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Friday, September 26, 2014

That Specail September

It was September 26, 2004 the morning started out with family greetings and old coffee mugs in the hotel lobby. I was beyond thrilled to be in Las Vegas for the first time EVER so I walked all around our hotel excited to take in all the creative shops when asked in the elevator why I was there, I beamed so proudly "My Dad is getting married this evening!"

It was actually my father-in-law but I called him "Dad" very naturally. He had his 2 grown boys at his side along with his own father for the ceremony. 
Grandpa and Grandma Shively met us in Vegas from Arizona. Teresa already had her sister there so it became the chosen location for everyone to meet up. That hotel restraunt was a buzz of laughter and shared stories as the 2 families came together. I was in awe of this event as we got ready for the wedding!

It was a warm afternoon as we ladies got ready in Teresa's hotel room, full of girlie things we got dress slowly enjoying chocolates and champagne. Teresa's mother, sister and I were all going to ride over to the chapel in the limo. So that whole afternoon in her hotel room was a reflective time in getting ready and sharing how wonderful it is to be family. Teresa's red curly pinned up hair was stunning as we chatted "What really impressed me about Kelly is his love for his boys, love for his family that made me feel right at home with him." I smiled back exclaiming "Exactly! I felt like he has always been there for me even though I was just dating his son, he is such a GOOD Dad!"

It was a fun night as the wedding unfolded, Teresa's sister Kim and I were her bridesmaids dressed in matching soft green dresses. Dad and Teresa looked so in love, so in the magic of the moment always holding hands through out the whole ceremony. I was so proud of the union in that moment and now looking back 10 years later I am still in awe of how it all has been so wonderful for each of them! It got me thinking of how magical it also was when I first thought "These 2 people need to meet somehow...."

It was a long stretch out table for the whole group to sit and eat after the ceremony as Dad and Teresa mingled and served the cake together. There was lots of laughter, lots of celebrating and lots of hugs from everyone there! I felt like the whole celebration flew by way to fast as the midnight hour had us walking back up together to our hotel rooms, the magic of love and being together as a family warmed our hearts much like the way Vegas was sparkling outside the windows at the end of such a big event when I felt so grateful to now gain a new Mother-in-law!   

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Joy in June

            I walked around for a moment in the soft morning light taking in the pure excitement of that professional canopy being all setup, Dad was on the move with the rental guys as they cleared out. He stopped by the side door asking down in the backyard at me "Do you need some coffee?" I held up my own coffee mug in hand "I'm already set." his wife Teresa was turning 50 years this day for the big celebration and garden theme party. I was so excited to see how it was all coming together. Those past weeks of making lists, of getting big projects done and helping side by side with them prepare for this fun event. I took a deep breath of that fresh June morning from the raised garden beds over looking the valley below, a skyline of tall trees and the sound of birds made me know that THIS day was going to be PERFECT!

I walked into their house as my husband's father was on the phone while his wife hugged me happily explaining the chores I needed to tackle, I could feel the relaxed feeling of a full morning ahead to get the party setup. Dad asked again if I needed anything, he is always very thoughtful and reliable like that making him the greatest dad I have ever met! I chuckle as I race off to do some quick cleaning, I had just been out there the day before so I knew what was still on my working list. "Thanks, Dad but I'm good really and I'll let ya know if I need more coffee for sure." as his friends arrived to setup table and chairs he was on the move again. While his beautiful bride setup party favors and happily listened to some music in her very stylish newly remodeled kitchen. I felt so grateful to be apart of this behind the scenes to the big event!

She was so beautiful much like on the very first day I had met her....a whole decade ago...I sat at the kitchen table drawing up signs for parking, signs for the bathrooms, signs for the walkway looking up to think "Doesn't she look so beautiful? I can't WAIT to be 50 one day!"
She move about her kitchen gracefully, talking with her friend Shawna on what was priority to stay on task and in schedule. Their husbands had found some beer already joking around while hanging the decor in the canopy. I went down to help them realizing that without us women these kind of events wouldn't unfold with such artistic magic!

The company had begun to arrived while she put on her lovely classy dress wearing her most treasured jewelry from her beloved family. We help each other get ready surrounded by all her girlie things and laughing as the party began, She twirled around one last time in her mirror as Dad knocked on the door asking if we were ready, I stood there in awe of those two hugging each other on the way out to entertain together. I smiled so happily finishing the last pin in my hair thinking for a moment that I am the luckiest woman in the whole world to have such  great in-laws or as I like to think of them "my substitute parents" This was going to be a GREAT party, and a joyful celebration of the 50 years that Teresa Hutton Shively has walked this earth to better all the lives she has touched!

There really hasn't been a woman like HER in my whole life, in my everyday life she gives me that stable friendship. Her calm wisdom has picked me up from my knees and steady my emotional reactions all these things that the last 10 years unfolded upon us. her beautiful smile, her common sense and her devotion to family has made my life so much better! She doesn't talk bad about anyone, she doesn't take sides at a dinner table discussion but when she speaks it is real and it is wise! I can't be more grateful to live by her side, to share our love for gardening and dogs in our love for knowledge and good health. I can't be more grateful for our busy fun days to our lazy evenings sitting around reading. During her speech at the party when she said how grateful she was to be so loved I felt a flash go by our lives so tightly connected and realized that it was I who should be so grateful and thankful to of met her, to have such a mentor and a rescuer like her in my life making me a stronger person!

 When the rain came down on that October night I raced into the restraunt to find my friend Carla say "Oh Good! you made it! This is my friend Teresa." I leaned across the bar stools to shake her hand as she smiled kindly back at me I was blown away by her beauty asking jokingly "What ya drinking that looks good?" She turned the glass for me "Snow Cap, I like dark beers." I felt an instant connection saying "Well then YOU should meet my father-in-law, he loves dark beers too." Carla leans over to Teresa adding "He's recently divorced and gorgeous!" Teresa just smiled back nodding like we were being "car salesmen" and I retorted quickly "He is a GREAT Dad too!" then she gave me her business card and the rest is a really good love story!

Dad held his glass up high with his other arm around our beautiful Teresa facing the party crowd he said "Happy 50th birthday Teresa, CHEERS!" we all cheered together and wipe a few tears of such joy in that June night!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Smart $

It's been a journey for me looking back at my bank account much like sharing how my kitchen skills improved so have my money saving skills!
Last year at this time we hit a total zero in our bank account something I have never seen since getting married over a decade ago. When I lived on my own I fell flat on my face in confusion over how I worked over 40 hours a week sometimes adding a second job even and still not having enough money to pay my 3 bills. So as I discovered department store credit cards I dug my 22 year old self into a 3,000 dollar debt before I had ever lived on my own for a whole year! Gratefully I had people in my life at that time to give me wise advice changing my helpless money handling ways. To BE successful isn't to own the nicest things and dressing with the latest styles, I am glad I figured that all out before turning 30! It became very important to me in being debt free and using my money to better small business and improve my quality of life. My 20 dollars brought home 3 lavender plants and a bag of potting soil to grow year after year as my 20 dollar jeans wore out and became shorts that I wore to cut the endless lavender for my beautiful home life!  Thinking about the story of stuff, about how money is so easily mishandled. I changed my whole life style over the last decade because I saw a 60 dollar shirt in the mall meant I had to work for 8 hours at the coffee shop in order to buy it. However my 6 dollar shirt of the very same style was paid for at the thrift shop allowing me to take the next day off from work with money to spare! So I knew I didn't want to be caught up on my self image anymore, I wanted to be free in living my life making homemade salsa more! Everything needs money so knowing where that cost goes helps me decide what is THIS worth to me? Taking what I already own and reusing it in a clever way always leaves me smiling bigger then if I had to stay in line at the register buying a new one. Smart money is what I want to have, being down beyond the savings line last year made me realize from here on out I will stay sharp and clever so that the only meal for 3 days isn't popcorn ever again! OR my famous "mackerel tomato soup" where as my husband to this day won't ever eat it again, I thought it was really good after having starved for is like that full of important lessons to learn. Be ready, be prepared and be smart about those "personal fiances".  I love reading this blog James Altucher for that same honesty in failing, in struggling when trying to figure out how this game of life is played. I also like knowing we become better having fallen flat our faces in making mistakes.....I enjoy having a job, I enjoy being home, I like to go shopping sometimes and I like to just sit all day at the coffee shop too. Money doesn't scare me anymore, doesn't feel like I need to be rich in order to be happy, I am glad that I failed when first living on my own trying to prove to the world or to my parents that I was successful. It's embarrassing of course to be made humble, but I look back ever so glad to know that feeling and wake up to what I really want my life to be in the end. With this life lesson my wallet can only hold smart $ now!  

Thursday, September 11, 2014


When I actually stop to think about it, I LOVE dessert! Ever since I was a kid and my mother would invite families over for dinner her desserts were truly richly AMAZING and most importantly full of FUN so to this day I look forward to DESSERT. When I look back at my childhood some of my best memories are centered around great desserts and EVERYONE was in a GOOD mood!

Dessert has changed over the last few years for me, going for things I can make more without gluten or Crisco. Keeping it still nice and tasty with little to no sugar.
Such new ideas and new dishes are really fun to try!  Dessert will always be one of my favorite parts of entertaining in my home as well, just like my own mother I am now creating new fun times over sharing such treats with family and friends for dessert is very comforting in the end of the night....

I have a dessert that is very popular with everyone in dipped chocolate fruits. and I have learned that melting dark chocolate on the stove is tricky, very important to watch it closely avoiding over heating and curdling it. Once it begins to melt I remove it quickly off the stove top burner stirring quickly to the side of the heat while dipping the fruit pieces I want to half cover with this dark rich sweet liquid then lay them in a row on the wax paper already set out. 
It's such a beautiful sight to behold!

I LOVE the art of making this's as though I am gliding through time in a magical scene off the movie "Charlie and the Chocolate factory" because I've gotten good at this, my focus is sharp while my senses are relaxed at the very same time, for I'm peacefully happy in creating such treats as THESE!

Chocolate melted slowly and carefully is my favorite part of the holidays as I make such great desserts and candies for those yearly celebrations! (AND when I have company over)

Dessert will ALWAYS make me smile and I know the possibilities are endless while melting that deep dark rich chocolate once again!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Coconut oil

It is THE one number thing I use every single day of my life now, I can not express the importance of such an wonderful miracle oil as this!
     Coconut oil 

I use it to cook up and saute anything in my pots and skillets because of Coconut oil's heat resistance while tasting amazingly buttery at the same time!

I use it for pet care issues dry skin or dry paws even helping to heal open wounds. Coconut oil is anti-bacterial for helping to fight most any problems both my cats and dogs will eat it too. It's harmless for them so I love using it in replace to any medicine just in case they can lick it.

I use it for my personal hygiene, my dental care and as my number one lotion. I eat a tablespoon a day sometimes just eating it right off the spoon in my hand. (If ever you get constipated just have a big spoon of coconut oil and drink 3 big glasses of vitamin C water, then rest a bit there is nothing to worry about from has been over 5 years since I've had that kind of an personal issue...right about when Coconut oil came into my life actually) 

I use coconut oil in replace of conditioner for the ends of my long hair and love how nice it feels on my face (just remember a little goes a long ways in being nice and oily) It is so nice to cut the cost of all my cosmetics, not to mention also for my grocery bill to have coconut oil on hand all the time I never use fake chemicals to cook in ever again!

When it comes to needing more GOOD fats, coconut oil is the very best fat I can ever think of right up there next to avocados in my book! Truly everything I read and practice with for my own personal judgement is also out there for you the reader, I am not a Doctor nor certified on any level to give advice, just sharing my thoughts on how wonderful my body is doing with coconut oil and that I have plenty of time to read and research about this miracle oil for my own personal healing. Now I wake up craving coconut oil sometimes, I can tell when my oils and fats get worn down so I'll toss a scoop into my "to-go-mug" of coffee on my way out the door!

TRY this simple recipe with Coconut oil;

In skillet melt 2 tablespoons of coconut oil on medium heat. While that is heating up cut slices of zucchini, yellow neck squash, carrots, eggplant and bell pepper, I try to keep everything cut in small circles, then first toss on carrots and bell peppers stirring with a wooden spoon adding in spices like salt and pepper even a bit of Chili powder or garlic powder too as the carrots and pepper sizzle I add in the slices of the softer veggies to now all saute together in the hot oils (If you like your veggies really oily then add more coconut oil to the cooking)
 It should all cook up nicely as you stir and watch for the texture you want, some people like these veggies burnt a bit for a crunch but I like them all to look warm, glossy all the way through. Then serve next to a already cooked steak or roast on the plate, 
For THIS is my "yen and yang" of great meals to live on! 
With half protein and half good fat on each plate or bowl for the rest of my life :-)   Stay well oiled out there!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014


It's an amazing fermented sweet tea, with live cultures and good bacteria that have saved me MANY of time in the store when I grab something to drink. When I want something other then water and need a boost of energy without doing coffee again in that day I drink up Kombucha with a big happy smile! Making it at home is possible as long as ya have enough sugar to keep adding to the yeast as it grows or else the fermentation will change into some kind of household cleaner over a neglected ignored few months.

I love this stuff so much for how good it taste and how amazingly quickly my stomach feels healthier after downing a bottle, especially on the run this summer working the fair in the late summer's heat and being surrounded by soda or beer. My komucha became my saving grace for good mental health. And after eating really unhealthy foods for a whole day off at the Fair I hurt from such bad fun choices that this fermented tea brought me back to my old strong self again in only a few minuets! It's not so hard to keep making it at home but luckily kombucha is being sold in more and more stores as it grows in knowledge and popularity! 
So enjoy the fun fizz of getting more minerals and very important pro biotic from your daily fermented beverage! 
CHEERS to Kombucha and staying young forever!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Fermented Salsa

When it comes to making lots of fermented drinks or foods I have found this salsa recipe to be so AMAZING!

1 bunched cilantro chopped through a food processor tossed into a big bowl.
1 onion chopped.
1 bell pepper.
6 to 12 tomatoes.
3 jalapenos.
3 Anaheim peppers.
3 limes, 1 lemon juiced.
a little diced garlic or garlic powder
spices; black pepper, cumin, chili, cayenne and oregano
4 tablespoons sea salt
1/2 cup of whey.

I stir everything together in the bowl with a loose lid to sit on the counter for a couple of days as it all ferments and bubbles. Then keep salsa in the refrigerator to use over the next 6-8 months. I eat it so much lately that I have made a second thicker batch by blending more tomatoes! It's a yummy easy recipe to keep on hand:-)

Monday, September 1, 2014

My Project List

It has been a successful summer in getting all my big projects done like painting Tony's brew storage room. I was able to focused on getting it painted and setup. I washed hundreds of beer bottles and wine bottles even soaking and scrubbing off all the labels. This little room can get very hot so the only things I put in it are tools and storage stuff.

It looks great now, I am very proud to have it all done. Along side the guestroom, having everything in it's place and setup so inviting makes me smile as I go through these rooms. I have always made a project list at the first of June but THIS summer is the very first season I can recall actually finishing that same list by the first of September!

 It is fun for me to be a homemaker, it's even more delightful to get all these projects done and completed!

Each season has me making lists and doing endless projects, yet summer time is when I do the really BIG jobs. It is when I live in my paint clothes, sweaty and dirty almost all the time as I dig in the soil or deep sweep the floors. Organizing the garage, pulling weeds out of the driveway and staging each and every room of my huge home so that I can spend every free moment outside! 
Summer flies by so fast but I am proud to say that THIS year I got my project list actually all DONE! least until next summer when my imagination is put to pen and paper once again. 
Where ever I live I thrive in keeping on task and adding those check marks to my imagination, to my finished completely beautiful home!