Thursday, March 31, 2016

Home Improvements ~ Choosing New Flooring for Our Home

We're in the process of choosing new flooring for our home. Yay!

We are replacing our carpet throughout our home. We've also decided to replace the tile in the entry hall. I'm really glad we've added that to our home improvement project. The previous owner chose the entry hall tile. It's not really our style, but we've lived with it over the years. Several years ago, we replaced the flooring in our master bathroom with beautiful tile. You can see the tile in the photo below on the right. Now, that's more my style. I'd like to install something similar in our entry hall.

Current Entry Hall Tile
Master Bathroom Tile

My husband and I went to a local flooring store recently and brought home lots of carpet samples, as you can see from the photo at the top of this post. Then came the time to choose which one we liked best. We'd like our new carpet to be a bit darker than our current carpet. But, we don't want it to be too dark. We found that it's helpful to see the carpet samples in different lighting, including day and night. Something that could look great in the daytime could look too dark at night.

We finally chose the one we liked best in terms of feel and color. Here it is in the photo below.

But, we decided to look around a bit more before deciding on which carpet and flooring company to use for our home improvement project. We returned the carpet samples and decided to check out what Costco has to offer. It's good to shop around and compare. We also stopped at Lowe's to check out their carpet selections recently.  

We have some friends who went with Costco when they bought new carpet recently.  We went to their home on Easter Sunday for dinner and wow! Their carpets are awesome!

Today a gentleman from the carpet store that Costco works with locally came with carpet samples. We chose several that could possibly work. We'd like larger samples since what he showed us were just little squares on a board. He's going to bring those to us hopefully within the next few days, along with cost estimates.

When we get the larger carpet samples, we'll be going through the same process we went through before. Hmm, does that carpet look good in that light? How about during the day? Is it too dark at night? How does it look next to that tile? Fun times!

My husband and I also need to shop for new tile for our entry hall. Oh, and I'd like to do something about our fireplace in the family room.

The previous owner chose charcoal gray bricks for the hearth and surround. Again, not really our style. We're trying to decide if we should just paint it or tile it or something. And it needs to be done before we install the new carpet. Yep! Lots to do!

I'll let you know how things are going with our home improvement project in a future post.

Thanks for stopping by!

© 2016 Copyright by Jana Last, All Rights Reserved

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Happy Easter!

Mary Speaks with the Resurrected Christ
Image Courtesy of

A very Happy Easter to all of my wonderful readers!

I'd like to share this special Easter video with you today. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Happy Easter!

© 2016 Copyright by Jana Last, All Rights Reserved

Thursday, March 24, 2016

World's Largest Virtual Hallelujah Chorus

Mary and the Resurrected Lord
Image courtesy of

It's almost Easter and I would like to share an amazing video with you. In this video the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and over 2,000 voices from around the world sing the Hallelujah Chorus.

The Hallelujah Chorus is truly a magnificent and moving piece of music. I hope you enjoy watching this wonderful video.

I'm so thankful for our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ. I'm so thankful for the Atonement. Jesus Christ suffered in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross. He was resurrected on that glorious third day following his death. He paid the price for our sins and He overcame physical death. Because of Jesus Christ's sacrifice and resurrection, each of us can be forgiven if we truly repent, and each of us will live again after death. Hallelujah!

Happy Easter!

© 2016 Copyright by Jana Last, All Rights Reserved

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Texas Tater Casserole

One of our family's favorite recipes is Texas Tater Casserole. I originally found this recipe in the Betty Crocker Favorite Casseroles recipe booklet from September 1999, #154. A slight variation of the booklet's recipe can also be found online at the Betty Crocker website by clicking HERE.

This casserole is yummy and pretty easy to make.

Cook ground beef, chopped onion, bell pepper, and garlic in a skillet until beef is brown. The original recipe calls for chopped celery. I usually just leave that ingredient out. But when I made this casserole last night, I used chopped red bell pepper instead of the celery. By the way, I didn't measure the onions, bell pepper or garlic. But that's okay.

After draining the fat from the ground beef mixture, add cheddar cheese soup, corn, picante sauce, chili powder, and pepper. 

Stir to combine.

Spoon mixture into baking dish.

Top with your favorite tater tots and bake in a 375° oven for 40 minutes. The original recipe calls for a 16 ounce bag of tater tots, but I use a 32 ounce bag.

When the timer goes off, take the casserole out of the oven,

and sprinkle with Pepper Jack cheese. I also didn't measure the cheese. The recipe calls for 1/2 cup of shredded cheese, but you can add as much as you like.

Place the casserole back in the oven for 5-10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the casserole is bubbly.

Remove from oven and enjoy!

Texas Tater Casserole


1 pound ground beef
1 large onion, chopped (1 cup)
1 red bell pepper, chopped (1/2 cup)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 cans (10-3/4 ounces each) condensed Cheddar cheese soup
1 can (11 ounces) whole kernel corn with red and green peppers, drained (I use Green Giant Steam Crisp Mexicorn)
1/2 cup picante sauce
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 package (32 ounces) frozen potato nuggets (I use Ore-Ida Tater Tots)
1/2 cup shredded Pepper Jack cheese (of course, you can use as much cheese as you like)


Heat oven to 375 degrees. Cook ground beef, onion, bell pepper and garlic in large skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Stir occasionally and cook until beef is brown. Drain.

Stir soup, corn, picante sauce, chili powder, and pepper into beef mixture. Spoon into ungreased 13" x 9" casserole dish. Top with frozen potato nuggets.

Bake uncovered for 40 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with shredded cheese. Bake an additional 5 to 10 minutes or until bubbly and cheese is melted.


6 servings

Recipe adapted from Betty Crocker Favorite Casseroles Recipe Booklet September 1999, #154.

Thanks for reading!

© 2016 Copyright by Jana Last, All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Fresno Chaffee Zoo ~ Tropical Rainforest Exhibit

In December of last year, our family visited the Fresno Chaffee Zoo. They have added some amazing new exhibits since the last time we visited many years ago.

We didn't have a lot of time, so we didn't see everything. We'll have to go back some time so we can see more of the zoo.

One of the places we went to is the zoo's Tropical Rainforest exhibit. So cool! It's an enclosed area with two sloths, birds, and other animals.

Here are some photos from our visit.

I don't know what these are. Any guesses?

One of the birds in the exhibit.

One of the sloths.

Such a pretty orange color!

Just a sloth hanging out by the window.

Yep. That's a sloth too.

More birds.

I'll share more pictures from our visit to the Fresno Chaffee Zoo in future posts.

Thanks for stopping by!

© 2016 Copyright by Jana Last, All Rights Reserved




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