Saturday, October 30, 2010

Decorating Tips!

Obviously I am a sentimental person since I enjoy scrap booking. I particularly like to keep the memorabila that have special meaning from a special occasion or fun memory.

I have learned over the past though, you cannot save everything nor is everything worth saving (ask my friends whom I organize their houses). Even more so, you run into the trouble of storage (you should see my boxes lined up in my closet of sorted items to be scrap booked). How much space do you want to devote to storing these items? So this begs the question of what do you do with it all?

A few years ago before I had my son, I had the opportunity to sort all those mementos in the closet for future scrapbook albums (that I am like a dozen behind). While doing this, I was able to put aside a small pile of items that I deem "wall worthy." These are items that would look really neat framed or used for decoration around the house. Not only would you be able to glance at them on a regular basis thinking about the memories behind them, but framed these might start interesting conversations.

And interesting conversations I have had when people come over since I have started on some items on the pile. For example, I have some of my campaign buttons on display on our desk upstairs in a shadow box frame. I then use the frame to house some homemade ornaments from my childhood for the Christmas season. I also had my 2005 Inauguration Invite and Ball Invitation framed. In the future, I would like to frame some needlework from my Grandma Betty Coleman with a second piece of needlework from Tim's Grandma Anna Rittgers.

Today in particular, I finished framing a Noah's Ark pipe cleaner set that made by a special family member to be as a table decoration at one of my baby showers. Since my nursery theme is Alphabet and animals, I wanted to hang this on the wall in the nursery above the bed. I chose an 11 by 14 inch charcoal shadow box frame to match other art in the room. I then preceded to cut the Ark background down to size of the frame finally cutting out the Noah's Ark altogether. Using double stick tape, I taped on the background followed by taping the Noah's Ark with foam tape for a 3-D effect. Next, I pinned on the pipe cleaner animals after bending their heads and bodies for a better view.

Not only do I feel like I economized by using an item I already had, I had fun accomplishing this little project. And what a great way to display and decorate with some fun, meaningful things around the house. Happy Decorating!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

We all scream for Apple Pie!

Fall time is here which means Apple Pies. And yes, we went to the Apple Orchard (all the way to Gays Mills, WI, I might add) to hand-pick a couple of bushels of apples to make some mouth-watering, tasty Apple Pie. At least that is what people tell me about my apple pies as I have had a number of requests for the upcoming holiday season. What people actually say, is that they melt in your mouth!

So for this third annual pie baking day, we are all set for some serious pie baking. My recipe is my own idea of combining both my own Grandma Betty Coleman's pie crust recipe with Grandma Rittgers apple mixture recipe. I decided to call it Heritage Apple Pie because I take my favorite ingredients from both recipes and then add an additional spice of my own choosing. Now mix that with the key ingredients of your husband (or another male relative) completely cleaning the kitchen beforehand (a good incentive if they want pies), shopping done beforehand, help watching the kids, a block of an afternoon, and minimum cleanup. My friend Sarah and I are usually able to whip out about six pies to eight pies in a couple of hours this way. Now top that off with Cortland Baking Apples and you have some yummy pie!

Sarah and I have a system down when it comes to baking pies. She does the crust (the part she likes) and I do the apples (the part I like). Fortunately, this year I was able to use a real apple peeler that made peeling and coring the apples a lot slicker. I would wash the apples, peel them, and then make sure the slices were a reasonable size. Once I have the amount required, I mix up the delightful, apple "insides" and put them into the empty pie crust topping it with a little butter. While I am peeling, Sarah, with her arms deep in flour and her apron on, uses the cleaned kitchen counter to mix and roll her crusts. After she rolls another piece out and tops the pie off, she has her scissors ready to trim away the excess dough and make five apple seed slits. She then uses water to seal the edges finishing with pressing them down. Sarah makes the pies look good with the crust and I make the apples melt in your mouth.

Everyone around here has been screaming apple pie ever since I purchased the apples! And as soon as I sent out the text "Pie baking in oven," immediately everyone responded that they were coming over later that evening to have some of that mouth-watering apple pie. I just recommend serving it warm with the French Vanilla Ice Cream and a glass of milk that you told them to pick-up on the way over! Happy Pie Baking!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Cooking for the fall: Apples!

I tried my hand at making Apple butter this fall. I had planned to go to an apple orchard here in CO but decided to take advantage of the specials at the supermarket to save both time and money.

Here's a link to the recipe I used: All Day Apple Butter and since it was my first time dealing with canning recipes I used this website as a guide: Canning apple butter

It was pretty easy but took a lot of time; I started it Friday evening because I used a crock pot and it was finished at about 11 am on Saturday morning.

Here are some pictures I took along the way:

I used Red Delicious Apples (18 of them!)

I sterilized the jars and used half pint size so that they could be given as gifts to people this coming holiday season

Eighteen apples got me about 7 half pint jars of apple butter.

Matt and I cracked one open for quality control. We decided it's more like apple jam and it's safe to eat. That's my most recent project. I'm sure as the weather cools off more there will be more crafty things in store :)