Happy petunias make me very happy!

June 18, 2011


Happy purple petunias on my front walk.

I’ve had to really ‘baby’ these petunias that are in my front yard because they get a little more sun that they like, but they seem to be happy now, which makes me very happy!

I love how this random yellow pansy seeded right in the middle of this pot. :-)

When BigSis was here visiting, we were talking while I was watering and we both agreed that petunias always remind us of our Grandmama. Petunias and snapdragons always bring back happy childhood memories of our visits to her house and of her beautiful flower garden.

Happy yellow petunias

And I just love these yellow petunias that I bought for the shower! They’re very happy in my backyard.

~Not to be “Debbie Downer”, but this week has been a bit of a melancholy week. We’ve both been extremely busy with work so there hasn’t been much time for a new post, but it’s also been a little hard to get in the mood to talk about anything related to Father’s Day.~

Last year I was able to shop for Father’s Day cards for my father-in-law for the first time since Daddy passed away, but for some reason I couldn’t do it this year; four years later. I had to ask my hubby to go pick them out for his dad so I wouldn’t end up a blubbering idiot in Hallmark reading sentimental Father’s Day cards.

Any time I’m a little ‘down in the dumps’, I make myself go for a walk by the beach or just go out into my yard and do some gardening. Both of those things always cheer me up.

We’re lucky that here in Southern California we have flowers that bloom year round and right now I’ve got some blooming like crazy! So, instead of talking about Father’s Day today, I wanted to post some pictures of some of my very happy flowers in my yard that make me very happy! :-)

Happy Impatiens on my front porch.

In the winter, I just cut these impatiens back and leave the pots on the front porch and they come back in full force every Spring.

Happy Blue Hydrangeas

These blue Hydrangeas that I bought for the shower are absolutely gorgeous now that they’re in full bloom.

Happy Pink Hibiscus

I have a huge Hibiscus tree in our back yard that has struggled for a couple of years with some mean ole bugs, but hopefully this is a sign of some happy hibiscus this year.

Happy Orange Hibiscus starting to open.

The orange Hibiscus tree had to be trimmed all the way back a couple of years ago because of bugs, but this is my first bloom of the year so I hope it’s going to provide lots of happy blooms for us this year.

Happy pink Geranium.

We have several different varieties of Geraniums in our yard, but these pink ones are very happy.

Happy Bird of Paradise

And, one of my most favorite flowers is the Bird of Paradise and I’m really lucky to have several of these happy plants in my yard.

So, whatever you do tomorrow, whether you’re able to celebrate Father’s Day with your father or just spend some time reflecting on happy memories, as we’ll be doing, we wish you all a very Happy Father’s Day!


Up-Inspired Floating House

April 6, 2011

National Geographic Up-Inspired Floating House

Did you see the movie “Up”?

I took the little guys to see it when it came out a few years ago and we loved the movie! (Even though it was a bit of a tearjerker.)

When I saw the scene where the house floats up and away into the sky, I wondered to myself if that was really possible.

National Geographic Up-Inspired Floating House

I guess the answer to that question is ‘yes’!

National Geographic Up-Inspired Floating House

Last month, National Geographic Channel and a team of scientists, engineers, and balloon pilots successfully launched a 16′ X 16′ house 18′ tall with 300 8′ colored weather balloons to set a new world record.

The filming of this National Geographic experiment will be part of a new National Geographic series called How Hard Can It Be?, which will premiere this fall. (You can read more about this experiment on Modern Met, which is where I found out about it.)

How awesome would it have been to be inside that house when it floated into the sky?


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Top 10 Posts of 2010

January 22, 2011

Before we get too much further into 2011, I thought it might be fun to do a recap of our 10 most popular posts of 2010. Drum roll, please…


Cooking Light way to cook

Cookbook Giveaway: Cooking Light way to cook


Easter Bird's Nest Candy

Easter Bird's Nest Candy

Easter Bird’s Nest Candy


Roasted Garlic Dressing with Green Chili

Roasted Garlic Dressing with Green Chili

Roasted Garlic Dressing with Green Chili


Natural Dye Colored Easter Eggs

Natural Dye Colored Easter Eggs

Natural Dye Colored Easter Eggs


Betty Crocker Easter Bunny Cake

Better Crocker Easter Bunny Cake

Make an Easter Bunny Cake


Ten in 2010Ten in 2010


Overnight Bloody Mary

Overnight Bloody Mary

Overnight Bloody Marys


Little Boy BryBry

My little boy is in the Navy


Eva Longoria Eyes

Eva Longoria Eyes

L’Oreal Extra-Volume Collagen Mascara



Will P90X Kill a Forty-Plus Woman?

So there you have it.

Those are the Top 10 posts from 2010 based on readers comments and feedback.

This last post is actually from 2009, but consistently throughout 2010, it has been the most popular post based on page views.

Have you ever seen so many lavender plants? (Photo by Julie Ponder)

Have you ever seen so many lavender plants? (Photo by Julie Ponder)

Sephora Stimulating Lavender Cuticle Oil

For 2011, we’re planning on narrowing our focus a little bit and we would love to hear what topics you find most interesting. Have a great weekend!  :-)


Bee Inspired

November 13, 2010

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.”

~William Arthur Ward

I found out about these lovely boxes of quotes from Bee Inspired in the November, 2010 issue of Whole Living. I’ve always had a love for inspirational quotes. I’ve got a stack of books that are filled with quotes and I’ve found that it really helps me start my day off on a positive note to read something inspirational and uplifting first thing each morning.

I love that each of these beautiful boxes contain a year’s worth of daily inspirational messages that are each hand rolled and hand tied into a small scroll. The boxes of quotes, which come in several different themes, such as Marital Bliss, Success, and Motherhood, start at $29.00 and would make a perfect gift for a special person in your life.

Here’s the story about how Kristen Novak was inspired to create these beautiful boxes full of quotes. :-)

The Bee Inspired Story

When I learned from my sister, Kelly, that her newborn child was diagnosed with Down Syndrome, I was at a loss as to how I could help her during this transitional time. We had always been close at heart, but now the distance between Saginaw, Michigan and Chicago, Illinois seemed worlds apart.

I desperately wanted to be there to give her daily hugs and support. That is when the idea of sending an “inspirational quote a day” was born. It was my way of being there to give her a “pick me up” when I could not, delivered exactly when she needed it most.

My love for inspirational quotes and the way they positively affect people’s lives inspired me to create a box filled with these treasures. After carefully selecting quotes to be shared with my sister, I individually hand rolled and tied each scroll with raffia. Then, I placed them in a custom designed box. Now I had a gift uplifting to the soul and beautiful to the eye!

This gift helped bridge the miles between us and let her know I was always with her at heart.

My hope is that this gift will inspire you and you might reach out and share the buzz with others.

Hugs and Smiles,

Kristin's Signature

(Note: Bee Inspired donates a portion of the proceeds from the signature gift box sales to the National Down Syndrome Society.)


Goodbye to Daylight Savings Time 2010

November 6, 2010

Don't Forget Daylight Savings Time

You do remember that we get an extra hour in our Sunday, right?  Happy dance, happy dance!

What to do with that precious hour?  Here our my Top 10 Ideas for using that extra hour:

  • Just do it!  Intending to exercise won’t get you into your skinny jeans!  Start that exercise program TODAY and you won’t have to make that same old New Years resolution to get in shape!  If you’re working out super-hard, you may also be less prone to sabotage yourself by eating horribly during the holidays.  Bonus!
  • Dig around iTunes and download some new music to liven up your cardio playlist.
  • Clean your closets out now instead of scrambling to make that end-of-the-year charitable donation on December 31st.  You know you won’t have time once the holidays get into full swing!
  • Have you met your medical insurance deductible for the year?  There may be some medical appointments you should schedule to take advantage of that situation, so make a list today of the calls you can make tomorrow.
  • Think about what you want to cook for Thanksgiving this year.  My recommendation of course, would be to skip the turkey and do a feast of veggies and sides!
  • Start your Christmas lists: gift list, Christmas card list, to do list.  It’s never too early to begin!
  • Take advantage of the beautiful fall weather if you’re blessed with it today, and get out there in it!
  • Hang out with your kids or grandkids without thinking about anything else you should be doing.
  • Sleep!

photo credit: Somewhat Frank


We Texas girls are still proud of our Texas Rangers!

November 2, 2010

U.S. Flag held by Sailors before Game 5 of World Series

U.S. Flag held by Sailors before Game 5 of World Series

As I’m sure everyone knows by now, our Texas Rangers lost 3-1 to the San Francisco Giants last night in Game 5 of the World Series.  (sniffle, sniffle) :-(

BUT, as BigSis mentioned before, we’re hometown Arlington girls and we’re still really PROUD of our TEXAS RANGERS for making it all the way to the WORLD SERIES!


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A Kinder, Gentler, Greener BigSisLilSis

October 18, 2010

Kinder, Gentler, Greener

Remember when President George H.W. Bush mentioned a “kinder and gentler” nation?  BigSisLilSis just celebrated our 2nd blogiversary, and those words “kinder and gentler” just seem appropriate as we think about year 3.

The last two years have seen us publish 607 posts, and we hope to continue at that pace.  We absolutely plan to keep posting with a positive attitude and message, and to keep talking about food, health, fitness, fun and anything else that interests those of us girls who are 40-plus.

What has changed in our worlds since we started BigSisLilSis in 2008?

  • We’re both focusing on things we can do around our homes to “Go Green”
  • We both made a commitment to purge our homes of all products that are animal-tested
  • After 16 years as a vegetarian, I went the rest of the way to vegan in January
  • LilSis is having to learn how to eat a non-dairy diet
  • Recycling has finally become a priority in my household

The result of these changes is a kinder, gentler, greener BigSisLilSis.   We feel like we’re finding our voice; figuring out who we are and what is most meaningful for us to talk about.

What does that mean to our readers?

  • We’ll continue to share reviews of our favorite products, but we won’t be reviewing anything that we know to be animal-tested
  • Since we both go berserk when we find new beauty products that actually show results, we’ll keep sharing our new discoveries
  • You’ll see BigSis’ recipes here from time to time without animal products (you may have already noticed a few)
  • LilSis will continue to bring you healthy recipes suitable for a family of hungry guys, but also try to adapt some to non-dairy recipes
  • We’re both extremely committed to exercise in order to stay healthy and fight the “mid-life, menopausal, almost inevitable, battle of the bulge”.  If we discover anything works for us 40-plus women, you can bet we’ll share it!
  • We talk about it all the time, but it’s true that LIFE IS SHORT.  Too short to be negative!  As we discover motivational tools or reading that helps us stay positive and encouraging, we’ll tell you about it asap!
  • Our overall goal is to bring you information that will enhance your lives in a brighter, healthier, greener, more compassionate way.

Living this way is a daily learning experience for us, and we hope you’ll give us your input along the way.  Thanks for joining us!

Photo credit: Ecstaticist


Texas Rangers: It’s Time!

October 16, 2010

Texas RangersWe don’t talk much about sports here on BigSisLilSis, but there is no way that I can let this historic moment pass without mentioning it.

LilSis and I moved to Arlington in the late 60s with the whole fam damily, so we grew up there.  Texas and Arlington are home base to us, even though I’m in Big D and LilSis is in California now.

Now, after 39 years, our Texas Rangers have won their first playoff series, AND their first playoff game at home!  It’s finally happened!  Yes yes yes!  And this week, we’re competing in the 2010 ALCS playoffs against the New York Yankees.

We know that the Rangers have had some tough years and haven’t always had a superior team, but this year they do and we’re thrilled and proud about that.  They play as a team without a bunch of diva drama, and it has taken them far…this far!

Not everyone is so happy about the Rangers’ visit to Playoff Land though.  Filip Bondy of the New York Daily News is a little less than joyous about it.  Check out this gem from Mr. Bondy:

All they’ve ever had was Nolan Ryan, and they’ve ridden him like an urban cowboy on a mechanical bull.

Ryan’s no-hitters aside, this ALCS represents one of sports’ great historical mismatches, 40 pennants versus zero. The Yanks should win this series just by throwing their pinstriped uniforms onto the field and reading from a few pages of The Baseball Encyclopedia.

Oh, ouch, Filip!  That’s a touch harsh and – I’m not gonna lie – it stings a bit!  You’re certainly entitled to your opinion, and there is no disputing the Yankees’ record.  There is also no question that the Rangers are the underdogs in this scenario.

After two games though, each team has won one game each.  Each side has made some errors, and each has had some incredible moments.  It doesn’t seem like such an unbalanced match-up to me at this point.  The Yankees took the first game 6-5 and the Rangers won the second 7-2.  I’m not a sportswriter though, so what do I know.  :-)

Even if our Rangers don’t win another game in this series – which would be a real bummer – we’re absolutely proud of what they’ve accomplished.  We’re proud of how they’re playing the game, and we’re proud of how they’re conducting themselves as men.  What more can you ask?

Ok, well, to be completely honest, it would be nice to beat the Yankees and go to the World Series!  But let’s not get ahead of ourselves here.  Let’s just enjoy the moment we have.

Excellent job, Rangers!  You’ve made these old Arlington girls proud!  Now, play ball!  It’s time!!


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As September Ends

October 1, 2010

It seems like I just blinked my eyes and September is gone. In my mind, it’s still August, so I  can’t believe that it’s already October and time to start talking about the holidays.

(Is is just me or does time fly by faster the older you get?)

In September, I found myself in an extremely stressful situation and the stress and anxiety leading up to it and during it took a real toll on my body and my mind. By the time it was over, I was more mentally exhausted than ever before. This particular situation is mainly what led me to post this quote about anxiety and I’ve made the decision that I’m never going to let stress wreak havoc on my body like that again.

Since it’s been a few weeks, I’ve managed to wrap my brain around the situation and I’m in the process of taking a serious look at priorities, opportunities, and the challenges that may lie ahead depending on which way I turn at that fork in the road.

Actually, for the past several months, I’ve been trying to deal with issues that aren’t in my control and I’m learning to take one day at a time and live by the theory that everything happens for a reason.

I count my blessings every day and I’m trying harder to appreciate the little things in life and be grateful for what we have today. As we all know, everything can change in an instant. I’m making a conscious effort to live more in the present moment than to worry about what’s going to happen next month.

There were a lot of great moments and lots of things that I LOVED during September. Here are just a few.

I don’t have a photo of the big day, but our youngest grandson turned two last week and in a couple of months he will welcome home a baby brother!

Bry graduated with honors from his “A Training” class in Great Lakes last Friday. And the great news is that he got stationed in San Diego and will be here with us soon.

This was a great moment for me, even though a bit emotional. Last week, I had only been home from my trip for a few hours and Hay realized that it was a full moon so we hopped in the car and drove up the nearest hill so he could try to snap some shots of the moon.

When I saw him with his new camera and realized that he really is a natural and he has a great creative eye, I got out my phone and took this photo. (Apologies for the quality of the photo.) My dad was a photographer his entire life and I wish that he was here to see Hay follow in his footsteps. Hay’s Pappy would be so proud.

Last weekend, I went on my first sailboat ride with some great friends and it was even more relaxing and peaceful than I ever could had imagined.

I loved that I had my camera ready when these four little dolphins popped up right next to the boat.

And this may seem really silly but I can’t even explain how much I LOVE my new reusable Trader Joe’s bag. It’s perfect for toting around all my other reusable bags and for taking on an afternoon of errands to eliminate using a bunch of little plastic bags. I’ve even used it as an overnight bag already. I’m almost as happy with this new $1.99 bag as I would be if I just got a new Coach purse. :-)

More things which made me smile:

  • Going to dinner with BigSis while in Dallas
  • Trader Joe’s Lavender Tripled Milled Soap
  • Spending half a day at the beach catching up on unread magazines
  • Cheryl Tall’s exhibition in Tucson, AZ
  • Reaching into my nightstand one night and grabbing The Creativity Book by Eric Maisel
  • Lisa Leonard’s Creativity necklace
  • My new Bath&Body Works Wallflower in Nutmeg & Kitchen Spice (now my house reminds me of BigSis’ house)
  • Ordering a pair of Sanuk Yoga Mat Sandals
  • Going on a bike ride with my hubby
  • Catching up with an old friend that I haven’t talked to in months and felt like it was just days ago
  • Discovering my new favorite vodka, Chopin
  • These yoga pants covered in butterflies
  • Celebrating a great friend’s birthday over dinner and lots of laughs
  • Trader Joe’s Roasted Seaweed Snacks
  • Laurie Mika’s mixed media mosaics
  • Back to School night at the HS (makes me feel like a kid again.)

I’m confident that October will bring more special moments and things that make me smile. I’d love to hear what makes you smile. :-) :-)


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Thought for the day

September 26, 2010

Cast all your anxiety

Photo credit: Lel4nd Flickr Photostream

Transform anxiety into excitement;
focus not on the fear of what lies ahead
but the possibilities you might create.


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