Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!!!



I wish all the best to you and yours for 2009!!!
xoxo,

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Sunday, December 28, 2008

My Top Entrecard Droppers

I'd like to thank my top droppers of the last 31 days from Entrecard:


The Junk Drawer 31

Fresh and delicious stories about anything that amuses me, confuses me, or makes me blow a gasket. Take a look around the drawer. Just leave everything where you found it.


Alteredevents 30

My unique altered accessories costume fantasy shop blog for special events.


My gypsygoods 30

Life, creative moments, saving money, nature, eco-friendly tips. Supporting the handmade community.


"Cents"able Momma 26
A blog that gives ideas for frugal living as well as store deals and freebies. It also lists some ways to make some extra money on the side through surveys and other reward sites.



Contrariwise Jewelry 22

Blog about my jewelry, personal life, crafting, tutorials.


1 Blog and 2 Sides 22

A collection of favorite recipes that chilly and I have tried and taste great or ones we would like to try.


LovelyPurses 21

This blog is all about creativity, my love of fabrics, bag design and construction, useful sewing advice, trends and current projects.


Not Your Ordinary History 20

Our history is every human history; a black and gory business, with more scoundrels than wise men at the lead, and more louts than both put together to cheer and follow.


Foodarrific 19

A busy mom of teens shares her recipes and reviews the family’s eating out experiences. Restaurant reviews, healthy eating, food tips, anything and everything food-related.


Prague 18

A city guide to the Golden City of Prague.



Why not visit their blogs and see what they have been up to lately?



Thanks everyone!!!



PS: If you liked this post, you might also like this one, it's about marketing your blog:



Are You Monetizing Your Blog?

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas!

Merry Christmas from our home to yours!!!


xoxo,


Bella, Velo, Zach, Robert & Goldie


Click to play Happy Holidays!


Make a Smilebox greeting

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Run, Run Rudolf...To Lowe's!!! Especially if you have a BOY!

I just got back from Lowe's and look at this COOL Harley Davidson Motorcycle Lamp that I got for my 4 year old son...he absolutely loves it, so do I!



The best part? It was only $14.98!!! How cheap is that? And it's sharp, too, here, take a look...











Lights On...love the shade, too...















Close up of the motorcycle, it's pretty detailed...













It has a regular light switch and a night light switch. For the night lights, the head light will light up, along with the back lights and then the orange light that goes around the perimeter of the bottom...











The lampshade alone is pretty darn cool, yes, you can tell I'm a Detroit gal!







What I like, too, is that it works for any age...for now, it is in a 4 year old's room...but I can definitely see this being in his room for years to come (heck, my older son likes it and Dad, too!)



And of course, Robert!


I also took a look around and all of their Christmas decor was 50% off and there was still so much on the shelves.


And then you know how they have little decor vignettes all over the store now? Well all of those items are 25% off until 12/24. They have really nice decor items now, but I was good and just got the lamp.


But...we might be going back today or tomorrow anyway, because my soon to be 14 year old wants a motorcycle lamp, too! I didn't think he would want one...oh who am I kidding...I knew he would, but it doesn't MATCH his green & brown decor, so that's why I didn't get one for him, but now that Mom guilt is sinking in, so yes, he's going to have one, too.


ttfn,

Motorcycle Mama ;)
PS: I forgot the best part! When you turn it on, it makes the sound of a motorcycle starting up! You can turn the sound off though if you want, but why would you want to do that? ;)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas Tree Photo Contest

Hi!





Debbie at Pink Pig Cottage Antiques is having a Christmas Tree Photo Contest.





All entries will be posted on her site and must be submitted by December 31, 2008.





The winner will receive a $100, yes a $100 gift certificate to her store, Pink Pig Cottage Antiques. Debbie has the most beautiful, whimsical decorative items in her store, you will fall in love with something whenever you visit her site.


I have seen some beautiful trees lately in blogland, I wish you all the best of luck, I would love it so much if one of my readers won this awesome contest.




G O O D L U C K !!!



Bella

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Cabbage Soup Recipe (Just like Big Boy Restaurant)

I discovered Cabbage Soup when I was a teen and used to actually make it myself for my family. Here's a recipe I have been using for a couple of years now and it's sooo good!!! It's modeled after Big Boy Restaurant's recipe, if you know about them...they are known for their delicious soups (and their Big Boy double deckers, Slim Jim sandwiches, Hot Fudge Brownie Cakes...but I digress...) back to the healthy dish....Cabbage Soup! Enjoy!



Photo Courtesy: FoodTV.ca



Cabbage Soup like Big Boy's Restaurant


1 (12-ounce) can V-8 juice
4 ribs celery, diced
2 cans (14 ounces each) sliced stewed tomatoes
2 cans (14 ounces each) clear beef broth
1 broth can water
1 smoked pork hock (3/4 pound) or ham steak in bite-size pieces
1 onion, about the size of a lemon, diced
1/4 of a 2 1/2-pound head cabbage, diced and cored and outer leaves discarded
1 cup of shredded carrots
1 envelope onion soup mix
1 teaspoon dry minced parsley
Generous dash pepper



Add all ingredients to a 6-quart kettle as listed.




Bring to boil.




Cover and reduce to gentle simmer — simmering two hours or until cabbage is tender.




Serves 6.


I usually buy the six pack of V-8 Juice and use 2 of those cans. Today I am making this with the Hot & Spicy juice, can't wait to try it! Also, the Ham Hock is optional, I have made this with and without it and the soup is delicious either way.


If anyone has a great recipe for Minestrone Soup, I would love to have it, thanks!


Getting ready to be snowed in tomorrow...there goes the last day of school for Robert and his Pre-K Christmas Party!


Stay warm,

Bella

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Some Online Deals On Home Decor & A Star is Born




Deluxe 100% Cotton Damask Stripe Mattress Pads are on sale at Amazon.com






Twin, $12.16
Twin XL, $17.84
Full, $24.99
Queen, $20.65
King, $23.54
California King, $26.32




All orders will ship free, if your total is $25 or more. So, if it is less than $25, make sure to shop around for a good book or stocking stuffer to get to $25.




And HomeDecorators.com, one of my favorite places to shop online is offering free shipping until December 21!


They usually never offer free shipping! This is where I purchased my
Laundry Hamper, among other fun things!





Last night, we went to my son Robert's first Christmas concert...


of course, I was sitting way off on one side and he was on the other side of the stage...so I did not get a good picture of him...and then when he saw me, he covered his face! lol




So, here is the BEST picture I got of him:

So, I am hoping that another parent or teacher got a better picture of him!!! ;)





Enjoy your day!


Bella

Monday, December 15, 2008

And The Winner of the $50 Photofiddle.com GC is...



Sorry to do this to you, but you have to click here to find out!






Thanks everyone for participating and I hope to bring you more giveaways soon!






Don't forget to visit Hooked On Houses today for the Holiday Tour of Homes!






ttfn,



Bella

PS: Remember you can order a gorgeous canvas from Photofiddle.com and save 15% by using the coupon code: bella15 They also sell gift certificates that would make a great gift for your friends and family :)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Giveaway Reminder!

Hi,

Just a reminder that I will be drawing the winner of the $50 Photofiddle.com gift certificate tomorrow!

So make sure that you are entered!

Good Luck!

Bella

Friday, December 12, 2008

Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree Party!

Woo-hoo!!! Just found another blog party!





We are THAT Family is hosting a Christmas Tree Blog Party. Make sure to pop over there and say "Hi!" and post a link to your fabulous tree!





Here is my Toys, Beanie Babies & Dollar Tree Christmas tree, lol:








There's more info on the FUN ornaments here :)




Like Blog Parties? Make sure to visit Hooked on Houses Holiday Home Tour next Monday and A Soft Place To Land's Holiday Open House Party next Tuesday!




ttfn,

Bella
PS: Thrifty Decor Chick is also hosting a Christmas Tree Party HERE !!! Has anyone seen my lampshade?

Needs a Hot Tottie for all of these parties I'm attending!

Hooked On Houses Holiday Tours Blog Party Reminder



Hi All,




Julia at Hooked on Houses is hosting another fabulous Home Tour Blog Party starting on Monday, December 15th. This one is a Holiday Tour, so deck them halls and blog, blog, blog!




Make sure to join in on the fun, Julia always throws the best parties!!!


Do you know of any other Blog Parties that are coming up? I'd love to hear about them!


ttfn,

Bella




Thursday, December 11, 2008

Lentil Spinach Stew Soup Recipe

Lentil Spinach stew is a delicious meatless meal to make. I usually serve it with cornbread.

Guess what's for dinner tonight? ;)


Yields: Approx. 7 (1 cup) servings Points per serving: 1


This stew is hearty, healthy, flavorful, and easy to make. There's nothing better than a 1-point meal that fills you up!!


Ingredients:


2 garlic cloves minced
1 med onion (about 1/2 cup), chopped
1 Tb oil
1 cup dry lentils
4 cups chicken broth (or 4 cups water + 4 tsp or cubes of chicken bouillon)
10 oz frozen spinach
7.5 oz can chopped/diced tomatoes (I like to use Hunt's canned tomatoes with roasted garlic, yummy!)
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. thyme
1/4 tsp. fennel seeds, crushed
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 Tb. Worcestershire sauce
1 Tb. balsamic vinegar or red wine vinegar
2 medium carrots, chopped (about 1 cup) (I like to use the pre-shredded carrots, I'm lazy that way!)



Directions:



Mince garlic cloves and chop onion. Heat oil in large saucepan or dutch oven. Heat onion and garlic in oil until soft but not brown. Add dry lentils, broth, tomatoes, salt, pepper, thyme, bay leaf, and fennel seeds. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 15-20 minutes.



Add frozen spinach and carrots. Bring to a boil again. Break apart frozen spinach with a fork as needed. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer another 10-15 minutes until lentils and carrots are tender. Remove bay leaf. (Please note: It's hard to find the bay leaf once the spinach is in!! So you *may* want to remove it before you put the spinach in!) Stir in vinegar.



Serve hot!



Yields Approx. 7 (1-cup) servings


Nutritional Info: 100 calories, 2 g. fat, 7 g. fiber (1 point per 1-cup serving)



Source: Better Homes and Gardens Vegetarian Cookbook, 1993

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

New Blog & A Giveaway!

Hi,

I have started another blog, called Bella Casa News. I thought it would be nice to have a separate blog from my decorating one. Bella Casa News will feature money saving tips, blogging tips, reviews & giveaways.

So please, go check out my review of Photofiddle.com and enter to win a $50 gift certificate, too!

Thanks so much & Good Luck!!!

Bella

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree...

Here's my first Christmas decor post of the year, better late than never;) Where did November go???

Last year, I had had enough of our "Charlie Brown" Christmas tree, so we donated it after the holidays. I mean, really, you could SEE the GREEN POLE through the branches...you could even see the wall in back of the tree through the branches...it was one sorry, sorry tree, lol.

So, this year we went shopping for a pre-lit tree and YIKES!!! The prices were OUTRAGEOUS!!! Everything decent was well over $200. I couldn't believe it.

So...we compromised and got a nice, full tree, but without the attached lights. And then we just bought lights for it separately. Our sons, Zach & Robert, got to pick out the lights and they went with multi-colored (GASP!) I was having an anxiety attack just thinking about it, but I took a deep breath and put them in the cart ;) I'd had white lights for so many years, it was a little bit of an adjustment getting used to all of the COLORS!

But you know what...I actually like it now and 'went' with it...meaning, I spruced it up with some multi-colored candy canes and some other fun things like...


Beanie Babies!


Um, ok, I didn't do this, Zach did...but ok, a toy car works, too...

We even got a few new ornaments...from The Dollar Tree, of course...the gold one is Zach's favorite...I'm liking the apple green ornaments I got from there myself...


Zach made this Gingerbread Man ornament in preschool, so many moons ago...



I got this cute kitty ornament from a co-worker in 1993!





Does anyone remember this Reindeer? It came from McDonalds...in the 80's!!! (Hey, isn't that a name of a song???)



My little man, Robert is on a birdhouse painting SPREE! They are all proudly displayed on our tree, I think they are very happy here...





This is the Grinch's dog, dressed up as a Reindeer. It was a Black Friday freebie from either Hudson's or Marshall Fields, in the 90's...so cute!







Santa came from a Craft show...and the gold sled was a craft project, again, many Christmas Eves ago...








Ice Skatin' Santa...some sort of promotional ornament from Mobil Gas Stations several years back...my husband, Velo actually bought all of them for me....and I didn't even ask him to...trust me, I was shocked, he doesn't do things like that!!! Thanks, Velo!!! xoxo








I guess this is a Nutcracker? It's missing a leg, lol. I got him very cheap at a garage sale a few years ago. He actually had both legs then, but my boys are hard on things...





A barn star Santa ornament from The Dollar Tree...I bought a Snowman one, too, but do you think I can find it??? lol The Peace sign is also from The Dollar Tree...love those cute, cheap signs!







Ho! Ho! Ho!






I am hoping to show you all pictures of my kitchen next week. Hope everyone has a nice weekend!!!
ttfn,
Bella


Friday, December 5, 2008

Salute!

The whole city is flooded and they are just sitting here having a drink...LOVE IT!





More AMAZING pictures at Boston.com


Venice under water - The Big Picture - Boston.com

ttfn,
Bella

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

"Oscar The Pig, Mommy Goes To Work" (A Children's Book Review)




I was so honored to be able to receive this book free, from the wonderful author, Megan Calhoun, in the mail last week. I wanted to review this book, because, when my little guy, Robert, who's 4, starts the 1st grade in a couple of years, I do plan to return to work...so I thought this would be a perfect introduction into what that would be like for him (and me!). And, actually with the economy the way it is, I may have to try to find work even sooner than that...so, perfect timing, thanks Megan!

Now, on to the book...it is titled, "
Oscar the Pig: Mommy Goes to Work" and first off, Oscar is adorable, as are all of the characters in this book. Oscar is a little nervous because his mommy is going back to work and he will be staying at home with a new babysitter, a hen, Mrs. Tutu. Oh, and that is another fun thing about this book...the names of the characters are just so whimsical!

Oscar ends up having the best time with his imaginative babysitter and even learns some words in Chinese with his friend, Chow Chow. My son just loves to say Chow Chow (the panda bear's) name...it is fun to say, don't you think? In fact, the first night we read this book, Robert took it to bed with him that night and 'read' it by himself and it was really cute, too, because he kept calling to me and asking me what all of the characters' names were. He was really interested in this book and still is, it's his new favorite book!

This book was even fun for me...because there is one line in it that is HILARIOUS! It's sort of like an adult joke within a children's book, sort of like how Sesame Street does...I won't spoil the line for you though, you will just have to read it for yourself to find out what it is.


Oscar the Pig, Mommy goes to work, receives an "A+" from us and has high ratings at Amazon.com, as well.


Thanks again Megan, we really love your book!


ttfn,

Bella & Robert




Megan Calhoun is a children's book author and the founder of Twittermoms, a social networking site for mothers who use Twitter.



Related Links & Term Recommendations:


Silly String Media (http://www.sillystringmedia.com)


Twittermoms.com, a social networking and community site for moms (http://www.twittermoms.com)






Separation anxiety (http://www.oscarthepig.com)



Monday, December 1, 2008

Winter Wonderland & Jive Turkeys, Too!


Here's the view from the front of our house, this is our driveway...we really got socked and more on the way...it is pretty though.




This is last week, before the big snow came...look at these wild turkeys, isn't that hilarious? I always crack up when I see the turkeys walking by...

Our turkey dinner was so delish yesterday and the bonus...I don't have to cook today!

H o o r a y !!!

Which gives me more time to check out the deals for Cyber Monday. Our little guy has enough, I have been buying things here and there...our older son though, he only wants video games and sports jerseys (yike$!)...so it is more of a challenge to find a deal on those things, but I'll find some, I'm determined!

His birthday is also on Christmas, he'll be 14 years old, how did that happen???

Do you have any Christmas babies in your family? Do you have any special things that you do for them? I'd love to hear about it!

ttfn,

Bella

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