Monday, December 30, 2013

EZ and Delicious Chicken in Cilantro

I have a super easy and delicious chicken, crock pot recipe for you today. 
It is my mother's "pollo encilantrado" recipe.
It translates to cilantro chicken.
 Perfect for those cold winter days.
Here's what you will need:
crock pot
4 chicken thighs
2 small cans of Herdez brand salsa verde
one cube of Knorr chicken bouillon
fresh cilantro

Start by putting your chicken thighs to cook in the crock pot on slow for about 4 hours  or until fully cooked.
Once they are done, pour in both cans of the salsa verde, cube of buillon and fresh cilantro to taste ( I add a handfull of cilantro)
Continue slow cooking for about 45 minutes. 
Stir to make sure all chicken is coated.
That's it!
I then debone the chicken but at this time the chicken is already falling off the bone. 
I love thighs because dark meat is usually not as dry as white meat but you can use any cut.
I love to make tacos out of this. 
Just warm up some corn tortillas and fill with your 
chicken cilantro. Serve with rice.
I love to leave this cooking on Sundays while I am at church.
We come home and just finish it off and voila!
Lunch is served.
I am going to try making some tamales with this pollo encilantrado as the filling.
What, you didn't know that I make tamales?
Well I just learned how!
I will put the tutorial up this week after I make them for New Year's Eve tomorrow and take photos. 
I forgot to take photos of this recipe so here are some stock photos:


Have fun making this recipe!

image credits:

linked up to :

Saturday, December 28, 2013

{Junk Transformation-Media Center}

As usual, I leave everything until the last minute.
For a year now I've been wanting to transform this piece (of junk) into a modern masterpiece :)
 So in a matter of days I prepped, primed and painted this old dresser so it could make it's debut on Christmas Eve. 
I got it a year ago from someone who was going to throw it away. I saw a great potential for it but it has been in my garage since then. I finally convinced my hubby to bring it in already so I could (be forced) to start it.

I went back and forth on how I wanted to paint it: distressed with chalk paint, sanded and stained, a combo of both or ---
use this awesome new paint I discovered!
Modern Masters-Warm Silver.

It took a while for me to come up with the cash and the retailer to finally make up my mind. But boy, oh boy, am I sure glad I did. 

Here is the before:

As you can see, it was nothing to write home about. Pretty drab and 1980s-ish. But like I said, I had imagined it to be my new media center. I had grand ambitions to have my hubby take the bottom two center drawers and add hinges so they could open to reveal the cable box and surround sound receiver. Since nothing is impossible for this handy hubster I was excited. 
So I took my trusty Annie Sloan Old Ochre Chalk Paint and used it as a primer. I like it because I don't have to sand or prep it in any way, except for dusting it off. 
Besides, I thought if I liked the look of it in that color and finish I could just keep it. 
But I kept on, and I am glad I did.
I spray painted the hardware with Rustoleum's hammered black paint I had on hand.
Isn't it gorgeous!
What a transformation!
It makes my living room look so glam!
Here are a few more photos:

The tv and components are not on there yet in this photo.

Here are a few photos from Christmas Eve. Please excuse the ipad pics:

I hope I inspired you to take the plunge and transform something that was deemed for the trash into something spectacular!!

I can't wait to transform my next piece.
I will be back tomorrow to share a yummy recipe my mom shared with me.


linking up to:

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Rustic and Simple Christmas Mantle

My Rustic and Simple Christmas Mantle
I hope you all are having a great December so far.This year I decided I was going to scale down on my decorating and I am sticking to my promise. But when I saw this cool chalkboard printable at It sparked a bit of inspiration.
So I got it on her black Friday sale, had it printed at Staples and then I made the frame myself out of 1X4s! Yay me!
I didn't have my handy husband help. I'm so proud of myself. Can you tell?
So anyway, if you want to see how to make your own head on over to Dear Lillie
to see how she makes this cute frame.
I wanted a rustic mantle and this is what I have so far.
I am planning on adding a branch stocking holder, but it's still in the works as are the stockings.
So basically I made the chalkboard frame according to her instructions, then I gathered a piece of burlap with a thread (I'm no sewing person btw) and just weaved the needle and thread in and out until I had this.
Simple. Inexpensive. Pretty.

To add a little more to the display, I simply used my old shutter, rusty bucket with greenery and this new to me -vintage ice skates! 
I had been on the lookout for ice skates for a loooong time. 
I finally scored them while junking.
They were brown and tattered and looked pretty bad.
I simply painted them with my Old Ochre Chalk Paint I had on hand. Then I painted the soles, black with home made chalky paint and last, I painted the rusty blades with some metallic silver paint I had (Martha Stewart).
Voila! Cute, distressed skates!

The old shoelaces were yucky and black so I'm looking around my house for some white ones :)
I then wrapped up some small presents using a downloaded french script printable and tied them with some brown ribbon.
What do you think?
Are you scaling down this Christmas?
I love the simplicity of it after spending hours decorating that darned 9 ft tree and making the burlap, tree skirt.
What treasures have you come across this week?
I'd love to hear it in my comments.


Friday, December 6, 2013

How to Make a Ruffled, Burlap Tree Skirt

Brrr. Yes, I'm still around. Ha! It is very cold in North Texas
today as is the case in most of the country.
We are covered in ice and most of the city is 
being held hostage by this cold weather.
I took advantage of the cold to stay inside and
craft a lot!
Here's one of the things I've been working on.
I've been wanting to make one of these for a long time.
Ruffled, burlap, tree skirt
Here is what you will need:
about 2 yards each of red and natural burlap
hot glue or fabric glue (preferred, no burning)
$5 felt tree skirt from Target
lots of patience

First I got my burlap and cut out some strips about 4-6 inches wide.
Then I started sewing (and by sewing I mean weaving the threaded needle in and out of the burlap. I am not a sewer.)
the strips to make ruffles. I pulled on the thread to make my ruffles tighter then tied a really good knot at the end. (make sure you do this at the start of the ruffle too.)

After you have millions of ruffles (it seemed)
Then you start gluing them to the felt skirt.
I like to use fabric glue because I don't like burning my hands with the hot glue. Use what you have but we warned by friends.

continue to glue the ruffles by alternating the color and putting the next ruffle slightly under the top ruffle so that your sewing doesn't show.
This entire project took me about 4 hours. So, yeah, watch some TV while sewing the ruffles and then move to a nice flat surface to glue all the ruffles on.
Now, I know why Pottery Barn charges so much for these.
Then again, I bet they have many people working on these at an assembly line.
I saved myself about $120 on this.
I plan on making another one with regular fabric for my dining room tree.
Yeah, the insanity continues.

Ain't it pretty?

I am working on my mantle tonight and tomorrow and will be back to share that. 
I promise.

Keep warm my friends.


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Blog Changes

New Blog Name!
I am so excited.
I have been thinking about revamping this blog
for quite some time.
I just didn't know how or what direction it should go.
I finally decided that I wanted to re-name it
to something that would reflect more what I feel about life.
If you are a follower, you know all the ups and downs I've been through the past couple of years.
How I love to savor every little bit of my life.
And so here it is.
My new blog name and theme:
How Sweet It Is

That's how I feel about life, love, family, and my extraordinary, ordinary days :)

So, come with me and savor all that life has to offer.
I hope that you too will find yourself humming...
How sweet it is....



p.s. the blog address is the same only the name changed. In the future I will get a new domain name and redirect all that is on this blog over to the new one. But that's far in the future. 

In the meantime, check out my facebook page and follow me on pinterest too.


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

How I Turned a Bedroom into A Classroom {Home School Project}

Here is the promised post!

How I turned my daughter’s old bedroom into a class room

For our home school and a craft room too!

First I must mention that every single thing in this room has cost me nothing.

I either already had it and moved it into this space, or I sold something that I no longer needed/wanted/used and took that money to buy whatever else I needed in this room.

My husband loved that idea. And being that I wanted to create an incredible space, I  got REALLY creative!

I never knew I had so much stuff I could get rid of (thank you facebook online garage sales!)

We started home schooling our then 9 year old son last year and it seemed that no matter where he was doing his work downstairs, it was way too distracting for him. He is easily distracted anyway, so I decided that once my daughter moved out I would turn her bedroom into our classroom!!

Unfortunately I don’t have a before pic, but trust me it wasn’t pretty ;)

First I felt that I did not want to paint this room because we are moving in a few months, so why waste all that time and sweat? Then, like I mentioned above, I had to use what I had or sell my things to get the money to buy new things. At the beginning I wanted to use my cool workbench as a desk space for me but it didn’t fit through the doorway. Soooo I looked up inexpensive desks/tables and came up with these:

 you can find it here:

I liked this particular desk because you can choose the size of the top and just set it on top of different types of legs. I chose the ones above and I chose them in white on black just like the picture. They are inexpensive and easy to set up. Plus very easy to wipe clean.

 There was SO much to do to this space that it took me a looong time. I knew I wanted my mac in here, as well as my two Cricut machines and all my crafting supplies. I also knew I wanted to make a chalkboard so I could use it to teach my son. 
Here is a tour of the room and I will post the how-tos and sources through out the week in posts to follow:

 {art work pictured is original art by local McKinney, Texas artist Ellison Martinez, my daughter}

 Vintage wire basket holds my ribbons
 burlap bunting and burlap covered bulletin board made of an old piece of foam board
 Remember my first chalk paint project? This armoire was moved from our game room and serves this class room just fine :)

 Here you can see the large piece of art work on the wall to add some pizzazz to the room. You can see how I used the ikea desks here.  There is a space for my son to do his work and spread out and one with the computer so he can do all his online class work and I can work when he's not using it :)

 You can see my Cricut machines on this desk and above it I hung this pretty chevron lamp that was so easy to set up. It is from Target.

The chalkboard is large and very useful. It was made from a scrap piece of some type of particle board and painted with chalkboard paint I had on hand. My hubby made me the really cool, distressed frame from scrap wood and painted it.
The burlap bunting was made by me using my cricut to cut out the letters for stenciling. 

 close up of chalkboard
 vintage soda crate holds supplies
vintage suitcases also hold odds and ends
my little guy loves his new classroom

 I hope you enjoyed this classroom/craft room tour. 
Come back and see the tutorials for several things plus where to buy!
Have a great Tuesday



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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Home School Classroom Update and a Surprise

Boy am I glad it's finally put together. I still have some finishing touches on the walls to add, such as decor, but all in all, it's usable now!
I will take pictures in the morning and post tomorrow.
The little guy and I are having so much fun learning in here.
In the meantime I wanted to share a short story I wrote several years ago. I find it is my duty to let my children and their children know where I came from and how far we've come as a family so I have written snippets of my life in short story form. Some of the names have been changed for privacy purposes. These are my memories of my childhood. 
They belong to no one else but me. 
Memories of Me
A Collection of Short Stories
By Patricia Martinez

   My cousin was wearing the necklace again. It seemed that whenever she wore it, it was when I was the hungriest. Or maybe it was the other way around.  All I knew was that the small, bite-size, Oreo cookie necklace looked yummy. I wanted to yank it off her neck and dunk it into a cool, glass of milk, then stuff it in my mouth, savoring its creamy, chocolaty, goodness. “That will never happen,” I thought to myself. First of all, our food stamps had already run out. It was the middle of the month and that meant we had very few things to eat. We certainly didn’t have cold milk. We had no milk. Well, I lied, we did have milk-dry, powdered milk, that my brother and I hated. You know the kind the government welfare gives to the poor? That kind. It was watered down and grainy. Certainly not the type to dunk your Oreos in.
   I hated that I couldn’t just go down the street to the corner store and buy Oreos. And that is why Oreos were on my when-I-grow-up list. You know, the list we all make as kids. You come up with all kinds of wishes and promise yourself you are going to do things different than your parents. Oh, yes, my list wasn’t long. But it was specific.
   My little brother and I used to sit up on the tall, mesquite, tree and look at cars passing by below. We’d point to our favorites; “Now that’s the kind of car I’m gonna have when I grow up, a Mazda RX-7.” My brother would take his turn. Then me. Back and forth we went. “When I grow up, you know what? I’m gonna live in a big house with a real living room set and there’s going to be a Mom and a Dad and lots of food to eat. I’ll be able to go to the store and get Oreos,” I mused.  “Me too,” my brother agreed.

   I stand in the middle of the snack aisle. I look up and down the shelves not quite sure of what I’m craving today. “Hmmm..maybe I’ll take the Chips Ahoy!” I mutter to no one in particular. Then I see a red sign-Oreos two for $5. What a deal! I get them and put them into my basket. 

   I drive up to my house, park the car in the garage and walk inside. I set the Oreos on the kitchen counter. The kids have been home for a couple of hours already. They sit on the table doing homework, their father by their side. “What do you have there?” he asks. I hold up the package. Everyone screams with glee! “Break out the milk,” I suggest. We always seem to have milk. My husband makes sure of that. He grabs a glass for me and I set the opened package in the middle of the table. Smiles all around. The kids begin to tell me about their day as I dunk a chocolatey Oreo in my tall glass of milk. I smile as I remember. I no longer crave the necklace.
COPYRIGHT 2013 a.Patricia Martinez



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