Thursday, May 21, 2015

Learning How To See

I shoot with a Canon 60D. I received it as a birthday gift in 2012. I blogged about it here. Three years later, I'm still learning all the functions on this camera. I still don't know how to change aperture and shutter speed. I can't tell you all the brilliant features of this camera. I can only tell you that it has done it's job of teaching me to slow down and see the beauty in my world.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Where I Work

So remember when I told you that I'm trying to declutter again this year? And that I had tackled the office in January?  Well, Cate's prompt for today gives me the perfect excuse to show you what I did besides getting rid of 61 pounds of paper!!!

 This is a "before" view of the office looking from my living (a/k/a craft) room into the office toward the window.  Note, two chairs because Jay had a spot and the filing cabinet in the corner.

Here is my "after" view, still facing the window. Jay's chair made it out to bulk trash and was picked up by someone. In fact, I kicked Jay out completely.  I work here all day, four to five days a week.  He has an office space in the basement with three tables and as many computers and he only works from home one day a week. So I saw no need to keep reserving him space here.  The filing cabinet was moved to the wall closest to the living room and the tables were rearranged so my desk is now by the window. I got rid of the ugly brown bookcase and repurposed one that had been used in the family room and was no longer needed there. The big lump under the table is a two drawer filing cabinet - one for household bills and such, one for work.

The "before" shot facing from the sunroom doorway towards the living (craft) room. ugly brown bookshelf featured prominently on the desk space.

The "after" shot.  When I told you I got rid of a lot of stuff, I wasn't kidding!

"Before" wall opposite my desk - cabinets and printers

"After" - not much has changed here really.  Art work has been hung and the packing materials cleaned up.

So this is where I work. It is still very much a work in progress. I want a real desk with drawers and everything, not cheap laminate folding tables and a metal file cabinet. And I need to either move my bulletin board or add some more art work above my monitor.  The "personal" things that really make this space mine... how about the old irons being used as book ends? The candles on top of the sorter? I really like my work space!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Me On Monday (On Tuesday)

I'm trying to remember that it is all about being in the moment and enjoying the journey. Participating in blog memes (or anything else in life) isn't about being able to check another to-do item off the list, but about savoring the moment and learning something in the process.

So here I am on Tuesday, which feels remarkably like Monday, trying to play catch up yet again. Because the weekend was filled with family with all three girls at home. We had a fun Sunday morning of thrifting and my delayed Mother's Day dinner out with all my girls on Sunday evening - and not a single photo taken! Monday was appointment central. 9 a.m. chiropractor, 11:45 take Sarah to the train station (1 hour round trip), 2:00 doctor for yearly physical (and after getting my tetanus shot and then being sent to the lab for blood work didn't get home until nearly 4 p.m.), and finally getting to watch Saturday night's episode of Outlander. Whew!

Having spent the whole weekend being in the moment with my family - pretty much disconnected - I awoke today to 65 unread blog posts and I'm three days behind in Cate's Blog Every Day in May!

So, my quote (for Sunday) is in the photo, this is my hello Monday post, and rather than actually republish an old blog post (Tuesday's prompt), let me tell you this - I'm most proud of the posts when I'm real and honest and vulnerable, not sugar coating anything or trying to make my life sound better than it is... 

For example Learning to Love Me from March of 2010 where I dealt head-on with my body image issues. 

Or Meet My Inner Critic from August of 2011 where I finally declared my freedom from that nagging "not good enough" voice inside my head.

Or Not That Lady from October of 2011 when I was processing my fibromyalgia diagnosis.

I'm most proud of those posts where I face my perfectly imperfect self with a sense of humor and a lot of compassion. And isn't that what THRIVE{ing} is really all about?

Waving hello to Sian and all the "Me on Monday" folks and linking up with Cate's Blog Every Day in May.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Link Love

art fusion tutorial 1.1.jpg

1.  How about this free altered notebook tutorial from Rae Missigman?

2.  A quick how-to for adding pages to an already bound Cinch journal and

3.  Just for fun - 3 minutes of the most iconic movie dance scenes ever:

linking up with Cate's Blog Every Day in May

Friday, May 15, 2015


today at Cate's Blog Every Day in May , Cate wants to know what I would do with a million dollars.

I blogged the answer to this back in November of 2010. And honestly, not much has changed. So here's the post from 2010, annotated for today:

If I had a million dollars...

First, let's assume that this money is tax free, that Uncle Sam isn't asking for a huge cut of it up front, otherwise, I don't really have a million dollars right? Second, let's assume it all has to be allocated to specific stuff. Not just put away for a rainy day. Here's how I imagine spending it:

1. $200,000.00  Create accounts for Rachel and Becca's college education. Sarah is already a junior, so not that we aren't providing for her, just that we are almost done there. $100,000 each should get them four years at a state-level university.  (Sarah's college tuition is more than double that figure, but she got some good scholarships!). Being that Rachel and Becca have completed their junior year at college, I don't need this much anymore. I need about $50,000 to get them through to graduation - give or take. That leaves an extra $150,000 to play with...

2. $140,000.00  For Jay - build onto the garage and over the garage, so he can have a space to call his own (he's always wanted a workshop) and we can have a nice master bedroom suite. And while we're at it remodel both upstairs bathrooms - wayyyyy overdue!  Ha! This work still needs to be done but prices have risen. I think we need to allocate 175,000 for this project.

3. $285,000.00  Buy a small beach home - probably in Florida - someplace where Jay and I can retire to, or be snow birds. Luckily the housing market stinks right now, so the price tag on this would be less than otherwise. Well, you snooze you lose. The housing market has recovered. I'm guessing that anything worth having would be in the range of $400,000 now, so there goes the last of the extra.

Boy, I blew through $625K awfully quick, didn't I?

4. $30,000.00  Buy each of our kids a decent used car. $24,000. Pay one year of insurance for each $6,000.

5. $100,000.00   10% to charity.

6. $150,000.00   Wedding/Elopement accounts. $50,000 for each kid. They can either use it on a wedding or elope and use it toward buying their first home. Their call.  And yes, I know that $50K doesn't go far for a wedding these days. But I also believe they need to have some skin in the game to really appreciate what they are getting.  I spent a grand total of $2,500 on my wedding. My parents paid for the band and the flowers. Jay and I paid for the rest. Okay, that was back in the dark ages and all, but still....

7. $33,000.00  Hire a Personal Chef for a year. Just because I can!  I did some research - this number is still reasonable.

8. $12,000.00   An electronics spending spree. A new digital camera for me. A nice macro lens for me. Computers all around (we are operating with some pretty old equipment here). The latest full version of Photoshop CS. Yes, I'm going top of the line!

9. Now if you've been unwittingly adding this as we go, you know I have a mere $50,000 left to spend. One mill doesn't go far these days, does it?  But I have BIG plans for that last $50K.  That is going to be used for a huge girls outing. I'm inviting all my best real-world girlfriends and all my wonderful bloggy-world girlfriends. I'm paying for the plane tickets. And the accomodations. And the food. I just need you to come!  And we are all getting together for a long weekend of scrapbooking and photography and story telling and giggling and eating yummy food and making crazy fun memories.  I can hardly wait!

Since I have no rich relatives and I don't play the lottery, my chances of ever having a million to spend however I like are fairly slim.  But it is a lot of fun to think about what you would do with found money and amazing how fast you can make it disappear! I didn't even manage to get DH & I new cars and I sure didn't get to quit work!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

How To Make a Meal They Will ALL Eat!

1. Start out with a complicated Chicken & Wild Rice Casserole recipe that doesn't quite please your family.

2. On the second try, ditch the Uncle Ben's wild rice with the overwhelming flavor packets and too much salt in favor of plain brown rice. Much better!

3. On the third try, change the milk to heavy cream and the Dry Sherry to Marsala wine. Definitely improved the flavor and made the casserole much more creamy. Also realize that the instructions calling for layering the ingredients in a pan are just stupid and mix it all together in a bowl then dump in the pan. So much easier! Cut about 10 minutes out of the prep time and it cooks better.

4. On the fourth try, add peas. Ask yourself why this recipe didn't have peas in it to begin with? Seriously, what was the author thinking?

5. Remember to take a picture after you have already started serving dinner.

 6. End up with a custom secret family recipe that everyone loves and that you can share with your blog friends! (P.S. This makes awesome leftovers). And in this version I added an extra can of mushrooms. Just cause I was in the mood! 

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 Min
Cook Time: 45 Min
Total Time: 1 Hr
Serves: 8


  • 2 cans Campbell's Cream of Chicken & Mushroom soup
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup Marsala cooking wine
  • 1/2 cup Vegetable or Chicken stock
  • 2 cups brown rice
  • 1 package Birds Eye peas w/garlic & mushrooms
  • 5 pieces Chicken Breast cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese


    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  1. Cut chicken breasts into bite size chunks

  2. Add all ingredients EXCEPT cheese into a bowl and mix thoroughly

  3. Pour into greased 13x9 pan

  4. Bake covered at 350 for 30 minutes

  5. Remove cover and sprinkle cheese on top

  6. Bake for an additional 15-20 minutes or until cheese is melted.
linking up with Cate's Blog Every Day in May
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