Friday, March 29, 2013

Not a Golf Widow

 

One of my favorite things, is to play golf with my husband. We have a long history of playing golf together, and in fact, I got him started playing the game in college. It is a great way to spend some one on one time together, without cell phones and computers. And you really have to focus on each other. We always compliment each other's shots and commiserate about the tough putts. It also requires patience and a sense of humor - a good test for a couple.

It is a wonderful activity for a couples trip and golf courses have some of the most beautiful scenery. We have been on golfing trips to Maui, Scottsdale, Palm Springs, northern Michigan and Florida. We have golfed together as a young couple and even made time to golf when we had young children. It is an activity that will take us into retirement. When you are empty nesters, you have more time as a couple and is important to focus on activities you enjoy together.

If your husband spends a lot of time golfing, learn to play yourself and don't be a "golf widow" any longer. Anyone can go to the driving range and is an inexpensive, fun way to learn and do something your husband enjoys.

Now that the snow has melted, and the grass will begin to turn green again, our thoughts turn to another golf season and spending time together in the beautiful outdoors.

Have a happy Easter weekend!

 

Linking with Kelly's Korner and Mockingbird Hill Cottage

 

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Thoughts for Thursday...40 bags in 40 Days, etc.

 
 
 
  • I found these cute cupcake liners at Michaels and couldn't wait to use them to make some muffins for Easter. My bananas were at that perfect over ripe stage for banana muffins, so I made some this morning. Maybe they will last until Easter weekend and maybe they won't :-)
  • Empty closets, organized and almost empty storage shelves and empty space in bins. That is the result of lots of diligent work over the last month. My 40 Bags in 40 Days lenten challenge will be complete later today, when I fill my final two bags of trash from the two small file cabinets in my basement. It is an amazing feeling to know the hidden clutter is gone and everything is in its place. My last task will be another run to the Salvation Army to make my final donation. Total bags donated 22 and total bags of trash 18!
  • No Dancing with the Stars for me this week, since the finale of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills was on at the same time (crazy women, right?!) Still, when I heard that Dorothy Hamill dropped out, due to injury, I was disappointed. I loved seeing her again and would have enjoyed watching her dance.
  • Tomorrow, on Good Friday, we will be attending a fish fry at the Polish Yacht Club in Detroit. Believe me when I say, there are no boats there. That is the tongue in cheek name it is given, as it sits in the midst of an inner city neighborhood. It is a Good Friday tradition and a group of us will eat a lunch of yummy perch, before we venture to Good Friday services at a historic downtown church.
  • Later this morning, I am off to East Lansing to pick up Melissa. I can't wait to hug that girl and have her home for the weekend.

Happy Thursday!

 

Linking with Ramblings of a Suburban Mom, Thursday Thoughts

 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Easter Plans and a Skinny Recipe

 

My Easter plans could not be more simple this year. Church in the morning and then lunch reservations at a convenient, central location with my parents and brother's family. No grocery shopping, no cooking, no setting the table, just so and no stress. I think the early Easter date this year, coming on the heels of hosting my families for Thanksgiving and Christmas, called for a change in tradition. We will enjoy our time together, but there will be no need to wash any dishes :-)

The best part of the weekend is that both my daughters will be home and we can spend some family time together. They will also have some sister bonding time and I love seeing them just relaxing on the couch, watching a movie and know they are enjoying their time at home. We may even dye some Easter eggs - it's still fun to do, whatever your age.

Finally, I have a great skinny recipe for a potato gratin that would work really well for Easter dinner, if you are looking to lighten things up. I have made this a few times and love the flavor. The combination of the cheesy potatoes, with the addition of the thyme, is delicious and has a delightful aroma while cooking. All of the ingredients are low/no fat, and while not as creamy as a traditional scalloped potato gratin, the favors are all still there. It is a great lightened up dish, that will take you into spring and summer. The recipe for Skinny Scalloped Potato Gratin can be found here (skinnytaste.com).

Happy Wednesday!

 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Sweet Springtime

 

Decorating for springtime has a certain softness - a sweetness in the colors and the use of bunnies and such. While I have some traditional Easter decorations that we will enjoy during the holiday, there are a few favorites that will stay in place and help make a sweet transition from the early days of spring to summer.

This wicker and wire basket sits on my kitchen table creating a simple statement with flowers and a cute burlap bunny. The burlap table runner I made in the fall, works well with the natural elements of my spring decor. I will eventually change the flowers to tulips or daffodils, creating even more of a spring feel. The bunny has the whimsical touch I like in my decorating style.

Another burlap bunny hangs on a hook in my foyer and also combines whimsy and natural elements.

The twine wrapped eggs are a favorite DIY project and I love the colors and textures, combined with the rustic grapevine wreath. These eggs are such a sweet spring element and are a great way to up cycle plastic Easter eggs. Look here for instructions on making them.

A plump, concrete bunny that usually lives outside, will spend these early spring days on my kitchen windowsill. As the weather warms, it will make the transition back to the garden.

Natural elements and soft colors will help usher in spring as we finally begin to see the green growth and feel the warmth of the new season.

Have a great day!

 

{Linking with these friends}

Lil Luna

A Stroll Through Life

House of Rose

Our Fifth House

Southern Lovely

Two Yellow Birds

Diana Rambles

Somewhat Simple

Your Home Based Mom

Six Sisters Stuff

Tutus and Tea Parties

Primp

Savvy Southern Style

Handy Man Crafty Woman

The DIY Dreamer

The Charm of Home

Have A Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson

Serenity Now

Funky Junk Interiors

I Heart Naptime

Sunny Simple Life

Between Naps on the Porch

Alderberry Hill

The Dedicated House

Cozy Little House

a bowl full of lemons

Kathe with an E

Life on Lakeshore Drive

My Repurposed Life

Craftberry Bush

Live Laugh Rowe

A Delightsome Life

Cedar Hill Ranch

Skip To My Lou

The Shabby Creek Cottage

Rooted in Thyme

The Girl Creative

The Tablescaper

Jennifer Rizzo

DIY by Design

Common Ground

Coastal Charm

 

Monday, March 25, 2013

Peeps Martini and A Birthday

 

A pink martini for Easter is such a fun idea and I couldn't resist putting a pink filter on this photo to make it really pink :-) This pin from my Pinterest holiday board was my inspiration, but I had to completely change the recipe, since I couldn't find the ingredients it called for. I looked at three stores for sparkling pink grapefruit juice and rose syrup, but no luck. So, I guess you could call this a Pinterest fail, except I think my version is delicious in its own right.

So, instead of Patron (tequila), I used citrus vodka from my liqueur cabinet. I also substituted some sparkling strawberry lemonade and used a splash of grenadine. I would have liked the martini to match the vibrant pink shade of the peep, but I am not sure what ingredients you could use to achieve that!

Peeps Martini

3 ounces sparkling strawberry lemonade (V8 Fusion)

11/2 ounces citrus vodka

Splash of grenadine

Place all ingredients in a martini shaker, filled with ice. Shake well and pour in a clear martini glass. Use a sharp knife to cut a slit in the bottom of a pink peep and place on rim of glass for garnish.

Saturday was Cooper's 2nd Birthday and I sent my girls this photo to make them laugh. Cooper was a little annoyed, but we all thought she was adorable.

Happy Monday!

 

Linking with these friends

Keep Calm and Carry On and Beautiful Mess

Savvy Southern Style

Fox Hollow Cottage

Debbiedoo's

Diana Rambles

 

Friday, March 22, 2013

Zucchini Pizza

 

Pizza is not my friend, but I love it and I am always looking for a low carb alternative. If i do eat pizza, I limit myself to two small pieces, order thin crust and leave off the meat and go with the veggie choice. I have tried pizza with a crust made of cauliflower and it is delicious, but still not what I have been craving lately.

I have seen these scooped out zucchinis with various toppings and couldn't find exactly the recipe I was looking for - one that would be very similar to traditional pizza. Making up my own recipe seemed like the solution and this one turned out delicious and is very low carb and low fat. No carbs from the crust to worry about and control over the healthiness of the toppings - a very guilt free pizza, with traditional pizza flavor :-)

Recipe for Zucchini Pizza

 

5 medium zucchini

1 jar good quality pizza sauce

Part skim, shredded mozzarella cheese

Toppings of choice - I used turkey pepperoni, mushrooms and olives

 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Wash zucchini, cut off ends and slice in half length wise.

Scoop out insides with a spoon and place prepared zucchini on a foil covered cookie sheet.

Spoon pizza sauce on each zucchini, then add toppings. Sprinkle shredded cheese on top.

Bake 25 minutes at 400 degrees. Cheese should be bubbly and slightly browned.

 

Have a great weekend! We will be cheering on our MSU Spartans in the NCAA Basketball Tournament :-)

 

{Linking with these friends}

Gooseberry Patch

Make Ahead Meals

Rattlebridge Farm

This Gal Cooks

Back For Seconds

Mom's Test Kitchen

Semi Homemade Mom

Barns and Noodles


 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Thoughts for Thursday...books, march madness, etc.

 

 

Things I am thinking about today...

 

  • It is almost prom season, and as part of my 40 bags in 40 days lenten challenge, I had to get over my sentimental attachment to all the formal dresses my girls have worn. Because they attended a private, all girls high school, they were fortunate enough to attend many formal dances at the surrounding boys schools, as well as their own. We have dresses from proms, Christmas dances, homecomings and even sorority formals from more recent years. Two girls means a lot of dances. I kept a couple, but ended up donating 14 wonderful formal dresses, both long and short, to hopefully help out some deserving girls this spring. My total towards my goal is now 24 bags and today will find me going through bins in the basement. I can't wait to see what else I can get rid of :-)
  • March Madness begins today and both MSU and Michigan will be playing locally, in first round. There is a lot of excitement and we would love to attend, but ticket prices are pretty outrageous. It looks like we will be cheering on our Spartans (with Megan cheering for her Wolverines) at home.
  • Dancing with the Stars looks pretty good with the start of the new season. My early favorites are Kelly Pickler to win and Dorothy Hamill, as a sentimental favorite. Seeing the older photos of Dorothy with the haircut that EVERYONE had, brought back a lot of memories. Of course, Lisa Vanderpump looked fabulous.
  • I have been in a reading mood this week and have finished a couple of relatively quick reads. First, I read A Week in Winter by Maeve Binchy. It is sad this will be her last book, due to her sudden death this past year. She had a wonderful way with characterization and weaving different plots together. The Nicolas Sparks book, Safe Haven, had been getting pretty good reviews, so I decided to download it and give it a try. The love story was in the typical Nicholas Sparks' style, but the back story was well written and suspenseful and I loved the ending.

Happy Thursday!

 

Linking with Ramblings of a Suburban Mom, Thursday Thoughts

 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Easter Bunting - Pinterest Success {19}

 

Easter has definitely arrived quickly, this year. We moved on from St. Patrick's Day in what seems like an instant and we are still in the midst of winter here, so it's not very springlike. But, since Easter is such a cheerful holiday to decorate for, with its pretty, bright colors and cute bunnies, I wanted to find a fun project to add to my existing decorations. Two ideas on Pinterest caught my eye and I decided to combine elements of each, to make this cute springtime bunting for my fireplace mantel. The original pins can be found here and here, but they were really only for inspiration.

I easily cut the bunting shapes with pinking shears, using a small bunting template that I found online. This needed to be a no sew project, since my sewing machine, unfortunately, is broken right now. I used three types of quilting fabric for the shapes and simply folded the top of the fabric around some pink twine and secured it with liquid stitch. The last step, was to tie some colorful ribbon, patterned with Easter eggs, all along the bunting.

The bright colors are a beautiful, festive touch and will help us prepare for Easter and spring; just around the corner.

Happy Wednesday!

 

{Linking with these friends}

Lil Luna

House of Rose

Our Fifth House

Fox Hollow Cottage

Debbiedoo's

Southern Lovely

Two Yellow Birds

Diana Rambles

Somewhat Simple

Your Home Based Mom

Six Sisters Stuff

Tutus and Tea Parties

Primp

Savvy Southern Style

Handy Man Crafty Woman

The DIY Dreamer

The Charm of Home

Have A Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson

Serenity Now

Funky Junk Interiors

I Heart Naptime

Sunny Simple Life

Between Naps on the Porch

Alderberry Hill

The Dedicated House

Cozy Little House

a bowl full of lemons

Kathe with an E

Life on Lakeshore Drive

My Repurposed Life

Craftberry Bush

Live Laugh Rowe

A Delightsome Life

Cedar Hill Ranch

Skip To My Lou

The Shabby Creek Cottage

Rooted in Thyme

The Girl Creative

The Tablescaper

Jennifer Rizzo

DIY by Design

Common Ground

Coastal Charm

Keep Calm and Carry On and Beautiful Mess

 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Dreaming of Spring

 

source

Tomorrow is the first day of spring and that has me daydreaming about and planning for my 2013 flower garden. My garden board on Pinterest is a great way to focus my ideas, find some inspiration and pin the things I want to add this season, to make my garden what I dream of. First, more daisies are part of my plan. They are my favorite and I love to cut them and put them in vases everywhere. They are really pretty mixed with wildflowers, from the woods.

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This cutting garden is my dream garden. I would love to go out in the mornings and have endless fresh flowers to cut and arrange everyday.

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I planted some additional coneflowers last year and they lasted the whole season, with great color. The bright pink is such a vibrant splash of color too.

source

A climbing flower is on my wish list, and this pretty purple clematis would do well on a trellis, already in place. There is plenty of morning sun to help these pretty flowers grow.

source

For fall color, I will be looking ahead and planting some sedum. My goal is color throughout the gardening season.

source

One of my friends had a pretty container filled with different types of lettuce, last year and that is something I want to try. The bunnies may end up having a feast, but this type of container could be high enough to stop them.

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Finally, my spring dreams include an old wooden ladder, filled with birdhouses or plants in pots. It is such a sweet way to add some interest and height to the garden.

As the snow and sleet swirl outside, it is hard to believe spring will arrive anytime soon, but I will keep planning my perfect garden and look forward to a summer filled with flowers.

Have a great day!

 

Linking with Mockingbird Hill Cottage, Favorite Thing

 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Notes About Our Weekend and Google Reader

 

We had a fairly quiet weekend and that is always nice. St Patrick's Day passed pretty uneventfully this year, with no green beer or parades. We watched a lot of basketball, but our green and white school colors did not bring much luck to MSU in the Big 10 Tournament.

Friday night was Bunco night for me. Since I needed to bring a meatless appetizer, I made my yummy baked ravioli. The recipe can be found here, but I used ricotta and spinach ravioli this time. There are so many great flavors of fresh ravioli at the grocery store - the possibilities are endless. I won the pretty dish towel on the right by rolling a bunco. You wouldn't believe how we fight for these towels, stealing them from each other, as we roll more buncos throughout the night. All in good fun of course :-)

Cooper and I took a few long walks. There is fresh snow, but I spotted buds on some trees and the light and the air are starting to look and feel like spring. Cooper doesn't care one way or the other; she is just happy to walk and explore.

A note on Google Reader

I switched my reader of choice to bloglovin' and it was so easy. Really just 2 steps. Sign up and then press the import blogs I follow button. I do love the format and how easy it is to click over to the main blog page, if you choose. Since I was never a fan of Google Reader, this is an improvement to me. I have added the bloglovin' button to my sidebar, if you would like to add my blog manually, when you are ready to make a switch. And, as always, you can follow my blog by email or twitter. Also, there seems to be some confusion about Google Friend Connect. It is staying and you will still have those blogs you follow via GFC on your blogger dashboard, which I use a lot. Here is a very good blog post about the situation.

Happy Monday!

 

Friday, March 15, 2013

Vegetables for St. Patrick's Day

 

Cabbage, carrots and potatoes - the classic ingredients for corned beef and cabbage. But, what if you and your family don't really like corned beef? We find it too fatty and really only enjoy the vegetables that go with it. My solution for the past few years, has been to cook, easily in the crock pot, a vegetarian version of this delicious, Irish dish. By the end of the cooking time, all the vegetables are tender and flavorful. I really like eating meatless meals every now and then and this is definitely a healthier idea for Sunday's holiday.

Irish Vegetables

 

Place the following into a large crock pot.

8 carrots, peeled and cut

12 small white potatoes, cut in half

1 head cabbage, quartered

2 cups vegetable stock

Salt and Pepper to taste

Cook 6 hours on low, until everything is tender.

 

Have a great St. Patrick's Day weekend! Wear your green on Sunday, so you don't get a pinch :-)

 

{Linking with these friends}

Gooseberry Patch

Savvy Southern Style

Rattlebridge Farm

This Gal Cooks

Back For Seconds

Mom's Test Kitchen

Semi Homemade Mom

Simple Living and Eating

Barns and Noodles


 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Thoughts for Thursday...signs of spring, books, etc.

 

 

Things I am thinking about today...

  • First the snow melted, then we woke up yesterday, to fresh snow. Still, there are signs of spring around here and one of the first, is always the sight of a pretty purple crocus pushing through the ground in the flower bed near my front porch. The sight of something green is welcome and needed, after a long and snowy winter. Next, will be the tulips and daffodils and I can't wait to see the new bulbs I planted in the fall, finally bloom.
  • I am in the middle of reading The Aviator's Wife by Melanie Benjamin. It is the story of Charles Lindbergh and his wife Anne Morrow Lindbergh. It is a fictional account of their marriage, and how they met during her father's tenure as the Ambassador of Mexico in the 1920's. The style is reminiscent of The Paris Wife, which I also enjoyed.
  • The Bachelor finale was fun to watch, but I am still not feeling that the future looks good for this couple. Especially since Sean is now doing Dancing with the Stars. I think, the longer they try to remain in the limelight, the less chance it will work out. They needed to go to Dallas and live a normal life. And by the way, Lindsay taking her high heels off, to walk out, was my favorite moment of the show, ever :-)
  • Later today, I will be dropping off, at The Salvation Army, a trunk full of bags from my 40 Bags in 40 Days challenge. I now have filled a total of 17 bags; donated or trash. The real work starts next week when I tackle the basement.

Happy Thursday! I am off to morning mass today, to hear what our parish priest has to say about our new pope. Watching it live was very exciting, from the white smoke, to the crowds in the square.

 

Linking with Ramblings of a Suburban Mom, Thursday Thoughts

 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Twine Wrapped Eggs - Pinterest Success {18}

 

 

We have a lot of plastic Easter eggs saved in a storage bin, that we don't really use, since our days of Easter egg hunts are in the past. When I saw this idea, I immediately fell in love with it and thought it would be a great use of the plastic eggs I already had, plus would be a nice Easter to spring transition piece. The original pin can be found here.

I used three colors of twine, and I really like the pink egg, nestled in with the natural colors. Simply wrap the twine around the plastic egg, being careful to glue with the glue gun as you go, to hold the twine tight. It took me about an hour to wrap the four eggs, so it is a little time consuming, but still relatively easy. I had the idea to place the eggs in a natural, grapevine wreath and I like how they look. It will be a simple touch of Spring on my foyer table, over the next few months.

Happy Wednesday!

 

{Linking with these friends}

Lil Luna

House of Rose

Our Fifth House

Fox Hollow Cottage

Debbiedoo's

Southern Lovely

Two Yellow Birds

Diana Rambles

Somewhat Simple

Your Home Based Mom

Six Sisters Stuff

Tutus and Tea Parties

Primp

Savvy Southern Style

Handy Man Crafty Woman

The DIY Dreamer

The Charm of Home

Have A Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson

Serenity Now

Funky Junk Interiors

I Heart Naptime

Sunny Simple Life

Between Naps on the Porch

Alderberry Hill

The Dedicated House

Cozy Little House

a bowl full of lemons

Kathe with an E

Life on Lakeshore Drive

My Repurposed Life

Craftberry Bush

Live Laugh Rowe

A Delightsome Life

Cedar Hill Ranch

Skip To My Lou

The Shabby Creek Cottage

Rooted in Thyme

The Girl Creative

The Tablescaper

Jennifer Rizzo

DIY by Design

Common Ground

Coastal Charm

Keep Calm and Carry On and Beautiful Mess

 

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