Saturday, December 6, 2014

Gracie's Playroom/Bedroom at Nana's and Papa's

After much thinking about what we wanted to do for a playroom for our grand daughter.....  We decided that we needed to start working on designing and decorating the playroom now, she is almost a year old... we just can't believe it!  Time passes so quickly!

So starting off... I wanted to paint her name on the wall, thus letting her know that this is her space when she comes to visit.  She does spend a lot of time here, so she needed a space for her things, it's a home away from home environment.  This helps Nana and Papa feel good too...  that we aren't being over ran with baby things everywhere, of course there is the occasional things scattered thru out the house, but at the end of the day there is a room for all of it!

So... I began by writing her name on the wall, and now I'm painting it in a beautiful shade of lavender, it looks real nice against the creamy beige walls, the other color that I will incorporate is a sage color.  


Now the yarn that you see draped in the back of this picture from one corner of the room to the other, was an idea that I was mulling over, of banner/or bunting of Beatrix Potter's little characters.  As you probably know by now, if you have spent much time on my blog, that Peter Rabbit and Friends are my favorites. These little characters are so enchanting and whimsical.  Great story's for children of all ages.  This idea of the banner/ bunting may evolve slightly. 

No child's room is complete with out a story time corner.  So you can read all about little Peter Rabbit and little Benjamin Bunny.  And of course Beatrix Potters other little characters too! 
Like all children Gracie has quite a large group of stuffed animals between Nana and Papa's and her home with Mommy and Daddy.


The wardrobe closet, with whimsical flair, a perfect addition to her room. It can be used as a closet or a closed bookshelf unit.
We found this piece in a consignment shop and it was the perfect price. It has a very similar style and color as her bed frame, that we bought earlier off craigslist when she was born.

 We found this cream/ivory fabric with pastel bubbles or dots at Joann's and made the curtain for her room.   The same essence of whimsy for a child's room.  We thought it fitting since Gracie loves bubbles!

No childs room would be complete without their name on the wall, stating this is their very own space. 
Just a little whimsy with the free flowing letters that we used here! 

The bed that we purchased was one of those 3 in 1 beds, that went from crib to lower rider toddler daybed, then to a full size bed. 


Gracie with her stuffed kitties, Buttermilk and Cali.  She loved he quilt so much, that after it was made and this picture was taken it went home with so she could sleep with it every night.

Well..... at age 3, Gracie's room is now evolving once again. 

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Homemade Dog Biscuits or Treats

 For the most part all of these recipes are for dog biscuits only.... but this first recipe was for babies/toddlers. 
I decided to make them for our new pup when he was small.... Need I say more! 
He just Loved them!

Teething Biscuits
2 cups whole wheat flour, plus extra, for rolling
1/4 cup skim milk powder (optional)
1/2 cup water, milk or apple juice
1/4 cup canola or other mild vegetable oil
1 large egg
Preheat oven to 350° F.
In a large bowl, stir together the flour and skim milk powder. In a small bowl whisk together the water, oil and egg; add to the dry ingredients and stir until well blended.
Gently knead the dough a few times on a lightly floured surface, and then roll it out 1/4″ – 1/2″ thick. Cut into desired shapes, in sizes suitable for your baby (ensure there are no sharp corners), with a cookie cutter or knife. Transfer to an ungreased cookie sheet and prick each a few times with a fork.
Bake for about 20 minutes, depending on the size and thickness of the cookies, until pale golden and firm. Turn the oven off but leave them inside for a few hours to harden as they cool.
Makes 2-3 dozen cookies, depending on their size. Store in a tightly sealed container.
 Note: regardless of what type of teething biscuit you choose, make sure you’re close by to keep an eye on your child – no teething biscuit is resistant to crumbling or breaking.

My grand daughter, Gracie and I were searching the other day for dog biscuit recipes, so she could make cookies for her puppy which is now 4 months old.  We found several recipes that we will try over the next couple of years.

Ace at 4 months old

 We found many different dog biscuit treats recipes that we will be experimenting with over the next few years.  Gracie just loves to be in the kitchen, helping with what ever is going on..... cooking, baking, and such. 

To make cookies/buscuits for her dog, we'll she is very happy to do just that!  

Some tasty dog treats/buscuits

Bacon/ Carrot, Apple, Bacon/ Apple/ Beef Broth and Oats/  Carrots Peanut Butter and Oats/ Broth/
Cheesy Tomato Herb/ Peanut Butter/ Paula Dean Peanut Butter/ Carrot, Apple Cranberry/ Pumpkin/
Oatmeal Peanut/ Oatmeal Wheatgerm/ Meat/ Cheese or Peanut Butter Multigrain/
Applesauce Peanut Butter Oats/ Beef and Cheddar/ Banana /Pumpkin

Ace at 8 months old 

Saturday, October 4, 2014

A Quilt of Memories for Gracie #1

Awhile back in the blog about Gracie's room at Nana and Papa's... I talked about Gracie favorite blacket. Now i will tell you the story behind the quilt. 


The Quilt of Memories... This will be a fun quilt project to do with my daughter in law Stephanie.  It will be the very first quilt that she has made, and what great memories that her and Gracie will have from the making and using of this quilt too!  

(the repurposing of those baby receiving blankets)

Let me share the story.....

Stephanie was going thru some of Gracie's baby things that were piling up in the closet.... she has found it hard to get rid of some of Gracie's things.  Well I guess one would say cleaning out the two year old's closet to make room for another phase of her life.  She had tossed all Gracie's flannel receiving blankets into the giveaway pile. When I looked at the pile and saw the receiving blankets... My creative side of the brain kick into gear once again... I immediately saw a quilt!  All the pretty colors... from shades of purples, lavenders and greens.  There was also shades of pinks, tan and light brown designs on each of the blankets and how they complimented one another.  I could wait to get started...  I've made several quilts over the years and also have fond memories of my very first quilt that I made with my grandmother.  So we too are going to make some memories... another project in the works!
Now... there is a twist to this quilt that we are making and I think that it will be a real special touch that I was able to add for Gracie.  Some of these squares in her blanket came from receiving blankets that I had saved from when her daddy was a baby.  Now there will be some challenges in incorporating these squares because of the their colors.  These squares have brown teddy bears and are in the primary color palette, which are quite different from the colors of her receiving blanket squares, but I do feel that we can make this work and it will come together very nicely in the end!
We are adding some other squares for a nice contrast.  Most of these squares are solid colors, but a few prints that are fitting for a going little girl.  Taking care not to put to many character that she will grow out of.... we wanted this blanket to be very versatile and get used for many year to come.  

Starting to lay out a design... 
 we may change up the lay out of the design as we lay it out and it starts to evolve.  As you can see we are covering almost every square inch of available floor space in the loft. 

We changed up a few of the squares from these earlier pictures.... Which created a slightly different design but it is still very similar, you may have never noticed if not brought to one attention.  The pictures below here shows the squares sewn together making the flannel front and then it has been laid on the blue fleece backing with right sides together, where we will pin the flannel designed front down to the fleece leaving about an 8-10 inch opening to pull the quilt back though the opening so the right sides will be showing.

Oh.... to be young again with no worries in the world!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Lentil and Ham Soup ***Variations***

Variation #1
    8-10 cups good, rich soup stock or canned chicken broth.
  • 1/2 pound (1-1/2 cups) lentils
  • 6 slices bacon, cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup chopped leeks
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrot
  • 2 cups diced, roasted tomatoes with juice or 1 15-ounce can chopped, stewed tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, ground
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
I simmered the meaty ham bone with onions, celery, carrots and 2 bay leaves for several hours, strained the broth and then began preparation of this simple and hearty soup.  If you have any chunks of ham from the bone, remove them and slice into bite sized pieces.  Add at the end of the simmering process.
Wash and pick over the lentils. Place in large pot with the soup stock and bring to a boil. Add the tomatoes.
Reduce heat and simmer, covered for 1-1/2 hours, or until lentils are soft.
Saute bacon pieces in a large saute pan. Add leeks, carrots and onion and saute till tender and add to the lentils. Add salt and pepper, thyme, mustard and vinegar. Simmer for about an hour. If you want a thicker soup turn up the heat and reduce to desired consistency. Add a can of chicken stock if the soup is a little thick.
The pot can simmer on the back of the stove for several hours and the flavors just get better.
Variation #2

10-12 ServingsPrep: 5 min. Cook: 2 hours 10 min.


  • 1 meaty ham bone
  • 6 cups water
  • 1-1/4 cups dried lentils, rinsed
  • 1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 to 3 carrots, sliced
  • 2 celery ribs, sliced
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 12 ounces bulk pork sausage, cooked and drained
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley


  • In a Dutch oven, bring ham bone and water to a boil. Reduce heat;
  • cover and simmer for 1-1/2 hours.
  • Remove ham bone. To broth, add the lentils, tomatoes, carrots,
  • celery, onions and seasonings; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover
  • and simmer for 30-40 minutes or until lentils and vegetables are
  • tender.
  • Meanwhile, remove ham from bone; coarsely chop. Add the ham, sausage
  • and parsley to soup; heat through. Yield: 10-12 servings (3 quarts).

Variation #3
Serving Ideas : You can also add ground beef or ham if you would like to, but it certainly isn’t necessary. If you don’t have the carrots, that’s fine too, and one onion will do if that’s all you have on hand.
1/2 pound bacon — chopped
2 whole onions — chopped
3 stalks celery — with leaves
2 whole carrots — diced
3 cloves garlic — minced
1 pound lentils — washed
2 pounds canned tomatoes — with juice
8 ounces tomato sauce
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, or more if you like thyme
1 teaspoon chile pepper flakes
1 tablespoon salt
1. In a large, heavy pot sauté the bacon over medium heat until the fat is rendered. If you are using grocery store bacon, you may want to pour off some of the fat. If using meaty bacon, leave the fat in the pan. Add onions, celery, carrots and garlic and sauté until the vegetables are semi-transparent. Add the tomatoes, tomato sauce, herbs and chiles and lentils, then add water to about 1-2 inches above the level of the bean mixture in the pot. You may have to add additional water as the lentils cook.
2. Simmer for about 45 minutes or an hour until the lentils are completely cooked through, adding additional water if needed. Add salt to taste, and add pepper if desired.
Variation #4
I found this recipe on the site and just can't wait to try it...  But it looks so good I just want to share it since I was talking about Lentil Soup recipes!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Zuppa Toscana ~ Olive Garden

       Serving 8   


1 pound italian pork sausage ( mild or spicy )
4 potatoes ( 4 -6 Yukon Gold, diced into 1 inch chunks )   
1 yellow onions ( large, diced )
2 clove(s) garlic ( minced )
2 cups kale ( diced )
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes ( 1/2 - 1 teaspoon )   

2 Can (8 oz) chicken broth
4 cups water
1 cup heavy whipping cream


1. Cook ground sausage in skillet and set aside.
2. In a large pot, cook the potatoes and onion and garlic in the chicken stock and water on medium heat until potatoes are done.
3. Add sausage and kale and red pepper flakes into the pot with the potatoes and simmer until kale is softened.
4. Stir in the heavy cream and simmer until heated thru.
5. Serve with your favorite bread.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Ham & Potato Au Gratin Casserole

 Variations for this recipe.... You can substitute the green beans with grated or sliced zucchini, broccoli or asparagus spears, or peas. You could also substitute half of the needed potatoes with sweet potatoes.

  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) of butter
  • 3 tablespoons of all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup of chopped onion
  • 1-1/2 cups of milk, divided
  • 1-1/2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1/2 cup of sour cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of celery seed
  • Seasoning salt, freshly cracked black pepper and Cajun seasoning, to taste
  • 4 medium sized baking potatoes, peeled and sliced very thin
  • 2 cups of chopped cooked ham
  • 1 cup of leftover or frozen vegetables, your choice, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter or spray a 1-1/2 to 2 quart oblong baker; set aside. Melt the 1/4 cup butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Sprinkle in the flour a little at a time and cook for about 3 minutes, whisking until mixture is smooth and fully incorporated. Add onion; cook and stir for about 2 minutes. Add 1 cup of the milk, a little at a time, until mixture thickens, then stir in the remaining milk. Whisk in 1 cup of cheese until blended, remove from heat and whisk in the sour cream, garlic powder and celery seed; set aside.

Add half of the potatoes to the bottom of the casserole dish, season lightly with salt, pepper and Cajun seasoning. Top with half of the ham and vegetables. Spread half of the sauce over the top and repeat layers, seasoning the potatoes again and ending with all of the remaining sauce. Cover tightly and bake at 350 degrees F for about 1-1/2 hours. Length of time will depend on thickness of potato slices; test tenderness of the center potatoes with a fork. Uncover, sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup or more of cheese on top and return to the oven just until cheese has melted.

Cook's Notes: Double ingredients and make four layers in a larger baking dish for a pot luck. Increase cheese topping as desired. Can also substitute chopped smoked sausage for the ham and 1 can of condensed cheddar cheese soup for the sauce. If using the canned soup, eliminate the first 5 ingredients and add 1/2 can of milk to the mixture of soup and sour cream. Can also be made in the crockpot - layer, cover and cook on low for about 8 hours.

Tip: I use a mandolin to get thin, even potato slices. If you like your potatoes sliced thicker, or you don't have a mandolin, cut the potatoes about 1/4 inch thick, place them into a pot, cover with water and bring to a boil. Immediately turn off the heat, remove pot from the burner, and let them sit in the water for 5 minutes. Drain well, pat dry and proceed.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Ham Potato Cheddar Soup

  • 1 ham bone
  • (my favorites are honey ham or brown sugar ham)
  • 10 cups water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • ½ cup carrots, chopped
  • ½ cup onion, diced
  • ¼ cup celery, chopped
  • 2 cups potatoes, peeled and diced
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 1-1/2 cups milk
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1-1/2 cups ham, cubed
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • ½ cup parsley, coarsely chopped

Simmer ham bone in water with bay leaves in a large pot for 1-1/2 to 2 hours, till ham is falling off the bone. Remove bone and ham from liquid. Strain stock. Add potatoes and simmer until tender.
Heat oil in a large saute pan until medium hot. Add carrots, onion and celery and cook till transparent, about 4-5 minutes. Add to soup stock.
In a saucepan, melt butter. Stir in flour until smooth, then cook for 1 minute. Gradually add milk, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and cook and stir for 3-4 minutes until thickened. Stir in grated cheese until melted. Add to hot stock. Stir in cubed ham, peas and parsley. Garnish with extra parsley.
I have heard that  you could still make this yummy soup even if you don’t have a ham bone.
Just substitute chicken stock and add chopped deli ham just before serving.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Quest for Fleur De Lis Cookie Cutters

Over the last few years I've seen some unusal and hard to find cookie cutters.  This Fleur De Lis cookie cutter is no exception.   In particular is these two here.... I would like to find these and I finding it pretty challenging.  Any one have any clues or these two sized cookie cutters you don't want anymore?  This picture is from the several years ago... I think 2009 if I'm not mistaken. 
There are two sizes.. Dimensions: Small 41/2"H x 41/2"W Large: 61/4"H x 6 1/4"W

The only other place I've seen this cookie cutter here is on a blog that the fleur de lis cookie cutters here was referenced to a shop in Washingtom State called Common Folk Co.
There are many very unique styles of these cookies cutters below....