Monday, October 31, 2011

Spooktacular Muffin Monday

Happy Muffin Monday! Enjoy this spoooooky black and white picture of the Mistresses of Darkness herself. This is about as much as she celebrates this holiday (Halloween isn't her thing).  But we both hope your Halloween is spoooktacular!

Happy first week of November, too!  Can you believe the Month of the Turkey is already here?! Gooble!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Cold Weather is Coming...

Here it is, the end of October, and our days here have been hoovering close to 80 degrees. We are all wanting cooler weather (not cold, mind you, just cooler) because it just doesn't feel like autumn with sweat on our brows. 

I have been so desperate for the autumn feeling, I subjected Gary to a hot steaming pot of veggie beef soup this week.  Holy cow, I was hot from head to toe by the time this stuff finished cooking, plus the cornbread (because let's get real, you can't have veggie beef soup without cornbread or grilled cheese sandwiches).  I will have to admit, for not having a clue what I was doing, it was yummy in my tummy. 

I packed up the leftovers for my parents and my sister & brother-in-law who was sick as a dog with a cold.  So yes, it was 80 degrees outside, but all of us were eating cold-weather-veggie-soup.

This weekend, however, rumor has it we are doing to get chilly. Tomorrow, a high of 58 with rain? Think I better stop by the store and pick up some more fixings for another round of soup!  And maybe add a blanket and turn on the heat instead of running the AC. Just in time for November, we'll get some seasonal weather. :)

On another note, with the cooler weather at night we have seen fantastic starry nights out here in the country. (Our days are hot, but the nights are just cool enough to be perfect.)  The night of the meteor shower, I headed outside to wish on falling stars shooting across the sky. It was beautiful. Awe inspiring. Lovely. The next night (soup night!) Gary and I headed back out to a crystal clear midnight blue blanket with millions of glittering diamonds, only to see two more shooting stars! So wonderful.

Which leads me into another subject: romance.  Like my friend said about me this week:  I don't need expensive jewelry, exotic flowers or anything else that lightens your pockets to make me feel special.  The romance in a field of wildflowers or a starlit night is more beautiful than anything money can buy. So fellas, remember that.  Give your woman some romance and make her feel like you've given her the world. :)

Have a great weekend, my friends, and bundle up!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Pumpkin Goodness in the Form of BREAD.

Have I mentioned I LOVE AUTUMN?! Love it. Love the smells, the crisp air that breathes life back into my lungs and the colors - holy cow the awesome and amazing colors. Brilliant colors of orange and yellow and red, dark browns that make it all seem vibrant. *sigh* I need to go jump into a pile of leaves.

But, since there are no pile of leaves around here, I settled for baking yummy pumpkin bread this weekend! I'm not an expert cook by any means and my attention span rarely allows me to follow recipes correctly. I freak out and want to follow it to the letter, but end up getting distracted and sometimes spill more of this or that into the batter. So Bethie like.

I wanted to make my house smell like autumn, so PUMPKIN BREAD it is! I didn't have two loaf pans in the Caphlon (oops) so I used an anique depression glass one for the second loaf. I think it worked out just fine and thanks to the handy dandy Baker's Joy floured spray, they both popped out with no problems.

I just so happened to have some left over cream cheese icing from another baking project and I'm sorry, but I just cannot possibly toss the leftovers from THAT out the door. So I just added a bit to a big thick slice of pumpkin bread and YUM YUM GOOD. 

Am I a freak for lovin' the way the cracked open tops look? I think it just seems like the goodness could no longer be contained and it just exploded right open into yummy bread goodness!  And I still love my plates, more than a year later. Every time I use them it makes me happy. :)

*sigh* I just might have to saw me off a slice and chow down righ this moment... Yuuummm.....

Monday, October 24, 2011

Muffin Monday

Muffin has the right idea: find a comfortable position and go back to sleep!

Ya'll have a great Monday and a spooktacular Halloween this week! (Wrapping up October, can you believe it?)

Friday, October 21, 2011

Fru Fru Pumpkins = Autumnal Goodness.

Welcome to Autumnal Goodness. This is the easiest and most fun project that makes a big wow ...Fru Fru Pumpkins!  Everything you see here, minus the pumpkin, came from the dollar store, so this project is great on the budget, too.  What do you need? Depends on your nature. 

I suggest any of the following:
          Fake leaves in various colors and shapes
          Lots of straight pins
          Sequins if you are oh-la-la
          Picks, meaning little sprigs of autumnal stuff, berries, leaves, sticks, etc
          Curling ribbon

What to do now. You have a pumpkin (the one in the top picture came from Wal-Mart and was definitely NOT perfect, but who cares? I was covering it up anyway!)  Then decide if you want the ribbon to go all the way around (see the pic above) or only partial hanging down the sides, whatever! Or do you even want ribbon?  Anyway, use the straight pins to fix the ribbon at the top of the pumpkin and either on the bottom or on the side - wherever your ribbon stops.

The fake leaves can be added, not added, massive or sparse - it's all your taste. The first picture, I went crazy with leaves.  The one just above and below - not so much.  The top picture is from this year and is sitting in my office.  These two (above/below) are from my sister's rehearsal dinner at her wedding. More elegant and less tacky. :) 

Mom added sprigs of sticks, berry picks, etc to give some height around the stem.  Or sometimes a little bow.  Everyone loved the pumpkin centerpieces and they were really inexpensive.  We had a great time decorating them and gave them away to key people from the wedding.  They loved them.

Just so you can see the overall picture of Katie's rehearsal dinner - it was held outside in a covered picnic area with one wall of stones making a huge fireplace.  The white lights twinkled enough with the fireplace to light up the entire area just perfectly.  Brown plastic table clothes and the pumpkin centerpieces were just awesome! :)

So where did this pumpkin mania begin? At my old job, we were planning a fru fru ladies luncheon with an autumnal theme - WHA-LA! Awesome pumpkin centerpieces!  And, of course, at each table one of the agendas had THE DOT - you know, the special dot that means you are a WINNER! So someone received the centerpiece as a present, which the ladies loved!

Since this was a tad bit fru fru, we needed to bring out the bling with sequins, feathers and rhinestones. Sometimes, you just have to pull out the big guns: the hot glue gun that is.  Straight pins just won't do it with the rhinestones so ladies, grab the gun and glue away! 
Awesome results, no matter how you do it. So run out and buy your pumpkin, then look around your yard and house for the trimmings and have fun! I promise you there will be a WOW factor that tickles you pink. :)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Whirlwind Weeks...

This has been one of those wild whirlwind weeks that keeps your head spinning, that's for sure!  Mon - training on the western part of the state and date night with Gary, Tuesday a 15 hour work day that started at 6 a.m.and didn't end until about 9 p.m., Wednesday training in the center of the state (totally unrelated to Monday's training!) and painting pottery with Ellie after the class... I'm looking forward to a nice relaxing weekend!

When life gets hectic like this, it seems like nothing is in focus, the world is quickly spinning out of my hands and I can't quite grab on to anything to help steady it.  Not that any of the above were bad things, just left me with little time to myself to just process my day... or days. When I took this picture, trying to capture the colors of the fading sunset, I ended up with this and thought it was very appropriate to life!  I have no idea why the lights made those crazy lines, but I liked it. Adds to the crazy atmosphere. 

And the fog in this picture... heaven help I know that feeling, too. Like this weighty mass is hoovering just above my head, obscuring the sunlight and the good and beautiful blessings that are heaped upon me everyday! The dense fog just clouds them over so my eyes can't see them. (But the fog still makes for a pretty picture!)

But never fear, Ellie is here!! :)  Her perky little self can cheer up anything. Here she is after painting pottery, showing off her dirty fingers.  This child does not like having dirty fingers and is not a happy camper until she's clean again.  So cute - we were sitting at dinner and out of the blue she says, "Someone sent me a Hello Kitty card!" and then pointed to me. Sweet? Adorably sweet!

Tomorrow I'll have a cute crafty picture for you - a autumnal fun project that you can easily try at home! :)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Stationery card

Sending Blessings Religious Christmas Card
Browse our collection of Christmas card designs.
View the entire collection of cards.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Late Muffin Monday...

So sorry for the delay in your Muffin happiness! I had an out of town meeting that required an early morning...then a date with my man. :)

Enjoy Muffin's adorableness and have a great week!


Saturday, October 15, 2011

Sister Love.

My date this Friday night - Miss Ellie Bellie - ended up sick.  So no date with Ellie Bellie this week. :(  BIG FROWNY FACE.  So, my sister came over last night and ended up hanging out for quite a while.  Yes, she is my next door neighbor and our driveways adjoin, however, I don't often get a chance to laze about catching up on the lastest chit chat in her world.

Katie and I are close. Probably closer than most sisters because we were housemates for about 10 years. Roomates for probably 14 years before that. 

When she was in college, our parents booted us out of the house because my mom, and I quote, "wanted to see what this empty nest syndrome was all about."  They owned a small house directly in front of their own, which was my great-grandmother's house, that they rented since I can remember.  They fixed it up and moved us into it.  When Katie came home for the weekend, she came home to me instead of her mom & dad (granted, they were right behind us!).

After about five years, Katie bought my grandmother's house (right next door) and we moved into it.  Then, she got married and I got the boot again, back into my great-grandmother's house next door, where I currently live. 

All this togetherness developed into having not only a sister, but the closest friend you can imagine, living with you 24/7.  It was happy that she found a wonderful guy to marry, but sad to move out from my closest friend. So moments here and there like we had last night are precious - love it.

So yes, my date was cancelled, but my sister made for a pretty good fill-in. :)  Happy days!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Don't Fear the Shadows

Another computer wallpaper from Home Made Simple.  I really like the quote:  "Never fear shadows. They simply mean there's a light shining somewhere nearby." Great to remember although sometimes hard to live by, right? 

We all face hardships and sometimes we share them and other times we keep them inside where no one can see them.  Worries, fears, concerns... it can eat us up and cause such tremendous heartache, turn into physical and emotional burdens.  I know it is hard, but please try to keep this in mind when someone is ugly, short, rude, angry, or otherwise just unfriendly.  You never know what battles they are fighting.

I think it's also important to keep our own fears and worries in perspective. Hard to do, of course.  But I sometimes have to do a reality check - how horrible is this in the grand scheme of life? Will it have an impact beyond this moment, beyond this month, beyond this year? Keep the drama in perspective, Bethie, keep the drama in perspective...

Ahhh... waiting for the sunshine, the light to chase away the shadows...

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Hiccups. And other things.

I'm sitting at my computer, an hour after my bedtime, wide awake and jumping every so often with a hiccup. Ugh, I find hiccups so annoying.  Yes, at one point I would say I found them fun and interesting, but no longer. I'm too old to find hiccups a funny twist of life.

Like sneezes. Some people just adore sneezes. Thinks they are so cute sounding or funny feeling in your nose. But me, I don't think so. My sneezes are usually crazy wild and at 66% beyond full speed. When I'm done, I feel like I've been smacked backwards.

But regardless of these two items, I wanted to share how excited I am about my project today!  A co-worker and I went into a local elementary school and the third, fourth and fifth graders used the election machines to determine their student council! It was awesome seeing these students using the same machines as their parents during the Presidential elections (or any local elections).  They were so smart and picked right up on how to work the machines.  It was great. I enjoy so very much going into our elementary and middle schools, seeing their excitement over the row of voting booths and the smiles of accomplishment when they receive their sticker. Just awesome.

Tomorrow, however, I visit our local high school. My alma mater. And high schools - they are intimidating. Because I'm a plain jane gal - no make-up, no fancy clothes, my hair is straight and flat - I just figure they look at me and dismiss me immediately.  I'm actually bribing them to listen to me by tossing candy to those who answer my questions correctly.  Again, it's a great experience to bring students and voting information together, but I'm a nervous wreck! Ya'll be sending some good vibes my way in the morning, ok?

So I learned from a parent volunteer today that in California, people opened their garages for voting.  You applied to be a voting location and just opened up for Election Day. HOW CRAZY IS THAT! I couldn't believe it. Craziness!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Grabbing Opportunities - Autumn.

I read in a book (well, a trash novel) about this lady who knew she was dying. Cancer or something terminal, I don't remember the details.  She was surrounded by the people she loved who were living in her home - husband, 30+-year-old "son"/nephew they had adopted as their son as a child, and 30+-year-old personal assistant to the sick lady.  They all attended mandatory in-home art lessons, tap lessons, etc etc.

Yes, I know, who can have that lifestyle, sick or not? But one thing she required for everyone in the house to participate in happened nightly:  to stop whatever you were doing and enjoy a glass of wine while watching the sunset. 

This weekend, just so happened my man had Saturday night off from work.  And just so happened Saturday was the peak for the beautiful autumn colors in the Blue Ridge Mountains. So instead of going home to sleep and doing those chores we all have hanging over our heads, Gary and I take off for the Blue Ridge Parkway to enjoy overlook after overlook of beautiful leaves. At the end of our evening we had an amazing sunset that made me think:  none of us knows when our last sunset will be, so maybe we should stop and enjoy every one, too.  :) 

Seriously. Look at that photo and then try to convince me this sight doesn't take your breath away.

Hills layered on hills of color after color.  Orange, yellow, red, green and of course, the blue tint of the mountains.

I love the fence included in this picture. The rock that the kids were sitting on in a previous post is just to the right of that last fence post, barely out of sight.

Although I drove most of the day (and I was very proud of myself for driving on the Parkway!) this is one of those times I turned the driving over to him and enjoyed taking a few pictures. 

And one pic of the man who skipped sleep to go on an adventure with me. :)  He was a tired puppy by the end of that day, but I hope he found it worth it. I know I did! God is an amazing artist. :)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Muffin Monday!

Is this the same as sticking your head in the sand... sticking your head under the cover?  Yes yes, I know, it's hard to admit that it's Monday morning again, however, WAKEY WAKEY and enjoy the sunshine!

I hope you have a fabulous week - enjoy the beautiful fall colors before they are gone! (Will be posting beautiful fall colors tomorrow... stay tuned!)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

County Fair.

My man and I decided to try out the local county fair yesterday after work.  The weather was crisp and clear and the people were... hmmm... ok well the people were interesting.  But it was just a good time seeing all the lights and glitter, hearing the crazy music and laughter of others caught up in the moment of a carnival. 

I am most definitely NOT a festival rider - I do not get on these machines that are set up one night here and somewhere else tomorrow.  I get completely freaked out that these devices are spinning at alarming speeds with light bulbs burned out and weird creaking noises coming from the machinery... no sir, not me.  So this is about as close as I'll get to a festival ride.  But the monkey was so dang cute - look at him! He is begging for riders!

This is more my style - a tractor cleverly designed from an old sewing machine! I enjoy the booths from local community organizations as much as anything.  The gardening clubs, Future Farmers of America, the 4-H groups and so on.  The creativity shown is just amazing.  And I love the arts and crafts competition - to see this isn't quite the dying art that I might have thought it was before seeing their submissions!  Quilting, needlepoint, canned goods, photography, art, pottery and fun crafts like this one.

A NC State Trooper police car - and 1947 something or other.  Isn't that just cool? Now, on to the petting zoo... oh my. The petting zoo portion of this festival...

I usually don't like captive animals. My heart just aches for them seeing them all contained in these small areas and they were just begging for food and attention. AWWW! I wanted to open all the cages and set them all free.  But, I didn't.  This little feller, the llama (I think) made fast friends with Gary.  I mean, he followed Gary around everywhere. Too funny. Or maybe that was the Alpaca? Whatever. We found us several adorably cute friends there that we wanted to bring home. :)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Muffin Monday - GUEST

Yes, I totally realize this is a DOG.  A dust mop, really, with buggy eyes and a little heart wet nose. But she's so buggy she's cute - Shelby, my sister's dog.  Shelby is the happiest and goofiest dog I've ever met... and the snottiest dog, but that's another story.  She's just a little thing, but she's full of energy and joy.

She's our guest here on Muffin Monday.  I'm giving Muffin a break from the camera as she really hates it. And I'm being nice to her since I was gone part of the weekend/week. :) 

Ya'll have a GREAT first week of October - enjoy the autumn colors and weather. :)
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