Friday, March 27, 2015

Friday Favorites

A very happy Friday to you!  I'm starting to love Fridays these days.  They feel like the kick-off for the weekend and now that my husband doesn't have to work on weekends like he did during snow season, I have more time to spend with him.  Now, on to my faves of the week.

When a Texas Walmart went out of business, the town made good use of the empty building by filling it with books!

This guy records one word every day for a year and this is what he's come up with.  (video link)

Would you believe this piece of 3D art is made out of a book?

Let's talk about houseplants.  I never know if I'm watering them enough or too much.  I need this little invention.

Ann Voskamp has such a way of putting words on paper and they always seem to apply to my life. Like this one.

And for a little week-end cuteness.  What would you do if a coyote appeared in your backyard and went straight toward your dog's forgotten toy?  Grab your camera, of course!

The post Friday Favorites first appeared on Simple Life, Happy Wife.  *This was not a sponsored post - just some things I love and wanted to share with you!  If you wish to share any of the ideas above, please click the links and share from the original source.*  If you found this article helpful, don't forget to share it with your friends!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Guys Behind the Blog | March Link Up


We're back linking up with Betsy from Heavens to Betsy in her The Guys Behind The Blog link up!

1.  Do you have a good luck charm or ritual? (like a lucky coin, or you always used to listen to a certain pump-up song when you played sports in high school or college?)

I don't have a lucky charm, but when I'm fishing a tournament or to fill the freezer, I always wear a certain fishing shirt because it's the one I was wearing when I caught my personal best rockfish.

2.  What is your favorite dish that your wife makes you?  Do you have any fun memories of a time when she tried to cook and it totally flopped or does she get it right every time?

There are quite a few dishes that she makes that I enjoy, but one in particular called Hollywood Grill Deluxe.  It's sauteed chicken with a teriyaki baste and it's topped with sauteed mushrooms, peppers and cheddar cheese.



3.  What did you want to be when growing up?

I never really wanted to be anything growing up, but I knew I wanted to be the opposite of my mother and father.  (The hubs had a hard childhood)

4.  Which of the five senses is your strongest?

That's a hard one to answer in my line of work.  In the automotive industry, when you're constantly working with your hands - and hard work, at that - your hands callus pretty quickly. The loud machinery we use affects our hearing and all the fluids and sprays we work with can affect smell and taste.  I didn't have the best eyesight going into the industry.  I'd say my sense of smell is hanging in there the longest.

5.  Would you ever run for president?

Would I run for president, no.  I do think this country needs a good ol' boy who has lived a life like most lower and middle class Americans, has had struggles and had to work for everything he has.

I think my husband would make a great president, but he has no interest - at all - in politics.  Plus, the only time I can get him to suit up is if someone is getting married or has died.  He might consider running for office if the dress code is cargo shorts, a t-shirt and chucks!  ;)

Thanks so much for stopping by and getting to know my hubs a bit more!  We'll see you next month!

The post The Guys Behind the Blog | March Link Up first appeared on Simple Life, Happy Wife.   If you found this article helpful, don't forget to share it with your friends!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Reading Shakespeare | 101 in 1001

If you've check out my 101 in 1001 list, you saw that one of my reading goals was to check off ten books from the BTU list.  BTU stands for Back to University.  Quite a few bloggers have lists like these, but I'm following one from my favorite bookie YouTuber, Books and Quills.

college literature

Her Back to University is the complete list of recommended reading for a Master's degree in literature.  Her reasoning for making the list is that in a literature degree, it's difficult to read all the recommended reading in your college and grad school career.  It's quite the syllabus of British lit. I've read a lot of the works she has on her list, but I'm going to reread it all over the next several years.  I chose ten books or works to complete in my 101 in 1001.

Here are the items I've checked off the list.
  • Shakespeare - The time sonnets (12, 18, 19, 55 and 73)
  • Shakespeare - Sonnets (97, 107, 116, 129)
  • Macbeth
  • Twelfth Night
  • Shakespeare - Sonnet (130)
Shakespeare is one of my favorite writers of the English Renaissance and I knocked out everything in the early part of the Back to University list.  There is a little more of his writing in the Master's section of the list.  

shakespeare reading

With that, I've crossed off three "books" from my BTU list - I counted all the sonnets as one entry because they are quite short.

P.S.  In case you're wondering about this beautiful book of Shakespeare works, it was my 26th birthday gift from my husband.  I think he got it from Barnes & Noble in the collector's section.

Did you complete all the reading in your college literature classes?  Who is your favorite writer?

The post Reading Shakespeare | 101 in 1001 first appeared on Simple Life, Happy Wife.   If you found this article helpful, don't forget to share it with your friends!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Lighten Up, Y'all by Virginia Willis - A Book Review

I love cooking.  Even more, I love cooking for my husband.  Lorne grew up on southern food.  Not just fried chicken, but collard greens with hot sauce and chitlens - the whole deal.  So when I was offered a free copy of Lighten Up, Y'all by Virginia Willis for review, I jumped at the chance.


In this cookbook, Virginia Willis shares classic southern recipes, with a lighter twist.  Instead of the food being deep-fried in bacon fat and loaded with butter, she substitutes the ingredients and the cooking method to take off some of the calories and fat grams.  Genius if you ask me.

As soon as I opened the shipping box, I started flipping through the book and was impressed at the expanse of southern food.  Willis includes main dishes in poultry, beef, pork and lamb as well as seafood and shellfish.  She shares recipes for sides, baked goods, soups and stews and desserts.


Not too many mainstream "southern" cookbooks have recipes like Smokey Seafood Étouffée or Bacon-Wilted Greens with Warm Pecan-Crusted Goat Cheese.  Think five star southern, cajun and creole dishes coming out of your kitchen with the help of this book.



There are detailed, full-page color photos on every third page of the book, and let me tell you, it's hard to choose which recipe to make first!  Everything looks so tasty and each recipe has very clear, simple-to-follow instructions.  

Let's talk for a second about the cure for a sweet tooth.  How do Cream Cheese Swirl Brownies sound?  I'm telling you, this is THE cookbook to own.



I hope you enjoyed a little peek inside Lighten Up, Y'all from Virginia Willis.  You can find it on Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

The post Lighten Up, Y'all by Virginia Willis - A Book Review first appeared on Simple Life, Happy Wife  *I received the book featured in this post for free, courtesy of Blogging for Books.  I was not cash compensated or required to give a positive review.  As always, all opinions are genuinely my own.  For more info on these types of posts, please click the Terms of Use tab above.*  If you found this article helpful, don't forget to share it with your friends!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Simple Gratitude | 01

gratitude

I have had a gratitude journal for some time now, and although it's done a great deal in promoting positivity in my life, I feel I could benefit more by sharing gratitude here on the blog.  On Sundays, I'll be sharing weekly recap posts that focus on being grateful.

The past week has been a difficult one for me.  I have cried (a lot) and had a hard date with reality. This week has also been one of reflection, decision making and changes.

Through it all, I still have plenty to be thankful for.

  • a husband who is 100% real with me all the time.
  • warm weather because I'm so tired of the dreary cold and the fatigue it brings.
  • yoga is just what I need to calm my mind.
  • tea for when I need to keep warm in the 30° temperature drops.
  • good quality tissues.
  • comfort food because nothing else wraps you in a blanket of creamy, cheesy goodness at the end of a hard day.
What are you grateful for this week?

The post Simple Gratitude | 01 first appeared on Simple Life, Happy Wife.   If you found this article helpful, don't forget to share it with your friends!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Friday Favorites

I'm doing my happy dance because it's Friday and it actually feels like Spring!  The windows have been open and I can't wait to get started on my spring cleaning.  (I know, sad, huh?)

One of my favorite things about Spring is being able to stay out in the yard at night and watch the night sky light up and twinkle with stars.  Some of these sky-gazing spots are definitely going on my bucket list.
photo cred: David Lane

I'm loving this best friend duo.  An unlikely pair, but you can tell from the photos they sure love each other.

I love this landscape.  And nine others.

This photographer took photographs of every person he saw reading a book on the subway.

And this sweet video of a flower girl and a ring bearer marrying each other twenty years later.  (video link)

What are some of your favorite things this week?



The post Friday Favorites first appeared on Simple Life, Happy Wife.   *This was not a sponsored post - just some things I love and wanted to share with you!  If you wish to share any of the ideas above, please click the links and share from the original source.* If you found this article helpful, don't forget to share it with your friends!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Girls Rocking 2015! - Be a Mentor


Happy Wednesday, friends!  If you've read the previous Girls Rocking 2015! posts, you know that we've already focused on how ad campaigns push unhealthy body types and that some companies are moving beyond that and featuring models with more realistic figures.  You know that demeaning comments from others and negative thoughts about ourselves greatly lower our self esteem and how to combat that.  You know how detrimental female bullies are and that "mean girls" and "the burn book" from a fictional movie are now reality in today's schools and on social media.  Last week, we talked about the word 'beautiful' and how, although some women don't take it as a compliment, it really is just an acknowledgement of God's creation.

Today, we're going to focus on the positive.  Mentoring.  What is it?  How does it help?  How to get involved?  Continue reading to learn more about this service.

What is a mentor, you ask?  
men·tor
ˈmenˌtôr,ˈmenˌtər
1. an experienced and trusted adviser.
 synonyms: adviser, guide, counselor, consultant, confidante 
2.  advise or train (someone, especially a younger colleague)

A mentor is someone who invests time and effort into someone else, usually someone younger.  It could be as easy as playing a sport together or having a conversation or even tutoring this person.  As long as she has someone reliable who is interested in her and in her corner.

Many young girls don't have a resource like this in their lives.  They come home from school to an empty house and a single parent who is still at work.  Because of funding cuts, there are fewer and fewer free after-school programs to keep these kids occupied and they often end up hanging out with the wrong crowd and getting hurt or in trouble.

Statistics have shown that kids who have a mentor are more likely to stay in school and perform better in their classes.  Kids with mentors are also 46% less likely than their peers to start using drugs and 27% less likely to start drinking.  Mentors help bring self esteem levels back up to normal range, and help decrease depression rates.  The list goes on an on.  [Statistics via mentoring.org]

Don't you think something as easy as donating an hour or two a week in order to help a girl reduce her risk of teen parenthood, drug and alcohol abuse and raise her shot at graduating from high school and going to college or succeeding in the workforce is a good investment?  I sure do!

What makes a great mentor?
Someone who is reliable, trustworthy and consistent; a good listener but doesn't judge; freely gives support, encouragement and shares knowledge; is open to what the child would like to do - these are all qualities of an A+ mentor.

How can I get involved in a mentoring program?
There are a lot of great organizations who have a mentoring program.  Here are a few ways you can get involved.
  • Girl Scouts - volunteer to lead a troop or assist with activities
  • Boys & Girls Clubs - shoot some hoops and make some new friends
  • Visit Mentoring.org to see other opportunities in your state
  • Check with your local church to see if they have opportunities 
  • Volunteer to coach a local recreational team in your town
  • Volunteer to be a camp counselor for a week or two during the summer
  • Sign up to be a tutor
  • Volunteer to read to a classroom of children
  • Sign up to teach a kid's craft at your local hobby store
I hope, after reading today's post, that you are inspired to use some of your free time to get involved and make a difference in a girl's life.  All it takes is a commitment and willingness to connect with a girl who needs someone in her corner. 

You can read more about mentoring here.
The Value of Mentoring
Who Was in Your Corner?

You can read the previous Girls Rocking 2015! posts here:
Girls Rocking 2015! (Introduction)
Girls Rocking 2015! - How Negative Thoughts are Killing Our Self Esteem
Girls Rocking 2015! - The Mean Girl Dilemma and Why We Need to Stop Talking About Each Other
Girls Rocking 2015! - What 'Beautiful' Really Means

The post Girls Rocking 2015! - Be a Mentor first appeared on Simple Life, Happy Wife.    If you found this article helpful, don't forget to share it with your friends!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Baby Not On Board - Some Thoughts on Being Childless

baby not on board

I realize that this is a touchy subject and a lot of women might not appreciate what I have to say, but these words have been on my heart for a while now, so I'm going to say them anyway.

I am in my thirties and I do not have children.  I don't plan to have children.  Unfortunately, when I tell someone I've never met this, I am often looked at like I've just landed on this planet from Mars. I get questioning looks of concern, like they are suspicious of me and my intentions. Many treat me like I'm unfit to be a woman and frankly, I've had enough of the nonsense.

There are several reasons I've chosen not to pursue parenthood.  One is that I've raised my kids.  I have seven younger siblings and from an early age, I've been the babysitter.  When my sisters got older, we shared the duties, but it was always me in charge.  While I will never regret that my parents left that duty up to me, keeping up with (and cleaning up after) five little boys is awesome birth control.  I've changed enough diapers, cleaned up enough spills and stepped on enough matchbox cars to be satisfied with my experience as a surrogate mom.

Many women tell me I'll never understand what being a mother really feels like until I've birthed a child.  While I have the utmost respect for women who deliver children (mom did it 8 times and both of my sisters, twice) I don't believe you have to deliver a child to be a mom.  I am friends with a dozen other bloggers who have chosen to adopt their kids for various reasons.  It takes quite a woman to adopt someone else's child and love him as your own and all these women are doing an amazing job at it!

My health also plays a big factor in my decision.  I've dealt with problems with my reproductive system since I was a teenager, and when I was diagnosed with Addison's (an autoimmune disease) I knew getting pregnant would be a battle if my husband and I decided to try.  Essentially, when you have an autoimmune disorder, your immune system sees normal functions of the human body (like hormone changes during pregnancy) and fights them off like they are the plague.  If I were to get pregnant, my body would likely reject the fetus.  If I was in the tiny percentage of women this didn't happen to, the physical stress of carrying a baby would be enough to put my body in shock, which could end up being fatal for me and the baby.  This is not something my husband was comfortable risking when weighing the pros and cons of trying to conceive.

Along with the dirty looks, I am frequently asked questions about my choice.  After a glance at my left ring finger, "Are you a lesbian?"  No, I'm not a lesbian - I have a husband, and sexual orientation doesn't have anything to do with a woman's desire to have children.  There are TONS of people in same-sex relationships who want and have children.  "Do you hate children?"  Actually, I love kids! I just don't have the desire to have one.  "Why?  Are you missing the maternal gene?"  I don't think so. I can still love and care for children who are not my own.

"Are you infertile?  I have a friend who had IVF and she had a baby within six months."  While I'm very happy for your friend, the hormone therapy you have to go through before having IVF would only screw my already hormone-depleted body up.  "What about praying - have you prayed?  God gave Abraham's wife, Sarah a baby when she was in her later years. [Gen 21.2] He could do that for you too." Yes, God did give Sarah a baby - even after her husband got another woman pregnant because he was impatient.  If God decides to put things in order so I was able to get pregnant, I would be thankful and try my hardest to be the best mother I could be.  I also believe that God allows some people to take other paths in life and I'm just as happy to be on that path.

"You're wrong.  God put us here to be fruitful and multiply. [Gen 1:28] That's our purpose in life."  Yes, God did say that to Adam and Eve - when they were the only two humans on the planet and life was dependent of them.  He is the one, after all, who allows me and many others to struggle with chronic illnesses and disorders that make it very difficult to conceive.  He has a purpose for that and I'm sure it's not just to let people struggle with pain and discomfort.  I have to trust God that He has a reason for the way I feel and for the struggles He's given me.  His plan is so much greater than mine.  I'm only along for the ride in this game called life.

Perhaps this is the first time you've heard a perspective like mine.  Maybe your circle of moms is so tight, you didn't realize there could be women out there who just don't care to have children.  I hope, while you spend your morning cutting up food in little bites, picking up toys and washing cloth diapers, that you think about what I'm sharing today.  When you meet someone who says they don't want children, don't pity them.  Don't treat them like they don't fit in or don't deserve to live.  Instead, try being compassionate and understand there are probably unspoken circumstances that have led to their decision... and perhaps, ask them if they'd like to come hang out with your kids.

The post Baby Not On Board - Some Thoughts On Being Childless first appeared on Simple Life, Happy Wife.    If you found this article helpful, don't forget to share it with your friends!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday, friends.  It's the time of the week where I share the things I love with you!  Starting with a magical path inspired by my favorite artist, Van Gogh.


My heart bursts with joy at this generous three-year-old who is donating her hair to another child.


How beautiful are this little town (and 37 others) that is dwarfed by it's surroundings?


If you're a book and movie buff like I am, you'll enjoy this infographic.


Finally, there's nothing like a good haircut to boost your confidence... and get you adopted.


Hope you have a happy weekend!

The post Friday Favorites first appeared on Simple Life, Happy Wife.    *This was not a sponsored post - just some things I love and wanted to share with you!  If you wish to share any of the ideas above, please click the links and share from the original source.*   If you found this article helpful, don't forget to share it with your friends!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

The Golden Vlog - March


This post is part of The Golden Vlog series link-up.

I am trying something new today and introducing my first vlog!  I'm linking up with Faith from Life w/ Mrs. G & the Artist for her Golden Vlog series.  I am so excited to be joining up with this group of awesome bloggers and sharing a little bit about me.

So, hit the play button and after you've watched the video, don't forget to click the link (below) to go to Faith's blog and check out her video and all the other bloggers who have linked up! (video link)


Ok, so what did you think?  I've watched a lot of vlogs but I've never made one before today, so I hope my first go was a good one.  I'd love to hear some of your answers to the questions Faith asked, so either comment below, or.... make a vlog yourself and link up with us!  You can find Faith's March edition of The Golden Vlog by clicking here.

Thanks so much for coming by today and let me know if you want to see more videos from me in the future!

The post The Golden Vlog - March first appeared on Simple Life, Happy Wife.   *This is not a sponsored post, just a fun link-up with other bloggers.*  If you found this article helpful, don't forget to share it with your friends!
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