28 February 2009

Pink Saturday!

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These pink dishes were purchased from Dollar General a couple of years ago for $1 each. I love that store (David, you can thank me later!) because I always find something I must have but it is ok to buy because it isn't breaking your budget!

The beautiful service pieces were a gift from swap I did on Girlfriends Forever, a chat room I belong to that is managed by our friend Barb from Bella Vista. I always forget the pattern name but I absolutely love it and see pieces of it in Tuesday Morning and TJ Maxx all the time.

Frugal Luxuries #9

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In Chapter 13 of Tracey McBride's book, Frugal Luxuries, where I take many of my ideas from, she discusses the idea of entertaining on a budget. She notes, "all that is necessary to pleasantly enjoy the company of family and friends is to
care."

I have decided to combine two desires into one grand idea. As many know, Bob loves to cook and he especially loves to smoke meats. We bought him a smoker a few years ago and we did a lot of it at the beginning and not any last summer. He expressed the desire to do more of the smoking starting this spring. My desire was to interact more with our neighbors. We are all busy people and barely know each other well enough to do any more than wave as we pass by.



So Bob is going to get his chance to smoke more meat while I invite the neighbors to a potluck at the house! We will be watching the meat sales carefully between now and summer. We can usually pick up the pork at around 79 cents a pound, so we can feed our neighbors for less than $15. What a steal!

How do you entertain frugally? What are your entertaining secrets?

27 February 2009

Evidence?

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You say you have evidence? Bring it on.

Favorite Photo Friday!

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My wedding dress was displayed at the Cole County Historical Society Museum a couple of summers ago. This photo is of the display that was set up. It is in the room where I docent the most!

Foodie Friday and Grocery Cart Recipe Swap!

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We had book club on Monday night and it was our turn to bring dessert. I wanted to use what I had on hand, and this is what I came up with:




Blueberry Cheesecake

2 blocks cream cheese
1 t vanilla
1 c heavy cream
1 c sour cream
1 pkg Tastefully Simple Blueberry Fruit Dip
1 c frozen blueberries
1 box of vanilla wafers
1 stick of butter

Process the box of vanilla wafers. Melt the butter and combine with the vanilla wafers. Press into the bottom of a 8 by 10 pan.

Whip up heavy cream until peaks form. Whip cream cheese with vanilla until smooth and add in Blueberry Fruit Dip. fold in sour cream. Fold in whipped cream. Add blueberries and blend gently. Smooth into pan. Refrigerate. Cut into squares and serve.

According to book club, this was very good!

26 February 2009

Tablescape Thursday

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This tablescape was done with my wedding china, crystal and silver. The bride in the picture is me!



Bob and I were married in 1977. The year before we married, my Grandmother Holt passed away. She left me her wedding china which is what Bob and I decided we would use for our wedding china. My grandfather purchased this china when he was stationed in England during WWII. It is Elegance by Sheffield. He would buy pieces and then send it to my grandmother.



Our silver is Cherbrough by Oneida. It is actually stainless which I love. Bob's mom bought us the silver chest we store it in for a shower gift.



The glassware was purchased in Chicago. We actually found it on the back of a box of detergent! The glass is etched with an Old English "S". Even though it is just plain glassware, it has lasted 32 years! It is all about taking care of your stuff!



Don't you love the little nut cups? They have a little slot in the back for a name tag. I purchased them while attending my first year of college (also my first year as a wife!). I thought they were so charming!

25 February 2009

Outdoor Wednesday!

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Visit here to see more Outdoor Wednesday posts. Thank you Susan!

These roses were delivered to a teacher here at school for Valentine's Day. I don't know how they do it but roses do grow outside so I thought this qualified!

24 February 2009

Girl Scout Cookie Time!

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As a principal of an elementary school, every Girl Scout in the school asks me to buy Girl Scout cookies. And I say yes to every single one! So, right now I have six boxes of Thin Mints, one box of Lemonades, two boxes of Peanut Butter patties, one box of Daisies, three boxes of Shortbread and I think, one box of Samoas. My favorite: Thin Mints, in case you couldn't tell.



My favorite way to eat them is to freeze them. I love to take them directly out of the freezer and pop one into my mouth. Cold minty goodness!

I bought an extra box of them so I could try this recipe:

MINT DELIGHT:

2 packages (8 oz. size) instant chocolate pudding
3 tbsp. butter or margarine (melted)
1 pkg. (8 oz) softened cream cheese
1 pkg. Thin Mints (crushed)
4 cupped whipped topping
3 cups milk

Combine cookies with melted butter or margarine. (Save ¼ cup of cookies for topping). Press cookie mixture on bottom of 13" x 9" pan. Chill. Combine cream cheese with 1 cup whipped topping. Spread over cookie mixture. Chill 15 – 20 min. Prepare pudding and pour over cream cheese mixture. Chill 1 hour. Top with remaining whipped topping and Thin Mint cookie crumbs.

I am pretty certain that I won't have the extra box left, though.

I sold GS cookies when I was little. I was in GS as a Brownie, then a Cadet then a GS. I think I quit when I was 14. Ahhhh... the memories of GS camp, singing Make New Friends but Keep the Old and giving the friendship squeeze.

23 February 2009

Show us your Favorites!

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Barking Mad is having a giveaway of a $250 Target card. All you have to do is list your top 5 posts to play!

Here are mine in no particular order:

Spring in Missouri

Mr. and Mrs. Eric Hasty

Kitchen Duty

It's Our Anniversary

Happy Halloween

Our lovely dinner by Chef Bob

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I wanted to share with you Bob's lovely Valentine meal he made for Ashley, Eric and me. He is such a good cook and we are truly blessed by this!



Our opening course of crab cake on a bed of roasted red pepper aioli with jicama sticks.



This delicious salad with gorgonzola cheese, dried cranberries, walnuts, edameme and greens was accompanied by a goat cheese brie toast with sundried tomatoes. Mmmm.



Our little beggar. Truman does not have as good table manners as Wilson does.

Our main course was panfried scallops with shrimp. Under the seafood was creamy sundried tomato risotto. It was Bob's first risotto and it was delicious.



Dessert. I needn't say more.



As part of our dinner, Bob had us trying to identify the notes that were in each wine we tried. These little vials contain scents that are typically found in certain types of wine.

Another fabulous meal by Chef Bob!

22 February 2009

Book Review Sunday: French by Heart

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French by Heart: An American Family's Adventures in La Belle France by Rebecca Ramsey is a charming tale of how a typical American family finds life in France. All the horror stories we hear of how much French people hate Americans seem not to be true if Mrs. Ramsey is to be believed. Her account of how she learns to stay American in a French culture is interesting, sweet, and humorous. She describes the food, the art, the countryside, road trips, her neighbors... all in such a way that makes one desire to do the same: pack up and move to France!

Her description of being in France during 9-11 is poignant.

I read this book quickly as I was very interested in how she would end her story. It is a book that I will pick up again to savor more slowly! I love memoirs

21 February 2009

Pink Saturday!

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Go check out Beverly's Pink Saturday event! Click on the Pink Saturday picture to the right and it will take you there!

I received this lamp as a gift when I left teaching to become a principal. The students from West School OUTDID THEMSELVES with lovely things for my new desk. This lamp happens to be in my dining room now. When I left West School I was going to a job where I would be in two buildings, with two separate desks. They gave me fixtures and lovelies for both. I had this darling shabby chic look at one desk and this lovely Victorian look for the other.

The walls in my dining room are a deep berry. I guess I have done a Double Pink Saturday!

Frugal Luxuries #8

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I love flowers. I love getting flowers and I love having flowers in my home.

However, my frugal self cringes at having a bouquet of flowers sitting on my table that cost over $40. I just would rather have a live rose bush!

I discovered this company while browsing the web. What a great concept! The idea of being able to pick up a bouquet of cut flowers for $5 and artfully arrange them into a bouquet appeals to me greatly. I thought you might be as interested in it as I am!



Don't you want to make this?? I love it!

Bob has planted a rose garden for me over the years. I love going out to the garden and snipping off a branch of roses for the powder room or my bedroom. Going to sleep with rose scent in your nose is definitely a frugal luxury!

20 February 2009

Favorite Photo Friday!

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I took this photo with my cheap digital (again) in 2004 when we vacationed in Florida. I don't remember the name of the beach. I love how the plant is darkened against the sky!

Foodie Friday

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I am joining this new adventure on Fridays as Bob and I are "food snobs" if you listen to our daughter, Ashley. It is hosted by Designs by Gollum so you should go and check out the other posts on food, too! We love the whole food experience: from gardening and growing our own vegetables and herbs, to preparing and cooking, to the wonderful art of eating!

One of my favorite food passions is Tastefully Simple. No, I am not a sales rep but I do enjoy many of their products. If you haven't tried them, it is worth your time.
One of our favorite activities is to host a party. Parties are sampling parties, where the hostess makes a few of the products and your guests get to try them! It is so much fun.

My favorite products: Bountiful Beer Bread (although I now have my own super simple beer bread recipe), Perfect Parmesan Biscuits, Garlic Garlic, Pine Nut and Basil Pesto, and Spinach and Herb Spice Mix (fabulous on eggs!).

19 February 2009

Tablescape Thursday

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Bob cooked a surprise Valentine luncheon for Ashley, Eric and me on Sunday. We used Ashley and Eric's vintage wedding china, their new silver service, and our crystal. The china is from St.Regis China, pattern 101 and made in Japan. We would love to have more information on this company, if any of you china experts would be willing share! This china was a gift from Ashley's Grandmother Steffes. Ashley found several pieces at an antique mall and bought them all in order to expand her service pieces and place settings.

The tablecloth was purchased at a rummage sale for a dollar. I loved the bow cutwork and that it was white. It irons so crisp and pretty. Please note the Gorham crystal dinner bell, another one of my noncollection collection



The crystal candleholders are from Lenox and were purchased years ago. I love that the top is for thinner candles and when you turn the holder over, it will hold a wider based candle!



I loved the way this photo turned out with the rose in full focus and the dishes slightly blurred. It does make it a tad difficult to see the place setting, though!

18 February 2009

Outdoor Wednesday

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I came upon this clump of grass while walking my dog in my neighborhood. I immediately told Bob that we needed to landscape for the winter as well as the summer. We have planned to add some grasses to our gardens to help with our winter landscape.

Go visit Southern Day Dreamer for more Outdoor Wednesday posts!