Saturday, August 29, 2015

Beautiful North Shore

Hello Dear Friends and Happy Weekend!


I wanted to share some photos of my beautiful northwoods and an area near us called the Minnesota North Shore. We head north from my northwoods to go up the north shore - so we call it going "up the shore". It's been a tradition for several years now that we like to get up there once a summer before school starts. We took our north shore road trip a week or so ago. Sometimes the teenager goes as well, but he opted out this year. So it was my Mom, my Annie and her friend with me this trip. I captured some photos to share the beautiful day with you.


First, we stopped at a fun little candy shop that we love along the way. We needed to store up on treats to save for later of course. They have wonderful homemade candies, taffies, fudge and the best homemade caramels ever! I recommend the ginger caramels. Also, wonderful turtles and jams and sauces. It's an adorable place with fun activities outside as well. Don't you love our cute little bears with their caramel apples?



Next, we ate at a favorite little cafe with wonderful home cooking! I had a cup of butternut squash soup that was amazing, as well as a fresh salad with strawberries, pecans, feta cheese and basil lime vinaigrette. They also make their own homemade kettle chips with homemade french onion dip.  And they have the best creamy hot chai tea too. Yum!




Then we went to a favorite beach area. It was a little chilly at first and quite cloudy that day. But later on the sun peeked through and we needed to take off our coats as we got nice and warm. Here's my cute Mumsy taking in the beauty. There are nice big rocks that make a perfect seat to sit and reflect and listen to the water and the gulls.





My daughter and her friend loved finding feathers and driftwood and playing with the rocks. I was teaching them all how to skip stones. They got the hang of it after a while but I still held the record at 7 skips!




We have the most beautiful stones in our area. We have sandy beaches too, but many of our beaches look just like this. We're also known for our agates. 

ag·ate

ˈaɡit/
noun
  1. an ornamental stone consisting of a hard variety of chalcedony, typically banded in appearance.
    • a colored toy marble resembling a banded gemstone.
      plural noun: agates





The sky, with its puffy clouds, was breathtaking that day. This is our beautiful Lake Superior....the largest of the Great Lakes. The bay I live on feeds right into this big beautiful lake.  I love when the sky and water look like they meet and go on forever. It felt like we were surrounded in a shroud of blue and gray. 


We ended our time at the beach and then stopped at a couple of gift and antique shops before heading for home. I found a few fun treasures for myself, a few birthday gifts for loved ones, and even some Christmas goodies for our funny door prize game. We then piled back in the car and munched some of our yummy treats we picked up earlier as we listened to fun music and enjoyed the beautiful views on the way home. It was a great day!!


The before school fun continues so I will not be home Monday and so won't be able to do my happy homemaker Monday post this week. I'll be back for it next week though! School starts Tuesday - yay!!

 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Broccoli, Bacon & Grape Pasta Salad

I'm late with a recipe today as it's been one of those busy kiddo days! I'm looking so forward to back to school so my schedule will become normal once again and things will slow down. Tick tock at this point as school is less than a week away! I am loving my kiddo time too, though, don't get me wrong. 


I wanted to share this yummy pasta salad I made a week or so ago. It's a recipe off of my pinterest under the board "salads".  It sounds like kind of an interesting and strange combination of flavors, but it was SO good! It was a recipe originally from Southern Living I believe.




For this recipe first get some pasta (in this case bow tie) boiling. Take some chopped pecans and toast them in the oven for about 5 minutes:




Then halve about a 2 cups of grapes:




 Then cut up about a pound of broccoli into florets:



Cut up about a 1/3 cup of red onion:




The part I didn't get a photo of was the bacon. Cook up 8 slices of bacon and crumble and set aside. Take about a cup of mayo and mix in the red onion, some red wine vinegar, sugar and salt to make a dressing. The recipe calls for a certain amount, but I did what my Grandma always did which was to take about 2 Tbsps of sugar and 2 tsp of vinegar for every cup of mayo. Then drain and rinse the pasta, add the broccoli and the grapes and dressing and mix all together. Chill for several hours. Just before serving stir in the bacon and the pecans.  Delicious!! Here's the recipe:


INGREDIENTS:
1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 (16-oz.) package farfalle (bow-tie) pasta
1 pound fresh broccoli
1 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup diced red onion
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups seedless red grapes, halved
8 cooked bacon slices, crumbled
Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Bake pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan 5 to 7 minutes or until lightly toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through.
2. Prepare pasta according to package directions.
3. Meanwhile, cut broccoli florets from stems, and separate florets into small pieces using tip of a paring knife. Peel away tough outer layer of stems, and finely chop stems.
4. Whisk together mayonnaise and next 4 ingredients in a large bowl; add broccoli, hot cooked pasta, and grapes, and stir to coat. Cover and chill 3 hours. Stir bacon and pecans into salad just before serving.


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Wednesday Wonder

COZY FALL PREVIEW


Today is actually a pretty beautiful summer day. Temps right around 70. Barely a breeze - just calm and pleasant. However, we've definitely been having our share of Fall preview weather! Some nights have been down in the low 50's high 40's and several days have been windy, cool and brisk. 



Here's a photo of my Dad and step Mom from at my daughter's soccer game 2 nights ago. Gives you a good idea of how the wind was feeling that night! Geese were honking and flying over too. Definite Autumn starting to show her face a bit. 


Those that follow me on instagram saw this photo later that night. I went home from that game and warmed up with my new autumn wreath candle, and my mug of nice hot orange & spice tea (a favorite!). If you'd like to follow me on instagram you can find me at carriebgroup.  I've been loving it and I have fun posting photos of daily life in my north woods.

Don't get me wrong, I'm enjoying all of the final summer moments I'm able too - but I'm also embracing these Fall previews...bring it on!



Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Scrapbook Catch Up

I've still been working away on my daughter's school years album. I was initially farther behind than I remembered in hers - so I've really been working to catch up. 


My kiddos' school years albums are really fun to work on and they are a perfect project for this time of year. It's fun to look back on their teachers, sports and school events...just as we're getting ready to embrace a brand new school year. 


I love these soccer pages I'm currently working on now. I actually purchased them on Etsy quite a few years ago. It's fun to see the paper craft talents of others and when I have found certain things (like these pages) that are so perfect, I have chosen to go that route and not make them myself for that layout. I'm not done with the pages yet as I want to add some more action shots that I'll cut out using my circle cutter..and have some round photos on the page.


I love the ribbon across the top of the photo. I love that soccer player cut-out too! 


I took a photo of Annie on the field - with her number on the back- and cut it out and I love how it looks next to this larger posed photo of her.



Isn't that water bottle adorable? I like the textured paper that's also on the heart in the first page.


I'm just continuing to have fun back-to-school thoughts as I catch up on this school years album! Are you big into back-to-school world? Or working on a fun project? 




Monday, August 24, 2015

Happy Homemaker Monday



Here we are again - back to Monday! It was a lovely weekend here- hope it was for you too. We spent some time with family and friends, which is always a wonderful thing. We had my in-law's over one night for pizza and a pontoon ride. It was so fun! And then we had friends over another night, and it's always wonderful catching up. Finally, yesterday we took my Dad out for his birthday. Lots of good quality time! Now on to the week ahead.


THE WEATHER OUTSIDE IS:

Cloudy, windy and cool today. Definitely feel the Fall in the air. Only supposed to hit lower 60's today. First part of this week is supposed to stay cool like that. Later in the week it is supposed to warm back up into the 70's.


ON THE BREAKFAST PLATE THIS MORNING:

We had a little treat this AM and my MIL and I  had a glazed donut, apple slices and coffee. It just hit the spot.


  AS I LOOK OUTSIDE MY WINDOW:

Getting more cloudy and wondering if it's going to rain. See everyone's garbage can up by the road for pick up today. I noticed some had garbage on the ground when I went to get my MIL. The bears have been coming back into town, as they often do in the Fall, looking for food again before hibernation. We need to keep our garbage in the garage in the Spring and Fall for that reason.


RIGHT NOW I AM:

Snuggling in the easy chair as I type this and visit with my MIL and watch the morning news. She's snuggling and petting and talking to Ruby.


AS I LOOK AROUND THE HOUSE:

Not too bad - throw in the usual load of laundry but everything else pretty tidy.


ON TODAY'S TO DO LIST:

I need to take my son to his workout class, but then thinking I'm going to take him into the walk-in. He's had a cough for weeks and it's not getting better, and this weekend it was getting pretty bad where he'd have horrible coughing fits and couldn't breath well. He's a teenager and does not want to go, but with all of his sports and starting school, he doesn't get a choice! Then we have my daughter's soccer game tonight. Very busy week ahead with kiddo's final goings-on during the day before back to school next week. 


CURRENTLY READING:

I've been having such fun reading some new Fall magazines coming in the mail. I am truly enjoying these final weeks of summer, but Fall is starting to hover in the background ready to jump into my world very soon! I've also been reading some Fall cookbooks and love the Autumn tips as well as the recipes. I can't help myself! It's my favorite season!! (the above all still applies to this week again!) 


ON THE TV TODAY:

I have some America's got Talent I need to catch up on and Cedar Cove. Also some old movies taped.


ON THE MENU THIS WEEK:

MONDAY - eat up leftovers from meatloaf dinner yesterday.  TUESDAY- Polish sausage on the grill, baked beans, salad, chips, fruit  WEDNESDAY - out for my FIL's bday after my daughter's soccer game THURSDAY- egg bake with sausage and veggies, muffins, fruit FRIDAY - ? get groceries


WHAT I AM CREATING AT THE MOMENT:

I worked on my daughter's school years album and getting very close to having it caught up. I need to work on her baby book too. Her baby scrapbook has been done for years, but I have a traditional baby book for each of my kiddos. My son's are all done, but I was good about working on my daughter's at the start and then started just saving her MD appt updates and information on little slips of paper and need to put them all in her book.


NEW RECIPE I WANT TO TRY THIS WEEK:

Probably nothing new this week.



TIP OF THE WEEK:

Don't have anything today, and limited on time. Will have something next week!

FROM THE CAMERA:

It was a relaxing evening by the new fire table after the pontoon ride this weekend. I love the pretty glass - it's quite hypnotizing to watch as well as warm and snuggly to sit beside. We had s'mores too of course! Lol


PRAYER, INSPIRATIONAL QUOTE OR DEVOTIONAL:


I'm linking with Sandra from Diary of a SAHM for Happy HOmemaker Monday.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Scraptastic Saturday: Easy Golden Peach Cobbler

Happy Weekend Everyone! I thought I would share this quick and easy peach cobbler recipe. You can find it pinned on my pinterest page under the "sweet treats" board. This one comes together very quickly and would be great with sweet juicy fresh peaches that are around this time of year. I had canned peaches I needed to use up - so that's what I threw in there. I think you could also use frozen peaches, that have been thawed, in here quite well.




Place sliced peaches in the bottom of 9x13 pan. If using canned peaches then drain them. Use a large 29 oz can (or in my case I used two 15 oz cans). I'm guessing for fresh peaches you would need to cut up 3 or so peaches depending on their size.


Mix 2 cups sugar, 2 cups flour and 2 tsp. baking powder in a bowl. Everything is in 2's in this recipe which also makes it easy.




Take 2 sticks of butter (1 cup) and melt on the stove or in the microwave. Pour over the peaches.




Pour 2 cups of milk into dry mixture and whisk into a batter.


Pour batter over the peaches and butter.



Bake in a preheated 350* oven for 35-45 minutes or until golden brown. I'm guessing this recipe would be easy to cut in half as well. Serve warm with vanilla bean ice cream and that's some summer ending heavenly dessert right there!! Enjoy!


I'm linking with Andrea at Scrapality for Scraptastic Saturday.

scraptasticbutton


Friday, August 21, 2015

Three Day Quote Challenge: Day 3



"I made it the mantra of those days; when I paused before yet another series of switchbacks or skidded down knee-jarring slopes, when patches of flesh peeled off my feel along with my socks, when I lay alone and lonely in my tent at night I asked, often out loud: Who is tougher than me?

The answer was always the same, and even when I knew absolutely there was no way on this earth that it was true, I said it anyway: No one. "
~Cheryl Strayed, Wild:From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail


I loved this book so much. It fascinated me when I read what it was about...how this amazing woman went through a difficult time in her life (the loss of her mother) and decided to hike the whole Pacific Crest Trail - BY HERSELF.  That just boggled my mind. How could someone be that strong and brave. She was not a hiker or someone who ever did those things, yet she decided to tackle hiking a trail that was over 2,600 miles along the whole west coast: from Mexico all the way up to Canada.  And do it alone. 


When I started reading it I also found it interesting that she was somewhat from my local area, just a little distance away. And places she mentioned at the beginning of the book were basically in my backyard. So this true story was about someone that was practically a neighbor. And I just loved Cheryl's writing.  She could say things so beautifully, sometimes so graphically, that it went straight to my heart. I know they made  movie with Rees Witherspoon, but I have yet to see it, but I plan to in the future.


Out of all this amazing writing I chose this quote as it really spoke to me in relation to my own life. I have definitely had moments of self talk like this when I have moments of adversity. I know I shared about my Annie's birth story, and how it was related to trauma I went through having my son Aaron (you can read it here.) I almost died giving birth to my son (several times) and the trauma from it has permanently affected me. I have had horrible panic attacks in my life and have had to be on meds for it in the past. But I am a person that, by nature, is more stoic about these things and I don't like to seem like I have problems or need help. I would feel on the inside like my heart is beating so fast and hard it will take off any minute right out of my chest, but on the outside I'll be nodding and smiling and talking to whomever is in front of me and they never knew what was going on underneath. It was so awful when it was bad. It has been so much better and I have other mechanisms for coping...but I can still to this day have a panic attack sneak up on me and no one would ever know it because I hide it so well on the inside. And a lot is through self talk reminding myself how tough and strong I am....so much like this quote. 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

BBQ Bacon Cheesy Chicken

First of all I wanted to share how I do easy baked chicken. My hubby likes it to be more moist - and not as crunchy. I often make a basic parmesan chicken. But to increase some flavors I'll sometimes add other yummy things like I did for this chicken:




Here's how I make the base which is my parmesan chicken. 

Take a family pack of boneless skinless chicken breasts. Salt and pepper them well. You can pound them out thinner if you prefer, or if you need to save time and have them cook faster. I left mine as they were this time. Preheat oven to 375*.


Take a couple of dishes and to one add real mayonnaise (I use the light version). To another add Italian bread crumbs and some parmesan cheese. I don't measure anything out but I would guess I used about a cup or so of crumbs and 1/2 a cup of cheese. The crumbs have a lot of flavor already so I don't add additional seasonings.


Coat each breast in mayo. I use this instead of the traditional egg/flour combo. One, it saves on time and dishes. And two, it provides for a more moist and less crispy coating - which my hubby prefers.



Then I coat each piece with the cheese/crumb mixture.


Place chicken on a foil lined sheet pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray, or I often melt a little butter on the bottom of the pan and get it hot, and then take it out and place the chicken on it. To have your chicken be a little more crispy use cooking spray. Bake for 20-30 minutes depending on how thick you left your chicken. Then remove pan and spoon a favorite BBQ sauce on each piece and place 2 pieces of cooked bacon on top. Then either sprinkle shredded cheddar cheese, or I used thin slices of cheddar, on top of each piece. Place back in oven for another 8-10 minutes or until cheese is melted and chicken is cooked through in the middle. 


Then dish it up with some favorite sides. I served this the day I made the cheesy slow cooker hashbrowns. They were perfect with this dish along with some yummy mixed vegetables. Enjoy!



Three Day Quote Challenge: Day 2



"It isn't possible to love and part. You will wish that it was. You can transmute love, ignore it, muddle it, but you can never pull it out of you. I know by experience that the poets are right: love is eternal." ~ E.M. Forester, A Room with a View

Okay. I just need to be a pure romantic for a minute and use this quote for my challenge today. I absolutely love E.M. Forester works. Howards End, A Passage to India, and A Room with a View to name a few.  A Room with a View is an absolute favorite and the movie based on the novel is one of my favorite movies of all time! It's a pretty dated movie now (1985) -but packed with celebrity power: Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, Helena Bonham Carter, Daniel Day Lewis to name a few.


I love the main character, Lucy Honeychurch, who is confined by the decorum of the age to behave a certain way...but underneath there's such a passion that she hides. Until a true love (not her finace - gasp), brings it out of her and she can't deny who she is any longer. 


 I absolutely fell in love with Italy because of this movie. And finally in 1999 I had the opportunity to realize my dream to travel in Europe when I went on a trip with my Aunt (much like Lucy). I told my Aunt my main request, of all of our planned destinations, (we visited 5 countries) was to go to Florence in Italy and stay on the Arno with a view....which we did. I was already married to my hubby at the time - but it was a very "romantic" trip nonetheless as I fell even more in love with Italy. It was an absolute dream come true!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Wednesday Wonder

SEEING THE SIGNS



I thought I would still post for Wednesday Wonder today too. Geese have been flying over my bay, temperatures have been dropping lately, school lists have been checked off, I've been craving hot coffee in the AM's instead of iced, and this leaf was in my driveway in the rain today. All signs that Fall is on its way!


Three Day Quote Challenge: Day One

I have been nominated by my dear friend Carrie Ann from the blog Anniehow to do a 3 day quote challenge, where you share a quote for three consecutive days. More rule details below. Thank you Carrie! (P.S. Love your name!) Lol

Here's my quote:

Image result for Anne of Green Gables book image

"Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It's splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world. "

~L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables


I think I'll be sharing quotes from some favorite books. I grew up reading the Anne of Green Gables series of books and they still remain close to my heart.  I love the beautiful way Anne sees the world and the wonderful writing by L.M. Montgomery. There are so many wonderful quotes I could have taken from many of the books, but I always especially loved Anne's view on kindred spirits. I feel I'm blessed with many of them in my life through dear friends I have grown up with, and current friends today. But I feel that way so much about you - my fellow blogger friends that I'm able to connect with almost daily. I'm so glad that I found you and I'm blessed to have you! 


Three day quote challenge rules:

• Thank the blogger, who nominated you.

• Publish 3 quotes on 3 consecutive days in your blog. It can be your own, or from a book, movie or from anyone who inspires you.

• Nominate 3 more bloggers to carry on this endeavour.

I nominate:
*Billie Jo @Afternoon Coffee and Evening Tea

*Judy @Cranberry Morning

*Jill @Blessings of a Stay at Home Mom

**Addendum: also there is no time limit 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Birthday Bunting

MY BOY

My Boy is officially 15 years old today. I don't know how that happened, or how I could possibly have a child that old, but yet the day is here nonetheless. (insert BIG sigh here).  He's such a sweet smart GOOD boy...or should I say young man...and my hubby and I are both very proud of him. He didn't want a big deal made of his birthday, but he does have cousins and a friend staying over. We're picking up one of his favorites for dinner (KFC) and I'm just grabbing a cake to save time, as I clean up around here before grandparents come over tonight too. So since the cake is not homemade the bunting on the cake will be! 


I simply took black card stock, folded it in half, and cut out triangles. I then took a red ribbon and folded the triangles in half over the ribbon. I used white fabric letter stickers for his name and embellished with some stickers of his favorite sports he plays - soccer and hockey.


I picked the black, white, and red as that is the colors of his favorite team on the planet - the Ottawa Senators! He has loved that team for many years...and quite frankly he loves Canada and talks about moving there one day. We took a trip there last summer and he was sold. I used "the puck stops here" sticker as my son plays defense and so that's how he performs in hockey. To "be a wall" and stop that puck! 


If he cooperates I may try to get some photos tonight too (never know with teenagers) and will share more at a later date. 


Monday, August 17, 2015

Happy Homemaker Monday


Happy Monday to All! Hope you had a lovely weekend. They feel like they're flying by as summer is soon coming to a close. We had been so busy for many weekends away packing in summer events. It was nice to be home this last weekend, instead, and focus on some projects around the house. Lately, I've been thinking FAll thoughts and have been registering kiddos for school and picking up things for their school supply lists. The geese have been flying over our house and at night I have felt Autumn in the air. 

This past weekend I had my 25th high school reunion and was on the planning committee for it. The event went great and it was a lot of fun catching up with some former classmates. But now I'm ready to focus on the week ahead!


THE WEATHER OUTSIDE IS:

Sunny and cooler. Only 60's now. It's supposed to hit the 70's today and then the next couple of days only be in the 60's.  A much cooler week and that's fine by me!


ON THE BREAKFAST PLATE THIS MORNING:

My MIL and daughter opted for a blueberry waffle. I had 1/2 an onion bagel. We all had some fruit. My MIL and I had some coffee with hazelnut creamer.

  AS I LOOK OUTSIDE MY WINDOW:

I see & hear a wood pecker out doing it's thing on the birch tree outside.  Birds are singing away! A beautiful summer day.


RIGHT NOW I AM:

Sitting in the t.v. room with my MIL watching the news and finishing coffee. I have the window open letting the nice cool breeze in and it feels wonderful! We chat at times and my MIL is fixed on thinking she forgot her shoes and really they're in the other room where she always puts them. She keeps asking me every few minutes: "I forgot my shoes. Do you have some?" Some mornings are more challenging.


AS I LOOK AROUND THE HOUSE:

The usual laundry needs to be done of course! I need to throw a few dishes in the dishwasher and get the clean clothes to the kiddos' rooms so they can put them away. 


ON TODAY'S TO DO LIST:

I think my MIL and my daughter and myself will go run a few errands and then maybe pick up some subs to have a picnic in the park.  We need to run the teenager to his workout session this AM. Then he has soccer tryouts later this afternoon.



CURRENTLY READING:

I've been having such fun reading some new Fall magazines coming in the mail. I am truly enjoying these final weeks of summer, but Fall is starting to hover in the background ready to jump into my world very soon! I've also been reading some Fall cookbooks and love the Autumn tips as well as the recipes. I can't help myself! It's my favorite season!!


ON THE TV TODAY:

I have some cooking shows to catch up on and the rest of Cedar Cove.


ON THE MENU THIS WEEK:

Tonight we'll do something simple as my daughter has her soccer game. Then I need to get groceries tomorrow. We'll be celebrating my son's birthday this week and will probably grab KFC for that night (one of his fave's) - and we'll do cake and ice cream. Been looking through a Fall cookbook and trying to decide what I want to make for the in-law's this week. May make stuffed peppers for us one night (don't think my FIL would like it though). Maybe something on the grill or something in the slow cooker. Just not sure yet.


WHAT I AM CREATING AT THE MOMENT:

I've been catching up on more of the school years layouts in the kiddos' scrapbooks. Thinking "back to school" thoughts all the way. Lol!


NEW RECIPE I WANT TO TRY THIS WEEK:

I made a yummy pasta salad last week, that I hadn't made before, and the flavors were great! I'll share that later this week. I'd really like to make some stuffed peppers. I've had them before, but have not made them. I think I may try to make them healthier too by using brown rice (I'll flavor with stock) and maybe even turkey sweet Italian sausage.  I also may try a ravioli casserole within the next week or two.


TIP OF THE WEEK:

If you have a CD or DVD that isn't working well - take it out and spray a little window cleaner on a soft paper towel and gently wipe down the back of the disc. If it doesn't have a big scratch that should take care of the problem.

FROM THE CAMERA:
Some reunion classmates



PRAYER, INSPIRATIONAL QUOTE OR DEVOTIONAL:

Great words for anyone but especially for some new students!

I'm linking with Sandra from Diary of a SAHM for Happy Homemaker Monday.