Darling Castle

IMG_4340 This is our precious granddaughter, Princess Kyera, in her castle, Darling Castle.  We had the typical storage area under our stairs leading into our basement.  When we heard that we were going to be grandparents for the first time, we decided that we needed to create a playhouse for the grandkids to play in, and the space under the stairs was the perfect place for it.

IMG_4455 We had a small door and window put in and had them trimmed out with trim that resembled the tops of a castles turrets.

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My son and I wallpapered the walls with wallpaper that looked like stone, inside the castle and outside.  Then we faux finished the base boards and window and door trims to look like stone.  We stained the door with a dark stain and added some metal detail to make it look like a castle door.  We stenciled a sign over the door stating “Darling Castle.”  I made burgundy velvet drapes with gold fringe and furnished the “castle” with small furniture.

IMG_4457 Our granddaughter loves to play in it wearing her princess dresses and serving tea to her Papa.

Green Beans Almondine

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This is one of my favorite “go to” side dishes.  It’s very easy and tasty, too.

 

2 lbs. Fresh french style Green beans

Chicken stock

1/2 c. Almonds, sliced

1 T. Butter

Salt

Pepper

 

Boil green beans in chicken stock, just until tender.  Drain chicken stock, but leave green beans in the pot.  Add butter and almonds.  Cook just until butter is melted and beans are well coated.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Enjoy!

Turkey Meatloaf

imageThis turkey meatloaf is a good alternative to the traditional meatloaf recipe, and it’s gluten-free.

3 lbs. Ground Turkey

3 Eggs, beaten

1/4 c. Parmasean cheese, grated

1/2 c. Onions, diced

1 t. Minced garlic

Salt

Pepper

2 c. Marinara sauce

 

Mix all ingredients together, excluding marinara sauce, and mix well. Put it into a greased 9×13 baking dish.  Pour marinara sauce onto meatloaf.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.  Enjoy!

 

 

How To Make A Pillow

I firmly believe that you can have a beautiful home without having to spend a great deal of money.  One way that you ca accomplish that, is by making your own pillows.  By making your own pillows, you get to customize it to your own style. I will walk you through a step by step tutorial below.  So, here we go!

IMG_0639 If you have a 20″x20″ pillow form, you would cut 2 pieces of fabric at 20″ square. I am a bit of a pillow form snob.  I don’t recommend ever using a polyfil pillow form.  It will mat down and your pillow will become misshapen and uncomfortable to use.  I recommend that you use either bamboo or a down feather pillow form.  They are a bit more costly, but use coupons on them or wait until they are on sale to buy them, it really is worth the extra cost.

IMG_0638  Pin your trim around the edges of your fabric on the right side of your fabric.  the right side of your fabric is the side that you want to show on the finished project.  There is a right side, the nice side and a wrong side or the back of the fabric.  I love using trims, braided cording(like I’m using on this pillow), beads, fringe, whatever you choose.  This is what is going to take your pillow from ordinary to extraordinary. 🙂

IMG_0643 Using your zipper foot on your sewing machine, sew as close to the trim as possible.  IMG_0641 This is how the two ends of your trim will come together.

IMG_0637 IMG_0636 Pin the right sides of your fabric together and sew around your pillow, leaving a large enough area unsewn, or open, so that you can turn the pillow inside out and stuff your pillow form inside the pillow cover.  After you’ve sewn around the pillow, clip the edges of the corners, so that your corners will be square. Now, turn the pillow inside out.  

 IMG_0640This is what your pillow will look like before your stuff it with the pillow form.

IMG_0644 And this is what it will look like after you stuff the pillow with the pillow form.  Be sure to get the corners of the pillow form into the corners of the pillow cover.IMG_0646 Now, pin the open area together and hand stitch it closed.  Be sure that there are no hanging threads.

IMG_0647You now have a beautiful custom made pillow that will will fit your decor and the satisfaction that you made it!  Enjoy!

The Garden Is Ready For Planting

photoYay!  After years of designing, planning, concrete work, weeding, and much, much more, the garden is now ready for planting!  It has been a long time dream of mine to have a great garden, not just for our family, but to share with others.  I want to teach kids how to garden, to cook and eat healthy, and then let the kids take home fresh produce to share with their families.

When our kids were young, we were fortunate enough to have a garden where we could get fresh produce for our family to eat. Not everyone is so fortunate.  With so many additives and preservatives in our store-bought foods these days, I feel it is so much more important not only to teach our kids where good food comes from, but also how to prepare foods and eat right.

My plan for the garden is to have blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, vegetables and herbs.  Now that the garden is ready, i will plant the raspberries and blueberries this fall when the weather cools a bit.  Then in the spring, I will be able to plant the rest of the garden.

My work is certainly cut out for me, but I can’t wait to get started!

Blessings to you.

Renae

Turkey Stir Fry

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This is one of my favorite dinners.  It’s a rather easy recipe, it’s healthy and it’s tasty.

1 T. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1/4 t. Minced Garlic

1/2 t. Minced Ginger

1 1/2 lbs. Ground Turkey

1 1/4. c. Carrots, shredded

1 1/4 c. Bean Sprouts

1/2 c. Peanuts, chopped

1/4 c. Fresh Cilantro, chopped

1/4 c. Sweet Chili Sauce

1/4 c. Hoisin Sauce

1/2 t. Fish Sauce

 

Heat olive oil in pan, add garlic, ginger and turkey cook until turkey crumbles, but not completely cooked through.  Add carrots and sprouts, cook until vegetables are tender.  Add peanuts, cilantro and sauces, cook until flavors blend and it’s hot through out.  Enjoy!

 

 

Blackberry Cobbler

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Blackberry cobbler has always been a family favorite.  As far back as I can remember, my mom would give us a bucket and send us out to pick blackberries, then she would bake us a cobbler.  I did the same with my kids and now my granddaughter is enjoying my blackberry cobbler.

Berries:

3 lbs. blackberries, fresh or frozen

1/2 c. sugar

1 T. butter

1/4 t. cinnamon

1/2 t. vanilla

1/4 c. uncooked tapioca

Pour all ingredients into a deep pot and cook until berries start to thicken.  Pour into a buttered 3 quart glass baking dish.

 

Cobbler Topping:

 

3 c. Bisquick

1/3 c. sugar

2 T. melted butter

1 c. water

Mix all ingredients together, just until lumpy.  Don’t over mix.  Dollop onto berries.  

Bake at 350 for 40-45 mins, or until top is golden brown and biscuit topping is cooked through.  Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.  Enjoy!

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Heirloom Tomato Salad

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Tomatos are so abundant during the summer and nothing beats their fresh flavor.  This salad is a great addition to any summer menu and it’s incredibly easy to make.

 

Salad:

2 Pounds heirloom tomatos, diced

1/4 c. Feta cheese

1/4 c. Fresh basil, chopped

Dressing:

1/4 t. Minced garlic

1 t. Black pepper

3/4 t. Salt

1 t. Granulated sugar, optional

1/3 c. Olive oil

3 1/2 T. Vinegar

2 T. Romano cheese, grated

Whisk all dressing ingredients together and drizzle over salad.  Enjoy

Preserving Your Family History

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This summer, I have had the privilege of sitting with my father-in-law and niece, and going through family photos.  My niece and I will hand my father-in-law a photo, he will sit back, tell us who’s in the photo and the say, ” i have a story to tell you.”  We try to take as many notes of these stories as we can.  We know that if we don’t record this history now, we may never have the chance again.

Here are some tips in preserving your family history:

First, make sure you spend time with your loved ones.  You never know how long we will have them in our lives.  Get them talking, it is so much fun listening to their stories.  Take lots of notes, or record them audibly.

Second, go through your old photos and label them, not just the names of the people in the photos, but the dates, ages and a bit about what is happening in the photo.

Third, make sure that you store your photos safely.  All too often, we put them in a cardboard box and put them on a shelf in the garage.  Moisture and heat will damage the photos.  Store them in an airtight plastic storage container and label the boxes.  Store them in a cool, dry place off the ground, so that water doesn’t get to them.  Better yet, put them into photo albums and store them inside your home, where you can see them and enjoy them.

My kids and grand baby throughly enjoyed snuggling together and looking at the albums.

Blessing to you,

Renae

 

 

Summer Salad

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I love all of the fresh produce of summer.  This recipe is a great combination of some of my favorites.  It makes a light and refreshing dinner after a long, hot summer day.

Salad:

2 Handfuls of fresh salad greens

1c. Watermelon, diced

1/2 Avocado, diced

6 Strawberries, sliced

2 Grilled chicken breasts, sliced

1/4 c. Almonds, sliced

1/4 c. Feta cheese

Dressing:

8 Fresh raspberries

1 T. Balsamic vinegar

1/4 t. Lemon juice

A pinch of salt

Whisk all dressing ingredients together and drizzle over salad.  Enjoy!