Monday, November 29, 2010

How NOT to build a bonfire

While I was at Sissy's for Thanksgiving, we I decided we needed a bonfire to roast marshmellows.

Background: Sissy and her boy, Honey-do, have been having "bonfires" in her grill the past few weekends. Once I heard about it, I wanted a burnt marshmellow of my own. I love making smores.. I mean, eating the pieces separately- burnt marshmellows crispy on the outside and gooey inside, melty chocolate pieces, and crispy graham crackers. But primarily the marshmellows.

So Honey-do and I went out into the woods Thursday afternoon and gather up wood to have our bonfire with. 

Friday, it rains all day. But it stopped just as it was getting dark. I'm not about to let a little thing like humidity get in the way of having my marshmellows. Honey-do picks up dry firewood from the store, and off we go.

We used fatwood and newsprint, and at first it looked really good.

Then it burnt down to nothing. So more fatwood and newsprint, and it flares up again. And burns down and is almost out.

So, now out of newspaper, I start tearing up cardboard boxes from the recycle. Honey-do gets the charcoal chimney to hopefully get things going better.

And it looks really promising. Until it burns to nothing.

So, not to be deterred, Mom gets the lighter. And we light my marshmellow on fire with the lighter.

It was crispy and yummy and gooey and I loved every minute of it.

Sissy says on facebook: How to tell a good boyfriend- he builds your sister a bonfire in the rain because she wants one.

Honey do is definitely a keeper!

Lessons learned: Buy Sissy and Honey-do a firepit for Christmas. Don't build a bonfire in the rain. Wet wood doesn't burn well.

Of course, the afternoon after I leave, they have a bonfire and have marshmellows. Without me. Murphy's Law.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Sissy's Couples Retreat Food Wrap-up

Sissy went on a couple's retreat with her church young adult group over Halloween weekend.

They spent two days bonding with the other young couples and eating and drinking on the beach. I'm a little jealous of the beach part.

She made Jalapeno Popper Dip and Sangria for her contribution to the potluck. In addition to reading my blog, Sissy reads Annie's Eats, and got the Jalapeno dip there.  I made it for bunco, and it's really good, but definitely not mild!

Jalapeno Popper Dip:

2 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, softened

1 cup mayonnaise ( I used 1/2 mayo and 1/2 nonfat plain yogurt)

1 (4 oz.) can chopped green chiles, drained

1 (4 oz.) can diced jalapeƱo peppers, drained

½ cup shredded Mexican style cheese

½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1 cup Panko breadcrumbs

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Cooking spray

Let the cream cheese soften really well, or you'll mix "forever". Mix in the mayo, shredded cheeses, and peppers. Layer it into a greased casserole dish (8x8 or a round pie dish), and top with panko and parmesan.
Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until bubbly. Serve with veggie sticks or crackers.

This is definitely not mild, but you can make it milder by cutting back on the peppers.

She also made easy-peasy Sangria.

Take lite tropical punch fruit juice, pour it in a pitcher. Add red wine. Garnish with jarred cherries and citrus slices. Drink heavily to quench the fire from the popper dip.

I'm thinking I need to convince her to make a large pitcher of Sangria for me to enjoy on her screened porch during Thanksgiving. Work has been super busy lately, and I'm looking forward to relaxing!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Julia's Living Room REVEAL

If you remember, I was helping re-do Julia's 10 year old living room. I blogged about it here.

It's finally finished, just in time for the holidays! A reminder to everyone, start your renovations mid summer or early fall to have things finished in plenty of time for the holidays. The last thing you want is to be scrambling to put your house back together with all the other things going on!

In additon to having pieces re-upholstered, we painted and enhanced the crown moulding by adding a picture rail.

This room already had a small crown when she bought the house several years ago. As she renovated the other rooms, Julia added a taller crown.

To make the living room stand out, we added  picture moulding 2" below the existing moulding, then  painted everything out white to tie it together.

We also changed out the lamps, and added a small desk for her laptop.

Here's the finished product again:

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

I am super-excited to be heading to Sissy's today for a relaxing time and what promises to be some really good food.

Tomorrow morning, I'll also be starting a new tradition. I'm running in the Turkey Trot 5K Thanksgiving morning!

I'll need the run to work off the calories I'm sure to consume with this menu:

Butternut Squash Soup
Smoked Turkey and gravy
Cranberry  Wild Rice Stuffing
Cranberry Salsa
Cranberry Orange Relish
Macaroni and Cheese (FROM SCRATCH!)
Sweet Potato Souffle
Marinated Oysters
Rolls with BOTH honey butter and herb butter
Green Beans
Spinach Salad with Gorgonzola and cranberries

And for dessert:

Pumpkin Apple Spice Cake with Caramel Cream Cheese frosting
Sweet Potato Creme Brulee

Then Friday morning I get croissant overnight French toast!

I'm gonna eat so well! Sissy is outdoing herself, and I've been expressly told I'm not allowed to help.

I will, however, take pictures of the whole spread for you to enjoy.

Have a great Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

What a sweetie

Prince Charming Z and I went to Florida last weekend to meet his extended family. His grandfather's house backs up to a lake/ pond. Since Z's hobby is photography, we went down to the dock around sunset to take some photos.

It was a fun time, being unplugged from the real world, just relaxing and watching the sun set over the water.

This is one of my favorite photos from the evening.

But what melts my heart is the blog post he wrote to go with it:

"Made the long trip down this weekend to see family. I brought a gift with me this time around, my girlfriend. She just may be a keeper after handling all that my family threw at her."

I think he may be a keeper with words like that. Prince Charming indeed.
Check out the rest of the photos here

Friday, November 12, 2010


I was featured at:

featured button

for my redo of Annie!
Allison always has great ideas! Her Catch a Glimpse party happens weekly on Thursdays , so go check it out!

And a big huge thank you to Allison for featuring me!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Tasty Tuesday Fail!

I had intended to make a knock-off of Starbuck's Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins for this week. However, I learned that I should not attempt to multi task while baking and to always use fresh ingredients.

My muffins looked great straight out of the oven:

But were totally doughy on the inside and tasted awful.

I'm going to attempt a re-do!

This is definitely a mis-adventure!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Annie makes her debut!

If you remember, I found Annie a few months ago here. It took me forever, but I finally got her finished!

Here's the before:

And here she is after:

To make her look so pretty and matching, I

Unscrewed the seat and set it aside to recover while watching the Georgia game

Sanded her down until the finish was dull and spots of bare wood were showing

Washed the entire piece with soap and water and let dry

Paint three very light coats of pure white glossy interior latex paint ( I used a Valspar sample can) with a good quality brush.

While the paint is drying, take the staples out from the existing cover. I did this on the living room floor watching football. I use a screwdriver to pry the staples up, then pull them out with needle nose pliers. There's probably an easier way, but this works for me.

Take the old cover off.  If you need to add new foam/ padding, do so now.

To recover:

Lay a piece of muslin or white fabric on a flat surface ( like the floor) and smooth out. Cut out around the seat bottom, leaving a generous amount to staple with.

Pull up the top side taut, and put a staple in. Repeat with the opposite side.

Now pull up the right side until tight, and put one staple in. Do the left. Now all four sides should have one staple holding the fabric tight.

Go back to the top side, and start adding additional staples. Add 3 or 4, then go do the bottom. Repeat around the sides until you've stapled the hell out of it.

Pull the point of the corner in to the center and staple. Fold the wings in neatly, and staple to make pretty corners.

Repeat the entire process with your pretty fabric.

Once that's done, hammer in any staples that decided to kick back.

Put the seat on the chair, and screw it back in.

Display the chair in a prominent area, and mention to everyone you know about your project.

Again, here she is:

Linked up to:

Catch a Glimpse Button

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Front porch improvement

The planter my pumpkins were resting on got moved to actually hold flowers. I know, a concept. But mums were three for $10 at the orange store, which was too good a deal to pass up. And I only had two planters.

So the pumpkins were sitting on the ground, looking a little lonely.

 I have two Cafe chairs that were a gift from an Ex-Prince Charming for my back patio table. They're not really designed for sitting exposed, and are definitely a project for the to-do list. Way down the list. I also have to decide what color to paint them. Maybe something bright and funky.

Anyways, the front porch is covered, so I took one chair and brought it out to the front porch.

My pumpkins now have more drama.

 I needed  a holder for all things gardeny like my watering can and hand trowel to clean up the porch. So while at Ikea on Sunday, I picked up this white pot to put hand tools in.

Then I found a white pumpkin at a yard sale, so I moved things around and now the tools are hidden.


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