Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A place of their own

Just one more reason to love willow trees....


A few sheets, some clothes pins, and voila--you've created your own world.



Remember how much you loved making forts as a kid? I think I probably had a dozen standard forts around the yard and neighborhood plus all the temporary ones we'd make with some sheets and heavy books around the house.

Why not recreate the magic a little bit? I loved sitting in this "Willow Retreat" as much as my girls did. :)


 

P.S. In that first picture, yes that is a real scarecrow about to be implanted into the vegetable garden and yes, that is a real chicken strutting around my mother's back yard who randomly decided to take up residency. That is, until it decided to help himself/herself (I'm not a chicken gender expert) to my mother's vegetable garden. He was led, crumb-by-crumb, out the back gate which was promptly shut behind him. Free rent is one thing. Being a produce theif is quite another.

P.P.S. So as not to get disheartened or discouraged or to get the wrong idea that I spend my days making Lemon Lavendar Cookies and sitting peacefully in sheet forts with my two angelic little girls, let me be candid and say that about 5 minutes after that last image was taken of  my youngest, she vomitted--right in the middle of our fort. Then my oldest cried. And that was the end of the Willow Retreat.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Strawberry Oat-Almond Bars



You know what is cool? Besides being beautiful and delicious, these babies have no sugar. Zero. Well, of course unless you want to get all technical--they have no refined sugars, only the sugars found naturally in the ingredients. As nature intended sugar to be eaten I say.
Also, they are raw. No need to turn on a hot oven on a hot day.



The crust is made by pulsing dates, almonds, and oats in a food processor (I just used my Vita Mix). Then, you press that crust into a bread pan, spread some smashed-up strawberries on top and then top that with sliced strawberries. Easy peasy. And yummy.



Strawberry Oat-Almond Bars

1 1/2 to 2 c. pitted dates
1/4 c. raw almonds
2 Tbsp. old-fashioned rolled oats
1 lb. strawberries

1. Pulse the dates, nuts, oats, and a dash of salt in a food processor until combined.
2. Press teh date mixture inot the bottom of a bread loaf pan.
3. Mash about 1 c. of the strawberris adn spread on top of the date mixture.
4. Slice the remaining strawberries. Snich a few and add the rest to the top.
5. Slice and serve.

Enjoy (guiltlessly)!
 

Here's where we're linking up.
This recipe was adapted from Whole Living magazine.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Fresh Raspberry Bars

Classic Fresh Raspberry Bars
(Picture from Better Homes and Gardens)
A couple months ago I noticed this recipe in Better Homes and Gardens.
I always love the recipes by Scott Peacock.
He gives easy to follow step by step instructions.
And since this recipe called for
fresh berries, cream cheese, and a touch of lemon, I knew it would be divine!

I tried this Fresh Rasberry Bars recipe and it delivered once again!
Here are the step by step pictures to go with it.

Enjoy. Seriously.

Here's where we link

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Fruity Cones

Here's the perfect hold-on-to-summer-as-long-as-possible treat for you!


I diced up some strawberries, apricots, and peaches then combined that with some frozen blueberries in ice cream cones and voila! Adorable deliciousness.

My kids were ecstatic.

(And very messy by the time we were finished eating them--18 months is a wee bit on the too young side in my experience. Of course if she had been sitting in her high chair rather than walking around the yard dropping things out left and right, picking them up, plopping them in her mouth and then wiping her hands on her shirt, it might be a different story).


 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Berry Picking

We went on a little excursion this past week and look what we found!
Fresh Berries!!!


We went with some friends to the sweetest berry patch. It was so picturesque and nice to be out in the country for a little while. (Their dog was nice enough to pose for this picture.)


They even had a little swing set for the kids to play on. Precious.

                 

Picking our own berries was actually a bit of work, but sooo worth it.
(I think had we gone a couple days later there would have been a lot more ripe berries, but we had to hunt a bit to find them.)


We found Blueberries...


Raspberries...


and for me, the crowning jewel, Blackberries!


Check back later this week and Jaime and I will have some great ideas of what to do with these beauties. (Besides pop them in your mouth like candy)


 
here's where we link! 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Lemon Lush, Angel Bars and our Give-Away Winner!



Our lemon celebration is finally coming to a close.
But first we have a few things to wrap up...

First- This great recipe from Megan for Lemon Lush
Thank you so much for sending it!
After reading through this recipe I think lemon lush is a totally appropriate name for this dessert.

Lemon Lush
layer 1

1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup butter
1/2 c. nuts (optional)
Blend like pie crust and press into 9x13 pan. Bake at 350 for 15 min. cool.

layer 2
2 pkgs cream cheese
1 cup cool whip
1 cup powdered sugar
Blend and pour over crust

layer 3
1 pkg prepared instant lemon pudding
Pour over cream mix

Chill 1 hour. Cover with cool whip and serve


Second- a super simple recipe for Angel Bars from Katy Lin
I love simple and delicious!

Angel Bars

Ingredients:
1 box Angel Food Cake Mix
1 can Lemon Pie Filling

Mix Angel Food Cake Mix with Lemon Pie filling. Spread mixture into a greased jelly roll pan. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes (give or take...they're done when the sides are kind of pulling away from the edge of the pan). Remove and allow to cool a little bit. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, cut into serving-sized pieces and serve . . . or eat :)


Next- Just because our Lemon Celebration is coming to a close doesn't mean that you can't send us recipes or ideas any time. We LOVE to hear from you and share your ideas!

Last, but certainly not least- Our Give-Away Winner!
Congrats to Domestic Diva!!!
Yeah! Good things come to those who follow :)


We have some amazing posts coming up this week, so be sure to come back and visit!
Thanks again to everyone who sent us their recipes and ideas!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Must-Make Lemon Favorites


Even with all this lemon-ness we've been celebrating, there is so much more we want to make! Here are some of our favorites that we just haven't quite gotten to--YET.

Pretty much everything she makes is fabulous. We're regular followers.



Could it get ANY cuter??? Forget "kids" lemonade stand. That's where we want to spend our afternoon.


Another fabulous chef. Just noticed the orange cantaloupe sorbet too... Too many recipes to choose from!

So this one I actually have tried, and it is hands down the best fresh lemonade ever!! It's not a "I'm thirsty I think I'll have some lemonade" kind of drink, but a "relax on the porch swing with a good book and a tall glass of icey delicousness" lemonade.
(and just a hint, when it says to peel the lemon, its talking about the very outside yellow part, not the whole rind. You don't want to use the white part, its bitter.)


Who doesn't like home-made take-out food?
Chinese Lemon Chicken

Triple Layer Lemon Cake from Better Homes and Gardens
This is a must... 3 layers of lemony goodness!


A few of you have mentioned that you have recipes that maybe you should share. And the answer is YES, you Should! Just send it our way! (check on the contact us tab at top). I think we're going to wrap things up Monday, so send them quick!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Lemon Celebration Giveaway!



It wouldn't be a party without a present!
I made a little zipper pouch,
but it seemed so lonely, so I added a pair of yellow fabric earings.
Now they just need a home!

So if you'd like them as your very own just enter the give-away.
Here's how...
1. Become a Follower! (and leave a comment letting us know)
2. 'Like' us on Facebook! (and again leave a comment)
3. Pin one of our post! (again with the comment)
4. Mention us on your blog! (and comment)
5. Leave us a lemony comment!-
what your favorite lemon celebration post was, your favorite lemon recipe... really we'll accept anything.

That's up to 5 entries per person!
The winner will be announced Monday (August 22nd).
so you have until then to keep on entering.
Good Luck and can't wait to hear from you!


Monday, August 15, 2011

Re-Purposed Yellow Dress


Here we go again. I know this is my third shirt to dress re-purposing project lately, but like I said, my baby girl needs clothes and you can't beat free.
(ok, technically this one was $1 on the clearance rack, but the others were free)

To start I bought an XL shirt (the bigger the shirt the more fabric)

I used a onsie in the size I needed as a pattern for the top. I traced the onsie, adding a couple inches in the center so I could gather it later, and remembering to cut the longer tabs on the shoulders where they fold over.
Oh, and I lined up the bottom of the dress-to-be with the bottom of the shirt so I could use the existing hem.


I cut the trim off of one sleeve hole to put around the neck line of the dress.

I gathered the dress in the center a bit (til it was the same size as the onsie) and sewed the trim in place. I also cut the sleeves out along the other arm hole so they would already have that hem/trimmed edge. (using the onsie as a pattern again). I sewed the bottom of the sleeve together on each. I also sewed the side seams of the dress.

Here is the front view of the top with front gathered and the trim in place.

I then sewed the sleeves into place, making sure the shoulder tabs on the back of the dress overlap onto the front of the dress when its right side out. (you know, so it looks like a onsie).

You could stop there if you want, but for that extra little gather in front and back here's what I did.
I cut a piece of elastic about 3 inches long

I made two marks on the front about 4 1/2 inches apart, then pinned my elastic ends to those marks. (The fabric will be bunched in between.)

Then I sewed down the center of the elastic stretching it as I went. When you release the tension on the elastic, the fabric will be gathered.

Repeat the elastic/gathering thing on the back or front (whichever you haven't done yet).

Last I took the wide trim from the neckline from the neck line of the shirt and added it to the bottom. I made sure to cut about 1 1/2 inches in to the shirt from the trim edge so I could sew the trim on where the seam already was on the bottom.

And its done!
(well, actually I think I have enough fabric left to make some matching bloomers, but that will have to wait til another day :)