“Just looking” at one of my favorite stores.

I posted before about Rhoad’s pharmacy and gift shop. A store that’s always full of the best things, so I had to take a look and see what was left of their Christmas decorations.
IMG_0964 This is what greets you as you come in the front door. Red and lime! I love that combination. Little lime hats were $10. less 20%, so 8.00.IMG_0963
Notice the oversize red balls caught in  extra wide ribbon…I’ll have to remember that for next year.   
Beautiful aqua and turquoise tree……..the pictures just don’t do it justice!
IMG_0949 Giant glass ornaments on the staircase were over 2 feet long..yes glass!
IMG_0954 On this natural themed tree, the glass ornaments looked like birch bark.
IMG_0958 Red! My favorite this year……it catches my eye everywhere. Do you see the mercury glass apothecary jars on the mantle?  I ♥ them.
$60.00, sale price, $48.00, still a little too rich for me. IMG_0956  Lime green again, this time with purple.IMG_0960
Check out this topper….that’s a big wow!IMG_0961
Are you tired of looking at decorations yet?
Christmas came so quickly this year but I say that every year…..
Enjoy spending time with your family and please take time to remember the true meaning of Christmas. Merry Christmas Everyone and Blessings in the new year! See you in 2010.

Mom at Christmas 2009

The last time I posted about Mom was in April, you can read the previous posts here. 
There’s not  much to add except that her decline has been slow and steady. She no longer sleeps all day…she’s back to sleeping at night but she does take a nap after the noon meal, which is the biggest meal of the day. She has a good appetite and has gained a little weight but looking at her face breaks my heart. It’s her blank look…I wonder where she is and I know that sometimes when I visit she’s just not there. I can’t connect, at least that’s how I feel. Maybe I am connecting with her on another level…I don’t know.
Santa was very kind, notice how he’s touching her. I don’t think she was aware of what was going on.
Her face says it here, she looks frightened.
IMG_0969 When we moved off to the side and I explained to her that it was Santa, she got it….her face speaks for her.
She got a few small gifts and this pretty afghan which I think she liked. Everyone in the nursing home got a gift from the staff, I thought that was nice.
I can say that I am reasonably happy with her care there. There were a few small issues which are now resolved. You have to speak up for your loved one, be their advocate if they can’t speak for themselves. At my last care conference I had to face the reality that Mom has slipped into the end stages of Alzheimer’s. We will be using hospice to help care for her soon.  She has periods when she is so mean and tries to kick people and she scolded me for touching her hair! That is just not my Mom.
The social worker is a young man who has lots of personal experience with Alzheimer’s and  gently explained the stages and  how the disease progresses. It’s very sad…….
But anyhow, there it is, an update on Mom. I’m amazed that I get asked about her so much in email and recently got this;
I have been wanting to write you.
Thank you. Your words comfort me on days when I feel alone. I recently moved my mother into my home. She is in the beginning stages and to say it gets frustrating (for both of us) is an understatement. My mother was a nurse so she understands some days what the future holds and it scares her. What a cruel disease this is… My brother was killed when we were children. My mother forgets one moment from the next, but everyday recalls the day she buried her son.
Thank you, Debra. You are not alone. You have touched the life of a woman in NJ.

It’s been about 4 years that I’ve been dealing with this and I still feel blessed to be able to help another by sharing my experience. My heart goes out to everyone who has an aging parent or a parent suffering from dementia. If you are a caregiver PLEASE remember to care for yourself.
Let your loved ones know that you love them and try to focus on what Christmas really means.  Take great comfort in that because that’s all you can do.

Baking with Parchment

Several years ago I discovered  the ease of baking with parchment paper.  Reynolds has a great website explaining how to use it for baking and cooking.
 At that time it wasn’t easy to find, I had to get it at specialty stores, but now it’s available everywhere, even Walmart. The cookies almost slide right off the pan and you can  wipe it off  and use it over and over.

In the back pan, I’m using something called super parchment. It’s reusable and super easy to clean. A sheet costs about 5$ and if you do a lot of baking it’s definitely worth the price.

An alternative to parchment is a Silpat baking mat. I don’t have one…..it’s pretty pricy, around 25$, but probably lasts forever.
I made two pumpkin rolls and they came out of the pan so easily with parchment. In the picture, I’m pulling off the parchment after  inverting the pan.
Now if I could discover the trick to rolling them up without cracking, any helpful hints?

It’s been snowing all day since about 5 a.m. We have about 6 –8 inches so far. The neighbor kids are out playing  and the snow plow has gone by several times. The wind has picked up and drifts are staring to form…..I’m glad to be inside! Keep warm!

An Old Bundt Pan & Recipe

1 As a Christmas gift many years ago, I received this red bundt pan from a very special woman in my life.
You can see by all the dings and scratches that’s it’s been used quite often.  I should probably get a new one but whenever I use it I’m reminded of her. So I’ll think I’ll keep it. 
Last week I tried a fast and easy recipe for pumpkin spice cake. It uses a mix and you can’t get much faster or easier than that!
It was so moist and yummy, even Bill liked it! So if you need a quick dessert for a party, this is a great recipe.
Combine  18oz spice cake mix with pudding in the mix with 15oz can of pumpkin, (not pumpkin pie mix)
add  3 eggs, 1/3 c canola oil, ½teas. cinnamon and 1/3 c water.
Mix for 2 minutes and bake @350 for 30-35 minutes. I had to bake longer for a bundt pan.
I drizzled it with a mixture of 10x sugar and milk and added chopped walnuts on top to dress it up for Christmas.  Walnuts, pecans and raisins would be good in the cake too.
Happy Baking!
Added to Tasty Tuesday at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam.

 Ladybugs and Lilypads Children’s Boutique. Due to tough economic times this fellow Mom blogger could use our help. 
From wall art to tutus, her site features some of the cutest things for kids. Please visit her site and help her out if you can.

Tassimo Giveaway at Southern Hospitality.

A little old tray Make Over

Over at the DaySpring web site you’ll find lots of Jesus is the Gift items. jesusI like them so much and wanted to display that sentiment in my home too. When I saw a little wooden tray at a thrift shop I knew it was perfect for a makeover.

I didn’t take a before picture, but this little tray had “mugs and kisses” written on it and was stained in a dark wood tone.IMG_0910 After I painted it I used black markers for the words, put red paint on the rim and added a sparkly star in gold marker and glitter.  

 cc It’s not perfect but I really love it! The total cost of this project, 50¢!  aaA little sprig of greenery and some ribbon I had and there it is. It’s my favorite decoration this year!

Sparkly star was created at Photobucket.
Added to,

DIY day at A Soft Place to Land
Met Monday at Between Naps on the Porch
It’s so Very Cheri
DIY Showoff Holiday Highlights
Cottage Instincts Make it M

Merry Christmas!

Christmas 2009

Welcome. There aren’t too many decorations this year but let’s have a little tour anyhow. 
On the front door, I added fresh greens from the yard and some sparkle to a bee skep that was an old yardsale find. In the old wicker planter, a 5$ treasure, more greens, sparkle and some natural elements.
34 2
The over size ornaments are plastic and great for outdoor decorating.
In the living room, just some mercury glass, pinecones and NOEL.

The vignette on the dining room table is dressed with lots of my favorite lime green ornaments and the pretty white deer that I’ve had for a long time, all nestled on a bed of white tulle.
This huge apothecary jar is also a yardsale find. I tried to mix in a some pinecones and moss among the glitz. 
table4 table3
It was actually snowing when I took these pictures!
I like decorating with Christmas balls, they look festive wherever you put them. In the previous 3 posts you can see more of my Christmas decorations.  Merry Christmas Everyone!
Now on to the parties!

Southern Hospitality 

                                                      Home for the Holidays

The Nester

Christmas Tour of Homes with The Nester

Growing our own Garden


Christmas in the Kitchen

This is our little Christmas tree in the kitchen, all dressed up in red and green. It’s in the Big Lots planter that I decoupaged with wrapping paper. You can see all the wrinkles but that’s ok. 
 IMG_0781Here’s looking from the kitchen  into the family room. There’s not much holiday decorating in there this year. I  have a red poinsettia and stockings on the mantle and that’s it.
This red and limey green boot is one of my favorite ornaments.IMG_0782 The Happy Birthday Jesus sign is new this year and fits the red and green theme perfectly.IMG_0783
The kitchen is the only room all dressed up. I think it looks rather festive with the little tree and red and green decorations.
I’ve been going through boxes of old decorations and managed to get a full box to donate to charity. For several years I had a victorian tree full of peach colored ornaments and am finally ready to get rid of those things. I don’t believe I’ll be using them again.

Added to Funky Junk, Christmas trees Unite

I love seeing beautiful Christmas decorations but hate the packing up and putting away part. The cookie part, now that’s a different story!
The dining room table decorations  and front porch are coming soon.

Winter Wonderland

IMG_0796Living in PA, snow is no big deal. We deal with slushy snow, icy snow and snow 6 feet deep. The wind blows and drifts snow across country roads, but it’s beauty never ceases to amaze me.  IMG_0795 On Saturday afternoon big fluffy flakes tumbled to earth and blanketed everything in winter white.
IMG_0800The back yard looks like it’s wearing a winter coat.  IMG_0802
Snow on Holly is the ideal inspiration, it really puts me in the Christmas spirit.

I’ve about done all the decorating that I’m going to do, just a kitchen tree, and a few table top displays that I’ll be sharing soon. I still want to decorate the porch with fresh greens and bake some cookies. Bill brought a pretty red poinsettia home that brightens up the family room, I guess that’s all the decorating he’ll do!
With or without snow, I hope you’re enjoying this holiday season! Now,  I think I’ll make a nice big mug of hot chocolate with marshmallows.

A bit of Christmas

I’m pretty slow getting up Christmas decorations this year. So far I managed to set the table for brunch or tea and in the process created one of the worst decorating  mistreatments you can imagine!
I mentioned before how the thrift shop has a basement full of clothes for 75¢ cents. Sometimes if I want fabric for a project I’ll just shop there.  How about my 75¢ tablecloth!
A dress for a tablecloth, who would’ve thought that! It was a very large dress. I cut it apart and went around the edges with pinking shears. It’s working for me!  The placement covers up the neckline.
More thrift shopping, the red soup crocks are Oneida and  were 2$ each,  I couldn’t resist them. The mugs and small plates were 50¢. All the other things I already had. Fostoria glass dessert cups belonged to my Aunt and the white plates are Fiesta ware.
t2 The cloche is filled with an assortment of red balls and  trimmed with eucalyptus leaves plucked from the yard.
t5 t7
Vintage napkins look festive in the red and green napkin rings.
Christmas decorating can be fun, especially with so many choices of colors and themes to choose from. I love the classic look of red and green at Christmas but also all the natural elements that are so popular now. In the living room I’m using a more natural theme. 

The only tree I’m putting up is a small one in the kitchen. It’s  finished and I’ll be sharing that later. I still want to do the porch and dining room.  So put on the Christmas music and let’s get this done.

Lettered Cottage tablescapes

I’m joining Marty’s  cloche party at A Stroll thru Life. You’ll find  unique ideas sure to inspire!
The Holiday Linky at Melissa’s Inspired room.

Cindy’s Show and Tell Friday at My Romantic Home.  

Frugalocious Friday   with Jane. 

I love hopping around blog land to check out all the Christmas decorating, how about you?

A chandelier make over

 lamp project naked candlesticks
This was your average brass chandelier that was so popular several years ago. My #1 daughter has given it a whole new look. Perfect for her home today. She sprayed it white and covered the candlesticks with scrap book paper to really give it some zing.
lamp project paper
What a great idea and you can easily change them out when the mood strikes.
lamp project completed
The terracotta colored paper ties into the kitchen wall. She painted her oak cabinets white and painted the back splash wall terracotta.
She did a wonderful job on the cabinets too! This picture was before the wall was painted and new appliances installed.
The oak fireplace got some new molding and black paint. The marble is shiny and the paint is matte so it makes a nice contrast and looks great accessorized. When she moved in everything was blue, even the carpeting so she has totally changed the look by painting the walls a creamy white.0801091435
She did all this herself and even borrowed an extra tall ladder to take down the old and put up the new light fixture. I’m so proud!
My #2 daughter recently asked how to paint a dresser. You know I was more than happy to give advice. I’ll get you decorating yet!

 Adding to,

A picture is worth 1000 words

Trash to Treasure at Reinvented