Sleepover

Today is Friday and that can only mean one thing. Sleepover!  Taz has been sleeping over on Friday nights for about two years. He slept over for the first time when Breezy was born.  He gets to pick dinner (usually pasta and Parmesan cheese). We eat in front of the TV.  Later he is allowed to watch a movie with popcorn.  We play legos or stickers or farm set the whole time also.

When it’s bedtime he climbs in my bed and we read or talk till he falls asleep.  He likes to make plans.  For instance we would discuss all the foods we would eat for Thanksgiving.  Tonight I am sure his Christmas list will be a topic of conversation.  When Uncle Funcle (Andrew) is home it takes longer to settle down because they have to wrestle a little (WWE).

On Saturday he likes to hang out, watch TV and play with whatever we were working on the night before. Sarah and Breezy usually FaceTime us when they are eating breakfast to find out how he slept.  The little stinker usually stays until Saturday at 6 when it’s time for his dinner.

Soon Breezy will begin to sleep over too.  Taz and I have discussed at length what to do – should they have sleepover together or alternate. Right now he is leaning towards sharing the night – he loves his little sister.

Tonight will be the first sleepover in his new room. Andrew just picked up the mattress and box spring for me. Reliable Bedding -$230.00 for a full set.  Finally got to put my sheets and Pioneer Woman comforter on the bed and it looks great. The kitty and cow pillows are adorable and the antique quilt I already owned looks great with it.  The quilt also pads the trunk which they sit on while playing on the Thomas table.

The bed looks so inviting!

Next on the agenda for this room – curtains, hang up artwork and finish loading books into the chalk painted cabinet.  I unpacked my bear collection to add to the shelves also.  Unfortunately, the bears almost need their own room. When it came to bears I had no control.

Visitor outside my window

You can barely see a little visitor near the tree line.

Time to get back to work – hope you have a great Friday night too!

Share the passion!

Barbara

 

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Tomorrow is December 1

It is so hard to believe tomorrow is December 1. Where has this year gone? What a year it has been too! I am continually saying “at this time last year who would have thought I would be at home  with no outside employment – spending gobs of time with my grand babies and having time to volunteer!”  Never in my wildest dreams did I expect to be where I am today.

Where are we today? The Passion Flower Farm workshop is still waiting for Duke Power to run the power line and set the meter. We have been told next week. Keeping our fingers crossed.  Andrew is busy organizing the tools and acquiring what he needs to do the work efficiently and safely. We have some additional projects underway such as candle holders.

The house is in various stages of remodel. No room is completely finished but every room looks better than it used to.  Every job depends on something else.  For instance, the kiddos bedroom is finished except for the mattress and box spring. The kitchen appliances are purchased but when delivered they will sit until we decide on a floor and cabinets. The hallway is finished except for the ceiling, and then the light fixtures can be installed.  I can paint and clean but when it comes to other things I am no help.

I am about to try my first batch of soap – milk based. Based on the directions it’s a big project so I want to do it when the kiddos are safely at home for the day.  I am hoping that this, with my hand knitted wash cloths, can be something that we can offer for sale. They came down with Zac and Sarah earlier and played in their bedroom for close to an hour. We set up the Thomas the Train table with the tracks at first, and then removed it all and set up the farm set. It’s nice that now they can leave things set up and no kittens will be sitting on them and tearing them down.

My dad and I purchased  the wood stove yesterday. Went to Fleet-Plummer in Greensboro. That is quite a store. I hope to go back again and really spend time browsing. See what they have to offer at www.fleetplummer.com.   The employees were really helpful.  I actually purchased a soapstone stove and I love it.

Our new wood burning stove.

We have someone coming to line the chimney and install the stove on December 21 so we will have a beautiful fire on Christmas Eve.

Oh – and regarding my obsession with all things Pioneer Woman. Look at what Andrew and Gloria gave me for my birthday.

Pioneer Woman tea kettle for my birthday

Steve turned 60 on Sunday and yesterday was my 59th. Again, who would have thought that my life would be this good at this time.  I love my family, husband, dad, kids and grandkids. I am excited about our new business, and can’t wait to see where Passion Flower Farm takes us.

I hope you have good things in your life too-

Barbara

 

Cyber Monday

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend and that you were able to enjoy your family and friends like I did. Much of my holiday was spend holding sick grandbabies. They were so pitiful and I loved every minute of them needing to be held, cuddled and spoiled.

Due to their illnesses we decided not to drive to Hillsville, Virginia for our annual Christmas tree hunt. Instead on Saturday we went to the Farmers Market and bought our trees there.  A beautiful Frazier fir cost $50.  They wrapped it and tied it to the van for us. Couldn’t have been easier. It was still exciting for the kiddos, minus the hour long car trip.  Taz had $5 and had his heart set on buying fruit with it. He walked away with a beautiful bag of apples and couldn’t have been prouder.

On Sunday Steve was sick so my dad , Zac, Sarah and the babies attended church. It was also Steve’s birthday – happy 60th! We had soups made from our leftover turkey (turkey noodle) and I used our leftover mashed potatoes to make potato soup. It is such  a simple recipe. A large box of chicken broth into my crockpot. All the leftover mashed potatoes added on high. Stir until smooth. About 1/2 hour before serving add 1 cup of whole milk and  1 cup of shredded cheese.  Easy peasy and so delicious.

While it was Cooking I worked on the kiddos bedroom – started adding furniture back.

It feels good to put things back

I spent today – Cyber Monday finishing my Christmas shopping – but I have so many projects I still want to make. Knitting like crazy. Making washcloths, dish cloths, cowls and ponchos for Taz and Breezy. Soap is next on my agenda. Hope to start that before the week is out. Also painting, painting and more painting. Can’t forget the Christmas decorating either.

But, instead of that I worked on my steps 15,448 today and looked  at my beautiful Bradford pear trees.

I hope you are all doing well too. Even though Thanksgiving is over I am grateful for everything.

Share the passion,

Barbara

 

Another Great Day!

The Tuesday before Thanksgiving found me spending lots of time with Taz and Breezy. The weather was so pretty that we spent the afternoon eating popcorn, swinging on the swing, playing baseball and throwing out deer corn.

Painting was a no go. Steve actually wanted to talk about our plans for the kitchen and Black Friday sales so we wound up going to Lowe’s and purchasing my new appliances. Didn’t think of taking a picture but it’s a Frigidaire suite in stainless and black. I will be so thankful to have a self-cleaning oven, a dishwasher that washes and a fridge that the door stays shut. Next week on Thursday they should arrive. Yay!

Last week I worked on a little project for my hallway.

Love this easy wall decoration!

I purchased the letters at Hobby Lobby. The letters that I really wanted were larger, white weathered and $27 each.  Common sense sent me in another direction and these wooden letters worked fine. After several  coats of gray, cream and dark gray spray paint, and some sanding they looked like this. They were $8 apiece – not a bargain but they worked. The natural pine cone and nut wreath is one I have had for 15 years. I love it.

Our Christmas Eve pajamas arrived. Every year each family member gets new pajamas on Christmas Eve – we put them on and we open presents wearing them Christmas morning. This is a Christmas tradition our family has had since they were little.  Back then we would also get a new Christmas movie and watch it with hot chocolate, popcorn and Christmas cookies and our new pjs.  After a while no one would notice if I slipped away to wrap the last presents. I am going to wash them tomorrow and my dad will wrap them for each person. Sophie and Sarah picked them out together. We hope they are a big hit.

Tomorrow morning is Walmart time. Steve and I need to get our gift for the giving tree at church. He is at Costco now getting all the ingredients for our sides and desserts, but tomorrow is for the things we forgot – and we always forget something.

Share the passion!

Barbara

 

 

A good mistake!

A few weeks ago I went to Lowe’s to get paint. My colors were Mindful Grey in eggshell and Alabaster in semi-gloss. I was talking too much and didn’t check my paint until I reached home. There it was. Minimalist Grey which is a much darker color.

Out of total laziness (Lowe’s is 30 minutes away) and some embarrassment I decided to keep it.  So this morning, while feeling the need to show that we are accomplishing SOMETHING I painted our den (we have always called it the wood stove room). The trim will be done tomorrow but so far it looks great.

Minimalist Grey by Sherwin Williams

The walls in this room are covered in paper . Not wallpaper. Brown kraft paper. We tore squares of paper and applied them to the wall with watered down glue. It almost looked like leather on the walls. I loved it, but 10 years later it’s time for a change. If it wasn’t for my mistake, the walls might still be brown. Some mistakes are good.

I always take the before picture after starting to tear things up!

The rug has been ordered for this room. It’s a soft grey, blue and off white. The floors are red brick so the contrast should be pretty. A sofa cover has been ordered in off white. Steve doesn’t want a new sofa. He has this one perfectly broken in (ugh!!)  The curtains aren’t picked out yet but I’ll probably go with just a valance on black metal rods.

Navy, soft grey and off white rug

Sophie and I talked about grey because I was worried that it was a fad and would be out of style before long. However, she pointed out my grey stone behind the wood stove which was there for 30 years.  The side door entry has grey stone on the floor. There has always been cast iron and black metal objects displayed. I wear lots of grey and black clothes. So maybe it’s not being trendy after all but finally organizing what I like.

Since I last checked in we have moved the chalk painted cabinet up to the kids room. That was something else. Needless to say at one point it was jammed in the hallway with the top on the toilet and Zac standing in the tub.

Andrew is out doing Passion Flower Farm business and Zac is mowing our yard. Taz and Breezy are having quiet time at their house and my dad is asleep in his recliner.  The woods are beautiful with the sun shining off the gold, red and orange leaves. We need to collect some pretty leaves later today to use for our Thanksgiving centerpiece.

Smokey!

Smokey, my little grey sweety, is lying on my clean clothes that need to be folded. Time for the next job .

Share the passion!

Barbara

Back in Business

For a few weeks now I have had issues with my website and the blogging page. Hopefully, this is in the past and if there are any other kinks maybe they will be minor.  I have missed blogging on a regular basis. There is so much going on here I feel like I have to type fast to get it all in.

Painting continues in all areas of the house, partially because I purchased two gallons of paint that were either the wrong color or wrong finish.  So instead of wasting them I decided to use them in different rooms.  At this point the kiddos guest room is painted and Andrew is installing the floor.  The cabinet that will house their books and toys has been chalk painted.  Bedding has been purchased.  If the floor is finished today, the furniture will go in tomorrow.  Yay!!

The floor is going in and looks beautiful with the wall color – Aleutian by Sherwin Williams.

Guest Room #1 (the first room I started) is on hold because Andrew is living in it.  However, I finished painting the crib ends that will become the headboard and that is almost ready to be installed.

Primer – then the semi-gloss

The hallway painting is almost finished.  The banister is a huge job and I am still working on the primer coat.  The doors and trim have all been primed so we are close to being finished with that.

Needs a little tweaking like outlet switch plates but I love it.

My coffee center is finished.  The walls were painted with Alabaster by Sherwin Williams and the shelves were stained with Medium Walnut Danish Oil.  Not only does it look great but it frees up my kitchen counters. The Pioneer Woman has some pretty mugs that would look so nice there (I just adore her products).  Things in the kitchen are beginning to feel more organized.

An antique coffee grinder finally has a home.

We received these Oma and Opa coffee mugs as gifts. The larger ones are from Taz.

This wooden bowl gets moved from room to room. Pumpkins and fall foliage bring the outdoors in.

 

Steve and I bought this bakers table in Hillsville, Virginia at least 20 years ago.

The cats have their own kitty cafe. Here is Apollo snacking. The first wooden bowl Steve made is their food bowl.

The electrician was here to install the panels in the workshop. Duke Power should be hooking us up to electricity soon.  The boys have purchased woodworking tools and have several prototypes ready.  We are preparing wooden serving trays to give away as promotional items to Fall church festivals.  And the list goes on and on…

Taz and Breezy seem to be getting over the crud which we have been giving each other back and forth for a month.  Runny noses and coughs are no fun.  Maybe the Elderberry Syrup I made helped make us all feel better.

Pictures are so much better than words so I hope you get an idea of what we have been working on.  I am glad to be back at work and am looking forward to sharing more Passion Flower Farm with you.

Share the passion,

Barbara

 

Hello Again!

More than a week has gone by since the Alzheimer’s Walk to Remember in Greensboro, NC.  It was a great experience attended by so many personally affected by this disease. My dad and I made a poster to honor my mother and he carried it almost the whole way (we did the one mile walk). My dad’s knee has been bothering him since he climbed down a steep hill to pick a flower and had to climb back up on his hands and knees.  It was a purple Dutch iris – purple is the Alzheimer’s color, and Dutch iris grew  in their garden in New York. The iris is a spring flower. Our grief counselor said we should look for signs from my mother and I guess this was one of them.

We have all been suffering from a lousy cold and the cough just hangs on forever. I ordered dried elderberries for a recipe Sarah has for a Homemade Elderberry Syrup which is supposed to be a natural remedy for colds and the flu. I need to get going on that one.

Andrew and I have been coming up with some ideas for our online store. Some of the prototypes are really neat. We just have to figure out how to make them in a way that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. He is at a woodworking show in Hickory today and I know he saw a lot of things that excited him.  It’s wonderful to be excited about what you do for a living.  We are thinking shelving, frames made from repurposed woods like wormy chestnut, custom sized frames for those special gallery walls,  unusual wreaths and tableware.

I love repurposing items. A while ago I pulled Sophie’s old baby crib out of the scrap metal pile and decided to use the two end pieces to make a queen sized bed headboard. Sanding and painting is still going on but today should be the last coat. The paint I am using is Rust-oleum Flat Soft Iron.

I am getting up now to put another coat on it. Then making our Elderberry Syrup and Homemade Potato Soup.

Until tomorrow,

 

Barbara

Grieving

Yesterday something happened that I wanted to talk to my mom about.  I received a catalog from Country Curtains saying that they were going out of business. My mom and I have purchased curtains from this company for 30 years.  We devour the catalog and talk about the beautiful fabrics and which room we need to buy curtains for. I would call her and ask if her catalog came in the mail, and then the decorating would begin.

I still have the first curtains that I ever purchased from this company in 1981.  My bedroom curtains are Country Curtains that I purchased in 1986.  When we packed up my parents home so many of the curtains had their label.  We loved this company.  I am so sad they are closing.

My mom passed away almost three months ago and I still get that urge once in a while to tell her something.  However, yesterday was different.  I definitely felt a loss and the hole that her passing has left in my life.  Plus I realized that everyone grieves in their own way.  I am quiet and internal.  I avoid conversations about my mother and don’t care for people to show me sympathy.  Knowing my mother would want me to carry on gives me purpose.  So I do.

My dad needs something different.  He cries. He tears up when a memory is brought up.  He needs to talk about her and about their life together. He gave up the life he knew with her last November, and in July he lost her too.  So today I called Hospice of the Piedmont/Triad and asked to enroll him into grief counseling. It is another one of the services that Hospice provides to families.

This Saturday is the 2017 Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Guilford County, NC.  My family and I are walking to honor my mother.  Hopefully, money we raise will help find a cure for this horrible illness.

So now, I am opening my catalog and ordering some curtains that she would have liked for my guest room.  Miss you mom.

 

 

Barbara

 

Baking and Painting

My back and legs are feeling the strain of the last few days. I have been painting.  The wainscoting in our playroom now has a coat of white primer.  My coffee center in the kitchen has a coat of white primer and my shelves are getting ready to be stained.  The stair banister has a coat of white primer as does the french door going to the dining room.   Little pinkish spots of terra cotta that were bleeding through the gray paint in the hallway have been painted over.  Yes, I have been painting.

Nothing makes a change in a room like paint. The room looks fresher and cleaner.  A painted room means something was accomplished.  Something or some things can be crossed off my list.  However, this was just the primer.  More painting ahead.

On Friday I took a break from all this painting and made Pumpkin Bread, which was delicious.  Everyone has their own favorite recipes and this was one I hadn’t made before.

 

Pumpkin Bread Recipe

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup pumpkin
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar packed
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 T water
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts
  • 1 cup raisins (I used dried cranberries)
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly. Turn into 2 greased 8 x 5 loaf pans.  Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.

I added a pinch of ground cloves just because I love the smell.

 

I

I also started a new Sourdough Starter.  I had gotten busy and didn’t feed the last one in time and it went flat.  Easy enough to start a new one which is what I love about my recipe.

 

Sophie and Conley were in Raleigh yesterday participating in the Autism Walk which is something they commit to every year.  The Greensboro  Alzheimer’s walk is this coming Saturday. Our team is growing and we are all excited about the opportunity to honor my mother in this way. There are so many great causes.  Pick one and dedicate yourself to it.

Family dinner will be a little different this afternoon.  My kitchen is torn up so we are getting pizza and eating at Zac and Sarah’s.  He has a hockey game tonight and we are going to watch him play.  Taz and Breezy will be there to cheer for their daddy and that will be fun to see too.

Enough of a break – I need to iron curtains and put them up.  Have a great rest of your Sunday!

 

Barbara

Russian Tea

When I first moved to North Carolina in 1980 I was totally oblivious to southern traditions and customs and recipes.  All my life I lived in New York with German parents who came over in the 1950’s.  Moving to the south was like moving to a different country, and I struggled with everything.  Where was the corner deli with the hero sandwiches? I missed my bagel with butter for breakfast, Italian ices in the summer and creamy hot chocolates or cappuccinos in the winter. I was lost.

The weather turned cooler (below 70) and everyone began to talk about Russian Tea.  I was not a tea drinker so it held no interest for me.  However, once I smelled its spicy smell and tasted it I was hooked.  I make batches of it beginning in October and give away mason jars with the mixture every year at Christmas.

Russian Tea Recipe

  • 1/2 cup Tang
  • 1/2 cup Instant Tea
  • 1/4 cup Sugar
  • 3 T. presweetened lemonade mix
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • (I usually double or triple this recipe)

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and store in a jar with an airtight lid.  Add 2 tsp (or more to taste) per cup for hot tea.

Sophie already put her order in for a jar – its sitting here waiting for you….

Enjoy!

 

Barbara