Things I’m loving right now

  • Cool mornings with foggy pastures
  • Seat heaters (for those cool mornings) which make you not want to get out of the car.
  • Palmiers and hot tea – so addictive.
  • Children who place their lunch “orders” the night before to make morning prep easier – It’s so nice at 5AM when you already know what lunch needs to be and you’re not having to try to be creative when your brain is not awake.
  • Cuticle therapy cream – makes my dry hands feel soooo good.
  • iOS 7 – so bright and pretty!
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  • Headsets – when you have five consecutive hours of conference calls.
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  • Heating pads and Aleve – when you’ve had a headache for a week +
  • Puppies who keep me company during the day
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What about you? What are you loving right now?

 

Things I’m loving right now

I thought I’d share with you a few of the things I’m “into” right now – things that are making me happy –

First up on the list is my iPad.  Yes, I’ve gone over to the Borg, but you knew that already, didn’t you?  Early in the summer I got an iPad. I debated for a long, long time on getting one. I had an e-reader already (love my Nook) and did I really need an iPad?  Well, I have to say, I don’t know what I did without it before. It is so nice to use in lieu of my laptop and e-reader and relatively portable (even though it is heavier/bigger than my Nook) and I love the many apps I have on it. Forget my Bible at church? No problem. Need to look something up? No problem. Watch a movie on Netflix? No problem.

As a matter of fact, I wrote most of this blog post on my iPad while I was sitting in carpool line and then just uploaded it to post. I’m addicted, I tell you.  Best tech investment I’ve made in a long time.

Next would be somewhat directly related to my iPad and that is my newfound love for the Inspector Lewis series. I love the dialogue. I love the story lines. I love the fact that I almost never figure out “who done it” until almost the end of the show. It is well written, intelligent, and has great casting.  And I also love that I can watch all of the old episodes on my iPad via my Amazon Prime membership. LOVE that. I sit it on the counter and watch while I’m cooking dinner, I watch while SuperMan is watching something else I don’t care for on TV, I watch whenever and wherever I can.

And, adding to the list would be that Amazon Prime membership. I debated getting one, but it sure is nice to have my shipping covered for things from Amazon – and the streaming video is absolutely awesome. Well worth the membership fee.

What about some non-tech things on my list of things I love?

Well, I am hopelessly addicted to these granola bars from the Pioneer Woman’s website. I love the rich taste the addition of molasses gives them. Dipping them in chocolate is an added indulgence although not really necessary to me – they’re good all by themselves.

And I’m really enjoying my fruit – it’s apple season and I am eating at least one a day these days. (no doctor for me!) I’m putting them in my oatmeal in the mornings, eating them for an afternoon or before-bed snack. The Honey Crisp are my favorite and they’re back in season again (hooray!)  I’ve also made two apple cakes in the last week and I’m thinking of another apple-themed dessert for this weekend… I’ll share the recipe if it works out well.

What about you? What’s making you happy these days?

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Today

Good morning!

Grab a cup of your favorite hot beverage and join me. I’m so glad you’re here!

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Today I’m…

…wondering about Big Girl’s not feeling well… if I need to call the doctor or let her rest and hope she feels better tomorrow.

…grateful for the leftovers in the fridge so that I don’t have to cook tonight.

…thinking about making some pizzelles but wondering if I should wait until the weekend.

…avoiding the laundry that is waiting to be washed, folded and put away.

…working on my to-do list for work.

…enjoying the cooler temperatures that came after the rains.

…hearing the re-runs of “Family Ties” in the other room – my sick girl entertaining herself.

…thinking about the reading I need to do for my Bible study tonight.

…enjoying the creation of this new shawl I started on Sunday. I can’t wait until it is finished and I can wear it.IMG_2142[1]

…looking forward to the fall – the decorations, the festivities, the food, and the fun. I can’t wait to go pick apples, pumpkins and walk in the woods with the colored leaves cascading down around me.

…contemplating whether or not I will “do” my hair today or just pull it up on my head and let the crazy curls do their thing.

…reading “The Secret Life of Bees” and really enjoying it. I just finished another book last night and will share the review with you soon.

…trying to focus on the positive and less on the negative.

Linking up with the Simple Woman’s Daybook today.

 

 

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Around Here: Success and not quite success in the kitchen

I love trying new recipes.

This is new for me as I used to be very hesitant to do that. If I went to the trouble of cooking something (and I was hungry) I wanted guaranteed success. I wanted to know my time, effort and ingredients were going to reward me with yumminess to enjoy.

I don’t know when this changed – maybe when I started baking more (years ago) or when – but it has changed indeed.

Now, it is fun to start with a base recipe as an “inspiration” for me and get in the kitchen and try to come up with something totally new for us to try.

Sometimes that yields delicious results.  Sometimes disasters. And sometimes things are just “meh” – they’re edible, they’re not terrible, but they aren’t necessarily things I’d repeat without some major reworking.

Yesterday was one of those days. I had this craving for some cheese tortellini in a vegetable soup. I had no set recipe in mind, but I knew what I wanted taste-wise.

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I ran out to the store in the morning after taking the girls to school because tortellini is not something I normally stock in my pantry.  After my dash to get supplies, I decided to try doing things in the slow cooker rather than on the stovetop.

So, in everything went… Chicken broth, some stewed tomatoes, a bag of frozen “Italian” veggies (which translates to zucchini, squash, bell peppers, onions, carrots, butter beans), some other random veggies that I had in the freezer (like some shredded spinach) a bouillon cube, some garlic, copious amounts of Italian seasoning, etc.

It simmered and bubbled all afternoon.  When it was close to time to eat I cooked the tortellini in a pot of simmering water. I wasn’t sure if the girls would like the soup or the tortellini so I figured I would not mix the two unless they chose to.

I also grilled some chicken strips I had marinated in balsamic vinaigrette to serve in the soup or alongside with a salad if the soup was a bust.

I have to say, I’m glad I did that.

The soup turned out to be one of those “meh” kind of meals. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great, either.  Sadly, the best part of it were the tortellini (and they were store bought so they shouldn’t have been the tastiest part as far as I was concerned)

SuperMan and I ate it.  The Big Girl said “NO” and the Little One ate the tortellini out of the soup and nothing else.

Oh well.

These type of nights I’m grateful for Velveeta Mac & Cheese and instant pancakes (yes, I serve those things, just not very often!)  At least I know everyone had something to eat for dinner – even if it wasn’t what I had planned.

Big Girl said it was the “weirdest dinner ever” because she ate grilled chicken with pancakes.

We also tried a new dessert, which, if you follow me on Facebook you saw the link to yesterday. It was about the same in terms of our liking it.  It wasn’t bad, but I probably wouldn’t make it again.

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It reminded me of the lava fields in Hawaii.

Oh well, nothing ventured, nothing gained.

And it was only one meal…

However, I didn’t satisfy my craving for the soup I had in mind.  I may try something again one day (maybe a minestrone base?) but I’ll have to wait until the kids forget about last night’s experimental dinner first. Smile

9:15 am

It’s 9:15 on a Thursday morning. The first Thursday of the summer vacation for the girls.  Angelina came stumbling downstairs about thirty minutes ago, complaining that Daddy woke her up when he got up and that is why she slept so late. I find this funny because it’s really only about fifteen minutes later than she has been waking up all week, but to her it must seem like a major upset to her schedule.  Mary is still crashed upstairs, falling into the sleep patterns that teens seem to have – stay up late, sleep even later. I’ll go wake her in just a little while – I’m trying not to let her sleep past 9:30 simply because it means she is up so much later at night when she does (and then I’m up that much later!)

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I’ll lure her into wakefulness with some of the chocolate muffins I have baking in the oven. It is one of their favorite breakfast treats and I’ve been making muffins every morning this week – lemon poppy seed, berry, chocolate, etc. They love them right out of the oven, when they are so steamy that you can hardly eat them and the berries and chocolate chips are just gooey goodness in your mouth.

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I’m sitting in my office at my desk, have already read through the emails that came in last night while I was sleeping. Most are just ones where I have been copied on the message and require no action. There are a few that I’ll have to tackle with some action, but right now I’m just not ready for that.  So, I’m sipping my second cup of Earl Grey and half paying attention to the Live! with Kelly Ripa show.  Kristin Stewart is on and I wonder, as I look at her, when she will change her makeup and hair style so that she doesn’t still look like Bella Swan. 

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My office is rather a shambles – I have all sorts of papers scattered about and things are upside down as I make piles of things to take with me on my trip next week – things to take to Mom, things to remember to take to HQ.  The suitcase is 80% packed with my work clothes and I still need to pack the non-work clothes that I’ll need for the layover at Mom’s before and after the HQ trip.  Have yet to begin to pack the girls’ clothes although I am hopeful Mary Beth will take care of hers and Angelina’s should be quick and easy – toss in some shorts, tops and bathing suits and she’s good to go.

I’m getting a little, well, stressed is not really the right word and anxious sounds negative – so I’m not sure how to describe the feeling – about the trip. I am getting that half-here, half-there type of mindset. I remember living this way years ago when I was traveling a lot for work – part of my mind is in the present moment and part of my mind is already on the trip, anticipating things that will occur and trying to be sure I’ve planned/prepared/packed for those potentials. It’s a little stressful and makes me feel disconnected, in a way, from my family, but it is also the way I have learned to make sure that my trip is not any more stressful than it has to be – by trying to be prepared for as much as I can ahead of time. Now, I just have the added challenge of taking care of the family as well – preparing for their needs while I’m gone as well as my own. (as I type this I’m making a mental note to double-check that all the bills are paid and nothing is due while I’m gone.)

The weather is cool outside right now – has not warmed up yet for the day, although it is supposed to be another scorcher. I’ve just reset the thermostat to 75, which is where I try to keep it all day long. I usually have to turn it down at night when Rob gets home as he likes it a little cooler (we all do) when we sleep.  There’s supposed to be rain coming in and cooling things off but today the temps are supposed to be in the 90’s. I wish the pool was open and I could take the girls this afternoon, but they are repairing tiles and Angelina has her ballet recital rehearsal at 4:00 today.

I’ll have to get prepared for that little excursion – making sure that the skirt on her costume is pinned in place and getting her all dolled up and ready to go in time. That should prove interesting since I have conference calls right up until the time we have to leave. Thankfully, she is getting more self-sufficient and Mary Beth is big enough to help her, too.  I can’t wait to see the dance and to snap pictures of the rehearsal.  Recitals are Saturday and Sunday and then we will be finished with all of our obligations for the summer.  Then it will be time to relax and enjoy (in between work, that is)

So, what are you up to this morning?

What’s in your magic toolbox?

And by magic toolbox, I refer, of course, to the toolbox of wonders used by most of us modern women – the Makeup Bag!

I thought I’d share some of my absolute favorite products today – things I don’t ever want to run out of and usually keep “backups” just in case I run low.

Moisturizer: My newest favorite is Alba Botanica moisturizers. I have such sensitive skin and I find it hard to find something that doesn’t irritate my skin instead of moisturizing it.  I stumbled on this at the drug store one day and LOVE it. I’ve tried both the Jasmine & the Aloe versions. Love them both. The Aloe one is lighter (good for summertime heat) and the Jasmine one smells heavenly. Love them both.Smoothing Jasmine & Vitamin E

Foundation: I am hooked on the ones by Cover Girl –  you know the ones? The ones that have the Olay moisturizers? Simply Ageless. They are nice. Stay on all day. Not too heavy, although I rarely wear foundation in the summertime anyway (it slides off in this Southern heat)COVERGIRL and Olay Simply Ageless Foundation

Powder: I’m in love with Clinique’s compacts. I use the SuperPowder Double Face makeup as powder most of the year, and then in the summertime I use it as my foundation/powder. Love the coverage. (and it doesn’t irritate my skin)Superpowder Double Face Makeup

Blush, Eye Shadow: I am in love with Bare Escentuals’ eye shadows, blushes and bronzers. I love that they last forever, they have a TON of colors and they stay on all day long. They also have fabulous brushes. I usually buy their brushes and they are very high quality and last forever. I think I haven’t bought a new make up brush in four or five years. They are great and easy to care for.image

Eye Liner: Another Bare Escentuals item I can’t live without. LOVE them. They brighten your eyes and last without smudging. I think I have one in every color!

Mascara: You can’t go wrong with the old standby here. I’ve tried tons of different mascaras. They all have pluses and minuses – clumpy, glumpy, crazy brushes, great length, etc.  But I always seem to go back to the basics: Maybelline Great Lash mascara. It works. It’s inexpensive. Why not?

Lips: And this is one area where I do diverge quite a bit. I have a few “old standbys” that I use regularly, but to be completely honest, I don’t wear lipstick very much. I work from home. Who is going to see it? I wear it if I’m going out – usually applied looking in the rear view mirror as I drive – and that is about it. The rest of the time I wear some sort of chapstick-type product to keep my lips moist. (Nivea is my favorite here)

BUT, if I do wear lipstick, here are some of the ones I love:

BUXOM by Bare Escentuals. Love them. Love the colors, the minty tingle you get when you wear them, the fact that they are not sticky-icky on.

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If I’m going for more color (i.e. a punch of red on the lips) I usually use Bare Escentuals Pretty Amazing. I have this in a beautiful red/rose shade. Love it, although it is a bit gloppy to apply.

Okay, so that is about it for me. What about you? What are your must-have beauty products?

Up, Up and Away!

I posted camera phone shot yesterday of a hot air balloon that flew over our mountain yesterday morning as I was taking the kids to school.  I didn’t have my trusty camera in the car (shame on me!) but I was able to grab a quick shot with my phone.

This morning they were back again, soaring over the mountain. I was alerted to their presence by Buster, who HATES the sound of the burner and thinks the balloon is some type of monster from the sky that is going to eat him up. He is really a scaredy-dog, that one.

So, I went outside to see where the balloon was – imagine my surprise when I saw the chase truck driving down the street in front of my house!

Oh my! It’s going to land in our subdivision! I ran inside, grabbed my shoes, my good camera, and SuperMan.

IMGP3641By the time we got halfway down the street, it was obvious that the breeze was not going to let them land in the cul-de-sac after all.  So, up they went, back into the air and over the trees to head to the next possible landing spot – the cul-de-sac in the neighborhood adjacent to ours.

IMGP3642It was so pretty – and Buster was so scared!

They were waving at everyone who had come outside to see them.

IMGP3644And then they were headed back down to attempt another landing.

IMGP3645 What a nice way to start the day – soaring above the mountain – I would LOVE to do that one day… even have my own balloon.  I’ve always loved flying and even contemplated taking flying lessons once when I was in college (and broke with no way to pay for flying lessons!)

I took SuperMan on a hot air balloon trip once years ago. I managed to arrange a super-secret anniversary present one year. My brother and his family live in the Pacific Northwest and he helped me to arrange a sunrise balloon ride as an anniversary present. All I told SuperMan was that we had to get up at 4AM and the directions to the place we had to go(a farm/field in the middle of nowhere).

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(OLD OLD OLD scrapbook pages from 2003!!! Look at how young we were!)

It was awesome. We had such a good time. I was enraptured by the peacefulness of gliding just above the treetops, floating along without a sound (except the blasts of the heater) and gazing at the countryside below.

It was one of those experiences that I’ll remember forever – and one day I will figure out how to fit another trip like that into our lives.  Hmmm… maybe for our 20th? It’s not that far away…

Well, I hope you have a wonderful Friday. I’m off to get my to-do list for work checked off so that I can get my to-do list for home checked off shortly after that and then I can relax and enjoy the weekend (maybe scrap a little?)

I am planning to finish Jessica Sprague’s Up & Running and Now We’re Rockin’ with Photoshop classes this weekend. I’ve been piddling with them, but I want to spend some concentrated time on them so that I actually internalize the concepts and skills (and get my money’s worth from the classes!)

If I get to actually DO this, I’ll share some of my pages!