Monday, April 14, 2014

Spring Back Your Body Challenge (SBYB): Week 1

It's a happy, rainy Monday in my city.  I am thankful for the rain.  I have been outside and running around like a crazy person since last Wednesday or Thursday.  It feels great to be getting back into homeschooling now that spring break has ended. I thought I would be more irritable, but I am all right with it today.  The rain helps.  I have no desires to be outside.

Something else that I am getting back on track with is my fitness plan.  I keep falling off the wagon and getting back on, and the scale does a lovely dance between less than 200 lbs.... and right back to just over it.  I got really inspired over the weekend, and decided to dive in headfirst this morning to jumpstart (or REstart, rather) my fitness routine.

There is this group on ...YouTube?  I believe it's there, but maybe also Instagram.  People are doing the "Spring Back Your Body" Challenge.  I have been added to groups like this in the past and I never kept up with it, so we will see what happens here.  I do know that it is important to let everyone know what your goals are so that you feel some pressure and accountability.  That's what this will be here...  Just a place for me to document my progress and set some goals.  Unfortunately, what few readers I have will have to suffer through these unartistic and non creative post.  Hopefully, someone will feel inspired, though. I only plan to post once per week.  I will be honest, reading post after post about how much someone weighs, what they ate, and the workouts they did is BORRRING!!!  Even though I read loads of such material on a regular basis.  It's still pretty fucking boring.

Don't ask why, but I feel the need to quickly clarify something about myself --- I am not unhappy with myself.  I have a fitness goal that I want to achieve so that I can regain my confidence.  Wanting to feel more confident is not the same as discontentment.  I am happy and healthy, but I can see several areas that I would like to transition from *happy-fluffy* to *HAPPY TONED*. 

All of that being said, let me clue you in on my plan: 

Yea... that's kind of all I got.  If you were expecting that I had some sort of special recipe for success, well, I don't.

I have a checklist of workouts that work your whole body that I will do daily.  I know there are several approaches to how you should schedule your workouts.  I am doing what works for me.  And right now, I need to get used to moving my ass on a daily basis.   If you are interested, leave a comment or contact me, and I will email you the checklist as well :-)  Share the wealth!

I am doing this in addition to an hour of cardio at the gym.  It'll be a combo of elliptical, bike, and treadmill, depending on how my knee is holding up.  I also live near a variety of parks, so I will be out with friends and my Little Darling "Getting our miles in", as we like to call it.

What am I eating?  I am going to try and stick to a 1500 calorie budget.  Right now, some days, I eat twice this, and some days, I only manage enough time to eat half of this.  I think that forcing myself to maintain this plan will help me have more energy and curb cravings for sweets...  mmmmmm Sweeeeetssss....

For the next three weeks (I am breaking everything into 3 week time frames) my meals will be:

Any kind of eggs (scrambled, fried, poached, boiled) on multi-whole grain toast (NO butter or cheese) and some tea.  I usually drink Black spiced tea, but I will be alternating between that and some detox tea every morning.

Lunch:  (Option 1) Chicken/Fish with steamed mixed veggies and a quinoa/brown rice mix.
             (Option 2) A salad, comprised primarily of mixed greens and cucumbers with a vinaigrette dressing and maybe an egg if I am starving .... which I was today!!

Snacks:  I don't snack.  I don't buy snacks. I have fresh fruit for my Little Darling and Kiki, but I never snack.  After working out in Beast Mode today at the gym, I came home  ravenous, so I will have to do something about that.  Maybe some fresh veggies, since I am not the biggest fan of fruit.
Until I get some ideas together for snacks, I am just going to drink this tea

I make it on ice with some honey and a little sugar.... I simply cannot drink tea without some sort of sweet something happening.  Otherwise, it just tastes like grass to me. LOL.

That leaves me about 600 calories for dinner, which will just be some soup.  Usually, by the time dinner rolls around, I am BEAT!  I am exhausted, hot, brain dead, and irritable.  I enjoy cooking, so I still prepare a family meal, but I am excited about not having to go all out each night because I won't be eating along with the fam. I am the Goddess of healthy soup recipes.  I can pull a low cal, healthy, filling soup outta my ass like nobody's business.  So that's what it'll be for dinner for the next 3 weeks.  I'll share recipes, of course.

Also-----  WATER, WATER, WATER!!!!!!!  I'll be aiming for 60 ounces per day.  I'll have three 10 oz glasses of lemon water (eeeeew!! ß I HATE lemon water.  It's my least fave, but really good for detox & bloating) in addition to three 10oz glasses of plain water with my vitamins, with meals, and during workouts.

 For me, it's easier to just stand there and drink the whole glass of water.  Lord knows I can chug a 10oz can of Coca-Cola in a blink!  So forcing down some water should be just as easy, right?  I hope so!

My stats for right now:
Weight: 198lbs
Waist: 35.5"
Hips: 44"
Thighs: 26"

Let's see if there is any difference in these numbers by next week! 

Happy week to you all.  And if you have ANYTHING to share (fitness inspiration, blogs you like, advice, recipes, workout ideas, or even just YOUR PERSONAL GOALS) PLEASE, PLEASE share with me!!!  I would be really grateful.  It takes a village, people!

Thanks in advance and GOOD LUCK with whatever your goals are this season!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Lost & Found

I have been impossibly lazy today...  I mean, there has to be a special sort of crime offense related to how lazy I have been.  I wish I could chuck it up to not getting to bed on time last night, but I have insomnia.  I am a functioning insomniac.  I wish I could chuck it up to the episode of craptastic weather we've had here.  Actually, that's what I am going with!!  I have a sinus headache and my whole face, ears, nose, and throat are all throbbing.  Not even to the same beat.  Just random pulses.  Because of this, I have spent most of the day in bed, only getting up to hug my Little Darling, check on her, and feed her. 

I have had a busy weekend.  We were blessed with some lovely weather this weekend.  Can I just take a small moment to acknowledge something about myself?  I realize that, when I am getting into a new project, I HYPER FOCUS!  I mean, I don't want to eat, drink, sleep.  I don't want anyone to talk to me, so I am extremely bitchy for no reason other than to deter people from wanting to come around.  I am like a rabid squirrel, all cute and minding my own nutty/craft business until someone tries to pet me, and then my razor sharp, disease ridden teeth come out and I go cray-cray.

Fortunately, The Hubs adores me, even in my "crazy artist" mode that I go into.  There really is someone for everyone, I tell ya!  He risked his life to break me away from my latest projects and made me go for a walk. We walked for about 2 hours, pushing Kiki in a stroller, as our Little Darling ran around, picking flowers.

It was fun, and honestly, my brain needed the break.

These are some of our findings on our impromptu nature walk.  I found this scrapbook paper in my huge pile of papers.  Thousands of sheets, to be honest.  This is my favorite set.  I can't seem to bring myself to make anything out this cardstock, so it's usually just featured as the background in photos.  I would never say that I hoard things, but I know that I am the hardest core of hardcore paper collectors.  I *heart* Paper.

These flowers and branches we found were everything this weekend!  Such beauty!  I love the beginning of spring.  I seem to forget, every single year, that all this beauty and nature exists.  Do you ever feel that way?  I think I forgot about all of this especially this year because our winter was extra long! 

Sorry about the over-exposure in the photos.  As I have mentioned so many times, I live in a cave, with terrible lighting.  However, I am really excited to announce that I have PHOTO EQUIPMENT!  WOOT WOOT!!!!  I have been waiting to buy lights, backdrops, a tripod, and photo editing equipment for YEARS!  And now, I have........ Such a scary realization!  However, my true anxiety and apprehension lies in trying to figure out how to work everything!  I am a "tech-tard", so if you hear a wild, waling sound in your city, just know that it's me, BumbleBri, screaming out of frustration.

This weekend didn't just bring loads of photography equipment, I also got CLOTH NAPKINS!

The quick story behind the cloth napkins:  My friend *S* and I were shooting the shit one afternoon and we both agreed that we are too poor to be throwing money away in the form of paper towels.  So we talked about buying kitchen towels and rags in place of drying our hands and cleaning with paper towels.  Then, *S* tells me of her plan to buy cloth napkins, which I honestly had never thought of.  So I took her glorious idea and used a $50 gift card to Bed Bath and Beyond that I won at a real estate event hosted by some other friends last year.  I managed to score 50 cloth napkins and still have enough money on the gift card to pay the taxes and shipping + handling. 
Yea, I did a cheer and a series of old school dances from the '90s (running man, sprinkler, cabbage patch)  I also have a stack of 20 spring colored napkins (pink, lime, sky blue, bright yellow) in addition to the autumn colored ones.  I love warm, autumn colors, but I know my Little Darling loves *All Pink Everything*.

If you are a mama on a budget, this is the BEST investment.  Nothing bothers me more than literally throwing away money!  If anyone is ever interested, I might (MIGHT!) post a tutorial on how to make your own cloth napkins.  It's reasonably easy and before I remembered the gift card, I planned to just sew my own stash.  Hoo-ray for saving money AND the environment  ��

... So yes, I am well aware of the fact that it has been a while since I have posted about projects.  I have been working on so many different things!  But, for today, I will show something that I lost a long time ago.

About 3 years ago, I worked on what might have been the ugliest crochet project I planned on giving away. 

Uhm, needless to say, I changed my mind about giving this to anyone because it's ugly.

So I am taking this apart, what's left of it, and combining the yarn from this project with a huge bag of miscellaneous yarn scraps and making this

Simple granny hexagons.  I don't think I will have enough scraps to turn this into a blanket, but I can certainly make my very first pillow cover.  I am so nervous about it.  I have no clue about how to turn this into a pillow cover, but I suspect by this time next week, I will have figured it out!

This is what I have so far...  So let's see what happens in the next week or two.  Who knows, making pillow covers might be my next obsession.  As if I need yet ANOTHER ONE!  Ha!

Happy Tuesday to you!!!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

100 POSTS!

Yay!!!  Today is my 100th post! If I were cool, I might have planned this out better...  If I were cool, I might have something special to report or some amazing project to show.  If I were cool, I might have gotten together a giveaway...  Uhm, but I'm not.  Ha!  We all know I am not.

I actually just wanted to stop here to document one of my favorite recipes... and then I noticed that this will be my 100th post.  I LOVE FOOD!  I love to cook and bake and EAT, so I guess it seems fitting that this milestone would be captured and remembered by food :-)  I am not complaining about that one bit!

Today is rainy day number two in my city.  I am not complaining about that either.  For me, as a mom, I am not able to just sleep the day away, like I used to do when I was younger and single.  But the same concept applies, while we are home on spring break.  Rainy Day = Do Nothing Day.  I am letting my Little Darling and her buddy in crime, "Kiki" do their thing today, as I catch up on domestic responsibilities.  I thought I was caught up at one point...

Next thing I know, I look up, and HOLY MOLY!  I realized the load in the dryer had been in there since... how long?  Who knows, but the dryer full of towels, socks, and undies was almost empty.  That means, we have run out of clean things and have been using what's in the dryer so much that we have used an entire load without my ever having bothered to fold it!  So yes, laundry is so going to happen today.  I also have other things to do... Boring things.  Housework, to me, is so mundane!  I love having it done though.  I think better with a clean an organized space.  I just don't want to be the one to clean or organize! Why can't there be some trading system?  I love to cook, and in exchange for cleaning services, I will meal prep for a family.  Bam!  Problem solved.  Mystery Family is well-fed for a week, and my apartment is cleaned for the week.  I wish!!

Yesterday, was a play date.  That really translates into "Children, occupy yourselves with play while the moms gab for a few hours".  I loved it!!!  My friend *S* is literally one of the coolest, most intelligent, and hilarious people I know.  She's so laid back and down-to-earth. She and her family are truly a joy to have around, and so easy to spend time with. No make up, No dress up, No fuss, No concealing the hot mess you might truly be, and No judgment.  I love, live for, and CRAVE those sorts of relationships!!!

In honor of my getting to spend time with *S*, I made an apple cake...  I mentioned before that I love to bake :-)

This apple cake comes from a recipe that I found somewhere years ago.  I wanted to make it, but I didn't bother until about 6 months ago.  Since then, I have changed so much about the recipe to make it taste the way I want.  So, because of that, I will post how *I* make the cake, rather than the original recipe.  If you want to know about that original recipe, leave a comment or contact me, and I will give it to you.  So, without further babbling, here's my recipe for APPLE CAKE!

3 medium Granny Smith apples (I imagine you can just use for your favorite apple.  This is mine.)
2 tablespoons cinnamon (If this seems like a lot, use less.  Cinnamon is good for you!)
1/2 cup Original Bisquick mix
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon melted butter/margarine
2 eggs

(Optional) Streusel Topping
1/2 cup Original Bisquick Mix
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped walnuts and pecans
1/4 cup wheat germ
2 tablespoons margarine

Prepare the batter:

1. Preheat the oven to 350° Farenheit
2. Peel and cut your apples
I slice my apples nice and thin after they're peeled.  I don't like apple chunks in my desserts.

3. Sprinkle the apples with the cinnamon and stir with a spoon to evenly coat the apples.  Set the apples to the side.

4. Mix the Bisqick, sugar, heavy cream, melted butter, and eggs in a bowl with a fork or whisk until completely blended.  It should be similar to the consistency of cake batter, but a little less thick.
5. Prepare your pie dish. I used a 10 inch pie dish. And yep, I am poor, so no fancy shmancy prep here.  I used BUTTER, baby!  Smeared that pie dish with good, old margarine :-)

Make the Streusel (Optional)

Mix all the ingredients together.  I do not like large chunks of walnuts, so I chop mine down further.
Is it me, or do the walnuts appear to be in the shape of a heart?  Ha :-)  That's how much I love baking!!

After you have everything in a bowl, use a pastry cutter or a fork to further break down and combine the ingredients for the streusel.

Put It All Together:

1. Place a layer of apples on the bottom of the greased pie pan.
It doesn't have to be a perfect layer.  Over-lapping is fine. 

2. Pour the batter over these apples and then place the rest of the apples into the batter.  You will have much more apples than batter, and that's perfectly fine.

This way, the apples won't all be on the bottom, which makes it difficult to get a nice, clean slice of cake.  The batter won't all be on the bottom, which makes this pastry too "cakey" and the batter turns brown during the long bake period.  So: Layer of apples, pour batter, add the rest of the apples.  Perfect combo.

3. Cover with the (optional) streusel topping

4  Bake at 350° Fahrenheit for 45 minutes.  Let it cool, and enjoy!!
It will look like this.  Sorry, no cute food play pictures with this one!  I was in the middle of having talks with friends when I noticed... that the cake was gone!  Ha!!! 

Everyone really enjoys this apple cake.  Either that, or I have VERY GOOD FRIENDS!  I am sure it's the latter, but that doesn't mean the first statement is any less true.  So this is for all the friends who have asked for the recipe :-)

Have fun with this and GOOD LUCK!


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Searching for Signs of Spring

Wow!  It has been quite a few weeks since I have made a post.  It's not that I haven't been working on projects.  I have.  It's not that I haven't wanted to post.  I have.  I haven't exactly been lazy.  Or have I?  Maybe it's all of this and none of it at the same time, you know?

Last Monday, I did my usual:  Breakfast with Blog Reading.  And it seemed like all I read was blog after blog of all these women who were somehow unsatisfied.  These talented, creative, intelligent, beautiful women were unapologetically opening their hearts and blogging about some sort of dissatisfaction or longing they were currently experiencing.  I thought to myself:  Here's your shot!  Get on the bandwagon and do the same thing, girl!  Own your feelings! ... Well, clearly that shit didn't happen!  I am never comfortable with communicating my feelings.  I typically just come across as bored, annoyed, or angry.  Sometimes it's an eclectic and frightening mix of all three.  Before I know it, I am apologizing, arguing, and defending myself.  You know, since my feelings aren't valid, and all.

Where is all this coming from?  Well, a couple things have happened...

One, I had my 31st birthday.  No, I don't think 31 is old.  No, I don't feel old.  It's not one of those things.  I just had this long list of things to accomplish by the time I was 30.  Clearly, NONE of those things have happened...  And I knew that from the beginning of the year.  And I was OK with it, up until about three weeks before my birthday.  Then, I fell into a fit of depression.  I stopped doing anything and everything, except for the absolute bare minimum.  My birthday was two weeks ago, and I am just now coming back into my normal state of mind.

Believe it or not, my barely-there dad really pulled me out of my funk last week, when he took me birthday shopping.  My dad has never taken me birthday shopping.  Ever. For years, he actually would always (pretend to) forget my birthday.  It never bothered me, and if he hadn't made an effort for this year, it wouldn't have bothered me either.  He insisted, however.

While we were out shopping, my dad was his usual completely crazy self, cracking jokes, having small breaks from reality, and passing on random bits of wisdom about the craziest shit that only MY DAD would say.... hermaphrodites... leggings aren't pants... how he, at 51, would make the best damn security guard and JC Penny (which was robbed as we pulled into the mall-- we witnessed the action) would not have been a victim of thievery... how he has special skills to detect when someone is an innocent, old man, and when they are a perp...  and my personal favorite:  how single moms dig his work uniform and find him sexy. Yes, "That's just gross, Daddy" was my response to that last one! Ha!

Anyway, I just needed to feel important and noticed for ONE SMALL MOMENT!  I am not saying that I am ignored and treated badly, but it makes such a big difference when someone insists on spoiling you. When they take time out of their day to do something sweet for you and it's all about you, only.  I kind of felt like a kid again.  With no thoughts and no worries. It reminds me of this time, when I was 5 or 6 in Berlin, Germany.  I had ridden my bike all over the military base all day long because that was the first day I learned to ride without my training wheels. Well, I was happy and proud of myself, but my muscles were so tired.  For some reason, my mom wasn't around, and I was really upset about the pain.  My dad carried me and my bike home and then took me out for ice cream, just so I would "feel better".  Such a small gesture.  So many years ago.  And thinking of it still warms my heart.

So now that I feel a "revived" so to speak, I have some plans for things I just want to get done...  No timeline!  But I am very eager to get to work, however.

I also learned something today, while walking through my neighborhood with my Little Darling:  You have to search for happiness.  When you find yourself in a rut or a dark spot, you have to seek out the light.  I have been really bummed out about this never-ending pattern of freezing cold winter storms we seem to be unable to escape. Yesterday was nice, but my brain and body didn't comprehend the change in weather, and I stayed indoors all day. But today, I went out on a mission to find spring and a little inspiration while I was out. 

This is what I found :-)

A nest, surrounded by budding branches.

Spring has finally found my city!

My Little Darling insisted that I take a picture of the buds she found, insisting they'd grow into berries.

Finally!  Some green on these branches!

These impossibly beautiful flowers that seemed to have popped up overnight!

I found everything I needed today.  All the happiness the world could possibly offer.
 And she's right here :-)

Monday, February 24, 2014

Little Boy Blue

Good Afternoon!?  How's life these days?  For me, it's going...  rather well, for the most part.  In my city, around this time of year, we experience all four seasons in one week.  Sometimes this will happen once or twice and then we transition into the new season.  Sometimes, the "all for seasons in a week" trend will go on for weeks.  For example, we had 3 days of snow, then 40s, 50s, 70s, and snow again.  That was just the past week... Needless to say my joints are achy and my sinuses are killing me.  But what's a girl to do, right?  My Little Darling happens to feel just fine.  Energetic as ever, which means, aside from the occasional nap to get my bearings, I need to be up and at'em, working full throttle to take care of her.  Funny how stay at home moms find this sort of superhuman strength to preserve through any ailment when it means taking good care of her babies.

So I am almost done with all the color combos for this granny square quilt pattern... and then I will stop boring you to death, I promise!!!  OK, that's silly.  I might still be a little boring, but that can't be helped!  This is a combination of colors I like to refer to as "Little Boy Blue".  I think it fits.  I am obsessed right now with making things for little boys!  They are such a mystery to me, since I am raising a little girl.

My next quilt will be featuring these colors/yarns above.  The squares will be outlined in a brown.  I am on the hunt for some interesting borders for boy items.

Right now, I am considering baking something...  I can bake almost any sort of fruit-related pastry!  Apple cakes, Lemon cheesecake, Raspberry bars, Banana bread...  So today, I figured I would share a recipe with you...  I've never done this before, so it may be the worst recipe you have ever tried to use, but I need to live a little and step up to the challenge of sharing more food adventures, since that is a passion of mine.  In the spirit of this Little Boy Blue blanket, I will share my recipe for BLUEBERRY MUFFINS

3/4 c each  - whole wheat flour & all purpose flour
1/4c - wheat germ
2 1/2 tsp - baking powder
1/2 tsp - salt

2/3 c - sugar
4 tbs - oil
3 tbs - butter (melted)
1/4c - lemon juice
2 eggs

2tsp - lemon zest
1 1/2 c - fresh blueberries

(Optional - streusel topping)
1/3 c - whole wheat flour
2tbs each - wheat germ & brown sugar
2 tbs - diced, cold butter
2/3 c - chopped walnuts

Prepare the batter:
1. Preheat oven to 375F
2. Prep your muffin tin with liners, or grease thoroughly
3. Whisk together your first 5 ingredients in a large bowl and set aside

4.  Beat the butter, oil & sugar until well mixed with a hand-held electric mixer
5. Add the eggs, lemon zest, & lemon juice; mix well

6.  Stir in the dry ingredients, mixing by hand thoroughly
7.  Add the blueberries and carefully mix by hand

When you are finished with all that mixing, your batter should look something like this:

Notice, I didn't smash any blueberries.  I feel that they maintain so much more flavor when they're not smashed prior to baking.

8.  Divide into your baking cups

9.  THIS IS OPTIONAL:  Prepare the streusel topping:

Mix all the optional ingredients together.

Use a pastry cutter to further break down the walnuts and to blend in the butter better.  If you don't bake as much as I do or if you don't hoard rarely utilized kitchen items, then just use a FORK!  It works about the same :-)

Sprinkle this mix evenly amongst the muffins and bake for about 20-25 minutes , or until a toothpick is inserted in the center and comes out clean.

.....  Because I am a Foodie, and I like to play dress up, sometimes I even play with my food....

My finished muffin in a handmade cupcake holder/decoration and some blueberry acai berry tea.  But this is just playing...  When I am ready to eat these babies for breakfast or for a mid day snack, it looks like this:


Yes, I have made myself hungry and crave sweets...  I'm about to raid my pantry and see what I can throw together for a dessert tonight.  It's going DOWN!

Happy Monday �� �� ��

Friday, February 21, 2014

Sharing A Little Love

Oh goodness!  The weather here has been so much better!  A huge improvement from all the freezing temperatures and the freezing rain.  I am so happy about the warmer weather that I refuse to even accept the fact that the change in temperatures and barometric pressure is giving me headaches.  I am just happy to be able to leave my balcony door open for a while to let some air in!  Cabin Fever is so very real!

The past week has been a little hectic.  I have been busy as usual, but I am always extra busy when there is a holiday or birthday.  Last week, I had both. Valentine's Day was Friday and my dear stepmom's birthday was Saturday.  We had so much fun on both days.

I have to admit that I am always jealous of those who plan things out so perfectly.  You know who I am talking about.  The ones who plan out their holiday crafts at least a month in advance so that they are prepared to blog about it along the way.  That's the difference between someone who knows what they are doing and is a serious blogger... and yours truly, here, always blogging about things late!  Ha!  Well, I take my family time and holiday time more seriously than blogging, so around the holidays, I really am tuned into the quality time rather than finding time for editing photos and blogging.

I did do a reasonable amount of Valentine crafts this year.  More than usual.  My Little Darling and I made Valentine's for her cheerleading squad of 11 girls.  Then we made a special gift for my younger sister who is very close with my Little Darling.  And then we thought, Why stop there?  We have so many supplies left over!  And so we made little cards and gift bags for everyone in my family to be handed out at my stepmom's birthday dinner.

This is the card my Little Darling made for her Omi.  I wrote the 5 things for her, but this is her hand print and she wrote everything else on the outside and the other side of the card.  It's funny that buying a child sweets (poptarts) can be the reason they love you so much!  The small things...
This is a little felt heart that my Little Darling sewed by hand.  I did the hot glue for the embellishments and I also wrote the words in the fabric paint. My Little Darling did all the sewing and she stuffed the heart herself.  I think I need to invest more time in teaching her to sew.  She's clearly very good at it! My mother also taught me when I was very young, around 5 or so.  My Little Darling is a little older than that, so I am behind in passing on what I learned.  She was so proud of herself when she finished stitching the heart.  Nothing feels better to a mother than to see her child feel a true sense of accomplishment.
And now on to my personal projects...
Another baby quilt done in granny squares, using the same pattern as the other blanket.  I don't know why, but I have been obsessed lately with making these quilts in different colors.  Eventually, I will need to make a decision about what to do with them!  For now, I have one more in mind...  That will give me a total of 5.  Oh!  And I apologize about the odd angle!
My husband bought me carnations and roses.  I love carnations!  Those flowers last foreverrrrr!  I found the little box with the rose decorations at Goodwill for a dollar.  Such a sweet find.  I will likely be using it often in pictures because I don't know what else to do with it other than stare at it.  It's just a cute piece of art in my life right now.

Call me crazy, but I love dying flowers...  Let me be clear, dying, not DEAD!  I love the subtle wilting on the petals and the color change.  I specifically waited until I had these flowers for a week before I took pictures of them.  Don't get me wrong.  I love fresh flowers as well. They're beautiful, but there is something bittersweet, a romance of sorts, associated with flowers that are dying.
So Beautiful!!!  ... or am I crazy?
Well, right now, I am about to have some lunch.  I was quite sick a couple of weeks ago and I believe I nursed myself back to life with hot, spicy, vegetable soups and hot spiced teas...  I also managed to lose a few pounds on this diet of detox soups and teas.  With the weather changing, people are falling sick all over again.  I am determined to wash out whatever illness I come into contact with for sure!
Last night, I made a delicious vegetable soup.
All this, a sweet potato and some spices.  Very hearty.  I usually make this soup with no meat in it, but I added some sausage this time.
This is the only way I can eat chickpeas... 
And this is the end result!  I think I'll have a bowl right now.
Have a great weekend!