Saturday, February 28, 2015

Finishing February in a Freeze

The news for today......

It is cold.  Cold, gray and icy - just as it has been for several days now.  

As we slushed through the icy parking lot at the grocery store this afternoon, our breaths rising in little puffs, my husband reminded me that spring arrives in 21 days.

21 days.  

It can't come soon enough!  I've grown weary of the winter weather.  And it seems that we've had more than usual of the frozen wet stuff this year.  It all leaves me wanting a bit of warmth and sunshine......

Dreaming of tulips and green,freshly mowed grass...the smell of dirt freshly turned in the garden...the sun moving higher into the sky as the earth shifts towards summer.  

Perhaps a slight warming for a couple of days will thaw us out before another wave of cold sweeps down on us by mid-week.  

And, perhaps, this will be winter's final brutal assault on us for this season.....keeping my fingers crossed!  

Until later, stay warm and flourish!


Sunday, February 1, 2015

15 Minutes a Day in February....

January seemed to be a month of motivating organizational posts in the blogosphere!

I've been perusing organizational tips from a variety of sources - everything from decluttering the house for the new year to organizing cosmetics and getting my purse into some semblance of order.  And I have gleaned a few ideas to implement in 2015.  

But, mostly I've been drooling over the ever-so-lovely life planners from Erin Condren......

But, that's another post entirely!  So, back to the house.....

I don't just need to declutter.  I need to DECRAPIFY!!!  Yep, I'm in a "toss it out" kind of mood.  I don't know where the "crap" comes from, but I do know that it seems to breed and multiply once it arrives.  

One of the more manageable ideas I've come across (when I'm wasting time online rather than decrapifying like I should be) is the 15 minute theory of organization.  The concept is extremely simple: 

Spend 15 minutes a day organizing one small area of your home.  

Don't tackle a project that can't be accomplished in 15 minutes.  

Do it every day!

Sounds simple and doable for me!  The question is - will it actually make a difference???

Today, being the first day of February, seemed the perfect day to get started.  So, I tackled my sock drawer.  My sock drawer isn't large, but it was sure full of crap!  I swear, some of the socks I threw away were at least 12 years old...and hadn't been worn in at least 10!

I was ruthless - I chunked a ton of socks.  So many that I filled a large brown grocery sack!  And, I can't begin to tell you how satisfying it was to carry that bag to the dumpster and toss it in.  

It may seem like a small thing, but it was very motivational.  I enjoyed the feeling I gained in that 15 minutes so much that I am inspired to move forward with this tomorrow and tackle another 15 minute project.  

Perhaps that is the key to this project - the tasks are small and yet the rewards big enough to keep you moving forward.  

Do you have an organizational tip or method that works for you?  If so, I would love to hear about it.  Leave a message in the comments below and inspire me!!!

Now, back to wasting time online and dreaming about that life planner.....

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Keurig Convert....Perhaps???

Santa came to see me!  He did, he did!!

I know, it shocked the heck out of me, too!  I certainly wasn't expecting a visit from the jolly old man - much less a generous gift.  But, planted right there in front of the tree was a big ol' box containing a new Keurig 2.0.

Now, I didn't ask for any such thing.  In fact, I've had an ongoing love affair with a series of Black &
Decker and Mr. Coffee coffeemakers over the last five years since I took up coffee drinking.  (They never do seem to last more than a couple of years, have you noticed???)  But, there is something very satisfying about filling the carafe, pouring the water in slowly, setting the paper filter just right and scooping in the coffee grounds.....then listening to the sputtering contraption as it pours forth the 'nectar of the gods'.  Besides, those little K-cups are a bit pricey.......and I am the woman who rarely splurges for Starbucks unless I have a gift card!

But, as dusk fell on Christmas Day, I tackled the task of rearranging kitchen counter tops and finding a home for this beast of a coffee making machine.  I brewed the initial cup of hot water.  Then, I popped in a pod of coffee and watched the steady stream of blessed caffeine fall into a way-too-large cup.  I added some hazelnut creamer and thoroughly enjoyed my first cup of Keurig brewed coffee!

Although I love the convenience of having a single cup of mighty hot and tasty coffee ready in moments, I am hesitant to pack away my old Mr. Coffee.  I found a spot for it on a lower shelf, right there, steps from the new Keurig.....just in case I need to brew a pot rather than a cup.  Just for old times' sake......just because I am having a bit of apprehension and separation anxiety......just because I love the smell of it and am not quite ready to let it go.  

Having said that, I am ever so thankful for my new Keurig.  Santa (a/k/a Eddie Dale) done good, real good!  I only wish he was a coffee drinker and could enjoy a cup with me, but he can't stand the taste of the stuff.  So, this was truly a gift just for me - a very generous gift!  

Thanks, Santa Baby, from your forever sweetheart.....


Thursday, December 25, 2014

It's a Wrap - Christmas, 2014

Christmas Day, 2014 - about to go into the history books, as it is already 10:37 pm.

But, it will go down as a terrific one!  

Our big family celebration was last night, on Christmas Eve.  As any empty nester knows, once your kids are grown and married, with families of their own, you must start sharing them with the "in-laws".  So, after attending Christmas Eve worship service, Eddie Dale and I came home to finish preparing a non-traditional TexMex dinner.  It was a fun, rather chaotic, affair here in our small and cozy cottage.  But, I wouldn't have traded it for anything!  

We stayed up late, watching "A Christmas Story" and slept in this morning.  Today was pretty low key, with a simple midday meal and plenty of time spent dozing in front of the final holiday movies on the TV.  

And, now I am sitting in Eddie Dale's recliner, Pepper snoring loudly beside me and the hubby snoring loudly in the bedroom a few feet away, watching "Julie & Julia" for about the 28th time.......

And plotting my approach for taking down and packing away all the Christmas decor tomorrow!  

I usually take everything down pretty quickly after the holiday.  My plan to get started first thing in the a.m. is intensified because an entire section of our pre-lit Christmas tree has apparently "gone out" this evening.  Being slightly OCD, this is troubling me greatly......

(A different section was not working when I dragged the tree in and started to decorate all those many weeks ago, which necessitated spending about an hour removing the pre-strung lights - stupid little plastic clips and all - and restringing it with more clear lights.  Trust me, it was frustrating and exhausting - and I only went to the trouble because it was sleeting outside that day and I was really feeling too strapped for cash to shell out money for a new tree when this one was only three years old!)

Anyway, my philosophy on un-decorating is pretty much like my philosophy on removing a band-aid - just rip it off as fast as possible!

Now that Christmas is over and done, I must admit I am ready for our home to return to "normal".  In fact, I am actually looking forward to dusting the surfaces of my furniture currently buried under layers of garlands, lights, snow globes and candlesticks - and, of course, a nice thick layer of dust!  

Before I go to bed and fall asleep to dream of the fresh and pristine place that our home will be by this time tomorrow evening, I will leave you with my favorite photo of our tree this year - by far, one of my favorite trees that has come together over the years.  This was taken last night after everybody arrived with their presents to exchange - and it is looking pretty apparent to me that the middle section of the tiny white lights was dead last night.....but, it's still pretty, don't you think?

Hoping you had a most wonderful and memorable Christmas, too!  

See you back here soon for another visit on the porch....


Sunday, November 30, 2014

Magnolia Fall Gathering

Before looking forward to Christmas - and all the magic it entails - I want to take a quick look back at one of the highlights of my Fall....

I was so fortunate to be invited to attend Magnolia's first ever Fall Gathering and Workshop! 

One of my sweet friends at work, Belinda, was lucky enough to snag two tickets to the event in Waco.  Since we are such huge fans of HGTV's hit show, FIXER UPPER, she asked me to tag along with her on an overnight trip to Waco.  

Have you discovered this program yet?  Chip and Joanna Gaines are an adorable couple in Waco, fixing up the most neglected homes in old neighborhoods and breathing new life into them!

We made the 2-1/2 hour drive in a state of giddiness, barely able to contain our excitement.  We checked into our room at the Hilton and were greeted with goody bags from Magnolia, including an old-fashioned bottle of Dublin Dr. Pepper, a delicious homemade cookie and lots of notes about some of Joanna's favorite hometown spots to visit, including coupons.  

After a quick "freshen up", we set out on foot to walk the three blocks to venue, the Phoenix Ballroom, a renovated brick structure right beside the train tracks. 

There, we joined 600 other fans in one of the friendliest lines I've ever witnessed.  We met lots of other women, from all over, who had made the journey into town just for the evening.  

While we waited in the mild evening air, Chip came out for photo opportunities......

And, finally, the doors opened and we were ushered inside the meeting hall.  The tables were lovely! 

There was a small stage set up and Joanna had staff in place to organize her greeting with each guest.  They even took photos with our phones for us as we posed with her! 

Then, it was time to eat....and it was just the sort of fare you would expect!  Tomato bisque with crispy croutons, homemade macaroni & cheese and tasty roasted pork sliders with a variety of chutneys and salsas.  There were delicious specialty cupcakes for dessert and freshly brewed pumpkin spice coffee.  We ate before the program....and again afterwards.  They made sure we got our fill!!!

Joanna shared their story and gave some terrific tips on entertaining simply in our homes.  We had the opportunity to make some table setting accessories of our own, using natural elements and materials that were supplied at each table.    

Each attendee received a bag of swag - a Magnolia tote bag filled with goodies to use at home.  

The next morning we got up and went shopping.  We found a great place to browse for just about anything under the sun, right across the street from our hotel!  

Even the ladies' room was decorated in this place......I couldn't resist snapping a photo! 

Of course, we went to Magnolia and bought some goodies!!!

We also took in Harp Design Studio.  For those of you who follow the show, Clint Harp is Joanna's carpenter, who creates many of her signature wood items.  He and his wife bought a home that was renovated in season one.  We had the pleasure of visiting with them at length in the showroom at their shop, right next door to the house that was the star of the show.  

We arrived back home with lots of great ideas to implement some of Joanna's ideas into our own homes and lots of wonderful memories.  And, to top it all off, I even heard from Joanna when I posted on Instagram about our trip to Magnolia.....

How do you like that?!?!?  I'm a fan for life!!!

Many thanks to Belinda for including me on this grand adventure!  You are such a blessing to me, dear friend! 

Blessings, friends.....

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Christmas Shopping With Baby.....

Shopping with an 18-month old?!?!?!?  "Heck, yeah!" says this Mimi.

I enjoyed a wonderful lunch with all three of my kids today.  Ben has been in town for a couple of days for Thanksgiving, so he, Sam and Savanna joined up with Bonnie, Autumn and me for a bite to eat before doing a little shopping.  Autumn was easily entertained with a single crayon and coloring sheet and ate lots of green beans, french fries and yummy fried mushrooms (she loved 'em!).  It felt like a little slice of heaven to be surrounded by my babies.....

Ben is now working for an engineering firm, pulling and testing concrete.  He has to be outdoors at construction sites quite a bit.  With winter coming on, he was in need of some warm gear to cope with the colder temperatures, so we went to Academy Outdoors + Sports.  Suited him right up with a Carhart jacket, toasty thinsulate gloves and a toboggan with a warm face shield!  Merry Christmas, Ben!!!  

After Ben left to head out for home in San Antonio, Bonnie and I were just warming up.........

Hello, Target!!!!  Lots of good sales still left, although some of the merchandise was a bit picked over.  She helped me settle on some Christmas presents for the kids.  And, Baby (aka Autumn) went the distance with us.  She was even a good sport when Bonnie tried the most adorable little red coat on her.....well, a pretty good sport.  She was more partial to the sock monkey cap, though....can't you tell by the look on her face that it was her choice???

She was a trooper right up until the end.  But, once we loaded her in the car seat, she dozed off pretty quickly.  This was day 2 with no nap, so I think Bonnie and Matt will probably enjoy an early evening off.....

This was the third day of my 4-day holiday weekend and it was just as delightful as the first two!  Can't wait to see what tomorrow brings!!!!  

Blessings, friends......

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

It's All About the Heart!!!

Hello, friends!  Hope all is well in your little corner of the world these days!!!

Things around here have been a bit tumultuous the last couple of weeks.  On Thursday, 9/11, as we started out the day, deep in remembrance of the events on the 9/11 thirteen years go, our world got a little rockin' of a different sort.....

Eddie Dale hadn't been feeling well for a couple of days.  He swore his acid reflux was flaring up, complaining of awful heartburn.  Almost eight years to the day, he had experienced this same feeling. Fearing it was his heart, we rushed to the hospital, only to learn - after an extensive battery of tests and procedures - that it truly was acid reflux, and not his heart. 

Based on that experience, he hung around the house for two days, sweating it out and eating tums like candy.  By the second day, I was worried.  I asked him more than once if he shouldn't just go on to the doctor and have it checked out.  He was adamant and returned to work, sicker than a dog, on the third morning.  

Within 15 minutes of arriving at work, he collapsed and an ambulance rushed him to the hospital.  Still, he swore it was acid reflux.....until his initial blood work came back and it became obvious that his heart was involved. 

By the end of the day, he had two stints in the major arteries around his heart.  The cardiologist said the damage was minimal, but he had 90% blockage in one artery and 99% in a second!  How blessed we were that they were able to catch this when they did?!?!?  He was a walking time bomb!

Amazingly, he spent only a couple of days in the hospital.  His color returned to normal - I didn't realize how gray and ashen he had become until he pinked back up.  He improved in that respect so quickly!  

Looking back, we realize the symptoms he was experiencing for many months were related to his heart condition. His energy levels, which had been sagging for months, are rebounding.  He isn't nearly so short of breath.  He had already started working hard to lose some extra pounds, thinking his weight might have been the culprit, and was eating healthier.  Now, he has redoubled those efforts.  He will have to take several daily medications for at least the next year, while the stents "heal".  And he will be on a daily aspirin regimen for the rest of his life!

I am so thankful that the outcome of this experience has been so good!  While it has been a stressful and anxiety-filled experience for my "other half" to go through this health challenge, I am reminded daily that God is good.  Eddie Dale and I have only had eleven years together - I look forward to many more now that he is on the mend!!!

Cheers to my guy!!!

Now, let me say that it didn't slip by me that today was the first day of Autumn!  I was able to get out on the porch and lay out the first "layer" of fall decor this past weekend.  I will be back to show you some of the progress!  If you haven't already joined me on Facebook, you can keep up with shorter, more frequent posts over there with Janie's Porch.  The link to my FB page is right over there >>>, in the right column - just scroll down til you see it and be my "friend" over there, too, if you haven't already.  

See you soon!

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