Monday, May 30, 2016

HAPPY HOMEMAKER & MENU PLAN MONDAY

I hope everyone has plans for a Memorial day full of family and friends tempered with just enough solemness for the occasion.

We had a VERY productive weekend - mainly because Saturday morning we awoke to find that hubby had left the freezer open Friday night and all the ice and everything else had melted right onto the kitchen floor.  So, it put me into a major cleaning and sorting mode and boy did I go!!!  I filled the car twice with donations.
THE WEATHER OUTSIDE
Cool and sunny, but looks are deceiving as I know we will be near 85 today.

AS I LOOK OUTSIDE MY WINDOW
I see squirrels chasing and running all over - up and down trees.

ON THE BREAKFAST PLATE
A scrambled egg and English muffin.

AS I LOOK AROUND THE HOUSE
I am VERY happy with ALL that we accomplished this past weekend and am grateful for not needing to jump up and dive in to make the house presentable for when my uncle comes for dinner later.

TO DO FOR THE WEEK
  • Paint new molding in living room.
  • Sorting and organizing studio.
  • Sorting donation pile.
  • Hang living room fan.
CURRENTLY READING
TELEVISION / DVR
I think there are a few new shows this week, but I haven't checked yet.

KITCHEN WISHES
I've been doing some "soul" searching in this department.  There was a time when I wanted and "needed" kitchen gadgets.  The older I get I realize that I truly get my enjoyment from the basics in cooking - chopping and prepping the way my grandmother used to. One of the things I did over the weekend was to sort through gadgets and kitchen tools.  I only kept my very favorites and LOVE how cleaned out my drawers are.

MENU PLANS FOR THE WEEK

MONDAY
TUESDAY
WEDNESDAY
THURSDAY
FRIDAY
SATURDAY
SUNDAY
BREAKFAST
YOGURT & FRUIT
SCRAMBLED EGGS & CHEESE
FRUIT SMOOTHIE
YOGURT & FRUIT
MAPLE OATMEAL & RAISINS
LUNCH
FRUIT & CHEESE
SOUP & CRACKERS
SANDWICH
OUT
MEAT & CHEESE
LEFTOVERS
SANDWICHES
DINNER
BURGERS & POTATO SALAD

C.O.R.N.
DESSERT







HOUSE PROJECTS
Not much of a picture, but it's of the molding. We had to shift things around to get the whole room done, but we had put ALL the furniture on those heavy duty felt pads so it was a bit easier.  Hubby got the last of the outlets changed out for me too.  All that's left are the few electrical things that the electrician will be here Tuesday to finish.
This pile for the trash man is getting smaller each week, but still a mess when it rains.  We did get a portion of the Magnolia tree pruned and the gutters cleaned on the garage.  I don't think the tree had been pruned since grams planted it 40 years ago.
THINGS THAT ARE MAKING ME HAPPY
These are just a couple of the piles we donated to the women's shelter this last week.
FAVORITE PHOTO FROM THE CAMERA
INSPIRATION

Be sure to link up with Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom for Happy homemaker Monday and with Laura at I'm an Organizing Junkie for Menu Plan Monday.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

GRAN'S POUND CAKE

2 sticks butter, room temperature
1/2 cup crisco
3 cups sugar
5 large  eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon PURE vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees°. 
  • Using a stand mixer cream the butter and shortening together until creamy. 
  • Add sugar, one cup at a time. It may be a little grainy, but don't worry it won't stay that way.
  • Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition.  I break each egg into a small bowl and whisk it before adding it. Grams always thought this was best.
  • Sift dry ingredients together into a bowl.
  • Alternately add milk and flour mixture, starting with the flour and ending with the flour until creamy and smooth. 
  • Mix in lemon juice and vanilla.  Batter will be a bit thick.
  • Use a spatula to move batter into a greased and floured tube pan.
  • Bounce the pan on the counter top several times to remove the air bubbles and level it out for an evenly baked top.
  • Bake for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. I start my timer at 1 hour and then check every 10-15 minutes after that.
  • Cool for 15 minutes.
  • Invert onto a plate and cool for 15 minutes more and then invert again so the pretty side is up.
  • Serve with your favorite topping.

Monday, May 23, 2016

HAPPY HOMEMAKER & MENU PLAN MONDAY

I hope everyone had a great week and weekend.  I have not been around much, let alone on the internet. The past several weeks, er months have been chaotic to say the least.  The move here, the unexpected shambles of a house we committed too unknowingly, the massive clean out of my cousin's things coupled with grams, gramps and even my great grandmother's things along with my aunt's declining health with the Alzheimers ALL before she even fell shattering her knee and ALL the ensuing surgeries, hospitalization and ICU time from the infections and stroke before her unexpected death have left me feeling a bit overwhelmed.

The past several weeks with the chaotic weather and family flying in and out have given us a break from the house for the most part, but also left us anxious to truly finish it. We are hoping to get quite a bit done this week and I'm hoping to also get back into a regular posting routine and try some new recipes too.
THE WEATHER OUTSIDE
It is warm with expected thunderstorms all week, but that's Texas for you.

AS I LOOK OUTSIDE MY WINDOW
It's a bit dreary and gray, but dry for the moment.

ON THE BREAKFAST PLATE
Nothing as I have fasting blood work later this morning after we drop my mom at the airport. We are going to try a new Cajun place for lunch though that I'm looking forward to.

AS I LOOK AROUND THE HOUSE
I see tons to do, but will get a running start at it this afternoon after we return.

TO DO FOR THE WEEK
  • Drop mom off at airport.
  • Blood work today with a follow-up appointment for the results later in the week.
  • Clean spare bedroom and bathroom.
  • Return a chair to my uncle that my mom was using during her stay.
  • Start the sorting on the studio that is piled to the ceiling to get it all out of the rest of the house during my mom's visit.
  • Drop off donations from the minimalization project at women's shelter re-sale shop.
  • Drop off hundreds of magazines to the hospital for their waiting rooms.
  • Clean top to bottom.
  • Several loads of laundry.
  • Paint all the new molding hubby has been putting up. This alone will take me weeks.
CURRENTLY READING
TELEVISION / DVR
Not sure yet, need to see what the new summer shows are going to be.

CRAFTS & PROJECTS
LOL Nothing until the studio is sorted out.

MENU PLANS FOR THE WEEK

MONDAY
TUESDAY
WEDNESDAY
THURSDAY
FRIDAY
SATURDAY
SUNDAY
BREAKFAST
YOGURT & FRUIT
SCRAMBLED EGGS & CHEESE
FRUIT SMOOTHIE
YOGURT & FRUIT
MAPLE OATMEAL & RAISINS
EGGS in the CLOUDS
BACON & EGGS
LUNCH
FRUIT & CHEESE
SOUP & CRACKERS
SANDWICH
OUT
MEAT & CHEESE
LEFTOVERS
SANDWICHES
DINNER
C.O.R.N.
RECIPE EXPERIMENT NIGHT
PULLED PORK SANDWICHES & BBQ BEANS
DESSERT








ON MY MIND
As I sat at many family events this week watching brothers and sisters interact I realized that two of the most important words in the English language are PERCEPTION and PERSPECTIVE. Each of our perceptions and perspectives are developed through OUR experiences in life and OUR interactions with family, friends and peers as well as teachers and even strangers. While much of life is black and white, many a memory falls into the gray area shrouded with personal perceptions and perspectives based on age, sex, education, playground interactions, job type, public interactions at different cultural times in society, etc...  I have chosen NOT to get involved with many of the family arguments that have ensued over the years and refuse to in the future also.  Long story short, sometimes it just isn't worth the hassle.

PERCEPTION per·cep·tion pərˈsepSH(ə)n/
noun: perception; plural noun: perceptions
  • the ability to see, hear, or become aware of something through the senses.
  • the state of being or process of becoming aware of something through the senses.
  • a way of regarding, understanding, or interpreting something; a mental impression.
synonyms: recognition, awareness, consciousness, appreciation, realization, knowledge, grasp, understanding, comprehension, apprehension; formal cognizance, impression, idea, conception, notion, thought, belief, judgment, estimation

PERSPECTIVE per·spec·tive pərˈspektiv/
noun: perspective
  • the art of drawing solid objects on a two-dimensional surface so as to give the right impression of their height, width, depth, and position in relation to each other when viewed from a particular point.
  • a view or prospect.
  • a particular attitude toward or way of regarding something; a point of view.
synonyms:  outlook, view, viewpoint, point of view, POV, standpoint, position, stand, stance, angle, slant, attitude, frame of mind, frame of reference, approach, way of looking, interpretation
       
THINGS THAT ARE MAKING ME HAPPY
We finished our 30 day minimalization project this past week and am proud to say we ended at almost 3 times the expected outcome with 1182 items! This week we will begin yet again as I begin the clean out of the studio and finish unpacking all the remaining boxes!  I'm really looking forward to this and feeling a bit more settled because of it.  The goal is to reach a point where we can have the carpet installed the first week of June and then acquire the last few pieces of furniture we want and need.

FAVORITE PHOTO FROM THE CAMERA
I did not even get a chance for any pictures this week.

INSPIRATION

Be sure to link up with Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom for Happy homemaker Monday and with Laura at I'm an Organizing Junkie for Menu Plan Monday.

Monday, May 16, 2016

HAPPY HOMEMAKER & MENU PLAN MONDAY

It's Monday whether we want it to be or not! I hope you had a great weekend.
THE WEATHER OUTSIDE
It's gray and stormy this week and doesn't look like it will let up much any time soon.

AS I LOOK OUTSIDE MY WINDOW
I see a long gray week with intermittent thunder storms.

ON THE BREAKFAST PLATE
A banana and coffee.

AS I LOOK AROUND THE HOUSE
I actually see the progress we've made and am anxious to be done.

TO DO FOR THE WEEK
  • Shopping for a couple family meals.
  • Cleaning.
  • ?? no BIG projects with mom visiting.
CURRENTLY READING
TELEVISION / DVR
Nothing new this week.  We will look into getting cable soon after the last of the electrical work is done.

CRAFTS & PROJECTS
Planning a new pattern for quilts I am making my uncle and cousin from some of my aunt's clothes.

HOUSE PROJECTS
Nothing new this week with family in for the funeral.

KITCHEN WISHES
I have so many kitchen gadgets and am finding that LESS really is more! So I no new wishes except to organize and clean out a bit more.

MENU PLANS FOR THE WEEK

MONDAY
TUESDAY
WEDNESDAY
THURSDAY
FRIDAY
SATURDAY
SUNDAY
BREAKFAST
YOGURT & FRUIT
SCRAMBLED EGGS & CHEESE
FRUIT SMOOTHIE
YOGURT & FRUIT
MAPLE OATMEAL & RAISINS
OUT
BACON & EGGS
LUNCH
FRUIT & CHEESE
SOUP & CRACKERS
SANDWICH
OUT
MEAT & CHEESE
LEFTOVERS
SANDWICHES
DINNER
C.O.R.N.
SALISBURY STEAK & MASHED POTATOES
DESSERT







RECIPE FINDS TO TRY LATER
My uncle sent home tons of magazines from my aunt for me to go through, many of which are cooking and recipe oriented so I'm looking forward to going through those soon.

THINGS THAT ARE MAKING ME HAPPY
  • Hubby finished the floor molding in the living room.
  • The new couch is the perfect color.  I can't wait until the carpeting is complete and the companion pieces are in place.
FAVORITE PHOTO FROM THE CAMERA
I typed up my aunt's obituary for my uncle and we included this picture of her with a friend's dog.
INSPIRATION
Be sure to link up with Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom for Happy homemaker Monday and with Laura at I'm an Organizing Junkie for Menu Plan Monday.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

LUSCIOUS LEMON LAYER CAKE

LUSCIOUS LEMON LAYER CAKE
CAKE
3 cups sifted cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
4 eggs, room temperature
1 1⁄2 cups buttermilk
1 1⁄2 teaspoons vanilla

2 cups lemon curd
3 cups buttercream icing (recipe below)
  • Sift flour with baking powder, baking soda and salt in a mixing bowl and set aside.
  • Cream butter, sugar, and grated lemon zest with an electric mixer in separate mixing bowl until pale and fluffy.
  • Beat eggs in 1 at a time, thoroughly.
  • With electric mixer on low, gradually add flour mixture, alternating with the buttermilk.
  • Add vanilla and beat until smooth.
  • Divide batter evenly between two buttered and floured 9 inch cake pans.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until cakes are golden and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  • Cool cakes in pans for 10-15 minutes.
  • Remove cooled layers from pans.
  • Cut layers in half horizontally with a serrated knife.
  • Spread a thin layer of buttercream icing followed by a thin layer of lemon curd evenly between the layers and stack on serving plate.
ICING
1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine (softened)
1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract
4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar (approximately 1 lb.)
1 tablespoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons milk
  • In large bowl, beat shortening and butter with electric mixer until light and fluffy.
  • Beat in vanilla and lemon zest.
  • Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed.
  • Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. When all sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry.
  • Gradually add milk; beat at medium speed until light and fluffy.

Monday, May 9, 2016

HAPPY HOMEMAKER & MENU PLAN MONDAY

THE WEATHER OUTSIDE
It has been super pleasant this past week with beautiful spring weather and a gorgeous breeze, but today appears to be breaking that pattern and the rest of the week will be warm and humid.

AS I LOOK OUTSIDE MY WINDOW
I see gray skies and drizzle, but am hoping for a sunny afternoon without humidity. LOL a girl can dream can't she?

ON THE BREAKFAST PLATE
COFFEE, more coffee and a bowl of oatmeal.

AS I LOOK AROUND THE HOUSE
I'm becoming a bit more settled as I look around the house each morning.  We've been working long hours to try and get things done before my mom's visit which has now been moved forward 3 weeks with the impending funeral for my aunt.

TO DO FOR THE WEEK
This week will be Monday/ Tuesday heavy and then as needed with my mom visiting.
  • A trip to Lowes for a faucet for the spare bathroom.
  • Call electrician to fix the last problem from the electrician my uncle hired that has really messed up the living room as well as fix the back porch light.
  • Cleaning the bathrooms and kitchen. 
  • Laundry.
  • Paperwork.
CURRENTLY READING
TELEVISION / DVR
We watched a few season and series finales this past week, but I'm just really not into TV much lately with ALL the hours we've been spending on this house.

CRAFTS & PROJECTS
Nothing new this week.

MENU PLANS FOR THE WEEK

MONDAY
TUESDAY
WEDNESDAY
THURSDAY
FRIDAY
SATURDAY
SUNDAY
BREAKFAST
YOGURT & FRUIT
SCRAMBLED EGGS & CHEESE
FRUIT SMOOTHIE
YOGURT & FRUIT
MAPLE OATMEAL & RAISINS
QUICHE
SAUSAGE & EGGS
LUNCH
FRUIT & CHEESE
SOUP & CRACKERS
SANDWICH
OUT
MEAT & CHEESE
LEFTOVERS
SANDWICHES
DINNER
RECIPE EXPERIMENT NIGHT
OUT
C.O.R.N.
MEATLOAF & SALAD
??
DESSERT








HOMEMAKING/COOKING TIP
I thought I would show you how well the apple cider vinegar is working at collecting gnats and fruit flies. There are 7 or 8 EVERY day so this bowl has become a permanent fixture on my shelf.
THINGS THAT ARE MAKING ME HAPPY
I received a WONDERFUL text from my psuedo daughter/niece for Mother's Day that made me smile and cry all at once.  Amber fills my heart with love.  She has turned out to be a beautiful woman and fantastic mother that I am SOOO proud of.  She is the epitome of one of my favorite quotes.
FAVORITE CAMERA PHOTOS & HOUSE PROJECTS
These are totes full of all the bubble wrap from unpacking waiting for their turn up the ladder to the attic. I couldn't just throw it all out.  What if we move again?
I planted a few drought resistant Lantana in yellow and variegated pink and Mexican Heather with the pretty purple flowers in the front planter to brighten things up.  And look at how big that Christmas tree has gotten.
It took me 4 coats between caulking and paint to turn the brown center beam in the ceiling white and then it took us 3 coats between sealer, primer and paint to cover the walls. 
The living room still needs some work in a few areas, but it will wait until after my mom's visit to get done.  We ran into a bit of a problem when we took down that gold fan and put up the new one. It is really hard to get a good electrician these days and sad that we are going to have to spend money to fix what my uncle thought he got fixed just a year ago.
I did get another quilt hung, but the rest of the room is a bit sparse until we get carpeting and some furniture.
We decided to let me try my hand at Giana stone countertops. I also decided to add an extra challenge by starting with wood and not Formica. We added a cute molding along the edge and pre-cut the hole for the sink. I got a bit scared when the first step was a black onyx primer and spent a few minutes thinking what have I gotten myself into? Especially since I had to wait a minimum of 8 hours to move onto to step 2.
Step 2 was all the sponge and designing.  I felt A LOT better after this step.  Step 3 was 3 coats of the actual marble sealer and was a 4 hour wait between coats so this project didn't take long for each step. but took over 3 days to complete.
I still need to finish the mirror and clean it up, but all in all I'm quite pleased with the results of the paint kit.
INSPIRATION

Be sure to link up with Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom for Happy homemaker Monday and with Laura at I'm an Organizing Junkie for Menu Plan Monday.