Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Blueberry Buckle For The Win!

So on Sunday I made a blueberry buckle, which is like a one layer cake with a cinnamon sugar topping. It was as good as it sounds! I had just taken it out of the oven when my parents dropped off Kangaroo Girl from Youth Group. Great timing! We demolished half of the pan, it was SO GOOD.



The recipe is from Katie at Made To Be A Momma.com Following is the recipe, directly from her website:

For the Cake:
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup shortening
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups blueberries

Topping:
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup butter, softened

Instructions:
1.Combine the sugar, shortening, egg, milk, flour, baking powder and salt.
2.Fold in the blueberries.
3.Pour the mixture in a greased 9 x 13 inch pan.
4. Combine the topping ingredients of sugar, flour, cinnamon and butter until crumbly.
5. Sprinkle the topping mixture on top of the cake.
6. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.

Notes:
*If you use frozen berries your cake mixture will get quite cold and form into a large "ball" when transferring to a pan. Just use a spatula or your hand to push the cake mixture to fill the pan.
*We also found that the cake mixture fits into an 8 in. x 11 in. pan just fine as well. Makes the cake pieces thicker. Just adjust baking time if needed.
This one is going in my recipe box. The cinnamon sugar topping was so good! We ate it with ice cream.

Have a great day readers and thanks for reading!
XOXO,
Melissa

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Cucumber and Tomato Salad

Tim has done an amazing job with our small raised garden. Our tomatoes and peppers went gangbusters this year. Last year, not so much due to tons of rain, everything was washed out. This year, everyone else's garden has busted out all over with produce and our neighbor left us a bag of tomatoes and cucumbers on our porch. What to do with all this bounty?

What my kitchen counter looks like!
Photo by Lynn Ketchum via the
Oregon State Univ. Extension Website
I don't can fresh foods so we have to eat it up somehow. I stumbled across a recipe for cucumber and tomato salad. I can put this together and have it chilling in the fridge while I make the rest of dinner.

Basically, you dice up as much peeled cucumber and tomatoes as you want and combine in a bowl. Pour some Italian dressing over it and refrigerate while you finish making supper. It goes well by itself or you can eat it with saltines or like a pico de gallo with pita chips. It is not as labor intensive as making bowls of salads and it comes together quick and keeps for a few days in the fridge.


Photo by Karry Hosford from the
My Recipes.com Website
 Not my photo, plus I don't add red onions (I don't do onions, ick). You'll find I will rarely add an original photo since it takes so long for me to upload it and get it how I want it on the blog. Much easier to grab a photo already on the web and it looks better too!

We have a ton of blueberries to use up and I'm going to make a blueberry buckle today. I'll post that recipe if it turns out. It seems easy enough.

I hope you all have a wonderful Sunday! Thanks for reading!

XOXO,
Melissa

Starting Over with Blogging

Greetings readers! Life got crazy and recently I read through this blog. I loved looking back and seeing what we did when the kids were younger, it was like a life snapshot. I haven't blogged since May, 2013 and I feel like I missed out on documenting our lives with a visual diary. So therefore, I'm back!

I hope to get back in the swing of things and post about our daily life so Kangaroo Girl and Monkey Boy can look back and see what we did. Isn't technology great? I wish I could look back on my life when I was a kid and see photos and read my mom's take on events and daily happenings.

So without further ado, let's catch up, shall we? The saying "The more things change, the more they stay the same" rings true. I'm still sewing, still love my Lilly clothes and am always hunting for a bargain. Still love coffee and sweets and baking. Monkey Boy is still monkeyish and Kangaroo Girl thinks she is a teenager. Tim still puts up with all our shenanigans!

But what has changed is I'm more streamlined in my life. I work full time in a different job (promotion, woot!) which some days has been quite the challenge as I had to learn a new set of skills with a higher degree of accuracy and accountability. It has been draining but a great learning experience and it has taught me so much in dealing with change and more responsibility. I'd come home from work and immediately shift into Home Mode with all the usual cooking dinner, laundry, help with homework, keep Monkey Boy settled, lay out clothes for the next day, figure out the next day's dinner, plan lunch errands, etc. etc. Blogging took a back seat. So did intensive meal planning, putting together perfect outfits for work, book club, reading magazines, and tv watching. I was WORN SLAP OUT by the time bedtime came around.

After the dust would settle and if I had any energy left, I would wind down at night and read blogs on the iPad. But what I noticed was more and more people left blogging for Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Now I love me some Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest (I'm not on Twitter) but I missed reading everyone's blogs. Kangaroo Girl would say to me "Mom, you haven't blogged in XX months!" then I saw her looking at this blog page yesterday, seeing if it was updated. I decided to start up the ol' blog again since I don't want her and Monkey Boy to miss out on remembering what was going on in our everyday life.

 I always liked this blog since you can't pigeonhole it as a shopping blog with affiliate links, a blog about our struggles with autism, raising an almost teenager, a travel blog, a recipe blog, or a random thoughts blog with snippets about my day, kind of like Twitter in blog form. It is what it is! You won't see shopping links, requests to follow me on Instagram/Pinterest/Twitter/Facebook (I'm pretty boring and read other people's posts more than I post), or one kind of topic. It is multi-faceted, just like me!

Old friends, thanks for sticking with me and a big welcome to any new readers!

Recipe to follow!
XOXO,
Melissa

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Why, Hello There!

I am totally embarrassed by my lack of blogging. Let's dust off the cobwebs shall we and catch up!

The biggest news is that my job went from part-time to full-time in January. Hello, good insurance benefits and retirement plan! Many, many thanks to my parents and in-laws who graciously (crazily?) agreed to watch Kangaroo Girl and Monkey Boy after school. I love working full-time and I can get so much done at work instead of having to leave projects unfinished when I worked part-time and left at 2 pm.  Granted, it was an adjustment on the home front with meal planning, laundry, cleaning, etc. but it all worked out and I'm in the swing of things with planning the next day's meals the day before and not at 2:45 pm the same day!

I'm still sewing and monogramming anything and everything. I love this quote by Reese Witherspoon:



So therefore I whipped up this zippered pouch made from some vintage Lilly fabric I upcycled from a skirt I found at Goodwill and I put my initial on it. So cute and it was easy! The pouch is from the wonderful blog So Sew Something .



I'm gearing up for the next round of beach bags to make. I picked up some fabulous purple fabric to use as a lining and I am hunting up the outside fabric and trim. I have lots of projects in mind and I hope to get some sewing done this weekend. It is supposed to be cloudy and rainy here, perfect for sewing!

Monkey Boy got an iPad for his birthday/Christmas and we are working with him on using it as a communication device. They really use the iPad at school and we are doing the same with him at home. The hardest part was to get him from being so "tap happy" and impulsively tapping the icons to choosing the icons to meaningfully communicate. We'll get there! The Autism Society of NC had an iPads and Autism seminar last weekend in Asheville but it was not a good weekend for us to go. I'm banking on them hosting a similar seminar in Charlotte or somewhere closer than Asheville.

Kangaroo Girl will be in middle school (!) next year. The 5th graders toured the middle school recently and she loved it! She is so excited about going to a new school. The big news is that band and chorus will now start in 6th grade instead of 7th and she chose chorus instead of band. She was the only one in her class that chose chorus! That surprised me and I'm glad she stuck to her decision to be in chorus though literally everyone else in her class chose band. We're also getting ready for her dance recital in one month, she is dancing a solo this year to "I Hope You Dance" by Lee Ann Womack. Dance photos were last night and I can't wait to see her dance at the recital!

We made it  through another tax season, hooray! To celebrate, we let Anna pick out where she wanted to go on our first day trip the weekend after April 15th. She chose IKEA! Great choice Anna! They were having a free shredding event too so Tim had a box full of papers to shred and I cleaned out random paperwork at home to have shredded. IKEA was wonderful, as always, and we of course hit up multiple Goodwill stores. It was a great day all around and I'm excited to start taking day trips again now that Tim isn't chained to a computer, cranking out tax returns and extensions.

That's about the size of it! Writing this piece has made me think of other topics worth blogging about. Stay tuned for my indecisiveness about a duvet vs. comforter vs. quilt vs. throwing a blanket over the whole bed and being DONE with trying to redo the bedding ensemble. I tend to slightly overthink things.

Until next time,
Melissa

Friday, September 28, 2012

Food Friday: Quick Apple Crisp




Happy Friday everyone! As I mentioned in the last post, we went to our town's annual Apple Festival. Mom and I split a bag of apples and I made Quick Apple Crisp. It is a no-fail Pampered Chef recipe. If you don't have the stoneware Deep Dish Baker, you can certainly use a 9x13 Pyrex glass baker. Here's the recipe, courtesy of The Pampered Chef:

5 Granny Smith apples

1 package (9 ounces) yellow cake mix, I used Jiffy
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
1/2 cup chopped nuts
Vanilla ice cream or thawed, frozen whipped topping (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Peel, core and slice apples using Apple Peeler/Corer/Slicer. Cut apples in half using Utility Knife. Place apples in Deep Dish Baker.


2. Combine cake mix, sugar, cinnamon, butter and nuts in Classic Batter Bowl. Mix until crumbly using Classic Scraper. Sprinkle mixture evenly over apples.

3. Bake 35-40 minutes or until apples are tender. Serve warm with ice cream or whipped topping, if desired.

SO GOOD and easy! Here it is fresh out of the oven:


Delish! I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!
XOXO,
Melissa


Sunday, September 9, 2012

Six Weeks Worth of News



Happy weekend everybody! After a good rainstorm yesterday, the weather here in NC has turned off cooler. To celebrate, I dragged out my yoga pants that have been packed away since early April. Total comfort.

It's been six weeks since I last posted so here are six things that have been going on in our corner of the world.

1. The kids started school and Anna loves her teacher! I signed up to be a grade parent/Room Mom for her class. There is talk of a Fall Festival later in the year so I forsee my free time becoming quite limited come October! Camden has the same teacher as last year and she is so good with him, as are the assistants in the classroom.

2. A new Goodwill opened up in Huntersville yesterday so we had to go check it out. It was crowded, even at 6:15 pm. I'm sure it was wall-to-wall mayhem when it opened at 9 that morning! Tim is great at finding awesome clothes for me, he found a pair of Lilly corduroy pants in my size! YAY! I found Camden a nice pair of Hartstrings pj's and a skirt for me. Afterwards we ate at the Cook House restaurant then hit the GW in Cornelius. It's an addiction!

3. Since school has started back, I'm putting sewing lessons on hold until the summer. I've got lots of projects planned. First on the list is to make another zebra tote bag since I bought enough material for two bags. Anna loves the one I made earlier in the summer. It holds at least 5 beach towels and all the random stuff you need for a beach or pool outing.

4. My fingernails are all one length, and that length is long. It has been YEARS since that has happened. I find myself staring at them during the day. It does not take much to amuse me! I need to find a good place to go for a manicure.

5. Our local Apple Festival is next weekend, a sure sign that fall is on the way! On the first floor of where I work, the County Home Extension agency has an office and a demo kitchen. The kitchen is in use every day this time of year and I can smell the apples cooking. The agency sells fried apple pies for a fundraiser before and during the Apple Festival. They also sell apple pies. Mmmmmmm.....

6. Another sure sign that fall is on the way is the children's clothing consignment sales. Around here, churches will hold clothing consignment sales as fundraisers and our church has a big one twice a year. It is a lot of work to sort, hang, tag, price, and drop off the outgrown clothes then work an hour at the sale then wash all the clothes you buy but the rewards are worth it in terms of great prices on cothes and the commission check! Anna has her own consignor number and she and I get to shop at the consignors pre-sale. We racked up on the Justice clothes for her that someone was selling new with tags. Camden got some great things too, we did good finding clothes for him at another sale two weeks before. Now the kids are set for fall/winter. As far as selling goes, Anna and I sold the majority of what we brought, espescially Anna's clothes.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend, maybe it won't be another six weeks before I update again!

XOXO,
Melissa

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

My Grandmother Hattie



We recently went to Florida to visit family and have a memorial service to remember my grandmother Hattie who had passed away in June at the age of 89. She was cremated and did not want a formal funeral service, just for the family to get together and remember her. We gathered at her condo at Ft. Walton Beach and had a great time catching up with the cousins, meeting their spouses for the first time, and celebrating Hattie's life and my birthday and my cousin Waverly's birthday, who was born a day before me (but many years later)! I'm the oldest grandchild and Waverly is the youngest, there is a 19 year difference.



I never called Hattie "Grandma" or "Grandmother", she told my mom when I was born she wasn't old enough to be a grandmother yet, even though she was older than my other grandmother who I call Granny, so I could call her Hattie. That's what I called her! My grandfather passed away when I was 7 and Hattie remarried a few years later and his last name was Wood but everyone called him Woodie. So instead of Grandmother and Grandfather, I called them Hattie and Woodie.

Since Woodie was a retired Major in the Air Force, he and Hattie could get on military flights for cheap. They flew all around the world, you name it, they went there! I asked her where the best place was she had ever traveled to and she said "Barbados" (now you know).


I always thought Hattie would have been great as a British grandmother. Want to be strolled around in an English pram? Hattie did it with me! Feel the need to dress your baby in a two piece Irish linen jacket and pants ensemble? Hattie hooked me up with this outfit for Camden! Sorry about the bad quality photo. Totally impractical but still so classic and traditional. She was proper, loved the Victorian era, and was very traditional.

The day Tim and I got married, she brought her grandmother's lace parasol and lace gloves for me to carry. I didn't carry the parasol, as seen in the photo, but I carried the gloves around my bouquet.

Hattie loved to walk down the beach, down to a barrier island tracking station dome that was on the beach. It was removed after Hurricane Ivan in 2007, BTW. Anyway, she would tell Woodie "I'm going to walk to the dome" and he'd always say "And back" and she'd laugh and say "Of COURSE it's to the dome AND back!" So now when I'm walking anywhere or Tim says "Let's go down to the Goodwill in Charlotte" I think to myself "and back!"

My cousin Glynn took a walk down the beach the day we all got together at Hattie's condo. He says it best:


Hattie, you were truly one of a kind and will be missed. The only thing missing the day we got together was you!

XOXO,
Melissa