Sunday, January 22, 2012

Snowy January and My First Giveaway!

Hello Friends! I am finally back after an unexpected blogging break.  What happened was my computer got a virus and so I was out of commission for a while.  Isn't it amazing how much we rely on our computers?  When they are gone we are lost.  I've felt totally out of touch with the world for the past two weeks.  On a positive note, it's amazing how much I actually accomplished in my "real life" without having a computer around.  I read two books, have never been more caught up on laundry, and cleaned out my entire file cabinet.  But alas, all good things must come to an end, and I got her back on Thursday night.  *..happy sigh...*  The house chores have since piled up, but I've been spending the last two days catching up on all of my favorite blogs to see what you have all been up to.  I have missed you :- )

We had our first big snowstorm of the season today.  This was the view from my bedroom window when I woke up this morning.   I was so happy because it was Saturday and none of us had to go anywhere.  Snowstorms are best enjoyed when there is no driving involved.  Today was a day of staying in our pj's, watching Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, playing Thomas the Train, and making Play-Dough pizzas!  We did go outside for a little bit, my son looking like the baby brother in A Christmas Story in his snowsuit, and stayed outside until we couldn't feel our toes anymore, and then decided to come it for hot chocolate.  I remember days like this as kid, and they were the best.

Now that all of the Christmas decorations are put away,  the house feels very clean and uncluttered.  I still have some snowmen and winter stragglers out like this little guy.  He was a Christmas present this year from my sister.  I think he's so cute!

I have been feeling like we needed a little color around the house, so I picked up this mini primrose plant at the grocery store last week.  Just having that burst of yellow in the kitchen has cheered up the whole room.  I'm already itching for tulips, hyacinths, and all of the pretty spring flowers that I love so much.  I've been thinking about container gardens on my deck and what to plant in my flower boxes this year.  I'm thinking about doing something different.  We'll see, needs more thought.  For now, this is my reality...

Which is just as beautiful, only in a different way : )

I just remembered that I wanted to give you a Bread Machine update.  In my last post I mentioned that I got a bread machine for Christmas and I was dying to try it.  Well, I did - and it Rocks!  I love it so much.  Not only is the bread fresh and delicious, but there is a certain satisfaction I feel making homemade bread (even though I'm not really making it, the machine is - but that's beside the point). If anyone reading this has a bread machine I have found a terrific website for bread machine recipes.  It's called  (easy to remember)   Last weekend I made an Italian bread for Sunday dinner and it went like this:

4 cups of flour, 1 1/3 cup water, 2 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp salt, 2 tsp yeast, and 2 tbsp sugar.  That's it.  Put all the ingredients into the machine, select your settings, and in three hours you will have this:

A perfect loaf of bread.  Amazing!

You could add any kind of herbs or seasonings you want to this recipe, but I have to say that it's perfect just as is.  It's the simple things....

Plan it so the bread is done just before dinner time, then you have perfectly warm bread to accompany your meal.  I've also been taking slices for toast to work for my breakfast.  Low carb I am not!  Next on my list is cinnamon swirl bread.  MMMMMM!!!!! 

I definitely foresee myself baking a lot of bread this winter.  Since it takes around three hours to bake, that is the perfect amount of time to putter around the house. 

Do some purging perhaps?  Last weekend I filled this garbage bag with the contents of two closets, empty boxes, and old, broken toys.  I don't know why I feel the need to save everything.  Every January I go through the house and purge all the needless items I've saved over the past year.  I've already started saving up for next year. (don't tell the Mister - ha!)

A movie sounds like a better idea.  These some of my favorites.  (very, very different from the Mister's pile).  I just got Arthur this year for Christmas and quickly added it to my favorites.  I loved it.  Something tells me that if I met a handsome, British, millionaire you probably would never hear from me again.  And since that's not likely to happen it's okay for me say it.  wink...wink....

Journaling is a great passion for me as well.  Since I started blogging I haven't been writing in it as much.  As part of my New Years resolutions I've promised myself to journal more.  This particular book is a special one.  I've filled the pages with story book ideas and my favorite words, like "charming", "lovely", "brilliant", and "enchanting".  Every time I hear a word I like, I put it in my book.  Yesterday I added "dazzling" and "moonlit path".  I'm hoping one day these ideas and beautiful words will come together to be a children's story.  I think about stories that made me happy as a child.  Books like Peter Rabbit and Frog & Toad.  The stories were simple, and the messages heartfelt.  What a wonderful contributions these authors made to us.  They "dazzled" and "enchanted" us right into dreamland. 

And now for my big news.  In a few weeks this blog will celebrate it's 1 year birthday.  In honor of that I decided to do my first giveaway.  And since we are coming up on Valentine's day, what better excuse for these cute little goodies...

I have a heart shaped silicone muffin pan, heart shaped measuring cups, and a pink polka dot oven mitt and pot holder. 

Just leave me a comment at the end of this post before Friday the 27th.  I'll pick a name at random and send this care package off to the lucky winner.  Just in time for your Valentines Day party. 

What I love about Valentines Day most is that it's so girly.  We get to wear pink, use red heart shaped measuring cups, and have all the chocolate we want - without judgement.  Weather we have a Mister or not, is irrelevant.  Valentines Day is about all love, not just romantic love.  I'm planning a tea party for some of the women in the world that I love most.  And the littlest man I love most, too.  He's about 3 and a half feet tall, around 60 pounds, and will always be my little baby. 

Valentines day is a celebration of motherly love, friendships, family, and yes, of course - romance.  Last year I made a heart shaped meatloaf with pink mashed potatoes.  Nothing says I Love You more than heart shaped meat, wouldn't you say?  We had a good laugh about it.  Let's see what creative things I can come up with this year for my Valentine. 

Well, I'm happy to be back and caught up.  This blog means so much to me and is truly a warm happy place that I love to share with all of you.  I can't believe it's been a year since I started.  I've made so many friends that I would never have had the opportunity to meet if it weren't for my blog.  I would like to share a virtual cup of tea with all of you now and say thank you for a great year.  Many more to come!!!

I'll be back tomorrow with a recipe for a toasted coconut parfait.  Here's a teaser....

And don't forget to enter my giveaway!   Bye : )

Danielle xo


  1. Hi Danielle! Thank you so much for visiting my blog and leaving such a sweet comment! I am so glad you decided to comment :) I have been enjoying looking through your blog posts. You have some amazing recipes here!
    And I am glad I stopped by just in time to enter for your giveaway!! LOL Valentine's is very special to me, I married the love of my life two days after, the 16th. Can you believe I dont have a heart shaped baking pan like that? Crazy seeing I got married around that day :) Your giveaway is so generous and I thank you for the opportunity to enter and for your generosity for hosting it!
    I hope you stop by my blog again soon :)
    Big hugs,

  2. So glad to see you back! I am completely lost when my computer goes in for updates & repair, so I know exactly where you're coming from! I am loving your little flower, so bright and cheerful. :-) I love growing an amaryllis every year to cheer up my house a little bit. It always amazes me how fast they grow. I ended up grabbing a couple of books while I was at the library the other day, but I can't quite get into them. They didn't have the ones I wanted, so I just grabbed these. Guess I'm going to have to start requesting them instead of just hoping they'll be there. I'll have to look into The Enchanted April, I've never heard of it. Thanks for the suggestion!

  3. Hi Danielle!

    Glad to hear your computer is working again! I missed soo many blogs recently after getting caught up in the Christmas spirit and

    My partners mum has a bread machine and she loves can do so much. It's great to have one with a timer so fresh bread can be ready for when you wake up!

    Your giveaway is so nice! I love everything! I'd love to win it (if its open internationally!). Fingers crossed : )

    Gemma x

  4. Hi Danielle - glad you are back - missed your blog.
    Liz @ Shortbread & Ginger

  5. Isn't homemade bread from the breadmaker just the best?! I love snow days too when no one has to go anywhere and we can just hang out at home! Your giveaway items are so sweet Danielle! Angie xo

  6. Ooooh, I'm so glad I didn't miss your wonderful giveaway. They're so cute for Valentines day. I'll leave a link on my blog!

    Kristin xx

  7. Love those girly little prizes. So pretty.

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