Friday, August 31, 2012

Busy Bees

We have some busy bees and over a gallon of honey to show for it!

Next week when we meet again, we will be kicking off the Fall season....I'm ready, how about you?

Wishing you all a very 'sweet', long weekend!  xo

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Saveur $4.99 YR

Hello friends, another great price on a subscription. You can't beat $4.99 a year for Saveur.

I never turn down a chance to make sure this magazine is in my mailbox...After taking advantage of this offer, I now can look forward to having this through.....2014, Yeah!

Go here to Slickdeals and  make sure to select whether it is a new or renew and then click on 'Add to Cart' and over in 'coupon code' box put the code 1144 after that you will see the savings and final price of $4.99 a year.

Remember, this usually only lasts one day!

Have a great day!  xo

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


Hello friends, it's Wednesday and time again to meet a new friend.  I am happy to introduce you to Janine and her most helpful and lovely blog,

She has a cute story about how it all began.  One Christmas, she made a batch of Obese looking gingerbread men and even though not the handsomest of gents, they were a huge hit.  That's all it took for her to get going on research and practice to produce the prettiest of sugar cookies that I have seen.

Just look at these 'Cookie Pops' (here), they are adorable and the good news is...We can all do this too!! Janine is happy to teach us the secrets to turn out a cookie that we can truly be proud of.

I have always wanted to use Royal Icing (here), but, in all honesty, have felt quite intimidated by the mere thought of it.  With Janine's great instruction and tutorials, I feel that even I might be a success (miracles never cease!).

Here is an example of one of her tutorials...Tulip Cookies that you can find here.  These remind me of our Skagit Valley Tulip Festival every April.  My neighbors would be so surprised (shocked) if I turned out a batch of these next Spring!

You know how fast summer has flown by...well, baking season will be upon us sooner than we think, so I am giving Janine a huge, "Thank you", for sharing all of her expertise with us so that we might have pretty cookies to share with all!


More berry picking for me today and hopefully some plums are in my future too, they would make some great chutney, I do believe.

Any thing special on your agenda for the rest of the week?  Have a good one!  xo

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Jelly or Syrup?

All done with that round of blackberries and I do thank all of you who left comments on the last post. It is nice for the moral support even if most of you were in the dark like myself about the ratio of ripe to unripe. 

Lynn looked it up and found the ratio suggested 3/4 ripe to 1/4 under. Leigh just picks ripe ones but finds that 'unders' creep in too and she uses those as well.  She also suggested to "go for it" as even if it doesn't turn out, the product will be great on ice cream...I agree, ice cream makes anything "All Better".

Above is the very last little bit of the jelly and it appears to be the only one that has jelled.  When the Mister gets home he will be the final judge on this one.

I did not process the jars in a hot water bath as we usually do here in the States but went ahead and did as our friends across the big water do.  Everything is boiling hot and filled to the top and lids quickly put on and screwed down.

It was surprising how fast I heard the little lids plunking down, much faster that with the hot water bath!

Of course, there are several jars with a special label for some very special little ones!  They will be safely tucked in on the next trip south.

The next project is the honey.  My 'Honey', ordered a special kit that strains it through 3 different mesh screens to make sure it is extra clear.  I will share with you after it is done...we will see.

I am hoping to do the Blog Share tomorrow so I will see you then.

Have a nice afternoon and evening.    xo

Friday, August 24, 2012

Please Help with Jelly Question

Guess what I will be doing this weekend. Looks like these berries decided to ripen all at once while I was gone.

The weather has cooled down so it will be a perfect temperature to get into some jelly making.

Years ago, my grandmother told me how to make blackberry jelly the way she did 'in the olden days'.

She said to make sure to pick some under ripe berries along with the ripe ones to help the jelling process, as they have more pectin, and turn out a nice product without a trip to the store.

My question to you all, is...What should the ratio of ripe to under ripe berries be?  For the life of me I cannot remember what she said and it has been forever since I have done it.

Thanks in advance for any hints on this.  I hope you all have a happy weekend!   xo

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Jack Chooses Winner

Hello my friends, hope you are all having a fine week so far. We have a winner for the Country Living Magazine subscription.

Jack asked if he might be the one to help out with the drawing...He's so sweet, he has never had a bad thought in his whole life. His sister Maggie, would beg to differ with that though.

You can tell he takes this very seriously....OK, go for it Jack and let's see who you come up with....

The winner is, Leigh!!  Congratulations my friend, please email me your address and I will get that subscription going.  If you have never been to visit Leigh, I encourage you to stop by "5 Acres and a Dream"
where she shares her life with her husband as they work on their homestead with a goal of a simpler, more self reliant life style.  You will love the stories of her goats and the chickens and learn a thing or two as she shares in the ups and downs of remodeling and house repairs.

Today is supposed to be 'Blog Share'.  I am sorry to say that I had to trash the one I was working on.  I was almost ready to pull it all together this morning when I came across some 'language' and then some more.  I find it hard to understand the need for that in a food and photography blog!

I have plans to go to Kami's and plant some Kale in the garden with the grand kiddos, so there is no time  to put together another blog share.  Next week I will be more careful in examining the contents of the posts.

Have a great day my dear  friends!  xo

Monday, August 20, 2012

Car Meltdown and The Trip Through Hell

Hello friends and happy Monday. It is good to be back this morning, I have missed my blog and you all during the break and will enjoy catching up with everyone.

I'm sure you are wondering about the Title and would like to hear all about my recent trip to the "Hot Place"! Get a cool cloth and I will tell the condensed version of the event.

I show this photo to remind myself that all is well now and I am safe at the City House.

The story starts Friday at noon.  The car was packed and gassed up with a new oil change and good report from the Auto mechanics....all was well and off we went.

We knew it was to be hot, actually in  the low 90's and perhaps hotter closer to Portland.  I was not worried  though, as the car has always handled running the air-condition very well with no over heating.

I am sure you have all been in those rush hour traffic jams where you are just letting your food off of the gas and idling, then back on brake.  I bet you have never done that for 3 HOURS...!!!!

My eyes where glued to  the bumper of the car in front of me and my temperature gauge.  If it were just me in the car I would have rolled down the windows and suffered, but I had the two dogs and with both of them getting up in years, well, that was not an option.

When the gauge would go above 200 degrees I would turn off AC until it went down again and when we stopped all together, I would have to put it in neutral and give it gas.

The last two hours weren't as bad but the car was so hot by then that the car didn't cool down that much.  I was almost to my exit when the temperature gauge started climbing fast.....not a good sign.  So, I had to roll down the windows and turn on the Heater, yes, but I had no choice.....Well, that kind of worked for a few minutes, air started coming out of the heater.....that, my friends, is never a good sign.

The gauge was heading to the danger zone, I was almost to my exit and I prayed "Lord, please let me get off of the freeway and please let that light be green so I don't have to stop".  I might add, that the light has Never been green before....It was green this time and I took the left on to the Expressway and prayed again. "Lord, please let me get to that next light and be able to turn off and get to some shade."  At that, a burst of heat, came out of the vents the light turned green I made a right turn and there was a service station with shade...My warning light on the dash (check gauges) came on as I turned in and pulled into the shady spot and turned off the car...."Thank you Lord"!

People in the Mini Mart were there to help, my daughter-in-law came and got the dogs while I waited for  the tow truck. My sweet hubby drove down that night after putting in a long days work.

It ended up being the radiator....I guess they can only take so much heat and then they give up.  So it is now having a radiator transplant and hopefully will be good as new...Note to self.....Don't do this again!!! 

To celebrate our safe arrival and answered prayer (thank you Lord) and that also because you were all so good to sit through this long, hot, story, I will be giving one of you a years subscription to Country Living magazine.  Just leave a mention in your comment and I will announce on Wednesday....I will have to limit this offer to my U.S. readers only.

I will be getting around to visit all of you soon to see what you have been up to.  Have a great Monday!


Friday, August 10, 2012

A Break

Happy Friday! I hope you all are gearing up for some summer time fun this weekend. The weather here has been perfect even though it was a bit hot last weekend..mid 80's. I hear you all giving me a bad time as you are melting in other parts of the country. I'll admit that I'm a wimp when it comes to 'wet' heat, it just leaves me limp.

During the clean-out this week, I have uncovered so many treasures...including my big girl sewing machine, haven't seen that in awhile.  Just seeing it gets my fingers itching to get started on some sewing projects, but first I must finish the entire job and that will require some dedication.

So, that means I must put some other things aside for awhile and give this project my full attention.  I will be taking a break from my blog for about a week.  There will still be time made to pop in for visits with you though...I could never go long without seeing what you all are up to.

Hopefully, next time we meet again here, I will be able to show you a much better picture of this spot.

Be well my friends!   xo

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Urban Farm - $4.50 YR

Good Morning! Another magazine subscription bargain too good to keep to myself! is offering Urban Farm for $4.50 a year.  Go here and enter CODE 6913 at checkout and you will see the savings.  They also offered Better Homes and Gardens to be added to it for $5.50 if you like.  I went ahead and got both for $10.00..can't beat that!

Remember, these deals usually just last for the day, so don't delay.

Have a happy day!  xo

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Blog Share - Mowielicious

It is Wednesday my friends, and you know what that means...another blog share. I want to start off first, by letting you know that I will always be attempting to keep these special posts brief, and for good reason, so you can spend the time visiting the featured blog. With that said, let's get started.

 Today we are going over to London, England to meet up with Mowie Kay and his food and lifestyle photography blog, mowielicious.

Chocolate and cherries...really, does this even need any words?!  How about the fact that it is a breeze to put together too, as it is..'No-Bake Oreo Chocolate Cherry Tarts' that you can find right here.

Here we have Chocolate Churros, something I am not familiar with but would sure like to get to know!   Mowie made these to celebrate his blogs 3 year anniversary back in April, you can read about it here.

I am picturing a bite taken out of one of these 'Red Velvet Whoopie Pies with Orange Buttercream (here) how fun are they?!  Don't you feel like a kid again just looking at these?  And if you like these, you will be thrilled to know that he has an entire book of them..yea!

If you are interested, here is the link at for a very good price.

I hope you enjoyed this Share.  I do encourage you to pay a visit to Mowie..he is a big sweetheart, I noticed that he replies right then and there to the comments his readers leave..very nice for such a busy man.

Thanks Mowie for inviting us in!


Have a great day my friends!  xo

Monday, August 6, 2012

This And That

Hello friends..happy Monday! I hope you all had a pleasant weekend and are all rested and ready for a new week.

 When I got home on Friday, I found a package from Lynn who has the fun and informative blog, Happier Than a Pig in Mud. She had a giveaway and I won..yeah!

I had entered in hopes of winning the fabric ornament because we happen to have one that looks very similar in our collection, except, ours doesn't have Santa on it.  Along with it, Lynn tucked in a cute Piggy bag clip, which will help keep me in line when I reach for 'the bag'...Ha!  Thanks for a fun package Lynn!

I have a very happy report to share.  Most of you know that we recently had a rough patch in the family, with our daughter Kami, becoming very ill while pregnant with her 4th child and shortly after giving birth, being diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma.  Well, she went through all of the treatment like a trooper and finished up the first part of April.  All scans and lab done since then have come out great and she is getting stronger and gaining weight.

She is so strong that the entire family loaded the pickup and came up to our neck of the woods for a 5 day camping trip on Lopez Island...right next to Fidalgo Island where the Little House is.

We escorted them to the ferry yesterday morning and were so happy to have a good weather report for the sailing trip.

Here is the Instagram that Kami took so Grandma and Grandpa could see those happy faces.

And here we have...Healthy baby and healthy Mom...We are truly blessed.

I have a busy week ahead.  The Mister, seeing my frustration with not being able to make a dent in my studio  or Shed organization, decided we should get a storage unit, after all, there is only so much room you can carve out of a 760 sq. ft. house!  This will also free up space in the garage for him and future projects he wishes to do....I am a very happy girl, yes indeed!

So you know what I will be up to..How about you all, anything special you have planned for the week?

Off I go to get started, see you Wednesday for the Blog Share.   xo

Friday, August 3, 2012


I have promised myself that I would be packed up and ready to leave City House by 10:30 this morning. It is now 9:00 am, can I do it?  Yes, I can and that's why this post is short, very short.

Here is our Asian Pear tree and as you can see it is loaded with fruit, the entire tree looks like this.  Never have we seen an abundance like this.  We are experiencing the same up at the Little House on the apple trees and the wild blackberries.  I am wondering if this means a hard winter?

I said this would be short...I have my one potted plant in it's tub with water in the bottom so it can drink at will and the fern indoors in its big bowl doing the same.

Off to pack the cooler and load up.

Have a lovely weekend my friends..see you Monday.  xo

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Blog Share - t s g

It's Wednesday and that means another Blog Share. Confession, I am having way too much fun with this and while having fun, I am learning, about myself and other bloggers too. Don't worry, this will not be a post delving into the innermost parts of my mind...That would take a much longer post, and one for....Never!

Today we meet Kamran, who invites us to call him Kam like all of his family and friends.  He is a young man from New York City and at this time is living and going to College in New Jersey.

Kam started 'The Sophisticated Gourmet' (tsg) to share simple, sophisticated, in season recipes that can be made at home.  Reading though many of his recipes proved  this to be true.

Above, we have his offering of, Pistachio Polvorones (Spanish shortbread)...or...Mexican Wedding Cakes, which caught my eye, as they are one of my very favorites.  I have been disappointed with the store bought ones and have high hopes that when I make a batch of these, my heart will soar.

Kam captured my heart right off with this post, not just for the rich looking Chocolate Cupcakes (here), but also because of the struggle that he is going through for not posting as much as he would like.  As we read, we may see a bit of ourselves, perhaps wanting to write and having something to say...but the words don't come.  Oh, maybe they come, come in that jerky way that doesn't feel right.

He does give us a good reason that he's been absent and that is, he has a book that is in the works, 'Hand Made' that we will be hearing more about!

So to make up for his lack of posting, he offers these dark brown delights that you can find here along with more of his charming  conversation.

This recipe, here, is new to me, it is Kheer, an Indian rice pudding that Kam has adapted from his fathers recipe.

I will most definitely be trying this one, Kam says it's easy and it 'whispers' of total comfort food..."sigh".

Please take a moment to hop over to - ' t s g'  and look around at the other selections in the 'recipe' section.

It has been a pleasure visiting Kam on this Blog Share.  Thanks Kam! 

Have a wonderful Wednesday, my friends!  xo