Monday, May 31, 2010

What is prettier than a peony?

The peonies were so pretty this year. It always seems to rain just after they bloom out and they just hold so much water in their petals that they droop to the ground. I always try to pick some before that happens.
What is prettier than a peony? A lot of peonies! They make such lush and good smelling bouquets. I only wish they lasted longer.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Nutter-Butter Banana Pudding

This is yummy. The original recipe came from the Feb. 2009 issue of Southern Living magazine. I made a few changes.

Nutter-Butter Banana Pudding

8 to 10 servings. Prep: 35 min. Cook: 20 min.
Stand: 30 min. Chill: 2 hours

3 cups whole milk
3 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
5 medium size ripe bananas
1 (1-lb.) package Nutter-Butter cookies
1 cup heavy cream, whipped and sweetened to taste with sifted confectioner's sugar

1. Whisk together first 4 ingredients in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook, whisking constantly, 15 to 20 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat; stir in butter and vanilla until butter is melted.
2. Fill a large bowl with ice. Place saucepan in ice, and let stand, stirring occasionally, 30 minutes or until mixture is thoroughly chilled.
3. Meanwhile, cut bananas into 1/4-inch slices. Break cookies into thirds.
4. Spoon half of pudding mixture into a 3-qt. bowl or container. Top with half of bananas and cookies. Add rest of bananas and spoon remaining pudding mixture over bananas and cookies. Top with sweetened whipped cream. Cover with plastic wrap and chill 2 to 24 hours.Garnish with a reserved cookie if desired.

The pudding has thickened enough when a distinct trail is left in the mixture when you stir with a spoon. The cookies will soften the longer the dessert chills.

This has become a favorite to take to potlucks or meetings. Everyone loves it. I found the glass bucket at an antique mall and bought it especially for puddings, trifles, and punch bowl cake. It's easy to carry and I love the way it looks.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

My Secret Garden Part Two

Welcome back to my secret garden. When we walk up a few steps we are on the deck and it looks out over the pool. To the right of the diving board is a little area where I have my herb garden.
Now we are on the deck. All of the petunias in these pictures reseed every year. I bought purple wave petunias about 5 years ago and they have shown up every year since. They do not always run true to their original color but they are always shades of purple down to pink. I just transplant them into pots and let them grow.

More of the petunias and the plant in the front that looks brown is not dead. It is really a bronze shade and is a coleus. I love foliage plants because they always provide color even when there is not a lot of blooms on the other flowers. The oval shaped planter on the bottom shelf is full of garden sage. I love to cook with it.

The thing hanging on the wall was purchased at a yard sale for $5.00. The green heart shaped plant is a wild morning glory that I just let grow. It actually gets too much shade to bloom but I love the leaves. The purple plant beside it is a purple basil. It reseeds all over the place and I usually keep a couple of pots of it because I love the dark purple.

I found this little set at a local antique store and fell in love with it. The chairs actually fold up. Of course the pot with the red is a mixed group of coleus. It sure looks like the deck could use a good sweeping.

I found these chairs at another local antique store. They just fit in this corner.
I guess you notice that I have an odd assortment of plants. I really don't have a plan in mind when I go out to buy plants. Lots of times I just buy what has been reduced because they are not in the best shape because I just feel sorry for them. I bring them home, repot them and they usually grow really well. I take cuttings from some of the coleus every year and keep them in my kitchen window all winter. Then they go into the garden in the spring.
It has been so hot for the last few days. I wish you could join me for a southern glass of fresh made sweet tea.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

My Secret Garden

It was very hot here today. 90 degrees. I worked outside most of the morning and nearly melted. My house sits on a very small downtown lot and we have no lawn at all in the back. Instead we have a small enclosed patio, a raised deck, a small herb garden, and an inground pool. Most people do not know that we have anything besides a pool back there and it is always a surprise when we have guests. I call it my secret garden. So please join me for a visit on my patio and later we will visit the other areas. If you will notice there are no hands on the clock. I removed them because time just seems to stand still when I am out here whether I'm working or just enjoying my coffee in the morning.

The wreath on the wall is a living wreath. I made it with moss on a wire frame and it has had different flowers or greenery many times. The large green plant below it is Sweet Annie. It is one of my favorite plants and I always put it near the entrance because when people brush up against it the sweet odor is wonderful.

The steps go up to a small porch and the deck. I always seem to have such a hodge podge of containers. Maybe someday I will try to coordinate it all a little better.

One of my favorite corners. Do you see the metal cat sitting under the birdcage?

In the background is an iron stand that holds three pots of pink begonias. I forgot to take a picture of the metal table and chairs. We also have the grill down here. These photos are from last year. I have just started planting this year. It pretty much looks the same each year because I have favorite plants that I like to use. Wish you could join me in the morning for a cup of coffee in my secret garden.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Easy Chocolate Pie

This pie is sooo easy. I'm very happy about that because it is one of my husband's and son's favorites. It is a very light chocolate mousse in a purchased shell.

Easy Chocolate Pie

1 4 oz. bar German's sweet Chocolate (Baker's)

1/4 cup water

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 8 oz. container of Cool Whip, thawed

1 purchased graham cracker, chocolate, or Oreo pie crust

Break up the chocolate bar and place it and the water in a med saucepan. Place over very low heat until the chocolate is partially melted. Stir until it is melted and smooth. Remove from heat and cool. When completely cooled, add the vanilla and fold in the Cool Whip. Pour into pie shell and chill for several hours.

I usually keep some of the little dark chocolate Hershey bars to shave or make curls. They add a nice little touch. I also use this mousse in little handmade or purchased chocolate shells when I need something fancy for a tea or party.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Two very different spring mornings

Sunday morning the sky was full of fluffy white clouds after a very stormy night. There were strong winds, hail, heavy rains and tornado warnings and then this beautiful sky.
Tuesday morning the sky looked like this. It was so very foggy and the sun just couldn't seem to pierce through it.

Nothing like driving inside a cloud. That is the sun behind the trees and I am meeting a car on the road. Such a misty, "moisty" morning. In a couple of hours the sun was shining and it was a beautiful day.

Beautiful Spring

This has been one of the most beautiful springs I have seen in years. The flowers have been so pretty. I am still trying to learn how to post all the pictures to my blog. I am not a camera person. I am always the one at the family reunion that forgot her camera. But I am determined to learn. Speaking of determination, this little columbine is very determined. It comes up in a crack between my front steps each year. I can't stand to cut it down until it blooms so here it is again. I hope it continues for many years to come. I love it. I can walk around it.
The azaleas are blooming now.

And the iris.

This will always be one of my most loved flowers although most of you probably want to kill them all. Sweet little dandelion. I love it because my children always picked them and brought them to me. Such love from such sweet little sweaty hands bringing momma flowers. I remember picking them for my own mother. I taught kindergarten for many years and each spring little ones would come running to me, holding that little piece of sunny yellow love in their hands just for their teacher. Yes, it will always be dear to my heart.

Little bluets by the hundreds carpet the ground.

Miniature jonquils.

And the large multi-colored ones.

One of the first signs of spring, crocus.
Spring is my favorite time of year. I always feel like the first day of spring should be the beginning of the new year.
I have missed blogging simply because it is spring and there is so much to do. Cleaning, planting, getting out summer clothes, and of course, you have to just get out and enjoy the weather. My sister and I went to Somerset simply because there are literally miles of red bud trees along the highway. Of course I forgot my camera but we enjoyed the day. Such beauty.
The number of shades of green in spring simply amaze me and they do not clash at all, but blend into one delightful magnificent green display. Only God could do such a wonderful blending of so many different shades of one color. I hope your spring has been lovely this year.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Alice in Wonderland

My sister and I went to see Alice in Wonderland yesterday. It was amazing. The 3D was fabulous. I really wanted to reach up and touch the Cheshire Cat. It looked like he was hanging just in front of my nose. The characters were wonderful and so imaginative. It truly was a wonderland. I highly recommend it if you want a couple of hours of pure enjoyment and escape.

I really like Johnny Depp movies. I think my all time favorite is Benny and Joon. I know it is an old one but I love it. I think he is such a great character actor.

It is misty and cold here today but by Thursday it is supposed to be 79 degrees and 76 for Easter Sunday. Happy, Happy, Happy! Maybe I can get out in the yard and work some. Hope your weather forecast is as nice. Have a great day.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Have you read a good book lately?

I love to read. We have access to four libraries in our area. I guess you could say that I'm an eclectic reader. I read almost anything and I have to read before I go to bed or my day is not complete. Books just seem to follow me home. Anytime I go to a yard sale, or on a junking trip I always seem to find lots of books (or maybe they find me). I usually have a book in the car or in my bag in case I have to wait for something.

I have added a list of books that I have read lately that I really liked. I went to see Sherlock Holmes at the movies last week. I realized that I had only read a few of the Holmes stories. I went to the local bookstore and to my amazement there were two volumes (the first one has over a thousand pages and the second one doesn't look that much smaller). I have read over 200 pages so I guess I am hooked. They are very interesting.

I must tell you about the movie theater that is in our local high school. It is part of the media program there. It has one of the largest screens in southeastern KY and Dolby surround sound.

It gets the current movies just out of the theaters before they are released on DVD. Adults get in for $2.00 and children are $1.00. Seniors get in free. Lots of times they have free shows for the school children. Popcorn and drinks are available for less than half of the regular theater. It is open on weekends year round unless there is a special presentation that is being held there. Our fine arts society has some of their programs there and the high school drama class presents three plays a year there. Two weeks ago I saw The Blind Side there and this week Alvin and the Chipmunks is on. They try to get a variety of PG and PG13 shows. It is a great program and we have a really great school system.

Try a good read this week and please share the good ones with me.

Fairy Door, One World One Heart

I took part in the One World One Heart giveaway. Some very generous bloggers allowed non-bloggers to enter. I had been reading blogs for quite a time but had never had one of my own. The giveaway was what really encouraged me to start my own. I can hardly wait to have my own giveaway next year.
I was lucky enough to win two marvelous prizes. One is a magazine subscription to Heirloom Gardener. I will tell you all about that as soon as the first issue arrives. I can hardly wait.

The other was a fairy door from This little door is so precious. My pictures do not begin to do it justice. My little peeps love it. I am in the process of making a little fairy figure to go with it. At the moment is will be the "clean plate fairy". No, I am not going to make obese children by encouraging them to eat, but I am encouraging them to try new foods, so I only put a small taste on each plate and if they try it then they can see if the fairy has left a small treat for them (sometimes a coin for their bank, a sticker, a ticket for a trip to the playground, etc.)
The little door is absolutely beautiful. I really appreciate the work and the generosity of kdottie designs. The detail is really fantastic. The little packet next to the door contains fairy dust of course! Isn't that wonderful? You should see the door knob up close. Visit kdotties blog to see more of her creations.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Junking pictures (I hope)

I have pictures of the wonderful junk my sister and I found when we went to Peddler's Mall in Richmond last week. Somehow or other they are not in the order I wanted them and for some reason I can't cut and paste them so you will just have to see them in the order the computer wants them. I always seem to find books. This time I only got a hymn book and the neatest little dollhouse book. It opens up and has rooms and furniture that you can color and make a little house. I really think it is neat.

I have always loved those old stamp holders that they used to have at the post office. I just had to have this one. Now if I can find enough stamps with handles to fill it up. The bell is a cookie cutter. There was a basket of the wooden spools. I only wish I had bought more. The little butter knife will be used with cheese balls.

We stopped at Hobby Lobby and I found some goodies there. Crepe paper, tissue paper, stamp pad, embossing ink, a rubber stamp of a key, a brush holder that expands and some markers.

Obviously, I didn't rotate this picture when I downloaded the pictures. Believe me, it will be easier for you to turn your head sideways than for me to try to change it. This is the plate that you will see in the next picture after I turned it into a picture frame. This is a picture that I downloaded from someone's free images, (Thank You). I will actually put a picture of my children in it later.

This is the pretty little plate before. I seem to have a tendency to purchase dishes. This one is hand painted and I love the colors. There are three little bottles above it. I'm sure I will find some use for them.

This picture is also out of order. I think it is probably a cover for a baby pillow. It is a front and back that are laced together with a little white ribbon. It is very delicate and pretty and I intend to make a small pillow for it.

Linens and whitegoods. Oh how I love them. The little slip is probably for a doll. The lace runner was all rolled up and I thought it was just lace. It is in good shape and I don't know if I can cut it up or not. The little rabbit holds bunny note paper.

Tiny ornaments for tiny Christmas trees. I love little trees and couldn't pass these up. The price was right.

Madame Alexander Dolls that were in happy meals at McDonalds some time ago. I have been picking these up. I have about a dozen now. I want to put them on a Christmas Tree for my little peeps.

Seam binding and tapes. At 10 cents a package I couldn't resist. The one thing that amazed me was the price of old paper sewing patterns. The cheapest one I saw was 85 cents and they went all the way up to $3.00. Wow.

I am trying to make a little fairy and I needed wings and hair. The package in the middle has wings and the one behind it is hair. How lucky can I be. The birds are iron ons and the brown looking package is cardboard frames.

Here is the inside of the dollhouse book. The left page is one of the walls of a room and the right is furniture. Isn't that neat?

We had a lot of fun and a great day. Junking is one of my favorite things to do. I can hardly wait for yard sales to start.

I have a new keyboard. The old one quit printing certain letters. I had no idea that I used the letter k so much but evidently I do. Computers are absolutely wonderful when they work and the person using them knows what she is doing (which most of the time I don't).

I hope as I go along that I will improve at this and you will not see pictures out of order or have to turn your head or stand on your head or whatever. Have a great day.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Hobby Lobby purchases

These are the Easter presents I bought at Hobby Lobby for my little peeps. The bunny is for the little princess (age 3) and the garden tools are for daddy's little helper (age 4).

I really don't understand what I did to this entry but I'm evidently not a fast learner.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


The weather here has been beautiful for the last four days. It was so nice to go out this morning without a jacket or sweater. I love this time of year. There will be some more cold days but spring is definitely here. We were at the window this morning and saw three pairs of bluebirds. They were so pretty. Evidently they were building nests because they were collecting grasses.

When I was teaching one of my little kindergarten boys expressed the weather at this time of year the best I had ever heard. We were out on the playground on a March day and he came running up to me and said, "It's nice out here today. It's just a little bit cold and a whole lot warm." Hope wherever you are, your days are the same.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Good junking day.

Beautiful day today. It was in the 60s and felt wonderful. My sister and I went junking and found lots of goodies. Pictures tomorrow. We went the scenic route through the forest because I love the hills so much. The sun was setting when we came home and the sun was bathing the bare trees with a golden touch. It was beautiful. Reminded me of one of my favorite Psalms. "I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help? My help is from the Lord."

Even though it is so warm there were still large icicles hanging from the cliffs along side the road. I'm sure that many places will have piles of snow for some time yet.

We went to Hobby Lobby and picked up some goodies there and then on to Peddler's Mall in Richmond. I found lots of items to play with. I will take pictures tomorrow and share with you.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

New soup recipe

Friday was soup and sandwich night. We have one about two or three times a month. I tried a new soup from Taste of Home's Heartwarming Soup Book. I love this book. We have had so many delicious soups from it. This recipe was sent in by Brenda Thomas of Springfield, Missouri, and I must really thank her because my family loved it. My son-in-law walked in and asked what smelled so good.

Pasta Fagioli Soup

1/2 pound Italian turkey sausage links, casings removed, crumbled
1 small onion, chopped
1-1/2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 garlic clove, minced
2 cups water
1 can (15-1/2 ounces) great northern beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (14-1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can (14-1/2 ounces chicken broth
3/4 cup uncooked elbow macaroni
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup fresh spinach leaves, cut into strips
5 teaspoons shredded Parmesan cheese

In a large saucepan, cook sausage over medium heat until no longer pink; drain and set aside. In the same pan, saute onion in oil until tender. Ad garlic; saute 1 minute longer

Add the water, beans, tomatoes, broth, macaroni and pepper; bring to a boil. Cook for 8 - 10 minutes or until macaroni is tender.

Reduce heat to low; stir in sausage and spinach. Cook for 2 - 3 minutes or until spinach is wilted. Garnish with Parmesan cheese. Yield 5 - 6 servings

This is a thick delicious soup that is very quick to make. I forgot the Parmesan cheese for the top until we had already emptied the pot but it was still yummy. Sorry that I didn't get a picture but it disappeared too fast. This one is definitely a keeper for my soup file.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Forecast for the Day

Forecast for today.

Early morning will involve light housekeeping with periods of cooking. Flashes of inspiration will follow and may be accompanied by burst of creativity with a 50% chance of accomplishment. Later today a front will approach that will bring small whirlwinds whose energy will require constant monitoring. The atmosphere will become calmer as night approaches and some additional blogging may appear.

Hope it's a good one for you too.

Venture over to for a rolling pin dough bowl keep giveaway. If you like country or primitive you will love this little rack.

Also, is giving away 2 Le Creuset square baking dishes. They are 5 inch and 9 inch and are beautiful.

Monday, March 1, 2010

I always bring my hibiscus in for the winter and it rewards me with lots of lovely blooms. They don't last very long so I have to enjoy them while I can.

I collect rose bowls and have quite a few of them. I love to float one large bloom in them, sometimes a lily, a rose, a spider mum, or at this time of year one of the hibiscus blossoms. They add such a bright spot on a winter day and make me think spring is near. I actually saw three robins today. They are back! They know spring is really on its way, even if they are predicting snow for tomorrow. Unpredictable March has arrived.

Here is the picture of the chili. I hope this works.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Starting out is hard to do.

How do you start a blog for the very first time? Oh well, here goes.It actually snowed a little bit today (what a surprise) and more is expected tonight. Winter is not my favorite season and this one has been the worst one in thirty years in this area. But I'm not complaining because so may others have had such horrible snows. One of the best things I like about winter is putting a pot of soup on to simmer. My married children both live in this town and we can get together often to share a meal. Soup and grilled sandwiches is a favorite meal at this time of year. I am going to share a recipe for a very good, healthy chili. It doesn't sound that good but it really is. The guys in my family are all meat and potato fellows but they all love this soup. (I think they think the chunks of squash are potatoes). I would love to share a picture of it but I'm not sure if I can do that just yet. You will have to give this old dog some time to learn all of these new blogging tricks.


Brown in a sprayed dutch oven or stockpot:
1 lb. extra lean ground beef or turkey
1 med. onion, diced.
2 14 oz. cans diced tomatoes
2 med. zucchini - diced
2 med. yellow squash - diced
1 15 oz. can black beans - rinsed and drained
4 ribs of celery - chopped
1 green pepper - diced
2 15 oz. cans beef broth
1 pkg. dry chili seasoning (I use McCormick mild chili seasoning and add 1 teaspoon chili powder.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Simmer 30 minutes and enjoy.  Freezes well.

The original recipe called for 2 28 oz. cans of diced tomatoes but my family does not like that many tomatoes and we like thicker soup (They call most of my soups stoups (stew + soup).

Please come back and visit again.  I have some old photos, postcards, book pages etc. to share as I become more proficient at this.