Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Happy Birthday To Me!

It's my birthday! What, you forgot? No big deal. I'm used to it. :-)

To answer the inevitable questions, yes it does SUCK having a birthday so close to Christmas. Yes, I got lots of "Merry Christmas / Happy Birthday" presents and cards when I was growing up. Yes, people - even close friends and family - forget my birthday.

But you, my lucky blog readers, get to share this amazing birthday cake with me! And the best part is, ZERO calories! So enjoy!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

"The True Meaning of Christmas"

There are so many movies, cartoons, cards, books, songs, and what-have-you that want us all to remember "the true meaning of Christmas" at this time of year. Usually the theme is that Christmas isn't about getting stuff; it's about giving. Or it's about spending time with family and friends. Or that you can't steal Christmas just by stealing gifts, like the Grinch tried to do.

Hey, I love these Christmas specials just as much as anybody. But none of them gives us the true meaning of Christmas, except perhaps for Charlie Brown.

The true meaning of Christmas is this: God became a man and lived among us in the person of Jesus. Jesus' sole purpose was to become the perfect sacrifice for our sins, so that whoever chooses to acknowledge their sinfulness, put their trust in Jesus and ask him to forgive them for their sins would be reconciled to God and would have eternal life.

It may sound trite, but it's true - Jesus is the Reason for the Season.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 18, 2009

One Day Sale 12/18/09!

I'm having a ONE DAY SALE today! 25% off everything in my shop, and if your order totals $100 or more, then 30% off for you!

The prices showing in my shop are the original prices; the difference will be refunded to your PayPal account after purchase.

Click here to go directly to the Sale!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

No more consignment at Salon = New listings on Etsy

I am no longer selling any of my jewelry in the local salon due to a disagreement with the salon owner about the quality of some of the merchandise she is selling there. Her loss is your gain!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

One of my Pet Peeves

One of my pet peeves is all the inserts I find stuck into magazines. Drives me absolutely nuts. As a matter of fact, as soon as I receive a magazine in the mail the first thing I do is remove all the inserts and toss them into the garbage.

But if I found this insert, well, I might just have to hang onto it.

from www.icanhascheezburger.com

Monday, December 14, 2009

My Little Lamb

Last night was the night for our church's annual Christmas program. My son, Evan, played the "little lamb." What a cutiepie! He was absolutely adorable!

He'll die of embarassment from this in a few years! I'm thinking this is a great shot for his senior year "baby photo!"

Thursday, December 10, 2009

White Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch

These don't look like much, but wow do they taste incredible! These crunchies are always very popular, and they are soooooooo easy to make!

White Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch

8 - 2 ounce squares Almond Bark (or White Chocolate bark)
2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
2 cups Rice Krispies
2 cups salted dry roasted peanuts
2 cups marshmallows

Gently melt almond bark in the microwave or on stove top until melted but not very hot (If it's too hot, the marshmallows will melt). Stir in peanut butter until smooth. Mix in remaining ingredients. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto wax paper and allow to cool until firm. Makes about 4 dozen.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Spicy Chunky Cheesy Dip

Sorry for the long break in between blog posts. Life got complicated for a while! Anyhow, here's a yummy appetizer that is always a crowd pleaser!

Spicy Chunky Cheesy Dip

16 oz Velveeta
16 oz Mexican Velveeta
1 pound ground beef, browned
1 pound hot breakfast sausage, crumbled and browned
1 can Ro-Tel tomatoes, undrained

Melt the Velveeta in microwave or on stovetop. Pour into crock pot or a saucepan over low heat. Add ground beef, sausage, and Ro-Tel. Mix well and keep warm. Serve with tortilla chips.

You can adjust the spiciness to your liking by using mild or hot Velveeta and mild or hot Ro-Tel tomatoes.


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Strawberry Cake

Yes, I said Strawberry Cake. What, you expected pumpkin pie?????
Just try it. It's sweet and delicious!

Strawberry Cake

1 box white cake mix
1 small package strawberry Jell-O
½ cup. water
3 tbsp. flour
1 cup vegetable oil
Small package of frozen strawberries, thawed
4 eggs

Divide strawberries in half and pour half in a mixing bowl. Reserve half of the strawberries for frosting. Add remaining ingredients in bowl, beat with mixer for 4 minutes. Pour into three greased & floured round cake pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes.

¼ lb margarine, softened
1 box powdered sugar
½ package frozen strawberries, thawed, room temperature

Combine all ingredients. Beat with mixer until fluffy. Frost when cakes are cool.

From the McClure Family Cookbook, page 96

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Squash Casserole

Give us Southerners a vegetable, some cream of chicken soup, and some sour cream, and we'll create a casserole! And it will taste FANTASTIC! Case in point: Squash Casserole. Even if you don't like squash (I don't), you will LOVE this.

Squash Casserole

2 cans (14 oz. or so) squash, drained
1 large chopped onion
2 medium carrots, shredded
1 small jar pimentos
1 can Cream of Chicken Soup
8 oz. sour cream
1 package Pepperidge Farm Stuffing
1 stick of margarine
Salt and Pepper to taste

Melt butter and mix with stuffing mix. Take half of stuffing mixture and line the bottom of a 3 quart casserole dish. Reserve the remaining mixture. Mix all other ingredients in a large bowl. Pour on top of stuffing mixture. Sprinkle remaining stuffing mixture on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Note: If you prefer, you can use fresh yellow squash. Cut it into bite size pieces and boil until . . . I don't know the proper culinary term for this, so I"ll just say . . . mushy.

From the McClure Family Cookbook, page 53

Monday, November 23, 2009

Cranberry Salad

In the South, we can't just dish up cranberry sauce & serve it beside our turkey. Oh no, no, no! That would never do! We have to jazz it up and add that all-important Southern ingredient - Jell-o!

Seriously though, this is a delicious recipe. I make it every year and it always wins rave reviews.

Cranberry Salad

1 large or 2 small boxes of strawberry Jell-o
2 cups boiling water
1 cup chopped nuts – Pecans or walnuts
1 large Red Delicious apple – cut into fine pieces
1 cup finely chopped celery
1 can whole berry Cranberry sauce
1 large can crushed pineapple, not drained
2 large oranges, chopped

Dissolve Jell-o in boiling water. Pour into a large bowl. Add other ingredients to Jell-o and mix well. Refrigerate until set.

From the McClure Family Cookbook, page 11

The McClure Family Cookbook

I'm a Georgia girl, born and bred right here in the South. And there are some amazing Southern cooks in my family. Back in the early 1980's, my mother and my aunt recognized the abundance of cooking talent in our extended family (my Grandmother was one of thirteen children) and created the McClure Family Cookbook.

Now mind you, this was in the early 1980's!!!!! There were no slick computer programs that could handle such a task. My mother and my aunt collected recipes from extended family members and typed each and every one of them by hand. No small task for a cookbook that turned out to be 139 pages long! I remember wanting to make a contribution, so I proudly whipped out my Commodore 64 computer (for you computer geeks out there, that's 64k of memory!!!!) and created the cover and the "divider" pages in Print Shop. Ah, memories.

I have cherished this cookbook and still refer to it often, especially during the holidays. This week, I'd like to share some of my favorite Thanksgiving / Christmas season recipes from this cookbook with you. Enjoy!

Friday, November 20, 2009

LOL Cat Friday!

I haven't done a LOL Cat Friday in a while. So here are three funnies for you, all from http://www.icanhazcheezeburger.com/
The musical Kitties warm up for their big concert. Tonight at midnight, in your back yard.

This little guy just wants to have some fun! I had a kitty who used to do this.

And we all know how much cats hate taking baths! I can just see them thinking this!

Happy Friday, everyone!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Starbucks Holiday Coffees

I love Starbucks - especially at this time of the year. They always come out with special flavors for the holidays, and this year is no exception. Last year they featured Peppermint Mocha and Gingerbread Latte. Those two are back once again, along with a new flavor - Caramel Brulee!

I tried Caramel Brulee this morning. It is delicious, but it is not what I expected. It does not have a very sweet caramel flavor. Instead, it is rich and creamy. The emphasis is definitely on the "brulee," not the "caramel." If you want caramel, go for the Caramel Macchiato.

I also am in love with the Gingerbread Latte. It tastes like someone melted a gingerbread cookie into your coffee. Sweet, creamy, rich, and YUMMY.

The peppermint mocha is good, but it's not my favorite as the chocolate they use is too bitter for my tastes. I prefer milk chocolate.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I guess they thought this would work on Veterans Day?

I support our troops, but not like this! Here's an email I just received:
We have some amount of funds that we want to move out of the Iraq. We need your help to receive this funds on our behalf. Once the funds get to you, you take your 30%, and keep our own 70%. Your own part of this deal is to find a safe place where the funds can be sent to. Waiting for your urgent response for more details. Sincerely,Sgt. Phillip Newman
Yeah. I'll get right on that, Sarge.

But on a serious note, thanks to all our veterans for defending our country. I might be blogging in French or German if it weren't for you.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

New Earring Styles for Salon

Here are some new earrings that I've made to go on consignment at the House of Beauty salon. I wanted to put in some unique styles that would be something people wouldn't see everywhere else. I hope they go over well! What do you think of them? Which ones are your favorite?

Pearl Cluster Earrings

Pearl Sterling Silver Hoop Earrings

"Half-A-Heart" Sterling Earrings

Open Circle Hoop Earrings
Loopy Montana AB Earrings

Monday, November 9, 2009

Breast Reduction Surgery - The Results are in!

I did have the bandages removed from my skin graft a couple of weeks ago. The graft still had a bit of healing to do, unfortunately. So last Friday I had a check-in with my surgeon, who finally gave me the "all clear" to get back to my normal activities.

Which is good. Because I haven't been able to exercise in over two months. And if I don't exercise, I gain weight. Quickly. So I can get started with my exercise routine this week. I'm not particularly excited about that, but I know the results will be worth it.

And on Saturday, I got to go BRA SHOPPING! Woo-hoo!!!! (During the recovery, I had been wearing exercise bras. Not fun, and NOT flattering!) I had no idea what size to get, so I went to Soma and had a fitting. I am now . . . . drum roll, please . . . . a size 36 D! (I was a 36 DDD before the surgery!) I actually was able to find bras that FIT ME! Although I did discover that I'm not quite ready for an underwire yet. That wire didn't feel so good over my scar tissue, no matter how padded the wire was.
In case you're curious, I purchased the "Heather" bra from Soma. I also found a Bali bra that worked well for me - the Double Support Spa Closure Wireless. (And it was a LOT less expensive than the one from Soma!) These are two great wireless bras with plenty of support and comfort.

Eventually, I'll be able to wear something lacy and racy. But for now, just getting into a regular bra is a victory.

Also, for those of you who have been following my story or have been pointed here by someone, I've summarized all my posts about my surgery in the sidebar for easier reference.

Hilton Head Island trip

I had the opportunity to visit Hilton Head Island last week. What a gorgeous place! The hotel was right on the ocean, so I got to hear the waves crashing all night long. I managed to take a walk on the beach one morning too.

Here's a picture I took with my camera phone while on a sunset sailboat cruise. My camera doesn't have the highest resolution, but it's still not a bad picture!

Hilton Head Island is simply lovely. And early November was a GREAT time to visit - it wasn't crowded at all! Check it out sometime, if you ever have the chance.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

My New Obsession - Chain Mail

I have been wanting to try making chain mail jewelry for a while now. I finally took the plunge and have discovered that I REALLY enjoy it! It's amazing what you can do with some jump rings and pliers! Here are some bracelets that I've made so far. Sorry for the not-so-great photos.

L to R: Twisted, Mobius Flowers, Shaggy Loops

L to R: Byzantine, Double Spiral
I'm using bright aluminum rings instead of sterling silver. They are very lightweight and much more affordable. (For example, a certain pack of bright aluminum jump rings is $6.50; the same size rings in sterling silver would cost $112.00!) So I'm hoping that people won't mind wearing aluminum bracelets instead of sterling silver. I'm sure their pocketbooks will appreciate it!
What do you think? Would you wear an aluminum bracelet instead of sterling silver?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Found this on Etsy yesterday and I just have to share

So I found this shop on Etsy yesterday: City Girl Chocolates

They have these things called "Cocoa Melts." You heat up your milk, drop the cocoa melt in, and once it melts you've got a cup of hot chocolate. They come in all sorts of flavors - from milk & dark chocolate to Mexican.

YUMMMMM. These look amazing! I think I'm gonna have to order me some so that I can "review" them for all of my blog readers. It's the right thing to do. I'll make the sacrifice for you guys. :P

The bandages are coming off today!

I cannot wait . . . I have an appointment later today to have the bandages removed from last week's skin graft! I'll be able to take a real SHOWER! Oh, the luxury! Sponge bathing for a week has been a real pain.

So let's hope that there's skin under those bandages and not just an open wound! Cross your fingers for me!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

New Etsy listings

I'm in a listing frenzy on Etsy! I want to get 100 listings in my shop by November, in time for the Christmas shopping season. Here are the items I've listed in the past few days. (Clicking on the name of each item takes you directly to the Etsy listing, where you can see more pictures)

My Current Favorite TV Show

Have you watched "The Locator" yet? It comes on WEtv at 9pm Eastern time. The previews make it look creepy. But it's truly an uplifting, inspiring show. Troy Dunn is some sort of private investigator who specializes in finding long-lost loved ones. Each week he spotlights a special case - whether it be a mother looking for the child she gave up for adoption, or vice-versa. Troy handles each situation in a very kind, sensitive manner. And the reunions are so joyful to watch!

Check it out. And have a box of tissues nearby!

Here's a link with more info: http://www.wetv.com/the-locator/

Monday, October 26, 2009

LOL Cats - It's been a while

I found a couple of really cute LOL cats; thought I'd share them with you since I haven't posted much in a while. Images from www.icanhascheezburger.com

Ever feel this way? Yeah, me too.

Look closely!
Happy Monday, everyone!

Breast Reduction Surgery - Update

It's been two months since my breast reduction surgery. I am very happy with the results, but I've had a frustrating complication. One of my incisions has refused to heal properly. I've learned that this sometimes happens; the skin surrounding the incision for some strange reason stops trying to grow together. My doctor said that it would eventually heal, but a skin graft was a way of trying to speed things up. So last week I had a skin graft.

In addition to the general discomfort, I'm having to go without a bra for a week. Which is a little strange, since I've been wearing bras 24/7 since the first surgery! I also can't get these bandages wet, so that means sponge baths. Not fun, folks!

I go back on Wednesday of this week to have the bandages removed. Here's hoping that I'm back to normal soon! I really really really really really want to go bra shopping . . .

Monday, October 19, 2009

Abalone Shell Set

I just love the iridescence of Abalone Shell. Similar to mother of pearl, it can be green, blue, grey, silver, or pink depending on how the light hits it. I mixed up these gorgeous beads with coordinating seed beads in different sizes. I love this set! What do you think? (You can click on the captions above each picture to go to the Etsy listings and view more pictures.)

Abalone Shell Necklace

Abalone Shell Bracelet - This bracelet was featured in an Etsy treasury over the weekend!

Abalone Shell Earrings

Monday, October 12, 2009

Newest Etsy listings - Snakeskin Jasper set

I've had these pieces made for a while but just had not gotten around to taking good photos of them. I finally got them listed on Etsy!

Snakeskin Jasper is a lovely stone, despite its name. It has gorgeous swirls of browns, mint green, deep green, browns, creams, and tans in it. I thought it would look best with copper accents. Take a look at the pictures below. You can click on the names of each item to go directly to the Etsy listing to see more pictures.

Snakeskin Jasper Necklace

Snakeskin Jasper Bracelet

Snakeskin Jasper Earrings

I hope you like them as much as I do!

Colorado Vaction

We took a vacation last week in Colorado. My parents came along, and we had a wonderful time! Here are some of my favorite pictures. And here's a link to a web album with a few more.
Garden of the Gods, Colorado City
Echo Lake, near Idaho Springs

Chapel at the US Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs

Friday, October 2, 2009

Got those pictures taken . . .

So here are the pieces I mentioned earlier -

Lapis Lazuli, Sterling Silver, and Copper Necklace:

Lapis Lazuli, Sterling Silver, and Copper Bracelet:

I just love these! I hope you do too! To see more pictures, click below to go to the listings on my Etsy site.