Love deeply. Laugh. Cry. Talk to God. Be realistic about the to-do list. Stay in touch. Hug. Dream. Smile. Break Bread often with Family. Spend Time with your Girlfriends. Shop til you Drop! Extend Grace. Be Quick to Forgive and Slow to Anger. Walk. Breathe. Sing. Dance. Read. Eat Chocolate. Savor a Good Glass of Wine. Wiggle your Toes. Sleep well. Life is Good!

Friday, March 30, 2012

The Soap Box ..... Expectations

Getting on the soap box this morning.

Recently I've heard a lot about lowering expectations and not being disappointed.  Really?  Life is full of disappointments.  Experiencing them is how we progress and grow as individuals.  Emotional pain and physical pain are part of life.  Of course, we all experience these pains in different levels at different times, but our reaction and responses determine the outcome.  Our attitude makes or breaks us in those critical times.  I've had my own struggles but I've observed others in worse situations and am in absolute awe over the differences in response.   I have one friend who has been at death's door physically many times and is currently in the hospital in more pain than I think I could bear, but she remains positive - - - not in denial of her condition, but faithful that 'win or lose' she wins!  She has never lowered her expectations of herself and even when frequently hospitalized continues to push forward.  Some may call that 'putting on a happy face for those around' but I call it an attitude of gratitude. 

In my humble opinion, lowering your expectations is akin to lowering your standards to a certain extent.  Lowering your expectations of yourself will likely maintain the status quo, if that's where you want to remain.  I totally understand the 'expectations vs. reality' thing.  This is my world.   I know what it takes to get out of bed everyday.  To struggle with pain.  To struggle with financial obligations.   To struggle with attitudes.   I was always taught that to reach for the stars you've sometimes gotta reach through the clouds.  If my husband and I had lowered our expectations of ourselves or our daughters where might we/they be today?  Tomorrow?  

Lowering  expectations for ourselves, our children, our friends, our neighbors, our government may bring us fewer disappointments in the short run .... but I'm in for the long haul.   And in my experience, expecting more from others instills a sense of hope, an "I can do this" attitude ... though sometimes the rebellion may come first.   I've heard "I don't need to live up to your expectations and don't expect you to live up to mine" and that's okay with me.   I don't expect anyone to live up to my expectations.  I struggle enough with myself.  But if I'm paying you to do a task, I expect.  If I'm responsible for your well being, I expect.  If you've made a commitment, I expect.  I expect what I've always expected.  I expect you to do your best.  We all fall short from time to time.  But lowering your expectations because of bad experiences or the sheer exhaustion of 'dealing with it' .... well, I hope it's temporary.  Tomorrow will still come.

Setting and reaching goals is a good way to raise your personal expectations!  I'm sure God expects more from us, why should we expect less?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Nettle Infusion

Herbal Infusions
Ever tried them?

I've been taking herbal supplements for years.
I've been drinking herbal teas for quite awhile.
This is my first herbal infusion.  
Nettle Leaf Infusion to be exact.
Kinda like an herbal "tea" on steroids!  

Why Nettle?  It's a "nourishing" herb.
And it's one that increases energy!
Who doesn't need that?
I wonder how long it will take to kick in?!
It also helps build blood ... good for anemia.
Another plus for me (anemic fatigue is like no other)!
Bone and joint health is another thing 
on the list of  the Nettle "can do" actions! 

(do NOT use nettle if you are pregnant!)

Nettle Leaf
more about nettle @ fiberarts

Lots of info at Mountain Rose HerbsLive Strong,
 Bulk Herb Store and one of my faves, Susun Weed!  
She's a bit "out there" but very knowledgeable!
Do some research!   Find an infusion that fits your needs!
There's an abundance of info out there!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Recycling Food! I'm not talking leftovers!

Evah tell me it can't be done!

It's far to easy to root what 
would be headed for the compost.

 Pineapple top rooted!
Place the top in glass of water for two weeks. 
I changed the water when it looked cloudy.
This baby's ready for a pot!

 Green Onions!  
I cut the ends off and used the tops.
I stuck the root ends into a pot with some other stuff
and within three days the tops were breaking thru the soil!

Yep!  I cut the bottom off to clean the stalks.
I thought ... hmmmm.  Why not?
Stuck it in the pot and in less than a week they broke ground!
This is just over two weeks old!
There are two more in there that look like this!

I'm doing the same with my organic new potatoes 
that sprouted on the counter!

I also read you can do this with Ginger!
You know how expensive Ginger is!
Well, you know .... if you juice!

Happy Gardening!!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Good Sunday Morning Y'all!!
Spending the day in the garden with the Man!
Getting lots done after two days of rain last week!
Truly, truly Blessed!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Tribute to Uncle Bubba!

If you're walkin' down the street
with a canoe on your back
and the back two wheels fell off,
how many pancakes would it take
to cover a dog house?
'cause ice-cream don't have bones.
Walk to school or carry your lunch?
What color's an orange tree?
True or False?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Rehydrating a Menu!

My Baked Ziti Challenge!


Pasta and Water


My hubs walked in and said "Something smells good" 
and went straight for the kitchen.  He took a big bite 
followed by the eyes roll back in your head and a 
deep 'oh my' moan!!  I told him I thought it needed 
a little more salt.  He responded "all it needs is a 
sprinkle of Parmesan on my plate"!!  Success!

Then I told him everything in it was dehydrated.  
He was amazed and suggested I try doing 
this with our stroganoff recipe!  I love a challenge!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The list never ends!

Go here!
Go there!
Do this!
Do that!

This is what kind of day it has been so far!
Not unlike yesterday when a friend and I 
went on a wild ride to Wilmer looking 
for a nursery that no longer exists!  
But, my big find was 6' tomato stakes!  
Woo Hoo! (it's the little things!)

The highlight (so far today) has been meeting 
an old friend for lunch at Rock 'n Roll Sushi!
And I saw my sister, Tammy!  Togetherness!

Heading to the studio for an hour or so
and then out to the garden!  I'm gonna try 
my hand at vertical gardening along the fence 
where we cleared out the monster shrubs.
Always good to learn something new!

I think I just discovered that the birds 
aren't eating my strawberries!  Bo is!

Monday, March 19, 2012


Spent St. Patty's Weekend 
with a lot of green . . .
in the Garden, that is!

We spent the weekend outside in the garden.
Did a little planting (apple trees, lavender, agapanthus, bluebells and coreopsis and tomatoes).  
A little shrub trimming and removing. A little tree trimming.  
Dismantled part of an old wooden swing frame.  Saved the monkey bars for my blackberries!  
The old Lady Banks had to come down ... it was dieing. : (

Strawberries!  I popped that red one in my mouth!  Yum!

"Margarita Garden"
as in Margarita Pizza!
Romas and Basil!

Might get a couple more harvests from the collards.
They seem to have slowed down a bit.
We've been getting collards from this little patch for nearly six months!

Our back porch salad box!
We get two or three salads a week off these three boxes!
Last night I snipped enough to chop for tacos!

My Mint Tower!
Must keep mint contained or it would take over!

Top to bottom:

Chocolate Mint

Apple Mint
Orange Citrus Mint

Sweet Mint
and one just labeled "mint"


On the list for this week:

Plant the blackberries and raspberries
Prepare ground and plant squash, zucchini and eggplant.
Stake ALL the tomatoes.
Prepare pots for potato plants.
Research Vertical Gardening!

Also, balance the checkbook and other paperwork,
get some studio work done
and get started digging thru my garage.
No telling what I'll find out there!

Have a beautiful week, y'all!
Keller enjoyed a sprinkle donut!
Or, I should say she enjoyed the sprinkles!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Morning After ...

Morning After (St. Patty's Day) Breakfast!!

We all sat down with a plate after it came out of the oven!  
Missed the photo op!


Sauteed diced onions and bell peppers!
Added a quart of new potatoes ("canned" last fall)!
Tossed in leftover corned beef from last night's dinner!
Cracked our Julia Street Farm eggs over the top!
Baked til the whites were set!

Small Child called dibs on what's left of 
the corned beef for a Reuben later today.  
I should have hidden it in the deep, 
dark recesses of the fridge!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Far more connects than separates us.

So many of us believe we are alone
in our shortcomings and fears and 
challenges and questions and hopes 
and dreams that we must keep 
ourselves undercover, lest we be 
seen for the imperfect people we are.  
But nothing could be further from 
the truth.  There is far more that 
connects us than separates us.  
We are all struggling.  
We are all on difficult, 
sometimes tortuous,  journeys 
that are really meant - designed, 
in fact, by God - to lead us to 
the best in ourselves.

Keith Ablow, M.D.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Making Stock!

Another great tip!!

Do you make your own stock?
Veggie Stock?  Beef Stock?  Chicken Stock?

They are all super easy to do ... only a few tried and true rules!

Karma Free Cooking photo

I've always tossed leftovers into a freezer container .... saved for that first soup of the season!  I've always tossed veggie peels, bits and pieces into the compost.  But wait!  Instead of using fresh veggies to make stock (and then discarding?  not in this house!), toss those peelings, nubs and wilted carrots into the freezer til you have a gallon bag full.  I also toss my veggie pulp from my juicer into the bag!  Make a few quarts of vegetable stock (can or freeze), and THEN toss the remains in the compost.  Waste not!  Want not!  You know it's healthier than store bought stock!    Pssssst!  You can even use your crock pot to do this!!

Read more at The Garden of Eating!  Great article on this subject!  Oh so easy!  Next time you clean out the produce drawer in the fridge, ask yourself if you can use the item in stock instead of tossing it!  Recycling at it's best!

There's another post over at Poor Girl Eats Well about making veggie stock!  And another at Hillbilly Housewife!  And still another at Karma Free Cooking!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Garden Tips!

Check it out!
Good ideas and tips!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Honest Politicians do still exist!

Senator Ben Brooks
for Circuit Judge

Alabama Republican Presidential Primary

A vote against Obama is a vote for our future
and that of our children and grandchildren!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Garden Update!

What a dreary rainy day.

We accomplished so much in the garden yesterday!
My hubs has one more raised bed to build ... 
following deconstruction of a small deck.
It will be prepared for growing herbs and greens!

I'm committed to spending lots of time 
in my art studio this week.
Maybe I'll include watercolors of these pics!
Last of the Fall/Winter harvest!
Except for the collard greens.  
They are still producing!

Swiss Chard

Purple Cabbage


Still growing:
We have little strawberries everywhere!
Onions and Garlic are just beginning to change 
from green to a light beige on the tips.
Kale has doubled in size.
Collards are still producing (we've been 
harvesting weekly for nearly five months!)
Mints (5 varieties), chives, parsley and 
cilantro still growing since last spring!
Mixed lettuces  - We've been eating from our 
back porch salad mix since last spring!  
      Every few weeks I just sow more seed in to the mix!

Yesterday, the following went in the garden:
Roma Tomatoes
Bell Peppers (Red, Yellow, Green)
Sweet Banana Peppers
(more) Swiss Chard
(more) Strawberries
Cherry Tomatoes
Lemon Tomatoes
Roma Grape Tomatoes

Still waiting to be planted:
Misc herbs
Talladega Tomatoes
Squash and Zucchini
Heirloom Tomatoes
Potatoes (fingerling, red and sweet)

Still looking for:
Yummy Bells
Yellow Pear Tomatoes

Hope to throw in:

Blooms on:

New growth on:

Anxious to see growth on rooted 
'store bought' organic cut-offs!
Green Onions

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Soil & Sour Dough Under My Nails!

Hey Guys!

Sorry I was AWOL yesterday.   We attended a funeral in the middle of the day and spent the rest of the afternoon and evening with the family.  A beautiful tribute at Little Flower for Mrs. Norma!  Her sweet smile and nature will surely be missed by many.

Today my dh is building me two new raised beds and mixing soil for the garden!  (Pics tomorrow)

I've been in and out between baking bread and pulling weeds and bossing him around!  {grin}

The dough almost tripled in size while I was outside!

One for us!  The others for three different neighbors on the creek!
The neighbors on the this side of the creek will get the next round!

Yes, I immediately cut the heel off and devoured it!

Friday, March 9, 2012

What's Your Value?

      We should not allow our jobs to establish our standards of 
worth, purpose and value. Your work shouldn't define your 
sense of identity.

      Resolve to reorient your priorities and regain a balanced
perspective of faith, family and, last, work.

      Consider this when measuring success:

If tomorrow the job, or your business is gone, does 
your family still stand behind you? 
Does your faith withstand the trial?
Are you still thanking God for his blessings upon your life?

If so, consider yourself a success.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

When Life Gives you Lemons ......

Dehydrate them!

I picked up two overstuffed gallon size zip bags of lemons 
from Jimmy Lowes last week! I had no idea what I'd do with 
them. But for $1.99 I couldn't pass them up!
So when the hubs asked if I was gonna do any canning 
or preserving this week, I said "no" and then quickly 
backtracked with "depends on what I do with the lemons."

I had time restraints because of the Pantry Project
so I sliced them and put them on the dehydrator!

It took between 36 and 48+ hours to dehydrate all the 
slices @ 115 degrees.  I didn't want them to harden off 
(drying on the outside and remaining moist on the inside, 
so it was a low and slow process ... not unlike loading 
the crockpot and walking away). The finished product 
will barely fill a half gallon jar and will last indefinitely after 
vacuum sealing. But they won't last that long around here!!

What will I do with them?
What can't you do with them?!!

Well, you can't roll and juice them, but
you couldn't roll and juice lemon slices anyway!

Toss a couple into a glass of cold water!
Make lemonade!
Ever tried lemon/mint water?  Refreshing!


Rehydrate and lay over fish while baking.
Use them just like you would fresh.
All you have to do is rehydrate them
by covering what you need with water.

Or, how about ...

lemon powder? lemon sugar? lemon scented potpourri, even!
Before I begin sounding like a Forrest Gump knock-off, I'll stop!

Check out this website for more ways to use dehydrated citrus!

I could have zested them before slicing 
but I did that with the last batch 
and then canned the lemon juice! Yes, I did!

Oh!  And the leftover ends which still had
plenty of pulp went into the freezer 
for thawing and squeezing over ... whatever!

I hate to waste anything!!

I'm gonna scoot and use the last lemon
in a citrus combo juice!  Gotta get my juice on!

Pucker up!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Pantry Project 101

Making Progress!

This week's project is to finish the pantry arrangement. If you've been keeping up you already know that the results of my new found canning skills overtook the heavy duty pantry shelves resulting in relocating most of the existing pantry, ie. spices, mixes, condiments, baking essentials (Think: Clutter) to shelving in my studio.  We are in the process of remedying that problem.  To sum it up we're swapping places.  All of the canning will go on the new shelving in the studio (600# limit per shelf) and the other items will return to the pantry WITH DOORS ON IT. 

It was a relatively easy task to assemble.  There were a few pinched hands and sparks!  But we laughed our way through it!  I mean ... some assembly required makes for some tense moments .. especially with a wife that is a bit anal about wasted space.  : )  

This is how we left it last night!  Ready and waiting!
Behind that camera lense is my studio
ready and waiting to be rescued and utilized!

Foot pain resulted in a slow-go this morning.  I'm determined to do this.  As I moved back and forth between shelves I stayed on track with something my Great Aunt Petie used to say.  "Gramma's slow, but she's sure."  I began unloading the pantry and loading the new shelving with the things I've canned the last four months.  Subtract the down time when I broke my foot and it was actually a span of two months.  No wonder I had a stress fracture that became a full blown break!  Speaking of the foot.  It's much better as far as the break is concerned.  That healed well.  The other issue is still being monitored but looks to be healing.  The burning nerve pain is here to stay.  It comes and goes ... more often present than not.  I'm pacing myself this morning because there's a lot to do.  But, hey!  I did say this was a week-long project!  I still have four days to finish this.  

I'm already loving the new look!  The canning jars are so pretty to look at!  Inspiring!  Only one problem.  The shelves are filling up fast!  And this is only the winter canning.  OMG!  Gardening season is just beginning.  Harvest and canning isn't far behind.  I think all will be ok.  There will be plenty of space since we're eating the stuff too!  Now that things are out where I can see them, I'm inspired to make a pie with the apple pie filling!  Or maybe some soup with those dehydrated veggies!  ♥  Or maybe .... just maybe I'll be inspired to paint since I have a view like this instead of all the cluttered pantry items that were there!  

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Kidz Klozet

Spring/Summer 2012
Consignment Sale

Children's sizes newborn to junior and Maternity.
Toys!  Shoes!  Book!   Highchairs!   Beds!   Etc.!!!!

3679 Airport Boulevard
Mobile, Alabama  36608

March 6-10
10 AM - 6 PM ('til 7pm on Tues)

photo courtesy of Kidz Klozet

New Clothing Sale 
Thurs- Sat.
March 22-24
9am - 5 pm

For more information visit the Kidz Klozet Facebook Page!
Friend them here !

Visit the Website!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Recap of the weekend ...

Hey Y'all!

We had a great weekend with our Granbaby girl, Keller!
Four days total to entertain a two and a half year old!
For the most part she entertained us 
with her comments and expressions!
What an exhausting bit of joy she is!!

We paid a visit to Julia Street Farm in midtown.
After gathering our eggs and salad greens, 
we visited the chickens at the rear of the property.
Keller was fascinated when she saw them
and their brown, blue, green and white eggs!  
I commented on all the different colors 
and she looked up at me and whispered 
"taste the rainbow" (ie. Skittles commercial)!

We received a package from friends in France.
Keller insisted we open it right away! 
(I was hoping her sweet little face would
distract y'all from the clutter on the kitchen counter)! 
Oh the treasures!!!  Thanks Caro and Kathy!

We made a trip to the garden center!
Keller selected the flowers and colors:  
pink, purple, red, orange and white! 
After the rain ended she brought her 
garden gloves to me and suggested
 it was time to plant the flowers!  
A pleasant burst of spring at the back door!

 This is what I'm facing today!  
This conglomeration of art biz paperwork has 
cluttered my dining room table 
since the beginning of February.  Don't ya think it's time?  
It is my goal by the end of the day.  
It's gonna be an off-the-foot kinda day 
anyway after the weekend!

And this happened over the weekend!  
The zippered bag that holds my formals collapsed.
I think it's time to minimize!  

So goes my life!
Full of joy!

Evening Update:
Dining Room Table!
The albatross has flown the coop!


Friday, March 2, 2012

Hey Y'all!!
I'm gonna be a blog post slacker the next few days!
My granbaby girl is spending the weekend!
Yay me!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

March is here!!!!

Printables at Wild @ Heart !

My personal challenges for the month of March:

Spend the first productive hour of each day in my studio.
Maybe it will lead to a second hour?!!
Hoping to get my artistic groove back!
Get a grip on paper trails.
Go thru every file cabinet drawer and pile of paper.
Toss.  Organize.  Minimize.  
(yeah! I was supposed to do this last month).
Get my garden and containers planted!
Some started from seed, some transplants.
Lots to do out there!!
Re-vamp that part of my studio the pantry took over!
Assemble new shelving for canning projects and spices.
Hope to be inspired towards some creative cooking!

What would you like to see more of?
Recipes/Cooking?   Food Preservation?  Tips and Shortcuts?
Gardening?   Artsy/Crafty?   Inspirational?   Blog Shares?

What's on your calendar for the month of March?

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