Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Minted Gift

I was recently very lucky and won a giveaway by my sweet friend Jill over at Blessings of a Stay at Home Mom.  She is such a lovely person and has a wonderful blog that shares her family, crafts, recipes and her beautiful property where she lives. You should pop over and check out her blog and say hi as she's been sick with pneumonia right now. It's so not fair to be sick in the summer!! 


The prize I won was a gift code for $50 at minted.com. This is a wonderful online site that has many wonderful items that were created by many different artists. Things like canvas prints, stationary, fabrics and more. It reminds me of etsy in that depending what you pick out they share information about the artist that created that design. And it reminds of shutterfly a little in that you can upload some of your own photos to personalize certain things. It's a really neat site and you should check it out. I'm not a spokesman for them or given anything for this. Just a new customer that won some money to spend there and found their site really cool.


While looking around at all of the wonderful items and beautifully creative pieces I decided to get a little gift for my Mom. She's such a lovely soul and she helps me with my kiddos and my MIL often too. I honestly don't know what I'd do without her! She's my right hand man - not to mention such an amazing person and and an awesome Mom!!I I just love her so much and I'm so grateful for her, that I thought it'd be fun to get her a little gift she wouldn't expect.


So I uploaded a photo of my kiddos and made her this boxed set of personalized cards with their photo and my Mom's initials. They're a really nice thick card stock and are almost postcard style in that you just write on the front of the card. I thought they'd be perfect for a her to send a quick letter to a friend, or write a quick "thank you"  or "thinking of you" note to someone.


They came in this lovely box and I had the option to pay extra for a specific color of envelope or do the white envelopes for free.


And here you can see what the back of the card looks like. I like how it matches the little swatch in the front. They had many different colors and patterns, but this seemed like my Mom. And I love how it shared info about the artist that created this design.


Again, it's a fun site for you to check out. Thanks again to Jill for running a fun contest and picking me!! Lol 





Monday, June 29, 2015

Happy Homemaker Monday

HHM


Time to head into a new week! Hope you had a wonderful weekend. Ours was quite nice, but busy. We were out-of-town for my daughter's hockey tourney. Her team didn't take the top prize, but they played really well and had a lot of fun (the most important part of all). Always a little strange to go from something like 88* outside and then head into a freezing cold ice rink. You just bring lots of layers and often step outside into the sun for a few minutes between periods to warm back up! Sun is shining this morning so on to the business of this week.


THE WEATHER OUTSIDE IS:

Upper 60's sunny and very pleasant. Supposed to hit 77*. However, forecast is saying clouds are going to roll in and by this afternoon there's an 80% chance of rain. So have a feeling we'll be seeing showers pretty soon.


ON THE BREAKFAST PLATE THIS MORNING:

Made some toast and yogurt for my MIL and daughter. I'm not that hungry - just nibbling a couple of garden triscuits with some cheese and some iced coffee.


  AS I LOOK OUTSIDE MY WINDOW:

It's sunny and really quite lovely. Annie and I were outside with Ruby earlier this AM before I went to pick up my MIL and she spotted some little toad stool mushrooms next to the trampoline. She was so excited as she informs me that's a sign that the fairies have been here as "they have parties under a a ring of toad stools at night when no one is looking - so this is a sign the fairies have been here!" She was down inspecting the ring quite thoroughly. Lol


RIGHT NOW I AM:

Watching morning news, chatting with my MIL and nibbling my crackers. My MIL is having a day where she thinks she's fine and asked if she could take the car and she'd take Annie and Ruby with her somewhere so I can get my work done. So sweet, but SO not going to happen. I told her we have some fun things to do here and we're going to hang out. She was fine with that. 


AS I LOOK AROUND THE HOUSE:

Already been catching up with laundry. Need to do a little picking up, but overall not too bad. The flowers need a big drink, though, so that's next on my list. Even it may rain or not - many of my flowers are either sheltered, or kind of dense, that the rain doesn't get to them enough.


ON TODAY'S TO DO LIST:

It would be a good idea to run and grab groceries, but don't know if I'm feeling like I want to tackle that today. Especially with the potential for stormy weather so may have to plan some indoor activities for today. Thought we'd work on scrapbooking and crafts. Some days my MIL can be good at focusing on a task like this and other times her focus is pretty brief. Guess we'll play the day by ear and see how it goes.  I also might put on some old home movies we have of trips from the past (with my MIL) in them as she gets a kick out of that.



CURRENTLY READING:

Still reading Annie's piano teacher's biography he wrote. 


ON THE TV TODAY:

Some cooking shows to watch and I taped a couple of old movies for myself. 


ON THE MENU THIS WEEK:

I'm not sure what I want to make this week, but need to start thinking about a list. I have to include what I'm going to make for the July 4th holiday weekend coming up.  We go to my brother and sister-in-law's house for a BBQ, food, fun and fireworks. They often do party subs and everyone potlucks all kinds of side dishes, snacks and desserts. They live on a lake and folks go out in the boat, swim, get pulled on tubes out in the lake, play volleyball and other games. Lots of fun! My son has been requesting I make homemade twix bars for a dessert. I'm also thinking I might make s'mores bites. Some years I make a big chicken pasta salad, other years some other kind of savory side dish. Not sure what I want to bring for that this year. Hopefully it'll be nice weather and we'll have lots of fun either way!



WHAT I AM CREATING AT THE MOMENT:

Need to get back to some scrapbooking (so much catching up to do) as well as some card making. Will post when I do! 



NEW RECIPE I WANT TO TRY THIS WEEK:

If I make the s'mores bites they would be a new recipe to me. Will post it if I do!


TIP OF THE WEEK:

I LOVE having wet wipes handy all the time. In my purse and the car. I used to always have them on hand when my kiddos were babies and it was amazing how many times they were handy besides just for baby needs. Now I love having them around for quick sticky clean up moments, dirty car issues, after meals when out and about etc. Just a tiny little pack of them is small and so convenient to keep around!



FROM THE CAMERA:


My Annie in action this weekend. She's #16 and plays with a lot of boys (there are other girls on the team too). She played great!!



One night the teams went out to dinner at a restaurant/arcade place for the kiddos and I was helping my nephew win some things in the crane game. He was pretty excited about his "loot"! Lol



PRAYER, INSPIRATIONAL QUOTE OR DEVOTIONAL:

Instead of that kind of inspiration this week I thought I'd end fully with hockey time and share this little piece of video of Annie in action. Again, she's number 16.

video

I'm linking with Sandra from Diary of a SAHM for Happy Homemaker Monday.



Friday, June 26, 2015

Five on Friday:The Floral Life

Happy Friday! Hope you have fun plans for the weekend. It felt like this week went so fast and that the summer is flying by already! I just need to stop and "smell the roses" a bit more. And speaking of flowers...

I was looking around here the other day and realized how much flowers play a role in my life and how happy they truly make me. Do you find that flowers make you feel good too? For my five on Friday I thought I would share the areas where flowers bring colorful joy into my life.

ONE



My bakeware, mixer, and other items in my kitchen.




TWO



As objects to decorate around my home.



THREE


In most of the linens and rugs in my home.



FOUR


And even in a lot of the jewelry and clothing I wear! Including my fitibit (shown above).



FIVE








And of course in the fresh flowers (even wildflowers) inside and outside all around my home. Hope flowers are bringing you some joy today!


I'm linking with Amy from Love Made my Home for Five on Friday.








Thursday, June 25, 2015

Chex Scotcharoos

Oh goodness - are these bars GOOD!! Like sinfully good. Like the kind of good where they are worth the calories. Lots of chocolate and peanut butter...how can you go wrong??



When I was making these I didn't think about sharing the recipe until I was part way through putting them together and then I did grab some quick photos for you. This is a recipe off of my pinterest from a pin by prettyplainjanes and you can click on the direct link here.  But here is the general idea of how they are made:


First you grease up a bowl and pour 6 cups of chex rice cereal in there. They are gluten free, as is this whole recipe, so if that's something you need to watch our for you can still indulge in these goodies! Then you take a saucepan on the stove and melt a cup of sugar with a cup of light corn syrup (here's where I forgot photos) over medium heat until it comes to a boil. Then take it off the heat and add the peanut butter (lots of it - yum!) and stir it in until it all comes together. Then pour over the cereal and toss to combine. Pour into a greased 9x13 pan.



In another bowl take semi sweet chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, MORE peanut butter and vanilla and melt in the microwave. After about one minute on high, stir, and then do 15-20 second intervals checking and stirring after each time - don't over cook. Once melted pour over the bars. Let set at room temperature.



Look at that glossy goodness! Then wait patiently for that wonderful layer of creamy chocolate to set up over that chewy peanut buttery crunch. Cut yourself a piece, indulge in a heavenly bite and say a prayer it doesn't go right to your hips. Again, this is one of those recipes worth the indulgence!! Enjoy. Here's the recipe:


Ingredients
  • 6 cups Chex cereal
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1½ cups peanut butter
  • 2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 cups butterscotch chips
  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
Instructions
  1. Butter a large bowl, and measure out 6 cups of Chex cereal. Set aside. Butter a 9x13 dish, OR line a baking sheet with wax paper if you would like freeform scotcharoo's like the ones I made that are pictured.
  2. In a small saucepan, combine the corn syrup and sugar over medium heat. Once boiling, immediately remove from heat and stir in 1½ cups of peanut butter. Pour over cereal and fold together. Pour cereal into the 9x13 dish, or use a large cookie scoop to drop cereal onto wax paper, and use your hands to press together and form them.
  3. Using a microwave safe dish or a double boiler, melt together chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, ½ cup of peanut butter and vanilla. If microwaving, heat in 10 second intervals, stirring in between to prevent the chocolate from burning.
  4. Once smooth, pour over cereal, or scoop onto the piles you have created.
  5. Allow to cool completely at room temperature.



Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Wednesday Wonder

Peony & Puppy Love

My MIL has quite a few peony shrubs around her yard and they've been starting to open up!  This one is next to her house.





These are all along a fence in her yard.


And this one is next to their garage. The ones not open are all getting ready to "pop" open any day now!

This is a back view of their beautiful old historical home. It was built by a gentleman that owned a cement company in 1911. It's quite a fortress of a house and other then the peony fence side the whole thing is surrounded by a giant hedge. It's on a street in our city with other historical homes. It has beautiful leaded glass windows and lots of birds eye maple woodwork and quarter sawn oak woodwork. My in-law's used to own a painting a decorating company and know how to do just about everything. Through the years they've stripped woodwork and cleaned old doorknobs, took apart all the windows to put them back in actual working order with the old time weights to make them open and close. They brought it back to its former glory and it's truly beautiful. It was a labor of love for them back before my MIL had alzheimers.  Even their garage is 2 stories high as back in horse & buggy times they used to stack carriages in it. There also used to be a tunnel underground from the basement of the house to the basement of the garage. It's kind of a well known house in our city due to its unusual gothic architecture. We all love it and hate to see the day when they can't live their anymore due to age (there are lots of stairs as it's a 4 story home). 


Then back to our house for some puppy love. She loves her furry grandbabies just as much as the human variety.






Tuesday, June 23, 2015

A peek at my Kitchen Clean-up

Happy Tuesday - hope it's bringing you lots of sunshine! We had rain yesterday, but today the sun is out like a beautiful friend shining on my day. Going to go spend some more time outdoors but first I thought I'd give you a quick peek from when we did some cleaning and rearranging in the kitchen a few weekends ago.


It was one of those weekends where we were getting some jobs done around the old northwoods homestead and I just got it in my head I wanted to go through and clean up the kitchen.  I hadn't "thoroughly" been through the cabinets in a LONG time. And what actually motivated things was I have a little tiered tray shelf where I keep our bread on the counter, but it's so close to the big window and the light was making our bread go bad earlier than it should. So I decided I wanted to change things on the counters. And my hubby...who is more of a minimalist and would get rid of everything if he could (poor guy married to me - Lol)....was all for going through everything and purging and organizing. 



This corner was where we had the bread before. Now it's a cozy corner for our blue tooth music player, my zebra plant (probably likes rocking out to the music there) and this warmer. I was so excited when I was cleaning out cabinets as that's when I found this warmer I forgot I had and could put it out for the Independence Day season. 




I thought it would also be a perfect opportunity to put my mixer out now that it's been transformed.  Before it just hid in my island. I love it being out as it's actually pretty to look at since the change, plus much more convenient for when I want to use it! I didn't get into the details of the inside of the cabinets, as it's far less interesting. We ended up throwing out a lot of old things (old warranty papers to appliances, kiddos' old school things etc). Found some new treasures. And then did a little better organizing of things like the tupperware and leftover containers and bakeware cabinets and silverware and kitchen tool drawers. 



View out my kitchen window.


There is the bread tiered stand I was talking about. This is the far corner of the kitchen on the other side of the cook top and what used to sit here was a file holder with kiddos' school things etc and a caddy that held a jar for pens, and a tray for odds and ends. Well we decided to relocate the files and put the other odds and ends in a drawer so we didn't have to look at it anymore. Much better!


Here's where the pens, notepads, church envelopes, sunglasses & odds & ends went. In a drawer out of sight!





A kind of "before" photo of my kitchen at Christmastime (notice the snow outside, Christmas tree in the window and snowman on the cook top). You can see I had my bread up in that left corner next to the window and the canisters filled the other corner where now my mixer sits. Plus, our old kitchen faucet that was leaky and needed changing. That also got a makeover!


And a current photo of my kitchen with the new faucet and all cleaned up and more organized. 





Monday, June 22, 2015

Happy Homemaker Monday

HHM

Happy Monday All - and happy official first full day of summer!! It decided to show up here a little stormy, but some rain is a good thing. It was a lovely weekend here and flew by. I still didn't get to go visit everyone from last week but hoping to get more time later this afternoon. We celebrated Father's Day with my Dad (He's "Papa" to me but he's "Grandpa Whiskers" to my kids as he has always had a mustache & beard). Then celebrated Father's Day with my father-in-law yesterday. Of course we fit my hubby in there too! Lol Also, we watched my daughter's hockey games and she kicked some butt! She's really been loving hockey and she's come so far and does really well. It was a fun weekend and full of Dad Power!



THE WEATHER OUTSIDE IS:

Gray and rainy. Woke up to thunderstorms, but I actually love that sometimes. I just wish I could have stayed in bed!!

ON THE BREAKFAST PLATE THIS MORNING:

1/2 of an onion bagel with light butter, raspberries, and iced coffee.


  AS I LOOK OUTSIDE MY WINDOW:

I see drips leftover from the last down pour. It's kind of between the drops now but know more rain is coming. It's still dark and cloudy.

RIGHT NOW I AM:

Talking with my MIL as we watch the morning news. It was so hard to get up and go pick her up this AM. I just wanted to snuggle in as I listened to the rain hit my window outside. My FIL leaves for work in the morning and then my MIL is on her own for a very short time. I always call to check in with her as soon as I get up and let her know I'm coming to get her. She doesn't remember how to call out on the phone but she still knows how to answer it. I know the time is coming before too long where she can't be alone at all, but so far she does o.k. for that very short time.


AS I LOOK AROUND THE HOUSE:

Threw in some laundry already. Just a few dishes in the sink. Still some games sitting out from when my Dad & step-Mom were over on Saturday and we all played some games together. Annie had a friend sleep over last night so still some of their picking up to be done, but overall pretty tidy. 


ON TODAY'S TO DO LIST:

Going to do a little more picking up and then this afternoon I think we'll go out for a bit of lunch and then go to the library. My daughter has been wanting to go and it would be something fun to do with my MIL too. Then I need to bring my daughter to her piano lesson she has Monday afternoons. 



CURRENTLY READING:

Still reading Annie's piano teacher's biography he wrote. 


ON THE TV TODAY:

I have some cooking shows and some of my soap opera (yes I watch Days of our Lives) to catch up on. 


ON THE MENU THIS WEEK:

Going to get groceries tomorrow (when it's not supposed to rain) and I'm thinking for one day for the in-law's I'll make my easy slow cooker ham & scalloped potatoes as I haven't made it in quite a while. We'll have parmesan breaded chicken dinner another night. Another night some kind of breakfast bake for dinner, or throw something on the grill. 



WHAT I AM CREATING AT THE MOMENT:

I've actually been helping Annie work some more on her first cross-stitch so been monkeying with that. I've also loved working on the new mandala coloring book that Annie & I have also been taking turns "playing" with it. I know that's kind of a new big trend...adult coloring books. But it truly is a wonderful as a sort of relaxation therapy. I will share photos at the end of this post. 



NEW RECIPE I WANT TO TRY THIS WEEK:

I've been wanting to make some homemade granola. I've never really done that but I would love to have some around for munching and even for breakfast cereal! Not sure if I'll get to it this week, but hopefully soon.


TIP OF THE WEEK:

If you haven't used parchment paper for baking - I highly recommend it! It's so wonderful when you're baking something - like I made more blueberry hand pies this weekend for Father's Day - and for something like that where filling might leak out and stick even to a sprayed pan, parchment paper works beautifully. Your food won't stick to it and you just throw away the mess! I always keep some handy.




FROM THE CAMERA:
platter of hand pies from this weekend's father's day festivities



the mandala I colored (I like colored pencils)


Annie's mandala - she prefers color crayons



PRAYER, INSPIRATIONAL QUOTE OR DEVOTIONAL:

I'm linking with Sandra of Diary of a SAHM for Happy Homemaker Monday.