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Celebrating Winter

red coat and cocoa
Brrrr!  It is cold outside!  Our entire country seems to be in a deep freeze this week, and it is projected to continue on into next week.  You all know I love snow, but since we are getting none I have been daydreaming about winter parties…and there are SO many beautiful ideas available for entertaining inspiration that I couldn’t resist sharing a few with you today…perhaps they will give you some ideas so that you can celebrate the season.  Let’s start with this sledding party that was featured in Country Living magazine.

sledding party from country livingcountryliving.com

It featured a hot cocoa bar and a snack station with caramel corn, cookies, and s’mores.

cocoa garnishes for sledding partycountryliving.com

I thought these meringue snowflakes were lovely, and you can find the recipe for them here.

meringue snowflakes from sledding party at country livingcountryliving.com

Here is another party that celebrates the wonder of winter – a birthday party.  Unlike the sledding party above, this one was held indoors but it still had treats inspired by the season.  Just look at these desserts!

snowflake cupcakes and pretzels from hwtmblog.hwtm.com

These treats don’t look too complicated, so they would be easy for a spur of the moment party.

sugar cookies and doughnuts from hwtmblog.hwtm.com

I loved the ideas in this next event – an outdoor party for winter.  It was held in Minnesota, and the family had a large bonfire for warmth.

winter picnic from midwest livingmidwestliving.com

Here is a better view of the soups in the plaid thermoses (more warmth!)

A thermos for soups for outdoor winter partymidwestliving.com

I believe this next piece of winter entertaining eye candy originally came from an old Martha Stewart Living magazine, but I have not been able to trace it to that source (just my memory.)  I love the wagon loaded down with thermoses of soup and crates of hotdog buns and cookies.

winter picnic wagon

cocokelley.com

I specifically saved this next magazine issue from 2008 because it featured a snow party. Are you familiar with Life Beautiful?

Life Beautiful magazinelifebeautifulmagazine.com

It is a Christian based publication, and the photography in it is simply gorgeous.  This sledding and skating party photographed at Wildwood Hills Ranch, a camp for at risk children, was no exception.

sledding party from Life Beautiful magazine (2)

And just look at that wonderful table covered in red plaid.  The pillar candles in the buckets are a great idea to borrow.sledding party table from life beautiful magazine winter 2008 (2)The last site I would like for you to hop over and take a look at belongs to a very talented graphic designer.  If you don’t already know about the work of Susan Sidoriak and her team at Silverbox Creative, you will be in Heaven perusing the site.  Here is a birthday celebration invitation they made using… snow globes!

ice skating party invitation snow globes from Silverbox Creativesilverboxcreative.com

Aren’t those amazing?  Susan also made these lovely hot cocoa kits she delivered to her neighbors a few years ago when everyone was snowed in. (There is even a free printable there if you follow the link to the post on her blog, and then you can do the same for your neighbors.:))

Snowed in bag with free printable from Silverbox Creativesilverboxcreative.com

Here is a more recent one she created for her neighbors using a photo of her pretty house in Pennsylvania, some marshmallows, cocoa, and cookie dough…all in a plastic bag delivered to the doors of her neighbors’ homes.

Snowed in gift bag from silverbox creativesilverboxcreative.com

I thought that was such a beautiful and clever idea.

And here is my husband’s beautiful and clever idea…leaving the sprinkler on during one of these cold nights to make ice in our yard (our closest thing to snow.:))

ice

So whether you are inspired to make ice in your yard, bake snacks for a sledding party, try a new recipe for meringue snowflakes, serve soup from a thermos at a winter picnic, use candles in tin buckets for a centerpiece, or surprise your neighbor with hot cocoa in a “Snowed in” gift bag, I hope you will celebrate the beauty of winter.

Have a cozy weekend!a signature

   
Anita - January 24, 2014 - 12:22 am

Thanks for sharing the beautiful photos. I especially like seeing hoar frost on the trees. That is a beautiful picture of your husband’s ice making! I especially like the snow globe invitations…brilliant. I will take a peek at these websites!
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Please do check out all the links Anita. They have some beautiful things on them. My husband left the water spraying again last night…looks like an ice dragon on one of our scrub pines today! :)
Kelly

Wanda - January 24, 2014 - 7:14 am

Love all those pics! We are cold here as well. It is warming up for the weekend. Then another snap.,
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There is really a lot of beauty in winter, too; isn’t it Wanda? We are to be cold through next week, but no precipitation is predicted…so no snow here. Enjoy your weekend!
Kelly

Barbara Hinske - January 24, 2014 - 7:40 am

What a lovely, inspirational post! My mind is spinning. Love the gifts for the neighbors — I’m going to copy that idea. Thank you. And isn’t your husband so sweet! Enjoy your weekend.
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I am glad you liked all the photos, Barbara! I know your neighbors would love for you to copy the Snowed in gift bags. :) My husband set up the sprayer again last night, so we have some ice on the fence again today. I hope your weekend is a good one, too!
Kelly

Martha - January 24, 2014 - 7:45 am

Since I have a birthday in January all of these winter parties seem fantastic to me. I especially like the bonfire idea. We have done that many times in past years and our kids have great memories of them. I find that the older I get the less inviting an outside party is. I love the idea of giving neighbors gifts of cocoa kits.It reminds me of a children’s book, You Can Do It Sam by Amy Hest. Here in NC we have had snow and TWO snowdays!!!! My grandchildren have been thrilled!
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Martha, happy January birthday to you! You Can Do It Sam looks like a sweet book for young children. I am quite jealous of your grandchildren’s two snowdays! I bet they have been loving it. (I would be!)
Kelly

Cathy Norrie - January 24, 2014 - 8:20 am

Hi Kelly,

Gorgeous photos! Love those winter parties! S

ince most of our winter parties are deep in the mountains we have to carry everything on our backs. Despite that we usually have a couple of thermoses (love those plaid ones!!! Must. Get. One.) and ours are a wee bit simpler. No matter – the hot sweet tea and cheese sandwiches eaten while we sit on a log or on our packs in the middle of a snow covered meadow taste marvellous. Then we strap on our skis and off we go again!

Thanks for making me feel right at home with all that snow :)

hugs
Cath
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Your meal in the snow meadow sounds amazing, Cath! How fun! (And what gorgeous scenery you must enjoy on your outings…sigh.) One of my sons is talking about going camping next weekend since he loves the cold. He would love your ski adventures, too.
Kelly

Anne from Atlanta - January 24, 2014 - 10:09 am

What a wonderful, creative post! I am inspired to do something fun to celebrate winter. Thanks for all the great ideas.
Stay warm,
Anne
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So glad I could give you some inspiration, Anne! Even though you don’t have snow in Atlanta, perhaps you can still have a “snow party” some time soon.
Have a great weekend, and you stay warm too!
Kelly

Donnamae - January 24, 2014 - 10:25 am

Beautiful pics…yes, winter is indeed beautiful with all the snow! Like what your hubby did with your sprinkler…fun! However, I’ve had enough already. It’s extremely cold here in Wisconsin, lots of snow and wind….and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight. If it would warm up to the upper 20’s, then we could better enjoy this winter wonderland! Enjoy your weekend! ;)
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If we had had as much snow as you have had in Wisconsin, I imagine I would be quite tired of it too. We had a windchill this morning of 5 degrees. If it was like that every day, it would not be fun. I hope it warms up to at least the thirties for you soon (and yes, I know that 30 isn’t warm…just warmer than what you have recently had.)
Spring is coming…
Kelly

Debra - January 24, 2014 - 10:36 am

What wonderful pictures and ideas. Unfortunately, it is just a wee bit too cold for me right now here in the Midwest. High wind chills and negative temps have me thinking of a week on a warm sunny beach somewhere instead. Don’t know if it is a aging thing, or the fact that my niece has been posting honeymoon pictures of recent. She is on her honeymoon in the Cayman Islands. Ugh, torture. I was just shoveling the driveway two days ago and daughter showed up with a hot café mocha from Starbucks. That is the extent of my outdoor parties of recent. Ha! I have to say though, years past brought sledding and cross country skiing at our local forest preserves. Good memories. Complete with open shelter with a fire in the fireplace, hot cider, chili, smiles and good times. I love the neighbor gift idea. Might have to use that one, as they are calling for more snow for us in the next couple of days. Well, as my husband just reminded me the other day, we are only half way through winter. Ugh! The south sounds so good to me and your porch just makes me drool, but you all are feeling it too this year. I can’t get over what your husband suggested. Oh, this Polar Vortex!
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I could take a Starbucks hot café mocha right now…yum! (with lots of whipped cream, of course. :) ) You all have been hit horribly hard with extreme temps. While ours seems cold to us, yours would certainly keep me inside (with something hot to drink in hand.) Your open shelter with the fireplace and cider and chili sounds like it was great though. Hang in there. Spring will be here before we know it. I actually thought about posting beach house pictures when writing the post, but stopped myself because I know I have soooo many of those to share in a month or so.
Stay warm!
Kelly

Polly in KS - January 24, 2014 - 12:28 pm

Lovely post — makes me almost like winter. Almost. Have a great weekend and, remember, stay warm! Thanks for sharing the pics, websites, etc. I’ll have to check them out.
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You stay warm too, Polly. Sip on something hot to drink and check out all the links when can make some time for yourself this weekend.
Happy Saturday!
Kelly

Garden, Home and Party - January 24, 2014 - 1:01 pm

Kelly,
Now I really wish it would snow. The ideas look like so much fun. I enjoyed reading Silverbox Creative’s idea. Such a thoughtful gift. I’ll have to remember that for future use.
Have a wonderful and warm weekend. I loved the iced grass and fence your husband created for you. :)
xo,
Karen
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I hope you have at least gotten some rain. You can still have a winter party with all the goodies without having the snow…which is what I guess we would have to do here. Silverbox Creative always has beautiful things for all the holidays. They do creative while still keeping a classic style…my favorite. :)
Have a fun weekend!
Kelly

Louvina - January 24, 2014 - 4:47 pm

Lovely post —reminds me of the snow picnics I used to take my daughters on down in our woods back in Ky. I pulled them on sleds and we went deep in the woods down to the waterfalls that were frozen. We fixed chicken noodle soup, P&J sandwiches and made coke snow cones. We sat on our sleds and watched winter birds, read stories about snowmen and had hot coco! Now they are grown, they say these are sweet memories for them of their childhood. We packed the lunches in plaid lunch boxes and thermos just like the ones in the pictures!
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Wow, Louvina! Your winter picnics sound lovely! I wish we still had our old plaid lunch tins and thermoses from long ago. Those are such great vintage items. One of my friends has a huge collection, and she used them in a birthday party for her son (a picnic at a pond – complete with inner tubes for floating!)
Enjoy your weekend!
Kelly

Jayne - January 24, 2014 - 6:07 pm

What a wonderful winter idea! I wish I had thought of a winter theme party for the twins birthday party when they were younger. Their birthday was earlier this month. Such cute ideas.
Here is an idea for a winter party. If it is cold enough, blow bubbles and watch them freeze. When they pop they look like a burst of snowflakes. Sometimes we blew them into the freezer just for fun. lol
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Oh that would have been perfect for them, Jayne! I am going to have to try out your bubble idea. Sounds like fun! (If I had a bottle of bubbles, I could walk outside and do it right now…22 degrees should be cold enough.)
Kelly

Marianne in Mo. - January 24, 2014 - 6:18 pm

While I love the pics and links, cannot celebrate winter in January. I am so ready for spring, and so over polar vortexes! I feel like I’ve been freezing since Christmas. Hubs and I have dreamed of renting an island house somewhere in the Carribean, but found out our wallets won’t allow that! I can celebrate winter up until around my birthday (the 12th), then all I do is count the days to spring. Never was a fan of cold, although I love to LOOK at snow!
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Being cold is not fun, and I can understand your aversion to it. The only way I really can warm up is to take a very hot loooooong bath. Even Florida is having a dose of cold this year. All of those retirees that moved there to escape the cold up north are probably shaking their heads! Like you, I do love to look at snow (and would like to see it here for just a little while….not for months on end.)
Stay WARM!
Kelly

KellyinPA - January 25, 2014 - 8:27 am

I’ll be back to look more thoroughly at this post, but just wanted to tell you that I also have that issue of Life Beautiful!;) I want to recreate that winter picnic someday!
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I am glad to know that I am not the only one that saves great issues forever! (But I did finally donate 10 years’ worth of Coastal Living to our local library last year.) The photography in Life Beautiful just can’t matched. And you should definitely recreate that picnic. It would be wonderful!!
Kelly

Kathy R. - January 25, 2014 - 9:22 am

I am a summer kind of girl but I love all of the plaid going on….the tablecloth and the thermos. Yes, your post can ALMOST make me like winter! Thanks for the link to the printable. I am so going to print that. Stay warm and I hope you get some snow soon ….then spring can arrive!
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I love plaid too. Those vintage thermoses were great! Silverbox Creative always does such beautiful work. Glad you liked their printable.
Kelly

DeeDee - January 25, 2014 - 1:29 pm

Isn’t it true that you always want what you can’t have? Living in Ohio for my entire life, the snow is only nice when it gives us a white Christmas! Other than that, it’s a royal pain to have to shovel or drive in and I too, only like to look at it from indoors or in magazines! Thank you Kelly for your wonderful and always inspirational blog :)
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That is so very true. I imagine if we had snow all the time we would tire of it (but we would also be better equipped to handle it.) A white Christmas is something I wish for every single year. One year we are going to have it!
Kelly

lissy parker - January 25, 2014 - 8:00 pm

I love that magazine! The photography is always wonderful. Now, I want to curl up by the warm fire and read.
xo, lissy
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Isn’t it a beautiful publication?! I hope you have stayed nice and warm during this very cold week here in the south. I bet you got a lot of snow!
Enjoy your weekend.
Kelly

Sunday Supper: A Baked Chicken Dish and Warm Chocolate Pudding for a Cold Winter Night

chocolate pudding in canning jar with whipped creamI hope your weekend was a good one.  We just worked on cleaning up around here, and now that my husband thinks he is over pneumonia he started back trying to finish the floors upstairs. I always like Sunday evenings as the weekend winds down, and Sunday suppers are a nice time to have comfort food. Plus, it has been quite cold around here, and comfort foods are called for when you need something to warm you. (And suppers are not nearly as time constrained as Sunday lunches are.)

winter chalkboard with mittensThis meal was perfect for a cold winter night…(or at least cold for Georgia.:))

Sunday Supper menu Talk of the House

You have probably made some version of the main dish, but if you haven’t, I hope you will try this one.  My mother makes a similar dish, but she uses dried beef in place of the ham. Here is my version:

chicken breasts with ham and bacon recipe Talk of the House

ingredients1.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and spray a 9×13 in. casserole dish with vegetable oil.chicken breasts

2.  You will need 4 skinless boneless chicken breasts.  Slice them in half lengthwise.

split chicken breasts3.  Use a meat mallet to flatten each half.  I put each piece in a zip lock bag and flatten them while they are inside it.  When you finish, lay each of the flattened pieces out on parchment paper or a large tray and sprinkle a little salt on them.

chicken with ham

4. Place 3 slices of deli ham on each of the chicken pieces.  I tried a different ham this time…Black Forest, but  I did not like it…tasted somewhat like pastrami to me.  (Although my husband and son thought it tasted fine.) Next time I will go back to using honey ham.  Roll up the chicken into bundles and place in the casserole dish.

chicken rolled upMy mother’s version (and many others) call for wrapping the bundles with slices of bacon before putting them in the dish.  I do it differently because I do not like the way the bacon turns out when cooked this way. If you decide to wrap the bundles with bacon, you will not need to salt the chicken.

5.  In a medium size bowl, mix one family size can of Cream of Mushroom soup with 16 oz. sour cream. (This is more than the traditional recipe calls for, but it makes such a delicious gravy that we eat a lot of it. A lot.)  Then spread it over the chicken.

chicken with sauce6.  Cover with foil and bake for one hour at 375 degrees.  Then remove the foil, and bake an additional 30 minutes.

While the chicken was baking, I made chocolate pudding…just the regular Jello variety that you cook (not instant.)  I put it in jars covered with plastic wrap in the refrigerator.   The green beans were cooked… (with half an onion, a slice of bacon, and some salt and pepper.)

green beans

And a green salad was tossed together with grape tomatoes, onion slices, and beets.  When the aluminum foil was removed for the last 30 minutes of baking the chicken, I made the whipped cream for the pudding. Do you put your mixing bowl and beaters in the freezer a few minutes before beating the whipped cream to make sure they are chilled? I wonder if this really makes any difference…  Okay back to the chicken.

7. Fry 8 slices of bacon in a pan on the stove.  (This is what I do with the bacon that is different from the old recipe.)  When the bacon is finished, drain the slices on paper towels and crumble them into large pieces. Empty a small jar of mushrooms (do not drain them) into the bacon grease, and heat them in it.  This way you can add mushrooms to the plates of those who like them when the dish is served. (We have picky eaters around here!)

mushroomsAfter cooking the rice and heating the rolls,  the chicken was ready.  To serve it, we placed gravy on a serving of rice and a chicken breast on top of that, spooned a couple of tablespoons of the mushrooms on top of the chicken, and finished it with some of the crumbled bacon. (Sorry for the poor photography.  I do not like taking photos at night because the lighting is terrible.)

Sunday supperWarm chocolate pudding with whipped cream was the dessert on a cold Sunday night.

chocolate pudding in canning jar with whipped creamAnd that was our Sunday supper.

You would think if we are going to keep having all this cold we could at least get a little bit of snow…just a few flakes, perhaps?

let it snow chalkboardCrossing my fingers that February will have some of the white stuff.

So what did you do this weekend?

I’d love to hear all about it!:)

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Polly in KS - January 20, 2014 - 9:41 am

Sounds delicious. I can’t wait to try the Chicken Breasts with Ham and Bacon recipe. What did I do this weekend? As always I was busy, busy, busy. Let’s see, I cleaned my house, laundry (lots), did errands, had guests over for dinner, helped prepare my daughter for a dance, made bread, and took a little bit of time to read. Thanks for the recipe. Have a great day off and week.
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Polly, your weekend does sound like it was busy! I don’t know how you even fit in time for reading! I hope you will get to try the chicken dish. It is so nice to have the day off today. You have a good week too!
Kelly

Marty@A Stroll Thru Life - January 20, 2014 - 10:06 am

This sounds soooooooo good. I will definitley try this one. My DH would love it. Hugs, marty
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It is good AND easy, Marty. I forgot to mention that I have had it made a little differently before…One of the caterers around here dices up all the ham and spreads it on the bottom of the dish instead of rolling it up inside. Then little pieces of ham are all in the gravy when it is served. I might have to try it like that some time. It was very good prepared that way.
Have a good week!
Kelly

Shirley@housepitality designs - January 20, 2014 - 10:23 am

What a fabulous dinner in any season and always love your beautiful vignettes!
Have a wonderful week!
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Thank you Shirley. I always appreciate your kind comments!
Kelly

Cathy Norrie - January 20, 2014 - 10:27 am

Hi Kelly,

Mmmmmm… sounds like you definitely had a supper of comfort food. My mom used to make this one all the time and I think it’s time to bring it to the table in our house :)

This weekend: We got up early (5am) on Saturday and the three of us, Bill, my husband, Cam, my son, and I headed for the mountains. There are extreme avalanche warnings for all of the high altitude areas (above the treelike) and so we went searching for some below treeline skiing opportunities. Bill has had many years of exploring our section of the Rocky Mountains so he had just the right destination in mind for us. It turned out to be a glorious 12 kilometres of beautiful mixture of uphill and down dale skiing… with blue skies and full sun. It felt like spring skiing!! Sunday was a rest day and we spent the afternoon watching American football games (YAY Seattle Seahawks!!).

I served a dinner of prime rib roast, roasted potatoes, steamed broccoli and brown balsamic gravy which we ate as we watched the end of that exciting football game!).

Talk to you soon!
Cath
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Okay, are you trying to make me jealous of all your snow, Cath??? LOL Sounds like a wonderfully fun weekend topped off with a divine meal. That’s the best sounding football meal I have yet to hear of!
Kelly

Thirkellgirl - January 20, 2014 - 10:43 am

Love your blog, love your house, all of it. :) However, I just couldn’t bring myself to add mushrooms cooked in bacon grease to a plate in my house…
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Was it the mushrooms or the grease (or the combination?) There wasn’t a great deal of grease in the pan..just some drippings full of bacon flavor. Almost all of the liquid in the photo is the juice from the jar of mushrooms. Now if it is the mushrooms that you don’t like…then you can join the crowd of my children who won’t eat them – cooked nor fresh. I have to leave them out of every single dish around here thanks to them. (Such a pity.) I am glad you like the house and blog though!
Kelly

Martha - January 20, 2014 - 10:59 am

I have made a similar chicken dish, but it has been a long time and after seeing this post I will have to make it again this week. I love the way you explain the process, I do better with visual aides ☺. My old recipe wrapped the chicken with bacon, but I like your idea much better…the bacon is soggy when wrapped. I think that is why I haven’t made it in a while.
I am glad your husband is feeling better and I know the floors will look great. Isn’t it nice to have a husband that can do things like that??? I don’t know what I would do if mine wasn’t handy.
I spent the weekend celebrating my birthday, my grandson’s second birthday and my daughter-in-law’s birthday…we party for a week, then do it again later in the month for my granddaughter. January and May are my big birthday months !
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I don’t know what I would do if my husband couldn’t build things. I guess I would have to hire someone and not nearly as much would get done around here! Good grief at the birthdays! You all could have a HUGE party together. Sounds like a fun time. :) Our August is like your January.
Kelly

rachel - January 20, 2014 - 12:30 pm

Dinner sounds wonderful! We had friends from church over on Saturday night. The kids played and we ordered pizza. Sunday was spent cleaning the house, grocery shopping, baking, and making plans for a patio down by our creek! So excited about that. I’m new to your blog. Love it! I will be a regular reader. :) Oh…and I LOVE cooking!!!!
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It sounds like your weekend was productive AND fun, Rachel! A patio by a creek would be well used around here. I hope your construction project gets finished quickly so that you can enjoy it when the weather gets warm. I am glad you are enjoying the blog!
Happy cooking!
Kelly

Judy - January 20, 2014 - 12:35 pm

since my husband and I have (hopefully) recovered from our bouts of cold/sinus/flu conditions, we got up early Saturday morning and headed to the Georgia line! then we turned around at the visitors center, then got off at Exit 62 in Opelika to stroll around in Angels Antiques for a while (they had nothing there but an ornate frame I wanted that wasn’t for sale), then ate at Western Sizzler…exciting times I tell ya! But it felt good to be out and about in the gorgeous sunshine….

I’ve made a dish similar to yours but instead of ham used dried beef (the kind in the jar) and I did wrap mine with bacon…haven’t made that in years.

Hope you’re having a good day off and getting some rest.
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There has certainly been a lot of sickness going around this year. It seems like more than usual, or maybe it just hangs on longer than usual. I am glad you and your husband are better. I am sorry you did not find anything to buy at the antique shop, but at least you both were well enough to enjoy an “adventure” all the way to the Georgia line. :) My mom used to make the casserole with the dried beef all the time growing up. Maybe I should try it with that every now and then for a change from the ham.
Kelly

Debra - January 20, 2014 - 1:11 pm

Oh Kelly, you do know how to spoil your family. That looks delicious right down to the yummy dessert. I don’t think I would want to know the calorie count on that meal, but hey, winter is all about comfort! Our weekend here brought the shoveling of more snow (ugh!), laundry (of course), homemade chili Saturday. Our Sunday brought some hoot and holler with the football game of the Broncos/Patriots. A treat of carry out dinner from our local pub and a wonderful Mom/daughter quiet viewing of Downton Abbey, to wind it down. Tea time with a dose of fist pumping when Mrs. Hughes kicked Edna to the curb! That’s what happens when you watch football first? It carries over?? So glad to hear your husband is up and moving. I am too! Yahoo!

Debra
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Calorie counts are not allowed on Sundays! :) Your weekend sounds like it was busy and fun. I LOVED Mrs. Hughes Sunday night!!!! She has become my favorite of this season. You pumped your fist. I laughed out loud at her. :) She was great!! I so wish they would let something develop with her and Carson.
Thank you for reading and commenting. I appreciate it!
Kelly

DAWN - January 20, 2014 - 1:52 pm

Simply fabulous! Guess what we’re having for supper tonight?! Thank you, Kelly!
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You are quite welcome! I hope you had a chance to prepare it and that your family liked it.
Kelly

Jayne - January 20, 2014 - 2:55 pm

A new recipe to try! Thank you! I was looking for something new. We had pizza, frozen, because I was to lazy to cook and couldn’t think of I wanted to cook. I will give this a try later this week.
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I do think it is better than frozen pizza, Jayne. :) (but not quite as easy to prepare.)
Stay warm…this cold weather without snow is no fun!
Kelly

Dawn - January 20, 2014 - 3:33 pm

Kelly,

I am going to have to try this chicken recipe for sure! It is exactly what my crew loves. It is so warm here now that we are going to grill tonight. I even have the back door open to let in some fresh air! Love the warmth right now…cold is in the near future forecast.

This past weekend we had lots going on. A birthday party and a baby shower to attend. House cleaning etc. It is so nice to have an extra long weekend to get caught up on things.
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Doesn’t that extra day make such a difference?! Sounds like your weekend involved parties and gifts. :) I hope you will get an opportunity to have the chicken dish. It is so good with rice and that luscious gravy on a cold night! (And goodness our next 7 days are nothing but cold!!)
Kelly

Garden, Home and Party - January 20, 2014 - 5:47 pm

Kelly,
This kind of meal is exactly what we enjoy on winter, Sunday evenings…even when it’s been 80 degrees during the winter’s day.
I’ve copied this recipe, it looks delicious.
Cooked chocolate pudding, even from a box, is our favorite easy dessert. There is something so delicious about the warm pudding with whipped cream. Yummy. Thanks.
Karen
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Now you are making me hungry! (It is dinner time here and there are no pudding leftovers.) Chocolate pudding must be the ultimate comfort food! The chicken dish will be good even if you are having springlike weather. :)
Kelly

Katrina - January 20, 2014 - 8:59 pm

This looks great!I used to make a version of this in the crock pot but your recipe looks better! I am going to make this after my next grocery trip. The only thing my family is not fond of is beets! Still loving your use of blue!
My brother had business close by so he stopped in and spent the weekend with us. It was his 50th birthday. I surprised him with a guided fishing float trip from Brookings Anglers in Cashiers. His excitement before and after the trip was the best part of the weekend! I’d like to say I cooked his favorite meal but we went out to eat instead. He brought a HUGE chunk of homemade chocolate peanut butter cheesecake from the party his family gave him the previous weekend. After I ate it ALL he told me I was supposed to split it with my husband..oops…
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I am thinking of trying this in the crockpot too. Thanks for the idea, Katrina! The blue is still here for a few more days…meant to change it out this past 3 day weekend but tackled a new project instead. What a great birthday gift you did for your brother!! Chocolate pb cheesecake would HAVE to be very rich. How in the world did you eat a HUGE piece???? (I bet it was yummy.)
Kelly

Kristi@Chatfield Court - January 21, 2014 - 12:01 am

Your Sunday dinner looks delicious, especially the pudding with fresh whipped cream. I put my bowl in the freezer but have never put my beaters in and have not had a problem. I will try that next time though. My kids won’t eat mushrooms either…that’s ok, more for me! We have had nothing but snow since December. I’m not complaining, I love it. I’d rather it be cold with snow than cold without. Hope you get some! Have a great week.
Kristi
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Amen to “I’d rather it be cold with snow than cold without.” :) And you have a great philosophy about the mushrooms. Too funny!
Stay warm!
Kelly

Kathy R. - January 21, 2014 - 9:27 am

Yum! Your dinner looks delicious! I am going to try that chicken dish. (My mom always had to make the chocolate pudding that has to be cooked. My dad says he can tell the difference. Not me, I use the instant kind.) I had a fabulous weekend. Hubba and I took a roadtrip…first to Asheville for dinner at a favorite restaurant, then on to High Point to spend the night with my parents. (My 81 year old dad and I got up early to cut letters from books for my repurposing business.) Saturday we headed to Fredericksburg, Virginia but stopped along the way to see my cousin’s fabulous shop, Very Richmond Gallery and Gifts at the Omni Hotel in downtown Richmond. (I hadn’t seen her shop and I was so, so impressed. I wanted one of everything there!) We journeyed on to my Fredericksburg where we stayed with my husband’s sister’s family. They just finished redoing a 1939 house and what a treat that was to see! It is a dream house and I actually thought what a post you could do on that. (I loved this story..the hardware they found to match their existing doors was hardware that Tom Hanks also just bought for an upcoming 9-11 movie set in NYC. I will have to see the movie just to see the door hardware.) Finally, we visited antique stores in downtown Fredericksburg where I bought a few items for my daughter’s wedding. Fun weekend!
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My husband says that he can tell a difference in the cooked versus the instant, too. I can tell by the temperature. :) You went to some fabulous places this weekend Kathy!! And how amazing about the hardware in your sister-in-law’s house! Shopping for a wedding would have to be fun. Yes, I would say that you had a great weekend! (Sure beats cleaning the house and running errands.)
Stay warm…I know it must be very cold in NC.
Kelly

Sue - January 21, 2014 - 11:33 am

The meal sounds wonderful. I have one question: you mentioned warm chocolate pudding but said you refrigerated it after you made it. Did you reheat somehow?

My weekend was quiet; I’ve been sick with an “upper respiratory infection” so spent the whole day Sunday sitting in my comfy chair reading and watching football.
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I am so sorry you have been sick, Sue. No fun, but at least you got in some reading and rest. To answer your question about the pudding, I did put it in the refrigerator, but not for very long. It was boiling when I poured it into the jars, and I knew if I put whipped cream on it while it was that hot, the whipped cream would just melt…not good. I like it fluffy! So the pudding was refrigerated enough to cool it down a little (and thicken some) but not be “cold.” I think, though, it could probably be microwaved to warm it if you happen to have a while before serving it….but I have never tried that…just seems to me that would work. Wish I had some leftover right now to try an experiment of that!
Kelly

Shar - January 21, 2014 - 7:34 pm

Mmm…I have a similar chicken recipe, minus the bacon and + stuffing. It’s very much winter comfort food. We are in a deep freeze in the midwest and it sounds wonderful! (and I always love looking at your jar fillers-you are so creative!)
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The entire country except for California seems to be in a deep freeze (even here!) We all need some warm comfort food tonight, and it looks like we may need it for at least another week the way the jet stream seems to be traveling. I am glad you like all the filled jars (and that you notice them. :) )
Kelly

Donnamae - January 21, 2014 - 9:52 pm

Kelly, that looks delicious! However, my hubby and son would never eat it because of the mushroom soup. Could I use something else you think? ;)
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There appears to be a good substitute for it at this site, and it does not have the mushrooms…so I am not sure how the flavor of that “gravy” would be. It would be worth a try though: http://southernfood.about.com/od/ingredientsubstitutions/r/bl90911a4.htm I think if I were going to do it this way, I would dice all the ham and put it as a layer on the bottom of the casserole instead of rolling it up in the chicken. That way it would give the sauce more flavor. You would simply need to be sure you ladle out some of the ham with the sauce on top of the chicken when you serve it…might actually taste better that way! :)
Kelly

Ashley - January 22, 2014 - 5:47 pm

I love all of the chalkboards you have displayed in your beautiful home. How many different chalkboards do you have and where do you buy them? I love the green color of the frames pictured in this post. Did you paint them yourself? If so, what’s the name and brand you used. I just adore your site!
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Thank you, Ashley! How many? Um..let’s see…There is one large one from Pottery Barn in the playroom, and one small one in there from Hobby Lobby. There is a small one over the desk in the kitchen, also from Pottery Barn, and there is the long one on the porch from Pottery Barn. I did paint the frames of the ones in the playroom, and the color is Moss – a Laura Ashley paint from Lowes. Then I added some black brush strokes to give it a more shabby chic look.
I am glad you are enjoying the blog! Please visit again. :)
Kelly

A Ski House Trimmed in Red Inspired by…?

Ski Barn exterior

source

A year or so ago I saved some photos of this California home to a file with the intention of sharing it with you in a series on ski houses. Then miraculously when I started doing my research on it, I discovered that the owners wanted their vacation home to have the architectural style of…a barn!  (just like two of the last few homes we have looked at here!)  Now how uncanny is that?!

Ski Barn hallwayhouzz.com

I couldn’t resist this one with all its red accents..from the exterior trim (painted Benjamin Moore’s Million Dollar Red) to its drapery, upholstery, and linens.  The owners wanted a fun place for family and friends to gather, and I think they got just that.:)This home is located in the Sugar Bowl resort area near Lake Tahoe.  It is quite a family friendly area with owners reaching their homes by gondola! (And supplies come in by sled.) The resort was the first in California to install a chairlift and the first on the west coast to install a gondola lift.  And guess who one of the original founders of this resort back in the 1930’s was…Walt Disney!  In fact, one of the peaks there was named Mt. Disney.

Ski Barn living roomkellyabramson.com

Robert Kelly of Kelly and Abramson Architecture designed this ski retreat.  The family wanted it to have the simple style of a barn, so a traditional gambrel roof was used on it. They also asked that reclaimed wood be used wherever it was possible in the design.  Therefore, the exterior is covered in weathered barn wood.

ski Barn dining roomhouzz.com

You can see the beautiful beams in these photographs.  They are made from reclaimed hardwood, and those gorgeous gorgeous floors (above) are made from the wood out of an old tobacco barn.

Ski Barn kitchenkellyabramson.com

Besides all the great architectural details, the warmth of the place is also due in part to the interior details designed by Sally Ward.  The 5 ft. wide farmhouse sink (found on Ebay!) has a skirt below it for a casual country feel.  (Oh, and by the way, this designer, just like Emma Sims Hilditch, began her career in the film and video industry before moving into interior design.)

Ski barn farmhouse sinkhouzz.com

Sally Ward chose the Waterworks tub below because it echoed the style of a feed trough with its outside finish (more details of barn styling.)

Ski Barn bathroomhouzz.com

My favorite rooms in the home are the children’s bunk rooms.  Each bed has its own small bookshelf and a lamp.  How cozy!

Ski Barn bunkroomhouzz.com

Ski Barn girls bunkroomhouzz.com

There is also a great desk area for children to do creative projects. (And again, there is no shortage of color there!)

So what do you think? Are you ready to get your skis and move in?  You might like to know that there is also an outside deck area with a fire pit, and when you finish skiing you can have a cup of hot cocoa, sit by the fire, and enjoy the snow covered beauty of the area. Sounds like a wonderful time to me!
Stay warm!
Until next time…
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Kristi@Chatfield Court - January 16, 2014 - 12:05 am

Great ski house! I love all of the wood, the red accents and the lighting. It looks like a great place to gather for a weekend of skiing. Thanks for sharing Kelly.
Kristi
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Oh I forgot to mention all the unique lighting, Kristi! Thank you for pointing that out. I am glad you enjoyed seeing the house. I think all the wood and red really add warmth to the place.
Kelly

Anne from Atlanta - January 16, 2014 - 9:00 am

Hi Kelly,
You’ve found heaven on earth! This house is just fabulous. And there is skiing. Just too wonderful.
Your posts just get better and better! Thanks, Anne
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Oh yes, there is a lot of skiing!! It would be such a wonderful house for a vacation! I think I would even like it when there isn’t any snow around.
Kelly

Cathy Norrie - January 16, 2014 - 9:44 am

Yup! I’m in… goes right along with all of our snow :) And it appears there is plenty of room for us to store our skis (and more!).

It warms my little librarian heart to see those cosy bunks complete with book shelves (filled with books) and a reading lamp for each. You don’t know how many times I’ve stayed at homes that don’t have reading lamps at the bedside… Aaarrrggghhh how could one go to sleep I ask?

Another winning post, my friend!

Take care and talk with you later :)
Cath
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Weren’t those great little reading nooks? That was a super smart move on the part of the interior designer..just perfect for those bunk beds! (And yes, as a librarian you should have loved it! :) )
Stay warm! (My feet are freezing right now!)
Kelly

anita - January 16, 2014 - 9:51 am

Very nice barn inspired ski home. I love the red throughout. My goodness there are talented architects, designers, decorators and carpenters ou there!
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There certainly are, Anita! And I loved all the red too. The architect said that they color matched the red on the exterior trim to his son’s little red wagon. :)
Kelly

Kay - January 16, 2014 - 9:55 am

OMG — the sinks + the skirts are awesome!
I’m thinking of using an old sink in our kitchen, + this gives a gal some much-needed courage!
I’m all over the RED, too. Can’t get enough of it!
And that IVORY soap box (?) thing on the kitchen windowsill?
I love it!
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I liked that “Ivory soap box thing” as well! :) There were quite a few old advertising signs and things used throughout the home. Be sure you click on the link to the Houzz site that featured it. You can see more of them there (and a little more of the skirted sinks I think…)
Kelly

Cheri - January 16, 2014 - 10:00 am

Another great house I wouldn’t mind living in. I love the bunk bed room also, it would be great for our Grands.
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Cheri, it would definitely be perfect for your grandchildren! (Although as an adult, I might like it for me too with the books and lamps beside the bed.)
Kell
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Kathy - January 16, 2014 - 10:24 am

I like the bunk room best too. Would you believe the mother of one of my friends dated Walt Disney? How funny is it that she stopped dating him because she thought he was boring?
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Wow!!! What a claim to fame, but that is hilarious that she thought he was boring!!! :) (I am laughing and shaking my head over this. :))
Kelly

Louvina - January 16, 2014 - 10:56 am

Loving this post!! I have always been drawn towards “barn wood and architecture”. As a child I loved looking at barns, farms, log cabins and anything that looked like what I called ” country look”. Even frames for art work– I have a log cabin print in a gray/black barn wood. Although I live on a lake, I have a farm look family room/kitchen and leaning in that direction for my bathroom remodeling. Actually, the way I happened upon your blog was when I googled destination weddings and the barn setting of your niece’s wedding “popped” up! Strange how all that opened up my eyes to learning so much about houses and helped me in making choices for my home! :)
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Isn’t that funny how it all comes full circle, Louvina?! One of the things that I loved about my husband’s childhood home was the barn they had, but unfortunately it had to be torn down. I think a farm look bathroom would be great! Seems like I remember Kelley at the Polished Pebble having something like that. You might want to check out her posts.
Kelly

Donnamae - January 16, 2014 - 12:07 pm

Looks like the perfect weekend getaway…or better yet….a full-time residence! Oh..to dream. I love the red trim…very distinctive! ;)
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You could enjoy it for both, for sure. That red trim really adds a lot to the exterior, doesn’t it?
Thank you for reading the post, Donnamae.
Kelly

Garden, Home and Party - January 16, 2014 - 1:24 pm

Kelly,
This home exudes charm and warmth. My only question, if you have to access the area by lift/gondola, heaven forbid, what if there was a fire? As Californians struggle with the severe drought and seemingly constant fire danger, to be in the forest without road access would bother me. The architecture and use of reclaimed wood are my favorite features…but the red trim is fabulous. Great post.
Karen
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Or what if you needed an ambulance? I tried searching to see if there was a nearby fire station, but I couldn’t find out about anything. The fires in California are terribly scary. Can’t even imagine.
Surely there must be roads and cars at the Sugar Bowl resort somewhere. How in the world do they get in building materials for homes? I read that the resort has an underground parking lot. It’s a mystery to me!
Kelly

DeeDee - January 16, 2014 - 3:15 pm

Kelly- This house has your name written all over it and the inside looks as though YOU did the decorating! As for me, I prefer sand to snow and palm trees to pine trees :)

Thanks for sharing this stunning home!
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You KNOW I loved all that red! Sand and palm trees would be very nice today. It has been quite chilly here, and I have not been able to truly get warm all day long..going to take a HOT bath now just to warm up. :)
Kelly

Marianne in Mo. - January 16, 2014 - 5:06 pm

I had the same question that Karen had. How safe is that if there are no roads, and how do the home owners get to/from gondola and house? Lovely home though. I dream of reclaimed or barn wood floors but hear it is costly. Those bunks are so awesome, love the whole place! Thanks for the tour!
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There is an underground parking lot there, and then guests take the gondola up. This house is located near the base of one of the lifts. But surely people can drive cars to their homes…I could see them taking guests of a hotel or something up in a gondola. How do they get building materials up to build houses there? We are all just going to have to make a trip there to find out! :)
Kelly

Dawn - January 16, 2014 - 8:50 pm

Kelly,

I love the red accents and spiral staircase on the outside but My favorite aspect of this house is all of the reclaimed barn wood. It is awesome!
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I am glad you enjoyed seeing this house, Dawn! I believe that spiral staircase goes around a “water tower” hot tub. I don’t think they left out any fun details for this home, did they? There is a tremendous amount of barn wood in it.
Kelly

Debra - January 17, 2014 - 8:19 am

Oh, how wonderful to have such a beautiful retreat. Love everything about it, except for the fact that it has no access road? I don’t think I would like that. Wonderful share.

Debra
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It is a lovely home. The resort advertises that you must take a gondola up, but surely there is a road…at least for construction access? Not sure…
Have a great week, Debra!
Kelly

Trisha Troutz - January 17, 2014 - 9:07 am

This retreat is amazing! It’s a perfect place to escape inside and play outside. So carefully designed with each detail complimenting the concept. Love this! Thank you for sharing!
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I am so glad you liked the house, Trisha. They obviously put a great deal of thought into all the details – especially the rooms for the children. And I loved all the red..perfect for warming up a house in the snow. Have a good week!
Kelly

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