Saturday, November 27, 2010

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow....

Now that the Iron Bowl has officially been laid to rest (as crazy as it sounds, I believe that I am the only person in the country who did NOT watch it -- even though I bleed Crimson), it is time to move on to the sight, sounds, tastes and smells of the winter holidays.

One of the most wonderful things about cold weather, besides snow (which we do not get often living here in the deep south) is hot chocolate!  I LOVE hot chocolate.  And recently, I found the bestest (yes it IS a word) and most wonderful recipe for homemade hot chocolate.  It tastes divine and makes you feel so warm and incredible inside you will want to snuggle with perfect strangers!  How's that for some Christmas spirit!!  :-)


It is called.....Let It Snow Cocoa in the Homemade Christmas Cookbook from Gooseberry Patch.  Before the cold weather goes away (which will probably be next week, again, given that we live in the south and Spring can spring at any given time of the year), you must make some of this wonderful hot chocolate.  I made some for my family last night as we kicked off the holiday season....hot chocolate and a Monk marathon....doesn't get any better than that!

Let It Snow Cocoa

2 c. whipped cream (you will need some extra for dolloping on top)
6 c. milk (NOT that low-fat stuff)
1 t. vanilla extract
1 1/2 c. of semi-sweet chocolate chips


Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker.  Cover and cook on low setting for 2 1/2 hours.  Stir well to blend before serving.  Makes 10 servings (only if you use tiny cups -- we used  big hearty mugs, therefore, it was safe to say we did not get 10 servings).  Garnish with dollops of whipped cream and/or shavings of chocolate.

I'm just sayin',

Friday, November 26, 2010

Sleep Tight and Don't Let the Bed Bugs Bite!

Well, it is Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, the busiest shopping day of the season!  Once we get home and unload all the goodies we've acquired during the day, all we want to do is rest and recover....and eat some leftover turkey!

According to the National Sleep Foundation, most adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep each night.  Not getting enough sleep has been linked to health problems such as obesity, high blood pressure, negative moods and behavior and decreased productivity.

Here are a few tips to help you establish and maintain good sleep habits:

  • Go to bed and get up at the same time every day. (Sounds good in theory but is quite impossible to do, unless you are a robot)
  • Establish a regular, relaxing bedtime routine, such as soaking in a hot bath or listening to soothing music. (WHO has TIME to soak in a hot bath!!)
  • Keep work materials, computer, and television out of the sleeping environment. (But how do I entertain myself until I fall asleep if I remove these things??)
  • Finish eating at least two to three hours before your regular bedtime. (So, eating IN bed is out of the question then, right?)
  • Exercise regularly, but complete your workout at least three hours before your bedtime.  (I do exercise....I raise my arm up and down when I use the remote to change the channel.)

I'm just sayin',

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Santa Baby slip a sable under the tree......

For me....'cause I need it for a Lipstick Legends Santa Baby photo shoot!  :-)

I believe the Christmas season has officially kicked in.  I have seen more than my fair share of homes sporting Christmas decorations this week.  And, to be honest, my home is included.  I decorated early to gear up for Christmas portraits!  Below is a sneak peek from a Lipstick Legends Santa Baby shoot!





Santa Baby, slip a sable under the tree for me, I've been an awful good girl,
Santa Baby, so hurry down the chimney tonight...







I'm just sayin',


Monday, November 22, 2010

Give Thanks....Even When You Don't Feel Like It!

Why is it that some of the hardest words for us to say are “thank you”, especially when things aren’t going well in our lives?

Why is it we only tell God thank you when all is right in our lives?  It’s easy to tell God thank you when we are sitting on the mountaintop all happy and smiley-faced, but what about when we are in the valley, sad and defeated?  We don’t even think about saying thank you to Him.

When our burdens are heavy, we forget about the wonderful blessings He’s given us and are angry about the troubles we face.   All we can see is our present  darkness.  But we should give thanks to God for all of our circumstances, not just the good times.  Even though we can’t see it at the time, there is always  a positive force in our trials — God.   We should make it a habit to say thank you to Him for trying times, as well as good times. 

First Thessalonians 5:18 tells us to give thanks in ALL circumstances, not just the good times.  Several of the Psalms include the verse “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.”

As we come into this season of thanksgiving, thank God for the valleys, not just the mountaintops.

I'm just sayin',

Friday, November 19, 2010

Social Media Addiction.....and Murder?

I love this quote, "When God created man to desire companionship, he didn’t take a rib and turn it into a Wi-fi signal."

This is from an article I read about our addictions to social networking, specifically, Facebook.  I've attached the link to Social Media Addict seeks Connection, Escape.  Hopefully, it will cause each one of us to take a step back and look at others in a different light and possibly offer them more than a "friend request".  While I don't play Farmville or any of the other games offered on Facebook, I do understand how one can lose track of time while on the internet.  It seems to be the shiny coin we can't seem to pull ourselves away from.

The story about the 22 year-old mother who killed her baby over a Farmville game is mortifying and shocking.  But equally disturbing to me was the photo in the article...our household looks just like that sometimes.  Today's quality family time is spent on computers or in front of some gaming system.  We used to play board games together, at least once a week.  I think we are going to go back to this practice.....starting tonight!

I'm just sayin',

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A Little Less Talk and Alot More Action!

Yeah, yeah, I know the title is a song by Toby Keith, I think.  I must confess -- I don't listen to alot of country music.  Well, actually, I don't listen to it at all, unless it is Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash or Merle Haggard.  :-)  But I know most of the performer's names even though I don't know their songs.  However, I digress.  This blog isn't about Toby Keith or his song...it is about becoming a woman of ACTION! 

A re you a woman of talk or action?  We all say things we are going to do — pray for someone, take a meal to a friend in need, send a card, make a phone call — and we honestly have good intentions, but most of the time, we never follow through.

I recently read a short story about Bob Dahlgren.  Do you recognize the name?  I had never heard of him until I read his story.  He died quite a few years ago at the age of 52.  His death doesn’t affect us in any way, but to James Brady, it was a deep-felt loss.  You see, Bob Dahlgren was one of James Brady’s best friends.  Mr. Brady, who was Press Secretary of the White House during the Reagan administration, was shot in 1981 during an assassination attempt on President Reagan.  During the years following Mr. Brady’s recovery, Bob Dahlgren never left his side.  He and his wife took care of the Brady’s young son Scott during the first weeks of his recovery.  Bob organized “happy hours” around Mr. Brady’s bedside so that he could visit with his friends.  When Mr. Brady was able to get out and about, it was Bob who made all the transportation arrangements and helped his friend in and out of the special vehicle in which he did his traveling.  Bob shielded the Brady family from the press and ill-meaning exploiters.  For four and 1/2 years, Bob devoted virtually all of his time to his friend — a friend he loved.  Bob never complained nor hesitated to offer his services for his friend.  One of the surgeons who operated on and treated Mr. Brady once said, “Everyone should have a friend like Bob Dahlgren!”

Are you a “Bob Dahlgren” in someone’s life?  Are you a devoted friend — for better or for worse?  Are you willing to give your time to someone in need?  We’ve always heard “it’s the thought that counts”.  But you know what?  The thought really doesn’t count.  It is the ACTION that counts.  It’s the action that makes a difference.  It’s the action that makes a lasting impact on someone’s life.  Action is what truly matters in friendship.  Mere words do not make friendships happen and last through the years ….it’s ACTION!  To reverse an old cliché, “You are a friend indeed if you help a friend in need.”

If you know of someone going through a difficult time, I encourage you to exercise a little less talk and a lot more action!  Be a woman of your word, be a woman of worth and most importantly, be a woman of ACTION.

“Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue, but with actions and truth.” — 1 John 3:18

I'm just sayin',


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

An Apple a Day...

We’ve all heard the old saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”…..but here are some additional facts about APPLES:
 
  • During 7th century BC, they were so rare and valuable couples were required to share one on their wedding night. 
  • They are second only to bananas in popularity.
  • They contain 2.8 grams of fiber.
  • Apples should be eaten unpeeled as most of the nutrients are in the skin.
  • They are easy to digest and help reduce fermentation in the digestive tract.
  • Apples are an excellent way to help reduce blood cholesterol.
  • New Zealand is a large source of apples for the US during the spring.
  • They are a natural breath freshener.

There are over 100 types of apples, although we very rarely eat more than 1 or 2 types.  Step out and try a type you’ve never tasted before — they are affordable and will definitely contribute to a healthy living lifestyle!

While apples are great tasting and good for you ( by the way, so is chocolate :-) ), we do use the word apple when referring to something else besides fruit.  The next time you decide to look for something on the World Wide Web, you can do a little research on these common phrases...The Big Apple and The Apple of My Eye!

I'm just sayin',

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

'Tis the Season....to be BROKE!

It happens every time...each year when the holiday season rolls around and we don’t have enough money, we resolve that next year, it will be different — we will have enough money saved up to spend for the holidays — it won’t be this way.  But what happens?  Next year comes before we have had a chance to save any money for our holiday spending.  Below are 15  fabulous tips for holiday spending.

Budget your holiday spending.  Decide how much you can afford and stay within that budget.
Make a list and check it twice.  Come up with a gift idea and spending range for each person you want to buy for.  Make a list and stick to it.
Curb your spending.  Opt for  some low-cost, but attractive gifts.  You can still be that fabulous gift-giver without breaking the bank.
Be the early bird.  Shop before the official holiday season begins.  This will give you time to comparison shop and reap cool bargains.
Don’t be your own Santa.  You are shopping for others, NOT yourself.
Avoid frenzy spending.  Crowded starts and Christmas bargains lead to “frenzy spending”.  Avoid overspending by avoiding crowded retail days (like the day after Thanksgiving) and sticking to your shopping list. 
Plan a route.  Know where you are going and how you are going to navigate your day ahead of time.
Relax and pace yourself.  Take a deep breath and relax.  Rushing can lead to poor purchasing.
Avoid “credit facilities”.  During the holiday season, many credit card companies offer deferred billing.  If you can’t pay for it now, what makes you think you can pay for it then?
Pay with cash.  Take your budgeted amount of cash with you — when it’s gone, you should have all of your gifts.
Don’t go deeper in debt.  Avoid using your credit card to overspend.  Go on a debt diet!
Put your talents to use.  If you are the “artsy/craftsy” type, use your creative skills in making gifts for your loved ones.
Gift certificates.  These are a perfect way to manage your finances.  It gives your loved ones an opportunity to pick out exactly what they want.
Plan for next year.  Discipline yourself to save.  Take advantage of a Christmas Club account.
Give your best.  Don’t be stressed by your lack of finances.  Make memories and spend time with your loved ones.

No one can serve two masters.  Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.  You cannot serve both God and money.”   Matthew 6:24

I'm just sayin',


Monday, November 15, 2010

Hope and Change

Hope and change!  Two words that usually bring an ethereal feeling....sort of.  However, for me, hope and change have a totally different meaning...and feeling.

For example, I'm currently in the throws of menopause.  I'm hoping that something will soon change and it will not be necessary for me to continue to wear a patch to ward off evil spirits and hot flashes.  In my mind, and body, they are one in the same!

I weigh the same now as I did 27 years ago!  "How marvelous", you might say.  Not really...you see, 27 years ago I was 9 months pregnant and giving birth to my first son....I weigh exactly the same now as I did then.  I'm still trying to figure out how that happened.  Thus, I'm hoping for a change in my body weight.

Recently, I've been developing mysterious rashes on my face.  I went to see the dermatologist, but she could offer no explanation.  She sent me home with a topical ointment and told me to use "as needed".  After much "as needed" use underneath my eyes, the rash migrated and has encircled my lips.  I now look like a toddler who has been sucking on a pacifier during an intense drooling session.  So, I am once again using the ointment "as needed" and hoping for a change in the rash.  At the very least I would be satisfied if it moved to another location.....like Asia!

Hope and change....I think I might write a song to the tune of "Trust and Obey"!

I'm just sayin',
 

Sunday, November 14, 2010

It's All in a Name....My Name

Facebook has become a wonderful social networking tool.  One has the opportunity to meet all kinds of interesting and intriguing people....some with the same name.  A couple of weeks ago, I decided to do a search for Benita Roberts to see how many people on Facebook shared my name.  I found several.  Ironically, one Benita Roberts I found was from Birmingham....England.  I thought that was pretty cool since technically, I'm from Birmingham....Alabama.  Even more ironic was that another Benita Roberts and I shared a common friend....who knew!!??!!

So, when you get a minute, check on Facebook to see how many other people out there share your name...you might be surprised!

I'm just sayin',

The Worst Blogger....EVER!

Clearly, I am the worst blogger EVER!  It is not that I'm not interested in keeping up my blog.  The problem is that I seem to have difficulty finding the time to write my blog.  For some reason, I have not made it a priority on my "to do" list.  Anyone who knows me well knows that I have plenty to say about everything...some things worth hearing, some not worth hearing.  However, that does not deter me from speaking my mind. :-)  Keeping up with my photography business, maintaining two websites, two teenage boys, running a household, managing finances, preparing dinner menus, cooking said dinners, maintaining the mountain of laundry, reading my daily devotional, spending time in prayer, finding time to get my haircut, reading Atlas Shrugged and continuing to workout is challenging enough.  But now, I feel the strong pull of keeping my blog updated in a more timely manner...at least better than I have in the past.

So, for the sake of having something on my blog that is current (you can see my last entry was in September), I will defer to my website: asweetlifestudio.com.  By going to my website you can at least view some of the great people I've had the opportunity to spend time with lately AND hear some pretty good music!

I'm just sayin' I will try to do better,