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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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How we are doing gardening this year.

This year has been another wet year here in Southwest Arkansas. This means for us our yard/garden has standing water. Every time the water dries up enough to till for the garden, more rain makes it’s way to our little part of the world. Don’t get me wrong, I love having the rain but it does make having a huge garden hard. Since we do look forward to eating fresh veggies out of our garden, we had to find a different way to make this happen. After much thought, looking on pinterest, and research the decision was made to do raised beds this year. Yes last year we had one raised bed (cinder blocks) but it was just not big enough and the extra soil I bought was not good for growing all we planted.  This year we are using these.

I like to call them my tomato bed and my squash bed. As you can tell I didn’t following planting instructions. (Sorry Jessica. But do go check out her post about gardening.) I wanted to make sure we planted enough for Glitter Bug to participate in the farmer’s market and still get our share of fresh veggies. 
So these beds started as four 2x12x12 boards. Hubby and talked about it and figured 2 feet wide would allow plants room and still allow me to reach anywhere in the beds with ease. Hubby measured and cut 2 feet off each of the boards to make the ends. and screwed them together.  The moving to the backyard was fun. (Thank goodness Hubby keeps things. He had a pair of wheels we used to roll them to their place.) 
Next we had to fill them in with some kind of dirt. We chose top soil from Atwoods mostly because we are limited living in our small town but bonus because the top soil was on sale. I was glad it was because we ended up using 48 bags of top soil. Glitter Bug was even working hard dumping bags.
Here are what the final project looked like. A great part is since we didn’t make a place for the raised beds. We just put plastic down and the ground being lumpy the water doesn’t sit under the bed. Yay! 

 Our hands after getting all the dirt done. The family that gardens together has some of the best fun.

What do you have growing? Any plans for a garden? Please share in the comments. 
Until we next meet,
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MAKE.. whatever happen

Let me first say Thank You for returning after the long break. It was a good break to recharge and renew. We made lots of memories.

The holiday season was the most laid back we have ever had. Truthfully I don’t think there were more than 10 pictures taken. For me the best part was living in the moment and not through a lens trying to get the best shot to share.

2015 taught me to slow down, enjoy life, and make time for the small things. We never know how much we have with anyone. That lesson was the hardest my little family had to learn. We had to say goodbye to a wonderful man. I am grateful for every day spent with my father in law and being a part of his family.  2016 tried to take off on us and complicate but deep breaths, slowing down prevailed.

Speaking of this year, I have decided to participate in the one word focus. (Last year was potential.) I kind of bounced the idea of not picking a word and just see what the year brought. However the word “Make” kept popping up. Thoughts like “make more memeories,” “make life happen,” “make time,” “make your dreams happen,” “make crafts,” “make chances happen.” These thoughts would jump out in the quite time like washing dishes, folding clothes and driving to work. This year is going to hold lots of make and truthfuly,  I am ready for it all.

What is your word or focus for this year?

Until we next meet,
A

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Trial of the Unplugged

A couple of weeks ago, I felt the need to unplug from the digital world and spend some real face time with my family.(Both Hubby’s and mine) With the exception of Instagram.

 It was a good experience. I do suggest doing it every once in awhile to get your bearings.

 Glitter Bug and I got to hang out more. It felt great to connect with her and hear the things she was doing in and outside of school. She has matured so much in the last few months.

Hubby and I enjoyed each other company while watching some movies together.

And I got to read a couple of books and finish a project and start a couple of more. Plus clean my house. I am more of a winter cleaner than a Spring cleaner. Help is always welcome. There maybe cookies as well.

Until we next meet,

A

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Family Mini Vacation Part 2

   I said I would post more this week, so y’all ready to go on a picture vacation again?

    We knew we couldn’t go a week long vacation due to having a cat (Isabella), two fish (Name who is a Goldfish and Blue Jay Fish who is a blue beta fish), and a garden. Hubby and I decided a weekend mini vacation would be the best idea since we have already been taking day trips to show Glitter Bug what is around our part of the state.  This time we wanted to get out and show her more of the state and cross off something on the list we made when she was born. So Petit Jean was our destination.

     I had never been there before but Hubby had been. So he was ready to show us the park. One thing he said we had to do was the Cedar Falls Trail. When we started out about 9 am I was looking forward to it. I mean how hard could it be? Then there were signs telling you if you had health problems not to go. At this point I was thinking: I don’t think I can do this. I am out of shape and never done anything like this before. Hubby said it will be okay just take it easy. On the way down it wasn’t so bad.

Look at the size of the rock. Sorry for the quality, I was being a mountain goat. 

    There were so many great pictures I was able to get. Go check out my Flicker steam to see them all. They will be up this afternoon. 

   We did all the normal tourist things. We hiked Cedar Falls, Bear Cave, Rock house, and Turtle Rock Trails. We went to all the overlooks, which are amazing!! 
One of the overlooks. 
The is from Cedar Falls Overlook.

Turtle Rocks!!

Hubby and Glitter Bug on Cedar Falls Trail.

Right behind Mather Lodge. 

Daddy and Daughter loving the rocks.

A photographer in the making.

Arkansas River in the left hand side. 
Glitter Bug and A 
   I don’t think we will forgot this trip any time soon. It was wonderful park to visit. If you get the chance you should check it out. 
Until we next meet,
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Mini Family Vacation

     We just got back from a Mini Family Vacation in our home state. We were so excited to get to take off and go see what our little state ( Arkansas) offers.
 
      Hubby has been telling me since right after Glitter Bug was born he wants to take Glitter Bug and myself to one of his favorite state parks from his childhood; Petit Jean State Park. We were not disappointed. There is so much to do and see I think when we go next time we will spend more than just a couple of days.

    I will post more about this later this week but just wanted to share a couple of pictures of this great State Park has to offer.

Worth it even though it is back up the mountain.

There is also the overlook to see.





Some rocks I had to take a picture of for our rock hound: Glitter Bug.

I  promise to post more about our trip later this week. 

Until we next meet,
A



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