Our Maple Tree

Keeping up with The Maples

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Fashion Friday: Cape

I know it has been a while, but life has been so crazy busy here lately. It has been difficult to blog these past couple of weeks.

Today, I wanted to share this cape! The cape has really made a come back here lately and I am loving all the different styles. Something about capes reminds me of times past, I think they are dramatic (in a good way) and elegant.

I adore this cape because of how it is shaped. It isn’t just a piece of shapeless, draping fabric; which I love those too; but I love that this one is structured. The neutral color makes it easy to wear with just about anything. It is perfect for heading to football games, fall festivals and all of those holiday shopping trips!




cape 5

This necklace and earring set is one of my favorites. I got it from a local jeweler whom I can only find during local festivals. She hunts down vintage and rare buttons and makes them into jewlery. I love how danity they are and that I am wearing a small piece of history. 🙂 There is a website called, Grandmother’s Buttons, that make similar pieces.


Hope you all have a wonderful day, Happy Friday!

Cape – TJMaxx, similar, similar, similar, similar

Hat – World Market, similar, similar

Necklace – Local Jeweler, similar, similar


5 Year Anniversary Shoot

A little while back, Randy and I did our own anniversary shoot. I have been planning an anniversary shoot with Randy since, well, since I said I do! (Haha! I always think and plan ahead, if you haven’t guessed that by now!) I have always envisioned a large field where we could have an elegant picnic together, wearing our wedding attire and sipping champagne. Well, I didn’t get exactly what I wanted, but it was close enough. Due to our crazy schedules, we just didn’t have the time to find a place, a photographer or the right time to have a session professionally done. So, we thought, why not do it ourselves? The photos are not perfect, but we had a great time taking them.





At this point, it was getting a little cold so we decided to finish up inside by the fire.

The next series of photos taken here were blurry because, when Randy popped the corked on the champagne, it exploded, like champagne does. This was the first time we have ever “popped” a cork. Usually we push it off gently, getting a nice satisfying pop without the mess. Well, this time, we got the mess. But it was a lot of fun!  I guess this is our own way of “trashing the dress”. It is definitely going to have to go to the cleaners now! But it was worth it! 🙂


I had the urge to sing, “Happy Birthday” at this moment. 🙂 Something about having a lit candle on top of a cake.


For the next session of photos, I wanted to go a bit more casual and I wanted to take full advantage of the balloon while I still had it!



Having some fun with the balloon!



I had such a great time taking these photos with Randy. Oddly enough, it was a great stress relief for me after some hard weeks at work. Randy has such a gift to make me smile and laugh, even when I don’t feel like it. I am so very blessed to have him as my husband. And I am so glad we have these photos to put in our album, something to look back on and smile.


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Pumpkin Carving

Sorry this is late, but better late than never, right?!  I just haven’t been home long enough to write this post…. but here it is!

For Halloween this year, we celebrated with our small group, from church, by having a pumpkin carving party at our house. We enjoyed the cool fall weather on our back porch around a hot fire with chili and s’mores. It was a perfect fall evening.

We finally bought the chiminea that has been on our wish list for so long. We love having a fire on our back porch… I can have s’mores anytime I want!



Enjoying chili and s’mores by the fire!



Carving time!





Using plastic tablecloths was a great idea! Just place all the mess on them and after it is all said and done – scoop it up and throw it all away. Easy peasy!



Can you tell that we have some nerds in our group? Makes me so happy! Randy and I fit right in!

My nucleus did not turn out as well as I hoped, but it was fun trying!


I am so glad I have all these people to help me figure out everything that life throws at me. I am truly blessed with such great friends.

Hope you had a Happy Halloween… now on to Thanksgiving!

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Spaghetti and Meatballs

A few nights ago we had a date night in… life has been so busy that all we have wanted to do is stay home! So I made a spaghetti and meatball casserole. This was actually the first time I have ever made meatballs. Sad, I know!


I got the recipe from my favorite magazine, Celebrate. This magazine has never lead me a stray! Great ideas and great recipes!

And you can’t go wrong with this recipe! Spaghetti topped with hearty meatballs, rich marinara sauce, and a modest amount of melted mozzarella cheese on top – this one is a keeper!

Spaghetti and Meatballs Casserole


  • 1/2 pound ground round
  • 1/2 
pound ground mild Italian sausage
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 
cup Italian-seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated onion
  • 2 
tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 cup diced green bell pepper
  • 1 
(8-ounce) package sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 4 cups marinara sauce
  • 1 
(16-ounce) package spaghetti, cooked according to package directions
  • 2 
cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided
  • 1 
cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided


  1. Preheat oven to 375°. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Place a wire rack over pan, and spray with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, combine ground meats, next 4 ingredients, 
1/2 teaspoon salt, and next 
2 ingredients. Form mixture into 
1 3/4-inch balls. Place on prepared rack, and bake for 10 minutes.
  3. Reduce oven temperature to 350°. Spray a 3-quart baking dish with cooking spray.
  4. In a large Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and bell pepper. Cook, stirring often, for 5 to 6 minutes or until vegetables are slightly tender. Add mushrooms and garlic, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add marinara sauce and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, stirring to combine. Add cooked pasta, 
1 1/2 cups Monterey Jack, and 1/2 cup mozzarella, stirring to combine. Spoon into prepared dish; top with meatballs and remaining 1/2 cup Monterey Jack and remaining 
1/2 cup mozzarella. Cover with foil, and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover, and bake 10 minutes more or until cheese is melted.



The salad was simple – baby greens, broccoli slaw (a new thing of us), bell peppers and tomatoes all served with ranch dressing.


Very colorful and the broccoli slaw adds a nice crunch to the salad!


And dessert was just as simple! I mixed a box of brownies and added toffee and semi-sweet chocolate bits. Baked as instructed on the box, then added carmel, toffee bits and chopped pecans. The carmel is what makes this oh so good! (I used Breyers brand of carmel.)

date night brownie

All washed down with a glass of red wine, of course! As Gino said in Italy, “Wine should never leave the table!”

This meal is great for weeknights, it is quick and easy (just cook the meatballs ahead of time). And it is perfect for a big crowd… I’m pretty sure we ate on this casserole for a good week – lunch and dinner!

Something about spaghetti and meatballs just hits the spot! Enjoy!