There is no snooze button on a cat who wants breakfast.
Sunday, August 31, 2008
Friday, August 29, 2008
Look what I found at the thrift store! A small writing desk -- solid oak. (This thing is heavier than it looks!) It even has a little drawer.
Can't you just see it in a girl's bedroom, or tucked in a corner of a kitchen... with a fresh coat of paint? Maybe black, with toile wallpaper covering the top, all underneath a glass topper...or how about painting it white with an antique glaze? How would you decorate the top -- a small gingham check? A french country look? I'd love to hear your ideas.
Oh, I just love potential!
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Something you may not know about me is that my husband and I once endured about 7 years of unemployment and underemployment. Yes, we're still married. Yes, we kept the house. Yes, my Sweet Girl was dressed everyday. Yes, we never missed one meal, and most amazing of all... yes, we paid the bills somehow! This all started during the recession of 2001. The tech industry (which DH is a part of) experienced a DEpression, not REcession. There was not a job to be had for *years*, people. September 11th didn't help, either. Those were survival years.
Needless to say, I became frugal -- aka Fru-Gal, as I like to call myself. (Cue the superhero music.) She is my super-hero alter ego. I became an expert on stretching our food budget and managing our resources: penny pincher extraordinaire! I had to -- everything was at stake.
With Fru-Gal's help and lots of blessings from above, we survived that time in our lives. I'm still Fru-Gal, but more mild-mannered these days with hubby working again. She will always be a part of me, though, and that's a good thing. I'm sure we'll see a lot more of her now-a-days with the unsettled economy and our need to recover financially from those out-of-work days.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Leanne Ely posted this idea at the Flylady site. Rubber Chicken is how to serve a family of four for three days on one chicken.
Day One: You're gonna roast that chicken in the oven (or crockpot, like we did with Evil Deli Chicken). Use your favorite recipe, and serve with lots and lots of veggies and some mashed potatoes. And gravy. Maybe some rolls, too. You want a lot of sides with this meal, because you want leftovers.
Not bad for one little chicken! Leanne says, "Remember this is Rubber Chicken, not Miracle Chicken; if you have a big family, you will need to cook more than one chicken to insure leftovers."
Wendy says, "My family would have a hard time with chicken 3 days in a row. While I love this frugal recipe, do what I do: enjoy the roasted/crock-potted chicken on day one. Pick the chicken clean that night after dinner, and freeze the meat. Take the skeleton and cook it that night or the next day, and again, store the soup-makin's for later on. You are now free to plan your menu and spread out those chicken dinners."
Leanne, thanks for this idea.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
One of the blogs I check in with often is Ask Kari and Kijsa. These gals are a wonderful resource for all things home. A recent post of theirs struck a cord with me -- they talked about a poem their father had written for Kijsa when she was five. Kijsa has it framed, and has had it displayed it in her home. This poem became even more of a treasure when they lost their father, unexpectedly, not too long ago.
From that entry:
We always encourage surrounding yourself with items you love, creating a home filled with memories to cherish, especially in the hard times like these.
Find something special...a love note, a child's drawing, a special program ...a poem... and place it where you can see it everyday... create a physical reminder of what is important, who is special, and that you are loved.
Surrounding yourself with items you love is a big part of living a beautiful life. It goes a long way in making your house a home; that haven we talked about yesterday. Money doesn't have to come into it at all (my frugal side appreciates this).
In my bedroom, I have a big arrangement of silk pink roses on my dresser. That arrangement was given to me in the hospital, on the day my daughter was born. Every time my eyes fall on it, I remember what a miracle she is, and how joyful that day was.
Going along with the rose theme, on my bed, I have my Omi's (my German grandmother) pink rose needlework pillow (she stitched it herself) and her summer-weight rose blanket. She was a wonderful woman; incredibly talented with her hands, fun-loving, home-keeper extraordinaire, and had a heart that was always thinking of others. We lost her to Alzheimer's about 6 years ago, and I miss her. I miss their home; so many memories there. (The bend in the road picture on my blog header is from a picture that hung over their fireplace...) When I look at her pillow and pull that blanket over me at night, I remember my Omi, being her grand-daughter, being spoiled by her, and how much she loved me.
As you can tell, my bedroom is a haven to me. It feeds my soul.
My house is nowhere near ready for a magazine spread. (stifling guffaws) It probably never will be. But I'm looking forward to creating my haven little by little. Having things around you that are meaningful and make you happy -- creating a physical reminder of what is important, who is special and that you are loved: living beautifully.
Monday, August 25, 2008
Count me in as another fan of Alexandra Stoddard... I've been thinking about her and her philosophies as I move toward making my house a home-sweet-home. I love her concept of living a beautiful life. No matter what my circumstances are, I can strive to bring beauty, comfort and a little more peace in my home.
The key word is strive, there, people! :-) My daily realities include 2 pets, a teenage daughter, messes, spills, busy schedules, busy husband, a major landscaping overhaul outside, and the ever-present To-Do list and errands.
Despite all this, and maybe because of it, I need to have my home be a haven for myself and this busy little family. I used to think that I would wait for a more prosperous Someday and then really go to town decorating and furnishing the house, and there you would have it: (poof!) a haven.
In the meantime, I've discovered that life doesn't wait. Children grow, memories are being made , and life is being lived whether the house is "perfect" or not. I've learned that living a beautiful life does not hinge on having a perfect looking house (inside or out). It's about the dear ones inside it, good dinners and even better dinner-table conversations, stories read aloud, hugs, laughter, shoulders to cry on, and doing fun things together. It's about keeping the house in some kind of order and having routines; that shows love and gives comfort, too.
Over the years, my "living a beautiful life" has changed from
being Martha Stewart and having her house, talent, and salary having the perfect package to finding joy in the everyday. For example, I love looking at my Eastern Redbud tree outside my kitchen window. It has heart shaped leaves -- is that cozy, or what? I love that. These leaves will turn such a bright shade of yellow in the fall that I don't have to turn on my kitchen lights! I look forward to that every year. It's putting a love note in my daughter's lunch every day (yep, she's in Jr. High now) and having a family tradition that we wave to each other until we're out of sight -- that's living a beautiful life to me.
A home is still a big part of living a beautiful life. It's where we live, love, sleep and dream. But my haven and my beautiful life will not be found at the furniture store. Decorating my home and improving it is going to be more like a journey. I think my haven is going to evolve as we try to live fully each day. Feathering this nest will be more about choosing carefully, and surrounding ourselves with things that we love and that reflect us as a family...
But, that's a post for tomorrow, because I've already gone on longer than I intended, and that to-do list is calling me...
graphic: Precious Gifts, Allposters.com
Friday, August 22, 2008
My blog has a new look thanks to Darcy over at Graphically Designing! I feel like my little blog just went from a flower girl to a "bloomin' heiress"! It's just loverly, Darcy; thank you!
For those of you who may be new to my blog, welcome to my little corner of the world. I hope you'll come and visit again. So, why the name, the Bend in the Road? Besides being a big Lucy Maud Montgomery and Anne of Green Gables fan, bends in the road have been a constant in my life. There have been twists and turns in my life that I never expected. These are my adventures -- as I learn to accept these unexpected turns, hopefully with increasing grace, but at least with a sense of humor. ;-) You will find me working on projects around the house and re-decorating as I bring my house out of the 1980's. I'm also working on the next chapter of my life after stay at home mom. My daughter is almost grown and it's time for me to discover (another) bliss and follow it -- another bend in the road!
Please leave a comment and let me know what you think of the new look. Don't forget to pay Darcy a visit if you've got a re-do in mind for your little corner of the blogosphere.
picture credit: Red Box Productions and Marquee Players
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Another stand-by recipe from our house is Evil Deli Chicken. Don't you just love that name? :-) It's 'evil' because it's so good, it must be bad...get it? I got this recipe from my friend, Betsy, who's a kindred spirit of mine. She found the recipe here. Betsy, thanks so much for sharing it with me! This is a crockpot recipe, so follow these few steps in the morning, and look forward to a sinfully delicious dinner tonight!
(Since I mentioned sin, I must confess something here. We have a lot of fun with this recipe. If I am in a silly mood (which is almost all the time), I will get to the olive oil step and break into a French accent as I give the chicken its oil-massage "spa treatment" rubdown. LOL I only mention this because I know DH will read this entry and expose me in the comments anyway...)
Buy the biggest fryer you can find that will fit into your crockpot. (We have also done the cut-up whole chicken route, and it works fine, too.) Spray the inside of the crockpot with cooking spray.
Scrunch up a big piece of aluminum foil and put it in the bottom of the crockpot. This will act as a "rack". This chicken will be pretty juicy, and the foil will keep the chicken from stewing in its own juice.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
- watching Michael Phelps reaping his golden harvest and make history
the US men's swimming relay team winning gold
- watching the US men's gymnastic team win bronze against all odds
- watching the parents of these athletes as they compete
- the amazing opening ceremonies
- the US women gymnasts taking gold and silver in the all-around
- Phelps and his photo-finish -- winning his 7th gold medal in Beijing to tie Mark Spitz' record
Monday, August 18, 2008
Roots and wings. Roots and wings. Roots and wings....
Sunday, August 17, 2008
Friday, August 15, 2008
Summer is drawing to a close here at our house. School starts on Monday! Before we say goodbye to summer, I wanted to share my favorite summer flowers with you.
I always look for two flowers at the end of summer. One is wild sunflowers. By this time of year, I'm ready for fall to get here and these flowers pop up along highways and in fields as if to say, 'okay, Wendy -- it's time!' I love to see them.
The other flower I look for is the aster -- but we don't call them that. Any self-respecting Lucy Maud Montgomery fan would know that they are called Farewell Summers. I like that name so much better, don't you? That name is very appropriate, too, for I have only ever seen them growing wild around here, at the end of summer. Like the wild sunflowers, they add to my anticipation of autumn.
I feel like my summers here always end with a bit of romance --
flowers to say "Farewell Summer."
Wild sunflower, Antelope Island, Utah.
Geraniums: from my front porch :-)
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Here's a small list of little somethings to make your sweetie's day, and earn some serious brownie points:
The Gift of You: taking time to pay attention and listen -- especially if it's just how their day has gone; reaching behind you for your sweetie's hand in a crowded place; filling up the car with gas for your honey-bunch, so they don't have to; compliments out of the blue; cook, clean or work outside together -- the best talks happen when we're together and our hands are busy.
Get Out Your Calendar: as Michael Webb says (by the way, he's the founder of Ressurect Romance Week), come up with some non-Hallmark holidays of your own and mark the occasions! Some ideas: month or year anniversary of your first date, or the day you got engaged; one month anniversary of his/her new job; six months after her birthday (six months until her next); first day of Spring; after passing that big test; on the birthday of one of your children (she went through a lot to bring that baby into the world); the longest day of the year (June 20); ETC! You could come up with many days that only you and your family celebrate.
While you've got that calendar out, schedule a regular date night with your sweetie. This is something you'll both look forward to. A lot of times, if it's not on the calendar, it doesn't happen ... so schedule it!
Now Get Out Paper and Pen: nothing melts the heart like cards (homemade or not) or coupons, or even better -- a letter from the heart. I wonder if DH knows I've saved every letter and card I've gotten from him, since we've known each other....
Surprises: tuck in a little love note in your sweetie's lunch; or how about slipping in bunch of Hershey Kisses in their lunch with a lovey-dovey note attached; a chalk message in the driveway for coming home to (they make glow-in-the-dark chalk, too, ya know!); breakfast in bed and it's not even Mother's or Father's Day; etc., etc.....
Messages: so many people struggle with time to read and have turned to books on tape -- a sweet suggestion I saw was to record your own voice reading a book -- although, I think this one is especially sweet for your children; learn to text message on your cell phone and then send your honey sweet nothings during the day...just because...; send a card or letter through snail mail...
If these ideas aren't enough to spark some everyday romance in your soul, then Google 'resurrect romance' or 'frugal romantic ideas', and you will be swimming in ideas. Have fun.
In the meantime, here's a little something to get you in the mood. Enjoy.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
We interrupt the romance to bring you another recipe we love around here. In fact, we made this just this last weeked when guests were visiting. We doubled this recipe; good thing, because we heard lots of "mmm-mmm's" and spoons scraping bowls. It's a keeper.
(Bonus: it makes your house smell like homemade apple pie!)
Apple Pie Sundae (5 points per serving)
1 tablespoon butter
1 medium Braeburn apple, peeled, cored and cut into chunks.
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon apple pie spice
2 cups vanilla fat free ice cream
4 teaspoon fat free caramel topping
1/4 cup low-fat granola
1. Melt butter in a large non-stick skillet. Add apple, brown sugar and apple-pie spice; cook 7 minutes or until apple is tender.
2. Spoon ice cream into bowls. Spoon warm apple mixture over ice cream; top with caramel, and sprinkle with granola.
Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1/2 c ice cream, 1/4 cup apple mixture, 1 t caramel topping, 1T granola.)
Cookbook: Weight Watchers Five Ingredient 15 Minute Cookbook, Winter 2008, p 27.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
So, how about I share a list of romantic movies to watch together? Together is the key word there. To keep the movie list from getting too "pink" (feminine), I enlisted the help of my hubby to add a little "blue" to the list. Hubby and I picked favorites from a long list of romantic movies separately, and almost all of the movies listed below are ones that we both picked. I must admit, I *did* add a couple to the list behind his back...sorry Sweetie! (A Walk in the Clouds is THE definition of a romantic movie!)
Here's our list. Have fun building yours.
A Walk in the Clouds
Anne of Avonlea
Breakfast at Tiffany's
Gone With the Wind
Joe Versus the Volcano
My Favorite Wife
North by Northwest
Phantom of the Opera
Pride and Prejudice
Return to Me
Romancing the Stone
Somewhere in Time
That Touch of Mink
The African Queen
The Ghost and Mrs. Muir
The Mask of Zorro
The Princess Bride
The Quiet Man
The Scarlet Pimpernel
The Sound of Music
The Three Musketeers
To Catch a Thief
You’ve Got Mail
Monday, August 11, 2008
I know a few people who get pretty grumpy around Valentine's Day. I bet you do too. They resent the whole commercial side of that holiday; roses/bouquets become super-expensive, everybody's scrambling for cards, candy...whatever... expectations are high. But, can they rebel and not do anything? Uh, not a good idea. That means your sweetheart is staring all day at everybody else's declarations of love from their sweet and thoughtful honeys -- yeah, you're in the doghouse, buddy.
Chances are they don't know about National Ressurect Romance Week -- it's this week. Exactly 6 months away from Valentine's Day, and created to make the focus of romance "people, time and attention -- not money and things". Sounds pretty good to me! This week I'll be sharing some simple and fun ideas for resurrecting a little romance in your life. Everybody needs a little sweetness.
Stop that smirking -- we're keeping it clean here, people!
Sunday, August 10, 2008
Friday, August 8, 2008
Thursday, August 7, 2008
First, start cutting up the angel food cake into bite-sized pieces.
Now it's time for the cherry pie filling. Again, use half.
Spread it around to make the cherry layer.
Now, add half of the tub of Cool Whip
Easy, peasy, huh?
and your caboose stays good lookin', too!
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
I have a calendar I check from time to time for goofy holidays. It's just for fun -- I always look for a reason to celebrate each day! So, I come across that it's 'Simplify Your Life Week', and boy, that grabs me. Just in the last little bit, I have been feeling like I'm constantly a day late and a dollar short. Maybe it all started with the computer dying. I know the summer is going out at full speed -- back to school shopping, getting ready for guests visiting, then the guests visiting, appointments, meetings, church stuff, yard work, the never-ending to-do list.... whoa there, girl!
Take a deep breath.
I know how to fix all this. [First of all, get the Sweet Girl back to school and the routines come back!] Okay, besides that. I need to simplify. I need to get back to the basics; my routines. I'm a Flybaby, and for those of you who don't know what that this, visit here. I have really fallen off my daily and weekly routines. Menu planning, calendaring, having a plan for our projects -- not happening. Some of this comes with summer being here, when things are more loosey-goosey. But having simple, regular routines in your life brings peace. I could use a little peace right now. I'm all for a little more method and a little less madness.
This is the week to start.
Monday, August 4, 2008
Sunday, August 3, 2008
Give a weed an inch, and it'll take a yard.
Welcome to Revenge of the Sproutlings. Now that all the trees are gone, their roots are sprouting for all they're worth! Mother Nature has an incredible will to survive. The Rooting Out of the Roots continues...
Saturday, August 2, 2008
- 64.4 pounds lost
(is it wrong to round up and say 65?) ;-)
- 8" off my waist
- 9.5" off the hips
- lost 5 dress sizes