Thursday, September 30, 2010

I Miss Cottage Living

I know I'm not alone.  The November and December issues were always my favorite. 
 I was just flipping through some old ones today. 
Remember this house? It was in the Nov. 2006 issue. 
This was my first introduction to Cottage Living and I looked at this home for LONG time. 
We had just gone under contract on our current home at the time. 
And I wanted it to feel like this house. 
Warm, inviting, filled with pretty art, books, antiques...

This is still one of my all time favorite dining rooms!
I was never cool enough to pull off the Domino look.
I was never wealthy enough to afford the Traditional Home look.
Cottage Living was just right.
And I want it back.
I've recently resubscribed to Southern Living, but it's just not the same.
There are far bigger problems in the world, this is true.
In my own life too, but right now I'm having a Starbuck's, sitting outside,
and wishing I was flipping through a new Cottage Living while my baby sleeps.
Thank you very much.
And just in case you miss it too, I thought you might enjoy reminiscing with me.
:)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

What I've Been Up To With My Boys...


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playing Star Wars monopoly...
stargazing on a blanket on our the front lawn...
running in fallen leaves...
swinging...
sliding down slides...
collecting acorns (and new Lego minifigures)...
hullahooping...
napping...
reading Captain Underpants...
picnicking in front of a construction site...
practicing spelling words...
making new friends...
reading Busy, Busy Town and Little Gorilla (over and over again)...
packing surprises in lunch boxes...
singing Bob the Builder...
having after school dance parties...
eating ice cream at the village square, around the fountain, in the dark...
wearing jeans...
jumping in puddles...
making a mess...
building forts...
laughing...


(what I have not been doing: laundry, dusting, finishing house projects)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Pretty Rooms



Here's a little sampling of prettiness
that caught my eye.
Some are older images that have popped back up again.
All of them are lovely.

Weakness No 1. Beautiful Lamps

Weakness No. 2 & 3 = Antique Crystal Chandeliers, Gorgeous Mirrors


Weakness No. 4 = Checked Fabric
along with about 100 1000 others... :)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Share and Reapply

Crafty, I am not. Friends think I am, but it's not true.
Now what I am pretty good at is seeing something cute and copying. 
When I was in the corporate world we used to call that "Share and Reapply." 
Earlier in the week I read about this website on this blog.  Today I checked it out. 
Whoa Nelly, do they have some C-U-T-E downloads. 
So cute in fact, I spent a couple minutes printing out a few, cutting a few scraps of fabric, and rummaging in the basement for some old frames. 
Voila! Some new art for the playroom. 
Or maybe the kitchen or the downstairs bath. 
The pictures need to be straightened, but I've only got a few minutes before Bubba gets up from his nap and Andrew needs to be picked up from school. You get the idea.   
Below are some other cuties.
Perfect for children's rooms. 
I printed mine on white cardstock and they look like the read deal, like pages right out of a vintage book.
You'd never know it was a copy.


A little framed print would make such a sweet baby shower gift or Xmas present.
Oh my, my wheels are a-spinning.
Have a lovely weekend!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Kick Off Your Shoes

Where did people put their shoes in the 1920s, 30s, 40s or even 1950s?!
They certainly didn't have mudrooms.
At least I haven't seen many in our neighborhood, unless added on later, and
the homes here were all built between 1920-1950.
Did they always put them away in the hall closet?
Did they just have fewer pairs?
The ONLY thing I miss from our first house is the mudroom.
In our current home, everything piles up in our kitchen. 
In the winter, with wet boots & coats, it becomes a very messy affair.
After seeing these pictures, I've decided I could overlook piles of dirty shoes
if they were placed in front of a gorgeous settee or antique cupboard.
Yes, I do believe that would make things a little more manageable
Jimmy...are you reading?! (wink, wink)

Images from here and here

Spiced Pumpkin Bread

Summer has decided to return with a vengeance.
Bringing back 90+ degree temperatures.
It feels a little funny to be sipping a pumpkin spice latte in a tanktop and flip flops
but hey, if it doesn't feel like fall, at least it should taste and smell like fall.
And it does, especially inside our home.
Just like cloves, cinnamon & nutmeg.

Yesterday I made my favorite pumpkin bread.
My Mum gave me the recipe a couple years ago,
and I've haven't been tempted to try another since.
Everyone here looks forward to it every fall.
And while I could make it anytime of year, I don't
because I like having little traditions that mark the seasons and
pumpkin recipes are a fall thing (ok, maybe I bake a few in the winter too).

It makes 2 full size loaves, or 6 mini loaves


Spiced Pumpkin Bread
3 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 16-ounce can solid pack pumpkin
3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Preparation
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour two 9x5x3-inch loaf pans. Beat sugar and oil in large bowl to blend. Mix in eggs and pumpkin. Sift flour, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, salt and baking powder into another large bowl. Stir into pumpkin mixture in 2 additions. (Mix in  1 c. chopped walnuts, if desired).

Divide batter equally between prepared pans. Bake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour 10 minutes. Transfer to racks and cool 10 minutes. Using sharp knife, cut around edge of loaves. Turn loaves out onto racks and cool completely.

Enjoy!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Feathering Our Nest - Literally

I'm feeling like a Mama bird.
Fluffing and feathering our little nest to make a cozier more beautiful home.
I believe I'm in good company out in the blogosphere too,
given the sheer volume of blog names that reference birds, nests, feathering, etc.
I've blogged about working with Holly Mathis on a few home projects
in our dining room and living room before.
I will do a lengthier post when it's all complete,
because it was such a fun process and
I'd like to share it.
I was going to wait until everything was finished before I posted any pictures.
But I couldn't resist just one tiny peek into the living room..
It's amazing what a fresh opinion (from an expert) and a few yards of new fabric can do.
See for yourself. 

Living Room Before

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Living Room Now
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Three new pillows.
That's it.
Totally changes the room.
Makes me sooo happy
(I know it's just STUFF, I REALLY do,
but a few new changes can make a girl smile.
Especially a girl who doesn't spend on her home 
like she used to since she stopped
working to be a stay at home Mama)
That's all for now,
off to feather, fluff, feather, fluff some more.

As for my 2 little birdies,
who make me smile even more than pretty new pillows...
they are their happy chirpy selves again too.

Happy Saturday!


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Some Days Require More Hugs Than Others


Today was one of those days.
You know the kind, when you find yourself going through the motions.
Maybe a time or two counting the minutes till bedtime.
Tempers were shorter.
I gave a lot of hugs.
They weren't always enough.
Andrew's worried about 2 tests tomorrow.
He keeps forgetting where the Arctic Ocean is and how to spell "want".
He REALLY wants to add an H - "whant"
Sorry, buddy, I'm afraid you take after your Mama --
never could spell a darn thing.
I couldn't quite put my finger on what was ailing Charlie.
The melted chocolate chips in his pancakes this morning seemed to
completely disgust him and set the tone for his day.
Oh, how I miss his giggly, happy-go-lucky,
personality when he isn't himself.
And me, I kinda felt a little blah too.
BUT...
Tomorrow is Friday.
Daddy's almost home.
I get to pick up a bunch of newly covered pillows
and the curtains for the playroom.
The sun is expected to return.
Along with two, hopefully, smiling children.
Hello weekend, we are ready for you.

PS. I added music to the blog.  Like?  Don't like? 
I still can't decide, I was just curious if I could make it work.
I did.   

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Trucks, Tunes, & Lollipops

This Silly Turkey is about to turn 2 in a month!
Shh..don't tell him.  He thinks he's turning 8.
His current passions in life:
MUSIC -- DANCING -- TRUCKS

He's also got a mighty sweet tooth.
For things like Altoids (really), strawberry sorbet, and WHIP-ITS


So, it seemed only fitting to plan a party around those themes.
I'm just starting to get get my act together. (I know, a little behind here)
It'll be a small gathering -- just family and Godparents (who are like family).
I'll wait to invite lots of little friends until he's old enough 
(age 4 in my experience) to understand and enjoy games.
That doesn't mean that I don't want things looking cute & festive.
This weekend, I came across these adorable cupcake wraps

and for a moment contemplated changing the theme.
But no, my boy is all about his diggers and bulldozers
not a parade of marching children. 

And just in case you too are lucky enough to have a truck loving tike in your home...
grab him, click on the link below and watch together.
I promise you'll both be amused.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Because...


I like, no, LOVE, the color BROWN...
I felt like exploring the collage feature in Picasa,
which I think is pretty neat-o because I'm kinda dorky...
It reminds me of fall...
I haven't taken too many blog-worthy pics of my children lately
but I still felt like doing a post...

Nite... :)

Friday, September 10, 2010

The First (unofficial) Week of Fall

The air has been crisp in the morning...
chilly at night...
We've had windows open all day...
Fallen asleep to the sound of crickets...
Started the day with singing birds and
occasionally, the bells chiming in village bell tower down the street...
The trees are just beginning to change...
The sidewalk gutters have a dusting of fallen leaves...
that make the most delightful crunch under our feet as we 
walk to and from school...

Yesterday as the sun was setting, 
with fresh air blowing through the house...
I had the pleasure of making a perfect fall dish.
My husband was away on business, Andrew was playing outside with friends
and my little Bubba was with his Nana and Farfar (that's Danish for Grandpa)

It was nice to be able to prepare dinner without this going on at my feet.

Which I adore. Most of the time.
This meal smells delicious - roasted fennel and garlic - how could it not?
Tastes even better...
and is all prepared in one pan.
I was even able to enjoy a glass of wine and read a couple chapters
in my book while it cooked.  

Good food, good wine, pretty weather, fresh flowers, an entertaining/ kinda of fluffy book...
Yes, I do believe this is my idea of relaxation .

Roasted Tomatoes and Fennel with White Beans
Recipe found here
My only change was to use less olive oil.  I used about 3 TBS.
I felt I could add more later if it was needed.
It wasn't.

Enjoy!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Gimme This Color...please

I'm quite possibly the slowest moving person (at least among bloggers) in terms of finishing a project in my house.  The dining room is getting closer though. Baby steps.  I just need to pick a color already to paint the hutch.  Well, I do believe I've found it.  At least in a picture.  On this website.  With no sources. So I'm really not any farther along. 

Would it be slightly bizarre to bring a laptop into a paint store and show them a picture?!?!  I just might have to do that.  Honestly, am I in love with just the color or is it this entire kitchen?!  (I would need to remove those little animal antler thingys - I think you need to live in the South to pull those off.)

The French work table as an island, those amazing French doors, the antique hutch, the oil paintings, the toile curtains, the marble counters. 


Hey, who is that in my kitchen?  Excuse me happy looking lady, I do believe you are in my pantry.
This one went straight into my favorite kitchens file.  Where it will serve as inspiration until one day (many, MANY, years from now) we tackle our own.

Kitchen found here

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Roasted Tomato Salsa

This is hands down my absolute favorite salsa.  I think it's better than any restaurant or store bought variety. (just being modest here)  Must be roasting the veggies that makes all the difference.  I've made it with in season and out of season tomatoes and both are yummy.


Today I made it with sun ripened farmer's market tomatoes as a little welcome gift for some very sweet new neighbors.  I did feel a tiny bit Bree van de Kampish walking down the street with my basket.  Thankfully I wasn't carrying muffins! Seriously it is good topped on grilled chicken, with omelets, fish, on baked or fried potatoes, and of course with chips.  It is not spicy, so if you want a salsa with heat you'll have to add a little somethin', somethin' to this.

Ingredients
8 plum tomatoes, halved and seeded
3 garlic cloves, peeled
1 small white onion, peeled and quartered
1 jalapeƱo pepper, halved and seeded
Cooking spray
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Before & After Roasting.  They don't turn black, not completely charred.

Preparation
Preheat oven to 500°.
Place first 4 ingredients on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray.
Bake at 500° for 20 minutes or until charred; stir occasionally.
(I remove garlic after 20 min, and then roast the other veggies for 5 more min)
Remove from oven; cool.
Place vegetables in a food processor, and pulse 10 times or until chunky. 
(I pulse longer because I don't like big chunks)
Place in a medium bowl, and stir in cilantro and the remaining ingredients.
Cover and chill.
Note: Store, covered, in the refrigerator for up to a week, but it won't last that long!.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Mini Berry Pies Revisited


 
The weather is glorious. The windows have been open all day.
The house smells of fresh air and berry pies.
Does it get any better?!
I made a few changes to the recipe I posted.
Thought I'd share.

1. I used 6 oz blackberries, 6 oz blueberries and 6 oz raspberries.
2. I used this pie crust recipe instead.  I put the dough in the fridge for 1 hour before rolling it out.
3. I cooked the pies for about 15 minutes longer than recipe says.  This might be because of the dough I made and the thickness of the sheet pan I placed the pies on. 
4. I only had 6 tartlet pans (with removable bottoms), but had enough dough and berries to make 7 or maybe even 8 if I rolled the dough a little thinner.
5. Also, I didn't put the pies in the freezer after they were assembled.  Not enough time. 
The crust was nice and flaky regardless.

They are pretty and taste goooood.  

Friday, September 3, 2010

Berry Cocktails & Mini Pies

The forecast is calling for a beautiful Indian summer kind of weekend.  Our grill will definitely be fired up.  Likely steak kabobs (a favorite of Mr. Andrew) with grilled potatoes and roasted veggies.  
I have a couple new recipes in my queue that I plan to try this weekend to take advantage of the gorgeous summer berries while they last. I normally would wait to post a new recipe until I've made it myself. But these looked pretty foolproof so I thought I'd share, just in case anyone else was looking for a little food inspiration for the weekend. 

Raspberry Beer Cocktail
Ingredients
3/4 cup fresh raspberries
3 1/2 (12-oz.) bottles beer, chilled
1 (12-oz.) container frozen raspberry lemonade concentrate, thawed
1/2 cup vodka
Garnish: lemon and lime slices

Preparation
1. Stir together first 4 ingredients. Serve over ice. Garnish, if desired.




Note: To make ahead, stir together lemonade concentrate and vodka in a large container. Chill up to 3 days. Stir in raspberries and beer just before serving. Garnish, if desired.

Mini Mixed Berry Pies
Ingredients
Makes 7
1 package (15 ounces) refrigerated piecrusts
(if time allows I'll make my own crust, I use Ina's recipe)
6 ounces raspberries
12 ounces blueberries
4 teaspoons cornstarch
1/4 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 large egg

Directions
Unfold piecrusts on work surface.
Use individual mini tartlet pans as guide to cut dough, press dough into pan and up edges.
Stir together berries, cornstarch, sugar, and lemon juice.
Divide mixture among seven 3-inch aluminum pie tins.
Cut strips and place in decorative pattern on pie tops.
Beat egg with 1 teaspoon water.
Brush crusts lightly with egg wash; sprinkle with sugar.
Freeze pies 20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Bake until golden and juices are bubbling, about 25 minutes.
Let cool completely on a wire rack.

I'll let you know how they turn out. 
Happy Labor Day Weekend!

Cocktail recipe here, Mini Pies adapted from here.  Pie photo from here