Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Put a Pinecone On It

Do you love this time of year?

I do! Love, love, love it!

It's a time for celebration and joy.

And the angel of the Lord said to them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:10-11

A very good reason for celebration indeed!

And with celebrating often comes decorating. I like the decorating too! 

This year, several of my friends have used pinecones in their Christmas decorating. I like it! Pinecones are simple and pretty. A touch of the outdoors brought into the house.

So, one bright, winter like day, (course it's still only fall, y'all. snort!) while on a nature walk with the family... 

That's right, we took the path less traveled. The path into the woods. The path where we discovered mama needs a new pair of boots! Oh dear.

I guess that happens when, according to my calculations, mama's had her boots for 13 years. WOW!! Definitely got my money's worth!

On the path where we came upon this cute little cabin.

The place where the girls began to freak each other out talking about how it's always the lone cabin in the woods in the horror movies. Yep. FREAKED OUT!!

They may not have been amused when I chose then to ask them why six was afraid of seven.

Because (cue Psycho violin music) 7 8 9!!

Get it?? 7 8 9...7 ate 9! Ha ha ha 

Maybe you had to be there. I swear it was funny. At least I thought it was funny.


It was on this walk in the woods that I spied a few pinecones, and remembering how much I liked the way my friends had used them in their decorating, I promptly began to fill everyone's hands with the beauties!

We may have had several pair of sap sticky mittens by the time we got home. A little lemon essential oil rubbed into the drops of sap cleaned up the mittens.

To get rid of the sticky sap on the pine cones took a little longer, but just as easy.

Lay pinecones in a single layer on a foil lined baking pan, bake for 30 minutes at 200 degrees.

The sap will melt onto the foil. The pinecones will be slightly sticky when removed from the oven, but once dry...

No more sticky pinecones! Whoop whoop!! 

The heat will also kill any bugs that have taken up residence in them -ewwww- as well as open them fully.

Allow the pinecones to completely cool before using them.

Add them to arrangements.

Use them in place of a bow on wrapped gifts.

They're lovely on a stack of books.

Fill a large glass container with them.

Add them to a wreath. (this is my next project)

Paint them. Glitter them. The possibilities are endless!!!

You're ready to go find yourself some pinecones now, aren't ya? Oh yeah.


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Propagating African Violets

I really enjoy growing African violets.

If you care for them properly, they really are easy to care for, they will bloom all year round. Something I really appreciate in the midst of a long, cold winter. Probably shouldn't've said that. Long, cold winters are still a sore spot for many of us. BAH!!

Moving right along then!

African violet foliage is beautiful, all soft and fuzzy, just begging for you to touch it!

The blooms are stunning!

And there are so many varieties to choose from!! That's where I can get into trouble. 

I want them all! 

But I don't want to buy them all. So when a friend has a variety or two - maybe three - that I don't have, but I've just got to have, I ask for a single leaf clipping from the plant. 

I take that clipping, or three, and place it into a small vase filled with water.

In two to four weeks time the clipping will begin to sprout fine roots. 

In another week or so you will begin to see new leaves at the base of the cutting. It's so cool!!

At this point it's time to plant the clippings.

I waited a little longer than usual to plant these clippings because I wanted to Mod Podge some pots for them. I may have procrastinated a little on the pots. Eh hem. 

Whatcha think? Cute, no?

When I have it on hand, I use an African violet soil mix. This time I was out, so I just used a regular potting soil. It's not ideal, but it will do the trick.

Gently press in the potting mix. Don't pack it tightly, just gently press it in to be sure your pot is well filled with soil.

Place the cutting into the soil, allowing those new leaves to remain above the soil line.

Again, gently press in the soil around the cutting and give the soil a good misting of water.

Once the new plant has taken solid root, cut away the original leaf and watch your new little African violet plant grow!

In time, you will have a new plant bursting with flower buds! SQUEAL!!!

To keep your African violet thriving, make sure it has plenty of indirect sunlight, water enough that the soil is moist, but never soggy. I keep a bottle of water, with African violet fertilizer added, in the cabinet because the plants do best with room temperature water. And always pinch off spent blooms and leaves. 

All in all a very beautiful and easy to care for plant. 


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Strawberry White Chocolate Scones

I know, it's October. My very favorite time of the year!

The leaves are changing color.

It's time for apples.

Time for all things pumpkin spicy!!

Oh yes I did!! Made my own pumpkin spice lattes. So good! I promise to share the recipe with you another time, but today, I want to take you back a little way to June. 

That's right, June. When you drove out to the strawberry fields to pick your youngest child's weight in strawberries.

Oh yeah! So sweet and delicious!

Fall might be my favorite season, but strawberry picking June is a close second! Yes, I just made strawberry picking time it's own season. I can do that, right??

Now some of you were very diligent. You sliced up and froze some of those beautiful berries to use at a later date. 

Not me. I scarfed them all down. Well, not just me. The Family scarfed down their fair share too. 

I will try to be diligent next year. I solemnly swear to give it my best effort.  

For those of you who were diligent, now is the time to reap the rewards of your efforts. The rest of us, who scarfed down our child's weight in berries, we'll need to make a run to the grocery store.

Either way, these strawberry white chocolate scones are da bomb! You're gonna wanna make em!


2 cups flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter, cut into small cubes
1 cup strawberries, cut into pieces
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup heavy cream

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.

Scrape those measuring cups and spoons nice and level!

Add in the 6 tablespoons of cubed, cold butter. 

Use your fingertips to incorporate the butter into the flour mixture. Using your fingertips prevents the butter from getting to warm and becoming melty. Incorporated is good.  Melty is not good. 

The mixture should be crumbly but hold shape when pressed together.

Gently fold in those lovely strawberries and white chocolate chips.

If you are using your diligently frozen berries, thaw them beforehand.

In a small bowl, beat together the egg, vanilla, and heavy cream.

Pour over flour mixture. Mix gently until dough comes together.

The combined dough will be crumbly.

I like to use an ice cream scoop to measure out individual, equal sized scones.

Drop scones onto baking sheet. Now I'm gonna tell you, this part gets messy. The dough, being crumbly, will not just neatly drop out of the scoop. NOPE! It's gonna fall apart on you. The scoop is more of a guideline. (A little Pirates of the Caribbean reference there. Anyone get that? Anyone??) 

Anyway...You will need to use your hands to gently reshape your scones. 

Crumbly indeed!

Gently dab a little heavy cream over the tops of the scones.

Sprinkle them lightly with granulated sugar.

Bake in a 350˚ oven for 18-23 minutes, until lightly browned.

Now that's what I'm talkin' bout!!


Even though it's Fall, strawberry white chocolate scones are perfect for breakfast or brunch on these cool, crisp mornings. The house will be all toasty warm with the oven on, and scones baking smell so nice! Then, in the afternoon, you can stop at your favorite coffee shop for a tasty pumpkin spice latte.

Who says you can't have your strawberry white chocolate scones and your favorite, hot, Fall beverage too? Not me. Go for it!



Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Life Interupted

It's been such a busy few weeks.

There have been lists of things I need to do. Lists of the things I want to do. Lists of things from the first list that I didn't want to do and can no longer put off doing. -sigh-

School started.

Oh yeah, the whole neighborhood was very excited about that!

School starting, means school activities starting, which means a jam-packed schedule. -double sigh-

School starting also means that the routine of early morning workouts Sofia and I began this summer have been moved to even earlier in the mornings so we can continue this routine during the school year. 

My friends, I am so tired! And, most of the time, everything aches. But we're sticking with it. Yay for us!?

There have been forms to fill out. See previous...school started. 

There have been appointments to make and appointments to keep. 

Oh, and this girl got her driver's license. Whoop Whoop!!

A little celebratory Starbucks! That's right, we know how to celebrate in style!

It's been a nonstop, crazy, don't have time to take a breath, make your head spin trying to get it all done few weeks.

Then it happened.

The sick child.


And it all came screeching to a stop. Life interrupted!!


There wasn't time for illness!

My schedule was completely thrown off!

I could have cried!

This was not in the plan!!!!

I proceeded to try to figure out how to take care of a sick child and still accomplish all that was on the "planned" list for the day.

A Target run was first. There was no getting around it. We were nearly out out of toilet tissue. Really not good when you have someone with a sick stomach in the house!

A side note here...Has anyone else noticed how quickly young people go through toilet tissue?? Good grief! 

Not that this helps any.

That's right! Not even trying to hide it. The Package on the right, 400 square feet of TP. On the left, the packages reduced to 352 square feet! On the same shelf! For the same price! BAH!!


As I drove home from running this necessary errand, thoughts running through my mind that dealing with a sick child was not how this day was supposed to go, the words from the song on the radio broke through...

Lord have your way...Lord have your way in me...I surrender. 


The day was not going as I had planned, but was I going to chose to be a slave to the to-do list?

Were the things I believed I needed to do more important than what God had placed in my day?

My priority when I chose to be an at-home mom was, exactly this, taking care of my children.

I returned home with a new purpose...surrender.

I don't always know or understand why things happen. I can easily see things that are not part of my plan as problems or frustrations. But if I believe that nothing can happen in my life that has not been allowed by God, then I need to surrender, with a peaceful heart, a thankful heart, trusting God's purpose is good for me. And can't I trust that if something is important, in God's eyes, for me to accomplish, that He will make a way?

And we know all things work together for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28 

This moment, this time, this taking care of a sick child that I love was no longer going to be the interruption. It was the priority!

I made soup. We watched a movie. I hovered and covered with extra blankets. I held hair back...sick stomach remember? And at the end of the day, my baby said' "Thank you for taking such good care of me mom." -my heart melted-

Sometimes things get in the way of our to-do list. We don't know why. It may not be convenient. But if we trust the Lord, we can be confident that He allowed it. If He allowed it, He has a plan and a good purpose. Whether we know what it is or not. And if the payoff for surrender is nothing more than a simple thank you mom, it is well worth it!!