My Forever Valentine

February is the month of love so I wanted to dedicate this month’s host blog to my sweet, wonderful husband Noel.

This is our 5th Valentine’s together.  Noel has delighted me over the years with many lovely gifts and cards, for birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, and just because. One tidbit  about my sweetheart Noel is that he’s a romantic, but a more fitting title would be practical romantic. Noel’s gift are always thoughtful, sweet and often useful.  I’ve been gifted a survival gift for my car (needed for Minnesota winters), mace (for my long walks), a GPS (with a large screen for easier, and safer navigation), gloves for fishing and gloves for yard work (to protect my hands and nails) and a flashlight for my keychain (great for parking garages). Please know these gifts fill me up with so much love and gratefulness. Noel not only cares for heart but also my safety.

With that I have to share the 3 best Valentine’s my honey has gifted me. These lean more on the romantic side than the practical.

Here we go, 3 of my favorites:

3 years ago, on February 11th to be exact (because he said he couldn’t wait for the 14th), he proposed to me at our favorite restaurant.  He made reservations and planned it with the help of the owner and our “regular” waitress.  It was perfection.

With my dear husband direct communication is the best.  To me greeting cards are really important. I love getting and reading mushy cards. I told Noel that I love all of the gifts he’s given, but I also want to open up a card.  He responded like he always does, “Thanks for telling me, now I know. You got it honey.” Well, here’s the card…huge, sweet and adorable.  I keep it up all year round.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lastly, Noel created a photo montage of me fishing. I squealed when I opened it.  It captured so many wonderful memories.

 

 God has given me a man of love, honor and faithfulness. I’m a blessed woman.

What are some of your most beloved Valentine gifts and memories? Please share below, I’d love to know!

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You Are Sweet Enough Just the Way You Are

What’s your New Year’s Resolution?  Maybe yours is similar to mine.  I resolve to limit processed foods, and artificial sweeteners from my diet.  I have been 60 percent on plan for several months, but the holidays were tough on me.  I’m aiming now to up my efforts and go from 60% to 80% of the time to eat as clean as possible.

Easier said then done.  So I will start with the basics.

 I will try to eat as much “real” food as possible and if I am going to indulge in a sweet treat from time to time,  I will aim to get my sweet fix from fruits, and natural sweeteners like honey and agave nectar.

The good news is that I have found dozens of recipes for naturally sweetened treats.  I have included my latest find.  The most delicious, moist banana bread ever.  It’s FABULOUS!  The recipe is free of all  processed sugar and can be made dairy free and gluten free, if you wish.

I hope you love this yummy bread as much as my husband  and I did.

Here you Go…

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  • 1/3 cup of coconut oil, or extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup of honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup of mashed ripe bananas
  • 1/4 cup of milk, almond milk, or water
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 3/4 cup of whole wheat flour (gluten free flour if you like)
  •  Optional, 1/2 cup walnuts, pecans, carob chips

Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees and grease 9 x 5 loaf pan

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In a large bowl, beat oil, honey, eggs, mix together then whisk in bananas and milk

 

Add baking soda, vanilla, salt and cinnamon, and flour, (and extras if you i.e. nuts) use a large spoon and mix all ingredients together….don’t over stir, leave a few lumps in the batter.20160907_201307

Pour batter into your greased pan, sprinkle the top with more cinnamon

Bake for 55 to 60 mins, or until toothpick comes out clean 

One loaf gives you 10 servings

Per serving: Calories 215, Fat 8.7 g, Sugars 16 g, Protein 4.3g,

Enjoy!

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Wrapped Up in Love

When it comes to wrapping presents, there are two types of people in this world: Those who LOVE to gift wrap, and those who HATE it.   I’m in the LOVE it category. I rarely use gift bags, and shopping for ribbon and paper is as much fun to me as shopping for shoes and bags.  I adore the prepping, the doing and the giving of beautifully wrapped gifts.

When I was in my twenties and pursuing a career as an actress I would take on side jobs to help pay the bills.  Well, you can imagine how over the moon I was when I found a part-time job wrapping gifts at Dayton’s Department store in downtown Minneapolis.

I remember going in for the interview, the interviewee ask me a few obligatory questions, then walked me to the wrapping counter where all the wrapping supplies were, she handed me a gift box and said “wrap this”.  I said, “Game on!” I love to wrap and I had been doing it for years, so I felt confident in my abilities.  She walked away, came back in a couple of minutes, right when I was finishing up.  She picked up the wrapped gift, examined every angle, she looked unimpressed and said “It’s ok, we can work with this, if you want the job, you’ve got it.”  I started my new job wrapping gifts 2 days later, got a lot better with her help and experience.

I worked 4, 6 or 8 hours shift (depending on my availability and seasonal demands) 2 to 3 days a week for several years, and I had the dry hands and paper cuts to prove it.  All these years later I still love to wrap presents.  I thought it would be fun to share a video with a few tips and tricks I learned from that job.  These tips will make wrapping fun, easy and impressive at the same time.

Tools You’ll Need

Sharp scissors, clear gift wrap tape, tape measure, sturdy box,  ribbon ( 1.5 inch wide wired ribbon is my favorite), stapler with staples loaded, and gift wrap (I like a thick premium wrap, but any will do), find a clean table top, counter or kitchen island.

Sit back, relax & wrap!

Once your you’ve got the tools and space you need, put on some holiday music, pour your favorite beverage and get in the holiday spirit.

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If at first you don’t succeed, do what your mother told you . . .

The other day a friend asked for my advice and, as I was trying to help, I heard myself say, “Well, as my mom always says” . . . then, I quoted one of her many sayings.  This is when I realized that I not only have a great mom who’s kind, fun, and endlessly supportive, but she’s also darn smart.

Kristine blog 2 mom 2016When it comes to navigating life’s twists and turns, she always seems to know the right thing to do and the right thing to say.  This blog is to both celebrate my mom and share some of her gems with you . . . and I’ve included just a few below.  As you read through these, please think of your own mother and the words of wisdom she’s shared with you, and then please share with me!

 

Smart Quotes from my Mother Marilyn:

Kristine blog 2 1976“We Go By Improvement” . . . This means: don’t kill yourself trying to be perfect.  The goal here is to improve the situation.  For example: You wake up, stumble out of bed, look in the mirror and scream because you didn’t get you beauty sleep (the dark circles, and bags under your eyes prove it). Don’t crawl back to bed because you feel hideous, just be better, go by improvement.  Grab your under eye concealer, comb you hair, put on a bright color shirt . . . just improve the situation. I use this one all the time, as trying to be perfect is exhausting!  But, being better is not only doable, but also energizing.   You can always improve.

Kristine blog 2 mom 1983“Always Pray for the Truth” . . . When you’re confused, frustrated or unsure, look, ask and seek the truth.  You can’t fix a problem with speculations or assumptions.  When you have the truth, you can go forward. If you don’t have the facts, you’ll just make up a story and live in uncertainty.  The truth sometimes hurts, but it’s always a gift.

“Your Intuition is Your GPS” . . . Mom would say “I never worried about you, Kristine, because you follow your intuition, and your intuition is always right . . . so listen when it talks to you, it’s your GPS.” I follow this one to Kristine blog 2 mom 1989this day.  At times, I’ve gone into a room, turned around and left because it didn’t ‘feel right’ while, other times I’ve taken leaps of faith when a surprised opportunity came my way, just because it ‘felt right’. Intuition is God directing you, so don’t try another route.

 “Never apologize for being overdressed” . . . You go to a BBQ, and the dress code is casual. You show up in a pretty sundress with matching sandals, while the rest of the guests are wearing cut off shorts, t-shirts and flip flops. Your ‘casual’ is just different than theirs, and that’s okay!  You never have to apologize for trying to feel, look or act your best.

Kristine blog 2 mom 2009 “We’ll Have None of That” . . . This is my mom’s way of saying: not acceptable. You don’t have to raise your voice, or discuss a situation to death.  If you don’t like something . . . just have none of it.  End the discussion.  Stand for what you believe, and don’t apologize for it.

 Thanks Mom your guidance, love and wisdom . . . you’re the best!

 

Please share your motherly wisdom with me  – I’d love to know the smart things your mother says!

Kristine blog 2 mom 2016

 

 

 

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Dreams come true . . .

My husband Noel and I embarked on the ‘adventure’ of rehabbing a small lake cabin several months ago.  Now, we could enjoy our free time near the water in Minnesota during the summer, but also in the spring and fall!

Kristine cabin1

Both of us being Minnesotan; we grew up in the land of 10,000 lakes (to be exact, we have 15,291!)  The state has over 90,000 miles of shoreline, which is more than California, Florida and Hawaii combined.  To take advantage of this, one out of every six people in Minnesota own a recreational boat.  So, it’s no surprise that I, like my fellow statesmen, love lake life and, like many . . . my husband and I have dreamt of owning a lake cabin ‘someday’. Well, that someday became a reality this past December!

Here’s how the dream started: we bought the smallest, most neglected, outdated cabin on the lake . . . but with 50 feet of shoreline line and a sandy bottom!  My husband said the cabin had ‘good bones, but no muscles’, so the work began.  As Noel is a general contractor, he took on the project over this past winter.  He started by bringing it down to the studs.  He then put tongue and groove on the walls and the ceilings, put in a shower (there was none before), carpeting, new windows . . . and the list goes on . . .  By the way, he did a fabulous job! I offered the much needed moral support and home décor talents, but that was it; he deserves all the praise!

Kristine cabin inside2

Seven months later, our little, 600 square foot cabin feels like our home away from home.  It’s 98% done and is already such a blessing.  We’re making new friends, creating new memories, and fishing every chance we get.

Kristine cabin kitchen

So, summertime 2016 means I’ll be by the water, on the water, or in the water . . .

Kristine boat

Here’s to cabin life, and making dreams come true!

What Dreams, or ‘someday’s’, do you wish for?  Please share, I’d love to know!

 

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