Friday, September 20, 2013

High Five for Friday - Special Edition

Helleur there!  This week was pretty awesome..I have to say it was the coolest week I've had in a long time...and I've had a lot of cool weeks lately. That being said this weeks post is a little different other than my usual Friday blog.  So, let's get to it..

A few weeks ago in church an announcement was made that they were having a dessert auction to raise money for the youth mission trip.  I heard dessert..and auction and it immediately got my attention.  Since I absolutely love to bake - and I'm pretty good at it too - I decided that I was going to participate.  I know this sounds terrible, but I'm not overly involved with my church.  I show up on Sundays, Trey attends VBS every summer, and we go to the occasional church supper.  That is pretty much the extent of it.  So, a week later on Saturday I did my morning yoga class and then dedicated the rest of the morning/afternoon to baking some banana bread.  

I don't know what got into me, but I counted all my bananas and decided I had enough to make three batches of bread.  I texted my Mother telling her about my day of baking for the church.  She said "can you make them pretty with ribbons and put a tag on them explaining what it is?"  "Of course." I said.  After baking I cleaned up a bit, dusted the flour off of me, and headed to Hobby Lobby.  I bought some burlap and some tags spending the rest of my evening at home "decorating" my loaves...This is what I ended up with...19 loaves of bread ready to be auctioned off at church the next day.

Rewinding a bit...

On the last batch I ran short on some sugar, so I sent Trey over to Brittney's house to borrow some.  She was not home.  So I sent him to the house on the other side of me.  Luckily, Kathy was home and she gave me some sugar.  I miscalculated (imagine that..I am terrible at math) so I had to send him over a second time...this time with my measuring cup for him to show her exactly what I needed.

I felt bad for having to ask not once, but twice for the sugar, so when my first batch finally cooled off I gave Trey a loaf to take over there to thank her for the trouble.

A few hours later her daughter came over and handed me a plate of fresh brownies along with a card thanking me for the delicious bread and telling me if I ever need anything she is right next door.  It was very sweet and unexpected.

Sooo, that pretty much made my day, and it got me thinking about paying it forward, doing unto others..being the change I would like to see in this world..etc..and I decided that since this was my birthday week I wanted to do things to make others happy. This would be my birthday gift to others.  
Random acts of kindness, if you will.

I discussed this with Trey and together we sat down to make a list of 36 things we would like to do in celebration of my 36 years thus far on this earth. 

We started small..we made several post-it notes with positive messages on them, and decided to leave them in random places throughout the week...

Everywhere I went I left a little note behind...

just randomness...hoping to make someone smile...hoping to make a difference in someones day.

At the top of some Redbox machines we taped microwavable popcorn with a note saying to enjoy movie night..and the popcorn.. 

One day I called a girlfriend, who happens to be a Kindergarten teacher.  I told her about my plans for the week.  I didn't really know where I was going with this (it was not on the list that Trey and I made) but I asked her if I could stop by one day and read a book to her class.

She immediately said "sure!! and bring one of your dogs with you because we are studying pets this week."  I was like "Whaaaatt!!! Are you serious???  That's awesome..yes, yes, please..thank you, thank you!!"

So, instantly I knew I would take Brodie and I knew exactly what book I would read.

One night after yoga I gave Brodie a little haircut, nail trim and a bath..

Let's just say he was a little lot upset with me!!  He is so funny!!
I promised him it would all be worth it and kept telling he had a big day the next day. 
I knew he would love it!

So, the next day I brushed him out again and put a little handkerchief on him, packed his bag with his favorite stuffed animal, some sliced apples for treats, and my favorite children's book.  The McDuff stories...which is a book about a little Westie...named McDuff.  Perfect!

We got to the school...signed in..everyone in the office loved Brodie.  Of course, Catharina had to get permission for us to come, so they were expecting us.  I wish you could have seen Brodie..he pranced along with his cute little walk..head held high, ears perked up, tail constantly wagging.  I just knew at that moment we were exactly where we were supposed to be.

So, we went into the classroom.  All the children sat in their seats as I walked Brodie around the room for each child to pet him.  He was so polite giving kisses..wagging his tail every step along the way.  We discussed how to care for a pet, that you have to be gentle with dogs, what kind of dog Brodie is. They loved it when Brodie showed them his stuffed animal that he sleeps with...and then I read the book.  Quietly and wide eyed they all listened and occasionally would say "awwww" along to the story.  It was perfect and the puppy in the book looks so much like Brodie.  It was an amazing day!  The next day when I spoke with Catharina she said that the kids were still talking about our visit.  :-)

After leaving the school Brodie and I went to pick up Trey.  We took Brodie home so he could rest, and then Trey and I ventured out to spread some more happiness.

We stopped by the dog park and left a bag full of tennis balls with a note saying to please take a ball for your dog to play with.  While I was hanging the bag a little boy, probably 2 years old, was running around chasing his dog.  Trey asked his Mother if their dog would like to have a ball.  She said "sure, thank you so much" then she asked where our dog was?  I guess we were the creepy people at the dog park without a dog..anyway the little boy took the ball, threw it, and then ran off chasing his dog..and the ball..

After the dog park we stopped by the Humane Society..

Earlier in the week I contacted my friend, Amy, who is the director of the Humane Society.  I told her what I was doing and how I wanted them to be a part of my week.  She was excited and told me when to stop in the office.  The HS offers a spay/neuter program that assists fixed, or low income families who otherwise cannot afford to spay or neuter their pets.  The voucher costs a considerably lower amount than it would if you had gone straight to the vet for this service.  In order to qualify for a voucher you have to provide proof of some form of assistance whether it be food stamps, disability, public housing, social security, WIC..and/or a few other types of assistance.  You can take this voucher to vet offices participating in this program and they will do it for the lower cost.  It is a remarkable program, and has helped so many.  Trey and I made a donation to be used towards a voucher for the next person that came in to purchase one.  I only wish that everyone would spay and neuter their pets.  What a difference it would make!!

While shopping one evening I sought out the manager of a store I frequent to tell her that her staff is always so kind and helpful, and that they are a huge part of why I enjoy shopping there..(well, that and the super cute clothes).  I opened doors whenever possible, sometimes rushing to get there first to be able to do so.  I smiled more, hugged tighter, told some parents how well behaved their children were.  I complimented strangers, donated half a closet worth of my clothes, and I rolled my neighbors trash can back to their house after I saw the garbage truck empty it.

This last story I am going to tell you is without a doubt the most special act I preformed this week. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that I cried my eyes out before, during and after this one. I sat down one afternoon and hand wrote two to my Mother and one to my Father.  I thanked my Mom for birthing me and for being such an inspiration all these 36 years.  I thanked her for being the best Mother and Grandmother imaginable.  I also have to mention that I thanked her for not smothering me in my sleep between the ages of 13 and needed to be in the me..I was no saint...but I think I turned out alright!  I thanked my Dad for being my friend, my role model, my everything, and for being the funniest most amazing, compassionate person I know. If it were not for them I would not exist and I darn well wouldn't be the person I am today.. I wanted them to know how special they are to me and how grateful I am for them.

I was super proud that Trey was excited to be involved in this mission..I wanted him to see that it doesn't take much, or that it doesn't take gobs of money to make a difference, or to make people make people feel special.  He got to experience the joy in giving..  I wanted him to know that he can "be" the change, too..It only takes one person to make a small imagine what this world would be like if we all took time to make a tiny difference...

I may not have completed my full list of 36 random acts, but I did have a full heart by the end of the week, and all I can say is I love this beautiful life I have been given...and Happy Birthday to me!


Friday, September 13, 2013

High Five for Friday

What a beauty-ful day it has been., and although we are still a week or so away from it today felt like Fall, ya'll.  It is so wonderful, and my mind is flooded with awesome thoughts..For instance, today I wanted to listen to my music super loud, roll all the windows and the sun roof down, do tobacco barn drive-by's and hang my nose out the window, dance to every fun song I heard.  I may or may not have done the running man (twice) to Run DMC's - It's Tricky.  There is no way you can hear It's Tricky and even attempt to stop your body from automatically busting out into some dance moves.  Try it, I dare you!  Back to Fall...bonfires, Friday night lights, puppy dogs, long runs, every window in the house open, homemade potpourri simmering, pumpkin carving, baking, hiking, hugging friends...hugging strangers...hoodies, boots, good hair days, laughing, tasty beverages, beautiful sunsets..  I could go on and on...

Here are some things I am thankful for this week..

This morning Brodie climbed on top of me before I was even fully awake.  He gave me the sweetest puppy dog kisses and just laid in my arms until I decided to get up.  The perfect beginning to my day!

This blue eyed boy of mine told me today that I am embarrassing...
I think that's code for - I'm awesome! Right?

My garden has been neglected...I have my work cut out for me this weekend as far as weeding goes.  I think when I pull all the dead stuff out and clean it up a bit I may actually find some fruits and veggies in there.  Right now it looks like a sad garden.

I have tons of bell peppers..

I found these sweet banana peppers hiding under some watermelon vines.

A few little tiny watermelons.  I still have not been able to enjoy a single one of them.  With all the wet weather we had this season most of them were ruined.  There's still hope.

These are all the potatoes we dug up.  They were all ruined.  Not even one was salvageable.  Between the potato bugs, and major potatoes for me.

Did you know that Kroger makes a generic version of Smart Water?  I love Smart Water and always buy it when it's on sale.  This week Kroger has their Simple Truth 33.8 fl oz water on sale for $1.00.

This week a rescue I follow posted this dog that is looking for a new home. Is he not the sweetest thing ever?  I instantly fell in love with this labradoodle and was a little sad that I have no room for him.  I have been keeping up with him on the daily, and I do believe he may have finally found a furever home. 

I loved it when I was able to foster dogs..Then my husband had to go and fall in love with a giant Dane, and the two dogs I fostered after having him proved to be too much for my little house, and unfair to my current pets as well as the "new" one.  I don't wish any of my pets away, but I do look forward to being able to foster again. If you are interested in opening your home to foster a dog or cat contact your local Humane Society or other shelters and/or rescues to find out more info about it.  They are always always looking for foster homes and it really does save a life!

I got this in the mail today and can't wait to dive into it this weekend!
Have you read it?

 I decided to thaw these babies out today for my Friday night beverage consumption.  I have no idea what the red one is.  Trey informed me that it is a woo woo.  I cracked up when he said that, and that he knows what a woo woo is.  If it's a woo woo it's at least 3 years old..may be a little stale.  Yuck.  We shall see.  Anyway, several years ago my Aunt Melinda made this drink concoction and it was fantastic as well as super strong.  Like knock your socks off strong.  Everyone at that particular party kept asking what it was.  We would say " I don't know, but woo hoo...and I don't know, but it makes me feel like woo-woo!!!"  So, somehow it earned the title of "woo woo"  There's no telling what this is, but here's to hoping it's a woo woo... The other one is a wine concoction that I had leftover from a girls night-in party.  Might get craazy up in here tonight.  

I am still doing my yoga practices and very much enjoying it.  Why did it take me this long to get into Yoga...I have no clue, but like I said last week it is probably one of the best things I have done for myself in a while.  After 5 weeks of practicing I can now say as of this week I have finally been able to conquer the plow pose.  The first day I discovered I was able to do this I wanted to show everyone I knew.  I came home and immediately showed Kyle and Trey.  They were not impressed to say the least, and I was a little sad that they both looked at each other and then back at me like I was some sort of disfigured being.  Brittney. of course is much better at this than me, but the fact that I can even remotely raise my legs above my head and touch my feet to the floor behind me has me all sorts of excited.  Now, if only I can do the crow pose, or even a headstand I will be one happy chick.  I will just keep trying it until I get it!

Aren't these little guys the cutest!!?

Thanks for stopping by to read about my week!  I am now going to devour these mystery concoctions from my freezer with my neighbor bestie..I hope you enjoy your weekend!


Friday, September 6, 2013

High Five for Friday

Happy Friday!
Here are a few highlights as of lately...

I picked these gorgeous peppers from my garden.

I shared some, and canned the rest.

The next day I made dill pickles with some cucumbers from my garden.

I was surprised at how well they turned out.  
Same taste as store bought dills, with a little less crunch.
The crunch is my favorite part...will have to work on improving that!

I flew to San Antonio for a long weekend..

This little guy turned one!!
I giggle to myself every time I look at this picture.

I got to hang with my far away bestie for three.whole.days.  Luckily, the trip did not go by too quickly...for me anyway.  My last day there I sat in her dining room talking to her while I put my makeup on as she played in the floor with Henry.  I stopped for a moment and thought to myself how it seemed so natural and even though we are 800+ miles apart it never feels like we're really that far away. It felt just like any other ordinary day. We never skip a beat, and I love that.  Those are the best kinds of friends!

It didn't take me too long to get home and begin to crave a breakfast burrito...or breakfast taco as the Texans call it.  I tried to get Kyle to go to the store for some tortillas, but he ignored me..So, I decided to make homemade tortillas for my Tennessee breakfast "burritos..."

They turned out great, a little too thick, but not bad for my first stack of homemade tortillas...and ok, once I put my eggs, cheese, bacon and hot sauce in looked like a taco...I get it.  
Trey loved them and begged for more!  They were pretty awesome!!

I think this weekend I will chop up some bell peppers from the garden and put em in my breakfast burr-taco.

(I spy a little Westie..)

While cooking dinner one night I was jammin dancing in the kitchen to some Britney Spears.  I prefer head phones when I'm not home alone, otherwise everyone complains a. of my music choices, and b. that it's too loud.  Loud - is the only way to listen to music - according to me. 

Anyway, I put this mid-dance photo of myself on instagram, and hashtagged Britney Spears.  Like 5 seconds later I got this "like"..on the picture, and was like whaaat!!  So, naturally I took this pic and texted Nicole to tell her what happened..Of course I figured it would be a fan page and not really Bernie, (but still) then after texting about it for like 5 minutes I said "omg can you believe that? We were laughing hysterically. I looked a little closer and it wasn't even spelled correctly. still made my day..made me laugh, and I continued my dance party in my own little world for the rest of the night.  It's the little things, folks!

I was so proud of myself this week for going further and faster on one of my runs!!  Such an amazing feeling to see and feel the improvements I am making!  Woohoo!!  I have three registered races coming up, and they can't get here fast enough! I am so excited and so ready!

It has been a month now since I started taking hot yoga classes.  I'm pretty much addicted to it, and I love it so much. I love the way it makes my mind and my body feel. It is so feels like home to me. I see things so clearly, and feel like I can do anything I set my mind to.  It is amazingly refreshing.. I find myself managing my stress better.  I let things go easier than before.  I love waking up and looking forward to ending my day in the yoga studio.  I sleep better, I eat better, I am focused, my body feels amazing, my mind is clear.  I am able to sort out the negative things in my life and not feel like I have done something wrong.  It is a great feeling when I can be there 7 days a week...Best thing I have done for myself in a long time!!

Something one of my yoga instructors says all the time plays over and over in my head.  Whether I already knew it or not...I feel it now...down to my core...I absolutely believe it...

"To be yourself is the greatest gift that you could ever give yourself, but first you must learn to breathe, and then you must learn to let go. This is the life that awaits you.  If you give yourself the chance to let go of the stress and the tension you will reawaken your life to something beautiful, something so free, and you will walk around this planet feeling so light and alive without the weight on your shoulders..."  
- Billy. instructor/ Raja Hot Yoga

It is scary to let go, but sometimes you have to.  It will make you feel better..I deserve deserve this..we all deserve to be happy and free of the stress that binds us and keeps us from being who we truly are!

Believe it people!!  You are so worth it!

So, during yoga in certain poses my bangs fall into my face and I am so dripping wet with sweat that it just kinda plants itself on my face and is super annoying.  I hate wearing headbands...they're even more I decided to try and make a center braid in my hair ending it to just about the the middle of my ears, and then put in a cute pony tail.  It worked perfectly and kept my bangs from falling in my face. I also started wearing it like this on my runs.  It's not only effective, but it's cute..I'm digging it! 

I just about flipped out when E.L James (author of 50 Shades of Grey) announced that Universal casted Charlie Hunnam to play Christian Grey.  O.M.G.  My tv boyfriend/heartthrob as Mr. 50 Shades??? and Dakota Johnson as Ana...I don't know who she is besides Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith's daughter...but can we get back to Charlie now..Totally cannot wait to see this movie!!

Oh, and speaking of all you SOA fans out there...the season premiere is Tuesday night..
Don't forget to set your DVR's (so you can watch it over and over) ;-)

Bath and Body works recently had a huge sale on their candles.  I stopped in there on Monday for a quick little minute and was so disappointed that everything was pumpkin this and pumpkin that.  I mean, I love Fall more than most, but it's too soon.  After smelling so many candles that they began to all smell the same I finally found one that was not too Fallish.  Heirloom Pear.  Just the perfect amount of good smelling non-Fall-ish.

So, you guys know I always rave about Elisabeth Ashlie jewelry on Etsy, and how they can do custom orders..Here is a perfect example of a "custom order".  Ok, both of these earrings were in their shop.  I actually own the turquoise pair, and later the silver ones popped up on the website.  So, I emailed Lauren and said.. "can you take the silver beads and put them on the same smaller silver hooks as the turquoise earrings?"

She emailed me back the same day.  
Said "of course" and in less than a week I had these cute little earrings!  

Don't-cha think?!
Today, I fully intend to live by that saying, and have a glass (or two) of wine tonight!
Hope you do the same!!
Thanks so much for stopping by..