Thursday, October 29, 2015


If you follow what my book club reads, I just realized I did not updated the book tab at the beginning of this year!  I was a little sick at the beginning of the year and lots of things got tossed to the side during that time.  So, to make it up to you, I've added 2015's list and 2016's list!  Double your pleasure.  The list is available at the top of this page, just click on it and voila!  Twelve years worth of reading lists.  Just thought I'd let you know.  

And this week, I got the paints out and did my annual Santa painting for the Hope Mennonite Church annual bazaar.  It will be November 14 at 868 N. Maize Road, Wichita, Kansas.  Every penny of profit goes to local charities!  The bake sale alone is worth coming, but then add the vendors and the lunch served, and oh my....a little bit of heaven!

 The original painting

 Hmmm...I took this picture to show you the details BUT
I kind of like this view better....
Maybe I need to paint this version too!

I know we haven't even had Halloween yet, but for those planning Christmas, we do it all year long!

Thanks for reading...

Tuesday, October 20, 2015


I like to cook, especially desserts, and last week I had a fun afternoon making this cake for a special group of friends that were coming to dinner...

 It is a Pumpkin Crunch Cake.  I would strongly encourage you to look at the original recipe HERE as the chef that developed this recipe deserves all of the credit.  It is also on my "Cake" Pinterest board.

This is a 4-layer cake with a crunch layer baked onto each layer and then frosted with a wonderful cream cheese frosting.  Here is a picture of the crunch layer before frosting is added...

The crunch layer is a wonderful concoction of pecans, crushed vanilla wafers, brown sugar and butter.  The recipe makes more than enough of this layer and you might have enough left over for some delicious cupcakes too.  Here is the final cake...

And, of course, what kind of hostess would I be if I didn't offer you a slice...

The frosting recipe yields a big bowl of frosting, but I did add a generous layer of it between the cake layers.

Here's the recipe (it's a long one, but ohhhh so worth it)...


Crunch Topping
3 cups pecans, finely chopped
3 cups vanilla wafers (small box)
3 cups brown sugar
8 oz butter

Pumpkin Cake
1¼ cup sugar
6 oz softened butter
1 16 oz can solid pack pumpkin
2½ cups flour
½ cup Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon pure vanilla
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
2¼ teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon (2.5) Salt
4 large eggs

Cream Cheese Frosting
24 oz cream cheese
8 oz softened butter
2 cups confectioners sugar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla

Crunch Topping Directions
  • Melt butter
  • In a food processor, pulse cookies to a fine crumb
  • Then pulse walnuts to a fine chop
  • Add brown sugar and mix well
  • Add melted butter and blend together
  • Divide mixture into 4 coated cake pans (One very full cup per pan) pressing into bottom and spreading it evenly into the cake pans. Reserve about 2 cups of the mixture that will be baked to use on the sides of the cake.
  • Set pans aside and begin cake
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Pumpkin Cake Directions
  • In a mixer beat sugar and butter for about 5 minutes until light and fluffy, scraping down the bowl frequently
  • Add pumpkin and the rest of the ingredients, except the eggs. Mix just until blended.
  • Add in the eggs, one at a time just until blended.
  • Divide batter equally into your 4 prepared cake pans, smooth it out and make it as even as possible in the pan.
  • Place remaining crunch mixture in another cake pan or pie dish and allow to bake for the same amount of time as the cakes.
  • Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. If you use 2 racks to bake on in the oven, at the halfway mark rotate the pans.
  • Allow pans to cool about 10 minutes, then turn them out onto a wire racks and allow to completely cool.
  • Break up the extra crunch mix to very small bits to use to decorate the cake with.
  • Whip the cream cheese and butter till very smooth and creamy
  • Slowly add in the confectioners sugar while mixer is on low setting
  • Add in vanilla and mix well. Set aside till needed.

  • After your cake is completely cooled (you can even refrigerate for a few hours) begin frosting the layers and putting the cake together.
  • When you have assembled all the layers with a generous amount of frosting between them, start to spread the remaining frosting on the sides and top.
  • When finished frosting, coat sides and top with the extra crunch mixture.

Chill the cake for a couple of hours before serving.  Serve small slices, as it is a rich cake.  Enjoy.

Thanks for reading even though I am posting more irregularly than ever before!  Leave a comment if you make the cake, as I'd love to hear from you.  Til next time...


Thursday, September 03, 2015


An Update:
The deck is finally finished.  Yeah!  The project that was quoted to take two weeks took two months.  Shock, I know...anyone who has done any home reno at all knows this is the way it goes.  We all just pray the vision matches the final reality.  It did.  We are delighted.  The pictures will tell the story in a way no words could.  Here goes...

The Old Deck's Footprint...
 A little crowded at family gatherings

Goodbye old friend...

Gone, gone, gone... 

Expanding the deck meant new footings were needed.
Since we're having concrete poured, we added a little shape to it too!

We decided to add a pitched roof too.

The new deck!!!! 
We only added 4 feet and a new roof, but it feels twice the size of the old deck!
Love the centered stairs.

If I'm not answering my home phone, my IPhone or my doorbell, come around back...
I'm probably here.

We painted the ceiling blue!

My husband wanted this fan and I wasn't too sure about it.  I was wrong.  This fan really moves some air.  It is quiet and it just makes the air feel like the wind is softly blowing.  Perfect for napping on the back porch!

So that is the latest excuse for such a long time between blog posts--that and our daughter's wedding this summer, followed a month later by her reception, followed two days later by our son's move to Nashville.  Lots of wonderful happenings but now the deck is calling me...should I nap or read?  Hmmmmm.....

Thanks for reading and finding this long, lost blog one more time.  I'm not sure when I'll post again...something's got to be worthy of your time and mine.  But I have missed our little chats, so please leave a comment or two.  Til next time...


Thursday, June 18, 2015


I hope you didn't think I'd forgotten or abandoned this little blog.  I didn' got a little complicated beginning in early December.  I got a severe lung infection that left me with three broken ribs.  I got better for a bit, then, BAM, I got another lung infection that collapsed a lobe of my lung.  Getting better and praying that viruses stay at bay.  During all of my problems, wonderful news came too.  Our daughter got engaged and is getting married this Saturday!  Then, our son got accepted into Vanderbilt's MBA program an is moving to Nashville in a month!  Good news on some major life events!

So, now I'm back to blogging.  Needless to say, the projects have been limited.  BUT our latest housing addition is a new deck to replace our rotting 23 year old deck.  Our new and improved version is in process.  So I'll just share the demolition for now...

 This is the framework of the old deck looking out my kitchen.

 This was the framework of the old deck out the living room window.

 And this is the the view from the yard with the walkout basement showing.

The new deck will have a roof and a louvered partial wall on one side for some privacy.  The side-load stairs will be moved and a beadboard ceiling with a fan will be added.  The dirt work and concrete work are underway now.  Can't wait to sit in the shade of my deck in the mornings and drink hot tea...hopefully soon.

Now, because you know I like to show you a tip or two, I thought I'd share an inexpensive pillow I bought and changed...

This is a $17 pillow cover I picked up at Target.
It matched my decor, but had no "pop".

A friend suggested I color it with a sharpie!
I did and now it "pops".

Thanks for sticking with me through my absence and checking to see it I'd come back.  I appreciate it so much!  Thanks for reading...


Thursday, February 26, 2015


Did you think I'd dropped off the face of the earth?  I have just had a hard start to 2015, but I'm back in top form now.  

Wanting to stay as healthy as possible, I'm trying to incorporate lots of veggies and fruits into our diet and last night was a bonanza.  I made a Pinterest recipe for Slow Cooker Chicken Curry (recipe here) and then I created this salad as a side dish.  The two recipes were delicious together and I wanted to share my salad recipe with you.  For me, it satisfied my craving for veggies and sweets!  That is a big bonus.

Beet and Kale Salad
1 raw beet, peeled and shredded
a bunch of chopped kale

Juice of one lemon
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 clove garlic, minced
1/3 cup (plus a bit more) Olive Oil

Add the dressing to the beets and kale and enjoy.  It is surprisingly delicious.

If you decide to make it, leave a comment and tell me how you liked (or didn't) it.  I had unexpected guests for lunch today and I served it to them too.  They enjoyed it as much as we did last night.  Enjoy!