a week of gratitude 2015

I’ve spent the morning going over old posts and realized that this day, the Tuesday before thanksgiving, is historically a day that I write a heartfelt post. 

Reading this old posts made me realize how much I miss my grandparents and the simplicity of belong a child. 

So, allow me to tell you about what amazing people they were. 

They are part of every happy memory that I have as a child. They were both always there for me and sacrificed a lot for me. 

When I was 9, and home life was tough, my grandparents took me in to live with them. They lived in an apartment and the seriously gave up their bedroom and slept on a sleeper sofa for a year so that I could have my own bedroom. 

They surprised me with a puppy by taking me to pick one out, telling me it was for a cousin. It wasn’t until the ride home that they told me that I could name her because she was mine! 

They lived paycheck to paycheck.  They sacrificed a lot financially and some how found the money to send me to a catholic school because the school system in their town was less that desirable. 

They always made the 4th of July special.  Each year, they would pack coolers, stop at the store so that my baby sister and I could buy a bag of mixed candy ( remember the kind that had a mixture of candy dots, ring pops, lollipops, sucky candies). Then we headed to a local park and set up for the day and played and ate and just had fun until fireworks started ( which I hated, btw) 

It was the same park that my sister fell from the monkey bars and almost but her tongue off. 

They would drive my cousin home at 3 am 45 min away because she was homesick. 

My grandmother is the reason I love to cook.   She always gave me carte Blanche to do what I wanted in the kitchen.  I would mix all kinds of things together. Sometimes it was edible, sometimes it kinda wasn’t.  They both always tried my concoctions. 

My grandfather built me an outdoor kitchen out of old wood and my grandmother gave me all kinds of old pots to play with.  I spent hours out there. 

My grandfather built me a tree swing. I loved that thing! 

They were avid gardeners, while there was t a lot of space, they grew some amaz ing tomatoes, ( probably why I’m so obsessed with growing tomatoes now) 

One day I picked all of the tomatoes. I sat in the corner of the garage and mixed them in my beach pail ( complete with sand.. Oops!). Whaaaat? I was making sauce!

Needless to say, they were not happy with me

They had a rose garden behind their garage. I wasn’t supposed to go there, but one day I did and got myself caught up in all of the prickers.  I remember screaming for them and my grandmother having to cut me out of them while my grandfather lifted me up. 

I have always been a Barbie fanatic.  I dreamed of having a Barbie dream house.  One day they asked me to go in. The attic and low and behold, they had bought one for me and one for my sister ( she wasn’t a Barbie girl, so she wasn’t as excited as me) 

I’ve grown up with stories of them taking in my uncle’s friends. 

My cousins tell me how much they helped them growing up. 

They passed away far too soon. I’ve never really dealt with their deaths.  My grandmother passed first. She had met jason, but not Ryan or Ali. 

Alison is named after my grandmother and I see so much of her spirit in Ali


My grandfather’s heart was broken.  He was never really the same after she passed. 

Other than their funerals, I’ve never been able to go to their gravesite. I’d burst into tears just thinking about it.

On a recent trip to the east coast, I knew it was time for me to come to terms with this and go visit them .

I told no one.  I needed to do this by myself. ( although last minute I had to ask my aunt and my mom where in the cemetery I could find them) 

I stopped and bought a small bottle of the brandy my grandfather used to drink. And flowers in my grandmother’s favorite color. 

I walked around the cemetery for over and hour in the cold rain looking for them. It started to get dark andi was afraid I’d lost my chance.  I wasn’t liked could go next week, I now life 2,000 miles away. 

I finally found them.  Appropriately, they are buried together. 

I took the tiniest sip of brandy ( I’m sure there are laws about drinking in a graveyard at dusk. Oops). I poured the rest into the ground, cleared the leaves ( except for the one that represents me)  and placed the flowers.  And I cried and talked to them until it was dark 


This was such a hard thing for me to do. I’ve spent over 2 decades avoiding it. I cannot tell you how happy I am that I’ve made peace with this and completed the task that still to this day has me feeling like a child 


While I was reading this morning I realized that so much of what I write is for my children’s children and their children. Sort of like my online diary. My iPad ( which I write on) is cracked and it’s not easy to post.

My computer is super slow and frustrating. 

I’ve asked for an in expensive lap top for Christmas so that I can write more.  ( I think I’m the only one I know who has never owned a lap top ) 

I’m ready to write my book and cannot do it on this iPad. 

Happy thanksgiving week, my friends. Take a minute during this crazy time and remember those along your path who have made you who you are today.  And thank you all, by reading my words you help me to remember the minor details that add up together and helped build me into the person I am today. 

I’m off to Brine my turkey. Much love, friends! Oxox

snack stick review and GIVEAWAY!

hiya friends…  How’s yer summer treating you ?   It’s no secret that summer is my least favorite time of the year. But sometimes a little something extra can help push me through. 

Like last week.

  I have a good friend named Amy, and she and her husband Brian raise grass-fed beef, free range chicken, lamb and heritage pigs, raised drug-free, GMO-free, in a fresh-air pasture raised system in a small town in Kansas.

She and her hubby were frustrated with trying to find healthy, nourishing snacks for their family, so they decided to make snack sticks with their heritage pigs! 

CCR snack sticks ( click for more information) 

She sent me some to try and see what I thought.  They come in 2 flavors so far, jalapeño and bbq… With more flavors to come! 





These are absolutely fantastic!  Like incredibly. 

They are made with few ingredients, all of which you can recognize. ( you can’t say that about too much these days) 



Sea salt

Evaporated cane juice 

Jalapeño peppers

Encapsulated citric acid

Celery juice

Black pepper 

Red pepper 

Dehydrated garlic 


In beef collagen casing



Evaporated cane juice 

Brown sugar

Sea salt 

Encapsulated citric acid 

Celery juice 

Ground mustard

Dehydrated garlic


In beef collagen casing 

Each stick is only 90 calories and has 5 grams of protein, and very low carb! ( jalapeño has 3, bbq has 1)

Just look how tasty! 


Friends..I have some good news! Amy was kind enough to send me enough to share! 

5 lucky winners will get one of each flavor to try! 


There are three ways you can enter

1- like CCR brand on Facebook

2- share this post 

3- share CCR brand’s Facebook page with your friends 

You can enter all 3 ways, you just have to comment on this post or my Facebook page ( so that I’m sure I get you in the drawing 😉) 

This contest is open  to everyone. Family members included, just pass the word on about these amazing snacks! 

Winners will be chosen at 6 pm MST this Saturday, August 1.

If you can’t wait that long ( and I promise  you, you really don’t…  You can order them  directly from their website ..

CCR Brand

$17 for 12, $5.95 shipping 

$30 for 24, $5.95 shipping 

$100 for 96, $11.95 shipping 

Personally, I’m replenishing my stock this afternoon! 

Good luck! Spread the word! 

quilting retreat summer 2015


howdy folks!  Remember last year when I went on my quilting retreat? Whelp, I was lucky enough to do it again this past weekend.  It was organized by the very talented Sandra Clemons and the founder of our guild, Liz. If  you are a crafter, you really should follow Sandra’s blog. She has some wonderful giveaways and is always […]

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cauliflower pizza crust…take 1


morning, friends!  Recently I’ve send a lot of fun recipes using cauliflower. this recipe for cauliflower pizza crust came across my Facebook news feed and I was intrigued.  So I tried it out just for fun.  ( FYI… While I have friends who do have special dietary needs, I do not.  I simply wanted to deconstruct and try something […]

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watermelon-habanaro granita… with tequila!


happy Friday, friends.  I hope y’all have fun plans this weekend.  Whether you have plans or not, you need to try this.  You will by far be the life of the party if you bring it to a friends’. Or you can be like me and be the life of my own party on my […]

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low fat creamy carrot-ginger soup with lemon-parsley pesto


friends, I have to tell you… I absolutely love  soup.  I could seriously eat it 365 days of the year.  I woke up in a healthy cooking mood this am.  I headed to the store unsure of what I was going to make and I saw a beautiful display of carrots and then I knew! […]

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frozen puppy treats and birthday cupcakes ( for the pups) 


my sweet pup, Fenway had a birthday a few weeks ago.  She’s 11!  ( or 77 in people years 😁)    This is a pic of her first day home.  Gosh that seems like it was so long ago!  It set put to get her birthday treats and decided to make my own version of […]

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roasted vegetable gazpacho 


friends, I’m so sorry I’ve been MIA.   While in the grand scheme of things it all may seem minor, I feel like the last few weeks I’ve had one thing after another go wrong.  The latest is that my iPad screen cracked.  About a week after the warranty expired.    And since this is […]

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parmesean-crusted chicken


howdy, friends.  I’m a little sad today.  Remember last week when I shared These pics? Well, Mother Nature seemed a bit angry last night      My veggie garden 😢. With tomatoes I started from seed indoors 3 moths ago    My new perennial garden    I have 15 hydrangea that look like this 😢 I’ll spare you […]

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blistered tomato salad with feta and arugula 


last night I busted out my favorite skewers.       They are flexible!  I also have a set of straight skewers, so dug those out  I am lucky enough to be able to grill all year ..  But there is something extra special about grilling on a warm summers’ night. ( well, summer-like)   This […]

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