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!  

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Sunday Inspiration: Just Who You Are

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.

  • 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

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 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!!  

Monday, July 3, 2017

Currently... July 2017.

Welcome to July!  The month many of us celebrate America's birthday with cookouts, fireworks, and vacations.  You can count me in that number.  I'm looking forward to ALL those things!

Reading:  I have a HUGE stack of books I am hoping to get through this month. Mainly, I want to finally finish up that stack of Louise Penny books I've been slowly working through.  But, right now I'm reading Three Sisters, Three Queens by Philippa Gregory.  I've also had two books ( Isaac's Storm by Erik Larsen and A Train in Winter by Caroline Moorehead) which had to be returned before I could finish them, so now I am having to wait while my name works its way back up the top of the wait list so I can finish reading them.  

Eating:  SO much junk food.  Between cookouts, birthday cakes, and trips to the ball park - I have been loading up on not-very-healthy foods.  Unfortunately my weight is showing the side effects of my current eating habits.  

Working On:  Washcloths.  Yes...  STILL! 

Enjoying:  Out of doors entertainment.  I love the open air concerts, ball games, cookouts and such that happen during the summer.  Even things as simple as sitting outside and crocheting while the grand baby plays with sidewalk chalk and bubbles.

Anticipating:  See above! 

Feeling:  Hot.  Anything above 80 degrees and I just don't get along very well.  I'm just trying to power through until fall.  

What is your little corner of the world looking like as we start into July?


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