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Memories, Unbirthdays and Love

You would have been sixty this past Saturday but you will forever be fifty-eight. It was a hard day not to think of what would you like and not go get it. Instead I pushed myself into my work and kept going. However Facebook reminded us it was your birthday. It was  sad but happy because it reminded of the good times with you.

Sometimes memories flood back which helps keep your memory alive. It is not always something on social media but just the everyday things. The one thing that never fails to remind me is your little lantern you bought to go camping with. You let us borrow it because we were going camping and didn’t have a light to use in the tent.  You didn’t get to use it  yet but wanted us to use it so we could be safe. Before I could return it, you got sick. Then it didn’t seem like such a big deal. Now every time we go camping, your lantern comes with us. In fact we just used it when the light went out during a storm. Simple little things. Of course the shirt which was made for the Cancer walk. I don’t wear it but  it is sitting in my closest and sometimes I just look at your picture.

I would have to say one of my top three favorite memories is you asking if I would like some coffee when we came over. The first time you asked me, I told you no I don’t like coffee. Your response was: “It’s not that you don’t like it, you are just not old enough.” So every time we came over and you had coffee (which was every time) you would ask me if I was old enough to have coffee yet. By the way, I am still not enough to have coffee.  The memory you are best known for is your love for God. You were a steady rock in your faith and didn’t waver. You were always happy to talk about your faith and share with anyone your love for God.  Another to memory is the way you welcomed the “extras” into your family. We weren’t daughter/son in-laws we were your kids. It was not marrying into the family but we all became one and were your and Linda’s kids. You and Linda loved us like your own and still do to this day. I can’t forget about Glitter Bug. I have  a folder with just pictures of you and her. It isn’t much because you were not much on having your picture taken. I will share the one that melts my heart and just happens to be her favorite one as well. 

It has been two years and I have tried to write this post so many times. Every time ended in tears after a couple of sentences. This time there have been tears but mostly warm feels and  wonderful memories. I am thankful I got to be one of your daughters and promise to keep your memory alive for Glitter Bug.

 

Until we meet next,

A

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Building an Ottoman from nothing.

Just about every month now, Hubby and I have a kid free weekend thanks to my parents. As I have gotten older I have come to understand I won’t always have my parents and one day I am going to wake up and wish Glitter would have gotten to spend more time with them. So once a month I can give up a couple hours to take Glitter down and hang with them as well. The rest of the weekend is up to us and we are loving the time together.

We had one of these weekends recently and decided it was a perfect time to get a project off the “to do list”. Before Hubby and I got started, I had the naïve thought: “Oh this won’t take too long and should be done in plenty of time to go out for dinner.” Y’all, it took so long! I am not kidding. What I thought would be a couple of hours turned into two days!! Bless my Hubby’s heart, he never faltered and keep me going when I wanted to quit.

The project started off with the idea of turning this box into an ottoman to go with my chair.

Just a little FYI, there is always more than meets the eye. We started with trying to sand off some of the paint. We found out the paint was latex paint and was gumming up the sandpaper. After 45 minutes and 5 pieces of sand paper, we opted to just strip the paint.

As the stripper started working, we found out there was multiple layers of paint. It started with the brown/reddish, which covered the blue. The next layer was red, then led to gold, like Christmas gold. White waited under and finally found the original color which was military green. No, the box was not a military box but rather a plywood box someone hastily put together. The hinges had been replaced and painted over as well. After an entire can of stripper, we finally gave up.  We only had three sides done and lost about 2 and half hours until finally I threw in the proverbial towel. That moment is also when my dreams of repurposing furniture died, I think.

A quick trip to the local hardware store and big box store, found us back at home to start on building an ottoman. I thought about how big it should be and told Hubby. He didn’t question he just started cutting the wood. After it was cut, he handed me the Bosch multi tool with the sander attachment on it and told me to get busy sanding. (Hey Bosch, let’s talk about a series of posts using your tools. We are game!) As I finished sanding, Hubby started putting the sides together. Y’all a two-foot cube is HUGE for an ottoman!! When I figured it out we were low on daylight so we only had time cut the cube down to one square foot and high tail it to our uncle’s shop. There we spent the rest of the evening trying to finish up. By 10 that night we had enough and ready to bed.

Sunday was the last day we had to get the ottoman finished and to pick up Glitter. Painting was the main objective for this day. The ottoman had been put together the night before and was waiting on us when we got started. I chose a bright shade of blue called Centurian Blue by Kilz. For the fabric cover to the padding I chose a cream color fabric since the blue was bright and the chair I paired it with is gray.

 

I got it painted and mostly done before we had to go get Glitter. Thankfully my parents had already told us they were going to make supper for us. By the time we made it home it was late and Hubby agreed to stay at the shop and finish the little things, while I put Glitter to bed. He installed the hinge and put on the final touches like the knob and the wheels. The final product was done about 10:30 at night. I couldn’t have been happier with it. The ottoman looks amazing with the chair.

If the right project comes up again I would be glad to use the power tools. Painting is always fun as well. Have you ever built something or repurposed furniture? I would love to hear about it!

 

Until we next meet,

A

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Recycled Container Craft

Continuing on my year of discovering, I want to craft more. Tonight was just the right night to do a little craft. If you found your way here from Instagram, welcome! Feel free to poke around, see what is here and share!

So, today at work I used the last of these wipes and was left with this container.  I could have thrown it away but decided to try something crafty.

 

I have been seeing on my Facebook feed yarn bowls, if you don’t know what I am talking about go google it and come back….

Back? Like I was saying, I want a yarn bowl but it is just not in the budget right now. Then this little gem landed in my reach and I was going to make the best with what I have.

First thing was to peel off the label. I got lucky because it was just a sticker. I ended up with just a white .

From here, all I needed was to add Mod Podge to help the fabric stick to the tube. I just happen to score a deal at my local big box store last year and think I will be set for a long time. 

I know my Hubby was happy to see me finally use this fabric which I just had to have a couple of months ago. I knew I was holding on to it for a reason and I am glad I did. I folded a bit of the fabric down and ironed it so it would create a straight line which would make the top a clean start. 

All that was left was to cut to length and mod podge fabric to the bottom but not to the top because I felt this would keep the yarn from coming out right. This was a really quick easy craft. This would be a great craft for groups or little kids.

Here is the final result.

Until we next meet,

A

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Snow in Southwest Arkansas

The title kind of gives away what this post is about.  It is kind of a big deal here. We don’t get much snow and even just a little is a big deal.  And NO I didn’t make a run for milk and bread. Not all southerns are like that. Some of us do know how to drive and aren’t too worried about snow. Ice on the other hand is taken very seriously. We got lucky by just getting snow and our Highway Department kept the roads clear! (YAY for them!)

It was too good of a chance to pass up to not take some pictures. So here is some of the pictures I took.

 

 

Did you get any snow?

 

Until we next meet,

A

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New year, new word.

January 1st is here in full force. The year is still a clean slate but not for very long. My mom has always said whatever you are doing on the 1st is what you will be doing the rest of the year. I am traveling to pick up my Glitter with Hubby while writing. If what my mom says is true, then this year will be full of moving, family and words.

With today being the beginning of the year, I would also like to share my word for reminding me what goals I want to tackle and overcome. This time I would like to talk about last year’s word and what I did. 2016’s word for me was “make.” Last year many people said it was a bad year however for me it was a good one. There were many decisions and goals to make and overcome. The big one for me was to make my health a main issue. In past years, I have attempted to change my weight, eating habits or my exercise goal without any success. 2016 changed that for me. I had/have some health issues which caused me to make the changes to be a healthier me. I have lost over twenty pounds, 2 pants sizes and 2 shirt sizes. I have no plans on stopping with those twenty pounds.

With the changes in place to be a healthier me, I set a goal of 25 miles extra walked. I started this in October but came up short with a total of 10.87 miles. I was honest and posted the results and asked for help to make my goal for November. I could have had just stayed down but I made the same goal and beat it with 25.43 miles.

There were other things which went along with my “make” theme but I didn’t update like I thought I did.

2017’s word had me puzzled for a few days. I asked Hubby to help me think of words and we came up with quite a list of words. I stewed on them for a few days and one just kept coming back to me after talks with my mom and friends. “Discover.” This word may not seem like much but to me it keeps nagging at me. I am not sure if you have ever clicked on my “About Alicia” page but it is blank. I just haven’t found the words to describe myself. I could use words like: mother, wife, daughter, friend but I feel there is much more to me than those. I am not saying I am not proud to be any of those but rather it is time I figure out who I am without those words. I need to discover new things about me.

I welcome you to join me on this journey of discovering and share your thoughts on your word for the year.

 

Until we next meet,

A

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Ornament Exchange 2016

For the last five years, I have been participating in the Arkansas Women Bloggers ornament exchange. Since our group is not just based in Arkansas, it has been opened to The Women Bloggers. When this was posted, I jumped at the chance to take part again.

Before I share about this year I would like to share my past ornaments I have been given. My first ornaments were from a blogger who is no longer blogging. When this box arrived at my house there was no clue to what was in there. However, the felt ornaments that came out where so cute.

The next year was star with the “A” in the middle surrounded by the polka dots. This jewel came from Jessica who blogs at Life with the Bauer Bunch .   The package arrived all wrapped up in matching paper. Now Jessica and I have become offline friends as well as our kids. This is also led to becoming friends with other bloggers. We get together as much as possible including what is turning into a yearly girl’s weekend.

Year three brought a ball of acorns to me, literally.  My exchange blogger lives in the same town and brought the ornament out to me while I was at work.  This one came in a cute red and green polka dot box. There was a note explaining the acorn caps came from their own place and how the little coffees were going to making their own ones. She still blogs here and she even wrote about the process of making my ornament.

Last year brought a different kind of ornament. I got placed with Momma Coffee again. She out did herself by making a reindeer out of twigs and a wine cork. Unfortunately, Glitter was helping getting Christmas ready this year and she broke the reindeer. Poor thing melted and felt very bad. I took this time to let her know no matter what happens as long as you are safe then that is what matters.

This year’s ornament arrived in the mail in a regular mail box but the box could not hint at what awaited inside. It arrived from Stephanie who is the founder of  The Women Bloggers. I have known her since she lived here at Historic Washington State Park. She has become a good friend. She doesn’t blog as much but you can find some great stories on her blog here.

Y’all, I was not expecting what came tumbling out of the box. There was not one ornament instead there were five different pieces. When I saw this one it became my favorite one.

This was on a shirt I got at Megaphone this past year and I wear this shirt a lot because it is how I want to be. The ornament was like a little reminder to keep this in mind.

Here are the other ornaments which were in the box.

This exchange has become of my favorite holiday traditions I take part of each year. I hope next year to share the new ornament to make its home on our little tree.

 

Until we next meet,

A

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Playing Catch Up

The last month or so has been busy for our little family like most of everyone else. We are learning to say no to somethings and start slowing down but this year was not the year to make it happen. Instead it was filled to the brim and we enjoyed everything the season had to offer. We partied with family and friends, went light looking, watched all the Christmas movies, sent the cards out and ate more than we should have.

Also I enjoyed a social media break. I try to do this around the holiday season because I want to be present for what time I have with my family.  However, I am back!  I am ready to send 2016 off and get 2017 rocking.

To get y’all caught up here are the highlights since my last post.

Glitter had knee surgery and has healed great. The only bad part is she has fallen a couple of times and busted it back open but it is much better. Glitter has also made the all A honor roll both semesters. She is enjoying the gifted and talented program at school. She has turned into quite the reader. There have been times where we have to tell her to put the book down to get ready to go to school. It seems like an inconvenience but I need to remember she could be attached to screens instead of books.

Hubby and I are doing fine. We got to celebrate 10 years of marriage this year.  We managed to slip away for a long weekend without Glitter. I got to enjoy Megaphone Summit and he got to enjoy some ac and not having to work. (This was great for him since he works on air conditioners.) This conference was nice for me. I got to see more of my blogger friends who I haven’t seen in a year as well as getting to know some people better who I have been following.

Speaking of the conference, I learned a few things but more importantly it was good for my soul to hang out with these women and men who all have the same thing in mind: To lift each other up.  I even got a reminder of this by way of the ornament exchange Th e Women Bloggers do each year. Check back in a couple of days to see what I got.

If you follow me on Instagram, you might have know the big thing I made last month. I set a goal of walking 25 extra miles aside from my normal walking. I tried this in October but fell very short. November was the magic month for me. I broke my goal and also made me want to crush the goal more each month I make them.

I am excited to share and grow in 2017. I hope you will hang around and share with me.

 

Until we next meet,

A

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Beef Tips with my favorite rice

One of my favorite meals has always been beef tips and rice. Over the years, as I have grown, my tastes have changed, but still my favorite meal has stayed the same.

It all started with my mom. I am sure most of us can trace our favorite meals back to something our mom cooked. These remind us of home, our childhood, and memories. All the things we are fond to think back on. Back to my mom though, she was a whiz of making supper out of nothing.  However, this was not one of those times. I can remember many times we have had things which were close to beef tips, but never was.  She decided to use the last of the rice and stew meat. She also made her own gravy.  I was not expecting the result. It was truly amazing and I couldn’t wait for her to make it again.  Surely there were other times she made this but the first time is what sticks in my mind.

I wanted to share this experience with my daughter and husband. My first few attempts were not as successful as I would have liked. There was something I was missing and I could not figure it out. The rice always clumped together and made a very sticky mess. Even by following the directions on the package the rice was still sticky. My quest continued for the best beef tips.

Finally, I found the perfect rice for this dish. I happened to stumble upon it at my first blog conference. Riceland was one of the sponsors for both the conference and the Saturday lunch I attended. At the lunch we all got a box of some of Riceland’s products. One of which, I had not heard of, was Riceland Gold Parboiled Long Grain Rice.20161031_114906

I didn’t know how I wanted to use it. The rice sat in my freezer waiting for me to figure how to put into use. Then the light went off in my head. You haven’t tried this for beef tips. At first it seemed a little scary because I do not have a great track record of cooking rice. If you have the same problem this rice should be your go to.  When this was cooked the rice was so tender and the best part… it didn’t become one sticky mess!! Y’all in that instant this rice became my favorite.

Fast forward four years and I am still using this rice. Now when my daughter sees me get this out of the freezer she knows it is time to have her favorite supper too. I wanted to share our super easy recipe for beef tips and rice since you spent all this time reading with me. I cook for a family of three and enough to have leftovers the next day so it will be different if you just want to cook a single meal. Just reduce the amounts accordingly.

 

2 lbs of stew meat

1 ½ cartons of unsalted beef stock

3 tablespoons of better than boullion beef base

Brown gravy (enough to make 3 cups) mix

Salt and pepper to taste

Put your meat into the crockpot and season. Add the beef stock, brown gravy, and beef base. Stir well. Set on high for 6 hours.

In the last 30 minutes of the cook time, cook your Riceland Gold rice according to the back of the package.  I cook 6 servings of the rice.  But instead of using water use the correct amount of beef stock.

Put rice in bottom of bowl and add the meat and gravy to the top. It is really that simple.

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You can buy the Riceland Gold rice here. What is your favorite rice?

Until we next meet,

A

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Time brings change

As the old adage goes: Time changes everything. This applies to my little blog now.  In the past I have focused more on Glitter Bug but as she grows things have changed. The stories she is living now are hers to tell or keep to herself. She nows dreads the flash of the camera. This change has prompted me into rediscovering what makes me outside of being her mother. ( I will ALWAYS be her mother no matter what.)

I thought  a quick post about sharing this would help explain where things are going and I hope you stay around to see where we end up. If not, that is cool and it was nice to have you here. I have just been told by Glitter Bug there are still a few stories she will let me share so she will still be around a little.

 

Until we next meet,

A

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