Thursday, May 24, 2012

A Magical Place

We went down to Austin last weekend to hang out with our dear friends Susan and Matt who were there celebrating their ten year wedding anniversary. They were camping out at McKinney Falls. We stayed with my brother and sister in law to have maximum time with Karlie but took her out to the campground on Friday. On Saturday we all caravaned to a magical spot in the Hill Country, "The Spot" as it has been dubbed by my brother and his friends. With traffic heading out of Austin, two stops along the way, crazy road rage drivers (not us) and lots of turns on winding roads, it almost seemed like too far to go for a swim. Well, once we arrived all of us who had never been there agreed that it was well worth the trip! I only wished we had arrived hours earlier. It was a bit of a hike in, adding to the anticipation. The spot The spot
A glimpse of what was ahead. Can you spot it? The spot

We arrived and were amazed.
Crystal clear spring water pouring from the ground.
A perfect swimming hole.
Texas at it's best!
 The spot The spot The spot

Frank worked up the courage to jump from the lower rocks. He isn't a fan of heights. I jumped twice but couldn't make myself jump from the taller spot. The spot The spot The spot
What a magical and special place to visit. I can't wait to go back.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Out in the yard

Gardening in Texas most definitly has it's challenges. The good part is that we are able to garden year round. One thing I love about the garden is that as one plant is just finishing it's peak of flowers or foliage, another is ready to put on a show. I do not put the time into my garden that I would like to, nor do I have money to spend on plants these days, never the less my garden rewards me with blooms and makes me smile daily. Garden Garden Garden Cactus blooming Cactus blooming Garden Garden Garden

I hope my garden makes you smile too Enjoy your week! I know I will as I have something to look forward to this weekend. xoxo Ashley

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all you mamas out there! We celebrated with my mom last night. Her birthday is on Wednesday and since I didn't know my work schedule for next week I went ahead and made her cake and took it up last night. I was going for an Amaretto and Peach combo, inspired by my favorite ice cream in Fredricksburg. I used my favorite Vanilla Cake recipe and made a two layer 6" square cake (there was enough batter left for a dozen cupcakes, which I froze). I frosted it with my favorite Cream Cheese frosting, flavored ith 1 1/2 teaspoons of Almond Extract. The cake is topped with crushed Amaretti cookies and then I made a Peach sauce on the side since Frank doesn't like peaches. Texas Peaches are in at work and I chopped them in a small dice and sauted them with about a tablespoon each of butter and brown sugar. I crushed some and then added a bit of cornstarch, though I don't think that was necessary. I also added a splash of Amaretto. Yum! The peach sauce would be perfect on pancakes too.
Amaretto Peach cake for mom Amaretto Peach cake for mom
 Amaretto Peach cake for mom

Dad said it might be the best cake he's ever had. Now that's high praise! My parent's house is eerily empty. They will be gone in just a couple of weeks and that is so strange to me. After 25 years it will be hard to say goodbye to their home. Here is my empty bedroom. It hasn't been that way since before we moved in in 1987! Back then it had pink walls, teal carpet and green and pink curtains that mom made!

 Empty room

 Of course I didn't get mom's gift made in time. I make to do lists and then just watch the deadlines come and go. I'm the ultimate procrastinator, it seems. I found these Mother of Pearl roses on etsy last week, after looking for the perfect ones for what seems like forever. They came in yesterday so I just gave mom one and told her that I'm going to make a piece of jewelry out of it for her. Karlie's middle name is Rose and I'm going to put a Peridot with it for her birthstone, sort of a Grandmother's pendant.
Mother of pearl rose

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

We Miss You Old Girl

I've been thinking a lot lately about my old girl Malta. It has been almost a year since we lost her and we miss her so. A coworker told me last week that she had just lost her 16 year old dog and it brought tears to my eyes. I still cry thinking about our baby and how much we love her and miss her. I was walking Lucy the other day and someone rolled down their car window and asked what kind of dog she is. I said Lab Dalmation mix, but she's not, that was Malta. Lucy is a Dalmation and Rat Terrier mix and I felt silly for the mistake. Granted Malta has been on my mind and I was a bit out of it from just huffing and puffing up a hill on our walk.  The cactus in our front garden is about to burst into bloom, and this too reminds me of Malta.Cactus blooming Cactus blooming

This is one of the last pictures that I took of Malta and it will be forever in my mind when I think of her.

*It is going to be a long week at work. Everyone talks about how crazy it gets on Mother's day weekend and I am in Floral all week. Yesterday was the first day of prep and it already wiped me out!

*I made these cookies the other day and while delicious, they are not to be eaten at night.  They kept me up on several occasions (I'm slow to learn) and I don't really think I need another way to consume caffeine.  Next time I would leave out the coffee.

*Though I'm so out of shape and terrified to get into a swimsuit, I do need a new one and I do love swimming.  I contemplated making my own for a few minutes and decided that I should just buy one.  My dread does have me exercising a bit more, so that is good!

*Mom's birthday is next week and I'm contemplating some combo of Peach and Almond for her cake.  Texas peaches are in at work, and they smell divine.  This doesn't really align with trying to lose weight, but you gotta celebrate, right?!

*I've been sewing and have several new things to share, if only I can find the time to photograph them.

*As always I'm super inspired by Sallie Oh and Dixie Diy, two fellow Texas bloggers.

*Fiber artist and blogger,  Terry Grant, commented on my blog post about my mom's Dansk plates.  She posted a link to her own story about her Dansk stoneware and why she chose it when she got married.  I really enjoyed that and loved how several like minded women made the same choice about what to fill their home with.  These plates became so much more than just something to eat off of.

*I'm almost caught up on all my jewelry orders and constantly bemoaning the fact that work makes it take so much longer for me to get anything made.  That and my creative ADD.

Have a good week, I'll be working my tail off and come see me if you need any flowers for mom.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

I'm Your Tia and I Love You

We got a nice surprise this week when my parents and brother brought Karlie with them from Austin. Frank and I went up on Monday to spend time with all of them. It is hard to imagine that my parents won't be nearby for much longer. My parents built their house and we moved in at the end of my 6th grade year, twenty five years ago. The house is getting emptier each time I visit and they will be gone in less than a month. I imagine that will be the last time for Karlie to visit, though of course we will be going to Austin as much as we can.

Karlie and Lucy played ball and it was a blur of activity as are most things with an almost three year old!
 Karlie and Lucy Karlie and Lucy Karlie and Lucy Karlie and Lucy

Karlie told me, "you are my tia" so I asked her who Frank was and she said "my Gaga". She usually calls me Aya and Frank is either Gaga or Gagee. She is getting so big and talking so much and so clearly. We have so much fun with her. Mom told me that she read my blog post about the Dansk dishes and she offered them to me. How sweet is that?! I never expected her to give them to me, but will surely love them. What a generous mama I have. I'm off today and catching up with house cleaning, jewelry and errands. There is always too much to do on my days off. I better get to work...