Monday, October 31, 2011

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Innocence of Halloween

I miss the days when Halloween was a child's holiday. When you dreamed for months which character you wanted to be, when costumes were homemade and not so scary. I am sad that adults have taken over and spoiled what used to be a fairly innocent holiday. I am appalled at the raunchy and revealing costumes that some wear in public. I wish we could turn back the clock to my childhood "Trick or Treating" memories where you could canvas whole neighborhoods because you trusted everyone.
Oh, I know "Harvest Parties" are fun, but I do miss being able to say Halloween without my neighbors raising an eyebrow. When I think of Halloween my mind conjures up ballerinas, ninja turtles, cowboys and clowns. I do admit to loving cute little green and purple witches with funny hats.
Just one night of the year children and adults can be anyone they want.....why are some choosing the evil and the dark side? I wonder if I am the only one who misses the real Halloween, the one just for children?

The Innocence of Halloween.
Photo circa 1988

ps. Halloween came after this post and obviously my children don't share my notalgia! This year my daughter, son-in-law and grandbaby were skeletons, my youngest daughter a gangster, my oldest son a vampire, and my son & his beautiful pregnant wife were zombies.........on my..... so much for Halloween innocence!



p.s. You may enjoy "A Halloween love story!"
http://nelliescottageretreat.blogspot.com/2011/10/halloween-love-story.html

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Puppy Party:)

 My darling grandbaby is one!


Annabelle LOVES puppies so her mommy put on the best puppy party ever!
Her daddy was a bit surprised at all of the party preparations:) 
We are do it yourself party planners. This party cost just over $100!


Everyone knows that cake is THE most important part of any birthday party.
Brittany used yellow cake mix and added icing and then 
raspberry jam between the layers. 
The icing is homemade buttercream with crushed raspberries.
She baked the cake in 2 regular cake pans and 4 small loaf pans for the legs. 
Travis carved out the shape. We decided it looked more like a gator or pink piggy 
but with a few details declared that it was a cute puppy.




Nutterbutter cookies dipped in chocolate became the ears and tail.
The eyes are made of Oreos.


Daddy brought home balloons on his moped:)



Grandad built a dog house! 





Party Time!




Actual dog bowls from the dollar store were perfect for 
the homemade chili & cornbread.


We were allowed to use spoons!

Grammie let Annabelle destroy the cornbread:)

The doghouse became a cute photo prop!

Uncle Keith has taught her important things like "vroom, vroom" ,
how to shake her head no, and how to ring a bell.
He bought her a "Mater" truck in honor of her front teeth:)

Aunt Danielle has been the best babysitter!



Finally the moment we have all been waiting for...what will the baby do with the cake?

Brittany took the left over cake pieces from the puppy carving,
 iced the top and added the puppy detail.


She kept putting her foot in the cake:)

She spent most of her "cake time" munching a Nutterbutter.
Presents!


This photo captures her personality perfectly!


What a joyful day with family & friends! 
I believe it takes a village to raise a child
 and that there can never be too 
many people to love and care for a child. 
Annabelle's future is bright because she is so loved!






And there you have it...a happy one year old 

and a perfect puppy party!


p.s. Grammie cannot wait to create a scrapbook album! 
I can see cute puppies & polkadot pages:)





















Saturday, October 15, 2011

A Halloween Love Story

 We had just moved 700 miles to a new town. Danielle was so excited to be in a "real" neighborhood. We had live on a state highway for several years and had never had any trick or treaters. She wanted to dress up and hand out candy for the first time ever!
The night was very cold with freezing rain. Danielle got all dressed up and waiting patiently by the door...she waited...and waited...and waited, and no one came. She was heartbroken and so was I. Suddenly the door bell rang and there on the porch was a headless man...it took her a minute to realize it was her dad:) 
Very soon after the neighborhood kids began to ring the doorbell. We learned that we were the last street on the "neighborhood route." I will always remember how much love I felt at the moment I saw my husband at that door...it was truly a Halloween love story.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Indian Summer Wreath

I am never quite ready for fall leaves and pumpkins in the early fall. I consider October early fall:) 
So I made myself an "Indian Summer" wreath packed with a riot of warm colors and textures.
This wreath was a breeze to make!
I love BIG grapevine wreaths---as big as my door will allow.
I chose sunflowers in fall colors and other silk plants and flowers all in the colors of autumn. Well, I also threw in some dusty pink flowers just because they were in the attic:)

The trick to this wreath is: 
Just stick the flowers in with no design plan! 
I wanted the random tumbled look of a field of wild flowers.
Simply stuff the flower stems in-between the vines and secure with hot glue... 
(preferably without burning a finger!)
Twist some wire on the back.
Hang on your door for a festive fall welcome to your guests! 


Monday, October 10, 2011

Cowboy Bisquits

 I love these biscuits! 
They have the bragging rights of a yeast roll 
with the convenience of a biscuit. 


I love these biscuits! They have the bragging rights of a yeast roll with the time convenience of a biscuit. 

This recipe came from an old church recipe book and was submitted by a famous and formidable woman known in the community for her fierce loyalty to family, and outspoken nature.  She was tough as nails!
Don't worry the biscuits are not:)


Once you have a good dough you can make any variety of delicious temptations. 
I never make biscuits unless I am catering a retreat, or having company.
Some of us can't resist such a temptation:)


The possibilities are endless, but first the basic recipe:


Cowboy Biscuits
1pkg yeast
1 cup warm water
2 cups buttermilk
3/4 cup oil
1/4 cup sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
6 cups flour


Dissolve yeast in warm water
This always makes me nervous-if the water is too warm it kills the yeast.
 If the water is too cool the yeast won't be activated. So make your best guess:)


Add sugar, oil and buttermilk
Yeast loves sugar so that goes in first! I keep buttermilk powder on hand for baking.


Combine flour, soda, baking powder, & salt
Honestly with the yeast, soda, and baking powder if these things don't rise......
it is not the recipe's fault!
Tip for flour-don't dip the measuring cup into the flour container, it packs the flour. 
Spoon the flour into the measuring cup for lighter biscuits.
The dough will be a bit sticky so you can be generous with the flour as you roll the dough and cut the biscuits.


*The beauty of these biscuits is no time spent waiting for the dough to rise!


Bake about 25 minutes at 350*
I set my timer for 20 minutes and usually declare them perfect.




Biscuits and Country gravy with bacon bits

I often cheat and use the Pioneer Country gravy mix and add real bacon bits. Don't tell my brother, he is a master gravy maker... ALWAYS from scratch!

Ham & Cheese Roll Ups

Once you roll the dough anything can be sprinkled on top!
Here is mesquite ham and cheddar cheese.
Carefully roll the dough into a log and slice into pieces with a sharp knife.

My sister converted me to baking stones-they are wonderful!
Serve warm with a bit of honey for dipping or a side of raspberry jam for a "Monte Cristo" taste.

Cinnamon Rolls

I divided one batch of dough and made half with ham & cheese and half as cinnamon rolls. Melt 1/2 stick of butter and decorate the dough with brown sugar and cinnamon:)



If you could resist such a beautiful creation please call me personally! My icing is never the same twice. I overloaded this batch with vanilla for a rich flavor. I usually start with 1/2 stick of melted butter, 1-2 cups of powdered sugar and 1-2 Tablespoons of milk, and always vanilla...sometimes 1 teaspoon and sometimes 3:)




If it is true that the way to a man's heart is food, then these biscuits should be at the top of your recipe priority list:)

I would add that such culinary creations also make you the most popular mother on the block...at least until they are gone!


Enjoy these related posts!

Nellie's magical biscuit bowl
https://nelliescottageretreat.blogspot.com/2014/07/nellies-magical-biscuit-bowl.html

San Jacinto Biscuits

https://nelliescottageretreat.blogspot.com/2015/01/san-jacinto-biscuits.html











"Fall in Love" layout

I have discovered that my favorite holiday 
displays include a scrapbook layout. 
The reason is simple...
I love photos of my children 
and I love creating scrapbook art:)


I tore the tree trunk and punched a variety of circles with a 1 1/4 "circle punch.
 Curled edges on the circles add dimension.
  Kraft paper was used for the mats with a simple strip of paper
at the bottom of the photos. 
I placed a couple of sentiments and photos of
beautiful young couples in love 
and there you have it...
 "Fall in Love!"

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Buried:(

I have been stalking from the movie room to the kitchen many times a day muttering darkly as I move bits of paper from one pile to another. It seems that every surface in my home is covered with stacks of documents labeled with post-it notes!






When my mom called me this week I didn't say hello but greeted her with
 " I didn't get my dad's accounting gene."


I have declared to anyone who would listen how stressed out I am and that I would rather dig a ditch than do paper work. I have been buried under my Nellie's Cottage tax return. Yes, I should have done this months ago. I have decided that it is not worth getting an extension on taxes! It hangs over your head like a black cloud there in the distance throwing a shadow on every sunny moment. I have no one to blame but myself! I have cried to my accountant, moaned to Michael and my children and generally behaved like a whiney child.


I decided to document this odious task in the hopes that I will learn my lesson and overhaul my book keeping system or rather put a real system in place!




 I have watched the presidential debates vowing to vote for anyone who promised a flat tax! I told Michael this terrible task required real chocolate, not not any old chocolate but something with toffee bits, if I was to survive my ordeal. He sweetly acquiesced to my request:)


4 different kinds of chocolate and black currant drink from England:)
Now I can finish the taxes!
Lesson learned???
My accountant, who is a childhood friend, said with sympathy " Kimmie, you know you'll do this next year too" I declare...NO I will not be buried this way again! 
Well maybe.......