Thursday, November 29, 2012

Buy one, Gift one from Stella and Dot

Click here to go to the Stella and Dot website
 

 This was just TOO nice of a feature from Stella and Dot for me to not give it some attention.  As you all know, I am VERY patriotic (hence the name) and I truly value what ever Soldier, Spouse, family member, etc does for our country.  And here is a way for everyone to give back to them.  Plus you can buy a Christmas gift in the process.

What a better way to say thanks this time of year.  A special thanks to a dear friend who showed this to me, if you are in need of a Stella consultant, she is great.  Check her out here!

So if you are looking for the perfect gift or hard to find one, please consider Stella and Dot's fixed charm pendants.  I know some military service women and family members that will get a nice surprise because of it.

Enjoy,

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Happier at Home



Being happy in my own home has always been something I strive for.  Making the most of where I am and what we are doing at the phase of life we are in, is something the Army has helped me learn.  I made the comment to my husband that the Army taught me to make the most of the moment, and he disagreed with me and said, "No that is something you figured out all by yourself, because there are many people living the military life that aren't happy where they are and never will be."  Wow pretty powerful statement from someone who hasn't lived in our own house 3 out of the last 6 years, because of deployments.  He really made me think about what makes me Happy at Home....and as I was surfing other blogs and websites the other night I wandered across this link and really thought about each thing it recommends.  It spoke to me so much, I wanted to share it and add to it.  So here goes.

The link I stumbled across is....at Apartment Therapy (of all places)...and it has 10 simple tips to make yourself happier at home.  Here is what they are.




1. Make your bed.....  Ok, I understand, you are busy....and for years I never thought this would make a difference in my life.  It was warm and cozy when I got out of it, why make it, when I can just crawl back into it.  But somewhere along the way, I think I grew up a little and began really appreciating a newly made bed.  Now I have to admit, there are still some days that the best my bed gets is the blankets pulled up and the pillows thrown back up to the top of the bed.  BUT I really do like a freshly made bed.  Something about the peace at night it creates.  The article these tips are from mentions The Happiness Project book which also says this is one of the simplest tasks you can do to affect your happiness.  




2. Bring every room back to "ready."  This one is a little tougher.   In my search to always be more organized than I currently am....I have found that if everything has a place it is much easier to do this.  My sister-in-law used to joke that the best way to clean is like the real estate agent is about to show your house.  There is something to that....because if you have ever cleaned like that, you realize that it doesn't take too long...and you feel SO much better when the clutter is put away.  I am a realist enough to know that some times certain things just don't have a place to BE in your home.  So I try and plan for even the unexpected.  My office sometimes is the catch all for those items, but now that I don't work, I promise myself that even that gets a once a week thorough cleaning to stay on top of it.  I find that the overwhelming feeling of cleaning a room you haven't done in a while is a blocker in itself....so back to "ready" is a great idea.  "Clutter creates stress" is a known fact....so go de-clutter!!!





3. Display sentimental items around your home.  For me, this is one of the easiest on this list, because I am very sentimental by nature.  As we travel thru different phases of our military life, I have SO many things that mean so much to me and bring back good memories that I have a hard time displaying it all.  (Remember, I don't want clutter! ;O)  "Make your home a gallery of positive memories" is a quote from the original article that spoke to me!  I love photographs and love to display ones from our family's great memories.  

4. Start a one-line-a-day gratitude journal.  How better to go to bed with a positive spirit than to think of something your are thankful for or a positive memory of the day.  I am a glass is half full kind of person, and I truly believe that in all situations, you can find something good about it (or in some cases....about a person).  No matter how bad or how good things are, if you chose to dwell on the negative your happiness will not be what it could be.  If you always chose to find the best in the situation you are in, you will naturally be happier!!!  

5. If you can't get out of it, get into it.  Oh this is a favorite....especially in our military life.  How many times have I felt like "I just don't want to do this" (DEPLOYMENT, for one)....but life continues and as in deployment if you can't get out of it, which we usually can't and don't try....get into it.  So my way of surviving those were to work for the Army and help others survive deployment as well.  It worked for me, in a quirky way.  I gained wonderful battle buddies, learned a lot, and helped others by being able to say, you too can do this.  So in your life if there is something you just don't want to do, but have to do....dive in head first and make the most of it.  I challenge you!!!  I copied this next part straight from the Apartment Therapy list, because I loved it so much.  "This tip comes from The Happiness Project. I love the message: The dishes are not going to clean themselves, so you will do it, and you will like it! (Unless, of course, you can outsource this job, in which case I say: Nice work!) Otherwise, get into doing the dishes. Feel the soothing warm water on your hands. Enjoy the tickle of the tiny bubbles. Crank your favorite album at an unusually loud volume, do a couple fist-pumps while shouting "Can I get a hell yeah for the dishes? Hell! Yeah!" and pretend you love it."  Haha...but a great example!!!




6. Before you get up each morning, set an intent for the day. Goals....they are what help us be more and get more out of life.  All the way down to the day to day goals.  Most people have long term goals, but what are your short term day to day goals and are they helping you get to where you need to be to manage your long term goals???  Well said here...."Setting a daily intent makes a huge difference. Your daily intent could be something like "be productive" or "enjoy today's delicious moments" or it could be something more specific like "say thank you to my loved ones today." But it should not be another "to do" item on your list."  My intent today is to enjoy the snow that is falling outside!  

7. Do small favors for your housemates, expecting nothing in return (not even a thank you!). (That's right, I said it: nothing!)  If only we could all in this world live by this code....I DO believe everyone would be happier.  The unhappiness comes from when you expect something in return.  Then you set yourself up for failure.  Do something nice and just get joy out of the fact that you did something nice!!!  "It's a well-known fact: When you do good, you feel good."  So go do good deeds (without anything wanted in return!!!)!

8. Call at least one friend or family member a day.   I can't say I totally agree with this one.  I really don't like to talk on the phone.  I would much rather write a handwritten personal note and mail it (old school) to make someone else's day.  The writer on the original article says that email and texts don't count, but I believe that they can.  Just to let someone know you are thinking of them.  I have received a text photo from a friend who saw something that made them think of me and they took a photo and sent it to me....I felt so good that they thought of me, it made my day.  So my basic suggestion is to make sure you are reaching out to family.  


Our homemade pizza
9. Spend money on things that cultivate experiences at home.  I firmly believe in this one.  Make your home a place you and others want to be.  We love nothing better than to make our own pizza's on our Big Green Egg grill and watch a movie at home all snuggled up!!!




10. Spend a few minutes each day connecting with something greater than yourself. "Whatever your spiritual beliefs — or non-beliefs — may be, studies show that connecting to a high power is correlated with happiness. Just stepping back to realize that we are part of an enormous universe can put some perspective on your annoyance with the those-are-definitely-not-mine-and-they-are-abso-fricking-lutely-repulsive socks under the coffee table. Before bed, spend just a few minutes contemplating something larger than yourself. Take a walk in nature. Write in a journal. Create a sacred space in your home."  


Enjoy looking from the inside out....Be Happier in your Home!!!

Well I hope this inspires you as much as it did me.  I must admit I always strive to create my surroundings that I want to be in.  So much so, there are days I am VERY happy to stay home all day.  And really look forward to those kinds of days!!!  

Enjoy your happier home,

Monday, November 26, 2012

Fall off the bone, Ribs on the Big Green Egg


There is nothing better than Ribs on our Big Green Egg.....so yummy!

I believe we have adapted and fixed and added a few items to, and tweaked our recipe enough to finally find some of our best ribs ever this weekend!  Here is a few tips to our secret recipe.  I have decided not to share all the details, but to give a few how-to tips.


  We started with our favorite blend of spices for the rub.  We coated the ribs with the rub and refrigerated over night.




















 The next morning we unwrapped and placed on the Big Green Egg.


A few additions under them helped to flavor them well.

Pecan wood chips
Apple Cider Vinegar in the drip catch pan





















Once the ribs cooked for a few hours, we then brought them inside and prepared tin foil wraps to sauce them up a little.






















The sauce we use is one of the things that we have worked hard to perfect!  Use any sauce you like, but the key is to wrap up tight in the tin foil for the next hour to seal in the moisture.  Place back on grill.

The Guru really helps us maintain a low temp for extended periods of time!
Next we pulled the ribs off, unwrapped and added our favorite barbeque sauce lathered on the ribs.  (we use different sauces in these two steps!)  Place back on grill unwrapped for 30 min or until desired tenderness.


Slice, serve and enjoy!!!


Friday, November 23, 2012

Frosty the Snowman


Here is just proof that you can make something out of almost nothing.  I was toying around with this scrap piece of wood and wasn't sure it could be anything.  BUT....I decided a snowman was something I might be able to make!  This was made from a scrap piece of fence post.

Next time you have a scrap piece of wood, get creative.




Thought this could inspire you to make something out of not much!!!


Enjoy,









This post is linked with Beyond the Picket Fence link party at...

Beyond The Picket Fence

Also linked at Cheerios & Lattes link party at...


 

Also linked at....


Three Mango Seeds

Check it out!!!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving Morning Sticky Buns


Happy Thanksgiving Day
My prayer this morning is that everyone is having a healthy, happy and family filled Thanksgiving!  Keeping all the deployed Soldiers and their Families in my prayers too!!!  I am very Thankful to have my Soldier home this year for Thanksgiving....this is only the 2nd one in the last 5 years that we have had him with us!!!  

Here is what our Family is enjoying for our breakfast this morning.  Hope you can enjoy this recipe as much as our Family has!  

Sticky Buns

Ingredients:

Buns:
  • 1/4 Cup Warm Water
  • 2 1/4 tsp Active Dry Yeast
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 Tbsp White Sugar
  • 1 Cup Milk, Scalded
  • 5  Cups Flour, sifted, divided for use
  • 1/2 Cup Shortening
  • 3/4 Cup White Sugar
  • 2  Eachs eggs
Syrup:
  • 1 Cup Dark Corn Syrup
  • 1/2 Cup Firmly Packed Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Honey
  • 1/3 Cup Butter
Filling:
  • 1/2 Cup Firmly Packed Dark Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp Nutmeg
  • 1/4 Cup Butter softened
  • 1/2 Cup Raisins (Optional)
Directions:

1.  Mix filling ingredients (1/2 cup Brown Sugar, 1 TBSP Cinnamon, and 1/8 TSP Nutmeg)  together and set aside.

2.  Place warm water in a cup and add the yeast to it.  Add 1/2 tsp of white to it.  Watch it grow.  Set aside.


3.  Prepare 3- 9inch round baking pans.  Lavishly butter the sides and bottom of the inside of the pans.

4.  Sift 5 cups of flour (We use the King Arthur unbleached flour for best results!)

  
5.  Next step is to Scald the Milk....here is how:  Add salt and one tbsp of sugar to the milk in a saucepan.  Over low to medium heat, heat until you see tiny bubbles along the edge of the milk.


6.  Allow milk to cool to luke warm. 

7.  Mix yeast mixture with Scalded milk.  Gradually beat in flour.  Beat mixture together.  


9.  Set aside to get bubbly.  The mixture will bubble up just slightly....cover while waiting on it.  



10.  Meanwhile, beat shortening, 3/4 cup of sugar, and eggs until fluffy and light.

11.  Once the yeast mixture is bubbly, add in the shortening mixture to it in large spoonfuls at a time and beat together.  



12.  Once it is thoroughly mixed in, begin adding remaining flour.  Don't beat hard, just mix in.  The dough should be quite sticky.  


13.  Cover and set aside, out of drafts to double in size.  This usually takes an hour or more.   Sometimes on cold New England days, I have to warm my oven to 200, then turn off and place dough in slightly warm oven to get it to rise here.  



14.  In the meantime, make your syrup.  Add all ingredients for syrup to a saucepan and heat over a low temp until all sugar and butter is melted and no longer grainy.  Make sure you stir constantly...so it doesn't burn.  



15.  Allow to cool just slightly, and add 1/3 to each lavishly buttered cake pan.  (If your family likes walnuts, this is where you can sprinkle a few into the syrup...unfortunately my gang won't eat it that way....so we make without the nuts!)



16.  Once dough doubles in size, turn out 1/2 of dough at a time onto a floured surface.  Begin to kneed and then roll out into a rectangle.  


17.  Once you get it the size you want, spread softened butter over complete surface.  



18.  Next take filling and spread 1/2 of it all over surface.


19.  We sometimes add maple syrup over top of the filling (NOT a must do), just when we want to really give a sugar rush....haha!  But then begin at one side and roll tightly together.  



20.  Once rolled up, slice in 1 inch thick pieces.  Place in pans with room between.  Don't overcrowd the pan, they need room to expand when cooking.  



21. Because we usually make these the day before baking them, we cover in Saran wrap and place in refrigerator.  

22.  Next morning, bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees.  And WaLa!!!



23.  Once out of the oven, before they cool, turn upside down onto a plate!  We serve hot!



Whew, OK that was a lot, but I promise they are SO worth it.  It makes enough that you can make some to keep and some to share!!!   As we are enjoying ours this morning, we hope you too will enjoy this recipe. 

Happy Thanksgiving,











This post is featured in a Wednesday Link Up on....The Hungry Little Girl Blog!

HungryLittleGirl
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