Tag Archives: hoarder

Ladies Lunch; Tex-Mex Chicken Salad (and Chuck loved it too)!

As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about……more Tex-Mex Chicken Salad! One night Chuck and I were watching a little HGTV (he is such a good sport! Instead, I could be stuck watching ESPN), when the story of Selling Spelling Manor caught our eye. While it was fascinating getting a behind the scenes tour of their 57,000 square foot home, as a fellow hoarder, it was even more interesting watching them categorize, warehouse, and sort through all of her stuff!


Now, my dear friend and former neighbor, Mrs. Hobbs, is also an Interior Designer and first rate collector, so I couldn’t wait for her to join me for a special screening and a little lunch. I decided to make a Tex-Mex Chicken Salad and it was to die for!


Tex-Mex Chicken Salad:


2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts poached and shredded

Poaching is simple; place the chicken in a pot, cover with water, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes with the pot partially covered, remove from heat and cook for another 15 minutes.


2 ears of corn, grilled, or broiled, with the kernels removed; simply brush with olive oil, grill until charred and remove the kernels, I use the corn zipper

Note: fresh corn is not plentiful this time of year, so I used frozen corn on the cob


Remaining Ingredients;

4 Tbsp sour cream

3 Tbsp lime juice

Hearty sprinkle of ground cumin

¾ cup diced cherry tomatoes

1 avocado diced

3 scallions chopped

1/3 cup fresh cilantro chopped

1 small jalapeno pepper minced


Romaine lettuce

Frito’s for garnishing


In a small bowl, combine;

Sour cream

Lime juice



In a medium bowl, combine;







Jalapeno pepper


Toss the chicken mixture with the dressing

Season with salt and pepper

Refrigerate until ready to serve


When it’s time for lunch, place a generous amount of lettuce on a dinner plate, two scoops of Tex-Mex Chicken Salad and top with Frito’s.

Drizzle with your favorite salad dressing. We like a tangy Thousand Island, but a Western French or a Ranch would be tasty too!


While the salad was delicious, the company was even better!


More flavorful chicken salad, more HGTV, more hoarding, more wonderful friendships……


Please visit me at http://vanessanunleydesigns.com to learn more about my Interior Design services.


To schedule an Interior Design or Life Style consultation, and for any questions or comments, please email me at moreismoremom@aol.com

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Deck the Halls……

As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about….more making our house home-y. Well, now that we’re into November, I think it’s safe to say farewell to the beauty of summer. Gone are the geraniums, impatiens and even the mumms. It’s time to welcome the rich, warm textures and tones of winter.


A few years ago, I had a bee in my bonnet when I saw these pre-lit branches. I thought they were so festive; I had to have them. Of course, as with most obsessive collectors (read; hoarder), my new sparkly lights made their way to my basement, buried under fake grass, Mardi Gras beads and rooter poms. This season, sparkly pre-lit branches are everywhere, so I decided it was time to do something special with mine.


I’m always hugely in favor of home décor that has longevity, so I decided to create an arrangement that would last throughout the long months of winter. It was so easy! All I needed was;



  • 2 bundles of sparkly pre-lit branches
  • 7 stalks of faux pine branches, tall
  • 2 stalks of faux evergreens, full
  • 3 stems of faux pine branches
  • 3 stems of small evergreen branches
  • 4 stems of berry branches
  • 1 tall container


The vessel really sets the tone for the arrangement. I love this tall, antiqued urn with the fleur de lis motif for its understated elegance. From here the stems practically arranged themselves!


First, I adjusted the length of the pine branches to fit neatly inside the container.

Second, I arranged the sparkly pre-lit branches, scattering them amongst the pines, and tucking the wires into the vessel.


Third, I added both of the full evergreen stems to each side of the arrangement.

Fourth, I strategically placed the soft pine branches, nestled amongst the pines.

Fifth, I filled in the spaces at the edge of the vessel with the smaller stems.

Lastly, I nestled the stems of berries throughout the arrangement to add more texture and a shock of color.


I found the perfect spot for my arrangement; perched on top of a beautiful painted pedestal stand in the corner of my kitchen. All that was left was to plug it in and enjoy….


More sparkly lights, more floral arrangements, more making a house a home………


To schedule an Interior Design  or holiday decorating appointment, a Life Style consultation or a speaking engagement, please email me at moreismoremom@aol.com

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The Age Of The Digital Photos……

So, I was cruising around the burbs yesterday. You know the drill; doctor’s appointment, errands, returns and window shopping for potential and inspiration, when my day suddenly brightened. I ran in to my gal pal Miss Margaret. I adore her. She’s always super fun and we got to chatting. One of her errands was to run in to Wolf Camera to order some digital pictures.


This got me thinking. While I absolutely love that using a digital camera makes capturing a moment a pretty sure thing, I must confess that I have a fondness for old fashioned film. As the More is More Mom®, I love to take photographs. Back in the olden days, whenever I would drop off my rolls and rolls of film to be developed, I would always get them printed in triplicate….just in case. The results were frequently disappointing (out of focus, over or under exposed), but there was nothing like the thrill of ripping open the packages in my car, and discovering that one meaningful and special snapshot. Now the problem, of course, with this system is the piles and piles of useless prints. As a hoarder (nearly buried alive) I can’t bear to part with even the blurry photos, thus necessitating box, after box, after box, of Rubbermaid containers stacked to the rafters in my guest bedroom closet. Perhaps this is the reason those NASA type smarty’s invented the digital camera.

The process of taking the digital photograph is really quite simple and extraordinary; point, shoot, view, erase, shoot, get your shot. You can do so much more with these digital files; download them to your computer, upload them to Facebook, upload them to your Blog page, send them in an e-mail, send them to Wolf Camera, for those that are completely impatient (like me), even print them out at home (though the quality isn’t very good). However it is a hassle committing four hours of your life, sitting at the kiosk, sorting through 500 images, cropping and enhancing your photos…..only to wind up with an $89.00 debt to Wolf Camera. Ah, the price of memories (I know I’m complaining, but it actually is TOTALLY WORTH IT!).

What a complete contradiction; someone whole heartedly OCD, like me, lamenting the loss of the element of surprise. Call me old fashioned, but I miss my rolls of film, a real live receptionist answering the telephone, and full service gas stations. But, as the More is More Mom®, I recognize that it doesn’t matter how you get those photographs, what matters is that you’re left with the most important thing…..more memories!

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The end of an era…….now how will I spend my time?

OMG! With the mad flurry of activity (and snow) I cannot believe that Christmas is once again behind us. Where on Earth did the hours, days and weeks go? I’m exhausted all over again just thinking about it! The list making, the traffic, the crowds, the shopping, the wrapping, the cleaning, the chopping, the cooking, the table setting, the clean up, the family photo, the Christmas cards, the expense (!)…..if there were ever a time of year for Calgon to take me away, this was it.

In the midst of the excitement of the holidays, I realized that part of my job has been irrevocably phased out, downsized, terminated. As the More is More Mom® (a crazy person that has never even permitted her children to ride the school bus, preferring to drop my pals off at school each and every morning, and pick my pals up from school each and every afternoon) I have been on practically every school field trip ever. Now, here we are, with Amanda in 8th grade, half way through our 13th, and final, year attending Our Lady of Perpetual Donations grammar school, and it dawned on me; we are closing in on the end of an era.

Our Lady of Perpetual Donations is a wonderful school that celebrates its traditions. As an obsessive-compulsive person I completely appreciate the value of rituals. As tradition dictates, each year the 8th grade class makes its pilgrimage to Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry, and as a bonus has the opportunity to view the beautiful Christmas trees from around the world. Educational and festive! Never one to miss out on a day spent with the children (or anything else for that matter. I am your 2005, Our Lady of Perpetual Donations, Volunteer of the Year. That is my big claim to fame. You will see that there are no other designations after my name. I don’t think that being a member of Shopaholics Anonymous counts.). I was in my car and ready to go by 7am. What a fun day! I chaperoned a great group of boys and girls and I didn’t misplace a single soul, not even for a moment, which is quite a feat as there is usually a wanderer in every group. When we were leaving I found I had a great big giant lump in my throat as I realized that this was the last field trip I would ever attend.

I am a hoarder of all things. I love clothes and shoes, jewelry and handbags, dishes and glassware (I collect tableware in quantities of 20), table linens, serving pieces, artwork, decorative jars and boxes, urns, stationary, books, movies, music and the list goes on and on forever (I own more Rubbermaid containers, big and small, than Rubbermaid), but what I love to collect more than anything are…..friendships, memories and experiences.

When Nick was in the first grade I signed up to be a lunch mom. On my very first day, of my very first week on the job I nearly had a heart attack as I recognized the dangers of recess. With frantic hand gestures, and hysterical pleading I begged Nicholas to promise me that when he was on the playground (Read: blacktop church parking lot without a fence, on a busy street. Really now, where do all the retired elderly that can’t see over the steering wheel congregate? Church!) that he would keep his arms tight to his sides, stay in the middle of the parking lot, and never, EVER, go anywhere near a four square ball that was headed for the street! I had such heart palpitations, that I vowed I would come to school everyday to “help out” at lunchtime (meaning protect my first born).

After the first several days of this insanity my more experienced neighbor, mother of five, whose children were in fact all still alive, told me to get off the playground and that it would all be fine. Breathe, I told myself. And of course she was right. I never actually did hear of anyone dying at recess on the news. However once a week for the next eight years I did lunch room duty, with kids throwing trash in my direction as I wheeled around the garbage can when it was time to clean up after lunch, and risking life and limb as I retrieved the balls that I chased out in to traffic. As silly as it sounds these moments will always remain a highlight of the times that I was lucky enough to spend with my children.

I realize that part of my purpose as a parent is coming to a close, that my presence in Amanda’s school day is no longer needed or necessary. She is growing up. As a consolation, I happen to know that combating teenage angst is a whole new job opportunity of its own. I’m up for the challenge. On the other hand, maybe it’s time to enroll Wrigley in puppy school (or old dog school, he is nearly seven). I can supervise snack time, and recess and take him on field trips………Ah, the good old days.

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