Thursday, July 31, 2008

Our Silver Lining!

Curtis had car trouble on Tuesday morning. Actually, his fuel line sprung a leak and he lost a half tank of gas by the time he figured out what happened. Thank the good Lord, it didn't catch fire! He left the car at work that night and then last night after dinner, Allison and I took him back so he could replace the fuel line. Yes, my man can do it himself! He's very talented! Anyway. I didn't want to leave him there in case he didn't get it done. Good thing too because he ran out of daylight so he'll be finishing it today on his lunch break. So while my man was working hard on doing this:

I needed to keep Allison busy in the parking lot. How does one do that? First we went for a walk to pick wildflowers but then she got distracted by the puddles from the rain. No, scratch that! It was more of a torrential down pour we had earlier in the day. Thankfully I had my camera with me and decided to capture the fun. I must admit here. I am the one that taught her how to jump in puddles when she was just a little toddler. It's good clean fun! You should throw caution to the wind one day and try it. You would be surprised at how liberating it is!

After the puddle jumping, I decided to do an impromptu photo shoot. Allison wasn't dressed for it but I decided to do it anyway. As you can see, she threw her cowgirl boots on and had already had her ponytail holder pulled out of her hair when I told her it was time to take Daddy to his car. We walked around the grounds of Curtis's workplace and I became inspired. I have to tell you, I LOVE these pictures! They were taken with my inexpensive point and shoot digital camera. Someday I'll own one of the more advanced digitals with some lenses but for now, this is all I have. I've posted the pictures in the order they were taken. I didn't want to sway any one's opinion but please leave a comment and tell me which one do you like best?? I've numbered them so you can just leave the number when you comment. If you would like to share why you like a particular one, please let me know that too.


They say there is a silver lining in every dark cloud. I know this was ours. I would have never thought to take Allison to a lumber/builder's yard for a photo shoot. I also would have never allowed her to wear that outfit, have her hair just hanging down or wear pink cowgirl boots. Okay, well maybe I would allow the boots but do you get what I am trying to say?

“Too many people miss the silver lining because they're expecting gold.”

~Maurice Setter

Have Fun!

Pin It

Monday, July 28, 2008

Two Beauties!

I have just enough time to stop by to share this picture of Allison at my Mom's yesterday.
I just love that girl!
I am off to work now. I have a couple of really long days ahead of me but be sure to check back with me because I have fun stuff to share. Well, fun to me anyway! I have been up to a lot and there will be fun in it for you too!
I have a give-a-way coming up so be sure not to miss it!

Have Fun!
Pin It

Saturday, July 26, 2008

One of My Favorite Things!

Cindy over at "My Romantic Home" blog is hosting an "Our Favorite Things" weekend.
She has asked us to post one of our favorite things. It can't be a person but something materialistic. Can I just say here...This was HARD! You know me, I'm sentimental so it was difficult to narrow it down to just one thing. My home is filled with things that are special to me. Things that were handed down by loved ones, things that were gifts from my family and friends, things that I've collected along the journey of my life that reflect me. I'll just have to do a post later in the future of ALL of my favorite things! But for now, here is what I picked to share. It's the one thing that I kept coming back to when walking around my home.
It's my old window curio. It's just a 3 shelf cabinet with an old window on the front. I picked it up at a craft festival a few years ago. I didn't have anything in mind of what I was going to put in it when I bought it. I just liked it.

Let me take you on a tour of the inside. The first things I put in here are the old planters. This was a collection that I inherited from my Aunt Carole after she passed away. The one on the top shelf was her Mother's (my Ba Ba). I remember it was on the little shelf on the side of the kitchen cabinet. This is what started my Aunt to start collecting the others that are in the curio after Ba Ba died. I plan to pass them on to my Allison. The girl on the top is a December lady figurine. This was also my Aunt Carole's and since we are both December babies, I was the obvious person to inherit this. The picture next to it is of me at about 3 years of age sitting on my Aunt Carole's lap. The middle shelf houses 3 Willow Tree Christmas ornaments from my friend, Sherie. I collect Willow Trees. I didn't want to wrap the ornaments up and put them away all year so I decided to put them in here for now. The blue stoneware angel is from a friend of mine that passed away 4 years ago from cancer. Barbara knew I loved angels and I've named this one after her. I know she's one of my angels up there watching over me. The rose was also my Aunt Carole's. It will be moved to my bedroom as soon as that room gets redone. Last but not least, the bottom shelf. The picture is of Aunt Carole. This was taken before she got sick. It's how I remember her. The other things are from my daughter, Allison. The little bottle of sand art that she did in kindergarten. The rock she found for me because there was pink in it. Another little stone (in front of the picture) that she tumbled in her rock tumbler because it came out pink. There is also a little silver frog with a crown on it next to the stone. It's something she picked out when we were at Put-In-Bay last fall. If you click on the picture, you should be able to see a close up of everything.
I hoped you enjoyed one of my favorite things. Stop by Cindy's blog to see more favorite things of other bloggers. You can click on the link at the beginning of this post to get there. If that doesn't work, Cindy's blog "My Romantic Home" is over there ----> on my side bar too.

Have Fun!

Pin It

Friday, July 25, 2008


It's been a busy week! Chat with you soon!

Have Fun! Pin It

Saturday, July 19, 2008

A Birthday Swim!

I took Allison to lunch on Wednesday for her birthday. It was just the two of us since since Daddy was working. While we were having lunch, she asked if I would take her to the park/playground around the corner. Even though it was 88 degrees here, I agreed. Before anyone says anything about 88 not being hot, it is for us. Anyway, we were only at the park for 15 minutes before she saw the public pool, which is next to the playground, and asked if we could go home and get her bathing suit so we could go swimming. My initial reaction was no but then I quickly remembered, it was her birthday. I caved and off we went to get our things. We only stayed for a couple of hours. We had to go home to get ready for her birthday dinner but she had a blast. This was the first time we were there. I had anticipated more people but it really wasn't crowded. I remember going swimming as a kid and it being packed. I guess more people have their own pools at home these days. This pool was very clean. The lawns were nicely manicured. And it was well staffed with personnel and lifeguards...but of course Allison had her own! I also liked how the kiddie pool started at 0 inches and gradually got deeper. I think the deepest part of it was 2 feet 10 inches. It was just the perfect depth in my opinion. Allison would have liked for it to be deeper. It was a good time. I'm glad I listened to the birthday girl and tried something new. Enjoy the pics!

"Summer afternoon - summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language."
~Henry James

Have Fun!

Pin It

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Best Baked Bean Recipe Ever and a Tag!

Years ago at a get together I tasted the BEST Baked Beans EVER! I knew immediately I needed that recipe! And I was prepared to do anything to get it! Fortunately for me, I didn't have to break into the cook's house in the middle of the night while they were sleeping to get it! My best friend's Mom, Sandy, had made it. Thank goodness! She's like my second Mom and loves me so I knew she would hand it over to me without me having to use unscrupulous methods to obtain it. He he! I was right. I asked and she ever so kindly gave it to me. And lucky for you, I am about to share it with all of you. I promise this is the BEST baked bean recipe you will ever taste! It's called "Calico Baked Beans." It makes a lot so it's probably not a good idea to make it for dinner if you are a family of two...unless it's the only thing you make. But then you'll end up hating it because you ate too much and it made your belly hurt and then you'll disagree that it's the BEST ever and then you'll email me and say that it wasn't the best and then I'd have to find you and make you agree with me that it's the best because it really is! Oh gosh, just save the recipe for a get together and you'll save us both a headache! I make it every year for Allison's birthday party since it's the only time that I get to cook for a crowd. It's always a hit and usually there are no leftovers! It's the perfect recipe to make the day ahead so you'll save yourself some time on party day. On party day, I just throw it straight from the refrigerator into a Crockpot a couple of hours before I need it. I put it on high to get it started. Once is gets going, I stir it and either switch it to low or warm and forget about it. It's perfect every time.
I didn't take a picture of the ingredients before I started. I just started making it and then thought that I should share it with all of you. I've listed the ingredients and amounts below with the directions but so you won't be lost with the pictures, here the list: bacon, ground beef, fresh onion, can of pork & beans, can of kidney beans, can of lima beans, brown sugar, ketchup, vinegar and yellow mustard.
Let's get started!
Start with 1 pound of bacon. Make sure it's one pound and not those 12 ounce packages they sell these days. What are those about anyway? A 4 ounce difference? Seriously friends, does anyone really stand there and say, "Cool, 4 ounces less! I'll take this package!" or do they get home and say "Dang, this isn't a pound!" I swear the latter happens more often. I know I made the mistake once! Oops! Sorry for getting off track with my consumer comments! Okay, let's get back to the pound of bacon. I cut the whole slab into thirds and then put it in the pan. Since the bacon doesn't have to be perfect long slices I use my deeper smaller pan instead of my large pan with a big flat surface. I feel like I can control it better in this pan and anyway, it's my favorite pan! So I am attached to it! As the pan starts to heat up the pieces will start to break up. Give it some help with a pair of long handled tongs. I know a lot of people do not like to cook bacon. It's not that bad. The key is to cook it at the right temperature. Too hot and you'll get it crackling and spitting at you as if it's saying "Hey! Our bath is too hot!" and then it burns before you know it. Not hot enough and it takes forever and it never really gets crisp.
While you have the bacon cooking nicely, grab a BIG bowl. Now open your can of pork & beans and throw it in! I only use Campbell's Pork and Beans and not the small one. It's the next size up. Around 20 ounces or so. They have a really big one but that's too big. I know some of you are probably thinking that other brands are better. I am sure they are but you will be adding the flavor to it and the Campbell's work the best. Trust me here.
Add a regular sized can of kidney beans. Dark Red? Light Red? It doesn't matter. Throw in whatever you have in your pantry. These happen to be light red.
Next it's time for the lima beans. Open the can and make sure you rinse very well under cold water before you add them to the bowl.
Don't forget to check on the bacon! Hmmm, I love the smell of bacon cooking!
Now back to the bowl. Add 1 cup of firmly packed brown sugar. The recipe doesn't say if it's dark or light brown sugar. I used dark brown this time because that's what was in my cupboard. Light brown works well too!
Now go get that bacon out of it's hot bath! Drain it on a couple of paper towels on a plate. Let it cool while we get back to our bowl.
Now add 1 cup of ketchup. Heinz is my brand of choice. Not only because it's the best but it's also from Pittsburgh! Next add 1 tablespoon of vinegar. I use apple cider vinegar of course it's Heinz!
One more tablespoon to go! And this time it's yellow mustard. Any ideas on the brand?? Yes! If you guessed Heinz, you are right!
By the way, now would be a good time to start preheating your oven to 350 degrees.

Now it's time to go back to the stove. Throw in the pound of ground beef. Start to break it up and brown it over medium to medium high heat.

As that is starting to brown, grab an onion! The recipe calls for an onion. This is something I struggle with when I read recipes that say "an" onion. Does this mean a small one? A medium one? A large one? I use either one small or 1/2 of a medium one. Of course this all depends on your perception of small or medium! This is my idea of a 1/2 of a medium one...but it doesn't matter! That is the best thing about cooking! There is room for adjusting recipes to fit you and your family. So if you like a lot of onion, go for it! Now get going and chop that onion!

Add it to the ground beef and continue to brown it all.

While this combination is browning nicely, I go to my cooled bacon. I run my knife through it on the cutting board to help crumble it up. You can crumble it if you like but I like it some crumbled and some little pieces.

See what I mean? I like to see the bacon in the finished product. Now add your bacon to the big bowl.

Your beef and onions should be done by now. Drain it well.

Add it to the big bowl and stir, stir, stir!

Now transfer it to some sort of oven safe cookware. Make sure it's big enough to allow it to bubble some. I use my CorningWare.

Go ahead and cover it before you put it into your preheated 350 degree oven. If your cookware doesn't have a lid, just use good old aluminum foil.

Bake it for 45 minutes and be careful when you take off the lid or foil. There will be steam in there and you don't want to burn your pretty face.

Grab a spoon and give it a good stir. Click on the pic to get a good look. Doesn't it look yummy?? I really hope you try it. I promise you will not be disappointed!

Calico Baked Beans


1 lb. bacon

1 lb. ground beef

1 onion (chopped)

1 medium can of Campbell's Pork and Beans

1 can Kidney Beans

1 can Lima Beans (drained)

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup ketchup

1 tablespoon vinegar

1 tablespoon yellow mustard

~Cook off 1 pound of bacon, drain and when cooled, crumble.

~Brown 1 pound of ground meat with chopped onion. Drain grease.

~All all ingredient into a big bowl and mix together well.

~Bake at 350 degrees covered in oven safe cookware for 45 minutes.

Okay, now it's time for me to respond to a tag! Kim, my fellow blog friend who lives in Florida, tagged me on her blog. Here it goes:

Ten Years Ago: I had just bought a new car a couple of weeks ago. It was and still is a 1998 Ford Taurus which is emerald green. Her name is Emmie and I still have her. She's my second car and has 190,000 miles on her. Sometimes I feel the same as I'm sure she does...tired and old. I was also single and probably depressed because my biological clock had been ticking for some time and I never thought I would ever be a Mom.

Five things on today's to do list: 1. Finish this blog post. 2. Clean the living room. 3. Help Allison with her puppet show. 4. Make dinner. 5. Laundry! Laundry! Laundry. No Kim! It's never ends for any of us!

Snacks I enjoy: Right now it's been watermelon. I can't get enough! I love it! I've also been eating those new Baked Tostitos Scoop with salsa. Yummy!

Things I would do if I were a millionaire: Secure Allison's college education. The online calculators tell me it's going to $200,000 by the time she goes! I would also buy an old farm house back home by my family and friend to fix up and spend my time fixing it up. I would have time of course because I would have quit my job if I were a millionaire. I would also invest a good portion of it so we could continue to live in my dream farm house. I would also donate to children's charities because we have been so blessed that Allison is healthy, I would want them to find cures for all childhood diseases.

Places I have lived: Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

I am now supposed to tag 4 people so I tag Stephanie, Jolene, Stephanie and Stephanie! We need to get Stephanie to back to blogging. Sorry Steph but I am not picking on you! You weren't all of my 4 choices! Love You!

That's it for now!

Have Fun!

Pin It

Thursday, July 17, 2008

A Party Fit for an Allosaurus!

As I mentioned a couple of days ago, we had an awesome birthday party for Allison. It was so nice just to be celebrating it with my family and my best friend's family. I also refer to them as my second family. Usually I am running around making sure everything is taken care of that I don't enjoy myself. This year was different. I actually enjoyed myself. As I said previously, it was THE perfect party! If you are a long time reader of my blog, you already know that Miss Allison picks the theme for her birthday. We receive the Celebrate Express catalog in the mail months before her birthday. She takes it and turns it page by page studying every theme very carefully. She knows that once she pics the theme, it's done and there's no going back. This year was probably her easiest year yet. She saw the dinosaurs and it was over. This was it! Now that you know the theme, here is the day in pictures:
There were dinosaur decorations!

A dinosaur cupcake cake! Well, an Allosaurus to be exact!

Doesn't he look scary?

There were dinosaur tattoos! Us ladies decided we would put them on our feet so we could all be cool like Stephanie! She's the one with the cross on her foot! She got it while visiting Ireland when she was in England last Fall for the first half of her sophomore year of college!

The guys even put them on!
There were lots of good people there!

This is Maria with Allison. She's my best friend's sister's daughter...or our (mine & Susan's (best friend) God daughter). Whew! Did you get that?

My sister, my Dad and my Mom!

Grandma Sandy (best friend's Mom) and Susan (best friend)!

There were more great people but I didn't get pics! :(

There were lots of fun presents that fit all aspects of Miss Allison's personality!
There were 3 Webkinz kitties...
and a Webkinz carrier/home thingy...
and Webkinz clothes! Yes, I said clothes! Gosh forbid they be naked and us parents keep money in our wallets!
There was a scrapbook kit!
There were clothes! In fact, three of the tops were blue. Do you think people have noticed that I don't usually buy her blue clothes??? It's not that I don't like blue. I just like pink more!
There was also a brain game!
And a bug hunt game!
Now it's time to show you some of what we got Allison. I always try to coordinate it with the theme. Sometimes that is not possible. This year I had a blast finding dinosaur stuff! WOW! That's a sentence I never thought I would say when I dreamt of having a girl! Go figure!

As you know, Allison loves dinosaurs so we decided to adopt a bone from one of the dinosaurs on display at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for her. It's a really cool thing they have called Adopt-A-Bone Program and you can read more about it when you click on the link. Upon the completion of your choice of bone from what dinosaur, you receive a certificate and you also will have your name displayed permanently on a plaque in the exhibit hall. Very cool! We picked the Allosaurus since she thinks or fantasizes about being named after it.
Here she is with her certificate. Sorry for the glare on the glass!

Her presents from us also included a book about the Allosaurus...
and documentaries of Dinosaurs. This one is "Walking with Dinosaurs" and the other one is "Walking with Allosaurus" which is the story of one they found in Wyoming that they named "Big Al"....he he he...which is also what we call my Dad! Too funny!
She also was thrilled with her educational dinosaur sticker book ...
as well as her Dinosaur Park where she can grow real plants and decorate them with lava rock and little dinosaurs.
She read every card....
and then appeared tired by the last card! LOL!
Then we posed for the traditional family birthday photo....
and immediately sang "Happy Birthday!" I love the look on her face!
Then it was time to make a wish and blow out the candles!
This is one of my favorite photos of the day! The expression is just pure bliss as she sits there enjoying her birthday cake! It says to me that I did a good job. I accomplished my mission and made her birthday special!
We finished up the party by just relaxing outside watching the kids hula hoop. YES! This picture is of my daughter doing FOUR hoops at one time!!! We have it on video but the video will not upload. If we ever get it to, I'll be sure to share it with you.
I know this post was long and if you are still here, thank you! As I've said before, this blog is about MY life and as minimal or as big as each event or happening is, I share what I am inspired to share. Thanks for stopping by and letting me share one of my favorite days of this year!
Come back soon! Next up is one of my favorite recipes that I made for the party!
Have Fun!
Pin It


Related Posts with Thumbnails