Tag Archives: Just Livin’

We’re on Vacation

I haven’t posted anything in just about two weeks and there’s a good reason for it…we’re vacationing.  A week in Fort Lauderdale,you come back for a few days, then leave for Chicago and the “Taste” for another 3-4 days…you know how it is.  I promise I will have pictures (I’ve been trying to use the aperture and shutter speed settings only) and tell you all the details (I’ve celebrated a birthday AND anniversary) when I get back. 

I did want to pass on a link to an awesome article about the jobs of mothers.  If your single or a single-mother this may not be for you because it talks about the differences between a working mom (of a two parent household) and a stay-at-home mom.  I was a stay-at-home for 2 1/2 years (and I LOVED it) and I really wish I could do it again, I feel that working does take away from a lot that I can and should do for my family; like I’m not doing my real job effectively.  Maybe things will work out where I don’t have to do it much longer and I can do the job that I know God meant for me to do. 

In the meantime, check out this link by Linda Johnson, a Christian Life Coach and Marriage Counselor.  Also check her website from time-to-time, she has some really good insite into motherhood, being a wife, and walking with the Lord.

Until I get all of this vacationing out of my system,


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I forgot something

Last weekend, my family went to Memphis to attend Memphis in May which is a national barbeque competition.  My husband is a HUGE barbequer/smoker of meat and whenever we travel he HAS to find the local “great” barbeque restaurant so that we can sample.  Needless to say…we went to the event anticipating sampling some awesome barbeque and that did not happen.  Not at the competition that is.  Unbeknownest to ALOT of people you could not eat ANY of the barbeque from those competing, but you could purchase from vendors (who weren’t any better barbequers than my husband who is really good at it).  We did end up eating barbeque along with some other good eats that I will talk about later and provide pictures, but I need to edit the pictures (I have taken a little over 200 pictures over the past three days). 

What is the title of this post about?  I don’t know about you, but whenever I travel, I try to make a list of the items that we need to take with us, so that I don’t forget something important.  Although I knew about this trip ahead of time, it still seemed like last minute because I didn’t have time to pack the night before like I usually like to AND I had to get up and head out early on Friday morning AND we were leaving right after Kristian and I returned home.  My husband didn’t work on Friday, but he’s one of those guys that you do n’t ask to pack for you.  There is a method to packing and he doesn’t know it yet. 

So I’m rushing and to get everything packed and looking at my list thinking I’m doing good.  I have put everything in the bag that I had on the list.  EVERYTHING THAT I HAD ON THE LIST.  So why was it that when we got to the hotel, there were missing items that were essential?  Because I didn’t have them on the LIST!  We had to find a Wal-Mart to get a hair brush (I  have short hair that needs the assistance of a brush to help it lay down, especially since it’s a little too long right now) and the hubbies belt was left and my face wash (and I had one make-up remover wipe in my make-up case and a completely made-up face).  I was in the car telling my boo that I needed to make an extensive packing list that I could always print out whenever we are about to travel that I could use as my checklist.  If there are others out there that are as list-crazy as I am, you probably already have this list; but for those of you that do not…you’ve got to save this for future use.  I’m telling you, packing will become so much easier if you have this list.  I have it set up so that you can put the quantity of each item you need to pack and then you check off when you have them for each member of your household.  I didn’t include papers that you may need for the trip, because I’m thinking of items that you are actually going to put into the suitcase – I don’t usually pack my transpo tickets nor my passport; those are items that you typically have on your person.  Here’s a look at my list, and I will have a link so that you can download the printable version. 

Tell me what you think and I would love to hear your stories of getting to your destination and realizing you’ve forgotten something.  Like your cell phone charger. 🙂

Travel Pack list

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This woman’s work

Happy Tuesday everyone!

I originallly had planned to start this post out with ‘Happy Monday everyone!’, but life intruded on this post so it had to be put off for another day.  What could be SO important that I would neglect my duties to this blog you may ask?  Well I tell you…my duties as a wife and mother took over yesterday and would not let go of me until about 10pm.  I hope that everyone had a wonderfully blessed Mother’s Day and that you celebrated it accordingly.  I have a very dear friend whose mother past about three weeks ago…she had a rough day on Sunday.  The slightly funny part was that she expected herself to be okay this Mother’s Day.  She called to say that she was walking the dog before getting ready for church and broke down in the middle of the street.  She said the dog turned around and looked at her like she was losing it (don’t just love dogs).  I told her you lost your mother three weeks ago and it’s mothers day…even I knew you weren’t going to be good, I have no idea why you thought you would be fine. 

Anywho enough sadness and teary smiles on to the point of this blog…  As I said, my intentions to blog became waylaid with life so I thought I would take the time out to give you a rundown of my day and maybe you’ll understand my inability and give me a pass.  It all began at 6:02 am when the alarm went off.  I had been awake already for about 20 minutes, but it really felt great to lay there so I didn’t move until that buzzer went off.  I got up did my Monday morning routine of visiting the porcelain throne and then brushing the gunk out of my mouth.  I sat at my computer for a few to check the weather forecast for the day so that I could figure out what to put on the baby doll.  I then headed down stairs and began making lunches for my guys and cleaning up the kitchen.  You see even though Mother’s Day was Sunday, the dishes were not getting washed and suficiet to say the dishwasher had dishes from the load I had run on Saturday and no one was going to put them away so that a new load could be added; so was stuck doing that and washing my knifes and pots that I would day put in the dishwasher. 

7:00 am  – I’m back upstairs making sure my baby doll is up and moving around and I begin the process of removing sheets off the beds and making them and making sure her clothes are ironed and the ready to go. 

7:30 am – I’m back downstairs getting breakfast ready and insuring that lunches are ready for everyone to walk out the door.  

8:00 am – I begin to make up my granola that I wanted to make last week but realized I was out of wheat germ and had to cancel.  (This is what my post was originally going to be about…making on the fly granola.  I will add that recipe at the end along with pics for you to admire). 

8:20 am – While the granola is in the oven for the first leg of the baking process, I go back upstairs to get the sheets and make up my bed.  I had 20 minutes to do this and I promise it just about took all of that time to get the stinking duvet in the cover!

8:40 am – the timer goes off and I’m back downstairs to turn the granola and I set the timer again for another 20 minutes.  This time I stay downstairs, get the sheets in the washer and begin to hang the pictures up in the kitchen that I’ve put off for the past 3 weeks.  I ended up having to get out my level because my naked eye kept telling me they were off-balance even though the level said they weren’t. 

9:00 am – I’m finishing up granola (boy did it smell good) and I’m back upstairs plastic gloves and cleaning supplies in hand so that I can tackle the bathrooms.  I take my camera upstairs so that I can get the granola pics off and get this post done.  Then I remember!…I have an appointment at noon to turn in paperwork for Kristian.  OMG!!!  I haven’t taken a shower and I’m up to my elbows with Kaboom and Windex.  Crap! 😦  I gotta get this stuff done.

9:15 am – I take down the laundry to the “laundry closet”  (It is really THAT small.  In the next house, I’m either getting a ROOM upstairs or a laundry shoot to the ROOM downstairs.  I’m stressing the word room for a reason folks. :)) I separate and begin the process.  I actually get all of the laundry done with the exception of a miniscule load of whites. 

9:30 am – I’m back upstairs cleaning the bathroom and editing the pictures for the blog.  I can’t even begin to explain how I was doing both, but I really was.

10:00 am – I’m back downstairs with the laundry and I start making the pasta sauce that I need for dinner tonight.  This is when I realize that I need to be leaving in about an hour I’m going to make my appointment on time.  I still need to take a shower and there is no way I’m leaving on time because I still trying to edit pic (the things I do for this blog.).  I go find my phone and set the time back by a half hour. 

10:30 am – I finally get in the shower.  I get dressed, put a load of laundry in the dryer, turn off the pasta sauce and I’m out the door by 11:30 am.

1:00 pm – I’ve made it to my appointment.  We finish up in 30 minutes.  My mother asks me to take her to DSW for a quick look even though neither of us are in a position to buy.  As things go we see several items that we “must have”, but can’t buy (thank God for making us good stewards over that which his has blessed us.).  We walk out of the store empty-handed and head back so that I can get my baby doll off the bus at 2:40. 

2:40 pm – Either I’m late or the bus is early, because I’m three cars behind it and can’t get in front because it’s a school bus. 😦  I park and wait for the bus to turn-around.

3:15 pm – We get home and I start making raisin cookies as a snack for the week AND I will be taking some to book club tonight.  I also begin making dinner. 

4:30 pm – I’ve finished the cookies and dinner and I’ve started folding more laundry. 

5:10 pm – We head off to ballet class.

6:30 pm – Stan and I head out for our nightly walk (I still haven’t eaten dinner yet).

7:15 pm – I FINALLY sit down to dinner and a big glass of wine (why did I do this when I was tired…it only made things worst – I was even more tired)

8:00 pm – I’m putting lotion on the baby doll after her shower and about to head up so that we can do our daily reading.

8:30 pm – I’m reading the book (book 4 of the Sugar Plum Ballerina’s series by Whoopi Goldberg).

10:00 pm – I go to bed after not being able to hang out any longer.

Folks, it was like a nonstop work-a-thon and this was my day off work.  But I got MOST of the things that I wanted to get done completed.  Now I’m going to supply you with the granola steps that I wanted to give you yesterday.  By the way…I start my granola with 1/4 cup butter and 1/4 cup canola oil, 2/3 cup brown sugar, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1/4 cup cranberry juice, and 1 tsp vanilla.  I mix all of that in a saucepan until the sugar is dissolved.  I pour those over 3 1/2 cups of oats, 1 cup wheat germ, 1/2 cup slivered almonds, and 1/2 cup of walnuts.  I pour this onto a baking sheet lined with nonstick aluminum foil. And place in a 300 degree oven.  Now I have made this healthier with no butter and honey and not as much brown sugar, but this time I wanted to splurge.  This is what it looks like before going into the oven.

I set the timer for twenty minutes.

And go upstairs to finish making the beds when the timer goes off,  I came back down toss the granola so that it can cook evenly and set the timer for another 20 minutes and then hang up those pictures I’ve been meaning to get to.

A level and a much frustration later, I’ve got up them on the wall and I’m taking out my sweet smelling granola.

This is what you should have at this point.

I usually add my dried fruit at this point.  A lot of people suggest you cook it with the oats and nuts, but I’ve been unsuccessful with this option.  My fruit always seems to end up tasting burnt.  I place it over the hot granola and it still get some of the heat and essence included.  I used raisins and cranberries for this mix.

After it has cooled about 20 minutes (20 the magic number) I toss everything together.  This will give you the nuggets you want.  Doesn’t it look yummy?

I would be remiss if I didn’t take a picture of the one item that had me holding out a week to make my granola.  I have got to find a place to buy it and not feel like I’m being robbed.  I think I may need to find a health food store that sells it in bulk.  I really do eat a lot of granola (I love it with yogurt, on ice cream, out of my hands as a snack).  It only makes sense to have it around when I need it and not have to pay $5 for that little jar.

I hope that you guys try the granola recipe and that you enjoy it as much as I do.  You have to try it with Key Lime yogurt…it’s like a key lime pie that’s healthy for you.

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Another project

I promised myself and husband that I would not start anymore major DIY projects (namely refurbing another piece of furniture) until after we found and house and moved.  I’ve been trudging along with the items that we currently have in the house (and some that are in storage) trying to find a way to make more space and become more organized in a locale that is short on what else…SPACE. 

About a year ago, I had this brilliant idea that I was going to do away with the baby dolls dresser and make her a complete modular wall that housed a desk and colorful bins to store clothes, smaller toys, electronics, art supplies, and whatever else my six-year-old was collecting at the time.  In my mind it had the look of something like this, with the bed being replaced with more cubes and the bins being shades of pink, blue, and purple.

When the baby doll and I moved into our apartment, I began the process of making this modular unit and it seemed to be doing well.  I was waiting for another piece to go on sale at Target (I think I’ve stated numerous times about he IMPORTANCE of things being on sale in my world), so I only had to units.  That was okay, because she had plenty of room for all of her things and there was a level of organization that we both were happy with. 

However….when we came back to the house, her room became a little smaller than the one in the apartment (how is this possible you say…let me repeat we need a bigger house) and storage AND space became a HUGE issue.  As much as I have tried to bring everything that was in her room in the apartment back into her room in the house, a month later, there are still items in the garage waiting for me to find a place for them.    Stan has said numerous times,  ‘she just needs a dresser man’ and after much resisting I have finally concurred. I’m giving up my dream of the wonderfully organized and beautiful mod-unit and I’m caving in to get te dresser. 

Now I don’t know about you but I have a special time in the day where I talk with God and most of inspiration comes during this time (or should I say I allow myself to be open to hear what God has to say to me).  This time is usually when I’m in the shower or standing over the sink washing dishes.  The realization about the baby doll’s dresser came, you guessed it, in the shower.  What’s the vision an antique white dresser with drawers that are painted hues of soft pink and lavender.  I see beautiful knobs that have been purchased at either Hobby Lobby or World Market.  Lets all just close our eyes and picture…sigh of the beauty that we see.  Then we open them and bounce up and down with excitement of the prospect of a new project.  I have this rush of adrenaline folks…I’m on the hunt.  What am I hunting for?  That discarded dresser that someone did not see the hidden beauty in…that piece that may be a little scratched and battered and bruised waiting to be hauled in the back of my Ford Escape and placed in some carved out area of the garage to be sanded and primed and painted to become…..

  or    or even

My vision has yet to be realized, but I sure am excited about the possibilities.  Wish me luck everyone.  Goodwill here I come!!

Oh yeah….I will of course keep everyone appraised of my progress and I’m sure to post the process.

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To tweet or not to tweet…

In my quest to build up my business and my blog I have done some research into what forms of social media will boost my endeavors.  I have a Facebook account, but I have to admit I’m not good about updating my page.  I think it has something to do with the fact that I have a job…and I don’t want it to get back to my superiors that I’m posting on Facebook during work hours.  When I get home, being a mommy and wife take over and it becomes nonstop until I go to bed and lately I crash-and-burn when I hit the bed. 

Anywho…my research has reveled that Twitter is a good way to garner more interest.  REALLY!!!  From everything that I’ve heard about Twitter, it seems as if it requires more time and energy than Facebook.  I don’t have more time!  I’m trying to find time to do all the things that I have to do now.  So I’ve been debating for about a month about joining Twitter.  Two of my nieces have joined and have asked people to follow them.  It’s bad enough I’m trying to get people to follow the blog, now I have to ask them to follow my tweets too? 😦

The question arises…to tweet or not to tweet?  After much deliberation and going back and forth, I’ve decided to tweet.  This is something that I will actively work on for a 90 day trial.  If I don’t acquire a decent amount of followers in that time, I’m going to forget about it and take back my precious tweet taken minutes and use them for something more useful – like thinking up a new recipe for a new dessert or try to find out how to repurpose a piece of furniture. 

Alright everyone follow me on Twitter at: www.twitter.com/redovencreation. :p

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Is it really helping?

Every Saturday I get up at o’dark-thirty to go grocery shopping as early as possible so that I can get back home and finish the day with whatever errands need doing.  This weekend in particular I really wanted to get going and get back home because last weekend Stan and I made the great escape to Chicago while the baby doll spent the weekend with her cousins, so we got NOTHING done.  This weekend I really wanted to get the closet, and more specifically my shoes, organized.  We decided to do away with dressers, but have not gotten a closet system, because we are going to move soon and why install a closet system if we can’t use it.  (I know I know it will be great for the next person but have you priced closet systems?!  We’re trying to save up for a house people. :))

I woke up a little later than usual and then didn’t get up right away (it was around 6:30 am), so I guess it’s my fault that Stan woke up and stated that he wanted to go to the store with me.  Don’t get me wrong everyone….I love my husband and really appreciate that he wanted to come and help; however, our views on grocery shopping are VERY different.  I take on grocery shopping like it’s a mini battle.  It’s me against the price of groceries; and I have a grocery list, my coupon book, and a determination to spend as little time and money as possible.  Stan thinks of it as a time to see what’s out there…we can get there when we get there and who cares if it’s on the list or not – it might be good to try.

So we got up, got dressed and the baby doll stated loudly and quite often that she didn’t want to go with us “because it’s boring”.  We dropped her off at her cousins (they started calling us the night before to get her to come over).  Of course Stan didn’t want to get go to the grocery store without having breakfast and there was no place near where we were that had good breakfast.  So at 9:30 am my plans for the morning had completely changed and it seemed if I was just along for the ride.  

In addition to the grocery store we needed to go to the hardware store to get brackets to hang the televisions in Kristian’s room and the den, we needed to go to Target to get storage containers and possibly a set of the Closet Maid cubicles for Kristians room and our closet, and Hobby Lobby to get the paper needed to start on Kristian’s birthday invitations.  In my mind I had the whole trip mapped out and when I presented this to my husband he agreed that it sounded like a great plan.  Did I say that with the “need” to have breakfast, my plans went caput. 😦  We had a decent breakfast at Le Peep’s (I love their Battered French Toast) then headed further up north to our myriad of stores. 

I think the highlight of the day was when we went to Hobby Lobby. 🙂  I found a great tall, glass jar/vase to put the “flowers” we had for the newly reno’d bathroom.  Plus it was half off and I only paid $11 for it.  Stan said he was going to install the toilet today, so hopefully I will post pictures tomorrow if it gets done. 

When we finally made it to the grocery store, it was 3 pm. The store was packed and of course game one of the Bulls / Pacers playoff series had started so Stan wasn’t really enthused about grocery shopping.  I told him to get his petunia in gear and get to shopping.  He programmed his iPhone to give him up to the second updates and proceeded to follow me at a leisurely pace throughout the store. 

When we got to the grocery section he found that there were samples aplenty so he perked up a little.  I think I mentioned that he has a tendency to pick up stuff that he thinks might be good to try and with all of the samples floating around, I just was cringing with anticipation.  I did end up with a few things not on the list (two bags of Doritos, Kettle Chips, stuff to make smoothies, Spinach dip – from one of the samples, extra juice, soda – he promises this is his last week to drink it, I know there’s something else I just can’t remember it).   

All-in-all it could have been a lot worse, but I tell you, I was exhausted when we finally made it home.  I know that I do a lot more running around typically, but for whatever reason when I got home I HAD to take a nap.  I barely got the groceries put away (he helped bring them in, but got busy when it was time to put them away) before I went upstairs to lay down.  

The rest of the evening was a blur…I told Stan and Kristian I really didn’t care what they did.  (I know it wasn’t motherly/wifely of me, but come on – it seemed like the change in plans caused my energy level to deplete like a balloon.  Tell me I’m not the only one this has happened to.  Should I be more grateful of his “help”?

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Construction blues…

We moved back into the house this weekend (I will post about that horror movie later), but in addition to the chaos of moving, we had to contend with the mess of construction.  What construction might you ask?  Well I’ll tell you.  We are looking for a new home and want to lease out our home when we move; but there are some repairs/updates that need to be done.  The bathrooms had to be done and the kitchen floor was going to be replaced (the worst white tile EVER was on the floor that HAD to be removed). 

The master bath has been started (still need to put the toilet in) and it looks fabulous…we love the shower.

Using a squeegie to clean the glass currently.
The whiter bowl is the one we are going to go with.

 And last week the kitchen floor and backsplash were done.  A HUGE note about the kitchen floor…that ugly white tile had to be removed and my husband did the demo.  If you’ve ever had to remove tile, you know that you also have to remove the mortar.  Contrary to what you have seen on DIY or HGTV it is not an easy process if you have that mini jack hammer thingy.  I kept telling my husband that and he kept saying I know that but it’s not working. 😦 So he thought it would be a good idea to rent a sander to sand down the mortar.  The entire house is now filled with dust that has penetrated even closed cabinets.  We have been removing dust from the house for almost two weeks and I don’t see an end to it.  

This is how the dust has settled over almost EVERYTHING.

 That’s problem number 1.  All the work in the kitchen has seriously messed up the paint on the walls and doors in the kitchen; requiring us to repaint the walls and I have no idea how I’m going to get the mortar off the pantry door.  That’s problem number 2.  When we remodeled the kitchen back in 2002 we decided on a lot of white in the kitchen (won’t do that again) that also included a caste iron white sink.  My uncle told me that I didn’t want that sink, he said “You better get the stainless steel.  You’ll regret it.”  I didn’t believe him but I can say today that I regret it.  So we’re switching the sink to stainless steel.  The new sink didn’t fit too well and when Stan went to tighten the hot water valve it broke off! 😦 That was Sunday evening and we had to move everything else out of the apartment on Monday and Stan had to do a job yesterday afternoon.  We went to the hardware store and got the supplies necessary to repair the valve, but my hubby didn’t get to it because time just got away from us.  What does that mean?  We didn’t have consistent water downstairs for about two  days, (oh did I mention that the downstairs bath has been dismantled because it was part of the tile redo?).  That’s problem number 3.   After Stan completed the sink job, he promised that he would NEVER do that type of work again…the headache and “minor problems” that kept popping up were too much for him.

So we couple moving back into the house and LOTS of construction and leaves Lonnita a very sad and frustrated girl.  Just look at the clutter that I’m really going to tackle this weekend.

I haven’t cleaned or organized the way I want to…but that will end this weekend.  I need to get some headway done so that we can actually have a cleaning service come in and get me to my place of zen.  Everyone has been telling me not to let it upset me too much, that the destruction is all apart of construction.  The end product is always beautiful and I’m always overjoyed in the end; but it’s just soooooo frustrating.  From this I now know that there is no way to can repeat this process with the new house.  It is something that I can now add to my “don’t budge” column in my house search.

Have you suffered an inconvenience due to construction?  Tell me of your woes.

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