Friday, March 31, 2017

Shopping is a Valid form of Exercise

Don and Peter played golf yesterday, so Kendall and I decided to go get some exercise of our own. We headed to the Miromar Outlets near the Fort Meyers airport. I wore my FitBit and clocked about 6,000 steps.

I also picked up a new purse at Vera Bradley and some clothes at GAP. Kendall bought a new wallet at Fossil and a top at American Eagle. She was nice and bought Peter a credit card holder and a pair of golf shorts. I came back with nothing for Don (sorry)!

It was just so nice to spend the day with my new daughter-in-law!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Podcasts I'm Listening to Lately

Once in awhile I stumble upon new podcasts to listen to, so I thought I'd share a few that I am loving lately.

Sorta Awesome is a podcast for women who want to stay current with all things awesome in culture and media. Megan Teitz is the main host of the show, but she is joined by Rebekah Hoffer, Laura Tremaine, and Kelly Gordon. They all have great voices and insights.

Help Me Teach the Bible is a podcast in which Nancy Guthrie interviews Bible scholars on particular books of the Bible that they are very knowledgeable about. This podcast has been very informative and has helped me with my Certificate in Biblical Studies, which I am almost finished with!

The Simple Show is hosted by Tsh Oxenreider who has lived and traveled all over the world with her husband and four children. She covers topics such as travel, books and keeping life simple.

The Productive Woman is a podcast hosted by Laura McClellan, a wife, mother of five and a lawyer. She focuses on helping women focus on what matters in life by effectively using their time.

I also continue to listen to two of my current favorite podcasts that I've mentioned before: What Should I Read Next and The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Garlic Grater

We are in Naples with Kendall and Peter this week, and yesterday, we ventured to Marco Island in the afternoon for a seafood and craft festival. One of the craft booths was selling something called a garlic grater. It is basically a small, pretty plate with some ridges in the center. The plates are made in Spain.

A nice gentleman was demonstrating how to use the garlic grater, and we were captivated. Don looked over at us and said, "she's going to buy." How'd he know? There was a quantity discount, so I got one for myself, Katherine, Heidi and Kendall.

The plates come with a garlic peeler, a small brush for removing the garlic from the plate, and the plate itself. The garlic grater can also be used to grate hard cheeses like Romano and Parmesan as well as ginger and chocolate.

You can see videos of the same man demonstrating this tool at I See Spain - his website.

I'm so excited. I'll never have to clean another garlic press the rest of my life!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Magnolia Story

Back in November, before my heart procedure, Pam gave me this book to read. I didn't read it until last week on the beach in Punta Cana, but I loved it! And I have never even seen a Fixer Upper show.

Guess what - I'm watching the Season 4 finale on Tuesday. And I have to figure out a way to watch all the other Seasons too.

This book made me fall in love with these two and their story.

Chip is a pretty crazy guy, and I would have had a heart attack a few times being married to him (selling their house without telling her...leaving the baby at home alone while she was out jogging), but Joanna seems to be able to handle him. It helps that he is adorable!

Highly recommend this read. I passed the book to Celeste and she read it before passing it along to Gretchen. Maybe it will make its way around to Nancy too.

Friday, March 24, 2017

The Elegance Club Take 2

Our girls trip was a chance to get away and smell the flowers. And that's just what Celeste did. By the way, Celeste now pronounces her name like the Dominicans: Sell-es-ta (long a). They all loved her name.

We didn't sleep in. We were up at the crack of dawn walking on the beach. At least Celeste and Gretchen were. Nancy and I slacked off a little in this area.

Like I said - the resort is a nice place to honeymoon.

We had no complaints about the food. Even I was able to find something to eat at every meal. Lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, chicken and fish. This was lunch one day.

Nancy found something fun to do! Weeee!

Drinks for the beach!

The girls thought this sailboat was made just for me. Is that Marianne in Spanish?

Our Hibachi chef knew two words in English: "Yeah" and "baby" - so that's the only conversation that went on during dinner. He must have said it 20 times. And everyone said it back to him:Yeah baby!

Not sure what to say about this photo.

We played Euchre every night either before dinner, after dinner or both. It was during one of these games that we saw a side of Gretchen we had never seen before. Nancy tried to change the rules of the game, and Gretchn didn't like it one bit!

My directionally-challenged self had a hard time finding its way around the resort. I used this "Elegance Club" as one of my bread crumb markers, and it didn't always pan out. The girls made fun of me more than once.

Caps for sale! This beautiful young lady came by once a day selling hats, scarves and bags, and she carried everything on her body. 

We were sad to leave Punta Cana behind, but back to reality we had to go.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Elegance Club Take 1

Our girls getaway was just fabulous! Celeste booked our trip through Costco Travel, and we were very happy with the way everything turned out. I would recommend this resort to anyone who wants a nice, relaxing time in the sun. Great for honeymooners.

We stayed at the Majestic Elegance resort in Punta Cana, and we reserved two rooms in the Elegance Club which allows you to have access to adults only beach and pool areas. We don't have anything against kids, but since it was a Spring Break week, we were glad we took that option.

We had one glitch when we first arrived. Instead of giving us 2 rooms with two queen size beds like they were supposed to, they gave us two rooms with one king size bed. We were a little upset, and our butler, Jorge, got the brunt of our disappointment.

We felt bad dumping that on him because he was such a nice guy. But he straightened it all out and gave us Elegance Club hats, and all was fine after that.

The beach was gorgeous, and the weather was perfect except for the occasional downpour on Tuesday, which had us run for cover a couple of times.

Each night we dressed up a little for dinner. Everything was included (food and drinks).

We had a beach buffet BBQ the first night, ate at a French restaurant the second night, and the last night was Hibachi.

Most of our time was spent lounging on the beach.
 Stay tuned for more photos tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Throwback Vacation

In the summer of 2005, our family took a Hawaiian Cruise. We stopped at Maui, Kona, Honolulu, the big island of Hawaii and Kauai. Katherine was 16, Daniel was 14, and Peter had just turned 11. One of the highlights of the trip was seeing Pearl Harbor. Here are a few photos:

Having lunch in Maui

Dinner at a Luau


Daniel & Don

 On the ship, ready for dinner.

At Pearl Harbor

Sunday, March 19, 2017

So Don Won't Starve

Don always tells me I don't need to worry about what he's going to eat while I'm gone. He says there's plenty of food. Well, if I don't make the food, I'm not sure where it is going to come from. He'd have to eat out or starve.

And it's not enough for me to just make the food and put it in the refrigerator because he won't see it. When he opens the refrigerator door, he zones in on the things he usually eats and ignores the rest. I have to tell him what is there.

Sometimes I feel like Mrs. Claus who admonishes her husband, Santa, to "Eeaaat!" I have to fatten him up.

So this time, I labeled everything in the refrigerator with bright green tape so he can't miss the Chicken & Rice, and Chicken & Stuffing, and Pepperoni Bread, and the deli salads and Corned Beef. I even labeled the hard-boiled eggs so he'd get a laugh.

Yes, I take care of my husband.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Punta Cana

The girls and I are off this Sunday on what seems to be our annual girls trip (our fourth in a row) not counting the one we took to Niagra-on-the-Lake in September.

This time, it is to an All-Inclusive resort in Punta Cana. I've never been to an All-Inclusive resort except for our honeymoon when we went to Caneel Bay in the Virgin Islands.

I cannot wait to hang out with these three crazy friends. I know one thing for sure is that we will be laughing our heads off every day.

So where is Punta Cana? It's not in Mexico. Even Don was stumped. It is in the Dominican Republic! On the coast. Weather is beautiful, as opposed to what we'll be leaving behind in Northeast Ohio.
It's a short trip - only four days - but we'll make the most of it.

I'm not taking my computer, so no blog posts for a few days unless I can schedule a couple before I go. I'll report in when I get back!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Postcards from Texas

Postcards used to be sent by U. S. Mail. But now they are sent by TXT Mail. Peter and Kendall took a short vacation to Braunfels, TX during her spring break week. They are on their way back home right now, and unfortunately were delayed in Washington, D.C.

Here are some of the postcards Kendall sent me:

One night, they went to the oldest dance hall in Texas - Gruene Hall and kicked it up with some old folks (and young folks too).

The reason they went to Braunfels was to visit a certain set of grandparents!

I guess it was a little chilly for Texas the first few days they were there.

But it warmed up on Tuesday and they got out to see rows and rows of Texas Bluebonnets.

And they got a little sun-burned too! Dinner at the Salt Lick BBQ which Kendall said was "out in the middle of nowhere."

Monday, March 13, 2017

A to Z Dating

Daniel and Heidi just finished their first round of A to Z Dating. I think it is a great concept, and I've been trying to convince Don to get on board. A to Z Dating involves a lot of creativity, exploration and fun! That's why I want to do it too.

Each date night has a theme that goes with a letter of the alphabet. For example, if Heidi started with A, she would have to think of a date night that went with the letter A. The next date night would require Daniel to come up with a theme for the letter B. Here are a few sample date nights they came up with. Some of them involved an all-day adventure.

Letter C: A day in Cleveland

Visit to the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo to see God's Creation
Shop at Cleveland Clothing Co.
Dinner at Barrio in downtown Cleveland
Visit to the JACK Cleveland Casino

Letter P: Pottery, Puppies & Pizza

Painting Pottery
Petting Puppies at Pet's Pajamas Pet Store
Dinner at Pizza Fire

Letter Z: "Zig Before You Zag"

Dessert first at Peace, Love and Little Donuts in Hudson
Dinner last at Flip Side

Now that they have gone all the way through the alphabet, they are going to begin again. This time, they will they will take opposite letters.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

No More Procrastination

Last year, I read a book by Stephen Guise called Mini Habits. The book was not about procrastination, but it helped me look at achieving goals in a new way. He suggested breaking down a large goal into mini challenges that would get you started. For instance, if you wanted to be able to do 50 push ups, just start with one. Each day, make it your goal to do one push up until you do two. Then make it your goal to do two push ups. His point was to make the goal so ridiculously small that you could not help but achieve it. This would encourage you to move on to the next step.

This concept can be applied to procrastination of items on your to do list. What keeps me from starting a task is realizing I can't do the task in a reasonable amount of time.The result is that I keep moving my task from one day to the next, and it never gets done. It could be the prospect of pain, in the case of: Schedule Mammogram, but more often than not, it is the magnitude of the line item.

An item on my to do list right now is: Print Wedding Photos.  I have pictures to print from Katherine and Josh's wedding, Daniel and Heidi's wedding and Peter and Kendall's wedding. I want to print one nice photo from each wedding and put them somewhere in the house. I keep moving the to do from one day to the next because it is too daunting a task to think about.

So what's the solution? Break it down into mini to do's. Print Wedding Photos is really a project, not a task. If I break it down into small steps and list those on my to do list, I can chip away at it until I can finally cross it off!

Here are the steps as an example:

1.  Decide on the style of photo I want to print from each wedding.
2.  Look through K + J wedding photos and choose one photo to print.
3.  Look through D + H wedding photos and choose one photo to print.
4.  Look through P + K wedding photos and choose one photo to print.
5.  Decide where the photos will be displayed.
6.  Decide how large the photos should be.
7.  Ask Daniel where he gets his photo enlargements printed.
8.  Put photos on jump drive.
9.  Drive to photo shop and have photos printed.
10. Select frames.
11. Put photos in frames.
12. Ask Don to hang the framed photos!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Banana Bites

What do yo do when you have a few really ripe bananas? You either make banana bread or you look on Pinterest for another banana recipe. I found this one that looked good. It was easy, and these were just right for a little snack.

Banana Bites

2 ripe bananas
2 cups old fashioned oats
1/4 c. almond butter
1/4 c honey
2 T. mini chocolate chips
1/2 t. cinnamon (optional)

Mash bananas in a large mixing bowl.
Stir in remaining ingredients.
Using a large cookie scoop, form balls in the palm of your hand.
Refrigerate for at least 2 hours for them to firm up.
Makes about 12. Store in refrigerator.

Monday, March 6, 2017

For Don

You won't read this today because you only read my blog posts in batches. It will probably be a week or so before you catch up.

But when you read it, I want you to know some reasons why I love you:

You are such a strong leader that I never feel lost.

No matter what I do or what I say, you always forgive me and carry on as if nothing had happened.

You know my needs and you let me be me. You don't try to mold me into someone I am not.

Our family is a high priority to you. You'll do anything for any one of us.

You are godly in your character, and courageous in all you do.

Who won't you lend a hand to?

You're brilliant, yet humble; full of energy, but know when to relax.

I'm so thankful that out of all the men in the world, God led me to you. I love you.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Speedy Sweet Potatoes

I found this great recipe on a blog I love: Live Simply. The blog author (Kristin Marr) has some great healthy recipes and ideas on how to make your life healthier in many ways.

By cutting your sweet potatoes in half lengthwise, you can cut your cooking time in half as well. Here is how to do it:


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Cut sweet potatoes in half lengthwise.
Drizzle with olive oil, then rub the olive oil all over the cut part.
Sprinkle with salt.
Place the potatoes cut side down on baking sheet.
Bake 30 minutes.

SO simple, SO fast, and SO very yummy!

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Wild Turkeys

We just never know what we are going to see when we pull into the parking lot where we work out on Tuesdays and Thursdays. This morning, we saw a group of seven wild turkeys walking around trying to get food from he ground. This is in suburban Twinsburg.

Wild turkeys are sort of creepy looking and they make frightening sounds when you get too close to them with your camera.

Despite being very large birds, these wild turkeys can take flight. But they usually don't get very high off the ground.

They are omnivorous creatures. They prefer nuts, seeds, berries and insects, but they will also eat small reptiles such as lizards and snakes.

It is getting close to mating season, but I didn't see any males strutting their stuff this morning.

If we had time, I would have captured one for next Thanksgiving's dinner.