Thursday, November 28, 2013

Chicken Pot Shepherd's Pie

This is one of those recipes that happen when you open the pantry and realize you need to go grocery shopping.  But it was so good and warmed us up on a cold night!

1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can Veg-all
1 can Hormel chicken
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 pouch instant mashed potatoes (prepared)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine all three cans and salt and pepper.
Top with mashed potatoes.
Bake for 30 minutes until heated through.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Guest Post by Jessica Christian

9 Ways To Boost Your Bedroom with Curtains!
Your curtains are the clothing of a room and changing your curtains can have an amazing effect on the atmosphere and style of your room, much as changing your clothes can transform you from office smart to evening formal! Modern fabrics and weaving methods now mean that you have immense choice when it comes to choosing the soft furnishings for a room. Luxurious silk, rich heavy velvet, sculptured thick cotton folds all imbue a room with a unique ambiance and personality.

Net: Net curtains are ideal to provide a barrier between your home and every curious passer-by without you needing to have the curtains shut all the time. This can be especially important in the bedroom. Net curtaining is usually white or cream, but you can get net in a variety of colours. Choose the pattern of your net curtains carefully as the wrong pattern can drain warmth and life from the room, while the right one can infuse a gentle joie de vivre into the home.


Glamorize with Velvet: Velvet is a very rich and plush fabric that feels wonderful to the touch. Having your curtains made from velvet will infuse your whole bedroom with a luxurious and sensual feel. If you want a grown-up look and feminine atmosphere, you can do no better than to hang some lovely long velvet curtains in your bedroom.

Indulge in Silk/ Satin: The cool, sexy sheen of silky satiny fabrics should not be underestimated. Available in a variety of colours, from soft pastel to vibrant primaries, silk is expensive, but deservedly so. Silk curtains are a sure indicator of wealth and success, and you cannot fail to enjoy your bedroom all the more because of them! If genuine silk is out of your price range, you can still create the same effect with cheaper satins and silk-effect polycotton.

Cotton: Cool, crisp and traditional cotton always looks good! The durable fabric not only lasts well, but it takes dye good temperedly and remains fresh and new-looking for a long time. The only problem with cotton is that is does need ironing after each wash, but once pressed the fabric, whether curtains or bedding, looks fabulous again!

Create magic with Voile:  If you are not keen on nets over your windows, why not try some voile curtains? This lovely soft and transparent fabric can be made from cotton, wool or even silk and is perfect to create heavily gathered curtains. The gathers of fabric make sure that no-one can see through the curtains into the room, while the sheer fabric allows sunshine and daylight to brighten up your bedroom easily.

Brocade: Brocade curtains are very traditional and old-fashioned looking, but they are beautiful, nonetheless. Brocade is a thick, heavy fabric, embellished on one side with patterns or pictures. Brocade was originally used as curtaining in the days before central heating and modern carpentry, and it is still useful to block chilly draughts from wintry windows. Brocade adds a rich and timeless beauty to any bedroom.

Plain: Plain curtains are useful in small rooms as they create the illusion of a large expanse of space, opening out the room. Choose a colour that goes well with your bedrooms décor scheme and perhaps even buy a spare pair in a different colour. This will allow you to radically change your room by the simple expedient of swapping your curtains!

Patterned: Patterns can be loud and flamboyant or they can be small and discreet. Choose a pattern that you like, in colours that go well with the décor of your bedroom. Avoid clashing colours in large patterns, as these can be very 'busy' and loud and detract from the charm of your bedroom.

Custom made: Designing and making your own curtains can be very satisfying! It can be tricky to get them just right though, so perhaps opt to pay a seamstress to run your curtains up for you. When you have chosen the fabric, the curtain length and even decided on the width between each pleat, you will feel a great sense of satisfaction when you see your creation hanging beautifully in your windows.

The above nine categories can help you to decide which curtains are right for your room. Take some time and study your bedroom before making your choice to be certain of loving your new look bedroom when you are done! 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Just a few more minutes

I held Parker for her nap this evening.  I didn't lay her down like I usually do so I can have an hour or so to clean or cook or work on projects.  Tonight, I held and rocked my baby girl because it was only 8 months ago that she looked like this:

Now she looks like this:

Two-thirds of a year have already gone by.  As I rocked her and listened to her slow, soft breathing, I knew that I needed to clean my living room before my husband's parents come over tomorrow.  I knew that I had not started cooking dinner yet.  I knew that I had a team project due.  I knew there were lots of things that I "should" be doing, but none of them mattered.  Right then, the only thing I needed to do was hold and rock my sweet, sleeping girl.  Because in the blink of an eye, she will be grown.  She will be too big to hold and too cool to want me to.

So I held her. And it was perfect.

Monday, November 11, 2013

PEP Talks- 8 months

Here I am again! 8 months old and full of energy!! My eighth month was so fun and busy. I'd better get started...

I got to go to my very first pumpkin patch! Some of the pumpkins were even bigger than me! The pumpkin patch was at my friend Lucy Paige's house.  What?! A pumpkin patch at her house!? But it's true! Her daddy is the youth pastor at a local church, and every year, the youth hosts a pumpkin patch as a fundraiser in the yard between the church and my friend's house.  It has face painting, bean bag toss, and a really big slide that Daddy went on with me.  Mommy wasn't thrilled with the idea, but I had lots of fun! Maybe next year I can do it again.

Mom and Aunt Ryan really wanted to get a picture of Lucy and me at the pumpkin patch.  They made a bunch of really funny faces and noises! At least I thought they were funny...  Lucy was not impressed.

I also got to celebrate my very first Halloween! Mom, Dad, and I dressed up as characters from The Wizard of Oz.  Mom was the Cowardly Lion, and Dad was the Scarecrow, and I got to be Dorothy. I even had ruby slippers! We went "Trunk-or-Treating" at Lucy's church.  She and her family went as the "Where's Waldo" family.  Aunt Ryan got inventive with their shirts and Aunt Jessica made their hats.  Next year will be even more fun because we'll get to walk around and maybe even eat a little candy!

Something funny that happened this month was that I got eaten by the Laundry hamper.  Mom had dumped out the bag and set it on the floor.  She left the room for only a minute, but that was all the time it needed.  That laundry hamper somehow made its way from the floor to on top of me.  Mom came back in and when she realized that I was enjoying it, she took this picture of me.  Mom is going to have to watch out! I'm way more mobile than I was, so leaving me alone even for a minute is plenty of time for me to get into mischief!

Mom was going through a box of old toys and things when she came across some old pictures of my Uncle Jacob when he was a baby about my age.  Everyone has always said that we look alike, but you can really tell in the pictures!

Since it's been getting colder, Mom has been making me bundle up in the mornings when she takes me to Mrs. Scott's house.  I really hate things on my head. And my feet.  So socks and hats have not been my friends.  Mom insists that I keep them on though, and when the hat is as cute as this one Aunt Jessica made for me, I guess I can oblige.

I recently went to the Doctor (cold and a double ear infection= no fun!), and they weighed me.  I am at 17 lbs, 3 oz.  It's slightly lower on my growth curve than I normally have been, but no worries.  I'm just gaining at a slightly slower rate.  They didn't check my height since it was a sick child appointment rather than a check up.  I'll get all my measurements done at my 9 month appointment.

I still love my food, but only mixed with cereal.  Baby food is too soft.  I have also recently tried eating Puffs.  I love them, but I have a hard time getting them from my hand into my mouth by myself.  I'll get it figured out in no time though I'm sure.  I have also started taking "big girl" baths without my baby tub.  Mom and Dad have to watch close though or else I try to pull up on the side of the tub.  I think I may try it on furniture soon.

I am really excited about the rest of November.  Mom says I get to have my first Thanksgiving, and it sounds neat! I'm sure there will be lots of pictures! Until then, I'll enjoy being 8 months old!

Talk to you soon!
Parker E. Poe

Friday, November 1, 2013

Framing for Cheap

First of all, please pardon the reflection in the picture.  My ceiling fan is on because it is November in Alabama, so that must mean that it is 80 degrees outside, even though last week it got down into the low 30's.  Crazy weather!

This is my new mantle.  Well, my newly decorated mantle anyway.  I have an idea in mind on how I am finally going to be able to redo this fireplace, but that is for another day.

A couple of weeks ago Shutterfly had their large prints on sale! I have been wanting a 16x20 photo to go above the fireplace, so while they were on sale, I picked one out. I picked up three more for Christmas gifts.  It did not occur to me that even though the prints were cheap, framing them would not prove to be so.

I went to Hobby Lobby and looked at 16x20 frames.  The cheapest one I could find that I liked was $60. $60 x 4 frames = way too much.  And they were not on sale. Apparently they don't go on sale as the framing specialist told me.  Custom framing is always 50% off, but even so, it was still going to be very expensive for four pictures.

However, the "ready made" frames were 50% off.  You know them. The ones with no glass, back, or hanger. I picked one out that I liked.

Walnut Tudor Open Frame 16x20

So now I had a frame and literally nothing else.  TO THE POSTER SECTION!!
I knew glass would be expensive, and I'd still have to find a way to back it.  Then I saw this beauty.

Glazing and Backing 16x20

The frame was originally $33 dollars, but it was 50% off. The plastic was only a little more than $5.  In the end, I ended up framing my photo for just over $25! That comes to a little more than $100 for all four!

I got home and framed my photo using masking tape to seal the backing (hey, it's against the wall anyway!)  It looks amazing and cost a fraction of what it would have cost to buy a frame or have it custom framed.  I am very pleased with the results!

Zucchini Barcos

"Barcos" is the Spanish word for "boats," and since these zucchini boats have a Mexican twist, I thought it was fitting!

6 C water
2 zucchinis, halved with the middles scraped out (save the middles!)
1 lb ground turkey
1 pk taco seasoning (or make your own!)
1/2 shredded cheddar cheese + 1/4 C cheddar cheese
1/2 C salsa


Preheat oven to 350

Bring water to a boil.  Boil the zucchini boats for about a minute. Remove from water. Set aside.

Brown the ground turkey. Drain. Add taco seasoning and a small amount of water. Stir and heat until water has evaporated. Add salsa, cheese, and the zucchini middles. Heat thoroughly. Spoon mixture into boats. Top with remaining cheese.

Bake for 15 minutes until cheese is browned.

Creamy Onion Chicken

I am always looking for recipes that will make enough food for just my husband and me without having tons of leftovers.  They always end up being thrown out.  I made up this recipe the other night.  It was the perfect amount of food for the two of us!

For Chicken
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
salt and pepper
olive oil
1 can Cream of Chicken soup
1/2 packet dry onion soup mix

For rice
1 cup rice
2 cups water
1 tbs butter or margarine
1 tsp salt
1 chicken bullion cube

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Rinse the chicken and pat dry.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper on both sides.  Drizzle olive oil into a hot skillet.  Add the chicken to the pan. Cook, turning the chicken until each side is golden brown. Place the chicken into a casserole dish. Cover with cream of chicken soup. Sprinkle the dry onion soup mix over the chicken soup. Spread to cover the chicken.  Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 40 minutes.

Pour 2 cups of water into your pot and bring to a boil.  Add salt, butter, bullion, and rice.  Return to boil. Turn to low and let simmer, stirring occasionally until rice is cooked, about 14 minutes.