Saturday, April 30, 2011

~Tokens of Love~

 I ask you, is there anything more romantic than a man bearing vegetables from his own garden?
~A gift from Mr. Kattywhompus~

I think I'll cook something delicious to reward him for his efforts. This recipe from his great Aunt is on the dinner menu tonight.

Aunt Bob's Asparagus Casserole

3 cups fresh asparagus, chopped and steamed (water too)
(2, 10 oz. cans of canned asparagus, with water)
1 cup cubed cheese
1 1/2 cups cracker crumbs
1 cup milk
1/4 cup roast red pepper
1 tsp salt (I use 1/2 tsp.)
1/4 cup melted butter

Set butter aside. Gently toss remaining ingredients together in a large bowl. Place mixture in a 9"X 9" baking dish and drizzle butter over the top. Bake for 30-40 minutes at 350 degrees.

Aunt Bob is the wife of Uncle Louie, of  Uncle Louie's Apple Cake fame.

Until next time...

Friday, April 29, 2011

Art Imitates Life

Do you have a friend who is upbeat, cheerful, generous and fun to be with? I do. 
Meet Emily. Spending a few days with Em always involves deep conversation, laughter, and usually an art project. She is great at choosing projects that take me out of my comfort zone and stretches my imagination a bit. With her, I get to try new things and work in unfamiliar mediums. She encourages me to be grow. I need that.
We had one of our little art retreats this week. We had the house to ourselves and plenty of room to make a mess...and we did. 
We stayed up until 4am, laughing, talking, snipping, and gluing. It was wonderful.
And although I don't think either of us is under the illusion that these are great works of art, we did get the opportunity to learn new techniques and expand our horizons. 
Plus, we had fun...and really, isn't that what girlfriend time is all about?
My "masterpiece"...still needing the finishing touches. Nothing amazing...but still, a sweet remembrance of our time together.
I plan to hang it in my new studio space (more about that later).
~Emily's collage...not quite finished.~
Canvas, gesso, paper, paint, etc...$20.-$30
Spending time with someone who is cheerful, positive, authentic, and challenges and encourages me to be my best self...priceless.

 Spend some time with YOUR authentic friend(s) today.
Until next time...

If you would like to try the "Little Houses" project yourself, visit Caatje's lovely blog for instructions.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Keep Manhattan, Just Give Me That Countryside!

Each Tuesday Misi at Gable House Musings issues a challenge to her readers...for this week's Tuesday Display Chain she left it up to each of us to pay tribute to any subject we choose.

I chose the theme, Farm Livin'. Now, I haven't always lived in the a girl I lived on Main Street, just one block from the bustling metropolis that was Lowell, Indiana...population 2,270. It was as a young bride that I moved to the a hundred year old farmstead, complete with a dilapidated barn and a chicken coop. Those first few years, out of fear that someone would call me a city girl, I learned to glaze windows, butcher chickens, grow a garden, can tomatoes and make jelly. I embraced country living with gusto...and still do.

Many years and quarts of  tomatoes later, we built a new house and moved from our little farmstead. We didn't go far, only a few miles up the road. And even though the new house has ample closet space and electric outlets in every room...I  sometimes miss my old yard with the apple trees and the chicken coop.

Just when Mr. Kattywhompus & I were beginning to think how nice it would be to have animals again, and that we should think about building a barn and putting up fence, something unexpected happened to remind us that animals, although wonderful, are hard work.

It was a lazy Sunday afternoon and we had company after church. We had just finished eating lunch and were enjoying tea on the back deck with our "city friends", Barb & Amy. Mr K. & I were sitting with our backs to the driveway when suddenly Amy's eyes grew huge and Barb mouthed the word, "Goats". When I turned to see what all the excitement was about, I saw this...

A veritable goat stampede...about two dozen in all...turning in at the drive, heading up the hill, and coming straight for us-fast! Just as we sprang out of our comfy chairs and got the door closed behind us, the goats began to congregate on the deck. It was soon apparent that our deck could not accommodate such a large number of goats. No problem, one by one they jumped over the railing and found their way to the side yard. At this time, I should point out that we don't have goats... and our closest neighbor is over a mile away.

After we gathered our wits about us, we realized that no one seemed to be looking for these goats...and that it was up to us to herd them back to whence they came. Mr. Kattywhompus found a length of rope in the garage to use as a lead. He explained to us that where one goat goes, the others will follow. How he knew this, I'm not sure...but it turns out he was right.

By this time, city girl Amy, has been bewitched by the lost goats and begs us to allow her to "walk" the  lead goat. What can we do, but allow it? After all, Amy is our guest. She is handed the rope and off she teeters in her high heels and church clothes, behind "her" goat. Four adults, three children and two dozen goats start down the road, hopefully heading for home.

All is going well until two young girls from the neighboring farm ride up on bicycles, shouting, arms waving...each with a tiny chihuahua dog tucked under her arm. The girls are from migrant families and neither of them speak English. We have no idea what the girls are saying, but the WAY they are saying it makes the goats run faster. I gotta hand it to city girl Amy, she never lets go of the rope. The girls with chihuahuas lead the way and we scramble to keep up with Amy. At this point we must look like some deranged version of The Bremen Town Musicians.

When we get the goats back to the neighboring farm, we find no one at home. Between hand gestures and my eighth grade Spanish, we surmise that the girls have accidentally let the goats out of their pen. The girls showed us where the goats belong...but we would no sooner get one goat in the pen, than another would jump over the fence. We finally realized that we were putting the goats in the horse pen. My Spanish was rustier than I thought.

Let's just say that through a series of unfortunate events, the horse got out...and while we were corralling the horse, a few pigs got loose, and then some sheep wandered. Eventually we (Mr. Kattywhompus) got all the animals inside the various pens.

Farmer Bailey had a nice day at the county fair...but was confused when he came home that evening to find his livestock rearranged. 
Mr. Kattywhompus is rethinking that barn. 

And city girls Amy & Barb sent us the nicest thank you note...said it was the best time they'd had in a long while. They can't wait to be invited back.

  Farm livin' is the life for me.

Until next time...

Many thanks to Julie King, for graciously allowing me to use photos from her blog. It was she who captured the comical images of the goats that you see here. You can visit Julie and her beautiful art here and here.

Saturday, April 23, 2011


"Go on and raise your hands, sing praises to the Lord. He is the King and He'll reign forevermore. He died upon the cross at Calvary. He died to save a wretch like me..."
~Jennifer Knapp~ 

Rejoice in the peace and grace of this blessed season.

Until next time...

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Tuesday Display Chain~ These Four Walls~

~These precious bunnies, from Cheryl at Patty Cake Primitives, are the newest addition to my Easter display~
~Tuesday Display Chain~
Each Tuesday Misi, of Gable House Musings selects a theme and invites bloggers to play along with her "Tuesday Display Chain". This week we are asked to show off our favorite walls.
This one was easy...I am blessed beyond measure to share my four walls with a man who adores me and three sons who make us look like better parents than we really are. Throw in three cats with big personalities and two comical dogs,  and we have enough to keep us entertained for a long while. Is it any wonder that home is my favorite place to be? 
"Home is any four walls that enclose the right person(s).
~Helen Rowland~

~The buttery is still one of my favorite places in our many possibilities for decorating. Here it is decked out for spring.~ 

"I'm not famous but my kids think I'm a star
  I'm not rich but I've made a million memories so far
I may not be a model
But my man thinks I could be
I may not be from royalty
But in these four walls
I'm the queen"
~Sara Evans~ 

Just for fun, here's another peek at those adorable bunnies.

 Details like the painted eyes and the little needle felted whiskers add extra charm to these sweet little bunnies.  And I just love the way Cheryl used stain to add contour to them.

"Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls."  
~Joseph Campbell~

Until next time...

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Scavenger Hunt #4~ Parts 1,2 & 3

As the scavenger hunt at Gable House Musings comes to a close...I must say I'm surprised to still be in the running. It's been a lot of fun-and some weeks it's been a real challenge to find just the right items on Misi's list! There were a few times I just knew I was on my way out...but here here I am, coming into the home stretch. Yay!
I want to take this opportunity to say THANK YOU to Misi for hosting the hunt and offering such a generous prize to the winner. And although it might sound corny, I already feel like a winner...because in the last few weeks, I've made new friends, shared some laughs, and even learned a few things along the way. And you can't beat that. Misi's game has entertained us, spurred our creativity, and even encouraged us to pamper ourselves a little bit now & then. So, thank you's been F.U.N. 
Now, on with the show...

 ~Part 1~
For part one, Misi gave us her personal shopping list. We were to find at least two items on her list, and one item from her hubby's list. I'll tell you, honestly...I panicked when I first saw the list. Although I'm a girlie girl...I had no idea what half of the stuff was. Add to that, Misi is a brunette-I'm a blonde! And I have really curly hair...I don't paint my nails...and who on earth is Bill Compton!? What's a girl to do?

The save for me was soap. 
Yes, beautiful soap is my weakness, my Achilles Heel.
I set out for TJ Maxx with Misi's recommendations in hand...
I not only treated myself to three bars of the CST soap that Misi so esteems...I bought an extra bar of soap by Laura Ashley. Who could resist scents like Vanilla Tangerine, Lavender Rosemary, Eucalyptus Aloe, and Lily and Aloe Leaf? Not I. 
Do yourself a favor..."awaken your senses" this soap. These are huge, silky soft, moisturizing bars...and they come wrapped like a present-just for you. You have to get clean with something, it might as well be this.

I added a small bottle of Bed Head brand hairspray for my second item, and finished part one with Bero's movie choice...

~Part 2~
Now this part wasn't required, but participating means an extra chance to win the grand prize. So you know I'd be crazy not to give it my best try, right? I needed four out of six items from the list. Here goes.

Ruby Slippers/Shoes
"I'm a little muddled. The Munchkins called me, because a new Witch has just dropped a house on the Wicked Witch of the East. And there's the house. And here you are. And that's all that's left of the Wicked Witch of the East."
"Their magic must be very powerful, or she wouldn't want them so badly."
~Glinda, the Good Witch of the North~

Wooden Shoes
It's obvious that these shoes are adorable...but, do shoes made of wood = wooden shoes? I'm hoping Misi thinks so.

Triple chocolate, no nuts...the perfect accompaniment to a cup of Earl Grey tea.

Christening Gown
Antique cotton eyelet gown with millions of tiny tucks...OK, not millions, but you've got to admit, that's a lot of tucks.
Here's a closer view. Just look at the amazing detail!

Dried Apple Gourd 
Nope, don't have one. I have every other kind of gourd, but not this one.

Heart Pantry Cakes
This was one of the things I learned along the way. It was high time I tried making pantry cakes. An easy project with almost instant gratification. I made several batches...these pretty hearts were my favorite.

Which brings me to the final part of the hunt...

Part 3
~Fun with Flowers and Furbabies~
Narcissus, Daffodils, call them what you will...they are one of my very favorite flowers. If you read my story in the spring issue of Mercantile Gatherings Magazine, you know that some of my best memories include these perky yellow blooms.
On the day our sons moved away from home, my sweet Mother-in-love, thoughtfully shared the first blossoms from her garden with me.

Now I'd like to share a few photos of my furbabies with you.
This is my Murray on the first day he came to live with us. He'd just had a bath and wasn't too sure about his new surroundings. He was twelve weeks old.

And this is Murray now, resting his chin on Edith. This is the first thing I see every morning when I wake up. It's a beautiful sight to this dog lovers eyes.

My kids know how to make me laugh...sometime they use cats.
Mattimeo fighting zombies.

Well, that concludes the scavenger of luck to all of my worthy opponents! It's been such fun seeing what everyone comes up with each week. To be linked to the other participants please visit Misi at: 
Until next time...

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

As long as I’m living…

…my baby you’ll be. 
How many times did we read that book? And I could relate to the young mother with the new baby, or even the slightly older mom who sometimes felt like she lived in a zoo… But today, as I stood in the still dark morning... watching the lights of the moving van grow smaller, I realized that I have reached the middle of the story. I felt the lump rise in my throat...

I remind myself that this is the natural progression of things, that boys will be boys, and then will become men. I don’t know how or when it happened…I was too busy raising little boys to notice. Mr. Kattywhompus attributes 99% of it to perseverance. Perhaps he’s right.

And I am comforted by the knowledge that these are good men. Indeed, very good men.

So today, I hope you will indulge me as I post a few favorite pictures of my men.
~My Three Sons~
~Nash, our rolling stone, is a professional musician. When he was 17, he went on the road touring the country with his band for almost five years~
~I love these pictures of him "doing his thing"~
~Photo from his Reverend Guitar endorsement~
 ~One of my favorite photos of Nash, on the coast of Maine, during his Pirates of the Caribbean phase~ different, and yet with such a strong bond. It makes my mother's heart glad.

 ~Luke, the funniest person I know... also our athlete~
 ~Luke, after his first half marathon. He raised over $700 for World Vision~
 ~Crossing the finish line last year~

Today Nash & Luke will move into their first place together. I’m so excited and proud of them. They will be two hours from home. Do-able for this Mom.

 This is not their first adventure together. Two years ago they hiked the Appalachian Trail…
~Nash, on the Appalachian Trail~

And last year they hiked to the summit at Longs Peak (CO).
~Nash, Eric, Luke~
~Nash & Luke at the Key Hole~
 ~Luke at the summit~
~Nash, Matt, Eric, Luke & new friend at the summit~
 ~The incredible view from the summit at Longs Peak~

I just got word...they've arrived at their new place! They're unpacking. 
On to new adventures...for all of us.

Until next time...