Happy “HEARTS DAY”!

 

Do you like celebrating Valentine’s Day? Even if you don’t have a special someone, you can make it a fun day!

I’ve gathered some great Valentine’s Day links you might enjoy exploring!

Layered Cherry Cheesecake from Lilmoocreations  A dessert I’m planning on making!!!

Cherry Pie Heart Pops  Are these fun and cute or what!???

 

The following are easy dinners to make!!

Meatballs with Ricotta and Marinara from Mennonite Girls Can Cook   Does this look delish?!! or what!

Philly Cheese Steak Sloppy Joes Okay this would be good enough ANYTIME!

Meatballs wrapped in puff pastry and cheese  A video with all the “how-tos” THIS..is to  die for…this is on my “to make” list. When my husband saw he thought it looked great

Crafts Anyone??

Valentine Fortune Cookies Craft From A Thrifty Mom

A Valentine Craft Fortune Cookie, but a free printable

Valentine’s Day Crafts from My Sweet Savannah Crafts are so fun!

New and Improved Recipe Blog and Book Reviews

New for 2017 is my updated, redesigned Recipe Blog. See the link for the Recipe Blog at the top of this page. I’ve added new recipes and will be adding more through February.

Now onto my book reviews! I received two books at Christmas. Ones that I asked for and I LOVE both of them.

The first one is “Walking Butterly”. I can’t recommend it highly enough!! So well written and life changing! I follow her blog at Recovering Church Lady, her blog is wonderful…as you can tell by the title! Her writings, her thoughts, her sharing always touches my soul. Encourages me to grow in my Faith!

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The second book is “Rare Bird: A Memoir of Loss and Love”…I’m about half way through it and again so well written. Again, I follow her blog also, An Inch of Gray..excellent!!

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Love that it is now February! A short month and then March. Here in snowy, winter country…counting down to Spring is all important!

Check back more recipes coming and another review, but not another book!!

**NOTE: Please take my Recipe Poll new the top of the blog on the right! Would love your input!!

 

3 of My Favorite Things. Christmas Movies, and a free printable!

Our fireplace decorated and ready for a warm crackling fire!

A little fun post…have seen this going around so thought I would play along.

1.My 3 favorite books (besides the Bible)(truly impossible to narrow down to 3 books. I have read SO many that have touched me or are just plain good reading. I love biographies, fiction, non-fiction, politics, history)

  • Little House books ALWAYS my Favorite
  • I Have Lived a Thousand Years
  • Alicia: My Story

2: My 3 favorite TV Shows  (we don’t watch many tv shows, these are the only ones usually)

  • Alaska The Last Frontier
  • Sue: Life Below Zero
  • The Blaze

3: My 3 favorite famous people. (really…there are so many more I would love to sit down and talk with.

  • Dolly Pardon
  • Glenn Beck
  • Franklin Graham in a tie with Rabbi Lapin

4: My 3 favorite types of footwear

  • My new tennis shoes
  • My comfy fashion boots
  • Slippers (l live in these in the winter!!!)

4. My 3  or 15 or 20 favorite Christmas Movies *THAT is hard..we start watching our collection of Christmas movies Thanksgiving Weekend…we have a LOT and love them all!

  • Wonderful Life
  • The Christmas Box / Time Piece
  • Christmas Visitor
    • ***At the end of this I will post ALL the movies we watch at Christmas, just in      case you need some ideas!

5: My 3 favorite pieces candy (I don’t eat much candy, NOT because I don’t like it though)

  • Turtles
  • Ghirardelli
  • Twix

6. My 3 favorite dining out places

  • Olive Garden
  • Logans Steakhouse – who can’t love the 2 full meals for $15.99 YUM
  • Panera Bread

But seriously can YOU narrow it down to 3? 🙂

7. My 3  favorite hobbies

  • Remodeling
  • Painting furniture and walls LOL
  • Crocheting and sewing
  • WAIT….I have to add reading…love books!

8. My 3 favorite places to visit

  • Disney World!! (Our favorite vacation spot, we try to get there every 4 years. So much to do and lovely dining)
  • Smokey Mountains (Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg – the fires there broke my heart)
  • Downtown Chicago (love the views, Navy Pier, shopping, Cheesecake Factory, and sightseeing!)

*** Below is our list of Christmas Movies  

(Note –  all of them I listed are GOOD! But the starred ones I’m really recommending especially because they might not be as well known)
  • Family Man  **
  • Elf 
  • The Christmas Card  **
  • The Christmas Choir **
  • A Time to Remember
  • The Most Wonderful Time of the Year
  • Santa Clause I
  • Santa Clause II
  • Santa Clause III
  • Home Alone I
  • Home Alone II
  • The Christmas Box / The Time Piece **
  • A Christmas Visitor **
  • Borrowed Hearts
  • A Dog Names Christmas **
  • You’ve Got Mail
  • The Christmas Miracle **
  • What If?
  • A Christmas Carol (with George C. Scot…the BEST one) **
  • The Grinch (with Jim Carry)
  • The Christmas Ornament
  • National Lampoon Christmas Vacation
  • Preacher’s Wife (with Whitney Houston)
  • A Very Merry Mix-Up **
  • One Christmas
  • Trading Christmas
  • Lucky Christmas

…and this is NOT the complete list..since we have the “Feeln” channel this year and have new ones to add for next year! 🙂 Happy viewing!

I found this free printable. Prints out beautifully, I have it framed and on one of my shelves above our TV, framed it in a white frame! Go to this blog for her lovely printable at full size: Deliciouslyyum.com/merry-christmas/

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May your Christmas shopping list be almost complete, and your Christmas baking be filling your home with delicious smells (and eating!)

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Deck the Halls…..

Dec. 13…11 days ..count them!!!….until Christmas Eve! Where we live we are pretty much guaranteed a white Christmas since this week a snow storm came our way, with more coming this weekend! YES it’s cold out, but there is just something magical at Christmas time to have the white fluffy stuff on the ground! At night all the outdoor white Christmas lights just look beautiful against the snow!! Now ask me in January how I feel about the snow! LOL!

During all the hustle and bustle of Christmas, the shopping, cooking, baking, wrapping, parties, cleaning…..sometimes…well a lot…the true meaning of Christmas gets pushed aside. Try to take time to reflect on what this season is about…the birth of the Christ child, the complete and total love God had for us, to send His Son to us. He cares about us…ALL of us….you… and all that our lives are about. The joys, the struggles AND the pain. Take time to de-stress,..yes it’s okay to just sit, to ponder, to relax, maybe read a book, sip on coffee or hot cocoa. Wishing you and yours a season of love, and care and may you enjoy this season of Love.

A photo of our lovely town decorated for Christmas

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Our house is all decorated inside and out! Both trees up and decorated, one is in our living room, but it can be seen from the kitchen and dining room which I love and the other is in our lower level where the fireplace is!

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Our upstairs tree
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In our living room
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In our Dining room
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By our living room and kitchen island
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My down-sized Christmas village. This year didn’t have room to set it all out.

Started my Christmas baking, some cookies and candy, but will save the cut-out frosted Christmas cookies to do with the 2 grand-daughters that live close. So miss having the CO grandkids here! Christmas time makes it’s especially hard, we miss them all so much!

Posting a few recipes!

First is Cake Balls….super easy!They have become a family favorite.

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photo from kendrickworks.blogspot.com
  • 1 box of cake mix, any flavor will work. I have used cherry, strawberry and this year trying spice. Make the cake by the instructions on the box.
  • 1 – 16 oz container of frosting (again any flavor that goes well with your cake flavor) use ONLY 3/4 of the container, more than that makes the balls too moist.
  • 1 package of candiquik melting chocolate I use only the milk chocolate flavor.May also be called chocolate bark.Bake cake mix (follow the instructions on the box). Cool
  • With your hands, crumble the cooled cake into large bowl.
  • Mix in the frosting, again not the whole container, usually just 1/2 to 3/4 will do it.
  • Refrigerate the batter to stiffen for a little while
  • Roll into one inch balls. Place on a cookie sheet or carefully put in bowl.
  • Place in your freezer, you want them very cold. If they are frozen they keep the ball shape better as you dip them into the melted chocolate.
  • Melt chocolate according to directions.
  • You can then dip cake balls into the melted chocolate with a toothpick or hold the ball and with a spoon cover the ball with the chocolate.
  • They can be dipped in sprinkles (I used different colors and shapes of sprinkles), nuts, crushed candy canes etc. and also you can drizzle them with a lighter color of chocolate or white chocolate. Have Fun!

 

The other recipe is Chicken Pot Pie (also VERY easy and oh so delicious)

*side note…as I’m writing this blog our Chicken Pot Pie is baking away in the oven!!

  • 1 to 2 cups shredded or chopped rotisserie chicken
  • 2 prepared Pie Crusts (Pillsbury)
  • 1 bag Frozen mixed veggies for soup (the frozen veggies for soup contain potatoes, THAT you want!)
  • 1/2 block of room temp cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • Dried or fresh chopped onion
  • Garlic powder to taste
  • Pepper to taste

Instructions:

  • Set out pie crusts until room temp (1/2 hour). Line pie plate with one of the crusts, making sure crust goes up the sides.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Chop or shred the rotisserie chicken, set aside
  • In bowl, mix cream cheese and soup, Add the mixed veggies, cheese, onion, garlic powder and pepper. Mix
  • Add chicken to the bowl of mixture, mix until thoroughly mixed together.
  • Put one of the pie crusts in the bottom of the pie plate.
  • At this point, if you would like, you can bake just the bottom crust for about 5 minutes ( bottom crust will be fully cooked when whole pie is done cooking)
  • Take out of oven, fill bottom crust with Chicken mixture.
  • Top with the second pie crust. Crimp crust, then cut a couple of slits etc. on the top.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Pie should be bubbly and top browned, but not too much!
  • Serve with a crispy salad, and/or fruit and you have a wonderful meal!

 

Wishing you and yours Christmas Blessings!!

 

 

 

 

Fall…

Well it seems it was just a few days ago and I was planting my summer flowers, working on our summer projects and I turned around and the leaves are turning into beautiful colors and now dropping from the trees and flannel sheets are on the bed. How in the world did this time go so fast! I have my fall decorations through out the house. And GASP I have started Christmas shopping, though I still am denying I see Christmas decorations in the store!

I have mentioned before that Wayne and I started a tradition in retirement. It’s lovely and even more so as the weather gets cooler here. We go to the “office”! LOL. The “office” is Panera Bread. Our Panera has a lovely warm atmosphere in the sitting area. The fireplace is now on and the warmth it gives out in atmosphere and looks is wonderful. Wayne and I are part of the regulars. There is a regular set of people that show up every morning. We chat with the other people at times and other times, we sit in our booth sip our coffee and we bring our tablets and catchup on email, blogs, and read our many books on Kindle. We also spend time chatting with each other, planning our day and week. A lovely tradition to look forward to each morning. When I say morning we are there by 6:45 am…YES we are morning people, always have been, though I know some people are aghast we are up so early when we are retired. We love the early mornings.

DIY crafts I have found that I love! I’m only going to make one of them. I love the Boo one! But the Fall one with the leaf actually will last through Thanksgiving. I may be leaning toward that one. I’ll post when the one I pick is completed! They were both found on Pinterest.

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This is one for Christmas that I would love to make also. Setting this outside next to the front door would be lovely! This too was found on Pinterest.

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 I will leave you with a wonderful fall recipe.

Chicken Corn Chowder (please see note below)

  • 3 cans of cream style corn
  • 2 can regular canned corn drained
  • 1 can of cream of chicken soup
  • 1 can of cream of potato soup
  • 1 can of evaporated milk
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 2 pre-cooked boneless chicken breasts cubed OR rotisserie chicken which I use because it makes the soup so flavorful.
  • Smoky links sliced (put in as many as you like) I use a whole package. (this makes this soup wonderfully tasty!)
  • Mushrooms (canned or fresh) drained – optional

Combine all ingredients in a large pot. Stir and bring to a slight boil then cover and simmer for about 10 minutes.

Serve with Garlic Texas Toast and/or a nice salad. YUMMY!

Books and a Recipe!

Books. Reading. Trying to  be more determined in my day/week to read and finish books on my “reading list”.

Three I HIGHLY recommend!

First, I’m just finishing “Tom’s Lists: 50  Commandments to Transform Your Life”…wow is it a great read. Seriously READ this book, it’s life changing..it’s funny, it’s serious, it’s soul searching..a great author!

Tom’s List” 50 Commandments see it on Amazon.

Second, I have finished “Like Birds in Black and White” a true story of a young girls survival during the holocaust..very good!

Like Birds in Black and White  see it on Amazon.

Third, “More Tears to Cry” –  A True Story of the lives of females in Saudi Arabia. If you have read the Princess Trilogy (all 3 are great reads), this is  sort of a continuing story. Chilling. Jean Sasson is an awesome author!

More Tears to Cry see it on Amazon

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When we were in Colorado my daughter-in-law, Sherry, served a dish during dinner that we loved! I’m sharing her recipe.

Texas Caviar! (or Black Eyed Pea Salad)

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photo from Buckeyecass71

 

  • 3 or 4 cans of black eyed peas
  • green pepper
  • onion (sweet or green onion)
  • jalepeno pepper (remove seeds and skin with a spoon)
  • tomatoes
  • avocado
  • cilantro
  • Italian dressing

Rinse and drain black eye peas. Dice all vegetables and combine with the black eyed peas. Add approx 1 cups of dressing or less if you prefer.

Note: others have replaced 1 of the cans of black eye peas with white corn and/or pinto beans. The recipe above is wonderful as is! Others have also deemed this recipe as “addicting”…we agree. It’s YUMMY!!!

Oh if you check out my links at the top of my blog…my daughter Sarah now has a blog, as does Wayne :).

 

My Projects and family photos!

So happy to be back blogging. Such a busy summer, though the to-do list is still on going. determined….I said determined LOL..I will be blogging at least twice a week.

Many projects have been in the works and YES I have more in the works

Below is the kitchen Island my hubby rebuilt. Did a lovely job. Then the honey oak coffee table re-do and then last the old stool update!

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Old island missing drawers – I had already started priming them

 

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Island now in rebuilding stage – building in tray storage in the middle
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Island done! Added trim to look more furniture like and also “feet”. Painted black to off-set all our oak cupboards. New top to match counter tops. Picture doesn’t do it justice. Came out so nice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Finished!
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Getting ready to re-finish our old honey (too yellow for me) oak coffee table.
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Completed! Weathered White chalk paint legs and under skirting. Darker and richer stained top to go with the rest of the furniture! Love it!

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An old stool we love to use…now fresh and updated to match the colors we are bringing into our living room. I plan on making solid color pillows for our sofa in the same blue as in the stool.

 

 

Trip to Colorado to visit our family Son Matt and wife Sherry and 4 super grandkids, Kaytlynn, Carson, Severia and Sadie!!IMG_1877

Wayne and I with the 4 grand kids!!!

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My next blog post will include our two granddaughters that live near us! And also the deck and backyard update.

I’m Baaaaaack!

Again. Life happened. Days full and pressed together and just didn’t get a blog post written.

A picture dump will be coming tomorrow.

I’m getting photos ready and taking some of the finished projects. The kitchen island is finished. I also updated our honey-colored oak coffee table we have had for a long time. Loved how it turned out. Those photos and more coming tomorrow.

Oh and check out my hubby’s post. The link is at top of blog!

 

Birthday!

Tomorrow…tomorrow another year to celebrate, another year to reflect on, another year to look forward to!!

It seems stunning that so many years have passed. How can it be? I NEVER bemoan how old I am or the number of birthdays I celebrate. I always remember that my dad only got to celebrate to age 46 and died not even two months later…he so wanted to live. THAT makes me appreciate each year.

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I don’t feel my age. I try to work in exercise every day, try to eat healthy most of the time (though I do indulge) I keep active every day, check ups every year, weight down and in a good range, but mostly just keeping active each day, all day is the spice of life. We wake up early, love seeing the sun rise and get the day going with projects!!

I’m actually celebrating “birthday week”. One day is just not enough LOL! I have so many freebies to take advantage of I’m spreading them out through out the week. Free meals, free Starbucks drink, birthday breakfast out, free ice cream! What fun!  Also on my birthday my hubby is taking me to Ikea and Kirkland’s for a day of shopping. Oh what “finds” I’ll have fun selecting!!

I’m hoping to find some items at Ikea for Ikea hacks! I have found many on Pinterest and blogs. Many Ikea furniture redone with chalk paint etc. Also looking for some items for my kitchen and for our deck. Our first stop on the way is Cracker Barrel, my favorite breakfast place!!

Our deck is in the process of being re-done, all new floor being installed by my husband. New steps built and relocated to another side of the deck, with the stairs ending at a new patio and fire pit (that will be started after the deck floor is finished), Picture to come!

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One of the many ideas for a fire pit, trying to decide whether to put a “sitting wall” on the back edge like this!
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A sign I found on Pinterest I want to make for our fire pit area! Love it!

Update: my kitchen island is done…we almost..waiting for the new top to arrive, we are hoping it will come in this week. Photos will definitely be posted when the top is installed. I can’t wait. So happy with how the rest of the island turned out! Husband really loves how it turned out also!

 

Inspiration

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What inspires you? Not on the regular days. What inspires you on “those” days. You know ….those days. Do you have days…you know, just awful days? Most people don’t admit it, but we all do. Days where either something has happened, unexpected and possibly awful, or a memory, or a single or many items have just for some reason piled on. Something that has always stuck with me was a passage I read in a book once that called what we all carry in life…is our “sack of rocks”.

We all have them, some are smaller than others, some are bigger than others…but a sack …with rocks.BUT even through those things, those days, those times, those of  times of life, joy can be had. I have those times. You have had those times. We all have them. Do most people know we have them?….no. Usually, most of the time, we have no idea what other people are going through or carrying in their life.

What gives you inspiration? When you go through those times, what is the thing or things that carry you through. For those of us who are Christians, yes God is the ultimate strength-giver, joy giver and give us a foundation and the strength to go on,.  But that doesn’t change the valley you are walking through. I believe  you also need tangible, hold-in-your-hand type of things or people. Those things for me are music, just certain songs can give your day a lift. There are those spiritual songs that stir the soul  But also a good 50’s, 60’s or 70’s song can carry me away :), people are another, a message, a phone call, a hug, those are amazing. Books are another thing that help me. But laughter….laughter can change how you feel, how your body responds and can give you a kick-start to changing your attitude.

Which leads me to Chonda Pierce. I  LOVE Chonda Pierce. Her take on life, she is a comedian who is more than surviving much grief in her life….her life, her story, her sharing includes much laughter, even in the mist of a storm, terrible grief, and just plain heartache. She is real. She is down to earth. She can make you laugh, smile and cry. Right now she is my inspiration.

Read the following to get to know Chonda:

https://www.guideposts.org/positive-living/how-comedian-chonda-pierce-is-using-laughter-to-heal

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This is on my birthday list. I can’t wait to see it. Click HERE to go to her site and order it.

I just thought I would share Chonda and you can read her story and about her life. It helped me, thought I would pass it on.

The following quote is something I have read and kept in my heart.

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