A Good Marraige

"This post is not about anyone or any fact. It is simply just a thought and opinion of my own".

I have been married for 21 years now. I have to say its been the best years of my life. In these 21 years, our marriage has only gotten stronger. We have raised a beautiful, smart, kind daughter that is now living out on her own hopefully taking in all we have taught her. We have had trials and disappointments that life has thrown at us but, all in all, I think our marriage is one of the rarest of kind. yes, rare. Why? Well, Ill share with you what I think holds our marriage together.

1. I'll start with the fact that we both attend church. Even though we are two different denominations which sometimes causes a problem because he goes to one church and I go to another, but we still go, and that's great. Its proven that married couples that go to church together have a better success rate. My husband even made the comment the other day how we try to keep our lives biblical. We see so many other homes broken, troubled and unhappy because they choose to keep God out of it.

2. We do not do many things apart from each other. Sure I'll have dinner with my girl friends sometimes but it is usually for lunch or on a week night and we do not go to bars or clubs.
When spouses "party" away from each other such as those "girls/guys night out", etc. It can lead to one or the other abandoning time together which is not healthy. Rumors can easily get started which causes conflict, and neglect. I'm not saying its "wrong" to do this sometimes, but I have not seen a marriage continue to stay happy when spouses do this often.

3. We do not take overnight trips apart from each other. As weird as it may seem, we have never spent a night apart from each other. Nope, never in 21 years. One day we may have to if its for business or emergency, but we do not plan any nights away from each other and always go to bed together. Never has one of us spent the night on the sofa or dog house. haha.

4. Never talk bad about your spouse. Remember, while you are letting out your frustrations to your friends, they do not love your spouse like you do, so therefore, they only remember the bad things you say and will continue to see your spouse differently than you do without ever hearing the other side of the story (like mom always said, "it takes two"). It feels good to vent to someone but if you get mad, stay hush for a day or two before you go talking about it. You will find it wasn't so bad after all.

5. We make time for each other. We take walks and share stories of our day. We also sit down to meals together. We turn the TV off and sit around the table as a family. Sure we have enjoyed a meal or two in the living room, but very seldom and even then, we sit together. We have our most intense conversations during dinner.

6. We are each others best friend. We vent and listen to each other. We argue and disagree but we work it out. And if we cant work it out, we try to understand the other and just let it go and try to not let the same conversation come up over and over. No matter how mad we do get at each other, we never cease to tell each other "I love you".

7. We have separate checking accounts. This is a good thing. You each have control of your own money, yet still share with each other (this way gifts can really be surprises). We do not always have to question each other of what each other spends as long as the bills are paid. It is still good to have another account jointly for both to contribute to such as tax refunds, savings, etc. and this account should only be used for joint things such as bills, vacations, remodeling or needed appliances. Try it. It works.

8. If you have  kids, make sure you take time for your spouse and do not give 100% to your child. Go on dates. Share responsibilities and not complain about the fact you do more than the other. Its not a competition. We both work so we both share the chores. So what if you seem like your doing more than your spouse is. You should cherish every moment you can accomplish and be proud of it. This is a big problem in marriages now days. I hear women complaining all the time about how they so more with the kids than the father.....So! Your a Mother. We are cut out for this!

9. Don't complain all the time. Don't pick a fuss. So what if your husband puts the dishes away wrong. Is it worth nagging about? No. Just be happy he wanted to help and when hes not looking, Just adjust the cabinet. Which leads to number 10.

10. Praise your spouse for things they do. Randomly send little love text or leave love notes and appreciation for the other. Play around and act up. We act silly and joke with each other. Sometimes we get sarcastic with each other and do not take each other seriously. Do not let being a Mom or Dad turn you into an old person that has no fun. Keep yourself up, don't let yourself go. Be the person your spouse asked to marry.

11. Last but not least....We do not let each other forget how much they are loved even when we are angry. We always tell each other we love each other before we go to sleep or depart from each other. You never know what the last words you say to them could be.

Again, this all my experiences and opinions and no two marriages are the same.What works for some, may not work for others but I'm pretty sure if you stick to number 1, your marriage will be successful.

Looking at The Bright Side

I don't know about you but I'm getting so worn out by all the bad news now days. Im an Optimistic person and the world today is wearing me down. I still manage to try and focus on the good things.

Seems like people now days strive on bad news. My family has stopped receiving the local news paper now. We use the excuse that it cost to much each month. But really, It just cost to much to read trash all the time. I was tired of getting up and first thing I saw was trashy news head lines or some criminal on the loose. I once counted all the bad news vs the good news (not counting the obituary or sports pages) and I counted 21 bad news articles and 6 good news articles.

I have even stopped looking at face book so much. All that it was becoming was people complaining all the time! I've seen so many unhappy people on there that It was just making me miserable and puting me in a bad mood.

Now I get up in the mornings and sling open the blinds. Id rather the first thing to hit me in the morning be the sunshine and the sound of nature. ......ok, and coffee. When I get to work, I will hear complaining again most likley from people complaining they do to much work. Smh! I just close the door, shuting all of that mess off so I can focus on my daily routine and be in a better mood so I can be pleasant to my customers. I dont need to hear about all the drama in the other room.

I understand that we need to hear things happening around us so we can be aware but most of the things we read about or see on TV is nothing we can do about. So why worry? Why get wrapped up in the bad things going on?
  • Instead of complaining about the neighbors grass growing knee high, admire Mrs. Jones flowers growing across the street.
  • Instead of talking about the tree that fell next door, talk about how the nice neighbors all came together to help remove it.
  • Instead of worring about rain storms coming, roll your car out of the garage and hope it washes the bugs off the windshield.
  • If you hurt all the time, or tired all the time.....look in the mirror. It could just be something about yourself you need to change to make you feel better. Mabe your own attitude can contribute to a world of happiness.
  • As for the driver that cut you off or sped past your in a rage, maybe they just had a family emergency, or running late for a meeting that could cost them a job. Maybe they are running late because they were too busy watching there child take his first steps or say her first words. You just never know.
Go ahead, try it for a day.....Try staying away from anything that saddens you or makes you  mad....Find something good in something bad. It may even take deleting friends or refraining from any social media. Don't become a victim of bad news and try to be optimistic about everything. It will make you feel good and its fun too.

Butterfly Bush

Im always watching my neighbor's butterfly bush next door. His is a large bush but not very tall. Its filled with yellow and orange flowers. This type of bush is called a "Lantana".

Every summer I see many butterflies and hummingbirds feast on the fragrant flowers it produces.

Well, guess what? Another neighbor, that lives behind me, brought me a cutting of his butterfly bush after hearing me mention how much I'd love to have one. The one he brought me was not like the one I see next door. This one is tall and produces purple cone shaped flowers. This type of bush is called a Buddleia "Purple Haze".

He brought it to me by surprise around February. It was just two stickily looking twigs with a root attached to the bottom. I stuck it in the ground without much confidence that it would grow. I cant even keep a cactus alive. I was sure it would not survive a few more cold weeks, and frost. But it did.

It looked naked and leafless for a couple months, but by May, it was full of blooms. The butterflies didn't really start coming around until June. Now I can look out the window and see several butterflies and humming birds swarming the plant in my very own yard.

 This butterfly posed for me.

See the humming bird? I didn't need to put the humming bird feeder out this year.

Its funny how at night, they butterflies will hang under the leafs like little bats hanging from a tree.

I asked my sister to send me a picture of her butterfly bush.  Her butterfly bush is like mine but in white. Then name for this type of bush is also a Buddleia  called a 'White Profusion'.

After seeing a lot of bees swarm this one, she finally sees butterflies. She was so excited. She loves butterflies while im more partial to hummingbirds.

With each of these plants, butterflies will feast off of the flowers until August before the flowers finally all die out and return next year with many new blooms.

Under the Red Umbrellas

Under the red umbrellas is where I met up with my friend the other night for dinner for some girl time. We like to do this every now and again so we can catch up with each others busy life. We talk about work, our kids, new things happening, plans we have for the future and anything else from hair styles to places we visited. I loved hearing about her recent visit to Italy. I can only dream of going to such places.

The umbrellas decorated an ally way uptown at a new bistro that just opened called "Lilly's Italian Bistro".

The weather was warm and the breeze was gentle. Just perfect for a small dinner and drink as it was not crowded and simply relaxing. A small dinner is exactly what I had. I ordered an appetizer of crab cakes on a bed of corn succotash.

It was a perfect portion for me as I'm still watching my diet. My friend ordered a salad wedge and complementary bread sticks with balsamic vinegar and oil. Everything on the menu looked good.

A few other friends we knew ended up sitting at a table next to us and we all enjoyed the evening talking and laughing for a couple hours. It was nice. I wish my husband would have came along but it was just the girls.

We did have a panhandler come up to us and ask for a cigarette and/or money. We couldn't really understand him but since we didn't own either item, we told him "no" and turn him away. We politely complained to the owner about the homeless problem around the town but we didn't let it ruin our good time. Its just something I guess will happen when your in an open area of a poor town.

You can check out  "Lilly's Bistro" online by clicking HERE.

Until next time...Well see if anything else new opens up around town to try. So far this could possible be our  favorite "go to place".

Crochet Nunchucks

I had the strangest request from a customer the other day. She is a photographer and asked if I could make her a set of crochet nunchucks for a photo shoot. A little surprised, I told her I'd take a stab at it (no pun intended). I didn't even need to find a pattern to make me a set of these. After I looked at a few online, I figured it out.

They were pretty simple to make. The hardest part was making them exactly the same on each side. I'd loose count and have to start over. That happens when I watch Law and order and try to crochet at the same time.

I do not plan to make anymore of these  but I will share my pattern with you.

Crochet Nunchucks.
This is will be crocheted in rounds (no joining). you may need a stitch marker.
I used a hook size I (5.0mm)
Make two.

1st Color
Round 1: Start with a magic circle (or chain 3 and join in 1st chain to create a circle).
6sc in the circle. (6).
Round 2: 2sc in each sc (12).
Round 3: *2sc in next, 1sc in next* repeat around (18)
Round 4:  Back loops only,  sc around (18) (this makes your bottom edge of handles)
Round 5: sc around (18)
Round 6: sc around (18)
Round 7: sc around (18)
2nd Color
Round 8-27 sc around (18)
1st Color
Round 28: sc around (18)
Round 29: sc around (18)
Round 30: sc around (18)
Time to add the stuffing!!!
Round 31: back loops only, *2sc together, 1sc* around.
Round 32: *2sc together* around.
Fasten off leaving enough yarn tail to stitch the center hole together.

I did four I-cords about 5 inches long, sewed and linked them together, then sewed them to the handles. Here is a link on how to crochet an I-cord.

I'm not good at writing out patterns, but I hope you get the idea. Basically I did 5 rounds of end colors and 20 rounds of center color.

I think they turned out really cute and I may crochet another pair one day just for the fun of it but currently I have other projects I need to be working on.

Funny Fact about me: I really do know a couple tricks with real nunchucks.

"I guess you can now call me a "Crochet Ninja"
 I've shared this at:

Watermelon Goodness

I associate Watermelon with July. I guess it the hot dry days and flourished gardens.
Watermelon is not one of my foods. I prefer a Cantaloupe or Honey Dew, but I will eat Watermelon if its around. However, the other day, I was craving a bite of this pink, juicy, thirst quenching melon for some reason, so I stopped by the local grocery store and bought a small seedless watermelon that was just perfect for my family of three.

I heard that watermelon was full of sodium so we never really looked twice at one on a usual trip to the supermarket. I did some research, not to prove anyone wrong, but to find something good in this melon I was fixing to indulge on.

So, I did, and guess what? It actually has NO SODIUM, no fat, and barely any calories. Two cups of Watermelon contains only 96 calories and 2mg of sodium, the same amount of sodium found in a bottle of water. Sodium free means it contains less than 5mg. Of course I'm bad and like to add salt to my slice.
So you say, "well its full of sugar" Nope! It has sugar, but its natural sugar and unless you sit down and eat a whole watermelon all by yourself, the amount of sugar in a serving is very minimal. In fact, Watermelon contributes to weight loss by lowering your blood sugar.

Here are some more interesting facts I found while researching about watermelon benefits.
  • 12% fiber / 88 Percent Water
  • Full of lycopene- Lycopene fights against heart disease and prostrate cancer.
  • Fights infections- because it contains beta carotene
  • Soothes stress and alleviates blood pressure
  • fights hunger- If you eat 2 cups before a meal, it will give you a full feeling and only contains 96 calories.
  • Its a natural diuretic- Helps you get rid of unneeded water and salt in your system.
  • Full of vitamin B6, A, C, Potassium and Thiamine- 2 cups have 1/2 the vitamin C you need per day.
  • Full of Citrulline- Citrulline is an amino acid and has 250 milligrams per cup. This improves blood flow, prevents excess accumulation of fat and soothes sore muscles. It also relaxes blood vessels and improves circulation. (Good news for men [wink wink]). Did I read "natural Viagra?
Ok, for the pessimist out there, I searched what could be bad about this melon. I didn't find that much other than some people can be allergic to it and that any vitamins can be unsafe if you take in too much. And if you eat to much watermelon, you will get diarrhea. Oh, which reminds me that I read also that it protects against colon cancer as well.

Now, everyone needs to grab a nice sweet watermelon and share the wealth health. I'm going to try and make this my go to fruit during the summer and while I'm on a diet to see if it contributes to me loosing any weight, feeling healthier and not being so sore! There are a lot of watermelon recipes on Pinterest. Im just not sure I like watermelon enough to make desserts or smoothies with it.
Well see, I may acquire more of a taste for it soon. I'm actually dreaming of sitting on the beach with some right now!


Textured Dish Cloths

I love to crochet. At the end of the day, when work is over, dinner is ate, our walk is walked and the dishes are done, I will curl up in my chair and crochet while I watch TV. This usually does not happen until after nine. Then we go to bed around 11:30. I find It relaxing and it helps with my nervous hands. Yes, since my daughter has left the nest, I stay worried and nervous. Its better sometimes than others but I'm learning to deal with it. They say you will worry about your kids until they are 90. I believe it.

Speaking of dishes, I have gotten on a little kick of making dish clothes. Made with 100% cotton, these little scrubbers are perfect for all kinds of clean ups. They have just enough texture to clean up any mess.

I'm not sure what the stitch pattern is called but its my favorite. I also make coffee cozies using the same stitch. I think everyone should be able to enjoy these so if you know how to crochet, you can use my pattern. If you do not know how to crochet and would love to have a some of these, you can purchase them from my Etsy shop. I can make them in almost any color you wish.

I tweak it just a bit to make dish cloths in a way that I do not need to add a trim stitch around at the end. The way I do the last stitch makes a nice clean edge with a simple scallop.

So grab your needle and lets get started.
This is a simple pattern that consist of single crochet and double crochet.
Perfect for beginners.

I used:
Size I crochet hook.
Peaches & Cream cotton yarn (I found some at WalMart and Hobby Lobby.

chain 30
Row 1: sc,dc in 2nd stitch from hook, skip next chain, *sc,dc in next chain, skip next chain* across.
sc in the last stitch (of each row) ch1 turn.

Row 2: dc in same space as sc (from the end of row one), skip next space, *sc, dc in next , skip next * across. sc in the last stitch (of each row) ch1 turn.
Repeat Row 2 until you have a square.
Finish off and weave ends.

You can add a single crochet around the entire dish cloth before you finish off if you wish, but not necessary.

Ive shared this at:
what-are-you-doing-blog-hop at contentemeant
thursday-favorite-things-blog-hop at katherinescorner
submarine-sunday at usscrafty
cooking-crafting-with-j-j-link-up at julieslifestyle

Fourth of July

Hope everyone had a wonderful fourth of July. How did you celebrate?

We celebrated by just spending the day together enjoying a day off. We got up early and went to the Farmers Market to get some veggies.

I think the whole town had the same idea. There were a lot of people shopping. We got a few veggies we need such as tomatoes and cucumbers but then we always grab a new veggie to try that we have never seen before. Today it was a purple Bell pepper.

They were really good and sweet just like the red or green ones but I thought the skin of the pepper was a little tough. However, I cant wait to put some on my salad today.

The day started out as being hazy and gloomy, then turn to a small shower that afternoon as we ventured out into the streets of Gastonia to enjoy the festivities that were going on up there.

The rain passed by quickly and the sun came out making it a beautiful day.

There were several vendors, rides for kids, crafts a games. We even saw a hot dog eating contest. That was painful.

I could not resist the temptation of the little bakery uptown as we sat outside and nibbled on a couple mini cupcakes. I said "mini".

Later that afternoon we met up with family for dinner then home for an evening walk. As we walked we could hear the bombs bursting in the air all around us from nearby thrill seekers and their fireworks. We decided not to go back uptown for the firework show because by the time we finished walking we were ready to call it a night.

We stood in our driveway and saw some fireworks in the horizon , under the stars and that was just enough for us to think "God Bless America".

Strawberry Salsa

Hope everyone has a great Independence Day! So far its rainy here in North Carolina. But that's ok, we have not had rain in weeks so this is a good thing. It should go away by tomorrow so the town can enjoy some fireworks.

Today I want to share this strawberry salsa I made. It has a taste like no other. My family keeps eating on it but we have not figured out what it would be good on or with. This was a healthy, fresh delicious choice with a bang of sweet-tart flavor. Some think it would be good with tortilla chips but my husband thinks coolwhip would be the thing. I think eating it alone as a side would be the best.

Strawberry  Salsa
1 pint chopped strawberries
1 pint of cherry tomatoes cut in half
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
2 Tablespoons Balsamic vinegar
6 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
Whisk oil and vinegar together then mix in the remaining ingredients. refrigerate for 1 hour.
This dish will be perfect for cookouts and picnics. Just take it along as any other salad and enjoy.

Nutrisystem-Weekends on My Own

Well I just competed my 6th month on Nutrisystem. That's officially one half year.

I have changed my program to "weekends on my own". That means they send me 20 days worth of food instead of 28. I'm trying to learn to make healthy choices on my own so I can eventually let go of Nutrisystem. Ill admit, I'm scared. I'm afraid of what I may eat. When the foods are right there ready to eat as Nutrisystem is, Its easy to discipline myself. But put me out there where the fried pickles yell my name, and hot dogs are smelling up the air, It makes me nervous. I know I sound silly but its the truth. I do not have much will power but I do not want to get overweight again , so I can do this. By the way. I make the best fried pickles and you can find my recipe HERE.

WARNING: These are dangerous!!!! Stay away if your dieting

The weight is coming off very slow. I only lost a little over 3lbs. during the month of June. I guess that's better than a gain. Ill take every oz. I can get. I think I actually hit a plateau this month. I went 2 weeks with no weight loss then on the third week I lost a few ounces. Then all of a sudden on the 4th week I lost 3 lbs. I just did the same calorie intake and same exercise and finally started loosing again. Those last few lbs. are the hardest and slowest to get rid of.

You can view my whole week by week journey here.

No matter how much or less I loose I have to say that I feel better now. I love going shopping and about everything I grab to try on fits! New York Company has became my favorite store lately as I can fit into all of their size 6s. woohoo!

Some of the changes I have noticed in the six months I've been on this diet are:
  • My heartburn and acid reflux have disappeared.
  • More energy.
  • Better self esteem.
  • Sleep better.
  • Breathe better.
  • I crave healthier foods.
  • looser skin (not a fan).
  • I'm learning to appreciate water.
  • I can curl up in a chair with room left over.
  • I do not sweat has much.
  • I can easily turn down unhealthy foods.
  • I can shop in the Junior department.
  • Just all over feel better inside and out.
I absolutely do not have anything to complain about with the Nutrisystem diet.
Whenever I have a question or concern, customer service is always so nice and helpful. I have also made friends with other Nutrisystem users through the website and MyFitnessPal. There is a NS group on there where we all discuss the diet and help each other along. No one talks about politics or world news, Just about the diet and each other. We play goal games and never speak negative about each other. It helps.

MyFitnessPal is a great app to have. You can log all your foods with all the nutritional information you need. If you have a fitbit (as I do) you can sync it with MyFitnessPal. They both are great things to use.

My goal for July is to loose 5 more lbs.. that will put me at my goal weight. I do not mind going under my goal weight for I will be going on vacation in August and would like to enjoy some ice cream without guilt. Maybe even grab me some of those fried pickles.