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thanksgiving treats

October 29, 2013

diy candy turkey

Using a few confections, it is easy to create some cute candy turkeys to use Thanksgiving Day at place settings or as an after dinner activity for the little ones.

When my children were very young, I put together these candy turkeys to bring to my family’s Thanksgiving feast at my sister’s home. 

Thanksgiving candy turkey

Even though the kids are now well beyond grammar school age, candy turkeys have become something of a tradition at our Thanksgiving celebration.  (As much a tradition as my brother-in-law playing “Alice’s Restaurant” as background music!)

candy to make turkeys

So, at my sister’s at Thanksgiving, not only does she supply more varieties of pies than people, but also the ingredients for making candy turkeys.

Using a few candy ingredients and some melted chocolate as the ‘glue,’ the turkeys are easy to put together.  (My sister has sometimes successfully substituted prepared canned frosting.)

candy diy thanksgiving turkey

Don’t pass up this wonderful opportunity to embrace playing with your food!

Note:  for instructions to make the acorn ornament to use as a napkin ring, click here.

Thanks so much for stopping by…

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie


fall at the beach

October 25, 2013

hand holding shell

Fall is not just about pretty leaves.  Nature provides the season with so much more…

Here in Connecticut, the fall brings a special kind of serenity to the beach…our destination for today’s Friday field trip.

life guard chair at beach

fall at the beach seagull

The frenzy of summer activity has disappeared and the shore has taken on a calm that enhances its beauty.

shell at beach in fall

All is quiet except for the occasional squawk of a gull and the subtle sound of the waves licking the shore.

fall at the beach

dusk at the beach in fall

I hope you enjoyed sharing these photos …If you live near the beach, make it a point to stop by for a fall visit. :)

Thanks so much for joining me for Friday field trip.

Have a wonderful weekend enjoying the beauty of the season,  Jackie


quick lime dip

October 22, 2013

lime dip

The flavors of lime and graham cracker taste so great together, don’t you think?  Think key lime pie…yum!

My mom serves a lime dip with mini graham cracker pretzels at the holidays and it is always a big hit.  I decided to create a version of my own.

The lime flavor dip was easy to recreate.  I used a cream cheese base and just added some lime flavor and some sweetness…so easy!

Using an electric hand mixer, I beat a package of cream cheese and added the juice from 3 limes, a couple tablespoons of lime zest, and confectioner’s sugar to taste.  Easy, right?  Just add some mini graham crackers and serve.  I didn’t find any pretzel shaped ones like the ones my mom served, but I did find some all natural mini grahams in the grocery store.

creating a lime dip

Chobani flip in key limeSince the filling of key lime pie is made with sweetened condensed milk, you can use that as your sweetener if you want to stay more true to the taste of a key lime pie.

Great to serve as a snack or as a dessert!

If this flavor combination appeals to you, be sure to try the Chobani yogurt “flip” in key lime crumble!  “Flips” are my latest obsession!  (Almond Coco Loco is my favorite!)

Thanks for stopping by and remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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a cranberry bog in nyc

October 18, 2013

cranberries at Rockefeller Center

You may think of Rockefeller Center in New York City as a place to visit at Christmas, or maybe you associate it with the TV show “30 Rock”…but, did you ever think of it as a place where you can visit a cranberry bog?  Well, you can – on today’s Friday field trip!

cranberry bog

Every year at this time, Ocean Spray transforms a little piece of Rockefeller Center into a cranberry bog.

cranberry bog in nyc

The best part about checking it out is seeing the reactions of passersby…

cranberries in nyc

Apparently, many people have never seen the way cranberries are harvested and the reactions are fun to watch!

cranberry bog

The display demonstrates that cranberries need fresh water to survive… The vines spread along the bog’s floor and mechanical rakes are used to harvest the cranberries off the vines.  Actual cranberry vines are very resilient – some more than 150 years old!

cranberry rake

I think many of us in New England think Massachusetts is where all the U.S. cranberries come from, but Wisconsin is actually the largest U.S. producer (close to 60%) of cranberries; with Massachusetts coming in second.

I think it is pretty cool that Ocean Spray replicates what a bog looks like, right in Rockefeller Center!

Thanks for stopping by.  Have a wonderful weekend!

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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dreaming of a white halloween

October 15, 2013

white pumpkin halloween

Who says Halloween decorating has to be black and orange?  I prefer white…think ghosts, tangles of spider webs, fangs…all white!  So, why not decorate with white?

Of course decorating with treats is a requirement…and there are some great white options.  Because I love white decorating, I often create white dessert tables at the holidays.  White is a fun option for Halloween treats also!

For visiting adults on Halloween, champagne bubbles are the perfect sweet!

white halloween treats

Decorating a white Halloween. Create a white on white polka dot pumpkin by creating white dots with acrylic paint, white nail polish, or white felt and glue. Champagne bubbles in treat sacks continue the dot theme.

Champagne bubbles for a white Halloween

These “yum” sacks are better suited to the young ones.  Fill with white jelly beans, mini marshmallows, or white gum drops to appeal to younger tastes.

halloween treat sacks

I made these ghosts from a traditional meringue recipe.  Flavoring them with root beer makes them a fun and different sweet for Halloween.  The color from the root beer extract also gives them a vintage color.  Eyes are easy to create with a toothpick and some black paste food coloring.

homemade meringue ghosts

If you would rather purchase your ghosts, the traditional ‘Peeps’ come in ghost form…

all white halloween decor

decorating a white Halloween

I hope you are inspired to create some white Halloween of your own!

white pumpkins

white halloween

Homemade caramel apples dipped in white chocolate and coated in sliced almonds still to be made ;)

white halloween votives

Some easy-to-make votives to spread your Halloween message…wrap votives in white linen stamped with appropriate letters.

Thanks so much for stopping by.  Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

Sharing at Craftberry Bush,   A Pinch of Joy, and The Well Crafted Home.

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goodbye garden

October 11, 2013

planting flowers in a white pumpkin

There is no denying that fall is Connecticut in beautiful.  But, to make way for the beauty of the changing leaves, the flowers vanish.

fall collage

This is the time of year when I have to take in my favorite bird bath to protect it from being broken by the first frost…For Friday field trip today, I thought we would go outside and take a look in the garden to see what survived the start of autumn…


There is plenty of euphorbia…it seems to like this time of year…among it, one lone piece of lavender…

end of summer flowers

Not much else…some mums of course…and, a monster black-eyed susan vine.  I decided to create something with the few flowers I had left…to capture one last look at my garden…so I arranged them in one of my white pumpkins to bring into the house.

mums in a pumpkin

This is easy to do…if you want to create one, just cut off the top of a pumpkin, hollow out the inside, and add floral foam to arrange the flowers.  (You might remember last year I planted succulents.)

flowers in a pumpkin

I like my little reminder of what is left of summer in my garden.

fall quote

Thank you so much for stopping by.

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

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velvet acorns

October 8, 2013

velvet acorns

This year I am making velvet acorns.  And, since I am going for a woodland theme holiday, I am also making some velvet acorn ornaments to use for my holiday decorating.  You may remember my velvet pumpkins from last year…I had so much fun picking out velvet fabrics, sewing up the pumpkins, and adding real pumpkin stems.

velvet acorns

I even posted some easy diy instructions on how to make the velvet pumpkins. Acorns are easy to make using the same method as the pumpkins…using real acorn caps.  Aren’t they adorable!  To make your own, just cut the diameter of the velvet (acorn) circle twice the diameter of the acorn cap you will be using with it.

velvet acorn ornament

To make the ornament, be sure to put a hole in the acorn cap and add a thread for hanging before you glue the cap to the velvet.  For a little added holiday glitz, I also added some sparkle to the acorn cap with some glitter.

making velvet acorns

Why not take a walk in the woods this week and collect some acorns to make some velvet acorns?

velvet acorn

They are easy to make and add a beautiful woodland touch to your fall decor.

velvet acorn

You may also want to start on some holiday ornaments!

velvet acorn ornament

Thank you so much for stopping by.

Remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

Sharing at Craftberry Bush, Common Ground, and The Shabby Nest.


pine straw bale planting

October 4, 2013

pine straw bale

How many times have you seen hay bales and corn stalks used to decorate the outside of a home at this time of year?  Pretty standard, right?  When I saw a workshop scheduled at Terrain for planting pine straw bales, I was intrigued…what exactly would be done with the bales?

pansies for pine straw bale planting

It turned out that Terrain designer Angela actually planted right inside the bale!  I thought it was so cool that I wanted to share this week on Friday field trip.

flower for pine bale planting

A really great idea that can be tailored to any color scheme or taste.  Start with a pine straw bale and some plants that you like or that will coordinate with the outside colors of your house…

mums for pine bale planting

Using scissors or something sharp, cut out spots to plant inside the bales – adding soil as your planting medium.

pine straw bale planting

Looking down on a finished pine straw bale planting created by designer Angela at Terrain in Westport, Connecticut.

pine straw bale planting

After Angela planted the selection of plants she had chosen, she added some green moss around the plants and a few white pumpkins (I wonder if that was for my benefit lol!) to complete the look.

pine straw bale planting

Great idea, right?

pine straw bale planting

Just be sure to place your pine straw bale in it’s spot before you start planting…Angela had hers on a cart so she didn’t have to worry about lifting it after it was completed.  It looks great from every angle!  I love the contrast between the plants and the pine straw.

pine straw bale planting

I hope this will inspire you to try creating one of your own bale plantings…something a little different for your seasonal decor…thanks Angela!

pine straw bale planting

If you don’t have a Terrain near you, you can easily find pine straw bales at Home Depot.

pine straw bale planting

Thanks for stopping by!

Have a great weekend and remember to take pleasure in simple things, Jackie

Sharing at Craftberry Bush and The Tablescaper.

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monthly book giveaway for october!

October 1, 2013

backyard foraging

I am finding it hard to believe it is already October!  This means it is time to give away September’s book selection and to announce the giveaway for October!

Congratulations to Katherine over at the blog Creating Through Life for winning the September book giveaway!  Katherine will receive a signed copy of Cook Like a Rock Star by Anne Burrell.  You are going to love this book Katherine!  

Now for October’s giveaway selection!  This month’s book is a unique selection that goes along with the ‘outdoorsy’ woodland vibe I have been exploring lately…remember my holiday inspiration?

This book is about foraging in your backyard!  It is a really interesting selection…you will be amazed at the 65 familiar plants you didn’t know you could eat!  The book is called Backyard Foraging and I am giving away a copy signed by the author, Ellen Zachos.  Ms. Zachos, author of many books on gardening, leads foraging walks and teaches at the New York Botanical Garden, where she received her certification in Commercial Horticulture and Ethnobotany.

Leave a comment here or on facebook to win this month’s giveaway.  Good luck!

backyard foraging

Isn’t this a perfect selection as a tie-in to my inspiration board?

2013 woodland inspiration

Happy October!  Thank you so much for stopping by, Jackie  Instagram users, read on…

For you Instagram lovers, this month’s challenge is to share any white pumpkin sightings using hashtag #pleasuregram.

October Instagram Challenge