Thursday, March 29, 2012

Pink, White and Spring

     I didn't do a tablescape this week. With the combination of home projects, allergy issues and an old dog falling apart and young dog recovering from just wasn't in me. However, if I had done a tablescape...this is what I would have used.

My yard has burst into brilliant pinks and whites!

Hearts and Flowers...

Bunnies and green grass...

Spring is all around and it is so simple to
bring a little bit of it into the house.

I am joining Susan @ Between Naps on the Porch
for Tablescape Thursday.

Please visit our lovely hostess.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Front Porch Color

     I am just getting started turning my front porch into spring. I can't do much yet because we are waiting to get some concrete work done and I'll just have to move everything. Our front step started sinking about a year ago and it has finally become not only ugly, but dangerous. So, we are getting a new step...did you know that one new concrete step is $500? Thankfully, I'm not getting a new driveway!

     I usually do the outside of my house in pinks, purples and whites for spring and summer. Some years I have used all red and white. Maybe it was all the sunshine and the early warm weather, but this year I feel like using bright yellows, peach, white and green. So, I started with the above wreath. I so rarely use anything orange that I didn't have anything else to tie it all together and I didn't want to spend much money doing so.

I found this leafy wreath in the sale room
 of a local gift shop. It was about $20.

If you look closely, you can see that it is
a twig wreath with large leaves attached.

     I also bought one bush of bright yellow, orange and greens for $8.99. I like to buy silk flowers in bushes when I'm going to make a project. You get so much more for your money and you simply cut it apart and use the leaves, flowers, buds and all.

     I simply used my glue gun to attach the flowers randomly onto the wreath. I wasn't going for a designer wreath look to hang on a door, I just wanted to add a bit of color to coordinate with my large wreath that I could put on the other side of the porch. I will add more color with pots in various shades filled with flowers in bright yellows, whites and peaches but it is still too early for live plants here.

I'm not sure what else will be sitting in my chair...
but for now, this is as far as I've gotten.

     We are getting ready to start a fairly big project around here. We have been gathering new things for the master bathroom, which isn't really very big but we will be taking up the tile floor and putting in new tile (what is in there is too slick for a bathroom), painting, replacing the vanity and mirror, new lighting, granite and, I've had to remove everything from the room. Ugh. This is gonna get messy!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Easy Low-Fat Granola

     On our recent trip to an Amish community, I bought what they called "Sunrise Granola" and it was the best I'd ever tasted. I eat Greek Yogurt for breakfast every morning and I love to sprinkle a couple tablespoons of granola on top and theirs was perfect. I could tell that it was made with butter and it was in small pieces, very brown and toasty.

     Once it was gone, I decided to try to make a lowfat version that was the same texture. I have a different lowfat granola recipe (posted on the blog in the past) and I have a delicious high calorie recipe, but I wanted something that tasted good and was in small pieces for topping yogurt. I didn't take pictures as I made it because I didn't think it would taste as good as it does!

     With very few ingredients, it has the crunch and the chewy sweet that I was looking for and no fat added. You can adjust the ingredients to your own liking. Use a little more syrup/brown sugar if you want it more coated, use a different dried fruit or even substitute nuts for seeds. I really think the secret was in getting it nice and lightly browned. I will still buy the Amish granola when I visit Arthur, but for every day this version is much healthier!

Easy Low Fat Granola

4 cups oats (I used quick cooking in the big round box)
1 cup sunflower seed/pumpkin seed mix (I used salted)
½ cup brown sugar packed
½ cup real maple syrup
1 cup raisins

     In large bowl combine oats and seeds. In a small saucepan, combine brown sugar and maple syrup and bring to a boil. Pour over oat seed mixture and mix well. Pour onto greased cookie sheet and bake about an hour at 300 degrees. I checked mine often and stirred the edges as they turned brown into the middle. I judged the cooking time by the color of the mix, not wanting it to burn but still wanting a brown and toasty flavor.

     Remove from oven and fold in raisins, let cool. Keep in airtight container or Ziploc bag. It freezes very well.

I thought I'd share this sunrise photo from a few days ago.
Sometimes the sky is truly a work of art.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

This and That

     When I had my plate ready for dinner last night, I knew I had to share it with all of you. It was a simple turkey sandwich, a salad of baby greens, beets, goat cheese and a sprinkle of sunflower and pumpkin seeds and roasted asparagus. However, the bread really made the plate. We bought it at our local grocery store on Sunday and it was still warm when we bought it-rainbow bread, so pretty!

     I don't have anything exciting to share with you today, just a few things that have been on my mind lately. You may be bored by my random thoughts.

     I've been reading things about Pinterest and the possible legal problems associated with using it. I'm trying to decide if I want to continue to use the site. It hardly seems worth being sued just to save a few recipes and pretty pictures.

     I am a person with fairly strong political opinions. I choose not to write about them often on my blog. I used to be part of a writing website where we wrote opinon pieces and had major discussions...sometimes I miss that. I will say that the robo calls from Mitt Romney have been coming in at least 5-8 times a day at my house for the past week. I can't imagine that anyone actually gets all these calls and decides to vote because of them. Everyone I know, regardless of their politics finds these calls annoying!

     I've been watching the news about the teenager that was shot by a "neighborhood watch" member in Florida. The teen was "armed" with iced tea and Skittles. He was apparently doing nothing wrong according to the 911 calls. The man who shot him hasn't been arrested or had his gun taken away. I don't get it. 

     As I type this, there has been another 7.6 earthquake in Mexico. It has happened in tourist areas and it is spring break. My thoughts are with those who are involved.

     I've been trying to spend time reading blogs today. The change in the "code words" that we have to type in to some blogs to post comments have become almost impossible for my eyes to read. Am I the only one having this issue?

     Today is my daughter's last day at the Disney resort where she has been working. She has a few days vacation time and then she starts a new project at Disney.  She and a small group of managers from various Disney hotels have been selected to be on the opening team for the new Disney Resort, The Art of Animation. It is opening in phases beginning in May and it is going to be a wonderful Disney experience. It is an honor for my daughter to be a part of this team and she is very excited even though she is in for some very hard work and long hours over the next few months. You can read about the new resort here!

     We are still enjoying summer in March here in Illinois. I hope it is as beautiful where you are!


Monday, March 19, 2012

What started my spring cleaning...and what stopped it!

     I mentioned last week that I was on a spring cleaning frenzy at my house. The project that started it all was the small antique spool cabinet that belonged to my in-laws. You have seen several pictures of the larger spool cabinet that I brought home from their house, but this small one had been waiting for me to find a place for it. I decided to line it with a neutral paper and use it as a jewelry box. Of course it didn't hold nearly as much as I thought it would. I opted to only put casual bracelets in one drawer and necklaces in the other. It forced me to clean out all of my jewelry...and eventually the dressers and closet.  

     I was doing great until last Wednesday. The picture below is what the trees in our yard looked like last Tuesday. They were still brown, there were a few buds just starting to show. We slept with our bedroom window open Tuesday night. Wednesday morning I woke up with an allergy migraine because...

...this is what happened to all of our Bradford Pear trees,
literally in just a few hours.

     Our yard is full of these trees, as is the rest of our town. I have never seen anything like this. The trees went from winter to spring in less than 24 hours. I guess when it is over 80 degrees in March, anything can happen. They are gorgeous but everyone I know is complaining of allergies. Mine just happen to take the form of headaches. Needless to say, the air-conditioner came on and the cleaning stopped! So did the blogging. I need to do some catching up this week!

I am joining Susan @ Between Naps on the Porch for Met Monday
Susan @ A Southern Daydreamer for Outdoor Wednesday.

Please visit our hostesses!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Did We Skip Spring?

     I am sitting here fighting the urge to turn on the air-conditioner, it is too warm in my house...but, it is still technically winter! I love it! As we move from the high 70's into the 80's tomorrow, my husband plans to mow the grass tonight and I want to pull the patio furniture out of storage. Won't it be shocking if we get another big snow or ice storm.

     One thing the nice weather has done is to kick me into cleaning and organizing. What started as a simple jewelry box project, turned into cleaning out all of my jewelry, my dresser and my closet. It ended with a trip to Goodwill, it also took 4 days! Yesterday I moved to the kitchen and I think I'll just keep it up while I'm in the mood. I know this energy level won't last long, so I have to make the most of it. I will say that I've discovered Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day products and they make my house smell so good that I almost don't mind cleaning!

     We made a trip on Saturday to Arthur, IL in the heart of Amish country. We love to go to a little store there that carries Amish made food items of all kinds. They have the best supply of sanding sugar and decorations for very reasonable prices. When I got home, I decided they were just too pretty to put away. So, a quick trip to Dollar Tree for these cute little jars and I have a springy vignette on the kitchen counter.

     The "cupcake" was actually a placecard holder from one of the little shops. I pulled out the wire holder and I perched it on a small silver compote.

     I also wanted to share the vignette on the library table. I started with this beautiful print that was a gift from a wonderful blog friend, Kat @ Low Tide High Style. The lighting doesn't do it justice. If you haven't seen her artwork, make sure you visit her. She is a wonderful photographer. I have always loved this piece of hers and the soft seafoam color is perfect at my house. I had an orb the same color and it now sits under a cloche.

The coffee table has bits of spring and Easter.
 I think most things look better under glass, don't you?

The winner of my Vintage Giveaway was
Dorothy @ HENSRULE
Thank you to all who entered! 

I am joining Marty @ A Stroll Thru Life for
her Spring Cloche Party which is part of
The Egg-xellant Spring Party


Wow Us Wednesdays

Please visit our hostesses!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Spring Breakfast-Zoe Update

     Today's table setting is for a simple spring breakfast or coffee. No salad forks, no tower of stacked plates, just keeping it colorful and cheery on this rainy day. I found the table runner at TJ Maxx and I fell in love with it. Most of the time I buy table linens because they are on sale. This one, was coming home with me no matter what...lucky for me it was only $12.99.

     I really like using round placemats when I use a table runner and I happened to have a perfect green shade to match the runner. The "chargers" are dinner plates marked only with a "B". The assorted salad/dessert plates are Garden Bouquet from Home/Studio, a Kohls purchase a couple years ago. I added small stemware for juice and nice big WalMart mugs for coffee. The flatware is Wm. Rogers silverplate.

Of course we must have cream and sugar...

...and something sweet, served on my
mother-in-law's Fostoria cake server.

Vintage napkins and pastel napkin rings finish the look.

I know some of you don't like Annalee dolls, but I do.
I love this little sweetheart!

I finally cut the pussy willows, the rain.
They look like wet cat fur.

I am counting on the fact that they will dry
and be nice and fluffy again by tomorrow!

     I just had to share this picture of Zoe. She will be 6 months old in 4 days...time for a little surgery soon. She is very smart (beagles can tell time, I swear they can) and she can stretch that neck to reach almost anything in the house. She still is either wild or sleeping...and seems to have stopped growing so she is just the size we hoped for. She is one spoiled puppy!

Please sign up for my Vintage Giveaway!

I am joining Susan @ Between Naps on the Porch
for Tablescape Thursday.

Please visit our hostess!