Wednesday, January 30, 2013


Dean surprised me with these flowers last week.... aren't they lovely?  I love that after all these years together, he still brings me flowers.   I love the bright colors in this little bouquet.  So happy and cheerful. 

I joined the Stash Buster Challenge hosted by Linda and Ana and this month used the bouquet for inspiration.  I picked some bright colors to make hearts in time for the I Love Hearts swap and for Valentine's Day.

hearts for hanging

 idea/ patterns via  attic24
& BeaG 


hearts for swagging

heart pattern via Suzies Stuff, I chained them together

hearts for wearing

and 1 heart to give away February 1st (click the sidebar to go to the post!)

" The place to improve the world is first in one's own heart and head and hands."  Robert M. Pirsig

Monday, January 28, 2013

New me

We don't really do fast food or boxed dinners in our household so I tend to cook a lot.  I absolutely love relaxes me as much as crafting does.  (The wine might help too....)

For about 10 years, I would try 1-2 new recipes per week.   Even when I worked long hours in retail and the kiddos were young, I would try new recipes.

But when we moved here I got stuck in a rut and stopped experimenting.  I still cooked every week....and made something new every now and then...but not like before.  Part of it is that the kids are gone more in the evenings now...and part of it was me being busy...or maybe lazy...whatever the reasons, I really did miss trying new things.

So here is a list of the "new" recipes I made for the month of January, along with photos/links to the recipes on line (if I could find them. )  There was one recipe we didn't enjoy so I only listed recipes we liked enough for me to make again...

"No Peek Beef Tips" ...a recipe I found on was really good.  I made broccoli and parmesan/pesto tomatoes to go with it.  Here is the link to the recipe.

Ribollita, an italian veggie soup from the cookbook "Everyday Pasta"...and it was wonderful.  Although next time, I'll put the herbes de provence in cheesecloth so I don't get a bite of fennel...not a big fan.  Also, since Dean doesn't eat pork, I omitted the panchetta but it was still nice and robust.  Here is the link to the recipe.
Picture of Ribollita Recipe

 Another recipe I found on pinterest is Parmesan Chicken Bake.  Again, another hit, here is the link to it.

Another recipe from pinterest is Chile Colorado Burritos.    This one is a very basic starter recipe but was really good.  Next time, I'll kick it up a bit more for Dean....but it is definitely a keeper.  The kids and I liked it the way it comfort food.  Here is the link....
I made some Spanish rice and refried beans to go along with it.......really tasty meal overall.

I also cooked something in a new way...."boiled" eggs!  I saw on pinterest that you put them in a muffin tin .....oh my gosh!  Not only did it work, but the eggs were perfect...and the shells slipped off easier.  This is the only way I'll make these ever again!  Here is the link with the cooking info.

"Be a fearless cook! Try out new ideas and new recipes...."- Julia Child

Saturday, January 26, 2013


Even here in Louisiana, winter's gray creeps in.   Our yard transforms from a lush landscape to something....not.  

But there is still a little interest here and there, you just have to look...

like this "fox" face on our fence

Or the 2 deer that patiently await spring

or the alyssum and oxalis, which don't mind the cold at all

This wreath keeps the traveling visitors in our backyard happy.  I enjoy watching them grace our yard with their beauty.  Our yard is small so they can see movement through the windows and fly off before I can snap a photo.    Because of this, I usually just sit quietly and watch is something I never tire of.

"Welcome, winter.  Your late dawns and chilled breath make me lazy, but I love you nonetheless." ~Terri Guillemets

Friday, January 25, 2013

dropping hints

Apparently, Matt is ready for his own "wheels." 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


A year ago, I started getting emails telling me that I was on pinterest.  I didn't even know what pinterest was so I said "thanks for letting me know."    I then went straight out and googled myself to see what people were pinning.

The two most often pinned were these:

 canape' knife tutorial

 Itty Bitty Kitty crochet pattern

Okay, so I was flattered but told my husband that I would NEVER join pinterest because it looked like a time sucker and I am just WAY too busy to waste my time playing on it. 
 (like the time I am wasting right now, blogging about a time wasting web site....oh, the irony!)

Then Dean gave me a tablet for Christmas and we went out of town.  
And I took the tablet.  
And I got bored.
And I joined pinterest "for something to do."

Who is it that said "never say never?"

I can tell you right now that it is much better than the old scrapbook of ideas I made and have carted around for years.  Those binders are soon to hit the waste bin...well, at least the papers inside the binders!

I'm glad that I don't have to "bookmark this page" constantly on my computer or print patterns out that I like (but will probably never make....)   It makes all that unnecessary.   
It is convenient to have a source that is truly chock full of good ideas.....on design, style, recipes, crafts....just about everything you can think of.   

In fact, people who are building a house would be CRAZY not to check it out...the house ideas alone are worth it.  And you don't need to buy another cookbook....ever.  There are enough recipes to last a lifetime.  Seriously. fact, I pinned this the other day thinking it would fit perfectly where my collection of cookbooks are...if I got rid of them...

just saying...

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Blog hop & a Giveaway!

Welcome to Vicki's grow your blog hop party. 


My name is Valerie and I've made some wonderful friends because of blogging and my life is fuller because of them.  

For those popping by for the hop:
I enjoy crocheting and am learning to knit.  
I make mosaics and enjoy sewing but since I don't have a lot of downtime, I make small projects.  
I love to play with new elements because I think it is important to keep learning.  
I drop toys each month because I believe surprises are important...and it makes me feel good to know I made someone's day.

I am married to a wonderful man and we have 2 amazing children.   They are teenagers so we don't travel much but we do a lot of fun things as a family.   I stay busy but between work and my family, I love to create things and cook to unwind.   

Our family includes 4 pets.  We never set out to have 4 fur babies but things happen and they are precious members of our family. 

In honor of this party, I made a Valentine's pincushion to give away so please leave a comment before you go!  No strings attached, anyone can enter.

The drawing will be held February 1st and one winner will be chosen via random number generator. 

Thank you for stopping by and thank you to Vicki for hosting!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

DIY charging station

Each January, I start to reorganize stuff around the house and start putting stuff on lists for Dean to do.   
This year, he beat me to it and made this charging station!

 He took this drawer...

 out of this bar....

and he drilled holes in the back of the bar and the bottom of the drawer to slip cords through...

And he put a little hook to hold up a power strip to plug the cords into...including that wine cork remover thingie in the photo so it doesn't have to stay out anymore.

Then he put an accordion plastic cover over all the wires....look!...he could be a hand model.

And a furniture hole cover over all the holes he drilled so they would look pretty and not get torn up.

Then we put some non slip liner in the drawer and it was done! 

Now we have a great place to keep all our wires and phones and accessories....neatly tucked away.

Thank you you!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Twinkle, twinkle...

I have loved fairy lights for as long as I can remember.   My obsession with them went into overdrive many, many years ago when I watched "Mr. Wonderful."  (has anyone else out there seen it?)

Anyway, the scene in the movie where Matt Dillon transforms Anabella Sciorra's entryway with all the fairy lights sent me into a frenzy....and I've never looked back! 

Over the years, I've had fairy lights everywhere in the house.  Lights on my hanging pot rack, on birdcages and in bowls of grapevine balls, on faux trees, behind the aquarium....but especially around my front door.

Last year, I started using netting or tulle but only did a couple months....this year I'm going to try and change it out like other people change out their wreaths....we will see if I stick with it.

This month in keeping with wanting something soft, I used white tulle around the door.....soft and light to brighten up the door during the gray days of January.  Don't let the ferns fool you, all the grass is dead, these ferns are just indestructible!

 edited 1/24/13 ....with a new pretty wreath I bought 80% off

pretty and perfect......

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Easy Chicken Quesadillas

These are quick, easy and always a hit.   I make them more often than I should...but no one ever complains.   *This is also a great way to use up leftover chicken breasts as long as the original recipe was mild in flavor. 

We prefer them baked because they have crunchy little edges and the bottoms are not soggy so they hold up to toppings really well.

I cook the chicken in my wee little 1 quart crock-ette unless I'm cooking for a crowd.  
In that case, I pull out my regular one and double the ingredients.  

Ingredients (makes 4 large quesadillas)

1 can Roteil (original)
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
*4 frozen chicken breasts. (I use the odd shaped and small ones in the crock-ette.) 
Burrito sized flour tortillas
Shredded cheese

extras:  avocado, corn, black beans, refried beans, peppers, mushrooms, salsa, sour get the idea. 

Put the breasts in the crock-pot,  mix the 2 cans together and pour on top.
Plug in and cook 8 hours.  (I use the low setting on my regular crock pot.  The crock-ette cooks in a mid range.)

***Pull the chicken out and shred with a fork.   It is super easy to remove the fatty bits as you shred it.

Place one tortilla on a parchment covered baking sheet and spread toppings evenly.  Don't overfill it.  Dean and I like more fillings but the kids tend to stick with chicken and cheese.

This is a half sized, where we just fold it over....perfect size for Kaela or myself.  (Matt and Dean get full sized ones, topped with another tortilla.)

Cover with parchment and put another pan on top so it will stay flat.  Bake 10 minutes at 400 degrees.  By that time, the cheese is gooey enough to seal the edges so you can brown the top.

Remove top pan and parchment.  Bake an additional 3-5 minutes until it is golden brown.

Cut it up with your handy dandy pizza cutter and serve with yummy stuff like guacamole and salsa.

***Let the cooking liquid cool and then pour into a container and freeze ...waste not, want not...this stuff makes a great soup base.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Texas, part 2

The rest of our time in Texas was spent house hopping.  There was a lot of playing with cousins, visiting, cooking and eating.

Deer are residents in Pam's neighborhood and are everywhere. 

Pam and I after our hike at Enchanted Rock.  Tired but happy.

Mark relaxing watching the kids open gifts

Hmmm...this rocker needed mending later.  I wonder why?

The little toys I made were a big hit....such a great feeling (and a relief!) 

 Dean's other two sisters, Marla and Laurie.

 being silly for the kid's photo!

Breakfast before leaving early New Year's Eve...

Dean stopped at one of his favorite places, (Freebirds) and got a burrito the size of 2 beer cans.....I think it weighed 4 pounds.   To his credit, he couldn't eat the whole thing...but he sure did try.

As much as we love our visits, it is always nice to come home.  We even have deer in our own yard...too bad they aren't real!

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