Wednesday, December 31, 2014


 Happy New Year.  I hope that this year will bring new memories to you and all of you can accomplish one new goal.
I want to share an easy recipe that we have made at home to become healthier.

  Last August, Mr. Thrifty bought me a Nutri- Bullet 900 for my birthday.  At first, I was a bit disappointed.  Why would I want a smoothie maker?  He told me that he wanted to keep me around for awhile.
My eldest daughter and I began experimenting to make the best tasting green smoothie.  This is the recipe that we like the best.  Begin with these fresh ingredients.

The spinach, apple and banana are fresh.  I go with canned pear halves just because it is easier.

Start by putting 2 small handfuls of fresh spinach into the bottom of the plastic jar.

An apple corer makes cutting the apples a breeze. 

Layer apple slices on top of the spinach.

  Then, add one peeled cut up banana  and 1/2 of a canned pear.  Add 2 T. of the pear juice to it. 

 Then, go to the ice maker and load in ice to reach the top.  Switch over to the water on the fridge and fill it 1/4 of the way full.

I used a Sharpie to draw a line about halfway up on the apple on the left.  See it?  This is the water line that I use.  Not also that my ice and fruit come above the MAX line.  As long as your lid is on tight, it will not leak.

Process your smoothie about 20 seconds.

I realize that it isn't the most impressive color but I'm telling you the truth when I say that you can not taste the spinach.

I think drinks always taste better in a fine glass.

.  I honestly have to say, that with the digestive problems I've had since I've turned 50, this smoothie gives me no grief.  I don't know about you but wheat, milk and red meat are becoming harder to digest.  My doctor says that this is normal as one gets older. 
We have been making these smoothies almost every day for breakfast.  Within 3 1/2
 months, I have dropped 15 pounds.  (I also run on the treadmill 1-1.5 miles every day before drinking my smoothie.)

 I will be the first to say--impossible--but it's true.  I have become addicted to these smoothies.

Lessons learned:  The first attempt at making this recipe was unsuccessful.  The key was adding ice to the mixture.  It gives it a more slushy consistency.

Always clean the parts immediately after pouring your smoothie.

*I am not promoting the Nutri-bullet personally.  It has worked fine for us.  I believe the one major problem has to do with the not cleaning the base of the machine after every smoothie.  Occasionally, I did not have the lid tight enough and I did get a bit of leakage.  If that isn't cleaned up, it will gum up your blades on future attempts. 

   This machine comes with multiple recipes.

This year, turn over a new leaf and get your mornings started drinking this healthy smoothie.
My next plan is to make the fruit baggies handy in the freezer, so I don't have to gather all the ingredients every morning.  I will get back to you on that and see if it loses any of the taste content.
What's your plan to improve on the New Year?  

So from our family to yours, HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!


Friday, December 26, 2014


I hope this Christmas message feels your home with warmth the season.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014


I am happy to say that all my Christmas decorating is done.  I would like to take you around to see the Silver sparkle of the holiday here at the Valentine's.
In preparing for Christmas, our first stop is the advent wreath.
I think the background of the chalkboard frames the wreath well.
My handmade Christmas card compliments the Nativity scene.
Peeking around the lit Christmas tree shows the foyer display.
My sweet statue bears some glittered holly.
Presents ready for Christmas day are placed underneath the decorated tree.
 More presents.....

 The tree topper almost touches the ceiling.

 The rest of the tree speaks for itself.  All is calm.....

Are you ready for Christmas?  It is wonderful to have the lights on at night and think about all the blessings we have in life.

Saturday, December 20, 2014


Simplicity was the game this season.  To continue the 'Silver Bells' theme in the Great Room this year, I pulled more silver and bells out to create the mantle and coffee table display.
Cleaning the silver plate items was the first item on my agenda.
Let's get to the coffee table first.
Pulling a silver tray out became my base.  Adding a silver goblet and one more large silver ornament continued the theme.
  I had previously purchased 24, yes, 24 silver plated powder dusters at the clearance sale in Little Rock.  They are an easy present to have on hand.  They were only $2.50 a piece, so I feel that I got a great deal.
Adding some bells on silver thread were placed on top of the duster.
Crystal branches cut from an old branch completed the look.

I like the way the carpet design is pulled out from the engraving on the tray.

Of course, to make the tray practical, the remotes were placed on it.
A few gray slated coasters were added for the occasional drinks that were brought to the coffee table.
Now, onto the mantle. 
I pulled out my Christmas floral display made with ivory poinsettias to stage the mantle. 

Adding the silver tray and coffee and tea pitchers were set up in front of the tray. 

I was trying to come up with a snow like fabric to lay on top of the mantle.  One look at my lamb- like throw was the answer.  I pulled it off the couch and scrunched it onto the mantle.

Placing my 2 mercury glass candlesticks on the floor brought in some more sparkle.

Voila!  The mantle is complete.

I just need to add the stockings and we will be ready to go.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


I have been looking forward to sharing my Christmas foyer with you this year.  The house has the winter look for the season.  To begin this setting, I started with a Samovar.

One of my favorite finds was this Samovar, a vintage tea server  from a warehouse in Little Rock that when going out of business.  All silver plate items were  marked down 75%.  With a list price of $200.00, I couldn't bring myself to pay the $75.00.  When I took Mr. Thrifty to this shop the second time, he told me to go ahead and buy one.  Was I happy!  That was 8 years ago.  It has taken me this long to brainstorm an idea to use in my decorating.
 My first thought upon purchasing this piece was to use it at teas and pour hot coffee into it so I could use it as a dispenser at a military tea.  The reality was that with working spouses, those teas happen rarely.  Sorry to digress....

But then, I looked up the definition in the dictionary and was surprised to find that.......
From the Merriam dictionary.


noun \ˈsa-mə-ˌvär\

:  an urn with a spigot at its base used especially in Russia to boil water for tea
:  an urn similar to a Russian samovar with a device for heating the contents

Illustration of SAMOVAR

Origin of SAMOVAR

Russian, from samo- self + varit' to boil
First Known Use: 1830

 ... it was more appropriate to be used in making tea.  Oh well, some ideas don't pan out.
This year, the idea finally came to me.  Since I like using my estate sale silver plate pieces and other clearance sale silver pieces, I was ready to act.
My idea was to create SILVER BELLS.  So the foyer was ready to be transformed with 'all things silver and bells'.

I found this beautiful image of  SILVER BELLS sheet music online. 

I was pulling pieces out from all of my cabinets and putting them on the foyer table.
While at Home Goods a year ago, these silver ornaments or now... bells were on clearance.
This was the first step in placing the items for my display.
I didn't like the black at all, but this table was the only one that would fit the square cake server on top of it.
 All the silver pieces combined reminded me of a fancy hotel,  so all I needed was to add a pristine, white, damask tablecloth.
Folding the front edges over hid the bulky extra fabric.
Now, let's start again by adding the silver pieces.
This candelabra was a gift from a friend.  Instead of using candle sticks, I added one of the Home Goods ornaments, or in this case--bell.  The base was a silver round cupcake server.
Another mercury ornament--bell, sat on one of my silver goblets.
The third ornament--bell sat on a compote.
My $15.00 champagne bucket held the largest ornament--bell.
Adding some crystal branches surrounding the bell gave the display the necessary height.


And finally.....the silver bells(found at Target for $3.00 tied up with white satin ribbons!!
It was so hard to take a picture of these bells without having my reflection in the picture.
Here is to the Christmas Silver Bells foyer. 
 I will leave this up through January.
When I was done taking pictures of the foyer, I drove over to the commissary to pick up some groceries.  On my way back, I stopped at the Thrift Store on base.  I can always find something a bit unusual from my hunts there.  I found this treasure!

This Nativity set was only $3.00 because it was missing Joseph's staff.  Are you kidding me?  Now, it isn't fine china, but I have always wanted a plain white Nativity scene.
I went to the garage and cut off a piece of my broom and inserted it into his palm. The solution was so simple!
I really like how the scene looks so serene amongst all the silver.
O Holy Night.....

At night time, a soothing glow comes off the reflection of the  mirror and the silver.
And with that being said, a tranquil Christmas will be had.