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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Help!!!!



These are SUPER cute shoes, aren't they? They are black patent leather Mary Jane's from Stride Rite. They were given to Elizabeth. Worn? Oh yes, they are worn, but there is very little wear on the bottom or the inside of the shoes.

The problem? Can you see those white spots on the shoes? Good grief, I think it's WHITE PAINT!!! Like I said, these were given to us, so I have NO idea how that paint got there.

My question? How in the world do I get that paint off there without ruining the shine?? HELP!!!!! Do I stand a chance of getting it off???

EARTH SHATTERING UPDATE: Okay, so I tried elbow grease, baking soda, and toothpaste. The other suggestions, I did not have. So... I asked Mr. U. You know what he said "Oh. Fingernail polish remover." So, I figured I had nothing to lose, because, well, the shoes were free to begin with. I used a nail polish remover WITH acetone. And you know what? The stuff came right off!! No joke!! The black patent is still as shiny as ever, too!! So, if your child ever gets paint on their patent leather shoes, you will now know how to remove it!

Let's just hope that the shiny patent doesn't dissolve over time!! LOL!!

Thank you all for your help!!!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Icing...


We had family come in town a week ago and I wanted to make a cake. You know me, I'll look for any special occasion to make something sweet- especially a cake!! Cake just screams CELEBRATION, in my opinion. :)

I found a recipe for a banana cake on Allrecipes. Of course, I couldn't leave the recipe alone. I just had to tweak it some. :) Here's the recipe with my modifications. :)


Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 T baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
3 large ripe bananas, mashed
2/3 cup sour cream

Grease and flour 2 (9 inch) round pans. In a small bowl, combine flour, soda and salt; set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together softened butter and both sugars until fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time. Stir in vanilla. Mix in the bananas. To the creamed mixture, add the flour mixture alternating with the sour cream (starting and ending with the flour mixture). Once well mixed, pour into the prepared pans.

Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove from oven and let sit for 10 minutes. Turn out onto cooling rack to cool.

Cool completely before icing.



Cream Cheese Icing

12 ounces of cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup of butter, softened
20 ounces of powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Beat first two ingredients until smooth. Gradually add in powdered sugar, beating at low speed, until light and fluffy. Stir in vanilla.

Tip: A lady at our church owns a bakery. She told me that icing goes on cakes much easier when the cake is very cold or frozen. So, I will make the cake layers the day before I want to serve it, wrap each layer well and put them in the freezer overnight and then I put the icing on the next day. Yes, I frost it straight out of the freezer! There are NO cake crumbs in my icing. :)

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Spring...



The first roses are just starting to open. I love the fragrance of roses. And the lovely shade of these Queen Elizabeth roses certainly brighten up our kitchen table.

What's blooming where you are?

Monday, April 21, 2008

Ironing little girls' dresses...

I know that many of y'all have little girls and with little girls come those adorably sweet dresses that often have short, puffy sleeves.

Elizabeth has such a dress and she wore it for Easter. Such a beautiful dress. And then... I washed it.

When I took it out of the dryer, I cringed. WHAT HAPPENED TO THAT ADORABLY SWEET DRESS????? It was all shriveled. Sad. I knew I had to iron it and soon. So what did I do? I did what any other mother would do- I promptly hung it up on a hanger near my ironing board where, I must be honest with you, it sat until last Thursday when I finally decided to iron it.

How did I get up the courage to brave such a task? Aaaahhhh..... My sister's friend is a manager in a Strasburg boutique. When Leslie told me that this lady has to iron every single piece of clothing that goes out on the sales racks, I KNEW I had to find out her secret to getting those short, puffy sleeves perfectly ironed. And the secret is..... a washcloth!!! She simply wads up a washcloth, stuffs it into the sleeve and irons! Well, I certainly can do that....


Yep, that's one of my navy blue washcloths stuffed inside the sleeve on Elizabeth's Easter dress. Simply stuffing the washcloth in there made many of the wrinkles come right out!! Then I just held the iron and ironed the sleeve. It was SO easy!



Here's the finished product...


All crisp and ready to go. It was SO easy this way!!



And here's the little sweetheart herself modeling for us.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Back again...



It's been a quiet few days around here. Our internet was down and we're not sure why. We're back, though, and happy to have it. It is AMAZING how often I think "Oh, I need to Google that" or "I need a recipe for such and such" and I COULDN'T get online to find out my answers!!!!

Also, our TV went out. Not that we watch an exceptional amount of TV around here, but we do enjoy turning on the news to catch up with what's going on around the world. Mr. U found a good deal on a new TV, so I sure he will have that fixed perfectly soon enough. After all, I did record a Chefography of Julia Child that I am dying to watch. :)

We have family coming in town today. Elizabeth and I are doing that last minute cleaning that everyone does before guests arrive. It'll be nice to visit with family.

What have you been up to? I love hearing about everyone's day. :)

Saturday, April 12, 2008

And the winner is...


Congratulations to Katy at The Country Blossom!!!

Katy is the winner of the Virginia Candle giveaway!! She chose the Pineapple Woodwick Candle. Yum!! I can't wait to hear how you enjoy this fabulous scent, Katy!

Everyone be sure to go visit Katy and congratulate her!!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Virginia Candle Giveaway is now closed...

UPDATE: It is 8:35 EST and the contest is officially over. I will be announcing the winner tomorrow, so stay tuned!!!!!

Ooh!! A wonderful contest!!!!

I just discovered a blog called There is a Season. Y'all, she is having a fabulous giveaway- $25.00 gift certificate towards Wall Lettering at Fruitful Vine Creations. What a beautiful prize!!

So be sure and go enter (and she gives you the chance to enter your name THREE TIMES!!!!) and be sure and go visit Fruitful Vine Creations. She does such beautiful artwork!!

The deadline to enter is April 30, so HURRY!!!!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Candle Giveaway!!!


Don't forget to go here and enter to win my Virginia Candle Giveaway!!!!
Register BEFORE Friday, April 11 8:00 PM EST!!!!!

Does your pasta pot boil over???


I am famous for letting my pasta boil over every time I cook pasta (okay, not every time, but about 9 times out of 10!!). For YEARS I have heard about this little trick, but I have never tried it until recently. You bring your water to a boil, add salt and olive oil and then stir in your pasta. Then place a wooden spoon across your pot of pasta and it is supposed to keep it from boiling over.

THIS REALLY WORKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I was shocked when it worked the first time and have still been shocked that it works every time for me!! WOOHOOO!! My stove top is MUCH easier to clean these days. :)

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Adagio Teas...



Okay, so a good many of y'all know that I have decided to stop drinking my beloved Diet Coke. I had been drinking water only, but Mr. U (the sweetie that he is) knows that I enjoy a good cup of tea and the sweet man ordered the starter set from Adagio Teas for me!!! And me oh me!!! This is some GOOD tea!!!!

In the set came a fun teapot that holds 16 ounces. The design is wonderful and easy to clean (and you can watch the video at the bottom on this link to see how it works!!). The set came with four teas, but you had to choose which kind of tea. I chose the herbal and got rooibos (prounced "roy boss"), chamomile, blood orange and spearmint. Adagio also sent a sample of one of their blends called Bolero. And lo and behold, the blend is my favorite so far!!!



The only problem now is that I have a huge list of all the Adagio Teas that I want to try. Which to try first... Creamy Chai (chai has been my favorite tea for years now!!) or Irish Breakfast or just maybe an oolong???? How do I ever choose which to go first? What a delightful problem to have!

Monday, April 07, 2008

Strawberries!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Yum!!! Glorious strawberries are ready in my area and boy are they tasty!! There's nothing like a sweet, juicy red strawberry!!!


And I caught the cutest little sneaker trying to eat one before dinner!! LOL!!!!

Friday, April 04, 2008

Virginia Candle Company... and a GIVEAWAY!!!!!!!!!

UPDATE: It is 8:35 EST and the contest is officially over. I will be announcing the winner tomorrow, so stay tuned!!!!!


Okay... so I mentioned last week that I would share just why I have the Virginia Candle Company logos flashing all over my blog. Here's why...

As most of y'all know, we adopted Elizabeth from China last year. What a BLESSING she is!! I simply cannot fathom life without her. How in the world I did not give birth to this child is beyond me. I mean, she is so much like me it SCARES ME at times!!! HAHA!! The Lord is good, isn't He, at making sure you have THE child for you, whether you birth them in your womb or in your heart.

Anyway, Mr. U and I talked and planned on adopting from China again. Sadly, though, last May the government agency in China that handles adoptions (China Center of Adoption Affairs) instituted new rules and now we do not qualify to adopt from China. This happened to MANY families. I am sure China has their reasons, but this news broke our hearts!!

After tears and much prayer, we are confident that the Lord is still leading us to adopt again. We are not yet 100% positive whether that means another international adoption or domestic adoption. Either way, we are listening clearly to the Lord and we know that He knows best. :)

The biggest thing we know, though, is that no matter what the adoption, we do not have the funds to afford another adoption. And that is why I put the Virginia Candle Company logo on my blog. If anyone wants to purchase a candle from them, please come back to my blog and click on their logo. Their computer will know the click is coming from my blog and Mr. U and I will get credit for it! No, we won't get much money, but we have to start somewhere raising the funds, right?



Now... the GREAT news!!! A GIVEAWAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

In honor of this fun new button on my blog, I want to give away a FREE CANDLE FROM VIRGINIA CANDLE COMPANY!!! Yessirree!! A FREE candle and I want YOU to choose the one you want!!!!!!

You can choose from two different types of candles...
-the NEW Woodwick Candles (22oz)
or
-Farm Grown candles (Triple OR Single Frangrance- 26 oz)

Here's how you can enter to WIN!!

1) Go visit Virigina Candle Company (just click on the link on my sidebar) and look at all the delightful scents there are to choose from in the NEW Woodwick or Farm Grown collection.

2) Leave a comment here on my blog stating which candle you would want to win (the New Woodwick or the Farm Grown) and share the name of the scent you would like to win.

If you blog about this giveaway on your blog and provide a link back here, please let me know and I will enter your name a second time!!

So, please, y'all go visit Virginia Candle Company... you just might be the blessed winner!!

Oh... this contest will be over next Friday, April 11 at 8:00 PM EST. I will happily announce the winner the next day, Saturday, April 12.

PLEASE NOTE: You do NOT have to have a blog in order to enter the giveaway. If you don't, though, just be sure and leave your email address so that I may contact you if you win. Also, this giveaway is NOT limited to only those in the US. I would LOVE to have anyone enter from anywhere in the world. I will happily make sure the candle is shipped (even internationally) to the winner. :)

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Freezing shredded cheese...

A couple of weeks ago, I discovered that I had two really large blocks of mozzarella cheese in the refrigerator. I had bought the second block thinking that I didn't have any more cheese. I'm sure y'all have done similar things before, right?

I didn't want the cheese to go bad, but I didn't need to use it all right then. Thankfully, I remembered that a friend told me she had, at one time, shredded her cheese and frozen it all in freezer bags. Well, I decided to try it out for myself.

I grated my cheese with my trusty box grater and put it all in a freezer bag. I made sure all the air was out of the bag and zipped it up. I made sure that the bag was lying flat when I put it in the freezer. It was quick and easy and I was hoping and praying that when the time came for me to use the cheese, it wouldn't be one huge lump of shredded mozzarella!!!!

Well, I pulled it out yesterday and it was PERFECT!!!! The individual pieces of cheese did NOT stick together!! I was quite happy with the results and will most definitely be doing this again!!!


What did I need to use the shredded mozzarella for yesterday? Why, quick "pizza" for Elizabeth and me, of course!!!

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