Friday, August 31, 2012

Go Green



Michigan State University is my alma mater and football season starts this weekend. We love football Saturdays and everything associated with them.

We love being on campus on crisp fall days. We love tailgating. We love walking to the stadium in the crowd of Spartan fans all dressed in green and white. We love singing the fight song and cheering when MSU scores a touchdown. We love watching the marching band at halftime.

We love wearing our green and white on game days. We love going to our favorite campus restaurant after the games - the same place we have been going to since we were students.

We love that the MSU roots go deep in our family. My father played football there, my husband and I are college sweethearts and alumni and my daughter Melissa is currently a student and is on the Pom team.

We are looking forward to a weekend filled with bright sunny skies, spending time with friends and hopefully; a victory for MSU!



Vicki



Thursday, August 30, 2012

Thoughts for Thursday...tea, reality tv, baseball, etc...

 
  • I love making tea with my Keurig. When I received it as a gift, this past Christmas, I thought I would love it for coffee. Then I discovered how convenient and quick it was to make a hot cup of tea in seconds. If you have only used yours for coffee, give it a try for making tea - you will love it. I had to include my favorite Michigan State mug in the photo, since football season starts tomorrow :-)
  • The reality tv schedule has held little interest for me this summer. I am looking forward to some new shows and also, looking forward to the return of Dancing With the Stars. It's lighthearted and fun to watch. I like seeing the stars who can't really dance at the beginning, improve over time. The costumes are over the top and the themes are interesting each week. Who doesn't love Motown week?
  • Another thing I love in the fall, is baseball playoffs. We, Detroit Tiger fans, had so much fun during the playoffs last year. I am hoping the Tigers finally get it together in the next month and stop making me so frustrated, with how they are playing. I still want to be watching baseball in October!

source

  • This is my favorite thing on Pinterest this week. I can see these bringing some light and cheerfulness to my back yard this fall and winter. It is already getting dark earlier here in Michigan and we will need something like this soon. What a great way to dress up those empty hanging baskets.
Happy Thursday!

 

Vicki

 

linking with life of love

 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Paula Deen and Me

When Paula Deen revealed she had been struggling with her diagnosis of Type 2 Diabetes, many people immediately started blaming her diet and her style of cooking. While that was a key part of her diagnosis, I didn't join in on the criticism. There are many factors associated with diabetes, including heredity and just bad luck. Her diet absolutely needed to change, but she admitted she had been in denial for about two years, and I could definitely relate to that.

I have always been a little stubborn and need to come to any decision on my own and in my own time. At the beginning of my diagnosis, I totally changed my diet and started exercising regularly. Along with medication, I was convinced I could control my blood sugar and not really change my life too much. Well, this disease does not work like that. Over time, in order to get the results I needed - where there would at least be a chance for less organ damage - I figured out how many carbs I could eat (not many). I tested and tested and my doctor added an additional medication, to help with the things I couldn't control.

My latest test results show that what I am doing is working! I am thrilled and finally feel like I have this crazy way of life figured out. Like Paula, I have lost 30 pounds and walk almost every day. I don't miss the carbs anymore. I miss having wine when I want, but will still have a glass with dinner. If Paula could change her lifestyle and give up all that butter and sugar; I could give up the bad carbs too.

And, if Paula could admit to the world that she was a diabetic, I could write about it on this blog. Paula helped me see I was in denial - hopefully by writing about my story, I can help someone too :-)

 

Vicki

 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Yacht Club



Recently, we joined some friends for a beautiful dinner at their yacht club, on the Detroit River. Boating is very popular in the Detroit area, and one of the nicest things to do on a summer evening is have dinner at a club or a restaurant overlooking the water. Or, if you are lucky, spend the evening on the water, taking a sunset boat ride. From the many marina locations, you can travel by boat from the Detroit River, north to Lake St. Clair or south towards Lake Erie.

When we arrived, we sat on the deck, had a few glasses of wine, relaxed and talked. The weather was perfect, with blue skies and a light breeze, off the water.

This was our pretty view as we sat on the deck. The sailboats were nearing the end of a race and looked beautiful on the blue water. Also, the land you see is Canada. Yes, it is that close.

As we sat down to dinner on the patio, the sun was just setting on the Detroit skyline in the distance. Another one of those unforgettable, summer nights in Michigan. Our winters are long and these memories help us make it through those cold, cold months :-)



Vicki



Monday, August 27, 2012

Farmer's Market = Healthy Sunday Dinner



Going to the Farmer's Market this time of year is so rewarding. So many fresh vegetables at great prices. It makes putting together a simple, healthy dinner really easy.

Just look at these colorful vegetables. I purchased tomatoes, corn, peppers, cucumbers and squash. Also, some pretty sunflowers for my table. Since I do not have a vegetable garden, it is wonderful to have a Farmer's Market as an alternative to the grocery store. My menu for dinner on Sunday, included all these vegetables, plus Asian Chicken, cooked in the crock pot. This chicken just falls apart and is juicy and flavorful, with a sauce made from pineapple juice, brown sugar and soy sauce.

Crock Pot Asian Chicken Recipe

1 cup pineapple juice

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/3 cup light soy sauce

2 lbs chicken breast

Cook in crock pot on low 6- 8 hours and it should just fall apart.

Note: I brushed the chicken with some BBQ sauce and put under the broiler for a few minutes, to blacken the outside.

source

The best thing about this dinner menu is that by using the crock pot, I was able to spend the afternoon at the pool and come home to a dinner already cooked. It was a relaxing Sunday, with a healthy meal to end the day.

And the big news of the day was - my husband got his first hole in one, playing golf in the afternoon!

Summer - I will miss you :-)



Linking this post with these friends this week :-)

Gooseberry Patch

Rattleridge Farm

2805

Stonegable

Mom's Test Kitchen

Jam's Corner

Back For Seconds

Must Try Mondays

Serendipity and Spice

Full Circle Creations

Savvy Southern Style

Handy Man Crafty Woman

The DIY Dreamer

The Charm of Home

Simple Home Life

Have A Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson

Serenity Now

Funky Junk Interiors

1929 Charmer

I Heart Naptime

Sunny Simple Life

Between Naps on the Porch

Alderberry Hill

Salt Tree

The Dedicated House

Cozy Little House

a bowl full of lemons

Love and Laundry

And more friends I find :-)



Friday, August 24, 2012

Indoor Daisies-Laundry Room Ideas

Daisies make me happy, whether they are outside in my garden, or if I use them as a decorating theme indoors. I am joining Kelly's Korner "show us your life" series to share how I use daisy details in my laundry room to make a functional space, cheerful.

My laundry room is off the garage, so this pretty, functional piece hangs on the wall, as you come inside. There are hooks for keys, as well as slots for items like sunglasses or mail.

This friendly daisy and ivy flower garland hangs above the window and serves as a window treatment, allowing the morning sun to stream in, as I start that early load of laundry.

A banner, overflowing with daisies, hangs on the door separating the laundry room from the kitchen . The bright colors add to the cheerfulness if the room.

My latest art show find, greets me every day from its spot above the utility sink. I love to attend art shows for unique items like this. Find art that makes you happy and put it in a location you see every day.

My favorite sign with its inspirational message, is hanging in a spot where I see it as I walk in my door everyday. This sign and message pick up my mood, with the sunny yellow paint and cute little bird. It was a birthday gift from my daughters this year and was purchased from artist, Susie Harris. You can visit her blog and see all the wonderful signs and art pieces she paints.

A laundry room doesn't have to be dull and boring. Bring some sunshine into your home with some cheerful details and art that makes you smile :-)

 

I am looking forward to a fun weekend that includes some pool time and a dinner that includes watching sailboat races on the Detroit River. I hope you all manage to have a fun and relaxing weekend - the last one before Labor Day and fall.

 

Vicki

 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Thoughts for Thursday...empty nest, books, etc.

Things I am thinking about today...

  • Since, I have spent the better part of this week helping Melissa get ready to go back to school, I am ready to relax the next couple of days. I plan on drinking a lot of tea, reading and maybe taking a last visit or two to the pool. All the cleaning and organizing I need to do to get my house back in shape, can wait until next week. I need some time to adjust to the quiet - and try not to miss her too much.
  • In case you were wondering; this is what it looks like when you are packing up someone to go off to college. I have to believe that girls have more stuff than boys. The shoes alone could take up the whole trunk of the car. And, then there is make up, jewelry and all the cute decorations for the dorm room. She makes me smile though, because it is all fun and girly and she was so excited :-)
  • I brought out my sewing machine this week for the first time, in a long time, and made curtains for Melissa's dorm room windows. Pretty, simple white on white, with a purple daisy chain trim. I am very glad I learned how to sew when I was a teenager. It takes no time at all to make an easy pair of curtains and they are so much better and nicer than you could purchase. I have found that where I live, the ability to sew has become something of a lost art.
  • This is the next book I plan on reading. I will be starting it this weekend and it is getting really good reviews. The title is The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns by Margaret Dilloway. It is a story about friendship and about learning to be a good friend to someone, in return. It is also a story about learning to accept help, when it is freely given. I think most of us have no problem helping our friends and family, but it is harder to accept or ask for help when we need it. Do you think most women are like this?
Have a wonderful Thursday :-)



Vicki



Linking this post with life of love



Tuesday, August 21, 2012

What I Will Miss




This has been a fun summer and not because we have traveled anywhere particularly exciting or have gone on a lot of family outings. In fact, it has been a pretty quiet summer overall. But, what has made it fun, is that my daughters have been around the house. Megan has been in and out, and and Melissa was home for the summer, from college. We even managed to squeeze in a family vacation to northern Michigan. You learn, as your children get older and are busy with sports and work, that family time tends to suffer. You learn to appreciate any time the whole family is together, even if it is as simple as a backyard barbecue on a Sunday night.

It is the simple things that I think about as summer winds down. I will miss the sound of my daughters laughter and music as they get ready in their rooms upstairs. That noise of sisters enjoying time together. I will miss the nights we all stayed in to watch a movie or that impromptu trip for ice cream. Sure my house will be less loud and my refrigerator will be less empty, but I wouldn't trade the chaos for anything in the world. There is something so comforting about having your family all under your roof. I know they are happy when they are out in the world, doing their thing, but having them walk in the door at the end of the day, smile at me and say " hi mom", is what I will miss the most.



Vicki

Monday, August 20, 2012

Baked Blueberry and Apple Oatmeal



On cool mornings, I love something warm and substantial with my morning tea or coffee. This is a breakfast dish I can make on Monday, keep in the refrigerator and reheat to enjoy during the rest of the week. Much more delicious than a packet of instant oatmeal, but still good for you, with yummy fresh fruit, good carbs and protein from the oats. My daughter, Megan and I had this for breakfast today and we both thought it was very good, especially with the blueberries.

I will really appreciate having the baked oatmeal on hand this week, because it will be very busy here getting Melissa ready to leave on Wednesday, for her second year of college. We have a lot of shopping, sorting and packing to do. Most importantly, we will spend some last minute time together. I also need to find time to finish sewing some curtains for her dorm room. My empty nest, which was not quite empty this summer, is about to get a lot quieter.



Recipe for Baked Blueberry and Apple Oatmeal



1 cup old fashioned rolled oats

1/4 cup chopped walnuts, divided

1/2 tsp. baking powder

3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

pinch of salt

1/4 cup maple syrup ( I used sugar free)

1cup milk (I used skim)

1 lg. egg, lightly beaten

2 T butter, melted and cooled

1 tsp. vanilla

1 apple, peeled and chopped

1 cup fresh blueberries, divided



1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Lightly butter a 2 qt. baking dish. In a medium bowl mix the oats, 1/2 walnuts, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Stir to combine. In a liquid measuring cup, combine the syrup, milk, egg, butter and vanilla.

3. Spread the apple in a single layer over the bottom of the baking dish. Top with 1/2 the berries. Sprinkle the dry oat mixture over the fruit in an even layer. Pour the liquid ingredients over the oats.

4. Sprinkle the remaining nuts and berries over the top. Bake 35 to 40 minutes, until the top is browned and the oats have set. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.





The original source of this recipe is from so how's it taste, but I changed the bananas it called for, to apples.



Vicki



Linking this post with ~

Stonegable

Mom's Test Kitchen

Jam's Corner

Back For Seconds

Must Try Mondays

Serendipity and Spice

Funky Junk Saturday Night Special



Friday, August 17, 2012

Welcoming Outdoor Details



In Kelly's Korner "show us your life" series today, she is asking her readers to share their front porch and patio spaces. These outdoor spaces can be the first impression of your home and also reflect its personality. I use as many welcoming details as I can; including flowers, pillows, cushions and lighting. These details will say to your visitors and friends; hello, relax and stay a while.

These sunny, yellow Black Eyed Susans give a welcoming hello as you approach my front porch. They also show my love of gardening.

The Sunflower wreath on the front door and the pots of Geraniums off to the side, give the front porch a splash of color. These pots will be filled with brightly colored mums in the fall and then miniature trees, with lights, in the winter; helping to dispel the gloom of shorter days. The wreath will change for the seasons and holidays.

My patio, in the back of the house, is a calming, relaxing place to sit and listen to the sounds of the woods. I use pillows, cushions, placemats and a pretty pitcher with flowers to make my table inviting.

This spot welcomes my guests to sit and enjoy a glass of iced tea or wine on a beautiful summer day.

Also important to outdoor spaces is lighting, such as candles or lanterns. Look for soft lighting that will not attract too many bugs. We purchased this light fixture a few years ago and it has been great for our patio. It does not require wiring; just an outdoor plug.

Other welcoming details on my patio include a slate, personalized welcome sign hanging on the brick wall and cheerful pots of Geraniums.

It is all these simple details that will welcome your guests to your home and make them relax and enjoy their visit.

Have a great weekend :-)



Vicki

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Thoughts for Thursday...nature walks, books, pinterest, etc.



Things I am thinking about today...

  • I am so fortunate that this is the view I see when I look at out my back windows, as well as on the path when I take my daily walk. I love how the sun shines through the leaves, creating shadows on the path, yet it is shaded and cool on a hot, sunny day. Soon, the green leaves will change to red, yellow and orange and the sun will reflect these glorious, fall colors. I don't want to hurry summer, but in the woods, fall is just so pretty.
  • Speaking of fall, I saw this idea on Pinterest and immediately thought - why has this never occurred to me? I love the natural look of pumpkins and they fit perfectly on these chunky candlesticks. That is what I love about browsing through Pinterest - so many good ideas to find and share.
  • My book club read a really good book, that I want to recommend. If you liked The Help, I think you would like, The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar. This novel is set in modern day India and explores the vast differences between the classes in that country. The heroine is a servant , who lives in the slums of Mumbai and puts aside her pride daily, to serve an upper middle class family. The story is told from her point of view, as well as the point of view of family she serves. Her daily fight for survival and the struggles she goes through in her life, including her marriage, will inspire you.
  • It is a beautiful day today and I am off to go for a walk, with my puppy. How can you resist this face? Have a great Thursday :-)
Vicki



Linking today with life of love



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