Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A Summer Afternoon On The Farm

He(my skillful, camera toting uncle and his beautiful wife, recently took their grandchildren on an afternoon outing to a local farm. I received these pictures from him, taken that day and knew I wanted to share them with all of you. My love for farming and the memories that I hold in my heart from all the many hours that I spent on farms of relatives and friends in my growing up years, make these pictures even more special to me. Operating a successful farming business is hard work and many long hours, but whenever I visited the farms, I found it to be more adventurous and relaxing, than my life lived in a populated area. Hopefully, you too will enjoy the moments that he captured with his camera.

A special thanks to my uncle for sharing these "life on the farm" pictures with us. Your skill is impressive!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Her 2nd Birthday

This was her 1st birthday celebration last year and for some reason it feels like it was only yesterday. Time goes so fast.

Today this little sweetheart is 2 years old. She continually adds joy and laughter to our family.

Tonight her and her family are coming for dinner on the porch. Since she loves ice cream, I decided to create this dessert to serve as her birthday cake. I bought the green plastic bucket with orange shovel at the dollar store. Washed it with hot soapy water, filled it with balls of vanilla ice cream. Drizzled chocolate syrup over the ice cream, covered with graham cracker crumbs(to look like the sand on the beach). I took gummy starfish and placed them on the cracker crumbs. I used a bamboo skewer and a circle cut out of paper, to create the beach umbrella.

Added two candles, put in freezer until it is time this evening to sing "Happy Birthday!" to her. When that time comes, we will give her the orange shovel and let her dig into the bucket of ice cream.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Early Morning Breakfast Run

Early this morning we left for the open roads, headed down country for a good old fashion breakfast destination where the country music was playing and there was lots of hot coffee waiting. The beauty of today's early morning landscape is impossible to describe. Hopefully these photos that I captured from the back of the bike will give you a glimpse of the scenery awaiting us.

Whether I looked up at the sunrise and the many cloud formations...

...or looked around me at the countryside grandeur, beauty abounded.

Riding bike with my brother and his wife is always fun in the making. This photo was taken by my sister-in-law, as we passed one of the many meticulous farms on the way.

With my little Cool Pix camera I took this photo of my brother and sister-in-law.

As they led the way on the ride home, the view of them on this scenic road was worth capturing.

Through the quiet mountain road, down the hill, and over the sunlit old steel bridge...what a perfect way to start a weekend.

The rippling stream under the bridge added to the memory.

A gorgeous old stone farmhouse set along the road, with flower beds I only dream of having. I could not resist snapping this picture as we rode past.

Joggers and hikers were already on the trails as we rode past the big county park. Our ride was almost over, and for many people the day was just beginning. Work needing to be done, schedules needing to be met...the fun needed to end for now.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Simple Ideas For July 4th

Here are a few ideas to add color and fun to any July 4th celebration. The first one is to take any tin cans...soup, mandarin orange, or whatever, and add a strip of red, white and blue ribbon. Glue ribbon where it comes together in the back. Add fresh flowers, a flag and some votive candles.

Let your grandchildren help make red and blue jello. You can put it in glass or clear plastic cups. Instantly adds the festive colors of this holiday, along with the Dollar Store star confetti and some American flags. I think a tray of these parfaits would add lots of festivity to a picnic table.

Grandchildren would love to help cut out these jiggler jello stars with cookie cutters. The directions are on the boxes of jello. Before you cut out the shapes you are to set pan in warm water. I left the pan in to long due to a distraction. The stars did not hold their shape like they usually do. I use these stars to decorate dinner platters or dessert platters. Sometimes I just fill a white platter with the stars and the children like eating them this way.

These packets of glow sticks, glow bracelets and glow balls have added fun to many of our celebrations. You can purchase them at the dollar stores for 1.00 a pack. Each pack has several pieces in it. We passed these out after dark, at our daughter's 16th birthday party and the kids loved them. My neices and nephews have fun with them whenever they visit. The glow in the dark pieces add a fun aspect to a celebration.

I found this photo in a past issue of Country Living Magazine, and thought it gave me another idea for simply adding color and pizazz to a July 4th celebration. It will be here before we know it so I decided to share these few simple, inexpensive ideas for celebrating a very special event in history. July 4th...a time to reflect on our freedom and those who valiantly fought and continue to fight to maintain it for each of us. Our freedom can never be taken for granted...now more than ever!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

A Veggie Tale

I've mentioned different times on this blog that I do not have a "sweet tooth". This has served me well considering all of the many outstanding desserts that my daughter brought home from her pastry chef classes during this past year. A "sweet tooth"...no, but a craving for potato chips...yes! Potato chips and french fries have been and will be my greatest food temptation. BUT, I have learned some important facts regarding my craving that I want to share with you today. You see, I have a wonderful younger brother and a same age as me brother-in-law that are both potato brokers. Their company is a link between the potato growers and the snack food companies. "Potato chips" are their business. According to them, a meal is never complete without a bowl of potato chips. Because of their expertise in this all important aspect of life, I have learned a few valuable facts about this "weakness" of mine.
A one ounce serving of potato chips contains at least 15 essential nutrients. That includes 10 % ot the U.S.RDA of Vitamin C and 8% of the U.S.RDA of Vitamin B6.
A one-ounce bag of chips also contains 1.3 grams of dietary fiber. That's about as much as you'll find in 1/2 cup of celery or cabbage. Which helps explain why chip as listed under the "vegtable" heading in USDA Handbook #8. Of course, potato chips aren't a basic source of nutrients, but they do have more nutrients than most people realize. And fewer calories. Only 150 in a one ounce bag.
As for cholesterol, most potato chips don't have any. That's because most chips are cooked only in vegtable oils. And contrary to popular belief, most chips contain no preservatives.

Here is one fast and fabulous dip to serve with the bowl of chips at your next event; A packet of dried onion soup and an 8 ounce container of sour cream. Whip together, pour into a serving bowl, and top with crushed french fried onions.

Dip ready to set on the table. A chip couldn't ask for anything better than this!

This is a chicken recipe that my family enjoys. It is quick, easy and so delicious! If desired, it can be served with a honey mustard sauce.

No, I do not sit in a corner of my porch and each chips all day, in fact I am disciplined in my consumption of this tantalizing treat, but I do not hesitate to enjoy every single bite of each potato chip, when I am at any event that serves them. This July 4th why not buy some bags of potato chips, whip up some delicious dip and serve them at your picnics and cookouts. Maybe you can even share some of this valuable info you learned about the chips, from a blogger in blogland. ps. Fifteen to twenty chips contain as much potasssium as 1/2 of a banana.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Pawprints On The Heart

Yesterday I had fun visiting my dear cousin at her home in the country. There was a special attraction that led me to her home. Each of her two Golden Retrievers had litters of pups. One gave birth to twelve cute, healthy, pups and the other one gave birth to three of the same. For the last few weeks she has been assisting, nurturing, and patiently caring for these fifteen puppies. She invited me over to see and photograph them, and I was thrilled.

Her first litter of pups was born four weeks ago and ready to photograph. The next litter was born two weeks later and not quite ready to be in pictures.

Every single one of these puppies were sooooooooooo adorable.

Six years ago her son's Golden had it's first litter of pups. She was helping him with the project and got hooked. In the next few weeks she will be in the process of finding caring, loving and responsible homes for each one of the fifteen. It was a joy to watch the experienced and watchful care that she gave to these pups.

It was time for me to leave and time for them to go back to their mother and the familiar surroundings that they call home for the time being, until they find permanent homes.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

An Enchanting Evening In A Garden

It was a rare Monday evening. It was a magical evening. It was a garden tea party purchased at a benefit auction. It was a 75th birthday celebration for a very special lady, and it was an evening that will always remain a treasured memory.

Many years ago the owner of this property created a four sided play house for his little girl. She is a beautiful young lady now and the playhouse has evolved into a tea room in the middle of the garden and pine trees. It's lace curtains and tiny electric candles at the windows make it perfectly suited for garden tea parties.

Walking through the gardens quickly made one realize how talented this family is in mastering gardening and water ponds.

Three very special ladies who have been good friends since childhood. Now in their seventies, their friendship continues to grow. The stories they could tell and the valuable lessons that I've learned from each of their lives could fill volumes.

Each of the three friends had daughters born within a few years of each other. Here we are, their three daughters, and we have been friends throughout our lives. Sharing many of the same celebrations and events through the years. The six of us were the privileged ones to enjoy an evening in the garden.

So much beauty to behold everywhere one looked. The hostess had bouquets of her flowers, old starched white linens, and beautiful dishes gracing every table.

Flowered tea cups, tiny brass spoons, sugar cubes and soft evening breezes...it is difficult to define the moment.

I photographed this plate of food so that you could see the thought, detail, and variety of the food we were served. I only wish I could give you a taste of each delicious morsel.

Our hostess, her daughter and her neice walking into the garden with the plates of dessert and pots of hot tea.

What an amazing array of desserts to choose from, and so attractively displayed, including edible glitter and tiny flowers on each of the chocolate truffles.

Our hostess and her sister. Their warm, caring personalities and their cooking and baking skills, along with their gardening abilities produced a truly elegant, garden tea party. The beautiful black and white apron on the hostess was one of my sister-in-law's designed creations.

As darkness set in, the lanterns were lit, the candles were glowing, and the tiny white lights out lined the log tea house, creating an ambience that was of storybook material.

As we said our good byes, and walked away from the from the enchanted gardens, I was filled with gratitude for the privilege of participating in such an event with dear friends who have been instrumental in shaping my life for many years. Our three mothers make the seventy years look good. I wanted to share this evening with all of you, so hopefully you do not mind the length of this post.


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