Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Mary's First Lesson

I had to share these cute pictures of Mary from last weekend... her first time on a horse!

Mary was so calm and happy around Ben, it is definitely in her blood!

She'll be riding on her own in no time! :)

Monday, November 28, 2011


How was your Thanksgiving weekend!? Whether spending time with family, dear friends or even new friends - I hope you found many things to be thankful for and had a wonderful turkey day!

Al and I spent Thanksgiving on the farm with family. It was a fabulous day!

My youngest son Sam and his girlfriend Lauren - it was wonderful having them both here with us!

My mother joined us too - here she is with my brother's four children.

My little brother David with his three beautiful girls.

Of course I had to include a picture of the food! We had quite a spread...

Let us come into his presence with Thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! Psalm 95:2

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

So Very Thankful

Can you believe it? Thanksgiving is tomorrow! I hope that you are all looking forward to (or have already started) the cooking and gathering with loved ones that this holiday brings!

This morning at the gym our workout instructor Donna lead us in a Thanksgiving devotional. It was a powerful message for me to hear as Donna challenged us to try and thank God for something new everyday - for something that we had never thanked God for in the past. So often I pray and thank God for my many blessings generically, or I find myself thanking God for the same things over and over again. While these are still meaningful prayers to me, this new challenge has already changed my outlook in just a couple of hours. This morning my mind has been filled with all of the other blessings in my life that I have overlooked or forgotten to acknowledge in the past. So, I am now passing this challenge on to you. Don't forget to look around this Thanksgiving for all of the many blessings in your own life - great and small!

I also wanted to share a few pictures from a recent farmer's market excursion... I am so very thankful for this year's harvest bounty!

I hope that you and yours will have a safe and happy gathering tomorrow! Also... don't forget that it's okay to have a little fun with your veggies this Thanksgiving too!

Monday, November 21, 2011

A Pie for Thanksgiving

I love a pumpkin pie, I love a pecan pie... but around our house, the favorite pie at Thanksgiving is the vinegar pie!! It is a family tradition that came from our Aunt Sis who was Mr. Winget's sister. Give this recipe a try - you will not regret it!

Vinegar Pie
1 unbaked 9 inch pie shell (see Never-Fail Pie Crust recipe below)
1 stick margarine
1 1/2 c sugar
2 T flour
2 T vinegar
3 eggs
1 T vanilla extract

Combine margarine, sugar, flour, vinegar, eggs and vanilla. Blend well. Pour into the 9 inch pie shell. Bake at 300 degrees for 45 minutes.

Never-Fail Pie Crust
2 t salt
3 c flour
1 1/4 c vegetable shortening
1 T sugar
1 T vinegar
1 egg
1/2 c water

Mix flour, shortening, sugar and salt with a pastry blender. Beat egg, add water and vinegar and mix well.
Combine the two mixtures a little at a time until all dry ingredients are moist. Mold together with your hands and chill before rolling out.
This recipe makes one 9 inch pie shell.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

To whom much is given...

... much is required. This is a quote you have most likely heard in a number of different contexts. JFK used this sentiment that originally comes from a parable in Luke 12:48.

As Thanksgiving day quickly approaches, I have been thinking about this quote. I love that we have a holiday set aside to gather with friends and family to reflect on the many blessings in our lives. (Not to mention the fried turkey and Mrs. Winget's sweet potato souffle - yum!!) But this year I am also feeling called to take this holiday's sentiment one step further. To pay it forward as they say. There are so many people in each of our communities that cannot afford basic necessities for their families. And a Thanksgiving meal? Sadly, that may simply be out of the question. I am giving myself a challenge this week - won't you join me? Find an organization that gives back to your community - donate, volunteer, serve.

This message of sharing has been put on my heart this week by an organization that is very near and dear to my heart - Crisis Assistance Ministry. It started in Charlotte in 1975 and continues today offering financial assistance, and "free stores" of clothing, furniture and other household items. Their goal is to compassionately serve those in need by restoring dignity to each of their clients. I was fortunate this week to have Carol Hardison and other CAM staff come to the studio for a luncheon. It was a wonderful blessing to have everyone there, see the video below to see what I mean!

Thank you to Carol and everyone who works and volunteers at Crisis Assistance Ministries. You are truly an inspiration for this season and all year long!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Costco Signing

Thank you to everyone that came to see us at Costco on Saturday! It was wonderful to see some familiar faces and to make some new friends as well!

I was so glad to have Stephanie, Jeannie and Mary Beth there from the studio to greet everyone.

I met Linda at the signing (in white above) and found out that we share the same birthday!

Don't YOU need a 2012 Calendar!??

The employees at Costco were so helpful and set up this beautiful display of calendars. I signed special edition 2012 calendars in the styles of Heart and Home, Nature's Grace, and Proud Rooster. Only Costco is carrying this version of the 2012 calendars, so visit soon before they run out!

Thank you again for stopping by, it was such a fun day for me. I hope you all enjoy the 2012 calendars as much as I enjoyed painting them!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Comfort Food!

Today's weather is a little less than fabulous... Cold. Rainy. Yuck. Especially after the warm front we have had I find today's weather rather unpleasant.

Yes, today is a day that calls for comfort food! I love this definition:
Comfort food - the gastronomic equivalent of a warm sweater, a kiss on the forehead, and a favorite blanket.

So - that had me thinking about one thing... Well, maybe two things...
1. Paula!

and 2. Macaroni & cheese!! I will have to make this soon -

Crock Pot Macaroni & Cheese

1 lb. sharp cheddar cheese - shredded
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese - save 1/4 cup for the topping
1 (16 oz) box elbow macaroni
1 large can evaporated milk
1 c. milk
1 can cheddar cheese soup
1 stick butter
1 egg - beaten
salt and pepper to taste

Cook macaroni and drain. Mix all ingredients together in a crock pot. Sprinkle 1/4 cup parmesan cheese on top. Cook on low for 3 hours. YUM!

This recipe is adapted from my high school alma mater's cookbook - Cooking Down East II. Go Eagles! Also - it makes A LOT... perfect for a potluck supper.

The quote above came from The Meaning of Food - they also share favorite comfort food recipes from chefs and food writers - check it out!

As Paula would say - I wish you all love and best dishes from my kitchen to yours!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Shadrach, Meshach - AND Abednego!

As promised here are more pictures from our weekend at Brays!
One of my favorite things to do while we are there is to ride our horses - there are so many beautiful trails and places to explore.

And as for the title of this blog entry... Meet my new friend Ben (short for Abednego). He has been visiting with us at the farm lately and is a wonderful horse to ride! Isn't he beauiful?

Monday, November 7, 2011

Happy Birthday, Al!

Last Friday was my husband Al's birthday! To celebrate we headed down to Brays and had a fabulous weekend!

We went on a boat ride navigated by Bruce and Brian. It was a little cold out on the water but it was beautiful!

I made an apple cake for Al - and I must say it was delicious! You may remember this cake from the first time I made it...

We spent the weekend in the place we love, doing all of the things we love! Best of all, it was a time to relax and celebrate the man I love! Here are some other photos from our weekend - I'll have to post more of them later - back to painting for now!