30 August 2015

a walk in the park...

One of the things I promised myself I would do when I moved into my home last summer, was to explore the area I live in.  I did a few excursions in the first few months, taking a few walks on the greenway and attending a free festival at an historic site.

One day last week, I felt like getting out of the house, so decided to explore a park in my area.  The park is on a lake and the property once belonged to a prominent Quaker family.  It is actually in a small town that is next to the city I live in.  They have a large pool area with a huge water-slide, walking trails, lots of picnic areas, a carousel and large playground area for children.  They also offer paddle-boats and have a pontoon boat on which they offer rides and a small dock for people to load their own boats onto the lake.
This is the small meeting house the residents used when they were unable to make the trip to their regular meeting house (about 5 miles away, I think). Beside it is a small cemetery with graves dating back to the mid 1700's. Many of the graves are unmarked and most are broken or nearly illegible. 

School is back in session so it was pretty quiet at the park the day I went and the pool and rides all closed.  I walked around a bit and explored.  I found a small area that was a little bit private that I can go to be close to water.  It felt good to be out and exploring.

I hope to go back from time to time and spend time walking there.  I was a bit discouraged by how much trash was left tossed about and the amount of trash on the shore of the lake.  People seem to have such little respect for Mother Earth.

The flowers were lovely, many I'd not seen before.  Watching the various wildlife was fun as well.  Ducks, butterflies, hawks and dragonflies.

Well, I hope you enjoyed my little visit to the lake park.  Thanks for coming along with me.

Have you done any exploring lately?

love & blessings

29 August 2015

My Grandmothers Banana Bread

I love to bake and cook.  Being in the kitchen creating delicious foods is one of my favorite things.  Today I thought I'd share one of my favorite recipes.  This recipe is for my Grandmothers Banana Bread.  You can substitute any fruit (I think) for the bananas and make a delicious bread.  It is very rich and sweet, more cake like I think, but yummy none the less.  I use this same recipe for peach, apple and pumpkin breads.

I apologize in advance for some of the photos.  I'm going to work on taking better photos to share here, especially food photos.  :-)

For this recipe, you will need:  flour, salt, sugar, eggs, ripe bananas (I always use the overly ripe ones that I can't eat fast enough), baking soda, oil (I use canola oil, but I've also used vegetable oil), nutmeg and cinnamon.  
Side note: I only made a half recipe this time, but I'm giving you the ingredients for a full recipe.
Sift 3 & 1/2 cups of flour into a bowl.  
Side note: I always mix this batter by hand.  The one time I used a mixer the batter turned out too stiff and didn't make a good bread.

 Next add 2 teaspoons baking soda.
 Add 1 teaspoon of nutmeg. Also add I teaspoon of salt (I forgot to take a photo).
 Add 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon.

Then add 3 cups of sugar.

Add four eggs. I take my eggs out of the refrigerator early and let them come to room temperature before adding to the mix.

Add 1 cup of oil.

Lastly, add 2 cups of mashed bananas.
Stir together until well blended.  (Sorry for this super blurry picture.  I didn't realize until too late!)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  While the oven is preheating, I grease and flour my baking pans.  This recipe will yield 2 regular sized loaves.  This time I made 2 mini loaves and 1 regular size loaf.  (However, the regular loaf ended up a little thinner than usual.  I should have just done 4 mini loaves.)

A note on greasing pans for baking.  I used to use those name brand cooking sprays but every time would have to fight to get the bread/cake out of the pan.  I finally started using the old fashioned butter and flour combo to fix the pans.  Now the breads/cakes just fall right out when I flip them over.

Once pans are ready, fill about halfway with batter.  (More forgotten photos)

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 20 minutes (if making 2 regular loaf sizes).

When they are done (I use the toothpick/knife test), turn out of pan onto cooling rack or plate. Let cool completely before serving or wrapping for storage.

Doesn't that look yummy!
 And it tastes great too!  

One more little side note about this recipe: My Grandmother's recipe calls for 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and it is good that way, but I always thought the cinnamon ended up as the main flavor that way.  A few years ago I toyed with the recipe a bit and changed my version to the 1/2 teaspoon.  I think there is more fruit flavor with less cinnamon.

Here is the full recipe.

My Grandmothers Banana Bread:
Yield: 2 loaves
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour, sifted
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon each salt and nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 cup oil
2 cups banana (or fruit of your choice)

Mix and bake at 350 degrees (Fahrenheit) for 1 hour and 20 minutes.

If you give this recipe a try, I would love to know what you think.  It also freezes really well.  I wrap a loaf in plastic wrap, then wrap tightly in foil and it stores in the freezer for months.

Hope you enjoy it!  

love & blessings

ps...I'm going to be doing a little housekeeping here at the old blog so if things start to look wonky please bear with me.  Thanks! ~*~

27 August 2015

a few favorites

Hello out there.  I hope you are doing well.  I've been playing around more and feeling a bit better.  There has been bread made (Pastor Ryan's Bloomin' Herb Bread) and an Amish Friendship Bread starter, well...started and my Grandmothers recipe for banana bread.   There have been trips to the farmer's markets, flowers, beautiful sunsets, dragonflies and signs of Autumn.  

This morning it was 63 degrees when I woke at 6:30.  I have been sleeping with my bedroom windows open at night and loving the cool air.  About an hour was spent out on the patio yesterday pulling weeds and cleaning up.  I spent another hour this morning before heading out to the grocer.  That seems to be a good amount for me.  I can get a fair bit done and not have my body revolt.

I seem to be fascinated by light lately.  I watch as the sun moves across the sky and I follow the patterns that it creates on objects in my home.  There was an amazing sunset the other night that I almost missed.  I was working on my practice crochet blanket and happened to look up.  A hint of orange caught my eye so I went to the front windows.  The sight that met my eyes was stunning.  Streaks of orange against gray and pink.  It was beautiful.  The bottom photo above is from that sunset.  It doesn't do it justice, but it is a nice image to help me remember.  

August is almost over.  It is always my most difficult month to get through, as so many that I love have passed over in this month over the years.  I did small remembrance posts on Instagram on the appropriate days for my Grandparents.  I wanted to do something, but wasn't up to Facebook or even a post here.   

That is about all I have to share today.  I have a couple of ideas for posts in mind that I'll start working on to share in the next few days.  I really want to be here more and am going to work towards that goal.  

What is your current fascination?


17 August 2015

a little bit

It has been a difficult few days since last I posted.  The new meds I'm taking are making me very lethargic and disoriented.  I'm sleeping anywhere from 12 to 15 hours a day.  It is reeking havoc on me, yet I must push through and give it a chance.  I was told the drowsiness would fade over time and that it could take up to four weeks for there to be any changes to my headaches.  Not quite a week down, 3 to go.  

I signed up for an online retreat called Woman Unleashed.  It seems pretty neat.  It is just starting, but I'm already enjoying it.  I'm making myself find the energy and motivation to get in the studio and play,  even if just for a little bit.  That last photo above shows the journal cover I made for the retreat.

I hope everyone is having a good week.  Any fun activities or exciting surprises going on in your life?


13 August 2015


It's been a long couple of days.  This is the first I've felt somewhat normal since Monday.

Tuesday was doctor day, long trip each way, then errands and home.  He's given me a new med to try.  I started it Tuesday evening and have felt pretty much a zombie until a few little bit ago.  I could barely hold my eyes open and have slept most of two days away.  I'm to try this drug for 4 weeks and if no change in my headaches, he gave me another prescription that I'm to start.  I'll also be having a new MRI run in two weeks.  My last was in 2013 so he wants to see if there are any changes.

We've had several days of late afternoon/early evening rainstorms, recently.  I went out Tuesday (or maybe it was Monday) after one of them and snapped a few photos.  I love the red veins that show on the mum in the bottom photo.  

I've missed out on the Perseids.  I'm hoping to be able to try tonight to see if they can be seen.  I hope I'm not too late.

Tomorrow is the new moon and I'm looking forward to doing a bit of work.  The last month I've been remembering who and what I am and doing the work that needs to be done.  When I do, I feel like I fit in my skin again.  For so long I've felt apart from myself, as if I didn't really belong in my body.  That feeling is leaving now, a little at a time.  If I persevere I know I'll get where I need to be when I should.

Well, I hope everyone is having a wonderful week.  Do you have any big plans for the New Moon?


10 August 2015

i love flowers, don't you?

I took a little ride this weekend, about an hour away to a farm in search of fresh cut flowers.  it was a complete bust.  But it was a pretty day, the traffic wasn't bad and I saw some lovely sights.  If only I'd remembered my camera.  

I've been on a hunt for flower farms in the area.  The flowers at the grocers are expensive and rarely in good shape and florists are just too costly.  All I can find at the farmers markets are mixed bouquets.  What I really want is to find something like they have in the big cities, the flower markets with tons of flowers, where you can chose how many of each kind.  

I've really been inspired by people I follow on Instagram and how they use flowers as props, and make up their own bouquets.  I've spent so much on flowers the past month or so.  I must get to work on my little patio garden so that next spring and summer I can have lots of my own flowers to chose from.  I also just love having flowers in around.  

The above picture is of some small bud roses that I bought at the grocers for my ancestor altar.  

I'm off to the neurologist tomorrow.  I haven't seen him in over a year and half.  Last I was there I was told they couldn't help me.  I'm going to see if there is something new that I can try.  The pain has become much worse in the past year.  I really didn't think that was possible.  I rarely go out around people because of how much pain I'm in.  The other day I told my mum just how much pain I was dealing with.  At this point I wish I still had the morphine, even though I was mostly comatose while on it.  Hopefully, the good doctor will have something up his sleeve.  (fingers crossed)

What are you up to this week?


06 August 2015


Hi there.  Yes, it's me.  I have no idea why I haven't been here, or much of anywhere really.  The photos above are some of the best of the few I've taken since December. 

I'm slowly trying to make my way back into the world.  Another hermit phase seems to be coming to a close, hopefully.  I hope you have all been well.  What's going on in your world?  Any big gardens growing out there?