Sunday, December 28, 2008

~ Wish Boxes ~

This is one of my latest creations. It is a "wish box". While "junking" at the local thrift store I found an old wooden trinket box. I painted it white, distressed it, and embellished it with vintage costume jewelry. Brooches, earrings, beads, rhinestones and crystals that I picked up at estate sales and thrift stores. I decided that this would make the perfect wish box. To use a wish box, you take a small piece of paper and write down your wish or goal. Fold it in half and squeeze it in your fist while concentrating on your wish.......then put it in the wish box, soon your wish will come true! I have some more ideas knocking around in my head, I hope to be able to create them soon. It has been a bit hectic around here with family from out of town visiting, our apartment being torn up by the capenters for renovation, and a very busy 2 year old.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas 2008

Christmas Day was the first time in 6 years that all 5 of us, my brothers, sister and I had been together in the same place at the same time!

Friday, December 26, 2008

~ Thoughts for the day ~

"Compassion is a profound human emotion prompted by the pain of others. More vigorous than empathy, the feeling commonly gives rise to an active desire to alleviate another's suffering. It is often, though not inevitably, the key component in what manifests in the social context as altruism. In ethical terms, the various expressions down the ages of the so-called Golden Rule embody by implication the principle of compassion: Do to others as you would have done to you. Ranked a great virtue in numerous philosophies, compassion is considered in all the major religious traditions as among the greatest of virtues."

"Compassion is that which makes the heart of the good move at the pain of others. It crushes and destroys the pain of others." - The Buddha.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

~ Easy Cherry Cobbler YUM! ~

My Grandma always made this wonderful and easy cherry cobbler also known as "Fruit Magic", and brought it for our holiday get togethers. I miss my gram so much! The recipe for this is on the side of the Jiffy White Cake Mix box. It is so easy and delicious!

2 Boxes Jiffy Cake Mix
2 Cans Cherry Pie Filling
1 stick of butter (1/2 cup) softened
1 small package of walnut pieces

Spread pie filling in 9 x 13 inch pan. Combine cake mix, butter and nuts in bowl and mix until crumbly. Sprinkle over pie filling. Bake at 350 degrees about 45 minutes or until golden brown.

~ The Best Banana Bars EVER! ~

Frosted Banana Bars


  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 medium ripe bananas, mashed (about 1 cup)
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3-3/4 to 4 cups confectioners' sugar


In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add the eggs, sour cream and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; gradually add to the creamed mixture. Stir in bananas.
Spread into a greased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool.
For frosting, in a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla. Gradually beat in enough confectioners' sugar to achieve desired consistency. Frost bars. Store in the refrigerator. Yield: 3-4 dozen.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

~ Win a $100 Home Depot Gift Card Sponsored by Mommies with Cents ~

I don't know about you, but there are always projects around my home that need to be done and keep getting put off because frankly there is never enough cash. The people at Mommies with Cents Blog are giving away a $100 Gift Card to Home Depot in honor of their 1000th blog posting. To enter this great contest go to:

Good Luck and Congrats to Mommies with Cents on your 1000th post!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Woohooo! I did it!

I am over the moon excited! I listed 2 of my vintage jeweled Christmas Tree pictures on a few days ago, and one sold today! I never know how much to ask for my art, I marked it kinda low, but, am really happy about my first sale. It means that someone out there really likes what I do. Fade to Sally Field......."They like me, they really, really like me." Okay, not ME, but, something I made with my own two hands. That is such a satisfying feeling! It gives me motivation to make some more things. I have several ideas churning in this little brain of mine.........but, they will probably have to wait until after the holidays before reaching fruitition. Between carpenters tearing up our flooring and removing our kitchen cupboards and a super active 2 year old, it may be awhile before I am able to create anything. Stay tuned.......

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

~ Getting up my nerve..........~

I have been crafting like crazy lately! I guess it is all of the excess energy I have now that I have lost 112 pounds. I am starting to get a pile of my creations here and a few friends have urged me to open an etsy account to start selling there. My problem is that I NEVER know how much to charge for what I make. Maybe if I figure it out and talk myself into setting something up on etsy next week. Until are my latest frames and Christmas pictures. Your feedback is always apprecited! ~~ Jen

Sunday, November 23, 2008

~ Giveaway Hosted by Your Impact Matters ~

Hey friends! I found a wonderful blog called "Your Impact Matters" this morning. They are hosting a fab giveaway for a unique piece of jewelry from 19 Moons. 19 Moons creates jewelry with vintage and recycled jewelry. I absolutely love it! All of my art is also recycled and vintage, I am all about creating that way. Be sure to stop on by "Your Impact Matters", to enter the contest today!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Tis' the Season to be Crafting.....

I have been working on some craft projects in preparation for the holidays. I thought I would share a few pictures of my recent creations. I use vintage jewelry, brooches, necklaces, beads, and earrings to adorn frames and mirrors. I also made the Christmas Tree picture. Post a comment, let me know what you think!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

~ My Version of Shepherd's Pie ~

This is a family favorite, easy and delicious, and best of all, I am able to keep it down. That has been a big challenge for me post gastric bypass.

1 pound lean ground beef, cooked and drained, season beef with season salt - *can substitute ground turkey for beef
2 cans tomato soup
1 small can tomato sauce
1 can of carrots and peas - drained
2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
6 potatoes - peeled, boiled and mashed (I use Yukon Gold potatoes and add a pinch of salt, milk and butter to my mashed potatoes)

In a 2 quart casserole dish, add cooked ground beef, tomato soup, tomato sauce, carrots & peas, stir until well mixed, top with shredded cheddar cheese, top with mashed potatoes making sure all of the casserole is covered. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.

Friday, October 31, 2008

92 pounds lost!

I stepped on the scale this morning to find that I have now lost 92 pounds. I have to admit, this has been very difficult. I don't want to eat, no appetite at all. Some days I feel like I am starving to death. I am not hungry starving, I just know that my body is not getting enough food. I try and try again to keep my food down, but, am throwing up on an average of once a day. Sorry if it's too much info. Just trying to keep it real here! I go to the doctor in another week for my 4 month post op check up and lab work. I will update my weight loss journey again after that appointment.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

~ Flat Iron Giveaway ~

Elizabeth at S.I.M.P.L.E is hosting a fab giveaway for a flat iron from Misikko Be sure to visit the sites today for your chance to snag this awesome prize!

Another great prize to be had!

You all may be wondering by now why I am posting all these cool giveaways, right? Well, there is a big BLOGGY CARNIVAL going on right now, and over one thousand generous bloggers offering great giveaways including A WRESTLING ADDICTED MOMMY who is giving away a Starbuck's Gift Card on her blog located at:

Get on over there today and enter to win!
Contest ended October 31st, but, you can still check out the blog at the link above.

~Wisconsin Mommy Free Gas Giveaway~

Hey friends, Wisconsin Mommy is having an awesome giveaway on her blog:
Be sure to check it out and enter today to win free gas! We can all use some free gasoline, right? I know I can!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

~Lily's Halloween Costume ~

Here is Lily in her Halloween princess dress. We couldn't get her to keep the tiara on her head or sit very still for the pictures. We are really enjoying taking her to the Halloween parties, and are looking forward to trick or treat in our town Friday night. Happy Halloween everyone!!

~ YUM!! ~ Italian Spaghetti Squash ~~

This is a wonderful and quick recipe! If you want to use fresh tomatoes, garlic and onion or substitute feta cheese for the mozzerella it is wonderful that way as well.
  • 1 spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 can DeFratelli Tomatoes with garlic and onion
  • 3 tablespoons sliced black olives
  • 1 can of quartered artichoke hearts drained
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a baking sheet.
  • Place spaghetti squash cut sides down on the prepared baking sheet, and bake 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a sharp knife can be inserted with only a little resistance. Remove squash from oven, and set aside to cool enough to be easily handled.
  • Meanwhile, heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add fresh basil, sliced black olives, tomatoes and artichoke hearts.
  • Use a large spoon to scoop the stringy pulp from the squash, and place in a medium bowl. Lightly salt squash to taste, if you like. Toss with the sauteed veggie mixture, top with cheese, Serve warm.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

76 pounds lost!!

Some days I HATE my gastric bypass surgery. Those are the days that I am having problems keeping my food down, having terrible head hunger, or feeling all out of whack emotionally because of the changes my body is going through. Other days I LOVE my surgery. Those are the days I step on the scale and see how much weight I have lost in just over 2 months, or the feeling I get when I put on my clothes and they are too big for me. It amazes me!

Carl took this picture of me last week. I still have a long way to go on my weight loss journey, but, I feel like I am doing pretty well considering all of the pain I have had lately due to my Chiari Malformation, Fibromyalgia and Degenerative Disc. I am hoping and praying that the more weight I lose will make some of this pain go away.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

~*~ TACO SOUP ~*~

* 2 pounds ground beef OR 1 pound of boneless skinless chicken breast cooked and shredded
* 1 medium onion, chopped
* 1 can pinto beans - drained and rinsed
* 1 can black beans - drained and rinsed
* 1 can whole kernel corn - drained
* 1 can diced tomatoes
* 1 can Rotel tomatoes
* 1 pkg. taco seasoning mix
* 1 pkg. original hidden valley ranch dressing(dry)
* 2 1/2 cups water or more, to make soup broth
Preparation:Brown ground beef and onions in a large pan, drain off fat. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for an hour or so.

Monday, September 22, 2008

~ Chicken Broccoli & Cheese Casserole ~


2 lg. chicken breasts, cooked and cut up
10 oz. chopped broccoli, thawed
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup of skim milk
1/2 cup light mayonnaise
1/8 tsp. curry powder
8 oz. grated sharp cheddar cheese

Put broccoli on bottom of casserole dish; put cut up chicken over broccoli. Put next 4 ingredients plus 5 ounces of cheese in bowl; heat in microwave for 1-2 minutes. Pour over broccoli/chicken that is in the casserole dish. Sprinkle remaining cheese over casserole. Bake at 350 for approx. a 1/2 hour until nice and bubbly.

Friday, September 19, 2008


This is a wonderful, moist way to make pork tenderloin. My family loves this recipe and I am able to eat it post RNY which is always a good thing! I serve it with Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes and a wonderful salad that has dried cranberries and walnuts in it.


Pork Tenderloin - I usually buy one that is about 1 1/2 to 2 pounds

Bread Crumbs

1 can Fat Free Cream of Mushroom Soup

1/2 Cup Skim Milk

2 Eggs

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Start by cutting the pork tenderloin, starting at the end, slice pork into medallions about 1/2 inch thick. Then using a meat tenderizer pound the pork until it is about 1/8 of an inch thick. Set aside.

Prepare an egg wash in a small bowl, by beating 2 eggs and adding a spash of milk.

Place bread crumbs on a plate

Dip pork into the egg wash and then place onto bread crumb plate coating both sides

Get out a frying pan and put about 1-2 tbsp of EVOO and set on medium heat, once it is warmed up place your bread crumb coated pork tenderloin medallions in the frying pan and fry on both sides until they are golden brown. Remove pork from frying pan and place on a plate that has paper towel on it, to absorb some of the oil

In a bowl, mix together the Fat Free Cream of Mushroom Soup and a half a cup of milk(Cream of Celery is also excellent if you don't like mushrooms)

Using a 2 quart casserole dish, place some of the mushroom gravy into bottom of casserole dish and then a layer of the pork, then a layer of the gravy, repeat until you have used all of the pork, make sure the top of the meat is covered with gravy. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for one hour.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

~ Happy Thursday ~

I have to say that since my RNY Gastric Bypass and continued weight loss I feel like a whole new person. I have so much more energy and have found more joy in my life. The joy was always there......I was just too tired to find it. We had a happy Thursday. Carl, Lily and I went "junking" and found some more treasures to sell on ebay. I also found Lily an adorable Halloween costume. We stopped at Gooseberries Market and I found some good foods that I can eat. I wish healthy food wasn't so expensive, but, I am worth it!

Carl, Lily and I all took a nap when we got home. When I woke I had a ton of energy and made my family a wonderful dinner. Breaded center cut pork chops, twice baked potatoes, and corn. I had crab stuffed baby portabella mushrooms ~ the recipe is a few spots below.

I thought I would post a few pictures of my beautiful family tonight. I am so blessed!

Monday, September 8, 2008

The most wonderful soup!

I made some wonderful homemade soup today! I even impressed my hubby, and he doesn't get too excited about food. I thought I would share the recipe.


2 cups of rotisserie chicken - shredded or 2 pounds of hamburger cooked and drained

2 large containers of chicken broth

1 large head of cabbage chopped

1 can of diced tomatoes

3 fresh tomatoes - diced

1/2 an onion - diced

1 green pepper - diced

2 cups of carrots - sliced

2 tbsp butter

Add all ingredients into a big pot and let simmer all day until the veggies are cooked.......
add seasonings to taste: Season salt, pepper, celery salt, and onion powder.

~ 51 pounds lost!! ~

WoW! I promised myself I would only weigh in once a week. I didn't want to start obsessing with the scale..............well, I caved in tonight and weighed myself and I have now lost 51 pounds. I love my RNY Gastric Bypass. This is the best gift I have ever given to myself. I have so much more energy. On the days when my pain is manageable I have been able to go for walks with Lily. I LOVE that!

Crab Stuffed Baby Bella's

Some of my friends have asked for my Crab Stuffed Baby Bella Recipe so here goes...


1 package of Baby Bella's (baby portabella mushrooms)

1 - 3.53oz pouch of Chicken of The Sea Premium Crab Meat (drained)

1 8oz package of Reduced Fat Cream Cheese

2 tbsp of Hellman's Light Mayo

1 tbsp of freshly grated Parmesan Cheese

2 tbsp of Mozzarella Cheese

1 pinch of Season Salt

1 pinch of Garlic Powder

Optional: 2 green onions chopped

1-2 drops of olive oil

Prepare cookie sheet by placing 1-2 drops of olive oil on pan and spreading it across pan.
Prepare mushrooms by washing and pulling out stems, set on paper towel to dry

Prepare stuffing by mixing together softened cream cheese, mayo, crab meat, cheeses, and seasoning. Stuff mushroom caps with filling. Place on cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes.

I made it an am doing great!

Well, I made it through surgery and am now a little more than a month out and am doing well. I am down 49 pounds and have so much more energy. I am sorry that I have neglected my blog. I did post about my surgery on my profile at - my user name there is luvey. I have copied and pasted my post from there below.

n August 6, 2008 8:53 pm
I have been meaning to post here since returning home from the hospital last week and just haven't had the energy to do much of anything.

But, here I am ...........wanting to let you know how everything went.

The day of the surgery I arrived at the hospital at 515am. There was a flurry of activity, they weighed me, asked a bunch of questions, started an IV, and I met with the anesthesiologist. At about 7am the nurse came in and put some versed in my iv line to calm me down and she also gave me a shot of blood thinner in the thigh. I was wheeled into surgery at 730am.

I got out of recovery and was taken to my room at 315pm. My surgery was from 730am til' around 11:15am and then I was taken to the recovery room. I spent a little longer in recovery because they had to stabalize my breathing before moving me. I have 5 small cuts in my belly .

I was really out of it when they brought me to my room. I don't remember much of my conversation with my hubby or son. I was on morphine drip and the morphine pca pump for pain. My doctor told my DH that the surgery went great.

The morning following surgery, I was up and walking around, the more you walk the better it is as far as gas pains. I had the blow up compression thingies on my legs following surgery and for the first night. They took them off the morning after surgery. I was taken to xray for a "leak" test. I had to drink some awful tasting stuff and they took pictures of my abdomen. The test went fine - no leaks.

I received another shot of blood thinner and they also tested my sugar each day, it was high so they gave me shots of insulin. I don't have diabetes, so this was quite a surprise. The nurse told me it was just because of the surgery and I wouldn't need the shots after I returned home.

When I got back to my room the nurse brought me my water and little 1 oz medicine cups. I had to sip the water - 30 of those little cups - making each ounce of water last 15 minutes. They also brought me small juice glasses half way full with sugar free carnation instant breakfast to get some protein in.

On the day of my discharge they upped me to full liquids and I was able to have a 1/2 cup of pureed healthy choice soup 3 times a day in addition to the sf carnation instant breakfast they brought.

I was discharged after 2 1/2 days there. I have had NO appetite and no hunger at all. I have to remind myself to eat.I am extremely tired and am on loratab elixir for pain.

I had to go back into the hospital on Sunday because I spiked a fever of 101.4 and they were worried about a leak. I was admitted for observation and they did a bunch of tests. It all turned out fine and they were not really sure why I was running the fever. I was discharged on Monday.

I am still on the liquid diet. 3 small protein shakes a day, 3 meals a day which can be a 1/2 a cup of pureed Healthy Request Soup, Sugar Free Pudding, or Sugar Free Yogurt. I am having a real hard time getting my "meals" in, just focusing on my protein and water for now until I can put more stuff in my tummy.

I still have pain in my abdomen, but it is lessening each day. I am more tired than anything.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Getting closer....

Well, only 16 more days until the surgery. On day 6 of my 3 week liquid diet and it is difficult. One of the most challenging things I have ever done. I love food, and I miss it. As my surgery date draws nearer, I am still filled with fear. I am doing my best to stay positive. I love my life. I love my family. Carl is the most wonderful man in the world. I love my children more than life itself. I trust God will take care of me. If anything were to happen to me. I need Carl, Cody and Lily to know that they are the most important things in the world to me. I made Carl promise that if something were to happen that he would make sure that Cody stays in Lily's life forever. I know he will honor my wishes. I believe in him. I hate having panic anxiety, it makes me have all these crazy thoughts. I am scared about doing this, but, also at peace because I know I need to lose the weight so I can be around for a lot longer! It is such a conflicting feeling. Carl, Cody and Lily my love for you is so deep and so strong that mere words cannot express the feeling. xoxo

Monday, June 30, 2008


I LOVE The images you see were made by me on wordle. They are random thoughts in my head, and I will be posting more. Wordle is so cool, thanks Rosie O for showing me wordle!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

I have been approved!

The surgeons office called today to let me know that my insurance carrier has approved my gastric bypass surgery. I was not feeling well today and was napping when the call came in. I wish Carl had woken me up, as this is the news I have been waiting for since last week. Ahhh well, no biggie really. I will call in the morning and schedule my surgery. I am excited and nervous. I have to admit after spending 35 days in the hospital 2 years ago before, during and after having Lily I am not looking forward to another surgery. I do worry that I might die, I mean, they make you sign a paper saying that you understand that you could die from this procedure. I feel like I need to take the risk, at this weight, I am dying slowly every day. I want to be able to run and play with Lily, I want to be here to see her grow up. I want to be here for Cody, I want to see him get his life in order and be happy. I love my family. I love my husband, kids and siblings. They are my heart.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

I haven't blogged in awhile....

I have been keeping so busy with all of my pre-operative testing for my upcoming surgery that blogging has been put on hold! I am going to try to catch up by getting back to blogging at least 3-4 times a week.

In addition to having all of these tests done, I have been very ill. My chronic pain has been chronic, leaving me no choice but to take lots of prescription pain meds. It has been hard to function on these meds and take care of the baby.

I am blessed to have a wonderful husband who helps immensly. Without him, I would be lost. Thank you Carl for all you do for us, you are an amazing human being, and I am the luckiest girl in the world to have you as my husband.

I am providing a link below to a great blog called "The Good Cents", you can find some incredible money saving information here. Be sure to check it out!

Hope everyone has a great week! I will be back on the weekend to blog some more!