Friday, August 18, 2017

A Chaotic and Frightening Week


From the threat of a nuclear war, to terrorist attacks in Barcelona, to
bloodshed on our own soil, and now stabbings in Finland, this has been
one heartache and worry filled week.  I have done my best to limit the 
news I watch and listen to, but it's hard to keep one's head in the sand
every minute of every day when each day seems to bring another 
nightmare.  I try to stay upbeat and happy both for my own mental
health, but also for the sake of my family and friends.  It's not an easy
task in today's world.  

When I consider this world of today, I have to wonder why it is that
some seem to be so intent on tearing apart it's very fabric.  There have
been so many advancements in science and medicine that have eliminated
deadly disease and prolonged life.  Technology has streamlined our lives
and increased the opportunity of an education for many.  There are 
chances for many who were left behind in the past.

Are we perfect?  No, we are not, and there is always room for advancement.



I wonder why we can't focus on the goodness and the ability to help
one another and to strive against suffering.  That's where we should be
putting our energy to use ~ building up and not tearing down.  

Whatever happened in the past, is just that, the past.  We can't go back
and change it, as much as we would like.  We can learn from the past and
strive not to make the same mistakes.  

Forgiveness is not always easy.  I have experience with forgiveness and it
is something I have struggled to embrace.  However, if I were to remain in
a state of anger and resentment, it would be as though I was constantly
removing the scab on an old wound, and I could never heal.  I believe this 
is true for society as well.  At some point, we have to chose to accept the 
past and to realize that we need to make changes so that we all can have
a bright future.

Isn't that what we all want for ourselves, our families and our fellow
man?  A brighter future where we do our best to serve one another?




The choice is ours.  Do we move ahead and plan for better days, or do
we hang on to century old resentments and preclude any chance for
the advancement of growth?  

It's easy to hide our heads in the sand and ignore the problems of our
world, and I certainly could happily hang out in my cozy corner and
ignore the what is happening just outside my door.  I can't really do that,
nor can anyone else.  We could all use some time out to cool off and
put things in perspective.  The choice is always ours to spread goodness
or to spread hate.  It is my hope that we can focus on the positive and
scrap the negative.  Lets work together as a nation, and stop
pointing fingers of blame that only tears apart the fabric that holds
this great nation together.   We are blessed that our nation represents
every color and creed of humanity.  A house that is divided will not 
stand.  I pray that we can hold our house together for the benefit of all.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley



Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Tutus and Cowgirl Boots


My friend, Kathie Truitt, wore a pink tutu to a formal event up in Dallas
a couple of weeks ago.  She looked so great and her outfit was a big success.
I have not worn a tutu since I was a young girl, but can we ever be too old 
to wear one?  I think not.  Inside all of us women is the spirit of a young girl
who just longs to come out and play once in a while.  So ...
I ordered my own tutu.  I found it on an etsy shop and it arrived in the mail
this morning.  I love it!!!

I put an outfit together of my favorite boots, pearls, turquoise beaded
bracelets and cami.




I have owned this little cami forever.  I love it because it has tiny little
pleats in the fabric that give it great texture.  The pearls give it that
Southern flair and the bracelets accent the boots.




These are my favorite boots.  My sweet husband bought these for me
the first Christmas we were back in Texas.  I dream up reasons to wear
them because I love them so much!

If you want your own tut, or one for a daughter or grand, check out 
this etsy shop!  https://www.etsy.com/shop/SparklesandSunbeams

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Eggs and Soldiers


I have always loved soft boiled eggs, and especially when they are served
in an egg cup.  I like the whites to be firm, but the yolks runny.  Here is the
easiest method to cook the egg so that it turns out just the way I like it.

First I bring water in a saucepan to a full boil, then I turn the heat down
so that the water to a simmering boil.  Then I carefully slip the 
egg into the water and set my timer for anywhere between 5 and 7 minutes.
The perfect egg for me is cooked 6 minutes by this method.




Then I take a serrated knife and tap it firmly at the top of the egg and
I can easily remove the top with the knife, leaving the exposed white
and a runny yolk.  




I cut my toast into long strips that can then be easily dipped into the yolk.
In England, these strips are called soldiers.  Isn't that cute?  I love the
charming names that the British give to things in every day life.  They
are so whimsical!



I am having a cup of Earl Grey tea with cream and I store my tea in this
little red phone booth tin. 

Cheers to eggs and soldiers!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley 



Friday, August 11, 2017

Stop By For a Minute ~ I Have Cake


Hey y'all ~ thanks for taking some time away from your busy Friday
schedule to stop by.  As promised, I have cake.   I made a couple of 
tiny changes in the miniature kitchen and I want to share them
with you.




I moved the little oval hooked rug that used to be in the living area 
and moved it in front of the hutch.  Looks cozier don't you agree?
I have a larger rectangular rug that is identical in pattern and I moved
it into the living area.  I have some more changes going on in there,
so I will show that to you later.  In the meantime, I just received a
sweet mini thatched roof cottage tea pot and want to give y'all a
closer look ....




Isn't this cute?  I love it so much I want to marry it!

Have a fun Friday everyone!!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Comfort in Troubled Times


When the world gets too crazy and the news is too distressing,  I retreat
into the comfort and security of my home.  It's as though I have 
created my own little fortress where only happiness is permitted to enter
our door.   That's not always an easy thing to do.  

I try not to read too much of the news these days.  I don't watch any of
it on television and I have drastically curtailed my online and newsprint
reading too.  For one thing, it's hard to know what is real news and what
is fake.  Who is a dependable source?  What newsman will be accused of
sexting or harassing women next?  Is everyone in the media an over
paid scum bag?  I apologize, this is not my usual tone, but I have less and
less respect for the media in general.



I was raised to look at a problem from all perspectives.  Both my parents
and my teachers taught me to read and to discern.  That premise is fine
as long as what one is reading is based on some degree of truth.  Today
I just feel manipulated.  Which brings me to my topic for this post ....
comfort.



There is not much I can do to change the world around me, so I will do
what I can to make my nest a cozy and safe place to be.  If some lunatic
from across the Pacific figures out a way to launch a nuclear bomb to
our shores and annihilate all of us, I don't want to spend my last days in
fear and worry.  I will control what I can, and that means making our
little environment as happy as possible.  



I'll spend my time poofing the pillows ....


And cooking our favorite meals ....


Being kind to all I meet, and living in the moment, because in actuality, that
is all any of us really can do.  

A quick update on Bentley ~ he is adjusting to his vision problems and will
be going back to see the vet in a few weeks.  He's not crazy about the eye
drops I give him several times per day, but he is accepting it.  He is a 
true example of living in the moment and he's teaching me to be just
like him.  Thank you to all who have asked for an update and have 
shown your concern.


Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley












Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Longing for Cooler Days!


The oppressive heat and humidity here in South Texas is seemingly
endless!  Every day the heat index is between 105 and 109 degrees and 
the nights are not much cooler.   I feel completely trapped indoors and
step outside as little as possible.  




Thank goodness for air conditioning.  I'm tired of people saying ....
stay hydrated.  I don't believe I could possibly consume more water 
than I already have.  



It probably won't cool off until October.  I hope I don't melt before that!

Big Texas Hugs,  no wait, too hot to hug,  so I will just sign off this 
way ...

Love, 
Susan and Bentley

Monday, August 7, 2017

My New Skincare Guru


Let's face it, we are all looking for the fountain of youth when it comes
to anti-aging skin care, and I am no different.  Right after my Mom
passed away, and I was in the depths of my mourning, I started watching
YouTube videos about anti-aging skin care and make-up tips.  There are
lots of them out there.  Some of them are better than others, but basically
they are created by women who are at battle with the inevitable.

While watching these YouTubers, I was numbing the pain from my loss,
but I was also being indoctrinated with a lot of products that promised
me that I would have better looking skin, fewer wrinkles and smaller
pores.  Who doesn't want that???

I started filling my anti-aging arsenal with lotions and potions.  I 
believe I tried them all from vitamin C serums to "medical grade"
skincare which is another way of saying, "over priced and 
ineffective" despite it sounding so scientific.  

At one point, my poor abused skin was screaming out ....
"NO!!!" and it was peeling and itchy and super sensitive.  This
was not at all what I had envisioned.  But, thankfully, that
was all about to change.  Read on.

A couple of months ago, David, Bentley and I were at our 
favorite resort up in Austin, Barton Creek Resort.





We were all having fun at the pool and on the golf course and just
having a relaxing time away from home.  One afternoon, David and
Bentley were napping and I pulled out my laptop and started 
watching some of my favorite YouTubers.  One of them began to
talk about a dermatologist's channel she enjoyed, and so I tuned in.

Enter ~ Dr. Dray!

Dr. Dray is a no frills, no nonsense, dermatologist practicing in
Houston, TX.  She is young, brilliant, very funny, and straight 
forward.  I watched one video and then another.  I was hooked.  For  
the remainder of the time I was in Austin, I stopped using all the
overpriced, skin assaulting products I had been using and never
looked back.  It's been a couple of months now since I have been
following Dr. Dray's simple skin care routine and my skin has been
so happy, comfortable and hydrated.  My wallet is a lot fatter and
I am not spending hours at the bathroom sink applying stuff I do
not need.  She cuts through the marketing hype and focuses on
what is helpful.  Here is a video from about a week ago where she
brings us along on a trip to the drugstore to look at skin care 
options:




Andrea (that's her name) produces a video each day.
She tries out products that her viewers suggest.  She 
has a Q and A program each Friday where she answers
viewer's questions.  She is vegan, I am not, but I like
lots of her salad and veggie suggestions because I do
eat and enjoy lots of veggies.  Her mom lives in Houston
too and she films a video with her mom at least once a 
week.  I love the close relationship the two of them have.
Here is her most recent video with her mom.




I hope that you learn some helpful tips and have some fun
in the process too.  

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley













Sunday, August 6, 2017

Appetizer Saturday Night


Our weekly tradition of Appetizer Saturday Night continues.  Last night
I had an Italian theme and I served bruschetta, Italian meatballs, fried
mozzarella, and Italian yellow fin tuna with capers on sea salt Melba toast.



I had a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon, which was not memorable.




However, the yellow fin tuna toasts were delicious.  I just mixed a can
of Italian yellow fin tuna, mixed with a small amount of Duke's mayo,
capers, and lemon juice.  Now that I think of it, I should have grated
some lemon rind on top for more flavor and better presentation.  Maybe
next time.  Bruschetta is one of our favorites by the way.  

So that's the update on last night's dinner.  Hmm .... I wonder what I
will make for dinner tonight?

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

PS:  Bentley had some of the tuna.  He loved it!.  I added a bit of
it to his scrambled egg for his dinner.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Freshly Baked Biscuits and Strawberry Jam


I  have some hot biscuits on the table and some strawberry jam too.
Let's just slip away from the worries of the world and have a nice
long chat over a pot of tea.




Wouldn't that be fun?





Pull up a chair.  I have reserved one just for you!


Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley


Thursday, August 3, 2017

A Lovely Rainy Day


Finally ~ a nice long soaking rain.  It rained most of the night and
all morning.  


It's a blessing after the seemingly endless days of blazing sun and high
temps.  It's still hot and humid, but the trees and grass and all of nature
are enjoying this nice long drink of water.  




So lovely to hear the soft rain on the roof and see the little drops of
water clinging to the windows.   Bentley and I are snug inside.  We
hope you are having a wonderful day too!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley 

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Channeling My Inner Autumn


It's another scorching hot day!  Last night I took Bentley for a walk at
sunset.  It was hot then.  About an hour later I went outside with him
in our backyard and it was even hotter than it was earlier.  Yikes!!!

I am staying inside our nice, cool house and making little tiny fall
leaves for a garland for my dollhouse.  



I am channeling my inner autumn;-)

Stay cool y'all!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

An Adorable Blue Desk


I found this adorable vintage dollhouse miniature desk in blue and I just 
could not pass it up!  I wasn't sure what I would do with it, and then 
I thought to put it on one of the bookcase shelves in the guest room.
So much fun to accessorize!




Can you tell just how much I like to play?  I have given myself 
permission to never grow up!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley



Monday, July 31, 2017

A Dollhouse Miniature Metamorphosis


About a week ago, I was contacted by the editor of a dollhouse
magazine asking me for some fall miniatures photos.  I have worked
with this editor before,  and she gave me a big spread in her
magazine a while back, so I am only too happy to fulfill her request.
Magazines are always planning ahead of schedule, so although it
is only the last day of July, fall will be arriving very quickly.

I decided to do something a bit different this time.  I have purchased an
unfinished miniature hutch, table and chairs.  These will be my official
holiday pieces that I can change for the season or for whatever holiday
or special event that comes up.  



The table and chairs are on their way, and I finished painting the hutch 
and could hardly wait to decorate it before the other pieces arrive and
I start the fall transformation.  At this moment, it is all decorated
in my usual pink and green theme and it's filled with baking goodies.



I can't show you any of the fall items I already have for this piece, but
my oh my they are cute!  It will be so much fun to have a dedicated table
that is just for holidays and different tablescapes.  I have so many
different patterns of china in my own house, and really don't have room
for more.  Miniatures are so tiny that I can fit lots more in!  I can envision
this little hutch filled with blue and white transferware too.  This is really
going to be fun!




That's what is happening around here.  Bentley is doing well.  He had
a fun weekend and was his usual sassy little self.  We had so much
fun with him.  In a couple more weeks we will head up to Texas A&M
again for another check up.  Thank you for all the sweet comments and 
emails and phone calls.   Y'all helped me to feel so much better about
this situation and it means the world to me.


Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Update On Bentley


I have been receiving phone calls and emails from dear friends who have 
been concerned about little Bentley and the outcome of his appointment
at Texas A&M Veterinary Hospital.  I want to thank everyone for all the
kind thoughts and prayers for this little guy.  I can never begin to 
adequately express how much your outpouring of love for Bentley
has meant to me.

It was a long drive from Victoria up to College Station, three hours
to be exact.  We tried to be very calm and cool about it because we
did not want to stress Bentley out.  This was the first time I visited
the Veterinary School of the University and I was so impressed by
the number of buildings in the complex devoted to the science of
animal medicine.  Our appointment was at the small animal hospital.

From the moment I entered, I was encouraged by the staff and their
kindness and obvious love and compassion for all the dogs who
entered the waiting area.  This was very reassuring to me.

Bentley's appointment was with an Ophthalmologist.  There were
also residents in attendance during Bentley's exam.  Although 
Bentley could not have been a worse patient, much to my chagrin,
they were so patient and kind to him.  Bentley squirmed and fussed,
and though it hurt me to see him so stressed, it was in his best interest
that I allow the exam to continue.  

The results are as follows.  Bentley is blind in his right eye and there
is nothing they can do to restore his sight.  Despite the fact that he was
properly treated and seemingly recovered from the possum fight,
his eyelid was apparently damaged and has been preventing him 
from blinking properly and closing completely.  His right eye has
actually atrophied in response.

He has a cataract in his left eye.  The doctor explained to me that
cataracts are quite common in Yorkies.  At this point, we will 
follow a course of eye drops in this eye and see how it responds.
We will be returning in a few weeks to check the progress and his
doctor will decide at that time if he is a good candidate for cataract
surgery.  So, prayers are still requested.  

Of course I am hoping and praying that the sight in his left eye
can be improved and I will do everything I can to facilitate an
improvement.  I also have come to terms with the possibility
that he could soon be completely blind.  It's been a tough couple
of days for me.  Should that be the ultimate outcome, we will
deal with it as it comes.  Many have contacted me and told me
of their blind dogs and their dog's capacity to adjust to this 
handicap.  Bentley's doctor also assured me that this is so, and
that Bentley could still have a happy life.  Whatever happens,
I will love him just as much if not more than ever, and so will
David.  He is a very important member of our little family.
Thank you once again for your outpouring of love.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley






Monday, July 24, 2017

Being Strong When I Am Really Scared


I have a confession to make, I often don't handle stress very well.
I try very hard to maintain a cool exterior, but inside all the
emotion and fear bubbles up.  I feel like I am a percolator on
the stove top heating and bubbling up and if I don't lower 
the heat, the top will pop off soon.



Everyone in this life suffers loss and heartache.  For some,
like me, those losses stack up and that's when I feel vulnerable and
shaky.  My Grandmother used to say,  what doesn't kill
you, makes you stronger.  I am hoping that I will be strong.

Just before sitting down to prepare for today's blog post,
I had to confirm Bentley's appointment at Texas A&M Veterinary
hospital.   Suddenly I started to fall apart.  I have been worried
about Bentley's vision.  I have been trying so hard to stay cool
about it.  I have been praying for him and I have asked you to also
pray, and I am so thankful for those prayers.  

Moments ago, my worries got the best of me.  The tears 
flowed quickly down my cheeks.  The sobbing shook my 
spine and I felt so weak and vulnerable.  This good cry helped
to take off some of the pressure and to dissolve the excess fear.
Now I just want to get through tomorrow and pray for Bentley's
future with us.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley


Sunday, July 23, 2017

A Cozy Sunday Afternoon At Home


Shh ~ everyone is asleep except for me.  David watched the British Open
all morning through lunch.  He is now napping in his big comfy leather
chair.  Bentley is curled up napping in one of his favorite chairs too.  I
have never been a very good napper, so I am in our bedroom lounging
in bed with a cup of tea.



It's Constant Comment.  I don't drink it all the time, only for special
moments alone like this one.  




I'm all comfy with a stack of pillows and the remotes at hand.




This is one of my favorite old movies  Dear Ruth.  It's a very light
hearted comedy that was originally a hit play.  The interior scenes are
wonderful too,  lots of floral wallpaper and frilly curtains.  It's a very
1940's vine covered, white picket fence kind of house.  Just my style!

I hope you are having a lazy Sunday afternoon too.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Friday, July 21, 2017

Please Pray for Our Little Bentley


My sweet and beloved little Bentley is having vision problems.  At the moment
he is blind.  He has developed a cataract in his left eye.  He is not seeing very 
well from his right eye also.

We are taking him up to Texas A&M University this coming Tuesday
morning for the doggie opthamologist to examine him and see if he is a 
candidate for cataract surgery.  They will also assess his right eye at the 
same time.  Bentley is now 11 1/2 years old.



I love this sweet baby so much. If you would be so kind to please 
remember him in your prayers, I will be so grateful.

Thank you from both of us.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

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