Thursday, April 28, 2011

Mother's Day Retreat Giveaway!

In honor of Mother's Day I am giving away a retreat! I can't think of a better way to celebrate my grandmother Nellie and my mother Martha than to give someone a chance to create and relax at Nellie's Cottage:)
To enter the Cottage retreat giveaway, send me a message about what you love about being a mother OR What you love about your mother at nelliescottage@gmail
My children are the judges for this retreat giveaway! 
I also have 2 cottage apartments so...become a follower on this blog and your name will be part of a random drawing for a free night at one of our cottage apartments! 
So.....3 drawings for Mother's Day!
*drawings on Saturday May 7th

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Peanut Butter Nests

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 in 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:)

 Like the snickerdoodle recipe (on this blog) this was a triple batch favorite:) I thought about letting you read the recipe from the picture and figure out what words were
missing but decided I couldn't risk someone having a 
bad experience with one of our most loved cookies!

Peanut Butter Crisscrosses
1 cup shortening (I like 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 (I never remember)
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:) 
not that I would do such a thing!

Friday, April 15, 2011

The tale of the Easter Ketchup...

This is how ketchup came to be a Crossley Easter tradition:)

Since my daughter Danielle was born my girls have been inseparable! Brittany was over 3 years old when Danielle was born and she really thought that she was the mother:)

She practically raised Danielle. Brittany taught her how to ride a bike, tie her shoes, fix her hair, swim, dance.....

Danielle never bucked the system-she was happy to be the baby, or the dog, or the student while they played because she was a mild little soul with infinite patience:)

 I watched with joy as they became best friends!

They usually got along...
but there is a difference between
  usually and always!

A few days before Easter 2007 was one of 
those "usually" days.

We had a dinner that required ketchup. Now I do not say the word required lightly--we love ketchup and are a bit snobby about the name brand:) This was one of the very few times that we were EVER out of ketchup. The girls searched the whole kitchen and 
one found a lonely packet of Sonic ketchup which she did NOT share. We actually had shouting at the table...gasp!
Sometime later the guilty party apologized and peace was restored!
Easter came... 
we had a fun photo shoot and 
then I had a great time creating these layouts!

My children look forward to their Easter baskets every year. 
I admit to going a bit overboard with new sunglasses, flip flops, swimsuits, and a copious amount of chocolate-by the way we are chocolate snobs too:)
Well... in light of the ketchup skirmish, I decided to forego some of the normal Easter treats and put ketchup in their baskets! A new Easter tradition was born... and to my knowledge we have not had any more family fights over ketchup!

This is one of my favorite Easter layouts! 
True to my "formula" scrapbooking,
I created a fun paper ribbon style layout design.
I chose white cardstock, and various patterned papers that matched my pictures ( I always match my pictures!) The paper was cut into strips from 1/4 to 1 inch wide. I laid out the strips, hand cut "ribbon" ends. and then ran the strips through the xyron machine. A paper border was placed on top of the paper ribbons about 1 inch from the bottom of the cardstock.
Painted chipboard is one of my signature scrapbooking embellishments. There is magic in using 3 closely related colors. I use one brush and randomly dab the paint on the chipboard-blending very slightly. Chipboard soaks up paint so be very generous with your paint which also adds  a bit of texture. Don't forget the edges.
 I crumpled die-cut flowers and added a punched flower and paper rose in the middle. I looked in my Easter scrapbooking file and found paper embellishments. I always back paper embellishments with cardstock which allows for pop dots to add dimension.

Happy Easter Scrapping...
and don't forget the ketchup!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

He left his heart in Utah...and I am okay with that:)

Michael and I just returned from a glorious visit with
our grandbaby Annabelle!

Oh...and we saw our children too-wink, wink!
Every waking minute was spent watching, holding, feeding, bathing,
entertaining, and playing with Annabelle.
Who would have thought it could be such fun to
watch a baby touch a bush,
or play with a button on a brown college kid couch???
My sweet hubby left his heart in Utah
...and I am okay with that!


 Now let me assure you that we did and do love our children very much! 
But oh, the magic of grandparent love! 
As most things in life I have a theory, 
an opinion ( imagine that!--eye roll from the children)
on where the magic comes from......

  When we are young we are something like the grinch
 with a heart that is 3 sizes too small.

Now this is because WE have been the recipients of 
constant care ourselves and life can be too easy 
as others pave the way for our every want...
overindulgent parents should feel a bit of guilt about now!

 BUT as we grow and learn to love others, 
and give service... our heart grows 
and we GET IT!

 That is why it is SO fun to be a grandparent,
our hearts are HUGE:)

 After all we have very often just come through the storm of teenagers
with it's massive learning curve in patience and tolerance!
While in the teenage trenches our heart is growing to keep up with
 the constant pain of loud music, rolled eyes, slammed doors,
and the ever present teenage scowl. 
Of course my own children never did such things:)  

 back to more pleasant thoughts like little pink packages 
that smile when you sing silly songs.

Now I know how my grandmother Nellie felt about me!

 I know why she would fire up the skillet and make me
pancakes on a Saturday morning, 
why she made me a crocheted pillow, 
why she let me have butter pecan ice-cream
...even when my mom said no, 
why her eyes would light up when we came through the door, 
and mostly why it felt so good to be around her...
she had a BIG heart from years of stretching and growing 
and loving everyone around her. 

I have very big shoes to fill at Nellie's Cottage!

Oh that my heart will someday be as big as hers...

and I know just who to practice on:)