Saturday, September 29, 2012


I got a new toy this week and spent entirely too much time 
playing with it (about 30 minutes). 
Wanna see?
 A roll of natural colored burlap ribbon with wire.  I got a little crazy with it...
 I gussied up my Smith & Hawken pumpkins,
 tied some with wired berries to some wrought iron candlesticks,
 wrapped some around the hurricane candle holder on the dining table,
(so simple, I love this!)
and spruced up some pretty jars full of moss balls, acorns, and pot pourri.  
I love me some burlap!
While I had my craft tote out, I also made a cute little something for the patio table:
 This wood "trough" is actually a tool box crafted by one of my Cub Scouts long ago...
I just arranged some bumpy little squashies with some excelsior I already had, and made a runner of what else? Burlap
 I don't think they will mind me borrowing it ... and of course, I had to tie on some burlap scraps.  Got to be selective about where I put my ribbon, ya know...
I love Fall and all of its' colors... 
And spending a little free time making our home beautiful is time well spent!

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Friday, September 28, 2012

Dining room spiff up

It's sad that our dining room doesn't get used as it should for dining.  Mostly, it gets used as a giant desk and place to hang a random jacket or hat on a chair.  I hated coming through the front door to see this:
 So, this week I resolved to spiff it up and remove the computers and clothing.  I found a pretty runner on clearance at Tarjay - $5.38 down from $17.99!  
 Its' probably a spring design, but since birds are around all season long and the weather here is like perpetual summer.... cute birdy print has red in it, and a pomegranate motif, too.  Me like.
 I cleaned and polished the top of the table, swept and mopped underneath, cleared the crap out of the area...I left the hurricane with the scroll-y candle in the center.  I ordered some beige burlap ribbon, and when it comes I will change out the ribbon on the hurricane.
 Tarjay also had some beautiful red curtains on clearance, but I could only find one panel. They were marked from $24.99 to about 7.50.  
Might have to visit another store and look for them.
For now I pretty much love the look of a real dining room.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Easy Pumpkin drop cookies

I happened upon this recipe and thought it sounded super simple and good, but I wasn't too thrilled with the spice cake mix.  Waaaay too spicy for me - reminds me of old ladies and yucky cake no one will eat...ahem.  Anyhoo, I thought, why can't you just switch out the flavor cake mix and use smaller chips?  And VOILA, you can!

 Pumpkin Drop Cookies

1 box Butter Pecan cake mix
1 can pumpkin
1 t. pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 c. mini chocolate chips
Mix cake with pumpkin and get all the lumps out.  Stir in the mini chips.  (I like "minis" cause you get more chocolate in each bite and no hard lumps of chocolate in your  cookies when they cool)  Chill the dough a couple of hours.  Then scoop dough onto your greased cookie sheet or Silpat and bake at 350 for 16 minutes.
After the first batch I sprayed a little Pam on my Silpat - these cookies don't have any butter or oil in them and will stick otherwise!  But they didn't spread at all, so it was easy to load up the pan.
I am not ashamed to say I ate a few of these with my morning coffee warm from the oven - they are soft and a little chewy and oh so pumpkin-y good! 

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Monday, September 24, 2012

Mealplan Monday #27 - finding what works for the menus

 Time for Fall at my house!

One of the great things about blogging the menus  each week is that it allows me to reflect on what works and what doesn't as far as food planning goes around here.  I've been able to make changes based on what we like or dislike, what our schedule looks like, and who all is going to eat.  Case in point:  Hubby no longer takes lunch to work, as he chooses instead to take a breather in his car and work on his laptop while he chugs a meal replacement shake. That means we have to figure out what to do with leftovers.  Solution:  Cook smaller meals, or freeze leftovers as another meal entirely.  Sounds simple, but it hasn't been what I've done so much in the past.  I'm learning...
Monday - Chicken Pot Pie
Tuesday - Omelettes, tater tots, freezer biscuits
Wednesday - Skillet Lasagna, garlic bread, salad
Thursday - Pork Chops, sweet potatoes with apples, rolls
Friday - Saucy Chicken Thighs, baked potatoes, broccoli,
Birthday Cake for The Girl!
Saturday - Dad grills
Sunday - Freezer Mac and Cheese, salad
This year my meal planning menu has included Hubby grilling on Saturdays, an easy meal or frozen leftovers on Sunday, an order out day on payday Fridays, and budget meals the rest of the time.  Seems to be working out, and my freezer isn't as clogged with small containers as it used to be.  And I have more time to craft, even tho I am being frugal in that regard, too:
Last year's Fall wreath, spruced a bit with what I already had.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Goodwill to the rescue

Recently, I pulled out a NEW pair of Bubbie's shorts from the dryer that had dried paint all over them.  First, I had a cow.  Then, I pulled out a stiff brush and some nail polish remover and presto! the paint came out.  I re-washed them and read Hubby and the boys the Riot Act - there are no "old" clothes to paint in at the beginning of the school year.  And kids don't have old clothes anyway!  They either have school clothes, or clothes they've outgrown.  So, yesterday I headed to Goodwill to see if I could find some shorts that would qualify as "old" for him to paint, go camping in, etc.
 Score!  For $10 I got two pair of shorts, some heavy duty cup hooks, and a brand new Catching Fire book for Scout.  The cup hooks are destined for the hall closet, to help me organize.  And, I found this cute little item:
...which I think is a napkin holder from long ago and is a new bills holder for my desk.
A coat of oil rubbed bronze - I love it.
Shorts were purchased, some organization done, spray paint was used...
 All is now right with the world.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Parmesan Chicken Whip Up

It used to be that I got the Kraft Food & Family magazine fo' free in the mail - even without my ever having asked for it.  But nowadays they charge for it.  Drat.  It had some good recipes, too.  Like this one.  The secret ingredient may make you think
"yuck" but trust me, it's good...

Parmesan Chicken Whip Up

1 c. Miracle Whip (I had a different brand of salad dressing on hand)
1/2 c. grated parmesan cheese
2 t. Italian seasoning
3 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
paprika, optional
Heat oven to 350. Mix dressing, parmesan, and Italian seasoning.  Trim the fat off the thighs and place in a greased 13x9 dish.  Spoon dressing mixture all over chicken.
 Bake for 45 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. 
Sprinkle with paprika if desired.  Serves 6.
I served mine with mashed potatoes and peas - and I had enough to take to work for lunch the next day and it was great.  Plus, my peeps gave it their seal of approval!
Try it!

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Monday, September 17, 2012

Mealplan Monday #26 and some thrift finds

Last week I finally felt worth a crud and spent it relaxing and getting a few things done here and there.  Still coughing, just not as bad.  Enough to make people skitter away from me in public places, but not enough to want to stay at home on the couch.  I went thrift shopping one day and spent $11 on just four things.  Not really thrifty, but oh well.  It killed an hour or so.
Between Salvation Army and Goodwill I found a seagrass bulletin board (new), a sleeveless blouse, a battery operated desk clock, and a James Bond Movie.  For some reason Bubbie really loves JB right now and doesn't mind VHS tapes as ours is in great working order and tapes can usually be found for 25 cents to a dollar each.  High living!

Monday - Slower Cooker Herb Pork Roast, mashed potatoes, carrots
Tuesday - Pea soup with ham, cornbread 
Wednesday - Slow Cooker Ranch Garlic Chicken, rolls, sauteed butternut squash
Thursday - Order pizza out
Friday -Leftovers night* - boys camping
Saturday -YOYO
Sunday - One Pot Spagetti, garlic cheese bread, salad
*Hubby has been packing those meal replacement shakes for lunch lately so leftovers
 are going to be served for another meal instead of lunches...
The cute little clock I had sitting in the master bathroom finally went kaput, so this one will take its' place.  I fished a battery out of something else to test it before I left the store...can't take me anywhere!
Hopefully, it will be cooler this week, and I can bake some, too...

Friday, September 14, 2012

French Apple Cobbler

Hooray for cooler mornings that finally feel like Fall!  It really puts me in the mood to bake up a delish dessert  and though I've seen quite a lot of new recipes I want to try, I made an oldie but goodie - one that will help me use up the abundance of apples that I overbought.  My mom used to make this for us when we lived in Galveston and it's buttery wonderful and great served warm with vanilla ice cream.

French Apple Cobbler
 Nothing here you aren't likely to have on hand!

5 cups chopped tart apples
3/4 cup sugar (less if the apples are sweet)
2 T. flour
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. salt
1 t. vanilla
1-2  T. butter
1/2 cup water

Preheat oven to 375 and butter a 13x9 baking dish. Combine all ingredients except butter.
 Mix well and spoon into buttered 13x9 glass dish.
 Dot with butter.  Combine batter ingredients and drop by spoonfuls onto fruit mixture.
1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
2 T softened butter
1 slightly beaten egg

Bake 35-40 mins.  Best served warm! 
And don't forget a scoop of ice cream...


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