Sunday, January 30, 2011

Making The Most Of Winter

With the holidays over and winter in full swing,(lots of snow and cold here)  I'm sure many of you are already counting the days until Spring. But the hard facts are there are still many weeks left of old man winter. This got me thinking of a post of suggestions on how to make the most of winter. I've compiled a list and some links to go with some of the ideas of things to do in winter. I hope you enjoy these and maybe they just might make the winter pass a little faster for you.

1. Go sledding with your kids (big or small).  No kids ? Take your grandkids, nieces,nephews or borrow a neighbor's child.  I know, I know the older we get the less appealing going out in the cold and snow seems to us but take a chance! Bundle up ! I promise you will have fun once you are out there. The fresh air is great for you and most importantly you will make a child's day(and quite possibly the neighbor's if you borrow their child)!

2. Another take on the sledding is to host a sledding birthday party. For those of you with children born in the winter months, this would make for a different type of party.Please check out Courtney's wonderful idea over at Two Straight Lines for a child's sledding birthday party on her blog!

There is also a whole section dedicated to winter and sledding party ideas on this link

3. Host a winter bonfire. Who says bonfires are just for fall time? Invite all your friends, family members and neighbors. Roast hot dogs and marshmallows. Drink hot cocoa or hot toddies! Serve finger foods that are easy to handle with gloves. Make sure to have plenty of comfortable seating and throw blankets available. Gaze at the stars! Have the kids build snowforts! And just think,no bugs! Revel in family and friends!

4. Throw a winter ice skating party. Since we built our pond a little over a year ago I have been wanting to host an ice skating party. I found the ultimate ice skating party held by Kate of Beautiful Days in Maine  and posted by Cyd of The Sweetest Occasion. I just love everything about this , the setting, the decorations, the food.Check out the mason jar candle lamps on the birch l logs and the snowflake popcorn bags and the homemade star marshmallows. The details that went into making this skating party special were wonderful! These wonderful photographs of the party were taken by Geneve Hoffman. Check out her beautiful work at

For complete pictures please see

Even if you can't or aren't able to skate I think it would be fun just to be there and maybe pull a child around on a tube or sled or heck you could even do some sliding. I remember being little and running full speed and sliding on the kitchen floor.

5. Take a walk while it's snowing. I've done this and there is nothing more peaceful .

6.  Play board games .

7. Shovel a driveway or walkway for a neighbor who can't.

8. Feed the birds and observe them each day.

9. Cook a turkey with all the trimmings.


10. Clean out your closets, cellar or attic and donate to charity.

11. Force bulbs. Check out this link on TipNut for all the how-tos of forcing bulbs.

12.  Take a walk and look for animal tracks in the snow. Bring a small child with you. Be sure to check out a book from your local library with the different tracks before your walk. 

13. Lie on your back in a snowy field.

14. Take winter photos.

15. Lick an icicle!

16. Put together a jigsaw puzzle. When is the last time the whole family sat down and put together a jigsaw puzzle? Get out that old card table and buy or borrow a puzzle. I promise, once it's out the whole family will want to try their hand at it. I remember putting puzzles together when I was younger at my grandma's farm. We would get to the end and a few pieces would be missing and she'd say "Look in the vacuum bag." Sure enough, there were those two lost pieces!

17. Make a snowflake curtain. Check out this link for how-tos.

18. Host an good old fashioned pancake breakfast. Invite friends, relatives, neighbors- whoever you want. Send invites. Have everyone bring something. Make it as fancy or simple as you would like. I love these photos I found over at Divine Party Concepts of this pancake breakfast even though it wasn't winter.

19. Make a braided rug. I remember my great grandma Bonesteel making these all the time out of scraps. She did everything by hand, no machine. Her rugs were huge! I also remember her telling us to clean a braided rug her mom would take it out in the winter and scrub it with snow and  then sweep it off. A lot less expensive then cleaners I'd say.  Here are some simple directions to make your own rag rug.   Lots of different fabric will work for this . Use what you have on hand , bedsheets, fabric scraps, t-shirts, etc.

20. Make snow cream. A sweet lady Mary from our GLU(Girls Like Us) board posted about how she and her son made snow cream. She took fresh clean snow and mixed in vanilla, sugar, and milk. She said it really tastes like homemade without as much fat. Another sweet friend of mine, Terri, also from  GLU, posted a fantabulous sounding snow ice cream recipe that you must try out. Here is the link to her blog.

Terri's Snow Ice Cream Recipe

 Here is a recipe I found online.

21. Go antiquing or flea market browsing with a friend. This is one of my favorite things to do! Dress warmly if you go in the winter though as a lot of these huge buildings have little or no heat .

22. Bake till your heart's content.  Besides holidays what better time to bake then winter.  Check out this great recipe for cinnamon buns from  The Pioneer Woman Cooks.(Britt, my daughter, got this cookbook for Christmas and it is divine. )You can also get most if not all of her recipes online.

23. Sleep late and don't feel guilty.

24. Stay in your jammies all day and watch movies. I love anything Hallmark  but choose your favorite movies and pop some popcorn and enjoy. Below is a link to the top 60 most romantic movies. It says 10 in the link but it is more.

25. Read!

26. Make an ice luminary or ice snowflakes. I could make a whole post about this and because this post is so long now I  am going to make it separate. Stay tuned.

27. Dream of being able to hang clothes on the line!

28. And This One Is For You Rose- Dream of that first robin!

                  I could go on and on but then I would never finish this post!!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

My Grandma was Published In A Gooseberry Patch Cookbook!

Back in the fall I was so excited to receive my first letter from Gooseberry Patch saying they would like to publish my grandma's carrot cake recipe in their new cookbook Sunday Dinner At Grandma's. I received my free copy in the mail this last week and was so excited to actually see the recipe in print. This really is special to me because I feel it honors my Grandma Ceresna's memory and her love for family and  baking and cooking.  If I never get another single recipe published it will be OK. I have gotten my gift. For my family members or anyone who would like to purchase a copy I have found Amazon has it for sale.

Sunday Dinner At Grandma's

You can also purchase it through Gooseberry Patch.

Sunday Dinner At Grandma's/ Gooseberry Patch

Here is a picture of the cookbook and the page with my grandma's recipe. The recipe is located on Page 170 and if you double click the pictures below you can actually read the recipe and see a larger version of each.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


I received this recipe from a nice lady named Linda while on our local Franklin Christmas tours one year. She had them out for guests to munch on and I just  had to have the recipe. I have found they are an excellent gift for men especially. I make a huge bag for the guys at the electric company where my husband works every Christmas and they devour them in no time. I think you could package them up for Valentine's Day too or Father's Day or anytime really. They are easy to make too! You really cannot eat only one!

Here a pic of one of the pans I made at Christmas and the recipe. Oh and the pecans are available in large 1 lb. bags at BJ's or I'm sure any local wholesale store.

 Sugar And Spice Pecans                                                       

1 pound pecan halves
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup sugar
1 egg white
1 Tablespoon water

Beat egg white and water until frothy(not stiff). Stir in sugar, salt and cinnamon. Add pecans and stir well, until pecans are completely coated. Spread nuts on a large baking sheet and bake at 200 degrees for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Remove from oven when dry and toasty. When cool, store in an airtight container.

Serves 8 (if you're lucky)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Christmas Decorating Inside And Out!

I love to decorate, especially for the holidays ! I did simplify things a bit this Christmas though, so as not to be so stressed. Here are some pictures of our home inside and out decorated for Christmas. You can click any photo to make it bigger. 


My MIL made this Mr. & Mrs. Santa for me one year as a Christmas present.

My Christmas Card Tree

Kitchen Window
Ice Skating Rink- the skaters move around on the ice when you turn it on and it plays Christmas carols

My MIL painted this entire village for me as a Christmas present over a few Christmases.


Notice the upside down stool with the crock inserted as the tree base. With white lights, it looked cute  at night too.

The bench down by the pond

OOPS This is out of order. It is the angel on top of our tree. DH gave it to me 24 years ago.