Ginger Pancakes with Lemon Sauce

With Thanksgiving in two days, and Christmas just around the corner, I want to share with you all one of my favorite recipes from my childhood to give you some inspiration for your holiday menus. This is a special, old, old Betty Crocker recipe that my mom used to make when I was a kid, always one of my favorites. It seems to have all but vanished from the food world, but I think it deserves to be pulled from obscurity and enjoy a moment in the spotlight…sweet and spicy ginger pancakes with a decadent cream cheese filling and a luscious, warm, buttery lemon sauce.

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Now, this is uncharted territory for me, the first recipe here on the blog, because, to be honest, I’m really not a very good cook. I do love to bake, but my cooking skills leave a bit to be desired…just ask my kids. Well, actually, they’ll tell you I’m a great cook because I can cook a mean box of Kraft macaroni and cheese…their favorite. But this recipe is fairly simple, and so worth stepping a little out of my comfort zone for.

Also, side note, have you ever tried taking pictures while you’re cooking? Try it sometime. It will give you a whole new respect for food bloggers!

Here is the original recipe from Betty Crocker, worth checking out just for the not-so-appetizing retro photo, but I’ll be modifying the recipe just a tad.

Here are the ingredients you’ll need: Bisquick mix, butter, lemons, milk, sugar, powdered sugar, cream cheese, molasses, vanilla, water, ground cloves, ground cinnamon, and ground ginger. Pretty standard ingredients…the only “specialty ingredient” that I didn’t have on hand was the molasses, which I found in the syrup aisle. I’ll include the full recipe at the bottom so you can see the full list of ingredients.

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I started with the lemon sauce, which is the scene-stealer, in my humble opinion, the best part of the recipe. I mixed one cup of sugar with 1 stick of butter (and definitely use real butter!), 1/4 cup of water, 1 egg, well beaten (very important!), a tablespoon of grated lemon peel, and 3 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice in a saucepan.

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I even got a little help from my 4 year old.

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Over medium heat, I brought these ingredients to a low boil while stirring constantly with a wire whisk.

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Very important to keep stirring; I didn’t and had little flecks of cooked eggs. If this happens to you, though, just toss the sauce through a strainer, and it will be fine.

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Once your sauce is finished, keep it over very low heat while you finish the pancakes and frosting, and it will thicken up a little as it sits.

For your pancakes, in a medium sized bowl, mix 2 cups Bisquick mix, 1 1/3 cups of milk, 1/4 cup of molasses, 1 1/2 teaspoons of ginger, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon  of ground cloves, and 1 egg with a wire whisk or beater until it is well mixed.

I like to pour my pancake mix into a large measuring cup just to make it easier to pour. I’m a pretty messy person, so I need anything I can think of to curtail the mess. Heat your skillet to medium heat; I used my cast iron skillet, but of course, use whatever surface you feel comfortable with. The recipe says to use roughly 1/4 cup of batter per pancake. Flip your pancake once it starts to bubble.

Once you have a nice stack of pancakes going, you can start on your cream cheese filling. In a medium bowl, I whisked together a half of an 8 oz package of softened cream cheese, 3 cups of powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon of vanilla, and just a tablespoon or two of milk to get it to the consistency I wanted.

Lastly, I just started stacking. Pancake on the bottom, layer of cream cheese filling, pancake, cream cheese filling…and topped all that off with a generous serving of the lemon sauce.

Might I suggest this recipe for a Thanksgiving breakfast or brunch? The buttery warmth of the lemon sauce and sweet spiciness of the pancakes make it a great fallish (or winterish) recipe. It deserves a special occasion, too, because it is rich and good. So good that I may have wrecked my Whole 30 diet while making it. Maybe. Make it and thank me later (just not when you’re on a Whole 30)!

Here is the full recipe:

Ginger Pancakes with Cream Cheese Filling and Lemon Sauce

Lemon Sauce

  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup (or 1 Stick) Butter
  • 1/4 Cup Water
  • 1 Egg, WELL Beaten
  • 1 Tablespoon Grated Lemon Peel
  • 3 Tablespoons Lemon Juice

Ginger Pancakes

  • 2 Cups Bisquick Mix
  • 1 1/3 Cups Milk
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons Ground Ginger
  • 1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cloves

Cream Cheese Filling

  • 1/2 package (4 oz) of cream cheese, softened
  • 3 cups powdered sugar (may vary)
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 1-2 tablespoons of milk (to desired consistency)

 

  1. In a 2 quart saucepan, combine all ingredients. Over medium heat, stir ingredients constantly with wire whisk until the sauce comes to a boil. Leave the sauce on lowest heat (sauce will thicken as it sits).
  2. In medium sized bowl, mix all pancake ingredients with whisk or beaters until well blended. Spray desired cooking surface with oil spray, heat to medium (may vary depending on surface), and pour 1/4 cup of batter mix per pancake. Flip pancake once it starts to bubble, and cook the other side for about a minute.
  3. In another bowl, combine softened cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla and beat with whisk or blender. Add 1 tablespoon of milk at a time until filling reaches desired consistency (should still be pretty thick).
  4. Layer pancakes with cream cheese filling, and top with lemon sauce. Garnish with lemon slice (optional).
  5. Enjoy!

I hope all of you, dear readers, have a fantastic Thanksgiving full of way more food than you can possibly eat and making memories with the people you love!

Rachel

Fall Décor On A Dime

Fall has arrived! I know it’s been official a while ago, specifically when Starbucks started selling the almighty Pumpkin Spice Latte (obviously), but I guess  I’m a little slow to adjust.

I don’t usually get super into seasonal decorating, and especially not fall décor. I just have   SO much REGULAR decorating that needs to be finished in the rest of the house that it’s hard to get into the temporary stuff. But this year, I decided to add just a few fallish details, just to feel a little more festive than normal.

Now, my already tight budget is even tighter right now since we haven’t had a renter in our Delaware house for almost half a year along with working on fixing it up to rent. So my fall décor budget was roughly $5 and some change. Or something close to that. Please tell me I’m not the only one?

As much as I would have loved to stock up on some pretty, fresh multi-colored pumpkins, they can be a little pricey, especially if you’re buying multiples. And if, like me, you prefer the white pumpkins? Forget about it.

So instead, I headed to the dollar section and picked up a few ugly items, determined to make something pretty out of them.

I picked up this $1 pumpkin bucket and a $.96 can of white spray paint from Walmart.

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At the dollar tree, I found these faux leaf bunches and little pumpkins and gourds.

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I spray painted the pumpkin bucket white, added some cabbage leaves from the produce section as a filler (a trick I learned from the Nester), a $3 bouquet of alstroemeria lilies, and finished it out with some wildflowers from across the street.

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As much as I love traditional fall colors, I wanted a more neutral look overall. I cut the leaves off of the bunch, and gave them a few coats of the white spray paint as well. I love the muted, almost frosty look they have now.

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I also gave the pumpkins and gourds a coat of copper spray paint.

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And then, with a length of twine, I tied each leaf on individually, intermittently spaced to leave room for the gourds, which I then hot glued directly to the twine.

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I did a little bit of chalkboard art, hung the finished garland, and set everything up.

cover

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Again, they’re small changes, nothing earth shattering, but enough at least to make it feel a little more autumnal here in the house and get my family and I in the fall spirit.

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I love the way the afternoon light shines in this little corner.

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That’s it for now, but I will be back later this week with a few more simple and affordable ideas. How are you decorating for fall? Do you like to go all out, or add just a few little touches like me?

Until next time!

Rachel

 

DIY Ombre Flower Art

 

Hello! I’m back on this lovely, drizzly Monday morning to hopefully cheer you up with a bright, pretty, simple DIY project.

The very first room I worked on in our trailer was my little girls room.

tall-view

If you’ve been following for a while and you remember, I went a little crazy with the fake flowers. I made this floral initial art

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and this little dress up corner

Dress Up Gallery Wall.jpg

and this floral embellished photo.

flower-art

Well, I’m back with another uber girly project…apparently, my girly side has been repressed for too long. I have been making a few changes to their room lately…more to come on that in the near future. For now, though, this quick and easy DIY.

The supplies I used were this deep picture frame from Ikea (could also use a shadow box), 4 stems of fake flowers from Dollar Tree, a glue gun, my gold glass marker  (the one listed is from Michaels, mine was from Hobby Lobby), a dry erase marker, and a piece of foam core (could also use cardboard or cardstock), also from the Dollar Tree.

supplies

I began by cutting the stems off of my flowers as close as possible to the flower so that they could lay flat.

cutting-flowers

Next, I arranged my flowers to get an idea of how I wanted them laid out.

layout

Next, using the back of my frame as a guide, I cut out a square of the foam core board with an Xacto knife to use as a backdrop.

foam-core-cutout

With that foam core square, I just started hot gluing my flowers on in rows.

hot-glue-fun

Once the flowers were finished, I put my frame together, and marked on the glass where I wanted my script to go with my dry erase marker. This allowed me to practice my font a few times before getting exactly what I wanted.

expo-marker

I took the glass out and turned it over, then traced the back of the glass with my gold glass marker.  I wanted the script to be on the inside of the glass so that it would be protected, and so I could clean the glass without the risk of messing it up. Also, for anyone trying this at home, if you’re not super confident in your handwriting skills, you could easily print off the name in a font that you like, place it behind your glass, and trace it with your dry erase marker.

script

Before the final assembly, I did have to trim my flowers down a little on the sides to fit inside the frame.

trimming

Once that was finished, I put it all together, and this is the final product.

final

Just a pretty, quick and easy way to display your child’s name, and you could customize it with any color of flowers and script that you like.

Hope you enjoyed, and hope you have a fantastic week!

Rachel

 

On Family, Small Changes, and New Art (the BEST kind)

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Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio at Sunset

Well, hello there internet world! Remember me? Probably not? That’s ok. It’s only been a few months…make that 5…since I’ve written. But I’m still here, still alive and kicking, and I thought I’d pop in to share a few small changes I’ve been working on.

But first, where I’ve been. Here in Tennessee, our kids summer break is only 2 months long. Just to give you an idea of what our summer was like, we travelled 6 weeks of that 2 months. It was the craziest summer of our lives, but we had a blast. We went to Virginia, Delaware, Ohio, North Carolina and a few places in between. Once August came around, I was actually ready for my kids’ to go back to school just so we could get back to some semblance of a schedule.

I say all that not to apologize, but to explain. I’ve finally decided that I have to be ok with blogging when I can get to it, and not beat myself up when I can’t. This is actually my last year home with my baby girl, and my number one priority is enjoying this time with her because I can’t get it back. I’ve decided that, as much as I love blogging and would love to grow my little blog and make it better, family has to come first. I’ll squeeze time in whenever I can to keep up with blogging, this hobby that I love and brings me to life. So that means sometimes I’ll blog once a week, and sometimes you’ll hear from me once a month…and that’s ok. I hope you’ll stick with me, and follow our little journey, and I’d love to hear from you along the way.

All right, now that I’ve given you an unwarranted mini state of the blog address, back to the house. You may remember last year that I took an old closet door from my parents and gave it a makeover; if not, you can read about it here.

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At the time, I used it as an air plant display. I won’t mention what has since happened to those air plants, but I needed to find something else to put on display here. Let’s just say, those air plants are probably in a better place now.

At the end of last year, my then second grader came home with a portrait of our family that he painted in art class, and I flipped over it. I draw and paint portraits myself, but I couldn’t possibly have captured our family as well as he did. It is officially my favorite piece of art ever (and it’s a good thing my other kids don’t read my blog yet!).

family-portrait

I knew right away that it needed a prominent display somewhere in our house. So, along with a few other changes, like these light bulbs that I love from IKEA, I made a few tweaks to our little corner. And here it is:

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They’re just small changes, but they spice things up a bit and bring me joy…especially that family portrait. In fact, just taking pictures of my house makes me relove it. In real life, it gets old and familiar and cluttered and dusty, but when I see it through the lens of my camera, it’s like I get a fresh perspective, and I’m reminded why I’ve put these things I love on display in the first place. It’s not about the things themselves, but about the memories they hold, and the joy and excitement of creating.

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In the interest of full disclosure, I feel that I should show you the set up for hanging them…it ain’t pretty. They’re hanging from little plastic hooks my husband jerry-rigged to the ceiling. The sockets are also from IKEA, and I’m not crazy about them.

setup

Eventually, I’d like do something creative with the cords; I’ve been really inspired by people using cords themselves in unique ways, instead of trying to hide them away and cover them up, as we are all in the constant struggle to do with our everyday electronics and gadgets. Here are a few great examples:

  • example
  • From Pinterest (can’t find the original)

example-5

Apartment Therapy

example-4

Apartment Therapy

example-3

Apartment Therapy

example-2

Bloglovin’

Until that moment of inspiration hits me, though, the current setup will have to work.

So that’s all for now. You’ll hear from me again sooner than five months again, I promise. Thanks for following along, and I’d love to hear from you! Let me know what you think…share some creative ideas for cords that you find…tell me how your summer went…I want to hear it all!

Rachel

 

 

One Room Challenge: Week 4- Front Porch Makeover

This week for the One Room Challenge, my husband did a lot of constructing and I did a lot of painting.

We’re making over our double wide trailer’s ugly front porch (just a reminder for any new readers), and this is its original form.

Before

Trimmed Bushes

My plan was just to give everything a fresh coat of paint, but my husband got all industrious and decided to build his own porch. Really, he just built new supports, replaced a few boards, and replaced the trellis with slats, but it has been a ton of work and he’s been amazing…especially for having zero experience with “building” porches.

Porch Construction 2Before Paint

So, armed with a paintbrush, coffee, and Kari Jobe on Pandora, I got to work and gave it all a coat of white Kilz paint.

Coffee and Paint

Porch Painted

Painted Porch

(Don’t mind the big pile of construction stuff in the middle of the porch…it’s just going to be like that until Week 6.)

Now, I actually would have loved to have kept the wood unpainted to go with my sort of boho feel, but most of the existing boards were really old with layers and layers of paint, so the only thing that made sense, really, was to paint it all. But clearly, the white paint makes a huge difference, and I think it’s beginning to brighten up the space.

Well, back to work. Only 2 weeks left, and my to-do list is only about a mile long. Be sure to see what’s going on with all of the other bloggers in the One Room Challenge.

Rachel

 

 

One Room Challenge: Week 3-Front Porch Makeover

Week Three means we’re halfway through the One Room Challenge, and I am nowhere near halfway through the amount of work that needs to be done, so this is the point where the panic just starts to kick in. But we did manage to get quite a bit done this week, and I feel a little more confident about the direction we’re heading.

As you may recall, I have a few furniture makeovers that I’m going to attempt, one of which was these bamboo nesting tables that I found at a yard sale for $4.

Nesting Tables

Well, this porch makeover, if all goes as planned, will be a lot of black and white, so I decided I needed a pop of color. I picked up a few paint samples, and settled on this Behr Ultra aqua color, Undine. I also used a stain I had on hand to stain the bamboo a slightly darker shade. Here’s the result:

Nesting Table Makeover 2

Nesting Table Makeover

I’m pretty happy with how they turned out; now they just need a coat of polyacrylic for protection.

As for the porch, we (meaning my husband, of course) did a little demo this week. We decided to take down the lattice (which I’ve always hated), replace a few handrail boards, and replace the ugly, bent, trailer-y looking supports with 4x4s.

Porch Construction 2

We will be putting up wood slats to give it a more traditional porch look, and it will all receive a fresh coat of paint.

As you can see, I still haven’t finished the porch floor. I gave it a second power washing with a more powerful pressure washer, hoping that would get the rest of the paint off, which it didn’t. So now, I have decided that I really, really, really don’t want to tackle stripping the porch, and I’ve settled on painting it instead of staining it.

That’s all for now. I’m so thankful for my husband, who did most of the work this week.

Hope you have a great weekend, and wish me luck! I plan to do a LOT of painting this weekend.

Rachel

 

 

 

 

 

One Room Challenge: Week Two-Front Porch Makeover

Welcome to week 2 of the One Room Challenge, where I have decided to makeover my ugly trailer’s front porch in 6 weeks with $200; I’m joining over 200 other bloggers in this challenge.

I’ll be really honest and let you know this week won’t be terribly exciting. I didn’t get a whole lot done.

Just as a reminder, this is the idea I’m going for with my makeover:

Front Porch Mockup

 

And since I didn’t share last week, here are a few images that I absolutely love and pulled inspiration from:

Inspiration 1

Woodsy Patio Hangout from cuckoo4design

 

Inspiration 2

Backyard Fire Pit from Blackbird

So this week, I began by trimming a few bushes. Here’s what they looked like before…

Posts

…and here they are after I went to town on them.

Trimmed Bushes

Don’t judge my pruning abilities…I am no gardener. They look really sparse, but in order to open up the porch, I had to trim down to the level of the handrail, and all of the greenery was at the top. It made me a little sad, because they are really pretty bushes, but they were so overgrown that it had to be done, and I’m hoping they grow back in next year. I’m contemplating clearing out a flower bed around the bushes and adding mulch and a few flowers…if I have time, that is.

The next thing on the list was some power washing on the porch, which did wonders. You can see the finished and unfinished sides here.

Before After Washing

Porch After

I also got my stain for the porch, Behr Solid Color Weather Proofing Stain in Slate. And yes, it passed the puppy’s approval, just in case you were wondering.

Product Testing

I tried it out in a little patch to make sure it was what I wanted.

Stain

I love the way it looks. Unfortunately, there were 2 layers of paint, and while the pressure washing got rid of most of both layers, there are still traces of paint, which are not going to take the stain (as you can see where the shiny spots are). So, I’m going to have to use a paint stripper and scrape the rest off before I can finish the stain.

So, we’ll get there…slowly but surely. That’s all for this week. Be sure to check out all of the other bloggers over at the One Room Challenge…there is a ton of work being done, and so much inspiration to be found over there!

Until next week!

Rachel

One Room Challenge- Week One: Front Porch Makeover

Hey Y’all!

I know, I know…it’s been a while. I’ve seriously neglected this blog for a few months now, and thanks for being patient with me. I’ve been working on some things, and most importantly, working on establishing some good habits that were really important to me, and it’s been tough getting back into the groove.

So, I figured the One Room Challenge, hosted by Linda at www.callingithome.com would be the perfect time to jump back in with both feet. Although, after the first round I completed back in November, and now that I’m fully aware of just how crazy it can be to makeover a space in 6 weeks, I have to be a little crazy to do it again. But at least I’m not the only crazy one; there are over 100 other people joining the challenge along with me. Be sure to follow their One Week Challenge along with me.

For this challenge, I will be making over my front porch. No small task. If you’re new here to the blog…welcome! If you’ve been following along, you know that my husband and I, our 4 kids, and 2 pets, all live in a less than 1000 square ft., old, dated trailer that we have been working on renovating, trying to make the most of what we have, and bringing our own style into this small space on a very limited budget. So far, we have finished our girls’ bedroom, our boys’ Star Wars Bedroom (from last fall’s One Room Challenge), our front room, and are in the middle of working on our kitchen (see here and here).

For the front porch, here’s what I have to work with:

One very ugly front porch:

Front Porch Before 3

Front Porch Before 2Front Porch Before 1(And here’s another shot with our pretty dogwood tree to distract you from the ugliness that is our front porch.

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Two IKEA wicker chairs (so old that IKEA doesn’t sell this particular model anymore and desperately in need of a makeover):

Ikea Wicker Chairs

Two awesome directors chairs my sister and I found at Goodwill for $15 each (which also need a makeover and to be made outdoor friendly):

Director's Chairs

This set of nesting tables that I got for $4 at a yard sale (add that to the ‘needs a makeover’ list):

Nesting Tables

 

So, yeah…the front porch is bad…really bad. I pretty much haven’t touched it in the almost 2 years since we’ve been here…totally NOT because I’m lazy…but because I wanted the before and after comparison to be THAT much more dramatic. Yeah, that’s what I’m sticking with.

Here’s a mood board of sorts to give you an idea of the look I’m going for, black and white like the rest of the inside with sort of a Moroccan, bohemian vibe with lots of greenery and copper accents:

Front Porch Mockup

What needs to be done:

-A good pressure washing

-Sanding/staining/painting the walls and floors (I’m thinking white for the walls and black for the floors)

-Possibly painting the ceiling for a pop of color

-Build new posts

-The aforementioned furniture makeovers

-Paint or stain the woodwork and trellis

-Make some throw pillows

-Come up with some creative, DIY planters and plant displays

-Find and install a new light

Oh yeah, and the kicker…my husband and I have agreed on a budget of no more than $200. No big deal. I can already see lots and lots of coffee in my future. Y’all wish me luck, and be sure to follow along!

Rachel

 

 

 

 

 

Downton Abbey Farewell Party (With Free Printables)

It’s the end of the world as we know it. No, I’m not talking about the GOP after Super Tuesday, although that statement would be an accurate description of what happened yesterday. I’m speaking of the end of Downton Abbey this Sunday night.

downton-abbey

I’m finding it hard to forgive Julian Fellowes for this devastating loss. I have faithfully watched this show and fallen in love with its characters and witty conversation ever since my first blissful introduction to (and subsequent binge-watching of) the first season on Netflix. But alas, all good things must come to an end.

If you’re still reading along, I’ll assume you’re a fan, too; otherwise, I can think of no good reason for you to still be reading. And so, dear reader, I offer you my sincerest condolences, as you will, no doubt, be feeling the loss as strongly as I.

My mom, sisters and I will be watching the the series finale (sob!) together this Sunday night, so I thought, why not throw a mini party to really live it up one more time?! On a side note, if you’re local, the Tennessee Theatre will be showing the finale; it’s free, you just have to wait in line the night of. For my family and I, there will be one too many tears shed for us to be comfortable viewing it in public.

With the impending finale, I’d like to suggest a few activities to get us in the early 20th century aristocracy mindset to really prepare us for this final viewing of our beloved show.

First off, I would suggest that we invest in a little bell, and do a little role-playing. Let’s pretend that our spouses/significant others are the butler, Carson, and be sure to ring our bells when we need something. We might even suggest that they dress up a little when they serve us dinner. Of course, we’ll never mention exactly what’s going on, just be sure to let them know, in great detail, what our expectations are. Secondly, I would suggest, for those of us who have children, that we dress them up in black, using our handy little bells once again, and let them know how we expect the house to be run, clean, dinner prepared, etc. During both of these activities, never, EVER, say thank you. Aristocrats do not thank the hired help. Will our spouses/offspring catch on to this little game? Maybe not, but if they do, hey, we could make this a thing!

Now that we’ve done these things to get us in the spirit, I’ll share a few things I’m making for our Farewell Party. As usual, I didn’t have a lot to spend, so I hit up the Dollar Tree and Aldis to see what I could find that I thought would work for a proper English tea party. The early century aristocracy may have shopped at Dollar Tree, I don’t know. I found tea biscuits, melba toast, silver plasticware, plastic champagne glasses and candlesticks at the Dollar Tree. Then at Aldis, I found some really good cheeses (including a delicious goat cheese with honey), assorted cookies, and some chocolates to round out the menu with tea and sparkling juice. I also found ingredients at Aldi’s to make these little blackberry brie tarts, lemon curd and these simple scones, and cupcakes.

Food Setup

Food From the Top

Then, to make things really interesting, I made these little cupcake toppers with some of the best insults and zingers from everyone’s favorite, the Dowager Countess.

Printout 2

Cupcakes and Flowers

I even made a printable so you could make your own. Just do one thing for me if you print off your own set and add them to your store-bought WalMart cupcakes (that should really make Lady Violet roll over in her well-appointed if somewhat fictional grave). Before you shove the entire cupcake in your mouth, arch your finely sculpted aristocratic brow (all pretend, of course; we all know most of us haven’t plucked our non-titled brows in two months), tilt your nose up a few inches in the air so that you are firmly looking down on your companion watchers, muster your most haughty and indignant British voice, and give your best Cousin Violet impression. Make us all proud.

You can download the printables here. Happy watching! May the finale be everything you hoped it would be!

Cupcake Toppers Closeup

Last Minute Gift-Wrapping Ideas from the Dollar Section (and a Teeny, Tiny House Tour)

It’s Christmas Eve Eve, and folks…we finally have a tree! Am I the only one who waits until the very, very last minute for shopping and wrapping gifts? I just finished up my shopping yesterday, and started wrapping today. I wanted to show you just a few cheap and easy gift-wrapping ideas that I’m using this year.

But first, let me take you on a little Christmas tour of my house. This holiday season, I’ve been taking it easy. No going all out decorating all over the house or spending days and days on a gallery wall like I did last year. It’s been a whirlwind couple of months, and I wanted to relax a little and try to enjoy the season. I haven’t really relaxed, but that was the idea, anyway.

I did, however, spruce up just a few little corners of my house just to make it festive enough to keep my kids happy.

I already shared with you my little corner where I made some DIY Christmas Art from my Stendig calendar that I wasn’t able to use this year.

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My mom gave me this pretty chalkboard pillow from Kirklands that she wasn’t able to use, and I added greenery from my yard to my little oil can planter. Just a tiny detail, but I love it.

Pillow 2

Oil Planter

Over on my chalkboard wall, I added a Christmas-y chalkboard art and prints, and hung Christmas paper plates…I don’t have any Christmas plates of my own and paper plates are cheap!

Accent WallChalkboard 2

Over on my entertainment center, I added a pine garland, which was so hard to hang! Let me know if you know of any tips or tricks for hanging live garland, because otherwise, I’m just getting a fake one next year!

EC

I made a print (you can download your own version here), and filled in the ampersand with a metallic gold marker. The 25 was from my Stendig calendar again.

Lastly, our tree corner. We have no floor space for a tree, so we got a smaller one to go on our entryway bookshelf. I added black and white ribbon and colorful bulbs, to keep with the black and white theme I sort of have going on. I wrapped the base with one of my scarves.

Tree and Noel

I made the Noel artwork with scrapbook paper, and cardboard letters with moss hot glued to them.

Noel CloseupNoel

And that’s it! Just a few simple accents to make it feel a little more like Christmas around here.

And now, as promised, just a few tips and tricks for gift-wrapping. The first two are kid-friendly, but hey, I’d be happy to get these gifts as an adult.

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For the first gift, I used black paper from WalMart (which also has a cute black and white chevron print on the other side). I wrote the words on the black paper with a chalkboard marker after measuring it out for the gift.

chalkboard marker

The pompoms are from the Dollar Tree, and I strung them with a needle and thread, then wrapped and taped them around the gift.

PomPoms

merry and bright

With the same paper, I used strips of glitter foam sheets also from the Dollar Tree to form a linear tree. I originally wanted to use washi tape for this, but at $2.50 per color for a total of $10…a $1 multi-colored pack from the Dollar Tree with just a little more work sounded better to me.

Line Tree

For the last gift, I used white paper from the Dollar Tree, scribbled on some Christmas trees with a Sharpie, and wrapped it with little tinsel from Walmart (just $1.50 per roll).

Tinsel

And lastly, just another little tip, these glittery bottle brush trees are from WalMart for just $.75 to $1. And I was able to use my Stendig calendar again! So glad I’ve been able to get some use of it since it broke my heart that I wasn’t able to use it for my house.

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Well, that’s it! I have plenty more gifts to wrap, and I’m sure you do too. Have a very Merry Christmas with your friends and loved ones. Thank you all so much for following along; I really appreciate each and every one of you!