Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Home ideas for the stranded decorator

 "Whether you're a one-stop shopper, bargain hunter, or impulse buyer, you know the thrill of shopping the aisles of mass-market stores and finding a great decorating buy."
 How's that for a great beginning line?! It gets better. :-)
"To make sense of all that good merchandise, we created Style By The Aisle, a directory of 15 decorating styles that walks the home furnishings aisles of mass-market stores, pulls items from shelves, and organizes them into distinctive and personal looks you create yourself."

Over time I think just about every home decor book in the local library finds its ways into my hands. This one was so different I wanted to share it with gals who feel "lost" in the process of decorating their dwellings. I've had friends mention that they're not sure what they really like or how to create a look/atmosphere. If you're in that category, this book is a great tool for you!

It has fifteen different styles. Several of them being:
1. Utility Chic
2. China Blue
3. New Country
4. Isle Style
5. Schoolhouse
6. Greenhouse

Each look is accompanied by "Keys to the Style" along with
numerous color photos

Ahhh. . .details.
They even load you with "details."

And not to leave you stranded,
you'll find pages with ideas for
color, pattern, texture,
window treatments, soft furnishings,
tabletop furnishings,

Grab yourself a copy here and enjoy!
 Happy decorating.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Karate Chop Cake


We're blessed to live next door to a single gal who frequently brings baked items. Apparently we're great "testers." I try to share lots of them with my family. I really do!

One of her latest creations was a chocolate cake with an ingredient that added an extra "kick" to it. Her's had a slight "kick" as she called it. I took a shot at baking it, and mine ended up with a full blown karate chop!

First, let's discuss the icing.
It was store-bought/in-a-can-frosting which is almost against my religion. I did not know it at the time or I may have been a bit skeptical of the taste. Sorry. I'm all about icing, and it shouldn't come in a can!
Anywho, I noticed the icing was two shades of white, but it was so yummy I was dying to ask her what it was. She had started out with one can and ran out. The grocery store closest to our houses didn't carry the same kind so she was stuck buying another brand. In the end, I liked the double color and the combined taste. Shocking of me! Canned icing. What's this world coming to. . .

It was a breeze to cram the icing into a bag and swirl around the top! I had fun using Wilton's 1M for big roses and another smaller tip for swirls. It's a shame I'm not more fond of canned frosting; my life would be much easier. :-)
 Enough on the outside!
The neighbor's "kicking" ingredient is cayenne pepper! It may not surprise you, but that wasn't exactly what I paired with a chocolate cake! She had always made ours with 1/4 of a teaspoon but told me of adding one entire teaspoon to another friends'.
Silly me thought I'd try the entire teaspoon. Silly me who isn't very fond of kicking food. Silly me who'd prefer to eat tame things like bread or chocolate covered strawberries. Silly me.

Another important part of the baking process is sampling batter. :-) Uh - huh! I think there was a little bit of batter in that cayenne pepper! Wow. Oh, wow! It karate chopped me in the mouth and stomach! I think I had indigestion all afternoon.

Long story short - some of us loved it. Some of us didn't. Some of us went to bed with queasy bellies. Some of us didn't. Some want me to try it again. Some of us don't.

It does add a fun twist,
but I think I'll stick with 1/2 tsp next time.
Chocolate cake is more enjoyable when you're not concentrating on the karate chopping!
I think I'd just prefer a little nudge!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

 "Alex hurt. Terribly. His feet were cracked and oozing a white discharge. He literally had the eggs of a parasite living in the cracks. And his belly gurgled as something slithered around.
Alex is a 10-year-old boy in Zambia. He has been victimized by an insect called the chicgoe flea, commonly known in Africa as a 'jigger.'
These creatures enter a child's body, often through a bare foot. They cause extremely painful lesions. The skin blisters, the flesh is destroyed, and the toenails fall off."

 "Alex had often begged his parents for shoes, but they are poor subsistence farmers who could never hope for such a 'luxury.'"
In Alex's own words, "I have never put on shoes since I was born, and I never thought I would. . ."
When World Vision showed up with pairs of shoes, he announced, "My heart kept pumping very fast. I'll be able to attend classes and play football again. I thank the donor who provided these shoes and may God bless him."
His mother remarked, "Alex rarely smiles. But today I see him smile after receiving shoes. . .My son is happy and that makes me happy, too. I am really humbled, and today I will sleep with a free mind and a joyful heart."
I've lost count of the number of times I've read this, and I still cry about it. Begging for shoes? Never owning a pair? A lifetime of pain at 10 years old?

This was our family's latest compassion project, and I was so excited to send off the money! It's one of the gifts that is multiplied, and anyone that knows me well knows I am a woman of bargains! Our $53 became $636 in shoes, clothing, and meds.
Made. My. Day!

You can read more about this situation here with World Vision.
I'd love to hear about your favorite place to give!