Happy 2018!

Finding a church

We’ve been going to church every week for about a month and a half now. If you’ll remember from my 2017 Goals post (link HERE), finding a church was on my list. Well, we’ve tried out two different churches since January and have found one that seems like a good fit for us.

The initial search began shortly after we moved here, (3 years ago) actually. I started doing exhaustive research online and had narrowed it down to two churches that I was interested in. But then life got in the way and finding a church fell to the bottom of the “to-do” list.

When I decided to resume the search recently, my husband and I sat down and discussed what we hoped to find in a church.

Here were our specifications:

Continue reading “Finding a church”

Happy 2018!

Homemade cranberry sauce


Confession time: I grew up eating canned cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving. Given my proper, Southern upbringing, you’d think that canned cranberry sauce would be verboten, but that was all that I knew until my mid-20’s, when I started watching the Food Network and saw how easy it was to make homemade cranberry sauce.

I’ve been making our cranberry sauce for years now and it’s so easy and really makes a huge difference in the flavor of your holiday meal as well as the presentation. See what I mean?

Image courtesy of www.thefrisky.com
Image courtesy of www.thefrisky.com


Here’s my recipe for homemade cranberry sauce. It can be make several days in advance and even frozen, so consider making a double batch and using it for Christmas dinner as well. 

Cranberry Sauce

1 (12 oz) bag of fresh cranberries

¼ cup of orange juice

½ cup (or more to taste) of sugar

Cinnamon to taste

(optional ingredients: fresh rosemary, allspice, nutmeg or chipotle–probably not all at the same time, but try a different spice or herb each time you make a batch)

Homemade cranberry sauce

  • In a medium saucepan, combine orange juice, sugar and 3/4 cup water over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved.
  • Stir in cranberries and bring to a boil (the cranberries will pop open while cooking. This makes the sauce thick and beautiful.). Reduce heat, add cinnamon and any other optional herbs or spices you’d like and let simmer until sauce has thickened, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let sauce thicken further. Let cool completely before serving. You may also put the cranberry sauce in a food processor or blender to get rid of the chunks.

Cranberry sauce

Consider canning the canned cranberry sauce this year and taking your Thanksgiving feast up a notch! It’s easy, delicious and might become a Thanksgiving tradition, like in my home!

Happy Thanksgiving!


Happy 2018!

So very thankful tag

Megan and Wendy participated in the “So very thankful” tag and I enjoyed watching their video on YouTube, so I’m going to participate too. 

Image courtesy of http://www.meganandwendy.com/


1. Name a color you are thankful for. Turquoise. Always turquoise–especially this time of the year because I love seeing turquoise accents, amid the red for Christmas.
2. Something your spouse does that you are thankful for. Kevin plans and cooks dinner every Thursday. It’s so nice to have one night of the week where I don’t have to think about what’s for dinner. 
3. Something your kids do that you are thankful for. Anna’s superpower is exceptional manners, so, while I still remind her to use her best manners everyday, I really don’t HAVE to. Jack is such a hard worker. When he sets his sights on a goal, he’s driven like none other. 
4. A food you are thankful for. I love my recipe for cornbread dressing that is a hybrid of both of my grandmother’s famous recipes. It tastes like my childhood and home. 
5. What recent good news are you thankful for? This one is tricky right now, but I’m going cop-out and say that I’m thankful for the news that it’s finally going to get cold here this week? Sorrynotsorry. 
6. Name a drink you are thankful for. Coffee. Err day. 
7. Name a restaurant you are thankful for. Panera Bread. My kids have finally discovered Panera Bread so now, they’ll willingly choose it over other fast food and I can finally eat something healthy when we go out to eat.
8. Talk about an animal you are thankful for. How much time do you have? I’m very thankful for the opportunity to foster a mama cat (Jacobien–“Bean” for short) and her 4 babies (Booger, Tux, Bandit and Pinto) for our local no-kill animal shelter. It’s so rewarding to know that we’re able to give these sweet kitties a new beginning and a safe, warm home to live in for a few weeks.
9. Name a beauty product you are thankful for. I’m enjoying all of my Rodan+Fields products right now. I drank the R+F koolaid hard, y’all. 
10. Name a cleaning product you are thankful for. My homemade granite cleaner (recipe HERE)
11. What social media platform are you thankful for? Instagram. I love Instagram and I’ve purposely kept my personal account locked down, so only my nearest and dearest get to see what I post–unlike Facebook that is too big and wide right now. 
12. Tell us why you are thankful for the last person who texted you. My dearest friend, Erika. She gets me like no one else (and somehow loves me in spite of it).
13. Name a candy you are thankful for. Sour Patch Kids. I’ll rub the roof of my mouth raw from eating too many then keep going back for more. I can’t quit you, SPK. 
14. Name an app on your phone that you are thankful for. What’s App. That’s how I stay in touch with my close friends from all over the globe. We have almost-daily text chains that range from the philosophical to the ridiculous (and sometimes ridiculously philosophical). Thanks to What’s App, we can stay in touch in almost the same way we did when we all lived in the same city. 
15. What are you looking forward to that you are thankful for? Hosting my brother-in-law and sister-in-law’s rehearsal dinner in mid-December. When we bought this house, we knew that it would be great for assuming some of the entertaining burden from my mother-in-law and I really enjoy throwing a good party and planning every little perfect detail–especially for those that I love. Party hosting is my love language. 


This was fun! If you’d like to participate, please link below to your post so that we can see your answers too! 


Happy 2018!

How to get rid of toxic people in your life

This should probably be titled “How I get rid of toxic people in MY life,” but hopefully some of these tactics can be applied to your life too. 


Do you have people in your life that make you say or do things that you don’t like? People that suck the life out of you? People that dissolve your faith in humanity? People who don’t support your sobriety?

I certainly have. But, the older I get (and the more sober I get) the less patience I have for people who don’t contribute anything of value to my life. These people have been co-workers, acquaintances and even family members. It’s not easy to completely cleanse your life of toxic people, but it’s possible to limit your association with them and to deflect their toxicity on your life. Here’s what works for me:

Tweak your friends list on Facebook. I’ve been on Facebook for a number of years and just very recently learned how to sort my friends list a bit. Did you know that you can classify your friends as “close friends,” “friends,” or “acquaintances“? The beauty in that is you can tweak things so that you see mostly your “close friends'” status updates and your acquaintances can’t see what you post or like. For years, I’ve been so judicious about what I post on Facebook because I just don’t want my 7th grade history teacher’s son to know how I really feel about our political climate. I also begin to feel very drained when people post opinions that differ greatly from what I chose to believe and surround myself with in daily life.

After a few simple tune-ups of my friends list, I can now post what I feel like posting, knowing that only those that know and love me in real life can see it. Also, my newsfeed is virtually devoid of horrible, slanderous political diatribes…it’s all unicorns and kittens these days (like, literally–which is just the way I like it).

You don’t have to be friends with everyone. Having been raised Southern and thus taught to be nice to everyone, (but that it’s absolutely ok–if not encouraged–to talk behind people’s backs, bless their hearts) I’ve been working really hard to retrain my brain and go with what my gut tells me is right. The fact of the matter is that I’m generally a good judge of character and if someone rubs me the wrong way early-on, I’ve learned to steer-clear of them. Maybe this person isn’t a bad guy at all, but there’s a 99% chance that he’s a bad fit for ME. I’m not running for Homecoming Queen anymore, so I don’t have to go out of my way to be nice. It’s been very freeing to let go of that burden. This meme is everything to me right now:

the older i get

When toxic people are permanent fixtures in your everyday life. The tricky part comes when toxic people are co-workers or family–people who you can’t necessarily run the other direction from. In this case, what’s worked best for me is to take the higher road. I’ve learned the hard way that I’m in a much better position if I keep things surface-level with toxic people and always opt for saying less, rather than more.

Recently, I was put in position with a toxic person and several times, I’d feel her tugging at me–pulling me into her toxic web of gossip, racism and narcissism–all characteristics that I don’t want in my own life. I began to not like who I was in her presence. This is when I put on the brakes and shut it down. No more talk about anything more than what was necessary. I came across as very aloof, I’m positive, but I could walk away at the end of each day, knowing that I hadn’t compromised my own integrity. It was very freeing. So, oftentimes, just shutting someone down and not letting toxic people in is the way to go, if you can’t physically run away from them.

In the end, I always feel as though I’ve grown as a person when I’ve managed to dump a toxic person from my life. I always learn something–either about humanity or myself–from these toxic relationships, so all’s not lost, but it certainly puts things into perspective when I do manage to get out from under them.

So, tell us about a toxic relationship in your life…