"I do not claim that I can tell a story as it ought to be told. I only claim to know how a story ought to be told." -Mark Twain


Cinco de Mayo Tablescape

 I am in the process of moving, so for the next two weeks I will be doing a rerun of previous tablescapes. Just wait till I am in my new dining room!! In the meantime, enjoy Cinco de Mayo.
I thought I would get a head start on Cinco de Mayo this week.  I already had all dishes and props except for the top plates.  I was at Pier 1 a couple of months ago, saw these plates and decided right then to do Cinco de Mayo. I knew they would match things I had. They also come in a larger plate and a bowl.
Aren't they great plates?  They made me think of a little Mexican village.
I set my tablescape up outside, since we love spending every available evening outside.  After a long winter we cannot get enough of the outdoors.

For the table "runner" I used a Mexican banner that I cut up to resemble a runner.

Each square represents a story.
When doing decorating or doing tablescapes it
is important to repurpose items
that we already have.
Once we think outside the original
of an item,
it is so easy to find new uses for things.
In this case, the Mexican banner was a decoration
I had in my classroom at one time.
There were enough of the individual flags that
I could decorate a big table.
The Mexican culture is so colorful that it is
an easy tablescape to pull together.
The red plate and bowl are part of a huge set of red dishes that my husband surprised me with one Christmas.
The big square plate I used as a charger was part of a set of dishes I picked up at Ross a couple of years ago.
The silverware is a set I have had for years. My boys call it
our "game day" silverware, since it is the color of
our favorite team and they like to use it on gamedays.
And the teacher in me had to bring in some books
for the occasion too.
Even the books are colorful.
The wind was causing problems with my tablescape!

Enough of the pictures.  Go make some tacos or guacamole and enjoy your own Cinco de Mayo celebration!
Don't forget to stop by again next week.
In the meantime I am linking to Susan. Go enjoy all the
unbelievable tablescapes presented each week.



Growing up in Oklahoma I am use to seeing miles and miles of wheat fields. We have fields of hay, alfalfa, milo and corn.  We have acres of cattle-grazing fields.

Living in Kansas for years I saw the beauty in the endless corn fields and soybean fields. 

The green or gold in all of these fields was beautiful. The way the crops wave in the wind is beautiful.

Then I saw these fields.  Let me tell you....they are absolutely, unbelievably gorgeous. 

These fields surround the town where I teach.  I can see these fields out my classroom windows.

I tried to take pictures of the beauty, but the pictures do not do justice to the real thing.  The fields are the brightest yellow....almost a neon yellow-green.
I have never seen these before.  I had to ask what the fields were planted with.  The answer: Canola.  As in canola for canola oil.
As far as the eye can see, fields of canola.  I stopped my car and walked out into the fields to take the pictures. The plants are about two feet tall with the flowers being about the top 8 to 12 inches. The plants are thick and strong.
I was told they stay this brilliant color until harvest. It is such a bright yellow that it is hard to explain. Perhaps it is just the enormous amount of yellow, as each stem has so many flowers.

Yellow as far as the eye can see.  These fields would make wonderful photo-ops.
We're never too old to learn something new. I had no idea that canola was grown as a crop. I don't know where I thought it came from, but I certainly wasn't thinking of it as a crop. I had no idea we grew it in Oklahoma. I had no idea I would be able to spend an entire month looking out my classroom at such beauty.

These heart-healthy canola fields have made my little heart happy!


Mosaics...because it's Monday!

I found a blog that has a Mosaic Monday link. I love putting mosaics together.  I thought I would put one up just for fun.  This one has no particular theme in mind.  Just small pictures to represent things in my life. For other wonderful photographers go to:little red house 

Going Bananas.................

An old favorite at our house is the classicly southern Banana Cake with Chocolate Icing. You can't get better than the combination of bananas and chocolate.....unless it is bananas and caramel.....which is what we top this cake with sometimes.  No matter which one you choose, the cake is sure to be a favorite.
 I found out when I lived in Kansas that a lot of people eat banana bread,  but not so many have made or eaten banana cake.....especially with chocolate or caramel icing.  I think I had more than one Jayhawk convert to the delicious and easy cake. A couple of weeks ago I found myself with some bananas that needed used, so I made the old stand by for the family.  I think you'll enjoy it too.


For Banana Cake --(will be dense..but delicious)

  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 2 medium)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, bananas and vanilla; beat for 2 minutes. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk, beating well after each addition.
  • Pour into two  (or three) greased and floured 9-in. round baking pans. Bake at 375° for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely. 
6 tbsp. butter
2 cups powdered sugar--you can add more if needed
3 tsp. cocoa
2 to 3 tbsp. milk
 Cream butter. Combine sugar and cocoa. Add sugar and cocoa mixture to butter Add milk to and butter mixture. I would start with 2 tbsp. of milk and if it's too thick add another tbsp. of milk. ( I continue to add powdered sugar and milk until I get the desired amount and consistency I want, but I have made this lots and lots of times.  Until you are sure of yourself, the basic recipe is just dandy!)
As you can see, I make mine in three layers and with thick icing.  I have also used a bundt pan to make the cake. 
I have no doubt your family will also 'go bananas' over this cake. Enjoy!

I have linked with Foodie Friday and Tasty Tuesday.
Go by and check out the superb recipes.


Simple Words To Live By.....................

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”--Ralph Waldo Emerson


Check out more words of wisdom at Tracey's.

Plus Size Friendship

I have a friend in Kansas named Sarah.  We taught together, got our Master degrees together and share many of the same interests.  Among those interest we both especially love are shopping for clothes, swimming and sun tanning.

While these are very normal and common interests for girl- friends to share, there is one little twist to our sisterhood; We are both over-weight.  Uhmmm more than 10 pounds over weight too. (I say this because I hear little skinny women talk and talk about how they are dieting, blah blah blah and they are about the size of my right leg!) 

Anyway, Sarah and I never let "a few pounds" stop us. We both shop for clothes like we are wearing a size 8. Together we own more clothes than any 10 people I know. We tell each other where we get bargains.  We have the same taste and once in a while even bought the same thing.  We both also love accessories to go with all those outfits.  And then of course we had to have shoes to match every outfit. 

In the summer it was even better.  Both of us love the water.  Both of us love to swim.  Both of us grew up lifeguarding at pools. AND neither one of us let "a few pounds" stop us from going to the pool every day and swimming and working on our tans.  I don't mean we did this as teenagers, I am talking about doing this as grown women.  Sarah and I would meet at the pool each day, bring with us our favorite books and lay out.  Yes, we got in the water and swam too.  Sometimes our books never opened because we spent the entire afternoon gabbing.  But we had the best tans in our town.  We both managed to get very dark....and were proud of it.  I know, I know....I have heard everything there is to hear about the sun.  But I have been outside in the sun since I was a very little girl.  I grew up swimming and playing outside.  I have never stopped.  It is too late for me to worry about it now.  Sarah feels the same way.  So we wiled away our summer-vacations-from-teaching at the pool getting great tans....and not caring that we were two of the larger people there. And then when school started our tans looked oh-so-nifty in our new wardrobes!
Sarah is beautiful inside and out. She is the music teacher and her singing is absolutely divine.  I always liked to stand beside her at ballgames and during the Star-Spangled Banner I would lip sync and hope that those around us would think that was me singing! 
 *(The only picture I could think of to go with this post were of my tan feet.  The picture is of my husband and myself.  I could not resist snapping the pic, because of the obvious difference in our tans!)

The first time I wrote a blog (back in '07), Sarah was always the first one to read it and write me about it.  She always encouraged me to write.  

Isn't it great to have a friend like that?  One that knows you well and you do not have to have any pretenses around?
I miss Sarah.  I miss being envious of her latest outfit. I miss comparing tans. I miss opening our books together and never getting the first line read because we were talking so much. I miss faking that her voice was coming from me! The hardest part of moving is leaving friends behind.

I consider myself lucky to call Sarah my friend.
Happy Birthday Sarah!


Taco Salad

This Taco Salad is so easy to make.  Don't count on any leftovers, because there will not be any! 
I think the secret to this Taco Salad is the Catalina dressing, you put it on at the end. It sets it apart from the average Taco Salad.

To make the Taco Salad:
Brown a couple of pounds of hamburger meat.  Drain.  Add powdered taco seasoning.  Add a little water. (You are making this part just as you would tacos). Set aside.

In a bowl put together your greens.  This is your preference.  I like different lettuces and I also add a few scallions, and of course tomatoes.
Put the greens in a large bowl.  Add a bag of crushed Fritos.  (I guess you don't have to crush the Fritos, but we prefer ours that way.)
Mix the Fritos with the greens. 
To this add the hamburger meat.  Over all this mixture pour about 3/4 of the bottle of Catalina dressing.  This coats it well and makes it delicious.    I like to then put this salad in a Tortilla bowl.

You can either buy the tortilla pack that has the little cardboard shapers in them OR you can use your own tortilla and simply shape them around a small bowl or rameken. Put them in the oven for about four or five minutes, as they are draped over the ramekin and you have your toritlla bowl.

Add cheese according to taste.  Enjoy every bite!!

(My Mom's meal that I made for her on Tuesday.  A perfect and easy supper for busy people.)


Cowboy Up.......

 While I am moving, I am posting some of my favorite tablescapes as a rerun! Hope you enjoy ....especially Oklahoma's unique history through this tablescape!

At high noon on April 22, 1889, fifty thousand (plus) people lined up waiting to hear the shot from a gun. Once that gun was fired, they were OFF!  (The picture below is a factual picture of the Land Run.)
What was the big deal that drew so many people to one place in 1889?
The government had opened up over two million
acres of unassigned land,
(also known as Indian Territory)
now known as Oklahoma
on a first-come-first-serve basis.
Settlers could claim up to 160 acres,
with the stipulation they must live on the land
and improve it.
One hundred and twenty one years later, on April 22, 2010,
I decided to
create my tablescape to honor those pioneers.

My husband had a set of dishes from his childhood.
They were tin cowboy dishes with covered wagons.
I thought they would be perfect to represent all the 
pioneers that were in the Oklahoma Land Run 
with their covered wagons.

I paired the dishes with red splatterware as chargers.



So that the middle of the table looked like this (above).

 I also used a set of brown earthenware that my parents received for their wedding over 50 years ago.

So, all the dishes I used were 50 years old...or older.  Not quite as old as Oklahoma, but still vintage.
I changed the dishes around throughout the picture taking.  Enjoy.  Hopefully I will get this linked up to:
In the meantime, keep enjoying the pictures.


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