Cheesy Pound Cake for Mother’s Day

After 5 1/2 weeks of many hours and lots of labor, our sweet new home is coming together into our forever dream.

Of course, when you have twenty-seven years of magazine articles in a notebook and Pinterest boards detailing home and garden plans it does come together rather quickly, much to Audley’s chagrin.

Even though we have been crazy busy around here, we have still managed to welcome spring and celebrate all the little things from Easter to birthdays and tomorrow, we will be hosting Mother’s Day here at our new home.

When deciding what I should prepare, I went way back into my archive of hand-written recipes that I began back in college and pulled out one of my favorites; a cheesy poundcake from Southern Living around 1994.

It’s probably one of my favorite pound cake recipes as well as one that is so versitle. With ingredients like sharp cheddar cheese, cream cheese, all the butter and real vanilla this pairs well with coffee, berries, a chocolate sauce, a lemon cream, or cranberries soaked in a sweet red wine.

My favorite way to enjoy this cake though, is still warm from the oven, with fresh plain strawberries and slightly sweetened homemade whipped cream. The flavors pair so well together and with all the sugar in the cake (it IS a pound cake after all), you don’t need to add any more.

So let’s gather some ingredients.

You’ll need 1 1/2 cups of butter, 1 8-ounce package of cream cheese, 3 cups of sugar, 6 large eggs, 3 cups all-purpose flour, salt, 2 cups finely shredded cheese (this recipe is SO much better if you shred it yourself. Trust me), and 1 Tablespoon high quality vanilla.

{I never said this recipe was healthy.}

While baking this recipe in a Bundt pan is perfectly fine and definitely less work in the kitchen, I used a flower cakelet pan from Williams Sonoma for my pound cakes just for aesthetics and a cuteness factor.

After baking, I trimmed the bottoms so that the cakes would set flat. That is Audley’s favorite part of baking, because he is a crust kinda guy. As I said my favorite way to enjoy this cake is with strawberries, so that is definitely the way we’ll be serving it up!

I’ll add the entire recipe in just a sec., but I would love to hear your Mother’s Day plans!

Check out this rich and scrumptious recipe below and have a fabulous weekend!

Welcome Back

“Welcome back, your dreams were your ticket out
Welcome back, to that same old place that you laughed about”

To say we have been rather busy lately is quite an understatement.

You see, fifty-seven days ago, I was playing around on Realtor.com just as I have for the last several years, pondering the possibilities of the many listings that were up at the moment, when something caught my eye.

I mean something REEEE-ally caught my eye.

So, I did something that I had never done in all my years of looking; with Audley’s guidance I reached out to a VA lender for a preapproval.

“Well the names have all changed since you hung around
But those dreams have remained and they’ve turned around”

Fifty-five days ago, we canceled our weekend plans and took a little road trip into Alabama. There, we looked at two houses. One was trashed and definitely showed what a little staging for the internet can do. The other was nearly perfect; close to everything we had in mind for a home.

“Who’d have thought they’d lead ya
Back here where we need ya”

Fifty- four days ago we made an offer on a house, wrote an earnest money check, and the very next day it was accepted.

We were under contract with “closing in thirty-five days.”

{GULP}

Thirty-one days ago, I accepted a position to teach pre-k in a newly established Christian Academy this coming autumn.

Twenty-four days ago, we met with our realtor in the small town of Scottsboro, Alabama to close, and at the same time became first time homeowners.

“Yeah we tease him a lot ’cause we got him on the spot, welcome back
Welcome back, welcome back, welcome back…”

Fourteen days ago, we moved to Stevenson, Alabama, just 3 miles from where Audley grew up and where we moved away from almost exactly ten years ago.

“…And I know what a scene you were learning in
Was there something that made you come back again”

There is a lot to the hows, whys, and whats of all this, but the Reader’s Digest version is Audley changed industries back in December and works from home, when he is not traveling. After nearly 27 years of moving with power company and paper mill construction, we have been given the opportunity to control our own path.

“And what could ever lead ya
Back here where we need ya”

Our “First” Home

We decided the time was right to purchase a home, but with the market what it is, this was not so easy. We looked near Atlanta (where we had been living). We looked in South Carolina (to be near our grandbaby). We looked in Tennessee. We looked in Alabama. But we weren’t serious until the right property became available. We really wanted out of the city, we wanted property, preferably not new construction, and a ranch style. We wanted character and potential. Something move-in ready that we could add our own spin on to turn into our home.

Who knew where it would lead us?!

The craziness, busyness, chaotic mess of the last fifty-seven days was an answered prayer in so many ways, especially with the ease of purchasing our first home. We stayed within our budget, worked with a great realtor and lender, and found what I hope is our forever home!

Back Porch Views

And the song lyrics scatter throughout my post? As we were driving on I-24 with a moving van, our pups and kitty I was listening to a 70’s station on Spotify. The theme song to “Welcome Back Kotter” by John Sebastion began playing on the radio. I laughed as I thought back to all the times we’ve left this area to chase our dreams, only to return.

“Yeah we tease him a lot ’cause we got him on the spot, welcome back
Welcome back, welcome back, welcome back”

God sure does have a sense of humor.

15 Ways to Brighten a Winter Day

Happy New Year and Happy Ground Hog’s Day as well! As has become my tradition, I took most of December and January off to enjoy family time and organize myself for this new year! We are welcoming February with high winds, rain and a nice little cold front here in North Georgia. While Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow up north, General Beau, Georgia’s own groundhog apparently did not.

{Rumor has it he wasn’t awake enough to see much of anything!}

Regardless of whether there will be six more weeks of winter or an early spring, the American calendar does confirm we have 6 weeks until the official first day of Spring. Whether it’s rainy, snowy or just plain ugly as winter days can often be, winter is not the most popular season.

With that in mind, I thought I would share Fifteen ways to brighten up your winter days.

1. Plant winter color – pansies, violas, crocus … all of these beautiful options are delightful in a couple of porch or patio containers during the season when everything is so dreary looking.

2. Go for a winter walk or hike. Bundle up if you must, but even just a few minutes in the outdoors on a sunny day improves your mood drastically!

3. Make a savory pot of stew. Simple, filling, homey, cosy … a pot of stew not only warms you up (and lasts through a couple of meals), but evokes wonderful memories of winter at home.

4. Plan out your spring and summer gardens. While you’re at it, order a few seeds as well!

5. Refinish a piece of furniture. Hit up a thrift store or Facebook marketplace and find an inexpensive project piece to keep you busy.

6. Open up the curtains and blinds and let the light in. Natural light (not the beer) is a known mood booster!

7. Set aside a few minutes daily for quiet time. Whether you read, close your eyes while listening to classical music, or really enjoy sipping your morning coffee choose a time of day for refocusing your mind and disconnecting from everyday stress.

8. Volunteer. Shelters and food kitchens all over are desperate for help right now. Even just one afternoon a week can make a huge difference in someone’s life, including your own.

9. Visit a local museum or other historical venue. This is a great way to get to learn your community or region. You might be surprised at what you find out about where you live!

10. Grow indoor plants or try your hands a forcing a bloom or two.

11. Visit the Georgia Coast. Carry a bike, a beach picnic, and enjoy a romantic weekend away in the Spanish moss of Jekyll Island.

12. Have a tea party for one or for several, it really doesn’t matter. Just turn off your phone and television, light some candles, find a Nancy Meyers inspired (think The Holiday, It’s Complicated, Father of the Bride, or Home Again) playlist on Spotify, and serve up a delightful afternoon of “chick” food, tea and conversation or a good book. There is no wrong way to enjoy tea!

13. Have a winter picnic. Pack plenty of blankets, and get creative with your menu. From a location where you can build a bonfire to soup served straight from the thermos there are many ways to enjoy this unique picnic.

14. Exercise. Winter is a great time to begin an exercise program. Not only will it boost your endorphins and your mood (‘happy people don’t kill their husbands” …. name that movie), you’ll feel better in the spring and summer when you bring out the shorts.

15. Set your goals for the year. I made this last for a reason; not everyone has goals or even knows what their goals are! For some people this is high priority, for others it is not, and guess what?! That is perfectly alright! The United States is a fast-paced goal driven society, but sometimes just living in the moment and seeing where it takes you is just as satisfying as checking off something on a list.

Is there anything different you would add to this list? I would love to hear your ideas!

Until next time, create a bright spot in your little corner of winter.

Our Red & Green Christmas Tree

Christmas has arrived in the Jones house and y’all, I am so excited!

You see, Santa Claus has sent word that I am on the nice list (boy has he been hoodwinked) and has already delighted me with a couple of fabulous gifts.

First? I have an adorable new grandbaby who I get to cuddle and spoil and enjoy and treasure and love! Mariah has my heart wrapped around her little finger and she will be here the week of Christmas and of course Christmas morning. Her parents will be here as well, but I get the baby!

Second? Bradley has been approved for Christmas leave and for the first time since he joined the Marines, he will be home for Christmas!

I told you I had been a good girl.

It makes my heart swell knowing all four of my children will be home on Christmas morning. We will still be missing Madeline’s hubby as he is deployed, but as a military and police family we understand the sacrifice and know it will be ok.

These early gifts have me feeling even more festive and sentimental than normal, so I wanted that to reflect when decorating our trees this year. I also wanted everyone in our cul-de-sac to enjoy the holiday cheer, so my favorite tree is twinkling in the front picture window which happens to also be my office.

I know many of you are stopping in from Design Morsels , so welcome to Fiddle Dee Dee and my little space on the internet! I’m linked up with 20 other fabulous bloggers for a Christmas Tree Decor Blog Hop hosted by Michelle from Our Crafty Mom so let’s get this party started!

No matter the trends of the season I will have at least one red and green tree in the house. I love these traditional colors of the season that actually come from the ancient Celtic celebration of the winter solstice with holly and berries.

This year I had a lot of fun, pulled out all the ornaments we have gifted the kiddos and collected for ourselves every year, and stepped into a world of nostalgia. Twenty-seven Christmases of annual Hallmark ornaments, glass Santa’s we purchased in Iowa when our ornaments were left in Alabama in storage after a move, the shiny brites I scoured Nashville and Chattanooga to find, the Mickey & Minnie Heart Audley bought me in Gatlinburg on our honeymoon, sweet gifts from friends, couple ornaments for our girls and their hubbies, the blown glass Christopher Radko’s and a crayon box for our Marine.

This tree tells our story.

There is no uniform color or pattern to any of these ornaments, yet with a little ribbon, festive picks and colorful lights it all came together to form a beautiful tree that showcases our family’s story.

I would love to tell you where all the decor came from, but honestly, I cannot. Some of the Radko’s are from a little shop in Scottsboro, Alabama, a couple from Flat Rock, North Carolina, and still others from Snellville, Georgia. A few baubles came from a little local shop in Clinton, Iowa and a few from Rome, Georgia. The Shiny Brite’s are reproductions and I found them at HomeGoods. Some were gifts from special friends and family to mark occasions. I’ve had most items on this tree for fifteen years or more.

To pull everything together I found the wired green and red polka dot and the elf patterned ribbon on Amazon. The festive picks are from Hobby Lobby and the elf hats are actually cute holiday headbands. We added colored lights to our prelit tree to keep it playful and nostalgic. There is just something magical about brightly colored twinkle lights.

While this isn’t our main tree, it is in my favorite space, and definitely in a prominent location. My office is where I write, read and disappear for quiet time with a cup of coffee in the mornings. It’s where the music is located and the front room in the house.

This year the kids will hang their new ornaments on Christmas Eve and we’ll begin a new collection of ornaments for Miss Mariah to add her chapter to the tree. I can’t wait to watch her story unfold.

Be sure to check out the other Christmas Trees these talented bloggers are sharing today. I’m sure each have their own unique story to tell.

More Christmas Tree Decor Ideas

Christmas Tree Decor Blog Hop feature image

Be sure to visit all the participating bloggers for decorating inspiration for your Christmas tree…

Christmas Tree decor collage of four

Our Crafty Mom // Red Cottage Chronicles// From House to Home// Simple Nature Decor

Christmas Tree decor collage of four

Virginia Sweet Pea// 2 Bees in a Pod// First Day of Home// Across the Boulevard

Christmas Tree Decor Blog Hop collage of four

Simply Beautiful by Angela // Happily Ever After, etc.// Madness and Method// Zucchini Sisters

Christmas Tree Decor Blog Hop collage of four

Purple Hues and Me// Tribe of Burton// My Pinterventures// Modern on Monticello

Christmas Tree Decor Blog Hop collage of four

Jenron Designs// Design Morsels// Oh Fiddle Dee Dee // Redneck Rhapsody