Monday, December 12, 2011

More (Simple) Christmas Ideas

 A simple display on our kitchen counter reminds the kids (and us adults) what Christmas is all about.

 I adore my Berry and Bow Door Bucket from WH!  
(It's on sale this December for under $12!)

I've been blessed with many of my Granny's old-timey ornaments, but I'm terrified to put some of them on our big tree.  My kiddos will absolutely knock the big tree down sometime before 2012.  A funky wire tree my mom got me is a perfect solution.  I've put it up high where no little monsters can grab it, and it gives a place of honor to my grandma's ornaments.

A Warm Welcome

My wonderful hubby and I simply don't have time to put up lights outside our house this year.  In fact, since we put our house on the market, we've had to simplify our Christmas decorations quite a bit.  (Not every potential buyer wants to walk into a North Pole Wonderland I've heard.)  So in lieu of a fancy lights show, I got out two old sleds and simply added picks from our local grocery store.  Wintery, simple, and it took me all of five minutes!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Scarecrow Crunch

Scarecrow Crunch
4 cups crunchy oatmeal cereal squares or Chex cereal 
4 cups tiny twist pretzels 
1 can salted peanuts 
1 bag of autumn mix honey candy 
1 bag of candy corn 
2 cups peanut butter M&M's 
2 (6-ounce) boxes caramel popcorn with nuts 
1 (6.6) bag chocolate Teddy Grahams

Mix and enjoy.  Store in an air-tight container!

Thanks to my fellow Willow House Design Consultant, Georgia, for this recipe!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

What's Your "Mom Personality Type"?

This is totally scientific, yet totally made up.  Do you see yourself or your friends in any of these?  

The Domestic Diva:
  • A combination of Martha Stewart (love ya, Martha) and Betty Crocker, this gal excels in household management.
  • Why she's an awesome friend:  She'll bring one lip-smacking dish to your next potluck.
The Sassy Stylista:
  • She's dressed in the latest trends with each hair in place as she trots through the grocery store (in heels, of course!).
  • Why she's an awesome friend: She can gently nudge you toward updating your style and can help you get ready for a date night with your hubby.
The Fitness Fanatic:
  • No kidding, this gal uses her jogging stroller for actual jogging!  Drop and give her 20!
  • Why she's an awesome friend:  She can prove to you that women with kids really CAN make time for exercise.
The Crazy Committee Chic:
  • PTA?  She's all over it.  Church choir?  Please, she practically runs it!  This mom is involved in seemingly everything and brings a snack along for the team too!
  • Why she's an awesome friend:  If you lost your kid's soccer practice schedule or you want to know what's going on in the community, she's got her finger on the pulse of it all.
Pleasantly Plugged-in
  • Adorned in her Bluetooth, smart phone, iPad, and every other imaginable device to stay connected, you can't miss this tech-savvy lady.  
  • Why she's an awesome friend:  You'll get a text, Facebook message, email and tweet on your birthday for sure (her smart phone reminded her to).
Comfortably Casual
  • This gal can laugh at the disasters of the day and still make time to finger paint.
  • Why she's an awesome friend:  Kids screaming, pot boiling over, dog barking at the back door, and she can still focus on you and your latest parenting quandary.
Each of us is a unique blend of loads of interesting characteristics.  Don't we serve an amazing Creator?  May we all learn to appreciate each other's strengths and lovingly accommodate temporary weaknesses.  We all have a part to play in the body of Christ.

"Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ."  (1 Corinthians 12:12 NIV)

Sunday, October 2, 2011

M & M Bars

These are a beloved family favorite, reserved only for birthdays and Christmas.  If we had them in the house any more, we would be in BIG trouble!

Aunt Cheryl's M & M Bars

2 c. quick oatmeal
1 1/2 c. flour
1 c. firmly packed brown sugar
1 t. baking soda
3/4 t. salt
1 c. butter or margarine, melted
2 T. shortening (I use veggie oil instead)
1 1/2 c. M & Ms (or more!)
14 oz. sweetened condensed milk

Combine oats, flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt.  Mix well.  Add margarine and mix until ingredients are moistened.  Reserve 1 1/2 cup of mixture and press the remaining mixture into a greased 9 x 13 pan.  Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes.  Melt shortening in a heavy pan.  Add 1 cup of M & Ms and cook over low heat, stirring constantly with a metal spoon while pressing candies with the back of the spoon to break them up.  Remove from heat and stir in condensed milk, mixing well.  Spread over partially baked crust.  Combine reserved oat mixture with remaining candy and sprinkle over top.  Bake 15 minutes more.  

I usually half the recipe unless we have guests coming to enjoy dessert too.  These are also great when stored in the fridge and eaten slightly cold.  

I hope you love these as much as my family does!  : )

Spook-tacular Fall Decor!

Gather some fabulous inspiration from this sweet and spooky fall decorating!

 Who says wreaths are just for Christmastime?  Deck out a cupboard door or your entryway with a fall inspired wreath like this one with leaves and acorns.

 Even the windowsill gets the full treatment!  I love the glass pumpkins!

 Smiling from the mantle

 Pumpkin pals

 A frightfully fun display

Bewitching table scape

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Did Someone Say "Candy"?

Someone in our family (who shall remain nameless) LOVES candy, so when we celebrated his birthday, I decked out our French Wire Carousel Caddy with some sweet treats.  I could have used little bowls, but this made the display more fun!  It's also great for organizing office supplies.

Squash Mania!

Yes, the word "squash" doesn't necessarily conjure up ideas of deliciousness, but this recipe from The Good Housekeeping Cookbook is great!  

Maple Butternut Squash

Prep: 20 minutes  Cook: 20 minutes

2 medium butternut squash (2 lb. each)
1/2 c. maple syrup
4 T. butter, cut into pieces
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. black pepper

1.  Cut each squash lengthwise in half; discard seeds.  With veggie peeler, remove peel, then cut squash crosswise into 1 in.-thick slices.
2.  In a sauce pot, heat 1 inch of water to boiling over high heat.  Add squash.  Reduce heat; cover and simmer until tender (about 15 minutes).
3.  In large bowl, combine squash, syrup, butter, salt and pepper.  With mixer at low speed, beat until smooth.  ( I put it all in the blender and added a bit of water.)  Makes 10 accompaniment servings.

Photo Opportunity

By using the Jamestown Tray, I was able to make this photo collage in a minute.  Just place the photos under the glass and you're finished!  What a fun way to make your guest of honor feel special!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Lasagna Italiano

Lasagna Italiano

1 lb. hamburger
1/2 c. chopped onion
1 garlic clove, diced
6 oz. tomato paste
1 1/2 c. water
2 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp oregano or Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp. pepper
8 oz. lasagne noodles, cooked and drained
1 lb. cottage cheese
12 oz. mozzarella cheese slices
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese

Brown meat; drain.  Add onion and garlic; cook until tender.  Stir in tomato paste, water and seasonings.  Cover; simmer for 30 minutes.  In a 9 x 13 pan, layer half of the noodles, meat sauce, cottage cheese and Mozzarella cheese; repeat layers.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.  Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.  Let stand 10 minutes before serving.  Makes 6-8 servings.  (If using no-boil noodles, you'll need to cover the lasagna and cook it for about 45 minutes.)

This lasagna recipe is my old faithful.  It makes a hearty meal for a cool, fall evening! 

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Fall Mantle Madness

I know, I know! I already posted pics of my fall decor, but my NEW fall Willow House goodies came in the mail the other day, and I just had to use them immediately!  (Can you see why I had to become a Design Consultant? : )

 The smallest of the Wireweave Basket Trio holding purple-ish succulent wrapped in burlap

 Who doesn't need a basket for their pinecones, right?

 I'm so in love with the Athena Crackle Vase.  I wasn't sure if turquoise would work in my family room, but it added a splash of color that the room needed.

Add some fall fun to your mantle.  I think this little display of gourds cost me $2.10!  Don't overlook your produce section for decorating ideas!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 can pumpkin
1 egg
1/2 c. oil
1 c. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
2 c. flower
1 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp milk
1 tsp vanilla
12 oz chocolate chips (1 bag)

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix ingredients together.  Drop by spoonfuls on an un-greased cookie sheet.  Bake for 12-15 minutes.  Let cool.

Believe it or not, we found this recipe in my son's homeschool curriculum!  They make tasty cake like cookies.  Enjoy!  

Friday, September 2, 2011

Welcome Fall!

 Okay, it's no secret!  I love autumn colors, and I've been waiting to pull out my fall decor for about a month now!

 Pumpkin delight on the Jackson Square Pedestal

 Fall's glory displayed in the large Lady Jane Bottleneck Vase
(I love how the bottleneck allows for arrangements to stand up tall without flopping over.)

 Fall Mantle

Sparkly gourds in the Hawthorne Hurricane

Tip:  If you need to elevate candleholders or another item from a deep display box/container, use dry beans to add height and texture : )
These Annabelle Iron Votives needed a boost!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Fulton Street Artisan Fair

Handmade flower ready to be added to my fall decor!

Guess I was in a floral kind of mood : )

Fun finds at the Fulton Street Artisan Market! The Fulton Street Market is a great place to be in the summertime.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Watermelon Lime Sipper

Watermelon Lime Sipper

2-3 cups watermelon, cut into chunks
1/2 - 1 lime, peeled and sliced
Put all the ingredients into the blender and ta-dah, you have yourself a refreshing summertime drink. This is a great way to use up watermelon if you bought a too-large one : )

Friday, July 29, 2011

Product Showcase from WH Design Convention

Hawthorne Hurricanes and Stiletto Pedestals on a mantle = Pretty!

Favorite new product! The Athena Crackle Vase!

Insanely beautiful Monarch Lantern

Gorgeous new tableware collection

I have a crush on these new Wireweave Baskets

The Lady Jane Bottle Neck Vase with a bouquet of birds of paradise

Still adore our red Cinnabar pieces

Your laundry room looks like this too, right? : )

Cottage Gate Wall Art pieces create this unique headboard

Wowzers! I had an awesome time at the Willow House Design Convention in Atlanta. I met so many fabulous, talented women and brought home a suitcase full of new ideas for the fall!