Inspirational Thursday-Let it go


A new year is just around the corner!  I find this empowering!  Thanks to Grace, which has been given to us as a gift,  we are able to begin a new chapter in our lives.


I am making a commitment to myself that every Thursday I will dedicate my blog to an inspirational Theme.


                                                    http://warriorgirl.blogspot.com


"Let it Go and Love."
We all know that we all have stuff that we need to let go of.  By doing this we are able to take all of the energy and effort which we were putting in to thoughts, worries and even certain relationships that are not serving us well. Let us focus on the beauty of strong relationships, healthy thoughts, less worrying, love and Faith.


May inner peace be yours today-

~Jemma~


Winter Windowsill Garden

I am so fortunate to have a window above my kitchen sink-with an 

added bonus of a generous sized windowsill.

This windowsill provides an ideal environment for some of my 

house plants! 

 I really love plants of all shapes, sizes, colors, textures and the 

more the merrier!



This happy plant is an Asparagus Fern has dense bright green 

needles.  


I keep the soil moist, and the Southern exposure is heaven for these 

plants!






Moon Valley is quite striking with it's chartreuse and saw-toothed 

edged leaves.

 The texture of the deep craters and valleys on the leaves adds 

interest. 

 Moon Valley can grow up to 12 inches, I trim the leaves every few 

months.





Asparagus Fern  and Moon Valley thrive harmoniously on my 

Windowsill.



African Violets have an interesting history-they were first collected 

from Eastern Africa. 

They have a velvety compact foliage and can be over-watered 

very easily.

Adding water to the saucer, rather than on the soil helps to 

prevent this as the plant absorbs what it needs.




Such a merry plant-the Kalanchoe enjoys a bright location-a 

sunny windowsill or little nook.

Maintain soil on the dry side- a thorough watering, draining any 

excess water and allowing to dry between waterings  will keep this 

plant happy and blooming.

 As blooms fade, clip them off, and it will re-bloom again.

Gardening inside in the winter is such a pleasant way to lift the 

winter doldrums-any special plants that brighten up your spirits 

and home?


xoxoxo

Jemma's Chirstmas Jambalaya




Christmas Jambalaya, a rich and robust broth with generous morsels of sausage and shrimp, served over flavorful rice.




This dish requires chopping-I think preparing food with family about is soothing and welcoming.  So, this dish is perfect for the Holidays.  Little ones, can run about while Mama and Grammy chop and visit.  









Just look at these luscious vegetables, green pepper, celery, poblano pepper, jalapeno, garlic and onion.  

Tip:  Smoked Paprika is Wonderful! 













Ingredients:

1/2 pd shrimp-devein -tails off
10 oz smoked kielbasi or andouille
3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 medium sweet onion chopped
1 green onion chopped
1 jalapeno pepper chopped and seeded(optional) this will be hot!
1/2 poblano pepper chopped and seeded
2 cloves garlic chopped
4 stalks of celery chopped
1 1/2 cans vegetable or chicken broth
2 cans of crushed tomatoes
 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste.
``````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````
Heat  olive oil in large saucepan on medium heat, add all chopped vegetables and saute until  tender.  This will appear to be a lot of vegetable but as they saute they shrink.  

While veggies cook cube kielbasi

As veggies cook if they need more liquid add vegetable/chicken broth as needed stir.

Add chopped kielbasi, rest of broth, paprika, bay leaf and tomatoes.
Simmer  over low heat for 1 hour.
Add cleaned shrimp last 5-7 minutes of cooking time

Serve over rice.






For added flavor cook your rice in chicken broth with a garlic clove, parsley, salt and pepper.





It's Christmas!  Bring out your favorite China!

What favorite dishes do you serve?

~Jemma~


Gingerbread , Cookies and Family


Celebrating Christmas and celebrating the love of our family. 
We had a little Christmas gathering on Sunday, sharing our goodies and our Blessings with you! 


I am thankful and I am Blessed to have my family.  Two of my children and their families came to my house yesterday to spend time together, make a Gingerbread House and decorate Christmas cookies! 


I am so thankful for my daughter, and her caring and loving hands which teach her children not only how to decorate cookies, but teach kindness and gratitude.





I am very thankful for the joyful heart of my daughter, who reaches out to neighbors and friends and shows her child about caring and honesty.



I am thankful for the sparkle which Maisy brings to my life. She is three and she picked out these cookies which she is going to decorate!




Busy little hands, plenty of frosting and sparkly sprinkles make for colorful treats!
Recipe for these cookies can be found on my last post Christmas Sugar Cookies


I am thankful for Wyatt, who brings joy to each moment. He is 6 months, has never eaten a sugar cookie before, and he liked them-alot!






I am thankful for Afton, who brings art and music to our world.  She is a seasoned baker and independent first grader. She is all ready to frost the cookies, and add the finishing touches to our Gingerbread House!




I am thankful for all of my children and for the wonder of life!Wondering what you will you be doing this week before Christmas. to celebrate the birth of Jesus and rejoice in the Blessings of Family.


~Jemma~

Christmas Sugar Cookies



Christmas Sugar Cookies

Honestly, who doesn't LOVE a good cookie-this Sugar Cookie Recipe is a keeper-buttery rich, light, fluffy and totally irresistible-even the Keebler Elves would want one of these!


This recipe utilizes cream of tartar which is a stabilizing agent- that adds thickness and prevents ingredients from losing their shape, such a wonderful ingredient for sugar cookies.


Mary's Sugar Cookies ( From Betty Crocker's Cookie Book)

Chill: 2 hr * Bake: 7 to 8 min per Sheet *Preheat oven: to 350
Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup butter or margarine softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 egg
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour sifted
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
Granulated sugar

Beat powdered sugar and butter in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed.  Stir in vanilla, almond extract and egg.  Stir in flour, baking soda and cream of tartar.
Cover and refrigerate about 2 hours or until firm. (Dough may be refrigerated up to 4 days(and can be frozen, too)

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Roll half of dough at a time 1/8 inch thick on lightly floured cloth-surface or, lightly floured parchment paper.  Cut into desired shapes.  Place about 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.  Sprinkle with granulated sugar.  Bake 7 to 8 minutes or until light brown.  Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack.




















Cookie Tip: A partly empty cookie sheet will produce unevenly baked cookies.  If there isn't enough dough to fill a cookie sheet, use an upside-down cake pan.









I prefer to roll my sugar cookie dough on parchment paper which has been lightly dusted with flour.  Dough does not stick and it keeps clean up simple!








I just love the way these cookies look and taste without frosting.  My next post will show you how beautiful they look decorated! ( Little hands helped me out)


White Frosting:

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cup cups sifted powdered sugar
3 tablespoon butter or margarine, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 to 3 tablespoons half and half 

Mix all ingredients until smooth and spreadable.
Enjoy these sweet, crisp sugar cookies with all the loved ones in your life!


~Jemma~

Paint and Frame a Wreath






I realized after hanging my wreath that it needed something more - so I bought an ugly duck frame and gave it a face lift-here's how!













So, I needed a gold frame, but didn't want to pay what the price tag said at the craft shop-so I bought the ugly duck version.








I love to paint things and I love gold paint! Of course metallic is even better!!




I have all sizes of paint brushes, but for this project I wanted a small one.  This paint is thick and since this frame is showcasing my wreath over the family room mantle I wanted to insure that there weren't any spots missed.





This paint is rich, glossy and perfectly gold!  What a great way to highlight my wreath!







Do you have any painting transformations planned?




~Jemma~


Burlap Christmas Wreath


My inspiration for using such vibrant and bold colors for this burlap 

wreath came from my visit to the Red Door.  I feel as though my 

visit there helped me to step out of my comfort zone.





The Red Door will always be such a magical shop for me to visit.



So, now that I have the courage to decorate with more color and

using the supplies which I purchased from the Red Door.  I have  

my glue gun heated, straw wreath and scissors in hand!



                                     







Step 1:


Cut 6" x 10" strips of burlap to cover straw wreath.  Tightly 

wrap the wreath with the burlap and secure with hot glue.












Step 2:

  After wreath is completely covered with burlap use floral wire 

and hot glue to secure decorative floral and other 

embellishments.



                                              Step 3:
Any time I create I always let my craft sit a day or two.  I live 

with it a bit and then add or take away depending on how it 

looks and feels to me.

                                            Step 4:

I like my wall decor even, so I always use a level and measuring 

tape to insure straight lines.



Finished vintage wreath and mantle.

What is your theme this season?


Christmas Decorating Secrets


When it comes to decorating for Christmas, or really most of the 

time I find that I shop my home and make the most of what I 

already have.  Incorporating floral and decorative vessels add simple 

and beautiful touches to our homes.





Do you have a little bucket or pot?  Save it, either spray paint it

or glitz it up with some glitter.  I added some silver, gold and purple

twigs and glamour to my decorative vessel and gave our mantle 

some pop.

Tip-Save decorative floral for next year-never throw them away!








I love pine cones, I collect them on my walks and save them.  These

huge pine cones I have had for many years.  They used to hang on a 

wreath, but I wanted to give them a new look and incorporate 

paperwhites into my Holiday decor.  So this year I nestled my paper 

whites and pinecones together for a seasonal arrangement.

Tip-Don't be shy about reworking old wreaths and 

arrangements-mix different objects together for interesting 

vignettes.





Plan ahead, look in magazines, Pinterest, and create a vision.  Set a 

budget.  As much as I enjoy using things from the past, I also like to 

add some newness every season.  I always set aside a certain 

amount of dollars for purchasing new.  This year I wanted to create

a Winter Wonderland Mantle.  By adding frosted garland, bright red 

berries and white candles, I have turned my mantle into a magical 

wonderland.




Tip- Brainstorm, search magazines, Pinterest-visit my 

Christmas Board and other social 

media sources for inspiration.  Use what you have and create a 

budget for what you want to add to your decorating themes.







For many of us our Christmas Tree is the largest part of our 

decorating.  It should be a reflection of you.  Don't ever be shy about

choosing decorations that you like.


Tip- Be you and add decorations which you enjoy, combine

treasured ornaments of the past with trends you like now.




What better way to celebrate Christmas than to make your own 

decorations.  It could be the star on top of the tree, or a hand painted

ornament, perhaps garland on the tree.  So when I had leftover 

burlap after making a Burlap Wreath for Christmas I put my 

imagination to work.








































  



































Presto-the burlap became the magical garland I was looking for!

Tip- Be creative, let your imagination be your guide.  






Incorporate treasured old Photographs into your Holiday decorating.

These are some old black and white photos of Elk taken in the 

1950's by my Dad.  I purchased some simple silver frames to create

a nostalgic theme on my white chippy entry table.

Tip-Old photos add interest, warmth, charm and grace to our 

homes.  Christmas is a time to remember family and this is a 

very special way to bring generations together.



Please Join Me~

Savvy Southern Style




Fresh Noble Fir Wreath DIY

I was just simply in the mood for FRESH!  


Most of the house is decorated, but this day, I was in the mood for the smell, feel, and look of fresh!!




These are two of the fresh boughs from the Noble Fir Christmas Tree.




I gathered up natural burlap, straw wreath, florist wire, various picks and boughs of the Noble Fir that I had cut with my nippers.

(Tip: Straw wreaths are great, they are light, easy to work with, picks insert easily, decorative items attach with little effort.  I used a straw wreath for both of my DIY wreath projects this season.)




Cut and trim the boughs from the pine tree of your choice-place them on the straw wreath and attach with florist wire-
Lay and secure one layer of boughs and continue layering until you reach the density that you like.




Once you have the boughs on and secured, insert decorative florist picks, and burlap bow.



Fresh is now part of the season!
~Jemma~