What A Busy Week

We have moved into our new home! I am so excited but also, so tired. It has been a busy week for me. When I planned out our move, it was perfect. All the details were in place and the move was going to go smooth and easy. Well, the Lord had other plans. Not that our move was not smooth. We had so much help from friends and family to make it happen.

But learing in the background were several unexpected things. None of the things that happened were anyone’s fault. It is just life and how it plays out sometimes. I don’t want to make myself out like a hero either. It is only by much prayer and God’s grace that I made it through and kept it together. I called it the week from HELL! My week from hell probably looks different than yours. I have had a few of these times in my life and I am always so thankful (after).

When we are pressed to our limits and feel like we are loosing it all you have to lean into God! He is always there. It’s really not about the crisis or the pressure, it’s about trusting Him.  I always want others to see Christ in me and my decisions. I am not perfect and it doesn’t always work out perfectly well but I try.  Bad/Hard things do happen to good people.

We got moved, I had my 4 grandchildren here, Jason, my son-in-law had surgery, I worked for our office manager to go out of town, and Amy and Jason moved in! This all happened in a week. We are all alive and well. Here are a few pictures to prove it.

The Lord is good and it was good for me to be stretched last week because it made me call on HIM!

The Finish Line Is In Sight

It has been a loooong wait for me to the finish! Really not that long in the grand scheme of things but eight months in an apartment with a 82 pound dog is enough for me. Think of being in a hotel room with a big dog. That is what it is like! He is always in my business, under my feet and eating things he shouldn’t. This past week he ate a stick of butter that I was going to use in cookies and then he ate my cookies! Yes, all but eight out of four dozen that I had made for a beach trip! I am ready for some room!

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There have been many, many decissions made to get to this point. I have done my best to pick what I like and according to style. I have to admit I have listened to two opinions that I wish I had not, but, oh well. Things are in place and no one would even know the two things I wish I could change.

Our builder, David Flanders with Builders MD is awesome and has been so helpful during this whole process. He is an awesome builder with honesty and integrity. If you ever build, he comes HIGHLY recommended.

This is our Kitchen/Breakfast Area/Keeping Room:

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Our Dining Room:

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They are 91% done at this point and I can’t wait to show you the rest!

Have You Heard Of A “Sip N See”

This whole “sip n see” was new to me but when baby Finlee was born it was a perfect opportunity. This is my definition of the word: the “sip” means, a nice cup of coffee or a spiked drink. The “see” mean, you get to see the new baby. So, of course, it takes place after the baby is born. Basically, it is a baby shower after the baby is born and is usually done on the second, third, fourth and so child. The first baby shower is usually big and the new parents need everything. A “sip n see” is smaller because the parents already have a lot of the big stuff like strollers, crib, carseats etc. .

We did a book theme “sip n see” for Finlee Ann. We saw the idea on Pinterest first. Then I googled kids books about food.This is what we came up with:

We gave party favors of sour gummy worms that we call “book worms” and had a book mark made with Finlee’s birthday, weight, etc.

 

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For the flowers, I made the arrangements out of diapers, colored tissue paper, ribbon and tulle. I used colored Mason jars, wooden dowels and hot glue to put the together.

They looked beautiiful on the tables! We also did a banner for the fire place made from strips of fabric that I cut and tied on to a piece of twine.

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The “Sip n See ” was a hit! Thank you Pinterest for the idea. With a little work and creativity it all came together! Welcome to our seventh grandchild Finlee Ann!

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Super Bowl Sunday Foods

I can’t beleive we are in February already! The Super Bowl is this Sunday, February 7th and I thought you might enjoy an easy wings recipe for your party. I make these for many parties that we attend and they are a hit everytime!

 

For the Wings

  • 3 pounds chicken wings (if whole cut up and discard the wing tip)
  • Salt and pepper in a large bowl

For the Seasoned Buffalo Sauce

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • clove garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup  Frank’s Red Hot Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce 
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  1. Heat the grill to medium-high. Season the wings with salt and pepper.
  2. Cook wing for 12 minutes on each side. Of course, this depends on the size of the chicken wings. Smaller wings taking less time.
  3. While the wings are cooking, make the sauce. Combine the butter and garlic in a small sauce pan. Cook for until the butter is melted. Stir in the hot sauce, salt, onion powder, chili powder and sugar. Set aside.
  4. When the wings are finished on the grill I put them in a large bowl and pour the sauce over the top. Then toss untill every wing is covered in the yummy sauce!
  5. I serve with celery sticks, carrots, ranch and blue cheese dressing.

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I have to say that I am a PANTHERS FAN!! So GOOOOO Panthers!!!

Christmas Sugar Cookies

As promised, a Christmas Cookie recipe!

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Sugar Cookies:

  • 1 cup butter, salted
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • Add a dash of salt if you used unsalted butter

In a bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs and vanilla.

In a second bowl, combine and mix well the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir flour into butter mixture 1 cup at a time. I did chill the dough this time for a few hours but only because I had an errand to run. You don’t have to chill.

Roll out dough and cut into shapes with cookie cutters or a knife.Instead of using flour to roll my cookies out I used powdered sugar. Bake on a cookie sheet or a parchment lined sheet pan in a preheated 325* oven for 10 to 13 minutes depending on the size of the cookie. Remove cookies to a rack to cool completely.

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I then made icing out of  powdered sugar , vanilla, butter and a little bit of half and half. I colored the with food color that I bought at a local grocery store.

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I iced some cookies and put colored sugar on others. If you use colored sugar to decorate your cookies, you will need to do that before they are baked.

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If you put icing on your cookies, that would be done after they are baked and cooled.

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I did have one little helper:

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I think her favorite part was licking the extra icing and sprinkles up that fell off the cookies. It was a lot of fun havig her here to help me. This was her first year of “really” helping.

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Happy Baking!

 

 

Our House

Some of you have asked for an update on the house. It has come along way but still has a long way to go.

After the 11 days of rain we had in September the footings and foundation were done. I must say it has felt extremely rainy this year.

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Then came the framing which also took 6 weeks due to rain.

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Finally the windows and doors came! Now we can officially say that we are “dried in”.

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Now is the time that it will seem to go slower than ever because the walls and roof are up and the rest of the stuff is inside small stuff like, HVAC, electrial, plumbing and etc.. All these things are important things to be done, but slow. There are now wires hanging down everywhere, exposed pipes and air vents being put in. But to me that means progress!

In our powder room we are using a wine barrel as a cabinet to house our sink. We bought the wine barrel months ago on line from a winery. When we were moving from our house to storage,  I told everyone to make sure the wine barrel was at the front of storage so it would be accessible when we needed it for the house. Well, I didn’t tell the right people that info because when we needed it, it was in the far back corner of the storage unit. It was a good thing that Jason, our son-in-law had a great memory and told us where it was. Otherwise, Mike would have had to empty the entire storage unit.

I can’t wait to show a picture of the sink! As I said before, our builder is awesome and a great craftsman.

Life goes on in the apartment life. Still small and with Christmas, getting smaller by the day. Our second bedroom is now being used as Santa’s warehouse! That room looks like I am a hoarder!

All of these things will be a small memory in about 4 month when we move in our new house. After all, it’s not only about the house, it’s about the journey that gets us there and the lessons learned along the way!

I am baking next week so check in for some holiday cookie recipes.

Oh yeah, and our tree this year is very small!

 

 

Leftover Bread Crust

On Saturday, I made finger sandwiches for a “high tea” baby shower. I had all of this bread crust left over and it was too much to throw away. I thought of going to the park and feeding the ducks, stuffing for our turkey, french bread sticks and so on. My taste buds we all over the map!

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I came up with the idea of a French Toast Casserole.

I grabed a few casserole pans and sprayed them with Pam.

Then I chopped the bread up into bite size peices and put them into the greased pan. The fact that most of my bread was the ends of the bread did’t matter.

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Get a good size bowl and add 8 eggs. I used 2 bowls because I made the recipe one and a half times.

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Then added all other wet ingreditents and whipped with a wire whip.

I added sugar and vanilla next and mixed well. Then pour mixture over the bread peices.

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Next you need to make the topping and sprinkle on top. It is so easy!

  • FOR THE FRENCH TOAST:
  • lots of bread crust or 1 loaf of crusty bread
  • 8 whole Eggs
  • 1/2 cups 2% milk
  • 1 1/2 cups Whipping (heavy) Cream
  • 3/4 cups Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Vanilla Extract
  • FOR THE TOPPING:
  • 1/2 cup All-purpose Flour
  • 1/2 cup Firmly Packed Brown Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 stick Cold Butter, Cut Into Pieces

INSTRUCTIONS

Grease a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with butter. Tear bread into chunks (or cut into cubes) and evenly distribute in the pan.

In a medium sized bowl mix together eggs, milk, cream, sugar, and vanilla. Pour evenly over the bread.

In a separate bowl, mix flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt.  Add butter pieces and cut them into the dry mixture until mixture looks like fine pebbles.When you’re ready to bake the casserole, preheat oven to 350 F.  Sprinkle crumb mixture over the top. Bake for 45 minutes for a softer, more bread pudding texture.

Top with butter and drizzle with maple syrup.

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I knew I could figure something out for those bread crust! This also makes a great Thanks giving breakfast!

Spinach Quiche

This week my husband Mike asked me to make quiche for dinner. He said he wanted something different. That was music to my ears and a challenge for me to come up with something I had not made before. I right away started digging through the fridge for choices and flavors. Everything taste better with bacon in it, so I pulled bacon out, spinach, bella mushrooms, eggs, heavy whipping cream and milk.

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First, I sprayed my pie pan with PAM so the dough would not stick and baked it for 10 minutes on 350* before adding the mixture. My pie pan is deep so if you buy a shell in the foil pan, make sure it is deep.

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Then I took a good size bowl and added the heavy cream, eggs, cheese and milk. Mixed well and added garlic salt, onion powder and sage. Again, I mixed well. After mixing well set aside and begin chopping your spinach, bacon and muchrooms.036

Put all ingredients in the bowl and stir. Pour all of the mixture into the prebaked pie shell.

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Bake for 50-60 minutes at 350* and you will get a beautiful quiche that has wonder taste!

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Here is the recipe:

1 1/2 cups of heavy whipping cream

1 cup milk

4 eggs

1 package of swiss cheese (sandwich slices) chopped

4 cups fresh chopped spinach

10 bella mushrooms (you can use any kind of mushrooms)

6 pieces of bacon (I buy the already cooked bacon)

1/4 teaspoon onion power

1/4 teaspooon sage

1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

Bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes.

I served a baked sweet potatoe and salad with my quiche. It was a almost pan free dinner. If I would have used a pie shell in a foil pan, it would have been pan free. So this is an easy clean up dinner too!

Happy cooking!

Pumpkin Muffins

This is a great recipe to make Pumpkin Muffins. At this time of year everything is pumpkin so if you are looking to impress someone with a simple recipe, you are in luck!

Pumpkin Muffins w/ Streusel Topping

1  1/2 C Flour

1 tsp. Baking Powder

1/2 tsp. Baking Soda

1 tsp. Cinnamon

1/2 tsp. Ground Ginger

1 teaspoon Allspice

1/4 tsp. Nutmeg

1 cup Pure Pumpkin Puree

1 1/4 C. Sugar

1/3 C. Oil

2 Eggs

Whisk together dry ingredients, except the sugar, in a medium bowl. In another medium sized bowl whisk together the pumpkin, sugar, oil, and eggs. Gradually whisk the flour mixture into the pumpkin mixture. Do not over mix, once it seems just combined, STOP. Let rest while you make the crumbly topping.

Streusel Topping

1/2 C. Flour

1/3 C. Sugar

1/2 tsp. Cinnamon

1/4 Chopped Nuts (I didn’t have any this time around. But I’d use either pecans or walnuts)

3 Tbl. Butter, cut into small pieces

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl with your fingers. Try to work the flour and sugar into the butter. It will eventually all combine and you’ll have a crumble topping!

Spray a 12 cup muffin tin with non stick spray or line with cupcake liners.  Pour 1/4 C. muffin mix into each muffin tin. Now top each with a small handful of the streusel topping. Have any leftover? Nope, not ok. Find places to squeeze in every last bit of that topping! You won’t regret it!

Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool in muffin tins for 5 minutes before removing to finish cooling on wire rack.

Happy Baking!!

Building A House

Building a house can be fun! You think I am crazy, right?

When the Parade of Homes comes around I always get so excited! I love to look at new homes and get ideas for my present home or a new home. For several years I have watched Builders MD in the Greensboro area. He has had several houses in the Parade and we liked him due to his craftsmanship. Of all the houses we looked at, I noticed that David never took the “cheap” way out. His homes have a finished look that no other homes had and his price was reasonable. I knew if I could get Mike to build again, I would use David at Builders MD. It took a few years but we are finally at that place.

We went to an architect and had a plan drawn up. Then we had several well know builders give us a bid on it. The bids were anywhere from $50,000.00 to $200,000.00 different. If I had not seen the homes in the Parade of Homes and how each builder presented him/herself I would not have been as confident in my choice of a builder. If you are thinking of building, go to the Parade, ask questions, look at quality and get ideas!

Trying to figure out where to build is next. Land is scearce in the county and that is where we are headed, We had to ask ourselves if we wanted several acres or if we wanted to live in a neighborhood? We choose a neighborhood.

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For us, a neighborhood helps house values and there is saftey in having neighbors. We really wanted to buy a good amount of land and have our family build there also but we would have to move too far out and maybe to another county for that.

The land has now been cleared and we have choose our brick and mortar.

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We chose a colored mortar which did cost quite a bit more than gray mortar. I didn’t realize that mortar can make that big of a difference buy it does! As we drove around looking at brick, mortar and stone, we found this house and loved it! This house is in another county so we decided to use the same colors.

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The footings and foundation have been completed and inspected! Yay! The framing starts tomorrow!

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We can’t wait to share the rest of the story with you! You will see what a great builder we have and I hope you can take something from our experience that will make your experience better.

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