Saturday, December 7, 2013

A cute gift for neighbors and friends!

How about this adorable little S'mores kit for your friends? Pinterest again comes to the rescue. Some of our sweet friends will get this sweet treat! I've included the "S'mores Instruction Card" at the bottom if you would like to make some yourself. If you can't grab it, let me know and I'll send it to you directly.
individually wrapped mini bars are the perfect size
for this take-out box

wrapped the graham crackers individually

wrapped the large marshmallows individually

instructions - see below for the file
to print yourself

It's beginning to look (and feel) a lot like Christmas!

My Christmas tablescape - the box in the middle is holding some real growing red amaryllis bulbs
Temperatures have really dipped this week in Houston. It is a wonderful change from the oppressive heat we suffer with most of the year. I love weather drama! Ice Storm? Yes, please. This cool weather inspires winter wonderland decorating doesn't it? I am continuing with my Christmas in the Enchanted Forest theme. It just means I can use lots and lots of moss, so I am in heaven.

Wanna peek? Here ya go!

Closeup of the left side

Closeup of the right side

deer, tree and mushrooms in my miniature forest

Amaryllis bulbs will add color and life to this tablescape

my new teacup - Royal Albert

cute mushroom ornaments look so perfect here

a new sparkly tree with pinecone ornaments

Christmas goodies tree in the corner of the dining room

Armoire decor

Buffet decoration

My Bethlehem village

wise man bringing baby Jesus a lightsaber? Seems age inappropriate don't you think? My husband is a joker!


Our tree

closeup of the tree

new squirrel ornament for 2013


a new ornament for 2013 - fleur de lis

Christmas lights make a house so cozy and warm
The lights paint a pretty picture on the dining room walls


The mantle in the wee hours

So much to be thankful for...

I am thankful for good friends and family
I feel so very blessed this Thanksgiving. It makes my heart sing to share these blessings with our friends. Eleven of us squished around a table built for eight. This was because one of our teen guests didn't want to be relegated to the "kid's" table. I so get that. We were all cozy around the table and it was just fine. We always fry two turkeys because we eat at noon and then eat leftovers at 5:00 or whenever we get hungry again. We enjoyed some pumpkin bowling, a family walk and the Apples to Apples card game. And no Texas thanksgiving would be complete without some showing off of handguns. We are packing in Texas!

Turkey #2 in the fryer

Here is our menu - contributions by our guests made
the preparation so much easier! Thanks Kim & Rebecca!
The table all set for our company
Pumpkin Bowling
A beautiful bowler

a little Apples to Apples - Ken seems amused by his wife!

Family walk after our meal

Why we needed a family walk! We had 7 pies and fudge!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Mother's Night Out - Evening Garden Party

If you follow this blog, you know I love to garden in my square foot garden. When an opportunity arose to have a party there, I jumped at it. I could combine two things I love! Our sweet friends were making a missionary trip to Haiti and I wanted to help her and her son raise money for the trip. We had three vendors inside the house selling a variety of items and giving a portion toward the trip. It was a Mother's Night Out, so kids were not allowed.

I served some light snacks and coffee/tea. It all turned out so well and we were able to give her a nice offering for the trip to Haiti. I couldn't have asked for anything better.

When having an adult party, I used to question whether I should serve alcohol or not. It seems that it is almost expected at a Mother's Night Out that some sort of alcohol will be offered. Let me speak to this a minute. I once had a conversation with my wise friend Shannon who told me something I never forgot. She said "You never know the private struggles that others have." Serving alcohol at a party may tempt someone in an area they are struggling in. Why would I want to cause a friend to stumble? When you are having a large party with mixed company (people you don't really know well, guests bringing their friends...) or if you will have people from the ministry (pastors, pastor's wives, people in leadership in the church or homeschool organization or other religious organization), it is a generally best NOT to serve alcohol. Also, don't question your hostess's judgment on this. She knows her guests and knows whether it is appropriate or not to serve alcohol.

Now personally, I don't have a problem with alcoholic beverages. I consume them very rarely and usually on a special occasion like New Year's Eve or on an anniversary. Sometimes I will have a beer while I watch a football game. The way the Texans are playing lately, it helps! My husband and I laugh because we buy a 6-pack of beer and then it sits in our fridge for a month. I usually end up making beer bread out of it just to get it out of the fridge!

Here are some pretty pictures from the evening. Thanks to my knowledgeable friend Melissa who helped me fine tune the menu!

Miss Becky's Carrot Cake, cheesecake bites & chocolate candy

corn chowder and bread. At the 99 cent store, I found some great
footed clear cups to serve just the right portion of chowder in.
See them to the right of the crock pot.

getting their shopping on!

You couldn't ask for sweeter or more beautiful friends!

Cowboy hat in the log cabin
homemade bunting from the Hill Country Wedding

lots of candles set the mood

a view of the Log Cabin

paper lanterns

my camera wouldn't cooperate taking night pictures of the
garden, so these are from the morning after

Adventures in Decorating - Thanksgiving Edition

A very sweet (and brave) friend let me practice decorating her house. She asked that her beautiful dining room be all fixed up for her Thanksgiving gathering. She wanted navy as the main color and we paired a bright orange as a the contrast. She was happy with the outcome.

We decorated her china cabinet top, her buffet and her dining table. I bought some greenery (I love the mossy greenery garland), fall garlands with fruit and leaves, pumpkin, cute squirrels, fall picks, and ribbon. The rest are items from around her house. What better way to reflect the homeowner than to use items she already owns and loves! I love the mix of the globes and books together on top of the china cabinet. They just go so well together. Putting collections together makes a more powerful statement than spreading them all over the house. If you have a collection, you can really make it shine by putting it together. Also, you don't have to put every piece of your collection out. Rotate it.

The homeowner's daughter and I tackled making the fruit topiaries. I never made one before and it was a fun project challenge. Kumquats would have worked better as the skin is tougher, but they couldn't be found in the store. We used tiny mandarin oranges very successfully. The smaller the better. We used the larger bamboo shish-k-bob skewers rather than toothpicks. Be generous with the length of your stick. If the sticks are too small, the weight of the fruit will make it pop out. Also, putting the skewer in at an angle helped to anchor it better. Putting whole cloves into the spaces between the oranges would have covered up the green Styrofoam showing through. But, really, it isn't necessary. Keeping the plastic on the Styrofoam cone (12" cones work best) makes working with it easier and cleaner. I used a straight pin and put it through two long strands of 1/2" gold wired ribbon and into the top orange. The homeowner had this idea in her head and it worked so perfectly! I think putting moss on the cone prior to putting the oranges on might have been very pretty too. I'll try it next time.


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