Saturday, November 27, 2010

Ooops! Gratitude Friday on Saturday...Again

I've been having so much fun this, that I forgot to post yesterday, and I am thankful for that!  :-)  Here's a I quick one so I can get back to it!

This week I'm thankful for:

1.  Chicken Little is home for Thanksgiving and when she leaves on Tuesday, it will only be three weeks until she's back for Christmas.

2.  Thanksgiving was great.  It was a small group of 10, so we were all able to eat at the same table together.

3.  My dear husband who did a wonderful job cooking a gorgeous bird and a fabulous feast for all!

4.  An early Christmas miracle:  we found a "small" Walmart tucked away from the crowds yesterday.  We were able to park close, shop and walk to an EMPTY register to pay.  A-MA-ZING!!! 

5.  Christmas is coming!  I L.O.V.E. Christmas!  It's my favorite, favorite, favorite!

I hope to be back Monday with some of my Christmas decorations.  I haven't even started, so we will see... 

Have a lovely rest of the weekend. 

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Traditional Thanksgiving Dessert

Pumpkin, shmumpkin.  Who needs pumpkin pie when you can have banana pudding?  We're having this for dessert at my house on Thanksgiving (we'll be having pie, too, but this will be the star). 

And I make a mean banana pudding, even if I do say so myself!

I decided to share the recipe after I'd already made it, so I'll I've got is the "after" picture. 

As with most of my recipes, I wing it, but I've tried to give you some exact measurements below.  It's hard to mess this one up, and it's so quick and easy. Give it a try the next time you have have to bring dessert.  Make it the night before your event so that all the flavors have time to mingle and set up.

Banana Pudding (this amount will make 3 layers in my Pyrex bowl)
2 boxes instant vanilla pudding (it's actually better with the pudding you cook but who has time for that)
6 cups milk (any % will work, as long as it's not skim)
2 tubs of Cool Whip (8 oz)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 boxes Nilla Wafers
6 - 8 ripe bananas

Cover the bottom of a large bowl with Nilla Wafers and sliced banana (usually 1.5 - 2 bananas and 1/2 of the box of wafers).

Mix 1 box of pudding with 3 cups of milk (according to directions on the box), add in 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and 1/2 tub of Cool Whip. Blend until both are fully integrated. 

Pour pudding over the first layer in the bowl until the bananas are completely covered.  You will probably not use all of the pudding to cover the first cookie/banana layer.  Add another layer of Nilla Wafers and sliced banana.  Pour remaining pudding over the 2nd cookie/banana layer.

Mix 2nd box of pudding the same way as the first.  Finish covering the 2nd layer of cookies and bananas.  Add one more layer Nilla Wafers and sliced banana. Cover this last layer with what remains of the 2nd batch of pudding.  Make sure the bananas are completely covered by the pudding so they don't turn brown.  

Finally, top it with Cool Whip and any crumbs that are left in the bottom of the cookie box.  Cover it and chill it in the fridge for several hours (preferably overnight) before serving. 

Yummy!!!  I get tons of compliments on this every time I make it, and it takes me about 10 minutes to throw it together.  After you make it one time, it's all anyone will ever ask you to bring.  If you're brave and make it with the pudding you cook, keep stirring that stuff while it cooks so the bottom doesn't burn.  Then, layer it while the pudding is still warm. I LOVE it warm, but again, it's more banana-y after it chills for a few hours. 

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Thanksgiving at Casa de Cash

This week is crazy busy.  We're hosting Thanksgiving at our house, just a small group, but that doesn't mean any less cleaning and craziness on my part.  In addition, I'm trying to get completely caught up on my work/email so that I can enjoy the holiday without anything hanging over my head. 

So, here's a quick post on what the house looks like for the big feast-ivities! Sorry for the picture quality - I was trying not to use the flash.

In the kitchen, I changed the Halloween shelf into a Thanksgiving shelf.  I got the Indians from my mother a few years ago.  I love them.  I wish I could find the Pilgrims - I think they would be cute on the table - maybe next year.

This is the dining room.  It's the same white pumpkins from Halloween, but with much less "stuff".  I decided to keep it relatively simple, and I like it.  Easy-peasy to put away after the meal, so I can move on the the Christmas-crazy.

Don't you LOVE these pilgrims?  I found them at Hobby Lobby a few years ago.  I don't really know what to do with them, but I love them.

Finally, I took my homemade cloches (found the parts at the Goodwill and put them all together), added a few pumpkins and leaves, set them on the kitchen/living room pass-through and called it done.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving!  And I hope we can all take a minute out of all the activity to slow down and enjoy the day and the time with your family and friends.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Favorite Things

So, I know I said I'd be posting about Thanksgiving madness at my house today, but I changed my mind.

Instead, I've been inspired by The Favorite Things posts going on over at 320*Sycamore.  I've just stumbled upon this blog and it is wonderful.  There is so much good stuff out there, I think I could make blog reading a full-time job... I WISH!  Anyway, hop on over and check out all the good stuff:

favorite things button

I'm also linking up to another awesome Favorite Things party at Funky Junk Interiors here:

Funky Junk's Sat Nite Special

I'm having an Oprah moment talking about my favorite things, excuse me for a minute while I just let that soak in............

.........ahhhhhh!  Lovely!  So, a few of my favorite things - here goes:

It's obvious, I know, but I might as well start with Oprah!  Then, just go right ahead and add Martha to the list too.  Add to that my other favorite TV-ish things:  Tivo, Biggest Loser, and Glee!

Here's some more 
Family who are reading and don't see your pictures, don't be offended - your pictures are implied.  :-)

Then there is favorite vacation - I don't care - just near the water - any water - even a pool or an aquarium will do!

Favorite holiday - duh - Christmas! 

Favorite part of my house - the backyard in the late spring.

And a few other random favorites at the moment:
SONOMA life + style Original Fit Bootcut Jeans
Sonoma Original Bootcut Jeans from Kohl's - I just got a pair the other day, and I struggle with fit - I am LOVING the way these fit me! YEA!  dark wash, of course.

Favorite new (for me) music:

Long time favorite music:

and more Kasey...

Favorite make-up products:


Favorite food (I'm not proud):
  apple fritters and...
cheese pizza. 

And, before this gets much worse, I'm going to end on favorite color:

"...And these are a few of my fav-or-ite things." 

Funky Junk's Sat Nite Special

Gratitude Friday...on Saturday

Ooops!  A little late - nothing unusual for those who know me well.  The time has just gotten away from me... but, better late than never.

This week I'm grateful for:

1.  My new laptop and printer arrived!  It's not the Mac of my dreams, but it's pretty darn close - it's going to make me more creative, smarter, thinner, richer, cooler, and better lookin'.  At least, that's what I believe is gonna soon as I have time to take that puppy out of the box. 

2.  Said computer and printer only cost me about $200!!  Woo hoo - thanks to my company's discount with Dell combined with a very generous $500 home computer reimbursement benefit!

3.  My laundry room has a long (usually) empty counter space... and a door (see above). And I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that paint color - I just might marry it I love it so much - if I didn't share my space with others, my whole house might be that color...or turquoise...or pink...or robin's egg blue...or pumpkin...or.....  (well, you get the idea)

4.  Halloween has finally been boxed up, and Thanksgiving is making a very brief appearance at Casa de Cash.  (more on that tomorrow)

5.  EBAY!  At this time last week, I did not have a single Christmas present purchased. OK - maybe I had one or two, but I am usually finished by now, so I was getting a little panicky (sp?).  Thanks to Ebay and Kohl's Power Hours last weekend, I've started to make a dent in a list that is way too long.  Breathe....

Whew!  I don't know about you, but I've just typed myself into happy.  :-)

Happy weekending, everyone! 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Organizing Jewelry

After reading this post by The Nester, I thought maybe I had something helpful to offer when it came to organizing jewelry. 

I tried different storage methods:  throwing it all in a box (tangled mess), the compartmentalized things that hang in the closet (too hard to get stuff out and no good for necklaces), a tool box (ugly), plastic bead holders (inconvenient), and I even considered downsizing (I came to my senses before anything too tragic happened).

If I don't see it, or can't get to it quickly, I won't wear it.  So, here's the solution I came up with when we moved into our house, and it's been working really well for me.

The things I wear everyday (wedding ring and watch) or that I'm going to wear the next day sit in these dishes on my bathroom counter.  (Yes, I do put out what I'm going to wear the night before - don't judge.)

I know, this is a bead holder, but I took the top off for easy access, and it fits perfectly inside a bathroom drawer.  I keep all my earrings in it, somewhat organized by color/style.

There was an unusable section of my closet where I decided to hang my necklaces. I found a few towel hooks we had laying around, and bought the longer 6-hook bar in the bath section at Target (maybe $9.99).  I mounted them at various heights to accommodate the different chain lengths, and then hung all my necklaces on them.  WAA-LAA! I can see everything and no more tangles! 

All of the "good" jewelry is neatly stored in those little boxes down below (little boxes because there's not that much). 

And, one more thing...purses!  I hate it when they get dusty, so for those that didn't have dust bags, I used old pillowcases, cut them to fit, and sewed some of my own.  I took a picture of each purse, laminated it, and tied it on the appropriate dust bag.  I put shower curtain rings on the lower closet bar, and hung the bags from those rings. Now, it's so easy to switch out my purse - and they're protected and off the floor. 

Have I gone overboard?  Maybe, but it's so nice to know where everything is and to be able to get to it easily.  What are some of your best tips for organizing accessories?

I'm linking up over at The Shabby Nest and Funky Junk Interiors.  See ya there!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Already Feels Like Christmas!

The post-person in my neighborhood has been BUSY lately.  Everyday it seems like there's something else yummy in my mailbox.  Woo hooo!!  Getting the mail this weekend was particularly fun!

Got this scarflette from Flutter on etsy here.  It's made from the tissue t-shirt knit fabric.  So soft and fairly light weight which is important for me these days since I always seem to be about to burst into flames!   Love this and I am still coveting this one, but don't think it would look nearly as pretty with singed edges so I haven't given in yet. 

This card came in the mail from Chicken Little.  It's a handmade card with the little stuffed heart.  It's hard to see in my terrible pictures, but the heart has a little Texas sewn onto it.  CUTE!!!

Isn't it wonderful?! 

This is the inside. :-)  LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it!  And I'm not just saying that because I'm the Mama.   

And then, finally, some festive reading material that is just going to send me over the Christmas edge!  AAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!  (That's me screaming as I go over - kind of like on a roller coaster - terrified and absolutely thrilled.)

I love getting the mail at this time of year!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

In the background

Been busy, busy, busy the last few days, and this cd has been in the background all weekend!  This is The Band Perry, and I am loving them.

So many catchy tunes, they'll just get stuck in your head.  This is one of my favorites. 

PS:  Not that I'm already listening to Christmas music or anything, but I am also LOVING Very Merry Christmas, the new Christmas album by Dave Barnes (I know I'm dating myself by calling it an album). Just sayin'...  It was only $6.99 on itunes.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Gratitude Friday

I completely and unashamedly stole this idea from Edie at Life in Grace. In my own defense, I do have to say that I did tell her the very day I saw it that I was going to copy it, so she was warned and it is totally documented in the comments section.  The first time I went to Edie's blog, this was the post.  I L.O.V.E. the idea of these letters. 

So, I went to the Hobby Lobby, bought some for myself, painted them...

...had to figure out how to hang them (Command Strips!), and

hung them up right over the door leading to the garage so this is what we see every time we leave the house.

(I wish I'd bought the bigger letters, but I thought they would overwhelm the space since it's so tight.  I like it, but I don't love it yet.  I may need a do-over.)

It's a gratitude reminder.  I've been trying to do this here every Friday, but I love having this daily nudge.  There are so many people, circumstance, and things that we take for granted - seeing this not only makes me smile, but it makes me think. 

Today, I'm grateful for:

1. Making my plane on Tuesday morning.  I was the last person to board - YIKES!
2. Having enough gas in my car to make it home from the airport tonight (no time to fill it on Tuesday morning)!
3.  Falling back last weekend - it's so much easier to get up early (I would have missed the flight for sure if not for this).
4.  Everyday is another chance to start over.
5.  My new computer is on the way!!!  YEA!

Have a great weekend!

I'm linked up here:

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Girl's Got Guts

Are you kidding me?!  Gwyneth? Really?

I was prepared to hate her and feel sorry for her for embarrassing herself on the CMA's. Well, I have nothing to say, except she was AMAZING!

Before tonight, I would see her on various things, but never really paid much attention.  I was kind of neutral, but now I am impressed.  This took guts, and she did a great job.  There's something just not right about someone being so talented in multiple areas and pretty and skinny and stylish and smart (at least she seems to be).  Good for her!

Did you see it?  Were you as surprised as I was?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Christmas Decor 2009

To get everyone in the spirit and start those creative juices flowing, Beth at The Stories of A2Z is hosting a linky party of last year's Christmas mantle.  I'll be linking up.  Check it out - lots of great inspiration.

Here are some of my terrible pictures from last year. It's my goal to do much better with the decorations and the photo taking this year!  I'm hoping that Chicken Little will help me get everything decorated while she is home for Thanksgiving. 

Here's the tree, the beast, and the mantle in the background.  Our mantle is only about 6" wide, so I'm somewhat limited on what I can put up there.  I'd like to figure out a way to expand it a bit.  I also made that big letter "C" last year - it could stand for Christmas, but really it stands for "Cash" our last name.

And another view of the tree, taken from the catwalk upstairs.  Yes, that is a big pink peacock on the top of my tree.  It's not traditional, but I like it.  It's showy just like my tree.  I know you're jealous of it's fabulosity.  ;-) I've got quite the collection of ornaments - and I use EVERY single one!  More is more! 

This is the little silver tree I set up in the dining room.  I wish I could find the other pictures of the table.  It was all in silver and gold - really pretty and sparkly!

The kitchen sideboard - this was my "other" favorite.  :-)  I also had a little tree in the kitchen and we decorated it with sugar cookies.  I kept having to redecorate that one. 

And, finally we had the hall tree in the entryway last year.  I decided to hang the stockings here since the mantle is so skinny. 

I have been dreading decorating for Christmas, but now I'm starting to get excited about it.  We have to get a new tree since I threw our old one out last year - very happy about that!  How about you?  Are you planning to decorate the same way you always have, or are you planning to change things up a bit this year?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Kindness of Strangers?

Last Friday, as I waited to take the train downtown to the Christmas Market, I was feeling nervous and out of my element.  I was taking the train because I didn't want to deal with traffic, and I didn't want to pay $15 for parking.  I ended up leaving work later than planned, and because it was more convenient, I drove to a park and ride station that is closer to downtown. 

Most of the people waiting at that station did not look like me.  I was uncomfortable, anxious, in a hurry and a little on edge.  There was a group of teenagers five feet away acting loud and stupid - doing what teenagers do.  I was annoyed.

I stood there waiting, being irritated.  A woman came up to me and politely asked if this train would stop at her destination.  I am embarrassed to say that my annoyance became obvious.  I turned around and snapped, "I don't know." 

I saw the surprise on her face and realized what I had done. I tried to fix it.  I tried to laugh and tell her that I wasn't sure because it had been a long time since I'd been on the train.  I looked around for a map of the route, but didn't see one.  I told her that the train stopped at all of the stations downtown (which it did), so it would probably stop at hers.  I looked for the map, but I did not move from the spot where I was standing.  Most likely, if I had taken the time to walk three steps in either direction, I would have seen a map and we could have looked at it together and figured out the route she needed to take.  I couldn't be bothered.  The train came and I got on a different car - away from her and the obnoxious teenagers.

It's scary to get on a train when you don't know exactly where it's going.  I know that because I was in exactly the same position.  I had a good idea of where I was going, but I was not 100% sure - I had never been to my destination stop before.  That woman needed my help, was brave enough to ask for it, and I was so absorbed in my situation and my judgement of those around me that I couldn't be bothered to help her.  I am not proud.

20 minutes later, I got off the train at my stop.  It was a rather dimly lit, deserted underpass.  The building where I was going was a couple of blocks away.  I had to walk, and I was not positive which direction to go.  I was nervous and a little scared, but I started walking in what I hoped was the right direction.  There were very few people at the station.  I did not make eye contact with those I passed, and I tried to walk with purpose. 

I passed a group of 3 -4  hoodlums and heard some "hey, baby..." type of comment.  I walked faster.

As I rounded the corner, I saw two women who looked like me.  They were carrying bags that had the Christmas Market logo.  I felt certain I was heading in the right direction, but still wasn't sure which way to turn at the end of the block.  I spoke up and asked those two women, "Excuse me, are y'all coming from the Christmas Market?"  They both quit talking, looked down, and kept walking.

I said it again, louder, "Excuse me, are you coming from the Market?"  One of them glared at me and said, "I don't know. We're not from around here."  She obviously hadn't heard me.  I stopped walking and said, looking at their bags, "You're coming from the Christmas Market.  Which way is it?"  The woman did not stop walking, sighed and said vaguely waving her hand, "Go that way and take a right," and she turned away, dismissing me. 

I walked on and did find the building, but getting to that market was no longer my the focus of my journey that day.

Within 10 seconds of that encounter, I was no longer scared or anxious.  I was angry.  I felt somehow diminished - somehow less than - unworthy of kindness or acknowledgement. 

Within 30 seconds, I was humbled and embarrassed. I looked in the mirror and what I saw was not pretty. Not only had those women looked like me, they had behaved like me.

I wonder have we become so wary of strangers that we cannot lend a hand to those in need?  Are we so afraid of being taken advantage of that we have completely closed ourselves off and we're unwilling to show compassion to those brave enough to reach out and show their vulnerability?

Not being in the situation, it's easy to judge and say you would have responded kindly to that first woman.  But within the span of less than one hour, two women (one of them me) had responded in the same exceedingly ungracious manner.  What would you have done?

I've thought about these two scenarios quite a bit over the last several days.  I understood and was grateful for the lesson almost immediately, but I am still wondering if I have learned it.  Would I behave any differently now?  I hope that I would.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Funky Finds

This weekend I went to two different Holiday Markets.  The first one I went to on Friday evening right after work.  Maybe I just wasn't in the mood, but I have to say I wasn't really impressed.  There were a few cute booths, but not much that was "special" - lots of leopard print, pink tulle, and freeze dried dip mixes.  Next...

On Saturday, I drove to Ft. Worth for The Experience by Funky Finds.  Let's start with a little background info -  Ft. Worth is a city - it has a cowboy heritage, but it is not a small, country town - it's a CITY.  This show was located at the convention center in the museum district - probably less than 5 miles from the downtown high-rises.  I turned the corner into the parking lot, and this is what I saw...

What the heck?!  Then my next thought was "Oh no!"  I'm incredibly allergic to horses - swell up, turn blue and die kind of allergic.  I decided to be brave and check it out a little further.  Apparently, in addition to art, it was a big horse weekend in the city.

The horse show was in the building next door to the building where I was going - thank goodness!  As I pulled around to the front door, I saw the sign telling me I was in the right place... I think.

Alrighty then, this should be interesting.  Guns and art, hmmmm...  

"Well thank goodness for that!" I thought, "What kind of art is this?"  I knew I had to be in the wrong place.  The people milling about did NOT seem to be the crafty type I was expecting to see.  But, as I BRAVELY and QUICKLY walked past this area, I saw the sign I'd been looking for - woo hoo!!

It was A-MA-ZING!! Too much fun! Lots of local artists with some wonderful treasures. I limited myself to cash only, but I got lots of business cards so I can hunt people down on etsy. YEA!  I got so excited that I didn't take any pictures once I got inside.  Anyway, here are some of the things I ended up buying.

I wanted about 100 of these tiles and jewelry dishes, but I restrained myself.  Rachel Bates is the artist, and she was so friendly.  She's going to be participating in another show on Dec. 3 - 4 at The Firehouse Gallery in Ft. Worth.  You can also check out her stuff here and here. 

I walked by this booth about 28 times before I finally convinced myself that it was ok to fight through the crowd and buy these FAB-U-LOUS earrings!  My favorite colors!  I'll be adding a matching necklace to my Christmas list.  :-)  Check out Heidy's other jewelry (it was all so gorgeous) here.

Finally, the other table that I was stalking was of Yvonne Wilson.  I love! love! loved! her work.  It was charming and clever and wonderful - just like Yvonne - very sweet lady.  I bought these two turkey prints, but I know I will be going back to her website and etsy shop for other pieces.  I had to stop at the Goodwill on the way home for some frames which I painted that night!  My photo doesn't do these justice, but they will have a prominent place in my Thanksgiving decor.

I may have purchased a few other things that I cannot show because Christmas is coming!  But some other folks I'll be adding to my favorites are:
I finally managed to drag myself away, and on the way back to the car I noticed the parking garage....


 CUTE!!  Then, as I reached for the car door, I noticed this not so cute...

Ewwwww!!  Well that brought me right back to reality.  I guess I should have parked in that garage.  :-/

Has anyone else been to a fun and fabulous market lately or discovered something/someone new and clever?