Chillin' at CRT on Xpu Ha Beach

Chillin' at CRT on Xpu Ha Beach
How I'd spend every day if I weren't redecorating, cooking, sewing and blogging!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Deck the Halls With Pumpkins and Spooky Stuff

I'm taking a little vacation so this will be my last post for over a week. I plan to do a lot of relaxing and won't even see a computer while I'm away.  But in the midst of all the preparations I thought I would share a few more Halloween decorations.

Along with the movie/book/theatre themed decor I should you earlier I scattered a few Fall and Halloween Decorations here and there throughout the house.

The mantle - I put a collection of items up here including this wonderful bucket jack-o-lantern I picked up at Ross for way less than I've seen it for elsewhere.  The set of four bottles came from Marshall's and joined some I already had around the house.



I picked these candles up at the thrift store and they were perfect for this candle holder I already had and usually only set out for Christmas.


I found some printable labels on the Internet and made some "interesting" bottles of my own.  Love this sign I also picked up at a discount store!



The Kitchen Window which was difficult to photograph got a few items on hand and a couple new thrift store items.  The NEW dish towel was $1!


These wood letters that spell BOO were also $1 at the thrift store.


The "BOO letters" white when I bought them.  Why would BOO be white?  Made NO sense to me, so I painted and glittered them.  They look much better in sparkly black!


These candle holders were another thrift store find.  I had the small pumpkins and the metal tea light holder came from Ross. (they have super low prices on pumpkins, it's practically a pumpkin patch)

The Dining Room Table got a Fall arrangement without any spookiness at all,
unless you count the black ceramics.
(which includes a Frankhoma Pottery sugar bowl and creamer found at the thrift store) 
It can stay this way until after Thanksgiving.


I will miss reading all my blogs while I'm on vacation - unless I can figure out how to get them on my Kindle - I think that is possible - but the pictures wouldn't come out too great.

I expect FALL weather when I return, time for summer to go away.


Happy Fall Y'All!

Laura

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http://southernhospitalityblog.com

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Poster Bed - My NOT Project

A while back I let you know I had scored a major craigslist find in the form of a Four Poster King Size Bed.  And I gave you a little sneak peak.  Now it's time to reveal the pretty details upclose and personal.

I found this Broyhill British Empire bed on craigslist TWICE in my area (weird, right?)   I missed the first one and negotiated for a while one the second one.  It's good I didn't see the bed BEFORE I negotiated or I would probably just have paid the full asking price!


Footboard has lovely details
Headboard - sigh!
Pineapples - one of the things that totally convinced
me no other bed would do

Looking good beside it my black and white french chest (freebie)
also my little flag step stool made my Dad, painted by Mom
I need it to get IN the bed because it's so tall, we may be shopping for a
low profile box springs in the near future

Beautiful finials

Sturdy feet




My 'practical' bed linens and the black bedside french chest

I call this my NOT project because I didn't have to work on the bed except for finding it and negotiating the price.  The work was getting it home and of course my hero SuperDave did that for me.  I helped with the assembly and it was quick and easy.

So what do you think?  Ready for the price?  I paid $300 for this amazing solid wood carved four poster!  I am VERY happy with my latest craigslist purchase.


Much Love & Laughter,

Laura

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Totally Transformed




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http://betweennapsontheporch.net
http://southernhospitalityblog.com

Friday, September 21, 2012

Lists, Packing and Organization

I am going to make a confession right up front. 

I'm one of THOSE people. 

You know the the kind - Those people that have their clothes organized in the closet, the canned goods sorted in the pantry and the spices in alphabetical order. I don't consider myself crazy.  Being organized saves me TIME and STRESS.  Fortunately I married a guy that grew up in a military family.  He believes in putting stuff back where you found it and cleaning up your own mess.  He has the DVDs sorted by three categories and then arranged alphabetical within the categories.  (and he lets me organize his closet)

I'm not as bad GOOD as I once was about organization.  After having our 3rd child (almost 19 years ago) things went downhill in a hurry.  I just wasn't my usual WONDER WOMAN self anymore (in fact I recently had to give my homemade WW costume to the baby girl because I can't even fit into it anymore sigh)


When I finally sort of accepted that I couldn't do it ALL - it was a new found freedom for me.  As I went through my forties, I let my perfectionist tendencies slide a little LOT and tried to relax more. But I still have the desire to be organized and I'm a list maker.

I've always been a list maker.  As a kid I made a packing list before going to summer camp.  It was part of the fun and the anticipation and I also didn't get there without things I needed. 

When I married and had kids I continued to make lists.  If you are like me and you've ever gone to shop and run errands with two kids in tow you know very well that after two stops you wouldn't know where to go next without a list.  And sometimes, even that doesn't help.  Like the time I set the blow dryer on top of the car while I buckled kids in the car and then left it there and drove away.  I'm sure I'm the ONLY Mom who ever did anything like that.

So.... we are down to single digits on our countdown to our adults only vacation and I've got a list or two.  SURPRISE!  I've also got baskets.  When we get ready for a trip, about 10 days prior to departure, along with my lists, we start filling baskets.

Laundry baskets - we just start throwing in whatever we need to pack.

Swimsuit, rashguard, sunglasses, camera, hat, insulated mug.  Can you guess where I'm going?



Toiletries Basket - keeping this one in the bathroom, basic toiletry items are very expensive in resort areas, prefer not to forget anything.

Lots of sunscreen (there's another hint), flashlight, frizz-ease hair products, toothpaste and mouthwash (very important, this is a trip with my sweetie) 



This way we don't forget anything and when it's time to put stuff in the suitcase, most of it is already together.

My latest packing tool is an app on my phone.  It's called 'Out of Milk' and it's a Shopping List and To Do List app.

On this handy app I have shopping lists for

The Grocery Store
Costco
Home Improvement Stores
Clothing/Home
Medications/Drug Store
Health and Beauty (not purchased at the grocery store)

I also have lists for

Errands I Need to Run
Projects and Household Chores I need to work on
Packing List
Blog ideas

My SuperDave tells me he would love to JUST ONCE have everything done on the list I make for him.  If he saw the multiple lists I keep on my phone app, he would probably wonder why I make all these lists think I've gone off the deep end. 

Some things have to be done over and over again, so I keep checking them off then adding them back to the list.  Grocery shopping, drycleaners, gas in the car, pay the bills, go to the bank, wash the laundry, stop at the drugstore, get my haircut, paint my nails. 

I would never remember every stop I need to make or every item I need to buy or pack without my list(s).  I'm a list maker, it's just in the DNA for people like me.

Are you a list maker? 


TGIF!

Laura

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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Looking at Things From My Own Perspective

After a previous post involving pedicures and shoes, I discovered some of you would not ever consider posting photos of your feet. However, when I was young if I complained about any thing to do with my feet, my Mom let me know I should be thankful to HAVE feet and I remember her saying, "They get you where you need to go!"  So as I have gotten older I have just adopted that attitude.

In the late 80s I started taking pictures of my feet.  Not just for the sake of documenting my feet, but as a documentation of how things looked from my own perspective - when the view was amazing. 

This is my very first 'toe picture'.  It was taken on our second Caribbean vacation and I was TRULY in paradise. I had never seen a picture like this before I took this first one, but I have seen some recently.  I wanted a picture of the view from my chair through my own eyes so I snapped this shot.  Apologies for the graininess - this was probably shot with a 110 camera (if you are too young to know what that is, just disregard).


Akumal Beach - 1988
Riviera Maya
It became sort of a tradition for me after that.  Some of my pics are not digital, so I'll share mostly recent pictures.


Breckenridge, Colorado 2004

Secrets Capri, Riviera Maya, Mexico - 2010
apologies for the watermark problems, I'm still learning to use the program
Xpu Ha Beach - Catalonia Royal Tulum 
Riviera Maya - 2010
Sometimes I even let other very special someone share my shot.


Seagrove Beach, Florida 2011

Dunes of Seagrove Condos, Florida 2011

Even a furry someone.


My patio - 2012
As I've said before, I love my backyard!  Hanging out there feels like a mini-vacation to me.

Probably my favorite place of all
Home - 2012

Looking forward to many more of these pictures in my future.  You can check out a few here.

Much Love & Laughter,

Laura

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Poofy Cheeks

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Slightly Fancy-Pants King Ranch Chicken

Sunday was a rainy cool day - I know amazing for Texas in September, right?  I had the desire to whip up a King Ranch Chicken Casserole.  I'm sure I have a recipe in my three ring binder cookbook, but I decided it would be easier to just search Google for a recipe.

Well, finding the recipe was easier, but making the casserole took a little longer, but was worth the time and effort.  When I typed in King Ranch Chicken on Google I found a blog post by Homesick Texan from 2007 and two versions of the recipe.  I printed out both the Fancy-Pants version and the regular version and headed for the kitchen to check out the fridge and the pantry to see if I had the ingredients for the Fancy-Pants recipe.  Because Slightly Fancy Pants is just my style. smile I also loved the name and was intrigued.

If you have time, hop over and read her post (after you read mine first of course!) I'm now following Lisa's blog and will certainly be making more of the recipes on her site.  She also has a cookbook for sale.  If you want the old school recipe just click the link below and jump over to the Homesick Texas.  It's delicious too I am sure.


The Shredded Chicken

Butter, Onion and Bell Pepper

The Sauce - Almost Done

All the Layers in the Dish

Pop it in the Oven!

Cheesy Brown Goodness
 (maybe a little too brown oops!)

Dinner is Served!



Here's the recipe by Lisa at Homesick Texan
Slightly Fancy-Pants King Ranch Chicken Casserole
Ingredients:
1 1/2 pounds of chicken, without skin and bones
4 teaspoons of lime juice
1/4 cup of olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, minced
4 tablespoons of butter
1/2 an onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 poblano pepper, diced
1 10oz. can of Ro-Tel tomatoes, drained (or you can use a can of regular diced tomatoes and a 4 oz. can of diced green chiles, or if tomatoes are in season, can use two cups of diced fresh tomatoes with 1/4 cup of diced green chiles, such as a jalapeno)
4 teaspoons ancho chile powder (or chili powder)
1 teaspoon of cumin
1 cup of chicken broth
2 tablespoons of flour
1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1/2 cup of half and half
1/3 cup of sour cream
1/2 cup of cilantro, chopped
3 cups of grated pepper jack and cheddar
10 corn tortillas
Salt and pepper to taste.


Method:
1. Season the chicken with the lime juice, 2 teaspoons of ancho chile powder and a dash of salt. In a skillet heated on medium, cook the chicken in the olive oil on each side for about 10 minutes.
2. When chicken is done (after about 20 minutes), shred it with two forks and set aside. Taste and see if it needs more salt and pepper. Should yield about 3 cups.
3. Melt the butter in a saucepan on medium, and add the onions, red bell pepper and poblano pepper. Cook for 10 minutes.
4. Add the garlic, flour, cumin, cayenne pepper and 2 teaspoons of ancho chile powder, and cook for 1 minute.
5. Add the chicken broth and cook on low until mixture is thickened, a few minutes. Stir in the half-and-half and Ro-Tel cover the pot, and simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
6. Uncover the pot, and add the sour cream, 2 teaspoons of lime juice and 1/4 cup of cilantro, and add salt and pepper to taste. Turn off heat.
7. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
8. Heat up the tortillas (you can do this by adding a bit of oil on an iron skillet and then cooking the tortillas for about 30 seconds on each side).
9. Ladle 1/2 cup of the sauce onto the bottom of an 11 x 7 inch baking pan.
10. Layer half the tortillas along the bottom of the pan (on top of the sauce). To make sure entire pan is evenly covered, you can rip some of the tortillas into strips to fill any gaps.
11. Add half the chicken, half the remaining sauce, half the remaining cilantro and 1 1/2 cups of grated cheese.
12. Repeat the layering, leaving the cheese layer on top.
13. Cook uncovered for 30 minutes or until brown and bubbling. Serves 6-12, depending on how big a portion you distribute. Goes great with sour cream and cilantro on top.


Much Love & Laughter, 

 Laura

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Poofy Cheeks