Friday, June 28, 2013

The table was set.
The flowers were picked and added to the cans.
The birthday girl and her family were coming for dinner.
Spaghetti casserole was baked and ready to eat.

Paper plates and napkins...Walmart
Tablecloth from my closet.  Added to the table, a piece of polka dot tissue paper to set the flower filled tins on.  For added pizazz, I ran pink battery operated lights down the center of the table.   A few years ago, I purchased them from a Border's Book Store after Christmas sale.  I remember when I got them, I wondered when I would use them, and why I was buying them.  Tonight, I was happy I had them, because they just seemed to fit.

A fun and simple way to celebrate my oldest granddaughter's birthday.

Oh, and the much anticipated "cake".  A big white tray.  Added the paper cups that went with the paper plates and napkins.  I filled the cups with ice cream and sprinkles ahead of time and put the cups in the freezer.  The Barbie doll was her gift.  I stood the Barbie over a glass jar and pulled her skirt down over it, enabling her to be able to stand.  I placed the ice cream filled cups surrounding the Barbie.  I carefully washed a few of the Barbie accessories I got for her, shoes, purses, crowns, and jewelry.  They came in two separate packages at Walmart.  Price...3.00 each.  I added a few candles and then we sang to her:)l
Look at the birthday girl's brother as she blows out her candles.

Having your great-grandma to help her celebrate, was a real blessing,

With stickers I made a sign for the Barbie to hold.  A gift and cake combination.  She would prefer ice cream over cake, so this creation worked for her.

It was a very busy and fun evening.
I do hope you have a good weekend and that you stay cool in the heat.

Most of all, I hope you celebrate those you love, whether they have a birthday or not.   Everyday we have them with us, is a gift.

Thanks so much for stopping by tonight. 

This roll of pretty pink polka dotted duck tape, has been sitting in a drawer at my house for a few months.  I purchased it at a craft store one day when I found myself unable to walk past it's soft pink and white design.  I remember thinking to myself at the time, as to how far the silver duck tape of the past,  has come.  It remained in my drawer until Wednesday evening.

That was the time I took my five empty and clean baked bean cans from my cupboard.  You see, I was most excited when I found this size cans of baked beans at the local grocery store, because with just two of us to cook for now, this is the perfect size.  And then, since I just can not through away fun sized containers, I washed, dried and stored them for a time such as this:)  Thank you Bush Company for the "new" size.  Not a paid commercial.

Here they are after the labels were simply removed.  As is, they look so good, but...

...I dressed them up a bit with the roll of pink and white Duck tape.  So easy, so quick, and so fancy.

They will look even better this evening, because I am adding some of my pink hydrangeas and some  white daisies in them. I think I will place my clear glass votive holders in the cans, and place the flowers in them, so as to not have any leakage on the table.  They will grace the center of my table, because tonight a special young lady is celebrating her sixth birthday.  Her family will be here to celebrate with her, in a requested spaghetti dinner. 

Next I took my refrigerated water "bottles", removed their blue and yellow labels(which was quite simple).  I then added the pink and white polka dotted duck tape to each one.  Now the bottles were dressed and ready to go.

I placed them on my white tray, added some big straws that I had purchased a few months ago, on sale at our Staple's Store, sprinkled some candy confetti, covered it lightly with plastic wrap, and placed the tray back in the refrigerator until the dinner.
I will share a few pictures of our fun dinner in the next post, but for today, I will remind you all, of how easy it is to add a touch of color and pizazz to ordinary items, when you want to make an event extra special.
Thank you for stopping by today, and thanks for ALL the many ideas I gain from each of you in blogland.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

This evening I heard my grandson announce that he is going to run around our house 10 times, and he is going to do in it 2 minutes and 45 seconds.  I turned and looked at him and ask him to repeat what he just said.  He said, "maw maw, will you be watching me?"  "Of course", I answered.  He left to begin his attempted endeavor.  Now I must mention, it was sunny, hot, and quite humid, but that did not matter in the least to the little six year old.

I was on the back porch.  I waved at lap 1, lap 2, lap 3, and every time I would see his little face looking up to see if I was still watching, and then flash his big, heartwarming smile.  I would cheer loudly.  I would offer praise and surprise at each additional lap.  His face was flushed, his hair was wet, and his breathing became heavier, and yet he continued on in his laps. 

I thought of my daily life.  My everyday living.  I thought about how much easier it is to have family and friends cheering me on from the sidelines.  They have been there all my life, and they continue to be.  Those that cheer are the encouragers, the supporters, and the inspiration that can make all the difference.  I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude to those who cheered, when maybe down in their hearts, they might have doubted.  I was reminded clearly, that I wanted to become more of a cheerleader and less of a skeptic, especially to the special little ones that I have been so blessed with as a grandparent.

He is still gloating in his accomplishment of the evening, and I am still smiling as I remember the exhaustion and exhilaration that went with his feat.

Fortunately, I captured this picture of my three little guys this evening.  Yes, I will be there, I will cheer, I will encourage, and I will support, even if the goal may seem totally impossible for them to carry out.  I will cheer.

I was reminded, too,  of how many cheering, encouraging, and supportive family and friends my dear friend (pictured above on the left) had in the past year as she battled cancer.  We prayed for her.  We cheered for her, and we loved her through it all.  We are so thankful she has come through it all. 

Once again, a reminder of how vitally important it is to cheer each other on.  Criticizing and skepticism can be so damaging and destructive, and can pull one down in an instant.

"People will forget what you said,

 People will forget what you did,

 But, people will never forget

 How you made them feel."

~Maya Angelo

Thank you for the cheering you all do with your kind comments and loyal support.  I appreciate it more than you could know.

Monday, June 24, 2013

This is about a three little plastic pots, each with a small plant.
It was an unique birthday gift and it was the first of it's kind that I was to receive.
The plants were "nasturtium".  An edible flowering plant that one can use in baking or in salads.
My friend knew my need to add pizazz to gifts, food, or whatever:)
I had admired these flowers in the past and was so happy to receive this special gift.
I eagerly planted each one.
 Three separate flowering plants, although I had to wait until they bloomed, until the
colors would be revealed.

This weekend I took pictures of my flowering nasturtium, and I think you would agree, the vibrant colors are so pretty!  Oh, and the instruction tag said that they are hardy plants.  Do you think my friend knew how difficult was for me to grow plants?

So here they are, a few weeks after receiving them.

At the grocery store, I purchased three ripe zucchinis.

Since I needed to bake some cupcakes, and I had this recipe in my files and was looking forward to trying it, I thought now was the time.  "Grand Prize Winner" recipes always get my attention.

I washed, partially peeled, and shredded the three zucchinis.

Here is the recipe, just in case your garden produces an abundance of zucchini this summer, or if your neighbor has an abundance to share with you.  This may be a simple, delicious recipe you may want to try;

3 eggs
1 1/3 cups of sugar
1/2 cup of vegetable oil
1/2 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon almond extract(I chose to use vanilla extract)
2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
2 t. ground cinnamon
2 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
1/2 t. ground cloves
1 1/2 cups shredded zucchini

1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup milk
1 1/2 to 2 cups confectioners' sugar

1. In a mixing bowl, beat eggs, sugar, oil, orange juice, and extract.  Combine dry ingredients;  add to
    the egg mixture and mix well.  Add zucchini and mix well.
2. Fill greased muffin cups two thirds full.(I used the mini tins)
    Bake at 350 degrees for 15- 17 mins. or until fairly firm on top.  Cool for ten minutes before
    removing from pan to wire rack.
3. For frosting, combine brown sugar, butter, and milk in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil over medium
    heat, cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.  Remove from heat; stir in vanilla.  Cool to
4. Gradually beat in confectioners' sugar until frosting reaches spreading consistency.  Frost

Recipe from Taste of Home Magazine.  The Grand Prize Winner's Recipe  was shared by Virginia
Breitmeyer, of Craftsbury, Vermont.

The frosting just before I put it on the small cupcakes.  It smelled so good!

I went out to my flower bed and picked a few nasturtium blooms.  Carefully washed and dried each colorful flowers, and placed them in a bit of water until I was ready to use them.

Then, because I could not help myself,  I dressed up every one of the little guys.

I made a tiny indentation on the top of each cupcake and placed the pretty little flowers unto each and every cupcake.

So there you have it...three small plants and three fresh zucchinis = a happy me.  It is fun to receive a gift that in turn, keeps on giving.  What a fun, simple, and inexpensive way to let someone know that you care.  Right?

It's Monday and it is hot outside.  Happy Summer to each of you!

I do wish I could share one of these mini cupcakes with each one of you...really I do.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Tucked away on a back country road, we discovered a small sign telling us to take a right and drive up the steep lane. 
There we discovered the most unique and beautifully done family garden tour.
After hearing the fourth person recommending that we attend this event, we headed for the country this evening.
It was definitely worth the drive and we were so impressed with what we saw, that I decided I would share these pictures with you. 
Three families put their time, their skills, their expertice, and their creativity together to produce this amazing tour.

All the beautiful arrangements and articles had price tags on them.  Every plant was healthy, full, and colorful. 

Homemade signs were everywhere, making it easy for us to find our way through the grounds.

Many old items were creatively used as pots to grow flowers and plants.  Did you ever think of using an old grill as a pot for growing flowers?

White petunias look like they are spilling out of this old metal pot.

Many blue bottles were filled with oil and used as lanterns on the grounds.  We could not help but think of how the wooded paths would look with the lamps lit, each evening.

The gardens were built above ground using 2 x 12 wooden planks as the border.  The plants were green and lush, making it evident that they were being given lots of care and attention.

I found this way of gardening quite interesting and eye catching.  I did not see one weed the entire evening.  How do they keep so many gardens weed free?

The hydrangeas were exceptionally full of vibrant blue flowers.

Succulents were growing in many old household items.  Who would have thought someone would find such a creative way to sell old boots?

American girl doll tea parties were being offered with made ahead reservations.  My niece and her daughters attended one of them and were so impressed with the happening.

Family members made these outfits for the dolls and had them for sale.

We walked down a wooded trail and found food and lovely set tables with soft pastel tablecloths.

The salad bar consisted of plastic flower pots and interesting garden tools as the servers.  What a great idea!   I used a trowel to put carrots on my salad.  Hot dogs and hamburgers were made on a grill over a fire.  It smelled so good!

The atmosphere was perfect for a summer outdoor dinner.

These three little guys were happy to show off their special pet pony, to all those enjoying their dinner. 

Another form of oil lamp burned near the picnic area.
Old bottles, wicks, and filled with oil, were on sale everywhere through the woods.

Here we saw an arbor made with old wooden doors and painted white.  It served as an entrance way to another one of their many gardens.

Old tires with wooden posts served as flower pots.  Another one of their many handmade ideas.

With the perfect, sunny weather, this evening before the official beginning of summer, was the most relaxing and enjoyable way to spend our time.
I thought you might like to see a few of the highlights of our time.
Thank you for stopping by and sharing in the garden tour.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

I discovered some of my daisies had opened today.  A few daisies in the midst of an abundance of buds.  I still marvel at how the plants go from some brown sticks, to these beauties each year.  So amazing!

And of course, I had to bring a few in and fill a few of my old tiny jars.  Winter just does not offer this type of beauty.  Welcome June, it is so good to have you back again.

Since we were away this past weekend, I decided to serve this treat to my husband last evening, for a belated Father's Day treat.  He was thrilled and ate the whole thing:)

Yes, it was another new dip recipe and he asked me to make sure I don't loose the recipe.  Actually, he was most impressed with it.  I really do wish I could remember which blog I found the recipe on, but since my computer mishap, I lost that type of info.

But, I do know it is quite simple and yet, very delicious!

Equal parts of white chocolate Cream Cheese and Marshmallow Fluff.

Blend well.  Strawberries are in abundance everywhere in our county right now.

The combination of fresh, ripe, strawberries and this dip, is worth sharing this evening.  You will thank me if you taste it, and when you discover for yourself, how good it tastes.

A fun idea would be to make a trip to a consignment shop, buy an old, pretty plate, fill it with this dip and strawberries, and you would have a perfect birthday gift for a friend.

Last evening, I took this picture from my front porch, because the evening was gorgeous.  Bad storms hit our area unexpectantly earlier in the evening.  Isn't that how life often is?   Things can be going smoothly, and then all a sudden a storm appears..  When that all happens, it makes me appreciate the hours and days after the storm, even more than I did before the storm hit.

Flowers and fruit pictures again from me.  You are so kind to stop by again.  Thank you!


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