October 23, 2009

Did A Little Carvin' And We're Off...

As I've mentioned before one of my very favorite traditions is pumpkin carving with my niece and nephew. This year my nephew brought a couple of his best buddies along and everyone pitched in an helped clean (eeewww!) and carve.

Of course I was in my glory just hanging with them - man they make me laugh.

And laughter people, is the very best medicine!

Here's a shot of the four of them (Taylor, Alec, McKae and Clark) with the final product. This picture doesn't do the pumpkins justice - and as for the kids, well anyone can see that they are all fabulously cute!

You might wonder why we are carving so early this year. Well, the Senor and I are heading out on another adventure. While away we plan to relish Little Italy and the Fisherman's Wharf, gaze upon the Golden Gate bridge, marvel at the splendor of Muir Woods, drink our way through the wine country and challenge "Lady Luck".

Yes, I should have all kind of tales to share upon my return.

Until then...Adios...Auf Wiedersehen...
au revoir ...αντίο...

October 22, 2009

Okay, So I'm Not Martha...

I absolutely ADORE this entry way table.

Of course, it is from Martha Stewart designs and is PERFECT as only Martha can do!

I knew
mine mine would never measure up to Martha's but decided to give a knock-off a try anyway.

So, mine is on a much smaller scale...

and missing the awesome mirror...

and the spooky silver accents...

but other than that they are very similar, right?!!!!!

Oh Well, I DO LOVE
that little Boo! tag, don't you?!

October 21, 2009

Look Out World...

I gotta ask you folks...

Can a girl get much cuter than this?

Cate is now 6 months old. I just can't believe it.

Her Mom sent a video a couple of days ago of her sitting up on her own.

She rolls over like a champion and I'm sure it won't be too long before Miss Cuteness becomes mobile and then...

Look. Out. World!

October 19, 2009

If Only I Knew Who Should Get The Credit

This morning I was searching my recipes trying to find something new and different for dinner when I came across a recipe for Chicken Pot Pie. My first thought was, wow, that sounds great. My next thought was, where did this recipe come from? I've never made Chicken Pot Pie.

Anyway, I read the recipe and it sounded simple enough so I tried it.

In summary, it is certainly NOT HEALTH food but might possibly be the ULTIMATE in COMFORT food. And after all, who doesn't need a little comfort now and then?

Chicken Pot Pie


Chicken - You can use leftover chicken, deli chicken, or even canned chicken. You'll need enough to cover the bottom of a 9" X 13" baking dish
1 Can Cream of Chicken Soup
1 Can Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 Can Cream of Celery Soup
1 Cup Peas - you can use frozen or canned (if canned be sure to drain them)
1 Cup Carrots - frozen or canned
2 Potatoes - Cut into cubes and boiled until fork tender
1 Cup Self Rising Flour
1 Cup Milk
1 Stick Butter
Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease baking dish or spray with non-stick cooking spray.

Cover bottom of pan with chicken pieces and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Add peas, carrots, and potatoes, distributing evenly. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine soups, mixing well with a spoon. Spread this mixture on top of the vegetable layer and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Melt butter over low heat and pour into a bowl. Add the flour and milk, along with a pinch of salt and a sprinkle of pepper and mix well using a whisk. Pour evenly over the soup mixture.

Bake 45 minutes to an hour or until golden brown.

October 16, 2009

The Perfect Playground...

The sun is out and I am LOVING it!

I took a few pictures of our newly landscaped front beds and thought I would share them. Of course I realize you can't really get the full effect from these pictures but you'll get the general idea.

I actually took a few pictures of the many, many small craters that have been left behind by my furry friends with the cute outfits but a picture just couldn't do them justice so I'm not including them. After all, if you can't get the true look and feel of their artwork you might not fully appreciate it.

So take a look at this beautiful Japanese Maple. I LOVE the color of the leaves and wish they would stay throughout the fall and winter but I know they won't. Four Dwarf Nandina circle the tree. The tall whispy plant to the right of the maple is a Castiron plant. In the very back corner is a Japanese Aralia. It is very pretty but I couldn't seem to get a good shot of it.

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This is the view of the right front bed from the center walkway. The four bushes under the windows are Encore Azaleas. There are three more under a separate set of windows on the left side of the walkway. The Azaleas will bloom in both the spring and fall and will add some much needed color to the front of the house.

Also sprinkled through this area are Cream de Mint, Dwarf Day Lilly, Bearded Iris, Monkey Grass and Petunias.

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This is a view of the left front bed from the center walk way. The Azalea are the bushes under the bay window. The bushes under the far set of windows are Wheelers Dwarf Tobira. There are also Cream de Mint, Dwarf Day Lilly, Bearded Iris, Monkey Grass and Petunias along this area.

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The Wheelers Dwarf Tobira is a low growing shrub.

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The tall tree in the corner is a Yew. I was not familiar with this particular tree but it is very whispy and I think I'm going to like it. Four Dwarf Nandina circle the Yew.

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In the coming weeks our new beds will take on the look of fall...

a wonderful mixture of color and texture...

the Pecan trees will begin to lose their leaves as a result of the crispy night air...

the yard will be covered in a golden blanket...

the perfect playground for a squirrel.

October 15, 2009

New Do...

Wow, I'm excited!
I feel like I just got the best new haircut ever except
it's not my haircut that's new
it's my blog layout!

Can you believe how cute it is?

Many thanks to Danielle - The Design Girl - she did a FANTASTIC job.

I feel like a new woman!

October 14, 2009

My Eyes Were Opened...

"Once our eyes are opened, we can't pretend we don't know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows what we know, and holds us responsible to act." Prov. 24:12

Wow, this verse struck me in a profound way.

Actually, it was more like a slap across the face.

What have I been thinking? In the past year or so there has been a few things occur in my life that made me stand back and tell myself that I need to get off my selfish rear and do something to make a difference in the world. Of course, the world has kept right on turning and I have remained firmly planted on my rear.

Isn't it odd how grief and fear can snap you in to reality? Apparently in my case that snap has been brief and fleeting. Well, nothing like a very direct bible verse to remind one of their broken promises. Those promises made in times of panic and distress, I promise to do X if only You will do Y.

A few months ago my precious nephew was stricken with a rare type of migraine. He has always been a healthy, thriving, funny, lovable, athletic kid. This child stole my heart the very moment he came in to this world and I can honestly say until that time I had never known a love that strong.

You see, I don't have kids of my own - he belongs to my "little brother" and his beautiful wife and I have been immensely blessed as they have always fully and completely shared him with me. (Come to think of it she has offered to give him to me a couple of times!)

Three years later his sister came along. I was worried before she got here. I honestly didn't think I could love another child with the magnitude that I loved him but guess what? She is amazing - love is an amazing thing!

Anyway, on with my story...

My nephew is 15 now. The day of the "incident" was like any other summer day for a 15 year old. He was be-bopping through life, went to soccer practice (it was over 100 degrees that day), tried to con his Mom in to letting him drive home, had a little dinner but then, all of a sudden, something wasn't right. He developed a slight headache and then became sick at his stomach and then, all of a sudden, he couldn't speak...his words became babbles...

His Mom called 911...

The paramedics arrived and checked his vitals and he became a little more lucid...they suggested maybe he had gotten too hot...maybe he was okay now...

But his Mom and Dad knew something just wasn't right...he was transported to the local ER...on the way there things went from bad to much, much worse.

My husband and I were called. We live nearby and we actually beat the ambulance to the hospital. When I first saw him his eyes were glazed over, his speech was very slurred and he was very agitated but he was still my sweet, sweet boy. He actually looked up at me and said, "hi Mim" but his eyes were very confused. Sheer terror swept through me. There was something very wrong.

The doctor and nurses immediately declared that he was on drugs. One nurse actually said, "it's ecstasy, I've seen it a million times".

Well, let me tell you something, I never wanted to be that person who says, "oh no, not my kid" but I knew, NOT THIS KID. He was tested for every "street drug" under the sun. All results were negative. Praise God.

As time went on he became more and more combative. The more sedatives he was given the more combative he became. The medical personnel were very perplexed.

The ER doctor was now on the phone consulting with specialists at Cook Children's hospital in Ft Worth. The doctor ordered a CT scan, a lumbar puncture and every type of blood test they could think of. Nothing. They did determine he was very dehydrated and began giving him fluids.

Four hours later things had become desperate. He was completely out of control and needed to be transported to Cook's. Unfortunately he was so combative that it couldn't be done without intebating him.

Throughout this ordeal I had prayed.
I prayed for him to be okay.
I prayed for the doctor and nurse to be kind and understanding.
I prayed for them to not hurt him.
I prayed for his Mom and Dad.
I prayed for him to not be on drugs.
I prayed for him to not have a neurological condition.

But when they said the word intubate I prayed for him to LIVE.

I promised God I would be a better person.
I would be a better Mimi.
A better wife.
A better sister, sister-in-law, daughter, step-mother, grand daughter.
I would be a better stranger and a better citizen.
Please just let my baby boy be okay.

He was transported by ambulance to the Cook Children's hospital.

When we arrived the staff there were truly gifts from God. They were amazing. They asked a million questions about him. Who he is, what he did and even though he was completely unconscious they spoke to him in the sweetest, kindest manner.

It was determined that he would remain intebated until the following day after they could run the necessary MRIs and other tests. It was important to them that he remain as comfortable and calm as possible.

The next day we met with several doctors - one who was a children's Neurologist. Within minutes of reviewing his test results and speaking with his Mom and Dad about their medical history it was determined he was suffering from something called a "confusional migraine".

Confusional migraines only occur in 5% of migraine suffers. The migraine was more than likely brought on by the combination of dehydration and heat. There is a chance he will never experience it again. If he does the doctor has given specific instructions on what should be done.

They brought him out of the sedation without a hitch. We were warned that due to the amount of sedation he had been given in the ER (enough to sedate a 300 pound man) it might take 24 to 48 hours for him to wake up enough to communicate with us once he was taken off the ventilator. He shocked everyone when after just a few minutes he opened his eyes and gave us the thumbs up when someone spoke to him and asked how he was feeling. Even the nurses were choked up!

He ended up spending four days in the ICU unit of Cook Children's Hospital in Ft Worth. He experienced an allergic reaction to one of the sedative drugs he was given in the ER and required observation and IV medication in order to work through the reaction.

Today, he is back to his
healthy, thriving, funny, lovable, athletic self.

As for me, I've got some promises to keep. My eyes were opened and I can't pretend that I don't know what to do. God weighs my heart and keeps my soul and holds me responsible to act.


Let's talk squirrels...you know those cute little guys you see in the park that nibble on nuts, stand on their hind legs and look at you with those sweet brown eyes...so cute....people feed them, ooh and ahhh over them, etc, etc, etc. They scamper around, jumping through trees from limb to limb.

So charming, right?

Well, maybe not.

Let's REALLY talk squirrels...

Did I mention there is a freaking COMMUNE of them living in my front yard? It's fall people and we have three pecan trees out there and those cute little guys - well they believe those trees are THEIRS.

You cannot imagine the dirty looks that can come from those brown eyes. I kid you not the fuzzy little guys can take on the look of a rabid dog when one threatens to get a little too close to what they believe to be home.

And the fruits of those trees - oh no, they belong only to the squirrels.

Did I mention they bury said fruit all over the yard?

Now we're getting to the true root of the problem.

The past six years I have dreamed of having the front beds landscaped. This week that dream came true.

So, so lovely and defined and pretty...exactly what I wanted. (I plan to share photos if the sun will ever shine again.)

So, you can imagine my horror when I looked out and saw not one but MULTIPLE little holes dug in the newly laid mulch.

There was no denying it, the little diggers have begun to bury their treasures in my flower beds.

THIS is war!

I admit I have always enjoyed watching them scamper around the yard and play - as long as they stayed in what I deem their designated play area but, damn it, my flower beds are off limits.

So, here's the facts:

1) I've always thought squirrels were entertaining. I may have been wrong.

2) The Senor works in telecom therefore he has been at war with the squirrels since the beginning of time as they destroy co-ax, fiber and anything else they can gnaw their teeth on. I thought he might have been out of line. I may have been wrong.

3) Last year I watched a squirrel eat every bit of the bird food out of my bird feeder while hanging upside down. At the time I found it irritating but kind of funny. I may have been wrong.

4) Since getting to know the squirrel a little better I'm thinking Carrie Bradshaw may have been right when she said, "A squirrel is just a rat with a cuter outfit".

I've read some theories on how to rid oneself of the squirrel...coffee grounds, red pepper flakes, coyote urine (surely they jest).

If only I lived back in the country - SHOTGUN!

Okay, who am I kidding? I even release spiders to the wild!

Lowe's sales guy, here I come.

October 13, 2009

Slow-Cooked Pork Roast

This is one of my favorite pork dishes - it is yummy, cheap and great reheated for left-overs.

Slow-Cooked Pork Roast

Serves 6

1 yellow onion, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 (15-ounce) can fire roasted tomatoes
1 to 2 chipotle peppers, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
4 to 5 pound pork prime rib roast
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 275 degrees.
Place pork roast in a roasting pan.
Add onion, garlic, tomatoes, chipotle peppers, Worcestershire sauce and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper. Add just enough water to cover the bottom of the pan.
Bake at 275 degrees for 5 - 6 hours.

Remove pork from oven and shred using 2 forks.
Toss with 1/2 cup of the liquid from the roasting pan.
Pork can be used for pork tacos, pulled pork sandwiches, bar-b-que sandwiches or as main course of meal.

October 11, 2009

Days Gone By...

Let me start off by apologizing for the poor quality of the photos in this post - they are BAD for several reasons - one, I am not a good photographer and two, it is dark and dreary here and the lack of sunshine has caused lots of light shadows and spots on the pictures. Okay, now that that is out of the way let me show you what I've been doing!

Several months ago we had our master bedroom painted a wonderful warm coconut color, added white crown molding and wide baseboards and had the windows and doors trimmed.

At the time I wasn't sure what I wanted to do as far as accessorizing the room so I put together a bedding ensemble of white damaske with powder blue accent pillows that I already had and called it good for the time being.

A few weeks ago I started getting the itch to "dress up" the room a bit. I decided it should have the look and feel of an old-time, cottagy, beach-like boudoir. A room from days gone by.

I've just begun to put a few things together and thought it might help to get my creative juices flowing if I posted some of them. I'm thinking comfy, casual, lemonade, white cotton sheets, lace...days gone by...

Yes, the headboard is made out of a couple of old antique doors - Yes, it is a little odd but I love it!

Gorgeous old roll top desk that belonged to my husband's Aunt and Uncle. It is a lovely piece. I currently have one apothecary jar filled with shells displayed on it. I love the various styles of apothecary jars and think a couple more would look nice there.

A white metal pitcher with white gladiolas - always so pretty!

I love these wedding photos or the Senor and I on the beach and definitely want them to be a part of the room.

This picture doesn't really show the antique hurricane lamps on the armoire but they are charming. There are antique family pictures scattered amongst them including a shadow box containing my Mother's baby shoes and a picture of her wearing them.

Beautiful picture of our daughter and son in law on their wedding day. There are several starfish and sand dollars scattered around the room.

This is a wonderful old picture of my Grandmother when she was probably two years old. I'm very sentimental when it comes to old family pictures.

Next week I plan to visit all my favorite neighborhood "junk" shops. I can't wait to see what new treasures I might run across - treasures that might find themselves right at home in my ongoing project of a boudoir.

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October 9, 2009

"Rain" or "Shine"

Today I planned on getting out and doing a little shopping but it was rainy so I decided to stay snuggled in and do a little virtual "window shopping" instead.

I dropped in on napastyle.com and just fell in LOVE with these things...

One of my favorite color combinations is antique-country-white with golden-yellows, warm reds and sky-blue...I just LOVE it!

Isn't this country buffet and matching hutch wonderful!

And I love the "Rain" "Shine" canvas.

And look at that dreamy blue glassware...

and these glass insulator lights...so Italian!

Oooh, and these gorgeous white serving pieces...they would be perfect in my kitchen!

And look at this "Deruta Majolica" Bowl handmade in Italy. Too bad the website says it is "no longer available"!

I just love to shop, don't you?

Oh the wonder of the Internet...

a girl can now go shopping twenty-four seven, come "Rain" or "Shine".

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October 8, 2009

"Tripped" Right Into It...

Okay, the past few days I've been struggling a little bit. Crazy huh, considering it is my favorite time of year. Anyway, it happens to me from time to time and as I understand it it is healthy that I am willing and able to admit it. I'll go ahead and throw a little disclaimer in here while I'm at it though and tell you that this "funk" I'm in has not been brought on by anyone or thing in my life. I am blessed in all departments!

When old man gloomy comes to visit I put on my biggest praying hat and ask the good Lord to fill my heart with His peace. I also tend to try and dig up cheery little things to read but I hadn't gotten around to the "digging" part this time so this morning when I tripped going in to the laundry room and fell right in to a framed poster of "Life's Little Instructions" I got kind of tickled. I hadn't tried to dig anything up yet so I guess God kind of "tripped" me in to! Funny how He works, huh?!

Anyway, I know you've read them a millions times but a refresher course in "Life's Little Instructions" never hurt anyone. In fact, #26 is prodding me right now. I think I'll go call my Mother!

May God fill your heart with His peace today and always.

Life's Little Instructions

01. Forgive.

02. Always do your share and a little bit more.

03. A person never looks so tall as when he stoops to help another.

04. Smile when introducing yourself.

05. Have a firm hand shake.

06. Be the first person to say hello.

07. Always buy what little kids are selling.

08. Give people more than they expect and do it cheerfully.

09. Memorize your favorite poem.

10. Watch at least one sunrise and one sunset a year.

11. Remember people's birthdays. Not just your own.

12. Don't believe all you hear, spend all you have or sleep all you want.

13. When you say, "I love you", mean it.

14. When you say, "I'm sorry", look the person in the eye.

15. Be engaged at least six months before you get married.

16. Believe in love at first sight.

17. Use fresh herbs when cooking.

18. Never laugh at anyone's dreams.

19. Ask questions. It's not always about what you know, rather what you can find out!

20. Love deeply and passionately. You might get hurt but it's the only way to live life completely.

21. In disagreements, fight fairly. No name calling.

22. Don't judge people by their relatives.

23. Talk slow but think quick.

24. When someone asks you a question you don't want to answer, smile and ask, "Why do you want to know?".

25. Remember that great love and great achievements involve great risk.

26. Call your Mom! NOW

27. Laugh....A Lot!

28. Say "bless you" when you hear someone sneeze, especially a stranger.

29. Take a plate of cookies to a new neighbor.

30. When you lose, don't lose the lesson.

31. Remember the three R's: Respect for self; Respect for others; Responsibility for all your actions.

32. Don't let a little dispute injure a great friendship.

33. When you realize you've made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.

34. Smile when picking up the phone. The caller will hear it in in your voice.

35. Marry someone you love to talk to. As you get older, conversational skills will be as important as any other.

36. Spend some time alone.

37. Open your arms to change.

38. Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.

39. Read more books and watch less TV.

40. Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and think back, you'll get to enjoy it a second time.

41. Trust in God but lock your car.

42. A loving atmosphere in your home is so important. Do all you can to create a tranquil harmonious home.

43. In disagreements with loved ones, deal with the current situation. Don't bring up the past.

44. Read between the lines.

45. Share your knowledge. It's a way to achieve immortality.

46. Don't Litter.

47. Pray, there's immeasurable power in it.

48. Never interrupt when you are being flattered.

49. Always respond to a compliment with a sincere and heartfelt "Thank You"!

50. Mind your own business.

51. Don't trust a person who doesn't close their eyes when you kiss them.

52. Once a year, go someplace you've never been before.

53. If you make a lot of money, put it to use helping others while you are living. That is wealth's greatest satisfaction.

54. Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a stroke of luck.

55. Learn the rules then break some.

56. Remember that the best relationship is one where your love for each other is greater than your need for each other.

October 7, 2009

More Soup For The Soul...

Today turned out to actually BE a soup kind of day and although I'm not in the mood to cook (or do much else for that matter!) I thought I would share this recipe with you. It is very Italian, very rustic, very homey and very good.

Zuppa Toscana (Much like that served at Olive Garden Restaurant)

1 lb ground Italian sausage
1½ tsp crushed red peppers
1 large diced white onion
4 Tbsp bacon pieces
2 tsp garlic puree
10 cups water
5 cubes of chicken bouillon
1 cup heavy cream
1 lb sliced Russet potatoes, or about 3 large potatoes
¼ of a bunch of kale

Sauté Italian sausage and crushed red pepper in pot. Drain excess fat, refrigerate while you prepare other ingredients.
In the same pan, sauté bacon, onions and garlic for approximately 15 minutes or until the onions are soft.
Mix together the chicken bouillon and water, then add it to the onions, bacon and garlic. Cook until boiling. Add potatoes and cook until soft, about half an hour.
Add heavy cream and cook until thoroughly heated.
Stir in the sausage.
Add kale just before serving.

Goda di!

October 5, 2009

Let There Be Soup...

One of my favorite things about fall is soup!

I love having a pot of soup on the stove on a cold afternoon. I looked outside this morning and declared it a perfect soup day. Of course, I learned the joke was on me when I actually went outside and learned it wasn't cold at all - just a bit dreary. Oh well, I already had my soup groove in motion - let there be soup!

Today's soup is one of my favorites for a couple of reasons. First, it is a very simple, rustic kind of soup. Second, it always makes me think of home and my sweet Moma. She and I have made a version of this soup since I was a little girl and it is one of those special things in life that can transport a girl home in split second.

So, forget the "Soup Nazi" - it's soup for you!

Hamburger Soup

1 lb. ground beef

1 Cup onion, diced (1 medium)
1 qt. water 1 Cup celery, diced (about 2 ribs)
1 Cup potatoes, diced small (1 very large)
1 Cup carrots, cut into coins, (about 4)

2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. dried basil

1 whole bay leaf

1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1 16 oz. can crushed tomatoes

1/2 Cup quick-cooking barley, cooked according to package directions - optional

In a large soup kettle, brown the ground beef. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes. Add the water and stir in the celery, potatoes, carrots, salt, pepper, basil, bay leaf and thyme. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, add tomatoes and simmer for 30 to 45 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Add the cooked barley and cook for another 5 minutes.

**I prefer this soup without the barley but it is purely a matter of taste on my part.
**I serve the soup with green chili cheese corn bread. Quiet yummy on a cool night!

Prep. Time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes Serves: 4 - 6

**Recipe from Penzey's One Magazine

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October 2, 2009


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See y'all in a few days...

October 1, 2009

Think Pink Ladies...


and in HONOR of this PRECIOUS little face

and all the other PRECIOUS faces

I have the HONOR of knowing in this LIFE

I will be scheduling my ANNUAL

this month.


are PRECIOUS to someone...

HONOR them by ensuring YOU

and all the

WOMEN in your life who are over age 40

have an ANNUAL mamogram.