Monday, May 26, 2014

Musical Monday- Real by Years and Years

So I've been MIA lately.  Sorry about that!  I've been busy but not really with anything that seems blog worthy.  It's finally warmed up here so I've been planting flowers, weeding flower beds, spending time outside.

Then this holiday weekend, I spent Saturday shopping all day with one of my girl friends.  I left my house at 7am and didn't get home until about midnight.  I was foot sore and tired and had a headache, but it was fun.  I checked out some new shops and ate good food.

Sunday I slept in and planted hanging baskets and flower pots, moved some perennials around, fun stuff like that.  And now Monday I have to work at 3pm, but I figured I should pop in and at least say hi.  I got the lawn mowed  for the second time of the year.  That's one good thing about a late start to the warm weather- it makes for a late start to lawn mowing.

And today, for the very first time, I'm linking up with My So Called Chaos' Musical Mondays.
I found this song on Blissful Basil's blog.  She is my absolute favorite vegan blog, and when she mentioned loving this song, I just had to click on it.  It's a fun summer time song.  My husband thought it sounded a little like Jamiroquai and I think he's right.  Anyhow, it just fit the mood as I sat in the chair late Sunday night looking at pictures of cheesecake while the open windows sucked in cool, early summer air.

Hope you enjoy it.  :)  And remember the real reason for Memorial Day.  Thanks to all the veterans and active service members out there for serving and protecting our country.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

One FavoriteThing- Austenland

So this week, instead of a few favorites- I only have one.  I just got Austenland in the mail from Netflix, and while I thought it'd be cute, I didn't realize how awesome it would be.

There's some names you'll recognize, like Keri Russell who plays Jane Hayes, the lead who is obsessed with all things Jane Austen and of course Mr  Darcy, Jane Seymour who plays Mrs. Wattlesbrook, the woman who runs Austenland, a Regency immersion experience where you get to live like a character out of a Jane Austen novel, and Jennifer Coolidge, who is Miss Elizabeth Charming, a rich American who has no idea who Jane Austen is but, thinks she'll look hot in those "wench gowns".

Seriously, if you even have a mild interest in Jane Austen or Pride or Prejudice, you really should check this movie out.  It's hilarious, you're cheering for Jane to find love and the actors are awesome.  And, there's a Nelly song played on a pianoforte, what more could you want.

Plus, Jane's wardrobe (both modern and Regency is gorgeous).   I really want to make delicate capsleeved, floral blouses with lace trimmed sleeves for myself.

So, if you're looking for a chick flick kind of in the vein of Bridget Jones' Diary, really watch Austenland.  It's adorable, funny, and if you've gone through a Jane Austen phase (or are still deeply enmeshed in one) you'll totally relate to it.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Favorite Color Reveal from A Cute Angel

So the favorite color swap has happened!  I shipped my packaged off to Ashely at A Cute Angel and that same day, my package from her arrived.  I love swaps.  The whole process of finding things you think your partner will like, and then seeing what they picked for you.  It's just too fun!

Want to see what I got?  Of course you do!

Yellow dreaminess!
I told Ashley I liked pretty much anything with caramel in it, and she found these Milky Way Simply caramel bites which were delicious!

Watering can and flower seeds!
She also sent me a new watering can, which is awesome!  I love the long, skinny spout.  It's perfect for watering seedlings.  She also sent an assortment of yellow seeds- sunflowers, alyssum, marigolds, and shasta daisies.  Love, love, love!

Dish towel and hot mitt!
I love dishtowels and this one is super cute.  It's got little strands of red and orange in it.  The mitt is nice and heavy.  (Nothing worse in the kitchen than an oven mitt that is too thin!)  I even threw out an old one that was all ripped along the side and stained, since I have a new one now.  :)

Lemon Verbena Shower Gel
I love shower gels and body washes that come in unusual scents.  It's not every day you find some lemon verbena scented gel.  But this one smells yummy and invigorating.  Maybe if I use it in the shower on the days I work day shift,  it will wake me up.

A Treat for the Two Brat Cats.
We both have pets.  Ashley has a dog named Scout, and I have my two cats, Honey Badger and Gargoyle.  So, Ashley even sent a treat along for the cats.  And surprisingly, they both love them!  Usually one cat likes the treats and the other doesn't, but apparently they're both fond of salmon.

Gargoyle, the official box inspector.
Everything arrived nicely wrapped with yellow tissue paper, and as soon as I had everything unpacked, the cats had to check it out.  Here's  a rare appearance by Gargoyle looking annoyed at having her picture taken.

So, I loved everything Ashley sent to me.  She did a great job finding yellow things that were just the right sunny shade.  You should really check out her blog, if you don't read it already.  She talks about all sorts of things- from cooking and baking, to fashion, to books and she's just so friendly.  You'll love her.

And if you're a blogger and want to join up on the next Chaotic Goddess swap, just go to their site to see what's coming up!

Click this picture to be taken directly to Chaotic Goddess' page and see what everyone else swapped!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Steel Cut Oatmeal for the Win!

Here's a confession for you.  I'm horrible about eating breakfast.  Since I work afternoons, I usually get up at 8, drink a couple cups of coffee, maybe eat a piece of toast.  That's about it.  But you're always hearing about how breakfast is the most important meal of the day, essential, vital, blah, blah, blah.  So I thought I should at least try to eat breakfast.  And I always see those pins on Pinterest for overnight oatmeal so I figured what the heck, I'd give it a try.

First, I got some steel cut oats.  You can get lots of fancy kinds, but I just picked up a canister at Aldi's for a couple bucks.
Ingredients: 100% Whole Grain Steel Cut Oats
Then I gathered up some pint mason jars, because that's what  I always see them in on Pinterest, but I think you could use any microwave safe container. 
Clean and ready to go.
I also pulled out some toppings for my oatmeal.  You can use pretty much anything you like, but I tend to stick with berries and nuts with a little pure maple syrup.
Maple sugar, strawberries, bananas, chia seeds, almonds, and walnuts.
Next, cook you oats.  I used 1 cup steel cut oats, 3 cups of water and mixed them together, put them on the stove top and once it started boiling, cooked for three more minutes.  (The oatmeal is not going to be done at this point, don't fret we'll cook it more later.)  Remove from heat, give it a few minutes to chill a little, and then pour into your jars.  Note: Wide mouth jars would be a better choice if you have an option, but I only have small mouth jars and it's doable.

It's going to look pretty soupy, but trust me, it will thicken up.  Then, add your toppings on top, add lids and rings and let it sit on your counter until cool.  Then pop in your refrigerator and you have breakfast for the next five days, just pull one out in the morning, remove metal lid and ring, pop it in the microwave for one and half to two minutes, grab a spoon, and you're ready to go.

I was kind of leary about warmed up oatmeal, thinking it would taste like mush.  (Picture Oliver Twist asking for another bowl of porridge.)  But steel cut oats really hold up well.  Fruit gets a little mushy after microwaving, so if you prefer, you can definitely add you fruit the next day.

I've made it twice now, and adding a variety of toppings keeps me from getting tired of eating oatmeal every morning.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Spring Cleaning, Fabric Lover's Delight Giveaway

As promised, here's the first culling from my fabric destash attempts.  The smallest are fat quarters and the largest are half a yard or so.  So, you'll be getting approximately five yards, give or take.

There's some cute novelty prints in this bundle- some unicorns, fat kitties, stars, florals.

There will be more giveaways to come, as I do more spring cleaning, so keep your eyes peeled.  To enter, just follow the Rafflecopter giveaway below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Spring Cleaning and Decluttering

We in America love our stuff.  We love a good bargain, the newest of everything, the thrill of the hunt.  In return we end up with homes packed to the brim, basements overflowing, and renting storage units that hold our treasures.

I think we all know that stuff doesn't make us happy.  I mean, there's nothing wrong with liking nice things.  But we have a tendency to lean towards excess.  I know I'm guilty of it myself, and I have a few areas where I really struggle.

  1. Books!  I love books.  But I have books in the basement that I bought in high school, have moved with me every time I go somewhere new, and have now been in the basement for the more than six years I've been married.  The main reason I have trouble with resisting books is they're cheap.  I buy most at thrift shops, garage sales, book sales, and online swapping sites; I have good intentions to read them all, but really, I could read a book a week and probably have enough to last me the next five years at least.  
  2. Fabric!  I love fabric.  And when I find it on sale, I have a hard time saying no.  Even, if I have no plan for what I'm going to use it for.  I've already talked about my fabric hoarding problem and my plans to limit my fabric buying.  Unfortunately, I haven't been very successful.  I've been sewing more, but not enough to justify having so much fabric sitting around in my stash.  
  3. Food!  Yes food.  I like to have whatever I may need on hand for when I want to bake or cook.  Which is all fine and good, but really, I have two grocery stores right in town.  If I really needed something that I didn't already have, it wouldn't be that hard for me to drive to the store and get it.  It would literally be like a fifteen minute trip.  I also have a tendency to try a new recipe that takes a specific ingredient and then end up with 3/4 a bottle of agave syrup, or cardamon, or some other item that I end up having to find some use for.  So it's time to clean out my kitchen.
So what's the plan?  (Because as Pinterest has already taught me, "A goal without a plan is just a wish.")

Here's what I'm hoping for.
One of my first posts was about how the book Simple Abundance changed my outlook and really helped me curb a lot of frivolous shopping.  I was able to limit my clothes buying and stop buying home decor items that I never really had a plan for, but now I have to tackle the big three: books, fabric, and food.

  1. I'm going to start giving some of it away.  Keep your eyes peeled on blogs for giveaways of fabric, notions, patterns, and books.  (Hint: the first giveaway will be up tomorrow.)
  2. I'm going to make a conscious effort to use it before I buy new.  So be on the lookout for recipes using up some of those random spices or items I have in my kitchen that I'm betting some of you have too.
  3. I'm going to be making some donations.  Our church is having a thrift sale in June with the proceeds going to support community projects.  I already have a box started, and I have a feeling there will be more boxes before it's all said and done.
  4. Be a more conscientious shopper.  I've made great strides when it comes to clothes shopping and can now walk away from clearance racks if there's nothing I need even if it is a super deal. 
 Why clear out clutter?  Clutter is not conducive to being creative.  I spend hours looking through my stashes of fabric looking for the perfect piece for a project.  I buy peanut butter without realizing I already have two jars in my pantry.  No one wants to create in a space crowded with random odds and ends from other projects and stacks of books waiting to be read.  It's suffocating after a while.  And it's time to thin everything out so there's room to breath again.