Wednesday, January 28, 2015

What I've Been Up to...

 A little scarf making with some fun yarn.
A little Valentine wreath making at Happy Hour.
Mindy's wreath---all hung up! 
And a lot of snow shoveling!!! We had our big snow last week. Boy, am I tired.

And now you're a little caught up.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

You're Never Too Old to Try New Things

You just have to be prepared to fail---and then acknowledge you just might be too old---or too chubby!

In our quest for good health and physicality, the whole family is trying new things. For me, I've been limited to the treadmill---at least until it's warm enough to get in the pool. I do not belong, nor do I plan to join the "polar club." Instead, as I was looking for something new to try, I decided on yoga. I have never done yoga in a formal way. Years ago, I had a personal trainer who did a few yoga things with me. My opinion of it then was that it was too slow. I'm a busy gal---let's get on with it. Now, I was ready to try something that might be more calming.

I got a beginner's yoga dvd for my birthday (thank you Mindy and Justin). I tried it out today. OMGosh!! I was lost from the get go. It seemed like it was moving way too fast. This is what I heard: mountain pose, stretch your arms over your head---this is when I just about lost consciousness as the pain shot through my right shoulder. I just told Karolyn this week, that I no longer had shoulder problems. Little did I know...

Next we were on to "downward dog." Well, given my immobile papa toes, I could not do this one either---the pain made me realize that my decision to have the surgery is right.

We moved on to something called "the child pose." I don't even know what that was. I gave up about then. I cannot put my feet together while laying down---my thighs prevent it! I'm starting to realize that yoga is not for chubby girls. I spent the rest of the time just doing an assortment of stretching exercises. Now that was relaxing and felt good. I'll probably be sore tomorrow. Oh well...soreness like that is the good kind of pain.

At least that's what I'll tell myself.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Roommate Surprise!

Morgan left for Murfreesboro last week to get moved in to her new apartment before starting school this week. It's a two bedroom apartment. She had not met nor spoken to her roommate. She thought that seemed a little strange.

When she arrived, she went to the office and picked up her key. She got to the apartment to find an older woman with a baby!! Apparently, her roommate had a baby and her mother was living there to help. What??? No way!! Morgan said the place was a mess too.

What college kid wants to share an apartment with a baby? Not exactly the college experience. She went back to the office and was assigned another apartment.

Here's hoping she has a great semester!
I still can't believe this little sweetheart is in college now.
It's gone by way too fast!!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

She's All Grown Up...

and has become a cooking fool!! These are just a couple of recent dishes she's made:
 This is a broccoli and fettuccine dish. She is not afraid to try new recipes.
This is a sausage and pinto beans dish. Another new recipe that she made for New Year's Day. For all her cooking, she has yet to cook for us. She has a few quirks. She won't cook anything (or eat for that matter) containing mayonnaise. She doesn't believe in mixing meats---like---don't wrap her filet with bacon. Or, don't even think about putting bacon on her cheeseburger. She doesn't like shrimp, but yet she "sucks" the heads of crawfish---learned that from her many crawfish boils while living in New Orleans for 7 years. Really, it sounds like she's picky, but she's not. She's just purposeful about what she eats.

And just when I think she really is grown up---after all---she just turned 30---there's this:
A little Katy Perry action. Mindy will use any excuse to don some sort of unusual head wear. This little number is the result of a recent trip to New Orleans during Mardi Gras for her friend's 30th birthday.
Here's her friend, Rachel---the 30 year old birthday girl playing Cher! You can get by with just about anything in New Orleans. Really---anything---except public urination. They do frown on that!!
Mindy and Rachel turned their friend, Jeff in to Boy George. Obviously they all know how to have a good time. I think Mindy has the best of both worlds---acting the responsible adult with her career and at home cooking---but still being able to party like it's 1983!! Way to go Mind!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

A Few More Organizational Tips

We haven't run out of month yet, so here are a few "fun" things you can do to get organized. I say "fun" because they are easy and won't take long. You'll feel so on top of things when you do just these little things.

Problem #1---How to handle all the cords and chargers that all of our electronics come with?
Computers, iPods, iPads, phones, electronic readers, Fit Bit, cameras---everything comes with assorted cords, connectors and chargers.
I've found that labeled ziplock bags keeps everything together for each device---even if you have more than one of each in the family. In that case, I just put all like things in the same ziplock.
I even label the individual cords with the owner's name. All it takes is a black Sharpie. This is a far cry better than having tons of cords in a drawer and not knowing what they all go to. When you first do it, you will take a little time figuring all the cords out, but after you do, you'll love it!

Problem #2---What to do with all the different medications when you don't have a medicine cabinet?
We do not have any medicine cabinets in this house. If I did, it would be easy---a shelf for each type of problem. We do not have small children around any more, so simply putting the meds in zip locks by type and storing under the vanity works perfect for us. It's so much easier to grab a bag with your ailment rather than sorting through all of it. As you can see, the "cough, cold & flu" bag is overflowing---just because we were both sick recently. I'll sort through it and toss the prescriptions or anything that has expired so that I can close it again.

Ziplock bags are probably my favorite organizational tools. They just really help to keep everything neat and contained.

Problem #3---How to keep up with all your usernames and passwords?
I cannot claim this tip as my own. Actually, I just read about it on Susan Branch's blog. I thought it was such a good idea that I did it myself.
Use that old address/phone book that you have gathering dust!! This one is about 30 years old. I've had it in the kitchen drawer forever. Even though I never use it, I just couldn't get rid of it. The print is by Nicole Miller and I've always loved her. Now the easiest way to keep up with your usernames and passwords is to use the same ones for everything. I try to do that, but it's not always possible. It seems like there are different requirements for just about everything. Some require a capital letter,  a number, a character, a lowercase letter---all while standing on one foot and patting your head. It's impossible to remember them all. Filing them in an old address book is the perfect solution. Yes, I do have a document on my computer too. I just really like the idea of re-purposing the old address book.

Lastly, this doesn't really fall under organizational---but more in trying to get things back in proper order after our remodel. We had a new audio/visual system installed throughout the house. They left this in the garage. Oh, no, this will never fly with me!
In all fairness, the owner of the company said it was an oversight. They are coming back this week to take care of it.

Do you have any special organizational tips to share?

A Recipe Share

I found this recipe on Six Sisters---one of my favorite recipe blogs. I thought it was pretty good, but decided I didn't like it any better than what I made up myself. Put a pork tenderloin in a crock pot and top with a package of dry onion soup mix. Cook on low about 6 or 7 hours---until shreddable. Shred the meat and add a bottle of barbecue sauce (KC Masterpiece is my favorite).

Here's the new recipe. Mindy thought it was fabulous, so that's why I'm posting it.
Slow Cooker Balsamic Pork Roast
2 lbs. pork roast
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
2 T. worcestershire sauce
1 T. soy sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 t. red pepper flakes
2 t. minced garlic

1. Spray crock pot with nonstick cooking spray (I like to just use a liner). Put roast inside.
2. Mix ingredients and pour over roast.
3. Cook for 4 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low.

Tomorrow, another organizing tip.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Getting Organized

I know a thing or two about organization. That's what I do. I've worked with countless people through the years---whether it be for business, volunteer endeavors or with family and friends. 

Now is the time of year that everyone wants to get organized. Many people make it one of their New Year's resolutions. But, I'm troubled. There are so many people out there touting how to organize this and organize that. Many are giving bad advice (in my opinion). I know for a fact that in order to help someone tackle an organization task, you have to make it easy to do. What I am seeing are approaches that make it so overwhelming that most people wind up with a bigger mess than when they started. Truly, I know some ways to organize just about anything simply and quickly. 

What I see the most is the recommendation that you clear everything out of the closet, drawer, cabinet or under the counters of what you plan to organize. I'm telling you, THIS IS NOT THE WAY!!! How many times have you done this only to be surrounded with so much stuff that it's almost impossible to move or figure out what to do next?

A. Start with 3 boxes or bags---you can label them if you choose:
    1. Trash
    2. Give Away
    3. Belongs somewhere else

B. Handle each thing as you take it out of the closet or drawer and make a decision.
    1. Is it going back in said closet or drawer (if so, set it off to the side)
    2. Or place it in one of the boxes. Once a box is full, move it out of the room and put it where it needs to go---trash or car for give away. Put the box of things going somewhere else aside.
    3. Now you are left with only the things you are putting back. 

Now doesn't that seem easier than taking everything out and trying to figure out what to do?

Try it. It works. You'll be surprised at how much faster this approach is. Trust me! This is how I roll!

PS If you need some specific help, just contact me. 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Right Now

I am:
Being lazy---sitting in front of the fire, playing on my computer when I should be on the treadmill.

Freezing---it's cold here in Nashville and in this house full of windows!

Cooking---getting ready to start a new recipe in the crock pot---Balsamic Pork Roast---if it's good, I'll share the recipe.

Working---in my scrapbook room. I've been cleaning out like you wouldn't believe---and I'm still on the first wall! I really want to do the whole room and closet, but I have a lot of projects in the works that I need to get started on. Besides my "year of kindness" I have trips coming up and then my surfer that will prevent me from getting up to my scrapbook room. I'm already planning what I can bring down so that I'll have what I need to work on some things.

Thinking---that I want to watch The Hunger Games movies before seeing Mockingjay Part 1. Although I've already seen them and read the books. I need to refresh my mind as to what's going on.

Watching---the entire Twilight Zone series (compliments of Nicky) while I'm cleaning out my scrapbook room. It was such a good show.

Making---some things for Christmas. Yes, I want to get an early start. I'll have plenty of time come March!

Wondering---what you are up to!!!

Monday, January 12, 2015

I Had the BEST Birthday!!

As you know, I've been a cleaning fool the past couple weeks. Well, the work continued this weekend. I can hardly call it work as I love cleaning out. I started on Saturday with this being one of my projects:
 You may recall how I said I give everything a bath. Well, I took apart a Christmas floral arrangement.  It is probably 20 years old, but I still like it.
Each year at Christmas, I tell myself that I need to take it apart and clean everything. But them I'm just anxious to get everything put up and don't want to take the time. I finally decided that after Christmas was the time to do it. I have a philosophy that if something is dirty, then I have nothing to lose by cleaning it however I can. When my girls were little, I washed everything in the washer and put it all in the dryer---leather shoes, wool coats, back packs, you name it, it got washed. You'd be surprised at how nice things came out. I've never been afraid to give anything a good dunk! In this arrangement, there was plastic greenery, silk flowers and even dried things. It all went in the sink.

 Next came the basket and bow. It all cleaned up nicely.
I liked the looks of everything drying in the dish drainer. I let it all dry overnight. On Sunday, I put the arrangement back together. I forgot to take another picture and now it's packed away. Next Christmas.

That's the first thing I did on my birthday (well, after my "gift" of working out). Next,  I spent the day cleaning out in my scrapbook room. I was ruthless. If I haven't used it in two years, I'm getting rid of it. I thoroughly enjoyed that---still have a lot to go. I'll be working on my room for probably two more weeks.

I spent a couple hours in the afternoon reading---What Alice Forgot---by Liane Moriarty---my new favorite author. I'm trying NOT to read everything she's written all in a row. I want to spread her books out so I don't get tired of them. Anyway, if you're looking for a new author---she's your gal.

The family came over for Happy Hour and to watch me open gifts. I got some really nice things.
 Sandy sent me this awesome tidbit tray.
 The little tongs are so cute---I put the paper clip there so you could see the size of them. The "picker up" part of the tongs are fleur de lis.
 This glitter tree full of the "12 Days of Christmas" wine charms will look great on the bar next Christmas.
 Stephanie found this adorable little gnome. She thought it was perfect after I went wild over the little gnome trivia game piece over the holidays.

Mindy and Justing gave me a Barnes and Noble gift card---perfect as I have about 85 books on my "to read" list!

I got other gifts from family and friends---too numerous to mention!! I'm a lucky girl!!
Butch game me these walking sticks for our trip to Costa Rica. I was thrilled!

When I was a kid, we would go on these "Incredible Journeys"---named after the Disney movie from the 1960's (which is when I was a kid). That was back in the good ol' days when we packed a lunch in the morning, took off and didn't come back home until supper. Our parents had no idea where we were, or what we were doing. We just had to be home by supper.

Anyway, often we would go off on these hikes. The very first thing we did was find ourselves a walking stick. We used it for everything---moving branches out of our way while traipsing through the woods, checking the depth of the creek to decide if we could wade it, and poking at dead animals or any other "finds."

I was just telling Butch that I would like a walking stick to use to stabilize myself while walking through uneven terrain. DO NOT confuse this with a CANE!!! I'm not that OLD! I did not know that walking sticks (or hiking sticks as it says on the package) came in pairs. I plan to let Butch use one if he wants. They are so awesome---they are compact and will fit in the suitcase. Just perfect.

I'm totally ready for another incredible journey!

So after all the gift opening, we went to Sperry's (a steak house)  for dinner. I had the lobster! It was a perfect day for me. What could be better, a little cleaning, a little reading a little time with family!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

A Birthday Gift to Myself

Actually, what I gave myself is the crappiest gift I hope to get!

What I really wanted to give myself was a "pass" to skip the treadmill today. Instead, given that I'm trying to change my thinking from I "have" to get on the treadmill to I "get" to get on the treadmill (yay!), I decided that I "needed" to get on the treadmill. This changing the way you look at it is just not really working for me. I still hate it. I'm thankful for my treadmill desk and powerful fan! That keeps it from being totally boring and keeps me from being a sweaty mess.

I doubt I'll ever love working out. I don't care what I tell myself. I know it's good for me so happy birthday anyway!

Friday, January 9, 2015

I Need Some Help!!

And that's a HUGE admission. I'm not the type of person to ask for help. I usually know my own mind and am very decisive. And, no, I'm not talking about decorating---I'm good with that.

This time, I'm talking about my health situation---more directly, my papa toe!! I have a rather large bone spur that prevents my toe from moving and functioning properly. It hurts---not constantly, but if I do a lot of walking, standing for long periods of time or stay on the treadmill too long---I feel like an old, crippled woman. I saw a podiatrist and was ready to go with a joint replacement---until a friend of mine freaked out! She said I needed to see an orthopedic surgeon. She arranged it. I went. He said I need a "fusion" as it was a permanent fix rather than a joint replacement which would not last more than 8-10 years and could also cause pain. Of course, the choice was a "no brainer." I'm all about permanent---I'm not a "let's just put a band aid on it." I'm a firm believer of fixing something right the first time.

This decision was made in September. When the nurse called to schedule the surgery, I wanted the first part of March. She was surprised and said her calendar didn't go out that far. Clearly she doesn't know me! I'm a planner of the highest degree!! She called me back about 6 weeks later to  book it. I'm all set for March 6th. Smack in the middle of a couple of trips---Costa Rica in February and a British Isles cruise in August. There's really no better time.

Now I'm starting to have second thoughts. There is a pretty long recuperation period. For the first month, I'll be on crutches. I've never been on crutches. I'm worried about that. I don't know how I'll even get up the stairs in to my house. What about getting up at night to use the bathroom? This seems like it's going to be so hard. For the second month, I'll be in a walking boot. That seems okay, but again, getting up at night---putting on the boot to use the bathroom. Knowing me, I won't be able to "hold it" long enough to get the boot on. I'm not exactly able to hop around on one foot either.

The third month I'll be in a tennis shoe.

I guess if I admit it, I'm scared. Not about the surgery, but about how I will possibly get around. Maybe it will be easier than I think.

This is where you come in. Do you think I should go ahead and do it? This is not a problem that will go away or get better by itself. It will only get worse. And, I need to do the other foot too---it's not as bad as my right foot. But eventually, it will be.

Just by writing this all out and thinking about it, I think I've answered my own question. I need to go ahead and just do it. I guess it's the fear of the unknown. I need to come up with a plan. I probably should cut back on the fluids. Yeah, that's what I'll do. That's what I'm most concerned about anyway.

Okay, I guess I don't really need any help.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Me on Monday

Hey All!!

Hookin' up with Sian from High in the Sky today!

Well, it's January 5th and the official start of The Eads' Family Fitness Challenge 2015. Also, we've added another component to the mix. Besides the activity points, step points and weight loss points, now you can earn "water" points.

Sure, drinking water sounds like an easy way to get a point. But, not so!! Mindy's doctor said that everyone should be drinking half of their body weight in water. So that's what we're going by.
Here's mine:
That's a 2 gallon pitcher---and a heck of a lot of water. I already drink water just about exclusively---except for my tea in the morning. I'm going to have to give that up. I drink a lot. A lot, I tell you!!! I carry a cup of water or a water bottle everywhere I go. I've even been known to "sneak" one in to the movie theater because it kills me to pay$4.50 for a bottle of water! What I'm sayin' is that this is going to be harder than I thought. I easily drink a gallon of water a day. Now it's double that. We'll see. It's already 9 a.m. and this is all I've had. I better get with it!! I guess I better figure out how I can multi-task in the bath room!!

Our first challenge of the new year goes for two months---just in time for my foot surgery. Then I'll be out of it for 2 months---at least!! Bummer or vacation---it's all in how you look at it!!

Oh, and I read something about how to handle exercise. All you are supposed to do is tell yourself that exercise is FUN!! Duh! I had no idea it was that easy!!! Instead of saying "I have to exercise" you are just supposed to say, "Yippee! I GET to exercise!" Seriously, that's all there is to it??? Come on, that's a crock!! It's never going to be fun!! It's something I just have to do, so I will. I've never gotten to that place where "endorphins" kick in. Maybe I just don't have any. I still hate it. Thank goodness for my treadmill desk.

Do you have wellness plans for the new year? Good luck with them!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Weekend Kickoff...

...of course started with Happy Hour. Morgan and Jordan were here too. Actually, Jordan got her at 3 so she could help with cleaning out the closets. 
 Apparently I can't count. Besides the mud room, we have 4 closets in the back hallway---not three. These really didn't need much cleaning out. Just a little straightening and vacuuming of the floor.
The mud room was another story. What a mess. When we don't know what to do with something, it gets thrown in here. The freezer needs defrosting because with all the crap in there, "someone" (me) left the door open a crack---just enough for the freezer to frost up. We'll be emptying it out in the next couple of weeks so I can clean it.
Here's the "After." We do not need 5,000 coolers and thermoses. Butch will probably disagree and all of the stuff that I think we need to get rid of will make it's way back. But for now, it's cleaned out.

I had planned a nice dinner to kick off the New Year---shrimp fettuccine. Turns out, I ruined it by trying to change my own recipe. In an effort to make it healthier, I abandoned the butter and heavy cream for a bottled "light"Alfredo sauce. Although the family appreciated it---only 50 calories per serving---it was terrible. I think the family was just being nice when they said it was really good. Not even close. I hated it. So much that I didn't keep any of it---sent it all home with Jordan. 

All was not lost. I made a new bread recipe that was FABULOUS!! It's not low calorie, but it's worth it. Actually, Jordan made it while I worked on the rest of the meal

Cheese and Garlic Pull Apart Bread
1 crusty loaf of bread (sour dough or Vienna)
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar
1/4 cup melted butter
2 garlic cloves, minced

Preheat oven to 350. Melt butter and add garlic. Cut the bread on the diagonal but not all the way through. Then, turn the loaf and cut it the other way. I made my cuts about an inch apart---so the entire loaf is scored nearly to the bottom. Pour a teaspoon of the butter in each section. Add a pinch of cheese to each section. I alternated the two cheeses. Wrap the loaf in foil and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the top foil and bake an additional 5 minutes. 

This can be frozen---just wrap in Saran Wrap over the foil. It's a little work, but totally worth it.

After dinner, the girls noticed this and got a good laugh.
 I gave Butch this book for Christmas 1973. He has it out because he's leaving for the beach tomorrow and has a sink repair to make. 
 He was showing the girls how the book gives step-by-step instructions as Stephanie quipped, "yeah because you can't just google it, watch a video and not drag around a huge book!" Plus she wanted to know how it was he still had the book after 40 years.
He was trying to convince the girls that although faucets have changed in 40 years, the inner workings have not. I'll ask him when he gets home if the book was helpful. He's keeps everything. I have to admit---many times the smallest thing comes in handy.

Speaking of Butch---he's back to being healthy. Know how I can tell? 
 He took the lights off the tree and left them on the couch in a big jumbled mess. He has a tendency to not finish a job completely to the end. He'll always leave just a little something. He had to move the lights so we could sit while we played games. I noticed this morning that the lights are now on the dining room floor. We'll see how long the stay there. He and I are completely different about things like this. I have to get it done---it doesn't bother him to let it go for awhile. This might not be a good start to my New Year. Calm down, Barb. It's not the end of the world!!

What about you? Are you a finisher or a procrastinator? They say opposites attract---definitely true for us!

Friday, January 2, 2015

Happy New Year!!

I'm feeling a little "off kilter" today. It's January 2nd and I haven't set my New Year's resolutions. I'm pretty good about it and usually follow through. I think what I'm going to do this year is based on Cheri's year of kindness. I'm going to try to be more aware and do good works! I'm already off to a good start. I posted this on Facebook and already have 10 people on my list:

This world needs as much kindness as it can get- I'm participating in the 'Pay it Forward' initiative: The FIRST FIVE people who comment on this status with "I'm in" will receive a surprise from me at some point during this next calendar year - anything from a book, a ticket, something homemade, a postcard, absolutely any surprise! There will be no warning and it will happen when the mood comes over me and I find something that I believe would suit you and make you happy. These five people must make the same offer on their Facebook status. Once my first five have commented "I'm in" I will forward this message privately, so that you can copy and paste it, and put it on your status, (don't share it) so that we can form a web of connection of kindness.

I'm anxious to get started! 

Today, I have the girls coming over again to continue with the closet clean out. We'll do the mud-room and the three closets in the back hallway. I'll feel really good when we get those done. Next on my list will be to defrost the freezer. It wouldn't have needed it if "someone" (me) had closed the door completely over the holidays. Now it's all frosty. I'll be making a concerted effort to start using up what's in there. I don't really like doing it, but do love it when it's done. Hmmm. That's how it is with most jobs---I love the end result. Actually, I like some of the work too. I'm weird like that. I find organizing very satisfying. Case in point---rather than scrapbooking yesterday, I ended up cleaning out and organizing. Now I'm on a roll! I'm heading back up there when I finish this post.

Now, I leave you with a new recipe from Mindy. She's becoming quite the cook---errr, I should say she's quite the "helper." Her boyfriend is the chef!!

First I should say, there's some superstition here in the south about having black-eyed peas on New Years Day to bring good luck for the year. Not only had I never heard of that, I never  even had a black-eyed pea until we moved here 30 years ago. Come to think of it, I can't remember the last time I had a black-eyed pea. But, I'm going to make this next week.

Spicy Black-eyed Pea and Andouille Soup
It's perfect for New Year's Day because of the black-eyed peas (based on the superstition that eating them will bring you good fortune in the new year), but is an easy, hearty, healthy soup that we'll definitely be making again this winter.


1 lb. dried black eyed peas
1 lb. spicy sausage (the original recipe used polish sausage. I substituted spicy andouille sausage. It was VERY spicy so I would recommend regular or medium andouille sausage to try at first)
5 cups chicken broth (we used 4 cups--which is one carton--of Swanson's Cajun-infused chicken broth and 1 cup of regular chicken broth but you can use all regular chicken broth if you can't find the cajun-infused)
1 yellow onion- diced
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup diced celery
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp italian seasoning
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
tabasco to taste (our sausage was so spicy that we didn't need tabasco, but if you use mild sausage of some kind, then the tabasco may be necessary)


soak beans overnight and drain in the morning.

dice the veggies and put them in the crockpot with the beans.

slice the sausage and add to crockpot.

Add in the broth, garlic, italian seasoning, salt, and pepper.

Cook on high for 6 hours (ours was really ready in about 5, but I guess cooking temps can vary).

Add tabasco to taste. We also ate ours with crunched up saltine crackers to help cut the heat and to add texture to the soup… kind of like how our family eats saltines with tomato soup :)

Oh yeah, eating healthy is an ongoing resolution for me. Why is it that all the good stuff is so unhealthy?

What are your New Year's resolutions?