Freedom

swing-freedom

Freedom

Remember when
freedom was
being able to pump your legs
on your own
instead of being pushed
so that you could swing so high
you felt you could kick the sky?

You felt the wind
in your face
and butterflies
in your stomach
and you felt
like you were flying.
It was freedom.

And then you would choose
just the right moment
when you would leap
and let go
and truly fly
if only for a moment.
It was freedom.

My hope…
my prayer…
my wish…
my longing…
my yearning…
to the world
and to the universe

is that everyone…
no matter your
gender,
race,
religion,
sexual orientation,
or ethnicity

is afforded the right
and the privilege
to recall that feeling
and to achieve
the reality
of that freedom
we all deserve.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

In Love

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Pink Orange & Gold Abstract Watercolor with Hearts 11×14 on 300 lb Arches Cold Press

In love with…

Pink and orange and gold
and dots and lines
and hearts and swirls.

In love with…

Fridays with my little C
and smiles and snuggles
and happy times.

Happy Friday!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Abstract Watercolor done using:  Opera Pink, Quinacridone Rose, Cadmium Orange, Dr. Ph. Martin’s Iridescent Copper Plate Gold, and Dr. Ph. Martin’s Bleedproof White, Salt, Twine, and Black Micron Pen.

McKinneyX2Designs

Loose Happy Yellow Flowers in Watercolor

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Loose Yellow Sunflowers in Vase-watercolor-11×14-300-lb-arches

Our January weather has been so unseasonable.

PRO:  Above normal temperatures – one day this week was one degree away from the warmest day on record with temperatures in the 60s!

CON:  Instead of bright, white snow, we are having rain and grey cloudy days.

SOLUTION:  Paint loose happy yellow sunflowers!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

PS:  This original painting, prints, and greeting cards of this are all available at our McKinneyX2Designs ETSY shop!

The Perfect Hard Boiled Egg

perfect-hard-boiled-egg

The Perfect Hard Boiled Egg

It’s a age old debate, and there are likely as many methods as there are stars in the sky, but I recently tried this method from a great book I’ve started devouring that was recommended by a friend, Deep Run Roots by Vivian Howard.  This book is as much a story as it is a cookbook and as much an inspiration as it is picture book.  I am thoroughly enjoying it.  Vivian also has a PBS Series called A Chef’s Life and a restaurant called Chef & the Farmer.

So I tried Vivian’s method and loved it.  Complete simplicity and success.  A hard boiled egg generously topped with more salt and pepper than seems reasonable and a dab of Cholula hot sauce served on a bed of sprouts drizzled with fresh lemon juice = the perfect quick breakfast!

Here’s how to make them:

The Perfect Hard Boiled Egg

Place two eggs in a 2-quart sauce pan.  Cover with cool water to an inch above theperfect-hard-boiled-egg eggs.  Bring to a boil and cook for one minute.  Remove from heat, cover, and let sit for 10 minutes.  Drain the eggs, and run cold water over them until they are cool enough to handle.

If you are cooking more eggs, let sit 12 minutes.  

That’s it!  Simple!  Success!  The perfect food.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

A Few Favorites Lately

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  • A rare Sunday morning when hubby woke up before me and brought me coffee in bed.
  • My granddaughter nestling in and napping in my arms after finishing her bottle.
  • Sunday family dinner eaten in the living room while watching football and carrying on three different conversations.
  • Shower planning for my future daughter-in-law with her mom and sister and chatting for more hours than planning.
  • An air kiss blown in the middle of the night when hubby rolled over.
  • The smell of Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue sprayed on even on work-from-home days because it makes me feel happy.
  • The soft, fluffy feel and smell of Charlie’s fur after a much-needed bath.
  • The way my seat on the coach fits just right when I curly my legs up and lean left.
  • Stepping on frozen puddles on gravel roads and creating mesmerizing abstract designs.

You see, when life throws curve balls, like it always does, it helps to consider those lovely simple, favorite things, that make life special.

Cherish the moments.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

 

Reality

abstract-blues-purple-gold

Abstract in Blues Purple & Gold 10×16 300 lb Arches Cold Press

“Reality is what we take to be true.
What we take to be true is what we believe.
What we believe is based upon our perceptions.
What we perceive depends on what we look for.
What we look for depends on what we think.
What we think depends on what we perceive.
What we perceive determines what we believe.
What we believe determines what we take to be true.
What we take to be true is our reality.”

– David Bohm

Abstract Watercolor done playing with products:  BRUSHO Watercolor Crystals in Turquoise, Ultramarine Blue and Purple, Dr. Ph. Martin’s Iridescent Copper Plate Gold, Dr. Ph. Martin’s Bleedproof White,  Winsor & Newton Iridescent Medium, Salt, & Saran Wrap.

The Ultimate Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Cookie & That Something about Baking

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The Ultimate Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Cookie

The Ultimate Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Cookie

A few months ago, I recall my youngest son, watching me mix together a batch of cookie dough, asking, “Do you actually enjoy doing that?  Seems like a lot of work!”

I thought about it.

It is a bit tedious.

It makes a mess in the kitchen.

I could be binge-watching Gilmore Girls on Netflix or painting or exercising or reading or so many other things.

But…

There’s something about baking…

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There’s something about using Grandma’s old tin measuring cup and reminiscing about childhood summers.

There’s something about the way the house smells like home when you bake.

There’s something about the smiles you know will emerge when hubby sees stacks of cookies cooling on racks when he comes home or comes in from out of the cold.

There’s something about making goody packages to send home with your kids (even though they are grown and on their own and perfectly capable of making themselves).

There’s something about taking a special treat into the office for a long day of meetings and seeing your co-workers’ faces light up.

There’s something about taking a plate of cookies to the Thursday night gang at John’s Bar and watching your buddy eat one cookie before his dinner and two after.

There’s something about trading a cookie or piece of cake with Cliff the mailman when he delivers a package and handful of mail right to the kitchen door (with a treat always in hand for your furry kid).

There’s something about your kids’ friends saying “You make the BEST cookies Mom M!”

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So you see – baking is more than the chore of mixing butter and sugar and flour.  It’s about creating happiness.

When I read a recent blog post by one of my very favorite blog writers, Pam at Catching My Drift, I knew I HAD to try her cookie recipe.  Pam is not a food blogger, but a storyteller – a GREAT storyteller I might add.  And the story she wove about her persistent and passionate quest to recreate her ultimate cookie painted a picture of the most heavenly bite on earth.  Pam tells the story of  how she loves sitting in the Starbucks snack bar of her local Barnes & Noble noshing on the most amazing Reese’s peanut butter cookie while sipping dark Italian roast and paging through glossy magazines.  You must read about her 35-year quest to recreate this cookie and the surprising place she found the recipe.

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Well, dear Pam, we were certainly not disappointed in this Ultimate Reese’s Peanut Butter Cookie!  It is indeed the ultimate.  It is a new favorite of hubby’s.  And it will now be a staple in my cookie recipe collection!  They are super crispy on the outside edges and tender and  soft on the inside.  The perfect combination of texture and flavor.

Here is the recipe as shared by Pam (which of course I doubled – because I knew I had to share)!

Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup margarine (I used butter)
  • 1 cup peanut butter (I used Jiff Creamy)
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • Candy or chocolate of your choice to mix in (I used 4-6 Reese’s peanut butter cups, chopped, and 1/2 cup chopped Hershey’s Kisses.)
  • Sugar for dipping

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Beat first six ingredients until fluffy.  Add next four ingredients.  Blend well.  Fold in chopped candy.  Shape into 1 1/2 – 2 inch balls.  Roll in sugar.  Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.  Flatten with sugared bottom of glass.  Bake 12-15 minutes or until browned on the edges and beginning to crinkle.  Remove from oven, and cool completely on wire cooling rack.  

Enjoy immensely!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi