Saturday, April 29, 2017

Lion House Lemon Bars

Oh my lemon! I adore lemon, crave lemon, and this is my favorite lemon recipe! The Lion House Cookbook is full of delicious recipes but this one....this one is my absolute favorite! Perfect for a spring or summer brunch, shower, or dinner party.....or just because you want some:)
 


Lion House Lemon Bars
        Makes 1 dozen bars 
Ingredients:
  •      1/2 cup butter, softened
  •      ¼ cup powdered sugar, plus more for dusting top
  •      1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  •      2 eggs
  •      1 cup granulated sugar
  •      2 tablespoons lemon juice
  •      Lemon Zest of half a lemon
Directions
Preheat oven to 325 degrees, in a large bowl, cream butter and powdered sugar. Mix in 1 cup of the flour. Spread in an 8×8-inch pan and bake 15 to 20 minutes. While crust is baking, prepare the lemon layer. Beat eggs slightly. Add sugar, remaining flour, lemon juice, and rind. Mix well and pour over hot crust. Bake an additional 18 to 22 minutes, or until the center is set.
Remove from oven and sprinkle with sifted powdered sugar. Cool slightly before cutting into bars.
Note: This recipe may be double and baked in a 9×13-inch pan.

p.s. I always double the recipe....:) Lemon heaven to be sure!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Peanut Butter Nests...an Easter treat!


Peanut Butter Nests...an Easter treat!

You can always tell a beloved family recipe by the shape of the recipe book! By the looks of this tattered page one can surmise that we have made these cookies a time or two!  
My mom hand wrote a recipe book for me when I went off to college ( for 3 weeks...that is another story!)
Anyway this is THE most loved and used recipe book in my family!
My siblings and I love this recipe so much we consider peanut butter cookie dough a really great birthday present! If one really wants to truly say I love you- the cookie dough will be rolled into balls ready to go:) 
Yes, we eat cookie dough in this family...I know some of you obey the food police but we would rather risk salmonella than give up our cookie dough. This is all my dads fault. He used to let us have a spoon full of cookie dough when mother wasn't looking:)


this peanut butter dough was triple batch favorite:) I thought about letting you read the recipe from the picture and figure out what words weremissing but decided I couldn't risk someone having a bad experience with one of our most loved cookies!

Peanut Butter Crisscrosses
1 cup shortening (prefer the butter flavored)
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla (I ALWAYS triple vanilla)
2 beaten eggs
1 cup peanut butter (creamy is best!)
3 cups of sifted flour 
2 tsp soda
dash of salt 
Cream shortening, sugars & vanilla. Add eggs. Stir in peanut butter. Mix dry ingredients together and then mix with creamed mixture. Roll into walnut size balls. 
Bake at 375 for 6-7 minutes.

For "Easter Nests"
press your thumb on the ball 
to make a "nest" and add peanut M&Ms
Place your thumb in the middle of the ball and press creating a "nest" 
You can also use small muffin tins for a cookie "basket"

I know there might be a very few of you who don't want M&Ms on your cookies (I personally don't know anyone like this!) However the plain peanut butter cookies are great too.
Making the crisscross was a coveted job of the children:)

One of the things I love most about making cookies is seeing them cooling on the counter. Just for a minute I can admire my creation until they start to disappear!

p.s. By the way, if you forget to put in the white sugar because you are distracted while taking pictures of your cookies and writing your blog post... don't worry the cookies still taste fine:) 

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Why is the sky so blue...a spring printable

 

I have loved this poem (really a song) since I was a little girl! It is one we sang in "sunday school time" (children's church called Primary.)
What a happy memory:) I do love to sing! 
I wanted to share this colorful printable created in google docs (well... after first doing it in Pages (on my mac) and having a world of trouble changing formats and uploading in printable form, and then moving it to google docs.......ggggrrrrrrrrr!)

Never mind I admit to being a printable novice:)
........the link is below...

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Half Price Spring Weekends!

If you are like me, spring is a busy time full of spring cleaning, planting the garden, potting flowers, re-painting patio furniture, family birthdays, events and of course Easter. Mother's Day soon follows, it's the end of school & just like that... spring turns into summer! 
Take a breath.
Take a weekend with a few friends to get away. 
Our last minute retreat prices sweeten the temptation:) 
Call me!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Avery Rose, a granddaughter is born


I cannot think of anything more precious than a new baby 
fresh from heaven. Avery Rose, our 10th grandchild, 
a vision of pink perfection,  graced the world 
with her presence on March 21, 2017. 
She is the fourth and final perfect addition to her family. 
I often think of the challenges and stress involved in raising children. Looking back I see many epic failures as a mother, 
and yet still consider my role as a parent to be the crowning achievement of my life. Watching my children bring babies 
into the world is so very humbling with tender moments 
that cannot be replicated any other way.

This raw emotion on the face of my son Aaron and his beautiful wife Janene, capture the intense relief and joy for another healthy baby, felt more especially after a long and arduous labor. The miracle and mystery of birth is filled with a wonder even our modern sophisticated world cannot dim. 

A new life, full of hope, promise and possibilities. 
Is it really any wonder that babies 
are so treasured and beloved. 

Wouldn't it be interesting to know what babies are thinking? Imagine the shock of entering the world! Avery seemed to take it all in stride...I imagine her saying "Hello world, I am ready for adventure!"...which she will most certainly
 experience with her three older siblings:) 

Janene noticed every 10-15 minutes Aaron would hover over Avery gazing in wonder. My Michael did the same with our daughter Brittany who came after two boys. My dad who is no longer with us also loved to admire babies and would sit for ages staring at our newborn Brittany. A picture like this uncovers a thousand emotions for me. Having survived four teenagers, not the least of which drove my sanity to the brink is this handsome man. The tender look on Aaron's face fills my soul with unmeasurable joy compensating for every moment of frustration over broken curfews, speeding tickets, and unauthorized midnight rides on the four wheeler:) 
Life is a wonderful evolution of self discovery and progress if we accept the challenge. Parenting provides a fast track course from self interest to unselfish love and service. I freely acknowledge that the most important lessons to improve my character were learned at the hands of my children. 
Oh a mother's anticipation of siblings greeting the new baby, though imagining is often better than the actual event:) Savannah 5, Ethan and Charlotte 3, are truly thrilled with baby Avery who has been much anticipated. Keeping Avery safe from such adoring and over enthusiastic fans will be a constant challenge for 
mommy and daddy! Good luck:)

What will you be my darling granddaughter? Will you be soft spoken or outlandishly gregarious? Will you play piano concerto's or dance ballet? Will you run everywhere like the wind as sisters Savannah and Charlotte or be a bit more cautious and measured as brother Ethan? I look at your soft skin and adorably chubby cheeks and feel nothing but love and hope for your future. You have been born to a family who treasures your very existence, a family that believes nothing is more important than success at home. You came to a country that is free, where women have unlimited opportunity. You came in a time when disease has limited power, and advances in technology boggle the mind. You my darling granddaughter can be anything you want to be... and that makes my Grammie heart unbelievably grateful and filled with joy. Avery Rose...bloom where you are planted and just be perfectly you:)


a letter to my granddaughters

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Spring banner...birds in foil



Spring is such a glorious time of year! I had a set of chipboard birds languishing in my craft closet begging to be set free! A banner seemed like the perfect creation for my spring mantle.



These particular chipboard birds were from Maya Road. They no longer have these on their website but you may try and find them on Etsy, or Ebay. A simple bird shape in chipboard could easily be cut on a Cricut as well.


The birds were first run through my Xyron adhesive machine. Foil (colored side up) was then laid on the sticky side of the birds and they were run through the minc machine. 


I purchased a Heidi Swapp minc machine last year which works with heat reactive foil. It is simple and super fun to use! There are many colors of foil that can be purchased seperately. I chose pink, mint green, and rose gold for this project.


I have granddaughters that live just down the driveway who frequently burst through my door with a vigorous request for a project:) It make my heart happy to know that they love creating! Scarlett was fascinated with the minc machine.


After the birds were foiled I realized they needed a wing! I traced the wing and then cut generously around the outline. Each wing was attached to the bird with regular adhesive.


Ink was then added to the edges of the birds right on top of the foil to add a subtle outline and a bit more dimension.


Annabelle & Scarlett wanted to have a "shiny bird" too, so I cut pieces of foil from the scraps which they laid on top of the adhesive side of the bird. A pass through the machine and viola...a shiny bird of their own:)


Twine is handy to have on hand in a craft stash and my usual choice for hanging banners. The birds were lined up on the countertop with the tail on the edge for consistency. After the twine was hot-glued to the bird I went back and added another layer of hot glue on TOP of the twine on the bird for a more secure hold. 


The birds were foiled, hot-glued and hung on the mantle...but I felt like they were missing something, so down it came. Enter my collection of spring paper flowers by Prima which has the most divine paper flowers:) I have a suitcase full!


I lined the birds back up on the counter top and scattered flowers over the wings with hot-glue until that magical crafting moment when it seemed complete:).....but hang on to your hat...


A second layer of mini flowers were added as centers to the some of the larger flowers...finding that sweet spot to stop can be a challenge for an embellishment lover such as me!


How do I hang the banners? Packing tape. It works for me:)







I found the field flowers at Hobby Lobby...they are perfect in these urns! Last year I made flower arrangements for each season. It is so nice to walk into the attic and retrieve a ready to go seasonal display:)


These metal and ceramic birds make me smile:) I picked them up from Hobby Lobby, Tuesday Morning & a local garden center.


And there you have it...chipboard, paper flowers, & foil...a cheerful and hopeful tribute to spring!



p.s.The small paper bird banner was created last year with my Fiskars Fuse machine which cuts, and embosses in one pass. 

Here is the post of that project...
https://nelliescottageretreat.blogspot.com/2016/02/birds.html


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Altered glass jug in shades of blue



Behold the blue jug:) I have a friend who occasionally supplies me with wine jugs courtesy of an ex-mother-in-law (that's another story!) I was dying to try my hand at bottle alteration after seeing so many on Pinterest:) This bottle is part of my "spring decor" collection. I have decor collections for each season...don't tell the hubby...he's not much on storing stuff but never notices...hahahaha!

We begin here...
Primer is always a good place to start with any painting project.

Shades of blue are kind of my thing at the moment, and I had this chalk paint from Hobby Lobby on hand called "escape"...perfect!

                                     

After the blue base was dry, an Inka Gold teal metallic rub was brushed on in several passes around the jug. Once the metallic rub is dry, it can be buffed to a sheen. This is a German made wax based product that comes in many colors. There are several you-tube videos that are helpful:)

As you can see from the picture below, a metallic coppery brown paint was dry brushed as the final layer.
                                   
After the paint was completely dry, layers of washi tape were wrapped around the jar, beginning and ending on the designated back to hide the seams. Mod Podge over the washi tape is recommended since washi has a tendency to peel away over time.



An aqua burlap flower procured from my extensive flower stash was secured with hot glue. A perfect finishing touch!


Various shades of aqua, turquoise and teal are liberally and consistently placed around my home as THE preferred accent color...can't get enough:) These colors are also usually worked into any seasonal decor displays.




This blue cabinet can most often be found sporting seasonal and holiday decor. I did a fun paint and stencil furniture makeover on this piece passed down from a sister-in-law. We are one of those revolving furniture diy families:)

You might enjoy the cabinet paint and stenciling project link below. 
The lighting of the cabinet in the kitchen corner does not do it justice!

https://nelliescottageretreat.blogspot.com/2012/01/still-feeling-bluedecoratively-speaking.html









































The soda bottle above was also wrapped with washi tape, sealed with Mod-Podge, and then wrapped with twine. Pastel field flowers fill the vases, bottle and jug with spring time joy!


I have 3 more of these jugs begging to be painted....thinking  one each for a the other seasons:)