"4 the seasons" cottage decor, DIY projects & recipes … from the cottage on the lake.
I hope the pictures of tablescapes, home decor, seasonal decorations, floral arrangements, landscaping ideas, "potting about the shed" and the unexpected ways I use everyday items to decorate my home on "Cottage Green on the Lake" will be an inspiration for you as you make your own little haven and nest … 4 the seasons!
From my cottage to yours ~ Trenda
I’ve gathered an assortment of Thanksgiving ideas, decorating tips, recipes, tablescapes, centerpieces, and DIY projects from “Thanksgiving’s Past” at Cottage Green. For the full instructions and details about each, click on the highlighted links. I am so sorry, some of these older pictures are really “grainy” and are not very clear.
A Welcome Home for Thanksgiving has some ideas on how to “dress up” your front porch and a simple DIY project using grapevine around your front door frame.
Decadent ruby red Apple Cranberry Salad is the perfect mixture of cranberry tartness mixed with the sweet fillings of jello, pineapple, crispy apples and pecan pieces.
Click on autumn-napkin-rings for these charming, grapevine napkin rings. The silk autumn leaves and sprig of bittersweet brighten each table setting and they are so easy to make!
An Autumn Tablescape gives tips and how to’s for creating your own beautiful table for Thanksgiving.
Click on Easy Thanksgiving Favors to learn how to make these sweet little favors. Miniature Kraft bags are tied with colored twine and topped with a whimsical acorn and assemble in minutes.
Plus, on the same blog … learn how to make this decorative bow and this beautiful autumn wreath filled with glittered stalks of wheat, purple clusters of grapes and autumn leaves. Both the favors bags and the autumn wreath instructions are on Easy Thanksgiving Favors & DIY Autumn Wreath.
Now for a re-cap and some pictures of “all things autumn” from our recent trip to Missouri. Autumn is our favorite season to travel and we love seeing the beautiful colors of the Ozark deepen each day we’re there. Look at this blazing Maple Tree!
Chrysanthemums in rustic pails perched above squat-y pumpkins.
Fuchsia colored Coleus that almost glowed.
Short pumpkins, tall pumpkins, Cinderella’s and Baby Boo’s gathered beside more gorgeous Coleus.
Dark green, light green, orange, and white pumpkins contrast beautifully with a huge decorative pot of flowering Kale and burgundy Coleus.
Look at these amazing pumpkin displays we saw at Silver Dollar City.
Pumpkins stacked to the treetops …
And my favorite … a darling little pumpkin cottage with a fern lined roof!
This spot was so enchanting, Richard and I walked along the creek bed and the only sounds were the burbling creek and the evening crickets.
A lone Sycamore leaf drifting along in the crystal clear waters.
Look at this perfectly charming cafe … Sugar Leaf Cafe & Bakery where we had lunch one day.
… and came back for dessert on another day! (:
We loved the beauty and mystique of “Pumpkin Nights” at Silver Dollar City in Branson … with owls dangling from the treetops.
One King Owl ruling over his parliament of owls.
A camp site with glowing pumpkin flames.
And the last picture … this “Chapel in the Woods” we were thrilled to find.
Hope you enjoyed the pictures of our vacation and the Thanksgiving ideas will inspire and motivate you as you begin planning your own Thanksgiving.
From my cottage to yours ~ Trenda
Thank you for reading my blog! Click on the Follow button above to have all my posts delivered directly to your email address AND follow me on Pinterest … Trenda@CottageGreenontheLake.com
Here is a quick and easy side dish that “dresses up” any meal! It’s especially delicious with grilled steaks and chicken and it makes a wonderful filler when you’re making frittata’s, fajitas, omelettes or quesadillas!
*BELL PEPPER, ONION AND MUSHROOM MEDLEY
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons steak sauce (I used A1 steak sauce)
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
1 medium onion, sliced into thin strips
1- 4 oz. can of sliced mushrooms, drained (or fresh)
Add olive oil, soy sauce, your favorite steak sauce, and garlic powder to a medium frying pan; begin heating mixture on medium heat.
Cut 1 medium onion and 1 bell pepper into thin strips and add to skillet
Add mushrooms to the onions and bell pepper in skillet
Stir vegetables in the skillet, incorporating all the vegetables into the sauce
Sauté until peppers and mushrooms are tender and onions are translucent
Serve warm; delicious with grilled steaks, chicken or as a filler for frittata’s, quesadillas, fajitas, omelette’s …
This past week Richard and I headed down to the Texas coast to the romantic seaside town of Rockport to celebrate our 42nd wedding anniversary. Since we were going to be travelling on our anniversary, I decided to surprise Richard the day before we left, with breakfast served “out of bed.” (; I made a breakfast Frittata using the veggie medley above.
Though a frittata sounds fancy and hard to make, it’s a simple Italian dish that is made with eggs and enhanced with additional ingredients such as meats, cheeses, and vegetables. It is similar to an omelette or crustless quiche. Just about anything can be added to your egg base, but to reduce excess moisture and baking time that makes your eggs dry or spongy, your ingredients should already be cooked. Below is the recipe I created for the frittata I made, using the *bell pepper, onion and mushroom vegetable medley from above.
6 eggs, beaten slightly to blend whites and yolks
1/2 cup of milk
1 1/2 teaspoon chicken bouillon granules
pepper “to taste”
1 1/2 cups *bell pepper, onion, and mushroom medley
6 strips of bacon cooked and cut into bite size pieces (I used pre-cooked)
1 cup grated Colby/Monterrey Jack cheese + additional 1/2 cup cheese for topping frittata when it comes out of the oven
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Grease a cast iron skillet for a traditional frittata
Place cast iron skillet on burner turned on medium heat
Add already cooked *bell pepper, onion, and mushroom medley (recipe above) to skillet or baking dish
Stir together eggs, milk, chicken bouillon, and pepper
Add cooked bacon and 1 cup grated cheese to egg mixture
Stir egg mixture, meat, and cheese together gently and add to vegetable medley in the skillet or in your baking dish
Cook mixture without stirring, just until the edges begin to”set”
Place skillet or baking dish in oven
Cook for 15- 20 minutes (in cast iron skillet) watching closely the last 5 minutes.
Cook only until knife inserted in the middle of the frittata comes out clean, but center still has a glossy appearance
Sprinkle additional 1/2 cup of cheese on top of the frittata
While the frittata was cooking, I filled a diamond shaped antique dish with a mixture of strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries, and gave them a sprinkling of sugar. Then came the fun of finding a cozy corner in the bedroom. This seemed the perfect spot … like sitting in a treehouse that overlooked the lake with a low table waiting for setting, a rustic little bear lamp for a little glow, and seating with lots of pillows. You’ve heard of breakfast “in bed.” This was breakfast served “out of bed” … just for two. ❤
A whole lot of cozy.
I love combining rustic and elegant pieces. Crystal, china, and crocheted lace napkins mixed well with my rugged cast iron skillet, miniature braided fish rug, and frayed patchwork napkins circled with wooden napkin rings.
Even though we cooks are usually our own worst critics, the frittata was delicious, and the setting was perfect.
We had a wonderful time on our anniversary. Here are just a few pictures of the picturesque seaside towns of Rockport and Port Aransus on the Texas Coast.
Beach at Rockport, Texas
Port Aransus Ferry, Harbor and Beach
Then the rugged beauty of the Texas Hill Country we traveled through on our way back home AND the awesome and incredible “Jacob’s Well” an artesian spring with an underground cave system and crystal clear waters that allow you to see the layers of bedrock and strata in the depths of the water in Wimberly, Texas near New Braunfels. Look it up; my pictures don’t do it justice and Richard was getting nervous I was getting so close to the edge! (:
Hope you are enjoying some adventures on these dog days of summer! Try the Breakfast Frittata and set a cozy table in a “new spot” to enjoy it in. You’ll be surprised at the sense of adventure and the fun it adds having your meal in a different place!
“Another summer set into a glorious sunset and in the morning … September arose.”
“Another summer set into a glorious sunset and in the morning … September arose.”
It seemed like a very busy and short summer, and before I can go on with “all things autumn” … here’s a re-cap of our summer. I am so sorry I haven’t written any posts this summer, but now I’ve written about some of our summer highlights all in one “verbose” blog. Pour yourself another cup of coffee and enjoy the “this and that’s” of our summer. The smallest and most adorable “this” of our summer … our brand new grand baby! Our son and daughter-in-law had their 2nd child, and their first little girl! She is “sugar and spice and everything nice” and I can’t keep from smiling just looking at her precious face! ❤
June … The very first day of June we headed off to Branson, Missouri and spent a week there with our daughter and sweet grand daughter.
As soon as we got back, we began decorating for Vacation Bible School.
Our grandson was thrilled that he got to go to his first year of Vacation Bible School in a pre-school class provided for the teacher’s kids. He went every day with PaPa and Grandma and loved it!
Then it was July … Happy 243rd birthday America!
July afternoon’s on the lake …
… summer afternoon’s at the arcade.
… and Spin Zone!
… around Cottage Green!
July stretched into August … with happy days spent making chocolate chip cookies with Grandma.
… and homemade soap!
Days of‘tiquing and ticking …
Decorative tables are some of my favorite things to find whenever we go on our “treasure hunts.” Look what I found snuggled together in a cluttered corner of a favorite shop.
This charming duo from Italy will look perfect in our “almost finished” upstairs bathroom. (Reveal coming!) A pair of crocheted hand towels ribbon-ed together, a luxuriant bar of Gardenia scented soap, and a medley of dried rose petals, lavender, chamomile buds, lemon grass, orange peel, and hibiscus petals fill a crystal biscuit barrel and sit atop the ornate tables.
Then, on the next to last day of summer, I found this darling glass topped table with twiggy legs, and a little birdie perched on the edge of a branch.
Then, we ended our summer the same way we began … by heading back up to Branson with our daughter and grand daughter the last week before summer vacation was over.
Less than a week after our return, Richard and I drove up to La Crosse, Kansas for the Memorial of WO James Eisenhower, who was killed in action in Vietnam in 1968.
After the Memorial, Richard and I took the scenic route back through Colorado and we drove through Wolf Creek Pass … “way up on the Great Divide” (: passing ski slopes we used to ski on, not really so many winter’s ago.
That evening we stopped at Pagosa Springs, Colorado and checked into the cutest log cabin that Richard spotted alongside the San Juan River. We had a lovely dinner at a Mexican restaurant and sat outside on the patio where it was Colorado cool, even in August! (: Our table overlooked the San Juan river and natural hot springs that Pagosa Springs is named for.
The next day we crossed the border into New Mexico and drove past other familiar mountains we used to ski on: Red River, Angel Fire, and Taos, New Mexico. We stopped in Angel Fire to see a Vietnam Memorial and Garden located in a perfect spot for reflection on a peak overlooking Angel Fire and the mountains, beyond.
We stayed that night, high in the beautiful, secluded mountain mesa that is the town of Los Alamos. “Los Alamos is a town in Los Alamos County, New Mexico, United States that is recognized as the development and creation of the atomic bomb – the primary objective of the Manhattan Project by Los Alamos National Laboratory during World War II.” The next day we went to the Visitor Center and saw a film on Los Alamos during WWII. Afterwards, we were given a map and we took a driving tour of the homes and work areas from that time period.
Our guide at the Visitor Center urged us,” if we had the time” to drive on to Valles Caldera National Preserve.
We did and driving through that preserve gave us a glimpse of a “land before time” with majestic Ponderosa Pines, Loblolly Pines, White Pines and natural grasses.
Hillsides were covered with groves of Blue Spruce and Junipers and “were home” to over 144,00 elk, the second largest elk population in New Mexico. Our brochure also told us that other residents of Valles Caldera included black bears, mountain lions, bobcats, foxes, golden eagles, wild turkeys, and prairie dogs. **ALSO … If you’ve ever watched the A&E Network series titled “LONGMIRE” … Valles Caldera is the location for a lot of the filming that takes place. We drove right up to “Sheriff Longmire’s cabin” that was originally built on this propertyback in 1917 – 1918.
The next day we crossed over the border into Texas and stopped at Palo Duro Canyon, the “little Grand Canyon.” Oh my, it was spectacular and neither Richard and I had ever seen it before! One of the many things we loved about this grand sight was that we could drive our car all the way down to the base of the canyon to see all the landmarks, caves, and rock formations.
From Palo Duro Canyon we were only 6 1/2 hours from home. Every mountain, mesa, canyon, tumbleweed, yucca, cactus and rock formation we saw on our trip was just a reminder of God’s artistry, and as I looked at each of these sight’s my soul sang … “My God how great Thou art!”
On this Memorial Day while enjoying the freedom to gather with our family and friends, have a backyard barbecue, go to the lake, or just enjoy having an extended weekend our thoughts and prayers are for those whom “Memorial Day” is just one more day of heartbreak and loss they live with every day of the year.
“Lest we forget … freedom isn’t free.”
On this Memorial Day I wanted to write about a trip we took in April of 2018 to Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C.. Finally, 43 years after the Vietnam War was over, also known as “The Helicopter War” there was going to be a dedication held at Arlington National Cemetery for all the helicopter pilots and crew members (approximately 5,000) who were killed in Vietnam.
I originally planned to have this blog done in time for Memorial Day 2018, but writing it so soon after our trip, the memories and emotions of our special time together were too poignant and I had to wait until this Memorial Day.
Richard and I began our Memorial trip (over 4,600 miles in all) from Texas and drove to St. Louis, Missouri to pick up Sherry. Our dear friend, Sherry … who before a war in Vietnam changed her future hopes and dreams forever, was engaged to Bill Seaborn. Sherry … who’s own precious helicopter pilot had given “the full measure of devotion” and was killed 48 years ago when the helicopter he and my husband were flying was shot down over the jungles of Vietnam.
The three of us left St. Louis and drove to Edinburgh, Indiana to spend the night before driving the next day to West Virginia. The third morning we drove on into Washington, D.C. where we met and had lunch with some more precious friends, George and Patricia before heading to the ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery.
After lunch we met Bill Seaborn’s sister, Beverly who had flown in from Florida to come to the dedication. We picked Beverly up at the hotel where she was staying and she, Sherry, Richard and I rode to Arlington National Cemetery together, parked, then rode on trams to the amphitheater at the Cemetery.
Before the ceremony began, we were delighted to meet up with Bob and his wife, Paula. Sherry met Bob when he graduated from the same Flight School Class as Bill did before they both left for Vietnam. She had remained friends with Bob since that day. Richard and I, only the previous year, had met Bob at Bill’s Memorial.
We all sat together as the dedication began, united in love for Bill and honoring all the pilots and crews members who were killed in Vietnam.
Opening ceremony …
At the end of the dedication the Memorial Wreath was carried out to be placed next to the Vietnam monument while the bagpipes played “Amazing Grace.”
Bagpipes playing “Amazing Grace”
The Memorial Wreath next to the monument … “In honored memory of the helicopter pilots and crew members who gave the full measure of devotion to their nation in the Vietnam war.“
Sherry (Bill Seaborn’s fiancee) Beverly (Bill’s sister) and Richard (Bill’s friend and co-pilot) standing by the monument. The Gold Star Members (any family member that lost a loved one in military service) were recognized and honored and Sherry and Beverly were each given a single long stem rose.
The Scotch in me loves using tartans in our home year round, but the warmth and cheerful “feel” of these plaids is especially pleasing on dreary days. Last week we had several cold, gray, “drizzly” days just the sort of day that was perfect for “a spot of tea.” Suddenly, I was inspired and the low table in our family room beckoned and glowed and seemed the perfect spot for a cozy, afternoon tea. A bright red tartan tablecloth was my backdrop and the transformation and fun began.
I gathered a basket full of “accouterments” for my tablescape that reminded me of Scotland … a beautiful antique Saint Bernard to sit atop tartan napkins looked stately in front of a pair of Scottish books.
Purple Statice, placed in a little nest mimicked the purple heather and thistle that thrives in the Highlands and a clump of prickly cedar tucked beneath the candlestick represented the spiny gorse that covers the Scottish crags and glens.
“From Scots bluebells to bog myrtle, bell heather to the iconic thistle, the flowers of Scotland thrive …”
Flowers of Scotland
Since Scots are renowned for their love of dogs … another pair of sweet antique doggies for my tablescape; a ceramic Cocker Spaniel stands beside a glass Scottish Terrier that’s perched on a pedestal of tartan plates.
I love this whimsical “Scotty” dog cream pitcher! His perky tail is the handle of the creamer and the cream “spout” is his snout! (:
A pair of ornate candlesticks with scarlet tapers match the tartan cloth and a glazed pottery vase filled with pheasant feathers and faux antlers conjures up more Scottish flavor. Then, my favorite red thermoses add height, a perk of interest, and another layer of plaid, plus they’re perfect for keeping the tea hot … with two crystal mugs for “supping” close by!
I keep Scottish Shortbread cookies in the pantry, so I placed “just enough for two” under a domed dessert tray.
And another teatime treat, Almond Thins, circle a cheery plate rimmed in plaid.
Then the last adornment’s to my tablescape … a leaded glass lantern (a loved gift from our daughter) and an antique crystal cream and sugar service glisten like jewelry atop a little wooden chest.
The welcome glow and ambiance from the lantern, candlesticks and votives add sparkle to our cloudy afternoon.
All set and ready!
The calendar proclaims that it’s almost Spring and just the other day I saw a flock of Robins in our backyard … but today it feels like “winter” so we’ll stay inside where it’s warm, indulging in our Highlander Tea! Embrace the last of the “cozy season” put on something comfy and have some tea! (:
From my cottage to yours ~ Trenda
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I hope you will be charmed and delighted when you read and look at the pictures of tablescapes, home decor, seasonal decorations, floral arrangements, landscaping ideas, “potting about the shed” and the unexpected ways I use everyday items to decorate my home; I hope all will be an inspiration for you as you make your own little haven and nest … 4 the seasons!From my cottage to yours ~ TrendaView all posts by cottagegreenonthelake
This Christmas season we had an enchanting, never to be forgotten time when the “the fates allowed” … and our whole family spent a week together in Branson, Missouri.
We went to Silver Dollar City’s “An Old Time Christmas” the first day of our vacation and we were “dazzled” with over 6.5 million lights, walk-through tunnels, a 5 story special-effect Christmas tree, and the most stunning Christmas lights and displays we’ve ever seen!
The entire amusement park was “bejeweled”and the trees were wound and draped in lights.
We drank Christmas wassail and hot chocolate and wandered the pathways strewn with lights and Christmas decorations …
Watched Rudolph’s Holly Jolly Christmas Parade.
Saw Santa and Mrs. Claus in a Christmas sleigh loaded with toys.
And PaPa and Grandma even rode some of the amusement rides and roller coaster’s with both our children and grandchildren! (:
Each day of our week was filled with memories … Christmas movies, shopping, a visit and pictures with Santa Claus … bowling, go-carts, lazer tag, bumper cars, and wall climbing … and a magical evening aboard Branson’s Scenic Railroad on The Polar Express, complete with book reading, elves hopping on the train between stops, sugar cookies and cups of hot chocolate, and at last … a visit from Santa! He surprised us when he suddenly appeared in our train car with a “Ho, ho, ho! Our grandchildren were spell bound and he spent some time with each child, solemnly telling them when he handed each their shiny, silver, bell … “that they would always here it ring, as long as they believed.”
“Christmas memories of happy years gone by/They come back to me and keep me warm inside/Oh they mean so much to me/Those Christmas memories make me cry.” ~ “Christmas Memories” by Alabama
And now … a simple treat that looks like it came straight from the North Pole! Chocolate covered marshmallow pop with a peppermint handle and lots of sprinkles … perfect for dunking and melting into mugs of hot cocoa while waiting for the New Year to arrive!
So simple and fun to “assemble.”
Large marshmallows (I used Campfire Giant Roasters)
Milk chocolate Almond Bark
Peppermint sticks and/or peppermint and chocolate peppermint sticks
Cellophane bags with ties
Cover kitchen counter or cookie sheet with wax paper or foil and spray lightly with non-stick cooking spray
Melt chocolate according to directions on package
Insert a peppermint stick into center of each marshmallow
Dip marshmallow into melted chocolate and swirl to cover bottom half of marshmallow with melted chocolate
Sprinkle nonpareils on the chocolate before it hardens
After chocolate has hardened, place marshmallow pops into cellophane bags, or place unwrapped marshmallow pops on a tray or candy dish to serve with cocoa.
“There is something incredibly nostalgic and significant about the annual cascade of autumn leaves.” ~ Joe L. Wheeler
Also incredibly nostalgic … picnics with charming, wicker picnic baskets with little clasp fasteners, bright, cheer-y interiors, picnic-ware fastened to the lid, and a most delicious meal served “al fresco” tucked within it’s confines.
The setting for our autumn picnic was serene among “the annual cascade of leaves” that lazily drifted down from the canopy above …
Floated atop the lake …
Drifted by like golden paper boats …
Nestled in the azalea bushes …
Rested on the green lawn and Mondo Grass …
Lay cushioned on a bed of mushrooms …
And formed a golden frame around our picnic area.
Look how the green and white “hound’s tooth” on the interior of the picnic basket became the perfect background for these bright sunflowers and bittersweet I was getting ready to use in a centerpiece. I just propped “the whole bunch” in the corner of the picnic basket … and instantly loved the color and casual centerpiece it became for our picnic!
Our picnic meal was equally casual with left-over “Skillet Express … Smoked Sausage and Squash” (recipe below) that we kept warm in a cheer-y red plaid thermos … an easy dessert of 2 crisp, autumn apples … and cups of hot spiced tea.
Through the years, I’ve created some easy meals for our family that I call … “Skillet Express Meals.” Cooking criteria that “must” be met in each of these recipes: it “must” take less than 30 minutes to fix, it “must” be delicious, and it “must” use only 1 skillet to make the recipe, from start to finish. The first “Skillet Express” recipe I shared on this blog was Autumn Dinner … Smoked Sausage, Spinach and Orzo topped with grated parmesan cheese and today I’m going to share with you …
“Skillet Express … Smoked Sausage and Squash.”
Hope you have a wonderful weekend and that you’re able to schedule in some nostalgia and enjoyment of “the annual cascade of autumn leaves” … perhaps with a picnic and delicious bowls of Smoked Sausage and Squash! (:
From my cottage to yours ~ Trenda
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