Monday, September 22, 2014

. . . Keep your apples from browning and Peanut Butter Fruit Dip . . .

I love apples but I hate biting into them so I always cut mine up into chunks.  If I don't finish them quick enough then of course they get brown...yuck!  My mom used to soak them in lemon juice and that made a big difference to prevent the browning but then they tasted like lemon juice...go figure!  My grandma then taught us this little trick and it works like a charm--it is simple and doesn't change the taste of the apples.  The solution is SALT!  Yes, I know it sounds weird but it works and it will still leave your apples tasting great and no browning!

Finally, you can pack those apples in lunches or serve them at a party and they won't be ugly and brown!  It just takes a small little bit of salt and cold water.
 Cut up your apples the way you like them.  I like the skins off when I cut them but you could leave the skins on.  Totally a personal preference and will not change the outcome of your apples staying fresh.

Fill a bowl with cold water and about a 1/2 teaspoon to a full teaspoon of salt depending on the quantity of apples. I honestly don't measure, I just dump some salt in and if I'm doing a big batch of apples then I add extra salt to be sure it's enough.  I also add ice to the water to be sure it's good and cold but you wouldn't have to do that step.  Just be sure to put the salt and water together first and then add your apples once the salt has been mixed into the water.  Let the apples soak for awhile and then serve them or put them in a bag and store them in the fridge.  You can also fill a ziploc bag with salt and water and let them sit in that mixture overnight but I usually just soak them for a little while and then bag them without the salt.  When I say "awhile" I would say a half hour to an hour.

It amazes me that this works without changing the flavor of the apples but it really does!  So much better than doing lemon juice.  No more face puckering when you eat sliced apples.
• • •
Here is a bonus recipe for a great Peanut Butter Apple Dip (or any fruit or snack that you like with it) that my grandmother uses for parties or just to have in the fridge to dip your apples and snacks in.  I am sure you've seen this dip idea around before because I know a lot of bloggers have shared similar recipes and I've seen variations of it on Pinterest but if you haven't made something like this before I'd recommend it!  Your kids will love it in their lunchbox too.  I honestly could just eat the dip by the spoonfuls.  It tastes like Peanut Butter Pie Filling.

Peanut Butter Dip
1 Cup Peanut Butter, smooth not crunchy
1 jar of Marshmallow Fluff
1 8 ounce package of Cream Cheese, softened
1 Cup of Cool Whip

Place all the ingredients in a bowl and mix everything together with an electric mixer.  Make sure your mixture is smooth and you are done!  Can it get much easier than that?  I don't think so!

Place the dip in a container to keep in the fridge or serve it for a sweet treat at a party.  This works well with plenty of other fruit and snack foods as well. Try smearing it on a chocolate graham cracker, yum!

 Look how great those apples look!  No browning even after they had been in the fridge all day before serving them.

 So good!

Don't these look amazing even the next day?  I just love cutting up a bunch of apples and keeping them in the fridge for several days without the browning!  We can all have a quick and healthy snack with this little salt water trick.


Monday, September 8, 2014

. . . Farmhouse Paint Class and Coffee Station . . .

Over the summer my mom and I really enjoyed going to thrift shops and antique shops to find little treasures.  Along the way we came across Vintage to Vogue Emporium at Golden Antiques and Treasures in Summerfield, North Carolina.  We met the owner, Denise Hall and realized how knowledgeable she is about painting and refinishing furniture.  She does beautiful painting and faux finishes but best of all she gives painting classes.  We fell in love with the paint line she carries called Farmhouse Paint.  It has the most beautiful finish and the softest feel when it's dry.  We talked to her for a bit and she showed us some of the great items she has transformed with the paint and we decided to take a class as soon as possible.
 These are just a few of the beautiful things Denise has painted with the Farmhouse Paint.  
Aren't they gorgeous? 
 If you live in the area you should stop by and check out her shop and the great paint line she carries!  I am sure she might even be willing to ship paint to you if you are interested.  You can also like her Facebook Page HERE.

 Here are the gorgeous colors available from Farmhouse Paint.  I can't choose a favorite but for my project I used Coastal Palm.  Since taking her class we have used several other colors and they are all beautiful!

Denise Hall from Vintage to Vogue Emporium

• • •
 For the paint class we were all to bring a piece of furniture or an item we wanted to paint.  We had a friend along with us and she brought a gorgeous table and then my mom took a very pretty table and I took the smallest piece but I still learned so much.  I had purchased a wooden "toolbox" and wanted to transform it to make a coffee station.  I am really glad I took this piece because it was heavily varnished and had text on it and it proved how well this Farmhouse Paint covers and adheres to any surface.  I was so worried it wouldn't work with my piece but it only took 2 coats and they weren't real heavy coats at all.
 Top left:  Sherry's beautiful old table
Top right: My mom's very detailed table/shelf that turned out so pretty!
Bottom left:  my tool box
Bottom right:  a few of the paint options available from Farmhouse Paint.
The paint goes a really long way which is very nice!  For my little tool box it took such a tiny bit of paint.  My mom and Sherry did their tables with one of the small containers and still had plenty left over.
 When Denise gives you a class she goes over everything from what sandpaper to use to what waxes are best and SO much more!  I have been painting for years and really thought a painting class may not be worth the money but I am SO very glad I took it because she is a wealth of information and has so much to tell you from her own experiences.  It is information that can carry through with any paint so that too was greatly appreciated.

 We all painted our items and then distressed them with sandpaper and got them ready to stencil.  I had never really stenciled much so this was another thing that I was thrilled to learn more about.  

 I wanted a dark grayish/black for my stencil so Denise mixed up something for me and then taught me how to place it and how much paint is best and then how to distress it when it was finished.  She has so many great stencils and brushes but since the class my mom and I have both done it again and her tips and tricks worked like a charm for us at home!

 The larger pieces that my mom and Sherry did were a little trickier to measure and place the stencil but again Denise showed us the best way to do it and it was brilliant and look how awesome these pieces look with a little extra something added to them!

 My mom chose a grayish/black for her stencil.  I am in love with bees so I am over the moon with how both these pieces look with a bee on them.

 Sherry did the inside of her drawer to match the bee stencil and it really added an amazing amount of "pop" to the finished piece.

Three very happy and very proud ladies showing off the pieces we painted during our class.

Just love how these three pieces ended up and the class Denise gave us has given me a boost of confidence when it comes to distressing and refinishing items I have been wanting to do for a long time.  

I would so highly recommend her class if you live here and the best part is how affordable it is.  Some other classes I have checked into are so expensive and you don't even leave with a finished piece but her class allows you to finish an item as well as learn all the tips and tricks she has up her sleeve.

• • •
Here is my finished Coffee Station set up in our kitchen.  It's very convenient to have everything in one spot, especially when you have guests over.  It's a perfect spot for everyone to make their coffee to their liking. 
 Coffee "Filling" Station

 Easy peasy!


 Stop on by for a cup of joe!

Monday, August 25, 2014

1st day of 6th grade and a sweet treat for teacher

I can't believe I am a mom of a middle schooler now!  Wasn't it just last week I was in the hospital holding my new baby?  Wow!  Time does fly and it seems to go faster the older I get.  

Today has been the day he has dreaded all summer long.  The new school and getting out of his comfort zone has not been easy for him.  He doesn't do change well at all so this has been big.  I know he will be fine but seeing him be so nervous has made me a wreck!  Of course I have to be the grown up and tell him it's going to be great and to make him believe that.  Meanwhile, I need someone to tell me it's going to be great !

I look forward to seeing him grow this year and to get to try lots of new things and expand his horizons but at the same time I want to keep him home with me forever and know that he is safe and innocent.  Part of being a good parent is letting go and I know that but it's been hard this year.  I try to remember to enjoy every moment with him because it's going so fast but these times are always a good reminder to stop and enjoy life with him.

 My 6th Grader!   

 Each year we have a tradition of drawing a heart on his hand.  It started back in kindergarten and he has requested it each year.  Even this year he asked me to do it which was a surprise.  When I first did it I told him it was for him to look at when he got nervous and he'd remember me.  It worked like a charm and every year he has said "Don't forget my heart".  Makes me melt that he still wants it on his hand.

 He's growing up so fast!

 Ready to head to middle school!

 Little Man!

 • • • 

 Back to School!
 • • •

I was worried he wouldn't want to take teacher treats to school this year since he's getting older so imagine my surprise when he asked me what I was sending in for the teachers on the first day of school.  I would have been busy planning something more elaborate but since it was last minute we ran to the store and grabbed some candy and I made a couple cute tags for the boxes and tied them on with twine.  It ended up being the perfect thing--small enough he can put it in his backpack for all the teachers and not too elaborate that he'd be embarrassed to hand the treat out.

I recently read that middle school and high school teachers are the most forgotten teachers so try not to forget about them! 

 "It's going to be a BUNCHA fun with you as my teacher!"

 "I am BURSTING with excitement to have you as my teacher!"

 I tied the tags to a box of Buncha Crunch and a box of Starburst.  

 Simple and Sweet!

 I love easy and quick ideas like this!  Usually these end up being a bigger hit than when I spend hours making some sort of baked good or craft! 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Bread Box Makeover with Krylon Spray Paint

My grandmother has always wanted a bread box for the kitchen to store bread and crackers and other goodies.  My mom and I went thrifting when we were vacationing at Ocean Isle Beach this summer and we found this bread box that had a nice little divided drawer and a big storage space for breads.  We both knew we had found a keeper for my grandmother.  She of course was thrilled with the bread box when she saw it but wanted it painted and updated.  That is where I came in...I bought some black Krylon Spray paint (my favorite spray paint!) and went to Hobby Lobby and got an awesome knob that really adds a nice pop to the front of the drawer. 

I didn't get a before photo of the wheat engraving but my mom spent a lot of time taking a nail and etching it out because it wasn't deep at all and wasn't really that noticeable and it happened to be one of my grandma's favorite things about the box.  She got it much more pronounced and adding the paint made it pop out and be more apparent from a distance.

The completed Bread Box is now a center piece of the kitchen and she loves it!

 I really sanded the box well and removed the cover to make painting it easier.  I used Krylon Satin Black spray paint and it worked perfectly for this project and left a beautiful shine but not too shiny.

 As you can see my mom really etched that wheat design to make it deeper and more noticeable and it now really pops!  It was worth the time it took her to do that because it made a bigger impact on the finished product.

After sanding the entire box I was ready to start painting.  It took several coats but they were thin coats.  I used 3 cans of Spray Paint on this box.

 Hobby Lobby has the best knobs and all very reasonably priced!  I headed over there and took the drawer with me to make sure the knob I chose would work perfectly.  This one was a keeper!  I just love that it's already antiqued and has black showing through to match the black bread box.

It is now perfect to store bread, crackers, cookies, etc.  She loves it and that is what counts.  I love doing projects like this that make others happy!

 As you can see the wheat design really pops now and you can see it across the room.
 Love it!
 Another fun makeover project!

Friday, August 8, 2014

. . . Country Chic Luncheon . . .

Recently, my mom wanted to throw a luncheon for some of her friends and coworkers.  She asked me to help with the set up and the printing of some of the paper items and I'm never one to turn down helping out with a party so I was ready to go with all my ideas!  I get my love for parties and entertaining from my mom and when we team up we have the best of time.  She has taught me that it's always in the details and I am a big believer in that.  It's always the little unexpected touches that make people happy.

 We decided on a color scheme of blue and green with pops of turquoise thrown in.  I had used the Blue Ball Jars for my son's 5th grade graduation lunch so between us we had plenty of blue and green jars for beverages.  I printed some cute little tags and then punched them out with a scallop circle punch and we tied them on with blue, green and turquoise twine.  Then for the added punch of color we used blue and green paper straws.  A nice pop of color and pattern was added by using the straws.

We used this awesome 2 tiered tray from Target's garden department which is brilliant for parties!  It isn't food safe so it's the perfect spot to place your plates, napkins, silverware etc.  I have one of these trays and use it all the time.  

The plates came from Target as well and worked perfectly with our color scheme.  The tablecloth belonged to my great great grandmother and with the cross stitch pattern it added a nice bit of vintage to the party and of course it matched perfectly since it's blue and white.  The serving dishes were all white, blue or green to match the colors of the luncheon along with the serving utensils being silver, green or blue.  I printed a cute sign to place on top of the tiered tray.  Then we created this adorable little unexpected cluster arrangement on the tray out of 3 straws, some ribbon, tulle and a paper doily. **Stay tuned in the next few days to see how we made this.

 Add some fresh flowers for an added pop of color and to continue the country chic theme!

 Pretty as can be!

 Brownies, strawberries and a pop of more color with some fresh flowers from her outdoor flower arrangements.  Using the Ball jars just continues that country chic theme.

 Love the enamel bowls and cup for the picks!  Just another added pop of color and vintage feel with adding the enamelware.

  She decided her menu would be Homemade Chicken Salad on Croissants, 3 Bean Salad, Dilly Cucumber Salad, Chips, Tomato Pie, Brownies, Fresh Fruit, Iced Tea and Lemonade.  The perfect light lunch that is refreshing on a summer day.

Everyone eat up and enjoy!

 I love these little mini jars that we picked up at a local consignment shop!  They couldn't look prettier with flowers added to them.  

Details!  Details!  Details!  
We added a few small pieces of twine at the end of each serving utensil and then of course this adorable cluster of ribbon and straws on the tiered tray adds a nice unexpected pop of color and texture!

My son and my mom are busy getting ready!  Can you believe we even got my son to help out.  He could be a party planner in the making.  

A fun time had by all!


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