Friday, December 9, 2016

Holidays = Travel = Photo Ops

For Friday Fun today, I'm going to share some of my pics from my latest travels... It was great to see my sis and her family in Disney and Universal Studios over Thanksgiving. Had a blast!

But first, I want to share my favorite road sign...

Kids grow up fast, so I try to take as many pics as I can - here are just a few memorable moments!

Where's your favorite place to vacay? Ever go to a fun getaway during the Holidays? Do tell!
Happy Friday!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Maintain, No gain #holiday #diet

December is the most stressful month of the year. What a terrible time to go on a diet!

Sorry, Annalisa - I mean, make a healthier lifestyle change. Which is really what I know I need to do.

We at the RRHA (and on our Facebook page) have a goal this month - to NOT GAIN WEIGHT DURING THE HOLIDAYS!! We aren't even trying to lose, that would be a bonus!

Every year we eat so many yummy extra num nums that are usually only around during the holidays, then we have to make an empty New Year's Resolution to shed the extra pounds.

So here is some advice for Maintaining and Not Gaining, but still being able to experience the Joy of the Season!

  • Smaller portions - There are so many delights, you want to try them all. You can with smaller portions.
  • Smaller bites - and savor each one, then you're done!
  • Share a plate with a friend - you will eat less because there's less AND you don't want to eat more than your friend! And you both usually leave something on it (You can have it. No, you can have it...)
  • Bring a healthy dish to the party! - I seek out something healthy to balance out all the yummy bad stuff!
  • Stop eating BEFORE you feel full - Hate that bloated feeling! Your eyes are always, always bigger than your stomach. And if you want your stomach to shrink without a medical procedure, you have to train it to be satisfied with less.
  • More fruit/veg/protein on the plate than carbs - Remember to have a colorful plate of food, not just a colorful plate your kid made!
  • Be aware of calories/carbs - Take a glance at that box of cookies or the ice cream carton before you take a bite. Sometimes sticker shock can help you turn away. Is that goodie worth ALL THOSE CALORIES?
  • Park farther away - Shopping is the best form of exercise. Make it count. Especially in a shopping center where you have to visit several stores. Shop til you drop, then hike out to the car and be amazed and feel accomplished at all your steps!
  • DIET is a FLW (four letter word) - 
    • A diet is a temporary thing. A healthy new lifestyle is what we're aiming for here.
    • A diet is usually an extreme change, a shock to the system that the system will resist - these smaller changes can move you toward better eating habits that you can keep and continue to improve upon!
    • A diet usually fails - immediate results don't last
    • Once the diet is over, you usually crash back to your previous weight.
    • Try it, don't diet!
The above helpful healthful hints could carry you into next year, too. Plus with a little more exercise, you could lose pounds and inches that have snuck up on you!

Are you IN? Join us for daily or weekly or whenever we can CHECK-INS on our FACEBOOK PAGE!

Monday, December 5, 2016

Hidden Heart #mondaymotivation

Mothers are the toughest people in the world.
We put up with, make the best of, and work with what we have.

Women are the smartest people in the world.
We reason, discuss, and find solutions.

Girls are bravest people in the world.
We aren't afraid to show our emotions and carry on.

Daughters admire, aspire, and attain.
Sisters encourage, enlighten, and edify.
Nieces connect, reflect, and respect.

Aunts know when to pull their hair up and when to let their hair down.
Grandmothers pay attention, work behind the scenes, and take care of every detail.

Together we keep the world turning, 
keep the men yearning, 
and keep the home fires burning.

I'm thankful for all the women in my life.

November was a tumultuous month for me. Severe highs and lows, many tears of sadness and joy, and oh so many wonderful hugs I haven't had in a very long time. I was blessed to be able to spend time with so many of my favorite women and I appreciate them all, especially living in an emotionless house full of boys.

One day as I was leaving my room, I noticed the hidden heart above. It comforted me during one of the bad days I had. It lifted my heavy heart with its levity and my day turned around.

May you find a hidden heart when you need it most!

Friday, December 2, 2016



My husband and I met initially in 2005, but then I left to serve a mission for my church and didn’t get back until June of 2007. When I did return, he was dating someone else at the time but he had learned how to ballroom dance *swoon* and I started crushing on him pretty quickly.

On the night of July 10th, 2007, a friend of mine called to say she had two extra tickets to the midnight showing of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. I definitely wanted to go, so I took my brother and we went.

At the same time, Husband was in the same building, different theater. While waiting for the movie to start, his girlfriend called and broke up with him. He describes this experience as really weird, because he’s usually very torn up by break-ups, but that night he felt calm. Afterward, we ran into each other outside. We talked about the movie, and I asked where his girlfriend was. He said they’d broken up, and I replied by saying he should call me sometime.

I walked away from that exchange feeling elated. He called me the next day and we met at a dance and went to Sonic afterward and sat and talked until about 2am. The following day we talked on the phone for a couple of hours, day three we went to lunch, and by that weekend we had decided to date each other exclusively.

The rest is history, but I tell this story so you understand the special place Harry Potter holds in our hearts. If it weren’t for that midnight showing, who knows whether we would’ve gotten together. We are pretty dedicated, to the point that we put together a Harry Potter party every year, we have a Harry Potter mantle in our kitchen, and we make wands.

This—the wandmaking—is probably my husband’s biggest hobby, but one that I absolutely love and fully support. He makes the wands, and I do some of the sanding, polishing, and finishing work when I can. We sell them at the movie releases, and via tumblr and etsy. It’s something we love to do, like my writing, and we love seeing people fall in love with the wands.

How did this start? Well, STORYTIME!

In December of 2007, Husband and I were married. Fast forward about a year and a half later, and the next Harry Potter film is coming out. We obviously wanted to attend the midnight showing. My husband already had a character wand (Sirius Black’s) but I really wanted one too. So we saved our pennies and went to his parent’s house to order one (they had internet, we didn’t).

While we were looking and deciding which one to get, Husband’s dad came in to see what we were up to. And he scoffed at those character wands. He’s a carpenter, and he said he could easily make those wands and they’d be better.

When they arrived (we’d ordered Snape’s and Lupin’s) we gave all three to him to see if he could do it. A couple of days later, he came back with three beautiful replicas. Well, we decided to try our own hands at it, and went to his shop to use his tools and make our own wands.

By the time the movie came out, we had made a few, and so we took them with us. To our surprises, nearly all of them sold! And, well, the rest is history.

We took a big batch of wands to each of the Deathly Hallows releases, and just this month took some to the Fantastic Beasts showing as well. The moment when someone picks up the wand that is meant to be theirs? There’s this connection you can’t describe. Some people find their wand on the first try, others have to pick up five or six and wave them around before they really know. But when they know, they know. And that’s why we love making them so much.

Thanks for having me, RRHA, it’s been a blast!

We enjoyed having you, Darci! Thanks for sharing your stories and letting us get to know you!

Darci Cole writes fantasy novels for YA/MG readers, and is currently seeking representation for her work. She is a Gryffindor, a fangirl of many fandoms, and a wandmaker for Colevanders. She loves Dr Pepper, pepperoni-pineapple pizza, and stars.

Follow her on: Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Hard Day, Easy Dinner

You know those days when you get home from everything you had to do and realize it’s five-thirty and you haven’t prepped anything for dinner? I’ve been there. And on those days I have a go-to dish that is probably not the healthiest thing in the world, but it’s fast and easy and my kids eat it every time.

I call it: Improv Pasta.
Picture borrowed from KRAFT

2 frozen chicken breasts (optional, or beef if you prefer)
1 lb (or just one box) uncooked pasta
1 stick (1/4 cup) butter
1 Tbs Italian seasoning
1 bunch broccoli (optional, or some other veggie you like or have laying around)
Parmesan cheese (lots)

  1. Cook the meat! On short notice, I tend to not have anything defrosted so I’ll put the chicken in a pot of water and boil (while I prep everything else and make the kids wash their hands) for 20-30 minutes or until I cut into it and it’s not pink. For beef, I defrost it in the microwave and then fry it up the rest of the way, adding salt/pepper and then draining excess grease. Set your meat aside in the bowl you’re gonna mix everything in.
  2. Using the same pot you cooked the meat in, boil water and then cook the pasta according to directions. 
  3. If you’re adding a veggie, cook it now. I usually do broccoli and steam it in the microwave, but I have a microwave steamer. If you don’t, you can put it in a pan with a small amount of water and cook it on low heat with a lid on for about 5-7 minutes or until it’s tender enough for your tastes. 
  4. Mix the pasta, veggie, and meat, including the butter until the butter is melted. Dump in salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and parmesan, and mix well. Taste it, and adjust according to your preferences. (I sometimes also throw in a tiny bit of milk at this point just to help the flavors spread a little easier and cool things down so my kids don’t have to blow on it too much.)
It’s become pretty routine in my house, and I’ve learned how to adjust it according to what I’m cooking and what I have available in my fridge/pantry. It’s pretty basic but always tasty. Sometimes if I’m feeling adventurous I’ll throw in some mozzarella or even cheddar cheese just to shake things up. Have fun with it!

Darci Cole writes fantasy novels for YA/MG readers, and is currently seeking representation for her work. She is a Gryffindor, a fangirl of many fandoms, and a wandmaker for Colevanders. She loves Dr Pepper, pepperoni-pineapple pizza, and stars.

Follow her on: Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram
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