Thursday, November 17, 2011

Love this!


I saw this on Lori's blog and my kids will love this!


And like my aunt was reading my mind, she came to Thanksgiving dinner with all the supplies!  Here are two photos of our actual Thankful Branch Tree.


Holiday Hopes

image from marthastewart.com


"Part of cultivating a good life is putting first things first."

It isn't even thanksgiving yet and I have been itching to get some goals down on paper... just to make sure that I keep the focus on my priorities... and that I don't forget anything!

1. Get Christmas cards ordered and mailed so that people have our new address!

2. Find some religious activity resource to use with the kids. Something different to peak their interest about the true meaning of the season.

3. Plan a family holiday party.

4. Have some neighbors and/or girlfriends over for a casual gathering.

5. Get Nutcracker tickets for Mary Fowler and me (and maybe other mothers/daughters)

6. Take pictures, take pictures, take pictures!

7. Put the 2011 picture book together.

8. Bake, bake, bake!

9. Decorate earlier than usual.

That's a start for now.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Mary Fowler Knows Best






This weekend, Adam's parents were visiting so we had a couple of family movie nights. And while I gave up Hallmark/Lifetime movies a long time ago (so cheesy!), Mary Fowler picked these and they were sweet stories. Perfect for the whole family and certainly put us in the holiday mood! Thank you, Mary Fowler!

Slow Cooker

Another dish I've never made completely successfully is a slow cooker roast. (Turns out I was always using too much liquid) But my friend Katherine said to just follow the instructions on the back of the Lipton Onion Soup mix box. So I did and it worked!! There's nothing more comforting than a slow cooker meal on a cold, rainy day. Adam and the kids loved it!

Saltine Toffee Candy

I really do enjoy cooking but there are a few recipes that I have tried for years and they've NEVER turned out! Here is one of them... this is probably one of my favorite sweet treats- anything toffee flavored- and luckily I cannot make it properly!

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces saltine crackers
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C).
  2. Line cookie sheet with saltine crackers in single layer.
  3. In a saucepan combine the sugar and the butter. Bring to a boil and boil for 3 minutes. Immediately pour over saltines and spread t cover crackers completely.
  4. Bake at 400 degrees F (205 degrees C) for 5 to 6 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle chocolate chips over the top. Let sit for 5 minutes. Spread melted chocolate and top with chopped nuts. Cool completely and break into pieces.

Monday, November 14, 2011

More Christmas Cards!


PaperBuzz


Paperbuzz has always been one of my favorites!  These holiday cards are no exception- absolutely gorgeous!!  They are all available from Paperbuzz and I think are a good value considering the photo is printed on the card (i.e. no print shop visits!).










Christmas Cards


I promised myself I wouldn't buy Christmas cards this year because I have so many blank leftover ones that I can print and use... but that was before we moved!!  Looking over some bookmarked paper sites, I found these cute ones from The Paper Cafe.









The Paper Cafe

Coffee Tables



In our new house, we have some additional rooms to furnish. When I saw this Thibaut picture, it became my inspiration for what we call the family room. This room's function is kind of a more relaxed living room. It has a television and a gas fireplace but if the family is going to watch a movie together, we'll be going to a different, more comfortable room with more media and a large sectional.

I just love the "feel" of this Thibaut room. So calming. Well, as always, the budget spoils my "dream rooms." We have so much to do that I couldn't exactly replicate this look or it would be the only finished room in the house! Crushing, considering that I actually did find all the elements to copy this look... I couldn't believe it when a consignor friend had a version of this sofa! While I did consider buying it and redoing it, I changed my mind and opted to keep and use a sofa we already have. Thus changing the room completely! I did print this picture for her, though, because someone should buy that sofa and redo it like this!

Another element I loved about this picture was the coffee table. That gold bamboo and glass is just gorgeous! On a trip to Greenfront in Farmville I found this absolutely gorgeous beauty from Ferguson Copeland, my new favorite table maker! This table is to die for in person! It is large and I think it's the prettiest table I've ever seen. I love it and I think about it daily! It isn't even crazy expensive at $1,500. Some of the painted tables I love from oopmh are double that for painted wood!


Copeland Ferguson 50 inch beauty


Luckily, Home Decorators has this table for around $300! The price makes it a lot prettier to me! Despite the photos, they both claim to be 50 inches in length! I have ordered it and will let you know!
Home Decorators 50 inch

Below are some more inspiration photos I found in my folder...











Family Room



I MAY have just found the fabric to tie my new family room together. Last night I ordered a swatch book from Caitlin Wilson Textiles with the hopes it will be just what I need to make this room of hodge-podge look a little more finished.

She has such beautiful fabrics and this clean, bright look is what I'm going for in our new home. We shall see!!

Diane Keaton is another of my favorites! She was on the TODAY show this morning promoting her new book. She said that her mother kept journals that were such a gift, considering her mother suffered and died with Alzheimer's Disease.

I truly believe that is why I have this need to record whatever is on my mind... because otherwise it is lost... and years from now, Mary Fowler or Davis may enjoy looking back. Heck, I enjoy looking back! I can't wait to read this book. It sounds like Diane and her mother had a wonderful relationship.

So Good


My in-laws were visiting this weekend and we watched this wonderful movie. I love Diane Lane and I loved the message in this story.

A Little Light Reading


Adam laughs but I love parenting books. These two are the newest additions to my "collection." Ha! My friends Kate and Boyd give me the best suggestions! I say Adam laughs because we really do have great kids with no apparent issues (Yet! we haven't hit the teen years yet!). I guess I just want to keep things that way!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Kitchen Inspiration 1


When we left our old house, it was pretty much finished to our liking. The house we bought here is in a great location, has a great yard, but does need some cosmetic help. Here are some white cabinet kitchen pictures I scoured the internet for and kept in a "kitchen folder" on my laptop. We have already had the cabinets painted and hardware changed but we are still deciding on countertops (really want marble but afraid of staining) and appliances.







Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Proud Parents

Yesterday was Parent/Teacher Conference Day and while I think the kids are transitioning well to their new school in a new city, I still worried. Moving the kids out of a school they loved was probably our number one concern of the move.

Well, no more! Mary Fowler has an all A report card and her teacher said that it's like she's been here since the beginning. Davis' teacher loves him and knows how bright and tender he is. They both know and care about my children. Adam was in a meeting and wasn't able to join me but when I called him, we decided this good news deserved a celebration!

The kids each invited one friend and we went out to dinner. We feel so blessed to have met so many nice families. It really is becoming "home."

Pecan Cheesecake Pie


This would be a BIG hit in my house. We have some cheesecake lovers and it wouldn't be Thanksgiving without Pecan Pie! Yum! What a great fall dessert!


Ingredients

  • 1/2 (15-oz.) package refrigerated piecrusts
  • 1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened
  • 4 large eggs, divided
  • 3/4 cup sugar, divided
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups chopped pecans
  • 1 cup light corn syrup

Preparation

  • 1. Fit piecrust into a 9-inch pie plate according to package directions. Fold edges under, and crimp.
  • 2. Beat cream cheese, 1 egg, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 tsp. vanilla, and salt at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Pour cream cheese mixture into piecrust; sprinkle evenly with chopped pecans.
  • 3. Whisk together corn syrup and remaining 3 eggs, 1/4 cup sugar, and 1 tsp. vanilla; pour mixture over pecans. Place pie on a baking sheet.
  • 4. Bake at 350° on lowest oven rack 50 to 55 minutes or until pie is set. Cool on a wire rack 1 hour or until completely cool. Serve immediately, or cover and chill up to 2 days.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Change, Change, Change


Oh lawwd, y'all! This mopping took my whole day yesterday! I was pretty proud of myself!

My family and I used to hire a couple of wonderful ladies to clean our house twice a month. Not because I didn't have the time (I did) but because I didn't want to make the time (so I wouldn't). Additionally, we didn't do our own yard work, and every time our house needed fixing or remodeling, we would call someone and we would pay to have the problem remedied.

When we were transferred with his job to Richmond... one of our favorite cities, I decided to start trying to clean the house myself (both kids ARE in school each day) and Adam has become quite the yard man! We'll see if this lasts... I might prefer a part-time job!

 
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