Something to Warm You Up ~ Spicy Chicken Tortilla Soup

Well we have been in the deep freeze here in the northeast with temps dipping down into the single digits at night, and we did manage to get a good 5-6 inches from that big bad nor'easter Juno in the beginning of the week. The kids don't really seem to mind the cold too much as they are out burning over 600 calories per hour sledding. I should have that kind of energy right?

One of the things I love most about the winter and snow is coming in from all that cold and sitting down to a nice bowl of piping hot soup. And for me the spicier the better! This soup can warm your right down to your toes and the kids and Mr. Rosemary Lane like it too!

So to keep the calorie count down, instead of sauteing my veggies in oil I simply sauteed them in low-fat low-sodium chicken and beef broth.


4 medium boneless and skinless chicken breasts cut into small bite size pieces
3 1/2 cups of chicken broth
2 cups beef broth
1 14 1/2 oz can of diced tomatoes, undrained
1 medium onion chopped
1/4 cup of chopped sweet green or red pepper
1 1/2 cups loose kernel corn. Frozen works.
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/2 of a 4 oz can of jalapeno peppers 
1 T snipped fresh cilantro or  1/2 T dried
3 cups tortilla chips coarsely crumbled (I like the ones with a hint of lime)
Avocado optional

In a large pot or dutch oven, heat the chicken and beef broths and add the tomatoes, onion and the pepper. Bring to a boil, add the chicken and bring to a boil again, then lower heat and cover the pot. Let simmer for 10 minutes. Next add the chili powder, cumin, black pepper and corn. Then add the chopped jalapeno peppers and cilantro and return the pot to a boil, cover, lower heat and let simmer for another 10 minutes.

To serve ladle soup into 6 bowls and top with the crubled tortialla chips and avocado.

And enjoy all the spicy goodness!

Here's hoping for a break in our big freeze although I know it is not happening until sometime next week!

In the meantime have a great weekend!!!
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Remembering When We had a Snow Day

The house phone rang this morning around 6am with the prerecorded message from the school's Alert System giving us the big news of the schools being closed due to “inclement weather”.  At the same time the house phone rang, so did both my cell phone and Mr. Rosemary Lane's, and of course we received an email message on both of our computers. Geeeesh…talk about the era of automation!!
I remember when I was in grade school…we had to listen to the radio for school closings. We were tuned in to WIP 610 on the AM dial in Philadelphia. About every half hour beginning long before we were up out of bed, the station's radio personality would read the list of school numbers for closings. We would come downstairs and sit down at the kitchen table, barely looking at our cereal, and waited intently to hear if our school number was going to be read off on the closed list. "Schools 298, 299, 300 closed" the radio announcer would say...and then we waited for what felt like an eternity. “Please say 301, please say 301, please say 301” we would secretly be chanting to ourselves. And then, on that oh so rare occasion, the radio announcer would speak the numbers we’ve been waiting to hear…3-0-1. Yahoo we were off from school!!!! All of a sudden we were famished and we’d tear into the cereal as if we had not had anything to eat for a week.

After our cereal fest (more like a sugar fest) we’d run upstairs and begin to” bundle up” in about ten layers of clothing so we could go outside and play with our friends. I remember one year I built an igloo made of snow. We had a block mold, to this day I have no idea where it came from, probably a neighbor or possibly one of my younger sibling’s Christmas or birthday presents, but I didn’t care, it occupied me for hours as I built my house of snow!

My sister and brother were far more clever with ways to keep themselves entertained on the unexpected day off. We lived on a one block hill and our neighbor Mr. Phillips, who lived across from us but was also on the next road down, had this huge hill in his backyard. One year my sister and brother built a giant slope on the Phillips’s hill complete with a jump that actually rendered them airborne for about a good 15 feet. They had one of those plastic saucers which they would ride starting at the top of the Phillips’s hill, through the Phillips's backyard, and then all the way down the Fortune Road hill which was a whole block long! From there they would make the left onto Louise Avenue which took them clear out to Jenkintown Road. And, to make the ride even faster, my smart little brother and sister would pour water down the slope which would freeze and become really slick. The thrill of that snow saucer ride I am sure rivaled that of any amusement park ride of the time!

When I was a teen the main hill for sledding was at the senior high school. And boy did they have a great hill for sledding!!! Scores of kids would gather at this hill to catch their winter ride. We had graduated to a real sled by our teenage years and the fun thing to do was to pile ourselves on the sled, maybe 3 or 4 people high all lying on our bellies, and head off down the hill trying to keep everyone on the sled until we got to the bottom. Of course if you were on the top of the stack the likelihood of falling off was pretty high, but the fall itself was part of the fun!

Now in the short time it has taken me to write this blurb about my good old snow days, Grace and her friend have already gone outside, played in the snow, and now are back inside to get warmed up and look for something to snack on. I suppose at some point today I will make the trip over to our little hill which is a couple blocks away, and watch the kids as the go sledding. Maybe I will even take a spin or two down the hill on one of their sleds…if not for anything else but for “the sake of old times.”
Wishing you a wonderful day!!
And if you are in the wake of this big nor-easter, have a great SNOW DAY!

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Shopping Mood ~ Feeling Very Girly!

When you shop, whether for yourself or for your home, do you ever notice that you kind of fall into a mood and by the time you get to the checkout counter you notice that all of the items in your cart kind of share the same vibe? Whether it is the color or lines, or just the overall feel of the items you are purchasing, you can pretty much put your finger on the mood you are in.

Well yesterday I was at the mall then made a quick trip over to Home Goods, and my mood dial must have definitely been set to romantic mode with a little pampering tossed in, and very very girly!

I picked up items for both the home and myself to engage the senses of sight, smell and touch.

Three pretty lacy white picture frames, a few turquoise candles, and a luscious hand soap plus lotion in a fresh green fragrance.

All this in addition to a Yankee Candle in a calming spa scent, a large wicker basket to hold my sofa throws, and a soft new pillow for the living room.

Yes I was in a girly mood yesterday...
what would be your shopping mood for today?



Top Ten Blog Posts of 2014

Good morning and in the words of my dear friend Judy over at Gold Country Cottage
Happy Friday!

Wowzer...here we are heading towards the end of the first month of 2015 and I have finally managed to figure out my top post for 2014. Some of the posts I pretty much knew were heavy hitters, while others were a total surprise! So without further delay here is the countdown. 

To see each post in its entirety just click on the image. 

In the NUMBER TEN position
(The hutch my dear friend Colene gave me)

(Living room reveal at Christmas)

(This was part of an amazing beach house kitchen makeover)

Coming in at NUMBER SEVEN
(A total surprise to me)

(Love the white ironstone paired with rustic silver in this vignette)

Halfway through with NUMBER FIVE
(One of my faves from this year)

(A $60 yard sale find gets a new look)

(You need to see the before pics)

Down to the wire here...
(Do you remember my big Master Bedroom reveal last April?)

And much to my surprise the NUMBER ONE most viewed post of 2014 is from over a year ago, way back in January...

And there you have it! 
2014 is officially a wrap!!
Wishing you an awesome weekend!!!



The 2015 Philadelphia Home Show

Yesterday was my sister Kim's 40th something birthday plus the kids were off from school for Martin Luther King day, so we hopped the train into center city Philadelphia to attend the annual Philly Home Show in the convention center.

This year's show was packed with all kinds of cool stuff, but as usual our favorite area to check out is where the designer rooms are displayed!

 There are a total of 5 designers rooms but I am only going to share with your my 2 favorites.

First up is this beautiful dining room. The table was totally the star here. I think it is a pretty mix of both a traditional and contemporary vibe not forgetting to mention that I love the color combination!

The other room is actually an outdoor living area created by one of my very talented bloggy friends Denise Sabia from the blog The Painted Home.

 Denise's space is complete with a fireplace and flat screen TV!

Don't you just love these two fabulous faux wine barrel wall hangings?

Denise created this pretty nail art.

When we first arrived at the Home Show Denise wasn't there yet so the TV was not on. 

When we checked back later in the morning we found Denise and this is what she had on the picture screen. Ahhh doesn't that look inviting??? In front of the TV are just succulents in coffee cans...so simple but so perfect for this beautiful space Denise created.

 There's Denise now!!! Hey Denise great job!!!

Another booth which were among our favorites at the Home Show included a little beauty shop which sells this amazing flat iron. They are by a company called Profashion. Grace and my sister Kim had there tresses done.

Grace had curls put in...

...and Kim had her hair straightened. You can see the big difference below. Not only is her hair softer and smoother, the highlights are more noticeable. So yes we bought 2 of these irons!

The Ikea booth was a big hit with Michael and Grace. They loved this flip top bed. Each one asked if a person could fit under the mattress and if it had a lock. I know what they were thinking???

Another one of our favorite products at the show was this anaerobic German glue that actually can stick anything together...metal, wood, tile, leather and the list goes on! It is also environmentally friendly, non-toxic and biodegradable. The product is called Max-1.

They even fixed Kim's pocketbook which broke earlier in the day after we were already on the train.

Good as new!

There were so many really cool produts to try out and booths to visit, but alas our crew began to grow tired so it was time to go home.

If you are in the Philadelphia area this coming weekend and you're looking for something to do, head on down to the Philadelphia Convention Center and check out the home show. There really is a lot to see!!

In the meantime wishing you all a super week!



Seeing Things in Black & White

With the rush of the everyday grind, sometimes we forget to slow down and really notice the most beautifully simplistic things in our lives. In order to "slow " things down for myself I decided to try a little exercise in photographing parts of my home in black and white. 

It is so funny how just by removing the color from these pictures things begin to take on a different type of beauty. You notice the lines of a cabinet or the pretty shine of metal, and how light, or the lack there of, can completely change the mood and even add depth to an image.

For whatever reason these pictures seem rather quiet or tranquil to me. 

But very strong at the same time.

They feel like an era gone by yet very contemporary in style.

Ahh the simplicity of it all.

Wishing you a beautiful weekend!!!

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