Sunday, March 5, 2023

Decor for Spring and Easter

 Changing Decor for Spring and Easter

Hello friends! Now that March has arrived I'm beginning to think about Spring and Easter decor. So I started doing a little changing up of decor around the house. As you can see, my tiered tray is filled with colorful eggs and bunnies. 

My large wooden bunny is resting on the side chair while the snow ladies are holding up plants ready for Spring planting. I have owned the large and small wooden bunnies for many, many years. One of my former teaching assistants created them and added the blue flowers around their necks. They are just so pretty and I'm still enjoying them after all these years. 

I've exchanged snowmen for bunnies and a clear glass deer on the round living room table. The faux flowers add a pop of color to the vignette. 

I look forward to displaying this bunny every year. Another piece I have owned for years but can't remember where I got it. The flowers on the side of the bunny and the blue bow around the neck are just so cheerful. 

I can't say that we have had a really bad winter this year but we have had a lot of dreary dull days. The pastel colors of my Spring decor are just what is needed to help me look forward to welcoming Spring officially and also looking forward to Easter! 

Are you looking forward to Spring? Doing any decorating? Be sure to let me know in the comments. I look forward to hearing from you!

Until Next Time,

Thursday, March 2, 2023

Sneak Peeks, Good Eats and A Striped Jacket

 A Little Bit of This and That

Hello friends!  I promised you another post towards the end of the week so I want to make sure I have something for you. Today's post is a little bit of this and that. I don't have the before/after pics of my room yet because it's just not ready for that yet. But, I can give you a few "sneak peeks" into some things. I'm sitting in my new chair in the above picture. This was the day I brought it home but before I emptied everything out for The Mr. to start painting. It's interesting that after looking at chairs in soooo many places, I went back to the very first chair I had looked at and bought it! Guess I had to prove to myself it was the right choice! It's a lovely blue color and is very comfortable for sitting. I'm happy with my choice.

I also wanted to update the rug in this room and have been keeping my eye out for a possibility. Well, as it turns out, we already had a round rug that we were using between our living room and dining room that I think fits what I am looking for just perfectly! So, we bought another rug to replace this round one and now this one is in my room. I don't dislike the oval braided rug you see here but I just want a "fresh" look for my room. And yes, the round rug is smaller than the oval rug but that's okay by me. I enjoy seeing the wood floors more. I really like the calm colors on this round rug. I've been working on restacking books on the bookshelves this week and arranging things. I told a friend yesterday that I am in no hurry to finish as I am "enjoying the process" so very much. She reminded me that I am being creative with the process, something I had not really considered. It's so important to find creativity in our lives!

Have you done any good thrifting lately? I bought this striped jacket before Christmas at a local thrift store and have found that I am enjoying it a lot. Blazers give definition to your style in a way that just a top and sweater look doesn't. Now, I'm usually wearing tops and sweaters/cardigans, so I'm only talking about my own style here. Sometimes, though, I like to notch up a look just a bit and so I have bought two or three blazers after having gotten rid of most of what I owned and used for work. This particular blazer is made of soft material, not stiff or uncomfortable material. If you would like to try out a blazer, thrift stores are great places to try one without investing lots of money. 

And, finally, how about some really yummy food that we have enjoyed recently? This was my plate filled with almond crusted flounder, mashed potatoes and carrots. So delicious!

And The Mr. enjoyed salmon with his veggie choices. Allow me to share a secret that assists me with easy meal prep. I buy Libby's Microwaveable Vegetables in individual portions. You microwave them for 23 seconds each and voila, you have your dinner vegetables ready! We like them and although I don't use them for every meal, they make meal prep so easy and healthy. I have eaten carrots, peas, corn and green beans and like them all. I'm not being paid to write about these portion sized veggies. I just like them and use them! 

So, that's it for now. I'll be back next week with another post and I look forward to hearing from you in the comments!

Until Next Time,

Monday, February 27, 2023

Long Time No See, Gold Top and House Projects

 Long Time No See!

Hello friends! So sorry it has been such a long time since you heard from me. There just hasn't been a whole lot of blogging going on around here! I have good excuses, though. We started on some house projects which have taken up a lot of our time and, along with that, I have been suffering from a spell of "writer's block." Sometimes, I just can't think of anything to write about that I feel would be of interest to any of you! As you can see, Cassie has been assisting with the house projects. But, unfortunately, not with writing blog posts! Guess she has had writer's block too!

And Garden has been assisting with house projects, as well. What would we do without the help of these two furry assistants!

As you can see, "my room" has been emptied out. A few weeks ago I decided to update the room a bit. That led to The Mr. asking me if I would like for him to repaint the room for me. I decided that would be a good idea. Then, The Mr. decided that the whole room should be emptied for easier painting. Oh my goodness, how is it that a "small project" turns into a BIG project all of a sudden!! So, after emptying everything out, I have been going through "stuff" trying to decide what to keep, what to give away, what to throw get the picture. And that takes so much time and energy! We also decided to get rid of the green sleeper sofa which was in this room and I picked out a new chair! I can't wait to do "before" and "after" pictures for the blog. That will be just a little while though as I am still working on putting things back in the room. I also want to pick out a new rug and get curtain toppers back up. It's exciting to do a room redo but also hard work! Thank goodness for the help of two cats 😉!!

In the meantime, I thought I would share this pretty gold peasant style top with you. I'm not sharing it with you to brag about a new top but, rather, to talk about the color. Gold is not considered one of "my colors" as I am supposedly a "muted summer" for clothing colors. So colors like pinks, purples and blues look best next to my face. However, when I saw this top I really liked it and when I bought it and tried it on I liked it even better! The style and flowers just lifted my spirits. I like the ruffles on the shoulders, also. Very feminine.

So, here's my point in sharing this top. Sometimes, we just need to break the rules when we find an article of clothing we like. It doesn't matter if it isn't on our color pallette or our usual style or whatever. If you like it and enjoy wearing it then, for goodness sakes, just wear it and enjoy it! There are too many rules with fashion and trends and I am looking through my closet for clothing and colors I like. We truly know ourselves best, don't we?

I hope that each of you is doing well and that you have enjoyed February as much as possible! I promise to be back later this week with another new post for you!

Until Next Time,

Sunday, February 5, 2023

Valentine Tiered Tray and More

 Mixing Valentines and Winter On The Tiered Tray

Hello friends!  I promised I would share the tiered tray all dressed up for Valentines Day. As it turned out, however, there is some winter mixed in on the tray. 

Somehow it just seemed natural to mix in snowmen and snowflakes with glittery red hearts, shiny red ball ornaments and a sleigh full of sparkle hearts. And, of course a bit of greenery from pine trees and a green truck.

My favorite bit on the tray is the sleigh full of hearts. I just think it is so festive with red and green! But not Christmasy looking since this tray celebrates winter and Valentines!

The bottom shelf displays more winter/Valentine snowmen, hearts and snowflakes. I always look forward to showing my snow lady wearing purple and red. So much fun! 

Are you adding any Valentine touches to your house? Be sure to share in the comments. And other news...

Yesterday, The Mr. and I went to watch our nephew (on The Mr.'s side) play lacrosse at a local college. Our nephew was on the visiting team and they won! We were so excited for him and his team.

We had never watched a lacrosse game before and found ourselves really getting into it and enjoying it. New experiences are always good, right?

And, finally, we have a friend who has been sharing eggs with us from the chickens he keeps. I have seen brown eggs many times before but never the tan and green eggs you see here! The eggs are delicious and with egg prices as they are right now we especially appreciate our friend gifting us with these eggs!

Have you had any new experiences lately? Be sure to share, ok? I love to hear from you!

Until Next Time,

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Devotional: Moving Forward

      Moving Forward Toward The Light

Photo by Bill Ross

“And the LORD said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward:”

                                         Exodus 14:15 (KJV)

Today's scripture is taken from the book of Exodus and comes from the time the Israelites had left Egypt, led by Moses, and were now camped in the desert frightened and afraid. They knew that Pharaoh's army was coming after them and feeling lost and alone cried out to God to help them and then began whining to Moses, blaming him for bringing them there. Just think of it! They had escaped bondage and slavery and yet were now feeling stuck and fearful. They simply couldn't find the courage to move. Moses kept reassuring them to not be afraid. He told them that they would see the wonderful way that the Lord would rescue them and fight for them. Here is how The Living Bible translates these scriptures from Exodus 14:13-14.

"But Moses told the people, Don't be afraid. Just stand where you are and watch, and you will see the wonderful way the Lord will rescue you today. The Egyptians you are looking at-you will never see them again. The Lord will fight for you, and you won't need to lift a finger!"

Moses, in essence, was telling the people to just stand still. Don't move and watch was God will do. But, God, however, had a different plan. And standing still and watching was not what he wanted. He called for movement forward! And, He even called on the people to stop praying. Stop praying and get moving! Here is how The Living Bible translates these verses from Exodus 14: 15-16

"Then the Lord said to Moses, Quit praying and get the people moving! Forward, march! Use your rod -hold it out over the water, and the sea will open up a path before you, and all the people of Israel shall walk through on dry ground!"

You know, sometimes in life we get stuck. We find ourselves in places in our lives where forward movement seems impossible. We cry out to God to change our situation or to change us in some way and yet we feel that nothing is happening. Nothing is changing. Like the Israelites in the desert, we live in fear and can simply not see a way to move forward. 

There can be many types of "desert" situations in our lives. Six years ago, I lived through the desert of retirement. After many years of looking forward to retiring and being able to call my time my own, I found myself feeling lost and unsure of who I was now. After years of being a "classroom teacher" and then an "AIG Specialist" I felt like I suddenly had no title, no career identity. While I enjoyed many aspects of more freedom there was still a sense of being a bit "lost" and wondering what to do with myself that "counted" and felt like I was still productive and had something to give. Over time, I felt the same call from God that the Israelites experienced. I had prayed for God to show me the paths I should take and I began to sense that God wanted me to get moving and try things that were new to my life and yet would still use the skills I had acquired over my many years of teaching. Doors opened up which I had not seen before and I was able to use my teaching skills as a tutor to a little girl who needs help with reading, math and writing. I was offered the position as handbell director at my church using the music training I have received in college and over many years as a musician. I was called to continue blogging and sharing the joys of devotions, creative endeavors, home decor and my interest with fashion. Like the Israelites, I was questioned by God, "Wherefore criest thou unto me.....go forward."

Now I realize that going forward is not an easy task. And some deserts in our lives are more challenging than others. So, I don't mean to minimize the many, many things that can happen in our lives to cause us to be "stuck" so to speak in a desert. Adjustment to retirement is not the same as illnesses, deaths, sudden job loss, divorce, wars, the list goes on and on. 

Recently, I have been experiencing another type of desert in my own life. The death of my oldest sister. The grief over this loss has been palpable. I have spent many hours crying and feeling lost. Grief has a way of ebbing and flowing and sometimes I don't feel it coming on and then, without warning, a memory comes or music plays or a picture reminds me and, once again, I am overwhelmed with the feelings of loss once more. Just as when I retired, I wonder who I am now without the earthly relationship I shared with my oldest sister. She was the "mother figure" of the family after our Mom passed away almost 28 years ago. The one I talked to on a weekly basis and shared my life with; the ups and downs. I used to get a little peeved at always being called "the baby of the family" by her. But, now that she is gone, I miss that term. I was her medical power of attorney and the last months of her life were filled with me working with my other sisters to make decisions for her care. Just as when I was teaching, I had "titles" and ways to define myself in the relationship I had with her and the rest of my family. Now she has passed and I am, once again, in a desert of figuring out who I am. How do I now define myself within our family? Relationships have shifted and family dynamics have changed. 

I have prayed and cried out to God many times over these last months of being in this desert of loss and grief. Wanting reassurance that Star is with Him, questioning why and how things happened in her last months of life here on Earth, worrying over the decisions I made, wondering how our family will adjust to this loss and how my relationships with my other sisters will change and grow. 

This past weekend, I began to sense that God was speaking to me using the same words that He gave to the Israelites. I sensed Him telling me to "move forward." When those words descended on me, it gave me a great feeling of peace. And I knew that the time has come for me to look forward and to move towards the path that God is opening up on the sea for me. To move toward the "light" and not stay in the darkness of grief. Just as the Israelites moved forward through the path that God opened up in the waters, so must I.

A dear friend recently spoke to me of something she had learned about grief. She said there was a term used in grief counseling called "emergence" from grief and that in grief one doesn't leave it behind but emerges from it gradually. I became really interested in the word "emerge" and looked up several definitions of the term. One such definition was, "to move out of or away from something and to come into view." How striking is that definition of emerging in terms of grief? Once again, movement is involved! I also love the "coming into view" aspect. God has shown me, or brought me into view, in wonderful ways that I am not sharing here, that my sister is with Him and is safe in His arms. 

I also looked up the term "emergence" and its synonyms and was touched with one example of emergence as "coming into the light." 
With my choice of "light" as my word of the year, this was an especially poignant find and reassured me, once again, that God was separating the sea of grief in the desert that I have been in and that I was slowly moving forward on this new path toward the light that God gives to each of us.

Friends, all of us experience deserts in our lives. Sometimes we are in multiple deserts at one time! But, God is always faithful in our lives to show us a way forward. A way to emerge, even if the emergence is slow and gradual, toward the light, toward the path forward, that He has for us. And just know that the path forward will be good, even if it seems scary. Because God is good. All the time.

This has been a long devotional. I pray that it blesses your life.
Blessings and Peace Until Next Time,

Thursday, January 19, 2023

Valentine Pink for Top, Table Decor and More

 Feeling In The Pink for Valentines Day

Hello friends!  Guess what I'm starting to think about?  Yes, Valentines Day which will be here before we know it. I'm loving putting all of the pinks and reds together for Valentine wear and table decor. It's so fun to see what I can come up with and I hope you enjoy and get some inspiration for your own creativity. Remember, that Valentines doesn't have to be all about romantic love. You can enjoy decorating for Valentines Day and wearing pinks and reds whether you have a significant other or not. So the inspiration I am sharing today is for ALL!

The pink sweatshirt I'm wearing is a Blair brand that I ordered from Poshmark. I didn't know if I wanted to keep it when I first got it but now I'm so glad that I did! It is fleece lined and very warm and soft. The collar is unique for a sweatshirt with buttons that work and add a little "oomph" to what would otherwise be a regular round collared sweatshirt. It's also longer than typical sweatshirts which is a staple of Blair brand tops that I love. I've paired it here with jeans, white socks and multi-color pink Skechers shoes that I wear all. the. time! So comfy!

I typically wear either a sweater or jacket around the house. I think this longer off-white cardigan fits perfectly with this pink sweatshirt. It adds a nice texture to the look and an additional layer of warmth for a chilly day. I'm really enjoying looking closely at what "works" for me from my closet in this season of my life and this outfit definitely fits my lifestyle perfectly.

As I'm beginning to think about Valentine table decor, I feel like I don't want to give up my winter decor yet so I decided to "tuck" some Valentines into what is already on display. This red hearts, red berries and pine cone arrangement looks like it was made to go on the round table in the corner of our living room. It matches beautifully with my white light pine tree and snowmen. The the white lights glint off of the red hearts and add such a sparkle to the round table. I really like this look. 

In the family room, I decided to add a little Valentines to the three tiered table. Each tier holds some pink, white and red that gives such a cheerful vibe to the room. Dollar Tree has the little gnome boxes and I already owned the red gnome so it was a no-brainer to put these items together on the bottom shelf. I pulled out the table away from the wall so you could see the items better. Usually, this table is next to the wall and the heating vent tucked out of the way. 

I'm sure I'll continue to add Valentine touches here and there as February 14th gets closer. Here is a peak back at some of last year's decor starting with a Valentine table setting. 

And last year's Valentine decor displayed on a flat tray. I could use some of these items again this year on my tiered tray which I haven't even started decorating yet! We shall see how my creative juices evolve for this year's tray!

Tell me, are you starting to think about Valentine decor or wearing Valentine colors yet? Be sure to let me know in the comments. Or share anything else you would like to share. And I hope that you are having a wonderful week!

Until Next Time,

Friday, January 13, 2023

Snow Days Are For Eating


The 4th or 5th flower arrangement!

Hi friends: I've been doing a whole lot of messing around today, rearranging my flowers for the umpteenth time this morning. This is the latest iteration of the arrangement since I started back around my birthday. I keep feeling like I'm getting new flowers each time I toss the dead stems and come up with a new look. 

Speaking of "messing around," that's what I've been doing a whole lot of today. It's supposedly a "snow day" today and many of the schools were either closed or on two-hour delays this morning. There hasn't been much snow at all. Just flurries or snow showers off and on. As you can see, there's nothing on the ground at our house. 

Nothing to see here-at least snow-wise!

I had already decided that today was going to be a stay-at-home day, so I have "looked" for things to do all day. Let's see, I made breakfast and then lunch for The Mr. and myself. Today's menu for lunch featured homemade vegetable soup with couscous added in the bowl. Days like today make me want to "munch" and I have been munching on carrot sticks, honey-oat bars and cookies. (Sigh) Yes, cookies...oh well. Two out of three isn't bad!

Why do snow days feel so different from regular days? I think of when I was a little kid and we actually had snow days off from school. Now, there are only possible delays and "virtual school" days, more's the pity. I feel sorry for kids today who don't have the pleasure of a true "snow day." Waking up to see snow on the ground, waiting by the radio (no television closings in those days) to see if your school district was closed and then hearing those magic words...."Wood County Schools are closed, " oh that was sweet to the ears!!

I was never the type of kid who wanted to play in the snow much. I might put on my coat, hat and gloves and walk around outside a little but I wasn't into building snowmen and such. I really didn't have anyone around my age to build a snowman with or throw snowballs at. But, I still looked forward to having snow days off from school. On those days I could spend time reading, watching favorite television shows, sleeping late and, yes, munching on my favorite snacks. Guess old habits die hard, right?!

Of course, not all snowfalls back then resulted in a snow-day off from school. I can well remember pretty heavy snowfall in which the schools stayed open and the bus drivers would put chains on the bus tires. I can still recall the sounds of the tires with those heavy chains ka-lugging through the snow and pulling up to the bus stop. It would be freezing outside and, sometimes, inside the bus. It was always wonderful to finally pull up to the school and exit the bus moving into the warmth of the classroom. Sometimes, you could smell lunch cooking from the cafeteria and the delicious smells of hot rolls, mashed potatoes and meat gravy would waft down the hallways. There was a feeling of being safe and sound, snug in the surroundings, that I think I still wish for on days like today.

As I have been composing this post, the snow has increased, blowing strongly against the window panes. The flakes are bigger and the fog has descended into the valley. It's looking as if the snow may decide to lay-on after all. 

Maybe, if that happens, there would be another snow-day tomorrow! A day for staying warm and cozy, munching on good foods, reading interesting books and day dreaming of snow days gone by!


Speaking of books, here's a peak at what I have been reading. 

I'm delving back into the "Cat Who" series by Lillian Jackson Braun. I find her books so entertaining and cozy. Just the perfect type of book to curl up with on a snow day. The antics of Koko and Yum Yum, the two Siamese cats who live with Jim Qwilleran and help him solve mysteries, are the perfect combination of cuteness and cat intelligence. 

I'm also giving Susan MacNeal another try with this book in the Maggie Hope series. This time, Maggie is traveling to Washington, DC soon after Pearl Harbor was attacked and is helping Eleanor Roosevelt out while also acting as Winston Churchill's typist. These books remind me of the Maisie Dobbs series by Jacqueline Winspear. However, I haven't been able to get into this series as much as I did the Maisie Dobbs series. I find that too many WWII books are not good for me to read. While the books are interesting historical fiction accounts, the subject matter can still be a bit traumatic. That's why the Cat Who series is lovely to sandwich in-between readings of these other heavier tales. 

Hope you are staying warm and dry, friends!  How do you handle cozy snow days?

Until Next Time,