Happy New Year?

No, no, no. Not ‘Happy New Year?’

Happy New Year!!!!!

And Merry Christmas!!!!! Since I am pretty sure I missed saying that to you before.

Yes, all of those exclamation points are more than necessary.

I hope each one of you and yours had a very merry and blessed Christmas and New Year. May the many blessings of our Lord shower upon you. Peace, love, and joy. Go forth keeping the Christmas spirit alive all year long.

Aunt M asked me the other day if I was sick or something since I had not shared any AHAmoments in a while. No, no, not sick. Just still reeling from a busy Christmas season. I have lost count of how many naps I have taken. A little tidbit about me, I do not really take naps.

I have been spending my time watching the rain re-hydrate the mud. Trying not to get mud everywhere. Watching the horses roll in the mud. Scooping poop in the mud. Watching the horses slip while walking in the mud. Not riding enough. Losing my mind a titch. You know, normal 2018 stuff.

It rained this weekend. It rained yesterday and it is raining today.

But hey, speaking of Christmas…I did a little baking. It is one of my favorite ways to celebrate and share love with my family.

Apple Cranberry Pie with Pecan Shortbread Crust.

Chocolate Spiced Rum Cake.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Cake.

Pesto and Prosciutto Christmas Tree and Cranberry Pepper Baked Brie.

And that was just my part. We ate well to say the least. For days.

I made Lito dress up like a reindeer a few days before Christmas. I had a good laugh…or ten. Him, not so much, but he put up with it!

I will be perfectly honest, I am still laughing! He is so dang cute, even when he pouts. There is your daily dose of cute, dear readers!

Anyway, in my opinion, the best way to close out a year and ‘ring’ in the new is to watch the sunset and be in bed long before midnight. Then wake up early on January first, saddle up the best mare, and strike out down the road because that is the only dry stretch of ground for miles. So, that is exactly what I did.

“Stop taking pictures, food lady, and get in here to feed us!”

My Mamma came with on foot.

Hopefully 2019 will bring more ride time for me and my dun duo. It might just be after winter before the rain slows a little. Only the good Lord knows! And you know what? It is all good! Eventually, my riding will be back to normal. Until then, the horses are being horses. Doing what they do best. So, I am going to take this time and focus on myself. Be present.

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Here is to 2019.

‘Rise with lifted eyes’ every day. Ride more when you can. Worry less all the time. Focus on the journey and the path and allow it to create your momentum. Live in the moment and see the light and blessings around you. Do not ‘live on the surface and in between the lines.’ Go find the ‘deepest part of you’ and let your heart fight for the truth.

You are not flying alone.

Cheers, y’all!

Go walk in love, dear readers.

Why, Hello There

Um, hi. Ya. It’s me.

What happened to December? It is already half way through. When in the world did that happen? Jolly old Saint Nick is coming faster to town than ever before!

I have not yet finished my Christmas shopping. I used to get all of my gifts before December even hit. How did I ever manage that?

Anyway.

Clearly I have been really busy. Busy doing what, I am not overly sure about, but sure, yes, busy. Busy enough to barely be writing to y’all! Busy with work, family, laundry (duh!), and watching Christmas movies. Lots of them. You know the ones I am speaking of. They are your favorites too, even if you dare not admit it. Hallmark Christmas movies! I am not the only one who loves them!

Trying to ride as much as possible which has proved overly difficult. It rained so much last weekend that the varmint holes were full of water two days later! So far I have spent more time scooping poop and pulling burrs out of manes and tails than riding. Although I did get some good riding time around Thanksgiving, so there is that!

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I did bake pumpkin bread last night. And ate some last night…and again this morning. I have to tell you, there is nothing like a house that smells like fresh baked pumpkin bread (or my Mamma’s rolls)! I walked downstairs this morning and it still smelled that way! Put a big ol’ smile on my face it sure did! As did eating it, but I am sure you guessed that.

Have you heard all the great Christmas music being shared over on the Facebook page?! I am going to give you some valuable life advice. If you have not clicked over there and had a listen, you are truly missing out. I bet you there are a few on there already that you have not heard before and there are even more to come, along with some great classics. Honestly, there are not enough days before Christmas to share all of my favorites. It has been hard to pick and choose which ones to share. One song a day is hard!

This version was new to me this year!

Christmas music really gets me into the spirit. Now all I need to do is find the rest of my gifts, get to wrapping, and figure out what I will bake for our family gatherings. What do y’all think? What should I make? What is your favorite holiday dessert?

Here is hoping I can finish out the year with more ride time and ring in the new the right way! I am just over here, trying to live in the present.

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!

Not Just Another Day

Today is a special day.

Someone has a birthday today! So you should have some cake to celebrate!

On this day 5 years ago, this boy of mine was born!

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While you are enjoying your cake, let us take a walk down memory lane. I may or may not have done this last year…but he is just the cutest dang thing!

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Oh, boy!
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I lied, there can be too much cuteness.
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Love at first sight.

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4 months.
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5 months.
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3 months.
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3 months.
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~2 months.
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1 month.

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1 month.
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One week old.

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Need more cake, right? Me too. Sorry, I am not sorry that I have zero control and just shared that many photos.

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.

Replay

Yesterday evening I found myself thinking a lot about my Uncle.

It started while watching a TV show and he just came to me. I will admit, it was not a happy thought.

Recently, his memory will come and it will go. That statement makes it sound fleeting, but it is far from that. I mean comes and goes throughout the day. There is rarely a day that goes by where I do not spend time thinking about it. Sometimes short moments far a part. Sometimes longer ones closer together. The past couple of weeks have been pretty good for me as the thoughts and memories have generally been happy ones instead of haunting ones.

Like last weekend when I made this chocolate cake with a raspberry cream cheese icing for my Grandmother’s (on the other side of the family) birthday. I unnamedalways think of him when I bake. I love to bake, as I am sure you have noticed by now. Typically I will bring a baked something to all our family gatherings. Uncle B would always tell me how he looked forward to whatever dessert I chose to bring and was my main source for honest feedback on my desserts. Really, honest feedback and advice on way more than just cake. I really miss that. I can just see his face now.

Anyway, I digress. Last night while watching TV, in reaction to something I saw or heard I guess, I quickly got sad and began to replay in my mind everything that had happened. It is crazy how that feeling can envelope you in an instant. I stopped myself from going too far down that road (yay me for controlling my focus!), but I could not quite shake the feeling.

After texting with my Cousin before bed later that night about other things, she brought it up. I decided to send my Aunt a quick text to remind her that I love her.

I think it is time for us all to come back together.

Walk in love, dear readers.