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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Christmas Idea House 2016

Every year for the last 16 years I have been involved in a truly amazing charity event.
 The Christmas Idea House is a fundraiser put on by a women's service league - the Desert Club of Mesa. Our purpose is to award needy students with college scholarships and donate to other local charitable organizations that help women and families in crisis.

 I've shared pictures over the years of some of the rooms that I have decorated. This year I thought I'd share some before and after pictures.

Here is the house that a local family "donated" to us for a week. We fill it with home decor, gift items, and gourmet treats. 

This year my committee was in charge of the Family Room. Ready, set, go!

We work all year crafting, designing and creating . First we have to unload and bring in all of our boxes.

 Hard at work. 
It usually takes us 2-3 days to get the house ready.

 At times we feel overwhelmed!

 Many, many ornaments are laid out waiting to be hung.

Things are starting to look good.

 Dining Room

 Master Bedroom and Bathroom


 Here's the Family Room after we filled it!

I am so blessed to work with such talented ladies.

If you are in the greater Phoenix area this an event not to be missed! Remember, 100% of the money we raise goes to good causes.

I like to join these parties

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bars

Pumpkin and chocolate together? You bet! 
This is one of those Fall recipes that fills the kitchen with a warm and spicy aroma. I've been making these since I found the recipe on a grocery store flyer as a newlywed - many years ago :) The original recipe didn't have the chocolate chips but I really like the combination.

These bar cookies are super easy to make with basic ingredients that you probably have in the pantry with the addition of one can of pumpkin puree. 

Basically everything gets dumped into a mixer. Blend thoroughly,

 then fold in chocolate chips. The batter is very moist,
 like a cake batter.

 Spread in a large 18 x 13 baking sheet with sides. 
This size is called a half sheet .

 Bake at 350° for 30 minutes.

 Let cool completely and cut into bars. Yield 36.

 They are moist and rich, sweet and spicy.

 They also look pretty dusted with powdered sugar.
These are a big hit at holiday get togethers.

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bars

2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1 16 oz can pumpkin
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup cooking oil
1 1/2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips

Combine eggs, pumpkin, sugar and oil in mixer.  Add flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Beat well. Fold in chocolate chips. Spread in a lightly greased 18 x 13 baking sheet with a rim. Bake a t 350° for 25-30 minutes. Cool and cut into bars. Yield 3 dozen.

I like to join these parties

Friday, November 4, 2016

Time for the Turkeys

I find it very easy to transition from my Halloween tablescape to a Thanksgiving table. I only have a few 
jack-o-lanterns and one witch that I swap out for my pilgrims and turkeys.

Last year I hosted Thanksgiving dinner and my brother offered to bring his "turkey plates" because I didn't have any. So not to be outdone in the plate department, this year I've been on the hunt for turkey plates at my favorite thrift stores and I was rewarded with a full set of 8 salad plates and 2 dinner plates for only a few dollars a piece.
 These are made by Johnson Brothers of England. The pattern is His Majesty. Even though I'll be using white plates at most of the settings I love the way the browns layer with the white.

 I found this darling pumpkin table runner last summer at the Goodwill and layered it on top of a wider linen runner with vintage English cabbage roses.

Instead of a cornucopia I've filled an old tool box with pumpkins and herbs.

 I also found this large turkey platter a couple of years ago at the Goodwill. It is also made by Johnson Brothers, pattern Wild Turkeys.

 My turkeys come in all sizes and differing materials.

Many of them are votive holders.

 I made turkey place cards several years ago and reuse them. You can download them from Martha Stewart's website.

To me Thanksgiving is a season of
 love, sharing and gratitude.
Oh, and pie.

I'll be joining