Monday, January 30, 2012

Valentine Decor

I'm FINALLY back!!  My internet is still a bit temperamental but it is working!!!  I can blog again!!!  I am so excited!!  I'm jumping right into Valentine's Day!!!

I have never been one to really decorate it up for Valentines day but this year I felt inspired to do a little something in my home.  I didn't want it exploding all over the house but just a few places that were touched with love.  I also had a limited budget, so I made a few of the items that I used out of craft paper.

Now that I have a mantel it is always the first thing that I want to decorate.  I have really been missing out over the years in not having one...I am enjoying it WAY too much!  In a recent trip out of town I found this cute heart vase at Target for under $15.00 (my splurge), I then put a few red colored branches that I already had in it to add a little more height and dimension.  I also picked up an X and O from Micheal's (because everyone needs a hug and a kiss), they were inexpensive and so cute.  Lastly I purchased 4 bags of conversation hearts at the grocery store for $1.00 a bag.  The rest were just items that I had around the house...

The banner is just made of hearts that I cut out of craft paper and taped onto jute.  I used a cookie cutter as a stencil to make sure that all of the hearts were the same size...

Draped over my mirror it makes a perfect Valentine's day addition.

The other place that I decorated was my buffet.  It is my second favorite place to display items.  I used a metal LOVE sign that I already had, a few jars filled with conversation hearts, a coordinating candle, a table runner that was made for me by my Grandma Pearl (LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, having it out) and a framed heart that I made myself...from more craft paper...

To make the framed heart I used one of the frames from my New Years Eve mantel, cut a piece of white paper to fit inside the frame and then cut out long and skinny heart from the same red craft paper.  I then attached the heart to the paper and used a sharpie marker to outline it and write the word "love" on the bottom.  It turned out great and didn't cost a dime.

I love that I was able to decorate my home for Valentine's Day and it didn't cost me over $25.00.  I also love that except for the candy...all of the items can be used from year to year.  I did splurge on the red vase but I just couldn't help it!!  I knew it would be the perfect addition to my Valentine's Day decorations.  I hope I have inspired you to add a little LOVE to your home.  Sweet valentine-J

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Thursday Thoughts...Week 4

Week #4- We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us!

I am soooooo counting on this to be true!!!  Sweet faith-J

P.S. I am working on a fun post...hoping to get it finished tonight.  My internet is back but terrible!  It is taking me about 15-20 minutes per picture to download.  Man I can't wait for it to be completely fixed!!  Thank you for your patience!! 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Life's Luxuries

Well my internet is still down!  I lived without a computer and the world wide web up until 3 months ago but I'm having a hard time living without it now.  I have realized that is has now became one of my LIFE'S LUXURIES.  In this day and age we all have so many luxuries that we take for granted until it is not there anymore. 

For instance my cell phone...I resisted getting one for many years but now that I have one there is no turning back.  I don't have a fancy smancy phone, just an old hand-me-down phone that works well and gets the job done.  I am lost however when it doesn't work!  Dropped calls and bad signals are a real inconvenience.  Then I remember back to the days of my youth when a 5 mile radius of my house was on a party line.  You could hear other peoples conversations and have to wait for hours until you got your turn.  Now almost everyone (including my 12 year old daughter...much to my dismay) has a cell phone of their own.

Or how about dish television and DVR?  Man I love to sit and watch me a good smut TV program.  Then to be able to DVR it and watch it later without commercials...well that is like my new best friend.  Mom's don't have time for commercials and all they make you want to do is eat something you shouldn't at 10 o'clock at night anyway.  The problem with dish TV is that when it storms your dish gets covered with snow and won't pick up its satellite signal.  You can wipe it off...but you have to able to reach it.  Mine is conveniently located on the top eve of my two story rental...not happening!  I remember back to watching the Dukes of Hazard on our TV as a was as thick as a house but the screen was tiny.  My sisters and I would lay on the floor right in front of it and watch the one channel we could pick up on our antenna.  Now we have thin and pretty LCD televisions with HDTV, the screens are humongous and the 250 channels still sometimes only have one good program on it.

Now back to the internet.  Like I said it is a luxury that I just recently experienced in my home.  You can find anything on there!  I can take a picture of what I am having for dinner, download it and have my blog posted within just a few minutes of eating.  The kids can research a topic for a report and have the information printed out in no time and without a trip to the library.  Times have certainly changed...I'm not quite so sure that it is for the better though.  I feel like I am so dependant on all of LIFE'S LUXURIES that I am not quite sure of how to live without them and luckily I don't...or atleast not for long. 

So...hopefully my internet will be back up soon!!!!  Then I can get back to blogging and sharing with all of you.  Enjoy the snow!  Sweet luxuries-J

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Tuesday (Thursday) Thoughts-Week #3

Thursday Thoughts is coming 2 days early because my internet is down and I can't download any pictures!!  I'm sure hoping that it is up soon.  I'm ready to blog it up!!!
Week # 3- A good vacation (even if short) is God's reminder of why we work...SO WE CAN PLAY!!!

I just spent the weekend with my children and is was amazing!!!  A long weekend with a hot tub, tubing at Mt. Bachelor, board games, sleeping in and movie nights=Complete Happiness!!! Sweet children-J

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Thursday Thoughts-Week #2

Week #2-Gratitude turns what we have into enough.

Satisfaction and gratefulness for what we have in life and not longing for more can be such a beautiful realization.   Sweet gratitude-J

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Decorating with antiques...

As I have expressed before...I love to decorate my home!!  I would say that my style has quite a country flair.  I love antiques and unique pieces from the past.  My passion for antiques really only started in last year or two and now guess what...I'm obsessed (shocker).  I am always on the look out for items that catch my eye.  I like to take them and use them in fun and different ways from their original use.  Here are a few ideas!

I love old crates, I like to use them on my buffet to create height or to become shelves in my home...

Or how about an old metal lunch box (like my dad used to use) that is now a plant holder...

I use an old milk bucket from Lakeview Creamery to nestle burgundy colored twigs that I find outside...

And instead of putting bottles in the soda crate I stand it upright for height on the floor...

One of my favorite pieces is a old wooden box with a iron handle that was once used to hold mill wright tools and now I fill it with items on my dining room table, it makes a perfect centerpiece...

This old meat slicer is worn and rusty (just the way I love it), I have it leaned against a tall cupboard in my kitchen to extend the high ceilings...

An old crock by my fireplace is both beautiful and a perfect place to store my kindling and newspapers...

I love adding touches of the past in my decorating and breathing new life into them.  Every antique has a story from the past, the worn edges and scuffs only add more character and love.  Kind of like all of us, we may be have a few wrinkles and grey hair but it only adds to our personality and life story.  How do you use antiques in a new way?  Sweet antiques-J

Monday, January 9, 2012

Cheesy Tomato, Basil and Tortellini Soup

I just realized that I haven't even posted a recipe in a whole could that possibly be?  I'm not sure how but here we go!!

This time of year a nice steamy bowl of soup and a grilled sandwich tastes so good and can really hit the spot.  When I am short on time it is definitely a meal that I turn to but when I have a little extra time I like to spruce up my soup a bit.  You could definitely make your own tomato soup but I usually just use good ol' Campbell's. 

Tater's has just decided after 14 years that he likes tomato soup...thank goodness because I love it.  He can tend to be a picky eater but is getting better.  He has also just decided that he likes pizza with red sauce...poor kid would go to birthday parties and starve (not really) because he was the only kid who didn't like pizza (strange child...I know).  Tales on the other hand likes about anything (except celery) but lately tends to eat less of the meal and more of the sweet stuff.  I'm hoping it is a faze because I think her teeth might fall out anytime!   I'm getting sidetracked....back to the soup.

For my family I use 2 cans of tomato soup and I prepare it by adding 1 can of milk and 1 can of water, over medium heat. 

In another pot I boil some water and add a bag of tortellini.  It cooks in about 3-4 minutes (it will start floating at the top of the water when done), so it won't take long.  Drain and set aside.

When the soup is warm add 4 oz. of cubed cream cheese and one clove of minced garlic.

Within a minute or two the cream cheese will begin to melt a little (you don't want it to melt all of the way).  At this point you will add the tortellini and fresh chopped basil (amount depends on how much you like) to the soup and mix together well.  Top with a little Parmesan cheese and you have yourself a perfect bowl of soup.

It is so yummy and so filling.  A piece of garlic bread or a grilled cheese and dinner is on!!  Sweet soup-J

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Thursday Thoughts-Week 1

For the New Year I have a new series on Sweet Taters and Tales.  It will be just a quick little post on Thursdays to share a simple quote, a thought I have about life and other various things that I find inspiring.   So bear with me and try to enjoy the 52 weeks of my craziness!

Week 1-We can't always control what happens to us in life but we can can control how we react to it!!

This has been my daily mantra for years now...keep your head high and your confidence higher.  Sweet life-J

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Winter Weather

It is winter?  Isn't it?  My chair that nestles in my flower garden says so but nothing else in my yard does.  It is a balmy 56° in Lakeview today.  My poor yard and everything that lives in it is so confused.  We usually have 3-6 inches of snow right now but instead we have beautiful blue skies and much loved sunshine.  My poor puppy wants to play outside...he doesn't want to be in the house!  He wants to sniff around the yard and chase the birds (who by the way are loving the weather as much as I am).
There are buds on the trees...

There are new starts on my rose bush...

There are flowers blooming...

You won't hear me complain...I am LOVING this weather.  Lakeview winters can be hard to bare, so a little peak at springtime can really rejuvenate ones soul.  The sunshine puts an extra skip in my step and a bigger smile on my face.  I love not having to stoke a fire all day and wearing just a sweater outside.  I know the snow is coming (it always does) but I (and my yard) will be enjoying the amazing weather for as long as God will grace us with it.  Sweet sunshine-J 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Using food to decorate

I use food items in my home to decorate a lot.  Especially at the holidays (candy corn in the fall, peppermint drops for Christmas, conversations hearts at Valentines Day, etc.) but I also like to use pantry items to fill glass containers and jars for decoration in my home all year long.  Here are a few ideas...

In this large jar that was my late Grandma Pearls, I use a mixture of different colored beans to make a layered affect that matches my kitchen...

My chicken feeder is always filled with an item that is yummy (it still has a few Christmas M&M's)...

I found this old metal milk carrier a few months back for a great deal and instead of spending $7.00-$10.00 on each milk bottle I have used empty Frappucino jars that I peeled the label off of and ran through the dishwasher.  I have then filled the bottles with a ton of different things.  Oatmeal, brown rice, popcorn, small pasta, mini chocolate chips, coffee beans, so stinkin cute...

These glass hurricanes are the ones that I used on my mantel at Christmas with ornaments in them.  I have now added two different kinds of pasta and have them on my kitchen counter...

A few popcorn kernels added to an old jar finish off my nook with an antique metal lunchbox and plant...

Here is a hurricane, grapevine wreath and candle.  Add a few candies and it is complete...

Here is one of the cake plates that I made.  I added a candle and some wooden berries to finish the look I was going for...

You could also use lemons, limes, oranges, apples, tomatoes, artichokes and other fruit/vegetables.  They will go bad within a few days to a week though, so I try to use items that will not need replaced for a while.  I hope that these ideas will bring a little decorating inspiration to your New Year!!  Sweet decorating-J

Monday, January 2, 2012

What I have learned...

Happy New Year!!!  I can't believe that is the start of 2012...where has time gone?  I'm hoping that I can try to slow life down a little bit this year and enjoy things more.  Take that extra minute to soak in a wonderful moment and file it in my memory.  To me life is all about the memories that we make with people that we love.  Whether it be a picture or a moment in is a piece of your life that is remembered forever.  It is a part of you that can not be taken away, they are stitched in your heart and soul.  I love memories and creating them!  They are what warms you when you are feeling down and can make you smile after just a thought.  Memories make life amazing and making them makes life worth living. 

I also think that the new year makes one reflect on the past 365 days and analyze yourself a little more than usual.   I have learned a lot about myself in the last few months of blogging.  There are things that you don't realize about yourself until you put your thoughts on the computer screen.  Here are the crazy things that I learned...

1)   I am obsessed with too many food items!  (candy corn, mini chocolate chips, Hershey's peppermint Kisses, soft and chewy cookies, etc.)

2)   I am obsessed with too many craft projects!  (making serving plates, making burlap banners, putting together gifts, mason jars, etc.)

3)  I am obsessed!  Period!  End of story!  For some strange reason I never knew that?

4)  I describe food like I would my children.  Should anyone love food that much?  I'm not quite sure but obviously I do.

5)  My favorite words are amazing, perfect, awesome, yummy and delicious.  Although sometimes the things I make are none of those words!

6)  Sometimes my posts are too deep and make people tear up.  Sorry to all of you out there...I didn't realize I could have that effect on people.

7)  My brain is on inspiration overload most of the time and this blog has given me a great outlet to free up some much needed space.

8)   I am terrible at punctuation...I apologize but it is just the way it is.

9)  I use three periods in a change thoughts way too much...see I am doing it now...I told you punctuation was not my strong suit.

10)  My best blog inspirations come to me at times that are inconvenient.  In the car, shower and on the treadmill...sometimes I forget between there and the computer.  Like I said inconvenient. 

Thank you for reading and Happy New Year!!!  Sweet New Year-J

P.S. I nearly forgot!

11)  Although I have always known this I am reminded everyday when I blog...I love my family & friends...they are amazing, perfect, awesome, yummy and delicious!  :)