Sunday, March 25, 2012

A Vintage Art

 My Grandma is almost 92.  She is sweet, full of life and smiles, loves Jesus, plays cards and embroiders tea towels.  She has an endless flow of them going. 

"Got to do something with my hands," she always says.

Tea towels are one of the ways Grandma shows her love for me.  I have tons of them I use...but in the last year I've started saving the towels...preserving and displaying them.  Embroidery is becoming a lost art.  Just like so many old hobbies, it's given way to the Internet, a fast paced life and more high-tech art forms.  I myself would not have the patience to do it...or would I?  Thinking out loud...maybe I should ask her to teach me.  After all it's a labor of love and an art form that should live on.

On a practical note, if you are interested in embroidery dish towels, my Grandma swears by Aunt Martha's patterns.  She recently started having me order them for her, along with tea towels from  Yes, even grandma's with vintage skills take advantage of modern advances!

I'll let the pictures tell the rest of the story:
An old butter tin has always been her floss storage container

 Iris Pierce, My grandma.

A woman came to fix a blind in Grandma's room and admired her handywork.  Now she's working on this set for that same lady.

This is one of my favorites.  I would some vintage patterns at a thrift store and this was the result.

 These are my all-time favorites...also from vintage patterns

Friday, March 23, 2012

Easy Fabulous Gluten Free Birthday Cake!

This recipe is from my mother-in-laws recipe file.  I remember her serving it at my wedding shower almost 21 years ago!  It's easy, it gets raves AND I've made it gluten free!  I only make it for special occasions it's so rich, but it's great for a GF birthday because EVERYONE will enjoy it.  I made this today for my daughter's 13th Birthday party.

Grasshopper Pie (Love the name too!)

40 GF chocolate sandwich cookies (2 packages) - I use KinniToos
1/4 cup melted butter
1/2 gallon chocolate chip mint ice cream
16 oz. Hershey's Hot Fudge

1) Line 9x13 aluminum pan with wax paper and grease it
2)Crush the cookies and mix them with the melted butter (reserving 1/2 cup for top)
3)Press into the pan
4)Cut softened ice cream into 1 inch thick slices
5)Lay onto the crust
6)Warm the fudge slightly in the jar
7) Pour fudge over the top and spread
8) Sprinkle crushed cookies over the top and freeze

* I "wrapped" my cake to look like a present and added decorative buttons - that's pictured

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Gluten Free Easter

Once again, we are approaching a holiday...that means holiday food. This can trigger stress if you are on a gluten free diet. Here are some tips to get you through and a list of some of my tried and true GF Easter candy. Though I am all about organic, I know that their are those traditional Easter candies that are fun once a year, so that list is included at the end of the article.
1) Be Prepared
If you are going somewhere for Easter, call ahead and ask what the host is serving and what you can bring. This is a good way to feel out what you are going to be able to eat and bring something for everyone that you can eat too.
2) Don't Go Hungry
If you find out you won't be able to eat much at the dinner, eat something before so you aren't starving. Also, don't be afraid to bring some items you can pull out discreetly at the dinner and eat.
3) Cover the Kids
This is a hard time for children with gluten intolerance if you aren't prepared. Always keep some GF Easter treats in your bag when heading to a holiday celebration. That way if they get something that they can't have, you can swap it out and they will not be excluded.
4) Don't Focus on the Food
Easter is not about eating. Focus on the true meaning and not on what you can and cannot have.
5) Speak Up
If Aunt Maggie insists you try her bread pudding, insist right back that you are sure it is wonderful, but it would make you very ill for several days. You MUST stand up.
Gluten Free Treat Favorites
Butterfinger Nest Eggs and Creme Eggs
Cabbury Chocolate Creme Eggs
Carousel Bubble Gum Egg Carton
Dove Milk Chocolate, Chocolate Peanut Butter, and Chocolate Truffle Eggs
Hershey's Bliss Milk Chocolate Eggs and Bunnies
M&M's Milk or Dark Chocolate
Necco Marshmallow Eggs
Reese's Eggs

Friday, March 16, 2012

Vintage Values, Modern Times

The world has become a different place. Even 20 years ago, when I was first married, no one had email or cell phones, and I can't remember kids playing a lot of video games. Technology, along with the wide variety of options for entertainment, the vast number of sports team options and the kinds of work hours people keep have turned our world upside down.
No longer are there family dinners or times at home as a family. We struggle to keep up with our calendars and many carry a cell phone as a third appendage, with a non-stop flow of texts, emails, tweets and FB updates. It's rare to go out to dinner and see a couple or family talking. Usually, one or more at the table are texting or playing a game on their phone.
While waiting for a friend to join me at a coffee shop, I watched a couple of friends, phones in hand, texting other people during their time together. There was a smattering of conversation amidst the texting. It's becoming common place for kids ages 3-18 to play a sport year round. Indoor leagues, out door leagues, and elite teams. Family's spend every weekend in the car going from game to game, and stopping at the fast food drive in in between.
Children in this age have learned to value constant entertainment, a parade of sleepovers and continuous technological stimulation. Their brains are hard-wired to this muli-tasking, stress inducing pace. Meanwhile, the number of cases of depressed people, prescriptions for ADD and anxiety and depression number more than ever.
What will happen if this pace continues? Are we reaching new heights or are we on a downward spiral? I believe it's time to take a step back, and reflect on what used to be and what life has become. It's not to late to pull your self and your family back from the point of no return in these modern times. Vintage values can be kept alive as we live out productive lives in this place in time. If we don't...we risk loosing our values all together.

Vintage Finds

Oh my, oh my! A complete milk glass luncheon set. I have NEVER found one before...just parts.
Vintage jewelry for $1 each! Love it!
Today in the rain, I saw signs for a sale...a sale! The first I've seen this year. It ended up being my favorite kind of sale...cute little old ladies! They were so sweet and they gave me great deals on stuff they loved knowing I respected and loved it too! This is a way to connect with an older generation and preserve the past! Love it!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Who Has Time for Family Time?

In this increasingly busy world with more options for diversion then ever before, many families are loosing touch. Times when everyone is at home might find each family member doing their own thing...texting, video games, etc. We will never have more time and the world shows no signs of slowing down. Many family's with teens just give the idea of family time up all together. After all, they have their own life...their own friends. This may be true, but family time is a choice. A priority. If you set a precedence, it will happen. If your heart is in it...the teens will follow.

What does family time look like? I don't think it has to be a ridged time...nor does it have to be filled with endless costly activity. Some of our best times have been spontaneously going thrift store shopping, putting on a movie and making pop corn, playing Mexican Train, or taking a hike. In fact with so much activity going on already, I enjoy the down time together, where we can really talk and laugh and just be.
If your saying to yourself...that sounds great, but there really is no time....then make it! One of the biggest disservices we have done our children is over-filling the calendar, theirs and ours. We have an attitude that our child shouldn't be deprived of any opportunity for sports, friendship or fun. Pish-Posh. Do you get everything you want? I know I don't. And you know's not healthy to get everything we want and end up tired, ungrateful and lacking family connection. I am a firm believer in limiting the schedule. My kids choose things. I'll look at the calendar and say..."hmmm....their an overnighter invite for Friday, a birthday party Saturday and a babysitting opportunity has to go, which one?" I do not hold to the "keep them busy" philosophy, nor do I believe in select sports that can become an idol. Choose something you want to do, and do it. Leave room for youth group involvement and family time.
How do you start family time? Just do it. Schedule it on the calendar. You might have to make some sacrifices, but it's worth it. Find a way to do it, before it's to late. Mark dates on the calendar months in advance and stick to it. Enjoy your family!

Tips For GF Teens

When the teen years hit, it gets a little more tricky for a child to navigate the world on a special diet. Something what is routine suddenly is on display for friends at camp, retreats, and sleepovers. Here are some tips for helping your teen with a GF diet.
1) Make sure they know how to read labels. It's important that your teen is up on what they can and cannot have. My daughter is really good at this and knows things like, if it says maltodextrin, it's OK but malt or barley way.
2) Teach them to speak up. The biggest peeve I have with Celiac adults is their fear of hurting some one's feelings taking precedence over their health. Teach your teen to speak up. It's not OK to suffer so some one's feelings don't get hurt.
3) Always send enough food with your teen to prepare for the worst. We have one of those funky cooler bags that looks like a purse. It's great for my 13 year old daughter to discreetly transport food when she goes on a retreat. She usually has something at the camp she can eat, and often when I call ahead they will make her food, but it's best to be safe. "You don't know until you get there", is my motto. I'd rather have my daughter prepared. I send muffins in individual containers so they don't get smashed. I also send oranges, fruit snacks, pretzels and chips, cheese sticks, yogurt, bagels and Nutella. They may not eat 3 square meals, but they will survive!
4) Don't encourage "poor me" or special treatment. It's important that your teen takes responsibility for their diet and not expect others to cater.
5) Communicate with youth leaders and parents of their friends. Often they are more then willing to help, they just don't know how. Occasionally you will run across someone who just doesn't get it. That's OK. My daughter has a friend who's parents don't get it. I never expect someone to cook meals or provide everything for my daughter's stay...however having some fruit or corn chips (common GF foods) would be nice. This friend has nothing. Emily lives off rice bowls, fruit leather and muffins. It is only for one overnight stay, and it's worth it to her to be with a friend. On the other hand, she has a friend with a mom who goes crazy. She has everything for her in GF and packaged to boot so she's not contaminated. Write thank you notes and give little gifts to these gems. I certainly don't expect it!
6)Trust you teen. They are almost adults and they need to learn how to live with their diet. A little trust goes along way.
Having a special diet in the teen years is difficult, but not impossible. Keep communication lines open and help your teen to adjust.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Vintage Pyrex

Some of my Mom still has the pattern on the right from my childhood.

This covered casserole is in perfect condition and it was only $4 at a thrift store!

  Decorating with Butterfly Gold
I don't know what it is about vintage Pyrex. Maybe it's my practical side...I don't "Collect" things that aren't usable. I use all my vintage stuff. Maybe it's the memories of casseroles and cake in these bowls and dishes...I don't know. It's a link to the past and a reminder of simpler times, just like all vintage collections. But Pyrex especially brings a feeling of home, a love of the kitchen and family meals, and nostalgia. Anyway...I'm hooked. I only buy it super cheap (thrift stores) and I've tried to limit myself to mixing bowls (that I used for serving bowls, decorating and cooking), but I also look for the Butterfly Gold stuff and I am a sucker for the covered casseroles with decorated lids. My husband is a pro at finding the stuff...I may be the only woman in America who got Pyrex in her that man! If you aren't into this stuff I might be speaking a foreign language, but if you understand. I discovered some websites for other crazies like me,  They also have a second and third site for Pyrex Collective.  Follow the links on this site.  You can find out about your finds on these sites and also enjoy other like minded Pyrex people.

I was thrifting with my husband on Monday and stumbled across a rare covered casserole. It is in mint condition and it was only $4! Score. Here it is, along with some of my others stuff.