Daily Stretches

Daily Stretches.

Stretch your muscles
to move about with ease.

Stretch your eyes open wide
to see the beauty in this world.

Stretch your mind
to explore new experiences.

Stretch your wallet
to give to those in need.

Stretch your heart
to give more love.

Stretch your imagination
to create art or music or beautiful words.

Stretch your arms open
to embrace in a hug.

Stretch!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Double Crumble Apple Crisp

Double Crumble Apple Crisp.

Nothing says Autumn like the taste of sweet, tender baked apples layered with cinnamony, nutty, crunchy oat crumble in a divine Apple Crisp.

Right?!

So of course I had to bake one with a bunch of apples I was gifted with from a local farm market.

Hubby likes his warm with creamy vanilla bean ice cream melting on it for dessert.

I like mine refrigerator cold for breakfast with steaming coffee flavored with Italian Sweet Cream.

However you like it, this is a classic worth making at least once each Autumn – just because!

Here is the recipe I like best, which is slightly tweaked from a recipe found at Creations by Kara.

Double Crumble Apple Crisp

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup oats
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 Tbsp + 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
  • 7 large apples, peeled and sliced
  • 1/4 cup sugar

Directions:

Combine oats, brown sugar, flour 1 Tbsp cinnamon, salt, and butter to crumble consistently.  Add chopped nuts and combine.

Press 1/3 of the mixture into the bottom of a round or square baking dish (9-11″).  Spread peeled, sliced apples on top.  Sprinkle with 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 tsp cinnamon.  Top with remaining crumble mixture.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 45-50 minutes until apples are tender and crumble is browned.

Serve warm with ice cream or cool whip or cold for breakfast (wink!) – however you prefer!

Enjoy

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

10 Months Ago Today…

10 Months Ago Today.

I crossed the railroad tracks today,
like I do so many days.

And I realized, after the fact,
that for the first time in 10 months

I didn’t get a lump in my throat…
I didn’t hold my breath…

I didn’t think of you
and the decision you made

10 months ago today.

It caught me off guard…
Made me both happy and sad.

Only 10 months ago
you were still here…

barely hanging on…
but still there was hope.

10 months later
there is no more hope

and the memory is beginning
to fade.

I want to be happy,
yet that makes me sad.

10 months ago today
you took your life away.

Rest in peace dear brother.
Rest in peace.

Love,
Jodi

Autumn Reflections

Autumn Reflections Watercolor 11×14 140 lb Cold Press

Autumn Reflections.

Looking back….
I wonder why

it took me
so long

to realize
the beauty

of Autumn’s
brilliant transformation.

Looking forward…
I appreciate the journey

that got me
to this place

where I embrace
the inspiration

of Autumn
reflections.

 

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Sticks and Stones: A Charlie Guest Post

Sticks and Stones:  A Charlie Guest Post.

I know you humans have a rhyme that says:
Sticks and Stones may break my bones….”

And I get it….
It’s a good lesson about name calling…

But I LOVE sticks and stones!
They are nature’s toothbrush and toy all in one!

Even ask my baby niece!
She knows who to watch and learn from.

When Mom brings her outside,
she brings a blanket and toys for her to sit on and play with.

But she watches how her Uncle Charlie has fun!
I romp through the leaves and play with the sticks and stones.

And then she does the same.

I’m such a good uncle!
Don’t you think?

Woofs and Wags,
Charlie

Charlie is an adopted dog with brown eyes and a white-tipped tail who brings joy and laughter to his family and friends.  Charlie is a gifted writer, raving food critic, cat, chipmunk, and donut lover, and exceptionally photogenic model.  Some of his best friends are Mike the UPS Man, Cliff the Mailman, Jaeger the neighbor dog, and ANYONE who delivers pizza to the house.   If you would like to read more guest posts by Charlie, simply type “Charlie” into the Search box at the top right hand corner of this link: thecreativelifeinbetween.com.   If you would enjoy a companion like Charlie, please consider pet adoption.

 

Red Truck Christmas

Snowy Red Ford Truck with Christmas Wreath on Front Watercolor 11×14

Red Truck Christmas.

I can think of a few peeps who would love a new red truck for Christmas (one is the guy I’ve been living with for the past 35 years!).

But he already has one, and it was the model for my latest Christmas watercolor painting.

When I painted my previous classic red truck carrying a Christmas tree, my red truck man informed me since it was a Chevy, I needed to paint a Ford too.

So here it is.

It was fun to paint it this past Sunday afternoon en plein air.  Sunny and 77 degrees F outside in late October painting Christmas snow!   Gotta love it!

This painting makes great prints and cute cards for Ford truck lovers.

They will be available in our McKinneyX2Designs Etsy Shop, at Berry Vine Gifts, and at the Mars Fall Craft Show on November 18th.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Dairy-Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana “Nice” Cream

Dairy-Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana “Nice” Cream.

Can you even stand how decadent and amazing this ice cream looks??!!

Well – it is actually “nice” cream!  A dairy-free, healthy version of ice cream made from fresh, natural ingredients.

When my daughter-in-law, Liz, who is a Certified Nutrition Specialist (CNS) as well as a Licensed Dietitian Nutritionist (LDN), recently posted this recipe on the blog of  her website about functional nutrition, Nourish & Flourish, I knew I had to try this!

Liz’s knowledge about holistic nutritional health is extraordinary, and she “preaches” and practices maintaining a “normal” lifestyle with most everything in moderation.  I really am very proud of her, and this recipe is nothing short of AMAZING!  You will not miss the dairy, added sugar, or all the preservatives you are used to consuming in your usual ice cream.

Please click on THIS LINK for the recipe for this delicious “Nice” Cream on Liz’s website and blog.  I hope you will subscribe to her blog post as there is always something interesting to learn or to try making for a healthy alternative.  Liz also has a Facebook page and Instagram page, which I encourage you to follow as well.  And if you live nearby Pittsburgh, PA, Liz is available for individualized nutrition consulting.  You can get a free 15-minute consult by signing up here.

But first – make this Nice Cream and let me know what you think!!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

A Grandma’s Love

Grandma Susan reading Klaus the Mouse and other Silly Animal Tales to her grandchildren

A Grandma’s Love.

Grandma Susan (as her grandchildren fondly refer to her) is the kind of Grandma I aspire to be.

In fact…  she’s the kind of human being I aspire to be.

I met Susan through her oldest grandson, who was my youngest son’s “roomer” in college.

To know Susan is to love Susan.  Her joy for life, her positive attitude, her love for her family, her smile, the undeniable glow that radiates from her and touches everyone she encounters….  There is something very special about Susan, and I am so fortunate to call her my friend.

Without my even knowing, Susan purchased a copy of the book I announced authoring and illustrating about a month ago, Klaus the Mouse and other Silly Animal Tales.  When she received it, she gathered her grandchildren – now aged 13-27 (and even the spouses of those that are married now!), for a fun reading.  They happened to be gathering together for a bridal shower for one of her granddaughters, but they all took some time to sit down with Grandma Susan to listen to a few “silly stories.”

Can you believe how sweet this is?

You see, Susan is a retired school librarian and long-time lover of books and reading to children (and especially her grandchildren!).

I guess it really is true that Klaus the Mouse and other Silly Animal Tales is a book for children of all ages, and it’s been so fun hearing stories from folks who have purchased the book.

Susan’s granddaughter, Charrie, told me Adele the Gazelle was her favorite character.

Thank you, Susan, for sharing your love, and for all your beautiful grands who gave permission for us to share.

I’m a new grandma, whose first granddaughter is not even a year old, but I hope I will be as loved and adored as Grandma Susan when my grand(s) are teenagers and married!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi