Your πŸŽ…πŸΌ Advent πŸ•― Calendar πŸŽ„ ~ Day 9

Hello my lovely friends πŸ’• I hope you’re enjoying the beginning of a fabulous weekend! πŸ˜ƒ

The surprise behind Door # 9 combines two of my favorite things 😍

Books and Gingerbread…take a look at ‘Hogwarts Castle’ made entirely out of Gingerbread

Breathtaking, isn’t it?! 😍

Have fun today πŸ˜ƒ

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Fantastic ~ Bake ~ Along – Apples!

Hello my lovely friendsΒ Β πŸ’• It’s that time again…Time for the ‘Fantastic Bake Along’ hosted by our lovely friend Tracy over at It’s a T-Sweets Day Every month Tracy inspires a long list of friends to do some baking. Usually we all bake one thing….but this month she just gave us a theme: ApplesΒ Β Β πŸ˜ƒΒ  ~ inspired by Connie’s @ Connie’s Creations Applesauce Cake. I decided to follow Connie’s recipe for the Applesauce cake…and I strongly advise you to do the same. That cake is absolutely fabulous! We had some for dessert last night, and right after hubby was already planning the size of the slice for breakfast! πŸ˜‚

Doesn’t it look amazing?

image Oh…btw…I didn’t put icing on…I was a little too generous with the flour when I prepared the pan. 😝

Throughout the weekend I saw a lot of mouthwatering Apple Recipes…Tracy’s Award winning Apple Pie, Apple Waffles, Apple Scones, Apple/Prosciutto/Parmesan Wraps…just to name a few.

Take a look…

Brenna’s Apple/Proscuitto/Parmesan Wraps Kathy’s Apple Waffles Kate’s Apple Scones AJ’s Gluten- and Dairy Free Applesauce Cake Abbey’s Apple Coffee Cake *There are more wonderful bakers – but thanks to the Shenanigans of either WordPress or my Laptop – or maybe it’s a combined effort –Β  the links show up as weird letter combos and hieroglyphs. Pfft…
y and Brenna have the full list posted if you wanna check out and enjoy the whole Apple deliciousness of this month.

Everything looks so delicious that I will definitely bake my way down the list. Meanwhile,Β this cake will definitely be a staple in this house, and once you make it (just follow the ‘Applesauce Cake’ link up there  ⬆️ ) you will feel the same. I promise!

Now I’m off to the kitchen…got some more baking to do. See – it’s Lorelai’s Birthday – and every year I spoilΒ  her with her favorite peanutbuttery Doggy-licious cookies😍

Happy Birthday, Lorelai!

She keeps looking at me – I think she knows what’s coming! 😁

Thank you for stopping by today! πŸ’•

I wish all of my US friends a happy, joyful, peaceful Thanksgiving Celebration! 😍

Sending SmilesΒ πŸ™‚ HugsΒ Β πŸ€— and LoveΒ πŸ’œ your way! 😘

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Fantastic Bake-Along – Chili/Chocolate Bread πŸ˜

Hello my lovely friends πŸ’•

It’s that time of the month again 😁 Time for our ‘Fantastic Bake-Along’

The lovely Tracy, host of the baking weekends and the fabulous quilter/writer of the awesome It’s a T-Sweets Day blog, picked one of my bread recipes to be the 🌟Star🌟 of this month’s event. 😊
If you missed my post on Tuesday…you can find it and the recipe here πŸ˜Š

Tracy already posted her baking result…and even her recipe for hand-mixing/oven baking πŸ˜Thank you for that, Tracy! πŸ€—

I just saw that Emma from Emma Crafts Design is already done baking 😊 and it looks like she loves it! 😍

Hold on….Lucia is done too πŸ˜ƒ You have to see what her little helper did when Mom wasn’t watching πŸ˜…

If you like to join the fun next month….just visit Tracy’s blog, and let her know. Go ahead – you know you want to. 😁

Let me know if you baked/liked this bread  πŸ™‚ 

I’ll be back later with the ‘Weekend Chuckle’ πŸ™ƒ

Until then πŸ’•

A Bug, Β Two Hats, and Three Squares πŸ˜

Hello my lovely friends  πŸ’• 

Word of advice….if you’re squeamish – scroll by the first picture real fast 😝 

Okay – you have been warned πŸ˜‰

A Bug 

This weird, but somehow very fascinating, creature was hanging out by our front door yesterday 😳


I had never seen one in ‘real life’ …just photos. They really do look like sticks, especially since this one had a leaf stuck to it. 😁 Just the feelers – moving frantically- gave it away. 

Two Hats 

I love Pixie Hats 😍 So this week I gathered up my courage, and finally gave it a try…

First I made a Toddler size one…using an easy pattern from Two Little C’s

The yarn is ‘Fruity Stripes’ from Red Heart’. Not usually my choice for wearable accessories/clothing, but I love the colors. And like my daughter pointed out…’It definitely is water-repellent’ πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

For the second one I wanted to use a yarn from my stash – Lion Brand ‘Landscapes Tropics’

It is an acrylic yarn, but looks and feels like wool (without the scratchy-ness πŸ˜‰) and it’s machine washable. 

I knew I didn’t have enough for the pattern, so I started at the band, and worked my way up. I decreased as I saw fit…and am proud to report that it worked on the first try. 

If I ever manage that again 😊 there will be a written pattern. 

Three Squares 

Two, three weeks ago I started on a new ‘Gypsy Cardigan’. I always use the ‘Mandala Cakes’. It was a struggle from the beginning, because the colors/lengths didn’t match from one cake to the next. But somehow I made it work. πŸ˜„ So I had matching squares

On to the contrasting triangles. Ha – you’d think ‘yellow and grey…pretty neutral colors. Easy peasy’. Well, no! Not true πŸ˜– Nothing seemed to work

No green-ish, no purple, no teal…I now have enough triangles to make a separate cardigan πŸ˜‚

I took everything apart, and thought ‘I’ll make a shawl’. A quick border, seams – done! 

Nope πŸ˜• Colors look ok…but there’s a lot of puckering going on 

I’m beginning to think that these squares don’t wanna be anything …except maybe a pillow in a ’70s german living room 😜


See it there…on the right…on top of the couch. πŸ˜‚

I’m not giving up though. Something will come to me. 😁

Alrighty – that’s all for today 😊 Oh, one more thing…I’d like to send you into the weekend with a little chuckle 


πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

Have a fabulous Friday πŸ’• 

I’m sending Love ❀️ Smiles πŸ˜ƒ and Hugs πŸ€— your way, and hope to see you tomorrow for the ‘Fantastic Bake Along’s Chili/Chocolate Bread’! 

Attention Chocolate Lovers πŸ’• Chili/Chocolate Bread AheadΒ 

Hello my lovely friends πŸ’• Are you ready for some baking? 😊 Then I have a treat for you! 

No tricks, just some deliciousness πŸ‘»

I love to experiment in the kitchen. So when I was ready for a new breakfast bread – the Raisin Bread got a bit boring – and came across a Chocolate/Chili bar at a store…it all came together.😍I picked up some chocolate chips (Ghirardelli Bittersweet) – that’s all I needed, everything else is always in the house. 😁

That was a few weeks ago. I mentioned it in a post here, and the lovely Tracy – awesome quilter, fabulous blogger, and all around a wonderful person – asked if I would like this bread to be the πŸ’«StarπŸ’« of this month’s ‘Fantastic Bake-Along’. 😊 Needless to say, I was thrilled to say ‘Yes!’ 

If you don’t just wanna bake this bread, but also share it with the rest of the ‘Fantastic Bakers’, please let Tracy know, and she’ll include you in the list. πŸ˜ƒ She will even send you a reminder every month – like I said…a wonderful person! 😍 All you have to do is head over to her blog It’s a T-Sweets Day and let her know. πŸ˜€ I hope you decide to join us, and share your beautiful baking results with us. πŸ€—

Alrighty…now to the recipe for the 

Chocolate/Chili Bread 

I made it in my bread machine. If you do the same, place all the ingredients, in this order, in the bread pan fitted with the kneading paddle 

For a small loaf (1 lb.)

Milk, room temperature  –   3/4 cup

Unsalted Butter, room temperature, 1/2″ pieces  –    1/4 cup 

1 egg

Salt.  –  1/2 tsp.

Granulated Sugar  –  2 Tbsp.

Bread Flour   –  2-1/4 cups

Chili Powder   –  1-1/2 tsp. 

Yeast, active dry, instant, or bread machine   – 1-1/2 tsp.

Select the ‘Basic/White’ program, 1 lb., and your desired crust color, and start the machine. When the mix-in tone sounds, add 1 cup chocolate chips. 

Note: The Ghirardelli chips have a very intense chocolate taste. The Chili therefore is just an aftertaste…a mild ‘burn’. To intensify the Chili flavor you might wanna use Milk Chocolate Chips. 😊

Cool completely on a wire rack before slicing. 

I wish I could give you Hand Mixing Instructions here, but I have no experience in yeast-bread baking outside my bread machine 😌 I looked through all my cookbooks…none of the recipes has the needed ingredients listed. 

So…fellow bakers…if you have a trusted recipe that can be used here, please let me know. I will gladly include it. ☺️

Happy baking! I’m looking forward to seeing your bread, and can’t wait to hear what you think of this concoction  creation 😁

Now head over to Tracy’s blog, and tell her you wanna join us! 😘

Sending Love ❀️, Smiles πŸ™‚, and Hugs πŸ€— 

Baking, Books, and a Few Random Things

Hello my lovely friends  πŸ’• I hope you’re having a great Monday! πŸ˜ƒ  No…I’m not being sarcastic – I really mean it.

But – just in case you need a little pick-me-up…here’s a little penguin doing the splits

Feel better? 😍 Ready for some shenanigans? πŸ˜‰

Here we go…

   1. This past weekend Tracy @ It’s a T-Sweets Day hosted another ‘Fantastic Bake-Along’. πŸ˜ƒ
This month’s recipe was generously shared by Kate @ Life, Tea and Everything
She made some scrumptious cookies from a recipe her beloved Grandma used to spoil her loved ones.

I did not participate this month, because cookies in the house result in my eating every single one, which results in pants not fitting (true story!  πŸ˜œ ) which results in having to buy new pants…which I hate.  So I just enjoyed dreaming about the deliciousness, while reading the recipe  πŸ€” I hope you will make some, and let me know how you liked them.

Here’s the wonderful recipe

 Grandma Thompson’s Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies 

1 cup shortening
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup boiling water
2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup chopped nuts
6 oz chocolate chips

Important: Follow recipe closely as results depend greatly on order of addition of ingredients!

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Beat shortening, sugars, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add flour and salt. Mix well. Dissolve baking soda in boiling water. Add to flour mixture. Stir in rolled oats, nuts, and chocolate chips.

Drop from teaspoon onto ungreased cookie sheet, 2 inches apart. Flatten with fork dipped in cold water.

Bake 10-12 minutes. Makes approximately 7 dozen.

Thanks again to Tracy @ It’s a T-Sweets Day  for hosting this great event every month. If you like to join

Tami @ Tanglewood Knots

Kate@ Life, Tea and Everything

Brenna @ Crochet539

and other great bloggers in the Bake-Along just go to Tracy’s page, let her know, and she’ll include you in her list of bakers. I’m looking forward to future Bake-Alongs and hope you will join us.

     2. Books – Lately I’m having a really hard time finding books that grab (and hold) my interest. Especially new books in series I used to love are, more often than not, sleep aides. πŸ˜• Did you notice that too? Or am I becoming ornery? πŸ€“

A few weeks ago I did find a new (to me) series that I love. I read book 1 – 3 in less than 2 weeks. On some nights they kept me up longer than is good for me. πŸ˜› 

If you’re interested – the series is called ‘The Southern Ghost Hunter Series‘* by Angie Fox. If you don’t mind spooky, ghostly appearances you should give it a try. ☺️ The characters are very likable, the ghosts not too terribly scary, and it’s set in the beautiful South. 

I held off on book 4 only because I found a book by one of my favorite authors at a booksale. Somehow it had slipped through my radar…I hadn’t read it yet.

 Aaaaaaand …. I didn’t finish it. I’m not going to name author or title – but, oh boy, what a doozy. Repeating paragraphs – once or twice I thought I had lost my page because the same sentences kept appearing 😳 and booooring. 😴

I didn’t even skip to the end to find out who the killer was…’cause I’m convinced the ‘victim’ didn’t actually die. He faked his death to get out of this story. πŸ˜‰

Now off to some ghost hunting…Book 4 is waiting. 😁

    3.  ‘Feronia’ the Poncho is (almost) finished 😍 

I got a little carried away crocheting the squares, so it’s a bit too long…see 

 I’m horrible at ‘Selfie-taking’ πŸ˜† but you get the idea 

I actually had to add a wide border to the neckline so it wouldn’t slide down, and pool by my feet πŸ˜›

Then I added ‘Picots’ to the neckline and bottom edge – Thank you, Tracy, for the idea πŸ’•

 
…a drawstring….just in case πŸ˜‰ – and tassels 

Now I just gotta weave in the ends 😐 and I’m done! 

    4. I started another Poncho – this time I’m keeping the squares smaller. As soon as that one is done, and actual Poncho length, I’ll write out the pattern and share it with you. πŸ€—

   5. I did do some baking yesterday. Usually I bake a raisin bread on Sundays…for a quick breakfast during the week. We did get a little tired of it, so I thought something different is in order. From time to time I like to experiment in the kitchen – so- inspired by my favorite chocolate- I made a Chili/Chocolate Chip bread. 😁 

And it’s awesome (if I may say so myself…but hubby thinks so too πŸ˜‹) You don’t taste the Chili at first, just the chocolate, but it leaves kind of a pepper-y aftertaste. 

I will share the recipe within the next few days. πŸ€“

   6. I mentioned yesterday that I’m going shopping – for more yarn 😜 It was quite a successful trip 


And that is all for today 😊 Thank you so much for visiting and reading all the way down to here 😘

I’m sending you Love, Hugs, and Smiles πŸ’•

* I am not affiliated with the author/publisher/product mentioned here ☺️ I just really like the books and the yarn. 

The Fantastic Bake ~AlongΒ 

Hello my lovely friends πŸ’• Today you’re in for a real treat! A delicious bread is on the menu for this weekend’s ‘Fantastic Bake~Along’ 😍


 Don’t you just love baking your own bread? The fantastic smells coming out of the kitchen spell love and comfort πŸ’œ I love how everyone gathers around aiming for that first slice. πŸ€—

Doesn’t that look delicious? I bet you can’t wait to get started! πŸ˜‹

Here is the recipe:
Whole Grain Bread – makes 1 loaf

Recipe by Kathy Reeves @ Sewing Etc.

Bread Machine Instructions– Use the dough setting. Add the ingredients in this order

8 oz. tepid water

1 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons butter  ~ I used Sunflower Butter 

2 Tablespoons honey

2 Tablespoons wheat bran  ~ I used steelcut oats 

2 Tablespoons wheat germ

2 teaspoons flax seed  

ΒΌ cup whole wheat flour

2 ΒΌ cup white flour

1 package or 2 Β½ teaspoons yeast

Optional: Raisins or chopped nuts (This is not part of the original recipe…it’s just what I do 😁)

Punch down the dough, roll into a rectangle, and roll up from the short end like a jelly roll, pinching the ends and edge to seal. Place, seams side down in a greased loaf pan. Cover; let rise in warm, draft free place until doubled in size, about 45-60 minutes.
Bake at 400 degrees F for 30 minutes or until done. Remove from pans; cool on wire rack.

Hand Mixing Instructions-
In a large bowl mix very warm water (105 degrees), butter, honey and salt until dissolved. Add yeast, set aside for 5 minutes to proof.

Stir in wheat bran, wheat germ, flax seed and whole wheat flour.
Stir in enough white flour to make a soft dough, then turn out and knead on a lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic. You will probably use all of the white flour as you knead for 8-10 minutes. Place in a lightly greased bowl, cover and let rise about one hour.

Punch down the dough, roll into a rectangle, and roll up from the short end like a jelly roll, pinching the ends and edge to seal. Place, seams side down in a greased loaf pan. Cover; let rise in warm, draft free place until doubled in size, about 45-60 minutes.
Bake at 400 degrees F for 30 minutes or until done. Remove from pans; cool on wire rack.
**How do you know when the bread is done? Knock on the loaf, and if it sounds hollow, it is done or nearly there! 

This time I added the raisins, and the yeast worked some of them to the top…and, I guess, the moisture turned them back into grapes πŸ˜‚

I had to pick them off – they tasted a bit burned 😝

But the rest of the wonderful loaf was in fantastic shape πŸ˜†

If there’s any left we’ll have it with a layer of honey for breakfast tomorrow. 😍

If you wanna join us next month, visit Tracy’s Blog to sign up. We’re looking forward to having you! 😍
Here’s her invite…


Alright…..clean-up time 😣 Then I’ll get your ‘Weekend Chuckles’ posted πŸ˜† I hope you can make time and stop by again later. πŸ˜€

Until then πŸ’•

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