Well not THE tree, The live tree is still loitering on the back porch waiting to be trimmed and popped in a stand. I like to have a tree in the dining room though and I needed a new one. The last tree I used in here was a curbside rescue about 20 years ago and finally discarded last year. It was no prize when I snagged it but you know with lights and ornaments it's harder to see the imperfections.
Tuesday, December 6, 2016
Finally, a moment to visit! I have been crazy busy, (emphasis on crazy) since mid-November. We spent most of the week of Thanksgiving with our kids in Pennsylvania. What a wonderful time having all of us together for the holiday! That doesn't happen much any more so I treasure it when it does.
The following week our youngest daughter came home on Saturday for a daddy & daughter baking day. I love that they share those special times with their father. I get to hang out and chat and then we get to sample the results! What could be better? On this day they tried a recipe from a new magazine. It's a vegan chocolate tart with salted oat crust. Rich, decadent and so yummy! We aren't vegan, but we don't turn up our nose at recipes like that! I would make it again, but tiny pieces are all it takes to satisfy any one's sweet tooth. You can find the recipe here.
All that to say, I am just now getting things in order, catching up on the mountain of laundry and starting to decorate for Christmas. Yesterday I saw on someones blog that there are two more Monday's before Christmas and I almost fainted. Why does this season go so lightning fast?!
Have you finished your decorating or are you just getting started? Remember, only two more Monday's before Christmas! (Gahhh!!!)
P.S. I know its a little late, but if you are looking for some cute advent printables or boxes for tiny gifts, check out my Santa Box pattern found here . They are loads of fun and easy to make :)
Thursday, November 3, 2016
I'm going to start this post with some lovely photos of Autumnal beauty. The golden maple outside our front porch as I mowed the lawn for the last time this year on a sunny 73 degree day...
|Excuse the board leaning against the wall in this photo. It was left there by the chief woodworker and head of building projects in this house. Aka, Earl.|
First, when we see an item that we use regularly on a deep discount we can stock up. We do rotate and put newer items to the back to keep things fresh. Let me tell you, this is like having a mini grocery store in our basement.
Secondly, when I'm in the middle of baking and run out of flour, sugar, commonly used spices or extracts, I don't have to go to the store, I go to the basement. This is especially nice in the winter. It not only saves gas, but it keeps you from going into a store and picking up all those things that catch your eye that weren't really on your list.
Third, when everyone else is standing in line buying emergency supplies for that big Michigan winter storm, I'm snug on the sofa with a hot cuppa, reading a book. I know I'm stocked with essentials.
I think the best things to stock in your pantry are the basics of every day cooking. I know I've seen lists in magazines that made me scratch my head in wonder for all the strange oils, condiments and ingredients that I have never in my life used. Start with what you use most! Canned broths, tomato products, (crushed, sauce, paste), pasta sauce and pasta, beans, and home canned fruits, vegetables and jams, basic oils like sunflower and vegetable oil, ketchup, mustard and mayo, baking essentials like flour, sugar (white and brown) salt, soda, baking powder, cocoa , and your most used spices. Don't forget vanilla, wines and liqueurs for flavoring your cooking. We don't drink, but we cook with wine, and the liqueurs are often used in holiday baking as a flavoring.
We have a shelf for paper plates, cups and plastic utensils, a shelf for foil, saran wrap and sandwich and freezer bags.
If you are just starting a pantry don't expect to fill it all at once. Pick up a few items every time you shop. Yes, at first it may stretch your budget, but as you build up a good selection of regularly used items you will find that you have the freedom to buy when they are on sale rather than when you need them immediately. You will also find that, if you have it stocked properly, you can throw together soups, chili, and a lot of other easy and low cost meals just by shopping the pantry.
Earl and I often bake and cook for large groups of people. We shop the after Christmas sales for really great prices on chocolate chips (I have gotten name brand for 69 cents a bag!), nuts, dried cherries and craisins, and other dried fruits. We use these throughout the year to add flavor and a little something extra to our baking. Keep an eye open for great baking deals as the Christmas baking season approaches, but most of the above items show up in deep discounts in January when the stores need to get rid of the leftovers. Be prepared to buy in bulk. When you get nestle chocolate chips at 75% off you can stock up for the year! They keep just fine.
I know a lot of my readers don't need this advice, but I bet you have some great advice to give! Do you keep a pantry? What do you keep in it? Lets leave some great homekeeping tips for the next generation!
Wednesday, October 26, 2016
October is drawing to a close. The trees are finally reaching their peak color around here and it is so beautiful. I wish the lovely days of Autumn lasted longer because it was 34 degrees when I woke up this morning and the high is only supposed to reach into the low 40's. It's been blustery and grey for days and I have to say, in spite of the mums and trees and pumpkin fun, I have to admit fall is not my favorite season. Don't get me wrong, I love aspects of it all to pieces, but I need sunshine, a growing garden and the promise of fireflies and crickets. Mostly I need sunshine and the shorter days do not thrill me. Winter in Michigan can be brutal. Time to hunker down and count the days until the winter solstice when the days get longer.
This. An anaglypta, or raised design that can be painted. It will give some texture and pretty pattern to the entry but I will be able to update the color easily without stripping the paper, as an added bonus it is fairly inexpensive. I haven't decided whether to keep the blackboard paint or beadboard over it or maybe just use the wallpaper there too. I know I have seen lots of opinions that blackboard paint is still going strong, I think I might just be ready for a change. What do you think? Is blackboard a trend that has seen better days?
Tuesday, October 11, 2016
The year is flying past! I don't do as much seasonal decorating as I used to, but I like to decorate the front porch and a few areas inside. I wanted to keep the beautiful red geranium and bacopa baskets my daughter, Victoria, made for me for Mother's day. They have weathered this hot dry summer so beautifully!
And that is about the extent of the decorating around here. I'm mostly drinking coffee, working on etsy orders and working up the gumption to strip wallpaper off the tiny back entry so I can redecorate. I also want to cover the old living room love seat, make new throw pillows, finish the quilt I'm working on for my son in law, finish the quilt I started for a sweet little great niece, finish planning the annual women's ministry Christmas dinner for our church,,, hmmm, I think I see why I'm not getting everything done.
But it all will, so time to put down the coffee, er maybe I'll take it with me, and get crackin'.
Wish me luck and lots of energy! ;)