What makes a Happy Home? I love to take care of my family. For me, creating a home that is warm and inviting, where everyone feels welcome is pure joy! The smell of fresh laundry just in off the clothesline, a neat and tidy home and garden, a good home cooked meal, a few desserts here and there, the love of family, friends and fellowship all help to make our home a Happy Home. Join me as we celebrate the holidays, the birthdays and the every days!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Nature's Blessing Book Swap #3

My Mum and I had a wonderful day yesterday. We left her house about 7:45 and got home about 4:00. It was a long day, but we had such a great time.

We had breakfast and then shopped at a small country store. She was looking for a new pair of slippers and trying some on. I looked down at one point and started to laugh so hard that I cried.

I couldn't talk, I was laughing so much - my stomach started to hurt. The slippers looked like 2 left feet! They weren't, but the stitching on the top made it look that way.

I'll be mailing my finished swap pages to Karla this week. I had so much fun making them. Sometimes it's good to create for no real reason and just for art's sake. Of course these are for a reason, but it was still almost without a purpose in my eyes.

It's going down into the 40's tonight. We have all the windows closed and I've got socks on, but I'm loving it!

Has the weather started to change in your neck of the woods?

Monday, September 15, 2014

Applesauce Sunday

Yep, it's that time of year again. Apples are in abundance and you know what that means - around here anyway - Applesauce Sunday! I found a roadside stand on Friday (not too far away from home) that had Macintosh apples for sale. They were a little more expensive than going directly to an orchard, but definitely less expensive than the market. I bought a bushel knowing that we make a ton of applesauce and Jewish Apple Cakes. Knick Knack got here around 8:30 and by 9:30 we had the sauce simmering on the stove top and a cake baking in the oven.

Can I just tell you - the house smelled wonderful! My recipe for applesauce is easy peasey. For every 12 apples (I prefer Macintosh - but I've also used Cortland), I add 1/2 cup of sugar and 1/2 cup of water, plus 2 T of vanilla.

We simmer the sauce on the stove top until the apples breakdown. Stirring helps the apples to breakdown, but we don't make a completely smooth sauce, we prefer chunky. You can always use an immersion blender to make a smooth sauce or wait until it cools down then put it in a food processor. It was fun having a helper in the kitchen. She's an old pro at making the Jewish Apple Cake and the applesauce. We've been doing it for years. We watched Hocus Pocus while the cake was baking and laughed out loud. Bette Midler is a riot in that movie!

I'm off from work today, and shopping all over Lancaster County with my Mum (celebrating my birthday together up there is a tradition). We're planning on hitting a few thrift stores, Weavers, Goods, Achenbach's Bakery, Blue Ball Craft and Flower Warehouse, Stauffer's of Kissel Hill, Lititz, Kings and a few roadside stands. I'll probably come home with more apples, a head of cabbage and more fresh flowers. I need to make a few more of those wonderful cakes - I always share with family, friends and co-workers. If you'd like the recipe for the cake it's on my recipe page. It's so moist and flavorful - everyone loves it!

What kinds of foods do you think of when the weather turns cooler?

Sunday, September 14, 2014

A beautiful week

The cooler temps of fall have arrived and I am loving it! This is my favorite weather. I love to layer on sweaters, pile extra blankets on the bed and add throws to the furniture to grab during these cool nights. The windows are open and the cool breezes are blowing, bringing in the crisp fall air.

It's time for soup making, baking things with pumpkin and apples, and making comfort food meals. I've pulled out my fall recipes and made a list for this month and next. I've got pork chops and stuffing in the oven right now. Mmm...

Since the weather was so cool this weekend I decided to start my fall cleaning. I tore apart the foyer since it's the smallest room downstairs and I hadn't really planned on starting this weekend. I wanted something that I could start and finish in one day. The clean smell of Murphy's Oil Soap makes me smile - I wash all the woodwork and our hardwood floors with it. The windows are all washed with vinegar and the walls with Pine Sol diluted with hot water. Curtains were washed and hung out to dry in the warm sun and back up before they were really missed. I know to some it's old fashioned to do fall and spring cleaning, but it makes me feel rejuvenated. 

I think about all of those women before me who have washed and scrubbed these same floors. Remember, The Old Parsonage was built in 1916 and was a parsonage for a church, so our home has seen a lot of families come and go through the years. Can you believe that in 2 years she will be 100 years old? I can, every time I go to open a window and I have to prop it open with a bar or whenever we decide to do a project and it turns into multiple projects because there's always something not quite right with how things were done originally. No matter, it's my favorite place to be and I love to make it warm and cozy for our family and friends

How old is your home?

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Nature's Blessings Book Swap #2

I'm trying out a new recipe today and just put it all in the crock pot. If all goes well, we should be having Beef Stroganoff within a few minutes of getting home from work tonight.

We'll just have to finish it off and cook the eggs noodles. I'll share the recipe if Mr OP deems it worthy.

I'm still having fun with Karla's swap pages. I've also got an order for 2 packages of cards. I create an assortment of 4 cards and envelopes and package them in sheer fabric bags all for $20. I typically include birthday, thank you, sympathy and a blank one that can be used for any occasion.

These are photos of some more of my swap pages. Mr OP asked me what I want for my birthday. Honestly there isn't one thing. I'd just like to spend the day together, doesn't matter what we do. We'll have dinner with Flyboy and our Happy Homemaker on Saturday since he works on Sunday. I'm not able to take off on Friday or Monday (too many people off at work) - my birthday is Sunday - so I'm taking off on the 15th. My Mum and I will do our annual trip to Lancaster that day- hopefully the weather will be sunny and cool!

Do you have any birthday traditions?

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Memories of Grandmothers

Good Morning Everyone! It's my favorite season - FALL. Well, I guess it's not officially fall, but it is knocking at the door. Next week the highs are supposed to be in the 70's -woo hoo! I can hardly wait. Schools are back session around here, we can hear the high school band practicing at night when our windows are open. We'll be busy making homemade applesauce and Jewish apple cakes on Applesauce Sunday this month.

Looks like it may be just me and Nick Knack in the kitchen this year since our other niece went off and left us for college. The nerve! I haven't checked with our Happy Homemaker yet, so we'll see if she's available. We need to find a new orchard. I was so sad to hear that Ringing Hill closed and is for sale. I'm hoping that it doesn't go to a home builder, that would break my heart. BTW - This is my new (to me) $5 frame from the junque sale that Mr OP and I stopped at on Monday.

These sweet glass swans were my Nan's. They sat on her dressing table for as long as I can remember. She would sit at the table and put on her make-up, finishing things up spritz of Emeraude. My Dad brought them down the other week. He wanted to make sure that I got them. I think that they were feeling a bit guilty about telling me that my brother asked for my Gram's dishes (they were promised to me) and my Mum told him yes before remembering her promise. I would love to have them, but I'm certainly not upset over it.

I love the memories associated with heirlooms. That's what makes them special. The dishes are pretty, but I what really remember about my Gram is her in an apron and smelling like Palmolive dish soap and vegetable peelings. She always peeled her veggies into the apron, then threw them in the compost. She was a great cook and always had enough for the unexpected visitor. There are so many people in my Mum's family that we always ate in shifts when we were all together. The men ate first, then the kids, then the women...funny I hadn't thought about that in such a long time. It just came to me.

What do you remember about your grandmothers?

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Philadelphia and Fun

I wanted a bit of alteration in my title:) There was a day trip to Philadelphia while our Texans were here in June. So many sights to see and so much history.

Our Little Texans loved the Art Museum steps and ran them like "Rocky!" Too bad it was a rainy day, it would have been so much more fun on a sunny day.

They weren't too impressed with the cheese steaks and never got around to the soft pretzels (my favorite thing about Philadelphia.)

Just as predicted, the HHH weather has reared it's ugly head! It's so oppressive today. We went out for breakfast then stopped at a yard sale and I was sweating so bad in the short time that we shopped. We both bought a few things which I'll share later.

We had some storms move through this afternoon just when I wanted to start the grill. The quick moving storms made it even more humid...if that's even possible. I did manage to get the burgers and hot dogs on the grill between storms.

 I'd love to go junquing tomorrow, but if the weather is anything like today I'll be in the house most of the day working on some projects in my studio. 

Mr OP and I rented the movie Divergent last night. It was actually pretty good. It wasn't my normal type of movie but definitely entertaining.

What was the last good movie that you saw?

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Nature's Blessings Book Swap

Yep, Karla's at it again. This time she's hosting a book page swap and the theme is Nature's Blessings. Of course I jumped right on the band wagon and signed up.

We are each creating 24 pages - (6) 8.5 x 11 pages folded in half creating 4 pages out of each sheet.

I am having a blast creating. I pulled out a ton of vintage bits and pieces of ephemra to use.

Vintage flowers plucked from hats and corsages, ribbons and old papers from sheet music to ledgers are making there way onto my pages.

This page was from a grade school reader - LOVE the Dick and Jane story!  The pages are due to Karla later next month. I having such fun and I can't wait to see the pages that I get in return.

Have you had any creative time lately? What are you working on?

Friday, August 29, 2014

Sour Cream Pound Cake with or without?

I must say that I make a mean pound cake. I prefer mine without icing, but if it's got to have something then I prefer fresh berries. Now Mr OP, he likes icing, the more the better and preferably chocolate. If I make cupcakes, they are typically half cupcake, the other half icing.

I decided to make one of my pound cakes (around 7:30) tonight since the temps are in the low sixties. I actually put on a pair of socks to keep my feet warm - but we won't close the windows because this weather is gorgeous. Sunday it's supposed to get HHH and be in the low-nineties through the week - yuck. I'll enjoy the cool temps while they are here!

Anyway, if anyone is interested here is the recipe for my 

Sour Cream Pound Cake.

1 cup butter room temp
2 3/4 cup sugar

Cream  together. Then add one at a time

6 room temperature eggs

Sift the following together
3 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda

1 cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla or 3/4 tsp vanilla & 1/4 tsp almond extract

Alternate adding the sifted ingredients and the sour cream mixture to the butter and sugar mixture.

Pour into a greased and floured bundt pan. Bake at 350 for 1 hour or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool 15 minutes on a rack, then turn out and cool completely.

Serve with fresh berries or add icing of your choice.

So how do you like pound cake - with or without icing?

Monday, August 25, 2014

Rudolph Day at The Old Parsonage

Yep it's here again! The 25th of the month and you know what that means - Rudolph Day! Woo hoo a day set aside each month to plan and prepare for the most wonderful time of the year! 

I got such a sweet surprise in the mail the other week from a dear, sweet blogging friend - Jane (she hasn't been blogging lately, but she still visits me).

Jane and I met while doing a craft supply swap a few years ago. With so much in common, she and I immediately became fast friends. Look at all the fun Christmas magazines and books - it made me squeal with delight - literally!

So tonight, I'm enjoying a cup of iced coffee (it's too hot for a regular cup tonight) and reading the Betty Crocker cookbook. There are so many new (to me) recipes that I can't wait to try. 

It's funny, I was just saying how great the weather has been and today typical Summer weather rears it's HHH head. The windows are closed and the a/c is back on - darn!

I'm really looking forward to the 3 day weekend. I've got menus running through my mind - yes, that's what I think about when a holiday presents itself. I've also got all the ingredients to make pickles and salsa (except the veggies) so I'm hoping to get a chance to get those made this weekend as well.

What are your plans for the holiday weekend? 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Tick Tock

How can this possibly be the end of summer? This weekend we'll celebrate Labor Day and I don't feel like I enjoyed summer. The weather was actually great (for me at least)! We didn't have the endless hazy, hot and humid days, just a few here and there interspersed with warm days and nights cool enough to open the windows.

We had an early vacation in June with our Texans and have had a lot of other obligations this year. My fibro has been giving me fits this summer. I've been struggling daily with aches, pains, and fatigue so maybe that's what has me wondering where the time has gone.

I've got a pot roast in the crock pot today, low and slow - that's the ticket to have it come out moist and tender. We bought some sweet corn and cucumbers at a roadside stand this am so we'll have the corn, a cucumber and onion salad and sliced garden tomatoes with the roast. Mmm....can't wait to dig in.

What about you? Has summer slipped through your fingers too? Thanks so much for listening today, I appreciate it.

Tomorrow is Rudolph Day my friends! Time for a little Christmas Magic...

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