Simple Pleasures

Getting up early in the morning, before the sun comes up even. Stillness. Quiet. Peace. I am all alone. No one needs me. Nothing is required of me. No noise. Time and space to think, dream, read, write, plan, be.

Then, watching the sunrise, all pinks and oranges and blues:

sunrise

Finding my all-time favorite seasonal flavor of coffee at the grocer:

IMG_20171229_070739

Then sipping it in my happy Christmas mug:

IMG_20171229_071006

Pineapples… they’re just such happy little things. I cannot explain it, but I love this fruit. Not just to eat– but visually, they’re energizing. I have even started to decorate my master bathroom with pineapple decor. It brings a smile to my face:

pineapples

Paris… anything having to do with this City of Romance… or the French language… or France, in general. I’m seriously obsessed with all things French. My master bedroom is currently being decorated in French decor. And I’m totally allowing it to spill out into my kitchen decorum and well:

IMG_20171227_131456

Visiting my folks in Michigan. Lots of happy memories of my childhood. And new happy memories being made with my own family there. Michigan and my hometown will always carry a special place in my heart. We went to Michigan for Christmas this year and it snowed SO much. It was breathtakingly beautiful. I was like a kid again, watching all the lovely snow fall:

snow falling

Fancy imported butters. I dunno why. Very random indeed. It’s just pure, simple (two ingredients), and SO yummy:

IMG_20171228_201003

 

Advertisements

Being Spoiled

We were recently gifted from a family member a free trial of meals from Blue Apron. Up until this past month, I’d never heard of this company. How that happened, I do not know. Because now that I have been made aware of it, I see BA everywhere (as scroll through my Facebook feed, as I navigate through the internet, etc).

Basically, you pick out the meals that interest you (we chose our meals from the vegetarian menu), and they ship them right to your door. Since our trial included 2 meals this week, they packed everything we’d need for those two meals into one (very insulated) box: herbs/spices, cheeses, canned and/or fresh vegetables, noodles, etc. And the recipe cards (which were extremely detailed, but super simple to follow). You still have to wash and cut the vegetables, shred the cheese, and cook everything yourself. But all of the ingredients are pre-measured and pre-packaged for ease and simplicity. One meal is exactly enough for two people.

From start to finish, our meal took 30 minutes to prepare.

Here’s our Bucatini with Tomato Sauce from dinner last night:

 

 

What was truly fun (besides savoring this dish!) was working alongside my hubby in the kitchen and cooking together. We’d both had a looooong day and just needed to do something to refresh our spirits. I love how food can do that.

Our BA shipment had come in just that morning, so we were eager to have a go at that first meal. The kids had already eaten their supper earlier and were quietly enjoying their evening. Perfect time to spend some quality time in the kitchen. In fact, we had a couple of little helpers (and tasters) join us in the kitchen: our 11 and 1 year old daughters.

Here’s what the recipe card (& nutrition facts) looks like:

 

IMG_20171229_071408

It was just a meal, but it was also fun and light and happy and simple. Just what was needed to cap off the day.

And, by the way, dinner was delightful.

I truly feel pampered by having these BA meals delivered to us. So very thankful for this yummy gift. Looking forward to preparing our next dish (potato tacos)!

bonappetit

How Introverts “Bond”

So this evening, my hubby took (6) of our little ducklings out of town for some Christmas shopping, leaving my eldest son and I alone at home. This is a rarity.

Not sure how many of you, my readers, are Myers-Brigg’s nuts, but I am an INFJ and my son is an INTJ. We are so similar… we either are two peas in a pod cuz we “get” each other, or we drive each other crazy cuz we’re too similar (thankfully, usually the former). 🙂

We seem to be the oddballs out of the rest of our gang. Most everyone else here is extroverted and/or strong-willed and/or assertive and/or loud. My son and I are the quiet ones that need a crap-ton of alone time to rejuvenate, are moody, take a long time to chill, and are totally cool with zoning out from the world with our laptops.

Being in a large family can be a bit trying for us, for sure, sometimes.

But this evening has been a glorious break from the hum-drum of normal life. I surprised my son by picking him up after basketball practice (he was expecting to walk home), I treated him to Subway for dinner (he freakin’ LOVES sandwiches), watched Zack King for our dinner entertainment (a digital/filming genius), and now, we’re both in the kitchen, on our own laptops, in our own little worlds (mine: school prep & blogging… my son: playing diep.io.), completely content & happy. We’re bonding. And it’s great fun. Our love tanks are being filled by each quiet moment that passes. And tomorrow, we will feel extremely close to one another and we’ll forever remember this evening as a beautiful night together.

It’s SO fun having a kid that totally understands me, and I him.

Here are a few humorous cartoons describing the inner world of an introvert. LOL

 

Any other introverts out there that are TOTALLY cool with an evening at home alone?!!!

Prancercise

Prancercise

Not quite sure why I was thinking about Prancercise this morning. Perhaps it was my own giddy gate as I “pranced” around the kitchen making coffee that shook the memory loose. Mornings are my absolute FAV time of day. I’ll get up at least an hour before the rest of the family just to soak in the aloneness that’s all mine. I’ll even forfeit sleep to have these moments of quiet. It’s.the.best. I get AM adrenaline surges that literally make me go “eeeee” and make my hair stand on end. My husband, aka “the corpse”, is my exact opposite. Our kids seem to (thankfully) be a happy middle ground between our extremes.

Let’s face it… I “prance”. Esp in the mornings. Or to 80’s pop music. Or to fantastic summer breezes blowing in my windows. Basically whenever everything is right with the world and I’m overcome with energy and happiness. I “get” this Prancercising lady.

Do I prance in public? Uh… no. I guess that’s why I kinda envy the boldness of Joanna Rohrback. She’s so genuine, so true, so… herself. Looks like she could give a flying flip about what anyone else thinks. She gets to walking. She gets to listening to some music. She gets to jamming. And then she just lets herself get lost in the moment to the music. Does her movement look like everyone else’s? Not at all. But that’s ok. That’s how SHE rolls. And I TOTALLY appreciate that. I LOVE that. She is who she is and she does what she does regardless of what other people say and think of her. She put herself out there and shared from her heart, probably in hopes of encouraging others to free themselves from the shackles of what others think and to embrace their own inner beat. To get fit while having fun.

But boy, she’s been made fun of for doing so. Lots of parodies and jokes and whatnot out there bashing her for being so weird/strange.

Anytime anyone puts themselves out there, they risk the chance of being made fun of. Actually, it’s a guarantee… they WILL be made fun of or ridiculed or bashed, etc.

It’s a shame really. And with social media, people can hide behind their anonymity. They say things online that they’d NEVER say to someone’s face.

There’s def an art to learning how to let crap like that roll off your back and not let it affect your heart. I liken it to bullying. The very mental flow of a bully is this: 1) the bully feels like crap inside (for whatever reason), 2) they see someone else that’s “better” than them (or that has something good going on), 3) the bully feels even yuckier (& prob threatened), 4) so they say or do something mean in hopes of tearing that “better” person down to their level (or lower), 5) their wounded ego (temporarily) gets stroked, and 6) they (temporarily) feel better. It’s primal and requires very little thinking. But that feeling of ok-ness only lasts a for a little while. Then they have to repeat the process again in order to re-feel better about themselves. The only thing that will REALLY heal a bully is for they themselves to work on/through their issues. Bashing other people is not a permanent fix.

But anyways, back to Prancing. Joanna Rohrback is prob a truly happy person. An energetic person (obviously). And this prancing… it’s from the heart. And if I had to bet, there’s prob a LOT of other people out there that, if stripped from the cares of what others may say, they too would prance in public. Even on a fitness level, that added movement incorporated with regular walking probably does indeed burn more calories!

Though I may not “prance” in public for my exercise routine, I do genuinely appreciate Joanna’s staying true to who she is. That’s a technique we should all be learning to do in our own lives– a lofty goal we should all be attempting to achieve. It’s taking that risk and putting ourselves out there. It’s sharing our life, thoughts, experiences, successes & failures… to help others, touch other people’s lives, encourage them, and to better someone else (even if it’s just 1 person). It’s standing tall regardless of the ridicule.

For more on Prancercise, Joanna has a YouTube channel. You can also read up more about it on Wikipedia.

In closing, I hope you my reader are learning to care less about what other people are thinking about you. I hope you’re taking that risk and putting yourself out there to reach and touch other people’s lives. I hope you are learning to listen to constructive criticism but to let hurtful criticism roll off your back (and to have the wisdom to know the difference between the two). In your life, do your own form of “prancing”– be & do what you were created to be & do.

prancercise

 

Earn Cash for Internet Searches and Online Purchases?

Have you ever heard of Swagbucks before (http://www.swagbucks.com/)? In a nutshell, you get paid for searching the internet and making online purchases. If you’re already doing those things, seriously… why not get paid for it?!

swag

There are so many other ways to earn with Swagbucks though!
Check out this Beginners Guide to Using Swagbucks (http://www.thepennyhoarder.com/how-to-use-swagbucks/) for a quick and informative how-to.

Here’s another article that explains how to maximize the benefits from Swagbucks Rewards: http://www.edwardantrobus.com/…/how-to-maximize-the-benefit…

swag-bucks-currency

I’ve been using Swagbucks for web searching/online purchasing for a couple years now and we’ve earned free meals, gift certificates to our favorite stores, Amazon gift cards, etc.

If you sign up for Swagbucks, would you be so kind as to use my referral code?: http://www.swagbucks.com/refer/GFwifeandmom. Then, when you’re all signed up, share the referral code Swagbucks gives you with your friends and family and boost your chance to earn more swag. Share the Swag love .

If you’re already using Swagbucks, I’d love to hear what you personally think of it. How do you use it? Has it worked for you? What all have you earned from it?

I honestly have nothing negative to say about it as it has been very useful and profitable for us. Love me some Swag. Hope you will give it a try and earn some cash for stuff you’re doing online already!

Tip: Saving Money Eating Out

I had no idea Dairy Queen’s did this. Nor do I know why, or for how long, or if only certain stores participate… So pardon the lack of details and information…

But…

The DQ near us, for several months, hosted 1/2 off lunches from 11a-2p on Wednesdays.

Half off EVERYTHING. I mean EVERYTHING: ice cream cakes, pop, Blizzards, sandwiches, sides, kids meals… The only things not included were the $5 and $6 meal deals. But everything else was fair game.

When I went last time, I filled the bellies of myself and six of my kids for just over $20! It was unreal. I couldn’t believe it! That never happens eating out!

I found out on Facebook that TODAY is the last day my local DQ will be participating in this program. 😦 Don’t know the reason why.
But someone mentioned in the comments that their DQ in Ohio was just starting up the 1/2 off lunches thing.
So that leads me to believe that other DQ’s around the US are participating in the same program.

So, check with your local or neighboring DQ’s to see if they participate in 1/2 off lunches. You never know! You just might be able to get those Hot Eats, Cool Treats for super cheap!

Dairy_Queen_Grill_&_Chill_sign.jpg