SEVERAL years ago we purchased a 120 year old Queen Anne Victorian home with a barn on a half acre back east as an investment. We arrived in late fall LOL just in time for snow so the yard was the least of our concerns. Long story short, we were swindled and the house had oh so many issues (mold, plumbing, etc…) that became our focus throughout the winter.

When spring finally came to be we received the MOST amazing surprise in the back yard. There were green sprouts and leaves popping out of the ground EVERYWHERE! I had NO idea what they were going to be, but was anxious to find out.

When spring arrived in full swing my ENTIRE yard was surrounded by the most beautiful German Bearded Irises in amazing blues and purples. The picture in my blog banner is one of those very irises. I still have some of the bulbs years later and my mom has some in the Pacific Northwest.

I really like having plants in my house and yard year round. We are going to be traveling quite a bit and real plants need water so silk plants are the KEY to year round beauty without needing to be watered. These silk flowers are the PERFECT replacement and look even more real than the real ones if that’s possible.

I’ve really missed having the irises around as they won’t do well here. So, when I was given the opportunity to review silk plants from Silk Plants Direct I jumped at the chance to bring new color into our lives.

All I can say is WOW!!!! They have so many beautiful choices that are so lifelike! It took me days to choose, but when I ran across the irises that looked EXACTLY like the 100 year old bulbs in my yard I knew my choice was made. There are also tons of complimentary accent colors and choices to mix and match.

Caring for them is so easy too. I use a feather duster and a can of canned air regularly to keep them looking fresh and colorful. I am SOOOOOO happy with my flowers – they are the PERFECT choice for me.

I have a coupon code for you all to use, you can get 10% off your order, EXCEPT for Custom orders.


There is something else you may be interested in, it’s their 3D Wall Panels from CSI Wall Panels.  They have gorgeous and inventive architectural wall panels for your home.  Go see for yourself.


1 pound sweet Italian sausage

3/4 pound lean ground beef

1/2 cup minced sweet onion

2 cloves garlic, crushed

2 cans diced tomatoes with garlic, oregano and basil

1 (6.5 ounce) cans canned tomato sauce

2 tablespoons white sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil leaves

1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1 tablespoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

12 lasagna noodles(I like the Barilla no cook)

16 ounces ricotta cheese

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 pound mozzarella cheese, sliced

3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

  • In a Dutch oven, cook sausage, ground beef, onion, and garlic over medium heat until well browned.
  • Stir in crushed tomatoes (juice included) and tomato sauce.
  • Season with sugar, basil, fennel seeds, Italian seasoning, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons parsley.
  • Simmer, covered, for about 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  • Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook lasagna noodles in boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes. Drain noodles, and rinse with cold water OR use no bake noodles.
  • In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese with egg, remaining parsley, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  •  To assemble, spread 1 1/2 cups of meat sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish.
  • Arrange 6 noodles lengthwise over meat sauce.
  • Spread with one half of the ricotta cheese mixture.
  • Top with a third of mozzarella cheese slices.
  • Spoon 1 1/2 cups meat sauce over mozzarella, and sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.
  • Repeat layers, and top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.
  • Cover with foil: to prevent sticking, either spray foil with cooking spray, or make sure the foil does not touch the cheese.
  • Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes.
  • Remove foil, and bake an additional 25 minutes.
  • Cool for 15 minutes before serving.

My mom got me this new lasgana pan from Chicago Metallic for Christmas and I have to say it is awesome.  Lasagna no longer is a mess to cut and each edge of cheese is crispy and just perfect!  Assembly is also a breeze with no overlapping. You can even make 3 different flavors at once.  I can’t wait to try it on some banana bread and meatloafs.