Friday, December 31, 2010

Guinness Stout Stew

This week, I went to a local pub with my SATC girls and we enjoyed the fabulous Charlie Robison and Guinness Stout Stew for the first time. They were both TO DIE FOR!!

I knew immediately that I had to create a copycat recipe and I must say, this is pretty darn close. My boys went CRAZY over this recipe and insisted that we add it as an everyday meal! They will get no arguements from me!


2 pounds stewing beef
3 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons flour
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pinch (or Two) of cayenne
2 large onions, coarsely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 tablespoons of salsa
1 1/4 cups Guinness Stout (Do NOT Subsitute any other type of Guinness & No worries if you don't have Guinness on hand. MOST grocery stores are selling bottles individually now!)
2 cups largely diced carrots
6 small red potatoes quartered
Sprig of fresh thyme

6 small bread bowls
Chopped parsley, for garnish
Fried Onion Strings, for garnish

Trim the meat of any fat or gristle, and cut into 2-inch cubes. Toss beef with 1 tablespoon of the oil. In a small bowl, season the flour with salt, pepper, and cayenne. Toss meat with seasoned flour.

Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over high heat. Brown the meat on all sides. Reduce the heat, add the onions, crushed garlic and salsa to the skillet, cover, and cook gently for 5 minutes. Transfer the contents of the skillet to a casserole and pour half of the Guinness into the skillet. Bring Guinness to a boil and stir to dissolve the caramelized meat juices on the pan. Pour over the meat, along with the remaining Guinness. Add the carrots, potatoes and thyme. Stir and adjust seasonings. Cover the casserole and simmer over low heat, or in a 300 degree F oven until the meat is tender, 2 to 3 hours.

Garnish the beef with parsley and onion strings. Serve in a bread bowl (as shown in photo).

This is a MUST try recipe... You will NOT be disappointed!


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Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry CHRISTmas from The Jones Family!

(Photo by Southern Grace Photography)

As you and your family celebrate this holiday season, we hope and pray that you have joy in your hearts, great family and friends to share it with, and good times that build warm memories. We pray that you are blessed with all you need and much, much more!

Thank you Lord for Blessing us with another Christmas. May you alone be the Reason for the Season!

Wishing you and your family a VERY Merry CHRISTmas!

Much Love,

Abel, Tiffany & Ashton
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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

What a GREAT gift idea!

Little Birdie Secrets had this GREAT idea! A home-made hot cocoa mix and in the picture below, they found an electric milk frother at IKEA for $2.00! Score!

Here are further details she had posted on her blog...This simple hot cocoa mix is another great neighbor/co-worker gift that you can put together super fast. We used these mini "quilted" jars, mostly because they're just so little and cute, and because for one person, it provides several cups of cocoa. (One jar holds one cup of mix.) If you wanted to make some for a couple or family, try using a pint or quart jar. Just add more mix!

Hot Cocoa Mix Recipe
10 cups dry milk powder
4 3/4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
1 3/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
1 3/4 cups powdered non-dairy creamer
Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Store in a jar or airtight container.
Yields 15 cups (enough for 15 of the small jars pictured here).

To make the cocoa, stir 3 heaping Tablespoons into 3/4 c. hot water or milk. I always advise topping it off with whipped cream as well, but that's just me (and my sweet tooth).Cheater version: Buy the bulk size Swiss Miss hot cocoa mix at Costco or WalMart and add 3 teaspoons of flavored non-dairy creamer per serving to make a gourmet flavor (see below). Try the Swiss Miss Dark Chocolate mix plus a few teaspoons of Ghiradelli Sweetened Cocoa for a dark chocolate flavor. Go ahead--cut corners. It'll be our little secret..If you really want to make an impression, why not make gourmet hot chocolate flavors? Or add layers of sweet treats for a cool presentation.

Here are a few more ideas for truly gourmet hot cocoa:
*Substitute the non-dairy creamer with a flavored non-dairy creamer, like hazelnut, amaretto, vanilla, or cinnamon for gourmet flavors.
*Peppermint cocoa can be made by crushing candy canes and mixing them with the cocoa mix in your food processor (this makes the pieces even smaller so they blend well with the cocoa). Add a layer of crushed candy canes in the middle or on top of your mix to show off the flavor in the jar!

*Add a few teaspoons of instant coffee crystals per serving for mocha cocoa.
*Layer fun dry toppings with the cocoa mix in your jar. Try mini chocolate chips, mini marshmallows, red and green jimmies (sprinkles), or crushed candy canes.
*Melt chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl in the microwave and dip the head of a plastic spoon in it. When it dries, wrap the chocolate-covered head in a plastic or cello bag and tie with a ribbon. Attach it to your jar of hot chocolate to be used with the first cup. The chocolate will melt when they stir, adding a little extra creaminess!

Now for the jar…. All supplies are Stampin' Up! We traced the inside of the ring lid on the back of patterned paper, cut it out, and glued it to the top of the lid. Then we layered a strip of coordinating patterned paper on a piece of card stock and wrapped it around the jar, securing it with adhesive. We stamped tag stamp, layered it on card stock, and adhered it to the front. Then we tied a matching ribbon around the top and tied on a little tag with the instructions for mixing the cocoa (see above). Another classic idea is to put a square of Christmas fabric between the lid and the ring for an old-fashioned look.
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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Hot Cocoa & Marshmallows

I found this on Homemade By Jill's blog.

This is another "take" on the home-made version of Hot Cocoa & Marshmallows. What a great gift!

I really like how she packaged the marshmallows with cute labels...the recipe she used was from Your Heart Out.

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Gobble Up Centerpiece

Martha has outdone herself AGAIN!

Check out this increadible centerpiece!

For the full how to, go here.
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Pilgrim Hat Cookies

Pilgrim Hats

I saw this idea in an email from Woman's Day.

So quick, so simple, so easy! Right up my alley.
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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving Mantle

Staci at Lizard & Ladybug created this Thanksgiving mantle and I think it's FAB!

Staci's Thankgiving Mantle is too much fun!
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Monday, November 22, 2010

Turkey Cupcakes

Aren't these the cutest cupcakes ever?!

Visit Kitchen Corners for the tutorial on how you can make these turkey cupcakes part of your own Thanksgiving dessert spread.
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Friday, November 19, 2010

Holiday Shopping Event - THIS Saturday!

Altar'd & Friends
Holiday Shopping Event
November 20, 2010
8am to Noon

If you loved the Altar'd Garage Sale, you'll love this Sale even more! We have Altar'd furniture, home decor, Christmas decor, Pampered Chef, BriCo Jewelry, Scentsy, Mary Kay, Absolute Fitness, Rodan & Fields, Saving Grace, Scentsy and delicious baked goods all at amazing discounted prices!
I'll be there with Scentsy!

Where: 207 Old Oaks St.
League City, TX 77573
When: Saturday, 11/20 8am to Noon
See you there!

Follow Altar'd on Facebook for more details!

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Give Thanks - 11/16

Today, I am Thankful for YOU!!

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Monday, November 15, 2010

Give Thanks - 11/15

Today, I am Thankful for HOT Showers!! They make getting out of my warm, comfy bed just a little bit easier!

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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Give Thanks - 11/14

Today, I am Thankful for Sushi Sundays and spending quality time with my 2 Favorite Guys!

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Saturday, November 13, 2010

Give Thanks - 11/13

Today, I am Thankful for small surprises and the smiles they bring to your friends' faces!

Nutcracker Market Here We Come!!

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Friday, November 12, 2010

Give Thanks - 11/12

Today, I am Thankful for Predictive Text and Fast Fingers. They can make even the most boring coversations very entertaining!
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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Give Thanks - 11/11

Today, I am Thankful for our Freedom! ... For this Veteran's Day, in between all of the things you have going on, add a prayer! A prayer to remember our fearless… our fallen… our soldiers. Without them, we would not have the Freedom that we do!!

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Give Thanks - 11/10

Today, I am Thankful for a Husband who is as CRaZY as I am!! No matter how iNSaNe my ideas might seem, he works to help make them a reality. He's definitely a KeePeR!!

Big Daddy in Vegas
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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Give Thanks - 11/09

Today, I am Thankful for the super friendly Baristas at SBUX. They make buying overly priced coffee a little less painful.

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Monday, November 8, 2010

Give Thanks - 11/08

Today, I am Thankful for my mornings with Lil Man. Just enjoying a cup of coffee together, sharing a blueberry muffin, watching Saved by the Bell & talking. I LoVe my Tidbit... He's the greatest kid in the whole wide world!!

(Another FaBuLouS Photo by Sabrina with Southern Grace Photography)
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Sunday, November 7, 2010

Give Thanks - 11/07

Many friends are updating their Facebook Status daily with what they are Thankful for and I thought I'd do the same here in BlogLand.

Everyday we are given little gifts and miracles & life can make you bitter or better. Let yourself be Thankful!

Today, I am thankful for Daylight Savings Time. There are many days I say "There are never enough hours in the day" & today is the one day a year, we finally get an extra hour! I LoVe it!!
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Friday, October 29, 2010

Favorite Song Friday - Hallelujah

WOW! This song is Breathtakingly BEAUTIFUL!

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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Do YOU Have Googly Eyes?

Oh Martha... You have done it again!

How CAUUUUTE are these shoes and bangles?! They would be perfect for any Halloween Party!

If you want to create your own, go
here for instructions.
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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Vampires

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Monday, October 25, 2010

Stairway to Heaven AKA The Project of the Century

After 3 months of VERY hard work on the weekends, our "Project of the Century" is FINALLY complete!

I am not sure I'd take on a project this big again; however, the result of all of our blood, sweat, tears and frustration was absolutely worth it! Not to mention, after being quoted $150 per STAIR (I have 17) to remove the carpet and install wood, I knew that I would be forced to tackle this project... just me and the Hubby. This project cost us a TOTAL of $125... SCORE!!

There are a FEW blogs out there with a step-by-step guide on how this is done (I wish I had found them prior to starting this project) and I thought I'd share one that was posted very recently.
Now... Here's a few before and afters
Don't judge! We think it's as disgusting as you do and that is why we HAD to do something!

Removal of the Carpet (The easiest part)... After we removed the carpet we looked at each other and wondered what we had done.

Wah-Lah! I am in LOVE!
Do these look like $125 stairs to you?! I'm sure if we paid the Professionals $150 a stair, they wouldn't have the slight imperfections that I am loving!

We WILL be staining the handrails... Hope the Hubby is ready for another project. ;-)
And a little bit of Halloween Fun!
**I will warn you that if you tackle this project, it will be extremely frustrating throughout the process. However, the results are more than worth it. We sanded each step prior to staining (what a process) and continue to find dust in places we'd rather not. ;-)
Now... onto the next project.
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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Halloween Rag Wreath

I absolutely think this is the greatest Halloween Wreath... There is just something about it that I LOVE!! (Probably the lime-green lettering... it always catches my eye!)

A. Find some super cute holiday fabric. I got a total of 2 yards in four different patterns and had a little left over. You could probably get away with a yard and a half, but it would be close. Also, the original inspiration used a metal hanger as the form but I found a wire wreath form for only $1.99 at the craft store. Since it has four rings your wreath will turn out much fuller. Then just cut strips of fabric, about 6" long and 1" wide, and tie in a random pattern around your ring. I doubled knotted because I didn't want my hard work to come undone.

B. Take a piece of ribbon and tie a loop about the top of your wreath to hang it from. I tied it around the second ring.

C. Next I made a bow to attach to the loop. I made two simple bows, one larger then the other, and then hot glued the two together. Take a small piece of ribbon and wrap that around the middle to finish the look. (D)

E. Glue the bow to the loop.

F. I wanted to attach the word "BOO" but the craft store was out of "b" so I went with "EEK." I painted them green and then topped it with sparkly silver paint.

G. Attaching the letters to the wreath ended up being a little more tricky. I ended up hot gluing a opened bobbi pin to the back of the letter. (Glue it at the top, not the middle like in the picture.) Make a small hook in the end of the pin.

H. Use that hook to hot glue the letter to the back of the wreath. I also had to add a few drops of hot glue to a couple fabric pieces to keep the letters where I wanted them.And your done, just hang and enjoy!

Isn't it the CAUUUUTEST?! Just think of the other wreathes you could make using this same idea! Christmas, Spring, etc... Now, GO GET CRAFTING!!

Check out this rag wreath featured at A Little Bit of Everything
**I always like to give credit where credit is due, so if anyone in Blogland knows who featured the "Eek" Wreath, please let me know so that I can add a link to their post on this one. Thanks so much!
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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - American Idol

Randy, Jenny From the Block & Steven Tyler PJs (Dude Looks Like a Lady)

Here's what American Idol 2011 looks like!
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Friday, October 15, 2010

Tuesday Tip - Age Appropriate Dressing (No FUN!)

Message T-Shirts
•Retail Retirement
Age: 30
•Why: The freedom to express yourself via T-shirt is part of the teen and 20-something years ...

Too-Trendy Denim
•Retail Retirement
Age: 35
•Why: If your jeans are super-low-rise, torn, distressed, or embellished with rhinestones or embroidery on the pockets go outside and light a bonfire now. You're just too old to wear them.

Costume Shoes
•Retail Retirement
Age: Mid-40s
•Why: 40-somethings will look fresher without the trendy cork wedges, thigh-high boots or up-to-the-knee Gladiator sandals. Micro-mini

•Retail Retirement
Age: 40
•Why: You gotta know your strenths -- and your limitations ... Age appropriateness in fashion is partially determined by who you are and what you do -- so yes, Tina Turner can wear micro-minis on stage that the rest of us would look ridiculous in.

Anything Showing Excessive Cleavage
•Retail Retirement
Age: 50
•Why: An older woman shouldn't feel she needs to show it all off. Anything below the middle of your bustline has got to go. White, Ribbed

Cotton Tank Tops
•Retail Retirement
Age: 40
•Why: Frankly, what looks good on the stars of Gossip Girl may not work on you.

Hair Gadgets
•Retail Retirement
Age: 30
•Why: Whether it's flowery scrunchies, banana clips or your daughter's plastic kiddie barrettes, playful hair accessories are not fitting for a grown woman.

Oversized, Overly-Decorated Hobo Bags
•Retail Retirement
Age: 50
•Why: Open any magazine, and you'll see tiny celebrities toting enormous handbags -- the skinnier the star, the bigger the bag, it seems. Well, don't follow this trend.

Loud Accessories
•Retail Retirement
Age: 35
•Why: The rubber bracelets, studded belts, zebra purses and plastic earrings proclaim to the world that you're still trendy. OK -- but you can look hip without looking like a teenager.


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Favorite Friday - Laughing

My absolute favorite thing in the world is laughing with those I love (I've heard I can be pretty entertaining). Really, is there anything better than a great belly laugh?!

Hearing the laughter of a child can bring a smile to your face like nothing else.

According to, here's how laughter actually impacts your health:

Eases Anxiety and Fear
Improves Mood
Prevents Heart Disease
Lowers Stress Hormones
Burns Calories
Strengthens the Immune System
Reduces Food Cravings
Strengthens Relationships
Provides a Physical and Emotional Release
Lowers Blood Sugar Levels
Helps Diffuse Conflicts
Decreases Pain
Exercises Muscles, Leaving Them Relaxed
Boosts Energy

Now... I bet you enjoy laughing as much as I do!

Have a Spectacular Friday... Wishing you a weekend filled with Laughter!

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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - BFFs

My BFF, Aimee, & Big D... Two of the BEST Friends any girl could hope for, wish for and be blessed with!
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Monday, October 11, 2010


Check out this FABULOUS project from Everything I Love and More
Have I mentioned how much I LOVE the Holidays? Fun crafts like this one make me LOVE the Holidays even MORE!

The wood was all unfinished and she painted everything with Americana acrylic paint in Lamp (ebony) black. The canister lids were silver, so I did 4 coats of paint on those little guys.

She filled all 3 canisters with colorful candy corn.

...and this is her finished project.

Aren't these just the CAUUUUTEST?!

For Christmas just change the candy and ribbon and paint red letters to spell JOY.
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Friday, October 8, 2010

Favorite Song Friday - If I Die Young

Although I am not a fan of Country Music (Texas Country... Now, that's another story)... I just love, LOVE, SUPER LOVE this song!! I happen to think it's perfect for FaVoRiTe song Friday!

I'll be taking a break this weekend from blogging in order to wrap up my Project of the Century. Check back next week, You will not want to miss the reveal!

Have a FABULOUS weekend BlogLand!


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Thursday, October 7, 2010

Pop the Pumpkin

Did you see this cute Halloween party game idea from Martha?

Gotta LOVE Martha... She is AMA-A-ZING!

Wouldn't this be great for a back to school party? Just switch the orange for red balloons & you have an apple pop!

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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Dance! Dance! Dance!

Me doing my not-so-famous dance! Rock on!
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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Halloween Decorations

Shelley Smith from House of Smiths and Wonderfully Wordy (two of my FAVE Blogs) has done it again!

Is this awesome or what?
I'm having my Sorority's Annual Halloween Party at my House this year, so I better get going on my Halloween decorating!
thank you so much Shelley for sharing all your creative goodies with us on your blog. You are pretty Spectacular!

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