Saturday, July 19, 2014

Adopting a pet

It has been a little under a year since we lost our kitty, Jaffe. She was 21 years old...a fabulous ripe old age for a cat! She had a good life. She was my very first baby.

She was adopted in Tallahassee, my first year away in college. My roommates and I had talked about looking for a kitty and decided to peek in the paper. We found an ad, free to a good home, 6 month old kitten, and a phone number. Turned out she was from Miami, her person moving to a cat free apartment. The girl had left the kitten with her folks, and they didn't want a cat. So we took a drive and met this sweet little kitten! There was no doubt, this cat was mine from the start.

I loved Rolling Stone magazine back then...read them from cover to cover repeatedly. We had no name for our new little kitten yet- just calling her kitty. I remember reading down the contents page in one Rolling Stone, looking at the authors of the articles...and saw the name Jaffe. It was someone's last name- but it fit this little cat. So- Jaffe she was dubbed!

Roommates come and go. New apartments, new relationships...through it all, Jaffe stayed with me.
She was before the husband and kids. She was my best friend and confidant supporting me through art school and boyfriend debacles. She was the best!

I remember the very first time my now husband (back then, guy I was dating) had kitty crawl up on his lap and curl up in a ball. He was so excited kitty liked him. It was very sweet!

My kids knew kitty later in her life. She was older, calmer...no longer jumping up the walls, or playing hide and seek around the house with us. But my boys were so very good with her. They scrubbed her and cared for her just the same. We were all very sad when she passed.

One thing I have learned to accept about life is that it doesn't last forever.  After loosing grandparents, uncles and aunts, even my father...I have made peace with death. It's inevitable- and we should all enjoy every day we have together with people we love!

So even though we were sad to have kitty leave us...we new that it was time to love someone new.  A family isn't complete without a small furry friend to share life with. We thought, maybe a dog this time.

We started on the web...looking up breeds of dogs. What would be good for our little family, for our  two boys under 10. We decided the best route would be to adopt a rescue dog. No puppy mills for us!
We looked at the pages of rescue sites in our area...even the pound. We decided on A Second Chance Puppies and Kittens Rescue.  

They have a great site that shows pictures of animals, ages, any medical problems and even info about the breed. We loved this site! You could tell by the little snippets of information they wrote about the animals, that the foster homes and volunteers really cared about the animals.

Looking on the site one night, we saw a beautiful little spotty pup...a Catahoula Leopard Dog mix??? What???  We had no idea what that was...but read up about them and said- yes, this is the dog for us.


Isn't she a cutie! We fell in love immediately!
We filled out an application for adoption and the next week went to go meet her. She was nervous, and scared- and so were we...but we scrubbed her and new she was meant to be part of our family from the minute we saw her.


Jump to today...we have had her for only a month, but it feels like she has been with us always!

We loved our cat Jaffe for 21 wonderful years...and plan on doing the same with Bianca, our new pup. Adopting an animal in need of a family really comes down to discovering how much your family needs them too!

Go adopt a dog or a cat...it will make you happy, make them happy, and make life better all around!


~Casey

***If you are thinking of adding a pet to your home, please consider adopting a shelter or rescue animal. Second Chance is a fabulous example of people who care about all animals, and go through hoops to make sure all of their rescues find good homes. There are rescue groups in every city. Just google rescue dogs/cats in your area and find your perfect match***





Thursday, May 22, 2014

Sanibel Island


sunrise on Sanibel

Every year, since I was a little tiny child, our family- or a version of family- heads to Sanibel Island, FL. Why there you ask? Don't you already live IN Florida you say? The answer is yes, yes we do! We live in a beautiful place- West Palm Beach, FL. I actually really could only imagine living one other place, Friesland Netherlands...but that is a whole other story!!! (just look at the flag..how could you not want to live somewhere that has hearts on the flag?)

Friesland flag


So, why do we go to Sanibel? Is it for the great tourist attractions? The fabulous clubs and bars? Is it for golf or tennis or any other sporting thing? No, No and Nope. In fact, it's for the lack of all of those things that we make this trip.

We go to Sanibel because we love the beach. Just look at all that beach. It's on every side and corner of the island!

 We really love low-tide.At low tide there are miles of open beach that appear. The tide pulls back and hundreds of live shells, crabs, starfish, sea cucumbers, sand dollars, horseshoe crabs and much more come out to play.
low tide- small people hunting for small critters






 We always have so much fun at low tide. The kids bring nets and try to catch small fish and crabs. We always take lots of pictures and look for pretty non-living shells. It's a beach rule...no live shells may be taken from the beach. We need to make sure there are lots of shells for the next generation who visits the island too!

Our family loves to eat. We always bring a bunch of fabulous eats to the island...and we grill, grill, grill. Margaritas, good beer, munchies and fabulous dinners! Who would not like that anyway???

There are many more reasons we love Sanibel...more that I will write about soon! Right now, I have to pick my kids up from school.

Cheers
~Casey



Wednesday, May 7, 2014

How to attach my tiles???

How to attach my tiles???

You just bought pretty new tiles for your home....NOW WHAT???
This a a great little post about all the ways to attach your address tiles. I wrote it on my luckiiarts.com site- but use the link above and you can read all about it!

Go on....go read it already!!!

Cheers
~Casey

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Tile Mosaics by Me!

I have been working with a gal for a few months now on a wall piece for her new home. She is right here in super sunny Florida. She wanted something bright and fun to go on her newly painted sage green and apricot home. I wish I had a picture of the house...but since I do not...try closing your eyes and picturing a pretty bright green sage-y home..with sunny orange-y, yellow apricot accents....mmmm can you see it??? Great color right- especially for here in South Florida!


These are the tiles she decided to go with...a flowery burst of color! These are not her actual tiles. She had 2 sets of address' with letters A & B...as this is a duplex!  But you can get the picture...very bright and fun colors!

Now for the fun part...she is making a mosaic of sorts on the front facade of the duplex. So I have made a few groupings of tiles to be placed under windows...in the corner as accents, etc.  Here are a few pics of what I've made thus far:

This is one of the diagonal pieces...

 
 and another diagonal. Notice the flower colors change throughout!


There are a few of these singles on the diagonal too!

 
This is one of the bigger pieces...consists of 9 tiles.  She really likes the red flower center- so I have tried to tie that in...like on this border. 




Oh...found the address tiles. Not the best picture...but you can see the letters and how they all match with the bigger flower tiles.


I believe we have one more set and then the home will be complete! Check back in a month or so...hopefully I can get some installation pictures up! 

This is/was a big project...and I am so grateful to my client for having me take this remodel journey with her!!! Thanks :)

~Casey


Thursday, March 13, 2014

Sun and Cousin Fun!


This is where I live.  Is it not stunning?  I absolutely love West Palm Beach! Perhaps this post is for all of you that are stuck inside...so very cold...waiting for Spring to come!!! Soak it up people!!



My sister and her family live in Rhode Island. They decided that it was time to come home and defrost for a spell.  The first place we took the kiddos was the beach- of course!!! It was a bit rough...but they had oodles of fun chasing waves and playing in the warm sand.



One of my favorite places to take kids and adults when they come to WPB is the Big Tree at the Flagler Museum on Palm Beach Island. It is an enormous banyan tree that has roots that make caves and bumps to climb and play in, on and around.


You see how big this is right?? The kids LOVE it here. There are so many places to hide and climb. Just look how big this root is!!!


There is also a small beach and a walk/bike path that follows the waterway to the Society of the Four Arts


My youngest likes to sit and watch the boats across the way in Downtown WPB at the Waterfront.

This is the path...you can see downtown in the background. The kids love climbing the Seagrape Trees!

Oh...and don't forget the wildlife. This is a Blue Cuban Anole. 
My son, who is 9, loves to catch these. And they are FAST!


 These are the cousins; Dain, Sevy, Teddy, Tage and Ianthe...having fun in the hammock!


Oh...and Happy Birthday to my sister, Kelly!!!


We took the kiddos to the water play area at South Olive Park They loved it so!!! That park never fails to impress...with a water play area and two jungle gyms...lots of fun!!!!!




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I just have to leave you with this shot. This is my Mom...aka: Oma to the kids (Oma is Dutch for grandma) She wandered out onto this rock and my youngest hopped out there too. They sat and watched the world float by for a bit. What a beautiful place to live!!!

Wishing everyone a piece of sunshine today!!
~Casey






Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Cool-Ranch Dynamite....

Cool-Ranch Chick Peas...

I found this recipe on a friend's FB post, and they were too good not to share...

The original credit goes to Amanda of Pickles & Honey who was guest blogging for Jackie on Vegan Yack Attack. I do not know either of these individuals personally. It just so happened that I had a pan full of freshly cooked chick peas draining when Karen posted the link to the recipe on FB, and Cool Ranch Doritos were my absolute favorite snack ever as a kid... so I have to say Amanda nailed the flavor combination... I did, as always make a few changes to her recipe in part because I decided to make this recipe with what I had on hand in the cabinet.... unfortunately in winter there were no fresh herbs in the garden and none on hand in the fridge...

Ingredients
  • 3 cups cooked chick peas
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons roasted garlic salt (homemade from the recipe by Lauren at YumSugar)
  • 1-2 teaspoon dried dill (I lost track somewhere in there)
  • 1super heaping teaspoon dried chives
  • 1 heaping teaspoon dried parsley
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Mix it all together.
  3. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet or two.
  4. Depending on how much crunch you like, how dark your baking pan is, etc., roast for 50 minutes... stir after 20, 15, and 10 and then keep checking in 5 minute increments until they are done... it is not an exact science...
These were so go - I had enough chick peas to make a triple batch. I have a bunch in the fridge for salads and soups for the rest of the week. Tonight I tossed some on a bowl of (leftover) tomato veggie soup. They had the most amazing flavor on their own and added excellent depth to the tomato soup. I'm thinking of tossing EVERYTHING in this herb combination... potato wedges, tofu, tempeh, whatever else I can find in my pantry... it was outstanding.

I often roast chick peas closer to 400 degrees F, so you can play around with the roasting temperature and time frame - it is the herb combination you won't ever want to forget!

-Kelly

Monday, January 6, 2014

Goat Cheese Cheesecake to ring in the new 2014!

Happy New Year!

We had a wonderful holiday with visiting family and friends- and I hope the same for everyone out there in blog land too! This post is a great kick off to the new year. I am using leftovers from family gatherings and making something SO...sooooo....SO good!

Allow me to intorduce to you....ta da...my very first Goat Cheese Cheesecake!


I would have never thought to use up the half block of goat cheese to make cheesecake...but then again- I am kind of a foodie newbie too. I originally had looked up some recipes to make with left over strawberries...as ours were a little mushy tasting- not the best batch. I was google-ing old strawberries...when I started to see goat cheese/strawberry recipes. ie: goat cheese and strawberry grilled cheese?...maybe next time.

Anyway- a goat cheese cheesecake caught my eye...I must give due creds- as this original recipe came from Tyler Florence :) I, as always, nover had the correct ingredients on hand- so I made it up as I went. And I must say...it is the BEST cheesecake I have ever made. It is light and creamy and not too sweet! You have got to try it!!!

Here goes- my pantry raid cheesecake:

10-12  ounces Dutch Speculaas Cookies (these are a spicy shortbready kind of cookie)
(if you use other cookies add 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon)
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
4 ounces goat cheese...I had 1/2 of one of those big round logs...might have been a little more than 4 oz??
1 tub of strawberry yogurt (Tyler's called for sour cream...but I did not have any) Yay for substitutions!!!
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
few tsps of lemon juice- right out of those green bottles I keep in my fridge
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Topping
6 ounces fresh strawberries, stems removed and cut in half lengthwise
1/4 cup sugar
few tsp lemon juice

1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
pepper...yes- pepper :)


Directions
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

- In a food processor, combine the cookies and melted butter and process until they are finely ground and the mixture holds together slightly and is evenly moistened. I used a 9 inch pie plate...as I suddenly seem to have lost my springform pan. I pressed the cookie mixture into the bottom of the pan to about a 1/4-inch thickness. Chill uncovered until ready to use.

- Mix the cream cheese, goat cheese, yogurt, eggs, sugar, vanilla, and lemon zest and juice, scraping down the sides as needed until the mixture is smooth. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan.

- Place the cheesecake pan in the center of a large roasting pan...THIS IS WHAT YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO DO....however- I do not have a large roasting pan (gasp) so I just used my baking sheet...yes- a baking sheet.  Place the sheet on the center rack of the oven. Carefully pour enough hot water into the roasting pan to a depth of  ½ inches around the cheesecake. (once again- if using a roasting pan it should be about 1 1/2 depth)

- Bake for 45 - 55 minutes. The cheesecake should be firm on the edges but still jiggle in the center. Let the cake cool in the pan for at least 45 minutes at room temperature. Then chill uncovered until ready to serve.

For the berries: 
- In a large saucepan, combine the strawberries, sugar, lemon juice and pepper and cook over a medium heat for five to seven minutes, or until the sugar has melted and the mixture has thickened slightly. Remove the strawberries and continue to cook for another three to five minutes, or until the syrup has reduced by half. Remove the pan from the heat and let cool...refrigerate!

- Spoon the strawberries and syrup liberally over the cheesecake.Eat up and enjoy!!!


Ain't it purdy? It tastes good too!

Hope you enjoy...oh and here is the original recipe if you so desire: Strawberrry Basil Goat Cheesecake Recipe - Tyler Florence Goat Cheesecake Recipe - House Beautiful

Cheers to the New Year!