Friday, March 28, 2014

A Few New Favorite Recipes and Everyday Life

I'm back today sharing links to some really yummy recipes I recently tried. Don't you love it when you find a recipe the whole family will eat? I sure do. :)

My sweet friend, Brandi introduced me to this site:

The Slow Roasted Italian (Thanks again, Brandi!)

So many great recipes!! Seriously, I found tons of things I want to try and they all have very easy instructions and lots of pretty pictures. :)

So first up, we made these bite size cheesy pepperoni pizza puffs. Click HERE for the recipe. 

Here's a pic of mine when they came out of the oven:

pepperoni pizza mini muffins

They were so good and the recipe made 48 mini muffins.

Next up, I made these Homestyle Baked Italian Chicken Nuggets. You can find the recipe HERE

Below is a pic of what mine looked like. Yum! We all loved these too. 

homemade chicken nuggets

Be sure to check out The Slow Roasted Italian for more great tasting recipes. She has a lot of desserts too. :)

Okay, now let me introduce you to Gladys...

Remember when I told you I was feeding some Stray Cats? Well, only one continues to come around daily. With her salt and pepper fur, she just reminded me of an older lady named Gladys, so that's how she got her name. :) My cat Holly loves to watch Gladys eat breakfast every morning. It's truly the highlight of Holly's day. :)

When I go out to pour the food in the bowl, it only takes good ol' Gladys about 30 seconds to come running. Lol!

I'll wrap this up with a few more instagram shots I've posted lately. (you can find me @texasdecor)

This sweet cardinal stopped by the other day. His lady friend was close by drinking from the fountain. I love his bold red coloring.

This is just a pic of a particularly colorful section of my garden. For those who are still getting cold weather, don't be too jealous...we may have an early Spring, but believe me, you don't want to be here during June, July, or August. That is, unless you actually like temps of 100 degrees with 100% humidity. ;)

backyard blooms

spring blooms

Well, that's it for now. Oh, and by the way, my "good" camera is still broken and I'm trying to decide what to replace it with, so that's why you're only seeing iPhone pics lately. :) Hopefully I'll decide what to buy soon. Y'all have a great day!


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe and Spring Cleaning

So, this morning I spent 3 hours cleaning my house. I guess I got the Spring Cleaning bug. :) I did all my regular cleaning, then moved all the furniture out of my kitchen and dining room and cleaned the wood floors. 

Then I took my kitchen trash can outside and scrubbed it down with clorox cleanup. After I dried it and brought it back inside, I noticed it had a few scuff marks by the foot pedal. So I used my trusty magic eraser and cleaned it right up. I'm telling ya...magic erasers can get so many stains off of so many things. Love them!

Funny story...I was grocery shopping one day and was on the cleaning supply aisle. There was a man looking totally lost going up and down the aisle. He kept glancing down at the list in his hand, then looking up at the shelves. He finally said "Excuse me, but do you know if there's really something called a...well...umm...a magic eraser?" He almost whispered the "magic eraser" words. He had kind of a shy smile and was a little embarrassed. 

I told him there WAS in fact something called a "magic eraser" and I told him to follow me and I showed him where they were. He said "Well, what do you know, it's a real thing. I thought my wife was pulling my leg and trying to embarrass me by asking for this magic thing." Lol!

Anyway, after I scrubbed the trash can with my magic eraser, I noticed the laundry room door had a few scuff marks on it too. So, I started scrubbing it down with the magic eraser. Then I went on to scrub little spots on every single door in the house! The door from the garage into the house was the worst one. It had some greasy hand prints on it, but I scrubbed it down and got it sparkling again. :)

Then, after reading my friend Selene's Post about cleaning her laundry room, I decided to do a little extra cleaning in there too. So, you see Selene, this cleaning binge is all your fault. Lol!

I don't know why, but when doing my regular cleaning, I always forget about the laundry room, which is bad because the laundry room gets pretty dusty with all the dryer lint flying around in there. So, I took everything off the shelves and dusted them, removed the rug and scrubbed the floor, and even cleaned up under my washer and dryer. 

Below you can see the white linoleum in the laundry room. This used to be in our kitchen too. When we had the hardwoods installed, we intended to put them in the laundry room, but the installers talked us out of it. So, the white linoleum remains. :)

I still need to clean the windowsills and dust the blinds and ceiling fans, but I'm saving all that for next week. 

Okay, so now on to the chicken tortilla soup recipe. Here's a pic of the finished product:

And here's the recipe:


One can corn, drained
Two cans chicken broth
Three boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
One can black beans, drained and rinsed
One can rotel
One teaspoon garlic powder
One teaspoon oregano
One teaspoon cumin 
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
Tortilla strips for topping

Put everything in stock pot (except tortilla strips) Simmer until heated through. Serve topped with tortilla strips.

Don't you just love recipes where the instructions are only a sentence or two? :) 

This recipe is easily adaptable too. You can add or take away anything you want. Lots of people add different seasonings or top the soup with things like avocado, shredded cheese, cilantro, etc.

Below are the tortilla strips we use. I get them in the produce section at the grocery store. They add a nice, tasty crunch to the soup.

Well, that's it for now. I'll be back soon to share a couple more recipes I've tried lately. We actually found a few new things to add to our regular dinner rotation. :)


Monday, March 24, 2014

Kirkland's Farmhouse Collection

Just a quick post to share some new things they have at Kirkland's.

Have y'all seen the new farmhouse collection at Kirkland's? Here's a link: 

They have all kinds of cute stuff. Burlap table runners, lots of plates, mugs, platters, pitchers, chalkboards, cow prints, burlap napkin rings, wood and metal trays, etc. Right now all the Farmhouse Housewares are 25% off. It's so tempting! :)

I'll close with a couple of things I recently posted on Instagram:

This is where Holly sits every single morning while I put my makeup on. She spies on me from the bathtub. :) 

Remember my New Hallway Light we recently installed? Well, here's a tip...when buying a new light for a hallway with pull down attic stairs, make sure the new light leaves enough clearance for the stairs to come down BEFORE you install it. ;) As you can see, we barely got by with this one. Lol! There's literally an inch to spare!

Spring has sprung! Here's a couple of pics from my garden.

This is an Indian Hawthorn. I have several in my yard and they are always so pretty when they bloom.

Below is my bridal wreath (spirea) in almost full bloom. It's such a show off in the Spring. :)

spirea in bloom

Well, that's it for now. I'll be back later with a super easy and inexpensive chicken tortilla soup recipe. Y'all have a great week!


Thursday, March 20, 2014

My Exercise Routine and A Walk Down Memory Lane

I don't know if anyone will be interested in this or not, but I thought I'd talk a little bit about my exercise routines, past and present. :) I usually workout 5 days a week (Sunday thru Thursday) I almost always workout in the late afternoon after I pick my son up from school. And let me just preface this by saying I'm by no means an expert and this is just what worked for me. I'm in no way endorsing this workout for anyone else. :)

For a long time (years, actually) my exercise routine consisted of a 1-2 mile walk/jog on the treadmill, followed by 200 sit ups (in 4 sets of 50) Then I would do 150 curls with 5 pound weights  (in 3 sets of 50) 

Below is the ab roller I use to do sit ups and the 5 pound weights I use for arm curls. 

Then after a few years, I switched to a recumbent bike in place of the treadmill. (I don't have a pic of the bike, but it was your run of the mill recumbent bike where you sit and kind of lean back while peddling) I would do 3-4 miles on the bike, followed by my normal routine of sit ups and curls. This was a big mistake. I was literally sitting down while riding the bike and wasn't working up a sweat at all. I knew it wasn't as good a workout as the treadmill, but I was just so tired of the treadmill at this point.

Then the other weekend, I decided I really needed to amp up my exercise routine and actually get something that forced me to get up (versus sitting down on the recumbent bike)

Enter the elliptical...

Y'all...I love this elliptical machine!!!! It is such a good workout! Since I'm new to it, I'm just doing about 25 minutes a day on a level 4 (it goes from level 1 to level 14) I'm a sweaty mess when I get off, so I know it's working. Lol! Plus, I burn way more calories than I did on the bike or treadmill. I hope to bump it up to 30 minutes a day this week. As I get used to it, I can also increase the resistance level. Its got a built in fan and a place to plug in my iPhone (so I can listen to my music) It also has built in speakers for my iPhone if I don't want to bother with ear buds. And the best runs on batteries so there's no pesky cord to deal with. :) 

I'm actually sore all over after doing the elliptical, so that tells me it's working all kinds of muscles. I'm literally sore in my back, shoulders, arms, stomach, legs, etc. 

I personally think it's a much better workout (for me) than the combo of the bike, weights, and ab roller or the treadmill, weights, and ab roller. 

Don't worry though, I still do my 200 sit ups with the ab roller after I'm done with the elliptical. I had two c-sections, and my stomach probably won't ever be the same, but a girl can dream, right? :) Actually, sometimes I do the ab roller earlier in the day while I'm just watching tv, then after I pick up my son, I just have to do the elliptical. 

Okay, enough exercise talk. Let's talk ferns...

I blogged about this fern back in August. It froze the winter before, and I cut it down and it came back so beautiful and full. It was 4 feet wide in this pic from last summer. it is now...

Bless its heart. :) It froze down again and we just cut it back. I'm hoping it will have a repeat performance of what it did last summer and here's proof that there's hope...

Do you see that tiny little fern leaf? Yep, there's still hope. :)

I love planting snapdragons in the winter/spring. I never even covered these all winter long and they are still blooming nicely. 

But, pretty soon it'll get too hot for them and I'll have to replace them with something that can take the heat. I'm thinking of planting some kalanchoes in these pots for the summer. 

I was washing my apron the other day and realized I've never shown a pic of it. Isn't it the cutest? The "best neighbor ever" made it for me a couple of years ago and I love it! The material is just perfect and I wear it all the time. Would you believe this is the very first apron I've owned? I've been married for almost 24 years (I was a young bride at 19) and I've never worn an apron before this. Didn't know what I was missing, I tell ya. :) 

I talked about my apple peeler HERE, but did you know you can also peel potatoes with it? That was news to me. I saved so much time by using this instead of peeling them by hand. It makes the prep work for homemade potato soup much easier. 

Now for the "walk down memory lane" part. I mentioned in my master bedroom makeover post HERE that one of the things I keep in my new table drawer is the bookmarks my boys made for me when they were little. Well, here's a pic of a few of them. Aren't they sweet? I love the hearts and they even "laminated" a few with clear packing tape. :)

This is one more thing I came across the other day. It's a homemade Harry Potter wand my husband made for one of the boys when they were Harry Potter one Halloween many years ago. 

I mean, just look at the detail on that wood! I love it! 

Well, that's all I've got for now. What kind of exercise routine do y'all have? Please share in the comments. I'm always curious as to how other people workout. :)

I'm joining these parties: Dwellings The Heart Of Your HomeSavvy Southern StyleImparting GraceCommon GroundI Should Be Mopping The FloorCupcakes and CrinolineIt's OverflowingJennifer Rizzo


Friday, March 14, 2014

Candle Lantern Before and After

Hi there! Today I'm sharing a quick and simple before and after. I bought this candle lantern stand thingy (I'm never sure what to call it) a few years ago at Ross. I needed something tall and skinny to put in this corner and literally grabbed the first thing I saw that I thought would work. Mistake. I've never really loved it, but felt like I needed something in this spot. 

Here is how it looked before my little makeover.

ross lantern stand

I actually still liked the top lantern part, I just wasn't wild about the tall stand it was on. Then it hit me...I could have hubby saw off the lantern and I could use it separately. 

So, that's precisely what he did! It took him just a few minutes out in the garage (he used a Dremel tool with a cut off wheel) For now I have it by the fireplace, but I'm not sure where it'll end up. I keep moving it around. 

I really like the size of it. 

Here's a close up. By the way, that candle scent is "pecan praline" and it smells so good!

Here's something I shared on Instagram...see these magazines? I had a huge stack that I still hadn't read. Some of them are from the FALL, y'all! I hate to admit, but there were also a few from June of 2013 too. :) This pic isn't even half of what I had accumulated over the last several months.

It was a nice rainy day, so I curled up with my tea, skinny cow candies, and my favorite throw and read and read and read for hours. It was the perfect day!

The only bad thing about sitting and reading design catalogs and magazines for hours on end is that you get inspired by all the pretty pictures and start to see all kinds of things in your own house that you all of a sudden feel the need to change. :) Case in point...I now feel the need to put up a plate wall somewhere in my house and paint my kitchen cabinets white. :)

After I removed the lantern stand, I realized that I really didn't need to fill up that spot with anything. It looked okay to me with nothing in that corner. Below is a pic without the lantern. (Holly's toy basket is there now, but I don't know if it'll stay.) Oh, and see those prints? I  love Thomas Kinkade prints, but didn't want to spend the money on them, so I just bought one of his books (or maybe it was a calendar) and cut out the pictures and framed them. ;)

Here's another pic. Don't you think a plate wall would look good where those two prints are now? I'd like to do one with all white or cream colored plates, maybe with a platter in the middle. What do y'all think?

The other thing I realized while reading all those magazines/catalogs was that I really want to replace the cornice board in my dining room with full length curtains. Here's what it looks like now with the cornice board/valance above the window.

I love the fabric and would still like to use it for curtains if they still make it. I'll just use the same "no sew" method like I did for my kitchen curtains HERE 

Here's a close up of the fabric. I really do still love it, I'm just tired of the valance/cornice board look. I think full length curtains will give it a finishing touch. 

Well, y'all have a good weekend! I'm working on a post about my exercise routine (how I worked out in the past and how I'm working out now, what equipment I use, etc) and I should have that up soon, so check back if you're interested. :) Thanks for stopping by!


Monday, March 10, 2014

Adding a Medallion To The Dining Room Chandelier

I've been noticing a lot of ceiling medallions lately. I've always liked the look of them, but didn't want to spend a lot to achieve that look. As luck would have it, Home Depot had just what I was looking for and it was under $20!

Here's a little before pic...

Below is what we bought at Home Depot. 

I like the plain, simple look of it and I love the beading around the edges. 

Here it is out of the package. 

It only took my hubby about 20 minutes or so to remove the light, install the medallion, and put the light back up. 

I think it adds just a little something extra to the ceiling. :)

home depot medallion

What about y'all? Do you like the look of medallions? Do you have them in your home? If I had known how inexpensive they could be, I would have put one up years ago. :)

Thanks for stopping by!


Friday, March 7, 2014

St. Patrick's Day Decor

Hi everyone! Well, both my cameras are broken, so I'm down to posting pics taken with my iPhone. :) I think I'll just replace the body on my Canon camera. Not sure why it quit working after only two years. Anyway, here's a look at my St. Patrick's Day decor this year. 

Love this little welcome sign by the front door. :)

I just drew a little shamrock on this chalkboard tray and attached a little glitter shamrock with a dab of hot glue. I also added some shamrock ribbon. 

Here's the kitchen chalkboard with some green St. Pat's scrapbook paper in it. I think I've been able to change this paper up for just about every holiday. Sorry about the blurry photo. :) 

You can't really tell in the pic above, but the middle paper is tiny shamrocks. :) 

I couldn't leave out this tray in the kitchen. It usually gets a little something for each holiday. :)

Here's a close up of what's in that jar.. glittery shamrocks and gold shamrock coins. :)

Here's my St. Patrick's Day mantel...

shamrock garland

I just taped one of the shamrocks from the garland onto this plate. 

After searching high and low, I finally found a live Shamrock plant! This one is called "shamrock oxalis." Now I just need Diana to tell me how to care for it. :)

shamrock oxalis

Here's a close up of the shamrock ribbon. 

clover ribbon

This is the buffet in the kitchen. 

Those are just window clings on the plate. They make a nice temporary decoration, then I can just peel them off and keep them until I use them again next year. 

I didn't really know what to do with this shamrock plate, so I just stuck it on top of my cake plate. 

I just bought this little burlap pillow decoration at Joann's today. It was 50% off!

Here's a closer look...

Well, that's all my St. Pat's decor this year. Hope y'all have a wonderful weekend!

I'm joining these parties: Dwellings The Heart Of Your HomeSavvy Southern StyleImparting GraceCommon GroundI Should Be Mopping The FloorCupcakes and CrinolineIt's Overflowing

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