Dry Erase Menu Board

What’s on the dinner menu this week?  How about displaying it on a simple to make dry erase menu board.  

With a few easy to get supplies you can create this weekly menu board to feature what is for dinner.

What I love about this project is you are not using a lot of printer ink (which can be costly) by printing out an already existing printable.  This uses simple black ink and the paper is scrapbook paper that you can pick up at the craft store pretty cheap.

There is scrapbook paper in all shades, seasons and themes.  Create one for the Spring and a new one for the Fall.  Make one that goes with your kitchen decor.  The one shown is the one in my kitchen.  My kitchen is black and cream so this one goes so nicely in my kitchen tucked in the corner.

This is a great way for the family to know what is on the dinner menu for the evening.  Place it on a plate stand or hang it on the wall.  This doesn’t take long to make and is a great accent to the kitchen.

Want to create one for your kitchen?  Check out my instructions at Mothertime Marketplace including the printable for the Menu shown.  

Spring Egg Felt Tree

This past Christmas I stumbled upon a cute idea on Pinterest for the kids making a Christmas tree felt tree.  Having one and a half year old twins I was hoping that making the tree would distract them from taking the ornaments off the real tree.  

The Christmas felt tree was a huge hit with my kids that I have created a Spring one for them as well.  This is so much fun for kids to take the eggs on and off the tree and is so easy to make.  With a few simple supplies that can be easily and affordably purchased at craft stores such as Joann this project can be cut and up on the wall in no time.  

To see all the details on how to make this click here to head to Mothertime Marketplace.

Shabby Fabric Wreath

I love decorating with wreaths.  I have boxes of wreaths for each season so I am changing them out quite often.  

Small wreaths look so pretty hanging from mirrors, tucked in a corner in a guest bathroom, in the bedroom or hallway.  They are great to have to create dimension and add another element to the wall other than another picture.   

I am sharing how to make this simple and easy Shabby Fabric Wreath at Mothertime Marketplace.

Click HERE to head over to Mothertime Marketplace.

Basic Fabric Rosette

I enjoy simplicity and being able to make something by cutting corners or doing it a slightly different but still achieving the same or similar results.

I love rosettes.  They are so pretty and work as great embellishments on anything from picture frames and pillows to headbands and wreaths.   Just following the steps to create a simple and basic rosette can lead to many decorating possibilities.

Supplies needed

- A piece of felt cut out in a circle slightly larger than the size of the rosette.  Use a felt color similar to the color fabric.
- Glue gun

- Strip of fabric approximately 2-3 inches wide.   Depending on the size of the rosette will determine the length of fabric required.  

A Basic Rosette

Step 1- Make a knot at one of the fabric.  

Step 2- Place a dab of hot glue in the center of felt.  

Step 3- Place knot on glue and press firmly until knot holds

Step 4-  Start wrapping the fabric around the knot, placing a dab of glue around to hold in place.  Make as tight or as lose as desired.  Twist fabric as fabric is being wrapped.

Step 5-  Continue to wrap, placing a small amount of glue to hold fabric in place until desired size is achieved.

Step 6-  Cut felt closely around the rosette.  Either tuck end behind and hold with a dab of glue,  tuck under previous row or snip extra fabric and neatly glue into place.

Step 7- Gently pull on fabric to mold to desired look.

Step 8- Use in embellishing projects like this Shabby Fabric Wreath.

How to Make Vanilla Extract

If you follow me on Facebook you may recall my excitement about creating Vanilla Extract for holiday gift giving.

It all started a little over a month ago when I found the idea on the site A Little Nosh.  She  adapted her recipe from another site called From the Bookshelf, as they participated in the Secret Recipe Club.  I just loved the idea and could not wait to start making this myself.

From Instagram
I was on the hunt locally for a few days looking for whole vanilla beans but the best price at the markets was $8.00 for just two beans, seemed a little crazy.  I used to get my beans at a reasonable price when we lived near a World Market, but unfortunately there is not one here in New York.  I ended up striking gold when I ordered them through Amazon and received about 50 beans for roughly $27.00.  I purchased the 1/2 pound bag of Spicy World Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Beans.  Not only do I have plenty of beans to use for the extract, but I have a bunch of beans still unused. 

I used vanilla extract often in my baking but I thought this would be an excellent idea for the holiday gift baskets I am creating this year (stay tuned for upcoming ideas and suggestions for holiday goodies to make as gifts and to include in gift baskets).  

The one thing about making vanilla extract is the process takes at least two months, and even longer the better.  You may be thinking this might be a little late if you would like to do it for holiday gifts.  If you start the process now, you have about a month to let the vanilla infuse.  Pour the extract in to cute little glass jars you want to gift and put a tag on it saying don’t use before February 1, 2011 (or whatever date you choose). 

There is nothing better than homemade gifts and what better gift to give someone that loves to bake homemade vanilla extract.  Add it in to your holiday gift basket or give it along with a baking cookbook,  recipes, cooking utensils, cute kitchen towels, just as a few suggestions.  

So what do you need to make vanilla extract?  Vanilla beans (3 beans per 1 cup vodka), vodka (80 proof), clean mason jars, a knife and a cutting surface, a dry dark spot to place the jars in and 2 months.  Pretty simple!

So let’s get started!

Vanilla Extract

3 whole vanilla beans 
1 cup vodka (80 proof)
Mason jars

Using a sharp knife, cut each vanilla bean in the center lengthwise to expose the center, leaving about an inch on the ends uncut.  

Place the beans in a glass jar with a tight seal.  Pour in vodka, covering the beans completely.   Seal jars and give the jar a good shake.  Store in a dark, cool place and give the jar(s) a shake every week.  

Let vanilla beans infuse with alcohol for at least 2 months before using.  

I used Smirnoff vodka, but you can use whatever one you desire.
I used Madagascar beans.
You can double the recipe in one jar and add in 6 whole vanilla beans to 2 cups vodka. 
I used quart size mason jars and added 6 vanilla beans to 2 cups vodka.   

3 whole vanilla beans to 1 cup vodka.  Cut the vanilla beans lengthwise leaving the ends uncut.  
Place beans in clean mason jar and pour in vodka.  Seal tightly and give it a good shake. 
This is what it will first look like.  Store in a dry, dark place.  Give it a good shake every week.  In 2 months, you’ll have pure vanilla extract to enjoy in your baking.


How To Make Pumpkin Puree

After speaking with some people telling me they haven’t made fresh pumpkin puree before I wanted to share my method.

Last year I didn’t have a chance to make any pumpkin puree since we were in the midst of moving from Virginia to New York and the twins were only three months old.  Oh yes, there wasn’t a dull moment a year ago.  

In previous years, I always had a tradition when it came to making my pumpkin puree.  I would do it on a weekend night while enjoying a glass of wine and listen to Michael Buble.  Yes, this all sounds a bit silly but I find it to be relaxing.  The aroma of fresh pumpkin roasting in the oven would linger throughout the house.  It is just a tradition I made for myself that I have enjoyed on fall evenings for years.

It was a exciting night at the Mother Thyme residence this past Saturday.  After missing a year of making my pumpkin puree, the evening finally arrived and I was anxious to break open my little pumpkins to create some pumpkin goodness.  With two sleeping toddlers and Mr. Mother Thyme relaxing on the couch enjoying an episode of Pawn Stars I head to the kitchen to get to work.   Forty five minutes later, my two four pound pumpkins that cost me only $3.90, produced six cups of fresh, pure delicious pumpkin puree.  Perfect for a multitude of pumpkin recipes.  

Yes, its easy to pick up a can of pumpkin puree at your local market but there is nothing better than making it yourself.  

If you have a method of how you make your pumpkin puree I’d love to hear it!

Want some pumpkin recipes to use your pumpkin puree with?  Try- 
Pumpkies (Pumpkin Brownies/Blondies)
Whole Wheat Pumpkin Pancakes
Pumpkin Carrot Cupcakes with Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting

I just got started with the pumpkin recipes, more to come!  

How to Make Pumpkin Puree

Step 1:  Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Step 2:  Remove stem by twisting it or cutting it with a knife.

Step 3:  Cut pumpkin open using a sharp knife.  Cut down the center where stem was.

Step 4:  Remove the pulp and seeds.  Place in a colander to clean out seeds to use for making roasted pumpkin seeds.

Step 5:  Cut each cleaned out section in half to have 4 large wedges.  

Step 6:  Place wedges on large baking sheet.  Lightly toss with vegetable oil.  

Step 7:  Place in oven and bake for approximately 25-30 minutes until flesh is tender when poked with a fork.

Step 8:  Remove from oven and let sit to cool.

Step 9:  Remove pumpkin from skin by peeling skin away from pumpkin.  

Step 10:  Discard skin and place pumpkin in food processor.  

Step 11:  Blend in food processor until creamy (may need to work in batches depending on the size of food processor).  

Step 12:  Place pumpkin puree in air tight containers and store in refrigerator or place in freezer safe containers and freeze until ready to use.  (Note-if freezing, don’t store in a large batch.  Store in small 1/2 cup or 1 cup containers or freezer safe bags to easily thaw for recipes and not to waste if frozen in a large amount)

Step 13:  Enjoy your fresh pumpkin puree!

Get started by twisting off the stems or removing them with a sharp knife. 
Slice pumpkin in half to expose pulp and seeds.  
Clean the inside saving the seeds to roast later.  
Cut in to large wedges and place on baking sheet.  Lightly toss in vegetable oil and roast for 25 minutes until flesh is tender.  
Remove from oven and let cool. 
Skin will easily peel away.  Place pumpkin in food processor and blend until smooth.  
Enjoy your fresh puree!

Home Sweet Home

The front entry.
Welcome to our home.

It is nestled in the hills outside of Buffalo, New York.   Everyone says it reminds them of driving up to a chalet in Germany or Switzerland the way it is perched. In the winter with the snow glistening from the roof, it looks like a gingerbread house.  We love our home.

The house was built in 1981 and includes four bedrooms and two and a half baths.  It has a living room, a sitting room (which could also be used for a dining room), kitchen overlooking the beautiful backyard and first floor laundry.

Our “Chateau”.  
The house sits on five and a half acres, most of which is wooded.  A ravine going down to a babbling slate stream runs through the property.

We get a ton of wildlife in the backyard including deer, flocks of turkey, fox and an array of birds to name a few.

The outdoors is our haven.  In the summer months we can enjoy dipping into our in-ground pool, enjoying a glass of wine and star gazing while in the hot tub, relaxing by the fire pit my husband made and enjoying entertaining on our back patio with family and friends.

The fire pit in at the end of the yard before heading in to the woods.  Perfect place to roast marshmallows.

The patio off the back.  Perfect for barbecues and entertaining.  
This is certainly our dream home, and to think we almost didn’t look at this house!  It was the last house we viewed when we were house hunting and I told the realtor I wasn’t interested based on the pictures I saw on the computer.  What I learned was never go by what you see online if you are house hunting!  When we pulled up to this house my husband and I looked at each other and said, this is it!  We didn’t even need to see the inside.  

The inside needed just a little TLC and basically it was just paint.  The previous owners had an eclectic taste in paint color and had pretty much every room decked out with a border.  They were also smokers, so the house had an intense smell of smoke.  Which probably worked in our favor since we looked beyond the smell and the colors on the wall and saw the potential. 

The view from the patio looking towards the back.   

The view from the back looking towards the house.   The pool is enclosed off the patio.  
Within a day after moving in to our home, the smell of smoke went away, thanks to striping the curtains that were hung and washing and painting all the walls.   The house now smells like fresh apple pie baking in the oven.

I look forward to you joining me on Mother Thyme at Home as well as cooking with Mother Thyme as we journey through my home including my decorating, entertaining, family time tips to name a few.  Mother Thyme will be a personal journey of what I create, and time spent with my marvelous family.

The driveway heading down to the road.  
Welcome, come on in!