Saturday, 28 December 2013

My Favourite Card of 2013

I am quite fond of many of the cards that I created in 2013. In fact, so fond of them that I sent less then a handful. Maybe that will change in 2014. I'll be organized and have everybody's card pre-addressed by month of birthday or celebration. Not likely, but it does give one incentive to continue producing cards.
This card was based on a Sketch from Sassy Cheryl and I love how it turned out. A different colour scheme and a different type of card then I would normally make. It's a keeper!
I am linking up to Challenge #196 Sassy Cheryl's Digi Challenge Blog. Time to get back in the "game".

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Ice Storm

Just then you have a million things to do to get ready for Christmas, this happens....
We had a tremendous ice storm in Waterloo Region, which resulted in the power being out at my place for almost 12 hours. At least I was able to get the gifts wrapped and when faced with a dreary evening of sitting in the darkness, our power was restored. So thankful to have it back.

It was a very restless day. The dogs couldn't go in the backyard as the branches of the mature trees were cracking and dropping all day. It was quite a spectacle and the sidewalks were impassable so everyone got a little cabin fever.

Maybe I should have asked Santa for a chain saw for Christmas.

Friday, 20 December 2013

Peanut Butter Blossoms

The Christmas cookie tray is not complete until these guys make an appearance. They always look so festive and seem to be the first to go. Unfortunately, this year, I made a mistake and quadrupled the shortening and only doubled the other ingredients. I was able to go back and amend the recipe but ended up with 11 dozen of these beauties which meant I had to unwrap 11 dozen Hershey kisses.
I made 37 dozen cookies for my Bake Sale and they went like wildfire.
Here's the recipe in case you decide to make them yourself. Just pay attention when you're adding the ingredients. LOL!

Peanut Blossom Cookies
1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/3 cup white sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
2 Tbsp milk (or less)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
white sugar for rolling

Beat shortening and sugars. Add peanut butter and beat until light and fluffy. Add egg, milk and vanilla. Stir in dry ingredients. Shape dough into 1 inch balls and roll in granulated sugar. Bake 8 to 10 minutes until slightly browned. Remove from oven and immediately press unwrapped Hershey Kiss into cookie. Let cool completely until chocolate has hardened. Cookies will crack.

I am entering this in the Sassy Cheryl's Show Me Thursday post because that's what I've been up to this past week.

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Cute Christmas candy wreath

I've been having problems with my computer so I haven't been able to blog lately. Hope its sorted out now because I have lots to show you.
I went to a meeting for work the other day and the Consultant for our group had left these adorable Lindor wreaths at our places. I already knew she was a talented baker and decorator but I didn't know she was crafty, also, AND she has a Shilouette. I recognized it right away from the tags. I always appreciate a hand-made gift. I know the caring and thoughtfulness and time that goes into each one plus as you know, I have a particular weakness for Lindors.
Thanks Jenn.

She also made these adorable Red Velvet cupcakes. I'm a sucker for holly. These were made from rolled fondant. I think I may have to beg a few lessons down the road.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Outdoor Arrangements

Once again it's that time of year when I purchase my beautiful outdoor arrangements from the Living Outdoors store in Cambridge. It has a beautiful gift shop attached to the greenhouse with many unique and decorative items as well. They're open year round but I usually just go there for the holiday season. I must be sure to check them out during the other months as well as I am always pleased with what the designer comes up with.

My photos don't show the sparkle and detail but you get the idea.

Sunday, 24 November 2013


I have always loved sprinkles. It's been a tradition to make gingerbread and sugar cookies and ice and decorate them with the boys. And they looooove to load on the sugar and candy. So its a good thing my friends know me well and pick me up some great sprinkles and decorations when they are down in the States. I guess we have some good stuff here too but it's always nice to get your hands on something different.
Here's a little sampling of my recent stockpile (thanks Keri) ....

Now I need to get started on the Christmas baking.... it's certainly cold enough here today. Minus 12 C this morning when I took the dogs out. YIKES!

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Epic Tea Biscuit Fail!

I have been baking for a long time so I know my way around the kitchen fairly well. One recipe I have never been able to conquer though is the tea biscuit. It's one of the few recipes that I have from my Grandma and while she made it often, when I make them they always turn out poorly.

So recently, I decided to try again. I read up on tips on the Internet on how to have the highest, lightest, fluffiest biscuits instead I got this....

concrete door stops!!!! If you have any ideas for me, drop me a line. I'm off to bake some shortbread.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

My Favourite Holiday Colours

Yay! I was finally able to find the time to work with another fresh set of new stamps and colour up Lulu in my favourite holiday colours....traditional red and green. And I used my new favourite Doodlebug Christmas line once again. I loved paper piecing her little plaid dress. This card shows off my scrapbooking/cardmaking style. No frou-frou for me.
I am entering this card in Sassy Cheryl's Challenge 192, Favourite Holiday Colours

Monday, 11 November 2013

Mounds Peanut Butter Cookie Bars

Another quick and easy bar cookie recipe with the added bonus, you can use up your leftover Hallowe'en candy. As far as I know, we don't have Mounds here in Canada so I pick them up everytime I go to the States. I really love the combination of dark chocolate and coconut and they made an interesting combination with the peanut butter. I also tried a couple snack size Mars which were DELISH but the caramel bled a bit. Makes a big 9 x 13 pan. If you like a softer cookie, you can bake on the lesser time.

Mounds Peanut Butter Cookie Bars
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup peanut butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp milk
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 cups flour
Approx 25 mini Mounds bars

Cream butter, peanut butter and both sugars. Add egg, vanilla, salt, baking soda and milk and mix until combined. Slowly add flour until dough comes together. Press the cookie dough in a 9 x 13 pan, sprayed with Pam. Unwrap all the bars and press them in even rows on the top of the dough.
Bake for 22 -24 minutes at 350F until a golden brown. Let cool before slicing. YUM!

Sunday, 10 November 2013

From the Heart Stamps Sketch Challenge

This week I wanted to make sure that I accomplished a card challenge. I selected the Sketch 041 this week by From the Heart stamps. It looked like a good one and I pulled out my long neglected House Mouse stamps for this one.
Here's the sketch....
And here's my take on it....
It's a little over-exposed.It's actually a very vibrant, cheery red. At least you get the idea. I glossed the light and added a few sparkles. The paper is Doodlebug Christmas, always cheerful and festive to get one in the holiday spirit.

Monday, 4 November 2013

13 in 13 October Update

Where is the year going? It's flying by and I'm not keeping up with my targets but I'm having fun and accomplishing other things.
So how did I do? I managed to use the Cricut this weekend to do some lettering on a layout. I think? I signed up for Pinterest, more on that later. I missed my monthly From the Heart Challenge but I am working on a few cards. I completed 12 cards for a Card Swap, all of the same design but I haven't mailed a single one.
There are leaves to rake and dogs to walk and houses to clean. Sigh! But that's life.

On another note, here are two of Lindor's boys, one from the E litter and one from the K litter. Both working towards making life a little easier for their human companions.

                             Beautiful Elvis has become a Skilled Companion Service  Dog for PTSD.
Here Koby is learning to "visit" and work on other skills to also become a Skilled Companion Service Dog. They are beautiful and intelligent animals. Love the LABS!

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Happy Hallowe'en from the doggies

I'm one of those statistics of people who spend a fortune dressing their pets up for Hallowe'en. We don't even actually go out and trick or treat but sometimes Lindor comes to work with me to show off her outfit.
This year she couldn't decide if she wanted to BE the horse or RIDE the horse. She looks adorable either way.
Maya tried on the costumes as well but they always look too small on her long body and she was saying NO WAY to the cowgirl hat!

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Doodlebug Pixie Sticks

When I saw these at my local Scrapbook store, I had to have them even though I probably could have made my own or better yet picked them up at the Dollar store at a much reduced price. But Doodlebug had such a sweet, Fall line of papers and embellishments, I had to pick up the works!
The boys assembled them and decorated cupcakes for Thanksgiving dinner. I think they looked really sweet on the cupcake tree.....

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Jumbo Bakery Style Peanut Butter Cookies

I tried another new recipe and this one was FANTASTIC! I think the secret was, of course, the jumbo nature of the cookie, in addition to the Reese's Peanut Butter chips. I made very large cookies. I think about 16 or so.... I have already had a couple requests for the recipe as I gave out a few samples so here it is...

Jumbo Bakery Style Peanut Butter Cookies
1/2 cup butter (softened)
3/4 cup peanut butter
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp milk
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 cups flour
1 package Reese's Peanut Butter chips

Cream butters and both sugars. Add egg, milk, vanilla, baking soda and salt and mix until combined. Slowly add flour and mix until dough just comes together. Add Peanut Butter chips.
Chill your dough at least 4 hours or overnight.
Scoop 1/4 cups of chilled dough onto cookie sheet. Bake 11-14 minutes until bottoms start to brown at 350F. Cool and remove from cookie sheets. Enjoy!

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

13 in 13 Sept Update

I thought it would be interesting to show how my urn arrangement has progressed over the season and also need something to flesh out my rather thin accomplishment of goals this month.
Here's the basket in May....

And here it is now, mid-October....

We could feed a third World country if all our crops grew like the potato vine.
So my list is a little short this month. September was very busy with back to work and some entertaining and life in general. I'm not reading at all but I managed to put a password on my Ipad and downloaded Solitaire. Baby steps!
I tried a couple new recipes. The Pumpkin Snickerdoodles were great and so were the Cranberry/orange shortbreads.
I participated in the Bazzill cardswap so I did make a few cards but haven't sent too many lately.
I'm working on my THIRD afghan so that one that I have managed to go above and beyond.
Still a couple months to go. I'd better go pull out that Cricut and start using it!

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

Just in time for Canadian Thanksgiving. Just discovered this recipe in Blogville and I've already made it twice. These are a soft, pillow-like cookie with just the right amount of pumpkin and spice.
I slightly underbaked them the first time, I made them and they turned out great.

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened pumpkin puree
1 large egg
3 1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Mix together first 6 ingredients. Mix dry ingredients and add to wet and mix well. Chill dough about 30 minutes. Roll into balls the size of small walnuts. In a separate bowl, mix 1/2 cup white sugar with 1 Tbsp. cinnamon and 1/2 tsp ground ginger. Roll ball in sugar mixture and bake at 375 F for 7-8 minutes until lightly browned but still soft.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Hogs and Kisses

It's been brought to my attention,that I haven't been blogging as much lately. I have the usual excuses; work, dogs, family,entertaining, commitments, top-secret assignments plus has anybody noticed that it's practically dark when you get home from work? My little point and shoot camera doesn't work so well after dusk and then one has to actually sit down and do the post.

Anyhoo, I managed to get a card done. I've been neglecting my challenges and I was so happy to use a Sassy Cheryl rubber stamp. I think its from the set; Down on the Farm. It's so adorable and it tied in nicely with a fall theme.

I am entering it in this week's ANYTHING GOES challenge at Sassy Cheryl's.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Orange Cranberry Slice and Bake cookies

I love these cookies. Citrus and cranberry with a shortbread base. These would be ideal for a Christmas cookie plate. The best thing is you can pop them in the freezer and bake them up freshly as needed. I am a firm believer in fresh baking. Just never seems to come out the same once it's been in the freezer for a bit. So these are great for convenience and you can mix them up ahead of time.
The ingredients are simple also:
Just 5 ingredients plus 2 add-ins. Here they are rolled into a log, ready to be wrapped in wax paper and stored in the freezer....
 They taste just like the scones at Dana Shortt Gourmet foods.
Orange Cranberry Slice and Bake cookies
1 cup butter, unsalted at room temperature
1 cup icing sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups flour
Mix and add in the following:
zest of 2 oranges
1/2 cup dried cranberries (crasins)
Mix and mold into 2 logs, roll in waxed paper and place in Ziploc in freezer. Thaw to room temperature. Slice and bake at 350 F, 15 to 20 min or until edges are slightly golden. Keep well.
You can also chill them in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours and bake right away if you can't wait.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

From the Heart Stamps September Freebie

I finally got around to doing a challenge and I thought I was super early. I combined a weekly sketch and the Sept Stamp of the Month... Bobbing for Apples from Delightful Inspiration- From the Heart Stamps. By the time I was ready to post the Sketch challenge was over but fortunately I am still in time for the monthly challenge.
Here's the sketch I based it on...
And here's the free Digital stamp...

And here's my card..

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Mocha Torte Dessert

I pulled out a recipe from days gone by from Enjoy- More Recipes from the Best of Bridge. I hadn't made this cake for awhile and it didn't disappoint. My only problem was that my whip cream didn't firm up. I think possibly I overwhipped it but it still held together not too bad. Looks like you did a lot of work and you really only use a cake mix and cut it into layers to make the torte part. So easy.

Mocha Torte Dessert
1 chocolate cake mix (try a Dark Chocolate)

Mocha Cream Filling
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
4 Tbsps. hot water
4 tsp instant coffee powder
1/2 cup white sugar
500mL of whipping cream

Prepare cake according to directions. Bake in 8 inch pans which have been greased and lined with circles of waxed paper. Bake and cool, then split each layer in two horizontally.
Prepare mocha cream by combining chipits, water, coffee and sugar in small saucepan. Heat until smooth and cool. Whip cream until it starts to thicken, add cool chocolate mixture and spread on layers and frost top and sides of cake. Decorate with shaved chocolate or sprinkles. Chill at least one hour.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

13 in 13 August Update

I'm finding it harder and harder to find time to post. Once the routine is established, it should get easier but right now it's work and finding time to exercise the doggies, golf season winding down, baking up a storm for various events. etc.

Before the August update, I thought I'd share a few photos of the St. Jacob's Farmer's market from August. Sadly, the first week of Sept, the main two storey building that hosted a variety of vendors from butchers to jam makers burned to the ground. The outdoor market is still operating and hopefully the other will be rebuilt soon. We have a huge tourist market in the Waterloo Region and people come from all over to attend this market and drive through Mennonite Country.

The August update might be a bit thin. I managed to read a couple more books. I'm up to 16 now so I'm in pretty good shape to reach this goal. I bought an IPAD and I LOVE IT!! It's like having a remote for your TV. Once you get one, you can never imagine how you managed without it. So far, I've only downloaded 4 songs and I pretty much only play Juvenile farming games on it but it is very handy. So the WIFI is working, that's a big achievement!
I made a second afghan. Can't believe I got it done. It took me all summer but I really enjoyed the time to relax and work on another project.
So, there is still some time to get the other goals in. Hopefully, a little more scrapbooking and card-making is in my future and back to my regular challenges. Some day!  

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

The Life of a Lab

This isn't Lindor but I think it looks just like her and she would certainly LOVE an ice cream cone in this tropical weather system that we are experiencing. Have been working on a few things but haven't had time to work on my posts. Stay tuned!

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Carrot Zucchini Bars with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting.

I found a new website that has some great recipes called My Kitchen Escapades. Since I have harvested exactly TWO zucchinis from my front flower bed. (who says you can't give them away they are so plentiful?), it was fun actually baking with something I grew in the City. These bars turned out great, so moist and you can never go wrong with cream cheese frosting.

Carrot and Zucchini Bars with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

2 eggs
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup cooking oil
1/4 cup honey
 1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cup shredded carrot
1 cup shredded zucchini
1/2 cup pecans (optional)
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

1 Tbsp butter
1 block of cream cheese (250g)
1 cup icing sugar
zest of one lemon

Whisk together eggs, sugar, oil, honey and vanilla. Mix in carrots and zucchini and pecans if using.
Add dry ingredients and mix until incorporated. Lightly spray a 9 x 13 pan and bake at 350F for 22 - 25 minutes or until top springs back.
Cool completely and frost.

Friday, 30 August 2013

From The Heart: August Stamp of the Month

I always seem to leave it to the last minute to finish my monthly stamp challenge at Designed to Delight; From the Heart Stamps. Last month's freebie was this adorable tabby cat and I was happy to put together a card and colour him up. At least, I think tabbies are male. I should know that from my genetics classes. If you play along each month, you get the next month's image for FREE and each one seems to be cuter then the last. Hope you like what I did with it...

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Pay It Forward

I am fortunate to have a lot of connections in the community and also many charitable friends who have very giving hearts. They help me so much with my fundraising endeavours and I appreciate them greatly. In the last couple weeks, I received a bunch of stuff that I'm going to see gets a good home. I always like to see things we have outgrown or no longer have a use for go to a good home.

Here's the bags... aren't you curious to see what's inside them?

Yarn, that is going to my Dutch Aunt Amy who knits for charity. A lot!

Fabric that is going to a Ladies Auxilary Quilting group.  
Paper crafting supplies that are going to the Altzheimer unit at a Senior's home.
I hope you are encouraged to find some use for items that you have on hand. It's very rewarding!

Tuesday, 27 August 2013


Well, I might be a little old for sleeping in a tent but the family tradition continues. Every year, my siblings and family go camping at Cyprus Lake. My younger brother has been going for the last 28 years, only missing for his honeymoon and our Disney vacation. It's great to spend some time relaxing, reading, swimming, hiking and playing games with the boys. I'm not big on chess but I seem to be improving somewhat each year. At least, my ranking has gone up by 1.

We drive into the town of Tobermory for whitefish dinner and to check out the cute shops and feed the ducks.

It's worth the huge pack-up and clean up every year. I hope we continue this tradition for many more years. I just might have to upgrade to a RV though!