Friday, September 30, 2011

How Do You Store Your Hair Styling Tools?

Okay, I have a random one for ya.  Something that I have left undone for far too long is our Master Bedroom and Bathroom.  They (as a whole) might need to wait a bit as far as being totally completed, but one thing is in dire need of attention.

My curling iron, flat iron, and blow dryer never seem to have a convenient home.  When I am trying to tidy up, I wrap the cords around them and put them in the cupboard.  There are no special hanging options or hooks, just wrapped up and placed in there.  Realistically, if I want the bathroom counter constantly tidy, this is not a good option.  

So if you have a moment, HELP please!  How do you store and tidy up your hair styling tools?  I would love to hear any and all suggestions!



Thanks much!
Happy weekend to you!


Thursday, September 29, 2011

How We Spent A Rainy Monday

If you'll remember from THIS post, we like to stay in our pjs and have some fun on a rainy day.  So lately it's been rainy...and windy...and stormy...after our two days of summer in Washington state.  Granted, the afternoons are quite sunny, and in some cases kind of humid, but the wet days abound.  And you know what?  I'm loving it!  Seems kind of crazy to some folks, but I just love all that fall entails...even if it means a few rainy Mondays.

Here's how we spent this past Monday on account of the rain.  It was splendid.  Oh, and please accept my apologies for terribly cruddy photos.  We still had a good time.

Cooper literally attacks his cereal in the mornings.
It's hilarious and awesome.


He was asking for a little privacy.

Then Cooper built a house out of couch cushions.  
He also ran and grabbed the tripod.
He loves a good photoshoot.


You can see some of what I'd like to address in the house in the photos above.  
I've got lots of work to do...I don't think I even need to spell it out for you.

Then we moved our photo shoot to the stairs,
where Cooper had fun hurling stuffed animals down.
He thought it was amazing.

You can also see some paint samples on the wall.
I chose the top grey/beige sample...
and we have a long way to go with paint!


I thought the raindrops were just beautiful on the deck.
Some leaves have begun to fall too.
Can't wait for the red, orange, and yellow ones to come.


Cooper grabbed the camera for this BBQ shot.  
I thought it was awesome.
Totally captured the mood of the day.


Then Coop ate some lunch in his new house.
He wanted half pbj and half just jelly.


On the subject of food, Cooper is cracking us up lately.  He's always said the darnedest things, but there have been so many hilarious remarks and responses coming out of this boys' mouth...especially when it comes to food.  Just this past Sunday, Nancy (our pastor's wife who helps with the wee ones on Sunday) told us they were asking the kids if they could think of something that God made.  Cooper's answer, "Mac and cheese."  He is obsessed with it.  At least it's often THIS kind.  So tasty.  On a more healthy note, he also does a very good Stevie Wonder impression when he's eating broccoli and zucchini with rice...waving his head, closing his eyes...saying with gusto, "Mmm, that's delicious."  He jumps for joy if we happen to order out and get Panda Express Sweetfire Chicken Breast or "noodles and rice and chicken without the red things" as he likes to call it.  And today, I gave him a couple chocolate covered almonds, and he quickly raised his hands in the air and shouted, "Hooray for chocolate."  I'm telling you, sometimes I just sit and stare at him while he's eating or trying something for the first time.  It sustains me.  The best.

I feel so fortunate to have the ability to feed my son and provide him with nourishment.  How I ache for the mothers in this world who are not afforded this opportunity.  My how we all have so much to be thankful for on a daily basis.  I pray I remember this daily, and treasure these moments dearly.

I hope you are having fun in the rain...or in the sun if you are so fortunate!
Many blessings,



Wednesday, September 28, 2011

DELICIOUSNESS: APPLE RECIPE INSPIRATIONS

Just wanting to share some lovely apple recipe inspiration I've seen out there.  My goodness, there is so much.  I can't believe that September is nearly over, and I haven't even made an apple pie.  The shame!   To be honest, I kind of feel like September has only just begun.  Where did this month go?

Anyhoo, just loving it all.  Even if I never make one of these recipes (although I'm sure that will hardly be the case), just looking at the pictures gives me quite a sense of satisfaction.  Maybe you'll feel the same way.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

DELICIOUSNESS:  APPLE RECIPES
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 


APPLE GERMAN PANCAKE

WALDORF SALAD

SPINACH APPLE SALAD

CHICKEN, APPLE, AND GORGONZOLA SALAD ON ENDIVE

CARAMEL APPLES

SINGLE SERVING APPLE PIE IN A JAR

THE PERFECT APPLE CRISP

APPLE FRITTERS

APPLE DUMPLINGS
VIA BECKY BAKES

APPLE BUNDT WITH BROWN BUTTER VANILLA BEAN GLAZE

CARAMEL APPLE PIE CUPCAKES


APPLE CIDER FLOATS


Mmmm...aren't they all mouthwateringly tempting?  I wish I could include a couple more recipes here.  They are dearly loved family favorites.  My Mom makes a yummy apple cake, and as a team, my Mom and Dad make a delicious apple pie.  It's literally the only apple pie I've eaten and liked.  Crunchy apples in apple pie give me the heeby jeebies.  To each his own, right?  And not to forget my Grandma's apple pizza...yum.  Bummer for me and for you, I don't have a picture of or recipe for these delectable treats as of right now.  Way to be prepared Holly.  :)  Maybe we'll get there in the future!  Also, if you are around P-town, Comfort Food makes a flat apple pie on occasion that is the bomb diggity.  Just sayin'.

Hope you've enjoyed a September full of joy and a sense of renewal.  Also, here's to hoping you've enjoyed more apples than I seemed to have by this point...and if not, here's to hoping this post inspires you to try a few more!

Big hugs and many blessings,


PS - I'm hoping to do a Pumpkin Round Up in October this year, so look for that.  I did a yummy Pumpkin Flavored Goodness round up last year too, and it's one of my most popular posts.  Check it out.


Monday, September 26, 2011

Looking Back, Moving Forward: Finding My Way Back

Hi all.  Hope this finds you well and in good spirits.  I'm not sure about you, but I am loving the arrival of fall and the atmosphere this beloved season brings.  The candles are out, some acorns and pinecones have found their way indoors, and I have a wreath to make darn it.  I've never made a fall wreath before.  There's a time for everything, right?  Time to get a move on it.  The smells of pumpkin spiced chai teas have been beckoning me to find my way to the Starbucks line every time I hit up my local Target.  I'm not ashamed to say that Target is my go to adventure spot lately.  It's where I go when I just need a moment to myself...and if I'm feeling like a bargain hunter...bright orange stickers can't hide from me.  :)

Maybe you've noticed, but there has been a lack of posting for some time now.  I sure have appreciated those of you that have commented or encouraged me, all without hearing back from me at all lately.  It's not that I don't feel a heartfelt gratitude for all the kind words and pop-ins, nor is my brain lacking any ideas for blog posts, finished pieces to photograph, recipes to try, and DIY projects to tackle.  I must say, I just simply haven't had the time to pull it all together on the computer.  You know how it goes.  Sometimes life just gets full, busy, lovely, frustrating, disorganized, and wonderful.  It happens.  To most of us...at one time or the other.  Life keeps our hands full, and some of our pleasures...our own personal To Dos...take a backseat.  Oh and in the spirit of being completely honest, I'm tired.  It's the truth.  I don't want to complain, but that is one of the reasons posts haven't been happening too.  I've been choosing to sleep instead.  Or attempting to sleep that is...my mind is not shutting off easily these days.  Hope you understand.  :)

And really what it comes down to is this guy.  Blogging definitely takes a backseat to this guy...and his multitude of bikes and cars and emergency vehicles (he's repurposed them all as ambulances, firetrucks, and police cars FYI) and our makeshift race track in the driveway.  In fact, this has been most of our August and September...just hanging out, riding in the driveway or to the park down the street.  Life around here is simple.  Good stuff.  Nothing beats it.  And just because it's fun to know, all the things you see here were hand me downs or bought second hand.  Does this little guy know any different?  You tell me!


Amongst all the plain ol' life adventures, I am in the process of redefining my normal...what normal looks like for us as a family of three and hopefully a future family of more.  I am praying, thinking, tackling, motivated, and overwhelmed.  I am filled with excitement and anticipation of what is to come.  For the past few nights, I've had trouble sleeping.  The other night, from about 2:00-5:00 AM, I woke up, and my mind was racing.  The wheels have not stopped turning.  I feel alive, joyful, and excited...and I feel like there is not enough time in the day!

Since starting my arthritis medicine again (read here if you want a little background), I have been doing a lot of looking back.  I can't help it.  We have come so far!  Since being married in 2003, I had a diagnosis of arthritis, experienced bouts of depression, struggled for over a year to get pregnant, stayed home to raise our soon to be three year old, struggled to get pregnant again, experienced active arthritis once again but as a Mom to a toddler, went back on serious arthritis medicine, and am finally learning what it means to be an adult managing a household.  We have been married for nearly 8 1/2 years, and I am just getting a chance to really take care of this house and our family.  How do people do it?!  :)  It's exciting, but I am struggling a bit to keep up.  It's a good struggle though.  I am cherishing this...this sense of normalcy.  And I am going for it, one task, one moment, one goal at a time.  It's been a doozy of an adventure, and I'm learning a lot.  I feel like I'm starting over and doing my best to make up for lost time.  We are a bit set in our ways and need to break some habits...personally and around the house.  It's so funny though...this time of looking back is truly propelling me to move forward with a vigor and joy I forgot I had in me.

What I know is this.  God has given me so much to be thankful for, so much to learn from...to grow from...and I am ready to give it my best shot.  Amongst it all, I am excited to continue making this house more of a home.  There has been so much I've wanted to do for so long, and now is the time to seize the moment.  I am looking to finish projects, start cooking again, get resourceful, and be creative.  My goal is to turn this house into more of a haven of sorts...a place to start...a  home that nurtures and inspires, welcomes us and others, reminds us of who our lives should reflect, and prepares us to be a light in this world.  I am not aiming for perfection, nor am I shooting for what they have, what she has, what he did, or what I saw in the Pottery Barn catalog this month.  I am going for a home filled with beauty, simplicity, comfort, inspiration, function, and love.  There will be purging, organizing, revamping, creating, cleaning, and getting rid of stuff.  Oh you unnecessary waste of space and money pit of stuff...we are going to slowly but surely work our way to ousting much of you!

There is something to be said of the mindset and lifestyle that allows for a clean, organized, and simple way of life.  It's a battle every day to be content with what we have and relish in the simple beauty around us.  It totally beats the constant acquisition of stuff and the need to grasp for more around every corner.

I'm sure looking forward to sharing more of my hallelujahs with you.  Thanks for sticking around!

Big hugs to you!
Here we go!







Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sunday Worship: Praise You with the Dance by Casting Crowns

I could listen to this song on repeat for days.  I often shout it at the top of my lungs.  Cooper and I often play this in the mornings and get our boogy on.  He calls it a Booky Dance Party.  I have no idea why or where that came from.  But it's awesome.


Hope you get a chance to listen 
and shake your booty today too.  


You turned my wailing into dancing;
you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, 

that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent. 
   LORD my God, I will praise you forever.
-
Psalm 30: 11-12






Blessings to you this Sunday.
May your week flood you with joy!


Sunday, September 18, 2011

SUNDAY WORSHIP: ISAIAH 41:10...DON'T WORRY, DON'T BE AFRAID

I am with you


May your Sunday be full of love, hugs, and courage to be the best you.
You have an almighty Creator.
He knew what he was doing when he created you.

Many blessings,


Friday, September 16, 2011

A Cute Little Older Couple Trying To Figure Out A Webcam...Accidentally Recording Themselves...Love.



Oh my goodness.
Cuteness abounds.
Love and patience for one another.
Content just sitting together trying to figure something out.
Comforted by each other's presence.
Kindness.
Humor.
Smiles.
Still making each other excited.

I love this for so many reasons.

Wishing you a day full of unconditional love.
If you don't have a husband or a wife,
hopefully you have someone in your life that makes you feel special!
Family, friends, neighbors, children, co-workers.

Be content also in knowing the love of your 
Heavenly Father and Savior Jesus Christ.
Father in Heaven, your grace is enough.
Your love is sufficient.
Amen.

Many blessings,


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

FALL, I WELCOME YOU

Hoping you all are enjoying any last little tidbits of summer/sun/carefree days in your neck of the woods.  Around here, it feels like fall has arrived.  The morning air is cool and crisp, and the cloud cover today beckoned for a yummy hot chocolate or chai tea.  I would drink coffee if I liked it...but I don't.  Bummer for me.  

As I've been consistent with my mornings walks since getting Remicade, the change in morning weather is a sure sign that fall has arrived.  I layer up and get Coop all bundled in the stroller.  Today it was even misty/rainy...which was so unexpected given our "arriving late to the party" super hot summer weather as of lately.  Oh summer in the northwest!  It's nearing time to hand Cooper a little basket for leaf picking...waiting for the most beautiful colors to show up and flutter down to the ground!  Will have to bust out the candle with twine and do some drying/preserving again this year!

   



Anyhoo, with fall in the air, I couldn't help myself.  I busted out the crockpot and made A BIG BATCH OF MY CHILI.  Oh fall, I welcome you.


I saw these cute little lunch pots and thought...how perfect...for my chili leftovers or any delicious bit of yum you might want to take with you.  A yummy lunch brought to work, perfect little fall picnic outing, a warm bite after a morning at the pumpkin patch.   Just love the versatility of this.  Also, it has some great little features...spork, carrying strap, spill proof seal, the little one fits inside the large one when storing.  Cuteness and useful.  What a great combo.  




The lime green and orange colors are my favorite.  What do you guys think?  FYI, I just like to share cool stuff I find...I don't know this company and they don't know me.  That's what friends do, right?

RECIPE BINDER PHOTO AND FREE DOWNLOADS VIA PRUDENT BABY

Have you started in on your fall recipes?  What are some of your favorites?  Anyone have a great chicken and dumplings recipe?  Any go to fall meals?  Would LOVE to hear from you!  I am also thinking of adding to my recipe binder a bit.  Can't wait to pull out more of my faves...and hopefully since I'm feeling better, I will be up for more cooking and recipe sharing.  Woo to the hoo!

Happy fall to all of you.  
Blessings,


Linking up to...


Friday, September 9, 2011

Little Acorn Bites

ACORN BITES FOUND VIA SARA'S PARTY PERFECT AND BY DESIGN DAZZLE

Look at these cute little acorn bites.
So fun for a little fall treat.

Looks like all you need are Hershey's kisses, Nilla Wafers (mini-sized...
thanks for the heads up Brother!), and mini peanut butter chips.

Love clever people who make eating fun and festive.

Also loving that fall is in the air.

Blessings to you on this day!
Happy weekend to you!


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Filled With Joy...Feel Like I'm Starting From Scratch

FOUND ON PINTEREST

This kind of sums up the last week or so for me.  I am filled to the brim with joy...and just so stinkin' excited.  Life seems so ordinary, busy, hopeful, and full.  Just loving it.  

Since taking my medicine, my arthritis has been kicked to the curb, and my body has made room for joy!  Lots of joy!  It might be hard to imagine if you've never experienced a constant, devastating pain, but arthritis had a tight hold on me down in the pits.  I tried to stay positive and share positive and faith filled posts, and my head was totally there.  But my body, oh my body...was down in the dumps.  I felt despair, depression, frustration, helplessness, loneliness, overwhelmed, and unable...not to mention the pain.  That darn pain was just a constant level of spirit squelching.  

My body is slowly being reprogrammed.  I wake up and step out of bed...every once and a while still expecting pain.  But it's not there.  I can take a shower, and get dressed in a much more timely manner.  I go to my little buddy's bed in the morning and I am not dragging myself...nor do I have to tell him to be careful as he jumps onto my lap and snuggles in my arms.  It doesn't hurt.  I can carry him up and down the stairs...it's magical to feel his squeezes...not wince inducing.  Gloriousness.  

Little trips out of the house aren't quite as taxing.  Going to the grocery store does not feel like an overwhelming task, putting the groceries away when I get home is no longer just "too much," and a journey to Value Village or the Goodwill is once again a treasure hunting adventure instead of a "I wonder how long I'll last," chancy outing.  I feel alive.

On top of it all, my house is once again feeling like a clean slate in this adventure in making it our home.  I have been cleaning and organizing cupboards, bins, and shelves.  Our garage got a little cleaning and reorganizing over Labor Day weekend with the help of my Hubbs, and I got a chance to get started on some projects that have been sitting in there since last fall.  It feels amazing to be productive and motivated to accomplish things I've got swirling around in my head.  I feel so filled with hope and joy and motivation.  It is a welcome feeling...one I struggle to remember...it's been that long.  It's almost like I'm starting from scratch.  I'd have to say, it's a bit of a messy process...but I am loving every step, every pile being cleared, every mess being sorted through, and every dustball being vacuumed up!  Hallelujah!

Hope you are finding many things that fill you with JOY today!
Many blessings,


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

ASIAN CHICKEN SALAD...APPLEBEE'S WANNABE STYLE

This is scrumptios folks!  I stumbled upon this Asian Chicken Salad recipe over at Ordinary Miracles of Life, and was so excited to try it!  It is an imitation of an Applebee's Oriental Chicken Salad recipe, and I must say...it does it more than justice.  I am always in the mood to try a great salad recipe, and since the summer weather here has finally arrived now that it is fall...I knew we were going to be in the mood for something fresh and light.

I am making one addition to the recipe found HERE (mandarin oranges) and like Wendy, decided just to eyeball all the ingredients.  Please know that if you decide to eyeball all the ingredients, you will be good to go.  This is not a "perfect measurement" kind of recipe...thank goodness!


Asian Chicken Salad (Applebee's Wannabe)
This recipe is most easy when you eyeball ingredients to your satisfaction and taste.

Salad Ingredients
Grilled or breaded chicken...sliced, cubed, diced...however you like it and as much as you want.
3 cups romaine lettuce
1 cup red cabbage
1 cup Napa cabbage
1/2 carrot shredded
1 green onion chopped

Dressing Ingredients
Whisk together ...
3 tablespoons honey
1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoon sesame oil


Toppings
Chow mein noodles
Sliced almonds
Mandarin Oranges (We did not use this time, but thought it would be a great addition.)

Combine all salad ingredients in large bowl.  Toss with dressing to lightly coat.  Add toppings according to your taste and preference.  Enjoy!

The dressing has a great tang and sweetness to it.  The chow mein noodles and almonds add great texture and crunch.  And with the chicken, you could go as light or as heavy as you'd like...leaving this salad a great option for lunch or dinner.  Something to keep in mind...I have had this for dinner and lunches over the last few days.  It is just delicious...light and fresh.  I would encourage you to grill some extra chicken to keep in the fridge and make a big batch of the salad and dressing to store separately.  So great to have all the ingredients ready to go in the fridge.  Makes life easy...and yummy!

Many blessings to you on this beautiful day!


Linked up here...

Remodelaholic

Friday, September 2, 2011

Hand Me Down Costume Equals Good Times…All Day Long!



Coop wore this costume outside, to Value Village, and to the Goodwill.
Many strangers shared huge grins and giggles in return.

Who knew this hand me down Buzz costume would make for the most thrilling day?!
Thanks B, J, and W.  We love it!


Chocolate Peanut Butter Recipe Round Up...Go Take A Peek!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Stuffed Rice Krispy Treats Via Love From The Oven

Do you love peanut butter and chocolate as a duet?  Mmm...so do I.  Found this round up of recipes and wanted to pass it along.  Looks like there is quite the array of delicious options.  You can find it at Love From the Oven.


Many blessings on your day,



Thursday, September 1, 2011

A Day at Mt. Rainier

We sure are so very fortunate to live near such a beautiful mountain.  Some folks grow up their whole lives never getting to experience the awesome majesty of mountains or the endless deep blue of the oceans.  Living in the Pacific Northwest, I feel so privileged to enjoy and experience such delights.



Recently, we spent the day at Mt. Rainier, part of the Cascade Mountain Range) and soaked up the last bits of summer weather around here.  The Hubbs has been wanting to go to the mountain all summer, but my arthritis has been deterring us for most of the available sunny weekend days.  Thankfully for him, on this day my physical ability, an open weekend, and glorious sunny skies all coincided.  God seems to speak to my husband through Creation.  He needed this day.  We took it all in...one foothill, one wild flower, one waterfall and bridge, one humungous tree at a time.  It was lovely.







Just couldn't keep those eyelids open one more second!




Thanks for coming Nana.  We were so happy to have you join us for this adventure.



Hurling snow.


Hurling rocks.


Grove of the Patriarchs



God blows us away with his power and grace.  
So thankful we got to experience just a little bit on this day!


Blessings to you,



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