Take Time to Pamper Yourself Everyday

Breakfast on my porch
Breakfast on my porch

A year or so ago, I was chatting online with a group of young moms. Someone asked if any of us had done something special for ourselves that morning, something simple. Everyone gave a variety of answers but my response caused the greatest uproar. Ok. Maybe uproar is going a bit far but WOW! I was surprised by the comments made by the other women in the chat. What did I say I had done for myself? I told them I had enjoyed my breakfast on my front porch!

You were expecting something more dramatic, weren’t you? Nope, just breakfast. Now I admit, I fix things up a bit, as you can see in the photo above.  I put a cloth napkin on my small table. I use my glass plate, cup & saucer. But you will not my meal is not elaborate. I believe the day in question, I had yogurt with berries, juice, croissant & coffee. I put layered the yogurt & berries in a parfait glass. I put my juice in a wine glass. Big deal! I had to put them in something, didn’t I? By the response I received, you would have thought I had my breakfast catered! What did the women say? Most of them felt they simply didn’t have the time to do something this extravagant. Hey! It’s just breakfast on my front porch!

How sad that we are so driven these days that something as simply as taking your food out onto your front porch seems like an extravagance! You can’t allow yourself the pleasure of sitting outside with the meal you are going to eat anyway & enjoy nature, the neighborhood, your thoughts? We all need some down time. We all need a few moments throughout the day to slow down & consider “What’s Next?” As women, I believe we need to pamper ourselves each & every day. Don’t wait for someone else to do it for you. If they do, GREAT! Extra pampering! Otherwise, you must take time to treat yourself well.

For me, breakfast on the porch, with a few special touches, is a simple, low stress way for me to pamper myself. Rather than bolting down my food in front of my computer (& later being unable to remember just what I ate!) I can relax for a moment, gather my thoughts, prepare for my day & enjoy my yard, neighborhood, nature & most important, myself. BTW, don’t tell anyone but I’ve even been known to eat my DINNER on the front porch!

How have you pampered yourself today? You say you haven’t! Well, no time like the present. It takes so little to treat yourself well! And it’s such a Simple Joy!

Basic Muffins

Fresh Strawberry & Blueberry Muffins
Fresh Strawberry & Blueberry Muffins

I love a basic muffin recipe. Even a basic muffin mix. This allows me to make any kind of muffin. I am now making fresh muffins on Saturday for our continental breakfast at church (FPCO) on Sunday. Today, I used a basic mix someone found for me. I haven’t been able fond a basic mix in a few years. Fortunately, I have a recipe from my grandmother, the Infamous Lena B. I can use to make a variety of muffins. Having to mix the muffins from scratch in messy & time consuming. Really like the mix better. If you know where I can find basic (plain) muffin mix, PLEASE let me know!

When making from scratch, I prefer to make enough for at least 2 weeks. Thus, I only have the mess for one week. Messy but worth it. I LOVE the people at my church so my baking is a labor of love!

Basic batter with fresh blueberries
Basic batter with fresh blueberries

Here is my recipe:

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup melted butter

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees. Sift dry ingredients together. Combine liquids. Add liquids to dry ingredients. Stir until dry ingredients are just wet but not smooth. Batter will be lumpy. Fill greased muffin pan (or pan lined with muffin liners) 2/3 full. Bake for 25 minutes. Makes one dozen muffins. You can mix the dry ingredients together ahead of time & store in plastic bags. Only put one batch per bag. Saves on the confusion!

This is a basic recipe. To it, I add a variety of fruit, flavors & nuts. Today, I added fresh strawberries & fresh blueberries. I also use dried fruit. I like cherry/almond muffins, blueberry/pecan muffins, apricot/pecan muffins. I plan to make orange/pineapple & oatmeal/cranberry muffins.

I also make an incredibly easy pumpkin muffin but…. I plan to share that another day!

Fresh Strawberry Muffins hot from the oven
Fresh Strawberry Muffins hot from the oven

Mix up a batch for a week-end morning. Serve with juice, fresh fruit, yogurt, coffee for an wonderfully relaxing morning! I like them on my front porch!

Ah, I LOVE  my Simple Joy Life!

Meatless Chili

Yummy family (or potluck) dish!
Yummy family (or potluck) dish!

It is a cool & cloudy day here in SoCal. Glancing over the posts of friends on FB, it appears to be a cold & snowy day in other parts of the country. Today is the perfect day for my vegetarian chili recipe!

I began making this dish for my friends who are vegetarians.However, many of my meat loving guests also enjoy my special chili.It is made with 4 kinds of beans and plenty of spices to make it thick and flavorful.

  • 1 large can chili beans
  • 1 large can pinto beans
  • 1 large can kidney beans
  • 1 large can black beans
  • 1 cup frozen chopped onions
  • 1 cup frozen chopped green pepper
  • 1 large can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 small can of tomatoes with chilies
  • 1 large can of tomato sauce
  • 1 box vegetable broth
  • garlic salt
  • chili powder
  • hot sauce
  • salt and pepper

Pour chili beans into large crock pot. Drain and rinse other beans. Add to crock pot.

Mix.Add onions and green peppers. Add tomatoes and tomato sauce.Season to taste. Top pot with broth, making chili stirrable but not “soupy.”Simmer on low 4-6 hours adding broth as needed.

I Want What I Want

my-bike

 

Boy, that sounds rather selfish & I don’t mean it that way at all. I like to keep my life simple. When things get complicated, usually because I have complicated them, the stress becomes tremendous. The more stress, the less productive, less creative I become. Not good! I like being productive & creative so I try to keep my life as low stress as I can & this means keeping it SO simple!

Simple does not mean I have to settle for things, settle for something that doesn’t quite meet my needs. This often means holding out & searching long & hard until I find just what I want. How many times have I given up my search & settled for something less than what I want, only to be disappointed down the road when the item doesn’t live up to my expectations.

Now, I honestly don’t set my expectations way up high, so high that nothing could possibly live up to those expectations. I just want what I want. Let me give you an example:

That’s my bike at the top of the post. My hubby gave it to me for Christmas a few years ago. I LOVE my bike. The style, the color, the retro look, the flames. I love everything about is. When I first go my bike, I didn’t want to wear a helmet. My bike is cool & I thought a helmet was soooo uncool. Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on how you look at it, hubby is a lifetime member of the League of American Bicyclists.  He know the statistics. The majority of fatalities among bike riders are caused by head injuries. It’s a long way down to the curb when you fall. Helmets help protect riders.

So, I had to wear my helmet & I did. Then, my helmet fell apart. The padding went to pieces. So, my hubby & daughter gave me a new helmet for Christmas this past year. Well, they  gave me a photo of a helmet & told me I should find a helmet I liked. The search was on. I have a cool retro looking bike. I didn’t want a modern streamlined helmet. The two just didn’t go together. So I searched. Hubby searched. We went to the bike shop & nothing. I was ready to settle for second best but I knew I would not be happy. I just wouldn’t like it. So I kept searching & hubby remained patient because he wanted me to be happy.

helmet

I finally found the helmet. No, correction. I found THE helmet. It is just what I wanted. We ordered it from the bike shop & before I knew it, I had the helmet I wanted.

You don’t have to be demanding or rude. You also shouldn’t have to settle for second best. Keep looking until you find THE one! Whether it’s a helmet or a job or a spouse, there is the perfect one for you if you just keep patiently looking. Believe me, it’s well worth it!

Welcome, Easter

Welcome, Easter
Welcome, Easter

Whatever Works for You!

Happy Birthday, Mr. D!
Happy Birthday, Mr. D!

Today, we are celebrating my husband’s birthday. I have printed out a photo of the bicycling helmet he wants rather than buying it because I want him to get the right size. Our daughter & I have been busy so, before we head to a local restaurant for dinner, we are stopping at one of my hubby’s favorite stores to pick up one of his favorite libations. Our daughter, Katy enjoys picking out a different beer for her dad each special occasion. She know nothing about beer. Neither do I. I told her I pick the one with the best label. So far, this approach has never failed me!

Then, on to dinner. Nothing fancy. Just a local restaurant that we enjoy. We like to sit in the lounge, The Tiki Room. I haven’t baked a cake although I might pick up some cupcakes when we stop at the store on the way home.

Some of you may be shocked by our casual attitude towards birthdays. Yes, birthdays for this is the way we celebrate all three of our birthdays. Working in a church for so many years, a church that had a huge production (as in play) during Christmas & Easter made it tough for us to do much more than that. My birthday is 3 days after Christmas, Mr. D’s birthday is today & Katy’s is the beginning of April. All three more likely than not, fell during the run of the plays. And over the years, we just went with it.

Sure, there was a time when I tried to make birthdays big & elaborate because everyone said that’s what you were supposed to do. Well, I was only stressing myself out when I did that. And I learned quickly when I was stress, no one had a good time. I also found that all those people that wanted to tell me how things were “supposed” to be done never pitched in to help prepare or pay for those elaborate plans. So if I had to do the work & we had to foot the bill, we were going to do things the way we liked!

Do you feel pressured to celebrate special occasions & holidays a specific way, a way that causes you stress & costs you WAY too much money? Are you afraid to have a simple celebration, a celebration that allows YOU to enjoy yourself which in turn allows the whole family to enjoy themselves? I gave up worrying what people would think a long time ago. I gave it up right after I realized they were going to think whatever they wanted no matter what I did! Instead, I decided to do what works well for me & my family!

What works for you? Sometimes, we don’t even celebrate a birthday on the actual day! If everyone is busy, we spread the celebration out over several days. When it’s my birthday, I want the celebration to go on for days. Another good reason to keep it so simple it expectations. In the past, when I tried to create the “perfect” event, it never seemed to live up to my expectations. I always ended up disappointed. Tonight, I know our family is going to have a blast! And in a few weeks, we do it again for Katy’s birthday. And we’re going to have a blast then.

Next special event, give yourself a gift by keeping things simple enough that you can enjoy yourself. And if anyone complains, have them host the next special occasion! I find that quiets them down real fast!