Makes Me Happy...

I needed a break from work and decided to share some things that have made me happy this month.
 * {Warmer Days and a Cutie} This photo I took last summer is sitting on my art room table. First of all, he is such a cutie! Just looking at him makes me smile. Then the photo excites me for warmer weather to come. Our snow was almost gone this past Monday and then on Tuesday we got dumped on, about a foot of snow, not exaggerating. So looking at summery photos make me happy. :)

* {New Recipes} Last week I created a couple yummy recipes. Love when an experiment turns out. If you have followed my blog for awhile, you would know that awhile back I hated cooking/spending time in the kitchen. NOT my thing. But when you are given health issues to deal with and a very limited diet you have no other option then to spend time in the kitchen. I've learned a lot and now I know I can create in the kitchen, with food! I will be sharing recipes in the future.

* {Toothpaste} It has been months since I wanted to make my own homemade toothpaste. I finally did it early this week. So far I LOVE it. My teeth feel like they have just been professionally cleaned and it is all healthy, simple ingredients. HERE is the recipe I went by. After I use it for a month or two and if I still really like it I will be sure to share what exactly I used.

* {Bible Studies} We have been going to a Sunday morning Bible class for awhile now and have recently started going to a family bible study too. I leave both with an amazing, uplifting feeling. I believe they make me be and strive to be a better person. Such an experience that it is hard to explain. ♥

* {Things Kids Say} Kaelyn is so excited for her first ever sleepover. She planned it. She originally said, "Mom and dad need a date! I don't care what you do without me, just go." She's been on the countdown for awhile now and she can't wait until it happens this weekend. So I get a quiet night out with my man. Yay!

* {Health} No crazy stomach pains that caused me to curl up on the couch this week. Hurray! I thought I had been doing so much better and wham I tried some new foods, not knowing one was in the nightshade family. Nightshades HATE me. :( They make me feel like someone is tearing my insides out. Then I also find out things that are labeled gluten free aren't necessarily gluten free. So much of a percent is okay with certain labels and Celiacs have to know their special labels!!!! URRRR! Learning stuff the hard way. Makes me more thankful when things go smoothly.

* {Art Group} It is fun to get away and do fine art with no other distractions and have other supportive artists around you. It is a time set aside to do what I love.

* {Customers} So very thankful for all my customers. I have new design ideas for the shop and I can't wait to get them created!!! I also get so excited when I see photos come my way showing how people displayed my work. Makes me happy!
{First We Had Each Other art print in aqua and orange}
Okay, now I need to get back to work. Big sale tomorrow. 
Not quite ready... that doesn't make me so happy. Ha! Hope you all have a happy weekend! :)


Living Today {A Heart Wrenching Letter}

Several people I know have recently lost their life to cancer. It is scary. More are struggling with it. A young teenage boy from my town is currently fighting for his life. And we continue to pray and offer support when we can. Although the situations are so very sad, there is so much to be learned from these events, from the people who are struggling.
Some of you bloggers may follow Sweet Something Designs and know that Michelle recently lost her fight to the horrible disease. Or maybe a better way to put it is the Lord was ready to take her pain away and take her home, because she never gave up fighting. While scrolling down my feedly posts I came upon the sweetest letter Michelle's husband wrote to her on her blog. Here is the first sheet:
Please go HERE and read the rest of the letter.

My heart is heavy. Justin's letter made me cry. How often we focus our lives on things and thoughts that don't really matter... money, things, future goals, our looks, personal wants... One day not too far off we will be gone and these things will have no value. So should our motivation in life be any of this? Maybe one of our top priorities should be to learn from each other. To teach others to be better (in a graceful way). We should love one another and support each other through good times and bad. We shouldn't turn our back on those who need us. Sometimes we stay so busy that we are missing out on what is truly important. Tomorrow any one of us could be gone. Are you ready for this to be your last day on earth? It could be a loved one's last day... Do what you can today, for there may be no tomorrow.


Drawing in Progress!

If you didn't know already, I LOVE to draw!!! It is the one thing I feel confident at. I could draw all day but sadly it never seems to be at the top of my priority list. I don't know why. Maybe I feel like it is too much fun and I should be doing harder work instead? It is a good thing I'm part of an art group that meets once a month or who knows when I would make time for it. I'm starting to think my priorities need to change. :)


What are You Eating? {Peeling Back the Layers}

Three plus years ago if you would have told me I would mainly be eating only veggies in my future and no cheese, ordinary bread, pasta, popcorn, desserts... I would have laughed at you. But when my health took a drastic turn, and I no longer felt like myself and was scared to death of the cancer word coming out of my doctor's mouth I was ready to eat as healthy as I possibly could. After lots of research, trial and error, and a ton of time in the kitchen I am feeling soooo much better! Thank God for pointing me in the right direction and providing healing, healthy food!
One of the veggies I fell in love with are brussels sprouts. No way would I have touched them before getting so sick. Boy was I missing out on something good! But even with the good, one has to be very careful! Fresh veggies are hard to come by when living in South Dakota in the cold winter months. The best we can get for "fresh" brussels sprouts is from Green Giant. The package says you can heat them as is in the bag. Sounds good and easy in our fast paced world. Well, first of all I wouldn't heat anything in plastic and microwaves are another concern but that is a whole different story. Yes, I may have become a health food Nazi. ;) Anyway when I take these sprout gems out of the bag to cook on the stove I like to wash them again for myself. Here's why...

*** Warning! If you are about to eat you may want to read this/see this post later.

What is supposed to be ready to eat and easy to make in the bag is not so if you start peeling back the layers. Every package I get is similar to this. Some even much worse. You never know what you will be surprised with.
 Do you see the mold? There is also bug/worm like things on there and something that looks like eggs. Gross!!! These are all the bad pieces I pulled off.
 Closer views for ya...

Just to prove when I was making these, February 26 is on my phone, the enjoy by date on the package is crazy; these would have been totally disgusting to eat if we had waited until March 4th! With already compromised health I can't afford more health risks from eating foods that should be healthy for me. So I end up taking lots of time to clean and pick through the yucky leaves. It seriously takes me a good half hour for one bag. And I do this because I love them and they are healthy when you get to the good stuff.
 I always cut them in half before sauteing. This also helps to make sure I didn't miss something nasty.
 Heating them up with ghee, coconut oil and garlic cloves. Yum!
And I could eat the whole pan full in one sitting.

Being a gardener in the summer, I know how hard it is to keep the bugs and worms out of the good garden produce. It would take a worker far to long to inspect each sprout, I get that. But by no means should Green Giant's packaging make it sound like this is ready to eat. It should state to wash the sprouts well yourself even though they have been prewashed. When people are working hard to become healthier they need to know to clean all food thoroughly themselves because someone else isn't going to spend near the time cleaning food they aren't eating.

Hope you find this information useful and will share with loved ones.