Sunday, February 5, 2012

No More White Stuff

...and I'm not talking snow!

The following was a natural occurance in my kitchen the other day. Coincidence? I think not!

And Yes, As a matter of fact I do believe that the spinach gods are happy when I drink apple~carrot~spinach juice for breakfast! Ches & I have ventured on a new path heading towards vegetarianism. (Don't tell him~I'm trying to be subtle!) But who could argue with this little beauty every morning?

This year we decided to maybe start eating some vegetables! I've never been
the most adventurous cook so our meals are pretty simple.
Chicken & Bread. Pasta & Bread. Cheese & Bread. Bread &....butter.
We're pretty easy. So imagine the thrill in Ches' eyes when I told him we were going to cut out the whites this year. You know, the whites..... White sugar, white flour, dairy. Yes, that includes cheese. All cheese. And when you're married to the self-declared, Mayor McCheese-removing Kraft American Singles can be a challenge! But lately it's been dinners of broiled vegetables, lots of bean & rice, and even some soy corn dogs! Anything wrapped in fried corn meal and dipped in mustard has to be fun!

But seriously, we've felt so much better removing the white stuff out of our lives. Reading and making decisions according to labels. And having some self discipline regarding what we eat! It's healthier, my joints and back feel better, and we've even grown accustom to the smell as we walk into Vitamin Cottage to buy our "snack" of tofuetti!

We still have a ways to go. I do still spend my mornings with my faithful best friend.

~no redeeming value in this girlfriend!~

And I did smell the beef emanating out of Ches' pores the day he snuck out to Sonic.
But we're doing better! Feeling better!

And it's worth it.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Anything Is Possible....

~This is How I See Life~

So I've always had this creative spark inside. I usually try to suppress it because frankly, it makes me feel like others think I'm crazy. I always have a new idea-a way to make things better and brighter. For instance...

This is the kind of things I impulsively poor family-they could come home and have a purple living room wall, a bright, red front door or a bedroom that looked like this...


(I do have to say, this was in the 90's when it was a little more fashionable)

I've painted our home so many times in the past 19 years that I do believe we've lost some square footage-but I digress.

Over the years,however, it seems I've gotten a little more logical-more predictable. And my creative muscles were getting as flabby as the rest of this 5 ft frame. I have a good job, work with nice people and get paid quite well-but inside I felt like I was suffocating. There is no creativity required in my place of's more of a plan, organize, and conquer type of place.

I've finally realized that I have to be creative to save my sanity! It's not the responsibility of my job or my husband to reach this fulfillment, I had to search it out myself. Sooooooo.......

I've decided to take my lotion and soap making hobby to the next level.
Creative Personality meet Entreprenurial Spirit!

That's right! Those years of old milk cartons and Pringles cans filling up the counter with soap experiments have paid off. Lotion-testing, tho not legal for chimpanzees was definitely thrust upon my three little angels and I'm proud to say they lived through it without scars. Countless hours of research and kitchen experiments are coming to fruition.

I'm going to be putting my soaps, bath bombs and lotions in a local Bath & Body Shop! (I'll share more soon!)

We've got Lotion Making classes scheduled and filling up, DIY Lotion-Making kits available and dozens of these fabulous Bath Time Bon Bons...

These "truffles" are made with pure cocoa butter and scented with sweet, delectable scents~ Cream Cheese Frosting, Popping Peppermint and Rich Chocolate Fudge! Aren't they fun? And calorie free!

So, who knows what's in store for the upcoming year? In my Soap Lab (....AKA Kitchen Counter) the wheels are turning.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Best Soy Latte That You Ever Had...and Me I'm not normally a girl that will jump on the latest trends and fashion.
  • I still use a curling iron, not a straightener.
  • I still sometimes buy the cheap maybelline pink mascara with the green lid-just like in 9th grade-you know, the one that has the reputation of being gross and clumpy? I still can apply it flawlessly in a bind.
  • And I'm not one that keeps up on the latest and greatest in music. And while I can appreciate Maroon 5 or Lady Antebellum, I'm really more of a Journey girl.
But, I love the band Train. Love Love them! Their lyrics are authentic and they play with passion! Last summer Ches took me to a wonderful date night in Vail-front row with the Train boys.

Since he scored me a place in the very front with all of the 14 year-old girls, most of whom were taller than me, this is a shot of all the people BEHIND me! LOL!

And here is just a great shot of a great show! We had a blast!

So yeah, I must admit that I'm excited that there's a new release and here is a video of their new song. Enjoy!

Rediscovering Your Creative Outlet

I've had a vivid imagination for as long as I can remember. Chalk it up to being an only child or the daughter of an animated first grade teacher or just a personality trait that came with the package. I've always dwelt further outside of the box than inside of it.

For instance, an uptight mom might think it strange for a child to name and play with a box of 64 Crayola Crayons taking care to never dull their tops. The fact that Magenta always ended up marrying Midnight Blue (my simple version of Barbie & Ken perhaps) was just a hint that maybe this girl will see things through her own special rose-colored glasses...and yes, I do. But as the prosaic routine of life wear on those finely sharpened crayons can quickly be reduced to little nubs of color with the paper torn and breaks and chips.

We were formed with an creative spirit within us. Unlocking and releasing that creative spirit is essential to a healthy lifestyle. Whether it takes shape in the form of a chinese cooking class or soap-making, this creative outlet will combat apathy and fend off depression. Your creative muscle, the muscle that works the imagination to reinvent your daily life and shape life goals, is a muscle that needs INTENTIONAL (there's that word!) exercising. Done within the confines of a new leather journal, a note jotted on a piece of napkin or posted online for optimum accountability-this is the time of year that most of us think of redefining our goals and reconnecting to our future. Your creative outlet is a powerful way to reignite passion and defeat the stress that easily occurs in daily life.

“The creative person wants to be a know-it-all. He wants to know about all kinds of things- ancient history, nineteenth century mathematics, current manufacturing techniques, hog futures. Because he never knows when these ideas might come together to form a new idea. It may happen six minutes later, or six months, or six years. But he has faith that it will happen.” — Carl Ally

I know that I only act on a fraction of the ideas that are swirling in my head and only complete a small portion of even those! But I've decided that that's okay. Because it's all there forming something new and exciting. And these ideas don't have to be perfectly shaped and kept safely in the box. It's okay if they're nubs and chips and pieces. It's okay that some of them have gotten broken and lost.


So what's it going to be for you this year? Pull out that unfinished quilt, re-read Jane Eyre or start a new business venture? As for me, probably all three! Whatever it is, let's just do it! Melt some of the colors and pieces and create a new adventure. And as you do, the result will be beautiful, even if you remelt it next year to use on a new canvas.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Goodbye 2011

Five Things I've Learned
  • Stay fit for health, not for appearances
  • Feeding one's creative outlet helps maintain sanity through the mundane
  • I waste an incredible amount of time
  • Less Clutter=More Peace
  • Act justly, love mercy & walk humbly...seems to keep me in line
Five Things To Accomplish
  • Be intentional with my words, actions and thoughts
  • Do one thing well
  • Change several bad habits 21 days at a time
  • Create 5 good habits
  • Vocare-Latin for finding a vocation to help others, to serve...

Friday, December 30, 2011


Word-one word can change your focus, your attitude, and if we get dramatic, I suppose it could change your life! Look what it did for Wilbur!

But seriously, after years of New Years Resolutions gone awry....I really don't think I've ever kept even one. I still drink coffee, I still don't exercise regularly, and I still need to lose 20 pounds. So this year I'm going to embrace the theory of just One Little Word. OLW. I've been reading some thoughts of others on this and have grappled for my own inspirational little piece of power.

Here are some great ideas of others that I love, really....but they are too "scrapbooky" for me.

  • Peace-That's great! We all need more peace. Forgiveness...less strife...
  • Believe-to believe in myself and my abilities...hmmmm...
  • Edit-I like that~as in "weeding out the unnecessary"
  • Unclench-huh.. I would guess that some would think that to be a benefit to me...
  • Forward-this is good. To try to move forward, just a little, every day
These are all concepts that I need to incorporate into my life but none of them spoke to me 100%. Then I remembered something that Shelby said to me.


Done on purpose; deliberate.
deliberate - wilful - willful - purposeful - intended

I want to be in·ten·tion·al. With my words, with my thoughts. With, not only the things that I put into my mouth but also the things that come out. I want to remember the grocery clerk and be intentional with my words towards her. I want to be intentional with my relationship with God. No more "fly by night" prayers (or at least not as many). But an intentional time to listen to Him as He guides me in the new year.

There's a blog on this idea and even a class that I think I'll take. And I guess I'll make the Resolution to actually finish the class....

Monday, December 26, 2011

Puerto Rico-I Miss You!

Well, after an amazing trip celebrating 20 wonderful years of marriage (yes, it was our 29th anniversary) I'm back and ready to face 2012 head on! I love the New Year, new beginnings. So much to ponder and I love making lists and plans. True...I regularly lose the journal that houses these plans and goals, but I enjoy it for awhile!

Quick synopsis of our trip. We visited Puerto Rico a few years ago with our girls and loved it so much we knew we'd someday return! The culture and nature of the Puerto Ricans is that of a pleasing, hospitable spirit and a relaxed lifestyle. Opposite of the lifestyle we embrace here. Who isn't joyful in a world of 75 degree temperatures?

This was a great beach~Seven Seas Beach!! And our favorite restaurant in Old San Juan, Toro Saleo! Great place to people-watch. We followed a path (they called it the "secret path") to the beach. It was a fun hike through the jungle!

A fun lighthouse that still is working in Puerto Rico. You could see the beacon from miles away!

A beautiful day at the beach with my favorite guy!

In 29 years of marriage, this was the first time we'd ever gone away for two weeks and just done everything just the way we wanted. No plans, no agendas, just a boy and a girl, 2 backpacks and a rental car!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Your Very Own Lip Balm

Making your own lip balm is so easy and cheap and fun to do! Whether it's kool-aidy sweet or subtle and sophisticated, this is a great recipe that will protect your lips from the weather as well as the nasty side effects of petroleum jelly. It's reassuring to know the ingredients of the products that we rub all over our bodies!

Here's all you need for this project!

2 oz Coconut Oil
2 oz Shea Butter
.7 oz White Beeswax
.5 oz Castor Oil
1/8 teaspoon mocha powder
10 chocolate chips

I like to use my crockpot...for everything. It's relaxing to me. But, if you're in a hurry a double boiler will work just fine. I put a Pyrex measuring cup into about an inch of hot water in the crock pot and measured out my beeswax. (I knew that Weight Watcher's food scale would come in handy some day!)

I added the coconut oil and Shea butter, stirring periodically, until it was all melted in.

Added the Mocha Powder for color and flavor and voila! Grown-up lip gloss. I also mixed some up with Crystal Light Raspberry Lemonade to make a Sugar Lip Scrub. I added some lip safe mica coloring with this to make it bright and pink. A nice little work-out for the lips!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Zero Calorie Peppermint Bark!

I've been making soap for awhile now. Cold Process soap using the lye and the fun moisturizing oils and butters. But I saw this recipe for a Melt & Pour type soap on the Soap Queen's Blog and thought it would be a fun wintery project. (Can I just interject that the Soap Queen is my new found hero and I stalk everything she creates and writes!) I'll just point you over to her tutorial because it's frankly, wonderful! :)

So, I decided to make some melt & pour soap that looks and smells luxuriously like Williams Sonoma Peppermint Bark!~I gathered the necessary ingredients, mostly from Bramble Berry Soap Supplies, but was able to get the rest of the items at Hobby Lobby.

And of course, a peppermint mocha to jump start that Holiday Cheer!~

Lots of mixing, heating and melting, scenting and voila!~Calorie Free, but not very tasty!

So, this was lots of fun and a quick fix for a craftaholic like me but then it got to be a bit of a pain. First I had to individually wrap each piece to keep it from sweating. Unlike the soaps I normally make, melt & pour obviously makes little sweat beads if not wrapped tightly until used. eh...ok. But the yummy smell was still overtaking my house. I had to break into the real chocolate chips to satiate my hunger pains.

Then when I woke up this morning it looked like this. Dang! Not so pretty! I guess when she recommends the non-bleeding red instead of just using food coloring it's not just for sales.

Fortunately, with melt & pour soaps you can always remelt and remold. I love "do overs!" Yeah! No waste!~We'll turn this melty blog into something fun! And for now, I'm going back to my old fashioned soap making!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Still Have Some Mommy Influence!

You know, we were super involved with our girls growing up. Like, so involved we were most definitely irritating! Between homeschooling, constant soccer games and requiring the girls-along with their current boyfriends to attend "Family Nights," we were a pretty tight knit group! But, as they've grown up and moved away it doesn't seem they need us as much....don't get me wrong! I don't want a 24 year old still living at home and I do love the freedom of a "no kid" life, if you know what I mean. But sometimes I really do miss those days of Mommy Influence!

Driving home after a wonderful Thanksgiving, we were listening to Taylor Swift and she started sing some sweet song about never growing up. Yeah, it brought tears and sniffles to both of us. We really, REALLY, loved raising our little girlies. I started feeling sad and only essential to my crazy Poppy puppy. I went to sleep feeling a little melancholy. Typical.

But today I got to use my Mommy Influence and it was delightful!

First off...Casey was impressed enough about the lotion bar that I gave her, that she's decided to make some for Christmas gifts for her friends. Score 1 for a good idea!

Second...Dear Dannon texted me for the infamous blog recipe of Chicken Pot Pie and shared it with some girlfriends and it was a success. Score 2 for a Betty Crocker Recipe!

Third...(a little humbling yet realistic) Shelby accidentally ruined a table at a house she was housesitting and figured I'd done the same thing at some point in my life so she called to get some quick advice. Yes, indeed I have discovered that some very fine sand paper is essential if you own any wood furniture valued over $100....Score 3 for my ability to fix my predictable blunders!

And later, we received this very sweet tweet!

So, you know, it's all okay. Really...I'm glad you're all grown up, and happy. And that's a season of our lives that we cherish more than any other gift God could have ever given us.