Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Carmel Walnut Banana Bread with Icing

Yummy Banana Bread! Is there anything better when it's snowing again and I'm wishing it were spring already?  It's baking day here at our house.  I baked up an apple pie for my neighbor who has generously shoveled the driveway many times.  With my hubby gone it really helps to have him plow me out when I need it.  I found these on Picky Palate and I had some over ripe bananas so here we go! 

Check out the recipe here.  She makes the neatest desserts.  Plus I can't help but love the fact that she bakes and does Pilates like me!  Hee..hee a gal's gotta find something to work it off. 

Please note* I used carmel icecream topping because I didn't have any carmels.  I added about 2 spoonfuls of it to the batter.  Then I substituted walnuts instead of hazelnuts because that's what I had on hand. I'm sure either one would be good. 

We leave for IL tomorrow, I'm so excited to see my hubby.  I'm so proud of him.  It's finally retirement day!  I'll be taking a little blogging break but I will post some pictures next week of his ceremony or at least what I can get away with.  LOL!

Have a great day!


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Mantle Makeover (a little late for Monday)

Hello! Just wanted to show you a quick change that I was finally happy with in the kids playroom.  Their little family room area upstairs gives me real problems.  I loved my Christmas display but I haven't been happy with it till now.  I have some crows upstairs on another wall so I thought this just fit right in with it.  Also, I was trying to incorporate the lamps but I don't have three of them.  So the perfectionist in me knows I'm breaking my own rule here.  It's been sitting with just the two and some other mismatched things since after Christmas but I finally found something I like.  I wish I had taken a before shot to show you the difference. 

I think the green sprigs in the crock give a hint as to the next season.  I don't have a lot of green in my house so it's hard to find something to complement that green lamp.  It was a gift when I was newly married so I want to hang onto it though. 

Have a great day!


Sunday, February 21, 2010

Moving Furniture Around

On Wednesday as you probably saw from my house routine I clean the kitchen.  I decided that the dining room table needed to be moved out so I could properly clean that floor too.  You know how when you're cleaning one thing leads to another then another.  Even though I try to follow flylady I still find it difficult to not get sidetracked sometimes.  I wondered what my cute little round table (we had taken out the leaf) would look like in my kitchen.  It's meant to have a table in it but I've never had a formal dining room before so we don't have two sets.  Well, I dragged it into the kitchen and added my checked tablecloth and I just instantly fell in love with my kithen all over again.  It's my favorite room in the house.  I love how the light just pours in these windows.  I plan on leaving it for awhile, I like it so much that my empty dining room doesn't bother me too much right now.  I hope we get more sunshine this week because I plan on moving my coffee/reading time in their in the a.m.  There's something so homey about having this empty space filled that just puts a smile on my face. 

I was reading in the paper today that you can do a few things to your home that will really make a difference.  Now to some of you I'm sure this isn't new but I like to do these things every once in a while and it does make difference in the look and feel of your home.  This is especially good in you're on a budget or trying to spend less money on your home.

1.  Try rearranging furniture in your room.

2.  Repurpose items that you have already.  Use an old tool carrier for a remote control holder.

3.  Add some seasonal silk flowers or fresh ones from the grocery store.

4.  Add soft lights, use candles, dimmers, battery operated lights to add that ambiance to your home.

5.  Move around your accessories.  We all like this one the most!

I did a few of these things in my pictures.  I moved my table.  I added the silk daisies and moved the grey graniteware from another place.  I also got some new spring scents from B & BW this week.  I'm trying the Strawbarry Patch and Lilac Blossom.  Another one of my favorites that just says clean and fresh is Fresh Linen. 

my table

How it looks in the space

Hopefully, you will find something that you can use in this post or it will inspire you to do a bit more with what you already have.  If you already knew about all of these things because I know how savvy my followers are it will just be a friendly reminder to do them!

Have a blessed Sunday,


Friday, February 19, 2010

Open House...Come on in!

Good evening blogging friends, I can't believe it's been almost a year that I started blogging and I am surprised everytime I get new followers.  It's an amazing world out there and I have learned so much since getting started.  I've been rearranging my house lately.  Call it cabin or spring fever?? I'm not sure which it is but I enjoy all my tweaking for what it's worth.  I'm going to post a link and show you what I've been up to for my old followers and my new ones.  I am itching to decorate for Spring but I think it's a little early so I'm just adding a few silk flowers for now.  I know some of you getting ansy too. 

I picked this little sign up at Jo Ann's on clearance the other day and I really liked it but it looked kinda lonely on the door by itself so I got out my basket and some white/green flowers. 

I have a few more areas I will show you later this weekend but this link should take you to everyday home shots that I recently took.  It gives you an idea what it looks like without a lot of seasonal decor.  I also took time to add pictures of my home from when we bought it this fall and at Christmas.   Hope you enjoy!


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Sweetie Pie

Good evening, first of all I just want to officially say I'm sick of the snow, really sick of it.  I grew up and lived in the midwest for a lot of my life and I don't think I've seen this much snow since I was a young girl.  We have been hit by three storms and are expecting another big one this Saturday.  My kiddos have even lost interest to play in it.  I think they've missed 7 days of school.  Ok, enough of the bad news. I wanted to share a recipe that I made for my family this Valentine's Day.  This was my daughter's request and I thought she picked a good one.  It was yummy! 

Mama's Fresh Raspberry Pie

1 refrigerated pie crust for double crust pie or make your own
5 cups fresh or frozen raspberries ( I couldn't find fresh)
6 Tbsp. of flour (I cut back a little because I didn't quite have 5 cups)
1/2 cup sugar depending on the sweetness you prefer
1 Tbsp. grated lemon rind
1 large egg white, beaten
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter, for top of pie
milk for brushing, optional
sugar for sprinkling, optional
recipe from Sweety Pies by Patty Pinner
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Combine first 4 ingredients, toss raspberries gently.  Roll out part of the dough for your bottom crust.  Brush egg whites onto crust, trim off excess.  Pour in your filling, sprinkle cinnamon and dot with butter.  Roll out your top crust and cut a heart out of the middle, very carefully place on top.  Roll edges neatly underneath like a collar.  Then use brush to put milk on top of crust, sprinkle with sparking sugar.  Optional:  I cut a smaller heart out and placed it on top for more decoration.  Bake on jelly roll pan for 15 minutes.  Lower the heat to 350 and bake for another 35-40 minutes.  It should be bubbling in center and crust a light brown.  Use pie shield to keep it from browning too much or foil.  Serve with cream or vanilla icecream.  Enjoy!


Here's the book the recipe came from. I have talked about this before and you can read more about that here.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Valentine's Day 2010

We had a very sweet day in our house yesterday.  Hope you had a good weekend and spent time with your loved ones or significant other. I made my heart shaped pancakes like I do just about every year.  The kids really like them.  Then we went to church and our minister gave a sermon based around the Corith. scripture that talks about, "loving one another"  He talked about how that's not always easy to do.  Your loved ones are easy to love and it's much easier to surround yourself with people you like but God calls us to love everyone even your enemies.  Whoa... that's pretty difficult isn't it?  Anyway, something to think about anyway.  I try to be kind to everyone that I come in contact with but I think it's pretty easy to fail at that.  We should just remember how Jesus loved and try to pattern our own life after him.  Even sometimes when we don't really feel like it we should lift that person up in prayer. 

Here's what my table looked like for breakfast.  I used some artificial rose petals, tea lights, paper heart doilies and a white battery operated for the middle.  The napkins have hearts on them too.  I try to shop for things like that after the holidays when they go on sale and hang onto them for the next year. 

two little people I love more than anything

holding their goodies

We came home from our church service ate a simple lunch then I baked a Sweetie Pie for dessert.  I'll share more about this tomorrow.  My husband's mom came over and we spent some time with her and then sampled my pie.  After she went home we had some snacks for dinner and played cards together.  It was a good day! Hope you had a good weekend and enjoyed time off it you were off for President's Day.


Friday, February 12, 2010

Homemade Oatmeal Bread

Good morning! I hope you have a wonderful Valentine's Day with your family.  My honey gets to come home for a three day weekend and I can't wait. I know it's close to sweetest day and all but I'm going to buck the trends here and post something not so sweet today.  I posted some pics of my family on my sidebar from last year.

check out more recipes from Colleen's blog

Old Fashioned Oatmeal Bread

2 C milk
2 C old fashioned rolled oats, uncooked
1/4 cup brown sugar firmly packed
1 Tbsp. salt
2 Tbsp. shortening
1 pkg. active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
5 C sifted flour  all purpose
1 egg white
1 Tbsp. water

Scald milk; stir in 2 c rolled oats, brown sugar, salt and shortening.  Remove from heat and cool to lukewarm.  Sprinkle yeast on warm water; stir to dissolve.  Add milk mixture and 2 C flour to yeast.  Beat with electric mixer on medium speed scraping down bowl occasionally, 2 minutes or beat with spoon until batter is smooth.  Add enough flour a little at a time to make a soft dough that leaves the sides of the bowl.  Turn onto a floured board; knead until dough is smooth and elastic 8-10 min.  Place in lightly greased bowl; turn dough to grease top.  Cover and let rise in warm place until doubled 1-1 1/2 hours. Punch down and let rise again until nearly doubled, about 30 minutes.  Turn onto board divide in half into 2 round balls.  Cover and let rest 10 min.  Shape into loaves and place into loaf pans.  Let rise again until almost doubled, about 1 hours and 15 minutes.  Brush tops of loaves with beaten egg white mixed with Tbsp. of water and sprinkle with rolled oats.  Bake in moderate oven @ 375 about 40 minutes.  If bread starts to brown cover top loosely with foil.  Makes 2 loaves  It's very yummy!

**Make sure you allow plenty of time as this bread calls for 3 risings!

Have a great weekend!


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Snow Snow Go Away!

This one is for the pet lovers out there!  Right now this is about all we're doing!  My kids love it they've been out of school for 2 days and playing in it.  Even they are getting tired of it and the reality of make up days is starting to ring true with my 10 yr. old daughter!  She gets it, but I don't think my son does just yet.  So far we are up to 4 days.  So how is it in your neck of the woods??

She just loves it, she frolicks around like a deer and even eats the snow!

Somebody else in our house prefers the inside.

Have a good day!  Stay warm inside if you can too.


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Housekeeping Checklist

Ladies, I just created this little checklist in word and put it inside a three ring binder.  You can use any little journal or binder you have though. I have been doing this routine with a few new modifications for the past 6 years.  I've been at home either part or full time since 2004.  This is what works for me.  First off, when I worked as a teacher full time I hated coming home and cleaning all day Saturday.  So my hubby and I worked out a system we each had a set of chores we did throughout the week and he did most of the shopping because it was more convenient.  He went to work before me so he threw in a load of laundry in the am and I put it away before work.  I took the kids to daycare and then came home and cooked dinner and he cleaned up.  We each did our chores.  Come Saturday we were able to finish a few things and head out the door if we wanted to.  It wasn't perfect and sometimes things didn't get done but flylady did help.  I love her no nonsense approach, she says to just get off your franny and get it done. LOL!

Now I do all of the housework, meals and shopping.  He takes care of the yard and maintaining our vehicles.  He's also great at fixing most anything.  Generally, I keep things picked up as I go if you read any kind of home organization books you'll see the same things over and over.  "A place for everything and everything in its place." Another words if you have a great system you'll just need to maintain it.  I try to multi task and clean up messes as I go.  For example after getting up I make my bed, when I do my makeup, I do a quick wipedown of the sink and then the toilet as needed. 

I have a Daily List, here is just a few examples from my daily list:

Empty dishwasher while kids eat breakfast
Start a load of laundry, (I don't like it to pile up and I have found that if I wait until day 7, I have 7 loads which is just daunting for me.)  This is one trick I picked up from flylady.
Pick up house generally twice a day once before bedtime, once having the kids help with toys, homework etc.
I put all dirty dishes immediately into the dishwasher

Weekly List
Weekly house blessing (  I dust all horizontal surfaces on my main level, purge and recycle of throw out magazines and newspapers from the week, vacuum entire main floor, and stairs, vaccuum downstairs media room * (I find we usually have some popcorn from our movie night on Fridays.)  I wipe down any smudges around doors and use windex on the most used doors.  Take out trash, trash day is Tuesday.

Clean bathrooms, scour sinks, scrub toilets, clean mirrors,  spot clean showers and tubs. (they get a good scrub down once a month for zone cleaning)  The kids do their own bathrooms.  We have 4.
Change sheets and wash towels and put out all fresh linens, sweep and mop floors in bathrooms, zone cleaning

Sweep and mop, spot clean appliances, clean microwave weekly, clean coffee pot, wipe down counters and scour sink, zone cleaning

Dust and sweep bedrooms, and kids do their rooms and playroom.  *I also clean library and guest room. I try to do errands on this day.

I vacuum and dust family room again, sweep kitchen as needed, vacuum all entrance rugs, finish zone cleaning

I just keep up with daily chores and do a load of laundry.  This allows me to spend time with my family.

A day of rest, not even laundry

* indicates new to my routine because we didn't have these rooms before

Each week I deep clean a zone, parts of my home.  So in addition to all my daily chores I spend about 15 minutes cleaning in the zone.  Check out more about that here. 

Another idea that I have found extremely helpful is to do these things with a candle burning and your favorite music going in the background.  I think it just helps to improve your mood and makes it go faster.  I learned this from my fellow sugar pie sister, Aunt Ruthie.  I really think the key to keeping your house a home is two things keeping it neat and tidy and then the decorating is the icing on the cake.  If you have a system you never find yourself fretting when someone drops by or comes to visit.  I have had friends or people comment about how neat my house always is when they come over.  That always makes me feel good and my husband always tells me what a good job I do taking care of our home and decorating it. 

Thank you all for sharing your system.  I read each and every comment and you had some very interesting things to say. 

Have a great day!


Monday, February 8, 2010

Weekly Housekeeping

Do you have a weekly housekeeping routine?? Are there certain things you do each day or just do it when you see it needs done.  If you work I'd love to know how you balance the housework as a family, do you cook and your husband cleans up?  How is the division of labor?  Do the kids pitch in?  I have been inspired by others addressing this topic on their blogs and truly I have seen a lot of winter cleaning and purging going on in others homes lately. 

I have been doing some research into the past and have discovered some of the old ideals aren't such bad ideas.  I'm sure you've heard the expression "if it works why change it"  I find myself especially in the doldrums of winter wanting to spruce up my routine.  A few years ago while wondering the same thing I wondered over to  It's an amazing resource for both new homemakers and veteran ones.  Recently, I discovered a few interesting blogs both of which look to vintage books about homemaking.  If you have a chance check them out... I think they are both very interesting. 

Destination 1940, My 50's year, 50's housewife

For example in the 40's you air your bedroom at least a few times a week.  In the 50's you also had a day of the week devoted to sewing.  What about an errand day?  I usually have one day a week devoted to this but it's not always the same one each week. Not everyone can strive for all of these things but I think most of you out there are pretty creative.  I read about everyone's great recipes, furniture or decorating redos and wonderful sewing creations.  Sometimes I think we sell ourselves short and the women of the past were such great role models.  For example my mom who was a true depression era 40's gal taught herself to sew and went from factory work to raising me in just a short period of time.  Before then while she worked without the help of welfare or food stamps she budgeted, cooked meals and kept a neat house raising my four sisters.  Whether or not we work outside the home I think something can be gained from a schedule and list making.  These thing were something that people used to do all the time and not as much anymore as our modern life has made us so busy. 

Tomorrow, I will share my weekly routine and what works for me, I'd love to know more about you and your family whether you work inside or outside of the home.  Here's a book that I recently purchased that has been a great reference for me too.
Have a great day!


Friday, February 5, 2010


Wow!!! I was so impressed with all your comments yesterday about my laundry room.  I will continue to think about your wonderful ideas and keep you posted on what we decide to do.  Sometimes I will think why am I bothering to blog no one reads this anyway but I guess you do!  LOL!

Check out more recipes here!

Since this weekend is the Super Bowl I thought I would post a favorite family recipe that I've been making for about 20 years!! Literally almost as long as I've been married.  We aren't big football fans at our house but I feel it necessary to support my fellow Hoosiers so GO COLTS!!!!!

photo from Food Network check out another Emeril version here


Frozen Bread dough or make your own pizza dough
1 large pkg. of pepperoni
1 pkg. of ham (I prefer the honey but buy what you like)
1 pkg. of mozzarella/provolone cheese blend about 2 cups
1 jar of marinara sauce for dipping ( I like Newman's Own)

Preheat oven to about 400 degrees.  Then thaw out dough overnight or according to directions.  Roll out dough to a large rectangle about the length of your 13 X 9 bar pan.  Then start layering your ingredients, you can add what you like if you don't like pepperoni you can substitute different kinds of meat/toppings like you would pizza.  We pretty much stick with the basics here.  I usually start with the ham and if you get it in the pkg.  make sure you blot it dry since they tend to add water.  Then layer the pepperoni the same way.  Finally add your cheese and repeat until you've used all your cheese/meat usually 2-3 layers.  Becareful not to stuff it too full or it won't cook in the middle.  Then jelly roll style start at the long end and roll up your stromboli.  Pinch the ends together and fold underneath so your seam is on the bottom.  It helps to have someone help you with this part, and have your 13 x 9 jelly roll pan standing at the ready.  Sometimes I will brush on a little olive oil or egg wash to make it pretty and add Italian seasoing to the crust.  I don't think it's necessary though.  Bake it for 20 - 30 minutes checking on it so it doesn't brown too much on top.  For your big game day allow it to cool a bit and slice it up 1-2 inches thick and with marinara on the side for dipping. 

This will serve about 4-6 people.  If you're having a big crowd you could always make 2 better to make another one than trying to stuff it too full.  I speak from experience here.  Enjoy!

Have a great day!


Thursday, February 4, 2010

Laundry/Mudroom Dilemma?

Here's my most recent decorating dilemma.  First off just let me say that I am very blessed with a nice size house but the laundry room/mud room leaves something to be desired.  I have lived here for 4 months now and this room doesn't function for us very well.

Mudroom/Three Reasons Why

1.  It doesn't function as a mud room because there is no storage for coats, wet snow clothes, backpacks etc.

2.  This is our main entrance for the kids.  We can't see the bus from our front door.  Everyone else seems to use this door too.

3.  When you walk in you might see laundry drying etc. not the best hiding spot.  I have no where to hang my unmentionables.

Then the laundry room doesn't work for these reasons.

1.  No storage or very little for soap and iron etc.  I can't even put the ironing board in here. 

2.  No place for drying delicates.

3.  When laundry does get done it's in the way the doors cause a big mess. (see below)  I do laundry everyday so generally I don't get backed up but when I do sheets and towels they don't even fit in the room.

Here's my view from the kitchen

Here's the view as you walk in from the mudroom into the house, the closet you see here originally probably a coat closet. This closet has been converted into a pantry by the previous owners.  The green door is off the garage.

This is what you see upon entering the side door, it has one small sink and it's all about the W & D or any rags being dried that you can see I have here in the picture. 

See how close the doors are to one another, when you open them they just about bump into one another, not to mention you can't move.  Try doing this at 7 am with 2 not so happy kids! Fun, fun!

Here are some of my random thoughts and ideas about this room. 
Idea #1 First, take off the door between the kitchen/mudroom one problem is solved.  Second add some shelves or cabinets above washer and dryer for extra storage.  Move the pantry back to the other side of the kitchen and change the closet back to it's original purpose.  I could put hooks inside for backpacks, coats and wet shoes could go in the bottom. 

Idea #2

Move the laundry room to the basement and keep the plumbing in tact so later on possibly new owners or myself could once again use it as a laundry room.  I may not want to climb stairs when I'm 90.  LOL!  We have plenty of space down stairs near our furnace area that would make a nice size room where I could hang wash and actually iron if I need to.  Then in the mudroom we would fill the empty holes with these lockers from Sawdust City LLC, and at least it would be organized.  The pantry could stay or go one way or another we would have just a mudroom this way. 

I would love to know what you think, your opinions on any of this, we will probably be doing # 2 after my DH gets back home with us in March.  Anybody out there have great ways to disguise all the stuff?  I would love to know more about your mudrooms/laundry room issues.  Welcome to my new followers, I'm always tickled to see new faces when I visit my dashboard!  

Have a great day, don't forget to leave me a comment!


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Country Sampler, Let the Nesting Begin!

Good morning blogging friends! Can I just say that just when the sun was shining again we got a big of bad news yesterday with the groundhog Phil.  Why oh why?? Anyway, I'm staying inside with the thought of spring weather to come and enjoying my time at home while I still can.  We are supposed to get another 3-6 inches Friday. Here's what I've been reading:

 I love the first house the article is titled SunnySide Up .   I love the way Dee combines the primitive look in her home with so much light and cheerfulness.  She has some great pieces with original paint and I love the yellow ware bowl collection.  I love how she uses the yellow, red and blue colors here.  I guess your art teacher was right primary colors are very cool.

Look at that kitchen! I love the butcher block with the rabbit molds and that old grocery store sign.

Another house I just loved was Michelle's house she does a great job of weaving natural elements that give a lighter feel to her home, very welcoming and cozy.  Can I tell you I just love her kitchen?  I love the white cabinets with those handles and the tin backsplash with black accents.  That island is so cool too.  My DH has been trying to convince me when we redo the kitchen we should add the element shown hear with the glass fronts for beans, or seeds. Very neat indeed!

Sorry, this is sideways I couldn't get this to cooperate at all! Try here instead.

I love the little white table and cabinet mixed with prim things!  If you'd like to pick up a copy or subscribe check it out here.  Country Sampler is my favorite magazine.  I can't wait to get the home tour edition.

Have a blessed day,


Monday, February 1, 2010

Mantle Make-over Monday!

Good morning folks I hope you had good weekend and enjoyed your families.  I am refreshed and ready to go for another week.  I decided to show you a peek of my family room mantle.  I took down all my lovely little snow buddies a few weeks ago and I'm ready for Spring.  I guess the ground hog will be telling us soon whether or not we will have 6 more weeks of Winter. 

It's always a little blah ... after the holidays and I still need to fill up my baker's cabinet with some things.  I think our homes seem a little empty after having it stuffed full for the holidays.  I tried to think about what would look right and could have a hint of freshness without seeming to seasonal or spring just yet.  Catch my drift?  I decided on leaving the shutters for now.  I added a white star, my graniteware coffee pot filled with some white and green artificial flowers and some bright red apples near my red/white bowl with some raffia tucked underneath for added texture, and my black crow.  My star candle holders seem to be my staple on this mantle.  Some of my Sugar Pie Sisters may recognize my inspriration for this mantle too.  I am going to look for a larger star, because I think the scale would just look better.  Also, next time I will share some magazines that I have been inspired by and just love some ideas of their ideas for Spring.

Have a Blessed day!  May the sun shine upon your face.