Buttermilk Bread

Delicious homemade bread. I'm convinced there's nothing that makes a house feel cozier than the smell fresh baked bread. Ever since stumbling upon this recipe on Pinterest, I've made probably 30 times and it never fails to be the best homemade bread I've ever had. We love it. We eat it plain, right out of the oven. Or dipped in butter. It's so good with stews. Or make french toast. Whatever you decide, you can bet it won't last long. Better make 2 loaves while you're at it!


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Summer '16 Part 2-Harvest



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Summer '16 Part 1



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Garden Pie

If you're looking for a great way to use those summer veggies, give this a try!

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Sunday in September


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Summer Pretties

Summer time has never really been my favorite. It's so hot and humid! I decided this year though, to make a list of things that I love that happen during summer, so that hopefully with having things to look forward to, I would enjoy this season a bit more. 

So today I'm sharing one of my joys-flowers straight from my garden! This year I planted zinnias, sunflowers, dwarf dahlias, and poppies. I have harvested so many little bouquets already and summer has just begun. 

I got my first ever peach colored and yellow zinnias! They are so pretty. Also popped in a pic of our first vine ripened tomatoes! Hope you enjoy this peak at the garden. 

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In the Garden: May

Hi friends! Today I wanted to share more about our gardening process with y'all. We get lots of questions from friends and family about this and it's easier to explain if I share pictures of the progress.

We do raised beds and use the concept of square foot gardening instead of traditional rows. There are many reasons for this, but our main ones for choosing this route are that we have less weeds, we plant tighter together (maximizing the crops we grow in a smaller space), and for me, I think raised beds are just prettier. I know the last reason is silly, but I'm motivated by lovely views, and when the garden appeals to me aesthetically, I'm much more likely to spend time there. 

This is our second year of starting our garden from seeds. Our garden has become something that we think and talk about year-round. Back in February, we made a list of all the things we wanted to grow this year. This is where I have to practice a lot of self control, because I want to grow ALL.THE.THINGS!! 

With the success of my flower bed last year, I knew I wanted to grow zinnias again and try my hand at a few other variety of flowers. We also wanted to go with our staples of tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, & squash; but we threw in a few fun things like sweet peas, pumpkins, watermelons and giant sunflowers. 

We ordered our seeds from Burpee and when they arrived we got to work. We like to start our seeds indoors to get a head start on our garden.

This year, we started on March 9. This was a bit later than we planned, but still in the general time frame for the growing zone we're in. We gathered all of our tools on the front porch and called it a party! Everything is more fun when you add music and family! 

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Quiet Morning on the Farm


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Finding Spring

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Spring Bunny

I've been on a crochet kick lately, and have recently gotten into making amigurumi (ami for short). Amigurumi is the art of knitting or crocheting stuffed animals. 


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October Fields

"We take photos as a return ticket to a moment otherwise gone."
-Katie Thurmes 

Each year in the fall, the field in front of our home turns yellow with flowers. On this evening last October, as the sunset was just beginning and the golden light was just so beautiful, I ran inside and grabbed my camera and bribed my child with promises of a popsicle in return for a quick photo session in the flowers. 

She's usually a willing participant for my picture taking, so we set off to the field, not even bothering to brush her tangly hair or wipe the dirt from her face. I wanted to capture her just as she is; a free spirit, a farm kid, living a mostly unplugged childhood. 

These are some of my most favorite pictures ever. They capture the essence of early fall on the farm. 



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DIY Dream Catcher

 Last year Harper asked if I could make her a dream catcher. Being one of those moms who thinks that she can DIY anything with no experience whatsoever, of course I said "sure!"


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Colorado



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Gone Fishing

Once upon a time, I used to add all my pictures from daily events, to birthdays, to crafts I was making, to Facebook's albums; but lately the desire to even log in to fb has been very low. 


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Chocolate Chip Brownies

If you're looking for thick, chewy, chocolaty melt-in-your-mouth perfection, you've come to the right place! 



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Funfetti Cupcakes

Easy, delicious funfetti cupcakes, made from scratch! 

Easy Homemade Funfetti Cupcakes from Katie Gets Creative

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Dark Chocolate Caramels with Sea Salt

Are y'all ready for this? Today's recipe is super easy if you've already made the caramels from yesterday's post. If not, head there first! Or if you wanna do the super easy version, buy store bought caramels. You can totally do that. No judging here! 

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Homemade Goat Milk Caramels

Do you guys watch Alaska the Last Frontier? This is one of my absolute favorite shows. I love how the family tries to live off the land as much as possible, and when it comes to gift giving-well their motto seems to be handmade is better. 

Hubby and I have just finished binge watching the last season, and after watching their Christmas episode, it left me inspired to make more gifts from scratch, or either buy handmade (Etsy sellers, I'm looking at you!) rather than store bought gifts. 

 Since hubby and I aren't really big on celebrating Valentine's Day for one another, I normally wouldn't think about trying to make something; however, HarperLinn loves Valentine's! Since baking & treats are my thing, this year I decided to go Kilcher style and make Bill a gift that he was sure to love.

My goal: make caramels from scratch, and cover them with dark chocolate & sea salt. Piece of cake. Or candy. You know...lol

Homemade Goat Milk Caramels

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Greek Salad



Hi friends! I know a lot of people are on a healthy food kick at the beginning of the year, so I'll be sharing a few of our favorite meals that are on the light side. Despite all the desserts I have posted on here, we don't actually eat sweets everyday! (Though I wish I could!) 

In our house, we don't follow diets like low-cal or low-carb, but instead when we're trying to eat healthier, we aim toward a more paleo-Whole30 type of menu. 

My hubby and I both notice improvements when we're eating a mainly veggie/fruit/meat diet. For me, cutting out most dairy and sugar makes a big difference in how I feel. 

Today I'm sharing our favorite greek salad recipe. This salad is so easy to put together, and with a homemade dressing, you control the amount of sugars and sodium! 

*If you're doing Whole30, leave out the feta cheese and honey in the dressing (honey is fine for paleo!)*


Ingredients:
  • fresh spinach leaves, or your favorite lettuce
  • 2-3 chicken tenders, salmon or tilapia fillets (I use frozen)
  • mushrooms, chopped and sauteed
  • pecans, chopped and toasted
  • black & kalamata olives
  • feta cheese
  • purple onion, thinly sliced
  • cherry tomatoes, halved
  • cucumber, thinly sliced
  • dried cranberries

Dressing: 
  • 1/2 c olive oil
  • 1/4 c balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp mustard
  • 1/2 tbsp honey 
  • Dash of garlic powder & garlic salt, and greek seasoning (to taste) 

Directions:
  1. If you're using a frozen fish or chicken, go ahead and thaw. 
  2. Add all dressing ingredients to a mason jar, and give a good shake. Taste test, and adjust to your liking! I prefer a less sweet, more tangy type dressing, but play around with the ingredients and see what you come up with! 
  3. In a large salad bowl, add your lettuce base. 
  4. Chop your onion & cucumbers (I use my mandoline slicer for this-makes very quick work of the veggies!) and add to the salad.
  5. Put the pecans in a skillet or in your oven on the broil setting. These will only take a few minutes. You'll know they're done when you get the lovely toasted smell. Remove them from heat quickly so they don't burn (watch them closely!), and add to the salad bowl. 
  6. Use the same skillet to saute mushrooms over medium heat with olive oil. Season with salt & pepper, and cook a few minutes until done, then add to the salad bowl. 
  7. Next up, add the thawed meat topped with greek seasoning or salt & pepper, and cook over medium heat with olive oil until cooked through. 
  8. Now that everything is done, we assemble the rest of the salad! Toss on the olives, cranberries, feta, tomatoes and the dressing. Give it a good stir and enjoy! 
 






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I have loved the stars....

We've had some very warm January nights. A few of them we've spent on the front porch, watching the moon rise and the stars appear. This particular night was so lovely, I ran inside to grab my camera and tripod to capture the beauty of it. 

I love watching the night sky. I've always felt that I "come alive" so to speak once the sun sets. My creativity seems to flourish and my mind starts spinning with ideas. 

One of my favorite quotes is listed in the title "I have loved the stars to fondly to be fearful of the night" by Sarah Williams. 

I hope you enjoy these photos. Perhaps they'll encourage you to get out on that next starry night and find your own inspiration from the heavens! 





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Salt Dough Ornaments

Have you tried salt dough ornaments yet? This is a simple and fun recipe to try with kids, but I'm not gonna lie, I would totally do this by myself! 

Just 3 ingredients: all purpose flour, salt, and water.
Mix together and knead the dough until smooth. 
Roll out on a silicone baking mat or parchment paper, cut, bake, & decorate!  



Sounds easy enough, right?!



Little hands...so precious! 


I always like to do a few personal ones, these are the family thumbprints in the large heart.


Had to go ahead and do some bunny ones while we were at it :-)


So once they're baked, they should be completely hard, no mushy or springy feel. When they're cooled, we decorate! 


I use twine for ours, but you could use yarn or other pretty string. 


And we paint! These don't have to be perfect-keep in mind that the more you let the kids do, the funner it will be! 


Done! Use for decor, banners, gift tags, 


Ingredients:
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup salt
  • 3/4 to 1 cup warm water

Instructions:
  1. Mix all together and knead until the dough is very smooth. The longer you knead, the less "sandy" the appearance of the dough and ornaments will be. I like them both, but with less kneading, the ornaments tend to look a bit more rustic. 
  2. Roll out dough on a floured surface, I like mine to be around 1/4" thick. The thinner ones break easier ...(or it could be that my kid is just too rough and drops them often ;-D)
  3. Use a straw or toothpick to make a hole at the top for hanging. 
  4. Bake on parchment paper or silicone mat, in a 200 degree oven until hard, around 2-3 hours usually. 
  5. *I've tried baking at a higher temp, around 300, but every time I've baked this high, mine puff up and have bubbles. This can be cute, but if you don't like surprises, go for a lower temp for a longer time. 
  6. Decorate with glitter & mod podge, craft paints, stamps, however you desire! 


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Snow Day!

It's not often we get a snow (or ice day) in the deep south. But last night Old Man Winter brought us a storm, and we woke up to an iced glazed farm. 

Harper and I didn't even bother changing out of our pajamas; we just bundled up and headed outside to traipse in the ice before it melted. 

The animals were all curious about the cold stuff on the ground. Such a lovely morning! 

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Harper and Dot, and my Etsy dream

Friends, I've been keeping a secret. Not so much a secret if you know me in real life, but an online secret. I've been working non-stop behind the scenes for the last several months to open an Etsy shop for my handmade items!!! 


I've been waiting patiently for years for my little one to be old enough for me to work from home, being more than just a stay-at-home mom. To turn my hobbies and passions into a career. 


A little backstory for you...

You guys know that I love blogging, cooking, baking, knitting, reading, photography and all things crafty, but you might not know my other passions of sewing and embroidery, and monogramming! 


My hubby bought me a sewing and embroidery machine for my birthday in May 2011. I didn't have much time to pursue sewing, as I worked a full time job, and I was also a new knitter and that was my main hobby at the time.  


Fast forward a few months to September, and I became pregnant with our daughter. I set out to learn to sew and use my embroidery machine so that I could monogram everything under the sun. (You know how we Southern women love to personalize our stuff!!)

A few years go by, and it's now 2013 and I've decided that I want to be a stay at home mom and have an embroidery business from home. So in February, I made a leap and bought a BIG machine. I bought supplies and everything I'd need to run a shop. But, I still hadn't quit my full time job yet.


It's now June 2013 and I've just become a SAHM to a spirited almost one year old. This girl is busier than I ever thought a child could be. I put my daydreams aside to focus on being a great mom, wife, friend, and family member. 


During this time my grandmother (Dot) was very sick. I knew we likely wouldn't have much more time with her. I, along with other family members, helped out by carrying her to dialysis several times a week.  This time was very special to me. My granny was the one that taught me to sew when I was five years old. I spent almost every weekend at her house when I was growing up. To be able to help her, and have her spend time with my daughter was priceless for me. 


For months I'd been keeping my daydream on the back burner, but that didn't mean that I wasn't planning in my head. I needed a business name. As I was thinking and trying names on for size, one name came to me, and stuck in my head. Harper & Dot. My daughter and my grandmother. It was so perfect. The one that inspired me, and the one that taught me. 

In January of the following year (2014), my beloved granny passed away. My desire to begin my business named in honor of her, grew. In April I registered my business name and made a Facebook page, but wasn't ready to take the leap just yet. A few months went by, and I let some friends and family know my plans, but it never took off, mostly because I couldn't find the time with an extremely active almost-2-year old, and also because I can be terribly shy (what!?!) and lack confidence. Once again, I set aside my plans.


Jumping ahead again, to 2016. My daughter turned 4. This age has finally been the magic number. I could craft WITH her, instead of around her. She became super interested in my projects and could hang out in my craft room while I worked. I told my hubby, I think this is it! I think I can finally try to open my shop that I've been waiting on for YEARS! 


So that leads us to here! I've made products, I've taken photos, I've bit my fingernails from nervousness. But I've done it. I set up a shop. I re-published my Facebook page. And now, I'm announcing it here. 


Friends, I welcome you to my new venture, Harper & Dot. A shop of handmade and personalized gifts. I sew, I crochet, I embroider. This is only the beginning! I have so much more planned for the upcoming year to offer in my shop. Buntings, monogrammed pillow covers, t-shirts! 

Please come by for a visit. Harper & Dot, and if you have an idea for something, message me, and I'll see if we can create something just for you! 


And I won't be neglecting this blog either, in case you were wondering. I've got big plans to show up here and share new recipes with you a few times a week.


Thanks for coming by and if you've read this far, THANK YOU! 










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