Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Snow Happy Kitchen

Every year after Christmas I am on sensory overload.  After having lived with excessive holiday decor for a month I am ready to strip everything bare.  The problem is when I do that I end up doing the equivalent of spring cleaning and then I am sad that there are weeks of bleak weather still ahead. 

I always keep my kitchen and dining room tables decorated in a Snow or Snowman themes (I blogged about them here, hum..... they look different this year, I guess I better blog about that!) through January but everything else is pretty cleaned out.  This year I just wasn't ready to go all bare just yet so I changed over one of the Christmas trees in my kitchen from Gingerbread to Snowman and added a little Winter to my window ledge in the kitchen.  After a weekend in the 70's with tons of rain and today in the upper 20's with freezing rain, I am so glad I left a little cheer.

I think I am liking this.  I haven't put up my Snowman tree for a couple of years so I am excited to enjoy it this year.  It is decorated with lots of ornaments and signs  I made over the years, here are a few of my favorite ornaments.

My friend Genine and I got on a kick several years back and painted all kinds of ornaments.  She still does....I slack!  This is one of the favorite ornaments I have painted.

 The snowflake snowmen are too cute....I have ear muffs

 and Top Hats

 I remember how much I enjoyed painting the stone and snow covered trees on this mitten.

 Isn't this birdhouse snowman adorable?  Sadly, I can't say I painted this guy!

My kitchen window ledge.

Love the glow!

These little guys are Dollar Tree jewels from years back.  I love the detail on each of them.

Love, love, love this guy!  He was my prize the first time I played Dirty Santa.  I WAS GOING TO HAVE HIM and did what I had to do to get him.  I don't get invited to play much anymore though :(  I love his muted colors.

This little one was a gift.  Very cute and whimsical but I feel sure it was to mock me.  I have a tendency to fall not so spectacularly and neither does this guy.!  At some point he lost an arm but I still love him.

So there you have it, my new way to ward off the January blues.  Thanks for stopping by.  

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Photo Upload Problem Rant

Okay so I am more than a bit frustrated with Blogger today! Grrrrrrrrr  
 First last month was the whole "you are out of photo space" announcement that could only be solved by biting the bullet and paying monthly.  After two weeks of ignoring my blog I gave up the credit card number and committed.
Now for the last few days I have been unable to simply upload photos in my compose screen.  I have only been able to upload through HTML which takes longer and is annoying!
So, am I the only blogger dealing with this?  If not, please share your ideas on other options for uploading. 
Thank you for taking time to read my rant!

Are you a Shopper or Conqueror?

I don't think there is anyone left on the planet that doesn't know how I hate The Place That Shall Not Be Named.  Goodness knows I will tell anyone that stands still long enough how much I hate, hate, hate, loathe The Place.  Despite my feelings my budget doesn't always allow me to shop Publix, where shopping really is a pleasure.

Due to said budget and the need to feed us, I have to shop at The Place.  Last Sunday after church I conned Mini and her boyfriend into meeting me at said place to help me get groceries.  Which means I finish faster, thereby improving my mood for days.  They finished their lunch date and headed over to The Place while I was still 10 miles from the store.  I relayed 1/3 or so of my list to Mini via phone and expected they would be tapping their feet waiting for me when I arrived. 

I was practically skipping when I leapt from the car and headed in.  I was surprised to find they have only managed to get a few items.  Oh well with three of us how long could it possibly take, right?  Wrong.   First of all love birds seem completely unaware of the frustration of just being in this place not to mention having to pay the bill at the conclusion of this exercise.  So they were strolling leisurely when I caught up to them and gave Mini the look. 

The look isn't something I do, it is something I project when I am at The Place.  It is completely subconscious.  My conscious mind is only plotting the best strategy for getting out.  Mini knew it was time to get serious with the shopping and did her best to make boyfriend get the picture.  Boyfriend, bless his heart, just did not seem to understand the seriousness of the situation.  He was amazed that I had a grocery list with menu included that was mapped out by zone.  Doesn't everyone I asked?  "No, we just come in and look around and buy stuff," he responded.  What?

Do people really just wander into the grocery, or worse yet, The Place, and toss things willy nilly into the cart?  This is a concept I cannot comprehend.  I am a lister.  I have been since I was first married.  At first it was because we had to watch every penny and without a plan it was easy to overspend.  Now, I make a list because I am having more and more hormone haze moments and hardly remember where I am much less why I am there.  I can't go into a store for two items and come out with both of them without a list.

For me, grocery shopping now at The Place is about two things.  The first thing is just surviving, the second is beating last week's total (if I didn't pretend this was all a game I would lose my mind on some of the people that shop there).  If I do those two things I have shopped successfully conquered The Place for another week.

Now back to our adventure.   Mini and I poked and prodded and mostly worked around Boyfriend or who Mini termed, "he is such a man in a store."  We had him push the buggy but he was much too slow (go figure the guy is over 6 feet tall, he should be able to cover the place in 6 minutes flat) not to mention he had no clue about buggy driving etiquette!  We tried having him follow but he was easily distracted.   Finally, we managed to drag him through and make it out of of the place.  Lesson learned, never bring an amateur grocery gaming.  Thankfully we conquered.

Now to the list I mentioned above.   I plan our menu based on sale items and ability to perform multiple meal miracles with the ingredients.  So my list/menu is a must have.  A while back I lost my list before I transferred our menu to my kitchen chalkboard.  I stared blankly into the cabinets and fridge like a teen in search of the perfect snack. I was hoping seeing the goods would jog my memory as to what the heck I had planned for the week.  Thankfully after rummaging through the garbage and then a coat pocket I found it and all was right with the menu world again. 

This week multi-meal miracle centered on a roast.  I haven't purchased a roast in forever thanks to periodic meat deliveries from my dad.  He has a beef killed in the fall (the man doesn't really cook so I am not sure why) and I am the fortunate receipent of some of the meat.  I gasped with sticker shock but bit the bullet and purchased it. Night one we enjoyed a wonderful pot roast. Actually, it was a iron skillet roast with potatoes and carrots just like my grandmother used to make.  The day after we enjoyed French Dip sandwiches.

The timing for the sandwiches was perfect. My dear friend, Tammy and I finally managed to get together to exchange our Christmas last Tuesday. Sad huh?  We have been trying since the 2nd week of December but illness and freak acts of nature didn't allow.  One of the gifts I received were these adorable little condiment bowls. Tammy purchased them with my Fiesta collection in mind.  She did well, they are perfect and we used them that very night with our French Dip sandwiches for Au Jus.

Yesterday was another day of work on the closet makeover so I needed something for dinner that was quick and easy.  Roast to the rescue!  I put what was left from the previous two meals in the crock pot with my burrito/chimi filling recipe spices and let it cook all day.  Last night we enjoyed burritos, rice and beans with fresh salsa and guacamole. 

So you see I believe that my plan and conquer strategy really works for us.  I guess it gives me the distration I need to ignore the sweaty palms, racing heart and need to flee feeling I get at The Place.

Do you leisurely shop or do you conquer?  Are you a by the list/menu cook or do you wing it?  If you are a leisure shopper that has that incredible ability to wing it cooking, please share your secrets :) 

Saturday, January 12, 2013

More Good Stuff

Hi all!  I am taking a quick break to say hello and spread a bit of good stuff.  I have been completely unmotivated slow to get back into the swing of things after the holidays. 

I have been a busy bee taking down Christmas, cleaning. etc. but I am just now feeling like I am getting back in the groove.   This week I talked Wonder Hubby into a complete master closet makeover.   We are literally knee deep in junk clothing and sick of purging!  Hopefully I will be done with this project (except for hauling literally two SUV's of stuff to Goodwill, yikes) by Monday.  I can't wait to share the transformation with you.

In the meantime I do have some really good stuff to share.  Mini's 2nd column was on newsstands yesterday.  This edition has her new photo byline

(I know I am prejudiced but she is just the prettiest thing!)....and a brand new article to kick off the new year.  I will copy and paste below.   I hope you are enjoying the brand new year and can take something away from this article that helps you have a blessed year!

            Hey there, readers! It’s around that time of year where everyone starts making those silly little New Year’s resolutions. You know, those promises you make to yourself that you’re going to stop biting your nails or lose those fifteen pounds you’ve been trying to get off all year. As we all know, those little resolutions often times fall empty when it’s time to follow through with them. In two weeks your nails will have ragged edges again and your treadmill will have piles of clothes strewn on top of it. I think this year we all need to make a more purposeful New Year’s resolution. I think we all could use a stronger relationship with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and our Father in heaven. “How can I do this?” you may be asking yourself. Granted, this isn’t necessarily an easy task if done correctly. But it’s one well worth the time and effort it will take.

            To do this, we need to take a good, long look at John 15. This chapter is titled “The Vine and the Branches”. Here we learn that God is the gardener, Jesus is the vine, and we are the branches. It’s common knowledge that if you have a plant, you’re going to cut off whatever branches on the plant that don’t bear fruit. After all, that’s what the branches are for, right? Well, the bible says here that God will do just that. The branches that are useless (aka, the stagnant, normal people of the world who do nothing for the glory of God) will be cast off. As we read more, Jesus tells us that in order to bear fruit, a branch must be connected to the vine. Our vine is Jesus Christ. In order for us to bear fruit, we must have a relationship with Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. We must acknowledge what he has done for us and also his teachings. Did he not command us to take up our crosses daily in Matthew 10? He told us things would be difficult. He told us we’d lose friends and even family members who think we’re crazy for taking what he tells us so seriously. He also told us that no man can come to the Father except through him (John 14:6). Jesus’ life is an account of how we grow in Christ and how we can develop a closer relationship with our heavenly Father. But why would anyone want to do that?

            What’s the point of developing a relationship with God? Freedom. Freedom from sins. In God our chains have been removed and we have been set free! Isn’t that a wonderful feeling? It’s already programmed in our hearts to love and follow Christ. We ache for him. The question should be what is stopping us from going the extra mile for God? This is my challenge to you. This year, live a life for God. Pray with fervor, read more in your bible, find friends of faith. Have a relationship with your Lord that bears the fruit that John 15 is talking about. I promise you, you won’t be able to recognize who you were a year from now.

            Thanks for stopping by!