+ Baby Hollis +

Just have to share some photos of our new little granddaughter. Even though she's almost a week old, it's still hard to believe she's finally here!

On Sept. 20, 2013, a sweet baby girl joined the family of Becky, Pitt, and Emmett. She's pink and beautiful and tiny (6 lbs. 11 oz.).

First family photo. Big brother is truly excited about this new baby.

Emmett loves his baby sister. His first words when he wakes up in the morning are, "I want to see baby sister."

It was such a miracle to see the new baby just minutes after the birth. To count fingers and toes and rub the fuzzy little head. And to watch the mama snuggle with so much love and joy. And for it to be your daughter and granddaughter makes it even more amazing. 

Grandma Patty made five beautiful crochet-edged flannel baby blankets...with matching burp cloths. We all know how much they'll be used and loved. We were laughing at the way the nurse wrapped the baby - like a little burrito with her legs scrunched up and arms tight to her sides. 

Isn't she beautiful?! And I love her name: Hollis. Hollis Jean Grewe. And something else wonderful...she hardly ever cries!

Becky is doing so well. She exercised throughout her pregnancy, stayed active (super active), had a quick delivery, and is feeling good.
Grandpa Scott always checks every inch of our new grandbabies. Of course, he checks the baby's eyes and also hearing and reflexes. This girl passed every test. We love her so much already. 
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( chicken pot pie )

This chicken pot pie was easy and yummy. I followed the "healthified" version below but added mushrooms. I divided the recipe and put one panful in the freezer. I'll add the pastry when I bake it.

The crescent rolls are a bit different tasting than pie crust and my preference. I think they're easier to use, too, and since I always buy the reduced fat crescent rolls, maybe a little healthier. Note: I DO NOT like the store brand of rolls, just stick to Pillsbury and enjoy! 

Healthified Chicken Pot Pie 

(from the Pillsbury website)

Healthified Chicken Pot Pie


1 bag frozen mixed vegetables
1/2 onion finely chopped
1 pkg. fresh mushrooms
3 T. flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 1/4 C. milk
2 T. butter
1 can 98% fat-free Cream of Chicken soup
3/4 cup light or fat-free sour cream
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts cooked and cut into small pieces (about 4 cups)
1 pie crust or 1 pkg Pillsbury Crescent Rolls - Low Fat (if dividing recipe, use 2 crusts or 2 roll packages)

1. Cook and drain vegetables. In skillet, cook onion and mushrooms in 2 T butter. Combine vegetables and set aside.
2. In lg saucepan, mix flour, salt, pepper, and milk and blend. Cook over med. heat about 5 minutes until thickened.
3. Stir in soup and sour cream. Add chicken and vegetables. Stir and cook until well heated. Pour into 2 qt. casserole or large pyrex. Top with crust or crescent rolls which have been formed to fit the pan. 
4. Bake 30 to 35 minutes. 
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- I shot those deer -

As I walked through my house (just a few minutes ago), something in the back yard caught my eye outside my large entry hall windows.
Above is the view looking out the window with the reflection of the afternoon sun. Wow, two deer munching on the little apples beneath the crab apple tree. Darn it, I'm tired of those deer. It's late summer! Why are they still in the neighborhood? Aren't they supposed to be in the mountains right now? Waiting for the deer hunt?
In spite of not liking the deer, I have to admit they're interesting to look at and quite camera worthy. I grabbed my camera and quickly and quietly slipped out onto our deck and saw not two, but three. Snapped a few pictures, knowing they'd likely bolt when they saw me.
But no, they just stood and stared at me, then looked down at the fourth member of their family on the grassy area below them. They ignored me while they waited for the little guy to join them. I had plenty of time to determine that it was a mama and a papa and two little fawns.
It's amazing how the deer can jump up and over the stone retaining wall with no effort. And it's not a running jump...more like a standing broad/high jump. The little fawn did just that. I shot a bunch of pictures as they munched away.
By now, I was wanting to get them out of my yard. I am so sick of deer poop. (That's my excuse for not doing yard work.) I banged on the deck post and yelled for them to go. They ambled off, but then stopped and posed for me as if hoping for really good photos in their family photo shoot. "Cheese."


< Finding Fall >

Fall decorating ideas are everywhere on the internet right now. Pinterest is inspiring but exhausting, and bloggers are furiously fanning the fall flames with decorated front porches, front entry halls, and front rooms. I found some favorite images to spark creativity from a bloggers' home tour called Finding Fall that runs all this week. The first picture is from artist Jeanne Oliver. She teaches online classes and has lovely Pinterest boards.
Jeanne Oliver blog


:: watermelon quilt ::

It's time to put away my summer decorations and start filling the house with fall colors. I'm sad to say goodbye to my red geraniums, pink petunias, favorite whitewashed Longaberger baskets, and especially this cute watermelon quilt. Everyone who comes in my back door (our "family and friends door") stops and smiles at this bright, happy quilt. 

The pattern is the Watermelon Table Topper from Kimberbell Designs. It's one of Kim's "Cuties" patterns which means it's quick and easy and darling! 

The finished size in the pattern is 22 x 22 inches, but I added extra borders so it would fit my quilt hanger and fill the wall above the blue dresser. It was fun to piece because the center square is made with the easy disappearing nine-patch technique. The applique was simple but hand embroidering all those ant legs and antler took a little time! Not bad though, if you watch TV while stitching.

I love love the black and white stripe border! It looks delightful next to the red chevron fabric. And I think the quilting is awesome. I had Leisha Farnsworth of Quilt It in Providence do the machine quilting and was so tickled when I picked it up. 
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( more Myrtle Beach )

A few more photos and memories of our trip to Myrtle Beach near Charleston, South Carolina and Scott's painting adventures. 

We seem to take trips every September, because we need to use up our Hilton timeshare points before the end of the year. The Myrtle Beach hotel is an old hotel that is being refurbished by Hilton Grand Vacations Club. We always spend two long hours in their timeshare presentations (they want us to upgrade), so we can get free hotel nights on our next trip. But it's so awkward to sit through the nice salesman's pitch and then say, "No, we don't want more points, sorry." We walked out of this pressure situation and sighed a big sigh of relief. Then we took off to explore the beach area and fishing pier.

Scott stopped to talk with a fisherman who called us over to show us some sharks in the water below. ONE HOUR LATER...Scott the jabberbox finally quit gabbing with Al the friendly, bored fisherman. They shared life stories and Al told Scott to never swim under or around piers because that's where the sharks hang out. Never knew that. The next day, Scott decided to paint on the pier and sure enough, there was Al. He spent the afternoon looking over Scott's shoulder and talking his ear off as Scott painted. 

We drove along the stretch of beach and tourist attractions called The Grand Strand...sixty miles of beachfront with restaurants, hotels, and huge beach supply/souvenir shops on every block. I loved getting away from the busy main streets and out into the countryside. This inn was on Pawley's Island and was built before the Civil War. The old but charming sign (Pelican Inn) reminded me of today's chalkboard trend. 

It seems in South Carolina, there's beach life and there's creek life. The residents go boating and fishing on the creeks for entertainment and fun. Every hundred yards or so we saw long boardwalks that led to these wooden docks called "creek docks." It was dusk as we drove south along Highway 17, and we could see groups of people sitting on the benches of their creek docks eating, drinking, chatting, and laughing. 

We visited a beautiful garden and outdoor museum called Brookgreen Gardens. It had been a rice plantation, but in the 1920's a wealthy family purchased it and created a garden to showcase their beautiful sculpture collection including hundreds of statues sculpted by the wife of the family. Scott decided to paint the pretty pond and statue. You can barely see him in the middle of the picture. I left and went to a little shopping village down the road. 

Later we had dinner at a little restaurant along this creek. We were celebrating our 39th wedding anniversary and the seafood was amazing, but what I really loved were the foods that accompanied the fish - the hushpuppies, lima beans, grits (not so much), pound cake, and ginger ale. 

On our last day, Scott continued to paint and I got to enjoy a several long hours on the beach. I went for a long walk and read and took pictures. Through all our travels, I've always complained that I don't get enough "down time" because Scott likes to see and do everything. Well, with Scott painting now, I get the reading and writing time I used to long for. But after awhile I go bonkers just sitting there, so I leave and go shopping. 

When Scott paints, people come by to check out his art. Some people walk right up and look, visit, and offer suggestions or compliments. Many just walk by close enough to have a look from behind. Scott likes to chat - sometimes other artists will tell him about their painting experiences. On this day, we had lots of curious people, but he really enjoyed chatting with this group of Amish tourists. We had watched them walk along the edge of the water, lifting their dresses as the waves came into shore. They were talkative and cheerful. I noticed them walking toward us, and I grabbed my camera and moved away because I really wanted a picture but didn't know if they would let me take one. Then, from a distance, I took my picture of them looking at Scott's painting. It's a great memory for him because they were so complimentary and interested. 

Scott lined up his paintings to dry in front of the TV. They traveled home well - he used water soluble oil paints and even baked them in the oven to dry them out. It was very hot and humid all week in South Carolina which was perfect for swimming and wave jumping in the amazingly warm ocean, but made painting a bit different for Scott. Once we landed in Salt Lake City, we were glad it was still warm here, but were also glad to be in a dry climate again. 
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* sunrise *

It's 6:30 am in Myrtle Beach, and we're sitting on a gorgeous stretch of beach enjoying the pre-dawn quiet and soft muted-color views of sand, water, sky, clouds. We're facing east watching and waiting for the sun to come up. The temperature is perfect - it's the feeling of neither hot nor cold.

We have to keep our eyes on the horizon. The rising sun doesn't pause at the perfect moment for dramatic effect - even though there's an unspoken urging from all the photographers on the beach,"Just stop there so I can get my shot."

Late last night Scott checked online for the exact time of sunrise and interestingly it listed two times: 6:26 for dawn and 6:51 for sunrise. It was correct. As we stand here in the barely dawn, the sky becomes progressively lighter. At exactly 6:51, a tiny sliver of orange red appears on the horizon where the pale gray sky meets the deep gray ocean. We stand with eyes and cameras fixed on the scene. The sun comes up quickly - we can't take our eyes away or we'll miss it. Second by second, frame by frame, it rises bringing with it new colors...coral, purple, gold, white...and the beginning of a new day.
As we waited for the sun to rise, Scott set up his painting easel and prepared his little canvas so he could paint a picture of the morning scene. He quickly prepared his background so he could paint in the sun at just the right moment. On his palette he mixed his oil paints until the colors were soft and muted. I wanted him to paint a blue ocean, but the ocean here is not blue...rather a dark gray-green color. He knows what he wants. Yesterday he met a fisherman on the pier who told him that the sand for this beach was brought in when the big hotels were built - millions of tons of sand - and since then the ocean water isn't clear and the color is muddy.
While Scott paints, I watch people. I observe a woman about my age and her husband standing very still watching the horizon. As the sun appears, she begins to do yoga. She progresses through a series of yoga movements that I recognize as the Sun Salutation. I'm about 15 yards away and slightly behind her, so I start to follow along doing a modified version of her movements. She's strong, stable, and confident in her practice. I love watching and trying to imitate. I notice the husband looking back at me and then he speaks to her. She turns to glance at me and I embarrassedly stop and pretend to be straightening my towel. So much for yoga today. She continues her exercise repeating the Sun Salutation three times then sits on the sand with her head bowed. I feel calm and peaceful just watching her. 
As Scott continues to paint his scene, I sit on a woven mat and write in my always-with-me notebook. As the sun moves higher in the sky, I can feel it on my face. I wish I had my sunscreen. The beach is coming alive. Joggers and walkers pass with music in their ears. I notice the sounds around us - the waves, the seagulls, traffic. A family laden with towels and toys and noisy kids stops to set up their beach spot. There are shell hunters, treasure seekers, lifeguards, and lots of old people. Fishermen stand on the shore and seem to be more interested in talking to passersby than fishing. A few people are wading, but no one is swimming. The sun is very warm now and the day is going to be lovely.