October 30, 2012

Warm chili for a cold day...

Chili seems to be my go-to comfort food during cold weather. I love to make a big pot early in the week and then just enjoy it for days. I eat it by itself, over pasta or rice, over a baked potato with cheese, over tortilla chips with cheese and sour cream, even in an omelette! Here's my mom's recipe, tweaked just a bit:

Pecos Chili

1 lb ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 14.5-ounce can fire roasted diced tomatoes (or regular diced tomatoes)
2 15-ounce cans chili beans (I like Ranch Style when I can find them)
1 15-ounce can seasoned black beans
1 15.25-ounce can corn (I like Del Monte Summer Crisp)
1 tsp ground cumin
½  to 1 ½  tsp ground red pepper
½ tsp garlic salt

Brown ground beef and onion in a medium skillet, seasoning lightly with salt and pepper along the way. While meat mixture is browning, add all other ingredients to crockpot. Once meat is browned and cooked through, drain and add to crockpot. Stir to distribute ingredients evenly, then cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours. Serve over hot vermicelli or rice. 

*If you don’t have time for the crockpot, simply brown the meat mixture in a large nonstick skillet, drain, then add all other ingredients to skillet. Simmer for one hour or more (the longer, the yummier!).

What's your favorite cold weather food?

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Growing Home

October 19, 2012

Things I've learned since moving to Indiana...

This born-in-Texas-raised-in-Arizona girl never dreamed she'd be living in Kentuckiana (the local nickname for the greater Louisville area that extends across the Ohio River into Southern Indiana). But here I am, and I'm glad to be here. Here are just a few things I'm learning along the way.

This is a beautiful part of the country. And because we live on the outskirts of town, we enjoy a kitchen-window view of rolling hills covered with trees that are becoming more colorful every day. We're surrounded by farmland, and the wildlife love it as much as we do.

It's colder here. When fall comes to Southern Indiana, it comes in with a bang. As in dig out the sweaters and sock liners that I normally don't wear until December or January.

In fact, there's quite a variety in the weather here. Over the past few days, it's dropped ten degrees each day, but is expected to be back in the high seventies early next week. I'm not sure when we'll be packing up the summer clothes.

Because of the cold, fall comes earlier here. We were actually able to wear fall-appropriate attire when we made our annual October trek in search of pumpkins and apples. In Georgia, we tried to dress fall-like, but usually stripped off the outer layers by lunchtime.

I'll probably be chastised from both sides for this one, but White Castle really is almost exactly like Krystal. I could discern little difference between a Double Krystal and a Double Slider, and I may like White Castle's crinkly fries better. But I'll probably never try the Chicken Rings. And we are still without In-N-Out Burger.

On the whole, folks are friendly here. Neighbors spoke to us as we moved in, the grocery clerks are easy to chat with, even the fellow who loaded my garbage can into the car welcomed us to the area. It did take a few days to realize that it wasn't really my husband's name plastered all over, but the nickname for our town!

Homeschooling is awesome. Okay, I didn't just learn this since moving here, but I'm appreciating it anew. I love that we can load up our books and travel down to the seminary to work while Jeff is in meetings. And I love that we can take family outings during the week while everyone else is at work or school. And I love being involved in this part of my children's lives.

Moves are a bonding experience for our family. We've bonded in the car, over boxes, exploring our new community, and restarting our daily routine. Even as we seek to serve others outside our family, we find ourselves refocusing on strengthening our family. And we learning anew to depend on the Lord.

October 9, 2012

Surprising News from Willow House!

Note: I don't normally write about my Willow House business over here on my personal blog, but I feel compelled to make an exception today as I want to share some phenomenal news with as many folks as possible!

Well, I got quite a surprise last week when I learned that Willow House is phasing out the home decor division during the second half of 2013. But this is super good news for you, because...

Willow House isn't going away, we're growing strong!

Over the next 9 months we are putting nearly $30 million dollars of retail decor on sale at ridiculous prices. This means you can shop this fall for your home and for Christmas gifts through my Willow House store and get crazy good deals! I've already been amazed at the deals coming through. For instance, our current Fall Bazaar Sale offers 29 beautiful products for your home for up to 67% off! And these are not even our outlet items or weekly outlet deals!

Here's how the liquidation will work.  Through the end of this year, items are still available through parties or online orders. In fact, it's a great time to host a virtual party so that those hostess rewards can help you stretch your dollars even further! Once an item is sold out, it's gone. (And it's hard for me to say good-bye to some of my old favorites, let me tell you!) Items will be added to our Fall Bazaar Sale about every fifteen days, with the next update being Friday, October 12. Items are added to the e-outlet on a regular basis, and weekly outlet deals are updated each Monday. Beginning in January through summer 2013, decor will be available online only. I'll still be available to help you with your orders, though, and I'd love for you to continue to shop through my online store!

How can you keep up with these deals? The best way is to follow me on Facebook. You can also check in often at my Willow House website for the current sale flyer and customer specials (yes, the sale items can help you qualify for a customer special -- sweet!).

As you can imagine, products are flying off the shelves at these prices. So if you see something you want, go ahead and order! Free free to call me to place your order (keep in mind I'm in the Eastern Time zone) or place your order online through my website:http://suzannejackson.willowhouse.com. And if you don't have a host you are ordering through, I'd consider it a personal favor if you would choose me as your host as well as your consultant when you place your online order!

Some of you may wonder how I'm feeling about the change. I have to tell you that I'm sad to see home decor go -- I fell in love with it over ten years ago when it was first introduced as Southern Living at Home -- but I'm thrilled to be a part of a company whose leadership has the foresight to prepare for changes such as this. You see, over a year ago, Willow House introduced a second division, Willow House Jewelry by Sara Blaine. This division has blossomed and provided Willow House consultants with another avenue for developing relationships and income. And yet another division will be introduced in the future -- can't wait to see what that is! I truly believe there's not a better direct sales company out there.

Speaking of Willow House Jewelry by Sara Blaine, if you haven't check it out you are missing a treat! We introduced a new catalog this month -- I'm amazed at the variety, yet blendability, of the new collections, all with Sara's signature style! And, also new this month, some of our retired pieces are available at a discount. Check out the Last Chance! tab in my Sara Blaine store.

And if you'd been thinking about your own Willow House business, this is a great time to start! A multi-division kit is just $79 right now, and will allow you to take advantage of sales during the decor liquidation, as well as begin your jewelry business during the busiest selling season of the year! Or, if you prefer, a jewelry-only kit is just $99 and gives you an even great jewelry credit to build your sample kit! Remember, Willow House isn't going away, we're growing strong!

If I can help you with your purchase or with questions about your own Willow House business, please let me know! And thanks for your business!