“Retreat” to Cabin Life and Recipe for Honey Bun Cake

During the cold months of January and February we love to snuggle into our winter nests, warm and cozy in spite of  “the wind and the weather.”  After a 2 week vacation in the Ozark Mountains our love for all things “cabin” was reaffirmed.  Cottage and cabin decor appeals to our sense of comfort by using lots of warm woods, layers of rugs and blankets, and mellow lighting.  Whether or not your style is “cabin” you can decorate a nook, cranny, or a wall in your own home that exudes the coddled feeling of the cabin.

Our welcome to the Ozark Mountains, just as the day was slipping into nightfall.Big Cedar LodgeI love using cabin and lodge decor in our cottage.  According to the dictionary, another synonym for cabin is cottage.

cab·in ˈkabən/noun a small shelter or house, made of wood and situated in a wild or remote area.

synonyms: cottage, log cabin, shack, chantey, hut;

One of my favorite books on “cabin living” is by Bill Holm, “The Cabins of Minnesota” with beautiful pictures and photography by Doug Ohman.Cabin book“Cabins are of many kinds …”
Cabins are of many kinds ...“There’s always the possibility of magic …”Magic“Everybody feels at home right away.  A cabin’s furnishings are simple, often treasured family hand-me-downs.  Its sleeping lofts, tucked under the eaves, evoke memories of childhood.  Its fireplace or wood stove provides physical and emotional warmth.”cabin final A peek inside our own cottage/cabin walls.  Tartan plaid walls topped with crests and a trio of Loon Duck plates “nest” on the walls of our home on the lake.  Lots of wood, books and collections exude that cabin-y feeling.crests.jpgThe mirrored cubby in our German “schrank” which loosely translated means cabinet, holds another collection of “treasured family hand-me-downs” from the years we lived in Germany … a German music box, crystal decanters and mugs, pottery, a stein from Oktoberfest, hand painted glasses, a wooden “Smoker” and a special gift from our landlord and friend; a decorative piece that says “Stammtisch” which denotes a table reserved for the regulars.mirrored schrank“In a cabin retreat, pleasure overcomes duty for a little while.” ~ Bill HolmdownstairsA rustic blend of frames imbibes that “cabin” feeling … “Home Sweet Home”Home Sweet Home grayIn this bedroom the Adirondack decor, warm colors, and the quilted bedding adds cabin charm.  A little tree “glows a welcome” and stays up all year decorated cabin-style … wooden bobbers, lures, hand-carved canoes, fish stringers, and twinkle lights adorn it’s boughs.lodge bedroom.jpgCabin decor … Boat Rentals 1/2 MileBoat rentals.jpgA desk with lots of cubby’s and glimpses of “the outdoors” is tucked away in a little nook, perfect for writing or musing.open deskA sweet reminder of our own little fisherman.<3fishing boy.jpgWarm woods and shelves always add cottage and cabin charm.upstairs afternoonA little twilight and cottage glow …upstaris twilightThen, what better way is there to add a bit of cabin coziness to a home than to have a Honey Bun Cake baking in the oven; the smells alone conjure up cabin luxury at it’s best!  This recipe is an old standby adapted from a favorite Betty Crocker recipe.  Our rainy, cool, foggy day in February seemed the perfect time to get out my mixing bowl.  Just as the last of our day was slipping away, the fog lifted and the rain stopped in time for a beautiful sunset!

Ingredients needed:

  • 1 pkg yellow cake mix
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream or 1 cup buttermilk (*or 1 scant cup milk w/1 Tablespoon lemon juice or white vinegar added)
  • 1 cup chopped pecans (optional)
  • 1 cup heaping brown sugar  “… good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over …” (;  Luke 6:38
  •  3 teaspoons ground cinnamon

For Glaze:

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 Tablespoons milk (more if needed)



  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease 13 x 9 pan with butter or shortening and dust with flour or spray with Baking Pam
  3. Mix cake mix, vegetable oil, eggs and sour cream or *buttermilk
  4. Add chopped pecans (optional)
  5. Stir together, about 50 strokes, and spoon 1/2 the batter into the 13 x 9 greased pan
  6. In a separate bowl, mix brown sugar and cinnamon and spread over batter in pan
  7. Spoon and spread the remaining batter over the sugar and cinnamon mixture in the pan
  8. Use a knife to make swirls in the cake mixture
  9. Bake in 350 degree oven 25 – 30 minutes or until edges began to pull away from pan
  10. Remove cake from oven and cool
  11. Prepare glaze using 2 cups powdered sugar, 2 teaspoon vanilla, and 4 or more Tablespoons of milk
  12. Poke holes in cake using the end of a wooden spoon
  13. Pour glaze over warm cake and serve when cool enough to cut.

After the flavors have a chance to meld, Honey Bun Cake tastes even better the 2nd day!  To serve warm, heat in microwave or oven.

Microwave directions … place sliced cake on a microwave safe plate and moisten a paper towel.  Squeeze out the water so the towel is slightly damp.  Cover the cake slice with the moist paper towel.  Heat the Honey bun Cake for about 8 seconds, or “just “til warm.”  Do not overheat … bread products can become tough in the microwave.

Oven directions:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place the number of cake slices desired on a cookie sheet or baking pan.  Warm, uncovered for about 5 minutes.  Serve warm cake, immediately.

Batter 2.jpg

 With the spicy goodness of this Honey Bun cake filling the house, we couldn’t wait and had a piece as soon as it had cooled enough to cut!  However, the cake actually tasted even better the 2nd and 3rd day!

cake.jpgHope your last days of February are warm and cozy in your own “version of the ten-foot thatched hut.”(:   Last blog on “all things winter!”  In 2 days, it will be MARCH and the season for all things SPRING … sunshine and shamrocks … bunny’s and The Lamb! scripture.jpg

From my cottage to yours ~  Trenda

cropped-cropped-img_0452-e1510254818805.pngThank you for reading my blog!   To have all my posts delivered to your email address, just click FOLLOW in my post above … or click on my site: cottagegreenonthelake.com



I’m joining Chloe Crabtree with Celebrate & Decorate 

Lisa from Feathering My Empty Nest 


Elegant Rustic Woodland Tablescape … DIY Centerpiece & Rustic Napkin Rings

I enjoyed doing some tabletop decorating last week and I combined two different decorating styles in my table setting.  I love the look of fragile crystal and goldware mixed with chunky pottery, natural grapevine napkin rings and woven baskets.  “Elegance meets Rustic” and “opposites, do indeed attract” (; … as this duo is lovely together and the contrast of styles makes a cozy woodland tablescape.Elegant Rustic Woodland TablescapeTo make the woodland centerpiece I took the plastic covering off of 2 blocks of floral foam and hot glued them into the bottom of a woven basket I had.  Then I began filling the basket with a collection of grasses, cattails, pine cone floral stems, pheasant feathers and birch twigs I had “amassed” over the years.  The tallest part of any arrangement should be in the center, so after anchoring my tallest pieces I began “fanning down” both sides from the center of the arrangement, inserting my filler into the florist foam.  The last addition and focal point I added to the arrangement was a metal art piece … a copper stag among metal fir trees. woodland cpiece.jpgFor my place settings I used pieces of vintage Hull and Pfaltzgraff pottery, a treasure that Richard found and bought for me at an auction he went to with his brother, Bob.  The dishes are a sweet remembrance for both of us since Bob passed away this past October. ❤  The pattern on this stoneware is known as “Brown Drip” pattern, a favorite of both the Hull and Pfaltzgraff Stoneware Companies during the 1930’s.tilt place settingThese simple, rustic napkin rings are made using mini-grapevine wreaths.  I downloaded my free woodland tags from Decorator’s Notebook by Bethan John.  After printing and cutting out my tags, I punched a hole in each tag using a standard hole punch.  Then I inserted a moss-green satin ribbon into the hole of each tag and tied the ribbon into a bow to the grapevine, making sure the tag was facing out as I pulled my knot of the bow, tight.trio napkin ringsI love these darling little  bean pots and keep collecting them whenever I see them at antique stores.  side view leftThey look charming holding BBQ beans for autumn wiener roasts … filled with  Chili con Carne on cold winter evenings … brimming with Stuffed Pepper Soup  on breezy Spring picnics … or in the summer, filled with colorful Cajun Beans (recipe coming at a later date!) alongside grilled steaks!bean pot.jpg Crystal glasses and little goblets from Germany are etched with grapevines and are rimmed in gold and have golden bases.  I love the look of the fragile crystal contrasting with the heavy pottery and the comparison makes the crystal seem even more delicate.  crystal And this hand painted canoe makes a darling caddy for sweeteners!cattails and fishA mixture of metals … the copper stag and the goldware add gleam to all the forest browns, moss greens and the deep brown dishes.  For a final touch of coziness, I added this little lamp that looks like it was made for my woodland tablescape!  The golden lampshade matches the carved canoe and also highlights the goldware and golden goblets while the dark silhouettes of the spruce trees and moose on the lamp shade adds more “depth” to my rustic theme.canoelampYou know how I love using every day objects in unusual ways?!  I pulled Richard’s cashmere muffler from the closet and thought it made the perfect table runner for my woodland tablescape!  The softness of the muffler contrasted with the rough basket centerpiece and it’s color … the same browns and moss-green colors found in the forest!juxtaposed crystalJuxtaposition/definition by Merriam-Webster:  the act or an instance of placing two or more things side by side often to compare or contrast or to create an interesting effect.  Hmmm … crystal next to pottery, textured, woven centerpiece sitting atop soft, luxurious cashmere, and rustic grapevines mixed with elegant goldware???  I love juxtaposition decorating! (:Elegant Rustic Woodland TablescapeP.S. We saw 2 Bald Eagles, yesterday!!!  Neither Richard or I had ever seen one except in books or film!  Then, we saw 2 in one day!  The first eagle we saw around noon just nonchalantly sitting in a tree and the second one we saw in a totally different area, near sunset, also perched in the top of a huge Sycamore Tree. Bald Eagles After our second Bald Eagle flew off, our “Blue, Super Moon” was just begin to rise and it was gorgeous!  I couldn’t help but think of the scripture I had just read that morning …“Praise the Lord, O my soul. O Lord my God, you are very great; you are clothed with splendor and majesty. He wraps himself in light as with a garment; he stretches out the heavens like a tent and lays the beams of his upper chambers on their waters. He makes the clouds his chariot and rides on the wings of the wind.” Psalms 104:1-3scripture

From my cottage to yours ~ Trendacropped-cropped-img_0452-e1510254818805.pngThank you for reading my blog!  To have all my posts delivered to your email address, just click FOLLOW in my post above .. or click on my site: cottagegreenonthelake.com




I’m joining Chloe Crabtree with Celebrate & Decorate

Carol from The Red Painted Wagon

EASY RECIPE for Tuscan Tomato Soup … and Winter Weather

When I was a little girl I remember coming in from the cold with cheeks stinging and hands frozen (inside inadequate mittens) and seeing bowls of steamy tomato soup that our mother had made.  I loved the flavor of the soup, but I always liked to add a little “flotsam and jetsam” to the broth! (:  I would get a slice of American cheese, fold it into smaller pieces and drop them into my soup.

I can remember how scratchy this little wool hat was and couldn’t stand to have it tied under my chin!  See the gum in my mouth?!? (:

playing in the snow.jpg

Just a little detour before I share my recipe.  Here are some interesting FUN FACTS I discovered when I was looking up Campbell’s Tomato Soup that I thought you’d be interested in, also.  Campbell’s Condensed Tomato Soup  is still the top 10 grocery items that American buy … it has been in the market since 1895 (123 years!) … 85 million cans of Campbell’s Tomato Soup are still sold each year …Campbell’s sent the Tomato Soup to the Paris Exposition of 1900 where it won the Gold Medallion of Excellence which is still displayed proudly on every can of Tomato Soup … out of 100+ varieties of Campbell’s Soup available today, Tomato Soup is still one their 3 top sellers along with Cream of Mushroom Soup and Chicken Noodle Soup! (:Campbell KidsMy mind still links Tomato Soup and cold winter days together and we had a “snow day” this week which made me want to make “Tuscan Tomato Soup.” (first pictured on my blog “Al Fresco Dining in Autumn”) This soup is just a combination of ingredients I keep on hand … a can of Tomato Soup and a bag of frozen Beef Ravioli (which provides the “flotsam and jetsam” I still love adding to my Tomato Soup!) It’s so easy to make … in 20 minutes or less, you’ll have a delicious soup Mama Mia herself would be happy to serve to her own family! (;Tuscan Tomato Soup header .jpg

Tuscan Tomato Soup


  • 4 cups frozen beef ravioli (or if you prefer, cheese tortellini) from a family sized bag, cooked and drained according to directions (mine cooked in only 6 minutes) 
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 3 cups chicken stock or 3 cups of water with 3 cubes or 3 teaspoons of chicken bouillon granules or reduced sodium chicken bouillon added
  • 1 Family size can (23.2 oz) Campbell’s Condensed Tomato Soup
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh spinach or kale (I used and loved Trader Joe’s Triple Washed Organic Baby Spinach!  Even after a week in the refrigerator, all spinach leaves are still so fresh)
  • grated Parmesan cheese
  • black pepper


  1. Cook frozen ravioli (or cheese tortellini) according to directions, and drain
  2. Meanwhile, melt butter in another large saucepan or Dutch oven
  3. Add onion to melted butter and saute until translucent
  4. Add chicken stock or water with chicken bouillon added and turn heat to medium/medium-high 
  5. Pour in condensed Tomato Soup and stir with whisk, continuing to warm 
  6. Add chopped spinach or kale 
  7. Add cooked ravioli and warm all ingredients in saucepan until thoroughly warmed, without bringing to a boil
  8. Dish into bowls and top with grated Parmesan cheese sprinkled with black pepper

Woodland free printable tags decorate sweet napkins rings made of miniature grapevine wreaths and are tied on with a satin ribbon …
Tuscan Tomato Soup.jpgWinter weather managed to push past the borders of Texas earlier this week, and obliged us with a deposit of sleet and snow!  We were excited when the weather forecasters predicted the possibility of us getting a wintry mix and began to look expectantly for our guests’ arrival.  At 10:00 pm Monday evening the sleet arrived, right on time and entertained us for 2 hours before tiny snowflakes began falling!  Snow is always a thrilling sight in our area of TEXAS and Richard and I watched the enchanting display from our opened door until shivering, we reluctantly left our vigil to warm up, before checking again.  We finally went to bed around 2:00 am; the flakes were still swirling and our driveway and deck were covered.  The weather forecasters deserve a gold star … not only did they get their predictions correct, our winter guests were punctual and came exactly when expected! (;

Front Deck …snow covered benchSide yard and cobbled pathway …sideyard font.jpgWaiting for Spring …robin with bannerBackyard and lake …snowy backyardView from our bathroom the next, sunny but cold day!south side.pngHope you have a wonderful weekend with moments enjoyed padding around in warm fuzzy socks, mugs of coffee in hand, snuggled under comforters, comfy within and without!snow scripture

From my cottage to yours ~  Trenda


Thank you for reading my blog!  To have all my posts delivered to your email address, just click FOLLOW in my post above … or click on my site: cottagegreenonthelake.com



This week I’m joining: Lynn from The Vintage Nest

Chloe Crabtree from Celebrate & Decorate

Sandra with Sweet Sensations

Christmas Tablescape “Up on the Housetop Reindeer Pause …”

The table is set and ready for a Christmas Brunch with Fitz and Floyd “Florentine Christmas White Stag Reindeer” dressed and ready for their important flight on Christmas Eve! Saddles are trimmed with holly and tassels and lie cushioned on the reindeer’s back atop cheery red and green blankets (that look like they were made by Santa’s elves!)  Encircling their necks are pine branch harnesses festooned with pine cones, holly leaves and bows.


Antique snack sets are stacked and ready to be filled with finger foods.  Christmas punch or Percolator Spiced Tea will fill the matching cups that set in special compartments on the glass trays.

s&amp;p snack sets

A gauzy runner with beaded edges weaves around a pine garland with tiny twinkle lights that add a touch of Christmas magic.


 Shimmering gold is repeated in the brass stand holding a carafe … a shiny picture frame, … and a line of dessert spoons.  The colors in the picture “Noel” are a perfect match to the colors of the reindeer and serving pieces, so it became a bit of “whimsy” and a part of the tablescape, propped on a golden easel.  Nearby, a sweet little creamer and sugar bowl are nestled close and adorned with Christmas bows.

.    NOEL … From Church Latin in reference to the birthday of Christ, from natus, past participle of nasci “be born.” 


Gold forks and linen napkins edged in lace are lined up for easy buffet-style serving.


This Fitz and Floyd “Florentine Christmas” Canape Plate will hold Peanut Cluster Blitz-ens!  (; topped with Christmas sprinkles!

dessert plate

Fitz and Floyd “Snowy Woods” stacked serving platter is waiting to be loaded with Cheesy Bacon Pinwheels  shortly after the Christmas guests, arrive.

duo dessert tray.jpg

Fitz and Floyd “Jolly St Nick” platter awaits Delicious Yuletide Appetizer – Chicken Enchilada Dip

serving platter

Everything is set and ready …

“Ho-Ho-Ho who wouldn’t go …” ??? (:

Santa bowing.png

From my cottage to yours ~  Trenda




Thank you for reading my blog!  To have all my posts delivered to your email address, just click FOLLOW in my post above … or click on my site: cottagegreenonthelake.com



I’m joining Chloe Crabtree with Celebrate & Decorate



A Woodland Christmas with … White Chocolate and Cranberry Dessert Dip

The buffet is set and ready for Christmas with a woodland scene starring a Santa or two from my collection of Old World Santa’s. This dapper Santa looks like a well-dressed woodsman with his fur rimmed hat, flocked buttoned vest, coat with brocade sleeves and draping chains, and a pack filled with surprises flung over his shoulder.  Snow flocked and copper colored bottle brush trees and gilded holly with berries create a magical Christmas backdrop.

Woodland Santa.jpg

A birdhouse frosted with snow is tucked among “the holly and the ivy” and a little winter nest is filled with glittered acorns and glass copper pine cones.


A pedestal cake plate with birdies perched on either side holds woodland treasures cushioned on a bed of moss … a wee lantern with a flickering light looks like it came straight from the set of Amahl and the Night Visitors and a tiny glass jewel box with a bird perched on it’s lid.

R buffet

Nestled under the cake plate is a little mercury glassed birdie near clusters of purple grapes tumbling out of an antique sugar bowl.

underneath plate

Another Woodland Santa wears a wooly coat and carries a wooden staff encircled with twigs.  Pine cones and berries wreath his furry cap and white doves perch on a brim-filled pack and on his coat.

scandinavian Santa.jpg

A grove of bottle brush trees, a miniature bird bath filled with millet, mercury glass mushrooms and copper pine cones resting on their sides add storybook whimsy to the woodland setting.

birdbath with millet.jpg

Another Santa perches on the tea cart waiting for some Christmas refreshment!

tea cart Santa

An ornate silver bowl with brass interior holds a moss-lined nest and little brass bird and is decked “with boughs of holly.”silver bowl.jpg

Click on the following link from the “Cottage Chronicles” to see …

  A Woodland-Christmas Tablescape


And a Christmas snack fitting for a woodland setting on the buffet … a delicious White Chocolate and Cranberry Dessert Dip formed in the shape of a hedgehog surrounded by a layer of Triple Ginger Cookie Thins and Butter Waffle Cookies from Trader Joe’s.

dessert dip buffet

I made this dessert dip for our Church Life Group Christmas Party this weekend.  The amount I had remaining in the refrigerator was just enough for one baby hedgehog! (:


White Chocolate & Cranberry Dessert Dip


  • 1 (8oz) package softened cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 (3.4 oz) package Cheesecake Instant pudding mix
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup Nestle’s white chocolate morsels
  • whole almonds or slivered almonds to cover dip


  1. Beat the softened cream cheese and butter together in a mixer on medium-high speed until well blended. 
  2. Add the pudding mix and powdered sugar.  Beat on low to medium speed until the dry ingredients are incorporated.
  3. Add 2 tablespoons of milk and beat on high until filling is mixed.
  4. Stir in dried cranberries and white chocolate morsels; mix well.
  5. Scrape the dessert dip into plastic wrap and gently mold into the shape desired for the hedgehog.
  6. Unwrap, place hedgehog shaped dessert dip on a serving platter.  Begin inserting almonds (at an angle and in staggered rows) into the dip to resemble the “body” of a hedgehog.  
  7. Place a chocolate morsel on the “face” (the dip that is not covered with almonds) of the hedgehog  to resemble the nose and use two mini-morsels for the eyes, or chop regular sized morsels into smaller pieces for the eyes.
  8. Refrigerate to “set” almonds in place, until ready to serve.  (NOTE: for traditional shaped dessert dip, after mixing, wrap dessert into plastic wrap and form into ball.  Refrigerate until ready to serve, then unwrap, place on serving plate and cover surface with slivered almonds.)
  9. Serve with gingersnaps, butter waffle cookies, vanilla wafers, graham crackers, animal crackers …

Baby hedgehog

Here’s a sweet little woodland poem about small gifts gathered from the heart; I think it’s the perfect way to end today’s Woodland themed blog!

Small Gifts

He gathers gifts for his dear friends
Searching among the forest trees
And only from his heart he spends. 

For Squirrel, an acorn split he mends
And with a quiet joyful ease
He gathers gifts for his dear friends. 

To Bear, a blueberry he sends
With tender care that it won’t freeze
And only from his heart he spends. 

For Deer, green leaves he subtly rends
Although found sparse in wintry breeze
He gathers gifts for his dear friends. 

To Bird, he gives a branch that bends
A perch to rest her tired knees
And only from his heart he spends. 

For all the creatures at Earth’s ends
As Christmas joy in time he sees
He gathers gifts for his dear friends
And only from his heart he spends. 

~  by Benjamin Oldham

Wishing you joy during this blessed season and that … only from the heart you’ll spend!

manger .jpg

From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

Thank you for reading my blog!  To have all my posts delivered to your email address, just click FOLLOW in my post above … or click on my site:  cottagegreenonthelake.com








Countdown to Christmas! DIY Christmas Advent Calendar

“Haul out the holly; Put up the tree … Fill up the stocking.  I may be rushing things, but deck the halls again now.  Santa, dear, we’re in a hurry.”  I am in a hurry!  I planned on showing you how to make this charming and nostalgic Advent Calendar on the first day of December!  However, the countdown to Christmas continues and this Calendar is so easy and fun to make, you’ll be able to enjoy it for the rest of the season and psssst! …. your “kids” of all ages “from 1 to 92” will love playing catch-up when you finish making it and opening several envelopes at once! (;

Santa envelopes

Click on the following link Ella Claire Free Printable Vintage Christmas Advent Calendar for complete instructions and a free printable for making the envelopes and cards.  I love these miniature envelopes and the little pine cone sprig on the card insert.  I’m already planning other “fun” ways to use them!  The printable is free and I chose a creamy 8 1/2″ x 11″ card stock paper from Michael’s to print my envelopes and cards on.


 This is a sample of what the envelope looks like after I cut out the pattern.  I’ve penciled in dashed lines to show you where to fold your envelopes.  Note: The vertical fold-line on both sides is where the rounded slope of the paper meets the straight cut!  The card stock paper I used was thick and I used the plastic grip of my scissors to firmly crease each fold. (Hey, I just thought of a stocking stuffer I need … a bone folder! (: ) I didn’t want to wait for my envelopes to dry so instead of using glue, I taped my envelopes together with clear Scotch tape.

envelope folds.jpg

After you finish making all your envelopes, write different Christmas activities you would enjoy doing on each of the 25 cards and slip the card into a corresponding envelope. e.g. pop some popcorn and watch a Hallmark Christmas movie … make hot chocolate, top with Cool Whip, decorate with lots of sprinkles and sip with a peppermint straw! … put the kids in their pajamas and go for a drive to look at Christmas lights!   I wrote my activity on the card that wasn’t dated, so it will be easy to use the same calendar next year and I can easily re-arrange my activities. cards and envelopes snowman.png

 I also tucked a little “trinket” in each envelope. Little gifts of candy, Christmas cookie cutters and tiny ornaments for a special tiny Christmas tree for little folks!

Miss Mouse

I nailed my ribbons (needed for hanging the envelopes) to the frame of my “4 the seasons” chalkboard I love this rustic chalkboard with it’s natural cedar frame that a dear friend made for me.  I added some “chalk art” before nailing in my ribbon … with the heading “Countdown to Christmas” and a border of holly leaves.  Ella draped her calendar over a vintage ladder; you can hang your advent calendar across a mirror, on a bulletin board, or on a door in your family room.

chalkboard art

And … all the envelopes “were hung by the ‘chalkboard’ with care.” (;

filled chalkboard.png

I set up our Advent Calendar on a little table in our screened porch where Richard and I sit and have our morning coffee.  Our Texas winter’s are so delightful, we enjoy sitting out here every season, especially since we have an electric reproduction stove with “pretend” flames for the coldest days! (;

front advent.png

A little “Holly Jolly” cuteness to start the day!

screen porch.png

 Daisy, our little grand dog … waiting for Santa!


You know one of my favorite decorating “tricks” is using every day objects in unusual ways.  I filled this wrought iron planter with Christmas books and a basket of poinsettias … handy, and “at the ready” beside our chairs for reading!  I think it’s a perfect book cache for our outdoor room!

poinsettias and books.png

“Have a holly, jolly Christmas; It’s the best time of the year …” 

poinsettia and holly jolly pillow.png

“I don’t know if there’ll be snow but have a cup of cheer …”

lake door again.png

Sweet little envelopes all pinned up on a ribbon clothesline … Countdown to Christmas!


Get your paper and printer ready, make yourself a large “cup of cheer,” put your feet up and have fun making this Advent Calendar … 

“For we need a little Christmas

Right this very minute,

Candles in the window,

Carols at the spinet.

Yes, we need a little Christmas

Right this very minute.

It hasn’t snowed a single flurry,

But Santa, dear, we’re in a hurry;

So climb down the chimney;

Put up the brightest string of lights I’ve ever seen.

Slice up the fruitcake;

It’s time we hung some tinsel on that evergreen bough …”


As this Christmas season of busy-ness begins, my desire is to have my heart “tuned” to focus on Jesus, the reason for the season!  These words from our Choir Christmas Cantata written by Sue Smith haunt me.  “There was no room in the inn.  No room for Heaven’s amazing gift of love.  No room for the long-awaited Messiah.  No room for our only hope of salvation.  No room.  Time and again these two simple words stir our hearts, and we vow to make sure it never happens with us.” 

These words are a solemn reminder; my prayer this Christmas is … Lord, whatever I do or don’t get done during this Christmas season, let my focus be on YOU!  I want Him to know … I have a room reserved just for Him; there IS room in the Inn! ❤

“O come let us adore Him … Christ the Lord!

O Come Let Us Adore Him.png

“Come, let us bow down in worship. let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker …”  Psalm 95:6

From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda 

Thank you for reading my blog!  To have all my posts delivered to your email address, just click FOLLOW in my post above … or click on my site: cottagegreenonthelake.com

FOLLOW ME on Pinterest!  Trenda@cottagegreenonthelake.com




Halloween Tablescape “Trick or Treat … Give Me Something Good to Eat!”

smell my feet.jpg

Just in time for Halloween night S’more Ghost Peeps and Candy Coated Pretzel Wands are easy to make.  These festive looking treats are perfect to grab “on the go” or to serve after your Halloween dinner and they are “something good to eat!”

S’more Peeps – The best part of these adorable treats … there is  “no baking” required!  Just “gather” ingredients and put them into treat bags!


Ingredients & Supplies:

  • graham crackers
  • fun size Hershey bars
  • Ghost Peeps
  • favor bags (I used Wilton’s small, clear, favor bags from the baking aisle in Michael’s)
  • Halloween ribbon
  • package of blank gift tags or tag punch (I used my Recollection tag punch)
  • Halloween stamps
  • ink pad
  • standard hole punch
  • Halloween plastic rings (I bought mine from the Dollar Tree)



  1.  Open gift tags or punch out gift tags, using a die-cut punch  
  2. Stamp each tag with a Halloween stamp of your choice (since I was adding spider rings to my treat bags, I stamped each tag with a picture of a spider
  3. Using a standard hole punch, punch a hole in the top of each tag
  4. Break a graham cracker sheet into 2 squares and slide both squares into a clear favor bag
  5. Place 2 fun size Hershey bars on top of the graham crackers
  6. Top Hershey bars with one Ghost Peep
  7. Tie top of bag with Halloween ribbon in a simple knot
  8. Slide tag onto ribbon and knot again
  9. Slip Halloween ring over knot


Candy Coated Pretzel Wands

Ingredients & Supplies

  • 1 bag of Salted Pretzel rods
  • Wilton vanilla baking chips (I used bright green and purple)
  • Halloween sprinkles and nonpareils 
  • large treat bags, large enough to cover entire pretzel (I used Wilton’s large favor bags located on the baking aisle in Michael’s)
  • Halloween ribbon
  • black tulle 
  • Halloween plastic rings (I bought mine at Dollar Tree)


  1. Melt baking chips according to directions on package (I used a tall mug to melt my baking chips)
  2. After baking chips are melted, insert pretzel rod into candy and swirl to cover. 
  3. Place candy covered pretzel on wax paper placed on a cookie sheet 
  4. Repeat until pretzels are all covered with candy
  5. If you are only coating your pretzels with one coat of candy and one color, sprinkle the warm candy coating with decorations and nonpareils.  Do not sprinkle decorations on the pretzels that you want to coat with a 2nd layer of melted candy. (See picture below)
  6. Place cookie sheet in freezer to speed up hardening of candy
  7. If you would like a 2nd color of candy coating on your pretzel, repeat process of melting baking chips and dipping pretzel, after the first coating has hardened (10-15 minutes in freezer)
  8. Sprinkle 2nd coating of candy with sprinkles or nonpareils
  9. Cool until candy hardens.  NOTE: I placed my cookie sheet filled with pretzels into the freezer to harden.  If cooling in freezer, do not place pretzels in favor bags until coating has reached room temperature to prevent condensation from forming in favor bag!
  10. Slide candy coated pretzel into favor bag and close the opening by tying with a 7-8″ strip of black tulle and Halloween ribbon.
  11. Place Halloween ring over the knot in the ribbon

assembly pretzels.jpg

 Ready to eat!

completed pretzel.jpg

It’s Halloween!!!  Time to …

“Unfurl the tablecloth, set out the plates!



Put out the punch bowl, if tarnished, that’s great!”  It’s Halloween Night! by Trenda

punch bowl.jpg

Glitzy Spider Napkin Rings add a little bling to black and white napkins covered with bats.

glitzy spider napkin rings.jpg

Little Ghost S’mores don’t scare anyone, but they look so cute standing upright on a antique relish tray, next to a twinkly gazing ball.  Candied Pretzel Wands are tucked into a copper canister with Boo! tags, spiders, and bats …”oh my!”

gazing ball

Dangling from spooky branches painted black our Treat Bags are filled and ready to be “picked” by our kids and grand kids, coming for Halloween dinner.


Hope you have a spook-tacular Halloween with plenty of “sweets” and even sweeter moments to look back on.  

From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

scripture Halloween


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This week I’m joining Chloe Crabtree with Celebrate & Decorate