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Saturday, December 9, 2017

Pink Saturday: Decorating for Christmas

Hi Friends! It's Pink Saturday at Beverly's blog so make sure to stop by and say Hi at How Sweet the Sound! Today the kids are having a bunch of friends over so I'm planning to bake them a bunch of treats! My house is decorated for Christmas and I'm getting into the holiday mood!
This year I bought this pink Christmas tree for my library. Some of you may remember when I bought the little pink one I've got sitting on my Grandma's sewing box. {Um, my Grandma's dusty sewing box! Yikes! Avalon is dusting it as I write this!}

This is our first year without a fireplace mantel so I'm a little flustered about where to put some of my things. I know I'll form new decorating traditions but for now, things are just sort of hanging out wherever. Ha!

I've almost got enough mid-century stuff to fill my biggest hutch!



I found these sweet choir boys at an estate sale in Pendleton, Oregon this summer. They remind me of the boys in the choir at Bath Abbey---although those guys wear green.

Had to get creative with the stockings --- no mantel --- but Brenna (4) had the idea to hang them around the bay window. Great idea!

Jamie's Christmas village gets sweeter every year.

This year he bought a fountain that lights up. It looks just like the one in the Bentonville square! He and I are the couple on the bench to the right in this photo.

Every year, everyone gets a new ornament. This is the one Jamie bought me this year. I love it! I love tea things and strawberries---it's perfect!


Another tradition is my poinsettia. Jamie always brings me one sometime during the holidays. Isn't it gorgeous?!!

This is Lynzie's nutcracker collection. I'm going to need to start collecting them for myself now because she'll be out in a couple years and the gorgeous collection will be gone!

Hope everyone is having a beautiful holiday season! Happy Pink Saturday!

Saturday, December 2, 2017

White Christmas Popcorn Mix

I'm dreaming of some yummy Christmas goodies!! I've been working on freeing up my schedule these next couple weeks because I really don't want this Christmas season to go by too quickly!

About 12 years ago, Jamie's cousin Amy made this delicious popcorn mix and I was hooked right away! I've not made it in a long time but I'm hoping to make some for the kids soon. I hope you'll try it out too and let me know what you think!

White Christmas Popcorn Snack Mix (or, in our house, Amy's Popcorn)
8 c. popped popcorn
2 c. mini pretzels
1 c. peanuts
1/2 c. dried cranberries
12 oz. white chocolate chips
1 tsp. oil

Mix popcorn, pretzels, peanuts, and cranberries in a large bowl. Melt chocolate chips and oil and stir until smooth. Stir into dry ingredients. Continue stirring every 15-20 minutes for a couple hours until the chocolate has completely hardened. This will keep it all broken up for a nice munching mix!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Autumn Spiced Cornbread

Here is a delicious cornbread recipe I began making for my family and posted a few years ago. (Still has my old blog name on the photo---ha!)  They love it and are always a little bit disappointed now when I try and change things up or make it the "old way".  This batch is arranged on the beautiful fall plate my daughter, Lynzie, bought for my birthday one year. 

Autumn Spiced Cornbread

3 Tb. melted butter
1/3 c. vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 1/4 c. milk
1 1/2 c. flour
2/3 c. sugar
1/2 c. cornmeal
1 Tb. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. cloves

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk melted butter, oil, milk, and eggs.  (If you put the eggs in after the milk, they won't cook from the heat of the melted butter)  Stir in remaining ingredients.  Pour into a buttered 9" square pan and bake 18-22 minutes at 350˚ or until done in the middle. 

Hope everyone is having a beautiful week!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

A Picnic, A Kitten, Some Craftiness, and A Birthday

Welcome to The Homemaking Party! Last week was fun and full---and full of fun! Ha! Wednesday morning, Brenna planned a picnic lunch out on our lawn.

That afternoon, friends delivered our new kitten, Mr. Bingley. {Our Yorkie is Mr. Darcy...Mr. Bingley and Mr. Darcy are best friends in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.) They're getting along surprisingly well!

On Friday, Selah and I went to the Bella Vista Arts & Crafts Festival---a yearly tradition we always look forward to. We get there early in the morning and ride in a hay wagon to the entrance. The annual hay wagon selfie is a must.


There were so many fun things to see at the festival. Selah picked out a gift for herself, Daddy, and Cainan and some peanut butter fudge to share with everyone.

Then Monday was my birthday! Jamie made me this gorgeous cake. I told him I wanted a 1950s cookbook cake decorated all pink and sorta gaudy like they did them back then. He didn't disappoint! Ha! I love it!

I'll share most of my gifts with you in my Pink Saturday post on Friday afternoon but I had to share this photo because I'm just so excited! Jamie bought me my favorite design of the new Pioneer Woman slow cookers and then my friend bought me all these pretty things that match it perfectly! I just love this design! ...and I love my birthday! Ha!

Hope everyone has a beautiful week!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Our First Day of School!


Good morning! Well, I did it! I finally started school for these guys! Hahaha! Whew!

Me and the nine sillies began lessons bright and early Monday morning. We're jumping in full Charlotte Mason (a method of homeschooling that is literature-based...also called Classical Education) and loving it!

This right here. This is the last picture I'll ever take of the nine of them on their first day of school. Lynzie graduates this spring! I told them to make funny faces...


We had a happy morning exploring outside. It was nice and cool but very sunny and pretty out.

Not sure what these two were doing... Maybe they still had a little Oregon tree-hugger in them after our summer out west.

Sweet Kynthia is SO excited about school this year. She's a Kindergartener!

A friend posted these leaf pictures on her Facebook a week or so ago and I thought they'd make for a great scavenger hunt. The kids had a blast looking for the different leaves, acorns, and nuts around the neighborhood.







Brenna was really the star of the hunt---she found many of the leaves that matched up perfectly with the ones on her sheet!

It's only Wednesday morning but I'm sort of feeling like our little gnome already! (I named him Eldon.) One hand to my brow, but still smiling!

Hope everyone is having a beautiful week!


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Enjoying Some Lovely Fall Weather!


Welcome to the Homemaking Party! Can you believe, it's 35º cooler right now in NW Arkansas than it was 24 hours ago?!! Wow! We have a much-anticipated cold front passing through and are loving the 50º weather! I think it's supposed to head back into the 80s by Thursday so we're gonna just enjoy it while we can!

The kids have been loving our new yard. A few days ago, I went outside to find them playing a camping game. These boxes are tents and they'd even built a little fire! (Yes, they did ask me to light it...ha! No.)

Our front yard is very steep so they love to push each other down the hill. Weeee!

I'm so thankful everyday for these sweet kids and our peaceful home. What a blessing!


Chickpea Olive and Tomato Salad #WinWithTonysPizza #ad #CollectiveBias

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #WinWithTonysPizza #CollectiveBias

It's important for our family to feel a close connection to our community and we are feeling it strongly this fall as we've just moved into our beautiful new home! The kids love to invite friends over and are super excited to be able to host parties again now that we're unpacked and settled. Several of them really love themed parties and what better theme for this football season than a pre-game pizza party!

Our local high school is small with lots of family-oriented activities available to pull the community together in support of our kids. Even though our teens are homeschooled, we have several friends involved in high school football and we love to be supportive of the local teams.

Last night I put together a quick and fun party dinner combining Tony's Pizza and a zesty Chickpea Olive and Tomato Salad. I was surprised that everyone in the family loved it! Usually the olders will eat anything, but the littles are pretty picky. Everyone gobbled it up so I call it a win!

Tony's has been serving up delicious, pizzeria-style pizza since the 1960's. In fact, they started business nearby at a local restaurant in Salina, Kansas.

Be sure to take a minute to visit this sweepstakes site as you could win some pretty great prizes like Walmart gift cards or $3,000 for a high school team!

We purchased Tony's Pizza at our local Harp's store. I love the friendly, hometown atmosphere at Harp's and I was able to find many varieties of Tony's Pizza there.

We wanted to try every option so we got one of each. Ha! My favorite is Tony's® Pizzeria Style Supreme Pizza because I love the peppers and onions, but most of the family enjoys the meat varieties the best. With 100% real mozzarella cheese and sauce made from real tomatoes, Tony's prides themselves on offering an authentic taste.

I hope you'll give this salad recipe a try. It's so quick and easy, you can put it together while the pizza is baking.

I like to begin with the chickpeas, red wine vinegar, and lemon juice so I can let the beans marinate a little bit. I combined these three and then set the bowl aside to await the other ingredients.

Next, I sliced some grape tomatoes and black olives and added them to the marinade bowl.

Then I diced half a red onion and snipped off the remaining good leaves on my basil plant, adding both to the other ingredients. I hope I get some more leaves this year but I'm not holding my breath. A cold front moves in tonight!

Finally, I mixed up the oil and vinegar dressing and stirred it into the mixture, along with some dried parsley, salt, and pepper.

I just left the salad out on the counter while the pizzas finished up. It was lovely at room temperature as the flavors had the opportunity to really mix.

Chickpea Olive and Tomato Salad

Salad Ingredients:
1 can chickpeas, drained
1 TB red wine vinegar
1 TB lemon juice
9 oz. grape tomatoes, sliced
1 can olives, sliced
1/2 red onion, diced
3-4 TB snipped fresh basil 
2 TB dried parsley
salt and pepper to taste

Dressing Ingredients:
4 TB olive oil
4 TB red wine vinegar
1 tsp. lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

Begin by mixing the chickpeas, vinegar, and lemon juice in a bowl to begin the marinade. Add remaining salad ingredients and stir. Mix dressing ingredients in a separate bowl and stir into mix. Let sit at room temperature for up to 90 minutes before serving. Refrigerate leftovers.

I love it that our teens have adopted our town as their hometown and see the value in supporting our friends. Whether it be football goals or any other dreams, celebrating successes is something to be proud of!
I'd love to hear what your family is celebrating this season. Let me know in the comments below and be sure to check out the Tony's Pizza Social Hub for more recipes to pair with Tony's Pizza.


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