Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Of all the Christmas cookies I bake,

molasses crinkles make the house smell the most wonderful.

And they taste the best with a glass of milk.

Molasses Crinkles~
1 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup molasses
1 egg
2 1/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1/3 cup white sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In large bowl, mix together brown sugar, oil, molasses, and egg. Combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cloves, cinnamon, and ginger; stir into the molasses mixture. Roll dough into balls and then roll in sugar. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake 8-9 minutes for a soft cookie or 10-12 minutes for a crisp cookie.

Cool on wire racks.

Friday, December 11, 2009

I think I am going to do...

a little of this today.

Hoping you have a wonderful weekend as well.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

It's So Much More Than Just Baking Christmas Cookies...

It's going back to memories of my childhood. I can remember sitting closely by my Mom and Nana as they would endlessly turn page after page of cookbooks deciding on which Christmas cookies were going to be made. Once the planning had taken place, I remember seeing the ingredients piled up in the pantry and cookie tins waiting to be filled. Afternoons coming home from school seeing all the cookies cooling on the racks or as I went to bed, listening to the timer go off as Mom was finishing the last batch. I grew up tasting and knowing that there was a whole lot of love in every single cookie.

I learned that even though you can always have your favorites like Chocolate Crinkles, Snickerdoodles and Buckeyes, it's really important to try out at least a couple new recipes. I also learned to always add a little variety to your cookie list because it just wouldn't be right if you ended up with everything being chocolate.

Baking cookies began within days after Thanksgiving and now I do the same. I pull out the recipes of cookies that have been made year after year. I set aside several days that will be my baking days and as I mix, stir, and drop dough by the spoonfuls onto cookie sheets, I think of Christmases past and what will be in store this year.

I would like to think that Christmas baking means the same thing for my children. I suppose this is just one another area when I am just down right sentimental. I want them to remember the familiar smells and knowing exactly how a cookie is going to taste even though it's been a year since they had it last. I hope they know that every cookie has been made with love. And lots of it.

Monday, December 07, 2009

First Snow...

Waking up this morning to a dusting of beautiful white snow on the ground...

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

A New Look...

This was our dining room shortly after we moved into our home, which is also the parsonage on the church campus. It was really important to us that when we moved in here that we had a place where we could be together as a family when we ate. The kitchen really wasn't conducive to having a table in it, so we sectioned a part of the great room off as the dining room.

As you can see, this room was lacking in curtains and the chairs around the table are two different styles - wrought iron and wood. The table at one time belonged to my grandparents along with the wrought iron chairs. I also have the wrought iron table that goes with the chairs and it is still one of my favorite pieces of furniture that has passed on to me. I can remember sitting at the table as a little girl on their screened in porch and as I grew up, the table and chairs were passed onto my parents. Many meals, conversations, celebrations, and memories were made sitting around that table.

The best thing about this table that we currently have in our dining room is that when the leaves are put in the table, there is room enough for 12 people.

I felt it was time though to give the table and chairs a more updated look and one that looked like a matching set. All it took was some sanding, black paint and new fabric to give this table and chairs a whole new look.

It was also time to add some curtains to those windows. I didn't want to spend an excess amount of money on curtains for these windows so, I was thrilled when I started seeing people using drop cloths for curtains. To add a little more color, I simply attached a panel of the fabric I used for the chairs at the top. No sewing here... just a little fabric tape for that hemmed edge.

I am so pleased with this project because it was done on a limited amount of money (around $100) and we have a place where our family can gather together with friends and family having Saturday morning breakfasts, simple dinners and holiday meals.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

The Tradition Continues...

The day after Thanksgiving means one thing in our family... going to Fulton Farms to cut down the Christmas tree. 

I think what I look forward to and love the most about this day is that I know how it will be. We will bundle up (even though some years it's been warm enough to not even have a coat), have lunch on the way, listen to Christmas music on the radio and see who can guess the singer first, and once we pull into Fulton Farms, the adventure for the perfect tree begins.

Every year the children take turns picking the tree and this year it was Sam's turn. I knew that we wouldn't leave that farm without making sure that we had scoped out the entire farm to find the tree he was looking for. I honestly think that we covered more ground this year than ever before. 

The last section we went to was where Sam found the tree. Big and tall - just like he was looking for.

Jessica was working so she wasn't able to go with us. I missed having her there because she always has a way of making it an eventful time. I know she didn't miss walking all over the farm though. 

Each year, the children receive Christmas ornaments from us and my parents. This is a tradition that began when my sister and I were little and one that I love carrying on with my children. The ornaments are usually something that signifies something special about that year or one that represents something they love. The timing couldn't have been better because when we arrived home, the package with this year's ornaments had come. 

Sam with his General Chamberlain, his favorite Civil War hero...

Jessica's ornament definitely represents something she loves... cupcakes. A girl after my own heart I tell ya!

Ben (and his hat hair), along with a Navy sailor since Ben has aspirations to be a Navy Seal one day.

My parents have even continued giving my husband and I an ornament each year. The one we received this year is definitely one of my favorites. I'm telling you Mom, you need to go into business (hint, hint!).

Now it's time for to turn on the Christmas music, sip hot chocolate and sit by the lights of the tree. I love this time of year.

Sunday, November 29, 2009


I have been working on a few projects over the last couple of weeks and have anxiously been waiting to show you. All of these projects have been very simple and fun. Not only are they festive decorations for your own home, but would make a perfect gift for someone special. I am coming up with all kinds of ideas for letter stencils and burlap! My inspiration for these PEACE plaques came from this project at Shanty2Chic.

You will need...

candlesticks (# depends on the word you are using but you already knew that)
wooden discs (same # of candlesticks)
finials (one for each candlestick)
1x4 piece of wood (these were cut into 5 1/2 inch pieces because of the size of the stencil)
letter stencils 
upholstery tacks
spray paint 
wood glue
spray adhesive

*I found all my supplies (except the candlesticks which came from Michaels') at Hobby Lobby.

The next thing you will need to do is glue the candlestick to the disc. Make sure you use a clamp to hold it together so it doesn't slip around as it dries. Next, glue the wood block to the candlestick. My husband and son then drilled the finial to the block. You could glue this but we found that drilling it together was going to hold better. When you are finished, it will look like this...

Now, grab the spray paint and paint away. Once you have that done and they are drying,  you can start your letters. Measure out a piece of burlap that will be a little smaller than the wood blocks. Then, start stenciling...

Once everything is good and dry, use the spray adhesive (on the back of the burlap) to attach them to the wood blocks. I then used upholstery tacks in each of the corners for a little extra decoration. I think little buttons would be fun too. I also added some ribbon around the candlestick. Be creative by using ribbon, jute, or fabric. You could also add little ornaments or jingle bells like Shanty2Chic.

And there you have your finished project...

Have a wonderful day!

Monday, November 16, 2009


Happy Birthday to our silly, thoughtful, out-going, creative, and so very special son.
We love you!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

The Perfect Spot...

Of all the places to sit, why is is that when a laundry basket is left out, Sam makes himself all comfy...

Maybe it goes back to the days of when he was little and I would tie a rope on the handle and pull him through the house.

I guess Sam forgot to call "seat check" because look who's in it now. Or maybe Ben wishes he was like Anabelle, the dog, who also likes to curl up in baskets.

I don't know what I love more - the fact that even though they are growing up they do these things like they were little again, or the fact that Ben loves wearing my Dad's sailor hat around the house.

My Prayer...

These last few months have found me in a place of some emotional and spiritual up's and down's. Being a woman of patience, consistency, and discipline isn't always easy. I have wanted to throw in the towel at times and start waving the white flag of surrender. Through it all, I do know with everything I have God is there, and He is faithful. I keep clinging to Him, trusting His character, and believing Him at His word.

There are several new and exciting challenges that I am facing as a wife and mom - places of discovery, growth, and freedom. Places where love can grow deeper and stronger; encouragement and understanding comes sooner than later; and guidance and wisdom take the lead. They are places of surrender and trust so that in the end, I look a little more like Him.

The circumstances that happen throughout the day are far from predictable. Hard and difficult days that make me reach out to Him to be carried because on my own, I may not stand. Days filled with joy and laughter that cause me to cry out with gratitude and thankfulness. I don't know what each day will hold, but I do have a Father in heaven who does. He will carry me through with His love, strength, wisdom, and endless grace.

I am seeing and feeling the hope again. Jesus breathing life in and around me again. Oh, I knew that it never stopped, but I was just so tired. I am tired of worrying, wondering, and wanting to have all the answers.

Sometimes, I just don't have the words to pray. So, I open my Bible, read, and so much of the time, the prayers begin - the cries and desires of my heart.

Which is the case today...

Teach me O LORD, the way of your statutes;
and I will keep it to the end.
Give me understanding, that I may keep your law and observe it with my whole heart.
Lead me in the path of your commandments, for I delight in it.
Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to selfish gain.
Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways.
Confirm to your servant your promise, that you may be feared.
Turn away the reproach that I dread, for your rules are good.
Behold, I long for your precepts;
in your righteousness give me life!

Psalm 119:33-40 (ESV)

Friday, October 30, 2009

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies...

These last two days I have found myself in the kitchen baking. I love trying new recipes as well as bringing out the old familiar favorites. Yesterday, I made a pot of Chicken Noodle Soup to take to a sick friend along with some Blueberry Muffins and it didn't stop there. What is a girl to do when Pioneer Woman's new cookbook arrived at my house this week (thank you SO much Sarah!) and there are all these wonderful, mouth-watering recipes on every single page. I am always up for making something chocolate, so I went straight to her Chocolate Sheet Cake. Besides that, Ree even says at the end of the recipe to make this cake today because she doesn't want me living another day without it. Note to self... Don't make this cake when you are only one week into your diet. You don't have the strength to resist CHOCOLATE!!!

Anyway, today I am baking Pumpkin Whoopie Pies (I can resist pumpkin so much easier than chocolate) for a dinner at my in-laws tonight. I originally shared this recipe last Fall but thought I would share it again because it's a perfect treat for this time of the year.

Have you heard of a Whoopie Pie before? They are baked good common to the Pennsylvania Dutch culture as well as New England. Traditionally, they are made of two small, chocolate cakes with with a sweet, creamy frosting sandwiched between them. Whoopie Pies are very popular in Amish markets throughout Pennsylvania, Indiana, Virginia, West Virginia and Ohio. One of my good friends, Aamie, from Maine first introduced me to this new take on old familiar favorite. They have now become one of my favorite cookie recipes too. What better way to welcome the Fall season than with....

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies~

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter- 1 stick melted & 1/2 stick softened
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
1 cup canned pure pumpkin puree
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon plus 2 pinches salt
1 2/3 cups flour
4 ounces cream cheese, chilled
1 cup confectioners' sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. In large bowl, whisk together the melted butter and brown sugar until smooth. Whisk in the eggs, pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, 1 teaspoon vanilla, baking powder, baking soda and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the flour. Using an ice cream scoop or tablespoon, drop 12 generous mounds of batter, spaced evenly, onto each baking sheet. Bake until springy to the touch, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely. Meanwhile, using an electric mixer, cream the softened butter with the cream cheese. Add the confectioners' sugar and remaining 2 pinches of salt and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla; mix on low speed until blended, then beat on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Spread flat side of 12 cakes with the cream cheese frosting. Top each with another cake. Enjoy!!!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Good For The Soul...

One thing that I love about this time of year is pulling out favorite soup recipes and trying new ones. With not only having chilly and rainy weather this week but sick children as well, there is only one thing to do... make Chicken Noodle Soup.

This was a new recipe for me to try and it is officially one that I can call a family favorite. We are going to be eating this soup a lot over these colder months. The recipe is from Paula Deen so I knew without a doubt it was going to be delicious. She has yet to let me down!!!

This soup is kind of a new twist on an old favorite because the recipe calls for adding a little bit of cream along with some sherry, a few different seasonings and parmesan cheese. You can leave out the cheese and cream for more of a broth based soup and it would still be very good. When I made the recipe I also added a couple more cans of chicken broth because I wanted to make sure we had plenty. Your house is going to smell wonderful with this pot of soup cooking on the stove!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Sam's Retreat...

The latest project in our home these days is getting bedrooms rearranged and decorated. For the last 12 years our sons have shared a bedroom. Fortunately, we have always had a bedroom that has had plenty of room for them. We are now in the process of moving our daughter's room downstairs, so that meant her old bedroom was up for grabs.

After a flip of the coin and several discussions between the two boys, Sam moved into a new bedroom. It didn't take long for him to decide how he wanted the room decorated... All things Civil War.

What is really neat about his room is that we have several family heirlooms from this time period. The shadow box above the nightstand displays buttons from a coat and belt buckle which was worn by a relative that was a Second Lieutenant for the Union.

A Civil War quilt made by my Mom drapes the foot of the bed...

These built-in shelves in the closet hold books and photographs...

A new coat of paint and hardware on a dresser now proudly displays a couple of Sam's heros...

James Longstreet and Stonewall Jackson...

When visiting a few battlefields this summer, Sam new exactly what souvenirs he wanted to bring home...

A Civil War G. I. Joe...

For the curtains, I simply used cream colored burlap and attached them with drapery hooks.I then tied them together with a piece of leather twine. No sewing here...

A few more heirlooms- a picture of our relative that fought in the Civil War along with his commissioning paper that was given to him on October 29, 1862. Also displayed is the land grant that was given to our ancestors.

Last Christmas, my Dad gave these soldiers that he played with as a young boy to Sam...

This chair sat at the desk that belonged to my grandfather. I can remember sitting on it as a young girl as my sister and I would play "office". It's been repainted and the seat has been covered with a few different fabrics over the years, but of all the furniture in our home, this simple chair is one of my favorite pieces.

Next on the list... Ben's room which is going to be a World War II theme and then Jessica's room. Shhhh...her room is going to be a surprise!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Hi, I'm Christy...

And I am a mom-a-raz-zi.

Definition: n. pl. A mom who doggedly pursues her children to take photos.

I take pictures of them at work...

Or at play...

Of celebrations...

And special days...

Whether they are smiling at the camera...

Or looking the other way...

I can always capture them when they are catching some zzz's...

For 8 tips to bump up your game as a Mom-a-raz-zo, go here.