Thursday, October 20, 2016

pumpkin-shaped cheese ball

We had a little family get-together over the weekend.  I made a big pot of chili with all the usual fixings and also served this delicious cheese ball. The recipe is from my friend Jamie; the pumpkin shape is from Pinterest. It's definitely my go-to cheese ball now. It disappeared fast! 

The secret to the pumpkin shape is thick rubber bands; the thin red ones will not work.  I ended up using never-used hair elastics from my Walmart Beauty Box.

Give this recipe a try for your Halloween party or any time. It's that good!

Pumpkin-Shaped Cheese Ball

2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
6 green onions, finely chopped
One jar dried beef, finely chopped
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar + 1/2 cup more for rolling
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce


Combine cream cheese, shredded cheddar & worcestershire sauce. Mix until smooth. Add in green onions and dried beef. Mix just until  combined.

Spread some of the remaining cheddar onto sheet of plastic wrap. Place cheeseball mixture on top, shape into ball and roll in remaining cheese, trying to cover entire surface. Wrap tightly in two layers of plastic wrap. Use thick rubber bands to make pumpkin-like indentations (see picture), adjusting as necessary. 

Refrigerate until ready to serve. Use green onion or green pepper top for stem.

***I used my stand mixer with the paddle attachment to mix this up.*** 

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Friday, September 30, 2016

five on friday

Hooray for Friday!! We made it through another week. We're getting some rain and cooler weather here, so it's finally beginning to feel like fall. We don't have anything planned for the weekend. I'm going to work on getting our Halloween decorations out and Landon has a new movie on Netflix that he's been wanting to watch.  Sounds like the perfect lazy weekend to me. I'm linking up with Five on Friday again this week. Let's get right to it...

Landon is into all things spooky right now. I've always let him watch gently scary shows like Scooby Doo, but he was wanting something a bit scarier. I decided to let him watch a few episodes of Are You Afraid of the Dark and he was instantly hooked. We've ended up buying all the available seasons on Amazon Instant Video. I loved this show myself when I was younger, so it's fun to get to watch all the episodes again. We've also been watching Deadtime Stories, which is good too. 

I got this picture to hang up during the month of October and I'm completely in love with it.  It's called The Witches of Black Mountain by Ann Stookey. You can find the details here, including how I get a canvas look for a much more affordable price. 

I've been looking for a new hairdryer. Last week I read about this one and I think it might just be "The One".   I've never spent quite so much for a hairdryer, but it's not something you have to buy very often.  Plus I LOVE the pink color.  The only thing I don't like about having my hair long is how long it takes to dry. If this cuts down on drying time, it will be money well spent. I'll let you know how it works.

There's nothing like plaid when it comes to decorating for fall.  I found these cute plaid pillows at Target. They match our floral porch cushions, so I got two of them to go on our rocking chairs.  I need to find two matching throws to put on the chair backs.

And now for some book news... Mike and I are going on a little getaway for our anniversary soon.  I'm taking a few books along and I also purchased Firefly Beach to read on the Kindle app. A friend recommended it and it sounds pretty interesting. The reviews are kind of split, so I'll give it a try and let you know if it's a must-read.   I think this sounds pretty good too.

Have a great weekend!
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Thursday, September 29, 2016

the witches of black mountain

I like to change the artwork above our piano seasonally.  I usually use the same piece all through the fall, but this year I wanted to get an actual Halloween print for October. After looking at a few different pieces, I decided to go with The Witches of Black Mountain by Ann Stookey. I love everything about it - the colors, the whimsical feel of the houses, the graveyard, the witches around the cauldron. It's perfect without being too dark or spooky for little eyes.  

I got the 16x20 double-sided laminate option here. I get lots of artwork this way and use removable adhesive dots to mount pieces on a 16x20 canvas I got at Michaels on clearance. It's an easy and inexpensive way to be able to change out pieces whenever I want.  

Have a great day! 
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Friday, September 23, 2016

five on friday

Hooray for Friday! We're off to Amish Country tomorrow for a weekend getaway. It's so beautiful there in the fall. Cooler temps are expected while we're there, so I'm super excited.  I'm linking up with Five on Friday again today. Here we go! 

We're taking my mom along to Amish Country with us. When several of us go, we like to stay at the  Dutch Host Inn. It's nice and quiet and there's the sweetest gazebos to swing in. It's the perfect spot for coffee and conversation. We're going to do a bit of shopping and eating and then we'll take Landon to the petting zoo and pumpkin patch.  (Note - when Mike and I go for a couples getaway, we like staying here).

I ordered this vintage Cosco utility cart from a seller on Etsy. I can't wait to show you all what I'm going to do with it. It's in perfect condition.  It is a bit smaller than I'd imagined, so it doesn't fill the space I had picked out for it like I thought. I'll make it work though. Stay tuned...

I finally shared my cinnamon roll recipe yesterday. I still can't believe I've been using the same recipe for over 20 years. You can read about it here... 

I got this fun phone at Target on Tuesday to add to our Halloween decor. It actually rings like a real phone and speaks spooky, eerie phrases. It's motion-activated, so I have it tucked away until I put our decorations out on Monday. Landon will be so surprised. 

We love the Noosa yogurt. We've been eating a lot of the pumpkin flavor. I like to add a handful of pumpkin spice Cheerios to mine just to add some crunch. It's great for breakfast or an evening snack. 

Have a great weekend!

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Thursday, September 22, 2016

cinnamon rolls

Last weekend I made cinnamon rolls to go along with a pot of chili. I love that combination - it's just so cozy and delicious. Landon helped me with the cinnamon rolls. He is seriously the best little kitchen helper. Talking to him while we rolled up the dough, I realized that I've been using the same recipe for over 20 years. What?! I'm not sure how that's even possible. I obviously started baking at a VERY early age. Ha! 

Anyway, sometimes it's best to stick with what works, so that's what I've done. The original recipe does give the option of butter, margarine or shortening for the dough, but I've only listed butter here. I've also included an additional cream cheese frosting recipe. We prefer that over the traditional glaze.

To get the best rise on your dough, heat your oven for a few minutes to 200 degrees and then turn it off.  I used to just turn my oven light on during raising, but that just heated oven really does make a difference.  I hope you'll give these a try! Be sure to let me know.

Cinnamon Rolls

1 package regular or quick-acting active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water (105 to 115)
1/2 lukewarm milk (scalded then cooled)
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter, unsalted
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg
3 1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour


3 tablespoons softened butter (I use salted)
1 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon


1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Cream Cheese Frosting
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt

Dissolve yeast in warm water in 2 1/2 quart bowl. Stir in milk, sugar, butter, salt, egg and 2 cups of the flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to make dough easy to handle. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Place in greased 2 1/2 quart bowl; turn greased side up. Cover; let rise in warm place until double, about 1 1/2 hours. (Dough is ready if indentation remains when touched). Punch down dough.

Flatten dough with hands or rolling pin into rectangle, 15x12 inches, on lightly floured surface. Spread with softened butter. Sprinkle sugar/cinnamon mixture over rectangle. Roll up tightly. Pinch edge of dough into roll to seal well. Stretch roll to make even. Cut into 12 even slices. Place into greased 9x13 pan. Let rise until double, about 40 minutes.

Heat oven to 375. Bake until golden brown, 20-25 minutes. Spread rolls with glaze while warm. 

If using the cream cheese frosting, prepare it while the rolls are baking. Spread on still warm rolls (but not right from oven or the frosting will just melt).


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Wednesday, September 21, 2016


There's so much going on in this world, so much despair, sorrow and evil.  I have truly felt the heaviness of it lately in a way that I'm not really used to. The older Landon gets and the worse the world becomes, it's hard not to worry about what he's growing up in. 

That said, I'm so thankful that Jesus can take away that heaviness. Our only hope truly is in Him. I know I shared this print before when I first created it, but just in case you too need a gentle daily reminder, I wanted to share it again. You can print it out, frame it and always know there's hope.

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Friday, September 16, 2016

five on friday

Hooray for Friday. We're finally expecting some rain this weekend and I couldn't be more excited. Hopefully some cooler temps will follow. It's hard to celebrate all things fall when it's 100 degrees outside. But don't despair;  I'm still enjoying all things pumpkin. I'm linking up with Five on Friday again this week. Let's get right to it.

I've been looking for a particular cookbook for a while now. It's one my mom had when I was younger. You guys, I spent so much time looking through that book back in my younger days. It's the book I got my cinnamon roll and baked spaghetti recipes from. Anyway, that book has been gone for quite some time now, but I've always remained on the lookout for it.  I thought it was by Pillsbury, but earlier this week I looked on ebay under Better Homes & Gardens and there it was. It's now on its way to me. I can't wait to show you some of the fun pictures inside. It's definitely retro!  I'll share my cinnamon roll recipe next week too!


I know where I'll be Wednesday evening. I'm so excited for the season premier of Law & Order: SVU. Eighteen seasons later and that show is still going strong. Who else is watching?  

I love all things pumpkin-flavored...except for my coffee. My sister loves the pumpkin spice coffee drinks and creamer, but it's not for me. I do, however, LOVE this pumpkin spice chai latte. You can also get the tea bags, but I prefer the concentrate. I get mine at Target. It's so good with a bit of whipped cream on top. It's like autumn in a mug!  

I'm in love with this Sejour cardigan from Nordstrom, especially this soft pink shade.  I might have to have it in the silver pink AND blue cameo colors.  I'd pair it with jeans as shown or a jean skirt.  It definitely works with my capsule wardrobe style. I'm all for having just a few basic pieces that I can mix and match.


And now for book news... I'm so excited to be sharing my love of Laura Ingalls Wilder with Landon. I started reading Farmer Boy to him earlier this week and he is loving it.  We're reading two chapters a night, but last night Landon was enjoying it so much he wanted to read an additional chapter. Of course, I was happy to oblige. I have two sets in paperback, but I'm using this Kindle version right now.  It's easier for bedtime reading and the color illustrations are great.

Have a great weekend!

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