Sunday, December 15, 2013

Counting My Blessings

     A few minutes ago I was sitting at my computer reading some facebook posts.  A common past time of mine.  I went back to an earlier post from a friend of mine asking for some new Christmas music ideas.  She wanted something more lively than what she usually listened to.  I had added my two cents worth telling her that Trans Siberian Orchestra definitely had some lively music.  I wanted to see what other ideas people had posted, as I'm always looking for new ideas for my music library.  As I was reading through the posts I saw one from another one of her friends saying that he couldn't hear but if he could what group he would be interested in, from things he'd read.
     That post struck something deep inside of me.  I felt myself tearing up as I sat here listening to my Christmas music.  I realized how I take things like hearing and eyesight for granted.  I began to imagine what it would be like not being able to hear or see.  I can't even imagine that because I have truly been blessed to have good hearing and eyesight.  Even if I was to lose either one of those senses, I still would have the memories of sights and sounds to help me remember.
     What if I had never been able to hear or see?  I would never really know what I was missing.
      I take so many things in my life for granted.  I should be counting my blessings every day for what I have instead of wishing for more.  Yes, it would be wonderful to win that big Mega Millions jackpot, but I have so much already, that so many others don't have.  A roof over my head.  A coat to keep me warm.  A car to get me where I need to go.  A good job.  Food. Family. Friends. The list of blessings goes on and on.
     I have a good life!  I hope to keep that in mind as the holiday season progresses and long afterwards.  God has been very good to me!  I pray that he blesses each of you and you open your eyes and ears to those many blessings.


Sunday, November 10, 2013

Choosing New Furniture is a PAIN!

So my newly remodeled livingroom is almost done.  It's time to pick out new furniture.  I never knew how hard it was going to be.

First up is the new couch and recliners.  I knew I wanted La-Z- Boy recliners, so my daughter and I headed out there to test some recliners out.  Hard job, but someone's gotta do it!  I had looked them up online and saw how you could get them made in practically any color or fabric design you wanted.  I think there was over 600 different varieties of fabric to choose from.  I had visions of a purple couch with rose recliners to go with my newly painted green walls.

We arrived at the La-Z-Boy store and started looking at some beautiful couch and recliner sets.  It didn't take long for a salesman to zoom in on us.  I asked him the appropriate questions and soon found out that if you wanted those special colors you were looking at a much higher price and a good 6-8 week wait and since the holidays are coming it would be closer to 10 weeks...  There went my dreams of lovely purple and rose furniture.  So as reality set in, since there was no way I was going to wait that long I want my living room done before Thanksgiving, we started looking at all of the lovely furniture in browns, tans, blacks and other dismal colors.  *sigh* After testing out a few reclining couches and chairs we decided that maybe those colors weren't so bad if they were that comfy.  Believe me they were comfy.  I'm talking about nap time comfy!  ZZZZzzzzzz  We chose a beautiful tan colored couch that had recliners on both ends and matching recliners in a dark, chocolate colored brown.  My daughter said it felt like resting on a cloud, they were so soft!  One of the recliners is even better because it's a power recliner.  You push buttons and your feet go up, head down, lumbar supported and so on.  So absolutely sinful, including the price...well there is a 5% discount, to take into consideration.  That certainly makes it all good!

I asked how long it was going to take to deliver this little bit of heaven and he said it would be at our house by mid next week.  That seemed reasonable, since we were still finishing up the floor trim.

A few days later we started searching for the perfect TV console and matching bookshelves.  I don't want one of those huge, all connected entertainment centers.  I just want a nice TV console that I'll put in the center of one wall and then two 6 foot bookshelves that I can place on both ends of that wall.  It will store our major collection of cds and dvds, as well as a few decorative items.  I did not know what a chore this was going to be.  I found something I liked but it was going to take several weeks to get delivered and I need to get this cluttered mess of a house, somewhat organized ASAP!  That wouldn't do for me.  Other places we looked had little to nothing that I liked or that looked like it would hold up for a while.  We went home discouraged and a lot disappointed.

The next day we decided to try Arnold's.  Another furniture store here in town.  Within minutes I saw the TV console I wanted and they could deliver it in two... only 2 days!!!  I was all over that.  They had some very nice bookshelves as well, but since they were made to order it was going to take several weeks.  By now I was just happy to have a place to put our TV and other electronic devices, so I was okay with waiting a few weeks for some quality bookshelves that would work with the other furniture.  At least now we can get the house a little organized before the holidays.

Our next purchases will be an area rug for the center of the room and a new floor lamp.  I have a feeling that those might be significantly easier finds, but I'm not getting my hopes up too high just in case.

To wrap up this post these are the most important things I've found out when it comes to furniture shopping:
1. It's not cheap!
2. It's not going to get to your house in a timely manner.
3. It's not all going to match.
4. No matter how much you spend, delivery is not free unless you do it yourself.
If you go out there shopping with these 4 things in mind then you'll be prepared for most anything and hopefully you'll be pleasantly surprised when one or more of these things doesn't come true for you!

Happy Furniture shopping!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Weasley is his name!

Today's post is all about our cat, Weasley.  My daughter adopted him from the humane society and decided to call him Weasley.  His name comes from the red headed Weasley family in the Harry Potter Books because he's a red cat.

Weasley is our property watch dog.  Any other cat, besides our own, that sets foot on our property is quickly chased off by him.  Sometimes this involves some loud noises and fur flying but usually the other cat rapidly vacates the property.

Ever since he was a little kitten, Weasley loved the outdoors.  We didn't intend for him to be an outdoor cat but it was in his blood and he insisted we let him fulfill his need of the great outdoors.  If not he will meow and howl until you go insane.  One of his greatest pleasures is to find a patch of sunshine and sleep in it.  This started at a very young age.
Baby Weasley lying in the windowsill soaking up the sun.
Weasley has been perhaps the slowest of our animals to warm up to newcomers.  He grew up with Zeke, so they get along fine.  Zeke gets along with everyone!  Bella arrived in our home when Weasley was still a kitten, so they got along pretty well, except when she decided to chase him around or wrestle with him.

Bella kicking Weasley's butt!

It took about a year for Weasley to accept Beans, our second dog, into the family.  I think it might have had something to do with Beans chasing Weasley every chance he got.  He didn't like that Weasley would try to slink past him.  Beans does not like slinking cats!  That means the chase is on!  He's slowly adapted to the twins, Monkey and Daisy.  As long as they don't mess with him, he's ok.  Monkey tries to strong arm him sometimes and amazingly Weasley does put up with it but I think it's because Monkey is about twice his weight and a bully.

 Weasley does come in to eat, drink and nap.  The wetter and cooler it is outdoors the more we see him inside.  When he's inside he loves to find a comfy nap spot, preferably away from the evil twins...Daisy and Monkey.
This backpack looks like a good place to hide and take a nap.

This box in front of the fire is nice and warm!

There's nothing like a nice cozy dog bed for a good napping spot.

Ahhhhh!  Nothing like a nice cool floor in the summer time!  Cooling my tummy!

This was taken just a couple months ago.  He can relax on the chair while guarding the yard.

Another kitten picture just because it's so cute!

Weasley is a much loved member of our family and my daughter's first fur baby of her own.  I guess that makes him my first grandchild!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Happy Halloween Pets!

Since Halloween is tomorrow I thought I would share some of our Halloween pet and pumpkin pictures we've taken over the last few years.  My daughter, Kristen carved the pumpkins.  I hope you enjoy them and have a Happy Halloween!

Beans and Zeke posing with a kitty pumpkin design from last year.  They don't look too happy about that.

Weasley is posing with this years Pomeranian pumpkin.  
Bella was our best posing kitty.  Unfortunately she disappeared last summer.  We miss her and her great poses terribly.
Here's another picture of Bella posing a couple years ago.  This is the picture that started our pets posing with pumpkins yearly event.

Baby Daisy posing last year by our pumpkin.  This is her usual happy picture face.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Favorite Finds Part 1

I love to shop, especially when I get a good deal and find something I end up loving.  Here are a few of my favorite items that I've found and love in the past year.  I'm sure that there will be more things that I find and I'll share them in later posts.

This is the front of my Duraflame electric stove heater.  It is fantastic!  My Mom had one that I had admired, so when I saw it on sale on QVC as a TSV I had to order it!  I used it all last winter and it saved me approximately $40 a month on my electric bill, which is fantastic!  My electric furnace is not very good at all and we tend to heat with a woodstove, but my living room always seems to be cold.  This little heater was the perfect solution to that.  I turn it on high and watch the LED flames flicker and it heats my room right up.  I would and have recommend this to anyone!  I tried to get a good picture of the embers glowing and the color of the flames in the background, but the pictures just didn't show up right.

This chair massager from HoMedics is great!  As someone that tends to have a lot of backaches I find this works fantastically.  It has shiatsu and rolling massage options as well as heat.  You can choose whether you want it to stay in one position or roll up and down your whole back.  I can't really remember where I ordered this from but am pretty sure it was one of my QVC finds.  I've also seen similar models at Costco.  It is well worth the price and so far has held up really well.  I've been using it for at least a year now.

This is one of a set of 2 Berkshire soft fluffy throws I ordered from QVC.   Another great find, that I can't get enough of.  This throw is so light and fluffy and warm.  I love cuddling up in it while I watch my favorite shows.  It is so soft!  They wash up really well and stay nice and soft even after multiple washings.  This is also a great gift.  My daughter got one last year for Christmas and after I felt it I had to have one too!

I've mentioned before how one of my favorite things is an olive and feta mix that you can find at the Safeway deli.  When I saw this Greek Olive Salad at my local Costco I had to stock up!  First of all the price was considerably less than the deli mix and it not only had olives and feta it had pepperoncini and lemon slices in it!  Two other items that I really love!  Yum!  The only downfall was I didn't think it had quite enough feta in it but it's still very tasty and you can always add more feta if you want.

I have always loved chocolate covered caramels and when you add sea salt to the mix it goes over the top!  Imagine my joy when I found these little gems at Costco.  The price was very good, under $10 and there are plenty of caramels in the tub.  Enough to share, if you want.  I have one or two a day and enjoy every delicious chocolatey, caramelly salty bite!  Mmmm Mmmm
Last but definitely not least is this company.  After you eat too many salted chocolate covered caramels, you will need to wear larger clothes.  It's hard to find decent very large sized clothes in the shops near where I live.  I found this company online and started ordering clothes from them.  They fit well, wear well and look nice.  The prices aren't bad, they have a large selection and they usually have some good deals.  Now I can find jeans that are long enough and tops that cover my fat.  No, they don't hide it but they do cover it!  One day I truly hope to lose all my extra weight, but until that day comes it's nice to know I have some clothing options.

That's it for this round of my favorite finds.  I'll be scoping out some new ones to bring to you next time.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Halloween Candy

It's that time of year when everywhere you go there are piles of candy bags, just waiting to jump into your shopping cart.  I managed to ignore them until just the other day.  I thought that I'd better buy a couple bags, meaning four, just in case we get a few trick-or-treaters this year.
Now the trick for us will be trying not to eat all of that candy before Halloween.  It will be hard because I always have to buy my favorite candies.  The one year, I was actually sticking to my diet, I bought the candies that I don't really like.  Yes, there are actually some candies I don't like and can easily pass up.  One of those candies is Smarties.  When I mentioned last year to someone at work that I didn't like Smarties, they ridiculed me.  They said that is the all time favorite treat and that everyone loved them.  So I had to set out on a mission to ask everyone at work if they loved them or not.  Truthfully, most people did like them but there were a few that didn't.
Another candy that I can do without is the Three Musketeers bars.  Not sure why, but I just really don't care for them.  Candy corn is not a favorite.  Anything that is cinnamon flavored like red hots...ugh!
Now for some of my favorite Halloween candy treats!  I love those little snack sized Take Five bars.  The only problem is I can't find them in very many places and so far I haven't found them at all this year!  *sigh*
I also love Mounds, Butterfingers, Milky Ways and Peanut butter Snickers and a whole long list of other chocolaty treats.  Those were the four bags I bought the other day.  So far I've managed to only eat one Mounds bar, although just writing about them is making me think I might need another one.

  I like to go to my Mom's on Halloween and help hand out candy.  The best part is she hands out full sized candy bars and we get to bring some home for ourselves!  That is very good incentive to go up and visit her on Halloween.

Do you have a favorite Halloween candy?  Are you able to keep enough for those little trick-or-treaters or do you need to run out and buy more before they show up at the house?  Or better yet, do you just keep your porch light out and sit inside and eat all the candy yourself?

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Yummy Chex Mix!

As I've said before in a previous blog, Autumn makes me think of assorted foods.  Things like homemade soups and bread, hearty casseroles, apple crisp and Chex Mix.  This time of year just seems to scream Chex Mix.  Maybe it has something to do with all of the carefully displayed boxes of Chex at the grocery store and the big multi pack at Costco.  Whatever the reason I usually do make it several times throughout the season and into winter.
The thing I like about it is, it's quick, if you use the microwave method and you can change the recipe to suit your tastes.  Here's a copy of the recipe to get you started and a link to their site and other recipes that are just as yummy. 

3cups Corn Chex® cereal
3cups Rice Chex® cereal
3cups Wheat Chex® cereal
1cup mixed nuts
1cup bite-size pretzels
1cup garlic-flavor bite-size bagel chips or regular-size bagel chips, broken into 1-inch pieces
6tablespoons butter or margarine
2tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2teaspoons seasoned salt
3/4teaspoon garlic powder
1/2teaspoon onion powder
Did You Know?
The original recipe includes Corn Chex®, Rice Chex® and Wheat Chex®. You can mix and match to suit your taste—just use a total of 9 cups of cereal.
Health Focus
To reduce the fat to 2 grams and the calories to 80 per serving, use 3 tablespoons margarine instead of the 6 tablespoons butter, omit mixed nuts and use fat-free bagel chips.
Special Touch
Make enough of this favorite mix to package up as gifts for special friends—it’s so good and always a welcome surprise!
Preparation Directions
1.In large microwavable bowl, mix cereals, nuts, pretzels and bagel chips; set aside. In small microwavable bowl, microwave butter uncovered on High about 40 seconds or until melted. Stir in seasonings. Pour over cereal mixture; stir until evenly coated.
2.Microwave uncovered on High 5 to 6 minutes, thoroughly stirring every 2 minutes. Spread on paper towels to cool. Store in airtight container.
Oven Directions Heat oven to 250°F. In large bowl, mix cereals, nuts, pretzels and bagel chips; set aside. In ungreased large roasting pan, melt butter in oven. Stir in seasonings. Gradually stir in cereal mixture until evenly coated. Bake 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Spread on paper towels to cool, about 15 minutes. Store in airtight container.
Nutritional Information
1 Serving: Calories 140 (Calories from Fat 60); Total Fat 7g (Saturated Fat 2 1/2g, Trans Fat 0g);Cholesterol 10mg; Sodium 280mg; Total Carbohydrate 16g (Dietary Fiber 1g, Sugars 2g); Protein 3% Daily Value*: Vitamin A 6%; Vitamin C 2%; Calcium 6%; Iron 30Exchanges: 1 Starch0 Other Carbohydrate0 Vegetable1 1/2 Fat Carbohydrate Choices: 1 MyPyramid Servings: 1 tsp Fats & Oils
*% Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

Some changes I usually make to the recipe are:  no pretzels or bagel chips.  I use dry roasted, salted peanuts instead of the mixed nuts.  I use a whole cube of butter instead of 6 tablespoons because it's easier!  I always add a little more Worcestershire sauce because I like it.  Once I have the butter melted and all of the seasonings mixed in I add the wheat Chex first because I like them to absorb lots of that buttery goodness.  They are my favorite Chex.  Next I add the other two Chex cereals and the nuts.  Mix it up and start the microwaving process.  It's fast and delicious.  Perfect for movie night or the big game, although you might need to make more than one batch, it's that good!