Thursday, February 28, 2013

Thoughts for Thursday...snow, reality tv, etc.

 

Things I am thinking about today...

 

We had a pretty big snowstorm this week, with really heavy, wet snow that coated the trees and bushes. It was very pretty, but as you can see, it was so heavy, the poor things were completely bent over. There are some trees down in our neighborhood, but hopefully these in my yard, will recover. Slowly but surely, they seem to be standing back up, as the snow falls off. Also, can I just say, shoveling the heavy, wet snow is hard on my back? Spring please!

The fabulousness of Lisa Vanderpump will grace Dancing With the Stars this season. The new season starts March 18th and she should be fun to watch. And, since Dancing With the Stars is beginning soon, that must mean The Bachelor finale is right around the corner. I am ready for there to be a conclusion to this story. This season has been a little tedious for me. Like I have said before - Sean is just not that interesting. Maybe he is, in real life, but on TV, he is too reserved and tends to say the same phrases over and over.

My 40 Bags in 40 Days challenge is now at 8 bags and the project I worked on this week made me happy. My pantry got organized, things thrown out that were old and expired and pretty shelf liner put in place. I added a new spice rack to keep things neat and the spices easy to find. Since it is an area I use often , I will appreciate my efforts each time I open the door.

Happy Thursday! I am off to East Lansing later today, to pick up Melissa for her spring break. She will be heading to Florida - lucky thing, and over the next couple days, we will be getting her ready for her trip :-)

 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Ribbon Candles - Pinterest Success #17

 

The choices in ribbon that you can buy, are so fantastic. Any color or pattern can be found and when I saw this festive St. Patrick's Day ribbon, with sparkly shamrocks, I thought it would work great to dress up some plain white candles. There are many variations of this on Pinterest, using ribbon, fabric and burlap. This pin caught my eye, because I love green and white together.

I found the different types of ribbon and the different sizes of candles at Michaels. I simply chose the style and width of ribbon for each, wrapped it around the candle and used some pretty pins, I already had, to hold the ribbon in place.

On one of the candles, I layered two different types of ribbon - it is all in the little details. This couldn't have been any easier and I think it has a great impact. Really, the hardest part was pushing the pins into the candles :-)

Now, their prettiness will light my kitchen, on the snowy nights we have ahead of us, this week.

Happy Wednesday!

 

{Linking with these friends}

Lil Luna

Thrifty Decor Chick

Fox Hollow Cottage

Debbiedoo's

Southern Lovely

Two Yellow Birds

Diana Rambles

Somewhat Simple

Your Home Based Mom

Six Sisters Stuff

Keep Calm and Carry On

Tutus and Tea Parties

Primp

Savvy Southern Style

Handy Man Crafty Woman

The DIY Dreamer

The Charm of Home

Have A Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson

Serenity Now

Funky Junk Interiors

I Heart Naptime

Sunny Simple Life

Between Naps on the Porch

Alderberry Hill

The Dedicated House

Cozy Little House

a bowl full of lemons

Love and Laundry

Kathe with an E

Life on Lakeshore Drive

My Repurposed Life

Craftberry Bush

Live Laugh Rowe

A Delightsome Life

Cedar Hill Ranch

Skip To My Lou

The Shabby Creek Cottage

Rooted in Thyme

The Girl Creative

The Tablescaper

Jennifer Rizzo

DIY by Design

Common Ground

Coastal Charm

 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

An Oscar Party

 

My friend had a few of us over on Sunday to watch the red carpet coverage and the Oscars. It was a perfect evening, filled with laughter and a healthy dose of critique towards an awards show that tends to take itself a little too seriously.

The first thing we did when we arrived, was to fill out our Oscar ballot. I only saw Argo and Les Miserables, so most of my picks were strictly guesses. But, I loved both of those movies and would have been happy about either one winning best picture.

Our hostess outdid herself with wonderful food. We had delicious cheese and crackers, fruit, veggies, salmon and one of my favorites - mussels steamed with wine and garlic. And, of course we enjoyed some lovely white wine in our wine glasses :-)

Here are some of our observations and what made us laugh.

  • We loved Jennifer Lawrence's dress, hair and total look. Hollywood glamour at its best.
  • We had mixed feelings on the host. Sometimes funny (sock puppets), but sometimes the jokes fell flat. The singing and dancing in the introduction was unexpected and our favorite.
  • We all agreed that Jane Fonda looks amazing for her age and we want to use her plastic surgeon, if we ever decide to go that route.
  • We were appalled that Catherine Zeta Jones was obviously lip syncing, but thought Jennifer Hudson was great and the Les Miz cast gave us chills.
  • We were amazed at Renee Zellweger - her botoxed face, as well as her inability to stand with normalcy on the stage. There was something strange going on with her.
  • Michelle Obama had no place announcing the best picture - give the honor to someone from Hollywood.

The length of the show was crazy, but the laughter of friends, made it a fun night.

Have a great day!

 

Linking with Mockingbird Hill Cottage, A Favorite Thing

 

Monday, February 25, 2013

Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal

 
 

Sunday mornings are the best mornings for a special breakfast. I like to drink my coffee, while cooking something delicious, as my family slowly awakens. When it comes to food and you are a diabetic, if you find a recipe that has a lot of flavor, is filling and can be made low carb and low sugar, you are a happy cook. I love baked oatmeal, because you can make in when you have time on the weekend and then have the remainder, during the week. This Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal has a wonderful, cinnamon flavor and the chunks of apple and the creamy oatmeal are a perfect combination. The original pin and recipe can be found here. To make this recipe lower carb, I used Splenda brown sugar.

 

Tomorrow

Feb 25

Tuesday

Feb 26

Wednesday

Feb 27

Thursday

Feb 28

Friday

Mar 1
Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

Rain / Snow

Rain / Snow

Snow

Snow

Snow Showers

Snow Showers

Snow Showers

Snow Showers

Hi:
36°
Lo:
28°
Hi:
34°
Lo:
31°
Hi:
34°
Lo:
29°
Hi:
37°
Lo:
26°
Hi:
33°
Lo:
22°is

 

This is the weather we have to look forward to this last week of February. Not absolutely freezing, but also, not much sun in sight and snow every day. So, it looks like March will come in like a lion. Hopefully it will go out like a lamb and spring will hurry along. I am ready to walk with some sunshine on my face and some warmth in the air.

Last night, I went to an Oscar viewing party at a friend's house and had so much fun. I will have pictures and a little of our commentary tomorrow.

Happy Monday!

 

{Linking with these friends}

Gooseberry Patch

Savvy Southern Style

Flour Me With Love

I Love You More Than Carrots

Rattlebridge Farm

This Gal Cooks

Back For Seconds

Mom's Test Kitchen

Semi Homemade Mom

Simple Living and Eating

Barns and Noodles


 

Friday, February 22, 2013

Favorite Family Photos

 

While posed, formal family portraits can be lovely and wonderful memories, the family photographs that I enjoy the most are the ones that are candid and definitely not posed. These are the photographs that really capture the moment and show real emotion. I was sorting through my photo files and came across these shots from our family vacation this past summer, and was immediately drawn to these three. Everything from the light, to the composition makes these stand out to me. I see the relationships told, and the memories being made, in the moment they were shot.

Lake Michigan at sunset - three generations looking for rocks, putting our feet in the water and enjoying the peacefulness.

The walk to the beach, through the sand dunes. Grandpa is leading the way, as the sun sets in the background.

Cousins biking on Mackinac Island. The have grown up together and as young adults, still enjoy these family vacations.

Memories to cherish - each photo telling a story of both the history that has gone before it, as well as the present connections being made.

Have a great weekend!

 

Linking with Kelly's Korner

 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Thoughts for Thursday...flowers, books, etc.

 

Things I am thinking about today...


  • My husband gave me this colorful African Violet for Valentine's Day and I am loving the prettiness of it sitting on my kitchen window sill. Flowers make me happy, especially ones that last. Does anyone have any tricks for keeping African Violets healthy? I have a green thumb outside, but inside with any house plant - not so much : -)
  • This picture of the happy, little Crawley family from Downton Abbey makes me sad. I had read the spoilers and knew what was coming, but it was still a shock. My fear for season four, is that the softer side of Lady Mary will be lost with Matthew and she will become bitter and mean. I have read that the story will pick up six months after Matthew's death, so it will be interesting to see how the family is coping. Too bad we have to wait until January 2014 to find out!
  • My book club meets tonight and I am reading fast and furious to finish The Language of Flowers. I like it, though it is a little depressing how damaged the main character is, from growing up in the foster care system. The use of foreshadowing makes it an interesting read, as the chapters switch from past to present. As always, our discussion should be a good one.
  • The 40 Bags in 40 Days challenge is moving right along. So far I have emptied the dressers in my guest room of old Halloween costumes and school uniforms. Megan helped organize a linen closet too. Our count is 4 bags to donate and 2 bags of trash.

Happy Thursday!

 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Books and Tea

 

source

Reading is so much a part of my life. Call me a book worm and it would be true. Some of my fondest memories of childhood are the joy of finding a new book at the library, on a hot summer day. I like to multi task when I watch television and will usually read during commercials. And, I read fast. Finishing a book in a matter of hours is the norm, if there are no distractions.

source

In the winter, I can be found, cozy on the couch, a fire in the fireplace and a hot mug of tea close by. In the summer, you will find me on the patio, enjoying the outdoors and the sunshine, as I read. Or, you might find me at the pool, but never without a book to read.

 

It is always an unexpected pleasure when I stumble across a new book that I am not familiar with, but end up loving. This is one reason why I love my book club so much. There have been many books we have read that I never would have picked on my own, but have enjoyed and even count as favorites.


This is one such book. I was browsing Amazon, looking for something new and stumbled across this story of two friends coming of age in the 1960's. I found the characters fascinating and the narrative, told in the voice of one of the girls, so compelling. Many of the events are heartbreakingly real and I was unable to put this book down. But, that is the best kind of book - a book that draws you into the character's lives and their emotions.
 
That is what makes books so special. There is always the possibility when you open a book, that you will find characters and a story that have that special something. Something that moves you, makes you feel and have a connection. Always the possibility, that you will find a book you love.

 

Happy Wednesday!

 

Linking with Mockingbird Hill Cottage, A Favorite Thing

 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Shamrock Print - Pinterest Success #16

 

St. Patrick's Day is such a fun holiday to decorate for, with colorful green shamrocks galore. Over the years, I have picked up St. Patrick's Day decorations here and there and now have many festive and cute items to display throughout my house. They add a touch of spring, when it is sorely needed here. I always look to St. Patrick's Day and my daughters birthday in March, as a sign the snow will be melting and spring is really on its way for good.

I found this black and white printable on Pinterest and thought it would be perfect for the look I wanted. My plan was to decorate the frame with green ribbon and shamrocks, so the black and white print, as well as the white frame would make the green color pop. The printable download and the original pin can be found here.

This was a very easy project. After putting the printable in the frame, I simply glued the ribbon and the shamrocks on the frame, in a random fashion. I love how the green stands out against the black and white. This will hang in my laundry room and we will see it every time we enter the house from the garage.

Have a great day!

 

{Linking with these friends}

Lil Luna

I Love You More Than Carrots

Southern Lovely

Two Yellow Birds

Diana Rambles

Somewhat Simple

Your Home Based Mom

Six Sisters Stuff

Keep Calm and Carry On

Tutus and Tea Parties

Primp

Savvy Southern Style

Handy Man Crafty Woman

The DIY Dreamer

The Charm of Home

Have A Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson

Serenity Now

Funky Junk Interiors

I Heart Naptime

Sunny Simple Life

Between Naps on the Porch

Alderberry Hill

The Dedicated House

Cozy Little House

a bowl full of lemons

Love and Laundry

Kathe with an E

Life on Lakeshore Drive

My Repurposed Life

Craftberry Bush

Live Laugh Rowe

A Delightsome Life

Cedar Hill Ranch

Skip To My Lou

The Shabby Creek Cottage

Rooted in Thyme

The Girl Creative

The Tablescaper

Jennifer Rizzo

DIY by Design

Common Ground

Coastal Charm

 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Crock Pot Chicken and Stuffing

 
 

It was a chilly weekend and it seemed the perfect time for some real old fashioned, comfort food. I don't use my crock pot a lot, but this recipe was one I had pinned thinking it sounded easy and quick. I tend to be pretty picky when it comes to crock pot recipes and stick mainly to chicken and soups. I try to read each recipe carefully and imagine if the final result will look appetizing, after cooking for hours in the crock pot. This recipe was especially appealing, because the stuffing cooked on top of the chicken and you could serve each separately. Both had a great flavor and the chicken was moist. The original pin and recipe can be found here.

My plans to work on my 40 Bags in 40 Days challenge got sidetracked a little, when I came down with a stomach bug, Friday night. I was feeling much better by Sunday, but Saturday was lost to sickness. I will make up for things today, as I tackle my guest room dressers. Why exactly was I keeping all those elementary school uniforms?

Happy Monday!

 

{Linking with these friends}

Gooseberry Patch

I Love You More Than Carrots

Rattlebridge Farm

This Gal Cooks

Back For Seconds

Mom's Test Kitchen

Semi Homemade Mom

Simple Living and Eating

Barns and Noodles


 

Friday, February 15, 2013

40 Bags in 40 Days

 

I am ready to make a clean sweep of my home. The idea of going through drawers, closets and the storage areas and either donating or getting rid of things we no longer need, is very appealing to me at this stage of my life. I want to simplify and organize - where everything has a place or a purpose. This year, instead of giving up something for Lent, I will be taking on the 40 bags in 40 days challenge.

This is the first of many bags I will be filling in the next few weeks. Before Easter, 40 bags of clothes, old papers and household items will leave my home. They will be filled with things we don't need. Things that might help someone. Things that by the act of getting rid of them, will free some space in both my home and my mind.

source

I may not fill one bag per day. I may not keep a chart, like those found on Pinterest. But, I will use my time to slowly, but surely meet this Lenten challenge. I believe that the physical act of of purposely going about this process, will give me a plan to go forward with a calmer and more simple way of life.

Have a great weekend - you will find me filling bags :-)

 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Things I Love

 

Happy Valentine's Day!

On my sidebar is a list of things I love. These are things that help define who I am and also help define my point of view on this blog. I am participating in a Valentine's blog party at A Rural Journal today and thought it would be fun to talk about this list in more detail, to let those visiting for the first time, as well as any newer readers, get to know me better. And, what better time than Valentine's Day to talk about what I love.

family - I love my husband and my daughters. My husband and I are college sweethearts and just celebrated our 30th anniversary.

books - I always have a book to read. Recently, I started reading on my iPad and love it! I like all types of books, but mysteries are my favorite.

gardening - Planting and caring for flowers in the summer, is my favorite way to relax and relieve stress. I love all types of perenials and want to learn to identify more by name.

simple DIY projects - I don't have patience for elaborate projects. I like simple and quick, because for me, I love the result, more than the process.

golf - I have been golfing since I was young and love it. The past few years, I haven't played as much as I would like, but I plan on changing that this summer.

detroit and MSU sports - I have always been a sports fan. Going to watch the Spartans, the Red Wings or the Tigers is my favorite thing to do. Put me on a college campus in the fall for tailgating and I am happy as can be.

up north michigan - One of my favorite places on earth. I have so many wonderful memories of sunsets on Lake Michigan, skiing, boating and campfires on the beach.

walking with my dog - My daily walk with my dog is the favorite part of my day.

pedicures with my daughters - We love to go together, pick out pretty polish and just relax.

trying new recipes - Finding just the right recipe for an occasion, makes cooking fun.

musicals - I love the old standards like Oklahoma, but my favorite is Wicked, which I have seen 3 times. Since seeing the movie version of Le Miz, I must see it on stage.

reality tv - My guilty pleasure. I love the Real Housewives and all their drama.

martinis - I love to order a Cosmo when I go out. I also love to try new martini recipes at home.

pinterest - The best way to get inspired. I love the creativity.

Have a great day today!

 

 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Frozen Hot Chocolate - Pinterest Success #15

 

This Frozen Hot Chocolate would be the perfect treat for a Valentine's Day breakfast or snack tomorrow, or really anytime you are wanting to make something special for someone you love. The best part is, this is also the skinny version - low fat and low sugar. I was looking on Pinterest for a smoothie that would be fun on Valentine's Day and instead found this delicious frozen treat. I make fruit smoothies a lot, because they are healthy and easy to put together. But, let's face it, sometimes chocolate is the only way to go - especially on Valentine's Day.

The original pin and recipe can be found here. I did make a few changes to make this even healthier. I used sugar free chocolate Ovaltine and I doubled the ice to get the thicker, frozen consistency I was looking for. When you are a diabetic, chocolate does not have to be off limits. There are so many sugar free options, that still taste great.

What a great recipe success! It had a wonderful chocolate taste and felt quite indulgent - just perfect for any special occasion.

Happy Wednesday!

 

Linking with Katie and Stephanie for Saw It - Pinned It - Did It and I Love You More Than Carrots

 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Proud

 

This past weekend was spent supporting Melissa and the Michigan State University Pompon team as they competed in the Collegiate Championship. It began Friday night with a dress rehearsal at MSU, followed by dinner to celebrate my sister's birthday. Melissa came home with us after dinner and was able to relax and recharge at home, on Saturday.

On Sunday, the day of the competition, the team met for a unity breakfast, then headed to check in at the arena. Melissa was nervous, but confident in her team and all the practice they had put in. They were ready, as returning champions, to defend their title.

After a great performance, it was up to the judges. When the results were announced, MSU placed 2nd in the competition and this is where we became proud as both parents and MSU alumni. Sometimes the greater test of character comes in how a loss is handled, rather than a win. The team showed tremendous class and made us proud to be Spartans. Melissa came away holding her head high, knowing they had given it their best, and that is the greatest accomplishment.

When your children participate in sports, over the years you see the highs and lows; both wins and losses. You give many pep talks and teach good sportsmanship. It is the hope that they will win, as well as lose with grace. These girls on Sunday, learned these lessons well, and made us extremely proud.

Have a great day!

 

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Perfect Strawberry

 

The perfect Chocolate Dipped Strawberry is easy to make and I have the secret :-)

I first learned this secret when I was given the instructions at a Mother's Day Tea Party at my daughter's preschool, many years ago. We thought these strawberries were delicious, the chocolate was the perfect consistency and they looked beautiful. Now, I make these yummy strawberries for many occasions. My friends and family always ask me to bring these strawberries and they are the first thing gone from the buffet table.

Instructions for the Perfect Chocolate Dipped Strawberry

  • Use good quality chocolate. This time I used milk chocolate, but I also use dark and white chocolate. One chocolate bar will make one dozen dipped strawberries.
  • It is okay to melt chocolate in the microwave. Break the chocolate in pieces. Place in a small glass microwave bowl. Here is the secret - add 3 - 4 drops of cooking oil to chocolate pieces. This makes the chocolate shiny and adhere to the strawberry better. Also, when you bite the chocolate dipped strawberry, the chocolate does not break off, like some I am sure you have had.
  • Microwave for 30 seconds, stir and only put back in for 10 seconds at a time. When the chocolate is smooth, dip strawberries and place on a wax paper covered cookie sheet.

Place cookie sheet in refridgerator until chocolate hardens, about one hour.


Use this method, add the drops of oil and your strawberries will be beautiful and delicious.

Happy Monday! I will have pictures of our fun weekend and the Pom competition tomorrow :-)

 

{Linking with these friends}

Lil Luna

Southern Lovely

Gooseberry Patch

Rattlebridge Farm

This Gal Cooks

Back For Seconds

Mom's Test Kitchen

Semi Homemade Mom

Simple Living and Eating

Barns and Noodles



Two Yellow Birds

Diana Rambles

Somewhat Simple

Your Home Based Mom

Six Sisters Stuff

Keep Calm and Carry On

Tutus and Tea Parties

Primp

Savvy Southern Style

Handy Man Crafty Woman

The DIY Dreamer

The Charm of Home

Simple Home Life

Have A Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson

Serenity Now

Funky Junk Interiors

I Heart Naptime

Sunny Simple Life

Between Naps on the Porch

Alderberry Hill

The Dedicated House

Cozy Little House

a bowl full of lemons

Love and Laundry

Kathe with an E

Life on Lakeshore Drive

My Repurposed Life

Craftberry Bush

Live Laugh Rowe

A Delightsome Life

Cedar Hill Ranch

Skip To My Lou

The Shabby Creek Cottage

Rooted in Thyme

The Girl Creative

The Tablescaper

Jennifer Rizzo

DIY by Design

Full Circle Creations

Common Ground

Coastal Charm

 

 

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