March 30, 2015

Tropical Fruit Cake


I want to share this family recipe with you.
This makes a great picnic or church cake!

(image source- allrecipes.com)

Tropical Fruit Cake. Mandarin Orange Cake. aka...Pig Cake

The first time I had this cake was when a friend of my mother-in-law brought it to our house...on the passing of my mother-in-law, Maxine. Back then (1983) we called it tropical fruit cake. I have also seen it called pig cake. All I know is that it made a "pig" out of me. I could not keep out of that cake pan. I have made this cake several times...and it always turns out great. Even "pie" people like this cake!

I have found this cake recipe all over the internet...by different names. I typed in mandarin orange cake....and found the recipes. Whatever you call this cake, this is a great spring/summer cake, as you keep it in the refrigerator until you want a piece. 

Just Delicious! And Easy!

Prep Time: 10 Minutes  |  Cook Time: 30 Minutes  |  Difficulty: Easy  |  Servings: 16

Ingredients

FOR THE CAKE:
1 box (18.25 Oz. Box) Yellow Cake Mix (I have also used a white cake mix)
1 stick Margarine (softened)
1 can (14 Oz. Can) Mandarin Oranges, Drained, 1/2 Cup Juice Reserved
4 whole Eggs
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract 

FOR THE TOPPING:
1 package (4 Oz. Box) Vanilla Instant Pudding Mix
1 can (20 Oz. Can) Crushed Pineapple, Juice Reserved
(optional-for extra sweetness add 1/2 cup Powdered Sugar) 
4 ounces, thawed Cool Whip
Garnish with mandarin oranges.

Preparation Instructions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
For the cake, combine cake mix, margarine, 1/2 cup juice from the mandarin oranges, eggs, and vanilla. Beat for four minutes on medium-high. Add drained oranges and beat again until pieces are broken up and small. Pour batter into greased and floured 9 x 13 inch baking pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown and set. Remove from oven and cool completely. If desired, turn out cake onto a large platter.

Once the cake is cool, blend juice from the drained pineapples with the vanilla pudding mix. (optional, Add powdered sugar and mix) then mix in whipped topping. Stir in drained pineapple. Spread on cooled cake and refrigerate several hours.

To serve, cut the cake into squares and top each square with a mandarin orange slice.  Refrigerate after serving. 

March 29, 2015

Inspiration for a New Floral Arrangement

                  March 28, 2015

Inspiration for a new floral arrangement...

I was inspired to create this floral arrangement after seeing a similar one on Stone Gable Blog. Yvonne's arrangement used a large clear jar, burlap balls and tall twigs. When I saw hers I thought to myself...I have a huge green glass jar...I think I can make one like this. Home and DIY bloggers are great sources of inspiration!
I have had this huge green jar for a long time...and I usually have it filled with faux fruit, pine cones, or some other kind of filler that I have laying about.
I grabbed my forsythia bushes and began putting them in the jar. They were a little floppy until I started filling up the jar with some of the fruit to secure them.  

 I thought "ta da!" Then I thought, this is huge! Where am I going to put it? It is too tall for my tables with overhead lighting. It might work in the kitchen...but again, it is huge. 
I have lots of pictures because I really got into photographing my forsythia! I just love the first signs of forsythia in the spring. It is a sure sign that spring is here and summer is near!

I boosted the color in a couple of the photos...just for some extra punch. Picassa, which I have used for years as my go to photo editing program...has so many great editing options. Boost is one of them that I use a lot. It is tricky though because some actions fuzz the photo. Like so many things...it is personal preference as to the style of photography that you like. Some people prefer soft photos, but I tend to like sharp photos...without creating huge file sizes. I try not to make you wait for a photo to load...while still giving you a sharp photograph.

I am a very visual person, and I enjoy reading blogs that are heavy with lovely photos. I try to give my readers lots of lovely photos too. Some may be better than others...but again, I am not a professional photographer. I just play one on my blog. :-)
I took these photos in the late afternoon...which is the perfect time to "shoot" in my dining room. The parlor is across the hall from the dining room, but the lighting is not as good for some reason. So, you see me doing lots of projects in the dining room because of the lighting. I prefer natural lighting for my photos which means I have to time my photo shoots for certain times of the day. 
I brought the arrangement into the mama cave to rest on the pedestal table. This should work in terms of space.
I will enjoy the arrangement here for awhile. Nothing stays in one place very long in my house. I love to tinker and play house, but I am guessing you already knew that! :-)

This arrangement could be sized down also. If you have a large jar of some sort and sprigs and twigs, forsythia, or another long stemmed flower you can put this together. Also...if I were working with a smaller jar I might be tempted to use a bag or two of sand in the bottom to secure the stems. Anything organic would work as filler. Some stems may stay in place in the jar without any filler. It depends on the height of the jar and the length of the stems. So...get busy making your own, and tell me about it! 

If you get a chance visit Yvonne at Stone Gable Farm Blog to check out her similar arrangement. 

Thanks for visiting.
Sheila

Linking with the following blogs…

Savvy Southern Style, Wow us Wednesday
Common Ground, Share Your Style, Thursday
Between Naps on the Porch, Tablescape Thursday

March 26, 2015

Spring Fashion: Cardigans and Pearls

When spring arrives...
my wardrobe becomes cotton cardigans with pearls...
or another complementary necklace.
I can wear a tank or a tee under a cardigan then pair it with dress slacks, a skirt, or jeans. Many times I add a scarf, but not always.
This is a Talbots sweater and scarf from a few seasons back. The pearls are my "train station" pearls that I bought in D.C when our daughter was in grad school there. They are inexpensive glass beads...but I love this strand. I can wrap it two or three times depending if I want it longer or shorter. (The beads are not knotted...so if they ever break there will beads all over the place.)

The sweater is a pinky peach. The lighting makes the color off in some of the photos.
I wear this sweater with navy slacks, black slacks, and even white. I still love this scarf and often wear it in the winter with wool sweaters too.
 This sweater has small gold wire buttons, so I wear gold tone jewelry with it sometimes.

This next cardigan is a totally different look. 
This is a simple cotton Crown & Ivy from Belks. I love the Chanel look with the solid navy strip around the neck and down the front. It works with skirts, dress slacks, or jeans. 
Belks Crown and Ivy Cardigan
For my trip out of town I want to be "snappy casual" so I will probably wear the pearl strand, with a navy or white tank underneath. 
These older navy Chicos slacks match the navy of the sweater. I love when that happens! The slacks are knit, with stretch...good for comfort. These slacks are my go to for all day comfort. And I can throw them into the washer and dry on a hanger. How wonderful is that! I am getting lazy and like for my clothes to be easy.  
pearls
Pearl earrings/studs will finish the look....as will a comfortable pair of flats. 
pearls and cardigans


In a previous post I mentioned that Pat, from Back Porch Musings inspired me to begin "planning" my outfits. I think this will make it easier for when I need to  look pulled together. I have been putting together a few outfits over the last couple of days...and it is kind of fun. I am rediscovering clothes that I have not worn in a while. (If I can lose a few more pounds I will have even more pieces from which to choose. ha!)

If I were really on the ball I would snap pics of these outfits and create a collage to print and post on my closet door. I would have a constant reminder of what I could wear. That is on my "to do" list.

Thanks for visiting me today.
Sheila

Linking with...
Savvy Southern Style, Wow us Wednesday

March 25, 2015

Here Comes Peter Cotton Tail

I decorate very simply for Easter. 
A few eggs here and some green plastic grass there. When the children were little Easter baskets were important items. Hubby and I helped the Easter Bunny with his seasonal duties.
Now that the kids are out of the "nest"...I make one large Easter basket and display it in a prominent place for any and all to help themselves to some chocolate or other sugary treat. 
I use different objects each year to serve as "the basket." One year I dressed up a pretty bowl, and another year I dressed up one of my old baskets. I am still thinking about this year's basket. 
Daughter and her family will be in for Easter Sunday and we will have lunch. So, I am working on that menu. Hubby does a great ham...so that will be the starting item, and I will plan vegetables and extras around the ham. 
To get myself into a seasonal frame of mind...I picked up a few decorative eggs and some green plastic grass. Last year I remember using moss as the base for my eggs. I may go back to that, but I picked up the plastic grass for the memory I guess. I used to find that stuff all over the house for days after Easter. 
I usually set up a buffet when we have family meals. Sometimes we eat in the dining room and sometimes in the kitchen. It just depends on how many of us there are. 
I hope these tulips stay pretty at least through Easter so that I can use them on the buffet.
I picked up the tulips at Lowe's a few days ago. The little green cachepot came with them, which I thought was a cute little extra.
 The eggs are faux, as is the grass.
I fell for these tulips because of their color...but I love tulips anyway and would have probably purchased them no matter their color.


You cannot beat white plates for their versatility. They go with any table settings. The goblets are simply plastic for outdoor use. I may have those available for folks who want to sit out on the back porch. 
And for fun, I picked up some bunny napkins. 

Thanks for visiting today.
Sheila
Linking with the following blogs…

March 24, 2015

A Golden Photoshoot

 Warning...lots of golden  photos!
(Disclaimer...This began as a photo shoot of a tray...but it led to my taking pictures of Mikey, the golden, the family baby, the lovebug.)

I was taking photos of a tray the other day when I switched the camera onto Mikey. He usually hangs around me when I work on house projects, moving from one spot to another. He has the official title of "Designer Dog." 

When he was younger he was not a co-operative subject. If I got down to his level to snap pics...he would immediately come over to me and "get in my face." Like hey...whatcha doing? Can I help, huh? Wiggle. Pant. Wiggle.
Golden retrievers have such child like personalities...even my eleven year old guy. But today, for some reason, he was willing to "stay" for me. I even managed to get down on his level and get some closeup snaps.
We picked up a car seat cover the other day. (Golden fur gets on everything!)It is one of those blanket things that hooks around the backseat headrests and covers the backseat. The box has instructions on how to get your dog ready to ride in the car.  The suggestion is to put the blanket over the seat, then put your dog into the car, and just sit in the driveway. This is supposed to get your dog used to being in the car. We had a laugh because Mikey has been riding in the car since he was a little pup. During that time we learned that he grows most impatient during his outings when certain things happen.
Mikey has trained us to know his likes and dislikes. 
He does not like the car windows to be down. 
Must be the wind. 
He loves air conditioning vents.
He likes them to blow on his face. 
(Yes I know, it sounds strange that he does not like wind but does like air conditioner blowing on his face.)
He does not like the red "stop" lights. 
He gets antsy.
He prefers the car to be moving.
Go papa go!
And...do not attempt a drive thru at fast food joint as he gets very fidgety.
Must be the smell of burgers and fries.
I think Mikey would actually like to drive the car...
but getting a license might be a big problem. He is also easily distracted...which works against him too. :-) 
We will take him for a car ride with the new seat cover blanket soon to see if it meets with his approval. Yes, I said "his" approval. (ha!)

While Mikey is a very lovable and easy going guy...he has become a little bit picky about some things in his older years. But I would not trade him for a sack of gold.
He is as sweet as he looks...a big lovebug!

Mikey loves small children, visitors, our UPS driver, pinches of golden oreo cookies, playing in the yard, napping next to his person, and scouting out snacks when ever and where ever he can find the opportunity. He loves belly rubs and head rubs. He is the family therapist always! And he accepts love from everyone in return for his devotion. 

While at times Mikey acts like a spacey air headed puppy, he also shows great wisdom in his interactions with his family and others. He understands the feelings and emotions of his people and knows when they need quiet companionship. 
Mikey and I hope you have a great day and come back to visit us when you can! 

(As you can tell, we are silly about this huge ball of fluff.)

Thanks for visiting.
Sheila

Joining the Following Blog Parties

See Also...
RattleBridge Farm Foodie Friday designsbygollum.blogspot.com


Redecorate With Flowers


March 24, 2015
Redecorate with Flowers
Want to add a quick burst of spring to your home?  Grab some fresh flowers!
I accompanied hubby to Lowe's a couple of days ago for some screening, and like a kid at the grocery store checkout who finds something he wants, I found some tulips...and they were already in cute green ceramic pots. I had to grab them! 
When I got home I took the cap off of the lens and got the ole' Cannon into action. There was going to be a photo shoot!
I moved the flowers to the dining room, my studio, because of the lighting.
I love the two toned petals.
And these are the tallest tulips that I think I have ever seen.
I just love fresh flowers in the house! 
And spring is a wonderful time to make your house nice and fresh. There are many things you can do to fix up your house for spring...but bringing in fresh flowers may be the quickest and least expensive way to redecorate your home.
Oh Happy Day to You and Yours!
Thanks for Visiting today.

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