September 23, 2017

Family Favorites - An Easy and Delicious Banana Muffin Recipe

Well, Fall has officially arrived!  You would never know it around here, though.  The temperatures have been in the 80's and will continue to be warm for the next week.  I have started decorating a little, which feels strange with the air conditioner on, but what can you do?

Easy Banana Muffin Recipe

You can bake muffins...that's what you can do!  It's that time of year for comfort food, plus it's always fun to run the oven on a hot day!...lol.

Fall Baking - Banana Muffins

If you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen me baking muffins in my stories...exciting stuff I tell ya!  Anyway, I thought I would share the recipe with you!...

Baking Banana Muffins

Easy Banana Muffins

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
4 ripe bananas
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup walnuts or pecans (optional)

Instructions:

Cream together the 1/2 cup butter and 1 1/2 cup sugar.  Add 2 large eggs and mix.  Mash 4 ripe bananas and add 1 tsp vanilla.  Add that mixture to the butter/sugar mixture and beat.  Mix together 1 tsp of baking soda and 1/3 cup of buttermilk and add to batter.  Slowly add 1 1/4 cup of flour and stir in the nuts.

Fill muffin cups 3/4 full and bake for 20-25 minutes.  (23 is about ideal for my oven)
(Makes about 2 dozen)

You can also use this recipe to make banana bread:
Follow recipe above.
Fill a standard loaf pan and bake for 1 hour.

Sometimes I add a cream cheese frosting.  The muffins are nice and moist on their own but the frosting makes them more cupcake-like!

Cream Cheese Frosting

8 oz cream cheese (at room temperature)
1 cup of confectioner's sugar
1 tsp vanilla extra
Beat all ingredients until fluffy

Note:  You can add more sugar to make it sweeter but this is the combination that seems to work for us.

Fall Comfort Foods - Easy Banana Muffins


Easy Banana Muffin Recipe

If this recipe looks familiar to you, I realized I posted it a few years back.  Of course, when I reread it, I noticed I typed "flower" instead of "flour".  It's nice to know that silly mistake was sitting on my blog for like, 3 years!  I also had the cooking time as 10-12 minutes when it should have been 20-25.  I apologize to the thousands of people out there who actually used "flowers" or under-cooked their muffins.  I hope no one got salmonella from the raw eggs...I have gone back and corrected those little typos and made sure I proofread this version.  Just looking out for you, my friends!

What are your favorite comfort foods?
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September 19, 2017

A Festive Fall Vignette on the Console Table

Well, I finally faced the fact that summer is over so I started pulling out my fall decor.  One of the first places I decorated this year was the console behind my new sectional sofa...

Fall Decorating with Velvet Pumpkins

I am still working on the family room but I managed to decorate this little spot for now while I make other big decisions like which rug to buy...

Console Table with Fall Decor

I like using neutrals in my seasonal decor but always end up throwing in a little orange for fall!  The orange velvet pumpkin was the only new thing I bought this year.  I found it at TJMaxx if you are looking for them.

Shelves with fall colored accessories

I even swapped out the summer colored cookbooks for a stack of fall colored ones to coordinate with the orange velvet pumpkin.  

Fall Vignette in Seagrass Tray

I always like using trays to group my accessories together.  This seagrass one has made its rounds in practically every room.

Fall Decor on Console Table

The stack of white bowls carry the white down to the lower shelf to keep things bright.

Seagrass Baskets for Napkin Storage

And I used a row of seagrass baskets at the bottom to coordinate with the tray.  These also hold my supply of napkins.

View into White Kitchen

Here is a view from the other side where you can see into the kitchen.

Open Concept Kitchen and Family Room

As you can see, I haven't added too much in there yet.

White Stove Mantel with Fall Decor

Just a few things on the stove mantel - a couple velvet pumpkins to match the one on the console along with some more bundles of wheat.

Wheat Bundle and Orange Velvet Pumpkins

Last year, I used real white pumpkins but I kind of like the pop of orange up there with these.  Although, once I find some white pumpkins, I might end up changing this area again.  We'll see...

White Stove Mantel Decorated for Fall

White Pitchers and Orange Pumpkin Vignette

So the decorating has begun!  Remember, fall officially starts this Friday!

Fall Vignette with Orange Velvet Pumpkin

Have you started your fall decorating?

Here are some sources to help you shop.  Please note that this post contains some affiliate links which means I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking my links (at no additional cost to you.)

Velvet Pumpkins - TJMaxx but I also found this set of four velvet pumpkins
Faux White Pumpkin - Michael's Craft Store.  If they happen to be sold out, check out this set of white pumpkins and gourds.
Seagrass Tray - Homegoods or this set of seagrass nesting trays
White Pitchers - Homegoods usually has a supply but this porcelain one is cute too.
Wheat Bundles - Homegoods but if they sold out, you could go with these wheat stalks or this wheat bundle.
Seagrass bins - Pottery Barn but these seagrass bins are similar and the price is better!  And these cute ones fold for easy storage.
Lanterns - Pottery Barn or Pier One (I forgot which one!)  These pretty lanterns are very similar.



Have a great day!
I'd love for you to follow along so you don't miss a post!


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September 12, 2017

8 Great Reasons Why Stay-at-Home Moms Should Volunteer at School

Seriously, as if you need another thing to do...  Well, like it or not, the new school year is here and you are about to get bombarded with volunteer requests - if you haven't already!  It can be so tempting to let someone else take on the work load.  I mean who really wants to get stuck doing these thankless jobs, anyway?  Instead of thinking about it that way, maybe we could look at school volunteering from a different perspective...

Volunteering at School

Here are some reasons why I think you should consider volunteering...

1.  You can set a good leadership example.  I remember when my oldest was starting kindergarten, he was very shy, so I made sure I volunteered for everything.  I must admit, I did this partly because I wanted to see him at school but I also did it to set an example.  I wanted to show him that if Mommy could get involved in things, he could also!

2.  You will make your kids proud.  They love to see their mom's name on a poster, run into them at school or have all their friends know who you are.  These things always gave my kids a sense of belonging and made them feel like they really knew what was going on in their school.

3.  You know everyone.  This can be so helpful when you need a favor or just want to stay aware of things.  You would be surprised at what you hear behind the scenes.

4.  You will make new friends.  I am a boy-mom so most of the moms I see regularly are also boy-moms due to all the sports and play dates when the kids were little.  When I volunteered for a school event many years ago, my co-chair had two girls.  Our paths probably wouldn't have crossed if we didn't run the event together but because of it, we became great friends.  To this day, we still meet for lunch and get together.  The same thing happened when I co-chaired a different event a couple years later with someone else...another great friend with whom I have shared many laughs and great times!

5.  You can use your creativity.  We all know that staying home with kids can turn your brain to mush at times so why not put some of those brain cells back to work?  Sometimes you just need an extra push!  This past winter, my son's class mom was looking for help at the winter party.  I figured I would swing by, help pass out a few craft supplies and be done.  Well, it turns out, they needed someone to run all the games, and did I mention, I had two days to come up with ideas?  The whole thing ended up being fun for them - and for me!  I even wrote a blog post,  3 Fun and Easy Games for a Winter Themed Party which ended up being a popular post.  A win for everyone! lol...

School Parties - and why you should volunteer

6.  You can add it to your resume.  If you plan on working outside the home after your kids get older, it doesn't hurt to have a list of volunteering jobs to add to your resume!

7.  You are taking the load off the parents who just can't get there.  So many of my friends who work outside the home wish they could get more involved and many of them still do.  It's nice to know so many stay-at-home-moms are there to take care of things when others can't.

8.  You don't have forever! Before you know it, your kids aren't going to need you anymore.  Sad but true. My kids are both in middle school now (what?!!)  In our school district, there aren't as many opportunities to get involved at that stage.  Believe me, it goes SO fast!  As my kids get older, I'm glad I won't be saying, "I should have gotten more involved when they were little!"...because I did!

Kids grow up way too fast - Why you should volunteer at school

Can you think of any other reasons why stay-at-home moms should volunteer at school?

I'd love for you to follow along so you don't miss a post!

8 Reasons why stay at home moms should volunteer at school

September 9, 2017

A Peek Inside a New Homesense Store!

Now that kids are back to school, I had some time yesterday to check out the new Homesense store that just opened this week in East Hanover, New Jersey!
New Homesense store in New Jersey

If you don't know already, Homesense is part of the TJ Maxx/Homegoods company so I knew I was in for a treat yesterday!

Lamp section of Homesense

When I walked in, I was immediately drawn to the lamp section.  So many beautiful ones to choose from!

Lighting Department in Homesense store

As you can see, the section is HUGE!  Not only do they carry table and floor lamps but they also have a gorgeous selection of chandeliers and pendants!

Furniture and Lighting in Homesense store

In the furniture section, they carry larger pieces that you don't normally see in TJ Maxx or Homegoods - and more pieces.  They had more of everything!

Homesense store items

The store was really crowded so I had a hard time photographing the pieces without getting a bunch of people in the background.  That's why my photography is so bad...yeah that's why...lol.

Huge dining chair section in Homesense

Homesense carries a large supply of dining chairs which they display all together.  So helpful if you are looking for matching pieces.  I always have bad luck in Homegoods because I will fall in love with one chair but then have to run around to different Homegoods locations to find the match.

Dishes in New Homesense store

There is also a huge selection of dishes!  I couldn't think straight because of the crowds but I plan on coming back to dig through these shelves soon!

Entertaining section of Homesense

Just like Homegoods, this section is packed with all kinds of fun entertaining pieces.

Racks of dishes at Homesense

Book section at Homesense

A great book section with one of our favorite blogger books displayed up front!

Storage and Baskets at Homesense

Their storage and basket department was loaded with all kinds of cute pieces, many different things than you would see in the regular Homegoods stores.

Rug Emporium

The rug section or "Rug Emporium" as they call it, was probably my favorite!  There were racks and racks of gorgeous rugs in several sizes...

Rug shopping at Homesense

I have been searching for a new family room rug so I was drawn to the ones with the tans and grays.  So pretty!

Rug selection at Homesense
Loved the fun tribal rug - so soft too!

Rug Emporium at Homesense

Karastan rug in Homesense store

It was nice to see big brands like this Karastan.  Love the blues and greens in this rug!

Magnolia Rug at Homesense

And I found quite a few in the Magnolia line.  I know these will sell fast.  I also saw other great brands like Safavieh too.  So much to choose from!

New Homesense Store in New Jersey

Overall, the store was fabulous!  Once the excitement wears off and the crowds die down a bit, I am going to head back to do some serious shopping!

Are any Homesense stores opening near you?
I'd love for you to follow along so you don't miss a post!


Joining these link parties:
Pieced Pastimes - Saturday Sparks
The SITS Girls - Saturday Sharefest
Sweet Pea - Best of the Weekend
Starfish Cottage - Sundays at Home
Finding Silver Pennies - Silver Pennies Sunday
Inspiration for Moms - Inspiration Monday
Life and Linda - Dishing it and Digging it
Dwellings - Amaze Me Monday
Marilyn's Treats - Over the Moon Party
My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia - Inspire Me Monday
Cedar Hill - The Scoop
Savvy Southern Style - Wow Us Wednesdays
Marilyn's Treats- Wonderful Wednesday
DIY by Design - Fall into Fall
The Essence of Home - Share Your Style
A Delightsome Life - Home and Garden Thursday
Imparting Grace - Grace at Home
Rattlebridge Farm - Foodie Friday and Everything Else
French Country Cottage - Feathered Nest Friday
Inspiration Gallery
Chic on a Shoestring - Flaunt it Friday
The Dedicated House - Make it Pretty Monday
Coastal Charm - Show and Share
A Stroll Thru Life - Inspire Me Tuesday
Tatertots and Jello - Best Friday Features




August 31, 2017

Take Me Away Link Party - September 2017

Well, hello September!  Wow - that summer flew by didn't it?  As always, on the first Friday of each month, I welcome you to link up your travel posts.  We always start a little early so the party is open now!  We are looking forward to seeing where you have been lately...

But before we begin, I want to send my prayers and positive thoughts to the people of Texas.  What they are going through is truly devastating.  Let's all try to donate at least something to help those who were impacted by the storm.  Every little bit helps!  Please also keep Tanya (and her family) from The Other Side of the Road blog in your prayers.  Tanya frequently joins us at the Take Me Away Party with her inspiring travel adventures.  She and her family live in the Houston area and had to evacuate their home due to the flooding.  I can't even imagine what they are going through right now.  If you have a chance, stop by her blog and send her some virtual hugs.  We are praying for you, Tanya!

Take Me Away Travel Link Party

Let's get started with the September party!
  • Please link up to 3 travel posts you have written (new or old - as long as you haven't shared them at the Take Me Away Party before).
  • Please include a link back to my blog.
  • Please don't link ads or giveaways (affiliate links are fine, though!)
  • By joining the party, you give me permission to feature your photo/post on any of my social media networks and this blog.
  • Please Pin from the original source of the photo.
  • Please visit and comment on as many links as you can..after all, it's a party!
Once again, we are off!  Take Me Away!


August 26, 2017

Take Me Away Recap - August 2017

Well, I must admit, I am a little heartbroken over the end of summer approaching.  As much as I love the few crisp and cool evenings we've had, I am not quite ready for fall to arrive.  Don't get me wrong, I love fall.  In fact, I love all the seasons but there is just something about summer ending that makes me a little sad.

Enough about me and my seasonal adjustment issues...let's take a look back at some travel inspiration from the August Take Me Away Party!

If inspiration is what you want, you can't go wrong in Venice!...

Get lost with Pam from Everyday Living as she takes us on a magical tour of Venice, Italy!

Then trot over to From My Carolina Home to visit Lexington, Kentucky...

Come explore Lexington with Carole as she makes her way through fun stores and restaurants in the "horse capital of the world"!

Then we are off to beautiful Vichy, France with Our French Oasis...

Be prepared to be "wowed" by Susan's tour of this gorgeous town!  Looks like another one to add to the "must see" list!

Don't you love to reminisce over all the vacations you have taken?  Our Unschooling Journey did just that and shared it all with us!...


Such a fun idea and a great way to remember all the wonderful memories!

Our Unschooling Journey spent some time this summer in the elegant seaside town of Newport, Rhode Island...

Join her and her boys as they take an educational tour through this exquisite "summer cottage".  What an interesting tour with plenty of fun facts!

And then follow her one more time to Charleston, South Carolina on a trip without the kids!

What a relaxing getaway to the beachy outskirts of the city.  Wait to you see the gorgeous pool.  I would have a hard time leaving the hotel!

And here is an exciting new place I don't think we've covered at the Take Me Away party before...Cartagena de Indias!...

Join Cristina from Remodelando la Casa for a tour of this enchanting Columbian city.  She says it's one of the most beautiful places she has ever been.  The architecture is amazing and you have got to see all her photos of the magnificent doors!

Cristina continues her travels in Columbia to a town called, Nobsa, Boyaca...

Take a tour with Cristina and her sisters to this picturesque town north of Bogota!  

Thank you to everyone who stops by each month!  Whether you are here to link up your own posts or to read others, we always enjoy having you!

Please remember to stop by 
next Friday, September 1st
for the next Take Me Away Link Party!
The party has started!

Take Me Away Travel Link Party

Looking forward to seeing you then!
I'd love for you to follow along so you don't miss a post!


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