Thursday, June 29, 2017

the perfect healthy fourth of july dessert - sponsored

Who's ready for the Fourth of July? 
Whether you're staying at home and thinking of something yummy to throw on the grill or heading out to a friend's house to celebrate, I have the perfect summery holiday dessert that will please adults and kids alike. And did I mention it was healthy, too? Win-win!

As a member of the Wayfair Homemaker program, I have been compensated for this post. All ideas and opinions are completely my own.



2 cups old-fashioned oats
3/4 cup oat flour
1/2 tsp Chinese five spice powder (or 1 tsp cinnamon)
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 T coconut oil, room temp
1/2 cup pure maple syrup

Yogurt Filling:
1-1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt, full-fat or 2%
3 T pure maple syrup
1/2 tsp pure almond extract
1 tsp pure vanilla extract


3/4 cup sliced strawberries
1/4 cup raspberries, sliced in half
1/4 cup blueberries


Preheat oven to 350F.

In a medium-size bowl, mix all crust ingredients together with a fork until the mixture is combined and holds together.

Grease a 10" pie or cake tin and press crust ingredients into the pan, including partway up the sides of the pan. Place pan in preheated oven and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely on a wire rack or in the refrigerator.

Meanwhile, in a separate small bowl, combine all yogurt filling ingredients.

Spread yogurt mixture over the oat crust, leaving a little bit of a border.

Arrange fruit in a pretty pattern - however you want! I chose to do it this way.

Keep chilled in the refrigerator until ready to slice and serve.

Speaking of the Fourth of July, Wayfair has all your seasonal needs! Whether it be American flags, patriotic decor, string lights, patio furniture, lawn games - you can find it all HERE.

Some of my favorites from this collection that would be perfect for my dessert are:

and this 20 Pc Flatware Set  - that would actually go well with my everyday dinnerware, not just to use for the Fourth of July!

Have a safe and happy holiday ~ and enjoy a piece of healthy dessert!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

creatures, treasures, and stately homes

It's no wonder it takes us so long to get projects done around the house...when Brian has a once-in-awhile Saturday off, we take off on a little day trip! If you're a regular reader of my blog, you know we love going to Evanston, a large, culturally-rich city right by Chicago. We not only love this city because of all the many cool shops and restaurants, but we also enjoy eyeballing the beautiful homes and relaxing in the park by Lake Michigan. Not to mention, Brian grew up in Evanston, so a little piece of his heart is still there.

We walked around at an outdoor art fair for awhile, then visited some favorite shops. One was a pet shop, where this lop-eared bunny was freely hopping around. He was up for adoption, but we passed. Been there, done that with a rabbit as a pet. They're sweet and fun, but very messy. Which also equals a lot of work.

He was one chill bunny!

I found Betty the turtle under the heat lamps. Usually, she's wandering the pet store, too. Though I stay out of her way. I'm not fond of turtles. I'm a little bit afraid of them.

The resident cat, Will was taking a snooze.

In the cages, they had a breed of rat called dumbo-eared rats - obvious reason. I think they're adorable! We had rats as pets twice when our boys were growing up. They are actually sweet and friendly, like attention, and can be trained to do tricks. They don't bite like hamsters and gerbils either. (We tried those as pets, too.) Unfortunately, they don't live long (only a couple of years; three at the most) and are prone to tumors.

Saw these shoes in the window of a shoe store. I love cats, but I think this is a little much! Though if I were a teenager or in my early 20's, I'd think about it. 

Another stop: the independent bookstore. This is the cookbook section, and there's even another shelf behind where I was standing.

And, of course, a trip to Evanston wouldn't be complete without a stop at our favorite vintage shop, Secret Treasures. I came home with three small treasures - this pretty tea towel, which I'm using on my kitchen table...

and which Monkey and Clementine immediately approved of.

I also found this small, covered butterprint Pyrex dish, which matched my two butterprint bowls.

Last, but not least, I couldn't believe I found a Gregg shorthand book. Who remembers learning - and using - shorthand? Taking dictation? I do. I hated it. I took classes in community college, then used it only a couple of times at work. However, it did come in handy for writing private thoughts in my diary, especially when I knew my sister was snooping. ;-)

On our way to the lake, I had Brian pull over so we stroll the sidewalk and take photos of some of the beautiful houses. If you like house eye candy as much as I do, click here for a previous blog post where I featured some more gorgeous Evanston houses and gardens. I'll let the photos do the talking...

The iron gate on the house was amazing.

An apartment building, not a house, but I thought these balcony flowers were so pretty. 

At last, we made it to the lake. Lake Michigan. Or "The Michigan Ocean", as Brian jokingly calls it. The water was so calm and endlessly beautiful.

Sometimes, projects can wait.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

the first day of summer, self-care, and a vintage plant stand

 We couldn't have asked for a more beautiful day for the first day of summer. Temps were in the 70's F with low humidity. I was carless today - Tim had to borrow my car to go to work, as his car was in the shop. Normally I hate being without a car as there's rarely a day I'm not running out somewhere, whether it be errands or physical therapy. I also don't like the feeling of being without a car at my disposal - just in case of an emergency or I have a hankering to go somewhere. However, today being carless turned out to be a blessing in disguise. I got so much done both inside the house and out in the yard.

I did some light housework and laundry, then spent two hours outside thoroughly cleaning the patio, repotting some plants, spray painting a few decor items, and cleaning out a small area in the garage.

But, best of all, I took the time for some self-care. I did my PT exercises and light yoga and then I actually got on my bike for the first time since my knee surgery. I could've rode sooner - it wasn't a physical thing - but I've either been off and running somewhere, or the weather was too hot. Unfortunately, I think there's something wrong with the gears on the bike, so I'm going to have Brian take a look at it. If he can't figure it out, it's going into the bike shop. I want to make bike riding a regular thing since it's good for my knee.

After all that sweaty work, I took a bath, shaved my legs, and painted my toenails. Then
I had my late morning smoothie on the front porch while reading Denise Levertov poetry. Now that was relaxing. I need to take the time to do things like that more often. I'm a very high-energy person and always doing something. That's a good thing in its own way - I mean, I'm glad I have a lot of energy most days - but as someone who also has high anxiety, I have to remember that it's also good to take a little time to relax and do something calming.

In other news, this past weekend I stopped by a favorite antique shop to see what kind of outdoor goodies they had. 

For a little shop, I sure wasn't disappointed. I was looking around, liking what I saw but nothing really striking me as "have to have for my yard".


All of a sudden, I saw this plant stand. I knew it would be perfect for my patio. I had been looking for a metal plant stand all season, but with no luck. For several years, I was using a wicker shelving unit that I got a long time ago at a thrift store. From being exposed to the elements all those years, it was peeling and worn, with the bottom shelf falling apart. 

Here's the plant stand in its new home - on my patio. 
I think it's just perfect. :-)

Happy Summer!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

slice of life mid-june

Most every morning, especially when the weather is hot, my breakfast is a nutritious, filling and delicious smoothie. I simply throw these ingredients into the blender in this order: enough Silk Unsweetened Almond-Coconut milk just to cover the blades, about a cup of organic frozen mixed fruit, a banana, a dollop of unsweetened plain Greek yogurt, a tablespoon of hemp hearts, a sprinkling of turmeric, and a handful of organic baby spinach. Takes only a few minutes to make and you could even pour this into a portable drink container to take in your car if you're going to work or an appointment, etc. in the morning. You can easily mix this up with different fruits, kale instead of spinach, add some flaxseed meal instead of hemp hearts (or, use both), or even put in a little unsweetened organic coconut for a tropical taste.

A little something new...a vintage find from last week ~
the yellow sifter in the middle of the china cabinet.

We attended the wedding of my friend's daughter last weekend. They made their own table decorations, which I thought were really pretty.

The wedding and reception was held at a nearby venue right on this gorgeous lake. One thing I love about the area I live is the many lakes.

This ginger kitty had been hanging around our house the past few weeks, driving my cats nuts when they saw him through the windows. I think he belongs to someone on the street in back of us, because he'd always run through the arborvitaes in the back yard to get to the houses behind us. With the weather being in the 90's this past week, I haven't seen him, so I hope that means the owners are keeping him inside. Which they should be doing all the time, anyway. 

All my plants are really taking off...
I can't believe how huge this red-veined sorrel got since last year. It was just a tiny plant when I bought it. It's also flowering now, which is kind of pretty. I'm not sure whether to leave it like this, or if I should cut this growth off. If it means those little buds are going to fall off and self-seed, then I suppose I should cut them. 

My Kentucky Pole Bean plant is growing about an inch every day now! I'm sure it won't be long before the pods start forming on the vines. You might recall from a previous post, that this "trellis" is actually my boy's crib springs. :-)

The cherry tomato plants are growing like crazy now, too.

And, the hostas! We have them all around our house, but this one astounds me every year with how huge it is. We've even divided it several times already.

Purple Salvia at its peak...

The tiger lilies in our front ditch have just started to bloom. They're such a pretty filler for an unsightly area, but once the blooms fade, the plant itself isn't far behind and then they look scrappy. That's the downfall to tiger lilies, but oh well. We enjoy them while they last.

Guess what else is in bloom now? Mulberries! Our mean next door neighbor has two huge mulberry trees on her property, one of which hangs directly over the south side of our house. That's where we have a lot of nice perennials, potted plants, and the patio. We just had her trees trimmed last month (and that was an ugly, horrendous story in itself) but still, these disgusting mulberries drop all over our patio. And the patio furniture. And all over the perennial beds. And into plant pots. They stink and attract flies. So, every day I'm out there sweeping up these mushy berries. I also had to move the two rocking chairs up against the house to protect them from the mulberries. I'd also love to get an outdoor rug for the patio, but it would get ruined.

Happy weekend ~ and happy almost-summer!