Monday, July 30, 2012

Cheesecake!

 My ears perked up early this morning when I heard my local DJ say
"It's National Cheesecake Day"!
Yuuummmm!
Good thing I had already had my breakfast
or I might have had to raid the freezer for slice of heaven.




I'll never forget my first taste of cheesecake.
It was on one of those Sunday afternoons 
when my cousin Olga & I begged her Mom
to let me go home with them for Sunday dinner.
Well, maybe we didn't have to beg.
We loved taking turns going home with each other on Sunday's
& it must have been my time to go to her house.

What we had for Sunday dinner is not a memory for me.
Except the dessert.
Cousin Carlene asked if I had ever had "cheesecake".
Noooo...I answered, with apprehension as I am not a big cheese lover,
thinking it might be some kind of pie 
with grated cheese baked in it.
I wasn't too thrilled with the idea.

Being too bashful (oh, I've outgrown that phase!),
I accepted the slice of cheese/pie
which happened to be topped with sugared strawberries.
Well, you can imagine my delight at my first taste of  "real" cheesecake.
This was the authentic, the kind you bake in the oven 
in a waterbath cheesecake,
not the cheesecake in a mix.
And it was heaven.


My daughter and two granddaughters have developed a love for the dessert too.
Karen prefers hers plain or the "creme brulee" flavor from our favorite place to have a slice. The rest of us don't seem to care, just so it's cheesecake.

It is probably a good thing the nearest Cheesecake Factory is over 33 miles from here.
I seldom go there, but if I am in the area & it's a special occasion,
Cheescake Factory is my choice for lunch.
But I have discovered that I can race down the hill,
just a mile away,
& in the freezer case at our local Sam's Club
is a variety of cheesecakes.
There are usually ate least one or two
in my deep freezer waiting for company.
Or me.
No wonder I waddle!

Have I made you hungry yet?
It's mid-morning & I'm already thinking of reasons I need
to check my freezer to see what I'm having for dessert tonight.
Join me for a slice & let's celebrate
National Cheesecake Day!
Yum!



Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Ugly Truth About Gardening


This is a summer of record breaking heat & almost no rain.
The last few days have brought a little relief-but it is still hot!
This is not the actual temperature,
but shows how hot it gets outside my kitchen window late in the afternoon.
I made a trip in town and on my way home saw a reading of 99 degrees
when the weather man only predicted no higher than 91.
Does it really make much difference?


 Anyhooo....
I had to drop something off this afternoon
and this dear, sweet lady was apologizing for the condition
of her flowers.
I just wanted her to know...
she doesn't win the prize for flowers that are droopy & in
need of a haircut!


Talk about deadheading!
I just cleaned these daylilies out 2 weeks ago
& they are an absolute mess.



Everything is overgrown, thanks to our irrigation system.
And most things are finished blooming for the summer.
Then there is that baptisia that some insect is having a feast on!
(Where's my bottle of "Sevin"?)
And the Japanese beetles haven't even appeared yet.



Something is getting in my pots behind the fountain at night
& digging for all he is worth & making the biggest mess!



I am almost positive that it's a chipmunk doing the damage.
He has even tunneled in the sand between the stones.
He will soon get to go for a joy ride down the hill!


Our neighbors tulip poplar is in distress & dropping leaves like crazy.
We benefit from this tree & I really hate to see the drought affect it.
I have been watering a trees in my back yard,
hoping that we don't loose anymore of them.
When I went to move the sprinkle head this afternoon,
I saw something moving under the mulch...in a slithering motion...
& I headed to the house!



Lawns are turning brown.
Thankfully, we do get to water & ours is looking good compared
to the ones who can't water.



Of course we always leave town at the hottest time of the year.
And of course, we are heading south!
I have a few things that I hope survive while I'm gone for just a few days.
Tonight, I will pull my wagons near a sprinkler head & hope for the best.

When I drive down our county roads & see the conditions of some of the crops,
I realize that many of our farmers are hurting.
I can buy more flowers later in the season to replace the ones I loose.
Or I can just let it all go until next year.
But the farmers need their crops to survive.
So we will be praying for cooler temperatures...
and rain -
just not torrents of it!

It looks like I win the prize for needing to do the most work in my gardens!
And I didn't even let you see some of the worst of it....no way!
Whenever the cooler weather comes our way, I'll be waiting with my weeder.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Blessings of a Shower!

I don't know why in the world it took so long . . .
but after years of arm twisting, begging, whimpering, 
& maybe even some foot stomping . . .
I now have a shower in my bathroom!


Our home was built in 1979.
After fighting a leaky shower in our other house,
and with 2 small children,
I opted to not have a shower put in our main bathroom.
Big mistake!!!

At the time, garden tubs were the big thing
& I thought my bathroom was beautiful with the step in tub.
(No whirlpool jets in this one.)
The kids grew up splishing & splashing in this big tank
& loved every minute of it.
In the past few years, I've even thrown a few dirty grandkids
in for a good sudsing up,
& they too swam like little fish in my wall to wall bath.


Finally, something clicked.
(Maybe something about me not being a spring chicken anymore
might have had a little to do with Hubby's decision to tackle the job.)
All he had to do was say the word & I was off to the tile store!

Good grief...
that is ugly paint
and we found uglier than that vinyl floor
when he took up our ceramic tile.
I thought that was pretty?


Out went the tub--the cultured marble counter top--
the very distressed because we used it for 33 years vanity
and the not too old ceramic tile that was never very pretty.
And no more wallpaper or border in here!

 


For some reason, we never sealed the grout
& I would have to get on my hands & knees
every few months & clean the grout lines
with a "Magic Eraser" sponge.
Yuck!  And Ouch!


Plans were to begin this project before Christmas.
It didn't happen.
I agreed to wait until after the Holidays
but had no idea we would be delayed by 6 months.
But Bob knew he wanted only this tile installer,
so patiently (aHem...) we waited.
BTW...those blocks in the back wall are for our grab bar.
No way will I be able to yank it off that wall!



Tracey showed up & worked hard for 4 days.
He installed the Durock, squared up the walls,
bedded in the cement base for the shower floor,
did a beautiful job on laying the floor tile,
and the shower walls & floor.
I'm so glad we waited for him.


Margie, my tile designer, convinced me to have the
floor tiles layed on the diagonal.
I wasn't too sure about the idea but was very pleased
with how it turned out.
Margie also recommended a very dark brown for the walls.
We ended up using "Cobble Brown" from Sherwin Williams.



This room is long & narrow but the shower is much roomier
(is that a word?)
than it appears.
It actually is 4 feet by 5 feet
& is very comfortable!
(I know...I couldn't wait & tried it out before the shower doors got here!)

On the left is the water valves & a hand held attachment.
On the right end is the shower head & 2 cubbies for soaps & shampoo.



Shower floor tiles are 2 inch squares.
The grout is stain resistant, & mildew resistant.
Our installer said we will be so glad we paid the extra
money for the best grout!



One row of Venetian bronze accent medallions were added for accent.



Our installer used an artist brush to detail the grout around
these accent tiles.
It made it look 3 demensional!



And I was so happy with the way my new vanity turned out!
With a print out of a picture from a Pottery Barn ad,
Andy our cabinet man custom built the vanity.
I wanted a single bowl so I could have more counter top space
& also wanted a couple of drawers.
It's beautiful!



The drawers are perfect for what little primping I do.
Andy used Sherwin Williams "Snowbound" for the paint
& at my request,
he slightly distressed the drawers & cabinet legs.


We used the Venetian bronze faucet that we already had
& added Venetian bronze knobs to the cabinet.


I ordered the large baskets from Pottery Barn
& they are fastened to the slide out shelf.
Left basket is for towels & right basket
is for wash clothes, hand towels, tp & necessities!



The counter top is Corian "Bisque"
with an ogee edge
& the largest sink they make!



Yesterday, the glass doors were installed.
Early this morning, Tracey came by to install the grab bar
& hanger for the hand held sprayer.
Thanks for such a beautiful job, Mr. Gibson!

On a side note...
Bob has used Tracey for several of his houses
and had no idea that he is our
daughter-in-laws uncle!
Small world!!!

Shower doors are "frameless"
with only a header railing & door handle.
It also has a water resistant coat on
the inside of the doors to repell water spots.
Hope that cuts down on the cleaning!
(Coating by "Cardinal Showers" out of Louisville)


We also used our framless plate glass mirror
that is original with the house.
It was cut down a few inches
& Andy made a beautiful frame for it!
He also custom made baseboard for this room
& painted it to match the vanity.
Makes the wall color pop!


I found a Nancy Noel print in the closet
& decided to use it in here.

There are no windows in this bathroom ~
Only a skylight which brings in plenty of light,
but makes for poor lighting for photography.


I also was able to use the canvas floral print that I already had
& it looks so much better on this wall color!
(Taken from reflection in mirror...)
Purchased with gift card from April & Jeff & I loved it
& wanted to keep using it.
(Hobby Lobby)


I am jumping up and down happy about how our project turned out!!!
Now, when we have a house full of company,
we won't all have to be taking a number & waiting on the only shower we had in the house.

It is my "shower of blessing"!