The Journey of Total Knee Replacement

I realized this past Friday, April 15th, marked one year since I had a total knee replacement (TKR). The weekend was kinda busy and whatnot….hello Easter…..so I thought I’d take some time now to reflect on my journey this past year. This may be more of a “story”  than a blog post.  My hope is that maybe my journey may help or encourage someone facing this surgery.

How did I get to the point of TKR?

A good question.  I was in the final weeks of training for a duathlon in 2018. As I was in the last few miles of a training run my knee started bothering me. Of course my thought was “nooooo nothing better get in my way for the race “.  It settled down and weeks later, I did my second duathlon coming in again first in my age group. That didn’t impress me as much as seeing my finish time against some of the 20something guys. That was satisfying 😜

The finish line of a race listed as the toughest in Texas. A 5k hilly run, 16 miles of nothing but lots of big hills on the bike, and then a 2 mile run. The photo doesn’t show how cold and sweaty I am or reflect a quad and hip that cramped up coming in on the bike ride as I finish the final run.
That finish line never felt sweeter.

I wish I knew it was potentially my last duathlon or I would’ve savored every aspect of it more.

The final piece after months of training,  standing on that podium.

As things go, after I finished a race, I dialed back my training for a few weeks. On my first run back out ( weeks later) I felt almost crippled afterwards. I cut out running and focused on cycling but my knee continued to bother me.  I finally gave in and headed to my sports doctor ( ahem…. months later) fully expecting to hear I had torn something and would need surgery. After the x ray he came back in and announced,  ” you’ve got a good old fashioned case of arthritis going on” this was certainly not what I expected to hear.

He said listen “You’re out there kicking ass and taking names.  You are certainly not my usual middle age woman patient. Between life, genetics, and all you’ve been doing, that’s what we’re dealing with. ” We discussed some options, one of which was eventually getting a shot in my knee that could help.

Essentially a band aid, a costly one, only prolonging the inevitable, knee replacement surgery.

I left his office and pretty much dealt with it over the next couple years. The pain in my knee got progressively worse as it was bone on bone. I did go in for the set of two shots ( 600.00 my part with insurance) in the summer of 2020. Unfortunately, I never noticed any change. He told me  “ok we’ve tried all the options and the next step is total knee replacement”

Yeah ok…obviously I wasn’t super excited at this prospect.  I had never had any surgeries and this one sounded a bit, intense,  to put it mildly.

He handed me a referral for an ortho dr, one he assured me, would be focused on getting me back at my athletic endeavors and sent me off.

The next few months involved meeting with the doctor, getting an MRI, another appointment with the surgeon and then finally at that January visit we scheduled the surgery for April 15.

Gosh. I tried several times to work myself out of it as it got closer.   But on the other hand I had a knee that hurt enough to keep me awake at night so I was kinda hoping to ditch that problem, among others.

As it got closer there were the usual pre surgical things to do, like labs, a chest x ray and meeting with the surgical nurse who went over all the details for before, during and after surgery.

Over and over I heard “you’ve picked a rough first surgery but you’ll get through it”

Eek.

I requested to be his first surgery.  It was out patient and I would go home that day so I figured being first in meant I’d get out sooner.

My surgery would also be robotic assisted surgery which is super high tech. It allows the surgeon to operate and make cuts and incisions with exact precise cuts in the bone and tissue. This is done in real time with a computer and a very recent CT of my knee. You can learn more reading about Mako Robotic Knee surgery.

Show time

This is what it looks like when your surgeon signs off on your knee 😅 that big line? The slice and dice line.

I arrived at 5 a.m. trying to act cool but I had to laugh when the nurse asked if I ever had anxiety….I was like…. I mean right now, kinda yeah….she assured me they expected that and not to worry.

Whew! I was normal! 😅

All the final things were done, the surgeon last to appear asking if I was ready for the show.  I asked him if he had enough of whatever he needed to be on his A game. He assured me he was good and he was ready to fix my knee up, and then it was off to the OR.

Listen, as I mentioned earlier,  this was my first surgery so I was really calculating everything that was going on. I was struck by how bright the OR was, how alert, busy and full on active everyone was greeting me. I asked them if they wanted me to hop over to the other table, and after I got settled a mask was immediately placed over my nose and mouth that felt a little to snug. The guy lifted to adjust it and said ” we’re just giving you some pure oxygen “

And that my friends, was it till I heard two girls talking close to me saying what pretty pink hair I had ( which I did) and did I want a cracker?

Say what?

Me…. mumbling….are we done?! They assured me we were and if I woke up I could have a cracker.  In my head, I was giggling thinking how you offer parrots crackers… 🤣 in reality I was trying to peel my eyes open.

Seriously.  Y’all that sleep after surgery is the bomb. I was so cozy. I was hearing the convo in room, the nurses talking to my husband, how things went etc but gosh, I was sooooo good where I was at….like my eyes just didn’t want to be open.  I got prompted again…. whyyy are they making me talk??

After accepting ( rather blindly) the crackers and Sprite given to me, I was asked if I wanted to get up and walk.

Me….you know I’m still asleep right? And my leg feels like….nothing…..

Them…. you get to go home if you walk. Ah yes,  I remembered now. I got to head home if I did the “required things”.

Eat.  Go to bathroom.  Walk.

I got up on edge of bed, grabbed the walker and hustled myself out to the hallway when they called me back.  One thing my surgeon does is to make sure his patients have a nerve block ” we want you to wake up comfortable”.  I thought of it as an epidural in my knee. I had a full leg brace on immobilizing my leg. My foot felt like a thick foam block. Think how your face feels after a dentist visit and novocain.

With a numb leg, a foggy head ( those are good drugs) and zero pain,  I crawled into the athletic clothes I had worn. My surgery had been at 7 a.m. and by 1 p.m.  I was loaded up heading home 😳

Ya know what’s really trippy? Being in a car sailing down the highway while you’re still looped out from anesthesia. 

I kept my eyes closed the ride home ’cause the world was really spinny.

Home and recovery

This was how my leg was neatly packaged after surgery. Thankfully that came off next day. This was to protect my leg till all the meds had worn off and I could feel again

My surgeon ordered PT ( physical therapy) for 2 weeks at home that started the day after I got home. I was ready to work and do what was needed to get back to doing life. I faithfully did exercises  they left for me making them my “job”. I did them 3 times a day and walked as much as I could. I made my leg bend and flex just like I would have before surgery. 

More nice packaging
This is where the satellite went.

A look inside at my fancy new joints the top gadget is a satellite that communicates with computer that didn’t stay 😜
My surgeon grabbed his handy fake joint model to show me what mine looked like, except as he said, yours is metal, this is plastic
The silver and gray parts are the new joints

Days after….

It was so amazing to have that awful pain gone in my knee that walking felt great even if I had major surgery two days prior. By day 3 I tossed the walker cause I was walking fine without it and my PT guy said it was more of a hazard to use it if I was walking ok.

Physically, I hadn’t been sure what to expect but I had minimal swelling and no bruising. Of course I lived with my ice pack so I’m sure that helped quite a bit. My PT guy was encouraging telling me I was far ahead of what they expected patients to do a few days out so that built my confidence. And not to mention I was horribly motivated to make things happen. I had goals.

This gadget was a nice lazy form of exercise 😅 you set machine and it bends your leg for you. I’d get it set and take a nap.

Pain

Ok I’m almost embarrassed to say this but I really had minimal pain, and at that I didn’t consider it bad. One thing I paid attention to were all the people who told me to be diligent about staying on track with my pain meds. I’m stubborn but not dumb and certainly wasn’t interested in hurting if it could be avoided. I took them every 6 hours as prescribed even setting a 4 a.m. alarm to stay on track. My goal was to get off of them as soon as possible. Within the week I started spacing them out farther testing it. Gradually I was down to just a night one ( cause I like my sleep 😅) listen to what they tell you about pain meds!

2 weeks post op

2 weeks out I checked in with surgeon and had bandage removed. His stitching skills were impressive

It honestly didn’t look as bad as I was expecting. As you can see there was minimal after surgery bleeding.

After assessing all of my bending and flexing he cleared me to drive since I wasn’t on the pain meds.

Freedom! My first drive out, 16 days post op. This is when I realized how much you really use your leg to drive! A short trip, my leg was tired.

Another thing we discussed was exercise. He knew my goals were to get back on road cycling and at least walking again. I told him I wanted to do a bike race that was 10 weeks post op. What did he think? He said let’s do it! All he asked was that I ride not clipped in so if I had to get off bike fast I wouldn’t wrench my knee.

2 1/2 weeks out on my first walk….a half mile. It was a start
The road under my feet again

Of course, I focused a lot on my upper body since I could work that how I wanted

Nothing like some metal on my hand

Meanwhile

The leg is healing up well. The stitching will flatten out hopefully leaving a slim scar

As my leg healed I had moved over to 6 weeks of PT at a place in town. As my therapist told me a lot I wasn’t their “normal” patient. Being fairly strong and fit going into this surgery had definitely given me an advantage. Since I exercised before surgery the moves were work but doable work. He would put me on bike at the end of our sessions.

My first time on was my first slap in the face with my surgery.

I couldn’t do a full spin rotation.

How could this be? Riding a bike was well, riding a bike. I gingerly tried to press forward when my foot slipped causing it to go farther than planned.

That was the first genuine pain I had felt. I saw stars. Not cool.

I was in tears, literally crying thankful my back was to the room so no one would see a grown woman crying.

I felt all my goals shifting. How could I do a race in 7 weeks if I couldn’t pedal fully? I was crushed when I left PT that day.

I came home and started reading and there was a suggestion of pedaling backwards first. Then gradually ease into going forward. Next time I went I tried that. And I did it the following time…each time pressing into it a bit more…..then finally a full spin. I held my breath easing into another round and another. Tears came again this time but they were of joy. It was all I could do not to whoop out loud 😅

As I kept practicing on the bike at PT and on my trainer at home, race day loomed closer and I was pressed deciding if I’d be ready to do a 18 mile race in a few weeks. Being on the bike I still hadn’t gotten any serious miles on me. I finally felt confident enough to hit the road, this was about 8 weeks post op. I did 9 miles for my first ride.

Unfortunately by the time I felt I could do the race, no matter what my speed, the race had sold out. I was a bit crushed and then decided I would simply do my own “race”. Really it was about me and my goals anyway, right? I determined I would get up the same day as race, leave out in the morning and do that 18 mile ride making it a celebration of my body and what it could do.

And I did it.

The morning was gorgeous and I had never felt more alive. Although riding not clipped in felt awkward, I managed to get it done. And not just 18 miles, but a little more with gravy on top 😉

It turned into a nearly 20 mile ride. 😊

My speed certainly wasn’t what I was used to but gosh it felt amazing.

Needless to say when I saw my surgeon a couple weeks later he immediately asked if I did it. Ha he was honestly like a proud parent.

Lots of activities after my knee surgery. Rowing was great for continuing bending and flexing. Those weights don’t hurt either.

Where am I now?

The knee healed up pretty nice…..and I really don’t mind my battle wound.

A tidy scar 🖤

I make jokes that I may be the old person who tells the weather by my knee 🤣 it does feel tighter when the weather changes. My surgeon said its the barometric pressure.

Other things: when I’m on my feet all day or it’s hot my leg can feel like it’s ” fuller” or tight. My bending, and straightening of my leg is as good as it was before surgery. I’m able to do things I could prior. My knee itself can still feel tight around the surgical area but my surgeon said it can be a solid year or longer for things to settle down. A small area is still numb. That may or may not go away. Being on my hands and knees is doable, but I have to position my weight right as it can be uncomfortable, like in the surgical area.

Strength wise I think my right leg is lots stronger now than my left. My legs are strong but I find myself doing a little extra with the left to make it keep up. I am always mindful that I can and should always be pushing my new knee a little more to continue to get the maximum from it.

Final thoughts

Since I had this surgery at least 6 people I know have had it. They have reached out and asked questions. I have answered based on my experience and journey but they will be different for all of us. Our experience will be based on many factors from our overall health, fitness, physical limitations and our mental determination (which I believe is the biggest factor for success) ask questions and make sure you educate yourself on all things associated with it. Oh yeah, and do everything you’re told, including managing your pain meds.

Tell me, have you had a TKR or are you seeing one in your future?

Monday Musings

As I write this post I wonder if I’m the only one aware that the seasons are doing that sneaky, yet subtle, shift. Darkness has fallen earlier stealing the long lazy evenings with lingering daylight that I fully embrace.

Long evenings allowing me to go out and do work on my projects or just enjoy the cooler air as the sun has dropped over the horizon. Long evenings where the breeze caresses my skin and I can watch light gradually fade and the moon begin to rise.

But that has changed. The long evenings have been replaced by earlier darkness forcing me to wrap up outside work. As much as I embrace fall, I miss aspects of the summer season. 

Anyone else relate?

Not my backyard, but somewhere in the world…..

Right now though in south Texas we will enjoy a variety of weather as we get crisp fall mornings yet still have afternoons that are definitely comfortable short weather.  This can go on for months. It’s always a toss up to what we get.

Hey after all, only earlier this year we got snowed in not only once, but twice, in the same week.

Surreal. Absolutely surreal. For all of us it was a weird, most likely, once in a lifetime thing.

A few of the many pics from that epic week

Ok and I get it. If you’re up north or in parts of the world you see this all the time, don’t send me hate mail over my snow pics. 😉 you are not impressed with this stuff. I get it. Hopefully,  we won’t see that kind of winter this year!

Ok…on to other topics….

We did have a nice chilly morning this week which had me digging out a bit more clothing for my outdoor activities. I had recently gotten new shoes so I wanted to start logging some miles on them ( Did a little over 4)

Black. What all cool kids wear. My new Asics are too.

As I’ve shared briefly in previous posts, I had a total knee replacement in April. I just hit my 6 month out. I figure I’ll be doing a post on my experience fairly soon. I have chronicled things from the start and have tried to use my voice to encourage or help others in this process.

Meanwhile….I’ve not exactly been doing nothing…

On the bike….
Strength training

I’ve got goals ya’ll. But we will chat more about that later.

In things that make me laugh….

My granddaughters critters watching the football game

We arrived at my grandsons football game Saturday and my granddaughter has positioned her critters with a front row seat for the game. In a crazy world, I constantly embrace the beauty of my grandkids and the simplicity of childhood.

And listen, if you don’t have any of these yet, they are totally worth it. You love them in such a special different way. ❤ I feel beyond, and I mean, beyond blessed and fortunate that my kids grew up, started their families and wanted to have their homes on family property ( cool when you have space for them to do that) I mean, they liked us enough to stick around 😜

In other news….

I’ve shared before about my vintage business and love for old things. I got this pink stool earlier in the week. If there’s a time period that fascinates me, it is the short lived 50s pink kitchen era. So to find a pink stool, even if it was dirty and needed a cleaning, was impossible to pass up. Now the question remains, will it go to my shop? 🤔

Original ad for the common kitchen stool

Before I leave you…

I’ve gotta share a few recipes I’ve used lately. Having a big family that likes to hang out and eat, I’m always testing new foods.

Here’s one of my favorite “one pan ” recipes that’s always popular.

https://pin.it/1KUIqvy

Tasty, and fast to assemble.

https://pin.it/9JLma9B

And another popular dinner. I cannot tell you how delicious this is…try it!

And of course I need to leave you with a dessert. And what’s better than a fall inspired one called Fresh Apple cake. I’ve made this like 3 times this month. The beauty of this recipe? Stir it all into one bowl, pour in pan and bake. The frosting is cooked in one pan on stove that you pour on top.

https://pin.it/1v8I0cU

Ok, your turn! How’s life? What’s new? Who is ready for upcoming holidays?

Monday Musings

Another Monday, another spin around the sun, and the first Monday in November.

This year is just blurring on by, isn’t it? You know what this means right?

Full on Christmas coming at us now.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not anti Christmas. It’s my favorite holiday and I go all out for it.

I just want my turkey first….. and pie.

I want those tasty dishes that seem to be extra delicious on Thanksgiving. I want to smell those amazing smells of the day as my often, loud and wonderfully goofy family shows up to eat, watch football and celebrate a day of giving thanks for all we have.

I want that before I’m propelled into the Christmas whirlwind.

I want that set aside day of focusing on thankfulness.

Reasons to be thankful

Do we need to be reminded? I think, sometimes, we get so set in our lives we don’t really take time to focus on all we’ve been blessed with.

I was at the stop sign the other day and a local homeless woman was in her chair as she usually is. She is often just down the street at Starbucks sitting by the drive way but has changed up her location again ( she moves between both areas) it is known she has mental issues. It is also known she supposedly chooses this life.

I don’t know much except she’s a staple in that area. I greet her when I walk up to get my coffee, I will not look through her and pretend she isn’t there as many do.

But on this day, she was seated at the stop sign.

As I waited for the car in front of me, I couldn’t help but notice her, really see her.

Head in her hand holding her sign, her face red from days of sitting in the sun, a cigarette loosely held, her worldly possessions around her, it was her face that caught me.

The look of someone holding back emotion or trying not to cry.

It took everything in me to not turn around and go back and ask, are you ok? Except, with her mental instability, you just don’t know what you will get.

In those moments so much was impressed on me.

You think you’ve had a hard year, but you’ve not had hard like that homeless woman on the corner hard.

I thought about the nice car I was driving, wearing nice clothes. I thought about my beautiful home that protected and sheltered me. The abundance of food we had, the things that made my life comfortable, my family that surrounded me, and the simple luxuries I had. I thought about my husband and how much he has been brought through and how our needs are always met.

I felt humbled in that moment. And thankful

The thoughts continued to flow….

Your hard isn’t the family divorcing, ending what they have known. Your hard isn’t the young mother who lost a twin, or a parent watching their child continue the path of addiction or a family member dealing with alcohol addiction, or a widow grieving their partner

All situations I’m personally aware of.

We all have our levels of hard to deal with, right?

November marks a year since my husband was told he had two types of cancer. To say this year has been a new level of “hard” is putting it mildly. There have been ups and downs and moments that have overwhelmed me leaving me feeling like I couldn’t breathe. Throw in a virus, him being unable to work right now, Dr appointments, chemo treatments, constant dancing around with insurance and the daily shifting of life, it can make the strongest person feel weak at any given moment.

Yet, that thought bounced through my head.

Your hard isn’t like hers. Your life, while it has been difficult, painful even, is good.

We all have our own version of hard

We do right? Struggles, pain, suffering, hardships. They may look different but we all have that road to walk on some level.

I firmly believe how we approach it has a huge impact on the rest of our lives. Has this year been easy?

Not even.

Have I been amazingly blessed? Absolutely.

Do I choose, look for all the good I have in my life even if it is hard? I do.

As we go into November, a month in which we have a day set aside to think of all we’ve been blessed with and give thanks for those blessings, I choose to set my sights there.

So stand down Christmas.

I want my turkey and pie. I want more mashed potatoes than I should eat. I want breakfast with my family still in jammies with messy hair crammed around the table eating the pastries I made. I want to enjoy the food, the laughter, the controlled chaos, and most importantly, my tribe. The beautiful people I’ve been given to share this life with.

Life is hard. If there weren’t hard times we wouldn’t deeply embrace the good. Life is made of both.

I am thankful and abundantly blessed. I hope you too, even as you may deal with difficulties or uncertainty will also celebrate the good and the blessings you have as well.

And hey, go ahead and have another piece of pie. 😉

Birthday Reflections

Hello my faithful readers!

Am I the only one who wakes up lately wondering what day it is, what month or some days, what planet we’re on?

Like a surreal time warp lately.

Therefore, it kinda caught me off guard when hubby mentioned a week or two back,” hey you’ve got a birthday coming, what do you want?”

( My birthday was on Saturday)

Ah! Christmas in July 😁

Like wow, where did the year go?

If you will, allow me to wax poetic in this post on some reflections of another year around the sun .

Age is definitely a number

I giggle when my young friends lament that they are on the door step of 30, like it’s the end of life.

Age is no excuse

Although 30 is a ways back in my rearview mirror now, I love where I am in life. I want to tell them that getting older isn’t awful and it’s something many will never know. That getting older means wisdom gained, compassion deepened, love expanded, and a broader understanding of things you didn’t really grasp years before.

Getting older means knowing yourself, really. The good and bad and knowing how to manage both of those areas. It means knowing how to use to your voice and being comfortable doing so.

It means gained confidence in ways you have not have known in your younger self.

It can be developing new skills or talents you find along the way you didn’t know you had earlier in life.

Age also challenges you to press into hard things you may never have dealt with. It can either forge strength in you, or leave you weak or fearful.

You also learn to be true to yourself and who you are….or you don’t. Being true to yourself might not always float everyone’s boat but that is really their issue, not yours.

Be authentically you, there is no one who can fill your shoes.

Getting older doesn’t need to define life as “less”.

That’s how it’s often observed right? Getting older means you can’t or shouldn’t do certain things cause ya know, age right?

Don’t do this, don’t do that.

Nonsense.

I jokingly tell my kids I will forever be the mom/grandmother/aunt in little shorts at the family picnic 🤣

I will be on the dance floor if there’s music and not observing life on the side.

I will continue to push my limits and challenge myself to new things.

I want to learn and grow and be better with each year marked.

Age is no excuse

Honestly, I do not even let myself allow that idea into my head. I refuse to be guided by a thought that would cripple me from living a life of more .

As I reflect back on this year, it is not without looking at some hard times I’ve walked through that have strengthened me in ways I had never previously known. Walking paths of illness with loved ones builds unknown strengths in you that you don’t know you possess until you go through fire.

Getting older is often looked at as getting weak with the thought older people should step aside so the stronger young ones can handle it.

Physically, my body is stronger and more capable than it has ever been.

I love that! I love that my sons call on me at times to help move something because they know I can deliver.

Pushing myself to lift heavier or ride farther on my bike, whatever, it may be is empowering! And training my body prepares it for those daily life tasks we can be called on to do.

I guess really, if anything, I don’t ever put limits on myself. That has allowed me to grow and tackle such big goals that if I had put mental limits on myself I would spend my life wondering if I could do it, instead of getting it done.

A friend tagged me in this post yesterday telling me it reminded her of me, of how I am and the fact she felt I’d say the same thing to my followers, and she’s right.

No matter where we are in life, choices are to be made. What we do determines who we will continue to grow into.

I will, no matter my age always be pressing into where I want to continue to be, and that is driven by what I do.

How I think, the goals I set and how I challenge myself.

Chronologically, age happens to all of us. We have no control over that.

How we approach aging, the choices we make, our behaviors and attitudes, our mental thinking, well we have a ton of control over that.

And with those ideas firmly in mind my mantra will forever be, age is no excuse.

Cheers to another year celebrating #50ish!

Monday Musings

Hello world!

I seriously love saying that. The fact I have readers from all parts of our big world never fails to make me happy. I’m humbled that I can share with you, wherever you are.

So thanks for joining me in another edition of Monday Musings!

I hope, that life is returning to a bit of normal for you. There were lots of things making me think during this “quarantine” time. One of them is about masks.

I won’t get into the two camps….the wear or don’t wear. Each side has a bit of it’s own “airs” associated with it.

My thoughts are a bit random based on my quirky sense of humor.

So here are my positives on mask wearing :

I can yawn like an unconcerned cat with no need to worry about being lady like. No need to delicately cover my mouth to hide that bored, sleepy, I need caffeine yawn. Nope, with mask in place I can yawn unconcerned.

I always wear lip gloss, but behind a mask, who really knows if I am or not?

Mask wearing cuts down on potential, unnecessary snacking. 😉

I don’t have to worry if I’m looking “happy” to people passing….smile or no smile….that’s the question. They don’t know.

Finally, my eyes get the attention and not my smile. With my smile covered it’s time for my eyes to get their moment in the spotlight.

Ok enough of all that….

Did anyone start a new hobby, job or project during the quarantine time? I took my business to another level when I jumped in to be a retailer for Dixie Belle chalk paint. Our shop opened up May 1st and it’s been flying off the shelves….awesome…but now I’m chomping at the bit waiting to get two huge orders in .

I have also been asked multiple times about a website for my business so I have undertaken that project.

Let me say this….all things technical are not my calling…. much less building a website. I am slow….pathetically slow crafting this fledgling site. I am way speedier turning over ugly furniture and making it pretty.

I figured I put this site together for my blog 5 years ago, I can assemble a business website.

And…..it’s almost done. Engage happy dance. I’m feeling rather proud of myself right now.

Have you done something lately that is out of your comfort zone?

My business ventures are pushing me out of mine. I love risks, but there is the flip side of exhilarating terror too 😬

That’s all I’m saying for now. I haven’t shared with my customers yet, once I do I will share more here.

Speaking of all that….did I share the cool antique cabinet a friend gave me? I dragged it home, invested a little energy into it and now it makes an uber cool paint cabinet for my shop.

It started off like this…I had sanded some to unearth several other colors under the pink.

I also turned these old sewing drawers into something sweet and feminine….

Sweet right?

I just got these really crusty ones, but look at all those sweet details 🥰 I would love to turn all of this into a little cabinet.

When I’m not working, it’s fun experimenting with new recipes

This is a family favorite. Chocolate with gooey caramel and pecans ….so good. Don’t take my word for it. Give it a try

https://pin.it/6wajLD2

This other cake I made at Easter. Seriously the frosting alone with the toasted butter pecans is so good I’d just skip the cake 🤣

Here is the recipe for you to try and make your own decision

https://pin.it/7Kjgd1N

Have you tried any new recipes recently?

In closing…..

Remember to be kind to one another out there. Be helpful, be loving. Respect each other. This world is rough but individually we can make a positive impact in our circles. Have a good week!

Tell me….how’s your week gone. Everyone doing ok ?

Monday Musings

Cake. It’s been a week of cake.

We have a plethora of birthdays this time of year and yours truly is the cake maker.

My kids know they can request whatever kind they want and I’ll whip it up for them.

My middle son turned 28 May 1st. After a reminder I hadn’t received his request, did he wish for me to make him a boxed cake?

I got a link to a monstrosity of a 5 layer cake. Initially, I thought it was a joke. But then I’m always down for a challenge and dived into the project

Two brownie layers and three white cake layers.

Yes, that is buttercream frosting between those layers

11 eggs, three packages of butter, 7 cups of sugar, 10 cups of powdered sugar for buttercream frosting, 30 Oreos and brownies that get made with brownie layers to decorate on top and a partridge in a pear tree.

Ok I jest about the partridge 😉

I weighed it.

It weighed 13 pounds.

I don’t exaggerate.

13 pounds of ridiculous deliciousness.

You know what I’m afraid of? I’ve now set the bar to high and who knows what they will come up with next. 😄

Yes, there is a literal second dessert piled on top of this monumental cake.

The aftermath….it is a wee bit tricky cutting five layers.

Even my guys with the biggest appetites were out done by this cake.

We all decided this…the cake and brownie layers were delicious enough to just make independently. The eggs, real butter and buttermilk made it a light, airy melt in your mouth cake.

The brownies had lots of eggs giving them a cake consistency and with all the cocoa powder they had a good chocolate flavor.

Think you wanna try it? Find it in my Homemade Cake folder on Pinterest!

https://pin.it/S3hiAKL

When I’m not whipping up cakes…

I’m attempting to live a healthy lifestyle. I’m sure glad cake can fit into that!

I’m also glad I started the day off with some miles on the bike.

Nothing like some hills to make you work a little hard 😅

How are y’all doing with home work outs during this time?

Remember fitness need not be hard or complicated. Brisk walks or jogs, bike rides, swimming, or hitting the treadmill or elliptical are good ways to get cardio.

Strength training can be accomplished with a variety of items at home even if you don’t have weights.

You have a body and can do plenty of body weight exercises!

I find boxing to be rather therapeutic 😉 not only is it good strength and cardio, it just feels good to let my energy sink into that bag.

Don’t forget about yoga and other stretching moves to keep you flexible. It’s also a great way to center your mind.

Exercise is not only good for our bodies, but our mental well being too.

Staying mentally and physically well during this time is important for our overall health.

In other life activities

Am I the only one who wakes up trying to remember what day it is??

Like seriously.

True, life is a bit different lately, but I don’t find all of it bad.

There aren’t lots of things pressing on me to go to different activities or places which means time home and time to do not only home projects but work on my business projects too.

My shop in town opened back up this weekend so I’m glad to have things out of my back room and filling up my space.

I’ve had an increase in custom orders so that’s a win.

I also jumped into becoming a retailer for Dixie Belle chalk paint. Ah, nothing like making a financial investment when things are closed down 😅

I kinda like diving off the deep end with new adventures.

Speaking of projects

Wanna see some of the things I’ve been up to?

Before. A custom order. She wanted it white. Dixie Belle has a color called Fluff, soft white with grey undertone

Definitely a bit brighter.

Then there was this old trunk….

I’m horribly in love with this piece ❤ it got some layers of black and white paint, distressed, a lovely floral trasnfer and I lined inside with some fabric that’s been waiting for the right project.

Then there was this old French provincial table. I seriously adore this style. Solid, classic, beautiful lines, these pieces remake so nicely

And a couple things I’ve scored recently. It’s been hard getting things…I’m ready to go hunting again !

Sweet old dresser definitely dated and needs a fresher look!

And an antique ladies writing desk and chair. This is gonna need work but I thought it was the coolest thing.

And before I go…..

I made the best chicken dish tonight and everyone went crazy over it. Fast,easy with a Mexican flair to it. Find it on my dinner recipes file on Pinterest

https://pin.it/cwzpiX1

I served it with Spanish rice and beans. Have plenty of rice on hand, the sauce is amazing over it!

Tell me what you’ve been up to? How are you keeping fit and staying sane in these days?

Monday Musings

Monday. Am I the only one lurching into it after a long 4th of July weekend ?? Here in the states we just celebrated our nation’s birthday….our 243rd one to be exact.

Yeah we celebrated with a four day weekend 🤣

I may be biased, but I believe we live in the greatest nation.

Yes, it has problems, but we are still blessed beyond measure with the gifts and freedoms we have.

So we celebrated our freedoms and all that we’ve been blessed with…food, fireworks and hanging with family.

Long weekends equal productivity

Having a block of days home let me dive into the deep end on furniture projects waiting for me.

Does this count as athletic activities? 🤔

I mentioned last week I had moved into my new location for my business. I had lots that sold so I was trying to replenish items.

I finished off an antique dresser, four chairs, and some small items too.

I love getting things done!

I’m super excited over how the dresser came out.

Here’s its before pic…

Old, tired and needing a new look.

I kept it simple and it looks so fresh now.

I’m pretty happy with it. The light distressing gives it the aged look it deserves.

Then.. last week I scooped up these antique chairs at the thrift store.

Yeah. I know you’re loving the cheetah print 😏

Cheetah? Leopard? Your call.

Check out the new look I gave them….

Miss the cheetah print yet?

I got this cool chair at an estate sale months ago. I finally got to let the ideas out of my head for it…

Its boring before pic…

Look at it now 🙂

And my final chair. An old harp back and after all my black I wanted to do a bright fun look….

And besides all that, I’ve been working on the room my daughter recently vacated.

Hubby was a trooper and installed new, cooler,molding on the floor and I’ll be painting this week

Then as mentioned previously, the entire antique bedroom set I have in my barn finally has a room to come to 😁

No.

No I haven’t been busy….which is why I’m writing this at 11p m Sunday night..

Oh..and I don’t sell everything…I mean what’s the point of having a fun business if you don’t get to keep some of the goodies??

For instance, I got this super cool old coffee table. It’s over 6’0 long! It has leaves that when open you could use as a table top.

I don’t exaggerate.

Me asking the girl about it.

“Oh, idk, I think it’s from the 50s. I’m selling the stuff for a dead person.”

Me: “whaattt?”

Haha…well she only wanted 12.00 for this solid wood beast so I didn’t waste any time grabbing it up.

Now to decide how exactly I want to spruce it up.

Furniture isn’t the only thing I’ve been lifting

I’ve been adding more strength training days to my week.

Hello sweaty Sunday 🤣

I have a love hate relationship with deadlifts.

I love knowing I can lift some solid weight, I know it’s also gonna be a little work.

I usually do three sets of 6 at my current weight of 165. I’m fixing to add on to that soon.

My 25lb dumb bells have become quite easy to handle. I’ve added more reps on the mix.

I got to thinking when I first started off a few years back I was using 8lbs

8.

Now I can toss 25s around and use a 35 lb kettlebell for swings and other fun moves.

Consistent work is all I can contribute it to

Well…anyone who wants to make progress needs to stay consistent.

Oh. And hard work too 😏

And finally…

Would it be a Monday post if I didn’t offer you up some tasty food I had experimented with???

This is uh…not on the healthy treats list.. but it’s chocolate sooooo….

I made this for the 4th celebrations.

It was devoured.

Trust me, you’ll love it and it’s super easy to make.

https://pin.it/mx5cz3fwji5mty

That’s a wrap boys and girls. Tell me about your week and any summer celebrations you’ve got going on.

Monday Musings

Happy Monday you crazy kids! I don’t know about you but I’m hitting the floor today with a smile and a mile long to do list!

This past weekend was busy as I was preparing to move my little vintage business to a new location. The new place isn’t that far away but moving is always, well, moving right?

You still have to pack it up and drag it to the new destination.

Oh. And rain.

Yes, let’s add rain to the mix for a little extra fun. ( Insert sarcasm here 😉 )

I was pretty happy with the month in sales…lots of stuff went to new homes so it means I gotta get going on some new projects.

Thankfully my barn has plenty waiting for me.

Seriously though, I’m so grateful for new opportunities and can hardly wait to see how this next part of the adventure unfolds.

Sunday afternoon I got my new space all set up and Monday will find me at the shop entering all my inventory in the computer.

It’s hard to believe that July marks my one year “officially” doing this.

A year of doing this messy, fun, challenging, and extremely creative work. I’ve learned to do so many things I never knew how to do.

Thankfully I have a “jump in the deep end” personality so it’s never crossed my mind I couldn’t fix up some horrible, ratty, falling apart piece of furniture. It kinda comes naturally to me.

It has been the most unexpected, satisfying work.

Speaking of work….

I love that summer mornings get light out pretty early allowing me to get on the road for some miles while the sun comes up on me.

Did I mention though, our county decided to “pave” our little country roads? This amounts to pouring out hot tar, and then covering it with small stones and rolling over it a few times.

It is then expected the usual traffic will pack it down. The bad part is that all the loose stone where cars don’t drive gets pushed into areas and that can make for some, exhilarating ? Moments on the bike if you hit one of those patches.

Curves and cul de sacs I used to ride into like a wild woman, well, I have to be a little more cautious on….. for right now 😉

In the ways of athletic shenanigans….

More than once this week I’ve been reminded of the payoffs for my strength training days. I’m more than capable of helping lift various pieces of equipment at my sons shop….me offering to help unload something from a truck…ha…

Surprised looking man “Oh you’re going to help me?”

Me: indeed I am.

I’m always amused at the usual expectations that because I’m a female I’m not equipped to handle heavy things .

Now I jokingly quip I don’t just have muscles for decoration haha

I helped move a big china cabinet out of my shop yesterday that I sold. I felt like I handled it better than the guy on the other end 😉

Seriously though, you get stronger by using your body. Practicing functional movements and lifting heavy things transfers over into real life by being able to handle all the day to day things you may deal with.

In addition to all that….it’s empowering to be strong.

And today starts a new month…..

Not just any month, July. All things summer and our nation’s birthday month and yours truly as well.

It will be time for another birthday post so stay tuned for that 😉

Speaking of the United States birthday. My kids have been pleading with me to whip up my homemade strawberry ice cream.

This is like seriously the most amazing treat ever. It will not be on my healthy eating tips post Haha

It is made with nothing but heavy cream, buckets of sweet, juicy bright red strawberries, and uh, sugar.

You let it churn for quite awhile in the old ice cream maker ( electric of course) although I’ve entertained my kids with stories “back in the day” where we had to hand crank that thing for eternity before we were rewarded with actual ice cream.

Did you ever get that experience??

Homemade ice cream is one of those quintessential summer treats for sure.

It will also be accompanied by hot dogs off the grill topped with various condiments, along with tasty side dishes to keep them company.

The night will be topped off perched on a blanket, watching spectacular fireworks while that delicious ice cream drips off my chin or runs down my arm cause that stuff gets messy.

But I ask you, is there a better way to end a celebratory day than hanging with people you love and eating tasty food?

I think not.

If you’ll be celebrating the 4th, what treats do you enjoy? What are some if your favorite summer foods?

Wedding Bells And Adventures

Today’s post boys and girls is brought to you from 35 thousand feet in the air.I’m pretty sure it may be quite a long time before I’d write a post again while I’m flying.What adventures have I been up to?Hubby’s daughter, my step daughter, got married this weekend in New York.Our entire family group went which made for a noticable tribe moving through check points at the airports.There were like…24 of us.Other than both flights going up there being delayed and dragging into our hotel at almost 4 in the morning ( have mercy that was a lonnggg day) the travel went well.My husband is from beautiful parts of New York….Albany area…although he grew up in Roundlake.We all made a field trip there on Saturday and my kids got to see his childhood home and hear stories from “back in the day”.I’m always amazed at the beauty of tall forest trees, old colonial styled homes and a calmer and peaceful atmosphere there.Small towns are “villages” and I found a sign that stated as such..Don’t ask why but I thought it was cool.It was fun to visit the places of his life from his earlier years. He still has family there and some made themselves available for us while we were there to visit and catch up on our lives.The weddingAh yes. Let’s get to the good stuff :)Weddings are always sweet, beautiful and full of hopes, promises, and new dreams.I always admire the new couple and think of them starting this journey of marriage.I think about the roads I’ve traveled on mine in 35 years.I wonder if they will have all it takes to withstand lifes ups and downs once the honeymoon is over.For a writer and a people watcher like me, weddings are perfect fodder for my reflective, wandering mind and thoughts.This was the first marriage for my husband’s daughter. She is strong, beautiful, hard working, clever, and fun.She is 42 and found the man of her dreams ( we all like him alot too 🙂 )I’d say she has had plenty of time to consider all she would want her wedding to be….and it was beautiful. She was a glowing, stunning bride and as best as I could tell everything went perfect.Of course the reception is the time when everyone can relax and have fun.And have fun, we did.With a DJ that was a ball of energy, there wasn’t a dull moment.Ok dear readers, I need to admit it here, but yours truly loves to dance.And I did and by the end of the night the heels were off, my feet were tired, my makeup had faded and my flowers had wilted, but gosh, it was a fun night.But it was one song that took me to that deeper introspection.He had all the couples on the floor dancing and they dropped out as he called out years you were married.It felt good to be one of the half dozen left standing when the years topped over thirty, then 35…that’s when we stepped off floor with only a few left.The grooms parents took it with 50 years.I thought about all the years of life lived with a person and all that goes with it.The good, the bad, the ugly and beautiful.And by damn….awards should be given!It takes a whole lotta work to get to that point in your life.Work. Sacrifice. Giving. Taking. Laughing. Crying. Inside jokes and getting each other in ways no one else on planet earth does. Years of being poor. Years of having plenty. Kids. Dogs. House payments. Sickness and health. Hogging the covers and taking over the bed. Learning to embrace and accept each other’s weirdness and idiosyncrasies.All of these thoughts rolled through my head as I danced with my husband, my partner in crime.I thought about his daughter and how she would learn these things too.You think you know your partner on your wedding day and you do.But you know them so much better year after year than you did that day.And it’s just the day in and out of life that you learn these things.They will learn too. They will travel down the road of life together and realize a few years from now they know each other better than they did on this amazing day and there is such a beautiful sweetness in that.Now back to regularly scheduled lifeWe’ve all experienced it right? The fun comes to an end and its back to doing life again that got left behind while you’re off having fun.And here I sit, high above the earth as darkness creeps into the cabin, the passengers quiet as the plane speeds us closer home, waiting to resume life again at home.The wedding was sweet. The time seeing the bride and her new husband was precious.Seeing a few family members let us catch up on life.The time away and having all our family there on a big trip was a first.The ages ranged from my new born granddaughter to us old people Haha and everything in between.Life is precious. But it’s the people in it that make it that way. As I come home tired and ready for my own bed, I’m reminded again of how truly blessed I am in my life.And I’m already plotting and planning when we can go on another adventure again.Have you been on any recent adventures?

Monday Musings

Happy Monday world! This isn’t just another Monday. Here in the states it’s Memorial Day.

Yes many often view it as a three day weekend, a kick start to summer and a day to BBQ. The reality is, its a day of solemn remembrance for the men and women who served and gave their lives for our country.

I know if I made a trip to the military cemetery where my father is buried, a flag would be on his stone as well as the thousands of others who surround him.

My father did two terms in Vietnam. He was always immensely proud of his service to our country.

He never talked about his time there. It wasn’t until the last year of his life that he said some things that made sense to some of his ( we thought, idiosyncrasies) and I think it was only the advancing of his alzheimers that may have loosened the memories and let them out.

He always wanted the windows closed and locked. It made my mom crazy. He revealed in his later days that the enemy used to hide in the jungle and trees and then attack. ( we live in the country surrounded by some very dense terrain) he had never lost the worry that they were still out there.

Or more chilling how the sound of aircraft made him tense… the enemy would fly over and throw the dead soldiers from the helicopter. A reminder they could be next.

It was a roadside bomb exploding and causing the vehicle he was in to crash causing injuries that sent him to Germany to rehab and then finally home.

I’m not sure you or I can even begin to grasp what our service men and women go through, or how it makes a lifetime indelible impact on them physically, emotionally and spiritually.

On this day we remember those who sacrificed their lives. Those who left behind loved ones, dreams, and plans for the future.

I thought of how so many laid down their lives as…..

I passed a man selling fresh produce on the side of the road this morning.

I saw a bumper sticker proclaiming political views.

I drove by multiple churches.

I made plans for my business.

I recently voted in an election.

I shopped in stores with a great abundance of food and other items.

Freedom.

We have so much freedom in our country to use our voices, to run businesses, to move about freely, to worship as we choose, or not choose. We have freedom to vote for our elected leaders.

We have so many freedoms and it’s on this solemn day we stop to remember…to remember those who gave all so that we can live in the daily freedoms we take so for granted.

Thank you seems so small…..such small words for gratitude of giving and serving with ones life.

As you gather with your family on this day, I hope you take a moment to pause and give thanks for the precious gift of freedoms you have and for the lives of those who make it possible.