About Me

Hi! My name is Donna. I am a transplant from Louisiana to Tyler Texas and my husband Johnny and I have four children, nine grandchildren and one great-grandchild. I have been a papercrafter, scrapbooker and currently a mixed media artist for dozens if years. I am excited for being a Close To My Heart Consultant and sharing the amazing world of memory keeping. Whether you are a beginner or have been creating scrapbooks for a while, my goal is to open up new and interesting ways to use quality products and easy to follow instructions and have you preserving your memories. I also have great ideas for making gifts, party decorations, school projects, cards and banners and much, much more!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Our Girls Day Out!

As part of a special Christmas gift and another way for my "girls" to spend quality time together, I devised a plan to take my granddaughters, daughter-in-law and stepdaughter out for a day of fun, relaxation, and a wonderful dining experience.
The day started with my first gift to the girls. We drove to Bastrop and I had made appointments for all five of us to have pedicures at the same time. It was a blast and we all chose different colors! I also had a sweet surprise for each of them. I had Steph (my beautiful stepdaughter) stop and let me out a Walmart. I went in and purchased a box of candy and a bottle of water for everyone. Poor Ashley ate nearly every piece of hers during the pedicure session! Huh!
 Next, it was on to Surprise #2. We trekked on to Monroe and I gave directions to drive over the bridge to W. Monroe. Steph was driving and she just followed my directions and never asked what or where, like a good daughter should.
I forgot that I had heard about the particular place we were going was moving, so after driving past the empty storefront, I directed her to drive back across the river into Monroe. Finally, we arrived at our destination. We drove up to Bath Junkie and I treated everyone to a lotion, scrub, salts or whatever! The girls had a blast!
Moving on to the next destination, we had a little time to kill so we decided to "shop" in SteinMart.

I had already called to confirm our reservations at Warehouse #1 so we didn't have to wait for a table. I had requested that our table be where we would have a direct view of the river. After a wonderful appetizer platter, each of us ordered a different entree' and sampled all the delicious offerings. Ofcourse, the dessert was hard to pass up so we ordered three and shared.

After dinner, the last stop was Pecanland Mall for a very last minute gifts everyone had to pick up and then it was time to head home. I hope I can speak for the girls when I tell you I never have enjoyed my time with them more than that night. We laughed, told some secrets and shared some memories we will never forget.

I hope you enjoy the pictures!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Now for the pictures!

Yesterday's post did not include all the stages of the Shrimp dish I shared. So here they are in all their glory.

Please try this recipe, if you love Shrimp like we do!

Monday, January 3, 2011

New beginnings....

Hello 2011!
I've been waiting for you.
Let's get busy!

It is my intention to do this "blog thing" right this time.
I have alot more time on my hands now than I had when I ended my last blog entry, and lots, lots, lots has been going on since then.

First, I am not falling off the face of the earth. I have ended my catering career, but that doesn't mean I don't have plans. I just want to rest a while and take in all my options.

My love for people and for food is still very much a focus for me as I scout out new possiblities. FOOD will never be a stranger to this girl.

In fact, here's a little tutorial on a favorite dish at our house! I make it atleast once a month and always try to make it with fresh shrimp when I can get them.

First, I wanted to tell you where the recipe came from. Years, (many, and too many) ago, JJ and I went to Amelia Island, just off the coast of Jacksonville, Florida for a week of beach combing, sightseeing and eating!

There was a small restaurant on Fernadina Beach which I can't remember the name of, but the food was all fresh seafood and I ordered a dish with pasta, shrimp, peppers, onions, and a strange thing to add, hot Italian sausage! I also tasted wine in the creamy sauce. I told JJ that I thought I could make this dish when we got home.

So, when we finally got settled back home, I went to the grocery store and bought anything and everything I could remember about the delicious dish I had eaten. I had the best time putting the ingredients together, having to sample as I went, and whoala! I thing by George I got it!

Since then, I haven't changed a thing about the dish. It really is simple and can actually be made in less than an hour as long as the shrimp are cleaned and ready to go.

So, here it is. I hope you try it and give me some feedback on how it went for you. I bet even if you don't like Italian sausage, you will appreciate the taste it offers this dish. You can, of course, use mild in place of hot, but I hope you atleast try the hot sausage the first time.

Spicy Shrimp and Sausage Pasta

2 pounds of fresh large shrimp, washed, deheaded and tails off
1 pound Hot Italian Sausage, crumbled and browned
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 fist full of fetticini, cooked al dente, and drained
1 pint half and half
2 tbsp. of flour
1/2 cup of good white wine, (not cooking wine)
5 tbsp. of butter (not margarine)
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup of parmesan cheese
1/2 cup Romano cheese
1 can chicken broth
Creole seasoning to taste

     In a large skillet or dutch oven, add butter, bell pepper and onions and saute over medium heat until soft. Add the cooked and drained sausage and stir well. Add the flour and stir to combine. Pour in the half and half and continue stirring until mixture thickens slightly. Add chicken broth, salt and pepper, Creole seasoning and the cheeses. Continue cooking until mixture is smooth and creamy. Add wine and stir.

Add the shrimp and pasta and toss until noodles are coated and taste for seasoning.

Saturday, January 1, 2011


Here we are at the beginning of a new year! I can remember when I thought 2000 was a biggie. Boy, that was a long time ago.

Many doors are closing as I leave the past year behind and press toward 2011. My catering career has ended. I am looking forward to what lies before me and taking in all the options. I am not depressed, not by any means, but I am hopeful that I can find my place. It might be that I can only see my future in my past, but, I don't make any bones about it, I am done with what I did.

I am also looking forward to the new baby about to come in June! It has been such a burden for me as a Grandmother to be so busy with working that I haven't been able to be the "bestest" grandma I know I can be.

So, with a grateful heart, I am blessed and so thankful for the opportunities I have had these past few years. With an expectant heart, I am embracing the future with optimiusm and I know that God has a plan for my life.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Let There Be Liberty!

We all are a bit exhausted from this weekends governmental issues, and although I have my many opinions about the whole healthcare bill, I couldn't help exploring other important news happening around us. I'm talking about home decorating people. Target has managed to give us all some relief from the drama on Capital Hill by introducing their new Liberty of London line of printed fabrics and home accents, all in those yummy bright colors! Just look at this peacock pillow! Couldn't you just dive into a bed covered to the hilt with some of these cuties!

I am planning a trip to Monroe this weekend and don't think for a moment that I am going home empty handed! If the good Lord is willing and the creek don't rise, I am bagging up these babies and bringing home the bootie! Our winter hum-drums are about to diminish around here! Let the color in and let it shine like a beckon of home on the horzion. I know what you're thinking, she's really gone over the edge this time. Well, be it so, I am ready for some change in my "interior" and "exterior".

Speaking of exteriors, I am about to embark on some "walking the dog" for exercise. No, not yo-yo's, but THE dog. We recently adopted a precious puppy Jack Russell Terrior. So, together, we are going to tighten up the old shoelaces and head out the door for some pavement pounding.

My Harley Man!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


My brother "George" celebrated his 40th birthday yesterday. He has gone by George since he was born, but his given name is Paul David. I can't remember exactly why he was called George, but it seems like I remember there being some argument between mom and daddy about the naming of this last child. Daddy had wanted to name him George and apparently this didn't settle well with the "boss".

George is the youngest of seven children. He was born with Celebral Palsy and has a mental disability. He attends a special Day School in my parents town. Everyday is a challenge for him, but, he makes it fine. This is a remarkable event for George. Twenty years ago, we didn't know if he would live from one day to the next due to critical complications from a medical condition that nearly killed him. He struggled for 63 days in the icu.

Here's to you Kid, on your big  4 - 0. May you have many, many more.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Pitter-Patter Went My Heart!!!

My sweet husband bought me FIESTA! accessories for Valentine's Day.

I happen to love FIESTA! dishes and have a few...pieces...uh, quite a few in fact.

You do not need to answer.

Red is probably my favorite color, along with this lovely shade of Shamrock Green. Then, there's Chocolate, and Tangerine. Oh, Sunflower is mighty cheery. Mmmm....I can't pick! All I know is this...and this fact is undisputed...I will never tire of looking at it, and Lord help me if there is any on clearance. I even have the flatware to match my dishes. I found them at Tuesday Morning for a sweet deal!

What is your favorite thing to collect? I suppose everyone collects something, even if it's just dust!

Whenever I watch "You Have Mail", I love the apartment that Meg Ryan lives in. I think she likes Fiesta! and probably had cabinets full of it. The reason I think she must have a thing for it is because in the movies she plays in they decorate her home with a nostalgic '50's kinda decor. Remember.."When Harry Met Sally"? There's Fiesta! in that kitchen, I just know it! In "Sleepless in Seattle" she has this adorable little kitchen with an old fridge and teacups and a whistling tea kettle on that ancient stove.

Me and Meg need to talk real soon. We could compare our favorite colors and pieces.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The River is deep, the River is wide..and rising!!!

Okay, where we live there are definitely challenges. If it isn't one thing is another. For the past six weeks it has been one cold front after another. It hasn't been like the snow and ice that the rest of the country has experienced, but cold is cold, wherever you are.

We live right next to the Mighty Mississippi River and we always look over the levee around this time of the year to see what the Old Man is doing.

Well, the Old Man is rising!

Me and JJ took us a little drive over the levee this weekend to take a peek at the action and WOW is all I can say!

The water is already taking over most of the hunting land and by this time next week it will be at the bottom of the levee.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Cupid's Arrow Flies Again!

Dear Johnny,
This Valentine's Day is our 24th as a married couple and I wanted you to know that even though we don't need a special day to show one another that we are in love as much today as when we first met, I want to tell you I Love You.
I am so happy that you choose me to spend the rest of your life with. Our children are a testament of that love...each of them are happy in the lives that they have, and this says alot for our family life through the years. It hasn't been perfect, and at times it was downright frustrating to go from one day to the next, but we always used one anothers shoulder to cry on, and when I couldn't bear the weight, you were there to take it for me.
You are my best friend, my soulmate, my confidante.
I love you with all my heart, body and soul.
Happy Valentine's Day JJ!

Sunday, February 7, 2010


Everything I had learned bought me to this point. I had rehearsed a hundred times. So why was I feeling frightened and apprehensive?

I checked myself on every point. This mission would require patience and skill, never mind nerves of steel. I kept asking myself "Am I ready".

The answer was clear. My motive sincere. Now all that was left was ACTION!


I'm going to teach my grandson's how to bake cupcakes.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Wild Thing...You Make My Heart Sing!

I'm acting alittle bit wild these days! This is my new rug I ordered off of Amazon.Com last week for my next decorating project! It's a secret right now...but, here's a hint of the look I'm going with...Modern! YEAH! I'm talking chrome and glass baby! Oh, don't get too excited...I don't mean COLD, HARD and LIFELESS!

It's going to be different from the rest of the house. I'm shopping for a really cool piece of ARTWORK right now. I'm not sure if it will be a POSTER or maybe a clock....but I am sure I will know it when I see it.

I was in Office Depot the other day and spotted just the right piece of furniture...GLASS! That's going to be a really hard one to get used to...but I'm ready.

But this rug is TO DIE FOR! And the best thing is I got it for under $60.00!

Nothing like decorating on a budget to help you seek out great bargains of good taste!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Just Thinking Out Loud

This is a picture of my oldest son...can you see him? Doesn't matter really, I know he is in there. I look at this picture often to help me remember that he is proud of what he does. Right now he is on an assignment somewhere, not sure where. I keep hoping today is the day he will call and let me hear his voice.

He is a soldier, a pilot, an american, a husband. He is the father of three boys and a friend to many. He is a son, a brother, a mentor. He is my little boy too! No matter that he is 33 years old. If you are a mama, you know what I'm talking about.
I named him after his father and I sure hope he is watching from heaven, seeing this boy of his grow and mature as a man. I wonder if my son thinks like that too.
It doesn't get any easier to let him go, over and over again. I never get used to that.

Catch and release!
Have a good day son, wherever you are. Do your best, follow your heart, be the best you can be, pray everyday and think of all of us sometime.
We Love You!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Just wanted to post a few of our family pictures from Christmas. It was a wonderful season, full of good memories.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

If Furniture Could Talk...

...I just wonder what the story this little green cabinet would tell.

I was on my way to Oak Grove back before Christmas and passed by a yard sale in progress on the way. I literally drove to the next place I could turn around safety and went back to check it out! There she was...standing in the driveway, looking alone, wanting someone to take her home. I couldn't just leave her behind. So, I paid the price on her tag and loaded her up. I asked her "Where have you been;?" She politely told me she had once belonged to a young woman who used her to hold kitchenwares. She went on to say, "Times were hard and money was scarce, so people used what they had." I asked were her coat of green came from and she told me that someone gave it to her. I can remember when I was a young bride with few dollars to pay the rent, much less buy a new coat. I told her about when my husband and I rented a little green shack across from The University of N. Alabama in Florence. It was so tiny and lacked of any redeeming qualities, like kitchen cabinets. It had none, zip-O, notta! So, we put concrete blocks and boards up in the kitchen to hold my dishes, canned goods and pots. One thing I do remember, though, is how happy we were. I mean, we didn't have cable, so there was no television to watch. We played cards and "air quitar" before Guitar Hero was even thought of. Our son was a baby, barely walking at the time, and we would sit in the floor of the livingroom, which was buckled in the middle so it felt like some kind of a "fun house" at the carnival, and play with him. Life was a struggle for a while, but it was what it was and we made it through the tough times together.
So, I asked where the young woman was now and the little green cabinet told me that the lady had died a year or so back from cancer and that her daughter had taken her into her tiny home so that she wouldn't be tossed to the side of the road for the trash to pick up. She told me of the young couple that lived in the home, how they too had a small baby girl who was a joy to them and her grandparents. When I asked her how she ended up in the drive with a for sale sign stuck to her chest, she said that the couple wanted to make a little money to buy Christmas for their baby, so they sacrificed her to the cause.
How many times have I done just that. We all have I suppose. There was alot of "lean years" when we didn't even have money to buy a Christmas tree, but, Christmas came anyhow. I wish I could have all the dollars back that I have spent on crazy stuff that eventually ended up in a yard sale. I could probably provide Christmas for someone else or spend it on my aged parents a caregiver.
I promised the little green cabinet that I would give her a home. I said that she could hold my Fiesta platters and casseroles, my treasured set of Fiesta tea pitchers and those little blue bowls I once gave to my husbands mama for Christmas years ago. I promised not to change her coat of green, that she had earned it proudly. Oh, how happy she stands now in my kitchen. And we both have made a new friend!