Friday, September 28, 2007

A Fresh outlook

I decided the other day that our front door needed some decorating. And after being inspired by this wreath, I decided to make one for myself. It turned out pretty well. The picture frame is an old one that I found while cleaning out Mike's grandmother's house last fall, I found the grapevine wreath, ivy vine, and ribbon at Wal-mart (yes, the dreaded, boycotted, and banned wal-mart), the twine came from the wrapping paper box, and the old door knobs and lock plate came from my junk digging in Mike's grandfather's greenhouse (also last fall). The skeleton keys are from a house I lived in as a child. All pulled together, I think it looks pretty good. I think this could last us until it's time to put the Christmas wreath on the door. Which amazingly, will be upon us all to quickly.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

B is for...

...breakfast. Might as well start the day off right! :) I love cooking breakfast. It's something I'm really good at. Ask me what's for dinner and I'll shrug my shoulders, but ask me what's for breakfast (or dessert) and I'm your girl! Biscuits, scones, oatmeal, pancakes, waffles, and muffins all have there special place in my cookbook. Right in the front section to be exact. Since I've been pregnant I haven't been able to do the breakfast thing like I use too. Now my breakfast is all about what has the most protein in it. Eggs, whole wheat bagels, peanut butter, and yogurt are now my main staples for breakfast. I miss the old days. So I made Double Orange scones for breakfast last week. They were delicious. I love breakfast. :)

Our routine for breakfast lately though is bagels. Mike's new favorite is this granola called Bare Naked. ;)

...baking. This kind of falls into the lines of breakfast but for me, real baking is the deserts. Cakes, cookies, pies, breads, rolls, and thing such as this. When I was in my teen's it was my job to keep our family well stocked in deserts. So at least once a week, and often times more, I made a big batch of cookies or a cake. My Mom didn't let me mess too much with pie crusts, thinking they were too difficult so it wasn't until I was married that I started making the crusts for my pies myself. Thankfully, I found it very uncomplicated and not near as difficult as my mother made it out to be. My mom also taught me how to make bread at age 8 and while I only do it on an occasional basis, there is nothing like a fresh loaf of bread right out of the oven. I inherited quite a quantity of recipes from my mother, when I married and I have steadily been adding to my collection ever since. My brother in-law (Mike's older brother, Greg) also loves to bake and we trade recipes every Thanksgiving when we all get together and cook in Mike's mother's huge kitchen. It can get quite crowded with at least 5 people cooking, 5 children running around like wild indians, and 5 or so other adults standing around offering "advice." :) One of my favorite things about baking (besides that it all tastes good and I get lots of compliments) is getting to use my Pampered Chef Baking stones. I can not tell you how much I love use them. They are the best. Get you some, it's totally worth the investment.

...books. I love books. I read all the time. I collect books like most women collect shoes. I especially like to find antique books. While we were in NC over Labor Day, Mike took me into a really nice Antique mall that I had never been in before. Inside was a booth, actually two booth spaces, but all one person's stuff, and the entire wall was covered in antique books and a few miscellaneous items. But oh! the books! I could have spent the entire day browsing through them. Unfortunately, we had to move along, but I did pick up a few lovely little finds.

And yes, that is a Martha Stewart "Good Things" book tucked under that stack. I found it mixed in with the antique books and couldn't pass it up for $5.
We are very frequent patrons of our local library as well. Who can beat free books and movies? This year I decided to keep track of all the books that I have read, and a few of our favorite library reads for Olivia. You can read my lists over here. You'll have to search a bit for a complete list because I combined them with other posts and didn't label them as a book list post. Silly me. :) From Jan thru August I have counted 72 books. And that list has grown exponentially in Sept as we have kept over 25 books checked out at a time from the library. I keep trying to talk Mike into building me a floor-to-ceiling-wall-to-wall bookcase in our den, but so far I've had no luck. Until then we will have to be ok with books stacked on the dresser, the night stands, the floor, in the closets, any flat surface will do to be honest. :) We are a book loveing family and I'm so glad. We have already started a list of books that we want me to read out loud to our girls when they get a little older (born maybe? lol) I can't wait.

...buttons because they're so cute and small.

...bed because right now I love to sleep. :)

...baskets because they hold anything and everything.

...babies. Enough said.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

A is for...

This weekend we were up in NC for Labor Day weekend. It is our annual trip. Mike and I have gone every year that we have been married. What started as an unplanned, just-for-fun excursion has now been transformed into a yearly tradition. And one (or two to be exact) of these traditions is to go to the local Apple Festival and then out to Justus Orchards to pick apples. I have been picking apples at this orchard since I was 7 year old. It's amazing to go back year after year. Unfortunately this year, because of the late frost that struck us here in the south, there were no local apples. Only ones shipped in from Pennsylvania. But we still had a good time standing around, drinking apple cider, talking to the owners, and playing with their sweet dogs. Next year will be a better one and we will be back with two little girls in tow to pick apples from the trees.

.... apple crisp.
I have a favorite recipe that I have to share. It's to die for!
Apple Crisp
6 tart apples, peeled and sliced, 1/3 c. flour, 1t. cinnamon, 3/4 c. sugar, 1t. salt
Mix dry ingredients together. Toss apples with flour mixture. Put in 8" square pan cover with topping (see below.) Bake, uncovered, at 350F for 30-35 minutes, until apples are tender. Serve with vanilla ice cream or cream. Great for breakfast too. :)
Topping = 1 c. oatmeal, 3/4 c. flour, 3/4 c. brown sugar, 1/2 c. butter, melted. Mix all ingredients and press on top of apples before baking. ( this makes a great topping for ice cream too! Or to just eat with a spoon.:) )

.... Annabelle.
Just because we love her so much! Who could not help but love this sweet girl?
Where did the month go? The end of summer is here. It's still hot outside but change is in the air and we are ready for fall. Bring it on!

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