Monday, November 24, 2014

Miss Bee Christmas

I talked with Miss Bee the other day about Christmas and what she was pondering to put on her list.  Every year, in my mind, I keep thinking let's simplify.  She said she didn't really want anything in particular and I asked her instead of gifts would she like the gift of my time?  Just doing something she and I.  The gift of memories instead of presents.  So, I've planned something for us in a few weeks.  I'll share more about it after it happens.  In the meantime, I've been looking at some cute things on Pottery Barn Teen that I think would be perfect for a teenage girl...

Despite my best efforts over the years to create a study area for her, the desk always ends up being a drop zone.  She studies on her bed.  This faux fur lap desk (a definite upgrade from the ones I used to have) are a cute way to sit in bed and prop up a book or laptop.

Miss Bee loves to do her nails.  I thought these faux fur manicure lap boxes were so clever.  You could fill it with supplies and it even comes with a set of manicure tools.  She can take it anywhere in the house to do her nails while watching tv.

And look at these nail dryers. 

Speaking of nail polish, I found this site a while ago.  I follow Pretty Please Nail Polish on Instagram. They have tons of colors and in three easy steps you can personalize your own bottles. This would make a perfect stocking stuffer or just a little something to give to a special girlfriend.


To finish it out, I thought this was the sweetest idea for an Advent Calendar.

If you want the source go to my Pinterest Deck the Hive board.  Pulling a small gift from the Advent calendar gives people of any age a little Christmas cheer throughout the month.

Happy holidays!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

My Favorite Meatloaf

I was on Pinterest the other night and pinned a meatloaf recipe from Campbells Soup -- Onion-Crusted Meatloaf with Roasted Potatoes.  I made it last night for dinner.  OMG.  Best meatloaf I have ever made or eaten. Period.


1 1/2 pounds of ground meat (your choice)
1 can of tomato soup
1 beaten egg
1 TBL Worcestershire Sauce
One can of French-Fried Onion Rings
6 small potatoes

I took liberties with the recipe and used Trader Joe's Organic Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper soup and their version of French-Fried Onion Rings.  And I also used small red, purple and white potatoes.

You mix the meat with 1/2 cup of soup, egg, Worcestershire Sauce, and 1/2 can of the onions.  Shape into a loaf in a greased pan.  I cut up the potatoes in even quarters and placed them around the meatloaf.  Pour 1/2 cup of soup on top of the meatloaf.  Bake for 1 hour at 400 degrees. 

About three minutes before it's done baking, sprinkle more onions on the meatloaf and return to the oven for another 3-5 minutes.  Be sure to watch it because the onions can burn.

We served the potatoes and meatloaf with English peas.  The meatloaf had the best flavor and the onions added a nice seasoned, crispness to the meat.

Miss Bee hates meatloaf, more the word "loaf" I think.  So, Mr. Bee told her it was Beef and Onion Melange (melange is a French word for mixture).  She bought it until she saw it in the oven.  But, she admitted it was pretty good and she ate her entire portion.  So, I think we have a winner.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Magnolia Fall Workshop with Chip and Jo Jo

I love HGTV's Fixer Upper hosted by this sweet couple Chip and Joanna Gaines..

They live in Waco, Texas and flip falling down houses.  They are a down-to-earth couple and have a great story you can follow on Joanna's blog.  I also follow her on Instagram and when she posted she was hosting a fall workshop in Waco, I jumped at the chance to get tickets.  I got two tickets and took my bestie from middle school for her birthday.

Mary and I met about 37 years ago in the school lunch line oogling over the lunch lady's chocolate sheath cake and we've been friends ever since.  She lives in Austin so we met in Waco and made a night of it staying in the Hilton and treated ourselves to room service.  It was tons of fun to have no kids, dogs (and husbands) to take care of for 24 hours.  When we checked into our hotel we were given goody bags with a map to Joanna's favorite places to visit in Waco.

As we stood in line, Chip made the rounds and we got a pic with him. His teeth are just as white in person.

The event was held in a restored warehouse with beautiful hardwood floors and beams which was the perfect backdrop to the rustic elegance theme.  The audience sat in long tables decorated with wooden boxes filled with pumpkin, greenery, and mini clip boards with chalkboard art.

Each plate was placed on top of a grapevine wreath with a napkin and a galvanized metal shaped leaf tied with twine.

A cute idea for guests to record their blessings printed on craft paper cardstock.

We enjoyed a buffet of hot butternut squash tomato basil soup with cheddar cheese croutons, pork tenderloin sliders, and 6-cheese macaroni and cheese.

Joanna shared their story of how they met, married and started Magnolia Farms.  How you have to believe in your dreams, no matter the obstacles.  She talked about, as a mom, simplifying your life especially at holiday time.  Less is more and it's about time spent with family, not how the decorations look.  I think we can all take a lesson from that.

At the conclusion of the event, they opened a boutique of gifts from their store and offered photos with Joanna.  Mary and I were in line for so long to check out that we missed the photo time.  I walked up to her assistant and used my dimples to real nicely explain we really wanted a pic and that we were buying stuff could they pretty please let us get a photo?  We ended up with a pic with both Chip and Joanna!

So, thank you Jonathan for making that happen for us.  It was such a fun night.  On Friday we headed over to their retail store and got pics of ourselves..

  We look forward to seeing them in January when HGTV airs season two of their show.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Homemade Vegetable Soup

Rain and cooler weather blew in yesterday making it the perfect night for a big pot of soup.  Here's the recipe.  We made Red Lobster Cheddar Biscuits to go with it.

2 1/2 TBL olive oil
1 1/2 cups of chopped yellow onion
2 cups peeled and chopped carrots (about 4 - I used ones already sliced from the produce section)
1 1/4 cups chopped celery (about 4 stalks)
4 cloves of garlic

Heat olive oil and add all of the above.  Saute for a few minutes.


4 cans of low-sodium chicken broth
2 cans of diced tomatoes (undrained)
3 cups peeled and cubed potatoes (from 3 medium sized potatoes)
1/3 cup chopped parsley
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp dried thyme
Salt and pepper to taste

Bring to a boil then add 1 1/2 cups of frozen or fresh green beans

Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender -- about 20-30 minutes.  Then add 1 1/4  cups of frozen or fresh corn and 1 cup of frozen or fresh peas.  Cook until everything is heated through.

Mr. Bee liked it, but he prefers meat in his soups.  We had enough leftovers for another night and I will add cooked stew meat.  This recipe is flexible enough to add whatever vegetables you prefer.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Mr. Bee's Awesome Sauce

You know how you purge your cookbooks every once in a while?  Well, I think in one of our three moves in our 17 year marriage I donated one of Mr. Bee's cookbooks.  It was one of those cookbooks that looks like it was typed on a typewriter.  It was a small town cookbook sold by a bank -- First State Bank Rio Vista, Texas to be exact.  Mr. Bee has been looking for it for years.  He finally gave up and found one on Ebay.  It came this week...

When he opened it, the dedication page was signed by the woman who inspired the cookbook.  Miss Jessie Fantroy.

She was the cook for the bank.   Can you imagine having someone prepare you hot homemade meals everyday at work?  She also cooked for President Lyndon Johnson and his wife Ladybird at their lake house near Marble Falls.

I asked him what was so special about this book and he said it was the bbq sauce recipe.  So, as soon as the book arrive, he got to work making the sauce and bottled it in a ketchup bottle.

 East Texas Savory BBQ Sauce:

1 TBL chili powder
1 TBL paprika
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp dry mustard
1 TBL vegetable oil
1 TBL Worcestershire sauce
1/2 grated onion
1/2 cup vinegar
1 tsp lemon juice
1 cup ketchup
2 cups water
1 tsp liquid smoke

Mix it all together in a saucepan and bring to boil for 15-20 minutes.  Mr. Bee used the sauce to smoke ribs this morning to take to his men's retreat.  I am sure they were a hit.

Mr. Bee if you are reading this...I promise to never donate anymore of your cookbooks.  You can never judge a book by its cover.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

I went to PetSmart for Fish Food and Came Out with a Puppy

Where have you been?  I've had several followers email or call me asking me if I've died.  Why have those wipes been on your blog for over a month?  What in the world is going on?  This is what's been going on...

I went into PetSmart to buy Beta food for Consuela VonFinn.  She's really a he, but I liked the name Consuela.  I don't even like her, but she/he's pretty on my counter top.  All blue and swirly.  I actually got he/her to use for a centerpiece for a fish themed baby shower back in July.  It's still alive and I have to feed it.  While I was perusing the Halloween dog costume area for Ruthie the Wienerful, I spotted the adoption section of the store.  That was when I saw her.  "Can I play with her for a bit?" I asked the kennel lady.  She brought her into the puppy viewing room (also known as room for suckers with husbands that will leave you if you bring anymore animals home).  We played, we bonded.  I brought her home along with all the crap you buy for a new puppy.

Mr. Bee texted me "what are you doing?"  I responded that I was potty training our new puppy.  Silence.  Then I texted him the pic of her in our kitchen.  He replied, "what is that?"  That was one month ago.  He's just now speaking to me.

Seriously, I have to give him credit.  We'd I'd been talking about getting a second dog casually, but this should have been a group decision.  I was afraid he'd say no.  And, he would have.  So, for the last month I've been potty training, taking her to the vet for de-worming, de-puppying the house, running a puppy day-care, and racking up the FitBit steps going on walks to wear her out.  Then, Sunday, I hit an emotional wall.

I sat and cried.  Big tears.  Sobbing.  What have I done?  As Mr. Bee was consoling me, telling me he didn't hate me or the puppy, that he actually thought she was cute and good for Ruthie to have a playmate, I blurted out "I just wanted something else to take care of!"  That was it.  To the very core.  I think I miss being a caregiver.  I miss Earnie.  Miss Bee is a teen.  On some crazy level having a puppy keeps me busy, productive and makes me feel loved and needed.  Hey, it could be worse, I could be having a real baby...right?

I named her Hazel, by the way (animal control named her Aruba).  Ruth was my grandmother's name and she had a sister named Hazel.  Ruthie and Hazel.  I now have two dogs...four cats...and a beta.  Ruthie and etc...

Like all rescue dogs, they are so happy to be loved.  Hazel is spunky, sweet and has lots of energy.  She loves to go on walks with me (Ruthie has no legs) and fetch.  I think she will be my show dog.  I'm pretty sure I can teach her to jump through hula hoops and catch Frisbees.  On the flip side, she rarely sits still.  Heck, with a dogsister and four cats to chase, there is always something going on.  When Hazel is still long enough she looks up at me with those big, brown eyes and I know she's saying, "thank you for shopping at PetSmart that day and taking a chance on me.  I won't let you down."

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Herban Essentials Wipes -- Is it Buzzworthy?

I like to keep fun things in my gym bag especially if I don't have time to change or shower after a workout.  I found a bag of these Herban Essentials Towlettes at the Container Store

Each bag contains 20 individually wrapped antibacterial wipes in three difference scents -- lemon, mint and lavender.  They are very fragrant but not in a overpowering, medicinal way.  They smell very fresh and clean, especially the lavender.  They are not full of moisture and I think should probably just be used as a last touch of clean.  The packages are compact so they are perfect to put into a cosmetic bag.  This would make a great teacher gift since they are surrounded by germs all day long.  Just tuck a few wipes in a cellophane bag with vitamin C lozenges and a bag of herbal tea, tie with a ribbon with a note that says, "Get Rid of the Ick, so you Won't be Sick!"