Friday, June 1, 2012

The new face of Blogger

The New Face of Blogger
Well things are finally getting back to normal at our house. The painting and gardening is done and most of our commitments are over for a while. I had so much I wanted to share with you that I thought it would be a good time to get back to blogging again. However, as I started to upload pictures I received a notification from google that I had exceeded my limit of free space due to my photos and Gmail account. I was quite surprised, because as most of you know I haven't been blogging much this year, and I rarely use my Gmail account.
In the past I was notified once before that I had reached my quota of photos and was able to purchase more space at a cost of five dollars per YEAR.
Now to continue blogging and maintain my Gmail services, the new Google plan requires a charge of 2.49 dollars per MONTH for basic services or 4.99 per MONTH for additional services that would enable me to post pictures and have a greater space available to add links and etc.
For me there are many things to consider. This additional fee seems like a minimal amount but where does it all end? I have read that cable companies will soon begin to charge more depending on how often you use the Internet and what services you use on a regular basis. These companies already charge exorbitant fees just to connect to the Internet. I have also read that google will begin charging soon for things like map quest and Google search. Face book may even begin charging consumers soon. It sounds like in the future the consumer may be nickle and dimed to death. Apple already charges for some of it's apps and I read that there was a problem in the past with them over charging for e-books.
At this point I'm not willing to pay extra for these services. I come from a generation where the Internet was not heard of and I can very easily slip back to the days of no cable TV or Internet services at all if I want or have to do it. With the younger generation I know this will be much more difficult to do.
I also wanted you to know I have had trouble posting on some of your blogs. I continue to read them faithfully. I will continue to share that link with all of you until Google no longer allows it. I know some of you have my e mail address. I would love to continue hearing from you.
I think in light of all of these currant circumstances I have truly come to the end of my blog and I wanted you to know what happened to me and why I haven't been posting. All of you have enriched my life beyond measure! In my prayers I think of all of you.
As I take pictures, set a holiday table, hug my dog, try a new recipe, or travel out and about I think of all of you.
Please know that all of you will forever be embedded in my heart and soul ♥
God bless each and every one of you ♥
With warmest regards,

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Do you have a herb garden?

Do you have a herb garden?
I have to say, that although my mother was a great cook, she never used a lot of herbs in her cooking. She was more of a basic kind of cook. We usually could tell what was going to be on the table by what day of the week it was.
After I married I started using more spices and herbs in my cooking. Then approximately ten years ago I began using fresh herbs.
One of the problems with using fresh herbs, at least for me, is finding them. We have several stores that carry them but on any given day they might not have the ones I need in stock. Then there is always the problem of storing them. I do keep them in seal tight containers, but as you know, if they are not used in a given amount of time they go to waste.
I've always wanted a herb garden but I have heard stories about how the herbs will take over your entire yard if left unattended.
This year I had the bright idea of making a small herb garden in my kitchen window. I went to my local nursery and purchased the herbs I thought I would use the most. I potted them and placed them on the shelves in my window. I have to say they looked very nice for several days. Then I noticed tiny little yellow gnat's of some sort in the window and flitting about the plants. I thought that would be the end of my herb gardening days forever.
In the end I decided to replant the herbs in a couple of containers I had stored in the garage. (Funny thing I haven't noticed any more gnats) I found a little frog and used one of the rocks I got in Petoskey last year to dress up the planter. I also added some wood chips to keep down any weeds that might decide to stop by for a visit. I must say my little garden is thriving. The plants have already doubled in size.
The only problem I see as of now is that of our inquisitive little hound Charli. She loves mint! I like to put it in her water bowl to keep her breath nice and fresh. I have already caught her several times sniffing at the mint in the planter. As soon as I give out a holler she runs away from the plants but time will tell if her curiosity will win out over her listening skills.
The herbs I have chosen for my garden are oregano, lemon thyme, sage, rosemary, mint, and basil. Even though it is still quite early in the year for planting I have been able to store them in our garage at night and bring them outside during the day light hours.
Best of all is that I have already been using my herbs! Last night my hubby and I had a salad with fresh basil, oregano, and thyme in it. It was sooo good! I'm looking forward to making a lot of sun tea this summer with mint and raspberries in it. Oops, I'll have to go to the store for those raspberries though.
How about you? Do you like to use fresh herbs in your cooking? Do you buy them or do you have a herb garden of your own?
I hope you are all having a wonderful week. The sun is shining here and I have been working out in the yard a little bit this morning.
My heart and prayers goes out to all of those who have been affected by these deadly tornado's we have been having.
Take care my friends ♥
With warmest regards, Carol

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Spring Flowers......

Spring Flowers......
Don't you just love spring flowers? I know I do but sometimes it's just not possible to have fresh flowers all of the time.
I also like to do simple crafts and I especially like to paint. I find it very relaxing. I will usually grab a pillow for Charli and sit her on a chair beside my desk while I work away. These spring flowers are one of my latest projects. As you can see they are a very simple and primitive form of art. I absolutely love them though! They definitely add a sense of cheerfulness to our little home. Right now I have some of them sitting on the mantel and in the kitchen window but I like to move them around. I am thinking of the many other possible ways these little flowers can be used so you just might see them again in some future post.
I hope all of you are doing well! Happy spring everyone ♥
With warmest regards, Carol

Sunday, April 8, 2012

A very Happy Easter and The Lobster Award!

A Very Happy Easter and The Lobster Award!
Is it just me or does time seem to be swirling by for everyone these days? I just can't believe it's already Easter! It seems like just yesterday that we were celebrating Christmas.
I would like to take this opportunity to wish all of you a very happy and blessed Easter! I wish you all good heath, peace, and a day filled with all of those you love ♥
I think last month was one of the busiest our family has experienced in a while. So many unexpected events seemed to pop up out of now where. We have run the gamut of illnesses of friends and family and have had to make many life changing decisions as my husband and I embark on yet a new chapter in our life. My husband retired this month. It's something we have been looking forward to for many years, but as with embarking on anything new, it has left us some what rattled.
In the mist of this very busy month I did receive a wonderful and very touching surprise. I was awarded the very prestigious Lobster Award from my friend Michael. Thank you so much Michael for thinking of me! I don't think it's a totally deserved award on my part but I have accepted it in the spirit of friendship.
"This magnificent and rarely presented award is only given to those tireless and hardworking blogger's who, despite the many vicissitudes which life may throw in their way, despite the magnitude of the task at ahead in their daily grind that is this vale of tears, despite every obstacle, every hardship, and every discouragements and temptations to just click and move on to another blog; they will find time to visit your personal offering and to regularly leave a message there in the comments box."
As all of you may know I truly cherish these awards and keep them posted on my friend's page that can be linked through the sidebar of this blog.
My friend Michael has a wonderful, thought provoking, and inspiring blog. It is one that is very uplifting for me to stop by and read. Although I may not always leave a comment I do read his blog on a regular basis. If you get a chance I hope you will stop by and say hello to Michael. You can reach his blog by clicking the following link Thanks again Michael for thinking of me!
Happy Easter everyone!!! I hope your day is special in every way ♥
With warmest regards, Carol and Charli

Friday, March 16, 2012

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

Happy Saint Patrick's Day Everyone!
Well this will be a very unusual Saint Patrick's Day for us. Over the years on this holiday you would most likely find me in the kitchen making Irish soda bread, Irish stew or corned beef and cabbage, and baking some type of a green inspired dessert while listening to some good old Irish music. Our house would be decorated and our table would be covered with lace. Most certainly our table would be adorned with beautiful green and white flowers of some sort. When I wasn't working I would usually attend morning mass. When our children and grandchildren were young there were always some kind of tricks to look forward to that those nasty little Leprechauns pulled, but sadly this this year it's not the case as we are right in the middle of painting the kitchen, our children are grown, and other plans have gotten in the way as they sometimes do.
However one of the things we did do was attend the Saint Patrick's Day Parade in the neighboring city of Royal Oak last weekend. The city has been hosting the parade for approximately three years now and it truly is a grand and fun filled event.
My husband and I originally wanted to take our grandson Ryan and our dog Charli with us to the parade but Ryan opted out and the day of the parade it was very cold. We worried it would be just to much for our little pooch. I kind of wish we would have brought Charli to the parade with us because the other dogs seemed to do fine. Royal Oak is known as a dog friendly city so there were a lot of dogs in the parade and on the side lines wearing green. I have included a link to the 2010 Royal Oak Parade to give you an idea of what it's like
The thing I like best about the parade is that it is a small town event. It's so much fun to see families out together enjoying themselves and celebrating this wonderful holiday. People seem to love Saint Patrick's Day! They are celebrating it more now than they ever have in the past.
Since it was just us old folks attending the parade we decided to stop by one of our favorite restaurants for brunch. Lily's, as the locals call it, is located right on the parade route and has great food and atmosphere. Since it was the day of the Saint Patricks Parade we decided to top off our meal with a little Irish coffee. If you ever find yourself in the city of Royal Oak Lily's is a great place to eat. I have included a link here in case you would like to check it out for yourself.
What ever your doing for Saint Patrick's Day I hope you stay safe and have loads of fun!
'May you have a world of wishes at your command,
God and his angels close at hand,'
Friends and family to love and hold close,
And tons of Irish blessings in your heart.
Happy Saint Patrick's Day Everyone! God bless you ♥
With warmest regards, Carol

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Tuscan Style Vegetable Soup

A couple of months ago I was surfing the net and came upon a blog that had posted this very delicious soup recipe.
I profoundly apologise because for some reason I didn't write down the name of the blog. The blog owner, where I found the soup recipe, wrote that she had originally gotten it from food She said she had tweaked it slightly to her liking. I did the same thing and as a result this recipe is slightly different from the original two. However, if you posted this recipe on your blog please let me know in the comment section. I will be happy to add the name of your blog here. Again, I truly apologize.
I have served this vegetable soup several times now and it's been a hit with everyone! I can't tell you how many times I have been asked for the recipe.
My recipe calls for KG's Slap and Tickle. Unfortunately it cannot be found in any stores or web sites as of yet. Our son Kurt, who loves to cook, developed it. He is in the process of starting a little side business selling his rub. He originally developed the rub to put on meat but it's so good that we actually use it as a seasoning for just about everything. Kurt has given his rub to a few select family members and friends to try and so far everyone seems to like it. I posted a picture of the bottle and label he designed here in case you ever see it in the grocery store and would like to try it. We we are very proud of Kurt for taking the initiative to develop the rub from his passion for cooking. Hence, the little plug here :>)
Now it's on to the recipe.......
1 and 1/2 (15-ounce can) low sodium cannelloni beans drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 large sweet onion diced
3 stalks celery diced
1 yellow zucchini diced
2-3 carrots diced
1-1/2 cup cabbage (I use the pre-shredded)
3 cloves of garlic minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1/4 teaspoon KG's Slap and Tickle (Or another bottle of the mixed seasoning of your choice)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
32 oz box of chicken or vegetable broth (I use chicken broth)
1 large tomato or two small tomatoes diced (The tomato really adds flavor so don't skimp here)
2 to 3 cups fresh baby spinach leaves
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
(olive oil to drizzle on soup when served. Parmesan cheese to sprinkle on soup if desired. I also serve the soup with chucks of warm bakery or home made bread. I make small plates of extra virgin olive oil and Italian herbs to dip the bread into.)
Heat the oil in a large soup pan over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery, zucchini, cabbage, garlic, thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Add the butter.
Then add the broth and tomatoes. Bring to boil. Add the cannelloni beans and the spinach. Cook until the spinach is wilted, about 2-3 minutes.
add the Parmesan cheese.
Charli loves this soup! I add a little of the broth and a few small chucks of bread to her dry dog food and she eats it right up. She especially loves the smells in the house as the soup is cooking. Yep, you will find her sitting on the kitchen rug on those days hoping a little crumb or something will fall her way.
If you try this soup I hope you like it as much as our family does. The soup also makes a nice base for adding other ingredients like sausage, shrimp and chicken.
With warmest regards, Carol

Monday, February 20, 2012

'The Art of Racing in The Rain

'The Art of Racing in the Rain'
When a member of our book club suggested we read this book I have to admit I was a little skeptical upon hearing it was written from a dog's perspective. I imagined a flowery and silly book without much substance.
My husband suggested we read the book together, out loud, alternating chapters. He can be so sweet! He worries about my eye strain and he knows once I start a book, even if I don't like it, I will usually finish reading to the end.
We crawled into bed on a cold and windy Sunday afternoon, with Charli snuggled between us, and started reading. After the first chapter we both were hooked. We could not put the book down.
'The Art of Racing in The Rain', written by Garth Stein, will most likely leave you wanting a dog or hugging the one you have just a little tighter. If you love animals I think you will enjoy this book. In fact the book has become so popular with readers that it is now being made into a movie. I have included the link here if you would like to take a peek
I think what makes 'The Art of Racing in The Rain' so special is the fact that it is written from a dog's perspective. Garth Stein makes his book come to life in a very creative and believable way.
Enzo is the dog who is the narrator of this story. He is a highly intelligent pooch who has educated himself by listening to people and watching programs on TV. Enzo is a philosopher who believes that there is life after death. He believes that if dogs are ready they can come back as men.
Enzo is frustrated because he wants to be able to communicate and do all of the things that men can do, but of course he is unable to do so, being the dog that he is. I think this song might explain it best. It's called Enzo's song and you can listen to it by clicking this link
'The art of Racing in The Rain' is a heart warming book that will take you on a roller coaster of emotions. It is a book about love, faith, and family that is inspiring, at times heartbreaking, and still other times down right funny.
The book centers around Denny who is an up and coming race car driver. Denny has always wanted a dog and he chooses Enzo. From a puppy through old age Enzo and Danny are inseparable. People come and go throughout the book but the one thing that never changes is the special bond and relationship between Denny and Enzo. They also share Denny's passion for race car driving.
Denny marries Eve and they have a child. We learn of all of these things through Enzo. We, as the reader, experience the joy, sadness, happiness, challenges, and success's of this family through this beloved dog.
When tragedy hits the family Enzo is helpless to do anything but be supportive to Danny. Enzo admires Danny's ability to cope and believes that it's Danny's skills as a race car driver that has made him stay so strong and focused. When Danny finally falters under the pressure and thinks about giving up it is Enzo who helps him get back on track in the ways only a dog can do.
When Enzo comes to the end of his life he doesn't want to leave Danny but he wants to go on to what he believes will be his new life. He wants to be able to run and not be in pain any more. It is Danny who holds him, comforts him, and tells him it's OK to go.
Danny continues through life never forgetting his beloved dog Enzo. Then in the end of the book something extraordinary happens! I'm not sharing it with you here though because I don't want to spoil the book for anyone who wants to read it.
With warmest regards, Carol

A Snowy Day at School

A Snowy Day at School.....
Recently our family had the pleasure of visiting Ryan and Aayden's Elementary school to celebrate an annual event entitled 'Colonial Days'.
While we were there I couldn't help but notice all of the delightful snowmen hanging outside of the classrooms on the walls. I have to say that I really enjoy this type of art.
I miss the days when our son's, and later our grandson Thomas, used to bring home their colorful art work from school. I was one of those mom's and grandmother's that hung it up all over the house. I used to sometimes hang it in my windows, on my door, my walls, and yes, even on my refrigerator. I hung up some of the drawings and crafts year after year until they literally fell apart.
For years I kept much of our son's art work packed away in plastic boxes. Recently I decided the time had come to give it back to it's respective owners. It was a very difficult decision for me. To this day I cannot part with the home made Christmas ornaments they made me though the years.
This type of art has always fascinated me and warmed my heart. I always wonder how each little mind comes up with such interesting and unique designs. That, plus the fact, that I have always been drawn to bold and beautiful primary colors.
With the weather like it's been in our area I think the time has come to file these pictures away until next year, when God willing, you will most likely see some of them on the side bar of this blog.
Our granddaughter Jessica told me she saw her first robin yesterday. Charli and I go out in the yard every morning but so far we haven't seen one. We continue to wait patiently and know it won't be long.
I hope all of you are well and having a good week!
God bless you ♥
With warmest regards, Carol

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