Thursday, September 30, 2010

today :: random


random for today:

even though i was so very tired last night, i still didn't sleep well

today's most constructive actions...changing the bed sheets and doing four loads of laundry

today's favorite moments (so far) with my mom and watching Chocolat.  

i finally found some broccoli rabe at a different grocery store this week.  this vegetable is virtually impossible to find here locally.  it's on the stove now along with some pasta and chicken.  it does taste delicious by the way.

that different grocery store i mentioned...very expensive.  i mean like a fifty percent increase in price on many items versus my beloved regular grocer.  i could see that it was definitely all hype when it comes to variety and service.  i was more than a little disappointed (other than finding the broccoli rabe) and no, ms. cashier, the free balloon to my girls certainly won't entice me to pay those prices again.  however, mr. nice guy in the parking lot, i so appreciated your kind help with returning my cart.  you were a sweetie...and definitely one in a million.  those random acts of kindness are too few and far between.

i'm dreaming of new cameras and of film cameras.  i'm going to get myself into trouble before long.  i can feel it.

did i mention that my sweet Texan neighbor gave me a huge loot of old film slrs, lenses, working flashes, and lots of other goodies?  yes.  he did.  the particular slr that he gave me, the minolta xg-1, is missing part of the film reel.  and since i have all the books and lenses and accessories, i'm thinking of ordering one just like it as a replacement.  i'm dying to shoot an old camera, of course.

the weather has been heavenly for the last couple of days.  cool mornings, breezy all day, with that yummy autumn glow to the sunlight. so very nice.  i hope it sticks around.

the dogs are behaving nicely...lots of playing, a little barking (during daylight hours) and very few mistakes in the house.  they're getting along together well, we're taking lots of walks, teaching lots of discipline, and only in a few momentary lapses of sanity have i wondered what in this world i was thinking to get two puppies at once.  seriously, they're great.

and to finish off my random post...i'll leave you with this:

seeing....the very late afternoon light in the windows, where the sun is nearly absent.  the kids are also walking across the street at this moment to visit the neighbors. fingers type this post.  and silence otherwise.  so nice when my hubby's home to keep the kids occupied.

tasting...broccoli rabe.  yum.

smelling...a cinnabon candle burning up on the mantle.  those things are delicious this time of year.

feeling...the cool breezes blow in the window.  the midday sun makes me keep my windows down, still just a bit too warm.  but that morning and afternoon breeze in the windows is wonderful.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010



here's a little collage of a session i had
yesterday afternoon. i love the golden light
we're getting right now. so very autumn-like.
and isn't she pretty?  i love the last shot. it
was one of those in-the-moment kinds of
shots - just her being herself.  i love that.


can i just say that both yesterday and today
have been busy?  oh my... on a mega-scale.
it's really amazing sometimes to see just what
one can fit into a 24-hour period and how very
little sleep one can actually survive on.  i'm just
glad that our 'weekend' is here and my hubby is
home for the next two days.  i plan on sleeping
as late as my brain will let me in the morning and
i seriously hope the kids have the same thing in mind.

night, friends.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010




Monday, September 27, 2010


this morning

to start off right
this morning.
my breakfast looks
really healthy and yummy
and it was.
thank goodness.
it was much better than it has been
for the last week or so.


i allowed myself a little leniency during
last month's vacation.  i forgot to remind
myself that vacation is indeed over.
and has been for over a month.
uggh.  little details like that can
be so easy to overlook.

d e l i g h t

i'm hoping to get back on track this week
making wiser choices.
making up a major shopping list
and searching menu ideas from
a couple of my cookbooks
for this weeks grocery run.

also thinking i should apply the words
on this morning's yogi tea bag to my
own self.  i should delight myself with kindness,
grace, and compassion and stop all
the negative self-talk already...and the
struggle continues.

back on track i go....

Sunday, September 26, 2010

some days


that's all you get.
and today that's all i got.
twice to sit with my journal
and nothing.

i'm just glad the kids are back home and
tomorrow is the start of another week.
it will be better.
i just know it.


i decided to join in with Madeline Bea's Sunday Creative prompt this week.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

my day


i did make it to
some garage sales
and found some
kitchen items.
those are my favorite
to find. i scored a new
tea pot and matching cups,
some serving dishes, and
a few books for the kids.

i didn't make it to the movies.
the show time conflicted with
when i needed to be back with
the puppies, so i had to make a
choice. i was bummed about not
seeing the movie, but garage
sale-ing won. i think it was the
perfect choice.

i did stop at the store to get our family a new tent.
we put up our old one the other
day and it went to shreds almost
immediately. i'm thinking that it
dry-rotted. besides, it was really,
really old.  anyway, i spent the afternoon
putting it up all by myself.  it wasn't all
that hard to do actually.  i put it up in under
an hour.  i wanted to surprise the kids with
it when they get home tomorrow.  we love back yard
camping and campfires and autumn suppers outside,
so i know that they will be very excited to
see this new fancy tent in the back yard.

tonight i made a fancy little dinner for just me
and darrell.  i grilled some perfect ribeyes, made a
delicious burgundy mushroom cream sauce to
top them with, made a couple of baked potatoes, and
a salad with some fresh rolls.  it was delicious.
we sat outside at the patio table sipping iced tea
from mason jars and talking about the day.
it was really a nice little change from our
everyday.  peace and quiet is nice.

for a while.

i admit.  i'm ready to see those four faces
walk through my back door.  i miss them.

***the photo above is a shot from our vacation last month.  i was doing a little people-watching one night in The Village, in downtown Gatlinburg.***

Friday, September 24, 2010


that's what i'll be this weekend.
the kids are going camping with the grandparents.
early in the morning, with my cup of coffee, 
i'm hitting some garage sales
and antique stores
and the movies.

it's not often that i get two days
to myself.  hmmm...don't know if that's
ever happened actually.
i do intend to enjoy it...
the quiet
the reading
the time to think
the quick meals
the solitude.

all the while
missing my babies
and, i'm sure, fighting back
the overwhelming urge to
hurry along the weekend
so that they'll be back here with me.
making noise, screaming,
interrupting every page of my reading,
making the dogs bark, slamming the
back door, and making constant
messes for me to clean up.

i'm sure that's how it will go.

**you can find me at A Mindful Home today, too.**

Thursday, September 23, 2010

last of summer


last bbq of summer

spent with the neighbors.
they're such close friends they're like family.
they're originally from Texas...and you can tell.
they have little Texas trinkets all over  :)

they also love to bbq ribs and chicken
and make awesome cheese dip and chips
and give my kids sodas and treats
and have us over to swim and eat
all the time.
they're great like that.



we went over to have an end of summer bbq
complete with {honestly} the best ribs ever, chicken,
corn, broccoli, and sweet potatoes.


the kids swam until after sundown
we adults talked over tea and wine
and put our feet up near the fire pit
as darkness settled in on the day
and the summer season, too.

good times.
good times.


Tuesday, September 21, 2010



seems hard to keep my camera
out of my kitchen lately.

eating better is easier to do when
you can see it through the lens

junk food isn't nearly as appealing
as fresh healthy food

this may be a way to keep the inspiration
and motivation going...hmmm

as for have to check out this video.
he is the most inspirational person i've seen in a long time.
he really found himself, didn't he?

Monday, September 20, 2010


Outside my window... sunshine, heat, and dryness...I've almost forgotten that it's September.

I am thankful for...4 wonderful souls to call my children

From the learning rooms... math, English, writing styles, and reading...along with a trip to the library today

From the kitchen... yesterday was scalloped potatoes - hadn't had those in ages...they were SO good!

I am wearing...denim capris and my retro-look red and white plaid button-down

I am creating...a new bedroom for my girls.  a fresh coat of paint, new comforter sets, and the cutest owls ever!

I am going... to enjoy a lazy evening after my crazy-busy day today.

I am reading...the very last few pages of Mockingjay.  It seems to have taken me forever to get through this one.  Between the animals and the kids I can only sneak in a few pages at a time!

I am hoping...that cool weather hurries along.  I'm ready to put on my cozy sweaters and sit by a fire.

I am hearing...the ever-fabulous John Mayer singing Stop This Train.

Around the house...laundry is calling my name - actually, I mean screaming my name.  uggh.

One of my favorite things... leftovers for dinner.  on Mondays.  so perfect.

A few plans for the rest of the week....lessons with the kids, laundry, dog-training, and hopefully hitting an antique store or two with my mom.

More of The Simple Woman's Daybook.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

memory lane

memory lane

is a great place to travel
as we begin our farewell to summer.

{my dad, his sister, and two cousins on a summer day back in the early 60's}

Saturday, September 18, 2010



a walk
down a quiet road
to watch the day begin
to gather my thoughts

to notice all the little things
around me, above me, below me
to see the changes
the imperfections
the colors.
to hear the sounds of birds
of wind
of quiet.

the perfection of it all.

knowing that each day
is perfect for each of us in what it holds
perfect in what it does not.
perfect in its completion.


the season of our lives plays out
second by second
hour by hour
days and months and years at a time.
disappearing quickly
with so much story to tell.

now to bind it all together
every page of my story written by
every minute of my days
every kiss, every hug, every mess,
every disaster, every lesson learned,
every book read, every song sung,
every date night or date night missed,
every hand held, every busy day,
every lazy day, every load of laundry,
every sweep of the broom, every disagreement,
every sadness, every celebration,
every connection.

every second.


now just because i've been listening to this one over and over and over.  i love this live version so much. real and perfect.

Friday, September 17, 2010

today : random



  • it was hot outside
  • i only washed one load of laundry
  • my hubby was home
  • we visited with my mom as she and my dad are spending the weekend camping just a short distance away
  • i made homemade chili for dinner
  • i wish the weather would have been cool enough to have dinner outside
  • the dogs are testing my patience
  • the kids are testing it, too
  • it has been one of those days
  • i'm trying to remember to stop...and breathe
  • i shouldn't have eaten a cream cheese danish with my coffee, but it was delicious
  • i'm reminded that i've been off my diet for almost a month.  it's time to get back on track.
  • my iced tea is so good right now in this moment.  fresh from the pot and into the ice with no sugar.  just the way i like it
  • i'm baking a peach cobbler right now.  i know - i should go back and remind myself about being off my diet.  tomorrow is another day, right?  :)
  • i'm almost finished with my book and with any luck, tomorrow i can add it to my read list over at goodreads.
  • i thought i liked my newly designed blog page...i did.  but it just didn't feel like me.  so i changed it.  i like this one better for now.  clean and simple.  i'm still looking for just the right image...if there is one.  i love so many different images for so many different reasons all at the same time.  am i the only one who does that?
  •  today has been a random kind of day and i'm in a random kind of mood.  i'm ready to begin again tomorrow.
  • i have a photo-shoot tomorrow afternoon with high school girl in her homecoming dress...that should be fun.
  • i have lots of laundry to do in the morning and i need to start on a grocery list for next week...i need to plan out my healthy meals in advance so i can be sure to keep myself on track
  • i'm looking forward to spending time with my camera this weekend.  lots of ideas in time to put them in motion.

happy weekend!

    Thursday, September 16, 2010

    late of day

    late day laundry

    the laundry is in
    the family has eaten
    the chores are done
    good reading awaits.

    happy evening, friends

    Wednesday, September 15, 2010

    i was here today.

    one for me, one for her.

    i was here today.
    in this space.
    when my time was short
    and my mind was tired
    and my back was aching.
    after a full day of laundry
    washing and sandwich making
    and kid-teaching and
    dog training and dinner cooking
    and kitchen cleaning.
    i was here
    finding time for me.

    good night, all.

    pumpkin butter

    okay...the funniest thing.  i had three separate requests for my pumpkin butter recipe today. it is, copied from my previous blog.  have fun, friends!

    pumpkin butter

    You'll need a pumpkin, some sugar, cinnamon, cloves, ginger and a few canning jars.  It is really very easy to put together.  Here's how you do it......Wash and clean out your pumpkin as shown.  Then cut into large wedges.

    Next, cut those wedges into chunks and add them to a large pot of boiling water.  Boil them for about 20 - 30 minutes, until really soft.  While your pumpkin is cooking, wash and prepare your canning jars and lids. For about 8 cups of puree, you'll need about 5 or 6 pint jars.

    Then, get out your food processor and gather your sugar and spices.  With my medium size pumpkin, I ended up with about 8 cups of pumpkin puree, so adjust your spices accordingly to the amount of puree you have and, of course, your taste.

    Peel the skin from the boiled pumpkin after it cools a bit, then load it in the food processor.  Puree it until it is smooth, then add it into another large pot.  To the 8 cups of puree, we add 4 cups of sugar, 4 tablespoons of lemon juice, 1 1/2 Tablespoons of  cinnamon,  1 teaspoon of ground cloves and 1 teaspoon of ground ginger. Then, of course, you mix it all very well.  Cook again over low heat (covered) for about 20 minutes to let the mixture thicken and take on the taste of the spices.  After about 20 minutes, when the mixture has a thicker consistency, remove it from the heat and spoon it into jars.  Fill them, wipe the rims and put on the lids and bands.  Submerge them in a stock pot of boiling water for about 10 minutes or so.  Carefully remove the jars from the hot water and place on a dishtowel to cool.  As the jars cool, you'll hear the "pop" of the lids sealing.  And, that's it - all there is to it!

    pumpkin butter

    My favorite ways to use pumpkin butter -  toast, bagels, on pancakes and waffles, warmed up and spooned over vanilla ice cream and topped with a sprinkling of toasted pecans, swirled around in a Thanksgiving cheesecake recipe....

    Tuesday, September 14, 2010

    i have a couple of new faces for you to meet....

    did i mention that we got a new puppy?  yes.  we did.  he's our very first puppy.  a miniature schnauzer named Percy.  he's 10-weeks old and is a tiny bundle of fun.  my mom has two mini schnauzers that we have totally enjoyed being around for the last two years and this is one of her pups.  he is the sweetest ever...a little cuddle bug!



    did i also mention that i promised my boys a new puppy of their very own for their birthday back in july? i did. i promised a yellow lab and we all agreed to put off getting one until after our vacation last month. ever since then we have been patiently waiting to find one for sale. we found one this weekend that met all the boys' criteria...yellow and male. my only hesitation was that he was already 14 weeks old and i was really hoping for a younger one...something like this.

    although i knew  that once we took the drive out to see the puppy there was most likely no way on this earth they'd leave without him so long as he was playful and healthy.  i was right.  we brought him home late sunday afternoon and he's already fitting in perfectly.  and my boys love him.

    meet Cooper....

     our newest family member...




    P9137085 the funny part. Cooper meets Percy:





    he is irresistibly cute.


    calm and gentle.





    who could possibly resist a face like this? awww....

    P9137121 they are. as real as it gets. i do think he's a perfect fit :)




    Sunday, September 12, 2010



    i found this lovely quote this morning over at Shutter Sisters....i thought it was absolutely beautiful and one that i'd like to be mindful of today......

    "When people aren't pitted against each other, when they are not even mildly competing, when people aren't vying for position (because all positions in this circle are equally important), they jump out of themselves and into their humanity. They fall so in love with each other they think they wrote each other's pieces. They're proud of each other and they root for each other. They cry for each other and they feel for each other. When people feel safe, they recognize themselves in others, and instead of being threatened by their differences, they are moved by them. When they are safe, they are moved by their own differences."

    - Nancy Slonim Aronie, Writing from the Heart

    Saturday, September 11, 2010

    running through my head

    comfort many thoughts lately.
    i'm a thinker. i think - constantly.
    all day, all night. every second.
    sometimes that is a good thing. it can get
    my creativity going and ideas pouring out.
    it can shine a bit more light on who i really am.

    but then all the thinking can take me right over the
    edge and into another, completely opposite territory
    as well.  where thoughts of insecurity, inferiority, and
    poor self image come to light and try so hard to take over.
    they leave me feeling uninspired and my creativity
    is almost non-existent.  that is exactly where i've allowed
    my thoughts to take me over the last year (or two).  where
    i once used to create and feel inspired effortlessly, now i do not.
    i am, however, feeling the spark of creativity again along with
    so much beautiful inspiration that my starving eyes have absorbed lately.  
    i am feeling that part of me awaken again and i want to make
    sure that it has room to grow.  to be nourished.  

    it is really hard to put these feelings into words, but i know
    that so many others know exactly what i mean.  i feel like i let the
    negative thoughts and opinions of others (many in the extended
    family, a few friends, etc)  influence me entirely
    too much.  i let those same thoughts and opinions make me feel
    like i don't belong or that i don't deserve the things my heart
    longs for.  those same people who dwell in that consistently
    negative mind-frame drag me down.  all the way down.
    absolutely mentally exhausted.
    then i find myself retreating and pulling silently inward until 
    no one knows i'm here.  i'm just quietly here on the sidelines.
    quietly tolerating the negativity that seems to always be swirling
    around.  i'm tired of it.  of these people. of this game.  i feel
    ready to let go.  to let go of the things and the people whom
    i have allowed to penetrate my thoughts and the life i live with
    negativity and ugliness.  

    i'm ready for a more authentic life.  a life where i can have a
    clearer, more focused mind.  i'm ready to let go of those people
    who hinder me in any way with negativity and jealousy and
    hate.  i want to move forward being me.  unapologetically.  i want to let go.

    i found this post over at mainemomma's blog yesterday.  take a
    look at the poster image at the bottom of the post.  and read it.
    how awesome is that?  if i could find one, i'd honestly order a
    huge one and hang it right where i could see it everyday.  i love
    these kinds of reminders and this one, right now for me, sums up all
    my feelings at this moment.  

    now the next phase of my thought process is leading me to this
    question.  why do i care so much?  why do i really care about
    what people think?  so much so that i allow it to interrupt the
    flow of my own life.  so much so that i let it silence me and i
    allow myself to take the back seat.  as if somehow i'm afraid
    of rocking their boat, afraid of putting them in their place,
    afraid of drawing attention to myself.   maybe i'm too much
    of a people-pleaser.  it makes me many things.
    i think self-confidence is a major part of the answer
     to my question and it is the one thing that i have nearly
    lost completely along this journey.  i want it back.  it is the key
    to happiness i think.  it is what allows for self-expression and for
    a blooming creative spirit.  

    i also wonder why i'm spilling all this here on my little blog with
    the intent to hit the publish button, but sometimes just getting the
    words out in written form is exactly what's needed to clarify the
    mess of thoughts and emotion swirling around in my head and heart.

    it's time for this soul to exhale and let go of what isn't working.
    it's time to grab hold and not let go of what does.
    it's time to be authentic and not hold anything back.
    it's time to be me.  in every way, all the time.
    it's time.

    Friday, September 10, 2010

    friday's end


    tonight i look back on this week and i wonder where in the world it has gone.


    all the minutes and seconds spent teaching, writing, cleaning, washing laundry,
    hanging laundry, folding laundry, walking the puppy, cooking meals, avoiding
    the grocery store, making myself use the food in my pantry and freezer,
    vacuuming the floors, reading, hanging halloween decorations (yes, already),
    brushing little teeth, running water for bubble baths, brushing hair,
    holding, hugging, and kissing...

    all these tiny moments have consumed nearly a week of my time.  these are the days
    where those tiny moments feel like grains of fine sand slipping through my tired
    fingers.  each one blown gently away, never to return again.  these are also the
    moments that remind me how very important it is to be mindful.  careful not to
    let these grains pass through unnoticed, untouched, unappreciated.

    this friday's end finds me feeling very blessed and content.
    and at a perfect opening for the weekend.

    Thursday, September 9, 2010

    date night

    My creation

    Just a little collage of shots from Monday night's John Mayer concert.  We had such a great time.  The music was fantastic, the view was perfect, and we even stayed the night in a hotel near the amphitheater.  It was definitely the best time we've had in a long time.  The next day was a lazy one with a late breakfast out and finally home to the kids again.  Really, just a perfect two days.  We've got to do that more often.