Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Value Of Mindless Creativity!

 Hey Down Home Friends,
I just couldn't wait for summer to begin because I had plans to make something or just anything just for fun. As soon as school was out I went right back to work for a couple of weeks and my craft plans got put on the back burner. Once I had the time to get a little creative I couldn't figure out what I wanted to create. The truth is, I have had a long dry spell with no creativity and I wasn't sure if I would ever break the cycle. On a trip to Hobby Lobby I ran across this premade banner. I liked parts of it and kept going back to look at it. Considering I could never jump start my creative juices with a solid plan like normal I decided to just create something on a whim without any real direction. Why not, what could it hurt? Resisting the urge to plan everything out, I decided on the grab and go method. I grabbed the banner and started grabbing embellishments resisting the urge to plan it in my head.
 I honestly started second guessing myself for buying a project I didn't plan for or think though. But as it turns out it was a perfect project because all I had to do was hot glue the items on the banner and tie some ribbon. It honestly was a perfect project to get me thinking creatively. All I had to concentrate on was the element of design and placement of the pieces.
I kind of got lost in thought.
Once I had finished I hung it up and looked at it. It was easy and simple but most of all it helped me to recharge my thinking. It made me wonder if kids feel the same way. I remember the value of creativity as a child.
I craved creativity and it was critical for me to have that outlet.
As a young child I knew creativity was important in my life. It is sad that there isn't much time for creativity in school today. I started thinking of ways I could change that for my class this coming year. Really creativity is part of problem solving too. The process of creativity is far more valuable than the actual product. The process of creating something and just getting lost in the process turned out to be just what I needed. It got my mind recharged and ready to start thinking of my goals and plans for the coming year. You could say it was money well spent.
  Once I hung it up I decided it would go in my tiny trailer across the window. It has plenty of space left on it to glue trinkets found on my travels around Texas. And if I decided I didn't like it I knew I could rip it apart and start again! The good news is that once this project was complete I knew my creative dry spell was over and ever since then I have been...moving on!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Inks Lake State Park

Welcome Down Home Friends,
It is finally summertime which gives us a chance to get out and about. I was so excited to be able to return to one of my favorite places in Texas. Inks Lake State Park is one of those places where I long to go to kick back and enjoy the outdoors. It was the first place I considered when deciding on a location for a Father's Day fishing themed celebration. With so much to see and do I knew it would be the perfect spot for this celebration.
And when I say perfect spot I mean just that! A place where you can drag your kayaks out from your campsite is the ultimate spot for me. I swear we got the best site in the entire park although there were several good ones that we saw along the way.
Knowing that I had little time to prepare for this celebration, I hunted around the house and grabbed what I could for a little inspiration. After my initial hunt for anything fish related, I realized I did have other things on hand I could use for props to go along with what you see here. I realized I had camping dishes and lanterns that would work well too. As I was packing for the trip, I just added what I could to the travel bag if I thought it fit the theme. Knowing that time would be short the week leading up to the trip, I started to worry about the cake. I had grand visions of creating something on my own but I realized that with working all week and not having ever really decorated a cake before, I might need to consider plan B.
I was able to get a local grocery store to make the cake and create the water and land. Unfortunately they did not have the cake kit so I had to find it on my own. I was able to find it on Amazon and had it delivered in a flash. I have to say it was the easiest cake to put together and I would do it again. I was worried that the cake would not make the three hour drive but they packed it in the box very well and it made it through a bumpy, warm ride just fine.  
I knew I didn't have to worry too much about the food because we always plan that out before we go on any camping trip. I am lucky my husband likes to grill and he had planned on grilling.
My job is simply the...decorations, drinks and dessert!
That plan works for us and I am just fine with that. We usually cook what we would cook at home so getting ready for a trip and planning the meals is no big deal.
With the decorations, drinks, dinner and dessert taken care of we were able to get out and about and take a good look around. Inks Lake has lots of trails and a lot of natural beauty to see. It is hard not to stop and take a picture!
With so much to do and see we never left the park once. We walked, took pictures, rode bikes, kayaked, went on some boat rides, fished and sat by the campfire under the stars. All in all, the fish themed party was a huge success and a memorable celebration that I am sure we will try to recreate next year.
All the party supplies were purchased from Amazon. The basic cake was made by Albertson's Grocery Store and Bakery.

Friday, January 2, 2015


Welcome Down Home Friends,
I have snow on my mind. I guess the cold and wet dreary winter weather has me wishing for snow rather than just the cold. Around my house when we talk about snow our conversation always comes back around to...snowballs. In Texas we are more likely to see snowballs in our kitchen rather than outside our windows but we have been known to have a white Christmas and a snow day or two! But in my family our favorite snowballs are the powdered sugar kind. I just had to share this recipe because I love it so much for a few reasons. I appreciate how simple it is to make because I am busy and don't have a lot of time for fussing around. Who has time for fussing around? Who are we kidding? Not a single person has time for that but you do have time to make a simple snowball, right? You will love this recipe too. You make the dough and put it in the refrigerator and let it chill while you take a little break or two... It can stay in the refrigerator for a few days if you really are that busy. This is a perfect holiday cookie because you can make it ahead and bake as needed. Also, these do not have to be perfect and I love that. These get dusted (or in my house covered) in powdered sugar. Just pretend it is a Texas blizzard and when your plate looks like that you will know you have "dusted" them enough. But seriously, in my house, we serve these snowballs on top of a plate of powdered sugar...we like to dredge them in a little more powdered sugar just in case some of it came off when it was sitting on the plate. I know, we are just terrible for that. But I bet you try that too and I swear I won't tell anyone. But before I give you the recipe for my favorite winter cookie, let me give credit where credit is due! This recipe comes from Martha Stewart and yes it is tried and true and you know it is good!
2 sticks of butter at room temp
2 tablespoons of honey
1 teaspoon of bourbon
2 1/4 cups of all purpose flour
1 cup of chopped pecans
1/2 cup of powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon of salt
In an electric mixer, cream butter and honey until fluffy. Add bourbon and beat to combine. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, pecans, sugar and salt. Add to the butter mixture and beat to combine. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 3 hours. Preheat oven to 350. Line baking sheets, Roll the dough 2 teaspoons at a time into balls. Bake 12-13 minutes. Transfer to wire racks and cool. Roll in sugar to coat.


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