Sunday, December 19, 2010

Merry Christmas to us!

Wilson is our new 10 1/2 week old Golden Retriever. So far he's a pretty good puppy. The poor thing is a little awkward right now because his legs are so long. He kind of just flops them around, but it's cute to watch!

Wesley and Wilson are getting along pretty well so far. They play together some, but Wesley's still trying to figure him out. I think they'll end up being pretty good buddies.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

We love the Christmas season at our house! We usually put up our tree and decorations Thanksgiving day or the day after. However, since I was visiting my family in Illinois, it had to wait an extra week.

Here's a Christmas tour....

We usually do red, green, and gold on our tree. This year we decided to just do red and gold. I love how it looks!

The next two are shelves that are over the couch.

Our Dickens village on top of the TV.

This is the opening between the living room and kitchen/dining area.

Since the kitchen and dining area are decorated in blue and white, we decided to stray from the red and gold theme in here.

I made this wreath from cheap ornaments I found at Dollar Tree and Target. I really like how it turned out!

A closer look at the top of the hutch. The white blob on the left is my attempt at making a coffee filter tree. I think it's kind of cute in its own unique way.

I made another ornament wreath to hang in the laundry room. I used red glass ornaments that I bought at Wal-mart after Christmas last year for $0.25 a box! I added the aqua ribbon to fit in the with laundry room colors.

I made this swag to put over our bed out of trimmings off the tree.

The door into the house.

This is the ornament wreath in the dining area from the outside. It's hard to see in this picture, but it really sparkles when the lights from the outside hit it. I love it!

Or house from the street.

Peeking in the window at the Christmas tree.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Like this Mom....

P.S. For those of you wondering, my computer is not working right now, so no Menu Planning Monday this week.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Lazy Mornings

Can you tell it's been a bit of a lazy morning around here?

Monday, November 08, 2010

Menu Plan Monday - Nov. 8

Reviews from last week:

I finally went grocery shopping on Tuesday, so we didn't have to scrounge as much as I thought. It's always nice to have restocked shelves!

I made the herbed quinoa on Friday night. This was my first experience having quinoa. It was OK. I'm not sure if it was this recipe that I wasn't a big fan of or the texture. The dish turned out a little too lemony for my liking. I'll make quinoa again, but try a different recipe some time.

I made the Cheesy Chicken Lasagna for church on Sunday and also froze a pan of it. I liked it OK, but didn't love it. I think it needed a little more richness or spice. It was also a little dry. I think next time I make it I'll try adding spinach and a creamier sauce (maybe some cream cheese, more milk, half and half).

I also made a spice cake with my new mixer! This was my first time making a spice cake and it turned out OK. It really needs some kind of caramel sauce or icing. I decided not to do any icing, because my husband doesn't like cream cheese or sour cream icing. It definitely needed something!

This week:

Breakfast: Peanut butter baked oatmeal

Monday: Three Cheese Chicken Penne Pasta Bake

Hamburgers on the grill (stuffed with onion, jalapeno, bacon, cheese, ranch dressing), Homemade buns, fries

Wednesday: Crock-pot Philly Cheesesteak Soup, rolls

Thursday: Leftovers or soup/sandwiches

Friday: Skillet Tacos

Grilled Chicken, squash and onions

Homemade pizza

Find more meal plans and recipes here.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Hello, Beautiful!

Meet the newest addition to my kitchen. My brand new, $18, long-sought-after, beautiful KitchenAid mixer. Thanks to a wonderful deal between Lowe's and Facebook, Chris was able to score this lovely lady for just $18.10 last night! That's pretty much stealing it as far as I'm concerned. I've wanted a KitchenAid mixer for a REALLY long time, but couldn't ever justify spending the ridiculous price. I am so thankful for this great deal and the opportunity to do some baking!

P.S. I'm thinking about naming this lovely lady. Any suggestions?

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Gathering Pecans

This is what has been taking up a lot of our time. We've picked up about 25 gallons of pecans so far. Chris says we're about 25% done! We're going to be doing this for a while.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Menu Plan Monday - Nov. 1

Yay! It's November!!! I can't believe how fast October passed by, but I'm thankful to be in the season of thanksgiving.

Reviews from last week:

The meatball recipe I used was really good. As always, I changed it up a bit. I only made half the recipe. I also added jalapenos and onion. They turned out pretty good. I served them over rice with some white gravy. They would also be good in spaghetti sauce.

The Mexican Corn and Bean Chicken recipe was also good. Because I don't know how to follow a recipe, I ended up adding too much liquid (salsa and water), so it was kind of soupy. It turned out OK, because I made pinto beans to go with it. We ended up adding a big pot of beans to the chicken and had it as soup. With some crushed tortillas and shredded cheese....delicious!

The Italian Stuffed Shells were also very good. It was a bit labor-intensive, but good. I made one dish for supper that night and put a dish in the freezer. I loved the combination of the sausage and spinach together. I did add some cream cheese to the egg/cheese mixture to make it a little creamier.

This week:

It's "Scrounge Week," meaning I need to go grocery shopping. So in the meantime, we will scrounge up the remaining items in the pantry and freezer to make decent meals. Not my favorite thing to do, but we'll manage.

Monday: Chicken pot pie

Tuesday: Breakfast Ring (with bacon)

Wednesday: Good Earth Tuscan Chicken with Penne Pasta (I haven't tried to Good Earth brand of boxed meals before, but I got this one on sale. We don't do a lot of boxed meals, but I'm excited to try this!)

Thursday: Soup and sandwiches

Friday: Herbed Quinoa

Saturday: I'll have to figure this out after I (hopefully) go grocery shopping this week.

Sunday: Lunch at church - -Cheesy Chicken Lasagna

Friday, October 29, 2010

Pumpkin Layer Dessert

Here's the recipe to the pumpkin dessert I made last week. I can't promise that the measurements are exactly correct, because I rarely measure anything. I made the best estimation. I'm not a very good food blogger...I don't have a picture!

Pumpkin Layer Dessert


1 1/2 sleeves of graham crackers, crushed
3 Tbs. butter
1 Tbs. sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ginger

Mixed ingredients together and press on bottom and sides of pie pan. Store in refrigerator while preparing the next layer.

Bottom Layer:

4 Tbs. cream cheese, softened
1 Tbs. sugar
1 Tbs. milk
4 oz. whipped cream
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 tsp. cinnamon

Cream together cream cheese and sugar. Add milk until mixed. Fold in whipped cream until mixed. Fold in pumpkin puree and spices until well blended. Spread on top of crust. Refrigerate 30 minutes.

Top Layer:

1 package vanilla pudding
1 cup milk
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. nutmeg

Mix pudding mix and milk together. Add pumpkin puree and spices. Mix well. Spread on top of cream cheese layer. Refrigerate at least 1 hour.

Top with 4 oz. whipped cream before serving.

Christmas in October

My wonderful parents sent us an early Christmas present this week! I love it and I love vacuuming! It's amazing how much difference a good vacuum cleaner can make. It was pretty gross emptying out the canister the first time. I've been trying to vacuum about 3-4 times a week to help with my allergies, so I was surprised that the floors were that dirty!

Thanks Mom and Dad!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Menu Plan Monday - Oct. 25

Reviews from last week:

The pork chop recipe was delicious!!! They were very easy to put together and didn't take long to cook. I left the feta off of some and they still had a great flavor!

The Creamy Chicken Taquitos were also wonderful! They were pretty easy to put together and bake. I could have used a little more of a kick (possibly jalapeno), but still good flavor.

I didn't end up making the Italian Stuffed Shells, so they will go on the menu for this week.

I also made a pumpkin dessert for church on Sunday that was quite tasty! I wanted to make a pumpkin cheesecake, but didn't have all the ingredients. So, I threw something together with what I did have. Maybe I'll post the recipe later this week.

This week:

Monday: Meatballs, rice

Tuesday: Chicken fried steak, potatoes

Wednesday: Mexican Corn and Bean Chicken

Thursday: Leftovers

Friday: Italian Stuffed Shells

Saturday: I think we're going to a church meeting out of town

Sunday: Church out of town

Monday, October 18, 2010

Menu Plan Monday - Oct. 18

Reviews from last week:

The cheddar sausage balls were REALLY good! They were very easy to make and had a great flavor. I used Jimmy Dean's Sage flavored sausage in mine. They were good hot or cold the next day.

The pumpkin oatmeal was good, but needed more sugar! It worked out really well to make this, because I had pumpkin left over from making pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. These were really good too! I substituted applesauce for oil, so they were a little healthier. Even after the cookies and oatmeal, I still had a little pumpkin left. So, I made pumpkin pancakes. I just added a few tablespoons of pumpkin to my pancake mix.

The tuscan chicken and beans was OK. I thought it was supposed to be a soup, but it wasn't. I could have added more broth to make it a soup, but I decided to just make it like the recipe. I couldn't find sun-dried tomato flakes at the store, so I left those out. It was definitely missing some flavor! I roasted a tomato in the oven and put it over mine. That helped some, but it was still a little bland.

I also attempted to make an apple pie from scratch this weekend. It didn't turn out so great, but I'll try again another time!

I made this Rosemary, Cheddar and Garlic bread to go with the roast on Friday night. It was very easy and very good!

This week's menu:

Monday: Pork chops, black-eyed peas

Tuesday: Creamy chicken taquitos, quacamole

Wednesday: Italian Sausage Stuffed Shells, garlic bread

Thursday: Leftovers

Friday: Soup and sandwiches

Saturday: Haven't decided, but something easy!

Sunday: Lunch for church - White Chicken Chili

Find more menu plans and recipes here!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


As the weather here in Texas started to get cooler a few weeks ago, I started fallifying the house. Yes, I made that word up. The official definition is: "to decorate, adorn, or embellish with fall related items." I made that definition up too.

Anyway, when I decorate, I like for it to be a process. I don't want it all to be done in one day. So, I've added a little here and there. I still have a couple of projects that I hope to complete in the next couple of weeks. But for now, I will show you the little touches of fall in our house.

Let's start on the outside. This is the main door we use. The silver bucket was a gift from a wedding I was in earlier this summer. I found the flowers at Dollar Tree. The "welcome" sign was something I bought on clearance last year at Kohl's. I made the wreath on the door with scraps and a $1 wreath from Dollar Tree.

Here's a closer look at the wreath.

Now, inside the house, this is the entry table close to the door.

Here's a close up look at a few of the toilet paper pumpkins I made. This was such a fun, easy, and cheap project! I made a total of 7 of them for less than $5.

This is above the couch. You may recognize the window art from this post. I made this wreath with another $1 wreath from Dollar Tree and scraps from the pumpkins. The colors clash a little bit, but I like the way it looks.

This is the top of the TV. After I took this picture, I decided the jars were too much up there, so I moved them. You can see a few more of the pumpkins I made. The jars have acorns, gourds, pears, and the paper balls.

Here's a closer look at those jars. I made them by taking a canning jar and wrapping a wire hanger around the top and bending it to make a handle. I have dried split peas, tea lights, and cinnamon sticks in them. I know the colors are more for Christmas, but I wanted the smell of cinnamon and I like the color of the peas.

Moving on into the kitchen. This is a little corner shelf by the table. The bottom shelf is empty because I put the flower arrangement from the table on it while we eat.

This is the flower arrangement on the table. I think I got the bucket at a garage sale last summer and the flowers from Michael's last year.

Our china hutch/pie safe in the dining area. I love this hutch. As you can see, it's really old. Chris got it from a co-worker who was going to throw it away.

The basket, truck, blue bowl, and pitcher are always up there. I added the leaves, brown metal wall hanging that I got on clearance at Cato for $2.50, gourds, and reed diffuser.

And that's our house fallified. Thanks for going on the tour.

I'm linked up at: Today's Creative Blog

Monday, October 11, 2010

Menu Plan Monday - Oct. 11

Here's a recap of last week's meals:

Buffalo Chicken Lasagna: This was OK. The pasta sauce and hot sauce was a weird combination for me. The recipe also made way too much for us. I ended up feeding almost half of it to the dog. He sure enjoyed it!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies: These were very easy to make and so good! Although, the filling was tricky to make without a mixer. I did it by hand, but it wasn't very creamy or fluffy.

This wasn't on my menu plan last week, but Thursday night I ended up making a Breakfast Ring for supper. I highly recommend this recipe! I made it with ham, eggs, feta, cream cheese, and garlic. It was quick, easy, and super good!

This week:

New breakfast recipe: Pumpkin Oatmeal

Monday: Roasted chicken in crock pot, rice, and peas Tuesday: Goulash

Wednesday: Fellowship supper at church - - I'm going to make Cheddar Sausage Balls

Thursday: Leftovers

Friday: Roast, potatoes, carrots

Saturday: Tuscan Chicken Soup (I printed this recipe off a while ago, but can't remember where I got it from), biscuits

Sunday: I haven't decided what I will take for lunch at church and we will probably have cereal or sandwiches for supper.

**Tomorrow I hope to post about my fall decorations!!! :)

Monday, October 04, 2010

Menu Plan Monday - Oct. 4

Is it really October already? That is hard to believe!!! But that also means it's time to start making soups and other "fall" foods!

I didn't post a menu last week because my computer was out of commission. To be honest, we didn't have anything that exciting or worth posting about. I can't even remember now what we ate for supper most nights!

Here's this week's plan:

Monday: Ham and potatoes (I have left over ham pieces from making beans this weekend), green beans

Tuesday: Buffalo Chicken Lasagna (finally!)

Wednesday: Pork chops, rice, peas
Thursday: Leftovers

Friday: Our church meeting starts, so I'll be taking Loaded Potato Salad, White Chili, and Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

Saturday: Church meeting again - - taking mashed potatoes, rolls, cheddar garlic biscuits, Zebra cake, and some time of vegetable

Sunday: Church - - haven't decided what I will take, leftovers for supper

Check out more menu plans here!

Saturday, October 02, 2010

The Words of My Mouth

Psalm 19:14 "Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer."

Matthew 12:34 "O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh."

Matthew 15:18-20 "But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies; these are the things which defile a man; but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man."