30 January 2013

being a good cook

“That’s one of the things that people don’t realize. A generation or two ago, your repertoire was small, and you only cooked with what was available locally. So you didn’t need [written] recipes — if you only have 50 recipes, after a while you don’t need recipes. But today everyone’s looking at the food channel, and our shows, and they go, ‘Well, I’ll do Asian tonight, and I’ll do Pho soup, and then I’ll do a Brazilian dish.’ They want to do something new every night. So under those circumstances, you do need to follow a recipe because you haven’t made baking powder biscuits 832 times … So I think a good rule for people is, start out with 25 recipes, ones that cover a range of things you like, and make them so many times you don’t need a recipe anymore, and that’s how you start to be a good cook.”

~Christopher Kimball
Americas Test Kitchen


29 January 2013

Simple Woman's Daybook


hosted by Simple Woman

FOR TODAY

Outside my window... Beautiful spring-like weather

I am thinking... about the conversation I had with Muzzie. At 91, you never know if it will be the last I have with her.

I am thankful... for the ability to purchase healthy foods.

In the kitchen... dinner will be roast with vegetables, rolls, and salad. Sinful Double Chocolate cake for dessert.

I am wearing... black leggings, white t-shirt under a RL gingham OCBD, and flip flops with anchors on them. Hair is long and straight. 

I am creating... nothing artistic currently, but I am always striving to create a happy home.

I am going... to pick up the teenagers from their respective locations. I just came home from Costco and Walmart. If my ankle allows I need to go to Whole Foods.

I am wondering... how to resist the chocolate cake ;)

I am reading... Tasha Tudor's Garden, new Garden and Gun magazine, & Women, Work & The Art of Savoir Faire by Mireille Guiliano. My audio book is The Paris Wife.

I am hoping... to make exercise my habit (on day 4 of 21 days).

I am learning... about the scientific revolution (homeschool with son) and how to figure out what I want to do career-wise.

Around the house... I have been striving more to keep the house clean (no laundry on the couch for 2 days!). It makes my husband happy.

I am pondering... what do I want to do when I grow up.

A favorite quote for today... "The world is your oyster."

One of my favorite things... new iPhone 5

A few plans: write my grandmothers notes, figure out what to do on Valentine's Day, pray, and complete exercise video list on youtube.

Photo of my day: There was approx. 40 female cardinal birds in 2 trees outside of my home. It was so neat!



27 January 2013

A Few to Bookmark

Hello! Hope everyone is having a nice weekend. I have been catching up on blogs recently and thought I would share a few that if you have not bookmarked, you should.

I have quite the eclectic taste when it comes to pretty much anything (except food and screaming music). So this list is a little bit of every type of blog.


  • Pleasant View Schoolhouse has been a longtime favorite of mine. Anna's ability to find beauty is what brings me back each day.
  • The Daily Prep is the manual for preppy/WASPy living, though Muffy does not post daily, bummer.
  • Moments With Mother Culture is written by my favorite homeschool mentor, homemaker, and Christian woman, Karen Andreola. 
  • Miss Janice is the epitome of Southern.
  • Oh She Glows is the best vegan blog out there in my opinion.
  • JGIWC has also been a favorite of mine since TAG began writing it a few years ago. I'm so glad that she's happy now.
  • The Art of Manliness is a handbook for raising young men.
  • Bourbon and Pearls is written by my girl Tabitha, whom lives in Scotland, so she's my favorite international blog. 
  • Money Saving Mom is perfect for finding good deals as well as organization techniques.
  • Last but not least, Home Living is an amazing blog for the Christian woman.
There are plenty more, but I just wanted to share 10 of my favorites. I have several preppy blogs that I follow and look forward to reading daily, but these are my favorite. PVS and TDP have been the ones I've been reading the archives this weekend. I truly admire these women.

What are your favorite blogs?

25 January 2013

Friday Five 01.25.13

Hey there blog friends! It's another Friday! This week has been pretty good. I'm still getting used to getting up at 6 to work out before I start my day. Somehow I have to get to bed earlier. Not sure how to do this, but I do not do well throughout the rest of the day on 6 hours of sleep. Never have. When my son was a preemie baby and couldn't eat much at 1 time, I walked around in a daze and was one unhappy camper. Sleep is necessary for me to function. Today I found myself dozing off while listening to Amy Chua's Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mom. It was dark, rainy, and quiet...and that's all it took. :)

Here are the 5 items that have been on my mind this week:


I bought this adorable phone cover from KraftWork Studio.


Thanks to my paternal side of my family, I do not look my age. I am blessed to look way younger. When we were looking at family videos over Christmas, my sister made the comment that in the last 15 years I have not aged at all. However, twice this week I was called ma'am. Now, this is the South and I have actually raised my child(ren) to say ma'am and sir, but most youngsters do not say this. It was endearing, but made me feel a little old at the same time. I'm proud of these Mama's and Daddy's that have taught them to say these words, however old it made me feel.


I installed the 3initials app on my iPhone. I'm obsessed with creating monograms for my phone wallpaper and now Facebook profile picture. My Mom has made the one I designed for her the profile picture for her new Facebook. Yes, Mother joined FB. Now I know how the kids feel.


"You're one day closer" works for many goals I'm trying to reach in my life. I've documented my weight goal, yet it works for the goals of figuring out my career and homeschooling my son. Every step I take towards each of these goals means that I am winning the wars.


Life truly is sweet. Every single time I get down, I realize there's so much in which to be thankful to God. Life is how you make it, and I'm choosing to make it sweet. Are you?

Happy Weekend!

Please feel free to leave comments when stopping by!

24 January 2013

Proud of myself

Y'all, I got up early and worked out! Yes, it has taken me 20+ days to set my alarm and then actually get out of bed. I did a Denise Austin workout I found on YouTube. It had a lot of walking so I'm icing my ankle (6 surgeries, remember?). I think I do better with higher impact but less movement like kickboxing. I'll do that tomorrow. I did a quick an workout, which was really felt.

I was just proud of myself. I've heard it takes 21 days to make a habit so 1 down, 20 to go. If you have any tips or encouragement, please comment below!

Hope y'all have a blessed day!

21 January 2013

nighttime routine

Since school starting back from Christmas break, I've had a difficult time getting up and going. I've had a routine going for awhile, but recently I've tweaked it. First of all, I've made it so that from Sunday night through Thursday night I moved my start time of bedtime routine earlier. Here's my routine:

 I start every night with a epsom salt and essential oil bath. I have joint issues and find that the epsom salt helps. We have several Wyndmere essential oil blends and use which ever one will help me at the time. The one I use the most is Sleepy time. It has lavender and other oils that are so relaxing!

It's essential to remember to take off any make up. During the winter I have been using Pond's dry skin cream. After turning 35, I've noticed a big difference in the oil, or lack thereof, production of my skin. I use Clinique dramatic moisturizer after brushing my teeth to really seal in the moisture without making my skin feel greasy. I then use Burt's Bees moisturizing lotion on my body then the Coconut Foot Creme, which I cover with socks.
 Always the last thing I do is set my alarm clock on my iPhone. If I don't then I worry it will not come on. Tuesday's are my busy days so I am not going to allow time to work out on that day, but starting Wednesday, I will be rising earlier to exercise. Joy...
The last thing I do is read something entertaining yet nothing thought provoking. I have a Kindle and read Grace Livingston Hill and such, but many nights I go to bed with a Victoria or Tea Time magazine. I have several of my grandmother's vintage Victoria's. I've also found some on ebay.

Last I turn on my hepa air filter. I seriously cannot sleep without it! That thing has been to every vacation. If ever I cannot sleep I will listen to one of my audiobooks. Mireille Guiliano's French Women Don't Get Fat is ironically soothing. I'll just put in my headphones, set the timer for an hour, and drift off to sleep. I hope this gives y'all some tips. It's imperative for each of us to get 6-8 hours of sleep per night. Happy Sleeping!

19 January 2013

Mid-January Goal Update.

Hello! Did y'all notice my new blog theme update? Gingham is my favorite fabric and I made it this blog, Twitter, and my Tumblr backgrounds. I'm going to do a follow up to my blog post listing my goals for the year. I'm really trying to be held accountable and so that's why I'm sharing them here. The plan is to share the update bimonthly. I may be tweaking them throughout the year.

  • Weight loss- 5 pounds lost so far by decreasing my iced coffees, sweet tea, and chips. I have yet to begin my workouts for a few reasons. Anemia, back to school early hours, and almost completely stopping caffeine=exhaustion. My body has pretty much gotten used to the early hours and little to no caffeine so I think I can start rising 30 minutes earlier to work out. I've realized if I don't get up early then it won't happen. I'm eating oatmeal pretty much every morning as well.
  • All but 3 meals have been made from scratch since January 2nd! :)
  • I've mailed out a letter every week. I cannot do every day, but have been able to write several letters in 1 day and get them out.
  • I have been doing a kind act every day for the most part. Even when I'm at home I try to do something to make the family happy.
  • I'm still working on being organized with my time.
  • I'm researching career counseling centers
  • Keeping the house cleaned and organized for the most part.
  • I'm working on listening closer to my husband.
  • Have set up one child with a budget so it's a start.
  • I've blogged on average 3x per week.
  • We are sitting together as a family for dinner every night except weekends.
  • I haven't been able to get in touch with my grandmothers but do try.
  • I haven't found any new friends yet. Though I haven't really tried. :(
So far so good! Please keep me accountable!

16 January 2013

Happiness

With these dreary days, I've found myself feeling a bit down. Not depressed, just down. I have eternally foggy brain syndrome. Getting out of bed is a struggle, but once I'm up all is well. I'm not depressed, just blah. We've had tons of rain lately which means little sun. This brings on S.A.D. (Seasonal Affect Disorder) for so many people!


So, what to do? I went to my husband this morning and told him how I'm feeling. (He's a N.D.) He said that I need to do 3 things: 
  1. Take vitamin D3. That is the vitamin that the sun produces in your skin. When you don't have it then your brain doesn't function as well (if you're not on fish oils or flax, you should be for those help brain function too).
  2. Continue to exercise even when you're tired. This builds up your endorphin's  Remember in Legally Blonde how Elle said that when you exercise you build endorphin's  which makes you happy, and happy people don't murder their husbands? Yep...
  3. Put on your boots, grab your umbrella, and get out of the house for a few minutes. As a homeschooling mom I spend a lot of time at home. Getting out of the house and socializing with people will help you become more energetic as you feed off of other people. 
  4. This is just an extra, but if you have serious S.A.D. and live in places like Sweden when you get very little sun, invest in a sun lamp. Also, we don't have a problem with a 15 minute trip to the tanning bed every once in awhile. There you'll get warmth and vitamin D.

I realize this isn't a very WASPy topic, but I choose to do something about my sluggishness that doesn't require scotch (the WASP way to handle most everything.)

11 January 2013

Friday Five

This week's Friday Five are my 5 favorite things of the week.



I made 2 batches of these chips in 1 day and they were gone within minutes! They are so good, and healthy. 

My acid reflux has been out of control...so much so that I have not been able to sleep well or drink my beloved Dunkin iced coffee. Prilosec is the only thing that has remotely gotten me through my days.


I just finished reading The Duck Commander Family. It was a sweet and inspiring book about the Robertson family of my favorite television show, Duck Dynasty. My husband still can't believe that this fashion marketing major yuppie loves shooting and such a redneck show. :)

My parents gave me the Clinique 3 step set. I had been using Cetaphil soap and moisturizer, but it dried my skin out so much. Seriously, it was like I had botox because I couldn't move my face from the dryness! I got the set for very dry skin and though I need to use the moisturizer twice daily, there is a big change, for the positive!


I'm so excited that Bunheads is back on Abc Family! It's from the creator of Gilmore Girls, my top 5 favorite show ever. It's on Monday nights at 9pm.

What were your favorites of this week?

09 January 2013

Pants

 Alrighty, pants...they are a pain and a half. I don't know about you, but I've been struggling to find pants that fit correctly. Lately, if I'm going to go somewhere then I put on a dress with tights (or I'll admit, I've worn long johns while in the car then remove them before walking in somewhere). If I'm home, I'm still wearing yoga pants, jogging pants, or gym shorts. I know that it's on my goals to change this, but I haven't. I'm going to tell you why.

After wearing jeans in the car for just 1/2 an hour by the time I get up, they fall to my knees. Seriously. Every single jean I have found. I'm finding this to be true of most leggings as well. During the Christmas season, I went to Sam's Club to get some groceries. I was ducking behind boxes so I could pull up my leggings! It's not cute to see a lady pulling up her pants. I finally gave up, and thankfully, I had on a long sweater as they were almost to my knees by the time I left! My husband has had endless amount of laughter at my pulling up my pants all day!


I think it's known to y'all that for years now I've struggled with my weight. I've been yo-yo-ing for years. Most Americans are doing the same. The statistics of obesity are alarming. Yet, most people, primarily women, wear skinny jeans. I like skinny jeans...IF they stay up. I've tried Gap, Old Navy, and the Not Your Daughters jeans. None of these worked. Since I don't think that jeans are flattering on me, I'm not willing to pay top dollar. Do you have any recommendations?

Y'all are probably surprised to note that I do not currently wear khaki's. Khaki's and a polo are the typical WASP woman's uniform. It used to be mine. I've had a hard time finding any that fit comfortably as well. For my birthday, Mother and Father bought me a new pair, per my request, from L.L. Bean. I told them to get me curvy fit. My waist is significantly smaller than my lower half of my body, so I thought this would be a good fit. Wrong. They actually emphasize the fact that my bottom is so much bigger than my waist that it's ridiculous. I've returned that pair and ordered the original in a size larger so we'll see if those work. Then, hopefully, I can stop looking so unkempt and follow my goal of looking nice for my husband!

Images from my Pinterest


07 January 2013

Bedding


All four of us need new bedding. The Mr. and I do not actually share our bedding. I know this sounds strange, but we sleep better when we have our own covers. He likes heavy bedding and I do not. The children need it as well. Consequently, I've been shopping for new bedding during the home sales. So far I like the Pottery Barn like Carly's above the best. What I don't know is how to divvy it up between us. I'm planning on getting Pottery Barn quilts with new sheets for the kiddos. 

I have a question, where do you find inexpensive yet comfy and durable towels? After the bedding, that's our next purchase.

03 January 2013

Personal Favorites of 2012

Me clay shooting for the first time this summer

Favorite trip? Every trip we took this year was good (St. Simons Island, Savannah, Chattanooga, Kentucky, Ohio). I think my favorite was the 3 trips we took to Ohio. We normally only go twice a year as it's over 600 miles 1 way. However, we went in July, November, and December this year. Each time was a great experience with my in-laws. So many firsts with them-shooting and snowmobiling were my favorite!

Favorite book? I read a lot of Grace Livingston Hill this year. 

Favorite movie? "Midnight in Paris"

Favorite TV show? DUCK DYNASTY!! I'm completely obsessed! I just finished reading The Duck Commander Family and it was good.

Favorite song? Album? I'm more of a songbook kind of girl, but I now adore Mumford & Sons and (ashamed to admit) Pitbull.

Favorite purchase? Keurig. I sometimes get tired of making a french press pot for just 1-2 cups of coffee.

Favorite meal out? For economical reasons we rarely eat out, but from the few times we did eat out Buttermilk Kitchen was my favorite. My aunt and I went there for my birthday. Farm Burger was a close second.  

Favorite new recipe? I make up a lot of recipes, but I've gotten several from Pinterest this year. The 2 I made from Pinterest at Christmas was the biggest hits; sausage balls and cranberry feta wraps.

Favorite day? Every day is how you make it...

Favorite development? Family members growing up.

Favorite outfit? Black fit & flare knit dress, black ballet flats, pearls. (I am more of a navy girl, but I feel very Audrey Hepburn "Breakfast At Tiffany's" in it.)

Favorite holiday? Christmas and Valentine's (B and my wedding anniversary)

***Thank you to TAG for the inspiration to do this meme***

Happy New Year!

02 January 2013

It's That Time of the Year


If you're like me the last 2 weeks have been lived in a blur: semester end homeschooling, cooking, shopping, wrapping, movie watching, traveling, snowmobiling, etc. It's all happened so fast! Including putting on the pounds. Every January 1st we make goals as a family. Every year it includes: balancing budget, making more money, praying together as a family, and losing weight. (I'll give more details in a second.) My husband is a first born goal oriented kind of guy. I'm the baby of my family so naturally I find them annoying. Which is why I dread this time of year. Husband is full-on goals and introspection. The kids and I prepare for it, but we're not fans. Still, I think going through life without direction isn't good either. That's how the last 2 years seem to have gone for me. I'm very good at going with the flow, which is how I've needed to be, but I know it's important to my husband and myself to be more controlled in my life. So for transparency, motivation, and accountability sake I will post my personal goals (we have additional family goals):

Personal:
  • Lose weight: Cut salt and sugar intake, eat breakfast, do cardio 4x's a week, try Barre, actually do the healthy living items on Pinterest.
  • Cook most meals from scratch
  • Start freezer meals
  • Send out a letter every week
  • Do a kind act every day
  • Be more organized with my time
  • Go to career counseling center to figure out what I want to do professionally in case I need to go back to school
Marriage:
  • Make sure B knows that I am his teammate
  • Write 1 love note a week
  • Have the house cleaned & organized so when he comes home he feels comfortable
  • Listen to him better
  • STOP WEARING GYM CLOTHES EVERY DAY
  • LOSE WEIGHT
Parenting:
  • Push the children harder about responsibility
  • Teach them how to budget
Blog:
  • Blog 3x's per week
  • Stop worrying about comments and followers
  • Be myself
Relationship with God:
  • Turn to Him with struggles
  • Read the Bible daily with family
  • Tithe
Extras:
  • Find friends and entertain them
  • Turn off the television
  • Read several books per week
  • If something doesn't bring me closer to God then push it away
  • Call Grandmothers

I'm linking up with Bella Michelle. Please write your own goals and let me know what they are so we can encourage each other.

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