Monday, December 19, 2011

Tis the season with Sweet Treats

Around here holiday celebrating kicks in at the twelve days of Christmas countdown. That's when I listen to Christmas music nonstop (Michael Buble Christmas is my current fave), bake treats, and take part in holiday cheer.
My kids and I began by making hugs and kisses for Santa. Santa rarely gets to indulge because they devour these yummy little treats. Try them and you will see why as the combination of sweet and salty flavors are divine.
Santa Kisses: Mini pretzels, Hershey's Hugs (white and milk swirled kisses), & plain M&Ms.

Hugs: mini pretzels, Rolos, and cashews or plain M&Ms.

Place pretzels on a lined baking sheet. Top with unwrapped Hugs or Rolos. Bake at 350 for 5 minutes or until soft. Top with M&Ms or cashews. Place in fridge to cool. Enjoy and share!
I also hosted a tasty and festive lunch for my two girlfriends that ended up being quite "corny". I made the Pioneer Woman's Corn & Cheese Chowder and my friend Tammy brought the Barefoot Contessa's corn muffins. 
We enjoyed some sparkling pink Moscato and ended things with chocolate truffle brownies (Trader Joe's mix) topped with Haagen-Dazs vanilla bean ice cream. Decadent and fun is all I can say.
We had a wine themed gift exchange for $10 or under which was also festive. There are few things  more joyful than sharing soup, chocolate, laughter and wine with good friends. I encourage you to do this with yours and use these great recipes too.
Santa hugs and kisses,

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Life in Color

Thanksgiving Bonfire

I find it funny to be following my last post called White Space because my life has had no white space in it since I posted over a month ago. I hope to incorporate some serene, quiet white space in the coming months. Promise. How about you? Could you use a little more simplicity, less clutter, quiet space to read, reflect and dream? That is my goal. Creating time and space to think, dream, slow down, and embrace the simple things in life.
Visiting our 100 year old Grandfather

I am so very grateful for my busy life with four kids, two dogs, and a great husband. My days begin early in the kitchen making breakfast, packing lunches, getting ready for school and work days. Time zooms by with my active and inquisitive four year old, never ending housework (not my specialty), volunteering at school, teaching yoga, cooking, grocery shopping, and evening activities for the kids. My husband works long hours too. I am sure many of you relate to some of these things. White space, remember?
As December begins, I am embracing the Christmas season with a spirit of giving, reaching out to a few in need of some comfort and caring, creating and continuing traditions with my family, and hopefully writing about some of the things along the way.
Wishing you a merry holiday season,
Here are some recent favorite photos below.

My kids, nieces, & nephew on Halloween
My daughter's 8th Birthday rollerskating party.
Family on Thanksgiving

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Some Favorites

There is no season when such pleasant and sunny spots may be lighted on, and produce so pleasant an effect on the feelings, as now in October. ~Nathaniel Hawthorne
Enchanted Forest
October has been warm and colorful. Frequent hikes with my camera captured some of the natural beauty around here. Also, I recently started a facebook page called Wildflower Retreat where I post inspirational quotes, photos, and thoughts. Stop by and say hello if you please
Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? ~Mary Oliver
Just before harvest
Learning to live in the present moment is part of the path to joy. ~Sarah Ban Breathnach
The sky is the daily bread of the eyes. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Keep shining your light,

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Bursting into Fall

Hello Friends~ As we say goodbye to summer I wanted to share some recent photos.
First, rainbow that I captured in the late summer sky. There was not much rain here this summer so I was happy to see this burst of beauty in the sky.
My son brought home a little sprout of cabbage in a Styrofoam cup last spring from his third grade class. He and my mom nurtured it all summer and it grew into a beautiful giant cabbage. We recently cut it and I made a delicious cabbage, chicken, and apple stew. It was full of love and flavor!
Indy's beautiful cabbage
Little guy starting preschool
September flew by as the kids are back in school and busy with soccer games, spell bowl team practice, and Nature Garden Club activities. My little guy started preschool too.
My Munchkins
Roots to Grow, Wings to Fly
Now that the leaves are changing and the air has gotten cooler, my creative juices have begun to flow. I painted this picture for my sister's birthday last weekend.  I named it Roots to Grow, Wings to Fly. The tree represents her and the birds are here three kids soaring through the sky. I think she really liked it as she hung it next to her bed.
I also just signed up for an e-course called Do What You Love given by an English lady named Beth Nicholls. I'm looking forward to some creative inspiration.
How about you? What things are you doing as the seasons change? I'd love to hear your thoughts.
Shine your light,

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tomato Time! Grilled Tomato, Basil & Cheese Sandwich with Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce

It's difficult to think anything but pleasant thoughts while eating a homegrown tomato. ~L. Grizzard
Tomato season is in full swing. Grab a few from you garden or local veggie stand and treat yourself to one of these delicious sandwiches.
Toasted Cheese, Tomato, & Basil with Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce:
Heat a skillet on medium with olive oil.
Add a slice of bread and top with cheese (I used cheddar/mozzarella), layer sliced tomatoes, fresh basil, salt & pepper, and slice of bread.
Toast both sides until golden brown and cheese is melting. Slice in half.
Honey Mustard Sauce:
In a small bowl whisk together 2 Tbsp. honey and 2 Tbsp. spicy brown mustard. Enjoy!

Another of my all time faves is the CBLT (California Bacon Lettuce & Tomato).
CBLT: In an oiled skillet toast bread, crispy bacon, lettuce, tomato, avocado slices, salt & pepper. Feel free to add fresh herbs and mayo if you wish. Enjoy!
Have a beautiful day,

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Escape to Nashville, IN

For our mom's birthday, my sister and I took her on a road trip to the wooded rolling hills of southern Indiana. Our first stop was The Brown County Winery for a tasting of their delicious sweet and tart wines.
After browsing through a roadside flea market and finding my sister's old summer camp Gnaw Bone tucked way back in the forest, we reached our final destination. Nashville, Indiana. This is a little gem of a town filled with cute boutiques, art galleries, and down home restaurants that serve fried chicken, biscuits, and homemade apple butter.
We checked in our charming bed and breakfast in the heart of town called The Cornerstone Inn. Upon arriving they directed us to the gathering room where fresh baked pies and fluffy cakes awaited.
The highlights of our little excursion were being together, carefree laughter, shopping, and eating dinner at a surprisingly gourmet restaurant called The Hob Knob, recommended by locals. The house spinach lasagna and tart glass of New Zealand sauvignon blanc was delicious.
To end the evening we ended up at The Chateau Thomas Winery tasting room sharing a bottle of their Fleur d' Peche wine and listening to a country blues singer sing about his long legged lover. She was sitting right up front and was truly has the longest legs I have ever seen when she stood at about 6'3!
After an abundant farm breakfast including strong coffee and gooey pecan rolls, we hit The Nashville Country Store for caramel corn and fudge for the kids, we hopped in my sister's van and drove home listening to the country singer's original "hits". A great escape!
Shine your light, k

Monday, August 22, 2011

12 Books of Inspiration

I love love love books. Here is a list of books that are always on my bedside table for comfort and inspiration. They could be great gifts to you are anyone you hold dear.

1. SARK's New Creative Companion SARK is an artist that captures the magic of everyday inspiration. Just opening this book makes me smile.

2. The Blessings of a Skinned Knee by Wendy Mogel
This is great for moms/parents with young children. Lots of guidance and advice, but I mostly love the importance she puts on family traditions.

3. The Power of Intention by Dr. Wayne Dyer
He is one of my favorite self-help gurus. This book guides you on your journey to create and attract the life you desire. Read the last chapter first on Connectors. Inspirational!

4. Happy Yoga by Steve Ross
This is great for the yoga lover. He has a happy approach to life, yoga, and music.

5. 1000 Places To See Before You Die
I feel like I go on mini vacations when I open this book. I want to see them all!

6. Don't Sweat the Small Stuff for Women by Kristine Carlson
A great bedside book for daily inspiration. My favorite is her page on "Walk Through the Open Doors."

7. The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron
A total guide to discovering your inner artist. It is full of ways to become more creative in everyday life.

8. Grace Notes by Alexandra Stoddard
This book has been at my bedside for over ten years It's filled with daily quotes that are timeless and classic.

9. Girlfriend's Guide to Getting Your Groove Back by Vicki Iovine
Another good one for moms with young kids. I totally relate to her funny stories - especially never leaving the house without a diaper bag even though all your kids are potty trained.

10. Yeah Dave's Guide to Livin' the Moment: Getting to Ecstasy Through Wine, Chocolate and Your iPod Playlist by David Romanelli
You don't have to be a yoga lover to enjoy this book. He encourages us to enjoy a delicious moment, beautiful moment, and funny moment every day.

11. The Power by Rhonda Byrne
I love The Secret too. This one is all about the power of Love.

12. Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort of Joy by Sarah Ban Breathnach Another book I go back to time and time again. Great insight for simplicity amidst a busy life.
Happy Reading,

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Summer Country Living

Vegetables are a must on a diet. I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread, and pumpkin pie. ~Jim Davis

Summer in the rural Midwest is hot but heavenly.

Here you can drive down the street and find fresh picked garden veggies on a bench in front of a farm with a cup to stuff some money in. The honor system.
My kids and I happily stuff the cup with dollars and pick up round juicy sweet onions, zesty peppers, and giant green zucchinis.
Up the road a little I can grab a pint of natural honey from Cara and Braun's while the bees buzz around. This morning my friend Amy dropped off a loaf of fresh baked zucchini bread on her way to the county fair where her kids will show sheep.
I sliced the bread, spread some butter and honey on it and washed it down with an icy glass of dark sun tea. Heavenly. She promised me she would give me the bread recipe.
Next stop, the sweet corn stand for tonight's dinner.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Celebrating Summer, Abundance, & Growth

Hello friends~ Summer is here!
My Wildflower Garden Blooming
Are you feeling more alive in the light of summer? Do you feel a yearning for growth or new directions? Do you have dreams of learning something new, starting a business, getting healthier? Listen to your inner voice inside. Go outside and walk in nature and feel the abundance. Grab a little journal and write seven things you want to do. Just by writing them you will begin to create the energy for these amazing things to grow and happen. I am confident they will. Shine that light of yours.

I just returned home from a wonderful visit with my 95 year old grandmother. Last year she moved to be closer to my Aunt and cousins. I miss her so much but know in my heart that she is where she needs to be now.

Tuesday was my favorite day of the year. Summer Solstice. The day of the longest light from the sun. I always feel so alive during this time. It has long been celebrated as a time of light, love, growth, and fertility.

The night of Summer Solstice at my Aunt's house we were gathered there for dinner. She had friends in town from Tuscon, Arizona. Liz, who I met and is in her sixties, and I instantly connected. I told her this was my favorite day of the year. She instantly agreed and said, "Midsummer!" She told me she teaches high school English and loves teaching Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream.

A huge storm came out of the sky with lightening, thunder, and buckets of rain. Liz and I went out onto the porch and danced in the storm together celebrating the summer sky. It was a rush of cleansing energy!

I am feeling grateful for so many blessings.

Wishing you an abundant summer!
keep me posted on your amazing new directions.