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

 

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.  

Life Lived Well

7 Amazing Ways To Beat The Winter Blues

During the colder months, the winter blues can sneak up on us.  It’s dark when we leave for work and dark when we come home.  The sun seems like it’s in a state permanent hiding and to make matters worse, it’s brutal cold.

It can be easy to get “down” in the winter.  I’m talking about that feeling of “I’m cold and it’s dark out and I don’t feel like going anywhere or doing anything”!!!

*Please know, I’m not talking about real depression.  If you feel like you need the advice of a medical professional, please make that call!!!

For me, it’s usually right after Christmas.  We are past the holidays, I’m over the cold weather and all I want to do is open my windows and see flowers.

Unfortunately, if we don’t plan ahead to beat the winter blues, we can easily just stay in our jammies and eat from November to April.  That would mean putting on a few pounds and add insult to injury for me.

You can beat the winter blues. Here are 7 amazing ways to get thru those long cold winter months.

Here are a few amazing ways I have found to beat the winter blues:

Plan Winter Projects ~ During the summer my husband and I plan things we want to do around the house when it’s too cold to be outside.  This year we are redoing our kitchen.  Last year he built a cabinet for me and we painted it.  It could be a remodeling project, a craft project, scrapbooking, organizing your closets, or simply painting a bedroom.  The idea here is that you have something to look forward to that’s out of your normal routine (not that I look forward to painting) and it takes your mind off of the blah conditions outside.

Read a great book or two ~  If you’re a reader, this is the perfect time to dive in.  Stockpile a few titles you can’t wait to read.  If you’re not a reader, you can stockpile magazines.  The magazines that come out before the holidays will be filled with bright and happy images to get you ready for Spring.

Purposely plan lunch or dinner with friends ~ Make these dates.  Schedule them a month in advance if you have to.  Plan several.  If they are already on your calendar, you’re more likely to go.  This will force you to be around people and get out of the house.  If you plan one or two at your house, it also forces you to clean.  When your house is clean you’re happier and proud of your surroundings.

Get outside ~Hear me out here.   I know this seems counter-intuitive.  “It’s brutal cold and you want me to go outside?”  When that elusive yellow sun finally shows itself, get out there!!  Even if it’s only for a few minutes, the sunshine is the best way to get vitamin D and improve your mood.  Check the mail, walk the dog for 5 minutes, get bundled up and walk off dinner, anything that gets your face in the sun.  You’ll thank me later.  Read more about the sun and SPF in my article here.

Essential Oil Diffuser with Peppermint Oil ~ If you haven’t jumped on the “essential oil train” yet, I get it.  But, if you’re willing to give them a try, Peppermint essential oil is very uplifting and can really help your mood.  Peppermint combined with Lemon is also very nice.  It’s clean and cheerful.  Lemon can also help boost your immune system and help clean the air in your home.

Here is my favorite essential oil diffuser and you can get some of my favorite oils here on this page.

Start a new exercise routine ~ Of course, we want to stay healthy during the winter months, but honestly, this idea is two-fold.  The first part is to keep you healthy.  The second part is to change things up.  When the days are routine and there’s nothing new to focus on, it’s easy to get down.  Find a few new exercises or workout routines to try.  You can check out the second-hand sports equipment stores and get some 5 or 10lb weights and flex those muscles.  You’ll be fit and fabulous by Springtime!!

Put makeup on ~ Honestly, I’m the first one to celebrate any day where I don’t have to leave the house or put make-up on.  HOWEVER………  It can really put you in a funk after a few days.  You need to see yourself beautiful.  (Whatever that means for you.)  Your family needs to see you “all dolled up” too.  When you love the way you look, you’ll be in a better mood.  If that means putting on a little lipstick and mascara, then do it.  For more inspiration, check out my article here about “Why Should I Bother To Dress Up?”

In order to beat the winter blues, a little planning can be just the ticket to keeping you smiling all winter long.

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This article contains affiliate links.  That means I may receive some compensation.  Please know I don’t recommend anything I don’t use and love myself.  These links keep me from using those yucky ads we all hate!!  Thanks for your support.

 

Parenting

The One Thing No One Ever Tells You About Parenting

This is for all the mothers who have ever gotten frustrated with their children.  I mean the “oh my goodness, I’m going to scream” kind of frustrated.

If your children are perfect, this is not for you.  God Bless you.  I want to be you.  But, this article is not for you.

I’m speaking to you if your kids have ever gotten you so upset up that you would consider running away from home and living off the grid in a remote part of Iceland with no chocolate and no coffee just to get away from them for a week.

Then, of course, you would miss them and you’d come back.   Only to have them frustrate you again until you find yourself searching in the back of your closet for those Icelandic boots and parka.  It’s a vicious circle.

Motherhood can be wonderful and rewarding.  Most of the time.  I have one daughter who I love more than life.  But………..  (I know you should never say “but” because it disqualifies the previous statement.  BUT, I’m leaving the “but” there.)

When you’re planning your family it’s a wonderful and exciting time.  When you find out you’re going to have a baby, people are thrilled for you.  You are over-the-moon happy.  Life is perfect.

You will get a ton of advice.  Some you ask for and some you don’t.  But, there’s one thing no one EVER tells you about parenting.

There will be many tears of joy and lots of preparation for the little life you’re creating.  You’re going to love them, nurture them, and teach them to grow up to be loving, smart and kind.  And all that is true.   But……….. (There it is again.)

Motherhood isn't always easy.  There is one thing no one ever tells you about being a parent.

 

The one thing no one ever tells you is: kids are ungrateful.  Let’s be honest.

They aren’t ungrateful all of the time.  But, more often than not.  It changes day to day and minute to minute.  And, it’s frustrating and crushing at times.

When you’re planning for that perfect, beautiful little baby, no one ever tells you this little secret.

You will buy toys, plan for Christmases and Birthdays only to have your kids cry because the doll has the blue dress and NOT the pink dress. Toys get lost and broken, left outside in the rain, or they decide after a week that “it’s boring and stupid”.

And then, they become teenagers………

I can remember driving all over town for a particular gift.  She was so excited when she saw it.  It was something she asked for and really wanted.  I was feeling really good about myself.  I knew I had done well!!  Upon opening it, she cried for 10 solid minutes because it didn’t contain everything she was expecting.  I was crushed.

A friend explained it to me this way:  You have several jobs as a parent.  You are required to work hard to provide for them, cook, clean, love, nurture, protect and teach them.  They have only one job; to get what they want.

When we do our jobs, they will eventually become grateful.  But, probably not tomorrow.

For now, I don’t have an eye-opening, amazing solution for this problem, other than to say it’s a day-by-day process.  Lessons will be learned.  By us and by them.  It’s constant trial and error.  What teaches them gratitude and appreciation at age 4 doesn’t work when they are 12.  You will try different things every day that (probably) won’t include a solo trip to Iceland.

Another great friend gave me this tip:  She told me to go in my daughter’s room often while she’s sleeping.  It’s then, when that beautiful face is quiet (which doesn’t usually happen when she’s awake), that I’m reminded how much I love her.

Let me say this to you; you are not alone.  It’s so easy to see other great kids and families (and pictures on social media) and think those kids are perfect angels all the time.  Every time I confide in a friend about a particular incident at home with my child, they are able to match my story with a story of frustration of their own.

There is light at the end of the tunnel.  When my daughter gets married and invites us over for dinner, my husband and I are going to look across the table at each other, cross our arms and say “I am NOT eating that!”  Also, we will be grandparents at some point.  I plan to stock my pantry with sugary soda and candy and buy my grandkids whatever they want.  Then, as my daughter is pulling out of my driveway taking her kids home, I will laugh and laugh!!

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Health and Beautiful Living

The Best Ways To Stay Healthy During The Holidays

The Holidays are magical, relaxing, and fun.  At least that’s the goal.  It’s a time to enjoy being with family and friends and reflecting on our blessings.  But trying to achieve the goal of relaxing and magical, can take its toll on our health.

As mothers and wives, we want everything to be wonderful for the people we love during Thanksgiving and Christmas.  But, let’s be honest, between shopping, planning, cooking, cleaning, decorating, and parties, the holidays can be hectic and stressful.

We are usually so busy with all of the “doing for others”, that we forget to take care of ourselves.  When we don’t “put the oxygen mask on ourselves first”, we get sick right in the middle of all of the festivities.

I see it every year.  My very well-intentioned friends getting terribly sick right around Christmas and they don’t get to enjoy the beautiful activities they worked so hard to plan.

In order to stay healthy during the holidays, you need to make your health a focus.

The best ways to stay healthy during the holidays.

Here are 5 of the best ways to stay healthy so you can enjoy the entire holiday season:

Cut back on sugar.  It’s hard for me to stay away from all of the great desserts during the holidays.  My weaknesses are pumpkin pie and frosted Christmas cookies.  They look so pretty and people work so hard on them, they are just begging to be eaten.  But sugar can compromise your immune system making you more susceptible to colds and flu.  In addition to limiting the amount of sweets I eat, I only eat homemade treats.  If I avoid cakes and cookies from the local grocery store, I don’t feel as guilty eating one great piece of homemade pie.

Sugary drinks are part of that too.  Drinking more water in the winter will help suppress your appetite and keep you hydrated, literally flushing those germs out of your system.  And, since there’s no sugar in water, you might be able to eat the pie AND a couple of cookies.  Read my article on 5 Steps to Cutting Back on Sugar.

Take the help when it’s offered.  We can run ourselves ragged with all the prep work, cooking, and cleaning.  When you’re tired and run down it’s the perfect time for your body and immune system to give in to illness.  Any small task that is taken off your plate can help you feel less burdened.  When friends, your husband, or your relatives offer to help with the big family dinner, say “yes”.  If they don’t offer, have them help you anyway.  If you’re having a house full of company, let people bring food.  If you feel like you need to do most of the cooking yourself (believe me, I get it), put someone in charge of plates, napkins, cups, etc.  Have someone bring a cooler full of ice and bottles of water.  Delegate trash duty, dishwashing or setting up chairs.  Pay a teenager to watch the kids while you cook.  Every little bit will take some pressure off and lighten your stress level.

Take time for yourself.  Over the holidays, go to lunch with a friend, buy something special just for you while you’re Christmas shopping, or schedule a manicure.  It may sound like a stretch, but even 30 minutes to focus on you, can provide a much-needed mental boost.  Take a 15-minute nap a few times during the holidays.  (Again, I know it’s hard to do.)  Studies show that 10-15 minutes is the perfect amount of time for a revitalizing rest.  In the evening, squeeze in a little time to watch your favorite show or a Hallmark Christmas movie.  `

Epsom Salt Baths can be a big help during the Holidays.  Not only will the Epsom Salt bath relax you but it reduces toxins in your system. Soaking in Epsom Salt can also relieve pain and inflammation, increase your Magnesium levels, reduce stress, and improve blood sugar levels.

Get your bath water as hot as you can stand it and add at least 1-2 cups of 100% Pure Epsom Salt (like this one).  For best results, don’t add anything else to the water (including soap and shampoo) for at least 10-15 mins.  Another benefit of an Epsom Salt bath is you’ll sleep like a baby!!

Say NO to anything that’s not completely necessary.  If the thought of one more party leaves you with a feeling of dread, don’t do it.  If participating in a gift exchange or volunteering for the church Christmas event is overwhelming, just say NO.  Read my article here on Saying No.

 

We may not be able to completely avoid being sick, but we can do our best to take care of ourselves.  In order to stay healthy during the holidays, you have to put yourself first so you can give your best self to the people you love.

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*This post contains a few affiliate links.  I may receive some compensation from these links.  I don’t recommend anything I haven’t used or love myself.  These affiliate links help me stay away from all those yucky ads that neither one of us like.  Yuck!!  Thanks for your support.

 

Life Lived Well

Loving Your Body At Any Age

What would you change about your body if you could?

Would you change your height?  Your hair?  Your eyes?

Do you love your body just the way it is?

Loving your body is not automatic.  It doesn’t usually come easily.  But loving your body at any age is possible.

In my 20’s I probably had a laundry list of things I would have changed about my body.  That list is gone now.

Now I’m in my 40’s, and I can honestly say that while I may not have chosen to look the way I do, I wouldn’t change anything about my body.

My hair, for instance, has always driven me crazy.  It’s stick straight, thin, stringy and my natural color is a lovely, mousey, dishwater brown.  (I left the brown behind years ago.)  I have always had “hair envy”.  The hair I always wanted was curly.  I’d even keep my natural color if it was just curly.

My hair doesn’t curl worth a darn.  In my teens, I permed, curled, applied cans and cans of mousse (remember mousse?) and hair sprayed it to the heavens just like all the other girls in my school.  It didn’t help.  The curls fell out within hours.  But, I know plenty of women who have curly hair and hate the fact that straight is never an option for them.

If I woke up one morning and my hair was suddenly curly, I would probably complain that I couldn’t put it behind my ears anymore in an effort to get it out of my eyes!!

My father has curly hair.  Did I get his curly hair?  Nope.  I got his feet and hands.  For years I wore shoes that covered up my toes.  My feet are not “lady-like” at all.  I only started wearing flip flops and open-toed sandals in that past 10  years or so.  Now when I look at my “ugly feet” I laugh and think about my dad and thank God that I’m able to walk. That’s a luxury some people don’t have.

As for my skin, I swear I have the oiliest skin on the planet.  I’m constantly dabbing my forehead with a tissue or paper napkin.  Occasionally, my husband will see me and ask “are you sweating?”  How embarrassing.  And of course, with oily skin usually comes acne.  Oh, joy!!   I had to wait until my 40’s to get the acne under control, but I’m still oily.  The upside is the commercials, ads, and articles about how to care for dry, cracked, tight skin don’t apply to me.  I save a lot of money by using fewer creams, lotions and beauty products.

For years I painted my fingernails religiously.  This was before everyone was getting acrylic nails.   I would spend hours either painting or waving my hands and blowing on my nails waiting for the polish to dry.  Only to have the paint chip 2 days later.  So frustrating!!  All that waiting and waving for only a couple of days of pretty nails.  I tried fake nails and had a horrible reaction to the acetone.  Now when I look at my naked nails and my dad’s fingers, I remember how much I cried from the blisters and the burning from the reaction to the polish remover.

At 40 something (50 is just around the corner), my weight isn’t what it used to be.  When I joined the military, I was below the minimum weight for my height.  That’s certainly not the case now.  It was easy to take being thin for granted.  Now I have the menopause belly and the days of eating whatever I want, whenever I want, are behind me.  (Read more about My Body After 40).   And, don’t get me started on the bloating!!!!

There are women who have medical conditions or have battled with weight for years.  They would probably love to weigh in at the weight I hate!! Everyone has something and I need to be grateful for being healthy.

Loving your body at 20 is about excepting yourself and not comparing yourself to others.

Loving your body at 40 is about recognizing the alternatives.

Loving your body at any age is not about perfection, it’s about loving the sum of all your parts.

Remember, if there’s a part of your body you hate, there’s someone out there who would love to have what you have.

 

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Loving your body at any age is not easy but you can learn to love your body.

Marriage/Love

5 Books That Will Transform Your Marriage

Even the happiest couples and best marriages can use a little boost from time to time.  A little “pick me up”.  We’ve all been there.  Maybe not a marriage counselor, but time to learn a little more about ourselves and our partner and what makes them tick.

Marriage books are a dime a dozen.  Whatever the reason, whatever the issue, there are books out there.  Even if you’ve picked up one or two of them in the past, put these 5 books on your list.  They will transform your marriage.

My husband and I have had a little “experience” when it comes to marriage.  We are not experts, but we know that it takes constant focus to keep our marriage in the best possible condition.

Not long after we got married we watched the movie Fireproof.  We stumbled across it while trying to find something to watch one Saturday night. Wow!!!  It really struck a cord with us.  We weren’t experiencing any issues like the characters in the movie, but it reminded us how easily things than can unravel when you’re eyes are not fixed on what really matters.

We immediately went out and got the *book The Love Dare from the movie (Fireproof).  The book takes you on a 40-day journey toward closeness and unconditional love for each other.  You can go thru the book by yourself (as it was done in the movie), but it can easily be done together.  We chose to do it together.  Each day there is a small task for you to complete that makes you think about your spouse in a different way while opening your eyes and your heart.  There is also a daily devotional based on The Love Dare book.  Click here to see the daily devotional.

 

The Love Dare

The Love Dare

We loved The Love Dare so much, we couldn’t wait to read another book together.  The next one we picked up was The 5 Love Languages.  This one truly transformed our marriage!!!   We all know that women and men think differently.  But this book showed us how to demonstrate love based on the other’s needs.  You definitely find out that saying I Love You is more than flowers for women and sex for men.  We learned so much about each other and ourselves.

My husband enjoyed The 5 Love Languages so much, he is always looking for opportunities to tell other couples about it.

 

 

The 5 Love Languages

The 5 Love Languages

 

When Couples Walk Together

When couples walk together

 

Our next book was a good read.  Less about learning and more about growing closer and appreciating each other’s strengths.  When Couples Walk Together was easy to read, with great stories and it led to some very interesting conversations.  I really recommend this if you have children and have forgotten what it’s like to be “a couple”.  We often get this book out and just read a chapter at random to remind us what we loved about it.

Love and Respect

Love and Respect

The next book we picked up has a completely different, but interesting perspective.  It breaks down the bible verse Ephesians 5:33 in a way most of us have never heard.  Love and Respect will shed a new light on what men and women need most from their partners.  You can read it with your spouse.  But if you read by yourself, you’ll find yourself saying things out loud like “that’s so true” and “I do that”!!

31 Prayers for my Husband

31 Prayers for my Husband

 

Finally, Thirty-One Prayers for my Husband and Thirty-One Prayers for my Wife are both incredible for praying transformational prayers for each other.  The words in these prayers were things I didn’t even know I wanted to pray, but every prayer is amazingly written and thoughtful.

Whether your marriage is solid or in a place where you can use a boost, these books can transform your marriage in ways you can’t imagine.

 

If you like this article, you might like this one on Prioritizing Your Marriage.

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This post contains affiliate links for products I may receive a profit from if purchased.  I would never recommend a product I didn’t use or believe in.  These links help me cut down on all those yucky ads we all hate.  Thanks for your support. 

Marriage books are a dime a dozen. These 5 books will truly transform your marriage.

Dressing Your Best

Secrets To Dressing Your Age NOT Like Your Mother

If you’re over 40, and hear “dressing your age”, it sounds like we should be dressing like our grandmothers. But, when I say “dressing your age, not like your mother”, I mean that difficult place between realizing we aren’t 20 and trying not to dress like we’re 75 either.

It’s not always an easy task.  I don’t feel 40-something (most days), but when I look in the mirror I’m very aware that I’m also not 27 anymore.

It’s a balancing act.  I can’t wear the things I used to wear, but I don’t want to look dowdy and “buttoned up” all the time either. I wouldn’t categorize myself as super trendy.  If you’ve been on my Instagram Page, you’ve seen several of my outfits.  Not overly conservative, but I’m not showing everyone “what I brought to the party” either.

I have a few secrets I use for dressing my age, but NOT like my mother.

I love Jeans.  Dressed up or dressed down.  The darker the denim, the better.  The lighter the denim the least flattering they tend to be.  And, under no circumstances will there ever be bling on my butt.  If you’re the least bit self-conscious of your behind, OH MY GOSH, please, avoid sparkles on your rear end!!

High-rise jeans (buttoning above the belly button) can tend to make it look like you have a pooch and low-rise can create “overflow”.  It’s usually best to go for “mid-rise” for the most flattering look on the belly.

Let’s talk about hem for a minute.  Unless you’re wearing Capri length (and then, please don’t wear socks), your hem should come almost to the floor.  The bottom of your pant leg should almost cover your shoe with a straight-leg or a boot-cut jean.  If you want to make your legs look longer, wear dark denim boot cut jeans and pointy toe shoes.  You’ll look thinner and taller.  I love this look here.

Yes, I wear skinny jeans and you can too. Really.  If you don’t like your behind (and, we are all there with you), wear a flowy top that covers it up.   Tuck the skinny jeans into boots or wear a pretty flat shoe or sandal.  You’ll be gorgeous.

Skirt length is tricky.  Too short and you’re back to trying to look 27.  Too long and you’ll look eighty-five.  A good rule of thumb is no shorter than 1 inch (2 inches max) above the top of the knee cap.  If the hem of your dress comes to the middle of the kneecap, that’s a safe length for any occasion. Here’s a great visual for skirt length.

Wear leggings.  Yes, you!!  Some of the knit dresses you see everywhere are just too short for most of us.  However, you can still look super trendy when you add leggings and boots.

Stitch Fix is great if you need to step out of your comfort zone.  If you’ve never used a subscription service, this one is great.  You just fill out a style profile and tell them what kind of clothes you like and don’t like and a stylist picks out items for you.  They have everything from dresses and boots to purses and jewelry.  Keep what you want, send back what you don’t like.  Click here for an affiliate link to check out Stitch Fix.  This is my Pinterest board of some of the pieces I’ve received recently.

Stitch Fix has really helped me try different things I normally would not have bought for myself.

Last Tip – Don’t go shopping with your mom.   If you’re shopping for clothes with your mom, you’ll either walk away frustrated or you’ll end up buying clothes you both can wear.  Let’s be honest, that defeats the purpose.

Don’t, for a moment, think that you can’t be trendy and look great in your 40’s and 50’s.  You can be gorgeous at any age.

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Dressing your age not like your mother means striking that gorgeous balance between not trying to look 25 but not looking 75 either.

 

Parenting

Secrets To Making Your Life As A Mom Easier By Next Week

Life as a mom can be hard.  And hectic.  And exhausting!!  Whether you work inside or outside the home, there is a never-ending list of things to do as a mom.

Secrets to making your life as a mom easier are invaluable.

I only have one child at home and sometimes I’m overwhelmed.  I can’t even wrap my brain around all the wonderful moms out there with 2, 4 or even 6 (or more) kids. Especially when mine is having a tantrum or dealing with tweenage drama.  I bow down to those moms with 2 or more kids, especially if you have girls!!!

I know a few women who have more than 6 children and every time I see them they have showered and put on clothes that match.  To me, that’s astounding.  I think it would be impossible for me to shower, get dressed in decent clothes and form complete sentences all while having 6 kiddos at home.  But, they do it and make it look easy.  I am not worthy!!!

We can all learn a lot from each other on how to make things simpler at home.

Here are some secrets to making your life as a mom easier by next week:

Delegate  If someone offers to help you, LET THEM!!!  Even if it’s something seemingly small, it may save you time.

Delegate to your husband errands he can do on his way home from work.  Have him bring home dinner, a prescription or even milk.  Have him trade cars with you for the day so he can take yours for an oil change or fill it up with gas.  That’s one less thing on your plate.

Hand Over The Reigns – Let the kids do more to take care of themselves and the household.  I’m getting better about having my 10-year-old daughter do more around the house.  I have to remind myself that while she may not do things exactly the way I would do them, the job will still get done.   And since Southern Living hasn’t called yet to photograph my house or document the cleanliness of my bathtub, I need to be ok with the way she does the job.

Another thing I need to remember when it comes to getting my daughter to do chores is that she will protest, but she can do far more than she lets on.  We had an issue one day about her putting clean sheets on her bed.  She DID NOT want to do it herself.  She cried and had a fit and I just walked out of the room and let her wallow.  Ten minutes later she was singing and the bed was made. Surprise surprise.

Some of her other chores include:  packing her lunch for school, taking out the trash, taking the can to the curb, clean and vacuum her own room (I DO NOT pick up dirty clothes), scrub her bathtub and put away her own laundry.  I know she is capable of doing more, and in some households, kids are responsible for more.  I for one, have to learn to hand over the reigns and actually let her do more.

We recently put an alarm clock in her room.  She only gets up 5 minutes earlier than we do, but she feels more empowered and “grown up”.  Also, we’re not arguing in the morning about her running behind.  Bonus!

Don’t fight the fight When we assign a new task to our daughter we usually do it under the guise that we need help.  She loves to help.  “Can you please help me for a minute by unloading the dishwasher?”  Before she knows it she’s unloading the dishwasher on a regular basis and doesn’t realize it’s now her “responsibility”.

Sibling Double Check – I have a friend who assigns tasks to her kids and each kid has a “checker” (a sibling) that comes behind them and makes sure the chores have been completed.  If mom sees that Johnny didn’t do a good job cleaning the toilet, guess who has to redo the toilet?  Not Johnny, but his brother Alex because it was Alex’ job to double check the chore.  Genius!

Cleaning Schedule – This simple thing has helped me soooooooooo much.  If you don’t have a cleaning schedule, it’s pretty simple.  Basically, you’re not cleaning the entire house (which takes hours) at one time. Unless of course, you actually get the call from Southern Living.  Until then make life easier on yourself.

First, look at your monthly calendar (the entire month at a glance).  On  your busiest days of the week, do simple household chores, or a “once over” in one or two rooms. Then, find the days that you have the most time at home, those are the days for the bulk of the cleaning.  Bathrooms, scrubbing the floor, etc.  Break down all chores into bite-sized tasks that can be divided up and done on different days throughout the week.  One day you do only bathrooms.  One day is nothing but vacuum and dust, etc.  You get the idea.

The reason it works for me is I know I don’t have to do everything all at once.  If the bathrooms look bad and it’s Wednesday, it’s ok because Thursday is “bathroom day”.

For more help with a cleaning schedule, here is a great pin I found with printables you can use to get you started.

These are just a few ideas to make life easier by next week. If you have a super idea that works for you,  I’d love to hear it.  Please leave me a comment so we can help each other make life simpler.

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Secrets to making life easier as a mom are invaluable. Here some tips to make things easier by next week.

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