Thursday, October 31, 2013

Final Post for the 31 Day Blogger Challenge

Well, I made it.  I made a daily post for the last 31 days.  Now some bloggers may not think that's a big accomplishment but for me it definitely is. 

I took on the challenge because I needed something to jump start my blog.  I started this blog to put me back on track with decorating my home.  I work full time and as I've gotten older I just don't have the energy I use to have to do fun things around the house when I get home from the office.  I try to cram everything in during the weekend but something always comes along to take up those days and I just get further and further behind. 

I decided that my 31 day challenge would be 31 days of Fall inspiration.  It worked.  At one point my son said "it looks like fall around here, it hasn't looked this nice in a long time".  I think part of the reason for my lack of interest in the décor is our house.  This is our second home and it's never quite felt like it belonged to us the way our first home did. 

We sold our first home to a builder and they knocked it down and put up a mini-mansion on the lot.  I think that was a good thing because we have no home to drive past now and get melancholy.   Our first house was old and needed a lot of work.  It had old paneling and old windows and old floors, it was only two bedrooms and one bathroom but had a full walk up attic and a large old kitchen.  The kids were babies when we moved in, my son was only 7 months and my daughter was just turning 2.  Their childhood memories were created in that house and even though it was old and worn it was a cozy and safe place with warmth and love. 

When we moved into this house we thought it would be only temporary.  We bought when the market was high so we got a lot less house for our money.  This house was smaller than our old house but was newer and in much better shape.  It has two bathrooms and 4 bedrooms, it has a finished basement and large garage.  But the kitchen is small, too small and the dining room is small and when I have people over I always feel like we're climbing over one another.  I wanted a cape cod style home because of their quaint look but I didn't realize that it would feel cramped and it just hasn't won my heart. 

The 31 day challenge helped me turn that around.  Now I'm looking for ways to decorate, it has motivated me to think about painting and changing some things like window moldings and interior doors. 

So, I'm going to continue the blogger challenge into November with 31 days of cleaning and organizing for the holidays.  I'm also adding another topic, so I'll be blogging on two topics per day in November.

Topic number two will be 31 days to a better body.  I've been over weight most of my life and I think that by blogging some successes each day it will force me to get on and stay on track.

In recapping October I'm happy to say I've gotten quite a lot accomplished.  I made some cute Fall and Halloween decorations, I had an Operation Christmas Child gathering, I've made some wonderful fall inspired recipes and I've rekindled my love of home décor. 

I can't wait to see how successful my November blogging will be!

A little fall wrap up in pictures leading the way in to a November Thanksgiving preparations, with a little Christmas slipped in now and then.
Until Tomorrow,

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Gruesome Cupcakes

Another late night at the office but I still had time to make a few cupcakes to take in tomorrow for our Halloween party!

I found these little knife cake decorations made by Wilton at Joanne Fabric's.  They were on sale and I grabbed the last two boxes because they are just too cute.

Since I got home so late today I wasn't in the mood to take the time to bake from scratch so I'll be honest and admit I had to use a box mix.  However, I had a package of cream cheese in the fridge and some powdered sugar so I made homemade icing.  The red jelly is cherry pie filling. 

I can't wait to share them tomorrow.

We are supposed to get rain all night tonight and during the day tomorrow so I have a feeling we won't see many trick or treaters.  We've got plenty of kids on the block but the rain will keep everyone in.  I don't want to buy too much candy because I really hate having leftovers.  I have no willpower when it comes to chocolate candy. 

Until tomorrow,

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Pumpkin Cookies and Decoupage Pumpkins

I've never been a person who enjoys too much quiet in my life.  I like things to be busy and hectic.  I don't follow routines, I don't make detailed plans for my days, I don't plan out my weekends but somehow I manage to get what needs to be done complete.  Sometimes plans have to change but it doesn't matter because the necessary things will get done and the little things can always wait. 

I've taken on a new position at work and it's forever changing.  Each day brings new challenges and learning opportunities.  I absolutely love it.  I love being a part of something big and challenging.  On the flip side there isn't much room for failure and every minute counts so it can be very exhausting by the end of the day. 

Today I came home to a fun surprise.  My daughter came home today because she brought back her car.  She lives in the city and there isn't really any need for her to have a car down there but she had an interview for a possible internship and needed the car for a couple of days. 

Since she was home she wanted to make some Pumpkin and Butterscotch cookies.  I don't know what recipe she used but the cookies came out great.  They were a moist and cakey kind of cookie.  Very good.
She was sweet enough to leave a few for us.  If they are still there in the morning I'm taking one for breakfast.
A couple of weeks ago I started a decoupage project on some dollar store pumpkins I picked up.  I set them in a little basket and surrounded them with some orange lights.  I'm going to display this for Thanksgiving.  I think it will be pretty to build a vignette around it. 
I took some fabric to Kinkos and made some copies.  I used the paper to decoupage the pumpkins.  I just love making homemade decorations.  
I can't believe the 31 Day Blogger Challenge is almost over.  I also have to say that it has definitely been a lot of fun blogging each and every day.  It helped spark some interest in decorating and trying to keep organized for the holiday.
Until tomorrow,

Monday, October 28, 2013

Day Twenty Eight - Give Thanks

I seem to keep stumbling upon blogs and news articles about people who are sick and people who have lost loved ones.  It scares me a bit because it's just so many stories of personal tragedy.  Even one of our local newscasters that I follow on FB just posted she is about to start chemo.   It all started the other day when I heard a story about a woman dying of ALS and how she went skydiving because that was one of the things she wanted to do before it was too late.  Maybe that story opened my eyes to the preciousness of life.  I don't want to dwell on them too much because I don't want to invite such sadness in to my own life.  I will pray for these people and their sadness. 

I've started making a little banner for the house that will say "Give Thanks" because I want to be thankful for all the little things in life and share that with family when they come over for Thanksgiving.  The stories I've read or heard on TV make me want to run outside and breath in the fresh air, smile more, enjoy my family and just be thankful.

Today for dinner we made something light.  We found the it in a Guy Fieri cookbook.  Grilled Romaine with Blue Cheese and bacon.  OK, I know I said light, but believe me after a weekend of fresh ground sirloin burgers and deer meat pot pie, I welcomed this "lighter" fare.  The recipe can be found here: Grilled Romaine.

Mr. Saylor loves his Guy Fieri cookbook and this is one of his favorite recipes.  I like when he makes it but he is a messy cook, there was grease and balsamic vinegar all over the stove.  Why do men use every pot in the house to make a simple meal?  Why do they seem to use a new spoon for each addition of an ingredient?   No rinse and re-use for that guy.

I'm not going to complain because it's life and life can be messy, and I am thankful for a messy kitchen and dirty pots and pans that help create interesting meals, like grilled lettuce.

Until tomorrow,

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Deer Meat Pot Pie and Apple Pie

I've posted a couple of times that my son has recently begun hunting.  So far it's just water fowl, duck and goose.  One of my top rules is that I do not want him to hunt anything just for the sport.  So, I've had to learn how to cook duck and goose rather quickly.  I have come to find that those birds are tough and most of my recipes involve some type of slow cooking.  Yesterday he went hunting with a friend of ours and brought home a duck and a little surprise.  Deer!  He didn't hunt the deer but our friend did recently and gave him some of the meat.  I wasn't sure what to do with it but a quick check of the internet gave me somewhat of an idea.  I knew it had to be slow cooked so I popped it in the crock pot.  Since it would slow cook for most of the day I decided to make it into a pot pie.  My son loves homemade chicken pot pie so I didn't see any reason why he wouldn't like deer pot pie.  It came out great and my son was quite happy.

So for those of you who may end up with a pound or two of deer meat here is my recipe.

2 lbs deer meet trimmed and chopped into large pieces
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp dried rosemary
2 tsp dried basil
1 Tbs Better Than Bouillon
salt and pepper
combine the above in a crock pot and cover with water and stir.  Cook on high 6 - 8 hours or until the meat is tender.  Once cooked remove from crock pot and set aside.

4 deep dish pie crusts
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup frozen peas and carrots
3-4 diced and cooked potatoes
2 cans Campbell's Golden Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 egg beaten with 1 tsp water or milk

Mix corn, peas and carrots and cooked potatoes in a bowl.  Add the soup and stir.  Stir in the deer meat.  Put the mixture in to two pie crusts and cover with the other two crusts.  Seal and crimp the edges.  Brush with the egg wash.  Cut slits for steam and put in a 375 degree oven for about 35 minutes.

For desert tonight we decided to use up the rest of the apples that the kids brought home from apple picking.  I made an apple pie.  I will admit it was a bit of pie crust over load but the ice cream we served with the pie was quite good.  I made a simple apple pie recipe I found here.  Apple Pie Recipe

My crust was a bit jenky because I used store bought pie crusts and the top wouldn't come out of the pan so I pieced it together.  It was very good. 
I love my little apple peeler corer slicer from Pampered Chef.  This little gadget is probably 15 years old and I've probably only used it four times, two times being within the last month.  I think it will become a fall and winter utensil around here because I'm beginning to enjoy making pies.

I think the rest of the week will be light meals because last night and tonight were heavy meals.  Last nights burgers were fantastic and ground fresh here at home, the pot pies were heavy and the apple pie was a dense desert. 
Now we're heading into Halloween.  I haven't even gotten any candy yet.  It's supposed to rain so we probably won't see too many kids.  Which can be good and bad.  Good because I don't have to buy too much candy, but bad because if I have candy left we'll all eat it and we definitely don't need it. 
I just hate having all that chocolate lying around because I'm such a chocoholic.  If I have left overs I'm going to cut up the candy and pop them in the center of some cupcakes.  Can't go wrong!
Until tomorrow,

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Countdown to Halloween

Today was a very busy day but I'm thankful that I got so much done.  We went to watch my daughter play a Rugby game in the city along the lakefront and it was COLD.  The city is so pretty but they can keep the traffic.  Once we finally got home we made stopped at the store to pick up a chuck roast and then we ground the meat and made some yummy blue cheese burgers. 

I finished up a project last night but had to wait for the polyurethane to dry.  It's another scrap wood project I wanted to make with some leftover scrap book paper.  It's cute but I need to add something to hang it with. 
I'm also working on some decoupage pumpkins.  You can see a bit of one in the pic.
I think it's time to stop taking pictures with my phone.  The quality is just not there.
I hate to see the weekend go so quickly. 
Until tomorrow,

Friday, October 25, 2013

Updated Halloween Wreath

A few days ago I posted about my monogrammed Halloween wreath.  It looked bare to me so I thought I'd jazz it up a little bit.  I'm still not 100% crazy about it but I think it looks a little better. 

I found these little scrap book stickers on sale at Joanne Fabrics. 
I might add something different but for now these little paper guys will work.  Maybe just a simple vine of flowers or some little flowers or leaves tucked in here and there.  It's just not giving me the wow factor.
The best part about these things is that they can always be changed.
Until tomorrow,

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Round Steak Dinner and Pumpkin Bread

When I was a kid my mother used to make round steak with cream of mushroom soup.  I absolutely hated it.  I don't know why but it just didn't seem appetizing to me.  The other day I was at the store and saw that round steak was on sale.  I grabbed some and decided to make it in the crock pot.
This morning in a frenzy to get out the door for work I cut up the round steak in chunks, mixed up two cans of cream of mushroom soup and a cup of milk together and poured that in the crock pot, then I added a packet of onion soup mix.  It cooked all day and I served it over some wide egg noodles with sour cream. It turned out great but isn't the most attractive dinner I've made.  Looks like slop in the crock pot but believe me, it was good.
Here is my dinner in my vintage crock pot.  The problem in this house is that they start eating dinner before I can set up a nice looking plate for a decent picture.  It's ugly but it's good.

Last week when I had the girls over for my Operation Christmas Party get together I bought a box of pumpkin bread that I never baked.  Tonight I decided to make it so we can have it for breakfast tomorrow morning.  Being that I absolutely love to bake I've come to find that box mixes can taste chemically and this bread tasted just like that.  There is nothing like a good loaf of banana bread or pumpkin bread made from scratch.  I can really taste the difference.  We'll still eat this bread because it wasn't horrible but I probably won't make it again. Unlike my dinner that tasted a lot better than it looks, this bread doesn't taste as good as it looks.  No more box mixes for me.

This is my platter that I bought a few weeks ago at Goodwill.  I'm glad I only paid $4 for it because note the chip already!  Had I paid top dollar for a pumpkin platter I would have really been annoyed.  I can't blame anyone in this house for it but myself.  I knocked against it with a bottle last week.

Today I dug out an awesome fall colored wool plaid blanket I have.  I'm also looking for a red one I bought last year and a blue one that I think is in my car.  I hate when I pack things away and then can't find them.  I plan to use them to decorate for Fall and carry me into Christmas.  I cannot wait to get my bedroom done but I would really love to give it a coat of paint.  We'll see.

Until tomorrow,

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Getting the bedroom ready for fall

Today was a no nonsense day today.  No fun projects to present just good old fashioned cleaning. 
I have been working so hard and having so much fun creating Fall and Halloween inspired projects for the 31 day challenge over at The Nesting Place but in my quest to create some fun things I've created a complete mess in my family room and bedroom.  All my ribbons and paint and extra fabric were in little boxes all over the place.  It was getting so bad I almost thought I could be called in for an episode of Hoarders!

In addition to the fall and Halloween material I've been picking up little Christmas things here and there.  I have a pair of ice skates and a package of bottle brush Christmas trees, a few plates and TWO Nativity sets. 

Tonight after work we had a quick dinner of homemade pizza.  Mr. Saylor took some fresh sliced roast beef from the deli and put that on a pizza crust with some pizza sauce and some mild Giardiniera and cheese.  He also made one with green, red and yellow peppers, onions and mushrooms and cheese.  Both were very good. 

After dinner I went to work on my bedroom.  Cleaned out my closet that I want to use as a craft closet.  It's a small closet under the eave of the roof in a little corner.  I'm going to leave the door on it but plant to take out the bar and install some racks and little bins on the walls.  It also needs a light installed.  There is no electricity in there so I'll have to be creative with lighting.  I've got too many other projects to get finished in the house before I'll pay for an electrician to install a light in my closet.  Mr. Saylor is just not that handy. 

I found this image on Pinterest.  I like the pegboard on the door.  I'm going to use this as some inspiration.  I'll probably use more wicker baskets since I've picked up a few along the way.

Something that inspired me today was a story about a young woman who made a dream sky diving trip two days before her 31st birthday.  The uniqueness of the story is that she has ALS disease and her doctors told her she has less than a year to live.  Her mother died of the disease when she was a young girl.  On the interview she told the reporter that she lives one day at a time and loves every minute of every day.  Her story made me realize how precious life can be.  How important it is to never take things for granted.
I have decided that I will enjoy cleaning my bedroom and organizing my craft closet.  Every day is precious and it's the little things that matter.  I look forward to tomorrow when I can continue my closet project. 
Until tomorrow,

Snow Today and a Halloween Project in production

You can never tell what kind of weather to expect this time of year in Chicago.  I can remember fall days when we were still wearing shorts and t-shirts and fall days when we were bundled up like Eskimos.  Today was an Eskimo day with snow flurries and a cold wind blowing enough to chill you through to your bones and remind us that winter is not too far off.  My body just isn't ready for this cold weather, I'm still hoping for a couple of warm fronts to push through to distract me from the reality that soon snow will cover the ground. 

I started another Halloween project today that needs some final touches.  A few weeks ago I was in Hobby Lobby and they had all of their wood letters on sale so I bought an F.  I wanted to make a monogramed wreath for the front door.  Then I wandered over to the Halloween section to pick up some ribbon.  I changed my mind when I saw the prices.  Even with a coupon it wasn't worth it to me.  So, I went over to the fabric section and just picked out some spools of orange and black.  I don't need pumpkins on my ribbon to make it a Halloween theme, the black and orange and white of the ribbon work just as well, plus they were on sale.

This is the work in progress.  It needs a little more flair but I do love my F. I think I will run to Micheal's and pick up some Halloween trinkets and glue them to the wreath.  But for now here is a sneak peak.

I've got some black roses but I also think a black cat or black crow, maybe a couple of cute ghosts would finish it up. 
I also put one more coat of polyurethane on my wood platter.  I'm really loving it.  I cannot wait to use it during the holidays. 
I'm really happy to be a part of the 31 day blogger challenge but I will admit I spend a lot of time after work playing around with projects so much so that my bedroom has become a complete disaster.  There is craft stuff all over the place and I am beginning to feel like a hoarder! 
I was wondering what to do with my bedroom for the fall season and I think that it is going to become my next Fall inspired project to be completed by the end of this week.  I've got plenty of ideas and I don't think Mr. Saylor will be happy to hear that I would like to repaint the room and add new wood molding and window trim.   It probably won't happen before Christmas but I can at least get this room cleaned and organized.
Today while reading one of the blogs I follow I was linked to another blogger with amazing taste in decorating.  English country style is one of my favorite styles and this blogger is so talented that her home is being featured in Midwest Living magazine.  The blog is called The Polo House

Monday, October 21, 2013

French Wood Platter

Now that we're in to the thick of the fall season, especially because we're heading down to freezing temps tonight, I decided to do a little project I plan to use at Thanksgiving and beyond. 

On one of my recent trips to Goodwill I found a wood piece with a picture of a cowboy looking out over a canyon.  I think it must have been a wall hanging.  I grabbed it because I wanted a wood piece to use as a platter for deserts.  I've been tempted to buy one from Michaels but they're so expensive.  Honestly I'd rather just buy a nice ceramic one for the same price. 

Yesterday I sanded it down to get the gloss off and painted it white.  Next I printed out a French picture from The Graphics Fairy.  I ran to Micheal's to pick up some supplies to transfer to the wood piece.  I wasn't completely sure what to use so I just decided to use some Mod Podge. 

Now, I didn't follow the Mod Podge directions on the Graphics Fairy website and didn't transfer or print out on card stock because I printed the piece out at work on a laser printer.  So I just cut out around the picture and decoupaged it to my wood piece. 

The white background of the paper stuck out against the cream color on the painted wood.  So after everything was dry I washed it with a little watered down brown paint to give it a tea stained look.  Then I coated it with some polyurethane. 

I think it came out pretty good and I can't wait to serve some cute little petit fours and chocolates on it during the holidays. 

This is how it started out.  
Here is my new wood platter. 

This is my first try with Graphics Fairy and I loved it.  I think I've found a new obsession. 
Until tomorrow

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Warm Beef Stew and Dumplings on a cold Fall Day.

Today was a quiet day at the Saylor Street Cottage.  We were a little disappointed in our Chicago Bears losing but they gave it a good fight. 

After Friday and Saturday busy days I wasn't in any mood to be busy today.  I did however want to use up some beef stew meat I defrosted on Saturday. Fall is such the season for hot stews. 

I was going to throw it all in the crock pot but since I was home I decided to just cook it up in a pot.
I will say and Mr. Saylor said it too that it was one of the best stews I've made.  I also added some dumplings with some grated cheese. 

We were all satisfied with a tasty hot Sunday Stew.

Sunday Stew Recipe
3 lbs stew meat
1/4 olive oil
1 cup red wine
3 cloves minced garlic
2 yellow onions cut into chunks
1 Large Turnip (Rutabaga) cut into chunks
5 large potatoes cut in to chunks
2 carrots cut up
1 stalk celery sliced
3 cups water
2 TBS Better Than Bouillon Beef Base'
1/2 tsp dried Rosemary
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp Thyme
1/2 tsp dried parsley flakes
Salt and Pepper to taste*
Bisquick Dumplings:
2 cups Bisquick
2/3 cups milk
1. Heat up the oil in a pan.  When hot add the beef stew and brown on all sides.  Add salt and pepper. (*the bouillon base is salty so you may want to add salt near the end of cooking).  When the meat is  browned on all sides remove from the pan.
2. Lower the heat to med-low and add the onions and sauté for a 3-5 minutes. Then add the garlic and continue to sauté for another 3 minutes.
3.  Add the flour and continue to cook for 2 more minutes stirring constantly.
4.  Stir in the red wine and deglaze the pot.  The flour will thicken the wine.
5.  Simmer for just a few minutes and then add the water and Better Than Bouillon Beef  Base.  I like to use this product because it gives the stew a rich flavor.  Stir in the herbs and beef.
6.  Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmer for 1 hour. 
7.  Add cut up vegetables and continue to cook for another 30 minutes to an hour.  I gently simmer my stew for at least 2 to 3 hours but the meat and veggies are ready when everything is fork tender.
8.  Make the dumplings by combining the Bisquick and Milk in a bowl. Drop by tablespoonful on top of the stew and cover.  Let simmer for about 20 minutes or until dumplings are done.
9.  We sometimes serve our stew over white rice or egg noodles.  When I do I forgo on the dumplings. 
10.  Enjoy!
Until Tomorrow,


Saturday, October 19, 2013

Day 19 - Rugby Season

We have always been a football family here at the Saylor Street Cottage.  Each fall we get excited for the first Chicago Bears game.  We have been involved in football most of my son's life as he has played all through his early school years and into high school.  He wants to be able to play for college as well but that is on hold for now. 
Last year my daughter decided she would try playing rugby for her college.  She had never played before so I was a little worried for her.  It's a very physical sport and can be a bit dangerous.  After three years of braces one of my concerns was her teeth!  She has a very good mouth guard. 

Now, when fall begins we anticipate both American Football and Rugby season!  Today was one of her games and so I headed down into the city to watch.   First we stopped and picked up a few things she needed for the after party and then we went down to the lakefront where her game was planned.  We got there early because he coach plays on a team and that team was playing first. 

It was a cold day down at the lake.  When the sun came out it warmed us up but not by much.  Thank goodness for the warm blankets we brought along. 

An action shot!  I love the skyline. 
Those girls play hard!
The leaves are turning but there is still a lot of green out there. 
Chicago is a lovely city.  I grew up on the south side and love the city.  It's such a change to go from the suburbs and into the area around Wrigley Field.  It's so compact and crowded.  I love the hustle and bustle but I really hate driving down there. No where to park, people EVERYWHERE and bikes all over the place usually being ridden by people who somehow have lost the sense that a car is approximately 2000 lbs and is going to hurt if you ride in it's path!  Thankfully I didn't hit any of them.  When I finally got home I felt a real sense of calm while driving down our quiet streets. 
Until tomorrow,

Day 18 Operation Christmas Child

Each year around this time we put together little shoe boxes filled with toys and goodies to donate to an organization called Operation Christmas Child.  I usually pack one or two boxes myself and take them to the drop off place.  For the past couple of years now I have thought it would be fun to do this with a bunch of friends.   I wanted to do something that can become a tradition and hopefully grow it larger and larger each year.  This was my inaugural year and it was not a huge crowd but an intimate bunch of close family and friends.  We had a boat load of things to put in our boxes.  So much so that I have to go to the dollar store and pick up a few more boxes to pack.

The table was covered in goodies.  It felt like Santa's workshop.
We packed boxes for both girls and boys. This was for a little girl.
And then we wrapped the tops and the boxes are ready for delivery to send on to a needy child somewhere across the world.
It's always fun to do something nice for someone and to do it with family and friends makes it extra special.
I made a few things for snacks.  Some spinach and cheese dip on home baked from a box ciabitta bread. A simple taco dip, an easy pasta salad, some hot wings and lots of chips.  Even though this event is geared toward Christmas I always know that the boxes have to be packed before Thanksgiving week.  . 
Since we're close to Halloween I also dropped in a little Halloween food fun with my mini pulled pork sandwiches with little eyeballs.  They look like a bunch of little gremlins.
I also served my little chocolate loaf with some chocolate icing on top.  I didn't mention to anyone about my bread tube fail, heehee.
Until Tomorrow.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Day 17 - Bread Tube Fail

Years ago I bought some bread tubes from a Pampered Chef party either I had or a friend had.  Back then home parties were an opportunity to get friends together have some wine, laugh a lot and spend money on things we probably didn't need.  Like these bread tubes!  I have never used them and they have to be at least 15 years old.  Many times I have picked them up off of the shelf and thought about just giving them to Goodwill but I just couldn't part with them knowing I had never even taken them out of the box.

The other day when I was pulling out my Apple Peeler Corer Slicer, another had to have, old purchase from Pampered Chef, I brought down one of the tubes.  Today I decided to give it a try.  I chose the flower  tube and chose a really rich sounding chocolate bread recipe I found here. 

Well, I prepared the batter according to the directions.  Filled the tube 2/3 as called out in the instruction booklet.  I had some leftover so I put that in a loaf pan. 

As it was baking in the oven I gave it a peek.  YIKES.  The batter was oozing out of the bottom.  That's ok I thought, maybe I just over filled it. 

The buzzer went off and out came the cake.
I cut some pieces off for a taste test. The cake is delicious.  I would definitely try this recipe again.
I anxiously opened the top and yeah, I was right, it was just over filled so some came out the bottom.  The tube was filled to the top. I was filled with excitement to see how it looked once it came out of the tube.
So, I gently pushed on the top and the bottom started coming out.  Good, Good!  It worked. 
Then plop, only a little bit came out.  I looked in the tube and it was HOLLOW!  The only thing in there was a piece on top and a piece on the bottom.
Lucky for me, I still saved the leftover part that I put in the loaf pan.  It wasn't a total fail but the bread tube, yep, TOTAL FAIL!
Not to be defeated, tomorrow I am going to buy a box mix for regular bread and try it again.  If it doesn't work these little tubes are off to Goodwill.
And maybe I'll end my day like my cat Dude. 
The Fall weather is upon us here in Chicagoland.  No more sun bathing on the windowsill for a while.
Until Tomorrow,

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Day 16 - Spiced Apple Cider and Favorite Fall Cocktails

On Friday I'm having a little party with some friends to put together shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child.  I am putting together a little menu.  One thing I'm sure to make is Spiced Apple Cider.  We love to make it this time of year and one of our favorite products is Aspen Mulling Spices.  It seems to be the perfect blend and sweetens the cider just right.  I may spike it a bit and add some brandy. 

Even though this is my favorite spice mix I may try my hand at making my mulling spices from scratch.  I don't have a recipe but we all know Pinterest can help with that.  I know I have all the ingredients so that shouldn't be a problem.  I just hope it will be as good as Aspen!

Until Tomorrow,

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

A Fall Inspired Dinner and A Halloween Lantern

This week I picked up a few things to cook in the crock pot.  I love using the crock pot in the Fall and Winter.  It's fun to make hearty stews, chili, beef and pork roasts, beef ribs, I could go on and on, but it's nice to come home to a warm meal on a cold winter day.  Not to mention it's super convenient.

This morning before leaving for work I put a nice big pork roast in the crock pot and added a little salt, pepper, oregano, garlic powder and onion powder.  When I got home this evening the meat was so tender it was falling off the bone.  We decided to make pulled pork sliders so Mr. Saylor picked up some small buns and I made some sweet potatoes with a little brown sugar and butter for the side. 

Pork in my vintage crock pot
And out of the crock pot. It was a nice chunk of meat and it held together nicely.
Shredded pork ready for some buns and BBQ sauce.
Tomorrow night we're making Pork Taco's with the leftovers.
After dinner I decided to finish up a little project I had started.  I picked up this little wooden lantern at Goodwill.  It was a shiny teak looking color.  It only cost $3.  I decided to paint it black inside and out because the glass windows on it had been painted with the little cross hatch marks.  Next I made a couple of bows for the top to "pretty" it up.  I was going to do a scary one but decided I wanted it to be cute.  However, I can always remove the bows if I change my mind. 
I think I will add a skeleton key as a door handle.  Pop in a candle and maybe add some more cute things on the top.  It's a work in progress.
Until tomorrow,

Monday, October 14, 2013

Halloween Blocks

We had another lovely fall day today so I took advantage of it at work and went for a 2.25 mile walk with a friend at lunch time.  We know we're running out of good days for walking outside.  I joined the gym near the office so I can go at lunchtime because once I get home I'm done for.  Too many fall inspired projects to start or complete!

Today I finished a project I had started over the weekend.  Some cute Halloween blocks. 
I had Mr. Saylor cut some blocks from a piece of board in the garage.  I think he thought I was making a homemade Jenga game.  I sanded them down a bit and painted them black.  When dry I sanded the edges.  Then I took some scrapbook paper in a Halloween theme that I picked up at Joanne's Fabric.  It was on sale and I got to use my coupon.  (the clerk was very patient wit me while I tried to hand her my phone with the MICHEALS coupon on it, oops.) I cut them into little squares and modge podged them onto the blocks.  Then I used some peel and stick letters to spell Halloween. 
My son said it hasn't looked this "fallish" in the house in a long time.  I told him to blame it on blogging.  However, he must have Fall fever too because he went apple picking yesterday and today he and his girlfriend decorated the outside of the house for Halloween.  They didn't do too bad, it actually looks cute.  Pics to come soon.
Until tomorrow,
I'm linking this post to The Thrifty Groove

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Day 13 - Pumking filled cinnamon buns and lots of Apples

Today I got to fill my new platter with some pumpkin cinnamon rolls from a recipe I found here.  They were very good and very easy to make.  I will be baking them again soon.  Funny how a pumpkin platter is inspiring me to bake pumpkin flavored goodies!
Later on my son and his girlfriend came home from a morning of apple picking.  They also brought home some apple crumb pie mix and I popped that in the oven. 
I also got much needed yard work done today.  A close friend of mine has a landscaping business and they called a couple of weeks ago and said they had some extra mulch and asked if we wanted it.  Of course we said yes and they stopped over and dumped it on our driveway.  Well, let me tell you I owe her big now because they gave us a boatload of mulch.  We just finally used it up today on my back garden beds.  While working in the garden I cut down some of my cosmos.  I brought in a bunch for a cute bouquet. 
As I was arranging the bouquet the ice cream man went past our house.  The sound of his music and the sweet summer flowers were as if to say "summer please stay". 
But it is October and it is the fall season and as I took a walk (to walk off some of the calories from my cinnamon buns and apple crumble!) I passed a neighbors house who I would guess are Halloween fans because they decked out their yard in Halloween fun. 
And I realized that thanks to the 31 day blogger challenge I have joined, I am more aware of the beauty that surrounds me and am excited to be celebrating the little things in life. 
Until tomorrow,

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Day 12 - Fall Inspired Pumpkin Plate

I got my pumpkin plate today and it was exactly what I wanted in the price range I wanted and I found it at Goodwill for $5.00.
Now it's time to bake up some of those recipes I found to fill it up. 
Some of my other plans had to be put aside because today was my nephew's 9th birthday and I invited my sis and her family over for dinner.   She said he likes Army men so I baked him some camouflage cupcakes. 

I had to play around with the food colors to get the dark green/gray color.  I almost gave up because I had a bowl of purple cake mix but then dropped in some more green and presto, I had the batter colored camo.
Finally I iced them and put a little army man on top.
I don't think my nephew was too impressed but that's ok because I really made them for my own fun.  I know he had fun though and that's all that counts..
Until tomorrow,

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