Roadside Watermelon

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I’m a pretty content chick.
I stay pretty happy and just go with the flow.
But, one thing makes me EXTRA happy every year!
Do you know what makes me so happy?
Roadside WATERMELON sales!!
Love, love, love summer in Arkansas!
I’m in the Capitol city of Arkansas, Little Rock.
This time of year, farmers from more rural counties bring truckloads of watermelons into the city to sell, and I. LOVE. IT.
Love it, love it, love it soooo much!
I love how fresh and flavorful the melons are.
I love how friendly the farmers are.
I love the big hand painted signs that get used year after year.
I love all of it so much!
I know, Arkansas grows lots of rice, soybeans (edamame), peaches, pecans, pumpkins, and more here, and I love them, too, but it’s the WATERMELONS that get me really excited!
Right now, as I type, I know of multiple locations that are starting to sell Arkansas watermelons and I’m SO EXCITED!
As a family of 5, we’ll eat one or two a week every week until the season ends and my beloved watermelon trucks are replaced by my also beloved pumpkin trucks.
It’s officially watermelon season in Arkansas!
I Live it!

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PS
This post will link with some great blog hops this week!
Pop into the parties at these links:
ArkansasWomenBloggers ~ Sunday Link Up
SavvySouthernStyle ~ Wow Us Wedsnesdays #181

Blueberry Pretzel Salad!

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Happy Sunday, y’all! How was your weekend? Ours was awesome! Yesterday, I went to an estate sale, had lunch at Purple Cow diner and then spent the afternoon with Mitch, our girls, my dad, Tammy, and a few nephews. Today, I visited another estate sale this morning and bought a cute little hand painted bowl, grocery shopped, have had a parade of my daughters’ friends stopping by to see Abigail’s newly redecorated room, and am now making this yummy, yummy treat!

This year, we grew enough blueberries to eat a few fresh, shared some with the birds (not by choice), and we froze the rest. Today, we decided to put some to use in a BLUEBERRY PRETZEL SALAD! It’s great as a snack or dessert!

Using whatever fruit is seasonal, make a delicious Jell-O dessert that is sweet, savory, creamy and crunchy by adapting this easy recipe:

Ingredients:
3 cups crushed pretzels
1 cup melted butter
4 tablespoons sugar, plus 3/4 cup sugar
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese
1 (8 oz) container whipped topping
1 (6 oz) packages Berry Blue Jell-O gelatin dessert mix
2 cups boiling water + 2 cups cool water
1 pound of frozen blueberries (mine are from my garden, frozen)

Easy Instructions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Make Jell-O with water per package instructions.
Take off burner and stir in blueberries. Set aside to cool.
For the crust, mix the pretzels, butter, and the 4 tablespoons of sugar.
Press pretzel mixture into a 9 by 13-inch pan and bake for 7 minutes.
Set aside on wire rack to cool.
In a mixing bowl, beat together cream cheese and 3/4 cup sugar
Fold whipped topping into the cream cheese mixture.
Once crust and Jell-O is cool you are ready to put your salad together!
On pretzel crust, spread cream cheese mixture evenly then pour Jello with strawberries on top
Refrigerate for 3-4 hours until well set.

Notes:
Please be sure to spread cream cheese mixture evenly and up against the edges of the pan…this will ensure that the Jell-O will not seep to the bottom under the pretzel crust. Also, kids LOVE helping with several steps of this recipe! Enjoy!

(For the strawberry version from which this was adapted, visit Strawberry Pretzel Salad at Women Living Well.)

Your Friend,
~Amber Hamilton Henson

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PS
This post will link with some great blog hops this week!
Pop into the parties at these links:
ArkansasWomenBloggers ~ Sunday Link Up
my1929charmer ~ Sunday’s Best Par-Tay #64
Rattlebridge Farm ~ Foodie Friday

Abigail’s Room, 100 yards of Fabric Later!

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It’s been really hot (for Arkansas) during the last few days with heat indexes over 100* and intense humidity, but we’re having some sort of unusual cold front today and tomorrow with temps only in the 80s. It’s so nice! I’ve turned off our AC, turned on fans, and opened the windows for the day!

My 100 yards of sheer “butterfly” chiffon/voile fabric that I ordered online from Ronnie Home Textile for daughter Abigail’s windows and canopies arrived. (Abigail is nine years old.) The fabric is even better than I anticipated it to be from the photos online! It’s soooo soft and drapes splendidly! Abigail LOVES the vibrant butterfly design that repeats up both sides of the fabric!

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Then, our project began! Lol! Oh, my!! I totally underestimated just how much time it would actually take ME to cut and sew all of these panels! (We covered one big wall of windows, and made floor to ceiling canopies for the two daybeds in her room! = 15 white butterfly panels that are floor to ceiling length, 4 solid hot pink panels of the same length, and 4 turquoise butterfly canopy panels at 27′ each!) Wow! Not having a proper studio space, I scooted our dining room and laid it all out on the floor and then took to sewing on the kitchen counter. We were destined to eat fast food for dinner a time or two, but the outcome was worth the sacrifice! I made pretty good time, though, and got it all done in less than three days only working sporadically with three daughters underfoot. That three day time period also included making the three long wall curtain rods!

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I used glass doorknobs and electrical conduit as curtain rods to mimic the ones I liked at a Bedding and Bath big box store. Theirs were like $129 each for the lengths we needed; we made them for about $12 each! The conduit came in ten foot lengths, we left one full length and trimmed two of them to eight feet, spray painted black satin (in our driveway) to cover the steel and brass, then epoxied the door knobs into the conduit! Yay! Easy, peasey, and saved hundreds of dollars!!

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Her room is actually painted a vibrant purple, which only shows here and there. Her room is mostly fabric, now! It’s amazing! I told her it reminded me of the inside of Jeannie’s bottle. She had no idea what I was talking about. Apparently, she’s never seen the show “I Dream of Jeannie!”

In her room, she also has a few other neat features, particularly her neon sign from my dad’s (her Pop’s) sign shop, a purple dollhouse that we’re still working to complete, shelves of photos, … :)

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So, what do you think of our new 100 yards of fabric we’ve added to her room this week?
I think we’re going to add l.e.d. twinkle lights to the canopies next, and add a few big plants on either side of the white shelving. I’ll update this post with photos when we do!

Your Friend,
~Amber Hamilton Henson

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This post will link with some great blog hops this week!
Pop into the parties at these links:
ArkansasWomenBloggers ~ Sunday Link Up
my1929charmer ~ Sunday’s Best Par-Tay #64
SavvySouthernStyle ~ Wow Us Wedsnesdays #181
FromMyFrontPorchToYours ~ Treasure Hunt Thursday
SweetBellaRoos ~ Pin It Thursdays
MyRepurposedLife ~ Catch As Catch Can #175
FunkyJunkInteriors ~ PJ 259

Jewels Behind the Scenes become the Scene!

My poor, lucky husband is so outnumbered cohabitating with me and our three daughters. He’s such a good sport about it, especially considering that I have the audacity to leave a path of personal accessories in my wake throughout the house intermittently throughout the day.

I wear jewelry everyday. Sometimes, when I remove it, I’m not near my jewelry chests in our master bedroom, so I’ve taken to adorning miscellaneous places to suit my fancy of the moment as I remove it, lately. For example, if one were to feel heated after wearing a heavy stone necklace outdoors to water the garden, it makes sense to remove it when returning indoors. If said stone necklace looks fab adorning a cross atop the fireplace mantle in the dining room, then it is only logical it should reside there. Right? Right!!

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And, Earrings dangling from a bowl above a new book that just arrived in mail because I took the earrings off while using the phone look great on the bowl . . .

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. . . Furthermore, a black shell floral necklace and an oversized gold floral bracelet hanging from leaf plates on the dining room sideboard because I took them off while clearing the table after dinner should stay on display.

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The plan: I have multiple jewelry jewelry chests with jewelry organized by color and theme for each drawer that is only seen by me, unless worn. While it stays protected, it sure is a shame that the beauty of the pieces is largely unseen, thus unappreciated, by my daughters and me while tucked away. So, for at least the next few weeks, I’m wearing a new piece or two from the chests each day and adorning a new spot in the house!

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I have a big chandelier in the foyer hanging snugly to our 10′ ceilings that sure looks like it for awhile it may need vintage colored pearls and rhinestone brooches on ribbons and . . . :) What do YOU think? Should I just GO for it? I think I shall!!

Oh! Oh! Oh! Speaking of jewelry adorning things, I almost forgot to show you a little jewel I purchased for a few dollars at an estate/moving sale recently: it’s a heavily lacquered painting on wood that is inlaid with mother-of-pearl/abalone shell! It features three young ladies in an orchard, so I immediately connected it to represent our three daughters in our backyard with their big
walnut, little apple, and 3 peach trees! Love it, love it, love it, I do!

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:) Looking forward to hearing from YOU!
Your Friend that wore a Batman tshirt with a shiva shell/fossil coral/smokey topaz silver necklace today,
~Amber Hamilton Henson

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Stuffed Dates Re-Invented!

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Y’all, I love to give to a precise, technical recipe, but that’s not how this one went down. I saw a cool story/recipe about stuffed dates and decided to use the same ingredients in a slightly different way, because I just couldn’t find the time to stuff all of the dates individually, but I was drooling about using those flavors and textures together!

So here’s what I did:
I baked a traditional, flour based pie shell.
I softened 8 oz cream cheese.
I mixed in a few Tbsp of local honey and a tsp of cinnamon.
I folded in about 1.5 cups chopped walnuts.
I folded in about a pound of pitted dates, cut into quarters.
I spread the mix into my pre-baked pie shell.
I used a few leftover dates and walnuts to make a cute heart shape on top!
Fam and I ate it! LOVED it!!

Photos:

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Your Friend,
~Amber Hamilton Henson

This post will link with some great blog hops this week!
Pop into the parties at these links:
FromMyFrontPorchToYours ~ Treasure Hunt Thursday
SweetBellaRoos ~ Pin It Thursdays
SavvySouthernStyle ~ Wow Us Wedsnesdays #181
RattlebridgeFarm ~ Foodie Friday

Table For Two! It’s my Birthday!

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Happy Birthday to Me!
I’m 36, today!
My husband is making my favorite lamb dinner for me, tonight!
Knowing this, as a surprise for me, my middle daughter, Abigail, age 9, set a “fancy” table for two featuring “lovebirds” while my oldest, Caroline, 12, watched after my youngest, 3, so I could shower and dress uninterrupted by 3 year old Veronica.
I am in awe of the beautiful table and display she’s put together for me! So, I’ve snapped a few pics and editted on my iPhone pretty quickly to share with YOU!
She promises not to go into the china cabinets again without permission, but assures me she knows how special these things are to me and handled them all carefully, one at a time, because it’s my Birthday!
I LOVE my girls, so much!

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More Later!
:)
~Amber

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BANANA PEPPER POPPERS!

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Q: what should I do with a bumper crop of Banana Peppers from my little garden?
A: I should stuff them and bake them!

Q: what should I stuff them with?
A: a mix of softened cream cheese, crumbled bacon, & fresh chives!

Q: should I top them with anything?
A: grated sharp cheddar cheese, of course!

Q: how long should I bake them?
A: a 375*F for about 10 minutes, then with broiler for a couple more!

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:)

Your Friend,
~Amber Hamilton Henson

More questions?
Just ask!
I’m here!

Feel free to pin, fb, tweet it, etc!

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PS
This post will link with blog hops!:
Savvy Southern Style ~ Wow Us Wednesdays
IvyAndElephants ~ What’s It Wednesdays #127
MigonisHome ~ Everyday Enchanting #6
FromMyFrontPorchToYours ~ Treasure Hunt Thursday #164
MizHelensCountryCottage ~ Full Plate Thursday
SweetBellaRoos ~ Pin It Thursday
FiveLittleChefs ~ Fantastic Thursdays
RattlebridgeFarm ~ Foodie Friday

Mad Tea Party 2014!

“There are three hundred and sixty-four days when you might get un-birthday presents, and only one day for a Mad Tea Party.”

We’re serving lots of sweets, milk in martini glasses, juice in champagne saucers, and tea! There are plenty of seats left at the table, so please join us!
If you’re hosting a Mad Tea Party of your own, I’d love, love, love it if you left a link in my comments!

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Prose:

A Mad Tea Party about me for my un-birthday?
Just follow the rabbit, he’ll show the way!

Once upon a time, in a mansion on a hill up high,
Where a lady, a man, & three girls love quiche and sweet pie,

They all tinkered and played for many, many days
At a glance, they lost and found time in so many ways!

See, within the new big mansion, there are so many rooms;
There are baubles, gadgets, treats, and perfumes.

And, Inside of it there are three more little houses
Since the structures are new, there aren’t any mouses!

Miss Caroline Daisy has a house that is pink;
She stores lots of treasures within it, I think.

The purple house belongs to Miss Abigail Rose;
It fits in her purple room, where she and friends doze.

The third house of gold, is owned by Veronica Lily;
We try to take her photo, but she’s silly, silly.

We make handmade yarn and jewel flower fairy dolls,
We repurpose windows and doors to hang on our walls.

There are collaged mirrors and frames and gilding galore
with lots of belt chairs and globe lamps sure not to bore!

Each day when the clock says six, it’s time for our tea;
By then the lady has baked and prepared, busy as a bee!

She serves trifle, and cookies, and RUSSIAN tea cakes,
Since the three girls help her whenever she bakes.

Please come join us at our blog, we’ve plenty places for peacocks to sit,
Or gather with us for parades, if you won’t pitch a fit!

We can take tea in the garden, where vegetables grow,
Or inside in chairs, that my man did upholster and sew!

Big or small, indoors or out, we make gypsy style,
and craft lots of jewelry to surely bring a smile.

Lots of baubles and jewels, of the insect variety, too.
For, what good is a garden party without bugs to “boo!”?

If y’all click back through the poem, check out our blue links,
You’ll have toured our whole little blog website! “Wink-Winks!”

********************
What do you think of my poem? It rhymed! YAY!! Perhaps the poem will make more sense with photos? Try the links to see! (Some links in my poem are our fun projects, some are our recipes, and others are just bits about us and our family life. All are our photos and all are true!)

Your Friend,
~Amber Hamilton Henson

PS
The Mad Tea Party Hostess with the Mostest, Vanessa Valencia, has THE loveliest “Mad Tea Party” happening now, and links to other tea parties can be found in her sidebar and comments, too! A HUGE, “Thank You! Thank You!” to her for organizing this fun blogland event! Her amazing, fantastical, wonderful, whimsical, fanciful tea party:
http://afancifultwist.typepad.com/a_fanciful_twist/2014/07/mad-tea-party-2014.html

PPS
Through the Looking Glass

Happy 4th of July!

Garden. Patriotic Cake. Independence Day! More!
Our family is hanging out at home, today, then tonight we’ll light a few sparklers and watch fireworks! Fun!

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Hubby is enjoying this gorgeous, bright, sunny day here in Little Rock, Arkansas, by repainting our front door and its surround with Gloss Black Enamel. It was a bit tired looking and dull, but not anymore! Shiny, Shiny! Yay! Love him!

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We’ve been picking oh, so many tomatoes and peppers from our garden!
For lunch I put together a lovely Caprese Salad.
(Tomatoes and Basil from my garden, balsamic vinegar reduction, a drizzle of olive oil, sea salt, and my house pepper flakes.) Yummy. Quintessential summer fare.

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Then, this afternoon, the girls wanted to make some sort of patriotic looking treat, so we decided to make a lemonade cake with lemonade cream cheese icing and decorate it with berries!

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The recipe (via Pillows A La Mode):

Our “Patriotic, American Flag inspired Lemonade Cake”

CAKE
• 1 1/3 cup sugar
• 6 tablespoons butter, softened
• 3 tablespoons frozen lemonade concentrate
• 2 teaspoons vanilla
• 2 eggs + 2 egg whites
• 2 cups flour
• 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
• ½ teaspoon salt
• 1 ¼ cups of milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix sugar, butter, lemonade concentrate, and vanilla with a mixer. Add eggs and egg whites, beating well. Add dry ingredients and milk.
Pour batter into a prepared 9 x 13 glass pan. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool. Chill for one hour before icing.

ICING
• 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
• 2 tablespoons butter, softened
• 2 teaspoons frozen lemonade concentrate
• ½ teaspoon vanilla
• 3 ½ cups powdered sugar
Mix cream cheese, butter, lemonade concentrate, and vanilla until well blended. Add powdered sugar. Thin with milk, if needed.
*OPTIONAL: Last, decorate with fresh blueberries and strawberries for a patriotic design!

Happy 4th of July!

Please, feel free to share, pin it, etc!

Your Friend,
~Amber Hamilton Henson

PS
9pm Update:

It’s that time! Happy 4th, y’all!

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PPS
Love Linking!:
ArkansasWomenBloggers ~ Sunday Link Up

The Oval Window

This isn’t a sponsored post, it’s just a really positive quick review of a product we purchased!

See, we have this pretty oval window on the second story of our house that is about 24″ x 36″. It is centered just above the front door and adds quite a bit of architectural interest. The problem: I could not figure out how to dress it. If I were to add curtains, the oval would no longer be visible from the interior. That would be such a waste of a visually interesting element. However, it NEEDED to get dressed. “Why?” you ask. Well, it HAD to be addressed due to privacy concerns; it’s a bathroom window! The oval window is in a bathroom shared by our three daughters.

On a trip to Home Depot (a local home improvement store,) we noticed this product by ARTSCAPE. It’s a film that clings to the window without adhesive! It comes in a wide variety of prints that offer all levels of privacy from a subtle frost to elaborate stain glass designs. We opted for the “magnolia” stained glass option. It came with easy to follow instruction and installed easily in just a few minutes!

Now, our privacy concerns have been addressed, the architectural interest of the oval is still visible, and the film is really, really pretty. Our daughters LOVE it! Our middle daughter wants to know if we can buy more for ALL of the big windows in her bedroom! We’ll see. I have to research a little to find out if it comes in larger sizes, too! I’ll check their website, www.artscape-inc.com.

The pictures: (click on any photo to enlarge it.)

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Your Friend,
~Amber Hamilton Henson
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