Saturday, October 22, 2011

Homemade Halloween Fun

Some of my fondest memories are of the "just for fun" holiday - Halloween! It was the one day of the year that I could stay out late roaming the streets with my friends - boys & girls! As we became teens, we papered a few houses and rang doorbells and ran. But mostly we just dressed up in homemade costumes, gathered candy, cupcakes, popcorn balls, and apples. Yes, I grew up before we were enlightened about all the evils that folks can do, so homemade treats from the neighborhood were totally acceptable. What a wonderful, naive time in which to grow up!

Sweeter still are the memories of Halloweens with my children. We spent weeks before the big day creating costumes. Of course they were handcrafted! We never even considered "store-bought"! We made huge messes in the kitchen too - Carmel apples, Popcorn Balls, and Krispy Kritters were the treats we enjoyed for weeks before and after October 31st. Everyone created and cooked and enjoyed weeks of fun in the name of Halloween.

Now the grandchildren are the only trick-or-treaters in the family. I so miss the bedlam of the good ole days! No sticky carmel, no rice krispies on the face paint on the lavatory and mirror! But I still take time to create some handmade fun each fall.

My new passion is creating beautiful new items from re-purposed materials. I've revived the art of making pumpkins from vent hoses.

 Another favorite craft is garlands from "JunkMail Jewels" - my folded paper stars. These were made from leftover Halloween bags.

So while times have changed, my passion for Halloween fun has not! I'm finishing up my "kitty" costume and headed into town to take my 2 little munchkins trick-or-treating! They are just 9 months and 3 years old, so it should be a "treat" to see their faces as they discover the age-old fun. Hope you and yours make this time of year special too! Memories are forever!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Music Monday with Orla Fallon - Simple Love

Orla Fallon embodies everything I love about Ireland. Her haunting voice, her beautiful nature, her kind and giving spirit - all reflect the best of the Emerald Isle. Here is just one of my favorites.

You can see Orla in person in the USA this fall. Check out the tour schedule for a show near you!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Thank you Firefighters!!!

What a year this has been!  After nearly 20 years of planning and saving, my dear hubby & I began building our dream home in the midst of the East Texas piney woods.  We poured our heart and soul into the physical labor, enjoying the winter cold and the windy spring.  Then came the summer of discontent.....a summer unlike any other in our lifetime.  The yearlong drought conditions worsened; the temps soared, record years for both conditions.  After months of no rain, 37 days over 100 degrees, and monumental water bills, our grassy hilltop became a desert landscape. 
Did I forget to mention the relentless winds?  Oh yeah, add in winds that swirl o'er the hill relentlessly and you have scenes like the ones in the Brendan Fraser Mummy films.

Still, we trudged onward...building and building our beautiful new castle.  We even tried to control the blowing sand with 10 pallets of grass sod (lovingly laid out 1 piece at a time by our own 4 hands in sweltering heat).  That's when the daily watering ritual became a 3-4 hour process and our life savings slowly began transferring to the water company bank account.   Still, as we waited for the onset of Autumn, it got worse than we ever imagined.

Labor Day began with a quick trip into town for more paint.  As I returned from the 11 mile trip over gorgeous rolling hillsides, the scene through my windshield resembled a different kind of adventure film.  Fire & smoke  rose over the horizon with a magnitude I'd never seen.  As I watched in horror, the plumes of black began to rise one by one in a southwestern path.  The whole world seemed on fire!

I drove the hills then with shaking hands and at speeds I'd rather not reveal.  I arrived at our hilltop and ran from the car to fetch dear hubby.   His engineering mind convinced me the winds were blowing it away from us, but with trepidation, we grabbed our cameras and set out to see just how close
the fires were burning.

The next 5 days are a blur of smoke, fear, packing and the unending task of soaking everything with water.  Prayers for the safety of the volunteer fire force, many of them our neighbors, were also unending.   Prayers reached us from all corners of the world, and we realized that the important things are not THINGS.   A peace settled as we learned that even this growing monster of a wildfire could not take away our most important possessions.

In the end, "our" fire - the Bear Creek fire - would destroy 50,000 acres of timber, 6 homes and many other structures.  No lives were lost and only minor injuries sustained.

The smell of smoke still lingers.  Rain is still only a dream, but cooler temperatures have arrived, and the promise of rain is again in the forecast.  Many other fires also raged through our beloved Texas this month, and some still remain.  Only rain will extinguish the threat that hangs over us like that heavy cloud.  Still, the love and concern of our friends and family envelope us too and we are thankful.  To the firefighters that worked round the clock, especially the volunteers who give so selflessly, we cannot thank you enough.

May God bless you and return to you the blessings you've given. 

Monday, August 29, 2011

ZBox - a Super Sampler!

Whether you're a Zibbet buyer or seller, you need to know about ZBox!  As a buyer, you'll be able to sample dozens of products for one tiny price and easily find your favorite shops. 

As a seller, you'll find a fantastic marketing tool in the ZBox!  This very successful sample program features and promotes both our shops and Zibbet as a whole.  We have a nice following and have received positive feedback and reviews from those outside the Zibbet community, including the Little Black Box and Beauty Pirate.  We have no quotas or monthly requirements to join our group.  Zibbet sellers just send samples or coupons when you wish.  You'll receive promos all over the internet (FB, YouTube, Blogs, Giveaway pages, etc)  in addition to having your samples in the hands of eager buyers.
CHECK us out here:
Check us out!

Friday, March 11, 2011

A song for Japan

The devastation in Japan is heartbreaking.  My daddy was stationed  in Japan for the first 2 years of my life & I've always felt a kinship with the country.  My friend Darren Holden released "Through Hell and High Water" In November 2005, a song he wrote with Bryan Steele in dedication to the victims of Hurricane Katrina. It became one of the most downloaded songs of the year in the US.  The touching lyrics, and heartfelt message,are certainly appropriate for today's terrible disaster.  So I share this in honor of the Japanese people and with prayers for a quick and strong recovery.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Boys are Back in Town!

Can't control the excitement folks!  "My boys" are back in the USA!!!  The High Kings - "Rousing Irish folk balladeers are back in the US on a folk n' roll tour to promote their hit new album Memory Lane".   Available on Amazon & on iTunes.
So, in honor of their amazing talents and my high about a contest?   Winner will receive a Memory Lane album or a pair of tickets to an upcoming show!  You decide which way you'll enjoy the craic!  Just leave a comment here to be entered into a random drawing  on St. Patrick's Day!  Check out the tour dates for a venue near you!

(Winning concert tickets based on availability after 3/17/11; alternate prize will be Memory Lane CD)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

St. Patrick's Day party drinks

Everyone knows ya cant have a true St. Patrick's Day party without some traditional Irish drinks. Get plenty of Guinness, but add these 2 fine recipes as well! And remember to Drink Responsibly!!!!!

Irish Coffee
2 oz (60 ml) of Irish Whiskey
1 teaspoon of Brown Sugar
Freshly made strong black coffee
Whipped Cream

Gently warm whiskey and sugar in a saute pan, stirring just until smooth. Pour into coffee glass. Add the coffee slowly,filling the glass to within half an inch of the top. Pour the cream in gently. Do not stir.

(grated chocolate can be added to the top if desired)

and, for a very "Posh" feel to the event:
Black Velvet
Makes 1 Quart

1/2 qt Guinness
1/2 qt Champagne
Combine Guinness and champagne in a tall chilled glass.
Stir gently and serve.

Recipe cards are available in our Wee Irish Gallery. You might also consider the fine Guinness card (pictured above), which is nice enough to frame!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

...and now, for a SERIOUSLY Irish Dish

As hearty and filling as can be - YUM!

Dublin Coddle
Serves 6

1 pound bacon slices
2 pounds pork sausage links
2 large onions, sliced
2 cloves garlic
4 large potatoes, thickly sliced
2 carrots, thickly sliced
1 large bunch of fresh herbs, tied with string
black pepper
apple cider
Lightly fry the bacon until crisp. Remove and place in a large stew pot. Brown sausages lightly in the bacon fat. Remove and add to pot. Soften onions and whole garlic cloves in bacon fat, then add to pot with potatoes and carrots. Put bunch of herbs in the center of the pot. Sprinkle with pepper. Cover with cider. Cook 1 1/2 hours over medium heat, do not boil. Garnish with chopped parsley.

Check out our cookbooks & recipe cards in our Wee Irish Gallery.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Here's another yummy Irish recipe. This is hearty fare and perfect for a Saint Patrick's Day Dinner.


2 lbs Potatoes
1 large Cabbage
1 large Onion
1/2 stick of butter
Pinch of Pepper & Salt
1 cup Milk

Peel potatoes and cut into small pieces, chop the onions and cabbage. Layer the potatoes in a saucepan and add salt and pepper. Layer the onion and cabbage on top of the potatoes then add enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until the potatoes soft. Add butter & milk, then mash everything thoroughly.

More recipes & cookbook available in our Wee Irish Gallery shop.

Repost: Our favorite Irish Potato Candy

Thanks for stopping by. Grab a cuppa tea & stay for a chat.

We'd like to thank you for your interest by offering this free recipe. You can also purchase a cute printed version of this recipe at our Wee Irish shop

Tanks a million!

Irish Potato Candy

4 Tbls butter, softened
1/2 package cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups confectioners' sugar
2 cups flaked coconut
2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
In medium bowl, beat butter and cream cheese together until smooth. Slowly add vanilla and confectioners' sugar, continuing to beat until smooth. Mix in the coconut (mixture will be thick, use your hands if necessary). Roll into small odd shaped balls, and roll in the cinnamon. Place onto a cookie sheet and chill to set. If desired, roll in cinnamon again for a darker color. Makes about 4 - 5 dozen, depending on size of your "potatoes".

Notes: I like to run the flaked coconut through the food processor first so it's less noticeable. The thick mixture will be about the consistency of Play Doh and is a perfect recipe to share with your little ones. Start a child friendly tradition!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Pathways of Life

Happy New Year everyone!  After a long absence, we are beginning to see the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel!  Several family members have suffered serious illness recently and so many of you have lifted up prayers in our behalf.  For your thoughtfulness we are truly grateful and we know that God will guide our way through the pathways of life.

 Additionally, we are fast approaching a new stage of our lives - retirement!  We are packing our home of 28 years and planning to move into our new nest in the country.  We've owned "the farm" for many years, and have enjoyed many weekend outings in our little apartment.  Now we're preparing a full-fledged house with room to spare.  No doubt we'll need that extra room as we adjust to spending 24 hours a day together!  We plan to post our progress stay tuned to join us in the fun!  Here are a few photos of the site which we've prepared with our own hands (and a little help from our trusty blue tractor!)

(Don't try this at home!  This crazy behavior is for certified, licensed, hard-headed do-it-yourselfers only!!!!)

Stay tuned............