Monday, December 21, 2009

Winter View

This is how Christmas should look…

From the inside looking out…

With coffee in hand…

A “Happy” coffee in hand.

Have a very safe Holiday!!!!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Festive nails

A glass of wine and I let them talk me into the funniest things.

Um, that is a Christmas tree incase you couldn’t tell.

A few holiday colors and some decorative dots.

I even got into the creative fun.

So what funny thing do you do to be festive??

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

So how’s the New Year’s resolution going??

I know so many of you are wondering what happened to my quarterly review of my New Year goals. [Insert sarcasm here] Thank you so much for all you concern. For those of you dieing to refresh your memory, go check out the 1st and 2nd quart reviews. The third quarter hit at a bad time. Too bad I could re-schedule it. (Ha… get it?) Anyway, let’s just say I did OK. As the year comes to an end I feel I did not too bad at reaching my goals for the year. Not great either but I’m satisfied enough and ready to move on.

I’ve already started making a list of possible goals for 2010. I know you’re on the edge of your seat to find out what they are but you’ll just have to wait for that post.

So fess up, did you stick to your goals?
(I just read that 22% give up in the first week of the New Year and more than half quit by the end of March.)

Will you make a new year’s resolution for 2010?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Watch out!

‘Tis the season for traveling…
For black ice.

In a matter of an hour this morning the road in front of my house turned into an ice rink and then a parking lot.
Here are few shots from my front porch.
All of the cars started out going down the hill.
This one took out 2 of my neighbor's trees.

Yep, he was going down the hill too.
There are two more cars stranded down the street a bit but I didn’t want to leave the shelter of my porch to get a picture.
Everyone is Ok. They all walked away fine, just scared.
Wherever you go please drive carefully and stay safe!!!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Blue Christmas

This is how I have a blue Christmas. I use other colors to decorate too but my favorite color is blue so I try to work it in wherever I can.

What’s your favorite color?

How do you decorate for the season?

How the yaya did that get on my tree????

Go take a look at Yaya Stuff and see her favorite color.

See who else has joined us from the color wheel.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Take a bite out of this

One of my favorite comfort foods is a Primanti brother’s sandwich. It’s a local eatery to Pittsburgh. There are a few of the restaurants in the city but the original (circa 1933) is located in a part of town called the Strip District. (No, it has nothing to do with strippers) It’s an area of town where fresh foods are delivered and is the primary marketplace of the city. It’s a great part of town to walk through on a Saturday morning. But if you really want the full experience of eating a Primanti sandwich then you need to do it at 3:00 am after a late night of dancing in an old warehouse converted to bar/club. (Ok, so what if it’s been 20 years since I’ve done that, I did it).

Anyway, for those of you not from the Pittsburgh area, a Primanti sandwich is this amazing monstrous sized meal on bread. It starts with thick slices of fresh Italian bread then they pile on any one of 20 choices of meats, then a huge fist full of French fries a handful of coleslaw, sliced tomatoes and then they lovingly wrap it in waxed paper and toss it across the table at you.

Now, if you’re like my sister-in-law and you look like a Barbie doll fresh out of the box then this might not be the place for you. (She hated it when I took her there). But, if you like good food and fun places with a little character, then you need to make a stop at Primanti’s when you’re in the ‘burgh.

Here’s a sneak peek at what you could be in for.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Game on!

I’m feeling a little run over by a truck after several hits these past few days. I don’t want to keep going with the holiday blues, so it’s time I put myself in the giving spirit.
Who wants to play???

I played along in a game over at Iggy’s several months ago and he’s been very patient waiting for me to get my ducks in a row and hold up my end of the deal.

The rules:
The first five people to comment on this post will get something made by me. My choice. Just for you.This offer does have some restrictions and limitations:

1- I make no guarantees that you will like what I make.

2- What I create will be just for you.

3- It'll be done within a year. (most like sooner but don’t hold your breath)

4- You will have no clue what it's going to be.

5- I reserve the right to do something extremely creative or cute and simple.
It might be some construction paper with googly eyes glued to it (not likely). It may be a hand painted shirt or a beaded creation or something to decorate you home. No one knows until the prize arrives.

What’s the catch!?!?!

You must at least consider re-posting this on your own blog and offer the same deal to 5 of your own lucky blog readers. (Or for non-bloggers you need to pinky swear to do something nice for someone you don’t really know).

So, the first 5 people to leave a comment telling me they are “in” win a homemade gift by me! Oh, and be sure to post a picture of what you win when you get it.

Oooops. I didn’t do that part either in a very timely manner. Man! I should be in the doghouse.

Sorry so late but here is the amazing gift I got from Sir Iggy.

I received this wonderful 2010 calendar complete with full color photos. All of which are truly amazing. I’ve been flipping through every time I need to escape into nature. I can only imagine the time he took to put this thoughtful gift together.

(Those were just a few of the pages. Aren't they great!)
He also sent this do it yourself kit so I could have my very own baby cone. (If you don’t get… you won’t. Sorry.) I made two and might make another.

AND He sent the recipe and a few cones so I could make this yummy cone shaped treat.
(That was gone before I took pictures... YUM.)

OK, So who wants to play? Just say you’re “in” and I can get started on your special gift.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Be Thankful!

Among many other things, I am thankful…

For all things pumpkin
For baby toes (yum)
To live in a place where I can make choices (any choice I want)
For coffee
For all the good people in my life
For my health
For wine
For my smart, handsome, funny, patient, loving, husband
For my three little monsters and their wonderful imagination

Happy Thanksgiving to you

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Soup and Broccoli

I found the recipe for Baked Potato Soup here, on the blog… “A year of slow cooking”. If you like to use a crock-pot then you have to go check out her site. I’ve tried several of her recipes and I’ve loved them all. I go here ever time I need a fresh idea and I don’t want to be in the kitchen all day.

Here’s what you need:

5 lbs. Potatoes peeled and diced
1 very small onion
4 cloves garlic
½ t. black pepper
½ t. red pepper
2 quarts chicken broth
2 (8 ounce) packages of cream cheese
Salt to taste
Crumbled bacon and chopped parsley to garnish

In a 6 qt slow cooker place the peeled/diced potatoes. (I sautéed the onion and garlic quickly in a skillet with a tablespoon of olive oil) add the seasonings, onion, garlic and broth to the slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours. (Potatoes need to be fork tender)
Use a masher or hand held blender to mash potatoes. I left a few in chucks because I like it that way but you can make it smooth.

After mashing the potatoes, add the cream cheese and cook on high for at least 30 minutes stirring a few times. Add bacon and parsley as a garnish. (Cheddar cheese will work too.)

I found the recipe for the Broccoli Bake in my very first cookbook that I’ve had for decades. (Ouch) “Where’s Mom now that I need her?”. A co-worker bought it for me when I moved out on my own for the first time. It has all kinds of helpful hints in it, not just recipes.

Here’s what you need:

2 packages frozen broccoli florets
1-cup mayonnaise
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 egg beaten
1 ½ cup grated parm. cheese
1 cup crushed crackers (I use Durkee onion instead)

Cook broccoli and drain well.
Combine mayo, soup, egg, cheese and stir in broccoli. Spoon into baking dish and top with fried onion (or crackers) cover and bake for 30 minutes at 325 and then uncovered for another 10-15 minutes.

I have more than enough casserole dishes to make all of these sides but this year, I used several of the disposable ones to make things easier on me. What do you do to make your family gathering easier? (Drink wine???) Just kidding... Well, not really.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Sides, sides and more sides

Yesterday I posted the Turkey and Stuffing recipes. If you missed them, go back and take a look. I’ve always been all about the side dishes. I’ll have a small amount of turkey but what I really want is the sides. Maybe that’s why my menu is so out of control. Anyway, today I’m posting the recipes for the Apple rice medley and the Fancy Mac-n-cheese.

The Apple Rice Medley:

I found this recipe in my 4-ingredient cookbook.

1 package long grain and wild rice
1 cup shredded mild cheddar cheese divided
1 cup chopped Golden Delicious apple
1 cup sliced mushrooms
½ cup thinly sliced celery

Prepare rice according to package
Add ½ of the cheese, the apple, mushrooms and celery to the rice; toss to combine. Spoon into 1 qt. dish and bake for 15 minutes at 350 and then top with remaining cheese and bake another 10-15 minutes until cheese is melted.
(sorry, can't find the picture of this one as a finished dish???? must have gone too quickly.)

(You can make this 1-day ahead but you’ll need to adjust the bake time.)

The Fancy Macaroni Casserole:

I got this recipe years and years ago from a second cousin by marriage and probably couldn’t pick her out of a crowd today if I had to. I’ve altered the ingredients a few times along the way.

8 oz. Macaroni (elbow or small shells work best)
½ lb. Sharp cheddar cheese grated
1-cup mayo
* About 1 roasted red pepper (more or less to your personal taste)
* ½ cup onion (I never use the onion... don't like it.)
* Small jar of mushrooms (I like fresh better and use about a cup of them sliced)
* Small green pepper (again, I never use the pepper... don't like it.)
* 2 to 4 table spoons of crumbled blue cheese (yum, the more the better for me.)
1 can cream of mushroom soup

(**** These ingredient are basically considered optional but don’t cut all of them out or you’ll be left with nothing “fancy”)

Cook the pasta and then mix together with the other ingredients and bake for 40 minutes at 375.
Special note… The blue cheese can be mixed in and/or sprinkled on top.

(You can make this 1-day ahead)

When I’m doing so many side dishes I like to make what I can a day ahead. It can also be a challenge to bake everything per the instructions. I usually try to average the temp. Most of my recipes were between 375 and 325. I used 350 but could have done 375 with so many dishes in at once. I also added 10 to 15 minutes to a few dishes to make sure they were hot in the center.

So are you after the turkey or are you more interested in the sides? What’s your favorite side dish?

I’ll post the Broccoli Bake and the Potato Soup next.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Here birdie, birdie, birdie.

First Tom gets and nice olive oil massage. Then he is gently rubbed with steak seasoning that has been ground into a very fine powder along with ground sage, salt and pepper. After that, an orange and a lemon are squeezed over him and the remaining fruit is tossed into his cavity (Ooo). A generous fist full of Parsley, another handful of sage, several sprigs of rosemary and a few of thyme are also placed into the cavity to help flavor the bird. Then it’s into the roaster and in the oven to be cooked as directed per weight.

Now for the stuffing.
I make a dried cherry and sausage stuffing. I found it years ago on-line most likely from the food network web site. I’m sure if you looked it up you could probable find their version. I tend to slightly alter recipes each time I make them. You know, I add more of what I like and less of what I don’t like until I get the flavor I want.

Here’s what you need:

1 stick butter (It’s thanksgiving, no one can diet on this day)
5 to 6 ribs of celery finely diced (the smaller the better for me)
Fist size or smaller of onion. I like Vidalia but they can be bigger so I just use a portion. Again finely diced.
10 healthy cups of bread cubes
1 cup (at least) of dried cherries (you can find them where the raisins are in the store)
About ¾ of a pound of sweet sausage cooked and crumbled
¾ cup of parsley chopped
30 (plus) ounces of chicken broth (you might need more if you make it ahead of time or if you like it more moist).
Salt & pepper to taste

Melt the butter in a skillet add the celery and onion and cook until translucent.
In a large bowl combine; celery, onion, bread cubes, cherries, sausage and parsley. Add the broth and stir until well mixed.

Bake covered for 1 hour and then uncovered for another 15 minutes.
(This can be made 1 day ahead)

This has always been a big hit. If you do make it ahead of time, you might need to add more broth before you put it in the oven. Sometimes the bread soaks everything up and it can become dry stuffing… blah.

As you might have noticed from yesterday’s post about the menu, I make a ton of food for this one meal. I am very grateful that I have been blessed with 2 refrigerators and 2 ovens. I wouldn’t know how to pull this off otherwise.

What makes your Thanksgiving go smoothly?

Saturday, November 21, 2009


I think I'm back into the blog world now.
Sorry to be out for so long but I got my butt kicked. I’ve been sick for well over 3 weeks. It started as the flu and now I’m taking meds to battle bronchitis. I feel slightly better but I’m still waiting to see the light at the end of the tunnel and get my energy back.

OK, enough whining, it’s time to be thankful.

Thanksgiving is right around the corner. I however, host a huge Thanksgiving feast the Saturday before Thanksgiving. I do it now so that my extended family has the chance to all come together and celebrate one another and then they are also free to go and visit with other friends, family, and in-laws on the actual holiday.

As an only child and a latch key kid to a single working Mother I spent a good deal of time alone. Thanksgiving to me is a time for everyone to come together. I have always enjoyed the noise and energy of having a house full of people and listening to the stories and laughter. I like that commercialism has not been able to take over this holiday. There’s no worry about getting the right gift or trying to make someone happy. For one day we can put aside dysfunctional family stuff, bite our tongues and be together. All you have to do is show up and eat. Yum. I’ve always loved having all this wonderful food around. We used to eat, go back for seconds and then after the dishes were washed we would start pulling things out again for a munch fest.

This year’s menu looks like this…

Turkey (seasoned with rosemary, sage, parsley, thyme and an orange)
Dried Cherry and Sausage Stuffing
Cranberry Sauce
Apple and Rice Medley
Fancy Mac-n-cheese
Broccoli Bake
And Baked Potato Soup

And with out a doubt there will be Pumpkin rolls, Pumpkin Pie and a Berry Pie.

Keep your eyes open; I’ll be posting the recipes over the next several days.
Time to go greet my guests.

While I feast why don't you tell me about your favorite Thanksgiving food.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Back Soon

For the Mama...

For the baby...

For the rest of the family....

Stay healthy.
I hope to be back soon.

Monday, October 19, 2009


Sorry to all my bloggy friends and readers. I haven’t been very good at posting this month but it’s nuts over here. I’ve been doing vendor shows and getting ready to host a jewelry open house. I miss reading your blogs as much as I miss posting on mine. I’ll be doing my best to catch up with both soon. Thanks for hanging in there with me!!!!

Thank you also for the orders on Awareness jewelry.

Trick or Treat

It’s time to start having some ghoulish fun. With a little creativity you can have a ton of not so scary Halloween fun.

Let’s see what’s on the menu…

Poison Apples –Fill a basket with some fresh apples and put some mister yuck stickers around it.

Dried Bat Wings with Bug Guts Dip –Blue corn chips look just the way you would imagine a dried bat wing to look. Add a few drops of green food color to some ranch dressing and you’ll have a bowl of bugs guts ready for the feast.

Bat Bones –I wanted shoestring potato sticks for this but couldn’t find them. The matchstick pretzels worked just as well.

Monster Mix -Make some trail mix with black and orange ingredients like chocolate chex, goldfish, raisins, and black & orange M&Ms.

Witch Fingers and Monster Fingers –Use cream cheese to “glue” a piece of olive onto a carrot and you have a finger complete with nail. I colored sliced almonds with green food color and used them as the finger nails on the celery…I mean the monster’s fingers.

Tiny Mummies – Cocktail wieners wrapped in thin cuts of pastry make cute little mummies. Add 2 dots of mustard for eyes.

Spider Web Pie –Use the store bought dough, place to toping on first (cheese and pepperoni) then cover with sauce. Put about ½ cup of alfrado sauce into a baggy and cut the corner open. Make circles of white sauce and then drag the knife through as you cut the slices. Looks just like a spider web.

Worms in Slime – Peanut butter noodles. (I’ll post this recipe some day. It’s really easy and yummy)

Witches Brew – Green punch made with limeade, green sherbet, ginger ale and a few gummy worms.

Eat at your own risk…

Now for entertainment…..

These games are great for kids or adults. (Have a beer and some adults act like kids so it’s close enough.)

Trick or Treat for Words… See how many words you can spell using the letters from “Trick or Treat”
Build a Spider Web… Stand in a circle and use a ball of string or yarn and try to build a spider web.

Wrap the Mummy… Pick an unsuspecting innocent bystander and wrap them up like a mummy using rolls of toilet paper. (What a good Dad he is)

Witches Limbo... Hey, it’s limbo using a witch’s broom.
Candy Corn Relay… Get 2 teams lined up. Have 2 buckets full of candy corn at one end and 2 bowls at the other end of the room. Using large spoons or toy shovels race to fill the bowls up with the candy corn. Each person takes a turn and then gets back in line until the race is over.

What are your fun Halloween Ideas?????

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Think Pink

October is breast cancer awareness month. Make sure you’re doing a regular self-exam and follow your Doctor’s recommendations for mammograms.

At Jewelry and Gifts by Rebecca, I sell awareness bracelets in different colors for a variety of causes. If you’re interested in a breast cancer awareness bracelet you can order one here. A portion of the sales will be donated to the Susan G Komen fund.

Be Healthy!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Fall Rocks!!!

I love this time of year. Everything about it makes me feel energized; the fresh crisp air, the changing colors, all the festive décor and the cornucopia of foods of the season. I’ve started changing things over inside and out to display my love of fall. Here is my favorite fall vignette.
(Remember that word?)

How do you decorate for the fall????

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Fun with paint (part 2)

Here’s another fun room to paint. I did the same thing as before and collected some random colors from the discounted section of paints at the home improvement store. I bought a gallon of purple for $4.00, a quart of blue for $1.50 and the orange I was able to get for 50 cents thanks to my hubby. He complained to the paint guy about what an awful color it was and that he wasn’t going to pay $1.50, “could ya give me a break on this” he says as I turn three shades of red. (I mean come on, it’s already discounted and I want it, just get it and stop giving this guy a hard time) So far the hubby has not yet learned to read my mind.

Anyway, I already had some greens at home that I mixed to get that lovely shade and some left over yellow was still available as well. This time around, I took some extra time to tape off a stripe pattern on the top half of the room. On the wall behind the bed the stripes are vertical and on the other walls the stripes are diagonal. The whole top of the room was painted purple then taped for the green stripes to be added.

On the bottom half of the room I used contact paper to mark off some circles then painted the walls blue. I traced different sized bowls and skillet lids onto contact paper to get the shapes. Then I cut those out and made a cut in the center of each circle (to get it off the wall later). Then I stuck the contact paper on the wall to keep an area designated for the yellow dots. After the blue paint was finished, I used the cut in the middle of each circle to peel the paper off the wall. Now that gave me a clean circle to go back in and paint with the yellow paint.

The room still seemed too subdued for the child that lives there so I needed to do something fun with the orange. I marked off a random zigzag shape around the door that kind of reminds me of the Flintstones. A few of the dresser drawers are also orange as is the comforter on the bed.

Over on the windows I tried a simple window treatment. I used those roll down shades and attached some orange fabric to them. With the shade unrolled and across the bed I was able to cut the fabric to fit using pinking shears. (Those scissors that cut a zigzag pattern) It keeps the edge of the fabric from unraveling and keeps you from having to sew a hem. Then I used some embroidery floss to tie the fabric to the shade in several random spots. It added an extra pop of color to the room and some extra sun protection. (I know, you’re thinking… “That room needed an extra pop of color????”) But trust me, it all seems to work and the kids love the way their rooms look.

Hmmm, I wonder what I will be painting next????