Monday, October 31, 2016

The Done List

Happy Halloween, everyone! and Welcome, welcome, welcome to Kimberly Vanderhorst! This week she's bringing sunshiny-ness from the inside out. I love this post of a to do list in reverse!

“You’re not horrible, you’re human. People are always getting those two confused.”

It’s a hallmark of human nature that we are sometimes too hard on ourselves. We mentally bludgeon ourselves into a state of despair because we're not doing and being all the things we think we should.

But if you worry that you are not kind enough, giving enough, AMAZING enough, then odds are you're pretty freakin' fantastic. Because you're striving, and you're yearning, and you're aspiring.

Please. Celebrate that.

And please, resist the voice in the back of your mind, the insidious whisper telling you what a slacker you are. One of the most beautiful, most joy-worthy aspects of humanity is that we have the power (with the help of our loved ones) TO DROWN THOSE VOICES OUT.

Be a loud voice. Be the bright and shining creature you have it in you to be. And when you can't, when the weariness brings you down so low you forget you ever had the power to shine at all, remember this:

"Feeling and being are not the same. You are not one dark thought, one sad moment, or one awful day. You are oh so much, so infinitely MORE."

There’s a dangerous cliché making its way through the world, which tells us that it’s silly to stare into mirrors and tell ourselves how wonderful we are. The idea has been mocked in countless TV shows and movies, and more often than not leads to abject humiliation for the person doing it.

But I found a loophole, and it’s a fabulous one.

Every day, I write down the things I do. “Unloaded the dishwasher.” “Answered seven emails.” “Edited two query letters.” “Wrote 537 words.” “Read three books to Gracie.” “Put on real pants!” “Put through and folded two loads of laundry.” “Decluttered kitchen counter.” “Shouted inside my head instead of outside.” Etc . . .

At the end of the day, I skim my “done list,” and smile. Because when it comes to my accomplishments, my memory is a sieve with really big holes. Writing them down helps me fight that whispering “You are not enough” voice. It helps me realize that I am. Even on my rough days, when “put on pants” is the highest of all possible accomplishments.

What sort of things would you put on your “done list?”

Kimberly Vanderhorst is a speculative fiction author who cherishes a love for all things strange and beautiful. Claims to fame include running Prism Editing, serving on the committees for the annual LDStorymakers Conference and The Whitney Awards program, and co-hosting the annual Pitch Slam contest. Despite being a city girl with a tendency to cuss too much, Kimberly is married to an LDS minister and lives in rural northern Canada. There, she helps raise her four lovely daughters while pretending not to be afraid of the neighbour’s chickens.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Makeup Expires? What??

A week ago, I bought some new matte lipsticks, and couldn't find room for them in my Caboodle. That's right. I said Caboodle. That 90's stellar invention for organizing things that I use to organize my makeup. But, I simply ran out of room.

The remedy? Remove old makeup.
this is clearly just the top of how much I threw out...
A bagful later, I really had to contemplate if I should get rid of the makeup. What if I need it for Halloween? What if I do another wedding? What if, what if? Then a thought came. What if all those times my lipstick smelled like oil, it had gone bad? What if when my lip gloss was more like lip goop, it was past it's prime? What if my eyeshadow from 15yrs ago was...expired?

I did some research and found out that IT DOES!! Holy crap, it does. More than we want to know, it does! I'm telling ya the skinny today on the facts about expired makeup! Some products will have a jar symbol with a numeral code, that's the number of months till they expire, but others you'll just never know unless you sharpie your buy date on them. And once air hits that now exposed makeup, ingredients start to oxidize and degrade. They expire. AND build bacteria up in the meantime. Ew!

1. Powder (eye shadows, bronzes, blushes, etc) - 2 years
2. Cream shadows/blushes - 12-18months
3. Liquid foundation - 6months
4. Oil-free foundation - 1 year
5. Cream compact foundation - 18months
6. Concealers - 12-18months
7. Lipstick/lip liner - 1-2years
8. Lip gloss - 18-24months
9. Pencil eyeliner - 2 years
10. Cream eyeliners - 6months
11. Liquid or gel eyeliner - 3months
12. Mascara - 3months

Remember how I said I've had some eyeshadows for 15years?? Wow. And yes, sometimes I used that smelly lipstick because I knew I couldn't find it again. And had mascara way beyond 3 months! The better idea, is to toss it, and HAVE A REASON to makeup shop for more!! Now, isn't that the better plan??

1. Were YOU aware makeup expired?
2. What do you think is your oldest makeup?

Thank you to everyone who came by to read from me this week!! If you missed it, Monday I discussed a new earring fade, and Wednesday I exposed an amazing workout with tons of health benefits.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Yoga: Reaping the Benefits

Okay, so here I was about get back into the swing of things. Become more active. The up and down yo-yo health-thing we all do when suddenly the pants are snug and the scale is wrong. Dead wrong.

But, my hubs was on a call for the week, and I couldn't leave the house in case of an emergency at work. Which was definitely going to happen about every night. So what to do? I know plenty of crossfit exercises I could do at home from my crossfit days. Heck, I even have some of the equipment in the shed. But, I didn't want to. That was the problem. I ended up finally pushing the START button on a Yoga app I downloaded long ago, deciding I wanted something different. (I've done yoga a handful of times in my life.) The app was called TRACK YOGA.

Here's the thing, I've been having lower back pain for over a year now. Sometimes I can't get up from a sitting position without curling into a ball first to relax my back, then scream with my mouth shut as I get up. It's super sucky. I've been doing this app Monday-Friday for the past two weeks, and at first when I went from the CORPSE pose (laying on my back) to the sitting pose, I was screaming in lower back pain.

Two weeks later? No lower back pain. Not even when I get up out of bed. And usually, I have to pop my lower back to fall asleep. I try doing it, and it won't pop. But I can sleep now when it doesn't happen! I know YOGA has benefits. I mean, Madonna made it popular in the 90s. But what TRULEY ARE the benefits?

(please read them one by one, because you're about to be amazed!!)

Here are the BASIC benefits:
improved flexibility, muscle strength and tone, improved respiration/energy/vitality, balances metabolism, weight reduction, cardio/circulatory health, improved athletic performance, protection from injury

Here are the MEDICAL benefits:
perfects posture, prevents cartilage/joint breakdown, protects spine, improves bone health, increases blood flow, drains lymphs/boosts immunity, ups heart rate, drops blood pressure, regulates adrenal glands, makes you happier, lowers blood sugar, helps focus, relaxes systems, improves balance, maintains nervous system, releases limb tension, deeper sleep, boost immune system, lung strength, prevents IBS/digestive problems, peace of mind, increase self-esteem, eases pains, inner strength booster, lowers dosage of meds/get off completely (even OCD/diabetic meds), awareness building, soothes sinuses, allergy/viruses deterrent, encourages self-care, supports connective tissue, uses placebo effect to affect change

And here are the UNEXPECTED benefits:
emotional health boost, back pain treatment, fertility aid, hangover relief (you heard right), heart disease helper, asthma ease, arthritis fighter, insomnia buster, multiple sclerosis help, memory boost, PTSD benefit

I have to say, I don't know a lot of exercises that can say/do all that!! And the thing about the app I'm using is that I'm only doing the basic stuff. I'm not even on the 20min sessions yet. Simple 11-13min single sessions. Maybe I'm doing STRESS RELIEF one day, and the next day TRAVEL. And every time I do a certain number of sessions, I earn points to unlock others. Which is good, because they're showing how it's important not to try poses you're not ready for yet. Trust me, the pose may say feet over my head, and all they're gonna get is feet straight up. But, maybe one day, I'll get there and be flexible enough. I only do the pose to my comfort level, as should you.
I'm not saying get THIS app, but if you are wanting to FEEL BETTER TODAY, and not months from now, TRY YOGA. I LOVE IT!! I always thought it was for hippie-people. Ha! Eating my words. Here I was thinking the poses were SUPER RIDICULOUS. Wrong, again! And the cool thing is, even muscle-heads from the gym agree it's beneficial. I was talking to one over the weekend that said, "Yeah, yoga is no joke!"

1. Do you yoga?
2. Are you willing to try?

**Come back Friday when I'll be discussing when it's time to throw makeup away!!**

Monday, October 24, 2016

Fashion Must: Double Sided Earrings

I noticed on TV a girl wearing these really neat earrings. I knew she didn't have gauges in her ears, but the earrings made it appear as though she had, but in a very feminine and unique way. It wasn't till I was browsing the jewelry carousel at Walgreens that I'd found what they were.


And so, I later bought two pairs elsewhere to give them a try. To see if I liked the style. To see if anyone was going to wonder when I'd put big holes in my ears. Here's a pic of the two I bought, and how they are kept in place without sliding off, and how they looked.
white pearl cluster, black mini-spikes/studs

regular earring backing! brilliant...

final look!

And guess what?


I browsed the internet for some pictures to show you guys, and I couldn't believe all the fun designs I found. I can't wait to venture out and buy more of these hot new commodities! Here are a few I WANT:

1. Have you seen this new style?
2. Every worn them?
3. Gonna give it a try??? (SAY YES!)

***Come back Wednesday where I discuss the benefits of a certain exercise...***

Friday, October 21, 2016


Are there any book addicts in the house? *raises hand*

Yay! You're in good company. (The cheesy kind.) *breaks out the popcorn and kindle* 

When did you fall in love with books? It happened to me when I was in third grade. A classmate read a story to the whole class that won my heart and imagination. The reader became my hero. The book became my FAVORITE. 

From that day on, the scholastic order form was my best friend, the library was my happy place, and book fairs left me drooling. I'd stockpile books all year so that when summer hit, I had a stack of 8 to 10 to start. As soon as those were done, I'd beg for a trip to the library.

Here's where the story gets sad. Somewhere in high school I lost the drive to read independently. (About the same time I hit the pause button on writing.) Maybe it was the amount of school work. Maybe the number of required reading books. Don't know, but I missed my books.

It wasn't until I'd been a mom for about eight years that I gave myself permission to pick up anything other than a picture book. Going to the library almost made me feel guilty. All those pretties. Was it really okay to pick one up and *gasp* open it? What about the time I should be devoting to my kids, my house, other responsibilities?

All it took was one book. The love had never disappeared, it had just been suppressed. The written page swallowed me whole and I began reading one book a month, then two, then five, then eight or nine. They fit in cracks of time--waiting in the car, while exercising, while brushing teeth, while sitting a stoplights.

We have the power to fall in or out of love with anything in our lives. It's all a question of which appetite we choose to fill. Let us be wise--both to ourselves and life--with which addictions we decide to feed.

When did your love of books start?

Crystal Collier is a cheese-loving blogger & author who pens out funnies, deep thoughts, and book giveaways. She's the author of the Maiden of Time series, a 2012 winner of PitchWars, and a 2016 IWSG writing contest winner. She has lived from coast to coast and now calls Florida home with her creative husband, four littles, and “friend” (a.k.a. the zombie locked in her closet). Secretly, she dreams of world domination and a bottomless supply of cheese.

The third book in her Maiden of Time series releases November 1, 2016. Find her and her books online.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

BLING YOUR THING: Epic CHEESE (Aka Chicago Pizza)

It's National Pizza Month! (I'm all for that.) Are you a pizza lover?

When I was 15, I worked in a pizza parlor, and it has forever defined one thing: the world is incomplete without pizza. While living in NYC, I fell in love with their pizza pies--thin crust, just the right amount of sauce, wicked-awesome toppings, cheese... (Need I say more?) BUT pizza pie meets its true definition in Chicago.

That's two whole inches DEEP of cheese. (Aka, heaven.) Mmm... 

Here's the problem: I'm a consumer, not a maker. (Giordanos is my local source of heaven.) So here's a snazy tutorial to walk you through how to make it at home! *gasp* (Except he used preshredded cheese. DON'T DO THAT. They put potato starch on that stuff to keep it from sticking, and it changes the consistency of the cheese.)

Now, the biggest difference between restaurant pizza and homemade is the oven. (I kid you not--remember I worked in a pizzeria.) Home ovens have a limit on the heat they can produce, for safety reasons. Commercial ovens have no such restrictions. (Think 900 degrees Fahrenheit and up!) They cook a traditional pizza in 3 to 5 minutes. See the problem? 

Life hack! There is a way to modify your oven. *gasp* It deals with jimmy rigging the lock on your oven so that you can put it on "clean" and still use it to cook. (This can be dangerous.) Another option is to put your oven on broil for about 45 minutes before baking. We've done this. Pizzas cook in about 4 to 6 minutes and the crust is epic--but you have to use a high heat cooking stone because pans will warp.

Are you a pizza lover? Chicago style? NYC style? What's the best pizza you've ever had?

Crystal Collier is a cheese-loving blogger & author who pens out funnies, deep thoughts, and book giveaways. She's the author of the Maiden of Time series, a 2012 winner of PitchWars, and a 2016 IWSG writing contest winner. She has lived from coast to coast and now calls Florida home with her creative husband, four littles, and “friend” (a.k.a. the zombie locked in her closet). Secretly, she dreams of world domination and a bottomless supply of cheese.

The third book in her Maiden of Time series releases November 1, 2016. Find her and her books online.

Monday, October 17, 2016

BLING YOUR THING: Being You and Proud

This week we are Proud as Provolone & Parmesan as we welcome the Cheesy Queen CRYSTAL COLLIER to the House!

It's National Wear Something Gaudy day! (Do it!) 

What will I be wearing? Something like this:


Cheese makes me happy. It's my THING. 

You have a thing too, so what is it? What makes you happy just thinking about it? What brings you fulfillment or sets you apart?

In the marketing world, we're told to brand ourselves so we stand out. (That was never my intention, btw, I just love cheese.) I think in life we do the same thing. When we're young, we search for what it is we love. Sometimes that shuffles us into categories or cliques. The older we get, the more that thing begins to define us, to shape us--not because we relinquish control, but because we build our lives to encompass it. (I'm not talking about sociopolitical issues.)

My other thing looks something like this:

I haul 4 kids around with me everywhere. Each individual personality teaches me so much, and they've completely changed my outlook on life. They also challenge me well beyond where I thought my sanity line stood. Each one provides me the opportunity to be fulfilled through service to them, AND each is growing my capacity. (That shaping thing really comes into play.)

However, it seems like the predominant mentality these days is for people to look down their noses at large families--like the parents couldn't figure out birth control or are single handedly trying to bankrupt the country. (Because those kids will have to end up in poverty due to neglect or something, right?)

I have news for those people. SOME OF US LIKE BIG FAMILIES--and man do they keep things interesting.

But they're not for everyone. Obviously. ; )

So here's your permission today. Love your thing. Let it define you. Don't apologize for it or diminish it because your neighbor feels differently. Bling proudly.

Are you blinging your thing? What bling would you be wearing today if you could express yourself on your sleeve?

Crystal Collier is a cheese-loving blogger & author who pens out funnies, deep thoughts, and book giveaways. She's the author of the Maiden of Time series, a 2012 winner of PitchWars, and a 2016 IWSG writing contest winner. She has lived from coast to coast and now calls Florida home with her creative husband, four littles, and “friend” (a.k.a. the zombie locked in her closet). Secretly, she dreams of world domination and a bottomless supply of cheese.

The third book in her Maiden of Time series releases November 1, 2016. Find her and her books online.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Top of the Pumpkin Charts

I love seeing how creative people get with pumpkins.
Here are a few I found through Google...

I used to enjoy carving as well. But now that the boys are older, I don't get into it as much... 
Here are a couple of my creations...
yes, a white pumpkin

Halloween is fun!
Hope you're enjoying October!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Charts - Military-style Diet

I found a new diet. It looks great too. I even altered it to suit my tastes. It's called the Military Diet and claims you can lose up to 10 pounds in 3 days!

Unfortunately, I'm a huge slacker and monitoring my eating habits takes time and losing weight isn't high on my priority list. I hate that I'm gaining weight like a hippo even though I haven't changed eating habits in years. It's the cursed age. So now I have to make major diet changes so I can have more energy and less mass when it's time to keep up with grandchildren! Time shows no mercy!

So this Military Diet is a little extreme, but it has good principles. I already know what I'm supposed to do, I just don't wanna! Eat more veg, fruit, grain, and drink more water - eat less crap. Same old story! To inspire myself, I made some fun charts...
Here's the blank, if you're interested.
I don't intend to lose 10 pounds in 3 days. I need a complete lifestyle change of eating habits. Counting calories is time consuming. Paying attention to calories makes me feel guilty. But there are many days I wake up and say, this is the day I start eating better. Then my husband brings home pumpkin donuts - come on! I am gradually doing better, drinking more water and reaching for fruit or veg more often... just gotta keep trying to RESIST YUMMY TEMPTATION! Not to mention, exercise more...

If you have any suggestions, I'm all ears!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Charts - Put them to work! #mondaymotivation

Have you noticed a decline of work ethic in the service industry lately? The last few times we've been out to eat or shop, there seems to be this unfriendly, put-upon attitude pervading the experience. Maybe it's just me.

Don't get me wrong, some of the younger generation are completely gung-ho workers and innovators, but others obviously don't want to be there or don't know what they're doing, so they give up trying. It makes me wonder if maybe some parents are so busy that they aren't making their kids do chores around the house which instill a sense of responsibility and a value and pride for getting work done. I know sometimes it's easier to do the chores yourself rather than monitor the kids to make sure it gets done right, buh-lieve me! But the time and aggravation are worth it in the long run. Here are a couple of my Lazy Housewife-isms...

Do a kid's chore, you get a lazy adult. Teach a kid a chore, you get a productive adult.

A little whining now equals a lot of thanks later.

So, to make assigning and keeping track of chores easier (which is what the Lazy Housewife does) I have a chart (I <3 charts!)

This first one is what I use. The top three chores rotate monthly. I mark a tally when they do a chore or enter an amount of money for specialty chores.

In the bottom section, I subtract any purchases they make from their allowance. At the end of a quarter, I add everything up and deposit most of what they make into savings, but also give them some spending money. It's visual and shows them the value of working and saving money if they want something big like cool new shoes. Sometimes they pool together for a new video game. I've been using this system for years with only minor adjustments.

For an added amount of responsibility, you could have them tally their chores themselves and even total up the money.

Here's a blank that's more versatile. You can let me know if you'd like the Excel file (makes totaling that much easier, if you know Excel) I know there are other templates out there online, too.

I know helping contribute to my family as a kid made me a better person - though I sure didn't know it at the time and hated my chores. But as I got older, I didn't mind so much and now I miss those times setting the table or doing dishes in the kitchen with my mom.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on chores & allowance. There's plenty of ways to work it!
Have a great week!

Friday, October 7, 2016

Super Easy Sandwich

Start with the basics...
meat, cheese, dinner rolls

I prefer dinner rolls because they are
still connected straight from the pack. 

Slice dinner rolls in half without separating. 

Layer on the meat.
Note my helper trusty helper.
He's making sure whatever drops is quickly and efficiently cleaned up!

Add the cheese.
(I was going to crop out the dog and the shoes that my kids never put in the closet, but hey- we're really real here!)

Slice into sandwiches.
They're ready to eat!
These sandwiches are so easy. I usually use turkey breast, ham, and Muenster cheese, but any combo works. Great for a quick dinner, tailgate treat, or party food. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Boozey Bread!

Okay ladies - how many times have you made that delicious lasagna or that perfect stew and then wished you had a nice crusty bread to go with it? Homemade breads are something you either love making or dread making, but all of us love eating them. So wouldn't it be nice if we had a quick and easy alternative to the mix-knead-rise-punch-rise-punch humdrum of yeast breads?

Then look no farther! Beer bread is here to rescue your dinner in 60 minutes or less!
Photo by Wildflour


12 oz Beer (we'll talk about what kind later)
3 cups Self-Rising Flour
1/4 cup Melted Butter (divided)
3 Tbsp Sugar (more or less depending on sweetness preference)
Optional for herbed/dipping breads:
    1-2 tsp Garlic Powder or other preferred seasoning blend


Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease 9x5 loaf pan.
Mix flour, sugar, herbs (if added) until blended.
Add half the butter and beer then blend gently until a fairly uniform dough ball forms. Don't worry about a scattering of lumps - it's a thick dough.
Spoon evenly into the loaf pan then drizzle the remaining melted butter over the top.
Bake for approximately 45 minutes to an hour, or until the top is springy and golden brown.
Set on a cooling rack for 5 minutes, and serve with butter or dipping oils.

Choosing your beer:

This recipe is easiest for those of us who tend to have a few beers in the fridge for grabbing since most of the rest of the ingredients are things we tend to keep on hand at all times. But if you're not a beer drinker and wondering what kind to choose, here's a quick rundown of some to avoid and what to try for variation:

  • KISS Bread (Keep It Simple, Stupid) - If you like something tried and true for a mild flavor, stick with a mild ale or lager. This could be anything from Budweiser/Coors to Heineken/Warsteiner. 
  • Bread with Bite - If you like a little more tanginess to your bread, try a wheat beer or a citrus wheat beer. Blue Moon brings out some definite orange notes under a sour dough taste. Red ales (think Killians) or barleywines can also add some really interesting flavors.
  • Nutty and Rich Bread - This is one of my favorite categories to play in. Try toasted lagers, brown ales, dark lagers, and schwarzbiers to make fantastic winter beer breads. If you want to add an extra measure of nuttiness, try mixing half oatmeal stout with a dark lager.
  • AVOID - Not all beers are created equal when it comes to making bread. Notice above I said only use half oatmeal stout? Stouts, porters, and wheatwines have great complex flavors, but tend not to rise very well in the oven. These turn out more like beer-scented dough bricks.  Others to avoid are IPAs and other beers advertised as extremely hoppy. That hoppiness gets emphasized in the baking process and leaves your beer bread tasting like you ground SweeTarts into the flour. Sours should also be avoided - these beers are brewed with bacteria rather than yeast and won't perform the way you need in the pan.

No go forth and make bread! (and tell me how it went :-))

Monday, October 3, 2016


Due to circumstances beyond our control, our guest for the week had to cancel at the last minute... So what do women do best?


Don't you hate it when you thought you had an ingredient and you're in the middle of a yummy recipe and you realize you DON'T have it? Ack!

Fortunately, I can usually find a substitute or I improvise. It's like I'm on Chopped - make something from what you have!

So here are some handy substitutions that I use sometimes...
(borrowed from my cookbook by Better Homes & Gardens)

Baking powder: for 1 teaspoon, substitute 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar plus 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Bread crumbs, fine, dry: for 1/4 cup, substitute 3/4 cup soft bread crumbs, or 1/4 cup cracker crumbs, or 1/4 cup cornflake crumbs, or 2/3 cup rolled oats

Buttermilk: for 1 cup, substitute sour milk: 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar plus enough milk to make 1 cup (let stand 5 minutes before using); or 1 cup plain yogurt

Half-and-half or light cream: for 1 cup, substitute 1 tablespoon melted butter plus enough whole milk to make 1 cup

Heavy cream/Whipping cream: for 1 cup, substitute 2 cups whipped dessert topping

Honey: for 1 cup, substitute 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar plus 1/4 cup water.

Molasses: for 1 cup, substitute 1 cup honey

Sour cream, dairy: for 1 cup, substitute 1 cup plain yogurt

Usually no one notices the difference! There are a lot more at the website, for spices too.
Then there's always emergency pizza delivery!

What emergency substitutions have you made - that you would recommend?
Happy Monday!
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