My Etsy Shop

Well...I've finally put something in my Etsy shop that I've had for 3 years now.  aaakk!!  {what am I thinking?!}    My reasoning?  I can't tell you how many emails I get from cute ladies who would rather just buy the junk I post on the blog instead of having to hassle with it themselves.  So...after cute Betsy emailed me today about the photos I posted, I decided that my vacant Etsy shop would be perfect.  I don't really need the shop, hence the vacancy, but it's a good place to unload any of my extra treasures and miscellany.  {And you all know how much I love Etsy!!!}

So here's the link - it's just photos for now but I'm excited to put more stuff on there! (working on some adorable embroidered onesies!!)

Oh, and I only listed one of each print as available, but obviously I can order more, so I'll keep an eye on that and make sure there's always one of each item available.

Escape from Winter Blah

For those of you Pioneer Woman fans, you're surely aware of her fun photo challenges.  I'm in love with her, along with the rest of America, and she opens up the photo floodgates with these photo challenges. The last two have been my faves - FOOD AND FLOWERS!!!  Perfect!  It's been just the thing to shake me from my winter blues.

Here's her latest flower grouping posted here on her blog.  {gasp!!!}  I have SO many favorites!!!   Anyone can join her Flickr group and post pictures - these below are some in my own photo file.  My photos don't even come close to how great the winning shots are, but they still make me smile and anticipate spring and summer!.....ahhhh....3 more months....I can hang in there.

I wish this photo were more clear and better taken, but I was in a hurry and just snapped it because I loved the little fairy hairs on the flower! 

this Iris shot is probably one of my favorites in my collection.  

this one makes me smile - it kinda looks like a mother and child to me.  A beautiful mother teaching her child how to blossom.  {And it's orange and orange makes me smile - and I think of my own mother, whose favorite color was/is orange} Love you, mommy!

Kadie grew some amazing sunflowers during the end of summer - how grand!  I'm in love with my sunflower photo collection and this one is my favorite, I think.

Magnolias.  If only there were millions more around me.

There, now!  Doesn't that feel better?!  Doesn't it make you excited for winter to be over?!!!

Winter Blah and other stuff

First things first -  fitness challenge info coming soon when I get more than 5 minutes of spare time - eeek!  I have WWAAAAAYYY too many irons in the fire but at least it keeps my mind off of winter. {ugh! with emphasis!}   I have a big stack of your jackpot money and I will post a list as to who has paid up.  Don't fret - if you sent it, I probably have it.  When my little busy-body baby goes down for a nap, can go over my list.  Or I can sit in silence. hmmm...

Anyway - does anybody else feel done with winter?!  I'm completely done with it.  Snow is falling with big, fat, slow, beautiful flakes and all I can think about is springtime blooms.  So what do I do?!  I go to my fave Etsy artist, Katie Daisy at  The Wheatfield - and order some prints for my collection to hang on my walls to remind me that life is beautiful, bright, colorful, and happy!  This is my collection thus far - I think I'm her biggest fan!!!

...I love this. This is it, isn't it?! Life isn't always perfect, but this is it, so make the best of it, right?! And the colors in this are amazing.  Makes me giddy.  It's pretty much all of my favorites in one place.

 {gasp!} Don't you LOVE this little birdie?!  I've got a chocolate brown guest bathroom and that's where he lives.  It brightens up the place!

This just makes me smile looking at it - still looking for the perfect spot on my walls...

This one was my first print - I ordered a huge one to go in a 11 x 14 frame AND I ordered a custom oval-shaped mat from JoAnn's to frame it with - that's how much I love this print!  When I get it hung on the wall I'll show it off to  you.  OH how I love this painting - it completely takes my mind off of the bleak, gray days here.

Ahhh.  I feel more cheerful now!!


Cute Thing!

How cute is Deana?!   She left a comment on my last post with a "Stylish Blogger Award" (thanks, Deana...I love you!)  So naturally I hopped on over to her blog and ended up having a great time having laugh or two.  AND she has some great ideas on there, too!!!  What a cute thing!  Thanks, Deana, for totally making my day!!!  You ROCK!


Doodle Stitching---I'm in love!

 A huge thanks to Cassie over at You Go Girl for getting me hooked on these books.  They're SO easy to follow, they're exactly what I've been looking for, and who doesn't love hand-stitched cuteness?!!!

The idea is that you draw stuff and then turn it into hand-stitched amazingness.  You can either use your own doodles, or Aimee Ray has given you two entire books full of great images!  AND IT'S SO EASY.  I had no idea this would be so easy.  {And theraputic.}

This "Motif Collection" book even comes with a CD with all of these images!!! {gasp!}  This is all so truly exciting. 

I'm currently working on something that has sat like this for a couple of weeks because I'm forever having something else more important to take care of.  As you know, I'm obsessed with trees and this little tree is going to be a seasonal sampler - four big sections for the four seasons.
Patience, my little project---someday you'll be amazing... I hope...

It's all so cute, I can't stand it.

This seasonal tree in the book was my inspiration for my own.  Of course, I couldn't do something small and simple like what's in the book.  No.  I have to go get a big, honkin' piece of fabric and work the crap out of it.  What if I totally hate it in the end?!  haha!  Well...at least I'm learning in the process!!! 

It's all like candy to me.  LOVE the colors.  


Pay UP!

Hey all of my April Fools Fitness Challenge Peeps - you need to send your moolah!  I've got entry fees for several people, so THANKS to all of you!

So here's what happened in the last challenge - some people got confused, one check got returned to sender, and long-story-short, our winners did not get the total amount I promised them.  To prevent that from happening this time, I'm going to set a deadline.  If I don't have your money by JANUARY 31st, I'm going to cry some tears and scratch some names off the list.  Don't get scratched!  You want to fit into those skinny jeans and you want to win the jackpot!!!  Right?!  So send in your $10 so that you can stay on the list!!!  Email me if you need my address again.  Thanks! That is all.

WINNERS! {from previous challenge}

Finally time to meet our winners from the previous fitness challenge back in December.  THE HARDEST TIME EVER!!!  These two women worked so hard and I love their stories.

So first up, let's meet Rachel! {you're adorable, Rachel!!!}

After struggling with weight for almost my whole life, I decided while pregnant with my 4th baby last year that this was my time to make the changes I needed and to GET HEALTHY for good! 

I joined Weight Watchers just after my baby was born 6 months ago, and I never looked back! In that time I have lost 50 pounds UNDER my pre-pregnancy weight.(This weight loss challenge got me almost to the end, and I finished it out just shortly after!) As for workouts, I simply set a goal to be moving! I park farther from the doors at the grocery store, I do the Walk at Home videos from Leslie Sansone, and have pushed myself to start running--I am now training for my first 5k (coming from a non-runner this is a big deal!! :) I FEEL FANTASTIC!

It was SO important to I be able to eat the same things my family was eating--and that I not live on salad alone! I have realized on my weight loss journey that much of the first steps of change are PORTION CONTROL and to stop snacking mindlessly. When you track what you eat, you are much more mindful of what you're putting in your body! :) I feel like my whole family is healthier as a result--

One of my favorite meals to eat is a homemade stirfry--the recipe can be found here:

If you want my whole weight loss before and after pictures and little story, you are welcome to share my link to it. If not, that's fine too...whatever works! I am happy to share...

Next, let's Meet Melanie!  {also utterly adorable!!!}

My husband and I are the parents of 5 boys, yes all boys (ages 3-13).  We recently moved from Highland Utah to Chattanooga, Tennessee. Although we miss our family and friends out west, we love life in the South.  I love to cook, bake, travel, read, entertain, and create a home for my family. I also love blogging:)  I have two blogs, a recipe site I share with my sisters called The Sisters Cafe (www.sisterscafe.blogspot.com) and Melandboys (www.melandboys.blogspot.com)
I think the secret to my success was having such a great partner in this contest.  Rachel had already lost over 40 pounds and was on a roll!!  She was so committed that I really did not want to let her down. She is such an inspiration to me! She has been following the Weight Watchers program, so I joined online so we could be doing the same thing.  I will admit that dieting at Christmas time was hard, but I am so glad that I did.  With the weight Watchers program you can still have your treats, if you save the points by eating healthy the majority of the time. Now I am excited to keep it going and get off that last stubborn 15 pounds!
Here is a link to my favorite healthy and DELICIOUS meal!  Yum!
Thai Coconut Shrimp (

Thanks, Rachel & Melanie!  You both make me want to try harder - thanks for sharing!



How exciting that you all want to join in the fitness fun!  I've got 55 people down---and I'm going to have to close the sign-up list.  {So many cute people to keep track of!!!}  So no more stragglers---and let's DO THIS THING!!! {...after I have a piece of my homemade wheat bread....mmmmm....not very healthy but oh well....}

To kick off my fitness journey, I'm totally watching 'Shallow Hal' tonight!  I've never seen it, it was on HBO, so I DVR'd it.  ha!  {DVR, ATV, VCR,  MTV - what has happened to the English language?!}

Cooking 101 - Sausage, Kale & Potato Soup

If you need a hearty winter comfort soup, THIS IS IT!!!

This. Is. SO. Good.  Especially with BFF Kadie's bread
When I want something good to eat, I go check out Kadie's blog - she's always got exactly what I want on there.  That's where I found this soup and I absolutely had to try it.

I did mine a little differently - but the general idea is the same.  This soup reminds me of Zuppa Toscana at the Olive Garden, but I actually think this one is better.   {squeal!}  I doubled my recipe because I wanted a big pot, so here's my version:


2 T olive oil
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 -1/2 t. crushed red-pepper flakes (depends on how spicy you like it)
5-7 large potatoes cut into small, 1/2 inch chunks (I used red potatoes)
1/4 c. fresh chopped Italian parsley
6 c. chicken broth (6 c. water + 3 Tbs. chicken base) 
1 bunch kale, stemmed and shredded (about 3-4 c. shredded)
1.5 - 2 lbs. Italian sausage, casings removed
1/3 c. heavy cream (optional, but wonderful!)

In a large pot, heat oil over medium. Add onion and cook until soft.  Add garlic and red pepper flakes; cook until fragrant.   Add the potatoes, parsley and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat.  Simmer until the potatoes are tender, 10-15 minutes.

Meanwhile, brown sausage until it's no longer pink.  Set aside.

In a blender, or with an imersion blender, puree half the soup. Return to the pot and add kale and sausage. Simmer until the kale is wilted about 10-15 minutes.  Add heavy cream.  You don't have to use all of it if  you don't want. Salt & pepper as needed

Makes about 8-10 generous servings.