Oh my goodness Sugar Pies! I know it seems like forev-ah since I’ve posted! I was gone way too long. I’ve missed blogging, and most of all, I missed you my dear sweet sistas! I hope y’all are having a happy summer! I had a whirlwind trip to the West Coast, the place where I was born and raised…San Diego, California. Although I had a very enjoyable trip, it came with a couple challenges. The first week I had to take it easy because I pulled a muscle in my back (due to my overloaded suitcase I’m sure…hey a girl’s gotta have her stuff!) Thankfully the Lord had mercy on me, by the end of the week I was as good as new…just in time for  a fun barn sale. Shortly after that, my dad had to go to the hospital for about 5 days ( He is doing much better now thank the Lord!)

After a few weeks I was ready to come home. I missed Missouri! I missed the Ozark mountains, the green trees and fresh country air. Finally the day came to  catch our flight in L.A. and let me tell you getting to the airport was quite a hair-raising adventure, I felt like I was on Alice in Wonderland’s Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride at Disneyland! It’s a good thing we had a G.P.S. otherwise I don’t know how we could have found our way! Seriously, there were about 9 different highways we had to take, and it didn’t help that the traffic was pure chaos. We couldn’t get over  to the right lane fast enough to catch one of the highways so the  G.P.S. lady kept saying “re-calculating route ….re-calculating route” .  Missing your turn in L. A. is not a good thing.

trc49071 Photo source: world of

See what I mean?! L.A. is a huge city, this is only a small peek at the freeway system! (in Cali we say “Freeway”, in Missouri it’s Highway …it’s funny when we say “freeway” here in Missouri people kinda look at you funny!)

Ahhhh, but when we landed in Springfield Missouri and stepped outside the sun was just beginning to melt like an orange popsicle into the horizon, the warm air was golden and the sweet scent of fresh mown hay was thick as cream. The airport is smack dab in the middle of quaint little farms so the ride home is always so lovely….


….so serene…beautiful, calm and quiet.


This is what the highways looks like all the time here in Missouri…like an easy drive in the country!



How cute is this tanker? I wonder if it was filled with Coffee? If it is, that’s a “Big  O’ Cup ‘a’ Joe” rolling down the highway!


This is the sign we look for…65 South…Branson…home, here we come!


Don’t you just love coming home after a long trip? It’s so comforting. I always make sure to tidy up the house before going out of town, so that when my family and I walk through the door and step into our clean and cozy surroundings, we are welcomed with that “Ahhh, it’s good to be home”  feeling.


The next day was Summer’s 12th birthday, so I was up early to go to the market to re-stock the frige and buy the fixin’s for her special birthday supper. Her favorite meal is meatloaf, corn-on-the-cob, stuffed mushrooms, country fried potatoes,  fresh cantelope  and Angel Food Cake with fresh strawberries and homemade whipped cream for dessert.


Summer Rose is a dream-come-true! How blessed we are to have her in our family. She brings such joy and sunshine into our lives! I am one thankful mama to have such wonderful children!

It took me a few days to get settled, unpacked, and spend time with my little grandson Johnny (oh how I missed that sweet boy…I had some serious kissing to do when I finally got to hold him!)  School for Summer is just a few days away so we had to get busy stocking up on 6th grade supplies.

When I got around to downloading all of my photos I saw how many I had…too many to put  in one blog post, so this will be Part One of my California adventures.  It’s always fun to stroll through the photos of a happy vacation, taking the time to reflect the warm memories made. It’s even more fun to share them with friends. So are you ready to take a trip down memory lane with me? Our first stop is to a very HOT barn sale! Hot, as in over 100 degrees! But the goodies were equally hot!


This was my sister Sherry’s booth (Glamarella Junk)…




Sherry embellishes millenary flowers with vintage jewelry and makes them into brooches and necklaces. She also hand-dyes slips, and creates darling farm-style collage art…




Here I am with a few of the junkin’ girls…From left to right…Sandra Finn, an amazing vintage stylist–check out her blog here, and sweet-as-pie Joy from the ever adorable blog The Vintage Rabbit, what a doll she is! We chatted about raising chickens…she’s got some and I want some! Next is my sister Sherry from Glamarella Junk, with her sassy vintage hat on!


I also got to meet up with my dear friends Sara and Abbey, a mama and daughter team from Sweet Magnolia Farm. “Sweet” is the best word to discribe these gals! OH and amazingly talented too!! You have just got to zip over to their blog and check out their Etsy store! They create the most adorable Farm-girl things!!  Come take a look at their darling booth…


Sweet Magnolias Farm


Sweet Magnolias Farm


Sweet Magnolias Farm


Sweet Magnolias Farm


I also had the joy of meeting Deb Kennedy, creator of Retreat Style, and her happy hubby Bob. They have been featured in several magazines, participated in the Farm Chicks Shows, BarnHouse Flea markets, Remnants of the Past Antiques show,  as well as many others around the country.  Deb and her husband re-create vintage items and turn them into gorgeous, one of a kind treasures. Can I just tell you how adorable they are?!!  I loved getting a chance to chat with them and to see all of the delightful and fabulous home-goods they create  that would make any  home feel like a beautiful “retreat!”

She was so kind to leave me a comment recently:

“It was wonderful meeting you at the show this past weekend!
I LOVE LOVE LOVE your cute boots, darlin’…. don’t really know how you worked those in the sweltering heat but oh MY you were stylin’! Thank you so much for your kind compliments on our displays & booth both here on the blog and at the show… big kudos right back to you for all of the inspiration you provide to us all! Visit me on our Retreat blog (linked) or my own blog at Hugs, Deb”

Isn’t she the sweetest thang?

Take a peek at her darling booth!



So cool and refreshing on such a hot day! You’ve got to head over to Deb’s Petite Retreat blog to see the darling Sweet Sweater Pumpkins she’s designed and created. She is hosting a class to make them on her farm in the Washington area.


I also got to meet a few of my WoNdErFuL Sugar Pie Sistas!! This is  adorable Dani with her gorgeous mama! They drove a very long way to meet me! I also got to meet her wonderful hubby (wonderful, because he was happy to drive her and her sweet babies to come meet me on such a scorching hot day! What a guy!) I was so honored and blessed! I also got to hug some more of my Sugar Pie Sistas…Mindi and Cathy…unfortunately I didn’t get their pictures! (boo hoo!)


The following weekend I headed to downtown San Diego for a  pre Padre Baseball game “tail-gate” Party (minus the tail-gate) at my cousin Dena’s condo that overlooks San Diego Bay.  Dena and I grew up together in our big Italian family. She’s the one, I told about in a past blog post, that kicked some lady in the pants thinking it was me at Disneyland on the raft crossing the water to Tom Sawyer’s Island…oh boy that was the funniest thing I think I ever saw when that lady turned around and Dena realized it wasn’t me. I still get a kick out of that! (sorry for the pun!) She can tell a few stories about me I’m sure, but she’ll have to do that on her own blog! Speaking of which here is hers…Dena-Marie …check it out, it’s very encouraging! Tell her I sent ya!


As you can see Dena’s view from the 18th floor is spectacular! Enjoying the view are my wonderful kids Summer, J.J. and fiance’ Tiffany.


Here’s part of my big Italian Fam! I love these girls…so much fun…so many memories!


Watching the Padre game  with around 30 of my Italiano cousins was so much fun! The sunset was gorgeous!


J.J. shows off his  bubble gum talent!


Me and hubby Gary makin’ a memory.


The next day we had a big family reunion with lots of food and games. Here is Summer and cousin Isabelle running a race and won!


Spent some time at the beach in Carlsbad…daddy and Summer dipping their toes in the sparkling water.



San Diego Zoo…here we come!



It’s always so amazing to see the creatures God created!



This was Summer’s first time at the zoo…she was like a kid in a candy store!


They had a really facinating art demonstration…two artists began painting a huge canvas, splashing the paint and swiping the surface in super speed motion to upbeat music, drawing a crowd of curious onlookers…wondering what they were creating. Within around 8 minutes they revealed their masterpiece by turning the canvas rightside up….


The eagle has landed! Pretty cool huh?img_2282

Another day we took a drive into the Vineyard Country of Temecula to see the place where my son J.J. and soon to be daughter-in-law, Tiffany will be married next June.



This is where they will become Mr. and Mrs.! I’m so proud of both of them! Tiffany just graduated from Cal Baptist University and is going to be a middle school math teacher. J.J. will graduate this fall and is working full time.  Putting God first, they have a bright future ahead of them!



On my next post I’ll share our trip up to the mountains of Julian to have some yummy pie at Mom’s Apple Pie House….and my afternoon of fun with my dear friend Cat from the Vintage Housewife!

I’m sure hoping y’all didn’t forget about me since I’ve been gone so long! Can you believe Fall is just around the corner? I’m excited to share my fall nesting ideas with you in the coming weeks!!!

Bless you Sugar Pies!! Please let me know you are still stopping by for “pie”! I love reading your comments!


Aunt Ruthie

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