Popped down to Value Village and the Goodwill with my Mama and brought home a few treasures. Pictured here are a sweet white pitcher (which I will use as a vase or paintbrush holder or love kitchen eye candy), a square white....vase, pencil holder, art supplies holder...not sure yet, and a green glass flower looking thingy. :) I plan on using it as a bit of a catch-all....either downstairs for keys and little bits of randomness that my husband always empties onto the kitchen counters or for the same purpose in our master bathroom. I just never know where he's going to empty his pockets these days, and I'm just about tired of being under prepared for this annoying little habit game. I think this will help! And I must admit, I would never yeah right leave any little bits of random on counters. Ever. I think I have a small addiction to white planters, vases, and containers. I seem to be growing quite a collection. Never too many.
Update on my body: for those of you who have stuck with me and read about some of my devastating pain and immobility issues due to my arthritis, thank you! I am doing so much better! Remicade is working, and I have been moving and a shaking and starting to LIVE again. I feel so wonderfully able. It's amazing! I am waking in the morning and jumping out of bed instead of painfully staggering. Cooper and I are playing and having lots of fun during the day. And lately, I am so inspired to take a stab at some of my To Do Lists that have been left to collect dust over the past long while while I dealt with the physical issues. It's pretty exciting! Now the ideas in my head feel more like they could become reality, as opposed to feeling more like impossible tasks just taunting me!
Looking forward to fall, there are a few events that I am using as target deadlines for some of my projects. Some of these events include a special dinner for 8 that we won at our church auction (Oh how I can't wait for this...cooked by our friend and worship pastor who was formerly a cook/chef!), Cooper's 3rd (Here he is turning 2!) and the Mr.'s birthdays, and my 2nd Annual Christmas Cookie Swap Party. Also in the back of my head, I'm just simply excited to clean this house. Decorating for fall and Christmas seem a lot more enjoyable when you start with a clean palette. The list of To Dos is quite long, and I have a feeling I might not get to all of it. I would be happy to accomplish just a few things on the list really. I've never written it all down actually. I've done random lists here and there. Crossed some things off and added to them...but never an all inclusive list to keep working toward. Just to throw it out there and keep myself focused...here is a peek at a few of my grand ambitions...maybe I'll start a big To Do List Tab and just constantly keep up with it. Hmmm...
Here's a few that are somewhat of a priority in my head.
To Do List (starting point...)
-Paint entire interior of house (including ceilings and all bedrooms)...possibly hire out if reasonable
-Tidy up and prepare outside of house for fall
-Refresh paint on front porch
-Wreath for front door?
-Replace light of kitchen table
-Paint kitchen cabinets white
-Figure out dining table option for dinner for 8...rent? Borrow? Buy?
-Sand and stain kitchen nook table, decide on chairs
-Find pops of color for bed
-New lampshades...might not be permanent solution yet
-Stain or paint bathroom cabinets
-Frame for mirror
-Repurpose or find new lighting for bathroom
-New blinds/shades and curtains
-Monogram and art on the walls
-Table and chairs
-Tidy up desk/office area...hang appropriate pieces on wall
-Decide on space above computer/desk...art? Pinboard? Photos? Bins?
-Finish up laundry room with what I have...add a few things to wish list
-Pegboard on two walls? Is this necessary?
-New pillows in living room
-Paint mirror frame above fireplace
-New pictures in frames
-Paint cabinet in powder room, add mirror frame, and paint all hardware...make art
-Finish art wall, choose photos too
Random Projects in the Garage to Finish
-Sand and paint frame for chalkboard...paint chalkboard
-Sand and paint child sized rocker, child sized chair, and child sized bench
-Paint $5 chandelier? Hmmm...scrap it?
-Paint magazine holder...what to use this for?
-Paint wall flowers
-Find large canvas to paint polkadot art? Other painted design?
There are a million other things I could think of to add to this list right now. I should just let this settle a bit, and continue at another time. I need to start small in order to allow myself some little victories. What do you think? Can you relate to any of these hopeful projects? Any tips or advice? I've decided. Totally going to add a To Do tab. Boom. Accountability and constant encouragement to keep focused...here I come!
Can hardly believe nearly three years have passed as if they were a snap of my fingers. Literally. Everyone always says it does, but I didn't actually grasp that until it happened to us. Oh how I adore my little buddy. I know he has a bright and beautiful future ahead, but that doesn't stop me from longing for time to stand still sometimes. I just can't believe he will be 3 in November!
By the way, I just found some birthday posts from Cooper's 2nd birthday that never actually posted back in November. So I finished them up, and post-dated them to November of 2010. If you are interested in checking them out, I will link to them here...just click on these titles.
I am amazed at the love, innocence, sweet joy, and awe inspired wonder that God shares with us in knowing and loving our children. I am forever changed for the better because of my precious Cooper. Love you buddy. I do pray for families everywhere...that they would rejoice in faith together, lift each other up, hold each other close, and love each other well.
Okay so all that chatting about fall wardrobe options got my heart going pitter patter! I haven't updated my wardrobe in quite some time...and haven't really felt up to it to be honest. Shopping with aches and pains is no fun! And even when I order clothes online, nothing seems to fit well, and it almost all gets sent back. With fall on the horizon, I'm hoping to trade in my worn out and tattered hoodies for a few more "grown up" items. Hoodies and tees are going to have to make room for some "real" clothes. Nothing too fancy, I mean...this is me we're talking about.
Although I have some great staples, I've had a few things on the "To Get" list for some time now. When I come across them for a good price, I try to snatch them up. I love finding inspiration on Pinterest. I've been finding a few style boards on Pinterest, and I'm noticing a few "stand outs." One is the tall brown boots, like I mentioned HERE. Got 'em. Check. But another shoe I've been eyeing is a leopard print flat. Kinda like these babies.
While I have come to love the idea of flats, they don't always work so well for me. I am sometimes in between sizes, and when you're a size 10 and size 10.5 doesn't always exist, you are left in a bit of a conundrum. The pool of options becomes a little slimmer. It just does. Not for Paris Hilton though. I remember seeing a show once where she mentioned having really large feet. To deal with the lack of selection, she just has her shoes custom made. Custom. Wow. Wonder if she has found a pair of TOMS to fit?
Moving on. While at Target the other day (on a mission to get bins/baskets for some organizing), I happened to mozy on over to the shoe section (such a dangerous detour). Custom shoes are not quite in the budget for these feet, so to the clearance rack I mozied. There...all by their lonesome...was a funny looking little pair of leopard flats calling my name...Holly...Hooooooolly...for 50% off! Get right out of town.
I scrambled to try them on and boom! While a bit roomy in the heel, the elastic in the back scrunched just perfectly and held them on quite nicely. No scrunched toes and a comfy flat. Score. They don't scream high end and probably won't last forever, but for $12.48 on clearance and being able to check an item off on the wish list, I couldn't pass them up. The perfect little punch of fun and sass for the days when I want to sass up my jeans.
Now that I actually feel like getting dressed every day, I think it's going to be a lot more fun doing so!
Find anything fun at Target lately?
What's on your fall wardrobe wish list?
I just discovered that Love From The Oven recently shared a round up of Butterfinger recipes! My goodness...they all look amazing. And to my dellight, I even noticed that my Butterfinger Wannabes made the list. Awesome!
Seriously amazing yum going on! Maybe you'll find something to try soon. I know my sweet tooth has been calling my name. Did you know I lost 3 pounds or so since getting my medicine?! I guess the ability to move and groove and even run up the stairs instead of mozy on up can make a big difference. Yahoo for pain relief! I feel a chocolate reward coming on!
Hi everybody. Hoping you are having a week filled with joy, laughter, kindness, family, and friends. I just wanted to report to you dear ones (thank you kindly for your prayers and encouragement) that...
IFINALLY GOT MY NEW MEDICINE!
Pain relief has found me! Wow, what a journey this has all been.
I am so thankful to say that on Monday, I was finally given the first dose of effective pain relief medicine. Not only will this medicine provide pain relief, but it will also prevent further joint damage. While it left me feeling exhausted and a bit funny Monday night and yesterday, today I feel kinda...normal. I have still experienced a few minor aches and pains, but all of my joints feel free...less tight...less painful...more mobile. It doesn't feel like an elephant is sitting on my chest, my hips now allow me to bend and kneel pain free, and my feet no longer make me want to scream in horror when I step out of bed. I'm telling ya, I feel so hopeful. Weight off my shoulders.
In my previous arthritis experience, the pain was so severe and crippling...I was literally immobile. I remember the day following my first dose of medicine felt miraculous. Not normally able to move at all in the mornings, I jumped out of bed, did some knee bends, and started my own little dance party. It was amazing. This go around, the pain relief was not as dramatic, and I didn't really experience that sense of euphoria like I had expected. However, I just feel so hopeful and thankful. Hopeful for the continued pain relief, hopeful for a life that feels somewhat normal, hopeful for a motivation to be productive and useful, hopeful for the adventures I will be able to experience and participate in due to pain relief, thankful for modern medicine, thankful for a mood and attitude adjustment due to lack of pain, thankful for the loss of pain induced grimaces over the last year or so, thankful for the help and patience of my family and friends, thankful for the opportunity to be treated and seen by doctors and nurses who are so gifted, talented, and friendly, thankful for the opportunity to live my life.
Through it all, Cooper has been a little buddy for me. When he woke up Tuesday morning, I walked into his room, and he looked at me bright eyed and excited like it was Christmas, "Mom, you got your medicine? You feel better?" Melt. My. Heart. Being the Mom that can't get around very well was getting really old, and it was so disappointing to know that I could not play with my little buddy - like, legit playing...on hands and knees making vroom vroom and choo choo noises while playing cars and trains. But my little buddy rallied...giving me big hugs and kisses, taking care of Mommy when I needed it most, and providing me with stationary entertainment...well, stationary for me. Cooper's dance parties are all but stationary. :) We have also had lots of cuddle time, snuggling while watching shows and movies while resting on the couch. It's been rough, and I'm not sure how other children might have handled all the forced inside play time, lack of mommy playtime, and expectations to be a bit more independent, but my little buddy did so well, and I'm ever so grateful that he is exactly who he is. God smiled on us when he gave us sweet Cooper. Three cheers for him! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
Now, we still had some cuddle time during shows this morning, but get this, I was able to carry a droopy and tired Cooper upstairs to his bed (no pain...well except the kind you feel when you're out of shape!) and clean out a couple cupboards. This is huge folks. Totally huge. I am in the mood to clean! Yippee. I don't have any grand pictures to show you as of yet, but I do plan on slowly making progress again around here and sharing with you all.
In the mean time, I thought I would just share a few outfits I was inspired by as I begin to think about fall. To be honest, it has felt like fall most of summer (Washington weather hasn't exactly screamed flip flops and bikinis). But this is the time I always cherished growing up, and still do to this day. I love seeing all the school supplies out...families out school shopping. Awkward teenage boys shuffling their feet as Moms are trying to help them find clothes that they'll be happy to wear, sweet little girls trying on outfits in the dressing room with squeals of excitement. The summer clearance sales in prep for fall displays. The thought of warm autumn days that bring a crisp, cool evening. I'm telling ya...although we've hardly had a summer, I won't mind welcoming fall. I happened to purchase some tall brown boots on clearance last year that I didn't get much wear out of yet...
Super simple, classic look. Maybe sandals wouldn't be perfect for fall, but this versatile foundation would be great for the end of August, layered with a light cardigan for evening time...or changed up with skinnier jeans and boots and a colorful peacoat on a cool fall afternoon. Just love it. Nothing beats a crisp white button up with denim and brown.
The boots! I think my boots could look good with this outfit. Really, I think I just love the overall feel of this outfit - minus the holes in the jeans (I like a more classic look) with a more feminine cardigan or sweater. Just feels cozy and layered. I just got a new purse (mine was falling apart at the seams) and it looks similar to this one. Found it in the BP section at Nordi's for $38.00. Have you seen the prices of the real purses in the "grown up" purse section. My goodness. So not where I want to put my money...literally. Anyhow, this type of outfit would be so great for a beautiful fall day and lunch out with my Mama.
And this one, again with the boots...kinda comfy chic. So casual while still feeling like I care and intentionally got dressed. I often wear fake little diamond earrings, and jeans are pretty much my staple. With this, I loved the hoody. I always love a hoody, but I'm finding I need to find more sophisticated hoodies. I enjoy this sweater hoody that isn't quite so bulky and screaming gym time! I'm thinking I'd wear this out and about...on the weekend or to the grocery store. Would you?
Now here's the thing, I wouldn't say I'm a schlumpa dinka or anything, but I'd also say I'm no fashion maven either. Seriously. Simple, classic, with a touch of comfort and whimsy. While I enjoy fashion, beautiful clothing, and feeling well put together, I can't say it's a passion of mine. It just doesn't feel super important to me. Especially as of lately, comfort and ease have become my mottos, and I don't see it changing anytime soon. Can ya feel me? However, I have to say that the minute I started feeling better, I was more excited to get dressed in the morning. Like today, I woke up pain free. I didn't have any major plans, but I got dressed in the morning anyhow. (Pssst - don't tell anyone, but that hasn't been happening lately!) It was great. I did my hair, put on a little make up, and actually picked out an outfit. I even walked to the mailbox (down the street) and wasn't embarrassed or worried someone would see me. I'm telling ya, it's awesome.
What comes to mind when you think of fall wardrobe? Peacoats? Cute hats? Scarves? What are some of your favorites?
Many blessings to you on this day. I hope you find many reasons to be grateful, thanking God for the blessings in your life. We all have our own issues to face and conquer, but we are so fortunate.
I am continuing to pray for the families and communities in Africa...the children and parents who are suffering and dying of hunger and lack of care. There is an opportunity to help in small ways through World Vision. Please check it out if you feel so led! And please pray with me. Lord be with these people...the mothers, fathers, children, communities, aid workers, any folks being your hands and feet in this situation. Be the light in their life in this time of despair and darkness. Find a way to bring them the food and nutrition their bodies so desperately need. Drive out the evil and dangerous groups of people that are making relief and safety very difficult, and make safe paths for aid to arrive. Bring salvation to the hearts of each and every one of those folks. Scoop up those precious babies Lord and ease their suffering...hold them in your mighty hand. I pray you give each person strength to continue, courage to hope and fight to hold on, and energy to live each moment that comes. Please help them Lord. Forgive me Lord, that I take life and the things that really matter for granted at times. Thank you for the grace you have shown me, that I might live and wake up each morning not fearing for my life, safe in a cozy home, hungry and fed with no worries, loved and supported by a family, and healthy enough to care for my son. I praise you Lord for my precious healthy son. Please never let me lose sight of how truly blessed I am. Help me Lord to focus on you. Break my heart for the things that break yours. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.
So just for kicks and giggles, I'd thought I'd share a little bit of my window shopping at Patina, an online shop for all things random, neat-o, quirky, weird, and totally awesome. This is probably one of the most random little compilations I've ever made really...no rhyme or reason...just a couple things that caught my eye today. Take a peek...
These are so fun and colorful. Perfect for a lovely summer day and a cold glass of lemonade. And, since there are 6 of these, you could invite your friends over and have a little lemonade party...sit and chat and sip...maybe peruse design magazines and catalogs and do manis and medis. Just sayin'.
I feel like these could come in handy. I have a great set of metal measuring spoons, but my other set (Wouldn't you say it's handy to have two sets of measuring spoons?) is plastic and is breaking. They're a bit bulky too. Maybe I'll ask Santa to stick these in my stocking this year. Love the green and yellow too. Seeing things like this make me dream even more of cooking in a clean, bright, white kitchen.
I still have yet to paint our kitchen cabinets white though. I know I will get there, but this arthritis has really thrown me off my game. I just got a call that the authorization went through for my serious juju (bigtime medicine). This means I will get my first does next week if all goes well, and I couldn't be more thrilled.
For some reason, I am drawn to flying pig bits and pieces. Not sure why. Kind of like saying the impossible is possible. I don't like pigs in particular, nor do I like decorating with them, but this guy...just love him.
I might inherit an iPhone come this fall. My phone is eh. Might is the key word though, seeing as to how that means the hubby would have to buy the new version coming soon. Not sure if I'm on board that train yet. We'll see.
We have some "things that go" and some farm animals on our fridge. I'm thinking it's about time for some letters and numbers. Maybe under the tree for little man this year? Maybe Melissa and Doug instead?
And well, funky, quirky, and cute little stuffed buddies are just my favorite. Kinda wishing Coop wasn't too old for these...and that he didn't have a million others already. Love these corduroy little friends.
Alrighty, what do ya think? Kinda fun. No harm done to the wallet. For some reason, I have a little more willpower when it comes to shopping online. Maybe it's just a little sense of satisfaction...like I found some sweet things...know where to get them...and could if I really wanted to...but won't...after thinking long and hard and convincing myself not one of these things is needed in any way shape or form to improve my life today...or my family's. It's the truth.
But you know who's life is desperately in need of a genuine shopping spree...a spending rampage at one of the most awesome online sites (World Vision) out there?
This image is brutally painful and brings tears to my eyes. Looking at these helpless, precious little gifts suffering and then thinking about their parents who are unable to care for them and provide the nourishment their little bodies need...it's heart wrenching. I can't imagine not being able to provide nourishment to my son. Seeing him cry and sob in desperate hunger and watching his body little stripped to skin and bones due to the lack of nutrition...well, the thought makes me want to throw up.
The most severe drought in decades is threatening the lives of more than 11 million people — especially young children — in the Horn of Africa. Famine has been declared in parts of southern Somalia, and threatens to spread further if nothing is done to prevent it. Kenya and Ethiopia are also severely affected by the crisis, with millions in critical need of food and water. World Vision has launched an emergency response to the drought and food crisis, working to provide life-saving essentials to the most vulnerable children and families. Your gift is urgently needed today.
Insufficient rains have created drought conditions throughout the Horn of Africa — destroying crops and killing livestock. Malnutrition and disease are on the rise as families travel long distances in search of food. Record high food prices, internal conflicts, and insecurity in the region further exacerbate the situation.
World Vision has been fighting hunger in the Horn of Africa for many years, and will continue to respond in the midst of this crisis. Thanks to government grants, your gift today can multiply up to 5 times in impact to help provide emergency food, clean water, agricultural support, healthcare, and other vital assistance to children and families in need.
Please pray for the millions suffering in the Horn of Africa. And please help us continue this urgent response to the food crisis.
I do trust World Vision to use the money I'm donating efficiently and to get the help where it is needed most quickly. I encourage you to search yourself and find a way to help, even if it is simply praying...such a powerful gift in and of itself.
Yummy salad thanks to our farmer's market treasures.
Beautiful organic mixed greens.
Red and plump raspberries.
Tart and tangy blueberries.
A bit of goat cheese...this I had lying around.
Nothing like a yummy and refreshing salad that screams summer!
Coop and I just got home from Target. Can I just ask...am I the only one? Am I the only one that could literally shop in that store for hours? I could probably spend a whole day there and never want to leave. It's like my home away from home.
Found a candle on clearance. Not sure that $12.58 screams clearance price other than the wackadoodle number...how did they come up with $12.58? :) Anyhow, I have this exact candle and have used it all year long. It has the loveliest of aromas, and it is not too overpowering. The nice pop of green doesn't hurt either! I just feel happier when it sits burning...while I clean, while I veg, while I'm perusing all my subscriptions. Because I love it so much, it is running quite low. Definitely needed to buy a new one soon. One wackadoodle price tag and a gal in candle love = my lucky day!
Since my bod hasn't been up for too many awesome house projects as of lately, standing and baking something yummy was just what I needed.
Alrighty then, back to the grub...
and by grub I mean chewy, gooey, peanut buttery, chocolate covered goodness.
I recently pinned a post from Our Best Bites, Chocolate Frosted Peanut Butter Cookie Bars. They looked so delicious, and they triggered a childhood memory of some lovely peanut butter chocolate brownies my Mom used to make. Okay, I had to make some...Mom? Oh Mom?! Do you still have the recipe?
My Mom always baked lots of goodies growing up. Cookies, pies, cakes, bars, cupcakes, brownies, biscuits, and cobblers...we were always treated with Mom's home baked goodies. It was a given. I don't remember there being a day or an evening that there wasn't something on the counter waiting for us to devour. My Mom would tell us stories of when she was little, the second oldest of 6 siblings. Often, she would help out in the kitchen and act as "little Mommy" to her brothers and sisters. One of the vivid memories for her was of baking, and she quickly became an expert biscuit maker (I can vouch for that!). While I haven't quite become the expert biscuit maker she is, she has passed on a joy of baking and providing for family that I am so thankful for, and baking with chocolate and peanut butter has become one of my specialties.
If I remember right, we got this recipe long ago from one of our gymnastic coaches. My Mom would make these often, and I remember a love of peanut butter and chocolate being born. These days, Mom and Dad are eating a bit more health consciously, so she's not cooking up the treats like she did back in the day (although if you remember these Vegan Peanut Butter Cups...you really would never know!), but I knew if I asked her to dig out the recipe, she would...and of course she did!
Alrighty folks...so here it is. Bake these bad boys up and enjoy. You won't be disappointed.
Peanut Butter Brownies
1 1/2 cup butter 1/4 cup peanut butter 2 eggs 1 teaspoon vanilla 1 cup brown sugar 1 cup white sugar 1 3/4 cup flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt 2 cups oatmeal
1 bag milk chocolate chips
1 big spoonful of peanut butter
Mix wet ingredients and dry ingredients separately. Add the dry ingredients to the wet. The dough will be thick. Spread the dough evenly on a cookie sheet (around 17 x 20). I like to line the cookie sheet with parchment paper first. Keep fingers moist to make spreading the dough easier. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-17 minutes. It will not look quite done. While still warm, spread melted chocolate chips (mixed with a big ol' spoonful of peanut butter) on top. Easiest to cut when cool. So yummy! Enjoy!!
Hope you are doing so well and enjoying a great start to the week.
Big hugs! I'll try not to get chocolate all over you.