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I haven’t posted much of anything lately.  I’ve been busy testing recipe creations but I’ve also been dealing with an upset tummy and a lack of appetite…a lot.  So that makes it a little challenging for someone that loves to cook and post recipes!  Any taste testers out there??

So I thought I’d mix it up a bit and post some of my favorite products that I like to use.

I’ll start with an Avon product, yes Avon.  I love Moisture Therapy lotion.  I use it everyday on my hands and body.

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I also have those dry heels that we ladies seem to have to deal with.  And I have to tell ya, since I started using Burts Bee’s Foot Lotion, I rarely have that problem!  Scouts Promise of Truth and Honor!!!  Of course there is coconut oil in there and we all know how beneficial that is!  I use the beeswax lip balm too.  I have several of them, all over the place… in my kitchen, my bathroom, my purse, pockets.  Love it!

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Next, my teeth!  My favorite toothbrush ever is the Spin Brush, its the best thing next to having a dental cleaning!  My teeth actually feel that clean. And I ONLY use Glide dental floss.  I have tried them all and thrown them all in the trash.  None can compare to Glide!

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Next on the list is my foundation.  I bounce back and forth from a liquid to a powder.  And the only liquid foundation allowed on my face is Maybelline Fit, and the compact for touch ups during the day.

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When I feel like a powder its Bare Minerals, as you can see by the practically empty jar.

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For my mascara, Its Loreal Voluminous. either the Full Definition or the Original.   I swear my lashes actually do look longer.  Even healthier!  I have a tube in my purse and one in my makeup case in the bathroom.  I don’t carry one in my purse for touch ups, its just that I am so anal about having to wear mascara that I figure if I ever get stuck somewhere and have to spend the night, I will at least have my mascara for the morning.  Sad isn’t it?

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My hair, the older I get the dried my hair gets. I use Frizz-Ease on wet and dry hair.  It does wonders!

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So there you have it, my favorite beauty products.  Just the basics, at my age and at this stage in my life these are pretty much all I need.

Live well my friends! XO

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Two of my sweet little grandkids spent the night the other weekend.  As I was making my bed the 10 year old asked why I make my bed?  I answered him with a simple “I like things nice and neat.”

But then I started thinking, why do I really make my bed?  Why am I so anal about being neat and clean?  Why are my cabinets and drawers organized?

  1. A made bed seems to be more inviting than a tangled mess of blankets.  When it’s time for me to crawl between the sheets, it feels good to snuggle in and get all comfy instead of trying to kick the blankets into place to stay warm.  When I walk into my bedroom, and see that it’s all picked up and the bed is made, it just looks good.  And really, the entire reason we purchase our bedding is because we loved the way the freshly made bed looked on the package or in the catalog right?  My bedroom might not look like it belongs in Better Homes and Garden but it is quite pretty and comfortable.
  2. I love coming home from work and having my home neat and tidy.  I’m usually quite tired and it just makes me feel better if things are in place.  I try to put things away as I’m finished with them.  It only takes a minute here and there to put things away, but it takes much longer to try to tidy up an entire house!
  3. I’m not embarrassed to have someone “pop” in expectantly.  I might have a project that I’m working on, or laundry that I’m folding but it’s not messy and embarrassing and I’m not making excuses for being a slob!!
  4. I can find things.  I know where they are, so if there is something I need or want, I can usually find it right away.  Now don’t get me wrong, I have super busy weeks where I have been known to run in and out of my house faster than lightening itself.   I hate it, and I am really trying to avoid those situations at all costs.  Life is so much happier and lovable if you take your time and enjoy the ride.
  5. I feel more creative.  My creative and artistic juices seem to flow better.  If my home isn’t a messy cluttered space, then my mind isn’t cluttered either.
  6. I’m much more comfortable and at peace if my belongings are not strewn throughout my house.  You would be surprised how this really works!  Seriously, try it!

So there you have it, there are a ton of organization idea’s and plan on Pinterest.  Find what works for you and do it.  But don’t spend a lot of money on expensive totes and baskets.  Buy what you need and make do with what you have.  And most important, de-clutter!  Get rid of the stuff you don’t use or even like.  Keep things if they are sentimental but either display them simply or carefully wrap them up and store them.

I love those small plastic organizing tubs that you can find at Target or Wal Mart; my bathroom and kitchen drawers look great, I love those things!  But I also have my batteries stored in a plastic dog food container.

My clothes are organized by color; sounds crazy but when I’m choosing my outfit for the next day, it’s really kinda cool to not have to rummage through my entire closet looking for that one purple sweater I want to wear!!

My jewelry is organized in trays, as are my socks.  My undies are a different story tho….

I even have a binder with all of my important information so when that day comes and I need my passport, credit card info, etc, it’s in one place.  And, when it’s my time to meet my Lord all of my necessary documents are in one place for my kids.

So, why do I make my bed?  And why am I a neat freak?  It’s comfortable, looks great, I’m more creative and relaxed, and happier!

Have a great night and make your bed tomorrow morning!!

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In my personal goal of becoming more organized; I wanted to make my grocery lists organized too (is that not crazy!)  So I have created my own “shopping list”.  And since I did I have seen some posted on Pinterest so I thought I’d share mine, guess I’m not the only one out there that feels this need.

When I write my shopping list on a piece of paper, I scribble.  And I scribble all over the page with frozen items in with the fruit items, dairy in with the paper products, you know what I mean right??  So most of the time I end up back tracking through the store frustrated and really wanting to get the heck out of the store OR I undoubtedly forget things (I’m not the only person to do this right?).  The trick however, is to remember to take it along with you when you go shopping!!!!  I don’t know how to help with remembering, I struggle too…

My list is not fancy or decorated to make it look pretty, it’s just a list, plain and simple, which is how I like my life these days.  I hope you like it and will give it a try, I really don’t want to be the only lost soul in my store with an organized list!!

Cheers my friends!

Shopping List

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Happy New Year to you all!!  I appreciate each and everyone of you that have been following my blog and commenting!!  Thank you!

I’m looking forward to posting more recipes and craft idea’s this year and I hope you enjoy them too!

In my family, and in most families in our area, we eat pork and sauerkraut on New Year’s Day, it started as a PA Dutch tradition to bring good luck for the new year to come.  One year I bucked the tradition and made stuffed shells….can’t say that I can report anything more tragic than the previous year.  I have not broken the traditional dinner since then.

What are your traditions for the New Year Day celebrations?

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Instead of posting a recipe today, I thought I’d vent a little about a health issue.  About a year ago I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia.  I didn’t handle it very well.  In fact, you would have thought someone handed me a death sentence.  I cried for a few months.  This just isn’t me!

I’ve always been very active with aerobic or zumba classes, had a home gym or belonged to a gym.  Now don’t get me wrong, I was by far NOT a muscular person but I enjoyed working out and tried my best to stay healthy.

But then my life changed, I became divorced for the second time and although that was my choice it did not come easy for me, 5 months after the separation my Mom passed away and then 6 months later my Dad passed away.  It was a terrible time in my life.  Both of the deaths set the scene for some family drama, which we never had before so that was an adjustment.  I had my parent’s house and estate to deal with, not to mention that I had just bought a small condo and had just began to remodel.

So, when the exhaustion set in, I blamed it on stress and depression.  When the sadness took over, and I gained weight, I blamed it on stress and depression.

But then I discovered that I could no longer lift the weights at the gym.  I couldn’t walk the distance or do the speed on the treadmill.  I blamed it on being out of shape, cancelled my membership, bought my own treadmill and decided to work at a slower pace at home.

By then I had pain.   So I thought my mild arthritis had increased and that I now had it in other areas.  Went to my doctor, he ordered Xrays and to my surprise there was NO change!!!

Then I started crying at the most simplest of things.  Ahhh I thought, Menopause!!!  Called my gyno doc, blood work was ordered; everything was normal.

I also blamed it all on being Hypoglycemic.  I figured that my blood sugar is just too low, so I nibbled snacks.

By now I have more pain, everywhere.  I tried to get myself back in shape by just walking and eating healthier and trying to get more sleep.  I also brought yoga and meditation back to my life.  The pain just increased and everything hurt.  By the end of summer I was seriously concerned about the changes in my body and went back to my doctor.  He was incredible.  As he listened to my story of the months since I had seen him when he ordered the Xrays, he just calmly looked at me and said he thought I may have Fibromyalgia.  I thought I had cancer and it had just spread throughout my body.  He immediately sent to a Rheumatologist.

It took her a matter of minutes to agree with my doc but she ordered a panel of blood work to rule out anything else.  I went back for the results and everything was fine except my vitamin D was way too low.  Which I had suspected since I am in an office all day.  Then she sent me for physical therapy.  WOW was that a smack in the face.  I knew I had gotten weaker but I didn’t realize just how bad it had gotten!!

Sadly, I have not kept up with the exercises at home.  It is a constant struggle for me just to get thru the work day, much less getting up in the morning.  By the time I get home in the evening I am completely exhausted.  I can barely walk the dog.  And as much as I love to cook, weekends seem to be my time for kitchen fun.  I just have no energy in the evening, and I usually hurt, which is exhausting in itself.  But I have to say, yoga is the best thing for me right now.  I love the stretches, it feels good for my body.

I don’t like taking pain meds, I don’t like having to use pain patches, I don’t like hurting and being completely exhausted.

So, I am trying something totally different, Medical Qigong.  I’ve only had one visit so far, she has me eating fresh pineapple every day, it is supposed to help with the pain however, I have not noticed a difference yet.  So I’ll give this practice a go, then I am trying acupuncture and I absolutely HATE NEEDLES!!

That all said, I am not giving up on some of my activities.  I have a goal of whitewater rafting (is there such a thing as a bunny slope on the rapids??), kayaking, horseback riding, zipline (I know, I’m nuts!), and a few of my friends ran the Color Run in Baltimore this year so I am making it my goal to try to walk it next year, hopefully.  Walking outside for 20 minutes about kills me and 10 minutes on the treadmill makes my knees feel like they are exploding.

Thanks for listening.  Now I’m going to make some of these yummy cookies for a friend at work, the recipe/blog post is here.

Have a great weekend!

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My very talented daughter made this awesome cake for her son’s birthday party.

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Just a simple 3 tier layer cake but it was adorned with Angry Birds!  What is it about those angry, unhappy birds that makes them so popular?

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I was so impressed by those angry little creatures that I forgot to take a picture of the “entire” cake in one picture, sorry.

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She used fondant for the bird heads.  She rolled it into balls for the heads.

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She then cut out the shapes for the other facial features.

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She found a package of eyes.  That sentence just sounds strange.

My granddaughter wants a La La Loopsy cake, can’t wait to see how that will be created.

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Have you ever seen those beautiful canvas photographs?  I had some amazing close up shots of my dog and cat that I wanted do have done that way but WOW is it expensive.  So I decided to give it a try and make my own canvas art.

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I used the following materials:

8×10 canvas

8×10 picture

Acrylic craft paint, flat black

Mod Podge

Foam brush

Picture hanger

First I determined what size canvas would be available to the size of the photo that I wanted.  Then I ordered the photo’s ( I order all my pictures on-line and have them delivered to my house!).  While I was waiting for the photo’s to be delivered, I worked on the canvas.  I purchased the extra deep canvas and painted the sides with the black paint.

DSC_0029This is Jack.

Then when the photo’s arrived, they needed to be trimmed ever so slightly to fit on the canvas.  You can figure this out by laying the photo on the canvas and either determine by eyeballing the excess OR using a ruler and measuring precisely.  I don’t recommend laying the canvas on the picture and cutting it by using the canvas as your guide, you can ruin and scratch the canvas.

I used a ruler and an X-acto knife to get a straight and even cut on the photo, and I made the cut on the back side of the picture.  Make sure you lay the photo on a surface that you can use the knife on.

I used a foam brush to smooth on the Mod Podge on the top of the canvas, I tried not to let it go over the  edge of the canvas.  And I made sure I had enough glue to adhere the photo but not so much that it would damage the picture or  leak out of the sides.  Then I placed the photo on the canvas and slid it into place while the glue was still wet.  I used a piece of thin clean cardboard to lay over the picture so that I could smooth it over (and not get finger prints on the picture) and to make sure it was pressed firmly on the canvas without damaging the picture. However, I would ask that you remove the cardboard while the glue dries,  you won’t want the cardboard to dry to the picture!!   And again, I didn’t press down on the cardboard, I really just wanted to make sure there were no bubbles.  If any glue does come out from under the picture, wipe it away as soon as you can, before it dries.

DSC_0027  This is Gibson.

Then I just left it dry for a day.  After it was dry I attached a hook on the back to hang it on the wall.

And that’s it!!!

This is Charlie, my daughters kitty.  I surprised her with the canvas.

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I love this chocolate chip cookie recipe!  LOVE IT!

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I love making them for me!  I love making them for family!  I just love eating them fresh out of the oven with an ice cold glass of milk!!!

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Here’s the recipe:

2 cups plus 2T flour

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

Place in a large bowl and set aside.

1 cup butter (2 sticks) melted

1 cup dark brown sugar, packed (( I have been known to throw in an additional 1-2 T))

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg

1 egg yolk

1/2 T vanilla extract

Add the melted butter to the sugars and whisk well, set aside to cool.  When cool, add the eggs and vanilla.  Transfer butter and sugar mixture to the flour bolw and mix by hand until ust combined.  Don’t over mix!

Add 2 cups of chocolate chips

3/4 cups walnuts chopped (optional)

Fold in the chocolate chips and nuts if using to the cookie batter.  Cover and refrigerate for and hour or two, or overnight which is what I typically do.

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Preheat oven to 325.  Drop balls, a little smaller than a golf ball onto your cookie sheet.  Bake for about 12-14 minutes.  Allow to cool on your cookie sheet for about 5 minutes or so, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.  I bake mine on a baking stone and they bake up perfectly every time!  Store in an airtight container….if they last that long!

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I love to make my veggie lentil soup!  But…. There have been times where the lentils weren’t all that good.  They were sort of hard.  Do I soak them?  Cook them longer?  Hmmm… Crockpot soup!!

I have this small crockpot that is great for dips at parties, a half of a chicken breast, and now for soup!  I love throwing all the ingredients in before I leave for work in the morning, and when I get home I have delicious soup waiting for me!!

The first time I made this soup in the crockpot, I didn’t put any meat in the soup as I don’t usually eat that much meat.  But if you want meat, I suggest using cooked meat.  I’ve used sausage (my fav) or shredded  chicken (from leftovers).  I’m also not a huge fan of beans so if you want to add a little more lentils, go ahead!

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Here’s what I did:

¼ cup green beans, frozen in 1 in. pieces

¼ cup carrots, sliced (either frozen or fresh)

1/4 cup lentils

2-1/2 cups chicken or beef stock

A scant ¼ cup chopped frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

½ -3/4 cup diced tomatoes, canned, undrained

Salt & Pepper

Dash of cayenne pepper or any other spice/herb that you typically like to cook with. 

Toss all the ingredients in the crockpot, season to your taste. Turn on the lowest heat selection.  I wouldn’t do this on a day that you wouldn’t get home longer than 6-8 hours.  Depending on the size of your little crockpot, you may have to adjust the amounts so it doesn’t cook over while you are away.  I always sit my crockpot on a plate before I add anything to it.

This recipe made 2 big bowls of soup for me. And,  I really love a good slice of crusty bread along with this soup.  Or any soup for that matter.

Cheers!

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I was so busy over the holidays with a new job, physical therapy and making a few crafts.   I had intended to post them as I made them but it just didn’t happen.  So I guess I’ll just have to post it all now!!

Christmas a year ago, my daughter and I made those Christmas balls with the glitter, yanno which one I mean right?  They are now all over Pinterest!  But this year I wanted to use paint, not glitter.  So I checked out TONS of You Tube tutorials and they were pretty much all the same technique. 

I may have used too much paint because I had some gorgeous color combinations but by the time all the excess paint drained out it had altered my designs. 

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What I did was gathered and arranged my acrylic paint into the color combos that I wanted.  I would strategically squirt in the paint, cover the opening with a piece of paper towel and shake it until I got the design and mixture I wanted.

Then I set the balls upside down, turning them occasionally to get the paint to run out.  Unfortunately, I did these in the evening and by the time I got up in the morning some paint had settled in one spot and ruined my design.  Oh well, lessons learned.  They still look pretty good and next year I’ll put them in a jar or basket for display.  Next Christmas I hope to do a better job so I can hang them on my tree.

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I made 2 shadow boxes and I love them so much that I may do them as gifts next year.  So that means I will need to start collecting coupons from craft stores and buy them months before Christmas so I can get them at a discount.

Here is the first one that I did, I saw it on Pinterest:

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I took the back off of the frame and cut a piece of scrapbook paper to fit and attached it to the back of the frame.  My girlfriend has some sort of machine that prints the vinyl letters so she did that part for me.  Then, while the back of the frame was off, I added different sized bells.  You can add as many or as little as you want.  I put the back on the frame and put the letters on top of the glass.

Then I started to think of other designs and came up with this one:

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I basically did the same thing but added some “snow”.  I bought the bagged snow at the craft store, I really loved using that because some of it stuck to the inside of the glass and it looks like it is snowing!!!

With the snow that was leftover, I dumped in an apothecary jar and set 2 silver glitter ornaments that I had from last year.  I saw this in a magazine somewhere but they had something different setting in with the snow.  The jar is pictured to the right of the glitter votive cup below.

I made 2 glitter candle votive cups.

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I bought the glass cups at the dollar store.  I quickly slathered on the Mod Podge to the outside of the glass containers and then dunked each side in a plate full of glitter.  A girl can’t have too many sparkly and glittery things!!  I loved the look of them in the evening when the only light I had going on was candle light!  However the glitter does drop off when touched so I think I might look into some sort of a sealer to spray over it.

I also made several scarves, here’s three of them:

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I’ll be setting up an Etsy shop and selling them there.

And finally, my gorgeous peacock feather Christmas wreath!  LOVE!! 

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I bought an peacock feather wreath at an import store and simply added the blue balls and hydrangea flowers.  I was however, stuck on which color to go with.  I also had some green balls and flowers that matched the inside of the feather but decided to stick with the blue. 

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Stay tuned though, there are some additional types of ornaments that I will be making yet!  I’m saving those for some cold wintery weekend when it’s just too bitter outside and I want to hibernate for a few days.  It doesn’t have to be Christmas to make ornaments!!!

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