CHAMBRAY & POLKA DOTS


LET'S TALK OLD NAVY
The Old Navy store is hit or miss for me. I used to like it more when tho boys were younger as they has the cutest little boys clothes at great prices. Over the years I have usually gotten basics there like tanks, khaki's, fold over knit skirts, etc. Lately however, I am liking what they have for the ladies. Check out this versatile field jacket. They have a couple other colors but I liked the Chambray for Spring. And I love these Polka dot red ankle pants. So comfy, good quality and adds a little nautical to my wardrobe.
I made this outfit casual with the Keds and dressier with the calf hair leopard pumps, which are my favorite shoe in my closet!!



Chambray Field Jacket HERE
Red Dot Pixie Pants HERE
Keds Similar HERE
Calf Hair Leopard Pumps Similar HERE





Lots more Pixie Pants Options Here

Also, Loving Jumpsuits again. Here are two really cute sleeveless ones from Old Navy

Jumpsuits HERE


Go over to Old Navy and see what you think. Often, they have nice percentages off online too and I like how you can get clothing there for the whole family!

xoxo
"I don't think there is ever a wrong time for a polka dot."
~Marc Jacobs



BEST BEEF AND BROCCOLI

Hello, here's to the start of a great week! 
If you're like me sometimes you run into a "What to fix for dinner?" rut. On weeks like that, it seems like I stop by the grocery store way too often to grab this or that because of the recipe ideas that pop in my head. Here is an Amazing Beef and Broccoli recipe that is really easy and quick. I have tried many Beef and Broccoli recipes and this one is by far, the favorite.

THE BEST BEEF AND BROCCOLI


Sauce:
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp low-sodium chicken broth
5 tbsp hoisin sauce
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
2 tsp cornstarch

Beef and Broccoli:
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 1/2 pounds sirloin round steak cut into 1/8 inch pieces
6 cups bite-sized pieces of Broccoli
2 Tbsp minced garlic
½ tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp canola, plus extra for cooking
1/3 cup water

Directions:

1. In a medium bowl, combine beef and soy sauce. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 10 minutes or up to 1 hour. Meanwhile, whisk the sauce ingredients together in a liquid measure or small bowl. In another small bowl, combine garlic, ginger, and 1 canola oil. Set aside.

2.  Heat 1-2 teaspoons canola oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add half of beef to skillet and break up clumps; cook, without stirring, for 1 minute, then stir and cook until beef is browned around edges and cooked through, about 1-2 minutes. Don’t overcook the meat – cook until just barely cooked through so the meat stays tender. Transfer beef to a medium bowl and cover with tin foil. Heat another 1-2 teaspoons canola oil in the skillet and repeat with remaining beef.

3.  Add 1 tablespoon canola oil to now-empty skillet; heat unti hot. Add broccoli and cook 30 seconds; add water, cover pan, and lower heat to medium. Steam broccoli until tender-crisp, about 2 minutes. Push the broccoli to the sides of the skillet and add the garlic/ginger mixture. Cook about 15-30 seconds. Stir the mixture into the broccoli. Add the beef back to skillet and toss to combine. Whisk the sauce to recombine and add to the skillet. Cook, stirring constantly, until sauce is thickened and evenly distributed, about 1-2 minutes. Serve with rice. (We prefer brown) Enjoy!


xoxo

"I do not like broccoli. And I haven't liked it since I was a little kid and my mother made me eat it. And I'm President of the United States and I'm not going to eat any more broccoli."

FAVORITE HANDS AND FEET PRODUCTS



Happy Friday Sweet Peas!!
Has this winter been hard in your hands and feet?
I know mine get dry and I really like to have pretty hands and feet.
Do treat yourself to a pedicure now and then.
In the meantime, I take pride in my own little at home tricks and tips for pretty, nice and soft hands and feet!
Here are some of my favorites. Try em' and see what you think.

DEEP STEEP FOOT POLISH

I love this stuff so much! The pepperminty scent is intoxicating! My sister-in-law got it for me for Christmas and I was hooked immediately. I put a little on a washcloth in the shower and scrub my feet and lower legs. it exfoliate and smooths so well. They also have a foot cream you can follow with.
BUY HERE


MARY KAY SATIN HANDS KIT
This was a Christmas gift and is the Pomegranate scent. so refreshing. i has forgotten how wonderful it is. you prime dry hands with a pre-cream, then rub the scrub into hands and rub together for about a minute, rinse, dry, then finish with the hand cream. Such a treat! like a hand spa at home!


GOLD BOND HEALING FOOT THERAPY CREAM 


Before bed each night, I put on the Gold Bond Ultimate Healing foot cream. It works so good. It's in about ever drugstore and is just a simple, very moisturizing foot cream.



JOSIE MARAN WHIPPED ARGAN OIL HAND CREAM

 My mom first introduced me to Josie Maran products and they are wonderful. Josie has turned on a lot of people to the benefits of Argan oil. I first used the Apricot Vanilla Body cream and it is truly luxurious and moisturizing. I did not know she made the hand cream in the same scent too until my mom got me some as a gift. Oh boy, same love!! My hands never got dry this past winter after using this!
 BUY HERE


BATHERY LOOFAH
Oh Loofah love! I first bought this at target a few years ago for a beach vacation. While I do use it on my body, it is wonderful for the feet. I use some of the foot polish mentioned above and Loofah them to softness!

 CALLOUS REMOVER PEDICURE FOOT FILE
I love this thing!! When I feel a little callous start to form on the side of my feet below the big toe, I file away and lather on some foot cream. There is a file for smoothing on the other side as well.
Buy HERE

Here's to hands and feet readiness for the sweet summertime!!

xoxo
"Power and Speed be hands and feet."
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

ONLY.....SO LONELY


"Her name is Heather and she is my new baby sister", I announced to my first grade classmates.

But the truth was I didn't have a baby sister, a lie that was humiliatingly revealed when my mom showed up for parent teacher conferences the next evening.

Mrs. Sullivan, noticing my mother's flat stomach, threw mom for a loop when she said, "I'm surprised you're out and about already." "Huh", my mom replied. "But didn't you just have a baby? Andrea announced to the class she has a new baby sister!"
 
First Grade Photo

If only....
My mother was shocked despite Mrs. Sullivan assuring her that kids make up stuff like that all the time.

The truth was, even at the young age of seven, I desperately wanted sister, or even a brother for that matter.


I was an only child. While very much loved and cherished, still I was alone. To this day, I wished baby Heather had been real.

My parents have known, since my desperate attempt at an expanded family, that I wanted a sibling. It simply wasn't in the cards for my parents. Yet, I still tried. To my mom I would ask; "Are you sure you didn't give up a baby for adoption?" To my dad; "Are you sure no one is going to show up on our doorstep and call you Dad?"

My sweet mom when asked why she only had one child will say, "Well, when you get it perfect the first time, why try again?" Plus she makes it known when the stereotypical "only children are spoiled" topic comes up, that I was definitely NOT a spoiled brat. Yes, they only had one to buy for and devote time to, but it was done so with lessons of giving and compassion.  Genuine "Thank You's" were taught to me very early and to this day, I'd rather be the giver. For the things I do receive, I am grateful and have never once felt entitled .

While growing up, no one can deny the advantages of being an only child. My own room decorated the way I want, my parents undivided attention and a doggie I didn't have to share. Yet, I couldn't help but ache a little when witnessing my friends and their sibling camaraderie or their shared family memories.

The only child life didn't bother me as much in high school and college. Friends, dating and activities kept me busy. I'd become attached to a best friend like a sister. It was when that chapter of my life started to fade that the yearning for a sibling grew stronger.



Who's to say as an adult, I would even share a close bond with a sibling? However I do see friends bond deeper with their siblings over life experiences and I think about the future. I fell guilt because I worry about my parents own loneliness.

While I may not have a sibling bond, what I do have is an amazingly close relationship with my mother. She is my closest confidant, my partner in crime, my dearest friend and her concentrated love lifts me up. People even ask us if we are sisters. If only we were, I think, because then the inevitable might not be so bad if I knew I had fifty more years with her.


As I age into mid-life, the idea of facing my parents mortality alone is frightening. I think the cruelest is that when your parents die, you have no one left to share your childhood memories with, no one to say "Remember the last Christmas you believed in Santa?" Or "Remember making snow ice cream?" There's no one left to remember.....only you.............

My first Christmas 1971, Aren't my parents gorgeous!!
I am an only child but this factor does not define me. I'm blessed with a healthy mother and father whom I am close to, blessed with a husband and children who we create memories with. My parents taught me to be thoughtful, considerate, organized, and loyal. My sense and duty and responsibility to my parents runs deep.

While I'll always wish baby Heather was real, and at times feel like a lonely-only, I'll focus on what I do have and be ever so grateful for that!!

xoxo
"When so many are lonely as seem to be lonely, it would be inexcusably selfish to be lonely alone."
~TENNESSEE WILLIAMS

SEA SALT CARAMEL OATMEAL BARS


Sometimes a cookie or bar recipe comes along that just blows you and your diet away!! LOL. This IS that bar! I have often wanted to make Carmelitas but felt they need something else. Here is where the sea salt comes in. Oh man, gives them just that kick and crunch. These are so easy and word of advice: I know you will want to eat them soon after coming out if the oven. W.A.I.T til the next day or after they have been in the fridge at least 8 hours. Yes, we were amazed that night when I cut into a corner after cooling about an hour, but the next morning out of the fridge and into my mouth, I actually yelled "Wow, even 10x's better!"
Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!! Yum  

INGREDIENTS

Kraft caramel bits or 35 unwrapped caramel squares
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp. course sea salt, divided
3/4 cup butter, melted (1 1/2 sticks, salted or unsalted)
3/ 4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup whole-rolled old fashioned quick oats
1 cup milk chocolate chips or chunks (I used Ghirardelli chips)

DIRECTIONS 
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8×8-inch pan with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray. Lining your pan is highly recommended for ease of cleanup due to the stickiness of the caramel; set pan aside.
  2.  Combine caramels and cream in a medium saucepan, and heat over medium-low heat to melt, stirring nearly continuously, until mixture can be stirred smooth. Stir in 1/4 tsp. sea salt, Set aside.
  3. In a large microwave-safe mixing bowl, add the butter and heat on high power to melt, about 90 seconds.
  4. Add the brown sugar, vanilla, and whisk until smooth.
  5. Add the flour, oats, baking soda, 1/4 tsp sea salt, and stir until combined. Mixture will be quite thick.
  6. Add half of the mixture to the prepared pan, and smooth it with spatula or the back of a spoon, to create an even, smooth, flat layer; set remainder aside.
  7. Bake for 10 minutes. 
  8. Remove pan from the oven and evenly sprinkle with the chocolate chips.
  9. Slowly and evenly pour caramel sauce over the chocolate.
  10. Evenly crumble reserved oatmeal mixture over the top.
  11. Return pan to oven and bake for about 15 to 18 minutes (I baked 16 ), or until edges are lightly browned and center is bubbling slightly.
  12. Bars will seem like they are not done, but trust me, they will be awesome if you let cool for 4 hours, refrigerate at least an hour and then cut into squares. They will keep in the fridge up to a week and can be frozen as well. 
The kind of sea salt I used and good ole' Quaker Oats!


xoxo
" It's a sin to waste chocolate. It's in the Bible. Ghirardelli 3:17."
~Terri Guillemets

EASTER MADE EASY

FLOWERS & FANNIE MAY CHOCOLATE!!!
 These two things will make your Easter easy, gorgeous and so very yummy. For me, you cannot go wrong with Flowers and Chocolate. Yes, there is a lot more that goes along with this precious celebration but give me pretty posies and sweet teats and I'm set!!!!

Here are some great and easy Flower Centerpiece ideas that won't cost much.

Come on.... lemons in a jar, perfect. Of course another great use for mason jars. 
Love the simplicity and elegance.


My FAV!! Miss Martha Stewart has done it again!! Stick a inexpensive small flower bunch inside a small glass jar or vase. Put that in a larger clear glass container and fill with small hobby store decorative plastic eggs. Hobby Lobby has bags of these for $1.99


I have been seeing decorative take out containers everywhere. Again, great selection at Hobby Stores and I saw stripped ones yesterday at the Dollar tree! At Christmas I like to buy them to package goodies as love the handles to carry the treats. Stick your tulips in a jar or can and just set down in the container. Easy Peasy.


PEEPS you did it! You managed to make me love you. I do not like your taste but as a centerpiece..true admiration!! Look how easy that is. If you are like me you may save old clear food jars thinking, I may use this someday. Well, there you go, all these clear glass vessels coming in handy. Remember flowers in one smaller jar, stick in another and just arrange a row of peeps!!


Last but not least. These glass vases, cups, pitchers, mugs, etc with chalkboard slates on them are everywhere. Simply write something Easter-ish with chalk and throw in the posies. Good to go!

........................................................

Now, to the Yummo Confections of Fannie May.

I love good chocolate with European brands being my favorite but my Mom and I stumbled upon Fannie May years ago while shopping and fell in love with their milk chocolate vanilla buttercreams.
They are such a rich and decadent treat.


I especially love Fannie May at Easter. They box up cream filled eggs, quadruple the size of the regular cream filled chocolates in adorable packaging and they make the cutest little gifts.



Everything you need to fill baskets or create a dessert tower is beautifully packaged at Fannie May and they will wrap and put together things for you.

Come on, who can resist a Buck Teeth Chocolate Bunny Sucker???
These are a Fannie May Best Seller
For all your Chocolate needs BUY FANNIE MAY HERE


Love this sweet pic and quote......
 HAPPY EASTER
xoxo

HE IS RISEN!!!!!!!!

HAULIN' & SELLIN' S...!

I am not a big user of profanity and you won't see it much here on the Blog. However, when emotionally charged in the moment, sometimes it slips. I think mothers can benefit when we are honest about this. We don't need to sugar coat our parenting experience, we need to be as down to earth and truthful as we can.

Our boys know we would be uncomfortable if they swear so there is guilt if a cuss word should slip in their presence. If by chance they let one slip out, we don't ever hear it, so at least we have made our feelings on profanity known and they feel "cuss word" guilt too. Truth is sometimes we can say very hurtful things without ever uttering a single potty word.

So, this is the craziest habit of all my crazy tics. There are 2 words in the English language that I feel the need to put the word $h*! behind.
They are:

HAULING
and
SELLING

Weird I know, although when inquiring with friends if they do this, I did get an overwhelming, "yes", probably never realizing before it was something they did.
Yep, so this is how it goes~Husband says:
 "What are you doing with all those boxes?'
My reply: "Haulin $h*!"

"What are you doing in the office on the computer?"
Me: "Selling $h*! on ebay."

Why do I feel the need to add the $h*!?

Then it continues.....
I tell my husband he needs a big truck to "Haul $h*!" or I need to have a garage sale to "sell some $h*!"
Truth is I don't know what I'd be haulin' and I don't sell stuff THAT often. I just like saying it!!

Maybe it stems from one of my favorite day dates I had with my husband soon after we were married. He had a Chevy Avalanche and we loaded it up one rainy Saturday with junk from combining our households to take to the county dump. Oh yes, most women would say "boring" or "gross". Not this girl! I think of our little jaunts as adventures. The rain made it a tad muddy so we had some fun spinning those tires.
We laughed, we acted silly, we sang to the radio admiring the tidy dump procedures in the massive pit and
I bet that day I said "I love Hauling $h*!"




P.S. Invest in some rubber rain boots. Trust me it helps on those "dump days!!"
PLUS, ABOUT 8 YEARS AGO THEY BECAME FASHIONABLE!! Can anybody say "Hunter?" WHOOPIE!!

xoxo
“Why use profanity in real life and writing? Because sometimes 'darn it' just doesn't cut it.”
Jacqueline Patricks
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