Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A Halloween Corner Cabinet

This is the undecorated corner cabinet in the dining room at Love and Life at Leadora.  MacGyver husband built this cabinet for me many, many years ago, and  it is usually filled with my collection of pink and white dishes.

Have you noticed that many folks out in blogland started their Halloween decorating in early September?  Feeling the pressure, I thought I would begin Halloween decorating with my corner cabinet.

I bought the purple "trick or treat" banner at Tuesday Morning sometime during the summer.  The plates are Debbie Mumm dishes that were purchased at Target years ago.  One of my favorite Halloween decorations is this Sandi Gore Evans figure.  I wish I had more, but these figures are no longer made.

No, we don't have a problem with mice at Love and Leadora!  In fact, those are creepy mice silhouettes that I cut out.  Halloween decorating with black construction paper is my favorite, because it is fast and cheap!  You can find the mice silhouettes at

Now that I've begun Halloween decorating, I'm anxious to do more.  I have more ideas for indoor and outdoor Halloween decorations, so come back and visit again soon!

I linked to the party at Between Naps on the Porch for Metamorphosis Monday.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Field Trip

On Friday, my friend and I took a field trip to Tai Pan Trading.  This home decor store began as a wholesale floral supply, but today one can also find kitchen items, furniture, outdoor ornaments, seasonal items,  decorating accessories, and, for whatever reason, purses. 

The vignettes and tablescapes at Tai Pan Trading are stunning.  Silk flower arrangements at Love and Life at Leadora seemed to be dust magnets, but if I needed flowers I would definitely skip Michaels and come to Tai Pan Trading.  Some items are priced moderately whereas others are a bit beyond my budget.  That's no surprise, since  I seem to have real talent  for picking out the most expensive items!  However, we had fun, and the store is filled with great inspiration!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Snickerdoodle Cupcakes

Today I was invited to a friend's house for a delightful lunch.  I decided to bring along Martha Stewart's Snickerdoodle Cupcakes.   Originally, I saw this recipe in Martha's Cupcakes, and then after reading a review of the recipe in Linzy's blog, I wanted to give them a try. 

Snickerdoodle Cupcakes taste like a snickerdoodle cookie.  The cupcake, which is flavored with sugar and cinammon, is topped with a dollop of 7 minute frosting.    I had never made this type of frosting before, and it was fun to learn a new technique.  If you decide to make snickerdoodle cupcakes, try Linzy's foolproof recipe for 7 minute frosting.  The frosting is quite sweet and has a marshmallow, meringue consistency. 

My friends and family really enjoyed Snickerdoodle Cupcakes.  I liked them too, but I have to admit I am more of a chocolate kind of girl.  What's your favorite kind of cupcake?

Monday, September 20, 2010

A New Visitor!

We have a new visitor at Love and Life at Leadora!  Several nights ago, I found this praying mantis on our front door.  Then she came by to say "hello" again this afternoon.  I find her fascinating, especially since she is at least 3 inches long!  Do you suppose she's come by for recipes, decorating ideas and organizing tips?

Speaking of recipes, I tried a new one tonight, crunchy zucchini and tomatoes.  I am always trying to find ways to get MacGyver husband to eat vegetables, and he seemed to enjoy this one.  In this recipe, sliced zucchini and tomatoes are topped with panko bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, minced garlic and chopped basil.  Broil 1-2 minutes, and then this vegetable side dish is ready to serve. 

Can you think of any other ways to get MacGyver husband to eat more cooked vegetables?  Green salads at Love and Life at Leadora are getting pretty boring! Please feel free to let me know by leaving me a comment!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

What's behind the door?

I am definitely not a neat freak.  But when I am able to find an organizational item that works at Love and Life at Leadora, I am oh so happy!

So, what's behind the door?  A mini whiteboard market list!!  I know that this is not terribly exciting for most people, but this little whiteboard sure makes my life easier.  It has eliminated last minute market trips and is an organizational tool that everyone in the family can use.  The rule here at Love and Life at Leadora is that if you want an item or use the last of anything, write it on the whiteboard!  That way, when mom's out shopping, she'll be sure to get it!

How do you stay organized?  Feel free to comment with your favorite organizational tips!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

What I'm Reading

I love to read.  I think I go to the library at least once a week.  In fact, going to the library and borrowing a great book is a cheap thrill for me! 

Over this past weekend,  I started reading Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger.  I've only read about half of it, but so far I am really enjoying the story.   I won't reveal much, except to say that one of the characters is a ghost.

What are some of your favorite books?   Let me know by leaving a comment!  

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Tomato and Goat Cheese Tart

Last week I invited two friends over for lunch, and I served this delicious tomato and goat cheese tart.  I found the recipe in Ina Garten's book, Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics.  These tomato and goat cheese tarts are easy to make, and my guests ate every bite!  At first, I was a bit intimidated by the puff pastry, but in the end it came out flaky and wonderful.  You can never go wrong with an Ina Garten recipe!  I bought a copy of Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics at Costco, but you can also find this recipe at

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


As many of you know, a tree branch landed on my Honda Odyssey last week, causing a broken window and dented door. Well, today the Honda went to be repaired, and now I am driving a rental car. The car rental agent told me its nickname is "Lipstick". Isn't that a perfect name for this car?

Lipstick and I left and took a trip together to Trader Joes and the supermarket. Needless to say, the best thing about Lipstick is that she is easy to spot in parking lots! Also, she is a joy to zip around in, and best of all my kids can see Lipstick coming from a mile away when I'm picking them up in crazy school traffic.

Tomorrow Lipstick will have a rest and probably spend most of her day in the driveway at Love and Life at Leadora. I am hosting a luncheon for friends and hope to share entertaining ideas and new recipes with you in days to come!