Life Lived Well

The Most Important 15 Minutes Of The Day

What can you do with 15 minutes?  15 minutes may not sound like much, but it could be the perfect amount of time.

Often, I will set a kitchen timer for 15 minutes to tackle a small project on my to-do list.

What are the most important 15 minutes of your day?

I’ll give you a hint.  It’s all about YOU!!!

If you’re like the rest of us, you work (in or out of the house) and have a family.  Plus, you have laundry, cooking, cleaning, and errands.  I’m sure you have other family obligations as well.  Maybe your kids have activities that have you running around town.  There are so many things competing for your time and attention.  It’s called real life.

Real life is what takes up the bulk of your time.  Real life is real.

Real life can zap you of your mental and physical energy, leaving you with nothing left for the very people you’re working so hard for every day.

If you are a wife and mother, you have obligations and people counting on you.  When you have people counting on you, whether it’s your family or your co-workers, you can’t do anything well if you aren’t taking care of yourself.

What do you do just for you?

Whatever you do, just for YOU, is the most important part of your day.

I call it “recharging my batteries”.  I need a few minutes to just turn off my brain.  Not think about anything important.

We all need it and we all deserve it.

If you have more than 15 minutes, that’s wonderful.  You are my hero!!!  But, I’m guessing 15 minutes is about all you have or can spare, on most days.

If I don’t get about 15 minutes to turn my mind off, I’m completely useless.  I know that sounds dramatic, but it’s the truth.

Here are a few things you can do with that precious 15 minutes to recharge your batteries.

The most important 15 minutes of the day is all about YOU.

Nap ~ There are people who NEVER nap!!  I have a best friend like that.  She can work on very little sleep.  I am not one of those people.  I need my sleep.  I don’t sleep 12 hours a day, but I need a decent night’s sleep, otherwise I am worthless during the day.  There aren’t many days that I don’t shut my eyes for just 10-15 minutes.  I need to shut off.  After a few minutes, I’m good to go for the rest of the day.

Prayer ~ I start each day with prayer.  It gets my day off on the right foot.  But there are days when you need a boost in the middle of the day.  Time to center yourself and think about what it’s all about.  Prayer or a short devotional like this one could be the way to do just that.

Exercise ~ Ideally we need more than 15 minutes of exercise, but sometimes what you need is a just a few minutes to blow off some steam.  Wake up and get that adrenaline pumping.  Exercise could be your answer.  Go for a walk, even if it’s just around the house.  Jumping jacks or lift some small weights.  Do something good for your body and your mind at the same time.  Here’s another article I wrote about exercising,

Read ~ Reading is a great way to turn off your brain and escape.  You might only have time for one chapter, but it’s a terrific way to destress and take your mind off things like work or bills.

Call a friend or your husband ~ My husband can usually take my mind off things, make me laugh, or just distract me.  A short phone call or a short texting break can distract me and get me refocused.

Play cards ~ In a time when everyone does everything on their phone, try to pick up an actual deck of cards.  Put the device down, give your eyes and neck a break and learn a game.  It’s good exercise for your mind and your dexterity.

Pinterest or Puzzles – Both of these are mindless.  They take your mind off your work.  Puzzles like these and these are a super way to relax and exercise your brain.  Try a new trend on Pinterest (Whole30 Diet), plan a trip (maybe to the mountains), or a DYI project (upcycle an antique into a light fixture for your kitchen).

It doesn’t really matter what you do for your 15 minutes, just find something that helps you shut off and gives your brain a much-needed break.

Remember what the flight attendants say when they go thru the preflight safety briefing;  “Put the oxygen mask on yourself first.”  You are no good to anyone if you’re not strong, rested and recharged.

 

 

 

 

 

*This post contains some affiliate links.  I may receive some compensation for these links.  I don’t recommend anything I don’t use or wouldn’t use myself.  These links keep me from using those pop-up ads we all hate.  Thanks so much for your support. 

Life Lived Well

7 Simple Ways to Make Your Home a More Positive Place

If your home is your castle, it should make you happy.  Your home should be a positive place.

When you are in your home, you should feel good, warm, safe and secure.  When you’re out, you should look forward to getting back to the comfort of your home.

Your home should be the place where you are your happiest and most content.

It’s not difficult or expensive to make your home a positive place.  It’s not about stuff as much as it is attitude and outlook.

When your home is a positive place, it’s welcoming and friendly.  People want to be there.  You enjoy being home and want to invite people in to enjoy it with you.

Being positive doesn’t mean that life isn’t hard at times.  It certainly can be.  Being positive is about finding the good whenever you can and trying to surround yourself with as much good and positivity as possible.

Your home should be a positive place that comforts you and makes you happy.

 

7 Simple Ways To Make Your Home A More Positive Place  

~ Say Thank You.  Say it often.  Be thankful for the little things as well as the big things.  We have a 10-year-old and we are pretty insistent about her saying Thank You whenever she can.  It’s not easy to teach kids gratitude (that’s a topic for a different day), but we try to model it as often as we can both in and out of the house.  We say Thank You when we pray at dinner and before bed.  We say Thank You at stores and restaurants.  My daughter hears my husband thank me for things like dinner and laundry and she has started doing that as well.  Saying Thank You is free and it can make a world of difference.  But, it can also make a difference in the world.

~ Say Hello to your neighbors.  It’s always a good idea to have a friendly relationship with your neighbors.  It makes the small world around you more enjoyable.  When you say Hello to your neighbors it’s almost impossible for them not to say Hello right back.  

~Lower the volume.  Speaking a little lower or not raising your voice can be a big help when you’re trying to make your home a positive place.  Yelling begets yelling.  When one person yells, more people start yelling.  It becomes a vicious cycle.  We found that when we speak in a lower volume our daughter listens more closely.

~ Serve others in your home.  Look for opportunities to do nice things for each other.  When you do nice things for the people you live with and say “Thank You”, people want to do more nice things when they see it’s appreciated.

~ Open the Curtains.  Open the windows on a nice day.  Let the sun in and feel the outside air when the weather is nice.  The sun and fresh air can help you feel happy and positive while cleaning the air in your home.

~ Be Thankful.  Every night at dinner or at bedtime we discuss one thing we are thankful for from that day.  Some days are easier than others.  That’s life.  Even on difficult days, this is a great way to show the kids that there is “good” in every day.  We started out this year with Gratitude Journals.  We each write something we are grateful for from the day and share with the family before bed.  It’s a little thing that can eventually make big changes in the mood of the family.  We used these journals in different colors or this one.

~Surround yourself with the things you love.  You don’t have to be filthy rich to surround yourself with things that bring you joy.  Take a look around your house and see if there is anything you absolutely hate.  Can you donate it or get rid of it?  Try never to bring anything into your house that you don’t love and doesn’t make you happy.

When you make your home a positive place, it will feel like a warm cozy blanket, something that comforts you.  When you’re home is a positive place you’ll be on a mission to make positive changes in other areas of your life as well.

If you liked this article, here’s another article you might enjoy.

 

 

 

 

 

*The post contains affiliate links.  I may receive some compensation from these links.  I never recommend anything I don’t love and use myself.  These links keep me from having to use those yucky pop-up ads we all hate.  Thanks so much for your support. 

Life Lived Well

Showing Love in Amazing Ways for Valentines Day

Showing love in amazing ways for Valentines Day doesn’t have to be limited to your spouse or significant other.

Thousands of cards are bought and sent for Valentines Day each year.  Wives and girlfriends anticipate candy, flowers, or jewelry, while men struggle to find just the right gift to express their undying love for their sweetheart.

Early on in our relationship, my husband and I decided not to do much for each other on Valentines Day. He knows I love flowers, but they are so expensive, especially as Valentines Day approaches.  (Since he knows I love flowers, he usually avoids the flower shop altogether and just visits the Floral Dept at the grocery store.  Same show of love for a third of the price!) 

As for a gift, with Christmas in December and my birthday in January, I can’t think of much I need just 4 short weeks later in February.  Saving money on this particular holiday also allows us to save up for something fun for our anniversary in the summer.

This year, we’ve decided that instead of showing love for each other on Valentines Day, it would be more special if we tried showing love in amazing ways for other people.

Showing love in amazing ways for Valentines Day ~

Showing love in amazing ways doesn't have to be just for couples. Read more here.

 

  • We often think of the homeless during Thanksgiving and Christmas time.  What if this year, we showed love to the needy for Valentines Day?  It’s still very cold in February, maybe even colder than it was in December.  Hot coffee, blankets, socks, hats and scarves would be a nice way to show love for people who need our help year-round.  Get your friends together and do a “red blanket brigade”.  Find a bunch of red blankets and see how many you can pass out for Valentines Day.
  • Shut-ins need people to check in on them in winter as well.  Do you know anyone who lives alone and has a hard time managing by themselves?  You can show them love by bringing them a hot meal, shovel their snow, take out their trash, or just visit for a while.
  • Single friends or neighbors can be very lonely when everywhere they look people are talking about “love” and “spending time with your sweetheart”.  Invite them to have dinner with you and maybe even give them candy with a note that says “It is so sweet having a friend/neighbor like you.”
  • Grandparents would love to be shown some special attention on Valentines Day, especially if they live alone or have lost a spouse.  They still need to know they are loved.  If they live close by you can bring dinner to their house.  If they live far away you can send them a “card shower”.  This is where they receive several cards over the span of the week or two leading up to Valentines Day.
  • Make the day about the kids.  Occasionally, we go out to dinner “around” Valentines Day, but never on the day.  A crowded restaurant with very busy staff is not my idea of romantic.  So, we usually stay home and have a nice dinner with our daughter.  I decorate the table and we give her a little candy.
  • Another idea for the kids (not my original idea) is the “Love Fairy”.  On the night of January 31, we put one paper heart on our daughter’s bedroom door so she sees it in the morning (Feb 1).   The heart has a handwritten message sharing one thing we love about her (i.e. you have a beautiful smile, you are a great student, you are kind, etc.).  She gets a new one every night until Valentines Day.  On Feb 14, she has 14 hearts with messages on them.  She loves them so much she usually keeps them up somewhere in her room all year long.  We all pretend that we have no idea where the notes came from or who wrote them.  We just tell her it must be the Love Fairy.

When most couples have birthdays, anniversaries, Christmases, etc. to shower each other with love and maybe a gift or two, showing love in amazing ways for other people can be a new tradition.  A great way to show love and share love with the rest of the world.  You might just make all the difference for someone who really needed to feel loved.

I’d love for you to come and visit me on Instagram or Facebook.  Stop by and tell me how you are sharing love!!

 

 

 

Health and Beautiful Living

The Best Oils to Fight Colds and Flu

A bad cold or the flu can bring a household to its knees.  Just when your family is getting into a winter routine, BAM, it hits.  Coughing, sneezing, sore throat, body aches, and fever.

If your family only gets a cold, you’re lucky.  It can and usually does get so much worse.  Then, as we all know, when one person gets sick, everyone gets sick!!

Normally, at the first sound of a sniffle, we start spraying disinfectant and wiping down every surface in the house.  “Please, God don’t let us all get sick!”

When the inevitable does happen, what do you do to fight colds and flu while trying to avoid the unnecessary chemicals found in most over-the-counter meds?

Essential oils can be the answer for natural, but effective relief from colds and flu.

Not only can essential oils naturally help support your recovery, they can also be used to keep illness away in the first place.

Most essential oils are either antiviral, antibacterial, anti-infectious or all of the above.  You almost can’t wrong with any of them.  But there are some that have been found to be highly effective for keeping sickness from bringing down the house.

The best way to start with essential oils for fighting colds and flu is by diffusing them in your home.  When you diffuse essential oils they can help kill viruses that are in the air and living on surfaces.

In addition to cleaning the air, you are also benefiting from the essential oils by inhaling them.  Studies show that inhaling oils can be one of the best ways to fight colds and flu, bronchitis, sore throats, etc.

If you’ve never used a diffuser, it’s similar to a vaporizer.  Basically, it distributes essential oils in the air, giving your house a great smell while helping you stay healthy and eliminating those nasty germs.  This is my favorite diffuser.

The Best Oils to Fight Colds and Flu.

Essential oils can help you stay healthy. The best oils to fight colds and flu.

 

Great essential oils for diffusing and cleaning the air:

  • Palo Santo is warm and woodsy and wonderful for cleaning the air.  I diffuse this in my daughter’s room when she’s at school.
  • Rosemary is another great oil for germs and is terrific blended with Lemon.  I keep Rosemary on hand for a variety of uses.  I diffuse it to clean the air in the house, and we love it for poison ivy during the summer months.
  • Lemon and Grapefruit are nice blended together for a great smell while also handling the viruses in the air.

Powerful topical use essential oils to help fight colds and flu, coughs, and fevers:  

  • Lemon and Grapefruit are very powerful for immune boosting and chest congestion.  Add a few drops to a little coconut oil and rub on the chest or the back behind the lungs.  To boost immunity during cold and flu season, rub a few drops on the bottoms of the feet on a regular basis.
  • Lemongrass, Lemon, Peppermint, Eucalyptus Radiata can be used to help bring down a fever.  Add a few drops to a little coconut oil and rub on the chest, shoulders, or along the spine.
  • Lemon Myrtle can be helpful for colds, flu, congestion, and bronchitis.  Add a few drops to a little coconut oil and apply to the chest or back.
  • Manuka is one of my favorite “go to” oils when I need to knock out coughs, and illness right away.  It’s similar to Tea Tree Oil.   Read more about Manuka here.
  • Oregano can be very helpful for fighting viruses.  A word of warning:  the smell can be very strong.  I don’t like to use this before leaving the house.  This is good to apply to the feet before bed.
  • Eucalyptus Radiata can help with fever but also for breathing easier.  Diffuse alone or blend with coconut oil and apply to the chest or back.
  • Thieves Oil is a blend that can be super helpful for fighting and shortening the life of a cold.  It’s a blend of Lemon, Cinnamon, Clove, Eucalyptus Radiata, and Rosemary.  Think of this as a “one stop shop” of oils for colds and flu.  It’s great applied to feet or along the spine or simply diffused.

I hope these help keep you and your family healthy during flu season.  Experiment to see what works best for you.  I get all my essential oils here.

I’d love to know what oils you use to stay healthy and help you fight colds and flu.

 

 

 

 

 

 

*This post contains affiliate links.  I don’t recommend anything I don’t use myself.  I may receive some compensation from these links.  These links make it possible for me to avoid using those yucky pop-ups that we all hate.

Marriage/Love

5 Things You Need To Do Every Day With Your Husband

What are some of the things you do every day with your husband?  Probably like the rest of us, you sleep next to each other, have dinner, maybe have a cup of coffee.

Do you have anything that the two of you do intentionally every day?  Things that you make a point to focus on daily?  Maybe they are some of the same things (coffee, dinner, etc.).

My husband and I are very aware that if you’re not careful a great relationship can take a sharp turn at the drop of a hat.

It’s easy to plod along every day in your routine of life, jobs, kids, etc. and not really pay attention to your marriage.  We all “see” our spouse on a day-to-day basis but how many times do we really stop and give our marriage the attention it deserves.

If you’ve read my article Making My Husband My Top Button you know my husband and I are very intentional about spending time together and connecting each day.

As a wife and mom, it’s unreasonable to think my husband and I will spend hours of uninterrupted time together every day.  Life happens.  Some days we are lucky to get minutes of uninterrupted time together.

Some days are busier than others.  Some weeks are busier than others.  But, every day we try to give our relationship attention.

There are also things I personally need to do to keep our relationship going in the right direction.

5 things you need to do every day with your husband

 

Here are 5 things I do every day with my husband:

  1.  Connect throughout the day.  We talk to each other a time or two during the day, but we also text.  We send each other messages that are sometimes important, but mostly loving and goofy.  We have our own secret codes and messages we use when we text.  Of course, we send the usual messages like “I Love You” and “I’ll be home in about 20 mins”.  But, we also send each other things just to make the other smile.  Just because!!
  2. Sit together.  Even on really hectic days, we make a point to just sit together, even if it’s for only 10 or 15 mins.  Here’s one easy way we spend time together.  We almost always have dinner together as a family.  But, as we all know, occasionally there are those CRAZY busy days, where nothing is normal.  On those days, we may not be able to sit together until bedtime.   Sitting together, even for a few minutes, gives us the opportunity to talk, catch up and maybe even hold hands.
  3. Kiss.  Kissing is personal and can connect you as a couple.  There isn’t always time for real intimacy (which we all know men need a little more than women).  A kiss is a small way to connect intimately even just for a few minutes.  At the end of those CRAZY busy days, we will be getting ready for bed and my husband will look at me and say “have you kissed me today?”   Take time to kiss every day, until you have time for more!!  Here’s a fun article about the 15-second kiss.
  4. Ask his opinion.  I’m really guilty of just doing what needs to be done in my house.  It needs to be done and I do it.  Not the really big stuff of course.  But, sometimes those little things need to be handled and I just make it happen.  I have to remind myself that my husband wants (no – he needs) to be included in some of those decisions.  My husband has told me that he just wants to be asked.  He has told me he doesn’t even care if I do it his way (some of the time), he just wants to feel like he was included.  He wants me to involve him in the process.
  5. Listen to him.  We’ve all heard that women talk more than men.  If that’s the case, I’m probably the typical woman.  When my husband comes home from work I want to tell him all about my day and our daughter and what’s happening with her.  I have to remember to stop and let him talk.  I have to let him tell me about his day.  I have to give him the opportunity to vent or tell a funny story from his day.  If I’m the typical woman, then he is the typical man.  He doesn’t often have much to share, but I have to be willing to listen, just in case.

 

I’d love to know what you do every day with your husband to be intentional about your marriage.  Please leave me a comment.

 

 

 

Health and Beautiful Living

7 Secrets to Eating Out and Not Ruining Your Diet

Do you love eating out as much as I do?

All the choices and trying different foods.  And, of course, there’s the fact that you don’t have to do any of the dishes.   I could eat out every night.

My husband and I love to try new foods.  If there’s a new restaurant in town, we can’t wait to check it out.

Unfortunately, there are two things keeping me from eating out on a nightly basis.  The first is my bank account.   The other is my waistline.

When my family goes out to eat, it’s tempting to eat whatever we want and justify it because it’s “a special occasion” or it’s “just this one time”.

Dessert and the free bread are the worst for me.  They constantly call my name.  I could easily fill up before dinner was even brought to the table.  And then order dessert.  When I finally leave the restaurant I feel like I am going to bust.

All that changed when I turned the big 4-0.

Then……… 45.  Oh my!!!!

No more eating whatever I want, whenever I want.  Especially when we go out to eat!

I needed to come up with a few tricks to eating out and not ruining my diet.

7 secrets to eating out and not ruining your diet

 

Here are my 7 secrets ~

  1.  Say NO to the free bread.  I could eat bread all day every day.  So could my daughter.  It drives her crazy, but often when the server comes to take our order I will tell them not to bring the free bread.  If it’s on the table, I just can’t help myself.  When I started steering away from bread I noticed that I didn’t feel so bloated and uncomfortable after a meal.  I still get full, but not “miserable full” like I used to feel after eating bread.
  2.  Ask for a doggie bag immediately after the meal is brought to the table.  When I put some of the meal into a “to go” container right away, it’s not tempting me.  I won’t feel the need to pick at it.  Plus, I now have a meal for another day.
  3. Ask for part of the meal to go.  Most of the time they bring the meal out in stages.  Salad first and then the main course.  Several times when the meal “comes with” something like soup or a salad, I ask for the “comes with” portion to go.  That way it’s not in front of me and I don’t feel obligated to eat it.  Of course, filling up before the main course.  Usually, that soup or salad is just enough for me for lunch the next day.
  4. Go to a “sit down” restaurant vs. a chain or fast food.  The food tends to be better quality and they are more likely to accommodate a special request when you ask nicely.  My husband loves to go out for burgers.  His goal in life to try all the burgers the world has to offer.   When ordering a burger, we often ask for the burger with no bun.  Additionally, in some restaurants, the servers will let you order the “lunch portion” of the meal if they have one.  You never know if you don’t ask!
  5. Drink water or an unsweetened beverage.  I gave up soda several years ago (way before I started reading labels and being concerned about ingredients).  At the time, I decided that I liked good food way too much to fill up on sweet or carbonated drinks.  Now I usually order unsweet tea or water.
  6. Be conscious of salad dressing.  I’m not a fan of the ingredients in bottled salad dressings in general.  But, if you love them, you have a couple of options. First, you can order the dressing on the side.  You can also bring your own dressing in a small premeasured container.  I usually order Olive Oil and Vinegar for my salad. It’s super healthy and most any restaurant will make it available for you even if they don’t list it as one of their regular options.
  7. Split dessert.  If you have to have dessert, and let’s face it, sometimes you just have to have dessert, split it with the person you’re eating with.  You will still satisfy your sweet tooth without walking away from the table feeling completely miserable and guilty.  Want to know a secret?  My husband loves carrot cake even more than burgers.  When we go out and he orders carrot cake, he only eats the cake and I only eat the frosting.  One piece and we both win!!!!

These are my simple secrets for eating out and not ruining your diet.  What are your secrets?  I’d love for you to drop me a comment and share them with me.

If you enjoyed this article you may also enjoy 5 Steps to Starting a Real Food Lifestyle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Life Lived Well

Love Yourself Put The Past Behind You

Put the past behind you!!  You need to move on!!!   How many times have we all heard that?

It’s usually easier said than done.

Everyone has something in their past they would rather forget.

We’ve all made mistakes or had something painful done to us.   Things we’d rather not discuss.  But too often we find it difficult to put the past behind us.  We beat ourselves up over things we should have and could have done differently.

Whether you did something or something was done to  you, it can be difficult and often painful to move on.  It can be hard to leave it in the past where it belongs.

You try and try, but there are those days when it just creeps up again.  And there you go, rehashing, reliving or regretting.

When that happens, it can affect how we feel about ourselves.

Loving yourself after a painful mistake or being hurt, can take time.  It doesn’t happen overnight.

Maybe you’re finally in a good place and moving forward with your life, but you have people around you that keep reminding you of your past. Unfortunately, we all have those people close to us who won’t let us forget what we’ve done or what was done to us.

Some people are hurtful, while others are “well-meaning”.  These are usually friends or family who simply don’t know what else to talk about so they bring up topics from your past for lack of anything else to discuss.

Put the past behind you and love yourself again after mistakes or a painful past.

Distance can be a big help when you’re trying to put the past behind you and move on.  Putting distance between you and the people and the things that remind you of your past can help change your view and get you back on your feet.

It’s not always possible to make a new start by moving to a new house or city.  You can make simpler changes like a new church, the stores where you shop, where you hang out, start a new hobby or even take a different route to work.  These changes get your mind thinking fresh and new thoughts.  Those fresh thoughts make it hard for the old thoughts to creep back in.

Put some distance between you and those people who are constant reminders of your past.  That could be friends or even family.  You may not be able to avoid them forever but you can keep your visits and conversations short.

I try to have a few conversation “stoppers” ready when those old “sins” come up in conversation.

Changing the subject – “I’m doing great right now at my new job.  We have this new project coming up that I’m really excited about.” 

Turning the focus away from you – “If you don’t mind, I really don’t want to talk about that, I just want this party to be fun for Aunt Sue.”

Kind but evasive – “Thanks for asking, but I’m doing very well and looking forward to (vacation, Christmas, my promotion, etc.)”

Owning up and moving on – “I really hate that it happened and I’m doing my best to make positive changes in my life.  So how have you been?  Tell me about your new house?”

Forgiveness is also a big step to loving yourself and putting the past behind you.

If you have made mistakes that hurt other people, try to make amends.  They may or may not forgive you, but it’s the right thing to do.  Then, you need to put that hurt somewhere in order to move on.

What has helped me in the past is prayer and handing my mistakes over to God.  Own up to it, ask for healing, ask for forgiveness and ask for grace.  Mean it.  Hand it over and DON’T TAKE IT BACK.  (I used to take it back all the time and continue to beat myself up.)

Once you hand it over, leave it with God.  He won’t give it back and you can now start to move on with your life.

Now, you need to forgive yourself.  Once you’ve been forgiven you have to let go of the “hold” you are putting on yourself.

You are NOT your mistakes.  Learn from the past, but don’t believe for a minute that you are the worst or the only one who has made bad choices.  Far from it.

Let your mistakes make you smarter and stronger.  One of my favorite quotes is “do your best until you know better and then do better“.

Let it go and make choices that will make you proud of yourself.

There are a ton of books, teachers, pastors, and seminars full of advice.  The bottom line is this:  You can be your best friend or your worst enemy when it comes to moving on with your life and putting the past behind you.

You may have to make some tough choices in order to love yourself again and move on.  Make the choices that are right for you and will get you going in the direction that will lead to positivity and a better, happy life.

 

If you enjoyed this, you might also like Loving Your Body.

JDMB-Signature

 

Favorite Recipes

Potato and Corn Chowder

As summer comes to a close and the weather gets cooler, I start thinking of all the foods I only cook in the fall and winter.  Soup is always at the top of that list.

Truth; I actually start thinking about making soup when it’s sort of, kind of, maybe looks like it could possibly be cold at some point in the future.

Soup is an interesting topic of discussion at our house.

I love soup and would make it and eat it every day.  My husband, on the other hand, loves my soup but he says “soup is NOT a meal.  Soup GOES with a meal.”  When I make soup for dinner it’s usually accompanied by something else like a salad for me and a sandwich for my husband.

When there is soup leftover (and my husband is at work), I eat it on the couch with a blanket on my lap.  And, there is NO salad or sandwich on the side.  Just me and my bowl of soup.  Bliss.

Whether it’s going to be eaten alone or with a sandwich, Potato and Corn Chowder is one of the most requested soups at our house.  It’s like a big bowl of warm comfort on a cold day.

This recipe has been “cleaned up” a little.  When I first starting making this soup I wasn’t reading labels.  I wasn’t watching what my family ate and concerned about where the ingredients came from.  This is not a perfectly “clean” recipe.  But, it is “cleaned up” considerably compared to the original recipe.

 

Potato and Corn Chowder recipe for a warm and yummy dinner in 30 minutes.

 

Potato and Corn Chowder*

  • 1/2 cup each chopped onion, celery, and green pepper
  • 1/3 stick of grass-fed butter
  • 2 cans organic, non-GMO cream of mushroom soup.  Like this one.
  • 2 cans non-GMO creamed corn.  (Just do your best here.  It’s very difficult to find creamed corn that’s clean or organic)
  • 2 cans non-GMO diced potatoes.  Drained. (Del Monte has started selling non-GMO veggies in the regular supermarkets.  Yeah!)
  • 1 pint grass-fed half and half
  • 1/2 pound bacon cooked and crumbled.  Try to find bacon that’s clean, uncured, no sugar and no nitrates added.  Something like this.  Trust me, it’s still yummy.  It’s just better for you.
  • 1/8 tsp. salt and pepper

While the bacon is cooking, in a 4 Qt. stock pot, saute the onion, celery and green pepper in butter.  Once they are soft and onions are translucent, add all the veggies and half and half.  Simmer for at least 20 minutes.  Stir occasionally.  Add crumbled bacon and salt and pepper to taste.

 

My husband and my 10-year-old love this Potato and Corn Chowder.  It’s also one of my “go-to” meals when I need to take a meal to a friend.

Although I’ve been asked several times, I never give out the recipe.  I’m afraid if I tell my friends how easy it is to make, when it comes time for a favor, they might actually want me to shovel snow or watch their kids.  They won’t need me for soup anymore.

So, if anyone asks, feel free to tell them this is your great-grandma’s secret recipe brought over from the old country.  It will be our little secret.

Enjoy!

Go out on a limb and check out one of my other articles that has absolutely nothing to do with food.  This one here is pretty good.

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*This post does contain an affiliate link or two.  These affiliate links keep me from having to use those annoying ads we all hate.  Ugh!!  I don’t recommend anything I don’t like or use myself.  If you click on a link I may receive some compensation.  Not a ton, but a little.  Thanks for your support. 

Marriage/Love

Is It Really Worth Fighting Over?

Let’s face it, marriage and fighting go together all too often.

When you put two imperfect people together, there will be differences of opinion.

Have you ever gotten into a fight with your husband and later thought “what on earth were we even fighting over?”

Every couple argues.  Some arguments are bigger and smaller than others.

I’ll be honest with you.    My husband and I don’t argue much.  Not for lack of things to argue over.  That’s for sure.  After all, we do live together!!!  And, of course, we still have a child at home.  PLUS, we work together.  Lord knows we have enough reasons to argue.

Any wife (or husband) will tell you their spouse has made them so mad they couldn’t see straight at least once.  I am no exception.  Of course, I know I have NEVER given my husband any reason to EVER get upset with me.  Hahaha.  It’s hard to even say that with a straight face.

There are a few reasons we don’t fight much.  The biggest reason is we aren’t in our 20’s anymore.

What does age have to do with anything?  Honestly, it means that we don’t pay attention to the little stuff.  Most of it, the little stuff, doesn’t matter anyway.

We both have had a little “marriage experience”.  We like to say we are “skilled professionals”.  That doesn’t mean we are better at it than most couples.  It just means we both have had a lot of life experience and we know that most of the “stuff”  that couples fight over doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things.

If we were sitting down over a cup of tea, I could probably throw my husband under the bus about any number of things.  I’ve picked up my share of dirty socks and dirty dishes.  But, he’s an incredibly hard worker and would run into a burning building for our family.  Isn’t that what really matters?

We don’t always agree when it comes to our daughter.  What we do to avoid any problems is we talk about EVERYTHING in advance when it comes to her.

When we talk prior to dishing out any discipline, it prevents fights later.  We go into every family discussion having already prepared in advance.  There have been a few times I’ve bit my lip during discussions with our daughter, but short of him telling her there’s no Santa, it’s all good.

We’ve also made the decision that neither of us will spend more than $100 without consulting with the other.  That saves us from having so many disagreements later.

Marriage and fighting go together all too often. Relationships are hard enough without fighting over all of the little things that really don't matter.

Has your husband ever left toothpaste in the sink?  Forgot to put the toilet seat down?  Or, left you with no toilet paper at all?  While totally annoying, it’s not the end of the world.

My husband’s toothbrushing skills are not what drew us together in the first place.

The little things can all be discussed calmly.  But, I know if I bring up some of the things that bother me about my husband, I have to be prepared.  If I hit him with his lack of toilet paper reloading skills, he may just come back with the cost of my handbag or the inch deep layer of hairspray on the back of the bathroom door.   (I’ve seen it.  I just haven’t done anything about it.)

Another area that can cause problems for couples is family.  “Your family is so annoying when they………”   “I hate when your sister comes over and ………..”  We both try to be patient when it comes to each other’s family.  For each complaint I could come up with about his family, he could probably match concerning mine.  What would be the point?  As long as none of them are sleeping on my sofa or asking to borrow $5000 (that’s over $100 by the way) then it’s not worth fighting over.

Decide what your boundaries will be when it comes to your extended families.  Discuss it in advance.  Anything else can be talked about as it comes up.

At the end of the day, the dirty socks and empty toilet paper rolls don’t change the fact that I don’t want to do this life with anyone else except him.

When thinking about “is it really worth fighting over?” ask yourself a few questions.

  1.  If the house were on fire, would it matter?
  2. Is he the still the person you married?  (Loyal, hard-working, loving, kind, etc.)
  3. Are you perfect?

Life isn’t perfect.  Marriage isn’t perfect.  You will disagree.  Before you both starting throwing stones at each other, ask yourself “is it really worth fighting over?”

 

If you liked this article, you might like this  Making Intimacy Ah-Mazing!!

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Health and Beautiful Living

You Can Have Gorgeous Skin After 40

As women, our skin can change quite a bit when we have children and especially when we see 40 or more birthdays.  That doesn’t have to mean we have bad skin, it just means we have different skin care needs.

It’s so easy to see all the ads for skin care and make-up and think only 20-year-olds have great skin. Those models look absolutely flawless.  But, you CAN have gorgeous skin after 40!!

In my 20’s I didn’t take care of my skin.  I was out in the sun a lot, drank soda (a lot), and of course I didn’t eat well.  Oh, the things I wish I could do over!!

In our 40’s and 50’s we have different health concerns and we need to do our best for ourselves and the skin we have now.  No time for regrets or looking back.

One of the biggest changes that occur as we age is estrogen loss.  Losing estrogen means our skin is dryer, thinner, less “plump” and even a little itchy. (Nope, we are not even going to talk about those pesky little wrinkles.)

Here are a few tips that are easy and can help us all have gorgeous skin after 40.

Woman can have gorgeous skin after 40.

Check ingredients carefully ~ Some ingredients in skin care and make-up can make dry skin drier and itchy skin even itchier.  Here’s a great chart to help you know what to look for in your products.

I have skin allergies, so I’m always checking ingredients and looking for better, more natural products.

In addition to parabens and sulfates, watch for an ingredient called Hydroquinone.  It is usually found in products said to help lighten dark spots.   While some studies show that it may help lighten skin, it’s important to know it can also be photosensitive.  That means, if you’re not diligent about wearing SPF all the time, your skin can become irritated or sun exposure can actually undo all the lightening benefits you may have received from the Hydroquinone.

If you checked out the chart above, you’ll notice it also mentions “fragrance”.   (By the way, “fragrance” can legally mean just about anything.)  After I turned 45, my skin changed dramatically.  I have had horrible reactions to many different additives, fragrance, colorings, etc.  Below, you’ll see what I do now to avoid this problem.

Make things simple ~ Now, instead of over the counter lotions, I just use regular coconut oil as my body moisturizer.  It works beautifully on arms, legs, and feet.  I use a good quality coconut oil to cook with like this one and then just scoop out a small amount to keep in a container in my bathroom for daily moisturizing.

Simple Facial Toner ~ Take a small glass jar and add 1/2 water and 1/2 good apple cider vinegar. Occasionally add a couple of drops of Tea Tree Essential Oil.  Here is where I get my essential oils.  Shake well before using.  Wet a cotton ball and wipe all over your face after cleansing.  Not only does it get rid of any make-up residue, balance your skin’s PH but the tea tree oil is fantastic for acne.

Grass Fed Collagen ~ One of my favorite products for skin is Grass Fed Collagen.  This is my favorite brand here.  As we lose estrogen we lose collagen.  Collagen helps make our skin look a little plumper and healthier.  The great thing about this is it’s a powder and there’s really no taste, so you can dissolve it in water and drink it straight or add it to smoothies, salad dressings, etc.

I’ve been using collagen for about 4 years and absolutely love the difference I have seen in my skin, hair and nails.  It’s also very helpful for bones and joint health.  You can read another article I wrote about collagen here.

The Basics ~ It’s important to drink a lot of water for hydration and limit alcohol, smoking, and caffeine.  You probably already know that, but……… They can pull the moisture out of your skin and help add wrinkles.  We certainly don’t need any help there.

If you want to know more about my natural anti-aging skin regimen, you can read about it here.

You can have gorgeous skin after 40, it just takes a little time to get to know the needs of the skin you have now vs. the skin you had 20 years ago.

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*This post does contain affiliate links.  That means if you click on a link I might receive some compensation.  These links make it possible for me to avoid having those yucky old ads that both of us hate.  Of course, I don’t recommend anything I don’t love and use myself.  Thanks so much for your support.  

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