Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Halloween Cancelled

I had planned a big post today and would have joined a few parties as 
well to show off some of the spectacular Halloween decorations in
my neighborhood.

But after hearing about all the devastation and loss of lives in the 
northeast, it seemed like a frivolous thing to do.

Lives lost.  Homes lost.  So many without power.  

There will be another Halloween next year.  Right now all I want to do
is be thankful for my family and my little cottage and pray for those who
who have suffered this tragedy.  

Susan and Bentley

PS:  This last pic is not of my house.  I took it last year of one in my
neighborhood.  They repeat this every year.

Monday, October 29, 2012

I Tweaked My Tuna

I was just dying for a tuna sandwich today.  But ... not the usual one
with mayo, chopped celery and green onion.  

I wanted to add a little zest to my tuna, so I tweaked it.  I got out my
micro plane and a couple of lemon slices and added some lemon zest to my
hum drum tuna.  Then I squeezed in a little lemon juice too.

I got so involved in tweaking and eating that I realized that tuna tweaking 
was not the original tweaking project I had in mind.  

I had a completely different tweaking project to show you. But the
 sandwich was good and I just wanted to savor every bite.

So ...

 I finished my my sandwich and my tea and got a jump start on my original
tweaking project.

I'll just keep you in suspense until next Tuesday.

I am joining ~

Bentley ~ I am saying my prayers that all of our friends on the 
east coast will be safe and that hurricane Sandy does not cause too
much damage.

Susan and Bentley

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Creamy Wild Mushroom Soup That's Not Low Cal

Here I am in the kitchen making soup again.  I am beginning to
think that I love to make soups better than anything else.  A friend gave
me some leeks from his garden.  Hmmm ~ what to do with them?

I have some crimini mushrooms.  How about a pot of Creamy Wild 
Mushroom Soup?  I am using Ina Garten's recipe.  

It gives me an excuse to use my cream soup cups.  By the way, I did not have any
white wine in the house, so I substituted sherry in the recipe.  Which also
made me think that a wee bit of sherry might be good to sip along with the 
soup.  It is!

These are such sweet cups.  They are Royal Worcester's Roanoke pattern.

David is eating left over pizza (his favorite) while watching football. 
I am enjoying my soup and my sherry and feeling like a princess.
I'm not too worried about the calories.  I'll just do some extra cardio 
tomorrow.  Ah, the joys of home!

Cream of Wild Mushroom Soup
I took the lazy way out and gave you the link to this recipe.
That way you can print it out if you like.

I am joining ~
On The Menu Monday

Bentley ~ run out really quick between the raindrops.  No worries
about the squirrels.  They seem to be snug and cozy in their nests.

Susan and Bentley

Saturday, October 27, 2012

One Rainy and Cool Weekend in October

I don't mind a rainy fall day.  I think of it as a welcome gift after a 
hot, dry summer.  It gives a much needed drink of water to all the trees.

It fills the reservoirs, rivers and streams.

The cloudy day makes the inside of the house so inviting.  There is no guilt
about not raking the leaves.  Time can be happily spent simmering a pot of  soup
on the stove.  Working on craft projects and dreaming of re-decorating.

Watching hours of college football on the TV.

And napping.  Let's not forget about napping!

Bentley is not very fond of the rain.  His outdoor trips to chase squirrels and
cats are kept to a minimum.  But he does love to cuddle up to his daddy on
the sofa during the football games.

Susan and Bentley

Friday, October 26, 2012

Favorite Memories of My Daddy

I know that lots of us think that we have or had the very best daddy.
October 26th was my daddy's birthday.  Although he died a little over
two years ago, I still miss him very much every day.

Because of his career, he was often not at home.   His job took him to
over 130 countries during the span of his career.  Daddy was always
flying off to London, Rome, Paris, Tokyo, New Delhi.  He went to 
almost every corner of Africa, Asia and South America.  He
would often be gone for a month or two at a time.

Sometimes when he came home it would take me a while to get used to 
having him around.  But it never took too long.  His suitcase would always be
filled with some treasure for me.  It would often be a doll from an exotic 
land, or some piece of clothing, or jewelry.  He would have lots of pictures
and exciting stories to tell me about all of his adventures.    

While he was home, every minute he spent with me was quality time.
He put up a tent in the backyard for me.  Not just any tent, but one with
it's own hardwood floor.   It  had running water too.  It was my own 
 little oasis.  I would often pretend that I was on safari in Africa in that
 tent, although not many wild creatures in the suburbs of Chicago.

He planted thick hedges around the perimeter of our backyard very much
like the ones seen in England.  He cut out a little doorway so that my friends
and I could walk through and pretend we were entering a magical world.

In the winter, daddy built a big igloo in the front yard and all the neighborhood
kids came over to play in it every day until it melted.

When I was very young, he read a story to me every night.  But the story was
never the same as it was on the page.  He knew that I knew all of these
stories by heart, so he tweaked them.  And, he always tweaked them to be humorous.  
He would make me laugh every night.

He played practical jokes on me that made me laugh too.

Although he was a fun daddy, he was a good listener too.  He always
took the time to listen to my problems.  

He broadened my horizons and introduced me to the various cultures 
that make up humanity.  He taught me tolerance of others.  Through
him I met many children of various countries and developed the
love of travel.

And most of all, he loved dogs and had the best stories of the many
dogs he had as a boy.

I know that this post is self indulgent.  Thanks for hearing me out.
I can't think of a better topic for me to write about for
Favorite Thing Saturday.   I wish you were here today Daddy
so that we could celebrate your birthday together.

Bentley ~ your grandpa was an almost a bigger dog lover than me.
Have I ever told you the story about his dog Tuxie?

Susan and Bentley

Keeping It Pink This October

"How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before
starting to improve the world."

~ Anne Frank

I have several close friends who have been diagnosed with breast 
cancer.  Because of early detection and proper treatment they are
all alive, well and living life to the fullest.  At the moment, early
detection is our best chance of survival.  Let's work together to  put
an end to this terrible disease.

Susan and Bentley

Thursday, October 25, 2012

I Never Met A Tool Box I Didn't Like

I love vintage tool boxes.  Every time I see one when I am at an 
antique shop, a yard sale or a thrift shop, I am instantly drawn to it.

The more worn out they are, the better I like them.

But I don't use them for tools.
See what I mean?

Joining ~

Bentley ~ your momma inherited your grandpa John's tool box.
I think I might actually use it for tools.  Novel idea right?

Susan and Bentley

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Wow Americans Are Fat!

Food in our country is plentiful ~ too plentiful.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention,
35.7% of adults and 16.9% of children age 2 to 19 are obese.
Not just pudgy, but obese!  This leads to increases in heart disease,
stroke and type 2 diabetes.  All killers.  It's not just about looking


The highest rate of obesity is in Mississippi at 34.9%.  Okay, we
can blame it on all the hot humid weather that makes everyone just want to sit
in front of a fan.  Or perhaps it's all the wonderful southern cooking.  But
what excuse does Idaho have?  I live in nature's playground.  Hiking,
skiing, mountain climbing galore, yet 27% of our residents are obese!

What's the solution to this crisis?  It's not for a lack of dieting books.
I picked up a few from our local library's numerous diet books.

There is a diet for every need.  For those who want to
look hot.

For those who are philosophical.

For those who want to be hot AND move to Miami.

And for those who just want to be cool.
What's the solution?  Stick with me and that's what we will explore,
because wow ~ our nation is fat, and that's NOT a good thing!

Joining ~
Wow Us Wednesday

Bentley ~ maybe I should help you write a diet book.  You could
tell everyone how you stay fit by chasing cats and squirrels!

Susan and Bentley

Monday, October 22, 2012

Make Your Dreams Your Reality

A couple of bloggers who visited my last post thought that boot camp
might be scary.  Scary???  No way ~ this is going to be fun!
And just to get you up and dancing, listen to some toe tapping 
music to get you motivated and happy ...

Just as gardeners pull weeds from their garden, librarians weed the stacks
of old books.  The criteria for weeding books are:

Physical Condition

My husband has a question that he always asks his employees when they
have made a poor choice.  He asks them ~

"How is that working out for you?"

So I am going to ask you the same question about your thoughts and
your actions.  How are they working out for you?  Are they good, positive
thoughts that help you fulfill your goals, or do some of your thoughts
need to be weeded out?  Run through the list that a librarian uses.

If something is not working for you ~ toss it out!
If you want to achieve your goal you must believe you can.

Don't be negative!  Instead of saying no, say
YES!  Turn your dreams into reality.  So take a moment
or two and decide on your goal.  And remember, you need
to have a good attitude and you need to focus on your goal.
Your mantra needs to be
"I can do it"

The decision is yours.  Do you want to be glamorous for the
upcoming holidays?

Do you want to lose weight?
Okay ~ I promise, no bile beans.  What are bile beans anyway?

Whatever your goal is ~ I want to help you achieve it!  I am
ready and happy to be your personal champion.  Your very
own cheerleader.

Since weight loss is such a common goal, that's the first
one I will tackle.  So stay positive and stay tuned.  This will be
fun ~ I promise!

Bentley ~ are you thinking positive thoughts?  Do you need a 
cheery song to reinforce those positive thoughts?  You do?
Okay here you are .... music again please

Susan and Bentley

Boot Camp Week One ~ Get Your Life Back On Track

Are you overweight?



Need some fashion tips???

No worries!  The Ash Tree Cottage Boot Camp will get your life back
on track.  Follow along with us and in the next few weeks we will give
you the tools you need to:

Lose Weight
Get Washboard Abs and Banish Jiggly Arms
Tackle Your Problems
Glam You Up For The Holidays
Get Happy and Beat the Blues

Joining ~

Okay Bentley ~ get down and give me ten!

Susan and Bentley

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Autumn In A Box

Today was such a glorious fall day and I would like to 
put it in a box and save it forever.  But since I cannot, a mosaic
of it's splendor is the next best thing!

Joining ~

Bentley, let's go out and round up some of your toys because
they are all over the yard!

Susan and Bentley

What You Don't Know About Me

When I was young, I wanted to be That Girl.

I really wasn't very interested in getting married and never poured over
Bride's Magazine until after I was engaged and everyone was prompting me
to make some choices.

No ~ I wanted to head to New York, an even bigger city than my hometown
of Chicago.  I was not too interested in being an actress, although there were times
when I dreamed of being a dancer in a Broadway Show.

I wanted to be an artist and live in Greenwich Village.  I had big dreams.

I wanted to be hip and cool and independent while wearing very cute clothes
of course!

And my interior design style would have been much more like this!

So fast forward ...

I did get to NYC and I attended the New York School of Interior Design.

 And one day I met my own Donald Hollinger.  And like Ann Marie, I became
engaged, but unlike her ...

I did get married.  I moved into a charming 99 year old cottage in
Idaho and am living happily ever after.

But for a while, in my heart, I was That Girl!

Bentley ~ did momma ever tell you that story?  She did!
Well, would you like to hear it again???  
Whoops ~ Bentley just slid out the door to chase a cat. I 
suppose that hearing that story once was enough for him.

Susan and Bentley

PS:  This post was prompted by a day watching a 
That Girl marathon.


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