Thursday, April 29, 2010

Italian Sausage and Tortellini Soup...

Thank you to everyone for your sweet comments! I can't wait to share the pictures we took today on our drive through beautiful Pa Dutch Country! We took almost 70 pictures! Here is one sneak peek...

Spring is always a busy time with baseball, track and ballet. The kids get in the door from school and we finish homework and quickly eat only to run out the door for practice or a game. Sigh.... It is a good busy, but busy.

When it comes to meals it needs to be fast and easy. Soup is always a good option and it has been unseasonably chilly here in Pa, which makes warm soup a great option.  This soup has at least one item in it that each child likes! That makes this recipe a keeper!

Italian Sausage and Tortellini Soup
with White Beans

4 Tbls olive oil
5 links hot or sweet sausage, thinly sliced
2 cups chopped onion
1 fennel bulb, chopped
4-6 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tsp dried thyme
1-2 medium size tomatoes, diced
48 ounces chicken broth
1 16-ounce package frozen cheese tortellini
1 19-ounce can white kidney beans, rinsed and drained
6-10 ounces packaged spinach leaves
salt and pepper

Step One
Heat oil in a large heavy soup pot over medium-low heat. Add sausage, onions, fennel, garlic and thyme. Cook for 10-12minutes

Be careful it doesn't burn..

Add beans...

Add tomato and spinach

Add Chicken broth and tortellini (see note below)
Return to boil and allow to simmer for 6-8 minutes

Tony actually made this in the morning and he didn't want to add the tortellini until I heated it for dinner. The tortillini would soak up the chicken broth while sitting in the refrigerator, therefore it was better to wait.

When I pulled the soup out of the refrigerator for dinner that night, I brought it to a boil and added the tortellini and cooked for 6-8 minutes. Season with Salt and Pepper.

I asked Tony if he would teach us (me) some 101 cooking techniques. When I am dicing a tomato or onion he turns his head, because he says I hold the knife and onion wrong. I also have no idea how to debone a chicken. First on the list will be the chicken! Can you think of any other 101 cooking techniques you would like to know or learn? Don't be afraid to ask....he is listening!

We are happy to join in another fun

Life is sweet...

Life is sweet because.....

This morning Lil Tony's alarm clock went off before even the birds are awake. I got up to check on him to be told to go back to bed....he had a surprise for my Birthday. I just love the gifts that you can't put a price tag on, the gifts from the heart. The kids made home made cards and wrapped up art work from school. The best gifts possible!

Life is sweet because....
My good friend Kris delivered homemade red velvet cup cakes with cream cheese icing last night! My very very very favorite!

Life is Sweet because...
This was waiting for me for breakfast!

Life is sweet because...
Tony will dream with me about one day moving to the country to an older home that needs lots of work!

But for today....
I wanted a simple birthday, no big fuss, no 40th birthday party, no
Tony and I both took off today and when after the kids get on the bus we are going for a drive through the country to look at farmhouses, fields, horses, cows, enjoy the blue sky, and open road! 
The gift to dream....

Hope life is sweet to you today!!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Treasure Hunting....

Yesterday I shared our road side pick up from Easter and a little peek at a yard sale finds from Saturday. I am so excited today to participate in Coastal Charm's Nifty Thrifty Tuesday and share the rest of our treasures!

The girls got up early with me and we were out the door by 6:30 am. We stopped first a McDonalds for some hot coffee and hash browns and then we were on our way! A nice neighborhood development was having a yard sale so that was first on our list. The girls were a little disappointed because there were mostly baby items. No worry we found some more yard sales in town and found a few items. It wasn't our best day, but still a fun day.
We decided that you don't always find your treasures on your first day of your treasure hunt! Maybe their treasures are waiting to be found next week! Plus I let them keep their $5.00, so all is well!

I bought this vase and glass frog from a sweet gentleman. He told me all about it's history and his wife liked to put daisy's in it. I love daisy's. He said the pattern is called the Star of David.  Now, I know he so could have just used his best sales pitch on me, but I believed him .  Sold to the girl with her 2 daughters on a cold Saturday! I just love the glass frog! First time I saw a frog in glass. Have you seen this before?

This metal holder was 50 cents! I had the glass votives at home!

Added the votives, some water and white roses....

This was our favorite find....
4 prints for $1.00
Maddie is my artist and she loved them as much as I did

The best part is when you turn the print over it gives all the details about each artist...

This is my favorite...
The Plains of Heaven painted by John Martin

We framed them and Maddie hung the Mona Lisa in her room.
I just love that she loves and has an appreciation for art.

The other 3 pictures are hanging in the Front Room....

We also got that cute white milk glass dish for $2.00 and the cookbook for 50 cents!

We'll try again this Saturday for another treasure hunt and see what we find!
Thanks for joining us today!

Don't forget to visit Linda at Coastal Charm for Nifty Thrifty Tuesday!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Road side pick up....

On Easter Sunday we were driving from my parents to Tony's Dad's house and we (I) saw a FREE dresser on the side of the road. All I said to Tony was "Did you see that?" and he was turning the car around! Now I have to tell you there were 2 dressers but we could only fit one in the Blazer.

There was white paint spilled paint all over the top and down the front of the dresser.
This is what she looked like after Tony sanded the paint off.
She is starting to look a little better.
She is the perfect size. Not too big....Not too small....just right!
Using the same technique I used on the mirror and picture frames....
I painted it white, sanded the edges and applied glaze!
The hardward didn't fit the existing holes. No problemI  I just filled in the holes with wood filler and drilled new holes.  If you look real close you'll see my lack of patience won out again. I still need to paint over the holes!!

She now lives in our family room and will provide wonderful storage for all those board games and stuff!
We just can't seem to escape stuff!

Today was a chilly rainy day so Maddie and I had fun trying to figure out how to accessorize!
The tin flower holder was a yardsale find this weekend for a mere 50 cents. I just added some small votives and white roses! We didn't do wonderful this Saturday, but we did get a few other things that I'll share with you later this week. One became a small project for me and Maddie. 

Before I say good bye I wanted to share a song and singer that I discovered today through Sandy at
Reluctant Entertainer. I love every song I listened to today, but this one touched my heart. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. The singer is Mela Kamin.

I hope you can join as at the following fun parties....
5 Minutes Just for Me for Sunday Song
Little Red House for Mosaic Monday
Southern Hospitality for Thrifty Treasures

Thank you to these sweet girls for hosting great parties and Thank you to you for stopping by today!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

We might be expecting....

This post has nothing to do with food or decorating, but does have to do with a lesson in love and/or life. I thought you might enjoy and wanted to share! You might even have some insight for me or some great words of wisdom, because some times being a parents puts you in surprising situations!

We are babysittiing sweet Herbie this weekend for my friend Beth ...

We have sweet little Ginger.....

When Herbie arrived on Friday he was a little shy and hid in his hut for most of the afternoon and early evening.....Then the two started to "talk" to each other. They were each in their own cage, although Sarah couldn't understand why we couldn't get them out or put them together. Sarah explained that at the pet store they are all together. Good arguement, but my judgement told me,"Don't think that would be the best idea"

Well us mom's have weak moments....why is this?
So in my weak moment I said okay lets just open the cage doors and see how it goes?

Sarah is such a good mommy to her Ginger! So here is our Ginger making her move.
Sweet Herbie ran to his hut and hid. 
 Sarah.... "Oh please mom...why can't we get them out and let them play?"
Me.... "Okay lets give it a try"
What could go wrong?

Mom...."Baby sitting is a big responsibility and we wouldn't want anything to happen to sweet Herbie"
Sarah..."We should take them to my room so Lily isn't around"
Great Idea!

Here they are saying hi! This time Ginger sniffed Herbie's little nose and ran the other direction...
Sarah..."Mom why is Herbie chasing Ginger and Ginger keeps running away?"

Sarah.."Mom why is Herbie on top of Ginger?"
Sorry no pictures at this moment, because I think I threw my camera down on the floor...
Me...(screaming) "NOOOOOOO"
Me...."Oh my gosh Sarah hurry get Ginger...NOOOOOOO"
Sarah..."Mom what is Herbie doing"
Now I have the whole family in the room. Sarah and Lil Tony are trying to figure out what just happened....
I am just trying to seperate the two love pigs...
Ginger is back in her cage....

So sweet little Herbie is going back to Beth tomorrow a little wiser. Sorry Beth...I hope you let us babysit again. Ginger is grounded to her cage until tomorrow night. Need to have a talk with the kids.
I will let you know if we have babies. 
Would love to hear your advice or stories??

Thrifting in King of Prussia.....

On Thursday, 5 of us meet in King of Prussia for a fun day of great conversation, good food and of course thrifting! A few months ago I was so lucky to start a blogging friendship with Kim from My Domestic Bliss. In one of our conversations we thought, wouldn't it be so much fun to meet in King of Prussia and go thrifting. Then we thought, why not see who else would like to join in the fun!

So here we are (minus me) from left to right:

These girls are awesome and so much fun! First we meet for a brunch and had some good laughs! Then we set our plan of action for thrifting!  Jessi wasn't able to join us thrifting, but so glad she could meet us for brunch! She is a sweetheart! Kim was our tour guide and she did wonderful! Our first stop was a consignment shop, Kim took her camera in and you'll need to keep an eye on her blog for the pictures! We didn't want to scare the owners with too many camera's! I did pass on a beautiful china pattern, now I am thinking I should take a drive back for it. Although it is probably gone by now.

Deb was our taxi driver and we had 3 GPS's...just in case! (We still manaed to get lost on the way there.)
We went to a Good Will and a Salvation Army in Norristown, Pa. I was so proud of Deb for making a great purchase on a mirror! (Deb is a long time friend and neighbor)

Hurray up take her money before she changes her mind!

Deb did it! Purchanse made! Isn't that an awesome mirror! She is going to hang it in her foyer. I think she said she is going to be painting it black. 

Here is Kim buying a picture frame! She bought 3 addorable frames through out the day!

Here is Stephanie showing me a picture. It wasn't until after I took the photo I realized what the picture looked like. Ummmm...Is she holding it up side down or right side up? Any ways...she didn't buy that picture. (Stephanie is the one who got me hooked on blogging!)

On to our next shop....this is where I did good...really good! I will take the trip again to this thrift shop!
Let me give you a closer look at the shoes. I paid $12 for. They look like they were never worn!
When I got home went on line and found them at Nordstrom for $89!

I also got 2 great jackets. They both look like they were never worn! The owner told me they wash and iron everything, if it needs dry cleaned they will have it dry cleaned first.

We plan to get together again and find another fun town to do some thrifting in! Thanks girls I had a great day! Maybe you can join us next time! We hope :)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Painting Complete...

I am so excited to share the pictures of the dining room with you!

You have heard me say many times how much I love our local paint store. Again they did not steer me wrong! With removing the wall paper there were some areas that had minor imperfections (from my lack of patience). I thought a flat paint would be out of the question, but then they told me about Aura by Benjamin Moore. The selling point was a customer was buying the same paint and raved about it. gallon of Aura by Benjamin Moore in Wedgewood gray

What makes this paint different?
Richer texture...high hiding and never needs more than two coats
Dries faster & can recoat in one hour
(which means I can legally paint faster and hang my pictures faster)
Goes on smoothly and touches up easily
Durable finish (washable)
Yes...flat paint that can be washed!
I think they designed this paint just for me! Did they hear me complain when I painted the kitchen?
3 kids and one dog means I need to be able to wash the walls, because you just never know what one could find on the wall. He showed me pen written on a sample wall and washed it off!  So off I go with my new paint!!

You do need to work quickly with this paint and if the paint has started to set you can't go back over it until it is dry. There was some learning curve, but once I got the idea...I loved it!

Shall we take a tour?

I haven't hung many pictures back up and took the burgandy shades off the chandelier.
Going to go shopping in the house first and then to some thrift stores...

I bought this tray many years ago with my mom. It has lived in many rooms, but just never felt perfect.
I think it finally found its home!

The molding was in place when we bought our home. It was one of my favorites details about the house!

One of the reasons I loved this color was because it works so well with the cherry furniture. The fruit picture has to stay. It was a gift from Tony when we bought this house. I will have to take a picture of the back and let you tell me what the writing means. It was from Spain.

The side hutch was my grandmothers. When my grandmother passed away my grandfather offered it to Tony and I for our first home. It was unfinished when we got it. We had someone stain it, because I didn't want to mess it up. It is one of my favorite pieces of furniture. I love the detail! I still have the key that locks the doors!

The cake was for my parents Birthday dinner...Mom's B-day was April 12 and Dad's was April 13th and their Anniversary is April 19th....Did I tell you I turn 40 this month...can't believe it!

The chairs...I just removed the plaid fabric. The orginal cream fabric works great and the best part it is free!

Now the fun part begins...accessorizing!
Shall we go shopping?

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