Babs Just A Babblin' Blog

A bit of Gardening, baking, blogging, knitting, sewing, family, friends and discovering hidden treasures along the way.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

A Great Fall Day

Cleaning up downed tree limps from last week's storm.  Simon enjoys just hanging out watching!
Another gorgeous day today to be outside though it's only 30 degrees right now.  Frost on the pumpkins!
TTFN - Babs

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Culinary Institute of Michigan Experience

We had the pleasure of dining this evening at Baker College - Culinary Institute in downtown Muskegon.  Norm and Linda joined us.  This was my first time dining there.  They do offer both lunch and dinner.  They also have the Sweet Spot which offers coffee and desserts during the daytime hours.

Linda and I both order a cup of coffee while the guys had cocktails.  We were pleasantly surprised when our coffee arrived
French Pressed Coffee

Condiment tray for the coffee (orange slice, chocolate covered nuts, rock candy stick and chocolate nibs)
I ordered the Caesar Salad with Blackened Chicken:
 It was made tableside - very impressive.

Linda had the meatloaf sandwich:
The mashed potatoes were wonderful and she ate the whole thing!
Norm had the special feature:  filet with green beans and some type of potato presentation:

Norm's comment:  Excellent!
And the husband:  Salmon with Chili Strings:
The salmon was very good except he said he could do without the string.
And what would the night be without dessert.  We couldn't pass that up.
Chocolate Mousse
Pumpkin Creme Brulee'

Very lovely experience.  Our waiter, well he was a tad bit nervous. They have to work the restaurant for a semester.  He was a third year student and well,  wonder if he's going to make it.  Waiting tables wasn't really his forte' - he must excel in the kitchen!

We would highly recommend dining at the Culinary Institute for a great experience.  The building is state of the art and very impressive.  There is a close circuit tv in the dining room so you can watch the students prepare your meal.
TTFN - Babs

Need your prayers for a speedy recovery

My darling Jackie had emergency surgery yesterday.  She is resting fine -she should go home today however, please keep her in your prayers for a speedy recovery.  We love you Jackie!

Have a good weekend - Babs

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Laundry Tote Bag

When you travel, what do you generally do with your dirty laundry?  If you're like I used to be, I would put it in a plastic bag that was intended for dry cleaning in the hotel rooms or just a plastic bag from where ever.  Well, I have a solution.  I made one of these laundry bags for myself last winter and I really do like it.  It folds up until ready to use and then, it can store a lot of stuff when you use it.

My niece Jackie asked me to join her in a craft show at her church in Chicago.  I got a bit excited and tried to think of something "different" to make.  Thus, I came up with the laundry tote.  I used my pattern and used the embellishments from something I saw in Somerset Life recently.  So without further ado, I'd like to introduce you to my latest:
And here is a close up of the tag:
And the flower embellishments along the bottom:

This is 100% washable - all cotton and the inside is lined as well.  Think Christmas gifts once again!
I'll take orders - how easy can your shopping be?   Let me know what you think.  Back to the sweat shop!
TTFN - Babs

Winner Announcement for the Giveaway

Lucky Linda!  Your name was drawn.  I will be sending off to you.  Congratulations.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Camera is Fixed

Have you noticed that my pictures have had a "haze" on them?  Jessie looked at all my settings and said they were fine.  Today I finally took it into the Camera Shop.  It was major!  He cleaned the lens on the zoom - he said the lens was filthy!  How embarrassing.

Look how much better this is - my Mr. McDreamy.

TTFN - Babs

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

It's Wild out there!

Took a ride down to Lake Michigan today - the winds were a whippin'.

Almost looks like icebergs and....notice the snow fences are up!  (Ugh!)


WWMD - What would Martha do?  Well, of course, she would collect dessert/cake servers.
In her Living magazine for November, she presented an article about collecting cake/dessert servers.  And, this sparked my interest.  Just think of the fun ways to display them.....say in a galvanized metal milk bottle carrier and the cake servers wrapped in twine...a few vintage doilies tucked in the the bottle slots too.  Oh so cute.
Here is a snippet from Living Magazine

and I had to start scouring the antique stores for my very own.  This is what I have come up with so far:
From left to right:  Silver plate handle, sterling silver handle, bakelite handle and far right is lucite.
I can't wait to discover the next one!  What a fun thing to do when garage and estate sale-ing and hunting through antique stores (and my mother's silverware chests).
TTFN - Babs

Monday, October 25, 2010

Are you in?

I just made it!
Did you leave a comment?
TTFN - Babs

Sunday, October 24, 2010

My Very First Giveaway!

This is really exciting - for me and for you.  If you are not familiar with blog giveaways, this is how it works:  I am offering a giveaway.  The only thing you need to do is leave a comment in my comment section at the end of the post.  At the end of the giveaway date cutoff, I will randomly select a name.  I will announce the winner on my blog - send you a private email and let you know you one and send it off to you.  How simple and wonderful is that?

Today's giveaway is for Halloween:  this trick or treat goody bag:

The bag will be filled with Halloween Bark !    Doesn't it look to die for?

My giveaway will end Wednesday, October 27th at 11:59pm.  I will draw a name and mail first thing Thursday morning - hopefully you will get by Halloween.  Good luck.

(PS - some folks are having trouble leaving a comment:  at end of post, scroll down to comment section - enter comment and then it will ask you for your profile- you have to go through your google account or other blog type account.  If you want to use "anonymous" you can but just let me know who you are so I can contact you if you are the winner.  Give it a try or email me if you have ???'s  If you can't leave a comment for some reason, email me at my "blog"only address""  I will read comments via the email and consider you "In".  How's that?

TTFN - Babs

Friday, October 22, 2010

Happy Birthday

Happy 90th Birthday Mother!  This picture was taken at a recent party we had for her.    Doesn't she look great? She is the best Mom a person could have.  We have been blessed that she has been so devoted to us for so many years.  She is the greatest.
Mother and her daughters

TTFN - Babs

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I Just Adore These

Yesterday I just had to whip up one of these little wallets.  I purchased this fabric when my sweetie pie and I went up to Leland a few weeks ago.  I stopped in a cute little quilt shop in Cedar - everything pink was 20% off.  How could I pass it up - right.

Well, what do you think?

I have made several of these.  I put them in a vintage store locally.  Also I've made a few for gifts.  I have an order for a few more for Christmas gifts.  If you're in the market for an easy little gift for a co-worker or friend or sister, let me know.  I'd be happy to make one for you.  Price:  $10.00 each.  They are just perfect to use for slipping it in your pocket when you don't want to carry a purse.  It holds  your drivers license, credit card, some cash - I can slip my tube of lipstick in there too!  Perfecto!

Off to craft for a bit - have a good fall day.
TTFN - Babs

Soup Update

I made the Chicken Tortilla soup recipe from Centsational Girl yesterday.  I must say it was pretty easy to  make and quite flavorful.  We will have again today for lunch - I bet the flavors are really great today.  I recommend you give it a try.

TTFN - Babs

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Crack..... Pumpkins

I'm really digging these pumpkins.  I recently spotted them somewhere in blogland and knew I had to give them a try.  They are easy to make:  let me tell you how.

First, hit WalMart, JoAnn's, or your local dollar store.  Buy some fake pumpkins or gourds - you know the orange ones.  Orange pumpkins are no longer my thing.  - The other supplies you will need is: spray paint  (black, brown, grey) this is the color you are going to see " crackled" on your pumpkin so you wouldn't want neon pink~ you will also  need  Weathered Wood Crackle Medium (mine was by Americana)  You can find it in with the little bottles of acrylic paints at any craft store.  Let's see,  you will need some acrylic paints and then lastly a clear spray finish.

Cover the stem with some painters tape or masking tape to protect.  Spray paint (in a well ventilated area) your pumpkins and gourds.  Allow to dry.  With a small brush, brush on the Crackle Medium and let dry. (it's a clear coat so you won't see anything happening yet.)  Next, mix up your paint to the color you want your pumpkins to be (in my picture, I used pebblestone,  linen with a hint of brown - Folk Art paints.  When your crackle is dry - then paint on your acrylic paint.  As it starts to dry, you will see it begin to "crack".  Fun, fun.
When the paint has dried, take off the stem protection and then seal with a clear coat of spray.  Let dry.  Decorate.  It's really fun making these.  If you make some, let me know what you think - you could even send me a photo.  Questions????? Let me know.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Soups On!

I just read today's post from the Centsational Girl and she listed recipes for her five favorite soups.  I will have to definitely try them.  The Cauliflower Soup from Pioneer Woman seems to be a huge hit.

My favorite soup recipe is Italian Sausage Soup.  And for all of you, I am sharing the recipe.  It will not disappoint and it makes a huge batch for sharing.  Let me know if you try it and how you like it.

Italian Sausage Soup

2 lbs.ground italian sausage (I use sweet italian links and remove casings)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 green onion, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp. basil leaves
1 tsp. oregano leaves
2 tsp. parsley flakes
1 tsp. garlic powder
Brown the sausage, add onion and seasonings and brown a little longer, drain fat.

In large stock pot add:
1 cup celery with leaves, chopped
1 large can tomatoes with juice
1- 15 oz. can of  tomato sauce
1 quart V8 juice
5 chicken cubes (bouillon)
1- 10 oz. pkg of frozen chopped spinach
1 - 10 oz. pkg green beans
1 quart water
1 cup of little pastas ( diatelli or tiny, tiny pasta) macaroni is too big!
After meat mixture is browned and drained, put in soup pot and add rest of vegetables and liquids.  Simmer.
About 1/2 hour before serving, add pasta and simmer for an additional 30 minutes.  Serve with a little parmesean on top - superb.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Not so Sure

A while back, I blogged about the Cashew Shortbread Bars.  Well, I made them twice.  The first time I used to large of a pan and they turned out very thin.  I went back to the recipe and found that they were to be made in a 9x9x2 pan....not a 9x13.  So, this weekend I made them again.  You know, I have to say the flavor is very good, the blend of the shortbread and carmel but being totally honest.....they are just OK.  Will I make again, probably not.  I have so many others that really stand out and my taste testers rave about that this one will probably go to the wayside.  Let me know if you try them and what you think.

TTFN - Babs

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Just call me Martha for short

It was another gorgeous day today.  I thought it was time to clean out my summer plantings from my large containers on both sides of the garage door.  I took a few ideas from some of the blogs I have been reading and then came up with my own design.  I think they turned out fabulous if I may say so.  The best part - the cost was $3.00 -for six pumpkins, the rest was courtesy of mother nature hanging out in my yard and the woods.  Do you like?

TTFN - Babs

Thought for the Day

Mine is blessed.

Please leave yours in my comment section.  I'd love to hear from you.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Talent and Beauty

I just took a peek at and saw my niece Leah's senior photo preview.  Jessie shoots such great photos and her subject matter:  what can I say.  Just thought I would share this with you for your enjoyment.  I can't believe Leah is all grown up!

 For more info on Jessie's work:  go to

Monday, October 11, 2010

Trick or Treat

Lots of treats going on here!  Fall is in the air - the colors are gorgeous.  We went up to Leland last week and boy was it peak colors.  Here are just a few of our stops.

First, just outside Arcadia on M22 is a scenic turnout - the day was sunny and fabulous.

The two above are from the wineries we checked out.  Of course, we had to sit outside and sample the goods.

Another treat last week was meeting some MGHP friends for dinner.  Here is our lovely Mari (she and Mike are heading for FL this week for the winter).  Isn't she adorable?  And of course, Joni and Di - love you all.

And lastly, here's a little Halloween vignette I worked on - Dollar Store pumpkins - sprayed and painted and a little burlap treat bag I whipped up.  I think they are adorable.
And..........this is the week - I am making the cashew shortbread bars.  Stay tuned.  If you are lucky enough to live close - you just might get to sample.

Have a good week my friends!
TTFN - Babs

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

I can't believe I'm mentioning the "C" word

I couldn't help  myself - just checked my email and received this from Better Homes and Gardens.
How adorable are these?  I can see myself checking these babies out -- I have to make them for my mantle.
I love them!

TTFN - Babs

Before and After - Trash to Treasure

I saw this nightstand at a garage sale - it was marked $10.00.  I passed on it.  The more I thought about it, the more I wanted to turn it into something that would work on the other side of our bed.  I went back a few hours later, if it was still there - I would make an offer.  Well, to my surprise, when I arrived it had been marked down to $5.00 - yippee.  It was sold and loaded into my trunk.

And after sanding, scraping, painting, adding new knobs and lining the drawer....ta-da!  Here it is:
What do you think?  I'm pretty happy with the end results.

Also, update on Mitch Albom appearance Monday night:  I thought he was very good.  Great speaker, held the audiences attention, promo'd his new book "Have A Little Faith" and I walked away feeling quite inspired.
It was a good evening.

We're headed to check out some fall colors for a few days.  I will take some photos for all you to enjoy.
TTFN - Babs

Monday, October 4, 2010

You have to check these out!

OMG....don't these look fabulous!

They will be in the test kitchen very soon.  They are Salted Butterscotch Shortbread Bars courtesy of a blog I am following, Spontaneous Clapping.

Off to hear Mitch Albom speak tonight at the Frauenthal Theater.

I'll let you know how I enjoyed it.

TTFN - Babs

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Recipe Recommendation

I recently discovered this McCormick Spice selection at the store and gave it a try.  I must say, it was very good, easy, and is a keeper.  I made the Quesadilla Casserole.  As I look at their website, they carry a lot more options than what our Meijer's had ( I think they had four varieties).

You know me, I am a picky person when it comes to recipes, so if I'm recommending it - it has to be good.  Let me know if you try it. I will let you know what others I try.  I'm thinking the chicken fajita.

I'm working on inserting an image as I mention it(from a website) but so far I've not been successful.  When I get it figured out, I will start doing so.