Saturday, April 30, 2011


I know . . . I've been a bad, bad blogger.  Just haven't felt like I had anything exciting to share.  But I have to remind myself that my blog isn't necessarily about sharing and showing unique and/or one-of-a-kind experiences and creations, but just simply sharing bits of me and my hum-drum life.

So today I thought I'd share, what I consider for me to be a pretty exciting bit of news.  Since the beginning of February, I've been working to rid myself of some unwanted poundage.  Seems like for the past few years . . . or well, maybe forever . . . I've been struggling with, at times, 10 to 15 pounds of extra, unwanted weight.

I'm sure many of you can relate.  You know, not enough extra pounds to make you necessarily "overweight", just enough to make you uncomfortable in your clothes and how you look.  That's been me for a while now.  I've been very close to, or at the very high-end of my weight-range for a couple years.  And I've not been liking it at all!

Oh, I do feel fortunate that being 5'10" I can get away with carrying some extra weight.  But I was waayyy out of my comfort zone.  I'd been so frustrated because I exercise religiously - I have for years.  And I thought I was always good about what I ate, but I would overindulge a bit now and again. Thank goodness I do exercise regularly!  I may have had more than just a little weight problem all these years!

Super Bowl Sunday, I stepped on the scales and the numbers made me cringe.  175 pounds!!! OMG!  I hadn't weighed that much since after Son No. 3 was born.  I vowed it was time for drastic measures.  And I'm sure many of you are going to poo-poo, and maybe even severly criticize the drastic measures I took to aid in my weight loss.

You see, I'm a bad calorie counter, point watcher, carb eliminator, etc.  And I've tried all those programs - Weight Watchers, South Beach, Nutri-System, general counting of daily caloric intakes.  And while they're all fantastic programs, and really work for many, many people, I had very limited success with all of them.  When loosing weight, it's better for me to not have to think too much about food.  Those programs I mentioned, in some ways, almost keep me a little stressed.  All that tracking and adding things up (remember, I'm really bad at math!) would just be too much for me at times.

So I decided to go a more controversial route.  I enlisted the help of a physician at a weight loss center.  Using a prescribed appetitie suppressant, Phentermine (the good half of the ill-fated Fen-Phen cocktail), I've been able to loose
25 pounds and drop 2 sizes.  
Now, I'm not going to solely credit the drug for my weight loss, although it certainly did help with suppressing my appetite.  But I've been working very, very  hard.  I've stepped up my workouts, exercising every . single . day . . . yes every day.  Okay, there's been a few times here and there where I couldn't get a day in.  But quite honestly, I can count those days since the beginning of February on one hand.

I've also been very good about what I'm eating.  Although Phentermine will greatly reduce your appetitie to where you really don't feel the need to eat, I have been making sure I eat.  And as healthy as possible.   I know it does no good to starve and deprive yourself to have some or all the weight come back later when you're done with that program.  I even have sweets.  For instance, when I've made cupcakes, if I want a cupcake, I'll take a bite or two and then toss the rest in the trash.  I know, what a waste!  And that's been one of my problems over the years - cleaning my plate, or eating the kids leftovers.  Throwing away food was bad! Taking just a bite or two of a little treat allows me to enjoy it by not depriving myself, but not feeling guilty or having to pay later.  And something else I'm retraining myself on is to simply not eat if I wasn't hungry.  Too many times I eat because the food's just there or it looks good or smells good.  

I did an eight week stint on the medication, and lost an average of about 2 pounds a week.  There were even some weeks where I didn't loose a single pound.  The slow weight loss, I think, was ideal.  From everything we read, loosing weight slowly most times helps in keeping it off longer.

If you do some research on Phentermine, you will find that although it can be somewhat controversial by some professionals and it can produce cerain side effects in some people, it has been very effective in helping obese persons begin their weight loss journeys.  I realize I was not obese, and will admit that the weight I wanted to loose was mostly considered cosmetic.  And even with the 25 pounds I've lost, now weighing in at around 150, I'm still not at the bottom of my weight range, and I don't plan to loose any more.  This is my ideal weight.  I'm super comforatble at this weight.  My clothes fit better.  That muffin top is GONE! WooHoo!  And I just generally feel great!  I think it's got me back on track with the realization that if I want to look and feel a certain way, even though I do exercise every day, I can't eat the way I'd been.   

So, there you have it.  My very long and drawn out testamonial on weight loss with a little help.  I'd been wanting to blog about my weight loss success for a while now because I've been so excited and happy and proud that I've finally done it - reached my ultimate goal!  But if I did, I wanted to be truly honest about how I did it, but was afraid I'd get negative reactions to method I used.  Again, I'm not at all advocating this for everyone.  And it really should be done under a physician's watch.  I wish I could have done it solely on my own with my own self-control and will-power, but it just wasn't working for me.  And I really, really wanted to loose those pounds.

Now if someone would come up with a way to make stretchmarks magically dissappear . . . . !

Thanks for visiting!
Leave a comment so I can get to know you.

Thursday, April 21, 2011


I originally posted this back at Christmas, but wanted to share the recipe for those who might have missed it.  

Easter and Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups ~ they definitely go together!

Substitute the Christmasy mini muffin baking cups for Easter or springy ones, and you've made a quick, easy and yummy treat for Easter.

This recipe came from my friend Beth.  Super easy, but even better, rich and creamy and yummy!

9 oz white chocolate chips
8 oz semisweet chocolate chips
1-1/2 cups peanut butter

{makes about 60 cups using mini papers}

Heat white chocolate and 3/4 cups of the peanut butter over medium low heat until melted and smooth.  

Spoon enough into bottom of each paper liner - about a 1/4 of inch or so.  
Refrigerate for 5 to 10 minutes.  

Meanwhile, melt the semisweet chocolate chips and remainder of peanut butter over medium low until smooth.  

Add this chocolate mixture over the cooled, firm white chocolate peanut butter.  

Thanks for visiting!
Leave a comment so I can get to know you.

Monday, April 18, 2011


A little while back, I was contacted by Megan Edgeller, a rep from a company called
Build A Sign does just that - they will "build" virtually any type of sign you need for any type of ocassion.  

Megan explained to me that Build A Sign, just this year, had launched a sister company called

At Easy Canvas Prints, you can upload any photo of your choosing, and have it reprinted on a canvas to create a one-of-a-kind, quality piece of "art" for your home.  Your creation can be anything . . . a photo of your children, your wedding, a landscape photo, your most inpsired quote, etc.  

Sample canvas from Easy Canvas Prints Gallery

Sample from Easy Canvas Print Gallery
Megan asked if I would review and promote Easy Canvas Prints in exchange for product.  I was thrilled (and somewhat honored!) to be able to create a piece of art for my home, and be able to share my creation/order experience with my readers.  

I will tell you firstly the most difficult part of this process was choosing a photo.  I really wanted to have a canvas made from a photo of my boys.  But the most recent photo I had of the three of them together was about three years old, and, unfortunately, it was blurry (an example of my poor photography skills!).  

Actually, that fact illustrates part of the great customer service provided by Easy Canvas Prints.  After I uploaded the photo, and went through the various options for finishing - canvas size, canvas thickness, border choice, color oprtions -  and placed my creation in the cart, Megan (who, incidentally, was fantastic to work with!) emailed me to let me know the photo might not work out well once it was enlarged for the canvas because it was out of focus. Megan informed me that their art departement carefully reviews every order before processing to make sure they can produce a quality product.  If there's any question about the quality of the photo you've uploaded, someone from their art department will email you with their concerns.  

The whole creation/order process could not have been simpler.  The website was extremely 
user-friendly, easy to navigate and quite effecient.  As I said earlier, the hardest part was choosing the photo!  Once the photo is choosen, the steps to completion are quick and easy.

Since the original photo I wanted to use would not have produced a professional, quality end-product, I decided to use one of my favorite garden photos I snapped last summer.  

A Monarch butterfly busy collecting nectar from a Mexican Sunflower blossom.  

When my canvas arrived in the mail, I truly think I squealed outloud!  
It was beautiful!  
To see an actual photo that I snapped turned into a piece of real "art" was an absolute treat.  

I cannot give enough praise, and recommend Easy Canvas Prints highly enough.  This is a quality company providing a quality product through quality service.  You absolutely have to visit their website and view more samples in the gallery, and read other testamonials.  What a fabulous gift one of these custom canvas' would make for any special ocassion.  

Thank you, Megan and Easy Canvas Prints, for creating a gorgeous piece of art for my home.  It was an aboslute pleasure working with you.  You can be sure I will be using your services in the future!

Thanks for visiting!
Leave a comment so I can get to know you.

Saturday, April 16, 2011


How stinkin' cute are these??!!!

Find the tutorial at

Super duper easy ~ if you sew.  And even if you're a novice at sewing, still super easy.

Just follow Clare's easy instructions, and you can "harvest" your own bunch of fresh fabric carrots.

Thanks for visiting!
Leave a comment so I can get to know you.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Chicken and Shrimp Paella

My family loves this meal!  It's quick and easy to prepare, and the recipe can be easily altered by substituting items.  And, here's the best part, it can be prepared all in one pot!  ;o) 

The use of Spanish chorizo sausage gives this dish a mild spicy flavor.  If you've never had chorizo, you don't know what your missing!  I can say it's one of my favorite sausages.  

The Ingredients:

4 bone-in skinless chicken thighs, plus 4 bone-in skinless chicken drumsticks
(I use 2 or 3 boneless chicken breast cut into chunks)

Coarse salt and ground pepper

2 tbsp olive oil

1 red pepper, thinly sliced

1 link precooked chorizo chopped - about 2 ozs
(I usually use 2 or 3 links)

1/2 small onion, chopped

2 garlic gloves, minced

1 can (14.5 ozs) diced tomatoes in juice
(for an extra added kick, I sometimes use the 
diced tomatoes and green chilies - like Rotel brand)

1 cup Arborio rice

1 can (14.5 ozs) chicken stock

1 box (10 ozs) frozen peas

1/2 pound peeled and deveined frozen medium shrimp, thawed

The Directions:

Season chicken with salt and pepper.  In a 5 quart Dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot, heat oil over med-high.  Working in batches, cook chicken (do not crowd pot - you don't want the meat to "steam") until browned, 7 to 8 minutes, turning once.  Transfer to a plate (reserve pot); set aside

Place pepper, chorizo, onion, garlic and tomatoes (with their juice) in pot; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid has evaporated, 4 to 6 minutes.

Add rice; cook, stirring until translucent around edges, 1 to 2 minutes.  Add broth and chicken; bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer; cover, and cook until rice begins to soften about 10 minutes.  Add peas and shrimp, submerging them in liquid.  Cover and cook until shrimp are opaque throughout, 4 to 6 minutes. 

That's it!  
Pretty quick and easy . . . and . . . yummy.  
I've even doubled the recipe to feed a crowd.  Serve it up in big bowls with some crusty bread and dinner's on the table.

As you can see from above, I subsituted frozen corn  for frozen peas (I was out!  How can that be???) and I added in some fresh asapargus I had to use.  There's no way you can mess up this dish.  It comes out perfect every time.  Hope you try it!

Thanks for visiting!
Leave a comment so I can get to know you.

Monday, April 4, 2011


I subscribe to a great online home dec magazine/newsletter that gets delivered right to my inbox.  I'm sure lots of you receive it, but for those who don't, it's called 

It's mostly a compilaton of great ideas gathered from many home dec magazines and websites.

One the latest newsletters sent to my inbox featured some great tablesetting ideas for every ocassion and every budget.  I choosen a few of my favorites to share.  

Homes and Gardens
Southern Accents

Southern Accents

Southern Accents

Southern Accents

Southern Accents

Southern Living

Southern Living

Southern Living

And just in case you need a little refresher,
 My Home Ideas put together a little Tablesetting 101 pictorial.

Formal Lunch

Formal Dinner


 Casual Dinner

 Casual Lunch

Thanks for visiting!
Leave a comment so I can get to know you.

Friday, April 1, 2011


Vintage French "April Fish" or April Fool's Day postcard.

About me!

You know, I really like when bloggers do posts that describe them more personally.  And, I've kinda wanted to do a blog post like that of my own, but I think "what the heck is so interesting about me???".  

Well I guess we all don't have to be all that interesting necessarily, but I think it would be nice to let you in on some goofy things about me.  It's been a year and a half since I started this blog, and I realized I've never really disclosed too much of my personal self.

Here goes . . . 

I'm tall.  5'10" . . . and a smidge.  Hubby's the exact same height.  And although I'm tall enough already, I love wearing heels ~ 3 sometimes 4 inch heels!  Hubby doesn't mind.  I think he likes being with an Amazon women when we're out.  But, even with my highest heels on, I'm still not taller then either of my two oldest boys.  And the youngest is sprouting up fast.  It's like land of the giants in our house.

I'm really, really bad at math.  And I have a horrific memory.

I can whistle through my eye.  Wait. Let me explain.  When I hold my nose, and my mouth is closed, and I blow out, a whistling sound comes from the corner of my eye.  I know, gross, right?!  I've actually met other people who possess this extraordinary talent, so I'm not looking to submit myself to the Guiness Book of Records any time soon.

I'm a middle child with bookend brothers.  Nah . . . I wasn't spoiled . . . really, I wasn't!  

I was way more of a tomboy then a girly-girl when I was younger. 

I've been with my Hubby forever.  Well, seems like forever.  We met the week after I turned 15 and have been together ever since {that would be 32 wonderful years!}.  It was a bit scandolous at first, because he was 19.  He actually thought I was older.  But he fell for my charming personality and couldn't let me go! ;o)

I am ka-razeeee for chocolate.  I mean really bad.  Anything chocolate.  Chocolate candy, chocolate cake, chocolate covered anything . . . if it's got any bit of chocolate goodness on it, I'm eatin' it!

I love to sweat; that is after a good workout.  It's so cleansing, and it reminds me just how good of workout I've had.

I'm deathly afraid of spiders.  

I don't like my bones touched.  Okay, another one I need to explain.  I don't like the feeling of having anywhere on my body where there's not much "meat" touched.  Areas like elbows, shins, collars, hips.  I feel like I'm going to instantly bruise.  Don't ask.  I have absolutely no idea how that came about!

I've never lived any farther than 20 miles from where I grew up.  And, my older brother is my neighbor.

I crack my knuckles.

Oh, and I'm an April Fool's Baby.  Yes.  Today is my birthday.  And, yes, anything you could ask about a kid growing up having to endure a birthday on April Fool's day, I've pretty much experienced.  But, it's all good.  I think my personality might match that of an April Fool's Baby's would ;o)

Vintage French "April Fish" or April Fool's Day postcard.

Well, that's about all I'm gonna share 'bout myself today.  I know you're probably thinking "thank god!", and how much might have veen TMI!!! lol  Have a great weekend!

Thanks for visiting!
Leave a comment so I can get to know you.
Related Posts with Thumbnails