Saturday, January 24, 2015


I love my holiday marshmallows for my hot chocolate!  So when I found the strawberry heart marshmallows I could not wait to brew up some hot chocolate.  I love my Keurig for everything from coffee to tea to hot chocolate and hot cider.  I love that I can find both Swiss Miss and Dunkin Donuts hot chocolate in K-Cups.

They melted up quickly and add a touch of strawberry flavor to the chocolate.
Another favorite holiday accessory, I purchase packaged holiday paper napkins for all the holidays and seasons to use every day.  I find them at The Dollar Tree and The Christmas Tree Shops.  Brings touch of holidays (or seasons) to every meal.


I am not sure why it is so hard to find nice, substantial decorations for Valentine's Day.  Over the years I have collected some nice things, but nothing overly special.  I have seen some real nice pieces here and there, but nothing that hits the mark for me.  Several years ago, in my desperation to find some festive items for my home, I found some cute heart shaped boxes at The Dollar Tree.  They are marketed as boxes for gifts but, they are perfect for decorative use too.

Some of the boxes have organza bows in like colors but contrasting prints.
This pink heart box with a bow is paired with a cute little resin bear.  The bear is actually a balloon weight but it makes a cute figurine too.
Other boxes are just decorated with festive prints.  And another little bear.
The box in the entryway is has a "burn out" effect.  And the smaller glittery box below, I love a little bling for all my holidays.  And two Valentine's "wish jars."  I have several around the house, I found then several years at Oriental Trading Co.
I like to hang a little something on the front door knob around the year.
The front entry, a glittery felt heart on the mirror and glittery "love" table top decoration on the ledge.
Boxes, hearts and roses.
More hearts, roses and a tinsel wrapped heart in the living room.
And on the side tables two little Valentine's snow globes.
Decorating the dining room always seems to be the easiest.  One of my favorites is to hang things from the chandelier.  But up until now I have not had anything for Valentine's Day that I really liked.  I recently found these glittery hanging hearts at The Dollar Tree.  I love them!
Definitely a great dollar store find.
The felt rose is from the Dollar Tree, and I thought it was too cute to leave, on each side of the table are ceramic heart boxes from The Dollar Tree as well.  Perfect place to hide some chocolate treats.
Little twig hearts in baskets and trays around the house.
My little Bird Girl holds two hearts, boxes, bears and roses.
I found these potted roses, with baby's breath and hearts at The Dollar Tree.  Unfortunately the plastic pots they are set in are not the nicest, but I found these little clay pots (3 for $1.00) and they fit perfectly.  I love clay pots.
The stone hearts on the colonnades are actually bookends from The Christmas Tree Shops but they make perfect unique decorations.
And another heart shaped box on top of the china cabinet.

A few touches in the bedrooms and similar pieces in the dressing room, bathroom and pantry just enough to add holiday feel.
More of the same through out the kitchen, but here some glitter conversation hearts on the plate rack.  They came attached as a hanging decoration from The Christmas Tree Shops.  I separated them and add them among the plates.
The "love" bag holds some holiday candy.
The back doors get matching twig heart shaped wreaths.
And a pillow for the chair on the back porch.
I have seen many lovely decorations in other pricier stores.  And I am not beyond buying them when they are unique and special but I think the less expensive stores have some really cute things.  I find things I like and think I will enjoy.  My home is not a museum or show place it is my home and what I fill it with makes me happy.  And that is what is truly important filling your home with what makes you smile!


Monday, January 19, 2015


We have made through half of January and we made it through the first cold snap of the Winter season.  I always try to stay positive about the weather, since there is nothing we can do about the weather.  It can be frustrating when the weather becomes inclement; ice, snow, wind and cold can make it difficult just to complete mundane tasks.  And I admit I can become a bit of a hermit crab when the weather gets the best of me.  Luckily, other than this past week the weather has been cooperating.  But comfort foods can always make a Winter day a little warmer.  A few more of my favorites.

I love these little four cheese rice balls, smothered in tomato sauce and sprinkled with grated Parmesan/Romano cheese.  Great as an appetizer or just a fire side snack.
Another great snack, perfect for a cold weekend night at home with a good mystery movie, mini deep dish pizzas.
Press the dough into a muffin pan and place a slice of peperoni at the bottom.  The slice fills the bottom nicely.  I use turkey peperoni, it is a little less greasy and a bit healthier.  I do coat the pan with Pam to make sure they don't stick.
Fill with pizza sauce, top with another slice of peperoni and cover with shredded cheese.  I used a three cheese blend.  Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.
Let cool and then pop them right out.  A salad of cucumber and romaine lettuce with a Newman's Own Family Recipe Italian dressing.
Last of the chestnuts.  I wish the stores would keep the chestnuts in through the Winter, but after Christmas they kind of disappear. 
Sunday night snack, tea and fancy cookies.  Celestial Seasoning Tangerine Orange Zinger is one of my favorites.  I love it all times of the day but it is one of my favorite morning teas.
It was a nice warm day today, up to 40 degrees, our average is around 30 degrees.  So I took advantage of the 10 degree difference and put up my outdoor decorations.
Just the little bit of snow makes the reds and pinks pop.
And for a closer look.
Hand painted slate hearts in the windows, the Poinsettias and pumpkins still on the stairs.
Red tinsel heart, pink Poinsettia and some heart shaped boxes fill the planter.
Poinsettias and pumpkins in vignettes on each side of the front door.
Tinsel heart around porch light, windsocks, garland around door and coir doormat covered in hearts finish the look.
The garland is heart beads, tinsel and glittery bows.  My favorite piece is my pink berry heart wreath on the front door.  I purchased it a Kmart several years ago it has lasted so well.
So pretty.



Tuesday, January 13, 2015


Well, we are finally seeing some Winter weather here in our part of the Northeast.  And, even tho it has been cold, we are told (by local Meteorologists) we have not broken any records.  We have had a little snow, but only 1 or 2 inches at a time.  But, non-the-less it is January (not my favorite month) and January is a very long month.  The days are getting longer so the sun is a little higher in the sky each day.  Spring is only 9 weeks and 1 day away (single digit countdown.)  And, Home Depot and Lowe's are selling law mowers. 

Since it is still indeed Winter staying warm and cozy is a top priority.  Here are some of my favorite cozy foods.

I love a ham and cheese quiche for the weekend.  Although it is perfect for any meal, I love it as a quick easy breakfast.  I prefer to heat it a bit in the microwave, but just for 1 minute.  I like to pair it with hash browns or bacon and fruit.
Another favorite, especially on a Friday night; sloppy joes.
I like to add mashed potatoes on the side, I top my potatoes with chives.  A little sparkling Martinelli's Cider to go with.

A quick and easy lunch anytime of the year.  Feta, tomatoes and kalamata olive puffs.  Any refrigerator dough can work, I used Pillsbury Crescent Rolls.  Separate into four squares (by keeping two roll triangles together) and fill with feta, cherry tomatoes (sliced) and olives (also sliced.)  I work on a paper plate, since the dough is sticky and is heavy after being filled.  The plate makes it easier to move to the pan.

Fold over and pinch with a fork.  Bake as pre-package directions, I use the max time to accommodate for the stuffing.
Perfect with a bowl of chicken and dumpling soup.
A few more of my favorite cozy foods, tomato soup and grilled cheese.
Baby Bell Gouda wrapped in Pillsbury Crescent Rolls and topped with maple syrup and walnuts.
And, the ultimate comfort food, mac and cheese, here with bacon.  Because everything is better with bacon.
Now for the ultimate comfort food desert.  If you have never heard of Kane's Donuts in Saugus, MA, you don't know what you are missing.
Stepping into Kane's is like stepping back in time.  When ever we are in the area, even if we are just passing through on the way to or from our destination we make the trip.
And look at the cases.
My favorite thing to take home, and to order is their giant coffee roll.  They started online/phone orders a few years ago.  They FedEx your order right to your door.
It can be frosted or sugared.  The first time we brought the rolls home, we tried to freeze it to extend the freshness and it did very well.  It came out of the freezer perfect.  They are perfect anytime of the year, but if we are going to order it we do so in cooler months.  I love it lightly toasted.