Flooding Susie’s Inbox

October 29, 2009

Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas, Oh My! (how predictable)

Filed under: VeryVera — sashyjane @ 10:00 am

Feeling uninspired today.  What’s that? You want another canned VeryVera article? Sure! I’ll be happy to oblige.


Whip up some ghoulishly good breakfast treats with these Halloween Pancake Molds. Designed to create pancakes in the shapes of a jack-o’-lantern, ghost and bat, these molds couldn’t be easier to use. Just place them with their handles up on a preheated griddle, then pour in your batter. After the first side has cooked, remove the molds and flip the pancakes. The molds are finished with a nonstick coating, so they’re a snap to clean. The handles fold down for compact storage.

If you’re not the canned pumpkin kind of baker, you know what a pain it can be to scoop all the goopy seeds and pulp from the inside of a pumpkin. The sticky goo gets everywhere and doesn’t make your baking terribly appetizing. Enter the Pumpkin Power Scooper. The battery operated mechanism has a rotating head that loosens seeds and pulp from the pumpkin walls making it a snap to scoop the goop. Run the scooper along the walls an additional time to thin for carving.

You’ve just finished a huge dinner of turkey and ham and all the fixings. As soon as everybody can breathe again, you’re all ready for a little sweet treat. You spent the better part of the day slaving in the kitchen, trying your very best to recreate Grandma’s famous apple spice cake. Aunt Jane wants a little taste, Uncle Jim wants a big slab, Cousin Beth wants a medium sized piece and some ice cream. Instead of destroying your beautiful creation by hacking it into varying sizes, you knew this was going to happen. You thought ahead. You bought the S-XL Cake Pan. The silicone cake mold is 8.4″ diameter and 3.4″ high, so making Grandma’s bundt cake is a cinch but you can ‘pre-shape’ any cake into 15 separate pieces, in a variation of ‘sizes’.


If you’re serving one of VeryVera’s delicious Layer Cakes, you can still serve beautiful slices without worrying about that always ugly first piece. The Cake Cutter looks like tongs with a triangle on top while functioning as a cake cutter and lifter. Simply slide it down on your cake and then slightly squeeze the tongs and a perfect piece of cake is on its way to your plate. It takes the pain out of serving, cutting and dealing with cake that needs to make its way from Aunt Lucy’s milk glass cake plate to Dad’s dessert plate.

When we were little, Susie and I would be charged with collecting the pecans the two trees in our front yard produced. We’d then spend the better part of a Saturday cracking and picking each nut for baking or freezing. I sure wish we’d had the Cubist Nutcracker! Two cubes made out of beech, 3″ x 3″ x 3″, one with different sized indentations, the other without. How does it work? Simple. Place a nut in one of the indentations so it isn’t entirely hidden but pokes out a tiny bit. Place the other smooth cube on top of it. Gently give it a good whacking. What fun that would have been as kids! The nut is open, not in a million pieces and the actual kernel is safe and in one piece.

One of my absolute favorite things about this time of year is the comforting smell of apples and cinnamon (right after the smell of a fresh Christmas tree.) To have your house smelling like fresh apple cider any time, plug in a Crock Pot Little Dipper and mix up the following recipe.

Apple Cinnamon Potpourri Simmer
1 apple
2-3 C water
6-8 cinnamon sticks
1 handful of cloves
1 dash of nutmeg
the juice of an orange
a splash of vanilla
Simmer and enjoy! This recipe borrowed from Darby.
When you’re decorating Christmas or Hannukah cookies this year, manage the mess with Kids Cookie Decorating Kit. The easy-grip plastic bottles are a cinch to manage, especially for small hands. Assorted decorating tips let kids draw all kinds of designs with icing – words, borders, petals, stars and more. The kit includes three squeeze bottles, one straight-sided bottle and four decorating tips (round, leaf, star and basket). Recipes and instructions included.

 

 

Originally published at VeryVera[dot]com.

October 28, 2009

A Tasty Treat

Filed under: Doggies!, Food, Tater — sashyjane @ 10:43 am

Don’t these look delcious?

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How about these?

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They’re a little pricey but who could say no to this sweet face?

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How do you spoil your fur baby?

October 27, 2009

The Hostess (or guestess) with the Mostess

Filed under: Entertaining, VeryVera — sashyjane @ 11:45 am

Is it just me or has Fall become the new Spring? I’m looking at eight invitations to showers, weddings, parties and get-togethers on my bulletin board all scheduled for October and November. I’m sure the holiday party invitations won’t be far behind.

With each of those occasions comes the opportunity to present the host, hostess or guest of honor with a gift. When you consider the effort your holiday hostess has made, it hardly seems adequate to arrive brandishing a bottle of Pinot still in the liquor store bag. Instead of picking up a last minute gift and cramming it into a cheap dollar store gift bag or sheet of newspaper, put a little forethought into inventive thank you gifts. Better yet, keep extra gifts on hand that come preadorned with ribbon, a pretty box or paper.

Drawer liners are a useful and pretty way to say thank you without needing to run to the store at the last minute for more wrapping paper and tape. These by Soap and Paper Factory are pretty enough to present by themselves. Tuck a calling card into the ribbon and your hostess will feel appreciated!

For the foodie hostess, take any of the elegant gift packages from Bella Cucina like the Citrus Spread Duo. A combination of handmade Meyer Lemon and Key Lime Spreads will not only look pretty on your hostess’s countertop but will make a delicious snack while she’s unwinding after the party.

If your hostess is the note writing type (and what good hostess isn’t?) she’ll love a sweet little packet of notes like these tied with a simple satin ribbon. If you’ve got a little extra time, design and print your own custom stationery with the hostess’s name and coordinating envelopes with her return address on the back panel. Keep a spool of ribbon on hand for a quick wrapping job.

Keep an eye out for vintage kitchen or tea towels and on your way to a party, grab a few in coordinating colors and tie with a ribbon. Attach your calling card and you’ve got a unique and thoughtful gift in seconds!

For a classic gift that every party-giver can appreciate, pick up a nice(ish) bottle of wine but for heaven’s sake, don’t thrust it out to your hostess in its brown paper sack! Dress up your vino or bubbly with a cute but simple fabric bag. Whip a few of these up on your sewing machine ahead of time in different fabrics and colors and you’ll be ready for any party!

Originally published at VeryVera[dot]com.

October 23, 2009

On days like these…

Filed under: Houses — sashyjane @ 2:09 pm

when the weather is just right, I’d love to prop my feet up and read a book in a cozy mountain retreat like this one.

October 21, 2009

Oh! I Love the one with the puffy eyes!

Filed under: Entertaining, Food, Friends — sashyjane @ 9:40 am

On Saturday night, a few friends came by for a little supper and conversation and I couldn’t have had a better time! We ate, we drank, we laughed, we cried, we acted like we were in the seventh grade.

Those in attendance included:

Jen

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Jennifer

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Rachel

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Sarah

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And me

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I served sweet bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin (the same recipe I served for Scott and Lenka a while back), butternut squash lasagna that I found here, Rachel made some deliciously steamed broccoli and we had an apple walnut crisp with vanilla ice cream for dessert.

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The church where I work had a huge banquet complete with harvest-themed centerpieces.  There were tons left over so my boss sent me home with 7 of them! After taking a couple to Mama and Grandmama, I had the perfect fillers to make the party feel really polished.

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I’ll be the first to admit that I’m no expert when it comes to wine. I have no palette for what’s good or bad (except for Doghouse. Yuck!) So, instead, I purchase wine based on the prettiness of it’s packaging and I thought this bottle fit very well with the Fall theme. It was drinkable so that’s good enough for me. Seriously, when you read the reviews of wines and they say they have juicy, fruity, nutty or peppery flavors, I have yet to taste that in a bottle of wine.  Maybe I’m just unsophisticated.  At least I didn’t serve it over ice. :)

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I also picked up a few bottles of this. It’s pretty good but I’m not entirely sure how I feel about pumpkin ale. It makes me queasy to think about but it tastes pretty good.

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I absolutely love entertaining and a small dinner party with friends was just what the doctor ordered last week.  I feel very confident in saying I have hilarious (and pretty) friends. Let me know if you want to set your attractive guy friends up with any of them. :)

All the pictures except for the beer are stole from various and sundry Facebook profiles. The beer image is from here.

October 19, 2009

Contentment

Filed under: Houses, Jesus — sashyjane @ 8:45 am

I’m finding it increasingly harder to just be content in the Lord and not get frustrated and upset when I see things I want but can’t have.

For example, I would love to have a beautifully decorated house with built in bookshelves that look like this.

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And a big backyard with a fun set up like this.

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And throw pillows made from this fabric.

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But alas, I don’t have any of those things and I feel so unsatisfied when my house isn’t perfect, I don’t have gorgeous outfits and I don’t have 10,000 blog followers. However, even if I did have those things, I still wouldn’t be satisfied.  My satisfaction doesn’t come from a pretty house or cute clothes. It only comes when I’m resting fully in the assurance that I have a God who loves me enough to send His very own Son to die for my sins.

So why do I still chase worldly things that will never satisfy me? For some silly reason, I’m believing the lie that these earthly trinkets will satisfy me and bring me joy. They do bring me some joy, for a minute, but they can never satisfy me the way Jesus can.

I’ve been wrestling with this more and more recently. I think looking at these pretty magazines and blogs has added fuel to the fire when it comes to my materialistic heart. I’ve begun praying that the Lord will show me how to use my blog without looking to earthly things to fill me up. Any suggestions?

“Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.  Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food. Incline your ear, and come to me;  hear, that your soul may live;  and I will make with you an everlasting covenant,  my  steadfast, sure love for David.” -Isaiah 55:1-3

October 15, 2009

More of Annie

Filed under: Friends, Weddings — sashyjane @ 4:35 pm

If you enjoyed pictures of Annie and Greg’s wedding day, you’re in for a treat! Rebecca Ruth Photography just posted more pictures! Click here to eat up all the gorgeous images on her blog.

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October 14, 2009

The Post of Many Talents

Filed under: Entertaining, Houses — sashyjane @ 10:06 am

Yesterday, Rachel cooked a delicious crab scampi with green beans for supper and invited me to join her.  It was flavorful, quick, easy and hit the spot!

As we ate at the dining room table, I couldn’t help but lament my lack of enthusiasm about changing the house up a bit for Fall.  Last year I took great pride in changing out table linens and centerpieces to suit the season but I just hadn’t been motivated this year. As soon as we polished off a delicious slice of pumpkin loaf, I dug through the storage closet under the stairs and got to work.

Fortunately for me, Rachel had her fabulous camera handy and snapped pictures of the progress with the blog in mind.  Before I got started, this is roughly what the dining room looked like. (Note, Rachel did not take this picture)

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A couple of pinecones, some ribbon and a few placemats later, the dining room is all ready for Fall! (The following pictures are Rachel’s)

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IMG_5835I’m itching to paint in there and put down an area rug under the table.

I am going to pretend that I have thousands of devoted followers who cling to my every word for a minute and tell you where everything came from. :) Indulge me.

If you’ve been reading for a while, you may recall that I painted my table this rich cream color a while back and those bronze/gold chairs are from a rummage sale at the church where I work.

First, those sumptuous placemats are from Williams-Sonoma.  Normally, I would never buy myself anything from W-S (even though I’d love to have the entire store) but these were an excellent price and were too beautiful to pass up. Look at that gorgeous embrodiery!IMG_5843

I mean really look at it! IMG_5801

The napkin rings are from Target.  They are wire but are made to look like twigs. The napkins are some Mama didn’t want.  They don’t exactly match and I’d love to have the ones that match the placemats but they’ll do for now.

The little birdie salt and pepper shakers are from Target.

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The pinecones were some I picked up a few years ago at Target after Christmas.  They’re actually ornaments and they’ve been sprayed with a little gold sparkle.  They make great fillers on the tree and I think they look lovely displayed for Fall as well.

The bowl is one Mama gave me (I think it’s from Marshall’s) and the grosgrain ribbon is just some I had lying around.  I need to redo the bow and trim it up though.

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The buffet is actually the dresser that matches my bedroom furniture.  I didn’t really have the space or need the storage in my bedroom so I repurposed it as a buffet/linen storage in the dining room.

The lamps are a matching pair from the Salvation Army! The day I went in, they had all lamps buy one, get one 1/2 price! I put a couple of Target shades on them and viola! They look cool, antiquey and way pricier than they really are.

The mirror is from my great-grandmother’s vanity, the mustard yellow runner is from Target and is one of my favorite pieces because it goes with everything in my house, all year round! The junky looking candle/pinecone thing is from Target.  It was also on clearance after Christmas a few years ago.  It’s gotten a little beaten up in storage and looks a little worse for wear but it sort of captures the feeling of the season.

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That beautiful print of the snow covered tree is a Jim Gensheer I won at our women’s retreat a few weekends ago. I absolutely love it! The year prior, I won a print of a gorgeous maple leaf by Jim but it’s hanging in Mama’s house.

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Total cost of making my house a little more autumnal- $0!

Next up, the living room…

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Many thanks to Rachel for her willingness to photograph our house for my blog!

October 12, 2009

What an A-Maizing weeked!

Filed under: Friends, Weddings — sashyjane @ 3:07 pm

I know I said I’d round out my fantasy travels but that’ll just have to wait.

Fall is officially upon us! You can’t swing a jack-o-lantern without hitting Halloween decorations and changing leaves! This weekend, since I couldn’t make it to Annie’s wedding in Lexington, I visited another friend in Loganville.  (not quite the same scenery)

We took in a corn maze called Corn Dawgs. It was hilariously good fun and we got some fun pictures out of the “mildly amusing crudly painted folk art” (please tell me you know what this is referencing.)

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Jen even managed to make a love connection on the hayride.

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Unfortunately, we were misinformed and quickly learned that the “pick a pumpkin patch” didn’t mean said pumpkin was free.

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Meanwhile, in Lexington, Annie and Greg were uniting in Holy Matrimony!

***All photos from here below belong to her***

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Annie and her sister/matron of honor Maggie.

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I meant to post weeks ago about Annie’s 2 fabulous showers but never got around to it… maybe tomorrow?

October 7, 2009

Traveler’s Blues

Filed under: Travel — sashyjane @ 5:27 pm

I absolutely love traveling!! The only problem is that I rarely get to do it. And when I do travel, it’s usually with the family so I can afford it.

However, if I had nothing to worry about, no work deadlines, no money woes and a fun traveling partner, I’d take off today.

The first place I’d go is Nashville (luckily I’ll be going there for my friend Sarah’s birthday in November!) nashville-skyline-1

I’d visit the honky tonks, eat at hole in the wall restaurants, visit the Ryman and rub elbows with the stars.  I went to Nashville once, four years ago, and fell in love! I can’t wait to go back.

I’d stay here (remember, there are no $$ limits) and go to as many live shows as I possibly could.

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Then I’d head up to Kentucky.  My friend Annie is getting married there this weekend and it KILLS me that I can’t be there.  Kentucky would be so gorgeous this time of year.  I’d hit up the Woodford Reserve Distillery, take in the gorgeous fall leaves and go to a horse race or two.

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I’d probably stay here.

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After a fabulous week or two in Lexington, I’d head north to Chicago and Boston (Darby and Erika have both been there so I’ll let them show you the highlights) I’d stay here in Chicago and here in Boston.  From there, I’d stop in New York for a week of shopping, people watching, elbow rubbing and Broadway show enjoying.

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I would stay here (in the penthouse, obvi)

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I would see this show

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And I would buy myself a little something here, here and here.

After making my way up the eastern seaboard, I’d probably be in the mood for a little overseas adventure. First, I’d stop in Wales and England.  I’d stay here.

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I’d of course take in all the lovely sights and sounds that the English countryside and the city of London had to offer.  This will probably take about 2 weeks.

Then I’d head on over to Ireland and Scotland where I’d invite some of my American friends to join me for a while.  We’d need a large place to accomodate us all.  This will do nicely.

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After I’d gotten my fill of the sheep and gorgeous landscape, I’d pop through Luxembourg, Austria, Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, France, Switzerland,  Sweden and Norway and then stop for an extended stay in Slovakia.

After Lenka and her family tired of me, I’d visit Italy for a few weeks and pass through Venice, Rome, Pompeii and Milan while driving this car.

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In Venice, I’d probably stay here.

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Rome, I’d make my home here.

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Pompeii would find me visiting the famous volcanic ruins and staying here.

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pompeii3*Why is there a creepy fencer standing there?

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Milan would have me spending tons of money on ridiculous clothes like these:

and staying here.

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I’d then pass through the Tuscan vineyards and make my way to Greece.

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Part Two of my fantasy travels tomorrow…

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