man winter at his meanest.

So I was looking out at the swirling white this morning and was suddenly overcome with the urge to have some Mac and Cheese for lunch.  I almost never make it because, hello, it's super fattening. But as I said, I was overcome.  So I went on Pinterest to find a recipe and came across Fannie Farmers Classic baked Mac and Cheese.   I checked the pantry and found I had all the ingredients and I got to work.  Can someone tell me why a mac and cheese recipe would only use half a box of pasta?  I hate half a box of anything. It just seems to sit on the shelf making you wonder if it has gone stale. Nevertheless, I used the 8 ozs. as directed and it certainly made more than enough for the two of us.
I'm eating some right now, watching the snow swirl and putting off the housework that is calling my name.  It is decadent but I've been pretty good most of my life so I may be able to eat more mac and cheese right up until I slide into home plate in heaven in 30 or 40 years.  And if I don't last that long, at least I ate more mac and cheese, right?  ;) 

I hope you all had a great holiday, we are officially into the Christmas season now and no, I am not going to say how many days. That just tenses me up does it do that to you?  

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like...

Winter.  It's been snowing on and off this morning and the yard looks like this.

 Kind of pretty, but I still need to get the now frozen mums off the porch and change the wreath on the front door.  We did have a full 3 minutes of bright sunshine this morning and I was able to grab my camera in time to take some photos.  Still not the best, I think this old camera of mine is ready for a replacement, and I hear Santa has a new one in mind for me this year ;)  This is a sneak peek at the buffet in the living room, a runner, lighted garland and some candles and I stood back and loved how clean and uncluttered it looked.  Still festive, but less junk everywhere.
 One of the things I have been noticing since the kids have flown the nest is that my Christmas decorating has changed.  I'm decorating earlier, and my strategy is to put out the basics in greenery and lights so there is a little sparkle in these dark days but it doesn't scream Christmas yet. I am enjoying bringing one thing at a time up and not feeling the pressure to do it all at once.  I am also looking at a simpler Christmas this year.  I have tons of sparkly baubles that I have collected over the years and I know a good portion of them will stay on the storage shelf.
I plopped a few fairly neutral things on the kitchen shelves, they look wintery, sparkly, festive, and again, they give me a cleaner feel than the bright decorations I have used in the past.

Hind sight being 20/20 as they say, if I could give advice on decorating to anyone starting out, it would be the following:

1. Invest in the best basics you can afford, the faux green garlands (you won't be sweeping up dead needles for months), and lights. These are the things you will use for years and in many different ways. On mantles, tables, staircases, you name it.  I love the battery operated seed lights for places that are not close to an outlet and they often come with a remote so they can be set on a timer or turned on and off  with a point and click.

2. Beautiful ribbon is cheap and can be used for the tree, twined in swags of greenery or used for gifts. I have some ribbon that is years old, it gets used for a few weeks a year and then I just fold it back up and store it in a bin.

3. Shop those clearance sales at the end of the year!  I got a cute pillow last year at Kirklands for $5. Most of my ribbon has been purchased after Christmas at 90% off.  I have boxes of lights purchased for 59 cents at Home Depot after the holidays!  There are ridiculous low prices in these sales and every year I get a pleasant surprise as I open my storage bins and find the pretty things I forgot I purchased on sale.

4. Decorate with what you love, but once you have moved on purge! Things go out of style.  Tastes change.  Take it from someone who has 38 years worth of ornaments in her basement!  I no longer love some of them, but I'm fighting the sentimentality anxiety in getting rid of them.  You don't want to do that to yourself.  Save the things you really love. The sweet ornaments your kids make, the ones handed down from a grandparents tree, whatever you love.  The rest? Donate. Sell. Get them out of your house! Give yourself permission to make new traditions that put the excitement back in your decorating!

5. But remember that every piece is purchased with hours of your life.  That's a good one to remember for every purchase you make, but especially for decorative items that will go out of style and eventually end up at Salvation Army.  So many of us look to blogs and instagram for inspiration in our decorating, just remember that a lot of those style makers are paid to have a totally new look every year. They are the new age of advertising and it is their job to make you want what you see.  Christmas can be pricey enough with the food, parties, and gifts.  Add in the latest decorating theme and you can go broke with items you will be "inspired" to upgrade or replace next year.  I like to look at instagram to see how the style makers use what they have. In table settings, in moving items from one room to another, and yes to see what's new. But if something is a trend (black and white buffalo plaid this year) I turn away.  I don't want my decorating to look like everyone elses! Where is the fun in that?

6. Don't bother with allll the extras like holiday dish towels, hand towels for the bathroom and other small items unless you love finding them in the laundry a week after you have packed everything away. for as little use as they get, they look dated and used really fast and just add a lot of work and hassle switching them out.  If you don;t mind or love those little touches, go for it!  I just found they weren't worth it for me.

I would love to hear any advice you have for Christmas decorating too! What have you learned over the years? How has your style/taste changed?

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Christmas Peeking In

I used to be pretty adamant that Christmas decorating did not begin until after Thanksgiving.  It was always a rush to get it done on that busy weekend and always with the thought that I would only have a few weeks to enjoy it.  I have changed my ways.  I find that getting it done over time in November frees up my busy Thanksgiving weekend, takes the pressure off to haul everything up at once and best of all, allows me to enjoy the Christmas season without the pressure and mess. 
I would never try to talk anyone out of waiting, I believe we should do what works best for ourselves, so I'm not trying to convert anyone, just telling you what works for me.  This dark little corner library table needed some light, especially now that it gets dark at 5 p.m.!  So I brought up an assortment of trees and some twinkle lights and made it happen. 

The little wooden church was made by my husband's great (great great?) grandfather and it is a replica of the original free Methodist church that he helped build in the little town where my husband grew up, and which is still standing.  Over the years the church built a bigger building and I happened to be there for a big church clean out day. This little church had been in a storage room and was headed to the dumpster. I loved it so I asked for it, not knowing it's family history.  When my mother in law saw it she told me where it came from and I was so happy that I had saved it from being thrown away!

Are you gearing up for Christmas decorating or waiting until Thanksgiving is over?  We are doing some traveling this year around the holidays so I am even more inspired to get the decorating finished so it is in place for the season :)

Monday, October 29, 2018

Here We Go...

Thank you so much for the welcome back messages on my previous post!  It warmed my heart, I honestly didn't know if there would be anyone here when I returned.  I tried to answer all of your comments, but if you didn't get an email it's because you came through as no-reply blogger, meaning
you need to change your settings to accept emails. I appreciate the encouragement I received so much.

I'm going to give just a few highlights of my spring and summer today to get you caught up. If you follow me in instagram you may have already seen some of these, but for those of you who aren't on that platform, this is for you :)

You may remember that last fall I painted the back wall in the kitchen with blackboard paint.  I had it on hand and was itching for a change and since I am prone to wake up some days full of determination to change SOMETHING, and since it was fall and the days were getting dark and moody I took the plunge.  I liked it, I really did, until spring when it just seemed too dark.
 So I grabbed some wallpaper online and lightened things up.  This is a Joanna Gaines paper and I did this area with one roll.  It was touch and go but I made it work, and I love how much lighter and brighter it looks.  I also decided to paint the pantry cupboard a glossy black as an accent and I love that one touch of dark in my white kitchen.  Who knows what I'll do next, but I think this will be staying for a while. I love it!
 Earl took up beekeeping this summer and it has been so fascinating! I have gone out to help him a couple times. Fully suited up because I'm, (ahem) allergic, as in epipen allergic.  As I said, I have the head to toe gear and I have been amazed that the bees are calm and friendly. Earl often doesn't bother with full gear.  This is him and his Uncle harvesting the frames a few weeks ago to extract the honey.
We got around 30 lbs. this year!  Having our own honey is fun and just feels special.  Did you know some of the honey in the grocery store has added fructose, or sugar water?  I found that out recently and it made me even more happy that we have our own and know it isn't adulterated. 
 This little peanut has been keeping me busy. I see my darling every week. Even with a broken arm and surgery our weekly visits continued thanks to her mom bringing her to see me.  I had to have someone put her in my arms but she was happy to cuddle and I was so happy to have her!  She turns 1 year old next month.
 She has changed so much in such a short time!  This is Clara and her Aunt Lauren in May. Lauren came home for a birthday visit and Clara slept over so she could have some quality time with her Aunt.  She adores her Aunt and Uncle even though they live far away and she doesn't see them much.
And of course, they adore her!
I love, love, love this baby. This grandparent thing is the bomb!  I'll try to reign it in but oh my goodness the love is overwhelming. 

So that was my summer (minus the boring recovery bits), tell me what the highlights of your summer were!

Friday, October 26, 2018

And she's back....

Whew! It's been a while hasn't it?  Did you think I dropped off the face of the earth? Nope, here I am, again.  It's been March since I posted and to be truthful I've wondered if I would ever come back to this little corner.  I got busy with Spring, you all know it's my favorite right?  Planting the garden, visiting my darling grandbaby, and a trip to Pennsylvania to hang out with my far away daughter and son in law for a week.  It was a happy and busy Spring and I just kind of felt burned out here. I have  been posting since 2007, and was wondering where it was all going. Hadn't I pretty much said everything?  And of course once you get out of the habit, it's easy to stay out of the habit.

Also, on July 7 I was racing around the kitchen and tripped on the dishwasher door I had left open. That ended in a fractured humerus (upper arm near my shoulder), and 2 weeks after that I had major surgery.  To say most of my summer was a blur would be totally accurate.  I'm healed, feeling great and have finished rehab for my shoulder so all is well, but July through September were pretty much lost.  I was, however, still able to hold that precious baby grand of mine :)

So that's the long story condensed.  I'm still not sure how long I will keep posting here. Maybe once I get back into it some fresh inspiration will strike.  I kind of feel like blogs are dying though. Do you?  How many of my friends are still out there blogging?  Can you give me a shout and tell me where you think it's all heading?  I have been posting on instagram, I have to say it's a whole lot easier, faster and less time consuming.

If you're reading this give me shout. Is anyone even going to see this anymore?  Here's hoping :)
If we've lost touch I would love to hear what you did with your summer too!

Friday, March 2, 2018


I realized this morning that I may be a hoarder.  Since we had a lovely Spring snowstorm yesterday, 
(I think it looks like about 8" out there! Happy Spring!) I decided I would do some cleaning and organizing  and try to avoid looking out side until the snow has melted.  I changed the sheets on our bed and then realized what a terrible mess the basket of pillow cases was and decided to iron and sort them.  I take out the ones that have developed holes or that need a good soak but I really wanted to get rid of some that I know I don't use.  As I ironed I remembered a drawer in my bedroom that had some cases in and dug those out. And it was then that I realized I might be a hoarder.  I've been collecting these most of my married life.  They were found at yard and estate sales for pennies. Some were horribly stained and so cheap it was worth the effort to try to whiten them up again.  
 Others were just fine, never used because the previous owners didn't want to ruin them or didn't like them.   For future reference I have found many vintage linens stained brown from years of use and a good soak in BIZ (the powder, not the liquid) takes that brown stain right out.   Sometimes there is only one of the set but I find them very easy to mix and match.
At any rate, it's time to stop collecting.  I actually have a dresser in my bedroom that is filled with nothing but vintage linens. Embroidered dish towels, linen towels, and vintage trims.  There are also several baskets squirreled on shelves, (there might be more in bins in the basement,cough cough.)
37 years of collecting will sneak up on you and it is clearly time to sell, give away and donate.  I need to let go for my own sanity. The cases shown here are just the tip of the iceberg I assure you. A very small tip on a rather large iceberg.
I also wanted to tell you, I went to Hobby Lobby last week to look for some pillow covers for the living room.  Now that everything is creamy white I need some colorful accents!  I found some great deals on pillow covers.  I made the the black ticking striped pillow cover below, but the floral cover came from Hobby Lobby and was marked down to $3.75.   The flowers are embroidered so it even has a little texture.  This is my new swivel/ rocker/ recliner that I got to rock my darling grand baby in. :)
I could just eat her up I love her so.  She is 3 months old and it has possibly been the happiest 3 months of my dog gone life.  We all love her to the moon and back, and her Aunt Lauren is flying in next weekend from PA just to hold her for the weekend.  Those butter.
 Now where was I? Oh yes, the pillow deals.  I got the black and cream damask print covers below, for $2 each!  I couldn't buy the zipper OR the fabric to make my own for that price, and they are really great quality, with hidden zippers and sturdy fabric.  At those prices I can afford to change the pillows up whenever I want to. I'll be checking back each season for more.
That's about all there is to catch up on.  The thrill of getting my linen closet in order, snuggling baby, (which IS a thrill!) discount pillow covers, and waiting for the snow to melt.  It's just a matter of time now. I feel like Spring is really here, and you KNOW how I love Spring :)  

Monday, February 12, 2018

The Slipcover

I am finally posting the love seat slip cover I finished last week.  This is the first time I have attempted a slip cover and although it isn't perfect, I am pretty happy with it.  I am especially happy that the project is over!

I will say, getting it done entailed a great deal of pacing, stress eating, procrastination and anxiety.  Just because I attempt these big projects does not mean I am filled with confidence.   I have learned to do things scared.  But it isn't easy!  I took small bites, and it helped that the door behind the love seat holds my sewing / craft room so it was close to the machine.   The next thing I need to find is a more colorful oriental rug.  I bought this beige one after putting in the wood floors. I thought it would be a good neutral.  After this project I am at my neutral limit.  I also pretty much hate this rug now, so the search is on.
I decided to go neutral with the furniture so I could change the accessories and pillow colors with the season. I am notoriously fickle when it comes to decorating. I like so many styles and colors. I need something I can change easily.  These green pillow covers are feeding my need for green right now, (we just got a foot of snow this past weekend!) but I plan to add some more bright colors for Spring.

 This is a corner of the other side of the room.  We found the library table at a yard sale and it was piled with old clothes.  Earl asked if it was for sale and they showed us the $90 price tag and then offered it to us for $75. I couldn't get it to the car fast enough.  It is in perfect condition, and came with a glass top. I have always loved these things and this one has some really pretty details.

The sign was made by my youngest daughter for me for Christmas a few years ago, I love it! And the Boston fern came in from the porch when it got cold outside.  It is a very messy plant, but I am so glad I have this lush green fern inside for the winter!  This time of year I need real, live, green things.
The fluffy furry pillow covers and pom pom throw were Christmas gifts from my girls this year and they are so soft and fun, but they are about to get packed away for some fresh Spring covers.  I'll look forward to getting them out again and enjoying the softness and texture they bring to the living room again next winter.

The curtains are tablecloths I ordered online and used clips to hang them. They are actually the perfect length for curtains right out of the package and add a nice shot of intense color.  And since I didn't spend a fortune on them (about $12!) I won't feel bad if I change them out later for something  else.  I did tell you I am fickle when it comes to decorating right?

I hope you are all having a great Valentines week.  Do you know this February marks my 11th year blogging?  I can't believe I have lasted that long!  A big thank you to all of you who have visited an commented, many of you have been friends for the entire 11 years and I treasure those friendships and the encouragement I have found here so much!  Thank you for hanging with me and giving me love, encouragement and support all these years. It means so much. 💖💖💖

Happy Valentines Day to you all!

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Procrastination, Projects and Recipes

Warning! Granny update! My darling granddaughter just turned two months old this week and it called for photos, as you may imagine.  I am sure she is developing wrist rolls to go with her thigh rolls and I couldn't be more pleased. I found this adorable outfit at Target (maybe they should start sponsoring me?) and I had to have it,  Isn't dressing little girls fun? Shameless grandmother share complete. 💖
This week I began the dreaded slipcover project that I have been planning for the last year.  When it comes to things I don't want to do I tend to procrastinate. As in, sit on the sofa binge watching Netflix, or doing ANYTHING except the thing I do not want to do, while I think about the intricacies of whatever project I am dreading. Sometimes there is coffee and chocolate, it helps me think.  At any rate, being the frugal person that I am, and having a perfectly comfortable but hideous piece of furniture that hurts my eyes every time I see it, I decided that I would slipcover it.  If Miss Mustard Seed can do it so can I right? I mean, LOTS of people slipcover their furniture and I can sew and I am sure I can do this. I don't want to, but I can.
Attempts to camouflage the red plaid love seat were not successful.
So armed with 12 yards of creamy denim, I began.  I am starting with the cushions because that seemed like the obvious place to begin. Results were not as planned.
The cover is obviously too loose and I shudder at the thought of ripping it apart to redo it but that is what will happen, because I want to like this piece of furniture when I am done with this heinous task.  Updates as I slog my way through this.


Just like many of you I have been trying to change to a more healthy way of eating.  It's back to (mostly) low carb. I say mostly because, darn it, I am so tired of giving up EVERYTHING, following stringent eating plans for a while and then falling off the wagon.  I just can't do that any more.  I have a problem with sugar. Once I start I can't stop, and I have found that eating low carb / high fat fixes that for me.  I am not as hungry, I slowly lose weight and I feel more satisfied.  So what I do is eat low carb high fat for breakfast and lunch and then I make a healthy meal for the hubs and I for dinner.  If we are going out, I'm not going to sweat it.  If this is something I am going to do long term it has to be something that is not so stringent that I can never have a food group again. That's just silly and it doesn't work for me.

 At any rate, Pinterest has been my friend and I have been making soups, and one pan meals that are delicious and good for me.  One of those is Spanish Chicken with Chorizo and Potatoes  I will warn you, I have had chorizo before and it tastes fine, but I actually read the ingredients at the store when I went to get some this time and it's not pretty.  If you want to use chorizo, DO NOT READ THE INGREDIENTS. I just made it impossible not to look didn't I? I'll tell you, chorizo is made with pig snouts. 😝  I used regular old pork sausage in mine and it was still fabulous.  This makes a huge batch, but I happened to have a friend who had just gone through surgery so I split the recipe and gave her half. Perfect.  Add some steamed green beans and you will be in hog heaven.  This is super easy and delicious.  I am also loving Mediterranean Baked Chicken , and Tortellini Soup with Italian Sausage and SpinachThe soup is so delicious it has become a staple at many of my friends homes too.

This slipcovering project may actually get me blogging again. I suddenly felt the need to write a post rather than sew.  What makes you procrastinate?

Monday, January 15, 2018

Well Hello There!

Bad blogger.  That is all I can say. After almost 11 years of blogging I hit the wall, nothing there, no inspiration, no ambition, and apparently no posts.  Of course I had some extenuating circumstances too.

So where did we leave off?  Oh yes, the trip to Petoskey. So much fun.  And then of course it was Autumn and we played in the garden a bit.
And then it got cold and blustery and snow fell.
And then it was Thanksgiving and we had most of the family at our house for dinner.  But first, Thanksgiving morning, this little peanut came into the world.
Clara Grace, 7 lbs. 6 ounces of the sweetest baby girl in the world. Well at least to us.  You can see bliss all over my face as I cuddle that sleepy baby.  She is everything, and I just can't get enough.

Well, you can see how I might have been distracted from blogging for a while right?  I mean, babies need to be cuddled, a lot, and preferably by grandparents as often as possible.

Earl is head over heels in love too.
And she has already grown so fast! Barely 6 weeks old and she went from this to....


And now she's cooing and smiling, oh she's the smilingest baby you ever did see! I have to hold her at least once a week or I go into withdrawal. 

So that catches you up.  This is where I have been and where I will, no doubt, continue to be.  The future of the blog is in question because I don't want to completely overwhelm you with my grandchild photos, I know they don't hold the same magic for you that they do for me.  And also, because for some reason, blogger keeps locking me out and I keep having to change the password to get back in.  If I disappear completely it will be because blogger once and for all shut me out.

 I am going to try to get back in the groove, but things change you know? I've been a total lazy bum in getting caught up on my friends posts because...Clara. What can I say?

Also, December was packed, I hosted a Women's Ministries dinner the first weekend of December, The second weekend was my brother's wedding, and then my darling daughter and her handsome hubby came and stayed with us for the week of Christmas.  They live in Pennsylvania and hadn't been home for Christmas in 5 years!
  Needless to say, that was all I needed under the tree. :)

My goal for this week is to overhaul the old blog, it's looking dated and sad,  get a new post out at least once a week, and to decorate cookies with Clara's mom Thursday, which I know will turn into play with Clara time and cookies may be eaten plain while we gaze into those bright blue eyes.

One does what one must.  If you want to be updated more regularly, come on over and follow me on instagram.

I sure hope your New Year is well on it's way to being as spectacular as mine seems to be :)  I'll see you all soon!