Sep 30, 2008

Fat Free Apple Walnut Muffins

A couple of days ago I posted a recipe for fat free chocolate cupcakes. I tweaked the recipe a bit and came up with some wonderful fat free apple walnut muffins. I hope you enjoy them.

Fat Free Apple Walnut Muffins
1 carrot cake mix
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 cups applesauce
1/4 cup flour
4 apples, peeled and chopped
1 cup walnuts, chopped

Using a mixer blend the first 3 ingredients for several minutes until the batter is well blended. Stir in the flour, chopped apple, and walnuts. Place cupcake liners in pans and lightly spray with baking spray. Fill the cups 2/3 full. Bake 25 - 30 minutes in 325 degree oven and the muffins feel firm to touch. Do not under bake. Cool and enjoy!

Sep 26, 2008

Raspberry Paradise!

Last week I posted the story behind the chaotic redecorating of our family room, after giving my husband a retirement gift of a large screen TV. You can read about the trials and tribulations that seemingly innocent and heartfelt gift created here! The pictures below are of the nearly finished product. Keep in mind the new sofa and chairs will not be here for at least another month, I haven't hung all the pictures yet, and some of the lamps and tables will change.

The culprit!

Visit There Is No Place Like Home to see a list of more Show & Tell participants. Have a perfectly wonderful weekend everyone!

The Old, the New, and the Faux

Happy Sunday everyone! I don't know about all of you but I am ready to rest today! A week ago I bought my husband a 50" TV as a gift for his retirement. He retired in June after 40 - yes 40 years of teaching middle school. The man deserved a gift. And what better gift for a man than a big screen TV? Here lies the problem with the new TV and the reason I am so exhausted. We brought the TV home a week ago, but where would we put it? Our old TV was a 29 inch. It lived within a wooden entertainment center with doors. The 50" needed a home to equal it's impressive size! We found a perfect cabinet at IKEA. Hubby and our son got it all together within a couple of hours because, well you know why, it was a big screen TV and they are men. That poor cabinet looked so lonely.

We returned to IKEA the following day to purchase matching book cases for either side of the TV case. You realize, of course, that IKEA sells unassembled furniture. My dear husband had gratefully put the TV cabinet together. He was even quite cheerful as he assembled the new book units. They look just beautiful together. They're a creamy white. We've been making a transition from oak to off white pieces. I was thrilled with our new furniture as they sat looking so lovely against the old paint.

Now, surely you understand the natural evolution of my situation. New furniture, old paint. New furniture, old paint. My dear old sweetheart agreed to paint so our family room would be fresh and new. He even went with me to look for the paint. Ummm...I'm feeling --- raspberry! You know, Lowes has all kinds of lovely new paint ideas. I quickly found a faux granite look I thought would hide all the imperfections in our nearly 37 year our old painted paneling. Little packets of sparkles were even available to add to the textured paint. Sparkles! With my sweetheart still in TV Heaven, we bought it all. The special paint brushes, special rollers, a gallon of faux raspberry granite paint, with sparkles! $86.00 for one gallon of paint and the means to get it on the wall. After the hideous job of prepping the room to paint, Sweetheart globs it on the wall. Globs. Globs everywhere. The wall looked like strawberries had rolled around in sand, then they'd been blessed by fairies with pixie dust and thrown onto our family room wall. I denied it fervently as Hubby grumbled and mumbled about the biggest mess he'd ever seen, but I must tell you - it was the biggest mess I'd ever seen.

Whew! How fortunate that we had brought other paint samples home with us. We picked another shade of raspberry out of the samples and poor sweet Hubby went back to the store to make another purchase. Dear as he is, my man started putting the paint on the walls immediately - well, after he scraped the sandy, pixie dust laden strawberries off the wall. Ahh, it was only midnight and the room was finally finished with the second paint choice...the walls looked so good!

Have you ever noticed how different color looks at night than it does in the daylight? In a darkened room shades of raspberry can look rich and luxurious. In the daylight it can look garish and hot pink.

Did I mention how smart we were to bring home several paint samples from Lowes? The next day Hubby, not quite as cheerfully, made another trek to Lowes. He was home again shortly with a third shade of raspberry. My sense of style and decorating couldn't be so far off, could it? Raspberry just felt so right! I couldn't watch as my strangely quiet sweetheart painted one more time. He had either found a happy place or he was near a psychotic break. Wisely, I found work to do at the opposite end of the house. When I knew the first wall had had time to dry I ventured out into the family room. I didn't know which I should fear more - raspberry walls or a fuming man with hot pink fingernails!

Oh joy! The newest, deep shade of warm raspberry on my family room walls is perfection! Confidence in my sense of style has been restored! Pictures will be posted Friday for Show & Tell...

But you know how you feel when you get some new pieces of furniture and you get a new color on your walls? It all looks so fresh and new, and then you see how old your sofa and chairs look. It's so nice how now that Hubby is retired we can shop in the daytime during the week!

Our new sofa and two easy chairs will be delivered in about 6 weeks.

Sep 25, 2008


Pam at Gray Like Snuffie is hosting a blog-a-thon: The A B C's of the Word. Bloggers post a Bible verse beginning with the next letter of the alphabet each Thursday. Today's letter is "J".

"Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done. " Matthew 21:21

This is a verse that I have always found to be a little confusing and sometimes even frustrating. I believe in the power of prayer with all of my heart, yet sometimes we desperately pray for something that is not answered the way we have asked God to. An example of this is when I have prayed with deep belief and faith that someone might be healed of an illness or a medical diagnosis not be as serious as it seems likely to be. In a couple of very specific occasions, my prayer was not answered the way I prayed it would be. Does that mean that this verse in Matthew is not true?

Jesus was speaking to the disciples, teaching them that we can pray about anything and that we can have faith that God can work any miracle. Obviously, Jesus was not saying that we will be empowered to move literal mountains magically if we believe we can. I think His reference to mountains is referring to personal mountains in our lives. Sometimes problems seem as enormous and immovable as a mountain. Jesus was telling His disciples and us that we can pray about even the most significant problems with faith that He hears and has the power to solve those problems. But does Matthew 21:21 mean that our faithful prayers will be answered the way we ask?

This is what I believe. Our time on earth is minuscule considering the vastness of eternity. Even though God wants us to experience happiness on earth and He wants us to have a faithful, trusting relationship with Him, God's foremost concern is for our eternal life, not our earthly life. Only God knows what the result of answered prayer will mean to eternity. We see life in such a limited capacity that what we ask for with our human hearts and minds, may not be most effective in God's will for the big, eternal plan. Here's an example from my own prayer life. A very dear friend who happens to be a strong Believer, was in the process of receiving a medical diagnosis which very possible would be serious. I prayed with sincere faith that my friend would not have cancer, believing it within God's power to prevent this. In the end my friend was indeed diagnosed with advanced cancer. Now, I would be lying if I said this did not create disappointment and some questions in my talks with God. However, after a significant amount of time has gone by, some possible reasons God might have had for allowing this diagnosis have come to light. Remember, as Believers our purpose is to serve God in whatever way He directs so that others might see God's love through us and a desire to have a relationship with Him. During the long months of surgery, chemotherapy, and recovery, my friend came into contact with many people she would not have met had she not been diagnosed with cancer. She has been able to demonstrate her faith and comfort to others through God's grace to these folks ONLY because she has cancer. God absolutely was capable of answering my prayer so my friend would not have cancer. But He knew her ability and willingness to serve Him and He knew how that ministry would effect eternity. So in spite of the many prayers for a different diagnosis God chose instead to allow difficult circumstances in my friend's life in order to benefit the big picture, the eternal.

The mountain had been moved, but for His eternal purpose rather than for mere earthly moments.

Sep 22, 2008

Autumn Welcome

Melissa, at The Inspired Room, has written a beautiful list of 20 things she loves about Autumn. She has suggested that others might like to do the same. If you would like to see the lists of what other blogger's enjoy about Autumn visit Melissa's beautiful blog.

Actually, I have never enjoyed Autumn! As I have confessed more than once in my postings, it is not actually that I don't enjoy Autumn, it is that I do not enjoy what follows here in Michigan. I am a warm weather girl and do not enjoy winter at all. However, I truly wish to FIND something to enjoy about everything in God's beautiful creation. So, for that reason, I have really thought about it and much to my surprise I have a list of 20 Little Things To Treasure In Autumn to add to the list contributors on Melissa's site! Think about your list and add it to the Mr. Linky you will find there.

20 Little Things I Treasure About Autumn

1. brightly colored leaves

2. the sound of geese over head

3. pumpkins, carved or not!

4. fresh chilled apple cider at the mill

5. warm pumpkin bread or muffins

6. pumpkin pie with whipped cream

7. Thanksgiving with family

8. thinking and planning ahead to Christmas

9. a fire in the fireplace

10. homemade soups, stews, and chili

11. knitting thick warm throws

12. hot cranberry spiced apple cider

13. a trip to our cottage in northern Michigan

14. jeans and blazers

15. cinnamon spiced candles

16. our local Fall Festival

17. electric blankets!

18. flannel sheets

19. fire roasted corn on the cob

20. hot chocolate with lots of marshmallows

Sep 18, 2008


Pam at Gray Like Snuffie is hosting a blog-a-thon: The A B C's of the Word. Bloggers post a Bible verse beginning with the next letter of the alphabet each Thursday. Today's letter is "I".

"I can do everything through Christ, who strengthens me."
Philippians 4:13
I could hardly wait for week "I" to come around because this is my personal life Bible verse! Life can just be plain hard sometimes, can't it? It never fails to comfort and encourage me when I repeat this verse. For example, as grateful as I am for a treatment for my illness, it is nonetheless difficult at times to face another day long infusion every three weeks, with all the problems and side effects that go along with them. I CAN DO ANYTHING THROUGH CHRIST WHO STRENGTHENS ME! I don't think I can, I don't wonder if I can, I KNOW I can! I know because the Bible tells me so, I know because God is my Heavenly Father who promised to guide and protect me, and I know because I have proof - He has kept His promise and continues to help me to do what I need to do. This verse gives me courage when I have none, encouragement when I need it, and it brings me peace. PEACE. Isn't that what we so often long for more than anything? Philippians 4:13 is my peace in troubled moments.

Sep 16, 2008

Facts, Weird and All

I've been tagged by a sweet blog friend, Cori, from Gingerbread Crumbs and Company. Cori was so nice to send me this award as well. Thanks, Cori! I love it!

Here are the rules for the tag:

1. Link your tagger and list these rules on your blog.

2: Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.

3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.

1. I got married between my junior and senior year of high school!

2. When my husband and I went to a hotel on our wedding night we had to show my birth certificate and our marriage licence before they would register us for a room!

3. When I was a teenager I modeled clothing for customers and shows at department stores.

4. I could live on watermelon alone!

5. I really, really, I mean really dislike winter!

6. I went through the entire year when I was 49, thinking I was 50! Bummer, because then I really turned 50!
7. I have an uncanny ability to predict boy or girl by mid pregnancy.

Now for tagging 7 bloggers:

Maryjane, Pam, Anni, Jean, Janmary, Ann, Donna you're it! If you chose to do the tag, please copy and take the award also, because I love your blog!

Sep 14, 2008

Smile In The Sky

Can you stand it? I just got this picture in an e-mail (thanks Pam!) and I have no idea where it originated, but I love it. That sweet smile in the sky just makes you appreciate God's sense of humor, doesn't it?! Have a perfect week everyone!

Quirky Me!

Beautiful ARTE Y PICO Award

My friend Sweetie, of Sweetie's World, who really is the sweetest lady in the world, sent me this great award. Thank you Sweetie! Sweetie also tagged me with this fun tag:

Six quirky things about myself:

1. I am super claustrophobic.

2. I have been to Disney World almost every summer since the year it opened in 1971.

3. The only thing I ever dream about is the beach.

4. I sleep 3 or 4 hours a night.

5. I drink about a gallon of water every day!

6. I would never wear shoes again if it were possible!

The rules say that I should tag 6 bloggers:

CeeKay, Alex, Ro, Shelia, Julie, Katherine - YOU'RE IT! If you chose to do this, copy the award for yourself too!

Sep 12, 2008

Autumn Decorating

For Show & Tell this week I would like to show you some of my Autumn decorating. I am not a big fan of Fall even though Michigan is beautiful this time of year. I am focused on the unpleasantness of what is to come far too soon - winter! But my friend CeeKay from Thinkin' of Home will be visiting me in October and she LOVES Autumn. So in spite of my lack of enthusiasm for Fall I have decided to join the crowd and decorate for the season. I'm not finished yet but I'll show what I have completed in one room - our family room. If you want to see some really lovely Autumn decorating, go to CeeKay's blog at the link above.

So far, I have concentrated mostly on my mantle.
The wreath is dried eucalyptus, roses, and pods. I used white twinkling lights, garlands of colored leaves and Burgundy mums for the base. The green bottle on the right of the wreath is an antique hand blown green glass bee trap from Italy.

I added some ceramic pumpkins, one nestled in the leaves and mums, the other resting on a small crystal cake pedestal.
I propped my cream turkey platter up against the bricks. The turkey is a pale gold.

Quite a few years ago my sister brought me this pretty painted clay turkey when she came to our home for Thanksgiving dinner. It was filled with a Fall floral arrangement. I love it and use it every year as an addition to my Thanksgiving buffet.

This amber vintage glass chicken was my mother-in-law's. I think it is a perfect addition to a Fall display.

And these cute little turkey's are actually ceramic salt and pepper shakers. My mother gave them to me a long time ago. I just love them and I use them on the table every Thanksgiving.
My sweet sister-in-law gave me this pretty Autumn leaf candle set. The pictures don't really show you how pretty they are - they have lots of sparkles on the leaf and acorn detail.

A vintage wooden bowl filled with assorted gourds sits on the coffee table.

Even though I am not a fan of Fall, I must admit I do like the way my mantle turned out. It's given me encouragement to move on to another room!
To see many more Show & Tell posts, go to No Place Like Home.

Sep 11, 2008

"H" Is For Honor

Today is Patriot Day. How could any of us forget the horrors of that day and the many, many days afterward as we watched hundreds of people labor at what had been the World Trade Centers and the Pentagon and thousands wait for news of their loved ones. Religion and political affiliations melted away as we all became one mass of broken hearts on September 11, 2001. Perhaps Patriot Day will remind us over and over that we are all alike in every way that matters. If you would like to see the White House press release concerning the Proclamation of Patriot Day go to the following link.

Pam at Gray Like Snuffie is hosting a blog-a-thon: The A B C's of the Word. Bloggers post a Bible verse beginning with the next letter of the alphabet each Thursday. Today's letter is "H".

" He will not let your foot slip; He who watches over you will not slumber." Psalm 121:3

What a comforting knowledge to claim!

The theme of this Psalm is that we can depend on God for help. It was written for the ascent to Jerusalem. Though the author is anonymous, it is suggested that it was written by Hezekiah. As pilgrims traveled though lonely and dangerous countryside to new destinations, they had no earthly protection. The author looks up into the mountains, no doubt with fear of known and unknown dangers. He wonders aloud, where will his help come from? Then he acknowledges that his help will come from the creator of the heavens and the earth. He states confidently that His creator will not allow him to stumble and will protect him, even in sleep, because His God never sleeps, but watches over him always.

I don't know about you, but that automatically makes my day better, especially on a day like today, when sadness is just simply embedded within the very date: 9/11.

Sep 9, 2008

Trivial Pursuit

Can you guess which of the following are true and which are false?

1. Apples, not caffeine, are more efficient at waking you up in the morning.

2. Alfred Hitchcock didn't have a belly button.

3. A pack-a-day smoker will lose approximately 2 teeth every 10 years.

4. People do not get sick from cold weather; it's from being indoors a lot more.

5. When you sneeze, all bodily functions stop, even your heart!

6. Only 7 per cent of the population are lefties.

7. Forty people are sent to the hospital for dog bites every minute.

8. Babies are born without kneecaps. They don't appear until they are 2-6 years old.

9. The average person over 50 will have spent 5 years waiting in lines.

10. The toothbrush was invented in 1498.

11. The average housefly lives for one month.

12. 40,000 Americans are injured by toilets each year.

13. A coat hanger is 44 inches long when straightened.

14. The average computer user blinks 7 times a minute.

15. Your feet are bigger in the afternoon than any other time of day.

16. Most of us have eaten a spider in our sleep.

17. The REAL reason ostriches stick their head in the sand is to search for water.

18. The only two animals that can see behind themselves without turning their heads are the rabbit and the parrot.

19. John Travolta turned down the starring roles in 'An Officer and a Gentleman' and 'Tootsie.'

20. Michael Jackson owns the rights to the South Carolina State Anthem.

21. In most television commercials advertising milk, a mixture of white paint and a little thinner is used in place of the milk.

22. Prince Charles and Prince William NEVER travel on the same airplane, just in case there is a crash.

23. The first Harley Davidson motorcycle built in 190 3 used a tomato can for a carburetor.

24. Most hospitals make money by selling the umbilical cords cut from women who give birth. They are used in vein transplant surgery.

25. Humphrey Bogart was related to Princess Diana. They were 7th cousins.

26. If coloring wasn't added to Coca-Cola, it would be green.

Now, scroll down for the answers..........................

They're ALL true! Now go back and think about #16!!!

Sep 8, 2008

I Said I Wouldn't Do It...

But I did!

Shelia at Note Songs has been posting pics taken in bathroom mirrors. While visiting my parents in Tennessee last week we took a drive into the park, as we always do at least once. My parents live on the edge of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. I took these pics at the Chimney's picnic area. Don't I look just plain silly?!

Sep 5, 2008

Mother's Got A Thing For Pink!

I just returned from East Tennessee, where I was visiting my parents. My mother is the original pink lady! I imagine it is where I learned to love pink so much. I thought I would share pictures today of my parents living room. If you would like to see more pink posts, go to How Sweet the Sound.

This is the living room. There is lush pink carpeting, a white brocade sofa with pink pillows, and several other upholstered pieces - all shades of pink!
"Pinkie" by Thomas Lawrence.

My dad refinished this beautiful settee. The fabric is a pink rose print.

I made this pink sachet for Mom.

A beautiful pink angel sits atop a deep rose table which I painted for Mom years ago.

The lamp is an antique from my grandparent's home. The shade is a gorgeous pink silk with fringe.

Mom loves pretty things. Isn't this basket lovely? It's filled with pink and white dried blossoms.

Another chair Dad refinished. It's upholstery is a deep raspberry pink brocade.
Another pink chair...

Mom is a dish-a-holic like me. This tea pot was my grandmothers, manufactured by Hull.

My grandmother's china is the most beautiful I have ever seen. It is Haviland, Apple Blossom.

Even Mother's garden is totally pink...mandevilla.

Baskets of pink surround the pool and decking...

Seas of pink Zinnias dot the hills around Mom and Dad's home.