Wednesday, March 30, 2016

{What's Up Wednesday}

Today I am linking up with Shay, Scheaffer & Mel for What's Up Wednesday. Here's what I have been up to!
 {What I'm Eating This Week}
One negative of the time change is that it's 8 o'clock before I know it & I haven't even thought about supper.  One of my favorite, super easy & quick go-to recipes is lettuce wrap tacos.  I brown a pound of hamburger meat, add some taco seasoning to it & I am good to go for a few nights.  Warm it up in the microwave, add a little sour cream & cheese and I am done!  My other new favorite is this Wild Rice & Chicken Casserole that I blogged about here.  Another super easy & yummy recipe with lots of leftovers.
{What I'm Reminiscing About}
Being on vacation.  Y'all, it has been 2 1/2 years since I have been on a "real" vacation.  Like packed a big suitcase & boarded a plane.  Unfortunately I don't see one in the cards for this year either.  =(  Oh NYC, I miss you so!
 {What I'm Loving}
This room!  It's one of the rooms in the Magnolia House Bed & Breakfast.  I love the way the black bed pops against the white shiplap walls & white bedding.  I'm thinking I need to recreate this.  {see next...what I've been up to}

{What I've Been Up To}
After living in my house for a little over a year & a half, I am ready to change things up a little. And thanks to Fixer Upper, I feel like my house needs a little "farmhouse vibe".  I hit up the Roundtop/Warrenton Antique show last weekend & came home with these goodies.  Still not sure where they are going so stay tuned for some room updates soon!
 {What I'm Dreading}
Work the next 2 1/2 weeks.  It's tax time so that means long days {& work on the weekend}.  
 {What I'm Working On}
Redoing this old dresser I got for a great deal on an online garage sale site!  I plan to use it in my office/guestroom to store all my gift bags, cards, ribbon, scrapbook stuff, etc.  Pretty & functional!  I'm trying Amy Howard One Step paint on this one.
 {What I'm Excited About}
We ordered our tickets this week to the A&M vs. Auburn football game in Auburn in September!  Hello SEC road trip!!  Hotel is booked in Montgomery & now the countdown begins.  This will most likely be my only "vacation" this year so I can't wait!  Let's hope this Alabama school treats us better than the last one...our road trip to the University of Alabama in 2014 ended in a 59-0 beat down!

{What I'm Watching}
Well, since Hallmark Christmas movies aren't on right now, there isn't a whole lot to choose from!  Ha!  Just kidding.  Kinda.  =)  Recording on my DVR right now is: General Hospital, Fixer Upper, Criminal Minds {how disappointing is it that Morgan left the show?!} & the Voice.  

{What I'm Listening To}
My 2 current faves: One Call Away by Charlie Puth & My House by Flo Rida.
 {What I'm Wearing}
I admit, I am NOT a fan of my spring/summer wardrobe.  I am more of a fall/winter wardrobe fan...jeans, boots, scarves & hoodies.  I feel like this time of year, I wear the same thing to work every single week. I've been shopping & so far, I am not liking the styles this year.  Old Navy never lets me down, but so far - nothing!  But I do think these shoes from Kohl's are cute & fun for the summer!

{What I'm Doing This Weekend}
A much needed girl's night! Our Downtown Association is hosting a Girl's Night Out so a group of friends and I are going to spend the evening shopping, followed by margaritas & Mexican food!
 {What I'm Looking Forward to Next Month}
Getting my hair cut & colored on the 15th...I am REALLY not liking it right now.  I need a change, but what?!  Obviously April isn't a very eventful month for me when that's what I am looking forward to. =)
{What Else is New}
No much.  My life is pretty boring. =)

Monday, March 28, 2016

{Junkin' & Huntin': Weekend Recap}

Well, it's Monday again & the countdown to the next 3 day weekend begins.  It's 63 days by the way. Hope everyone had a great Easter filled with family & friends; He died so we can live!  
For the first time in as long as I can remember, I didn't come in to work on Good Friday.  Since it always falls during tax time, I normally can't afford to lose a day of work.  But, since we are still on little to no overtime, I got to spend the day doing something other day balancing numbers & checking off assets.  And I have to say - it was quite enjoyable.  I've been missing out!

Friday morning I headed out the Antique show in Warrenton...just me, myself & I for a few hours of shopping.  I am not an antique person, but thanks to Fixer Upper - I think my house needs a little "farmhouse" vibe & the field in Warrenton is full of just that.  It can be a little overwhelming so after about 4 hours, I was broke & ready to call it a day.
By the time I was leaving, traffic was starting to become a nightmare!  It was backed up for miles.  I was thankful to be going in the opposite direction.
I did make one stop at Junk Gypsy to see what all the hype is about. I was disappointed in that it was mostly overpriced t-shirts, jewelry & candles and very little home decor.  But, an unexpected surprise was that Jen Hatmaker was there doing a book signing!  The line was long, so I didn't stick around for an autograph, but I was a little stalkerish & snuck a picture.
This is what I ended up coming up with.  Still not 100% sure where it's all going, but doesn't it look quite Fixer Upperish to you? =)
I'm not sure how I feel about white painted rooms, but I decided the best way to find out is to paint a room that's what I did Friday afternoon!  My guestroom in the one room in my house that hasn't been repainted so I figured why not.  
I have LOVED this room in the Magnolia House Bed & Breakfast ever since I saw it's serving as my inspiration.  I love how the black bed pops again the all white walls & bedding.  I finished painting, but it's still not more pictures to come soon!
I went to dinner with family Friday night & then had a sleepover with my favorite girlie.  Can you tell how disappointed Nola is to have the kiddos over?  Ha!  She definitely doesn't lack for love & attention when they are there.
Saturday we spent the day hanging around the house, I mowed & then we went on a walk.  Later that evening I made a quick trip to College Station for last minute Easter gifts.
Sunday morning was sunrise service at 6:30am {my second favorite to Christmas Eve}, followed by breakfast at church & then a nap.  I headed out to my grandma's that afternoon to celebrate Easter with a fish fry, egg hunt & our traditional game of pasture baseball!  Family...that's definitely what it's all about. 
Needless to say, the alarm clock went off WAY too early.  I definitely could have used an extra day off.  And clearly Nola could have as well.  But, unfortunately duty calls so it was back to work for me...and back to napping for Nola!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

{Life Lately}

I know I say this a lot, but dang this year is FLYING by.  This weekend is Easter & March is almost over.  C.R.A.Z.Y.  Thankfully this year {knock on wood} is going WAY better than last year was at this time. 

I spent the past 2 weekends helping my brother & sister in law get their house ready to put on the market.  So of course, all the painting, organizing & redecorating has me itching to do something at mine.  After being in my house for about 18 months, I am ready to change it up a little {thank you Fixer Upper}.  A few weeks ago I sold my desk & chair that was in office and redid a dresser to put in there.  I still haven't finished decorating so once I do, I will post pictures.  Sunday afternoon I decided to paint my pantry...white pantries are boring right?! =)  The color didn't turn our quite like I had hoped, but hopefully it will grow on me.  Once I get a few more baskets to organize things with, I will post some is a sneak peek.  
Monday evening Nola had a play date with her dog cousin Kathy. =)
Tuesday I picked Mason up from school & him, my friend Kelly, her son Kaden & I went to an A&M baseball game.  It was crazy windy & cold so once the Aggies were up 11-2 in the 6th, we decided to cut out early.  But the boys had a great time because we had seats right below home plate & access to the lounge. Mint Chocolate Chip also came back out on Tuesday & it's Mason's absolute I surprised him with some after I picked him up.
Wednesday we had a hamburger lunch at work.  Can't complain when this is your "desk" all day!
Since I have been gone quite a few evenings, I decided it was time for Nola to go to doggy daycare again at Barking Ranch Pet Resort & "play"!  She's been once & really seemed to like it and I like that it keeps her social since she's not around a lot of other dogs {& it wears her out!!}. When I signed her up, I didn't realize Wednesday was their Easter Party.  Y'all - they got to hunt eggs, take pictures with the Easter bunny & she came home with a basket full of treats.  How cute is that?! I'm pretty sure she had a blast!
Tomorrow I am headed out to Round Top/Warrenton to do a little shopping...I'm excited because this year I actually have a list of things I am looking for.  I also plan to repaint my guestroom at some point & then Sunday is Easter.  Sunrise service is my second favorite service of the year & then I am celebrating with family at my grandma's afterwords.

Withing you all a very blessed Easter!

Friday, March 18, 2016

{SUYL: Wild Rice & Chicken Casserole}

Today I am linking up with Kelly's Korner for Show Us Your Life: What I'm Cooking Now!  I tried a new recipe this week & LOVED it!  Best part was that it was super simple & I had leftovers...which is great for this time of year when it's after 8:00 before I get in the house.  I also had almost all of the ingredients at the house so it's a great last minute, go-to dinner.  I will definitely be making it again. 

I found this recipe on Lauren's Latest blog so she gets all the credit. 

Wild Rice & Chicken Casserole
1 box Uncle Ben's Long Grain & Wild Rice
1 can of cream of mushroom soup
2 cups cooked chicken cubed {I boiled a few frozen chicken breasts}
1 1/2 cup frozen vegetables {I used peas & carrots}
1/2 cup cream or milk
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 stalk celery, diced
salt & pepper
5 slices swiss cheese (or use about 1 cup grated cheese, any kind you have will work)
1/3 cup toasted slivered almonds

Cook box of rice according to packaged directions. In skillet, melt butter and saute onion and celery over medium heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Once cooked, spoon rice into large bowl. To the rice, add cream of mushroom soup, chicken, vegetables, cream, cooked onion and celery, and salt and pepper. Spread into a casserole dish. Top with cheese and almonds. Cover with foil and warm thoroughly at 300 degrees for at least 30 minutes (and up to 60). Serve with a side salad.
That's it!  I told you it was easy.  I was in a hurry so I skipped the onion & celery part, nor did I have almonds...and it still tasted delicious!  And for the record, the leftovers reheated really well which is always a plus.  You could also easily double the recipe if needed.


{Why Women Need Their Girlfriends}

This. This is good.  
I received this email & I LOVED it!!  So I thought I needed to share. =)
It's long, but it's definitely worth reading.
Girlfriends are the BEST!! And the older I get, I realize this more & more.
Years ago, I was at the beach with my family when I noticed a group of ladies nearby who appeared to be in their 50s.
With a quick glance, I knew they were on a girls' weekend. All the signs were there -- coolers and cocktails, beach bags with romance novels, straw hats, umbrellas in the sand -- but most telling of all was their laughter. Lots and lots of laughter, the kind that draws attention and curiosity from anyone in earshot.
I loved watching these women enjoy each other's company. Although they were older than me, and well past my season of life in having babies, I could imagine being in their shoes one day, basking in the glow of old friends who still made me feel young again. 
That afternoon, I saw two of them in the elevator. When I commented on how much fun they seemed to have, they smiled and nodded. One replied, "Oh, we do have fun. We've kept this beach trip going for 20 years and have been through everything -- divorce, death, cancer, unemployment. Don't ever lose touch with your girlfriends, sweetheart. The older you get, the more you'll need them."
The conversation left an impression on me. While I'd always treasured my girlfriends, I'd never thought about needing them more with age. And if I'm being honest, it's only been in the last year or so that I've taken their words to heart.
Because now that I'm in my 40s, I'm seeing how real divorce, death, cancer, unemployment and other major life problems are. I understand what they meant when they emphasized the importance of girlfriends, as my age group faces hardships we couldn't imagine when we were young and carefree.
Last February, I found the advice these women gave me really validated when my dear friend Emily, whom I met when our daughters became friends, lost her husband Joe in a plane crash. Emily and Joe weren't just any couple -- they were the couple who had been best friends since age 15, whose incredible love story was still going strong. What they had was special. To have it end early and suddenly was unfathomable, unfair and hard to comprehend.
Joe's death impacted a lot of people hard, and throughout their home there was so much sadness and grieving, so many heavy hearts in one place. In the midst of this tragedy, however, there was also so much LOVE. You could feel the Holy Spirit everywhere, working in Emily and the people surrounding her.
As I left Emily's house the day after Joe's death, I sat in my car and reflected on everything I'd witnessed. One thing I kept thinking about were the women in Emily's life, and how amazing they'd been. It wasn't just the food being carted in, the affection showered on the family, or the fact that so many people had dropped everything to drive or fly to Birmingham. It was the way Emily's village came together, how friends from every stage of life were represented (adolescence, college, law school, work and motherhood) and how well everyone knew her.
And because they knew her well, they could do a lot to lighten Emily's load.
When I arrived at Emily's house the morning after Joe's death, for instance, someone asked if I'd write his obituary. I agreed, of course, and was given the names of surviving family members to start with. Since Emily was meeting with her pastor about the funeral, I began the obituary with the help of four friends who'd known Emily and Joe for decades. My intention was to write a rough draft and let Emily fill in the blanks.
But guess what? Emily didn't have to fill in blanks, because her old friends filled in the blanks for her. Together they recalled pertinent details of Joe's life: the special dates he planned with his daughters, how he graduated first in his law school class, which law firms he'd worked with, his role as basketball commissioner, his love for their church mission trip to Maine -- the list goes on.
As they talked and I typed, I found myself wondering: How many people have friends who could write their husband's obituary? What does that say about Emily and her relationships?
All over Emily's house, huddles of women were taking care of business. As I passed a group from her church, I heard them planning the visitation and family luncheon before the funeral. "Emily wouldn't like that, but she would like this," they said. "Why don't we give her option A and option B?" When Emily emerged from her meeting with the pastor an hour later, the legwork was done. She was given an obituary to proofread, options for Saturday and updates from friends handling small matters so Emily could reserve energy for big ones.
Our girlfriends can't save us, for only God can do that, but girlfriends can help make a tragedy bearable. They can read our mind and our emotions, intuitively recognize what needs to be done -- then do it. They can listen, empathize and show compassion. They can be used by God to comfort us and provide a timely shoulder to cry on. 
It's hard to nurture friendships when you're busy raising kids. Some days, I don't have the time or energy. But one thing I've learned from watching Emily cope with her loss is how having strong relationships in place before a tragedy occurs enables the healing process. While faith keeps you standing, friends and family hold your hand as you slowly move forward. They help you find a new normal. 
They meet you for yoga, bring Starbucks to your home, take your kids for ice cream, plan a girls' beach trip for your Mother's Day, get your dog groomed, text words of encouragement, continue coming to town to check on you and show love in a million heartfelt ways.
"Don't ever lose touch with your girlfriends, sweetheart. The older you get, the more you'll need them." The women in the elevator that day were spot on. And now when I see a group like them having fun, I realize the laughter is only part of the story, what comes after the complicated grown-up stuff. And while we certainly need the wonderful men in our lives, for they play a crucial role, too, men simply aren't designed to understand us like one of our own.
Sometimes it takes another woman to intuitively recognize what needs to be done -- then do it. Or to sense what needs to be said -- then say it. Or to take the thoughts and emotions we don't voice -- and know what to make of them. 
Having great friends is largely a matter of being a great friend. The reason Emily's circle is so strong is that she invests in her people. And in her greatest time of need, she reaped the benefit. I hope this story comes as a friendly reminder of why girlfriends matter in good times and bad, laughter and tears, and through the highs and lows that reveal who's with us for the long haul, and who's willing to share in our suffering so that one day, when we're laughing again on the beach, there will be a history that makes the laughter sound richer and stirs the curiosity of anyone in earshot.

(Sorry, but I do not know who the original author is so I can't give credit where credit is most certainly due.)



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