Category Archives: Uncategorized

10 Hours or Less

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A new year means a new start!  And, like previous new years that have come my way, a resolution is bound to be established.  On Christmas, my mother-in-law, hubby, and myself joined together to make the same resolution together.  Our resolution is simple: We will watch only 10 hours of television a week.

Now, I’m sure some of you are aghast that we watched more than that to begin with.  In an attempt to be as honest with my readers as possible, I will ashamedly admit that I watched A LOT of television previously.  It didn’t feel like it… maybe it was just on in the background while I scrolled through Pinterest, or it was simply something to look at while I mindlessly ate my lunch.  No matter what the reason (or excuse) I had for watching it, the bottom line is it was poisoning me and my health in general.  And I didn’t realize the extent of this until I hit the “power” button.

This morning as I was eating my breakfast, a certain buzzing noise was kind of driving me crazy.  I got up only to realize it was the refrigerator running (better go catch it!).  Is that the sound my refrigerator makes?!  Who knew??  Now, the sounds of my house and my neighborhood in general have become my background noise.  I never knew these sounds existed because the sound of infomercials, car commercials, and screaming reality TV stars were constantly overpowering them.

The idea of the three of us doing this together is for a couple of reasons…
1) accountability: This is not the type of resolution I could do on my own, while my husband sat engulfed in the latest episode of Duck Dynasty.  Let’s face it- I have some willpower, but that situation would not last long.
2) It’s only been a few days, and we are already swapping stories of our various revolutions.  We have become more aware of our stress levels, what we’re eating, our conversations with one another, and our activity level.

I can’t wait to see how this will change us as our resolution continues!

I hope to share with you some of my lessons learned from this change in my life, and I hope I will also have some great DIY projects to share as well.  Now that I have all of this free time, I plan to cook more, start some projects I’ve been wanting to pursue, and definitely post more often on my blog I enjoy so much!

Do you make New Years resolutions?  What are they??  I enjoy hearing from you so much!!

~GOD BLESS!!

keep-calm-and-turn-off-your-tv

DIY Bronzer

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Now that our 80 degree days are behind us, some pale-skinned individuals like myself look to bronzers to enhance what our momma’s didn’t give us.  I headed to my kitchen last weekend to put together an all-natural bronzer and I would love to share the recipe with you!

Here are your ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon powder
  • 1 tsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp nutmeg powder
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 15 drops rose otto, lavender, or rosemary essential oil

If you don’t have essential oil, don’t fret.  I prefer a powder-based bronzer so I did not include it.  The essential oil will make it more compact.  Begin with a clean make-up compact.  I re-used an old powder container I had been saving for a moment of beauty genius (ta-dah!)

Next, mix your ingredients.  A few things to remember: the cocoa powder will add depth of color, the corn starch will even out the color, and cinnamon adds glow.  After using the original recipe above for a few days, I went back and added some more cocoa powder.  I prefer to use my bronzer for contouring and I felt like the addition of more cocoa powder helped.

Finally, put your finished product in your make-up container.  Now you are all set to be a bronzed beauty throughout the coming months!

Have a great week!!

Punkin Seeds!

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Of course I know “punkin” isn’t a real word, but that’s how my husband refers to pumpkins so this post title is dedicated to him.  Love you, even if you use language sometimes that would make me think you have fewer teeth than you actually do.

I would like to share with you a Halloween tradition for me since college.  Thanks to my roomies my sophomore year of college, I discovered what most people already know: that pumpkin seeds toasted with seasoning salt are the best.thing.ever.    I love carving pumpkins around Halloween, but knowing that you will ultimately end up with a tasty treat makes it that much more enjoyable!

First, of course: carve those pumpkins!!  Have fun with it!  What face are you making? Is it a character? A person?  An animal?  Go crazy!

Matt going to town on his punkin

Once you have all of the innards out of the pumpkin, separate the seeds from the goo.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  After separating, rinse all of the pumpkins seeds so they are free of “pumpkin film”.  Then put them on an ungreased cookie sheet.  It’s ok if they’re wet – the water will evaporate in the oven.

Now you will sprinkle all of the seeds with the seasoning salt of your chosing.  I prefer Lawry’s, but it’s totally up to you.

Put the seeds in the oven for about 10-14 minutes.  I recommend checking them at 10 minutes to do a taste test.  There’s nothing worse to me than a soggy pumpkin seed, but some prefer them soggy.
If you prefer them on the crispy side like myself, leaving them in for closer to 12 minutes is perfect.

Yummy!

Now you are free to enjoy!

Here’s what our pumpkins look like on the front porch:

I love this fall wreath!

You literally have to hoard your own secret stash of pumpkin seeds if you want them to last more than a day in our house.
Is this a Halloween tradition in your home?  As always, I love to hear from you!

Cabo San Loco… Day 1

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Boy do I have some stories for you!  First let me say I am so thankful we were able to take a trip like this together, and overall our vacation in Cabo gave us the opportunity to connect in ways we could not have predicted.  We are blessed!

Tropical vacations for fair-skinned individuals like myself involve freckles populating my entire body to the point that, from about 100 yards away, it resembles a tan-like appearance.  Here I am prior to leaving Chicago.  We haven’t even left the country and this is the deepest tan I will have.  It’s a spray tan.

After getting through the maze of the airport and heaving our travel-weary bodies into a taxi, we made it.  The resort was good.  Not excellent, but I’m not going to be the booger in the punch bowl on this.
We were at a resort in Cabo.  Enough said.
Things were going great.  As soon as we checked into the hotel we made our way to the pool and immediately met 2 couples that were staying at our same resort.  They were also from Ohio and had that Midwestern warmth we love so much!  These Toledo-ians were Paul and Becky, and Dennis and Joyce.

Dennis and Joyce have been vacationing in Cabo for about 4 years now and had a lot of tips they were more than happy to share with us.  “SKY AUCTION DOT COM!” Dennis kept telling us.  It started as a mere suggestion, but soon became the topic of every third conversation.  Dennis was only trying to help us plan our future vacations, but this guy should seriously get paid royalties from skyauction.com for as much as he promotes it.  We found out later Dennis may or may not have gotten kicked out of a time share presentation because he talked about it so much.

After chatting with our new Cabo/Ohio BFF’s for a while, we decided to go to dinner with them at a local place called Maro’s.  It’s in downtown Cabo and is not someplace we would have ever found without their guidance.  At Maro’s we feasted on Mexican fare at a price suited for American tourists.  We also couldn’t resist getting their signature drink, a Beer-garita.  It was a great little place with an even better atmosphere.
Apparently we weren’t as “in” with the local crowd as we thought, because we discovered these hanging on the wall around the corner from our table.

So it may not have been as authentic as we thought…

After dinner we walked the streets, stopping to pet the lizard, and ended at our destination Cabo Blue.  Cabo Blue is an outdoor sports bar, complete with a projection screen on the side of a wooden building showing the current game/contest/fight.
Saturday night it happened to be boxing.

Paul and me meeting a new friend

The four of us found a large table and ordered drinks while Matt and Paul found a small cigar shop to peruse.  Matt and Paul returned with their purchases and Matt handed me my cigar.  We do not regularly smoke cigars, but it is a guilty pleasure that we enjoy from time to time.  And when is a better time to indulge in a guilty pleasure than on vacation?!
Light that thing, babe!
I wasn’t but 5 puffs into my cigar and zero sips into my beer when I knew I needed to stop smoking and drinking.  My head was spinning and I was most definitely out of it.  I excused myself to use the restroom, but as soon as I walked in, I turned around and walked back out.  That’s the last thing I remember until I woke back up to the sound of people yelling my name and asking me all kinds of questions at the same time.

I completely passed out after coming out of the bathroom.  It’s ok though, luckily my skull took the fall for me.  Dennis told me later it sounded like a melon was smashed on the pavement when I fell.
Even writing that makes me nauseous all over again.

When I awoke, there were people yelling questions from all angles.  “WHAT IS YOUR NAME?! WHERE ARE YOU?! WHAT DAY IS IT?! WHAT’S YOUR HUSBAND’S NAME?!” Even if I hadn’t just suffered an excruciating fall I would want to punch all of these people in the face.  My current state made the later impossible, so I just laid there like the slug I was and thankfully blurted out the appropriate answers.

After a short time I asked to sit up.  This position lasted approximately 15 seconds before I needed to lay back down again.
I could hear ambulance sirens in the background.

The next thing I knew I felt myself getting strapped onto a gurney and a brace being secured around my neck.
And off we went!

I will spare you the details of my ultimately humiliating ambulance ride, as this must remain on a need to know basis.  Grin.

We arrived at the hospital to a very friendly doctor who spoke English very well.  His attempts to joke with us while I was in and out of consciousness were interrupted occasionally by his Metallica ringtone.  Was this really happening??
After receiving 2 IV bags of fluids, we were told I would be admitted for the night and given another bag of fluids.  So there we were.  Matt; our Metallica-loving, English-speaking doctor; the Spanish-only speaking, nodding and smiling nurse; and me.  Just the four of us.  In the whole hospital.

Just my bump and me

The next morning, after some outside assistance, we were discharged and released back into our Mexican paradise.

And our vacation resumed.

Catch-Up

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I haven’t written in a while because there is so much going on right now I have no idea where to begin!

Update #1: We successfully found renters for our duplex in Michigan- praise God!  It happened very quickly and for that we are so grateful.  The exterior of the house was in the process of being painted and they should be finishing this week.  Here are some of the most recent pictures I have:

It’s definitely starting to look great!  Much better than how it looked when we purchased it.  You can see those pictures here.

Update #2: Since the house in Michigan is rented, we were able to begin the search for a house to rent in Ohio.  Well last weekend we found one!  We instantly fell in love with this home and couldn’t let it slip away.  I’ll just show you the outside for now.  You know how I love a big reveal!

And get this- we’ll be living on a street named Michigan.  We love that.

Update #3: With all of this excitement churning around us, what better time to take a vacation, right?! Why not!  So in October we will be taking our first official vacation together.  I am so happy Matt took it upon himself to make this happen for us.  Believe me, we need it.

It will be so amazing to celebrate our 2 year anniversary in Mexico!  We can barely stand it!

I’m just posting this picture because I miss my Zoe so badly.  While we want to get Zoe back from a dog’s paradise my parent’s house as soon as we move into our new house, with our vacation not but 2 weeks later, it doesn’t make sense to do it that way.   *sigh*   It’s hard to be a puppy parent.  We can’t wait to squeeze this little body and give her lots of kisses.

I will leave you with these few updates.  There is much to say about this huge transition, but that is enough for now.

“Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee.”
— Psalm 55:22

GOD BLESS!!

Love Letter…

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A love note to my husband.  When’s the last time you wrote a love letter to your significant other?  Give it a try and see what happens…

Dear Matt,

You wouldn’t believe what I’m doing right now.  Listening to DMB… shocked?  Would it surprise you to know that when we’re separated for whatever reason, I listen to Dave just to feel closer to you?  And you thought I didn’t like them.  My secret is out.

Six weeks ago our marriage was attacked on all sides.  We were not prepared for this battle and it almost ate us alive.  I am now ashamed to say at the time I was not hopeful we would make it.  I was done, out the door.  You said you wanted to fight for us, but I wasn’t sure.  Many nights I spent on my knees, praying for us.

And then, slowly… ssllloooowwlly… things began to change.

We began to talk to each other.  Really talk.  We looked each other in the eyes when we spoke, and we said things we had held onto for years.  We slowly felt more and more connected to each other.   I was literally feeling the shape of my heart change toward you.  I truly believe we are witnessing how beautiful and sacred marriage can be.  We are meant to be together, and He’s not afraid to show Himself in our marriage to tell us that when we need to hear it.

I believe in miracles, and I truly believe our relationship today is a miracle in progress.

I am so excited to move with you to Cincinnati in LESS THAN TWO WEEKS! Wow.  For a while I did not understand why we were being called to move during a time of such turmoil.  I would literally ask out loud “Lord, why NOW?? Why? Why would you move us to a different city during the fight of our lives??!”  I had resolved that I may never have the answer to that question.

Now I can see the beautiful truth beginning to unfold before us.  I believe we are supposed to physically leave this city, this house, this state, and completely start again.  How many times do you get a chance like that?? Not many, but we have been given this opportunity.  Together, we will pack up our memories of this home, hug friends good-bye, and leave the past in the rearview mirror.  Together, we will turn the key into a new chapter of our lives.  We will explore this new city together and create all new memories.  Together.

I love you more today than I ever have, and for that I am so thankful.

Oooh- my favorite song is playing!! Do you remember this one?

I walk half way around the world,
Just to sit down by your side.
And I would do most anything girl,
To be the apple of your eye.

Troubles they may come and go,
But good times they are the gold.
And if this road gets rocky girl,
Just steady as we go.

Any place you wanna go,
Know I’ll be next to you.
If it’s treasure baby you’re looking for,
I’ll search the whole world through.

Know troubles they may come and go,
But good times they’re the gold.
So if the road gets rocky girl,
Just steady as we go.

When the storm comes,
You shelter me.
And I don’t say a word,
And you know exactly what I mean.
In the darkest times,
You shine on me.
You set me free.
And keep me steady as we go.

So if your heart rings dry my love,
I will fill your cup.
And if your load gets heavy girl,
I will lift you up.

Troubles they may come and go,
But good times be the gold.
So if this road gets rocky girl,
Just steady as we go.

  Here’s to falling deeper in love with each other every day!

XOXO

Walking through the Fire

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Get ready for a long post.  There, you’ve been warned.

I would like to start with Psalm 25, which I have been reading as if my life depended upon it.  As if I needed to read it in order to put one foot in front of the other lately.  And frankly, it has been exactly that.

In you, Lord my God,
    I put my trust.

I trust in you;
    do not let me be put to shame,
    nor let my enemies triumph over me.
No one who hopes in you
    will ever be put to shame,
but shame will come on those
    who are treacherous without cause.

Show me your ways, Lord,
    teach me your paths.
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
    for you are God my Savior,
    and my hope is in you all day long.
Remember, Lord, your great mercy and love,
    for they are from of old.
Do not remember the sins of my youth
    and my rebellious ways;
according to your love remember me,
    for you, Lord, are good.

Good and upright is the Lord;
    therefore he instructs sinners in his ways.
He guides the humble in what is right
    and teaches them his way.
10 All the ways of the Lord are loving and faithful
    toward those who keep the demands of his covenant.
11 For the sake of your name, Lord,
    forgive my iniquity, though it is great.

12 Who, then, are those who fear the Lord?
    He will instruct them in the ways they should choose.[b]
13 They will spend their days in prosperity,
    and their descendants will inherit the land.
14 The Lord confides in those who fear him;
    he makes his covenant known to them.
15 My eyes are ever on the Lord,
    for only he will release my feet from the snare.

16 Turn to me and be gracious to me,
    for I am lonely and afflicted.
17 Relieve the troubles of my heart
    and free me from my anguish.
18 Look on my affliction and my distress
    and take away all my sins.
19 See how numerous are my enemies
    and how fiercely they hate me!

20 Guard my life and rescue me;
    do not let me be put to shame,
    for I take refuge in you.
21 May integrity and uprightness protect me,
    because my hope, Lord,[c] is in you.

22 Deliver Israel, O God,
    from all their troubles!

AMEN!!

Have you gone through a season when you thought you were being eaten alive? Eaten alive by the enemy, that is?  When everything you thought you knew was no longer safe, was no longer stable, no longer made sense? 

Have you been there?  By “there” I mean a place where you no longer recognize yourself in the mirror.  I’m not talking about seeing that donut transfer to your hips before you’ve completely digested it- I’m talking about looking in the mirror and literally warping into the worst version of yourself right before your very eyes.  “There” meaning you can’t stand to be in the presence of couples.  Couples that you’ve been friends with for years.  Couples that you love dearly and they love you in return, but finding yourself looking at them in judgment and resentment.  “There” as in waking up with tears running down your face, and having a permanent makeup-less streak on your cheeks until your head hits the pillow that night.

  I know there are those of you that know exactly what I’m talking about.  I know because I’ve talked to you.  I’ve spoken with those who have made it out alive.  And it gives me hope.  I’m not talking about people who have gone through the fire and walked out unscathed.  I’m talking about the nitty gritty, lonely, embarrassing details.  What scars do you have?  What are you STILL working on?  How did you fall victim to the enemy to the point where you never thought you’d recover?  How are you a work in progress?? 

One of my mentors, Beth Moore has provided me with this hope recently. It’s not the first time. And I know it won’t be the last.  If I haven’t shared the link to her blog previously, here is it again.   

Why is it that when we hit our bottom he is ALWAYS there to show us he has not left us?  Not for one millisecond.  He is there in our deepest, humiliating, hateful thoughts.  And He is there to love us and forgive us.  No questions asked. 

Recently, while perusing my favorite mind-numbing website, Pinterest, I came upon a lovely quote by C.S. Lewis:

To be a Christian means to forgive the
inexcusable because God has
forgiven the inexcusable in you.
 

 

Thanks, C.S. Lewis.  I needed that.