Sunday, October 31, 2010

Jack is Back!

This was my very first post, all about Jack the I'm linking with
Sunday Favorites where we post past favorites thanks to Cheri at Happy to Design .
Jack is still special around our house......hope you enjoy reading about him.

It's always kind of sad, but after sitting on our porch swing from October 1st until Thanksgiving, our family scarecrow Jack has to return to the attic for another 9 months of relaxation. Actually we aren't always sure what he does up there all year when we're not watching. The two youngest ones in our family, the two 5 year olds, are pretty sure he can talk......and they're convinced they've seen him move.

I made him when my youngest son Christopher was in Kindergarten ( and he's 19 now!) So Jack has been in the family for awhile now.

He loves to travel around town........over the years he's been to parties, hayrides, and presided over Harvest Carnivals. He's had his picture taken with young and old. He's quite a social fellow.....never met anyone he didn't like.....or anyone who didn't like him. If he had a Facebook page he'd be the guy with all the friends!

While there's a video tape floating around somewhere of him dancing with several lovely young ladies here in Phoenix, his favorite date has always been my Mom. Here they are a few years back at a church party. He was her constant companion on a 1998 hayride when she was trying to ignore the unwanted attentions of a much older gentleman who shall remain nameless. He finally got the hint.....Jack had saved the day. He's really quite the ladies man.

But at heart he's a real family he is with grandaughters Kylie, Kenedee, and Christian last year.

This year, just like every other year, nobody wants to say goodbye.........a quick kiss from the aforementioned 5 year olds........grandaughters Fiona and Kenedee. Love ya, Jack.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Perfect Fall Cookie

We recently spent a few days in Camarillo, California celebrating my Mother's birthday. I wanted to share a few photos of my sister Joan's home while it is decorated for Fall. We felt like we were staying at a charming Bed and Breakfast. I also wanted to share her recipe for a delicious cookie she baked for us while we were there.....Oatmeal Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies. This is a little table she has set up in her kitchen......the basket there is holding the leftover biscuits we had that morning for breakfast with our sausage gravy and eggs......see what I mean about that Bed and Breakfast?

Pilgrims on the table...........

Beautiful tabletop vignette in the diningroom...........

Some of you will recognize her Jack Vettriano painting of the dancers on the the way it rained every day we were there........which was fine with us........very cozy

Here's a little proof that Autumn has indeed arrived........even in Southern California......a few falling leaves

And finally here's the cookie recipe.....there were a few left so she sent them with us when we left town........driving in the rain, cups of hot Starbucks coffee in hand......perfect ending to a great trip!

Joan's Oatmeal Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup of vegetable shortening
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
2 eggs
2 Tbsp milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
4 cups oatmeal ( not instant)
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Blend shortening and sugars together gradually. Add eggs, milk, vanilla, and beat well. Add flour, baking soda, salt and beat well. Stir in oats, chocolate chips, and walnuts.
Drop by rounded tablespoons onto ungreased cookie sheet placing them about 2 inches apart.
Bake for 13 to 15 minutes depending on your oven and how chewy you want them.
Cool on wire rack or flat surface (they can easily break if not laying flat)
Makes about 42 cookies.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Phoenix Hailstorm

As promised I'm finally posting pictures of the storm that hit us here in the desert three weeks ago. I thought it particularly appropriate for an "Outdoor Wednesday" post since it hardly ever looks this way here in Phoenix! No, this is not snow, it is hail.
My son Christopher, who is admittedly known to be rather dramatic, immediately rushed outside. Of course he wasn't the only one.....only one of many who reacted this way here in Phoenix......we all act kind of crazy when we get any change in the weather.....clouds, any kind of rain, the rare snowflake, and particularly something like this!
In our part of town, thankfully, it was all fun and no property damage.
Our Golden Retriever Patrick wouldn't dare venture out in it......he just stood at the door and looked out......until he found out it was ICE falling from the sky. Ice just happens to be one of his favorite treats.....really.....better than Milk Bones even! So he did stick his head out the door and eat all the hail that had fallen on the front doormat.
Keep in mind that we were still having three digit temperatures that first week in October!
The temps did drop a full 20 degrees pretty quickly that afternoon, but of course it all melted pretty quickly too......but we had our own white wonderland for a little while. That's exciting stuff around here.
We thought it was an especially enjoyable and cozy way to start off our Fall season.....too bad the firewood had gotten wet or I do believe I would have started up a fire in the fireplace :)
Till Friday when I share my sister Joan's special recipe for "Oatmeal Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies" ,

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Enjoying the Season

Don't you think Sunflowers are the epitome of a Fall day.....I do. I've never grown them in my garden though I've always planned to......just like I've always planned to grow pumpkins. Hasn't happened yet (go here for my pumpkin excuse post). Anyway, I enjoy these flowers wherever I find them.
There was an abundance of Sunflowers at the Pumpkin Farm we went to last weekend. Thats where I snapped the shot of the gorgeous flower above. Look closely and you'll see the bumble bee enjoying it too.
And of course there were those "specially picked out pumpkins" to take home. Hope you're enjoying this Autumn Season as much as I am. If not, what are you waiting for? It's everywhere you look and it won't be here for sure to enjoy it while you can.
I'm linking with Today's Flowers.....please drop by their site for more flowers!
And be sure to drop by Mellow Yellow Monday too!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Quick Autumn Breakfast

It's beginning to seem like Fall even here in the desert. Perhaps next Wednesday I'll post some "Outdoor Wednesday" pics of the big hailstorm we had this week.....quite an event for Phoenix. In any case, the quick drop from three-digit temp days to days in the 70's and 80's has made everyone around here positively giddy!
Yesterday we had to leave town yet again on business, but before we did I managed to throw together a quick autumn-type we don't usually have in the summer.....couldn't get any simpler......oatmeal! The trick this time of year is to set the table for Fall and serve the humble bowls of oatmeal with raisins, brown sugar, and a little Half and Half.

It's hard to find a quicker, cozier, or more delicious little breakfast.

   Used my "apple" napkins that I've had for who knows how many years now.....only use them in Autumn so they've stayed in pretty good shape.....just worn enough to be comfortable.


  We usually have orange juice with almost any breakfast so I used some little wildlife themed juice glasses that I don't use very often (can't wash them in the dishwasher so I have to be a little more careful with them)

The key to this breakfast, like I said, is the brown sugar, raisins, and Half and Half. The small milk pitcher I picked up at Crate and Barrel Outlet a few years ago, the amber sugar dish is the perfect color for a fall tablescape, and the the white raisin dish is just one of many little inexpensive white dishes I collect......they work for so many things.
Quick, Easy, Delicious......aren't we glad Autumn is here?

  Today I'm linking to Tablescape Thursday, Foodie Friday,