Friday, July 30, 2010

Fruit {Jellies} on a Stick

Okay. Here is a quick idea if you want party favors and don't have the time to come up with something fun!


Container...plastic cup, flower pot, tea cup...whatever you have
Crinkle paper
Assorted Fruit Jellies {Trader Joes}


Fill container with flour
Put Crinkle paper on top to cover flour
Cut lollipop sticks in various heights
Stick them in the flour
That is it!

Takes minutes! I also cut some jellies and put them on the glass...endless possibilities. No mess. No effort...well maybe a little...and they are A.DORABLE. They look like a little bouquet of baloons!

FOR CHRISTMAS: Use brightly-colored gumdrops {they will look like christmas lights!} and place them on the lollipop sticks! So very festive and fun. Be sure to have your children do this project for YOU! They will so enjoy it and feel like they contributed to the party!

Happy Happy Friday!

This is a fun activity to have your children make to take to a summer picnic. No need for dessert...just fruit jellies on a stick!

Next Week: Fireside Treats {chocolate & peanut butter S'MORES} for inside and out!

Shared with: at the picket fence, comfy in the kitchen

Thursday, July 29, 2010

80th Birthday Celebration from YOUR HOMEBASED MOM

One of the greatest pleasures of blogging is the opportunity to meet new people.
Leigh Anne is no exception!

I am so excited to have Leigh Anne {the creative talent behind YOUR HOMEBASED MOM}here today as my very first guest blogger!

Her passion for all things family, home, friends, entertaining, crafts and scrapbooking is just the tip of the iceberg. Her ideas and her way of life are both contagious and inspiring.

I was particularly drawn to her blog because of how she INCLUDES her family. They are involved with what she does and they all do a great job of sharing their talents with those in their community. Those of us who are not in her circle of influence have the benefit of reading her blog to glean practical ideas that will encourage us to stop procrastinating, to try a new recipe, and to venture out of our comfort zone and celebrate life!

Today, she came up with the idea of a blog swap. So, you will have to check out her blog when you finish drooling over her Momma's sweet birthday celebration!

Thank you Leigh Anne.

My mom turned 80 a few weeks ago. I wanted to celebrate her and her long beautiful life and include her friends in that celebration..

I love everything vintage and have recently developed a fondness for vintage tablecloths so I wanted to incorporate those into the party.

The luncheon was held out on the patio in our garden. Fortunately we had wonderful weather. After a very rainy spring and early summer I was a little worried but the weather came through and it was almost too warm and sunny. We pulled out the sun hats and sunglasses and everyone did fine.


I also have a little collection of vintage aprons. Since I had to use my ugly folding chairs I decided to dress them up a bit with the vintage aprons. I used a double sided tape to tape them onto the top of the chairs. It worked great.


For the table decor I used my blue mason jars I had picked up last year for the backyard wedding reception I helped with.

I filled them with flowers from my garden and placed a jar on each table along with a couple of old, vintage books.



The only flowers I had to buy was one bunch of hydrangea from Costco which I used in the arrangement I put on the serving table.


I also used the blue and clear canning jars to display pictures of my mother through the ages. People loved looking at the photos!


I also added some vintage inspired pinwheels into some of the jars.



I borrowed an old vintage quilt from a friend to use as a backdrop. The serving table was right up against our fireplace and there was an ugly black vent I needed to cover up. I ran a wire line and used clothes pins to hang it behind the table. It worked perfect.


I basically just found every vintage type thing in my house and used it to decorate with. An old shelf from my girl's room that was in the garage, a sign from Tessa's room, books from the family room. I just went around the house collecting things.

My Aunt Pam came down from Canada for the party and brought me this beautiful hat she found at a garage sale. It very quickly became part of the decor.


I like to use signage on my serving table. I always like to know what I am eating and besides that it looks pretty!



The menu consisted of three types of quiche, four salads, bread, cupcakes and cake. For more details on the menu check out the recipes I'll be posting over at Your Homebased Mom.

The desserts were on a separate serving table. I found an old rusty shelf at a vintage shop that I used to give the table some height. I added more flowers and books.



I also stacked 3 cake plates on top of each other for the cupcakes.


The finishing touch was a pretty girl in a vintage dress and apron to help serve!

Since the party was back in the garden I wanted people to know which direction to go so I pulled out Daisy and added a sign to her so people knew where the party was!


The best part of the party? Was just watching my mom enjoy herself with her friends!




Happy Birthday Mom - we love you!


Leigh Anne Wilkes

Thank you, Michelle for introducing me to her!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Chopped Salad

For those of you who only cook with specific measurements, you aren't going to like this, but I promise you that YOU CAN do it. You will feel like a domestic diva when it is done. There is no messing up this salad. REALLY. And when your mother-in-law asks you for the recipe she will be so impressed because all you have to remember is what you put in measurements required.

This salad is really versatile!


Chopped Romaine and/or Red Leaf lettuce


Tomatoes, diced

Apples {soaked in salt water to keep from turning yucky brown}

Red onion, diced

Avocado, diced

Blue Cheese Crumbles

*don't forget the bacon!

Balsamic Vinaigrette:
1/3 cup Balsamic Vinegar {Trader Joes}

2/3 cup olive oil {Trader Joes}

2-3 Tbsp. Dijon Mustard {Trader Joes}

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


Fresh Lemonade or Newman's Own Lemonade

Chopped Salad

BBQ Chicken

Toasted French Bread on the grill

Fresh Peaches and Cream {ICE CREAM!}

Happy Wednesday!

This is a great picnic salad. I packed the salads into the BIO BOXES from Cash and Carry, packed individual dressing etc.

You will want to either go out for ice cream :) or pack COOKIES! ENJOY!

*Recipe shared with: tidy mom, comfy in the kitchen, tempt my tummy tuesday, women living well

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


CONGRATULATIONS to number 19...JAMIE O! Please contact me with your info and I will e-mail you back.

My son and I are off to the lake to spend time with my family! I love the summer!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Landen's Peach Cobbler {in a bag}

Several weeks ago, I dropped in on my twinsie. As we sipped on tea and chatted, my nephew offered to make a peach cobbler for our family. I was so very excited. I don't know of many pre-teen boys that would offer to do something so sweet for their Auntie! Anyway, needless to say, it was THE BEST peach cobbler I had EVER had. No kidding. It was devoured by my family that night. So, I asked him if he would send me the recipe so that I could share it with you. I hope you enjoy it as much as our family enjoyed it!

Adapted from Betty Crocker


1/2 cup sugar
1 tbs. cornstarch {I used Clear Jel and skipped the cooking part}
one 29 oz. can of peaches {I used four cups of fresh peaches…about 6 large}
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract or pure almond extract


3 tbs. shortening
1 cup self-rising flour
1 tbs. sugar
1/2 cup 2% milk

heat oven to 400'. mix 1/2 cup sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and the cornstarch in a 2-quart saucepan. stir in peaches and vanilla. cook stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils. boil and stir 1 minute. pour into ungreased 8x8 square pan; keep peach mixture hot in the oven.

cut shortening into flour and 1 tablespoon sugar until mixture resembles fine crumbs. stir in milk. drop dough by six spoonfuls onto hot peach mixture.
bake 25-30 minutes or until topping is golden brown.
I hope you all enjoy!


When I pick peaches, I like to pick enough to enjoy a few cobblers throughout the year, so I put all of the peach mixture ingredients into a Ziploc bag and label it with what I need to add for the topping and baking instructions. All you have to do is to REMEMBER to get it out of the freezer and whip up the topping. Sprinkle with cinnamon and coarse sugar.


SECOND FAVORITE VARIATION: Add 1/4 cup pure Orange Juice to Peach mixture. Seriously, just try it. You would not believe how it brings out the flavor of the peaches.

Now, every time I make a peach cobbler I remember the hospitality extended to our family through my nephew. It inspires me to want to share a freshly baked peach cobbler with someone I love...AND MAKE SURE MY SON CAN COOK AND BAKE!

Thank you, LANDEN! I LOVE YOU!

Who has nurtured you? Who can you think of who might need to be nurtured?

Ezekiel 34:26 "I will send down showers in season; there will be showers of blessing."

Friday, July 23, 2010


You are all lucky little duckies! the twinery is offering all of YOU 25% off your order. The offer is good until July 28th. Simply use this code when ordering: THISTHAT25. Also...the giveaway is open internationally! So for some of you that is GREAT NEWS! I think that is it for now. Please let me know if you have any more questions. Don't forget to enter the giveaway!

Yogurt from the Orchard {semi homemade}

My momma and I met up for peach picking in the orchards on Wednesday morning and had so much fun. {I would have pictures to show you, but I had a blank memory card in the camera!}

I love picking peaches with her because we have so much fun talking and I always leave feeling completely inspired by her old fashioned tips on parenting, housekeeping, loving people and her zest for life is truly contagious.

As soon as we were done picking, we drove to another farm and had a picnic lunch in a gazebo. She packed our lunch and I felt completely spoiled! She made fresh tuna sandwiches, green olives, celery sticks, cheese slices, grapes, berries, and melon with toothpicks...and my favorite...placemats for lapmats. The "ARMY NURSE" thinks of everything.

SOOO, that really has nothing to do with yogurt, but since this is a journal as well, I get to document special memories!

About the yogurt: I love Nancy's Yogurt, because it does NOT have gelatin in it...which I can NOT stand the thought of eating. My children love Tillamook yogurt, but it still has gelatin in it...BUT when we pick berries and peaches from the orchards, I love chopping up fresh fruit and adding it to the PLAIN yogurt and putting it into little straight-sided jars. It is so good and good for you. Even organic yogurts have quite a bit of sugar. I would rather have my sugar in ice cream, cobblers and cookies.

What is one of your favorite things to do with fresh fruit?

Happy Happy Friday!

Linked to:


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

MEALS TO GO {Binder Oraganization 101}

What is the first thing you do after you commit to taking a dinner to someone? Do you start to stress and wish you would have never offered? Do you ask a friend to trade dates in hope that the recipient will no longer be in need when it rolls around to your turn? Anyway you look at it, it can be a daunting task, to not only need to fix your family dinner but somebody elses family as well!

All of my recipes are in binders. I started off with one and now, I pretty much have seperate binders for everything. Several are grouped together, but it makes finding recipes a snap.

I think my favorite binder is my MEALS TO GO binder. It has made taking meals to people so easy...and might I add...FUN! I am not even kidding! Taking the guess work out of what to prepare and take allows me to make quick decisions and spend a little extra time embellishing it. This is pretty much my hobby. It is a great way to pamper people and I no longer feel like I am just doing crafts "to do" crafts, but it allows me to be a little creative while being able to bless those who are in need!

Here is what works for me, but I would love to hear what works for you. Others ideas are always welcome and appreciated!!! I think we all enjoy hearing how other people do things!


Label your binder

The first page has the list of meals I choose from...if your recepient loves something in particular that you are aware of it makes it even easier to decide!
Keep this list simple and doable. If it is a chicken from Costco, a loaf of bread, bag-o-salad and lemonade, write it down. If it is a box of cereal, milk and bread write it down. This has to be what works for YOU! If it is having a pizza delivered write the phone number down so that you can call and have it DELIVERED! Are we all on the same page? Onward we go!

Each Meal has a complete list of what I will be taking to make it a "meal"

The next page has the recipes, so I am not spending all my time flippin' through different binders trying to track down what I need to make dinner.

The next page is TOTALLY optional, if you are already feeling overwhelmed, stop reading right about NOW! If you love to craft and embellish...keep reading...I make labels and run them off on the computer so that I can have a little creative outlet with the dinner. I usually only make it fun for celebration purposes for example: New baby, a move etc. Sorry this is taking so long to explain!

The MEALS TO GO is categorized into breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Have you ever thought about taking someone breakfast the evening before? This is AWESOME. You can deliver it in the evening after your evening has "settled" down and it might be a very welcome change for one VERY happy recipient. You should try it!

Shared with: at the picket fence

{GIVEAWAY} The Twinery Twine


OH.WHAT.FUN. you are going to have with this twine! This is not your GRAMMY'S twine. That is for sure. The colors are beautiful and sassy. Just think of the embellishing you can do with a spool or two or three...or maybe you will have to go with their sampler pack!

The Twinery is offering Simply...This. That. And The Other followers a chance to win one spool of your very favorite color of twine or if you can't decide they are offering the sampler pack! Isn't that sweet of them? Just go to their blog and find one favorite is gonna be a tough choice...! Come back here and leave a comment as to which color is your favorite.


1. MUST be a Simply...This. That. And The Other blog FOLLOWER
2. Only one entry per person...pretty please. Caleb is going to draw a number!

TO QUALIFY FOR THE GIVEAWAY if you are not a follower: JOIN US! WE will love to have you along!

GIVEAWAY starts today, Wednesday, July 21st and will end on Monday, July 26th at 12:00 noon Pacific Standard Time.
Winner will be posted on be sure to check back.

Have FUN!

Be sure to look at their free printables and ideas!

Thank you to The Twinery!

Salmon Burgers with Special Sauce {Dill Cream, that is!}

Summer days can get quite crazy around here, and there are evenings when it would be way more convenient to just go out! So, here is one go-to dinner that is nutritious and delicious that is simple to prepare!

Water or Soda Pop...the good high fructose corn syrup, right? :)
Dinner Salad
Salmon bought
Pub Buns...extra durable and really good
Sweet Potato Fries...Trader Joes
Chips...Kettle junk in them.
Side Condiments
Leftover Chocolate Celebration Cake...stuck our leftovers in the freezer the other night.

Special Sauce {Dill Cream}

1 cup Daisy Sour brand ever
1 garlic clove
1/2 tsp. sea salt
2 Tbsp. fresh dill...I froze the leftover dill from making Southern Refrigerator Pickles
1 serrrano pepper, deveined and seeds removed

Blend in blender or mini food processor. Chill until ready to use.

I always dip my chips in this sauce, too!


Do you have a favorite go-to meal for busy summer evenings or do you enjoy going out to dinner or being invited to a friends home?

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Oma's Sourdough Muffins

"But how do you make the sourdough?" Mrs. Boast asked.
"You start it," said Ma, "by putting some flour and warm water in a jar and letting it stand till it sours."
"Then when you use it, always leave a little," said Laura, "and put in the scraps of biscuit dough, like this, and more warm water," Laura put in the warm water, "and cover it," she put the clean cloth and the plate on the jar, "and just set it in a warm place," she set it in its place on the shelf by the stove. "And it's always ready to use, whenever you want it."


My Momma made everything from scratch and I do mean everything! If I had to pick one favorite muffin...this would be the healthy category anyway! Thank you, for the recipe and for Grammy's starter!

Oma’s Sourdough Muffins
1 cup whole wheat flour
½ cup bran
1/3 cup organic sugar
½ tsp. sea salt
1 cup oatmeal
1 tsp. baking soda
1 small very ripe banana
½ cup applesauce {Trader Joe’s Unsweetened Gravenstein}
½ cup walnuts
½ cup unsweetened coconut
1 egg
½ cup buttermilk
1/3 cup oil
2/3 cup sourdough starter

Mix all dry ingredients together.
Put all wet ingredients into bowl and stir.
Mix all together gently.
Makes 12 muffins
Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Kitchen Organization {glass containers}

One way to be able to bake on a whim is to get your kitchen organized. You might be shocked at all of the extra things you have stored in your cabinets and pantry that you really do not need or that may have gone bad.

It doesn't take too much time to get organized in your kitchen, so that you actually enjoy cooking and baking. If you hate cooking and baking, it should make it more tolerable for you.

I suggest blocking out one hour of time. That is it. And tackle one part of your kitchen that is driving you BATTY. It may be the fridge, the pantry, the cabinets, the spice cabinet...whatever. Take everything out, clean it out and only put things back that are needed and not out-of-date. Be sure to set your timer, so it doesn't become an overwhelming project. You might want to enlist the help of a friend for a "fun" evening EVENT after the kiddies are in bed for the night. If you have older childen, have them help you.

If you buy in bulk, make sure to have labeled containers for your goods. This eliminates open bags and clutter. Again, this does not have to be spendy, you can recycle glass condiment containers, jam jars, or find great deals at garage sales and thrift stores.

It may take a few weeks to get your kitchen organized if you do it in chunks of time, but it will be so much more enjoyable to cook in a de-cluttered kitchen.

Glass storage jars seem to keep food from going bad for a longer period of time with the added benefit of no chemicals seeping into your food. Since they are clear, you can see when you might be running low. Just be sure to wash out the containers before replacing with the next batch, instead of topping off the old with the new! This will ensure that what you are using is always as fresh as possible.

Happy organizing!

Shared with: a bowl full of lemons, organization made fun

Chocolate Celebration Cake {aka Poppi's favorite cake!}

...made with pumpkin, almond vanilla milk and Nancy's yogurt...a new healthy makeover for an old fashioned favorite! Recipe coming soon!

Everybody needs a go-to cake that can be whipped up in no time. I used to be such a cake snob! I had never bought a cake mix. Honest! I was selling Demarle products and the last thing the hostess was wanting to do was to spend the day slaving on a from scratch cake, I started buying cake mixes! I about died! I remember stocking my grocery cart with lots of cake mixes...when they were on sale. I was so humiliated. I totally hid the boxes under my bulk bags of Bob's Red Mill grains, Wild Salmon and big heads of cabbage and cauliflower! I even avoided my favorite checkers, because they KNEW I made everything from scratch. Talking about PRIDE! Shame on me.

Anyway, since I can't leave anything alone {control issues?!} I finally substituted and added good ingredients to justify the fact that cake mixes can actually be okay and semi healthy!

So if you are running short on time and want to make the very best cake from a mix, here is one that might just become your new favorite CELEBRATION CAKE!

Chocolate Celebration Cake

1 package Duncan Hines Devil’s Food cake mix {I prefer Trader Joe's Chocolate Cake Mix}
1 small box vanilla pudding
4 eggs
1 cup Nancy’s yogurt
½ cup almond vanilla milk
1 15oz. can pumpkin
1 tsp. pure almond extract

2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Place all ingredients in mixer bowl, except for the chocolate chips. Beat on low for 2 minutes. Add chocolate chips. Bake for 45 minutes or until done. {Follow cooking directions on the back of the box.}
Cool for 20 minutes!

I made three small cakes. Two were made into a small celebration cake {we got our daughter registered for her college classes!} The other one is wrapped in the freezer for a last minute grab-n-go!


Freeze until ready to frost.
Top with your favorite buttercream frosting.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Taste and See

Shared with: Scripture and a snapshot

Friday, July 16, 2010

Southern Refrigerator Pickles

To me, a Saturday isn't quite a Saturday without a trip to the local Farmer's Market. The smell of the fresh fruit, veggies and kettle corn is so enticing! In your summer entertaining, whether it is simple or gourmet, the farmer's market is a great place to stock up on fresh produce, blooming flowers, and freshly-made breads you will want to incorporate into your weekly menu!

If you haven't tried fresh garlic, you will have to promise me you will at least try it. It is the best!

If you shop the farmer's market, do you have a special find? If not, what do you do on Saturdays? Laundry doesn't count! :)

Happy Friday!

Southern Refrigerator Pickles
Adapted from Art Smith

2 cups apple cider vinegar
2 tsp. Hain Sea Salt {non-iodide}
½ tsp. whole coriander seeds
½ tsp. black peppercorns
2 Kirby cucumbers, scrubbed and cut into rounds
1 small onion, cut into thin half-rounds
12 cherry tomatoes
8 fresh garlic cloves, peeled and cut into half…lengthwise
¼ cup fresh dill sprigs

Bring vinegar, salt, coriander and peppercorns to full boil.
Sterilize two pint jars.
Jars should be hot when adding veggies

Layer into each jar:

1 cucumber
½ onion
6 cherry tomatoes
4 garlic cloves
1 cup vinegar mix

Screw lid on and chill for at least 3 days…no cheating! May be stored for up to 1 month.


Today I am linking up with Beneath My Heart click on the button below to check out her salad party!

beneath my heart

Thursday, July 15, 2010


I am always making up words. Who knows, maybe this is a word. I think upcycle is. Anyway...

Since I am a stay-at-home mom, I always feel like before I get anything new, it really needs to be justified. Not because my hubby has put me on a strict budget, but because I want to be respectful of how hard he works in order for me to be able to stay home. I want him to know that when he is at work providing for our family, I am not spending our income as quickly as he is earning it. I want him to know I am being as resourceful as possible in helping him be wise in what God has blessed us with.

One way of doing this is by DOWNCYCLING. Passing things from one area in our home to the next, before it is gotten rid of.

TOWELS. One of my biggest pet-peeves. Really! I know, by now you are sure I have issues, which I do, but towels is a major one! I know my mom still has towels given to her as wedding presents {45 years ago!} that they use! I am pretty sure it has something to do with the quality way back when, do you think so, too? Well, I refuse to pay a mortgage payment on good towels, because I would rather replace them every so often.

WHITE TOWELS. It took me the first several years of marriage to switch from the beautiful designer colors to plain.old.white. The fact that the colors faded and the bleach stains that made them look semi tie-dyed finally convinced me to to the switcheroo.

SOOO. This is how I justify nice towels in our home. The white bath towels are downcycled {passed down/recycled} to swim towels/gym towels/hot tub towels. Hand towels become floor towels/car towels/garage towels. Kitchen dish towels are downcycled to picnic/car/dinners-to-go. Dish cloths become rags. It takes quite a while to get to the point of actually getting rid of them which makes me feel like I have totally gotten our money's worth. It is also teaching our children to not just "pitch" things, too. Teaching them to respect the fact that their Daddy is working HARD to provide for our family in the big things and the little things like towels! Maybe that is why my son used a bungie cord for a belt? I didn't say a word. Didn't have to, because his big sister did!

How do you downcycle in your home?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

mini sno cones {a healthy snack}

We are at the height of berry-pickin' season and I can't think of a better snack to reward {bribe!} your little helpers with.


Crush ice in a blender unless you are fortunate enough to have THE.SNOOPY.SNO.CONE.MAKER.

Take extra fruit and add a bit of lemon juice and a tiny bit of sugar and let it sit. Mash berries and strain for juice.

I put mine into a squeeze bottle with a little nozzle.

Use ice cream cone scooper to form crushed ice into dish.
Top with fruit syrup.
Another idea for quick and fast syrup without the HFCS: MONIN or TORANI syrup.

Your little berry pickers will be eager little beavers to help pick berries again...GUARANTEED!

shared with: at the picket fence, this chick cooks

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Molasses Cookies

Contrary to popular opinion, molasses cookies can be and should be enjoyed all year long...don't you think? I know they are kinda gingerbready, but we make them year-round. I love making them for summer picnics because they are a nice, sturdy cookie. Perfect for toting on bike rides, on hikes and to summer concerts. A few years ago, I started putting bread flour into my cookies. They are a bit more dense and chewier. I have no scientific proof of why...but you will have to try it and let me know what you think.

Do you enjoy molasses cookies all year...or are they only baked at Christmas?

{Christmas in July!}


Cream Together:
¾ cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup organic sugar

¼ cup Brer Rabbit Molasses {unsulphured, mild flavor}
1 egg
Stir together and add to molasses mix:
3 cups flour{{or 2 cups flour + 1 cup bread flour}}
2 tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. sea salt salt
1 tsp. each of cinnamon, ginger, and cloves
Mix well.
Roll into balls{about the size of a golf ball
Roll balls in organic sugar
Place on SILPAT
Bake for 10 minutes @ 375. Let sit for a few minutes.
Makes about 16 cookies.

Usually organic sugar is optional, but in this recipe it makes them!

**The cookie bag is from Cash and Carry...may used for sandwiches, snacks, gift cards and envelopes.

Shared with: our simple country life