Monday, December 29, 2014

Year End Tea Review 2014

I have been blogging now for 5 years.  This year I have switched to blog to mainly tea and recipe posts.  I have been doing tea from the beginning and I really like it.  So as I have done for the last several years I am again reviewing a tea post for each month of 2014.  
  
2014 Year End Tea Review: The Charm of Home
January was the Winter White Tea.

2014 Year End Tea Review: The Charm of Home
February was the Valentine's Tea '14.

2014 Year End Tea Review: The Charm of Home
For March I went a little Irish in Guinness Cake Tea.

2014 Year End Tea Review: The Charm of Home
April was Easter Tea '14.

2014 Year End Tea Review: The Charm of Home
In May I made a Strawberry Tart Tea.

2014 Year End Tea Review: The Charm of Home
I always wanted to make Madeleines.  So I did in June.

2014 Year End Tea Review: The Charm of Home
In July it was Raspberries and Roses.

2014 Year End Tea Review: The Charm of Home
For August I made blackberry muffins, As Requested....Blackberry Muffin Tea.

2014 Year End Tea Review: The Charm of Home
In September it is always good Revisiting Your Inner Child.

2014 Year End Tea Review: The Charm of Home
For October I had Marauder's Tea remembering my vacation to Harry Potter's Wizarding World.

2014 Year End Tea Review: The Charm of Home
In November I reflected a lot in Tea Time is Soul Time.

2014 Year End Tea Review: The Charm of Home
In December it was time for a Taking Care of Business Tea.

So there you have it.  I hope to have a lot of new posts in 2015 that will inspire you! Happy New Year! 

Sherry

I will link this to:
  
Tea Time Tuesday at Rose Chintz Cottage 
A Return to Loveliness  at A Delightsome Life 
Tea Cup Tuesday at Martha's Favorites
Tea Cup Tuesday at Artful Affirmations
Tuesday Cuppa Tea at Antiques and Teacups 
Friends Sharing Tea at Bernideen's Tea Time Blog 
Wow Us Wednesday at Savvy Southern Style
Inspire Me Tuesday at A Stroll Thru Life
Tweak It Tuesday at Cozy Little House
Show and Tell Friday at My Romantic Home
Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage
Say G'Day at Natasha in Oz
Your Going to Love it Tuesday At Kathe with an  E
The Scoop at Confessions of a Plate Addict

Totally Terrific Tuesday at Live Randomly Simple
Project Inspire at An Extraordinary Day
Do Tell Tuesday at Maybe She Made It
Make It Pretty Monday at The Dedicated House
Amaze Me Monday at Dwellings-The Heart of Your Home 
Simple Sweet Friday at Rooted in Thyme

Monday, December 22, 2014

Year End Recipe Review 2014

This year I did something different with the blog, I gradually just shifted it to coffee/tea and recipes.  So for the year end review I picked some of my favorite recipes from each month to highlight, just in case you missed them. 

For the New Year I made this Chocolate Pound Cake with Mint Icing.


Made some lovely cupcakes for a little tea party.

Here I was just taking advantage of the mega amounts of strawberries we had in the backyard last year by creating The Humble Angel Food Cake Embellished.

And in May we still had strawberries, so I had to make a chocolate version naked cake in Fudge and Strawberry Cake.

I got so lucky the publishers found me last year and found out I will blog for free cookbooks!  I loved this cookbook in Beach House Baking and The Windswept Cherry Pie.

Time to have a little Christmas fun in Blackberry Scones for Christmas in July.

In August I played with my cupcakes to make them Beachy Cupcakes.

Oh, and then came fall, my favorite season, and time to bake apples in Rustic Apple Cider Pie.

In October I created my first ever recipe on my own from start to finish in Pumpkin Spice Latte Cake.

For November we had to try the Cranberry Upside Down Cake.

And for December I loved this Christmas morning idea in Cranberry and Brie Puff Pastry Swirls.


There you have the year end recipe review of my favorite recipes I have tried on the blog this year.  All of the recipes can be found on my Pinterest boards. Follow along for 2015 and we'll see what new recipes we can cook up.
Sherry

I will link this to:

Foodie Friday at Rattlebridge Farm
Strut Your Stuff Saturday at Six Sisters Stuff 
Homemaking Linkup at Hope In Every Season 

Table It! at Rustic & Refined
Anything Goes Party at Bacon Time with the Hungry Hypo

Sweet and Savoury Sunday at Baking in Pyjamas
Tickle My Taste Buds Tuesdays at Lori's Culinary Creations

Fridays Unfolded at Nancherrow
Project Inspire at An Extraordinary Day

Totally Terrific Tuesday at Live Randomly Simple
Wow Us Wednesday at Savvy Southern Style
Foodie Friends Friday at Walking on Sunshine

Friday, December 19, 2014

Home Sweet Home #200

Hello and welcome to Home Sweet Home this week before Christmas!  This week I shared some Christmas fun in Spark Some Magic.

I also wrote a sponsored post for FYI Network and BlogHer about Downsizing.   

Again I pinned so much from last week's HSH party!  You all had so many wonderful Christmas posts!  Thank you so much for sharing.  It wouldn't be a party without  you!  Here are a few that caught my eye.

Poppy at With a Dash of Color has shared how to make the house smell good with Christmas Potpourri.

Karen's Up On the Hill shared her Holiday House Tour 2014~Natural Elements.

Backwoods Babies shared the MOST adorable Daddy post in You Know Your a Girl Dad When...

And Magali at The Little White House shared her fabulous French cottage kitchen makeover in Away in the Attic.

I had on several occasions wanted to feature some of your entries but, you don't create a link back to the Home Sweet Home party.  So, please include that link so I can feature you too!
I am really lucky to have all of your amazing posts because, it is you who make the Home Sweet Home party so special!  You are all so talented and share such wonderful posts!  It is really hard to feature a few and, remember to be featured you must have a link back to the Home Sweet Home party.   Thank you to everyone who joins me at Home Sweet Home!  It is wonderful to have you here!

Sherry

Follow me on Twitter 

Follow me on Facebook

Follow me on Pinterest

Follow me where I really enjoy the visual aspect of blogging on  Tumblr

The Home Sweet Home party will be on break next week due to Christmas but, I will return on January 1, 2015.  Please join me here and tell me what you did for the Holidays. The more the merrier! I would love to feature your holidays!

Guidelines for Home Sweet Home Party: 
Attention: To link up you must have a permalink back to this party in your post or you won't be featured.
Link up anything in your home or garden.   I love seeing home tours and neat shops too!
My button is on my sidebar for the party, if you want to use it.   If you are new here I hope you will become a follower. Please don't link up more than two posts.  No Etsy link ups or direct advertising, please.  Please visit some of the other blogs and get some great inspiration.  Thanks.:)
Now let's see your beautiful home, delicious recipes, crafts, or whatever makes your home special!

 *If you are pinning a post submitted here, please pin from the original source.


Thursday, December 18, 2014

Downsizing



Downsizing with Tiny House Nation: The Charm of Home
Do you ever think you experience things in life as a test? There have been many changes in the past year and there will be several more in the next two coming years.  It seems there is a plan in place to see what I am really made of.  I am sailing along, the water is fine, and then wham; here comes change.  It is funny how you can take things for granted.  In a heartbeat the kids grow up.  The family changes. What seemed liked endless days of happiness turns into constant states of busyness, and then suddenly you are forced with bittersweet choices. Your parents age and need to be closer to you for help. Once the child, you are now reversing roles with your parent.  How did that happen?  

Downsizing was an enormous reality for my Mother in 2013. She had lived with her Father, my Grandfather, for 17 years and on his passing last May she downsized and moved to a home close by me. My Mother can be a challenge any day of the week, but really as her daughter I had to step in and help her. Sometimes the reality hits you right in the face and your staring at a large property that is just of no use anymore.  It becomes so smart to downsize.  It just becomes the obvious choice.  When I went to help Mom move it was amazing the volume of things we had to sort through. My Grandfather was a gifted man with so many hobbies and a love of so many things.  Sorting through his personal items was a humbling experience.  A man who had a lifetime devoted to his wife and two children.  In everything he had you could see the love and great care he generously gave to his family.  I found myself speechless; I am beyond speech, staring at receipts for school workbooks for his two daughters from 1957.  What on earth makes a person carefully tuck away every record of the lives he so gingerly watched over?  He was a man who felt responsible and cared for others on such a deep level that there was a reverence to the things he saved. 

Downsizing with Tiny House Nation: The Charm of Home
   There was a time remembered of that day and that event that meant something to him.  Knowing that you matter to an individual like that is a love like no other.  So downsizing becomes a time to move forward.  It becomes a slow and steady goal.  You know it is for a better outcome.  Life is going to get easier.  Downsizing can give you a regained sense of freedom from things.  Less things means more time for what really matters.  Downsizing has been a catharsis for my Mother and unexpectedly also on me.  I now have a perspective I hadn't stopped to mull over before.  They say with age comes wisdom.  I say with downsizing comes a lesson, in many ways, of what is really important in life.

Sherry

View Tiny House Nation on every starting December 22, every Monday night at 9pm ET/10pm PT on FYI Network.  Join tiny house expert Zack Giffin and John Weisbarth as they help families across the United States face the introspection of "going tiny" and also the financial and environmental impacts of the Tiny House Movement.
You can follow Tiny House Nation on their social media sites: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Tumblr | YouTube

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Cranberry and Brie Puff Pastry Swirls

Cranberry and Brie Puff Pastry Shells
I saw this recipe on Pinterest and thought it would be a perfect recipe for Christmas morning.  It is really easy and fast but also a little classy so, just the ticket for a special day like Christmas.  The guys loved them. They told me they were chewy and cheesy with the tang of the cranberry that they really liked.

Ingredients:
1 sheet of frozen puff pastry, thawed (I used Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Sheets)
4 tablespoons butter, melted
4 ounces of soft brie cheese, softened to room temperature
4 ounces of cream cheese, softened to room temperature
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup cinnamon sugar (1/4 cup sugar with 2 teaspoons cinnamon)

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place parchment paper on a baking sheet.
Unroll the puff pastry on a floured work surface.  Brush the pastry with 1/2 of the melted butter and then sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar.  You can go as heavy or as light as you want to with the cinnamon sugar.  I covered the puff pastry completely and still didn't use all of the mix.  
I peeled the mold layer off of the brie and mixed it completely with the cream cheese. 
Then I spread the cheese mixture over the cinnamon/sugar layer.  It won't exactly "spread" so you have to lay it out on the sugar in a way to give the best coverage as possible.  
Sprinkle the cranberries over this.  I used a cup of the cranberries and it was too many. So for this recipe I rewrote it to only use 3/4 cup.

Cranberry and Brie Puff Pastry Shells

Roll up the puff pastry from the long ends as tight as you can. Spread the roll with the rest of the melted butter and sprinkle with the more of the cinnamon sugar.  
Then use some dental floss to cut it.  Place the dental floss under the roll about every 1/2 inch.  Pull the dental floss across the roll as if tightening a tied package and pull strong and evenly until it "cuts" the pastry.  
Place each pastry on a baking sheet and bake 12 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and the pastry golden brown.
Serve warm or room temperature.
Yield: 12 rolls 
Recipe adapted from: Half Baked Harvest
Enjoy!
Sherry
I will link this to:

Foodie Friday at Rattlebridge Farm
Strut Your Stuff Saturday at Six Sisters Stuff 
Homemaking Linkup at Hope In Every Season 

Table It! at Rustic & Refined
Anything Goes Party at Bacon Time with the Hungry Hypo

Sweet and Savoury Sunday at Baking in Pyjamas
Tickle My Taste Buds Tuesdays at Lori's Culinary Creations

Fridays Unfolded at Nancherrow
Home and Garden Thursday at A Delightsome Life

Weekend Retreat Linky Party at AKA Design and Life
Project Inspire at An Extraordinary Day

Totally Terrific Tuesday at Live Randomly Simple
Wow Us Wednesday at Savvy Southern Style
Foodie Friends Friday at Walking on Sunshine

Monday, December 8, 2014

Great Gifts for Your Gardeners!

Do you garden in December?  Many gardeners do; a most important step to gardening in early winter, the planning for next years garden.  So this time of year is the perfect time to get a couple of great books for the gardeners on your Christmas list.    

I was contacted by Quarto Publishing Group to review some gardening books and I choose a couple that would make fantastic gifts for the gardener on your list!  The first book I reviewed was Royal Horticultural Society Companion to Scented Plants By Stephen Lacey with photographs by Andrew Lawson.

This book is a gardening classic, which is a comprehensive catalog that describes over 1,000 of the best plants to grow for their fragrance as well as their beauty.  Stunning photographs by Andrew Lawson throughout the book give you visualizations of the scented gardens you can reproduce.                                                                                                                  
The book has a garden planning guide which can help you put to paper the best choice of plants to create a scented garden for your own enjoyment.

The book doesn't leave out any type of scent producing plant you could enjoy.  It addresses trees, shrubs, perennials, bulbs, annuals, water gardens, Alpine plants, rose gardens, herb gardens, and indoor plants.

The beginning of each chapter starts out with the choosing of your plants and the fragrance you will experience from each plant's blooming phase and how to incorporate that into the garden.  The end of each chapter is laid out in encyclopedia style with an extensive list of the varieties of plants that are highly scented options for you to plant. 

Can't you just smell the honeysuckle wafting off of this wall planting?  What a fabulous plant to have in your garden.  I highly recommend the Companion to Scented Plants.  I haven't noticed a gardening book's focus being on scented plants before but, if planting something beautiful to look at that I can't eat I would want it to smell good, so this is the gardening book reference I would love. 

The next gardening book I reviewed was the Veg Journal by Charles Dowding.  Mr. Dowding has been growing organic vegetables for thirty years with the no-dig method.  

Using no-dig beds creates better soil and less weeds for the organic gardener.  Mr. Dowding gives you the how, why, and detailed instructions to reproducing your own success with his no-dig method. 

A great book for the planner in all of us.  This book is filled with tables for planning crops, second cropping for maximum yield of gardening space, crop rotation, and results from his no-dig method.  

This book is laid out in a month-by-month format to help you accomplish the gardening jobs that will give you great success with your vegetable gardening.  I also like how he has blank journal pages in each month for you to write what works for your gardening and suggestions for what you might try next season.

So, sipping on that tea dreaming of my spring garden with buzzing bees and ripe strawberries, I am going to be in the planning stages of my garden soon. This is the perfect present for the gardener you know that loves to grow their own food. 
My teacup is made by Roy Kirkham and the pattern is Alpine Strawberry.

Many thanks to Quarto Publishing Group USA for supplying me with the books for review.  The opinions and review were entirely my own.

Sherry
I will link this to:
  
Tea Time Tuesday at Rose Chintz Cottage 
A Return to Loveliness  at A Delightsome Life 
Tea Cup Tuesday at Martha's Favorites
Tea Cup Tuesday at Artful Affirmations
Tuesday Cuppa Tea at Antiques and Teacups 
Friends Sharing Tea at Bernideen's Tea Time Blog 
Wow Us Wednesday at Savvy Southern Style
Inspire Me Tuesday at A Stroll Thru Life
Tweak It Tuesday at Cozy Little House
Show and Tell Friday at My Romantic Home
Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage
Say G'Day at Natasha in Oz
Your Going to Love it Tuesday At Kathe with an  E
The Scoop at Confessions of a Plate Addict
Totally Terrific Tuesday at Live Randomly Simple
Project Inspire at An Extraordinary Day
Do Tell Tuesday at Maybe She Made It
Make It Pretty Monday at The Dedicated House
Amaze Me Monday at Dwellings-The Heart of Your Home  

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Home Sweet Home #198

Hello and welcome to Home Sweet Home!  I am focusing on taking care of yourself for the Holidays in Taking Care of Business Tea.

I made this Dollar Tree Snowflake Door Hanging for Debbie Doos for her All Things Dollar Tree Christmas Party.

There are so many great ideas, great decorating, and delicious recipes at the Home Sweet Home Party each week.   You all had a lot of great post!! Here are a few that caught my eye.

Salmagundi created these cute Little Boxes.  I can see these being great Christmas gifts.

Karen's Up On the Hill shared this most beautiful tree in Oh Christmas Tree.

I loved the creative use of everyday items in this Junk Wreath by The Blue Willow House.

And, Duct Tape and Denim created these adorable ornaments in Mixed Media Christmas Ornament Tutorial.

I had on several occasions wanted to feature some of your entries but, you don't create a link back to the Home Sweet Home party.  So, please include that link so I can feature you too!
I am really lucky to have all of your amazing posts because, it is you who make the Home Sweet Home party so special!  You are all so talented and share such wonderful posts!  It is really hard to feature a few and, remember to be featured you must have a link back to the Home Sweet Home party.   Thank you to everyone who joins me at Home Sweet Home!  It is wonderful to have you here!

Sherry

Follow me on Twitter 

Follow me on Facebook

Follow me on Pinterest

Follow me where I really enjoy the visual aspect of blogging on  Tumblr

The invitation is wide open for you to come and share your Holiday posts here at Home Sweet Home till New Years.  The more the merrier! I would love to feature your holidays!

Guidelines for Home Sweet Home Party: 
Attention: To link up you must have a permalink back to this party in your post or you won't be featured.
Link up anything in your home or garden.   I love seeing home tours and neat shops too!
My button is on my sidebar for the party, if you want to use it.   If you are new here I hope you will become a follower. Please don't link up more than two posts.  No Etsy link ups or direct advertising, please.  Please visit some of the other blogs and get some great inspiration.  Thanks.:)
Now let's see your beautiful home, delicious recipes, crafts, or whatever makes your home special!

 *If you are pinning a post submitted here, please pin from the original source.