Thursday, March 26, 2009

I'm off!

So we will be heading out bright and early tomorrow morning - unfortunately traffic will NOT look like this . . .
First we will stop here - Cait's apartment kitchen, where much baking, punch making and merry making will take place . . .
Then we will be going here - Recital Hall at the University Of North Texas College of Music in Denton. Caitlin will be having her first college recital! She will be playing 4 pieces - 1 solo, 1 duet with a vibraphone player and 2 pieces with her saxophone quartet. She is a nervous WRECK so please everyone keep good thoughts headed her way. After the recital we will hold a small reception at the college, then off to dinner and then off to the hotel to sleep! We will be returning Saturday (after taking numerous starving college students to dinner, breakfast, etc!) and once I recover I will post some pictures and maybe video if I can figure out how to do it lol. Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Wordless Wednesday and Outdoor Wednesday

It's Wednesday, so that can mean only one thing! Time for another edition of Wordless Wednesday, hosted by Miss Dixie at French Lique. This week's subject is "blogger's choice" and I'm so happy that I finally got to share these. There is quite a story behind them, but as this is Wordless Wednesday, I thought it would be fun if you made up your own! Use your imagination! Then make sure to visit Dixie at to see who else is participating. Dixie has a great blog, full of great ideas and her wonderful wit. You won't want to leave French Lique, Texas!

Now let's pop in on Susan at A Southern Daydreamer for Outdoor Wednesday. Susan hosts this fun weekly event so that we can showcase our favorite outdoor pictures. Make sure to visit her beautiful blog at to see everyone's post for this week. Spring is finally arriving and I'll bet there are some beautiful pictures. Make sure to stay awhile and browse around Susan's blog, it's wonderful! And for all of you readers out there, she has started a companion blog "A Southern Daydreamer Reads". Make sure to check it out, it's going to be fun and interesting to see what everyone has on their bookshelves (and on their nightstands, and everywhere else!)

If you saw my Sunday post, you saw a little tease for this one. Darling Cait, Sis and I spent part of the day at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin. Join me on a little tour of this jewel of a place.
Let's stroll through the gardens and see what is blooming right now . . .
My favorite, the bluebonnet, state flower of Texas and harbinger of spring . .
Just look how gorgeous they are in mass. If you've ever seen a highway roadside covered in masses of these, you will never forget the sight. If you click to enlarge this picture, you will see a few early Indian Paints blooming in the middle.
Some early blooming little wildflowers - aren't they just dainty and cute?
I have no idea what the yellow climber is, but it's so pretty. And I'm pretty sure that the small tree being trained is a wild flowering plum, but I could be wrong . . .
Yes, more bluebonnets. I told you they were my favorite! This is just one of the many paths that meander throughout this gorgeous facility.
There are spring fed streams that run throughout, the sound is so soothing and really makes you feel cooler on a warm day.
I thought this was such a pretty mix of native Texas plants. Mother nature really is the best designer, don't you think? Blue and yellow are so pretty together.
Coral honeysuckle. Just beautiful, and the smell is divine.
Even the turtles love it here! I hope you enjoyed this little tour. There is so much to see here that there is no way I could do it justice. If you are lucky enough to find yourself in Central Texas, you really should visit. This truly is an amazing place. I admire Lady Bird Johnson so much for her commitment to the beautification of not only her beloved state of Texas, but the entire United States. In the words of this grand lady "We are obligated to leave the country looking as good if not better than we found it" Well said, dear lady.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

A Perfect Day

Have you ever had one of those days that was just fun from beginning to end? Saturday was that way for me. Cait was home, Sis had the day off and I had been invited to a Junque sale held by some of our fellow bloggers. It was the perfect spring day for a drive through Texas, so we loaded Lyle into the Ipod and headed South to start our adventure! The sale was held at Rio Star Ranch just south of Austin and north of San Antonio. This area of Central Texas has beautiful rivers that are "tubing" hot spots in the summer. When we arrived, we drove down a lovely winding drive to see tents and displays and a barn full of stuff! Oh happy day.
Here's a picture for all of you plate addicts out there. Is your heart racing? The prices were unbelievable. Unfortunately, I had no idea what I was looking at. I confess that I lack the plate collecting gene. But this collection of blue was so pretty I just had to take a picture!
My loot! Eventually, I plan on cleaning out Cait's room and redoing it for our guests. I want to do the room in blues and creams and make it a restful, relaxing retreat. (Right now it has screaming purple walls!) I spied this quilt and thought it would be perfect. Cait saw the shear blue and white striped fabric and we thought it would make great pillow slips, or perhaps banding for white window panels. As we were looking around outside, Sis saw the white birdcages so I snatched those up too! You will never guess what I paid for all of this - drumroll please . . . $27.00! Can you believe it?
The best part of the sale was meeting some fellow bloggers! It's amazing how you can feel such a connection to people that you've only met in blogland. I first heard about this sale from Nancy at My Crafty Little Page. She and her posse, known far and wide as the "Valley Girls" rustled up some of their finds from estate sales, Craig's list, E-bay, etc and decided to clean house and have a huge sale. It was so exciting to meet some fellow bloggers in person. Darling Cait took this picture for us - in the front are Barbara from Rio Star Ranch and Nancy from My Crafty Little Page. In the back are Patty, Judy (Rio Star Ranch) Laverne (Riverside Studios) and moi! I apologize in advance if I mixed anyone up - I was so giddy, I forgot to write names down as Cait took the picture. You can visit Nancy at; Barbara and Judy at and Laverne at You might want to keep checking to see if they are going to have another sale - this one was a doozy!
Too soon, it was time to head down the road a piece. Gruene Market Days was being held this weekend, and I had always wanted to check it out. Gruene (pronounced "green") is a beautiful spot on the Guadalupe River. It has a strong German influence, and is full of wonderful inns, antique stores and great restaurants. Market Days is held on the third full weekend of each month, and has some beautiful and unique items for sale.

Just a very small portion of the vendor booths available for your shopping pleasure!
The Gruene Mansion Bed and Breakfast. Isn't she breathtaking?
We ended our time in Gruene with lunch at the Gruene River Grill. This is a beautiful restaurant with a section of windows overlooking the gorgeous Guadalupe River. We spied some brave souls tubing while we were there. The weather was beautiful and warm, but I bet that water was pretty darn cold! For more information on this lovely little town, visit We had one more stop to make before going home. Let's head back north toward Austin and stop at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. My DH was participating in the weekend Artisan's Festival, so we thought we would stop in say hi. This center was founded by Lady Bird Johnson as a center for wildflower preservation and research, as well as to educate the public. It is an absolutely gorgeous facility. I'm going to share just a few pictures here because I'm saving some for Outdoor Wednesday!
This is one of many large plantings of bluebonnets. Lady Bird was instrumental in highway beautification, not just in her beloved Texas but for the whole country. The bluebonnet is the state flower of Texas and can be seen growing all along the highways and backroads. The display this year will probably be light due to our ongoing drought, but I have seen them springing up.
A small stream that runs through the facility. The sound is so soothing.
I don't know about you, but all that walking has tired me out. Let's sit on this beautiful bench under the coral honeysuckle and relax for a bit.
I hope you enjoyed this little tour of Central Texas. If you would like more information on the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, please visit their website at

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Foodie Friday Bloopers

It's Friday, it's spring and I get to meet some fellow bloggers in person on Saturday - I am doing the happy dance here! But first, it's time for another edition of Foodie Friday, so graciously hosted every week by Gollum. If you haven't visited Gollum's blog yet, shame on you! She has the most wonderful decorating and cooking ideas, and her blog is just full of eye candy! Stop by and visit - I guarantee that you'll go back again and again. This week's optional theme is "kitchen bloopers and mishaps". Goodness knows that I have had plenty of these. If you don't believe me, see last week's post where I nearly used ground cumin instead of cinnamon to roll candy! But the recipe mess up that I remember best actually involved my sister and I. I was perhaps 12, so Sis was 9. We got the brilliant idea to surprise everyone and make chocolate chip cookies. We didn't think it would be all that difficult. You see, we had a secret weapon.
I mean really, how hard could this be? A little water, a little oil, some egg . . . . We had visions of a delectable treat that looked just like this . . . .

Unfortunately, we neglected to notice that the cookie mix we had was for either one or two batches. Someone had already made one. We followed the directions for two. The batter was basically like tan water, so we thought, what the heck, it just needs some more flour. So we added some flour. ALOT of flour. We ended up with something that was more like this . . .

You've heard the expression measure twice, cut once? Well we learned the hard way that the same basic principal applies to cooking! Now pop on over to Gollum's place and see who else is admitting their most appalling kitchen catastrophes.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Here we go again - 3 post Wednesday!

It's Wednesday - not only is it hump day, it's Wordless Wednesday, hosted by Miss Dixie at French Lique, Texas. Stop by and say hey. While you're there, see what everyone else has come up with this week. This week's word is "dance"

Don't forget to "swing" through French Lique and visit Dixie. You'll be glad you did!

Wednesday also means it's time for What's on Your Wall Wednesday, hosted by the most gracious southern lady you'll ever want to meet, Barb at Grits and Glamour. This event is lots of fun, everyone gets to peek at what's on your walls. Is there any better way to get a glimpse of someone's personality than to see what they choose to hang in their home? Stop by and visit Barb at Check out her blog for some amazing decorating and cooking ideas. This gal has more energy in her little finger than I have in my entire body!

This is one of my favorite pieces. It is a portrait of Miles Davis painted by Robert Hurst. Robert is an Austin based artist who is probably best known for his portrayals of sports figures, but he does beautiful music based pieces also. I just love his use of color and movement.
If the money tree ever comes back from the dead, we would like to commission Robert to do a large jazz based piece for the living room wall behind the sofa. Until then, this smaller piece will have to suffice. If you would like to see more of Robert's work, there is a link to his web site on my side bar.

Finally, don't forget that it's also Outdoor Wednesday, graciously hosted by Susan at A Southern Daydreamer. This has become a hugely popular weekly event for everyone to share their favorite outdoor pictures. Visit Susan at for some great decorating ideas. She has such a lovely home, you'll be glad you stopped by.
Darling daughter Cait dancing with her cousin Desi at Central Market. Central Market hosts a series of outdoor music events on their patio. What could possibly be better than listening to the fantastic sounds of Austin's own Monster Big Band and enjoying a wonderful meal from Central Market? Foodie and music heaven!!!
Finally, I'll leave you with a picture of sea oats "dancing" in the breeze at St. George Island, Florida. Come on summer! Don't forget to stop by Susan's and see what great outdoor photos everyone is sharing this week.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Foodie Friday - Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Happy Friday everyone! We are all invited to an early St. Patrick's day bash at Gollum's house! Visit her at to see what everyone is bringing this week. I am going to bring one of my favorite sweet treats, Irish Potato Candy, usually just called "Irish potatoes". I first had this delicious candy when we lived in Philadelphia. My husband and I had just gotten married and were flat broke, but we would allow ourselves a treat occasionally from one of the vendors at the Reading Terminal Market. These are usually only sold in the spring around St. Patricks day. I've never seen them anywhere else, but I think See's candy may sell a version. I found a recipe on the internet (thank goodness for Google!) that was as close as I've found. I have seen versions that call for Karo syrup, some that use actual potatoes and even some that call for peanut butter (?), but this one is the closest to the candy I remember from "way back when".
Very short ingredient list. Yes, this does call for an entire box of confectioner's sugar.

This is the gooey mess before you roll them in the cinnamon. And trust me on this, when it tells you to add the sugar at low speed, you really want to follow directions unless you enjoy looking like Casper the friendly ghost. Another helpful hint - be careful when grabbing things out of your spice cabinet - ground cumin looks a whole lot like ground cinnamon when you aren't wearing your glasses ! Luckily I caught myself before I made a disastrous mistake!
Look Gollum, I have a delirious kitchen lol!

The fruits of your labor. After the week I've had, I'll give you three guesses as to what I wish was in that lovely glass coffee mug! This really is a delicious treat, hope you enjoy it. Now dance a little jig on over to Gollum's place and see what other Irish delicacies await!

Irish Potato Candy
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
4 ounces whole fat cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
16 ounces (one box) confectioners' sugar
2 1/2 cups sweetened coconut
Ground cinnamon, enough to completely coat the candy ( count on about 3/4 of a 1 oz container)

1. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and cream cheese. Beat in the vanilla and then at low speed, the confectioners' sugar. Add the coconut and beat to thoroughly incorporate. Roll pinches of the mixture between hands to form balls (resembling tiny new potatoes). Roll balls in cinnamon to thoroughly coat and refrigerate until firm. Store refrigerated in an air tight container. The candy will keep for up to two weeks.

Yield: 30-36 pieces - I make mine a little larger

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Friends and flowers

Time once again for Wordless Wednesday, one of my favorite events hosted by Dixie at French Lique, Texas. If you haven't been to French Lique, pay a visit at You'll be glad you did. The word for this week is friends.

Now make sure you go visit Dixie to see all the other posts for this week!

Wednesday is here again, which means it's Outdoor Wednesday, graciously hosted by Susan at A Southern Daydreamer. It's so much fun to share our outdoor scenes, whether they be in our yards, our favorite vacation spot or any other outdoor space. Be sure to visit Susan at to see everyone's outdoor photos for the week.

Do you know what this is? If you are from Texas you do! This is the absolute, positive, undeniable proof that Spring is here! This is my first bluebonnet sighting of the year. I was so excited to see this, and I didn't even have to risk life and limb on the highway access road to get this picture - these were springing up in a lawn 2 blocks from my house.

Bluebonnets grow in profusion along the highways and backroads alike, all over Texas. We have Lady Bird Johnson to thank for spurring interest in highway beautification, and the fruits of her labor can be seen all over our state. This year is probably not going to be a banner year due to our ongoing drought, but these hardy flowers usually find a way to bloom somewhere!

Hope you enjoyed a true sign of spring here in Texas. Now jump on over to Susan's to see what everyone else is sharing.