It’s Growing!

 

Upon checking out my garden today I spotted a Monarch butterfly resting.

 

 

As many of you know, one of my summer focuses is my garden. A timelapse process is playing out for me. One day I’ll work diligently among the family of plants and the next day,  a massive growth spurt will occur. It’s mind-boggling how much plants can transform into a towering cousin, still the same being but a much larger version. My tomato plants are swaying trees, busting out of the metal cages and the squash leaves lean towards the tomatoes, creating an intertwined row. Not only are the plants growing, but their veggies are expanding from one day to the next. Leaving one finger sized cucumber one day leads to a gigantic cuke the next! I’m not sure if it’s the sun or few rain showers we’ve had, but it’s a must to visit the garden everyday!

 

 

 

 

 

I picked all these beauties this afternoon.

 

Our corn stalks sway with the New England breeze and the husk appears from the growing cobs. The green bean plants proudly stand about 12 inches with beautiful beans in tow. Romaine Lettuce has been cut back and it grows for other cuttings. I’ve thinned out the carrots as they grew quite thick in the row. Now green fluffy leaves look so pretty in the soil, my ornamental beauty in the garden.

 

 

 

I feel so blessed and in a monumental state of peace beyond the wire fence. It’s a different world, away from bills and problems. I can only wish that you all can bathe in this euphoric sensation…whatever activity you indulge in. It’s these moments that pull us through tough times or mundane days. The restoration feeds the heart and soul, something we all need to live calmly.

 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤

 

 

 

The First Time

When was the last time you did something for the first time?

Photo credit, Facebook.com/BEGINWITHYES

 

Upon seeing this Facebook post, I sat down and thought about it. Since I’m a creature of habit and don’t try new things all the time, it was a difficult task to recall the last time I tried something new.

About a year ago I attended an art class in my hometown and painted an outdoors scene with birches and scattered rocks. It was an amazing learning experience and my first time I really painted aside from Kindergarten projects. What stays with me is not the painting itself or the class, but the fact that I went alone. I had planned to go with my sister but she couldn’t go in the last minute. Worried thoughts plowed through me and I even contemplated attempting to get a refund. But what stopped me was a need and want to go. I had my mind set that I would have a great class. I’m proud of myself for entering that class of laughing and talking women in groups of two or three and stood alone optimistically. That was the first time that I set my mind to attend something alone and I walked away triumphant!

 

Another first this summer is it’s my first time growing corn! In previous years Tom planted it and I really had nothing to do with it. He got discouraged because of raccoons and other critters ate a lot of it. Now we are trying it again, many years later and God willing, our plates will be full of corn in a month or so.

Think about this, friends. Share when was the last time you did something for the first time?

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤

 

The Early Days of August

A front view of our home this summer

 

 

It’s hard to believe that here we are, emerged in August! June and July have hurried by and left behind much rain. Summer days  of indulging in iced tea and watching flowers grow have commenced. August brings  steamy yet comfortable temperatures in the 80’s and relaxing breezes in our humble town. Flowers have bloomed and brought vivid colors to yards. The rich green grass is soft to my barefeet and cool to the touch.

 

 

It’s been awhile since I updated you all on our renovation and building projects. Some of you may remember my post last summer of my husband building his beautiful garage/barn. It’s pretty much finished besides pouring a cement floor and we need to purchase two industrial sized doors. We feel very proud of this structure and by chance it’s foundation is built where the old barn stood many years ago. This was done by  accident, for we didn’t know, but what a wonderful coincidence, don’t you think?

 

A look at the garage last summer. Isn’t it spectacular?

 

 

This summer Tom has started siding our house with cedar shingles. This is where we tore down an attached shed, leaving original clapboard ( not in the best shape) and unfinished work and insulation from many years ago before we were owners. I feel like I should help but I’m not too confident of using the nailgun. I hand him the shingles, alternating between fat sturdy pieces and the thinner shingles and of course I gab the whole time to keep him company. Tom was smart enough to keep the awning up to keep him out of the sun and rain. Eventually we can enjoy that side of the house with light brown shingles and a new window installed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summer is the one of the best times to create new gardens. Tom helped me dig out a space in the corner of our house facing the diningroom and the kitchen. I planted little purple coneflowers which hopefully will rise towards the sun in magnificent height. To compliment that color, I included coreopsis with a warm yellow glow. While it’s pretty much done, I have a few finishing touches like the gorgeous bird bath my niece made and wait until you see what it’s made from! But that post will come later so be looking for it in a week or two.

 

 

 

August not only brings warm pleasant temperatures, but family! Tom’s mother, Theo, has visited all the long way from Lake Wales, Florida. She arrived last week with Tom’s sister Pam and her husband Jim. After a long tedious day of traveling, I served my chili for dinner. It was a little different than what I usually concoct because at the last minute I added garden zucchini and I think that was a great decision!

 

We’ve spent the week talking, eating wonderful meals and  enjoying the outside with walks(one walk through our town took 4 hours and about 6 miles). We also visited Tom’s sister Bev and her husband Chris last weekend in Easthampton, Massachusetts. It was a great drive down on 91 and the trip was a little under three hours. Bev and Chris are immersed in a challenging renovation project, a huge three story home on a quaint small town street. They are restoring it to its original state, which takes time and patience. They reside upstairs and eventually they will rent the bottom half to responsible renters. I look forward to seeing their progress the next time we visit.

 

During our weekend we explored the bike path on that area, walking in shady and sunny parts and met the nicest people. Bev pointed out how many dads walk their children there and we saw families taking advantage of the trail. Bev served us scrumptious scallops and a lovely hearty breakfast of blueberry oat pancakes. It was special spending time with Bev, Chris ( I love how he laughs at my jokes, one of the few), my niece Michele and of course Theo. It was a magical weekend and I didn’t want to say goodbye but I was itching to hit the road and make the trip up 91 to home.

 

As August has started, the summer clock is ticking away and I glance now and then at the calendar. I believe that I have to be back at school in three weeks. But as the clock continues to tick outrageously fast, I intend to savor the rest of the summer and welcome what happens in those days.

Theo, my mother in law and my husband Tom, after a long day of work for him.

Theo and I are camping in a cabin at a campground north of us for about five days. In that time I won’t be posting or responding to comments but I will rejoin you all when I get back home. I’ll be sure to jot down notes and take pictures of my adventures. Blessings to you all and your families.

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤

A LOVE of Words

 

This post is dedicated to my brother, David Doyle, who fostered my love of books. Thank you, brother for caring enough to inspire and teach me!

My cousin Janice, me in the middle at about seven years old, and my little sister Barbie on the right. Even at this young age I loved words, written and spoken!

 

 

I’ve always been a lover of words, spoken and read. That love was born as early as I can remember and grew even deeper when I realized the precious freedom of speaking with my own voice. As a young girl I gabbed incessantly driving everyone crazy! Then one day this profound  devotion evolved when I picked up a book. My older brother, David, influenced me greatly by buying me classics like Little Women and Black Beauty. By  becoming an avid reader and indulging in books, I learned how the world worked in so many exciting and diverse ways. The written word served me with many hours of leisure in my bedroom or outside in the yard and still does.

 

 

 

 Now that you’ve learned of my adoration of language, you can surely understand why writing is so precious to me! It’s been yet another medium to freely share my thoughts. The babbling overflow spills onto the pages as I type, a freedom of expression that has developed into an appendage like possession. This encompassing passion is fueled by my deep seated NEED to affect readers in some way. I  can only wish that others, especially the children I work with at school can feel this empowering emotion and release in writing!

 

 

 

It’s apparent that I’m a lover of words, for they dominate my kitchen in every way! Everywhere you turn a sign, plaque or picture almost shouts words at you and you can’t help but “read the room’ as you go. I never realized this before until I wrote this post. Unconsciously I’ve surrounded myself with little pieces of languages, pieces that heal and spread joy.

 

While eating a breakfast of toast and honey or a scrumptious bowl of granola and fruit, I can see Live, Laugh, Love staring at me and I feel so blessed to be able to do all those things and I can thank my family for that.

 

 

 

 

 

A little quaint postcard bearing an adorable black cat stares at me while I wash the dishes and it says, Someone Loves you. Thanks, Mom for your love and your artwork! 

 

 

I’ll post on my mom’s artwork in the future.

 

 

 

My newest words I acquired recently is my Just Roll With it sign. If I’m having a bad day and ready to cry tears of frustration, perhaps that advice will help me to let it roll. I want to mention that I bought this from a fellow blogger, Jodi at Creativelifeinbetween.  I love her blog and her little Etsy store, Mckinney x2 designs. She creates amazing artwork prints and notecards and her daughter-in-law paints the whimsical signs, of which I own two! Check out their store and read Jodi’s beautiful and creative blog at Creativelifeinbetween.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you notice how there is a message or word trend in products? If not, when you shop next, notice the products donned with inspirational words.  It appears that consumers, like me , crave these bits of language. These are words that drive success and serve as a motivation for a fulfilled life of happiness.

 

My little collection of words envelope me in joy, for their inspirational message and little reminders of kindness fill my cup to an overflow. It helps me to go about my day and enhances my life in small yet significant ways!   I really love words and how they can grasp at the emotions within you and squeeze tight.

 

Notice how you can read words everywhere you go! Some suggest hate or division. Others support happiness and instill a foundation of peace. You can choose which messages to live by and to read. Others simply ignore and stay positive. 

 

 

With this,  I hope you have a joyful day filled with meaningful words… whether they are spoken, read or written. Enjoy the message and pause to reflect.

 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤

 

 

An Ice Cream Cake

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Look out, Carvel! I’ve found an ice cream cake recipe and with my family’s approval, I’m deserting ( haha, what a pun) the expensive store bought cakes and making my own! I’ve made similar recipes before by simply placing layers of ice cream in an Oreo crust with whipped cream on top. This time is just a bit different because of the added toppings.

 

 

 

This time I chose my recipe from Dashingdish.com where the author provided a low fat version. I doctored it a bit to include regular cookie dough ice cream ( one of my husband’s favorites) and original Cool Whip. I figure if we are going to have dessert then it doesn’t need to be a low fat version. If I wanted that, I’d throw together a fruit salad. No, we’re going all the way with this one! I’m not generally a fan of whipped topping so instead I make real whipped cream.  This time I tried it and it came out great!

 

I- premade Oreo pie crust

½ gallon ice cream of your choice, softened

1- 8 oz. Cool Whip topping, thawed

Fudge sundae sauce or topping

8-10 Oreo cookies crushed, with rolling pin

Chopped candy ( I used Reese’s Cups)

 

 

 

Set out ice cream and whipped topping at room temperature. It took about 15 minutes for the ice cream and 30 minutes or so for the Cool Whip. Then combine the two, stirring until mixed together. 

 

Take Oreo crust from pie pan and crumble in a 10” springform pan tightly closed. Press down and flatten so it’s  even. I know what you’re thinking…what a shortcut! If you wish, simply buy Oreo cookies and crush to flatten in pan. 

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Put 1\2 of soft ice cream in pan spreading around so it’s even.

 

 

Sprinkle crushed Oreos over the ice cream layer.

 

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Get rid of that housewife aggression and crush some Oreos today! Haha

 

 

Top the cake with swirls of fudge topping, chopped up candy or chocolate chips and nuts if desired.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The finished product and oh, boy was it yummy!

 

 

 

When I served this cake, I left it out on the counter for about 8 minutes just so that it was easy to cut through and it worked pretty well. This cake was for my husband Tom’s birthday, he turned 57 over a week ago. It was super easy and delicious for any occasion. 

 

 

I hope you are all having a great start to your week! I’ll probably have another post or two this week so be on the look out!

All My Best,

Heart and Soul