Simply Mrs. Edwards

{just the life of a new wife}


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Son of a Nutcracker!

Since we’re only about 1 day from Christmas, I figured it was high time that I shared about our Christmas decorations! The past few years we’ve had a tree, some garland, and wreath on the door. I’d say my efforts were a mediocre 3 on the scale of Christmas cheer. But this year, gosh. This year is a solid 8.  We upped our game and brought the Christmas cheer in full force this year!

Christmas at the Edwards | Simply Mrs. Edwards

Thanks to Josh’s awesome handiwork, we added this amazing backlit star this year. We were inspired by this one on Beyond The Picket Fence and couldn’t wait to create our own. Because we had a big open space to work with, we made ours a bit larger and added some sweet backlighting. The wood is from a reclaimed picket fence that Josh found and cleaned up. After Christmas, we’re thinking of repurposing the boards into another art project. Promise I’ll share those details when it’s time!

Christmas at the Edwards | Simply Mrs. Edwards

The star is a simple square that Josh fastened onto 2″ x 2″ pieces behind. It’s backlit with a strand of leftover Christmas lights. The only thing we purchased for this project was a $3 spool of ribbon! A pretty great project if you ask me! :)

Christmas at the Edwards | Simply Mrs. Edwards

Christmas at the Edwards | Simply Mrs. Edwards

Christmas at the Edwards | Simply Mrs. EdwardsI’ve been seeing a ton of fun chalkboard ideas all over, but since my chalk hand writing leaves a lot to be desired, I cheated a bit and used this transfer trick to write the Christmassy message below. If you doubt your writing skills, I highly recommend this transfer technique! The only thing I did differently was use a chalk pen to fill in my lines instead of regular chalk. My finished product may not look as rustic as it could, but I was lacking the patience and steady hand necessary to trace over the whole thing in smear-able chalk. I may re-do this again with real chalk someday, but I’m perfectly happy with the way this version turned out!

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Christmas at the Edwards | Simply Mrs. Edwards

Last year I made this fun Christmas card wreath out of a pack of Dollar Tree clothes pins, a little green spray paint, some red beads, some bailing wire, and red ribbon. One of the easiest projects ever! I’m happy to say that since this photo was taken we’ve filled up the entire wreath with fun cards from family and friends!

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Among other fine qualities, our house has a really odd living room with multiple doors on each wall. The only place that our TV fits is right in front of a coat closet that we don’t really use. I got tired of people asking why our TV was in front of a door, so earlier this year I made a curtain to hang in front of the door. This was also the point in which I got fed up with our dark redwood walls and decided to cover 2 walls in burlap. Thankfully both projects turned out great and we no longer receive weird comments or looks when someone comes into our house!

Thanks to some scissor wielding friends who were over one night, we ended up with a stack of beautiful paper snowflakes that were just begging to be displayed. It only made sense to hang them in front of the curtain that’s in front of the coat closet door. Duh, right? Thankfully, that experiment turned out great too!

Christmas at the Edwards | Simply Mrs. Edwards

If  you’re on Pinterest, it’s very likely that you’ve seen tutorials on how to replicate mercury glass with mirrored spray paint and a spray bottle of vinegar/water. Well, I took a stab at it with some vases and candle holders and kind of failed. When they say that you MUST use the Krylon mirrored spray paint for it to turn out, they’re not kidding. I used some Rustoleum silver spray paint and my pieces turned out lacking some pizzaz (I’m pretty sure that’s the first time I’ve ever used the word pizzaz…) I honestly really like how these vases and candle holders turned out, but they’re nothing like real or faux mercury glass. I think it has to do with the air temperature I was spray painting in and that I used the wrong type of spray paint. Oh well, ya win some, ya fail some.

Christmas at the Edwards | Simply Mrs. Edwards

I really like the arrangement and that I get to display it on some antique doilies from my Mom. The view below is my absolute favorite this year! It’s what I see every night sitting on the couch :)

Christmas at the Edwards | Simply Mrs. Edwards

Here are a few photos of the living room as a whole (this room is hard to photograph!)…

Christmas at the Edwards | Simply Mrs. Edwards

Christmas at the Edwards | Simply Mrs. Edwards
Christmas at the Edwards | Simply Mrs. Edwards

Although we spend the majority of our time in the living room, a little bit of Christmas cheer spilled over into the dining room too. On the china hutch I simply hung some paper garland that I made last year…

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All it is is circle punches of scrap booking paper and Trader Joe’s bags sewed together…seriously, so simple.

Christmas at the Edwards | Simply Mrs. Edwards

The other thing I added is a Merry Christmas banner that we got at Target a few years back hanging on an old window from my parent’s house. Christmas at the Edwards | Simply Mrs. Edwards IMG_3266

My favorite Christmas tradition so far has been buying a Christmas ornament from our travels throughout the year. Hopefully someday our tree will be filled with ornaments from around the country and world! These three are from our trips in 2012:

Christmas at the Edwards | Simply Mrs. Edwards

Christmas at the Edwards | Simply Mrs. Edwards

Christmas at the Edwards | Simply Mrs. Edwards

These ornaments and many others were placed on our tree with love and care while we donned our antler headbands and turned on a Christmas movie. Ahh, I love tradition!

So, did you up your decorating game in 2012? What is your favorite Christmas tradition? Can you believe that Christmas is TOMORROW?!

Singing loud for all to hear,
Mrs. Edwards

P.S. Here’s our 2012 Christmas Card! Designed by the one and only, Josh Edwards :)

Christmas at the Edwards | Simply Mrs. Edwards


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Homegrown Apple Pie

We spent this past weekend at my parents home in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Their house is built in the middle of a 100+ year old fruit orchard. The original orchard was a huge area of land, but with parcels of land being sold and roads and homes being built, the majority of the fruit trees have either been cut down or engulfed by the surrounding forest. My parents own about 3 acres of the land and have made a point to keep the heritage of the orchard going. They have reclaimed and trimmed back old, abandoned trees and have seen amazing crops in recent years! This weekend we spent some time in that orchard picking apples. Homegrown, organic, delicious, apples. Here are a few photos of our apple picking afternoon…

One of biggest things I admire about my Mom is that she is incredibly talented in the kitchen and genuinely enjoys passing her knowledge on to me. I think it brings her a special kind of joy to see her daughter learning and loving the art of homemaking. This weekend she taught me how to make apple pie. It may sound crazy, but I had never made an apple pie before! A true homemaking crime, I’m sure! We used fresh golden delicious apples from the orchard and a tried and true recipe from my Mom’s arsenal to make the most delicious pie. It was a very simple process and is a recipe that I will be making again, very soon! 

Homegrown Apple Pie

Apple Filling  (my Mom’s recipe)

  • 7-8 medium/large golden delicious apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
  • 3/4 – 1 c. water
  • 1 c. sugar (brown or white)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 cinnamon sticks + 1 tsp. cinnamon powder
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cloves

Pie Crust (adapted from Martha Stewart Living, Nov. 2012 issue)

  • 1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
  • 2 1/2 c. flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 c. ice water

Combine apples, water, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and cloves in a medium pot. Simmer 20 minutes or until tender. Drain excess liquid and set aside.

Place butter pieces on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze until hard (15-20 mins). Once butter is hard, combine flour, salt, sugar, and butter in a food processor.

Pulse until mixture is coarse with some blueberry-sized clumps. Add ice water and immediately pulse until water is just incorporated.

Squeeze a small amount in your hand to make sure it holds together.

Lay out 2 pieces of plastic wrap. Empty half the dough onto each piece.

Fold edges of wrap together and gather dough into a disk. Refrigerate or freeze until firm.

Remove pie dough from fridge and partially unwrap. Place disc on a piece of parchment, leaving the plastic on one side. Roll dough into a circle about 1/2-inch bigger than your pie pan.

Press one piece of dough into your pan, leaving edges hanging over the edge.

Cut the second piece of dough into 3-inch wide strips.

Add filling into pan and spread evenly.

Weave dough strips into a lattice pattern over filling and press overhang onto the edge of crust. Trim the edge, fold under, and crimp.

Sprinkle with sanding sugar and bake at 375 F for 30-45 minutes, or until crust is golden brown. Be sure to place your pie on a parchment lined sheet pan to catch any drips!

Let cool and ENJOY

Homegrown Apple Pie

Apple Filling  (my Mom’s recipe)

  • 7-8 medium/large golden delicious apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
  • 3/4 – 1 c. water
  • 1 c. sugar (brown or white)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 cinnamon sticks + 1 tsp. cinnamon powder
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cloves

Pie Crust (adapted from Martha Stewart Living, Nov. 2012 issue)

  • 1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
  • 2 1/2 c. flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 c. ice water
  1. Pie Crust: Place butter pieces on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze until hard (15-20 mins). Once butter is hard, combine flour, salt, sugar, and butter in a food processor. Pulse until mixture is coarse with some blueberry-sized clumps. Add ice water and immediately pulse until water is just incorporated. Squeeze a small amount in your hand to make sure it holds together. Lay out 2 pieces of plastic wrap. Empty half the dough onto each piece. Fold edges of wrap together and gather dough into a disk. Refrigerate or freeze until firm.
  2. Apple Filling: Combine apples, water, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and cloves in a medium pot. Simmer 20 minutes or until tender. Drain excess liquid and set aside.
  3. Remove pie dough from fridge and partially unwrap. Place disc on a piece of parchment, leaving the plastic on one side. Roll dough into a circle about 1/2-inch bigger than your pie pan.
  4. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  5. Press one piece of dough into your pan, leaving edges hanging over the edge. Cut the second piece of dough into 3-inch wide strips.
  6. Add filling into pan and spread evenly. Weave dough strips into a lattice pattern over filling and press overhang onto the edge of crust. Trim the edge, fold under, and crimp.
  7. Sprinkle with sanding sugar and bake pie for 30-45 minutes, or until crust is golden brown. Be sure to place your pie on a parchment lined sheet pan to catch any drips!
  8. Let cool and ENJOY!

This pie will most definitely be making an appearance again very soon. I may or may not have eaten pie for breakfast this morning. It’s healthy, right?! My Mom happily told me that I am now in charge of pies for Thanksgiving. With great baking, comes great responsibility apparently…

Eating Pie,
Mrs. Edwards


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We All Scream for (homemade) Ice Cream!

The past few days I’ve been trying to come up with different ways to use these beauties. Smoothies, pancakes, whole-right-outta-the-fridge, you name it. One of the best uses I came up with was homemade ice cream. Real, 500% fat, creamy ice cream…you know, the good stuff!

Growing up, our annual 4th of July tradition was a BBQ and homemade ice cream at one of our friends houses. The entire church was invited and everyone was encouraged to bring their ice-cream freezer and their favorite flavor creation. There would be a multitude of flavors, but my favorite was always the strawberry. I would eat my little heart out, and then regret it on the couple mile hike to watch the fireworks. It was all worth it though. The memories I have of that annual tradition will last a lifetime!

I thought I’d share a fool proof homemade ice cream recipe with you. Be prepared…it’s full o’fat, sugar and everything you’re not supposed to eat. But give it a try! Make some to share with friends and family to celebrate 4th of July! Create some memories!

Homemade Strawberry Ice Cream

  • 1 pint fresh strawberries- stemmed and sliced
  • 3 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 c. of sugar, divided
  • 1 c. whole milk
  • 2 c. heavy cream
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  1. In a small bowl, combine strawberries with lemon juice and 1/3 c. of the sugar. Stir gently and allow to macerate for about 2 hours.
  2. Using a mixer or whisk, combine milk and the remaining sugar until the sugar is dissolved (about 1-2 minutes). Stir in heavy cream plus the juice from the strawberries and the vanilla.
  3. Turn your ice cream maker on and pour the mixture in (We have this Cuisinart ice cream freezer. It’s fantastic and I highly recommend it! You freeze the inner bowl, so there’s no need to mess with ice and rock-salt.)
  4. Let mix for 25-30 minutes, or until it begins thickening up. During the last 5 minutes of freezing add the sliced strawberries.
  5. If the mixture isn’t at your preferred thickness, empty the mix into another bowl, cover with plastic wrap and place in the freezer. Be sure to lay the plastic directly on the mixture to avoid ice crystals from forming on your mix.
  6. Scoop and ENJOY!

I hope you have a wonderful Independence Day! Have fun, be safe, and make some lasting memories with friends and family!

With Love,
Mrs. Edwards


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How ’bout them lemons?

What do you do when you find lemons on sale for $0.33 each? Make (strawberry) lemonade of course! We had my parents and my Brother’s family here for the weekend to celebrate Mother’s Day and it was only fitting to have an Edwards’ BBQ one evening. The Mason jars are from my Mom’s stockpile and the strawberry lemonade was whipped up from scratch in just a few minutes. The idea for using the jars came from Josh’s sister- so clever! It’s so easy to pre-make your drinks in the jars, store them in the fridge, pull them out and place them on ice when your guests arrive. Add a bendy straw and you’ve got yourself the perfect drink for a summer BBQ!

Strawberry Lemonade

  • 8 medium lemons or 2 c. lemon juice
  • 2 lemons for garnish
  • 2 cups simple syrup
  • 6-7 c. water
  • 1/2 cup frozen strawberry quarters (you can use fresh strawberries if you’d like- I used fresh-frozen in lieu of ice)

To make simple syrup: Boil 2 cups of water and add 3 cups of sugar. Stir until sugar is completely dissolved. You will only need about 2 cups of this syrup for the lemonade- store the remainder in a sealed container in the fridge for another use.

  1. Squeeze and strain seeds/pulp from lemons.
  2. Combine simple syrup and lemon juice in a pitcher.
  3. Add water until you like the taste of the lemonade (I ended up at about 6 1/2 cups water).
  4. Pour lemonade into Mason jars. Garnish with a lemon slice and add some frozen strawberries to each jar.
  5. Replace lids and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  6. Add a bendy straw and ENJOY!

My 3 year old niece loved this to the very last drop…and so did I! Hope this is a hit at your next outdoor BBQ!

Lovin’ the lemons,
Mrs. Edwards


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Wife of the Year and Gourmet Hamburgers

Attention! I have an announcement.

I have earned a highly esteemed award not one, not two, but THREE years in a row. I have yet again won Best Wife of the Year! YEAH! This award was won in 2010 when I surprised Josh with the Grill of his dreams and then again in 2011 when I got him the smoker attachment for dream grill.

How did I earn it again in 2012, you ask? Oh, just by being an awesome wife who is keen to what my husband wants. And what does this man want the most in this life? To be a Barbeque Master, to grill like no body’s business, to reign supreme in the smoking wars (smoking brisket, that is). A few months ago I saw a Living Social deal for a 5 hr. professional level barbequing class. Five whole hours with Big Ed from Big Ed’s Buzzard BBQ. Cha-ching! I bought that deal without a second thought. With Josh’s birthday at the end of April, I knew that this was just the thing I needed to get him!  I paired it with the Barbeque Bible and this awesome Stainless Steel Hot Dog Roller for the grill (awesome, right?!). I’m not gonna lie, this birthday present will probably benefit me just as much as it will Josh. I can see many, many awesome meals coming from this gift!

So, although I’d love to keep on bragging about how great of a wife I am, I’ll digress and get to what I’m really here to share. A few weekends ago we visited my parents and had a fantastic barbeque with them and some of our friends. Without too much effort, my mom whipped up some cheese stuffed hamburgers from a friends recipe. They were so so sososososo good! I cannot emphasize enough how great these things were. I strongly urge you to try this- not only is it pretty foolproof, it’s customizable and sure to please a variety of appetites!

Cheese Stuffed Hamburgers
*Add the following ingredients per pound of beef (we used 3lbs. of ground beef which made 7 huge burgers)

  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup BBQ sauce (Sweet Baby Ray’s is recommended)
  • 1/2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • Cheddar, provolone and/or crumbed feta cheese

1. Place your ground beef in a bowl and pour milk over the top. Mix to incorporate, cover and refrigerate 1-2 hours.
2. Remove ground beef from fridge and add all the remaining ingredients. The beef should have soaked in most of the milk- if not, drain off excess before adding final ingredients.
3. Scoop out ~2/3 cup beef and pat into 1/2 inch thick, flat, round shape onto wax paper. Repeat to make 2 patties the same size.
4. Place cheese in center of one beef patty leaving a border around the edge.
5. Place other patty on top and pinch edges together.
6. Refrigerate patties until you’re ready to barbeque- this also helps them to set up.
7. Grill over medium heat to your preferred done-ness (we like medium well).
8. Place on bun, top with favorite toppings, ENJOY!

These burgers were amazing and I can foresee us having them a lot throughout this summer grilling season! My favorite is the feta burger, Josh’s is the provolone. Hope this recipe helps you woo your friends at your next backyard barbeque!

Wife of the Barbeque Master,
Mrs. Edwards