Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Simple Joys

I was thinking a little bit today about how some of the busiest weeks, although stressful at times, have some of the nicest or neatest moments no matter how minute.  Or they contain more simple joys than the less stressful weeks, sort of like having ice cream after getting a shot at the doctor... having a little bit of extra blessings and goodness amidst what you have a hard time dealing with.
I wrote a post a while ago just listing a few simple joys I noticed... Similarly, here are a few small (and quite random) things that have added some interest and joyful feelings to my days recently in the simplest of ways...

Hot Air Balloons
This morning on our way into the town nearby we saw a hot air balloon!  I think they are so neat and pretty to watch and give a little sense of wonder and joy.  This one was so close to us and we actually saw it as it was taking off in a field parallel to the road.  I was so disappointed I didn't have my camera.  I hadn't thought of or seen one in quite a while, but now that I'm thinking of it riding in a hot air balloon is definitely going on my bucket list.

Berries and Fruits
We just got home from getting groceries and got a little tub of the juiciest looking blackberries!  Yum.  Fruits are so wonderful, as is the amazing array God provided for us.  The blackberries are now sitting on our countertop, inspiring me to want to look through my Southern recipe books for a recipe for blackberry pie.

Gingerbread Men
A second item we picked up, mostly on a whim: a holiday mix for gingerbread cookies.  I can't wait to either buy or make some icing to put on them and I especially cant wait to make them, hopefully when our company comes this weekend.  When I get a chance, hopefully I can make some from scratch as well.

Receiving a Package
My package arrived yesterday!!  One of my favorite things in the world is getting a package, or really anything in the mail.  Packages and letters make any day better and more exciting.  Personal packages from your Grama or someone you love are the best because they're like care packages just for you, but this one was actually something I ordered...

Newness
The package I received contained the new laptop I ordered (from QVC)!  Its so fun getting something "brand-spankin' new" (whether new-new or just new to you) and I am so thankful for it- it's very nice,  I love it.  It is so different from my old one and I have to admit getting used to Windows 8 is a bit of a challenge, but I'm getting acquainted with it and learning as I go.  One thing that I am excited about in regards to the new laptop is another simple joy: feeling accomplished.  It may sound funny, but I feel accomplished because this is the first major thing that I paid for by myself.  This post is also special because it's the very first one I'm typing on my new laptop :)  And yet another simple joy: smooth keyboards.  I could type a million words.

Scented Soap
From laptops to scented soap, haha.  Sometimes I feel that the absolute simplest things that make us happy are so satisfying, like scents.  Today I used a scented soap that smells like limes.  It smells wonderful and made me smile because it reminded me very much of the way green jello smells.

Journaling
This is probably one of the little joys that is constant, giving me a sort of happiness and comfort in being able to write my thoughts and get heaviness or anything inside my heart or mind expressed.

Feeling Blessed
Even when worries flood my mind, there is always a source of comfort through praying and those moments when I count my blessings or even realize them without counting, helping me to be more positive and see the glass half full more often.


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I'm sure as soon as I press 'publish' I will think of one I forgot, but this is a small list of a little positivity I wanted to share for the moment.

What simple joys are you feeling??

Thankyou for reading.
Wishing you joy, both small and large!
Have a blessed day!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Simple Woman's Daybook

My Daybook for today...


Outside my window...
the leaves are blowing gently on the many trees I can see and the weather is warming up (it was in the 50s this morning).

I am thinking...
about Bob Ross.  I just saw on Google that it is his birthday today and they have a little drawing up of him and his little squirrel.  I started watching his Joy of Painting series a couple of years ago and one of my closest friends and I would talk about it in school and laugh about the way he would "beat the brush".  If you've watched him before, you know that his voice will nearly put you to sleep, it's so soothing.  He inspires me and seemed like such a sweet, wonderful gentleman and a great painter of course :)

I am thankful...
for the companionship of loved ones and friends through emails & letters.

In the kitchen...
there is a pitcher of fruit juice in the refrigerator that is calling my name (not that I'm going to drink the whole pitcher, I'm going to pour it into a glass... then again, I'm not sure about that, haha).

I am wearing...
a flanel cream long sleeve shirt, comfy jeans and boots.

I am creating...
sketches, which I am so happy to be getting to work on more.  Today I did a face and an eye.

I am wondering...
if we need to water our mums? I think it's been a day or two.

I am reading hoping to read...
children's books sometime soon.  Sometimes I like to check a few out at the library that I've never read to just have an easy, relaxing read.  Storybooks are wonderful.

I am hoping...
this extremely full week ahead goes by quickly.

I am looking forward to...
receiving a package that should be here tomorrow sometime!

I am learning...
that putting situations in perspective helps you to get through them, and if that doesn't work praying and focusing on something else is the best thing you can do.

I am pondering...
how funny some words sound suddenly.  This happens to me sometimes, where I see a word in a book or somewhere else and all the sudden that word that I have seen a million times before in my life looks strange .  Today that word is 'said'. It looks like it is spelled funny, I can't explain it.

I am praying...
for safety of those that will be effected by the hurricane on the East coast, for a few people who I know are going through difficult times with their health right now, and for guidance in my mind and heart.

A favorite quote for today...
I feel as if I have heard or seen this before, but I saw it a few days ago and appreciated that it notes modesty.  "A dress should be tight enough to show you're a woman and loose enough to prove you're a lady"- Edith Head

One of my favorite things...
croissants!  I almost enjoy attempting to say "croissant" in a French accent more than actually eating them, but oh my gracious are they good.

A few plans for the rest of the week...
Reading my different studies, receiving a package, hopefully go for a walk with my family, and welcoming company in at the end of the week all the way from Colorado.

A peek into my day...
or should I say, a peek into my sketchbook: practicing eyes.



Thankyou for reading.

Blessings to you!
Have a beautiful day :)


Friday, October 26, 2012

Cold snap!

I am so thrilled to be experiencing some truly cold weather!!  I believe today has been the coldest day this season in this part of the South, especially with the wind chill.  The time I have spent outside today, my ears and nose were freezing and I actually had to put on a coat and bundle up a bit.  I hope this weather stays on for at least a few more days...
I would assume that anyone visiting from New York or Philly or Chicago would feel right at home- or maybe even think this is warm compared to what they have lived in.  It has been so nice, though.

Cold weather, for those who love it, puts that feeling of life and vigor in your bones that's sort of hard to describe.  I love that feeling.
The best part of having this cold day has been just feeling the chill in the air and appreciating the wind on my face and not sweltering, and inside it is so nice to feel snuggly and warm, sit on my bed by the window with the blinds drawn and read with the sight and sounds of the wind blowing through the leaves on the trees and the leaves dancing around on the ground with every little gust.  Now all we need to do is make some hot chocolate and it will be the perfect day... but we are about to light our fireplace and make some cookies so that will be just as good :)

Do you like cold weather?
What's it like where you live?

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Having it actually feeling like Fall is so wonderful and such a blessing!  The weather here does tend to tease us, but I'll enjoy this no matter how long it lasts.
Speaking of Fall, here is a photo of our Mums that we bought last weekend as they look newly planted around our front tree!  We had fun doing some simple Fall planting, including planting these and doing some potted plants along our walkway for curb appeal.




Wishing you a blessed and wonderful weekend!!

Stay warm if it's cold where you are too!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Weekend in Photos: Mums, Country Drive

I hope you had a blessed and wonderful weekend!
I realize it's Tuesday and not as close to the weekend as it was yesterday, when I meant to write this, but I wanted to share a bit about my weekend through photos.
This weekend was enjoyable and just a relaxing and relatively laid-back couple of days, but we did do a few things I enjoyed where I took the opportunity to take some pictures just for fun.

So here is my weekend in a few photographs :)


SATURDAY...

Saturday morning breakfast, sitting by the window at our table
and reading the new winter issue of Southern Lady.

After breakfast: we got dressed and went to the local garden center.
It doesn't get any more Fall than the scene before us when we arrived: a sea of
Mums and pumpkins! 
A beautiful variety of yellows, oranges, classic cream colored mums, and even a light lavender.
Back at home: these are the few we purchased, waiting to be planted around
our tree out front sometime this week.

Evening: Lucie wondering what this new thing is I brought home.  I have a love
for Lambchop and was excited to see this larger one, as I already have a miniature.
I grew up with Lambchop & Shari Lewis, so Lambchop is nostalgic to me- but I also
just love how sweet and cute she is and that she represents a simpler time.
Lambchop has been around for sometime, since the 50's I believe. 
You may be familiar with her... here is what she looked like originally.


SUNDAY...

After lunch, a slice of cake from the night before. Sprinkles :)

Afternoon: an errand and a trip to the bookstore (which I hope to share about soon), and a drive through the country.  This is the land I love to drive through, wide and open with nothing but a blue sky
stretching for miles.

We came to a beautiful spot where the road crossed over a pretty, narrow spot in the river.  There were a couple of kayakers going through and I wished I was in their shoes- what fun.



How was your weekend? 

Thankyou for reading.
God Bless & have a wonderful day!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Simple Peanut Butter Cookies

Thought I'd share a wonderful recipe I tried recently for Peanut butter cookies!  I mentioned it in my last post and am finally getting the chance to share... these are some amazing cookies in my book.
Our family really loved them.  And if you don't burn one of the batches like I accidentally did, haha, then they should all come out like the majority did- soft, chewy, and just delicious.

Here is the full recipe taken from my Southern Hall of Fame recipe book I love so much:

Peanut Butter Cookies
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chunky peanut butter
1/4 cup margarine, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs

Instructions:
Sift flour, baking powder and salt together.  Cream butter and
margarine with mixer until light and fluffy.  Add brown sugar
and vanilla.  Beat well.  Beat in eggs.
Add dry, sifted ingredients and beat well.
You can bake these spread in 8x8 baking pan and cut afterward,
or make drop cookies. 
Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.


If you want an extremely quick and simple cookie recipe, this is a great one to try.  It took hardly any time to prepare, was very simple to follow, and most importantly they were delicious.

And of course a cookie is always just that much better with a cold glass of milk :)



After creaming the peanut butter and butter, I added in the brown sugar.  I like packing the brown sugar into a measuring cup.  I feel like a child in the kitchen sometimes because I enjoy the simple things like pouring sugar and adding in chocolate chips, things like that.  I used light brown sugar.  It is so good... and it's nice to use brown sugar for a change when it seems like every recipe calls for white and I just love that it gives more of that chewiness to cookies :)


This is how the mix looked right before I added in the last of the dry ingredients.  After I mixed those in, it only thickened up a little more than this.  This recipe doesn't really make a cookie dough... when  I saw it wasn't that thick I got nervous that I had done something wrong, but they ended up turning out delicious!


I decided to make drop cookies and baked them on our baking stone.
And I grew up with homemade peanut butter cookies always having those little fork lines impressed on the tops, so I did that too :)


If you bake these cookies, I trust you'll love 'em just as much as we did!

Thankyou for reading :)

~

Happy baking & have a blessed day!!



Sunday, October 14, 2012

Family Day in My Favorite Town

This has been a quick- but wonderful- weekend!
Hope your weekend has been an enjoyable and blessed one as well.

I had a wonderful time out with my family on Friday, making for a great start to the weekend, which I am very thankful for.  I thought I would share a little about it, as well as some photos that I took.
We ventured to a favorite little town of ours that we love taking a mini-trip to as a treat once in a blue moon, a place I have written about once before.  It is small and old-timey and lovely and we enjoy doing a little shopping and eating out.
This Friday we had a wonderful time just spending family time there and enjoying the day!

I love this old water tower.  In fact, I love all old water towers. They have something so 'days-of-old' feeling about them... this one is just a few yards away from the restaurant we always go to when we come here.
It looks like this inside...

...and is so neat and old, as it is actually used to be a cotton mill.
This place serves the most wonderful country-style and delicious Southern food you can imagine... everything is rich and amazing.  The salsa is even different, it has almost a juicy, fruity tang amongst all the pepper flavor. Mmm.

And this is my 'signature' plate I pretty much order every time.  Now there's you a turkey sandwich!  They are very generous with the amount of turkey they put on.  And then that little cup is some honey-dijon that you can pour on for extra flavor.  I can't write about this anymore... it's too hard when I know I won't get to eat this sandwich again for awhile, haha.
Perhaps my favorite thing about this restaurant that makes it so unique is that it is open to the outside.  So, right behind our table- and really every table- is a full length window like that that you can feel the breeze by and that looks down the hill to the river.  Doesn't get much better than that.  It feels a lot like a treehouse.
And I've been here once or twice I believe when it was raining, and there is nothin' like being at the top of a hill in an old mill with the cozy feeling of having the rain falling right outside with no windows in between you and the rain.  Even better than that is when they light the fire in the middle of the room.

I may have mentioned this in the other post, but right next door is the old town dance hall.  And across the street from that is the vintage and antiques store we love so much.
In one side of their display windows were all of these vintage cookie jars I thought were neat, and on the other side they had a beautiful Fall seasonal display that I failed to photograph. 
The area I usually make a bee-line for is the jewelry, and I appreciate that because of the store it is- being old-fashioned and authentic- everything is great quality and beautiful.  Most of it is Southern style jewelry which I of course love... everything from pearls to vintage brooches, and more than anything there is quite a lot of turquoise and southwestern jewelry.  I have come to love it within the past few years.


As you can see, there is no shortage of turquoise jewelry here ;)
It's sort of funny, this cuff here is what I wore when we were there Friday and the antique store is actually where I got it the last time I was there.
I enjoy picking up just one thing when we go, and this time I got this charm bracelet. I love charm bracelets, and this one had the sort of aged looking silver metal finish to it.  I told my Mom that I must have really loved it, because it has a charm with a bee on it and I am not a fan of bees- or I'm afraid of them anyway.

My Mama purchased these at the same place, very pretty & southwestern.

I actually didn't spend all that long looking at the jewelry though- my favorite thing about this store is the adventure of finding all of the old-fashioned items they have.  Old family photographs and wedding photos are my favorite to see, which they had a lot of, because I am fascinated by the history in them... looking at each of them and thinking about what the people in them might have been doing or feeling at the time.


Perfume bottles, especially those you can tell are from the 40's or earlier, are also something I love to look at in antique stores.  I like to think of the graceful women that wore them all those years ago.

And the things I gravitate to most are the antiques that were used in everyday life and in the home by homemakers before us... like this silver set, and bake-ware, old muffin tins and cake pans, irons, stoves, aprons and old telephones.


These antiques, that store, and just the whole little town are wonderful... going there is heavenly and like stepping back in time for awhile, where everyone is kind and living life at a slower pace.  I thank God that little towns like this still exist, places that are authentic and remind you of better days, and where there isn't just miles of concrete everywhere.
I treasure every little trip I get to take there, made all that much better getting to spend time there with my family.



That was the highlight of my weekend so far.  Aside from it, I also got to try a new recipe which I was excited about and hope to share tomorrow or as soon as I can get the photos ready for it.

What did you do this weekend?

Thank you for reading.
Hoping you have had a blessed weekend & are having a wonderful day!





Monday, October 8, 2012

Autumn Daybook


It's a beautiful Monday afternoon and I feel like writing a Simple Woman's Daybook to share a few thoughts from my day.  I decided to use a different picture just for a change :)

Outside my window...
a kitty is sound asleep on one of the lawn chairs, the air is fairly still, and the sun is just coming out after two days of overcast, chilly weather that I am wishing would never go away.

I am thinking...
about how pure and wonderful fruit is, as I got to eat an apple earlier.  I had not had one in so long and I have missed my Granny-smiths.

I am thankful...
for God's way of allowing us to learn life lessons in unexpected ways and places.

In the kitchen...
a few ingredients are lying out on the counter for a potential recipe for supper.

I am wearing...
a sweatshirt, dark jeans, and new socks.  I felt like getting in relaxing clothes when I got home this afternoon, so I don't have anything fancy on... but I still have on my earrings- I almost always have earrings on because I believe they can make you feel feminine and pretty no matter how you are dressed at the moment.

I am creating...
sketches, for fun and practice.

I am wondering...
when a few of the seasonal decorating catalogs I have ordered will be in.

I am reading...
about slavery and American History for my studies and still working on my novel that I have had not really had a chance to read lately.

I am hoping...
that the weather will be exactly as it was this morning for the whole season- cloudy and refreshingly brisk.  Weather that makes you feel lively.

I am looking forward to...
going out to eat as a family in one of my favorite little towns on Friday.

I am learning...
or rather trying to learn to not worry so much.

I am praying...
for those worries I can't let go of to be eased, for health and happiness of my family and others.

A favorite quote for today...
"Love is not written on paper, for paper can be erased. Nor is it etched on stone, for stone can be broken. But it is inscribed on a heart and there it shall remain forever".

A few plans for the rest of the week...
go to the craft store, mail letters, go for a walk, dinner out Friday!

A peek into my day...

With this chill in the air, we had a reason to light our fireplace yesterday.  I love the coziness of being near the hearth and the warmth that radiates from it.


Thankyou for reading.
Hoping your day is wonderful! 


Friday, October 5, 2012

Inspiration: Quotes

Don't you love those amazing moments when you feel a sense of inspiration? ...like when you see a photo like this for example that takes your breath away...
or you are in- or see a photo of- an open, peaceful place like this...
... just open and quiet, with miles of prairie or plain under an endless sky that makes you feel inspired or thoughtful.  Driving on country roads or taking road trips here in the South, you see a lot of land like this depending where you are.

There are a variety of inspirational things we come across from day to day... photography, a painting, or a film that portrays a lifestyle, place or dream that we are inspired by, reading a book or magazine article on a topic that interests us, meeting someone who has a spirit or liveliness in them that we can't forget and maybe aspire to be like, or even hearing a song with lyrics that get to our hearts or make us smile or feel a peace...
But a simple way of finding inspiration that is perhaps the most universal: reading a quote.

~

When I read words of comfort, I find my heart is warmed, comforted, or just delighted by what I am reading... and sometimes I just love the laughter reading a humorous, witty quote provides especially when I really need to laugh.  Overall, inspiration through quotes makes me more appreciative of the simple things, of life itself, and thankful for the guidance of the meaning in them... whether it's in a book, on a sign or a bumper sticker, a greeting card, or in a scripture.

I think there is something truly special about quotes from those who lived before us- especially from those who were old and wise- because their words expressed that they found an answer in life, as to what it is truly about, or something they figured out that they shared so we would take it to heart and hopefully learn from it...  these quotes are often simply written or spoken, but convey priceless wisdom and meaning...



Feeling inspired is something we have all experienced and is such a blessed feeling.  Ultimately, quotes are such a precious gift... being able to read a few words that hold so much meaning and apply to us personally as we go through trials, or just everyday life.
I have felt so inspired by quotes and words of wisdom I find, that I decided a few weeks back that I would make a separate page called "Quotes & Insight" devoted to listing these quotes, scriptures, and sayings as I find them, covering different aspects of life and many that I relate to personally and think almost everyone can relate to or find inspiration in.  At first, I just wanted to write down these quotes I find inspiration in on a piece of paper to keep or in my journal to be able to go back to, but I figured it would be neat to share them here instead!  I'm excited to write them there as I find them and see the list grow :)

What inspires you?  Do you have a favorite quote?


Thankyou for reading.
Have a wonderful weekend!
Blessings!



images courtesy Google Images & Pioneer Woman

Monday, October 1, 2012

Decorating for Fall!


Since the arrival of Fall a little more than a week ago and picking up the new issues of both Southern Lady and Southern Living magazines recently with beautiful photos of Fall floral decor, something that has been on my mind often is decorating for the season!  This is my first year really and officially getting into decorating for Fall since I have become more interested and passionate about the home arts... there seems to be so many ideas for beautiful decorations for your home for Fall that get me excited!

I am still in the process of this, and so far I only have very subtle pieces, small elements of the Harvest season and a good deal of Fall inspired candles... It has been so much fun, as I try to think of things to put up, to look for inspiration from different sources.  Inspiring boards from Pinterest have captivated me and gotten me even more excited for the season... (and I actually just searched for these as I don't have an account...  I feel like everyone does now, and one of my closest friends has told me how wonderful it is, so I am seriously thinking of joining the 'bandwagon').

As far as style, we aren't decorating for Halloween- just Fall in general and anything that relates to the beauty of the colors and leaves, the return of pumpkins and pumpkin pie, and the inspirations of nature that give you the feeling of Fall's arrival... so here are some ideas I am inspired by with the classic, Southern, and country styles I am drawn to...

I love the country-simple, friendly and welcoming decorations I have seen so far in magazines this season, and this reminds me of them in some ways.
                                    

I have seen this in a few different places and it's such a simple and wonderful idea... I love the mix of pumpkins and candles.  This would make a great center piece to a table, especially with that garland behind them.


Another neat idea for candle holders.  The rich red hues in the apple are somehow more magnificent looking with the candle wax dripping down over them.

Mums!  They have a cheeriness to them and feel so festive for Fall.  Having floral arrangements throughout your home is big in the South too, so this feels extra homey to me... and I love that it is arranged in silver.

The decorations I do have so far have pretty much all ended up on our fireplace mantel... I love adding decorations to the mantel shelf or on the hearth because it makes everything more cozy and makes it feel like home, because the fireplace is like the source of warmth and love in the home... The ideas in this photo are neat, but what looks like a garland laid along the mantel shelf has a particular loveliness that caught my eye... and the fireplace alone with the strong look to the stone is wonderful in complimenting the decoration.



I think the Fall decorating ideas that have maybe the most classic aspect to them are those outside on patios and porches or front walks...
This is such a pretty piece to put on your front door- so warm and welcoming!

Sunflowers are often affiliated with summer, but their color has a fun certain rustic quality that is nice for Fall.


If I had a front walk like this, I would probably park myself in a rocking chair right in front of it and stare at the beauty of Fall happening before me.  The foliage all around is so picturesque.


Something I think looks so classic and inviting also, a sort of unique area of seasonal decorating, is decorating your mailbox.   This would already be on our mailbox if we had one at the end of our driveway instead of down the road.  This photo is out of one of my favorite magazines, 'Southern Lady', and the day I bought the Fall issue and saw this I thought it had so much grace, class, and festiveness to it.  I know it's only a mailbox, but it shows what a little ribbon and a trip to the craft store can do :)


.               .               .


Those are a just a few Fall decorating inspirations I have found so far.  I wasn't necessarily looking for the most clever or inventive ways to decorate, just some options that can bring coziness, heart and the sense of Fall blessings to your home!
Just writing this post has got me anxious to finish our Fall decor so it will feel like Fall inside just as much as it does outside... or in the case of this part of the South where the weather isn't drastically changing yet, it will feel like Fall inside more than outside, haha.


Are you and your family decorating your home for Fall?
What ideas inspire you?


Blessings!

Have a beautiful day.

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