29 November 2009

We wouldn't want Santa to miss us...

Today was a beautiful day here in the Pacific Northwest, so my sweet husband braved the heights to finish our Christmas lights... This is truly my favorite season in the year, and it brings back fond childhood memories!!! Some of my favorite Christmas memories growing up in my beloved Lisbon include street vendors selling roasted chestnuts and streets lined with incredible lights... I was always mesmerized by them and thought they were the coolest thing ever!!!! Impulsively I searched the internet to find some pictures to share... Though not as bright and festive as they were in my childhood, they still, to this day, fill me with enchantment and happiness!!

27 November 2009

200th post Giving Thanks Giveaway!!!

Wow!!! It is hard to believe I am on my 200th post!!! What a wonderful journey it has been... I have loved every bit of it!! I am so thankful for all the friendships I have gained in blogland, for all the wonderful and encouraging words, for all the inspiration, validation, encouragement... I could go on and on!!! In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I have decided to give you all a chance to win one of my clock face pillows. All you have to do is leave a comment on this post!!!!! This giveaway is open to anyone anywhere in the world... If you do not have a blog, make sure to include an email address, so I can contact you!! I will pick a winner next Friday, December 4th. Good luck to all, and thank you from the bottom of my heart!!! You are truly the lifeline to this busy mom's sanity!!!

(This giveaway is now closed! Thank you to all who participated!)

21 November 2009

My birthday girl, Rita!

Eleven years ago, I delivered my third daughter, Rita, in a hospital in Lisbon... We had just been transferred from London to Rabat, Morocco (my husband was assigned as a Detachment Commander in charge of the Embassy Marine Security Guards). Mark was already working in Rabat and I stayed with my mom in Lisbon, awaiting the birth. He had taken a week's leave to come to Portugal, but was supposed to fly back on the 21st to host the Marine Corps Ball in Rabat and then return the next day... He never made it out of the airport, as I assured him over the phone that this baby was waiting for no one!! Rita (named after the Beatles song) was born at 6 pm after only two pushes... She has been a ball of energy ever since!!! She is a very animated, funny, smart and caring girl, she is a terrific athlete and definitely knows how to have fun!!! Our lives are truly enriched by her presence, and we are so proud of her! Happy birthday, sweet girl!!!

19 November 2009

Latest finds

Lately I have been feeling my nesting instincts kicking in, wanting to get my home looking prettier, cleaner and more organized, and I have not been out much... Still, as I was setting up my wall space at Stars this week, I found some lovely (and very inexpensive) treasures!!

I was thrilled to find this pink set for my kitchen...

... Love this old hand painted musical box...

... I know, I must be a magnet for vintage barkcloth bags, love this one!!!!

I found this mirror at Monticello, and absolutely love the unusual shape and crackling paint...

This set of vintage lace curtains was found at a rummage sale I went to a couple of weeks ago, along with the beveled mirror and drop-leaf table below (and a few other items awaiting a makeover...).

On a final note, I wanted to thank Sheila from Tattered Goods for the sweet award she gave me!!! I am truly honored and appreciative, it means a lot to me to be recognized in this way!! Thank you, Sheila, you are so sweet!!!

16 November 2009

Fun with decoupage

I found this cool sewing table at a garage sale this summer. I thought it would make a great occasional table, for a living room or a foyer... The top lid was in a not so attractive state, so I decided to have fun with it!! I made color copies of the backs of old postcards, cut them and Mod Podged them to the top and I had an instant transformation!!!

Another project I wanted to try was a mirror makeover I saw on Dawn's blog, The Feathered Nest... The trick is to get an old mirror, spray Easy Off oven cleaner in a random fashion (I chose to do it around the edges) on the side that has the mirror finish, wait about 15 to 20 minutes and wipe off the parts that have been "eaten" by the powerful spray. Then you can have fun decoupaging the back with paper or fabric, so random parts of the mirror will reveal your surprises!!! I really like how it turned out!!!

13 November 2009

Comfort Food (a repost)

(I have posted this recipe before, but it has been a long time, and since I just made this soup yesterday and it is so delicious, I've decided to share it with you again!!)

When I miss home away from home (Portugal), I go straight to my portuguese cooking books. I don't know how to explain it, but just thinking about portuguese food is truly comforting to me!! As I have mentioned before, one of my favorite things to do is portuguese soups (sopas), and, thankfully, my kids love it too...!! I shared a recipe for a garbanzo soup with spinach here, and this time I would like to share one of our family favorites, and a super easy one, too!!

Sopa de Cenoura com Feijao Verde
(Carrot Soup with Green Beans)

4 to 5 medium potatos, cubed
3 large carrots, cubed
1 medium onion, cubed
1 lb bag frozen french style green beans (of course you can use fresh green beans, I just love shortcuts if they work!)

Throw the cubed potatos, carrots and onion in a pot, cover with water (water level whould be a couple of inches above vegetables) and cook for about half an hour. I often add a Knorr vegetable bouillon but that is optional.

Once the vegetables are cooked, I use my favorite kitchen appliance, the hand blender, to puree the soup right in the pot! Check the consistency of the soup, I usually add a little water at this point to bring it to the right creamy consistency. Add the green beans and bring it back to a boil for 5 to 10 minutes (the frozen green beans are already cooked, so they really don't need much cooking time). The last touch in all my soups is a generous few tablespoons of olive oil, added just a minute before turning the heat off. Add salt and pepper to taste and enjoy!!!

11 November 2009

A proud Thank You...

Thank you, my love, for having served your country with commitment, dedication and pride for 22 years... I loved being a part of that wonderful journey!!!

09 November 2009

Charlotte's Brocante

When I read on Corey's blog that her friend Amy Doll was opening her own store in Oregon after a buying trip to France, and that her store was only a half hour away from where I live, I was super excited and couldn't wait to go see it!!!! Last Friday, Lisa, Kate and I took off for the grand opening... We arrived a half hour late, and I was a bit sad I didn't get to see all that was there when the doors opened, but we still had a great time exploring her treasures! We enjoyed meeting with Amy and chatting about her trip to France, and came home with precious little things!!! I apologize for the "yellow" pictures, I hate using flash and am still learning about apertures and ISO's on my camera!!!

I love the illustrations on these little match boxes I brought home with me...

... These linen dish towels were a great price...

... and so were these old religious charms!!! They make a sweet collection!

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