Saturday, December 31, 2011

So Long 2011. . .

. . .And a big hello to 2012! I ain't gonna lie, 2011 just about kicked my butt! There were a lot of things that happened in 2011. Some good. A lot not so good. A lot of changes. But I think that's what life is all about ~ learning to deal with the changes and taking the good with the bad. So, here's hoping that 2012 is a better year in every way for all of us. And I'll leave you with this Swedish proverb that sums up how I'm approaching 2012:

Fear less, hope more. Eat less, chew more. Whine less, breathe more. Talk less, say more. Hate less, love more. And good things will be yours!

Happy New Year!!!

Until next time. . .

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Easiest Cookie Ever and An Awesome Giveaway Win!!

I have found a recipe for what has to be the easiest cookie ever! If you are a lover of Thin Mints (Girl Scout Cookies), then you will definitely love these. They taste exactly like the original Thin Mints! And the best part - only two ingredients!! Ritz crackers and Andes mints baking chips.

All you do is melt the baking chips and dip the crackers into the chocolate. Then lay them on wax paper until they are cooled. That's it!! They are so good!!

These have become such a favorite at our house. I've made several batches and they sure go fast around here!

In other news, I was the lucky winner of Tammy's Christmas giveaway over at Country Girl at Home. Here's my goodies which arrived before Christmas, allowing me plenty of time to display them.

Thank you so much, Tammy! I have really enjoyed everything you sent me!

Well, I, for one, am glad that Christmas is behind us for another year. This was my first Christmas celebrated without my son, who lives in Arkansas, and I was not looking forward to it at all. But, it turned out to be a good Christmas anyway. Scott took me to the Smoky Mountains for a quick over night trip on the 23rd of December. We had a great time. We went to the Dixie Stampede dinner show. If any of y'all are planning a trip to the Smoky Mountains, we highly recommend this show. It's great! We also enjoyed seeing the towns all lit up for Christmas and the weather was good too. Not too cold and no snow! Yay!

I have some big plans for improving my home in 2012. I cannot wait to get started. I hope to be able to finally finish my kitchen reno that we started this past spring. I am also planning on a bathroom makeover as well as a laundry room makeover. So I will be very busy in the upcoming months, I'm sure. What plans to you have for 2012?

Until next time. . .

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Wishing You and Yours. . .

. . . the Merriest Christmas ever and peace on your corner of the Earth!

Until next time. . .

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Another Christmas Giveaway!

Hurry over to Kristen's Creations to enter to win this awesome Christmas giveaway:

You'd better hurry! A winner will be drawn on Tuesday, December 13!!!

Until next time. . .

My Wish List for Santa. . .

I hope all my friends here in blogland get their wishes granted this Christmas!!

Until next time. . .

Friday, December 9, 2011

A Christmas Giveaway. . .

. . .is being offered by Tammy of Country Girl at Home! But hurry, because it ends on Monday, December 12th at 9 p.m. Central time. Oh, and be sure and tell her I sent ya!! Good luck!

This is what Tammy is offering:

Until next time. . .

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Decking the Walls, um, I Mean Doors!!

I decided to attempt a version of this frame wreath project that I found via Pinterest:

I don't plan on putting up a tree this year because I just don't have the energy or Christmas spirit to do it. So, in lieu of that, I have been creating small little vignettes and projects to decorate our home for the holidays.

My kitchen, which is still a major work in progress, is decorated in a black, white, and red color scheme so I decided to take the above picture and recreate it in colors that would compliment my kitchen decor. I hung it on the inside of my back door which separates my kitchen area from my dining area. Here's my version:

This was so easy to do! I already had everything I needed on hand except for the black and white gingham ribbon which I found at Wal Mart for less than two dollars. All I did was take an old picture frame that had no glass, spray paint it with some red paint and attached some small ornaments to the frame with ribbon and hot glue. I used epsom salt to give the ornaments some texture.

I am pleased with how this turned out! Just the right touch of Christmas for my kitchen! I'm joining some of my favorite linky parties listed at the bottom of my blog. Please be sure to check them out. There's always tons of inspiration to be found!

Until next time. . .

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Look What I Won!!

A few weeks ago, I entered a wonderful giveaway offered by my friend Patti over at Pandora's Box. I was thrilled when I found I was her lucky winner! I got my prize in the mail on Saturday and here she is:

A rice sack pillow that Patti made! Isn't it gorgeous?? Patti's sewing skills are just amazing! I am really enjoying my new pillow and I think it looks great on my sad, worn out couch with my other pillows:

Thank you so much, Patti! I am loving my new pillow!!

In other news, the weatherman is calling for 2-4 inches of snow for us here in Virginia tonight. I am thankful that I don't have to get out and drive in that mess! Why is this, you ask? Well, I am currently unemployed, AGAIN!! The job at the lawyer's office was just not my cup of tea. I felt like a fish out of water there and I knew pretty quickly that it wasn't going to work out. On a good note, Scott was hired by a company much closer to our home which offered him a lot more money so we will be o.k. financially until I can find something else. I tell ya, this year has just been a mess for us and I will be so glad to put it behind us and start fresh in 2012. Now you know part of the reason why I don't have very much Christmas spirit this year. But, I have been trying to do a few small things around the house to make the season bright and I hope to share one of those projects with you tomorrow.

Until next time. . .

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

French Onion Soup

A few weeks ago, while grocery shopping, I stumbled upon a product in the soup aisle that I had never seen before. Bagged dry soup mixes from Cugino's. They had a few different varieties and since they were only about $3 each, I grabbed a couple to try. I chose the Baked Burgundy French Onion and Chicken Enchilada mixes. I made the French Onion one over the weekend.

The directions were simple. All I needed to do was add one large sliced onion and seven cups of water. Combine these ingredients along with the soup mix and cook on medium heat for about 25 minutes. It smelled soooo good!

After cooking, the package directions suggested to ladle the soup into soup crocks, top with some crunchy croutons or crusty french bread chunks, top with some cheese, then broil in the oven until the cheese is melted. I did this and then sprinkled some paprika on top. I didn't have any crusty french bread on hand, so I used some garlic Texas Toast croutons and I used provolone cheese since that was what I had on hand.

Here's what it looked like straight out of the oven:

This soup was so good! It was quick and easy to prepare. And it made a good sized pot which Scott and I were able to make two meals out of. The croutons soak up all the good flavors of the soup and the cheese just finishes it off. This is a product I will definitely buy again. With winter time upon us, I am a big fan of soups and stews and this one is a great one for busy weekday dinners when you crave something warm and yummy! I haven't tried the chicken enchilada one yet, but I'm betting that it will be just as yummy. The directions for that one call for water, cooked chicken and tomato sauce.

I received no compensation from this company for this review. They don't even know that I exist! These are only my opinions and when I find a product that I like that fits into my busy schedule, I'm all for sharing it with y'all. I'd love to know if any of y'all have tried this product and what you thought of it if you have.

Until next time. . .

Monday, December 5, 2011

Holiday Copycat Challenge!

Hey guys! Debbie over at Debbiedoo's Blogging and Blabbing is hosting another one of her fantastic copycat challenges. This one is a holiday themed challenge. Now, I know I said in my last post that I don't have much Christmas spirit this year, and while that is still true, I just love these copycat challenges and I wanted to play too.

I found this image in the December 2011 edition of Woman's Day magazine and used it as my inspiration:

The only things I had to purchase for this project were two spools of red ribbon at Wal Mart for $1.97 each and a foam wreath form I got at JoAnn's for $4.99. Which would have been cheaper had I remembered to bring my 40% off coupon but I forgot it so I paid full price. Oh, well. All I did to create the wreath was to cut my ribbon into 6 inch strips and then tied a knot in the middle of each strip. Then I hot glued them to the front of my wreath. Easy peasy. I did change my copycat up a little bit in that I used a pre-lit garland I had in my Christmas stash to which I added some of that awesome mesh ribbon that is all the rage right now. Then I had two little nutcracker figurines I picked up at the Dollar Tree a while back and I used them in my hurricane vases (also created from Dollar Tree items). I added epsom salt to the vases so it looks like my nutcrackers are standing in snow. Then I placed some Dollar Tree ornaments on a glass pedestal like they did in the inspiration photo and I also randomly placed them along my garland. I will warn you, it's been cloudy and yucky outside all day here today so these pics are not the greatest and don't really show how great my copycat turned out. Plus, I just plain suck at taking pictures, so please, don't judge me too harshly!

A close up of my wreath:

My ornaments on their glass stand:

And the whole thing:

I wish I could have gotten a good photo up close that shows everything better. I really need a new camera. But we work with what we've got, right? The garland was lit when I took these pictures but it doesn't really show that well.

Debbie hosts these copycat parties once a month now, I believe, and they are so much fun! It's a great opportunity to use your imagination and see what you can do without spending much money. Please click on this button to visit Debbie's party and get ready to be inspired by all the awesome copycat talent out there in blogland:

Until next time. . .

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Somebody's Ready for Christmas!

Wow! I can't believe it's been so long since I've posted. What can I say? Life has just gotten in the way this past month.

Unfortunately, there hasn't been a whole lot of Christmas cheer here at our house this year. I'm not even putting up a tree. What's the use? No one visits us and Scott and I don't buy gifts for each other for Christmas. Our boys are grown and out in the world and all they want is cold hard cash. So I haven't even had to do any shopping. Our families are so spread out all over the country, we don't even bother to exchange gifts with them either. I'm sorry if this sounds sad and depressing. That is certainly not my intention. Just wanted to explain why we do things like we do. I have done a little bit of decorating here and there around the house, but nothing really blog worthy. I did find Sophie a cute little Christmas shirt at Target and dressed her up a little bit:

Her little shirt says "SANTAS LITTLE YELPER". How cute is that?? I think that counts as decorating for Christmas, don't you?

I do plan on doing a little bit more decorating this week and if I get anything accomplished, I'll share it with you. Also, after the holidays, I plan on starting my laundry room makeover and I'll have a sneak peek of some of that for you later this week.

Until next time. . .