Sunday, January 27, 2013

We Found It!!!

We found  "The Dress"!!!

Yesterday Ashleigh decided to go for a ride with us to Mt. Vernon. We had some errands to run and she Loves to spend time with her parents (lol!) so she tagged along. When we finished our errands we thought it would be fun to stop at David's Bridal to look around for a bit, not thinking we'd be walking out with a dress!

They were having a great sale! Mom and daughter a little, not so much! We encouraged him to head to Red Robin for some food and sports while we looked around. We were supposed to join him within half an hour or call him to come back and see what we found! Let's just say he ate a lot of french fries!!!

We had a lovely consultant by the name of Leslee. She was such a great help, and so very patient! Ashleigh was so great at keeping her budget low and staying within it. It was overwhelming for me! There were a few thousand dresses to choose from. Thousands! But Leslee helped us narrow things down with some general questions, such as color, train, fluffy, sparkly, etc.

David's Bridal was so wonderful! Everyone was so cheerful, and while I know it's their job, they seem genuinely excited for the bride! It was hopping busy when we got there so we had to wait for a bit. Ashleigh filled out a questionnaire and we looked through the racks of dresses. When they called her name Leslee led us to a dressing room. Number 12...a good sign, as that's my favorite number! And, they put this cute heart on the door!

We narrowed it down to three and called Dad to come back  (2 hours later!) While she liked all three, there just wasn't the "this is the one" factor.

It's so fun to stand on the pedestal and see the "flair"! This was a little too formal.

She loved the little Swiss dots on this one, but does not want a short dress, which is what her mama would chose!!! I love the 50's look...perhaps a little tiny hat with a blusher?!

This one was so pretty, but again, quite formal. I think she liked this one the best, which is funny, because she doesn't like bling or lace or a long train! She looked really pretty though! That's Leslee in the mirror.

She tried on two of these dresses which were so fun! It's a 2 in 1 dress. You wear the short dress with a long skirt for the wedding, and then you can take off the skirt for the reception. I think it would be fun to wear the short one for the first anniversary!

Same dress, but with the skirt. Such a great idea!

Again, she liked them all, but didn't love them. Sooooo, Leslee asked us to try on one more. A dress that she had in mind that she thought Ashleigh might like. Different color than Ashleigh wanted, different material than she wanted, and a little "foofier" than she wanted. looked amazing on her!!! So beautiful,  a perfect fit and only 3 weeks to order. And, it was on sale and under budget!!! Her face lit up when she saw it on, Brian and I lit up when we saw it on her, and everyone who saw her in it said it was "the One"!!!

Do you know what happens when you find "the One"? You get handed a brass bell and are told to make a wish for your wedding. Then you ring the bell, and everyone in the store knows that a bride has found her dress! Isn't that the sweetest thing??? Oh. Something else happens too. Her mama cries...she's so sappy!!!

Just so you all know, her dress looks nothing like those in the's going to be a surprise!!!!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Taking Time

I've started a new Devotional. It's by Ann Voskamp who is the author of One Thousand Gifts. If any of you are familiar with this book, you know it's all about being thankful. It's so easy to get mired down in what we don't have or what's missing in our lives. Money, Family, Weather, Weight, etc.

Yesterday was so beautiful here. Cold, but sunny and a sunset that was out of this world. I stood in amazement at my Creator, how he could create such vivid colors and light. While I tried to capture it on film, I knew there was no possible way. Often I find that God's beauty overwhelms me. To think He made that sunset for my pleasure!

This morning I woke up to heavy, freezing fog. It's been cold here, but sunny, so this morning was a bit shocking. Yet, there was beauty in the morning as well. Things I would have normally not seen were highlighted with frost. There truly is beauty all around, but sometimes you have to look at things in a different light. While there were brilliant colors and light in the sunset, the beauty of the morning stood out due to the dullness, and lack of light.

A thought from Ann this morning~

So what if we really paid attention
and nickel-and-dimed life away
on afternoon tag by the cedars.
A string of bare toes with a stack of old books.
This one, lone bowl filling with morning light. 
Day after, day, shelling out slow mindfulness
on whatnot's of amazing grace, 
collecting pieces of God-glory.
This buying a bit of medicine
that cures ADD of the soul.

I love the part about  'shelling out slow mindfulness of whatnot's of amazing grace' !

I'm taking time today to slow down and savor the moments, being appreciative, and  seeing the beauty and the joy in the "everyday-ness" of life.

I am so blessed~

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Wrong Season! And Some Recipes

Sometimes I forget to create a post that I've been planning on...for months! This is true of today, as I was looking on my camera and came across pictures of something I did last fall! Since I still have winter squash in storage, maybe it's not too late???

One of my favorite things to grow are pumpkins. I always plant a few, but I also have a ton of volunteer plants that come up. I thin them a bit, but honestly it pains me to do it! Kill a pumpkin plant? How absurd!

Needless to say, I end up with an abundance! Not the big Jack's, but lots of smaller pumpkins.

I scoop out the seeds and guts and then cut them in quarters.

Put them on a baking sheet and bake them for about an hour at 325-350 degrees...can't remember, it's been so long!

They are ready when you can pierce them easily with a fork.

Let it cool a bit and then start scooping out the flesh.  It's so easy!

  I then place it in the food processor to break up any chunks. You just want it softened, not finely pureed.

I put 2 cups per bag, because that's the amount called for in my pumpkin bar recipe!
I use one or two packages when I make soup, depending on how many are eating.

I love being able to go to the freezer and pull this out all winter! It's so yummy!!

Here are a couple of recipes for you to try!!

Pumpkin Bars

2 C flour                                       4 eggs, beaten
2 Tsp baking powder                   1 C Pumpkin
1 tsp baking soda                         1 1/2 C chopped walnuts
2 C sugar            

Mix all ingredients together and pour into a greased jelly roll pan. Bake at 325 for 20 - 25 minutes. When cool, frost with cream cheese frosting. (I use a different recipe for the frosting every time...someday I'll find one I love and then remember it, hopefully!) I always double this recipe and make two pans. They freeze beautifully!!! Credit for this delightful recipe goes to my friend Linda.
By the way...there is no oil in this recipe. Super moist though!!!

Curried Pumpkin Soup

This is a through together recipe, taken from 3 o4 4 different ones...adjust to what you like!

1 onion, chopped                                                 1 quart  chicken broth
3 - 4 stalks celery, chopped                                 1 C half and half or milk
1 - 2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbs of whatever oil, butter you prefer
4 C pumpkin 
curry - to taste
salt and pepper - to taste

Saute onion, celery, garlic, salt and pepper in oil for 3 or 4 minutes. Slowly add chicken broth. Add pumpkin and simmer.  About 15 minutes before serving add curry and half and half. Don't boil,  and check on it often. Give it a stir now and then! This is ready in less than 30 minutes. The pumpkin is already cooked so you just need to heat it up. You can also keep it low for an hour or more.

This is one of my favorite  go to meals...really fast and easy and soooo good. My family loves it!
If it's not thick enough, you can add a bit of instant potato flakes. All of the ingredients can be adjusted for amounts. Remember, curry is pretty strong so start small! I use about a teaspoon.


Wednesday, January 9, 2013


I woke up yesterday morning with a nasty migraine. Lots of Excedrin and coffee and still couldn't shake it. Watched an amazing movie...Courageous. What a wonderful production and testimony. Highly recommend it ! Went to work for a little while, but it was really slow so I went home. It had been raining...Hard...all day long...bucketing actually! So I came home, turned on the fireplace, and curled up on the couch with a few books and lit a new candle.

Vanilla Snowflake from Bath and Body Works. This is my new favorite! Just a hint of vanilla, soft and yummy!  They are on sale right now...if there are any left!

I read a bit of Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace, and the I read the sweetest book, The 13th Day of Christmas by Jason Wright. This was a delightful and lovely story!  I know it's after Christmas, but it extended it just a bit for me! Go check it out at your library!

Woke up this morning and my headache was gone...yea!! No more rain either, but I noticed the pond was up quite a bit. Went outside with my camera and saw this!!

and this!

When we put the dock in last summer we measured it to the high water mark and then added a little bit. It's scary to think we've hit it already and it's only January! We're going to try and pump some of the water out tomorrow as we have a big cold front moving in and we don't want the pond to freeze around the boards. Sound fun? I don't think so either!!!!

Wish the water was always this high!!! It would make jumping off a little more fun!

Snow for the weekend...good thing my outdoor Christmas lights are still up! Makes it more sparkly!!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

New Yea'rs Eve

New Year's Eve. It was 10 days ago. Why does it take me so long to post about the events in my life?!

We were blessed, once again, to celebrate the evening with dear friends. We were together last year, and I hope for many more!

Most of us have been friends since our boys were little. We met during soccer and continued these friendships long after the boys went on to pursue different things.  John's big brother was the boys coach in the early days, and until senior year, Braden and Tyler continued to play basketball together. Now they are all in college...John is in Hawaii, Braden and Tyler in Bellingham, but at different schools. I love these boys and their families and it has been such a joy to watch them grow into the fine young men they are becoming.

I think one of the best things about this night is that the "kids" are all part of it. How many 17,18 and 19 year olds (and older!) spend New Year's Eve with their parents, parent's friends and grandparents? Says a lot about the character of these youngsters!!!

There were lots of games...Mad Gab, Catch Phrase, Taboo, and a made up game too...which were all quite fun!

Lots of fabulous food...because we didn't get enough at Christmas!

 A little round robin ping pong game...

and the countdown to midnight...some of us are thinking about celebrating an earlier time zone next year!!!

A wonderful way to kick off 2013!!!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Does It Have to be Over?

Does it have to be over? What if I don't want it to end? The magic, the smells, the twinkling lights...that feeling of anticipation~I wish it could last forever!

But, alas, I think it's all coming down this weekend. I'm mostly ready! To tidy the house, have a blank slate, think of some fun new decorating ideas and displays. I have LOVED Christmas...the entire month leading up to it and the day of and days after! This has been my most joyous December since I was a little girl!!! I was determined to enjoy each and every minute and by golly, I did!!!!

From the decorating to baking, train rides and get-togethers, shopping and visiting, wrapping and the Music (I LOVE the music!),  Christmas Eve candlelight service, to the snow on Christmas day, I have relished each moment!

I haven't blogged, but I've been reading everyone else's!! I'm always so impressed with the way people decorate and inspiring!

So here's a little tour of my home, before it all goes away!

The past few years I keep saying it's time to change up the tree...but then I pull out all the ornaments and love it all over again!

 I need to make new stockings now...why didn't I think ahead all those years ago for my children's spouses???!!! (if anyone has this fabric in their stash...let me know!)

My bucket of snowballs~

The Starbucks tree that seems to accumulate more and more stuff every year!

The stair landing...time for some new lights!

The laundry room got a new look!

Some fine, first grade style art by yours truly!

I put a tree in the office this year and loved it!!! Kind of whimsical!

Above the front door~

The same old trees in the sewing room....but I love them!

The quilt I made for Tyler, when he was two.

A little vignette in the entryway~


S'more tree!

I had a bare table and an unused sled so I came up with this a few weeks ago!

My sweet grammy made the snowflake garland the first year I was married!

My new favorite tree~the master bedroom. I saw this tree at a thrift store this year and as soon as I heard the price ($20.00!) I scooped it up! It's so hard to get an accurate picture, but it is gorgeous!!!

I had some of the ornaments, balls mostly, but got quite a few for bargain prices at Kohl's. I got the twig garland and candles at Grandiflora. The flocking on this looks like the tree just came from the mountains!

 It's the last thing I turn off every night!

The kitchen gets dolled up too!

I painted the inside of my hutch this year (don't know why I never did it before!) It's a Martha Stewart piece that I got at a garage sale and the interior was originally blue, which I changed to green. Why? I love the cream! And dear hubby wired it for lights. Instead of putting them on the top, we put a light at the bottom of each shelf. I really like the light effect  and also that I can hide them!

My husband is also a little more talented in the chalk art than I am! He does them for fun...all free hand!

Anyway, this one says it all!!!

 Blessings to all of you in this wonderful, new year!