Friday, March 6, 2015

Low cost decor spiff for front room

It's been so dreary here - cloudy everyday.  I'm getting a little stir crazy.  I want to do something creative, but I also have a lot of chores and catch up things to do.  But February being over makes me want to add a little spring color in the house.
I put up all of the "red" decor this week.  It had been up since right after Thanksgiving.  Time to add some blue.  I'm still on the hunt for a pretty throw for the front room, and I think I will make a runner for the dining table - I have some fabric leftover from modifying the curtains in this room.  This candle holder was a curbside find.
I bought two of these cute owl pillows at Wal-Mart.  The colors in them coordinate with the couch cushions and they were $10 each.  Cheap.  (why are pillows and fabric so expensive nowadays?)  And I can always make covers for them when I want to change them out.
I hung the blue curtains in the dining area.  And I picked up a couple of new scents for the wax warmer.  I love these things - the light gives a cozy glow to the room at night and the scents are so nice - not chemical smelling like oil air freshers.  And no open flame.
I have opened the blinds to let more natural light in - but I would LOVE to see some sun.  The only other new things in this room are blue votives in the china cabinet and the ledge above the couch, along with some inexpensive greenery.  Real plants are not happening in here with a cat who likes to eat things she shouldn't.  I think I spent about $25 all told.
 These aren't the greatest pics - I've had a lot on my mind lately - pretty pics...not so much.  A touch of blue here and there, a clean room, smelling pretty - that's all I need. 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Monday, March 2, 2015

One Pot Spaghetti

I'm not sure if I have ever posted this recipe - if I have, I can't find it....I made it a couple of weeks ago and was reminded of how good and simple it is.  And even Bubbie, who groaned that we were having spaghetti, ate a big plate of it!
One Pot Spaghetti
1 pound lean ground beef
1/2 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
29 oz chicken or veggie broth
1 can tomato paste
1/2 t. oregano
salt and pepper to your taste
7 oz dry spaghetti, broken up a little
grated cheese

Cook the beef in about a tablespoon of olive oil on medium heat until it's about halfway browned.  Add the chopped onion and cook about 3 or 4 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook another 2 minutes.  Schooch the beef over to the side of the pan to create a "hot spot".  Add the tomato paste to the hot spot and cook a couple of minutes, then stir all well.  Add broth, oregano, and salt and pepper and bring it to a boil.  Add uncooked spaghetti, stir, reduce heat and cover.  Cook on low for about 15 minutes.  Uncover and top with grated cheese, if desired, and let sit a few minutes.
I set a cannister of grated parmesan out for everyone instead of topping it with cheese in the pan - you can do it either way.  I also seasoned up some peas with a little butter, salt, pepper, and a smidge of bacon fat while the sketti was cooking.  An easy dinner, and the leftovers are great the next day, too!

Friday, February 27, 2015

5 thing Friday - real life, hearts, strawberries, hills, Mabel

Well, blast and damn, as my mother would say.
I got a little ahead of myself.  I was trying to be hopeful, thinking I was "close enough" to being ready for returning to work.  Then a little thing called FEAR got in the way.  That, and my knee decided to stiffen up, spaz out, and freak me out.  I'm not going to give up -  I sought outside help with my regular doctor.  And, I set up some sessions with this professional last week.  I think they were both good ideas, and I feel braver for doing so.  Wish I had done it sooner, but I didn't, so now I have, and that's that.
 The wreath on the front door - I almost don't want to remove the sparkly hearts.  I'll leave them in there til Monday.  Then Spring decorating will happen around here.
 Milk chocolate covered strawberries from Lammes, courtesy of their very generous after-Valentine's donation to hospital employees and an equally generous co-worker who saved me two dozen.
Here is what life looked like to me two weeks ago.  Jury duty in a downtown Austin office building built on a hill surrounded by un-even sidewalks and many other people.  Metal detectors, crowded elevators, and terrible subject matter.  Some day I will look back on this experience and appreciate all it was offering me.  It was an educational experience, for sure.  It was also frustrating, scary, lonely, boring, stressful, and thought-provoking.  It made me appreciate the kindness of strangers, and my Hubby's unending support and love of me all the more so.
I'm not sure that I have published a picture of Mabel on my blog yet - we got her in November and Hubby is chomping at the bit anxious to take her out,  He has tweaked and fiddled with her every weekend, cleaning her up, putting a "Native Texan" sticker on her, making sure she's ready for the road.  Soon, very soon...

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Monday, February 23, 2015

Angel Frosting

 I was so off my game on Valentine's Day what with jury duty that week, and my general lethargy.  However!  I managed to find all the ingredients in my pantry for some great cupcakes. I added strawberries to the platter to make it more Valentine-y, and Hubby did his usual grilling.  It was a feast, people!
 I thought I had plenty of powdered sugar for frosting.  Um, no.  So I improvised.  And the result was creamy cheese-y but light and fluffy.  Really, I could have swam in that frosting.  It would be great on so many things!
 So here's what I did:

Angel Frosting
1 8 oz. brick of cream cheese, softened
1/2 stick butter, softened
1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 envelope of Dream Whip
1/2 t. vanilla extract

I used the whisk attachment on my mixer and just threw everything in the bowl.  Then I whipped it until it looked just so:
The perfect consistency!  I frosted some swiss chocolate cupcakes (another something I found in my pantry), then sprinkled on some red sugar for a little more Valentine-like touch.  I was proud of myself for remembering I had that Dream Whip in the pantry.  This frosting is really good!
I had enough cupcakes and leftover frosting to enjoy for another dessert in the future.  Have you improvised lately when you found you were out of something?

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Friday, February 20, 2015

Thrift soapin'

The menfolk here go through a lot of bodywash and shampoo and toothpaste, get the idea.  While I am happy that they are taking care of personal hygiene, I also cringe at how expensive said items are.  Usually, I can get great deals on that stuff in January, after the Christmas holidays.  However, this time around I didn't get out to too many after-Christmas sales. But recently I found some great deals at Target and Walgreen's.
I found two shampoos, 4 body washes, three bars of soap and two shave gels for $21.  Originally it would have cost me $43.  I combined items on sale, clearance items, and coupons.  The bar soap will be tucked into the boys' linens closet until they need it.
What a great haul!  
Found any good deals lately?


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