Wednesday, January 23, 2013


That flu shot that I kept putting off? Wish I'd gotten it! I had a couple of bad colds around the holidays, which I assumed was the flu because it was around the time that Steve and Griffin had it. I never ran a fever then, like they did, and I just attributed that to my stellar immune system. Turns out those were just little wussy colds that I had, because now I actually have the flu, and I am miserable. Started out over the weekend with an annoying tickle-cough, and a sore throat. Then, I woke up yesterday morning with the full-on body aches, fever, snot, headache, and every other bit of unpleasantness that goes along with it. I seriously cannot recall the last time I have felt so awful. Still running a fever tonight, but I am hoping I will wake up feeling a little better in the a.m.
I had to post this picture of the Walgreen's knock-off of TheraFlu that Steve got for me yesterday. Seriously, Wal-Flu? That's the only name they could come up with? It makes me laugh every time I see it. Then again, I maxed out the Internet at some point yesterday, so I am bored stiff. I do not like to lay around so I am also going stir-crazy, but alas, I am as weak as a kitten. Thank goodness for Steve - - he has been pulling double-duty and taking care of everything for me.

Now, please go and get your flu shot!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Thrift Store Chic

I think I have mentioned before that I love thrift stores. For some reason, I seem to have a knack for stumbling upon crazy finds of all kinds. One thing I really love to buy at thrift stores is clothes. I know some people are not a fan of this, but I am, because I know that there are treasures galore to be had. I am by no means a fashionista, but I am much better dressed now, than before I began shopping thrift.
I love, LOVE clothes. I use to love getting dressed up each day for work. However, I have been a homemaker for the past 6+ years, and I will admit that I did spend quite a bit of time trapped in the rut of the stay-at-home mom - - sporting my "uniform" of jeans and t-shirt, not really caring what I looked like. I still wear jeans most days, but I during the summer I like to wear skirts or dresses most of the time. I also love fun tops and sweaters, and I love to get dressed up for church, or a rare night out with Steve.
The best thing about shopping at thrift stores, in my opinion, is that I dress better now, than I did when I paid full-price for clothes. All of the clothes I use to fantasize about having, I now can have! I know this sounds strange, but it is true.  In my experience, there are two brands of clothes that I see in nearly every thrift store I go into, and they are Banana Republic and Ann Taylor Loft -- two of my favorites. About 50% of the time, the items either look brand new, or still have the tags attached. What I want to know is, who ARE all of these people who spend oodles of money on expensive clothing, only to never wear them, and then surrender them to thrift stores?!? Whoever they are, I hope they keep doing it!
Take yesterday, for example. I have been in need of some new long-sleeved shirts. I purchased the three shirts pictured above from two different thrift stores. I'm pretty sure none of them had ever been worn (I'm getting pretty good at being able to tell!). The shirt on the left is from Target and probably retails for about $10.00. I paid $1.45. The Shirt in the middle is from Banana Republic and retails for $49.50. I paid $3.99. The shirt on the right is from Ann Taylor LOFT and retails for $39.50. I paid $3.95.
Above is an example of one of my finds with tags still attached. This is a beautiful silk dress from Banana Republic. As you can see, the retail price was $150.00. It was marked at $3.95, but I got 50% off that price, so it was practically free.
I love slip-on shoes, and couldn't believe my luck when I found these never-worn Cole Haan Nike Air slip-ons. As best I could find, they retail around $130.00. I paid $3.75! I am pretty picky about buying shoes at thrift stores - - they have to look completely new for me to buy them. I cannot believe how many never-worn shoes can be found in thrift stores.
I absolute LOVE these Aerosole suede boots I found recently. They are so comfortable! They retail for approximately $130.00, and I paid $5.95 for them. Good deal, I'd say!

Last, but not least...I have wanted a genuine kilt from Scotland for as long as I can remember. You know,  the ones with the big kilt pin near the hem? One day, I stopped in at a consignment shop that I love, and stumbled upon the above gem. It is a genuine Lochcarron of Scotland kilt in the Isle of Skye tartan, tags still attached. It was marked $12.95, but was 50% off. Perhaps I was the only person around in the market for a kilt (safe bet). Anyway, when I got home, I had to get right on the Internet and look it up. I knew "real" kilts weren't cheap, but was pretty surprised to learn that this particular one retails for $185.00!
I have found that since I started making a concerted effort to shop for my clothing at thrift shops, my wardrobe is a lot more varied and a lot less boring. While I am not a "label person" (meaning, could care less what brand of clothes I wear),  I love being able to buy clothing that I could never justify buying, much less afford, in real life.
Happy thrifting, everyone!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Rosette Cake

It recently dawned on me that it has been approximately 21 years since I took Wilton cake decorating classes. I use to sell a lot of cakes back then, but haven't done any, except for family, in recent years. Times and styles have changed quite a bit, so I figured that now was as good a time as any to try and teach myself some new methods. One of my favorite types of cakes that I have been seeing a lot of are rosette cakes. I love to look at all the different kinds on Pinterest. I am particularly fond of this Neapolitan version, from I am Baker:
In the recent issue of Phyllis Hoffman Celebrate magazine, there was a recipe and a tutorial for a rosette cake, so I decided to give it a try.  
 For the cake, I used a Pillsbury triple fudge cake mix. I have absolutely no problem with cake mixes. Personally, I think they taste better than scratch cakes. In my experience, I have had a very difficult time finding a scratch recipe that produces a moist cake, while mixes are always moist. In between each layer is Smucker's hot fudge sauce. Once it is assembled, it goes in the freezer for an hour.
Next comes a thin layer of butter cream. I tinted mine blue, because the boys told me to.
The rest is easy-peasy. All you need is a pastry bag (I love Wilton disposable bags) and a large star tip. Then, you just cover the whole cake in spirals. I had to fill in a few holes here and there, but mostly it came out fine. I love the end result! I definitely need to practice a few more times before I would consider selling one. I love how many variations there are on this type of cake.  
I was hoping to get a good picture of the inside of the cake, but my lighting was a bit off, and it appears I smashed the cake on the left side. With this particular recipe, I loved the hot fudge between the layers. So good!

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

A Fresh Start

I love the start of a new year. I suppose like everyone else, I think of all kinds of things I might want to do differently, things I want to accomplish, things I want to try. I am not much of a resolution-maker (I know myself too well!) but I do spend some time reflecting on the year that has just come to and end, and looking ahead to the new one.

Lots of great things happened in 2012. It was a busy, busy year, and both boys grew in leaps and bounds. They also faced different challenges. We had lots of fun adventures together. I am excited to think that we are nearly half way through the school year and summer vacation will be upon us before we know it.

2012 was also a very rough year. It was a long process of working through the aftermath of a difficult deployment, all while trying to keep life running smoothly, as best as we could. I will tell you that it is a very happy time when a deployment comes to an end, but then begins the process of working through the damage that occurred, during it. For me, I am very happy to be putting 2012 behind me, and to march forward with what I learned from it. 

2012 was also the year that I lost my beloved Riley. I have struggled so with his absence, and couldn't get over the depth of grief that I felt. Somewhere in December though, things started to feel lighter, and I am glad for that. I will always miss him, but I am glad not to feel so sad when I think about him now.

As I mentioned before, I am not a "resolution" type of person, but I do think about goals. I would say that my goal for 2013 is one of health. Over the past couple of years, I have gotten the exercise thing down pretty well, and now I am ready to delve deeper and make even better choices for myself and for my family. I am also aware that strength training needs to come into play for me, but I reeaaallly don't like it so have been avoiding it. 41 is approaching quickly though, and I need to quit making excuses.

So, here's to 2013 and all that is in store!
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