Clean Up Week Decor


 Over the years…

Our community has one week a year called clean up week, I am going to share some of the amazing finds I have collected curb side, with a couple exceptions all of this came during one of those weeks.

This table was a yucky pale yellow with a broken drawer, easy fix- remove the drawer for a shelf, paint it white and a great nightstand is born



Now this piece! Found only last year, again a broken door…but hey, who needs two doors. I did like the original dark finish but it just didn’t go with my decor so I did paint it. Using candle wax to make scuffing easy, it now has a true old farmstead feel.








One of my most pinned items from my home is this partial cupboard door and rake, both found curbside.


This piece was not during clean up week but was set out by an apartment trash can…waiting for me.


A little hard to see is the old barrel on the bottom holding rolling pins, found years ago when I was still slightly embarrassed to stop and pick up trash. NOT no more! 


Fantastic old windows refurbished into message centers….this one I have to say…smelled pretty bad. Now it either quit stinking or I got used to it.  *bows head in shame



Ok….now this mirror was trash in a storage shed my neighbor bought, he was going to throw it out and I rescued it- so kind of curb side… goes nicely with ……



this dresser which was a curbside find during a clean up week a few years back!


Both this door and the larger suitcase…yep were sitting pretty by the trash!




And this too!!






Not found during clean up week but a couple weeks previous again partially tucked into an apartment can, with just enough sticking out to catch my husband’s eye. Score one for my man!!!

 I have also over the years scored a perfectly working ceiling fan that is in our bedroom, lots of planters and flower pots. tons of tomato cages, chicken wire etc. and probably other things I can’t remember. 



Here is a previous post I wrote about the clean up week people in our town!


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Characters of Clean Up Week

I sit peering out my window,

waiting… watching.

Soon, the parade of characters will come. Clean up week has begun. I am the curb watcher.


First to stop by, the fixer; He is searching for parts or things that need parts. He has more parts at home than he knows what to do with. You may find a rescued lawnmower or sprinkler at his next garage sale.


Then the Junker stops by on her search for hidden treasure. She can make a planter out of a toilet or a bulletin board from a coil mattress.

Now, the scrappers, they can come alone but usually travel in packs. Organized and highly skilled, distinguishing iron from aluminum they can strip a grill in under twenty seconds.


My favorite, the shy ones, they are fun to watch.

Hesitantly circling the block, they spot their prey.

Quickly, they try to shove a chest of drawers in back of the mini cooper. Embarrassment gives way to giggles and the dresser instead is perched on the hood like a prized buck on opening day.


Last is Mr. Practical, he is selective and need based. He won’t pick it up if he doesn’t need it. Usually sticks to his list. He scans the curb until he finds the perfect fertilizer spreader. His wife is with him, she would like him to grab the nice flower pot, but he won’t. It isn’t on his list.


Tomorrow, I the curb watcher will become the Junker, I love clean up week.

This post imported from A Southern Belle With Northern Roots

Madeira Cake



Madeira Cake-

Madeira is a heavy dense pound cake of British origin. Evolving from the American pound cake, this cake is ideal for a strong base or carving.


Ingredients for one 7 in round or one 6 in square pan.

1 c butter softened

1 c sugar

3 large eggs

2 c flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

salt to taste, I use 3 or 4 shakes

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean




Grease and line pan with parchment paper, Set aside and preheat oven to 350.


Beat butter and sugar until creamy, gradually add eggs, blend well.

Sift flour, soda and salt and fold in. Add vanilla- see below for vanilla bean usage.

Pour into pan and bake about 1 to 1 1/4 hours.

This seems like a lot of time, to be honest I really kept an eye on mine beginning around the 50 minute mark. Just use a cake tester and remove when cake tests done. Try not to open the oven more than a time or two as this will effect your cake and baking time. If you have a window that is perfect for keeping an eye on it! If not test once around the 50-55 min and adjust.

Remove cake when done and let cool 20 minutes in pan then finish cooling on rack.





You can see the wonderful dense texture here.



Vanilla Beans



To use a vanilla bean, slice lengthwise down the bean- but not completely through.




Slide your knife down the middle scraping all the seeds-







mix into batter. Use 1/2 to 1 full bean per recipe. If your making any kind of sauce that would need to cook, throw the bean in while simmering and disguard  before glazing or filling.


You can see up close how many tiny little seeds are inside.

Marshmallow Fondant


1 bag of marshmallows -you can use large or small

2 Tablespoons water

2 pounds powdered sugar

Crisco (white not butter flavored)


In microwavable bowel, place marshmallows and 2 Tbs. water. Heat for 30 seconds and stir. Continue heating 15 to 20 sec, stirring in between, adding additional water if needed until smooth and completely melted. (I have a high powered microwave

Stir in 3/4 bag of powdered sugar.

Grease counter top or board with Crisco, pour out fondant.

Grease hands and begin kneading, working in more sugar if needed. Fondant should end up being smooth, not dry and not sticky. If it gets too dry add a very small amount of water.

You can now color it if you like.

Store wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and then in a bag.


To use, spread powdered sugar and roll out. Place over a frosted cake, smooth and refrigerate.

French Fry Cake


My son wanted to make a cake for his girlfriend’s birthday. We decided to make a French Fry cake which reads (Ermahgerd Furnch Fers) If you don’t get that……it is ok! If you want to, search Ermahgerd online.



We went with 2 layers of chocolate cake and a chocolate fudge filling. Place a rim of buttercream icing around edge to keep fillings in and to help close the gap the layers make, this makes it easier to ice.

crumb layer


Use buttercream to make a crumb coat layer of icing, this is your first layer that does not need to look pretty! Place in fridge for an hour and then begin icing cake or use fondant at this time if you choose, and cover cake.


note how second layer adheres better to crumb coat

Let the decorating begin!



For the fries we used store bought pound cake. Half of the loaf was shaped into fry package by hollowing out an area to make it look like a McDonald’s package. We covered this with icing and red fondant.

The other half was cut into fries using a waffle cut slicer. Hint work with frozen pound cake, this makes the shaping much easier.



Finish with icing and throw the fries around. Brenna and her cake! (it is bigger than she is!)

this is what happens when you eat too much cake!

Jack the Pumpkin Cake




Pumpkin cake, or Jack o Lantern if you prefer.


Make 2 bundt cakes, I used two different flavors for a little variety in the cake. One chocolate and one spice.

Prepare 1 batch of Buttercream icing and tint orange.

Layer cakes with generous amount of frosting between and crumb coat the entire cake




Next make or buy orange fondant

Roll and slice in strips long enough to cover cakes, cut some pieces irregular, adjusting as you work on cake.





Move around filling in random widths creating an uneven pumpkin surface.



Smooth with fondant smoother, a little water, perfection isn’t needed for this cake.

Tint a little fondant green for leaves and vines. Twist black licorice into a handle and stick into cake.




Fill the hole with candy



If you prefer to leave the Jack o lantern effect off your cake, your done…



or make or buy (buying is easier) black icing, You won’t need much but getting a true black can be difficult. Pipe on eyes, nose, and mouth.

imported from NorthDakotaKitchen .net





My First Trip to Costco





Yeah!! we have our first Costco in ND. Until now I had never even been in a Costco.

so…I kinda made my first trip a 3 day event.

First they had an open house, no membership required, look around try some samples etc. you just couldn’t purchase anything. That was great for the first peek, and let me tell ya- they were NOT chinsy with the samples!

We ate lots….and didn’t come close to trying everything!

The next day I took my husband to look around, and we got our membership, he did not want a cart. I should have gotten a cart, after over an hour of meandering in the wrong shoes, he asked if I then wanted to buy anything- uhm yeah, tomorrow because I was not walking around the store again with sore feet.

The next day- today I went shoppin’.

oh yeah…..


They had me at vanilla beans,


So until now, I have bought vanilla beans half this size for $3 a  piece, now here double the size, 10 of them for less than $12.  It’s a beautiful thing.


We just started making a batch of pomegranate cranberry wine, we bought a bottle of Pom juice about   half this size for $14 at the local grocery store, this 60 oz bottle???? $8!! I know!



A little Kirkland (their brand) cheese and some of the cutest pumpkin pasta-(my husband will not be interested)



Yummy Tzatziki sauce and olives with the pit still in them- my favorite way to eat olives


a ginormous pork loin and some mini beef wellington. Oh! I am so ready to cook!


a few veggies round out the groceries, I was a little sad because I wanted bananas and theirs were ripe, I like my nanners green, so I had to pass.


something to clean up after myself. 220 wipes for $8 great price!


I used my $10 sign up card credit and paid a total of $102. 10 vanilla beans and a smaller Pom juice alone would have been 45 bucks around here before.

They still were giving lots of samples, so I had a little lunch, stood around the Kuerig display waiting to try Nantucket blend, talked with a man from Bethlehem- We had a bit of a language barrier but we could speak of Christ and coffee and that was enough.



Yummy Yummy Yummy, this foodie loves Costco!

Do you have one? Have you been? What do you think?

Honey Rhubarb Cookies

I was asked to bake a cookie earlier this year for Better Homes and Gardens Facebook state cookie contest. This was the recipe I came up with, hope you enjoy it.



 The Cookie


1 c butter, at room temp

4 oz cream cheese, at room temp

1 c sugar

3/4 c brown sugar

1/4 c honey

4 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

4 c flour

1/2 c ground flax

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon



3 c diced fresh or frozen rhubarb

1 c sugar

1 tsp vanilla

3 Tbs cornstarch

2 Tbs water

red food coloring (optional)


Cream butter and cream cheese, add in sugars and honey. When incorporated add vanilla and eggs, mix well. In another bowl combine flour, flax, soda, powder salt and cinnamon, add to creamed mixture.

Place about 1 rounded Tablespoon of dough 2 inches apart on lightly greased cookie sheet.

Dip your finger in flour to prevent sticking and form a small well in the center of each cookie.





in medium saucepan over med high heat, place rhubarb and sugar. Note: to use frozen rhubarb   place in colander until thawed, do not press any extra moisture out.

Cook about 5-7 minutes until rhubarb is soft, add vanilla and food coloring. Mix water and cornstarch  add to pot, continue heating until thickened stirring constantly.


Fill wells with 1 Tbs of filling. Bake at 350 for 8-11 min.

Cool on wire rack. You may drizzle chocolate on top for a finishing touch.

The light nutty taste of the flax mixed with honey set a great base for the sweet rhubarb filling. If you do not have access to rhubarb you could add any fruit filling or jam. Makes 5 dozen.



Why rhubarb honey?

Did you know North Dakota is the leading honey producer in the United States?

Did you know rhubarb is a staple here! It is hard to find a yard without it growing in some corner. Rhubarb is a tart vegetable or fruit…the debate goes on. Usually because of the tartness lots of sugar is added to recipes which means..How can it be bad?

The leaves are poisonous so don’t eat them!

And did you know…

 Flax is a nutty grain full of good for you nutrients that…yep, North Dakota grows 90% of in the US!

Home Made Butterfinger Bars


Oh My! You can make your own Butterfinger with only….3 ingredients!  And I promise you wont be disappointed! In fact go ahead and get ingredients for the second batch.

You will need ( for one batch)


16 oz candy corn

16 oz peanut butter

chocolate for coating (you can use chocolate chips or almond bark)



Melt the candy corn in the microwave stirring every minute. My microwave is small and not too powerful, it took approx 4 min. Watch yours, time will vary.


Stir in peanut butter and press into 8X8 sprayed pan. Let cool completely.

Slice into bars and melt chocolate in double boiler or microwave, I always get better results in a double boiler on a very low temp.

Spread chocolate over bars and let set.


That is it!

they taste like Butterfinger and have a very similar texture.

My nephew once said “Mom, candy corn is a kid’s worst nightmare.” Not any more!!

Vintage IS…..

Vintage is……


 Books you could touch


home cooked meals


 vintage is,

                     practical collections



 days gone by and the memories they left behind



                                      vintage speaks to you




 When things were not as easy as they are now…


  but they had class and character


         things were treasured and held on to.





 work was hard and most everything you

 owned fit in a trunk.


vintage is memories of a time that was physically harder, a land where things were more appreciated because they weren’t as easy to come by, where family was important and manners were expected……

at least that is what vintage is to me.

A time nearly lost……that lives in the heart….. desperate to be recaptured.


Imported from A Southern Belle With Northern Roots– Shannon


Popcorn Party- Cake Style




Poppin good time! Your guests will love a little popcorn- cake style. Perfect for a birthday, Oscar party or movie night.

Supplies for cake

1 prepared cake, cooled and sliced in half. I used a pan that was 8 X 9.5 X 3 Pyrex 2.75 liter glass pan.

Chocolate fudge ice cream topping- 1 jar

1 c crushed sandwich cookies

1 batch homemade fondant or store bought. Die 1/4 of it red.

Vanilla icing

Caramel popcorn

When cake is completely cooled, slice and spread center with fudge and cookies, place remaining half on top. Ice entire cake with crumb coat (thin layer) Refrigerate 30 min. Roll out white fondant and place over top and sides. Roll and slice red and using water “stick” to white to create stripes.







Stick caramel corn on end of cake, just tucked inside fondant overhang.



1 batched baked cupcakes

mini marshmallows

yellow food coloring

vanilla icing




Tear mini marshmallows in half and stick back together making popped corn.


Ice cupcakes and top with marshmallows, dilute yellow food coloring with water and paint on for butter look.



cut stripped red and white paper and create popcorn bags.