Robin update...

I'm happy to announce our two little robins are thriving & doing well!

This little one paid a visit to my front step. This is sort of home for these guys, as their nest sat just above these steps.

Welcome back home little ones....

{ bird thought~ she really needs to sweep these messy steps!}

Wishing you both...

fat worms & juicy bugs,



Empty Nesters....

Yep, it is official...we are empty nesters! One left the nest yesterday, but not without incident. We (I mean my darling husband) had to rescue him from the neighborhood cat (grrrrr). The cat had him down in the window well. Where is the camera when you need it? Watching my husband run across the yard, with bird in hand, and then trying to put it in a bush out of harms way... definitely a Kodak moment that got missed! Every bird within a 10 block area was dive-bombing him as he scurried across the yard with bird in hand!!

The second baby was gone this morning, the nest is now empty. Doesn't look to have been any constipation problems with these babies! Messy messy....

Did I mention the paper boy tosses our daily paper on the step just below the nest?? Well you can probably guess what condition our morning paper was in...didn't go over real well with the hubby! What is it with men and their morning papers??? A little bird do-do isn't going to hurt anything...is it??

This morning I walked around the front yard in search of the little ones...

I looked in the crab apple tree...

I looked in the hedge...

I looked down....


I looked up and this is what I found...

(click on photos to enlarge)

both little robins had made their way up into the red bud tree just a few yards from the nest. Daddy robin sat nearby, watching over the little ones, as Mother robin was busy in search of worms...

Their little tufts of fuzz are now becoming feathers...

their little spotted breasts are turning a rusty orange...

wondering when Mom is going to deliver a big juicy worm...

A great afternoon was had with camera in hand, hanging out the window on our second floor, taking pictures of our feathered friends. I found the red bud tree very busy with bird activity. The blossoms on the tree are pretty well spent, but the birds are enjoying the sweet nectar.

A male Baltimore Oriole (wishing I had a bigger zoom for my camera)...he too likes red bud blossoms!

A female American Red Start...

busily flitting from branch to branch...

Also spotted in the red bud was a hummingbird and house wren. My picture taking skills weren't quite good nor quick enough to catch these quick little birds!

Enjoy your l-o-n-g weekend,



Oh, oh...tried a new recipe...it is so easy to make...it is so delicious...I feel my hips getting larger by the moment!

I've just got to share this recipe with all my blogger friends, just in case you are having a family gathering over Memorial Weekend and need a quick & delicious dessert to make. This pie has a nice tartness to it and is so light and fluffy. Warning....one piece does not fill you up!

This recipe does make two small pies. You can freeze the 2nd one for up to a week or the recipe could easily be cut in half. Forget about freezin' the 2nd pie...you will want 2 of these pies around your house within arms reach, trust me!


1 1/2 cups boiling water
1 (3 oz.) package JELL-O brand lemon flavor gelatin
4 oz. PHILADELPHIA cream cheese, softened
1/2 (12 oz.) can frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
1 (8 oz) tub COOL WHIP topping, thawed
1 cup fresh raspberries
2 (6 oz) KEEBLER brand Shortbread Ready Pie Crusts

1. Add boiling water to gelatin mix in a small bowl. Stir for 2 minutes, until completely dissolved; set aside. Beat cream cheese in a large bowl with mixer until creamy. Gradually beat in concentrate, then gelatin until blended.

2. Stir in cool whip and berries. Pour into crusts.

3. Refrigerate for 4 hours or until firm. Freeze remaining pie for up to 1 week. Thaw before serving.

Have a safe & fun Memorial Weekend,



You may be a bit older...

You may be a tad bit bigger...

& your cake may have a few more candles on it...

...but our love & best wishes remain the same for you on your birthday!

Happy 29th Erin!

Mom & Dad


This & that....

After a several cold & gloomy days, we enjoyed a very warm 80 plus degrees here today....so I scurried home after work and got a start at planting some annual plants. It is always a tough decision deciding what color scheme to go with. After some thought, I decided to go with a coral/lavender/white colored flowers for my flower pots.

I like to pay close attention to the color of plant foliage too. Using plants with varying colors in the leaves adds interest to the pots.

A Blazin' Lime Iresine. This is a "new" plant to me and I fell in love with it's lime and cream variegated foliage. If you look hard you will see it's vibrant rose-colored stems. This plant can handle shade with a few hours of sun and doesn't bloom but does add that nice contrast that I look for when choosing my plants.

You may remember a recent post about our mother robin....

She wasn't too keen on the flower plantin' that was going on below her. She and the husband would sit up in the tree and chirp & tweet their nervous little notes. I went in to grab the camera as she was feeding and she quickly tried to sit down on the babies so I wouldn't see them! As you can see, one is peeking out from under her. There were 4 eggs laid but I'm not certain we have 4 babies, 2 for sure. I'm kind of concerned about the nest building skills of these parents...really wish they would have made that nest a tad bit deeper. I'm really nervous the little ones are going to topple out before they are ready to be out of the nest.

While working away in the yard, I heard a not too familiar bird....I looked up in the crab apple tree and spotted an American Red Start. These little birds visit us for a short time in the spring and are one busy little bird. They are a very small bird. The male is a brilliant orange & black and the female is brown & yellow. They flit from branch to branch, fanning their tails in search of small flies that feed on the crab apple blossoms.

I couldn't get a very good picture of the little guy, but if you look hard at the center of the picture you can see the underneath side of the male bird. (Click on photo to enlarge)

Ahhh...is this heaven? No it's Iowa! (name that movie)

A beautiful spring day, planting flowers, enjoying baby birds AND a great end to a great day....


an old-fashioned strawberry soda! So yummy and a quick & easy summertime dessert....

You will need...


2 Tablespoons strawberries, crushed (I use more then this!)

1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons vanilla ice cream

1/3 cup strawberry soda, chilled

In a tall glass, combine strawberries and 2 tablespoons ice cream; stir in soda. Add additional remaining ice cream until glass is almost full; pour in additional soda until glass is full. This is one serving size.

Enjoying the nice weather,



A Kodak Moment...

During my "pre-grandma" days I always told myself I wasn't going to be that "over proud" grandma... the one that bores her coffee friends with the latest pictures of the grandchildren, or the grandma that wears the grandchildren around her neck, or the grandma that wears the grandchildren on her lapel, or on her key chain....

Well...I am there....I am officially a member of the "over proud grandma's club" & I'm lovin' it!

So please bear with me....

I happened to be visiting daughter Erin's on the day she took Beckham to get his pictures taken. She had them done at Photo Innovations...my, a bit different process from the days when I took his mommy & uncle Matthew to J.C. Penney's for Pixie Picture Day! Remember those days, when a lady with her box-style camera, tinfoil umbrella, couple of lights, complete with carpeted boxes would set up shop in the kids clothing section at J.C.Penny's.... Slightly different approach at Photo Innovations! There are various rooms set up with large flat screens on the walls. Another room houses the photo lab, complete with a "ginormous" printer. Once the picture session is complete, the photos are digitally downloaded onto the flat screen and then Mommy has to choose which pictures she wants and which ones she wants to eliminate. Tough, tough task for a mother, did I mention tough task!?? Twenty minutes later I drop Mommy off at Photo Innovations to pick up her packet of finished pictures. She plops down into the car seat and screams "What am I going to do with all of these pictures...what was I thinking?" I think any mother out there can relate to that moment... I laughed, reassured her I had done the same thing not once, but several times over!

So when it was time for me to head back home she had many many pictures to send home with me. Just want to share a few of my favorites with you....

There is this one....

This is my little CEO! Sitting in a little faux leather office-type chair in his little oxford shirt. With his sleeves rolled up, doesn't he look like he is ready to solve all of GM's problems or maybe even Fanny Mae's or Freddy Mac's???

Then there is this one....

During this photo shoot Beckham insisted on either chewing on the sheer blue cloth that he was sitting in or sticking his tongue out. With the H1N1 flu pandemic scare all over in the news, I could tell this session couldn't get over quick enough for the nurse Mommy!

Then another one....

His Mommy's favorite!

Ahh, yes...then there is this one...

You know how sometimes for a split second you see/experience a Kodak moment and you wish you had the camera to capture it??? Well I had this moment during this photo shoot. Grandma had to help out a bit with this picture. Beckham sat on a chair like a big boy with the help of Grandma holding him around the waist....they just cropped me out, thank heavens for the cropping tool! Now visualize me facing the lady taking the photo and mommy quacking the little duck to make Beckham smile. That little ducky was going quack, quack, whack, whack, quack, quack (literally quacking his little fuzzy yellow head off)...Beckham is smiling from ear to ear and I look up at Mommy and the look on her face was PRICELESS! Definitely a Kodak moment that got missed but will be etched in Grandma's memory for a very very long time!

off to coffee with a friend with new photos in hand (she'll understand, she's a grandma too),

It's a Photo Finish Friday!!


I received an email from Christelle all the way from France announcing her finished piece of my free May Day Sampler design. Her choice of colors is lovely and I like how she made it into a pin keep...very sweet! When you have a moment, visit her blog at
bdnancy.canalblog.com for some great eye candy.

I would love to see other pictures of finishes of the May Day Sampler...keep stitching & keep the pics coming!
with thy needle & thread,


Home Cooked Meal...

The past 4 to 6 weeks I have been totally consumed with new pattern design & production. During the creative cycle, cooking, housekeeping & laundry gets somewhat neglected on my part. When the creative juices flow, we MUST keep going! My darling husband does help with the housekeeping and the laundry BUT did I mention his cooking talents aren't anything to write home about!?? When he goes to the grocery store for a meal, guaranteed he will come home with a bag of hard rolls, smoked turkey (maybe cheese, if I'm lucky), a bunch of bananas and a bag of mini marshmallows for dessert! It's always the bag of mini marshmallows that cracks me up! I can just see him in the marshmallow aisle checking the fat content on the back of the bag...

With the new patterns now complete, things are getting back to normal around the home front. No more turkey sandwiches, no more eating out....I'm ready for a good old fashioned home cooked meal, some meat and potatoes...some comfort food. Today was a beautiful day, a good day to do some grilling. We enjoyed Hawaiian Grilled Pork Chops, Green Bean Bundles & Grilled Potatoes tonight at our house. After dinner it was back outside for a nice brisk walk. My tummy is full, I've gotten in some exercise and hoping for a good nights sleep!
Sharing some favorite grilling recipes with you...


20 oz. can pineapple slices, drained
6 Iowa-style pork chops (thick, bone-in chop)
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup onion, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon brown sugar, packed
Garnish; pineapple rings

Drain pineapple, reserving 1/4 cup juice; set aside. Place pork chops in a large shallow dish. Combine reserved pineapple juice, soy sauce, vegetable oil, onion, garlic and brown sugar; mixing well. Pour over pork chops, cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Remove pork chops, reserving marinade. Grill over medium coals for 40 to 45 minutes, turning frequently and basting with marinade. Top each pork chop with a pineapple ring during last 5 minutes of grilling.


54 fresh green beans, washed and ends snapped off
3 slices of bacon, cut into thirds
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup melted butter
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon soy sauce
tooth picks

Boil green beans for 10 minutes, drain & cool. Wrap 6 beans in a piece of bacon and secure with a toothpick. Place into a 9" x 9" casserole. Cover with marinade of brown sugar, butter, garlic salt and soy sauce. Refrigerate over night. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 30 - 40 minutes. Turn oven over to broil the last couple of minutes to crisp up the bacon.


4 red potatoes
1 onion, chopped
4 clovers garlic, chopped
dried basil to taste
1/4 cup butter
salt & pepper to taste

Preheat grill for medium heat. Slice potatoes as thinly as possible. Layer sliced potatoes on foil with the onion, garlic, basil, butter, salt and pepper to taste. Wrap potato foil packet. Place potato packet on the heated grill and cook for 40 minutes.


NEW patterns from Country Stitches!

The 12 NEW patterns are now ready for shipment! Pictured below are the 6 NEW cross stitch patterns. There are 6 NEW punch needle patterns as well (see these on our website).
The cross stitch pattern designs are offered as linen/floss/pattern kits or patterns only. I am also selling the beautiful hand-grained picture frames, as pictured, by Valley House Primitives.

#CS23 Sarah's Garden

#CS22 School Girl Sampler

#CS25 Sheltering Tree

#CS21 Spooky Hollow

#CS26 It's a Hoot!

#CS24 Flag Day

There are 6 NEW punch needle patterns as well, view all of the new patterns at
www.countrystitchesonline.com under the NEW ITEMS category!

With thy needle & thread,