Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Freezing Blueberries



Hi there!  Did you have a nice weekend?  We did and enjoyed our little weekend trip!

Today I thought I'd share how to store your fresh blueberries for the winter... this may very well be something you already do or are familiar with, but I didn't realize until last year you could freeze blueberries so I thought I would share (although it's not very exciting)! 

Last year we had a couple gallons of blueberries frozen from the summer and it was wonderful grabbing a handful from the freezer to add in muffins, pancakes, cobblers, you name it.  When my mother-in-law and father-in-law gave us a container full of fresh blueberries picked from their farm recently I was so happy to have plenty to enjoy and enough remaining to freeze for another time!


Simply spread the blueberries in a large pan to create one layer and place them in the freezer.  You can leave them in there for a few hours or overnight... you just want to make sure they are frozen through.

You actually don't even have to rinse your blueberries, but I do beforehand because I like to dump them immediately into my batter without having to worry about rinsing them.  Supposedly by rinsing them later they won't be mushy, but I didn't notice a problem this past year.


Once the blueberries are frozen, you can remove the pan and then bag or jar them and place your freezer-safe container back in the freezer.  Freezing them initially in a single layer prevents them from freezing together in lumps.


 I love fresh blueberries and I'm thankful to have some frozen again this summer to enjoy this winter!  One of my favorite things to make during the winter with frozen blueberries is blueberry muffins.  (Which reminds me to share the recipe I use with you, because it is simply delicious... the best I have found!) 

Have a great week, friends.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Freshening for Guests


This past week we've had company and now today my husband's cousin is coming to stay for the night.  As I made up the bed this morning with freshly laundered sheets that smelled faintly like lavender I couldn't help but grab the camera.   This room just makes me happy.  When company comes, we usually move Rosetta out of her bedroom and into the playroom so guests can sleep on the queen sized bed. 


 This lamp has always been a very favorite of mine.  I bought it years ago before I even had a home of my own!  It seems like it was just meant for this room, where it's soft and romantic.


After I made these paper flowers for Jillian's birthday, I didn't have the heart to throw them out... instead I stuck them on the bedside table.  I guess they'll work when fresh flowers aren't found.  (smile)


 I love the contrast of the soft colors and warm wood.  I still have a couple things I'd like to do in this room, but I like the direction it's heading.

 

This bedroom sits off our front porch, which I gave a thorough scrubbing yesterday.  Outside the window you can see a couple of my antique clay pots, which I just used for planting some mint and cilantro in.


 And speaking of the windows, I think I finally found the perfect fabric for making curtains with.  The windows are bare in her room as I've been waiting for the right fabric... what do you think?

I hope you have a wonderful weekend!  On Sunday we are leaving for a mini vacation with my husband's family... it will be nice to get away for a couple days!

Sharing at Cedar Hill Ranch

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Building a Bookcase

Hello there!  

Tonight I thought I'd share a little of what has been keeping us busy upstairs.  I've mentioned before that in addition to remodeling our daughter's bedroom, we're also remodeling the upstairs landing area, which we use as an office.

BEFORE:


This is what the landing looked like when we moved in.  I've always referred to this area as the "dark cave".  Basically the landing area consists of two pathways on either side of the stairwell and they look identical.  The opposite wall is where we have our desk, but this pathway sees more traffic since Jillian's bedroom entrance is on the far wall.  Because of the traffic and the narrow aisle, when remodeling we wanted to eliminate any furniture on this wall and use all the room we could in the eaves.  For a while now we've had the idea of building recessed bookshelves, not for pretty things, but as a functional piece to store all the girls' books, our books, files, and office supplies.  


The first step was cutting out the wall.  You can see in the corner that we saved all the bead board to use later on.  


 Look at this 2x4 (a cross brace in the eaves) Justus pulled out!  You can still see the bark and a vine.  It's fun seeing what wood looked like 80 years ago! 


Justus then began the process of framing everything in.  Our plan was concealed storage in the middle with a barn style cabinet door and a bookshelf on each side of the door.  To increase the storage capacity, the cabinet area in the middle is twice as deep as the bookshelves.  


Here is where Justus used the bead board... he cut it to size and used it for the back of the bookshelves.  As with any changes we make in our house, our goal is always that it looks as original to the house as possible.  By using reclaimed materials, it definitely gives the feeling that this was already existing built in storage (at least I hope!).  


Now Justus began putting up trim and the shelves.  When putting up the trim, he used the same trim design that already exists in other areas of our house so that everything looks uniform. 


I'm painting everything upstairs white (shocking, I know - laugh), but we loved the idea of having a few natural wood pieces to match the original wood doors.  This is where the shelves came in.  I wish so badly I had a before picture... Justus actually disassembled a wood desk we had that we no longer needed (because he also built us an 8' long desk that is attached to the wall on the opposite side, which I'll share soon), and cut all the shelving from it .  I love this detail!  Best of all, I had scored this desk a while back for $10, so this really saved us some money!  All I had to do to the wood was apply a thin coat of poly.


Next Justus built the cabinet door.  I saw a picture in the recent Country Living magazine of a cabinet door in an old home that looked similar to this... I knew the design would be just right so I took the picture to Justus and asked if he could build me a door like it.  I love the way it turned out... and I'm so happy he loves to build (smile).   (Note: we have a deal... he builds, I paint!  And he is way ahead of me!)  We selected barn style hinges.   

AFTER:


I am thrilled with the way this turned out.  It is wonderful having plenty of room for our books and office supplies.  This area upstairs will also be our schoolroom in the future, so extra storage is a must!


 Here is a close up of the shelves.  (You'll have to excuse my poor photos... it is very hard using natural light here to get good photos because there isn't much of it!) 


 By far though, my favorite thing is having an entire portion for the girls' books.  They love to read (we don't have a TV, so the girls really enjoy their books)! 


Here is the view from the other side.  You can see I still have a lot of painting to do and the floors to finish, but it's exciting seeing some progress!  I thought you might enjoy this little transformation.

Hope this finds you well!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Pictures with Zinnias


 I love zinnias.  My mom has zinnias galore in her garden and she's been bringing me bouquets to enjoy each week.  Next year I definitely plan to plant some in my garden... they're easy to grow and come in such a wide variety of cheerful colors. 


My mom had no idea when she brought these zinnias over they would be used as a prop for a photo session.  (smile) 


 This week I took Rosetta out one afternoon to try and get some one-year-old pictures.  As usual, the camera came out and the smiles went away.  So, since the zinnias were so conveniently sitting on the porch where she had left them for me, I thought one might help.


When I downloaded the photos, I couldn't keep from laughing at all the hilarious shots.  I had no intention of sharing these on my blog, but they were so sweet and funny I just couldn't resist. 


Jillian woke up from her nap and wanted in on the fun.  She came out in this dress and had some ideas...

Jillian: Mommy, I'm going to hold the flowers and pose like a princess...

Rosetta: Hm, what else can I try to eat in the yard today?


I think out of all the photos I took, this is the only one where I captured Rosy's sweet smile and the zinnias made such a pretty (although accidental) background.  

This is one of the reasons I love to take photos... they capture precious moments in time that can so easily be forgotten.  Every time I look through this batch of photos I'll remember a warm summer afternoon, my sweet girls' laughter, and zinnias.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Guest Post at Cedar Hill Ranch


Hi there!  I just wanted to pop in briefly to let you know I'm guest posting over at the lovely Cedar Hill Ranch today. 


I hope you'll come say hi and visit Anita's beautiful blog.  Have a wonderful rest of the week! 

Monday, July 16, 2012

A Summer Birthday


 Hi all!  Hope you had a nice weekend.  Yesterday we had a little birthday celebration for Rosetta, who just turned one!  We kept it simple by only having family and some good friends over and it was such a fun evening.  It felt like a summertime picnic. 


I was so happy to find these sunflowers at the grocery store.  Don't sunflowers just make you think of summer, sunshine and fun outdoors?  


I found these hanging tissue paper poms on clearance after the fourth of July.  


Our old table we keep on the front porch comes in handy for days like this - it's just perfect for drinks!


  I spent a few dollars on a handful of scrapbook paper at Hobby Lobby to make a couple bunting banners and these medallions that I put in some tin buckets I already had.


We had picnic staples, like hamburgers, potato salad, chips and dips, watermelon, and sauteed veggies from the garden.  


My mom put these little signs together last minute with some craft labels, paper plates and skewers.  I thought they were so cute!


 This year I decided to forgo cake and instead I made hand pies with local peaches and blackberries.  Cake seemed a little heavy with the heat outside, so these paired with ice cream seemed right.  (However, I admit I was a little "pied" out after making 25 of them!  smile)


Here is our precious birthday girl. 

 

Opening some gifts...


 I so wish I had taken a picture of the two girls together... somehow with putting a meal on and visiting, I forgot.  ;-)   They are such sweet sisters. 


 I think a fun time was had by all!  Jillian was so happy to be with her cousins and friends.


Thanks for letting me share a little of our evening and pictures with you!

Sharing at Cowgirl Up
Savvy Southern Style 
Jennifer Rizzo

Friday, July 13, 2012

Sweet Rain

 

After having gone so long without, the steady rain we've had the past couple days has been wonderful.  

Yesterday when the rain let up briefly, I ran outside with the girls to pick the veggies that were waiting.

As I opened the door and breathed in the scent of rain, all I could think was sweet rain.


I only made it to the squash before it started coming down steady again... but I was so happy to see the drops on everything.  We needed it so badly and the grass already looks greener around us.


Now whose idea was it to plant enough tomato plants to have plenty to can anyway?  

(smile)

Have a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

A Picnic Table


 Can you guess what I am excited to share tonight?

(I know, the food is probably throwing you off.) 

Well, this is a project that has been sitting around since March.  And one I am so excited to have finished so we can ENJOY it! 

BEFORE:


We've been without a picnic table for about a year now.  So for my husband's birthday this year my brother and sister-in-law brought over this old table that came with their old farmhouse and a new fancy umbrella.  We were thrilled to have a new picnic table, but didn't have a chance to work on it until last week.  

I had to dig deep for a "before" picture and this is all I could find.  You can see the table was old and needed some TLC, but it was all wood and sturdy as could be. 

So, handy hubby built some bunches around the table and replaced a rotting board on the table top.  I couldn't decide whether to paint the table red or green (to match our roof), but when I saw "Farm Red" paint on clearance at Tractor Supply, that made the decision easy.  (smile)

(And, if you'd read my blog for a while, you have to know I was happy to be painting something that wasn't bead board and wasn't white - ha!)  

AFTER:



I love to eat outside so I really am excited to have this project finished!  And the "new" picnic table seems to fit our back deck just perfect. 


You can see here that the table is actually pretty red. 


Just an old, simple table... perfect for enjoying summer evenings together.

Hope you are having a great week so far.  Our little Rosy turns 1 tomorrow!

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