A Marvalous Weekend

This weekend, I was able to help celebrate my Mom’s 65th birthday. It is such a blessing to have her as a Mom and a friend. We enjoy a lot of the same things, so it was easy to plan a few activities to make her feel special.  Friday night, the boys and I delivered to her a bouquet of flowers and a birthday card. Saturday, we had lunch at The Dove’s Nest in Waxahachie (http://thedovesnestrestaurant.com). The food was delicious. Their bread pudding was the best that I have ever had.I enjoyed eating and the company that I forgot to take a few pictures to share. I recommend that you visit them, if you are ever near Waxahachie.  Not only, will you enjoy a great meal, but shopping, too.  After lunch, we worked off our meal shopping in the nearby antique shops.

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I got a few treats for myself, too. For example, this hat is a new  from The Dove’s Nest.

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One of may favorite things to do is shopping in antique stores.  I love finding new uses for old and delicate items, such as tea cups to store jewelry. In one of my past shopping adventures, I bought the chair below for my boy’s bedroom for $25 dollars. I love this chair! I did not change a thing about it. What a deal!

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Here are a few of the smaller items that I have purchased on past shopping trips. I use the silver plated hand mirror everyday.

On Sunday evening, we  sang Happy Birthday and ate a cake that I made for my Mom. Note: I am an amateur baker. Great tip from my sister – replace the cooking oil for a box cake with a stick of butter. The cake was a delicious strawberry and vanilla four layer cake.

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Then we finished the evening by the fire watching an episode of the Real Housewives of Atlanta.

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I could tell she was happy and so was I. It really was a Marvalous weekend!

Marvalous Napkins and Placemats

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My hope is that you had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. I enjoyed the day with my family and some of my extended family.  During my holiday downtime, I was able to get some organizing done. One of my favorite things to organize is my napkins and placemat collections. I keep them organized neatly together in a cabinet, one set on top of another. I use baskets to store the napkin rings and the napkins separately. Having 0ptions makes setting the table so much fun and beautiful.  A collection like this can be achieved at any price level.  Stores that I have purchased from include Walmart, Target, Dillard’s, Macy’s, Pier 1, and Horchow.

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Helpful Tips:

  1. To extend your collection mix and match with complimentary colors and patterns.
  2. Stock a few variety of shapes and colors of chargers.
  3. To care for your collection:
    • Wash soiled items immediately in cold water, gentle cycle, and warm dryer.
    • If you cannot wash right away, I spray a stain remover, like Shout,  on the stain and then wash later, when feasible.
    • Do not leave them in the dryer for long and be sure to iron them quickly. You may experience slight shrinkage.

 

Use these at any meal, formal , informal, breakfast, lunch, and dinner. If you have collection or have decided to start one, it is a great way to add a touch of “marvelousness” to your meals at home.

Marvalous Landscaping

I have picked up a new hobby, mowing the lawn. It may seem odd. However, I find it quite enjoyable. I have a modest sized back yard that I maintain. I get up early on Saturday morning and get to work in my back yard. My husband takes care of the rest of the lawn. Thank you, Ted! I must admit that I am cultivating my own green thumb by trial and error, help from Home Depot, and what I am learning on the internet. Below are images from some of my gardening successes.

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Enjoying nature, even in my own yard, is a great way for me to connect with the Lord and His creation. I do not want to ever take for granted even the smallest gift that I have received from God.  I recommend that you find a way to connect with Him through nature by creating your own garden, going for a walk, or looking up at the clouds in the sky. During that time, experience God’s goodness, pray, thank, and praise Him for all of His magnificent creations. It is a simple, yet, excellent way to add joy and beauty to your life.

Blessings on Labor Day

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Labor day is an American holiday to celebrate and give honor to the workers that contribute to the “strength, prosperity, and well-being to our country” (United States Department of Labor, 2015). Blessed are those who are performing work that they love and who perform it to the best of their abilities. It is easier to give your best when you are appreciated, encouraged, and excited about the work you do. However, today, I would like to honor those who may not be blessed with a job they love, but blessed with a job they need. Perhaps, their work is not glamorous. It can be hard and stressful. Sometimes, they are overlooked and under appreciated. Yet, their work is important. Despite all of this, they still give their best and execute a job well. Thank you for exemplifying the verse below, despite any of the challenges you face in your work.

“Whatever you do,  work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters…” (Colossians 3:23)

May God bless you with continued strength, endurance, rest, when needed, and love for you to persevere. Have a “marvalous” Labor Day!

Black & White Part II

Keeping with the black and white theme, here are some of my favorite photos in variations of black and white (or cream). Enjoy!

 

One of my favorite sweaters. My son took this lovely photo of me in November 2013.

One of my favorite sweaters. My son took this lovely photo of me in November 2013.

My boys in black and white shirts at the Children's Museum in Austin Texas, March 2013.

My boys in black and white shirts at the Children’s Museum in Austin Texas, March 2013.

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Makes me laugh every time I read it.

My best Neiman Marcus / Target product collaboration in December 2012.

My favorite of the Neiman Marcus / Target product collaborations in December 2012.

Our powder room. Love it!

Our powder room. Love it!

Best ever driver's license picture of myself.

Best ever driver’s license picture of myself.

Easter dinner, 2013. Another photo by my oldest son.

Easter dinner, 2012. Another photo by my oldest son., 2

The boy's black and white themed birthday party, 2015.

The boy’s black and white themed birthday party, 2015.

Singing happy birthday to the boys.

Singing happy birthday to the boys.

I know I posted this earlier this week. But, I really love this skirt!

I know I posted this earlier this week. But, I really love this skirt!

 

Blog Lovin

Black & White Fashion

I have a not so secret obsession with dressing in black and white. My closet does have some items with color. However, most of my favorite pieces are black and/ or white. It makes combining various garments and adding a splash of color quite easy. An outfit need not be built in one day or one shopping trip. Many times, I work the new items into my closet. It helps to keep my wardrobe fresh and exciting. This color combination is very popular and it is easy to find a beautifully interesting item. The key to wearing a lot of black and white is the quality of the fabric, the uniqueness of the style, and a figure flattering fit.  One of my favorite things to do is wear modest make up with vibrant red lips when wearing these combination of colors.

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This weekend, I found a few in my theme colors that I really like. I will post pictures soon of how these partnered with items that I currently have.

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House Tour

 

The children's bedroom.

I added a new page, i.e. House Tour, to the Everyday Marvalous website. I will be updating it overtime with pictures of the home my husband and I purchased 3 years ago. Our home was built in 1987, has a lot of character but needed some updating. We consider this to be our forever home and enjoying putting our mark on the property. I plan to add before and after photos, as well. The new page is a work in progress, much like our home. It is a “marvalous” transformation and work of love. Enjoy!

Miracle Beauty

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I love cosmetics from drug store bargains to high end splurges. However, I do not desire to wear a full face of makeup on a daily basis nor do I have the time to apply it. One of my favorites is Miracle Blur made by L’Oreal.  It is a skin smoother that evens skin complexion and diminishes flaws, like wrinkles and lines. After I cleanse and moisturize my skin, I apply a small amount to my finger tips and apply over my face. I love the natural even tone it gives my skin. I use the oil-free formulation, which also reduces the oily appearance of my skin.

For important meetings and social events, I will apply foundation over the Miracle Blur. However, most days I wear it alone with a little concealer under my eyes, blush, mascara, lipstick or lip gloss. It takes about 5 minutes to complete my look. My face will look great all day! Another benefit is that it is colorless, which puts an end to foundation stains on the collars of my shirts. One tube usually lasts three months, which is well worth the $19.95 investment at Walmart. I hope you enjoy this product, as much as I do. It’s “marvalous!”

 

Wearing only Miracle Blur, blush, mascara, and lip color.

I am wearing only Miracle Blur, blush, mascara, and lip color in this photo.

Sunday Dinner with Red Beans and Rice

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One of my favorite days of the week is Sunday. I enjoy getting dressed for church, attending church, coming back home to relax for a while and later prepare Sunday dinner. It is a day of relaxation, reinvigoration, and enjoyment both physically and spiritually. I may not cook routinely during the week, but most Sundays we enjoy a great home cooked meal. I am not a chef. However, years of experimenting both good and bad, reading cookbooks and food themed magazines, and of course Food Network, has honed my cooking skills to quite a satisfactory level. Being a mother and wife, I take pride in seeing my family enjoy a good meal prepared by myself. It seems to me that feeding your family, whether cooking or dining out, is a form a nurturing. Is it not? Although, I must admit cooking the meal myself gives me a greater feeling of accomplishment.

You are probably now wondering, what do I cook? Being from New Orleans has influenced my cooking, such that I use the seasonings associated with New Orleans cuisine on much of what I cook. I absolutely love Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning, adding bell pepper, onions, parsley, and even chopped celery in some of my dishes. My favorite dish to cook is red beans and rice with beef sausage. What’s great about this dish is that its easy to make and in large quantities, too. Here are some tips to make it quickly and deliciously. Please note: I am not a chef and this recipe may require an adjustment on some of the ingredients to taste, as noted. This quick version shaves hours off the cooking time compared to using dry beans.

Marvalous Quick Red Beans and Rice

Ingredients Needed:

  • 4 cans  of Van Camp’s New Orleans Red Kidney Bean
  • 1/2 Bell Pepper Chopped.
  • 1/2 Cup Onions Chopped
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 2 tablespoons of dried parsley
  • Tony Chachere’s Original Creole Seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon of butter
  • 2 table spoons of Olive Oil
  • Salt
  • 3 Cups of Uncooked Rice
  • 1 – 1 1/2 pound sausage sliced (ANY WAY YOU LIKE)
  • Water
  1. Open and drain the 4 cans of red kidney beans into a large strainer.
  2. Rinse the beans once under cold running water. You want to remove most of the liquid that was in the can, but not wash off all of the flavors.
  3. In a large, e.g. 8 quart, pot on a medium – low fire, add the butter, some olive oil, and the onion. Cook until the onions are just about translucent and avoid burning.
  4. Then add the beans .
  5. Optional: You can precook the sausage in another pan to avoid the extra oil that the sausage will add to the beans.Add the sausage to the beans.
  6. Add a few shakes of the Tony seasoning.
  7. Add the bell pepper.
  8. Add the two bay leaves. Remember to not eat the leaves.
  9. Add the parsley.
  10. Last add water. You will want at least an inch or two of water height above the beans. Vent the lid of the pot to allow some of the steam to escape. you may choose to leave the lid off, which will require you to add more water as the beans are cooking.
  11. Stir and let cook for about 90 – 120 minutes, depending on how much water was added and the desired firmness of the beans. The longer the beans cook, the softer they become.
  12. Check the mixture after 20 minutes and lower the fire again.
  13. Check every 20-30 minutes and stir to ensure the beans are not getting burned. The low fire should help you avoid this. You may decided to add more water, as well.
  14. In the last 20-30 minute, cook 3 cups of rice in a rice cooker.
  15. When the beans are done to your liking, turn off the fire and let it sit and cool for a bit.
  16. Add salt to taste.

Viola! There you have it “marvalous” quick red beans and rice. You can serve it with fried chicken, French bread, corn bread or biscuits, or alone. Some plate it like a soup. My preference is for less of the bean broth. Trust me it is delicious! Have a blessed and “marvalous” Sunday!

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A Perfect Saturday Morning

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A perfect Saturday morning starts with the day light gracefully flowing into my bedroom while the robins and sparrows serenade me to wakefulness…

Okay, my morning did not quite start like that. Actually, I woke before the sunrise to bring my mother to the airport for her vacation in New Orleans. (Lucky, Mom!) I made it back home around 8:00am and decided to go for a walk. What a beautiful morning it was! It was sunny, the sky was a beautiful shade of blue, and the temperature was perfect. I could hear the birds chirping, watched squirrels scatter about as I approached and even a few bunny rabbits. I could hear a few bees buzzing about and the breeze whistling through the trees.

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Being enveloped in such a beautiful surrounding, I started praying and thanking God for everything. I thanked Jesus for His covering over me, His love, His guidance. As I took in each breath during my prayer, I became even more aware of my abundant blessings. That time in prayer was so good for me. I love how time spent with the Lord allows me to refocus on what is important, i.e. His light shining through me and sharing that with others. Fifty minutes later, I came back home and then made breakfast. My husband left to attend a Christian Men’s Conference, so the boys and I will enjoy some pancakes. Don’t these pancakes look good? They were!

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However your Saturday morning starts out, it is a blessing to have another start. Yes, another opportunity to  allow His light to shine through you and share it with others. Have a “marvalous” Saturday!

Happy Anniversary!

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Ted and Marva Goins at English Turn Country Club, New Orleans, LA on July 5, 1997

Today, my husband, Ted, and I are celebrating 18 years of marriage.  Eighteen years is quite an accomplishment, considering that up to 50% of marriages end in divorce. Reaching this point has been the most challenging, most rewarding, and happiest times of our lives. The road has not been perfect. There have been tears shed, fights lost, and battles won. Yet, the beauty is found in that we made the journey together. Our priority, then and today, is our marriage. It is not only important for us, but for our children, too. The growth and development of a child in a loving Christian home with both parents is a blessing.

I want to say thank you and I love you to my loving husband, Ted. He understands and tolerates my flaws and appreciates my strengths. I love how our strengths compliments each others weaknesses. I really appreciate how we pray for each other and our boys. I love how he serves in the church and our community. I love that he is my coach and I am his cheerleader. I love how we can be our true authentic selves around each other. May God continue to bless our marriage. I look for to celebrating our 20th, 25th, 50th, and as many more as we are blessed to enjoy with each other.

Ted and Marva

Ted and Marva Goins at the Dallas Arboretum in May 2014