Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Heritage Scrapbook Part2 and Special Uncle

Hello my Friends!  

Sorry I'm posting so late today. I had a busy morning and then busy with my MIL, so didn't get a chance to get to it. 

Today I wanted to share some more from my Gram's heritage scrapbook I made her several years ago before she passed away. She was getting ready to leave her beautiful home on a lake in northern WI, after living there for 50 years and raising her family. Her Parkinson's disease had progressed to a point where she couldn't be alone anymore and was moving to a facility. We had a big celebration and I made this album for her all about the different parts of her life. You can read my post on the first part of her heritage album here.  

I wanted to share some more of her album as there's a really special part I really want to share with you...but I'll get to that soon. First of all, in the other post I had left off with my Gram as a young Gal and up to when she was a new bride. Well then she went on to become a Mother. I continued the pages with fun papers that look like old fabric or wallpaper. I have such fun with heritage/vintage style pages.

When I did this album I had my relatives offer a story or comments they might like to share and could put in the album. Several of my Aunts, Uncles and Cousins did and I would cut out the things they emailed or sent me and put them in. My Aunt Mary Jo wrote quite a lovely long letter of memories and I cut it into different parts that fit with what layout I was working on. So for this section of the album you'll see several quotes from her.  

Love this!

This cute little cherub is my Dad. He was 2nd out of 9 kids.

Love that top photo of my Gram with the kids she had up to that point in front of their old house before she moved to the one she would live in for 50 years. They moved to the house on the lake when my Dad was 10 years old.

the full layout of these pages

These pages about family showed some more old family photos. I did the quilted star look on this layout - like I did on this other layout here.

This album was so incredibly fun and special to work on as I looked through all the neat old photos.

My Dad (furthest left) and 2 of his brothers.

Love this die cut embellishment.

full layout 

Here's the full layout of these other family photos with some from an Aunt's wedding so some in-law's and grandkids are thrown in too. Then more just family photos of my Gram with my Grandpa and Aunts and Uncles. My Grandpa died when I was 9 years old. Got to love some of the fashions back in the 60's and 70's (photos on the left hand page).  

Here's some more lovely quotes from my Aunt:

And here is the extra special part I want to share which is about my Uncle Don (Donald). He is one of my Dad's 4 brothers and he is mentally challenged. He's always been such an incredibly special person in my life and to all of our family. When my Grandpa died fairly young (he was 63) my Grandma just took care of my Uncle Don on her own until she couldn't anymore and needed to move to a facility. My Uncle Don wanted to stay in that area and still get to go to his "work" (the Challenge Center he has been a part of most of his life). So he lives with a foster family there - but all of us relatives take turns visiting him or taking him on trips or to come stay with us different times throughout the year. My hubby and kids love him just as much as I do and we have him come stay with us for one week every year.

I absolutely love this photo of my Uncle Don with my Grandma. Don is coming for his annual visit with us next week. WE always have SO much fun and go on several adventures during that time.  I plan to take a break from posting next week while he's here.  He has the most infectious giggle. He loves to tell me about his work, his latest trips and travels,  the movies he'd like to see, and all about what the Green Bay Packers are up to as they are his favorite team! 

Titled: Donald's Angel - that was my Gram!

full layout

Thanks so much for sharing in these photo memories with me. I hope you enjoyed seeing the different scrapbook layouts. And especially getting to know a little about my very special Uncle Don.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Happy Homemaker Monday

Hello All! Here we are back to Monday! It was a great weekend and I even caught a glimpse at the super moon, as my daughter and I were out with our binoculars last night. It was pretty cool! 

We went out with some friends earlier in the weekend. We all had a lovely dinner and then back to our house to visit and play some cards. This time it was cribbage - we like smear too. It's always Girls vs Boys of course! Unfortunately, we have to say the boys won this round. Lol! We'll get them next time!! 

Also, yesterday was gorgeous in the upper 70's and sunny and my daughter and I took Ruby on a long lovely FAll walk. So nice. But on to today...


Gray and cooler today. A little drizzly this AM, but the clouds are just kind of hanging there and I see some blue skies beyond.  Sun may show up and it's supposed to get into upper 60's at least. Then rest of the week looks cooler and in the upper 50's to lower 60's. And some areas a little north of us are supposed to see some frost the next couple of nights. Yikes!! 


We had a treat this morning.  My Aunt was up visiting this weekend and stayed at my Mom's house. My Mom then spends the weekend with her and another of her sisters that is local and they do this each Fall (a Sisters weekend). So my Aunt is heading back today and thus is still at my Mom's. I took my MIL this AM then, so after my daughter and I picked her up, my daughter asked for McDonald's breakfast since she still had enough time before school. So it was a treat!! 


Gray and calm and still. However, I can see the landscapers working away! Due to 3 days of rain last week they weren't able to finish, and so are back today. Hopefully if all goes well they may finish up today with what we're getting done for this season. They plan to be back in the Spring for some other projects we have lined up.


Listening to pretty music as my MIL colors and I work on my post. We visit and she loves to stop every couple of minutes to show me how far she's accomplished on her picture. It's really sweet actually. Reminds me a little of my kiddos when they are young and so proud of their work. 


Just a couple of dishes, but not too bad. We've been doing them by hand as our dishwasher went kaput this weekend. Ggrrrr! So the one good thing is that it's keeping me up on them and not letting them accumulate much. Lol  Stocked up on paper plates to use for now, which helps too. The new one is ordered and will be here in a day or two. Thank goodness! I guess I'm just too spoiled! 


My son doesn't have school today, so I'm getting him to a hockey session that was added today since he and my nephews are off.  My Mom will have my MIL this afternoon. Then later I need to grab some groceries and run some errands. 


I'm so excited because my new Susan Branch book came! I absolutely loved her A Fine Romance: Falling in Love with the English Countryside book, and now she has out The Fairytale Girl.  I love her artwork and her blog you can check out here. She had a giveaway a while back and out of like 4,000 people I was 1 out of a lucky group of 6 to win a copy! I'll be making myself a nice mug of chai tea and diving into that today! Yay!!


So much fun because a lot of the reality tv shows we like are back on. So as a family we like to watch Survivor and The Amazing Race and Shark Tank. My hubby still loves Bering Sea Gold and I like my cooking shows. 



MONDAY: BBQ chicken pizza on whole wheat crust, salad 

TUESDAY: Taking the leftover rotisserie chicken from the pizza and using it to make mini chicken pot pies in my muffin pan, leftover salad, fruit 

WEDNESDAY: no religious education so my crew has hockey...will be simple night - maybe Subway or sandwiches at home.

THURSDAY: Slow cooker bacon and corn chowder, blueberry muffins

FRIDAY: leftovers, or pick up dinner

*Going to make brownies or else easy crazy cake for a dessert this week   

*And on Thursday I'll be making a pasta salad to bring to school for conferences night - our PTA feeds the teachers since they are there all day and then all evening.


Lots of fun projects. I picked up some goodies for some planned fun non-scrapbook projects to work on. Also, work with my Mom to help her with a baby scrapbook album as a gift for someone.


I will probably share the mini chicken pot pies I'll make this week. 


I loved this tip I saw on Valerie's Bertinelli's cooking show from this past weekend. If your hands smell from chopping garlic - just rub them on your stainless steel faucet in your sink and it will go away!

Love this "twilight time" photo I put on my instagram

Can tell it's the transitioning of seasons - geranium hanging in there, and I picked up some mums this weekend to decorate the front when the landscaping is done.  My daughter picked glitter pumpkins. Lol


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

Friday, September 25, 2015

Five on Friday: Cozy Drinks

This time of year gets me so excited! Not just because it starts to get nice and cool and crisp outside and I LOVE wearing sweaters and sweatshirts - and bundling under a soft blanket. And of course, there's the beautiful colors outside - and then we transition to the fun and swirl of activities for the holidays and all that great food and family time. But one of the best things about this whole season is the yummy cozy beverages!! There's nothing like a comforting hot mug of something wonderful on a cold day. I have a few of my own favorites -and of course I've been pinning some more on pinterest lately. So here are some I'd like to share with you today!


This is a recipe I have had for many years. When my hubby and I were married (almost 20 years now!) I was given a recipe box from my Grandma, aunts, uncles and cousins that contained many different family favorite recipes from each of them. This is one that my Aunt Mary Jo contributed that has been a favorite of mine for a long time now! I love it in the Fall and I also love it for the Christmas holiday. I do it like this at times and variations at other times. Sometimes I leave out the frozen lemon juice concentrate and do fresh lemon - add a little brown sugar etc. You really can't go wrong, just play with the flavors that you like. It's also lovely as an adult version with some apple brandy added, or maybe even apricot brandy. Feeling cozy yet?


Homemae Pumpkin Spice Latte Recipe with Almond Milk

Here's a recipe I pinned on my pinterest board yummy drinks.  Of course Fall is all about the pumpkin lattes. There are many recipes all over pinterest for them. I found this one by "The Rising Spoon" blog extra intriguing as it's also vegan and little healthier. This gal even makes her own homemade almond milk, spices and whipped cream. I'd take shortcuts on all of that - but it's easy to get the idea to make a mug of something full of pumpkin goodness!

2 cups of unsweetened vanilla almond milk (get my homemade recipe here)
2 tablespoons of canned pumpkin puree
2 tablespoons of organic raw sugar 
1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon of homemade pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup dark roast brewed coffee or 2 shots of espresso
Homemade whipped cream*, (optional)
Ground cinnamon, for garnish (optional)

*The first time I made this I did not use whipped cream. The second time, I happened to have whipped cream on hand that I made with heavy whipping cream, so that's what I used. However, you can easily make your own Vegan Whipped Cream using full-fat coconut milk. Here's a simple coconut milk whipped cream recipe.



If you've never had a hot buttered rum drink - you are missing out! As they say, everything is better with butter ...even drinks! So yummy, especially after being out in a cold snowy day. Here's a recipe from Emeril.

1 stick unsalted butter, softened
2 cups light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
Pinch ground cloves
Pinch salt
Bottle dark rum
Boiling water
In a bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt. Refrigerate until almost firm. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the butter mixture into 12 small mugs. Pour about 3 ounces of rum into each mug (filling about halfway). Top with boiling water (to fill the remaining half), stir well, and serve immediately.

Recipe courtesy of Emeril Lagasse, 2002

hot teas

Here's a link from "Cleverly Simple" also off of my pinterest board, all about delicious beverages, for many different kinds of hot teas you can make yourself. What's nice is that there are lot of good hot drinks out there that can even benefit your health! I think this slow cooker apple chai sounds fabulous!


Slow Cooker Apple Chai for a Crowd (or Yourself)  
This recipe makes about 3 quarts and keeps in the fridge a few days. 2 quarts water (I used hot water straight from my electric kettle to save time) 12 tea bags (I prefer a blend of 6 caramel and 6 spiced chai bags--the kind for a single cup, these are) 2 12 ounce cans apple juice concentrate (or cranberry apple juice concentrate if you like) 12 ounces water (to rinse out the cans to get every last drop of apple concentrate) In a 3 quart slow cooker, set to High, steep the tea bags in 2 quarts hot water for 15 minutes. Remove tea bags (worms love this, so does your outdoor compost bin or overwintering garden bed). Pour in apple juice concentrate, then fill up 1 can with water and rinse out both cans, pouring the water into the crock pot. Cover and let it go for an hour, then turn it down to Low for serving - 


And then there's my yummy Snow Cocoa, which I've posted on here before. This photo is actually from regular cocoa out on my deck last winter. I don't have a photo of my snow cocoa (white chocolate cocoa) - but I usually serve it with a candy cane for a stirring stick. I also often add a bit of mint Baileys to it. Delish! Here's the recipe:

Not low cal, but definitely yummy!  You must be feeling nice and cozy now, right? 

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

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Fall Inspired Pasta Salad

It's been rainy here the past couple of days, so the weather has been much cooler - mainly in the 50's. I love looking out into the gray day and see the vibrancy of certain trees that are starting to change color. It gives me that sense of coziness as I look out onto the moody Autumn day. 

It also makes me hungry for Fall flavors! I've been going through recipes like crazy and planning some cozy Fall inspired meals in the days ahead. Today I want to share this yummy pasta salad recipe that I was given by an Aunt of mine. I love it as it's one that is versatile and can work by either using chicken or turkey - but I love it with turkey, as the other flavors in it remind me of Fall too.  So today I'd like to share:

Can you see the bits of turkey, celery, dried cranberry, and toasty salty almonds - all in a creamy poppyseed dressing? Delicious!  Here is the recipe and variations:

1 pound box curly or bow tie pasta,cooked, drained & rinsed
1 can whole salted almonds
2-3 cups cooked diced chicken or turkey
1/2 vadalia onion chopped small - (I didn't have one so I just left the onion out and it was still as good as when I've had it in)
1 cup sliced celery
1 bag dried cherries or cranberries

Dressing: mix 1 generous cup of mayo with 1 bottle of low fat/fat free poppyseed dressing (my aunt recommended Maple Grove Farms brand & that's what I used).

Mix all together and refrigerate for at least an hour or 2. This pasta salad just seems to get better the more it sits and the flavors marry. 

This is such a fun recipe - perfect for this time of year. When I still like to grill and eat a late summer style meal, but want to start introducing some Fall flavors. 

Hope you enjoy it! I'm linking with these 2 lovely Ladies:  Sandra of Diary of a SAHM for Cooking Thursday.  And I will be linking with Andrea of Scrapality for Scraptastic Saturday.



Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Wednesday Wonder


Hello and happy midweek to all! 

My hubby's business computers were hacked recently, and some things needed to be changed with our servers and related to emails (my email is related to our businesses too), so I had some complications with it yesterday... and that's why I didn't post. It was a scary thing for him, but thankfully he has some really savvy computer folks and they were able to stop things before it took everything out. My hubby and brother-in-law own some subsidized housing in our city, as well as some of our own local businesses (a management company, a realty company and an electric company). Owning our own businesses is rewarding, but also pretty stressful at times. I'm so grateful it turned out o.k.! 

All around my area everything is starting to get that golden glow to it...like the trees are ready to change their leaves to glorious colors. But since it will probably be another week or so before that fully happens, I thought today I'd share some photos from the past Fall in my backyard.

In other news - a lot of headway has been made on our landscaping...yay!! I can't wait to share it with you all in the future. I'm caregiving for my MIL today and I know I'm behind to visit with everyone, however, tomorrow I will have a more "free" day to catch up! Wishing you a beautiful and colorful day.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Happy Homemaker Monday

Happy Monday! It's a beautiful sunny day here in the northwoods. Hope the sun is shining your way today too. It was a great weekend and flew by too fast. I got out for some lovely walks as we had beautiful weather this past weekend too. My daughter was at a fun sleepover at her Nana's one night, so my hubby, son and I went to dinner and a movie that night (a movie my daughter would have been too young to watch). Always nice when the teenager is willing to hang out with his parents. Lol Now on to our week ahead!


Just beautiful! Sunny and supposed to hit low 70's today.


I was a little naughty today because I had made some chocolate chip zucchini bread - so instead of my usual protein bar I had some yummy bread and a cup of coffee with natural hazelnut creamer.


Well the chaos has begun! The landscapers are here in full force and I can hear their machinery working away. It's going to be so nice when it's all done though. We had done quite a bit of landscaping, all on our own, when we moved here over 8 years ago. Many of our shrubs had died after the winter before last when it was a very rough one. Lots of other greenery was kind of overgrown, and some things were just doing poorly. We had a brick paver path that was here when we bought the house and it had gotten pretty uneven and overgrown too. So we're having them do the works! They're doing a whole new more natural looking stone path and helping us plant all new shrubs and greenery. We also had a carpenter ant problem due to the old mulch, so we're filling in with rock this time instead. I'll share lots of photos once it's all done!


I've been enjoying the new schedule (have MIL in the afternoons now instead). It's so nice to have mornings to myself to get my plans together and start the day slowly. I'm watching the morning news as I write this and sipping the last of my coffee. Looking at my schedule (mainly kiddos' sports etc) to make my plans for the week.


Need to throw in some more laundry. Some dishes in the sink but will deal with them later after I get groceries and make dinner ahead this afternoon. I'll be making more mess then so will clean it all up at once. I'll make dinner early so I can bring some to my in-law's when I drop my MIL off late this afternoon.


Will pick up my MIL later from my Mom and we'll go grab the groceries. Come home and fix us a late lunch and we'll probably spend time indoors due to the chaos outside. Hard to navigate all their equipment going all over (moving big piles of dirt etc) to take a walk today. Have a cooking show taped my MIL and I both like to watch and then we may color or go through some old scrapbooks or watch some of our old home movies for fun. She loves those triggers that help her with memory lane.


I'm finishing an old Janet Evanovich book from the Stephanie Plum series that I never finished back when I was reading regularly. It's jump starting me back into my books and I have a big pile waiting!


Loving Dancing with the Stars. My hubby loves Bering Sea Gold. We're looking forward to Survivor starting. Have some cooking shows taped. I'm loving the new Valerie Bertinelli cooking show too. 


MONDAY: homemade sloppy joes, green salad, potato chips 

TUESDAY: stuffed shells and pasta sauce, garlic bread, caesar salad (may make  parmesan crusted tilapia I have in the freezer for me. I've been wanting fish and I'm the only one who eats it!) 

WEDNESDAY: grilled polish sausage, baked beans, corn on the cob, and a really yummy pasta salad (another new one) I'll share later this week 

THURSDAY: big sports night so something easy - sandwiches at home or subway

FRIDAY: Might be pizza or out for dinner

*Thinking I'll bake up a pan of chocolate chip bars for a treat this week too.


Still catching up on scrapbooking and have been doing more organizing of future pages. Going to be helping my Mom work on a baby album gift for a loved one too.


The yummy pasta salad I plan to make (it's one I had recently at a family reunion that my aunt often makes).  It's SO good!  I like that it has some different ingredients for a pasta salad as it has turkey in it and dried cherries or cranberries. 


Many of you cooks probably already know this, but if a recipe calls for buttermilk and you don't have any....just take a cup of milk and add a tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar to it and let it sit for 10 minutes and then use it. I have done this many times and it works great!


Loving my new Fall photo! It has a switch you can turn on so the jack-o-lantern can light up at night. The bottom is a close up view when it was darker last night. So it's pretty during the day and can look kind of spooky at night. So fun!


Yep! Do this often.

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

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Scraptastic Saturday:Fall Bunting

The temps have been cooling down here and I've been fully in the mood for all things Fall! As many of you keep hearing - it's my favorite season in the whole wide world!! So I've been decorating the mantle and shelves, all around my home, in all things Autumn. I've also been doing some Fall crafting and I wanted to share my Fall bunting with you today as I link with Andrea at Scrapality for Scraptastic Saturday.  You can click on the link in my right hand column if you'd like to go check out all the great ideas over there!

First of all, I love to dig into all of my different stashes of goodies around and grab things that speak to me for their color or just overall "fallishness". Once I accumulated quite a few things I started to become inspired with what I wanted to make.

I knew I wanted to use some pretty lace I had around. And once I decided on making some bunting for my office room I was inspired by some candy corn I was munching on at the moment. Lol! Not surprising I was inspired by food. So I decided since bunting is usually kind of shaped like candy corn I would create it that way. So for all of the lettered pieces I did the bottom in the "white" lace, and the middle in this neat patterned "yellow" pape, and the whole base is in that great candy corn orange!

I also used my leaf punch to add little yellow leaves at the top, and for the end pieces I just glued on the lace and then glued on some little wood pumpkins. I used brown denim letter stickers for the "Fall" part. I ended by punching holes with a hole punch and threading yellow rick rack ribbon I had through it to hang.

I hung it on the shelf that sits above my scrapbooking work space. I love this space for the family photos I have above and I also always place some seasonal things on these shelves.

It's my happy place and just makes me smile.

Happy Fall to all and Happy Crafting!