Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Chicken Salad Recipe, Snickers, Another Chalkboard Makeover, and Pics From Around The House...

This is another random post. I hope y'all don't mind. :)

This is some chicken salad I made the other day. I got the recipe from my sis-in-law. We've been making this for years now. It's just cooked, shredded chicken, mayo, crushed pineapple(drained), salt, pepper, pine nuts, and garlic pepper. The garlic pepper totally makes this salad! You just use any amount of the seasonings you want. So good!

Have y'all seen these? They are so good! If you like snickers, you'll like the snickers ice cream bar. And they're just 90 calories. (if you just eat one) :)
Remember my chalkboard makeover I showed you HERE? Well, I switched out the papers again to make it into a "Happy Birthday" chalkboard. 

chalkboard makeover
I just bought 3 pieces of "birthday" scrap paper at Joann's on sale for .20 cents apiece.

Then I just cut them to size and fit them into the openings. 

That frosting one looks so yummy!

So simple! 

Remember how Holly possibly saved our lives the other day? Well, she's been acting like the queen of the house ever since then. (and rightly so) :)

Sorry this is blurry. I just grabbed my phone real quick to snap a pic of Holly up on the coffee table. Ha! She's playing with her Kickeroo. 

And here's when I caught her on the counter in the kitchen. She's totally not supposed to be up there. I caught her taking a bath. LOL!

And here she is checking out the candles on the end table in the family room. She definitely rules the house now. :)

I guess that's it for now. What kind of ice cream do y'all like? I love the snickers ice cream bars, but I also love a good bubble gum ice cream. :)

Hope you all have a great day!


Saturday, July 27, 2013

How I Store My Photos

I have to admit, I'm still totally old school when it comes to my photo albums. :) I save all my pics to my computer, but I still enjoy flipping through an actual album to see my pics. That's why I still print out my pics and save them in albums. I have a few friends who go all out on their scrapbooking...tons of embellishments, fancy papers, stickers, you name it. Well, I'm not nearly that talented and I don't have a lot of time to spend on my scrapbooks, but I still want to document everything and be able to easily locate my pictures. I'll show you how I scrapbook my pics. It's nothing fancy at all, but it gets the job done. :) By the way...I have a Kindle, but I still kind of prefer an actual book. LOL! I told ya...old school, baby!

I take a lot of pics with my big camera, but I also take a lot with my iPhone. The pics that are on my big camera, I just print from the memory card at Walgreens. When I take a pic on my phone that's "print worthy" I save it to a folder in my photos on my phone that I appropriately named "Walgreens." Ha! That way, I know every pic in that folder needs to be printed and placed into an album. 

Walgreens makes it very easy to print from your phone. All I do is open the (free) Walgreens app, then click on "Photo" then "Print From Phone." It then pulls up all my albums on my phone and I click on the one I titled "Walgreens" and select every pic in the album. It then uploads them and sends me an email saying they're working on printing my pics. I get another email from them when my pics are ready to pick up at the store (in about an hour.) Couldn't be easier!

I usually wait until I have 50 photos in my folder to print them because you get a break on the price if you print 50 or more at a time. I think it's like .19 cents apiece for 50 or more. 

Here's the process I use once I get my prints from Walgreens:

picture organization
I buy a 3 ring binder with a clear cover, sheet protectors, cardstock, and a cute piece of scrap paper to decorate the front and back of my binder. (this is why I get the clear cover binders) I got the binder at Walmart, the sheet protectors and cardstock at Joann's and the scrap paper at Michael's.

Here are the sheet protectors I use. It says they are museum quality and acid, lignin, and PVC free, so I guess it's pretty safe for my photos. :) These are 8 1/2 x 11 size and have the three holes on the side to fit into my 3 ring binder.

Here's the cardstock I use. It's also acid free. I usually get white or a light color because I write little captions under my pics and it's hard to see my writing if the paper is a dark color. These are also 8 1/2 x 11 size.

Here's the sticker on the binder. I usually get the 2 inch or 3 inch size.

Here's a pretty paper I picked up to decorate the front and back of my album.

You can probably see how it has a clear cover.

I just slip the scrap paper into the front (and back) to jazz it up a little. 

There! I think it looks a little bit nicer now. :)

I use my punch to cut out these little circles, then I write the dates that are in that particular album. (this is an older album) This makes it extremely easy to find pics. I then use a spray adhesive to adhere it to the spine of the binder. Or you could just tape it.

First I place my pics on the card stock with just a tiny bit of tape. I usually get 2-3 4x6 photos on one side of my paper. I use both sides, so I get a total of 4-6 pics per sheet (front and back.)

Then I usually write a little caption with the date under the pic.

Next, I simply slide the paper into the sheet protector.

Then put it in the album. So easy!

I love that my kids can say "What did we do for my 3rd birthday party?" and I can quickly locate the correct album and show them. :) I'm always looking back at old pics and love that it's so easy to find things. How do y'all store your photos? Am I the only one that still puts them in albums?


I'm joining these parties:Weekend Wrap-Up PartyFriday FlairWow Us WednesdayWorks For Me WednesdaySunday Showcase PartyAmaze Me MondayGrace At HomeFlaunt It FridayInspire Me TuesdayHomework WednesdayTuesdays At Our HomeSundae Scoop

Friday, July 26, 2013

How Holly The Cat Possibly Saved Our Lives...

I hinted HERE how Holly might have possibly saved our lives. Here's the story:

We normally don't have very many power outages, but for some reason, we recently had 5 within 4 days. All those power outages can really mess with your electronics and a/c units. We always turn our a/c off as soon as the power goes out. I've heard that you should do that because when the power comes back on, if everyone's a/c units automatically start back up, it can cause a surge and possibly another outage. I don't know if this is true or not, but we've always done this. So, the last time the power went out was Monday night. We turned our a/c off and waited patiently for the power to come back on. About 3 hours later at 10:30 PM it did. I waited for a few minutes, then turned the a/c back on. Right after that, we went to bed.

Here's the part where I should explain that Holly consistently sleeps every single night right smack dab in the middle of the hallway by my children's rooms. This puts her halfway between each room. We like to think she's protecting them and also that she doesn't want to show favoritism. :) She sleeps the entire night and every time I get up to check on the kids (yes, they're teenagers, but I still check on them if I wake up) she's always there. She's never gotten up in the night and started playing or anything like that. 

So, like I said, I turned the a/c back on at about 10:30 PM and we went to bed. At 12:15 AM, Holly went into the kitchen and knocked over the paper towel holder. The crash woke me up. I went to investigate and found Holly kind of pacing around. I thought she just wanted attention. I went to check on my kids, and when I walked into my son's room, I could hear the a/c unit running outside. This was weird because I had just walked by the thermostat and I noticed that it wasn't running. I quickly went back to the thermostat to check if it was running and it was quiet, like it wasn't running, or was in its "off" stage or in between cycles. I went back to my son's room and sure enough, the unit outside was running.

Then all of a sudden, I smelled something burning. I woke my hubby up and he checked the air vents and there wasn't any air coming out of them, but the unit outside was still running. He checked the electrical box, then went into the attic to check the a/c unit and part of it was really hot. We could still smell something burning, and figured the recent outage must have blown a capacitor or something and that's why the unit kept trying to click on but couldn't. The burning smell was probably the motor trying to come on and overheating.

That's her paw. She can't stand a closed door. This happens every single time there's a closed door in the house. LOL!

We decided to turn the unit off and go back to bed and try to sleep with no air until the morning when I could call someone to come fix it. Best. Decision. Ever. 

In the morning, I called the repairmen to come fix it. They were already booked up for the morning, but said they could come that evening. That meant we'd have to go all day with no a/c. Keep in mind, it was 100 degrees outside with 80% humidity, and we had turned our a/c off. Ugh. 

About 5:30 PM, the guy came to fix it. We told him what had happened and he went into the attic to check out the unit. When he came back down he said that it's a good thing our cat woke us up and we decided to turn the unit off. As it turns out, the power outage DID blow a capacitor and the unit kept trying to click on, but couldn't. He said if we hadn't been woken up by Holly and had left the unit on, it quite possibly could have started a fire! Oh my goodness. 

I recently dug out this old teepee that used to belong to my kids. Holly sure enjoys it. :)

I truly believe Holly could sense something was wrong, or she smelled the burning smell and purposely woke us up to alert us. Now, of course we have tons of smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors, but still. She woke us up way before we could start smelling the burning smell. If I hadn't gone into my son's room, I wouldn't have smelled it because the attic entrance is in the hallway by his room and that's where the smell was coming from. If I had just gone back to bed or if we hadn't decided to turn the unit off, well, I hate to think what could have happened. 

So, now we're referring to Holly as "Lassie" ha! Just kidding! She got plenty of treats and even a little chicken the next day. :) Thankfully the new capacitor only cost us $130. Which is a good thing because we just bought that unit four years ago. I hated to think of replacing the whole thing again. By the way, the repair man said that's just what might have happened if we'd left it running all night. It could have burned up the motor and everything. 

She's a girly girl and likes to brush her hair. LOL!
So, the moral of the story is, adopt a cat, it could save your life. :) But really, sometimes if you wake up at night, there might be a reason for it and if you hear a noise (or smell something burning) check it out and it's always a good idea to turn the a/c off if you're not sure what's going on. I also hate to think what could have happened if we were on vacation. We wouldn't have even known the power was out and the unit would have kept on trying to click back on after the power came back on. Sheesh. I don't even want to think about that.


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

How Holly the Cat Joined Our Family

I wanted to do a post about how Holly the cat came to our family. This is a really long post, but I wanted to document it here for my memories. I've always had cats. I got my first cat when I was five and took him with me when I got married, 15 years later. Yep, I was a young bride. :) That cat passed away shortly after I got married and I almost immediately got two more. Those two were with us for 17 and 16 years, respectively. After that, we decided to wait a bit before getting another one.

This pic of Holly cracks me up! I caught her mid-yawn!

We actually got a golden retriever puppy a few years ago, and that was when we found out my youngest son was allergic to dogs. :) We got the puppy from a friend of my son's teacher, so luckily we could return her. My son REALLY wanted a cat. We knew he wasn't allergic to cats because we had always had them before. I kept telling him that the right cat would come to us when the time was right. I really believe that when things just fall into place, it's meant to be. 

We looked at shelters and just didn't feel like we could find a good match for us. My son was relentless in asking for a cat. I thought it would be good to get a kitten. I really wanted the boys to see how much work went into raising a kitten and how much joy they would get from it too. I wanted them to have the responsibility of cleaning up after it, feeding it, loving it, playing with it, etc. 

Would you believe we couldn't seem to find any kittens looking for homes? We searched the paper, craigslist, etc. and just weren't having any luck. 

In the meantime, while we were waiting for "our" kitten, I started making calls to local veterinarians inquiring about the cost of spaying/neutering, kitten shots, yearly shots, flea control, etc. It had been YEARS since we had a cat spayed and I wanted to know what we were getting ourselves into as far as the "start up cost" if you will. :)

First, I found out that the vet we had gone to since I was 5 was semi retired and didn't do surgeries anymore. I loved this vet. His prices were so low and he really cared about the animals. I think we paid $65 to have our cat spayed there. Granted, this was about 20 years ago. So I started calling other local vets to get their prices. I was shocked to find that they all charged around $450 to spay and $375 to neuter. What?! I seriously thought I heard them wrong. That seemed like a huge amount of money. 

My mom happened to mention that her vet is very reasonable and I should call them to see how much they charged for shots, spaying, etc. I kept putting this off because my mom lives in another town than me and it's quite the drive. I just kept thinking how far we'd have to drive with a probably not so happy cat in the backseat in a crate. 

Finally one day in December, out of nowhere, I decided to call my mom's vet. I guess this is the part where I should say that he's a "country vet." And by that, I mean he not only sees cats and dogs, but horses, goats, cows, etc. It's not uncommon to see a goat tethered to a post outside waiting his turn to see the vet. :)

I couldn't believe it when they told me they only charged $95 to spay! I thought I heard them wrong. Nope. $95. Wow. I was starting to think I could endure that car ride after all. But there was still one problem...we didn't have a kitten yet. Almost as an afterthought, I said "You don't happen to have any kittens that are looking for a home, do you?" The receptionist said "Why yes, we do! We have one little kitten we need to find a home for." She said they had a client who's cat had kittens and this was the last one left. They had found homes for all the others, but not this one. They lived in an apartment and had to get rid of all the kittens, so the vet told them he would care for it at his office until he found a home for it. They had just gotten the kitten that very morning.

If I had called even one day before, they wouldn't have had her yet, and if I had called a day later, they might have already found a home for her. Perfect timing, I tell ya. She was 8 1/2 weeks old, so that put her birth date on 10-11-12. How neat is that? The vet was so happy to find a home for her that he gave her her first set of shots for free! My mom lives a lot closer to the vet than me, so she volunteered to pick the kitten up and meet me halfway between our two towns. 

This was when we first brought her home.
The vet had put her in a box with lots of holes in it and when we brought her into our house, and set the box down, she stuck her little paw out one of the holes as if she was wanting to shake our hands and say "Hi there, nice to meet ya, thanks for bringing me into your home." O.K., I don't know what she was actually thinking, but she sure seemed happy to be here. She started purring immediately and crawled right up on my shoulder and took a nap.

I was beyond excited for my son! You see, all these events took place in one day. I called the vet, my mom picked up the kitten and met me halfway, and we brought her home all in the same day. My son knew nothing about the events that had transpired that day. :) I didn't say a word when I picked him up from school. When we got home, we just let him discover her on his own. He walked into the living room and spotted her...his eyes got really big and he said "We got a KITTEN? Can we keep her?" He was OVERJOYED!! We named her Holly because we got her around Christmas time. :) I think this was one of my son's happiest Christmases ever! We take so many pics of Holly. We think everything she does is cute and even though we've had her for 7 months now, we still fight over who gets to hold her. :) She has so many toys, she needs her own toy box. The first thing my son does when he gets home from school is to pick her up and give her a hug and a kiss. She actually runs to him when he gets home. 

She is the best cat ever. My son still can't believe how lucky he is to have her. :) She is definitely a VERY loved cat. 

You can kind of see in this pic why we sometimes call her "leopard belly." :)

If you made it to the end of this post, then God bless you! I know it was a long one (and probably boring for a lot of you) but I wanted it here for memories sake. :)

P.S....Just yesterday, Holly did something that possibly could have saved our lives. I'm working on that post and hopefully will get it up soon. Let's just say she woke us up in the middle of the night and it's a good thing she did. :)


Sunday, July 21, 2013

Frozen Punch Recipe

When I posted my son's birthday decor HERE, I promised to share the punch recipe with y'all. I originally got this recipe from a friend at a baby shower many, many years ago. It is the best punch I've ever tasted and my kids request it all the time. :)

Just looking at this pic makes me want some right now. :) It is so refreshing, especially on a hot summer day.

Here's what you'll need (plus 2 cups sugar, not pictured)

Here's the recipe:

2 small lemon jello boxes
2 cups sugar
8 oz. lemon juice
46 oz. can pineapple juice
2 Tablespoons almond extract
Ginger Ale to pour over the frozen mixture when ready to serve 

You just mix up the jello per the instructions on the box. (with hot water, then cold water) Once it cools a bit, add the 2 cups sugar and mix well. Then add the lemon juice, pineapple juice, and almond extract. Mix well and freeze overnight, then scrape off into punch bowl and add ginger ale.

I just mix it all up in a big pot, then transfer it to plastic containers before I freeze it.

Here are the plastic containers I freeze it in. (I put the lids on before I freeze it, but wanted to show you what the mixture looks like) :)

I usually let it sit out on the counter for 30 minutes or so to kind of soften up before I scrape it up with a fork and add it to the punch bowl. For this recipe, I usually use 2-3 bottles of ginger ale. I just check it throughout the party and if it's running low, I just add more frozen mixture and top it with ginger ale. 

Here's one more pic of the finished product. The almond extract really is what makes this punch so good. Hope you'll try it and let me know what you think. :)

Friday, July 19, 2013

Birthday Time!

One of my sons recently had a birthday and we celebrated with a little party at our house. :) I wanted to share a few pics of the party decor with y'all. 

I tried my hand at making a bunting for his cake. I've since found several tutorials online that are way easier than what I did. Live and learn. :)

An overhead (me standing on a chair) shot of the table. 

I made some caramel corn the night before. These are a couple of bags I packaged up for some guests. 

These plates and rolled up napkins were for the pizza we had.

The buffet also held the punch bowl. I'll have to share that frozen punch recipe. I got it over 20 years ago at a baby shower. It is so good! My kids are always requesting it. :)

Another shot of the finished cake. You can see how the cake plate is still frosted from being in the fridge overnight. 

I found these little curling ribbon bows at Hob Lob and tied them onto the cutlery caddy.

If you click on this pic to make it bigger, you can see this curling ribbon says "Happy Birthday" on it. 

party decorations

I just used my standard birthday decor for the mantle.

We have many more birthdays coming up this summer, so be prepared to see a few different versions of this decor! :)

Y'all have a great week!


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Well, here's something I never thought I'd say...

I'M ON CNN!!! Well, actually, my backyard is the one in the spotlight. :) Some of you probably know about CNN's new "Open House" feature on their Living section. They feature a new area of the home each week. This week, it's all about Backyard Spaces. My backyard is featured along with several other blogger backyards. I'm backyard #7 if you're interested. :) 

Hope y'all have a wonderful weekend!!


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Mom's Garden Pics

I recently made a trip to my mom's house. We needed to get Holly spayed and here in my town, it costs about $450 to spay a cat. There's a little town not far from my mom's house and they have a country vet who does it for $95. Well worth the trip across town to save some cash. :) We also got her microchipped. This little "country vet" also sees goats, horses, etc. It's not uncommon to see a goat tethered to a post outside the building waiting his turn to see the vet. :) Anyway, while we were waiting to pick up sweet Holly, I took some pics of my mom's garden. Y'all probably remember me talking about how my mom is a Master Gardener. She's my go-to person for gardening advice. All these pics are from my phone, so they might not be great, but you can still enjoy seeing her garden. :) You can always see more garden pics by clicking on the "Garden" tab under Labels on the right side of my blog. :)

I love the curvy lines in her garden. These zinnias are so pretty.

The black eyed susans are great bloomers.

I love this little spot. The purple blooms are society garlic. Mine hasn't really bloomed that much this season.

This is my favorite pic. Love the little chair!

Here's her water harvesting system behind the garage. She collects rain water and uses it to water her plants. She said one 20 minute rain will fill up one whole barrel! 

Crepe myrtles are a staple gardening item in Texas. Everyone uses them because they are such good bloomers and don't need a lot of water. They tolerate heat very well too.

Pretty roses.

I really like the rock border she has.

So much color!

This little plant is called a Diamond Frost Euphorbia. It's supposed to be an annual, but she's had it for 3 years. She does bring it into the garage if it's going to freeze, so that probably helps. 

Here are a few pics of my garden too...

I know this pic isn't great, but I love to see my crepes blooming!

Here's a closer shot.

This is a purple one.

Here's a pic I just took of my lemon tree. It looks like I'll actually have some lemons this summer. Yay!

rainbow shrimp plant
My mom gave me this "Fruit Cocktail Shrimp Plant." I have a regular salmon colored shrimp plant, but I love how this one has so much color. After it cools down a bit, I plan on planting it in the ground. 

I can't believe this scaevola is still doing well in this window box! Nothing else seems to be able to take the heat in this spot, so I'm glad I finally found something that can. Although I do have to water it daily. 

The grass seems to be doing pretty well, but we've been having to water a lot lately. We really need some rain.

On the left, you can see that I finally had to put my Meyer Lemon tree in the ground. It wasn't very happy in a pot. Bless its heart. :)

The white crepes are blooming now too.

My society garlic isn't blooming very well this year, but it still smells good.  :)

I guess that's all the garden pics for now. Thanks you so much for stopping by! Hope you have a great day!


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