Woohoo, I Did It!

Hey everyone!  I'm so excited, because I just did a new blog header!  Do you like it?  I've been stewing about this for the longest time, because I really wasn't sure how to go about it.  My previous one, that I've had forever, was designed for me as a blog give-away;  & all the instructions I had read sounded so complicated.  Finally I found a very easy tutorial at Decor & the Dog.  She used Picnik, which I know is going away mid-April, but it was so simple.  I plan to make up some more headers using this method & just keep them stored for future use.  I know this isn't a big deal to most of you, but most of what happens with my blog design, happens purely by accident -- seriously!  Anyway, I hope you like it.  I may change some background colors & such, but I kind of like it just the way it is for now!  Hope ya'll have a great day!



The Dinner Party that Almost Was!

Hey everyone!  I hope you had a wonderful weekend; we sure did.  In my last post I shared about the vegetarian meal I planned for our friend & her daughter.  As is typically the case with anyone battling the "Big C," you have good days, not so good days, & really bad days.  My friend had one of those "really bad days" the day of our little dinner party & had to cancel.  Well, because I already had everything & even had some things prepped, I prepared the meal for The Man & I.  I shared the meal I planned HERE, so now I would like to show you my table.

I always use the breakfast room table whenever we have small gatherings.  It's just much more
intimate & cozy.

This is how I had it arranged when I thought we were having guests.

I used my plum & white toile placemats & napkins with my Fiesta china in Cinnabar, White, Rose & Chocolate.  I just kept it really simple with some little battery-operated tealites, some crystal water goblets, and a lovely arrangement of fresh flowers.

The little white bird salt & pepper shakers are from Pier 1 a couple of years ago.

The flowers are from Trader Joe's.  They have the loveliest flowers.

Love the Gerbera Daisies & these sweet little minies.

I have 8 of these placemats & napkins, plus a tablerunner that is currently on my dining room table.
Got them a year or so ago at Tuesday Morning.  They reverse to a small check which is really fun!

I just love taking pics like this this with the camera just sitting on the table.  I guess I'm weird!

When our plans changed, the table downsized to this.  The Man & I had a lovely dinner for two.

Well, the other day I shared that I was off to hunt for duvet fabric for the master bedroom.  I totally lucked out & found just what I was looking for.

It's a black & cream linen-type fabric, but washable (which I've already done), in a lovely fleur de lis pattern.  I'm so excited to get the duvet & shams made, & then I can show you the room.  It will be awhile, though.  We are having some things done in our yard right now, too.  Never a dull moment around here....lol!

If you have started following me either on GFC or the Linky Followers and I haven't yet responded or followed back, PLEASE let me know so I can do that.  I really try to keep on top of all that, but I just don't want anyone to get left out when I goof up.  Okay?

Thanks so much for stopping by,  please come again soon.

I'm happily linking to:


An Attempt At A Vegetarian Meal

Hey everyone!  I hope ya'll have been having a wonderful weekend.  It's been busy around here but fun, too.  Last week, I had invited a dear friend of ours & her daughter to come for dinner.  She seemed rather pensive & finally shared with me that she has recently been diagnosed with cancer.  I was shocked, to say the least.  Her hesitation in responding to my invitation was due to a radical effort on her part to eat vegetarian in an attempt to make her body as healthy as possible for what she has to face.  She said that maybe she could just come to visit for a little while instead of having a meal.  I promptly said no way, that I would be happy to prepare a vegetarian meal & quizzed her on exactly what she could & could not have.

Now, truthfully, I have cooked some meatless meals but not true vegetarian.  But, off I went to the internet-- how did we ever live without it before?  She can't have any dairy, which narrowed my search quite a bit, but I finally found a recipe that sounded delicious & fit the parameters.  This is what I found:

Sweet Potato, Corn & Black Bean Hash


From EatingWell:  March 1998
Quick and easy hashes are fabulous one-pot meals for those nights when getting dinner on the table fast is a priority.
2 servings, about 2 cups each Active Time: 35 minutes | Total Time: 35 minutes


  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
  • 4 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup frozen corn kernels
  • 1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges


  1. Heat oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté until browned in spots, 3 to 5 minutes. Add sweet potato and cook, stirring, until it starts to brown in spots, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in garlic, jalapeño, cumin and salt; sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add water and cook, scraping up any browned bits, until liquid is absorbed, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in corn and black beans and cook until heated through. Stir in cilantro and season with salt and pepper. Serve with lime wedges.


Per serving : 419 Calories; 6 g Fat; 0 g Sat; 3 g Mono; 0 mg Cholesterol; 80 g Carbohydrates; 16 g Protein; 17 g Fiber; 771 mg Sodium; 621 mg Potassium
4 Carbohydrate Serving
Exchanges: 3 starch, 2 vegetable, 1 1/2 lean meat, 1 fat

I thought it might be fun to share some photos of the steps in preparing this dish.  What can I say, I sometimes think I'm THE PIONEER WOMAN.......lol!  Anyway.........

I steamed the diced sweet potatoes in my Pampered Chef steamer for just a few minutes to soften them just slightly.

I diced the onions & garlic together.

I was never impressed with cast iron pots & pans until I was able to use them on this  gas range.  Now I want more pieces!  Do ya'll use cast iron cookware?

See all this golden brown goodness!  This smelled so fantastic!

Next I added the slightly cooked, diced sweet potatoes.  They get sauteed until they begin to brown around the edges.

Then it was time to add the jalapeno & spices, stirring for just a few seconds, & then the water.  Cook for a few minutes until the liquid is absorbed. 

Finally, I added black beans,  whole kernel corn & cilantro.  Can ya'll say "YUM?"

This is Snap Pea, Cucumber & Asparagus Salad & it is so good.  I first heard about this amazing salad over at Liz's at Savvy Seasons.  You really can toss in just about anything you want (I added baby peppers, cut in circles), but you can find the original recipe HERE.

This was dessert, but I forgot to take a pic until the next morning after the meager leftovers had been in the fridge over night.  They looked much better right after I made them.  I used a good quality bittersweet chocolate, & even though the strawberries were not great, they tasted very good.

The meal turned out very well, even though our plans got changed drastically.  I'll share more about that tomorrow.

Tomorrow I'll also share how I prepared my table, but here's a sneaky peek.

Thanks for stopping by everyone, & please come again soon.


It's a Blog Hop Party!

The following is all the info you could ever want to know about Linky Followers, & it's being hosted by Cheri @ Its So Very Cheri.  She is having a "Blog Hop Party" to help everyone get plenty of followers & make new friends.

Take it away Cheri:

LINKY FOLLOWER Party Hop 2-15-2012

by CHERI on FEBRUARY 15, 2012
WP Greet Box icon
Hello there! If you are new here, you might want to follow on my new LINKY FOLLOWER tool orsubscribe to the RSS feed for updates on this topic.
Many of you have probably already heard that

GOOGLE Friend Connect will go away

on Feb 29 for any one that is not with blogspot
but rumor has it that it is being completely phased out for everyone soon


there is good news
There is a NEW awesome tool–Linky Followers
It has so many amazing features (that GFC never had). If you have not signed up you should. (yes you can have both.) I love the new tool so much and want everyone to enjoy all the new features.
…and did I tell you its super easy and FREE!
What better way to celebrate a fun new blogging tool than to have a party
so break out your poodle skirt and saddle back shoes cuz’ we’re having a LINKY FOLLOWER PARTY HOP


1. you MUST have the LINKY FOLLOWERS tool on your site to participate.

{You can have both the LINKY FOLLOWERS & GFC on your site but you must have the LINKY FOLLOWERS toolto participate in this party hop.}

2. You MUST follow the person who has the party on their site as a thank you.

3. Just add your blog button to the LINKY PARTY.

4.Then grab the BLOG HOP code

5. Then you follow other bloggers–(as many as you want)

–leave each one of the blogs that you follow a comment letting them know you are following them and ask them to follow you back.

At first I wasn't going to bother with Linky Followers, but it seems to be "in your face" all over blogland so I gave in.  I'm pretty naive about all this "stuff," so I'm just going to go with my "gut" and assume there are way smarter people than me out there who know what they are talking about.  Anyway, hope to see you over at  Its So Very Cheri.
Have a great weekend!


Better Get on the Bandwagon!

Hey everyone!  So many of my bloggy friends are signing up HERE for "The Linky Followers".  They all say they want to be prepared just in case Google does something else to shake things up.  So I decided it wouldn't hurt to have The Linky Followers as a backup.  I'm not saying you have to start following me here, but I would be happy if you did.  They do have a pretty amazing dashboard where you can sort & categorize those blogs you follow.  Anyway, it's up to you.  Every time I visit a blog & see that they have the Linky Followers (usually located just below or above GFC & that's where mine is located), I sign up.  Gotta follow the Scout motto, "Always be prepared!"


I'm off to do some fabric shopping today for a duvet for our master bedroom.  I can see exactly what I want in my mind, now if I can just find it in the store.....lol!  Wish me luck!
Have a great day,


A Few New Tweaks in the Kitchen

Hey everyone!  Hope everyone has been having a lovely weekend.  I've been a bit under the weather the last couple of days, at my own doing.  I decided as part of my getting healthier plan for 2012, I should give up caffeine.  Silly me, right!  I've never been an "all-day" coffee drinker, but apparently those 2 cups I always had first thing in the morning were enough to create the addiction.  So, now I'm dealing with the annoying "caffeine-withdrawal headache."  To ease the pain just a bit, I have had a very small cup of tea in the mornings, but I don't really want to trade one caffeine beverage for another, so I'm really limiting how much I have.  Oh well, hopefully I'm almost over the withdrawals.  Anyway, between naps (they really do help), I've been enjoying blog hopping & doing some catching up.  I even had time to put together another new post.

As I've said before, I don't do a lot of Valentine's Day decorating, but don't like to ignore the holiday either.  I love having some pops of red around our home, especially in the kitchen; and what says more about Valentine's Day than anything red.  Well, I might be stretching that just a bit, because most of the red in my kitchen is definitely not Valentine-related, but who cares.  Ya'll like seeing vignettes of anything, right?  Right!

Just wanted to show you the little goodie bags I made for the "Grands."  

Just filled some cello bags with Teddy Grahams & candy hearts, then made some labels with a little love note from Nana & Bappa on the back of each one.  The blue & red one is for Parker -- couldn't give him a pink & lavender one, no way!

Are these just the cutest dish towels ever?  My sweet son & equally sweet DIL gave them to me (along with another very special item you will see in a minute) for my birthday.  Our children are not supposed to buy us gifts for Christmas or birthdays -- we don't need gifts & they have their own families to buy for, but these two broke the rules.  I can say they shouldn't have, but I do love what they gave me...lol!

I haven't yet hung them up, I just like looking at them in this little vignette.  I love my red china basket, & it is always filled with apples and pears right now.  Mr. Roo nite light adds a bit of red to the scene as well.  And the plate is one of two that I found on clearance at Pier 1 a couple of years ago.  The mosaic candle holder is several years old.

I like to keep our breakfast table fairly simple, because The Man doesn't like having to move a bunch of stuff when we get ready to eat.  Men!  

I can't even tell you how old this basket is, but old.  I just ran some red ribbon I had through the weave & jazzed it up a bit.  This is another salvaged from Christmas candle.  I just added a scrap piece of scrapbook paper & added a fiberboard sticker that says Cherish -- my "One Little Word" for 2012.  Added a little tiny vase with a piece of ivy just because I thought it needed some greenery.  Red salt/pepper shakers sit right inside.

The other part of my birthday gift is sitting over here.  Do you see what it is?

Isn't this gorgeous?  It's from Italy, & the writing is in Italian.  It's more of a shallow bowl, not a plate, that would be perfect for serving a large tossed salad.  The stickers on both this piece & the dish towels said Sur La Table, which is one of my favorite stores!

My little red Roo is looking on in awe!

With all the cabinets & wonderful storage in this kitchen, it is lacking a good place for my "most often used" cookbooks, so I opted for this basket for now.  I added a couple of hand-carved (by The Man's aunt) wooden utensils & a cute little dishtowel with roosters on it.  This whole basket-thing is working for me for now. 

A couple more pops of color with the apothecary jar filled with faux fruit, & the little nesting bowls, which were a gift from a friend a couple of years ago.

One more little look-see from the other side.  I've had my Hoya & Christmas Cactus here since Christmas, and they are so happy.  Pretty soon I'll be moving them out to the patio.

Well, that's it for now.  Thanks so much for stopping by and please come again soon.

I'm happily linking to:
Party Time @ It's So Very Cheri
Motivate Me Monday @ Keeping It Simple 
Creative Blogger's Party @ Homemaker On A Dime
Making The World Cuter @ Making The World Cuter
Tuesday Treasures @ My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia 
Overflowing with Creativity @ It's Overflowing 
Wow Us Wednesday @ Savvy Southern Style
Piece of Work Wednesday @  Primitive & Proper
Open House Thursday @ No Minimalist Here
Strut Your Stuff Thursday @ Somewhat Simple
Potpourri Friday @ 2805 
Inspiration Friday @  At the Picket Fence   
Weekend WrapUp Party @ Tatertots and Jello 


Somebody Turned "1"

Hey everyone!  Hope you are having a great weekend.  I decided it would be fun to share some pics from our youngest grandchild's 1st birthday.  The party was a couple of weeks ago, but ya' know, life and all that....lol!  Anyway, let the party begin!

Here's the Birthday Girl!
Avery started walking about 2 weeks before her birthday.

My sweet DIL did a beautiful job of decorating for the kiddos,
 ranging in age from 1 year to 12 years, and.........

simple loveliness for the adults, too!  She made all the poufies -- aren't they cute?

 Notice the tulips are displayed in large mason jars -- love that!

Did ya'll know a penny in the water for the tulips makes them stand up straight?  Ally bought
 them at Trader Joe's, & that's what they told her to do.  She said it worked like magic! 

Big Sis taking the birthday girl for a spin!

Cousins......uh oh, is this a hint of things to come?

Big brother is just doing his own thing!

Avery really got into the unwrapping process.  After accessing the situation, tackling it
from a standing position won out!

A bit tentative at this point, but.......

Here we go!  Boy, did she smell good enough to eat....lol!
She was just about ready to fall asleep right in her chair, so we decided it was
time to call it a night.  It was such a fun afternoon and evening.

Thank you so much for letting me share some of my most precious little people with you!
Stay tuned for some more new vignettes early next week.
Ya'll are the best!
xoxo, CAS

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