Before my husband and I moved to our current neighborhood, we spent six years living in the historic district of our local town. We really loved living in the "district" not only because of the mature trees, brick streets, and beautiful homes full of character; but also because of the sense of community and the true old-fashioned neighborhood feel. Everyone knows everyone there, and stopping to talk to a neighbor as they sit on their front porch is just a part of daily life. We really miss that aspect of living there. We do like our current neighborhood, we have the house we love, and things are quiet there. Just sometimes too quiet.
Modern neighborhood design has it's positives in many ways, we have further setbacks, larger lots, higher fences, and garages in which to park our cars; but as much as all these features grant us more privacy, they also get us into a pattern of keeping to ourselves. It is so easy to get into the routine of: go to work, drive into the garage, walk into the house, and close the door. Getting to know our neighbors takes much more effort.
With that in mind, I made a decision not too long ago, that I needed to make a commitment to be more neighborly lately. And as luck would have it, the house next door to us finally sold and we have some new neighbors. Time to live up to my promise.
Never wanting to welcome someone empty handed, I decided to make some scones. I always feel that when a gift has a little bit of a handmade element (whether food related or not) it just shows the recipient that you put in some extra effort. Extra effort makes everyone feel special, doesn't it?
A quick trip to World Market yielded me a bag of yummy lemon poppyseed scone mix, the cutest little mini jars of jam, a colorful fabric napkin (found on the clearance rack) and a moderately priced, yet simple and timeless baking dish. Yes, you read that right. A bagged scone mix. I said a little extra effort, not spending all day in the kitchen sifting flour. I am perfectly comfortable with using pre-made baking mixes. Most of them taste great, and sometimes the difference in time saved is enough to convince me to do it in the first place.
This handy little mix is super easy (I can't stress enough how easy) and made a perfect batch of scones. Notice the little tiny one at the top of the tray...that one is for me! I had to make sure that they tasted good before I gave them away.
Seriously, how cute are these little jars of jam?
I lined the baking dish with the napkin, placed in the cooled scones, and tucked in the mini jam jars.
Folded up the napkin and finished it off with a grosgrain ribbon.
I also included a welcoming note that included our contact information (phone numbers and names). I am the worst ever with remembering people's names after first meeting them, so I always figure having it in writing is a good thing. And giving a neighbor your phone number is always a good plan. You never know when they may need to tell you that your dog has escaped the backyard fence...again.