Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Love is in the air

And spring, spring is in the air, too. And I looooooooove it.

I spent the day being enchanted by the brand new baby spring leaves and the buds on the trees outside. Early spring is one of my favorite things about living in North Carolina. Spring arrives fairly early, but it comes in these stages--each one even more beautiful than the next. First come the forsythia bushes and the daffodils. Next come the pear and cherry blossoms and tulips. Finally, it comes in it's full splendor--azaleas everywhere, and things blooming in every nook and cranny.

Spring never looks more beautiful than after several days of rain.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Silver Lining

It has been raining here for the past few days. Gray, rainy, yuck. Not a Carolina blue sky to be seen. However--there is a *huge* bonus for bad weather and days of rain. No, it's not my children prancing around with their favorite Christmas present--matching rainbow umbrellas. No, it's not even the excuse to wear fleece and sweats 24 hours a day.

The greatest thing about days of rain on end??? One must absolutely have stew. Really, really yummy stew.

And if it also happens to be St. Patrick's Day week, that stew is best served with Irish Soda Bread (which, I've discovered, is a HUGE BISCUIT, and who doesn't need a ginormous, hot, crumbly biscuit??)

In case it's raining where you are:

Great-Aunt Irene's Stew
1 lb. stew meat -- browned
2 c. carrot slices
1 med. onion -- chopped
2 c. potatoes -- diced
2 celery stalks --slices
1 can tomato soup
1/2 can water
1/2 tsp. worchestershire sauce
2 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp herb spice (I use various kinds, tarragon is my current favorite)
3 T. tapioca (minute brand; I actually skip this step)

Cook slowly in the crock pot of oven or quickly on the stove top.

Irish Soda Bread
4 cups all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup margarine, softened
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease a large baking sheet.
In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and margarine. Stir in 1 cup of buttermilk and egg. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead slightly. Form dough into a round and place on prepared baking sheet.

In a small bowl, combine melted butter with 1/4 cup buttermilk; brush loaf with this mixture. Use a sharp knife to cut an 'X' into the top of the loaf.

Bake in preheated oven for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean, about 30 to 50 minutes. You may continue to brush the loaf with the butter mixture while it bakes.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Bliss with a capital B...

Six years ago today, I got engaged. It was a very good decision, on my part, that has had very good results thus far.

Tonight, to celebrate, The Spouse brought me home a dozen white roses and my favorite cookie on the planet, that I know of.

Behold, Lacey's Almond Dark Chocolate Cookies from Trader Joe's...

Words really can't describe the utter, absolute, euphoric coma-inducing yumminess of these cookies. If The Spouse would've proposed with these cookies, I would have been even more enthusiastic about my "Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes!" (And that, quite frankly, is hard to imagine.)

Happy Engagaversary, sweetheart.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Alright, so I would love to buy Adobe Photoshop. I would love to get my crafty, creative little mits on a copy. Unfortunately--that would require me to spend over $600. (And yes, yes, I know about Elements. But it doesn't do all the stuff I want it to.)

So, in a shot of desperation, I found a free program online called Gimp. It does a lot of the same things as Photoshop, but--did I mention?--it's FREE! It also doesn't crash...again...and again, like the other free program that I found called

Now. If you download Gimp, then go to Shabby Princess and you can download free scrapbooking kits, and do some digital scrapbooking and creating. Which is FUN! It's where I got the papers to make the template for this blog.

For instructions on how to *make* a background, like dimensions and how to change the layout for your blog, yourself, visit The Cutest Blog on the Block, and she'll tell you how to do it.

So--need a project? This is a great one!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Right now in North Carolina....

Welcome to my happy place!!

This blog is going to be about my favorite things--things that I find that make me happy, bring me joy, give me hope, and help me laugh.

First up?

That's my sweetheart who, only a couple hours before this picture was taken, delivered that baby on our couch. By himself. Sorry, world--he's mine.