Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A Photography Adventure

I thought you might enjoy some images of my dear sister Victoria(and the other half of this blog) , and her sweet girl. They posed for me last week. It was so much fun. In typical 3 yo fashion, my neice, a.k.a. sweet girl, cooperated even more readily because of the promise of a ring pop(as did my trusty assistant, Chloe).

Victoria just had a birthday too, so if you have a chance wish her a Happy Birthday.

Here is her birthday picture...not really I just made her pose for me and I didn't even have to give her a ring pop.

And last but not least, my trusty assistant:

Monday, September 29, 2008

I Love My Slow Cooker

Photo: Tina Cornett; Styling: Mary Lyn Hill Jenkins

Happy Monday to everyone. I hope that y'all don't mind another cooking post. On my mind this morning is how to serve my family better. This week I am going to try to get supper made early in the day. It is so tough at 4-5pm to start from scratch. My slow cooker will help me do that.

Also, for those of us who enjoy a great before and after, check out our friend Sarah's table and chairs. Great makeover, Sarah. I make the same kind of mess when I paint!

Here is a meal that I will put together for one evening.

This is really more like a stew, so don't be put off by the word "soup".

Steak Soup

(2-pound) package top round steak, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 cups water
5 baking potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3 carrots, sliced
2 small onions, chopped
1 celery rib, chopped
1 cup frozen sweet green peas
1 (16-ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
2 tablespoons beef bouillon granules
2 Tbs steak sauce (optional - we like A-1)
1 to 2 teaspoons pepper

Toss together steak and flour.

Brown steak in hot oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat 5 to 6 minutes.

Stir together steak, 4 cups water, and remaining ingredients in a 5-quart slow cooker.

Cook, covered, at HIGH 8 hours or until vegetables are tender.

Yield: Makes 16 cups

Southern Living, NOVEMBER 1999

My notes: You can use lean ground beef instead. It is also great that way. Mix the flour in after you brown the meat. I almost always add more veggies depending on what I have. Add some more water if you do this. I have even used half of the amount of potatoes and it was great. Obviously less veggies will make it less stew like.

Quick Delicious Rolls
These taste like a cross between a muffin and a biscuit.
450° oven

2 cups self-rising flour
4 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 cup milk
1 tsp. sugar

Mix all ingredients in a mixing bowl about 2 minutes. Fill muffin tins 2/3 full; bake 10 minutes or until golden brown. (the mayo is the binder. These *do not* taste like mayo.)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Fall Potpourri

How about some great links for fall projects and inspiration.

Allsorts is one of the first few blogs I ran across years ago. She has this great page to print banners off for Halloween, but they work for any occasion.

Have you heard of Matthew Mead? He has some wonderful fall pages up for you to enjoy. (edited to add: I didn't realize that his site now requires registration. I am going to leave the link up, because you may still find something in his past issues that you will enjoy. I do know that he has a new magazine on the newsstand about Halloween, if you enjoy that sort of thing)

For those of you with littles, you have to check out Crafty Crow.

If you like simplicity and looking at photographs, you may enjoy Simply Breakfast blog. It really has nothing to do with fall, but I think it's delightful.

A few of you mentioned that you love the movie You've Got Mail. Have you ever seen the movie it is based on?
A very young Jimmy Stewart plays one of the lead roles in The Shop Around the Corner. I think those of you who love YGM would also really enjoy it.

And last but not least, if you would like a little taste of fall in your cookie jar, try these.
They are bursting with the flavors of cinnamon and citrus peel. Oh my!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

20 Little Things to Treasure in Autumn

While Victoria had a yard sale this weekend trying to pare down her piles, I was hangin' with the family (ignoring my piles) doing this and that and lots of nothing after a particularly emotionally draining week.

I am loving the tiny bits of fall that are showing up in GA. Last evening we were eating with my parents and came out of the restaurant to find twilight falling on a delightfully crisp night.

Today, when I saw that Melissa at The Inspired Room listed 20 Little Things She Treasures In Autumn and invited us to join in, it sounded just like the perfect thing to do.

20 Little Things I Treasure in Autumn

1.The first cool evening in Georgia
4.My fall viewing of You've Got Mail
5.Playing outside without sweating
6.Changing of the leaves
7.Wearing Jeans again
8.Getting out the Cappuccino machine
9.Preparing crockpot Autumn Beef Stew
10.Wearing soft comfy sweats after a long day
11.freshly ground steaming hot coffee
12.sounds from football games and band at the high school behind our house
12.Hubby's award winning chili
13.Cinnamon Crackle Cookies
14.The smell of leaves burning
15.making homemade apple sauce
16.driving to the mountains to enjoy the scenery
17.lamplight through my front window after a walk in the chilly air
18.fall leaf bouquets
19.Yummy fresh Apple Cake
20.socks for chilly toes (the only part of me that is ever cold)


Friday, September 19, 2008

Top Ten

Sarah participated in Tip Junkie's Top Ten Favorite Things in your home and I thought I would join in and post some of mine too.

I have always loved these platters that hang beside my windows in my living room.

This was another of Christina's ideas (over half of my house is decorated with both Christina's and my other sister Beth's help!). The first platter came from my "Memaw"

the other from a yard sale

I absolutely love my corner cabinet, especially since it was overhauled as noted in this post.

I found this painting at a flea market for $3 and the frame at another yard sale for $1. I love the big statement it makes vs just the small painting hanging on the wall.

One of my favorite rooms has to be Sweet Girl's room.
and the letters I made...

I love my shower curtain from Target

and my little cabinet where I always hang my purse (sorry, nothing cute hanging here now...we use this baby!)

This adorable lampshade Christina made me. I found the pearl "A" in the dollar section at Michael's.

Beth or Christina one had the idea for making a bow holder for all of Sweet Girl's bows. Christina painted the face for me and I just love how it turned out!

I've enjoyed this little walk around my house finding the things that I truly love!


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Help! I'm under a pile and can't get out!

There are piles all over my house, in fact, I feel like my house has become a huge pile this week! It's only Wednesday but I am exhausted, sleep deprived and have stuff everywhere that I need to deal with and clean up!

Groceries to put away....

Laundry to wash (and then put away)...

Papers to file (there are more...this is the neat stack!)...

Yard sale stuff in the basement to sort through and price for our yard sale on Saturday...

Times like these I want to throw in the towel and go lay in bed and sleep, cry or read my Mitford book. Do you all have days like this too? Days when you want to run away, far, far away? Days when you feel like you aren't the best (or even a good) wife or Mommy? Days when you haven't even given a thought to all the projects you have that are half finished or waiting to get started? Well this is that day for me. Tomorrow it's back to work for me (I work on Tues & Thurs) and I'll probably be feeling back to normal but for today I am somewhere lost under a pile hoping to dig my way out.


Monday, September 15, 2008

A Little More Fall Fluffing of the Nest

Hi to everyone on this Monday afternoon. Today we did a little bit more fall fluffing of the nest, but for some reason I just couldn't get good pictures. I tried and tried to take a picture of the top of our piano, but the lighting just wasn't working and I did have my short lens on, so it was difficult to get far enough away.

I did also want to thank all of you who sent birthday wishes to Ian last Friday. He really enjoyed reading your comments. Thanks so much!

So, onward to fall.

Oh, and in case anyone cares, the candy in the urn is Hershey's Candy Corn Kisses. About the only place I have consistently seen them is at Target. The other candy is licorice, which I detest. It came in a co-op shipment and I thought it would at least look good in my apothecary jar.

I have *not* tried this recipe, but it looks good and it shows you what the kisses look like inside. We will have to use Sun Butter instead of peanut butter because of severe peanut allergies.

KISSES Candy Corn Autumn Cookies

* 3/4 cup REESE'S Creamy Peanut Butter
* 1/2 cup shortening
* 1/3 cup granulated sugar
* 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
* 1 egg
* 2 tablespoons milk
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1-1/3 cups quick-cooking oats, divided
* 1 cup all-purpose flour
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 66 HERSHEY'S KISSES Brand Candy Corn Flavored Candies

1. Heat oven to 350°F Beat peanut butter and shortening in large bowl until well blended. Add granulated sugar and brown sugar; beat until fluffy. Add egg, milk and vanilla; beat well. Stir together 1/2 cup oats, flour, baking soda and salt; gradually beat into peanut butter mixture.

2. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in remaining oats; place on ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten cookies with tines of fork to form a crisscross pattern.

3. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely.

4. Remove wrappers from candies. Place 18 candies in heavy-duty resealable plastic food storage bag. Microwave at MEDIUM (50%) 30 seconds; knead bag and candies. If necessary, microwave at MEDIUM an additional 15 seconds at a time, kneading after each heating, until candies are melted and color is uniform. Cool slightly. Cut off corner of bag about 1/8 inch from point. Lightly drizzle cookies. Before drizzle sets, place candy piece in center of each cookie. About 4 dozen cookies.


Friday, September 12, 2008

My Birthday Boy

Can you bear with me through one more birthday?

My dear son is turning twelve today. Time is going by way too quickly. You always hear that you will turn around one day and they are gone. Well, I'm here to say that it seems to be true.

Ian is a true delight. He is growing in maturity and is becoming a little man. He is helpful and can do everything that I can't do on the computer. He still loves Legos and can build amazing things. He is into Lego Robotics.

Last school year he worked hard with his team and they were able to win 1st place in our GA regional competition for First Lego League (FLL) and 5th in State for research. More than the winning, we saw him grow in maturity, confidence and he was learning to work well in a team situation. He is looking forward to this year's competition.

I'm so proud to be Ian's mom. Happy 12th birthday son!


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Don't ya want to be a P.O.O.P.I.E. too?

The Nester is having a P.O.O.P.I.E. party. Victoria and I are joining in to show off our fakes. We do both have a few fake flowers/branches/grasses, but we are fine w/our choices despite what HGTV says about them. There are plenty of things that I see on HGTV that they should never do either. : )hehehe

Today, just to be ornery, I made a little fall bouquet. I used a few flowers out of a big bunch of fake flowers that came in something I bought from goodwill. It was probably one of those bushes that you buy for $4.99 and just stick in something. No--not me. I cut all the leaves off of the stems and added some sticks. The flower center looks the most fake, but I'll probably hot glue some of the extra petals from the leftover flowers over it to hide it more. It works and it's fake. So sue me. : )

Here we have the above mentioned fake flower bush straight from the vase I bought at Goodwill.

Way too many leaves adorn the stems.

Better, I think.

I have lots of the same types of berries/branches/grasses. I realized how much most of them look very similar while taking these pictures.

Here is a little fern that is hiding some of our charging cords on the kitchen counter. It does look very plastic in the picture, but doesn't in real life. I love the little unfurled fern fronds.

How about a little topiary that I recently acquired at a yard sale. I added the little "grow" letters.

Victoria has some fakes at her house too. A fall bouquet of sticks/weeds and dahlias grace a chippy painted side table. She always has such lovely little vignettes around her house.

I also love this little house plant. She moves it from here to there and it always adds just the right cottage touch.

And last but not least a delish bowl of apples.

Oh, but what's that?...teeth marks?? Yes, our sweet nephew decided to eat a delicious red apple on a visit a few years ago. I guess the first one didn't taste so good, so he tried them all. Vic, I hope you keep those forever. So cute.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

a good book and various other things...

Last night I was weary and while hubs was bathing my sweet girl I decided to grab a book off of my bookshelf and put my feet up and read. Every year about this time I find myself wanting to read Jan Karon's Mitford series. For some reason it makes me think of Fall and warm soup bubbling on the stove. Yes, it was 87 degrees here in Atlanta yesterday but again I have been thinking and dreaming of Fall.

We had a baby shower this weekend for my SIL and I made a frame for the baby's room. Believe me, I am NOT a crafty person, or rather I haven't been in several years, so this was a big deal to me. The pictures aren't great but you'll get the idea. I bought the wooden frame on clearance at Michael's for .79 cents. I bought a sheet of scrapbook paper and modge-podged it on and then glued ribbon across it. I kept wanting to add the baby's name but wasn't creative enough to come up with the best way to do it.

Her gift was a mixture of diaper products, plus changing pad, pad covers, sheets, etc. I used a tag from last Christmas that I had dipped in coffee as shown here on Dawn's website last year and stamped Caleb's name on it.

Lastly, my green lamp I showed in this post caught on fire the other night! We were sitting in the LR when hubs said "oh, oh" and jumped up and turned off the lamp and unplugged it. Now he thinks I am out to kill him with my antique lamps!!! He he he.

~ Victoria ~