Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Gobble Gobble

It's almost turkey day - yay! This year my older sister is hosting Thanksgiving at her house while each of us will supply a few side dishes. Roger and I will bringing over Butternut Squash Casserole, Cranberry Sauce (both fresh and canned at the request of my youngest sister), and 2 homemade Pumpkin Pies with Cool Whip. My stomach is growling away already.

Below is a sneak peek into our recipes. All of which we've made before and loved.

Recipes courtesy of - our favorite recipe site.

Butternut Squash Casserole

15 Min
1 Hr
1 Hr 15 Min

1 butternut squash
1 cup white sugar
1 1/2 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pinch salt
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 eggs
1/4 cup margarine, melted
1/2 (16 ounce) package vanilla wafers, crushed
1/2 cup margarine, melted
1 cup brown sugar

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
Put butternut squash in the microwave and cook on high, until soft, 2 to 3 minutes. Cut in half, scoop out seeds and cube. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add squash and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and mash.
In a 9x13 inch casserole dish combine 3 cups mashed butternut squash, white sugar, milk, vanilla extract, salt, flour, eggs and 1/4 cup melted margarine.
Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until set.
In a medium bowl combine crushed vanilla wafers, 1/2 cup melted margarine and brown sugar. Crumble over top of cooked casserole and return to oven to brown.

Cranberry Sauce

12 ounces cranberries
1 cup white sugar
1 cup orange juice

In a medium sized saucepan over medium heat, dissolve the sugar in the orange juice. Stir in the cranberries and cook until the cranberries start to pop (about 10 minutes). Remove from heat and place sauce in a bowl. Cranberry sauce will thicken as it cools.

Perfect Pumpkin Pie

15 Min
55 Min
1 Hr 10 Min
Original recipe yield 1 - 9 inch pie

1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin
1 (14 ounce) can EAGLE BRAND® Sweetened Condensed Milk
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Whisk pumpkin, sweetened condensed milk, eggs, spices and salt in medium bowl until smooth. Pour into crust. Bake 15 minutes.
Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F and continue baking 35 to 40 minutes or until knife inserted 1 inch from crust comes out clean. Cool. Garnish as desired. Store leftovers covered in refrigerator.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Candy Cane Dreams

Christmas has arrived a bit early at the Dreher household this year.

While I was dreaming candy cane dreams last evening, I could have sworn that I heard some bells ringing in the distance. When I awoke this morning, guess what I found in my living room! A fully decorated Christmas tree complete with my favorite thing - pinwheels! And not only are those little elves great at creating creative toys, they even got super creative and made pinwheels into ornaments! Talk about thinking outside the Christmas box. And my those elves must have been busy bees working until the wee hours of the morn' as I know how long it takes to assemble pinwheels and Santa's right hand boys and girls assembled enough to fully cover an entire Christmas tree. And my are they good - they even coordinated the pinwheels with my living room colors perfectly. Santa must have been watching me closely this year and I'm supposing from the loot that he also feels I've been a good little girl this year!
They also inserted several of these gigantic candy canes into the whimsically decorated tree. These things probably weigh more than the elves themselves. I better start licking now or I'll never have this deliciousness finished before Santa slides down our chimney once again.

I've been thinking, that since I was given such a bounty of pinwheel ornaments that I should share them. Wouldn't want to be spoiled and keep these unique Christmas ornaments just to myself.

So, for a limited time, if you'd like to also fill your tree with candy cane dreams this holiday season, just visit my site and use the voucher 'elf' for 10% off your entire order. Now through November 30th only. This discount applies at my Crossroads Cottage site only. Discount not available at my Etsy shop.

Besides these pinwheels, we also have an abundance of other holiday decor and gift items on sale - most at wholesale prices!
To view more photos of the goodies the elves left last evening, please see below! And for more information on these candy cane themed ornaments, just click here.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Jackie O. Lantern

Say Hello to Miss Jackie O. Lantern, our 2008 pumpkin.

Just look at her - isn't she puuuurrrtttyyy?! (HaHa.) I realize that she's a bit amateurish and she could have been prettied up a bit (I debated adding eye lashes, etc.) but we just plain ran out of time (which seems to be how my life is running lately) as her not so aesthetically appealing face was carved less than half-an-hour before she needed to greet the trick-or-treaters at our door. On the other hand, she does pair well with our 2007 pumpkin, Curtis Weatherford. (Click here for photos.) If only they hadn't been created a year a part; I think they would have gotten along wonderfully!

As I also hadn't gotten around to purchasing candy, Roger stopped on the way home from work on Halloween. Thankfully he didn't get lots of chocolate candies - he went the purely sugar route of jolly ranchers, smarties, dum, dums, etc. I could give or take these candies so I had no problem getting rid of every last drop of them before we turned off our light for the evening. (Although you notice the bag of M&Ms above - I did kidnap them before they made the way to our basket! Don't tell anyone!!!)

Yum. Yum. Talk about a sugar rush. :)

And this is what $28 worth of candy looks like.

It was a wonderfully warm day in Indiana (highs in the low 70s) we decided to sit on our porch and hand out candy this year. Last year we stayed inside and ended up getting up to answer the door like every 30 seconds so this was way more relaxing. :) Even though I like handing out candy (we never got to do it when I was growing up as we lived in the country and never had even one trick-or-treater), I'm seriously debating not doing it next year. I've debated it since I've lived in this house (5 years) as every year I'm perturbed by the number of kids who don't dress up in my neighborhood (It's a revitalized downtown neighborhood). Probably 30% really attempt it, another 20% half-way attempt it by wearing jeans with jerseys, and another 50% just don't dress up at all. No kidding - teenagers walk around in their jeans and t-shirts and just expect you to give them candy. As if they are entitled to it. (And it's even more annoying when the Moms/Grandmas go around as well and put out their own bag for candy - like what is up with that? I can't even imagine doing that!!!) So I got back the older, non-dressed up teenagers by giving them the dum dums (as I know that they so don't want a tiny little sucker) while the little kids, who actually attempted to dress up, got the good candy. So, who knows about next year. I'll probably cave again. Either that or I'm seriously putting a sign on the door that says 'No Costume, No Candy'!

Here she is on Halloween night. (I actually put her out on Sat. and Sunday night as well as I just love the glow of Pumpkins!) I'm actually sad to see this Holiday go, as I do love pumpkins, and leaves, and the crisp (but not too cold air).

Above is the custom project I was working on last week. I designed custom paper and pinwheels for WishWrap, which is an online site which sells a gift for every wish. Their logo/icon is a dandelion so the pinwheels were made to resemble a dandelion.

I designed some of our mini pinwheels along with some larger pinwheels. Each also had a wish printed in a quadrant of the pinwheel. I thought they turned out pretty fabulous and hopefully they will love them too. :)

I also worked on another client for a birthday party order. This mom was so fun and clever to work with. Her daughter's third birthday is going to be bubble and pinwheel themed. So, we integrated dots into her pinwheel designs. She wanted everything from the party invites to party hats to be pinwheel themed so I had a blast designing her items.
Above is one of my pinwheel party hat kits, that was also sent off to her. The pinwheel toppers come fully assembled and the party hats are all cut-out and ready to be assembled when received. The kit also comes with elastic (for the chin straps) and of course complete assembly instructions. (The hats utilize a notch system so they are super easy to assemble - no messy gluing or stapling, etc.) We offer these pinwheel party hat in both kit format or pre-assembled, for a higher fee. We also offer custom party hat kits, without the pinwheel toppers.
And above is her custom pinwheel party invites. She was going to hand deliver the invites so I was able to clip on mini clothespin pinwheels - too cute. (For those who are mailing, I can also attach flattened pinwheels to the invite, although they would not spin, the general theme would still be achieved.)
I'm looking forward to seeing photos of the above mentioned birthday party. (It's going to be an outdoor garden party so I'm hoping they get great weather as after all this work, the Mom certainly deserves a great day for her daughter's party!).
After completing these projects I took a breather and spent some time with my Mom shopping on Saturday. Although I was good and didn't spend much. I did purchase flannel sheets for my bed and boy are they snugly warm - in fact just a tad bit too snugly since we've been in the 70's all week. I've had to sleep with my window open each night just to let some cooler air in. But, I'm not complaining. I'm loving this weather and hoping it will last a wee bit longer.
On Sunday, I woke up with this feeling that our house needed a major cleaning and since I didn't have time for an official spring cleaning last spring, it now needs a fall cleaning badly. During the past few weeks I've begun noticing dust on all of my picture frames and even worse dust bunnies on the top of my curtains and the look of all of the dirtiness has begun to drive me crazy! We normally keep our house picked-up, swept, etc. but with me being as busy as I've been with the real job and the pinwheel side business, I totally admit that I've slacked on the little cleaning details for the past year. And I really don't want to go into the holidays with a dirty and grimy house (especially when we will be having family and friends over). So, on Sunday Roger and I attempted to tackle some of this grossness. While he thoroughly dusted and windexed our bedroom, spare bedroom, and hallway, I tackled the washing of curtains, filing of bills, and re-organization of closets. We also intended to tackle the thorough cleaning of our office (which is bad because of all of the books that need to be dusted), the laundry room, and bathroom (which is just disgusting!) but then got side tracked with a bit of a shopping trip - looking for the perfect picture for our sunroom, which we did not find. So, this weekend is going to be extra full of cleaning that wasn't done this past weekend and must get done as the following weekend we have to decorate for Christmas! Now that I enjoy and it must be done early this year as Roger's mom is coming into town (his family lives in Atlanta) the weekend before Thanksgiving and as she's never seen our house decorated for the holiday, we want to be sure to have it all set.
Speaking of cleaning, while re-organizing some items I ran across some material I bought last fall to make curtains for our downstairs bathroom and a tablecloth and napkins for our kitchen. Now, I don't mind sewing once I get started but as I've got to drag all of the sewing stuff out, I normally put off any sewing as long as possible. I figured that if I don't tackle this sewing now, I'll just put it off for another year, so I'm forcing myself to do it this week. Last night I cut out all of the material and tonight I'll attempt to sew part of the projects. We'll see - hopefully I don't have to stand in line to long to vote 'cause I have A LOT to do if I'm going to stay on schedule. :)
I'll post photos whenever I'm complete. :)