"I do not claim that I can tell a story as it ought to be told. I only claim to know how a story ought to be told." -Mark Twain



Welcome to my CARROT TOPS tablescape.  Perfect for an Easter Brunch.

I found a packet of plastic carrots at the dollar store, then another packet, then the big bat/carrots at Wal-Mart.  I had $3 dollars worth of carrots and the decorating was on!

 The carrots on the left were going to become napkin ring/place card holders.  The clear carrots would become 'ice cubes'.  The cute bunny napkin rings were cute too, but I was going carrots!

 I glue-gunned a carrot to the white wicker napkin ring. I used the minimal amount possible, so it would not harm the napkin ring.

And there they are.  The carrot tops had tops that I could slip the name cards right into.  See if you can tell by the next photo.

   And my centerpiece with my $1 carrot/baseball bats that I stained earlier in the week.  I already had the paper mache' bunny (90% off after Easter last year). I left it in its natural look. I put it in a basket I already had with greenery I already had. Then I added the giant carrots. CUUUUUTTTE!

  My other set of $1 carrots had to be used somewhere, but I could not figure out where to put them.  If you will look in the photo above you may be able to figure it out. If not, look below.

  They became giant ice cubes....And they really work!  The top comes off, fill it with water, freeze it and put it in the glass.  Make sure you serve a clear drink so you get the full affect!  (And tell people to take small sips.  I would hate to have a carrot-ice-cube injury!)  My other idea was to make them into salt and pepper shakers.

   My other "Cheap-ola" idea was to use artificial turf as the placemats. (After all, I was using all carrots and they grow outside around 'grass'....And bunnies like grass........

I bought a 12 inch wide piece of artificial turf at Lowe's and cut it into four 'placemats. Super easy. Super cheap, $2.38. I think I am going to look for 'field turf' that they put on football fields.  That is a little longer and I think it would be great. (I'm thinking football season, a golf table, hmmmmm the possibilities are endless!)

  I got the little blue and carrot plates and the carrot plates at Tuesday Morning.  The blue and carrot plates (with a wavy edge) were $1.99.  The carrot plates were $2.50.  I put them on two different sets of white dishes I already had.  Since I was mixing and matching the two carrot plates, I thought I would also mix and match the dinner plates.

 My final idea for decorating on the cheap was a piece of cream colored burlap.  I bought two yards of it, folded it and used it for a table runner.  The texture and color were perfect.

  By using some of the dishes and glasses I already had and adding in $20 worth of carrot props (and 'grass' placemats), I am ready for an Easter brunch.  And if we're having an Easter Brunch with carrots all over the table, then we MUST have Carrot Cake.  So, I made it into giant Carrot Muffins!

                                     Have a very blessed Easter!

I have linked with Susan at Between Naps on the Porch.  Enjoy all the beautiful ideas.

Mid-Week Musings

“One measure of friendship consists not in the number of things friends can discuss, but in the number of things they need no longer mention."


?? A Real Sacrifice????

I am not Catholic or Lutheran or a member of any of the churches that practice Lent. But for 17 years I lived in a wonderful little town that was primarily Catholic.  Most of my friends from that town were Catholics. For a few years I watched from afar as they celebrated Ash Wednesday, Lent, Holy Week and Easter.  I learned to appreciate the devotion they put into those 40+ days. After a few years of observing, I decided that as a Christian, there was absolutely no reason I could not observe my own Lent.  So, when my Catholic friends began giving up something for Lent, I did as well.  
I didn't do it because I felt left out of the loop.  Sometimes I never even told anyone besides my family what I was doing.  I did it because I started thinking of the real meaning behind Lent.  Actually I wonder why Christians of ALL religions don't observe Lent. After all, the "giving up" during Lent season is to mirror the sacrifices Christ had to make for 40 days in the desert. 

So each year I tried to give up something that I considered a sacrifice.  I have done candy, sweets in general, and pop (colas). Yes, I thought each time that I was quite the sacrificer!!

This year I decided to step it up a notch (in my mind obviously!) I gave up two items that are near and dear to me. I (once again) gave up pop (colas). I am pretty well addicted to pop.  It gets me through my days. I have headaches for the first two or three days after I give it up. 

The second item I gave up was my late nights. I decided to give up all my late nights and vowed to be in bed NO LATER than 1:00 a.m.  No, I am not a partier. I am just a night owl. Late nights are when I get the most work done.  I am gone to my 'day job' from 7 in the morning till 5 in the afternoon....at the very least.  Since I am a high school English teacher I have lots to read and even more to grade. And of course I am always having to plan my lessons and stay (hopefully) two or three steps ahead of the students!  That all takes a LOT of my time.  Then two nights a week I drive 45 miles east (after I have already driven 45 miles home from my job) to take my mother supper and spend the evening with her. (I keep promising I will explain her whole bed-ridden saga of my mother....I really will. Someday.) By the time I get home from my mother's house, it is past 11 at night.  Not to mention the nights before I go to her house I have to spend a good part of the evening getting the next nights supper ready to take to my mother.  I am not saying all this to try and make myself look good.  I am trying to use it to make a point. So already four of my evenings per week are pretty well occupied.  Then by the time I do the normal 'household' things another chunk of the evening is gone. That is why I LOVE my late nights.  It is no problem for me to stay up late. I love the quiet. I love the peace. I love the 'extra' time in my day to have fun.  That is when I can read for fun. That is when I can sew. That is when I can Facebook, blog, email or just browse the internet. That is when I upload my pictures and play with my photographs. That is when I get caught up with my life. That is when I refuel.
I come by this trait honestly, as my dad, siblings and cousins all share this ability to get by with very little sleep.  So this year when I decided to give up pop AND my late nights I KNEW I was really sacrificing.  And in reality, it has been very hard for me.  I have had two Pepsi's. ....And they tasted SO good.  I have stayed up past 1:00 three times. (Once I took a nap during that Saturday, so I told myself it was 'ok').  I have had to re-pace my days.  I start looking at the clock at about 11 and wonder how it could possibly be so late already. I am rushing to cook, do laundry, get things ready for the next day, blog, FB, call my children, shop, etc.  I am really, really missing my late-nights.  I HAVE SACRIFICED!!!!

Are you kidding me?  That is no sacrifice.  My non-cola 40 days are absolutely no sacrifice.  My doing both (oh my GOSH) in one year are no sacrifice!!!  Not only are they both NO SACRIFICE, but I have cheated during my 40 day stint. On both sacrifices!  I AM WEAK.  I cannot do even simple things  such as sacrificing for 40 days.  I haven't even mentioned how many times I have griped about not having my late nights and whaaa. whaaa. whaaaa!!

Yet in the desert for 40 days walked my Savior. He went without food. He went without a soft place to sleep each night. He went without everything except the Devil tempting him.  And I can't go the whole 40 days without griping or cheating? 

Just as Jesus clung to the words of his Father, I too must cling to His words.  I admit I AM WEAK.  I have to have my Savior to lean on. My poor representation of sacrifice for 40 days shows I cannot go through this life alone. 

John 11:25-26
Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. 

When it says "Jesus said to HER" I know that I am the 'her'.  Because of this promise, I will never ever have to really sacrifice. ....or even pretend to.  I am leaning on my Lord.

Have a blessed Holy Week.



Dangling A Carrot In Front of 'Ya...........

I was outside today enjoying the beautiful weather  getting things ready for my Tablescape Thursday.  I have to take try and get it done early so I can have good light for my pictures.  Otherwise I have to use horrible overheads and just pretend to myself the pictures look good!  Anyway....while I was outside enjoying the beautiful weather, I did work part of my tablescape for Thursday.
I got these carrot-baseball-bats at Wal-Mart in the Easter basket-goodies section.  They are actually giant carrots but they do have a very small end on them that does qualify them as 'bats' I guess! They are bright orange.  They cost only ONE DOLLAR!!  They even come with their own 'baseball'.  
  I immediately thought they would be great for a cute Easter centerpiece.  Because they were SO orange, they did appear a tad bit platicy.  So, I decided to tone them down to go with my taste a little more.

 One of these things is not like the other...
One of these things just doesn't belong...
Can you tell which thing is not like the others...
By the time I finish this song?...............  Ok, ok, this might not be Sesame Street, but it was certainly easy enough to do this.  I just wiped a little of my gel stain on the carrot and barely wiped off.  See how it toned the orange down some?

The carrots even have real grooves in them.  By the time the stain was on them they were looking very much like carrots fresh from the garden. 

See the difference?  Only one of them above is done.

Here they are all done BUT one.....Remember these are CARROTS!! (uhmmm as in no longer baseball bats!)

I included this shot of the 'baseballs' just because they looked so bright and pretty in the vintage flower pot.

 I bought five of the carrots.  I think I just unconsciously do that because of my five children.  But I thought five of the giant carrots would also make a statement.  So, here are the carrots dangling in front of you.  Come back on Thursday and see my Easter tablescape that includes LOTS of carrots. But first, get to Wal-Mart and get your giant $1 carrots to include in your own decor.
I am linking this to Metamorphosis Monday with Susan:

Simple Words To Live By.....................


Kitchen Sink Cookies

 These cookies would be great to have on hand for Memorial Day Celebrations.  The recipe makes lots of cookies and they are wonderful!
Remember those cookies your grandma used to make where she would open up her pantry and add a little of this and a lot of that and a dash of that?  They liked to call them "Kitchen Sink Cookies" because they had a little of everything...........except the kitchen sink.  Today it was a little cool and misty...and two of my boys were home....so I decided to make my own version of the Kitchen Sink.  Change the add-ins around to fit your family, or whatever you have in your pantry.

 Kitchen Sink Cookies
1 cup butter
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
2 tsp. vanilla
3 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp. cream of tartar
1 cup oats, uncooked
1 cup rice cereal
1 (12 oz.) package semisweet chocolate morsels
1 cup your choice--(coconut, butterscotch chips, mini chips, toffee bits, etc. whatever you like or have handy)
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray your cookie sheet(s). In a large bowl beat the butter and oil. Gradually add the sugars, blending and beating at medium speed of an electric mixer. Add the egg and the vanilla. In a large bowl combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and cream of tartar.  Gradually add to the creamed mixture, mixing well.  Stir  in the oats, rice cereal, chocolate morsels, the your choice, and chopped nuts. Drop the batter by ice cream scooper (yep, use one for this) on the prepared cookie sheet. 
  I always barely spray my cookie sheet, then I add waxed paper onto the cookie sheet, then I spray the waxed paper.  THEN I drop my ice-scream scoop drops of cookie dough. It makes the cookies come right up and there is no sticking at all.

 Bake for 10-12 minutes. If it looks like it is getting too brown on one side of the cookie sheet then turn your cookie sheet 180 degrees in your oven!  
When the cookies start to take on a little darker color, then they are ready.
Remember, if you are using everything but your kitchen sink, then realize these are going to make a lot!  Make sure your kids are home..................and enjoy!

I have linked this with Gollum and Foodie Friday! Go check out the scumptiousness!


Slam Dunk

 With March Madness going strong, it seems only right to include a basketball tablescape among the many beautiful tablescapes at Susan's "Between Naps on the Porch."

A couple of days ago I wrote about my son turning our kitchen table into a basketball court.

Well we couldn't have a basketball court in the kitchen and not have a tablescape to go with it!
Everyone loves watching college basketball in March whether your team is playing or not. (Mine isn't!!) 
I already had some of the items I used on my tablescape..  But I knew not everyone has a house full of boys that could supply them with "decor".  Keeping that in mind, I went looking for the cheapest basketball decorations I could find, so that everyone could afford a March Madness party and tablescape.  For instance, the net and ball pictures above were purchased at Wal-Mart in the Easter toy section.  They have all kinds of toys under $5.  The basket and net were $2. And as you can see, the goal has suction cups and could be put up on something.  I plan to use the goal over a dip bowl.  That way everyone is "dunking" their chip into the goal!
If you want to, you can give everyone an assigned seat.  I used luggage tags.  I inserted a piece of plain paper over the information tag that came with it.  That way we can still use the luggage tags for their real use later.
This is the other side of the luggage tag.  Aren't they great?  These happened to be on the clearance aisle at Wal-Mart. They had three of four other sports as well.  And to make things even more clever, the luggage tags could also be used for napkin rings.

Another idea I had was to use numbers to represent basketball numbers.  We always have lots of the boys friends over.  This is a cute idea to get their basketball numbers and hang them from the chairs too. As you can see I paired the numbers with a basketball luggage tag too.

The silverware 'ball' on the right, is really an Easter basket.  I happened to get these several years ago after Easter for under a dollar.  I did check and I found 'basketball' Easter baskets at every store I went to. 
I used basketball ribbon to tie the silverware bundle together.
For a couple of my serving bowls I actually used a basketball...........that I had Luke cut into two pieces.  I bought the cheapest basketball I could find at Wal-Mart.  This one was $4.  Luke used a pair of scissors and cut it right on the middle seam. As you can see that makes one of the "bowls" have the letters right side up and one of the "bowls" have the letters upside down.  You can either line the "bowl" with a napkin as I did, or put a smaller bowl inside your basketball "bowl".
The "basketball court bowl" in front of the basketball bowls is from Hobby Lobby. Aren't they cute?  They come two to a package.  The small bowl (about cereal bowl size) I also purchased at Hobby Lobby.  The larger basketball basket behind that is another Easter basket.  This one I got at the Dollar Tree...for $1.  I just tucked the handles inside all the Easter baskets.  Obviously you could just cut the handles off as well.

I displayed my menu on the table right beside the plates and eating utensils.  This was a $1 magnetic frame that I just put paper behind and sat on the table.  You can use any basketball metaphors for your own personal menu.

The plates that look like a court are melamine.  I bought them at Target in the dollar section several years ago.  They have had a lot of use during our sports parties!

The bag behind the cups is holding the napkins.  It is actually a paper gift bag.  Notice all the different size basketballs that are 'dribbled' all over the court?

Cupcake toppers were actual cupcake toppers from Hobby Lobby and also basketball candy.  I purchased it at Dollar Tree in the Easter candy section.

Speaking of candy, I found a couple of other candies that went with the party theme.  I figured they could also be used for decoration or party favors.  I thought I would include them for the idea.  Both of the candies below are from the Dollar Tree.

These little basketballs are actually erasers.  I found a whole bag of them in the party favor section at Wal-Mart.
These basketballs were a whole bag of swim pool toys also found at Dollar Tree.
These were in the craft section at Wal-Mart.  These were also in a big bag.  They have an adhesive on the back as well.  Imagine what could be done!
So there you have it.  My March Madness basketball tablescape; full of affordable ideas, great for an evening of basketball games.  All you need now is the big screen! 

From this............................... to.............


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