Apr 01 2015

Aunt Sissy’s Strawberry Shortcake

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Category: Recipes

Strawberry ShortcakeHere is a real simple recipe for shortcake that is quick and easy to make. It soaks up the juice from the strawberries in a most delicious way. It’s a tasty cake even if you don’t have any fruit to add to it. Just dust it with a little powdered sugar and eat it plain and simple.


Aunt Sissy’s Strawberry Shortcake


1 ¼ cup all purpose flour

1/3 cup shortening

¾ cup sugar

½ cup milk

1tsp vanilla

½  tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

1 egg


Sift or stir together all the dry ingredients. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend well. If you are using an electric mixer, beat on medium about 2 minutes. Pour into an 8 inch pan (square or round) that has been greased and floured. Bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool ten minutes on a rack before turning out of the pan.


Cut cake into serving sizes and top with fresh strawberries that have been washed, stemmed, sliced and sweetened with a bit of sugar.  A dollop of whipped cream on top seals the deal.

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Mar 24 2015

Saving Money on Home Landscaping

MulchWhether you have a new home with minimal landscaping or an existing one in need of a landscaping “do-over”, here are some tips to help you save cash on keeping it green.


  1. Research – Carpenters say, “Measure twice, cut once.” Avoid making costly mistakes. Learn from books, magazines and websites. Talk to friends and neighbors to find out what worked and what didn’t work for them. There are lots of free resources to explore like county extension agents, local clubs and community gardens, and horticulturists at local universities or botanical gardens.
  2. Compare – There are a lot of choices out there and online, too. Sometimes we assume that our local mega-mart has the best deal, but don’t limit yourself. You may not only benefit financially from one of the local nurseries but also from their advice and expertise. Don’t forget to compare pricing from unexpected places, too, like the small local hardware store, the farmer’s market or even the grocery store.
  3. Co-op – Pool your purchases with friends and neighbors. Bought in bulk, a truckload of mulch can be quite a bit cheaper than buying by the bag, as can bulk purchases of grass seed or bulbs. Consider pooling online purchases to share shipping costs. Meet minimums on free deliveries like lumber or pavers by combining orders with neighbors. Share the rental of big equipment like tillers or cement mixers.
  4. Fair Trade – Use your imagination and trade for what you need. You can save on plants by trading for seeds, bulbs, or plant divisions. Barter your skills and expertise in exchange for the same from friends and neighbors.
  5. Buy Used – Lots of bargains can be found on tools, supplies and even plants at auctions, estate sales, yard sales and flea markets. Don’t forget to check online. You may just find what you need, free for the hauling.
  6. Compost – “Chop your own wood and it will warm you twice.” Once when you cut it and twice when you burn it. Creating your own compost is the same. Save on having your leaves, grass cuttings, garden refuse and kitchen waste hauled away. Save on building up your soil year after year by creating your own compost. Again, do your research. A compost pile managed correctly doesn’t have to smell bad or be invaded by varmints. Plus, you can pat yourself on the back for recycling and reusing.

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Mar 04 2015

Elegant Victorian House Plans

Victorian House Plan 035H-0078Victorian house plans are commonly recognized for their elaborately detailed exteriors. They showcase elements of craftsmanship that aren’t always found among other architectural styles. Some of their most notable features include:


  • Turrets and towers
  • Covered, wrap-around porches
  • Turned posts
  • Spindles
  • Gingerbread detailing
  • Detailed scrollwork
  • Fish-scale siding
  • Miscellaneous ornamental decorations


Beyond their striking exteriors, Victorian home plans generally feature an asymmetrical floor plan and casual gathering spaces. While elegantly graceful on the outside, most are comfortable and family friendly on the inside. View our collection of Victorian house plans to find the design that is right for your family!

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Feb 26 2015

Stately Colonial House Plan

Colonial House Plan 021H-0197Imagine waking up each morning to this beautiful Colonial house plan. Its stately elegant exterior is enhanced by the treasures within. Let me just mention a few: vaulted ceilings, split staircase, sunken living room, sitting room, library, study, guest suite, fireplace, veranda, outdoor grill and bar, four bedrooms, four full bathrooms and three half baths. Whether you decorate this home with museum grade antiques or brand new furnishings, you will be creating your own family heirlooms for generations to come. There are so many new memories awaiting you and your family, like the first time Grandma arrives to visit and enters in grand style from the porte-cochere, or your daughter descends the stairs for her first prom, or gazing at the stars with a loved one from the second floor balcony porch. Although it may seem like you have stepped into a magnificent piece of history, this house plan provides you with the possibilities of a glorious future. A splendid luxury home like this deserves to be named by you and your family. Sorry, Monticello is already taken.

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Feb 04 2015

Featured Two-Story Home with Classic Victorian Style

Turrets and gables and a porch, oh my!  Add siding and some gingerbread trim and we have the recipe for a great Victorian look for this two-story house plan. On the first floor the turrets house a den and a bVictorian House Plan 032H-0049reakfast nook. Upstairs the front turret boasts one of the four bedrooms. What a cozy sanctuary for its lucky occupant. The other creates an interesting nook for a whirlpool in the master bath. Of course there are all the necessities for civilized life, like a family room, dining room, living room with a tray ceiling, a kitchen with a walk-in pantry and an attached two car garage. But seriously, you had me at porch.  It wraps lovingly around this house plan and winds up in the back as a veranda for some great dining, entertaining, or just relaxing, oh my.


For more Victorian home plans like this one, please browse our entire Victorian collection.

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