Little Jars & Blossoms

Sometimes it's the little things that make life sweet.  And sometimes it's all we need.

Little pretties.  I rarely have fresh flowers in the house because I have a crazy little girl who does terrible things to fresh flowers.  However, I made an exception today.  These were just way too lovely not to bring them home with me.

 Would you believe that I got the jars and flowers at Safeway?!  Yep - who knew a spontaneous trip to the grocery store could yield such treasures?  I always love to look at the flowers there, but the jars just called to me....they literally called me over to them, made me touch them, and then they found their way into my cart.  What the?  That's crazy.  And wonderful!

It really was love at first sight. 

As always, I'm so thankful for the little things.

Have a happy day!!


Projects coming along

Although winter is SO much easier for me than ever before, living in Southern Arizona, I'm a little bit giddy that January is half over.  I don't really know why, either - I don't want time to hurry past me, but it seems like Spring and Summer have so much in store and I'm looking forward to it.

In the meantime, I saved some beautiful summer floral photos from last August and finally decided to edit a few of them and  make some photo art.  We were camping along the New Mexico/Arizona border with some family and I saw these teeny, tiny coral blooms.  They are probably weeds, but I thought they were gorgeous so I started zooming in and snapping.  You can't see how tiny the coral buds are since I blew up the photo so big, but the full bloom is smaller than a dime. 

I absolutely LOVE this print and someday, when I have larger walls to work with, I'll frame it.  In the meantime, I had it printed on foam core and used some Command adhesive to stick it up and it makes me SO happy!!  Beauty is all around us.

**  If you want a copy of this file, email me and let me know and I'll send it to you.  I can also send a blank photo and you can add your own text.  :)  **

 And....is there anything better than a sandwich on homemade bread?!  Well, probably so, but since I try not to eat bread very often, this was a rare moment that needed to be captured.  My kids LOVE it when I make homemade bread - I really should do it more often.

My newest venture - oil painting.  {what???!!!}   I've ALWAYS wanted to learn how to do it, so I signed up for a class here at our local community college.  I LOVE the instructor, she's so incredibly talented and fun to work with, and I'm having such a good time learning how to work with this type of painting style.  

If there's ever something you want to learn how to do, chances are that there is someone who can teach you.  You just have to make it happen.  It's hard to do when life gets so busy, but learning how to do something new is a skill that you'll have forever.

Also....I didn't buy the best paints out there, but these are working just fine for a beginner.

 And the good news....I finally found the outlining color for my sunburst squares.  {GASP!!!}  Do you know how long I've been huting for this color?!  I found it at Hobby Lobby - and it's the perfect color I had envisioned for this project.  I love you, Hobby Lobby!!!  I wanted something ultramarine - not blue, not turquoise, not seafoam - do you know how hard that is to find?!  Well, for me it's hard because I'm 2-3 hours away from civilization.  But there it was....patiently waiting for me.  It was meant to be.

I'm at my half-way mark, I have a LOT to go, but it's happening slowly but surely.  It's my treat if I get my work done at the end of the day!  What a nerd.  I can't wait to show you this blanket when it's finished.  It will be one of few projects that I will have actually finished.

Maybe I have gotten myself in a mess here, but I can't help myself.  I love to create.  
Happy Creating to all of you!!


Brewed Cocoa

Okay, so my BFF Kadie lives in Texas and I live in Arizona.  Uh....PROBLEM.  I don't know how we're going to figure this out....either I have to move to Texas or they have to move to Arizona because we just can't keep going on like this.  It's been since last June that I saw her.  If we don't do something about it, I'm going to keep making images like the one above and hang them ALL OVER my house....maybe my husband will go crazy & eventually start job-hunting in Houston.  ???!!!  One can only hope.  But then again, I can't leave Arizona.  
Do you see how bad this is?!

Anyhoo---my Bestie mailed the coolest Christmas gift....EVER...the gift that keeps on giving because now I'm addicted!!!  Thanks, Kadie!!!  {heart...heart....heart}

Brewed cocoa.  It's NOT coffee, but you brew it like ground coffee beans.

It.  Smells.  AMAZING.  
Like rich, chocolatey cocoa times a hundred.  

You just measure your amount into a French Press, pour in almost boiling water...

...and let the magic happen.  
All of that goodness and flavor brews and quietly awaits to make you so very happy.

I may OR may not have known how to do this....someone might have had to tell me how to use it....
but once the cocoa has sat for a few minutes, you press the little pressy button down and the granules get pushed to the bottom so you can pour out the liquid.  WHO KNEW?!  Well, maybe I did know.  Maybe I didn't.  

For me, I add a little Truvia sweetener and a splash of cream.  This kind of cocoa is a little different than your hot cocoa mixes full of hydrogenated fats - it's pure, raw cocoa beans and water.  You have to add sweetness to it, but I actually prefer this over hot cocoa mix.  
It's WAY, way better!  (and packed full of health benefits)

Thanks, Kadie - and thanks Amazon for my shipment on the way...I've already gone through a 1.5 pounder-bag of this stuff!!!  

Just look at how good it is for you, though!!  Who KNEW?!  It's okay for kids, has ZERO caffeine, it's full of antioxidants, and helps curb appetite.  WHAT?!!  Sign me up.  

So far, so good - I'm a huge, huge fan.  Something new to try!!

Have a happy day!!!!


Breakfast ???!!! help.

Image courtesy of The Captain's Manor Inn

What do you feed your family for breakfast on a daily basis?  I mean, not those days you're feeling all uppity and ambitious, but those days when you can't peel yourself from your amazingly comfortable, warm, delicious bed? And you have kids who need to be nourished before they head off to various degrees of greatness?

HELP!!!  I really need some help on this, because cold cereal isn't working and my kids don't love my Coach's Steel Cut Oatmeal....THAT I LOVE!!  Because....let's be honest here...I'm not making pancakes, eggs, and sausage every day.  Maybe Saturdays, if we all get good rest.

Any ideas?!  Let me know what you fix for your family when you're really, really tired & just want to lay in bed...

GREAT stories.

My name is Abby and I'm a WWII history nerd.  And I love to read.   Hence, my love affair with WWII books.  This stuff fascinates me!  Every single story makes me wonder, think, reflect, and appreciate.  I like books that make me think, as well as feel gratitude.  Every year I try to squeeze in a few WWII books into my "to-do" list - and I never get bored of it!  My grandfather fought in France, so the European front has special significance for me, as well.

Currently reading this book, "Crossing the Borders of Time" and loving every second of it.  I'm learning so much about the ways France was affected by the war.  Can't wait to see how it ends. GREAT writing and historical background!

A couple of other must-reads:

"Women Heroes of WWII" is a variety of short stories, most of which are derived from other, more detailed books.  Utterly fascinating.  You can pick this up and put it down since it's full of short stories.

And my favorite so far...."Unbroken."  If you haven't read this book, you need to. I can't even begin to explain all of the incredible lessons I learned from this story.  It takes place in the Pacific theater of the war and my eyes were opened to new horrors I never knew existed during the fighting with Japan.  WOW.

I hope you get to enjoy diving into a good book - what a great gift to yourself!!

Have a happy day!!


Making Me Happy

Totally tickling my heart!
It's the little things that entertain and excite me.


I love these.  Santa brought them.  And the fact that they're called "lollypops" makes them even better than a standard "sucker".  Suckers are so lame after you've had one of these. Back in the olden days, when I was young, we had a See's Candies in our shopping mall.  Mom would buy me a Happy Meal from McDonald's because I was always collecting a toy of some kind....(Muppet Babies and those cute little Stompers trucks) and then we'd happen to mozey over to See's for the daily sample.  Never have I ever had chocolates this good.  EVER.

If you're feeling like an early Valentine treat, go on over to See's and getcha some.  (and if See's sees this....I like the milk chocolate coconut truffles.)  Too bad I don't get endorsement kickbacks....this would be one place I would be first in line to sign up with!!!  haaaahahaha!   But seriously...  

The other thing making me happy...
the Sunburst Granny Square
Well, these are going to be square eventually.

When I get a little time to myself, I stitch a few here and there.  Long car rides, lazy Sunday afternoons - it's the perfect activity.

Aren't these darling?!  I love this pattern, I love the colors, and I'm thinking of stitching the whole thing together using a light aquamarine color.  I haven't found the right yarn, but I'm looking.  It's for my daughter's birthday {don't tell her!!!} and the colors are perfect.  (Vanna's Choice by Lion Brand yarn)

I found the original idea on Pinterest....crazy, I know!....and fell in love immediately.  Head-over-heels in love.  Jenny from Nittybits posted the perfect instructions (and gorgeous photos) so it was super easy for me to learn how to do these.  I LOVE her colors, too!  I want to make a bright, colorful one next!

Super exciting - I'll post more photos as I go along.  I can't wait to see this all finished up!  It's so rewarding to create something beautiful, to watch the progress, and see the finished product.  

Have a happy day!!


Cooking 101 - Lemon Cheesecake Morning Rolls

First:  I can't tell you how great it is to hear from you!!  Really.  It's AWESOME!!  Thanks for your posts!!  I love you all!!!  

To help kick off your New Year...you know...goals, fitness, healthy living, blah-blah-blah...I'm just going to help END the goals early and post this amazing recipe!!!  If loving these are wrong, I don't wanna be right.  Or skinny.  Okay, maybe I want to lose some weight...and these won't help...but don't deprive yourself, people.  Just end the guilt trip now and enjoy these morsels straight from heaven. You can work it off later.  They're worth it.

(don't hate me....and.....YOU'RE WELCOME!!)

Doesn't the title just make you feel giddy inside?  "Lemon Cheesecake Morning Rolls"...bright, lemony, cheesecakey, morning goodness?  Does life get any better when lemons and mornings are involved?!  No.  No, it doesn't.  Especially in winter - for me, anyway.  It all just sounds happy, which means that it can't help but kick off a brand new day with a great vibe, right?!  Nevermind the "roll" part... you don't need negativity in your life.  And because these are so evil & sinful, you don't have to feel self-conscious about being happy in the morning.  It's really a win-win.



2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast (or 1/4 oz. pkg)
1/2 c. warm water
1/2 c. scalded milk
1/4 c. + 1/2 c. sugar
1/3 c. butter, melted
1 tsp. salt
1 egg
3 1/2 - 4 c. all purpose flour
16 oz. cream cheese, softened (2 of the 8oz. pkgs)
zest of 1 lemon, reserve a little for topping (or zest some more lemon if you like more flavor)
2 T. + 1 T. lemon juice
1 egg
1 stick salted butter, melted
2 c. powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
about 1/4 c. canned milk

In a small bowl, combine yeast and warm water, let it dissolve, set aside.  In a large electric mixing bowl, combine milk, 1/4 c. sugar, melted butter, salt, and egg.  Add 2 c. flour amd mix until smooth.  Add yeast mixture.  Mix in remaining flour until dough is easy to handle.  Allow electric mixer to knead, or hand-knead on a floured surface for 5-10 minutes.  Place in a well-greased bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 - 1 1/2 hours.

(make this just before the dough is done rising)
Cream softened cream cheese in a medium bowl until fluffy before adding lemon zest, 1/2 c. sugar, 2 T. lemon juice, and egg.  Mix together until well combined.

When dough is doubled in size, punch down and roll out onto a flat surface into a 15 x 9" rectangle. (doesn't have to be perfect.)  Brush melted butter all over surface.  Dollop the filling all over, spread evenly.  Gently roll the dough into a spiral, using a scraper if you need.  Slice into 2" rounds and place close together in greased baking dish.  Brush 2 T. melted butter on top.
**at this point, you could wrap and freeze for later**
Cover and let dough rise for about 20-30 minutes, or overnight in the fridge.  Bake at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until lightly browned and cooked in the middle.  Let cool for about 10-15 minutes before adding the glaze.

Whisk together 1 stick melted butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, remaining 1 T. lemon juice, and canned milk.  Add the milk gradually to prevent making the glaze too runny.  Drizzle evenly over warm rolls.  Sprinkle with remaining lemon zest.

These taste the best when they've sat & cooled for a little bit, but they're incredibly delicious warm, as well.  You just can't go wrong here!!!   Enjoy!!