Saturday, April 30, 2011

The tops of my cabinets...

For some reason this Spring it's taken me longer to freshen up the inside of the house.  There were still pine cones out up until last month...but today I got a burst of energy and decided to tackle the tops of the kitchen cabs.  Sorry - I did not include before pics - they were too depressing...
It involved me getting up there and dusting a few things off - I am totally OK with fake plants.  
This one is in a copper kettle my mother brought from her travels in Eastern Europe.
On the cabinet over the cooktop I took down a large outdated  basket of greenery.  I am ashamed to admit it had Fall foliage in it....I saved the greenery I could and placed it in a glazed terra cotta  pot I got at Tuesday Morning.  The Anne Geddes print was FREE about 13 years ago at Target for Mother's Day.  (But really, it should be replaced). The birdie was $1 at Dollar Tree, and the bird house maybe around $10 at TJ Maxx.  Basically I shopped my house for stuff I already had.
The birdie is sitting inside a candle holder (:
Last but not least was the space to the right of that big copper pot.  I had a very outdated grapevine wreath up there, but I wanted to put my faux apothecary jars there.  It needed a backdrop, so I made one!
Can you see glue still drying in places?
I took a little used platter and modge podged some of the wonderful fabric I used in my laundry room.  
I think I love modge podge...
The platter has scalloped edges and flowers embossed all over it.  I have two of them, so this one can live up here a while.  The tall jar has wine corks; the medium and small, candles.  I love the wallpaper in my kitchen!
I had to stop there for the afternoon as I ran out of gas.  But it was fun to create my pretty new platter and simplify the decor up there.
 These topiary prints were also a Tarjay find - $4 each.
It looks bigger up there with less stuff - cleaner, too.  I like having something 'new and different' to look at since I spend so much time in this room...
And I can't believe it took me so long to change it up...oh, well...

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Strawberry jam

What do you do when quarts of strawberries are $1.17 at HEB?  Make jam, of course!
All that jam...just waiting for some peanut butter and bread, or biscuits, or just a spoon...
here's how I make mine:
I boil up a pot of water, with the lids and rims, then pour the water into the clean jars and set them and the lids aside.  My jars go through the dishwasher, so they just need the boiling water to help them stay hot.
I trim and cut into tiny chunks most of 2 qts. of strawberries, until I have 5 cups.  I measure out  7 cups white sugar and have a box of of pectin handy, too.
I mash and stir the strawberries and pectin in a big pot over medium high heat, adding in a teaspoon of butter to keep the foaming action down while I mash the chunks.
Once it comes to a boil, I dump in the sugar all at once and boil it hard for one minute. 
(sugar not shown here)
A hard boil cannot be stirred down.
Take the jam off the heat and dump the water out of the jars.  Then fill them with hot jam using a ladle. Wipe spilled jam off the tops of the jars and the threads.  Place the lids on and screw on the rims.  Then I turn the jars upside down for about 5 minutes while I clean up my mess.
My kitchen smells so good!
 You can see I left just about a quarter inch of room in the jar - you want them pretty full.
Then set them upright and listen for the POP as they cool and seal.    
It's called the Inversion Method and it's easy peasy!
 I estimate this batch was about $3.50 since I already had the jars.  I am saving one for my mom and a friend.  The rest will be devoured by my jam-loving peeps...
the taste of Spring in a jar and so easy - try it!

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Strawberry Linky

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Good Friday Thrifting

Silly me.  It never occurred to me that St. Vinny's would not be open on Good Friday.  But the boys and I were determined to get out of the house and 'bop around" as they love to say!
Stop #1 was a huge Sally Ann we had never seen before - HUGE.  I picked up a little over $2 worth of stuff that the woman rang up for $1.34, including a terra cotta sun face and some vintage fabric trims.
13 cents each  - no idea how old they are, but I would guess the early sixties - they were two for a quarter.
 Next was Thrift Town, a favorite of ours.  The boys had such a good time looking at all the "weird" stuff - they weren't even bothering to look for things they might actually want.  Creepy Stuff.  Like this cat.
Please tell me its not covered with real cat fur...the big organza ribbon adds to the creepiness factor...
I, however, find a large bag of fabric lace and trims for $2 to add to my stash, and a box of 15 Japanese art print cards with envelopes for $1.  They are blank so they can be used for many occasions.
My total thrift purchases were less than $5!  

The blue sun got a coat of ORB this afternoon and is hanging over the mantel, and the laces and such are in my sewing box.  Check out the wide lace, perfect for making sachets.
After that, we had a great lunch at a hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurant, Vallarta.
That plate is bigger than my kid!
Yum.  A fun way to spend a day off with my peeps!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter 2011

 We had an awesome Easter - just the six of us.  Everyone got to sleep in late.  Everyone had a great breakfast. We all were ready on time and out the door for church services.  We had a delicious "Spring Thanksgiving"  luncheon.  There were plastic eggs to be found.  Easter Sussie jars discovered.  Dominoes and cards on the back patio.  And we posed for these family pics at the local park:
Probably Hubby and  Bubbie should not have been climbing trees due to recent events!
The Girl went off to work in the afternoon, and the mom got a nap, while Hubby and the boys did their own thing.  Now we are having a quiet evening and mulling over what we want for dinner (:  A lovely day with much-needed family time together.  Hope yours was happy, too!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Easter table and menu plan

 Here is the menu for this year's Easter Lunch/dinner:

Smoked Pork Roasts
3 marinated flavors of beer can chicken
Deviled Eggs
3 Bean Greek salad
Corn Casserole
Heavenly Hash
Lemon Cheesecake
Pinot Grigio and tea

I bought the chickens at Wally World on Thursday and marinated each one a little differently, then sealed them in gallon zip locs and froze them.  Hubby will come up a rub for the pork roasts.  He will fire up the smoker on Saturday night late, and keep it going til Sunday after church.  Deviled Eggs are the standard recipe, but I may add a little minced ham to them this year for interest.  We are having frozen rolls you just warm up.  The 3 Bean Salad I totally cheated on - 1 can each of green beans, light red kidney beans, and wax beans with a little chopped green onion and bottle Greek salad dressing to marinate in.  The corn casserole is a classic from my sister in law.  Find the recipe here  (but you don't have to use Jiffy brand,  personally I think Jiffy has too much shortening and sugar in it).  Heavenly Hash is also called 6 Cup Salad - 1 cup each of: mandarin orange segments (drained), fruit cocktail (drained), sour cream, coconut, and cool whip, and mini marshmallows.  The Lemon Cheesecake I will make Saturday night is from Kraft - find the recipe here.  I also made some cute candles for my table by modge podging some cutouts from the napkins onto those jarred religious candles you see at the grocery store. And I couldn't resist a bouquet of fresh flowers.
We will say and grace as they are softly lit and give thanks for a great  meal. (:
Have a beautifully blessed Easter with  worship and time well-spent with those you love,

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Sharon's snack mix

 My sis in law makes this peanut/raisin/ M&M combo to set out at Christmastime and Bubbie and I had a hankering for it last week, so we made an Easter version.
I guess the only thing that makes it Easter-y is the pastel M&M's.  It was his idea to use chopped dried pineapple instead of raisins.   Salty sweet and delish!  
I put it in a pretty dish and set it out for my snack lovers.
Mostly they love the sweet bits so there were a lot of nuts left at the end.....

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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Easter sussie jars

My kiddos are a little old for baskets at 21, 19, 15, and 12..... and  I wanted to do a little something different this year.  In fact, the past few years we haven't used baskets for Easter treats - one year it was colorful bowls from IKEA (that went directly to my kitchen afterwards), the next year was a large plastic egg with Swedish candy (again, from IKEA), and the year before that I got carried away and did buckets which had way too much stuff in them and had nothing to do with the real reason for Easter anyway.  
So scaling it down seems appropriate!
I started with the rest of my collection of mason jars and some smallish Easter candy - jellybeans, peeps, Cadbury eggs - even pina colada tics tacs cause they are so spring-y looking!
I filled each jar, jumbling it all together.  
I'm not a huge fan of peeps, but they look cute squished in here...
I made some bunny head tags and cut around each one with my fancy craft scissors.  
Then tied them onto the jars with curling ribbon.  This will be a sweet little treat waiting for them when we get home from church.  And yes, the jars will eventually return to the kitchen!
E. Bunny is a tradition my mother started and in fact, she still sends me Easter treats. 
You're never too old for candy!

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