Monday, December 29, 2008

Bye Bye Ugly Vanilla

It has been two years since we bought the house and the only room that has not been painted at least once is the kitchen. I loved the blue kitchen tiles when we first bought the house. I hate cleaning the white grout. I guess I can complain about the kitchen for several reasons (bad lighting, ugly color, etc).

The picture on the right has the grey primer on it. I think it looks better than the vanilla.

My vision for the kitchen is dark red walls with a colorwash technique ontop. Eventually I would love to have granite counters put in but that is not in the budget right now, so I figured the dark red would tone down the blue counters.

We spent forever the other day putting in new recessed light, oh what a chore that was. The ceiling was starting to look like Swiss cheese. Atleast that is what I was telling everyone. Steve ran into strapping that shouldn't have been there or double wide joist. I was quite surprised he didn't swear as much as I have heard in the past. lol.. Oh by the way in this photo the kitchen looks like fire engine red and it's not. We only had one light that works and the flash made the red look awful.

This weekend we bought a new pub style table & chairs, which we are picking up tonight. I can not wait. I had a calendar for 2008 that had chefs on it. So I bought some 8x10 picture frames, cut down the pictures and placed them in the frames. I think they look great and can not wait to place them on the wall above the table. For Christmas Steve bought me a wine piece art which will be flanked by four other chef frames. Are you sensing a theme hear??? wine & cooking. hehehe....

This morning I will be painting the ceiling. Did I mention we are having people over for New Year's Eve. I guess I better get a move on things.

Well here is the finished project. I love the rich dark color of the wall with the dark color of the table. Steve got home a little early from work on New Year's Eve and we quickly hung the pictures on the wall.

Hold 'Em or Fold

Every New Year's Eve Steve and I have a gathering at our house. We have done this for the past 10 years (well that is as far back as I can remember).

After much deliberating I come up with a theme. We have done Pizza, Mexican, Chinese, BBQ well you get the idea. This year is Poker themed. The boys were playing with a deck of cards the other day and I sat there for a few minutes wondering what kind of invitation I could come up with. The light bulb went on in my head and I came running down to my craftroom and starting cutting the paper. I wanted the invitation to look like you were holding some cards. I decorated the "backside" with a patterned paper. Then I stamped the "face" side with my acrylic heart, diamond, clubs & spade stamps. I placed a brad in the bottom lefthand corner to fan the cards so you can see the information.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Oh La La

Splitcoast has a challenge everyday of the week. Monday's are Technique Lover's Challenge. So for today's challenge you were to make a wine glass shade out of vellum paper. They provided a template to use. The first time I tried making one I realized my wine glass mouth was too large for the template. So I remembered I had a set of glass stemmed votive holders and used them.

As I was planning the shade I thought of a specific stamp set and the embellishments to go with it. About a month or so ago I had ordered the French Quarter Stamp set by Inque Boutique. I stamped a full sheet of vellum with my Inque Boutique French Quarter stamp set in black stazon ink. Then I traced the template onto the vellum and cut. The embellishments I used were black velvet ribbon and black fringe. I felt this gave the shade a little French Flair.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Elegant Reindeer

Today Color Combo challenge you were suppose to use Basic Black, Sahara Sand & Vanilla colors.

I was just able to get to this challenge and decided to use my new Reindeer stamp from Unity Stamp Co. I love the antlers on this guy.

Could this be our Christmas card this year??? hmmm..

Friday, November 28, 2008

Crazy busy with sewing

I been in a crazy sewing mood. Usually after the halloween costumes I am good until the next year. This year is different.

I made my friend Donna's two boys a Transformer apron each.

Then I made another little project. It is a decorate box out of posterboard and fabric. This was fun to make.

My last project was making some "nice" looking grocery bags. I have a few of the store brand that you buy for $1.00 but they do seem to get that worn look. So I had bought some pillowcases from Walmart and used them as my fabric for the bags. I would like to

make a few more of these bags. They are pretty large so hopefully I won't need too many more.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Stomping of the Grapes

Well I finally got a couple of pages scrapped from our day at the grape Harvest. The journaling reads as:

Have you ever seen the episode of I Love LUcy when she went to a vineyard and was put to work in the wine vat? I just saw it for the first time this morning and thought the faces were hilarious.

Well the Stomping of the Grapes is a tradition at Flag Hill during their Harvest. Kathy and I decided why not get into the spirit of the tradition. Where do I even begin to describe this experience. First of all it was a chilly morning, so those grapes were quite cold. The squishing under your feet and between your toes was slimy and gooey. I had to try the Lucy technique of stomping even though I almost slipped. Oh good grief can you imagine that. When we were done stomping the grapes we had to step into a bucket of water to clean off our feet. Ya, that was cold too. After you stomped the grapes you had the opportunity to get your feet painted and stamp them onto your Harvest Fest t-shirt, if you bought one. I thought the t-shirt was too nice to ruin. The experience was quite different. Would I do it again? Oh ya!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Winter Comfort

What could be better than a hot chicken pot pie for dinner on a chilly night. My boys absolutely love chicken pot pies. One doesn't care for the veggies. So next time I will have a Build Your Own Pot Pie Bar.


1 package 3 chicken breast
1 cup of frozen mixed veggies
3 potatoes
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups chicken broth
2/3 cup milk

Herbs: I added black pepper, salt, rosemary and thyme to taste.

I started off by parboiling the chicken and dicing them into bite size chunks. I also peeled the potatoes and boiled for about 15 minutes at a lower with cover on. Then I cut them into bite size chunks. Put those aside. Melt the butter in a sauce pot and then add your flour to make your roux. Slowly add your chicken broth, whisking as your pour. This will make sure you don't get any lumps. Add your milk after the broth. Bring to a slow boil until it thickens. Add your chicken, potatoes, and veggies.

As for the crust, I used a pre-made crust. I place my ramekins on the crust and cut around the ramekin adding about 1/2 inch. I poured the filling in the ramekins and place the crust over the top (make sure you put a couple of slits in the crust for ventilation).

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for about 20 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes before serving.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Snack Time

A few months ago when I was doing the South Beach Diet I came across a recipe for Hummus in the book. I decided to make the recipe. I loved the recipe the moment I was done and "had" to test it. Steve really likes it over the store bought hummus.

South Beach Hummus

List of Ingredients

1 can(15 ozs.)chickpeas
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup tahini(sesame paste)
1/4 cup chopped yellow onion
3 cloves garlic,chopped
2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp ground red pepper
1/2 tsp salt
Chopped fresh parsley(optional)


Drain the chickpeas,reserving 1/4-1/2 cup of the liquid.

Combine the chickpeas,lemon juice,tahini,onion,garlic, oil,cumin,pepper,and salt in a blender or food processor.

Puree until smooth,adding the chickpea liquid if needed to thin the puree.

Refrigerate for 3-4 hours before serving to blend the flavors. Garnish with parsley,if using.
5 servings

Revamping the old sewing desk

When Steve bought our old house about 20 years ago, there were a lot of things left in it. See the house belong to an elderly man who didn't have any family around the area. The house was left in shambles, ie old horsehair plaster walls cracked and peeling. It was in bad shape. There were several pieces of furniture that was left. I found upstairs an old sewing machine desk. The desk had some water damage on the leaves that fold out. It housed a 1930's White sewing machine (white is the brand of those real old metal machines). I don't think the machine is in any condition to be refurbished so I decided to keep the desk to place my sewing machine on, unfortunately it won't fit in the opening where the old one was.

I asked Steve to help me carry the desk to the area above the garage so I could start sanding it. I had managed to sand the larger sides in a short time. You can barely tell that there was any water damage to the leaves, which I was so happy about. I need to apply a coat of stripper to the detailed areas and sand with some steel wool. I bought some Minwax stain called Bombay Mahogany. I love the dark richness of the stain color the store had shown, however on the website is looks nothing like what I saw in the store. So with fingers crossed I will still apply the stain.

So I'm back to update this post. It is November 13, 2008 ~ I have applied the first coat of stain. I really like how it is coming out. In a few hours hopefully I will be able to sand it with some steel wool and then apply the second coat. I am loving the richness of the dark stain.

Well it is done. I have applied the second coat of stain and love the color. I don't think the pictures show you the richness of the stain color. Here are couple of the after photos of the desk in it's new home in my craftroom.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Sketch Challenge 201 - Rockin' Out

While the boys were getting ready for school I decided to give this sketch a whirl. I had bought this patterned paper at the Creating Keepsakes Convention back in May.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Gourmet Hamburger Buns

Just a few months ago I bought a new bread machine. I have been trying to make more homemade breads for dinners. A couple weeks ago I made some dinner rolls and ended up with a small ball of dough leftover. I decided to bake as is. The next afternoon for lunch I ended up using the rest of the chicken salad on this roll. It was delicious. I told Steve that I wanted to use the same recipe for hamburger buns, especially since I always for get to buy the buns. Last week that is exactly what I made for dinner hamburgers on homemade buns. The following recipe is actually for dinner rolls/breadsticks.

Basic Dinner Rolls/Bread Stick Recipe

7 1/2 oz of water, 90-100 degrees F

3 cups of Bread Flour

2 tablespoons Dry Milk

3 1/2 tablespoons Sugar

1 teaspoon Salt

3 tablespoons butter/margarine

1 1/2 teaspoons Bread Machine Yeast

Add all the ingredients into your bread machine and select the Dough setting. Let it do it's thing. Take out of pan and form into balls (large enough for a burger). Bake at 350 degrees F for 15 to 20 minutes.

What smell's good????

Every weekday morning my husband packs the usual items in his lunch box. A granola bar, fruit bar, cereal & milk, or muffin if I have it and his lunch. He has gotten to the point where he just doesn't care for it all (I would after 20+ years). So while I was grocery shopping this morning I bought some frozen blueberries and made Blueberry Oatmeal bars that a friend from SplitcoastStampers (LaurelW) gave us. Well I seemed to have misplaced my recipe but found one on-line similiar to hers.

Blueberry Oatmeal Bars

2 1/2 cups rolled oats (not instant)
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon grated orange rind
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup cold butter, cubed
3 cups fresh blueberries
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup orange juice
4 teaspoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons water
Filling: In saucepan, bring blueberries, sugar and orange juice to boil; reduce heat and simmer until tender, about 10 minutes. Whisk cornstarch with 2 tbsp (25 mL) water; whisk into blueberries and boil, stirring, until thickened, about 1 minute. Place plastic wrap directly on surface; refrigerate until cooled, about 1 hour.
In large bowl, whisk together oats, flour, sugar, orange rind and salt with pastry blender, cut in butter until in coarse crumbs. Press HALF into 8-inch (2 L) square parchment paper–lined metal cake pan; spread with blueberry filling. Sprinkle with remaining oat mixture, pressing lightly.
Bake in centre of 350°F (180°C) oven until light golden, about 45 minutes. Let cool on rack before cutting into squares.
(Make-ahead: Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days or overwrap with heavy-duty foil and freeze for up to 2 weeks.).
Canadian Living Magazine: August 2007.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The all American Apple Pie

I just got around to making apple pies with the apples we picked a couple of weeks ago. I managed to bake two pies. I even brought out my handy-dandy top crust cutter thing, yes I know a very bad description. Actually now that I think of it, it's like a very large cookie cutter that cuts out apple shapes on the top pie crust. What would call it??? As I was cleaning up my mess I remembered a funny story.

This story goes back about 19 years ago when I was living in an apartment with my big brother Mike. We had gone apple picking apple picking together. I decided to bake an apple pie. So I gathered all the ingredients together for the crust, rolled it out and put the sliced apple mixture into it. Threw it in the oven. I was so proud of myself. This pie was looking like a Mile High Apple Pie. It had a gorgeous color on the crust. So after the appropriate amount of time I took the apple pie out of the oven. I was smirking to myself while patting myself on the back. After it cooled we went to cut into the pie. Let me tell you how fast my happiness to sorrow. The crust was hard like paper mache when dried. Then after sawing through the crust we realized all my apples baked down to applesauce. I was in tears. My brother thought it was hilarious. It is now for me but not back then.

So I hope everyone gets a chuckle out of this as I do, now.

Ghoulishly tasty treat boxes

I just love Halloween and any other holiday that I can make neat things for the boys to take to school. (well Kyle is a little too old to take treat bags to school). I was planning on making a Fry Box, yes like the french fry containers from the fast food places. Then someone on Splitcoast had posted a link to Martha Stewart Coffin Boxes. That got my attention. So I checked it out and changed my mind instantly. They are very easy to make and fun to decorate even though I kept mine simple.


Monday, October 27, 2008

Technique Challenge 192 - Paper Napkin Transfer

Today's Split Coast Technique challenge was Paper Napkin Transfer.

Directions from Split Coast Stampers - Today's technique will show you another way to make your own background papers from some of those left over napkins we all seem to have. I'm referring to the decorative themed napkins left over from birthday parties, Halloween parties, Thanksgiving dinner, and of course Christmas. All you will need for the basis of this technique are:Decorative NapkinFreezer Paper (the white stuff with a waxy coating on the backside)IronA piece of scratch or copy paperOther cardstock and supplies you would like to complete your project.

First start by unfolding your napkin and if it is a multi-ply napkin, carefully pull the layers apart so that you only have the top decorative layer for your project.

Cut a piece of freezer paper a little larger than your napkin (about 1/2 to 3/4")

Heat your iron while you first lay your freezer paper, shiny side up, on your ironing board. Next, lay your decorative napkin (pretty side up) onto your freezer paper, then lay your copy paper on top of your napkin.

Heat with your iron (set on medium - no steam) for about 15 to 30 seconds, moving your iron over the copy paper, applying gentle pressure until your napkin is adhered to your freezer paper.

Now just apply your pretty napkin to your cardstock, (just like you would if you were using patterned paper) and complete your project as desired.This is not only a way to create some beautiful background paper, but a fun and creative way to use up those left over napkins that are just too pretty to toss away. I can't wait to see all the fun creations from this technique.

I was hoarding some pretty napkins a while back and decided to throw them away when we moved 2 years ago. Why Oh Why!!! So today I had a couple of errands to run and found some cute ones (well at least to me they were cute).

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Virtual Stamping Night on Split Coast Stampers

Last night was a mini VSN. I managed to complete one of the challenges this morning. The first challenge was to "Frame Your Star." The first photo I thought of was this year's school picture of Kyle. I love the pose, what he was wearing and the background. I love all my photos of my boys but this one has to be up there near the top. Kyle's undershirt is from Aeropostale. It's a cool looking shirt, kinda like a weathered grunge style. Since both boys like this style of print I knew I had to make something similar. I found a stamp set by Inkadinkadoo called Rock Star and had to buy it. So the challenge was posted for "Frame Your Star" I put two and two (Kyle's photo and the stamp set) together and came up with this frame.

Friday, October 24, 2008

It's Halloween Time

Well like I said a couple weeks ago I was getting ready to make Kyle's Halloween costume. He decided to be a gladitor. So I bought the pattern and the fabric and have been working on it for two weeks (well off and on). I just have a one button to sew on, the boa for the top of the helmet and velcro to hold his leg coverings closed.

I can not tell you how many times I have poked my fingers. They are sore from all the hand stitching, but I absolutely LOVE making the boys their Halloween costumes.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

What's on the menu for tonight??

I'm glad you asked.. hehehe... Tonight's meal was Mushroom & Spinach ravioli. A couple of months ago I was chatting with my friend Melissa about making homemade pasta/ravioli. So we both ended up making it that same weekend. I made the basic ricotta filled ones. She on the other hand made mushroom ravioli.. So this morning when I was thinking of what to make for dinner, I will be honest I had something totally different out for dinner and realized I didn't have all the ingredients, I thought of ravioli. As I was mixing the ricotta I remembered I what Melissa had done. So out came the mushrooms from the fridge. While the mushrooms were "sweating" I remembered I had frozen spinach. After a little thawing in the microwave, I chopped a handful of the spinach. I then placed the spinach, mushrooms and half the ricotta in a small food processor to mix it together.

With everything set aside I set out to roll the ravioli. Boy, is this some work. After about 1 hr from start of the roll to the complete fill I threw the ravioli into the freezer until dinner.

Every pasta dish has to have a sauce. I ended up making a Garlic Alfredo Sauce. Supper easy and delish, if I must say so..
Garlic Alfredo Sauce:
3 tablespoons butter
8 fluid ounces heavy whipping cream
salt to taste
1 pinch ground nutmeg
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup grated Romano cheese
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Melt butter or margarine in a saucepan over medium heat. Add heavy cream, stirring constantly. Stir in salt, nutmeg, grated Parmesan cheese, and grated Romano cheese. Stir constantly until melted, then mix in egg yolk. Simmer over medium low heat for 3 to 5 minutes. Garnish with additional grated Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Fall Tradition

Like I have said before I love fall. Every year Steve and I take the boys apple picking. We found a beautiful orchard in Amesbury MA called Cider Hill. We have been going to Cider Hill for the past 4 or so years and every year it is packed. There is usually a Hay Maze, Corn Maze, hayride up the hill to the larger orchard, a beautiful barn style store and the best of the best cider donuts. If you are lucky and time it right you can get the warm ones that just came out of the oil. But there is a downside to these donuts, the waiting line.

This year we picked Gala, Brauburn, Fortune and Mutsu. This year the apples are very large. Nick was holding one that is as big as his hand.

After we were done the boys wanted to check out the chicken and the goats. They had 5 goats and the largest one had his head stuff in the fence. Well I guess I shouldn't say stuck, but his horns were not long for the fence so he would have to twist his head the right way to get it out.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

WHOOPIE!!!! pies that is.

I made these Pumpkin Whoopie Pies this morning. They are very soft and spongy, not cakey like the ones you get at the store. I made a cream cheese filling. Here is the recipe:

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies


2 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups solid pack pumpkin puree
2 eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/2 tablespoon ground ginger
1/2 tablespoon ground cloves
1 egg white
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups confectioners' sugar
3/4 cup shortening


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease baking sheets.
Combine the oil and brown sugar. Mix in the pumpkin and eggs, beating well. Add the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, 1 teaspoon vanilla, cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Mix well.

Drop dough by heaping teaspoons onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 10 to 12 minutes. Let cookies cool then make sandwiches from two cookies filled with Whoopie Pie Filling.

To Make Whoopie Pie Filling: Beat egg white and mix with the milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1 cup of the confectioners' sugar. Mix well then beat in the shortening and the remaining cup of confectioners' sugar. Beat until light and fluffy.

** Again I used a cream cheese filling:
For the filling:
6 tablespoons soft butter
4 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups confectioners' sugar

Fill the cookies: Put the butter, cream cheese and vanilla in the large bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium-low speed for about 1 minute, until the mixture is smooth and thoroughly combined. Decrease the speed to low and add the confectioners sugar in 2 additions. Beat until it is incorporated and the frosting is smooth, about 1 minute.

Use a thin metal spatula to spread a slightly rounded tablespoon of cream cheese filling over the flat bottoms of half the cooled cookies. Press the flat bottoms of the remaining cookies on the cream cheese frosting. Refrigerate until the frosting is firm, about 30 minutes.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Chef in Training

When Nicholas saw my finished apron he wanted one too. So I remembered I had some Spongebob material somewhere in the box of fabric. I bought a kids pattern for the apron and sewed it up. He tried it on and said it looked like a dress. I told him I would send it off to my friend Donna's boys. Nicholas decided he liked it enough to keep. So night he wanted to help with dinner, so he went and put on his apron...

Dinner.... hmmm..

We are having a dish I saw Rachel Ray make on her 30 Minute Meals show. It is delish!!! I omitted the kale since the kids won't eat it.

Chicken and Chorizo Romesco with Spanish Potatoes

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 pounds baby Yukon gold potatoes, halved
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 bunch kale, stemmed and coarsely chopped
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup shredded manchego or monteray jack
1 to 3 slices stale bread, toasted, cut 1/2-inch dice
1 cup pequillo peppers or roasted red peppers
1 (15-ounce) can fire roasted tomatoes, drained, about 1 1/3 cups
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1/2 cup marcona almonds (Spanish toasted almonds), substitute toasted sliced or peeled almonds if unavailable
4 pieces boneless skinless chicken breast or thigh meat
2 teaspoons orange zest or lemon zest
1 teaspoon smoked or sweet paprika
A handful flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
3/4 pound Spanish chorizo, casings removed, cut into 8 pieces on the bias


Heat about 1/4 to 1/3 cup olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and slowly cook until crisp and golden brown.

Place potatoes in a pot and cover with water, bring to a boil, season with salt and cook 15 minutes or until tender, drain and return to hot pot. While the potatoes cook, simmer kale in salted water 10 minutes then drain. When you are ready to serve, mash potatoes with stock and cheese, fold in kale, adjust salt and pepper.

While potatoes come to a boil, move forward with the meal. Add to a food processor: toasted garlic (reserve the oil), some of the toasted bread in pieces, the peppers, tomatoes, sherry vinegar, almonds, and salt and pepper. Turn processor on and stream in reserved "garlic-oil" and add the rest of the toasted bread in pieces until you get a pesto-like consistency. Transfer sauce back to the skillet and keep warm over low heat.

Cut each piece of chicken into 3 chunks and season with citrus zest, smoked sweet paprika, salt, pepper and parsley. Set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chorizo and render it 1 minute. Remove the chorizo to a plate and then add chicken and cook 10 to 12 minutes, turning occasionally.

Pour a pool of sauce onto each dinner plate and top with a mound of potatoes and kale and chunks of chicken and chorizo. OLE!

Friday, October 10, 2008

What's This????

For those of you who know me will know what all this means.

Yes, it is that time of year. What time??? Halloween and costume making for me. Nick has opted for a store bought one this year, again... Actually I need to order it soon. Kyle is studying Ancient Greece in school and came home one day and said he wanted to be a Spartan. He was showing me clips from Google Video of the movie 300 and I drew the line of my son going out trick or treating in just a cape. So we looked at patterns on line and found one that we both agreed on. I am ready to start the laying the pattern down and cutting the pieces out. I will be updating the blog as I go. Wish me luck on this one.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Fall is my favorite time of year. I love the colors of the leaves as they change. One of my favorite smells is wood burning during the falls months. The cool refreshing nights ahead. I could probably go on.
This weeks Technique Challenge was to make a mini pizza box. You can click the following link for the information At first I could not come up with anything for this challenge. I went ahead and grabbed some pumpkin paper and made the box, but now what. So it wasn't until Tuesday when I saw the Color Combo challenge that I had to come up with something. Later that morning I was driving home from the grocery store and saw the sign for the local confection store saying "Pumpkin Fudge." That is it. I came home and made a batch of pumpkin fudge. It was pretty simple but time consuming. Here is the recipe from RecipeZaar:

2 cups sugar
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 cup butter
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1 1/2-2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 (12 ounce) package white chocolate chips
1 (7 ounce) jar marshmallow creme
1 cup chopped pecans
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract


1 In a heavy saucepan, combine the first 6 ingredients; heat over medium heat until sugar dissolves, stirring frequently.

2 Continue heating until mixture begins to boil, stirring constantly.

3 Continue boiling until candy thermometer reaches soft-ball stage (234-243 degrees).

4 Remove pan from heat; stir in chocolate chips until melted.

5 Add in remaining ingredients; stir to mix well.

6 Pour into a buttered 13x9 inch baking pan; cool to room temperature.

7 Cut into squares; stor in the refrigerator in an air-tight container.

Thanks for looking and enjoy.

WT187 - Ways to Use It Challenge - Monograms

Most of my family and friends know I like to scrapbook and make cards. I am a fan club member of this great website called There are so many talented ladies on this site. Each day there is a different challenge, ie Thursday being the Ways to Use It challenge. There are rules/guidelines to follow.

So today's challenge was to create something using your monogram. I think I got a little carried away and manged to do three simple ones. I think they all represent me in different ways. Thanks for looking and have a great day.

Look Who Turned "10"

On October 5th we celebrated Nicholas turning the big 10. He wanted to have his party at a bowling alley. There were 9 kids in total and they all behaved quite well. Nicholas wanted to have a skateboard cake. So I looked around the internet for some ideas and this is what I came up with. The flame on the cake was inspired by a rubber stamp I have from Inque Boutique. I enlarged the image at Staples and cut it out of the paper. Then I layed the template onto the cake and traced it with a toothpick. I mixed some frosting with orange and yellow dye and viola this is how it came out. I'm pretty happy with it. This cake reminds me of the cakes my mom use to make for us kids when we were younger. I specifically remember a cat cake for one of my birthdays.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Flag Hill Grape Harvest

There are two movies I love - Under A Tuscan Sun and A Walk in the Clouds. Both these movies take place at vineyards. I have always been in awe with photos of vineyard landscapes.

Here in New England we have several "small" wineries. Back in June my husband and I visited two of the lcoal ones. One of them, Flag Hill, has a grape harvest every year. If you are signed up on their email list you get a chance to be invited to help with the harvest. This year I got picked. I was able to bring other people. So my husband, sister in law, brother in law and myself attened out first grape harvest festival. It was a chilly New England morning. My husband and I went for breakfast before heading to the vineyard. We met up with my husband's sister Kathy and her husband Bob. I could not believe how many people were there, 200 in total. The owner of the vineyard went through what was expected of the day and then sent us on our merry way. We were sent down to the Cayuga grape section first. These grapes were plump "white" grapes witha sweet taste. Yes, I took one off the vine to taste it and I wasn't the only one. Next we were sent onto the Vignoles grapes. These grapes were a "white" grape but with a bitter taste. The Vignoles also were a lot smaller in size than the Cayuga and they seem to rot faster. I'm not sure why. After we were done harvesting the grapes we went upto the white tent area (like the type for wedding receptions). Lunch wasn't ready, since we got done with harvesting the grapes so quickly, so the winery opened up the "bar". You could order chilled bottles of wine, draft beer and soda. We also got a commorative wine glass for the harvest. They had a couple of activities that we could do. The first one was the stomping of the grapes. You could do your best Lucille Ball inpersonation. I tried and almost fell. The second activity was to paint the bottom of your feet and "stamp" then on the festival shirt (if you bought one). The last activity was a relay race. I didn't understand completely what you needed to do so I skipped it. Lunch was finally ready. They served grilled chicken and roast beef with pasta salad and cole slaw. My husband asked how many pounds of beef and was told 60-65 between the two pieces. Boy, was this food worth waiting for. For dessert they brought out pumpkin cheesecake, raspberry cheesecake and apple crisp. I went straight for the pumpkin cheesecake, man that was delicious. I can not wait til next year and hope that I get picked again.

I have taken the plunge and started blogging.

I have decided this would be a great way to share my daily life with my family and friends. My blog will be a constant work in progress and always changing. You will mostly find me talking about family experiences, food/wine and crafting. I hope you enjoy it.