"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


Turning Into a Pumpkin after Midnight.....

It actually was after midnight when I began my little 'pumpkin project'.  I bought six of these little urns with the cactus on top last week.

I had been watching them at Pier 1 all summer. I think there were originally eight when I first spied them, but over the summer they dwindled down to six.  Oh well, I was not willing to pay more than the $3.18 I got them for. In fact, I really wanted to wait a little longer, but I worried that they would all get snatched up if I waited too long. Plus, that was pretty much a rock-bottom price.

The actual little urn is (faux) stone or metal or something! But whatever it is, they are very heavy..........And just waiting to be made cute!!!!!

The plastic cactus and rock HAD to go.  I had a vision for these miniature urns from the moment I laid my eyes on them.

And here is one of the little cuties naked.  Ahhh, so much better than a plastic cactus and rock.

Since it was fall, I decided to dress them up with some new fall duds. I put a little bit of gray Spanish moss on top, then got out one of my handy-dandy white mini pumpkins.

Ahhh, so much better.  I still need to do a little moss pruning though!

Two down, four to go.....The hardest part in remaking the cute mini urns was pulling those faux rocks and cactus out.  They were in there to stay!!

My plan is to use these at the rehearsal dinner for Fielding, (which is three weeks from tomorrow!!)

In the meantime, they look pretty darn cute decorating my house.

I'm thinking Christmas time...and some silver balls on top. 
Valentines day...and a couple of red glittery hearts.
Spring...and a nest.....

Oh the possibilities these cute mini urns have once we got rid of that cactus!!

And, since it was after midnight when I transformed my pumpkins, this is what my 'helpers' looked like.  They were sound asleep on the floor beside me!


Under Cover(s)

One of my favorite purchases this past summer was a new duvet cover (that came complete with pillow shams), two European shams (with pillows) to match, a small quilted sham to match, and then a random quilted sham that I think coordinates perfectly with my new set.

The second I saw the duvet set I loved it.  Two seconds after seeing it I put it in my cart.  It was just one of those kind of purchases...you know, where you see something and you know instantly, that is what you want.

Actually I wasn't even looking for a new set for my bedroom. I just saw it and fell instantly in love. In that two seconds it took me to put it in my cart, I knew it would be a perfect summer set for my bedroom.

Actually, the set is blue with a dark tan, and not the green it looks like in these pictures.  It is the color of the sand and sea.  I have no doubt that is why I loved it instantly.

THEN, if it was possible, I loved it even more when THIS arrived in the mail a few weeks ago:
The "Art of Living".....Hello, I want to say, "The Art of Living Much Cheaper!!" 

Yes, that is MY very same duvet set on the cover and inside the Pottery Barn catalog!
I am so in style! (I say that tongue-in-cheek).

I bent that catalog down and compared it to my set, and seriously, I can only find ONE difference........

That difference would be the price!  If I had bought my set at PB, I would have paid $149 for the duvet cover (only), $39 (x3) for the shams, and $49 (x2...and mine came WITH pillows) for each European sham. Plus, they don't have listed my one smaller quilted sham or my coordinating quilted sham. The whole set would have cost me from PB.......$364 (that is without European pillows and the two quilted shams)!!!!!

I did not pay anywhere even close to that amount.

Can you believe what I paid?  I bought the duvet set (duvet cover and shams for $39.99.  It is made by Earl and Wilson...not Pottery Barn. I got it at Marshalls. 

My two extra shams were on clearance for $7.00 a piece. 
I did not save the tag for the big European shams but I got them for $19.99 each...WITH those huge pillows included! 

Now I could just kick myself for not buying the bolster and a few other shams...and the sheets!

That's ok...Every time I walk into my 'sand and sea' bedroom I know I made the cover of Pottery Barn.

Well, not me, but my goods....Well, not MY goods exactly, but the goodies that I saw and snatched up from Marshalls.

Ahhh, those kinds of bargains make me sleep very, very well!


This Old House

One day, when we lived in Kansas, we got a knock at our door and on the porch was a young couple from California. They went on to explain that their great-grandmother had grown up in our house, and they were wondering if they could take a "house tour" and take some pictures so they could take them home to show great-grandma.  You see, the grandma was still alive, doing very well at 101 years young, and living in California.

Well, how could I resist when I heard that story??!!  Actually the young couple had stories for me that the grandma had told them. We had been remodeling, and as is often the case in old houses, when you tear down a wall you find interesting things you weren't expecting. We had found several old books in our walls, and some of them just happened to have the name of the grandmother the couple were representing. 
I gathered up the books and sent them home to the great-grandma.  While I loved them, I felt they needed to go back to their owner.

The couple took lots of pics, thanked us for our time and headed back to California.

A few weeks later, the picture (above) arrived in our mail.  The great-grandma wanted to thank us for letting her family tour the house. Not only was it a great picture, they had blown it up to an 8 X 10, and there was lots of info on back that the grandmother had told them to write.

That is the grandma, as a little girl, standing on the sidewalk.

What we found very interesting was the large barn in the back.  We had never seen it before. What the grandma told us was that that was the "summer kitchen".  The cooking was done out there, to keep the house from heating up. As my boys were growing up they had founds lots of bottles and broken dish pieces in that area. That explained things for us.

We also had to dig to find the sidewalk that went around the side of the house. We never before knew that was there. We still had all the trees, but they were full grown now and absolutely beautiful. 

When we painted, we tried to paint the same way we found in the picture.

We also had the picture framed and an old skeleton key added to the matting. The key did not go to the house, but it makes a charming picture.

About a month ago we traveled back to Kansas to see friends. We debated about going by the 'old house' but we gave in. WOW! It is totally different.

The new owners are completely remodeling it. It has been gutted down to its studs. The porch has been redone. No longer is she a Victorian lady, but more a mammoth farmhouse.

Gone is the widow's walk and the chippendale porch rail. Gone are the front steps made of solid stone. Gone are the scallops at the top of each eave.

Gone are the old columns and the front shrubs.  Gone are several of the mammoth maple trees.

And look what has been added. The new owners built on a 1500 sqare foot addition.  They also put in a new three car garage.

What was once a big old Victorian house at 3800 square feet, has become a huge new/old house!.....  Or at least on its way to becoming a huge new/old farmhouse.

This make-over gives a whole new meaning to "everything old is new again"!  Maybe one day these owners will get a knock on their door and find a couple standing there.......(Do I dare????)


Simple Words to Live By................................

....Well it's turn and face the Stars and Stripes
It's fighting back them butterflies
It's call it in the air, alright yes sir we want the ball
And it's knocking heads and talking trash
It's slinging mud and dirt and grass
It's I got your number, I got your back when your back's against the wall
You mess with one man you got us all
The boys of fall.......           Casey Beathard and Dave Turnbull

There is nothing like high school and college football. Having sons that played both I know the life lessons it teaches WAY beyond football!

For the GREAT video (and the rest of the song) go here. You will love it.

Join Tracey on her site for other great quotes.  



It's The Great Pumpkin (Topiary!!)

I have seen pumpkin topiary ideas for several years. When we lived in Kansas and had our huge front porch, I would make the pumpkin topiaries with real pumpkins to put on each side of our front door. The problem is that they never lasted the entire fall season. When I moved back to Oklahoma, I decided to make a topiary using fake pumpkins....and to keep it inside.

 I picked out a variety of different color and sizes of pumpkins at Hobby Lobby.  I kind of eye-balled what they would look like stacked up, as I purchased them.  Then I got them home and simply glue-gunned then together. Several times I had to take the stem off of a pumpkin to get them to stack. In between the pumpkins I stuck in different berries, vines, leaves and twigs. The entire project probably took less than 30 minutes.
 And those leave that are in the little tray with my topiary....Well those are not fake. Those are in fact real leaves. From my yard. In Kansas**!!  I guess I should say our 'old yard'.  We had twelve huge, beautiful maple trees that surrounded our house. In the fall our yard...and the entire town.....was just picture postcard perfect. There are some things about Kansas I will always miss.
**How we got the leaves from our old house: My son Coulter had gone back to Kansas to see friends. He drove by the old house and saw all the beautiful trees and knew how much I missed them.  He got a couple of grocery sacks, (boldly) went into the yard, and scooped up two big bags of leaves. When he got back to Oklahoma he could not wait to show me "my surprise". Yes, it made me cry. 


FALLing into Autumn

Nothing says "Welcome Autumn" like a nice hot bowl of homemade soup. 

 Soup is relatively easy to make and feeds a large number of people quickly. 

 One of our favorite cool-weather-soups is Baked Potato Soup. Mmmmmmm, my stomach feels warm just thinking about it!

 I used some fall mini cookie cutters to make croutons to go on top (leaves, turkeys, acorns, pumpkins).
The croutons can be made easily with the mini cutters. Either use a thick Texas toast or a French bread and cut out your shapes.  Season with garlic or onion salt or some Italian seasoning. Put the shapes on a cookie sheet and toast for just a minute of two.  If you don't want to use bread you can also do the same thing with premade pie dough. 

Baked Potato Soup
3 1/2 pounds of potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup Half and Half
1/2 cup sour cream (plus additional for garnish if you choose)
1 Tbs. cornstarch
1 1/2 tsp. salt
black pepper to taste
**Baby carrots sliced--optional
**Shredded hash browns--optional
**Shredded cheese--optional

Cook potatoes. Drain. Set aside. You may mash them slightly if you CHOOSE to.

In your big soup pot (dutch oven, or whatever you call it) heat the chicken broth.

In small bowl combine half and half, sour cream, cornstarch, salt and pepper. Mix well. Add mixture to your warmed chicken broth. Add in potatoes. Stir well and let heat all the way through.  Watch it closely so it does not burn. Once it is heated thoroughly, you can turn the heat to low.

Serve with croutons, bacon bits, shredded cheese and/or sour cream on top.

****The above is the basic recipe.  Because we have a house full of hearty eaters, we often add additional items to the soup.  We like to slice up baby carrots and add those to the chicken broth as it is warming. 
In addition, it is also delicious if you add a small bag of hash browns.  Before I add them I usually like to cook them slightly then drain them, BUT I have also added them straight from the bag.  Just make sure you let them warm all the way through before serving the soup. (We prefer to cook them first).
And my sons think no dinner is complete without cheese. I add a handful of whatever yellow or white cheese I have handy to the soup while it is in the last stages of warming.  It is simply delicious this way.

We have also added small pieces of chicken or andouille sausage.

One more thing. We always use real bacon (for the garnishment) that we cook and chop. 

I have told you before, I am a very unconventional cook. I like to take recipes and make them my own. Don't be afraid to try that too!
MMMMMMMMmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!! Try this soup!!


Sneak Peek

My son's wedding is just a month and two days away. It is one of those things that seemed like it would take forever when they set the date, and now it is right around the corner.

Lots of fun ideas are being implemented in this wedding. The happy couple are not afraid to try some not-so-traditional touches. The vows will be taken in a 100+year old beautiful wooden chapel. Tuxes are not being worn. But the classic ties pictured are part of the ensemble. Yes, they are shades of gray. I can't wait. In the meantime, I'll continue to let you in on a few sneak peeks!


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

"Atticus was right. One time he said you never really know a man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them......."  (Jean Louise) Scout Finch 
from To Kill A Mockingbird


cloudy with a chance of MEATBALLS!!!!!

We watch a lot of ballgames.  We frequently have lots of people over. We always take food with us when we go to any party.  We like versatile recipes. Today's recipe fits the bill perfectly for each category.

 Homemade meatballs are fast and easy to make. The recipe makes a large amount. 

There is a homemade barbque sauce that goes on the meatballs before they are cooked.

They can also be made ahead and frozen.  Mine never make it to the freezer.

The recipe also lets you customize it to your own taste. Change the meatballs up.  Change the sauce up.  Or eat them exactly as I post the recipe. I guarantee their delicousness!!

I mix the meat mixture in a big bowl and make walnut size balls.  I line them up in a pan.

Then I whip up the sauce and ladel it over the top of the meatballs.  Cover them with foil. Pop them into the oven and you've got a great game day snack. 

Or a full meal for your guests.  We like to cook up a batch of rice, add a package of onion soup mix to the rice and serve the meatballs over rice with baked beans on the side. My own family loves this meal.

Or you can just keep them lined up in their pan and take them to a church picnic, or a potluck with friends.

A guaranteed pan of scrumptiousness! See the recipe below.

MEATBALLS (just that word sets my sons off into a quote frenzy--from the movie, not the recipe!!)

1 (12oz.) can evaporated milk
3 lb. hamburger
2 eggs
2 c. quick oatmeal
2 tsp. salt
1 chopped onion
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 tsp. chili powder

Mix milk hamburger, eggs, oatmeal, salt,onion, garlic salt, pepper, and chili powder. Shape into balls. Spray pan, then place meatballs into pan.  You can crowd them into the pan, but make only one layer.

2 cup catsup
1 1/2 c. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. liquid smoke
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 c. onion, chopped

Mix sauce until dissolved.  Pour over meatballs.  Bake in 350 degree oven.  Depending on your pan and how many you have in there it will take between 30 - 45 minutes.  Take one meatball out, cut it open, if it is not pink, then tastetest.  Then to "just make sure" grab another meatball and tastetest.  Are you sure yet?  Keep trying!!

*****I am not a conventional cook. I tend to throw in a little of this and a lot of that.  This meatball recipe is good that way. You can add more milk, or more meat, or different spices. We like to put hot red pepper flakes in ours.  I also substitute a package of dry onion soup mix instead of chopped onion (because that is what my husband prefers).
Really, this recipe is designed to be customized for YOUR family.


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