Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Review: More Middle Grades Historical Novels from Susan Kilbride

Pop over to The Curriculum Choice to read my review of two more middle to lower high school level historical novels from Susan Kilbride's marvelous Our America series!

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Monday, January 12, 2015

Perchance to Dream: Historic Home in Georgia

I love old houses. If Himself and I had our druthers, we'd live in one. But since I've sworn I'll never move again, it will remain a dream.

Anyway, like most dreamers, I like to drool over the objects of my adoration. Like this one, Panola Hall in Eatonton, Georgia. Now, it's a wee bit out of our price range (ahem!), but still. Isn't it gorgeous?

Built in 1854, Panola Hall is a wonderful example of Greek Revival architecture. There are 12 fireplaces, heart pine floors, pocket doors (which I covet greatly), a spacious kitchen with granite countertops, a large center hall -- quite common in houses of this time period -- and very high ceilings: 12 feet on the main level and 14 feet on the second floor. Oh, and porches! There's even a raised daylight basement with nine-foot ceilings, four large rooms (each with windows and a fireplace), a second kitchen, and a grotto.

Below is a photo of the center hall. I love the color of the walls. Notice how the staircase is located away from either doorway.

The dining room. See the pocket doors peeking out?

The floors are especially gorgeous here in the kitchen:

The master bedroom. Swoon!

Lovely master bath.

The rear facade.

The backyard features a brick carriage path, a domed well house, a fish pond, and several heritage plants.

And it boasts its own "spirit presence of a refined Southern belle," Sylvia. (It's an old Southern home; of course there's a ghost!)

I would certainly put my own stamp on as far as color, curtains, and furnishings go. But oh, what scope for the imagination! For more information (and photos), visit the real estate listing here. The photos come from that site.

Are you entranced with old houses, too?

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Friday, January 9, 2015

Making Plans for Dining Room Curtains

It's time to make plans for curtains in the dining room. The windows have stood naked for far too long. After looking through Country Curtains catalogs and other sources for ready-made ideas, I decided on custom-made curtains for several reasons.

One: the windows feature pretty moldings. It would be a shame to cover them. See?

Two: I have blinds and the header box thingies, which I also like.

Three: I am in love with this fabric, which I've adored since I first caught sight of it at Calico Corners a few years ago:

I think the lighter blue in the background with complement the wall paint color, Opal Silk by Behr, really nicely.

I've contacted a decorator here in my area, and she and I have both texted and talked on the phone. I sent her photos from my Pinterest board, Gorgeous Home, with some ideas of things I like. I'm especially enamored with the idea of finials rather than rods, like so:


I can't wait to get started!

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Thursday, January 8, 2015

Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken: A Pinterest Success!

I love Pinterest. I pin things all the time, and sometimes I actually try them. I have several recipe boards: Tasty Eats and Sips, I Get to Lick the Beaters!, Small Plates, Why, Yes, I WILL Have Another Glass, and Freezer and Crock Pot Meals. A new suppertime favorite came from Tasty Eats and Sips. I've made it twice and everyone here LOVED it (which is actually a minor miracle).

Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken from The Recipe Critic! Here's the link to the recipe.

You should know ahead of time that this recipe is not fast, but it is easy. Also, it's divine! The cornstarch makes a perfect coating, and the sauce is absolutely wonderful. I had all the ingredients on hand, too.

Here are my tips and amendments so you'll know what I did differently:

  • I used a whole bag of Tyson frozen chicken breasts. There were eight of them, but they are on the smaller size, as opposed to fresh breasts.
  • I didn't bother to measure the cornstarch. I just dumped some into a pie plate and added when necessary.
  • The first time I made this, I only needed two eggs. The second time, I needed all three called for. I depends on how many breasts you're using.
  • Your fingers are going to get really goopy. You may want to consider putting the cornstarch in a paper bag and shaking the pieces to coat them. I just rinsed my fingers periodically in warm water, but I'm going to try the bag method next time.
  • I needed more than the 1/4 cup canola oil. I simply added when necessary.
  • I used garlic powder instead of garlic salt in the sauce. We watch our sodium intake around here.
  • I served atop Success Boil in Bag jasmine rice and steamed broccoli for a one-dish meal.

If you decide to print the recipe, copy and paste it into Word, and then copy and paste my tips as well. That way, everything will be together.

My entire family gives this recipe five stars. It's would be delicious any time of the year, but Tiny Girl and I ate ours in front of the fire last night. Then we played a fun game of Scrabble, in which I earned a lifetime personal best (so far) of 63 points on one turn!


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