Sunday, May 31, 2009

Summer Vacation

Our home school year has come to a close, and tomorrow is our first official day of summer vacation. Now I'm typically not one that does well with change. I pretty much like everything to be the same, except when it comes to a change such as this. I can hardly wait for the sun to rise tomorrow, when I can face the day with an entirely different agenda in mind than has been for the past nine months. Gardening, sunshine, picnics, boating ....... hallelujah!!!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Apple Blossoms

Apple blossoms are so beautiful, smell so sweet, and don't last very long. I'm not certain if it was because we had such a hard winter, but the apple trees have had the most gorgeous blooms this year. We were very fortunate to have taken a picture or two before they mysteriously disappeared overnight. Here is a picture of our neighbor's tree:

And here is a picture of our tree that is the result of my son planting apple seeds after he had eaten an apple one day.

Last year we were so surprised to see a few apples growing on it. From the looks of all of the blossoms, this year we can look forward to quite a few apples.

Here is a close up of one of the blossoms. Can't you just imagine how sweet it smells from this picture that my daughter took?

And of course another neighbor's honey bees are especially enjoying this spring treat.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Warm and Sunny

My little funny chickens have been very busy recently, and have now found the way to their very own Etsy shop entitled "Warm and Sunny". As you can see from this photo, they are very excited about this new adventure.

Several of the hens have even been sitting on their eggs looking forward to the little chicks that will be hatching soon.

So if you happen to be in the Etsy neighborhood, please stop by for a visit and say hi.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Mt. Vernon Tulips

Five years ago, our family loaded up our trailer and started out on a two month vacation across the country. We visited so many wonderful places, and have great memories of the entire trip. One of our stops was Mt. Vernon. We were there in early May, and the gardeners were very busy. I noticed one of the ladies digging up tulip bulbs. I inquired as to what she was doing, and she told me that she was digging up the tulip bulbs because they didn't seem to do well a second year after going through a winter. I asked her if I could have some of the bulbs, and she told me to go ahead and take as many as I wanted. Since I didn't have much space in the trailer, I only took a few. The bulbs travelled with us the rest of our journey, and when I got home I popped them in the ground. They seem to like north Idaho just fine because each year they very cheerfully pop out of the ground to greet me and remind me that I now have a piece of Mt. Vernon right here in Idaho.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Asparagus Fern

A simple statement about myself would be that I love plants. They can be indoor plants or outdoor plants, but when it comes down to it, I just love plants. When I happen to wander by the plant department at a home improvement store, more often than not, I bring one home. Not long ago I just had to pick up this asparagus fern. I really like the unique leaves that it has. This particular plant has now found its home in a bright red pot that sits in the middle of my kitchen table.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Scrap Bag

On a recent shopping trip to my local quilt shop, I spotted small brown bags for sale here and there labeled as "scrap bags". I was feeling adventurous, and considering they were only $4.00, I decided to pick one up.

And to my delight, look at the treasures that were inside:

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Lovely Blogs

Yesterday I received notice from Marilyn that she has given me an award. That was very kind of her -- thank you, Marilyn. Since I am fairly new to the blogging world, and not entirely familiar with all of the proper protocol that goes along with it, I will do my best here. This is my first such award, and apparently there are "rules" that come along with it. With this particular award, the rules are:

To the recipients of this award, here is what you do: Please pass this Bella Award on to 15 people who have blogs that are new to you and you think are lovely. If you don't know 15 new blogs, it's O.K. to choose a blog that you really love! Also, this award is yours to take and post on your blog side bar if you would like, just put the name of the person giving it to you beneath. Enjoy and congratulations!

I don't know of 15 "new" lovely blogs, so after thinking on it a bit, I am going to pass this award on to three blogs that I read that fall under the category of being "lovely" blogs.

1. Sheila of Alice and the Mock Turtle posts wonderful recipes, cooking tips, and decorating ideas. Her pictures are amazing.

2. Jennie and Julie at Tending our Gardens. The whole purpose of their blog is finding beauty in their every day lives.

3. Knot Garden is the place to go if you want to be inspired by beautiful handwork. She is quite talented, and her photography is also amazing.

So here is your award ladies -- thank you for blessing me with all of your talents.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

They're Back

Each year around Mother's Day, the hummingbirds make their first appearance in our neck of the woods. Their short little visit with us is typically from May to August; and throughout the summer we enjoy watching them so much. They are quite entertaining. I do make up my own hummingbird food for them; but as of this morning, I hadn't gotten any mixed up quite yet. I was looking out my sliding glass door when a little hummingbird came right up to the glass and paused just long enough as if he was saying, "we're back .... and where's our food?" So I immediately reached for the sugar and water and mixed some food up for the cute little birds. It is cooling on the stove at this moment, and in short order I will fill up their little feeders to welcome them back to their summer home.

Just in case some of you don't make up your own hummingbird food, here is the recipe I use. It is different than the typical 4:1 ratio of water and sugar; but my brother, Pat, came up with this recipe, and they really love it more than the other.

Hummingbird Food
1 cup sugar
3 cups water
Bring to a boil in a small pan and allow to boil for two minutes. Remove from heat and let cool completely before filling the hummingbird feeders.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Joyful Adventures

I went on a very joyful adventure this past Saturday. I was able to attend the "Sisters' Sale" that the Farm Chicks had posted about. Actually my sister, Kass, is a good friend of "the sisters" so I had already heard about the sale last year after the fact. Kass promised to let me know when it would be happening this year so we could go together. And together we went, along with my mom and one of my daughters. I think we spent nearly two hours browsing through vintage linens, dishes, jewelry, scarves, books, buttons, etc. I came home with many treasures - most of which I have exciting plans for. As I refurbish, embellish, and refinish my new treasures, I will be sure and share them here. However, my very first treasure I want to share is this little book. I bought it solely on the basis of its name. After all, who wouldn't want a book by this title.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day ..... and the winner is .....

First of all, a very happy Mother's Day to all of you mothers out there!! I sincerely hope that all of you reading this blog will enjoy a very blessed day with your families.

Before I post the results of my Mayday Giveaway, I just want to thank all of you for taking the time to stop by and leaving your comments. This was a fun adventure indeed. I enjoyed seeing new names pop up in my comments, and welcome all of the new ladies who came via The Farm Chicks. Also, many of you asked if my little chickens are for sale. Well, yes they are. I am in the process of opening up my very own Etsy shop; but in the meantime, if anyone would like to purchase one, you can just contact me via e-mail.

Now on to the fun part. I have called upon a trustworthy random number generator (, and it has supplied me with the number "15". Rebecca left the following comment:

What a fun giveaway! I came from The Farm Chicks Blog. JEALOUS you got to meet them in person! :-)

Rebecca, if you will please e-mail me (see my profile) with your address, I will get your goodies off to you in the mail.

Thanks again to all who entered.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Apple Pie #4

For those of you new to my blog, periodically I have posted various apple pie recipes (well 3 to be exact). This post brings me to the 4th. I am sort of on a quest to find the absolutely perfect apple pie recipe - if there really is such a thing. For the most part, it has just been fun to try out various twists on one of America's favorite pies.

I especially liked the maple syrup in this recipe. I don't often cook with maple syrup because in northern Idaho it is expensive; however, this was the perfect recipe to indulge in such a sweet treat.

Vermont Apple Pie
Your favorite pastry recipe for a two crust pie
9 cups peeled, sliced, tart apples
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 450 deg. Combine apples and lemon juice in a large bowl. Stir in the syrup. Add the brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon, tossing to coat. Place pastry into a 10 inch pie plate, leaving a 1-inch overhang. Spoon apple mixture into pastry shell. Place remaining pastry on top of filling. Trim and flute edge of pastry. Cut vents in the top crust.

Bake the pie for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375 deg. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes more or until apples are tender and filling is bubbly. (If pastry browns too quickly, cover top loosely with foil.) Cool pie completely on wire rack or serve warm.

(Yes, those are candles in the pie -- it was a birthday pie)

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Schoolwork and Sunshine

When I was a little girl in school during the month of May, I can remember sitting at my desk staring out of the classroom window wishing that I could be outside in the sunshine. The school days seemed so long. Since I have been a homeschooling mom, whenever the sun is shining warm enough, we take our books outside. That is if the kids want to. On other days, when the sun is shining, but it just isn't quite warm enough to be out sitting on a blanket on the lawn, one of my daughters came up with a little game to make the lessons (mainly math) go by quickly while still getting to enjoy the fresh air. This is how it works: 5 math problems have to be finished. At that point I give her an "assignment". Usually the assignments are something like this -- run outside, skip from the front lawn to the back lawn, when you get to the back lawn do 5 cartwheels, turn around 3 times, and then skip back to the house. When she gets back to the house, she sits down to do 5 more math problems. At that point she gets another "assignment". This time it might be 3 handstands in the back yard, slide down the slide 5 times, swing back and forth on the swing 6 times, and skip backwards on your way back to the house. My daughter loves doing this. She finishes her math in record time because she is so anxious to find out what her next task will be. It also gives her a chance to be outside and get some fresh air, and most importantly a chance to enjoy the sunshine.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

A New Teapot

My daughters know me very well. They know I like the color red, and they know I just love teapots. So recently they came across this gem, and bought it for me. My day couldn't start out any more cheerful than after pouring a cup of tea from this beautiful teapot.

Friday, May 1, 2009

A May Day Giveaway

Happy May Day! When I was a little girl, on May 1st I would always love to pick a bouquet of flowers, put them in a little basket or container of some kind, take them to my mom and/or a neighbor, knock on the door and run and hide to watch them discover their little surprise. It was always so much fun. Over the years I have also been the recipient of similar May Day baskets. It is such a happy and simple tradition.

In honor of May Day, I would like to host a May Day giveaway. This is my first giveaway, and I hope it proves to be a fun little adventure. First things first, this is what is included:

*A box of Tazo Awake tea -- currently one of my favorites.

*A package of Ghirardelli chocolate candies -- again, one of my favorites

*A red and white crocheted dishcloth -- to bring a bright spot to your kitchen while you are washing your dishes.

*A machine embroidered dish towel that I made out of toweling purchased by the yard -- another bright spot for your kitchen

*And one of my funny chicken pincushions -- Besides using these as a pincushion, I like to just have a couple sitting around my kitchen.

In order to win this fun little May Day gift, please just leave a comment. On Mother's Day (May 10th), I will use a random number generator and choose a winner.