Monday, October 31, 2011

Pumpkin Day!

I sincerely hope the Great Pumpkin visits your patch!
Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Halloween Betsy

Betsy McCall is ready for the Halloween fun to begin!

This paperdoll magnet "lives" on my refrigerator door.
Visitors to my kitchen have fun dressing her for the weather and changing seasons.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Reading Reptile

We have the most amazing children's bookstore here in town:  
Reading Reptile, Books and Tapes For Young Mammals. 
It's a magical place, where all your  child's favorite characters come to life!  
Every inch, every nook and cranny, is filled with the wonder of picture books.  
Even the ceiling is covered!  

"Caps For Sale" is a classic.

Chairs in cozy reading areas invite you to sit and peruse books with your child.  
The store hosts a storytime, book club,  movie night,  authors visits, 
wonderful birthday parties and many other special events.

Do you recognize all these fun story critters?
My children loved "My Father's Dragon".

When the kids were little, we followed the dinosaur tracks to the store in Westport.  
The Reading Reptile relocated a few years ago 
to a wonderful new space in Brookside, and my children have grown up, 
but I still stop by to purchase books for the other little people in my life.   
I hope you will visit soon too!

Celebrate with books!  Read to your children!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Pineapple Sage

Pineapple Sage

Brilliant scarlet blooms and sweet pineapple scented leaves
make this one of my favorite herbs.

* * * *

PS- I found some recipes for use here.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Trick Or Treat!

 (Family photos may not be borrowed or pinned.)
Hansel and Gretel

Here is a peek at my two favorite little Trick or Treaters.
(They didn't always appreciate having their picture taken.)

(Family photos may not be borrowed or pinned.)

 Can you find them all?
Two Kitty Cats
  Little Bo Peep and Little Lamb
 Little Red Riding Hood
Peter Pan
Goldilocks and Baby Bear
  Hansel and Gretel
The Scarecrow and Dorothy (Oz)

Do you have children/grandchildren who will dress up for Halloween this year?

* * *
PS- Yes, I made most of the costumes.
My sister made the Dorothy costume.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sunflower Tea Cozy and Double Chocolate Pumpkin Cake

I invited my best friend over for tea this afternoon 
so I could use my lovely new sunflower tea cozy from Claire at Sweet Birdy Love.
Isn't it pretty?  I love all the cute things she creates for her craft booth!

I brewed one pot with Earl Gray and a second pot with China Oolong
and we sipped tea and chatted away the afternoon.   

We also tested out a new cake recipe from  Picky
Double Chocolate Pumpkin Cake With Pumpkin Spice Buttercream.
(I hope you will visit her website for this cake recipe and many others.)

Let me tell you, it passed with flying colors.
Yummy!  Super moist!  And ultra chocolatey!
The pumpkin flavor is very subtle.  And I think next time I will add a
tiny bit of cloves and/or nutmeg for additional spice in the frosting.
It made two BIG loaves with enough icing to spread on very thickly.
We ate part of the first one with our tea,
and I shared the second loaf with my new neighbors down the block.

1 box devils food cake mix
1 small box instant chocolate pudding
1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
1/2 cup buttermilk or milk
4 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
15 ounce can pumpkin (reserving 2 Tablespoons for buttercream)
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons reserved pumpkin
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 to 5 cups powdered sugar
2 to 4 tablespoons milk

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and spray two 9×5 inch bread pans with non-stick cooking spray.

2. In a stand or electric mixer, place cake mix, pudding mix, oil, buttermilk, eggs, sour cream and can of pumpkin, and chocolate chips–mix all ingredients until well combined, about 1 to 2 minutes. Divide cake batter evenly into prepared bread pans. Bake for 55-60 minutes or until cooked through.

3. While cakes are baking prepare the buttercream. Place butter, reserved 2 tablespoons pumpkin and cinnamon into stand or electric mixer. Mix on high until well combined. Slowly add the powdered sugar until thick and creamy. Slowly add the milk until buttercream is a nice consistency. Frost over cooled cakes, slice and serve.

Makes 16 servings

Notes:  This recipe can be used to make 24 cupcakes.  Bake at 350 for about 15-20 minutes, until baked through. This recipe can also be used to make two 9 inch cakes for layered cakes.  I’d start the bake time at 30 minutes at 350  and check often from there

Saturday, October 15, 2011


Some viewers may find this post scary!

I've decided that I don't need to "dress up" for Halloween.

All I need to do is shine a bright blue light on my face.........

 I'll look like a frightful, blue, ghost.
Or maybe a glow-in-the-dark, alien being that just crawled out of a flying saucer.
Or a frozen, zombie, ice-woman.


This look is sure to send the neighborhood kids screaming for their Mamas.
And I'll get to keep all the halloween candy for myself.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Turning Of The Leaves

(The view down my street.)
Autumn casts it's magic spell and nature adorns herself in fiery hues.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


We happened upon these bovine beauties last weekend!
Don't you love farm folk art?


PS- Are these spotty or dotty?
Can I join Dotty Hop Day??

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Celebrate With Apple Pie!

Special occasions call for pie.

So I peeled, chopped, sprinkled, mixed, piled high and crimped.
Then I cut initials J and B.

Not too bad!

It was yummylicious!

 (Family photos may not be borrowed or pinned.)

Congratulations to J and B!

Over the years I have modified the Betty Crocker Cookbook apple pie recipe to suit me.  I use more apples than the recipe calls for, because I like full pies, not flat ones.   I increase the measurements for the sugar and spices too.   Then I toss some ground cloves in there, which is not in the recipe at all.    I use a mix of apples, Jonagolds, Granny Smith and Golden Delicious, because those hold their apple shape pretty well when cooked (they are juicy but don't turn to mush) and produce the sweet and tart taste I am after.

  * * * * *
PS-  I have been asked for the pie recipe, so I am adding the recipe as printed in the Betty Crocker Cookbook.

Fresh Apple Pie  (9 inch)

Pastry for 9 inch, two crust pie
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Dash of salt
6 cups thinly sliced pared tart apples (about 6 medium)
2 tablespoons butter

Heat oven to 425.  Prepare pastry.  Mix sugar, flour, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt.   Stir in apples.  Turn into pastry lined pie plate;  dot with butter.  Cover with top crust that has slits cut in it;  seal and flute.  Cover edge with 3 inch strip of aluminum foil;  remove foil during the last 15 minutes of baking.  Bake until crust is brown and juice begins to bubble through slits in crust, 40-50 minutes.
(See my notes above if you are interested in the changes I make to the recipe.)

Standard Pastry (for  two crust, 9 inch pie)
2/3 cups lard  (or 2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons shortening)
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
4-5 tablespoons cold water

Cut lard/shortening into flour and salt until particles are size of small peas.  Sprinkle with water, 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing with fork until all flour is moistened and pastry almost cleans side of bowl.
Gather pastry into ball;  divide in half;  shape into flattened round on lightly floured surface.  Roll pastry 2 inches larger than pie plate with flour covered rolling pin.  Fold pastry into quarters;  ease into plate and unfold, pressing firmly against sides and bottom.  Fill with pie filling and then repeat with top pastry. Seal and fold under edges. Flute edge.  Bake as directed.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Halloween "Decorating"

 This is the only halloween "decorating" I  have done so far.
And it was a lot of work.  
Do you know how hard it is to get cats to cooperate during a photo session?



Tuesday, October 4, 2011

How To Organize A Big Pile Of Floss ?

I know.  I know. 
After seeing my recent post about organized quilt fabric, you would THINK 
that my embroidery floss would be neatly color coded and wrapped on bobbins.    

Well.... no.
The skeins just get stuffed into a wooden sewing box 
and I have to dump them all out and sort them to find the color I want to use.  

Some folks buy little plastic bobbins from the store.
(But I'm trying to use less plastic.)
Others said they cut their own bobbins from scrap cardboard.
(recycled cereal boxes, etc...)
One friend told me she used a deck of cards.
How do you organize your floss?

Look at THESE cute bobbins from "sugarcookie" on Etsy!

Until I figure out what I want to do, 
I will just have to dive into my big pile of floss and hope I don't get too tangled.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Little Red Riding Hood Tea

Please join me for tea at the kid's table today.
This is the cutest Little Red Riding Hood Storytime tea set.

I like the red and white flower at the bottom of the cup.
Mr. Wolf looks quite dapper in his purple overalls.
And Little Red is adorable in polkadots.

Do any of you toy collectors know the year?
It was made by Ohio Arts, and looks like it may have been in the 70's.

Linking to:
Teacup Tuesday with Terri and Martha

Saturday, October 1, 2011

A Day In Parkville

We decided to spend our day in Parkville.

(McCay Hall,  Park University)

We scouted around for unique treasures at the antique mall.
(Do you see anything YOU would have brought home?)

(Parkville Antique Mall, English Landing)

We meandered through all the wonderful little shops up and down Main Street.
They were celebrating Oktoberfest down by the river.

(Shops pictured here include: Peddler's Wagon Quilt Shop,  Shabby Hattie's Tea Room
Christmas On Main Street,  Now You're Cookin',  Parkville Coffeehouse,   Stone Canyon Pizza and more.)

Before heading home, we paused for a few moments in the chapel,
to view the stained glass windows and whisper a prayer for a loved one.

(Graham Tyler Memorial Chapel)