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10/31/11

Happy Halloween!

Things I love about Halloween


1. Candy. Lots and lots of candy. I always buy more than I think we need. That way we get to enjoy the leftovers.

2. The kiddies in their costumes. I always love to see what unique costumes come by the door. Some are store bought, some are homemade and some are so elaborate it makes me want to drag out my camera.

3. The smiling faces. Not just of the adorable children who smile so happily, but of the parents who seem to enjoy it as much as the kids.

4. Little ones who you can tell are experiencing their first Halloween. Some just kind of look at you like, I don't know you but Hey, Wow! I got candy!

5. The liveliness of the neighborhood. People milling about. Neighbors on their front porches. Socializing with people you know who bring their kids by. Of course, the past several years, we have missed this. We lived in a neighborhood that was off the beaten path and only had about 5 or 6 kids. Once they became teenagers, we just had one or two stop by. The last two years we didn't have any. But since the move, we live in a neighborhood that is closer to civilization and has more kids so I expect to have some tonight, even if it is not a lot. It will still be more than none.

6. Did I mention Candy? Yes, I do like that about Halloween.

7. The various trick-or-treat sing song. "Trick or Treat" or "Trick or treat, smell my feet, give me something good to eat." Here, just take the candy because I really do not want to smell any feet tonight.

8. The decorated porches. I love seeing how people decorate their houses for Halloween. Whether it is with lights and witches brewing at their cauldron or simply a cared jack-o-lantern, I just like to checkout the decorations.

9. Did I mention Candy?

10. And my 10th favorite thing about Halloween.....the LEFTOVER candy. 
10/30/11

Praising the Lord


This picture really touched my heart. So many times we pray for something and thank God when our prayers are answered. But how many times do we stop in our busy life simply to praise his name? We should start our day every single morning by raising our hands to heaven in reverence and simply praise His name.

10/29/11

Naked Hot Chocolate



I need to find me a good cup for my hot chocolate. I'm very picky about the style of cup and the looks of it. Right now, I'm using Hubby's Krispy Kreme cup, but I don't really like it. I want something pretty to drink out of. It's a girl thing. I do love my coaster though. My grandson, Garret, made it for me and I use it all the time. I'm heading to Dollar Tree today so maybe they will have some neat cups. They normally do.

For the past couple of weeks, I have drank my morning hot chocolate naked. I cannot seem to remember to write topping on my grocery list and forget about it until I drink my chocolate again. So today, it is on my list. Question is, which topping do I want?

I love miniature marshamallows in my hot chocolate.



But I also love Fluff (marshmallow cream)


But then again, my favorite hot chocolate from any place is Cracker Barrel. It is loaded with whipped cream.

Once I have my house decorated for Christmas, I buy a box of those small candy canes and I stick one in my hot chocolate. You can buy peppermint hot chocolate but I have never found any that was as good as sticking a candy cane in the hot chocolate. The way everybody is already putting Christmas stuff out, I may find some candy canes at Dollar Tree as well.



10/28/11

Craft Ideas


I was just complaining yesterday that the stores already have Christmas trees decorated in their windows and Christmas items on sale in the store. I wish they would at least let us get through Halloween. Then it hit me, I'm just as bad. I've been accumulating patterns and ideas to make some homemade Christmas crafts this year. So I got to thinking about it. If I want to make crafts for the holidays, I usually decorate on Thanksgiving weekend so I will need to have them done by Thanksgiving. Which means I only have four weekends to buy the stuff and work on the projects. Since I have plans for 2 of those weekends and it's just too hard to do crafts after working all day, that gives me two weekends to make Christmas crafts. So maybe it's not such a bad idea to get started on Christmas before Halloween. Here are some of the items I would like to choose from when I decide what to make.


How precious is that? It is just rolled felt using a glue gun. Simple. I let the kids put up a tree in my home office every year and I thought these would be some great decorations to put on it.


I'm going to get Christmas scrapbook paper and make hands of the grandkids, hole punch the palm and put yarn through the hole to make some more Christmas decorations for their little tree.


I have a very precious friend who is going to crochet me this little wreath. I think it is adorable. I want it to pin on my coat for the holidays.
 
 


I don't have a stair case, but I think this garland is pretty neat. Of course I could do it with just NOEL and hang it above a door or something. I'll have to think about that.


Another very easy craft to make. I'm thinking about making some of these without the band and using them as filler in a basket of pine cones. We'll just have to see how it looks before I decide.
 
 

If I make this little bird, it would be out of red felt for a cardinal and then have a little spring of holly or a green button where the wing connects. Just thinking about this one.


These little snowmen made from jar rings are just adorable. They appear to be very easy to make. Felt is so cheap and you can make so many crafts with it. I have the rings already here left over from apple butter jars over the past year.

Well, that's it for now. I'll let you know what I get made as we get closer to the holidays.




10/27/11

Duncan Hines, Betty Crocker or Pillsbury


I love to bake. Cakes, cookies, brownies, just about any kind of sweet. I like to do a lot of "from scratch" recipes and some I do as semi-homemade. I have compared all three of the cake mixes and can easily give Duncan Hines the first place ribbon. The best way to compare is with chocolate cake mix. That is where the noticeable difference is in my opinion.

Betty Crocker with their Super Moist cake mix at times, even when baked completely still has a doughy taste to me. I think they went over board on the moistness. Short of burning your cake, it still doesn't taste quite done.

As far as Pillsbury, the chocolate does not taste rich enough. It seems like they went a little easy on the cocoa. Perhaps it is the brand of cocoa in their cakes, but it just has a flat chocolate taste in my book.

Hands down, Duncan Hines is my favorite. It is the perfect combination of moistness and chocolate flavor. When you bite in to a Duncan Hines cake, it makes you want to close your eyes and sigh. It's that good.

But I do love all three of the products recipes. They offer a variety of different recipes for your tasting pleasure. I receive coupons and newsletters on all three of these products because I do love trying new dessert recipes.

But something I never thought about when looking for new recipes is Martha White. I stumbled across a Martha White Facebook page and found some wonderful looking recipes. I am going to try their recipe for turtle fudge chocolate chip cookies.



10/26/11

Round Up from the Heart

Each year, Pampered Chef joins forces with Feeding America to help raise money for the Second Harvest Food Bank. It is one of my yearly projects that I help out in to raise money for our local food bank. This year, there are two featured items that will provide donations to the food bank for each purchase made.


The first item is the Round Up from the Heart Trivet. The trivet sells for $13.00 plus tax & shipping. It makes a wonderful gift for Christmas, housewarming, birthday, wedding showers or just as a thank you to someone special. For each trivet sold, Pampered Chef will donate $2.00 to the Second Harvest Food Bank.




The other item is TLC stars sharing their favorite recipes in Cookbook for a Cause. I have seen this and it has some wonderful recipes. I can't wait to try the taco soup and the cupcake recipe. This cookbook is just $3.00 plus tax and shipping. For each one purchased, Pampered Chef will donate $1.00 to the Second Harvest Food Bank. This is an inexpensive gift idea that is perfect to drop in as an added item to any gift.

If you would like to order either one of these items and help support the Second Harvest Food Bank, simply visit www.pamperedchef.biz/michelemaples. Click on Shop online. Enter Brenda Keefer as the hostess name. Once their product list pulls up, you can find both of these listed under the Charitable Giving. Michele and I both appreciate your support of this worthy cause.

You may also order by contacting me by email at mamawsplace@gmail.com.
10/25/11

Chats on the farmhouse porch


Today I'm chatting with Patrice at Everyday Ruralty
Barbie asks: What's your favorite coffee drink?
I am not a coffee drinker. I never have been. Just never could acquire a taste for it. When I want a nice cup of something hot, I love hot chocolate with a big scoop of marshmallow Fluff in it.
Dreaming asks: What's the chore you hate the most that you wish Blogger would come do?
Dust. I am one of those collectible type people that love "stuff". But I absolutely hate to move all the stuff to do the dusting. I wish somebody would invent a vacuum that you set in the middle of the floor and turn it on and it just sucks all the dust out of the room. But until that happens, it would be great if Blogger could come and use some Pledge for me.
Farm Girl asks: Why did you decide to start a blog?

I have always loved to write and always wanted to write a book. Well, I did write a small one for the family a few years back. But I never could find the time to sit down and write an entire book. Someone suggested I trying blogging. I thought I would never find enough to say, but decided to give it a try. I've been at it for two years and can't imagine NOT being able to blog.
Suzanne asks: Who's your most famous relative?
Back in the late 1700's, one of my great-great, etc. Adkins relatives, Parker Adkins had an illegitimate daughter by Princess Blue Sky, daughter of Shawnee Indian Chief Cornstalk. We have heard that story our whole life. It appears that they had a daughter together and she was named Charity. Shortly after her birth, Blue Sky died and Parker's wife Mary took her in and raised her as her own. Some of the stories handed down are this version. Other stories say that Blue Sky actually lived and changed her name to Mary when Parker married her. We don't which is the truth, but we do no Charity was the granddaughter of Chief Cornstalk.

Cathy Kennedy asks: Have you ever given yourself a home perm?

Yes, one time. I have natural curly hair and thought a perm might help control it better. I thought wrong. Even with using the large rollers I looked like a poodle gone awry. Fortunately, I did it when my hair was long so I was able to get it cut short and get most of the perm out so it looked okay.
10/24/11

Monday Mayhem....

It's Monday. I can't help but wonder what this week has in store. I've had so much going on lately that I could use a breather. I feel like I've been going around in circles for about two or three weeks.


The move went very smoothly and we are getting everything put where we want it to go. Still have about 12 boxes left to sort through, so some things may change where they were put as we finish up. But I did find time to bake a cake yesterday. Had to try out the new oven. It was sheer perfection. As a matter of fact, I think that will be breakfast this morning.

I am beyond thrilled that we were able to find a place for the bakers rack. I was worried that it wasn't going to fit, but couldn't face getting rid of it. It's not completely done the way I wanted it yet, but this is it for now. I'm hoping to obtain some old Pyrex bowls on my next antique shopping day so I can incorporate them into my kitchen.


My wine rack fit beautifully in the corner of the dining room section.


Check out my Heritage Lace curtains. I have a dear friend who invited me over to view her leftover stock from when she owned a lace store. I have fallen in love with my curtains. I just can't quit looking at how great they turned out.


Found a great home for my dessert cookbooks where I can get to them easily and browse over recipes for the upcoming holidays.


I used the Tiara pattern for curtains in my living room. I think they look so old-fashioned. I love them. Things are slowly starting to shape up.


I have a few little "settings" that just thrilled me the way things came together. This is one of my favorite flower arrangements and it paired perfectly with my teapot and this antique tea cup.


This little shelf is full of momentos and old book. I was pleased with the finished project on it.


On a side note, check out my new Scentsy candle burner on the left. I am going to order a few more to go around the house. This was the first one I ever got and wasn't sure I would like it. The smell is so soothing, but not overpowering like a lot of burners are.


My guest bathroom had this cute little cabinet and it was a wonderful place to display some of my "blue stuff" that I had.


You know I love "theme" rooms. Well, the beach stuff I had will be in the beach room, which will be the kids' toy/tv room. My office/craft room is going to be my "hearth and home" room. It will have sections that will pay honor to family, home, and love. I put my country decor on this short wall and am very pleased with it. I need to find a couple of those skinny little candles that the pair is attached by the wick so I can hang them on the pegs of the Welcome picture my mom cross stitched for me.


And what is more fun then having a spot leftover that you have nothing to put on it. The timing couldn't be better. I have a trip coming up soon to Beaufort, SC and I am planning on hitting the antique shops for some inspiration on what to put on this shelf. I'm thinking it would be a great place for assorted vintage stacking bowls, but I'm keeping my options open.






10/23/11

It started with a sock....


It all started with a sock. It was unexpected. We were moving the last piece of furniture into place. When my husband pulled the bottom drawer out to make it easier to move, I noticed this little blue sock on the floor. I bent down and picked it up and the memories washed over me like water running down a mountain stream.

As I held that little sock in my hand, I could see his little smile as I bent down to get him out of his crib. I could smell the baby lotion I used every time I gave him a bath. I could feel the warmth as we cuddled in the rocking chair when he took his bottle.  I could picture the little curls in his hair that would get even curlier in the humidity of summer.

I remember the little giggles as he learned to walk and talk. And I remember the special language he shared with his twin sister as they would crawl around the house playing hide and seek behind the end tables.

I remember how proud he was when Papaw would let him go up to the building with him and would give him pieces of wood to nail and paint. I remember him coming down from the building and presenting me with a special little project he had painted and nailed for us. I still have it.


I rembered all the years, all the love, all the hugs and all the kisses of that dear precious little boy that God gave me to love. I remember his little hand holding mine and I remember when he replaced my hand with the sweet girl that was destined to become his wife.

The memories made me search further in the drawer and I found his first pair of shoes and one of my favorite outfits I put on him when he was just a couple of weeks old.


And I remember him bringing his first son, my first grandchild, for the first visit to Mamaw & Papaw's house. And I remember dressing his son in that same outfit and taking tons of pictures.

The years have gone by so fast. He is grown now with two sons and a daughter of his own. He has grown in to a wonderful father and a loving husband. It has been over 30 years since he wore that little sock. But as I sat in the floor and held that sock and thought of my beautiful little baby boy that wore it, I couldn't keep the tears from falling. 

For though I love the man he has become and am so proud of him, my heart wants to keep him as my little precioius baby boy. He stole my heart the moment I first held him and he still holds it today.

My dear son, I hope you know how much I love you.

10/22/11

Start your Saturday with a smile..


I for one am very glad it is Saturday. It's been a long week. I have faced many challenges this week and have many more to come. I've overcome some obstacles, but had others placed in my path. But with God's help, I'll survive it all. Thanks to my Facebook friends, I have seen some things that have made me smile this week. Just thought I'd share a few with you today. Hope you have a great weekend.










10/21/11

It's going to be a long winter....



October has been a strange weather month. One day last week, I wore shorts and flip flops. Then the temp dropped to those fall like days and I put on jeans and tennis shoes. Early morning would require a light jacket, but later in the day short sleeves were very comfortable.


A couple of days ago, it rained so hard it sounded like it was beating the roof off. We had rain for the better part of 24 hours. Yesterdady was very windy and the chill would cut right through you. The temperatures had dropped so much on the rain day, that we got a good dusting of snow up on the mountains. This was taken around yesterday afternoon by The Village in Gatlinburg, TN.


And this was on Newfound Gap yesterday in Gatlinburg, TN.


So, to sum it up, we have already had spring, summer, fall and winter....just during October. I shudder to think what December and January will bring.