Monday, November 30, 2015

Happy Homemaker Monday


Good morning Friends! 


I don't know about you, but it's been hard for me to get back into the groove this morning. After a nice Thanksgiving break, and lots of fun family time, I'm not ready to have a normal routine. I want to keep sleeping in late, eating more goodies together, watching more movies and having more fun! Lol  But I'm very grateful it was a wonderful Thanksgiving and I swear I'm still full from last week! All right moving forward and time to get moving on to the week ahead.


THE WEATHER OUTSIDE IS:

It's in low 30's and chilly! We have a big weather warning too. Snow is heading our way!! They're saying tonight and through tomorrow we'll be getting 3 to 6 inches of it. A little south of us may get a foot!! They're saying it could be in the 40's by the weekend, so it won't last and will probably be messy and melty by then.


ON THE BREAKFAST PLATE THIS MORNING:

I was naughty and had a little part of a donut and gingerbread coffee with sweet creamer. Also some fruit!



  AS I LOOK OUTSIDE MY WINDOW:

I'm looking out at the bay and it's all frozen on the top layer. It's gray and looks like it will be snowing!  It's neat at night when it gets colder like recently,  I'll let Ruby out for her last time of the night and stand on our deck and just listen to the cracking all over as the ice is forming. Such a cool and kind of creepy sound in the dark.



RIGHT NOW I AM:

Snuggling under my blanket on the couch and watching the morning news as I write this. Listening to more about our weather coming. It's big local news today! Lol


AS I LOOK AROUND THE HOUSE:

We've started bringing out all of our Christmas stuff!! We put the tree up downstairs and my daughter and her friends put on all of the ornaments. The upstairs tree is MINE though! Haha. I like to make that tree a little dressier and have more coordinated ornaments and trimmings etc. The downstairs is more the kiddo hang out and where we watch t.v. a lot  (our media room). So I love that it has all the nostalgic ornaments. When the girls were decorating it I was "supervising" and going down memory lane with my daughter over each ornament.  My son did come down later and at least look at the tree and go down memory lane a bit too. As a teenager it's not as cool to get nostalgic. Lol! I got the lights on the upstairs (formal living room) tree, but haven't got the decorations up yet. Will work on it today.  Still lots of other bins to go through and figure out where I want to put things this year. Plus I need a few new items. Will work on it all over the week. Yay Christmas!!



ON TODAY'S TO DO LIST:

I'm making my grocery list.  I'll have my MIL this afternoon, and after I make us some lunch we'll go run errands and pick up the groceries. Then we'll come back here and I'll try to make a quick dinner I can send home for her & my FIL too, late this afternoon. Once I get home, after picking up my daughter from school, I'll want to snuggle in as the snow will be starting!



CURRENTLY READING:

I've been looking through holiday magazines and catalogs. Been doing lots of online shopping already. Just a reminder that today is cyber Monday too!

 


ON THE TV TODAY:

I didn't watch the Good Wife yet. Some cooking shows to catch up on - some Hallmark shows too. I did watch the salute to Downton Abbey last night! I can't wait until it starts in January!! I can't believe it's the last season though. I'll sure miss it. 



ON THE MENU THIS WEEK:

MONDAY: thinking tacos - something I can make up quickly

TUESDAY: leftovers (& we'll be snowed in)

WEDNESDAY: mini ham muffins with honey mustard dip and creamy tomato soup

THURSDAY: slow cooker sweet and sour pork chops & veggies over rice

FRIDAY: leftovers or out to eat



WHAT I AM CREATING AT THE MOMENT:

Some Christmas projects, scrapbooking, gift things.


NEW RECIPE I WANT TO TRY THIS WEEK:

sweet and sour slow cooker pork chops will be a new one to try



TIP OF THE WEEK:

I like to keep all of my primary baking ingredients (like baking powder, baking soda, salt, powdered sugar, cinnamon, baking cocoa, chocolate chips) in it's own container in my pantry cabinets so I can easily grab those certain items or pull the whole bin out when I'm baking. Convenient way to keep it all together.



FROM THE CAMERA:
Downstairs tree


Upstairs tree  - only lights and needs decorations yet


I took this one from underneath the tree looking up through the branches at the lights






Tree selfie with my Girl


PRAYER, INSPIRATIONAL QUOTE OR DEVOTIONAL:




** I also want to remind everyone that I still have my giveaway going on through tomorrow and will be announcing the winner on Wednesday. Please please please go to the post from last week here and enter!! I love my blogland family so much and want to give one of you these goodies as a thank you. 


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

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Wednesday Wonder & Happy Thanksgiving!

WINTER IS COMING




Wintery sky with full moon out my kitchen window last night. Love how you can see my cozy kitchen counters in the reflection. And from this A.M. -looks like a green Thanksgiving for us, but it's chilly as you can see by the frozen bay.




HAPPY THANKSGIVING!


The day is almost here! I'm busy today cooking and baking away and loving it!! Got my Christmas tunes a singin' away too. Annie helped me with the crust for the pecan pie:

I always like to make Pioneer Woman's recipe for homemade crust and pecan pie filling you can find here and here,


Here's a link to the calico bean dish, that's a family recipe from my hubby's family and we always make for Thanksgiving and Christmas. 


I also make my family recipe for broccoli salad. Cut up 4 to 6 heads of broccoli. Take 1 &1/2 cups of mayo and add 3 Tbsp of sugar and 3 tsp of white vinegar. Mix together and pour over broccoli and toss together. Cover and place in fridge overnight. The next day cook up about a pound of bacon and break up over salad. Add raisins and some chopped red onion to taste and dig in. 



I'm also going to be making this food network recipe for cranberry sauce with a few tweaks mentioned  in the rated comments. I'm going to use orange juice instead of water and cook for less time (not add the extra whole cranberries at the end). 


Also, just a reminder about my cozy giveaway. Please click on the link to my post yesterday and leave me a comment to enter the giveaway. All the details are there.  I so love you, my blogland friends, and I'm so thankful for you and want to send one of you some goodies as a way to share my gratitude!! So please please enter my dear Friends!


I'm going to take a little blog break until Monday. Wishing all of my friends in the States a very safe, happy, family, food & fun filled Thanksgiving day! And to everyone else blessings for a wonderful weekend ahead! See you next week. 









Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Cozy Giveaway!




Happy Tuesday everyone!! 


For those of you friends in the States - the countdown is on to Thanksgiving!! I meant to post this earlier today, but didn't get a chance to with all of my furniture topsy turvy, and I couldn't get to my computer. It was the last day for the carpet layers and now it's all done!! Yay!! Now the not so fun part of cleaning all the furniture that's still misplaced and putting it all back. Lol  


I was also gone for the afternoon grabbing all of my turkey day groceries, as I wasn't able to go yesterday. Lots of crowds, but I was able to get everything. Double yay!! Now on to the fun at hand...I'm finally ready to open up my one year blogaversary giveaway! I wanted it to include fun cozy time of year things, but also things that I love. So there's some scrapbooking goodies and some food and cooking kinds of things, as well as a couple of holiday goodies. 



If you remember from a prior post, part of the giveaway includes this  binder/scrapbook kit. With the lined pages it would be perfect to do a personalized recipe cookbook, like the one I'm making for my Annie. I will be writing down my cinnamon spiced sugared pecans recipe in the book - they are so perfect for this time of year and make wonderful gifts! I will be including scrapbook type adhesive (if you want to attach recipes or use the smaller papers as recipe cards and attach them). I also plan to include a scrapbook quality marker for journaling and embellishments and some cooking/baking related stickers. 



I will also be including this fun wild rice pancake mix and pure maple syrup. All from the area in which I live here in the northwoods. Wild rice is very big around here!


I will be making my cinnamon spiced sugared pecans and loading up this adorable tin with them.  (I will put in sealed baggie to help insure they remain good if they happen to go on a long journey).


To go with the food theme I'll also be including this fun and goofy "ugly sweater" towel. And of course a few holiday ornaments are in order so I have an ornament of one of the Great Lakes - Lake Superior (the big lake where I live) that was handcrafted by a local artist. That way you can always remember me at this time of year dear blogland friend. And this adorable stained glass snowman that can be hung as an ornament, or will have a suction cup with it if you want to hang it in your window. 



All you need to do to be entered into the giveaway drawing is to leave me a comment below about your favorite part of the holidays. I will send to anyone and you do not need to have a blog or be in the U.S. to win. I will leave the drawing open for one week. So the drawing will end next Tuesday evening December 1st and I will announce the winner next Wednesday December 2nd. I'm so grateful for all of you wonderful blogland friends. Thanks so much to all who stop by to visit my blog and to all of you who comment and make my day on a regular basis. It means so much to me and helps this world feel like a smaller cozier place! Blessings to you all and good luck! 


 


Monday, November 23, 2015

Happy Homemaker Monday



Happy Monday Everyone!


Hope you had a great weekend! I was supposed to have a lovely belated birthday luncheon with some of my girlfriends Saturday, but I had a horrible belly bug so had to cancel. (sad face). Hopefully it's going to work out another night this week, and I feel much better now thankfully.  We also celebrated my hubby's birthday yesterday a little (it's his real day today). I treasure the day he was born. He's my rock and my best Friend.  I'm wishing him many blessed years ahead! I made buttermilk vanilla cinnamon pancakes yesterday morning...and some were chocolate chip for my son and his buddies that slept over. Then my hubby and I had fun watching the Packer/Vikings game (always a big game in this household!) and yay - the Packers won!!  So not a bad pre-birthday day.



THE WEATHER OUTSIDE IS:

In the 30's today and cloudy. We got a little dusting of snow last night, but it's supposed to be warmer as the week goes on. I have a feeling it's going to be a pretty mild and green Thanksgiving this year, which is unusual for us. 


ON THE BREAKFAST PLATE THIS MORNING:

A piece of toast with butter & jam, a banana, and a cup of coffee with natural sweet creamer. 


  AS I LOOK OUTSIDE MY WINDOW:

Looking at the clouds and daydreaming on my busy week ahead.  The bay keeps getting thin layers of ice on it - especially in the AM. But then as the day warms up it opens up again. I'm up and going extra early today as the carpet guys will be here for round 2 soon.  Need to accomplish some quick house tasks before my MIL is here too. 



RIGHT NOW I AM:

In a tiny spot in our tv room surrounded by our bedroom furniture as they're coming to carpet that room today. Watching morning news and snuggling Ruby.


AS I LOOK AROUND THE HOUSE:

Everything is topsy turvy due to carpeting!! ugh!! Lol But it's worth it. What they've done so far is so soft and pretty and wonderful! Can't wait til it's all done. But in the meantime I've got closet stuff piled up in our big master bath tub, my bedroom furniture in the t.v. room, and my son's bedroom furniture in his sister's room. You get the idea. My MIL and I will need to hide out downstairs in the media room, when we're around here today.



ON TODAY'S TO DO LIST:

I need to take my MIL for another doctor appointment today. Then may grab more thanksgiving groceries.  It'll be good to be out of the way of the carpet layers for the day. My son has a hockey game tonight and we'll grab a birthday dinner for my hubby and then come home and move the final round of furniture as hopefully they'll finish by Tuesday! 



CURRENTLY READING:

Anne of Windy Poplars and holiday magazines 


ON THE TV TODAY:

Still need to catch up on Amazing Race, some hallmark movies and a couple cooking shows. 



ON THE MENU THIS WEEK:

MONDAY: Out for dinner for hubby's birthday

TUESDAY: spaghetti hot dish (goulash like), garlic bread, veggies

WEDNESDAY: something easy like soup and sandwich (I'll be busy getting some things baked ahead for Thanksgiving)

THURSDAY: Yay - turkey day!! Gobbling up turkey dinner and all the fixings. 

FRIDAY: The best part - turkey leftovers. Sandwiches and slow cooker turkey rice soup



WHAT I AM CREATING AT THE MOMENT:

Many things in the works - haven't worked on anything recently!!  Ugh! Need to get to work on those things that are a priority. 


NEW RECIPE I WANT TO TRY THIS WEEK:

Nothing really new planned.



TIP OF THE WEEK:

Fabric softener sheets are wonderful for many uses! They can take grease off of a baked on dish (just soak it in water in the dish and it will soften it up). Trust me on this one - they're great for hockey bags and stinky things like that! Just keep a sheet (or 10) in the stinky place. Lol! Also, if a shirt is really "static-y" you can rub the sheet on it a bit and it will help stop it.   They're good for picking up pet fur off the furniture and even dusting off your table tops! Pack a few among your clothes for a trip and keep them "fresh" smelling and static free.  They also help repel bugs. If you do a search online you can find many uses for them! 


FROM THE CAMERA:





peek at the new carpet, frosty deck from this weekend, and this morning a snow covered deck and bay



PRAYER, INSPIRATIONAL QUOTE OR DEVOTIONAL:


I'm linking with Sandra of Diary of a Stay at Home Mom for Happy Homemaker Monday.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Five on Friday:Random Bits

Happy Friday Folks!  


As we head into the weekend, I hope all is cozy in your neck of the woods.The Thanksgiving holiday is coming up so soon...so I've begun preparing my grocery lists and finding my recipes. I thought I'd share a bit about that and some other random bits for my 5 things this week.


ONE

Thanksgiving is less than a week away so I've been thinking all of those thoughts. We'll spend the holiday at my brother-in-law's family's house. They host Thanksgiving and we host Christmas. My sister-in-law handles  the turkey and potatoes. I prepare many of the other sides and some of the desserts. Some other family members bring some things too. I make a traditional homemade stuffing. I toast and season my own bread cubes - so yummy! I use egg as well as stock to coat the bread for richer texture. I also make a broccoli salad that has a creamy sweet dressing and add bacon, red onion and raisins. We do that instead of traditional green bean casserole. We also bring the calico beans that are made in the slow cooker with 4 varieties of beans, ground hamburger, bacon, onion, brown sugar, vinegar, mustard and seasonings. (an old family traditional recipe of my hubby's family).


 I'll bring a kid friendly dessert (not sure what yet) - like rice krispies treats. And then I make pioneer woman's pecan pie and homemade crust. You can find the links for both here and here.

REE_0798_3461 

This pie is perfection and I highly recommended!! So good! 

I've also been looking at cranberry sauce recipes like this one I pinned on my pinterest page - instead of (or in addition to) canned sauce.

Cranberry Sauce






TWO

Kind of random, but I wanted to show this new addiction of mine. We recently picked this up at Trader Joe's and it's so good!! It's sort of like the consistency of peanut butter, but a little thicker and tastes kind of like a cross between gingerbread and if graham crackers were made into a butter. It is fabulous spread on toast or a graham cracker, or for dipping apples or other fruit. Or eating straight of the jar! So different but amazingly yummy!!





THREE


We've been having our first snowflakes swirling in the air, but nothing really accumulating. The other night we were picking up my son from hockey and Ruby came with us. We drove by a local attraction that gets put together and lit for the holidays each year. They'll open it for the season, for folks to tour, beginning this weekend. It's so beautiful and "Christmasy". Kiddos can go talk to Santa and they have free cookies and coffee and cocoa. They also have fire pits and marshmallows for toasting. Then when my hubby ran in, Ruby decided to jump into the front seat and it looked like she was ready to take over driving duty! Lol




FOUR





It's been windy and cold lately, but not a lot of snow. We've had some small flurries as you can see on my patio table and deck. But the cold makes me want to cook and bake even more. I made homemade pizza the other night, including the crust, and it was so yummy and comforting and "hit the spot". I will share the recipe in the future. 




FIVE



We're ready for our new carpet - yay!! The other night we started taking out all of the furniture for the rooms they're doing first. Of course then all that furniture needs to go somewhere!  So things are strategically stacked and put into empty areas. I can't wait until it's all done! It's truly needed, and I am excited to see the end result! Will share photos after they're all done next week.  


I'm linking with Amy of Love Made My Home for Five on Friday.













Thursday, November 19, 2015

Custard Pear Bars (with macadamia crust)

I'm so excited to share these bars with you today because they're SO good!! They are the perfect flavors of the holiday season. A rich macadamia nut crust, a layer of creamy smooth custard, then a topping of juicy pear spiced with cinnamon. Perfect textures and flavors!



Now I think I shared this recipe way at the beginning of when I started my blog, but I only shared the recipe (I think it was one of several for a holidays kind of post). However, I didn't share photos and hadn't made them at that time. I found this recipe in a Taste of Home magazine with lots of wonderful holiday baking in it. I've kept it as there are so many great recipes in it. This is one I've made again and again because they're so good and always a hit with others!

When I was making these I forgot to take some photos until I got going, but here's how you make them.  First of all, you're going to want to chop some macadamia nuts. I love my pampered chef chopper that I've had for like a bazillion years - but it still works expertly on many things. I know I need to get a food processor one of these days though. Anyway, take the chopped nuts and blend with flour, sugar, butter, vanilla - good things. Press into greased 8x8 pan.



Put crust in oven to bake at 350* for a bit and take a nice steamy oven photo.



Then make a creamy custard with cream cheese, egg, vanilla, and sugar. Pour custard over cooled crust.



Take a can of sliced or halved pears and cut into smaller sections.



Arrange them over the custard nice and pretty.





Make a cinnamon/sugar mixture and sprinkle it all over the pears.




Then put back into the oven to bake a bit more until it's nice and golden. The center will still be a little soft set. Take them out and let them cool before putting them in the fridge. Then try to be patient for an hour or 2 to let them fully chill. Then cut a piece and take a bite and close your eyes and just enjoy the most perfect bite of the holidays.  Here's the full recipe:




I'm linking with Sherry of The Charm of Home for Home Sweet Home.


And with Andrea of Scrapality for Scraptastic Saturday.


Scraptastic Saturdays every Saturday @ 8 PM EST.




Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Wednesday Wonder

SNOWFLAKES







They're calling for snowflakes in our forecast again. We'll see if we get much (it may miss us a bit too). But the winds are blustery and it has that feeling in the air.  So that makes for a good time to snuggle in, sip chai tea, enjoy a cinnamon spiced pear custard bar (sharing recipe tomorrow) and color!  Snowflakes are with my watercolor pencils.

*I feel like I'm endlessly behind visiting everyone lately. Been so busy with kiddo and MIL appointments and some busy nights. I have some clear days ahead and will catch up and come say hello! Blessings. xo

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Paris Love & Giveaway Update

Good morning Friends! 


I wanted to, first of all today, share some things that are in my heart about the recent events in Paris. I am sickened by what happened, and my soul weeps over these constant events in our world. I saw this on facebook and I think it's very fitting:



I continue to pray - as I'm a very spiritual person and a person of faith - and I truly believe in the power of it. Especially if many people can come together and pray as one for a need in this world. So I want to ask those that do pray, to please pray for peace in this world.  I also believe in the power of just being a person that puts out good in the world: caring words, kind actions, concern for others - you can make a difference in this world. I firmly believe there is SO much good everywhere too. It's just overshadowed by a lot of the dark and bad. Those are the things that often make the stories on the news and other media. Please, focus on the good - it's out there....share it with others. Believe in it.



I was very blessed to take a trip to Europe with my Aunt Mary Jo 16 years ago. The year before I became a mother. This trip holds some of my most treasured memories and it was the most amazing trip I have ever gone on up to this point in my life. We went to France, Italy, Austria, the Czech Republic, and Poland. We spent one whole week of the trip in different cities in Poland staying with family that live there. It was incredible! It is the reason I got into scrapbooking, as the first scrapbook I ever made was this one.  I wanted to put together a scrapbook of the trip to have a special keepsake of our adventures.  Here are some photos from the Paris section:

This is me on that first day we explored Paris and I couldn't believe we were actually there! Can you see my joy? Arms outstretched. Lol! I had 4 years of french language and studying about France in school, and always dreamed of going there one day. I'm standing in front of a little garden area next to Notre Dame. There were tulips everywhere. It was Spring in Paris and it was amazing!! I have photos of the Eiffel Tower too - we went up in it at night so photos were dark. It was amazing, and just walking up to it was beautiful. Lilac bushes everywhere. I equate the scent of lilacs now often with the Eiffel Tower.




Another shot of Notre Dame along the La Rive Gauche (The Left Bank).







We took a train ride, past gorgeous fields of lavender (looked like a story book), out to Chartres - a charming town with one of the oldest cathedrals in the world. Chartre Cathedral was so gothic and amazing - like right out of a medieval movie.


This is a photo of my Aunt sitting outside Chartres' steps. After the cathedral tour we sat out on these stone markers and enjoyed our lunch of bread, cheese, fruit and drinks I had picked up in the farmer's market in Paris earlier that day. That is how we started most days: while my Aunt was in the hotel getting ready I would take my market bag and walk to the market up the street to practice my French and buy some local, cheeses, breads and fruits from the vendors there. We would put it all in our backpacks and go on an adventure for the day and share our lunch wherever we were at that time of day. Dinner would then be at a restaurant or buying a filled crepe at a crepe stand. My Aunt loved jambon et fromage (ham & cheese) - I loved hazelnut spread and banane (banana).  I remember hearing things about the people of Paris being cold and distant. We didn't see that at all. If we needed help and asked someone they were so gracious and kind and helped us. They seemed to especially appreciate my efforts to speak their language...no matter how poorly it came out. Lol



I think we could have spent weeks in the Louvre - but we only had part of a day. It was incredible! We did see the Mona Lisa (it's REALLY small) and the Venus di Milo, but I was most impressed with Winged Victory.






We took a train a different day out to Versailles for a tour there. It was beautifully ornate and gilded. Notice the Hall of Mirrors photo I took (a little dark)  - but I cannot even begin to share how incredible it was to walk through such a beautiful and historical place. Goose bumps!! The grounds were amazing and vast and beyond description. We ate our picnic lunch that day under a huge storybook looking tree next to "Hamlet" which was the peasant town area on the grounds where Marie Antoinette often dressed up as a peasant to blend in and would visit there and basically "play peasant" for the day. Amazing memories I'll never forget.







I think my love of Paris rubbed off on my daughter as that is what she chose as the theme for her room when she graduated to a "big girl" room a few years ago. I think reading a lot of Fancy Nancy books helped too. Lol!  We finally did find a bed spread for her too (FYI to those whom have followed her room adventures in my previous posts) and I will fully share her room after we have our new carpeting.  It's not a toile spread, but it works for now and she likes it.  

When my daughter asked me about the events in Paris - I wasn't sure what I should say.  I tried to explain it to her in a non-scary way, but I was honest with her. However, I mostly shared with her my love for that City. How incredibly beautiful it is, and how if she still wants to go to school there one day (she talks about doing that a lot) - I would gladly come spend time with her there. I think we need to keep dreaming, traveling, meeting new people, living full rich lives. Because if we don't, than the bad guys do win. They'll never win if I can help it. Je t'aime Paris.  

I follow "french words" under instagram and this was the word that came up a few days after the attack:

Love that! After all, Paris is the City of Light - and I believe it has a bright one ahead. 






Sorry that was so lengthy, but thank you for letting my share. Now on to the giveaway update. I am still planning to have a giveaway in honor of my recent one year blogaversary!! However, it will happen next week. I will do a post next Tuesday about what I will be giving away (as I'm still accumulating items). I will share a sneak peek of one of the items I'll be giving:



I love this binder book I picked up a while back - thinking of it for this, at the time, future giveaway. Many of you have commented on your love of the cookbook I'm making for Annie and I thought this binder and pages would be a wonderful way to create one of your own. The lined pages would work beautifully for recipes - plus they're cute! I'm planning on including my recipe for my sugared pecans - as well as a container of the sugared pecans themselves! I will also be including a scrapbook quality marker/pen, scrapbook adhesive and some stickers. I'm also planning on including some holiday goodies - as well as local items from my area. So stay tuned next week when the giveaway will officially begin!!  Blessings to All. xo