Thursday, July 31, 2008

"Chocolate Chip Cookie" Time

One of my daughter's dear friends is visiting in our home this week, from North Carolina. In one of our conversations, she mentioned that one of her biggest weaknesses is homemade chocolate chip cookies. Since I had a few extra minutes while babysitting today, I made some for her.
The recipe that I had copied from the internet, was a quick, easy and so delicious one. I made the cookies bigger than I usually do, because I wanted to try something that I had seen in a previous "Martha Stewart" magazine. It was an article on "cookie gift how-to", using blank CD envelopes from the office supply store. Included in the article were clip-art gift tags. I chose to make my own gift tags,with folded strips of paper, stickers and a "thinking of you" stamp. I took the extra cookies and put one in each envelope and stored them in a plastic container in the freezer. I will use them as little gifts when needed in the future.
I am sure you each of you have you own "best chocolate chip cookie" recipe. I personally have tasted some of your recipes and I know for a fact,they are so delicious!! But, if you happen to want to try this soft choc. chip cookie recipe, you can find it at "". When I was a little girl, choc. chip cookies and milk just seemed to make everything right. They still do. Why not bless someone's day with a cookie and might lighten their load. Judy

Another tip that I have tried, is to freeze individual balls of choc. chip cookie dough on a cookie sheet. When frozen, remove and store in zip-lock freezer bag. When you need some cookies, just place frozen dough balls on a cookie sheet and bake. It is defintely a time saver.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Evolution of a Needed Centerpiece

I had the crystal candlestick holders, I had the mirror, but I needed a tall crystal pedestal plate to set in the middle. I decided to do what I have done many times and that is, to create one myself. I found the sturdy goblet and the crystal plate at the "Dollar Tree". With my trusted, amazing "Goop"(a contact adhesive), I finished my project. Now, I just needed something to set on the pedestal plate to give it the finished look.

Imagine how very excited I was to find this fresh flower arrangement at my favorite Rt. 322 farm. The two dear ladies that raise the flowers, create so many beautiful, unusual arrangements. When I stopped at their small roadside stand, they had the perfect thing to go on my new pedestal plate. Even the colors of the flowers were perfect!!!
Now, don't you think the finished product looks good on the mirror? What makes it even better for me is the cost. A total of $ 8.00. Two dollars for the pedestal plate and $ 6.00 for the flowers. The candles lit and the lights dimmed...and the centerpiece is complete. I have discovered many uses for "Goop". It is a very strong adhesive. You never know when you might find a special little blessing along your daily route. Alma and Bertha sure do nice work!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Being "Grandpa" on a Beach Vacation

He loves every minute of this role in his life!! He is a fun, involved, helpful and kind grandpa. I thoroughly enjoy watching each of the grandchildren respond and look up to him. How blessed they are to have him in their lives and how very blessed he is, to have each of them. These pictures tell the story...and I loved capturing the moments. Judy

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Ways to Create Magnetic Boards with Recycling

A dear friend of mine works for an Interior Decorating company. When the wall paper books expire, or are no longer needed, they find creative ways to dispose of them. When she saw this particular book, she thought of me. No one has ever given me an expired wall paper book before, and quite honestly, I was not sure what to do with it. I purchased a plain white, magnetic board at Target, and this is what evolved ...a gift for my athletic grandson, to hang in his room. He has been playing la crosse in school so this wall paper and border were perfect to use in covering his board. I used spray glue as the adhesive. The magnets were purchased also at Target. He will hang it in his room and use it when school starts.
I purchased another plain white magnetic board at Target and used this wall paper and border in the same way. The magnets I used in this one are cut outs from the extra wall paper. I glued them on thick paper, cut them out, and glued them onto small round magnets that I had on hand, from Michaels. I added some touches of glitter and a black strip of paper down the center. I do not have plans for this one although I think it would make a nice, inexpensive gift for someone.
A year ago, I purchased a stack of old, ugly metal trays from an antique mall, for $ 1.00. I took one of them and sprayed it with black board spray paint from KMart. I then proceeded to decorate it with vintage stickers on small round magnets, and a few fancy tart molds that I also glued onto magnets. I set the finished tray on a black stand that I found at Walmart. If you have a vintage kitchen, this may work as a communication board for your family. Actually, this tray could be decorated in many different ways. I have sprayed some of them white and some in bright colors. Sometimes I use old buttons, or vintage flowers which I glue onto the magnets. Sometimes, I just use chalk to write messages on the black board surface. Since reminders are a daily part of my life lately, magnetic boards work for me. Judy

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Quick, Easy and Delicious Summer Desserts

II am always looking for quick, easy , inexpensive desserts, but they must taste delicious...who would want to waste calories on something that was not that way? I have memories of orange creme popcicles from summers long ago. This dessert always takes me back to those days. I simply layer orange sherbet and vanilla ice cream in little juice glasses, topped with cool whip and orange slice. I store them in the freezer until right before serving. It might take you back to your popcicle days ,too.
I was delighted to discover these snack size ice cream bars at the grocery store on Tuesday. I have served the regular sized vanilla and almond bars, at dinner parties in the past, but they were too big for a luncheon. These "snack size" bars are perfect when you just want a little something sweet after the main course. I added ribbons to the wooden sticks, just for fun. You can serve them individually on glass plates with lace doilies. How easy and how delicious!!
I also discovered Mrs. Field's chocolate chip cookies filled with vanilla ice cream. I rolled each one in pastel, sugared confetti. I did it all ahead of time, covered the plate and put it back in the freezer until serving time. I served these to the children at a family dinner a few weeks ago, and they were a big hit. Perfect combination...chocolate chip cookies and vanilla ice cream. If you have time to make your own cookies, that would work also.
Over the years, my mother has used these sugar free dessert shells for many different desserts that she has served. You can buy them in vanilla or chocolate. I often keep them in my freezer to whip out if guests stop in. Today, I filled them with blueberry "Yoplait Thick & Creamy" yogurt, fresh sweet blueberries and topped it off, with light "Cool Whip". At times, I use one dip of vanilla ice cream with the fresh blueberries mixed with blueberry pie filling. Actually, the possibilites are endless when it comes to fillings for these simple little shells. But, it always looks like you spent alot of time, when you serve them. Anyone of the above mentioned desserts would be perfect to use as gifts or for an afternoon tea party on the porch. Hope you enjoy them! Judy

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Three Birthdays in one Family - Three Cakes

This is the first time that I posted twice in one day. But, when I saw the pictures of the cakes we made for the three Miller children, I thought it would be fun to share them with you. Strawberry shortcake was the cake chosen for Rick, since that is one of his favorites. I was not sure that putting lacrosse players on the cake would work . Hopefully, the Gummi letters will be fine for him.
" Jay Jay, the Jetplane "will be perfect for Christopher's cake. Anything with chocolate will work for him, especially chocolate pudding cake.
Now, Annie's cake was masterfully created by her aunt, just special for her. The time and skill taken with this cake was evident in how it turned out. It is a real good thing that her aunt is headed for YTI to become a "pastry chef". I wish you the best Kimberly, in your new, exciting endeavor. You always were so artistic! What an adorable cake.
Off to the park we will go tomorrow, to celebrate with a little "three-in-one" party with lots of good food. Judy

Antique shop discovery

It was an unexpected discovery today, when I walked into a small antique shop on Rt. 322, and discovered that one of the partners was selling out, due to circumstances beyond her control. All the tags with a certain letter on were marked 40% off. That was just real exciting to me, since I am always looking for a bargain. Here are the purchases that I made, just in case you are interested. I purchased this small wooden table for my kitchen. I thought it would be perfect for all of my "Gooseberry Patch" cookbooks. I also purchased the old crystal lamp, the tiny crystal salt shaker which I converted to a vase.
Actually, the crystal salt shaker and the pretty rose dish came from an antique store up the road from the big sale one. I think they both look nice on my new wooden table.

Also, in the antique shop with the 40% off sale, I discovered this white bench. I was not exactly sure where I would put it, but I did know that it was too much of a bargain to let it in the store. I put it at the foot of our bed for now, and arranged my feed sack pillows, from my grandma's younger days, and the blue and white pillow that my dear step-son made for me for Christmas four years ago. I may move the bench, but for now I like it at that location. Another small purchase I made, was this adorable little crystal pitcher for my bathroom counter top. I picked a few flowers to put in it. I think it is the perfect addition. It was a fun excursion on a hot, sunny Saturday afternoon. Judy

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Celebrating Birthday # 2 with Christopher

What could be better than Elmo, Kentucky Fried Chicken, balloons and cupcakes, to celebrate a special little guy's second birthday. Oh, and throw in macaroni and cheese, and it is a perfect party! Christopher, you have grown up so fast. Your enthusiam for life, your curiosity and your ability to learn quickly...have added joy to all of our lives.
As you do in everything, you intensely took in what was happening, even with your birthday candles. First, they sing and then we blow out the this is what my birthday is.
And, then you get to eat the cupcake any way you want to. You can skip the fork, or the spoon. You can even eat the paper ...oh no, that is going too far. It does not matter if the icing and cake are all over your hands and face. It is your birthday!!
Gifts...even more fun! Is it just a wrapped box that I can have the thrill of standing on? Why didn't we just wrap all sizes of boxes in bright colors? But, the cool garage that my mom and dad got for me, is amazing. I really like this birthday thing! For all of us last evening, we were once again thrilled and delighted, for the privilege of being family to a precious, "now 2 year old" boy. MawMaw Judy

Monday, July 7, 2008

Ways to share summers's beautiful flowers

Flowers have a way of making people feel good-that is why I enjoy them so much. I grew up with two dear grandmas that loved flowers, and at an early age taught me to appreciate them, by taking me walks through their gardens. Flowers help us to connect with each other in different ways, whether they help dry up another's tears, or bring smiles to a friend's face. This small bouquet was created by folding a lace doily in the shape of a cone and putting two small staples in the back. The flowers are stuck in a small plastic tube filled with water, from the florist. Add a ribbon tied to each side, and you can hang this on a friend's doorknob or a kitchen cupboard knob. Small, simple and yet expresses whatever you want to say.
I purchased this bouquet today, from a little roadside stand, by an Amish farm. The price was $ 5.00. I thought it was a great deal and whoever did the arranging, was quite artistic. My grandma, in the nursing home will be so thrilled to receive it. Sunflowers always brighten a day with their sunny faces. If I have a few extra hours to spare, you will find my at an antique mall, or a flea market. I am always drawn to small glass bottles like old ink wells and crystal salt and pepper shakers, and crystal pedestal plates. I saw this arrangement in a magazine and thought I would try it. I filled the small bottles with roses from my garden. I think it looks nice on the old wooden table by the window. Another way I like to do a centerpiece, is to use one of my glass bowls filled with water ,floating the heads of different flowers, and candles. I think it looks even prettier when set on a mirror. I picked the pink hydrangeas from the bush in my garden. It is an inexpensive way to brighten up a table. Sometimes I use daisies or roses for a different look.
The clear floating balls were purchased in a pack from the craft department at Walmart. They add a nice touch, also. God artistically grew many, beautiful flowers for us to enjoy . Hopefully, you will take time to look at them, pick some of them, and share some of them with others. Judy

Friday, July 4, 2008

A Day to Celebrate our "Freedom"

It is July 4th, and here is my fun way of starting out the holiday for my family. A wish, written with kethcup, on their plate of breakfast eggs, ham and muffins. They always smile when I do this, and I am never sure exactly what that "smile" means. This is the container that I use many times in my serving food to them. I sometimes write "I love you" on their plates. Sometimes I write "congratulations", if that is called for. Just an expression of my heart, done with ketchup...or chocolate syrup, if it is a dessert. "Happy Birthday", "Happy Anniversary"...whatever. At a restaurant in Florida, on our anniversary, they brought out our "mud pie" with "Happy Anniversary" written beautifully on the plate. I will not forget that detail of our dinner.
I found this red spray bottle at a local dollar store yesterday. Right away I thought of July 4th. I purchased it, and filled it with my favorite cleaner, for a hostess gift. It will be given to my daughter, when we go to her home for lunch, today. And, just in case you are interested in knowing, what is in my favorite cleaner, it consists of 1 cup white vinegar, 1 TB of dish detergent and the rest, water. I have spray containers in many different locations of my home. I use them so often. It does a great job, with an old tee shirt, in cleaning my windows.An empty pear can, a few red and blue ribbons, and a bit of hot glue, and this little can is ready, to fill with flowers. Down the street from my daughter's home, lives my 89 year old friend. This little can of flowers will be just a fun way to say " Happy July 4th " to her. My philosophy is not the gift, but the thought behind the gift. And now, most importantly, is the HUGE GIFT that our military men and women give to us, as Americans, everyday...the gift of FREEDOM. Today, we salute them for their tremendous sacrifice! On a personal note, a special thanks to my son-in-law, nephews, cousin and uncles...I am proud of you!May your July 4th, be a meaningful one for you. Judy


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