The Final Touch to a Redecorated Bathroom

artwork found at MichaelsWe redecorated one of our bathrooms a couple of years ago and I never was quite able to finish because I couldn’t find the last item I wanted to hang on the wall.

When the project was first started, it took me a long time time to decide what to do in that room after I stood on a ladder for many hours with a scraper in one hand and a spray bottle of Dif in the other.  I thought I never would get that ugly outdated wallpaper off the wall, but I finally did.  But once I had it down to clean bare walls — now what?  I am not a genius or even talented at home decor – that would be my daughter.  Those genes must have been a distant throw-back because she didn’t get it from me.

I went through some magazines trying to figure out what I wanted and I finally stumbled across a color combination – flooring, fixtures, wall color,  etc. that suited me.  It was like a light bulb went on when I saw the photo, so from there I was on a mission to find similar floor tiles, similar vanity and sink top, similar paint.  I had this photo taped to the window in that room as I brought home numerous paint samples to find the right shade of purple.

It all went together well and I found a large print to put on the largest wall, but I never found what I wanted to hang over the toilet.  (Side Note:  A friend once told me that a bathroom has a female wall and a male wall.  The artwork across from the toilet is for the ladies, and the artwork over the toilet is for the gentlemen, but I digress….)

While strolling through Michael’s one Saturday afternoon I literally stumbled across the artwork that I thought might be perfect.  I wasn’t even looking for it — it just found me.  And guess what folks — IT WAS ON SALE!  Can this sequence of events get any better?

So the item was purchased and hung on the wall and I can say once and for all that the room is finished!

The struggling designer………..DebraJ

I did not receive compensation or receive any free gifts to create this post.  The ideas and opinions are my own.

Fresh Fruits and Vegetables – Coop Day!

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We participate in the Community Helpings Coop in the St. Louis area and we truly enjoy the experience.  Every other week (or so) we pick up an assortment of fruits and vegetables.  The excitement builds as we consider what we are going to make with the items that come in the produce basket.  I guess you could say it is one of those whimsical events.

This experience has forced us to work with foods that we haven’t used before.  As an example, we had never cooked or eaten kohlrabi and we found that we actually like it a lot.  I find myself looking for it in the stores, and I never find it.  The only place I have found it outside of the Coop has been at Soulard Market.

This time we received apples, oranges, bananas, cantaloupe, strawberries, leeks, broccoli, carrots, turnips, spring mix, acorn squash, grapefruit and tomatoes.

It’s a fairly cool set up — the order for the produce basket is placed on-line by Friday at 8 p.m. and then we pick up from the site on Monday evening.  In addition to the produce basket we can purchase other items that are available, including chia seeds, flax meal, and other nutritious foods.

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Hooked on Produce………… DebraJ

I did not receive any compensation or receive any free items for this post.  The ideas and opinions are my own.


REVIEW — Time for Dinner

Time for Dinner

Meal assembly businesses have sprung up in cities everywhere, and we have one of the better ones here in the Midwest.  We have been visiting this establishment nearly every month for the past two years.  We started after a co-worker told the story about her experience and we wanted to go, too.   It’s a lot of fun to go there after work with friends, and Dear Hubby tries to get involved whenever he can.  Sometimes we take a bottle of wine and sip a little while we are assembling.  I guess you could say this experience is one of our “whimsical” moments.  It’s just plain fun!

Even better, it’s a huge timesaver.  Remember I’ve mentioned that I’m a working girl, so I like to find ways to serve meals “at home” that are healthful and quick!  It is so easy to pop one of these entrees into the oven and then add a salad and vegetable.

Each month there are about 14 dishes to choose from, and typically we make the standard 6 entrees.  The menu selections are different each month.  Each entrée creates 6 servings – sometimes more. 

This month we selected the following six choices:

1.) Big Daddy’s Shrimp –  a shrimp dish involving orzo pasta that can be can be made on top of the stove.

2.) Bourbon Steak – steak rubbed with a blend of spices and drizzled with Bourbon sauce and crunchy onions

3.) Chicken Dijonnaise – I wouldn’t have thought to blend this combination together to create a scrumptious sauce topping, but it really works and we love it.

4.)  Chicken Pot Pie – this is the first time we have made this so we are eager to see how it turns out, but it certainly looked impressive while we were making it.

5.) Chicken Roulade – Wow!  This involves blending cheeses and herbs and rolling boneless chicken breast around the cheese mixture and the asparagus.  The whole thing is wrapped in a slice of bacon and sauce is spooned over the top.

6.)  Party Pork Tenderloin – lean pork tenderloins rolled in a blend of mustard and herbs and then rolled in a cracker crumb blend.  After this is cooked the raspberry sauce is drizzled over.  This can be used as an entrée to a meal or sliced thinly and passed as a warm appetizer.

We have made all of the entrees before at some point over the past couple of years with the exception of the Chicken Pot Pie, which is new to us this month. 

I am not a persnickety housekeeper (by far), but I am a bit obsessive about cleanliness in food preparation areas.  I was pleasantly surprised (relieved) to see that the operation is clean and I believe they take the same care with the handling of food that I demand in my own kitchen.

If you are concerned about the cuts of meat offered for the entrees, you need not be concerned.  I am always impressed with how fresh everything is and how neatly trimmed the meat is that is prepared in advance. 

The entrees are labeled with cooking instructions and nutritional information, including calorie count and Points.

It is a joy to go to TIme for Dinner because of the people that we meet.  All of the employees are cheerful and friendly, and even the owners take time from their busy schedule to stop by and chat with us – even on the busiest nights.

If you are curious about this activity check out their website for more details and references to their monthly menus.  There is also a great video describing what to expect when you go to prepare your meals and a Time for Dinner Facebook page where you can find a lot of people who seem to love this place as much as I do.

Assembled for the month…………..DebraJ

I have not received any compensation or free gifts to create this post.  The ideas and opinions are my own.

An Anniversary Trip Down Memory Lane

A wedding anniversary is ‘kind of’ a big deal.  It isn’t necessarily a time for elaborate gifts or extravagant celebrations, but it deserves a pause from this hectic thing called life to take a trip down memory lane.

Things have been a little hectic for me lately,  I have a lot of irons in the fire and have a been  juggling a lot of responsibilities, so it was welcome relief and appreciation when I received a simple e-mail from Dear Hubby that invited me for a “date” on Saturday night to celebrate our Anniversary.  I usually take the lead on planning for these sorts of things, but I think this year he sensed that my resources were low, so he took charge.

I did not know what he had planned but he told me I could dress casually, so I did.  Of course, I did have some tiny concerns about whether I was dressed appropriately because it’s a bummer to show up at the prom dressed in your picnic clothes, but I decided to trust him and just went with it.  As it turns out, he was correct.

He took me to Cusanelli’s,, which is a restaurant in the area near where we grew up and began dating.  In fact, we had some of our very first dates here stopping in after a movie.

Cusanelli's Restaurant
A quick phone shot of one portion of the famous mural.

Tonight I had the cannelloni with 1/2 red and 1/2 white sauce and Curt had some kind of a steak.  The food was not fancy but tasted good.  The crowd gathered there was casual and it was clear that this place is still popular with the locals.  They have great pizza, and although we were stuffed like a Christmas turkey when we left, we could smell the pizza as we walked to our car and we both agreed that it smelled delicious, even though we were far from hungry.

I did not realize this place had such a rich heritage when we were younger and dropping in on a date.  Cusanelli’s has been in business for 55 years, but prior to the birth of this Italian/American eatery, the structure itself was an Inn that dates back to the Spanish occupation west of the Mississippi.  Much later, in 1939, it was determined by a survey done during road construction to be exactly 8 miles from the courthouse at Market & Broadway, so the name 8-mile house still sticks even today.  Read more about this establishment’s fascinating history on their website.  There were a number of famous people who visited, including one individual who still has an outstanding bar tab.  They also have a facebook page.

The structure’s history is all cool, but our self-absorbed memory of this place has more to do with two teenagers with stars in their eyes who eventually fell in love and raised a family.  Now that’s a historical memory that has some real value.

Nostalgically yours………….DebraJ

I did not receive any compensation or receive any free gifts when I created this post.  The ideas and opinions are my own.

Now this is the way to see a movie!

We love it when the Oscars roll around every year, and we try to see as many of the movies as possible before the event.  Usually we don’t meet that lofty goal, and this year is no different, but we thought we’d take in one this past Friday night so we could at least see half of them (okay, really only 3).  One of our local theaters recently converted to a Dine-In Theatre, so we decided to give it a try. 

ARGO has been at the top of our list so we decided to see the movie and the new dining set-up all at the same time.  I purchased the ticket through the website and was excited to see that we could select our seats in advance.  When we arrived at the theater we skipped the ticket line and went directly to the area where kiosks were set up for advance purchases.  There were a lot of them so it was very convenient.  One swipe of the credit card that purchased the tickets led to the immediate production of the tickets.  No questions to answer and now buttons to push!  Easy!

We were greeted by very friendly staff and shown to our seats.   WOW!   Now this is the way to see a movie!  (I hope I don’t fall asleep in this cozy comfy chair).  We sat in plush and roomy recliner style chairs with a pull over table.  The chair reclined in various stages so everyone can find that sweet spot where perfection is achieved.

The waiter came to us immediatly and explained how things would work and offered us some water while we perused the menu.  Yes!  I was thirsty after all this excitement.


After looking at the menu several times and playing with all the buttons on the chair, we finally ordered.  As frequently happens, even with about 50 items on the menu, we ordered the same thing.  Exactly. the. same. thing.  The Thai Bang Shrimp Tacos and a Woodchuck Cider.  Everything on the menu looked good, but I would like to see a few more healthful choices added (hint, hint).

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Yummy, yummy and  a lot of crunching while violating our low-calorie, low-fat diet.

The movie was great and I loved the suspense.  I had recall of many of the events surrounding this time period, but the movie did a great job of putting the viewer in the shoes of those people who took some courageous risks.  I was shaking at the end.  Ben Affleck has certainly evolved from an actor into other roles now that show he has talent.  Plus he still has that frown that tends to melt every female in the room.  I looked around the theater to see if it had the same effect on everyone, and I think it did, but it was hard to tell with everyone sitting in recliners with their feet up (I think a couple of people had dozed off, and I was just glad it wasn’t me).


We love going to the movies, and this is definitely flying first class.

Until Later — DebraJ

NOTE:  I did not receive any compensation or free products to create this post.  The ideas and opinions were my own.