Easy Chocolate Chip Cookie “Skillet Dessert” ~ by Trenda

I love making “Skillet Desserts” because they are quick to make and clean-up is easy!  I mix all my ingredients … add them to my cast iron skillet … then slide the skillet into the oven to bake.  After that, all that is left to do is to turn on the coffee pot and voilà! … dessert and coffee are ready to serve, as soon as we finish eating!  This Chocolate Chip Cookie Skillet Dessert is yummy and it is the easiest dessert I make!  Just use “pre-made” chocolate cookie dough (found in the refrigerated “baked goods” section in the grocery store) or … if you’re not in a hurry, you can make this dessert using your own favorite cookie recipe.

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I was thrilled when my mother lovingly gave me her cast iron skillet, several years ago!  I cherish the memories I recall of Mom using it and remember watching her make Goulash … “Gravel Gravy” … fried chicken … fried okra … and all kinds of delicious gravies in it.  I can still see her dear hands, on the same handle I now hold, while I make Italian frittatas, golden cornbread, a yummy cobbler, or a Skillet Dessert!   Fun Fact: I recently read that cast iron skillets are being “willed” like other valuables to family members and are being passed down through the generations!

Now, back to the Chocolate Chip Cookie Skillet Dessert  … Our daughter and grand daughter surprised us and came to visit, for a few days.  Before they had even unloaded the car, our little grand daughter asked, “What special dessert did you make for us, Grandma?”  Well, I hadn’t made a “special dessert” and you can imagine, after that sweet query Grandma was immediately on task to create some “special dessert!”  I went into the kitchen and took out my Pillsbury tub of Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough (I keep a large tub of this in the freezer or in the refrigerator when “company’s coming” … or for a dessert crisis like this!) (;

Chocolate Chip Cookie Skillet Dessert:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray cast iron skillet with cooking oil.
  3. Press cookie dough into the bottom and up the sides of the pan, about 1″ thick.
  4. Slide skillet into the oven and baked for approximately 19 minutes (or until done.)  Note: Directions on the side of the tub of cookie dough say bake cookies for 10-14 minutes. I checked my “cookie” after 14 minutes and could tell the dough was still “shiny” and “runny” so I continued baking it for 5 more minutes.  The thickness of the cookie will determine how long it needs to be baked.  I took our cookie out when the edges were golden and the center no longer “jiggled” and looked “set.”
  5. Let cookie cool, 5-10 minutes before loading scoops of vanilla ice cream in the center of the cookie.
  6. Drizzle Hershey’s chocolate syrup in a grid pattern across the cookie and ice cream.
  7. Then add Hershey’s caramel syrup, turning your pan, to make a crisscross pattern across the dessert.

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I’d already placed colored bandana napkins topped with spoons, on the table … ready for our dessert centerpiece! (:  In less than 25 minutes, before their suitcase had been unpacked and our “grand dog’s” water bowl had been filled … our warm, decadent dessert was ready for everyone to “dig in!”

bandanas.png I felt like I’d gotten a ” gold star” when I saw the astonishment and delight on our grand daughter’s face and she asked, Grandma, how did you make that sooo fast?” (: ❤

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Hope your weekend is “scrumptious” and is filled with “sweet delights!”

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From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

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 I’m delighted you spent some time reading my blog today.  To have all my posts delivered directly to your email address, just click on FOLLOW in the post above … or click on my site cottagegreenonthelake.com and follow the prompts.

 

 

Father’s Day Tribute and a Special Father’s Day Tablescape

~ Trenda

Today is FATHER’S DAY!  I was so fortunate and blessed to have a wonderful and loving father.  I’ll always miss my father, especially on days like this, but oh, what a blessing it was to be his daughter!  I remember … Saturday morning wagon rides he would take us on, telling us the names of the trees as we “rolled by” and how to identify them by their leaves.  I remember … picnics Mom packed for the family to take to the park and my father whittling long sticks for us to roast our wieners on and throwing a rope up into the tall trees with a wooden seat he’d made and attached to the rope for us to swing on.  I remember … Daddy pitching a tent for us in the backyard and frying bologna in a skillet over a small campfire.  I remember … being scared the first time I held a Roman candle, my apprehension stilled when his large hand  closed over mine and the golden fireworks shot out of the end and into the sky.  I remember … that he taught me how to make and fly a kite, how to swim, how to fish (though he always baited my hook and took the fish off for me!) ❤  My father was a Pastor and I remember … watching his unwavering trust and faith in God.  I remember … seeing him sitting in his recliner and reading his Bible.  I remember … how he loved the Lord and worshiped HIM.  My father’s love for us made it easy for me to understand the great love my heavenly Father has for me … and also taught me what I wanted and needed in my husband when it was time for me to marry.

My father and mother …

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Richard, my husband, personifies all those same traits my father had.  He is the loving father of our children; he is my best friend; he is my soul mate.  I love his giving nature, “can-do” attitude, thoughtfulness, quiet strength, playfulness, spontaneity and faith.  There is no sweeter feeling than him wrapping his arms around me and praying for me.  He “makes me happy, when skies are gray.”  When we married and we were “oh, so young” … he taught me how to write a check and how to add Downy to a wash load.  He put up with dinners of pancakes and Swedish meatballs (the only 2 things I knew how to cook, besides homemade bread, fudge, and pumpkin pies!)  He wordlessly cleaned up “spitup” when our children were sick … he made every meal for us when I broke my foot and ruptured a tendon that required surgery and I was in a cast for 3 months and had to keep my foot elevated … whenever it is raining and we are out, he thoughtfully drops me off at the front door, then he goes and parks … he brings me my coffee every morning … he makes me feel beautiful even when I’m just wearing (as Conway Twitty sang) my “faded cotton gown” and as my “auburn hair has faded and silver takes it’s place.”  Waking up … and going to sleep next to him makes every day “a good day.”

Richard and Trenda …

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Richard … “Dad” … “Daddy” … “PawPaw” 

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Today, I want everything to be special … starting with the table!  A woven runner decorated with pheasants and Mallard ducks “anchors” my collection of all things “masculine” for our special guest of honor.

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Many of the items I gathered up to use on this tablescape are treasured gifts from our dear son and daughter, picked and chosen for “Dad” from Father’s Days, past.  A stack of favorite books, sailing and basketball trophies, a special DAD plaque, antique dog figurines and a pair of binoculars are all part of the centerpiece.

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A collection of crystal decanters and antique trophies add to the “Polo Club look” I wanted to achieve with this tablescape.

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The dishes are a mixed collection of Hull and Pfaltzgraff that Richard bought for me in the “Brown Drip” pattern.

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Sage green napkins are inserted into wooden napkin rings.  The elegant DIY place cards from my “Hello June” blog … add a personal touch to each place setting.

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Sparkle and glow … crystal stemware and handled mugs (ready for after- dinner coffee and blackberry cobbler!) and a ship’s decanter add sparkle … and a woven grass lamp, a gift from our daughter, shines cozily over the table and goldware adds more “glow.”

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Now, all that’s left is to fill these seats with loved ones and these plates with a menu  especially selected by the guest of honor!  Hope you have a special day shared with dear ones you love!  Happy Father’s Day!

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From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

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I’m delighted you spent some time reading my blog today.  To have all my posts delivered directly to your email address, just click on FOLLOW in the post above … or click on my site cottagegreenonthelake.com and follow the prompts.

This week I’ll be joining these creative bloggers for a “link party.”

 Chloe Crabtree with Celebrate & Decorate

Lisa from Feathering Your Empty Nest

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Summer Boat Ride … plus Sweet & Salty Trail Mix Recipe

~ Trenda

At the top of our list of “summer chores” is getting our pontoon boat “sea worthy” and all cleaned up for the boating season.  Richard got out the power washer and surprisingly, only found 1 duck egg laying, like a prize on top of our boat cover! (:  After the cushions were sparkling and everything was wiped down, we loaded up the boat and headed “over the bounding main.” Climb aboard, put on your sunglasses and come with us!  We’ve got our Captain, First Mate (our darling grand daughter!) and myself … and we’ve got room for plenty more!  I’ve even packed a summer-y snack!  Let the wind blow through your hair and sweep your worries away for a little while!

 

 First stop … a protected cove where we can enjoy our snacks while “bobbing” gently on the water.  The warmth of the sun and the rocking motion of the boat dissuades any thoughts of worry!

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Look at my “new” picnic hamper!  I love it and found at one of our favorite antique shops!  I was thrilled when I saw it just waiting on the shelf for me!  I don’t think it’s ever been used!  It’s loaded with picnic style plates, cutlery, and plastic stemware and the bottom of the picnic basket is an insulated, zippered ice chest!

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I just had time to grab some quick “fix-in’s” before heading out to the boat.  A little wicker boat holds seasoned crackers for dipping into a creamy pimiento cheese spread.

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 I always love using my favorite wooden “Lake” serving board and it looks perfect for our lakeside picnic with a little oar spreader!

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A miniature creel fishing basket is filled with a Sweet & Salty Trail Mix Snack that is easy to “throw” together and is a great energy snack!  I tucked a tartan colored napkin in our little creel, then filled it with trail mix and added a fun scoop!

Sweet & Salty Trail Mix Snack:

  • 1 cup dry roasted peanuts
  • 1 cup sunflower hearts
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup cheese flavored “Whale” or “Fish” crackers (always a cute addition for lakeside snacks!)
  • 1 cup M&M’s

This recipe makes a big batch so I mix all my ingredients together in a large, air-tight container, to help keep it fresh.

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Okay, brush the crumbs from your lap, pick the seat you want to “lounge in” and settle back.  We’re taking off for some sight seeing!

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We love the rock jetty in front of this house!  The stone wall creates a private swimming area and the sandy beach beyond is strewn with grass covered umbrellas!

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Look at this massive labyrinth; it’s a homeowner’s private boat dock and party area!  If you look to the left and up the slight incline, there is another similar structure that is a playground for some lucky kids! (: 

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White Adirondack chairs are set out in anticipation of viewing beautiful summer sunsets!

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Charming stone boat house and little log cabin!

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Aww … I love his sweet smile and this picture I snapped of our cute Captain! ❤

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And … the darling First Mate with her sunshine-y smile that melts Grandma’s heart!

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The twilight shadows are changing from pinks to deep blues and purple and our flag almost glows in the fading light, as we head home.

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Another beautiful sunset on the lake.

Back home, the boat is docked and with picnic hamper and wet towels in hand, we disembark … and watch the beautiful twilight curtain descend upon the lake.  Hope you enjoyed our cruise! (:

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From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

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I’m delighted you spent some time reading my blog.  To have all my posts delivered directly to your email, click on FOLLOW above or click on my site: cottagegreenonthelake.com and follow the prompts. 

 

Hello June! … Delicious BBQ Beans & DIY Place Cards for Father’s Day

~ Trenda

Hello June!  We’ve been looking forward to seeing you! (:

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“Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer …” It’s time to slow down, kick back, and relax!

 WONDERFUL SUMMER!  ~ by Trenda

“It’s the beginning of another …

Snow-cone dripping,

bare foot skipping, 

iced tea sipping,

front porch sitting, 

flip flop plopping,

baseball watching,

mattress floating,

snorkel snorting,

pink nose glowing, 

green grass mowing,

warm breeze blowing,

hot dog munching,

cricket chirping,

sparkler waving,

firework gazing,

sunset blazing …

 wonderful summer!” 

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The days of June are marked off the calendar with the “procession” of different celebrations and “happenings.”  Flag Day – June 14th … Father’s Day – June 18th … and the longest day of the year, Summer Solstice – June 21st.  Keep the “red, white, and blue” decorations handy and get out those summer recipes and “Father’s Favorites!”  Two of our favorite’s here at Cottage Green are … my recipe for Delicious BBQ Beans and Sand Pail Ice Cream

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We love the smoky flavor of these “Delicious BBQ Beans” and the enhanced layer of flavor that the bell pepper adds!  I also love that the beans are cooking in the crock pot while I’m away or I’m busy preparing other dishes.

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Now, for some elegant DIY place cards that are easy to make that will add an “air” of sophistication to your “Father’s Day” table.  If you’ve been following my blog for any length of time, you know I love “dressing” the table!  One of the easiest ways to make your table festive and make every guest feel important is by adding place cards to your tablescape.  I made these simple, but elegant place cards for a graduation party and they are perfect and serving “double-duty” … for our Father’s Day celebration!

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Here are supplies needed to make these place cards:

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I bought my miniature decorative tassels in the “Notions” section at Hobby Lobby (where the fabrics/buttons/ribbons are located).  I also bought my place cards and my clear stamp pads at Hobby Lobby, in the stationery section.

place cards.png Instructions:

  1. Punch a hole in upper left-hand corner of each place card, making sure you punch the hole through the front and back of the place card.
  2. Insert the opposite end of the tassel through the punched hole in the front of the card (insert, front to back) so that the tassel is in the front of the place card.
  3. Bring the looped end of cord over the top of the place card and insert (thread) the tassel through the corded opening and pull gently to secure the “tassel in place.  Make sure the knot is not taut, so the tassel drapes loosely down the front of the place card. * (see photo below)
  4. Stamp the front of each place card with a filigree frame of your choice from your selection of clear stamp pads.  Make sure you allow enough time for the ink to dry before handling.
  5. After ink has thoroughly dried, write each person’s name centered in the stamped frame.

*Close-up photo of #3 instructions:closeup tying

I love the elegant and “man-ly” look of these place cards and can’t wait to show you how they look “gracing” our Father’s Day tablescape!

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Now hang up your hammock, get out the ice cream maker, and drape your patio in party lights and “Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer … you’ll wish that summer could always be here.” ~ Nat King Cole

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From my cottage to yours ~ Trenda

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I’m delighted that you read my blog today!  Please click on FOLLOW in the post above or on my site cottagegreenonthelake.com to have all posts delivered directly to your email address.

 

Welcome to the Lake … DIY Wreath for the Summer!

~ Trenda

 

I was delighted when I saw this rustic looking ribbon covered with fishing terms in bold fonts!  I had been wanting to make a wreath for our front door and the “discovery” of that ribbon set “the theme” for my whole wreath.  After finding the fishing ribbon, the rest of the coordinating ribbons were easily found.  A coarse textured, sage green ribbon, a loose weaved burlap colored ribbon, a rope-like ribbon, and a wooden fish and bobber finished my purchases and I was ready to begin making my wreath.  A wreath that would “say” …  “Welcome to the long days of summer at the lake!”

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Here are supplies I used making my lake wreath:

  • straw wreath form
  • floral pins
  • scissors
  • ruler
  • ribbons – at least 3 different colors or widths
  • wooden fish and bobber

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Only materials needed … scissors, a ruler, a straw wreath, floral pins, ribbon, and a wooden fish and bobber! (Note: Be sure to leave the clear plastic covering on your straw wreath to keep your wreath intact, and your straw from shedding all over your floor!)

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Instructions: (see pictures above)

  1. Measure a length of ribbon approximately 17″ long and cut.  (Note: When you cut your ribbon, make a “pretty” diagonal cut since this will be the “tail” of your bow!)
  2. Grasp the cut length of ribbon in the middle and put your thumb on the center of the ribbon.
  3. Make a loop on each side of the center point (where you are holding the ribbon) These loops are the 2 loops your bow.  Grasp where the 2 loops cross over each other, in the center.
  4. Bunch the center of the ribbon together and place a floral pin over the “bunched” ribbon  and push the “bow” into the straw form, pushing the floral pin all the way down.  (Note: the “tails” of your bow add fullness to your wreath!)
  5. Make your next bow, repeating the same steps but alternating the colors of the ribbon you are using.
  6. To make your wreath fuller, place your next bow so one side of the loop goes between the “tails” of the previous bow, then pin.   Switch the direction of your bow each time before pinning. 
  7. When your wreath is covered with bows, go back and fill in the sides and center where you see any gaps.

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I added my “rope cord” filler by going back after my wreath was complete and floral pinning just a loose cord around the entire wreath.  Last touch … I floral pinned my little wooden fish and bobber dangling on a piece of twine, near the top of the wreath so it would hang down in the center of my wreath.

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“Welcome to the Lake!”

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“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.”  Matthew 4:19

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Wishing you the best of summer’s!  

From my cottage to yours ~  Trenda

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I’m delighted you read my blog today!  Please click on FOLLOW in the post above or on my site cottagegreenonthelake.com to have all my posts delivered directly to your email address.  Also, I’m joining Kelly from The Essence of Home in a Share Your Style Link Party (click here to see other great sites)

“This Land Is Your Land” … Road Trip from Texas, to Mississippi, to Missouri, back to Texas!

~ Trenda

Richard has been asked to speak at a Memorial Service commemorating his dear friend, Bill Seaborn.  Bill was killed the day he and Richard were flying together on a rescue mission and their helicopter was hit by AK-47 fire and subsequently crashed into the jungles of Vietnam.  Before the scheduled date of the ceremony, we wanted to spend some time getting to know Bill’s family and friends and we also needed to make arrangements and check out accommodations for those in the 240th Helicopter Assault Company that will be attending the ceremony.  We were in Mississippi for 3 memorable days, spending time with people that all loved Bill.  Everyone was welcoming and gracious and we instantly became friends.  Though we are still apprehensive about the actual ceremony (I’m sure I’ll be writing about that after it occurs!) and the heart-stirring tribute commemorating Richard’s dear friend, we are looking forward to seeing all these lovely people, again. Afterwards, we drove from Mississippi to Missouri for a much needed vacation and to spend time visiting with Richard’s family.

Pour yourself a cup of coffee, put your feet up, and look at the stunning pictures I took along our 1,384 mile road trip!  As I looked at these pictures I couldn’t help but smile as the remembered words and melody that my great-uncle Woody Guthrie wrote and sang, America’s beloved folk tune “This Land is Your Land” (this proud niece can’t help but boast!) accompanied my viewing. (: 

“As I went walking that ribbon of highway I saw above me that endless skyway  I saw below me those golden valleys  This land was made for you and me …”  ~  Woody Guthrie

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During the 2 1/2 weeks we were away … storm clouds chased us from state to state!

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Spring tulips punctuate the deep green grass …

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Old bridge over a Mill pond …

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Cheerful Spring greeting …

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Cascading waterfalls surrounded by cattails and Redbud Trees.

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 Stacked rail fence, blossoming Redbud Trees and billowy clouds.

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This stunning statue is located at “Top of the Rock” in Ridgedale, Missouri.  The Native American sitting on his horse symbolizes the “Trail of Tears” and standing in an Infinity Pool … appears as if the waters of the pool spill, like tears, over into Table Rock Lake, far below.

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Beautiful chapel in the afternoon shadows.

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Inside the chapel, a breathtaking view of the Cross looking out a wall of windows …

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To the scenic Ozark Mountains and Table Rock Lake below.

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On another day of travelling, we saw a total of 3 rainbows!  The first rainbow was a double rainbow and the colors were spectacular!  Our 2nd rainbow, the arch was complete and it was the first time I had ever seen where the rainbow touched the ground … no wonder all the folklore and stories of pots of gold!  I was so mesmerized, I forgot to even get a picture until it had almost faded away.  The shimmery vivid colors and beauty of the bow was enchanting and reminded me once again of God’s promise to Noah.

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Lunch at a favorite restaurant with a dear niece on Lake Taneycomo in Branson, Missouri.

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After a delicious lunch (which she “sweetly” insisted was her treat! <3) … we took her to “Top of the Rock” (named that because it is located on the highest elevation in Taney County, Missouri) to see the Ancient Ozarks Natural History Museum and to go to the “Lost Canyon Cave and Nature Trail” a 2 1/2 mile ride tour driving our own 4-seated golf cart!  Along the trail are dramatic rock formations …

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Majestic waterfalls … we could feel the spray of the water on our face and arms as Richard maneuvered our golf cart around this curve! (:

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Caves …

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… and Amish bridges spanning deep ravines.

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The gray stone chapel standing regal in the purple and golden twilight reminds me of this quote from Lucy Maud Montgomery  “Twilight drops her curtain down, and pins it with a star.”

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And finally … back to the Bluebonnets of Texas.

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(click here for song!)

“This land is your land, this land is my land

From California to the New York Island

From the Redwood Forest, to the Gulf stream waters

This land was made for you and me.”  ~  Woody Guthrie

From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

Thank you for reading my blog!  I’d love for you to “FOLLOW ME!”  (:

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Azalea & Spring Flower Trail in Tyler, Texas

~ Trenda

One of our highlights each spring is going to the Azalea & Spring Flower Trails in Tyler, Texas.  The brick paved roads on the trail meander through neighborhoods lined with charming and prestigious historic homes and gardens that visitors are “invited” to walk through and are filled with blooming azaleas, Dogwood Trees, tulips, and “all things Spring.”  Completing the feeling of “gentler days” and nostalgia, Azalea Belles (young ladies chosen from Tyler’s high schools and home schools) meander around the gardens and greet visitors wearing beautiful antebellum gowns reminiscent of those worn by the Southern Belle’s in the years prior and during the Civil War.

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Each spring over 100,000 people come from all over the USA to visit Tyler and the Azalea Trails.  Today you can open this “garden gate” and vicariously enjoy a “scroll” through these enchanting gardens. (:  All of the pictures I am sharing in my blog today are pictures of people’s homes and their backyards (not parks!) that they so kindly let us “tour” and walk through on the Azalea Trails.  The owners of this next home (pictured below) chatted with us and told us that every afternoon they come and sit under this gorgeous wisteria-covered pergola and enjoy a glass of ice cold Dr. Pepper! (:pergola 2.pngLeatherleaf Mahonia nestled next to Coral Bells ‘Azaleas’ …berry bush.pngCharming “greenhouse” among the azaleas … greenhouse.pngBeautiful blooming White Dogwood Trees shading George L. Taber Azaleas. dogwood.pngStone columns mark the entry to a quaint stone bridge … just the sort-of-bridge that a Troll might live under and 3 Billy Goats would like to trot over! (: bridge moss.pngA bronze statue of a little girl in overalls with a picking basket stands among the Azaleas and Aucuba …girl statue 2.pngA large jardiniere filled with ivy and a cobble-stoned walkway along lichen covered walls.umbrellas background.pngAl Fresco Dining at it’s best!  “Table for 2?”  Yes, please!” (:table for 2.pngSide courtyardside courtyard.pngThe perfect spot to read (: … tucked behind a diminutive wrought iron fence, this reader  is in “good company” with Angel Wing Begonia, azaleas, and a hedge of boxwood.reading statue.pngA charming basket filled with frolicking bunnies … I would love to hang a basket like this from one of our trees!bunnies 3.pngRed tulips are particularly striking against a backdrop of wine-colored Loropetalum.tulips 2A double hedge of azaleas …2 double row azaleas.pngPine trees tower over brilliant azaleas …pines.pngA little cherub greets visitors as they come into the garden.cherub.pngI hope you enjoyed your stroll along the Azalea Trails today!  The last picture I’ve added is a picture of our own Coral Bells ‘Azaleas’ blooming in our front yard at Cottage Green on the Lake!  Hope your day is filled with blossom and bird song! (:front yard.png

From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

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Thank you for spending some time with me today!  I love reading your comments and hearing from you! (: