Saturday, October 25, 2014

Homemade Granola

Most mornings, I awaken to 2 cups of coffee in a very large polka-dotted mug.  Add a splash of milk and hazelnut creamer and I'm good to go for about 2 hours. Breakfast is cup of vanilla yogurt, a handful of raspberries (fresh/frozen) and for crunch...granola.  It's like dessert for breakfast.

Store bought granola is expensive and fattening.  I can make a large batch of granola for less than a $1...seriously.  And it is yummy!  My daughter goes through a batch every other day.

GRANOLA - basic recipe
pre-heat oven to 325˚F

1/3 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 tsp vanilla extract
cinnamon (optional)
1/2 tsp salt
5 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1/3 cup unbleached flour (can use wheat flour, or bleached flour)
Optional: 2 cups nuts, dried fruit, etc.

Combine maple syrup, brown sugar and oil into a large bowl.  Stir until the brown sugar is dissolved (no lumps).  Add vanilla extract, salt, and cinnamon (optional).  I like cinnamon, so I'd guess at least 2 teaspoons (1 tsp in the liquid, 1 tsp after mixing the dry ingredient(s).  

Fold in the rolled oats and flour.  Remember! old fashioned rolled oats.  Not the instant oats.  Not the steel-cut oats.  Old fashioned rolled the kind that has the Quaker on the front of the box.  

After thoroughly coating the oats with the oil/sugar mixture, you can add nuts, dried fruit, or a combo of the two.

Dump mixture into a sheet cake pan that has either been buttered/floured or sprayed with baking spray.  Pat down the mixture so that it is even throughout the pan.  

Lick hands.  Wash hands...with soap.  

Place baking pan in the oven (middle rack) for 40-45 minutes.  Halfway through the baking, rotate the pan 180˚ and finish the last half of baking.  

Take out of oven and let cool.  Break off a corner of the granola as it is cooling...come know you want to!  

Once cool, break granola into chunks and place in airtight container (mason jar with clamp).  Granola will keep for up to 2 weeks, but you'll be baking a batch in about 2 days!

Friday, September 26, 2014


I'm all about holiday decorating, and recycling.  Found the perfect solution!

ASCP and wax, cutout letters, mod podge, and some black glitter!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Alaskan Brown Bear (Holly) Adopts an Abandoned Cub

I am a huge fan of's live cams.  One of my favorites are the cameras following the Alaskan Brown Bears.  An Alaskan brown bear is the genetic twin of a grizzly bear, but with the abundant food source on the Alaskan coast, the brown bears are significantly larger (1200lb ready-for-hibernation male Alaskan brown bear vs 800lb ready-for-hibernation male grizzly).  There are 3 cameras that are remotely operated by volunteer camera operators (I am one).  Those 3 cameras are:

Brooks Falls
Lower River West
River Watch (Lower River East)

A fourth camera (Dumpling Mountain) is a stationary camera.

Today, NPR aired an interview with Ranger Roy Wood, from Katmai National Park.  Katmai has the largest concentration of Alaskan Brown Bears.  The interview was about a female bear (sow) with a spring cub who adopted an abandon yearling (1.5 years old) cub.  We, who have been watching the brown bear cams, have witnessed this drama playing out since July of this year.  It is an amazing story and I encourage all to listen to it.

And! Go visit and look at all the live cameras! If bears aren't your cup of tea,  there are rescue kittens and dogs, African wildlife, service dogs/puppies, etc.  It is an incredible website!

Monday, September 22, 2014

2 Ugly Set of Twins!

Yup, found 2 sets of ugly's my calling.

Can't decide that all 4 will have the same paint/fabric or both sets will be different.

Any suggestions?

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Friday, August 29, 2014

Bonaventure Cemetery

I've got to confess, I love cemeteries.  It's my parents' fault.  They loved cemeteries, too.  When we were stationed down South, there are fabulous cemeteries...crypts, moss, ancient gnarled trees...fabulous.  Now I'm not a fan of horror films, but I do believe you can learn a lot about a society on how they honor their dead.  Okay...and I love moss and gravestones...

We decided to  take a day off from the beach (plus the weather was blah) so we drove to Savannah.  It was an easy day trip from Hilton Head, only a 40 minute drive. 

Savannah has an amazing cemetery, the Bonaventure Cemetery.  It is moody, sculptural, historic, and just an incredible place to stroll around.  

Gracie gives me the creeps.

I think Maddie may have inherited the family love for cemeteries

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Lyre Back Chairs

2 blah chairs.  2 coats Black chalk paint, ASCP clear wax.  Reupholstered the cushions with Italian linen fabric...  et voila!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Steam Canon Remains

Located in Port Royal Plantation on Hilton Head Island are the remains of a steam canon.  It was tested and stationed on the coast to defend against a possible coastal attack.  These walls are most likely from the boiler room and the concrete slabs about the steam piping.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Harbour Town

Kellie and the girls had never been to Hilton Head and wanted see Harbour Town.  It was packed with 4th of July vacationers...too crowded for us.  But the shops are great, and it was pretty to walk around at sunset.

Harbour Town Lighthouse

Maddie & Katie

nice boat

Palmetto sunset - I love the tiny crescent moon

Monday, August 11, 2014

College Tour - University of South Carolina

On the way down to Hilton Head we stopped in Columbia, SC to do a quick tour of Kellie's alma mater, University of South Carolina.  Campus was undergoing renovations, but the girl's liked the campus.  It is so pretty; beautiful gardens all over the campus.

Katie and Maddie on campus

Kellie's 4-yr hangout

Closed = Cure...too funny!

vintage theater

Friday, August 8, 2014

Road Trip to Hilton Head

After the flooded basement, I needed a vacation!  My wonderful next door neighbors have a lovely beach house in Port Royal Plantation on Hilton Head Island; they graciously gave me the house for a week+ vacation!  So, I asked one of my oldest friends, Kellie, an her daughter, Katie, to join me and Maddie on our vacation.

Anybody who has driven down 95South know the signs to South of the Border...those god awful signs that start at the Virginia/North Carolina border and pop up incessantly every 5 miles all the way down 95...until you see this!

After South of the Border, it is a boring drive.  Only this warranted a photo:

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Flooded Basement

Well, 2014 has bee an interesting year...

I think my house is made from diving rods!  This time a pin hole in a copper pipe flooded the entire basement... <sigh>


Monday, June 16, 2014

French Stamp End Table

Before:  Nondescript, blah table:

After:  Wow!

I like to paint with Annie Sloan chalk paint (old white).  The Graphics Fairy has fantastic images.  I really like this french stamp image.  It was tiny, but The Graphics Fairy has a tutorials on how to enlarge images and various methods to apply the images.  The stamp printed out on 6 pages (reversed image)!  After cutting it out, I applied Mod Podge on the top of the painted table; carefully placed each piece (face down) on top of the Mod Podged table and smoothed out all the bubbles.  After a night of drying, I used a wet sponge and with  a lot of patience, gently wet/pealed away the paper until I got to the image.  Some of the image pulled away, but I liked the look.  After the image dried again, I applied 2 coats of Mod Podge (drying between coats) to the top of the image.  Then hand sanding.  A dry brush with a bit of Annie Sloan Emperor's Red chalk paint. More sanding.  Finished with Annie Sloan clear wax; dark wax, clear wax. <whew>

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Tunnel Vision

On our way to Virginia Beach, I became mesmerized by the lights of the Hampton Roads tunnel. 

Not a bad photo with an iPhone and traveling at 55+mph!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Boys will be Boys!

Last day of crew was fun; with races amongst classes...Freshman, Sophmores, Juniors, Seniors, Alumni, and Coaches.  Afterwards, the Senior boys wanted some photos together before they graduate in a few weeks.  They're all off to college this fall.  They look like grown young men, but add sun and water...they're little boys all over again.

This is my favorite shot.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Robinson Crew Girls 4th 8 - 1' Off Start

Maddie's coach (Lauren) posted 2 great videos of the girls practicing last week.  I am so impressed with the dedication all the girls on the team have to crew.  It is an intense sport; requiring hours of practicing and by the end of the season they will have rowed about 300 miles!

Maddie is seat 3 from the bow...

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Snickerdoodle Blondies

These blondies are just too yummy! And so easy to make.

1 cup butter

2 cups dark brown sugar (packed down)

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 ¼ cups flour

(1/2 teaspoon if using unsalted butter)


Pre-heat oven to 350˚.  Grease 13x9 pan.

Combine butter and dark sugar; mix thoroughly.  Add eggs and vanilla extract.  Beat until fluffy.  Add baking powder and flour. Mix thoroughly.

Dough will be sticky; place in baking pan.  Mix cinnamon/sugar; as much as you want.  I usually make a lot.  Sprinkle cinnamon sugar over the dough.  Bake for 20-25 minutes.  No oven bakes the same; I find that I bake the blondies on the middle rack for 20 minutes; turn the pan 180˚; put on the top rack; turn off oven and bake for another 3 minutes.


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Mini Napoleons filled with Lemon Pastry Cream

These gorgeous pastries taste as delicious as they look! And easy to me.  Just 15 minutes of patience is needed for stirring the pastry cream over the stove.  You will be crowned Pastry Royalty!

Pepperidge Farm Pastry sheets
Lemon pastry cream (recipe below)
Powdered sugar
Fresh raspberries

Follow directions for thawing pastry sheets. Cut each sheet on the folds, will give you 3 rectangles per sheet. Cut rectangles into 4 pieces, will yield 24 puff pastries.  Follow baking instructions on box.

After the shells have cooled, split the shells in half. Scoop a large tablespoon of pastry cream onto bottom 1/2 of pastry shell, spreading pastry cream edge to edge. Place top of shell onto the pastry cream.  Dot a bit pastry on the top of the shell, place raspberry on top. Dust napoleons with powdered sugar.


Lemon Pastry Cream

4 large eggs
6 egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar 
Juice of 4 large lemons
Zest of 4 large lemons
14oz butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whisk in sauce pan eggs, egg yolks, and sugar. Add lemon juice and lemon zest. Whisk lightly to combine. Add chopped butter. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly. Cook until thick like a custard. Remove from heat.  Place fine mesh strainer above bowl.  Strain thickened pastry cream into bowl. Place plastic wrap directly onto warm pastry cream, will prevent a "skin" from forming on the pastry cream. Let cool then place in refrigerator for at least 6 hours.