Saturday, December 24, 2011

Happy Holidays!

Well, I think I'm finally ready for Christmas!  Pioneer Woman's cinammon rolls have been baked...

The Christmas cookies have been decorated...

And the cake balls have been dipped!

To all my sweet blog friends, I would like to wish you a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year!  See you in 2012!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A Woodland Christmas Tree

The other day, my daughters begged me to go to Cost Plus.  I have to say, they didn't have to twist my arm too hard because I love Cost Plus Christmas ornaments.  I told myself that I wasn't going to buy any new Christmas decorations this year, but once I got there and saw these mushrooms, I couldn't resist...

Every year, I decorate my tree with a woodland theme.  Except this year I did not bring out my 6 foot tree, but instead  I decorated a small, 4 foot tree... 

I took my cute mushrooms and placed them in a "gap" in the tree...

You can tell that I "shove in" lots of things in my Woodland tree, like beeskips and birdhouses....

Every year I tell myself that I need a different theme, but I just can't resist the toadstools, woodland animals, and sweet birds...

What Christmas theme tree do you have this year?

Friday, December 9, 2011

Christmas Centerpiece

Today, as I was waiting for the man to come measure for new kitchen countertops, I decided to throw together a Christmas centerpiece  for the dining room table...

I was inspired by my corner cabinet...silver sleigh bells, white snowflakes, greenery, and floral china, all suggested by my mother from la vie quotidienne...

Do you suppose the kitchen counter guy will like it?  hee! hee!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Christmas Corner Cabinet

When I announced to my kids this year that their gifts would be a new oven range and solid surface countertops, they weren't exactly thrilled!  Seriously, the kitchen project has become our main focus these days, and the upcoming holidays are not top priority this year.   Last year's corner cabinet displayed some of my Spode Christmas china...

Well,  this year the Spode will be spending another lonely year boxed up in the garage, and we'll be eating on paper plates!  

I knew I had to do something, and I wanted it to be easy.   My red and white dishes were already there, so I just added some greenery, a few snowflakes, and some of my Wallace silver sleigh bells....


Every Christmas, my mother-in-law has given me a Wallace silver sleigh bell.   I've been married for twenty years, so, yes, I have twenty of these beautiful silver bells!  I just love the silver finish, and you know what I like even better?  They make a fabulously easy Christmas decoration!  How's your holiday decorating coming along?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Let the remodeling begin!

I wish I could say, "Let the holiday decorating begin!", but instead we are in the midst of remodeling our kitchen.  If you've been following my blog for awhile, you probably have noticed that I have never, ever shared photos of my kitchen.  It's time to come clean and share my dirty secret here at Love and Life at Leadora.  Here goes...

Ugh! When you stood at the entry way, your first sight was our bathroom!   Back in the olden days, the bathroom was built as part of the kitchen because it kept plumbing easy!  Apparently, privacy was not important!

You can see here that the kitchen was L shaped and wrapped around the bathroom.  Let's fast forward to today....

The bathroom is gone, along with the horrible green and white linoleum floors.  After tearing out the bathroom, MacGyver husband had to patch up the ceiling, and then he painted it with a fresh coat of white gloss.

You can see here that part of the kitchen has a shed roof.  Originally, this house had no kitchen.  Back in the 1920's someone decided to convert the porch into a kitchen, leaving the shed roof.

The most exciting part so far is having a eating area in the kitchen now!  I used to have to schlep our meals back and forth into the dining room! 

Boy, I must really be feeling confident since I'm showing you the insides of my cabinets now!  The cabinet doors have been removed and are waiting for paint.   There's so much more to do...countertops, lighting, floors, windows...and so on!!   Next post, I'll be sharing my big plans for this kitchen makeover, so stay tuned!

Sunday, November 20, 2011


Hello!  There's been a few bumps along the road at Love and Life at Leadora, but things are much better now.  Today, we had a visitor....

Yes, it's a peahen!   According to Wikipedia, in Babylonia and Persia, the peacock is seen as a guardian to royalty.  Here at Love and Life at Leadora, I am definitely the queen, but truthfully the peacocks come to eat the flowers and plants in my yard.   

Now only if they would leave me a few of their beautiful feathers!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

When black cats prowl and pumpkins gleam,
May luck be yours on Halloween!
           ~author unknown

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Day After

Well, my Bunco guests are long gone...but before they came and left, I did manage to snap a few photos of the favors I made for my lovely ladies to take home...

I stole this idea from one of my favorite bloggers, Kim, at Musings from Kim K.  I simply painted peat pots (I bought mine at Big Lots) and glued on mini cupcake liners, stickers and ribbon.  Then all I had to do was fill my decorated peat pots with shredded paper and candy, and they were ready to go home with my guests.  To tell you the truth, I made these several weeks ago, and I was kind of sad to see them go since they made a cute display on my Martha Stewart cake stands...

I also needed to wrap up the Bunco cash prizes in something cute and easy, so I decided to make some Halloween crackers.  I just cut up a couple of paper towel tubes, put more shredded paper and the prize money inside, and then wrapped the whole thing up in tissue paper....

Now that Bunco is over, I kind of have that same feeling one has the day after Christmas.  Oops, I just remembered that I still have to show you the outside decorations!  Oh, and we've begun rennovating the kitchen, so stay tuned!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Martha's Halloween Fans

Last night, MacGyver husband and the kids and I were discussing how I don't say bad words often.  Except, according to my husband, I do swear a lot when trying to create some Martha Stewart craft projects.  I have to say, at that point, I got real quiet.  This latest Martha project really did bring out the worst in me.  I can't tell you how many times I came close to throwing in the towel on these fans, but I had already invested so much time and money that I wasn't willing to give up.  We won't discuss the words that came out of my mouth, but, in the end, I think it was all worth it.  I hope you think so too, but if you would like to make some, don't say I didn't warn you!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Halloween Corner Cabinet

Halloween decorating has begun here at Love and Life at Leadora.  I am hosting October BUNCO, so I am forcing myself to get my decorating groove on.

My corner cabinet in the dining room is always the easiest spot to start.  Plus, it's a great place to showcase my favorite and easiest Halloween decorations: black construction paper silhouettes!  I must give thanks to Martha Stewart for this idea, especially since I found all the templates for the mice and owl on her website.  So if you're having trouble like me getting into Halloween decorating, go visit Martha.  Just bring along your black paper, scissors and tape!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Our New Bathroom...It's finally done!

Yes, our new bathroom is finally done!  For those who don't remember, (I wouldn't blame you if you's been awhile), check out my original post here.  Didn't MacGyver husband do an outstanding job on my Pottery Barn inspired vanity?  We actually ended up doing everything ourselves except for the drywall and tile, and this really kept our costs low.  Also, I was so lucky to find the vintage mirror in my grandmother's barn.  It fits perfectly with the vanity!  

As you can see, I still need to make a proper shower curtain.  This side isn't nearly as thrilling, so I think I'll take you back to the pretty side again!

Now that the kids'/guest bathroom is done, we will soon be taking out the old bathroom and starting a kitchen mini makeover!  Stay posted!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Hello, all my dear blog friends!  Once again, life has gotten in the way of blogging here at Love and Life at Leadora, but I will be returning soon.  In the meantime, I came across this great poster on made me laugh and hopefully it will make you smile too!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

I Won!

This is the last weekend of our summer break, and I am bummed.  However, I am excited about winning a giveaway!  Yes, I am the lucky owner of a beautiful banner made by Alicia at La Famille.  If you haven't checked out her blog, you simply must!  Alicia is a very creative and talented young mom who writes beautiful and heartfelt stories about her family life.   When Alicia's banner arrived, I knew that it would be perfect for my corner cabinet...
Thanks, Alicia!  Even though school is starting soon, a glance at my corner cabinet will remind me of  fun summer days!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A Cupcake Contest...Winner revealed!

Have you noticed the cupcake craze lately?  There's many cupcake tv shows, tons of cupcake cookbooks, and cupcake stores cropping up everywhere.  During our trip to NYC, MacGyver husband and I had our own cupcake contest.  First, we went to a bakery called Crumbs....

The Crumbs employees recommended their favorite cupcake, called Milkshake.  MacGyver husband and I split one, thank goodness, because the cupcake was huge and very, very sweet.  MacGyver husband loved the toppings, but I thought it was just okay.  

Our next cupcake contestant was from Magnolia Bakery.  Before we left, my oldest daughter said, "Don't go to Magnolia Bakery.  I've heard that once you have a cupcake from there, you can never have one from anyplace else".  Needless to say, I was expecting big things!

Although the frosting on the Magnolia Bakery cupcake tasted homemade, the cake was quite dry.  Sorry, Magnolia Bakery, but your cupcake didn't win our contest!

Finally, we went to the legendary Sprinkles bakery.  I don't know how I did it, but I forgot to take a photo!  Anyway, Sprinkle's  red velvet cupcake was delicious, but it was served on a wooden plate with a wooden fork.  I am one of those people who when they eat icecream on a stick, the stick never, and I mean never, can touch my using a wood fork to eat the cupcake kind of ruined it for me.

In the end, we didn't find the #1 cupcake.    It wasn't until I got home and baked my own that I realized I should be the winner!  So, I present to you Love and Life at Leadora's cupcake contest's just the right size, not too sweet, topped with homemade frosting, it's moist, and can be eaten with a stainless steel fork...enjoy! 

Monday, August 8, 2011

I'm Back!

Hello!  I'm baaaack....and, as you can see, my travel journal is stuffed to the brim!  Here, I'll open it up, so you can see it all!  I wanted my journal to be interactive, so besides writing our itinerary for the day, I also included stories about the people we met, my own restaurant reviews, ticket stubs, quotes, receipts, photographs, and even my own version of subway art.

We had such a great trip!  I won't bore you with the details, but here's some of the highlights:

  • Going to Ellis Island and  the Statue of Liberty
  • Finally figuring out the subway system on our last day!
  • Visiting all the places featured on Project Runway
  • Eating New York bagels
  • Relaxing in Central Park
It's good to be home, but now it's time to get ready to go back to school.  My poor kids will start August 23!  Why does summer always have to go by so fast?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Travel Journal

I'll be taking a break from blogging for a bit, but before I go I wanted to share with you my travel journal that I made to take with  me to New York City...

Originally, I bought a bound notebook, but I quickly realized that that just wasn't going to work.  You see, I am obsessed with my writing, and if my printing doesn't just look right, I have a tendency to throw the paper away.  Hey, we all have our pecularities, don't we?  Anyway, besides journaling,  I also wanted to collect receipts and other memorabilia along the way, and this led me to think about envelopes...

So, of course, I searched online and found this fantastic accordion envelope book tutorial!  I bought envelopes at my local Dollar Store, printed off a photo of the Statue of Liberty, used some stickers to make a title, and then tied the whole book together with black grosgrain ribbon.  Hopefully, when I return, my travel journal will be loaded with goodies to share with you!

Friday, July 22, 2011

I have a confession...

Get ready, as I am going to complain!   For some reason, I am suffering from summer allergies, and my nose is running non stop!    Also, my terrier kindly introduced herself to a skunk early this morning, and I think that there may be a dead skunk under the house!  Needless to say, we've had the fans going all day, and the house still smells horrible!

As long as I've admitted to a drippy nose, a smelly house, and a possible dead skunk, I thought I would also confess to you my obsession with the Housewives!  I hate to admit it, but I love watching all The Housewives, especially Orange County, New York, and New Jersey.  And so, when I walked into my library and saw Teresa Guidice's Skinny Italian, I just knew I had to check it out...

It actually turned out to be a pretty good book.  I wouldn't say it was just a cookbook, but more of a lifestyle book.  I'm awfully glad that I was able to borrow the book, because it is not necessarily a book that I would want to buy.   However, the diners at Love and Life at Leadora really enjoyed the bruschetta recipe, so I may give the book a second look!

Well, hopefully all the allergy medicine will kick in soon, the house fans will rid the skunk smell, and my wonderful MacGyver husband will find that skunk.  In the meantime, I may need to escape and watch a Housewives episode...

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

New Bathroom Update

Today MacGyver husband and I are celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary!  I have to admit that twenty years ago I had no idea that I was marrying such a talented guy!  For those of you who have been following LALAL for awhile, you may remember the kids'/guest bathroom...

And then there was this...

And today, it looks like this!

I am so proud of my MacGyver husband!  He did such a great job on the shelves and cabinetry, and he   is currently working on our Pottery Barn inspired vanity... 

As you can see, there are still many details to be completed, but we are getting close!!  Hope that you stay tuned for the finished bathroom!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

A Lucky Day!

The other day, I was doing one of my favorite things...reading a great book!

Then, the postman delivered this...

How wonderful!  I won a giveaway from Le Monde de Catherine, who lives all the way in France!  When I opened the box, I was in awe of all the wonderful things...a lovely lace top, a beautiful embroidered doily, a perfumey sachet, and a set of extraordinary french postcards!  Thank you, Catherine!

And then, the doorbell rang... It was my mother-in-law, who was stopping by to give me her eight crystal wineglasses!

How lucky am I?  Now wouldn't it be grand if I  mysteriously received a million dollar check next??? Hope you all are having a fabulous weekend!

Monday, July 11, 2011

A Good Read and Balls of Cake!

Going to the library is one of my favorite summer activities, and I am lucky that my library has a great selection of cookbooks.  During my latest visit, I found
Cake Pops by Angie Dudley, who is also known as Bakerella.  So, after looking through the book and being inspired by all sorts of cake pops in blogland, I dove in and made my own balls of cake...

I must say, although my cake balls weren't nearly as intricate or as pretty as the ones featured in Bakerella's book, they were certainly a big hit here at Love and Life at Leadora.  Next time, I want to try to make cake pops, and perhaps try a different flavor combination.   Have you dove into the world of cake pops yet?