You are currently browsing the monthly archive for February 2015.

Blog JarHere’s  my “blog jar.” Quite colorful, isn’t it?

When I decided to get back to blogging, I started a list. I had tons of ideas rolling around in my head. And if those weren’t enough, I searched the web for blog prompts. I’ve also put a request out to my peeps for things they’d like me to talk about, but no one seems to want to step forward … that might be a good thing or perhaps no one gives a hoot about what I write :0)

I took all the ideas I came up with and wrote them on colorful strips of paper. I think they look sort of yummy in the jar.  Sort of like confections!

When I’m drawing a blank as to what to talk about, I just pull out a slip and start writing. I won’t deny that sometimes it might be the third slip of paper before I actually put pen to paper!

So that’s my process … really complicated, huh?! Do you have any particular process to come up with ideas when you’re drawing a blank?

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Butterfly
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“Perhaps the butterfly is proof that you can go through a great deal of darkness yet become something beautiful.”

– Unknown

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2/18-2/21

My plan is to update you weekly on my progress in the “40 Bags in 40 Days” Lenten challenge I mentioned last week. Since Lent starts on a Wednesday, the first “week” only had a few days, so I don’t have as much to report, but my body sure feels like it was a lot! I jumped in with tons of gusto.

I did find, though, that my “first” project was a bit larger than I planned and actually took a few days to accomplish.

Kitchen Pantry

Let me start by saying I’m horribly … HORRIBLY … embarrassed by the before picture! And once I started cleaning it out, I became a little intimidated … and not much intimidates me!

Lenten Challenge Week 1-2

First I took everything out and loaded up my counters sorting it all into “like” piles, i.e. food, baking, paper products, etc.

Then I cleaned the shelves really well and lined them with EasyLiner brand shelf liner.

Lenten Challenge Week 1-3

It’s a Duck brand product. I chose the diamond grip type rather than the smooth. I love, love, love this stuff. And no, I’m not being paid by them to post this. It just makes your cabinets look so much neater/cleaner.

Then I went through all the food products, discarded outdated spices, cans, etc., and wiped off all the bottles.

That did me in for that evening.

If there was one thing I learned, it was that having a messy, disorganized pantry can cause more issues than just looking disgusting. You end up with duplicate items as well! For instance, I had 3 unopened bags of powdered sugar (in addition to the 1 partial bag!), 2 boxes of salt, 2 containers of pepper, 2 cans of corn starch, etc. etc. etc. Hopefully this project will take care of that issue moving forward.

The next evening I took all products out of their bags/boxes and placed them into labeled containers and arranging them in the pantry. This part took me quite a while. I kept changing my mind on how I wanted to arrange everything. No bags/boxes on this day, but I already had a collection started from the previous day!

Day 3 was all about the cupboard at the top of the pantry. As you can see in the before picture, that was a hot mess of storage containers … most without matching lids. Every time we opened the doors, a plastic bowl or lid would fly out. (I swear they had wings!) This is where we kept the slow cooker too. I ended up re-arranging the pantry – again – so I could put it a lower spot to make it easier for a shorty like me to get to.

So here’s the final outcome … doesn’t it look much nicer?

Lenten Challenge Week 1-1

ONE Kitchen Cupboard

I don’t have a before picture of this spot … I sort of moved into this one accidentally while working on the pantry, moving things in and out of it.

I went through the same process of pulling everything out and cleaning the shelves really well, and then lining it with the shelf liner.

This cabinet is pretty much just beverage items and baking accessories. The top shelf can house rarely-used serving dishes for now (I have more serving dishes to put there, but haven’t’ gotten to those cabinets yet). I need a stool to get to the top shelves of each cabinet so that’s where the rarely-used things go! LOL

Lenten Challenge Week 1-4

Thank goodness Sunday was next for a day of rest! 

Results = 3 bags trash + 3 Large bags and 1 Large box to donate

My next report will include the bathroom and perhaps under the kitchen sink. Oh, Lord … more embarrassing before pictures. Ack!

P.S. I must add that the hubster was pretty impressed :0)

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I don’t often re-post someone else’s blog post, but I just had to share this with you all today!

The A-Z of Happiness (author unknown) was shared by Steve at Inspired4Business. Don’t let the blog name fool you … you don’t have to be in business to reap the rewards of Steve’s writing. It’s one of the blogs that I follow daily for inspiration. It’s all about the POSITIVE!.

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Whoever wrote A-Z of Happiness put a lot of time and thought into it. I especially like F, N, W and X. I know…4…but it was really hard to pick just the top 4 :0)

You might enjoy following Steve as well.

Enjoy

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MyPersonSource: http://www.urbandictionary.com

I’m a big … no huge … Grey’s Anatomy fan. One of the more memorable episodes was when Meredith and Cristina decided they were each other’s “person.”

The highest level of friendship.

There are lots of qualities/actions that go into be someone’s person.

No matter how busy we are living our day to day lives, we will make time to check in with each other.

We listen to each other complain about life in general.

We always have each other’s back.

We listen to each other about every crazy thing going on in our life or crazy idea we come up with.

We tell each other what needs to be heard … not just what we want to hear.

We can spend time with each other and not say a word.

We share secrets because we know it won’t go anywhere.

If we just need a hug or a neck rub, we’re there.

We consider each other a sister … even if we’re not.

We would do anything possible for each other.

We know we will always “be there” … forever!

I have a handful of very close … VERY close … friends. Yup … just a handful. I have TONS of great and awesome women in my life. Some could very well be a “person” if we were physically closer … you know who you are <3! But there is someone very close to me, both geographically and in my heart.

Here’s an example of why Dena is my person.

We recently made a very long, but quick trip out of state for a family funeral. We came home after a day of driving in cold, crappy weather to a ready-made dinner. Breakfast for the next day was in the fridge. The kitchen had been mopped. The dish washer was unloaded and reloaded. The counters were straightened up. There was a candle wax warmer sitting on the counter making the house smell delicious! And she even brought her own cleaning supplies and mop! She came over each day we were gone and fed the furkids (and even played with them).

Did she have to do any of that? No.

Did I expect her to do any of that? No (Well … I did ask her to feed the furkids!)

Then one night this week we went out to dinner to celebrate her birthday. We had had to postpone because of the craziness in my life last week.

We laughed.

We got serious.

We planned.

We vented.

We commiserated.

We shared a secret.

She’s just my person. That’s what our person does … expecting nothing in return.

Who’s your person? Why?

jesus_sacrifice-720x340Source

For the majority of my life I gave up candy or chocolate for Lent. After years of doing that, it really didn’t seem to be a challenge.

One year I DID give up McDonald’s sweet tea! I admit … that WAS a challenge. In fact, the dear hubster even stopped and got one for me after Easter Vigil Mass so I could drink it at midnight! I don’t know if he did that to be the awesome hubster he is or if he just felt that after 40 days of no sweet tea I needed some definite sweetening up!

But for the most part, we can all live without some sugar or chocolate for 40 days. I don’t think that’s what Jesus meant for Lenten sacrifice. To me, Lent means giving up a sin and DOING something about it!

If you’re going to give up the sin of gossip, then I think you need to DO something about it as well … say something NICE about the person. We can find something nice about everyone if we look deep enough. (Find some lemonade in those lemons!)

Last year I made the effort to do a random act of kindness every day. It wasn’t hard, but it took thought and effort. It was probably the most rewarding Lent I ever experienced.

I find that one of my biggest sins is in clutter. I can find all the excuses imaginable to not do something about it, including working too many hours, being exhausted when I do get home, wanting to just relax on the weekend … I could go on and on.

So this year I’m going to give up that sin and DO something about it. Even it’s just 15 minutes a day. Surely I can keep up enough energy to de-clutter for 15 minutes. I’ve joined a challenge on Facebook called “40 Bags in 40 Days Decluttering Challenge” started by www.whitehouseblackshutters.com. The goal is to choose 40 spots in your home/work/life to de-clutter on each day of Lent. Isn’t that a phenomenal idea?

This project came into my life at the perfect time. (I find that happens a lot!) I’ve been soul searching a great deal lately about minimalizing my life (is that even a word???). I love to look at pictures of homes that are neat and uncluttered. I always sigh and think, “Wouldn’t that be awesome?

So here we are, going into the 3rd day of Lent and I haven’t started the challenge yet (it’s been an insane week with something going on every single evening!). I know I won’t be perfect at it, but I do know that I’m going to give it my all. I will make up for my 3 days of failure on Saturday.

To start, I’m actually going to go around the house and take “before” pictures of all the little things I want to clean up. And then to hold myself accountable I’m going to post the before and after pictures … that WILL be difficult because it’s embarrassing … my pantry, my kitchen junk drawer, the bathroom closet, all those stupid socks! It makes my stomach churn. But doing it in bits and pieces won’t be so bad. The entire room doesn’t have to be done in one session. Pantry one day, junk drawer another. Bathroom closet one day, medicine cabinet another day, sink drawers another.

I can do this!

What do you do for Lent?

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Monday

This is the Monday List I wrote out as soon as I got to work.

“Mondays are the start of the work week which offer new beginnings
52 times a year!”

David Dweck

HAPPY MONDAY … and don’t forget to smile and be kind :0)

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p.s. I “borrowed” the idea of the Monday list from Steve at https://inspired4business.wordpress.com, a great blog!

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE SUNDAYS! Did I mention that I love Sundays?

This isn’t a typical Sunday since we’ll be spending it driving across the NY Thruway on our drive back home to Ohio. But we have lots of typical Sundays in our future!

Sunday is the one day that I can pretty much guarantee that I am going to spend it with the hubster.

Sunday is my “down” day. There’ are many things I love about Sunday.

Sleeping in and when I do get up, I sit in my comfy corner of the sofa and read while hubster sits in his reading chair and reads. Lots and lots of reading. And maybe some Starbucks!

Then we go to 11:00 Mass and get our grace on.

7th Day

Then we go to lunch.

And maybe then we go to a movie.

After that we might just do some more reading. I might do some baking or crafting or DIYing.

We might watch some recorded TV shows that we didn’t get to enjoy through the week.

Sundays are good days to waste time on Pinterest or Facebook.

Or maybe work on a puzzle … jigsaw, crossword, Sudoku …

Or we might just nap in our reading spots … getting refreshed for the crazy week ahead!

How do you spend your Sundays?

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Happy Valentine’s Day from cold Upstate NY … way colder than even Ohio!

Here’s a picture of my Valentine’s Day mantel back home. 

Valentines Mantel 2015

I like to switch it out for different holidays/seasons.

Sorry for the quality of the picture…not my best work!

The lantern is from Hobby Lobby. I downloaded the printable from LiveLaughRowe. The sweet flowers, wood heart and sparkly pink hearts are from Michaels Crafts. The garland is something I’ve had forever and incorporate into most of my mantel décor. The candles were a birthday gift from one of my friends. The white bird cage was a Christmas gift from another friend, and the blue bird cage is from Hobby Lobby.

The hubster and I started dating in September 1977. I’ll have to write a post about our first two dates some day. That seems pretty entertaining to most people who know about it. Let’s just say, we’re both lucky I gave him that second date! HAH

We’ve not spent a Valentines Day apart in all these years. We don’t always celebrate it on THAT day, but at least we’re together THAT day. That almost didn’t happen this year. I had a family funeral to attend TODAY in upstate NY so had to leave Ohio on Thursday.

I’ve made that long, long, long drive by myself a bazillion times, so I wasn’t too stressed about it … until I realized that not only would we not be able to attend a Carpenters tribute show this evening (that meaning will go into the other post about our first two dates…and how I fell in love with the hubster!), but that we wouldn’t be doing ANYTHING together that day.

Then I got a text from him Wednesday morning saying that he arranged time off from work so he could go with me. The weather hasn’t been too great in the North Country lately and he didn’t want me driving all that way in the event the weather would turn bad again.

I think he just didn’t want me to get stranded and have to stay longer … I could be wrong :0)

But anyway, we will get to be together today and that’s all that counts. Even if we spend part of it at a funeral.

Our son always reminds us that Valentine’s Day is just another day to make Hallmark some more money. Maybe someday he will have a special someone who will change his mind on that.

Here’s hoping that you have a wonderful Valentine’s Day with someone you love.

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