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.