Monthly Archives: April 2017


Fun Stuff on Fridays 2 comments

April 28, 2017, posted by Gina – Friday, at last! We’re ready for a little fun, how about you?

GET CLEAN AND BE SEEN
A few months ago, I found Clorox bleach in crystal form and fell in love with it. One cap full and you don’t have to worry about it spilling or splashing on anything. Fast forward to today when I discovered I was out of my cherished crystals. It seems they are a hit because the shelf in the grocery store where they reside was empty. Disillusioned, I was about to grab, the big, heavy liquid bleach when these bleach packs caught my eye. I mean how cool are these? You just throw one in with your white clothes. I hope these excite you as much as me.

 

I MEAN REALLY
If you read our post a few weeks ago about shopping cart etiquette then you will understand why I had to laugh today. So, the shopping cart in the foreground was of course in the parking spot I wanted. Yep, the first one after the handicapped parking. Notice that it is directly across from… guess what??? The cart corral! I mean, who does this? I parked a few spaced down and took this cart into the store with me. I promise I will not talk about this subject again but I just could not help myself. But, on the positive side, hooray for that man putting his cart back where it belongs!

Fun stuff shopping carts

 

AN OMINOUS SIGHT
Today, as I was running errands I found myself behind this truck. I had a lot on my mind with more errands to do than time to do them but somehow this truck caught my attention. First, it is an odd-looking truck. I wonder what it is used for? I pondered this for a minute and then realized I needed to get back on my game. But then I saw the sign posted on the back and I was curious. I could not get the “stay back over 200 feet” out of my mind. Just exactly how far away is 200 feet? I think you would need to be Superman to read that sign if you were over 200 feet away. So, I am assuming they carry something on this truck that has previously damaged someone’s car and this sign must somehow keep them from being responsible. The whole thing was just weird.

Fun stuff stay back 200 feet
A GARDEN PARTY LUNCHEON
Next week I am hosting a Garden Party Luncheon for my cookbook club. We will be dining outside unless I have the misfortune of a rainy day. So far, the prediction is sunny and 79. I don’t think I could order a better day. While I am trying to decide on just how to set my table, this place setting keeps making me happy. Stay tuned to see the whole tablescape and all the photos and recipes from the day. It’s going to be lots of fun.

Fun stuff place setting

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Monday Manners: Is Chivalry Dead? 2 comments

April 24, 2017, posted by Gina – It’s another manners Monday and this week we’re asking, “Is chivalry dead?”. I grew up in a time when a gentleman was a gentleman. Holding the door for a lady or helping them into the car was standard procedure. Times have changed and I suppose as with all other manners these courtesies have become less and less commonplace. Women have certainly progressed since I was young but should that mean that men, or women for that matter, should discard manners that were once held sacred?

In the last few weeks, I have had doors practically slammed in my face and have been nearly shoved out of the way with grocery carts by men! I have enough of a fiesty spirit in me to want to tell them just how rude this is but thankfully something deep inside me says that is the wrong thing to do.

Being the Mom of two young men, I would be mortified if either of them did not hold a door for a lady, an elderly person, or for someone who had their hands full and I certainly would not want them to let the door slam on anyone, even another man.

We believe men and women alike should all try to be kind and thoughtful, perhaps now more than ever. Etiquette for men, including male-female interaction, is still important and never goes out of style in our book. Maybe chivalry looks a little different today but we hope it’s not dead. We consulted the Fierce Gentleman, who believes chivalry is not dead, to get a man’s viewpoint on manners. Here’s what he had to say in his article Etiquette 101.

What do you think about male manners? Do you feel chivalry is dead or simply changed? Is gentility old fashioned? To leave your comments, click on the title of this post and the comment form will appear at the end of the page.


Fun Stuff on Fridays

April 21, 2017, posted by Gina – It’s another Fun Stuff on Friday when we post a round up of things that have caught our attention and we think you’d like reading about. You can find almost anything here on Fridays; helpful tips, decor, flowers, products, photos or stories we’d like to share. We hope you enjoy this week’s fun stuff!

Hunt’s Tomato Paste in a Pouch 
Have you seen this yet? This was such a great idea. Recipes often call for just a tablespoon or two of tomato paste. So, what do you end up doing with the tomato paste that remains? Do you have good intentions and put the extra in the fridge only to throw it out at a later date? These new 1.5 oz. pouches of Hunt’s tomato paste are perfect because you use only what you need and don’t waste anything. I know tubes of tomato paste have been around for a while but mostly in specialty food stores. These are in your standard grocery store next to the canned tomato paste. Maybe this excites me a little more than the average person but if you cook a lot like I do you will probably love these.

 

Flower Covered Cross
There is a church close to my house that completely covers a cross with flowers every Easter. I think it is just beautiful and look forward to seeing it each year. I wonder how many flowers it took to cover this large cross?

 

Look at this HUGE lemon tree!
A few weeks ago, a friend and I went to one of the larger garden centers in our town to look for beautiful additions to our gardens. Between the two of us we ended up spending a good bit of money. It was when we were at the cash register that the owner of the store asked us if we would each like a lemon tree. We did not hesitate. The prospect of owning our very own tree with plentiful fruit thrilled us. I thought it was so nice of the owner to recognize that we were great customers and was impressed with his gesture of appreciation. He went off to get the trees and I wondered if we’d be able to fit two trees in my car along with the other plants we had purchased. As the owner made his way back to us, I saw he was holding to very small Dixie cups with little lemon tree sprouts in them. I laughed to myself. What had I been thinking? Would the owner still be in business if he gave everyone who made a purchase a large lemon tree? It turns out my friend had the same thought as I did and we had a big laugh the whole way home. Maybe, just maybe, we can grow these tiny lemon tree sprouts into a fruit bearing tree. Believe me, you will be the first to know if we do!

Fun Stuff on Fridays : The lemon 'tree"

 

Flowers in Four Hours 
This past Saturday I was busy with flowers. First, I did a centerpiece for a client’s Easter table and then I helped with flowers at my church. I thought I would be unwrapping lilies or sweeping or some small job of that nature. But when I arrived at my church and asked how I could help, I found out I was needed to arrange the large flowers for the altar. I am not sure if you have some idea of just how large these arrangements are, but trust me they are large. I had to stand on a ladder to place the flowers. We had two of these big arrangements that were done simultaneously, one by me with two helpers and one by another lady with two helpers. They took four hours to complete. I enjoyed working on them and thought the colors certainly welcomed Easter.

Fun Stuff on Fridays: Large flower arrangement for the altar at church

Fun Stuff on Fridays : Easter flowers for the altar at church


Monday Moods and Manners

April 17, 2017, posted by Michelle – As our readers know we alternate two topics on Mondays. Last week was a Manners Monday and we discussed people who don’t put their shopping carts back where they belong. We’ve (almost) gotten over that and now we’re on to Mood Boards Monday. We have two boards for you this time around that we hope you’ll enjoy. We came across a selection of beautiful placemats with bold designs that would make any table a sight to behold. And, as the weather is getting warmer and people are spending more time relaxing and entertaining outdoors, we found a few nice wind chimes for your outdoor space.

1.Mackenzie-Childs Tic-Tac-Posie Placemat, Horchow  |  2. Kim Seybert Reef Placemat, Neiman Marcus  |  3. Tropical Leaf Placemat, jcpenney.com  |  4. Lucrezia Placemat, Zazzle  |  5. Homewear Tango Print Cotton Placemat, Macy’s  |  6. Les Ottomans Silk and Linen Pacemats, Artemest

1.Ceramic Wind Chime, Chairish  |  2. Paolo Soleri Wind Chime, Chairish  |  3. Chandelier Wind Chime, Pier I  |  3. Aurora Agate Wall Hanging/Wind Chime, Bohemian Diesel  |  5. Handcrafted Brass Wind Chime, Novica  |
6. Pink Beaded Lotus Wind Chime, Buddha Groove


Easter Menu

April 13, 2017, posted by Gina – If you saw our post on Easter decorations and tablescapes you know we’re excited about this holiday. I have also planned our Easter meal and want to share it with you along with links to the recipes.

I am preparing two main dishes, Baked Virginia Ham and Lamb Chops. Years ago, one of the hostesses for my cookbook club prepared this ham from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook. The sauce really makes it special. Surround the ham with parsley or other herbs and slices of oranges and lemons and you will look like a pro! As for the lamb chops, I simply salt and pepper them…nothing fancy as they are so good just as they are. Sometimes I roast them and other times I grill them.

 

Creamy Deviled Eggs from Martha Stewart. What would Easter be without these little culinary delights? Everyone has a recipe for these but I trust Martha’s recipe.

Fresh Asparagus with Curry Dip from Paula Deen. I have been preparing this recipe for years. While I thought this would be a nice accompaniment with the ham, it’s also great as an appetizer.

Broccoli Cauliflower Salad from Come On In, Junior League of Jackson, MS. For some reason, I love to make this salad in the warmer weather months and Easter certainly ushers in warmer weather in my neck of the woods. This salad has a sweet and savory taste and is great with any type of meat.

Holiday Green Gelatin Salad from Allrecipes. So, this is a basic “Maw Maw” salad but if it has been around this long, it must be darn good. My family would start a revolution if I did not prepare this salad on Easter. My mother in law gave me this recipe and in the link above you’ll find the exact same recipe.

Creamy Hash Brown Casserole from Taste of Home. I have boys and boys like potatoes but they LOVE these!!

Dinner Rolls  – A fun thing I like to do is purchase frozen yeast dinner roll dough. I place two rolls standing upright in muffin tin (sprayed with cooking spray) and follow the thawing/rising directions on the package. These are pretty and delicious!

Simply Delicious Strawberry Cake from Paula Deen. I love the pink color of this cake but the taste just screams Spring to me. The perfect finishing touch to a lovely meal. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to make this cake and had to buy one. This very pretty one is from Sugaree’s Bakery. Delicious!


Happy Easter! 3 comments

April 13, 2017, posted by Gina – I thought I would share all things Easter from my home to yours including décor, my tablescape and menu. You may have everything all decorated and ready to go for your celebration but if you’re still trying to pull it all together maybe some of these ideas will inspire you.


These bunnies have been in my collection for a while. The one on the right with the tie and pink jacket was painted by one of my aunts when my sister and I were children. I think this bunny might have been in my sister’s room but somehow, I ended up with it. I painted the one on the left when my children were babies. I tied a periwinkle wired bow on him and surrounded both of them with a little Easter grass.


These wooden eggs are beautifully hand painted and personalized with each of our names on them.


I saw this bust several months ago and knew he had to have a place in my home. I couldn’t pass up adding another rabbit my to my collection much less a humorous tongue-in-cheek bust of one! It seemed only fitting to give him a commanding spot on top of our mantle.


If you have been a reader for a while, you know I have adult children but that didn’t stop me from preparing Easter baskets for them. They each are receiving a new colorful, lush beach towel, teeth whitening toothpaste that REALLY works, some sunscreen and, of course, a bit of candy. They should be looking good on the beach.


This little couple is going to watch over our family as we enjoy our meal. I surrounded them with some pastel Easter eggs and some bright orange carrots.

For the table I created a simple centerpiece with tulips and and Green Ball (Dianthus).

Easter centrepiece

For the tablescape: Chargers (Pier 1), Plates, Southern Living (Dillards), Runner and Napkins (Home goods), Pottery (McCarty’s and Peters), Flatware (Ballard Designs), Stemware (Lenox Hayworth), Blue Glasses (Paul Michael), Egg Bowls (Pottery Barn)

Easter tablescape

We hope you have a wonderful Easter weekend!

We’d love to hear from you. If you’d like to leave a comment, click on the title of this post and the comment form will appear at the end of the page.


Manners Monday: Free-Range Shopping Carts 3 comments

 

April 10, 2017, posted by Gina – This week’s post is not exactly about manners but rather about courteous behavior. You’ve seen it. Maybe you’ve done it. Or maybe you took care of it.

I am sure we have all been on the wrong side of a shopping cart from time to time. You know, you see a great parking spot near the front door of the store and as you start to pull in you have to suddenly hit the brakes. That’s right, someone left a shopping cart smack dab in the middle of the parking space. As welcome as an ant at a picnic.

As you circle around, trying to find a space, you realize the cart that was left in the great parking spot is only two parking spaces away from the cart corral. You begin to wonder why a person would just abandon the cart in the middle of a perfectly good spot when it would have taken two seconds to put it in its proper place.

I once overheard a conversation between two people in a grocery store parking lot. It seems they felt it was the duty of the store employees to take care of wherever the carts land and since they were customers they should be able to leave their cart wherever they wanted.

It is true that there are employees that can handle wayward carts, but a little bit of effort and kindness could go a long way. Is it really that hard to put the cart in its proper spot? If someone returned their cart to the proper spot could it save someone else’s car from getting hit? Or maybe just allow someone to park in a space? Or what if they just returned it to be kind? We’ve all seen store employees on a 95-degree day pushing what looks like 50 carts back into the store. It would make life a lot easier for them if carts were corralled and they didn’t have to walk all over to gather carts from here and there.

It only takes a few seconds to return the cart. Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone who saw a cart in a parking spot as they made their way into the store, just grabbed that one? After all, they need a cart and another person needs a parking space. We’re not the only ones who are irked by this rather selfish behavior. Check out this funny article from Matt Walsh, Attention Shopping Cart Ditchers: Look What You’ve Doneto read his thoughts about shopping cart etiquette. We’re right there with him!

We’d like to hear from you! If you’d like to leave a comment, click on the title of this post and the comment form will appear at the bottom of the page.


Fun Stuff On Fridays

April 7, 2017, posted by Gina – It’s Friday and we have some fun stuff for you! Hope you enjoy this week’s round-up.

 

Ina Garten

We just could not wait to share this news with you. First, Ina Garten (Barefoot Contessa) is working on a new series for The Food Network. If you are like us, then you consider Ina to be a trusted source for all things good to eat. Her recipes are easy to follow and visually beautiful. We have been missing her appearance on The Food Network. The new series is entitled, “Cook Like a Pro” and is scheduled to air sometime in mid-May. We’re looking forward to it!

Ree Drummond’s New Cookbook

Another bit of exciting news is that Ree Drummond (The Pioneer Woman) has a new cookbook in the works. We have trusted and enjoyed her recipes for years. In fact, we may have ALL of her cookbooks but who is counting? We could not find a name or release date but stay tuned!

Shay Spaniola

We saw a few of these pillows online and just could not get enough of their beautiful patterns. Shay Spaniola, the designer, creates these textiles from watercolors she has painted. One of these pillows could take your room to a whole new level. Give them a look. ***

 

Fun Stuff on Fridays

FLOWER/HERB GARDEN

This past week, I began creating a flower and herb garden. While I have planted flowers and shrubs my whole adult life, I have never attempted to create a garden dedicated to flowers. Here is a list of what I planted this past week. Louisiana Iris, Constant Wattez Bearded Iris, Lamb’s Ear, Snow Cone Candytuft, May Night Salvia, Shasta Daisies, Ballerina Lilac Armeria and lots of Zinnias and a variety of herbs. Soon I’ll be adding Purple Coneflower and Coreopsis. I’ll keep you updated on the progress! Thanks for stopping in today and enjoy your weekend. Until Monday!

Fun Stuff on Fridays

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7 Tips for Making Fresh Cut Flowers Last Longer 2 comments

April 5, 2017, posted by Gina – Most people love having beautiful flowers at home and we all want to keep them looking fresh and pretty for as long as possible. On average, fresh cut flowers last a week but several factors such as temperature, light and flower variety determine just how long you can keep them looking their best. By doing these simple things, you’ll be able to enjoy your flowers longer.

A happy arrangement of fresh cut flowers
1. Once you arrive home with your flowers, remove any wrapping and/or banding and spread them apart. These flowers you just purchased need a little TLC after their long journey to your house.

2. Remove all foliage that will be below the water level of the vase. Keeping the water clean is essential. Any foliage that falls into the water will create bacteria which greatly shortens the lifespan of your flowers.

3. Cut at least 2 inches off the bottom of the stem under water using a knife (use a plastic container for this). The flowers need to start to drink lots of water and cutting with a knife, instead of scissors or sheers, allows the most amount of water to get to the flowers. Scissors or sheers squeeze or crush the stem.

4. Immediately place your freshly cut flowers into a vase that has been prepared with water and floral preservative. A packet of floral preservative is usually included with your flowers. Floral preservative contains three main components; an anti-bacterial, food and an acidifier which all assist in lengthening the life of the flower. You can make your own flower food with lemon lime soda and bleach. The lemon lime soda contains sugar (food) and citric acid, which lowers the PH in the water. Also, adding a little bleach will help keep the water clean. It is far easier to use the floral preservative.

5. Let your flowers sit for a minimum of 2 hours but preferably 24 hours so that they can rehydrate. Think about how you feel after a long flight. You are rested after being home for two hours but at the top of your game after a good night’s sleep.

6. Once flowers have rehydrated, arrange them in your vase. Give your flowers a fresh cut and place in fresh water and preservative every three days. Re-cutting and cleaning water simply repeats the steps that help keep the flowers fresh instead of allowing bacteria to form.

7. Try not to display your flowers in warm areas, a draft or direct sunlight. Flowers just are not happy in these conditions.

We hope these tips allow you to enjoy your beautiful fresh flowers for a few extra days! Do you have any other tips to share with us? Questions? Comments? Click on the title of this post to open the comment form that will appear at the bottom of the page.