Friday, February 18, 2011

Sweet Sunshine Inspiration

Feeling the sun burst out of the heavy winter clouds has felt exhilarating. The thermometer has reached over 50 degrees here in the Midwest and you would think we live in the tropics with people wearing shorts and flip flops. My kids immediately asked my sweet husband to pump up the air in their flat bike tires. We loved watching them whip around the driveway with blowing hair and smiles on their magical bikes.
In a matter of days, the moods and energy of everyone I know has lifted. I have suddenly felt more alive and ready to tackle some new challenges. How about you?
It's exciting to think it won't be long until green grass is sprouting and dinner can be served on the deck. Of course this is just a late winter tease but
Dear Spring, I can't wait for you to arrive!
Shine your light,

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Valentines Very Berry Coffee Cake

This is a Sunday morning treat for my family. It has the brown sugar crunchy topping of traditional coffee cake and added berries for color and a fresh taste. Serve it with crisp bacon and hot cocoa or coffee for a perfect breakfast.

2 cups flour
1 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
1/2 c. butter
1 c. sugar
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 c. ricotta cheese or sour cream
1 16 oz pkg frozen berries, thawed

1 c. dark brown sugar
1/4 c. butter
1/4 c. flour
3/4 c. chopped pecans or walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 and grease a 13 x 9 baking dish, set aside.
Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl, set aside.

Beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs and beat well. Alternately add flour and sour cream or ricotta to egg mixture. Beat at low speed to blend. Fold in berries. Pour into greased pan.

For topping, beat brown sugar and butter together. Add flour and nuts and stir to make crumbly mixture. Spread on top of batter. Bake 30 minutes or until wooden pick comes out clean. Let stand for 10 minutes before slicing. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Icicles, indoor soccer, yoga, & dancing

To Look up is Joy
The sun came out today and I got a shot of the ice glistening in the sun.

I'd like to go climbing a birch tree....
~Robert Frost

Four days out of school due to snow and ice and cabin fever is setting in. The kids are bouncing around and I don't even seem to mind much as various balls fly through the house. Nothing is broken yet and I have danced to Justin and Miley.
Dancing Queen

Little Bug in action

Better yoga than I can do

The goalie gloves are on

I am dreaming of warm days for bike riding, tree climbing, and rocking on the front porch with a some crunchy chips, fresh guacamole and an icy drink.
Shine your light,

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Ice Storm and my $30 Vintage Fur

Day three of the great Midwesterm ice storm. Our cars have an inch thick layer of ice on them, my kids have made the house an obstacle course for indoor winter wipeout, and I have been outside bringing in firewood and snapping a few photos of the silvery ice on the trees.
Rewind to hot sunny Labor Day weekend, 2010. This is the weekend every year that my little town celebrates Old Fashion Days. This three day event includes the county's largest parade featuring hundreds of antique tractors. You can also shop antique booths, buy handmade crafts and Watkins Vanilla, eat crispy battered tenderloin sandwiches and drink lemon shake ups.

My entire family flocks to our ranch to take part in all the festivities. It's especially fun because we are only 2.2 miles from town and we can drive the Ranger for easy parking. The kids get a thrill sitting in back on a quilt while the wind whips through their hair.

This past Labor Day weekend was especially fun. My sister, step mom, and I were up there with the kids getting fake tattoos and listening to a bluegrass band called The New Old Timers. Thankfully my mom was back at home watching the little ones and the grandpas.

Helen my stepmother, told me to come see something in a little antique booth. I went over and she showed me a long dark chocolate brown fur coat. It was a little dusty and tattered but it had the prettiest vintage buttons. She told me to buy it.  I offered the guy $30 for the coat and a couple stuffed toys for the kids. He took it. We laughed all the way home in the Ranger and I modeled it for everyone back at the ranch as I dripped with sweat. I have never had a fur coat before but Helen insisted I needed one for warmth with all the outdoor winter things I do. The price was certainly right.

Helen had the coat cleaned and the lining repaired for me. We then forgot about it and I picked it up in December. Irene -the fur cleaner- told me it was rabbit and very old. I don't think she was too impressed.
Fast forward to today. Out in the cold, windy, slick ice storm bringing in firewood, I am totally loving my super warm vintage fur coat. My kids are too as little Scout calls it my big bear coat and they are using it as a blanket for a fun nap. My big dog Buck grabbed a hunk of the fur as he thought I was a live animal. It's OK though, this coat will be happily worn on days like this for many years to come.