Thursday, October 30, 2014

All About Autumn At The Cottage

The Scare Crow I've had half my life I think!

The Back Porch
Where All Good Friends Enter!
(I don't think we even have a key to our front door.)

I Love These Old Black Crows
I Can Relate!
In their Fashionators
Norma Can Relate!

Kitchen High Shelf

Pears, not really that reminiscent of Fall
 I guess, I just like them!

Do You like my witch's broom?
Someone who shall remain nameless
Asked me if I ride it!

What is Halloween without a black cat?

The Dining Room Mantel
A little bit of Halloween soon to disappear
Then my beloved pilgrims will take center stage.

A close-up with an antique filter
Which is more the true color.

I did some bowls of this kind of thing~
not too big on Halloween perse!

I do like this Old Gnarly Goblin 

A few little things added in the bathroom for fun!
This guy look a little "Carnival" for our Italian Bath.
If I was really clever I'd make him a little black mask!

This little guy needed a tiny pumpkin 
and probably some clothes!
This hangs on the pillar between
the two big windows over the tub. 

An Acorn for the soaking tub tray.

~Safe Halloween Candy~
You eat die, it's glass!

The cheapo Pumpkins we spray painted copper!

Fun fake candy and acorns!


I have these on an antique marble top chest
in our bedroom. They are ceramic leaves. 

We've Got Our Share of Turkeys!
Inside and Outside!

Hall tree in the backdoor entry way.

~Would love to have you come by~

It's not spooky, I promise!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Serendipity Full Circle~Beyond 5

Connie and Julia

Yesterday when I wrote my Daybook entry ( found one post below this one) I told you a little story of serendipity.  I love that word it means a "happy accident"  has occurred.  Well I truly don't believe in accidental happening but I do believe in happy.  And this is such a cool story and as I said, I do love the word serendipity...So here goes!

The entry from the Daybook asks about something that surprised me this week... here is that answer updated.

It was being able to meet a wonderful a lady from Utah on Pinterest, sending her a comment about her amazing pin boards and then becoming friends on Facebook a few weeks ago. Then having her post a status update on Facebook about a Private Beyond 5 Concert that she was organizing for 100 lucky kids.  These guys are good, this was a big deal!

Well, our granddaughters are big fans so I tried to arrange to get two tickets and surprise them on Mom's approval and agreement to get them there.   Of course she said YES!  I got to call and tell them about it on Wednesday night after everything was securely in place.  They were so excited!  But I'm not sure who was more excited, them or us?

Ammon, Tanner, Zach, Patch, TJ
Beyond 5

Two of the five boys are going on a mission soon so the group is disbanding temporarily.  One is serving in Texas and the other in Scotland.  It will be about three years until they are back.  That is a long time for kids. Especially teenage Fan Girls as they call themselves.  Although they support the boys in their choice to be missionaries there has been some melancholy lingering about our Fan Girls.

These great YouTube videos came 
from Piper's Pinterest Board!

Piper and Ammon

My new friend, Connie, then sent me a picture of her granddaughter with three girls in it from a previous concert.  She said, "My granddaughter is on the right! To which I replied...and my granddaughter is on the left!  How amazing is that?  Considering there are millions of pinners on is quite astonishing that I met Connie.  Julia and her daughter already know each other!  

Beyond 5ers

Piper had not sent me her pictures when I was doing 
this so here is an older one. Her hair is longer and
 darker as you can see in the group shot above.
(It is such a sweet picture I decided to leave it in.)
She's always beautiful and such a 
carbon copy of her mother at this age. 

Oh this just arrived!
Piper and Zach
The girls report having a great time at the concert and private party with the Beyond 5 Stars afterwards where they could chat, have pictures taken and get autographs.  Piper just got her photos to me but Julia has been on it since she got home last night!  They are so adorable!  It is so nice to see them having a fun time with good people.

Here are Julia's photos:

Jewels and Tanner
He leaves for Texas in January

The Fan Girls...well some of them!
Piper and Julia on the left end standing

Julia and Ammon

Jewelz and Patch
Heading to Scotland!
(Not Julia she and Piper 
have already been there!)
He's going on a mission!

Julia and TJ

Julia and Zach
Three years will go by in no time!

This is the very best long distance Gramma and Grampa thing we have experienced in a very long time.  Heaven only knows how much we miss these good and sweet girls.  Whatever we give them they give it back tenfold to us.  Just look at that look on Julia's face. That is one big heart print for me.  Look for it on Pinterest on my "Hugs" Board.  Love you sweet girls!  Beyond Infinity!  

Miss you...Gramma and Grampa

P.S. Connie, "Beyond Grandmas"right?

Friday, October 24, 2014

A Simple Woman's Daybook~October 24, 2014

Our lives pass swiftly by! I want to do something to remember
the everyday moments and my thoughts about them.  
That is what this Daybook is all about.
Focusing on the little things that become my life.
One entry at a time.

Just for today~Friday, October 24, 2014 
Outside my window...It is 11:35 AM and the sun is right overhead. Leaves are drifting down from the trees that are looking a little more naked since my last daybook.  We have just the right combination of pines and redwoods that are evergreen and those like the oaks and sycamores and magnolias that aren't.  After 36 years in this house I am officially declaring autumn to be the most beautiful time here.  The walnut trees are just brilliantly yellow right now.  So pretty.  And I so enjoy having windows on both sides of the room so I can see out to the front and the back.  These are the little things that bring a smile to my face this morning.  I seem to be reluctant to switch from sandals to regular shoes and socks but it is chilly in the house today.  Summer is over.  I just went and got my socks...better already.

I am thankful for....Relationships with good people.  Both family and friends and especially for the ones that are both.  Best friends that are like family and family that are like best friends.  There is nothing better, is there? 

In fact without them one could get a rather jaded view of humanity.  I don't know about where you live, but I see an awful lot of nasty people when I am out and about.  Just so crabby and verbally abusive to others and it is annoying.  Especially on the road but it is becoming more prevalent in the businesses, etc. too.  The older I get the less tolerant I am of that kind of thing.  Kindness is so lovely.  Why choose the other.  It just boggles the mind really.  So I am grateful for good people!

From the learning room...that I love writing so much. The little poem I wrote that is in the post below this was just so much fun to do.  I enjoy that digging deep to figure out why I am feeling a certain way.  I can ponder it all day but once I start writing it just gets formulated into something tangible right away and it's so therapeutic.  

I am reading...the 2 amazing family trees put up by my cousin on  He is amazingly kind.  We have the best cousins. I must have six new cousins in the past couple of years.  People I'd have never known without genealogy. 

From the kitchen...about to go make lunch and then get back to this.  Our pantry and refrigerator have turned into very healthy places.  Junk is all gone, lots of fresh and wholesome foods to choose each day.  I not only feel better but am shrinking little by little.  It is the best way to go.  Controlling the environment is one key. 

Some spiritual thoughts I have been having...I am feeling so much gratitude for the blessings in our lives.  The answers to prayers and how faith building life can be.  I am so happy for the things we have been able to accomplish lately with a lot of determination and help from each other.  It has been a hard year but a good one in terms of overcoming and moving forward.  The hard years teach us the most.  Must be part of the plan, right?

Someone I am praying for this week...Susan Todd, my dear friend from Florida that fell and broke her hip on the second day of her vacation with Nellie.  Double bummer.  Then she had to have surgery to boot.  She is still not home.  Susie we love you and are praying for your speedy recovery.  I know you must be missing your babies so much!  

Also praying for Stephen, Ben, Annabelle, Kelly and April, and all of our family.  Saying a lot of special prayers for Hazie going in for a big surgery on November 10th.  All the dads-in law to our kids, Spencer, Bryant, and Read need prayers too.  It is a blessing to pray for the people in our lives we love so much.  Get well all of you!  We feel your pain with you, more than you know.

Quote from~The Fault In Our Stars!

I am missing...all of the above very much.  And a lot of other people I don't get to see as often as I wish I could.

I am hearing...Collin Raye~I Think About You!  How perfect!

One of my pleasures...writing to people and texting and just making the connection with people I cannot see often.  And seeing the people that I can often.  Not enough hours in the day.  I am not a party person in anyway but I do enjoy one on one with others very much.

Pet Peeves...when I go shopping for food and forget one or two things that I really needed.  Ugh!   A list you say?  I have one all right, but I forget something anyway.

Past Remembrance...I am thinking about our kids that are in Scotland this week.  Our first trip to Scotland was life changing.  We love that place and as we wrote them a list of things not to miss we practically relived it.  Love when that happens.  And if I have written notes or a story about the trip it really comes back when reread.  That is the best.  That was our first trip to Europe and positively enchanting.

I am quoting...Pinterest...I believe this, especially written words.

If I could change one thing it would be...that my tooth that broke will not cost $6 or 7 thousand to fix with an implant. I think I want a new computer, and a trip to see our kids and a new family room carpet more.  The fix is strictly cosmetic and I think I'll be getting use to having that little space since it is a posterior tooth anyway.  Sheesh...more expensive than my diamond ring. Way more!  Outrageous!  

When you see people walking around without teeth...don't judge.  That is a pile of money.  One of my friends is having four done soon.  They cut her a "deal" only $20.000. So she's cashing out a part of her retirement to do it.

An enjoyable movie/ TV show we have watched lately...The Fault In Our Stars. Very touching movie.

I am curious much stress presenting in a big conference would produce? I nearly croaked doing the two presentations I did last week at Digging For Your Roots with a few hundred people attending.  I love doing things like that though because it truly stretches you and makes you so painfully aware of the work and contributions of others.

Plans for the rest of the week...recovery mode from the conference as it had to be put on hold this past week.  A doctor appointment this coming week.  A couple of meetings.  Hanging out with the hubster, work, just enjoying my favorite season and getting some housework done as the holidays are approaching. I like to do some deep cleaning before I decorate.  I'd love to go out and take some cool pictures of the foliage.  Mani/Pedi.  Sheesh, that is enough.

One of my favorite things...staying home at night and just relaxing after a very hard day of working which usually started around 5:00 or 6:00 AM for both of us.  I am a total home body and we love our British TV series that we watch on Netflix. There are so many good ones.  I had no idea.

One thing that made me so happy this past week...getting my free time back today for writing.  That genealogy conference was on my calendar since March and took more out of me than I realized until it was over.  I cannot tell you how many times that passed through my mind over those many months. The best part is now I have classes I can easily teach other places.  The hard part is over...the preparation.

The most surprising thing this past week...Being able to meet a wonderful a lady from Provo on Pinterest, sending her a comment about her boards and becoming friends on Facebook a few weeks ago. Then having her post a status update about a Private Beyond 5 Concert that she was organizing for 100 lucky kids.  

Well our granddaughters are big fans and I arranged to get two tickets and surprise them.   They were so excited!  Two of the five boys are going on a mission soon so the group is disbanding temporarily.  

She then sent me a picture of her granddaughter with three girls in it from a previous concert.  She said, "My granddaughter is on the right! To which I replied...and my granddaughter is on the left!  How amazing is that?  Considering there are millions of pinners on is quite astonishing.  Julia and her daughter already know each other!  

In the process I learned that she is very interested in doing her family history and I will be helping her soon.  I love serendipity like that.  The girls are at the concert this very minute as I have been writing this Daybook all day long in bits and pieces.

A photo I am sharing this week...




Thursday, October 23, 2014

Sleepless Nights

Sleepiness Nights

I am awake. I'm not really sure why.
I have this sense of urgency. 
That if I sleep I will be missing something. 

It's like there are only so many days,
hours and minutes left to do so much. 

I remember when the kids were little
I'd hold on to every quiet moment. 
When I could just be. 

When no one needed anything. 
When I could just think in uninterrupted sentences.

Savoring the silence or some favorite music...
The perfect backdrop for those few moments each day 
When I could think my own thoughts and be by myself. 

I am a day dreamer caught up in the busyness of most days. 
I love these moments to think, ponder and reflect...

But I long to be a night dreamer sometimes too!  
Sleep eludes as these thoughts intrude. 

And I'm awake and I'm not sure why...  

But in these hours I ponder things that cannot be given voice
But can only be felt and understood when I am here. 
In the safety net of my solitude. 

I am awake and I guess I do know why after all. 
Auto pilot only works for so long. 

The clamor of daily life must be silenced now and then 
And I wonder if you are awake right now too.

And like me you are...

Just trying to catch up with your authentic, creative self 
And taking a deeply satisfying breath because it feels so good. 

Perhaps you also like to find that little space too
Between awake and asleep when you are
Just being, more than doing.

(BJM-Penned one sleepless night this week!)

Friday, October 10, 2014

Let's Discuss Apples~It's Autumn After All

Let's talk about apples. With all the talk about pumpkins this time of year we can overlook the wonderful harvest of apples and all the delicious things they can be used for in baking. I always remember the one variety of apples that we always got in our lunches as little kids. The tiny, all red sometimes soggy ones, remember? They are called the Delicious ones but actually I never thought so. For us the best eating apples are Fuji most of the year and Honey Crisp apples right now. Oh my goodness, they are goodness if you like sweet and crispy!

One thing I have decided is that there are two clubs of apple eaters...the ones that eat them whole and the ones who prefer them sliced. I belong to the later club myself. Eating an apple whole is kind of bothersome. For one thing it gets lipstick on my chin sometimes...annoying. And then what to do with the core often presents a problem if you are out and about. Hmmm, just give me slices. Lately we have been eating the Honey Crisp apples by cutting them in wedges throwing them in a baggie and adding cinnamon. Very yummy, cinnamon is good for your blood sugar should you have a problem with it, so healthy! And if the apple oxidizes a little it is not noticeable with the cinnamon to camouflage it. And it is 0 WW points. So Fabulous.

Lately I have been adding some autumn recipes and you have seemed to like that so I have another one for you today. I have never made this recipe but I will be making it next week for a baby shower. I have eaten it a few times at Maureen's house and it is incredible. Try it, you'll love it and it looks so easy. The recipe photo below is not the actual recipe just one I found online. When I actually make it on Wednesday I'll take good photos to share.

Apple Carmel Cake

The Cake Ingredients

4 Cups of coarsely chopped Apples
2 cups of Sugar sprinkled over the Apples
2 Cups of Flour
1 1/2 teaspoons of Baking Soda
2 teaspoons of Cinnamon
1 teaspoon Salt

Mix lighting all of the above.

Beat 2 Eggs
3/4 Cup Oil
2 teaspoons of Vanilla
3/4 Cup chopped Nuts (Optional)

Mix together by hand!
Batter will be thick, spoon into a greased 9x13 pan.
Bake @350* for 35 minutes...
Or until done.

Carmel Sauce

1/2 cup both White and firmly packed Brown Sugar
1 Tablespoon Flour
1/2 Cup real Butter
1/2 cup unwhipped Cream
1 teaspoon Vanilla
2 Tablespoons of Flour

Boil for one minute!
Drizzle over sliced cake and serve.
And add some candles if it is your Birthday!

You can use any apples in the cake but I am planning on Pippins or Gravensteins. My Mom told me to always bake with these because they are not full of water and because they will retain their shape and do not just dissolve into the batter or get mushy. I don't bake that much but when I do I follow her expert advice.

My mom was right, the best baking apples are green!
And she made the best apple pie on my planet. So there you have another one...Happy Baking! If you lived closer and it was your birthday today...I'd bake one for you! Ah heck, even it is not your birthday I'd make one for you! :-)B

Monday, October 6, 2014

A Simple Woman's Daybook~October 6, 2014

Our lives pass swiftly by! I want to do something to remember
the everyday moments and my thoughts about them.  
That is what this Daybook is all about.
Focusing on the little things that become my life.
One entry at a time.

Just for today~Monday, October 6, 2014 
Outside my is 3:40 pm and I am just taking a break from my teaching preparations to do a little blogging.  It is warm and sunny out.  An Indian summer like we always get after it cools off and we think summer is over.  We'll be safely into autumn by Halloween, but anything goes between now and then.

I am thankful for....making the decision to join the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 36 years ago.  It has been the best thing ever.  We have worked hard and grown and served others and been served by them, and come to know Christ in a better way and we have had an abundance of blessings.  

We have learned so much of the Savior's ways and grown in our faith and  dependence upon His grace. And we have made wonderful life long friends that have supported and sustained us through it all.  We have been happy through thick and thin because of our choice and desire to believe.  We have felt joy in our sorrows knowing He is with us to lift us up.

From the learning room...persistence and daily good habits help us accomplish the big things.  That and just never giving up when we feel like it.  We can and must push through it.  When something is right we stick with it even when it is hard.  We can and we do hard things all the time. 
It is how we develop our character and become who we are eventually meant to be.  We should not believe the things we think about ourselves are true just because they pass though our heads through negative self talk.  Instead we should ask ourselves the good questions like what did I do well this week to move towards my goal?  If it worked...repeat it.  It is by small and simple things that good things are brought to pass.

I am reading...Cooked by Michael Pollan.  Pollan offers some very convincing arguments for how cooking our own food at home is the best way to regain our health as a nation.  It is a sequel to Food Rules.  Also very straight forward and compelling for health and well-being.  I am trying hard to relearn how to like cooking again.  As you know if you come by often it is not my favorite thing.  But I am willing to learn to love it again.

From the kitchen...Taco salad tonight.  Looking forward to that.

Some spiritual thoughts I have been having...letting our burdens go is a big thing for most of us.  We want to hang on to them and own them and worry about them.  This is non-productive.  We need to enlist the help of God in overcoming this and being faithful.  Worry and fretting is a form of unbelief and fear that we just don't need in our lives.  We do our best and find faith instead of fear.  We carry on and find the win in laying it all down.

Someone I am praying for this week...Friends and family that are struggling or incapacitated right now.  Our good friend Stephen who had shoulder surgery today and Hazie still recovering from her eye surgery. Annabelle a baby born with multiple problems just a few weeks ago, and Ben an 11 year old boy with a serious battle with leukemia right now.  Praying also for all those who have personal and unknown struggles and that need prayers as well.

I am missing...Carol...come home soon!  It is just not the same when you are gone.  Tomorrow will be a struggle without you there to entertain me. Sigh...

I am hearing...Josh Grobin's Hidden Away.  That guy's seriously talented.  On my bucket list to see in concert one day.  I just got an invitation from my new friend on Pinterest, Connie Smith, to join her next time she goes.  I'm in!

One of my pleasures...Mondays when I can get so much done without interruptions.  Getting up at 5:00 am is painful but has its definite advantages. I also take pleasure in the day after General Conference for our church and all the cool things to reflect back upon.  

Pet Peeves...Seeing political signs going up everywhere.  I don't mind that but I detest the politicians that never return to take them down after the election.  Such poor manners.

Past Remembrance...the other day I drifted back to my childhood  memories  and recalled when my mom would put me on the kitchen counter and wash my hair.  She would lather up my long hair and then form it into a unicorn's horn and she'd let me sit up and look at it in the hand mirror.  It was mighty cool and very tall.  Then she would rinse all the soap out and rinse my hair with cold white vinegar.  It smelled so yucky but made my hair squeaky clean and tangle free. What made me think of it...opening a bottle of white vinegar and smelling "that smell" again.  Oddly I hadn't thought of that since I was a little girl.  Funny how the smell of something can trigger thoughts like that.  Two others fragrances that come to mind...Aqua Net hair spray (being a teenager) and Noxzema (summer, swimming and sunburns.)

I am quoting...Pinterest...Thought this was funny but looking for a paradigm shift so I will exercise more and feel better.  Getting the new lifestyle under control, now must get to this.  Diamonds sure would help though.

If I could change one thing it would be...that I would not need a dental implant to the tune of $5,000!  Holy Cow.

An enjoyable movie/ TV show we have watched lately...there are 8 seasons of Foyle's War.  Can hardly wait to watch it when we get the chance.  I am in love with that man.  He is so sweet, with a sadness about him that his eyes cannot conceal.

I am curious about...what life will feel like once I am done working on these conference presentations coming up on October 18th.  I'll be able to just breathe maybe?

Plans for the rest of the week...haven't thought much about it until right now.  Just the usual routine. Work and play and sleep and go for some walks. You know.  I am starting to think about the holidays a little.  I got all my fall decor out and up so that is the gateway to all of it. I do love doing it.  The warm feelings that fall engenders take me a long way.  I'm in the nesting mood.  Just want to stay home and cozy up.  Shuffling clothes between summer and fall until summer is gone.

One of my favorite things...seeing my hubby so happy in his new wood shop.  After over three and a half years of laborious toiling with David, it is finally done.  He is doing the fun stuff now and he is in his glory.  It is really pretty sweet since he has wanted this since he was 17.  It was even sweeter to watch Jim and Dave work together.  There are few friendships as devoted as theirs.  They did an absolutely amazing job.  It looks like it has always been there nestled beneath the tall trees that surround it.  The outside is beautiful, the inside is, well "industrial" but beautiful to them.  So many regular tools and big shop floor tools that I couldn't tell you what they even are...but he is in hog heaven.

One thing that made me so happy this past week...Receiving an original wedding picture of my grandparents from my 2nd cousin in Arizona, Our grandparents were siblings.  Thank you, Jim Godfrey. Cousins are the best!

The most surprising thing this past week...hearing from one of my best friends in grade school through Facebook.  Sixty years has passed since we had contact.

A photo I am sharing this week...


Just a picture of the sky I took while waiting at a stop light last week.  This is not a typical California sky.  Love these billowy white clouds and the bright blue sky.  Hope all is well with you dear readers!