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 daily blog hops:
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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!”

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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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Pepper is in the Air ‘Round Here

DIY pepper flakes

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I’m trying to recreate a gift. A friend of my husband’s is an avid pepper aficionado. He grows lots of varieties of peppers from seeds, cross pollinates them, saves seeds, and shares the bounty from his garden. In addition to fresh peppers, last year he gave us a spice shaker full of dehydrated pepper flakes and seeds. It was so good! All through the winter, it was a great addition to chilis, stews, and sauces.

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This year, we’re growing 8 pepper plants of our own in our backyard cedar raised vegetable boxes that we built last year. Our pepper plants are thriving! Yay! (We have red MexiBells, yellow cayenne, jumbo jalapeño, Serrano, banana peppers, and cowhorn peppers this year.)

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We’ve had short splashes of rain everyday this week, at just the right times, my garden thinks. Just yesterday, the kids spent time in our backyard playing, swinging on the tire, flipping on the monkey bars, jumping on the trampoline in the upper part of the yard out in the hot, humidity all afternoon. The air was so thick, you could almost cut it with a knife. Then, right as they came inside for dinner, we had a wonderful hour long downpour, ending about an hour before sunset. This left us the perfect window of time to pull a few weeds and harvest a basket of tomatoes, peppers, and yellow squash.

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I just LOVE that my middle daughter Abigail wanted to come out there to work in the garden with me, too!

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In addition to eating fresh peppers, using peppers for cooking, and freezing peppers, we’re having such a bumper crop of peppers, we decided to try making our own dehydrated pepper spice, like the one gifted to us last year! This is my first time attempting this project! We’re six hours into dehydrating right now (it takes 2-3 days), and our whole house is filled with the scent of peppers from the dehydrator! It’s not so intense that it burns eyes or noses or anything, but there’s definitely a noticeable pepperiness wafting throughout the house. (pepperiness? Peppery-ness? Idk. You understand… :) )

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The white platter is holding the peppers I’ve picked from our garden the last three days. I also purchased a few little orange colored habenero peppers from the grocery store to make our blend have extra heat for our winter chili! Love.

So far, we’ve simply cut the peppers in half lengthwise and placed in the dehydrator (skin side down.)

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It takes 2-3 days for the peppers to dehydrate fully in the dehydrator we’re using. Then we’ll crush/grind them and store them in a pretty little stainless and glass container! I’ll update/edit THIS post in 2-3 days with our results.

Until then, we’ll be here, at home, totally enveloped in the aroma of fresh peppers being dehydrated!

UPDATE!:

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Our dehydration of my garden peppers into pepper flake shaker form is a success!!! YAY!!
The peppers dehydrated for two days, then I put them into my blender. I then just used a funnel to pour them into their new container! It’s a glass and stainless container that is about the same size as a soda can! I’m soooooo pleased with the results! It has intense, fresh garden pepper flavor plus LOTS of heat! (Two trays of fresh peppers yielded my soda size shaker about 2/3 full.)

Your Friend,
~Amber Hamilton Henson

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DIY pepper flakes

PS
Love linking:
Arkansas Women Bloggers ~ Sunday Link Up
SavvySouthernStyle ~ Wow Us Wednesday
NibblesByNic ~ Wonderfully Creative Wednesdays
AnOregonCottage ~ Tuesday Garden Party
FromMyFrontPorchToYours ~ Treasure Hunt Thursdays
ADelightsomeLife ~ Home Garden Thursday
MizHelensCountryCottage ~ Full Plate Thursday
EverydayEnchanting ~ Inspiration Link Party
SweetBellaRoos ~ Pin it Thursday
RattleBridgeFarms ~ Foodie Friday
my1929charmer ~ Sunday’s Best #63 ParTay

These Summer Days

I’m okay with going to bed at 8 pm. Really. I deserve it. I earn it. I’m late right now. It’ll be 9, tonight.
My days start early, are busy, and include at least one long stint of being out in hot (90*+ F) afternoon sun everyday this week.
I start by watering the veggies and roses at 5:30. Shower, start waking the 3 girls, making breakfast, fixing hair, etc.
Then, I deliver my oldest to Rock Band Camp about 45 minutes away from our house. She’s learning to play her electric guitar. Loving it!
We lunch.
Then, my middle daughter has swim and dive practice about 25 minutes away from the house. Really, y’all, I’m a taxi/shuttle service all day, all over town. She’s thriving. She’s worth the commute.
We dinner.
They settle down with books, computers, etc. I photograph my garden or update my blog or …
Btw, I haven’t forgotten to post the changes I’m making to my little sidekick’s room. Baby V. Lil’ Miss Veronica Lily, now 3.5 years old, is my constant companion. Maybe next week I’ll have time to finish sewing her bunting that we’re hanging on the ceiling with twinkle lights in her room.
Oh, and a quilt. Between activities, my oldest daughters and I are sewing a quilt. We started it last summer. It’s a lot of work. A lot of sewing. We hope to finish it THIS summer.
So, anyway, here are a few photos from this week: (yes, our girls all sure look alike! But, these are photos of three different girls, not a time lapse photo series.)

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And, on Sunday we got to hang out with my Dad and Tammy, aka Pop and Grammy. Here they are pictured with our oldest two girls at Mellow Mushroom, a pizza joint near here. Aren’t they the best looking grandparents EVER? Love them! :)

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More blog later!
How are you spending your summer days this year?

Your Friend,
~Amber Hamilton Henson

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Rosemary Water

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Surrounding myself with a favorite scent, such as Rosemary, that brings back fond memories is an excellent way to make myself feel clarity, well, at peace, and carefree.

I heart Rosemary. A Lot. I heart Rosemary so much, in fact, I have planted and been raising quite a hedge of Rosemary about 15′ long along the path to our front door.

We always seem to have sprigs of Rosemary laying about in the kitchen. Every week or so, I just cut more sprigs to keep the scent in the kitchen, and as I pass by them, I run my fingertips across the Rosemary to carry the scent with me as I go.

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(Photo of book, Aromatic Herbs, by Jill Norman. Click on it to enlarge.)

When I read, I’m known to keep a sprig nearby to use as a bookmark. When I take a break from reading to tend a few chores, I’m greeted with a wonderfully invigoratingly fresh scent as I reopen my book. For me, it’s such a fresh, welcoming scent.

On that note, I thought it might also be nice make a bit of Rosemary Water for ironing . . . and freshening up linens . . . and so forth. So, let’s do that, shall we? We shall!

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I’m using distilled water, Mountain Valley Spring Water from Hot Springs, Arkansas, specifically, of course, since I’m an Arkansas girl. :) I’m also using Rosemary essential oil.

The cost: less than $5.00
The time: less than 2 minutes to “make” this
Directions: just add 5 drops essential oil to every 5 oz of water. Easy! Then, spritz with joy!

Note:
While fresh rosemary sprigs are beautiful in the water, they are organic and will make the water cloudy pretty quickly, so do I did it for myself only because I’m anticipating that I’ll use it all pretty quickly! Otherwise, the distilled water and essential oil lasts longer without becoming cloudy if the fresh Rosemary is omitted.

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Take care to see which things are spritz-able (is that a word?) . . . able to be spritzed . . . and those which are not.

I’m spritz-ing the lining (backside) of my draperies, under couch cushions, all around the middle of the room as I twirl singing a little too loudly, and then race out to my car and mist all around the carpet floor mats, and . . . Oh, yeah, I’m supposed to save some to spritz the ironing! (I spray the inside of garments, then iron the right side. It makes ironing a pleasure!) Then, I also spritz . . . :) Well, I just spritz and spritz . . . :) :)

I heart Rosemary and its scent so much. You’ve seen (read) me talk about it before as I use rosemary branches as skewers for chicken, too, yes? and I have a whole board dedicated to Rosemary on Pinterest that perhaps you’ve seen?

My next feat may be to try making a Rosemary jelly! It sounds so lovely to me! (Recipe is in book, Medicinal Herbs, by Patricia Turcotte.)

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Or, I may try extracting my own Rosemary essential oil. I found instructions on eHow.

Or, as an alternative to making Rosemary water in the method described above, I may try boiling it somehow and straining it to create Rosemary Water for my laundry. We’ll see. I’ll be here, just happily playing amongst my rosemary. :)

Your Friend,
~Amber Hamilton Henson

PS
It’s raining heavily here, tonight, which makes this spray extra lovely. It seems to just linger in the humid air. Love.

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PPS
Love linking:
Arkansas Women Bloggers ~ Sunday Link Up
SavvySouthernStyle ~ Wow Us Wednesday
FromMyFrontPorchToYours ~ Treasure Hunt Thursdays
ADelightsomeLife ~ Home Garden Thursday
MyRepurposedLife ~ Catch as Catch Can
my1929charmer ~ Sunday’s Best #63 ParTay

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