"Life isn't about finding yourself, it's about creating yourself."

Saturday, May 30, 2009

It's Pink Saturday's birthday!

Today is Pink Saturday's one year birthday! Beverly @ How Sweet the Sound has graciously hosted this fun event, week after week...be sure & thank her for all her efforts.

For today's post, I wanted to share this shot of a song sparrow that visited my backyard last month. No, the bird's not pink (wouldn't that be too cool....my granddaughter Caralyn would be thrilled) but the rose in the foreground is. ;o)

I love song sparrows....the name implies that they have a lovely song & they do. If you'd like to hear one, go here . They're also fun to watch as they will run across the yard like a robin...they just look so comical.

Hope you are all enjoying Spring...summer & the heat it brings is just around the corner!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Time for tea!

For this, the second Tea Time Tuesday, hosted by Barb @ Grits & Galmour, I am revisiting a previous post. It was one of my first, over a year ago, so I don't think many have seen it but it was mine & Caralyn's very first tea party. We had another for her 3rd birthday (@ her request) but Clifton had just gotten out of teh hospital & I had my hands full w/ taking care of him. I could barely squeeze in time for the tea party so I was unable to get pictures.

Somebody on last week's Tea Time post, commented on how her & her grandmother used to have impromptu parties & it gently reminded me that we don't need a perfectly set table w/ lots of fancy food....we just need me & Caralyn sipping tea out of a pretty cup (got lots of those!) w/ maybe some vanilla wafers & strawberries. Anyway, this is my post from last March in it's entirety......

My granddaughter, Caralyn, & I had our very first tea party this past week. I cannot tell you how much fun it was. She was the perfect tea partner. I thought she might be a little young (she's 2 & 1/2) but boy was I wrong...she was born to dine on tea! I decorated the table w/ vintage hats, jewelry, gloves (we played dress-up after the tea) pink depression glass & the sweetest little ballerina. Vintage necklaces hung from the chandy w/ teacup ornaments & we used vintage hankies as napkins. On the menu was Egg Salad Sandwiches (cut into flower shapes), Roasted Red Pepper Soup w/ Orange Cream, gourmet marshmallows (store-bought), fresh strawberries, sliced cukes, cinnamon-apple tea (the only decaf I had) & mini-orange vanilla cupcakes (I just added zest, orange flavoring & vanilla to a white cake mix) w/ orange/cream cheese frosting. I would have made more goodies if it hadn't just been Caralyn & I but I didn't see the point in overloading a 2 year old w/ sugar.

click on any picture to enlarge for details

You can't really tell in this picture but Caralyn & her baby are wearing matching outfits. Don't they look adorable?

The gourmet marshmallows were too die for! We ate them all so I think I may make some homemade ones this next week for Easter.

I practically had to look all over town for sugar cubes! Jeez, this is Texas! Doesn't anyone feed them to their horses anymore?

Of course Caralyn's baby had to come to the party too...so I set her a place at the table! LOL

The Orange Vanilla Mini-Cupcakes w/ an orange flower water/cream cheese frosting ( I didn't want them to have an orange tone so I used flower water instead of zest) were pretty good but I thought they needed more flavor. Maybe some melted white chocolate added directly to the frosting. I didn't want to stress on this party....I wanted it to be all about fun so I garnished very simply w/ white chocolate shavings & picks left over from Valentine's.

Roasted Red Pepper soup.... this recipe calls for a splash of OJ & it really made the recipe. The soup paired very well w/ the egg salad sandwiches.

here's the recipe for the soup....

Roasted Red Pepper Soup w/ Orange Cream

1 tbp olive oil

2/3 cup chopped shallots

1 15 oz jar roasted red peppers, packed in water

1 tsp sugar (I used about double that)

2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1/2 cup orange juice

2 tbp whipping cream

tbp of grated orange zest

thinly sliced fresh basil leaves

Saute shallots in oil for about 5 minutes, Add red peppers (w/ their liquid) & sugar & simmer for 2 minutes. Add broth & simmer for another 5 minutes. Puree the soup using either an immersion blender or in a countertop blender (allow to cool slightly if using a countertop model). Bring soup to a simmer again & add OJ, season w/ salt & pepper. Whisk whipping cream & zest until thickened. Ladle soup into bowls & drizzle w/ orange cream. Sprinkle w/ basil.

I'm embarrassed that my egg salad "flowers" are so sloppy! :o( I used gel food coloring to paint on the centers & even though I did it hours ahead of time, the bread didn't get soggy so that went well.And I discovered that Caralyn loves egg salad...although that may have been because she helped me fix it. Kids always like food better when they've had a hand in making it.

She's really getting into the process now! LOL

She so enjoyed her tea. I should have known she'd like the whole fou-fou'ness.

I see many, many more tea parties in our future! ;o)


I hope you enjoyed seeing this old post....I knwo I sure enjoyed the memories! Now run over to Barb's to enjoy some tea & some wonderful porches.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Birthday cake for Foodie Friday!

I wanted to share picture of Connor's 11th birthday "cakes" for my first Foodie Friday...hosted by Gollum @ Designs by Gollum. Gollum is one of the most talented women I know. She's an accomplished authoress, decorator & foodie w/ a wonderful home & idyllic life. I could hate her for that but she's too nice. ;o)

Anyway, (putting my envy of Gollum aside) Connor put in a request for a big cookie cake for his birthday, several months ago. I found this recipe by Emeril & it turned out perfectly...thick & chewy while still managing to have a crispy exterior. I highly recommend the recipe! You'll have to excuse my piping job. I was running behind (of course I was!) & was piping Happy Birthday on it as the guests were arriving.

I didn't think there were would be enough cookie cake to feed all the guests & originally, was going to make cupcakes but when Connor let it be known that he wanted hamburgers to be served, I found this adorable "french fries" cake on parenting.com. It didn't really fool anybody as the "ketchup" wasn't red enough (my Wilton food coloring gel dried out so I had to use the liquid) but everyone loved it. Isn't it cute? I actually made 2 baskets of "fries".

French Fries Birthday Cake

1 (8-inch) round cake
1 can (16 oz) vanilla frosting
Red food coloring
1 frozen pound cake (12 oz), thawed

What you'll need:
A bread knife
A sheet pan
A wax-paper-lined basket, bowl, or plate
1 resealable sandwich-size plastic bag (Ziploc)
1 mini-paper cupcake liner

For the base of the cake:
Using the bread knife, trim the 8-inch cake to fit into a wax-paper–lined basket, bowl, or plate.
Set aside 3 Tbsp of the vanilla frosting in a small bowl. Spread the remaining vanilla frosting over the trimmed cake to cover completely.

For the french fries:
Preheat broiler. Trim the darker crusts of the cake away with a bread knife. Cut the pound cake crosswise into ½-inch slices. Cut each slice into ½-inch-thick sticks. Spread the pound-cake sticks in a single layer on a sheet pan. Place under the broiler for 15 to 30 seconds until the tops are lightly toasted and golden brown. (Watch the pound cake carefully -- it burns easily. Turn the pound-cake sticks and repeat on each side until they are lightly toasted all over. Arrange the pound-cake sticks on top of the frosted cake to resemble french fries.

For the ketchup:
Add red food coloring to the reserved 3 Tbsp of vanilla frosting to tint it the color of ketchup ( I added a bit of flavored coffee creamer to add flavor & thin it out some so that the french fries wouldn't break when dipped). Spoon the red frosting into a resealable plastic bag. Place the mini–paper cupcake liner on top of the "french fries." Snip a small corner from the bag with the red frosting. Pipe the red frosting into the paper liner.


Now I'm off to Gollum's to see all the other food & I'm bringing an appetite...won't you come w/ me?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

It's been awhile since I shared any images

so I thought I would offer some butterfly images today. Be sure & click on each picture to enlarge before right clicking & saving....Enjoy!

What an extravagant costume...it's soo beautiful!

Love this French card...it translates to Glory Butterfly.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Teatime on Tuesdays

Hello & welcome to the very first Teatime Tuesday! Hosted by the very talented & even nicer, Barb from Grits & Glamour . I have a passion for teacups, teapots & I recently bought a cabinet just to house my collection so I'm really excited about this new meme. I'll feature the glass-fronted cabinet that houses my collection in a future Met Monday.

For this, my first post on Teatime Tuesday's, I wanted to showcase the ones dearest to my heart....and they are not even mine. Every year, for Caralyn's birthday, I gift her w/ a vintage, very special teacup...she's 3 now so she has 3. So this will also serve as my 3 or More Tuesday post...hosted by Tam @ The Gypsy's Corner.

I will give Caralyn a new teacup every year, until her 13th birthday, when I will give her a teapot. I have to admit that this was one of my better ideas & how glad I am, that I thought of it before her first birthday! For now her teacups are kept @ Honey's for safekeeping...besides, this is where all the teaparties are held. ;o) This stack is her's.

This one was the first. I had originally planned on giving all cherub-themed ones but they are harder to come by than I thought & who knows if Caralyn will even have a thing for cherubs so now I just concentrate on buying her the most special one I can find. This one is made by lefton .... I am a big collector of their china objects so I thought it was fitting.

The one given to her on her second birthday is made in Bavaria, is numbered & is covered in lovely pink roses.

I think this blue one is the most beautiful teacup I have ever seen but Caralyn has put in a request thsi year for one that is pink...."all pink". She wants it "pink like the blue". It's Foley bone china in the Tulip pattern.

She was having a sleepover when I was taking the pictures & wanted to pose w/ them. She's so beautiful & has such a strong sense of self...& it gives her a magnetic personality. Even total strangers can't take their eyes off her.

For next week's party. I will share pics of our very first tea party together. Visit Barb to see all the other prized tea collections. And stop by Tam's @ The Gypsy's Corner to see the other collections shared in today's 3 or More Tuesday.

I hope you all had a wonderful Mother's day!

I know I did! We had a combo birthday party for Connor (he turned 11 on Friday) & Mother's day celebration....just like we did the year he was born.

My hubby, Chris, gifted me w/ a huge bunch of roses ...I used most as a dining table centerpiece (you'll see them in a future Tablescape Thursday post) but I saved one for my bedside table. Love the little vignette that it creates w/ books, bunny & feather-trimmed lampshade.

I'll share pic of the kids after my Mom sends me the ones off her camera & I can choose the best ones from her camera & my camera but in the meantime, here's a shot of Cutie Rudy. He is fitting so well into our family....it's almost as if he has almost been here. I loved Gizzy very, very much but when I got him it was pre-grandkids. My daughter didn't live at home anymore & my boys were teenagers & were rarely home. Gizzy was my "baby" & everything focused around him.....& his world around me. He never got over that & suffered from separation anxiety terribly. The only time he was interested in anyone else was if I wasn't there. I will never do that to another dog! My goal w/ Rudy is for him to greet everybody w/ the same love & affection that he greets me.

I read a book recently about socializing a puppy & it said to expose them to 100 different situations & people w/in 100 days. Most of the suggestions on teh list (toddlers, skateboarding, kids riding a bike, old people, teenagers, kids bouncing a ball, person w/ umbrella, person w/ hat, little girl, baby, baby in stroller, person carrying baby, etc) he was exposed to w/in the first week! He has no choice but to be socialized! *grins* And my arms are often filled w/ a grandkid (or 2!) so there is no danger of me carrying him around all the time. He's just as taken w/ hubby (& vice versa) as he is w/ me!

Not even the chis can resist him...they've both been caught playing w/ him! How could you not love a face like this?

Monday, May 4, 2009

ZZ Top performance @ Billy Bob's...I got to see it!

Last month we were able to score seats at a sold-out concert of ZZ Top... opening for Billy Bob Thornton & his band @ Billy Bob's Texas. Billy Bob's Texas is my favorite venue for concerts because it's a HUGE bar but the concert area is small & intimate. We've seen Johnny Rivers perform there, George Thorogood & the Destroyer's, BB King (see my pics of BB here ), Hootie & the Blowfish (forgot my camera!) & now ZZ Top! It's like seeing the big bands give a private concert in a neighborhood bar.

We have an ex-employee/friend who works the stage at all the concerts. He gets primo seats to them all & lets us have seats to any concert we want to go to. I'm not a big fan of country (I know, I know....almost sacrilegious to say that in Texas!) so we don't go all that often but when we do it's always a wonderful show.

Needless to say, ZZ Top rockled the house! And I scored some great shots.

This shot is good enough to be the cover on one of their CD's...I'm proud of it!

Billy Bob Thornton seemed shy & awkward @ first but his smile lit up the room & he soon got to grooving. I have never been a big fan of his (not after the display I saw him & Angelina put on @ an Oscar ceremony!) but he won me over w/ his smile.

What fun this show was...thanks Jerry for squeezing us in on such short notice!

Friday, May 1, 2009

I know y'all are sooo over Easter...

but I never got to share my Easter pictures & hope it's not too late. Also, here's the link to last year's decor...I know most of you didn't know my blog then so probably haven't seen those pics either. click here for last year's Easter decor

I finally got around to painting the old mirror over my mantel & I'm not happy w/ it. I think it needs either some distressing or additional glazing. (I'm just visible in this pic...notice the wet hair....it'll be explained later)

click on any pic to enlarge

My alltime favorite shot of my kids! All of them are grown up now & not nearly so cute!

I framed this vintage sheet music cover & "matted" it using pages from an old book.

Love this vintage style bunny dish...I got it @ Tuesday Morning last year.

Very simple centerpiece on the dining room table. It had more "oomph" from a distance because of the pearl & carrot-draped chandelier.

I got these vintage-style pottery pieces, 75% off @ Cracker Barrel a few years ago. I took a picture of the china cabinet that the pottery pieces were in but when I uploaded it, I noticed a reflection in the glass door that I would not have wanted the world to see.......me in nothing but a T & my panties! LOL I remember teh day I took the shots...I had just gotten out of the shower & was getting dressed when I noticed the lighting was perfect. So I grabbed my camera.... neglecting to put on pants first! *grins* I am so glad I caught that near-blunder!

If you enlarge this next pic, you can see my collection of sugar eggs. One is under the dome, one is in the brass box & there's a teeny-tiny one on the faux scale. I am soooo going to make my own one day!

I love the beaded net food cover! I bought a pair of them while flea'ing a few months ago.

I used mercury glass candlesticks as the base for my coffee table arrangement. A mercury glass vase was a wonderful thrift store find & is what inspired the vignette. I added a pearl monogram to an old ironstone platter, it's another idea I "stole" from Queenie . I'll just switch out the rabbit for a bird or a cherub & it'll carry me all the way through summer.

Vintage porcelain chicks on a bed or tinsel.

We didn't host Easter @ our house this year. My daughter wanted to host it @ her house & BBQ hot dogs & hamburgers. I was distraught over Gizzy's decline in health so I agreed. My mother spent the night w/ us though & we had a simple brunch that morning. Not my best table! It could be much improved upon but my heart just wasn't in it.

I also wanted to share my favorite pics of each of the grands. This is Connor w/ chipmunk cheeks full of candy. Geesh!

Caeden scored one hidden high in a tree.

This one of Caralyn needs no explanation...she's just simply beautiful!

Mischievous Coleson...he wanted to eat the candy out of every egg as soon as he found it.

And baby Noah...he reminds me so much of Clifton at that age...just fatter! *grins*

Well, you know what they say...better late than never! ;o)