Total Pageviews

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Orange Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake

My family loves a cheesecake and when presented with a selection of desserts for an occasion or birthday, it it often the choice.
Last  Sunday was no exception, the request was for a Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake, but I had a little something up my sleeve
Do you have a Trader Joe's in your area?
We have two of their stores and last Christmas we discovered their Chocolate oranges....
 This year my husband requested  one (or more) for Christmas, they are a hot item so I had to run over a couple of old ladies to get them....
Anyway, I had an inspiration when I was making that cheesecake and using these flavors I created the
(insert dramatic music)

Orange Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake.

This recipe makes a 9 inch cheesecake.

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate morsels  
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup butter- melted
16 oz cream cheese- softened
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
4 eggs- at room temperature
Zest of one orange, finely chopped
2 tablespoons of FRESH orange juice (from the orange you just zested)

Melt the chocolate and 1/2 cup sugar in a double boiler, stir until smooth and allow to cool to room temp

Combine graham cracker crumbs with 2 tablespoons of sugar, add melted butter. press into the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan.

Beat cream cheese until smooth.
Add 3/4 cup sugar, followed by sour cream. Mix well.
Add eggs, one at a time and continue to mix well.
Add zest and orange juice, combine well.

Now you must divide your batter in half.
Add the chocolate mixture to one half of the batter.

Pour chocolate mixture into the cracker lined springform pan, followed by plain mixture.
Swirl to create marbleized effect.

Bake for about 50 minutes, until set.

cool in refrigerator overnight or a few hours... then

That is exactly what they did....
they ate it and left me with one slightly misshapen piece to photograph...

Crooked and cracked, but still yummy!
I guess the proof is in the pudding cheesecake, it was delicious and they ate every bite of it...


Friday, February 25, 2011

Why We Homeschool..

Today I am going to stray from the beaten path and talk about homeschooling,  specifically why we dicided to homeschool .
My husband and I decided to homeschool in 2002. He was diagnosed with a rare form of  cancer in late 2001. He has Chondrosarcoma, which is essentially a cancer that is caused by tissues that make cartilage.
It was, as you can immagine a terrible year, followed by other terrible years....but in the midst of it we made some changes in our life.
Thant's what cancer (or any other serious situation) does to you. We saw some things more clearly and things which were once importat, instantly became less important.
I never thought I would homeschool my children, never. I was a busy woman with a career path in nursing. I loved my family no doubt, but never thought I would (or could)  want to do such a thing. I had friends that homeschooled and I used to say, You are crazy" or "not me!"
 I was very inpressed with their children though, there was something that stood out as different from other children....(including mine).
We never really had trouble with teachers or with the school system, we did try to get our kids in year round system here, but were turned down.
One issue we struggled with was that as our children became older, peers became so much more important.
Now, I am not so strange to think that peers are not important to the development of chikldren, but they statred thinking that what their friends said or did was more important than what their dad or I said or did...sound familiar? We struggled with this, even though we never had big problems with our kids, they were pleasant and obedient kids.
After the diagnosis, we had no idea what the future had in store for us ( do any of us really?), nor did the doctors.
We heard,  "5 years" and " this will be treated like a chronic illness"....We are at 10 years and still going...
The truth is that no one knew what to tell us, this disease is so rare.
I started to think about time, how much time we had and what should I do with it?
I worried.
I wondered.
I started to think that I had missed out on oppurtunities to teach my kids certain things, things I wanted them to know.
Personally, I am not one that believes that public school and religion go together. We live in such a diverse country, a country where you are free to have whatever religion you desire, or not to have one at all. Teachers come from all differnt kinds of backgrounds and faiths as well. While my belief is that there is one true God and that salvation only comes through his son, Jesus, others do not feel this way. God does not force that on folks and neither do I. ( I do believe that kids should be allowed to express their faith)
I believe that is for the parents to teach and that WE ae primarily responsible to teach it to our kids, not even the church bears as much responsibility.
So I began to feel the nudge inside to homeschool my kids...I wanted them near me and their father. I wanted to hang on to our family unit and nourish it. It was a total transformation on my part.
I had a problem though and that was my JOB. I worked at that time, weekday nights, 3 twelve hour shifts per week.
That would not work with homescholing.
So I put in my request to go to weekend option ( working only weekends) and told God that if he got me the position, I would take all 4 of my kids out of public school and homeschool them. This was a daunting task because there was a waiting list, and my oldest was going into 9th grade, followed by 7th, 4th and 2nd grades....!
As you can imagine I was nervous. Before I knew it, I was offered the position! Just in time to register my kids with the state for the next year....
What had I gotten myself into???
But I knew he had answered that prayer and we dived into it headfirst!
Did we blunder and stumble? Oh yea!
But. it has been one of the best decisions we have ever rmade.
Was it easy?
Yes and no.
God changed my heart, so I didn't miss the idea of a career in nursing. He is still moving me toward something different, this blog is a part of that.
All of the kids reacted differently to being taken out of school. My daughter, the social butterfly. had the worse time. We prayed together and cried together. I told her to pray about it, which she did. I told her I would pray and that if God told me to put her back then I would. By the end of the year she was a changed young lady, thrilled with the idea of being home and loving the choices we had made.
Josh, who was going to high school was fine with being home, as were the others...
 I have been doing this for almost 10 years. Our next son will graduate this year, a fine young men, with a heart for service and for God... I know we made the right decision. We have a married daughter, ( who is a cosometologist  ) and a son that works and serves in many areas. Our last child will graduate in 3 years!
My husband still has this cancer, but God has been faithful. He is still able to work, you would not know he is sick if you didn't ask. We have had to learn to trust God for EACH day and that is our story, so much gaind and nothing lost. Nothing.
I hope to talk more about homeschooling as we go along on this journey. We will talk issues, curricula and how to teach certain subjects. I am not any kind of expert, so I may ask others to join in on our conversation.

If you are considering homeschooling, I encourage you to do it.
Feel free to tell me  your story! I would love to hear it!


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Birthday Tablescape

Hi everyone!
I have been a busy girl lately, shopping for furniture and fabric with my friend Sonya, an auction, a little painting and deconstructing a couple of chairs ( so I can re-construct them). I have also been busy with set design and planning for the upcoming CYT production of "Beauty and the Beast".
Trouble is, nothing is completed. I am also trying to keep house and school my boys....
I need a vacation!
We stopped everything last Sunday, the entire family gathered here and we celebbrated Ben's birthday. I asked him if  I could set the table, he is such a good sport and actually ( don't tell anyone), enjoyed it.
He choose the green depression glass plates and I started creating.
Since he did not want anything pink or frilly I choose my basic off white plates to go with the green depression glass. I am also 'thinking Spring' so I choose a color pallete of black, white, yellow and green.

I have a great book of  black and white scrapbook paper, so I used the various patterns as chargers!

Polka dot love!!

mismatched silver...
green depression glass in different patterns...

A yellow centerpiece

 Lemons and limes in milk glass...

We enjoyed the company, fellowship and food!
( Orange Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake recipe comming later!)

have I mentioned how much I love depression glass?
I love it with patterened china, you can still see the pattern!

Have a great day!
 Linking with:

Monday, February 21, 2011

Color Palette: Green and White

If you are like me, you are anticipating the arrival of springtime! It has been warm around here, in the 70's on Friday and  simply wonderful!!
I love the brilliant green color of budding leaves, and the way it brightens everything, taking the dreary gloom out of the days.
I use green throughout my home, it reminds me of spring and warm sunny days. if you are thinking about color consider green and it's natural counterpart, white.
The combination is fresh and can be paired with any other color, from cool tones of blue and pink, vibrant reds and oranges to warm browns and even black. Green is incredibly versatile!

First some images of green and white in my own home:

With grey walls...


This is an image I took in Boon NC, when we were looking at wedding venues for our daughter. Isn't it lovely?

This is not my home, and I do not know the source...perhaps Benjamin Moore?


Showhouse contemporary family room
The next few images are from Houzz, if you have not checked this site out, make sure you run right over there!

Family Living Areas  family room
I love the freshness of these images.


Houston Estate eclectic kitchen
Oh, I love this one!

Green Room traditional bathroom

Country Living

                          My Home Ideas

House Beautiful

Better Homes and Gardens

I am in love with these chairs, I think I will go paint a chair green!
Just a touch of green ....

I love how they painted the inside of the cabinets. The white pieces really stand our as design elements.
unknown source

Decor Pad

House Beautiful

Tal Goldstein eclectic home office
How about painting a piece of furniture?
Image from Houzz.

Portfolio eclectic bathroom
This image from Houzz, is not particularly to my taste. I love the painted cabinet, white sink and mirror...everything except the wallpaper. Imagine this room painted a seene white.....

If you don't want to paint and need some Spring, go buy yourself flowers!
Don't wait for your hubby to do it for you!

Green Spider Mum - Fine Art Macro Metallic Photograph 5 x 7
 Or get a beautiful piece of art! This is a photograph, you can purchase it here.

Yoko Ono mums...

 Until tomorrow and wishing you a happy {almost Spring} day!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Inspiration Board for Alyssa and Franks Wedding

I thought I would share the inspiration board I created last year for my daughter's wedding.
She wanted the wedding to have a vintage feel. She told me" I want it to feel like our home".
That was easy for me, I had figured she would want a modern minimalistic event....
We wanted to use milk glass, old china, hydrangeas and peonies. I already had some milk glass, but i then got busy searching high and low for china, (mostly pre WWII) , depression glass, old silver and more milk glass! Fun, fun , fun...
  The interesting thing is that we had searched all over the state of NC for the perfect wedding venue but were feeling that we would never find anything..
I kept reminding them that God had the perfect place for the wedding,He just hadn't shown us what it was yet.
at work one evening, I was lamenting that we had no found anything.
A co-worker asked me if we had looked at the Wagner House (never heard of it), so we went and looked and she was smitten with it. ( Frank was OK as well, he just wanted to get married!)
The best part is that inside of the home, there were chandeliers..just like the ones in my home.. AND
it was opposite the Clayton Center.
Frank and Alyssa had met and begun to fall for one another in the Clayton Center, crazy huh?
God really does care about the details of our lives...
I hope to share some more details of the planning of a wedding or event with you. we did much of it ourselves, including the invitations and flowers, which helped keep costs down.

I created this at, , so if you are planning an event, head over there and start planning!

I am linking with:

Vintage Inspiration Friday

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Design Ideas: Bathroooms

I love a beautiful bathroom, don't you?
Bathrooms are functional and practical but that does not mean that it can not be stunning to behold.
It also does not mean that you have to spend a gazillion dollars to get a high end look.

Here are some ideas that I have gathered for you from Better Homes and Gardens.

Add a Beautiful Mirror a gorgeous frame over and existing builder's grade mirror...

Use white fixtures.

I love white in a bathroom, it is versatile and fresh.

When you get tired of a color you can just....

( Although this is not paint, you could easily paint a room this color, it would be way easier to change when you get tired of it)

Everything that would be expensive to change is is white!
Color creates a mood in  a room.

Add  breathtaking lighting

(Notice the basic essentials are... white)

Add freestanding pieces to the room
a vanity just for you...
(love this stool!)

or a pop of color

Add accessories:
simple jars with soaps.

Use wicker baskets to organize

roll your towels and use as a display...

One of my favorite things to do with a claw foot tub is to paint it..

( I also adore this floor tile)

Finally something that I love, vintage glam:

Or a touch of vintage industrial:

How sweet is this?

Until tomorrow!