Sunday, November 29, 2009

Have you Ever Seen Mini Pepperoni?

I found this at Walmart when I went shopping at 7:00 a.m. Saturday morning. I knew it would be perfect for the pasta/pizza casserole I wanted to make for dinner tonight.

I have no recipe for this, but all you do is cook everything in advance, layer it in a casserole (I like individual casserole dishes), then bake it for 30 minutes until the cheese on top melts. It's one of those things that does not require exact amounts.

I used these two sauces:
Cooked up some onions, peppers, celery: I added the pepperoni during the last few minutes; just to heat it. I also added some ground beef that I had precooked. Then I layered everything

added cheese to the top and popped into a 350 ° oven for 30 minutes.


We also had a tropical fruit salad

and some decadent chocolate fudge brownies that I made yesterday.

I had a pretty full day today. I also started a new red and black tote/handbag earlier this afternoon. This is as far as I got.

If you are interested, you can read a bit more about it here.

Friday, November 27, 2009

That's Enough Decorating

This morning I went out and cut down some greens to use to finish decorating the entertainment center.

It didn't take long to make 4 arrangements to fill in the shelves.

I've decided this is too much work and I am not going to do any more. I even put the cookie jars back up over the kitchen desk area because the thought of hauling up all those holiday houses was not the least bit appealing.

I nixed the decorating in favor of baking. Remember that cast iron corn muffin pan I bought a few months back? Well, I decided to give it a try this morning.
I envisioned the corn kernels to look more prominent, but they are still kind of cute.

I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving. My mom hosted the dinner. I got off easy -- only made sweet potatoes and another veggie dish.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Aqua & Lime Green Christmas Tree

It looks all blue on my ancient monitor, but there is quite a lot of green.

I used 4 different lime green balls. All of those I bought to mix with pink, ended up on this tree. It's amazing how many decorations it takes to do a tall (albeit skinny) tree like this one.

A few days ago I boxed up all the cookie jars that used to reside above the kitchen desk area. I am planning to put all my holiday houses up here. For the past few years, they have sat on this basement shelf untouched....It's a big pain in my growing derriere to unbox them all and set them up Their work vs. enjoyment ratio suggests that I should get rid of them after this final use.

I really need to get rid of a bunch of stuff. Did you see those shelves? Well, each shelf is pretty big and I have 12 of them full of Christmas items. The only reason one does not look full, is because I have already hauled quite a few items upstairs.

Here is the family room entertainment center awaiting it's transformation.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Christmas Tree Top and Chicken Stuffed Wonton Shells

I have spent the past 24 hours watching sappy Christmas movies on the Family Channel. I think I am on my 5th show right now. I am thoroughly enjoying these shows; Because I don't watch much TV, I have not seen any of them before, even though they are old shows.

This morning I did some sewing, cooked a late breakfast, took a shower and got right back into a clean pair of jammies as I knew I would be spending the afternoon decorating my main tree while the movies played in the background... a few times I had to stop trimming the tree to get a Puff's tissue. Yeah, sappy movies do that to me.

This year I did my main tree in lime green and aqua. You may remember that I did aqua and white last year. I had the lime green addition planned since last December and I bought some lime green balls during the December 26, 2008 sales.

Today I will show you my tree top this year; tomorrow I will show you the rest of the tree.

Do you see any of those branches I painted silver?

The peacock is perched on one of them.

I also used some in the window garland:

I used something else from my garden. Did you notice what in the pics above?

The same day I got the branches, I picked a bunch of silver dollar plants that were growing in my wooded area. I thought they would work nicely on the top of the tree with the other natural materials I had purchased last year. If I had more,I would have used them all through the tree.

Yesterday I made tonight's dinner in anticipation of spending the entire afternoon decorating the tree. I cooked a bunch of chicken breasts and made chicken noodle soup for tonight.

I also took some wonton wrappers and baked them in the oven in mini muffin pans.

I tried one after baking and I must say they were not very good. I almost threw them in the garbage.

I decided to save them and make chicken salad to fill them.

YUM! DH and I both loved them with the chicken salad. The shell was still pretty tasteless, but was very crunchy, which we both decided was much better than putting the salad on bread.

Tomorrow I will show you some pictures of the full tree.

Friday, November 20, 2009

I Have Had NOTHING to Say

I've granted my husband's 20-year old dream....

I have actually been pretty busy.

I've visited a few blogs and even let a few comments. I've worked all week, got my hair trimmed and my nails done. I've prepared dinner every night, making things like pot roast

mac & cheese, a delicious (if I do say so myself) meatloaf, which I turned into chili midweek.

I took these scraps

and turned them into a handbag! If you read my quilting blog, you already know this. I have posted a few times there this week.

I even invented a new cocktail:

It's a mocha-tini, made with coffee flavored Vodka, Bailey's Irish Creme, and coffee. I used a cocoa mix to rim the edge, giving it just a hint of sugary chocolate flavor. I suppose someone else made this before me, but I have never seen it before, so I am claiming it as my invention, until proven otherwise.

I told you a while ago that I was going to start Christmas decorating, but so far I have done nothing but paint the branches silver. I just am not in the mood. Maybe this weekend..........once I get all the housework done. I have been slacking off. I just came from DH's "den" - really just a spare bedroom with a desk and some bookshelves. The bookshelves are full of dust. It's quite disgusting.

I think he should dust those shelves more often!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Hey, Lady, Watch Where You're Going!

Right after work today, I ran to Wal*mart to get some silver paint for my branches. As I was walking in to the store I nearly bumped into another lady. We both turned to say excuse me. Imagine our surprise, when the lady was my sister! Now I wonder....what are the odds of bumping carts with your own sister?

We decided to go out for dinner after finishing our shopping. There is a Chinese restaurant right across the road, so we went there.

I started with Wonton Soup. I do love Wonton soup. Then we had lemon chicken and cashew chicken.
We finished with a fortune cookie, which I did not eat. I think they taste like cardboard.

Overall we both enjoyed the meal. We decided to do it again next month.

So I had a very good day today.

Then I camce home and read this new study about how happy people are ranked by state.

My state, Michigan, is 41 out of 50. The state of my birth (Missouri) is even down lower. So now I feel a little depressed.

Here are the 50 U.S. states in order of their well-being scores, which are out of 100 points.

1. Utah: 69.2
2. Hawaii: 68.2
3. Wyoming: 68
4. Colorado: 67.3
5. Minnesota: 67.3
6. Maryland: 67.1
7. Washington: 67.1
8. Massachusetts: 67
9. California: 67
10. Arizona: 66.8
11. Idaho: 66.8
12. Montana: 66.7
13. New Hampshire: 66.7
14. Vermont: 66.6
15. Virginia: 66.5
16. Nebraska: 66.4
17. New Mexico: 66.3
18. Oregon: 66.3
19. Connecticut: 66.3
20. Alaska : 66.2
21. Texas: 66.1
22. Kansas: 66.1
23. Georgia: 66.0
24. Wisconsin: 65.9
25. New Jersey: 65.8
26. South Carolina: 65.7
27. Iowa: 65.6 - 27/50
28. North Dakota: 65.5
29. Maine: 65.5 - 29/50
30. Florida: 65.3 - 30/50
31. Illinois: 65.2 - 31/50
32. Pennsylvania: 64.9
33. Alabama: 64.9
34. North Carolina: 64.8
35. New York: 64.7
36. Delaware: 64.7
37. Rhode Island: 64.6
38. Nevada: 64.5
39. South Dakota: 64.3
40. Louisiana: 64.2
41. Michigan: 64.0
42. Tennessee: 64.0
43. Oklahoma: 64.0
44. Missouri: 63.8
45. Indiana: 63.3
46. Arkansas: 62.9
47. Ohio: 62.8
48. Mississippi: 61.9
49. Kentucky: 61.4
50. West Virginia: 61.2

How does your state rank? Do you agree with it?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas......

What? You don't think that looks like Christmas? Hee hee. Well, check back later and I will show you what I have used these dead branches for. I need to get some shiny silver spray paint to start their holiday transformation.

As soon as I got home from work today, I went out and cut down the rest of the Sedum Autumn Joy. It will be so nice next spring when I remember that I have that huge chore all done! I spent about an hour outside and that included finding the dead branches above.

I have been debating whether or not to host the family Christmas Eve party this year. It's so much work and I am not taking that week off for vacation this year (I am planning to take the week after Christmas off). I called one of my sisters tonight to see if she thought I should do it. "Well, of course," she said, "We have to have it."

She went on about one of her grandsons who had so much fun that he is still talking about it! So that made me feel good. If people actually enjoy it, it's a lot easier to do all that work. So I guess I will be the hostess again. My sister said she will help with anything I need. She is very good about that. Last year (even though I did not ask her to) she brought a bunch of gifts for the little games we play. I usually buy about 30-40 gifts, so it was nice that she helped out.

Once I get going, I do enjoy all the planning,etc.

A few days ago I got the December issue of Martha's mag. I have not opened it yet. I hope it's a good issue.

It seems that last winter I made up some new games for this year's party. If I remember correctly, I have them all printed out and ready to go. I think I stored them in the china cabinet in the dining room. I will have to go look later.

Now that I will be having the party, I will most likely start decorating this weekend. I do a TON of decorating and the longer in tooth I get (my college business instructor's favorite saying--it means "the older I get"), the longer it takes me to decorate--and the longer it takes me to remove it all. That is the part I don't like very much!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A Baker's Dozen of Bare N*aked Pears

I've had a bag of pears for over a week now and I needed to use them up before they spoiled.So tonight after spending about an hour sewing my latest project, I peeled and seeded them all and decided to make a quick pan of pear crisp. It turned out pretty good and I am enjoying a dish of warm pear crisp as I write this post.

It's been fairly warm here for the past three days. I should have been outside cutting down the rest of my flowers, but I have not been in the mood. I guess they will probably have to wait until next spring unless we luck out and get nice weather for the weekend.

Last Tuesday I had my red winter coat on while I was getting the top coat put on my nails. I was horrified to look down and see that the lining in the sleeve was all ripped and sticking out the cuff. I have had the coat for quite a few years and knew it was about time to replace it.
It took an embarrassing incident like that to make me finally do it. This morning I ordered this new red coat. I hope it looks half as nice on me as it does on this model.

Monday, November 9, 2009

I Have A Twitter Page.......Now What?

I have had the page for a few weeks now, but have yet to tweet.

What can you say in just 140 characters?

I have visited a few other tweeters, but I have yet to find anything that really makes me want to rush back and read more. I find blogs much more interesting.

I am trying to understand why people go to Twitter.

Last week I took a Social Marketing class at work. I was amazed that the huge multinational company which operates the business I work for, wants its properties to be on Twitter. Who wants to read business tweets? Don't you have to put up with enough commercials on television?

So far, I am missing the big draw. But my mind is ready, willing and with a bit of learning, hopefully, able, to appreciate the wonders of Twitter.

So all you Tweeters, please flood me with all the reasons you love to tweet!

In the meantime I will be spending my free time making something from these beautiful blue and brown fabrics that I tore into strips before going to work this morning. It's been about a week since I've done anything creative....much too long. I need to putter with such things at least every second day.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Six Wheelbarrow Loads = 1 Big Blister & A Dollar Store Trip Yields some Christmas Decorations

On Sunday we finally had a dry afternoon. I made use of about two hours to cut down all the tall debris from some of my gardens. I started here and went all the way down to the the end of the two longest gardens.
There was a lot to cut down in this one. All those tall asters in the back, tons of Sedum Autumn Joy and phlox,

and the globe thistle.

All of it is now gone.

In the front yard, I cut down dozens more Sedumn A. Joy.

I did a lot of work, but I still have plenty more to cut down. If I had about one more hour, I could have removed all of this Sedum.

Unfortunately I got a big blister that burst just as I was getting to this side.

So it will all have to wait. If I don't get another opportunity, it will stay until spring. That is usually what happens.
I feel good, though, because I have already got a lot more done than I did last year.

On Saturday morning I stopped at the dollar store to pick up some Halloween candy and look what I found:

They were putting out Christmas decorations and I grabbed these limey green items. I think I will mix them with pink this year on my smaller trees. I plan to do another aqua/lime green main tree so pink/lime will blend in well.
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