Feeling Thankful

Feeling Thankful

I am so thankful. Today as I sit in the warm house while it’s cold and rainy outside, I am thinking about how I had such a nice Thanksgiving holiday with my family. The kids came home from college and they were so happy to be able to take a break from school and to eat some good food! They were talking about what they wanted to eat and they were excited about what I was cooking. All three kids helped me cook at some point, rotating in and out of the kitchen. My son who is 23 hates cheese and he even cut the cheese into cubes for my macaroni and cheese. My daughter who is 19 laughed at him. Macaroni and cheese is one of her favorite dishes. She cleaned the collard greens for me. My oldest daughter shelled pecans for the pecan pie. My husband ran to the grocery store repeatedly, getting things that we forgot. Teamwork makes the dream work! We had a good time, relaxing, eating, and talking. As I get older, I am so thankful for the time that we have to spend together. I often say that I realize that life goes by in different stages. It’s so true. I write about being an empty nester or a semi-empty nester as I now like to call it, but I know that this too is a stage of life that I need to enjoy. I use the term semi-empty nester because my children are not completely out of the house yet. My 26 year old daughter is back at home. My 23 year old son is  in college but that means that he still comes home for breaks and for the summers. My 19 year old daughter is in college closer to home but I see her more because she is closer to home than my son and her schedule isn’t as rigorous as his. I was talking to a lady at my dentist’s office and she was telling me that her mom cried because none of the kids and grandkids can go home for Thanksgiving this year. There were sports tournaments to attend, one brother has a new girlfriend and he was going to another town to eat dinner with his girlfriend’s family. Another sibling had recently given birth to a baby and wouldn’t be traveling. As I listened to her tell me about her mother, I understood. It made me think about the different stages of life. I left the office grateful that I have kids that are looking forward and are able to come home for dinner this year. I really wanted to cherish and enjoy every minute of it. I know that it won’t always be this way. Those are things that I didn’t really think about when the children were young. Now, after the youngest child left for college, I think often about things like this. I try hard to be grateful for every day, every moment.

November was a great month. My birthday month and Thanksgiving! My husband and I went to the Historic Oak View County Park and gathered pecans.

Instructions of how to pick a good pecan

Pecan Grove

A Bowl Full of Pecans

My husband humored me and took some pictures of me. He usually snaps one picture and he is done LOL. He is learning ya’ll! He took several pictures and even paid attention so some details! One time we were kind of near the road and he told me that the traffic was in the background and suggested that I turn in a different direction. I was impressed!! He let me take two selfies of us together. LOL, he often tells me, when I want to take more than one or two pictures, “that’s enough”. LOL. He was good at picking the pecans and laughed at me. I was tired after gathering pecans for what he says was five minutes! It was hard work! It was late in the season and there weren’t that many pecans left. We had to look hard and work hard for them! We would find one and it would have a hole in it which meant that a worm had most likely destroyed the pecan. We found a lot that we had to throw back to the ground. My legs and back were so sore from bending down to pick up the pecans. My thighs were so sore from sweeping my legs back and forth feeling for the pecans. Many had sunk into the ground or grass and you really had to feel for them. I ran into a lady that told me that she visits frequently to pick pecans and she told me to return in the morning. It was windy and it was going to storm that night. She told me that more pecans would fall. I tried to get my husband to go back the next morning because he had told me the same thing but he refused. LOL! He told me that he would buy me some more pecans! LOL!! I was sore the next morning so I didn’t argue 🙂 I did enjoy our time together and I had so much fun gathering pecans for the first time. I sent the kids pictures of us at the park and they thought the pictures were cute.  Funny when your kids think you are cute. Again, this is a different stage of life.

Me with the pecans that we gathered

My husband and I taking a selfie!

After we finished gathering pecans, we walked around the park and looked in some of the historic buildings and the old house. As we walked around, we saw a lot of photographers taking pictures of families. It was a beautiful fall day for taking pictures. Some families even brought their dogs. I hadn’t even thought of that location for taking pictures. I would love to go back and take pictures. Our last family picture is old. It is time for an updated picture. The site was a farm for close to 150 years. There is a lot of history there. There is plenty to see on the tour stops. If you are local to the Raleigh area and you love history, I encourage you to visit. I want to go back so that I can finish the tour.

Family Farm House

The pecans that we picked were used to make a pecan pie for Thanksgiving. It was delicious, well the second one was. LOL! I am never afraid to say when I mess up. I’m human. I don’t know what I did but the first pie was runny and the bottom crust was stuck to the pan. The family ate it though and it did have good flavor. They didn’t want it to go to waste. The second pie was the right consistency, I used a recipe that I found on Allrecipes and the pie was delicious.

I was a little sad when I had to take the kids back to school but they will be home in a week and a half for Christmas. There will be more family time and more things to be thankful for.

I hope you enjoyed your time with your family and friends. Here is a link to the park website if you would like to learn more about it. Historic Oak View County Park

Here is a link to the pecan pie recipe that I used. I’m sorry that I don’t have a picture. They cut the pie and ate it really fast! I found the recipe on the Allrecipes website. Tip: mix the cold water with the cornstarch before adding to the rest of the ingredients.

Until next time friends! Be Thankful.

XOXO,

My Trip To Scottsdale Arizona!!

My Trip To Scottsdale Arizona!!

Hi There! I’m sitting in bed writing this blog post and wishing that I was back in Arizona. It is 47 degrees here. I just looked and it’s 72 degrees in Phoenix. I think I’d rather be in Phoenix. It is also going to be cold and rainy here in North Carolina tomorrow. Ugggg!! I am such a warm weather girl. I don’t like winter. I hibernated all weekend. LOL! I mean I stayed in the house all weekend. I went out once to get gas and to go to the grocery store because I was missing some of the ingredients that I needed for the unstuffed cabbage that I was going to prepare for dinner.

So, why all this talk about Arizona? Let me tell you about my trip! I went to the Phoenix/Scottsdale area in September and I had a fantastic time! I have to admit that I had no desire to go to the desert and experience all that hot weather but I was pleasantly surprised. I really had a great time and enjoyed every moment. I went to Arizona for a business conference but the conference was structured very nicely this time and they gave us plenty of time to explore. I work as an office manager for a periodontal practice and I am a member of AADOM (American Association of Dental Office Managers). It is a wonderful association that I am proud to be part of.  I really had the best of both worlds, I learned so much and I was able to explore a new place! What could be better than that!?

Cyndi Rhonda and I – Team Training

Now, back to the trip. I landed in Arizona and got a ride to the resort. I had the pleasure of staying at the Westin Kierland Resort and Spa. It is located in Scottsdale AZ. I checked in and immediately went outside to explore. It was HOT!! A different kind of hot though, it was not humid like it is in North Carolina. But hot is hot and it was hot! I was so fascinated with the plant life. And, there was no soil! Lol, I know, it’s the desert but it was my first time! I’m a beach kind of girl.  The succulents were beautiful. If you have read my June succulent arrangement blog post, you can tell that I really have taken a liking to succulents and I have planted a few succulent arrangements. The succulents and cacti were huge and so beautiful! You can read about the succulent arrangement that I made here:   https://www.angelamonica.com/plant-succulent-arrangement/

succulents, cacti, plants in Arizona,

Beautiful Succulents and Plants at the Westin Kierland Resort and Spa

I was starving so I made my way to the Brittlebush Bar and Grill. It was on the golf course. They had a nice golf apparel store and a beautiful view of the golf course and a pond. There was a patio with mist sprayers also. I sat inside. The service was awesome! My waitress brought me a Prickly Pear Margarita on the house and it was so good! I ordered the cheese steak sliders that she recommended. I had sweet potato fries with my sliders. They were sooooo good! When I finished my meal, my waitress brought me a complimentary dessert, bread pudding with mascarpone cheese and caramel toffee on top. Oh my!! That lunch started my trip off right! I left relaxed and happy. I made my way back to my room but not without stopping to take more pictures of the beautiful plants.

Cheesesteak Sliders, Prickly Pear Margarita and Bread Pudding!

Cacti, Succulents, and Plants Scottsdale Arizona

The resort was beautiful. I have never been so relaxed. There is something about going out of town and just getting away that just totally relaxes you. It’s such a nice feeling. I had dinner with my colleague Cyndi and I met one of her colleagues, Rhonda. We all went to dinner one night and we had the best time. We ate at an Italian restaurant called Marcellino Ristorante in Scottsdale. They had live music and we really enjoyed listening. Oh my goodness! Our food was delicious! Beyond delicious! I had shiitake infused pasta with shitake mushrooms, lobster, lemon white wine sauce and white truffle oil. I know sounds divine, doesn’t it?! It was divine. Rhonda and Cyndi enjoyed their meals as well and we left happy. The service was very good. I would love to go back. We walked around and shopped after we ate. We laughed and had a great time.

I wanted to go to the pool but I had forgotten my swimsuit cover-up. When we had a lunch break, I took the hotel shuttle across the street to shop for a cover-up. I went to a lovely store called Everything But Water. I met Erica and Beth and they were so helpful and nice. I had such a nice experience and we laughed and had great conversation. They helped me pick out a cover-up and I love it! I actually didn’t have time to go to the pool during my trip so I didn’t get to wear my swimsuit cover-up. I went to the beach later in September with my hubby and I wore my cover-up. I got three compliments! It’s very soft and flattering. I love the color! Here is a picture of me on the beach (Pawley’s Island, SC) wearing my cover-up. Once again, I’m so relaxed and happy. Vacations and trips do that to me.

Everything But Water, swimsuit cover up

Swimsuit Cover-Up. Everything But Water

Swimsuit cover-up from Everything But Water

Swimsuit Cover-up from Everything But Water

 

I did not get to see the Grand Canyon, it was about three hours away from where I was staying and there just wasn’t time. I went to a Butterfly Museum and I really enjoyed that. I love taking pictures of butterflies so this was right up my alley! I saw some of the most beautiful butterflies and it was nice to see that butterflies come from a chrysalis that doesn’t look the same. I saw some that were silver, gold, bright green, had spots and all sorts of colors! I love this picture of butterflies in a dish eating together.

Butterflies eating

Butterflies Eating

 

I went on on a desert tour! I once again have to be honest. I didn’t want to go on a tour of the desert. I am really afraid of snakes. I was content to stay at the resort but my friend and colleague Cindy kept harassing me J I finally agreed to go on the next to the last day and I am very happy that I did. It was really the best experience. We had the best tour guide, Jake. He was just the nicest man and he had so much knowledge. We took some beautiful sunset pictures in the Sonoran Desert and I’ll never forget it.

Sonoran Desert Tour with Jake

Sonoran Desert Tour with Jake

Cyndi taking a picture of Brie taking a picture of me

Beautiful sunset in the Sonoran Desert

Sonoran Desert Sunset

I love making memories and there were some very good memories made in Arizona. I would definitely go back. I could tell you more about my trip but this post would be so long. You would get tired of reading! I shared the highlights.That just proves that you really don’t know what to expect until you try something. I really wasn’t excited about going to the conference in Arizona and I ended up making new friends, meeting new colleagues, making wonderful memories and experiencing something new. I can’t wait to do it again!

Until next time ya’ll. Go make some memories!

xoxo,

Painting Party At Pinot’s Pallet!

Painting Party At Pinot’s Pallet!

Hi Friends! I was recently invited to Pinot’s Palet for a painting party. I had a wonderful time! Paul the owner was so nice and our teacher was so nice and patient! **I was not paid for this blog post however, I was allowed to paint for free as a guest of Chelsea’s**.

I drove to Apex for the party and I didn’t have any trouble at all finding Pinot’s Palette. I got there and was welcomed with lots of smiles. Chelsea Vanderpool, a fellow TriFabb blogging group member invited me. I was happy to meet her in person! I received an apron to wear to protect my clothes and I ordered a glass of Moscato. It was so refreshing and I enjoyed sipping my wine as I painted. Paul, the owner, and Denise, our teacher were so nice in making sure that we had everything we needed whether it be wine, snacks or more food. Denise gave us an overview of what we would be doing and we proceeded to paint our pictures step by step with her guidance. It was so much fun!

You can purchase refreshments and snacks. Wine served by the glass.

Paul the owner was so nice!

Thanks for the invite Chelsea!

Here you can see my vase taking shape. We followed our teacher, talked, laughed and had a break every now and then. Next, we added the flowers and then the leaves. I like the fact that this was a free-flowing picture and not too structured. At first, things didn’t look like they would take any sort of shape and then our teacher would have us do the next step and whoa! Our pictures started to take shape and pop! Everyone did such a great job on their pictures. Every picture turned out good!! I was so relaxed and happy and I couldn’t wait to show my family my picture!! They were very impressed!!

My vase

Coming along nicely!

Everyone’s painting

We had a great teacher

I highly recommend Pinot’s Palette. The people are nice and the classes are so much fun. When we took a break, Paul took me on a tour. They have a glow in the dark room! It was so neat to see the pictures glowing! You can book that room for parties and team events or even a night out with the girls! Pinot’s Palette is great for date night, my husband and I will have to go there soon. I loved the gallery walls that showed examples of pictures you could paint. The artwork there is beautiful! Here are some of my favorites:

Glow in the dark painting!

Glow in the dark art!

Sample art

Three ladies. Sample art. I love this one!

I love my painting!

I will definitely go back. I might even try glow in the dark painting!

Enjoy your day today and go do something fun!

Weekend Getaway Pawley’s Island SC

Weekend Getaway Pawley’s Island SC

Hello Friends! We recently went on a weekend getaway to Pawley’s Island SC. Two of my kids were leaving for college so we wanted to go on one last family vacation. We decided to take a weekend trip.  We made reservations at Litchfield Beach and Golf Resort in Pawley’s Island SC. We have been there before and this is our third time visiting. I have to tell you that I love that place! We all do. This is not a sponsored post; I just really enjoy spending time there. Whenever we go there, we are so relaxed. This time, I woke up early one morning and went on a long walk by myself. I took some beautiful pictures and enjoyed some time to just think, enjoy nature and get some much-needed exercise.

I walked to the beach and it was about a 15-minute walk from where we were staying this time. The sky was beautiful and the scenery at the resort is just so pretty and peaceful. There were people out jogging, walking with their babies in strollers and walking to enjoy nature and get exercise. We all exchanged a cheery good morning! It’s wonderful how people are so nice and happy when they are on vacation. Everyone needs some time to relax and getaway. It really does wonders for the soul. I felt as if my soul was rejuvenated.Pictures of flowers, a cute rabbit, and sunrise that I took while walking:

Let me tell you about Litchfield Beach and Golf Resort. It is a wonderful place to take your family. There are several rental options. We have stayed in a condo located in the Lakeside area of the resort. We also stayed in another condo located in another area of the resort. This condo was a loft style condo and it was closer to the beach. This time, for our weekend getaway, we stayed in an apartment style building that was further from the beach but closer to the pool and lazy river.  Families really enjoy the pool and lazy river. There is also a hot tub. There are buckets that fill with water and you can stand under them. When the buckets are full, the water pours out on the people standing under them. Kids love it! There is also a huge barrel that fills with water and then pours out when full.

Lakeside Condo

Apartment Style Rentals

Pool Near Apartment Rentals

Condos

Beach House

Beach House

Pretty Gazebo

Clubhouse By The Ocean

People Fishing=Fun!

The Beautiful Ocean

You can walk to the beach, go to the gym, and eat at the restaurant that is on site. They have a wonderful breakfast buffet, enjoy Happy Hour at the Tiki Bar, go to the Day Spa, Health and Fitness Center, Rent a bike, play tennis or play golf at one of the 4 centrally located golf courses. We love to go to the pizza restaurant that is across the street from the resort. There is also a grocery store and other shopping across the street. The grocery store comes in handy because we usually cook some of our meals. When we don’t cook, we enjoy pizza, ice cream and of course seafood. We love to go to Graham’s Landing in Murrells Inlet for seafood. This time we tried Drunken Jack’s Restaurant and Lounge and it was very good also. I think Graham’s Landing is still our favorite. Drunken Jack’s has a wonderful atmosphere and beautiful scenery. We sat by a window and were intrigued by the goats that were on land in the inlet. We asked the waiter and he told us that the restaurant owns the goats and brings them there in the spring where they stay until fall I think. The waiter told us that the goats like to people watch! I have posted a picture below but I don’t think you can see the goats. They are on the strip of land in the picture. We enjoyed watching them and the people who passed by on water skis, on the Brew Boat, a boat that people pedal while they drink, and on private boats.

BrewBoat

Private Boat

Goats In The Inlet!

We have taken our son and daughter back to college. My husband and I are going to plan another getaway to Pawley’s island and we will stay at Litchfield Beach and Golf Resort again to spend some time alone. I can’t wait!

I hope you are enjoying your summer. Enjoy the rest of the summer and make everyday count!

XOXO,

 

Deck Makeover On A Budget. DIY Deck Furniture Project

Deck Makeover On A Budget. DIY Deck Furniture Project

Hello Friends! I am excited to share my deck makeover with you. This is a deck makeover on a budget! I have been preparing to makeover my desk/work table but I had to switch gears. Friends of ours were so kind and gave us their deck furniture. We are so grateful to our friends for giving us their deck and patio furniture. What a blessing they are to us!  The set consists of a loveseat, one chair, coffee table and a side table. It is made out of wood and it just needed a little love. I knew that I wanted to go from the reddish brown stained wood to a white washed sort of distressed beachy look. I went to Ace Hardware (this is not a sponsored post) and asked about chalk paint. A very nice manager there helped me pick out some paint. He assured me that I would love it. He said that customers have been very happy with it. When I went to the counter to pay for my items, the cashier said that she had painted several pieces with the paint and that she was very pleased with it. I wanted to try chalk paint and I have been reading about it and watching videos on YouTube about it for awhile now. The manager told me that the person who makes the paint recommends that you clean the furniture with Greased Lighting first.  My son helped me clean the furniture. Once we cleaned and rinsed the furniture, we let it dry. It was a hot day so it didn’t take long.

Here is a picture of our old deck furniture:

Our old deck furniture.

We moved to our house three years ago and we got rid of a lot of the things that we had. We kept our metal gliding love seat but gave the matching table and chairs away. We really needed to have the table welded and decided that we would get new furniture instead. Our Pod was full and we couldn’t pack another thing. We had so much stuff after being in our other house for eighteen years. It seemed like the more we packed the more stuff we had left to pack! I don’t miss most of the stuff that we gave away or trashed. There are some items that I wish I had kept but just a few. Well, you know the quote; the best-laid plans….. We planned to buy new furniture for the deck and have the deck screened in but college tuition for two kids put a halt to those plans. I was also focusing on the inside of the house because of course, I wanted to change the furniture and décor. So, we just used what we had on the deck and that has worked fine. Until my kind friends asked if we wanted their deck and patio furniture. They are actually giving me their patio table after they build their own table. I already have the six chairs. They are made of metal so I will be able to clean them and wax them and they will look like new. Once we get the table, I will wax it and then show you the makeover before and after pictures but that is another post. Now, back to the deck furniture.

Here is a list of the materials I used:

  • Amy Howard At Home One Step Paint from Ace Hardware (Color-Bauhaus Buff)
  • Greased Lightning Spray Cleaner
  • Paint Brushes – I bought the ones that Amy Howard recommended.
  • Plastic Drop Cloth

Deck Furniture Before We Painted It

We cleaned the furniture and let it dry, and then we painted the furniture with the Amy Howard paint. We only used one coat and like the people at Ace Hardware said, a little goes a long way. I still have paint left. I only painted one coat and I did not buy or use wax because I read that waxing outdoor furniture could cause the paint to bubble up. I do not know if that is true or not but I did not want to take any chances. I wanted the brown color of the wood to show through so one coat is all I needed. I like the distressed look. I think it looks beachy and very pretty. The paint not only goes a long way but it dries very fast. It did not have much of an odor either. My son and I were outside painting and sweating the first day because it was very hot and humid. The next day was cool and sunny and beautiful. We had two more pieces to paint. We got the last two pieces of furniture painted pretty quickly and we were done. By the evening, we were able to put the cushions that we had cleaned back on the furniture. It was a cool, sunny beautiful evening and we were able to sit and enjoy the furniture. It was so nice and it totally changed the look of the deck.

I found three beautiful lanterns at Pier One. They were on sale! I had a hard time finding a rug. I ordered one online which I never do and it did not look good at all. We went to At Home and at first, we didn’t really see anything. It is the end of the season and most of their rugs were gone. We went to look at the indoor rugs and then we circled back around to the outdoor rugs again. My son told my daughter and me to wait and he disappeared under the first shelf!! I thought what in the world is he doing?? Well, he emerged with an aquamarine rug! I could not believe it! He later said that something told him to go under the shelves and that if someone wanted to hide something that’s where it would be.  Well, he hit the jackpot! At first, I was a little doubtful as to whether or not I wanted it because the designs were off white instead of white. My son and daughter thought I should try it and I decided that they were right. Well, guess what?! When we got to the register, the cashier informed me that the rug was on sale for 50% off!!! I was so happy and I said “now I know I’m getting it! I will make it work!” The cashier thought I was funny. Glad I could make someone smile! J We got the rug home and it looks very nice! It matches the lanterns and the rug has the same design that two of the lanterns have. The rug that I ordered online that didn’t work was $110.00. The rug that we like was on sale for $39.99. That’s my kind of deal!

I plan to get wall art to hang up and I also plan to try to find another chair. Next hubby has to stain the deck again and then we hopefully will get it screened in.

Even though it is not screened in, we have enjoyed it so much more with the furniture and atmosphere that we have created. It’s relaxing. The first evening we sat outside after dinner and when it got dark, we ate ice cream sundaes and lit the lanterns. It was cool that evening and a nice breeze was blowing. It was so nice. I’m glad that we were able to complete the deck makeover on a budget. That makes it all the better!

Until next time!

Xoxo,