Fun Friday Five!

It has been far too long since I’ve put one of these together for you. Yikes. I’m going to rectify that with a Christmas edition and I’m not going to waste any time. Some of this stuff is Christmas-type stuff and some of it’s not, but it’s feel-good type stuff all the way around.

1. The wrapping paper selection at Cost Plus World Market. I got this:

Image from here

I found some cute printable red cross stitch gift tags and used those for my tags. I love it!

2. In the spirit of the season, I give you this kid and his dimples and his wisdom.

3. Any of these pieces from Liff. I found them on a friend’s Instagram feed and I want one.

Image from here

4. This video from Cloud Cult.

5. And this spin on Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas”. Do please enjoy!

Question of the Day
Do you call it Cost Plus? Or do you call it World Market? Or do you go all out and call it Cost Plus World Market?

Bleu Cheese Dressing Makes Me Burp

So, you didn’t need to know that, but I have your attention. But, that’s what I was thinking about when my cursor was blinking at me in the title field. I had a Cobb salad for lunch today and my stomach is unhappy with the dressing. And now you know more than you ever wanted to about my lunch habits.

I made ham and beans in my crockpot yesterday and we’ll be eating ham and beans for the next week or so. I’ll definitely put some in the freezer, but both the boy and I love ham and beans, so most of it will get eaten this week. Just look at that chunk of ham and those beautiful beans and the broth. There’s just something about coming home to a warm bowl of ham and beans, especially when it’s been raining nearly all day. Its just so comforting and it smells so good.

A note on the beans I used for this dish: They’re cranberry beans, which I’ve never used before. They hold their form rather well, especially after 8-9 hours in the crockpot on low and they have a mild, nutty flavor. I would say they’re rather similar to a chestnut in flavor. They paired rather well with the ham shanks, white onion, chicken broth and spices I put in the crockpot.

Over the weekend, the boy and I went to Googie Grill, which took the place of one of our favorite burger joints. We had breakfast and their biscuits and gravy is delicious. We may have found a new favorite breakfast joint, though the hunt for another burger joint continues. The photo above was taken before the food arrived and I had worn my comfy worn green sweatshirt because it was Saturday and I wanted to be comfortable. So, there.

It’s time for me to go pick the boy up and take him to karate. Woops. Time has gotten away from me, again.

Stay tuned for more later!

Question of the Day
How do you take your coffee?

Psyching Myself Up

I’m getting myself mentally prepared for Whole30 in January. I’m still quaking in my patent leather heels, but as the site says, “Birthing a baby is hard. Losing a parent is hard. Drinking black coffee. Is. Not. Hard.”

That certainly puts things in perspective.

I’m excited to see how my body feels after 30 days of exceedingly clean eating. I just hope I can do it.

If anyone out there has done Whole30 before, please share your experience in the comments!

As I’m sure you’ve heard, rain is falling from the sky in California. Rain has been somewhat of an unknown here for quite some time, and we’re all in awe of it. I can hear it pouring down the gutters of my apartment building as I type this. I don’t think the gutters can handle heavier rainfall than the consistent downpour that’s happening now. This morning, we all watched the rain water shoot out the sides of the gutter running down the side of the office building. There was just too much water for the gutter and it had to get out somewhere, so up into the air was the answer. We were all standing there at the window, gawking like kids at the circus.

I’m so very glad it’s raining!

This was the sky the other night. I had just left the office and just had to take a picture before I got in my car. Isn’t she a beauty?
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December, December, Where Do You Think You’re Going?

December is bound and determined to run away from me. I can’t seem to get a grasp on an hour or two to sit and write. I’m stealing a quick moment to put some thoughts down, just so I can retain some sense of normalcy. Here’s what’s currently on my task list for the reset of the week.

Things to do:

  • Catch up on correspondence.
  • Clean my house.
  • Wrap presents.
  • Groceries. Consider making ham and beans.
  • Think about doing The Whole30 in January. Don’t think about it for long as I begin to internally whine about missing dessert when I start thinking about it. Think about it again a little more seriously and consider getting a friend to do it with me…moral support will be needed when I want a glass of wine or a cookie. Quake in my black patent leather heels.
  • Compose another Fun Friday Five because I haven’t done one in a very long time.

And now for things that are completely unrelated to my task list!

This is one of my favorite photos that I took recently. It reminds me of the sun rising upside down. it’s really just a glass of white wine on a coaster, but I love the condensation, texture and shadows. I just love it.

On a recipe note, I’ve tried a few new recipes lately, but I don’t have anything spectacular to share. The recipes were mediocre at best, but I’m on the hunt for a meatball tortellini soup that will knock your socks off. When I find it and test it and approve it, I’ll share it with you! Or, do you have a favorite recipe? Do please share!

I love this quote:

“When you numb your pain, you also numb your joy.”  – Brene Brown

Jamie Mendell wrote this lovely post and referenced this quote. I love the post in the “Ouch, that hurts but I needed to hear it” kind of way. The quote is perfect for it too. Here’s to finding new ways to take care of myself. :-)

Alrighty, folks, I’ve got to get back to the grindstone. Do take care of yourselves!

Happy {Belated} Thanksgiving!

Oh, everyone. I have neglected you so. I took the week off from work since the boy didn’t have school and it has been glorious. I won’t lie. It’s been wonderful. We’ve gone for many walks, taken a few naps, seen quite a few friends and just had a wonderful time. It has been lovely.

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Today thought, the boy turns 11. I took him out for breakfast and then he took off with his dad for awhile. I have no idea what they’re doing today, but I’m sure the boy will have fun. I can’t believe he’s already 11. I have no idea where the last 10 years have gone, but I do sincerely hope that his life thus far has been good. I hope it’s been an easy childhood for him, though I don’t know that I would want to hear the answer if I asked him. I hope he feels that he is loved and cherished and wanted, by both his parents. Anyway, enough of that. On Monday, he went go kart racing and had a wonderful time. At least, the ear splitting grin on his face seemed to indicate that he did.

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He also helped me make pumpkin bread, which didn’t turn out as awesome as we thought it was going to be. It’s possible that someone got a little too voracious with the hand mixer. :D I’m just glad that he has an interest in baking and cooking and likes to help in the kitchen.

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The weather here has been glorious. Sixty-five degree days and the sun shining? Who would turn that down? Not me! Still, I miss the seasons and the autumn crispness in the air. It’s supposed to rain all weekend and I really really hope it does.

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I’d best get myself going. The dog I’m taking care of would like to go for a walk and I’m of the same opinion. The sun is shining and it’s beautiful outside, so I might as well enjoy the day.

I do hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving, full of love and family and laughter and friends.

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Regularly programmed blogging will resume soon.
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Learning to Operate One’s Soul Requires Babies and Pho

Oh, my heavens. I just can’t seem to keep up with this little space. But, here I am, blogging on a Friday. Stop the presses! :-)

The above quote is something that really struck me earlier this week. There is just something about the big events {like say a move, a wedding or the birth of a child} in life that make learning to operate one’s soul seem like its happening at warp speed. It seems like we figure ourselves out a lot faster and then have to deal with the aftershock and processing through it all belatedly because there is. no. time. Or, we do the figuring and the processing and the dealing with the aftershock all at the same damn time, which is what I seem to be doing. Heaven help my beau and my boy.

Holding babies and eating pho {clearly NOT at the same time} help me with all the “Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Everything feels like it’s out of control!” moments. See below.

Chance meetings with dear, dear, sweet, amazing friends at the park are the best. THE BEST. I finally got to meet this sweet girl and see her lovely parents, especially her awesome mom, when the boy and I went to the park on a Saturday and they were there too. See, they were here on vacation and we’d talked earlier about getting together for lunch and then we both just kind of forgot about it. I am so very glad ecstatically happy that we got to see each other, even though it was unplanned and completely out of the blue. It was perfect. That sweet little family is a balm to my soul. I could not stop smiling for the rest of the day.

Pho. Need I say more? There is just something about pho that is so comforting. The hot broth, the perfectly done vegetables, the udon noodles. Having a giant bowl of steaming hot soup placed in front of me makes me really happy. And for $5.50 a bowl, it’s a steal because I can usually get two meals out of it! Added bonus: the boy loves pho! And he’s cute. And he’s turning into that gangly pre-teen type who has four hollow legs.

Well, next week is Thanksgiving. How did that happen? Shouldn’t it still be March? Um…no. I plan to spend next week doing a lot of reading, spending time with loved ones, going on lots of walks and just enjoying time away. I’m sure there will be turkey and all the fixin’s, but I’m not too concerned with that right now. I’m more excited about spending time with loved ones. I might even do some baking.

I’m going to leave you with this little nugget: Talking to a trusted someone about thoughts, feelings and emotions is so very important. Don’t bottle crap up inside. It doesn’t serve you well. Trust me. Self-care is important. Do something nice for yourself EVERY.SINGLE. DAY. It could be getting a coffee, going for a walk, buying yourself flowers, sitting outside in the sun, getting your nails done, going to a yoga class, or whatever you want. You don’t have to break the bank, but make sure it’s something you want. It’s up to you to make yourself feel good and you can’t rely on other people for that {I’m holding a mirror up in front of my face and saying all of this to myself, honestly, I am.}.

Question of the Day
How do you take care of yourself? Do you try?
What’s your favorite comfort food?

Breath-Catching

Oh, my gosh. Ugh. This week. Yikes. I won’t even try to describe it to you. I haven’t had time to blog, clean, cook or anything. Actually, I should say that I haven’t had the energy to blog, clean, cook or anything. It’s been a week and I’m exhausted.

But, there were some pretty things about this last week.

I was gifted some berries and I’ve been enjoying them this week. The boy got the strawberries, since those are his favorite, but I got two pints each of blueberries, blackberries and raspberries. Berries are one of those things I just don’t buy for myself, though I really do like them. I find that they’re too pricey, so I don’t fork over the money and I buy a big bag of apples instead, which will last us a week. Practicality rules. It was so nice to have some berries and it was the perfect gift.

I saw this sunset on my way to pick up the boy last weekend and it made me think about how the sun may set on something in your life. It will rise again on something else that will be equally as good, or it may be even better if you’ve learned something between when the sun sets and when it rises again. And sometimes, you’re just lucky and you get something awesome without having to learn much at all. That something could be a relationship {a friend or a romance or a family member} or it could be a job or a home or a lifestyle or a car. It could be nearly anything. Though whatever it was is over, there’s more to come. There’s something better. Maybe that’s the eternal optimist in me speaking :-)

As I write this, I want nothing more than to go home, curl up with a good book and read until I fall asleep. I don’t want to eat because everything I eat gives me heartburn {thank you, stress}, which is new, because that usually doesn’t happen. Food? Meh.

And that, folks, has pretty much been my week. How’s yours?

Fun Friday Five!

Well, I missed last week’s edition since I was out trick-or-treating in the rain. So, this week I have some art for you. Enjoy!

1. My friend sent me the link to Heather Theurer‘s site and from the first view, I was in love. What an amazing gift she has! I saw the first one and I gasped! Folks, I’m not a connoisseur of art. I can’t tell the difference between a Renoir and a van Gogh, but I know their names and I know van Gogh was the one who cut his ear off. That’s about all I know. Anyway, back to these amazing pieces. It’s like you can feel them and see them moving. They’re so beautiful. *swoon*

2. Ray LaMontagne‘s show posters. Seriously, each one is better than the last. I love them all!

Ugh…I want them all! I want to make a poster montage on my wall with them. They’re just so stunning!

3. Susan Mrosek’s Pondering Pool Collection. These are my all-time favorite greeting cards. They’re guaranteed to bring a smile to my face when I get one in the mail. I have every one that I’ve ever received from my parents and they always being a smile to my face when I see them. I have a collection on my wall at work and I have one at home too. Here are some of my favorites.

There are some gems in there! She has such wonderful pieces.

4. Alphonse Mucha. I have a hard time picking a favorite – I love them all. Check this out – you can even color your own!

5. I’m drawing a blank here, so I want you to tell me who your favorite artist is! Pick one and leave me a comment with your favorite!

Enjoy your weekend, lovelies!

Easy and Delicious One Pot Chicken Burrito Bowl

Note to self: You are not a very good food photographer when you’re hungry.

Note to reader: Yes, there is a section missing because the boy was STARVING. So, I gave him food. That’s how it works in my house.


I stumbled upon this recipe while looking for one pot meals on Pinterest the other day. This one is a keeper, as it got rave reviews from both my beau and the boy. It takes about 30 minutes to put together. It’s warm, flavorful and filling. I served it without any sides, but it could easily be served with a salad, if you feel like you need your veggies. I actually bought a chopped salad to go with it, but I decided we didn’t need it.

I particularly love that this recipe is cooked in one pan and you don’t have to remove any of the ingredients to a plate or anything like that. You can get this done with one pan, a knife, a cutting board, a spoon for stirring, and your ingredients. Voilà!

One Pot Chicken Burrito Bowl

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
3 T of olive oil
1/4 c of diced yellow onion
1 c of uncooked extra-long grain rice
1 14.5 oz can of fire roasted diced tomatoes, drained slightly
1 15oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 t of garlic powder
1/2 t of chili powder
1 t of cumin
2 1/2 c of water + 2 t low sodium Better than Bouillon Chicken Base
1 c of shredded Cheddar Jack
kosher salt and pepper
freshly diced tomatoes
diced green onions
sour cream
guacamole or diced avocado

In a stock pot or sauté pan {you’ll need a lid}, sauté onions in 2 tablespoons of olive oil until they start to soften. Season diced chicken with 1 t of kosher salt and 1/2 t of black pepper. Add chicken to pan and cook over medium high heat until chicken has started to brown. Add another tablespoon of olive oil and the rice. Stir together with the chicken and sauté uncooked rice for about 2 minutes or just until some grains start to turn golden brown. Stir in black beans, canned tomatoes, chicken broth, garlic powder, chili powder and cumin. Bring to a simmer, cover and reduce heat to low. Cook about 20 minutes or until rice is tender. Season with additional salt and pepper as needed. Sprinkle with cheese, recover and let set for 2-3 off heat to melt cheese. Garnish with fresh tomatoes, green onions, sour cream and guacamole.

If it thickens, you can add more water to it so the rice doesn’t stick. If you do make it in a sauté pan, you can add more cheese if you’d like, since you’ll have a larger surface area to cover. I made mine in a stock pot so I cut the cheese called for in the original recipe in half. It didn’t need the extra cheese, honestly.

This one’s a keeper! If you make it, let me know how you like it!

 

Happy November!

Good morning, everyone! How was your weekend? Mine was filled with relaxing things. I did PiYo, read, tried to nap, wandered around the wharf, and took pictures. And that was really just about it. And it was perfect.

Folks, this exercise program. Oh, my, it hurts so good. I haven’t come across anything else that stretches and strengthens the way this does. My legs are still sore from Saturday’s workout. It hurts sooooo gooooood.

I’ve been reading A Game of Thrones, after watching the series on HBO. I’m caught up through season 3 and I can’t wait for season 4. So, I’ve been reading the books in the meantime. Oh, my stars. It’s all so good. Oh, and do you like my new mug? I picked this up last week at Cost Plus. They have such cute stuff for such reasonable prices.

I spent some time in my worn out pajamas. The boy and I played cards for awhile on Sunday morning because it just felt so early and we didn’t want to get up and get going yet. So, we didn’t. The time change really messes with me. Does it mess with you? It makes me grouchy. So, pajamas and hot tea was the order of the morning! In all seriousness though, I need to update my pajama selection. They’re frumpy, but oh, so very comfortable.

Yesterday, we went for a walk down by the wharf and we also toured this little maritime museum. There’s a lighthouse lantern in there and it’s so beautiful to watch. I tried to take my photo so everything was symmetrical and I was moderately successful. It’s a little off, but I really like the way this turned out.

And last, but certainly not least, we made a little friend. He was very curious about what we might have in our food tray. It was just a sourdough roll and some clam chowder, but he really wanted us to drop some of it. He waited patiently for us to drop something and he wasn’t aggressive at all. Truthfully, I found him rather pretty.

In other news, it rained! We needed it horribly and it made everything smell so amazing. I hope we get more rain. I would really love to have some green grass in the spring. I’m sure the cows would too, and the farmers.

And now, it’s back to the grindstone for me! Enjoy your Monday, lovelies!