Monday, January 16, 2017

10 Tips (for those Fluffy and Frugal gals)

Hi, my friends.

I thought I would share a helpful link with you today. It's actually a post I wrote for a blogger friend (Marcy from Ben and Me) sometime back.

She's given it a fresh picture and reposted it for the New Year.

It's got some good advice (if I do say so myself). Dare I say it's a must read for those of us who are eating healthy on a budget?

You can click on the banner below or here to read it. Plus, check out Marcy's blog. She is always encouraging.





Sunday, January 8, 2017

Snow Day

Like many parts of the country this week, we’ve had snow.

You must know that The Studly Muffin ADORES snow. The first year we were married he took great delight in wheeling around a snow covered parking lot while I clutched the door handle for dear life.
I don’t know what I was expecting to do. Maybe jump out if things got too hairy?

The part of the country that I grew up in doesn’t get as much snow as my new home in Indiana.

We got even less snow when we lived outside of Memphis, Tennessee.

My friends.

They use to cancel school if there was even a hint of snow.


My own growing up years were spent in the hollers and hills of North Central Arkansas. If we had a snow day, it meant that the buses couldn’t climb those hollers and hills in the snow. AND more than likely, other than the tracks made by emergency personnel, hearty out-of-towners and my Dad (who will drive in anything), the roads were virtually untouched.

Our snow days were spent stomping about the woods, making scrawny snowmen and trying to find a good spot to dig up snow for snow ice cream. We lived on farm, ya’ll. You understand.

Other snow day activities included curling up with a good book, watching marathons of western movies that were playing on our local PBS station (them were the days) and drinking gallons of homemade hot chocolate.

I’ve noticed that those of us who grew up with those kinds of snow days kind of lost our way as adults.

Of course, we’ve had obligations.

Work, children and Wal-mart.

This week, I decided to return to some of the snow day pleasures I experienced growing up. Or at least adapted them.

Because my work is virtual and mostly involves writing words on a computer, I simply added a fuzzy blanket to the couch. I put a sprinkle of cinnamon and a spray of whipping cream in my coffee.

Oh, yes I did.

Josiah lit every candle we had in the house and we settled down to read Greek Mythology (we are doing a semester), early Bible history and a couple chapters in Psalms.

I let the rest of the world run to Wal-mart and made do with what I had in the house.

I made my family warm and comforting meals. And I once again curled up with good books and good music.  The Muffin and I spent the evenings enjoying our annual marathon of Downton Abbey. 

Is Mr. Bates the Edwardians answer to John Wayne? 

Hmm.

I can’t tell you how much I needed my Snow Days.

So, my friends. My advice to you is to embrace your Snow Day. Curl up with a book. Make a pot of soup. Go stomp out in the snow with your kids. Snuggle with your spouse. 

Enjoy.


Friday, January 6, 2017

Using a List (for those of us who get distracted by life)

It happens. Every once in a while, I find myself in a what appears to be a episode of "Hoarders." You know it's bad when you call your son and if he doesn't answer right away, your first instinct is that he has been buried underneath the avalanche of coats, Wal-mart bags and scrapbook paper spilling out of the  closet.

It always seems to be worse after a major holiday. I've got a mixture of Christmas stuff (who seemed to miss the Christmas bucket express), Valentine's Day bits and baubles that I've freed from their basement holding cell and things I just don't know what to do with.

And why must everyone in my house use the coffee table as a holding place for video games, books, dirty buttermilk glasses and open jars of peanut butter?

I don't know what it is about the New Year, but it allows me to look with fresh eyes at my environment and decide what needs to be retired to that great home decor/possession tool called the giveaway box.

This year is a little different. We only moved to this house in September. I also have been under the added stress of poor health. I'm still taking pleasure in my little house. It took me weeks to put up all my Christmas decorations the way I wanted them. It also has taken a week for me to take everything down.

You don't understand.

My Momma, Baby Sister and I don't let the grass grow under our feet concerning Christmas decorations and the removal of. If I am home the day after Christmas...everything goes back in the tub! We are over it....and on to the next thing.

Shew!

It gets even worse with those of us who homeschool. There seems to be too many wheels (on the bus) going at once. Then you add a fruity gal who likes to dabble in a creative project once in a while (I might relate)...

AND to top it off, this pastor's wife has just a few things going on. Where do I fit in those things?

It's easy to get overwhelmed with unfinished projects and a life that seems to swirl about you. Or maybe I'm the only one who would like to have clean underwear, a finished lesson plan and a dishless sink IN THE SAME DAY!

My advice (to myself mostly) to those who find themselves with a long list of projects, activities and commitments is to do one thing at a time.



I personally am a big fan of The List.

Here is where I am going to SET YOU FREE! Your list making will never be the same again.

Only put 3 things on your list initially. Sure. You can have a master list. Master list to your heart's content. In fact, I always have a couple of  Master Lists running for different projects. BUT for this minute. ONLY PUT 3 THINGS TO DO ON A LIST.

Here are a few things to keep in mind.

DON'T take the time to decorate your list with doddles of hearts and flowers with a motivational scripture scribbled in your best handwriting at the top. Or is this just me.

DON'T put the list aside for another project, trip to Hobby Lobby or afternoon of mindless reading. Or is this just me.

DO make yourself a hot cup of tea.

DO put on your favorite pair of fuzzy slippers and put your favorite essential oil blend in the diffuser. Or at least light a candle.

DO start at #1 and continue on. After you get done with those 3 things on that list...add 3 more things to the list.

Another great piece of advice (if I do say so myself) is to use a timer. Set your timer for 15 minutes and do everything you can on the list for 15 minutes. You can add more time if needed. I'm certainly not going to come over and start scolding you on proper time management. But, I have found that a timer keeps us focused and on task.

I use it for Josiah ALL THE TIME.

That boy can drag out putting away the dishes like nobody's business.

Here are the first 3 things I have already tackled today.

1. I put on a load of laundry. Yes, I did!

2. I put supper in the crockpot (with enough servings to make up some individual meals for me next week).

3. I gave The Muffin that haircut he's been asking for (for far too long).

Already, I am winning the day. The next 3 things on my list?

1. I am going to do another load of laundry.

2. I am going to dye and dry a batch of coffee filters to make flowers (this project I will share soon!)

3. I am going to make 2 social media graphics for our church Facebook page for our prayer emphasis for the month of January.

You see how I am working it out?

I do have a little secret. Because of my "lack of energy" issues, I make sure to pace myself. I will take a break every hour or so if I have a lot to do. It's during those break times that I can work on tasks that allow me to sit on my little corner of the couch and sip my tea. I MIGHT read, but most likely I will work on those social media graphics or a blog post.

My next few things are going to be projects that I can do to work towards the "Clutter."

1. Put up some of Josiah's clothing that is clogging his drawers. He has some summer clothes that need to be put in a tub.

2. Clear out the stack of non-essential items beside my bed.

3. Put away 10 things in our office that don't belong there.

Do you see the method to my madness? Or just the madness....😜

On days that involve more rigorous schooling, I evaluate what needs to be a priority and tackle those things first. For example, Josiah has been struggling with math. I make sure that I prioritize time that we can sit down together and work through it.

I also prioritize our read alouds together. There have been days that I've barely had the energy to feed my guys...But if we can read a great book together...I know that I am still pouring something of value into Josiah's life. I want to write a post about some of my current methods soon. I need to add it to my list!


We can do this, my friends! Go conquer that list!







Saturday, December 31, 2016

2017!




Well, buggers.

I'll just get this out of the way.

Some of those nasty health issues that I've dealt with from time to time have crept back up. No worries. I've got a plan, a good support system and lots of people praying for me.

I think more than anything it's interrupting the story I'm writing for my life. Or at least, it's adding a unpleasant chapter or two. Trust me when I say I've been through worse. It's just not where I want to be right now.

But what's a fruity girl to do other than pull her big girl skivvies up and move on with things?

One of the biggest changes in my life at the moment is this gnarly low sodium diet I've been put on.

My friends. I don't even know how to cook without salt.

Thus begins a new adventure for me.

There is some good news in all of this. I've lost weight! AND if I can keep my focus and stay on track I am confident that I am going to feel as good as new before too long.

In the meantime, please be patient with me.

I may not have the energy to keep up with everything. I might have to say no to things I might have jumped on in the past. I am trying not to whine about it. It's just the way it is.

2016 was a year of BIG changes for us. Our whole little existence was up and shaken around a bit. Even changes that are positive require adjustment and adaptation.

And let's be honest about this. 2016 was a STRANGE year all the way around.

So I've been thinking about some of my goals for 2017. I've decided that my attitude going into 2017 needs to be one of anticipation and expectation.

I want to write more. I still have that book in my head (and on a few scraggly pieces of paper). Who cares if only my momma will read it. She has good taste 😀

I want to make my health a priority. This means I need to plan and prepare. I need to say "no" to poor impulses and convenience. Taco Bell....You and I have to break up. Those bean burritos I am so fond of have over 1,000 grams of sodium for EACH lovely burrito. I am tired of swelling like a beach ball. You know what I mean.

Along with my eating habits, I also need to find my exercise groove again. When we moved, I left all of my work out habits behind at the "Y". I need to pick them again...even if that means being creative. I simply need to "move" more.

I want to find my joy in our homeschool experience again. We have simply been maintaining because of all the upheaval in our lives. I want Josiah and I to dig into the Word, explore history and new places, tackle those scary math concepts and continue to read great literature.

He has been a reluctant student this past year. I want my enthusiasm to become contagious. I need to find new ways to ignite his and MY passion for learning. If this means we bring out all the favorite books and travel into the Wardrobe once again...this is what we must do.

I want to continue to make my home a place of peace. I want all who walk through the doors to feel welcome and cared for. This, of course, will require a bit more laundry activity on my part. My boys require clean undies and socks from time to time. AND piles of laundry in my kitchen can't be too attractive for my guests.

I want to journal more, read the Word more, pray more...

I also want to continue to feed my creative soul. Thankfully, feeding creativity has nothing to do with fast food or pie. This MIGHT mean a few more trips to the Thrift Store.

And that, my friends, makes me happy.

For me, 2017 is going to be all about redeeming my time and seizing the day. I am going to savor those small moments and embrace my life as it comes. I am going to let God do the leading and trust that He has things all under control. I want to live a life of PRAISE and expectation.

So, my friends. What are some of your goals for 2017? Don't be shy.




Saturday, December 17, 2016

The Christmas Tour of my House (mainly for my Momma)

So I'm in this new house. Also known as The Parsonage. 

And I've got it all decorated for Christmas. Since my momma won't be able to see it this year, I thought I would post a few pictures of my favorite bits and pieces. 

So basically because this is a house tour for my momma and any other interested parties. I do need to tell you a few things. These aren't good pictures. My camera isn't feeling its best. And it's owner isn't that great either. 

Another little bit of tidbit of information. When we had all of our stuff in storage some buggers broke in and took a bunch of tubs...I bet there were surprised when they discovered they had gotten the priceless treasure of my Christmas decorations! 

Bahahahah! 

No worries. We had been keeping our ornaments and nativity in our apartment. The buggers didn't get Baby Jesus! I was also relieved to see that they didn't get a few special decorations. 

We had a bit of hiccup with the tree this year.  We opened up the box and discovered it was missing the base. What!!! The tree had been a gift from some dear friends. It was big and full and lovely. We had to make do with a not so big and fluffy tree. But..hey...it works! 

Drama! Nothing, but drama! 

So here it goes. Fair warning. You are about to see oodles and oodles of my Christmas stuff. 

In this pic you can also see our cute little fireplace we can roll around for instant atmosphere. I'm all about it. It makes me happy. 


We have a beautiful collection of White House ornaments that have been given to us every year by my sister-in-law, Deb. They were stationed at Andrews Air Force Base in Washington, D.C years ago and she still blesses us with them. They are quite a treasure.


I like whimsical ornaments and I adore these cute teacups. There is also a lady version of this guy. I can't even remember how many years we've had them.


A few years ago, I bought this little angel at the Library. Fitting, huh! I think she kind of resembles my 4th grade school picture.



Years and years ago, when The Muffin and I had been married just a year or so, I went to a craft fair and bought these personalized ornaments. This is the Muffin's....obviously.



Every year, I let Josiah pick out an ornament. This year, he actually found an ornament of some football player. I didn't get a picture of him. You understand. 

My piano is home to my nativity scene. 



We got this nativity scene when we first got married. We added to it for a few years, but haven't for some time. If you happen to see the wise men that belong to this set....


I found this print as a free download online. The silver angel is from a present I received from a dear lady from church.


I had to share this. I made it from a broken-down hymnal. The broken-down hymnal seems to be my craft medium of choice lately.


This shelf in the parsonage used to be the front window! They enclosed the porch to make a couple of extra rooms.  I found it to be a perfect place to hang our stockings. 


I made the little tree from Styrofoam cones from The Dollar Tree and (again) the broken-down hymnal. The Christmas book I found at a flea market for .50. The Santa Clause was handpainted by my momma yeeaars ago! A fun fact. The little hymnal trees I made for our Church Christmas party and gave them to all the party goers. I happened to have a few left.



I also spent a little bit of time making these darling banners from the broken-down hymnal and a little glitter. They were easy peasy and cost nothing.



Here is another little spot I used the hymnal banner. 



Moving on to the dining room. I didn't get a picture of my table. I'll try and do that soon. 

This little alpine tree I found at a Flea Market for $10. It is leaning a little bit, but so is the floor in the dining room :<). We dug out a galvanized wash tub and filled it with pillow bating I had in the closet. 
 

I used only these ornaments on it. I LOVE red and white polka dots. They make me happy. I found these years ago. They are vintage and fabulous


This bookcase/dresser hutch was originally Josiah's. It is a good piece of furniture we bought when Josiah was about 2. He's outgrown it and I appropriated it for the dining room.



This pitcher I found at The Goodwill for 2 bucks. I did have a beautiful snowman pitcher, but the buggers must have taken off with it when they messed around in the storage building.


This bowl was my great-grandma Freda's. This snowman found a home...I had a willow pumpkin in it during the fall season.



 These little choir boys used to have another member. I think the reason I love them so much is that when I was a little girl we had a group of carolers we would set out every year. They are loverly.


Sometimes it's just the little touches that count. My little snowman bell fits right in.



The last stop on my tour is this hutch also in my dining room. I have had it for over 20 years. It sat in storage for a long time so we had a happy reunion. I change out the backdrop occasionally. I need to talk about the dishes for a minute. They are Homer Laughlin and some my Daddy gave me. I say "some" because my Daddy gave me more than 1 or 2 or 3 sets of Homer Laughlin. (or maybe 4 or 5)

My name Rebekah and I have a vintage china obsession. 

The old sewing machine is one I inherited from a Great Aunt. It never has worked. I just like to look at it. 



Merry, Merry Christmas! 


A Lazy Girl's Cookie Bars

I haven't forgotten you.

Promise.

Would you believe me if I told you that I have had just a FEW things going on?

More on that a bit later. For now I have some catching up to do.

I have a easy peasy recipe to share with you.



This is for all of us who haven't had the time, energy or the wherewithall to do any kind of Christmas baking. BUT feel guilty for not blessing their families with a little bit of sugary Christmas goodness.

Here is the thing.

This recipe is not for you purists out there.

It is not for those of you who are watching your diet. Meaning....that I the most I get to enjoy is the whiff of the wooden spoon.

Tomorrow we are having our Christmas program at church. At least, we are having our Christmas program if the weather makes a happy recovery between now and tomorrow morning. As of right now, most of the parking lot is a skating rink. We should know. We live right across that parking lot.

Anyhoo. It is my plan to have cookies and hot cocoa before church in the foyer. The ingredients for the cocoa are in the fridge and I spent a bit of time tonight whipping up some magic.

I should tell you that some of that magic came from a box of brownies with mini Christmas M&Ms.

We do what we can.

It's what in the other pan I need to tell you about.

And. It involves another box.

It's cake mix!

I have a confession. I almost always keep a cake mix or two in my pantry. I find them easy to doctor up and it saves having to buy a lot of ingredients for baking I frankly don't use much of.

Like sugar.

Enough chit chat.

This is the easiest baking you are going to do all Christmas long.  You can mix and match add-ins. For example, you can mix in cranberries or white chocolate. Or crushed up candy bars.

This time around I spoke Josiah's love language and used peanut butter chips and chocolate chips. You just need to use 2 cups of whatever you wish.

Ready for the recipe now?

Here 'tis.

Ingredients

1 stick of butter
2 eggs
1 yellow or white cake mix
2 cups of chocolate chips (or mix and match!)

Melt the butter in a bowl. Mix in the eggs and stir in cake mix. Add in the chocolate chips and spread in a greased 9X13 pan. The mixture will be thick so you will need to press it out. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes.  



Just a note or two...

Chocolate chips or the like keep their shape better if they are frozen before adding to anything. I didn't have any of mine in the freezer and they did melt just a bit. 

You can also make a variety of flavors using other kinds of cake mixes. For those of you who are watching your sugar intake, but don't mind using flour try using a sugar free cake mix. I know Pillsbury makes a chocolate and white version. Just be sure that your add-ins don't add a bunch of sugar to your cookie bars.  My choices would be nuts, coconut or some sugar free candy bars crushed up. Yummo! 



Enjoy my friends! 



Thursday, December 8, 2016

Kwik Stix! Something for your stocking (A Review)

About this time last year, I got to review a great product called Kwik Stix.  I invited some of my little friends over and we created all manner of Christmas projects. So much fun! This time around the folk at The Pencil Grip, Inc. (the makers of Kwik Stix) contacted me to see if I would like to review a more of the Kwix Stix line. I got “Metalix”and “Neon.” Fun!

So what is this Kwik Stix that I speak of? They are solid tempera paints that come a tube. They are easy to use and dry very quickly.

The neon colors are bright and so much fun.




The Metalix set is shimmery and my favorite. 


We were smack dab in the middle of moving when my Kwik Stix package came in the mail. I had great intentions on using them on a variety of projects, but moving doesn’t make things easy on a crafty girl.


But you can’t keep a crafty girl down. I eventually dug them out and proceeded to make magic. Josiah and I spent a easy afternoon having our fun with the Metalix set. 

Kwik Stix are good to use on a number of surfaces. They even work on wood. I printed off some ornament shapes to design and dug out a few wooden craft shapes. 

Josiah is a simple guy. He wanted to design a pink ornament for me. "Design" is a rough idea in this case. 



Here is mine. My only complaint with this set is the lack of a real red. I need all the shiny red sparkle in my life I can get! Kwik Stix work great on wooden projects.


 My little bird looks good in his new outfit.


For those of you who are looking for easy projects for the Littles to take on,I used the Kwik Stix to color my own little Thank You card.


Take it from a former Kindergarten teacher. Every Little needs a set of Kwik Stix in his or her stocking this year. I personally want this Thin Stix Creativity Pack under my tree. The Thin Stix are just right for my doodle obsession. 


Kwik Stix are available on Amazon, Target.com, and in Target stores. Run. Walk. Skip. Click. Just make sure you get a set! 
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...