Wednesday, September 5, 2012


Well, it's official.

I've lost that loving feeling.

I've lost my bloggin mojo, after over 2 years and 10 trillion posts.

So I'm least until I get my mojo back, or get re-inspired, or something like that.

Wink and I are trying to make some pretty big life changes, so who knows--maybe I'll be back someday with inspiring photos of our dream farmhouse in the country, complete with some chickens and acres and acres of pumpkins, zinnias and sunflowers.

But for now...we're still in our little house (still unsold) in the Adirondacks. Life is still good...kiddo is thriving in college, getting ready to graduate, and Wink still loves his job more than most things. He plans to retire there...that's how much he loves it.

My health is not great...I'm not gonna lie. Being evaluated by a new neurologist for Multiple Sclerosis now...the thinking is that I've been misdiagnosed, after all this time.


But we are lucky. We are blessed. We know that.

I'm just in need of some new scenery and energy--that's all.


 You know me....I can't leave you all high and dry......check out this amazing Snickerdoodle Muffin recipe I found, and prepared recently, on comes from Culinary Concoctions by Peabody, and you can find the recipe, HERE.

I made them for some dear, dear friends who own our local movie theatre, The Strand...

Bob Card and Helen Zyma are just some of the best people you'd ever want to know;  they employed our teenage daughter throughout high school (all the popcorn she could eat!), so they must be SAINTS, right?

Anyways, I'm always telling Bob that he's too skinny, so I whipped up a batch of Snickerdoodle Muffins and delivered them to him, still warm, to fatten him up.

If you love Snickerdoodles, you'll adore these muffins, I swear on a stack of.....muffins!.................


(In case you missed the recipe link above, you can also find it, HERE)

Take care, dear loyal bloggie friends....and you never know where I might pop up again someday!



Monday, August 27, 2012

FUN TIMES OUT WEST (and why I should probably never fly again)....

Did you think I was gone forever?

For some reason, it felt like it, and it's taken me most of the past 3 days to get caught up around here, back in my Upstate NY home.

Not that Wink didn't do an OUTSTANDING job of keeping things running smoothly (which pretty much meant cleaning out the cat box a trillion times, sweeping up cat litter and dog treat crumbs and, oh yea, arranging for the house to be shown 3 times by realtors, which just cracks me up, as I don't think it's been shown more than twice in the past year! That'll teach me to leave town!).


So, this is how it all went down:

Caught a few Southwest flights to the San Francisco Bay Area with our Little Miss Thing (she's headed back to Berkeley for her senior year)...

Was picked up by my husband's wonderful parents, and shuttled to their gorgeous, hillside home in Mill Valley (Marin Country, north of the Golden Gate Bridge)....check out their morning view from their living room!.........

Abbie's grandparents treated us to a wonderful dinner at Tyler Florence's/Sammy Hagar's new restaurant in downtown Mill Valley, El Paseo. Gorgeous, gorgeous atmosphere AND food!

The next morning, we headed over to Berkeley, where we moved all of Abbie's stuff into her new housing, then had lunch with my favorite Uncle Joe....such a funny guy!...

Next, we headed up to my parent's home in the central Sierra Mountains (almost 4,000 feet elevation), and were greeted by their funny dogs.

One dog, beloved Buck, is a gorgeous Golden Retriever...beautiful, but normal looking, by any dog-lover's standards...

And then there's've probably never seen anything like Jake...he's a Chinese Crested, which means he's almost hairless...super freaky looking, but super nickname for him is sometimes "Mosquito", and sometimes "Gnat".......

(My mom has to actually put sunscreen on him, daily, when he's not wearing a t-shirt!)

Just want to show you some photos I took from around my parent's dad is a most excellent gardener.....

amazing flowers on his decks.......

Berries, grapes, pears and tomatoes, everywhere...

My folks live on a small lake, and lucky them...they have Canada Geese there, too!...

The path around the lake...very peaceful and green....

But believe it or not, the real reason we were there was not just to take photos of the flora and fauna....we were there to CELEBRATE my parent's 50th Wedding Anniversary!

So fun to get all dressed's the original Nelson familia....

(yes, I do in fact own shoes, and that's my brother Andrew to my right)

All of the "elders", messing around--those are my husband's parents, Al and Marilyn, on the right....(pretty crappy photo of the four of them, but that's alls I gots, people!)

My baby brother and my baby girl (who borrowed my Old and Everlasting dress for the evening)....

NOTE: I don't know what my problem was on this trip, but I have NO photos from the celebration itself at a very swanky restaurant, NO photos of my visits with my beloved cousin Joe, NONE of my fun breakfast with BFF Lisa, and NO photos of my stay with my Aunt Jan.

BUT, I do have this amazing photo I snapped while driving across the Golden Gate Bridge one morning....please don't tell my husband that I did this!....

Yup, that famed San Francisco summertime fog is for real!


I wish that I could blame my lack of photography on just having TOO good of a time, but instead I fear it was because I just wasn't feeling too well a lot of the time.

And losing my entire bag of medications for 3 days didn't help matters any.

I also acquired a horrid e-mail virus, which basically locked me out of my e-mail account, before I left for California, which added to my off-kilter feeling.

And if you want to know why I should probably never fly again...WELL. I would just suggest you never, ever take a trip with me, because for some reason I am jinxed. The past four cross-country excursions I've taken have ended messily, with cancelled flights upon cancelled flights, the spending of nights in some strange hotel in some strange city, and then being told to be back at some strange airport at 5 a.m.. for a flight that is, surpise!........cancelled!

Did I mention that I'm not a great sleeper, even in my OWN bed? Or a great flier?

Why am I not on Xanax?

Regardless, I really had a great time on this trip...maybe next time Wink can actually come, too! (he had to work...I mean, somebody has to!)......

I think I'll be doing some Pinterest recipe baking over the next few days for some very special, deserving  people...and I'll be sure to share!

till then,


OOPS! One more little thing...please check out my newest Autumn creations in my itsy bitsy little Etsy store, located in the top right hand margin of this blog...sales have been terrific, so thank you, dear customers!

Monday, August 13, 2012


Received Abbie's grades from her spring semester in Paris the other day, and then decided to make my girl a cake to celebrate, because that child up and earned herself all A's and maybe one little B+ on her report card. Which is impressive enough....but lest we forget,...her classes were all taught in French!

I would have flunked out, day ONE. Just sayin'............

Our celebration cake, fancifully called the "Parisian Peppermint Cake" was really just a white cake (from a--gasp!--box!) with some peppermint extract, and homemade buttercream frosting. I found these little cupcake decorations while wandering the streets of Paris last spring, just itching to spend my money on souvenirs.....(note: I did not see even one primped Poodle in Paris)....

Most people spend their money on postcards and t-shirts and such when they travel.....not me! I always seem to come home from wherever we've been with something for the kitchen....

By the way, the inside of this cake? Well, I tried a trendy little food coloring technique my daughter calls "Ombre", or something like's just graduated layers of color....really pretty, I think!............

So pretty, I had to eat a huge slab.

You'd best believe that I fell into a deep sugar coma after eating this last night. And then proceeded to punish myself extra hard on the eliptical this a.m......


By the way, I'm feeling pretty darned good in my own skin these days; Finally reached my "goal" healthy weight, and have been maintaining it by religiously binging, then purging.

Not really...just eating VERY healthily (is that even a word?), watching portions and working out as my energy allows.

Because if I've learned one thing in this life, it's that diets NEVER work....and lifestyle changes do. I'm never going to allow myself to fall into that dieting insanity trap again ...just trying to remember to eat when I'm hungry, and to stop when I'm full.

I'll let you know how this all works out, 5 years from now when I'm 350 lbs.


When you pack for a trip, does the floor of your bedroom or office look like this?

Like a bomb blew up in your closet?

I always, always bring waaaayy too many clothes, every time I travel. And this time, I fear, shall be no exception.

I mean is a girl supposed to go from the foggy coast, up to the dry and hot mountains, and then back to the coast and NOT bring layers and options, options, options?

We're talking HUGE temperature changes here, folks.

Not to mention the fact that we are doing all of THIS:  getting pretty dressed up for my parent's 50th Wedding Anniversary party, and then hopefully doing some hiking in the Sierras with my brother. And maybe going berry picking with my mom, and then moving our daughter into her new senior year digs, and then maybe going wine tasting in Napa and/or shopping for pillows and rugs in Marin with my Aunt Jan, and then getting some Mexican food in Palo Alto with my cousin. And Chinese food in Berkeley with my Uncle Joe. And eating at Tyler Florence's new Mill Valley restaurant with my in-laws.

Like I could do all of that with just a carry on bag.

Did you take note of how much we'll be eating on this trip?

Maybe elastic-waist sweat pants are in order for my trip home.


One more little thing.

Day after tomorrow, August the 15th, is Wink and my 25th Wedding Anniversary. Yup, this is a big year for my fambly...50th for my folks, 25th for us.

We've got the whole happy marriage thing DOWN!

Let's get the champagne a' flowing!

Happy Anniversary, Wink! And remember, we'll always have Paris!....

See you all in a few weeks!


Sunday, August 5, 2012


(image from

Yes, it was my 49th birthday the other day. My parents cannot believe that they are actually old enough to have a 49 year old daughter, and I cannot believe that I am actually old enough to have a 21 year old! This aging crap really creeps up on us in a rather stealthy way, doesn't it now?

I'm at an age where I really don't care about THINGS anymore; I'd much rather share experiences, like travel and spending time together, with those that I love. Because I really cherish the memories of good times much more than stuff.

After all, we are all born with nothing, and die with nothing. Except maybe a few tattoos.

Abbie has promised me a mother/daughter pedicure at an Albany mall, the evening before we fly west. This pedicure is very much needed, as I am not, ahem,  the best about the condition of my feet during the summer. I just love being barefoot in the dirt and grass and even the gravel--what can I say? I'm a country girl at heart.

Abbie also wrote me an amazing, funny and touching poem that made me laugh AND cry, all at the same time.

I've had it framed already, and it sits proudly right beside my "Bestest Mama in the World Forever" award:

Here's what it says (you have to know my daughter to know that this is VERY Abbie)..........

"My mama loves pigs and chickens
Pigs, when they snort their fat pink heads
through the tall grass and mud
Chickens, for their blue, brown and pink eggs
and coppery feathers that soften and cover
their clucking bodies

My mama loves too loud country music
blowing all through the house on a crisp fall
with windows open
and something good to smell
and better to taste
in the oven

But even more
than my mama loves all these things,
I love my mama"

Abigail Nelson Willard
August 3, 2012

(yes, it's true: I truly desire to get myself some pigs and chickens and even goats some day soon. But you must also know that I  play classical music and the blues, way too loud, ta boot!.....)


I did get one "thing" for my birthday, because my husband just "gets" may think this gift is a little bit strange, and even a little bit scary...........

Her name is Gullah.........

And I just love her, more than words can say! Gullah (I named her after the Gullah population that still remains on the islands off of South Carolina) is a Still Bank--there's a secret slot to put coins for liquor (I suppose), located on her bank. She was located for my husband by a good friend of ours who is a very well known antiques dealer and local historian. Gullah is metal, and her paint is ORIGINAL...she was made around 1870.

Gullah will sit happily on my kitchen counter, where she will keep a stern eye on my cooking for all the rest of my days!

Thank you for a fabulous, thoughtful birthday, Wink and Little Miss Thing!

Mama loves you MORE!


See you all soon!


Monday, July 30, 2012


Summertime is just whizzing by, so very fast this a little over two weeks these beauties (above, Allison on the left and my girl, Abbie, on the right) will be back at school, finishing up their senior years of kollidge...didn't they just graduate from HIGH SCHOOL?

Next week the girls hit Montreal, for four days of sightseeing and concert going (Snoop Dawg, amongst others I've never heard of).......a much needed break for them during their hectic summer of multiple jobs....

I'll be flying back to California with Abbie this year, both to help get her settled into her new housing and to throw a little 50th anniversary party for her grandparents.

I'll be sure to take you all along with me!


Our summers are VERRRRY short here in upstate New York...Please don't think I'm crazy when I say that I can already feel a bit of Fall in the air...especially in the mornings.

Pretty soon, we'll be eating stews and lighting candles and building fires, once again...........

But for now....just trying my hardest to keep those pesky deer from gobbling up all of our perennials.........

And just trying to enjoy every single day of this glorious summer...........


SPEAKING of Fall, y'all, I've been busy busy busy whipping up some new offerings for my Etsy store AND a few little sweet things for my friend Marianne's shop in Cazenovia, NY, called Old and Everlasting.........check out my latest, hand embroidered burlap feed-sack pillows.........

And a few spooky Halloween kitties.......

Words cannot express how much fun I'm having up in my sewing room these whole life, I've lived to create things, and for once I'm really letting myself take the time to actually go nuts with fabric and color and design!

'Bout time, right?


Don't know if you remember my post last summer, Fourth of July and a Georgia Peach Pie? Well, it was my #1 most viewed post, EVER....I think most people like summertime desserts made with sweet peaches!

Yesterday, for Sunday dessert, I made Southern Living's Peach Upside-Down Cake.

I know I've said this before, but you seriously can never, ever go wrong with any dessert (or recipe, for that matter) from Southern Living is by far my favorite source for great, fool-proof recipes.....

You make this upside-down cake in a cast iron skillet...and this is what you see once you've inverted the baked cake, still warm from the oven..........just look at those peaches!............

Probably the most moist cake we've ever eaten.

And THIS is what you get when you slice the cake, and serve it with homemade whipped cream, dusted with a little cinnamon....MMMMMM........

You can find the recipe, HERE.

Till next time,