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August 21, 2018

Autumn Open "School" House

Saturday, October 6th, Lexington, Missouri
This is so exciting!  We are ready to host our first "Open School House" event at The School House in Lexington.  Join us out in the country for a Fall Open House with Fall goodies to sample (scones, donuts, cider, soup!) and little mini presentations throughout the day.  We're located just 5 minutes away from the Fahrmeier Pumpkin Patch, so you can make a festive fall day of it while you're out in the country.
The School House is not that large (after all it is a one room school house...), so we're offering advance time-slot tickets.  This will ensure that when you come you'll have space to shop and sample!
The $5 ticket price includes the samples and more than anything, it will help us gauge how much to be prepared for since this is our first event.  The time is based on arrival, you may stay and shop as long as you'd like!  We're happy to refund you up until one week prior to the event if your plans change.  
Kids are welcome and do not need tickets!  If you plan to bring a lot of kids - great!  Just let us know so we'll have enough treats.  There is plenty of room for them to run outside and they (and you) are welcome to explore the garden and the property.  
Directions to The School House and event updates will be sent via email.  No need to print tickets, we'll have your name listed at the door.

August 20, 2018

Family Dinner Goals | Easy Weeknight Recipes

Family Dinner Goals

Since it is Back to School season, I thought I would go back through my recipes and pull out our favorite for easy weeknight dinners.  Everyone I talk to wants more ideas for easy weeknight dinners at home.  We want to spend more quality time around the dinner table with our family and less stress actually making the dinner.  Here are some recipes and tips that help us to make it happen more often.

Setting the Table - a week at a time...

At the beginning of the week (usually on Sundays), I set our table for the week.  I put on a Table Runner (I love my extra wide and extra long runners) and fill a pitcher with something pretty that will last the entire week.  It could be from our backyard or from the grocery store - whatever it is it is something fresh and seasonal.  I'll put out a stack of napkins and maybe a little vessel of sorts filled with a smaller accent - it could be a bowl of apples or a little bunch of berries or a flowers in a creamer (favorites here)

Taking some effort to make the table pretty at the beginning of the week helps us remember to actually use it and makes it more inviting.  It also helps the table from becoming a home for stacks of magazines, mail and clutter.  

Dinner Planning Tablet

The "What's For Dinner" question is always a struggle at our house.  I ask Mike what he wants, and he says give me some choices.  Usually I come up with 3-4 of the standards (pasta, steaks, grilled chicken...), but forget about some of our favorites.  Now, at the beginning of the week, can sit down with this tablet.  
Not only does it help us to decide what to have, but it helps me balance the week's meals - beef, fish, chicken, pasta.  All of these recipes can be found on my site, you can search here in the Dinner Recipe Index.
Natural Cardstock, 50 page tablet
8 1/2" x 11"
These are all our go-to's any week, any season.  Most are from simple, fresh ingredients and can be made in 30-45 minutes.

The best weeknight meals are sheet pan recipes like this Lemon Roasted Salmon & Vegetables.  If you don't care for fish, you can also do this with Chicken.  

You pile everything on a sheet pan, drizzle with lemon and olive oil, salt & pepper, then put it in the oven.  Add some garlic bread spread with goat cheese or mozzarella and you've got a yummy meal.

Lemon Roasted Salmon & Vegetables (or Chicken or Shrimp!)





Grilled Chicken with Penne (can be made with roasted chicken)   |   Poached Salmon & Vegetables

This becomes a weeknight dinner when you make a big batch of meatball and keep them in the freezer. Our all time favorite sauce has 3 ingredients (canned tomatoes, butter and 1 onion cut in half) and only takes 30 minutes to simmer.

What is dinner without dessert?  After dinner, we usually indulge in warm baked cookies (from the freezer), a scoop of ice cream, or these Mini S'mores baked in the oven.  I love these little traditions that feel like a reward at the end of the day - for everyone.  

Family Dinner Essentials :

I am obsessed with my Plastic Kitchen Containers.  I use them for fresh ingredients (grated cheese, fruit, chopped veggies) and for soups and sauces going in the freezer.  I even empty all of my frozen vegetables and fruit into them (instead of the bags they come in) to keep them organized.   In the freezer (and the fridge), they stack perfectly on each other, making it easy to find what I'm looking for.

I use the glass containers for leftovers and to send to work with Mike.

Sheet Pans + Parchment are the easiest tools to use for dinner.  We are constantly roasting chicken breasts, vegetables (carrots, green beans, broccoli, asparagus) and toasting bread on sheet pans.  The clean up is so easy.

I hope to be adding more new recipes soon.  I feel like we've get into our happy routine of favorites, but I'm ready to start exploring new ideas.  I'll keep you posted!

Next, I'll share some everyday centerpieces from the grocery store and your yard... my favorite thing to do.

You can follow along with this Family Dinner Goals series, here >

August 17, 2018

Everything Chocolate PB & Pretzel Cookies | Freezer Cookies Tips

 What is it about back to school time that makes me want to stock the cookie jar?  Mike and Emma only like regular chocolate chip cookies.  Ugh.  I need a little variety!  Snickerdoodles, Peanut Butter, Sugar...  

They could eat chocolate chip cookies, boxes of brownies and plain chocolate cake their entire life and be fulfilled.  It makes it hard for me to want to come up with new recipes when they always ask for the classics.  However, when Emma was at school this week, I took it upon myself to experiment.  I started with their favorite chocolate chip recipe (tollhouse, but I use a little extra brown sugar and a little less white to make chewier) and added lots of yummy things - PB Chips, Chocolate Chips, Pretzels and Flaked Sea Salt.

They loved them!  Yay for a new favorite!

After school bliss after a long day in 1st Grade.   Sometimes I miss the lazy days of summer, but I also love a clean house, a full cookie jar and after school rituals : )  I pick Emma up from school everyday.  Those three hours we spend together before Mike gets home are so magic.  So many warm fuzzy feelings with after school routines - the walk home, snacks, hearing about the day, playing and dinner prep together.  After working by myself earlier in the day, I'm re-energized and ready to be a "stay-at-home" mom again in the afternoon.  I really make every effort to put down my phone and free my brain to piddle with Emma, laundry, time in the yard, dinner and keeping house.

I've just added/restocked one of my favorite baking essentials -  [Baking Scoops](  Every single time I made cookies, I scoop half of the dough into balls to bake immediately,  then I scoop the rest into balls that go in the freezer.  It is so nice to have them to pull out for last minute desserts or after school snacks if Emma has a friend over.  We serve them at dinner parties all of the time with decaf coffee - adults love fresh baked cookies warm out of the oven, too : )
Tip : I line them up on a small sheet pan lined with parchment paper, then freeze them directly on the pan.  After about an hour I take them out and put them into a freezer bag.  This helps them not stick together while they are freezing.
Small : 0.875 oz  (Pictured here.  I use this for regular size cookies + small muffins)
Large : 2.75 oz  (I use this for cupcakes and large cookies)
Note : These are scooped for the freezing.  For baking, I would spread them out and do about 8-10 per large sheet, 4-5 per small sheet.
I store all of our chips and goodies in my Plastic Kitchen Containers, (18 for $8) in the kitchen.  It keeps the pantry from overflowing with half-used bags of chips, nuts and sprinkles.  Also, I find that I always have a little left in multiple bags of chocolate chips that just sort of bury themselves in the pantry, so this way they are easily combined.
Everything Chocolate PB & Pretzel Cookies
2 sticks of salted butter, softened/room temp
1 cup of brown sugar
1/2 cup of granulated sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla
2 eggs
2 1/4 cups of flour
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 1/2 cups of chocolate chips*
1/2 cup of peanut butter chips*
1/2 cup of pretzels*
flaked sea salt

Begin by creaming together butter and sugars in a mixer until smooth, about 2 minutes.  Add vanilla and eggs, mix again until smooth.  Add in flower, salt and baking soda, along with chocolate chips, PB chips and half of the pretzels - reserve some of each type of chip from the mixture.  I put them on top of each cookie ball before baking to make them look extra loaded.  Mix together slowly just until combined.  
Scoop cookies onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet (you can find in my store, here).  I use a small scoop for regular cookies and a large scoop for extra large cookies.  (Scoops, here >). Put some broken pieces of pretzels and extra chips on each pretzel.  Sprinkle a big of flaked sea salt on each, also.
Bake for 8 minutes at 350 degrees.  They might seem slightly soft in the middle, but keeping them on the hot pan when you take them out of the oven usually finishes the cooking perfectly.

I like putting the chips, etc. in with the flour, then the flour sort of coats the chips and helps them not settle to the bottom while baking.

Note : These are scooped for the freezing.  For baking, I would spread them out and do about 8-10 per large sheet, 4-5 per small sheet.

Small Baking Sheet
Large Baking Sheet
Parchment Paper

Topped with pretzel pieces before baking/freezing.  This gives them extra crunch on top - and you can see that there are pretzels inside!

They take just a few minutes longer to bake when frozen.  I put them still frozen on the baking sheet and let them baking for about 10-12 minutes.  They are actually better after having been frozen... not sure why, but true!

In the freezer!  

I boxed up some for a birthday gift for a friend in my Navy Wellie Boxes.  They would make such a cute Back-to-School Gift for a teacher, too.  They are perfect for cookies or gift cards.

Navy Wellie Boxes, here >

Our gift was actually a 40th Birthday for one of Mike's friends... so, we also brought along a bottle of bourbon.  Swap bottle of wine and would be perfect for a hostess gift.  If we are going to a friend's home we usually bring something baked and a bottle of wine.

I hope everyone is having a great back-to-school!  

August 16, 2018

Diamond Dot Block Print

I designed the Cream Diamond Dot Block Print to be a classic - seasonless and subtle.  In the fall, it is lovely paired with browns and gold, and during the holidays it will look just as nice with evergreen.  

The color is a soft, buttery beige that can read a little gold in the fall, but will also be perfectly pale in the spring.  The Diamond Dot pattern mimics quilting a little, which I love for cushions.  I'm thinking of adding these to the guest room.

If you have a darker sofa (like a grey or medium brown), these are a great way to lighten up your room. They come in my three standard pillow cover sizes : 

Left to Right : 

I use the following inserts for the covers.  For more details, read my Pillow Guide, here >

Ikea 26" Insert  ($9.99) for my 22" Pillow Covers

Ikea 20" Insert ($5.99) for my 20" Pillow Covers

Ikea Rectangle 26x16" Insert ($6.99) for my Rectangle Pillow Cover

I use Ikea inserts for all of the Cushion Covers in my store.  So, you can invest in the inserts from Ikea (inexpensive!!) once, and then switch out covers from my store each season like I do.

This is a good example of how versatile the Cream Diamond Dot is - it looks so fallish and neutral here with the Grey Ticking Stripe Runner and the Farmhouse Pottery Pitcher.  Below, I've paired it with more feminine colors for a shower.


Block print tea towels are so nice for a gift.  I'm often including one tied around a loaf of banana bread or around a bottle of wine.

Diamond Dot Runner & Napkins >

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