Chicken Bacon Ranch quesadillas

1 1/2 chicken breasts, diced small, cooked
3-4 slices of bacon, crispy

1 tablespoon dried parsley, crushed
1 teaspoon dried dill weed
1 teaspoon onion powder 
1 teaspoon dried onion flakes
1 teaspoon salt 
1/2 teaspoon  garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1/3 cup of sour cream

Cheddar cheese
Swiss cheese
3-4 tortillas 

Cook bacon first and set aside.
Cook chicken on medium heat until cooked and slightly brown. 
Place dry seasonings in clean coffee grinder to grind finer. 30 seconds or less should do.
Sprinkle seasonings on chicken. Stir. 
Add sour cream stir until heated. 

On medium high heat, place tortillas on cast iron or non-stick pan. 
Top half of tortilla with chicken, bacon, and cheese. Fold tortilla over chicken. Flip when slightly brown. Serve with sour cream and guacamole.


the room at the start of the day!
I started moving everything out that was either going to get in the way or was never coming back in the room.

I left the computer and the printer table. The cords were all hooked up and I know better than to undo cords. I can't remember where they go!
The end of the day. After a few hours the hubby and I got the desk done. and then he talked me into doing the shelf by myself. How hard could it be, right?? 
Some persuading later, it was together!

The reason I had my hubby help me with the desk was because I saw this and thought nope, there is no way!!
Who thought lots of little pieces would be fun?!?! Especially with no extras in case you lost something.

Oh well, today is the next day in this big project - here's to hoping my shoulder injury from yesterday will magically heal itself!


next big project.

This is my next challenge. This half empty storage/ half part-time office is going to get a makeover!!!
Find a desk for this wall (with adequate storage)

Give the round table a colorful makeover. Orange!

This room is going to get it.
The orange table will go in this corner for a fun pop!

My inspiration. Pops of orange and maybe a little lime green!


Chicken Casserole Pie

I was trying to think of what to call this because it's kind of like a "Shepherd's Pie" or "Bishop's Pie" or whatever it's called where you come from. But it's also been called a casserole, you'll see when we get into it.

2 tbsp of olive oil
1 mushroom finely chopped
1 large clove of garlic, finely chopped
1/4 of a medium onion, finely chopped

Start cooking on medium to medium high heat in a large pot.*

1 carrot
1 celery stalk

Add to the large pot. Cook for 2 minutes then add 1 cup of water, Reduce heat to low.

1 chicken breast, diced into pieces
1 tbsp of oil

In a medium skillet on medium-high heat, sear the chicken until the outsides turn brown. Stir into veggie mix.

~Pour in.
1 packet of French onion soup
2 more cups of water (or as the directions say- I went by taste)
1 tsp of italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and parsley

Allow this to simmer on low for 2-3 hours.

2-3 cups of frozen vegetables (such as peas)

Simmer for 10 minutes

1 tbsp of cornstarch
2 tbsp of water

Stir into veggie/chicken mixture for thickening. Stir for 3-4 minutes.

3-4 medium potatoes, diced

In a separate pot, boil potatoes in water (enough to cover the potatoes) for 30 minutes. Drain and return to separate pot.

1/4 cup of butter
1/4 cup of milk
Salt and Pepper to taste
Stir together until smooth.

In a large deep casserole dish, pour in veggie/chicken mixture. Using a large flat spoon or spatula, scoop mashed potatoes and gently drop them onto the mixture.

~Sprinkle on Potatoes
1/2 cup of cheese, (cheddar or mozzarella)

 ~Bake for 20-30 minutes at 350 degrees.
Allow 5 minutes for cooling time - and Enjoy!

*Also adaptable for a crock pot. Start on high.
Cook chicken separately and then add to mixture. Turn to low.
Cook potatoes as per instructions. Gently drop on top of mixture about 20 minutes before dinnertime. Turn to warm.


more crocheting!

 Ok. It's official! I love crocheting! 

It was so fun to learn how to do the flowers. So easy! 
Then, of course, shopping for a cute button to finish the look! 


Christmas time. Part 2.

It's the most wonderful time of the year!!!

 beautiful rustic angel..
the tree! (ignore the lovely blinds, specially picked for our entire street. bah humbug.)

 My $15 purchase at a little decor store called Trios.
 The white bead garland above and the red bead garland were $7 ea... I would pay it gladly again.


Flaky Buttery pie crust

No matter how you say it - Pecan Pie is what's going on.

Last year I provided a recipe for Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie. And oh was it good! 
This year I tried a new recipe for pie crust from food network (perfectly flaky pie crust).

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon table salt
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, diced
1/4 cup shortening
7 to 8 tablespoons ice water

In a large bowl, mix together flour, salt, and sugar until well combined. Using clean hands, add butter and toss until just coated. Rub butter between thumb and forefingers to incorporate into flour mixture until butter is in lima bean-sized pieces and comes together in quarter-sized clumps when squeezed in palm, about 2 minutes. Add shortening, toss until just coated in flour, then rub into flour mixture until mixture forms pea-size pieces (some big chunks should remain) and comes together in fist-sized clumps when squeezed, about 1 minute. Drizzle in half ice water and rake through mixture with fingers until just moistened. Drizzle in remaining water 1 tablespoon at a time and comb through mixture with fingers to moisten. It will go from being a shaggy mess to coming together. Dough is moist enough when it is moistened through but is not wet when pressed. (Do not overwork the dough or it will become tough.)

While rotating the bowl with 1 hand, push dough between other palm and side of bowl to gather into a ball. Turn dough onto a piece of plastic wrap, press it into a flat disk, then close in wrap. Place in coldest part of refrigerator (usually back bottom shelf) at least 30 minutes before rolling out and forming into a crust.

*If your pie filling does not require being in the oven for over 30 minutes, bake pie crust for 5-10 minutes at 325 first and then add filling.


Christmas time. Part 1.

One of the most exciting things of moving (only 5 times) is the Christmas totes you packed up 2 years ago can finally be opened revealing wonderful treasures you may have forgotten about.

I fashioned these beautiful ornament hangars - because after seeing similar ones for an outrageous price - you realize you can make your own customized ones for less! Anyway, I spotted them in my desk when it was moved in June. I was so excited to use them this year.
Love them!
And of course one of the ornaments from the German Christmas market! 


Crochet projects!

I've had a little fun with learning crocheting. It has had it's ups and downs. The downs are pulling out rows that I did wrong or had to redo because I got the stitches in the wrong place.
Anyway, this was my first hat! Fits the head of a precious and energetic 3 year old.
 For the head of the 3 year old's baby brother coming in March! (Used a loom for a looser knit.) 
First blanket! also for baby brother.
The pictures don't tell all -but they match! It's the same green yarn on all of them.


it's a "in-progress" kind of month.

I've been piling on the projects this month.
I've had my bookshelf out on my front step for so many days these past few weeks. It's had some dreadful days too. I am eternally optimistic about my projects but I get part way through and something makes it difficult and then I'm at the point that I don't want to deal with it. ever. 
I've spent several days with spray paint everywhere working on small projects, which are now drying. and hopefully done. yes!
But I do have a finished project to show you!

Day 1: Got wall art
Day 2: Got frames.
Day 3: Got them put together and on the wall.

Wall art: $10 (Dillons! Surprised?)
Frames: $12 (Wal-mart. Recycled.)
Next week, get the bed raised 4 inches or so and get the bookshelf off my front step.


paper cupcake world.

somehow I stumbled upon this website for build your own cupcakes. What a fun idea! Put together your own cupcake, mess-free?!? What could be better? I printed off the set on card-stock and grabbed some contact paper to laminate them so they could be more indestructible. The kids played with them, I think we spent more time practicing colors and new words then actually decorating our cakes.

My other suggestions are:
 Girls Party Art!

1. Print off a few extras so the girls can chose their favorites. 
2. Buy simple frames at the dollar store.
3. Cut down the card stock to the size of the picture frames.
4. Girls can glue on the favorites. Extra accessories and swirls could be added with markers.

....and If you have a sleep-over maybe have the girls pick out pinks, purples, whatever- spray paint for their frames and have dad fix those up after bedtime to allow time to dry. In the morning put them together and send it home!

Mother's Day!
1. Print off enough for your sunday school class, daycare, etc.
2. Bring extra cardstock, glue and crayons/markers.
3. Fold the extra cardstock to make cards.
4. Kids can glue on the cupcake items of their choosing.
5. Help them write a little note inside for mommy.

get the 'make your own cupcakes' pdf here: cupcake files!



I despise cleaning despite what people say especially those that I housecleaned for once upon a time. But it needs done. Most of the time it seems that all I am doing is moving totes and boxes from room to room. For instance, this room, the second bedroom, was full of totes and boxes for several months...

And now it looks like this!
Very bland but it's temporary living for my sister and eventually guests.
On the shopping list for this room:
Window treatments.
Bedside lamp and table.
Wall art.

Shopping trip here I come!


Nell Hill inspiration.

crazy chaos.
whirlwind trip.
back home.

A girlfriend and I ran up to Kansas City the other day, for a quick but much needed shopping trip. Destination: Mary Carol Garrity's Nell Hill. Beautiful store, even more beautiful owner. We've met her many times and she is literally the sweetest person on the planet.
As you walk through decorating stores your brain is completely on overload. There are too many ideas running around your brain and I suggest taking pictures of anything inspiring.
Like this:
What an incredible idea! It's perfect for real or fake fireplaces! and she didn't have any candles in the votives (there's no way to monitor that in a store that large anyway) but having a few lit candles in there with the books would be so intriguing! If only I had a fireplace!
Also check out her ideas for lanterns right here. (I feel another shopping trip coming on.)

So my book project is this.
My sad bookshelf is getting a MAKEOVER! someday.
I got a sample jar of Mary Carol's Amelia Blue paint for the back panel and the rest of the bookshelf is getting a fresh coat of white paint. If it were wood I would have a hard time touching it but it's not- so Makeover here we come!
My books will get reorganized and repurposed in other parts of the house. maybe. My motivation is sadly lacking, but trust me it will happen!

Now off to remember where I saw some cute (and inexpensive) lanterns recently.


Rustic Spinach Salad

I put off trying this recipe because it's salad, and salad sometimes gets old. But this was a fun, quick recipe full of flavor and a little crunch.
I also don't usually make salads with spinach going solo, but this was so good this way!

8 cups of spinach leaves
2 small apples, thinly sliced
2 cups of shredded chicken breast
1/2 cup of mozzarella
1/4 cup of walnut or pecan pieces
1/2 cup of Italian dressing (or any vinaigrette dressing)

Toss together just before serving. For best results, use chilled ingredients.


life lived simple...

Who would have thought that the end of August would bring an end to 100+ degree days and 80 degree nights? We took a weekend away -using Labor Day's 3 and a half days of free time and ran for the hills! - actually the mountains in Colorado. 
Temperatures in Western Colorado boasted 50 degree nights. (What a contrast to 80+ in kansas!) 
To me, it was almost perfect. 
See Western Colorado holds a very dear place in my heart. My family would die of shock if they knew how much I loved it. 
Several years ago I spent 2 weeks with my grandma there. I couldn't wait to retire. I was a teen, at the time!! But she lived the life. Early to bed, early to rise. The day started with a cup of coffee and a Bible. Then outside to the garden and the fruit trees. A walk, visiting people, going to the market. Life was simple and was lived as such. 
My late teen years led to what my family refers to as rebellion. I got my ears pierced, got a cell phone, got a boyfriend. Oh yeah. Every mother's worst nightmare. 
My life got full. Running here and there doing this and that. Can you believe that over the next 6 six years -what I longed for most- was to go back to that time of life lived simple? 
I got a taste of that in Spain. Several times a week I would walk over a mile to get fresh meat at the butcher and fresh fruit from the market. A couple times a week I would walk down to the little store at the bottom of the hill for fresh bread. Days started with a morning run followed by some quietness on my patio with a cup of coffee. 
I had forgotten how much I craved that until last weekend in Western Colorado. For one brief morning, I realized as I was sitting there drinking coffee and reading my Bible, watching the sunrise- This is what it's about. Living life simply. Not cluttering life with meaningless things. Surround it with things or people you care about. Focus on life and living it.
And drink plenty of coffee.


the great pumpkin (see it here first!)

I am taking full credit to seeing it first and coming up with the brilliant idea to go with it!! Once you get past the scary pictures of pumpkins gone wrong here, you will see that my idea is truly that much better.

Your house numbers "monogrammed" onto a pumpkin!

So this fall find a good lookin' pumpkin and get cookin' hammering!


in the house this week.

What a week! It started out with such small details. Someone would be by to spray for bugs. Someone would be by to change the locks, since the office's back-up keys had been lost. I changed my few plans and arranged to be home in the morning for the spray and the afternoon for the locks.
Nobody came. EVER!  
I was home the entire day. Stuck there, waiting. By the middle of the afternoon I was going insane. I needed to run to pickup a few things for dinner and some hangars (as I am cleaning laundry from 1 1/2 years ago I am finding more things to hang up and ran out),  but I didn't want to leave in case they came while I was gone. I didn't want to sit there another whole day.

The next day, nothing. I went about my day - running here and there, doing this and that.

The next day, puddles in my basement. Calling the office - as they instructed, because this had happened before - I changed my plans for the morning, so I would be available to let them in and so they could change the locks. No one ever came. Apparently they had to wait til the rain stopped. Noon was bright and shiny. I had made plans for the afternoon, and no I wasn't waiting around for no one to show up.
Someone showed up. FINALLY!
And I wasn't there.
The next morning I called the office asking what time they would be out. Within the hour, my locks were changed, maintenance with the water had been addressed and I was on my way. No sitting around for me!
The next morning I tripped over some tools, slicing open my toe and the side of my foot. I used my get-out-of-jail-free me card and made a huge pot of coffee and went antique shopping. Yes, I needed my shopping therapy.
This cute little trinket box was very therapeutic!


in my pantry.

I have been working on rearranging and organizing. We moved in about 2 1/2 months ago and I've been working on one box at a time. Thank goodness we've had company several times, otherwise my house would be in a state of chaos all the time. But today I thought I would share what's in my pantry:

In the past couple days- I made some delicious strawberry jam! 
I've also put together a couple jars of homemade mixes. It makes whipping together a breakfast or a quick dessert nice and easy! Two oatmeal cookie mixes and a pancake mix.


Chicken Salad

I am borrowing this recipe from Food Network. I always check the reviews and I found lots of people complaining about the salt. So I changed that in this recipe. I also split the mayo with half regular/ half fat free to keep the flavor but not all the calories. I had extra celery stalks so I also added a bit more of that for more crunch! I also recommend using rotisserie chicken, from the store, your own recipe, or leftover from a previous meal.

4 cups cooked chicken, cubed
1 stalk celery, cut into 1/4-inch dice
4 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
        or 1/4 cup sweet onion cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh tarragon or fresh dill
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
1 cup prepared or homemade mayonnaise
2 teaspoons strained freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

In a mixing bowl, toss together the chicken, celery, scallions and herbs. Set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, lemon juice, mustard, salt and pepper to taste.
Add to the chicken and mix gently until combined.
Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Serve on a Croissant. Other cooks suggest adding a couple strips of bacon and some lettuce and tomato. It's good either way!


Zesty Tuna Salad

Now, I am not a huge fan of tuna. period. I rarely eat it. But I found a recipe that sounded really good. I mean, come on, it's better than the tuna and mayo slush they have at Scumway. (I can call it that, I use to work there!)
I found this recipe on allrecipes.com
I made it better, I added a bit more mayo mixing fat free and regular, to keep the taste but not the calories. I also added an additional teaspoon on sweet relish. it sounded so good, then it tasted good too!

2 (6 ounce) cans tuna, drained
2 teaspoons mayonnaise (or 4)
2 teaspoons sweet pickle relish (or 3)
2 teaspoons Dijon-style prepared mustard
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Mash tuna in a small bowl with a fork. Add mayonnaise, pickle relish, mustard, celery, onion, and black pepper; stir to combine. Chill and serve.
And it's delicious on a croissant!