Thursday, July 6, 2017

Homemade Whole Wheat Bread

Hello and how are you?

I hope that you had a meaningful
and super-fun holiday with your family
and friends.

It can be a good time to teach our children
and grandchildren
the true meaning of Independence Day.

A much as I enjoy the magic of fireworks,
the community parade and family gatherings
with games and food, I want the history and those that
gave and those that now give so much to be remembered.

If you've never seen the mini series, John Adams,
and you're interested in history, you may want to
watch it.

A while ago, I shared some photos of my homemade bread
with the promise of sharing the recipe...
so here it is.

I use to make bread by hand but as our family grew
to 11 members, I decided to buy a Bosch Universal Machine.
That was more than 20 years ago and I still enjoy making bread
and so I still use it to mix and knead my bread.
A warm slice of homemade bread spread with butter
and dripping with molasses is near the top of 
my favorite things list.
The recipe is as follows and makes 4 loaves.

Add to the machine mixing bowl
or a large stainless bowl.

If you're mixing by hand, you will 
probably want to cut the recipe in half.

2 C milk (heated for 1min 45 secs)
2 C hot water (not too!)

2 T yeast
2 T dough enhancer (totally optional)
I never used this back in the day ;)
1 T salt
mix well

Then add:
1/2 C honey/sugar/ or molasses
1/2 C melted butter
2 C unbleached flour

and then slowly begin to add whole wheat flour
until the bowl sides begin to mix clean or until your dough isn't too sticky. You want it just a little sticky or 
it will be too dry!

(I grind my own wheat so whatever brand you like)

After you're done kneading, divide dough and 
shape into loaves and drop into 
generously greased loaf pans..

I let my dough rise until it's close to 
being double is size... or for about 20 minutes, covered 
with a tea towel atop a stove with the oven 
pre-heated. That extra added warmth helps 
it to rise. 

After it's risen to double it's size, place in a 
325-350 degree oven.
My oven is a bit hot so I bake my bread at 325.

You can have some fun with your dough. 
You can twist it or make pull apart bread or make 
tiny loaves for the kids or grandkids! 
The giggles were here the last time I 
baked so they filled some heart pans
 to take home to their mommy.
Now comes the anticipation of smelling 
that deliciousness
as it comes floating out from the
 oven door and into the kitchen!
Oh, I have happy memories of when my mom used to 
make homemade rolls to go with
the big pot of beans that she made!

I think that was my dad's favorite meal.
He was raised down on the farm in the hollows of 
West Virginia. He was the 6th of seven children
and they ate very simply.

I don't have photos of any sliced..
 Bad blogger! AAgghh!

But the next time I bake bread, 
I will take some and post them.

When the bread comes out, it cools for a few minutes
and then gets brushed with butter!
So delicious.
I hope you get a chance to bake some
happiness and share it with someone.


There are so many other things happening.
I'll save that for another time.
But I will say that this crazy plant lady
FINALLY finished the last 
(we'll see... are we ever done? I think not! ;)
of her planting this morning!
It has been such a joy and lots of work too.
Perennials... herbs.. vegetables....annuals, 
Virginia Creeper and a new bush. 
Photos to come! 
The Gypsy Camp is growing and going through
all kinds of changes.

And then off I go tomorrow
 to the city with three of my daughters
to play. We're going to get a tattoo,
 dress up and go out to eat,
swim, shop and who knows what else!

I can hear the laughing now and of 
course we'll have some 
serious heart to heart talks, too.

I wish you a joyous rest of the week.
And thank you ever so much for coming by.

Tamara XO

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Back Home Happenings~

Hello Everyone!
It brings tears to my eyes as I think how long I have been away!
How I have missed all of my lovely friends and visitors.

I had no intention of being unplugged for so long and it has just confirmed
that we are making the right, but very difficult decision, to 
cut back on our travels back east. 

It has gotten to be too much .
It's interesting that I was gone for 3 1/2 weeks and it's taken me almost 
exactly that long to get back up to speed. 

(It's possible that I could be doing more but have
lost the motivation to try to be Super Woman 
and I'd rather enjoy
making more of every experience.)

We won't be selling our Sugartree cabin but will be renting 
to our niece and youngest daughter.
I have mixed feelings about that but I believe it's a good thing
and the right time.

Fly away little bird.
So, I have been planting and gardening 
like a crazy plant lady.
Spending hours every day out side 
trying to water, mulch, plant and arrange. 
I haven't taken many pictures but will share some soon!
It takes a while to get things looking pretty and our temperatures 
have been in the mid-90s. 
We have been spending so much time with our kids having 
cookouts, going to the movies, eating out, 
birthday parties and other family celebrations!
Whew! It has been lovely so far and  it seems it's just beginning.

Our singing engagements are up to at least two a week and though 
it's work we find it to be great fun as well.

Not only do I say FLOWERS always FLOWERS!
I say MUSIC always MUSIC :)
I'm not sure if I ever made it clear that I'm on a quest to 
know my self better and to find my true authentic self. 

Anyway, I am and  have begun by being more
 honest with myself and others.

I want to live in a place where I am more real and free to be me.
It's not easy but worth it. I see it as a kind of refining and what 
I have in the end will be more pure.
My masks have been removed.

I am so happy to be back and can hardly wait to come and visit.
 I apologize to those who left comments and I never got back to you
and to those whose emails that I haven't answered yet! 
I am slow but will get it done.. 
Thank you all so much for your patience and for coming by to visit!

Please, please do tell me what you've been doing!
I hope you're enjoying your summer so far and
 that life is being kind to you.


Saturday, May 27, 2017

travel photos

And Happy Memorial Day Weekend

I hope this finds you all doing well.
I am still away from home and am roaming in the gorgeous 
rolling hills of southeastern Ohio.

I'm visiting family and some friends.
And we've been working on the details
of readying our little cottage for winter living
so our youngest daughter and my niece can 
rent it from us.

We were planning to sell which was a very sad thought.
It's a gorgeous spot which affords us much beauty and
 a place to stay when I get a chance to visit family and friends
and journey down the lane of girlhood memories.

I moved away technically but a big piece 
of my heart has remained here for many reasons.

Here are some photos of our trip that began on
May 11th. On the first day, 45 miles out of town, 
we blew a tire. I was driving. 
We were thankful that we were safe.

The steel belts were showing but as 
I stopped, the tire was slowly
deflating as I got out of the van.
It's still a mystery how that happened...
 We see it as God's protection.

What a beautiful view of New Mexico skies!
 Driving through The Narrows of New Mexico.
 This is Cadillac Ranch near Amarillo.
We've driven by for 30 years
and decided it was time to stop!
If you venture by here on eastbound
I-40, bring a can of spray paint and you can 
add your artistic grafitti to the cars.
 Here are Jeff and I with our OK grand babies.
We had a sweet visit and very special to be there on
Mother's Day.
This unique bridge spans the Ohio River 
between Kentucky and Ohio.
 We saw kids in Oklahoma, Mo, Indiana
 and my brother who resides in the 
Ohio Veteran's Home near Cincinnati.  

I was so happy to see him. He used to be 
near our cottage but has now 
re-located to the Veteran's home which is
four hours from here.
 Wild Irises
 Raspberry Vanilla swirl, waffle cone with...

Very tasty :)
I love to find them everywhere.
 one of my favorite things...
I will be remembering our veterans this 
weekend and those who are
currently serving. 

I wish you the best as you gather with
family and friends this weekend to be together
and to remember those who have died and 
those who live still
to protect our country and
to help others.

Wishing you 
magical, harmonious days
 filled with blessings.

Thank you so much
 for coming by to say hello.
I will be back home on the 3rd of June and
  back in touch~


Thursday, May 11, 2017

A Mother's Day Wish and Everyday Rambles

 I'm just popping in to say hello and
share some of my life ramblings.

It's been a very chilly week here.
The wood stove has been brought
back to life with cozy fires.
That's life in the mountains!

Other than it being very hard on my plants,
I don't mind. This Ohio born girl loves 
a cloudy day or five ;)

We have been busy this week preparing for our annual
spring jaunt to our Sugartree place in Ohio. 
We may be selling but our youngest daughter
and niece may rent it if we can work it out.
We have mixed feelings about that.
She'd be 1800 miles away.

How fitting that we get to see our 
Oklahoma kids and grandbabies
on Mother's Day. And then we travel to MO to see
our daughter and her new baby.
We're so excited to see them all!

Here are some Mother's Day flowers for all of you.
They are from the last year's gardens.
I haven't written much about everyday life for awhile.
I've been working on some crafts.
I will post some when I get back which won't be until June.
Last week, we helped watch our daughter's five
children while she and her husband flew to Virginia
for his grandfather's funeral. We had
such a fun time with them!

We attended a Kentucky Derby celebration at 
one of the restaurants where we sing. 
The owner is from Caintuck. 
It was AMAZING! So well done.
Decorations, games and a lovely buffet of
southern foods.
We have been playing music every Wednesday evening at a
little restaurant in the mountains. Last night was
the last evening of the season there. It was sad to leave it.
There are such wonderful regulars 
who come to listen. And those who work there 
are very gracious and helpful.

The Derby party was the official opening of the season at
the Foxfire, so we will be gathering there to share
our music through early fall.
Music! always MUSIC!
 I must go now and work on watering and packing.
It's been so nice to drop in. I will be 
coming by to visit you while I'm traveling.

What a lovely time to remember our Mothers.
Mine has been gone for many years and how I wish 
I could see her once again to 
honor and love on her just one more time.

I hope you're all well and that you have the 
most wonderful Mother's Day, 
feeling honored and treasured.

Thank you so much for your visit!
Tamara xo

Monday, May 8, 2017

Just Add Color ~

What a wonderful day it is.
Everything is not perfect but that just adds color.
How would would I know what was good if I didn't 
have anything to compare it to?

I can be among the... 

happy people

 by changing my focus which
changes my perspective which in turn, 
changes my thinking.

Sometimes, it takes some creative doing but if it
changes the color of my world, it's worth it.

Oh, I love this!

Color in a picture is like enthusiasm in life.
Vincent Van Gogh
What a deep and mysterious language. 
The color of dreams~
Paul Guaguin
  Since the patina that occurs in our life is from our own
handprints, we wouldn't want to alter it.

But everyone needs a little splash of color now and then.
It sometimes comes through change. 
From external circumstances or something
of our own choosing.
It charges us and can re-fire our creativity.

It can be subtle or like a huge watercolor painting
that takes up a lot of room in your heart or home.
 I add color to my life every day by listening to
and playing music. Music is full of color!
Every color that you could possibly imagine.
People experiences and gratitude can add such rich
color to our lives. 
Color evokes emotions that move us and touch
in so many ways. It can inspire and encourage
or take our breath away with it's beauty.

Yesterday, we visited our daughter that lives 
in a group home. We had a lovely, long visit with her. 
When we left, the blues of missing her were splashed
over with the cheery colors of bright pinks, yellows, and
oranges with a mix of white!

Soon, I'll be leaving to see some of our 
children and grandchildren. Being with them
will brush vibrant, magical colors 
onto the mural of my life, adding yet 
another layer to my story!

The beautiful greens of the east will
take me back to my childhood days 
and will warm my heart with the memories
of my past.

What will you be doing to add color to your life?
I wish you joyous times filled 
with rich, colorful memories.

Thank you for coming by~
Please let me know that you were here and I'll
come by and say hello!


Wednesday, May 3, 2017

The Decision to Take Care of Ourselves And Then.... the Journey

Taking care of oneself may seem like a 
natural and easy thing to do for some. 
And having to make a conscious decision 
to do so may seem ridiculous.

(I'm talking about much more than 
just the basics of
 eating and sleeping and general care.)

But for others, including myself, 
it truly is a journey of
self-discovery and recovery. 
It's a learning process
that happens only if we are 
willing to peel off layers
of wrong thinking, work at
 getting to know ourselves
as well as making changes.
It would take a small book to share
with you the revelations that have come from 
seeking to take better care of  myself..
well-being and a healthier,
more balanced lifestyle.

I used to think that I was healthy.
Several years ago, I came to a place in my life
where I felt numb. I had died inside
and I knew that if I wanted my 
life to be different,
I was going to have to accept boundaries
and live more intentionally.
(I don't mean to sound snooty)
I needed to begin to stand up for myself
and stop making commitments that were
helpful to others but that left me feeling exhausted
and drained physically and mentally.

This was difficult because I love people and
helping them.  But I had to come to realize that
I could still love them but I didn't have to
push myself beyond healthy limits to show that love.
I was saying no to outside commitments at times and
that was good but I wasn't considering limiting
 social outings or time with family as part 
of my care. 

Two years ago, I realized what a 
true introvert was and that I am one and that
it's ok to be one! Haha..

And furthermore, it was ok to fashion my time and 
life in a way that allowed me the solitude that 
I needed to stay rested and to feel like 
my life was not out of control. 
I don't LIKE this about myself but I'm 
grateful to have the understanding.

It's so freeing to be able to make 
decisions based on my needs 
without (most of the time ;) feeling guilty.

Can anyone relate to what I'm saying?
I have learned that I'm not selfish but wise
when I say no to invitations to social events.
Not answering the phone is ok if I'm not up to talking
at that moment. Responding to social media in 
a time frame when I feel rested and can enjoy the
connection is the right way for me.
Learning to listen to our minds and bodies 
and to be able to respond to what we hear, is a gift. 
It requires focus at times and honesty
with ourselves and others.  
People don't always understand. 
My test run circumstance did not end well.
There were broken relationships
and a severing of ties.
It's very sad but I am healthier.

Be prepared and take care of yourself anyway.
If you don't, who will?

This is one of the 
toughest parts of our journey. We don't
want to offend or hurt others. There are always
going to be needs. We can't begin to meet them all.

I was raised to work.
And the harder I worked and the more I accomplished,
the more I was praised. I can tell you that this
set me up for a life time of pleasing others
and totally losing touch with who I was 
or what my needs (and wants) were.
I don't dread telling people no anymore. It
feels good to take care of myself. I enjoy life
soooo much more. The quality
of each experience has been heightened
to the pleasure that it should be because
I have learned to pace myself and reserve what I need
to really be present and enjoy that time. Not wishing that the time
were over so that I can go home and rest.

If you're in need, I hope this has helped 
and made sense to you.
Life is too short and our bodies and minds
have limitations. If we ignore this fact, 
we can do irreversible damage to our bodies
and lose out on the quality of 
life that awaits 
each of us.
There's so much more to it all. 
But too much to write in one post. 
At another time, I would like to write
about the things that we have and how they
demand of us.

(This is a huge one for me and I'm still working on it!

And then beyond our needs are our wants... 
which I would also like to write about another time.)

We have only one life to live.
One time around.
A limited existence with so much to experience.
May yours be blessed. 
Filled with richness and peace.

Thank you for your visit.
I would love to hear any words of advice or 
any stories of what you've learned.

Tamara xo

Friday, April 21, 2017

How to Decorate and Re-Purpose a Mason Jar... or any Jar

Hello and Happy Friday!

It's a good day for working outside so that's what I did this morning.

I am in watering gear. It's a little early this year by about two to three weeks.

Spring here in the mountains is not the loveliest place but one has much hope 

when you add water and wait on the sun to work it's magic.

 Soon you see green wonders popping up everywhere!

I want to go out every morning to check on them all.

Today I wanted to show you an easy project. If you have mason jars or any 

other kind of jar sitting around, you may not want to get rid of them.

They can easily be used to make a vase or they can be used in place of gift bags

to hold those special items that you want to give to someone!

They can also be used as desk top containers for 

paint brushes, markers, pens, or cooking utensils in the kitchen.

I'm sure you could come up with other uses as well.
Acrylic paint works really well!

Choose your color and then apply two coats as you follow

the directions on the container for drying time. 

If you like the distressed look, take a piece of sand paper and

gently go over the places you would like to distress.

Then comes the fun part of embellishing in any style 

or theme that you want!

You could use sea shells, paper crafting cutouts or paper flowers. 

The possibilities are endless. 

Just have fun being creative! The materials for this 

project are very inexpensive and it's a simple project.

What have you been doing?

Besides, working on cleaning up and de-cluttering, I made 

some whole wheat bread.

I will share my recipe sometime.
 We've had some very beautiful sunrises lately!
 This is over looking our little town in the early morning hours.

Jeff and I have been watching the crown. A very inspirational and interesting

series on Netflix. It's about the life of the current Queen Elizabeth. 

I highly recommend it if you enjoy history.

Thank you so much for coming by.

I appreciate you all so much.

 I wish you a very lovely weekend~

Tamara xo