Photo Ornaments

Monday, December 5, 2016

Every year, I always buy a handful of photo frame ornaments and then fill them with images from that year to add to our Christmas tree.  By now, I have quite a few of these special photo ornaments on the tree.  They are some of the most special ornaments in the whole box of Christmas decorations. I carefully place them on the tree and remember each of those special moments marked by its own ornament. It's become bit of a tradition, and one that I always look forward to adding to each year. 

Here is a look at the ornaments I created this year.  



It only takes a few minutes to put one together, but the sentiment lasts on and on.  Many photo frame ornaments already have the year marked on the frame itself.  But if I use one that doesn't I make sure to write the year on the back of the photo inside.  In the pic above, you can see that the bottom two ornaments have "2016" on the frame.  On the center ornament, there is actually a little tab hanging from the ribbon that reads "2016". 

Here's a look at some of the other special photos gracing our tree from years past.   This one says "Merry Everything" so I chose a photo that we were all laughing in.  And because the frame was red, I selected a black and white to put in it.  This pic was from last year. 


This is my absolute favorite of all my photo ornaments.  It was a gift from my niece Charlotte and sister Misty last year.  It is a handmade ornament with a picture of my Mama when she was a little girl.  Though you can't see it in this picture, I added my favorite angel ornament right beside this special photo. 


Here's one from 2014.  Lexi was still a tiny baby and this was one of her 3 month pictures.  


From 2015, this was one of our family pics.  The frame reads "Birds of a Feather" so I couldn't help choosing another silly pic.  In this one, Lexi is covering half of John's face while he is laughing and I'm oblivious to all of it.  Another favorite. 


And this was one of Lexi's first pics on the tree from 2014.  Someone actually gifted us this pretty frame.  It reads "Tis the Season for Family", with the year 2014 in the upper left corner.  Since that was the year Lexi was born, I added her newborn hospital photo to this pretty frame.  


So there you have it.  This is a just a sample of the many photos on our tree, and I cherish them all. There's just something about tradition and this time of year.  And this is a good one, if I do say so myself.  We would love to hear about your family Christmas traditions too!  Comment below or on our Facebook page!

How Do You Wrap?

Thursday, November 17, 2016

A few years ago, I found this fabulous Christmas wrapping paper.  Red and white in various patterns, I loaded up on it.  Then, when I started wrapping, each person got their own pattern, and they even made their way front and center onto our Christmas pic that year, stacked together and tied rather neatly with twine.  This particular bundle was for my nephews.  



I just loved how something so simple, worked out so nicely.....and then I promptly, forgot. all. about. my glorious color coordinated, handsomely wrapped presents....

until

this year, I happened to be plowing through the front of my grocery store and was pleasantly surprised by this glorious array of red and white:


The hubs always says I am OCD, but if assigning everyone a specific wrapping paper and coordinating them is wrong, I don't want to be right!



Barefoot Contessa's Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread

Friday, November 11, 2016

I recently mixed up a batch of this yummy cornbread to take a to a neighborhood get together.  I knew the main course would be a hearty chili, so I thought this might be a nice compliment, and IT WAS!  It was simple to make and turned out to be super moist and super flavorful too.   A winning combination all the way around!

Barefoot Contessa's Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread


3 cups all purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp baking powder
2 tsp salt
2 cups milk
3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 sticks melted butter
8 oz extra sharp cheddar, grated
1/3 cup chopped scallions
3 Tbsp fresh jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced


  1. Combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. 
  2. In a separate bowl, combine milk, eggs, and butter.
  3. With a wooden spoon, stir the wet ingredients into the dry, until most of the lumps are gone. Do not overmix!
  4. Mix in 2 cups of cheddar, scallions, and jalapenos.  Set aside at room temperature for 20 minutes.  
  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9 X 13 baking pan. 
  6. Pour batter into prepared pan.  Smooth the top.  Sprinkle remaining cheddar and extra chopped scallions over the top. 
  7. Bake for 30- 35 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. 
  8. Cool and cut into large squares.


Notes: When I recently made this recipe, I omitted the step of sprinkling extra cheddar and scallions over the top of the cornbread.  Instead, I used all the cheese and scallions in the batter itself and it was perfect that way too. 

I used closer to 4 Tbsp fresh jalapenos, and it was very nice- not at all hot or too spicy- and I'm not a super spicy type of person. Make your adjustments as you see fit!

Sweet Potato Casserole (Without Marshmallows)

Saturday, November 5, 2016

I have had and loved this recipe for YEARS!  It's a tasty sweet potato casserole that is perfect for this time of year.  And what's more, it's made without marshmallows, which sets it apart from many of its counterparts.   It's warm and sweet and special.  And it turns any meal into something special too.  

Sweet Potato Casserole

3 cups cooked mashed sweet potatoes
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 brown sugar
1/2 cup white granulated sugar
1 stick melted butter
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup milk
Dash of salt

Topping

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup pecans, crushed
1/3 cup flour
1/4 stick melted butter

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease bottom of 9 X 13 casserole dish. Set aside.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine first eight ingredients, then pour it into your prepared dish.
  3. Combine topping ingredients and sprinkle over the top.
  4. Bake for 35 minutes. 
Note: The Harris Sisters have been known to double the topping for this casserole to make it extra sweet, just like us!  Either way, you will love this recipe!




Nashville's October Flea Market: A Junker's Paradise

Thursday, November 3, 2016

If you ever find yourself in or around Nashville, TN toward the end of October, you must- MUST stop by the Nashville Flea Market for a peak around.  Though the flea market opens one weekend a month every month, anyone around these parts will tell you, the October Nashville flea market is the one to attend.  Vendors come from all over to pack the old fairgrounds with their wares and hidden treasures.  It gets BUSY, but it's so much fun.  There are new items, old ones, and everything in between, repurposed furnishings, plants and flowers galore, and so much more!  It's always a treasure hunt and always a good time. 


We have bought so many plants from the flea market- usually in the Spring.  All the local growers come out and set up shop there.  The deals are unbeatable.  Here's a look at these humongous mums. Each mega pot was going for only $12!  


We already had our mums for the season.  But that didn't stop us from taking a little time to smell the roses er, mums.   


And unlikely a place as it may seem, there are a ton of little picturesque photo ops here.  Here's me and the Babydoll from last October's flea market, parking ourselves on the rock wall in front of some giant letters that spell out "Music City".


And speaking of Music City, if you look around enough, you are sure to find some vintage Nashville treasure if that's your thing.  It IS my thing, so when we found this vintage Grand Ole Opry Fan Club totebag for a mere $5, I knew it was mine.  


Or at least I thought it was mine.  Lexi took an immediate shine to it right then and there and I didn't see it again the rest of that trip to the flea market. 


But moving on, let me show you what else we scored at the October Flea Market this year. My first purchase of the day was actually this pretty glass pitcher.  I have a collection of sorts of older pitchers.  And I really liked the look of this one.   The seller wanted $15 for it.  I offered her $10, and we settled on $12.  I used to always pay asking price, but not anymore.  The vendors are there to haggle.  If they can't or won't, they will let you know, and then you can decide whether you are willing to pay their price.  But it never hurts to ask for a better price.  All they can say is no.  And you are always free to walk away.  In this case, I scored a little deal and walked away with my pitcher too. 


Next up are these little Madame Alexander toys/ figures/ dolls.  I'm pretty sure they were once the toy giveaway with a happy meal of some sort.  No matter, I really liked the two with top hats.  I thought that they would be super fancy for the Christmas tree (even though they aren't technically ornaments). They are still the right size and will be perfect.  Then I spotted Pinocchio and Little Boy Blue and immediately thought of the vintage nursery rhyme themed Christmas tree that we display in Lexi's room. Ahhh, they were only $0.50 a piece and worth every penny to me!


One more...  I actually also bought the little scarecrow doll below and tucked him immediately into this little Halloween display at home.  


Speaking of Christmas ornaments, there was no shortage.  But I fell in love with this little Raggedy Andy ornament.  He's definitely old.  His little hat and pants are made of felt and he's still in pretty good shape.  I paid a whole dollar for this guy. :)


And here's why!  I already knew that Lexi and I had planned to be Raggedy Ann and Andy for Halloween this year.  So this little ornament will be perfect to help us remember the year of the Raggedy costumes!


I would say this is my favorite piece from this year's flea market haul.  It's a vintage soup tureen. Between the bowl, the lid, and the ladle, it is three perfect pieces of vintage goodness, and it screamed Thanksgiving table to me.  So I brought it home and instantly made a place of honor for it on the dining room table.  I paid a whopping $12 for this!  Unbelievable!


Vintage Little Golden Books for Lexi were $1 each.  


John found this doozy.  It's an old child's toybox, the likes of which they so longer make.   I love the circus theme, and that it's roomy enough to hold lots of toys.  This is going right to use.   It was marked $18, and we paid that gladly and ran with it.  


And since the Babydoll always seems to score big, here she is with her big purchase of the day.  It's a child's scooter- not old, but made to look so with covered wheels and pretty streamers for those handlebars.  It was $20 and so worth it.  As you can see, she put it to quick use.  


So there's a look at some of what we've been up to lately.  Most months, you will find us at the Nashville flea market, but always at the October event.  John has junkin' in his blood, which I'm sure Lexi has inherited.  And it seems to have rubbed off on me too!  It's a junky way of life, but we sure do love it. 

I Need a Hero

Monday, October 31, 2016

Without further ado, I present the 2016 Walkush Halloween costume choice. This year was a little difficult for the boys to decide. They kicked around a few ideas before finally deciding on Justice League superheroes. 

If you're not familiar with the Justice League, these are the superheroes that are affiliated with DC Comics. The recent Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice movie that was released in theaters in March 2016 kind of set the stage for the beginning of the Justice League movie, which is scheduled to be released in November 2017.

Superman Wonder Woman Batman Flash Krypto Dog Costumes

Ryan made a menacing Batman. 

(Pro Tip: If anyone in your party is going to dress in all black on Halloween night, I always vote for it to be Dad. While they MAKE Batman costumes for kids, they are a little difficult to see at night, and kids are more prone to run into the street than dear old Dad. As always, make sure to wear glow jewelry and carry a flashlight for safety.)

Batman with Zap Comic Text

I gave my best portrayal of Wonder Woman (note how tall my boots had to be to make me into anywhere near a convincing Amazon next to my 6' 2" husband).

Wonder Woman Halloween Costume

Aidyn chose Superman, an integral part of the Justice League. We got this photo of him "flying" by having him jump off our deck in the "Superman" pose.

Superman Halloween Costume

And Jaxon chose his favorite superhero - The Flash. We got this action shot by having Jaxon sprint off the edge of the deck.

Flash Halloween Costume

Our two pups, Smitty and Chance, were both Krypto (Superman's dog). They're pictured here with Aidyn.

Superman and Krypto Dog Costumes

And a few more action shots from the night (because you should really focus on awesome action shots if you're dressed like a superhero):

Wonder Woman, Batman, and Flash jump off building


Superman punches Batman

Krypto


Do you ever get that feeling of déjà vu? No? Let me help you out a little bit . . . :-)

Long time followers of the blog might think they've seen some of these Halloween costumes before. You'd be right in some instances! Remember our mantra is Reduce, Reuse, Recycle those costumes when you can (which helps when you have boys who are IN LOVE WITH all things superhero).

The Devil's in the Details

  • Donna dressed as Wonder Woman on Halloween 2009
  • Our dog Jasper dressed as Batman that same Halloween, making Donna and Jasper the only two DC superheroes in our mostly Marvel superhero family that year. But this is the first year Ryan has dressed as Batman.
  • This is the third time Aidyn has dressed as Superman.The first time was Halloween 2005 (his first Halloween at age 2 months) and the second was for our 2012 Christmas card photo.
  • Our dogs Jasper and Randy both dressed as Krypto on Halloween 2005, but this is the first year that Smitty and Chance have dressed as Krypto.
  • Our Invisible Jet is clearly pictured in the first photo, but we still do not own a Batmobile.
Happy Halloween from the Walkushes!

Justice League Halloween Costumes



Adventures at the Pyrex Swapmeet

Sunday, October 30, 2016

I am a Pyrex lover.  But not just any Pyrex,  I like the old stuff.  I think I like it so much because so many of those now vintage pieces were the same pieces that graced our kitchen when we were growing up.  Oh how I remember those casserole dishes, mixing bowls, and serving ware.  Now I am a novice when it comes to Pyrex.  Pyrex comes in all sorts of old patterns and the pieces are actually numbered.  Of course I don't happen to know all the ins and outs, especially off the top of my head. But I do know what I like.



So when I heard that there was a Pyrex Swapmeet about to take place in my own backyard, I was all over it.  Tickets to attend (as a buyer only) were free, and the event was only to last for 3 short hours. But I knew I wanted to be there.  So I made plans to attend (at baby's naptime while my husband was home to be in charge).  Apparently sellers and swappers were allowed in early to sell and swap with one another before the event opened to the general public.  What fun!


But this was my first time at an event such as this.  Actually, our local Pyrex swapmeet is hosted in town twice a year and I missed the spring event.  So not knowing what to expect, I armed myself with some cash, a shopping bag (or two), and my ticket to enter.  


Oh, and I was so pleasantly surprised!  There were vendors galore, and they were all super nice! They were ready to answer questions, and of course, they all knew way more about Pyrex than I do, so that was a plus!  There was so much to see so I did a lap around the whole place once to get an idea of what was available.  And as I had kind of suspected, there was more than just Pyrex available. There were also lots of cool other vintage kitchenware items there too - salt and pepper shakers, tea towels, stripy juice glasses, cool canisters, among so many other wares.  But the focus was definitely all on Pyrex and all the vendors had plenty to choose from. 

Here's a look at some of the action.  (It was a busy afternoon!)


And just a taste of what was available.  (Prices were well marked and vendors were willing to wheel and deal- always a plus!)


It was a little overwhelming.  Especially since I didn't have any idea of what I was looking for.  I just knew I would know once I saw it.  And I was right! 


For my first swapmeet I would say it was a great success!  Here's a look at my little haul.

First up is this gorgeous sunny yellow covered casserole dish.  I take it this one is not super rare as I saw several for sale.  However, I priced them all and think I came up with a good deal.  This one is in near perfect condition, and I paid $23 for it.


But the best part of this dish is that it's divided into two sections!  Wow!  Double wow!!


Next up is a vintage piece that isn't Pyrex but it's just as fabulous!  This set of six stripey juice glasses with spinner was calling my name.  I have a large vintage striped juice pitcher and similar carafe already at home.  So they were meant to be!


Next is this set of pink speckle Pyrex casserole dishes.  It's actually a set of four pieces.  There is the loaf pan and small casserole dish  that you see here...


And then there's the large casserole dish and casserole holder.  As you can see, I've already put those pieces to good use.  All of these were also in near perfect condition.


And then this piece isn't Pyrex either, but it's a goody.  It's Fire King Lusterware in peach.  And this one caught my eye because we had this serving bowl in our kitchen when we were growing up.  I have a feeling it actually belonged to our Grandma, and was handed down to us.  We used it regularly.  I think I remember mashed potatoes mostly being served in this one.  They aren't particularly valuable (or expensive) but I am so glad to add this one to my personal collection.


So there you have it. Pyrex is so functional because not only can you bake in it, it also looks great to serve from too!  I already have several of the mixing bowls that I use on the regular.  And I am just as pleased as punch with these new-to-me finds.  Here's hoping that some fabulous vintage finds make theit way to your kitchen soon too!