Friday, November 30, 2012

I'm Feeling a Little Creative Today

I've recently been in the mood to create.  I'm trying to glean some inspiration from some pieces that I've worked on in the past. 

Several years ago, when I was REALLY into ivy,  I found this old cutting board at the goodwill and added my own special touches to it by distressing, painting, and stenciling it.  I've had it hidden in a deep, dark corner above my cabinets.   I brought it out today, and I've come to realize that I still really love it.  Do you all think it looks too outdated? 

I simply adore the way it looks against the green of my country cupboard.

And against the red of my kitchen walls.....

Hmmm....I'm still wondering what I can create today?

I've got my eye on my kitchen cabinets.....

I am thinking black....and distressed!  I wonder if my man would notice??

What do you all think?  Should I go for it??????

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

My Most Treasured Christmas Decorations

We love Christmas around these parts.  Not only do we get to celebrate the birth of our Savior, we find joy in embellishing our little house from top to bottom with beautiful, festive decorations, many holding special memories from the past.  It's not unusual for someone to tell the story behind the making of a handmade ornament or craft, as it is pulled out of the box and placed in it's proper spot. 

Some of my most treasured Christmas decorations are these hand-made wooden spoon carolers, made from.....well.... old wooden spoons, of course!

Aren't they simply precious!  The part I love the most about them is that my mama and Aunt Bev hand made them.  Mama made their clothes and hair and Aunt Bev painted their faces.   I cherish them now more than ever, since my Aunt Bev passed away a couple of years ago.  I have a part of her....something that she created with her very own hands.  Oh how I miss that spunky little lady!

I LOVE the expressions on their faces.  Can't you just hear them singing now......

"Oh come all ye faithfullllllll......."
""Joyful, joyful we adore theeeee........""
"I am a poor boy too, 
Pa rum pum pum pummmmm....."
"And a partridge in a pear treeeeeeeee....."
"Everybody all together now....give it all you got....take it up an octave....."
"Joy to the world! The Lord is come:
Let earth receive her King!
Let every heart prepare him room
And heaven and nature sing.....
And heaven and nature sing.....
And hea-ea-ea-ea-ea-ea-ven and na-ture siiiinnnnngggg!"


"Ahem, we must maintain our composure in front of the ladies, son!"

"Places, places everyone!"

Now you understand why I treasure them so!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Tea, A Drink With Jam and Bread


It's the day after Thanksgiving and my thoughts have quickly turned from turkey and stuffing to buying Christmas gifts for all of the loves of my life.

Every year, the kids and I try to come up with creative, homemade gifts that we can make to give away to teachers and relatives.  A sure crowd pleaser every time is homemade bread and jam.  Maybe this year, we can also make some homemade assortments of teas to go along with the bread and jam, because if you remember, the one thing about tea is that it's a drink with jam and bread!

("Tea, a drink with jam and bread" compliments of "The Sound of Music" Movie)

Well....maybe not that kind of "Tea!"  or is it "Ti?!"  (These things are confusing!)

We usually make our jam in the spring and summer when berries are just right for the picking.  However, this year, things were a little bit crazy, so we didn't get to make jam.  The solution; we froze the berries and we will thaw them and make jam over the next couple of weeks.  Fun, simple, and delicious!

So please enjoy this quick recipe for making strawberry/blueberry jam:

Strawberry-Blueberry Jam:

After thawing the berries to room temperature, mash them with a potato masher.

In a 6 quart saucepan mix all of the following ingredients, stirring constantly.

3 c. crushed blueberries (about 2 pts.) (fresh or thawed from
3 c. crushed strawberries (about 3 pts.) (fresh or thawed from

3 c. sugar
1 1/2 c. Karo light corn syrup
1/3 c. lemon juice

Bring to a full boil over high heat. Boil rapidly 40 to 50 minutes or until a small amount cooled in the freezer for 5 minutes gels.

Remove from heat; skim. Ladle into clean hot 1/2 pint jars, leaving 1/8" head space.  Seal.  Process in a boiling, hot water bath for 5 minutes.

If you don't have a water bath canner like this:

Any tall pot will work.  Just make sure the water covers the tops of the jars.  You will need to put something under the jars to keep them off the bottom, such as a hand towel or small board. Water bath canners are not too expensive so you might just want to go ahead and invest in one.  You will be glad you did! 

You can also use the Sure-Jell freezer jam recipe, but I find that the non-freezer kind works best for gifts, just in case your friends forget and put the yummy jar of goodness in the cabinet instead of the freezer!  You wouldn't want your lovely gift to backfire on you, causing your loved ones to turn green, and not with envy if you know what I mean! 

(Note: the Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving is a great book for anyone embarking upon a canning adventure. This is the book that I've used for years. Their recipes are very easy to follow!)

If you choose, you can decorate the jars up really cute.  I found this great idea on Pinterest from

And that's it!  Wasn't that easy?!

Well, I must be off.....

Gotta go make some bread.....

and tea......

to go along with the jam!

Wow!  This is getting complicated!  Gotta run, because I've got so much to do and so many places to go, for I've got to go so "far" such...."a long, long way to run!"

"That will bring us back to...

Do . . . So Do
Re . . . La Fa
Mi . . . Mi Do
Fa . . . Re
So . . . So Do
La . . . La Fa
Ti . . . La So Fa Mi Re
Ti Do - oh - oh Ti Do -- So Do"

(Sorry....I couldn't resist!)  :)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Gather 'Round the Table

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!  I pray that your day was filled with lots of fun, food, fellowship, and free-flowing, loose-fitting pants!!
For years I have dreamed of being able to celebrate Thanksgiving with family and friends, gathered 'round a big ole', rustic,  farm table like this....
Or this.....

To be quite honest, farm tables really give me a sense of nostalgia.  I can remember my sisters and I spending Sunday afternoons around my maw maw's naturally distressed table, laughing until our bellies hurt.  I guess the longing for a large, rustic, multi-seated table, probably rekindles some very special memories from years gone by.

I can just picture our family and friends gathered 'round fellowshipping until the wee hours of the morning, much like we used to do at maw maw's house.


Come to think of it though, looking through pictures of this past year,  we really didn't need a farm table to make memories.  Any ole' table would do......


So gather 'round the table....No matter what kind of table and have a seat.

There you'll, family, and conversations about life's most important things. 


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Mama's Ultimate Mac and Cheese

Okay, so we follow the 80-20 rule when it comes to healthy eating.  We try to eat healthy 80% of the time and leave the other 20% for splurges.  This macaroni and cheese is definitely one of those splurges.  It is the dish that is the most requested at all of our family gatherings.  It is always a hit, especially with the kids!
Warning.....If you bring this mac and cheese to one of your family get-togethers, your family will love it so much that you may never be allowed to bring anything else ever again!
Mama's Ultimate Mac and Cheese:
Introducing the stars of the show:

- 1 box (16 oz) rotini noodles
- 1 lb. (1/2 block) Velveeta or another brand of processed cheese spread, cubed
- 1 stick of butter
- 3 cups of whole milk
- 2 cups of any type of shredded cheese

Bring salted water to a boil.   Add 1 box or 16 oz. of rotini noodles. Boil noodles for about 5 min. and then turn off. You want to make sure and cook the noodles al dente and not overcook them. Let noodles sit in the hot water until you finish cutting up the Velveeta or similar product. 

Use 1/2 block of  cheese spread.  (I always used the generic version of Velveeta because it is cheaper.)  Cube for easier melting.

Once noodles reach the al dente state, drain off water in sink.  My friend Al taught me to use rotini noodles in my mac and cheese, so don't you think it's appropriate that we let them reach the "Al" dente state?!!  Just thought I'd throw that in there!

Add noodles back to cooking pan. Add 1 stick of butter to pan.   Let butter melt in noodles. Cook noodles and butter on low heat until butter melts all the way.

Continue cooking and stirring on low heat and add about 3 cups of milk and 1/2 block of cubed cheese. Let cheese melt in noodles.  You can add a little more milk if needed. 

A very important fact; whole milk makes it taste so much creamier.  I bet you could even use half and half!  I've never been brave enough to attempt that!

When cheese is almost melted, add 2 cups of any kind of shredded cheese. Mozzarella and cheddar make a good combination.  Girls, this is when you get to clean out your fridge.  Add left over cheese slices (plastic removed, of course!) and the little bit of left over cheese that's been sitting in your cheese drawer forever.  Throw it in there as long as a strange fungus isn't growing on it!   Melt all cheeses in noodles, forming a cheese sauce. Continue stirring, so nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan.

Once butter and all cheeses are totally melted and no longer stringy, add this amazing concoction to a serving dish.

And there you have it!  Easy!  No bread dried clumps of goo!  Some of the best mac and cheese you will ever sink your teeth into. I know it looks a little runny, but just wait until the noodles absorb all of the ooey-gooey goodness, once you take a bite, you will enter into a euphoric state and will never want to return!

Warning...You will be embarrassed by your family's reaction as they put you on a pedestal and give you a standing ovation!  But that may not be such a bad thing!