Thursday, January 28, 2016

Looking Forward To...

  • Getting the car back (blown radiator)
  • Trader Joe's
  • Spending time with my crew (lol!)
  • Just being.
What about you? Any plans for the weekend?

Warmly! Trish 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016


As with most of the East Coast this past weekend, we got snow.  Not as much as parts of Latrobe which got around 24 inches, or North Huntington which recorded around 14 inches.  But enough to make snow angels in, to frolic and play and to be "snowed in" for the day (totally needed!!).  The snow wasn't hard packing snow so we could not make snowmen, but we were able to cross off a few to-do's from our winter bucket list.  After our afternoon of playing outside and shoveling walks, K's friend Kai came and spent most of the day into evening.  The girls rented movies, we made popcorn and I had hot cocoa and then I set to cleaning the kitchen.  A totally satisfying day.

Sunday, we woke to a lovely sunny morning and no butter and no eggs.  Not having the car back from the garage (radiator needs replaced) means a walk to the store which is about, oh, maybe six city blocks.  I dressed Elliot warm, put on two sweaters (I knew I'd be carry him on and off) and grabbed a back pack.  The walk was fun as Elliot made snow angels along the way and tried to walk through the larger drifts.  There was no wind which made out outing so much more enjoyable.  Back home, we cooked up a meal. Apparently, the walk and fresh air wore the little guy out as he took to "Gigi's room"  (mine) and fell asleep.  What a wonderful idea! I climbed in beside him and we napped the afternoon away.  In the evening, we had french toast for dinner, bathed, read, played and watched a little t.v.  Kayla visited with Kai at Kai's house most of the day. 

Seriously, I could use a few more weekends like this one.  
Warmly! Trish 

Monday, January 25, 2016


This post is pretty much a summary of my last three REFRESH posts which you can read here, here and here.  Next month, we get COZY!
One. Get a good night’s sleep.  Wake up early. 
Two. Wash your face, brush your teeth, comb your hair.
Three. Move.  If you have 7 minutes, download the app 7 Minute Workout.  If you have 16 mins. and access to YouTube, you can walk one mile in the comfort of your own home with Leslie Sansone’s  One Mile Express.  Run around the dining room table a few times (yes, we do this, but usually because I am trying to catch Elliot).  Just remember this: energy makes energy.
Four. Eat something healthy, maybe yogurt with fruit or a soft-boiled egg with a piece of toast, a glass or orange juice.  Something.  It’s a great way to start your day.
Five. Get into a clean routine.  Dust a room.  Or clean out a drawer.  Or start the laundry.  Or sweep the floor.  Routine becomes habit and habit breeds progress. 
Six. Start your day with a to do list and end your day crossing it off.

Seven. Don't stress.  Enjoy your journey!

Warmly! Trish 

Sunday, January 24, 2016


"In January
it's so nice
while slipping
on the sliding ice
to sip hot chicken soup with rice.
Sipping once
Sipping twice."
~ Maurice Sendak, In January

Let's Make Lentil and Chicken Sausage Soup

This weekend, why not make soup!  You can find the recipe for Lentil and Chicken Sausage Soup here.  ENJOY!

Warmly! Trish 

Friday, January 22, 2016

5 Favorite TED Talks January Edition

I am so into podcasts lately.  I mostly listen to podcasts while at the office while I am working on projects (other than dictation).  TED (Ideas Worth Spreading) has over 2,000 talks covering everything from A-Z, such as activism, design, education, health, happiness, jazz, play, youth and so, so many more.  I try to listen to at least three to five a day.  The Talks are inspirational and enlightening.  My current 5 fave for January are:

1. Amy Cuddy's "Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are."    Loved her message and I am now so much more aware of how I sit and stand, especially in the workplace. 

3. Pearl Arredondo's "8 Talks to Spark Success". Choose your words. They can change your life.

4. Tony Robbin's "Why We Do What We Do."  His energy, his focus, his inspiration - he is contagious.  Listening to him makes me want  to do so much.

5.  Elizabeth Gilbert's "Success, Failure and the Drive to Keep Creating."   I enjoyed her book, "Eat, Pray, Love" and her other TED Talk "Your Elusive Creative Genius," and her message about not quitting, but following your dream and persevering.

Next up on my playlist, is Amy Tan, 

What about YOU? Do you watch/listen to podcasts.  Any favorites?    

Warmly! Trish 

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Looking forward to . . .

Elliot, catching snowflakes, January 12, 2016
... the National Weather Service is predicting 2 - 4 inches of snow for this weekend.  Not a whole lot but enough for us to cross off a few items from our Winter Bucket List.  Besides, Elliot got new snow boots last week (thanks, Grandma Patti) that need broken in.  We'll be wrapping him up in his leggings, winter coat, hat, mittens, boots and, if the wind isn't too harsh, treating him to an afternoon of mural painting (spray bottles filled with water and a few dashes of food coloring), sled riding, and making snow angels.  Our last mini-snow fall a week or two ago, Kayla was able to cross of build a snow man and catching snowflakes with your tongue

... mugs of hot cocoa after our winter play

... cooking up a big pots of soup and chili

... baking bread and maybe even a batch of snickerdoodles

... snuggling under homemade crocheted afghans (thanks, Janet) and cuddling, watching, maybe the Minions for the 400th time, reading The Little Blue Truck and a few of Elliot's other favorites

... enjoying being snowed in for a day

This is what I am looking forward to this weekend (oooh, pick up milk!).  

What are you looking forward to?

Warmly! Trish 

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Refresh – Your Routine

A New Year, A New You, New Routines?

When January, the first month of the new year rings in so shiny and new, I get giddy with the excitement and promise of so many good things to come, for the chance to “start over,” to make new changes, make new habits, toss out the old.  I devour articles on reinventing yourself, jazzying up your décor, trying new foods, changing up your exercise routine, making new habits, breaking old or bad habits.  Change doesn’t have to be too drastic, you don’t need to reinvent yourself or redecorate your whole house to the tune of mucho dinero.  Start off this month by re-freshening the routines that have worked, add a few new or get rid of the routines that just are not working.  You’ll be setting the stage for the months to follow and have more time to enjoy this new year.

Make your bed every morning.  It takes just a few minutes to make your bed once you are up.  Your whole room will look instantly tidier and I can tell you there is nothing like crawling back into a made bed after a long day at the office.  Refreshen your sheets with a spritz of linen spray such as Crabtree& Evelyn Lavender Linen Spray.  Or make your own.  One Good Thing by Jillee has a very easy recipe for Homemade Lavender Linen Spray.  You can find it here.

Move.  I downloaded the 7 Minute Workout App to my iphone.  I like it, it’s quick and it gets me moving first thing in the morning.  And if you need further proof of its potential or just want to read a good review, Sarah Klein, Senior Editor of Huffpost Healthy Living wrote an excellent article on the 7 Minute Workout here.

Clean a room.  Assign a room to each day of the week.  Make a list of what needs done in each on a weekly basis or visit the FlyLady and download detailed cleaning lists.  Then do it.  Your house will stay tidier and you won’t be spending hours cleaning on the weekend.  Save the heavy duty stuff for your annual spring and fall cleanings. 

Make a weekly menu plan.  This is something that I attempt every shopping trip and by Thursday, I’m ready to just buy pizza or order Jimmy John’s.  Not good when you are trying to save $$.  I’m getting better and it helps so much that my granddaughter Kayla will make dinner if we have a plan.  I search the internet and look to my cookbooks for menu planning ideas.  It really does save money, time and sanity to have an idea of what you’ll be serving each day.  A site I’ve been enjoying lately is Kraft’s 1 Bag, 5 Dinners.  Browse through the many “bags” they have listed, download the accompanying menu plan, shopping list and recipes for that bag, shop, add a veggie and salad, and wahla 5 healthy and manageable meals.  I look at it as a challenge and am totally loving it.

Schedule time for YOU.  We all need some downtime, so pencil it in.  DO IT.  Even if it’s just an hour or two on a Sunday evening.  You deserve it and it will do wonders for you.  Kayla and I will declare a spa night and then give ourselves a facial, pedicure and manicure. We talk and laugh and just have a good time.  It’s good for the soul and you feel amazing afterwards.

There you have it.  These are the ideas I am using to freshen up my routines.  Are you making any changes to your routines?

Warmly! Trish

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Why Document Your Day, Your Week, Your Life?

"but the biggest mistake I made is the one that most of us make while doing this. I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture of the three of them sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages 6, 4, and 1. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night. I wish I had not been in a hurry to get on to the next things: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less."

                                                                                       — Anna Quindlen, Loud and Clear

After a very slow start, I am be attempting Project Life again this year.  I think I made it until week 33 in 2015.  This year, the glass on my iphone had come loose and needed replaced.  In the process I “lost” a few apps and contacts.  It took me awhile to figure out how to get the Project Life App re-loaded (I kept getting an Error message).  A little frustrating as I had purchased quite a few kits.  Luckily, the app would download to Elliot’s ipad with everything intact.  After syncing through the PC, I now have PL back and am ready to document 2016.  The quote above is one I’ve used before as being the number one reason I scrapbook.  I only wish I took more photos of my own children growing up, but truth be told, I would not have been able to afford having rolls of film developed, let alone purchasing a good camera.  I think my scrapbook journey began in 2004 and I learned about Facebook, on-line scrapbook sites and blogging while attending a weekend crop around 2006.  It changed my life.  Blogging and scrapbooking are like having a time machine – as long as you “write it down,” you can revisit any time period.  My 17 year old granddaughter has taken to reading through the blog.  She is my first grandchild and lived with me her first 9 years, so her whole life has been pretty much documented.  I hope she enjoys her trek down memory lane and realizes how truly loved she is.  I also hope she will join me in capturing her son’s life through words and pictures, so he too will remember (they are currently living with me – the reason for so many Elliot photos).

I just downloaded A Color Story and am eager to use it.  Alas, I’m working and picture taking will have to wait.  

On a colder note, it was 7 degrees when I left for the bus this morning.  BRRRRR!

Hope you are keeping warm (or cool if you live where it’s HOT)!

Warmly! Trish 

(Updated to add links)

Friday, January 15, 2016


            There are many times in our office when you will hear someone refer to our workload(s) as being either feast or famine, meaning we have too much of something or too little.  This happens all too often in our home lives, too.  There are those [too] rare days when you’ve crossed off every task on your to-do list and can just sit back, indulge a little and relax.  And then there are those days where you will have piles of laundry, dishes in the sink, company coming for dinner, children needing driven to after school activities, shopping to be done, you are invited to coffee, or cocktails, the in-laws want to drop by, a friend or family needs a favor…it’s endless.  If you are finding it hard to say no effectively, you may find the following strategies for politely saying no, helpful:

1.  do not offer excuses that may lead to negotiations or you might find yourself talked back into it.  Instead, keep your reply simple, yet direct, say, “I would love to come, but I have another engagement,” and leave it at that. 
2.  be tactful.  “I would love to help, however, I am so overextended that I simply do not have time.”
3.    be busy, you can always change your mind.  “I need to check the family calendar.  Can I get back to you?” 

Note: If you use a calendar/planner app on your phone, you will most likely have it with you.  Do not use number 3! 
Warmly! Trish 

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Aye Matey and a Happy Birthday to Ye!

Happy Birthday to my wonderful son, Jayme.  I love you to the moon and back.  Have a great day!!!!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016


Create is a wonderful word as it encompasses so many meanings, such as produce, generate, bring into being, make, fabricate, fashion, build, construct. 

Create is my OLW for 2016.  My first “hands on project” is going to be a scrapbook for Kayla’s best friend of 16 ½ years.  Kai’s 17th birthday is February 2nd and she has been asking forever for a scrapbook.  This year, we shall deliver!  I will be spending January helping Kayla create a lovely book and once that is done I can move on to the next project.  

On my list for 2016, is to create a cozy and totally welcoming home environment (starting with my bedroom); create a “tropical paradise” in our backyard for Elliot’s 3rd summer, create a few wearable pieces and create an emergency fund. 

A google search of the word create brought up: create a character, your own superhero, a graph, a game, an open office, a list, an app, even create a neopet.  The possibilities are endless.  Again, this word was so heavy on my mind towards the end of 2015, I knew it was the word.  This year, I am going to make that word work for me.

How are YOU making your word work for you?

Warmly! Trish 

Tuesday, January 12, 2016


In an effort to be more mindful of my health this year (I currently have a humongous fever blister and a head cold), I have resolved to do the following:

1. Drink water and lots of it.  I struggle with this.  Drinking water is like a dreaded chore.  There are honestly days, if it were not for tea, coffee and a soda, I would have no liquid at all.  I know water is so good for the body.  I’ve tried flavoring powders, which I like, but it gives me heartburn.  Anyway.  This year, I am making a huge effort (using a water tracker) to get the water in.  How much to drink?  POPSUGAR and WebMD both suggest drinking half your body’s weight in ounces. Ex: 150 lbs = 75 ozs water.  Hmmm, I’ll be drowning by the end of the day, but a promise is a promise.  Pass the water pitcher, please.

2. Exercise, preferably in the morning.  I have re-downloaded the 7 minute app and already have one workout under my belt (short, I know, but it’s a start).  Also, for me, our office is on one floor, our file room, kitchen and mail room are one floor below.  My “new” exercise routine consists of taking a walk down one set of stairs, cross a long hall, and come up the stairs on the other side of the building every 60-90 minutes (depends on the work load how often I can “take a walk”).

3. Make an energy drink.  Now, I like to chew my food.  Call me strange.  I really don’t find much satisfying by drinking your meal.  However, my middle son and his wife gave me a Nutri-Bullet for Christmas, which K totally loved, and which we have great plans for, like, actually using it.  A co-worker gave me a free (free!) bag of Tropical Strawberry Shakeology which we are now going to put to use. 

What about you? How have you resolved to take care of yourself this year?

Warmly! Trish 

Monday, January 11, 2016


Again, I hope your holiday was happy!  I’ve been filling my 2016 planner up with important dates, updating contact information, penciling in workouts, making time for creative work, cleaning my bedroom and packing away any holiday decorations that were missed during the first sweep last week.  We’ve been very lucky here in Pittsburgh, no snow accumulation, but it appears the cold air is settling in, so I am revamping my closets, putting together a capsule of winter clothes and packing the lighter items away, donating what has not been worn (or can’t be worn at this time #atetoomuch), dressing the bed with clean sheets and changing the bedspread to a heavier weight.  Keeping only what I truly love, cleaning out the clutter, laundering the curtains, adding new Yankee Candles (Christmas presents!) to the bedside table and making the room as cozy and inviting as possible.   I love my room, its my favorite room in the house and I enjoy spending time there.  

What about YOU? How was your weekend? What’s your favorite room in your house?

Warmly! Trish 

Sunday, January 10, 2016


Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year. 

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Friday, January 8, 2016


1. CONTROL WHAT YOU CAN AND FORGET WHAT YOU CANNOT.  Forget about the stuff you have no power over, it’s a waste of time and energy.  I am forever telling my eldest son this.  Focus on what you can control, the here and now.  Life is never going to be easy, but you do not dwell on it.  Take control of what you have and make the best of it.

2. KNOW YOUR LIMITS.  Set realistic goals and learn to say NO.  In layman’s terms, do not bite off more than you can chew.  Do not take on a project because you are afraid to say no or you do not want to hurt anyone’s feelings.  So many times, I have done this just to be frustrated at myself and resentful towards the person for whom I am doing the favor (dumb, I know).  Politely say no.

3. DON’T COMPLAIN, INSTEAD FIND A SOLUTION.  Rather than whining and complaining about a particular task, be it an assignment at the office or even something as little as piles of laundry needing washed, take a deep breath, then think about the steps needed to get the job done.  Break the task down into manageable steps.  Do not allow yourself to get lost in the anger – that’s time consuming and time is precious.

4. LIVE WITH YOUR CHOICES.  Choose your path wisely and remember that everything you do is a choice.  Do not make excuses and yes, there may be a few poor choices made along the way, a few you may even regret (that may be the story for most of us), but do not dwell on them.  They will become a part of the past.  Remember every choice you have made so far has got you where you are today.

Living a happy life is a choice.  That is what I tell my children often.  You can wake up and say, I am going to have a great, happy day today.  Or you can choose to not have a great, happy day today and fly solo.  The choice is yours.

Warmly! Trish 

Thursday, January 7, 2016


... this weekend:

  1. Sleeping in (a little)
  2. Breakfast with Elliot and Mom
  3. Mister visiting
  4. Making yummy snacks and curling up with kiddies to watch the Steelers Saturday night.
  5. Washing loads of laundry (and getting it put away)
  6. Finding those library books that are due back
  7. Working on scrap album
  8. Finishing cleaning and refreshening my bedroom
  9. Hanging with the fam
  10. Relaxing.

What are YOU looking forward to this weekend?

Warmly! Trish 

Wednesday, January 6, 2016


Elliot, February 2014
Yesterday, it snowed.  Rather late for Pittsburgh, PA.  Snow usually appears way before winter actually begins.  However, it's here.  The cold is here.  Elliot runs to the window and shouts 'NO' (SNOW).

Time to get out his new leggings and heavy coat, gloves and hat.

Time to schedule some winter fun.

1. Build a snowman.
2. Paint a snow mural (with a spray bottles filled with water and food coloring).
3. Go sled riding.
4. Make snow angels.
5. Catch snowflakes on your tongue.
6. Drink hot cocoa
7. Make soup
8. Host an afternoon matinee complete with popcorn, oversize boxes of candy (matinee size found at Giant Eagle) and sodas.
9. Camp out in the living room.  When my kiddies were little, I'd spread out a sheet on the living room floor, then add blankets and pillows.  We'd make smore's (in the microwave), have hot dogs and watch scary and funny movies.  Now we have child-size indoor tents for the little ones to 'sleep' in.
10. My favorite on a cold, blistery afternoon - curl up with a soft blanket, a good book and hot tea.

What's on your winter bucket list?


Tuesday, January 5, 2016

REFRESH - 2016

It’s the beginning of a New Year.  Time to sweep out the old and bring in the new.  Time to refresh our homes, our wardrobes, our meal plans.

It doesn’t take too much time, effort or money to refresh rooms in your home.  Probably the biggest expense would be if you were to buy a new bedspread, unless you store and rotate extra bedspreads.  My Mom has one (or two) for each season.  Making the bed up with clean sheets and a “new” comforter does wonder for the bedroom.  Add a new plant and your favorite scented candle and you’ve made magic.

For the bathroom, how about a new a bathmat, fluffy towels, and decorative bath soaps, all in a new color.

Organize the kitchen, add a new throw rug, hang new dishtowels, clean out the fridge.  Put fresh flowers in a vase.  Add more green plants. 

In the dining room, change out the table linens and centerpiece.

It’s so wonderfully easy to liven up a room just by adding a new pillow, or changing the curtains or couch covers.  These are easy "fixes".  Believe me, I have a huge master list of major projects that need tending to, but for now, refreshening a room will help keep the winter doldrums away.

This week, I will be working on freshening up the bedroom (my favorite go to place).  Do you have plans for freshening up your home?


Monday, January 4, 2016


This year, I am going to write out three major monthly goals – stuff that has to be done during that month.   I’m forgoing the big list of yearly goals in favor of three totally doable and needs-to-be-done goals each month.  Oh, I’ll still be writing out to do lists for the daily and weekly tasks; I’ve got a lot that I truly want to accomplish this year.  So, this month my three goals are (1) pay the taxes due January 31; (2) get the car inspected (its up January 31); and (3) declutter, rearrange and reorganize my bedroom.  I’ve been reading much on minimization and I am totally ready for it. 

Do you have a goal list for 2016?  Did you make any resolutions for the coming year?


Sunday, January 3, 2016


Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right 

– Oprah Winfrey

Saturday, January 2, 2016

One Little Word 2016

Oh My Goodness, I am so excited for this new year.  Not because I will eventually be a year older (not til the very last month), but because of all the wonderful memories to be made, goals to be set and accomplished, projects to be made, new friendships and maintaining old friendships, and best of all, at least for me, Elliot.  Right now we are in the homestretch toward his third birthday.  He is a wonder, and a joy, and a reminder every day to learn something new, to stay calm, to enjoy the little things in life.  Can you sense my excitement for this new year??

Now, onto my little word for 2016.  The word CREATE was practically nagging me all through December.  It’s been on my mind so much.  So, that’s my word and I plan on embracing the word to the fullest and CREATE my best year ever.   




          bring (something) into existence.

Synonyms: produce, generate, bring into being, make, fabricate, fashion, build construct.

What a great word! What word did YOU choose, or what word CHOSE you for 2016??



Friday, January 1, 2016


Happy New Year!

Remember and missing: My sister, Cathy.  You are SO missed.  I love you. 
Cathy with Brendan 2009

Here's what's currently going on as we enter 2016:

Watching: Spongebob Squarepants. Seriously. One of Elliot's favorites. Personally, I am looking forward to the return of Games of Thrones.  

Eating: Leftovers and we have plenty! There’s pork and sauerkraut and baked ziti and ham.  Not too many brownies or cookies, though.

Drinking: B&N Holiday Spice Tea.

Playing: Cars and trains with Elliot.

Looking Forward to: This New Year and all the magic yet to be discovered.

Reading: Right now, nothing.  A trip to the Library is planned for next week.

Enjoying: The afterglow of Christmas and the anticipation of a New Year.

Doing: Moving more.  It’s a start.

Cheers to a healthy, happy and prosperous New Year!!