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

A1_EveryDay

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

Advertisements

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!

pumpkin-píe-fancyfreenancy

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

Pinterest Thanksgiving and Fall Decorations

Who doesn’t binge on Pinterest every once in a while? I had a major thanksgiving decorations and crafts binge yesterday that has spilled into today.

There are just so many good ideas that are simple and easy to create that make your house look so decorative. I love it. I get a lot of inspiration and ideas for floral and decorations from Pinterest as well.

I don’t know what I did before this awesome site. I use it to decorate, for recipes, workout tips, to get in the trendy “know,” and so much more!

thanksgiving-decoration-fancyfreenancy

I made a few DIY Thanksgiving decorations yesterday and today, there are so many things I want to make I just don’t have enough time. Here are some of the great pins I found that I made, I want to make, or has inspired my creative work at the floral shop!

What are your favorite DIY fall and Thanksgiving decorations? I love getting ideas and channeling my inner creative child! 😉

Happy crafting my friends,

Nancy

Organizing the Pantry

Have you ever looked into your pantry and thought,

WOW this is a disaster?

This morning I opened up our pantry to get some cereal for breakfast and couldn’t find anything. It looked like a Warfield in there so I decided I needed to spend the morning organizing and cleaning.
My pantry desperately needed a makeover so I made a trip to Target to find some cute little bins and a spice spinner to organize the different things in the pantry.

After I got home I took everything, and I mean EVERYTHING out of the pantry and pilled it up on my kitchen counters. It is amazing seeing how much stuff I had in there that I forgot about because it was so piled up!

 

I tried organizing it by frequency used and what it was. I put our tea, ciders, and other drink mixes into one basket. All the random root veggies, like potatoes, onions, and garlic into one. Our oatmeal, granola, and little breakfast snacks into one of the larger bins. And I put our condiments and cooking oils into one basket. The extra spices and hot sauces I put on my new spice spinner to that I can see them because they are the most frequently used.

I then ordered them on our pantry rack so they are easy to get too; but after I had them all organized on rack I realized I couldn’t really tell what they were unless I pulled the bin out. Quick on my feet I came up with the idea to label the bins so they are clearly marked. I found these really cute chalkboard label stickers that are perfect. I like them because if I feel the need to switch what is in the bins, I can just erase it and re-label it.

The bins ended up looking so so so great and everything is organized and clean in my pantry. I feel like I can take a deep breath and enter my pantry with a smile! 
Do you have other good organizing tips? I would love to know how you organized your home.

Until next time,

Nancy

Everyone Wants Pretty Hands

Unfortunately, no one had found the fountain of youth yet. Today, while I was having my coffee, Clara was “Snap Chatting” me photos of her newly decorated living room. Yes, I said “snap chat”. She downloaded this app on my phone where you can send photos back and forth that only last for a couple seconds. I don’t really understand it, but she loves it. Anyway, I sent her a photo of me holding my cup of coffee and couldn’t get over how “old” my hand looks.
tips-for-pretty-hands-nancy-free-nancy
I have never really spent much time looking at my hands, but I understand why they say your hands show all the signs of aging. I couldn’t stop looking at them in awe. I know I don’t look like I have aged as much as my hands show.  So I jumped on the internet to find some ideas how to get rid of these “aged hands.”

I read that hands really do show the signs of aging more than most parts of the body. The years of sun exposure, the exposure to the elements, hard work, and constant washing and scrubbing really take a toll on our hands. The skin on hands thins with all the exposure to daily life and more veins become visible, age spots appear, and it is common for hands to become dry. All of this information was pretty much common sense to me, and I wanted to know how to reverse that aging.

I found this website saying that taking care of aging hands is similar to the skin care during menopause; a subject I am pretty knowledgeable on. It suggested exfoliating your hands to remove all the dry skin before moisturizing. Buffing your nails also helps make your hands look younger. I never really thought about moisturizing my hands specifically, I just put lotion on them when they are dry, so this was a new concept for me.

The site also said the moisturizing and protection are the most important in having beautiful youthful hands. It said to use a good quality hand cream and apply it throughout the day to rejuvenate your hands.

After reading all of these articles I have decided I need to find a good hand cream to reverse aging. Do you use anti-aging hand creams? If so what kind do you use and is it effective?

Until Next Time,

Nancy

Seasonal Floral Arrangement Fun

Today at the floral shop we were unexpectedly busy in a great way.  We had a ton of people walk in and call to order arrangements to be delivered and picked up later in the day.  My boss and I were scurrying around making fabulous spring and summer arrangements and bouquets.  Today at the floral shop we were unexpectedly busy in a great way.  We had a ton of people walk in and call to order arrangements to be delivered and picked up later in the day.  My boss and I were scurrying around making fabulous spring and summer arrangements and bouquets.

seasonal-flower-arrangement-nancy-bell

I love it when people call or walk in to order because it often gives us the freedom to use flowers that are in season and create a unique seasonal arrangement.  Today was no exception, I created about 7 arrangements that were all seasonal flowers and they turned out so gorgeous.

Sometimes we have clients ask us what flowers are in season to decide what they want the main focus of their arrangement to be.  Right now is my favorite part of the year for flower availability and the aurora they give off.  The flowers are bright, crisp, and have a wonderful smell…and, in my opinion, the best to work with.In case you were wondering here are the flowers that are in season during mid-June-

• Peonies

• Roses

• Tulips

• Yarrow

• Pomegranates

• Calla Lilies

• Lilies

• Viburnum

• Pincushions

• Veronica

• Chocolate Cosmos

After days like today, I am very grateful to have my couch at home to kick my feet up and relax.    It was such a busy day but I had a great time.  It amazes me how much I can learn each and every day from just working and practicing alongside my boss.

beautiful-flower-shop-arrangements-nancy-bell

Working with flowers all day really puts you in a good mood too.

Until Next Time,

Nancy

Create Positivity in Your Life

create-positivity-in-your-life

“I won’t damage the healthy lifestyle I have worked for” -Nancy Bell

We are constantly bombarded with the ideas to eat healthily and exercise.

Although I have really found an enjoyment in living a healthy life and finding new recipes there are times when I just want to “veg out” and eat some pizza and read all day.

I woke up this morning feeling just that. Instead of falling into my cravings and sabotaging everything I have worked so hard for, I made myself a smoothie and gave myself a little pep talk. I have come so far in the past year and a half and really changed my life for the better, I couldn’t throw it all out of the window now.

After I had my morning smoothie I forced myself to go to the park, once I got there I suddenly got the urge to walk around. There were many times I just wanted to sit down and relax but I kept telling myself that after a few more minutes that feeling would pass, and it did. A couple of hours later, I had walked a few miles and was feeling really ambitions. It is incredible what some fresh air and positive thoughts can do.

I was still craving some pizza and knew that if I went home I would make it and my menopause and stomach would not be happy. So instead I went to our local market and got some fresh fruits and vegetable to make a yummy stir fry for dinner. The market was a quick fix for my cravings. Once I saw all the fresh produce and “healthy people,” 🙂 there was no way I was going to make a pizza anymore.

After I got home I was tempted to snack on my husband’s chips, and like the strong person I am, I made fresh kale chips with my fresh produce. After they were baked, I rewarded myself with a relaxing rest of the afternoon in the yard reading.

may-your-choices-reflect-your-hopes-not-your-fears

May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears – Nelson Mandela

Sitting in the sun, reading and thinking about my day made me proud of the strength I have.

If I would have craved a lazy day and pizza 2 years ago, I would have gone for it without even thinking about the consequences. Now, the thought of damaging the healthy lifestyle I have worked for makes me anxious and makes me want to work even harder for the life I live. I am so thankful for all my lifestyle changes and the strength I have gained.

If you ever have those days where you feel like throwing in the towel and giving up, don’t. Power through those days, they only make you stronger. I would not have been able to do what I did today without the positivity I have created in my life. If I can do it, so can you!

Until Next Time,
Nancy

Clara’s New Beginning

Today was the start of a new chapter for Clara, she moved into a new “big girl” apartment. She had been living in an apartment that needed a revamp about 20 years ago, so moving into a new complex is a huge step up for her. The new apartment is closer to her work so she will be able to walk to work every day; saving money for this fancy apartment complex. Helping her move the past couple days have been quite the adventure, to say the least.

claras-boxes

I had no idea what I was getting into moving my daughter into a new apartment. I remember moving her into her dorm room and not being bad, moving Bobby into his dorm was a piece of cake; but moving Clara into an apartment after some time being on her own already…that was a challenge. How much can one girl accumulate? ….much more than I thought.

Being the mother I am I insisted on packing everything according to room and what it was. If Clara had packed everything herself, everything would be shoved together and unorganized. Even though she was complaining it was taking too long to pack, it was so much easier once we got there to unpack and organize it.

Her previous apartment was about half the size of her new one, but after we moved everything in it looked the same size. I can’t get over how many pillows my daughter has. I am not over exaggerating when I say she at 9 pillows…9. Who needs that many? She says they are just for decoration to make her bed feel cozy. I could only laugh, she is one of a kind and I love her for it.
Even though she asked my husband and me to help, she was complaining the entire time that we were “doing it wrong.” Oh girls, they never change. 😀 She won’t admit it but she was very thankful we helped pack, move, and unpack all her stuff. It would have taken her and her boyfriend so many more trips.
I am excited for her to begin a new chapter in an awesome apartment that is so close to her work. Once she gets everything unpacked and organized it is going to look so nice, it really looks like a “big girl” apartment. I am so proud of her.
Goodbye old apartment,

claras-old-room

Hello bright new apartment!

claras-new-room
Have you ever helped a daughter move? So much more work than a son… 😀

Until next time,
Nancy

Post – Thanksgiving. With recipe!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving with friends and family. We had such a wonderful dinner that lasted all night. I love having the kids home and being able to have my parents, my husband’s parents, and our friends over on such a special day full of gratefulness. I was also very proud of myself because even though I was planning on letting myself indulge a little but I really kept myself in check. It was a great Thanksgiving.

happy-thanksgiving-fancy-free-nancy.png
Bobby and Clara hung around the house until Sunday. I love having them stay at home, it is just like they never left. I don’t even mind doing their laundry or picking up for them while they are home, but 4 days was enough of that. 🙂 As much as I love when they are home, I do like my new peace and relaxation at home.
After they left, I didn’t have much work at the floral shop so I thought I would get a head start on Christmas shopping. I avoided leaving the house at all on “black Friday,” and thought that going during the week would be better… boy oh, boy did I forget it is officially holiday shopping season. I was fighting the crowds just to get into stores and look at the racks.
I didn’t last long shopping at the mall and instead came home and made some hot chocolate. My hot flashes haven’t been acting up so I thought I could treat myself to some of my favorite holiday drink. Being the wonderful wife I am I waited until my husband was about to get home and made our favorite holiday hot chocolate. It is so thought, but delicious and has lots of fiber, and antioxidants here is the recipe.

Prune Hot Chocolate
Ingredients-
• 1 cup almond milk
• 3-4 medium prunes
• 2 tbsp. dark cocoa powder
• A pinch of salt
• ¼ tsp. vanilla

Instructions-
• Puree all the ingredients together in a blender then heat it in a pot on the stove. I like to top it with a marshmallow. ‘Tis the season to enjoy! 🙂

post-118-nancybell-2

November has been such a great month and sure has flown by. I am excited for December and for the New Year ahead.

Until Next Time,

Nancy

Yearly Check-up, what I wish I knew when I was Young

yearly-checkup-important-fancy-free-nancy.jpgYesterday afternoon I had my yearly check-up at the doctors and I am very pleased with my health. I am very diligent when scheduling my appointments every year. I believe it is important to see a doctor and have tests done every year to make sure you are healthy and be proactive in keeping your body running well.

I was happy to find out that my blood pressure and cholesterol were normal, just a little on the high side but still normal, and that everything else is “A-Okay” and normal. I still have some hot flashes, but new-found healthy habits have helped me manage my menopause symptoms and actually lose weight and feel healthier.

My doctor was so happy that I have taken my health into my own hands and done research into healthy lifestyles for women over 50. It is such a rewarding feeling when the doctor compliments you on your health and tells you that you are doing a good job. He complimented me what I have done and what I am doing to continue my health journey and said it is exactly what I should be doing.

I want to share with you the easy things I have done that have helped me become a healthy woman over 50.

heart-healthy-fancy-free-nancy

• Making sure I get 7 or 8 hours of sleep every night has been one of the most important things I have done.

• Eating more fruits and vegetables has been one of the biggest changes in my lifestyle. I try having at least two veggies at every meal and at least three servings of fruit throughout the day. I have discovered a new love for cooking and baking with fresh fruits and vegetables.

• I just fully committed, but giving up soda will help me health in the long run. Soda is full of sugar and acids that are harmful for your body. I have really tried to drink more water and find ways to incorporate it throughout my day.

• Staring Tai Chi and walking has helped me found an appreciation for physical fitness. It is hard to explain the feeling of accomplishment after a good work out. I really enjoy exercise and try having fun with it.

• Spending time outside doing activities to keep me active is not only a good way to get exercise but get fresh air too. I feel so much calmer and relaxed after spending time outside in nature.

• Spending time laughing and enjoying the company of friends and family keeps me sane. As strange as it sounds, after spending time laughing and talking with my friends I feel healthier.

• Taking time each day to reflect and be thankful for the life I have has made me a happier and positive individual. It is so important to mental and emotional health to feel grateful and reflect on each day to see the positives.

I have made so much progress and transformed my life for the better over the past couple years. It is very rewarding hearing that it is all paying off. I never thought I would have become this person I am today. Each day is a baby step in the right direction, I just have to keep truckin’ along!

Until Next Time,

Nancy