Simpatico: January 2011

Simpatico

Just the life and times of a silly girl, her dachshunds and all things Southern!

Iso in Slow Motion Channel on YouTube


You have to check out this adorable dachshund, Iso... His owners are doing a whole series in slow motion. I cannot tell you which of the three installments I enjoy better. -sigh- Makes me want a puppy!!!

Ravioli Soup

This weekend was crazy. I have been working on projects, cleaning, changing decorations from winter to Valentine's Day, and trying to avoid doing anything I didn't want to do! (ie ironing and cleaning bathrooms!!)

I tried a new recipe this weekend which was a huge hit!! I wish I could reference where I found it, but I only copied the ingredients onto a MS Word file and printed. Its ok, the final soup was no where near the inspiration recipe, so I do not feel horrible about referencing it!

**You will note my Valentine's table decor! I hope to take pictures today of all my pretties around the house for posting tomorrow!

Ravioli Soup
*1 pound ground beef
*1/3 cup dried bread crumbs
*1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
*2 teaspoons minced garlic (2 cloves)
*1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion
*1 - 28 oz can of diced tomatoes in juice
*1 - 6 ounce can of tomato paste
*1 - 32 ounce carton beef broth
*1 cup water
*1 teaspoon sugar
*1 teaspoon dried basil
*1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
*1/2teaspoon dried oregano
*1/4 cup fresh parsley (dried is an ok substitute)
*1 - 25 ounce bag of frozen cheese ravioli


Brown ground beef and drain all grease. Add all remaining ingredients except ravioli and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for at least 30 minutes to mingle the flavors.

Cook ravioli according to package directions and add to soup right before serving. This will insure that your ravioli is cooked through and do not fall apart while you stir the cooking soup.

Sprinkle with some extra Parmesan cheese or Mozzarella cheese (as shown).

Cream Cheese Chocolate Truffles

I am still on the hunt for perfect teacher gifts for Valentine's Day... Ok, truth be told, I am just wanting to make some candies and cookies because its still snowing here in Kentucky and I am stuck inside and bored!

I made these and am totally in love!! They will get made again for Valentine's Day, just not sure if they will make it out of the house!!

Cream Cheese Chocolate Truffles

4oz cream cheese (do not use fat-free)
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
*Cocoa Powder, powdered sugar, sprinkles and/or finely chopped nuts for the coating

In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese until a smooth consistency. Beat in confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Add the melted chocolate and vanilla until mixture is well blended. Refrigerate truffle mix 1 hour.
Use a teaspoon to gather the chocolate mixture. Use your hands to roll the mixture into 1-inch balls.
Roll the chocolate ball in the the desired covering until evenly coated.

*I like to keep these refrigerated until ready to serve since they do have cream cheese in them.
*For a different taste, use 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate and 1/2 dark chocolate, melted together.

Spiced Cranberry Shortbread

Today I made something special for me. Its a gray nasty day with rain turning to snow in the forecast. (Yay me. -_-)

You have to try this recipe. It is fabulous!! For the cranberry and shortbread lover, this is a must try!

Spiced Cranberry Shortbread

*1 cup unsalted butter, softened
*3/4 cup sifted confectioners sugar
*1 tsp pure vanilla extract
*2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
*1/2 tsp salt
*1 tsp. ground cinnamon
*1/2 tsp. ground allspice
*1 cup finely chopped dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 325. Put butter, sugar, vanilla, flour, spices and salt in a large mixing bowl. Stir together until combined but not too creamy. Stir in dried cranberries.
Press dough evenly into a 8-inch square (or 10' round works as well) baking pan. Bake until firm and pale golden, about 30 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack, about 20 minutes.

*I cut my shortbread into hearts with a 2-inch heart shaped cookie cutter, trimming any stray bits of cranberry from edges with a paring knife. I was testing for potential teacher gifts for Valentine's day. It was very fragile, but they turned out lovely.*

Banana Pancakes

It's snowing again and we are stuck inside. This is really getting O-L-D fast. One thing always happens when its snows, I get the cooking bug.

So for lunch we had breakfast (neither of us are breakfast eaters, especially at the normal breakfast time!) To change things up a little, I made banana pancakes. Believe me, it was a huge hit!!

Whole Wheat Banana Pancakes

*1 medium ripe banana, mashed
*1 large egg
*1 tsp. baking soda
*1/4 tsp. salt
*1 tsp. ground cinnamon
*1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
*1 Tbsp. sugar
*1 cup milk
*1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (or all-purpose flour)

In a large bowl, combine the banana, egg, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, vanilla, and sugar. Stir to combine. Add in the milk, ground flax, if desired, and flour. Stir until well combined.
Preheat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray. Spoon batter, two pancakes at a time, into preheated skillet. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until bubbles form in the center of the pancakes. Flip and cook an additional two minutes. Serve with sliced bananas and other desired toppings. (Peanut butter is my son's favorite)

Dog Bed aka Shelle is Bored

There is 6 million inches of snow outside and I am bored. Well, I was bored. Now I am just happy. Soon you will understand why!

Milo loves sleeping under my desk. Up until today he slept on old towels or blankets, haphazardly thrown into the corner next to my filing cabinet. I doubt he cared, but I always did! It was not only unattractive, but it was probably more of a fire-hazard than I would like to admit as it was close to my tower computer, 2 modems, a switch, a sub-woofer, and all the 3 million wires that it takes to run all the computer goodies I demand.

Today I made him a bed. Not just any bed, but a bed with a built in blankie! It is made from one of those polar fleece throws you can get anywhere for less than $5.00. I didn't take any 'in progress pictures, because I didn't know if it would turn out worthy of self applause!

The total cost for this? $1.50 for the throw at Goodwill. I prettified it with some blue cording I had left over from another project, which does not match my room, but I am not going to complain... I stuffed it with a King-size pillow I had laying around in a closet for overnight guests.

I think he is pretty happy, don't you?

(If you are worried about Dixie being jealous, don't be... Girlfriend takes her naps on my bed, snuggled up with her polar bear under the duvet!)

Crab Cakes and Tartar Sauce ala Shelle

We are seafood eating folks at my house. I am lucky to have a kid who is just as addicted to shrimp, oysters, clams, mussels, scallops, lobster -sigh-, salmon, etc as I am. Heck, he even loves calamari!! **Yes, I have raised him right!**
Last night I was itching for some seafood and living on this tiny budget doesn't allow me to head over to Regatta (my favorite local place for Seafood) for something. So, homemade it is and homemade it was...

Tartar Sauce
*1/2 cup mayonnaise
*1 tablespoon chopped green onions (green part only)
*1 tablespoons drained sweet pickle relish
*1 teaspoon minced fresh parsley leaves
*1 teaspoons Dijon mustard
*a squirt fresh lemon juice
*1/8 teaspoon salt

In a bowl combine all the ingredients and chill until ready to serve.

This can be kept, in a tightly sealed container, in the fridge for several days.

Crab Cakes
* 1 pound crabmeat, picked free of shells
* 1/3 cup crushed Ritz Whole Wheat crackers
* 3 green onions (only the green part) finely chopped
* 1/4 cup mayonnaise
* 1 egg
* 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
* 1 teaspoon dry mustard
* 1/2 lemon, juiced
* 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
* 1/4 cup butter or margarine
In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients, except butter. Shape into patties and dust lightly with flour to prevent sticking.
Heat butter or margarine in a large skillet over medium heat. Carefully place crab cakes, in small batches, in pan and fry until browned. This usually takes 5 minutes per side. Only flip your crab cakes one time and do not press down with your spatula.
Drain on paper towels prior to serving and serve with my tartar sauce.

Boot Tray ala Martha Stewart

As you know we have been getting hit hard with snow, rain, and all the yucky stuff. I had grown very tired of an ugly green towel sitting by the back door to put our wet boots and shoes on. Luckily a friend sent me the link to Martha Stewart's pebble filled tray which was exactly what I was looking to create, but never had the idea -darn Martha and her ideas!-.

I had no scrap wood to use, nor the funds to go out to buy the necessary things to make it from Lowe's, so I went to my handy-dandy Goodwill and found the perfect solution.

There stuck on a bottom shelf was this little lonely black plastic tray. It had dust all in it, as it had been passed over quite a few times I suspect. The price? Fifty cents!! Yeah, that fits in my budget perfectly.

The rocks are a mixture of having a boy child who picks up rocks every where he goes and a single bag of pebbles from the Dollar Tree. I simply glued them to the tray with some Gorilla Glue and let it cure for a couple days before putting it to use.

My cost out of pocket? $1.50 (50 cents for the tray and $1 for a bag of rocks.)

Not only is it a nice functional piece, it has lots of memories from the places we have visited (New Mexico, Cancun, South Carolina, Florida, and even home in West Virginia).

As we got 6 inches of snow last night, I suspect it will be holding our wet sneakers and boots very soon!

Golf Art for Guest Room

I am in the process of doing over my guest room. I guess it isn't doing over as much as actually making it a room instead of a room with a door shut when people come over! I decided to go with a golf theme as golf is a very important part of our lives!

I have been gathering some frames while goodwilling to refab into something to place on the walls. Currently there is nothing... I found a nice empty frame with a beige mat for a 15 x 7 print. I made some subway art for it using golf terms.

The room is going to be navy, tan and rust. I have a navy comforter and tan sheets for the room already. I am trying to find some plaid fabric of those three colors to make some pillows, a window treatment and cover a chair. I haven't found anything, but of course I have been looking exactly 1 day! :)

I also found a really nice frame with a 6x4 space, a bulletin board and 2 pewter hooks. It was brand new!! It had the original price tag, was in perfect condition and even had the box around it! I was able to purchase it for $1.50!!

I thought this would be perfect to put score cards and hang golf gloves and hats. I made this picture to put in the top. As there is glass in the frame I can use a dry erase marker to put the score. Hopefully it will be below 85!

I plan to get them all professionally printed at Kinkos so they have a real nice look, but at a fraction of the price of real artwork.

All the frames will be painted with the same black paint to give it consistency, even if the frames are a different look.

I still have to purchase more frames and make more artwork. But as time and money are a bit tight right now, I believe I will stick these two into their frames and then look for more as time and money permits.

After I finish the room I will post some pictures! :)

Life Lessons from a Dachshund

1. If you stare at someone long enough... eventually you'll get what you want.

2. Don't go out without ID.

3. Be direct with people; let them know exactly how you feel - pee in their shoes.

4. Be aware of when to hold your tongue and when to use it.

5. Always Leave room in your schedule for a good nap.

6. Give people a friendly greeting. A cold nose in the crotch is most effective.

7. When you do something wrong, always take responsibility.
(as soon as you're dragged from under the bed).

8. If it's not wet & sloppy, it's not a real kiss!!

Veggie Night

At least once a week I like having a totally, ok so mostly, veggie night. *mostly meaning I used a few bits of piggy for flavoring.** Its great for a budget, its healthy (mostly, heh) and its always filling and comforting. Last night was my veggie night, and like always it made us extra happy and satisfied.

I forgot to get any pictures... Sorry... :D

These were my dishes and how to make them:

Corn Casserole
(ala Paula Deen) <--this is where the unhealthy part is located! * 1 (15 1/4-ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
* 1 (14 3/4-ounce) can cream-style corn
* 1 (8-ounce) package corn muffin mix (recommended: Jiffy)
* 1 cup sour cream
* 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
* 1 to 1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, stir together the 2 cans of corn, corn muffin mix, sour cream, and melted butter. Pour into a greased 9 by 13-inch casserole dish. Bake for 45 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and top with Cheddar. Return to oven for 5 to 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Let stand for at least 5 minutes and then serve warm.

Ranch Cheddar Potatoes (ok these are not much better on the healthy scale)
*8 large red potatoes
*1 cup ranch salad dressing
*1 cup sour cream
*1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese, divided use
*1/4 cup crumbled cooked bacon*

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Cut potatoes into quarters. Place in a large saucepan. Cover with water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cook until tender, about 8 minutes; drain well.
Meanwhile, combine salad dressing, sour cream, 1/2 cup Cheddar cheese, and bacon in a large bowl. Add potatoes and salt; stir well.
Spoon potato and bacon mixture into a medium baking dish. Top with remaining cheese.
Bake potatoes until bubbly, about 20 minutes.

Slow-Cooker Green Beans (OK so they ain't healthy either, sue me!)
* 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
* 1 cup chopped yellow onions
* 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
* 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
* 5 pieces of Salt Pork
* 1 tablespoon minced garlic
* 1 1/2 pounds green beans, trimmed and halved
Add the oil in a medium, heavy saucepan. Add the onion and saute until tender, about 3 minutes. Season with pepper and cayenne. Add the salt pork, garlic, and beans. Add enough water to almost completely cover the beans. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 2 hours. Remove from the heat and serve with the cooking liquid.
**These can also be made and finished in a slow cooker. Instead of simmering for 2 hours, you can use your slow cooker for 4 hours on low

Getting Ready for Valentine's Day

I have been working feverishly on Valentine decorations as my previous decorations for Winter, Valentine's Day, Mardi Gras and Easter have all been destroyed... don't ask, it is still pretty traumatic.

Sunday I finished this monster which will be displayed over my piano... I still have to fashion something for my front door -_- and am trying to not use hot glue as yesterday also added trauma to my life with 4 of my 10 fingers being quite well burned. What can I say, me and the glue gun are not best of friends.

The idea came from here. My heart wreath is made of 400 2.5" diameter felt circles and hot glued onto foam-core (something I seem to have lots of). I purchased 3/4 yard of felt from JoAnns for this craft. I watched Star Wars 1-6 in order while I worked on this project. Not saying it took 12+ hours, just that I had pretty good entertainment.

I will show pictures of everything when I am finished and have them displayed, which I am planning the weekend of 1/28.

Meatloaf Muffins

My internet is still up and running, but I had involved myself in cleaning my closets whilst being offline, so I still had a mess to clean up from my cleaning up!! I put together a nice collection of stuff to give to my best girlfriend's son who loves Reed and all things Reed. I put together a nice box of stuff for Goodwill. I have a box of trash that isn't even worth talking about. And -cries- I put together boxes of school work from Reed -cries-. I wish he could and would stay a baby forevah!!!

Since I am now a sniffing and crying mess I will feed my little big man an easy peasy dinner (and go back to bed with a bottle of wine).

Meatloaf Muffins
*1 pound ground beef (or turkey!)
*1 6 oz box of stuffing mix
*1 cup water
*3/4 cup ketchup
*3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

In a large bowl, mix together ground beef, water and stuffing mix until well incorporated. Roll meat mixture into balls and press into the cups of a greased muffin tin. Make small indentations into the tops of the muffins and fill with ketchup. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. Take out meatloaf muffins, sprinkle the tops with shredded cheese and return to the oven for an additional 5 minutes.

Homemade Cinnamon, Fruit and Nut Granola

**Hopefully my internet will be fixed today, but I shall still keep my fingers crossed!! I did get a nice refund for the days without service!! **

I thought I would keep on the roll of the thrifty tips I have been giving by sharing one of my favorite snacks!! This served on yogurt is to die for!!

Homemade Granola
* 4 cups rolled oats
* 2 cups sweetened, shredded coconut
* 2 cups sliced almonds
* 1/2 cup cashews
* 1/2 cup light olive oil
* 2/3 cup honey
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1/2 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
* 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
* 1 cup dried cherries
* 1 cup dried cranberries or raisins
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Toss the oats, coconut, almonds and cinnamon together in a large bowl. Whisk together the oil and honey in a small bowl. Pour the liquids over the oat mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until all the oats and nuts are coated. Pour onto a 13 by 18 by 1-inch sheet pan. Bake, stirring occasionally with a spatula, until the mixture turns a nice, even, golden brown, about 45 minutes.
Remove the granola from the oven and allow to cool, stirring occasionally. Add cherries, cranberries, and cashews. Store the cooled granola in an airtight container.

Homemade Cinnamon Sugar

**My internet is still down... -sigh- I think I shall cry, just like the last tech who was here for 4 hours and still unable to figure out where the problem is, as I have perfect signal in the house and to the house.**

I am a cheap woman. Ok, perhaps cheap sounds bad... I am frugal, penny-pinching, tightwadded, and thrifty. I am not that way on everything... a girl does enjoy her perks in life like a good haircut and pedicures... but when I can do something at home, perhaps with just a little time and effort on my part, for 1/2 or 1/4 of the cost, you can count me in!!

Thus my post on homemade cinnamon sugar. Seriously... its 2 ingredients in a little container which costs over $2.50. Crazyy.

Make it yourself, using this formula:
*1/4 cup granulated sugar
*1/2-3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Mix sugar cinnamon. Store in covered container... if you are like me, I still have my original cinnamon sugar container which I simply refill with my recipe!!

Cream Cheese and Jelly Snack

**My internet is still down. Luckily I can access the internet world thru my smart phone, but I am stuck with a $200+ cable bill and no internet. Can you tell I am losing my patience? heh**

This isn't a recipe as much as reminder of this amazing snack!! I have been watching the food channel and literally salivating all over the amazing dishes they have been creating. I think I have made more food this week than I have during the previous 30 days!

Today while watching I wanted a snack. As we have been snowed in the last couple days, and I do not enjoy traipsing to the store in that mess, I had to forgo my usual apple snack for something else. When I opened the fridge inspiration struck.... mom's easy peasy cream cheese, jelly and crackers.

You simply cover your cracker (this instance I used Wheat Thins) with hot pepper jelly or sweet chipotle sauce. It is such an easy snack full of flavor! Believe me you'll easily become addicted!!

Tuscan Chicken with Angel Hair Pasta and Pine Nuts

**My internet is acting wonky. I am going out of my mind. So while I type away in a MS Word document I am also pulling my hair out waiting for them to investigate and fix my shoddy connection. I am also cooking a lot to keep my mind off things!!**

Tuscan Chicken with Angel Hair Pasta and Pine Nuts

* 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
* 4 tablespoons olive oil
* 8 ounces medium mushrooms, quartered
* 1 (8 ounce) can artichokes, drained and quartered
* 1/2 cup onion, chopped
* 4 teaspoons fresh garlic, chopped
* 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
* 3 teaspoons black pepper, freshly ground
* 2 teaspoons salt
* 1 cup white wine
* 2 cans diced tomatoes
* 2 cupes fresh baby spinach
* 1 (16 ounce) box of angel hair pasta, prepared as directed
* 1/2 pine nuts, toasted


In a small bowl, combine chicken breasts, 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 teaspoon of ground black pepper. Stir to coat the chicken breasts. Wash and quarter mushrooms. Peel and cut onions into thin strips. Chop garlic, wash and quarter Roma tomatoes lengthwise. Drain artichokes and measure out remaining ingredients.
Place chicken breasts in broiler or on grill and cook for 3 to 5 minutes.
While chicken is cooking, prepare the topping for chicken in a large sauté pan. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil until it is hot add the onion and garlic and sauté until softened. Add the mushrooms and artichokes 2 teaspoons of black pepper, Italian seasoning and salt and continue cooking for 2 to 3 minutes. Add cans of diced tomatoes.
Turn the chicken breasts over to complete cooking on grill or broiler. Cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of the chicken and the temperature of the grill or broilers. Be sure that the chicken is cooked thoroughly.
Add your favorite white wine to mushrooms and artichokes and reduce by 1/2 volume.
Just before serving, add the baby spinach and combine until the spinach is wilted.
Place the prepared angel hair pasta on a serving dish, top with the chicken breasts and cover both with sauté pan of Tuscan vegetables.
Sprinkle with the toasted pine nuts, serve immediately and enjoy.

Italian Sausage Tomato Soup

**I am having some internet problems this week, so I am just putting my blog posts into a MS Word document and will post them all when my internet has straightened up.**

This is a wonderful, amazing, delicious and filling soup that I have grown to love during the last few years. It isn't Reed's favorite, but he will enjoy it with me if there is nothing else in the house to eat. ;)

Italian Sausage Tomato Soup
* 4 slices bacon, diced
* 1 pound Italian sausage (remove casings and crumble)
* 1 cups finely chopped red onions
* 1 tablespoon Tony Chachere Cajun Spice
* 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
* 2 tablespoons minced garlic
* 1 bay leaves
* 4 cans diced tomatoes
* 3 cups chicken stock
* Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cook the bacon in a medium pot over medium heat for about 2 minutes. Add the sausage and cook with the bacon until browned, about 5 minutes more. Add the onions and Chachere's seasonings, stirring often, until the onions are softened, about 5 minutes. Add the crushed red pepper, garlic , bay leaf, tomatoes, and chicken stock and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for about 30 minutes. Season, to taste, with salt and black pepper.

I add a bit of parmesan cheese when I serve to garnish.

Valentine's Day Subway Art

I have started making things to use for my Valentine's Decorating. I have started loving Subway Art as a means to add a little color and thought into the holidays. I decided to try my hand at it for Valentines Day, and am quite pleased with the results.











I also made a Winter Print for the same frame which will hold my Subway art come February. I have the print in a black frame sitting on my piano where you would place your music while playing. As I haven't been playing lately, its perfect for decorating!

The Doxies made me do it!! :)

Reading Nook Part One

I am busily making a nice little haven for reading in my office. I found a cute little rocker, all covered with butt-ugly fabric, for free on Craigslist which started my transformation of my empty area.

I will show pictures as I completely revamp the area. Today I made a wreath to put on my wall above one of the book shelves. I followed the instructions here, and three hours and two burnt fingers later a Clive Cussler book I hated was made into an adorable wall hanging.

Here is a picture for your enjoyment (not of the fingers...) I will post more of the wreath once the area is completed to my satisfaction! (-cough- who knows how long that will take)

The only change I made was I painted the edges with gold paint as my bedroom and office suite is in burgundy and gold. Also, I pre-rolled all 571 pages of the book and stapled the rolls instead of hot gluing closed. It was quicker and most cost effective. I also was cheap and didn't buy a wreath but repurposed a piece of foamcore from a science project of my son into a wreath form.

All in all I used 1 hardback book I never wanted to read again and 6 large glue sticks... as well as 3 hours of time. Not bad for a pretty little addition to my house!

Winter Decorations...

I hated putting away all of the Christmas decor. I love the lights of the tree, the ornaments that bring back memories of Christmas' past, and the little treasures I have collected or made during the years. But, it was time to put them away for another year, so I brought out my meager collection of Winter item and got to work.

I wanted to post a few pictures and links to where I got the ideas!

This is the coffee table in my family room. Please ignore the frame lying in the floor, I need to buy a new hanging mechanism to put my $6.00 Goodwill Mirror find in my living room.

The trees are merely old Reader's Digests which I folded and painted with silver metallic spray paint.

The stuffed snowman I found at Goodwill last year for $1. The snowflake picture frame was a gift with purchase from Dillards many moons ago.

Its a bit boring, but we are rarely in this room to be honest.


This little area is between my messy kitchen and the back family room. It was, at one time, a window looking out into the backyard. When the house was remodeled, they drywalled it in and made a ledge between the rooms.

The snowman was another Goodwill fine for $1.50. It even came with the candles inside. It was from Kohls, I know, as the price tag was still on the bottom!

The little trees I picked up a while ago for $1.00 each at Kmart. I spray painted them all with a new coat of silver this year to bring the shine back to them.

This is my kitchen. Sorry about the lighting, there was not much I could do to help out with that. I have one window and its giving the ugly backwash to everything in my pictures.

The tree I bought after Christmas at Kroger a few years back for $2.00.

The tree sits on a silver charger plate, which my snowflake stoneware are also resting on. There are pinecones, snowflakes and silvery sleds under the tree.


I found the New Year Subway art and just had to add to my tablescape. I simply painted a cheap Dollar Tree picture frame with the same silver metallic on the other things around my house. The subway art can be found here to print.


The cards on the tree show our wishes for the new year. We put down one thing we wish to stop doing or give up and the other is a wish for us or our family. Even the dogs get into the act. Although Milo has already broken his wish of not peeing in the family room during bad rainy days!


This is the front of the tv in the living room. I picked up the greenery at JoAnns after the holidays with a 40% off coupon, with their 50% off discount prices. Needless to say it was cheap.

The candles rest on blue plastic and glittery ornaments from Walmart. They were a quarter after Christmas, so was the little dove resting in the middle of the greenery.

It adds just a splash of color without taking away from the picture on the screen.


This is the top of my piano in my front living room. I wanted to do something special, but had no money to spend. I believe the whole area cost less than $15.00 to make.


Lets see. Feather tree: Joann's. It was the most expensive part of the whole area. It was $5.94 on clearance, then another 40% off with my coupon. I wanted it so bad. I love the pretty soft feathers. It adds some height to the area without being another candle or vase.

Ornaments (pinecones, acorns, blue present, and bird) 50 cents each at Walmart. I waited until after Christmas and just bought what I wanted. No one seemed interested in silver and blue ornaments!! Win for me.

I filled the glass candle holders and the large canister with Epsom salt to give the illusion of snow. Also, when the candles are lit the light will reflect off the salt.

The Subway Art in the spray painted Dollar Tree frame can be found here.

I adore the addition of the glitter trees. I found the candle sticks at goodwill for $1 for both and spray painted them with the silver spray paint I had been using. I will admit making the glitter trees was a mess, but its a lovely look. I couldn't find light blue glitter, so I went with silver and white mixed together. Instructions on how to make the glitter cone trees can be found here.

But my favorite thing is my coffee filter wreath. Ok, I burnt the heck outta my fingers putting all 600 of those filters onto the straw wreath, but it was so worth it. The picture does not do it justice. I had originally made it with my front door in mind, but after seeing it complete, I wanted to add it to my snowy piano scene. And the coffee filter wreath can be found here.


This is a picture of it at night!! I love candles!! :) Oh, yeah. I even got the candles at JoAnns after Christmas with a deep discount. I love to decorate, but I hate to spend money on it.

Even on a budget, I believe it makes a lovely impression when you first walk into the room.


Lastly, as I used my planned front door wreath in another area, I made this for the front door. This cost me nothing. I had silver ribbon in my craft stuff. The paper is just scrapbook paper. I attached it all onto a foamcore sheet I cut into a wreath. I got my inspiration from this tutorial. It turned out rather well, don't you think?

Wilted Spinach Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing

I have been super busy since the first of the year trying to tame my house... in other words, culling items I do not ever wear, throwing away the broken and unfix-able, and doing a deep clean. It has needed it for a while, and as it has been sunny, albeit cold, I have been motivated to finish my tasks.

What I haven't been motivated to do is cook. :) Last night was one of those nights... the OMG what am I gonna fix for dinner kinda nights. Luckily for me, I always have the makings of this salad. Now, its not the healthiest of salads, but it is rich on flavor!!! It is the type of salad you could have every single day, but the cardiologists in my family would probably severely frown upon it.

So, enjoy my bad but oh, so good for you salad.

Wilted Spinach Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing

* 10 to 12 ounces fresh spinach, washed and torn into bit-size pieces
* 1/4 cup minced red onion
* 2 hard-cooked eggs, chopped
* 8 slices bacon
* 3 tablespoons bacon drippings
* 3 tbsp. sugar
* 3 tbsp. vinegar
* 2 tbsp. water
* 1 tsp. salt
* 1/4 tsp. pepper

Place prepared spinach in a large bowl, add onions, the chopped egg and refrigerate, tightly covered.
Fry the bacon until crisp; remove to paper towel and set aside. In a small bowl combine drippings with sugar, vinegar, water, salt and pepper.
Toss the greens lightly with the hot dressing. Top with crumbled bacon.

I served mine with hot french bread and my olive oil with spice mix on the side for dipping.

Something Funny!!!

Wow!! It has to be ==========> long!!!

2011 and Beyond

Boy, it has been busy at my house since Christmas. At first we had a nice quiet time at home for Christmas. We opened gifts, had a huge meal, napped, ate more, played with the electronics which had to charge, napped, etc, for 2 days. I believe that every Christmas has been that way since I was born... I love passing on traditions!

Then after Christmas Day was over, we loaded up the car and headed to the wilderness of WV for family time. This is also a tradition. The time between Christmas and New Years is filled with more gifts, stuffing of our gullets with more rich food, then a ski trip to Snowshoe Resort.

Since we arrived back in Kentucky I have been busy doing my (immediate) New Years Resolution of cleaning and organizing my house. I have been culling clothes, emails, old paperwork, decor, anything that doesn't make me happy or has no purpose in my life anymore.

I have to admit the first few cuts were not easy, but then I began to fill so liberated from the changes, the freshness of the rooms, and the clutter gone! This amazing feeling is fueling me to move on with the rest of the house.

I have a lot to do, and oftentimes I feel a bit overwhelmed. Luckily I have made a list of things to do. A list is the easiest way to motivate me. Making a list of things and crossing them off one by one is my means of dealing with any difficult step. I am not known to move ahead without some prodding....Its this Taurus part of me. :) But once I do move, then expect the work to get finished! Its just that first step that hurts the most!

And, the best part of any project is music!! And yes, I made a play list a while back to motivate me into finishing the tasks ahead of me. It is the playlist I always seem to gravitate to when I have something that isn't going to be pleasant. Hey, I need motivation in the worst ways just to wake up!! I hope you enjoy my "happy" playlist as well! :)


Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

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