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ARWB handmade ornament swap!

ARWB handmade ornament swap!

This year I’m participating in Arkansas Women Bloggers (ARWB) handmade ornament swap! The rules were simple: all registered Arkansas Women Bloggers were invited to register, then we were each emailed contact information for the recipient of an ornament we were to make and send by December 16th. Then came the hard part: waiting until December 24th to share the experience on our blogs! (The original ARWB invitation with full text can be seen, here.)

I found the entire process exciting!

I absolutely LOVE the “Vintage Chic” ornament that we received, cutely packaged in crinkled paper with goodies including chocolate and a dip mix from an Arkansas company, the Resident Chef, from ARWB member, Brittney Lee of www.RazorbackBritt.blogspot.com! We’ve never met, but she took the time to visit my blog and design an ornament that coordinates beautifully in our home and included a kind, very complimentary fun note with the ornament! Awesome, right? Her blog is super cute, full of her fun adventures, and worth a visit! Find Brittney, here.

Here is the beautiful “Vintage Chic” ornament from RazorbackBritt that we’ve added to our tree!

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The hollow glass ornament is adorned with a red velvet bow and ivory colored cameo, then filled with assortment of various size pearls! Vintage Chic, indeed! LOVE it!!

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Thank You, Thank You, Britt!

For the ornament that I was to send, Rebekah of www.OhBeloved.blogspot.com was to be my recipient! I’ve never met Rebekah, so I looked around her lovely blog of Christian devotionals, and decided to make a cross ornament for her. In its construction, for rigidity, I cut pieces of coat hanger. Then, I used wood beads to represent the wood of the cross, and added leaded, glass crystal beads from Argenta Bead Company at all four ends of the cross for an Arkansas connection! I hope she and her family enjoy the ornament as much as we’re enjoying the new addition to our tree!

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Thank you, ARWB, for hosting this wonderful, festive swap event!!
I’m so inspired by the two blogs I’ve discovered through this event! I’m looking forward to seeing and reading about the ornament experience from other ARWomenBloggers at the handmade ornament swap link-up!

Your Friend,
~Amber Hamilton Henson

Visit the ARWB handmade ornament swap 2012, here.
Visit the ARWB handmade ornament swap, 2013, here. <–will update, tomorrow, the 24th, when the linkup begins!

PS.
This post will link with other blogs and be updated with links to blog parties at the bottom of this post:
arkansaswomenbloggers sunday-link-up

PINEAPPLE CAKE

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PINEAPPLE CAKE
. . . with cream cheese icing!

Ingredients

CAKE:
2 c all purpose flour
2 c sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
pinch salt
1 – 20 oz can of crushed pineapple in heavy syrup ( undrained )

CREAM CHEESE ICING:
1 stick butter
1 – 8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 c confectioners’ sugar

1 .
Preheat oven to 350 degree F.
Mix cake ingredients in a bowl with a fork. Pour into a greased 9X13 inch glass pan and bake at 350 for 35 minutes (until top is golden brown).

2.
Icing: Beat butter, cream cheese and vanilla together until creamy. Gradually mix in powdered sugar.

3.
Frost cake with cream cheese icing while still warm. Sprinkle with chopped nuts if desired. (Shown with pecan pieces! Yum!)

4.
Enjoy!

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Your Friend,
~Amber Hamilton Henson

PS
This post will link with other blogs:

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RUSSIAN TEA CAKES

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RUSSIAN TEA CAKES
(jelly filled shortbread cookies)

INGREDIENTS:

cookies: 1 cup salted butter
1/2 cup confectioners’ (powdered) sugar
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
toppings:
1/2 cup fruit preserves/jam/jelly*
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

Yield: 2 dozen

DIRECTIONS:

1.
preheat oven to 325 degrees F

2.
in large bowl cream butter and sugar using an electric mixer. add vanilla, scraping down bowl as needed. blend in flour and salt, mixing until thoroughly combined.

3.
roll tablespoonfuls of dough into small balls about 1 in. in diameter. place dough balls on lightly greased cookie sheets about 1 in. apart. press down the center of each ball with a spoon, forming a depression. fill each with a tsp. of preserves or nuts.

4.
bake 15-20 min. or until golden brown. transfer cookies immediately to a cool, flat surface. when cookies are completely cool, dust them lightly with confectioners’ sugar.

*in the photo, you’ll see I used strawberry preserves, fig preseves, and black raspberry-jalapeno jam for variety!

~Amber D. Hamilton Henson

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PS: Linking
ArkansasWomenBloggers’ sunday-link-up

Holiday Decor!

Happy Holidays! We hope you had a fabulous Thansgiving and are ready for a Merry Christmas!

Here is quick look at what we’ve been doing in and around our home, here in Little Rock, Arkansas:

We had a great Thanksgiving!

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We hung hundreds of ornaments on our Christmas tree! Our favorites are the handmade ornaments, and we sure have A LOT of them! Love!!

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Here is a close-up photo of one of my favorites handmade ornaments! It is a “love bird!” It was made by tracing our daughters hands and one foot. Just hot glue the pieces together and add a circle to each side for the head and rhinestone eyes! Love!!

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Here is another favorite handmade ornament: Hand and Foot Reindeer! Using foam sheets from the craft store, a few rhinestones, and a pipe cleaner as a hanger, this project is quick and easy for kids!

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So, then we put up garland, lights, a pair smaller trees, and our Candy and Gingerbread wreath on the exterior of our home!

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Here is a close-up of the wreath I made a few years ago that we enjoy displaying each year: There is a plush gingerbread to represent each member of our family, and lots of candy, cookie, berry, and gingerbread ornaments! SWEET, right? 🙂

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Not long after getting our Christmas decor setup, an ice storm hit Arkansas! It was beautiful, and our kids sure enjoyed sledding the hill in front of our house!

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As the snow and ice dripped from our roofline onto the little Christmas trees near out front door during the days that followed, gorgeous icicles were formed almost completely coating the little trees! LOVE IT!!

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Perhaps later this evening or tomorrow I’ll share a few of our favorite Christmas cookie recipes! Also, I can hardly wait to share with you about the Arkansas Women Bloggers’ Handmade Ornament Swap! I’m participating this year!! We already received our beautiful handmade ornament and have mailed the one we made to another blogger! The Swap rules ask that we not share the details about the ornaments until Dec. 24th, so stay tuned to see the Handmade Ornament Swap post!!

See you in the blogosphere later!
Your Friend,
~Amber Hamilton Henson

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PS This post will link with other blogs! Find the links as they are updated at the bottom of this page:
ArkansasWomenBloggers’ sunday-link-up

This post is also published in the internationally distributed HAT TRICK MAGAZINE. To read the online version of the magazine, please click on the magazine cover below this text.(pg. 96)

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GAMEDAY EDAMAME

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GAMEDAY EDAMAME
a.k.a. Spiced, Roasted Soybeans

In honor of Arkansas’s Soybean Month, how about a soybean recipe? We use soy products in a variety of ways throughout the year, but this time of year perhaps it makes sense to share one of our favorite SEC football gameday snacks: “Spiced, Roasted Soybeans! GAMEDAY EDAMAME!!”

Yep, like all of y’all, I serve wings, little sandwiches, chips & dips, and more as snack foods for the hubby while he watches football throughout the season, and I also serve spiced edamame. There are a variety of ways to season soybeans (a.k.a. Edamame) when roasting. Garlic and parmesan is pretty popular and so is this 6 season blend. My husband, Mitch, and our daughters LOVE the spiced, roasted Edamame! Here’s how I served it, today, during the Arkansas/Ole Miss game:

INGREDIENTS:
14 oz bag frozen, shelled soybeans
(a.k.a. EDAMAME)
3 Tablespoons VEGETABLE OIL (soybean oil)
1/2 teaspoon BLACK PEPPER
1/4 teaspoon CAYENNE PEPPER
1/2 teaspoon CHILI POWDER
1/2 teaspoon GROUND CORIANDER
1/2 teaspoon GROUND CUMIN
1/2 teaspoon GARLIC POWDER

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

2)Place the thawed edamame into a mixing bowl, drizzle with the oil and salt to taste, then sprinkle with spices. Toss until the edamame are evenly coated with the oil and spices. Spread into a 9×13 inch glass baking dish or on a baking sheet with silicon mat (as I do) in a single layer.

3)Bake uncovered in the preheated oven until the beans begin to brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Stir once halfway through cooking. Enjoy!

(Click on photos to enlarge.)

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It’s always fun to serve with a bit of pizzazz! These little pepper shaped dishes sure are fun and indicative of the heat from these spiced soybeans! Cute, right? 🙂

Laters!
Your Friend,
~Amber Hamilton Henson

PS
For more information about Arkansas Soybeans, recipes, and more visit TheMiracleBean.com and Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board on Facebook!

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This blog post will link with other blogs party link-ups; links will be updated as this post links:
Arkansas Women Bloggers’ Sunday Link-up

iShouldBeMoppingTheFloor’s “Inspiration Monday Link Party”

This post is also published in the internationally distributed HAT TRICK MAGAZINE. To read the online version of the magazine, please click on the magazine cover below this text.(pg. 100)

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Old Windows Repurposed As Art!

I’ll let the photos speak for themselves in this project where I repurposed old windows as decorative art for my dining room:

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(Click on photos to enlarge.)

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(The artist acrylic paints are Golden brand, purchased locally at Art Outfitters. The windows were purchased from Habitat for Humanity Re-Store. The scrapbook papers and Gloss ModPodge used to “frame/border” the art prints were purchased at Hobby Lobby. The art prints were all found on Pinterest and printed on my laser printer. See the individual prints on my Pinterest board “Beverage Art” for links to more info about each of the 18 prints, here. All of the prints are Beverage related, mostly illustrations and watercolors of girls and women with tea, coffee, or juice, since we have three daughters and these art pieces hang in the dining room.)

This is my second project using ModPodge and architectural salvage! Have you seen my CRAZY OLD DOOR? If not, see it hang above my bed in our Master Bedroomhere!

Your Friend,
~Amber Hamilton Henson

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Do you have anything repurposed or reinvented in your house, too? Windows? Art pieces?

PS
This “Repurposed Windows as Decorative Art” project will link with other blogs! You’re invited to visit the link-up parties:

ModVintageLife’s Mod Mix Monday

AlderberryHill’s Make The Scene Monday

Craft-o-maniac’s Monday Linkup

ElizabethAndCo’s Be Inspired Link Party

ConfessionOfAPlateAddict’s The Scoop #89

Arkansas Women Bloggers’ Sunday Link-up

iShouldBeMoppingTheFloor’s “Inspiration Monday Link Party”

Green Tomatoes!

Frying Green Tomatoes, Tonight!

This week, temperatures are falling drastically here in Central Arkansas, zone 7. Chances are, if like me, you grew tomatoes this summer, you still have plenty of green, underripe tomatoes growing.

Do you leave the green tomatoes behind or pick them?

We pick them!! Fried green tomatoes are an autumn favorite of ours!

~Amber Hamilton Henson

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(Check back later, this blog post is a work in progress, as I update with links to Bonnie Plants’ Mr. Stripey and Troybilt! …and maybe a few photos of the fried ‘maters! Yummmmmm!!”)

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EASY RECIPE:

4-5 green tomatoes, med size, sliced 1/4 -1/2 inch thick

Mix 1/2 cup cornstarch, 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 Tbsp salt, 1/2 Tbsp pepper, 1 tsp cayenne.

Coat the tomatoes in the dry mix.

In small bowl whisk 1/2 cup buttermilk and 3 eggs.

Coat the tomatoes.

Fry until golden!

(Fry over Med-high heat. Must have high heat to prevent soggy batter! Light and Crispy is the goal!)

Season with sea salt as they cool on paper towels! 🙂 Enjoy!

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*The tomatoes shown are Mr. Stripey heirloom tomatoes. I bought 3 small, starter Bonnie Plants this spring and have had GREAT results! We’ve had loads of orange to red tomatoes to enjoy all summer. It’s October 16th and the plants are still flowering and growing strongly! This is a really sweet variety of tomato. Temperatures are dropping rapidly in Arkansas this week, so I wasn’t sure these last of the season would reach ripeness before the cold sets in. They are PERFECT for frying green! With a well seasoned batter, these Mr. Stripey tomatoes offer just the right of tang when fried while they’re still a dense green! Read more about these tomatoes on Bonnie Plant’s site:
http://bonnieplants.com/products/vegetables/tomato-varieties/all-tomatoes/mr-stripey-heirloom-tomato

*The pruners shown are Troy Bilt professional bypass pruners. With sharp blades and comfortable no-slip grips, harvesting in my garden is FANTASTIC. Troy Bilt gardening tools are really well constructed. I highly recommend them! You can find this pair of pruners and more to buy directly from Troy Bilt on their site:
http://www.troybilt.com/equipment/troybilt/garden-tools

See you around the blogosphere!
Your Friend,
~Amber Hamilton Henson

PS. This blog post will continue to link with other blogs everyday this week! Visit the blog parties, via these links:
SavvySouthernStyle’s Wow Us Wednesday
HandyManCraftyWoman’s Wicked Awesome Wednesday
NiftyThriftyThings’ Nifty Thrifty Sunday
ArkansasWomenBloggers’ Sunday Link Up
ImAddictedToRecipes’ Scrumptious Sunday Link Party
ElizabethAndCo’s Be Inspired Link Party #92
ConfessionOfAPlateAddict’s The Scoop #89

Nailed it!

What’s your nail style?

Foil? I just followed the instructions on the package! (Water based Glue, then the thin gold leaf.) I coated with clear top coat for durability!

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Vamp?

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Sparkles?
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Orange! Hurry up, Spring!
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Green for St. Patrick’s Day!
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Fun!

I’m going to link this somewhere! Somebody in the blogosphere has a link party for nails and fashion! I’m sure!

Your Friend,
~Amber!

Linking, Check them out here:
arkansaswomenbloggers’ Sunday Link Up
iShouldBeMoppingTheFloor’s Inspiration Monday

Asian style tenderloin and edamame!

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These are simple, yet super flavorful recipes! You’ll marinate the tenderloin overnight, bake, and then prepare the young soybeans, also known as Edamame, during the pork tenderloin’s 10 minute “rest.” So easy!

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FOR THE TENDERLOIN: from AllRecipes.com

For best results, marinate the pork at least 8 hours (overnight is best) and flip it after 4 hours.
1/3 cup lite soy sauce
1/4 cup sesame oil
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/8 cup packed light brown sugar
3 green onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1.5 tablespoons Asian chile paste
1 .5 teaspoons pepper
1 (3 pound) fat-trimmed pork tenderloin
Pour into a medium bowl the soy sauce, sesame oil, and Worcestershire sauce. Then whisk in brown sugar, green onions, garlic, chile paste, and pepper. Place the tenderloin in a shallow dish. Pour sauce over tenderloin, turning the meat a few times to coat. Cover dish, and refrigerate at least 8 hours.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). Transfer pork with marinade into an aluminum foil-lined baking pan.
Roast in a preheated oven 30-45 minutes.

Remove, and let stand 5 to 10 minutes before carving.
During the 10 minute “rest,” prepare the soybeans!

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FOR THE YOUNG SOYBEANS (EDAMAME): from AllRecipes.com

1/4 cup water
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (16 ounce) package frozen edamame with or without the pod
1/4 cup teriyaki sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
Directions

Bring the water and garlic to a boil in a saucepan over high heat. Stir in the edamame, cover with a tight fitting lid, and cook until the edamame are hot, and the liquid has nearly evaporated, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-high and stir in the teriyaki sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, and sesame oil. Stir constantly until the sauce has thickened and coats the edamame, about 4 minutes. *Optional: Sprinkle with sesame seeds or sunflower kernels to serve!

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********
I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as we do! While I wasn’t familiar with “Edamame” growing up, I’ve always been familiar with soybeans and seeing them grow throughout our State. Soybeans are an important crop in Arkansas. For recipes for diy soymilk, edamame, soy nuts, tofu, and more, watch P. Allen Smith via TheMiracleBean.com.

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See you in the blogosphere!
Your Friend,
~Amber Hamilton Henson

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P.S.
This link was tweeted by the Arkansas Soybean Promotion board; find them on Twitter at Twitter.com/ArkansasSoybean!
This post will be updated as it links with other sites.
Visit the blog linkups, here:
arkansaswomenbloggers’ Sunday LinkUp
Mom’s Test Kitchen ~ Wonderful Food Wednesday #47
RattlebridgeFarm’s Foodie Friday

4th of July

Happy Independence Day, fellow Americans!

To celebrate the 4th of July properly requires lots of Red, White, and Blue!
Am-I-Right, or Am-I-Right?! 😃🇺🇸😃

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Source for 4 free Vintage style graphics and ideas to use them, click here. (Thank You goes to The North End Loft!!)

Beyond dressing the kids in patriotic t-shirts and even a red/white/blue lace skirt on our toddler, and beyond eating grilled hot dogs, and beyond making salsa using homegrown produce, we’ve done a few more things:

1) We made “Star Cookies,” sugar cookies topped with red and blue sugar! (We followed a favorite Crisco recipe that I stapled into MY handwritten recipe book years ago.)

2) We made Red, almost white, and Blue Popsicles, the easy DIY way, using paper cups, woodsticks, a red sports drink, lemonade, and a blue sports drink! (Always make a day early and Freeze between layering drinks.)

3) We attended a “Frontier 4th of July” exhibit and family fun activities at the Historic Arkansas Museum! We enjoyed lemonade, actors in clothes from historic times, demonstrations, crafts, and live musicians. Plus, right now, the museum has George Washington’s family Bible on display for the public!

4) We’re going to watch the big Fireworks at the Arkansas River, tonight! We LOVE this state’s biggest fireworks show of the year, and watching it from the baseball stadium at the River is always great at Dickey Stephens Park!!

Whew! FUN day!

“Photos . . . or it didn’t happen!” people often say!
“Photos, I say!” just keep scrolling to the bottom of this post for photos from today throughout the day!

(I’m posting now, while our youngest daughter naps! Love!)

Happy 4th of July, 2013!
~Amber Hamilton Henson

(Click on photos to enlarge them into a new window.)

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(Click on photos to enlarge them into a new window.)

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