Sunday, April 30, 2017

Sunday Inspiration: Simplify Your Approach

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Friday, April 28, 2017

A Spirit of Gratitude: April 2017

You could have knocked me over with a feather when I looked at the calendar and suddenly realized that next week is May.  April completely got away from me.  I went to visit my sister's family in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, then it was Easter and I kept thinking there was another week or two in April.  But... no.  I need to slow down a bit and take some time to appreciate May!

I Am Thankful For:
My beautiful new pen made by the Man of the House

Road trip with my dad
Visiting the Fort Worth Stockyards

Celebrating my sister's birthday with her for the first time in years

Botanical gardens
The Male Offspring calling me almost every day while I was away
Coming home
A husband who makes me laugh
A quiet Easter Sunday
Rainy days full of crochet

Plenty of coffee
The grandkid registering for kindergarten

Monday, April 10, 2017

The Pen is Mighter Than...

Hey y'all... can I be honest about something.  I have a pen problem.  I love pens.  Seriously... adore them.  I have more pens than any reasonable person should probably own. 

But I may be putting all those other pens aside and forgetting them in favor of just one pen.

This one...

The Man of the House made it for me.  Yes, you read that correct - he made it for me! 

He received a lathe for Christmas and now has a new hobby. He has also turned some pretty rosewood pen and pencil sets.  And he recently took a class on one Saturday where he learned how to turn bowls.  He hasn't made another one yet, but the one he did that day is beautiful!

But.  This.  Pen.

Y'all, how pretty is this??

I loved my pen so much, I asked him to make one for my sister's birthday.  (Which I can now show you since her birthday is has passed...)

Another gorgeous creation by my gorgeous, talented husband. 

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Revising the To Do List

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”  ~Luke 10: 38 - 42

photo source - HERE

Am I a Martha, or a Mary?  Am I so focused on marking off the daily things on the to-do list that I miss what's really important?

I would like to think I'm flexible enough to step away from the list and make time for other things.  Things that matter more than what chores I can accomplish each day.  But maybe it's not true... or at least not as true as I would like it to be. 

Monday, April 3, 2017

Currently... April 2017

April has arrived.  Winter is officially over.  It's the month of bunnies, spring flowers, warm breezes, and baseball opening day.  We start looking forward to summer.   We put away the winter clothes and get out our shorts and sun dresses (usually to regret it a week later when we have a cold snap). 

Reading:  Suddenly every hold I had at the library has become available!  Seems like that's always how it works out.  I wait forever and then - BAM! I have a ton of books to read in a few short weeks.  I need to finish Ross Poldark, then I have The Chemist, Three Sisters, Three Queens, and A Man Called Ove.

Eating:  Less. I have been trying to keep up with tracking my calorie intake vs what I'm burning each day.  It's paying off.  I lost 7 pounds last month!

Working On:  Some sewing for myself.  I've been wanting some relaxed, comfy, wide legged palazzo pants and decided I would just make some.

Enjoying:  Having the windows open on these mild Spring days.  Before it gets too hot and they have to be closed again to run the air conditioner.

Anticipating:  A trip to Texas to visit with my baby sister!

Feeling:   A little freaked out that a quarter of this year is already behind us!  2017 needs to just slow it down a little bit.  Am I right, or am I right? 

What are you up to as April begins?

Friday, March 31, 2017

A Spirit of Gratitude: March 2017

 March brings its own reasons for gratitude.  Warmer weather (for some of us).  The first day of Spring.  The first flowers blooming. It's all good! 

I Am Thankful For:
My mom's birthday
The grand kid "playing guitar" for me
A trip to the zoo

A movie and dinner date with my 2 favorite guys (aka: the Man of the House and the Male Offspring)
Spring time Oreos with bees on them!

Not eating any of those Spring time Oreos
The grand kid making pizzas

Losing 7 pounds!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

A Bird in the Window is Worth...

We have this silly little bird who comes each day and sits in our kitchen window sill. 

Sometimes he'll just sit there, cocking his little head as he seems to watch us.  I imagine it's sort of like a reverse zoo. 

(Bird: "Look!  Human's in their natural environment.  Ooooh... is it feeding time?  What do they eat? What's that one over there doing? Humans are so funny!)

He doesn't just sit though.  Sometimes he taps at the window.  A lot of the time.  Several times a day he's out there just tap, tap, tapping away. 

It started during the last cold spell when we had a bit of snow.  The Man of the House thought maybe he was cold and wanted in.  I tried explaining to him that he definitely didn't want to come inside as this is the territory of a grumpy cat who would love nothing more than to get his paws (and claws) on a feathered friend. 

I worry he's going to hurt his little beak.

Friday, March 17, 2017

When It's Just Not Worth It

So, the other day I had to make a grocery store run to pick up a few items.  Which doesn't sound very exciting, I know...  stick with me.

On this particular day, I was also tired.  And grumpy. And by the time I got out of the house, finished up at Hobby Lobby, and made it to groceries, it had been several hours since I had eaten.  This is the perfect storm to create a major weakness in those of us trying to eat healthier.  Mo matter how determined we might pretend to be most of the time. 

By the time I had every item on my list loaded into the cart, my grumpy/tired/hungry side had me convinced that I deserved a treat.  Definitely something chocolate.  And preferably something involving pastry.  Because my grumpy/tired/hungry self knows I love a chocolate donut.  (This is also common knowledge to all my other selves)

As I was already away from the bakery section and up near the registers, I thought maybe I would grab one of those little packages of mini donuts.  Yes, the prepackaged ones with the fake, waxy chocolate frosting.  Don't judge me, please. 

Fortunately, there was some tiny, rational part of my brain which managed to briefly seize control long enough to read the label.  And almost passed out when I saw the calorie count was over 400!! Yikes! 

A choice had to be made. On one hand - I really wanted that chocolate donut.  On the other hand - over 400 calories??

Maybe a simple little Twix would be a better option...  A peek at the front of that label informed me I was still looking at over 200 calories.  *sigh*  Better.  But not great.

I'll have you know that I left the store that day with out a chocolate treat.  Because when faced with the numbers, I just couldn't. The sugar war rages on.  But this particular battle is going down as a win.

(I now realize that the story never really did get much more interesting following that first sentence.)

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Let's Make Plans

As y'all probably know by now - I'm a list maker.  I love a list and I make them for, well... pretty much everything!

One of those lists happens to be a weekly meal plan. It's a handy little tool which I highly recommend!  It assists me with everything from making my grocery list to staying on track when I'm trying to eat healthier.  I also try to post the meal plan on the fridge to help reduce the endless question "Mom, what's for dinner?"

Every week, I sit down on the day before grocery shopping day and make my plan.  Here's a sample (this week's actual plan)

Breakfast: 2 whole grain waffles, 1/2 cup cottage cheese, 1 sliced nectarine
Dinner:  Eat out

Breakfast:  2 eggs, whole grain toast
Lunch: Deli style tuna sandwich
Dinner: Spinach Lasagna
Snack: 2 graham crackers w/ 1 tbsp nut butter

Breakfast:  Whole grain English muffin w/ 2 tbsp nut butter, banana, 1 cup almond milk
Lunch:  Turkey taco salad
Dinner: Sirloin Tacos
Snack:  1/4 cup homemade trail mix

Breakfast:  Chia seed pumpkin muffin, 1 cup grapefruit, 1 cup almond milk
Lunch:  Chinese chicken salad
Dinner: seared tuna, steamed broccoli, brown rice

Breakfast:  breakfast burrito
Lunch: Minestrone soup, 1 whole grain pita
Dinner: Spaghetti squash w/ tomato sauce and ground turkey
Snack: 2 oatmeal raisin cookies, 1 cup almond milk

Breakfast:  Strawberry, banana, cocoa smoothie
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner:  Veggie burger with whole grain bun, sweet potato "fries"
Snack: 1 orange, 1 oz dark chocolate

I then make my shopping list based on the meals I have planned.  It certainly helps keep me focused when I'm shopping so I don't fill up the cart with junk food! 

 Until recently my meal plans only included dinners.  But I have found that by including lunches and dinners I do a much better job of  making good choices about lunches and snacks instead of just grabbing what's quick or whatever junk I'm craving.

Do you make a meal plan?

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Thursday, March 2, 2017

Currently... March 2017

Normally, about this time of year I would write something about looking forward to the start of Spring and warmer weather.  But let's be honest... around here it's felt like March (or maybe April) since January!  For all of you who have actually experienced a winter this year - I hope you are looking forward to warmer weather and Spring days.

March is looking rather quiet right now.  I'm very much ok with that considering how quickly the first two months of the year flew past.  It will be nice to pause and take a few deep breaths.  Of course, one never knows what might pop up out of the blue!

Before that has a chance to happen, let's take a quick peek at what life looks like right now.

READING:  "Still Life" by Louise Penny.  Some time back, a dear friend sent met several books in this series.  Which have been sitting on my nightstand for months.  Time for that stack to move, so I am placing them high on my To Be Read list for this year.

EATING:  As of yesterday - I am reducing/eliminating refined sugar.  So far, I am struggling.  Sugar has a serious hold on me.  It's going to be tough to break this.

WORKING ON:  A lot of Spring and Easter items for my Etsy shop

ENJOYING:  Quiet time in the afternoons.  Each day, I am trying to be intentional about making a block of time when I turn all my electronics off and I take a little while for myself to sip a cup of tea and read or crochet. 

ANTICIPATING:  Um... good question.  I can't think of any specific thing I'm  looking forward to at the moment.  Just a general sense of looking forward to making plans for the Spring and Summer.

FEELING:  Like I really, really, really want a cupcake. Or a donut.  (Did I mention that I'm off sugar?)

What are you up to Currently?  Leave a comment and let me know!
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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Grateful for February

Some months it's easier to see the turmoils around us instead of the blessings.  This month could have been like that for me.

My regular screening mammogram came back with "localized densities" which weren't there last time that required me to go for follow up, involving more focused images and an ultrasound.  The waiting was... not fun.  Fortunately, while I do have several cysts - everything is benign.  (Can I get a "hallelujah!!"?) 

But for some the relief doesn't always come so quickly.  There can be weeks, months, even years when the everyday blessings are difficult to find.  But they are always there.  They are all around us.  We just have to pause and look...  really look... for them.

I Am Thankful For:

Warm February days
Walks at the park

The treea beginning to bud
Shrimp and Grits


Spring Fever
An overnight getaway
Getting the test results I wanted to hear
Blooming daffodils

Jelly beans
Skipping the gym

What did you find to be thankful for during February?

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Thursday, February 23, 2017

Cleaning Make Up Brushes - the DIY way

You probably wash your face each day to clean away all the makeup, sweat, and oils that collect on your skin over the course of the day.  But what about your makeup brushes?  When was the last time you gave them a good cleansing? 

If it's been awhile - you are technically brushing all of that grime right back onto your face when you apply your makeup.  This can lead to everything from clogged pores, muddy looking makeup, and even infection.  YUCK!!

Fortunately, I have a super simple (and inexpensive) way of cleaning my brushes on a regular basis.

Mix 1 tablespoon Dawn dish soap (the original blue kind)  with 1/2 cup warm water in a small glass.

Dip each brush into the mixture, then swish it around to really clean the bristles. Brushes I use for "sticky" makeups - cream, gel, or liquid - I let soak for a minute or two before swishing.  You'll be amazed how quickly and easily the makeup comes of the brush.

This is the stipple brush I use for applying cream blush before cleaning:

And after: 

It really works that well, and quickly!

After cleaning the brushes, I put them in a bath of clear cool water for a few minutes and then give them all a good rinse.

And this is all the nasty stuff that came out of the brushes!  Ew...

I roll the brushes in a clean towel and give them a little squeeze to get the excess water out of the bristles.   Then place them up right in the (now rinsed out) glass to dry. 

And that's it.  Easy peasy, lemon squeezey! 

Do you clean your makeup brushes or applicators regularly?

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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Knoxville Getaway

The Man of the House and I have a habit of planning our Valentine date on a day other than February 14th.  This saves us from having to fight the crowds for a table at a restaurant and keeps things a little more personal for us. 

This year we waited until the weekend after Valentine's Day and decided to get away for the night.  We thought about some of our usual haunts - the Biltmore Estate, Gatlinburg, etc.  Then the Man of the House suggested driving up to Knoxville, Tennessee since we've never really been there before other than taking the kids up to the zoo once several years ago.

He found us a nice hotel right downtown beside World's Fair Park and within walking distance of well... a lot!  We arrived early Saturday evening and spent the whole day Sunday.

we had brunch at The French Market.  The Man of the House enjoyed an omelette, while I tamed my sweet tooth with a delicious Nutella crepe.  Yum!

It was a beautiful weekend to just stroll around town and explore.  Sunday started overcast, but quickly cleared up with temperatures in the 60's. And walk we did!!

Knoxville has a nice little Veteran's Memorial located at one end of World's Fair Park.

We went up into the Sunsphere, which was originally built for the 1982 World's Fair.  Great views of Knoxville!

There were several musical groups playing in Market Square. And people out enjoying the music and the sunshine.

Surprisingly,  I didn't take many photos on this trip - just enjoyed the time with my sweet hubby. 

Conclusion:  Knoxville is a nice quiet college town.  Perfect for a day trip and a little exploring. 


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