Tuesday, May 31, 2011

HOSPITALITY IS...Blueberry Lemon Scones

Okay girlies...here is your chance to make and take something really easy and yummy! If you are still looking for teacher gifts, these may just be what you are looking for. Wrap them in little bags and don't forget a chilled Starbucks Coffee Frappuccino and you will have a sweet little gift that any teacher will appreciate and your little elves will be proud to deliver...


Sometimes hospitality has nothing to do with having people into your home...I know not all of us are up to having people over and that is fine. There are times when I know God puts someone on my heart and I want to do something and I may just have a little bit of time to do something. There are also quite a few times when I would like to take a meal to somebody and the timing is not good. Scones are something you can easily make up ahead of time and grab from the freezer. You can take a few scones, some milk or orange juice, a jar of jam and take it to whomever for a light breakfast or for a pick-me-up during a move. It is also great to have on hand if you have guests who show up without a lot of time on your end to prepare. Just being ready and anticipating the unexpected will put you at ease and will make your company feel appreciated and planned for. It really is a treat for you and for the recipients of your hospitality!

Blueberry Lemon Scones
Lisa Pearson


2 cups flour

5 TBSP. butter, cut into smaller pieces

¼ cup sugar

2 Tbsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. sea salt

1 Tbsp. soy flour {or 1 egg yolk}

1 cup full fat Daisy Sour Cream or plain yogurt

½ cup dried blueberries or chocolate chips, currants, dried cranberries or whatever floats your boat!

Zest of 1 small lemon {I use orange zest, too, for differnt flavored scones}

*heavy whipping cream and coarse sugar for tops of scones


Whisk together dry ingredients.

Add butter and blend with pastry cutter or with flat beater in stand mixer.

Add wet ingredients together to flour mixture.

Add berries and zest.

Blend until ingredients come together.

Transfer to lightly floured surface.

Pat into a disc about the size of your hand spread out.

Cut into 8 triangles.

Place scones on SILPAT or parchment lined pan.

Brush with cream and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake at 4oo* for 12 to 14 minutes…or until golden.

Top with something very YUMMY!

If you want to make up several batches, you can pre-measure all your ingredients at one time and store individual batches in the freezer. This will save a ton of time. Just mix up dry ingredients and follow directions from there when you decide to make the rest.

Blogger is not letting me comment, so I will answer a question on here. The yogurt and sour cream do not HAVE to be full fat, but I just think it tastes better. Reduced or lowfat is fine...fat free is NOT.OK. It truly is NOT. :) Plan on walking before beddie bye time...it is worth it in flavor and texture. :)

Shared with: women living well, raising homemakers, at the picket fence, comfy in the kitchen, homemaker by choice, titus tuesday

Monday, May 30, 2011

Teacher Appreciation Gifts

School is almost out for the summer and calendars are filled with graduation parties, weddings, baby showers, family vacations and just about everything else.

Every year at this time, we as mommas wonder what to do for teacher gifts...so...since I have gotten a few e-mails, and questions about ideas, here are a few for you to think about!

If you aren't needing teacher gits, these would make for great hostess gifts for summer parties and gatherings!

Happy almost summer!

Zesty Strawberry Shortcake

2 cups flour
2 Tbsp. organic sugar
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. sea salt
Zest of 1 orange
1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup whipping cream...sweetened a bit
Coarse sugar

• Mix dry ingredients together; Cut in butter; Add cream. Mix until dough is soft
and ingredients are all mixed in. It will look like cookie dough.
• Place six to eight mounds on greased baking sheet or SILPAT. Flatten just a bit.
• Brush tops with cream and sprinkle with coarse sugar.
• Bake at 425 for 7-10 minutes or until golden brown.

Note: Let cool and wrap each shortcake in cellophane bag.

Slice four pints of fresh strawberries, add about half cup of sugar
Sprinkle with a little lemon juice;
Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Slice shortcake in half, add strawberries, top with ice cream.

If you want to make these in advance, just bag the individual wrapped shortcakes, put into gallon Ziploc bag and freeze. They will stay as fresh as the day you baked them!

{ALWAYS TASTE TEST to make sure it is okay!}

Italian Cream Soda Bags

How many of you remember the craze of Soda Fountains?

Raspberry Flips, Pink Sodas and Patio Punch Sodas were all the rage. Well, here is a fun, frugal way to give an Italian Cream Soda {to go} as a gift.

This can be given as a shower gift, a graduation gift {teenagers love these!}, a birthday gift, a teachers gift etc.

They are great baby shower gifts as well. It is fun for the momma-to-be to be able to take something home for the rest of the family or hubby to enjoy as well. You could even include a gift certificate for a pizza to be enjoyed on a day where cooking is not at the top of the "to do" list.

These Italian Cream Soda gifts are very fun to embelish. You can use colors or a theme to customize the gift.

As mentioned before we are talking FRUGAL, so I made mine for under $10.00.
white gift bag: .79 {Party Depot}
2 12x12 sheets of scrapbook paper: $1.00 {Paper Zone}
napkins: $1.00
straws: $1.00 at the Dollar Store {on hand}
cups: $1.00 {the Dollar Store}
Torani Syrup: $3.99 {Cash-n-Carry}
Club Soda: .87 with deposit {Winco}

Ribbon I had on hand.


Club Soda:
Cut scrapbook paper into 6x6 square.
Remove label from Club Soda.
Glue 6x6 sheet on to Club Soda bottle being sure to cover any leftover residue from original label.

Drink Tags:
Use any size craft punch and punch drink tags out of scrap paper from cutting down your 6x6 sheet of paper.
Punch a small hole with a regular sized hole punch for straw.

Place a handful of straws into standard cellophane bag or tie together with ribbon.

Italian Cream Soda Label:
Cut second sheet of 12x12 paper into 8 1/2X11.
Print label with Italian Soda directions.

I put enough for 8 into each package, but always more straws. They are inexpensive and fun to have extras. Can one ever have too many straws?

Suggestions if you are NOT on a budget:

*Add a glass straw dispenser with colorful straws.

*Add cookies or biscotti to carry the Italian theme.

*Add an ISI whipped cream maker...you get the idea!


Scott's Famous Homemade Ice Cream


2 1/2 cups milk

2 1/2 cups sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

1 quart half & half

1 1/2 Tbsp. pure vanilla extract

1 quart and 1 pint whipping cream


• Heat milk until bubbles form around pan.

• Remove milk from heat

• Add sugar and salt, stir until dissolved.

• Stir in remaining ingredients.

• Place into ice cream maker and follow manufacturer’s directions.

This makes 6 quarts. You will need a big ice cream maker or adjust mixture to size of machine!

This is such a versatile recipe! Eventually you will come up with your own variations.

One of my favorite things to do is crush a package of Oreos and fold them in at the end. {Don't tell Lisa, she thinks hydrogenated oil and preservatives are bad, VERY BAD!} I will make sure we have some fun things to eat around here! I have your back.
This was fun. Maybe she will invite me back.

From Lisa: Since we make sooo much, we pour extra amounts into these little ice cream containers {from Cash-n-Carry} and freeze them. They make a quick treat to take to people or if I am tight on time and don't have enough time to take a meal. During strawberry season, I take one container of fresh strawberries sliced, sugared and sprinkled with a bit of lemon juice. and a container of ice cream for each family member...unless they are little. Everybody loves to have their own, and they can save some if it is too much!

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Pack a Picnic

Let your child's teacher know that you are planning on bringing him/her lunch on the last day of school. It will be appreciated as the last day of school can be hectic. Quite frequently the teachers stay longer than usual to wrap things up. It is a fun thing to do that wont break the bank!

Lavash Wraps
Fruit Salad{Fresh pineapple slices and sliced strawberries}
Kettle Chips {Our Favorite}
A fun drink...today we had Limonata and Sparkling Pomegranate Juice
Leftover ice cream with cones

Everything can be assembled ahead of time. Make the sandwiches last.

Keep it simple... sandwiches will do just fine and cute napkins always make any meal extra special!

Lavash wraps:

Softened cream cheese

Shredded carrots


Red leaf romaine, torn

Garlic deli turkey , all natural

Sharp Tillamook Cheese, shredded


Spread a thin layer of cream cheese on Lavash bread. Be sure to cover all the nooks and crannies.

Layer veggies, then the turkey. End with cheese. Roll tightly. Wrap with a piece of waxed paper. Cut in half. Tie a ribbon around the middle.

Just MAKE SURE the carrots and lettuce have been dried with a paper towel so you don’t end up with soggy wraps and end up ordering SUBWAY for your teacher. {ASK me how I figured that out!}

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If all else fails, a sweet little plat from Trader Joes is AWESOME! A simple tag punched and signed and attached to a skewer is the perfect "thank you" for a great school year!

What are some of your ideas??? DO TELL!

Shared with: women living well

Saturday, May 28, 2011

"Meet My Friend Monday"...Kim Harris

I am so happy to have you meet my dear friend Kim. God has blessed me beyond measure with a friendship that has become one of life’s sweetest treasures.

Although our lives have always been busy with caring for our husbands, children, family and other responsibilities…I always look forward to our e-mails, text messages, phone calls and visits together.

She is one talented girl who has a heart that is HUGE! I know I can easily exaggerate…but I am not kidding when I say she inspires everyone she meets. She just does! She is always the first to put others in the forefront and take the back seat. She will make sacrifices on her end to make things special for those around her.

“Meet My Friend Monday” is always different. At times I want to share a great blog that I love, or an organization I think you will appreciate and the list goes on, but today, I just really wanted to share my best friend with you…just because!!!
It would be safe to say that she is INSANELY creative…in just about everything she does and I call her my “computer geek”, too! She can always figure things out…except for our issues with BLOGGER…but then again…I don’t think anyone can figure that one out!

She is wife to her oh.so.sweet. hubby who adores her and the best mommy ever to her two little babes…who I would claim as mine in less than a heartbeat. They melt my heart.

People think this is funny, but it’s true that the first time we met, we “planned” a baby shower for a mutual friend within maybe ten minutes. We discussed the colors, dishes, what she would provide and what I would bring. With the exception of bringing a few party decorations to church so she would have them on hand…I showed up to her adorable home shortly before the baby shower. It was coordinated all the way down to the shade of frosting on the cake to the ribbons she used on the party favors! Needless to say, we have collaborated on many showers, birthdays and parties and we just have too much fun!

She inspires me to use the gifts and talents God has given me…no matter how insignificant they seem…to help and encourage those around me. I know what it is like to be showered with those who bless our family with what they have been given and it touches our hearts to the point of tears at times.

She ministers to so many people by documenting memorable occasions from a compassionate eye of a friend...behind the lens of a camera…and I can tell you she always captures the moment perfectly!

She loves to sew...and really has no use for my favorite tool {the ole hot glue gun!}, and I think she may be addicted to cute fabric! Polka dots and stripes are her favorite. She enjoys cooking healthy meals and painted the coolesr chalkboard mural in her kitchen for her family to enjoy! Oh, she also loves SHARPIES! She hangs her own Christmas lights every year and has a BIG.WHITE.COUCH!

She is my loyal friend, my kindred spirit, my little sister who has cared for me and for my family in countless ways. She has helped to bridge the gap between feelings of discouragement and that of hope on numerous occasions in my life. She has gently come along side of me and prayed for me.

She sees the best in others and I will carry her close to my heart forever!

I love you, Bunny!

Here are a few of her crafty projects for you to enjoy:

This is my favorite!

{All pictures were taken by Kim Harris except for the cape in the tree...it was taken by her cousin Jaimie}

I hope you will hop on over to her blog to read her special Memorial Day Post on her Grandma!


Friday, May 27, 2011

Homemade Ice Cream Cones {mini}

Making your own ice cream cones is fun and economical. The added benefit is no junky chemicals and guaranteed sweet dreams. Who doesn't like going to bed in a home that smells like an old fashioned candy store?

Pizzelle makers can be found at Thrift stores and garage sales for the perfect price. Who knows, your Grandma might just have one sitting around!

Grammy’s Old –fashioned Waffle Cones

3 eggs

¾ cup sugar

½ cup unsalted butter, melted

1 Tbsp. almond extract

1 ¾ cup flour

2 tsp. baking powder


Beat eggs and sugar together. Stir in melted butter and almond extract

Heat Pizzelle maker and Brush with canola oil and a bit of flour combined.

Fill pastry bag with thick batter

Squeeze batter onto center of Pizzelle maker

Remove when the steam stops

Wearing food prep gloves, remove and shape into a cone.

Hold for a second until it holds its shape. Sprinkle inside with cinnamon sugar.

Store cooled cones in ZIPLOC bag

VARIATION: Leave the cones flat and make ice cream sandwiches. Dip edges into colored sprinkles to coordinate with the holiday you are celebrating. Make them ahead of time and wrap with waxed paper sheets. EASY PEASY!

Happy Memorial Weekend!

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Shared with: at the picket fence, newlyweds

Thursday, May 26, 2011

BBQ Chicken Sliders {mini}


We are in complete denial that it is still not warm and sunshiney outside, so last night we had an indoor picnic and it was LOVERLY!

On the menu:

Apple juice {can't believe we ran out of LEMONADE!}

BBQ Chicken Sliders

Homemade potato wedges and seasoned fries

Baby pickles and hot peppers

Caesar salad

Orange slices

Chocolate chip cookies

Scott’s BBQ Chicken Sliders

6-9 boneless, skinless chicken breasts {soak in kosher salt water overnight. Rinse until water runs clear, and cut any extra fat off} You don't have to do this!

1 tsp. granulated garlic

1 tsp. onion flakes

2 Tbsp. Wrights Liquid Smoke

2 cups Prego Spaghetti sauce

1 cup Trader Joe's Bold & Smoky Kansas City Style BBQ Sauce {So good and no High Fructose Corn Syrup!}

1 tsp. sea salt

1/4 cup brown sugar

This is all you do: Seriously, do NOT make this complicated. Put all of the ingredients into the crock pot {No layering necessary, Kerri! }
Doesn’t matter how. No need to mix sauce or anything.
Just dump it all in and run your errands or mow the lawn…whatever.
Just be sure to cook on high for at least 6 hours. The longer it cooks, the BETTER.
Before serving, take two forks and pull it apart. You can even let it sit for awhile so that the chicken soaks up more of the sauce.
Serve on toasted mini hamburger buns.
Top with chopped onions and shredded Tillamook Shredded Cheese.



Make a sandwich:
Hoagie roll
leftover BBQ Chicken
Shredded carrots
jalapeno peppers...fresh or pickled...SO VERY GOOD...you may even want to make that for dinner and have the plain ones for leftovers.

Okay. Last thing. This chicken freezes really well. Just scoop cooled chicken into a large Ziploc. Freeze.

To serve: Place frozen BBQ chicken {or thawed} in crockpot on low and VOILA!
We took this to State last year for the basketball team and it worked perfectly. Just kept it in the cooler over ice and stuck it in the crockpot the next morning for the evening dinner. I made two batches and took two crockpots...

Shared with: women living well, comfy in the kitchen, tidy mom, our simple country life

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Blessings in Disguise

Dear Jesus...

Thank you for taking this momma's heart...broken into a million shattered pieces...and gently piecing them together again. Thank you for leaving a few jagged edges as a reminder to the broken pieces that once existed. I am so thankful it wasn't pieced back as though nothing had ever happened...because it was indeed a lesson in faith.

Feeling stripped of all hope...you whispered your promises one by one.

Thank you for enveloping my child into your ever-caring hands and for healing him the way you saw fit.

Thank you for knowing I needed him...with us...to teach me to trust you with everything...even his very life.

I am overwhelmed at your grace and your mercy!

Thank you for replacing guilt with trust and paralyzing fear with unspeakable joy. Thank you for exchanging my weakness for Your strength.

Thank you for giving us your perfect peace minute by minute, hour-by-hour and day-by day.

Thank you for comforting us in the shadow of your wings...never leaving us.

Your stubborn love has carried us and sustained us.

"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit"
Psalm 34:18

Thank you for our blessing in disguise...

Shared with: women living well

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Book Giveaway: The Reluctant Entertainer

Sandy is giving away a signed copy of her book:

1. Simply comment to win.

2. If you are following Simply...this.that.and the other you will be given an extra entry. {Please let me know}

3. Please join our blog if you would like an extra entry. {Please let me know}

Winner will be announced on Thursday, May 26th. Giveaway will end on Wednesday, May 25th at midnight PST.

The Book
In my NEW inspirational book, The Reluctant Entertainer, I relate to many apprehensive hostesses in real ways with genuine encouragement and advice. Emphasizing the forgotten goal of entertaining – connecting deeply with others – I show how women can use who they are and what they have to create memorable experiences.

Melissa, author of The Inspired Room
“The Reluctant Entertainer is my go-to guide for practical and inspiring ideas for opening my home to others. In her gracious and gentle way, Sandy helps us women move past our fears and personal hang-ups by providing the tools and perspective to make entertaining doable and enjoyable!”

The Nester, author of Nesting Place
“For any excuse-making woman who avoids inviting guests into her home, this book should be required reading. The Reluctant Entertainer gently unveils common misconceptions about entertaining and guides women to the freeing truth: The art of hospitality is about connection, not perfection. I wish I could have read this book fifteen years ago.”

Tsh Oxenreider, author of Simple Mom
“Sandy’s book is a wake-up call to women of today’s generation, who seem to have lost the conviction that relationships matter more than appearances. The Reluctant Entertainer gives women of all ages a much-needed boost of encouragement to take a step of faith and use their home in service to others. Filled with practical ideas, this book is a great tool for helping you flex those atrophied entertaining muscles!”

The Library Journal
“Too seldom does this column get to savor a good recipe. Coughlin mixes recipes—complete with almost luridly brilliant photographs—with adjurations on ways to make entertaining an opportunity for deeper connections with family and friends. Though not all women have the time or means for the labor expended here, Coughlin should find an audience. VERDICT This lavishly illustrated and warmly written guide emphasizes the Christian and faith-enriched aspects of Coughlin’s approach with such subtlety that it could easily find a place on the shelves of homemakers of all persuasions.”

With a beautiful full-color interior and photographs, this book is filled with more than 40 recipes, questions to spark conversations that draw people together, and practical tips and advice for creating a welcoming atmosphere. Would-be-hostesses will discover that true hospitality is not about being perfect, cooking a fancy meal, or spending a lot of money. Rather, it’s about an open door and an open heart!

I hope that you will enjoy this book and find a renewed sense of excitement and inspiration!

Thank YOU, Sandy for the giveaway! I can't wait to see who wins!

Monday, May 23, 2011

"Meet My Friend Monday"...Sandy from The Reluctant Entertainer

My blogging friend, Sandy is so inspiring and encouraging to me. I love her blog and I always look forward to seeing what she is up to. If you are familiar with her, you know exactly what I mean.

Her hubby is an author and speaker and they have three teenagers with one having gone off to college this last year. Her life is FULL and yet she finds the time to nurture those around her.

Sandy is a casual kind-of-gal with simple, savvy entertaining ideas and is always coming up with fun ways to reach out to her community. Did I mention she LOVES hospitality?

On her blog, The Reluctant Entertainer, she shares entertaining stories, little tidbits about her family, what’s growing in her garden or what’s cooking on the stove, thrifting ideas, recipes and posts that encourage her readers to put image and perfectionism aside in order to live a more authentic and connected life with others.

Welcome, Sandy!

Living Fully: Or Do We Worry Too Much?

How does one live ready, and always? -Ann Voskamp

On a Friday, a few weeks ago and my day off from work, I had a million things “to do” on my list and in my mind. But I sat down to read some of Ann’s new book …

Will I live life fully … or just empty?

My thoughts went directly to myself, and how I was feeling about the 12 friends coming over for a Super Bowl Party.

Okay, I’ll be honest here. With my writings about courage, challenging others to “invite,” guiding people along and encouraging them to “reach out,” my mind still goes toward the “my house isn’t good enough,” “what will they think?” “we need to remodel our bathrooms,” “what about the carpet,” and “will they like the food?”

Me, me, me.

Ann’s words this day were salve for an anxious mind and a nervous attitude about entertaining.

It’s not about me. It’s about dying to self, living, being gracious, giving out.

My focus for having people over is not about my house.

It’s not about gourmet food or the image that comes along with entertaining.

No, my focus needs to be sitting with my friends, engaging, having fun, laughing, eating, sharing stories, watching the game here and there, celebrating the Packers victory, and NOT worrying about my house.

How do we live fully?

Or do we worry about things that really don’t matter?

I hope you will visit her blog and be encouraged to give hospitality a try...even if it means offering a neighbor a slice of leftover pie!

Thank you, Sandy for sharing your heart!

Happy Monday!


Sandy is giving away a copy of her book THE RELUCTANT ENTERTAINER

1. Simply comment to win

2. If you are following Simply...this.that.and the other you will be given an extra entry. Please join our blog if you would like an extra entry. {Please let me know.}

Winner will be announced on Thursday, May 26th. Giveaway will end on Wednesday, May 25th at midnight PST.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

A Midnight Text

There are nights when my hubby is not home. There are quite a few times when he can be gone for two nights in a row. After being married for over 20 years, I will never get used to it. I feel restles and can not for the life of me fall asleep. So, I will get up and bake, work on projects, drink hot peppermint tea, hot milk and toast, pray and read...but to no avail at times.

Then, I will pick up my phone and do the unthinkable. I will TEXT! GOODNESS! I promised myself I would never text.

Anyhoo, out of respect for the rest of the crew, we text eachother LATE at night instead of talking on the phone when we both can't sleep. It's perfect and kinda romantic in a teenager kinda way...because cell phones were non-existent back in the day. Sometimes I pretend like we are dating and it is lots of fun.

The text is usually initiated when I can't sleep or when hubby has been on sevearal calls throughout the night and is missing me and is wondering if by chance I am up, too!

Last night's text conversation went like this:

11:39 me: R u up? {I know, text lingo and all!}

11:57 Scott: I am just back from a run you still up

11:58 me: Miss you so bad

12:00 Scott: I feel the same way it's so lonely at night I miss you and love you

12:00 me: date night out tomorrpw night?

12:01 Scott: you bet

12:01 Scott: are the kids both home and safe in bed?

With that, I settled back into bed...reflecting on my hubby's concern for our children. I looked through my prayer journal and was reminded of this last week's heartaches. Disappointing news. Harsh situations for dear friends. Healthy, young bodies robbed of health. Two little girls deprived of their momma's goodnight kisses because she is fighting for her life and yet another friend who may not have the honor of watching her own son graduate from highschool. It seems as though it is one tragedy after another. How can there be peace? We don't need to know why, we just need to know that this earth is not our home. It really isn't. Just as we are concerned about our children being safely home, our Heavenly Father anticipates the moment that we arrive into His arms...to be with Him for all etenity.

I was quickly reminded of the verse "In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." John 14:2-3

What a beautiful picture of anticipation.

As I drifted off to sleep, I looked forward to the grace and hope my Heavenly Father would provide for those who are in such need.

"This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. The Lord's lovingkindness indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Thy faithfulness." Lamentations 3:21-23

Friday, May 20, 2011

Daisies, Lemons, and Lace: A Crepe Bar

Dreaming of waking to soft, rays of light filtered by white cotton drapes, the sound of a light breeze and baby birds chirping for their morning worm. Sun-bleached lace, freshly made daisy chains, groves of citrus trees and a late morning brunch with friends!

Have a HAPPY weekend!

Shared with:  simply homemaking, eisy morgantidy mom, making the world cuter, freckled laundry, comfy in the kitchen