It’s been a year since Lu has been in our lives and she makes things bright. She is friendly and always wants to play. She was about 5 months old when we moved into the new house which was right at the point she was almost 100% potty trained. She had a few accidents which were disappointing on new rugs, however she has been 100% since then.
The main issue has been chewing. I tried giving her bully sticks however she got to the point she would go through them so fast and eating so much of that caused her diarrhea. I switched to the Nylabone and that stopped the bowel problem. However, she does still go after furniture. Most of the time she does this when she is bored and wants attention. I have become handy with puddy and stain trying to repair the damage and blend as best I can. She went after the corners of a buffet, bench, and a couple of different chairs.
And then there is the plant issue. I had a faux tree in the dining room and she would try to eat the bark and took all of the moss out of the short pot. There was no keeping the moss in the pot. I wanted to have a real tree or plant in the house and after research I found that there aren’t any decent looking safe varieties for pets if they decide they are going to eat the plant. Therefore, I’m sticking with faux. I selected a tall stone pot and added bull rock large enough that she can’t fit it in her mouth as a substitute for the moss it comes with. So far she has been curious and unable to damage it. I think that is a win!
She is a sock stealer. If there is a sock to be found she will get it and run with it. And if you are wearing one, she will take it off. One of her favorite games to play is chase. She wants you to chase her. If I’m working and she is quiet, that definitely means something is up.
A big advantage of the Bichon Frise breed is that they don’t shed so dark wood floors throughout the house are not covered in hair and the bed isn’t either. She is fun to play with. I still can’t get over how expressive her eyes are and how she looks at you for confirmation.
She has had a few issues with chewing on herself and adding a capsule evening of primrose oil to her food seems to help. My fur baby is an absolute joy. I’m so happy she loves people. Dogs are work and they are worth it!
The cabinet project with floating shelves in our great room completed! And it turned out great. At the last minute I decided I didn’t like the idea of a toe kick at the bottom of the cabinet. I found some modern metal u shape legs instead which you can’t really see in the picture below. The subwoofer should still fit. I took a friend with me shopping at a very cool store that imports pottery and art pieces and found some interesting modern pottery. It looks more like the space is finished.
We also found a piece of glass art that would go in the niche that you see as soon as you walk in the door. I am taking my husband to see it tomorrow and if all goes well we will purchase it. I really love it, but I think it might be too narrow. The owner said he would install it and if we need it bigger he would make it bigger. It would take 12 weeks. I hung a temporary metal art piece that isn’t liked but it was better than looking at an empty wall for months! Here is the glass art…
It’s good that we have taken the time to find pieces that we love. In the interim we hung stuff just to take up space and will eventually replace it. The new décor is interesting and creates a great feeling in the space. I have been working on the bedroom curtains. It took a long time to come up with the design. I didn’t want to pay a high price for custom drapes, so I found a place online that would make them for 1/2 the price I was quoted. The online drapes are still custom, but at a fraction of the cost because of the limitation in fabric selections. The 130 inch length makes it impossible to order pre-made. I ordered a few swatches and my husband liked one. I definitely want him to have an opinion because it’s his space too. As it turns out he doesn’t like silk which I think goes great in a bedroom. He likes more of a suede texture. And he wanted the curtains lined even though they are going to be decorative and not functional. It was a cost savings to make them decorative. I ordered the rods and installed them myself. And I ordered one panel just to make sure the other 4 will be worth the cost. It will be 3 weeks until we can see the first panel. I hung he short ones to get an idea of the width needed. The wall with one window was difficult to figure out. We are going with one panel and an end cap which is hard to see in the photo. My husband hasn’t been a fan of the neutral colors. I think it’s soothing and you can vary textures. Or you can just say I am no good at picking colors! So the color pick is tan. And if you look at the swatch selections they are all variations of neutral anyway. Can’t wait to see how it turns out!!
Recently a friend invited me and another friend up to her ranch house for an overnight stay. I was really surprised at the invitation and was excited to go. She and her husband have over 180 acres of land in a town called Leona, Texas. I would consider this East Texas. It’s not too far of a drive from Houston. We arrived at the gate and her husband was smoothing out the very long gravel road with his tractor. The weather is grey in January sometimes it’s clear and it’s very typical that a cold front moves in making temperatures frigid. We drove up to her house and parked in back and were greeted by her two friendly dogs. Workers were completing the flagstone front walkway complete with a firepit with adironback chairs around it. The view out the front of the house was of a vast field and twin oaks. The style of the house is very much Texan. It’s white wood with a metal roof and small windows. The floors are a grayish wood. The floor plan is very open. The kitchen, great room and dining are all open. Guest rooms are on one side and the master on the other. The rooms are spacious and all have ceiling fans.
Her husband had a large pot on the stove simmering a demi glaze for steaks (filets!) He had an amazing way to cook them. Basically he seasoned the meat, sealed the meat individually in plastic bags air tight and they went into a machine that kept the water at 129 degrees. They slow cooked for an hour then he seared the meet in a cast iron skillet. The steak served with asparagus wrapped in bacon was so delicious. And we had company.
The property is adjacent to neighbors who are quite helpful. Carl is a retired man that lives in a barndominium. That’s a second home for him, he and his wife don’t live far. And Jason lives with his husband, he is a younger man full of spirit and they both work from home. The small community helps each other and share a joy of hunting. We took a drive around the property in a four wheel vehicle. The overnight storm made the property muddy in places. The wind was whipping and the temperatures chilly. My friend’s husband said the plan was to clear some trees so the lake on the property was viewable. We visited Jason’s house and got a tour, it was an older home featuring western decor to include game dear heads displayed and a large taxidermy beaver on the coffee table. We chatted about their neighbor, owners of a chicken farm. The farm is a supplier of chickens for a major corporation. Quite the opposite of Jason’s nice home, the owners of the chickens live in basically a shack. I visited the corporate website and from what I was told they completely lie about the conditions of their product. Despite the vast amount of land here, the chickens are kept in large metal structures and even though they are white, they appear brown because they don’t have individual space and are subject to confinement in their own feces. It’s disgusting and it smells bad when the wind blows a certain way. Large trucks come and workers gather up the birds and shove them in cages that are too small and take them off for processing. It makes me never ever again want to eat chicken. Jason and his partner knew about it before they bought the property so they knew what they would have to deal with. The isolation for some is peace on earth. I totally get that and it’s not for everyone.
I absolutely enjoyed my time with friends and meeting new people. The Texan’s in this community are exceptional people. Friendly, and I love that. My friend’s husband is extremely selective with who he hangs around. I understand that. Texan’s have principles and they stick by them. I love the fact that they figure things out and look out for each other. This is why I absolutely love it here ❤
To help me stick to my new meal plan to stay satisfied and fit, I discovered a fun way to document and keep me interested in keto or low carb eating. I started an Instagram account so that I could post pictures of my food, as a way documenting success. I’ve heard people say it is ridiculous to post pictures of what you eat and I couldn’t agree more if it’s boring. My family eats the same thing every week and doesn’t like to try new things. After 7 days it’s a repeat for them, not for me. Food is an integral part of life and it can be creative and fun. While on this keto experiment (which has extended 2 months past my initial 30 day trial), I found that it is a challenge to create foods with the same texture as food made with traditional ingredients in the standard American diet which I find funny to abbreviate, SAD (lol). So now I can keep up with new recipes and feed my new found food obsession through Instagram. Surprisingly through hashtags I have connected with people from all over who share the same enthusiasm for low carb diets and no sugar. There is also inspiration in other people’s post in what to try next. So my name on Instagram is @ketagious and I can keep my blog on other topics.
This week I had the absolute pleasure of attending a tennis luncheon that was held at a country club. I had to put some thought into what to wear, mainly my shoe drama. It’s cold here and I have only open toe shoes or boots. My team moved up and we all got a nice fleece pull over. We were greeted with champagne. And our team was assigned a table so that we could sit together. We were served chicken breast with mashed potatoes, green beans and carrots. There was a chocolate mousse on the table with a lady finger cookie in it (so it was probably tiramisu). And a basket of bread was on the table. I noted that the ladies on my team eat very little carbs and I’d say a few had a bite of the dessert. It’s too bad there aren’t more sugar free deserts offered. I would be all for that! I ended up bringing the beautiful centerpiece of flowers home to enjoy and many of us won nice door prizes (mine was a towel for the car seat). Fun experience!
The new year seems to come in with a bang. Mine starts with all kind of issues. Luna is now a year old. We welcomed her in January last year. This January she must have gotten stressed, bored or the cold weather is irritating her because she bit her tail so badly that I had to take her to the vet to shave it and had to wear a cone on her head. To say that it was nasty looking is an understatement. So frustrating and extremely painful for her! Every time I gave her a break from the cone, she tried to bite the wound. I’m trying some supplements, omega oils (evening primrose) for itchy skin and will try some probiotics to possibly deal with yeast. It was a long 8 days and she seems to be doing a lot better.
If only that was the only issue. Issues aside, we started another project in what today is called the great room. I’ve always called this room the living room, but great room does sound better. I really don’t know why my husband wants surround, we are putting in the system now utilizing the pre-wire and in doing so we are accommodating the surround equipment into the aesthetics of the room. I found a nice cabinet online and asked a cabinet maker to recreate it. I’ve looked around for one and did’t find anything and this way the cabinet can be modified to fit the equipment, mainly the sub woofer. I managed to get the cabinet maker and the sound technician to view the space at the same time and we hashed out a plan to build the cabinet with the bulky technology hidden. The key component of the cabinet hiding the equipment is the placement of the sub woofer inside and a wood vent toe kick that is recessed at the bottom and stained to match the rest of the cabinet. The doors won’t have to be mesh or need to stay open during use. My husband picked the colors and the type of the wood so hopefully that will make him happy. I am excited to see the result. We will see in two weeks.
Concept 2 (since the original concept had to be modified)
I’ve tried some new keto meals and snacks. I really like rolled up prosciutto with goat cheese and spinach. I air fried chicken wings with lemon pepper. And I baked a cheese shell for a pulled chicken cheese taco with lettuce, tomato, and ranch dressing. Delish! Still not missing sugar and still enjoying variety. It’s taking some time, but I’m getting better at making keto food the right texture and keeping the carbs as low as possible. Love the way I feel and happy about my food choices, healthy and fulfilling!
Between Christmas and New Years I love to work on a good project. Surprisingly there doesn’t seem like much time to work on one. We have been searching for accent chairs to create a reading space in our bedroom online and I’m glad we found ones at a good price in the store instead. Shopping online is amazing, however, it’s hard to see color and quality even though reviews are essential for that. With online decor stores like Wayfair, Joss and Main and Houzz, there are many great options and deals. I have had luck online with a couple pieces of furniture, but some things you just can’t. The At Home store had a chair similar to the one I liked online, however my husband didn’t like it and it had a defect. Only one chair fits in the car and when I went back to get the second, there were none without a loose leg. I picked an alternative that he actually likes and it is nicer. The color choice was a difficult decision. My husband doesn’t like that the furniture is all beige. I got the ottoman online and went with a pattern. Another designer told me it’s good to go neutral on the furniture and add pops of color with pillows and accessories. Our bedroom furniture is traditional and I am tired of that look. It has been a challenge to find accents that update the room without looking too out of place. The mercury ball floor lamp I found at Target and I got two mercury lamps for the night stands which replaced the french looking lamps that I am happy to see go. The pillow really made the space in my opinion. I have been looking, there are so many choices, but what color, design? My husband is picky with colors and designs and we didn’t have a color in mind to go for. I found this gold one with a pattern that doesn’t compete with the ottoman and had to order the other one because they were out of it.
Drapes are next! Already I think I want to do silk or polyester in taupe and put them on french pipe rods with rings.
My other project was to create a spice drawer. In our old house we had a spice rack mounted on the pantry door, plus a small round rack for the counter all within reach when cooking. In the new house that setup doesn’t work. I threw all of the spices in a basket and kept them in the pantry until I got the idea to do a spice drawer. My drawer wasn’t the size of the inserts you can buy online so I followed the directions of a DIY’er and made one myself. It wasn’t easy. I went to Home Depot and purchased some wood strips and constructed the insert. It’s definitely not perfect, I split the wood slightly with a nail, I switched to screws which work, however, they are visible. The glue was a mess and wouldn’t stick without the screw. However, the end result is just what I needed. All of my spices are organized and conveniently in reach for the crazy amount of cooking I do.
I’m still on the hunt for some different bowls, pasta bowls single serve au gratin dishes and a rectangular plate just to change up the way we serve food. My husband got an air fryer for Christmas and already I have made the most amazing bacon and fried chicken tenders! I also got a Mandoline and sliced some zucchini into thin chips and crisped them in the oven at 250 degrees for a little over an hour (dehydrate) , even the boys loved them!!!
Christmas is such a special holiday. I look forward to this time of year to get together with friends and family and really appreciate what we have. Some things change and some things stay the same. It only makes sense that things change otherwise we don’t go anywhere. And it is nice that we stop and take time, even if it is a short time, to make that effort to get together. As with everyone’s lives, there are ups and downs. I really enjoy my nieces and nephews and always wish the best for them.
We made a trip to Austin Texas bringing a new guest. The normally pretty drive this time of year was a little barren. The skies can be grey this time of year. The early cold snap really made the trees drop their leaves and left the ground colorless.
My sister in law has a Christmas eve party where family and her guests come to gather and eat appetizers. I was happy to assist and love decorating with food! We had platters of rolled up meats and cheeses, egg rolls, spinach and cheese stuffed pastries, meatballs and there were some sweets. There was a steady flow of people through the evening and at the end we did our annual white elephant. This gift exchange concept has been quite popular this year. Between my husband and I, we ended up with an air fryer and gift card to a nice restaurant. You better believe there will be many posts of food made with the air fryer.
People dress however they want. The weather is cool so sweaters, long sleeves, leggings and boots are definitely comfortable. My sister in law adopted the same concept that seems to be a trend of decorating with multiple smaller Christmas trees rather than one enormous one. This is great idea because you can have themed trees. I love it!
On Christmas morning we did our traditional trip to the gas station restaurant, Tacos Frescos and brought back tacos for everyone. I had a tortilla-less taco with egg, cheese, chicken, onions and peppers. I was happy to stay keto on this trip and even brought peanut butter truffles (sugar free). They were messy to make and they were worth it! More family came over and we had a house filled with 19 people. Needless to say we were spread out through the kitchen and living area with plates of ham, brussel sprouts, asparagus, potatoes, beans and rolls. I added arugula and cherry tomatoes as well as a tablespoon of spinach dip to my plate and really enjoyed that combination with the ham.
Afterwards we exchanged more gifts and headed back home to pick up my sweetest best friend so that we could happily snuggle ❤ Merry Christmas and peace to all!