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March 27, 2013

renewal in spring

I find such a sense of renewal in spring.  Everything just seems to be alive with possibility.  The gloom and gray of winter gives way to the riot of color that is spring.

The first flush of roses are blooming in the backyard perennial border.  They are always my earliest arrivals and a sure sign that spring has arrived.

I have decided to take the rest of the week off from blogging, facebook and instagram to prepare for Easter Sunday.  Not the food, the dishes and the centerpieces but the inner most part of my heart.  I feel the need to let the sacrifice made on our behalf reside in my very marrow as we lead up to Resurrection Day.

I hope you all have the most blessed of Easters and I will see you on Monday.

xo, Patty

March 25, 2013

banana cupcakes in a nest - gatherings

Once a month I get together with a few friends for a girls night out.  We take turns hosting and everyone brings either a sweet or savory to share.  It's a small group, usually four or five, so there is no (or minimal) pressure on the hostess.

Nothing is planned but the month usually dictates the decor and food.  This month we met at my sister in law's house for a pretty spring celebration.  My contribution were these adorable banana nest cupcakes.

I am not sure where I saw the idea originally so I can't give credit where credit is due.  Their version used lemon curd and served them up (adorably) in small mason jars.  I used what I had on hand which was instant banana pudding, fresh bananas, boxed cake mix and pre made frosting.  I made mine in clear plastic cups for easy clean up.  I don't like to take dishes to get togethers that require someone to wash before I head home if I can avoid it.

These were super simple to put together and definitely semi-homemade.

What you'll need...

One box of yellow cake mix
One box of banana pudding
Two bananas
One bag of sweetened coconut flakes
One jar of vanilla frosting
Robins egg Easter candy
Clear plastic glasses.

Make yellow cupcakes according to the box directions and let cool.

While the cupcakes are baking, make banana pudding according to the package (I used instant and it was fine) and let it cool in the refrigerator.

With oven set to 200 degrees, place sweetened coconut flakes on a baking dish and toast until light brown, stirring occasionally.  Mine took about 20 minutes.

To assemble - Cut each cupcake in half placing the bottom in the cup.  Place a layer of banana pudding and a slice of banana next followed by the top of the cupcake.  Next goes the frosting, which I piped on using a plastic storage bag, followed by the nest of coconut.  I topped the nest with three candied eggs.

That's it!  The best thing is they tasted as good as they looked.  I plan on making another batch up for Easter Sunday at my mom's.  The variations are endless and could be adopted to any holiday or function.

Speaking of Easter, how's your planning and preparation going?  I am finally getting in the swing of things here.

xo, Patty

If you like the idea of individual desserts check out this post here.

March 24, 2013

a new day

Good morning all.  Happy Palm Sunday!

Thank you for your kind words and prayers these last few days.  It was tougher than I thought to get through. 

I woke up today full of energy and ready to take on the day.  I will be back tomorrow with a quick dessert idea for your Easter table.  Yikes, that's next Sunday!  How did that sneak up on me?

xo, Patty

March 21, 2013

on gardening and anniversaries

My dad was a gardener.  It was something he took great pride in.  He loved nothing more than to be outside, sun beating on his back with a hoe in his hand, tending to his tomatoes and beloved roses.

It seems hard to believe that it has been a year today since he passed from this life to his eternal one.  In some ways it seems like just yesterday, missing him is so fresh, and then at other times I struggle to hold on to what was, conjuring up thoughts purposefully in my mind. 

Being outside in my little vegetable patch brings back such good memories, the warm and fuzzy kind, the kind I treasure.  In my mind my dad is strong and healthy.  I can see his weathered hands and his farmers tan as he works the earth with his garden tools.

I guess that's where I get it from, this love of the land.  The joy that comes from arranging God's colors in ways that please my eye and nourish my soul.

My latest garden is tucked into a little corner of our backyard.  My husband built me two raised bed planters to grow a few vegetables and herbs in. 

I have big plans for the area including gravel paths, climbing roses, a new potting bench, a compost corner and shade screens for some of the more sensitive herbs, but that is for the future.

This year it was all about the soil and the placement of the beds and of course, getting those first vegetables in the ground.  I have learned to only grow what we already like to eat.

 Plenty of tomatoes, red juicy strawberries, cucumbers...

sweet and hot peppers, two kinds of lettuce, a few rows of radishes...

a couple of grapevines, lots of herbs...

and sugar snap peas.  I love these little wattle fences I stuck in the ground to try and keep them upright.  I am not sure how long they will be effective but for now they are working fine.

The area is only around 12 x 12 but it is enough for me to feel a connection to my dad and the heritage he passed down to me.  One that I will hopefully instill in the little ones that are fond of picking strawberries and tomatoes right of the vine as they help mom-mom in the garden.

Thank you dad for this love and so much more.  I miss you dearly.

I am on my way out to my mom's for a couple of days. Talk to you soon and have a sunshine filled first week of spring.

xo, Patty

March 20, 2013

capturing memories

Spoiler alert Joy...

I am making progress on my to do list and had to pop in and show you one of the things that I just crossed off of it.

A friend of mine just adopted a beautiful baby girl after two years (and many miracles) of fostering her.  She and her family are headed off to Disney World to celebrate and she was looking to make an autograph book to capture some of their memories in.

I love creating memory books and jumped at the chance to offer my services and make the book for her.

It's been a while since I made one and I had forgotten what a joy they are to put together.

You can tell by all the pictures that I am happy with the way it turned out. 

I hope she will be, too.

Better get back to my list.  Enjoy your Wednesday.  And if you read this far Joy, it will be in the mail tomorrow.

xo, Patty

March 18, 2013

only a tease of spring

The weather has turned cold and gray once again and it seems our tease of spring has gone away.  The forecast calls for an upturn in the temperature by the end of the week so I will just hunker down inside and enjoy the last bits of winter snuggled under a quilt with another cup of coffee.

For those of you wondering, I did find my planner in a place I would have never looked had I not been trying to find something else.  Isn't that always the way...things turn up when you stop looking for them.

I loved reading your comments over the weekend, I would have gladly hopped in the car with any one of you and been giddy over our day together.

I especially loved Sally's comment from Drinking From My Saucer (if you have never visited her before head over, you are in for a treat) because I think she summed it up beautifully when she said,

"...I would go straight to Anthropologie...And, assuming this is a guilt-free $100, I would spend to my heart's content on all the little things of beauty that I found... COLORful things of beauty!"

Isn't that what a day to recharge is about anyway, discovering little things of beauty that make us feel alive and treasured?  And then to top it off her hubby surprised her that very night with a bit of spending money and a trip to Anthropologie on Saturday!  You see, wishes do come true.

Thank you all for the measuring cup love.  I knew when I saw them that they would be perfect in my glass flour and sugar jars but wasn't sure I should spend so much money on such a frivolous thing and actually put them back. I went into another store and turned right around and marched back into Pier 1 and bought them.  I am so glad I did.

It seems shopping for our home is something we agree on, as it was the number one destination for our day followed by thrifting or antiquing, the craft store for fabric or yarn, the garden center and of course, our favorite restaurant.  So many wonderful destinations, so little time!

As much as I am enjoying these Friday surveys and plan on continuing them, there is a point to them as well but you will have to wait a while longer before I tell you what it is. 

I will leave you with that little tease of my own...

Have a wonderful Monday.

xo, Patty

March 15, 2013

gone, gone, gone...

I lost my day planner.  I have looked everywhere but it's gone.

It's not like I'm fanatical about writing down everything I plan on doing every day, (I admit that there are days when I just wing it and don't even think about my planner) but I am pretty good at writing down important dates and commitments I've made.  I will also reach for it on really busy days when there is much to accomplish.  It kind of grounds me when there's a lot going on.

That's what had me in search of my planner today, in fact I woke up in the middle of the night in a semi-panic state because I feel a bit over committed right now.  I made a mental (two a.m.) note to myself that I would get out my planner first thing in the morning to try and restore a little order in my life.

But it is gone, gone, gone.

I cannot even imagine where it could be.

I have checked all the usual places, I have tried to remember the last time I used it, I have even gotten a little paranoid imagining who would get pleasure out of watching me frantically searching for it. 

I know it has to be here somewhere...

While I keep searching let's get on to our Friday survey.

You have one hundred dollars in your pocket that you have to spend (guilt free, of course) and the whole day to yourself, where would I find you?

I'll go first...

I would probably start at the garden center and see what was new there, then I would head over to Barnes and Noble and buy a couple of new magazines, then over to Pier 1 to drool a little there and see what I just cannot live without and finally head over to the Nail Spa where I would treat myself to a mani-pedi, stop for some lunch, then head home, make myself some tea, plant myself in my favorite chair and put my pretty painted toes up on the ottoman and blissfully enjoy my new reads.

Okay, now it's your turn...

xo, Patty

btw...The pretty little measuring cups are from Pier 1 and yes, I love them.  Have a wonderful weekend.

March 14, 2013

a whole lot of random

Is it really Thursday already?  I honestly don't know where the week went to.  It's been a good kind of busy.  I've been so focused on getting dirt under my fingernails that I haven't blogged in three days.  I can be obsessive like that, you know. 

I am one of those people who will procrastinate forever and then I am all in and won't stop until the job is done, or the book is read, or the puzzle is finished, or the house is clean, okay, let's not go crazy.

These pictures are from last weekend. 

Before the heatwave...

Before the thermostat hit 90 degrees...

Yes, ninety, oh so hot outside, degrees.

I am happy to say that the veggies are all planted and new flower seeds have been sown.  I can already picture how beautiful it will all be in a couple of months when everything comes together just as I envisioned it.  I am such an optimist that every year I say the same thing and every year I run to the garden center to fill in the holes in the garden where the seeds didn't grow.  Such is the life of a gardener.

I am meeting Elaine from Sunny Simple Life for breakfast today so that we can plan an event together for this spring.  I don't know how much I'm privileged to tell you at this point so I guess I will leave it at that. 

Except to say that you all will be invited...and it's going to be fun...and it involves chickens...but that's all I'm going to say.

I am excited to be teaching a mixed media class this weekend at Hearts N Crafts in Covina, CA.  I love teaching and the ladies in the store have made me feel so welcome.  I am already busy planning my next class and might even do a little teaching in my home.  My mind is still working out the details on that one.

I guess that's all for now.  I hope your having a good kind of busy week, too.

xo, Patty

I'm joining the party over at Tootsie Time...