Monday, January 31, 2011

Hearts for Home

Today I am joining in with Gae from Cherished Hearts at Home . She has a weekly post called Hearts for Home which is open for others to link up with and share some thoughts on home-centred ways. She encourages us to think of 4-6 things to commit to each week to make homelife special and to bless us as keepers at home.

The bookwork and paperwork is at an acceptable level.  Not completely done but at a good place.  The bedroom still needs work (I think I'll need to work on that tonight for sure).  I have alot of the planning done for our upcoming holidays.  My crafts are planned, my supply lists are made and recipes have been gathered.  Now it is time to start the doing. The silliness brought us a lot of laughter this week.  Definately something to keep in mind - silliness can be a good thing :)

This week I need to:-

1.  Pray for my daughter.  She is heading off for another college tour/youth event which is 8 hours from home.  She has her heart set on this college and will be talking to an admissions advisor when there.  I see her making wise and responsible decisions - she is growing up so fast - so I pray that things will work out for the best for her - job wise, financially, etc. as well as safety as they travel.  The weather here has been frightful and the roads can deterioriate quite quickly.

2.  Hubby has Friday off work and we are planning a "day date" so I need to plan some fun things that we can do.

3.  Keep on task for my holiday plans and keep working on the crafting projects and cards I want to get done.

4.  Make sure my day in the city is organized with all that I need to do written down so I can get maximum efficiency and not forget anything.

5.  I have started x-stitching some pillowcases and I want to get a good portion done this week.

~Home, the spot of earth supremely blest,
A dearer, sweeter spot than all the rest~
(Maricar Macalincag)

Birds of a Feather

What a wonderful evening we had.  Although temperatures dropped to -31C (-24F) with a wind chill making it feel like -40 (which is just too cold whether its C or F) we had a lovely evening filled with laughter and reminiscing.  My parents and cousin were over for the evening and it was a fun, warm filled evening.

I had found this little leftover bird when I was decorating for Christmas and I immediately knew I wanted to use him after Christmas for my table.  So, this is what one little leftover bird inspired.

I started with a simple white tablecloth with a delicate design.  I picked this up at Wal-Mart on clearance since I needed a new one that would fit my table when it was fully opened up.

I added a decorative bird house that my mom gave to me a few years ago.  I usually have it in our porch but thought it would enjoy being the center of attention for once.

I added some winter branches that I borrowed from a winter arrangement I made before Christmas.  A few branches from each arrangement and you couldn't even tell the difference.

Then I added my "inspiration bird" to the birdhouse.  My little leftover bird now had a home.

I added my bright red cardinal which my mom gave me for Christmas and adorned our tree top. (I also had a beautiful white bird I was going to use that adorned the top of our second tree but hubby had already packed it up and sealed the box.  I was a little disappointed but he was just being helpful so what could I say.)

Packed away in my box of decorating flowers I knew I had some small birds from a wreath project I did a few years ago.

They were the perfect addition in between the branches.

Joining the mix of birds was my daughters blue jay which she received for Christmas this year.  She loves blue jays the way I love cardinals.

Now my leftover bird not only has a home but some friends.

I fell in love with this salt and pepper shaker when I first saw it and when found it under the Christmas tree I was thrilled.

And finally the table.  I kept it fairly simple.  I did get to use my new cutlery that my son gave me for Christmas.

And the napkins my mom made me for Thanksgiving.  I love the trim around the edge.

So as we gathered and visited one of our topics of conversation was the similarity traits in family, even to the 2nd and 3rd generations.  We truly are "birds of a feather" :)

I am joining Marty at "A Stroll Thru Life" for Tabletop Tuesday

I am also joining Susan at "Between Naps on the Porch" for Tablescape Thursday

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Simple Woman's Daybook

For today... Sunday, January 30, 2011

Outside my window... The sun is shining and I am so happy even though it is a chilly -18C (0 F).  We haven't any real sun for, it seems like, a very long time.

I am thinking...  Ahead to this upcoming week and looking forward to it.

I am thankful for... A hubby who has been helping me around the house.

From the learning rooms... Bio exam and a college trip this weekend.

From the kitchen... Tonight we are having cabbage rolls, homemade buns, glazed carrots, garlic green beans and salad.  Dessert is mixed berry kuchen or toffee chocolate squares.

I am wearing...  Black dress pants, black tank top with small rhinestones around the top and a fuschia cardigan.

I am creating...  Embroidery work on some pillowcases.

I am going... To make some Valentine's Day Cards.

I am reading... What Happens When Woman Care by Emilie Barnes.

I am praying for... My family.

Pondering these words... The Sabbath is when we stop doing and start "being" so we can reflect on God. (from our sermon this morning)

I am STILL hoping... That spring will come sooner rather than later.

I am hearing... The computer and worship music playing from downstairs.

Around the house... Some reorganizing and decorating. 

One of my favorite things... Working in the garden.

A few plans for the rest of the week...  A lot of home time this week, shopping on Thursday and something special with hubby on Friday.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing...

Thank you Peggy for the The Simple Woman's Daybook {follow links to read more}.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Chocolate Cake Dress Up

Here's a quick and simple way to dress up a basic chocolate cake.
Take your favorite chocolate cake mix or recipe.
Once you've mixed and put it in the pan add this topping.

1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup chopped pecans
Mix together and sprinkle over cake

Put the cake in the oven and bake.
Once it is baked and cooled drizzle the cake with caramel topping.

Here's the recipe for the chocolate cake that I use.

Chocolate Cake
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup margarine or butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1 cup lowfat buttermilk (I make my own using 1 Tbsp lemon juice and 1 cup 1% milk)

Heat oven to 350F.  Grease and flour 13x9-inch pan.  In medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt.  In large bowl, beat sugar and margarine until light and fluffy.  Beat in vanilla and eggs.  Alternately add dry ingredients and buttermilk, beating well after each addition.  Spread batter evenly in grased and flour pan.

Add topping.  Bake at 350F for 27-35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool completely.  Drizzle with caramel topping.

This is one of my favorite cakes to take to potlucks or a friend's house because the topping makes it look dressed up but also makes it easy to transport.  You don't have to worry about icing getting smucked during the transport.

I am joining Alison at "Prairie Story" for Recipe Swap Thursday

And Lisa at "Sweet as Sugar Cookies" for Sweets for a Saturday


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Anniversary Vignette

My piano top has been bare since putting away the Christmas snowglobes that grace it every year through the Christmas season.  I have been mulling over what to do with it and finally decided to feature our wedding since it will be our 20th anniversary in a month. 

I went rooting around in the boxes under the eaves and found the box of memories I was looking for.  I wanted to feature the bouquet.  I draped the handle through a tall vase filled with potpourri to get the height I wanted while the potpourri gives a nice, soft fragrance.

I found our cake topper that I had put together myself.  I think it was one of my first crafting attempts and made our cake topper very economical.

And hubby's boutineer.

Our photo album of wedding memories.

And our engagement photo and a wedding photo.

It needed a little something more so I added some flat glass beads.

And a heart shaped box and a small treat basket.

And now our living room has a reminder of where it all began 20 years ago and no more big, gaping, empty space :)

I will be joining Gina at the "Shabby Chic Cottage for Transformation Thursdays

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And Cindy at "My Romantic Home" for Show and Tell Friday

And Lori and "be different...act normal" for Show and Tell Saturday

Cookies, Cake, Mixers & Things

My daughter is going on a mission trip this summer and their first fundraiser is a bake sale. 

 She needs to bring a recipe that will make ten dozen cookies (they are getting together to do some of the baking).

We weren't sure how many dozen the recipe made so we had to do trial run.

As you can see, it made quite a few.  In fact, one recipe made six and a half dozen cookies!
It never seems like that many because they always disappear so quickly.

While making the cookies my old hand mixer had enough so I ended having to buy a new one.

Of course, I couldn't wait to try it out and made a chocolate cake. 
The new one is fabulous.  It has a thinner handle for my small hands and is lightweight.
Now on to baking eight dozen coffee cakes for the bake sale.

"Think what a better world it would be if we all, the whole world, had cookies and milk about three o'clock every afternoon and then lay down on our blankets for a nap."
(Barbara Jordan)