Thursday, January 28, 2010

Memories of the Olney Inn


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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Take a Stroll with Me Through Charlotte


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Monday, January 25, 2010

Is there Hope for Haiti


What Else Can I Do" by Karla Anderson

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Friday, January 22, 2010

Why Men Need Trucks


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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Broccoli and Swiss Cheese Quiche


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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Homemade Cards - More Special than Ever


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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Inspired by Van Gogh


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Monday, January 18, 2010

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies - Yummy!


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Saturday, January 16, 2010

Unemployment and my Mother


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Friday, January 15, 2010

My Mother - The New Grandma Moses


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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Macaroni & Cheese Re-invented


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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Fighting the Conventional Life


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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A Busy Week


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Monday, January 04, 2010

Sunbonnet Sarah Quilt


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Thursday, December 31, 2009

When Life Gives You Scraps - Make Quilts


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Saturday, December 26, 2009

Cranberry, Pistachio and Cardamom Oatmeal Cookies


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Saturday, December 19, 2009

Bless Us One and All

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Making the Season Brighter


It's been a rough week.  It started with a scratchy throat, then aches, chills, sweats, then my tonsils kicked in and have been giving me fits.  (Yep, I still have my tonsils).  Yesterday I thought I was starting to feel a bit better then not.  Last night I tossed and turned all night, got some hot tea and raisin toast at 3:30 in the morning, and watched the local news and weather forecast while blowing my nose and rapidly tossing tissues off the side of the bed.  I'm sure you can picture this miserable scenario in your head.  But rather than do that, why don't you just sit back and enjoy my beautiful holiday fireplace decorations.  Aren't they lovely?  Well, except that there is no real fire - yet - unless we want to burn down our house and I don't think we want to tempt fate again until our fireplace is fixed.  So, candles will have to do.  Pretty red ones at that!


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Celebrating the Holidays with KitchenAid


We have our KitchenAid Winner! 

Congrats to Brielle #15:

email me at to claim your gift.


What one gift are you giving that makes you feel all excited inside?

Brielle wrote:

"This year I am making gifts for my family. I love to quilt and I am making a special lap quilt for each of my 3 siblings and my mother. For the other members of my family I am having special pictures framed and matted for them to hang in their home. I think that handmade gifts and gifts that have thought and emotion behind them are more special than anything I could buy in a store. I want my family to know that I thought about each of them and what would make them happy with every gift I give."

I hope everyone has a wonderful Holiday.  May the Lord bless everyone abundantly.



Happy Birthday Beth!


Sometimes you just have to embarrass your friends.  Well, maybe not, but there is one friend who laughs right along with me ... Beth.  Today is her birthday.  She is the only person I know who gets younger every year.  Can you believe she is 21,170 days old?!!!!  Or, somewhere there about.



Monday, December 14, 2009

Life with this Big Guy


To read the first part of this family saga - click HERE.

Just before Bob and I got married, he told his parents that he was going to make sure that every day of our life together would be an adventure.  His father waved his hand at us and said "Oh hell, you two haven't even had an argument yet, what do you know about adventure?"  I had been married before, so I knew that marriage wasn't always roses, nor would it be easy, but something inside my gut told me that he was the one.


Sunday, December 13, 2009

Frontgate - Not the Place to Buy a Christmas Tree


Where do I start - how about in 2004.  We purchased a Noble Fir from Frontgate for about 700.00.  Christmas 2004 the tree was beautiful.  Christmas 2005, we had some issues with the lights and tried to correct the problem ourselves.  Christmas 2006, I got shocked pretty bad - the electricity went thru my right arm.  We called Frontgate right away and took down the tree, and Frontgate told us to box up the Noble Fir and return it.  They, in turn, would replace the tree with another Noble Fir. 



Friday, December 11, 2009

Celebrating the Holidays with KitchenAid


I love red.  My family room is red. My sectional sofa in my family room is red.  My candles in my fireplace are red.  And, I love this red 90th Anniversary KitchenAid Mixer, so much in fact, that I am giving a brand new mixer to one of my readers.

And, because I am the one sponsoring this gift, this will be the last contest on Raisin Toast this year, so don't miss your chance!

Just answer the question below in the comments:

What one gift are you giving that makes you feel all excited inside?



Thursday, December 10, 2009

Green Cay in December


My dear friend, Beth, as you all may know, is not only a wonderful cook and contributor here on Raisin Toast, but her real profession is that of a singer.  She sings professionally around South Florida.  Beth has such a beautiful voice.  Well, last night she made a movie about Green Cay.  She walks, I think, every morning through Green Cay.  It is her personal time and also her time to stay in shape.  I just wish I was there with her!  

In the meantime - she posted her first video on YouTube, and I wanted to post it here for you to enjoy too.


Monday, December 07, 2009

Sarah Entertains at Queens University!


On November 21st, Sarah entertained the masses with her beautiful composition "Waterfall" with a few revisions to fit into the 4 minute time slot she had to perform.

Jazz Pianist and Composer, Claire Ritter, together with artist Takaaki Masuko from Boston on Percussion and Drums and Toni Naples on Accordion, were the master performers at this concert, playing original compositions inspired by the Outer Banks Crystal Coast to 1000 islands in Canada.


Saturday, December 05, 2009

We Have Our Winners!

For me, the worst part about having a giveaway are those who didn't win.  I feel like I am letting you down.  Just know I do my best.  The winners were chosen using

My Heart Just Melts:


There were 22 comments.  Winner is #10: Sandra Marley

* * * * *

Cold Days - Hot Cocoa - What Could Be Better:


There were 25 comments. Winner is #18: Maureen K.

* * * * *

The Joys of Christmas:


There were 22 Comments. Winner is #18: Roxy

* * * * *

Its The Month For Gift Giving:


There were 45 Comments. Winner is #23: Michael Thoms

* * * * *
Thank you to all my readers who participated!  I wish I had a gift for everyone.  I appreciate you taking the time out of your day to visit Raisin Toast.

Winners need to contact me at  Provide me with your shipping information!

Blessings to Everyone! 


Friday, December 04, 2009

My Heart Just Melts


Hannah has that effect on me.  Every time I look at her I just want to eat her up and hug her and squeeze her and kiss her.  She is by far the cutest most adorable, cuddly little puppy I've ever seen.  Even with a bad haircut.  Yes, Hannah had a bit of a disaster this past weekend.  


Thursday, December 03, 2009

Cold Days - Hot Cocoa - What Could Be Better?


Hot Cocoa is the best, and here in the Vaughn home, it is nearly a daily staple.  Sometimes we have it for breakfast.  Sometimes we have it in the afternoon while we are working.  Sometimes we make a huge batch after dinner and we watch a movie together as a family with a fire in the fireplace and everyone in their jammies with a big mug of hot cocoa.  What could be better?

Well, I'll tell ya - on the 3rd day of Christmas (In our 21 days of Christmas giving here on Raisin Toast), my true love gave to you ...

Bialetti Hot Chocolate Maker just for you?  But wait ... 


Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Oh The Joys of Christmas


I love this time of year for many reasons,but mostly because it reminds me (in the event I have forgotten) that the Lord has blessed our family immensely despite our struggles over the past year.  That our family is together and healthy and we all have a warm bed each night.  That through the difficulties, ours are truly insignificant in the big scheme of things.  And that we can continue to give to others and share our blessings with our friends, our family, and complete strangers.  We can give something as simple as a smile to a stranger if we like and know that it made their day a little brighter.  If only we could all live in peace.  

Memories are the makings of Christmas - and all year through for many of us too!  Happy memories are what remind us of the joys of having family and friends.  Well, I hope that this being the 2nd day of Christmas for our 21 days of Christmas giveaway - that the gift will make your holidays a little brighter.


Tuesday, December 01, 2009

It's The Month For Gift Giving


It is the month for shopping and dropping and crowds and economic upturns, and Raisin Toast wants to contribute to the holiday spirit!  The Christmas season of giving!  The joy of surprises and kisses and hugs! Susie Q here wants to give you an opportunity to win something for yourself or someone special in your life. It is my way of saying "Thank you!" for being a Raisin Toast reader!


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Apple Sweet Potato Bake


Here's a little something I'd like to share from our Thanksgiving table to yours.  I hope everyone is having an especially blessed holiday with family and friends.  Before I post this recipe, though, I'd like to say "Thank you" to all my readers, for making this past year so very special to me.  You have added an element of joy to my life that is important to me.  You have let me share my life without judgment.  You have offered your friendship, compassion, prayers, advice, humor, and more.  You have even opened up about your own lives and shared your life experiences with me and I have learned a great deal from your emails and your comments.


Monday, November 23, 2009

Facebook Friend-zied


For the last 3 days, I have been adding photos galore to my Facebook profile, and then to top it off, end up searching for random names from the past to see who I find.  I found friends from elementary school whom I haven't talked to in 40 years.  I found old boyfriends too.  Facebook is a bit of an obsession at the moment. 

Then, Big Bear got in on the fun and he started his own Facebook page.  Now he's collecting old friends like baseball cards.  We were both up until after 1am doing things on Facebook.  There is something terribly wrong with this.  Or maybe not.  I haven't decided yet.


Friday, November 20, 2009

Apple Cranberry Streusel Pie


Just in time for Thanksgiving.  Have you put your menu together yet for the holidays?  Well, Beth has a great addition to your holiday desert menu - Apple Cranberry Streusel Pie, and it sure looks delicious.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I'm A Silver Sage!


Maggie Crane, Author of that great book I read called "Amazing Grays" has posted my picture and story on her site.  Check it out HERE.

Pretty cool, ay?  I'm the worst procrastinator.  I sent her some pictures that Big Bear had taken of me several months ago (before I decided to be a basketball star and nearly knock out my teeth), but she wanted one of me smiling more.  I don't like the way I look smiling.  Never have.  I'm weird that way.  Anyway, Maggie must have gotten tired of waiting for me to smile for the camera, so she posted my sorta, kinda, well-maybe, uhhh, I suppose smiling picture on her site. 


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Please Help Find Morgan Harrington!


My good friend, Tim, contacted me yesterday asking me if I would do a story about Morgan Harrington, the 20-year-old Virginia Tech student who was last seen October 17 while attending a Metallica concert at the John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville, Virginia.  I immediately said "yes" knowing that if this were my child, I'd be an insane person looking for them.  

The not knowing would eat me alive.  This was the least I could do.  Tim is doing his part too.  Tim is the owner of the Shenandoah Valley's Valpak, and he has created his own search campaign for Morgan.  Tim is putting out flyers in each of his blue advertising envelopes that go out monthly to the more than 120,000 homes in the Charlottesville and Shenandoah Valley area around Virginia, hoping that someone, somewhere will know something and help to find her - alive and well - or at the very least - find her.  Let's just please find her.


Monday, November 09, 2009

Basketball Can Be a Painful Sport


Well, I'm sure it could get a lot more complicated, but I'm not going to think about that right now.  For anyone who thinks I don't do much by being a stay-at-home mom - think again.  This week alone I have been so busy I have completely neglected my laundry and now it looks like Mount Rushmore at the entrance to my laundry room.  Not good.  I know what I am going to be doing this weekend.  I bet you can't guess.


Sunday, November 08, 2009

Desk Jockey


Often glurge is long on inspiration and short on truth, so it is refreshing to encounter a story that reports the facts with little (if any) embellishment.

The story that now circulates in email was drawn from former Gov. of Arkansas Mike Huckabee’s March 2nd, 2007 address to the Conservative Political Action Conference in Wash. DC.  It recounts events from the first day of classes in Fall 2005 for students enrolled in Martha Cothren’s military history class at Joe T. Robinson High School in Little Rock.


Saturday, November 07, 2009

I'm Diggin' Those Shoes


Beth, you look fan-tas-tic girlfriend.  I am really diggin those shoes.  Hope you had a fun night out.  You looked so good I just had to share your video with everyone.  I know - my bad.


Friday, November 06, 2009

Ding-Dong! It's the UPS Man!


Here I was with the boys sitting in my art studio (today is Art Day for our homeschooling schedule) and Adolf went nuts barking at the front window.  "What's ya barking at boy?"  I said as I got up from my chair.  I looked out the front window and saw the UPS truck backing into our driveway.  "Bob!  The UPS man is here, can you see what he has for us?"


Thursday, November 05, 2009

Could My Life Get More Complicated?


Well, I'm sure it could get a lot more complicated, but I'm not going to think about that right now.  For anyone who thinks I don't do much by being a stay-at-home mom - think again.  This week alone I have been so busy I have completely neglected my laundry and now it looks like Mount Rushmore at the entrance to my laundry room.  Not good.  I know what I am going to be doing this weekend.  I bet you can't guess.


Monday, November 02, 2009

Halloween, Spooky Nights, and Funny Faces


It was a spooky night last night.  The moon was full, the clouds were blowing by, and we could hear goblins in the dark just waiting to get their hands into our candy.


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Palettes and More Palettes


This is not my calling in life.  Or, maybe it is.  I have no idea anymore.  My creative brain takes me in so many different directions that I imagine that I am on some dusty intersection out in the country somewhere, only today, I've been saddled down with palettes. 


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Red Easel Designing


As some of you may know, I have a small place on the web for visual artists that I call "Red Easel."  It is where I share stories from my studio, tutorials, and it has emerged over the last 2 years to a nice little place for visual artists to share their stories, their tutorials, their paintings, and more.  I also have listings of galleries, and I have an artist directory with over 100 artist listings if I can ever get around to finishing adding those artists that still need to be added to the directory.  I even have information and resources for visual artists.  A whole bunch of neat stuff in one place.  


Friday, October 23, 2009

WooHoo! I'm a TypePad Champion!


I was looking around TypePad this morning seeing what they have new going on and ran across a story about TypePad Champions, and boy was I surprised that I was on the list.  Check this out!...

>> Keep Reading

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Health Care Reform - It's About Time


Since health care reform is on everybody's mind these days, I thought I would share with my readers the black and white of it all.  Let me tell you why - because I am sick of all the political banter going on between the Republicans and the Democrats.  I don't know where the Republican's are coming up with all their scare tactics but they have no basis whatsoever with regards to the actual content of the Health Care Reform Bill.  As for the Democrats - they aren't much better as they have a tendency to sugar coat the content as well. 

Instead of listening to all the political banter, go online and read the bill for health care reform.  You'll find it is exactly what this country needs.  Politicians went through the same crap when Social Security and Medicare were on the table. 

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

You Ended Up Here?


I gotta tell you, there are times I look at my stats and laugh at who ends up here.  Some of them I just can't figure out.  For instance, someone in the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington DC wants to know how to make a shower curtain.  Now I wonder who this could be?  I wonder if my story on making shower curtains helped this person?  I wonder if they saw my colorful, spotted material and thought "Yes!  That is exactly what I want to make for my bathroom!"  Or, did they look at the fabric and think "You've got to be kidding, right?"  Who is this person?  Were they on their lunch break and looking for information on how to make a shower curtain?  Or maybe they were looking for shower curtains when they should have been typing up a bill on health care reform.  Maybe that's the problem with politicians.  They spend too much time on Google looking for instructions on how to make shower curtains and not enough time figuring out how to make the country a better place to live. 

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

R-E-S-P-E-C-T - Thumper's Way


Growing up, my father used to tell me "You lay down with dogs you'll get up with fleas.  Choose your friends wisely and stay away from the dogs."  Believe me when I tell you, I've gotten mixed up with quite a few dogs in this life, and I'm still itchin.'  It's difficult, I know, as a child especially, to feel completely isolated when just about everyone you meet is a "dog."  And that is the problem in this country.  Literally and figuratively.  Respect.  We don't teach our children respect.  Well, I am trying to teach them, but it isn't easy.

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Sunday, October 18, 2009

No More Dancin' Around


As you all may know, my Big Bear got laid off over a year ago, and life as we knew it kinda went ... how many ways can I say this and still sound decent?  You know what I mean.  And as a result, although my readership went up, my comments tanked - because you all can read me like a book and I think you know when my "voice" isn't my own anymore.  I just want to finally tell you what I've really been feeling this past 13 months.  No more dancin' around the issue.

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Friday, October 16, 2009

Amazing Grays - Simply Amazing


It's Contest Time!

I'm pretty darn lucky.  I love to read, and I get the most wonderful books as gifts in the mail from authors and publishers who know that I enjoy good books and will happily tell you, my readers and friends, all about it.  Nothing fills me up quite like a good book, a comfy chair, a favorite quilt in my lap, and a crackling fire.  Okay, I'm hoping we get our fireplace checked soon because I'm wantin' that crackling fire in a bad way, and I'm not interested in anymore attempts at burning down the house.  In the meantime, though, I've been reading the best book.  It is called "Amazing Grays - A Woman's Guide to Making the Next 50 the Best 50."  Sounds like my kind of book, if for no other reason than I just turned 50 and I am amazingly gray.  Need I say more?

Beautiful young people
are accidents of nature, but
beautiful old people are works of art
- Eleanor Roosevelt

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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Snow White Lives Here


Snow White must have lived in North Carolina.  Or maybe she used to live here.  We have so many interesting visitors.  "Hello Bambi, you're looking chipper today."

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