Sunday, March 29, 2020

sidewalk chalk neighbor gift idea & free printable

I'm hoping that this little project might lift your spirits 
during this really weird/sad/crazy time like it did mine today ♥

it started a few days ago with a box of sidewalk chalk ...

i saw everyone on social media talking about how they were using chalk to decorate their sidewalks with uplifting messages or just pretty pictures since families and neighbors are out in huge numbers everyday walking and enjoying any spring-like weather just to pass the time and get out of the house... and anyone who lives in our neighborhood knows that people are ALWAYS outside - quarantine or not - we have so many little kids, dog owners and runners/walkers in our one mile huge loop of a neighborhood - so our neighborhood is usually pretty active even during normal circumstances...

so i picked up a box at target (while i was getting essentials ... everyone just please relax ... please - slight eyeroll here) because i knew that it would put a smile on at least a few faces who walked over our sidewalk over the next few days (and then it rained of course - hello, upstate NY + April) so i recruited my girls to go chalk up the sidewalk & make it pretty ♥

we got out there and the sun was shining, within a few minutes it was like my spirits were automatically renewed just by being outside, for an hour, breathing in God's fresh air and soaking up His sunshine ...

 it got me to thinking about how we can watch the news, talk to neighbors and overhear things in the grocery store check out line that the enemy then uses to ever so quietly & slooooowly crack the door open, allowing fear to creep into our minds & hearts ... right?  we start to let ourselves be dominated by the what if's and the maybe's 
that give life to fear & self-reliance ... 

but then all of a sudden being outside in the wide open of God's creation ... you realize that there is nothing to fear. He made all of this. the sun will rise in the morning and set again tomorrow night, virus or not, quarantine or not, constant barrage of fear-mongering news broadcasts or not ... because He is in control - He's got this - this didn't catch Him by surprise - it didn't sneak up on Him like whoa where'd you come from kinda thing - this was all sifted through His hands.

He's behind & before us - His thoughts are higher - our names are graven on His hands - He knew what we looked like even before we were thought into existence ... 
so i'm thinkin' He's got this too.

as we were chalking up a storm the idea came to get a few more boxes of chalk for some of the houses with little kids on our street - in hopes that they would decorate their sidewalks too and then what a fun walk around the neighborhood that would be for everyone :)

surprisingly but kinda not (insert another small eyeroll here)
 like flour toilet paper and chicken breast (that's what's hard to get here at our grocery store what about you all?) sidewalk chalk is really hard to find online - and again not surprisingly, sellers on amazon are trying to sell this 48ct. box of chalk for $40!

so i scoured the interwebs and found that my local staples & walgreens stores had quite a few boxes left in stock and they were offering curb-side pickup! bonus. so check your local office supply stores, drug stores, targets or walmart's - buy online and pick up - i'm sure you'll be able to find some!

and of course i had to make a cute tag for these neighbor gifts (that in all honesty me & my daughter ding dong ditched ((or just ditched without the ding or the dong)) at each of the houses and then made quick getaways afterwards:P) there's just something about giving gifts in secret - am i right?

i love leaving something, catching someone off guard and letting it be found in the quiet of their own thoughts & emotions - i know in times past i've found something that has brought me to tears and i thought how did someone know this was just what i needed?

so! dive into those ribbon stashes, tie some bows onto those cardboard box handles and 

super cute graphics were from these two etsy shops

and so at the end of today, we had successfully delivered 6 boxes of chalk up and down our street and when my daughter went out to ride her bike in the afternoon she came back so excited to tell me that all the little kids that we had delivered chalk to, had decorated or were out decorating their sidewalks with the cutest pictures and notes ♥ and some of them had even come to the front of our house and written a note in chalk thanking us for the gift :)

and just like that a small thing like a box of chalk brought so much joy to our house and now neighborhood 
AND had lifted my spirit more than any other thing had done this past week.
(even more than when i found a six pack of TP at the grocery store :)
find some chalk, print out these tags & let this do the same for you this week friends!
as always - much love

Saturday, February 22, 2020

old-fashioned apple cake ♥

3 blog posts in 2 weeks? who am i? :)
so i posted about this old-fashioned apple cake on instagram two years ago and so many of you made and loved the recipe - it prompted me to do a little digging because the recipe i had was good, but something seemed a little different from what i remembered... i've been making this cake with my mom since i was a teenager, but we hadn't made it for many years when i came across the recipe in my old cookbook

i followed that recipe exactly and shared it on instagram at that time - since then i've been talking about it with my mom and her sisters - the recipe came from their sister in law who has since passed away but my aunt found her original recipe card and we realized that the copy i had - had probably been copied so many times or the recipe was cut in half  - so basically it was still very similar to the origianl but not really the right recipe if that makes sense

after making it a few times since then, and evaluating it with them :) we got it down to the original ingredients and method that we remembered it to be ♥ the cake is moist and so good + the cinnamon sugar on top gives it that yummy crunch - i recently took the cake on a visit with me to my aunt's house with all of us there and this version got a thumbs up from everyone - especially my daughter jayla ♥ 

so we're passing this cake down to the next generation and i've printed a copy for both of my girls' cookbooks - i have binders for each of them filled with our family favorites and that i add to whenever we try somthing new that we decide is a keeper - i'll try to do a blog post on that sometime with more info and pictures

i made a cute printable recipe sheet for you to print out at home - fit it into a 8.5x11 recipe binder with a plastic sleeve or resize it to fit a 5x8 binder, which is what my recipes are in here pictured below - these binders were project life recipe binders that i believe are no longer in print but any 5x8 binder will work with plastic inserts from an office supply store

 take note that in this new revised recipe i used an angel food pan like this one - with a higher & thicker cake, this pan comes apart in the middle making cake removal very easy - just make sure to grease & flour both pieces as i mentioned in the instructions - don't skip that part!

♥ ♥ ♥

now... and i hope i haven't lost you yet ... but the original recipe i shared from 2018 (pictured below) was made in a bundt pan like this one, is close to half of the size of the revised recipe and is pictured here with step by step pictures and the recipe from my cookbook - it's reminds me more of an apple danish (because of less batter) but is just as delicious!

make either version of my family recipe and you won't be disappointed - they're both so yummy... and thanks for following along with me on this one! it's caused me to really think about how we document our family information/memories/stories and about how we pass information down to the next generation - i'm sure so much gets lost in translation! i think that's why it's SO important to write down as much as we can and ALSO to get into the kitchen with our kids and show them how we cook/bake these recipes so that they have first hand knowledge of how their family traditions are carried on! showing them face to face (mixer to mixer :) what was taught to the generation before them ♥
(me & my aunt 1999 ish)
(jayla & my aunt this last Christmas)

Friday, February 14, 2020

valentines day in a jar gift idea ♥

i have to admit breakfast is my favorite meal of the day... 
i mean what's not to love about any kind of breakfast food? muffins pastries waffles bacon 
eggs oatmeal cookies bagels cookies french toast cookies...
speaking of bagels, i love a good bagel with butter and some raspberry jam on top yummm.
 bonne maman happens to be our favorite store bought jam, have you ever had it?
 (and ps. this not a paid post just really love the stuff)

besides, lets talk about what's really important here - the gingham lids on those jars ♥
i mean really good jam in a cute jar? it's like icing on the cake - or like the jam on the bagel? hehe

anyways, file this Valentines day in a jar gift idea away for next year - or if you are celebrating throughout this weekend, you still have time to pull some of these together with any jars you might have laying around!

i soaked my jars in a bowl of really hot water with a few drops of dawn blue dishsoap 
for about an hour - the labels slid right off - easy peasy.

the fun part is going to target walmart michaels where ever and picking out all the little things that go inside! i try to keep things all the same color, but sometimes the items vary depending on who i'm gifting to - for instance i know my mom doesn't like things that are rose scented and my sister in law is conscious about clean ingredients - keep those things in mind! it would be sad to get a gift full of things that are really super cute but maybe not items that are useful

 if you have trouble thinking of what to put inside - just think about all the things that YOU love! 
a favorite polish color, chapstick, a favorite kind of chocolate or gum ... you get the idea ♥

if there's extra room in your jars when you've put everything in,
fill the empty spaces with small candy like hershey kisses or dove hearts,
 even heart confetti would be cute in the bottom of the jar!

add some matching ribbon maybe a gift tag with a note to personalize ♥

definitely feeling like my jar hoarding skills paid off for this little gift idea :)

SO CUTE! happy Valentines day everyone! ♥

Thursday, February 13, 2020

heart shaped sugar cookies ♥

Valentines Day has always been my favorite holiday - i think it's all the hearts, sprinkles, and pink stuff that's on everything :) so when it comes to making heart cookies i always get excited ... maybe about eating them as much as making them ♥

make a batch of these cookies for your family or to put into cute bags/containers
 to give to friends or neighbors - i promise they will love them!

this roll out cookie dough recipe has been my go-to recipe for twenty years 
um. wow. that makes me feel really old
 anywayssss...... this recipe has never failed me! the cookies are soft, buttery 
and at the perfect thickness when rolled out to a quarter inch

but the real game changer was when i learned to roll the dough out onto parchment paper first 
(light bulb moment) and THEN chill it in the fridge right on the cookie sheets! 
it makes so much more sense than chilling the dough in a big lump then trying to handle and roll it out when it's too cold to work with anyways right? 

i always double this recipe, plus i use extra large cookie sheets for a larger rolling surface for the dough and for more cookie space when baking - this rolled chilled dough bakes up so nicely and the cookie shape holds perfectly

for the simple icing i combine 2-3 cups of powdered sugar with a few tablespoons of milk - just add slowly until it reaches desired consistency & add a few drops of red food coloring for pink frosting - spoon the icing into a ziploc bag and cut off a small tip from one of the corners - pipe in a zigzag pattern and sprinkle with nonpareils right away before it sets. SO GOOD.

i hope you love them & happy Valentines Day friends ♥ 

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

banana chocolate chip muffins ♥

the long winter months always bring out the baker in me...
not that i don't bake in the warmer months too, but there's just something about 
chilly nights and snowy weather that make me want to whip up all the 
cookies, breads & muffins 

if you're like me, then you always happen to have a couple bananas that are ripe 
on the counter yes? i sometimes wonder if my family leaves the last few 
on purpose so that i will bake somthing? 
hmm. i might be on to them :)

i've been using this recipe for a loooong time 
and i'm not sure which relative it came from, but it's a favorite...
nothing really fancy or out of the ordinary about it - just good.
oh and it's great with or without the chocolate chips - i make it both ways
just depends what we're feelin' :)

here it is all typed up nice & cute - it's sized perfectly at 4x6 
for you to print and slip right into your recipe binder or box

enjoy! and let me know here in the comments if you make them!

head over there and take a peek! ;)

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