13 September 2022

Too Easy Cobbler


Y'all. The easiest cobbler recipe ever. So delicious. I used a 1 lb. bag of frozen mixed berries (thawed) and a French vanilla cake mix. I also added a tablespoon of sugar with the cornstarch to balance the tartness of the berries, but probably wouldn't if I used a different type of fruit. This is the perfect size for my little 3 qt. slow cooker and makes just enough for a weekend dessert for two. Serve with vanilla ice cream and plan your next fruit + cake mix experiment. I think mine will be apple pie filling with a spice cake mix. 

09 September 2022

In Tribute


This is my favorite story about Queen Elizabeth. As a fervent believer in the power and value of therapy dogs--having been on the receiving end of that myself--I love this story about the Queen spontaneously turning her ever-present cloud of feisty and cheerful corgis into a pack of therapy dogs. Her intuition, compassion, and gentleness is beautiful.

In tribute, I compiled a little list of corgi designs to share. These are all downloadable and under $5, so if you're feeling like stitching a small memento, you can begin right away.

A tiny corgi pincushion

And by the same designer, a small Platinum Jubilee tribute that could easily be altered to commemorate her life

trio of corgis in different colors

An adorable little gent in a bowtie

A somewhat larger design, a beautiful mandala-style corgi

Another easily adaptable Platinum Jubilee sampler

jolly, round little lad

teeny tiny tribute

Also, though these projects are a bit different from the others on my list, I couldn't resist including them here. I don't crochet but I found this charming little crochet pattern of the Queen and her corgis. Too sweet. And this gorgeous kit of two corgis in the autumn leaves, sharing a plaid scarf. It instantly made me think of the Queen with her corgis at her beloved Balmoral. I have ordered from this shop before and had good service. I think this kit may be available from US sellers as well. 

I have no doubt that the stitching community will be producing more commemorative designs in the coming days, free and for purchase, but I wanted to post this list today in tribute to the Queen. A link with the past has been broken and we will never see her equal.

07 September 2022

Treasures & Happy Places


Part of how we cope with the upheavals of military life and adjust to new areas as quickly as possible is to find what we call "happy places", local businesses and spots we can go to while away a Saturday and feel connected to our new home. We haven't done much exploring since we got here in April, partly because Mr. Wonderful's work schedule is slightly insane, but mostly because we now live in an area that is overrun by tourists from May to the beginning of September. A lot of locals seem to hibernate during the summer and emerge once the tourists have gone home, which is what we ended up doing. So this past weekend was really our first opportunity to go out looking for our happy places. We were successful!

We found a couple of really neat antique shops, a packed-to-the-gills used book shop, a great old-fashioned diner, and for Mr. Wonderful, an awesome record store (Yes, vinyl records! Remember those?). We had such a fun day and came home with treasures: pottery, some old books and records, a few very pretty homemade dishcloths, some homemade fudge, a couple of prints by a local photographer, and a sparkly little pin for me. There's a lot more around here that needs exploring, but we're off to a strong start. We know the antique shop lady--and the shop cat--and the book shop guy by name now, and our list of happy places is growing. Unfortunately, there's no needlework shop anywhere near me, but I know I've been unusually blessed to have shops at our last two duty stations, so I'm not going to fuss about that too much. Most stitchers don't have an LNS, but we still manage to acquire stash, don't we?

So it was a good day. This has been a hard move, and a hard adjustment, in a hard year. All the more reason to seek out happy places and snuggle down into them and appreciate the good. Oh! One more triumph to share... I found a stylist! I hadn't had my hair cut since right before we moved in March, so I was beginning to look like a sheep in need of shearing. Y'all know how breaking in a new stylist can be. A bit nerve wracking, especially if your hair/hairstyle is out of the ordinary. I finally got up the nerve to tackle this yesterday and I'm both tickled and relieved to report that she nailed it on the first appointment. It took us about an hour to get there (I wear my hair shortish but there is *a lot* of it) but we did it, so I'm counting her and my new salon as a treasure and a happy place. Yay!

Treasures and happy places... may you find them when you need them.

01 September 2022

Autumn in the Tropics

You've probably figured out from pictures of our backyard that we're no longer in a climate that has proper seasons. While we're not actually in the tropics, we're much closer than we've been in many years and much closer than we prefer. But you go where the military sends you and you make it work. There are things about the climate here that I like. It rains a lot and I love that, and I'm the one weirdo that doesn't really mind the humidity (waving at my fellow dry skin girls). But I will miss autumn and winter so much. Even though we're from a hot climate, we've been away so long that it feels a bit strange to be putting out fall decorations when you can look out your window and see palm trees. I did, however, put out some fall decorations. And I got a new fall tablecloth. And I've been busy in the kitchen all day, getting food and snacks ready for the start of college football this weekend. And with all that, it does kinda look like fall, but man it doesn't feel like fall. How I'm going to miss that snap of chill in the air and the leaves turning. Oh well. It's not forever, and it's as good a time as any to practice being focused on the good right under my nose rather than on where I'd rather be instead.

Bonus recipe!

This snack mix is delicious and addictive but it is quite spicy, so bear that in mind if you have a low tolerance for heat or if little ones will be eating it.

Spicy Snack Mix

1 box Cheez-Its
1 bag goldfish crackers
1 bag pretzels 
1/2 - 3/4 c. oil
5 Tbsp. Hidden Valley Ranch seasoning
1/2 Tbsp. your favorite steak seasoning
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. dill

Combine crackers and pretzels in a large bowl and toss with oil until well coated. Mix seasonings and add to snack mix, stirring well to evenly coat. Spread on foil-lined cookie sheets (don't overfill) and bake at 200 for about an hour. Cool completely before storing in airtight container. *You can give it a stir halfway through the baking time, but it's probably not necessary if you've spread it out enough. I had three cookie sheets full, so it does tie up your oven for a while.

Happy Fall! And to those who celebrate, Happy College Football Season!