Bloom Where You're Planted

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Blooming but dreaming… February 9, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — modernmanners @ 2:56 pm

So the spirit of Bloom where you are planted is of trying to be content where God has you in your life’s journey and also one of not just surviving that time, but thriving in that time. In general, people tend to fall into one of the following categories. They either look back often, they think only of the present moment (and generally live hedonisticly because of it), or they live for the future, totally missing the moment they are in.

I definitely am in the last category. I am always planning, always dreaming, always living for the day when…This is one of the primary reasons that I have to be careful about planning for the future. I very easily can be so caught up in what life will be like when…that I miss today. This wonderful, God-chosen, moment that I am in today.

I am not incredibly happy about my current job, and I wish I could become a full-time homemaker. I dream of this (and goals and aspirations are not a bad thing), but God has placed me in this job and for whatever reason (sometimes I don’t understand it, but let’s not forget that He knows), I am here. And I can whine about it, and fuss, but I am neglecting a day on this earth that I have been given.

So today I am going to choose to be happy for what I have been given. I have not been given the gift of children yet or the gift of being able to stay home as a homemaker, but I have been given the gift of more time with my husband and more freedom to love my parents well. I have been given the gift of a greater income while we wait. I have been given the gift of free-time! There are moments when I am not so busy that I can sleep in a bit, or read a book, or watch TV. So I am going to choose today (each day is a struggle to remember this) to bloom where I have been planted!


Half and Half… February 5, 2012

Filed under: Home Decor — modernmanners @ 6:28 pm
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When I first purchased my townhouse in 2007, I was short on funds and had to limit the number of special upgrades. I was single and only making a teacher’s salary, so buying my own home was a real challenge/blessing to begin with. I knew that people were really beginning to like the stainless steel look for kitchen appliances (it only takes a little bit of exposure to HGTV to see that), but they were a bit more expensive than black or white at the time, and I saw it more as a fad than a real consistent trend in home design. So…I picked out white appliances.

White Refrigerator

My style (like most people’s) is a little hodge-podgey. I like the country look, but hate clutter, so I like things to look light and airy, but don’t want a bunch of tchotchkes sitting around. (I am currently reading Organized Simplicity by Tsh Oxenreider and it really challenges you to question each and every item in your house).  I like for things to look rich (while not actually costing a lot of money, but we’ll save that for another post…) and snappy.  I chose white appliances because they are “light and airy” looking and tend to match a lot of the light colors I have decorated with throughout the very open floor plan of the downstairs. But, if I am being honest, they look neither “rich” nor “snappy”.

I don’t think that my kitchen looks bad with white, but having visited some of the other townhouses around me, I would leave thinking that their houses look so much better than mine (no typical female comparison issues here) and I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Then later, after having mulled it over, I realized that I liked the snappy/fancy look that their stainless steel appliances were providing.

So that is where my journey to stainless steel began.

Now let me be clear. One of the reasons I have started this blog is because I wanted a place to document my REAL life. And in my REAL life, we are currently trying to save enough cash to purchase a new-to-us car for my husband’s car service business. (He drives high-end clients to and from corporate functions and to the airport). It is important that we pay cash because having a loan on a commercial vehicle is very challenging. So EVERY extra penny that I can squeeze out of our budget is pretty much going into savings for the car.

My mother-in-law however is a very good thrift shopper and she has managed over the last 6 months to find two different stainless steel appliances for our kitchen at the Habitat Re-store in our town. Both appliances have been virtually unused prior to her finding them, and both of them were being offered at a small fraction of the price of brand new ones.

So may I present to you my “half and half” kitchen….

My lovely new stainless microwave

Half and Half

Living in a non-matchy/matchy world is a little bothersome to me. I mean in some ways, this is worse than having an all white matching kitchen. But life is a journey, right? And it is simply not an option to purchase all-new appliances just because I now am onboard the stainless train. So I am on a journey to stainless, and right now I am half way there!


What about you? Do you prefer stainless? White? Perhaps all black appliances?


Broccoli and Cheddar Soup Recipe February 4, 2012

Filed under: Recipes — modernmanners @ 11:39 pm

I have purchased many cook books in the last few years since I got married. Sadly, some of them have not produced even one good recipe and so they have been resold or passed on for others to try at Goodwill. However, there is one cookbook that I have found very useful since I began my cooking journey. The title is Cooking Light: The essential dinner tonight cookbook.


Cooking Light The Essential Dinner Tonight Cookbook: Over 350 delicious, easy, and healthy meals


Here is the most recent recipe I have tried from the book. I really like it and have made it twice since discovering it. It has lots of nutrients because it contains a whole bag of broccoli! I am a little leery of the processed cheese, because ultimately anything “processed” has been doctored up by humans. The quickness and relative healthiness of the recipe outweighs the con of the processed cheese. We have not had a bad winter here in North Carolina (it hasn’t snowed or iced once!), but sometimes there is still joy found in a warm bowl of hardy soup! Bon Appetit!

Broccoli and Cheese Soup


Cooking Spray

1 c chopped onion

2 garlic cloves, minced

3 cups fat-free, less sodium chicken broth

1 (16-ounce) package broccoli florets

2 1/2 c 2% reduced-fat milk

1/3 c all purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

8 oz. light processed cheese, cubed (such as Velveeta Light)


Heat a large non-stick saucepan over medium-high heat; coat with cooking spray. Add onion and garlic; saute 3 minutes or until tender. Add broth and broccoli, and bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium; cook 10 minutes.

Combine milk and flour, stirring with a whisk until well blended. Add milk mixture to broccoli mixture. Cook 5 minutes or until slightly thick, stirring constantly. Stir in Pepper. Remove from heat; add cheese, stirring until cheese melts.

If desired:

Place one-third of soup in a blender or food processor, and process until smooth. Return pureed soup mixture to pan. Yield: 6 servings  of 1 1/2 cups each.