Saturday, February 16, 2019

WOW Weekend 2019

This weekend, I got to attend my first-ever Christian women’s retreat.  It was an overnight, 2-day conference in Grapevine, TX called WOW Weekend (Women of Worthiness).  This year’s theme was “Be-YOU-tiful: Being God’s Beautiful Woman, Starting from Within.”

First off, as I looked around the very large conference room, it struck me how encouraging it is to meet so many kind women all in one place, all of like precious faith.  That’s a beautiful thing!

On Friday night, we had an opening prayer, a welcome dinner, some singing of hymns, and our first speaker.  She talked about what good works look like, how we can inspire other to do good works, and who and how we can serve others.  Then they gave away some beautiful door prizes!  We were also introduced to the donated items that were included in the silent auction, so we walked around and looked at what was available before we retired to our room for the night.

WOW - In Hotel Room

I met up with two lovely ladies from our church in Crowley, TX to share a room.  It was such an enjoyable evening talking with them and getting to know them both better.  Before we even realized so much time had passed, it was midnight before anyone looked at their watch!  We all scrambled to get our showers and head off to bed!  We had to be up at 7 AM to get ready to pack up, check out of our room, and be ready for the morning presentation by 8 AM.  I managed to get ready for bed and turn in around 1 AM.

This is where things went haywire for me!  Sleep eluded me in the room.  My Fitbit tells the story best.  I’ll leave the rest to your imagination.

Hotel Sleep

At 3 AM, I gave up trying.  I got dressed and fixed my hair for the new day and tiptoed around to pack up all of my stuff and slip out of the room.  I decided to see if I could fare any better in my van.  Again, I’ll let my Fitbit tell that part of the story…and just add that the temperature had dramatically dropped to 34 degrees!  Woops!  Unexpected complication…

Van Sleep

Obviously, I didn’t fare much better there.  I ran the engine for a while and warmed it up inside and managed to nod in and out for a brief time.  Most of this was not actually sleep.  In fact, I actually woke up from about a half hour catnap at 7 AM.  Perfect timing!  I hung around in the van until about 7:45.  Then I went back inside to use the restroom and ran to our room to make a quick cup of hot tea.  Clearly, I was going to need the caffeine to get myself going this morning!  LOL.  And I got to relay my crazy night to my roommates so we could laugh about it.  What a night!

I walked into the morning presentation just as we were about to begin.  We had a morning prayer, some hymn singing, and another speaker, who talked about ways a single person can guide a young Christian and inspire them in lifelong ways, the importance of regular communication with God to strengthen that relationship, how to pray for your enemies and how that provides relief from your own burdens, what forgiveness of others should look like, and how to nurture and guard your own heart and mind in Christ.  Then we gathered for a buffet brunch.  Yum!  I was so hungry this morning, and knowing this was going to keep me going until tonight’s dinner, I made sure I was stuffed.  I ran into a couple of other ladies from our church and enjoyed chatting with them and catching up.  We also met some lovely people at our table both days. 

WOW - In Conference

Afterwards, we had more singing, and another speaker.  She gave my favorite presentation of the weekend, and it really touched me.  She talked about our roles as Christian wives, mothers, friends, neighbors, and the many opportunities we have to impact those around us.  She also discussed what the fruits of the Spirit look like in us as we truly love others as Christ did.

We had a short bathroom break, more singing, and another speaker.  She talked about the good, the bad, and the ugly events that we can look back on in our timeline of life and how they can affect us.  And she talked about how they should affect us…how we can turn all the negatives into positive learning experiences that shape us into better, stronger Christians.  Because after all, God can work all things for the good of those that love Him.  So true! 

They announced the winners of the silent auction, made some funny jokes that made us all laugh, gave away some more door prizes, and ended with more singing and a closing prayer.  It was a very fulfilling day, and I was so glad I went!

On our way out, we stopped by the photo op backdrop to get a group picture.

WOW - On the Way Out 2

I headed home at about 1:45.  I was shocked how fast the return trip went on a Saturday afternoon as compared with all of the traffic snaffoos of the Friday evening commute going up there.  It seemed like I was home in a flash.  The brightness outside was killing my eyes, though…I was SO tired!  I was hungry for lunch, but I was more tired than hungry, so I literally went straight to my bed and declared that it was nap time for me!  My dogs happily greeted me in my return and curled up around me in my bed.  I was out like a light pretty much as soon as my head hit the pillow!  Fitbit tells it best.

Home Sleep

Sweet slumber!  Hubby got me up at 5:15 so I could get ready to leave for our quarterly neighborhood dinner and meeting with our school board member and city councilman.  Always informative!  My whole family got to go this time, so it was a good opportunity to reconnect after my short trip.

Now my day is drawing to a close, and my bed is again calling to me.  I had such a lovely weekend trip, and I appreciate that the ladies at church encouraged me to go!  I look forward to doing it again next year.  And hey, I’ll have a funny story to tell! Winking smile

Saturday, February 9, 2019

It’s National Pizza Day!!!

Today is National Pizza Day, and that means deals on pizza all over the country.  I’m going to mention those in my area of northern TX, but be sure to check your local chains for more pizza specials!

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Chuck E. Cheese:  Upgrade any large pizza to an Extra Large for free when you ask for the “National Pizza Day” offer (code 4860).

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Cici’s:  Get 3 medium 1-topping pizzas for takeout only for $12.


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Papa John’s:  Get a medium 1-topping carryout pizza for $6 with code CARRYOUT6.


Pizza Hut Logo

Pizza Hut:  Get any large pizza with up to 5 toppings for $10.99 with code THANKYOU at checkout.


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Pizza Patron:  Get any large pizza for $6.99.


Enjoy your pizza!

Saturday, February 2, 2019

The Organizing Continues!

Well, I’ve been super sick with a nasty head cold for the last couple of weeks.  I finally started turning the corner this week and feeling better, so I really stepped up my game in terms of putting things in order with my organizational projects.

The folks at Dollar Tree probably thought I had some kind of basket obsession this week.  One day, an employee said “back again?!?”  LOL.  I guess I made one too many stops there this week asking for particular baskets that I needed.  I sure bought a lot of them!  It would have been more productive if I’d just trusted I would need a bunch and bought them all in one trip, but instead, I just bought what I needed for the day to complete another cabinet/drawer/area. 

This week, I ordered glass spice jars from Amazon…twice!  I started out with two sets of 24, and then I ended up ordering one more set of 24 before the week was over.  They are so nice!  They have stainless steel lids, plastic snap-on shaker inserts, a collapsible silicone funnel for transferring spices to the jars, and 3 sets of labels to choose from…round chalkboard labels for the lids, decorative chalkboard labels for the sides of the jars, or clear pre-printed labels with the spice names already on them.  I have wide spice drawers located right beneath my glass cooktop, and I’d already bought rubber inlays last year that keep the jars all in neat little columns so they don’t roll around, so I knew I’d be labeling the sides of the jars since they lay down.  I tried the pre-printed ones, but the print was small, and with black print on a clear background, it was too hard to read them when the jars were full.  So I went with the decorate chalkboard labels instead.  They are beautiful!  The set also came with a small white chalk marker to write with on the labels, and it turned out so nice!  I alphabetized the jars starting at the front of the drawer moving up each column from left to right.  I can find any spice in just a moment now, and they stay put since they are all one uniform size.  That really put a smile on my face!  I’ve wanted to organize my spices in uniform jars for as long as I can remember.  I was thankful I could finally afford the initial investment to get the setup I really wanted all along.  It worked out to about $1 per jar, but I’ll never have to buy them again.  Being able to see through the jars lets me know at a glance which ones are running low, too, which is really convenient.  I absolutely love it!  This was the most satisfying project of all, because I spend a LOT of time in the kitchen cooking for 5 people.  We generally eat at home every night.  At most, we probably go out once a month for dinner, so this truly makes my life easier for cooking at home.

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I also picked up some wire pot lid racks at Dollar Tree to add to the one larger one I already had from Walmart.  I got a whole new set of copper pans for Christmas, and each one had its own glass lid, so I was in dire need of a way to keep those lids organized.  This made a huge difference!  Then I stacked my skillets, my saucepans, and my cookpots all together in size order.  This also made a huge difference to the ease of cooking and putting things away this week.

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I also organized some more of my kitchen drawers this week.  I got smaller baskets and arranged my measuring cups/spoons, cooking tools, straws, etc.  I also have a drawer for cough and throat drops, and two for k-cups.  Everything is now sorted and tidy in the drawers.  That made a big difference when needing to find something or put something away, too. 

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I also went through and organized all of my plastics.  That cabinet was the biggest mess of all, and I was able to tame the craziness and organize similar things together as well as keep lids with their appropriate containers.  No more water bottles falling over in the back of the cabinet and making everything around them go down like dominoes!  My kitchen has truly been transformed this week, and life is much more pleasant as a result.

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This evening, I organized my glassware…baking dishes and serving dishes.  I was always afraid of things clinking together in there and chipping or breaking as I slid in and out the things I needed.  Now I have all the baking dishes together, all the serving dishes together, all the glass storage together, etc.  I can easily slide out the basket I need, get or put away the necessary item, and slide the basket right back into place.  Much, much better!

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I did some other smaller projects, as well, like my kids’ sock drawers, underclothes, etc.  I sure hope everyone appreciates that I’ve tidied their spaces, but it probably benefits me the most since I still put their clothes away for them.

So what have you been working on in January?

Saturday, January 26, 2019

More Organization Projects

To keep my momentum going, I’m trying to work on at least a couple of new organizational projects every week.

To truly appreciate how my breakfast closet has been transformed, you would have needed to see what it looked like before.  But since there’s no way I would have taken a photo of the chaos that was in there before, you’ll have to be satisfied with what it looks like post-reorganization.

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    Cereal in ziploc bags in baskets     Poptarts labeled on edges in a basket

My husband is thrilled to have this all cleaned out, particularly since this closet is actually a utility closet that houses one of the hot water heaters and one of the air handler units.  When we had a leak a few months ago, it wasn’t pretty in there!

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Oatmeal with soda and trash bags on shelves on the closet door

I also picked up some large silverware trays that I planned to use to better accommodate my silverware.  But when I got home, I realized they didn’t fit in my silverware drawers.  I was going to return them, but then my husband reminded me that we have some very large drawers (even larger than the trays) in our buffet where they could probably be used to tidy things up.  So I set right to work to make good use of them there.

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These sectional trays worked so well in these large drawers that I’d like to get a couple more for the other two drawers there the next time I find myself near IKEA.  I just love browsing through that store for organizational ideas!  I really wanted their adjustable pot lid rack, but I literally walked the whole store and couldn’t find it.  Maybe next time!

Saturday, January 19, 2019

January is Time to Get Organized!

Whenever a new year rolls around and all the Christmas decor is neatly packed away in the attic, I always feel motivated to reorganize the cabinets and drawers that slowly get into disarray over the course of the year.  And by taming it all annually, you can be sure not to let it get out of control.
One thing that got overrun and out of order was my pantry.  Now I do a LOT of home cooking, so an untidy, disorganized pantry drives me batty!  I had a system in there last year, but it got overly full and mixed up over the course of the year.  I decided this would be my first reorganization project of the new year.

I already had baskets in the pantry, but they were different sizes and didn’t really do the job.  So I started cleaning out one shelf at a time removing any foods past 20190116_123351their freshness date and placing them into a box for donation.  I had quite a bit because we were doing a whole foods nutrition plan for most of last year and weren’t using any pre-packaged ingredients in anything at all, so everything just kind of sat there.  Getting all that cleaned out left a more manageable amount of products in there so it was easy to get organized once again.  After I started sorting by categories into baskets, I realized I needed quite a few more larger baskets, so I went and bought those at Dollar Tree.  No huge investment was needed.  I got it all set up over the course of two days, and I was thrilled with how it turned out!  The only thing I need now in order to finish it up are some more chalkboard clip-on labels to identify what’s in the baskets.  This is helpful for when I’m at the store and end up calling home and asking the kids if we have a can of “xyz” in the pantry.  While *I* know what’s in each basket, they do not.  So labels are helpful.  It also makes it super easy to put groceries away.  I even ended up with a little shelt on the floor to hold my pressure cooker with the accessories underneath.  Yay!

That evening, I started watching the first episode of the new Netflix show called “Tidying Up.”  Wow!  You might find Marie Kondo a bit strange or unorthodox, but she definitely offered up some practical tips for organization!  When she demonstrated a folding technique that allows you to store your clothing in your drawers vertically, I was inspired to pause the show and run to all the bedrooms to make it happen.  For real!  It was amazing.  Suddenly, I could see all the pants, tops, pajamas, etc. at one time, and everything looked so tidy!  I don’t know why I never thought of it before.  I was hooked, and I repeated the process in all the kids drawers and my own pajama drawer.  It made a huge difference!

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Holden’s pants                             and his underclothes
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Holden’s pajamas                                    and his socks

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Haylee’s leggings/exercise pants                        and her pants

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Haylee’s pajama sets and nightgowns

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Hayden’s shorts                                   and his pants

As you can see, this has already made such a difference!  Holden loves it, because it seems he is always looking for his favorite pair of sweatpants, and now he can find them quite easily and pull them out without making a mess of the other folded clothes in the process.  Brilliant!  And it’s so easy to put their clothes away neatly.  I feel good every time I do it!

I’m working my way through the house, so I’ll post more projects as I complete them.  What are you inspired to organize in your home?

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Happy 48th Birthday to My Dear Hubby!

I know it seems like all I’ve been writing about lately is birthdays, but alas, it’s that time of year for my family!  We have 3 birthdays in the 2 weeks after Christmas.  Crazy, I know!

This time around, we wrap up the winter birthday season with my dear husband, Steve, who has turned 48!  Happy Birthday, sweetheart! 

His birthday fell on Monday, so I set out to make some of his favorite foods on Sunday when he could be home to enjoy them, and then we did the cake after work on Monday.

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We picked out a delicious carrot cake (his fave) with real cream cheese frosting, and I must say that it was really good!  He was acting like his usual goofball self before he realized that 3 of us were holding cell phones because we were taking video!  LOL  That’s what he gets. Winking smile



Seriously, though, every year with this man is a blessing I treasure, and I hope to celebrate many more birthdays with him in the future.

Now that birthday season and the holiday season are over, we can stop eating cake and think about getting back to healthier eating again.  I am still nursing a shoulder injury, so I’m not prepared to return to my regular exercise routine yet (in fact, I just had a cortisone injection on Monday, and I had physical therapy twice this week…ugh!), but hopefully, I’m on the road to recovery, and I can get myself back in shape before pool season begins.  Yay!

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Happy 47th Birthday to Me!

January 1st is not only New Year’s Day, but it’s also my birthday!  I’m officially 47!  Every year, I struggle to stay awake until midnight in the hopes of seeing the ball drop in Times Square, only to realize that I’ve somehow nodded off in the final seconds and then awoken minutes later to the sound of fireworks outside my window!  I kid you not…it’s an epic failure every year.  Well, this year, I knew I could do it.  I’ve been staying up late a lot through our holiday break, and I felt confident I could make it.  But then, shortly after 11 PM, Steve came into the bedroom and reminded me that now that we no longer live on the east coast, the ball actually drops at 11 PM central time, so I’d in fact already missed it!  UGH!  I never thought of that.  I just figured it was re-broadcast as appropriate by local channels in each time zone, but apparently not.  Blech!

So trying not to become convinced that the world was somehow conspiring against me, I decided to celebrate another way.  Indeed, I found some cute countdowns on Hulu that I watched just for fun, and then actually as midnight struck, I asked Alexa to countdown the new year on my Echo Show, and it worked out great!  It was quite festive, as it turns out, and it felt like my own little celebration after all.  Hooray!  Alexa saved the day.  Winking smile

My 47th Birthday #1

When I got up the next morning, I had a nice birthday phone call from my sister, and we have a lovely conversation.  When we finished, Steve and I went for our traditional free birthday breakfast together at Denny’s.  They were super busy, as usual for New Year’s Day, but we had a very nice time.

My 47th Birthday #3

Steve made me a fire at home, and we relaxed with some tv.  He and Haylee brought me cards and a lovely bouquet of flowers, which I loved!  Steve gave me the cutest little opera glasses to use at the symphony, which I’d been wanting for a long time.  They fold up small into a cinch bag to keep in my purse.  They picked up the birthday cake I ordered and kept it cold for later.  Then Steve and I ran out to Starbucks in the afternoon for my free birthday coffee.  I treated myself to my favorite Skinny Peppermint Mocha while it’s still around.  Yum!  Then we hung out at home until Hayden got home from work.  We had leftovers for dinner, so no one had to cook or make a mess in the kitchen, and then they sang to me before we ate the delicious cake I’d ordered from Kroger.  It was my favorite…a double layer chocolate cake with whipped chocolate frosting and a layer of whole strawberries in gel on the top.  It was fabulous!  I love that it’s light and not too sweet.  I could eat that cake all day! 

My 47th Birthday #2

I had hoped to use the hot tub, but the propane company forgot to deliver gas the day before, so we had to forgo the hot tub until the next day.  But all in all, it was a lovely, relaxing day, which I ended by soaking in a hot bath and reading my new book from the library.  It was just my kind of day!