Simple upgrades

Little things that can be done to make something look better is always a goal, it’s just choosing which ones to work on.

This week, really less than an hour one evening, I switched out the toilet handles in the three bathrooms. It really was something simple that improved the look and kind of “finished off” the fixtures.

I had decided which handles I wanted and searched for best prices, and found what I needed on Amazon. They were delivered in fine shape and one evening I just decided to get it done. An adjustable wrench was key in getting the old handles loosened up and key to getting the new handles secured tightly.  All fixtures by Moen, and it was done quicker than I imagined. The new handles look awesome. The old cheap-looking plastic ones are in the recycling bin.

Here is what I ordered for the master,  which has all chrome fixtures and a “country” vibe.

This brushed nickel Moen handle was used in the other two bathrooms that have the same finish.

What a difference this upgrade made.

See Classic Hollywood Through Sid Avery’s Lens — TIME

During the golden era that was Hollywood in the 1950s and ’60s, the work of photographer Sid Avery often appeared in the pages of outlets like LIFE and The Saturday Evening Post. But, though his subjects were already icons in their own time—stars like Frank Sinatra and Audrey Hepburn—his approach was something new. He would…

via See Classic Hollywood Through Sid Avery’s Lens — TIME

We love our elderly pets

I am sitting with my 15-1/2 year old pit mix dog who is in the last days of her life. I hope to help make it a peaceful journey. What is it about our pets that touch our hearts so much?

She started life as a throw away, dumped outside the vet clinic where our daughter worked in high school, and not even at weaning age. How could that happen?  The girls at the clinic took turns taking her home with them and she ended up being adopted by our daughter. We already had an elderly dog at home who didn’t much appreciate the high spirited playfulness of a new puppy, so we had to watch and intervene when the new puppy April was being too energetic with our beagle, Kokomo.  When April got too big for two dogs in the house, we built a nice fenced in area for her in back with a cozy dog house and she came in our house in bad weather.  She didn’t much like being inside and couldn’t wait to get back out.

After our daughter went off to college, of course my husband and I inherited her, but haven’t regretted it in the least. After Kokomo died, we had April to take her place.  We put her in a doggie training boot camp and she was there for a month to learn to be a good dog who listens to commands so she could live inside. She learned well.

At our other house, we discovered she had a talent for “mousing”. Those little suckers would sneak into the house if they could through the tiniest gap, but if she got their scent trail, she would track it down until she found it, usually cowering in a corner of a closet. We would follow her around and move things out of the way or else she would claw through herself.  She would pounce and snatch it so fast, but drop it when we told her. We could then dispose of the lifeless mouse. We usually had one or two sneak in during the changing temperatures in the Fall.

She has moved with us twice. When my husband was sick, she laid by his chair, close enough he could give a pat on her head. After he died, she would look for him. She is my eyes and ears for security; any car she can see or hear out on the road or in our driveway, she barks at, and still does, but now it’s more visual since her hearing has diminished.  She has three beds, one in the living room, one in the tv room and one in my bedroom where she sleeps at night.  We incorporated a special place in the kitchen for her food and water bowls when we designed the house so they would be out of our way and out of our sight.  She likes to walk up to the dining room windows which look out towards the driveway and road, and are the only low windows in the house she can see out of, and scan the view for anything unusual or out of place.

She’s been a healthy pet, without one bit of health concern until just a few months back and she had a bit of surgery and bounced right back.  She’s been a jumping dog and I’ve been amazed she has never had any kind of hip issues. The kennel we board her at had to figure out a cover for her kennel when she boarded.   She still likes to walk the driveway and find a rabbit trail, with some occasional pauses to rest. She loves to be outside, but is peaceful and quiet when inside.  She has never been a clingy, attention demanding dog. She does get anxious if I a getting ready to go somewhere, but settles into her kennel in the laundry room, a space we designed for her kennel and under the stairs out of the way.

Our grandson loves his “Apie” when he visits, and I’ve always been hyper-vigilant with a little one visiting in the house that she might get “territorial”, but she never did. She never once snapped or growled. She would go over to her bed and lay down out of the way and welcome the occasional loving swipe of a little hand petting her, under my supervision. He’s 5 years old now. He will miss her.

My daughter came over for a last visit last weekend.  She has her own pit mix now, that she rescued wandering the multi=level garage at her apartment several years back when it was probably a year and half old. Maverick is just the sweetest, but imposing looking, dog. An “American Staffordshire terrier”, which people still call a pit bull. He’s a truly spoiled, big baby of a dog.

This is the hardest part of owning a pet, making sure they are not in any pain or discomfort.  She’s not had any, and still is getting up and around, but has no interest in food now. Just drinks her water, goes outside, and rests quietly in her bed near me. I am surprised she has hung on this long, but I welcome each day she does.  I cannot imagine, yet, not having her here, so each day is a gift.


We are sad

Our city (Dallas) experienced our police officers ambushed and killed. Five officers killed, many others injured. A cowardly act.

“Praising his city’s police department, Mayor Rawlings said Dallas recently had the lowest rate of officer-involved shootings of any large American city.

The five deaths make this the deadliest attack on American law enforcement since Sept. 11, 2001, which the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund calls “the deadliest day in U.S. law enforcement history.”

Catching up

I’ve not posted in quite a while. It has not seemed to be as inspiring for me to sit down and think of things to write about. Now, I have just decided to put anything and everything in here on a whim that strikes my fancy.  It might also help me get back on track with getting the garage sorted out.  The attached workshop was to be my husband’s domain and he had planned to get it all set up.  He passed away before we could even think about it, but I found his plans for how he wanted to do it and I have decided to tackle that and get it in shape.

Before I get started in there,  I will have to face the music and post photos of how it looks now, not a pretty sight at all. I am, however, excited to actually think about the finished space, and things still in boxes from our move can be donated since I decided I am ready for them to go somewhere else.

There are some stackpiles of lumber that were waiting to be used, but now my daughter’s boyfriend can have that so they can use in their new house projects. My head is finally starting to get a clear picture of how that space needs to look so I can work in there, which I fully intend to do.  I do a lot of painting, anything and everything, so having a clean space for that will be better than what I work in now, which is a junky mess.  The carpentry tools will all stay and my son can use them if I need him to do any quick little jobs around here.

With that, I have committed to presenting little updates, nothing earth shattering or mind blowing.  I have kept busy with working on my genealogy.  I am determined to get that all in place on It is mind boggling how much family we have once we start getting into the research. I have discovered some interesting family members. That can be another post.  I am also kinda sorta involved with the local Farmer’s Market and help out when I feel like it.  The season doesn’t last extremely long so it’s not a forever commitment.  After so many years of going helter skelter with kids, their sports, and work, it is very nice to do what I want, when I want. With that, I will now get my tea and sit on the porch for a bit.






Furniture Updating

(We are all remembering and paying personal respects to the lives lost in the tragedy of 9/11/2001 and their surviving families and friends)
(On every anniversary, in New York City, the names of the victims who died there are read out against a background of somber music. The President of the United States attends a memorial service at the Pentagon,[329] and asks Americans to observe Patriot Day with a moment of silence. Smaller services are held in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, which are usually attended by the President’s spouse.)

After moving, and having decided what furniture we would be bringing with us (decided in the design phase and each piece carefully included in the design so size and space would be exact), some of those pieces need some updating. The dining room has so much “brown” I am going to repaint my dining set. We got it in the 80’s and really liked the quality and style, but now it needs some zing. The top has also become bleached out from direct sun hitting it.

I found a really good article on a blog I subscribe to, “Farm Fresh Vintage Finds”, and she repainted a client’s table and chairs with a really nice HomeRight Finish Max sprayer. Visit her blog and there is a chance to win that sprayer just by commenting on her blog story. Here’s the blog link; check it out.

The color of the paint she used is just what I am looking for,Annie Sloan French Linen, a pretty grey that would go well with our slate tile floors and the other greys going on in the kitchen stone backsplash, living room furniture, and Grey Granbury chopped limestone columns and fireplace wall.

I hope I might win that sprayer, but if not, then buying one is on my “to do” list and painting my dining set will also be added to my list. I would need to do it while it’s warm enough to paint, or else have to wait until Spring, which I really would not want to do. When I have a project in mind like this, I get really anxious to get going.

Have a great Friday!

Homemade Marinara sauce

I should have taken photos of the tomatoes I got off my two vines.  They went wild and I had tomatoes I didn’t know what to do with. I even gave some away to my lawn maintenance people before I figured out what to do with them.

I was not confident in my (lack of) experience with canning, so that was not an option.  I did find a pretty painless way to save my tomatoes and use them later.  I found a recipe for homemade marinara sauce made in a crock pot.  I had to try it and the results were fantastic.  I have food allergies, so am pretty limited on what I can eat and making my own food means I can make it with ingredients I can tolerate.

I looked on Pinterest and Googled for ideas on what to do with these tomatoes before they spoiled. I found my  highly recommended recipe and went about buying the few ingredients I didn’t have (balsamic vinegar and a few additional spices) and started.

First, removing the tomato peel is so easy, by scoring the tomatoes, putting a few tomatoes at a time in boiling water for about 30 seconds, then plunging them into ice water.  After a minute or so, take the tomato from the water and peel it. So easy.

When all the tomatoes are peeled, remove any undesirable bits, quarter them, and scoop all seeds out with a spoon, squish a bit with your hands to crush, and then they are ready for the crock pot.  You can chop them up well before adding, or leave kind of chunky and they will cook down where you can smash them up in the sauce as much as you want when cooked, leaving a smoother or chunkier sauce to your preference. Adding to the crockpot with all the other ingredients and cooking on low for about six hours produces the best sauce ever. Knowing there are no preservatives in it and it’s entirely healthy is another reason to make your own. Here’s my finished product.

marinara crockpot

Homemade marinara sauce ready to eat after six hours of slow cooking

marinara plated

Vegetable spirals pasta topped with homemade marinara sauce and some grated Mozzarella cheese

I am getting ready to make another batch this week. Use it up in a week, or freeze it for up to six months and use as needed.  I sneaked it onto anything I could think of because it tasted that good.  I gave some to my daughter who spiced it up more than I could ever handle, with garlic and jalapeno, and she raved about it.

Here are the tomatoes I’m currently working with; mine are on the right and the locally bought on the left.  Because they are nearing the end of the season, the plants are not producing as large as my first batch.


You can also use canned tomatoes (some information on the best brands to use was provided in various posts).  I will link the recipe I used, but there are so many different ones out there to peruse and see what ingredients they add to theirs. A roasted tomato marinara sauce with garlic and oregano is prepared totally in the oven, in roasting pans for about an hour, which is quicker and sounds very tasty.

Bon Appetit