A few new inventions

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Chris and I make a good team. He likes practical and I like beautiful. Lucky for me everything he makes is beautiful!
I enjoy my home when it is neat and orderly which means I like things put away (or hidden away according to Chris).
I am always switching things up around the house which means where things live sometimes changes.
He is always asking me “So where did you hide it now?” about many of his belongings.

His slippers are one of those things. I may put them in his closet, or by his bedside. Sometimes they make their way by the back door on the shoe rack. Or placed in a basket with all of the other slippers.
I knew he was trying to make a point when he came home last week with his newest invention- Slipper Hooks.
As much as I like things put away out of sight, I had to admit I loved his idea.
He came home the next day with a hook to hang above for his pajamas. And there you have it a new “practical” place for his things with no excuse for me to hide them away.

And while we are on the subject of inventions, check out our affordable version of a new recliner for Chris. To back up a bit, we had been searching for a leather recliner similar to this one for a while. Since they were hard to come by in our price range we settled for an Ikea POANG chair. It was the right size and is actually pretty comfortable. Since the matching ottoman was too bulky for the space Chris decided to make a custom one that slants down at just the right angle that he prefers. Not only is the whole combination beautiful but it is surprisingly ergonomic!

Mondays: Baking with Norah

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Norah has been inspired these days by this show and was wanting to branch out and bake something a little more fancy this week.

Her heart was set on a cake and she wanted to include berries with pink frosting.

She chose a recipe for a simple yellow cake from Joy of Cooking but added mixed berries that she had cooked down with some sugar.

She strained the berries to make a simple syrup which she then added to a cream cheese icing to get the pink hue she was going for.

Once the cake was cool she adorned it with fresh strawberries and icing where she got to use her new piping set she got for Christmas. She tested out each tip size and used the finest one for a face on each strawberry.

It was so much fun watching her come up with her very own creation. I helped a little but really just followed behind wiping and cleaning up.

Next week she wants me to have a list of ingredients laid out when she comes down in the morning to challenge her to make something with them.

I see a future cooking show star on our hands!

A New Piano

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I grew up with a piano. I took lessons and played along side of my Pop as a child. I always loved playing but didn’t stick with it.

When Chris and I first moved in we bought a relatively inexpensive piano from Craigs list. I couldn’t imagine a home without one. I played a little but then running a farm and raising two babies got in the way and it just sat there untouched unless my Pop came over for a visit or the occasional friend who played. We decided to get rid of it and make room for other things.

A few years back we were given another piano on a long term loan. I was determined to play and get the girls lessons but the long term loan turned in to a very short visit and the piano had to go earlier than expected.

I decided to put the idea of a piano on the back burner and began to fall in love with my open and airy dining room without one. I replaced it with a secretary desk which I used for my every day dishes and it worked well as a serving piece when entertaining.

But a few months back the girls began asking for a piano again. When visiting my cousin over the holidays, Hannah sat down at the piano and asked me to play with her. When my fingers touched the keys I was filled with warm memories of playing with my Pop. I Love Coffee, I Love Tea, Send in the Clowns, One Enchanted Evening and songs from Fiddler on the Roof, were some of our favorites to play and sing together.

When we were in Florida last week I got an email from a friend who was looking for a new home for her piano. I thought about how much I love my open and spacious dining room with my little plates stacked neatly in the desk shelves and was ready to decline but then I thought about my girls, my Pop, learning to play again, a home filled with music and something made me write yes and press send.

It was delivered last night and I am adjusting. I get a little grumpy sometimes when I bring in something new. But I do love it.

It needs tuning and I so do I. Lessons will begin in a few weeks.

After everyone went up to bed last night I sat back and admired the new addition to our home. I dusted it’s wood and adorned it’s top. I greeted it and sat down to introduce myself and played a few songs.

It felt good and I swear I heard Pop humming along.

Chicken Pot Hand Pies

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We made these last night for dinner and they were to die for.
True comfort food I tell ya.

Early morning I started a whole chicken in the crock pot and when I arrived home in the afternoon I made the dough and filling. I saved the fun part of constructing the pies for Norah and Chris. They got straight to work rolling out and crimping the dough when they got home.
We make a good team.

I doubled the recipe so there would be plenty of pies to pack in everyone’s lunch the next day with still a few left over to freeze.

Everyone declared that pretty much anything wrapped in that cream cheese dough would be delectable.
So we came up with a list of different fillings we want to try.
Stay tuned…..

Sunday Afternoon Craft Circle

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A few weeks ago the girls asked if they could host their own craft circle with friends. I guess after watching their mama have fun crafting with her friends each month for the last 15 years they thought they should give it a try.

They decided on the first Sunday afternoon of every month and hosted their first one yesterday.

Each girl brought along a craft to work on and they all sat around the fire chatting and working on various projects. A few worked on crocheted ipod charger cords, Hannah began knitting a hat while her friend worked on a knitted bear project. There was some duct tape art and after much finger knitting over the years Norah began her very first knitted project on needles~ a scarf!

And of course there were refreshments. Norah made back bean brownies again and served them with peppermint tea.

Although there was a bit of a generation gap and the conversation may have been a bit different, craft circle on the first Sunday afternoon of the month with the girls looked a lot like craft circle on the second Wednesday evening of the month with the ladies. There was laughter, lots of chatter, sharing of tools and ideas and of course tea and goodies.

I know that this Sunday afternoon tradition may not last forever but for now I will cherish these moments and feel a little bit proud that my girls want to follow in their mama’s footsteps.

A few new things

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Just a few new things around the home to share with you…

Chris made me that beautiful coffee table for Christmas which now lives up on the second floor in our loft space. It’s so nice to have a place for our feet to rest upon, stacks of books, a space for board games, and our Downton hot chocolate parties!

My mama gifted me a set of those lovely iron sconces for Christmas this year. She overheard my love for them while we are away at Shehawken this summer visiting here. She’s so sneaky!

I have been on the look out for some new linens and found an amazing lot of napkins with beautiful embroidery work along with that tablecloth while thrifting last week. I will be using my antique wooden ironing board on a weekly basis!

We are off to sunny Florida in a few hours. I will be posting photos here all week.

Have a lovely weekend my friends!

xo

Winter Knits

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I have been busy knitting this winter and was thrilled to finish several projects to give as gifts this Christmas.

~Hannah had picked out the bandana cowl from The Purl Bee and it proved to be a big hit and the perfect style for my almost teen! Both Norah and Chris now want one too.

~Norah wanted a “slouchy” hat so I made this pattern and it hasn’t left her head since I gave it to her. She was actually wearing it the other night with her pajamas.

~I made this cabled hat for my sister for Christmas with a thick merino/mohair blend. This hat was hard for me to give up. It is so cozy and warm.

~Norah is modeling one fingerless mitt of a pair (that is not quite finished) from this pattern. These will be for my sister-in-law whose birthday was back in the beginning of December. She was so distraught when she lost one of the mitts I had knit for her many years ago that I had to knit her a new pair. I plan to finish the other one poolside next week as we are heading to Naples Florida for the week to visit Chris’s parents!

Black Bean Brownies

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Last Monday Norah was away on a trip with friends so we didn’t get to making bagels. We are excited for the opportunity to visit our favorite bagel shop in town next week to help make a batch so we decided before we brave our way through making our own we would wait to get some tips from the professionals.

Today Norah wanted to bake brownies.
Because she really enjoys watching cooking tutorials (as do I) we skimmed the Martha Stewart site and became intrigued with a recipe made with black beans.

It was a simple recipe with a short list of ingredients all of which we had on hand.
These brownies are decadent, chewy, rich, moist and fudgey.
And taste great with a cold glass of milk.