Thursday, September 14, 2017

September Mantel

Fall is just a week away,
but it's still plenty hot in North Texas.
I gathered a few things from around the house and cut a few magnolia branches
to give our mantel a calm and cool vibe.

I'm looking forward to pumpkins and everything fall,
but I'm not quite ready yet.

It's still time for large glasses of ice tea, ceiling fans, and shade trees.

I made the Thankful sign last year for a different spot in our home.

It's a gentle reminder to me to not take so much for granted.

So happy that you stopped by today!
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Sunday, September 10, 2017

A Shopping Spree for the Kitchen Under $10

I am delighted to be joining the fun at Ten on the 10th today.  
Bargain hunting is one of my favorite activities. Unfortunately, cooking really isn't.  But recently, I have come across some affordable items that make time in the kitchen a little more enjoyable.  
What if you could scoop and measure dry ingredients for a recipe in one step? 

How much fun is this Measuring Spoon & Cup Set?   I'd say, definitely more than $1.64 worth! The pieces even clip together for storage.  This set would be great for a first apartment kitchen. It's measuring cups, measuring spoons, and scoops, all wrapped up in one.

Bonus:  The measuring spoon handles are harder to lose in a drawer than typical measuring spoons.

This paring knife with matching plastic cover cost a whopping 94 cents.  There are lots of fun colors to choose from.  Nice sharp new knives make cutting so much easier and the cover makes a drawer so much safer.

I'm hooked on these little 8.5 x 11 inch cutting boards.  They cost 88 cents a piece and fit in the dishwasher very easily! At this price, everyone standing around the kitchen could be put to use chopping different vegetables on individual boards.

This flat Pot Strainer is another dishwasher friendly gadget to simplify meal prep.  It takes up very little space and can be yours for 97 cents!

Is your mind just racing with ideas for a kitchen gift basket?  Mine is.

But wait...
There's more!
This Mini Measuring Cup is perfect when doubling a recipe that calls for a tablespoon of a liquid. The price for this little gem is $1.66.  The label says it is BPA free and dishwasher safe.
It also measures up to 2 ounces and 60 ml.  The numbers are written inside and outside of it. Genius.

One of these would also be adorable for a child's play kitchen.

And last but not least,
this Can Colander is another $1.88 treasure.  Those pineapple tidbits have met their match.
If you haven't guessed, all these items were found in the housewares department at Walmart. No, they didn't compensate me for this post.  But I still love them.
Let's recap:
Measuring Scoops   $1.64
Paring knife                 .94
Cutting board               .88
Pot Strainer                  .94
Mini Measuring Cup   1.88
Can Colander             1.88
Total                          $8.16
That's a pretty major kitchen upgrade for a little over eight bucks.
Now I'm tempted to go back for the Silicone Spatula Set... two heat-resistant silicone heads (up to 450 F) for $1.97.  I might get so excited that I actually bake a cake.  
What is your favorite kitchen gadget bargain?
Please be sure to visit these great blogs to see what they are sharing for

The Purple Hydrangea
Patina and Paint
Bluesky Kitchen
White Spray Paint
Poofing the Pillows

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Hello Again!

I didn't mean to be away from blogging for so long and I'm happy to be back.  Here's a quick recap of some of the things that have been keeping me busy.

As soon as I unpacked from my wonderful trip to England and Ireland with my mom, I packed again for a quick trip to L.A. with my daughter.  She was able to get a little unexpected time off of work, so we bummed some frequent flier miles off of my husband and booked a hotel near the beach.  We did tours of Hollywood stars' homes in the mornings and lazed around on the beaches in the evenings. We signed up for stand by tickets for the Jimmy Kimmel Show and got them.  No, we didn't make it on t.v., but we clapped and cheered really loud.  Jimmy said we were his best audience ever. We are now the proud owners of mugs that you can only buy if you have been in the studio.

My favorite stop was Manhattan Beach.  We loved walking on a path behind the beautiful beach homes.  The stores and restaurants were completely charming.   I couldn't believe that such a place existed so close to a major city.

Later this summer, my husband and I celebrated our thirtieth anniversary by taking an Alaskan Cruise on the Seven Seas Mariner.  It was wonderful.  This is a photo of the Hubbard Glacier taken from the ship.

The cruise package included our three excursions, really delicious food from a variety of restaurants on the ship, and beverages.  We lived like royalty for the week. We even got used to having afternoon tea with live piano music. Unfortunately, Alaska was having a unusually rainy August, but we still enjoyed it very much!

We saw a hump back whale, orca, sea otters, harbor seals, a black bear, and many more amazing wildlife.  This eagle was quite a ham.

This is me enjoying our cabin deck on the final evening of our trip.  By then we had left the rain behind us and we savored every moment of an amazing sunset.

* * *

On a much more somber note, my heart and prayers are with everyone devastated by Harvey.  We lived in the Houston area until four years ago.  Our old neighborhood was one of many that were evacuated.  I feel guilty for escaping what so many of my friends are going through.

A huge thank you to everyone who has displayed such heroism, bravery, and selflessness in this trying time.  People can be amazing!

Let's all keep being as generous to Harvey's victims even after the news coverage drops off.  It's going to be a long, difficult recovery.

* * *

Thank you so much for stopping by my neglected blog!  I think I've done enough traveling to last a while.  I am looking forward to joining the girls at Ten on the 10th this weekend.  Hope to see you here on Sunday!


Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Johnstown Castle

Today I'm sharing one of my favorite stops on our recent trip to Ireland, Johnstown Castle in County Wexford. The inside of the 19th century castle is not yet open for touring, but the grounds are just amazing.  As we walked on a pathway around a lake behind the castle, I felt transported back in time. These ruins are left from a previous Norman castle, built in the 15th or 16th century.

My cousin and I couldn't resist trying a Rapunzel pose in this tower (minus the long hair).

The castle will be opening for tours in the next year or two.  I'll have to come back for that.

This vintage car drove by us while we walked around the lake.  Did I mention that I felt like I was visiting another time?

This is one of the statues in the garden.

After our walk around the lake, we ate at the Peacock Tea Room.  This handsome fellow was trying his best to get the attention of peahens in the nearby courtyard (and providing entertainment for the tourists).

We especially enjoyed our time in the beautiful walled flower garden on the property.  The colors were just amazing.

If you would like to see more, there is a 360 virtual tour on their website.  Enjoy!

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