Monday, April 21, 2014

Spring has Sprung!

I can't believe it's been over a year since I last posted. A new granddaughter has already turned one! Days are exhausting with work taking me out of our home twelve hours a day. These have been rough days at the office with friends being laid off and more work than ever to do, with fewer people. However, I am thankful that I have a job and I know things could be much worse. My greatest joy is time with our family and we are so blessed! We had a wonderful Easter celebration and I wanted to share some pictures. 

We decided to have an Easter brunch because of the little ones schedule. My daughter and her hubby are doing a wonderful job raising their beautiful girls and keeping them on a schedule is one of the things they do well. 

One of my favorite things to do when preparing for guests is to set a beautiful table. I have never really planned in advance for my table but that is slowly changing. I like to pick up things now and again that I think will work at some point and often I forget what I have until I go looking. This year, several months before I knew we were hosting Easter, I found this fabric at Jo-Ann Fabrics. It is my favorite color, turquoise, along with silver, which I love. And the fact that it has polka dots is the icing on the cake! I knew I would use it for our next to-do!

My dining room table is a very old harvest table that was originally approximately 6 feet long by 18 inches wide. I purchased it at an auction for $25 many years ago. The top is warped and wasn't usable as a dining table until my husband put a new top on it over the original. It is now wider and a little over 7 feet long. 

I painted and distressed it years ago and we have had wonderful fun around this table. It even has an old mend on one of the legs that was broken prior to us purchasing it. But what is really nice is that 3 yards of 45" wide fabric makes a perfect tablecloth...and this is how my table setting usually gets's all about the fabric! This was easy to hem and looked great on the table.

Once I had my tablecloth, I looked for decorations without really having a completed project in mind. I found these little silver buckets in the $1 goodies at Target. I changed the ribbon on them as it was pink gingham. I also bought some pink and blue flowered buckets to go along with, but once it all started to come together in my head, I realized I didn't want to use the pink ones. I went digging in my goodie closet and found these sparkly ones in turquoise that I had purchased several years ago and I knew they would be perfect.

I also picked up some sparkly eggs at Target for $5. I think they look great and my sweet Genevieve loved the sparkle! favorite. We were at Walmart and they had tulips at a great price. My nature is to pick up white tulips but they didn't have any so I decided on purple. I was pleased with my choice as I think they are perfect. In case you didn't know it, tulips continue to grow after they are cut. I always have to cut them shorter because they always perk up and get taller. These were smaller flowers, which was fine because I didn't want them to come between our guests trying to converse across the table.

Special touches for the table such as bird salt and pepper shakers from T.J. Maxx as well as cloth napkins, simple white plates, shiny silverware and sparkly glasses all make a table setting much more special....and it doesn't have to cost a lot. These glasses were $1 each, the plates are from The Christmas Tree Shop and the stainless was a gift. The tulips were $5 a bunch and I bought two bunches.

I also like to add place settings for the girls that are fun and Target had just what I needed.

For Sweet G

And Little O

Festive Straws

The table is set for a celebration fit for a king...resurrection day and our lord Jesus Christ.

We also had an early birthday celebration for Genevieve and Olivia's Mom...our beautiful daughter Melanie. A special cake was in order so I made a 6 inch, four layer Ho Ho cake. I used the Hershey Perfect Chocolate Cake recipe and made cream filling and topped with bittersweet ganache

In the craziness of getting every thing ready the day before, I sat down and made a cute banner to go on the easy using skewers, ribbon and a glue stick.

I don't craft much any more but I think I just needed to sit, be still and's certainly good therapy!



My hope is to inspire you to try a little something creative, to realize you don't need a lot of money to turn an occassion into a wonderful celebration. With a little sparkle, family, friends and a lot of love, you can make memories that last forever. Happy Spring!

Easter Morn on the Farm

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Waiting For Spring

Waiting is never easy. Good news or bad news, life or death, the emotions that we go through while we wait can take their toll. What makes waiting so hard is that we have to give up control of the situation...and this is where faith comes in. God's word says to "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God" Philippians 4:6. Is it easy? No...but certainly worth trying. As women, we want to fix everything ourselves, heal the wounds, make everything all right and many times we can't. We become weary, stressed, moody and overwhelmed. Take comfort in knowing that we can rest in him. 
Yes, my soul, find rest in God; 
my hope comes from him.
Truly, he is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
My salvation and honor depend on God;
he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
Trust in him at all times, you people;
Pour out your hearts to him,
for God is our refuge.
Psalm 62:5-8

Is there something that you are waiting for? Take comfort in knowing there is a place, a quiet place to wait, and rest in his everlasting arms.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Vanilla Bean Scones...

The Pioneer Woman's Way

 I love scones and have made them several times. I have wanted to try The Pioneer Woman's recipe ever since I saw her make them, with ease, on her Food Network show. A friend gifted me with vanilla beans and I thought this was a great opportunity to use them

 I printed the recipe online, as it isn't in either of her cookbooks

 I gathered the ingredients

 The first step is to scrape the vanilla seeds from the bean. 
I have seen this done many times on TV and thought it would be easy. 
It's least not the first time

 Once I got the hang of it, it did get a little easier. The seeds end up on your fingers and the board and you just don't want to lose any of them

 Add the vanilla to the cream ahead of time so that the vanilla can infuse the cream...look at the luscious vanilla cream. I love this little milk bottle too!

 Now it's time to sift the dry ingredients together

 Cold, unsalted butter cut into pats...I used the same knife I scraped the vanilla cleaned the vanilla off of the knife so I wouldn't waste any!

 A pastry cutter...a must have in any will get a work out!

 Cut the ingredients with the pastry cutter until it looks like crumbs. It is important that the butter stays cold...this is what makes pastry so yummy

Mix the infused cream with an egg and add the wet to the dry, crumbled mixture

 Stir gently with a fork until it just comes sure you don't over mix...
the mixture will be crumbly 

 I am going to be honest here...this is hard to manage...
I was extremely frustrated and for a moment, 
I regretted starting this recipe. It is crumbly and hard to roll out...I was not a happy camper!

 I worked through my frustration and finally got it where I thought it should be

I cut them with a sharp knife. I also rerolled the scraps and cut some more. 
The sizes varied but that was okay

 I baked them on parchment approximately 18 minutes

 I looked at the mess and was just.plain.done.with scones

 And then the buttery aroma started to fill the kitchen...and I forgave them
 While they cooled, I worked on the glaze, 
which is another vanilla bean scraped into milk. 
I used half and half as I don't usually have whole milk in the fridge

 Lots of sifted confectioners sugar...I usually sift a whole bag of sugar when I need some...then I have extra for the next time

 I used a whisk to mix it up...I was concerned this wouldn't be enough. 
I added additional milk to get it to the right consistency

 Dunk the entire scone in the I recommend using a utensil of some kind (I used a fork) just to help you lift the scone out...don't poke the scone as it will break but I found that even if I lifted them out with my fingers they would sometimes break so be careful
 Let the glaze run off the scone as much as you can.
I had left over glaze so there was plenty

 Place them on a rack or parchment...I did both
 Look at that sugary, vanilla bean goodness...let them harden for an hour or so and as hard as it is, I recommend putting them away until the next day. 
I think they taste better a day later...of course you can have a try!

 The next morning, a cup of coffee and a vanilla bean scone...
just the thing to make a cold Sunday morn feel all right!
I also took the opportunity to make vanilla sugar...I added the spent vanilla beans to a jar of sugar and covered tightly to let the vanilla infuse the sugar . I can't wait to try it in my coffee!

I know I will make scones again...they are yummy and such a treat...and I know it will get easier each time I try. Have you ever made scones? Do you have a favorite recipe? Take a minute to let me know...I would love to hear from you!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Christmas on the Farm

We're getting ready for's the most wonderful time of the year!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Nana's Icicle Pickles

Today I'm sharing an "almost homemade" sweet pickle recipe made from kosher dill pickles. This recipe came from my Mother, known as Nana by her grandchildren. I don't know where the recipe came from, but it has been around so long, my Mother used a typewriter to write it down for me. I love being able to make these knowing that it is her recipe. If you like the taste of an old fashioned, homemade sweet pickle, this is the pickle for you! Please note that it takes several days for the pickles to get the full, rich flavor that makes them so yummy, so be sure to plan ahead. I have included step by step instructions with the full recipe at the end of this post. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

Easy to make homemade sweet yummy!
Ingredients bought kosher dills, vinegar, sugar and pickling spice
Rinse and drain the pickles
I like to cut them into chips but you can cut them into spears if you prefer
Place the cut pickles into a bowl and alternate layers with sugar. This does not have to be exact and if you prefer, you can just add all of the sugar on the top at the end
Pickles and sugar
Cover tightly and refrigerate for 24 hours. You may need to stir once or twice as the sugar settles at the bottom of the bowl
Be sure to save the jar!
The pickles start to make yummy, sweet juice
Sweet, juicy goodness
Transfer the pickles into the saved jar and reserve the juice
Pour the reserved juice into a small saucepan
Add the vinegar
and the pickling spices
Spices include cinnamon, allspice, cloves, mustard seed and ginger
Warm over low heat until boiling and the sugar is mother used to say that you can tell by the smell when it's ready. The spices and vinegar have a wonderful, strong aroma!
Pour the hot juice and spice mixture over the pickles
Cover the jar and refrigerate for at least 2 days. This is the hard part...I have a problem with this. I am addicted to these pickles and snitch them while they are marinating in their juicy goodness!
After at least 2 days, transfer to a pretty jar and enjoy!

Nana's Icicle Pickles
  • Drain and discard the juice from a 46 ounce jar of Kosher Dill Pickles and save the pickle jar
  • Slice pickles into spears or chips and place in a glass bowl
  • Cover with 2 cups of sugar, either alternating layers with the pickles or all on top of the cut pickles
  • Tightly cover the bowl and refrigerate for 24 hours. Stir once or twice if the sugar settles to the bottom of the bowl
  • After 24 hours, place pickles back in the jar without the juice 
  • Pour the juice into a small saucepan and add 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar and 1T pickling spice
  • Warm over low heat until boiling and sugar is dissolved. You can tell by the deep, rich aroma that it is done
  • Pour the hot liquid over the pickles in the jar
  • Refrigerate for 2 days before serving...the longer they are refrigerated, the better the flavor. Enjoy!
  • Note - pickles make juice from sugar in the first 24 hours 

My Mother presenting the cake on my 2nd birthday!

 Please let me know how you like them...I appreciate your comments. 
Happy Thanksgiving!