Thanksgiving Planning

It is the weekend before Thanksgiving, which means I need to get most of my grocery shopping done and ready to go on Thursday. I know the holidays aren’t an excuse to give up the healthy lifestyle I have created, but it is one of my favorite holidays and I do allow myself to indulge just a little bit. Thanksgiving is a time to reflect and give thanks for everything we have and how we have grown.

This year is going to be a really special Thanksgiving. Bobby and Clara are coming home…YAY, and Clara’s boyfriend, my parents, my husband’s parents, and a couple my husband and I are friends with. Our friend’s child moved out years ago and always came back for the holidays, this year she is working in abroad and can’t make it home for the holidays so we welcomed them with open arms. I am excited to have a full house!

Luckily everyone offered to bring a dish or a dessert so I don’t have to cook and bake everything; Clara even offered again for the second year in a row.  I am making the turkey, three sides, and the drinks. It doesn’t seem like that much, but once I started writing down everything I need my list grew very fast!

I am excited to share some of our yummy family recipes with our friends this year.

This afternoon I ran to the store to pick up my list, I was surprised that is wasn’t that busy. I assumed it was going to be packed with people buying everything for Thanksgiving. I was in and out of the store in less than an hour, and that even including a little chat with a client I saw.

To stay organized with the ingredients I separated everything by dish and if it needed to be refrigerated. I saw this idea on Pinterest and gave it a try, hopefully when it comes time to start preparing all the dishes it will be easier!

With all this food in the house and knowing what we are going to be eating for Thanksgiving, I am going to make sure I eat healthy and exercise this week! Now I need to come up with something for dinner for tonight, wish me luck! 🙂
Until Next Time,

happy-thanksgiving
Nancy

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Halloween Party Flowers

Happy Halloween all you spooky readers! 🙂
There is something about Halloween that brings out the child in me.  Every year my husband and I decorate our front porch for all the little goblins to come up and get treats for some tricks!  I love seeing the little kids dressed up and so excited about the treats.  To make this Halloween a little better, my floral shop made some spook-tacular floral arrangements for a Halloween party.

I think I have decided making floral arrangements for fall and Halloween parties are my favorite.  I love mixing beautiful flowers with gourds and pumpkins to create a unique and almost dark feel.  This event was really fun because the client was a close friend of my boss so we had a lot of freedom to design haunted creations! 🙂

I made one of my favorite decorations thus far for the Halloween event.  We put small pumpkins into large fish bowls and wrapped red garland and black calla lilies around the interior of the fish bowls.  They somehow looked “spooky chic.”

spooky chic

We also made an arrangement using yellow roses, greens, and purple leaves to create an old eerie feeling.  My boss has this spray she uses often in Halloween decorations and flowers.  It makes the flowers look aged and grungy, I love it!

Another customer just wanted one centerpiece for a Halloween party.  I was able to get creative with this arrangement.  I used some bright flowers, cat tails, wheat twigs, and other grasses to create an almost mystical looking combination.  To make it more fitting for a Halloween party I put the arrangement in a skull vase.  It looked even better than I thought it would.

I am so happy I found my passion working with flowers and helping decorate for events.  It makes my life so much fun and each day is a new adventure.  Like the saying by Confucius goes, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

orange-flowers

I have yet to work a day.

🙂

Happy Halloween!

Until Next Time,

Nancy

Taking care of the garden

Our raised garden and flower bed is now up and in action. Since building it a couple of weeks ago I haven’t had much time to tend to my beautiful bed, so I dedicated today to planting everything and making it look beautiful. I love how it looks in our backyard, I feel like it should be on HGTV or something like that.

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Before I planted everything this afternoon, I did more web researching about how to keep the soil healthy and full of nutrients. I really want to make the most of it while I am trying to eat healthy and keep my menopause symptoms at a distance.

I read that planting a “cover crop” like alfalfa keeps the soil aerated. Alfalfa has deep root systems that pull work to pull the nutrients from deep in the soil to the surface so they are there for other plants. They also add nitrogen to the soil so the plants grow better.
Another fun fact I found out about raised flower beds is that because the plants have a smaller growing area they shad out weeds. The close spacing makes it easier to water and pick the vegetables that are growing in it.

Because it is the fall I decided to plant transplants that are about a month old so they will grow faster and fill in quicker. I read that replenishing the soil with compost when I replant will help keep the nutrients in the soil. I will definitely try compost as much as I can.

After all my great information I got on the web, I got planting. Living in Florida allows me to plant and garden year round, yay for me. I can’t wait to have my own fresh veggies and flowers. I planted broccoli, lettuce, carrots, Brussels sprouts, and radishes. I also planted some herbs like dill, garlic, and ginger. I bought a few already potted flowers from the store and transplanted them into my garden so it looks colorful and beautiful now. I got some English marigolds, Johnny jump-ups, petunias, among others.

I am very pleased with my raised garden so far. I can’t wait until the vegetable and herb plants start yielding so I can cook using my own veggies.

Until next time,

Nancy

Happy Father’s Day

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Happy Father’s Day to all the daddy’s out there! I think it is important to celebrate our mothers and fathers every day but especially on these days. Bobby and Clara got their father the greatest gift imaginable a couple of years ago, so I had no idea how they would be able to top that. I don’t know how they did it, but they came up with a great idea that their father absolutely loved.

We got him a brand new infrared grill and a cookbook and he was the most surprised I have ever seen him. Bobby and Clara are so cleaver and good at surprising both of us. This year I helped them brainstorm a little but let them take the reins. We decided since we went with such a huge gift in the past, we are going to keep the gift thoughtful and more realistic.

To go along with that gift, Bobby and Clara wanted to get him some new grill tools. I thought it was such a good idea. They found a good deal on a grilling set and got him some “man” spices and sauces that he can use.

This morning we made him breakfast in bed and brought the paper up to him. Bobby and Clara always laugh at the little things that make their father so happy. It is just a reminder to them that it is the little things that really matter.

Because it is Father’s Day and we usually always cook for him, he told us last week that he wants to grill a big juicy steak his way. He is so funny sometimes. I am sure he will love his gift and the spices and sauces and will use them for dinner. Obviously we weren’t opposed to that, it makes it easier for us.

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It is going to be a great rest of the afternoon spending Father’s Day relaxing and then having my husband grill dinner. 🙂

Happy Father’s Day!
Nancy

Garage Sale Finds

Today one of my other friends and I decided to get in our thrifty moods and find some gently used treasures. We went garage sale hunting! I wouldn’t call myself a garage sale guru, but my friend is quite the expert. If it was up to me we would have just drove around the neighborhood and then called it quits. But she had already planned our day’s agenda of bargain hunting, and I was not ready for what was to come!

My friend know all the secrets to good garage sales. I wasn’t really looking for anything in particular but my friend was in search for a trunk or bench for the end of her bed. Instead of hunting around our neighborhood we went to a little “nicer” neighborhood because they have “better goodies” as my friend said. We actually found some really good home decorations and cutlery.
After a FEW HOURS, I was ready to call it a day and get some lunch but my friend had an entire agenda for the day. We left that neighborhood and headed into town to do some antiquing, she was really on a mission to find a trunk or bench. I love shopping in antique stores, they have the most unique and beautiful things.

We visited a few and no luck for my friends hunt. We took a midday break to have a little snack and smoothie. I definitely needed it after such a busy morning. After we finished we left to visit the last antique shop in hopes that we could find the “forbidden treasure.”
When we walked in, it didn’t seem that promising. There was a lot of furniture and a beautiful vanity that really caught my eye. If I had the space, I would have definitely gotten it. My friend had almost given up hope until we found a little back room and at last we found a trunk! It was so beautiful! It was an earthy green color with leather and very unique embellishments. She immediately fell in love and had to get it.

It was a very long day but quite successful! I had a great time garage sale hunting! I forgot how much fun it is; the next time I need something I will definitely be taking my friend on the hunt with me.

What is the best thing you found at a garage sale?
Nancy

Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day to all the Mothers out there! Who doesn’t love a day dedicated to you! ❤ This year my wonderful kids came over and had a fun little day planned for me. Each and every year they come up with something to make me feel so special!

 

happy-mothers-day

Happy Mother’s Day 

 

They have been making it a tradition to make me breakfast in bed and they did not disappoint this year. They made me scrambled eggs with fresh veggies, a fruit salad, and fresh squeezed orange juice. YUM! There is something about food cooked by someone else that makes it taste so much better.

After breakfast Clara took me to get a manicure and pedicure. Having my nails done makes me feel like such a woman, it really makes me feel complete. With Clara’s job, it is hard to spend mother-daughter time with her so mother’s day is the perfect excuse to catch up. She is such a wonderful woman, I am proud to call her my daughter.

I wanted this color!

After getting our nails done we went to my favorite French café and have some coffee and crepes. I hadn’t had a crepe in forever, I figured it was okay to treat myself because it was “my day.” There is nothing like a good coffee, crepe, and your daughter; it was the perfect Mother’s Day Afternoon.

When we got home my husband and Bobby surprised me and made me a garden bench. I had no idea they were planning on doing it. They are so sneaky, getting Clara to take me out so they could build it. I might even make a project to paint it. But for now it is absolutely perfect.

We hung out in the backyard all afternoon and then the kids and my husband made me a delicious dinner. They made herb stuffed pork chops and fresh veggies, I allowed myself to indulge because I have been doing so well with my healthy eating. For dessert, they made strawberry shortcake Jell-O bites. They were so good, I am stealing the recipe from Clara.

It was another fabulous Mother’s Day! Each day is special when I get to spend it with my kiddos!  They make life so much more fun, I am blessed to have had such well-rounded children.

I hope you had a great Mother’s Day!

Nancy

Hearth Healthy – with 3 recipes :)

While reading the paper today I stumbled across the fact that 71 million Americans have high cholesterol.  Seeing this fact made me really happy I am not part of that statistic and definitely do not want to be.  In the article, it said that diet is extremely important in lowing cholesterol.  Eating whole grains, beans, a variety of fruits and vegetables, nuts, avocado, and limiting animal products can help your ticker become stronger.

There were also showcased recipes that were “heart healthy.”  I was really pleased to see that I eat a good majority of the main ingredients and even have similar recipes.  There were a few recipes that I thought looked like they were worth a try.  Here they are,

I cannot wait to try, Thai Chicken Crunch Wraps

Ingredients for the wrap-

  • 1 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 2 chicken breasts, cut into thin strips
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ sweet onion, chopped
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. pepper
  • 2 carrots, shredded
  • ¾ cup cabbage, finely shredded
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced

Ingredients for the sauce-

  • ¼ cup cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup sweet chili sauce
  • 1 tbsp. crunch peanut butter
  • ¼ tsp. fresh chopped ginger
  • 2 tsp. soy sauce
  • Crushed red pepper flakes to taste

For topping-

  • 3 large whole wheat tortillas
  • 1 ½ cup lettuce, chopped
  • ½ cup peanuts
  • Handful of green snap peas

Instructions-

  • Heat the wrap oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Add the chicken, garlic, onions, salt and pepper.  Cook stirring occasionally until the chicken is thoroughly cooked.  Add the carrots, cabbage, and green onions, cook for a few minutes until the veggies are tender.
  • Combine the sweet chili sauce, ginger, peanut butter, soy sauce, and red pepper in a bowl. Stir until smooth and add to the skillet along with the cilantro.  Stir until mixed and heated.
  • Spoon the mixture into the tortillas, top with lettuce, peanuts, and peas. Roll tightly and enjoy!

An easy breakfast that is heart healthy and has a little spin off the original, Apple Pie Oatmeal

Ingredients-

  • ½ cup steel cut oat
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup chopped apples
  • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. all spice
  • Honey to taste

Instructions-

  • Combine all the ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until cooked and apples are mushy. Enjoy!

The photo of Dark Chocolate Brown Rice Pudding doesn’t look healthy at all, definitely trying this recipe.

Ingredients-

  • 1 cup short grain brown rice
  • 3 cups unsweetened Almond Milk
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • Berries to top

Instructions-

  • In a medium pot mix the rice, almond milk, cinnamon, and sea salt and bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer with the lid on.
  • Cook for about 1 hour stirring to keep the rice from sticking on the bottom, cook until the rice is tender. Add the maple syrup and cocoa powder stir and serve warm topped with fresh berries.

I can’t wait to try these recipes.  I also searched on Pinterest and found some more great “heart-healthy” recipes to try!

Until Next Time,

Nancy

Employee Appreciation Day 🌼

I had no idea it was employee appreciation day when I went into the floral shop 🌼 for work today. It is easy to get stuck in a rut at work and forget what your purpose is. Luckily for me, I have an incredible boss that treats me with res
pect and really takes the time to teach me something new each day.

flowers-employee-appreciation-dayWhen I walked into work my boss had made me a floral arrangement and asked to take me to lunch. I was flabbergasted at such a kind gesture from her. She has helped me with so much it felt as though, I should be taking her out to lunch. I accepted her invitation and when to lunch.
We went to this very nice Italian restaurant and had a wonderful lunch together 😋. I realized I hadn’t really taken the time to get to know her on a personal level. We had a great conversation and laughed so much we barely finished our food. I was surprised to find out we had so many things in common, including our empty nests at home. She is such a delightful woman with a truly kind heart; I am happy I get to work with her every day.

fancy-free-nancy-lasagnaOver lunch, she stressed to me how much I have grown over the last years and how I’ve really become an asset to the floral shop. I was so happy to hear that I am making an impact and my work is being noticed. She made sure I was aware with how much she appreciated my hard work and dedication to constant learning.

I feel honored to be working at such a wonderful floral shop; if I can even call it work.  I have fun each and every day I am there. I truly believe that if you love doing something you can find a way to make it part of your life. I never expected to have found a calling in floral arrangements and party decorations but it has helped me grow in ways I never expected to.

I found a quote that fits perfectly with how I feel working in the floral shop; “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” – Confucius

Happy Employee Appreciation Day!

Until next time,

Nancy

New Year for Growth – Greetings from a happy empty nester

Happy New Year!!!  Well I guess you can finally say the holidays are over.  As sad as I am that some of my favorite holidays and seasons are done, and I excited for the upcoming months at the floral shop because of Valentine’s Day and other spring holidays.

Beginning this New Year I want to start fresh and work towards some more goals of mine.  Sitting down and contemplating what I want to accomplish this year made me examine how much I have grown in the past two years and from when the kids still lived at the house with us.  I am extremely proud of the women I have grown more into after becoming an empty nester.  I have really rediscovered the old me and made myself a healthy and active woman.

This year I want to continue to grow and become a better me.  After seeing how much I have been able to accomplish I know that the sky is the limit, and I can’t wait to reach it!  I want to share my 2018 goals and things I want to remember to do, with you so that we can work together to make 2018 the best year yet!

Here are some of my goals and things I want to remember this great year,

  1. Practice peace with everyone I meet and continue using Tai Chi as a way to stay healthy physically, mentally, and emotionally.
  2. Continue growing as a floral designer
  3. Be sure to make time at least three times a week to exercise
  4. Learn something new each day
  5. Drink more water and eat more greens
  6. Read at least 3 books that move me
  7. Explore someplace new
  8. Take time to see the beauty in every day
  9. Don’t make excuses for things I want to accomplish
  10. Laugh often and love a lot

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They might not seem like huge goals like many other people make but they are perfect for what I want to do this year.  I don’t want to make huge changes in my life, just continue being a happy empty nester.  I want to keep growing as an individual and continue being a positive and happy person.

This year I am going to stay true to myself and make sure I remember everything I want to achieve.  It is a new year full of growth.

Happy 2018!

Nancy

Pumpkin Everything, Please

After Thanksgiving and the transition to peppermint flavored everything I decided I needed to make the most of this ending pumpkin lovers season.  I mean, who doesn’t love pumpkin?  I feel like I have been flavoring everything with pumpkin, pumpkin spice, or pumpkin and cinnamon, but I am not mad about it.

hallo

Pumpkin, whether fresh or canned, is wonderful in so much more than just pies.  Here are a few of my favorite pumpkin recipes for the fall. I hope you milk up the pumpkin season while it lasts!

Spiced Pumpkin Biscuits

pumpkin biscuits recipe

Ingredients-

  • About 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 ½ tsp. baking powder
  • 1 ¼ tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 5 tbsp. chilled butter
  • 1/3 cup fat-free buttermilk
  • ¾ cup canned pumpkin
  • 3 tbsp. honey

Instructions-

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F
  • Combine the flour, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, and salt in a large bowl. Cut the butter in the mixture until it looks like coarse meal and refrigerate for 10 minutes
  • Combine the buttermilk and honey and stir until well blended then add the pumpkin and stir. When that is mixed together add to the flour mixture and stir until moist and combined.
  • Knead the dough on a flowered surface until the right consistency, and use a 1 ¾ biscuit cutter to cut the dough into about 14 dough rounds. Place the rounds 1 inch apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for about 15 minutes until browned.  Cool and enjoy the pumpkin goodness!

Easy Pumpkin Pie Shake, so so so so delicious!

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Ingredients-

  • 2 cups vanilla reduced fat ice cream, softened
  • 1 cup fat-free milk
  • 2/3 cup canned pumpkin
  • ¼ cup packed brown sugar
  • ¾ tsp. pumpkin-pie spice
  • 3 tbsp. fat-free whipped topping

Instructions-

  • Combine all the ingredients except the whipped toppings in a blender and blend until smooth. Top with the whipped topping and enjoy drinking a pumpkin pie!

To spread pumpkin on everything you want,

Pumpkin Butter

Ingredients-

  • 2 lbs. peeled, seeded and diced pumpkin, can be substituted with canned pumpkin
  • ¼ cup turbinado sugar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • Pinch of salt

Instructions-

  • In a pot combine pumpkin, sugar, brown sugar, and salt and bring to a simmer and stir until the pumpkin is tender. Continue simmering for about 20 minutes until the mixture begins to thicken.
  • After mixture is thickened put in blender and blend until smooth. And then after blended, return to pot and heat for about 10 minutes on low.  Cool and spread the pumpkin love on everything!

Happy pumpkin’ing!

Nancy