Wednesday, February 27, 2019

The Everything But The Kitchen Sink Bagel Sandwich, EBT (Everything But The), For Short!

I love to eat out, like, A LOT!  If I could have three wishes one of them would be to be able to eat out at all my favorite places at least 2-3 times a week. I know a lot to people do, but at this time in our lives it is just not in the budget.

And then there's the fact that I am the poster child for introverts and a highly sensitive person. So that emotionally charged atmosphere with the menu with too many options to choose from and the line out the door, that can get a little overwhelming for me. Grounding techniques have helped so that I don't miss all the fun, but almost always I come home from eating at one of those places and it takes me hours to recover. It's just the way I'm wired.

That happened to me this past Saturday when I was craving on of my favorite sandwiches and the line was probably 30 people deep and out the side door. I ended up settling for Arbys, which was good for Arby's, but . . . no comparison!

So when I came down with yet another upper respiratory infection yesterday and with a little research found that eating spicy foods to keep the gunk moving (sorry) was one of the best weapons in a natural healing protocol, I drug myself, fever, chills and all to the grocery store to get the ingredients to make it. That's because among other things it includes jalapeño creme cheese, horseradish, stone ground mustard and pickles, which I opted put on the side and instead added sliced jalapeños. In my defense, I also needed the ingredients to make flu bombs, which I will share in another post.

Until I had eaten this sandwich, I was not really a fan of bagels and I still don't care for them by themselves with nothing but cream cheese. Ok, well, truth be told, I'm ok with 1/2 of a bagel, but beyond that it gets to be too much bread. But a bagel sandwich? Game changer for me, especially this one. Truth be told though, I can still only manage to eat half of this sandwich and I usually end ups taking most of the ingredients off and putting everything in separate zip locks and then putting it back together for lunch the next day. The quality isn't **quite** there, but it's good enough, and I don't know, just seems it would be a little hard to make half of a bagel sandwich, but again, that's just how my mind works.

And with that, here is my adaptation of my favorite bagel sandwich,  I call it . . .

The Everything But The Kitchen Sink Bagel Sandwich, or the EBT

- 1 everything bagel sliced in half,
If you prefer it toasted you can, but I don't for a sandwich.
- Philadelphia Jalapeno Cream Cheese
You can find this in the cream cheese aisle usually above the blocks. They have lots of yummy flavors!) - you need enough to spread on one side of your bagel, as thick or thin as you prefer,
Horseradish Sauce
I prefer Kraft's brand. You will find this on the Mayo/Mustard aisle.  Again, enough to spread on the second half of your bagel.
Stone Ground Mustard
I am not big on mustard so I use this sparingly, I just spread it lightly on tops of the horseradish sauce, but if you are a fan, later it on!
- Deli Roast Beef - about a 3-4 slices that are sliced thin for sandwiches.
I bought a 1/2 pound and I used about a 1/3 of that for my sandwich and it was plenty,  1/2 pound should be enough to make about 3 bagel sandwiches.
- 1 slice Pepper Jack Cheese
- 1 large leaf of green leaf lettuce
- 2 slices of Roma tomato
- 4-5 thin slices of onion
I always use red onion on my sandwiches, but you can use whatever you prefer,
- 2 thin slices of dill pickle, OR you can substitute slices of fresh jalapeño for an added kick,

If not pre-sliced, cut the bagel in half,  Spread jalapeño cream cheese on one side of the bagel and horseradish sauce on the other. Spread a layer of stone ground mustard on top of horseradish. Top one half with with roast beef and pepper jack cheese, then add the the lettuce, tomato, onion and pickle/jalapeno, top off with other bagel.  Cut sandwich in half (as pictured).  Serve with chips or potato salad and enjoy!

This sandwich is SOOOO good guys and it definitely got me sniffing, which is so TMI, but it worked! But don't wait until you need to decongest to try it, seriously!  It is just so good!

And now I'm off to make my flu bomb, which I promise to share in another post because this stuff seriously works!

Until then,

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

A Return To Old Fashioned Blogging

During my years of blogging I've written a few. I actually began this journey about fifteen years ago at the now defunct, Homeschool Blogger, where I blogged under the name In Beauty and In Grace.  We had two young girls living in our home at the time and we homeschooled, so that blog naturally focused on those subjects.

I don't really recall what it was that made me make the switch to Blogger, I think it was the simplicity of editing and being OCD, it HAD to be perfect. Many of you who have faithfully followed me for years now may recall the many colors and themes that I've created all in an effort to present our "perfect life" well, because, don't we all? Don't get me wrong, I'm not bashing what I or other bloggers have shared over the years. I think, hope, that deep down my readers know that my life has been anything but perfect, if not, maybe try friending me on FB, where I'm a bit more raw and honest. But I know for myself personally I have enough troubles of my own, I don't want to sign on and read about yours, too. Truth be told most people put their best face forward online, and I am no exception.

My first blog at blogger was Life in the Little Nest, which I felt better reflected our family as a whole. I was happy with that format for awhile, perhaps the longest I've ever stuck with a layout and theme. I was into the hues of the sunset at the time, blues, peaches and rust, and the decor of our home reflected that as well, so it made posting pictures flawless because everything blended so well. I'm showing a bit more of that OCD now!

Then in 2016 our lives changed dramatically when my husband and I separated. Basically, the nest fell to the ground which left me in a bit of a predicament. But with my mother's declining health, my youngest daughter and I moved to Texas to care for her. I had no idea when we arrived in February of that year how long we would be there, but my gut feeling was that we were in it for the long haul. I also found that for the first time in my life I had a freedom I had never experienced before. Having married young and moved from my father's house to my own at 19, there had never been a time where there was basically no one to tell me what to do. And so I embarked upon a new blog, which bore the same name as this one, A Gathering of Days and the focus reflected my stage of life, living life one day at a time, discovering myself, and living with authenticity and purpose.

Then as it turned out, our time in Texas was cut short when my mom passed away in May of 2017, which left me once again at a crossroads. As I struggle with social anxiety am a highly sensitive person, and have ADD, holding down a job in the traditional workplace terrified me, and that was when I began exploring blogging for a living. I knew I could support myself for a year with my savings, and so in January of 2018 I moved to Word Press and began a new blog, An Intentional Life.

Writing is definitely what I feel called to do and it has been affirmed so many times as my gift, but it wasn't long into my new blog that I began to realize just how much the world of blogging had changed since I wrote my first post all those years ago. To be successful you needed a presence not only at your blog, but on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Linked In, I could go on. Not only that but there were algorithms and best practices. You needed to be careful about copyright laws and while I always used images that were in the public domain, living in a basement efficiency apartment did not lend itself well to taking my own pictures, and finding images I could use legally was difficult. By March I was starting to sink and feeling defeated. I knew that the likelihood that I would find an audience and generate enough income to support myself in a year was unlikely. I had no idea how I was going to support myself. My anxiety and other mental health struggles provided a small income through disability, but not nearly enough to live on, and if I became self employed I knew I would lose all of that. My counselor advised against it, and was concerned that eventually I would not be able to handle the pressure of being self employed and regress. It always fathoms me that the government recognizes that my illness is crippling and that because of it they deem me as "unable to work", but then address that by providing support that no one could live on. It leaves you at the mercy of others, but then guess what.  If they help you "too much", now you no longer qualify for health insurance. It's a constant teeter-totter to make sure I'm staying within the parameters.  It is difficult enough to humble yourself and accept assistance, and so it is important to me that I do so honestly,

I've never shared much about my mental illness online and I likely will not. It's a very personal issue and one that I've found is often misunderstood. I will tell you that even thought I am considered "high functioning", that's really just a nice way of saying that I can fake it well for awhile, but eventually it all comes crashing down. I want to be well, I've wanted that for years, but the prognosis for my condition is not favorable that I will ever fully recover. In fact the counselor who diagnosed me way back in 2001 told me from the beginning, "This is what I think you have, and there is no cure." I do well day to day, but I will admit that is because I live in a very carefully controlled environment. I know my limits. I know that I have a very low social threshold. I know that I'm going to walk around a hundred times a day looking for something that I just laid down and the reality is that it may be days before I come across it again. I know that multi-tasking escapes me, and that if I am interrupted in the middle of something important, it's likely it will not get done until I am reminded. Thankfully I am also surrounded by people who love me, and who will often say, "Do you know where your phone is?" And by the grace of God, one of those people is my husband.

We reunited late last year and it has been incredible. I am so thankful to God for the healing he has done, and thankful for his provision, because had our reconciliation not happened at the time that it did, I likely may have been homeless. My daughter, who is 19, had assured me that she would not let that happen and would take care of me. But can you imagine the burden you carry as a parent knowing that your child, who should be out partying with her friends and embarking upon her own life, instead is willing to take on the bulk of the burden for your support? It is humiliating, I can tell you that. But that was what I was beginning to resolve myself too. I knew she was genuine in her affections, and with my disability income I could help her out as well. It was truly a miracle that things began to move toward reconciliation with my husband when they did. I certainly never would have imagined it. And that leads me too today.

I had already grown frustrated enough with Word Press before our reconciliation to know that was not the direction I wanted to take. And when I looked back over my years of blogging, I remembered being happiest when I was writing for Life in the Little Nest, and for a brief time at the previous A Gathering of Days blog. Of course, our lives are much different now. Our daughters are grown and engaged in or embarking upon lives of their own, our family is dispersed. But I am still very much interested in living authentically, slowly and with purpose and I believe it a message that mothers old and young need to hear. And so I returned to blogger. I knew that all the statistics said that I wouldn't be successful, but thankfully that's no longer a requirement, at least being successful by the world's standards. I've come to accept my limitations, and thankfully since I can't support myself, like Hagar, God has not forgotten me and He has always provided. Since I was diagnosed in 2001 there has not been a day that I have not a place to lay my head or been fed, and for that I am thankful.

And so I am returning, you might say, to "Old Fashioned Blogging", a sigh of relief, which I don't think I'm alone in. I hate the world that blogging has become, and I am grateful to the handful of blogs that I follow who seem to have never gotten caught up in the "business" side of things. I am still going to keep my FB page, I think, and Instagram, because they are both fun, but without the pressure to post "only on these days at these times". What a bunch of malarky! I know they are experts and they've conducted the research, but for me, it has taken all of the fun out of blogging and we've become so focused on making a buck here and there that we've forgotten why we were writing in the first place. I know I did. And while I may still include an affiliate link here and there, if I ever make a dollar off of that, well, thanks for the Caramel Macchiato, because that's about all I ever actually believe I would generate from this space, or be allowed! Teeter-Totter.

My reason for writing is to inspire, and to share the wealth of knowledge and resources that I've gained over the years and continue to come across. The focus will continue to be on living your best, most authentic life, but at a slower, simpler pace and seeking the sacred in every day. In addition I will most likely throw in a recipe here and there, because I LOVE FOOD! Are you with me? And because I homeschooled all of my children at some point which adds up to near 30 years of experience, I share resources that I used and continue to seek out for others on the journey at my sister blog, A Considered Childhood. There is a link with my latest post near the top of the right side bar, and if you click on the tab at the top that says "Home Education", it will take you right to it! So if homeschooling and free resources and links to some of the best reading by the women I consider the experts excites you, then I encourage you to visit!

And now it's time to wrap this very LONG, too long, post up! I appreciate you reading this far and I'm looking forward to sharing with you in the days and weeks to come!

Until then,

Anne of Green Gables - To Rent or Own On Gazebo

Recently I discovered GazeboTV, a division of Sullivan Entertainment which brought us the acclaimed Anne of Green Gables, and the lovely sequel, Anne of Avonlea.  There are actually two more installments that follow this, Anne of Green Gables: The Continuing Story, which in my opinion should actually be titled, The "Reinvented Story", as it completely diverted from the original texts. The fourth installment, Anne of Green Gables: A New Beginning is just as bad with regards to keeping with the original story. It has always perplexed me why they chose to divert so from the wonderful story line that L.M. left for us, for who would have not loved to have met Anne and Gilbert's children?  None the less, if you are nursing a cold or the flu, as I am today, and you can get past the fact that the last two installments are basically stand alone stories that only feature the original characters, it can make for a nice diversion for a few days.

I'm sure if you are like me, many of you added these to your personal home library years ago, but just in case that DVD is a bit worn, as mine is, or if you'd prefer to own a digital copy, the prices here seem pretty reasonable to me. I will let you know that in most cases, especially with the series, purchasing them is the best value. You have 4 days from the day you rent the title to watch it, and with a series, even if you're only renting one season, it would be hard to get through without binge watching. With most of the series, it is cheaper to buy all of the seasons at once, albeit, a little pricey for a one time purchase. They are available to purchase by season or by episode, which costs more in the end, but might be easier on the budget in the here and now.

You can also purchase the complete collection, all four movies, for $39.99 which in the end is only a few dollars shy of giving you the third or fourth installment for free. That's not a bad deal, again if you don't mind the story variations, but if you only want the first two installments, as many do, it's a better value to purchase them individually.  

You can almost always find good, used copies of these on Amazon, often for less than these prices.  But in this case you are purchasing a used DVD which isn't going to last as long as digital, so it really just depends on your preference.  They are most likely available for digital purchase from Amazon too, I've just never inquired as I own my own copies.  That would be worth looking into, though, if the prices are comparable.  At any rate, I do want to include that I not promoting this as an affiliate, I just like passing on appealing resources as I come across them!

Until then,

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Favorite Poems - Little Things

Picture of red chippy chair, taken at an outdoor flea market in Delaware, Summer 2018.

Little words are the sweetest to hear;
little charities fly farthest, and stay longest on the wing;
little lakes are the stillest;
little hearts are the fullest,
and little farms are the best tilled.
Little books are read the most,
and little songs the dearest loved.
And when Nature would make anything especially rare and beautiful,
she makes it little; little pearls, little diamonds, little dews.
The Sermon on the Mount is little,
but the last dedication discourse was an hour long.
Life is made up of littles;
death is what remains of them all.
Day is made up of little beams,
and night is glorious with little stars.

~ Author Unknown

Thursday, February 21, 2019

The Works of Edwin Way Teale - Free Online

Picture of green metal basket taken at an antique store in Northern Virginia, Summer 2018.

"For observing nature, the best pace is a snail's pace."
- Edwin Way Teale

Recently I've been spending quite a bit of time researching the vast database of resources that are either in the public domain or free to borrow from The Internet Archives. I've been familiar with the archives for a number of years, but either they have expanded their database or I was simply unaware of the wealth of resources that are available at no cost!

A few years ago when I was compiling my daughters high school curriculum, I came across a series of books written by naturalist Edwin Way Teale.  Though I ended up opting to go a different route for her, I was intrigued enough to purchase one of the books for myself, Wandering Through Winter.  I absolutely loved reading it, and as you can pick up a good used copy for around $3.00-$4.00 on Amazon, I had intended to buy the remaining volumes.  But then, life, you understand.

So I was thrilled when I discovered that you are able to borrow the following titles from The Internet Archives, each for 14 days.

A Naturalist's Record of a 20,000-Mile Journey Through the North American Winter

A Naturalist's Record of a 17,000-Mile Journey Through the North American Spring

A Naturalist's Record of a 19,000-Mile Journey Through the North American Summer

A Naturalist's Record of a 20,000-Mile Journey Through the North American Autumn

The Journal of a Naturalists Year

A Journey Through The World's Great Nature Writing

If you enjoy reading about the natural world then I think you will enjoy these! Also, completely unrelated, but I can I tell you how thrilled I was to find that they have six seasons of Green Acres free and available to watch! It is one of my all time favorite classic TV shows, and it appears all of the episodes are there! It will take me years to watch six seasons as I don't allow much time for TV.  But I'm thinking of perhaps watching an episode during lunch each day, and I'm also going to do a little digging and see what other classic TV shows they might have available! I don't care much for modern day programming, but these old classics from the 50's and 60's are my favorites!  

Until then!

Saturday, February 16, 2019

The Old Movie Review - Lilies of the Field

Well, I'm back! And as I've begun so many other posts when I am away from this space longer than expected, life has just been busy and finding time to share with you here has been hard to find! But I'm not complaining!  My days are filled spending time with my husband and my daughter, engaged in the tasks of keeping a home, and recently I've also been doing a lot of reading and watching old movies. So truth be told, I suppose I could have shown up here sooner, but I've just been enjoying myself so much I didn't. Blogging is wonderful and I love it, but real life beats it hands down. You understand. Kate is going on twenty and moving towards moving out and getting her own place, and after being separated for over two years, Bill and I are enjoying our time together. Real life and real people trump the internet every day and twice on Sunday. But enough with that and on to the reason for this post!

As I mentioned I've been watching a lot of movies lately, old movies in particular, because films from the 40's-60's are my personal favorites. That's not to say I don't watch modern day movies, as well, because I do. I LOVE movies and I love sharing them with others, especially older movies that a lot of people may not have seen or are familiar with. Recently I've been on a bit of a Sidney Poitier kick,  having recently watched To Sir, With Love and I picked up Guess Who's Coming to Dinner? from the library just yesterday.

But it was Lilies of the Field that started it all, when I came across a copy of it at Goodwill and decided to add it to our collection. Bill and I have started a weekly tradition of watching at least one old movie a week, typically on Monday's and we call it "Old Movie Monday". This is primarily because I LOVE old movies, and while he is not a fan, he doesn't mind giving them a try here and again and this was the first movie we watched.

Lilies of the Field is the story of Homer Smith (Sidney Poitier), a jack-of-all-trades, who comes across a group of German, Austrian and Hungarian nuns who are struggling to eek out a meager living in the Arizona desert, when he stops to get water for his car.  Believing he is "sent by God", Mother Maria convinces Homer to help them with a few odd jobs.  Homer reluctantly agrees, and states that he expects to be paid and originally plans to leave the next morning.  But through a series of conversations, he ends up staying longer, helping them with a few more jobs, which eventually results to him agreeing to build a chapel for the community.

I absolutely loved this movie, especially the relationship between Homer and Mother Maria.  She is quite a bossy woman and used to getting her own way, and as hard as Homer tries, he has a difficult time turning her down.  The other sisters are all sweet, and I love that part of Homer's motivation in staying is to relieve the poverty they are content to live in, if only for awhile.  Each night after dinner he gives them lessons in English, and he even takes a part time job so that he can buy them some food and treats them with lollipops.

One of my favorite scenes is the "battle of the Bible" which takes place between Homer and Mother Maria when he decides to resort to scripture to convince her that he needs to be paid.  Mother Maria is armed and ready with her own knowledge of the scriptures, however, and rebuttals each of Homer's attempts with a verse that states that he should do the work for the Lord and that he will be blessed.  Though the movie doesn't really clarify, I don't think he ever did receive a penny for the all the work he did, but it is obvious that the nuns come to mean a lot to him and he to them.  They are all blessed with the gift of friendship, and because of Homer, when he finally does leave, they are in much better circumstances than he found them.

Another thing that I loved was the way it brought the community together.  When Homer does finally agree to build the chapel, he originally does so because he had always dreamed of being an architect but could not afford to go to school. His only request is the be left alone to do it himself.  But then he meets other members of the community when he drives the sisters to mass each Sunday. Soon they all become interested and start showing up. They donate bricks and other supplies to help build the chapel, but Homer insists that they cannot help, even placing signs around that say "Do Not Touch" "Keep Out", etc.  For awhile they even take over the project, and Homer then quits and refuses to help.  But when things start becoming a mess and Mother Maria is concerned they are going to ruin everything, Homer takes charge again and they all learn to work together to finish the chapel.

It's a truly lovely story that emphasizes what we can accomplish when we are willing to lay down our pride and work together, and of faith.  Mother Maria believe for many years that God would send someone to help and that He would provide the supplies to build the chapel.  Everyone who became involved in the project of left changed, and Mother Maria's obvious sadness when Homer leaves reveals that in spite of her tough, bossy exterior, lies a soft heart.

I would recommend that everyone give this movie a try.  Aside from the song "Amen" being sun in its entirety at least twice and maybe three times, which is the only negative thing I can think of, I though it was very heartwarming.  I don't even dislike the song, it was just the number of times it was sung that was a bit much for me. Sidney Portier won best actor for his performance, and while by today's standards I wouldn't say it was exceptional, it was very good.  Now that I'm on my third movie in which he had a starring role, I'm wondering why I never watched his movies before?  I found a book at the library that I am going to request after I've knocked a couple of others off my list, an autobiography, The Measure of A Man: A Spiritual Biography, which looks interesting.  I'm looking forward to reading it and learning more about him.

I'll be posting reviews of To Sir, With Love and Guess Who's Coming to Dinner? over the next few weeks.  And until then, if you have any favorite movies, starring Sidney Portier, or not, and especially from the 50's and 60's that you've always enjoyed, please leave your suggestions in the comments!  I'm always on the lookout for new titles and I'd love to hear your favorites.  Have you seen Lilies of the Field, and if so, what did you think?  Let me know!

Until then,

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Monday, February 4, 2019

Living Intentionally In February

“Though February is short, it is filled with lots of love and sweet surprises” 

 ~ Charmaine J Forde

As I mentioned in my post last month, this year I am trying something new and setting monthly, weekly and daily goals using some planning sheets I created, and I've decided to share them here each month as a form of accountability, so to speak. I was actually inspired by Monica, who shares something similar at her blog each month. And with that, here are my goals for February 2019.


1. Drink water daily, Coke only on the weekends.  Walk/Hike 3x per week.
2. File our taxes and Kate's, update paperwork.  Organize files.
3. Organize cleaning supplies and little more organizing in my closet (shoes/purses)
4. Work on Blogging Binder.
5. Reading - a minimum of 1 book per week, and shoot for 6-8.


Week 1 - February 3 - 8
1. Daily health routine, water, skin, walking/hiking (3x this week), oil pulling.
2. File taxes, update paperwork.
3. Organize cleaning supplies / my closet
4. Read 1/2 books this week.
5. Make time for crafting.

Week 2 - February 10 - 16
1. Daily health routine, water, skin, walking/hiking (3x this week), oil pulling.
2. Organize files, office supplies in cabinet.
3. Family Valentine's Day Dinner/Movie
4. Work on Blogging Binder, begin working the plan! (I'll share more about this later!)
5. Read 1/2 books this week.
6. Make time for crafting.

Week 3 - February 17 - 23
1. Daily health routine, water, skin, walking/hiking (3x this week), oil pulling.
2. Continue working on Blogging Binder (if needed), continue working the plan!
3. Attend World Changers meeting at church and decide where to serve!
4. Read 1/2 books this week.
5. Make time for crafting.

Week 4 - February 24 - March 1
1. Daily health routine, water, skin, walking/hiking (3x this week), oil pulling.
2. Continue working on Blogging Binder (if needed), continue working the plan!
3. Read 1/2 books this week.
4. Make time for crafting.
5. Write Gathering Days in March monthly post, and review this post!


- Daily Quiet Time (Think of another name for this) - I will elaborate more on this at another time. :)
- Walk / Hike minimum of 3x per week
- WATER!!!! - Hydrate!!!!
- Skin Care
- Oil Pulling


With my husband
- Be present, anticipate his needs and try to meet some of them.
- Plan a romantic evening for Valentine's Day using only things we already have on hand.

With my children
- At least one "Girl's Nights" with Kate
- Keep watching Gilmore Girls together (no phones)
- Send cards to my other girls. <3


Things I Want To Do. . . 
- Create a "Morning Basket"  
- Establish a daily routine for blogging and related social media. 
- Watch at least two of my favorite old movies.
- Read 1-2 books a week.  

Places I Want to Go 
- Coffee Shops - set aside at least one day this month to work on my blog at a coffee shop. 
- Barnes & Noble - set aside one day to spend some time at Barnes & Noble doing content research. - Lunch alone - have lunch alone at a quaint sandwich shop.

 - Weekly manicure / pedicure at home. - Set up a kit with all the necessary supplies that is easily accessible. 

And there they are, my goals and intentions for another month.  I wasn't particularly pleased with my progress last month, and I think part of the problem is that I wrote them down and forgot about them. I need to look at them daily in order to accomplish them, so maybe that's another goal.  Develop a system to keep your goals in front of you on a daily basis!

If you are a goal-setter and have a system that works well for you, please leave a girl some encouragement and inspiration in the comments!

Until then, my friends, I'm cheering you on in your journey!

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Living Intentionally In January - REVIEW

"January, is the month for dreaming!" 

~  Jean Hersey

I wrote this original post at the end of December last year, as I had decided  to begin setting monthly, weekly and daily goals using some planning sheets I created.  Posting them here at the blog is a means of "accountability", so to speak, although I honestly despise that word.  Maybe it's just me, but do we really need someone to hold our hand and make sure we do the right thing?  I mean, by my age, anyway.  But that's a post for another day.

So today, I am going to review my goals and see what I have accomplished.


1. Health - Drink water daily, Coke only on the weekends.  Walk 3x per week.
Hmmm. Well, I would say I have "improved" on this, especially over the past week.  I still don't drink enough water, but I have increased it, but Coke still tends to slip through my lips more often than it should.  I also am not walking 3x per week, but in my honest defense, I've been sick for almost six weeks with the worst cold I've ever had in my life, and it's been BEYOND cold!  So, excuses, yes, but legitimate ones.  I did go on four hikes with my husband this month, so that's more than I did in December. :)

2. Organization - Since Bill moved back home we've been struggling with the organization and flow of the apartment.  It's working, but not as well as I would like for it to. My goal is do a major overhaul and reorganization of this space and see if I can't make it function better.

I did this and it has made a HUGE difference in the flow of our tiny apartment.  Bill has more closet space, and while a few things are cramped, in this space it is inevitable for the time being. But, what is cramped is the stuff we use less, as in, not on a daily basis, and the important day to day things are better situated.  I also got rid of a TON of stuff, and while I still have more downsizing to do, I'm off to a great start!

3. Blogging / Crafting - Writing and crafting are essential parts of my life, and I want to establish a daily routine for accomplishing both.

I wasn't able to get to this either, well. not in the way I had hoped anyway.  But again, between being sick and a number of personal family matters that came up towards the end of the month, I'm ok with that.  I was able to sit down and line out ideas for more than 100 posts that I'll be writing over the next year, and that has me really excited!

Part of the problem with my craft supplies is that they are currently in bins under my bed and not that easy to retrieve, so out of sight, out of mind.  I considered setting up a "craft area", but in our tiny open concept apartment, I'm afraid it would look too busy/messy.  So, still working on the solution to this.

4. Reading - This year I am going to try to read one book a week, or 4-5 books a month, which for me, is pretty lofty.  Last year my goal was 1 book a month, and I didn't even accomplish that. I love books and reading is actually very important to me, so I need to make it a priority and not allow other things, like social media, to crowd out that time!

This is the only goal that I am upset about not reaching. Mind you, with my cold has come a headache, and I honestly have not felt like reading.  But I am going to be honest and say that other things like Facebook (**COUGH**) have taken up precious time that I could have devoted to this goal. So, DO BETTER IN FEBRUARY!  I was going to double up my reading for February to **catch up**, but I'm going to show myself some grace and just try to reach the goal of 4 books in for the month.


My weeks, at least in relation to my goals, runs M-F, not that I don't have goals every day, but I do allow myself some grace on the weekends, and indulge in things otherwise do not during the week, and set those days aside for fun.  I also want to get back into the routine of taking a Sabbath, which I hope will be on Sunday (for the most part), my that day may have to fluctuate to meet everyone's needs.

Week 1 - January 2-4

1. Pack away Christmas decorations and reorganize apartment for better flow and function.
2. Read one book this week. x
3. Blog (M-W-F), Social Media (related to blog, daily) 
*I did post here at the blog, maybe not M-W-F every week, and I did manage to get a few things posted on FB, Twitter and even began posting on Pinterest.  Instagram needs some attention, however, and I need to get better at this. 
4. Craft (daily) x

Week 2 - January 7 - 11
1. Establish daily / weekly health routine. - I will actually begin uping my water game in week 1, and may even get in a few walks in the first week two, but this week is when I get serious about getting back to the business of looking after my health. - Kinda, sorta but not really a 
2. Read one book this week.
3. Blog (M-W-F), Social Media (related to blog, daily)  ✓ *same as above
4. Craft (daily) x

Week 3 - January 14-18
1. Continue with daily / weekly health routine. Consider a de-tox (I am still looking into this and trying to decide which one I want to do)
I still want to do a detox, and since I was down with a cold, I probably should have considered this then.  Also, while I took a few baby steps towards improving my health, I wouldn't give myself a 
2. Read one book this week. x
3. Blog (M-W-F), Social Media (related to blog, daily) ✓ *same as above
4. Craft (daily) x

Week 4 - January 21-25
1. Prepare home / meals for Jenna's visit. Our daughter is visiting at the end of the week to celebrate Christmas and Bill's birthday.  - We had a lovely visit, and everything went off without a hitch! 
2. Read one book this week. x
3. Blog (M-W-F), Social Media (related to blog, daily)  ✓ *same as above
4. Craft (daily) x

Week 5 - January 28 - February 1
1. Continue with daily / weekly health routine. Consider a de-tox (I am still looking into this and trying to decide which one I want to do) x
2. Read one book this week. x
3. Blog (M-W-F), Social Media (related to blog, daily)  ✓ *same as above
4. Craft (daily) x


- Quiet Time - x A-W-F-U-L, can I be honest and tell you that I get pulled in my phone (clock), to easily?????  Please tell me I'm not alone here!
- Read my current book for the week, a little each day. x
- 4 bottles of water, daily x
- Walk (M / W / F ) x - but I did go on four hikes!
- Oil Pulling (M / W / F) - UGH!  Fail! x

Basically I FAILED my daily habits.  Grace. Grace. Grace. It's an accomplishment that I even have a written list of daily habits to fail to accomplish!


With my husband
- Being more present, especially as he is leaving for and arriving home from work! 
- January 21 is his birthday, so make it special! 

With my children
- Being present and focusing on being a better listener. 
- Have a "Mom & Me" date with Kate (yes, she still enjoys there, even at 19!) 
- Make Jenna's visit special. 

- Organize a "Girl's Day Out" for me and my squad! :) x
This one didn't happen.  I was just too sick and too busy, but thankfully I have great friends who understand.

Things I Want To Do. . .
- Create a "Morning Basket" x - Still want to do this!
- Establish a daily routine for blogging and related social media.  - Not a routine exactly, but I lined up more than 100 posts!  
- Set up a little area for crafting and organize my crafting materials. - Decided against this.
- Read 1 book a week. x

Places I Want to Go
- Coffee Shops - set aside at least one day this month to work on my blog at a coffee shop. x - Still want to do this!  Maybe next month!
- Barnes & Noble - set aside one day to spend some time at Barnes & Noble doing content research. 
- Lunch alone - have lunch alone at a quaint sandwich shop. - Still want to do this!  Maybe next month!

Self Care
- Wash face, daily.  Establish a routine and research products for better skin care. Admittedly, I often go to bed with my make up on, TOO often. - Better, but still needs improvement, so no 
- Weekly manicure / pedicure at home.  - Set up a kit with all the necessary supplies that is easily accessible. x - Still want to do this!
- De-tox? - still researching this one. x - Still want to do this!
- Color my hair.  Wash away those grays! 

So there you have it.  I'm not particularly happy with the results, but as I said, I HAVE been sick for weeks and am just now beginning to feel a little better! I am sure if I can actually implement some of the health changes I have lined out, I will begin feeling even stronger, and I also need to get my sleep schedule regulated. I wake up a t 5:00 a.m. on the dot every morning, but tend to fall asleep between 7-10 p.m. every night and then I'm up again for several hours.  I'm putting that on the list for February and researching ways to combat it.  5:00 a.m. wake up is fine with me, and to get 8 hours of sleep that does mean a 9:00 p.m. bed time.  But Bill and Kate often don't get off of work and home until 10:00/10:30 and I like to be awake to greet them, so if I could work out 10-6 or 11-7, that would be great!  I also don't mind only getting six hours of sleep, that is actually about the norm for me, I just want six C-O-N-S-E-C-U-T-I-V-E hours, not in 3 hour shifts!

So there you have it, my honest review of my January 2019 goals!  I'll be posting my goals for February on Monday, if you are interested, and then next month I'm going to try to have them up before the first!

Until then, 

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Gathering Days In February


Overview for February
2 - Presentation of the Lord (Candlemas)
11 - Our Lady of Lourdes
14 - Saint Valentine's Day

These are the days that I personally observe, but there are many others.
You can find the complete calendar for the month of February, here.


2 - Remembrance Day - Betty Lottman - Bill's Mother


2 - Ground Hog's Day
- according to Phil, we will have an early spring!
3 - National Carrot Cake Day
- this post says this is the PERFECT carrot cake.
It's perfect for me because it's not a layer cake, which is much more work.
4 - National Homemade Soup Day
- you'll find 50 Winter Soups to Cozy Up To
here, and I've found that just about anything from 
Taste of Home, is good.
9 - National Pizza Day
What's your favorite pizza?  Confession, I'm not much of a fan.
It's all the tomato sauce!  But I know I'm pretty outnumbered in this,
so whatever your favorite is, today is the day to indulge!
As for me, IF I indulge, I might try this recipe out!
- National Bagel Day
- Since I am not a fan of pizza, I think I will celebrate
National Bagel Day in a big way!
My favorite, Asiago Cream Cheese with Jalapeño Cream Cheese!
DELISH!  I get them from Blue Ridge Bagels, but if you want to make
your own I found this recipe.  Yeast is not my friend, however, so
for the money, I'll let the bagel bakers do it!
10 - National Cream Cheese Brownie Day
- unlike the previously mentioned bagels, 
this recipe does not require working with yeast.
It is do-able and looks delish!
11 - National Clean Out Your Computer Day
I have a Mac, and found this article
5 Tips To Speed Up Your Mac
If you don't use a Mac, here's how to
Optimize Windows For Better Performance
14 - Valentine's Day
To be honest, I've never been particularly big on Valentine's Day,
so lucky for my husband, my expectations (if I even have any)
are pretty low.  Creativity and experiences mean more to me
than gifts, and I found this article that has some great ideas,
at least, I would be happy with any of them!
- National Organ Donor's Day
I'm an organ donor, are you?
No guilt or pressure here, AT ALL!
But, if you're considering it, you can learn more
and sign up, here.
17 - National Random Acts of Kindness Day
- Personally, I think this should be celebrated every day,
but it's nice that there is a specific day set aside for it.
To learn more, visit the Random Acts of Kindness website.
18 - President's Day
Who is your favorite president, and why?
Mine is Ronald Reagan, probably because I turned 18
and he was the first president I was old enough to vote for, 
so it's primarily sentimental, even though I do think he was
a good president.  Other favorites include Thomas Jefferson,
and Barack Obama. I have never aligned myself with a "party",
I vote for the man/woman, based upon personal beliefs and 
preferences that I do not discuss (I'm not going to debate).
Some years that might be a Republican, and other years a Democrat.
Most years, it is, sadly, the lesser of two evils. :(
20 - National Love Your Pet Day
I swore several years ago never to allow myself to become
attached to an animal again.  Famous last words!
I do love our little chiweenie, Bandit!
I think I might make him some of these!
22 - National Sweet Potato Day
I LOVE Sweet Potato Fries, and these with Chili Cilantro cream, 
sound amazing! With or without the cream, they make the
perfect side dish to Turkey Rueben Sandwich, which
I posted in January!  But it's so good, I'm posting it again!
23 - National Banana Nut Bread Day
- there's nothing better than a slice of banana nut bread fresh out of the oven!
This is my favorite recipe, although with any recipe, I tend to go a little heavier on the spices!
24 - National Tortilla Chip Day
A couple of years ago I started making my own flour tortillas.  If you've never done so,
you will never turn back.  They-simply-can-not-be-beat! So good! Here is the recipe I use,
but I don't own a stand mixer so I just mix it with my hands.  However, I have never tried
making my own tortilla chips.  I might try this recipe!
26 - National Fairy Tale Day
If you grew up watching Rocky and Bullwinkle, like I did, then you
are probably familiar with Fractured Fairytales. I loved Rocky and Bullwinkle,
but Fractured Fairytales quickly became a favorite.  A few years ago I bought 
them on DVD and every now and then I'll pop one in just for the nostalgia! But
several of them are available for **FREE** on YouTube
28 - National Chili Day
I'm from Texas, but I still like beans in my chili, and
Cincinnati Chili is my favorite! I don't need a special day
to give me an excuse to make it, I love it so much I make it year round.
But since it's National Chili Day, in my book, it's the only way to go!


Before we move on to February, let's review
how I did in January.

Focus for January 

- Take down Christmas decorations  
- Organize Christmas storage bins (downsize) 
I did manage to downsize, some, but more is needed. 
- Reorganize closets and storage to create a better flow. 
This made SUCH a difference in the flow of this little apartment,
and gave Bill much needed room in his closet! My office supplies
are a bit tight in the little cabinet I moved them too, but my goal is
eliminate some of the old files, etc. to make more room.  And, 
no one, I mean NO ONE, needs as many pens and pencils as we own!
- Wash throws and blankets x
Still need to do this, add to February list.
 - Set up a craft area? - Organize materials x
I decided against setting up an "area" so to speak, because
to do so I'm afraid would make things looks too busy.
We live in a small, open concept apartment with limited space.
It already looks busy, and I think a bunch of craft stuff being out
all the time, would make things even busier.  
Not sure what the solution is on this one, because right now it's all
stored under my bed and not the easy to get in and out, which means,
I'm not inspire to craft even when I want to?

And now, here is the  . . .

Focus for February

- Review budget
- Set up monthly recipe envelopes
- Continue shopping the freezer and pantry first
when planning menus.
- Open a savings account for myself.

From January
- Wash throws and blankets.


These were my goals for January and I . . .
didn't do ANY of them!  So sad!
So, they are now my goals for February! :)

- Set reading goals and make schedule.
- Make a reading journal.
- Dive into my two latest issues of Bella Grace.
- Put together a "Sore Throat and Tummy Soothers" Basket
- Keep plenty of special spices, cloves, star anise, cardamom pods, vanilla bean,
on hand for cozy winter drinks, such as Cardamom, Cinnamon and Ginger Iced Tea,
Craft or Cross Stitch, every day!

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Friday, February 1, 2019

Things I've Seen, Done and Loved - January 2019

Went on four hikes, at Elk Run Trail and New London Tech Trails
Ate black eyed peas and collard greens for good luck for the New Year!
Tried beets for the first time in over forty year and loved them!
First snow of 2019 (12)
Celebrated Bill's birthday (21)
Jenna visited for Christmas and Bill's Birthday (26, 27, 28)
in downtown Lynchburg.
Started attending a new church.

What did you do in January?