Friday, April 26, 2013

mother's day cookies

i am filling a local order and decided to make this offer available to everyone. sometimes i get a glimpse of what life will be like when all the kiddos are in school and i think i can do crazy things. like make dozens of cookies for the great moms of the world. i want you to be able to show your mothers (or wives, grandmothers, aunts, teachers, sisters, you name it) how special and unique she really is. here's the deal:

1 dozen (12) hand decorated, monogrammed sugar cookies for the lucky lady.
these will be packaged in pretty cello baggies and tied with a lovely bow.
each cookie's design is hand-drawn and unique.
i use only high-quality ingredients to make the cookies look great and taste fantastic.
they can be delivered locally (norfolk/virginia beach, va area) or shipped in the US in time for mother's day.

$15.00 plus $12.50 for shipping, if needed.

ordering flowers can be pricey and she'll be expecting that. this will bring a smile to her face and she'll brag about it to all her friends.

email me at for ordering info. i can't wait to make your mom's mother's day great (:

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


we have a dear friend, haji, who works with chris. his nation of birth is india, though he has lived in america most of his life. that india thing, though...he's a charmer. my children all have a "haji" fascination. he's funny and quick with the one-liners. he will play hearts or scopa when they are needing the fourth player (i.e. mom won't play). haji has been family to us for their whole lives and things are always happier when he trails in.
that being said, asa came to me the other day with, "momma, haji asked me if i had chee-cake and i said i can't know what chee-cake is. do u have chee-cake?" in asa's defense, he does speak very well. in fact, the reason he calls it chee-cake is because he thinks the singular of cheese is chee. brilliant, i know.
anyway, i told him that sadly, i was all out of chee-cake, but we could make some the next day. because i love my son, by golly!
so, wanting to use as much of my in-house ingredients as i could, i purchased only the cream cheese at the store. everything else was in my pantry and fridge. that's how i settled on key lime cheesecake with pretzel crust and strawberries on top. pretzel crust, because i was fresh out of graham, which i kinda prefer.
here's the super easy recipe. i use this same recipe for plain, pumpkin, caramel, whatever flavor i want. just leave out the lime and feel free to sub what you have on hand. perhaps you can avoid going to the store altogether if you have three bricks of cream cheese sitting pretty in your fridge.
asa did enjoy his dessert. two seconds later, he asked, "momma, when we gonna make strawberry cake?" brilliant, i tell you. brilliant.

key lime cheesecake with pretzel crust and strawberries

1 3/4 cups pretzel (or graham) crumbs
5 T butter, melted
1 cup plus 1 T sugar
3 8-oz pkgs. cream cheese, softened
1 tsp. vanilla
1/3 cup lime juice or 1/4 cup key lime juice (about 3 regular limes or lots of key limes :)
1 tsp. lime zest, optional
3 eggs
whipped cream
fresh strawberries
2 T sugar

Preheat oven to 350. Combine crumbs, melted butter and 1T sugar in bowl. Stir well to coat evenly. Press the crumbs onto the bottom and halfway up the sides of an 8 or 9-inch springform pan. Bake for 5 minutes. Let cool.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the softened cream cheese, vanilla and 1 cup sugar. Beat till smooth. Add the lime juice, zest and eggs. Beat till smooth.
Pour filling into springform pan. Bake till center is no longer jiggly. Mine takes 45 minutes. This can take an hour.** Remove from oven and allow to cool. When it is room temp, place in fridge for a few hours. Serve with topping and whipped cream.
Prepare topping:
Hull and slice strawberries. Place in medium bowl and sprinkle with 2 T sugar. Coat evenly. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 30 minutes or in fridge for a few hours. This draws out the juices and creates a great saucy topping. Serve with whipped cream and feel free to sprinkle some wayward crumbs over the top (:

**i bake my cheesecake using the water-bath method, though it is optional. it decreases the chance your cheesecake will have a browned top. it also keeps it moist and creamy.  use a large roaster pan. before making the crust, cover the bottom of the springform pan with double criss-cross layers of foil and tighten around the sides. when ready to bake, place the cheesecake in the roaster and fill with boiling water a couple inches up the sides. bake as directed. just remember to start boiling your water when you begin to assemble your cheesecake.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


there's a trend around here. i see a need, find it's fulfillment on the web, create it's ugly cousin using scraps lying around the house, fall in love.
 here we go...

kindle in need of cover. heidi in need of the $ for kindle cover. that's how these things begin.

i started with a sock. i thought it might work. it fits snug and can be wrapped around. ignore the flower at the top. it'll come into play later.
scootch it down almost to the bottom. there should be the tip of the sock left empty. this will be folded up over the kindle buttons. at least that's where they are on the kindle touch.
stretch the top of the sock up and over as if you were folding the sock into pairs, creating a cuff.
i made a felt flower for the front. it can detach for washing the sock.
this thing looks a bit homeless, but it is perfect for me. i can slip my kindle into a handbag without worrying about scratches. it can withstand a mild drop. it can be changed out whenever my sock preference changes.

so, from that mild victory to another. even more ugly. remember this post? the one about my chair pads. well, the stars aligned and the pricey plastic discs were mounted on my chairs. it happened one night when i went out with a friend. wow. i should go out more often. anyway, i reveled in the freedom of having permanent pads on my chairs. wondered what took me so long to do this. scooted the chairs back and forth without care. felt like having a dinner party. a few days later i went to scrub the floors and to my horror, they were scratched worse than ever. the discs had developed sharp edges and had done their damage. what the...?!? seriously.
so, this is how the ugliest of ugly projects was born. i found some negelected americana fabric in the depths of my attic. made nice with the sewing maching and set to work.
24 double circles sewn together with zigzig stitches. i took extra fabric and folded it over and placed in the middle of each circle for padding.
cupped it over each chair leg and secured with a rubber band. i am not even kidding.
my chairs have socks. they don't even match my tablecloths, walls, anything. i have had them for a good three weeks now. maybe more. these babies are holding up and going strong. no scratches, dragging, nada.  i can wash them, replace them. whatever.
this cheap girl is on a tear.

Thursday, March 8, 2012


sometimes, you can mention your need to replace the felt chair pads on your all-too-old kitchen chairs. and sometimes your husband will suggest picking up the pricey plastic ones. "i'll screw them in and we won't have to deal with the felt ones anymore, hon", he says. umm...cha-ching...but it'll be so worth it. and sometimes you can go with the plan and then wait. for, i'm not sure what, but wait and wait. *sigh*
sometimes that can happen.
but sometimes, you can casually acknowledge his desire to have a greenhouse. you can helpfully remind him of the stacks of old windows he's collected from a recent replacement job. you can share with him a great idea found on pinterest for using reclaimed windows to create a greenhouse.
(courtesy of
can anyone say, "so cute!"? thought so.
anyway...sometimes, that kinda conversation would make his eyes glaze over and wonder what the heck "pinterest" is. but then, some other times, he nods with approval. he throws out some pros and cons. he leaves for work. and then he comes back early to create this...

it's not a greenhouse. it's a hothouse. smaller. convenient for starting plants, with a hinged roof for easy access. the large greenhouse was a bit daunting with all that glass and with all those baseballs. and sticks. and rocks. and boys., this is the baby that was born of my mere suggestion.

the chair pads? well that someday hasn't come yet. but, feel free to come by and check out my hothouse. if i invite you in for a glass of water, however, you may want to gently scoot the chair back when you're done. wouldn't want to leave a scratch. would we?

Thursday, February 9, 2012


if this was my birthday, i'd be old enough to {finally} drive. i would be getting ready to run some errands with mom so that my sisters could decorate for my surprise birthday party complete with volleyball, guacamole and frozen yogurt pie. i'd be anxious the whole way home because i figured about the party and i'm not good at faking surprise. i don't like added attention on me, so that would add to the butterflies. i would, however, love the green peace-sign tee shirt given by my sisters' friends who had taken a liking to me. i would wear out the "anything box" cassette and dance my legs off to 'living in oblivion'. i would always be grateful for people who love me and were willing to show it.

well, it's not my birthday, but i am sixteen. sixteen years married, that is. old enough to drive this marriage on and on forever. old enough to wake up early and make my husband breakfast and prepare his favorite foods for a quick dinner before youth night at church. old enough to get butterflies knowing we'll have the chance to go out this weekend, if only for a couple hours before he has meetings saturday night. old enough to know that the best gift i could receive is chris coming home early today to finish the fence for the chickens. old enough to appreciate the road we've traveled and how very far we have left to go. 

sixteen is pretty sweet.

Saturday, January 28, 2012


two things asa loves for breakfast...
hot dit (grits)

two things asa loves to do...
climb on marshall's bunkbed
chase the chickens with a stick

two places asa loves to go...
church (really the nursery)
kayak with momma

two shows asa loves to watch...
dinosaur train
cat in the hat

two books asa loves...
mary engelbreit mother goose
big red barn

two things asa loves to wear...
yellow boots

two reasons we love this boy more than anything...

                                               happy birthday asa!

Monday, January 9, 2012


a relaunch doesn't mean a full cruise schedule. just in case you've been waiting with baited breath for my next post. these things take awhile for me.
with that said, i have made a discovery and need to share with you fine friends. cookies are a staple and they don't take a genius IQ to get them right. they do, however, require some tweaking along the way to get them just right. i am one step closer.
here is what i do with my chocolate chip cookie dough. after mixing it all together, chill for at least a half hour. you can do this! then, roll into balls. make sure your hand is good and greasy, just like mine. that means you've used the appropriate amount of butter.
then, do something crazy with that ball of dough. rip it in half. right through the center. take the two torn halves and smoosh them together ripped sides up. this makes the tops prettier and the cookie bake more evenly. place them on the tray and bake away.
make sure you have a bed-head toddler lying around the house. that way, if you mess them up, he'll never let on.
i, however, have full faith in you and know you are good for this task. your cookies will be one step closer to that holy grail we all know is out there. the perfect cookie.

and for your baking pleasure...

                                      white chocolate almond cookies
2 cups + 2 tbsp flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 sticks (12 tbsp) butter, melted and cooled
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg + 1 egg yolk, room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup white chocolate chips
3/4 cup chopped almonds

Preheat oven to 325ºF. Mix the dry ingredients: the flour and baking soda, together in a bowl and set aside. In another bowl, mix the butter and two sugars together. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla, and mix. Now add the dry ingredients and mix till an even dough forms. Add in the chocolate chips and almonds. Mix till evenly distributed.
Now you can divide the dough how you choose, into 1/4 cup portions for 18 large cookies or 2 tbsp portions for 36 smaller cookies. Divide your dough and shape each portion into a ball. Then pull each ball into two equal pieces. Turn both pieces so that the jagged side of each half faces upwards and then squish them together. Place them jagged side up on parchment lined baking sheets.

For the larger cookies, bake for 12-15 minutes, and for the small cookies, bake for 8-12 minutes, or until the edges begin to brown and set and the centers are still soft and puffy. Do not overbake. Take them out of the oven and let them finish baking on the sheets, placing the baking sheets on cooling racks. Enjoy!

Makes 18 large cookies or 36 medium cookies.