Friday, December 30, 2011

Tomato Soup ~ Comfort Food Series

One of my favorite television shows to watch when I'm feeling like being a creative chef is Everyday Italian on the Food Network hosted by Giada De Laurentiis!!  She has a way of making all the recipes she demonstrates seem achievable and absolutely scrumptious to boot!!

The other day she made a homemade Tomato Soup.  The only drawback of this show is that you have to really pay attention or DVR it because there is no written recipe to accompany any of the shows (that I know of). 

Tonight I thought I would try my hand at re-creating the soup she made on an earlier episode this month.  This is how I did it, may not be exactly like hers, but I must say it turned out pretty darn good and my hubby ate three bowls and raved about it!! 

(This is what my final version looked like...along with a yummy grilled cheese sandwich)

So here's my take on her  "recipe"

1 24 oz can crushed tomatoes (for my friend Jackie, you can use canned tomatoes, it may take a jar and a half or even two and you should probably run them through the blender or use a potato masher to "smush" them)
2 carrots - peeled and chopped into small rounds (or as in my case I used about 9 baby peeled carrots)
1 white onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 carton stock (vegetable or chicken, I used chicken)
3 T butter

I will also make it a point to say that I did not have to add ANY seasonings whatsoever and it was absolutely perfect, just the right amt of everything all by itself!!

Using a large stock pot, start melting your butter.  Add your chopped onion and garlic to simmer.  Let them simmer for about 8 - 10 minutes on med low. 

Add carrots and let simmer/saute for another five minutes.  Add your whole carton of stock and your canned tomatoes.  Turn your heat up to med high and let simmer for at least thirty minutes, stirring often.  Stir with a wooden spoon.  It will thicken up quite a bit.

  She had an "immersion blender" and used it at the end to immerse in her soup and chop up/blend in the carrots and onions etc.  I do not own one, so I just got out my strainer and strained the soup into a large serving bowl and let the leftover tomatoes/onions etc stay in the strainer. (Technically if you really wanted to you could empty this into a blender and chop it all up really quickly and it would do the same thing)  It was really really delish and really pretty simple to do.  I think it would make a great base for spaghetti sauces etc....I will be experimenting in the following weeks to see what else I can come up with and possibly start canning some soup/ spaghetti sauces!!

Happy Cooking!!

If you have any categories of foods that you would like to see some new recipes for please leave me a comment and let me know!!

Thanks for popping in!! :)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

~* Ever Evolving*~

I think about that saying

 "The only thing constant about life is CHANGE"

In case you haven't noticed I LOVE to write!!

I'm ready to start taking my blog in a new direction........

Stay tuned..........


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Elmwood Gardens Bridal Show 2011

My daughter and son in law had the pleasure of being asked to be "Bridal Models" this last weekend at one of East Texas' premiere Bridal Venues.  I attended of course because how could I resist not seeing both of them again all dressed up?!?! 

This is a video taken by an outstanding videographer of the event (my daughter Jackie is the "bride" getting out of the car and her husband Cody got to be the "groom" again, they've actually been married for a year this last November :) :

Elmwood Gardens 2011 Bridal Show Highlight Video from Nathan Browning on Vimeo.

and if you check out the Facebook page of Donna Cummings Photography you can see quite a few more photos of Elmwood Gardens!!  Facebook ~ Donna Cummings Photography and the Facebook link to Elmwood Gardens is Facebook ~ Elmwood Gardens

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Running like a chicken.....

with my head cut off.....

we've all heard that saying , and I hate to admit it, but it sure does apply to me these last few weeks!!  Thankfully we are not having our actual "Family Christmas" until New Years Day just because of the way everyones work schedules fall around here.  This is the first year I think I've ever been SUPER EXCITED about having an extra week to finish up all of my projects!! 

Here are some of the projects I will be busy on for the next couple of weeks!!

The first is to totally redo my grandsons bed.  It's a single size wood "Captains Bed" that pretty much looks EXACTLY like this one.  My job is to transform it into a "FIRETRUCK BED".....I will be repainting it Fire Engine Red....Painting Tires on it, Painting on one end a silver grille and putting working headlights on....and then we will add a ladder and slide.  Amazingly all it will cost is about $100.00 which is MUCH less than what it costs to buy a firetruck bed!!  Since he is moving into a new house and a whole new room he wanted a "new theme".....and far be it from MiMi to not make sure he has what he wants LOL!!  Be looking for the before and after photos!!

I also saw on Pinterest the other day  how to make a DIY LEGO TABLE ~ I am going to make one for my grandson for Christmas...they are super easy....basically just paint an end table and then glue down four square lego "bases" on top and then VOILA they have a nice big table to play with their legos on...SUPER EASY....

and thennnnn...I want to make my brother one of these for his cat:  All you do is paint a popcorn tin a solid color and then do a stencil in whatever word you want....and VOILA they have a place to store cat/dog food!!  And then I want to make him one of those little fleece beds for his this point though I might could just buy it one and save the time!!

Popcorn containers spray painted for dog food storage.

and then I want to make one of these for each of my girls and sons in law ~ just because they are SUPER CUTE!!

You print out maps of where they met, where they married, and where they live now, and then frame them

where you met. where you married. where you honeymooned.

Those are just a FEW of the ideas and projects I want to get done between now and our family Christmas on January 1st!! 

If you don't hear much from me between now and then you will know I am knee deep in paint and glue!!

Merry Christmas Friends!!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Christmas Cookies

This is my favorite time of year, I love the hustle and bustle, spending time with friends and family, decorating my home and making memories that will last a lifetime.  Not to mention celebrating our Savior's Birth!! 

I love to cook, and REALLY love dessert, and who doesn't?!?!

Thought I would share a few recipes to start your holidays out right!!




In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth.  Beat in eggs and vanilla.  Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Cover, and chill dough for at least an hour or overnight.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Roll out dough on floured surface to 1/4 inch thickness.  Cut into shapes with cookie cutters.  Place on ungreased cookie sheet 1 inch apart.
Bake 6 - 8 minutes, cool completely. 

Makes 5 dozen



In a small bowl, stir together confectioners sugar and milk until smooth.  Beat in corn syrup and almond extract until icing is smooth and glossy.  If icing is too thick, add more corn syrup. 
Divide into separte bowls and add food coloring to desired intensity.  Dip cookies or paint them with a brush. 



  • 1 CUP OF BUTTER (2 sticks or 8 ounces), room temperature
  • 1/2 CUP OF SUGAR
  • Parchment paper
 Cream the butter and sugar on high speed for about 3 minutes.
 Separate the eggs. Add the yolks and vanilla extract to the butter mixture. If using nuts place the egg whites in a shallow dish on the side and whisk them until bubbly and frothy (the egg whites will be used to keep the nuts on the cookies).
 Add the flour and salt. Mix until just combined. Place the dough in the fridge for 30 minutes and preheat the oven to 350F.
Roll the dough into balls about 1 inch in diameter. If using nuts, dip the balls into the egg whites then roll them into the nuts until covered. Place the balls on parchment lined cookie sheets. 
 Press down with your thumb to make a small well in the center of the cookie. Do not press too hard or the cookie will fall apart. Fill with 1/2 teaspoon of jam.
 Bake for 12-15 minutes or until slightly firm. Allow to cool for a few minutes on the cookie sheet to firm up before moving them to a wire rack to finish cooling.
Makes 2 dozen cookies.

Cinnamon Spirals

Cinnamon Spirals


. Preheat oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
Beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla. Beat well. With mixer on low, gradually add flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt. Divide dough in half; press into discs. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm.
 Filling: mix together brown sugar and cinnamon. Drizzle butter over, stirring until mixture is well moistened.
 Roll out 1 disc of dough into 14” x 5” (36cm x 10cm) rectangle between 2 sheets of waxed paper. Spread half the filling over, leaving slight border at long end. Brush ends with water. Using waxed paper as support, and starting from the long edge, tightly roll up dough jelly roll style, pinching ends. Wrap firmly in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes or for up to 24 hours. Repeat with remaining dough and filling.
 Unwrap dough and slice into ¼”(5mm) slices. Place 1“(2.5cm) apart on prepared baking sheets.
 Bake in centre of preheated oven for 12-15 minutes or until light golden.
Makes 5 dozen

Sunday, November 27, 2011

DIY Advent/Christmas Countdown Calendars

I love the Christmas Season and my grandkids are at the perfect ages this year to start this tradition.  :) :)  It just takes a little imagination and about ten dollars and you can have your whole Advent/Christmas Countdown  Calendars made.  For ours I will probably buy a small bag of candy and go to the party store and buy a small bag of misc party favors where I can alternate what is in the little stockings/boxes every day. 

Here are some of my favorite inspirations that I have found on Pinterest this week to get your inspirations flowing!!

This one is probably by far my favorite!!  :)
Stocking Advent Countdown

I think these little felt stockings are a super cute idea!!

These little red stockings are equally as cute.  I am pretty sure you can go to Hobby Lobby/ Wal Mart or the Dollar Tree and buy a pack of these (I think they come 5 or 10 to a bag) realllly inexpensively.  All that's left is just to number them and hang them up!!

Love this idea of making the countdown using paper bags and a printable stapled to it!! 

The tags can be found at Free Printable Tags

These are just super cute as well!!

Here's a page of many many ideas, there is bound to be one you just adore on here as well!! 

Here's an idea to put in your little calendar spots!!

This is another cute idea!!  Take 25 of your childs favorite books and wrap them all up!!  Enjoy unwrapping one each night for a bedtime story!! My grandkids get a bedtime story each night so I know they would loooove this idea, and you are only out the cost of the wrapping paper!! 

Hope you find the inspiration you are looking for and that you and your children have an absolutely beautiful Christmas/Advent season filled with lots of love and laughter!! 



Friday, November 25, 2011

Today Is A Blank Page!!

I tend to this every year about this time.  I try and find time to spend by myself and reevaluate my life and where everything stands as of this moment.  I start thinking of what I would like to see improve, the sucesses and the failures I've had during the last year, and where I want to see myself headed during the next year, what I want to see myself accomplish.  I certainly don't sit down and make a giant physical list and check each thing off religiously as I go throughout the year, but more or less hold myself accountable in my head LOL!!  I might should make a list, it might motivate me a little more to see these things in print that I want to achieve!!! 

My approach to life is that "Every Day Is A Blank Page".  We all have the ability to start over and change whatever we want each and every day. You are NOT who you were yesterday or last week, or even last year, and only you can change what you don't like in your life or improve upon what is already there that you do like!!  :) 

All my life I have had different role models.  As the years come and go the people I admire and look up to and want my life to be like change.  There is nothing wrong with wanting to emulate those you admire.  Just don't forget that YOU ARE YOU and YOU are UNIQUE AND's ok to take someones love for volunteering and look at it and say, hey, I would love to do that, and go and run with it and add your OWN unique touch to what you admire!!  :)  Just remember YOU ARE YOU and don't hold yourself  to trying to BE JUST LIKE SOMEONE's a toxic no win situation!! 

Tomorrow you can look for a new job, take a class in knitting, dye your hair, apologize to a friend or loved one and get it off your chest, adopt a pet, start saving money, start a walking program, play for 30 minutes with your kids, or whatever it is you want to do.  :)

I want to add that it takes 28 days of repetition before something becomes a "habit".  Don't give up on any new adventure after just a few days!!  :)

I have recently figured out that I am so "bombarded" with negativity, it's all over the T.V., I'm subscribed to a few pages on Facebook that bring me news feeds of the kids who have been abused and how their abusers have been arrested (I am such a supporter of anti child abuse missions), but to see it constantly starts to drain your joy. I have had to finally "hide" them for the time being.   This is an issue, when it's hard to see the GOOD things in life.  Sometimes you just have to turn off ALL the negative  and back away from those things that suck the joy out of your life, and surround yourself with the pretty, the good, the happy, the innocent etc....I think it's self preservation.  It's not to deny that the bad exists, but you can't participate fully in life when you yourself are starting to feel worn down from all the weariness of the world.  This is my immediate goal for the month of December.  I am focusing on my family, the things that make me smile, my friends and all the happy times we all have during this Christmas Season!!

We are all ever changing and growing, let's make sure this next year we are growing and changing in the most awesome directions possible!!

Oh, and coming from me, TAKE SOME TIME FOR YOU!!  There is only one YOU!! 
Love, Accept, Forgive, and Be good to yourself

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving


Hope your day is filled with blessings large and small!! 

Take the time to enjoy your day tomorrow and remember to be thankful in all things!!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Excited to GUEST BLOG!!

My good friend Gina asked me to come on over to her blog and write a "guest blog" on any topic I would like!  I chose to do one over DIY Christmas Present Ideas!!  Head on over and check it out!! 

Here's just one of the ideas!!

Make a "no sew" dog bed for your favorite pet!!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Laughter, It's The Best Thing Ever!!

This has to be one of the funniest segments EVER on the Jay Leno show.  My husband and I watched one of these segments the other night and by the time it was over we were just rolling laughing.  :D

If I've said it once I've said it a hundred times LAUGHTER is an essential part of any relationship or marriage!! 

I say this because today my husband and I went to the grocery store.  We decided to check out through the self checkout lane.  We scanned our first item and started laughing because the voice on the self checkout register SOUNDED JUST LIKE the one on the PHOTO BOOTH.  My husband started laughing and said..."IS THIS YOUR HUSBAND"...."SAY YES"....."NOW SMILE"...."ARE YOU GOING TO EAT ALL OF THOSE COOKIES YOURSELF?" and by that time both he and I were laughing hysterically in the checkout lane.....I know the Manager and other checkers working were wondering what was so darn funny over there......

If I have learned anything being married this long it's too laugh at yourself and to laugh at the craziness of life even when you really want to get mad.  Of course some times things are only funny after the event.  When we were driving home we went over a big bump and it reminded me of a time back when the hubs and I were dating MANY moons ago.  We had stopped at a Dairy Queen and we were in the parking lot sitting in his truck.  I had put my drink on the dash...and it wasn't just any was the BIGGEST drink they had.  He had a standard, and when he took off and let out on the clutch, the drink fell straight off into my lap.  It's hilarious now to us but I seem to recall not thinking it was very funny then. 

Choose to look back on things with humor, find the humor in even the darkest situations, and PURPOSELY bring some humor into your life!!  You will thank me later!! 

Have a wonderful Sunday!!

Friday, November 18, 2011

It's a DATE!!

I saw this idea in a magazine ohhhh about SEVEN years ago and am just now getting around to doing it!!  :o)

Have I ever mentioned that I am a compulsive reader....and because of that I tend to save magazines for articles I like and recipes I may cook and DIY projects that I know I will do SOME DAY!! 

Anywhooo, I saw this idea, and I love it, and I am going to do it, and SHARE IT WITH Y'ALL!!

This couple made something called the

(yes, I know this is NOT how you spell Magic, however, this is how it was spelled in the article so I am carrying on the name here)

They just used an old Kleenex box....I'm sure you could use any box....and even decorate it if you wish....and


they had each written on tiny slips of paper


They made a point to go out on a date once in a while....which those of us who have been married for a long time sometimes put on the back burner.......and they had so much fun pulling out the slip that told them what they were doing or where they were going for that date!!  They made it a point to put in places they have never been!!  :)

I think my husband would get a kick out of this idea!!

The article was pretty funny since the hubby had put HOOTERS in as a place to go eat.  He said he had to eat the whole meal only looking at the table and not at the waitresses!!  He said his wife got to pull out the idea for their next date while they were there and it was for the most expensive place in town!!  HA!! 

Hope you enjoy your time spent with your spouse/signifcant other!!  :)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Free Thanksgiving Card

Soooo much to blog about yet so little time to get it all done, so I'm keeping it simple today!!

One of my favorite Facebook sites that I follow shared a link to get a


valid today

I ordered one, and you are able to add photos of kiddos, pets, whatever and really personalize it for that one lucky person!!  I am sending one to my Stepmother!!  :) 

Here's the link!!

*Go to the website
*Personalize your card
*Use Tiny Prints Promo Code FREETHX11
*Choose Ship To Me for free shipping or pay the .44 and have it sent to someone else

This offer ends at Midnight PST!!

I ordered the one on the left!!

tiny prints thanksgiving cards 1
for sharing this link with us!!  :)

Saturday, November 12, 2011

11-11-11 at 11:11 A.M.

Day 10
(I know, I wrote two in one day haha but since I skipped yesterday and well a few more days what the heck....)

Pinned Image

I couldn't help but want to do something fun and special to document the once in a lifetime date yesterday!!  I got my dry erase calendar down and of course had to write these things!!

Adleigh Claire and MiMi


and in this moment life is Perfection!!

We went outside at about 11:08, and I think we took about 30 shots before we came back in...haha so technically it was about 11:35 when we finished....but I was out there with my sweet little granddaughter sitting in my lap at 11:11, on 11-11-11
and that my friend is

Here are the photos I was the most happy with

I have never been able to do the whole "hold your arms out and take a pic" this one I got me and half of Adleigh :)

Got me grinning and Adleigh laughing...she thought it was funny

Finally both of us together :) 

Love this sweet little granddaughter of mine!!

Barbie ~ A Classic

Day 9

 Today as I was cleaning out a closet, I came across all of the Barbies and Barbie suitcases, accessories, clothes, shoes, and everything else Barbie I ever had as a child, and that my girls have played with since I was a kid, and that I had passed on to them.

It was such a nostalgic time for me!!

I took down each and every box and opened them and looked in them.
A lot of the outfits I remember as a child, and I remember my mother making me tiny little blankets so that my Barbie's could have little beds etc...

Some of the Barbies now of course are missing heads, legs, arms....and I now have a one armed Ken doll!!

It is time to pass our Love Affair and Legacy of playing with Barbies on to my granddaughter.
She is 2 1/2, I may just have to let her play with a few at a time, and make sure she doesn't rip all of their heads off or cut their hair!!

I think she is ready for


Of course I had to take some photos of the collection !!

 I've had these Barbie cases since I was a tiny little girl!!  Some of the Barbies I have are equally as old!!  I got really tickled looking at all of the "retro clothes" in there
 I had a lot of fun looking at all of these tiny little food items....especially the TURKEY

The cute little tennis rackets

Barbie Hangers, I know one of my cases has a tiny little closet in it

Have to have tiny little brushes and hats!!

Loved this little suitcase

One of the Ken retro shirts

retro skirt

The shoes that were actually still together as a pair

Looove this jacket!!  Kinda wish I had one like it now!!

The little yellow Jacket was always my favorite!!

Rows and Rows of Barbie Clothes!! 

I have totally enjoyed my trip back in time tonight!!


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