50 Things about me at 50





  1. I am a grandmother to a beautiful baby girl, McKenzie.
  2. This is the first birthday I have ever dreaded, but now that it’s here, it’s no big deal.
  3. I no longer have any teenagers.
  4. Today is my last day of my job at the church where I have worked for the last 5 years.
  5. I like to write with very thin pens, currently a Sigma Uniball.207
  6. Next weekend, we are heading to Grand Cayman, which will be my first trip to the Caribbean ever.
  7. Currently, I’m addicted to grape Propel in my water and they seem to have discontinued the drops.
  8. Mark A and I walk the dogs, Summer (8) and Brooklyn (3) almost every day.
  9. I want to write a novel. Maybe YA?
  10. I’d like to post regularly on my blog.
  11. Thinking about all of the projects I’d like to do now that I won’t be going to work. Many lists have been started.
  12. Recently started rowing at the gym, and I really like it.
  13. I love Kate Spade purses.
  14. I’ve recently started collecting Alex and Ani bracelets.
  15. I love to make lists and cross things off.
  16. I almost always prefer the book to the movie.
  17. Chocolate Chip Cookies are the perfect food.
  18. For birthdays, I am a white cake with buttercream frosting girl. Otherwise, Lemon Supreme is probably my favorite cake.
  19. Popcorn is my salty snack of choice, and I can eat that whether I’m hungry or not.
  20. Reading by a swimming pool is one of my most relaxing activities.
  21. I love notebooks of all kinds and sizes, and am currently writing regularly in no less than 6.
  22. This is my seventh birthday since my mom died, which makes it seem like a long time ago.
  23. As always, I’d like to lose a little weight, but I am trying Intuitive Eating for real this time. The results might be slower, but I think they will be longer lasting.
  24. I almost never polish my fingernails with anything other than clear polish. I cannot stand a single chip on fingernail polish, and so I just have to stay away from it. Love color on my toes.
  25. I love having fresh flowers in the house, and if I were very wealthy, I would have a flower budget and regular deliveries.
  26. I drive a 2013 Honda Accord, and it is my favorite car I’ve ever had.
  27. I almost never watch real TV, but I do watch Netflix. Currently on rotation, Buffy, the Vampire Slayer and Gilmore Girls. I will also use it to catch up on The Flash and Arrow so that I can watch the next season. On amazon prime, I’ve been watching old Amazing Race series. Having a “Smart TV” is so very convenient for me.
  28. Alex just moved out 3 weeks ago and I miss her. I’m excited for her job, though, so that’s good.
  29. I want to finish the 250 bag challenge that Mark A issued almost 2 years ago. I think I only have about 10 bags to go. Need to pretend we’re moving.
  30. I want to make an upholstered headboard this summer.
  31. Websites/Apps I visit regularly include: Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook.
  32. I play a few games on apps- solitaire, WordBubbles, Two Dots and Words with Friends, although the only person I play regularly on that is Tony. It’s a bit of an obsession.
  33. My love language is gifts.
  34. My friend Rhett’s untimely death has motivated me in multiple areas of my life.
  35. I love painting, whether its walls or furniture or canvases.
  36. I spend too much money. I’m working on that.
  37. I love to cook, and I love cookbooks with pictures. Without pictures, they’re worthless.
  38. My eyesight seems to be getting worse. Bummer.
  39. I am on a constant quest for self-improvement.
  40. I don’t really like to drink, but a margarita is my favorite cocktail.
  41. I am very close to my siblings.
  42. I love musicals and live theater and wish I could go see something every month.
  43. I love to learn things, pretty much anything.
  44. I want to be a better photographer this year.
  45. The fact that you can put books on hold at the library makes me very happy.
  46. I love strawberries and eat them every day that I can.
  47. Favorite Blogs I read: Modern Mrs. Darcy, Putting Me Together, XHeightMent, The Nester
  48. I want to take pictures of all of my clothes so I can use my StyleBook app and plan clothes.
  49. I love jewelry, and Noonday has become a recent favorite.
  50. My life is good and I want to always remember to appreciate it.

Mother’s Day


This is a blog post I wrote in May of 2009. I’m reposting it here, because aside from the face that my mother is no longer with us, it still applies. Happy Mother’s Day!

For finding your mother, there’s one certain test. You must look for the creature who loves you the best.
From “Little Miss Spider” by David Kirk

I like this quote, and I certainly find it to be true in my own life and the lives of my children. I have the world’s greatest mother (who doesn’t even know I have a blog lest you think I am buttering her up!) who always made me feel as if I could do anything. I still think that most days. I try to remember all of the things she said to me that made me feel that way, but I can never think of anything specific. The things I remember her saying are things like, What a life, what a war! and Life’s not fair. Hardly the inspiring you to do anything quotes. I suppose it was more in the way she lived, then, always believing in me. She was always happy for my successes, and she never acted surprised over any accolades I might receive. Believe me, I have thought about it in an attempt to recreate that feeling of confidence for my own children. Hopefully, they have gotten a bit of it through osmosis. I remember the day Tony was about 5 or 6 days old, and I was in Hawaii, and Mama hadn’t come out to see me yet. I called her and told her I thought I was wasting time, that I needed to be teaching him something. (can you believe any of my children turned out semi-normal?) She told me I was teaching him that I would always be there when he cried. That is a pretty awesome responsibility, that being there whenever someone cries. I know my mother would still be there for me if I were crying, and I hope my children know the same thing when they are parents, too.
Happy Mother’s Day- tell your mother that you love her if you still can.

Day in the Life- March 29, 2016


Following along with Ali Edwards’ Day in the Life, I collected photos and took a few notes during my day on Tuesday. I didn’t have anything in particular going on, no specific errands, no hours at work, so it was a completely normal day. I think that’s the point, but I feel like the world’s most boring person right now as I try to put this together into some sort of narrative arc.


This is Spring Break in our county in Virginia, but as I explained to some high schoolers this week, that doesn’t really mean anything to me anymore. I don’t have any kids in the school system, so it really isn’t a break from much, except our bible study group, which didn’t meet because of it. I used to long for spring break since it gave us a break from sports practices (occasionally) and from dance class and competitions.


03:00- Alex got up to go to work at Target. She has recently started this part-time job as she looks for work in her degree area (graphic design). Her team works from either 04:00-12:30 or 06:00-2:30, M-F. It’s great that she doesn’t have to work weekends or nights, but today was her first 04:00 start. Luckily, someone from work offered to drive her so that Mark and I didn’t have to get up. (We’re currently sharing a car.)

Many hours later- 07:15-


I woke up. Mark was getting ready for work and snapped this picture of me still in bed, looking at my iPad. On a work day, I normally get up around 6:30, but since I didn’t have work, I got to be a little bit lazy.

07:30- shower and get dressed

08:00- make the bed

08:15- dry my hair


My morning sound track is the Today Show. I’ve watched this show forever, it feels like. I don’t remember it in high school, but since I’ve been an adult, I pretty much start my day with the Today Show. While I was busy getting ready for the day, I separated my laundry so that I could do my clothes today. Since Mark A retired, he does his own laundry, and he also does all of the sheets and towels, because the washer and dryer are in the basement, where he spends a lot of his time watching sports. So I had two loads and that was it for the day.



08:30- breakfast

usually 2 scrambled eggs with a little bit of cheese and strawberries. Trying to adopt the principles of Intuitive Eating, so having to think about eating a little more. Trying not to get distracted while I eat. Harder than it sounds. Forgot to take the picture of my eggs before I ate them. :/


09:00- curl my hair so I can leave the house by 9:30. I usually read while I do this, something on my kindle app on my iPad. Today was Intuitive Eating.


09:25- put the dogs up so I can leave. If they hear me open the cookie jar that has their treats in it, they run up the stairs to get their cookies. I put them in their respective Kong toys, and they are super happy for me to leave.

09:50- Exchange on base. I usually stop in here for anything I need before I go to the commissary, because this is almost always my only stop on base for the week. Today, I needed to replenish my makeup foundation and my powder, and I happened to see a red shirt for Alex to wear to work, so I picked that up, too. (Red shirts are apparently not in fashion right now, and they are very hard to find in stores!)


10:10- commissary shopping. I go every Tuesday pretty much without fail. I meal plan on Monday nights and make my shopping list, and then I shop on Tuesday morning. It helps me to have a routine, and the commissary isn’t too busy at that time. I spend about $185 every week right now

11:10- unloading groceries at home and putting them away (the worst part of commissary shopping)


11:30- Mark A comes home for lunch, Since he works only about a mile and half away from the house now, he comes home for lunch when he can. It’s nice when I can be here, too.

12:25- I go to pick Alex up from work. She meets me at the door and we look around at cute stuff in Target for a few minutes. I buy hair color to touch up my roots (whee!)

1:10- home from Target. Alex is understandably exhausted and has a second lunch. (her first was at 9 am) I spend some time writing and posting a blog post. Trying to get back in that habit.

3:00 Alex and I watch some Friday Night Lights on Netflix. The concept of the binge is one Alex is a big fan of. We’ve worked our way through a few series, Gilmore Girls, Jane the Virgin, Arrow, The Flash, How to Get Away With Murder, About a Boy, etc….

4:00- Susan Usry calls and we talk while she is driving somewhere. We talk fairly frequently. We actually discussed this project on the phone. Despite the fact that she lives in Georgia, and I have lived all over the country, we still talk. Nice to be in regular contact with someone you went to high school with. She’s the only real scrapbooker I know who keeps it up and tries the different projects and things that I like to do, too.


5:00- Alex gets ready to go to her bible study group (they didn’t take the night off) and Mark and I walk the dogs. We normally walk them whenever he gets home from work. They really need it. It’s not bad for us, either.

6:15- I make enchiladas for dinner. These are so easy and they don’t take long to mix up.

6:55- Mark and I have dinner. When it’s just the two of us, it doesn’t take a long time. I mention the vacuum cleaner is making a funny sound, so while I do the dishes, he takes a look at that.IMG_9977

7:20- I help with the vacuum and we figure it out! YAY! (I was worried we’d need to buy a new one.) I mention that I want to try the furniture a different way, and we rearrange the family room, flipping the wall that the couch is on.

8:00- Mark A goes downstairs to watch some TV and work on the taxes (ick). Alex comes home a little later and we watch some more FNL.

9:15- Alex and I head upstairs to get ready for bed, since she has to be at work at 4 am again tomorrow. Once I’m in bed, I play Two Dots and WordBubbles on my phone, and I read for a while.

10:30- I’m light’s out. Mark A isn’t far behind me tonight.

Things I’d like to do differently at this time in my life:

I am a person who measures my day by how much I get done. I realize this isn’t the healthiest outlook, and so I fight it. I think my main problem is that I don’t use the time I have as effectively as I could. So the things I say I want to be doing, scrapbooking, reading, blogging, DIY projects- I’m not actually doing, and I’m wasting a lot of time on things like Netflix. Right now I don’t mind too much, because I’m spending time with Alex, and I know she won’t be with me forever. I’d like to figure that dichotomy out- why am I not doing what I say I want to be doing? Have I made it too difficult to do those things?

Not sure how to put this together in a scrapbooking format, but I’m thinking either tiny (4×4″?) mini-book or just a couple of pages of my regular (8.5×11″) album. Hopefully, I’ll have it to share next week.

What details of your life are different today than 3 years ago? Have you ever thought about recording them? What would you want to know about your grandmother’s day-to-day details? Record that somewhere.

What I’ve Learned Working with Creatives

KJ03A8R2NCI like to think of myself as a creative person, and I think I am on some level, but I am not a professional creative. I work with professional creatives, graphic designers and videographers, on a daily basis. I am an assistant, project manager and photographer on that team. I work with their designs in my job, so I get an up close and personal look at what it means to create usable and good design.

  • Good design takes time. I’m an achiever by nature, so sometimes the drive to finish something and check it off the list dominates my priorities. I’ve noticed that good design doesn’t work that way. There is a lot of mental preparation and inspiration gathering that happens before anything else can start. I’m usually so excited to get started on something that I just jump in without considering other options or methods. Taking your time allows all (or a lot of) the alternatives to present themselves and be appreciated or dismissed. Getting it done for the sake of getting it done doesn’t produce the best result.R3WN4LPQU6
  • Good design is only aided by collaboration. I happen to work with two incredibly talented designers who are very different, but are alike in one amazing way- they have no ego about their work. This allows them to offer suggestions to each other and not worry about the reaction. Every time I see a design and think it’s fantastic, the other designer might make a simple suggestion that will elevate the design even more. I’ve never seen a suggestion make things worse between these two. It’s interesting to me, and makes me want to find a group of people that can make those suggestions to me about my work to improve it. I also have to work on my ego to know that I don’t always know best, even if it is my idea originally. That might be the hardest part.HABABZA1UY
  • Everything is a source of inspiration. Not only are visual sources good inspiration, but podcasts, baby items, jewelry and music can inspire design. It doesn’t have to be visual at all. Constantly filling themselves up with inspiration from areas outside of work allows the ideas to be present when they need them. Sometimes I feel like “looking around” isn’t productive, but if all you ever do is command output with no input, your design will be compromised and become stale. Same with writing. Need to read to write.

Working with artists gives me a vantage point I’ve never had before. It’s fascinating and inspiring. I hope to use what I’m learning to improve my own work.

The Five Love Languages

think-you-dont-like-romance-novels-ftrI can’t remember how many years ago I heard about The Five Love Languages, but I don’t think I had all of my children yet, so that’s at least 20 years. The knowledge from this book makes relationships make more sense. Everyone has a primary “love language” and when that area of need is being met, they feel more loved. Even if you feel like you are always telling the other person how much you love them and how great they are, if Words of Affirmation isn’t their love language, they’re not feeling it. The five languages are: Acts of Service, Words of Affirmation, Physical Touch, Quality Time and Receiving Gifts.

Love-LanguagesHere’s a basic definition of each:

Acts of Service– the ideal expression of love for this person is “What can I do for you?” Your loved one helping you with tasks you don’t like or when you’re stressed- that’s the ideal. Always leaving you with the housework is a big deal to this person.

Words of Affirmation- for this person, actions don’t speak louder than words. Telling you how they feel about you is the ultimate expression of love. Never complimenting this person about anything will make love grow colder.

Physical Touch- touching your loved one makes you feel loved the most. This doesn’t necessarily mean sex, but needing to hold hands or sit close on the couch. Lots of women think this must be their husband’s love language, but that’s not necessarily true.

Quality Time– just spending time together makes you feel loved more than fancy words or helping around the house. Full, undivided attention (no smart phones, tvs, even food) is what makes this work. Postponing plans or distractions bug this person and make them feel unloved.

Receiving Gifts– for this person, receiving a gift means more than any other expression of love. It isn’t necessarily a materialistic need, but more that the thought and effort that was put into getting the gift. Missing a birthday is a huge deal to this person.

Knowing my propensity for all kinds of personality tests, you won’t be surprised that I took this test years ago, and I’ve taken it multiple times since then. I always get the same answer, so I think it’s pretty accurate. How do you know which love language you are? You can take this free quiz:


Answer the question about if you’re in a relationship or single, and the test will start.

And, if you can, have your loved ones take the test, too. Even children have love languages and knowing your child’s will make it easier to help them feel loved.

As Valentine’s Day approaches, knowing which love language your spouse is could help you give the best Valentine.

IMG_8898If you’re wondering, my love language is Receiving Gifts and my husband’s is Acts of Service. (our last place languages are almost mirrors of each other’s number one) That means we are very different. Knowing our love languages makes it easier to make the other feel loved.

What’s your love language? Do you think it’s accurate?



Groundhog Day

Ever since I saw the movie Groundhog Day with Bill Murray waaaaay back in the day, Groundhog Day has come to mean doing the same thing over and over rather than wondering if the rodent can predict an early spring. (which he did today, surprisingly.)

It got me thinking about things I do over and over again, and if there were any ways to make those things easier or better or different. Some are things I’ve already changed, some of these are things I want to change.

One of the things I do over and over is housework. I’m trying to establish some routines for myself as far as housekeeping is concerned. I adopted Tuesday as “Grocery Day” a couple of years ago, and it has really helped in the grocery area. I used to shop as infrequently as possible, and I always bought a lot of “just in case” items, which just caused a lot of food to spoil before we could eat it, and ensure that I never had exactly what I needed to make dinner. Now I plan the week’s meals on Monday night (or Tuesday morning if I’m too tired) and then I go to the commissary to shop. Every week. I thought that would make it harder since I hated to go shopping, but actually, it makes it easier. I buy less, which means I put away less, etc. Now, I’m trying to establish the same sort of system for housework. Tuesday just became “Grocery and Bedroom and Bathroom Day.” Not as easy to finish, but I think the long-term result will be the same as Grocery Day. If I don’t let it get so bad, cleaning it won’t be so labor-intensive. Started today. Hope it sticks.

Another thing I do over and over is bake. I’ve shoved everything I need for baking onto the floor of my pantry, in baskets. It’s a mess and it’s hard to find anything. I plan to organize that part of my pantry so that finding everything I need to make cookies isn’t so hard. I’m hoping to have perhaps one basket that has everything needed for cookies, and some other baskets for less frequently used items. Also, it just needs cleaned up.

Libraries. One of the best ideas ever. #books #reader #benfranklinwasagenius

Libraries. One of the best ideas ever. #books #reader #benfranklinwasagenius

I check out books from the library with some frequency. That means I need to know where the books I have finished are when I am ready to go pick up something I’ve put on hold. Sometimes, they would be in the basket in the family room with the other unread books I’m hoping to get to, but sometimes, they would end up in whatever room I finished them in. I have an extremely sturdy tote bag that my sister-in-law gave me one Christmas, and now, I put the books in the bag as I finish them. The bag stays in my front coat closet, and I can grab it when I’m getting my purse and coat and know that I have all the books I want to return in it already. No more fishing around for books I’ve finished. (Partially finished books are now the big issue.)

Sometimes the simplest changes make life so much easier. I put a low shelf in my front closet two years ago when my husband and I changed it to hooks from a rod. Now my purse and the bag I take back and forth to work have a place to live. It is amazing how much easier that one little change made in my day-to-day life. I’m hopeful these other changes will be as successful for me.

Tell me any tricks you’ve tried to make something you do over and over easier.


What I’ve Learned (January 2016)


Slow and steady really can win the race.

I was slow at the start of this month with plans and goals and lists. I think I was a bit overwhelmed after my holiday season. However, I have given a lot of thought to those goals and plans, and I think I might be more committed, even if I was a bit slow to the start. I know there are a lot of people who will tell you you don’t have to wait until the first of the year to make changes, and I do indeed know that, as I often use other arbitrary start-again dates throughout the year to commence various self-improvement plans. However, the start of a new year? Come one, that is one of the best times to make those changes (if you are ready) because lots of other people are trying to make changes, too. There’s a bit of a community spirit behind it. So, even though my list might not have been ready on January 1, I am definitely committed to it on January 30.


It doesn’t have to be fun, just effective.

One of my oft-repeated goals is to lose weight. (I realize I am not alone in this.) I have recently read The 4-hour body by Tim Ferriss and am trying to implement his Slow Carb Diet. So far, so good, for me. It is pretty strict during the week and then you get a cheat day once a week. In the book, he is answering some of the criticism he’s gotten for all the restrictions, and he says it is “not designed to be fun, but effective.” For some reason that phrase stuck with me. When I am thinking I don’t really like the limitations of the diet, I remember that phrase and it makes me feel better. So far, the scale has been moving in the right direction, so it is easy to keep relying on that- it might not be fun, but it is effective. And right now, I need effective. Over a year of trying to handle things on my own resulted in no appreciative losses, so something had to be done. The best part of this diet is that there is no counting of anything. I know what I’m allowed to eat every day, and I can have as much of that as I want. Then I get a cheat day, where I can have anything and I don’t have to track that either. In so many diets, I became obsessed with calories or points or whatever, and how many did I have left for the day and what could I eat with that many left, and pretty much all I thought about was food. This way, I don’t really think about food very much at all during the day. (I do think about things I want to eat on my cheat day, let’s not be crazy.)

shoveling24” of snow is a lot of snow.

I love snow. I love snow from the comfort of my home, sipping hot chocolate or hot tea and looking out at it. Luckily for me, my husband does the shoveling around here. And has he ever been shoveling. He has shoveled multiple times a day for the last three days trying to make sure we would be able to leave the house if we need to. I am so thankful he is here and willing to work so hard. We currently have a wager on the last day snow will be in our front yard. (our house faces north and shadows the whole front yard) and our guesses are all at least a month out. We rarely get this much snow at once (I can only remember one other winter.) We tend to be in the 6-8” range for a big snow. The difference is pretty astounding. And being from the south, my plan for snow is to wait it out and stay inside until it’s gone. (In Atlanta, that is rarely more than one day.) Here, I’ll have to get going soon, but it’s enough that even people used to it aren’t up for going out in it.

Even when you know it’s coming for almost a year, the death of a friend hurts really badly.

When I started this blog, I mentioned a friend who had been diagnosed with brain cancer (a particular offense given how brilliant his brain is) and that his diagnosis, along with the beautiful way he was handling it, inspired me to start this blog. His news brought with it the realization that I had many things I wanted to do, and I wasn’t doing them. Knowing something, anything, might happen that would keep me from it, was finally the impetus I needed to sit down and start writing. He isn’t gone yet, but the end days are near, and while thinking of his family who will miss him oh so much more than I, I have been hurting physically for them. I have also spent a lot of time remembering great things and great times and the great soul he is. Pretty sure my Mama is waiting to greet him when he hits heaven. She’ll have a great time showing her friend around. (Given how private he is and that he shares nothing on the internet, he would be aggrieved to know that he was the impetus for my very public sharing, I’m sure.)

Have you learned anything this month?



The 52 Lists Project

IMG_9094My husband got me this fabulous book for Christmas. I’m excited to fill it out. Trying to get over the need to write my lists in a plain notebook and then copy them into the pretty book in my best handwriting. I’m a list lover by nature. It is how I keep track of everything. I have notebooks and lists going all over the place. So this book is a no-brainer of a gift for me.

From time to time, I will share the list I am working on. I’m hoping to use some of them in my scrapbooking, too. The first list in the book is the one I’m sharing today.


I do think there is power in writing goals down. Here goes:

  1. Get to my desired healthy weight and stay there (effortlessly, if we’re dreaming)
  2. Organize, to include purging and backing up, my digital photos.
  3. House cleared of all clutter. I have a good start on this, but don’t want to peter out before it’s really all been gone through.
  4. Regular Bible study and prayer time on my own.
  5. Paint Alex’s room, Tony’s room, kids’ bathroom, new ceiling fixtures in the hallways (I actually have a separate list of household goals for the year.)
  6. Scrapbook regularly, working on photography and storytelling while I do.
  7. Read 100 books. I’m already behind on this, but there’s definitely time.
  8. Write 100 blog posts. That’s only 2 per week, so I hope I can keep that up, and maybe exceed that.
  9. That Mark A and I will be even closer at the end of the year. We’ve been doing better since we started intentionally dating, but he is gone a lot, so it takes effort.
  10. That all three of my kids will be happy and successful in their own eyes. They are all in different places, so that will be different for each of them.
  11. To visit DC more often (4x a year, min.) and see museum exhibits I’m interested in.


One of the exercises I did when I was searching for my word for the year was one I have done a few different times in my life: Imagine your perfect day, from the time you wake up until you go to bed that night. It had me imagine my surroundings, what I did (and didn’t do) with my time, what I ate, who I spent time with, etc. Then, instead of looking at the exact details of the day, I was to look at how I was feeling on my ideal day. That is what was important, trying to get that feeling into my life, not just the specifics of what I did or ate, or what my house looked like. For some reason, this year, my vision of the perfect day has sort of stuck with me. There is a lot of calm and happiness in my ideal day. Spending time doing things that matter to me, even if they don’t matter much to anyone else. I think it’s a good exercise for anyone. I keep trying to make sure I’m making the right choices for me.

Are you a list maker?

January Favorites 2016


Lip scrub from Lush

Winter is rough on my skin, and my lips seem to take the brunt of the weather and the dry indoor air. My son gave me this lip scrub for Christmas, and it is a life saver. Every morning (and sometimes every night before bed if it’s been a rough day) I use this lip scrub after I brush my teeth, then I put on lip balm and let it soak in while I do the rest of my makeup. It makes my lipstick go on smoother, and since I don’t touch up my make up like I should, it needs to start out the best it can.

3204712_fpx.tifLong black cardigan-(similar)

I found a long black cardigan at TJMaxx just after Christmas, when I was looking for something to wear with leggings that didn’t look like a sweatshirt. Mine has some angora hair in it, so it is very soft and warm. I have worn it with my leggings, with a plain black dress (two different ones) and over some joggers. It is super-comfortable and warm, but looks nice enough to wear with a dress. This might be the most versatile item in my closet these days. And with the amount of snow on the ground, I can only think that winter clothes will be around for quite a while. I went looking for a few more online, and I found these.


1-Gap, 2-Old Navy, 3-Macys, 4-Nordstrom



New gloves from Isotoner

I got these black fleece gloves with the SmartTouch feature because 1-they were on sale and 2-I was very frustrated with the cheap knit pair I had already bought, because they did not allow me to work my smartphone, despite their promise. These gloves are warmer, and they really let me use my phone and iPad without taking off the gloves. I can’t find a link to the exact ones I purchased- mine have some pretty ruching up the back, but I don’t see those anywhere online. These are the closest I’ve found.


Jane the Virgin-

This CW series just hit Netflix recently, and I love it. Like, I love it so much that I have watched the entire first season and the first eight episodes from the second season twice since the beginning of January. (I had to venture to amazon and the CW for those episodes.) It is funny and touching and sweet and crazy. While a romantic story at its heart, there is also a whole lot of action going on with drug lords, questionable cops, Miami parties at a big hotel, etc. It is a little hard to categorize, but the main characters are all so likeable, and so nice, and that is unusual these days on TV. I am very excited, because new episodes start tonight.


Turkey burgers

Precisely, these Butterball Turkey burgers. I’ve started a slow carb diet, and I really don’t love meat. High protein and a non-meat lover are a difficult combination, but I really do like these (as long as I have pickle slices, avocado slices, tomato slices and iceberg lettuce leaves as a bun.) They give me the protein I need and help keep me filled up. It’s also nice to have something hot at lunch (and they only take 8-10 minutes in a skillet to get ready!)

What’s on your favorites list this month?





Free Time? What’s that? and What do I do with it?


In the fall of 2013, my youngest daughter went off to college in another state. My son was working out west, and my older daughter was still in college about an hour away. Suddenly, my schedule was my own. When Saturday rolled around, I wasn’t dependent on someone else’s activities or errands. The first few weeks, honestly, I just sort of wandered about. Pretty soon, however, I realized that I wasn’t ever going to get to do the things I claimed to like doing if I didn’t plan to do them.

I know that planning free time seems counter-intuitive, but for me, it’s the only way I can rotate through all of the things I really like to do. A few years earlier, I had made a list of things I wanted to do everyday (read, scrapbook, play the piano, exercise, practice lettering or art, photography and editing) Guess what? Not enough hours in the day to do it all. That was so demoralizing for me. It made me sad, and I thought that meant I couldn’t do anything. Actually, it just meant I needed to plan a little more.

So, I approached the new free time I had a little differently. Instead of thinking I had to do everything every weekend, I decided I could pick certain Saturdays to do certain things. I’ll admit, I’ve fallen out of my schedule with Alex living at home right now, but that’s only because I have someone else to do things with, and my solitary activities are taking a back seat right now. Which is great, because I know the time I have with her is limited, so I don’t mind at all.

photographersilhouetteTrying to realize that slow and steady would win the race, I made a loose schedule for myself. One weekend, I scrapbooked a little or maybe worked on photography, another weekend, I might practice the piano, or go for a hike with my husband, and almost every weekend, I would read. Having hours of unclaimed time allowed me to get into books faster, and I read a lot more. My husband and I also spent more time together, working on projects around the house (his favorite project is throwing things away, mine is trying Pinterest projects and fixing up rooms in the house.)

The key is not to get overwhelmed by either how much or how little time you have. You have some time, somewhere in your day. Gretchen Rubin, author of Happier at Home, talks about using one hour a week on a nagging project of yours. One hour a week on photo organization, for example, really makes a difference after a couple of months. The same would be true for a pleasurable hobby. One hour a week on reading, or one hour a week on knitting would really add up. The key is not to fret over how little you have, but to use what you have for you. Replenished and happy mamas make for happier kids. (if you need more justification than being replenished and happy)