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Monday, March 31, 2014

Musical Moments of JOY

Life often speaks to me in moments of music.

Here are a few that I've experienced lately:

* singing the ABC song with a favorite little guy [under two] and hearing him say the next letter before it comes out of my mouth.  I'm thankful for the time his sweet mommy spends with him!


* singing "Jesus Loves Me" with another small, sad friend and loving that moment when he wasn't just listening to me singing, but he was singing with me.  I love the thought that he took comfort in singing those words while he waited for his Mommy to return.

* singing "When We All Get to Heaven" during a visit with my Great Aunt as she wondered about those she would be reunited with in Heaven someday ~ "what a day of rejoicing that will be!"

How does music speak to you?


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Ever Forward, S-L-O-W-L-Y

You might remember THIS POST, and THIS UPDATE about our bathroom.  What a sad combination of lack of decision making and feet dragging!  Or is that the same thing?  Well, you get my meaning.  Not much has been happening.  Inspiration was lacking.


But the other day, a Facebook friend asked where she should look for a bathroom mirror since she wasn't liking what was offered at the home-center-type stores.  Someone suggested the [Habitat for Humanity] ReStore. That stuck with me, and when we were looking for an adventure on Saturday, we decided to head there.

This is the kind of place where it's anyone's guess what you will find there on any given day.  The day we were there: no mirrors -- and really... nothing else of interest to us.  But, we were kind of on a quest for something to kick this bathroom project into high gear, so we headed to a local home-center.


Of course, we'd like to re-do the entire bathroom -- but that's just not going to happen right now... so the light fixture and a new mirror/medicine cabinet were the must-have items.  We decided to concentrate on the light fixture situation first.  The choices were endless -- and that's part of my problem.  When it comes to light fixtures, the kazillion choices pretty much fall into TWO categories for me: "that'll do" AND "that's ugly." Also, one of my hang-ups is the "finish."  That has totally kept me from making a decision in the past.  But recently, I've done enough blog-reading to know that people don't necessarily stick to just one finish for lights, cabinet hardware, and the faucet fixture.  I want to tell you... THAT IS SO FREEING!


So, with no regard to any other finishes in the room, we picked out a brushed nickel light fixture with three angular globes.  My sweet hubby has already installed it  (LOL - hope we're not moving too quickly for you! Believe me, nobody was more surprised than me!) -- AND, I LOVE IT.  (Like kicking-myself-wondering-why-we-waited-so-long LOVE IT!)

I'm so glad we finally got the ball rolling -- thanks to our daughter who said "How about this one?"  I have a feeling it won't be quite as hard to make the mirror/medicine cabinet choice now.  We already have a few ideas in mind.

Stay tuned!

[3-Light Bath Bar w/ brushed nickel finish and frosted glass
by Hampton Bay from The Home Depot.]

Monday, March 24, 2014

graze update 3.24.14

Our first graze box arrived on 3/17/14.    I waited a few days to tell you about it -- until all of the snacks were consumed.


The four snacks included in our box were:
  • honeycomb flapjacks - my daughter enjoyed these and would like to have them again.
  • bonnie wee oatbakes w/ caramelized red onion marmalade - this was a really different treat!  Yum.
  • chili and honey almonds - the "chili" in the name caught my eye, and I thought they would be hot & spicy for my hubby...  Guess I missed the "honey."  He said they were good -- but I don't need to order them again.  Onward...
  • tutti frutti - My hubby (who also ate these) said, "It was mostly raisins."  So I went back to read the description which says: "blueberry infused cranberries, pineapple, cherry infused raisins and green raisins."  So, my sweet hubby was right on the mark, and apparently wishing for something other than raisins - LOL.  He says we can skip this one next time.


At first glance... the snacks seem pretty small.  But remember, folks.  This is portion controlled packaging.  The whole point is that you don't have a whole bag of chips and a carton of dip in front of you [or in front of ME -- as the case may be].  If you find that hard to swallow, this may not be your cup of tea.

As soon as I knew how we felt about each option, I went back to my account on the graze web-site, found the "your boxes" tab at the top of the page, and checked one of these four options for each of the snacks that we received:
  • trash - never send me this
  • try - happy to try
  • like - send occasionally
  • love - send regularly


Another happy addition is that you receive a sweet little card with some graze info, as well as complete nutritional labels for each snack.  So if you're keeping track of more than just calories [like carbs, for example], that information is right at your fingertips.


Will we order again?  Yes.  There are some yummy choices on the site that we'd like to try.


Don't forget, you can use MY FRIEND CODE to get your first and fifth boxes FREE!  In the interest of full discloser: if you use my friend code to order, I get $1 off my next order.  The good news is, the same holds true for you when you sign up and encourage friends to use your friend code.

I like that I can cancel at any time -- you know, in case we ultimately decide it's not our thing.  In the meantime, we'll graze a little more...


** I received no compensation for this post.  Just thought I share our experience with a new product.
Opinions are mine -- and my family's.


Thursday, March 20, 2014

It's Here!

Don't scold me about the exact time.  It's too late.  I am celebrating!

Today is the day.  No matter what words the weatherman may speak, no matter what the forecast.  Whether the sun shines or the clouds rain, TODAY IS THE FIRST DAY OF SPRING!

*cue the angels singing


It's no use telling me not to get my hopes up.  They are UP.


I'm on the lookout -- looking for the good, the green, and the growing around every corner.


I am relishing those evening hours when there is time to go out into the daylight, even AFTER the dinner hour.


I am washing my black everyday winter jacket and hanging it up to dry for another year.  Woolly scarves, be gone!


First there will be reports of muddy sprouts, and then -- unfurled leaves, buds, and blooms!  Remember this time of year?  SPRING.  It's what we've been waiting for.


Celebrate it in your heart today!

Monday, March 17, 2014

A New Etsy Venture


My Etsy Shop is open again, and this time I've got something totally new for you -- decorative fabric cane covers.


You might remember me telling you that my mom had knee replacement surgery last summer.  Knowing that Mom would need to use a cane during her recuperation process, a friend shared some cane covers with her. Mom wasn't too sure about them at first, but she decided to use them.  She ended up receiving all kinds of compliments, so she decided to make some to put in the Etsy Shop, thinking that somebody else out there might like the idea, too.


These are decorative fabric covers for a 3/4" cane.  A cover is easily added to your own cane!  Just remove the rubber cap at the bottom of your cane, slip on the cover, and replace the rubber cap.  The cane cover is made to have a "gathered" look.  Pick one to match a favorite outfit, or for a special occasion or holiday.


As a reminder, you can always click the "My Etsy" tab at the top of the blog to go directly to the shop.  In this post, each photo is linked to it's listing in the shop.  If you know someone who uses a cane, and would like to spruce it up a bit -- or someone who is going/has gone through knee replacement surgery, and is/will be using a cane... please feel free to tell them about us!  Thank you.



Thursday, March 13, 2014

My BLOGGING "Get Up'n Go..."

You guessed it...


It got up'n went.

I am great.  We are well.  Everyone's doing okay.  It's just that, well... I haven't had too much spring-time inspiration or stuff to share, so I've been mostly silent.



~~~~~~~~~~

I enjoyed THREE mornings of baby-rocking this week.  THREE.  And they were the best.  One little "international" toddler made his (English) ABC sounds for us out of a clear blue sky while he looked at a book -- and it rocked my socks off.  Another, who usually insists on being held (not that we mind) decided to play happily alongside a little girl who is exactly the same age -- and she has a more familiar face than me.  She comes from the place he came from.  Yet another (who knows me well) signaled that he wanted to come up in my arms.  And while I was a little cocky at the thought of how much he might love me, he looked at me with his big brown eyes and said,

"Cheer-o's?"

The sweet little dumplin' wanted CHEERIOS to munch on.  But he still melts my heart, because when I said, "Where do you sit?"  he knew that the answer was "high chair!" -- to be isolated from other munchies that he is allergic to.

Again I tell you... those baby-rockin' mornings are THE BEST.

~~~~~~~~~~

It is a GORgeous sunshine-y [yes, still cold] day around here, after yesterday's rain-turned-to-snowin' & blowin' that amounted to about an inch (maybe ) around us.  I am at the point where I have vowed to not let the weather dictate what kind of day I'm going to have.  There's a little preachin' that goes on in my head each morning (you know with a weather man on one shoulder, and a halo-ed good guy on the other).  NO!  I will not let the weather reports make or break me.  SPRING WILL COME -- all in it's own good time, and according to God's plan -- just like every year.

~~~~~~~~~~

I have recently been reading THE BLOG of a sweet mama whose 4-year-old (identical twin) son has a brain tumor.  Her family is really in the throes of it, as you can imagine -- and yet her words are inspiring TO ME, who is just living the daily.


She continues:

I am a sinner. I do my best to follow God's Word. To live my life in a way that would please Him. But I don't deserve anything good that happens to me. It's only because of God's grace. His wonderful grace, that He extended to me simply because I asked.


How's that for inspiring?  God has given her a level of peace that passes all understanding, and SHE is still inspiring those she comes in contact with by her faith!  If you are so inclined, I'd ask that you'd pray for this sweet family -- that God's grace would continue to abound in their lives -- and in the life of their son, Ben.

~~~~~~~~~~

Today, Jill shared a picture on facebook with this quote: "Miserable people focus on the things they hate about their life.  Happy people focus on the things they love about their life."  LOVE that!

I hope that somehow today, you feel inspired and thankful, and are able to focus on the things that you LOVE about your life!

Have a beautiful day!  xo


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Weekend Cookie Making & Baking

Well, JILL sort of beat me to the punch, but I'm going to post anyways...

For Christmas, I gave her three awesome-kids-that-I-love a certificate for an afternoon of cookie making and baking.  In the past, we've done personal pizza making, and cupcake baking.  Fun times, and great memories!! We usually start with lunch, and then move on to our project, and in the empty spaces, we fit in a favorite movie.

So, this year it was cookies.  I asked Jill to "survey" the kids and have them agree on two kinds of cookies they'd like to make.  My plan was to have one recipe made and ready to bake, and to put the other recipe together while they were here, and then bake those too.  That's a lot of cookie-baking people!  And, if you know the story of my tempermental oven... [read end of linked post] well, let's just say every day is an adventure.  [We had a second oven-cleaning just recently!]


The kids chose Reese's Pieces cookies [for which I used the Tollhouse Cookie recipe minus chocolate chips], and Oatmeal Craisin White Chocolate Chip Cookies [gasp...that's a long name....hope I got all of the important words...the recipe is on the back of a bag of Ocean Spray Craisins].

My sweet hubby went to pick up pizza shortly after the kids arrived, and we started putting cookies in the oven. The cookies baked and cooled while we ate our lunch, and we were able to enjoy part of that first batch for our dessert.  Then it was time to get down to serious work.  My girl and I supervised two work areas.  One was at the stove, scooping cookie dough onto stones, and the other was at the kitchen table, making the second recipe. Everybody got a chance to do everything: measuring and adding ingredients, stirring, scooping and waiting. [*that's the hardest part!]


In the other room, we had "Cars 2" playing, which was great, because the kids were entertained in between their duties... and I called them into the kitchen when it was their turn to help.  It was a pretty good system, I'd say.  We managed to get all that baking done in 3.5 hours.  By the time Jill & The Hubster arrived, the cookies were cooled, and in freezer bags for taking home.

HUGE thanks to my sweet girl.  I couldn't have "kept all of those plates spinning" without her... and I didn't even get her picture.  Nice of me, huh?  Don't worry.  She forgives me.  Besides, she's always only a few posts away.  *wink


Read JILL's POST to get her take on the day.  (Best friends forever -- for sure... but I don't remember any HAIR-PULLING -- hmmmm, wonder who was doing THAT????  JUST KIDDING.  Love my sis to the moon and back!)


Friday, March 7, 2014

graze

I just signed up to get some yummy snacks in the mail -- FOUR selections every two weeks.  I'm hoping it will give my family some new and healthier ideas for snacking.


My daughter and I happened to see a graze commercial on TV that gave an online code to get our first box of healthy snacks free, and so I was willing to try it.  When I signed up, they gave me a friend code to share with YOU, so that you could get your FIRST and FIFTH boxes FREE!


The cost is $6 [shipping is included], and they say that four healthy [and hello?  portion controlled!] snacks will arrive in a box that fits in most mailboxes. Head on over to graze.com to check out the snack options. Then, if you decide to sign up, you can do that here using  MY FRIEND CODE to get TWO free boxes (first and fifth).  You can cancel at any time -- even after the first box!  There is no commitment, but you do have to go on-line to cancel far enough in advance so that they haven't already prepared your next package. They ship on a two-week cycle, or you can change your settings to receive a box every four weeks instead.



You'll find lots of snack options under these headings:
  • graze's popping corn
  • dips and dippers
  • flapjacks
  • savory selection
  • healthy treats
  • pure fruit
  • whole nuts
  • pure fruit, nuts, and seeds
  • super seeds
  • a touch of chocolate
I hope to be able to give you a great report when we receive our first box!  Stay tuned.


** I received no compensation for this post.  Opinions are mine -- and my family's.


Thursday, March 6, 2014

Sausage Rolls [A Back-Story]

Remember my Sausage Roll recipe?  Well, that was the recipe that I talked about HERE, when I said I had wanted to share, but forgot to take pictures of the final product, remember?  I was so frustrated with myself, but was bound and determined to take pictures next time we made the recipe.


My next chance came sooner than I thought it would when our daughter decided to make these for her youth group leader's birthday.  She prepared the recipe the night before, and I told her, "Leave a note on the counter for me so I remember to take pictures this time!"  She planned to actually bake the Sausage Balls Sunday afternoon.

Due to his work schedule, our son stayed at home when we left for church Sunday morning.  After we left, he came downstairs to check out what might be new to EAT in the refrigerator or cupboards [such a boy!], and he found our note.  Not knowing why on earth I wanted to take pictures of Sausage Rolls, he thought he'd give us a funny "take" on it, and he documented his JOY on Snapchat, sharing it with his sister.  LOL  We got a good laugh!

Or... ON the stove.
See the ready-to-bake Sausage Rolls in the refrigerator?
Okay, now this may be overdoing it a bit...  LOL

Never a dull moment around here...

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Appetizer Recipe: Sausage Rolls


This recipe has been with our family for... well, a long time.  I think my mom may have clipped it from the newspaper.  My recipe card says "Sausage Rolls" -- and for purposes here, I think I will stick with that, but we've always called them Sausage Balls.  I guess you can call them whatever sounds good to your family.  The recipe is easy... and it's hard.  Mostly it's easy.  But, let me explain.

The ingredient list is short.  The mixing is hard -- and mix you must for good results.  But NOW HEAR THIS. Whatever you do, DO NOT cook the sausage first!  You need to trust me on this people.  We had a friend who could not believe that you didn't have to cook it ahead of time, and so she did... with less than stellar results.

Here are the ingredients:


Sausage Rolls

1 lb. Bob Evans "ZESTY HOT" sausage, uncooked
8 oz. cheddar cheese, shredded
3 c. Bisquick

Mix ingredients well.  [Like I said, this is the hard part -- because you will swear that you'll never be able to incorporate all of that dry Bisquick into the sausage and cheese.  Again, trust me.  Your hands will be tired, but it CAN be done!]

Roll mixed ingredients into one inch balls.  [I use my Pampered Chef scoop for a consistent size.]  Bake at 375F for 20 minutes or until firm, and slightly browned.  Cool slightly on cooling rack lined with paper towel.  Serve warm.

These may be made ahead of time and refrigerated until baking time.

The ingredients...

Mix well with your HANDS.

FINALLY mixed!

Roll in one inch balls.

TaaDaa!

These are a great appetizer [one my mom serves every Christmas], but also nice for a special breakfast or brunch treat!  ENJOY!




Monday, March 3, 2014

Procrastination and Curtains


Oh, I can drag my feet with the best of 'em!  And when it comes to window treatments, well... this is what I have written on my "Window Treatments" Pinterest board:

"I have an irrational "fear" of window treatments. I think it has something to do with the combination of making a final decision, committing to the expense, and putting holes in the walls."

Remember when I told you that I had some new curtains for the kitchen and living room -- you know -- the ones that I didn't have time to put up between my recent trip to Florida and our daughter's birthday celebration?

Well, firstly -- the kitchen idea didn't pan out.  I thought I was going to use some cute dish towels for something a little more colorful than the white wispy ones that were still in place.  However, I had trouble finding dish towels that I liked.  I did end up bringing some home that didn't work.  Ultimately, they were too plain, and because they were a sturdier cotton towel, they didn't allow any light through.  They blocked the sun and totally changed the look of the kitchen.  I decided to keep the white wispy sun-catching curtains up.


Secondly, I was dragging my feet when it came to hanging the living room panels because I didn't have a rod, and I wanted sheers, which I didn't have yet either.  Also, there's the matter of this air-register... which would be right BEHIND the curtains if they hung too long -- but I didn't want short curtains.  I felt stuck.

Here's a "BEFORE" shot of our living room windows.  Just ignore the Christmas tree...  Blinds and a swag that crossed both windows.  Nothing wrong with this look, but it had been this way for an awful long time, and I was ready for a change.


Sometimes, you just have to put one foot in front of the other, and allow things to "play out."  I bought a rod, and hung the clearance curtains.  Rather than add lots of new holes for the hardware, I was able to match up the new hardware to existing holes.  What luck, right?  By doing that, the panels hung just above the air-register, and it seemed like it was meant to be.  It might not be the "in" look but it works for our house and this odd wall arrangement.

Once they were hung, I liked them.  I really liked them.  Actually, I liked them when I spotted them on-line, but when I opened them at home, it was a box full of... DARK color.  I decided to open one package, and sling the panel over a chair for about a week -- which helped me to remember that I really did like them.  They looked nice with our couch, and some white sheers would really add a nice contrast.


They hung there for about a week, to the sides of the existing blinds.  Finally, I got to the store again, and found sheers that I love.


I love the look.  Since the side panels had a grommet-top, I decided to go with the same style of sheers.  I didn't even know they made sheers with grommets!  Yeah, I don't get out much -- at least when it comes to window treatments!!!

The only problem?  Riddle me this: why would 84" side panels and 84" sheers hang at different lengths -- especially when they both have grommet-tops?  Weird, right?  So, I have a little shortening to do on the sheers.

BUT, I truly do love the look.  I love the way the sheers filter the light.  I love the level of brightness they add to the room compared to the previous blinds.  And the side panels?  I love the color and texture they add to the room!

Have you ever done a makeover that completely surprised you?



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