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Monday, February 28, 2011

Dining with Daffodils

Daffodils are out! At least at our local grocery store. There's nothing that makes the dining room brighter than a dozen are so smiling daffodils. 

We spend a lot of time in our dining room. We enjoy our meals there of course. Since we expanded the table, we've also been using it for many other pursuits. The large flat workspace has proven great for sewing projects, wrapping gifts, sorting through piles of paper in preparing our taxes, and Mike even used it recently to assemble a poster for a work conference. 

However, the most wonderful thing about the expanded table is that there is plenty of room for two bouncy chairs! This allows us to be able to sit down to meals - together - much more often. Although this has always been important to us, it became harder to do with two newborn sweetie pie babies. xo 

The babies gaze up at the chandelier as if it were a large mobile.  When their interest begins to wane, we adjust the dimmer which creates different sparkles and hues. With all that gazing, I've had to put 'dust and clean chandelier' on my to do list. 

Happy daffodils (even the grocery store variety) to you! 

Here Come the Spring Seed Catalogs

Spring is making a comeback. There may still be some snowy days with flurries and a precipitous dip in the overnight temperatures. There may be a few setbacks to more welcoming outdoor weather -- but I can smell the change. You know, that fresh, light  smell with a hint of sunshine in it that says winter is on the way out. Last weekend I was outside checking to see if the catnip made it through

Organize your Life Winner!

Good morning! :)
I just wanted to give you the winner of my Organize your Life party!

[Organize your LIFE[3].jpg]

I picked the winner from and the winner will win a copy of the book Organize Now! by Jennifer Ford Berry.

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I love this book and it gives great week by week challenges.

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Here are the results…

image The winner is…

A Home Made by Kiki

A Home Made by Kiki!!!! 

Congrats Kristina!  I was so happy to see that it was Kristina because she is a Shaklee distributor on my team and she is the sweetest ever!  And aren’t her daughters soooo cute?

Please visit her blog! and say congrats!  I can’t wait to see how she will use this book in her organizing posts.

Here are some of her organizing posts if you need more inspiration!  (she inspires me.)

A New Planner for a New Year

My Entryway Closet

My Junk Drawer

My Daughter's Closet: Simplified

My New "Command Center"

How I Organized My Schedule

Simplified DVD Storage

Since this week, we are organizing our cleaning schedules, I thought I would also show you some ways she cleans.

My Glass Cooktop:

Carpet Stains:

Windows/appliances/floors/tables/laundry stains:

Wow!  Great motivation!  She makes me just want to get up to clean and organize!

Congrats again Kristina!!! Email me for your prize.

If you would like to order your copy of Organize Now!, please go here…

Come back tomorrow and link up to my Twice Owned Party!

I will also being hosting a Tupperware giveaway this week!!!!

If you have something you would like me to giveaway, please email me at

Have a great day! :)



Sunday, February 27, 2011

Baking Day! The Best Carrot Cake Recipe...

I hate washing up so I start off by weighing out 12 oz sugar and putting it a bowl with half a pint of sunflower oil. Then you add 3 large eggs - I have big and little eggs as I keep bantams so I used four (two big and two small) to make it up.

Then weigh out your 6 oz of plain flour. (I have just experimented and tried to make a gluten free version - I'll let you know how it turns out!)

Add a pinch of salt and three quarters of a teaspoon of both bicarbonate of soda and baking powder.

Beat the eggs into the oil and sugar mixture.

Sift in the dry ingredients.

Then add the carrots - you need 8 oz so I usually weigh whole carrots (less messy!) and allow a bit for peeling and then grate them straight into the mixture.

Pour into a 9"/10" cake tin (doesn't matter really!) and bake at 180 degrees C or 160 degrees if you have a fan oven.

It should take about 45 minutes but check after 40 and it may need longer, test with a skewer - if it comes out clean it's done!

Now for the frosting - yum!
Beat together 6 oz of cream cheese and 6 oz of butter with 8 oz of icing sugar and half a teaspoon of vanilla extract. This makes a lot of icing so I frequently cut the quantities down but keep the proportions the same.

Fork it on as you please! Serve on a cakestand for preference or in this case (as it was a travelling cake) a vintage plate.

Here's the one for the children's party a triumphant cake made by my sister-in-law Caroline and eaten by princesses and princes...

Happy baking, Nic x

It works with a 50/50 mix of ground rice and ground almonds in place of the flour making it gluten free - yippee! It has been devoured during Sew&Crow last night and during a crafty catchup with Jane Southgate this morning...

Basic H Giveaway at Infarrantly Creative

Hey everyone!!!

I just wanted to let you know about that you can win a sample of Basic H (enough solution to make a 16.oz  bottle of window cleaner and a 16oz. bottle of all purpose cleaner!  Go go to Infarrantly Creative and enter to win! :)  There will be 10 winners!!!


This is what Beckie wrote…

I have done a Shaklee giveaway twice before.  I am literally in love with Shaklee Get Clean products.  I could do an infomercial for them…for reals!

Bonnie of Donahue Wellness contacted me in May to try the products out and since then I have used nothing but Shaklee Get Clean products to clean my house.  I bought my dad some for Father’s Day – he’s obsessed.  I have three of my best girlfriends using it – they love it.  Why? 

1. Because it hands down is the best cleaning products I have tried. 

2.  Because it is cheaper than any commercial products out there.

3.  Because it is all natural so you don’t have to worry about the nasty effects of toxic chemicals.

All of Shaklee Get Clean products are super concentrated so they last a long time.  Case in point My Basic H will probably last me two years.  This bottle makes my degreaser, glass cleaner, and all purpose cleaner. This is how much I have left after 9 months of use.


I have recently started using their laundry products.  The Nature Bright stain remover is UH-MAZING.  I no longer have to pre-treat anything!  I just throw a scoop in there whenever I wash my children’s clothes (because I know there is at least one definite stain on them) and it gets all the stains out every time.

Okay the last product I have to highlight is the Scour Off Paste.


This little vial of scrubbing power gets off the toughest stains. Rust, lime and caked on gunk is no match for the little jar of power.  Embarrassing case in point…

My oven before


My oven after


Seriously guys I wish I could come into your house and let you use all of these products so you could be convinced.  I am definitely a Shaklee Get Clean user for life.

Bonnie also has a blog called House of Grace.


She has an awesome post on cleaning.  Click here to read her cleaning post of 2010 for more ways to use the Shaklee Get Clean Products.

Bonnie is giving away 10 samples of the Basic H to ten Infarrantly Creative readers. Each sample can make 2 bottles of household cleaner.

Leave a comment telling me what is the worse household chore for a chance to win. Good luck and may the dirtiest house win ;-)

My Website


Thanks Beckie!!! :)

Have a great day!



Friday, February 25, 2011


According to the latest edition of Nightline on ABC we may be in for some real sticker shock at the pump.

Not my usual blogger topic, the price of gasoline, but at just a little over three weeks til a long trip from Florida to Texas and then back, I am really afraid of what the fuel cost will be to my show.

Possibly $4 or more per gallon?

Oh my.

Not good folks. Not good at all.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday - #16

Here's my 7 Quick Takes for this Friday, February 25th. I'll share more pics of the last 9 months, while I'm at it...
  1. HOMEWARD BOUND. It's interesting to be heading back to Texas. There is a bittersweetness about leaving here several months earlier than we'd planned. I'd hoped to get a little more language under my belt before returning home for a visit. I only recently stopped having "I-hate-it-here-we-should-move-back-to-Texas" moments every 6-months or so... in fact, I have even grown to enjoy living here over the last 12-18 months. So there's a weird sense of it being both wonderful and a (teeny) bit sad. Of course, we're VERY excited to see family, so that will be awesome.

  2. Plans for our time in the US- As I think of what we'll do with our 9 months in the US, we have all kinds of do-able and potentially wild ideas. I'm thinking of getting an Entertainment book. We're also looking forward to getting great homegrown meats, cheeses and other treats to enjoy during our time there. We're considering Six Flags season passes for us & the boys. There's talk of a round-the-country Amtrak trip. On that one, I can't decide if it'll be awesome, or if we're nuts. And I'm not far from joking when I say that within the first 36-hours or so, I plan to buy a 2-pound block of cheddar cheese, and that our family could consume the whole thing in about 3-minutes flat. Our oldest son said the other day, "let's make a deal that we have to eat bacon in some form every single day while we're there." :) Maybe not every day, LOL! ... but often. There are some treats that leave me just about salivating... this is what 4-years of deprivation does to a person, LOL.

  3. Friendships overseas are different (even if it's with other Americans!). Tomorrow, we'll reconnect with a family we were very close to (and churched with) for more than a year here. They're passing through, and it will be special to see them. One thing I've noticed with friendships overseas is that it seems like they are in a constant state of flux. It seems like just about the time we get close to someone, they (or we) have to move. And then, because we live in somewhat of a transit/intermediate city, there are people who pass through that we see very irregularly, but get to host in our home for whatever time they get to stay.

  4. There are more ebbs and flows to relationships overseas, and it has taken some getting used to on my part. I really miss the long-standing, steady, dependable nature of relationships that I had in Texas, but there are moments of depth and really spending time together here (for example, hosting people, even entire families, in our home for several days or longer) that we never had in the US. And it teaches you to go deep, quickly, if you really want to know someone, and to make good use of your time together.

  5. Moses is eating more, and doing more, than I remember any of our other children doing at this age. Walking around furniture, waving bye-bye, doing sign-language for all done, eating 2 bananas (or 7 food cubes!) at a sitting... he's a little miracle! I love him so much...

  6. I said this to a friend the other day, and she laughed at me, but it's really true: from our vantage, it doesn't seem like we have a crazy amount of children. It doesn't feel anything other than normal. Granted, our normal is different from other people's normal, but really... it doesn't feel excessive. In fact, we rather like it. I love that our kids have playmates at the ready. I love that when I pull out a book, or am teaching a concept to a younger child, the older children who have already done that thing or read that book, get all happy about it and encourage their younger sibling. I love that we have a family culture... ours includes tickling (requested by the kids!), Cosbys, memorizing scripture passages together, goofiness, cooking together, family-hide-and-go-seek, and more... but it's fun to have things like this to share with so many people. Yes, I know that these 4 boys will probably eat us out of house and home come 10 years from now, and yes, I know that we'll have to be more creative about how to get these kids to college, but I love our family.

  7. I guess I'm just sharing this for some random woman out there, who has some "different" or unique desires for your family... maybe it includes more kids than normal, or homeschooling, or foster-parenting, or something else that seems unusual from the outside... I just want to encourage you that different can be really good. Really great, actually.

  8. Do you know about Sir Ken Robinson? This talk by him, called "The Element", gave Doug & I a lot of food for thought... both for *us* and for how to guide our children as they move towards adulthood. I particularly loved the video (included in his talk) by Blue Man Group. The talk is about a variety of things, including educational systems, the joy of being "in your element", and how we learn. I've been thinking lately about the differences in culture and lives that caused the pioneer era to produce a rash of inventors and creative thinkers, vs. how kids are currently being educated (like the Blue Man Group guy says, like a train of empty cars that we just "fill up" and then move down the track). Anyway, lots of interesting thoughts were flying after listening to that lecture.

  9. A few interesting links/posts on various topics:

ENJOY! Have a great weekend!

Beauty at the Barbershop


They just don’t make things like they used to.


Which is why I’m so drawn to antique stores and the like… 


Always on the lookout for that extra special piece.


Well, this has got to be our most unique find yet.  An old barber shop mirror turned sideboard. 


This piece has replaced our old mantel.  Yes, that same one we installed not too long ago.  (embarrassing)


Plans not tended to tend to change.  Needless to say, the fireplace insert project never happened.  But this barbershop piece fits in better with our new demolition plans.  Stay tuned!

Several little birdies have congratulated me on being mentioned in the Flea Market Style 2011 magazine:


But I have yet to get my hands on it!  It’s not from lack of trying.  For two weeks now I’ve combed the racks and nada!  Even yesterday!  I’ve only had a sneak peak from Urban Farmgirl:


To say I feel honored is an understatement.  Thank you so much Flea Market Style!  I chose Revival Antiques in Raleigh as my favorite place to shop.  They started out as a booth at the Raleigh Flea Market, but now have a showroom and warehouse in downtown Raleigh. 

The showroom has a mix of accessories and furniture that they have repurposed:


But the warehouse is my favorite part…stuffed full of treasure just waiting to be polished up… or beat up, depending on your style ;)  My kind of shopping:


I have bits of Revival sprinkled all throughout my home.  The barbershop piece being the latest, but definitely not the last.


To learn more about Revival Antiques, click here.

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