December 31, 2010

for auld lang syne

Can you believe it's the last day of 2010? Where did the time go?

I will be bringing in the New Year in my pajamas and have my doubts as to whether I will even make it till midnight. The excitement never ends here on the farm, that's for sure.

As I was going back through my archives gathering photos for this post, I realized what a truly great year this has been. So many good things, so many blessings.

I'm not a resolution person. I don't vow to make changes. Resolutions only lead to disappointment...for me at least! But, this year I am going to make a conscious effort to appreciate life. Appreciate those I love. Count my blessings and not take things for granted.

On that note, I'd just like to say that I appreciate you. I've come to know so many of you over this last year and it has truly been a treat. Thank you for taking the time out of your busy lives to visit my little corner of the internet. It means the world to me.

It's really pretty strange, this blogging thing, if you think about it for very long. Perfect strangers really can become friends.

I wouldn't believe it if I hadn't experienced it for myself.

Happy, Happy New Year to my friends!

December 28, 2010

six days

Six days till I....

*Start my post-holiday diet.

I know January first is actually only four days away, but nobody starts a post-holiday diet on a Saturday.


Six days till I....

*Resume regularly scheduled programming of my exercise routine.

Please know I'm playing a little fast and loose with the word 'regularly' and the word 'scheduled'.

Actually, let's just go ahead and rephrase that last one just a bit.

Six days till I...

*Resume regularly scheduled good intentions of having some form of a regularly scheduled exercise program.

Six days till I....

*Start the deep clean/re-organizing of all the dark recesses of my home. Last winter was my first mega purge-the-junk extravaganza, and it was a great feeling to get rid of the boxes and boxes of stuff I'd been storing for years. I won't have nearly as much to get rid of this year, but I know there are plenty of odds and ends that haven't seen the light of day since I closed the closet door on them a year ago.

Normally, just the thought of January in all it's bleaky grayness would send me straight into a mental survival mode that would last until the first green of Spring.

I used to think I wanted to live in eternal Summer. Summer weather and a Summer state of mind. But more and more I find myself looking forward to each and every turn of the calendar page.

This year, I'm looking forward to January.

It will be a time for organizing and planning, for projects big and small.

A fresh start. A blank page. Endless possibilities.


Till then, I'm still in vacation mode.

That means I'll be sleeping in, watching movies, and making a serious dent in the batch of Cowboy Cookies I made yesterday.

Heaven knows, I'll need all the energy those cookies can provide for the great things that 2011 holds.

December 24, 2010

December 20, 2010

kiss the girl

About a week before our oldest came home for his Christmas visit, we had a little text conversation.

Ma ~ Are you going to let me take pictures of you and that adorable girlfriend of yours when you come home next week?

Junior ~ I was wondering when this was gonna come will be on a case by case basis....don't push your luck though.

Ma ~ Well, just fyi, whether or not you get peanut butter pie or prime rib or a bed for that matter is also on a case by case basis.

Guess what.

I got my pictures.

And it was fun!

I think it helped that there were a few smoochie shots scattered throughout the day.

But the real deal sealer was the fact that the aforementioned adorable girlfriend/smooch recipient also wanted these pictures, and seriously, what fella could say no to that.

It's going to be really hard for me to resist the urge to gush, because mom or not, I think these two are so stinking cute.

See what I mean?

Cute! Beautiful! Handsome! Adorable! Gorgeous!

(Done gushing.)

(More smooching.)

We had hopped in the car to find some snow and a hill for these next shots.

This was my son's idea - I had never seen it done before and it was hilarious and very fun to do.

Very Gulliver's Travels.

Then back to a very muddy farm for a few more pictures.

True to form, as we were walking back toward the house after my claims that we were done, I found about eight more perfect spots for those last perfect shots. After the seventh time saying that we were done, and then the seventh time saying, "oh, just a few more shots over here!", I knew I was really pushing my luck.

But I just pulled out the old tried and true.

"Junior? Can you please kiss that pretty girl one more time?"

Okay ma, if you insist.

December 16, 2010

christmas 2010 - part two

Let me start by saying that this post may be a bit on the all over the place side.

Brain = all over the place.

Post = all over the place.

I set out to photograph my Christmas decorations and very quickly realized that I had photographed every speck of Meadowbrook Christmas Cheer in great detail last year.

As there is not much new on the decor front for this year, (with the exception of the guest room), I resorted to a few new pictures that ended up being extremely heavy handed with the shallow depth of field, (most of the photo blurry with a small part in focus), and pretty darn heavy on the processing front as well.

Just a word of warning.

I was in a mood. Not a bad mood, just an extreme makeover photo edition mood. (See heavily processed and heavily staged, heavy on the out of focus Christmas cookie paraphernalia shot.)

The ribbon photo below is another perfect example of extreme, with a side of extreme thrown in for good measure.

But, I like it. At least for today. I may very well replace it at a later date and pretend this particular ribbon photo never happened.

It's been done before.

(Here are the links for last year's Christmas over to see more photos of my Christmas tree, my dining room, or if you're feeling ambitious, here is the link to all things under the Christmas label.

I'll now move on from obsessing over my photos to the real reason for this son's visit and our family Christmas celebrations.

It was as perfect as it could possibly be. I loved having my oldest home for the week, and his girlfriend fit in just like she'd always belonged here. The week would not have been nearly as fun without her. We played games, ate, watched movies, ate, played lots and lots of ping pong, went out to eat, and came home and ate some more.

I gained four pounds in one week.

Finally, on Sunday afternoon, I went for a walk. I needed fresh air, and some type of movement other than the movement required to make some form of cream cheese infested food item, or the movement required to consume the cream cheese infested food item.

The fact that I used the word infested in the same sentence with my beloved cream cheese lets you know just how extreme the food situation was around here. We went through ten packages of cream cheese last week.

Dear Cream Cheese,
I hate your stinking guts. You make me vomit. You are the scum between my toes.

(Sorry, that was one of many, many movie quotes heard repeatedly over the last week. We regularly communicate through movie quotes around here.)

Dear Cream Cheese,
I'm sorry. I don't hate you. I love you. I just think maybe we need a little time apart.

The fellas set up a huge tent in our back yard, complete with a wood burning stove inside. The night of our Christmas party, all the guys went out to the tent and just hung out.

No chairs.

No lights.

Just standing in a dark tent, shooting the breeze.

With an awesome fire burning.

I chose to stay inside, and that's probably just as well because questions like, "why are we standing in a dark tent?", and "hey, did you know there's a real live house right over yonder?" probably would have have killed their tent buzz and that would just be sad.

I know my place and it's not in the tent.

It's in the kitchen with the cream cheese.

One quick non-Christmas note. Last week, I got a comment from a dear reader named Erin. Back in September, when I shared about my very favorite, very holey sweatshirt, Erin actually did an Ebay search to find me a replacement. Lo and behold, the exact hoodie in the right size popped up just last week. Erin sent me the link and before you could say "Why didn't I think of Ebay," Paypal and I had sealed the deal. My brand spanking new, mint condition, perfect shade of blue hoodie arrive safely just a few days ago.

Who. Would. Have. Thought.

I bought the original almost five years ago. Where has this one been all that time? I need to know.

Erin - if you read this, please email me!

Between my new blue hoodie, and my very first ever, extremely dreamy fleece hoodie, (a gift from our very special guest room occupant), I'm in hoodie heaven.

So, that's our Christmas in a nutshell. It will be a Christmas Eve church service for us, and we have a few gifts left to open on Christmas morning, so it's pretty smooth sailing from here on out.

Nine days to go, my friends. Are you ready?

December 8, 2010

peanut butter pie

In yesterday's post, I mentioned the Peanut Butter Pie I'd had for breakfast.

Just to refresh your memory, here is a picture of that very piece of Peanut Butter Pie.

Not to be confused with the piece of Peanut Butter Pie I had for breakfast this morning.

I did not take a picture of that particular piece of Peanut Butter Pie, because that would just be ridiculous.

(Okay, I actually did take a picture of it, but didn't like how it turned out, and since I didn't check the picture before I ate the pie, the only way to remedy that situation would have been to slice and then dress up yet another piece of pie and then at that point the only viable option would be to eat it as well to hide the evidence and while I'll do a lot of things for a good photo, even I get a little nauseous at the thought of two pieces of Peanut Butter Pie for breakfast. I have my limits. Although in hindsight, Peanut Butter Pie is really just a lovely combination of dairy and protein and everyone knows dairy and protein are good for you, especially at breakfast time, so I really don't know what my hang up was.)

But back to my story.

Yesterday I mentioned Peanut Butter Pie, and that pie got a shout out or two in the comments, which is totally to be expected because, hello, it's Peanut Butter Pie.

One comment in particular, in fact this very comment....

.....caught my attention, because I happen to know that Valley Girl is expecting a baby.

Now I had every intention of posting the Peanut Butter Pie recipe sometime in the near future, but when a Pregnant Sister Friend is wanting your Peanut Butter Pie recipe, you give that girl the recipe and you do it sooner rather than later. It's an egregious violation of the Sisterhood Rules to make a pregnant girl wait for anything food related.

It's downright mean.

So for all of you and especially for Valley Girl, here it is.

Peanut Butter Pie

1-1/4 cup chocolate cookie crumbs (I use Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafer cookies)
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup melted butter
Mix and press into a 9 inch pie plate. Bake at 375* for ten minutes. Cool completely.
(Please make this from scratch. It is a million times better than a store bought cookie crust.)

1 - 8oz cream cheese, softened - dairy and good for you
1 cup creamy peanut butter - protein and good for you
1 cup sugar - no comment
1 tablespoon softened butter - dairy and good for you
1 teaspoon vanilla - vanilla bean=bean family=protein=good for you
1 cup heavy cream, whipped - speaks for itself
Beat first five ingredients and then fold in the whipped cream. Spread over cookie crust and chill till firm.

Lick beaters clean.

Peanut Butter's a good thing.

December 7, 2010

christmas 2010 - part one

A text from my oldest yesterday afternoon...."Touchdown in God's Country. I need a lift".

Always one to oblige, I skedaddled to the airport to pick up my son and his adorable girlfriend. Poor things had to get up at one in the ayem to catch a train into New York to get their flight yesterday morning. Amazingly enough, they were up with the rest of us this morning. I was very impressed.

I'm pretty excited to have another girl in the house. I've been outnumbered for the last twenty three years, but for this week at least, the balance of power won't be quite so lopsided.

The infamous red dresser is tucked away in its new home. I'm hoping the fairy lights and the vintage Christmas tree take attention away from the fact that it takes a body builder to get the drawers open. They used to open and close like a dream, but I think the eight coats of paint I put on them had a detrimental effect on their smooth operation.

There are still a few large, blank walls in the guest room, but when in decorating doubt, just add more fairy lights and a couple cute baby pictures of your guest's boyfriend and you're good to go.

One final touch....I found these adorable Christmas Paper dolls at The Graphics Fairy.
Check out this site when you have at least four hours to get lost in all manner of vintage clip art goodness.

It looks like our week is off to a good start. Everyone has safely arrived, the kitchen is stocked and I had leftover Peanut Butter Pie for breakfast.

It's Christmas at Meadowbrook Farm.

December 4, 2010

snow day

I always think I'm just popping out for a picture or two.

I pass the coat closet on my way out the door.

But I don't need a coat, or gloves for that matter.

Certainly not gloves.

I'll just be out for a minute.

However, I'm a grass is greener girl, and the best pictures are always just a little bit farther. I get there, wherever there is, and see an awesome picture....just a little bit farther.

Frostbite is my friend.

December 1, 2010

i'll be home for christmas

December first?

December first.

It's December first.

I had such a jump on things this year, or at least I thought I had a jump on things, but as The Season is officially upon us, maybe not so much.

Our Christmas will be early this year. Really early. My oldest will be home on leave from the Coast Guard next week, so our Christmas dinner and gift opening will be December 7th, and our big friends and extended family Christmas Eve dinner will be on the 10th and all that, my friends, is right around the corner.

Dates don't matter much though, as long as the house is full of my people. I haven't seen my first born in over a year, and that's Just Wrong.

Dear Junior #1,
I can't wait to see you next week!

The decorating is about ninety percent done, the Christmas shopping is about sixty percent done, and the grocery shopping is about zero percent done. I've started the list and so far it covers the page front and back, double columned, single spaced. Food will be a focal point next week....we'll have prime rib, enchiladas, manicotti, soups, breads, salads and pies and cakes and cookies and on and on.

Cream cheese, butter and sour cream will reign supreme.

Sugar highs will rule the roost.

Carbohydrate comas will abound.


This is the best.

Better than a tropical vacation.

Better than winning the lottery.

My whole family together.

Friends old and new.

A cozy house.

Snow in the forecast.

A kitchen that smells of casseroles and cookies.

Lots and lots of chaos.

Sounds perfect to me.

November 22, 2010

old man winter

How was your weekend?

Mine was good.

And cold.

And snowy.

And involved lots and lots of paint.

I'll address the weather first.

We've been in the single digits and there's a vicious rumor going around that we're headed well below zero by midweek.

I don't mind the cold and I love the snow, but it just so happens that our furnace has decided to be a bit temperamental.

Perfect timing.

On the painting front, I'm painting a dresser for the guest room. I'm painting it red. Have you ever painted anything red? I don't recommend it even one little bit. For reasons my paint store friend explained, but I quickly forgot, red doesn't cover well at all. I lost count, but I'm pretty sure it took at least eight coats of paint. I wish I was kidding.

I also painted my front room for the third time in as many weeks. I'm very, very picky about paint color and I'll keep repainting till I get it right. I painted my family room four times before I was happy, and I'm not talking about a few swatches on the wall. Every corner of a room has different lighting, and in my world, you have to find a color that makes all your corners sing a happy color song. In the case of my current project, I thought paint color number two could hold me for a while, but I just couldn't bring myself to leave well enough alone. I have a big bucket, several different gallons of paint and my biggest kitchen whisk and play mixologist till I get it right. I think there's a good chance that the third time is the charm, but I'll have to see what it looks like in the full light of day to know for sure.

Regardless, once the Christmas tree goes up, I'm done for a while. I'll do a lot of things for my walls, but maneuvering a ladder around a decorated Christmas tree while carrying a bucket of paint just seems like a bad idea.

The last item on my weekend list was vacuuming. After a month in the repair shop, I finally picked my vacuum up on Friday. You can only imagine what my floors look like right now.

But, instead of vacuuming, I played with photos and textures and more textures until I'd textured the poor pictures within an inch of their digital lives.

It's common knowledge that when you're actively shirking your vacuuming duties, it's hard to exercise texture restraint.

And just for fun, I'll leave you with this....

Have a great Monday!

November 18, 2010

the guest room

For the first time ever, Meadowbrook Farm will have a wintertime guest.

(Can I just tell you that I giggle a little bit every time I type the words Meadowbrook Farm? It makes me feel a little like Scarlett O'Hara talking about Tara... perhaps a wee bit pretentious, don't you think?)

Moving on.

The guest room is getting a makeover.

I've been in the makeover stage for a little over a year now. Last fall, we upsized from a double bed to a queen and that was pretty much the extent of my progress for about six months. As in, the mattress was leaning against the wall for that six months until I had a houseful of girlfriends visit and then the mattress was placed on the floor along side the old double bed for a charming mattress superstore effect.

I had an idea of what I wanted for bedding, but of course it didn't really exist anywhere but in my mind.

I knew I wanted to go fairly bright and cheery, and I knew I wanted these pillows to be able to do double duty when they weren't holding down the fort on the porch swing.

I finally found some Pottery Barn bedding that was in the right color family, and while I liked it well enough, I didn't love it. In order for it to work for me it needed to be cottaged up a bit.

Enter gingham sheets, vintage pillowcases and the quintessential cottage ingredient, a quilt. Add an old clock and some fit in with the color scheme books and I'm off to a good start.

I still have a long way to go, but having the bed finished gives me a focal point to work from. I have an eye out for architectural items and some form of artwork to bring it all together.

The cute gingham sheets will be swapped out for a set of Costco's fleece sheets so my wintertime guest will stay cozy and warm. Do you have a set of Costco's fleece sheets? If you live in a chilly climate, they will change your life forever.

Oh, and the walls are painted a color called Margarita. While it didn't photograph well at all, the color is perfectly named. In fact, when the sun shines in, you truly feel like you are in a Margarita....all glowy and green and a little bit woozy if I'm perfectly honest. The color may/will need some tweaking down the road, (I'm a chronic re-painter), but for now, Margarita it is.