Saturday, November 27, 2010

Deck the Halls!!! Craft Ideas, Traditions and a Recipe

Seasons greetings, fellow bloggers!!! I hope you are having a wonderful beginning to the holiday season. The Good Little Housewife's home is overflowing with excitement and anticipation.

With Thanksgiving barely behind me, I have turned my thoughts to creating the loveliest of Christmases this year. I plan to put my fall decorations away and slowly dot Christmas around my home. I have taken this suggestion from one of my favorite blogs on the web, Brocante Home. If you have not had the opportunity to check out Alison May, then you don't know what you're missing. Anyway, on to my post.

I started yesterday, since it IS the official kickoff to the Christmas season. I added fragrance to my home in the way of Scentsy's Christmas Cottage. I have it warming in the living room and sprayed the room spray throughout my house. It is very Christmasy and adds to the ambiance I plan to create.

The Good Little Husband and I celebrated our wedding anniversary a couple of weeks ago and have not had an opportunity to go anywhere to officially celebrate, especially with kids and his work schedule, so we have plans for Tuesday. I live in a historic town that is on the National Historic Registry. There are beautiful buildings in our downtown area chock full of antique shops that speak to my very soul. We plan to scour the shops in search of one particular item, an antique key. We had a commercial version of the Santa key and it disappeared. My children ask how Santa will get into our home. Since the key is missing, this really bothers them, as you can well imagine. So, I am in search for the perfect key that Santa's elf can deliver in the night for the kids to leave on the front door. Oh, how I long for a fireplace so that we can use a traditional story for the Santa invasion, but alas, that is a dream that will not be soon fulfilled.

I have also been working heavily on my crafts trying to complete projects that are going to be used as Christmas gifts for my children. I have made a doll blanket, a security blanket for my three year old and an art bag for the back of a chair. I am going to put a journal in the art bag with subject ideas for each day of the year in a jar. When I get it all done, I will show pics, but in the mean time here is the link for the journal subjects. Adult and Child.

This year is going to go at a slower pace and we have many activities planned around town that we will be able to enjoy without feeling rushed. We are going on a train ride with Santa like we did last year, going to the winery for the tree festival and a few other things. I tire of the rushed feelings of the holiday. It leaves you with such a let down feeling. You wake up the day after and you wonder where it went. I don't want that to happen this year.

Keep an eye on my blog for crafts, decorating ideas and, of course, recipes. I am going to leave you with one today. I just made this fudge and I must praise it, even if it isn't lady like to pat yourself on the back.

White Chocolate Covered Almond Cherry Fudge

3 cups sugar
3/4 cup margarine
2/3 cup evaporated milk
12 oz bag white chocolate chips
1 jar (7 oz.) marshmallow creme
10 ounce jar maraschino cherries, drained and chopped
2 tablespoons almond extract

Grease a 10x13 pan.

Place sugar, butter and evaporated milk in large heavy saucepan. Bring to full rolling boil on medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil 4 min. or until candy thermometer reaches 234°F, stirring constantly to prevent scorching. Remove from heat.
Add white chocolate chips and marshmallow creme; stir until completely melted. Add cherries and almond extract; mix well.
Pour immediately into prepared pan; spread to form even layer in pan. Let stand at room temperature 4 hours or until completely cooled; cut into 1-inch squares. Store in tightly covered container at room temperature.

You could add 1 cup chopped almonds to the mixture or sprinkled on top. My children do not like nuts, so I can't add them.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Different Kind of Sweet Potato Casserole

Growing up, I had a favorite dish on Thanksgiving. It was a sweet potato casserole like no other. I wanted to share this recipe with everyone as my wish for all to have a happy and safe Thanksgiving.

Stacy's Half Cup Sweet Potato Casserole

½c flour
½c brown sugar, packed
½c quick oats
1 tsp cinnamon
½c butter, softened
1 40oz can yams, drained
½c cooked cranberries (buy fresh and cook until they pop)
1c small marshmallows

In a bowl, mix flour, sugar, oats and cinnamon. Cut in butter.
Toss in 1 cup of mixture with yams and berries.
Place in baking dish and top with remaining mix.
Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Top with marshmallows and bake about 10 minutes more or until marshmallows are browned.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Yummy brunch idea

Since yesterday was Halloween and we did our Trick or Treating the day before, I wanted to mark the holiday with something fun and traditional. I did some research on Samhain and came up with some great things to do with my family and some great recipes to boot. The meal would be excellent for brunch.

I made both things (recipes below) and opened up a couple of jars of fried apples I put up last fall. The meal was delicious and I wanted to share the recipes for the Sausage Egg Bake and Pumpkin Bread.

Sausage Egg Bake

This was a recipe from Ann Burrell of Food Network. I changed it around a bit due to ingredient availability, personal tastes, holiday traditions and expense.

Extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 pound Mild breakfast sausage
Kosher salt
1 tablespoon rosemary, crushed
1/2 cup dry white wine
8 eggs
6 ounces Swiss cheese, grated

Special equipment: 8 (6-ounce) ramekins
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Coat a large saute pan with olive oil, add the garlic cloves and bring to a medium heat. When the garlic has become golden brown and very aromatic, add the sausage and brown. Drain.
Once, nicely browned, season with kosher salt then add in the rosemary and white wine. Cook until the wine has almost been absorbed. Turn off the heat and reserve.
Brush 8 individual ramekins with olive oil. Divide the sausage mixture equally among the ramekins and press gently into the bottom. Top each with an egg. Sprinkle each egg with a couple drops of olive oil and arrange on a baking sheet. Bake for 8 minutes. Sprinkle each egg lightly with Swiss cheese and bake until the cheese is brown and bubbly and the egg whites are cooked and the yolks are still runny, about 5 minutes.

Pumpkin Bread

I found this recipe online somewhere and can't remember where. I altered it a bit adding more nutmeg than the original recipe called for. Makes two loaves.

2 cups canned pumpkin
1 cup melted butter
¾ cups water
4 eggs
3 2/3 cups flour
2 ¼ cups sugar
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 ½ c raisins (opt)
1 cup chopped walnuts (opt)

Preheat oven to 350. Blend pumpkin, butter, water and eggs until well-mixed. Add sugar and mix. In a separate bowl, combine flour, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon and baking soda. Add to pumpkin mixture in small batches, mixing well to combine. With a wooden spoon, stir in raisins and nuts. Pour into two loaf pans that have been greased and floured. Bake at 350 for one hour, or until top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out mostly clean.

Delicious meal and looks so nice served.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Cranberry Orange Breakfast Bread

A dense breakfast bread with the wonderful taste of cranberries made in the bread machine. It’s perfect for a holiday brunch or as an accompaniment to eggs, oatmeal, anything.

1⅛ cups orange juice
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons honey
3 cups bread flour
1 tablespoon dry milk powder
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon salt
1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
1 cup sweetened dried cranberries
⅓ cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Place ingredients in the pan of the bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Select cycle; press Start. If your machine has a Fruit & Nut setting, add the cranberries and nuts at the signal, or about 5 minutes before the kneading cycle has finished.

This is delicious. I should really start taking pictures of my food when I make it, but I seem to forget and then it's all eaten by the time I think about it again. Note to self: take camera to kitchen at all times.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Happy fall, y'all!!!

I have been severely neglecting my blogs and I apologize for that. I have been so busy with things that I haven't had much time to write.

We have been painting and moving the kids rooms around. We still have two rooms to paint, but at least everyone is in their own room now. Of course, school has started and things get hectic simply because of that. We have finally gotten a break in the weather so have been trying to get out more in the past couple of weeks to play with the kids and get ready for winter. I have also been trying to get ready for winter inside of the house with washing blankets, making up warmer beds, finding coats, jackets, swapping warm weather clothes for sweaters and cords. All in all, just the business of the changing seasons.

My husband has been dealing with some health problems as well and he is going in for a sleep study in a couple of weeks. Fingers crossed they can get him fixed up. His BP is high and he doesn't sleep well. I am thinking apnea.

I have also been busy with my research and experimenting for our homesteading. You can hop over to my other blog (chicken link in sidebar) to read up on some of that. It hasn't been going so great, but it's all trial and error.

Now, Christmas is coming up and I have crafting to do as I want to make a lot of my kids presents this year. I am tired of paying good money for things that break or become uninteresting before winter break is over. It's very sad.

We've been trying to get back into a routine around here and I plan to devote more time to my blogs. I am hoping to, at the very least, get a recipe posted every week. I hope to also be able to post a Kid's Corner post every week as well.

Hopefully, in the not so distant future, I will be getting my Esty shop up and running along with an e-book I have been working on. Keep a look out for those two things. I hope to have it going by spring.

Anyway, we've been doing well and have many plans for the coming months I hope to share with everyone... especially Thanksgiving dinner.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Lavender Vanilla Sugar

Mmmmm, this is such a yummy treat to put in hot tea. I haven't tried it in anything else as of yet, but I can imagine that it would excellent sprinkled over fruit, especially a lemon dish or some sort. Here's the recipe.

1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon dried lavender
¾ teaspoon vanilla extract

Place all ingredients into blender or food processor and blitz into a powder.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Back to School, Back to Routine

While I am feeling a bit melancholy today, I can’t help but be happy that tomorrow is the first day of school. My oldest is in third grade this year and my little girl is starting Kindergarten. I have grown accustomed to my son being in school, but I have still had two at home to keep up with. Now, I am down to my two year old. How will I fill my days?

While routine is a wonderful thing and kids thrive best using them, summer is such a treat with laid back days and late nights. Sleeping in every day is a wonderful treat in itself. But back to school we must go, back to early mornings, homework and hoping the kids have the skills necessary to navigate their days in the classroom. Hoping that I, as a mother, have done a sufficient job in helping them to be independent and eager to learn.

On to the excitement. I, as many parents across the country, have really been slacking in my housework routines. Not that my house has turned into a pig sty by any means, but it hasn’t been as tidy as it should be. We have been so busy this summer with nothing in particular. We have pretty much been confined to the house with the horrible heat that has plagued the land over the past couple of months. You can imagine, with three kids in the house, it’s nearly impossible to keep up with everything. Not to mention the two new dogs we acquired and trying to housebreak them both. We also took a vacation to Florida to see my best friend and her family.

So, I must get back into my daily routine adding lunch packing responsibilities. I now have two kids to get ready for school, pick up in the afternoon and help with homework. Extra responsibilities will be easier to handle since I will have more time to get my regular housework done. I should have two solid hours of quiet when my little guy naps. I won’t know how to act with that much time not having to get onto one child or another or wiping an extra butt or fixing a lunch or…

I will get to work with my little guy in a more one on one fashion. He seems to have gotten left out of the mix so often with the other two demanding so much more of my time. I get to start potty training. Yay!!!

My husband and I are also looking forward to having some time together. He works a strange shift and is home a lot during the week. Without all three kids in tow, we get to go out to lunch at the little restaurants downtown. We also get to hit the antique shops we have wanted to see since we moved to this town eight years ago.

All in all, while the milestones are both happy and sad, I can surely see the benefit for myself in this. I will miss my kids during school hours, but know that they are making friends and learning so much. I will miss the noise in the house, but enjoy the silence that I haven’t heard in many years. All in all back to school and routine is a pretty cool thing.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Fiesta night

We love Mexican food night around here. I thought I would share a couple of my recipes.

Shredded Fiesta Chicken

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 (16 oz) jar Picante sauce
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 can corn (drained)
1 can black beans (drained and rinsed)

Pour a little oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat and brown chicken on both sides.
Place the chicken in the crock pot and pour sauce over making sure to cover all chicken.
Add the garlic powder, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper.
Cover and cook on high 2 hours, reducing to low for 2 hours.
Remove the chicken to a bowl, shred with a fork, then put the chicken back in the crock pot.
Cover and continue to cook on Low for 1 hour.
Stir in the corn and black beans.
Cover and continue cooking 1 hour.
Serve in soft taco shells, flour tortilla bowls or over tortilla chips. Can top with cheese, sour cream or anything you like on your tacos. I like cheese and ranch dressing on mine. Have guacamole (see following recipe), refried beans or Mexican rice as a side.

Fiesta Guacamole Dip

3 Haas avocados, halved and seeded
2 limes, juiced
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground coriander seed
½ medium onion, diced
2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced (opt.)
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro (opt.)
pinch of cayenne pepper (opt.)
1 clove garlic, minced

In a large bowl place the scooped avocado pulp and lime juice, toss to coat.

Drain, and reserve the lime juice, after all of the avocados have been coated.

Using a potato masher add the salt, cumin, and cayenne and mash. Then, fold in the onions, tomatoes, cilantro, and garlic.

Add 1 tablespoon of the reserved lime juice. Cover with plastic wrap or wax paper making sure to have the wrap touching the dip. Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour and then serve.

I adjust things in my guac all of the time. I don't like the cilantro flavor, so I don't use that. I like lots of cumin. My husband likes tomatoes and cayenne, the kids and I do not.

Have fun with these recipes tonight. I am serving over tortilla chips this evening. Enjoy!!!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Already thinking about Christmas

As much as I hate thinking about it, this is the time of year I start getting visions of sugar plums and stocking stuffers. Why, you may ask? Well, I like to make a lot of gifts for my little family and in order to get them all done, I need to start early. Another bonus is that I can spread the costs of materials over the course of months instead of weeks.

We all know how crazy it can get around the holidays. We have to go see this person and go to that party or event. Trying to schedule homemade crafts in with cookies, candies and get-togethers can be nearly impossible, so I start early.

I have a few ideas of what I want to make this year. I have a simple quilt idea for the kids and hubby. I am planning on making things for my doggies, such as treats, tags and beds.

With everything I am planning on doing in the fall preparing for winter, I think this time of year is a good time to start my crafting for the holidays. Are you thinking about your celebrations yet?

Is your home company ready? *Challenge*

Tom and Sally are coming over for dinner Saturday night. You look around your home and see papers piled up on the tables, couch cushions and pillows look like they've been slept on for three nights straight, the bathroom sink covered in an array of brushes, cosmetics and toothpaste glops. What do you do?

I have been guilty of my home getting into this shape. Heck, who am I kidding? My home stays in this state of disarray quite a bit. Why are we more concerned with how our homes look when company is coming than we do when when our own family is coming home?

Home is supposed to be a sanctuary from the big, bad world. After our husbands have been at work and our children at school, they want nothing more than to come home to a relaxing place, a place free of clutter and mess.

I have a challenge for you (and me, to be honest). Let's see if we can clear all hard surfaces everyday. Throw out the junk mail. Designate a place for bills and other important mail to be gone through after dinner. Clear off the bathroom sink and wipe out the goopy mess. Run the vacuum and light a candle or two for fragrance. See how much more relaxed you are. Ask your family if it makes a difference to them.

Let's make a pact to treat our families as well as we treat our friends. My family went on vacation last week and when I came home, although the house was neat enough, it was not company ready. I thought a lot about this and wondered why I am not treating myself and my family as well as company. It's really given me a push to get my house back into order that I have let slide as of late.

Monday, July 19, 2010

My two new dogs

Back in May our beloved dog, Putter, died. We miss him a great deal.

We wanted another Sheltie because they are such wonderful dogs. They are so smart and loyal. They're great watch dogs and good with kids. I started looking at breeders to get a feel for pricing and availability. While I am usually a huge advocate for shelter dogs (which my lab mix was), I knew that I would have to pay to get the temperament I wanted. Putter was a free dog that I got from my sister when she moved, so I had no real idea of what they cost.

I found a breeder about an hour away and called her. She had two male pups left and wasn't going to breed her female for another year. She had three other females, but her one male would not mate with them, so she would not have anymore puppies for about a year. I decided to go get one of the puppies.

She also told me that she was thinking of selling her females that her male wouldn't touch and wanted $600 a piece for them. I told her I was interested, but would have to wait before I could afford it.

She called me, a week ago this past Friday, telling me that she had one of the females she wanted to find a home for. I told her I could not afford the $600 right now. The dog was afraid of loud noises outside and was escaping every pen she put her in. The breeder was worried that the dog would get hit by a car or semi on the highway and wanted to find her an inside home. She offered the dog to me for free as long as I gave her pick of the litter in the spring.

She is fitting in wonderfully here. :-)



Saturday, July 10, 2010

My new homesteading blog

As I said in a previous post, my husband and I are looking into urban homesteading. I wanted to write a blog dedicated to our journey of learning and thought an entirely separate blog would be the ticket. While the two blogs go hand in hand, both cover different topics. Some people could be interested in one and not the other, while some people may find both subjects to their liking.

You can always find The Good Little Housewife's Homesteading Adventures in my side bar by clicking the title link or the chickens right below it. For now, to make it simpler for you, just click on the chickens below. Enjoy!!!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Cheap and Easy Decor

Several years ago, a friend and I went too an auction. It was my first time going and I checked out all of the items carefully before I decided on something to buy. There was a six place setting china set that was not stamped on the bottom, but I was fine with that. I just thought it was pretty.

I have never really used it as I have not had occasion to, however, I was sick of them being in the cupboard over my refrigerator never seeing the light of day. I was watching a commercial one day (can't remember which one) and on the kitchen wall was the most wonderful collection of mismatched china. Different patterns and sizes hung in no particular order, just placed randomly on the wall in a grouping. A light bulb went on in my head.

I went to Lowes and purchased plate hangers. Since I had already measured my plates, I picked out the right sizes. I came home and laid my plates out on the floor trying to decide how I wanted them to look. They were very easy to hang up.

The plates will look great with the paint I am planning on using in my kitchen. I am going with a buttery, golden yellow color. I can't wait to get started. Either way, here is a pic of the wall.

Sorry it's a little dark. I tried to brighten my pic, but was not very successful.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Cutest Little Pincushion

I made this a few weeks ago. It was so easy. I thought I'd share the tutorial for people wanting to make one for themselves.

The little "napkin" on the saucer is a needle book and my own creation. I didn't take pics, so it's hard for me to do a tutorial for it. Maybe I'll make one soon and do a tut for you.

Looking into Urban Homesteading

Urban Homesteading is a term coined by folks looking to become more self sufficient in their own yards. Some people do this from their apartment balconies, some in their small yard and still some in their average yards.

I would say we have an average yard. We live in a small town in a neighborhood. I am not sure of the dimensions of our property, but it is plenty big enough to grow a nice garden that will produce food that can last us through the winter. This way we will only have to buy bread, milk and other dry staples such as pasta and rice. Of course, we will still have to buy our meat, but being in the area we are, there are several different local sources from which to buy.

We have set aside an area in our yard that my husband is getting prepared this year by putting lawn clippings down to suffocate weeds and grass. Next year, it should be a nice composty pile that he can till.

We have decided on an irrigation system that will be using rainwater from our gutters. We will be making collection tanks and running them to our garden and flower beds so we can utilize what nature offers.

Have you ever seen the upside down grow systems that are being sold everywhere right now? We plan to make our own. I am thinking vine veggies in the bottom and herbs in the top. I am calling them my Marinara buckets. lol

I have a section of yard on the side of the house allotted to flowers and possibly herbs. We renovated part of our garage into a bedroom and there is a door that goes from that room to the area, so I am going to make it a lovely flower garden. It will be a place to relax and I will benefit from having flowers to bring in the house.

We are also looking into animals. We have the typical slew of cats and dogs. We also have a rabbit that we were going to give to my husband's friend who has a rabbit of his own. We had two once upon a time, but one of them died and my rabbit has been kind of lonely. I have found out that rabbit droppings are excellent fertilizer, so we are going to get a second rabbit in the spring so my Kirby won't be lonely anymore and we have extra manure.

Another animal we are thinking about is a pygmy goat. Their manure is similar to a rabbit and he will spread it all over the yard to help promote healthy grass that we may later turn into more garden space. Plus, goats are just funny friends to have around.

The final critter we are looking into is chickens. I only want a couple for the eggs. I have heard that fresh eggs taste better, not to mention free range chicken eggs are healthier for you. More vitamins and less cholesterol. I am doing a lot of research right now because they are a lot of responsibility that I have never had to deal with. Cats and dogs are different. I have already called my local officials and it looks like it's a go on their end. Next, I have to ask my neighbors. lol

This is going to be a lot of work, but so worth it. Food is costing more and more and it's becoming less and less healthy for us. I am tired of putting pesticides and preservatives into my family's bodies. Organic is so expensive to buy and can we really be sure it's organic? I just don't really trust labels all that much.

So, wish us luck on the endeavors and keep watching this blog. I will be posting new things from time to time. Hopefully you'll get some glimpses of new critters in the spring.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Bedtime Rituals

We all have bedtime rituals for our children. Some of us read, some of us sing, some of us rock our babies. Whatever your bedtime ritual for your kids might be, it is so important to them.

Something I love to do for mine is to spray their pillows and little sleeping buddies with lavender linen spray. They adore the smell right before bedtime and the fragrance is relaxing, helping them to drift off to sleep. My little one picks up his stuffed bunny and says, “Smell, smell!” so excitedly. Then he holds it up for me and Daddy to smell. It’s precious.

What kind of rituals do you have for your little sweethearts?

Second hand shopping

I love thrift stores. You can find so many unique things and at a great price.

Over this past week we went to a Goodwill in another town because we were in that neck of the woods. We found some wonderful things. We got a Star Wars Monopoly game that had never been opened. My son is really into Star Wars right now and was tickled pink to get it. We paid $2 for it. We also got him a set of kids encyclopedias.

I found a bunch of clothes for my daughter for back to school. Some still had tags on them. I like to get clothes in larger sizes and alter them to fit her. I found a great skirt in a size 14/16. I put new elastic in the waist and drew it up to fit her and now she has a tea length skirt (the length I like for little girls). Most everything I picked up was name brand and all $1.59 per piece or less.

I scored two Vera Bradley purses that were like brand new. One was $8 and the other was $12. I found some odd china. Three plates, three bowls, three saucers and three tea cups. I plan to use the cups for pin cushions. The rest? I don't know. I guess just add to my growing collection of odd china.

Finally, the best part was a Jenny Lind bed. It is the headboard and footboard. I plan to paint them and use one on my daughter's bed and the other on my son's. I paid a whopping $3.

There are several advantages to second hand shopping. One is saving money, but another is equally important to me. It helps my family leave a lesser carbon footprint which is something we should all be thinking about.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Wipe Off Menu

I was browsing the web and came across an idea. It was talking about menu planning and gave an excellent idea for a menu to hang in your kitchen. You use a printable menu and put it in a frame then use dry erase markers to write your meals on the glass. I loved the idea and decided to make it, but I wanted to go one better. So, I thought I'd offer you guys this little project that takes all of ten minutes to complete.

First, I took my frame and put the printable in it. I also pulled the stand off of the back.

Second, I got out my hot glue gun and went to work with ribbon and magnets. I secured the ribbon to the back of the frame under the magnets with hot glue. The magnets, while not strong enough to hold the frame up, help to keep it straight on your refrigerator.

The two little stray pieces of ribbon are actually one piece wrapped around the corner and serves as a place to hang my dry erase marker.

I then put a Command hook on my refrigerator to hold the frame, and voila!

I found the printable here. I may have to change my printable since the marker tip is wider than a pencil. I can't fit as much onto a line, but I usually use this one, so I had a blank one already printed. I also already had all materials on hand, even the magnets which were on the refrigerater hiding behind the cabinet. lol Either way, I thought this looked prettier than having a piece of paper hanging up.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Kids Corner: For my children and yours

I love this nursery rhyme. What is your favorite?

Winkin', Blinkin', and Nod

Winkin', Blinkin', and Nod, one night sailed off in a wooden shoe;
Sailed off on a river of crystal light into a sea of dew.
"Where are you going and what do you wish?" the old moon asked the three.
"We've come to fish for the herring fish that live in this beautiful sea.
Nets of silver and gold have we," said Winkin', Blinkin', and Nod.

The old moon laughed and sang a song as they rocked in the wooden shoe.
And the wind that sped them all night long ruffled the waves of dew.
Now the little stars are the herring fish that live in that beautiful sea;
"Cast your nets wherever you wish never afraid are we!"
So cried the stars to the fishermen three - Winkin', and Blinkin', and Nod.

So all night long their nets they threw to the stars in the twinkling foam.
'Til down from the skies came the wooden shoe bringing the fisherman home.
'Twas all so pretty a sail it seemed as if it could not be.
Some folks say 'twas a dream they dreamed of sailing that misty sea.
But I shall name you the fisherman three - Winkin', Blinkin', and Nod.

Now Winkin' and Blinkin' are two little eyes and Nod is a little head.
And the wooden shoe that sailed the skies is a wee one's trundle bed.
So close your eyes while mother sings of the wonderful sights that be.
And you shall see those beautiful things as you sail on the misty sea,
Where the old shoe rocked the fishermen three - Winkin', Blinkin', and Nod.

Cajun Pork roast

This is an easy and elegant meal, special enough for a Sunday dinner or holiday meal. Add hot baked rolls, salad, and your favorite steamed vegetables for a perfect family meal.

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hours, 30 minutes

•1 center-cut pork rib roast, about 3 pounds
•2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
•1 teaspoon dry mustard
•1/2 teaspoon dried leaf thyme
•1/2 teaspoon salt
•4 cloves garlic, minced, divided
•3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
•2 pounds fingerling potatoes, scrubbed (I used regular potatoes, I do not have fingerlings)
•1 large onion, cut into 6 to 8 wedges
•2 tablespoons melted butter
•salt and pepper
•1/2 cup dry white wine or chicken broth

Heat oven to 350°.

Wash the roast and pat dry. Rub roast all over with the Cajun seasoning, dry mustard, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt, half of the minced garlic, and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Sear the roast over medium-high heat in a skillet in remaining olive oil for about 3 to 5 minutes on each side, or until nicely browned.

Toss potatoes with the remaining minced garlic, onion wedges, and the melted butter. Arrange the potatoes in the baking pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the browned rib roast on the vegetables, bones facing down. Pour the wine or chicken broth in the pan. Roast, uncovered, for 1 hour and 20 minutes, or until potatoes are tender and the roast registers about 150° when a meat thermometer is in the thickest part of the meat, not touching fat or bone. If the rib ends begin to brown too much, cover each with a piece of foil. Cut between the ribs into separate chops and serve with the roasted potatoes and onions.
Serves 4.

Cajun season mix

2 teaspoons salt

4 teaspoons paprika

4 teaspoons garlic powder

2 teaspoons black pepper

2 teaspoons white pepper

4 teaspoons onion powder

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (the recipe called for 2 tsp, I used 1)

1 teaspoon chili powder

2 teaspoons thyme

1 teaspoon oregano

1 1/2 teaspoons basil

1 teaspoon dried bay leaves

1 teaspoon allspice

Mix all ingredients. Makes about 1/2 cup.

***I did not have a rib roast. I just used regular pork roast. I buy what I can get inexpensively.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Kids Corner: Homemade Scented Playdo

Sure, store bought playdo is inexpensive enough, but can you buy it in red and cherry scented or chocolate? What if you're home with three bored kiddos and you don't really want to get out of the house? Well, you can make your own with these recipes.


1 cup flour
1 cup of water
1/2 cup salt
3 TBS oil

Mix all ingredients together and cook over medium heat for a few minutes until dough forms the consistency you want. Remove from heat and cool. Keep in airtight container, refrigerate until used.

***You can add one package of any flavor Koolaid to the above ingredients to get a colored, scented playdo.
*** I have added several drops of lavender essential oil to the recipe along with a little food coloring to make the dough purple.

Chocolate Scented Play Dough


1¼ cup flour

½ cup cocoa powder

½ cup salt

½ tablespoon cream of tartar

1 ½ tablespoons oil

1 cup boiling water


Mix all of the dry ingredients together in a large, heavy bowl. Add the oil and boiling water to the mixture. Stir very quickly, mixing thoroughly. Once the mixture has cooled, mix it together using your hands. The dough can now be played with. Get out cookie cutters and let the kids make you some "cookies".

Be sure to store all doughs in an airtight container when not in use. Enjoy!!!

Crockpot Chicken Recipe

I love my crockpot. It's great for year round use. I usually make beef or pork, but occasionally I make chicken. The following is a family favorite. It is not a good recipe to go off and leave all day while at work, but it's great if you have a busy day at home or have some errands to run during the day.

Crockpot Mexican Chicken

• 4 boneless chicken breasts
• 1 (16 oz) jar picante sauce or salsa (either is good)
• 2 tsp garlic powder
• 1 tsp cumin
• 1 tsp chili powder
• 1/2 tsp salt
• 1/4 tsp pepper
• 1 can corn
• 1 can black beans

Pour a little oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat and brown chicken on both sides.
Place the chicken in the crock pot and pour salsa/picante over.
Add the garlic powder, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper.
Cover and cook on Low 4 hours.
Remove the chicken and shred with a fork, then put the chicken back in the crock pot.
Cover and continue to cook on Low for 1 hour.
Stir in the corn and black beans.
Cover and continue cooking 1 hour.

Serve with tortilla chips or as tacos in soft or hard shell tortillas. Also may top with sour
cream or guacamole.

My family likes to make tacos out of the mix and top with cheese. I have served rice, refried beans and guacamole with it. Drizzle a little ranch dressing over the meat before you serve it if you like. It's super delish. This is awesome to make for taco bar and movie night with the family.

Lovely laundry

I have a recipe for a lovely scented laundry detergent. I am always looking for scented things that won't irritate my asthma and eczema. I purchased an E book that had a recipe for a wash that used unscented liquid soap as the base, however, I can not find unscented anywhere here. So, I improvised and came up with a nice fragranced soap that does not bother my breathing.

15 oz lavender chamomile hand soap (I used two 7.5 oz bottles of Soft Soap brand)
1/2 c Borax
1/2 c washing soda
1/2 c water

I also added about 20 drops of lavender essential oil to punch up the lavender scent. This is totally optional. Then, I put it in a quart sized mason jar and shook it up to mix. I used a couple of tablespoons for a small load of delicates.

I would guess you could use any scent you like in lieu of the lavender chamomile. I have found a lemongrass basil soap that I think I might like to try next.

Beautifying my books

I was doing some searches for bookplates because I want to add some to my books. I wanted something vintage looking to match several of my antique books. I found two that I liked. Here is a butterfly from The Blah Blah Blahg that I fell in love with. You can download it here.

The next was a set from Martha Stewart. Nice, simple and classy. I love Martha's style.

I am going to print these off on to self adhesive paper and place them into my books. I will probably save a rainy weekend for this task. I really want to jazz up my bookshelf and even though I am the only one who will see them, they will make me so happy. Adding a little formality to my laid back atmosphere helps keep me from feeling like I am in mommy mode all of the time.

Ironing Bliss

I have never been much into ironing. Most of my clothes are cotton knit, wash and wear type of things. I iron occasionally if a dress shirt needs it. Well, I decided to try keeping my pillow cases starched and ironed since I have heard that it makes for a more restful night's sleep. In case you're wondering, it does.

I bought a can of Faultless lemon scented heavy starch (the yellow can below) to use on my pillow cases. I have to say, it smells very much like lemon. I ironed some very wrinkled tea towels and loved it.

I wanted to add lavender scent to my pillow cases since it's a scent for relaxation and who couldn't use a little more of that? I mixed lavender essential oil with enough distilled water to fill my iron. I used the lemon starch with the lavender steam and, oh my, it was delicious. So incredibly relaxing, it makes me want to rewash my pillow cases and start all over.

I went to the Faultless site for this picture and have discovered a lavender scent. I did not see that at my store, but I didn't look that closely either. I saw the lemon, I like lemon, so that is what I purchased. I may look for lavender next time I go, but I really enjoyed the method I used today. You should give it a try. Happy ironing!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Ugly Space

This ugly space is above my stove. I am in the midst of spring cleaning and decided to pull out the stove and give it a scrub. I had every intention of cleaning the range hood, but it was too gross (it has been icky since I moved in no matter how much I have tried to clean it) so I yanked it out.

Now, I must decide what to do with the empty space. I don't want to put another range hood there, however I think I need a light and exhaust fan. I need to try to figure out what to do. I think I would like a little shelf and some pretty jars in which to store my most used herbs and spices. I know I am putting a backsplash on the wall, but beyond that I'm not entirely sure.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

I've been busy.

I haven't been around much. A lot has been going on in my life with remodeling the house and shopping through taxmas.
I picked up a Shark Navigator and Euro Pro steam mop. Loving them to pieces. I had posted how much I loved my Wet Jet. That little mop, while considerably cheaper, can't touch my Shark.
In other news, we finished the bathroom. It's lovely and relaxing.

I have also been hanging out more on a blog called BrocanteHome. It's a beautiful blog. The author, Alison May, has such colorful writing skills and the most wonderful ideas for making your home more, well, homey. I get lost in her Puttery Treats. She's such a delight to read. You should check her out.