December 24, 2014

As I sit here drinking my Christmas Eve morning coffee, I think I'm ready for the festivities to begin.

Which surely means that I've forgotten something very important.

The gifts are wrapped.

My hubby bravely did the Costco run for me yesterday.

I made at least half of the Christmas Eve and Christmas Day dishes ahead of time.

(Christmas Eve is creamy broccoli soup in homemade (by my daughter-in-law) pretzel soup bowls.)

(Christmas Day is Prime Rib, twice baked potatoes, this jello, and some form of homemade bread. This year we are making this one, which is unbelievably delicious and so, so easy.)

Oh, and Peanut Butter Pie for dessert.

I refuse to add up the amount of cream cheese we will be consuming in the next two days.

All my kids will be home this year, and of course we have the new baby to make things even more fun.

How about you? Are you in the last minute scramble? Or are all your Christmas ducks in a row?

Have a wonderful Christmas!

December 11, 2014

pink - the very best kind

Back when I first shared about my battle with breast cancer, I eased into breaking the news by making you play a guessing game.

"Pink" was the first clue, and I knew some of you would initially think a baby girl was joining our family, instead of thinking that breast cancer was joining our family.

But, guess what.

Almost exactly a year after I finished my last chemo treatment, our first grandchild arrived, and our lives have once again been totally taken over by pink.

It is the Best Thing Ever.

Ever, ever.

She is beautiful and perfect, smushy and sweet, squeaky and snuggly, and just the most precious thing ever.

I love her.

I've been known to stand watching at the window when she's coming for a visit.

She's just starting to smile, and her smile melts my heart into a puddle.

In fact, every single thing about her melts all of us into a puddle.

My son and daughter-in-law are wonderful parents, just as I knew they'd be.

Her uncles are smitten.

My hubby and I are wearing the Papa and Grandma badges with pride.

Oh, what a difference a year makes.

September 12, 2014

garden goodbye

For the record, Montana sometimes makes me mad.

And sad.

And sometimes, it makes me bad. But that's a whole different blog post.

For today, we're going to focus on mad.

Specifically, early frosts are particularly irritating.

We woke up this morning to a slimy pumpkin patch, black zinnias, and 25 very, very dead tomato plants.

Of course, this time last week I was flirting with being grumpy about what I was going to do with all those tomatoes.

Problem solved!

We covered them with sheets, but it wasn't enough to prevent an icy death.

Gardening in Montana is always kind of tricky, and when the plants you spend so much time caring for don't make it to the finish line it is rather discouraging.

But I've already been on the internet learning how to help my green pumpkins turn orange, and I know the four bags of green beans in my freezer are going to taste even better for their small number.

Now I think it's time to embrace fall, put on a pot of chili, and start planning for next year.

How about you?

Is your garden going strong?

Or has the growing season come to a screeching halt in your neighborhood?

Let me know and then go have a fabulous weekend.

June 9, 2014

in the good old summertime

Hey y'all!

I thought I'd take a break from playing catch-up in the garden to pop in and say hi.

No Spring clean-up last year + hardly any summer maintenance + very little fall clean-up = total chaos.

Dandelions and thistles and lots of grass in places that grass should not be.

My usual Spring schedule has me outside at least eight hours a day, and I was pretty bummed to discover that I don't quite have the energy back to pull off that kind of ambitious agenda. I was actually bragging to whoever would listen that I was back to 100%, but that was before I added outdoor chores to my life.


But, there is light at the end of the tunnel, and I'm hoping to be totally on top of things within a couple weeks because this summer is totally going to make up for last summer.

BBQ's, parties, fun company coming to visit, hikes, trips to the farmers market, porch swinging, dock sitting.

Classic summer activities, but paired with a renewed appreciation for the gift of being alive to enjoy them.

To that end, I need your help.

I'm compiling the end all/be all summer playlist and I'd LOVE it if you would chime in with an all time favorite summer tune or two.

Songs that make you happy. Songs that make you feel the sunshine every time you hear them.

Any era, any genre.

Thank-you and have a happy Monday everyone!

March 20, 2014

puppy love

Need a little adorableness to brighten up your Thursday?

Meet Izzy.

Or Isobel, as she's known in more formal circles.

She is sweet and fun, and highly entertaining.

Izzy has given me a new respect for pet photographers, as puppies would much rather play with your camera than pose for it.

We've already spent one day working in the garden and she's on a hike with my hubby today, so she's wasting no time getting used to her new life as a country dog.

In other news, while we had snow on the ground this morning, the tulips are pushing through the cold ground and the trees are showing the first signs of life. Gardening season is right around the corner and I can't wait.

Happy First Day of Spring, everyone!

January 28, 2014

bran muffins

Happy New Year!

Twenty-eight days late.

Happy New Year plus 28!

I have a fairly healthy (no cream cheese - don't be shocked) recipe to share today, but I'm guessing there's a good chance I've missed the healthy eating window that is early January, and everyone has already fallen off the healthy eating wagon.

But just in case, I'm going to share anyway.

My bff made these for me while I was visiting in November, and I've had one for breakfast almost every morning since.

They are moist and delicious, and packed with lots of goodies that help you start your day off right.

Here's a link to the original recipe, and I'll note the few changes we made below.

Bran Muffins

1/2 cup raisins
1 egg
3/4 cup milk
1 1/2 cups bran cereal (Kellogg's All-Bran)
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons melted butter (I know - not healthy, but the time I forgot the butter in the microwave, the muffins were really dry.)
1 apple, cored and shredded (I use Fuji, and they've been huge lately. I measured last time I made them and it came to 1 1/2 cups of shredded apple)
1 ripe banana, mashed
1/2 cup honey
We also add...
1/4 cup flaked coconut
1/4 cup chopped pecans

Preheat an oven to 400 degrees. Grease 12 muffin cups, or line with paper cupcake liners.
Cover raisins with water in a microwave-safe bowl, and microwave on high for 1 minute to plump. Drain the raisins, and set aside.
Beat the egg with milk in a bowl, and mix in the bran cereal. Let the mixture stand until the cereal absorbs the liquid, about 5 minutes.
Gently mix in the plumped raisins, flour, baking soda, cinnamon, melted butter, shredded apple, mashed banana, coconut, pecans and honey, and stir a few times to mix.
Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, (I use a large ice cream scoop and its the perfect size to fill each muffin cup) and bake in the preheated oven for about 20-24 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Mine usually take 22-23 minutes.

I doubled the recipe last time I made them and they turned out perfectly. I wrap them well and freeze them and pull one out every night for the next morning's breakfast.

In other news, it's been especially quiet on the farm lately, which is exactly how I like it. I've been doing exciting things like watching my hair grow, and  tweezing the large number of eyebrows that apparently forgot where they're supposed to live. Seriously. Eyebrows inches away from their eyebrow home.

But I'm not complaining.

....or am I?

Dear Eyebrows,
I love you. And I missed you terribly while you were gone. I'm so very happy that you are back, but I do feel that it might be time to set some boundaries. You've had your fun, but from here on out, please confine your activities to your former stomping ground.
Very truly yours,

Other than that, I'm obsessing over Downton Abby, like much of the rest of the world, trying to get a few projects done before Spring arrives, and feeling bad for those of you stuck in the Winter Storm of 2014.

Stay warm and have a fabulous Tuesday!