Friday, May 29, 2015

Five on Friday: Summer Decor

Friday is here! Time feels like it's speeding like a freight train around here. We are rapidly approaching my kiddos' last week of school and there are many final events happening. I'm also a PTA member at my daughter's school and I help head a committee that handles our final school carnival, which is the big event they look forward to each year. It's no small task (enough events for 400 students!), but I love being part of it and will miss it once she leaves that school in a few years. So I'm doing lots of work for that right now as well as getting things together for my daughter's birthday party (with her friends) this weekend. Whew!


So for my five today I'm choosing to think summer thoughts and I've been loving, not only planting and decorating outside, but changing my decorations inside as well. So I thought I'd share some top "moments" around our home I've been enjoying.


I've had these "summer" letters forever and I love putting them out each year...although I think Annie loves them more! Is little pool side bear not adorable and doesn't he fit perfectly under the umbrella "R"?? I put these letters on top of my mantle this year.


Our mantle is quite large (takes up one whole wall in our living room) so I get to decorate it with lots of goodies. But at the heart of it I'm loving this new botanical star I picked up. When I found it I knew it was perfect as it matches perfectly with my hydrangea garland I've had for ages. Love when that happens.



Here's a favorite in the dining room in one of the cubbies in my hutch. I love using that tray as the "back drop". I prop it up with something heavy like a candle jar behind it. I've had the "garden" word decoration for several years, but I found this little vase on a recent shopping trip and knew I had to use it in my summer decorating!



Also in the dining room, on top of the barrister book case,  I needed to put out Ms. Bear enjoying her juicy watermelon. And my sweet little garden pillow for her to snuggle against. Annie, of course, really loves these decorations as well and looks for them each year. It's fun to have those bits of whimsy among the more formal decor.







And I'm loving the little centerpiece vignette I threw together on the dining room table this year. I have several plants around my home, and I also love having a bouquet of real flowers I clip from outside or pick up at the grocery store. But I do like using artificial greenery and flowers at times too...and a bonus is you don't need to pluck off dead blooms or water it regularly, right? I love this candle too as I have it on a timer so it gives off a nice glow each night.



So that's my top 5 but I wanted to share a little bonus - did you notice the sweet little linen under Mr. Bird on the table? 


They're some of my favorite things to pick up at antique stores or garage sales...vintage or vintage looking linens and doilies. I think they add such a sweet charm!



We put away the humidifier we need for winter time and put back our table with our little wine rack. And this is one of my favorite recent antique store finds - this pretty poppy linen!  


I'm linking with Amy at Love Made my Home for Five on Friday.

Hope your weekend brings you a warm glow!








Thursday, May 28, 2015

Easy Fruit Salad

I was working on some more recipes for Annie's personal cookbook (you can read about it here) and had to add this wonderful gem.



 I added this fruit salad recipe for several reasons:

1. I grew up with it as a kid - it was a recipe that started with my Gram making it often when we would visit, so it reminds me of her and her home.

2. It's very easy - which is always a wonderful thing.

3. It's been a great salad that I've taken to pot lucks and showers before with lots of praise and success.

4. Kids especially seem to love it. Great kid friendly flavors!

I haven't made it recently, so I don't have any photos. It's so yummy and the biggest thing to remember is it's not one that can hang around for days, as after about a day the bananas get pretty brown. But it's got a wonderful sweet, almost tropical taste, that's very addicting! The secret is the "Tang" orange powder drink mix. That ingredient makes this fruit salad taste as it does. Unfortunately, if you don't have Tang you really don't have this fruit salad. Here's a closer view of the recipe card:


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Wednesday Wonder

Welcome All Fairies


The fairies have come back to Annie's garden and she couldn't be happier! She welcomes them all and still dreams of spotting a real one. We planted one big fairy pot and we have one more to do, but here's a peek so far.


Wonder what's happening behind that fence?



It looks like the fairies and Mr. Frog are planning some kind of game





She's crossing the path with her ball and telling the others "Follow me!"








You can see on the left they have their own hanging basket of flowers and even a croquet set!




Another fun pot and a couple more fairies flew in for a visit.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Bloom & Grow

Well it's back to real life. Hope everyone that celebrated a lovely 3 day weekend had lots of fun and got lots of rest! I had fun getting some more scrapbooking done and while I was working on my daughter's school years scrapbook I came across this layout that I had forgotten about. It's from when she was in 3 year old preschool.

Isn't she just a precious pumpkin? But what I wanted to share about this layout is that I can't take any credit for it. I found it on etsy.com from the shop called Susans Scrapbook Shack. For how much I love to scrapbook I also love and appreciate the talents of others, so  several times I have  bought layouts, that fit perfectly with my projects, that I found on etsy. If you haven't been on etsy you should be - it's such wonderful site  with so many talented artists and items. I could spend all day on there! I still toy with the idea of having my own shop on there one day. Perhaps. Stay tuned....


But this layout also reminds me of more "blooming and growing" I wanted to share with you. This weekend I also did a lot of planting of blooms and some veggies too!! Yay! Yes, I finally got my little garden table - or veggie trug. It's just tiny but perfect for me and my Girl to start working on having our own little garden space. If all goes well maybe our trug will grow next year. 

yummy veggies

\
happy gardener

bug and critter cover

As you can see it 's just a sweet little table that works perfectly for where I live. I basically live on a hill above the water so we don't have much flat space anywhere, other than our big driveway in the front of the house. So to have some thing that's compact and could fit just about anywhere was perfect. I put it on the side of the house that gets a lot of sun and it's conveniently next to the hose too....bonus! Lol You can see Annie is excited! I think I mentioned it yesterday but we planted a cabbage plant she got at school, a butter crunch lettuce, cucumber, red pepper and after the photos were taken I added 2 sugar snap pea plants. 


On my deck I also planted some pots with herbs. Here is parsley, lemon basil, cilantro and mint. 


Now we just need it all to Bloom and Grow!




Monday, May 25, 2015

Happy Homemaker Monday

HHM

Hope everyone celebrating Memorial weekend is enjoying this bonus day off today! It's been a nice weekend at home here. We accomplished a lot of tasks this weekend: including I finally got my little veggie trug and Annie & I planted our veggie garden - yay!! I also planted my herbs and the majority of my flower pots outside, and none too soon as our weekend went from lovely weather to lots of rain today. That's ok, though, as my allergies could use a break from the outdoor blooming things. Lol  My ears felt so full on Saturday that it was even making me dizzy! (or at least more than usual - haha).  We also had yummy food on the grill, played family games, and the kiddos have had a lot of fun playing with friends. All in all a great weekend.



THE WEATHER OUTSIDE IS:

Rainy and gray. Temp in the 50's. I guess it's a cozy day of indoor activities today. Our weeks really have been lovely, it just seems that Monday's are like clock work and rain. Lol  It really stinks, though, as my hubby and I were supposed to have started our Monday golf league together and of course we haven't been able to do that thanks to rainy Mondays! Ggrrrr!!


ON THE BREAKFAST PLATE THIS MORNING:

I made a nice yummy brunch for my family this morning of eggs, toast, sausage and breakfast potatoes. Yum!! I had vanilla ice coffee. 


  AS I LOOK OUTSIDE MY WINDOW:

Even among the rain I see how beautiful and green it is and I can see some of my flowers that just glow with brightness in the rain, and that makes me even happier that I got all that planting done yesterday! 


RIGHT NOW I AM:

Enjoying a little time in my cozy office. My hubby is starting to tackle some house chores (God bless him on his day off) and my son and daughter already have friends over to play. I'm trying to decide what to do with my day (besides house chores too). I'm thinking I may do some scrapbooking. I, also, head a carnival committee on the PTA at my daughter's school and I have some work to do related to that - as it's their big school event of the year and it's coming up soon!!


AS I LOOK AROUND THE HOUSE:

I need to do some laundry (yes as always) and some other tidying up but over all it's not too bad. My kiddo's are already putting their clothes away.  I need to water my plants indoors too. And I obviously don't have to worry about the one's outdoors. Ha! I have all of my summer decorations out now which make me happy. I'll share photos of summer around here in the days ahead. 



ON TODAY'S TO DO LIST:

I'm going to work on the things I've mentioned. My kiddos are going to hang with their friends and enjoy their free day.  My hubby is going to pop in his office for a bit (that's what happens when you own your own companies) and I'm going to scrap and maybe read a bit and just relax. We don't really have graves to visit and bring Memorial boxes or flowers to - as many do on this day or weekend. I know my in-law's went the other day and brought flowers to their parents' and some relatives' graves. I do take time out to do my devotional and say a special prayer for all of our service men and women. Especially my brother who is in the special forces in the army (he's a combat medic in the green berets). Thankfully he's almost ready to retire and is spending his final year or so more state side. I know my patient saint of a sister-in-law is very happy about that! He's done  several tours in Iraq and Afghanistan  - and all over the world. He's been shot once and has earned many medals.  I've had to color many gray hairs on my head thanks to worrying over him for the past 20 years!! But he truly is my hero and I'm so proud of him.



CURRENTLY READING:

I have several new magazines to gobble up. I'm looking at a next book to read on my ipad but not sure which one yet. And I'm going to look through some cookbooks for some meal ideas for the week. 



ON THE TV TODAY:

I haven't even looked at what I have taped. I'm sure I have Outlander and Game of Thrones and some cooking shows. I just haven't watched too much t.v. this weekend but have been enjoying the outdoors instead. However, my son & I love the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies and we finally rented and watched the final Hobbit movie on our big screen downstairs the other night. Popcorn and movie night always fun on a holiday weekend. 


ON THE MENU THIS WEEK:

I really have no plan yet. I don't take care of my MIL today which is usually my menu and shopping day. Instead I'm taking a break - so the menu remains a mystery! Lol I know I'm going to make chicken & egg salad sandwiches around here for dinner later and maybe bake some cookies since it's cooler outside.  



WHAT I AM CREATING AT THE MOMENT:

My daughter and I planted our veggies in our new little veggie trug (will share photos in the future) so we planted some lettuce, a little cabbage plant my daughter got at school, red pepper, cucumber, and sugar snap peas. That's about all the room we had - but we'll give it a go and see what happens. If we have success and enjoy it maybe another trug will show up next summer for more goodies! I also planted some pots on my deck that have cilantro, parsley, mint and lemon basil. 



NEW RECIPE I WANT TO TRY THIS WEEK:

AGain - mystery menu this week so not sure yet.



TIP OF THE WEEK:

It's amazing to me how much tidier my home feels if I just make sure the beds are made up every day. My teenager's room is sometimes no man's land and I just keep the door closed, but I make up our bed as soon as I get up every morning and my daughter often is good about hers, or else I do it if she was in a hurry to school. Just having those rooms put together  first thing feels like it's 2 rooms off the list for the day. 


FROM THE CAMERA:
Here's a few of the pots I planted over the weekend next to our old bench. I ordered a new bench that will come soon and my Mom is taking this one. But I'm keeping my nice bright pillows - love them for summer!


PRAYER, INSPIRATIONAL QUOTE OR DEVOTIONAL:


God's blessings and peace on all the service men and women, past and present, and their families. I'm so thankful for the gift of freedom!

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

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Scraptastic Saturday:Sweet & Salty Munchie Mix

Today I'm joining Andrea at Scrapality for Scraptastic Saturday to bring you sweet and salty munchie mix. You can also click on the link in my right hand column.

This mix is a perfect snack for summer to bring along to picnics or to have around if you're throwing a BBQ party - or really to enjoy any time because it's SO good! I must warn you, though, that it's highly addicting!! So don't blame me for any added pounds. Lol


I've had the recipe for this mix for many years. It's a mix that family friends of my in-law's would always bring to any party or gathering. My in-law's used to have fun trivial pursuit parties and we'd have pizzas and treats and always this snack. So in our circles we actually refer to it as Irena munchie mix as that was the first name of the wife of the couple that hung out with my in-law's. I just call it GOOD!!



First of all take some mixed nuts. I always double this recipe (it goes so fast if you have a group) so I use 2 cans of mixed nuts. I will share the full recipe at the end of this post.


Then mix them with melted butter, parmesan cheese, and seasonings in a large bowl. 






It will look like the above photo. Then spread it out on a cookie sheet and bake it for about 15 minutes.




Then add the magical ingredient that makes this whole mix perfection. Yes, golden grahams my friend are the perfect sweet to go with the salty cheesy mixed nuts.  I usually put the golden grahams in a really large bowl (you may need to mix in 2 bowls) and then pour the hot mixed nut mixture over the top of them and then mix.




Then once it's all blended give the mix a little time to cool and blend flavors. Then dig in and enjoy the best mix ever!! It will keep for several days in a really good sealed container (or two if you make double). Bring this and a pitcher of sangria to a summer party and you will be a hit!!


Sweet & Salty Munchie Mix:

Again this is how I always make this recipe but you could easily cut it in half as this is a double batch.

2 cans mixed nuts
1/2 cup of butter (1 stick), melted
1 cup parmesan cheese
1 tsp each: garlic powder, oregano and celery salt
12 c. golden grahams (I don't really measure I just use either a whole smaller box of cereal or 3/4 of a bigger box)

Directions: preheat oven to 300*.  Melt butter and set aside. In large bowl mix 2 cans of mixed nuts with the parmesan and cheese and seasonings. Pour butter over mixture and stir to coat. Pour nut mixture onto cookie sheet and spread it evenly. Bake at 300* for 15 minutes and stir a couple times during cooking. Pour warm mixed nuts over golden grahams and stir all together. Keep in airtight container for several days.





Friday, May 22, 2015

Five on Friday:A Walk Among the Green

It's been so wonderful feeling real bits of summer around here in the northwoods already.  Most of this week was especially lovely. Last night I took a wonderful walk among all the green and leafy goodness that's been showing up lately. So for my five things today I thought I'd show you a peek into my workout.

First, I start out down a favorite road I love to take on my walk. Put in the head phones and set it on a favorite pandora station, then check that my fitbit is on and I'm good to go!




Along the way we see little inlets (like creeks) off of the bay where I live. Such pretty scenery.






We then come to the beautiful bay. The first photo is from along the road when I was still on my walk and the 2nd photo is from our dock after I get back home. A beautiful night on the bay as the sun is starting to go down.





We then have to start heading back home. The first photo is the final road to our house and the 2nd photo is heading up our driveway.






Once I'm home the workout isn't over. Now it's time to do the wonderful flight of stairs down to the dock. It's been a long time since I counted them but there are a LOT (maybe 50 some?). The winter is hard on them and they need a paint job again this summer. But they're sturdy and I do 5 sets up and down (which equals going up and down them 10 times!) But it helps that in those final sets I have my sweet cheerleader Annie cheering me on to finish strong! I'm tired, sore and sweating. I'm so glad I did it and that I could share it with you. Then I hit the showers and fall into a coma for the night. Lol


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



Thursday, May 21, 2015

Blueberry Hand Pies

This is one of my favorite ways to make a fast & simple, but delicious dessert. And maybe I love this dessert because fruit pies are probably my favorite treat (with ice cream is pure heaven). Some folks would go for the chocolate - but give me pastry with fruit and I'm a happy Girl!!




This recipe is also very versatile in that you could use your favorite homemade crust, or if you need to make dessert quickly you can just use the packaged crusts like I did.



Use a little flour and either roll out, our use your fingers to press out, the dough. Then cut it into 4 equal pieces. You could make smaller pies by using a biscuit cutter or glass to cut out circles too. This is much faster & easier and perfect for our family of 4. I used both crusts and made 8 pies (gave some to in-law's too).




Then fill the sections of crust with pie filling. Again, you could do homemade or ready made. For example you could make a favorite homemade filling (like sliced apples with a little bit of flour, sugar, and cinnamon), or be quick and use canned filling. Here I used canned blueberry. Center about 1 &1/2 Tbsp of filling into the crust then fold over one end to the other to seal.  Then use the tines of a fork to crimp the edges shut.






I like to brush my crust with a little bit of milk then sprinkle some sugar and cinnamon on top. I used some Ceylon cinnamon I had that has bit of citrus flavor to it - really good with the blueberry filling.  Then bake in a preheated 375* oven for 20-25 minutes depending on your oven. Just watch for them to get beautiful golden brown.



These are wonderful to take on a picnic for the summer because you could wrap them in some wax paper and pick them up and eat them easily - thus a hand pie!  Or do my favorite and eat like a piece of pie warmed up with some vanilla ice cream. Now that's my kind of summer dessert!