Friday, December 18, 2020

Christmas Dollhouse and Purple Poinsettias and the perfect Nite Cap

The French Dollhouse has become a Christmas centerpiece since it moved
to the antique table in the living room. I stuffed it with twinkle lights and its
been the most amazing and cheerful thing to have greet us each dark wintery morning.
A dollhouse tour was a big hit on my Instagram page, and its 
available under my highlights if you want to see the interior.
This year we don't have a full size tree, as our spaces are stuffed to the gills waiting on the lake house to be built and delivered next spring. Its like having two pounds of chocolates in a one pound box, all the wonderful antiques and new additions slated for New Hampshire added to our existing things.  So the wrapped gifts are shoved them under the table to be opened by our small family pod of 4 on Christmas morning, this dreary and downsized Covid year.  
All is merry and bright, well it is calm for sure. 
 The quiet Christmas spirit is alive and well and each morning hubs and I 
gather in this room with our coffee and the twinkling lights and the pups by the fire.  
Why this dollhouse all dressed and lit for Christmas may become a new tradition.
Its a magical touch with a nod to the best of childhood Christmases.
In the dining room, where purple transferware reigns, I always try to hunt down the elusive purple poinsettia.  And there has only been one place I have ever found Lowes!
Set in a punch bowl, this purple painted and glittered poinsettia is the perfect Christmas decoration,
along with a few glittery purple snowflakes I found at Walmart one year with Reeve.
A bit of greenery and a dash of snowflake...
One fun new thing~hubs purchased this 12 Days of Christmas collection from Crown Royal. 
 Each day you open up a door and out pops a unique flavor of whiskey.  
We aren't even whiskey drinkers, so I was surprised to see him bring this home, but it
has been great fun to split a tiny crown bottle each night until Christmas!
My favorite is the Salted Caramel, and hubs likes the Vanilla. 
There are six flavors in all.
And the perfect glassware is from this glorious antique Tantalus set bought at auction last year.
It is French and fancy, just how I like things! 
 So it adds a bit of fun in this not as much fun year.
Wishing you and yours a safe and happy New Year,
and along the way figure out a few things to add a bit of JOY.

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Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Celebrating in our homes this Christmas

Well its already December! I've been busy with family life during these COVID times.  
I think its more important than ever to try to make our homes a refuge as well as a place
of family fun and celebration.  The facts of the virus cannot be ignored, and staying healthy is 
at the top of my list. So how about making our homes more cheery and take an extra step to 
make things feel more special?  Sometimes it feels a bit depressing not to spend time with 
others or eating out at our favorite places with friends, so lets make home life more special.
A big antique blue transfer-ware platter sits on my island holding holiday snacks.
 The college kids, Scott and Kai, love to grab and snack, as does hubs.
This is an easy way to add grab and go things your family enjoys.
Tiny oranges, nuts, candies, and homemade cookies are some of the revolving treats. 
A cute Rosemary Christmas tree from Whole Foods adds a bit of Christmas magic.
Adding greenery, ribbon and baubles to your everyday surfaces makes for a festive feeling!
The tiny french clock with its blue and white flowers looks extra special nestled in the greenery.
In our living room there isn't a lot of room for a Christmas tree, so I used a faux
Nordic tree I had last year and put it in the corner, covered in antique multi colored bulbs.
 A tinsel tree with tiny mercury bulbs in green and blue is on the antique center table.  
Our decorated mantel in blues and greens goes with the color palette in this room.
I know I skipped right over Thanksgiving....
here I am putting it all away with the help of Sylvia.
The week before, I had taken a Covid test and upon getting results, I drove up
to Maine to see my greandchildren.
They are getting bigger every minute, and Reeve couldn't be a more loving big sister
to Harry, who is always smiling it seems.
We always pick up right where we left off, and it comforts me to know, 
she loves me as much as I do her! This grandmother gig is a fabulous thing!
Living in rural Maine is proving to be ideal for my son's family, 
where they are learning to run a farm together while they raise their kids.  
We enjoyed the outdoors and collected pine cones while Harry conked out from the fresh air.
I always have an arts and crafts idea when I visit Reeve, and creating a pine cone garland
was this visit's adventure.  After collecting them we spray painted them with gold paint and 
then glued them onto a peppermint stripe butcher twine to hang in their windows.
A few days pass quickly, and soon I was off in my Jeep headed back
 to Massachusetts to prepare for Thanksgiving at home.
We celebrated with two of our sons, one college roomie, 
one fiance, one brother and one mother in law....we all got tested the week before the dinner, 
and wore masks (except while dining), and social distanced as best we could, 
keeping our windows open to make this is safe as we possibly could. 
An idea of making it extra special despite the small gathering 
inspired me because of these trying times.
 I decided to hunt down antique turkey plates for the big meal, and was 
lucky in finding a set of 7 dinner plates from a man whose father ran a turkey farm 
decades ago.  This man, now in his 80s, was selling off things, so I felt especially
lucky to get them. Each of us had a different antique transferware turkey plate.
After Thanksgiving the boys were in the spirit and we all got going hanging
lights and getting little trees put up around the house.
Hoping you all stay safe and find ways to get through these difficult
and isolating times.  Add a little extra effort in your decorating and I think it will be 
appreciated by others, and soothing to yourselves.
After the Nordic tree was decorated, I spotted the boys wearing 
their Santa flannel pjs in the living room admiring the tree. 
I can't tell you how cute that moment was!
So, in the works for our Christmas at home, 
we plan on having a Christmas PJ and movie night,
along with a tree trimming party for four in our family room! 
Make your holiday plans with
the ones at home, and make it memorable!

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Thursday, October 15, 2020

Decorating with Antique Delft Tiles and Florentine Pumpkins

Delft tiles have been catching my eye when I have been antiquing this summer.  
They never did before, but this is why.
After receiving this pair of blue and white club chairs from my parents,
with our lake house build looming I thought they would be a good fit for that home.  
And because they are this bright cornflower blue
it has steered my decorating path in that direction as well.  
Our current home has become the test ground for the lake house!
Delft tiles are still made in Holland but I have been collecting some of the older tiles I find in  
antique shops.  As a child my parents took us to Amsterdam and we boarded
 a tour bus to visit a factory in Rotterdam.  This factory and others existed from the 17th century!
My parents bought a few souvenirs from the visit, which I have now and they are over 50 years old. 
The little clog is one of their souvenirs, while the Heineken mug
 and the pitcher are two of my finds while antiquing. 
 I love finding the older pieces and tiles are at the top of my list. 
It is fun to be collecting again, with a new perspective on blue and white.
This is a pretty castle scene, much like Cinderella's home!  
You can see the age of the tile, literally, on the back of the signed tile.
The little holes at the top are for wall hanging.
Delft Pottery, also known as Delft Blue, is a general term now used for Dutch tin-glazed 
earthenware. The city of Delft was the major production center, but it can be made elsewhere,
included England.  In the 17th and 18th century, Delft was in it's heyday, exporting all over Europe.
It is amazing to me to find so many pieces in the antique shops in America, but I see it as a 
result of the popularity of blue and white porcelain that many favor today in home decorating.
On another note, I did a crafting project yesterday.  I was inspired by some fancy pumpkins
a friend of mine posted on her blog, Edith and Evelyn.  It involved making clay molds of 
medallions and painting them. I added some gilded Dresden paper trim to mine as well as
did one with decoupage calling to mind a Cinderella castle with an internet image I printed.
It was a fun and fairly easy project and gave me some 
Florentine style pumpkins that go with my decor.
I am not an orange person, and avoid all the spooky stuff that goes
with Halloween decorating.  These are pretty, and that works for me!
Check out Cindy's blog to see the basics on how 
to do the molds and where to buy the products.
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Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Low Carb Meals, Harry and Reeve

Fall has arrived in the Boston area. 
My little shed has been decorated with Indian corn and kale.
The vintage flower cart I found this summer is perfect for mums and pumpkins.
After a year of Covid and the pounds creeping back on
I began my low carb dieting again and have a few easy
recipes to share with those of you doing the same thing.
Buffalo Chicken dip is a favorite for fall football games in front of the TV.
The guys have the chips and 
I have the celery sticks to be compliant with my carb counting.
Buffalo Chicken Dip Recipe: 
  • 8 oz softened Cream Cheese
  • 1/2 cup Blue Cheese Dressing
  • 1/3 cup Franks Hot Sauce
  • 3/4 cup shredded Mexican cheese
  • 1- 2 cups of Shredded Cooked Chicken 
Carb count is 4 grams per Tbsp serving with celery sticks.
Mix all ingredients together and bake for 20 minutes in oven at 350, but may be served cold.

This is so yummy you will have to control yourself portion wise.
Next recipe is a low carb Eggplant Lasagna.

Eggplant slices take the place of noodles.
Olive oil and salt and pepper into a 400 degree oven until soft, about 25 minutes.
Peel and slice the eggplant longwise. I used one medium size eggplant for a 9x13 dish.
Ingredients call for marina sauce with ground beef. 
I love Raos brand for its flavor and low carb count.
This was absolutely delicious! I found the recipe on  
Wholesome Yum here. Click here to see the full details.  Lots of
great Keto (Low Carb) recipes on this site! 
Net carbs are only 6 per serving!!
The idea is to aim for 20 carbs a day when you begin. 
A standard for me is tuna fish with mayo and celery on a salad 
with 1 carb dressing (read your labels) and a few marinated mushrooms and a pickle.
If you are craving something forbidden like a pizza or hot sandwich, I recommend the Josephs Low Carb Pitas  with 5 net carbs as the base and build on it. Here I layered a little mayo, sliced turkey, shredded swiss cheese and pepperoni slices for a yummy hot open faced sandwich. 
Simply start with the pita cut in half and laid in a frying pan or griddle and then add toppings.
Count the carbs to stay within your limit. This hot sandwich had a carb count 8. 
Pita 5 g, Mayo 0 g, Turkey 2 g, Cheese 1 g, Pepperoni 0 g.  Just count and create and enjoy!
Mashed cauliflower with light cream and butter is a 
favorite low carb substitution for mashed potatoes. 
Served with any chicken or meat and green vegetable,
 this makes a great low carb dinner.
An easy and delicious Chicken Bocolli Alfredo dinner has a secret ingredient. 
This Classic Alfredo sauce has 2 carbs for a 1/2 cup. I baked up some spaghetti squash instead
of pasta, and used the sauce over chicken tenders and broccoli for a total carb count of 8 grams.
If I omitted the squash and just had chicken and broccoli, the carb count would have been half.
I make pasta for the guys, so it is one of the ways you can feed the family but stay true to your diet.
Simply reserve a few chicken tenders and sauce for your portion. 
The guys get the pasta mixed with the sauce and the chicken and broccoli on the side.
Everybody is happy with this meal!
For breakfast its been harder for me since I discovered I had an egg allergy.
Eggs are the perfect low carb food, with only 1 carb per egg.
Alternative eggless breakfast ideas are cottage cheese and diced strawberries.
Strawberries are low in carbs and are 1/2 carb per small berry. 
You can google anything to find out what the net carbs are,
which is the way you count the carbs. Subtract the fiber gram total from
 the food's carbohydrate total to get your NET CARBS. 
And an avocado is only 2 NET carbs for an entire one!

One mistake I made and seemed to slow my weight loss
was not realizing how many carbs are in blueberries.
One of my favorite eggless breakfast is 3/4 cup of plain Greek Yogurt, 
some chopped walnuts and berries. But the blueberries are considered on the high side, 
so I have since banished them and replaced them with diced strawberries to 
add the sweetness the yogurt calls for.  Walnuts are only 2 grams per 1/4 cup. 
A low carb cocktail idea is my version of a cosmo. Lets call it the "SO LOW COSMO"
because the carb count is soooo low. Diet Cranberry Juice, Key Lime Juice, 
Vodka and just a teeny splash of Cointreau or orange flavored liquor 
(this has more carbs so can be eliminated altogether).  
Without the orange liqueur, this drink has only 2 carbs. 
Of course you can have most any clear alcohol with flavored seltzer, 
like a diet coke with run, or vodka with lime soda water. Steer clear of wine!
So far I have lost 5 pounds and I have at least ten to thanks to COVID!!
It was so stressful to me, that during the beginning of the pandemic I chose not to 
stress myself out further with being on a diet and trying to cook for the family while 
not being about to go to the supermarket like I used to do, picking out the ingredients
I needed to stay on my routine.  But now I feel like the food emergency is in the past
and the shopping can be done, using the safety measures like masks, now required to stay safe.
Even little 3 year old Reeve has gotten adept at keeping on her mask when she 
goes out, like here at a farmers market in Maine.
Otherwise she is loving life at the farm~
and has even begun taking dance lessons!
She is in love with her new little brother Harry!!
Harry arrived in early August and I have only gotten to meet him twice.
He is a good natured baby and everyone is head over heels in love with him!
The fall weather is perfect for family hikes in Maine.
Snapchats on a daily basis keep this grandmother up todate with her littles ones.
Reeve likes to hold him and help feed him his bottle. It is the sweetest thing to see,
even if it is from a distance.
The next time I visit them I hope to have dropped a few more pounds. 

Last week I chopped three inches off my hair as I am letting it go natural
in regards to no more coloring.  Another COVID decision!
If you have any favorite low carb recipes or meals leave me a note in the comments, 
I would love to hear them!

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