Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Moving Into Fall and Tea Party Planned For Me By Kathleen

Leaves of Autumn
By:Helen Barclay
When blades of grass are turning brown
And autumn leaves come floating down,
I dance with them on lawn and street
And scuffle through them with my feet.
Then to one special spot I take
All I can gather with my rake,
Heaping them high above my head
To make a giant featherbed,
Where, when I climb on top to rest, 
I sink into a cozy nest.

September has approached but the days still feel like summer... leaves fall, girls going back to school.... but with temperatures near 90 here in the south, it's hard to think of fall decorating! :-)

I did pull a few things out to get started as I enjoy making my home seasonal. This simple door decoration I picked up at our local dollar tree.


i also found these adorable squirrels in the Dollar Tree, they are salt and pepper shakers but I just love them as a decoration.

Now in the morning I watch my girls walk off to the bus stop together, chatting away... wishing for a moment time could just stand still....

Spiders are making their webs everywhere!! We have somme really big spiders here in the south, lol.

My sweet Kathleen surprised me with a tea party the other weekend. I love these moments with my girls. She did a great job decorating it, making the food and keeping it a bird based theme.

Even her dress matched the occasion. That's my girl.... giving emphasis to the details and making every moment special.

Love seeing her sweet face sitting across from me. We had a delightful time chatting and enjoying our meal.

Thank you Kathleen for putting together this absolutely delightful lunch. I loved it and even more loved the time with you. :-)


Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Pumpkin Spice Cookies

My favorite time of year is fast approaching and this weekend we had my dad over for dinner for grandparents day. I knew I wanted to make something with pumpkin for him as he loves it and so does Kathleen, Jerry and I. So we made these delicious cookies to get our season started right, :-)

2 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 sugar
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup canned pumpkin (not pie filler)

For cinnamon sugar coating:

1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1. Whisk together the flour, cornstarch, cream of tartar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ground cloves.

2. In a separate bowl beat together the butter and sugars until fluffy. Turn the mixer down to low then beat in egg yolk, vanilla and pumpkin.

3. Slowly add the flour mixture. The dough will be very sticky.

4. Cover the bowl with cling wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.

5. When ready to bake remove dough from the fridge.

6. Preheat over to 350 degrees and line two baking trays with parchment paper.

7. In a small bowl whisk together the sugar and cinnamon for the topping.

8. Form the dough into balls about 1.5 tablespoons in size, then roll in cinnamon, sugar mixture.

9. Place cookies on sheet about 2 inches apart

10. Bake for about 7-9 minutes until tops look almost set.

                                   So soft they will melt in your mouth and so very delicious!!

                      Enjoy!! We definitely did and Kathleen is already asking to make more :-)


Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Laundry Room Makeover and Organization Part 1

It's a rainy day here in the South and I thought it would be a good time to sit a few moments and share a little makeover of our laundry room. When we moved in we basically put some shelves in our laundry room and threw stuff on them just to say we "unpacked", lol. To say we had a lot of boxes would be an understatement. Our home is older and the laundry room is very large, we love it. This is probably the first of a couple posts I will be doing in regards to our laundry room makeover. Below is the unappealing shelves... lol. I like things organized so I told Jerry we really had to change it up in there and he agreed, lucky for me he is handy. :-)

 We cleared out the space and headed out to Lowes to see what we could find as far as cabinets. Yes that would be a dog's tail in the picture below, that's Patches.... one of our 4 dogs :-) They are quite curious to know what is going on.

                                       Jerry leveling out the cabinets and installing them.

                                                                 Adding the hardware.

Here is the completed look and we also added a counter top. I love how it turned out and so nice for storing things and keeping them tucked away nice and neat.

                                                           Do you know what this is? ;-)

A built in ironing board! We love this feature of the house, you don't find these much anymore. :-)

Hayley enjoys using it and so does Kathleen for craft projects and more. The actual ironing of clothes is left to me, lol. ;-)

In this case Hayley was ironing patches on her denim jacket. She was so excited with how it turned out and plans to add more. I remember this trend being popular when I was growing up too.

Our dogs are a bit spoiled, as are all the animals in our house. I actually bought these storage cubes at the dollar store. They are a little flimsy but do serve their purpose for holding things. I placed matching cubes filled with items we needed under our cabinets. My next step will be adding the labels and I will do an updated post as we get more of the laundry room done as I'd also like to paint it.

I bought dish pans from the dollar store to put cleaning supplies, etc in and to store under the cabinets. That way when I needed to reach them I can just slide out the dish pan and have easy access. Cheaper then installing the pull out drawers right now.

This is a before photo and I didn't like how everything was originally put in there after we moved in.

                             More sorting, these are some molds for our yogurt and fruit pops :-)

I folded up our microfiber clothes for cleaning and put them in another little basket from the Dollar Tree.

 So much better and easy to access when I need something. :-) Just noticed I didn't remove one of the sticker tags on the dish pan..... guess who will be doing that after writing this post, lol.

I also purchased a retractable laundry line but forgot to take pictures of it, I will do so in the next related post. These are clips that are great not only for hanging up clothes, but other items for drying as well. More to come as we finish the whole room.

My sweet Kathleen laid this out the other day for me. She is pretty amazing at given foot massages and just melts my heart. She grabbed some of my favorite Perfectly Posh lotion and set up the chaise lounge for me. How blessed am I?

       "You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth"  Khalil Gibran


Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Celebrating My Birthday and Visiting The Reynolda House, Gardens and the Georgia O'keefe Exhibits

On August 26th, 2017, I turned 43 years old.... my first birthday without my mom calling to sing me happy birthday, her not being there to celebrate with cake and ice cream and her not being the first person at 12:00 AM to write on my Facebook wall a special birthday message. My little Kathleen knew this year would be difficult so she knocked on my bedroom door at 12:00 AM after I thought she was asleep and gave me a hand made Happy Birthday note so she could be the first one to wish me happy birthday this year. I hugged her tightly with tears in my eyes... grateful to have her to help me through this. I'm  grateful to have Kathleen, Hayley, Jerry, my dad and my sister. They all made my day special for me. My dad didn't want to go out with us for the day yet, but he did come over after we got home for cake and ice cream and gave me a beautiful card that he still signed all our love mom and dad... then I cried some more. My sister sent me two beautiful gifts that I will treasure always and her and my niece called and sang happy birthday to me. Meant the world to me to have my family help me get through this day without my mom. I also received messages, texts, and phone calls from family and friends. I am blessed indeed!

Jerry and the girls took me out to see the historic Reynolda house and gardens. They were also featuring a Georgia O'Keefe exhibit that we wanted to see. I love this picture of the 3 of them, I am in some as well but I woke up crying that morning so my eyes were very puffy... I decided to keep those pictures just for me, lol.

Kathleen started out by giving me this gift she found for me, a little goat and I just love him! Made me smile :-)

This home is absolutely beautiful inside and out. I really enjoyed touring it and learning all the history behind it.

      These beautiful fresh flowers were on the sink in the bathrooms. Just had to get a picture of them.

Georgia O'Keefe was an American artist and has been recognized as the "Mother of American modernism" We were excited to see her exhibits being featured. She is most well known for her paintings of New York skyscrapers, New Mexico landscapes and large flowers. She was a strong individual bot afraid to stand for what she believed in.

This is the pool area inside the Reynolda house. Would be lovely to have an indoor swimming pool!

          We came across part of this old time phone, not sure what happened to the other part of it.

We entered the tour in the basement and this was the game room area, the kids just loved it and Kathleen said the furnishings reminded her of Where's Waldo! ;-)

Bar area with mirrors all around, was really pretty cool to see. Hayley said "dad, you can build this in our basement right? LOL

                                                      They even had their own bowling alley!

                                                                    A billiard room.

Someone must have really loved their wine! I thought it was a bank vault until I read the sign showing it was for wine, ;-)

It was also really neat to see this little room built in under the stairs that was the skate closet! How cool!

    There were several grand spiraling staircases to climb that definitely had to be done single file.

Upstairs we learned we could take as many photos of the gardens and Georgia O'Keefe's exhibits but not of the rest of the house. :-( A shame I wanted to so badly as it was absolutely wonderful inside!

                                             Some of Georgia's actual clothing on display.

                                       I really liked this portrait of her Andy Warhol created.

Apparently when she found a shoe she really liked, she would buy it in several different colors to match her outfits. :-) Primarily she wore black and white.

There was wonderful photography displayed of her as well. So much can be seen in a great photograph.

This was a really neat thing. An old cigarette dispenser was transferred in artist's pieces of work on a block you could buy. Then the proceeds go back to the artist. The lady gave Hayley information on who to contact to get hers featured in there as well. :-) The girls each got one that they liked.

                                              This statue brought tears to my eyes......

                         Another one of her paintings that I liked. One of Hayley's favorites.

                                    The gardens were just as lovely as the grand home.....

I loved the fountain and mom would have too. I kept thinking of her and how she could have gotten around the place pretty easily in her wheelchair and been able to enjoy it. There were elevators inside also. I was emotional all day......

                                                             Lovely old grand trees.....

                                                A lovely place to sit and reflect.....

My mom loved roses and so do I and they had a gorgeous rose garden and the fragrance from them was amazing!

Mom was definitely there with me... I could sense her and this butterfly was one of the signs that day.

This was the greenhouse area and you could purchase plants and other garden items in there. When I walked in and saw the wind chimes and all the things mom loved and had in her gardens as well I started to cry... right there .... in public... no stopping it.... straight grief.... I had to leave and go sit out on a bench in the gardens with Kathleen and try to compose myself. :-(

          Gardens were plentiful and well maintained. How many years have they been this way!

                                   So much to see and explore and enjoy and appreciate.....

Kathleen found a snake skin and Jerry picked it up... thankfully no snake was seen! LOL :-) You may have heard me screaming no matter what state or even country you are reading this from, lol.

"Some people are always grumbling because roses have thorns; I am thankful that thorns have roses"  Alphonse Karr

These 3 people are my whole heart and world.... they helped me get through a really hard birthday and I love them so much for it.

"A rose's rarest essence lives in the thorn. A thorn defends the rose, harming only those who would steal the blossom. Do not watch the petals fall from the rose with sadness, know that, like life, things must sometimes fade before they can bloom again. The rose is a flower of love"

"Remember that children, marriages, and flower gardens reflect the kind of care they get"  H. Jackson Brown Jr.

                "The most lasting and pure gladness comes to me from my gardens"  Lillie Langtry

This fountain has been on the property since about 1924! Quite amazing how long it has remained to this day.

At the gift shop I picked up some books about the history of Reynolda and it's owners. The garden shop I also got 2 wind chimes, one butterfly and one hummingbird, a steel water bottle with bluebirds and flowers on it and Jerry got me hummingbird earrings. All treats for my birthday.

For lunch we walked down to the little village of Reynolda and ate at the Bistro. It was an old dairy barn where they used to keep the cows. These are the original doors. sadly the food, service and cleanliness left something to be desired.... but we didn't let it ruin our day.

           Kathleen being silly and pretending Jerry's beer is hers, lol. don't worry no sips were taken!

                       Here's her real drinks, water and hot chocolate on a 90 degree day! LOL

We had a little taste of "home" with the crab dip, pretty good, but Jerry said not as good as mine, lol. We are originally from the Baltimore area so we are pretty picky about our crabs! ;-)

The sign on this shop reminded me of mom too.... I will never forget you mom or stop thinking of you and missing you.....

"A good character is the best tombstone. Those who loved you and were helped by you will remember you when forget-me-nots have withered. Carve your name on hearts, not on marble."  Charles Spurgeon

When we arrived back home the girls, Jerry, dad and I had cake and ice cream. They had them spell Jill with extra L's since here in the south they drag out my name, lol. If it's not dragged out they simply think my name is Joe! ;-)

                                                                 I was able to be 8 again ;-)

OK, super puffy eyes and messy hair, but I had to have this picture with my dad. I had to post it and remember the moment. I love him so much and I know how badly he is hurting... God received an amazingly beautiful, kind, caring, loving angel when he took my mom home. But our hearts are hurting....

                    Thank you for being the best readers and friends a blogger could ever ask for!