Remember Me?

Yoohoo. Hi. Over here.

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Ya. Remember me?

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Yes, me. Your long lost friend. Hi, ya. I have missed y’all!

How is it May? And how has it been two weeks since I have written you? Not sure how that quite happened. It was not intentional, that is for dang sure. I have not fallen off the face of the earth. Maybe you wish I had! Anyway, it is not for lack of goings ons. 

There has just been a lot of life going on over here in my world. Now is not the time for that though.

Not to worry and they say worrying is fruitless anyhow (spoiler alert, it is true). God has it all and me. And you. This I know with great conviction. He has been ever present throughout it all and is still here.

I will do my best to get back to writing to y’all regularly, but in the meantime, enjoy some photos of the past couple of weeks.

Life and time go on, man. It is how you use it. How you live it. How you share it. AHAmoment. Taking each and every day to be better than you were the day before. Letting God work through you for the blessings of others.

Walk in love, dear readers!

Work trips are not all that bad.

But being at the farm is better. Especially to catch the moon setting in the morning.

I do, I love you.

Getting our steps in.

Boop.

Magic.

Easter eve yoga for the Darcy dog.

A new view.

Easter morning sunrise.

Tuners with all the words to say.

Cooking is always a good idea. It is good for the soul. Roasted red pepper soup from scratch. Pretty dang good.

Until next time…which will be soon! I am spending the weekend with some of my best friends riding horses here in the great state! Even if it rains, it will be a grand time!

 

Slow Down

Do not forget to allow time slow down this time of year! Take a deep breath and enjoy it, whatever Thanksgiving brings your way this year.

I somehow forgot until Sunday afternoon that Thanksgiving is indeed this Thursday. As in a few days from now. Completely slipped my mind. Go figure that and get back to me. It is not like I have been talking about Thanksgiving and the season and being mindful or anything.

Anyway. I remembered while I was in the grocery store to pick up a couple things to make some chili. I do believe I made it out with everything I need. Here is the kicker. Without a list! Another fact you could spend more than an iota pondering, but I will not spend my time doing that.

This year I am making the best cheesecake, but with a twist this time. A topping of chocolate ganache and salted caramel with pecans. I am also making my fancy cranberry sauce as per usual (if you have never made or had cranberry sauce from scratch, you are missing out) and the best sweet potatoes. Then, for Thanksgiving round two, I will be making some kind of gluten free dessert for my Pop’s birthday. Stay tuned for more recipes and final results!

If you are reading this and are surprised much like I was that Thanksgiving is this week, fear not, you are not alone! Do not feel bad! You have buckets of that thing called time. Trust me.

So.

Being as it is the Monday before Thanksgiving and life is crazy and time is trying to speed by and you may find yourself wanting it to go away and memories and and and, I have something for you. For all of us.

A Thanksgiving prayer by Ralph Waldo Emerson set to views at the farm. I hope you enjoy and get into the spirit. Allow time to slow down and feel the beauty and blessings all around you.


For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,

For health and food,

For love and friends,
for everything Thy goodness sends.

For flowers that bloom about our feet;
For tender grass, so fresh, so sweet;

For song of bird, and hum of bee;

For all things fair we hear or see,
Father in heaven, we thank Thee!

I think Chance liked it.

How do you allow time to slow down this time of year?

Walk in love, dear readers!

Show & Tell

Remember when you were a kid in elementary school and you had show and tell? I used to think (and still do actually) that was a pretty dang cool deal. Now I look back and wonder if I liked it so much because it shed another fresh light on the hearts of the people I saw every day. My kid brain would not have thought of it that way, but I think of it that way now and wonder.

I remember one certain show and tell when Pops agreed to bring Rosie, our Brittany (used to be known as a Brittany Spaniel) that we grew up with, to class for show and tell. I thought that was just the coolest thing in the world at the time. I do not think anyone had brought a dog to show and tell before and certainly not one that their father had hunted with.

Pops must have liked show and tell too because he tries to get my nephew to take dragon flies we find at the farm to school for show and tell.

Today feels a little bit like a show and tell day. Just one of a slightly different nature. Remember when I made those molasses cookies and that margarita over the weekend? These ones?

Well, I have been asked for both of the recipes and naturally I am going to share them with you! Not just because I was already going to share the cookie recipe. I think I have also been asked for my marg recipe too.

Anyhow.

It feels straight up like show and tell because everyone must experience these cookies. I will remember them and the memories till the day I die.

Here is the thing about these recipes I like to share with y’all. They are more than just tried and true, sure to please recipes. They are basically part of the family and who we are. They tell a story within themselves and the traditions they hold. They share the love and memories.

Do you remember when I shared the pumpkin bread my mother has baked for us our whole lives? She would even send us back to college with a couple loaves. Or the best cheesecake recipe she wrote on the inside flap of a well worn cookbook? The best for many reasons, but chief among them just being her favorite cheesecake? Yes, those. And that little life secret about them and where to find others like them?

This cookie recipe is one of those. Hand written, well loved, and stained. Telling the story of generations and while bringing them all home. No small feat, I tell you.

Not only were us kids raised on these, but Pops and his siblings were raised on these. My Grandmother used to keep a jar full of these in the kitchen. The back door was always reportedly always unlocked and all the neighborhood kids would run and and out taking cookies throughout their play time.

My Mom and I once made these in an old, shallow wooden bowl with two forks for stirring implements at a Texas century ranch of friends while on vacation. Ironically or not, that weekend produced a lot of rain and we thought we might not make it out with the road conditions. Good thing for four wheel drive and Pops’ driving skills!

What I find most interesting is how each person puts their own spin on this recipe to make them theirs. Make them right. Make them like our Grandmother’s. But the funny thing is, we all talk about how they are not as good as our Grandmother’s. Everyone also has a theory on why hers were better. Maybe it is just because she actually followed the original recipe. Or maybe it was the love and wisdom she baked into them. Who is to know?

Anyway, this particular handwritten version is my mother’s. Karl is my uncle and my mother was collecting and writing recipes that he grew up on to give as a wedding gift.

My Grandmother used Oleo (margarine for you youngsters that do not know. Yes, I know I am a youngster, but I know these things) and baked them on the top rack of her oven. My mother believes that is THE secret.

My Aunt says to chill the dough before rolling and bake 8 – 10 minutes at 375 deg F.

My sister and I use real butter and roll the whole dough ball in sugar. Or, at least I think A rolls the whole ball. I do it anyway. I also add vanilla and I would put money on A doing that too because she is my sister and I know her that way. And it is vanilla. Vanilla goes in everything and makes everything magical and better, duh.

I myself have not actually seen the ‘original’ recipe before.

Last weekend only took 7 minutes to bake these scrumptious morsels at 375 in my parents’ new oven. I tried, valiantly, to chill the dough, but I think I only lasted about a minute before I gave in to get them in and out of the oven quicker. And my nephew had walked into the house and I recruited him as a dough ball roller. He happily obliged.

You can not really mess them up so long as you do not over cook them.

Go bake them. Right now. I will wait.

Finished? OK good. Now for your libation.

This one, the simple and classic margarita, Pops taught me along with the love of tequila. Follow the simple ratios and stick to only a few flavors and you can not go wrong with most variations of this cocktail.

2 parts tequila.
1 part triple sec (or your favorite orange liqueur).
1 part fresh lime juice (absolutely not the pre bottled stuff. Use real limes and squeeze them. It is a crime otherwise. Trust me).
Shake vigorously in a shaker with ice.
Pour in a chilled martini class or over ice.

For the ginger orange marg all you have to do is sub part of the triple sec with a ginger liqueur to your taste, keeping the total liqueur quantity to 1 part (keep to the ratios!). Then use fresh squeezed orange juice for the lime if you are Pops and if you are me, do about 1/3 lime and 2/3 orange (still only 1 part in total!). Add a dash of a cinnamon syrup and shake away. Garnish with some orange peel and enjoy!

Now. Go have a cookie and cocktail party and tell me all about it! It is show and tell after all.

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! 

Our Love & Our Souls

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Breaking news, it is warming up. We are out of blanket territory for a while. Now I can buckle down for Christmas.

Your AHAmoment today is brought to you by Sean McConnell. His song ‘Our Love and Our Souls’ is what IT is all about. He says it better than I ever could. Have a listen below. It is an amazing feeling when a song like this pops up on your shuffle and just speaks to your soul. You may not have been paying attention before, just looking out the window, lost in your thoughts or following that long white line. Then all of a sudden, you snap to and realize He is speaking right to you. If you are me, you listen to it on repeat, so grateful to listen and be receptive to the message.


“Sometimes it all comes down at once
Sometimes when it rains it pours
But I wouldn’t trade my troubles for any one of yours
Cause money’s just money
It comes and it goes
And things are just things baby
So breakable
Ain’t nothing lasts forever except our love and our souls
Cause I ain’t that hungry
And I have a home
I ain’t fighting for my life
And I’m not alone
So may I pray every morning
As I make up the bed
‘Lord, all I need today is my daily bread'”

Thanks, Doug Morrison, on YouTube for the vid.

Walk in love, dear readers.

Grocery shopping today after work for Christmas! Wish me luck! Cranberry sauce, Pomegranate cake, and pumpkin bread. Then wrapping all the presents for my loved ones.

Listen Linda!

Today is Friyay if you did not know! Now you do. I read day 12. On to day 13. Next week is a short week and middle sister and her hubby are in town!

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I am flyin’ solo in the office today. I do not like flyin’ solo in the office. It is too quiet. I am playing Christmas music out loud to compensate though, and I had Christmas coffee this morning! Out my office window I can watch the cold front blow in. I am to head out to the farm with my Darcy pup directly after work. Then on Sunday, I ride Bella the buckskin and do my Thanksgiving grocery shopping. I might even get the Christmas decorations down and ready to put up.

I hope each and every one of you have a great weekend. Enjoy the cold weather if you have it. We will! Get rest and ready for Thanksgiving! Think about what you are grateful for this Thanksgiving.

What are y’all doing to get ready for Thanksgiving? What are you grateful for???

Prayers from Dip to Pie.

First thing. To all the equestrian bloggers, thank you. I am missing my horses this week since I have not been able to get out to them. Thank you for your horse posts, they are getting me through this week.

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Second thing. This Jalapeno Popper Dip that I mentioned yesterday…you can not go wrong! Put those ingredients together and it is bound to be good. This is naughty delicious appetizer was more than good. I used half fresh roasted and half canned jalapenos. I mixed it up yesterday to be ready for our office Thanksgiving lunch later this week and planned to just leave the topping off till I bake it the day of. Whilst mixing it up, I really wanted to try it to make sure it was going to be good. I took a little bit of the filling mixture and put it into a small, single serve baking dish, added a little topping, and baked it off. I approve and I think the picky eaters at the office will too. I was a bad blogger and forgot to take a picture of it fresh out of the oven…one of these days I hope to get the hang of this! What is that? You have heard me say that before? Uhhh…look! Does that dip not look like it tasted great! I did not eat all of that…I had some test subjects. I only had tortilla chips and those water crackers, so I put them both out. Tortilla chips are where it is at, trust me.

Third thing. My favorite to make for Thanksgiving is this Apple Cranberry Pie with Pecan Shortbread Crust. I will let that sink in for a minute…are you finished sinking?! Great idea right?? The recipe comes originally from Southern Living, go figure. I use fresh cranberries instead of dry. I like the added color, juice, and tartness. I also stick some in the top while it bakes so you can see them. Additionally, I probably double or more on the cinnamon and add nutmeg. That is probably not a surprise to you by now. That shortbread though. So good! The whole pie is a labor of love, but it is so worth it. Make it in your pj’s with your family around and it will be ready before you know it! It travels exceptionally well and tastes great left over. If you need to bring a dessert, try this.

Fourth thing. As they say, last but certainly not least, A Prayer of Thanksgiving. Whatever is going on in your life during this upcoming holiday season, remember to be thankful. We all have something to be thankful for even if it is hard to see at times. That is what we should focus on, being grateful and thankful. Not the bad things, the hard things, the busy things, the have to do things, the I do not have time things. That is not what IT is about. AHA moment.

The prayer before the holiday meals is a big thing in our family. I love how everyone has a different style of prayer as individual as they are. Last year, I found a perfect Prayer of Thanksgiving and brought it to our gathering to post by the lovingly prepared food. It really got me thinking about what I am grateful for and to say a thank you to God for them. It got me in the right attitude just like that quote I shared a while back about working with horses. I unfortunately can not find the one from last year, but I found this one for my closing greeting to you, dear readers. Lead with love. Tune in tomorrow for Darcy’s front and center spotlight.

God of all blessings,
source of all life,
giver of all grace:

We thank you for the gift of life:
for the breath
that sustains life,
for the food of this earth
that nurtures life,
for the love of family and friends
without which there would be no life.

We thank you for the mystery of creation:
for the beauty
that the eye can see,
for the joy
that the ear may hear,
for the unknown
that we cannot behold filling the universe with wonder,
for the expanse of space
that draws us beyond the definitions of our selves.

We thank you for setting us in communities:
for families
who nurture our becoming,
for friends
who love us by choice,
for companions at work,
who share our burdens and daily tasks,
for strangers
who welcome us into their midst,
for people from other lands
who call us to grow in understanding,
for children
who lighten our moments with delight,
for the unborn,
who offer us hope for the future.

We thank you for this day:
for life
and one more day to love,
for opportunity
and one more day to work for justice and peace,
for neighbors
and one more person to love
and by whom be loved,
for your grace
and one more experience of your presence,
for your promise:
to be with us,
to be our God,
and to give salvation.

For these, and all blessings,
we give you thanks, eternal, loving God,
through Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.

~Vienna Cobb Anderson