Friday, February 5, 2016

Five On Friday - Valentine's Edition

Hooray for Friday!! We're kicking off all things Valentine's today and I couldn't be more excited. I love Valentine's Day, not so much for the romance, but as a chance to show everyone we love just how much they mean. I'm linking up with Five on Friday again this week to share five of my Valentine faves. Here we go!!

Our dinner menu for Valentine's Day changes yearly, but dessert ALWAYS stays the same. I've been eating cherry cheese pie since my aunt Trudy made it way back when I was 5 years old. Yes, it's that good!  You can find the recipe here.  We also love cake balls, especially red velvet. You can find my recipe for those  here.  

Ralph Lauren's Romance is one of my favorite perfumes. Mike got me a bottle about two years ago and I still have it. I only wear it in February, which makes it even more special.

As I mentioned above, we always eat at home for Valentine's Dinner. Crowded restaurants are NOT our thing at all. We prefer to stay home and have a good meal, dessert and a movie or just catch up on the DVR.  We like it that way. But we still love good food. I was thinking of surf and turf this year with filet and shrimp, but now I'm thinking filet and scallops after seeing this at Iowa Girl Eats. Yes, please!! 

My sister and I both LOVE punch. So cold, refreshing and fun. It just makes any occasion seem like a party. Try this easy and festive punch - 7-UP, cranberry juice, raspberry sherbet and frozen rasberries to keep it cold. Serve in fun Valentine's cups with a paper straw. 

It wouldn't be a holiday if Landon didn't have new pajamas to wear. He'll be waiting for cupid in these cute little pajamas I found on ebay. I love a freshly bathed boy in new PJs.  Makes this momma's heart so happy. 

Stop by next week for some more fun Valentine posts and details on our book club. Be sure to stop by on Facebook and enter my giveaway that's going on now. 

Have a great weekend!

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Thursday, February 4, 2016

A Fun Giveaway

If you know me, you know I LOVE to read. One of my favorites series is the Hannah Swensen series by Joanne Fluke. It's a fun, cozy mystery series with lots of good recipes. I've been reading it since the very beginning starting with Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder.  One thing I like about the series is that it combines mystery and romance (plus some delicious recipes) and still manages to stay "clean".   If you're looking for a good mystery series, you should check these out. 

I was lucky enough to get an early copy of Wedding Cake Murder, book 19 in the series. Oh my goodness, it's so good. The plot is life-changing for Hannah, so it's the perfect book to start with and then catch up on the others. 

I've teamed up with Kensington publishing to give a copy to two lucky readers. You can enter to win here on Facebook.  This will also be the book we're reading in our book club next month. You can follow along on Instagram (I'm ToniaTHC)  using #THCbookclub.

Good luck! 
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Friday, January 29, 2016

five on friday

Wow! This week just flew by didn't it?! We're still trying to dig out from all of the snow. We really did enjoy the storm and snow ball fights, but now we are ready for spring. And we all agreed we like our white in the sandy form best. I'm linking up with Five on Friday again this week. Let's get right to it. 

We're having date night tonight at one of our favorite restaurants, Su-Tei. I'm so excited, especially after feeling somewhat snow-bound. They have amazing food and I feel old-Hollywood style dining in the high white booth.  We're going to end date night with a trip to the grocery store. Romantic fools, we are! Ha.

Yesterday was Landon's 100th day of school. They had a big celebration, complete with snacks, cupcakes and fun glasses. He was so excited.  Next week is also a celebration week for their school, along with the Scholastic Book Fair, so he has lots of fun stuff coming up. I'm looking forward to working at the book fair on Monday and having lunch with my favorite boy.

I am in love with these Temp-tations Floral Lace Mixing Bowls from QVC.  My sister has so many Temp-tations pieces and loves every one. I usually prefer solids over patterns, but these might change my mind.  I also like these from Pampered Chef.  

I used to love going barefoot, but not so much anymore. I ALWAYS have slippers on when I'm home and these Acorn Spa Thong Slippers are my absolute favorite. I have a dark berry pair I got at Nordstrom a few years ago (no longer available), and just ordered this pair from Bare Necessities. They are so comfy and cushiony, without being heavy. Bare Necessities has a 25% off sale right now, so hurry on over.  If I'm not careful, I'm going to start collecting slippers like I collect pajamas. 

Don't forget our book club starts next month. We're going to be reading Wedding Cake Murder by Joanne Fluke. I'll be giving a copy away on Instagram and Facebook, so look for details next week. I'm ToniaTHC on Instagram.  Just use hashtag THCbookclub to follow along. 

Have a great weekend!

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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Biscuits and Gravy

I'm sharing this post from 2009 today. We had a wonderful breakfast Saturday morning, complete with biscuits and gravy made  just like my grandma taught me. If you've never tried bacon gravy, you're in for a treat. Enjoy!! 

You can't grow up in West Virginia & not like biscuits & gravy (I think it's actually a law). It's definitely one of my favorite comfort breakfast foods. It always brings back memories of mama in the kitchen, all of us grandchildren gathered around the table watching while she worked her magic, waiting eagerly for a piece of biscuit dough to eat.  And if you were lucky, you got to be the one to carefully cut out the biscuits with a floured glass. When everything was finally ready to serve, we'd all tear piping-hot biscuits into bite-sized pieces & mama would cover our plates with a ladle-full of gravy. Delicious. 

Mama definitely spoiled us with this meal. And it's so easy to prepare. There's nothing fancy about it - if you have bacon, flour, buttermilk & evaporated milk, you're ready to go. Give it a try - you won't be disappointed.

Biscuits and Gravy

Put one pound of bacon on to fry 5 to 10 minutes before you start making your biscuits.

Buttermilk Biscuits
2 cups self-rising flour
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup bacon grease

Preheat oven to 400. In a large bowl, stir together flour & buttermilk. Add bacon grease. Stir with a fork until dough holds together.

Turn dough onto a floured surface and form into a disk. Knead lightly just a few times until smooth. Form dough to a 3/4-inch thickness. Using a biscuit cutter or glass dipped in flour, cut out biscuits. Place biscuits on an ungreased baking sheet. Gather the trimmings and repeat. Bake about 12 to 15 minutes, until golden brown. This should make 12 biscuits with a little dough left over.

Bacon Gravy
Bacon grease/drippings
1/3 to 1/2 cup flour
Equal parts evaporated milk & water (combined)

Over medium low heat, whisk flour into grease until smooth & just starting to bubble. REMOVE FROM HEAT.  Slowly stir in milk/water, whisking constantly, until desired thickness. Add salt & pepper to taste. 

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Friday, January 22, 2016

five on friday - snowed in

Welcome to Five on Friday. I'm doing a snowed-in version today. There's nothing like a cozy snow day at home with all your family. We're planning lots of cuddling, eating and, of course, snow ball fights. 

Later this evening I'm introducing Landon to one of my favorite childhood movies, Pete's Dragon. We listen to the soundtrack sometimes, but Landon has never watched the movie. I hope he loves it as much as I do. And ya'll, it is so sweet to hear him sing Candle on the Water! 

Snowy weather just calls for comfort food. We're souped and stewed out, so we're going with a small low country boil this evening. Lots of shrimp, potatoes, corn & sausage... I cannot wait. We'll eat on blankets on the living room floor so we can watch the snow come down.  I like this recipe, but replace half the shrimp with smoked sausage. I also serve with cocktail sauce.

We'll also need a sweet treat, so I'm going to be making this tomorrow. I saw the video on Facebook last week. I can't find it now to link up, but here's the recipe/method.

Deep Dish Caramel Skillet Cookie
1 Pkg Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
1 Pkg Kraft Caramels
1 Pkg Semi Sweet Chocolate Morsels

Microwave Caramels 45 seconds. Place 1/2 of cookie dough in bottom of skillet spread evenly. Pour melted caramel on top. Put chips on caramel then place other 1/2 of flattened cookie dough evenly on top of caramel and chocolate. Bake 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream. Doesn't that sound good?!

Snow days are also good for playing board games. I got this for Mike back in the summer and it's such a fun throwback to our childhood days.  We may also end up walking over to my sister's house to get in a few games of canasta. So much fun!

Lastly, if you want to join our book club, watch for the info coming up on Instagram. I'm ToniaTHC. We'll be reading Joanne Fluke's Wedding Cake Murder.  I really hope you'll join us. 

Have a great weekend!

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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

the post with no title

I could not decide what to call this post. So many thoughts went through my mind, some just bringing me to tears. Probably because I still can't believe what I'm saying. 

My aunt Tracie went to our heavenly home a week ago today. I still can't wrap my mind around the fact that she's gone. She was our favorite aunt, the "cool one" that my sister and I LOVED to spend time with.  She was a beast at truth or dare, loved Pepsi and Chef Boyardee pizzas. She loved scary movies. She had a beautiful singing voice and a beautiful smile. She loved life. She loved her family, her children, her grand babies.

The age of 54 is much too young to leave this world, but I'm so thankful for God's promise that we'll meet again on the other side.  About a half hour before she passed, I got to sing her favorite hymn for her and say a prayer over her. It was a bittersweet moment, but I'm glad she's not suffering anymore. 

I love you Aunt Tracie! I know you've been welcomed into Heaven with open arms! 

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Friday, January 15, 2016

five on friday

Happy Friday everyone. It's my first link up of 2016 and I'm excited to get started. Here we go! 

Landon is doing really well in kindergarten, but he's still having a bit of trouble with some letter recognition. I found this video on Amazon and it's fantastic. I'm so glad it showed up on my  Facebook feed. 

Polaroid sent me their new Z2300 10mp Digital Instant Print camera. I cannot wait to try it out and tell you all about it. When I was younger, we had the Polaroid instant cameras that still used flash cubes! My review is coming up next week. You can find the camera on Amazon here

One of our favorite side dishes is red potatoes, ranch style. I usually use a packet of Hidden Valley Ranch, but I recently used Siracha Ranch Dip Mix from Tastefully Simple.  It was so good and had a nice amount of heat. I used about 1 1/2 pounds of baby red potatoes cut in half, two tablespoons of  vegetable oil and one packet of dip mix.  Combine all ingredients in a Ziploc bag, toss to coat and bake at 350 until golden and tender, flipping once. Delicious!! 


Landon is the kindergarten champ of Jenga and he's so proud!  We used to have this game when I was younger and I loved it. I ordered it last week to add to our Friday family night. Landon really loves it and we do too. 

Don't forget we're going to be starting our 2016 book club next month. We're going to be reading Wedding Cake Murder if you want to join us. I'll also be doing a giveaway so you can win a copy.  Follow along on Instagram using hashtag #THCbookclub. I'm ToniaTHC.

Have a great weekend!

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