When A Texan Goes On Vacation

She eats Mexican food no less than three times in the week before like there might be a chance it won’t be there when she gets back.

You may think I am kidding, but I am not. I hope the clothes I packed still fit!

Last weekend was great with my Aunt M and Cousin W out for a visit and the whole thing went by in a haze…an African Haze of African wind and dust.

But first, can we please admire Darcy’s paw hair blowing in the wind?!

I took care of some lingering chores Saturday and riding got put on the back burner. I did hop on Cheetah for a quick minute after sunset. Lito came over for a visit.

Sunday morning was greeted by two bright, dun faces and a unique, hazy sunrise. They wait for me at the gate most mornings.

I then had a great ride on Lito before I headed back to town for the crazy week ahead.

This week has gone by in a flash. Monday and Tuesday were non stop getting work situated for my absence. By Tuesday at 1 PM I started to get this old familiar feeling. A feeling I have not felt in years.

Can you guess?

It felt like the last day of school before summer. Just without the movie watching and parties. A permanent smile was forming on my face as the end of the day approached.

The plan after work was to get my nails done and then get packed and organized so that today, all I had to do was go to the farm. You knew I had to get out here to see the horses and get my fix before I leave.

I convinced R to go with me on the nails. Then that summer time feeling was still there and one of those much needed Mexican meals was calling my name. I had to comply, I had no choice. I gave a good pitch and convinced R and a couple other friends to come with. Never a hard chore when Mexican food is involved.

After a bucket of salsa, enchiladas, and margaritas, the last thing I wanted to do was organize, clean, and pack. So…I didn’t.

Procrastinating, I am good at it.

I woke up this morning and made myself pack. And clean. And organize. It was helpful that it was raining basically all day. Everything, unfortunately, also took most of the day. Those things always take too long, so I didn’t make it out to the farm until after 4.

The whole region received quite a bit of rain and it was still raining when I pulled up. I walked out in the drizzle to see the horses after a quick survey. They seemed to be glad for break in the heat and to have the rain cleanse their coats of salt.

So, now here I am, covered in wet horse dirt and hair, happily cuddled up on the farm couch, writing to you.

All in all, a pretty good 4th of July. I always seem to have a good day on the 4th of July. Just look at this pic of me and my Lito from a 4th of July past. A little younger and a little smaller. Still my Lito.

I am leaving for France tomorrow and could not be more excited.

I do hope you will stay tuned for news from my trip! I can not wait to share it with you!

Walk in love, dear readers!

Breakfast For Dinner

And other serious, important topics.

I got home from an after work chat and glass of wine at Grandparent’s house with zero plans for dinner.

Figuring I would, you know, figure that out later, I poured myself another glass of wine, opened my computer, and set to planing the last details of my vacation in France.

Feeling like it was already next week, dreamily across the pond in France, I looked up and there was no French dinner fairy and no French dinner. Sigh. What to do.

Too bad I can not have a late night croissant for dinner. Wine and croissant. I mean, when in France, right.

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Imagine that as a croissant. Honestly though, carbs…I like them, so a baguette would be nice to.

I put my computer aside and started the Texas version of breakfast for dinner. Well, half-of-the-best-Texas-breakfast-for-dinner-I-could-do-with-what-I-had anyway. Pancakes, bacon, and wine. That would have to do.

When in Texas and about to be in France, right?

I was going to write somewhat or something about such topics as serious as independence or heaven, but that was all just WAY too serious and required too much focus. Especially when dreaming about France. I have always loved breakfast for dinner anyway. Not just when dreaming about France. Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day.

Just your average, random Thursday night.

Back to France. I will have a short 24 hours in Paris while I am there. If you have been, what are your top things to do there? Things you would not want to miss. I need opinions!

Walk in love, dear readers!

Wee Little Secret

Psst. Hey you.

Yes, you. Over there.

I have a little secret for you.

It is one of those secrets of life.

Are you ready?

The best recipes tend to be found hand written on the inside flap of a well loved and worn cookbook, at the top of the stack in the cabinet.

I know, right? Not within the actual glossy printed pages of the book itself. I just blew your mind, I know.

They can sometimes also be found photo copied with notes on them, tucked inside the aforementioned inside flap, but that is another story for another day.

This, my friends, is where you can find this lovely cheesecake recipe. The book is of faded blue and the binding broken and frayed. The recipe hand written in smudged pencil by my Mamma.

I would bet my mom was on the phone while she traced the title ‘Cheesecake’ and the doodle beneath.

This is the best cheesecake ever, on its own, but I wanted to make it extra special for Mother’s Day. Enter raspberries and chocolate wafer cookies for the crust. I added some raspberry puree to the top layer along with a little unflavored gelatin to compensate for the extra liquid and bam. You get this layered masterpiece.

A little abstract, yes. But that is OK. Homemade desserts are not supposed to be perfect! Farm fresh eggs also made it a little less than white with those dark and bright yolks.

I am not the biggest fan of the gelatin, but I will figure it out eventually.

Now I want more cheesecake.

Walk in love, dear readers!

Blessings

I hope each and every one of you and yours had a very merry and happy Christmas.

I will say basically the same thing as I did last year because the same is true today.


May the many blessings of our Lord shower upon you. Peace, love, and joy. Keep the Christmas spirit alive all year long.


Despite having a bad head cold, I had a very merry Christmas myself. Lots of family. Lots of cooking and eating. Laughter and joy. Togetherness and fellowship. I did not want it to end.

The weather ended up not being as bad as predicted which is great for me. Makes my life a whole lot simpler to not have to run back and forth from the farm during a busy holiday.

I made a quick trip out to the farm the Saturday before Christmas to see everyone and feed. Unfortunately for me and probably everyone else, I did not have time to ride, but even just seeing them is worth it.

Real life ’round here for ranch horses. Mud and hay on our faces and in our hair. And a barn full of muck. Thanks, guys.

Hey, hi. How are ya? They sure make it hard to get a photo when they are all up in your business.

Also real life…holes in our hay nets.

Didn’t get enough horse muzzles in your face? Me either.

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How about a donkey muzzle?

Because everyone loves a gaggle of babies…

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Remember the whole mud in our hair bit? Ya. Worst part is, I did not do a single thing about it. It looks like this season’s latest updo trend.

The minute I got back to town, the cooking and festivities began. Middle Sister K and Bro-in-law T got in Saturday afternoon. The three of us had dinner with my parents and then went off to bed.

Christmas Eve I made an apple cranberry pie with a pecan shortbread crust. Lawd. Go make this now. Worth every bit of effort. Seriously. I have made this several times before and each time I am blown away. In fact, I made it for thanksgiving last year. Anyway, we all went to the kid Christmas Eve service at church and then came back to Oldest Sister A’s house to exchange gifts and have dinner with family and friends.

So, so good. The pie and the evening.

Then Christmas morning I woke up early to make this pomegranate cake for our big Christmas Day lunch with my Mom’s side of the family. This is another one I have made several times. I guess I am going to have to shake things up for next year and do something different, but they are so good!

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Sadly, Middle Sister K and Husband T had to go back home early Christmas Day. No rest for the weary. I do not even want to write this because I know K is reading, but we all hung out together until dinner time.

The day after Christmas, I did my most favorite thing to do after Christmas. Go to the farm, duh. I know what you are thinking. “Man, I sure wish I had another horse muzzle in my face.”

Your wish, my command.

Boop.

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I do what I can just for you.

It was cold and raining. The ground was slick and by the looks of the barn, the horses have not been out much. Another barn full of muck. Yay.

So, no riding for me again. Slightly fair weathered of me? Yes, but I am also coughing up a lung every few minutes, so I thought it best not to get cold and wet. And it was my Sunday and had major post holiday blues. And nobody has been ridden in a few weeks between the weather and holiday festivities.

Excuses? Maybe. Probably. Who is this person?

Anyway.

Is it me, or has Lito grown MORE?

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Even when he is wet he is cute.

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So you know how I showed you Cheetah’s mane tangled with clumped mud and confessed to not doing anything about it? Well, I still didn’t do anything about it. But, who cares, just listen to them eat hay. She doesn’t mind her mane.

I have always found the week between Christmas and New Year odd. Maybe odd is the wrong word. It is very slow. Things get quiet and not much is going on. It is a very reflective time for many, and I am no different.
I reflect on the real reason for the season and my many blessings. How I can keep hold of the joy of the season, the feeling.
I reflect on the past year. What has happened, changed, or stayed the same. The good, the bad, the ugly.
I think about what the next year will bring. What His plan is for me. The desires of my heart. What I want to change.
So I will be over here, reflecting and postulating. Tap tap. Anyone still there?
Walk in love, dear readers!

The Monday Fade

The Monday feels were strong yesterday. It was like having to come back from long vacation and not just a weekend. So strong was that Monday feeling in fact, that it is encroaching on my Tuesday.

The Monday fade. I just made that up. Hopefully it will FADE AWAY throughout the day and I can get on with it.

I am sitting here on my couch, sipping my own fancy, pantsy white chocolate peppermint coffee concoction (if you’re well behaved, I will tell you about it later), wishing I was a kid in school again with a winter break. Time to whatever I want.

If I was back in school, then I would have to go through finals and all of that growing up strife again…woof! No thanks!

Why is it that sometimes going to work and doing all the other ‘adulting’ (it is a very apt word, no matter how silly it sounds) things we have to do feel so hard to do? I believe everyone goes through this. Don’t you? Yesterday and today have been that way for me. Hard to wake up. Sitting on the couch with my coffee (in a Christmas mug with a penguin wearing a tie because I am clearly not an adult) until the very last possible minute which results in me rushing to get dressed and out the door so I am not late. Not to mention not even making my bed because clearly that terribly simple task itself is even too difficult for the toddler inside me. I won’t mention my tantrum protest of kicking and thrashing at my alarm’s buzzing. No, I won’t mention that. I must do that too much because Darcy did not appear to be fazed by my strange behavior.

And speaking of alarm. I have some lovely songs set as my alarm! Yes, songs, because I have more than one alarm set. Do not judge me!

No need to have a reaction of kicking and thrashing!

If I was waking up to horses, I would barely even need one alarm.

Anyway.

I failed. I failed at getting pictures of the Christmas party. Sigh. Oh well. This is really the only one besides some very sub-standard cupcake photos.

Quite cozy and festive, right? My sister knows how to throw a party!

Remember that Peppermint Dream Cake I made for one of my family’s Christmas celebrations last year? This one?

Well, I made Peppermint Dream Cupcakes for the party. I took some not so great photos of them…

They tasted better than the photos look!

I had some extra Fluffy White Chocolate Frosting…so I uh, put it in my coffee. Before you freak out, is just peppermint white chocolate ganash, folded into whipped cream. Quite good.

I must be off now. You know, that whole adult thing called work. Make money, pay the bills, make a difference, blah, blah, blah.

Let us get this Tuesday going.

Walk in love, dear readers.

A Big Thanksgiving

Or rather, a long Thanksgiving. Big and long.

Big in thanks and giving, yes, much gratitude. We have much to be thankful for.

Also big in numbers. Number of people. An abundance of family and friends. Tons of conversation and laughter. Bucket loads of love. Many dogs. Food, food, and more food (and booze). And not just any food, great food. I have to say, I am surrounded by talented people. Pretty much all of them are great cooks!

Some sadness, yes. That can not be denied, but I have to say, I think we all did a great job focusing on the positive and being grateful for each other. Which is what Thanksgiving is all about.

This particular Thanksgiving was long in a sense that it felt like it lasted from last weekend to today. Even with all the regular day to day things, like work, and all the preparation and cooking, it somehow felt like vacation.

Now, I know some of you will be in disbelief upon reading this. Or even rolling your eyes at me. But in all honesty, it did. I am sitting here with my coffee trying to psych myself up for this work Monday.

The weekend before Thanksgiving week (after the Charlotte Dujardin clinic…which I still need to write up for you…sorry, I will get to it. In short, it was great and I shattered my phone screen) I spent at the farm by myself. It was a terribly therapeutic weekend. Strong and funny language, I know, but stay with me. It was both releasing and restorative.

After taking care of some errands and chores during the day on Saturday, I quickly saddled up Chance and went for a sunset ride.

Then I built a fire in the pit, hit play on some great music, made a cocktail, and sat down with my dog to watch the last of the sunset with the northern front at my back. Drew Kennedy has a live album titled Sad Songs Happily Played which acted like my own personal concert in the best venue.

Sunday started early and chilly.

I took a little drive in my pajamas while the horses ate with my dog, coffee, and music. Because I could. I started listening to Dani and Lizzy’s ‘Dancing In The Sky‘ on repeat (I am weird like that) and just allowed the tears to flow. It feels …strange, I guess, to say that. To admit that. But hey, it’s the truth, so there. Sometimes a girl just needs a good cry or two…or three, as was the case on Sunday.

I got dressed and headed out into the sun to catch up my first horse of the day.

I came upon the horses and discovered the three young geldings laying down, having a post breakfast nap with Cheetah standing guard over them. I just could not resist the temptation and sat down with them. The most wonderful thing happened when Cheetah decided she felt comfortable enought to lay down with us. I have no idea how long I sat there with them snoozing, but it was simply glorious. One of them broke the spell and they all got up, so I haltered Cheetah and started grooming.

Keep scrolling for this cow’s newborn on Thanksgiving weekend!

Cheetah decided she was a saucy mare, but her son made up for it by giving me the best ride on him to date. Lito is really starting to put the pieces together and it feels really great. Really learning to travel between my legs and reins and lift his shoulder. Yielding his hindquarters and shoulders. I just need to keep reminding myself he is not farther along because I can only ride on weekends. I need to not push too hard and have it not be fun for him. Well, both of us. He is seriously the most comfortable horse I have ever ridden.

I had a quick ride on Ike after a late lunch on the porch. Then I built myself another fire to close out the day. As one of my dear readers said, I just sat with my feelings and reflected. That is what time alone at the farm is about for me.

I stayed at the farm until Monday morning to meet the farrier before heading back to town and into the office for the short holiday work week.

I took the day off of work on Wednesday to get my cake baked at my parents house and the kitchen cleaned before Thanksgiving. Middle Sister, K, her husband, T, and their dogs were staying at my parents house for the holiday so Darcy had ample entertainment. She is currently passed out after I made her go outside.

Baking is one of my favorite parts of the holidays. This pumpkin cheesecake cake was worth all the work and calories, trust me. It really was not even that much work. Do yourself a favor, and go make it for yourself. Decorating it is also easy peasy, if you want to do that. Which you should because it is fun. And pretty.

My mom’s side of the family and a few friends came to my parent’s house for Thanksgiving lunch. And oh, the food. The food was so good! I am still dreaming about it. We all had a grand time and then loaded up and headed out to the farm just in time for sunset.

I give to you the post Thanksgiving sunrise if you missed it.

Remember that calf I mentioned? We all got to see it right after it was born. You are welcome for the cuteness. I do what I can for you, you know.

Another stunning sunset from the weekend.

On Saturday my dad’s side of the fam came out for lunch and some much needed togetherness and fresh air at the farm.

I took three kids on lead line rides and one solo ride all on Chance. There was so much fun and cuteness, I almost could not even handle it. Chance was so well behaved and we stuffed him with carrots and gave him lots of love.

My cousin got to harvest his first deer which was very exciting for everyone in the family.

I came back out to the barn before bed to give Chance another carrot and to thank him for giving those kids his gifts.

You haz carrot?!

This is a terribly long dump of a post, but there it is. The point is, I am thankful this Thanksgiving and wish I had another day before going back to work.

Thankful I got to enjoy it. Thankful to be surround by loved ones. Thankful to spend time at the farm and create memories. Thankful to ride all the horses. Thankful for cows and calves. Thankful for my happy dog. Thankful to see the sunsets and sunrises. Thankful for music and reflection and fresh air. Thankful that I got to pick out a Christmas tree with my parents and begin decorating. And even thankful for my job that I need to go get ready for.

That is all. Up next, all about the Charlotte Dujardin Clinic!

Walk in love, dear readers! Thank your lucky stars today and every day. Keep in the spirit of thanks and giving.

The Season

Time seems to travel faster this time of year, don’t you think? I mean, Thanksgiving is NEXT WEEK. How did that happen?! It has snuck up on me as I am sure it has everyone. For more than one reason.

And now, it is already Tuesday. It still feels like Monday.

Anyway, I am sitting here with my coffee, as I do, you know, reflecting.

Surprisingly enough, wishing it was still Monday. I made a quick trip out to the farm yesterday after work since I did not go out this weekend. At this time of year, I get barely an hour out there with the early sunset, but it is enough to get my fix to get me through the rest of the week.

I did have a great time with my sister and her husband this weekend. It was incredibly relaxing and indulgent. She is having a holiday party next month that we are both getting excited for. It got us both in the spirit. We even made peppermint ice cream from scratch.

When I got home on Sunday, I baked two batches of cookies while drinking coffee with cinnamon and nutmeg. Sounds lovely, doesn’t it? Chocolate chip oatmeal with pecans and coconut and while chocolate macadamia nut. I owe my farrier a lot of cookies because he is great. I am going to bake my mother’s pumpkin bread this evening for gifts. I just love this time of year!

It all got me thinking how blessed we all are. That we are here and awake this morning. That I got to go up there to visit and stay the weekend. For the quality time with my sister. That I got to see the sunset and love on the horses, however quick. That I have a dog I can take everywhere with me and that she got to have her run time at the farm. That I have a good car to get me where I am going and get me home safe.

That is what this time of year, the holiday season, is all about. Seeing and feeling your many blessings. Being grateful and thankful for them. Doing things for others. That and The Reason for The Season. Giving God the glory. Doing your best to carry that attitude through the rest of the year.

Walk in love, dear readers.

Sorry, Not Sorry.

Today I am straight up giddy with the prospect of fall and winter.

Why does it seem like I only ever write about weather lately?

Anyway, slightly, or not so as established above, random, I know. And before you ask, yes, I am aware that it is not even October yet. But a girl can get excited. We are almost there.

Here is what I am ready for:

Holidays, duh. Even if this year will be hard.

Sitting around a fire wearing a sweater. I love sweaters. I love fire. Throw in a cocktail, some great music and people and you got it made.

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Baking and cooking and holiday cocktails and getting crafty with my family. And, and, AND!

Frosty mornings with fuzzy horses. Although, I pray not too frosty and cold. Old horses and hard winters are tough. Last winter was pretty bad.

And, dare I say. Christmas and Christmas music and Hallmark Thanksgiving and Christmas movies and Christmas decorations!!! And family time. And food. Man, we have the best Thanksgiving and Christmas feasts. My mouth is watering.

Shhhh. I know.

You are thinking that I am crazy and that we are far off from that and hey, don’t forget Thanksgiving. Nope. Not crazy, just excited for one of my favorite times of year. And I never forget about Thanksgiving. They go together. It is the season and spirit of thanks and giving.

Do not you worry, I won’t play a Christmas song now. Even if I did think about. OK fine, I am only not playing it because I can’t find a good video of it.

Sorry, not sorry. People are already starting to decorate for fall!

Walk in love, dear readers, and have a great weekend!

I will be riding and organizing for my trip this weekend…and dreaming of cooler weather. Interestingly enough, we will have slightly cooler weather this weekend.

Texas Summer 

OK, while we are not technically still in summer, around these parts, we basically only have summer and winter. 

A normal pattern, one that we have not really seen consistently for quite some time due to drought, is afternoon showers. Lovely, lovely showers. Thanks Gulf of Mexico! 

I might be one of the few down here who welcomes these afternoon showers since a little event named Harvey, but they really have been nice. Every afternoon we have had a little rain storm that makes the best background noise and cools the evening down. The air gets clean. Days like these I really wish I lived at the farm. 

But I digress. 

I get home from work and take Darcy out and then change out of my work clothes. Usually, that is when it starts raining. 

Both yesterday and today I cleaned, did laundry, and cooked with the soundtrack of summer. Exciting sounding to an outsider I know, but I find such beauty in the everyday of it. So relaxing and dependable. 

Life has been so busy and hectic lately with Harvey and trying to get back to ‘normal’ (something inconceivable even today for some victims of the storm) and my upcoming trip. 

On the menu tonight…or sometime this week, depending on what R prefers…roasted tomato and vegetable soup. Tomatoes, onions, peppers, peppers, peppers, butternut squash, garlic, and a ton of herbs…sage, thyme, rosemary, and basil. All roasted together in the oven and then combined in a stock pot, that my Grandmother gave me, with chicken stock to summer. Blended together and presto. An amazing soup. 


I am already enjoying a margarita. A classic for me. 


I have the robo vacuum going upstairs and it sounds like it is dragging a dead body around. 

But. Darcy girl is apparently hungry, so I must bend to her will. 


I hope y’all are enjoying your everyday lives. 

Walk in love, dear readers! 

Good Morning From The Mountains!

Good morning, dear readers! Today I am writing to you from the mountains of Colorado!

Cool, I know! I am very excited to be here. It has been a while since I have spent time up here and I am looking forward to five days of experiencing God’s handiwork in a different place.

I rode yesterday morning with some friends before I made myself drop Darcy dog off at R’s and go pack. I had all these things I wanted to do before leaving, like clean so I could come home to a clean house. Ya, that didn’t happen. Bare minimum is what got done. I didn’t care though, because I was going to the mountains! I love that one day I can be be riding in Texas and then hop on a plane and be in the mountains the next day. Variety!






I arrived yesterday around 11 mountain time. Did you say brunch time??? Ha! Funny thing! That was my exact thought! I am so glad y’all get me. I suggested maybe we should find a mimosa brunch and Middle Sister K did a very good job of coming up with a place for us to go to. My bottomless mimosas and ricotta pancakes with orange curd and whipped cream really it the spot. Must not have any more of that if we are going to get out there and do some hiking! They were worth it though! I have always wanted to make ricotta pancakes. One of these days I will make them.


Anyway, I digress.

After brunch, my parents and Bro-in-law T went to play golf, leaving K and I to our own devices. We made a quick wine and frozen yogurt run while we enjoyed the weather. Back at the condo, we grabbed our swim suits and speakers and headed to the pool and hot tub.

When we had our fill of the pool, I set the table with anything I could find out on the patio so it would be ready for dinner.

K and I decided we should go walk around town and then find a nice place to sit and have a cocktail while we waited the golfers’ return. There was some rain brewing and we ended up walking through a little sprinkle on our way back. Side note, there is more rain in the forecast and I am kinda excited! I have never witnessed a storm in the mountains! And y’ all know how I feel about storms…and mountains! Put them together and wow!



OK. Sorry. Where was I? Oh right, walking through the rain. We turned around to look back up at the mountain before heading in and what did we see? The biggest rainbow I have ever seen! Such a gift! God is so good and great! AHAmoment! 


We had dinner out on the patio accompanied by our favorite Texas music. Well, you do know what they say about taking Texans out of Texas, right?

I slept well with my windows open to the cool night mountain air. I am up early, as per usual, and everyone else is still asleep. I have the sliding doors open and can hear the fountain of water trickling into the hot tub.

I am so looking forward to today.

Go walk in love, dear readers, wherever this morning may find you. We are all blessed to wake up and experience the world!