Home for the Holidays, by Thomas Kincaid

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Autumn at Gardner's Village, Utah

Welcome to the first Outdoor Wednesday that I have done in ages!  My subject is the beautiful, folksy Gardener Village, in Utah.
 The are celebrating Fall and the coming of Halloween with pumpkins, pumpkins everywhere!
 Gardner Village is a collection of old small homes and cottages which were moved from their original locations to the area around a former grist mill.  The mill is now a restaurant and store of charming country furniture; the cottages are now shops filled with wonderful country charm.
 Some wonderful items are being displayed outside for a sidewalk sale...
A small, picturesque creek runs through the village and is decorated with  pumkins.
 If you look close, you will see a witch inside the pump house, below!  She opens and closes the shutters there.
 My husband spends time with a very handsomely attired witch (if you are a spook!) on one of the many sweet benches to be found in the village.
Love this wagon house.
There are witch rides at night until Halloween, but they won't be riding in this vintage wagon.

 Oop!  A witch flew into the old grist mill and has stuck there - OUCH!
 Hope you enjoyed your mini-visit to Garnder Village in the Fall.
Come back soon~

(For more Outdoor Wednesday posts, please visit A Southern /Daydreamer!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Willow's Pony Party! (Great Party Ideas!)

 Okay, before anymore lyrical (ha) posts about Fall, I have to tell you all about my little grand-niece's birthday party.  Willow Kate turned 3 this month and her family threw her a fabulous Rainbow Pony Party at the park.  Don't you love how they floated rainbow colored balloons at the entrance to the terrace where they held the party?
 The decorations were adorable, but the piece de resistance was definitely this cake, made by an aunt.  Inside this cake (my camera broke right before they cut the cake - aaargh~), were five layers, each a brilliant color of the rainbow!  I am saying, this cake was too beautiful to eat (alright, I ate some of it).
The decorations were beautifully prepared by all the family, according to my niece's instructions.
Here is a cute, goodie basket with pictures of the birthday girl.
 Okay, here is my beautiful niece, Emily, marathon-runner, wonderful wife and mother and creator of incredible birthday parties.
Here is the precious Willow, so adorable and getting really big (I meant to whisper in her ear that she musn't get any bigger :)  )
 My niece's father-in-law rented this pony for the party.  He was very sweet natured, from what I could tell, and was a fun ride for Willow and her friends.
Here Aunt Kellie and two of Willow's friends, Jane and Cosette (with mom) make lovely bracelets at the craft table.
 It is amazing what some colorful beads, some pipe cleaners...
and little hands can do!
 Lunch was a buffet bar, contributed to by all the members of the family (what a great idea).  Great-grandmother is on the left and Grandma Gibson (can she really be a grandmother?  You look too young) is on the right.
After lunch were all of the games.  You can't have a Pony Party without a pony race!
 (Girl in pink:  what the heck, just run!)
Willow wins!
A pony pinata ...
 ..dumps many wonderful treats (with a little help from mom)!
 Yum, yum!
 Looks who scavenges for the leftovers :)
There are treat bags for all.
 And a beautiful birthday girl, with lovely manners, who said thank you when handed gifts.
This was a wonderful day of family, fun, food, all brought together by the love for one very special young lady - Happy Birthday Willow!

We love you!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Ten Things I Love about Early Autumn!

Picture by Oana M.

Ten Things I Love About Early Autumn

1.  It is warm, but not hot; cool but not cold.  Perfect weather.
2.  I look up towards the mountains, searching, and finally see autumn rusts here and there.
3.  Cornstalks and Pumpkins for sale, everywhere
4.  Re-aquainting myself with my recipes for soups, stews and chilis.
5.  Leaving the windows open and airing out the house with cool breezes.
6.  Fall cleaning and decorating.
7.  Sunflowers brightening up roadsides.
8.  Corn Mazes and hayrides
9.  Fresh apple cider from local farms.
10. Bringing out the quilts and blankets, we will need them soon!

Stop and savor the season, my friends.  It is fleeting!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Beef Stew for Fall Evenings

This picture does not do it justice!  I made stew last night, making up my own recipe as I went along and it was the best stew that I've ever made.  It all began with a Sunday roast which I slow cooked in my crockpot after adding a can of Mushroon soup and some pepper - that was it!  After Sunday dinner much of the roast was left over so I stored it in the fridge.  Last evening, I got it out and cut it into cubes, then I made the following recipe...


1 lb. cubed cooked beef roast
2 large carrots, sliced
4 medium potatoes, cubed
1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 can of green beans
1 c. leftover sauce from crock pot roast
1 c. water
1 heaping Tablespoon of Better Than Boullion Beef Base.
Salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste.

That's it!  The secret ingredient in this whole recipe is wonderful Better Than Boullion Beef Base.
I get this at Costco (there is a chicken base, too).  It is a little pricey, but it doesn't have all the chemicals and artificial ingredients of most boullions and it tastes MUCH better.

Anyway, with busy Fall evenings ahead, how wonderful it is to sit down to a steaming bowl of stew which only took minutes to makes.  Truly, make your Sunday roast and then, chop the leftovers to use later in the week.  If you do that, then come stew night, food prep will literally take a few minutes.

And check out Better than Boullion.  It is scrumptious!
Have a great one!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Utah Healing Field 9/11 Memorial

"This nation will remain the land of the free as long as it is the home of the brave."
~~ Elmer Davis

Every September 11th since 2011, my town erects a Healing Field where flags are displayed, representing every person who lost their life in the terrorist attacks.  Walking through row after row of these flags, one gains a keener perspective of just how many people died that day.

Today, marks the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.  Yesterday,  my town held a huge memorial service to mark the day.
Thousands turned out at City Hall, across from the Healing Field, for this commemoration.
Patriotism was greatly on display.
Fire Departments and Law Enforcement personnel turned out in large numbers.
Two huge bubbles filled with hundreds of balloons were anchored to the ground just north of the flag field, to be released during the service.

Two fire trucks had backed up towards each other with ladders raised, to hold up an American Flag.  In front was the obscured commemorative statue that was to be unveiled during the ceremony.
People quietly wandered through the flag field, full of contemplation.
These T Shirts were worn by 2,000 bikers who made the trek together to the Healing Fields.
During the service, there were many wonderful talks.  Senator Matheson read a letter from President Bush, reminiscing about the day of the attacks when people rose to their finest hour.
A local policeman sang the National Anthem.
A severly injured war hero, wounded in Afghanistan, shared his feelings about our country.
Then, we all turned to see the ballons released, the same number as the souls lost that day.
The family member of a lost loved one silently watched as the balloons made their ascent into the sky.

Major General Busch, from nearby Hill Air Force Base, said a few words about bravery and sacrifice.

Then came the unveiling of the statue...
a herioc-size bronze sculpture of...
...the three fire fighters who raised the American Flag over the WTC rubble.

"Now, we have inscribed a new memory alongside those others. It’s a memory of tragedy and shock, of loss and mourning. But not only of loss and mourning. It’s also a memory of bravery and self-sacrifice, and the love that lays down its life for a friend–even a friend whose name it never knew. “

- President George W. Bush, December 11, 2001