Happy New Year!

Well, here we are at the beginning of another year. I cannot believe how quickly time is flying past me!

I am also a little disappointed in myself that I didn’t post as many blogs as I planned, or that I didn’t cook as much as I would have liked!  My days and evenings just seem to get away from me, working a full day usually gets the better of me with the fibro and arthritis that I have. Throw in some time to try to exercise and get my pup some exercise, housework and family, my life just seems to be moving too fast.

And that is something I want to work on!

But what is most important, is that every morning that I am blessed with, I just try to be a better person than I was the day before.

I guess the New Year always brings us thoughts of attempting to make our lives better with resolutions. I am sure I have mentioned before that I don’t usually make resolutions. I set GOALS.

Now I realize that many of you might want to challenge me that resolutions and goals are the same. I beg to differ!! To me a goal is what I strive to accomplish, it’s a “work in progress”. But maybe the REAL reason I choose a goal over a resolution is because of all the failed resolutions I have had in my lifetime.

That being said, I no longer beat myself up if I didn’t do what I really planned to do, yea it might disappoint me but I don’t stress over it.

I know most people want to eat healthier and exercise. But, so many of us fail with the high expectations that we place on ourselves. I have done it myself!

I always strive to live a life that is calm, hopeful, kind and loving. I think that is what most of us try to do isn’t it?

It just gets challenging with all of life’s twists and turns.

This year I am trying something a little different with my goals. I will try to begin each month focusing on one or two things that I want to improve upon. For instance, for January I will concentrate on my health and my family.

Start the month out by writing them down. Write down you plan too.  Sometimes putting our thoughts into words on paper makes it a little easier to follow.

Then at the end of the month, put out the list and see how you did.  If you didn’t quite accomplish your goals, just continue on with the list you made but see if you can tweak the plan to make it work.  Then try again.

I plan to focus on eating healthier, trying to stick to my schedule of swimming 2-3 times a week and instead of spending time watching a Hallmark movie I will read or do meditation and yoga. However I need to fit that in, I will definitely be working on a plan.

I am just not going wake up tomorrow morning and resolve to go to the gym and eliminate certain foods from my diet.  It won’t work, and I know it.

My plan for family is to hopefully get us together for Sunday dinners or a game night. Maybe after each night that I swim I can swing by and visit one of my kids for a little. Anything I can do to spend a little more time with my kids and grandkids.

My daily goal is to be more aware of my faith and spirituality. Concentrate on prayer to get me started in the morning, even if that is 10 minutes of meditation. My goal is to take the time to slow down and be thankful, hopeful, and mindful of my thoughts and my day, all day.

Give it a try, but remember you are human, you will make mistakes. You might slack now and then (who doesn’t), but when you do just recognize that you did and promise yourself that you will try again tomorrow.

Be kind to YOURSELF!!

LOVE yourself!!

Stress is not healthy.

I just want to wish you all a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year! And thank you for stopping in to see me! Live well and happy!!

Less Stress for the Holiday Season

I love the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. Thanksgiving might be my favorite but only because we gather to share our love, our memories, and eat a delicious meal together. So for me, there is definitely less stress, and less to prepare for. The only expectation is the meal which I love cooking!

It is also the beginning of the Christmas season. The weeks leading up to the Christmas holiday, for me, are so very beautiful with all the decorations and lights. I love listening to the Christmas music; many songs awaken lovely memories from my childhood. I also love giving gifts, whether they are made by my own hands with love, or a carefully chosen store bought gift.

But then there are all those folks that I hear complaining about how commercialized Christmas has become. Or they are complaining about all the parties to go to and the food they must prepare to take to these parties. There are also complaints about buying gifts for people that they probably don’t want and they can’t afford to buy. And it breaks my heart to hear them say they can’t wait for Christmas to be over.

Christmas is no different than any other situation in life, YOU GET OUT OF IT EXACTLY WHAT YOU PUT IN IT! So if you go into it with disgust, dislike, and grumpiness…. That is exactly what you are going to get out of it!!

I totally understand how the holidays can also be difficult to get through because we may have lost a loved one, or we might be alone and have no one to celebrate with. Been in both of those situations, I know it is not pleasant and can be heartbreaking and depressing.

So hopefully I have come up with some ideas that might be able to help you get through the upcoming holidays with a little less stress. Maybe this will help you have a little more love in your heart. And maybe you will actually learn to at least like the holidays.

  1. Eat & drink smart and healthy! This is so hard to do with all the baked goodies and homemade candies BUT try to resist making a meal out of unhealthy treats!  Go ahead and have that small slice of pumpkin pie or cake, have one cookie, indulge in that one piece of fudge.  But only allow yourself one treat so choose wisely!  Snack on healthy things like veggies and fruit, nuts, a piece of cheese or some peanut butter for protein.  Drink lots of water, add lemon for a little taste and detox.  Do allow yourself a holiday cocktail, or two, but alternate with water.  Waking up tomorrow with a headache or being hungover will just add to your stress level.
  2. Meal plan! As mentioned above you want to eat healthy but still allow some treats, so plan your day’s menu/diet so that you are continually eating healthy.  Especially before you go to parties!!  Make sure you are planning your family meals according to your schedule, use a crock pot or casserole recipes for busy days and nights.  Make some casseroles, lasagna, anything that you can throw in your freezer.  Later in the week you will be thankful that all you need to do is pull out a casserole to thaw in the fridge while you are at work, and then pop it in the oven when you get home.
  3. Parties! I have heard a lot of people complain and basically whine about all the parties they need to go to!  Really?  Please be thankful that you have friends and family that want to share the holiday with you, no one is promised a tomorrow.  You do not always need to say yes to every party, it is okay to say no so that you can stay home and take care of you and your family or just to rest.  If you really don’t want to go, then don’t.  We all need some alone time, but we also need our friends and families too.  Think of the memories and fun times you might have, think of some friends and families that you can reconnect with.  Visit for as long as you want, eat healthy and drink healthy, be thankful for the friendships and have some fun!!
  4. Can you bring a covered dish? Yes, you can!  You do not need to go overboard and try to be a gourmet chef!  If you like to cook and prepare something fancy, great!  If you don’t, then just take something simple like cheese and crackers, veggies, or check out the appetizers in the frozen section of your grocery store.  There are some pretty good selections to choose from!  I love to cook but there are times when I just do not have the time to prepare something, so this works out well and they are delicious.
  5. Shopping and gift giving. This IS enough to stress everyone out!  You really need to be smart here, don’t just buy a gift for the sake of buying a gift.  If that is your reason for gift giving, just stop!  First, make a list of people that you want to give a gift, then think about them and what they like, jot down some ideas before you shop.  Also, set a dollar amount that you are willing to spend on each gift and stick with your budget.  Keep receipts, jot down names on the receipt/tags just in case you need to return something, and keep them all in an envelope.  I usually suggest not giving clothes but if you are confident in that choice, then go for it!  Also, keep an eye out for sales, use coupons.  If you do not like wrapping your gifts, then bag’em!  That is the easiest and the least stressful way to go.  Keep in mind that a simple gift from the heart is all you really need to give.
  6. Teach your kids about giving and receiving.  This is a challenge for most parents.  We don’t want our kids growing up to be materialistic and greedy; and we want to teach them about giving too.  Set boundaries for what they are asking for, have them organize and clean out what they already have, show them how fortunate they already are for what they have now.  Give your family members limits on what they can spend on your kids. If you have older kids and your budget allows, have your kids donate gifts to the needy, a shelter, or sponsor a family for Christmas. Have them volunteer at a food bank or as a family take a few bags to the food bank. Living in today’s world that is so materialist, I think this is something we all need to do.  Also, teach you kids the value of saying thank you as well as how to gracefully be thankful for a gift that they just unwrapped but don’t like!
  7. Stress-less kids? This is a time that kids are super excited!  Remember when you were a kid at Christmas?  They have a lot of stimuli from all the toy ads on TV, so it might be a good idea to limit their time in front of the TV.  Sit down and chat with them about their wants, desires, expectations and then chat about giving to the less fortunate.  Talk to them about your childhood memories and realize that you are creating and shaping theirs.  Involve them in decisions about new traditions.  Make sure they are eating healthy, drinking plenty of water, limit their treats and make sure they are getting enough rest and sleep.  This can also be a busy time in school with reports and projects needing to be completed before their holiday break so make sure they are getting enough time to complete their school work.  Get them outside for exercise and fresh air!  This is also a time for the little germ carriers to be sick, not fun for the holiday.
  8. Traditions! I love family traditions!  And I love creating new traditions!  Think back to when you were a child and the things that you used to do as a family, create those wonderful warm memories with your kids!! Slow down and enjoy the holiday season, celebrate it lovingly, and involve the kids!  Look online or on Pinterest for some new ideas.  Have fun!
  9. Physical and emotional health.  Make sure you are getting your exercise too!  Get those kids outside and play, walk, hike, whatever you can find to do.  Don’t forget about your gym membership, even if you only have 30 minutes to use the treadmill or lift a few weights, or if you’re lucky enough to have a pool to swim a few laps.  Every little bit helps.  Don’t forget about your mental and emotional health.  For as much enjoyment and beauty as some find in the holiday, there is also disappointment, sadness and loneliness.  Meditate, pray, go to church, talk to friends, talk to a professional if you need to.  There is no shame in that!  Try yoga, sit and read or just sit and look at the tree and drink in the beauty and silence of the room.
  10. Keep your life and the holiday in focus.  Easier said than done, I get it.  But try.  It’s so easy to compare your holiday life to others and be sad that you don’t have what someone else has.  Life isn’t fair, but this is your life and you only have one shot at it so stay focused.  You don’t have to have a lot of friends or a big bank account to enjoy the very beautiful and simple holiday.  Celebrate with the love of the family and friends that you are still blessed to have.  Don’t get caught up in the commercialism, that’s not what the holidays are about.  Remember, what you put into this holiday gig is what you are going to get out of it.

Live and love well my friends!

A housecleaning schedule??

I have read, with excited interest, various pins on Pinterest regarding a cleaning schedule.

Monday do this, Tuesday do that.  I have even given it a try, it never works for me. It makes complete sense to block out time each day to do a few household chores. If we have a schedule, we will stick to it and chores will get done right?

Yea well not for me. I’ll get an invitation to dinner, or I’ll be too tired, or something…

I sit down Sunday evening with my planner and notebook and make a list of things that didn’t get done on the weekend and everything that needs done for the week. I love crossing off chores as they’re completed through the week.

Yea I still have an evening after work where I’m too tired or I meet someone for dinner but I just pick one thing from my list that needs done, finish that small chore and cross it off!!

Towards the end of the week, I usually have a small panic attach after reading over my list, and then I’ll start highlighting the most important chores. It’s my way of giving myself the evil eye and a warning that I better get moving or else!!!

And by Friday if I still have items on my list, which by the way…..I always do, I just save it for the weekend.

Now, I’m single living with just my pup, that does not shed by the way, I don’t have small children that live with me but I do have grandchildren. So yea it’s a little easier for me to keep things tidy.

Life is way to short to worry about cleaning that doesn’t get done! There are friends and family to hang out with, hobbies to enjoy, dogs to walk, yanno?  I still love a clean spotless house, my house is picked up and neat but it might not pass the white glove test…..and that’s okay with me.

If those cleaning schedules work for you, that’s great!  I’m envious that those planners work for you and wish they did for me.

Live healthy and happy!!!  Follow me on my Facebook , click on the link on the sidebar, you can also follow me on Instagram at kims_pictures.

Shopping at the Dollar Store

Some people wrinkle their noses at the mere mention of shopping at the dollar store. If that’s you, have you given any of the dollar stores a chance??  Dollar Store, Dollar General, they’re all pretty much the same.  Okay, sure one store has everything marked at $1 and the other might be a little bit more but it’s still extremely a buck or two!!

And if you’re like most of us these days, you have to do what you can to save.  The older I get, the wiser I become and the cheaper I get too!!! I’d love to retire in about 10 years so I’m super careful about how I spend my money.

When I need wrapping paper, gift bags, tissue paper or bows and ribbon, I’m heading to the dollar store. The selection is usually really nice, but for Christmas it’s the best value for your ….. dollar!!

Dollar store holiday  Dollar store holiday 2
Holiday decor, ornaments, and crafts; seriously you can’t beat it!!! Sure it’s not Pier One or Pottery Barn but with a little imagination, spray paint, and glue you can have some super cute decor!!!

Dollar store holiday decor

Anytime I need paper plates and napkins for a party or girls night I hit a dollar store. They have a variety of colors and for holiday gatherings the selection is usually  quite nice.   Same thing for party items; straws, balloons, crepe paper and tablecloths, you can make out like a bandit!!

Dollar store cards     Dollar store phone tablet section

I get my doggie poop bags, trash bags, batteries…. Oh and the hardware section isn’t bad either, be sure to check it out.  Certainly isn’t your top name brand tools that you want from Sears but nails for pictures, screw drivers, etc for just your basic home needs, it’ll work!!

Dollar store pet section

Candles, tape, picture frames.  Need to organize closets and drawers? Foil baking pans and freezer containers?  Stop at the $ store first! You’d be amazed at what you can find and make work!!

Dollar store candles  Dollar store organization 2  Dollar store kitchen

I like to shop for little stocking stuffers, especially for the grandkids. And for gift bags for adults , if you’re looking for little things to add to the gift you can surely find some things that will work.

Dollar store toys

Lucky for me there’s one of these little treasure stores beside my grocery store so it’s easy to make a run through before I hit the big store.

So, next time you need to shop, stop at one of the many dollar stores in your area first.

Live well friends!!

I Found a Treasure Chest!

Many years ago, I completely decorated my home in antiques.  Some were family heirlooms with sentimental value and many were purchased at local antique shops.  Since then my taste has changed and I guess I’m more modern now although I love to see  mix of modern and antique.

So, I am still working on settling in and fixing up my new home.  I very badly wanted a chest of drawers in my living room to use as storage for photo albums and other living room items.  I am also very stingy with my money.  Okay honestly…I’m cheap.

After browsing online and hitting all the local stores, I was frustrated.  New furniture is built cheap, yes I know I am cheap but…the cheap furniture is also expensive.  You know what I mean!!!

After deciding to hit some of the local antique shops, I cautiously ventured through a store just around the corner of my house.  And I certainly was not expecting to find something my first time out, but I did!

  
It was very rustic, VERY rustic!!!  I usually don’t care for things THAT rustic, but it caught my eye for some reason.  Oh, and the fact that is was CHEAP may have had something to do with it!!!  Listed at $65, and as stingy as I am and some encouragement from a friend, I asked for a lower price and got it!!

  
The chest is oak, has had some repair over the years and has what I think are hand cut nails.  And I LOVE the unfinished look!  

  
I think that is glue residue, not sure how to remove that yet.

The drawer pulls are comical though! They are not the original pulls, and they don’t match AND some of them are attached upside down!!!  

  
I think it adds character LOL!

  
The drawers do not slide well but my Uncle who is a carpenter, will be stopping by to give me some advice.

  
The lamp on the chest belonged to my parents, I added a more updated shade (instead of the retro shade it had!!).  But I’m thinking I might want something like a mercury glass lamp on the chest, yanno…that mix of old and new?! Family photo’s adorn the top and YES I am ready for fall, I just brought all my autumn decor up from the basement!

Now I’m searching for a hutch of some sort, glass doors, where I can display all my family dishes that I have collected over the years!

Live well friends!

My Private Oasis

Remember how I mentioned in an earlier post how cheap I am?  Well, having a privacy fence installed is not so cheap.

I hated writing that check!  Hated it!  But I love my private yard!!!  And I am hoping that a privacy fence has not only made my home more appealing and beautiful, but has increased the value.  Maybe that’s just wishful thinking with this economy.

My yard is flat, sort of, well maybe in a few certain spots, so they had to ‘step down’ the sides and there is one spot where my pup can and has gotten out.  That will soon be fixed.


My back yard is now a blank canvas just waiting for me to splash it with colorful plants and flowers!!!  Unfortunately with my shoulder issues right now I won’t be the one to be digging up the grass and planting the shrubs.  Maybe that’s a good thing??


I have been scouring the internet researching the flowering shrubs and plants that I love, trying to figure out what I can plant where with sun and shade. I would imagine that it’s going to take quite a bit of time to get this finished but I plan to get at least 2 lilac’s planted this fall, along with a forsythia or two!!


I plan to put a shed down in the corner (that’s the box in the middle of the yard, it’s a plastic shed!).  I’m trying to find something to provide a little bit of shade because I get FULL sun all day in the back yard.  I’d like a raised garden next spring too and maybe some sort of a water feature back by the patio.

Thankfully a lot of my friends have offered to divide up some of there plants and share with me!  I think those plants will be my favorite and most treasured!

What do you have in your yard that is your favorite and why?

Live Well friends!

Busy Busy Busy

Wow! I can’t believe I haven’t posted since January and still have my winter snow photo up!!! My bad!  I’ll change the photo sometime this evening!

Since that post I moved, and for a 55 year old single girl (okay, grandma)with Fibro, that’s a challenge!!  I also had to move everything out of storage, got rid of the kitties I adopted last July, and then unexpectedly was asked to adopt an adorable little 4 year old bichon-pooodle!

I have been steadily settling in and making changes and updates to my new home.  I have hardly cooked at all!  My diet has been mostly fruit, veggies, cereal and peanut butter!!  Dealt with several fibro flares.  And had a few minor melt-downs….

Spray painted these plastic urns that I found on clearance last year at Joann Fabrics.

Here is one of my Pinterest finds that helped moving my clothes a little easier!

And here are my curtain rods that I hung by myself and it took several weekends to hang 9 rods!  I only have sheers up for now. See that blind on the chair? That’s the blind from HELL!!

Working on getting a patio put in the back yard, I can hardly wait to sit out in the evening my a fire in my new fire pit!  Pictures later!

With all of the unpacking of storage boxes, I found things like my Mom’s high school jacket, a uniform my Dad wore in a band, several OLD camera’s among several other sentimental things!

Unfortunately, my white Christmas tree may be ruined!  The top part of the tree wouldn’t fit back in the box so I put it in a white plastic bag and it is now discolored.  I have not used the tree for a few years because with the fibro, running to storage to drag my tree and all the decorations back to the condo, was a bit much.  I was thinking of spray painting a light mist of white paint on it, but that could be a fire hazard.

I have also planted a few pots of herbs and did my first cutting of all the plants last evening. I have a planter full of mint.  In a separate planter I have sage, chives, rosemary, parsley and basil.


So this weekend I WILL BE COOKING!!!  I’ll also be making dog treats for my special little furball.


Hope you are all well and able to enjoy the nice weather we FINALLY getting!!

Live well friends!!