Friday, October 31, 2014

All Recipes Caramel Corn Review

This recipe for  Caramel Corn from All Recipes has been my go to recipe for years now. 
I thought I would give you some quick tips I have discovered over time, which make it easier.  

(This post contains Affiliate links.  Thank you for your support.  
You help feed our Springer Spaniel Foster dogs)

Caramel Corn makes a great gift too.  My family begs for their share at Christmas.
Before we begin....
How do you pronounce Caramel?  
Being from Texas, I say it differently than my New England Yankee best friend.  
She always gets a kick out of my (mis)pronunciation.  

The first thing you should know, this stuff is 
Make it and promptly give it all away.  
~Put it in individual bags and sell it at a bake sale!~  
~Give it to a skinny friend with a fast metabolism.~ 
~Put it in pretty vintage tins and give as gifts.~ 

You have been warned!!!! 

I wish I knew how to load a PDF file of my Caramel Corn Recipe.  The one below is the best I can do. :)

Caramel Corn Recipe
1 Cup Butter
2 Cups Brown Sugar 
1/2 Cup Corn Syrup
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Vanilla
5 Quarts Popped Popcorn

  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F (95 degrees C). Place popcorn in a very large bowl.
  2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in brown sugar, corn syrup and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil without stirring 4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in soda and vanilla. Pour in a thin stream over popcorn, stirring to coat.
  3. Place in two large shallow baking dishes and bake in preheated oven, stirring every 15 minutes, for 1 hour. Remove from oven and let cool completely before breaking into pieces.

*I like to use a Hot Air Popper for my popcorn.  I think it's healthier this way but I can also control my portions, making as much or as little as I want.  For this recipe, you'll need 5 quarts POPPED Popcorn, not 5 quarts of unpopped kernels (are we clear??).  I just throw 5 full Pyrex 1-Quart scoops in without exact measuring.  I fill it up and dump it into my larger roaster. 

I make a ton of popcorn.  5 Quarts. 
*I keep my popcorn in the freezer, because I heard it kept better and popped better this way.  Is this rumor true?  I think I'm going to buy this popcorn next time too.  I like Bob's Red Mill
products and this got rave reviews.  

This photo is unnecessary, but I thought the dogs in the background waiting for spilled popcorn were funny.  

*The recipe calls for 1 Cup of butter.  If you use Salted Butter, you'll have a saltier caramel corn and it will resemble a "salted caramel" flavor.  

All the healthy ingredients you will need.  :)

*It calls for brown sugar.  I prefer light brown sugar myself.  If you use Dark Brown Sugar, you will achieve a richer "Cracker Jack" flavor.  Both sugars taste good, I just like the lighter brown sugar version better.  It's up to you.  Why not make 2 different batches and taste test?

Light brown sugar makes a lighter caramel.  Dark brown sugar makes a richer flavored one. 

*I always add extra vanilla.  Because I love vanilla.  

*Be sure to butter all your pans and utensils or use Pam.  Your tools will get sticky with the hot caramel.  It makes tossing easier.  

Obligatory photo of boiling caramel in a sauce pan.  :)

*When you first pour the caramel over your corn, you'll be disappointed that not Every. Single. Piece. of Popcorn isn't coated with your caramel. Don't worry about that.  In the baking process, it some how manages to melt and spread itself around.  All will be well in the end.  I promise.  Just keep GENTLY tossing it every 15 minutes as the recipe above directs. 

Pour your caramel over the popcorn and gently toss with a buttered fork or tongs.  
*When working with hot sugar, I like having an extra set of hands.  1 person can do the job, but I always like it when a family member pours the liquid while I toss and coat the popcorn with the boiling caramel...using a buttered utensil.  

*I like to use 2 pans for baking, rather than 1 deep one.  It bakes the caramel corn evenly.      

*TOSS your caramel with tongs, or gently FOLD it in, like you would fold egg whites into batter.  Don't be rough with your batch because your popcorn will break into a billion tiny pieces.  

Give me something good to eat.  My nephews beg for their own private stash of caramel corn
Caramel Corn holds up well in a care package too.

Package it up individually for friends or for a fall bake sale.  Everyone loves it.  

What's your favorite Fall treat?  
Share with me in the comments below.  

Thank you for stopping by.  
Be blessed and be a blessing!
Choose Joy. 

"Mom.  This is not caramel corn. I'm hurt. Deeply hurt." 

"The season for enjoying the fullness of life ~ 
partaking of the harvest, sharing the harvest with others, 
and reinvesting the saving portions of the harvest for yet another season of growth." 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Young Living Essential Oils with our Dogs

I would love to share how Young Living Essential Oils has been changing our lives.  My sister has been using them for 8 years.  Always a skeptic, I doubted.  I finally gave in for the sake of the dogs. What could it hurt?  At least they smelled good right?

Woah..........our dogs are different creatures.

I. Am. A. Believer.

Hit me up if you want some oils or want to become a wholesale member with Young Living.  This is an excited journey and I would love to travel it with like minded dog lovers.  :)

This is an UN-STAGED photo of our rescued dog, Olivia.  Where ever the lavender is being diffused, she will follow it, lie down and sleep.  She LOVES it.  It's the strangest thing.  Lavender, Peace and Calming, Valor and Joy have been helping another one of our dogs, Charlie.  He is high maintenance with a lot of anxiety.  I tried Joy last week and he stopped growling.  LOL  It's so funny how these things work.  I don't get it.  I don't understand it.  I don't care.  If it works, I'm sold.  :)

(If you click on the Young Living link above and want to order product or become a wholesale member yourself, please use my number #1873867.  Any sales or bonuses I make help us with our dog fostering.  The rescue group we work with pays the vet bills, but we feed them and pay for the gas to transport them, etc.  Thank you for your support.  Every little bit helps).  

Be blessed and be a blessing.  

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Stop and smell the roses

Jude's first time to smell a flower or touch a rose.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Thrifted Master Bathroom Storage

{There are affiliate links below.  I'm sharing links to my favorite products with you. Thank you for supporting our dog fostering efforts and our son's education}

I've been working on organizing the master bathroom.  I'm tossing dated products and trying to bring everything we need into one central location, so we don't have to run back downstairs when we need Apple Cider Vinegar, for example.  Whenever I take on a new project around the house, my 2 questions are: 

  • How can I solve my problem without spending any money.  
  • What do I have around the house some where, which would make a suitable container.

How about my china hutch full of thrift store pillage and sweet vintage scores. 

It turned out lovely.  Better than I had planned.  I found candles, sugar bowls for baking soda, an orphaned gravy boat for Epsom Salts, an old jar with a lid for my Coconut Oil and an oil decanter for my olive & Castor Oil  mix I use on my face every night (which by the way, makes your eye lashes grow LONG).  

Which brings to mind another thought......

Use your stuff!! 

Don't keep your pretty things locked in a cabinet to be used once a year (or never).  Pretty things are meant to be used.  We can't take them with us.  Make your life and your world beautiful TODAY.  Don't wait for Christmas or a birthday to decorate.  PS: If you're not going to use it, or don't like it, get rid of it.  

All of this was thrifted.  I think I might paint this table though.  I'm not sure if it's going to stay here or not, but it works for now.  :)  

I've had an atomic tiered serving piece in the cabinet just taking up space and being useless.  I decided it would hold some make up.  I like lip sticks more than eye shadows.  Can you tell?  I don't own too much makeup these days so it's working just fine for the time being.  I also broke out my grandmother's piece of Fenton to hold some brushes and liners.  

What pretty things do you have around the house which you could use as a container?  Share with me.  :) Tell me what you think in the comments below. 

Thank you for stopping by.  I hope you're inspired.  Don't be a stranger.  
Become a Follower on Google Friend Connect up on your right.  
Let's stay in touch on Facebook ok?  
Here I am on Twitter,  y'all.  (I love Twitter)

Mom, just tell me you didn't move my brushes, ok?

Be blessed and be a blessing.
Choose Joy!

"And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work." ~ 2 Corinthians 9:8

I'm sharing with these SWEET bloggers. Go check them out and make a new friend.
Hope In Every Season ~ Homemaking Party
Stone Cottage Adventures ~ Tuesdays With A Twist
Fluster Buster ~ Flusters Creative Muster Link Party
Someday Crafts ~ Whatever Goes Wednesday
The Style Sisters ~ Center Piece Wednesday Linky Party
Free Pretty Things for You ~ Pretty Wednesday Link Up
Savvy Southern Style ~ Wow Us Wednesday
Family Home and Life ~ Wow Us Wednesday Link Party
Knick of Time Interiors ~ Tuesday Link Party
From My Front Porch To Yours
Have a Daily Cup with Jann ~ Share Your Cup Thursday
A Delightsome Life ~ Home and Garden Thursday
The Shady Porch ~ Organize, Create, Feast and Fix
My Girlish Whims ~ Your Whims Wednesday
Ducks In A Row ~ Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop
All Things With Purpose ~ Things Thursday Link
Katherines Corner ~ Thursday Favorite Things Blog Hop
Lamberts Lately ~ Create it Thursday
A Creative Princess ~ It's a Party
Beyond the Picket Fence ~ Under $100 Link Party
The Dedicated House ~ Before and After Wednesday
A Revisionary Life ~ Angels Among Us Thrifty Life Thursday
Rooted In Thyme ~ Simple and Sweet Fridays
Bacon Time with the Hungry Hypo ~ Anything Goes Linky

Wordless Wednesday

Monday, June 30, 2014

Mom's Peach Peel Jelly

After we pick and peel our peaches

Summer Peaches in Vintage Pink Pyrex make our summer Peach favorites 
such as Peaches and Cream Cake...

Peaches and Cream Cake recipe can be found in The Cake Mix Doctor, one of my favorite
cookbooks. I love all of her recipes. (affiliate link)

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Tongue Out Tuesday

This photo was taken with my Nikon D5100 camera, if you're curious. (an affiliate link)
Tongue Out Tuesday.  Charlie, the rescued Springer, says hello.
My boy Charlie, our English Springer Spaniel.  He's so pretty.  He was rescued off the streets of the Alabama Gulf Coast.  He's so happy here.  He has such a good life.  He had a terrible life before and bonded with my husband hard and fast. We didn't have the heart to separate them.  He was our first foster and our first foster fail.  :)  He is one of the best things to ever happen to us.   If you would like to follow ESRA on Facebook, you'll hear all kinds of good news stories about rescued Springers.  All Dog lovers are invited.
English Springer Rescue America on Facebook

  Do you have any dog photos or good stories to share? Hope you'll leave a comment below.  


I hope you'll follow our blog and keep up with our dog fostering journey.  We love company.

Friday, June 20, 2014

English Paper Piecing with my English Springer

I've got Charlie asleep in my lap and I'm hand piecing some hexies.  I've worked so hard this week.  I decided to start the weekend early by taking it slow.  I'm thinking I'll make him a little hat?  Naaaa....he would hate it.  

What are you doing this weekend?  Got plans?  We're working on our son's room right now.  Photos to follow.....  Or check out my Instagram or Facebook, as I update more often there, than I do here.    

This is Charlie, our first Springer foster, and obviously, first foster fail...and that's totally ok. :)

"Dogs have a way of finding the people who need them, 
filling an emptiness we don't even know we have."
~Thom Jones~

If you need anything for your pet this summer, please shop through the Amazon affiliate link below.  We thank you for your support.  I highly recommend owning a Thundershirt to get you through firework season!!!  We lost Charlie last summer for 10 days on the 4th of July.  Make sure your dog is tagged and microchipped before it's too late.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Girl child and mama

Friday night. Movie night. She's home visiting us from Texas for only the second time in 2 years.  Yay!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

They are new every morning...

Not sure how to post with this app yet.

I wanted to share my very favorite spot on our walk every morning.  I stop. Look at the sunrise.  Smile.  Breathe. Whisper a prayer of thanksgiving.  A new day.  Thank you Lord.

Do you have a favorite pause-smile-breathe-whisper place?

Pasco County, Florida, ancient orange groves and cattle pastures. Home.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end; 
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:22-23

Sharing with:

Monday, May 12, 2014

Letting Go of A Foster Dog

This was our latest Springer Spaniel foster dog from ESRA.  He was full of inexhaustible energy, constantly challenging our couch potato nature, but so full of joy.  How can I deny him one more walk?  Whew!  Every new dog is a learning experience for us and I'm grateful for each opportunity.  They all have different issues and personalities.  It's like earning merit badges.  With every foster dog, we grow in dog rehab skills.  

This gorgeous foster dog had me wrapped around his finger with those eyes from the very first day.  

He went to his new home last week and is doing very well.  I used to worry about my foster fur kids when they left.  They are always fine.  They have gained confidence and trust in humans, are finally in good health, and are happy, cheerful dogs when they leave.  I would fret only to find out they were blissfully content with their new lives.  Isn't that the goal?  

Is it about me? Or is it about saving a good dog?

It's like sending your children to camp.  You worry yourself sick all week while the kids are having the time of their lives.  The dogs don't leave here sick or traumatized as when they arrived.  I have learned to trust more in the dogs they have become, rather than dwell on who they were when we first received them.

Our dogs help rehabilitate too.  Charlie shows extra grooming love.  The fosters learn how to trust a stable pack.  

Letting go is sad.  But letting go is never as hard as I think it's going to be. *sniff* The building up to the good bye which I know is coming is what is so difficult.  *sniff* I keep thinking how much I'm going to miss them.  *sniff*  They look into your eyes with so much affection and faith and you feel as if you are about to betray them.  I wonder if Abraham must have felt this when looking into Isaac's hopeful face walking up the mountain.  But once they are given to their new home, it wasn't as hard as I thought it was going to be.  Plus I make my husband do it.  Bah!  I can't watch.

Barkley loved to sit with me while I sewed.  Those eyes!!!  You're killing me Barkley!  Look away.  
Letting go starts from the very first day they arrive.  I force myself to believe they are not my dogs. They belong to another wonderful family.  We just haven't found them yet.  And while we search for their forever home, I'm going to love the heck out of them.  When their forever home is found, it would be selfish of me to deny that family the love this beautiful animal has to give.  How many animals can I keep anyway?  Do the best thing for the dog and share the love.  Let the other family experience the joy too. 

I know, I know.  Easier said than done, right?  

Anyway, once they are gone, I'm fine.  I'm so good, I actually feel a little guilty.  "Shouldn't I be crying more?"  We have one less dog to trip over.  4 fewer muddy paw prints to mop.  The dogs are good.  The new family is good.  Everyone is good.  And we did a good thing.  Yay!  Yay for good things in the world! Let's all do good things and encourage each other in good deeds.

Barkley was the Eric Northman (vampire) of Springer Spaniels.  Looook into my eyyyes....Hypnotic....he could talk me into anything.  LOL  I really loved Barkley.  Such a sweet boy.  Of course I miss him.  But I'm not sad. Really!!!

I share this with you not to brag.  I'm so awesome!  I can foster a dog and turn it over and not cry.  Go me.  

I share because this is the #1 reason why people won't foster.  They know it will hurt.  And I wanted you to hear how I deal with it emotionally.  So.  With that said; GO FOSTER A DOG...OR A CAT.  You're stronger than you think you are.  And you are needed. 

Think adoption first.  

Have you ever considered fostering animals?  If yes, here are 10 Good Reasons to get the thinking process started

If you are a foster, how do you deal with letting go?  I'm very interested in this and am anxious for feedback and ideas.  Please (please, please) share in the comment section.  

Be blessed and be a blessing.  
Be kind.  
Encourage one another.  

"Let us consider how we may spur one another on 
toward love and good deeds."

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Tips for Thrifting Fabric

I'm not ashamed to admit most of our wardrobe comes from the thrift store.  I frequently buy a shirt, skirt or dress because I know the fabric will look good sewn into a quilt a year from now when I get tired of wearing it.  :)  

Here are my tips for "Thrifting Fabric"

***Shop your own closet first and don't be prideful.  Old boxer shorts are nice fabric when cut into strips.  People say "gross" when I tell them a certain piece of fabric is from a pair of boxer shorts.  WHO CARES!  Cotton is cotton! (of course they are washed).

***If you don't have easy access to thrift stores, don't forget tag sales, garage sales, estate sales, etc.  If you have a friend with good taste, tell them you're interested in their shirts next time they clean out their closet.

I like sewing the shirt tags into my quilts.  It adds an element of fun, as well as dates the quilt and always makes a for a fun conversation or memory.

***Always go with an open mind and think outside the box.  Yes, that Mauve
jumper with pink appliqued bunnies is horrible, but cut up, it's just pink fabric.  
*affiliate link*

Yep...check out the late 80's mauve tone on tone.  Not so bad cut up, is it?  
It's a pretty pink now.

***I much prefer smaller thrift stores as their prices are better and the money usually stays local, helping the community.  I still shop at larger "corporate" thrift stores but only on half price days.  Their prices have increased over the years, and I can get the same item at Walmart or Target for the same price.  

I had planned on this quilt being more "Low Volume", but it took on a life of it's own and became 
"Pastel Volume".   
I'm totally OK with that.  I like it when my quilts speak their mind.  :)

***Know your favorite thrift store's sale schedule.  For example: One of my favorite stores has all men's shirts, $1.00 on Tuesday.  Another place has all clothing for .25 cents.  Schnikies! It goes without saying, you hopefully want to find lots of XXL, long sleeve items.

The white piece in the very center with the orange squares is one of my favorite "civil war shirtings" from an Old Navy shirt. 

***Always buy natural fibers.  Cotton of course, but don't forget linen and wool.  They add a rich texture to your quilts.  What about seersucker (my favorite) or corduroy?  These fabrics will add sculpture and interest.  Don't be shy.  I dare you you to go Gee's Bend and add corduroy to your quilt.  

(Some of the most inspiring quilts I've seen lately are Victoria Wolfe's grandmother's handpieced quilts. I can't stop thinking about them and I'm terribly tempted to start hunting double poly-knit.  She shares pictures and stories of her inspirational grandmother in her book: 15 minutes of Play  I'm really enjoying this book and can highly recommend it.  If double poly-knit makes you happy, put it in your quilt).  

***Never pass on 100% cashmere anything.  :)  That's just my rule.  I'll wear it, or felt it.  LOOOOOVE Cashmere (and other pretty 100% wool sweaters).  

The green gingham/check down the center were a favorite pair of boxer shorts.  

***I never leave Ralph Lauren, Laura Ashley, Lilly Pulitzer, Lands End or Wrangler shirts behind. These good brand names always have the best quality fabric with wonderful prints.  Do you have a favorite brand?  

***If you find men's shirts in purpleorange or brown, get it.  They are hard to come by.  You'll always have plenty of blues, greys and greens. 

 Remember to gather flannels or homespun fabrics.  

***Don't forget you'll need background fabrics and low volume type prints.  I don't care for solid white, but I will always grab a white shirt with print, especially if it looks like civil war shirtings.  I love them.  (Old Navy usually has really neat civil war shirting type prints. Watch for them).

I Spy a green shirt my daughter wore in high school. :)
***Be sure to visit the women's and children's section too.  That's where you'll find a lot of floral, feminine fabrics, novelty prints and typically more color than just a "blue dress shirt" from the men's department.  The women's section is where I find good reds.  Shirts and tops are fine, but there is more fabric in a dress, up to 3 yards.  If you've only got $10 in your pocket today, get the dress.  

This is a vintage pink and gray table cloth, I finally decided to use as backing.

***Watch for vintage clothing.  This is how I find a lot of my vintage fabrics.  EXCEPT, I take it home thinking "The fabric in this 1968 shift dress is FAB-U-LOUS!!!"  Then I don't have the heart to cut it and I'll end up hoarding it until I decide what to do with it.  *sigh* (Be careful of this.  Don't hoard.  Use it up. Now. Better on a bed, loving someone and keeping them warm, than junking up your studio and life).

***The pajama section always has fun novelty prints.  

I used 2 old pillow cases in this quilt.  The case itself was worn out and unusable, but I cut 2 inches off the edges and harvested the crochet work and ric-rack.  Just sewed them in as strips by top stitching the decorative edge down.

***When you're looking through clothing or pillowcases, always watch for nice trims and notions.  Can you harvest the ric-rac?  What about the lace?  Can you cut the ruffle off that cute skirt and use it some where else? 

***The linen section is my favorite place to look.  Vintage sheets are my favorite find, but what about the vintage table cloth?  The pillowcase with crochet trim?  Dinner napkins?  Shower curtains?  Upholstery fabric and velvets are nice to collect for the  bucket list "Crazy Quilt" you're planning

***Also, this is the section where a lot of scrap fabric and craft supplies end up.  DIG!  You'll find handkerchiefs, fat quarters, yardage, all kinds of good stuff.  My best scores have always come from digging.  If you're really, really lucky and the stars are all aligned, this is where you'll find quilt supplies, blocks and tops.  YUMMY!!  

***I personally like to look through the curtains.  There are always homemade window treatments in there, with yummy vintage fabric and notions.  We covered much of my daughter's wedding with thrifted lace curtains and crochet table cloths.  I covered a large window with thrifted curtains as well.  

***Don't be afraid of stains.  An Oxy-Clean soak will work, and if not, just cut the stain out.  Don't use that piece.  Or I'll use the piece anyway and applique things over the stain.  It always turns out randomly cute when I do this.

The finished quilt was begging to stand next to my Yellow Texas Roses, so I said Yes.  :)  

***Be careful of fabric dry rot.  If it's really old and very thin, sadly, I wouldn't mess with it.  But if you're dying to have it because you can't leave pink kittens behind, make sure you're getting it cheap and put it in an art quilt. 

Our latest Springer foster, Barkley wanted everyone to see how cute his butt is.  Really, Barkley?

***If you like it. Get it. It's your quilt. Do what YOU want.  Make your own rules, and then break them.  With thrifted fabric, it's so cheap you can afford to experiment.  I would never experiment with my Amy Butler-Heather Ross-Kaffee Fassett hoard.  Never, ever.  But...

With thrifted fabric, you now have permission to make something funky, fun and tie....and wow.....I kinda like this ugly block.  "It's so ugly it works".  LOL   Plus, it will be original.  No one else has the quirky (affordable) fabric stash but you.  

Quilt Bravely!!!  

Did I miss anything?  
Do you have any tips to add?  
I'm anxious to hear about your thrifting for fabric adventures.

Be blessed and Be a blessing.
Be inspired. 
Encourage one another. 
Make pretty things. 

~ Anne Hathaway ~ 

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