Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Spoiled Generation

Are we a spoiled generation? Was it our parent's who had nothing, and in return, gave us everything? I know this is not the story of my life, but it is the story of a lot of people I know, and a struggling dilemma for a lot of parents. It seems as though society makes it difficult for parents not to spoil their children... commercials, advertisements, school... toys, fashion, and new inventions are all around our pee-wee generation, and it is undeniably easier to give in than to hold one's ground. 

What kind of people do we grow up to be if we always had what we wanted?... how do we cope through times of failure without having the past ability of knowing how to react? 

I have been thinking about this a lot lately...not because I am ready for children, but because I see this disconnect everyday. All I have to do is walk down the street to the local stores around me and listen to the mommy's, daddy's and grandparent's giving into to demands placed on them by their little munchkins when they find something they want. 

And sometimes it is not the parents at all, but the outside world that spoils children. A family friend just took her little ones to a birthday party, and the toys they came back with in their goodie bags were nicer than other children would receive from Santa at Christmas. 

I am not saying that it is a bad or good thing, I am just letting you know what I have been thinking about and want to know your thoughts on the subject... Were you spoiled? Do you think it is a pro or a con for societies youth to have all the glitter and gold they could possibly want? 

All I know is that, amidst the plethora of toys my god-child has, her favorite one is still her "toy rock" that she found in her back what does that tell us?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Organized Space

These pictures of organized space make me sooo happy! Just looking at them makes me want to put things away! Are you a person who likes to put things in there place?
I absolutely am... there is a satisfaction of finding a home for everything...Oh the lessons you learn from Mary Poppins...

Kitchen Pantry-Chalkboard door...
Kitchen cork-board for recipes and paper...
Amazing work space...
Serious use of natural color...
Cookbooks, with all different flatware...
Wonderful closet...
Fun beach house look...
Talk about making a brunch easy to plate...

Does this look like your house? 

Thank you Martha Stewart, Better Homes and Gardens and Espacio Vital for the wonderful pictures!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Memories For a Gift

When I read about this idea, I started to cry. 

A fathers 60th birthday, and 60 letters from loved ones of past memories in life. Click on the picture to read the post (from nothing but bonfires). I cannot imagine anyone's parents or grandparents who would not love this idea!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Tea Pot or Tea Kettle?

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! John had to work, so I ended up running to the store in the morning and making an impromptu feast. It was wonderful having each other, and it really put into perspective what I am really thankful for. 

Now we have arrived on Black Friday - the day for shopping. After one store this morning, I had to come home! People were pushing, grabbing at the same products, and just plan crazy... I did get some great things, but my urge to continue shopping downtown  was absolutely squashed! 

When I came home, I ate leftovers from dinner, and made myself some yummy coffee in my french press... I have a Bodum water kettle to heat my water fast (and love it), but do miss the beauty of a real tea kettle. I mean, the electirc kettle is fast, simple, off the stove and easy... but the classic tea kettle is just warmer looking, classic, and whistles when it's ready... If you have to pick, which one would you prefer? 

(The exact one I have in my kitchen)

(Such a great colored kettle!) 

I still have not made up my mind...ahh the complexes of a gray thinker...

Are you ready for Fridays word? I know I am, and good luck using it this weekend! 

Tacenda - Things to be passed over in silence; matters not to be mentioned; better left unsaid.

*Synonyms: inferred, implied, unspoken

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Black Wednesday is Here

(Mom and I in our PJ's!)

Happy Black Friday! One of my besties just explained to me that, not all areas of the U.S. celebrate the day before Thanksgiving by partying all night with family and friends...crazy for my Midwest mind to process! Will you be going out tonight with family and friends? Staying in to prep the Turkey? Will you be celebrating at all? 
Thanksgiving has always been my absolute favorite holiday, and this year, John and I will be celebrating it with his family. As I started to pack my bag for his families house, I could not figure out what pajama's to bring. 
Usually I bring sweatpants to wear, but I hate sleeping in sweats... It is my observation that cute pajama's can make you feel beautiful and add a sense of luxury to bedtime. So what is appropriate, and still cute? Obviously not a romper (but isn't this one so cute!) and I do not want to wear anything too thin or revealing... nice pajama flannels (the one's I am wearing in the picture, got them here)? Thats is still cute, warm, and appropriate...don't you think? 
Maybe I am over-thinking this, but I am still not used to having so many boys around (John is one of three boys!). Whatever you are doing and wearing tonight, I hope you feel wonderful and have a great time doing it! Tomorrow morning is around the corner, and I am ready to watch that parade

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Morris Code Necklace

A friend of mine received a gift at her brothers wedding. It was from her new sister-in-law, and it was a necklace that spelled out sister in morris code. I hunted them down on Etsy, and found the source - COATT
Wouldn't this make a wonderful gift to your loved ones? 

They are so simple and elegant... I think I know more than a few people who would love this necklace!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Poncho Love!

Cold weather is here to stay in the Midwest, and I need to figure out ways to make the best of it...This year, there will be no complaining out of me! It's really silly how we seem to find the problems with every season, and get stuck on them like molasses. Don't we all have enough to worry about? 
  As I mentally remove the "seasons" from my worry category, I start to think about reasons why I love the, blankets, fires, and clothing...oh  yes, clothing! 

My freeze-baby body loves to be wrapped up in a poncho! Seriously, I just cannot get enough of them! It all started about ten years ago, as I was looking for a Halloween costume in the attic. In an old dusty box I just happened to open, sat a beautiful Mexican poncho, and I instantly fell in love! My mother tried to convince me not to wear it out, but I just could not listen (as was usually what happened when it came to my mothers orders and clothing choices...what a bad girl I was). This same poncho is still part of my wardrobe, and I do not see it ever really leaving! I am pretty sure my mother still hates it, but it was just the beginning of my deep love for over sized, draping,  wrap-around clothing.

 (Here's the poncho! Picture from my college years...miss them!)

 What are some of your favorite things about the cold? Wherever you live, lets work together to embrace the seasons. It's about time we focus on the things we love about seasons, before mother earth sweeps the next one in!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Friday Word Day

Yesterday I heard a mother refer to her baby as "chubberbutt" while she showed new photo's on her computer to friends.... hehehe, perfect! Lately, I've been feeling like a chubberbutt and I know my diet has not been as healthy as it should. After Thanksgiving, I will be doing a "Jules Cleanse"...It really is just a four-day cleanse (I made up a few months back) that I did with a few of my girlfriends... Do you think you would like to do the cleanse with me? I will post the details the week after Thanksgiving, and if you want to join, we can support each other! Think about it...

Before we get to the Friday word, I wanted to post this awesome Google-YouTube clip.. It is so cute and makes me tear up every time I see it!

What a great idea, right!

Ok, it's now officially time for Fridays word, that is courtesy of my good friend Claire...she suggested I use it, and I couldn't pass up her great suggestion! 

Ameliorate- Making (something bad or unsatisfactory) better. 

*Synonym: improve, amend, enhance 

Wonderful word...don't you agree? 

Coffee Joulies

Have you seen these super cool coffee joulies ? You put a few of these beans in your hot coffee, and it cools the coffee down to drinking temperature. Then, the coffee beans actually capture the thermal heat, and keep it hot for hours! That way, your coffee stays at the perfect temperature and you do not have to worry about burning your tongue, or reheating. I have so many people I want to buy these for!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Best Sleep

Did you know, that sleeping on your belly, or side can cause premature wrinkles? EEEKKK!
I read this fact in a magazine a few weeks ago, and tried to brush it off as fallacy...but when I went to check out some research on the subject, reliable sources relayed the same information!
 Here is the article I found from CNN, that really breaks down the pros and cons of sleeping on your back, side and belly... I am definitely going to try harder to sleep on my sagging boobs and wrinkles for me, thank you! 

Monday, November 14, 2011

Emily Dickinson

"Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul - and sings the tunes without the words - and never stops at all." -Emily Dickinson

Wonderfully said Emily...

...Wonderfully said.

Parmesan Knots

Monday is here, and it is a bit of a gray day... but that's OK, because I have plenty to catch up on indoors. John's birthday celebration was moved up to this weekend and I am still planning on making cupcakes. He has requested lemon...and even though I explained how lemon cupcakes are not really in season, his choice still remained... oh well ( I will just have to make those fallish cupcakes at a later date). I think this is the recipe I will go off of for the lemon cupcakes, because they have blueberries in them!

As I was searching around for cupcakes, I stumbled into this parmeson knot recipe, and I have to make them tonight! a perfect side to the pasta and takes up very little time. Cannot wait to eat them up!

Easy Parmesan Knots
  • 1 tube (12 ounces) refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
  • 1/4 cup canola oil (or olive oil)
  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
  1. Roll each biscuit into a 12-in. rope and tie into a knot; tuck ends under. Place 2 in. apart on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 400° for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the remaining ingredients; brush the warm knots with the mixture. Yield:10 knots.
I have changed a few ingredients, but this is where I found the original recipe from!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Friday Word Day

Yesterday was Chicago's first day of snow! I forgot just how cold those little drops were when they land on your face! I was meeting a college friend for lunch, and my short walk down the street was long enough to chill me to the bone. I have heard rumors that this is supposed to be the coldest winter on record (at least for Chicago), so my roommate and I are going to spend the weekend winterizing our apartment (i.e. putting plastic up on the windows). 
What will you be doing this weekend? When it's cold out, my affinity for cooking and baking comes out ten fold. I don't know if it's the idea of nourishment, or the warmth generated by the activity, but cold gets me motivated in the kitchen!  Perfect timing, because I need to get started on holiday cupcakes! I want to have a super great batch for Thanksgiving/John and his younger brothers birthday (all around Thanksgiving!)...maybe I will make these apple cupcakes with caramel buttercream...or these cinnamon roll cupcakes!  EEEKKKK!!! I am getting so excited!

Before I go, I will leave you with the friday word - which is a word I love and need to use more often! cannot wait to use it this weekend!

Affinity - a natural liking for or attraction to a person, thing, idea etc.

Synonym: fondness, compatibility, similarity, leaning

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Tattle Tale

Do you ever tattle on yourself? My sister used to think she had to tell every single thing she ever thought to her now husband... and sometimes I feel as though I tell too much, too often as well. Like calling John to make sure he knows I have not worked out or applied to all the jobs I was supposed to...not just once, but three times throughout his what the heck is that accomplishing? I need to start practicing the use of up-stream thoughts again... have a talked about this before? If so, pardon the next few lines:) Upstream thoughts are the ones that you wanted to share, but the time passed where you were it was appropriate to say it and the thought went upstream...or if you felt like you wanted to say something, but a little time past, and you opt not to say it... those are defiantly upstream thoughts!

So here I am with a heart and a brain that wants to share all ideas, thoughts, and theories, (much like my sisters old ways...) training them both to wait.... and think... just for a minute, to make sure what I am sharing does not really belong upstream.... I tell yea, this self control stuff is harder than I thought. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Can You Concentrate?

I think I have a disease where the act of concentration slowly deteriorates from me... If I don't fix myself soon, I am going to be one big blubbering mess! So what are the culprits? Too many shiny things to look at? caffeine? over stimulating ads? life problems I think I should know but don't?

hmm... I do not know what is happening to me, but I better figure it out before something horrible happens... or before John really wants to kill me...

Here's a little story for ya...When I was in kindergarten, I was so hyperactive, my kindergarten teacher pronounced me unteachable...who does that? I mean, sure I fell out of my chair a lot, and put my clothes on backwards and inside-out... but unteachable was a far stretch.... now fast forward 18 years later to my Dad's funeral (he worked for my old grade school, hence the connection) and there is that damn teacher. Not only does she remind me of how hyper I was as a child, but she ends her sentence with " I just cannot believe you turned out like this"... The this meaning not on the streets, cleaning houses for a living, etc.
Great teacher right? Anyways there was a point to this story that I am getting to! The big lesson she taught me was that, class, life, the world...they all go on with or without you, so "if you can't seem to stay in a chair, find yourself a beanbag to sit in"...

Point for me equals... if I cannot seem to concentrate at the moment, switch what I am doing, change my goal, and try another angle.

I am chalking up my concentration issue to a little too much thinking time, and a lotta extra energy. Maybe not the best mindset to be in at work, but very helpful on a long run or for dancing...yes...perfect mindset for dancing!

Poppy Seed Situations

I just heard a story of someone who ate lemon poppy seed muffins everyday and failed a work drug-test because of it... wasn't this just a joke created on Seinfeld (let me jog you back to the 90's when Elaine was fired for eating too many poppy seed muffins... ring a bell now?)
Now, this probably would not have been something I took interest in, but as I am eating a poppy seed muffin at the moment, I do wonder what these little black seeds will do after I finish my chew...

 And.....this is what I found!
  • poppy seeds are highly nutritious and less allergetic compaired to other nuts and seeds
  • High in the minerals calcium, copper, manganese, and Iron
  • Can have a soothing affect and act as pain killers for your body
Cool right? I know! Lesson here = eat poppy seeds in you food, but try to steer clear of them before a drug test...problem solved...phew!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Cool Clocks

Hello Monday...
  Hope you are not going to be as rainy and cold as the forecasters predicted, becuase who wants to move from a beautiful Sunday into a dreary Monday? Thinking about it makes me want to hit the snooze button one more time. Speaking of that snooze button, how many times in the morning do you smack it? I am usually up on the first try, but in the winter I do linger in bed through a few snoozes. I have read studies where "experts say" hitting the snooze button is the worst thing for you, because you are throwing off your sleep pattern.
  When you sleep, you usually go from a deeper sleep to a lighter state of sleep. If you hit the snooze button and end up falling back into deep sleep, you will have a lot harder time getting out of bed in general, and may be groggy for the rest of the day.
     The best advice I could find was to actually set your alarm for the time that you really want and need to wake up. That way, you can match your natural rhythm to the time you have to rise, and not play games with your sleep life... Interesting, right?

Here is an article if you want to read about more sleep vs. snooze information and also, I found this fun alarm clock website that has super cool clocks and another site as well if you are in the market! 

Friday, November 4, 2011

Friday Word of the Day

Happy Friday! Any fun activities you will be partaking in this weekend? I know I will be enjoying some wine with my friend tonight, and getting in as much "read-time" as possible... you see I started a book club with some friends, and some of their friends...I am so excited to start on the book I chose (to get the ball rolling), but that means I have to finish the three books I am in the middle of! (who really starts three books at the same time? I know, I have no patience).
I am really thinking it is time I invest in a Kindle, because traveling with my books can get heavy and messy (spills, missing pages, Ballou's paw prints...). What are your thoughts? Do you own one, love it, hate it? At first I was so against the idea, as I am a tactile person...but, now I am seeing a lot more pro's than I do con's.

Ok off that tangent and on to Fridays word!!! This is one of my absolute favorite words in the entire English dictionary and I use it all the time.

Behoove- To be necessary or proper for, as for moral or ethical considerations; to be worthwhile to.

*Synonym: benefit, suit, befit

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Henry Thoreau

Henry Thoreau once said, "go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined. "
 A good reminder to not let fear in the lack of confidence, abilities, experience, connections, and knowledge, stop you from living the life you want for yourself. We put these barriers up in our own lives, and they end up being our most challenging hurdles to pass... if you don't believe you will make it our deserve it (*replace the word it with anything you are wanting etc.), then why should the Universe (God, higher energy etc.) grant it? Be your own best cheerleader, and see the beauty that will come when you do!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Herbed Bread

I woke up this morning wanting Martha Stewart's Herbed Bread, and I think I will make it today to accompany my homemade vegetable soup. Now, don't think waking up with thoughts of herbed bread is strange...I mean, it happens more frequently than you would think. Not that I am proud of that craving...I'm just sayin I'm not ashamed either...just sayin!

Bread Ingredients:
  • 1 cup warm water (about 110 degrees)
  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast (from one 1/4-ounce envelope)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface and hands
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for bowl
  • Coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 large egg whisked with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
  • Sea salt, for sprinkling
  • 1/4 cup fresh rosemary or thyme (or a combination)
Making the Bread:
  1. Place water in a medium bowl; sprinkle with yeast. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Stir in flour, oil, 2 teaspoons coarse salt, and the sugar. Stir until dough forms.
  2. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface; knead with floured hands until smooth, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Let dough stand in a warm, draft-free place until it doubles in volume, about 1 hour.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Divide dough into 16 equal pieces; cover with plastic wrap. Roll out 1 piece to roughly 4 by 10 inches on a lightly floured surface; transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush with egg wash; sprinkle with sea salt and herbs. Repeat with remaining dough, arranging 4 pieces per sheet.
  4. Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until crisp and golden, 18 to 22 minutes. Let cool on sheets on a wire rack.

Thank you Martha for sharing your yummy recipe, love you!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Blueberries Galore

Have you heard about these new super-duper wild blueberries coming from Central and South America? They are supposed to have 2 to 4 times more antioxidants than the blueberries we all know and love (native to North America)... Need a little refresher on what antioxidants are? I usually just say, vitamins A, E, C, and selenium, but I will let Google help with a more detailed answer...
  1. A substance that inhibits oxidation, esp. one used to counteract the deterioration of stored food products.
  2. A substance such as vitamin C or E that removes potentially damaging oxidizing agents in a living organism.
What are their magical powers?
They're essential in optimizing our health by helping combat free radicals, that can damage our cellular structures (including our DNA)... Benefit's from antioxidants are felt in our nervous system and our Brain (boosting memory power).

I have not found a place that sells fresh wild blueberries quite yet, but I will make sure to keep our North American ones in my belly as frequently as possible! Last selling point I'll leave you with: just one cup a day can lower your risk of all cancers!

Just in case you want to know more fun facts about our North American Blueberry, click here
And click here for more facts on the wild blueberry!


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