any excuse for a party

April 29, 2011 § Leave a comment

I absolutely LOVE parties. The fun birthdays I throw for my girls are my favorites, but any chance to go to or have a party makes me happy. I relish the planning, and the reminiscing always makes me smile. Even the “taco nights” we’ve been having with our friends lately bring a little something extra to a regular week.

So, of course, the royal wedding today gave me the perfect excuse for a celebration. I put together a little BYOT (tiara) breakfast party for my girlfriends so we could watch the festivities after we got our kiddos off to school. I served a quiche and scones with whipped cream, lemon curd and jam. To drink: coffee and mimosas! What a great way to spend a Friday and kick off the weekend. Congrats to the royal couple and thanks for giving me a reason to party!

collecting memories

April 23, 2011 § 1 Comment

Over Spring Break with my girlies, we spent a day at the beach with some of our dear friends. It was fun, as always, playing and talking about old times. And when I left, I had the perfect souvenir: a bucket of beautiful miniature shells we’d collected.

Since moving to the beach, my friend has discovered a new passion: “shelling”. Her new passion fits in perfectly with one of my obsessions: “collecting”. One of something is never enough for me! I love to display my little collections around the house; they make me smile and are a constant reminder of the places I’ve been and the life I’m leading. The small round pebbles and clay from Cinque Terre remind me of my amazing honeymoon. My collection of Washington driftwood makes me think of when my husband and I decided to roll the dice and move our family to the West Coast.

So now that this trip is over, and I’ve bought the perfect glass jar (another obsession all together) to display my pretties in  – I can sit home, pour over my newest treasure and enjoy the memories. Another little thing to love …

inspiring cookbooks

April 18, 2011 § Leave a comment

Ok, I’ll admit it: my friend Erin and I were out shopping together last week, and we both literally let out a squeal when we spotted the new Gwyneth Paltrow cookbook, “My Father’s Daughter.”  We share a little fascination (alright, obsession) with Miss Gwyneth lately.  And her new cookbook turns out to be just the kind I like: almost a lifestyle book with recipes surrounded by beautiful pictures and lots of great ideas and stories to inspire me.

As I poured through the cookbook last week, I was definitely affected. I didn’t make a single one of its recipes, but I did make my family homemade scones, blueberry muffins, chicken noodle soup and chocolate chip cookies.  My kitchen was tidy and my presentation lovely; I was a happy girl sharing food I love with my family. The cookbook had done its job – reminded me how much fun it can be to cook, eat and entertain. Now, to take on Gywneth’s Duck Ragu recipe …

lunch box love notes

April 13, 2011 § Leave a comment

Sending my girlies off to school was really hard for me. I miss their sweet faces all day long and have been working to find myself again without my once constant companions. Lunch box notes have become both a creative outlet and one of the little things in my day that I cherish most.

Each morning while my girls are eating breakfast, I pack their lunch and put together a little love note. I have a happy stash of stickers, papers, cards and markers in my kitchen cabinet. On some days, I take my time and carefully craft a work of art or a message with special meaning. On others, the note may just be a quick “I love you.” Cosmo Cricket makes a line of scrapbook papers that can be cut into mini-cards, perfect for quick notes and so adorable! I love looking for new supplies. And now my girls have started to keep some of their favorite notes taped up on the bathroom mirror. Ahh, the joy lives on!!!

the best scones in the world!

April 9, 2011 § Leave a comment

This is really the best scone recipe I have found. They are so simple and so perfect every time (except for my mistaken substitution of baking soda for baking powder on occasion – yikes!). It makes me so happy to throw these together for my hubby and girls on the weekend. My friend Stephanie, who gave me the recipe years ago, always makes hers with chocolate chips, and the original recipe called for finely shredded lemon peel. Both are delicious, but for my family I’ve found that the simple recipe is truly the best. And the whipping cream and sugar on top are key! For special occasions I do serve with homemade whipped cream and jam – yummy! Something to make you smile – enjoy!

Scones

1  1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup whipping cream
additional whipping cream and sugar for top 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Blend in cream and mix until crumbly.  Knead in bowl into a ball.  Flatten the ball on a lightly floured surface and cut pizza style into 8 wedges.  Place on cooking sheet one inch apart.  Brush with whipping cream and dust with sugar.  Cooks 18 minutes

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