Monday, October 31, 2011

Spinach Tomato Orzo Soup

I <3 soup! There's just no getting around's warm, comforting, and generally stores well. I especially love that last little fact b/c leftovers help free up a couple of my nites during the week. I'm having a couple of friends over tomorrow of course, I thought soup would be the perfect thing to serve. So...I made a piping-hot pot up tonite...and will have the delicious (and often more flavorful) leftovers with my friends *win win*.

Tonite's recipe is a first for me...a "pin" I'm finally trying out from the am.a.zing...Pinterest!


1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1lb spinach, fresh or frozen, defrosted
1- 15oz can diced Italian tomatoes
1lb package orzo pasta
2 qts chicken or vegetable stock
2 qts of water
olive oil

*I am laughing as I type out the ingredients list...b/c I just realized I made the recipe w/o the water listed. I wondered why it seemed so thick and why the pasta was sticking. Oh well...the result is still delicious. I'll just claim "artistic license." I also added 1 lb. pork some Italian seasoning.  (Now you all know my dirty little secret...I don't follow recipes very all.) :/

Ingredients...oh so yummy!
1. Preheat a large soup pot. Drizzle with olive oil. Add onions and saute until tender. Add garlic and saute for 2-3 minutes.
2. Add canned tomatoes, spinach, (sausage...if you like), chicken or vegetable stock, and WATER. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium.

3. Add orzo and cook for 12-15 minutes, or until orzo is tender.

4. Enjoy! I'm having a garlic breadstick with mine...just a little suggestion. :)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Running on Empty

For some reason...I'm just really tired today. It hasn't been a particularly taxing day...but I think the entire last week has finally caught up with me. So...this post is going to be short.and.sweet...then, off for some couch time.

2 fun things I have managed to get done:

a little trick-or-treating with my favorite Miss Addy...

She was a peacock...a simply adorable one, at that. My very talented sister made the costume...and she got tons of compliments while we were out. Yay, Sister!

and (almost) finishing my fabric frames...

I still need to add some ribbon trim to the back and put wire to hang...but they're so much closer to done!


Friday, October 28, 2011


It's been a busy day so far...worked for a bit this a.m., lunch w/ the hubs, and a little spray painting project (I'm in-between coats at the moment). Need to do a little cleaning tonite, too...yuckypoo.

So...yesterday (as I was longing for Friday to arrive), I started thinking about how growing up, T.G.I.F. was "like" a major part of my week. Not Friday itself, but the shows on Friday p.m. Idk about you, but back in the day...we had 1 t.v. in the house *gasp*. Usually, my dad was reigning over it, but Fridays...well, we'd all get to enjoy a little family-friendly viewing. 

A few of my faves were:

Not sure about ya'll, but I'm feeling warm and fuzzy just seeing those pics. :) Now...if only I could be transported to my parents' basement with a plate of Totino's Pizza Rolls, I'd be in business (a girl can dream, can't she?).

Of course...the only thing better than T.G.I.F. was a little Saturday morning t.v. action...Saved By the Bell, anyone? We'll have to wax nostalgic another time...

~We'll see ya next week!~

Thursday, October 27, 2011

I'm going to be linking up with 4 great blogs tomorrow for Fall Followers Fest at Hope you'll follow along! I'm so excited to see all the great ideas and posts!



To anyone new...welcome! I'm pumped to meet some new bloggers...and sneak a peek at your fab blogs!

My little blog covers life's adventures, a few recipes...but mostly my love of design (with a focus on repurposing almost anything I can).

A few examples:

My crafting area (formerly uggo basement)

Frames (rescued from the curb) + vintage fabric!

Guest room completed! (vintage, clearance, a *few* new treasures)

thanks so much for sharing your time with me! :)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


So...until now...I've only blogged on happy, fluffy things. I need to keep it real, though, so I thought I'd share a more personal side of me.

Something that I focus on waytoomuch is...myself. Not necessarily in an outwardly selfish way...but in a constant, self-deprecating way. I evaluate myself with such high standards, that it would be impossible to measure up.

I realized recently, that it's not just me that suffers from my unattainable need for perfection...but also everyone I interact with. Whether it's the hubs, friends, or acquaintances...I don't give people the chance to like the real me. How could I possibly be good enough...or someone they'd like to be around.

Wow...that's some heavy stuff, huh? Now, it's not like I'm completely unable to interact...but my "imperfections," are always lurking somewhere in my consciousness. This is a fact I'd like to learn to like that maybe others could have a better chance of doing so. If nothing else...what a burden to be lifted?  

Monday, October 24, 2011


Growing up, I would visit my aunt in Iowa City for a week every summer. She's an organic farmer (b/f it was cool)...and as a kid, I thought she ate some pretty crazy stuff. I'd pretend to enjoy the goat cheese and sprouts on my sandwich (I have grown to love goat cheese, btw...not the sprouts, though *blech*). Then one magical meal...she put green pasta on the table with more green sauce to go on it. Whatintheworld was she expecting me to eat?!?!

One pensive bite later...I was hooked! I met a tasty little concoction that nite...pesto. You can make pesto with lots of different ingredients, but this one was with basil...delicious!

Because we didn't eat such wild and crazy things at wasn't until my adult life that this tasty treat made its way back onto my plate.

I don't exactly have a recipe for basil pesto...I just kind of eyeball it (that's pretty much how I cook...improvisation). are some *vague* directions...

1. In a food processor, combine 2 cups fresh basil, 1/4 cup parmesan cheese (I cut it up first...just so it's easier to blend), 1/4 cup pine nuts (expensive...but delish!), and 2 cloves garlic.

2. Once this is all chopped up and combined, add b/w 1/2 - 1 cup olive oil (depending on how thick or thin you want the pesto) and ground pepper to taste. P.S...I'm sure there are certain fancy olive oils out there that I should be using...but I just use the same old oil that I cook with. I think it tastes just dandy.

3. One more whoosh of the food processor and "ta-da," there ya have it...a most delicious topping for pasta, crostini, tomatoes....just about anything you can imagine!

Anyway...I'm pretty sure almost everyone has tried pesto by now. Even so...I hope this little post will inspire you to make it...and make it soon. :)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Ticket to Ride

A glimpse at a time-gone-by...

How glamourous to imagine (even if just for an afternoon) what life was like...when trains ruled. Women wore nice dresses, stockings, & had bright red lips...and men donned suits (with vests) *swoon* & a hat (tipped, of course, to the ladies he would meet).

It's all so very romantic...but that's just it...would it be romantic if we had lived during that time? Or just a hum-drum, everyday occurrence? I guess it's up to us to make our present day just as lovely...ladies, with our Ugg boots and lip gloss and men, with your zip up hoodies and baseball caps... 

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Thursday, October 20, 2011

I'm Armed and Dangerous...

...well, if a glue gun counts...

Broke out this little blue number tonite...and decided to see what it could do.

It all started with a pretty, purple vintage hat I discovered in my mom's garage (it belonged to my great-grandma). It was love at first sight! 

There's just one problem...I'm not a hat person. Maybe the occasional baseball cap...for a bad-hair day...but never a dressy hat. It's just

So...what to do? I didn't want to display it (not really my style), but then I didn't just want to put it away. Then it hit me...I pin my hair back why not a hair clip?? *angels singing*

First, had to man up and cut this pretty little embroidered piece off of the hat. It only hurt for a second...I promise...did it quick, just like a bandaid. ;)

Then, just a couple dots of hot glue, a Goody snap clip...and I was in business!

Me likey!
~and kissy face...just for fun!~

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Foxy Lady

My mom made me soooo very happy tonite! She surprised me with a very special something that used to belong to my grandma. You see...there was this painting that always hung in her livingroom (well, as long as I can remember, anyway) and I have loved it forever. My mom has had it for the last few years...and I guess she decided it should finally be mine! It is the sweetest garden print by R. A. Fox...with vivid blues and greens...and just a pop of pink here and there.

I can't wait to hang this little treasure somewhere I can enjoy it every day...just as I'm sure my grandma did. :)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Last $4...

Browsing my beloved flea market a couple of weeks ago, I spied the most perfectest piece of salvage for my kitchen. I've been looking for something rustic to use as an inspiration board...and this was it. The only problem...I only had $4 left...and this little beauty was $5. Normally, I think of myself as a top-notch bargainer...but this guy was in no mood to negotiate. I had to admit to defeat and bum $1 off of Sister. So I guess I owe the whole project to her! :0

This game board's been holding court for quite some was time to mix things up...

So...up went an old, rusty piece of shelving from some farm contraption...

I guess it's my M.O. to take something that's been cast-off (the weirder, the better) and give it new life. Plus, now I have a place to put all those cute pics I get and the zillions of magazine pages I seem to collect. ;)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Cheeseburger Soup

Brrr....there's a chill in the air...finally! I have been soooo ready for Fall weather...and I think it's here! That can only mean one thing for this girl...time to hibernate. What exactly does that entail, you ask? Well, I have a pretty strict pattern I follow from year-to-year: come home and put on my jams, light some candles, and fix something tasty & comforting for dinner. Tonight, I'm fixing Cheeseburger all-time fav! (technically, the soup is for tomorrow nite...I'm getting it ready ahead of time, though...)

Here's what you'll need to make this soup for yourself...and you'll want to, trust's like a warm blanket for your tummy. :)

1 ½ c. water
2 c. cubed potatoes (I use frozen southern style hashbrowns)
2 small carrots, grated
1 small onion, chopped
¼ c. chopped green or red peppers
1 jalapeno pepper (seeded and chopped)
1 garlic clove, minced
1 T. beef bouillon granules
½ tsp. salt
1 lb. ground beef, cooked and drained (I cook mine in the bacon grease. Hey...I never said this was a healthy recipe. Although, I do sometimes use ground turkey...which is a wee-bit better...)
2 ½ c. milk, divided
3 T. all-purpose flour
8 oz. process American cheese, cubed
1/4 -1 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)
½ lb bacon, cooked and crumbled 

*I use my small food processor to get the veggies kind of purees you get the flavor, but the soup is still silky smooth...

*My other favorite tool to use is my Pampered Chef Mix N makes browning hamburger, etc. so easy!

1. In a large saucepan, combine the first nine ingredients: bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until potatoes are tender.  (I add the cayenne pepper to mine during this step.)

2. Stir in beef and 2 c. of milk: heat through.
3. Combine flour and remaining milk until smooth: gradually stir into soup. Bring to a boil: cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened and bubbly.
4. Reduce heat to very low and stir in cheese until melted.

5. Spoon yourself up some piping-hot goodness, top with some crumbled bacon, and...enjoy! :)

*Makes 6-8 servings (about 2 quarts)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

A Sense of Calm...

In the chaos that life offers...a weight is lifted when I look at a completed project...even if just for a moment. It has been our goal the last year to get the upstairs of our house "done." This meant cleaning out a lot of junk, painting (done mostly by the hubs), and getting organized...and a little fun along the way. Well, with our guest room finally done, we're almost finished (there's one room left...a place for all my accessories *eek*/room for my niece to call home when she's visiting).

So, without further ado...

Four-poster bed...not necessarily my style...but it is a "family" piece...and free, so I will work with it. :) I chose all white bedding...something I've always wanted to do, but that makes me a bit nervous (the 2 animals that live here have already found this to be a very comfy nap spot). The blanket at the foot of the bed is a recent flea market steal!

The 2 nite tables are things I've had stashed away (the green one is my fav...and I'm so excited to have a home for it now). I found the kelly green lamps at Target (in the land of clearance) for less than $10 each!

Love, love, love my framed fabric! Vintage fabric + free (from the curb) frames = perfect wall art! :) Just got some more fabric in the mail from Etsy to add to my recent flea market frames (going to try my hand at a craft show). We'll see if anyone else loves my creations as much as I do....

Dresser...much like the bed...I'm not in love with, but it serves its purpose. Everything else, though, I adore! Lamp (gift from a friend, with a new shade), yard sale art, green depression glass bowl (a wedding gift of my great grandparents), mirror (I just added some shiny black paint), and a wooden tote (used for picking strawberries in its first life).

Instagram pic doesn't necessarily show the best detail...but makes it all look a bit more artsy.

Still obsessed with now having a home for the antique corbels that came from the farmhouse my mom grew up in! Someday we'll have a dream home where they can be used as shelving brackets in the kitchen *sigh,* but for now...they look pretty snazzy.

Along with some other treasures I've picked up along the way...these shelves serve a very important purpose; as a home for Jason's books (and books, and books...)

Last, but not least, my rescued plant stand. It still doesn't have a distinct reason for being (other than looking great in front of my vintage+new curtains), but that will come in time, right? More treasures to be found...surely will need a place to call home. ;)

*Breathe*...another room down...and shared. Now, I have a choice: a day of relaxation...or *dun, dun, dun*...start on the last room. Decisions, decisions.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Path Less Traveled

So...the hubs and I are kinda weird...we like to get in the car and just drive. Sometimes we have a general idea of where we're headed...and other times, we just follow whatever road peaks our interest.

When we decided to get away for a few days this fall...a road trip was the first thing that popped into our minds: no destinations, no hotel reservations. Although we learned we had somewhat different ideas of what this trip should the end, it turned out to be just what we needed.
*P.S...did I mention we were going to do all of this on a bit-of-a budget?? This included bringing food for snacks and lunches (we treated ourselves to dinners out) and finding the best deals on hotels along the way.
Growing up, I never understood why my parents would pack food for trips...why didn't we just eat out?? Now that I'm an adult, paying my own way...I completely understand. (That doesn't mean I didn't throw a baby fit the last day...I just wanted to eat something warm and delicious for lunch...not another sandwich!)

This was the best of the 3 hotel rooms we stayed in...hellllloooo king-size bed! (We have a king at it's a wee-bit rough when travelling to "downsize.") First nite, our stay was only $50! The room was clean...nothing fancy. Second nite, the room was a bit more expensive, but had the nice big bed AND a whirlpool tub! (*sigh*) Last nite...well, it was a can't win 'em all, huh? that you know how we's what we saw and did...

Day 1 was spent on the road...about 10 LONG hours (I'm over the bitterness now...) We finally landed in Escanaba, happy to rest our weary heads. Since we got there at nite, it wasn't until the a.m. that we got to see what a beautiful place it is!

Day 2 we loaded back up...and hit the road. I've never been to I wasn't really sure what to expect. It is beautiful! The landscape is so different from here in Iowa. *note: I love Iowa!* There is something exciting, though, about seeing how vast and varied this country is.
Jason's tall...but had nothing on this guy. ;)

Everywhere we looked...there were signs for something called a "pasty." Finally, we couldn't take the suspense anymore...we hadtohave PASTY!!! The dish came to the U.S. with Cornish immigrants; used as a quick & easy lunch for miners. (You're welcome for the history lesson...hahaha.) It's a pastry shell filled w/ beef, pork, onion, rutabaga, and salt & pepper...and I loved every bite!

Lake Superior in L'Anse, Michigan

Awwww... :)

Bob Lake...breathtaking!

Ottawa National Forest

 Day 3...we left our lovely, clean, and cozy hotel in Eagle River, Wisconsin (oh yeah, somewhere in day 2, we crossed state lines). After exploring the town, we discovered it's the Snowmobile capitol OFTHEWORLD!!! *read dramatically* While I know nothing about snowmobiling, nor did I know there is a world championship in its honor...this was still a pretty cool thing to see.

*Note the Cranberry Fest on the sign...we got to enjoy a FREE piece of pie w/ our dinner at The Friendship House b/c they had too much left over from the celebration. Score!

All you need at a snowmobiling race, & food... :)

Small hiccup along the way...these guys were just trying to do their job (replacing a drainage pipe) and had the road dug out... We waited about 25 minutes for them to fill the hole back in so we could pass. Jason was in heaven! His reaction, and I quote: "We're so cool, Wisconsin's building a road for us!" I <3 him. :)

Happened upon a really cool art park filled with sculptures and a walking trail. Retired lumberjack, Fred Smith, couldn't read or write, but was able to communicate through his art (using concrete, broken bottles, found objects).

Our final nite out, found us in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Enjoyed some pizza at Big Al's and then some homemade ice cream at The Pearl

Day 4 (are you exhausted yet??) Woke up and high-tailed it out of our icky hotel room... Finished out the short visit to La Crosse with a tour of Riverside Park.
 Looks like I'm missing a tooth in this pic...please try to overlook that...

Running alongside the Mississippi River, the park was beautiful and relaxing...

This last little bit of the trip gave me a glimpse of what Jason and I will be like when we're retired... We were the youngest people (by approximately 40+ years) watching a barge go through the lock and dam system. That being said...this is a seriously cool set-up! I won't bore you with the details...but if you're ever itching for some senior-style should definitely check it out!

If I've managed to hold anyone's attention this far...I'd be amazed!  We had tons of fun on this adventure and covered a lot of miles (1431.5 to be exact)..but it sure was nice to get home! :)