Thursday, January 31, 2013

Happy Birthday Clayton!

Happy 8th Birthday to my Sweet Baby Clay!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Snow Day (featuring Homemade Caramel Popcorn!)

Well, our snow day last week turned into more of an "ice" day - bummer!  Our area received just a dusting of snow before the precipitation changed to sleet and freezing rain.  Thankfully, we all made it home safely.  And, luckily the area avoided the havoc of 8 years ago when a similar weather event resulted in complete gridlock on the interstate and kids stranded at school overnight. 

But, even a less than snowy, snow day calls for our favorite snow day treat - homemade caramel popcorn!  It's a tradition in our house to snack on this deliciousness when it snows!

Homemade Caramel Popcorn
Recipe from The Complete Tightwad Gazette: Promoting Thrift as a Viable Alternative Lifestyle
by Amy Dacyczyn

3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter
3 tablespoons corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup peanuts (optional)
and popcorn, of course!

Combine brown sugar, butter and corn syrup over low heat until butter is melted.  Cook without stirring for 3 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Add baking soda and vanilla.  Spread popcorn and peanuts on a baking sheet.  Pour caramel over the popcorn and mix until evenly coated.  Bake 15 minutes at 300 degrees.

Serve warm from the oven.  YUM!

May your snow days be *!~*!~*SNOWY*!~*!~*

Mary Ellen

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Our First Snow! More On The Way!

Last week, we got our first snow fall of the year.  As you can see, it wasn't much!  The good news for snow lovers like myself, is that more snow is coming tomorrow!  The weather man is predicting just a few inches for our area.  However, its enough to fill me with glee! :D

Mary Ellen

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Garden Ridge 90% Off Christmas!

A big thank you to Manuela, who encouraged me to visit our local Garden Ridge store after I commented on a clock she purchased there.  Garden Ridge is new to our area, and just opened up in the space of a closed Target store.  I actually thought it was a farm supply store at first!  I was blown away my first visit.  So much for the eye to see and the store seemed to go on forever!  Dave and I took particular interest in their Christmas tree selection.  You know how we feel about Christmas trees around here!  When the Christmas items went to 75% off, Dave surprised me with a 7ft pink Christmas tree - so adorable!  And then, the wait was on.  Would they go to 90% off?  

My sweet husband diligently checked in every day after work.  For the past two weeks, they stayed at 75% off.  Finally, yesterday 90% OFF!  Dave picked up a few Christmas trees after work before coming home.

Including this 12 foot pre-lit tree!  Yes, 12 feet of Christmas tree awesomeness! 

 We went back to the store together to get discounted ornaments (most boxes were .99 or less) and one more Christmas tree.  My cart was filled to the brim with ornaments.  I looked like I was auditioning for TLC's Extreme Couponing!  Don't worry local folks, we didn't clear the shelves :)  We filled the back of our minivan.  Hey, when my husband says spend what you want, I listen!  This morning, I totaled our haul and figured we came away with just over 1500 ornaments!

Who's ready for Christmas!  This girl is!

Mary Ellen    

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Inspiration & Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

A sweet treat for my sweet Mother-in-law!  She came by over the weekend to deliver my Christmas present which had been delayed in the rush of the holiday shipping.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
Recipe from Dining On A Dime Cookbook

3/4 cups shortening, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups oatmeal
1 cup (or more) chocolate chips

Beat shortening, sugars, egg, water and vanilla together until creamy.  Add flour and baking soda to creamed mixture.  Blend well.  Stir in oats, then add chocolate chips.  Drop by spoonful onto greased cookie sheet.  Bake in oven preheated to 350 degrees for 12 - 15 minutes. 

Frugal Inspiration - I love those little "magazines" from the grocery stores!  Besides the store specials and recipes, they contain great ideas for creating pleasing edible arrangements for guests.  One of my favorites is Inspirations from The Fresh Market.  Great ideas for platters that I can recreate on my own for less!

Mary Ellen

Friday, January 11, 2013

Carolina Chocolate Drops - Country Girl

I was born in the country that's a natural fact
On these long city days I wanna look back
See tobacco fields row after row
Red clay a crackin' where the silver queen grows

I AM A COUNTRY GIRL...I've been around the world
And every place I've been
Ain't quite nothin' like....LIVING IN THE SOUTH
Oh, honey shut your mouth

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

What I'm Reading ~ Inspired You by Miss Mustard Seed & A New Project

"God is the creator of all things, and we are made in His image,
so surely there is a creative side to all of us."

-Marian Parsons, Miss Mustard Seed

I'm frequently awestruck by the beautiful images on her blog.  Now, I'm being inspired by her words.  I'm currently reading Inspired You: Letting God Breathe New Life Into Your Heart and Home by Marian Parsons, better known as Miss Mustard Seed around the blog world. 

And on a related note, I'm working on a project piece using Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint for the first time.  If you're local, you can find MMS milk paint at SuzAnna's Antiques.  All the colors are beautiful, but for this project, I chose Shutter Gray.  It's such a lovely gray with a hint of blue.

Beautiful lines

Ball & claw foot

What projects have you started in the New Year?

Mary Ellen

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Black-Eyed Peas & Collard Greens

A New Year's Day tradition - black-eyed peas slow cooked with kielbasa and ham (for good luck).  Collard greens seasoned with ham (for wealth).  Rice (for good health) and cornbread made from scratch (just because it tastes good!). 

Good cooking like this makes my husband glad he married a Southern girl!
Happy New Year!
Mary Ellen