Thursday, March 26, 2015

everything i needed to know i learned from audrey hepburn

audrey hepburn is my girl crush. she was a classy, timeless, beautiful, charitable woman and she had such grace and wisdom. i love her and these words of truth that have helped to inspire and guide me over the years.  xo- heather


one.
“for beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone.”




two.
"make up can only help you look pretty on the outside...."




three.
“…i believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. i believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. i believe that tomorrow is another day and i believe in miracles.”




four.
“people, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. “




five.
“i have to be alone very often. i’d be quite happy if i spent from saturday night until monday morning alone in my apartment. that’s how I refuel.“



six.
“pick the day. enjoy it - to the hilt. the day as it comes. people as they come… the past, i think, has helped me appreciate the present - and i don’t want to spoil any of it by fretting about the future. “





seven.
“i heard a definition once: happiness is health and a short memory! i wish i’d invented it, because it is very true.“





eight.
“i love people who make me laugh. i honestly think it’s the thing I like most, to laugh. it cures a multitude of ills. it’s probably the most important thing in a person. “



nine.
“the most important thing is to enjoy your life - to be happy - it’s all that matters.“


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

mmmmm: arroz cubano

the south american back story:

my husband and i lived in south america for five years. we had our three oldest kids while we were living abroad and there were many, many things we loved about our time there. it is a treasured time in our lives. 

while there, we had a housekeeper that came and helped us each day. before you pictures scenes from "the help," it is actually very much a part of the culture where we lived and it is seen as disrespectful *not* to hire someone when you are able to employ a person and help them financially. it was from one of these amazing domesticas that we learned the recipe below. it's full of butter, butter and more butter but that is what makes it absolutely delicious. it's a one dish meal and it makes everyone in my family happy around the table. we serve it with a salad and call it done for the night. it is, ironically, called arroz cubano (cuban rice) though it was made by a colombian woman to a fun loving group of americans. it manages to bring back delicious memories of a time gone by. 


arroz cubano (cuban rice):


ingredients:

1/2 cup butter
2 red bell peppers, seeded and sliced thinly
1 large white onion, sliced (or one bag of chopped frozen onions)
1 cup sliced mushrooms

4 large boneless/skinless chicken breasts
5 cups chicken stock (or 5 cups of water with 5 chicken bouillon cubes)
3 cloves minced garlic
2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce

2 cups rice
1 cup raisins
1 cup butter

2 cups parmesan cheese

directions:

place the chicken breasts, chicken stock or water with bouillon, garlic and worcestershire sauce in a large pot and bring to a boil. boil over medium heat for about 10-15 minutes. remove from heat. 

while the chicken is cooking, place the raisins and 1 cup of butter in a large sauce pan. sauté on medium-low heat until the raisins plump up and the butter turns a nice golden brown. do not attempt to cook the raisins on high heat as they will develop a very bitter flavor. add the rice to this mixture and continue to cook until the rice is golden brown as well. 


after the rice has browned, add four cups of the chicken stock/seasoned water to the rice mixture. there will be garlic pieces mixed in with the water and that is perfect. stir in the rice mixture and reduce the heat to low. cook uncovered until all the liquid is absorbed.


remove the chicken from the remaining water mixture but do not discard the water/stock. place the chicken on a cutting board and shred or chop the chicken into bite sized pieces.


in a deep skillet, sauté the bell peppers, onions and mushrooms in 1/2 cup butter over medium heat. cook until the onions are translucent and all the vegetables are tender. remove from heat and add the chicken to the vegetable mixture and mix well.



spray an extra large casserole dish with non-stick spray. layer half of the rice, half of the chicken and vegetables mixture, and half of the cheese in the bottom of the dish. repeat the layers and top with the remaining cheese. bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.


enjoy!




Friday, February 27, 2015

taking deep breaths



its has been a rough end to december through the new year for heather and i. my grandmother passed away. my brother and sister were both diagnosed with new illnesses. heather has had some major wonderful ups and crappy downs. one thing after another, the hits kept coming. our phone calls to one another were full of heavy sighs and heavy talking sessions. if #thisis40, then we might want a refund. the good news is that we are still standing. we are still taking one step after another in 2015 and we are expecting things to look up from here. and the best part...we don't have to go it alone. we have each other and an army of other people walking this road with us. 

still, we've had to recalibrate these past couple of months. we have learned over the last 40 years that it is okay to put things on hold. it is okay to say "no" and emails can indeed wait another day. we understand that even something as important as the blog is to us is not more important than our well being. so, we are good, wise even, to put it in its proper place and take care of ourselves if we need to. we are learning...to take deep breaths, to be kind to ourselves, to give as much grace to ourselves as we would give to others. it's not easy but we are learning.

and here we are. we are still adjusting, still grieving, still trying to wrap our heads around everything but we are taking our time about it. can we just say one thing? whatever you may be going through, whether big or small, you have permission to take care of yourself. there may be very few people who are cheering for you to take care of yourself, but we certainly are. whatever you need...to sit alone at a coffee shop, to read a good book, to skip chores or work for a day to just "be"...whatever that looks like, we are cheering you on to take it. we are hoping for you that you take time to make yourself a priority on occasion and even spoil yourself. we have done some of that these past months and there is nothing like it. 

and we are able to come back and rejoin our blogging world so much better for it. thanks for your patience and for giving us the grace that you may not have even realized you were giving. we appreciate you. xo

Friday, January 30, 2015

5 tips for increasing your family's security in the new year


right before christmas, my brother had his car stolen. in it was his laptop and on it was all of his saved banking information, security information, and all pertinent facts regarding his life. over the past month, he has had to fight with countless banks, credit cards, passport offices and a bounty of other establishments in order to get his life back to normal and to get his identity back. he has been working exhaustedly for weeks now but the psychological effects of something like this taking place are taking its toll.

with a husband in law enforcement, my eyes have been opened to hidden dangers over the last 15 years. we sit at certain tables in restaurants so that we have a clear view of the door and the rest of the establishment. i notice exits everywhere we go. everything is password and security protected. we are, in two words, extremely careful.

when i first started dating my husband, i was surprised that one of his night time adventures out with his job involved picking up bags of trash on garbage day. once garbage is put on the curb, it is no longer your property and can be confiscated by whomever decides to pass by, including law enforcement personnel who are looking for evidence.

the same fact applies to anyone else wanting to find easy information on you or your family. in one bag of trash, someone can find my phone bill with my cell phone numbers clearly and easily readable, papers with my children's names on them including their approximate ages, insurance forms with some medical history, the list is really endless. when i think of the information someone could gather just from going through my trash, i am quickly sobered.

a new year is a great time to stop and evaluate some of the not-so-safe practices of the past and improve them for the future. here are some simple things you can do to keep your family safe.

1) password protect everything. 

this may be a hassle on your computer or your phone and, in reality, if someone is smart enough they can get around your passwords. still, having those safeguards in place may be just enough of a deterrent to discourage someone from taking your things.

2) shred everything. 


we recently were given a new amazing shredder from the lovely people at fellows. i love many things about it. first, i won't purchase a shredder unless it cuts in a crisscross shedding pattern which makes reconstructing what i have shredded virtually impossible. it has fantastic safety features. my absolutely favorite feature is the sensor which detects fingers that are near the entrance of the shredder the sensor or "safe sense" stops the shredding process and then if the fingers are not moved, shuts the machine off. it is such peace of mind knowing that the many little hands in my house cannot be damaged by a shredder. i am very careful of my little people but i cannot be everywhere at once and this shredder keeps an eye on my little people's hands when i cannot. 


the shredder is also powerful. it has the ability to shred a large number of papers at once making my shredding job less time consuming. i don't know about you but i'm less likely to do any job that takes me a long time. it also has a sensor that tells you how many sheets you have and what the limit is. if there are too many papers that you are trying to shred at once, it will stop and not let you proceed. that feature makes this shredder virtually jam-proof. it is the only shredder i will ever need.


i have come to understand the importance of shredding everything...every credit card invitation, every bill, everything with my personal information attached. i don't know what someone might be looking for but i can ensure they will not find it in my papers.

3) keep your children's names off of their personal belongings. 

i see the monogramed names on children's backpacks and i cringe. the same goes for lunch boxes and other items as well. when we put our children's names on their property, we are broadcasting to the world their names and giving potential predators all the information they might need to get an "in" with our children. anonymity to strangers is always an advantage.

4) watch what is on and in your cars. 

it doesn't matter how quickly you will be in and out of a place, never store valuables or even perceived valuables where they can be seen through a car window. if there are 100 cars in a parking lot, predators will chose the car with extra loot inside. keep everything out of sight and lock your doors. this may not keep everyone away but it can deter those who are actively looking.

along with watching what is in your cars, watch what you put on your cars. bumper stickers, window stickers, and magnets give away a ridiculous amount of information. little stick figures on your window tell how many children are in your car, what their approximate ages are, their hobbies, family pets. very few people would walk up to a stranger and tell them, "hey, i have three kids, two boys and a girl. the girl is the baby. we head to gymnastics a few times a week and they play soccer. if you follow me, i can show you where i live." we wouldn't do that to strangers and yet we happily put it on our cars for everyone to see. information in the hands of strangers is never a good idea.

5) get to know your neighbors. 


one night in our neighborhood, a car with four men came into our neighborhood in order to try to break into cars that were unlocked. fortunately for us and unfortunately for them, our neighborhood is tight (and full of nursing mothers and late night workers who are constantly keeping a watch for suspicious characters.) within minutes of the car entering the 'hood, someone posted on our neighborhood page that shady people were in the neighborhood and the police had been called. there was literally a minute to minute update of where people were and what was happening, what car was being driven and where it had stopped the police were able to arrest those involved in the robberies and the stolen property was returned to the proper people. when a small child in our neighborhood wandered off, within minutes 20 people were out looking. knowing your neighbors is not just a good idea if you need to borrow an egg or a cup of sugar. knowing your neighbors is a smart idea for the safety of your family. we have an army of people looking out for our kids and our home. that is always a good idea.

whatever you do to increase the safety of your family this year, small steps truly matter. i don't want to be paranoid but i also don't want to miss an opportunity to protect those i love. what about you? what steps are you taking this year to help increase the security of those you love the most?

Monday, December 29, 2014

genelle: 40 things i learned in 40 years




1) 40 is young. really, truly young.

2) it's okay to say "no." it's also okay to say "no" without explaining your reasons.

3) jobs, chores, checklists will all still be there tomorrow. people need you to invest in them today. you can tell your priorities by how you choose to spend your time.

4) videos of your parents and grandparents as well as your kids as babies are among the things you will grab if there is ever a fire in your house. make sure you have them.

5) i will never regret getting an education, whether it be college or grad school, it's always worth while...even if just to shock all the people who think stay at home moms are stupid but telling them you have more education than they do.

6) "you can dance if you want to, you can leave this world behind" is just what you'll need to do some days. dancing it out is some of the best therapy you can find.

7) there is no modesty after childbirth. it's like a circus side show and everyone is invited.

8) you can actually choose to be joyful. feelings are followers. they will usually go where you tell them to go.

9) judgmental people are not worth your time. they are also some of the most insecure people you will ever meet. it's best to avoid them and their opinions of you and others. 

10) a dirty house can mean that you take time to spend with your kids. it can also mean that you sat around in your pajamas all day and watched tv. no one but your kids will know the difference.

11) God is real. 

12) you will never live up to all the expectations of others. you can choose to wear those expectations like a chain around your neck or you can shake those expectations off (thank you, taylor swift) and just be.

13) marriages require work. period. anyone who believes in the fairy tales and a simple "happily ever after" is setting themselves up for failure. a good marriage takes work.

14) a good marriage is worth the work.

15) nobody wants to go out to eat with someone who only eats a side salad. no one. order something delicious and say "mmmmm" with every bite. people will love going out to eat with you.

16) compliments make people's days. compliment strangers. compliment friends. compliment your spouse. compliment your kids. compliment yourself.

17) styles change. i don't care how cool you think you are right now, one day you will look back at pictures of yourself and cringe at your style choices while also saying, "dang...i was hot back then."

18) i don't feel much older than 25. my outsides look older but my insides feel young and free. it's the inside age that matters.

19) laundry will never be done. the house will never be completely clean. the to-do list will never be finished. embrace it. it's a beautiful mess.

20) surround yourself with people who make you laugh, really laugh. laughter is good for the soul.

21) there are some friendships that will grow apart as years go by but your siblings will be with you until you die. it's good to invest in those relationships too.

22) your spouse was never meant to meet all your emotional needs. 

23) perfection is unattainable. grace is not.

24) a good book is like escaping into another world. it is a way to disappear into something altogether different if only for a few moments. 

25) we are our own worst critics. we need to be more kind to ourselves, to be brave enough to get in the pictures with our kids, and have a tough enough skin to laugh at our mistakes.

26) smart phones and computers do not meet emotional needs. 

27) there is something special about those friends who have known you forever. they know your history and your story that would take years to retell. those friendships are worth keeping alive.

28) there is a wealth of wisdom in countless disney movies. "let it go" and "just keep swimming" are honestly profound words to live by.

29) learning how to manage the money you have is one of the greatest lessons you will ever learn. (the money that you have does not include your credit limit).

30) the world is so, so small. see as much of it as you possibly can. 

31) too many women complain about sex with their spouses. sex is awesome. orgasms are awesome. connecting with your spouse is awesome (and necessary). it's time wives give sex a better reputation.

32) i will always be glad i learned to type, speak a foreign language and play a musical instrument. those three things have opened entire worlds for me. 

33) your kids will both do what you do and say what you say. it's best to watch both.

34) hair dye is a gift from the heavens above.

35) a cup of tea and an hour of quiet can make you a better person.

36) i'm a good parent. i'm not a perfect parent...but i'm a good parent. learn to say that to yourself. 

37) girlfriends are an absolutely essential commodity. they are more precious than gold.

38) no one wants to be around a complainer.

39) you cannot put a price on experiences. put money in exploring and not in things. things break. experiences last a lifetime. 

40) you are uniquely created for this time and this place and your specific purpose. your life does not need to look like anyone else's. there is only one you. we are supposed to look and be different. embrace being different.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

heather: 40 things i've learned in 40 years





today is my 40th birthday. (how the heck am i 40 already?!). through all of the ups and downs, i wouldn't have changed a thing. every joy and sorrow has taught me so much. i feel so very thankful for every person that has come into my life and helped mold me into the person that i am truly happy to be today. 

here are 40 things that i have taken away from my life, thus far.



1. life is short. too short. appreciate it.


2. peanut butter and chocolate is a perfect duo.


3. show grace.


4. it's just as important to take time for yourself as it is to be there for everyone else. (remember: put the oxygen mask on yourself before helping others.)


5. be kind.....and when it's hardest to be kind....well, that is when it is most important.


6. change is the only constant in life.


7. there is only one person that you spend your whole life with, and that is yourself. learn to really love yourself.


8. don't drive around looking for a good parking spot. just park in the back and walk.


9. be humble.


10. life is so very subjective.


11. forgive. forgiveness truly is a gift that you give yourself.


12. happiness is not permanent. neither is unhappiness. so cherish the good times, and remember the bad times will pass.....as nemo says, "just keep swimming".


13. learn how to see yourself in someone else's shoes. compassion and understanding are learned behaviors. practice.


14. talk less, listen more.


15. diamonds are most certainly not a girl's best friend.


16. "people won't remember exactly what you said, or what you did, but they will always remember how you made them feel."


17. the answer said with love in it is always the right one.


18. storms don't last forever.


19. christmas music played year-round makes me happier than just about anything.


20. everything seems so much clearer when you look back on it all. hindsight really is 20/20.


21. there is no such thing as being perfect. embrace the perfectly imperfect. "be yourself; everyone else is taken."


22. you are stronger and more capable of things then you think. take a chance. do something that scares you. you may be surprised at the outcome.


23. tell the truth. always.


24. trust your gut. stay true to yourself. people almost always show you who they really are....you just have to be the one to accept it as truth.


25. the laundry will never be 100% done.....unless you are doing laundry naked.


26. to be happy in a relationship, you have to be happy with yourself first.


27. life really is like a choose your own adventure book. make the best choices you know how to....who knows how long the book will be, the adventures you will have or how it will end.....but, the choices? they are all yours to make.


28. karma is real.


29. never miss an opportunity to build someone up.....it may stay with them their entire life. never take the opportunity to tear someone down.....it may stay with them their entire life.


30. 40 is much, much younger then i once thought it was.


31. relationships are important and the really great ones take work.


32. even if you’ve fought to hold onto something......sometimes it’s just time to let it go.


33. travel.


34. learn to accept a complement. it's important. (i'm still really trying to work on this).


35. people are usually not the same at 18 as they are as an adult. go to your high school reunion with an open mind. you may be surprised.


36. be real. the more honest and open you are with the realities of your life, the more honest and open people will be with you.


37. most people deserve a second chance.


38. you have to let go of the bad, in order to make room for the good.


39. as elsa says..."let it go".....tomorrow truly is another day.....


40. your yesses and your nos, verbal or otherwise, teach people how to treat you.



40 years have been pretty darn good....but i can't wait to see what the next 40 hold. i'm thinking the best really is yet to come.





Wednesday, December 17, 2014

waiting for her to die


she used to love christmas. it was one of her favorite times of the year. my christmas memories are full of her...big pots of texas chili on christmas eve, a present filled tree, tons of laughter and musical dancing santas filling her house. my grandmother brought laugher everywhere she went and she loved us to pieces.

and i am waiting for her to die. scratch that. i’m praying for and hoping for her to die. for the end of her life. for a time of death. for a chance to finally say goodbye. and i feel like a horrible person for putting my thoughts down in writing.

i grew up living about one mile from my maternal grandparents. we saw them multiple times a week. they went to our same church. my mom worked for a time in their business. they were as integrated into the fabric of our lives as they possibly could have been. and it was amazing. my brother and sister and i grew up with these amazing people in our everyday lives. when i was in elementary school, i would head to my grandma’s house and she and i would take long, epic walks, some days walking for miles. we would talk and sing and tell stories. we usually ended up at the cafe of thrifty drug store for a coke and i would be in heaven. i felt spoiled by one-on-one time with one of my favorite people in the world. 

my grandmother was a great southern cook and i learned early the delight of texas chili and cornbread, of cakes every day of the week, of ice cream on every occasion. she was witty, hilarious even, and could find the humor in just about any situation. she made quilts for me and for each of my friends when i was away at college and she prayed for each one of my girlfriends to find a great husband. i had friends that would go up to her and ask her to pray for them too…she had a pretty good track record where her prayers were concerned.



i have a stack of letters from her that i will never part with. she wrote me one letter a week for every week i was away at college. they would tell of her days, include comics, funny stories, simple life anecdotes. they are amazing and they helped me through those years away from home while i was branching out on my own. she was a lifeline to me and i have no memory in my life where she is not a part of it. 

but now she doesn’t know my name. she doesn’t know anyone’s name. she doesn’t know where she is or why. she’s forgotten her husband, her daughter, her son, her grandkids. she is lost somewhere in the wrecking throws of alzheimer’s and dementia. it is a miserable combination of diseases that sucks all the mental capacity from its victims and leaves only the shell of their former selves. it is torture.

it is torture to see this amazing woman trapped inside a working body and a lost mind. it is torture to be forgotten, to turn into someone who causes more disturbance than joy. it is torture to watch her go and to know there is nothing we can do about it. it is torture to have no time of death, no moment to say goodbye. the person she once was is completely gone. she has been gone for years and yet her body remains. how do you mourn someone who is still breathing? how do you say goodbye to someone whose eyes are still open with life? it’s impossible to do so.

so, we keep on moving. my mother goes to visit the woman who has impacted her more than any other, her own mother, and she grieves a prolonged grief. she is lost to this woman who doesn’t know her own daughter and my mother has to mourn that loss over and over and over again. my mother has to walk with the dread of another visit where she is unwanted and where her very presence causes confusion and pain. yet how can she stop? how can she abandon a mother even if she finds my mother a stranger?

and so i am praying for my grandmother to die. i am praying for here to leave this shell of a body behind. i’m praying for a date of death, for a finality to properly mourn. i’m praying for release, both for her and for us. i’m praying for this all to stop because it’s too much. it’s too much to watch. it’s too much to grieve for years and years. it’s too much to know how much my grandmother would hate this. she. would. hate. this. it’s simply too much pain mixed with too much love for one person. i want the pain to stop so the love can continue and the beautiful memories of the amazing woman my grandmother was can rise to the surface and give her legacy the honor it deserves.

she loved christmas. she loved my grandpa. they married when they were barely eighteen and were still very much loving one another and caring for one another when he passed away five years ago. i'm sure somewhere in the shell of her body, she remembers him and longs to see him again. if i could give her one thing this year, it would be the gift of release, of letting go of the shell she has become to be reunited with the man of her dreams and to celebrate christmas in heaven. i believe that would be the greatest gift i could ever give to one of the greatest women i have ever known.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

holiday gift guide: cats and dogs


this is a sponsored post for the lovely people at nutrish cat food. as always, the ideas, stories, 
and crazy thoughts are all my own. please consider making the switch to nutrish. we at the
third boob have done so and we could not be happier. click here for more information and a coupon especially for our readers. 

as you spend countless hours this time of year buying presents and wrapping gifts to carefully lay under the tree, don't forget about the fur babies in your life. the cats and dogs that are a part of the fabric of your family. there are lots of ways to include your pets in the holiday festivities.....consider a special treat under the tree or a stocking hanging with the others for the jolly old man to fill. here are our favorite picks for gifts for our furry friends this year.




cats:








































dogs:























































disclaimer: although we received some products for free, many are purchased on our own dime and *all* are products that we love and the opinions are all our own. also, from time to time we do use affiliate links in our posts.