Thursday, August 24, 2017

A Spirit of Gratitude: August 24, 2017

It's been a quiet week.  I've been trying to enjoy my last few days of baby sitting the grand kid before he starts kindergarten next week.  I'm so excited that the weather is supposed to cool down over the weekend.  And my mind has turned to pumpkin spice lattes and decorating for fall.



I Am Thankful For:
Grilled cheese
Getting work completed
Sleep
Pre-season football
The solar eclipse
The male offspring making ugly (but yummy) cupcakes
The cat and the dog playing together
A forecast for cooler weather





Monday, August 21, 2017

Out Numbered

I grew up in a house full of women.  I was the oldest of three girls. At some point my poor father must have felt as if he were drowning in estrogen.  Probably when he had 3 teenage daughters! Can you imagine?? 

I can't say that I have it that bad.  But I did realize the other day that for the first time in my entire life I am living in a house full of males.




The boys have outnumbered the girls in our home for several years.  But I never really recognized that until now.  I guess maybe because until last winter I always had at least one other female around.  Now it's just me and my guys.

Even the dog and the cat are both males!!




Friday, August 18, 2017

Dogs and Chasing Rabbits

It's been a good week - despite being one of those weeks when I feel as if I have been very busy and getting not much done. 

I was actually going to say something about how I've been working like a dog this week.  But then I took a look at these two doing what they typically do and decided perhaps that phrase really isn't accurate...



Which also got me thinking that maybe the phrase "a dog's life" isn't all that accurate either; as most of the dogs I know live a pretty pampered existence.  

I chased that thought right down the rabbit trail to considering how dog's are also fairly grateful creatures.  Showing joy and thanks for every scrap of food, every bit of attention, every walk, every time you walk back in the door.   Maybe we could learn something from the dogs...

Relax more.  Be grateful.

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Thursday, August 17, 2017

A Spirit of Gratitude: August 17, 2017




I AM THANKFUL FOR:

An Etsy order which will be going to Norway!
Having my dad over to dinner for his birthday
The Male Offspring going back to classes
Being able to rend his books for about 1/4 what it would cost to buy
Dog sitting the grand kid's pet
Early morning trips to the gym
Baby deer in the backyard

The Man of the House making popcorn for me
Potato salad
Finding cotton scrubby yarn
A trip to Barnes and Noble
Iced coffee











Tuesday, August 15, 2017

25 Things You Can Declutter TODAY (without guilt or regret)

As many of you know, my One Word for this year is Simplify.  Part of my process for this year has been to begin simplifying what I own.  In other words - decluttering.  It has been a slow, off again - on again kind of a thing for me.  But over the past 7 and a half months there are a few things I have come to realize I can donate or dispose of easily and without guilt. 

On those days when you feel a little overwhelmed with where to begin or that you just can't face some deep cleaning type decluttering - having a list like this can help you keep making forward progress in some form.



  1. Old Magazines:  If you haven't read them by now, you aren't going to.  Drop them in the recycling bin!
  2. Old Cosmetics:  You're not wearing them for a reason.  And there's a good chance they've expired by now.  Toss 'em!
  3. Unread Books:  If it's been sitting on your nightstand for months and months - you're likely never going to read it.  If you change your mind, you can check it out from the library. 
  4. VHS and Audio Cassette Tapes:  You probably don't even have a way to play these anymore. 
  5. Accessories for Cell Phones you  no longer use:  Cases, head sets, charging cords, etc.  If you don't use the phone - you don't need the extras for it.
  6. Stretched out Hair Elastics, bent Bobby Pins and Broken Clips: If you're like me you have a whole bunch of these in a drawer or box somewhere.  Probably mixed in with all the ones that actually function.  I don't know what we're saving them for.  
  7. Lids to Food Storage Containers that have no matching container:  I know... you think you'll find the match eventually.  Trust me - you won't
  8. Like wise... Food Storage Containers with no matching lid.
  9. Unused toiletries:  The ones you received as a gift and never use.  The cute little bottles you brought home from that hotel on your last vacation.  Samples.
  10. Old Nail Polish:  Is it a color you never wear?  Thick?  Has it separated?  Toss it and treat yourself to a bottle of a cute new color!
  11. Recipe Books You Never Use:  If you suddenly discover you wanted a certain recipe, you can probably find it online. 
  12. Treats Your Pet Won't Eat:  Is someone else in the house going to eat it?
  13. Any Expired Food in your Pantry, Cabinet, Fridge or Freezer:  Expired food?  'Nuf said...
  14. Expired medications:  Just be sure you dispose of them correctly!!  Check out the FDA GUIDELINES
  15. Paper or Plastic BagsWhat are you saving them for?  You're gonna get more...
  16. Scraps of Wrapping Paper:  Do you ever really use all those little leftover pieces?
  17. Socks with No Matches:  I'm marking this one "Note to Self".  I keep a mesh bag of mismatched socks thinking the partner will show up someday.  Probably time to give it up.
  18. And while you're at it:  Any Socks with holes in them.  
  19. Or - Tights with Runs
  20. Video or Computer Games the kids have outgrown or you don't play anymore:  Lots of places have buy back programs where you can get some credit toward new ones!  Or give them to a friend with younger kids who will enjoy them. 
  21. Old Prescription Eyeglasses:  Donate them!  Many eye glass providers have collection boxes, or contact your local Lions Club for information
  22. Packets of Anything that came with a take out order:  ketchup, salt, soy sauce, etc...
  23. Old Planners or Calendars:  Do you think you might need to know what you were doing on an exact day a year or more ago?  
  24. Old Herbs and Spices:  That bottle of seasoning you bought for that one recipe that you made that one time?  It's gotta go.
  25. Pens and Pens:  I am the worst for this!  I have a pretty serious pen addiction, and it would be embarrassing for both of us if I told you how many pens I have in my house right now.  (Whatever you're thinking - it's more than that)  Keep a few of your favorites and get rid of the rest.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

A Spirit of Gratitude: August 10

It's been a good week here in my little world.  The temperatures have been nice and comfortable, and we had some good soaking rains.  I've made it to the gym a few mornings (thanks to the Man of the House).  And there's been plenty to be thankful for!




I Am Thankful For:
Nutella
Funny auto-correct errors
The Male Offspring baking
The Male offspring's "new" car
Dinner at White Duck Taco Shop
A happy dog

Waking up to the sound of rain
Rainy Mondays
New ideas for my shop
An evening at the ball field


What are you thankful for this week?

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Quack Attack!

The Man of the House and I have been hearing about White Duck Taco Shop for what must be a couple of years now.  It's been one of those "we need to go try it out sometime" things that we've never gotten around to actually doing.  We never seemed to be on that side of town or don't think about it when we are over that way.

So, when we found out that at new location had opened on our end of town - we knew we'd be making a visit.  Probably sooner, rather than later.  This past Saturday was that day.

Who ever selected the site for this newest location is a genius.  It's right beside the high school (I don't want to even try to stop for dinner on a Friday night during football season! It's gonna be packed!)  There's seating available inside and out, with the outside tables having plenty of natural shade so you don't roast in the sun.  They have a cute little display full of - you guessed it! - white ducks.  (The plastic kind)

We shared a side of queso and chips.  Yummy stuff.  But there's only so much you can say about queso and chips.  It's kind of hard to mess that one up.

I selected a black bean and cheese taco as well as a buffalo chicken taco.  The buffalo chicken was tasty, but in my humble opinion it could have been a little hotter.  Truth be told - I think I liked the black bean better.  Simple, but delicious!




The Man of the House had the fish taco and (I think) the black bean.  He was quite pleased with the fish taco.




The Male Offspring enjoyed two steak and cheddar.  He said it was really good - but, sadly, he was appalled that I was taking pictures of our food and refused to let me get one of his.

There are so many interesting choices available on the menu and we want to try almost all of them.  It was a great experience, and I can definitely say we will be back! 





Thursday, August 3, 2017

A Spirit of Gratitude: August 3, 2017

It's only Thursday, but it feels as if it has been a full week already.  The Man of the House was in San Diego on business for 3 days, and I took advantage of that time to do some major decluttering and reorganizing of my wardrobe.  I still need to finish my handbags and shoes.  But I am very pleased with the progress I have made so far!



I Am Thankful For
A break in the heat
Mailing out orders

Safe travels for the Man of the House
The grand kid is feeling better

No one else has gotten his stomach bug
The male offspring making handmade pimento cheese
Clean and organized drawers
The Man of the House is home!


Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Currently... August

Once August arrives, the entire rest of the year seems to just fly right on by.  Today, it may currently be August 1st, but next thing we know I'll be posting about the holidays coming up and we'll be wondering where the time went.  Well, I plan to take things as slow as possible and really be in the moments instead of anticipating the rest of this year away. Who's with me?  Let's start by pausing to look at what we're doing and how we're feeling right now!





Reading:  I'm finally finishing up Issac's Storm by Erik Larsen.  And waiting to get back to the top of the wait list so I can complete A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman.

In non-fictio, I am finally reading through The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo.  Confession:  I have avoided this book like the plague.  Because some of the things I have seen in reviews sound a little out there for me.  But I have decided to give it a chance, use what (if anything) I find helpful and leave the rest.  Then, I have 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker next in the queue.

Eating:  I had hoped July would be a better eating month. However... beginning the month on vacation - which involved lots of eating out, French toast breakfast (and one with chocolate gravy!) -  the female offspring's birthday, and an overwhelming craving for ice cream - it was not to be.  I did do some breakfast and lunch meal prepping once we were home again.  Which definitely helped keep me a little more on track!  More of that needs to happen in August.

Working On:  Would you believe washcloths?  Yep... more and still.  I've also been hard at work on some bath puff orders and a moose hat.  I took time during vacation to start on a beautiful wrap for myself.  Who knows when I'll get a chance to finish it!

Enjoying:  My new little car.  It is just so cute and I love driving it.

Anticipating:  The male offspring goes back to classes on the 14th.  The grand baby starts kindergarten later this month.  And...  The solar eclipse coming up on August 21!

Feeling:  Honestly... today I'm a little tired.  I didn't sleep well last night.

How about you?  What are you up to as August begins?  How are you feeling?  Anything you're really looking forward to this month?








Monday, July 31, 2017

Obsessed With The Dress

Y'all may remember back at the beginning of the summer I featured THIS dress in one of my Friday Favorites. (and again last Friday!)

Red Heirloom Maxi Dress


Well, I did head to World Market and got the dress for myself a short time later.  What the description calls "red" is really more of an orange in person.  Which made it difficult to chose between that and the  Blue...

Blue Heirloom Maxi Dress

I decided to go with the blue.  And I LOVE it!  It is so pretty and I feel so feminine when I wear it.

Then last week I happened to be at World Market again with my daughter.  Where I saw that the dress was still available in the red/orange. 

And it was on sale for half price...

AND I just happened to have a $10 off coupon...

Which is how I ended up taking the red dress home with me for only $10!

I adore a pretty dress. I love it even more when I get a great deal on it!  




Friday, July 28, 2017

Friday Favorites: In The Summertime

It's summertime and the livin' is... well,  really freaking hot!!  Anything approaching 80 degrees is too hot for this gal.  90 and above days make me feel pretty much like this...

And that makes me very grateful for being able to stay inside with the air conditioning running and hide from the heat!

I really shouldn't complain.  I know other parts of the country have had it much worse than we have here.  My sister sent me a picture from her car the other day showing the outside temp as 105 degrees.  YIKES!!

Despite the summer heatwaves, there are still plenty of things about the season to enjoy.  Here are a few of my favorites:




Seasonal Summer Fruit:  Oh, how I love all the fresh, flavorful fruit of summertime!  The watermelon, the peaches, the cherries and all the various berries make my mouth and tummy so very happy!  I think I could probably survive on fresh fruit and ice cream during these warm weather months and be very content doing it.





Summer dresses:  Let's be honest.  I love a dress any time of year - but, especially during the summer months.  They're so easy, breezy and comfortable to wear.



Summer Vacations:  A vacation is another one of those things that you can enjoy any time of year.  But there's something special about the summer vacation.  I especially enjoy a get away where I can relax next to a natural body of water and do nothing all day long.


What are your favorite things about the summertime?

Thursday, July 27, 2017

A Spirit of Gratitude: July 27, 3017

As promised earlier this week, today brings a return of the weekly Spirit of Gratitude posts!  I am thankful for each and everyone of you who (whom?) read my blog.  And especially those that take time to comment.  You are appreciated!



I Am Thankful For:
A return to gratitude
Lazy days by the lake
Silly vacation pictures

Kalamata olives
A pretty new dress
A new car
When the Man of the House says "You're awesome"
Dinner with the whole family
The Man of the House playing Lincoln Logs with the grand kid
Meal prepping lunches and breakfast for the week

New orders for my Etsy shop
The Man of the House in a suit
The grand kid climbing up to sit in my lap
A stop at Starbucks



Tuesday, July 25, 2017

5 Tips for Creating An Attitude of Gratitude

Gratitude is a learned behavior.  It is something that has to be cultivated. It has to be intentional.  It has to be nurtured.

You see this as you watch parents and other caregivers with small children; as they tell the little one to "Say 'thank you'" or prompting "What do you say?"  But it also holds true for adults.  If we  don't practice being thankful, it is easy to slip into a pattern of complaining, comparisons, and discontentment.

At the beginning of the year I made the choice to begin publishing my Spirit of Gratitude posts only once a month instead of weekly.  It wasn't a good choice.  As I spread out those thankful posts, I began to write less and less often in my gratitude journal (something I had been doing daily)  I started scrambling to try remembering several things I was thankful for each month to get the post written.   Last month, I even ended up skipping the post all together.

It occurred to me over the weekend that this is NOT living a spirit of gratitude. I'm getting myself back on track.  I invite all of you to join me in cultivating an attitude of gratitude in your own lives.

Not sure where to start?  I've got you covered! 

Here are a few practical steps to cultivate gratitude in you daily life:




  • Say "Thank you"
    • When someone does something nice, or helpful, be quick to say "Thank you".  Everyone like to feel appreciated. 

  • Start Your Day With Gratitude
    • Take a few moments each morning to give thanks for good in your life.  A positive start sets you up for a positive day.  When gratitude becomes a part of your morning routine, you will find yourself  more aware of the good things in your life instead of focusing on the negatives.

  • Stop Complaining
    • Try to stop complaining and criticizing for an entire week.  Complaining feels good while you're doing it,  while you're soaking up the sympathetic attention you receive from doing it.  But in the end it just fuels negativity - not just for you, but also for those you complain to or criticize!

  • Keep a Gratitude Journal
    • Every day write down 5 things you are thankful for.  They might be general or specific.  They may be big things or small little things.  It doesn't matter what it is - just write down something!  This weekend I was talking to a friend who told me that every day her husband mails her a post card at work with a list of 5 things he is thankful for.  And #1 is always "You".  -  I KNOW!!  How sweet is that!?!?  

  • Remember What You're Thankful For
    • We all have them - those days when you just don't feel especially grateful for anything.  Maybe everything feels like it's going wrong and you're struggling to find the good.  On those days, read through your previous entries into your gratitude journal to remind yourself of all the good things in your life!  This helps you to move past the negativity and shift your focus on gratefulness.  



These are some guidelines I try to use for living a life filled with thankfulness.  Do you have any special tips for helping keep your mind and spirit focused on gratitude?



PS:  The Spirit of Gratitude posts will be returning as a weekly feature beginning this Thursday! 

PSS:  THANK YOU to Jenny for letting me share the story of the daily postcards from her hubby! 






Wednesday, July 19, 2017

When You Don't Have Much To Start With

Maybe you're not starting with much.  Just the tiniest amount. Barely there.  A thimble-full.  A glimmer.  A bit.  A morsel. Just a crumb.  A fleck.  A trace.  A shred.  A shadow or whisper.  A mustard seed of faith.



But a little faith is all it takes.

Then, as you start to spend time in God's presence- it grows.

As you get deeper into His Word - it grows.

As you begin to know Him - it grows. 

As you surrender more and more of yourself to Him - it grows.

You begin to see signs of Him at work in your life.  And it grows.

You begin to accumulate the fruits of the Spirit - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.  And you see these grow also, making your faith even stronger.

You accumulate a treasure of God's riches.

And you will end with so much more than you could have ever imagined.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Cooking by the Seat of My Pants

Sometimes what starts out looking like a recovery-less setback actually turns out to be a fortunate series of events.  Take yesterday's dinner for example...


It all started when I planned to make THIS Slow Cooker Lemon Chicken recipe for dinner.  However, I quickly realized someone had finished off my lemon juice.  It's hard to make lemon chicken without the lemon.   I did, however, have lime juice.

OK... I can make this work.  Although plain ol' lime chicken sounded a little bit... um, boring.  And a whole lotta lime-ish.  What could I do to make this better?

I decided to add some chili powder and cilantro.  Chili Lime Chicken.  That's a thing. Right?  Well, if it wasn't before - it is now!



It turned out to be quite tasty.  I know this, not just because I ate it myself - but because the Man of the House told me so.

Ingredients
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 cup chicken broth (fat free, low sodium)
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • ¼ cup flour ( option: use corn starch for gluten free)
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons dried cilantro

Directions
Place chicken thighs in slow cooker

Combine broth, juice, flour, cumin, chili powder and cilantro - stirring with a whisk. Pour over chicken.
Cover and cook on low heat for 8 to 10 hours. 

I served it over brown rice with steamed broccoli and avocado slices.  Yummy!



Have you ever had to make last minute changes to a recipe? 

Friday, July 14, 2017

Friday Favorites: Cause I"m Random Like That

I couldn't decide on a theme for this edition of Friday Favorites.  The items I had in mind to share with all of you were just too diverse.  And since it's been a couple of weeks since I shared some favorites with you, so I didn't want to skip again.  Which is why this week's list is going to seem kind of all over the place.  Let's be honest here...  some days are just like that - a little of this and a little of that.  In fact, most of my days are kind of like that.




OxiClean White Revive:

I wasn't sure what to expect the first time I used it.  To be honest, I wasn't expecting much more than my regular OxiClean delivers.  Then I went to remove the load from the washer and BAM!!!   My whites haven't been this white since they were brand new.  (btw... there's a printable coupon for $1 off on the product website right now)



Talenti Coffee Chocolate Chip Gelato:




Coffee. Chocolate Chip.  Gelato.  Um... Yes! Please!  The container I bought of this stuff is hidden so far back in the freezer.  Not just because I might hurt anyone else in the family who tries to eat it, but so I don't see it and want to eat the entire thing every time I open the freezer.  I think I've found my new go-to PMS comfort food!


The Jersey Swing Dress:



These dresses from Old Navy are my new summer uniform!  I have the sleeveless version in black and orange, and the short sleeve in black and white stripe. (I wish I had the foresight to have bought it in several more colors)  They are SO comfy, and can easily be dressed up or down as needed for different occasions.  They've been on sale for a while, and many sizes and colors are selling out fast.  So, if you want one - you better hurry!!

Have you made any great discoveries recently?



Thursday, July 13, 2017

Reducing Your Paper Towel Waste

Back in January, we made the switch from paper napkins to cloth.  This has gone well for the most part.  However we were still using paper towels.  And going through a lot of them.   While any little bit of progress to reduce waste is good progress - I couldn't help feeling that we could do more.


It was time to make the move to "un-paper towels".

I considered just buying some and did a lot of looking online.  (Just search "unpaper towels" on Etsy.  You'll find plenty of options if you want to purchase some yourself)   But being a cheap thrifty DIY type of gal, I decided to make my own.  Which meant it was time to hit up Pinterest for some inspiration.

After a lot of looking around.  And I mean A LOT...   I finally came across a tutorial by 104homestead.com which was a nice, simple, no-frills, and fast solution for creating your own unpaper towels.

I am very pleased with the results so far.  They clean up small spills well.  The grand kid has used them for wiping face and hands during snacks and lunches.  I have used them for drying my hands.  I've used them to set bread on while making sandwiches.  All the usual paper towel type jobs.

They live in a cute little wooden box on the counter next to the sink - right where the paper towel holder used to sit.  And the female offspring was thrilled to inherit my old paper towel holder, since she's been looking for one for her own kitchen.



The male offspring had expressed some concern about what we would use for cleaning windows and mirrors.  I resolved that buy picking up a pack of microfiber cloths just for this purpose.

Would you consider switching to cloth towels in place of paper towels?  Or have you already made the switch?  I'd love to hear your thoughts and experiences!

To Read About My Switch to Cloth Napkins - click HERE

To Read the Tutorial I Followed  For Making My UnPaper Towels - click HERE 


Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Pepperoni Pizza Spaghetti Squash

The Man of the House loves pizza. That is not an exaggeration.  He would eat pizza several days a  week if he could.  If you ask what he wants for dinner - 97% of the time the answer is going to be "Pizza".  I'm pretty sure you could bribe him to do almost anything by offering him a good pizza.  You get the picture... he enjoys his pizza.

We recently discovered that he also seems to have a sensitivity to gluten.  Which puts quite a damper on that whole "He loves pizza" thing.  Fortunately many of his local pizza spots do offer a gluten free pizza crust.  And I have found a frozen gluten free crust that he likes just fine.  But a lot of the gluten free products are highly processed and have some ingredients which some may find a little questionable.

I am big into the spaghetti squash this year, and am always prowling Pinterest for new recipes to try with it.  Which is why I was happy to spot the idea of using the typical pizza toppings with spaghetti squash to create a gluten-free pizza-ish treat!



It's easy as... well... pizza pie.

Start by cooking  the spaghetti squash as usual.  For me, this means cutting the squash in half length-wise.  Scoop out the seeds.  Drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Place face down on a baking sheet.  Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes to 1 hour.


Once your squash is cooked, use a fork to loosen the strands of flesh from the shell.  Leave it in the rind.  It's going to act as a bowl for you!


Pour about a 1/2 cup of your favorite pizza sauce onto the spaghetti squash strands and mix.  Top with shredded mozzarella and pepperoni.




Place under the broiler for 6 to 10 minutes.  (Until cheese is melted, bubbly, and golden)





And...  ENJOY!!  




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