St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day is one of my favorite holidays and also happens to be my ‘half birthday’ so I feel like I was meant to love it!

Every year we decorate and I make Irish food for a family dinner to honor our Irish heritage and enjoy some really delicious food!
I decorate early so I get the most out of my small Belleek china collection and other little pretties. This year I have added some festive Rae Dunn to my decor.

Some items I bought in Ireland, some at Hobby Lobby, others online. Years of collecting makes me have to pick and choose which things I’ll display each year but I love it!

Now for the menu! My favorites are the standards. Corned beef, colcannon, shepherd’s pie (using ground beef instead of lamb which I don’t like), salmon, mussels, soda bread, and more!

I hope you enjoy the decor and recipes and wish you a happy and blessed St. Patrick’ Day! 

Where I’ve Been

I’ve been gone for a little bit. I was actually in the hospital for a hysterectomy.

Not too much to say about it really. There are a lot of videos on youtube with women telling their stories of after their laparoscopic hysterectomy. I had a bilateral salpingectomy oophorectomy. haha  that means both sides, tubes, ovaries, and my cervix. 

They made three incisions in my belly, filled me with gas, cut the tubes, cut around the uterus and cervix and then removed the tubes through the incisions and the big bulky stuff is removed vaginally and then where the cervix used to be is sewn shut. 

The big info is really the after story. I didn’t feel like documenting it much and still don’t feel like it but I had it done on Monday and it’s Saturday so I’ll give a very brief day by day.

Day 1 was Monday. Surgery day. Don’t recall them knocking me out. There is a lot of busy stuff going on in the OR and it distracts you. Next thing you know you are awake. Sort of. Very groggy. Pain in my belly, especially the left side. Not big pain. Just ‘ow’ pain. They gave me meds, the pain went away.

They took me to my room and I took a nap. They checked me, gave me meds, I took another nap. And so the afternoon went. Food came, soft, uninteresting, and I wasn’t hungry. I didn’t eat it.

My sweet gynecologist visited me that evening. I love her. She is an amazing, tireless woman who is the most nurturing woman I have ever met. She loves to take care of people and we love her for her love. I am blessed to know her.

My only complaint later that evening was my catheter, which was rubbing on the inside of my bladder and made me feel like my bladder was overfull. They did some moving it around, scanned to see if my bladder was actually full like I was insisting it was (it was empty), readjusted it and gave me a big bag of IV fluids and I drank a lot of water. That is how I remember it. Better.

Day 2 I woke up and they took the catheter out. They had me sit up in a chair for three hours. Not painful but tiring. I ate breakfast of scrambled eggs and toast. My amazing doctor brought me coffee in one of her own mugs. It was the best cup of coffee I have ever had. 

I went back to bed for a bit, my nurse stopped by, I got up to pee (a requirement for going home),  then my surgeon came by to see me and tell me I could go home as soon as the nurse took care of my discharge paperwork. Yay! Surgery went well! Yay! No housework! Double Yay!

The gas started to get uncomfortable once I got home. I took Gas X and it helped a lot. 
I napped sitting reclined in a recliner. I napped a lot. I managed to sleep in our bed that night using two pillows and help from my husband. I passed gas all night long. Poor hubby. 

I have always tried to NOT pass gas in front of him. Our 20th anniversary was last summer and I told him that was it, I wasn’t going to ‘gracefully’ dash to the bathroom anymore just to toot. Good thing. I made up for lost time LOL Sorry, baby. 

Day 3 (Wednesday) My stomach muscles felt tight. TMI Warning:  I had loose but very tiny bm’s. I mean, it was good I could go, but the urgency was that of diarrhea, it looked like newborn breastfed baby bm’s (maybe from pain meds which I had been taking at bedtime) and I had gas. Not a fun day but also not miserable.  Took Gas X and longed for bedtime. Still pulls getting in and out of bed, especially on the left side. 

Day 4 (Thursday) Felt stronger. About 40% normal. Small amount of gas. One nap of about an hour. Husband is still home from work to help me watch 3 year old granddaughter and I really need and appreciate the help. 

Took a shower. I wasn’t up to it yesterday.  It felt nice to be clean. 

Day 5 (Friday)  Almost feel normal, just tired. No nap but tired early. Don’t need pain meds or Gas X anymore. 
Folded three baskets of laundry. 

Day 6 (Saturday)  Today.  Made the bed all by myself! And I’m blogging! Feel pretty good, just about normal. 

How I felt yesterday was how I was foolishly expecting to feel right after surgery because so many people said how easy it is. It is easy. Just not that easy!  It was silly of me to expect it to be practically pain and discomfort free. They did  a lot in there and it’s bound to be sore. But it also wasn’t terrible. 
My pain was only momentarily a 7, usually more like a 5 tops and for a lot of the time it was closer to a 3.  So not bad. 

So that is where I’ve have been and what I have been up to. Our Galentine’s Day plans for tonight have been postponed until next week, not because of surgery but because of a predicted ice storm. A jam session with my son that was supposed to happen last night was also postponed but that was indeed because of surgery. Can’t rock and roll just yet, but I’ll be back! 

Tuscan Chicken

Here is another chicken recipe that we really enjoy. It is flavorful, easy, and cooks in the crock pot, so you can set it up and have dinner ready when you are!

You can serve it with pasta, rice, steamed vegetables, or, like us, with spaghetti squash

Tuscan Chicken

  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in half, making six servings
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 1 cup of heavy cream or 3/4 cup milk & 1/4 butter
  • 1/3 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
  • 3/4 cup chopped or julienned sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2 cups of spinach, chopped into strips or large bite sized pieces

Place chicken in the crock pot and season with Italian seasoning, then top with sun-dried tomatoes. 

In a small skillet or saucepan cook the garlic in the olive oil. When softened add the cream or milk & butter, and the chicken broth. Simmer on low for five minutes then add the parmesan cheese and whisk until blended.

Pour the sauce over the chicken, covering pieces thoroughly. Cook on low 6 hours or high 4 hours. 

When cooking time is done add the spinach, pushing down into the liquid with a spoon or remove the chicken and add the spinach, stirring into the sauce, then spoon the spinach and sun-dried tomato sauce over the chicken. 


Ranch & Cheddar Stuffed Chicken

Ranch and Cheddar Stuffed Chicken


  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts.
  • 1 8 oz block cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 packet Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • paprika
  • Montreal Chicken Seasoning

Slice chicken breast along the side, cutting 1/2 to 3/4 of the way through the chicken to make a pocket.

Mix rest of the ingredients thoroughly and spoon into each chicken breast, closing the pocket without squeezing cream cheese mix out. 

Sprinkle with paprika and Montreal Chicken Seasoning.
Bake at 400 degrees 30-40 until cooked through. 
You can pour a little melted butter over the chicken pieces after ten or 15 minutes in the oven to help it brown if you like. 


The first snow of the season means it’s a great day for chili! Start it early, let it simmer in the slow cooker, enjoy the aroma, and everyone can eat when they are hungry.

This is a basic recipe but today I threw in some great northern beans I had on had to stretch it a bit for leftovers for tomorrow. Add what you love, what you have on hand, leave out what you don’t like, etc. Top with shredded cheese and serve with warm bread. Yum!


  • 1 pound of lean ground beef
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1  3 pound can of kidney beans, drained
  • 2  1 pound cans of diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2  8 ounce cans of tomato sauce
  • 2 cloves of garlic (or more) minced 
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • chili powder 1-2 tablespoons 

Brown the ground beef and drain.

Put in large slow cooker with the rest of the ingredients, mixing well. Cook 4-6 hours on low or 1 1/2 on stove top.


My daughter and I have been trying to eat a bit better and also trying different recipes. Since she picked up an eggplant the other day we decided to make ratatouille and add the eggplant in with the other ingredients even though it isn’t listed on the original recipe. 

If you haven’t made ratatouille before, it is so very easy, smells wonderful while it’s cooking and tastes delicious! 

Along with the eggplant I also tossed in some red pepper I had in the refrigerator. Waste not, want not!

While my mother’s recipe says to simmer until it thickens, we found that simmering on low covered for 20 minutes and then another 20 minutes uncovered made it perfect. 

Valentine Coffee Station

I couldn’t wait any longer to put up some Valentine decorations. Usually I am a winter hold-out until we get snow but this year I don’t really care. Not sure why, but I am ready to move on from winter and on to better things. Besides, it hasn’t really been all that cold and so I have basically given up on getting any snow. 
I have a small house so it is easily overwhelmed with seasonal decor. The coffee station is the best way for me to decorate while keeping it in a small space. 

I have recently gotten into Rae Dunn a bit so have bought some mugs for Valentine’s Day. We also found 2 canisters, one medium sized off white with XOXO in gold and another (baby canister) that says Candy Hearts in red. Both of these were from TJMaxx and under $10.

The Candy Hearts jar holds tea bags and the XOXO holds another flavor coffee pods.

​My regular coffee pod canister remains the same and I added a pink heart sticker (clever, huh?) to make it Valentine-y.  I did the same with a Rae Dunn sugar canister.

A very cute off white mug with pink heart holds instant apple cider packets.

Over my sink I have a Target dollar spot red and pink heart garland. 

Another counter holds two red baby canisters with hearts. One of those is full of hot cocoa mix.

I have a tray in off white an pink that matches the cider mug near those. It doesn’t really go well with them so will probably move that soon.

The only other Valentine decor out so far is a Rae Dunn Sweet heart sign on the entertainment center in the living room. That’s pretty much it. I decided not to get my box of other things out of the storage area. 

I hope to have a Galentine’s evening on the 13th with my daughters and sister. I am having a hysterectomy on February 8th so hopefully will be feeling up to it by then.

I’m not sure if my beloved has any plans for us for Valentine’s Day or not but being his wife is enough for me! 

Parmesan Mayo Chicken

Tonight we are having one of the easiest, moistest, and tastiest chicken dinners ever. It takes minutes to assemble and since both the chicken and veggies cook together in the  oven, it is as simple as you can get. Clean up is super easy as well. 

I start the vegetables first since the carrots take longer to cook. I put them on a foil lined sheet pan, drizzle with olive oil and seasoning, and put them in the oven at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. I use Kinder’s Butter Steak seasoning but you can use whatever seasonings you like. Salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning are wonderful, too. I often use whatever seasoning mix I have on hand, such as steak seasoning, on vegetables and even chicken.

Next I cut the green beans, put them in a bowl and drizzle them with olive oil and season as well. When the 15 minutes at 400 degrees is up, I remove the pan from the oven, add the green beans, return the pan to the oven and reduce the heat to 350.

Since the beans only take moments to prep I have time to make the chicken.

I used 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in half and placed them on a foil lined sheet pan sprayed with cooking spray.

In a bowl I mix:
3/4 cup of light mayo
3/4 shredded cheese  You can use parmesan or cheddar. I used parmesan
1/2 teaspoon of salt 
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon of garlic or garlic seasoning (tonight I used DeLallo bread dip seasoning)
After mixing thoroughly, put a spoonful of mix on each piece of chicken and coat well.

Bake at 350 for 40 minutes, then broil for 3-5 minutes to brown the top.

New Year, New Me?

I don’t really make New Year’s resolutions. In my experience they set me up for failure, so I just a avoid them. Most years I don’t really even have a vague plan. I usually write what each person is the family is up to and what they hope to accomplish during the year, then at the end of the year I write what actually happened. I also write out a month by month of main events and then jot in the surprises in life and cross out what we failed to do. It truly does make for interesting reading at the end of the year. 

This year I did jot down what my current interests and hobbies at the beginning of my January planner section. I’ll be able to see the change of interests as the year goes along.

I am still very much into journaling. I also enjoy watching vlogs of cooking and cleaning on YouTube. They give me inspiration and motivate me. They also help me purge, which, once you reach a certain phase or age in life, is actually a lot more fun than acquiring things.

My blogging has been a source of enjoyment and I can see me continuing but who knows? Life is full of surprises so I may stop with this post. There is a saying – God laughs when we make plans. 

Glam planning has been fun and I’ve added Sprocket photos to my calendar pages to make it a kind of scrapbook. It’s a bit messy. I’m not very artsy or crafty, but I’m having a lot of fun with it and am feeling confident I’ll improve with time.
I’m collecting a bit of Rae Dunn. Not sure how much I’ll collect, as I have a very small house and kitchen, but I am enjoying hunting for some holiday items. It’s the hunt that really appeals to me!

I’m focusing a bit more on what I’m eating. I have to have surgery in early February and would like to at least try to be a bit healthier between now and then and continue with good habits afterwards. 

So no big resolutions for me. It may be New Year, Same Ol’ Me, but that’s ok. I kind of like who I am. 

Taking Down the Tree

I need to get myself in the mood for one of the more difficult tasks of the year: taking down the Christmas tree. This is the latest we have taken it down and yet we still aren’t sick of it, so I don’t mind so much. I just feel it’s time to move on to the next thing.

It is nowhere near as exciting and fun as setting it up and decorating it. No one wants to help and for some reason every box of decorations is basically in a shambles. As a result,  I am left never putting anything except the actual tree ornaments back where they belong.

It doesn’t help that we have way too many decorations and that I can seldom bring myself to throw anything away. I love them all and there are so many memories attached to everything.
I have gotten better in one respect. I used to put every single thing out every year. It was just too much and I finally reigned myself in and just display what I actually really like. I still ‘visit’ my decorations but they don’t all make it beyond me unwrapping their protective paper for a loving glance and brief stroll down memory lane. 

Still, it is a chore I dread and the fact that we use tinsel doesn’t help in the slightest. It’s messy and there is always some left on the tree. We also put an awful lot of ornaments on the tree. It takes a while to put them all away properly. And one of my kids is a ‘twister’. She twists the little wire ornament hooks around the tree branch so instead of just lifting the hook and ornament off the tree you have to undo it like a twist tie. UGH! 

But as much as I dread it and hate it, it must be done and I believe tomorrow is the day. 

Maybe if I play Christmas carols it will help and I can focus on the next time I’ll handle the ornaments ten months from now, in November. 

It seems so far away right now, but it will be here before we know it.