Wednesday, June 29, 2016

New Additions to My Cherry Collection

To catch you up to speed and make a long story short about my growing cherry collection, let's just say I've been a lucky girl this year and received an ample supply of cherry collectibles as a gift. Yes, what a kiss from God! That's the way I look at it. What you see here is just a portion of that lovely gift of cherry treasures I've been meaning to show everyone. For all of you cherry lovers out there like me, I wish we could have tea & scones in my kitchen on my cherry plates. But my little virtual home here on my blog will have to suffice. In the meantime, three cheers to cherries!!!

Linking to: Katherine's Corner Thursday Favorite Things

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Reina's Rockin' Ribs Recipe

Say that 10 times fast. Yes, she is still at it since January. That is, cooking once a week. A few weeks back, Reina treated us to a scrumptious rib dinner with steamed veggies and sweet potato fries. The recipe is so easy that she was sold on the crock pot. We found the original recipe for ribs on, but we adapted it slightly, and you can try it yourself. Fingerlicken' goooood!

Slow Cooker Ribs 
(serves two)


  • 2 pounds baby back pork ribs, trimmed
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/3 onion, sliced 
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2/3 bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce
  1. Season ribs with salt & pepper to your preference. 
  2. Pour water into slow cooker. Place the ribs into the slow cooker. Top with onions and garlic. 
  3. Cook on High for 4 hours. 
  4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  5. Transfer ribs to baking sheet, discard onions and garlic, and top with remaining BBQ sauce.
  6. Bake in preheated oven for 10-15 minutes until sauce is caramelized. 

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Your Get-It-Done Plan!!! {7 Strategies that Really Work}

It's time to GET IT DONE!

Good ole’ Dad was right when he said that the older we get, the faster the years go by. The problem is I’m actually getting less organized as the years fly by. Not to mention, I just don’t have the energy to do it all anymore. Calgon, take me away to a bath where I am safer than being left alone in the kitchen with goodies that comfort my frazzled nerves. Yep, I’m pooped. But that doesn’t stop my to-do list from growing.

If you’ve ever hit a wall due to burnout and can relate, don’t throw up your hands in despair and plop down on the couch with the magazines and bon-bons. Here’s a surefire, simple plan to get you moving—YES, YOU CAN DO WHAT YOU DON’T WANT TO DO!!! Like put away the Christmas dishes, for instance, now that it’s June. Or do the spring cleaning, in case you forgot. Did I also mention change the light bulbs in several rooms that went halfway dark three weeks ago? Well, the happy news is that summer is officially upon us and that means it's too late for spring cleaning after all. Hehehe.

1)      Lists: Making a daily list each morning will help keep your attention focused on what needs to get done, so you are more mindful of how you use your time and what your priorities are. When you get distracted, you can come back to your list to remind yourself of your goals for that day. Don’t feel guilty about the items you are unable to check off. Instead, transfer them onto the next day’s list, so they don’t fall through the cracks.

2)      Increments: Break down large, overwhelming tasks into small parts. For instance, set a timer and commit to working on the task for 15 minutes or making the first of several phone calls or emails involving that item. In most cases, the hardest part is getting started, so once you’ve begun the project, you might find an entire 40 minutes has passed and you’ll feel good enough about your initial momentum to carry forward.  

Climbing any mountain is easier with a partner. 

3)      Accountability: Enlist the help of your peeps to keep you on track and inquire about your progress. Better yet, form partnerships with others who are working towards the same goals and complete tasks together, if possible, or on the phone together. Set up daily or weekly check in times to keep you and your accountability partner on track.

4)      Deadlines: Since deadlines motivate most folks, create deadlines for yourself and log them into your smart phone with reminder alarms. For example, host a small party if you need to deep clean & organize your house, and you’ll be motivated to get your home in order for the guests. Look for contests to enter if you want to complete that short story. Finally, work on dreaded tasks before a planned event. That way, you are forced to complete the task in time for the event.

5)      Habits: The experts say that it takes 21-30 days to establish a new pattern of behavior. Besides, routines are good because there is no need to waste time over a decision process since they become a natural, expected part of your life. For those necessary, but feared tasks you keep putting off, work them into your daily or weekly routine so they become so integrated into your life that you’ll eliminate the choice altogether.

6)      Rewards: A $20 shopping spree, a trip to YogurtLand, or 30 minutes set aside for a magazine binge definitely work for me as far as rewards are concerned. What works for you? Choose a reward and then use it as your motivation to work towards a task you find difficult to complete. When you want to give up, the reward will keep you going.

7)      Fun: If at all possible, make it fun!!! Enlist the help of others so you can delegate tasks, share the load, and have some company. Play upbeat music while cleaning, hose down the kids (and yourself!) while doing outdoor tasks in the summer, and create ways to make the mundane more enjoyable.

While you may run out of your own strength to tackle your to-do list even with these simple strategies, remember that God is able to supply a reserve any time you ask. Keep Philippians 4:13 at the forefront of your mind: “For I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Write that down in a handy spot, and let’s get going, ladies! 

Linking to: Holley Gerth's Coffee for Your Heart

Saturday, June 18, 2016

MAKE IT *EASY* {to dive into summer}

In the whirlwind of life these days, do you ever slow down long enough only to (sadly) realize your weekly routine is completely devoid of FUN? As busy women, caught up in demanding schedules, we habitually give, do, and work to the point that we tend to sacrifice good times and overlook carefree moments. Even if you still work full time during the summer, it IS possible to make more room in your life to do the things you enjoy during a season that is a bit more relaxed—BUT it all begins with smart planning. So get out those calendars, ladies. If you don’t plan ahead now, your summer will be swallowed up with everyone else’s agenda before you know it.

Create a simple SUMMER WISH LIST of activities you’d love to do, see, or enjoy before Labor This list will help you prioritize how you want to spend your time rather than saying yes to whatever comes up. Unchecked items? Transfer those unfinished items onto your wish list for the next summer or perhaps even the fall, so you’ll have something to look forward to in the months ahead.
Day rolls around. What to include on your list? Jot down 7-10 things that would make for a really cool summer.

Make it easier on yourself this summer with . . .

EASY MEALS—look up oven-free recipes, prepare salads ahead of time, and learn to use your grill. 
EASY STYLE—get a low-maintenance haircut, simplify your make-up routine, pick out accessories the night before, and dash out the door in 10 minutes. 
EASY ROUTINES—wash clothes on weekdays, squeeze in meal planning mid-week, and shop for groceries by Thursday nights so your weekends are freed up.

Get organized for hot days and warm nights.
  • For 24/7 ice-cold drinks, make a batch of sun tea or lemonade in jug with a spigot to leave in the fridge for easy pouring. 
  • Keep your cool at dinnertime by cooking or baking ahead in the mornings when the temp is lower, and grill or BBQ outdoors in the evenings. 
  • For inside or outdoor dinners, use paper or plastic utensils and have the kids help with the clean-up. 
  • Finally, store away all heavy clothes and break out your summer shorts, sundresses, bathing suit, and wraps to grab on the go for hot summer days.

Now, get outside and roast marshmallows with the kids, bring a picnic to your local outdoor concert, and gaze up at the stars this summer. Make it your priority to carve out some great times in the months ahead. 

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Retro Vintage Thrifty Chick {Gotta Have It!!!}

That'll be $9.99.
One of my big thrills in life is finding a deal on a new outfit. Heck, throwing together an outfit with matching accessories (!) the night before gets me pumped up about going to work the next day. Yes, think Galinda from Wicked, except I'm a cheapskate. Finding retro/vintage inspired pieces is an added bonus, and if I do, I just gotta have 'em. So when I stumbled upon these retro-looking dresses at my new favorite thrift store, Savers in Yorba Linda, I forked over the dough, no questions asked. Luckily, we're only talking $16 total for my new additions. To make the situation even better, within days I found this white beaded ring at the 99 Cents Store that I converted to my signature floral hair accessory by hot gluing a bobby pin on the back. Swing dance outfit complete. Now, I'll just have to round up some girlfriends so we can all go swing dancing this summer. As a matter of fact, I think I hear Chattanooga Choo Choo firing up in the background . . .

Ugly as hell as a ring. Rip off that ring back! Yes, keep ripping. 
                              Let's turn it into another hair accessory. As a matter of fact, I needed a white one.                                            
That'll be $6.99, an even better deal! 
Glen Miller anyone?

Monday, May 30, 2016

At Last! My New Back Yard {4 Years in the Making}

Before: Jaspers was very happy
frolicking in last winter's weeds. 
When I bought my house 4 years ago, one of the many fixer-upper projects I inherited was a back yard that had NEVER been landscaped. I know this because I am the second owner of my 1959 abode, and the original owner was a workaholic (multiple neighbors have corroborated on this story) who neglected the yard, leaving 4 to 5 feet high weeds taking over. Folks, we're talking nothing but 50 years of weeds growing out back. Goathead weeds, to be exact. Think Sleeping Beauty and the briar wall of thorns that the prince scaled. Well, I'm exaggerating a little, but those goatheads almost killed me last summer as I picked them each out by hand as a result of foolish hopes that grass would actually work. It didn't. Weeds kept growing. I gave up. Rocks and concrete suddenly became more and more appealing.
My new fire pit and sitting wall . . . why don't y'all come on over for s'mores?
After doing yearly projects I could afford--first a concrete patio, then a patio cover, an actual wood fence to replace the chain link, a sprinkler system (with Dad's help, of course), and a failed attempt at grass--the day arrived. Here we have it on this lovely Memorial Day weekend. Yes, a back yard 4 years in the making that we've already christened with not one, but two, birthday parties. The fact that I had to work so long and hard mowing weeds for years makes me appreciate my drought-tolerant oasis all the more. Perhaps I'll be as appreciative when God brings the right man into my life someday, having been single for almost 10 years, but for now I've got my yard to keep me company and the fire pit to keep the kindles burning. Hehehe.

Reina & her friend share the same birthday, so they are affectionately know as the Gemini Twins.

Just sitting around welcoming summer and wishing you all a happy Memorial Day!!!

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Staying Inspired and Motivated {on the road to your dream!}

Here's my recent art journal page, "Love Who You Are." 
In honor of spring, my floral art journal page . . . 
Grandma Sue's homemade birthday card for Reina, including dried flowers & glitter galore!!!
"Success is a state of mind. If you want success, 
start thinking of yourself as a success." ~Joyce Brothers
Last time, we kick-started our dreams by becoming mindful of them through an intentional goal list. Today, we’re going to focus on staying inspired and motivated enough to achieve them, but first I want to share a wee bit about my own creative process. 
Last year, my resolution was to be as creative as possible within the limited free time I have. Although I didn’t achieve that ideal in the fullest sense, the gem that emerged from this intention was the beginning of my art journaling interest. Everything unfolded organically, starting from getting in touch with a friend who had me over for lunch at her home and taught me basic art journaling techniques. She showed me her own journals, handed me color photocopies of some how-to pages, and gave me some supplies to get me going. She also recommended AlisaBurke's Website—now one of my favorites—where I signed up for an art journaling class.
This gorgeous banner cost me less than $6 to make at Michaels!
After taking my first art journaling class, I signed up for a second one as well as a blogging class. In fact, this summer I’m going to a low-cost blogging convention in L.A., BlogHer 2016.  Earlier this year, I also discovered some FREE craft classes at Michaels, so I challenged myself to take those and LOVED the projects we made practically for FREE!!! In order to keep my creative fires sparking, I have to do whatever I can even if it’s just weaving a few minutes of papercrafting into my life here and there. If it puts me into the zone, brings me joy, and makes me feel alive, it’s worth finding the time for.
Homemade cards from a free papercraft class at Michaels
You can succeed with your own goals and dreams IF you are determined and make up your mind to persevere. Of course, fulfilling them won’t happen overnight, so you need to find ways to stay encouraged by figuring out what motivates you. Take advantage of websites, magazine articles, books, word-of-mouth, and especially modern technology to achieve your goals. One beauty of the internet is flexibility; a variety of FREE and low-cost online classes are available today that enable busy moms to work toward their dreams at any time of day or night. If your dream is to finish your degree, you can try online classes perhaps at low-cost community colleges as you get back on the road towards your dream. The important thing is starting down the road of where you want to end up, even if you take small steps to get there. 

For more inspiration and ideas to get you going, check out the following posts:

1) 7 Ways to Stay Inspired Every Day
2) Beautiful Banners for Any Celebration
3) Easy Watercolor Greeting Cards

Linking to: Holley Gerth's Coffee for Your HeartKatherine's Corner Thursday Favorite Things


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