Thursday, March 29, 2012


Back in a February post I shared with all of you my newfound fun with Pinterest.  I continue to enjoy "pinning", but also wanted to really try to put to good use some of things that I have discovered there.  I decided I needed to create a board for the things that I actually accomplished.  In trying to determine a clever name for my new board, my daughter came up with "Pin-complishments".  She is so creative, and I know I could never have come up with a name like that in a million years.  I only have a few items on it so far, but it will be nice keeping track of them in one little spot.  One of the first things I had to put into use was the storing of the cupcake liners in a glass spaghetti jar.  It was just too cute of an idea, and since I just happened to have a glass spaghetti jar on hand not being put to any particular use, it now sits proudly on display with all of our little cupcake liners just waiting to be used.  And as an added bonus, I think we will just have to have cupcakes more often now that they seem so accessible.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

New Friends

One of the things I enjoy about having a blog is meeting new "friends".  Even though they are friends I have never met face-to-face; over time, it just seems like I have gotten to know them.  Some of my blog friends I have met up with over on Pinterest as well as Facebook.  Some of them I simply know from visiting their blogs and seeing what they are up to.  A few of them I have known since the first day I started writing this blog.  I've learned about their families, pets, hobbies, happy times, sad times, accomplishments, how they celebrate holidays, what they like to read, and the list goes on and on.  All things that you gradually learn over time about your friends that you know face-to-face.  I even find myself talking about my blog friends to other people; but I always have to clarify by saying something like "you know, the one with such and such blog".  It's rather amazing how the internet has connected so many people.  And now with Pinterest, a person can discover so many blogs, that it is really not possible to follow all of them.  However, tonight I came across one that after looking through a lot of her posts, I just know I could be friends with her if we met.  And so I found it a necessity to begin following her blog, and I have even linked her blog to my side bar with other blogs that I enjoy going to.  At this moment she has no idea who I am, but I think she must be very nice, and I look forward to seeing what she has to write about in the future.  The name of her blog is Serendipity Patch.  Maybe some of you have already heard of her; but just in case you haven't, if you like gardening, crocheting, quilting, and sewing, I think you will be quite inspired. 

                                                  Photo from

Monday, March 19, 2012

My Favorite Find

Many of you are already familiar with Serena Thompson (co-founder of The Farm Chicks).  For the past several months, she has been keeping us all very curious about her latest adventure called My Favorite Find.  By just giving us tidbits of information now and then to keep us on the edge of our seats wondering just what this new website was all about, she has kept the suspense very high.  Well, the day has finally come for the official launch of My Favorite Find.  I was privileged to have a sneak peek the past few days, and let me tell you, if you like yard sales, antiquing, estate sales, flea markets, etc., you are going to love Serena's new adventure. 

Recently I had the honor of asking Serena a few questions about her new business and her life in general.  Get to know Serena better and continue reading what she had to tell me.  After that, grab a cup of tea or coffee, set aside some extra time, and head on over to My Favorite Find -- you are going to love it.

1. Where do you get your inspiration and ideas for all of your amazing business ventures?

I don't know. My life just kind of seems like a patchwork quilt and I keep adding pieces. My Favorite Find really just came to be out of a need I was seeing with mail that was coming in from all over the world. Readers wanting to know how to find great shows or shoppes or how to promote what they were doing. Since nothing existed like what they needed, I decided to create it myself. My Favorite Find is that creation and it is sort of like a virtual show-and-tell. You can seek, find, and share great local shoppes and events and then show-and-tell your finds.
2. You seem to have your hand in so many different things, how do you manage juggling all of your projects with being a mom and a wife? Do you set aside a certain amount of time each day for your business time?

It always just works. I am lucky in that my family loves what I do, so they are really supportive. But yes, I try and work after my boys leave for school in the morning and then wrap things up before they get home.
3. Regarding the Farm Chicks Show – how does one go about being a vendor ….. is it by invitation only or do they have to submit a description of their shop and things they are selling for acceptance?

There is an application on my website, , where anyone can apply to be in the show. It's not exclusive in any way (that's just not my style.) Applicants submit pictures, along with a description of what they are selling, so that I can get an idea of their goods and if those goods are the right fit for the show.
4. Are you amazed at how successful your show continues to be each year?

Yes! Every year I'm very overcome with emotion when I watch the show unfold and see the shoppers come out. I've never experienced anything like it.
5. I personally have two of your books … “The Farm Chicks in the Kitchen” and “The Farm Chicks Christmas”. Do you have any new books in the works?

I don't have a new Farm Chicks book right now, but I am working on a book with Jenny Doh, along with a few others, and I will have an entire section in that book. I'm unable to reveal the content of the book right now, but can say it's something I've always wanted to do and it is very "Farm-Chicky!" :)
6. Your latest adventure “My Favorite Find” sounds very intriguing. You have released enough information just to make us all very curious. What has been your favorite part about putting this new project together?

I love that My Favorite Find is going to be a way for other businesses or even someone doing something as small as a yard sale to get the much needed exposure they need to be successful. That makes me really happy.
7. You have publicly stated that you are always happy to offer encouragement and advice to those starting a new business --- what is the primary piece of advice that you find yourself giving over and over again.

Stay true to your own vision. Don't get sidetracked with what you see someone else doing or someone else being successful with. Your business needs to be about what you love and are passionate about. And don't give up. Business is hard and you have to be willing to put in the time to reap the rewards.
8. Of all of the vintage treasures that you have collected over the years, which piece means the most to you and why?

I have a couple of pieces of jewelry that belonged to my grandmothers. I used to have a set of one grandma's mixing bowls and one grandma's cookbook, but they were all lost when our home burned down when I was in high school. Both of my grandmothers died before I was born, so their jewelry is special to me.
9. You are certainly a busy lady, but whenever you find yourself needling a little break, do you have a particular hobby that you turn to to help you just slow things down a bit and get everything back into perspective?

Exercise is my friend. It's what I turn to, to keep my brain healthy and happy.
10. And last, but certainly not least, what is your favorite dessert?

Do I have to choose just one? Mostly it's cheesecake but sometimes chocolate cake with vanilla cream frosting.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy St. Patrick's Day

This special little day is here once again.  I realize that not everyone views it as special as I do, but to me it is a reminder of my Irish heritage that my dad was so very proud of.  He loved St. Patrick's Day, and raised us up to love it as well.  So today I am wearing my green shamrock pin, cooking a corned beef, and raising my glass to my dad.  Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Homemade Granola

This morning for breakfast I am going to have granola.  Not the expensive store bought kind, but fresh homemade granola.  My daughter gave me the recipe to try, and oh my, I must say that at least for me it is a bit addictive.  I honestly think I could sit down and eat the whole batch if left on my own.

The recipe comes from the April 2012 issue of Cooks Illustrated.  In the article the whole process of making the granola is discussed in great detail as to all of the steps that were gone through to come up with the perfect ingredients.  They recommend not using quick oats, the results will not be very good.  I happened to have some nuts in my freezer that needed using up, so I just used a combination of almonds, pecans, and walnuts.  This mixes up so fast and easily that I'm not sure I will ever buy granola again.

Almond Granola with Dried Fruit
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
4 tsp. vanilla extract
½ tsp. salt
½ cup vegetable oil
5 cups old fashioned rolled oats
2 cups raw almonds, chopped coarse
2 cups raisins or other dried fruit, chopped

Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees.  Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Whisk maple syrup, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt in large bowl.  Whisk in oil.  Fold in oats and almonds until thoroughly coated.

Transfer oat mixture to prepared baking sheet and spread across sheet into thin, even layer (about 3/8 inch thick).  Using stiff metal spatula (I actually used a potato masher), compress oat mixture until very compact.  Bake until lightly browned, 40 to 45 minutes, rotating pan once halfway through baking.  Remove granola from oven and cool on wire rack to room temperature, about 1 hour.  Break cooled granola into pieces of desired size.  Stir in dried fruit. 
Granola can be stored in airtight container for up to 2 weeks

Friday, March 9, 2012

A Thoughtful Gift

Just a couple of hours ago, I said goodbye to two of my daughters who are actually going on a wonderful vacation.  I have been very excited for them to take this trip, but nonetheless, when it comes right down to the moment of saying goodbye, it's hard to do.  Last year I experienced it when I said goodbye to another daughter when she went on a trip.  In order to make the time apart not seem so long, I had written her a note for every day of her trip and included some gifts for some of the days.  So I decided to do the same for these daughters.  Right before I passed them a little package tied up with ribbon with all of their notes inside, they presented me with a little box with this label on the top:

When I opened it up, it was filled with colorful envelopes and packages, one for each day that they will be gone.  I just love this tradition we have started.  It makes being apart much easier.