Treat Yo Self

Part of my budgeting for the family, is to make sure that while we’re paying the bills and doing all the responsible things that “adulting” has to offer, we all have a TRS column on the spreadsheet.

TYS- that’s right, Treat Yo Self

Unlike Donna and Tom, it’s not a free for all that happens on the best day of the year… but a monthly little sumthin sumthin. It helps to keep all that crazy spending, a little more reeled in. And a monthly something special, helps us all stay more on track with our financial goals overall.

So, WHAT do I like as a TYS goodie or thing?

Here’s a few of my personal favorites:

These are just a few things that I like to do every once in a while to remind myself that while being continually conscious of what we spend and how we spend it… that it’s ok to have a little fun along the way. I think by having the availability to spend just a little bit of money on myself every month, I don’t feel so restricted with having a budget.

How does Josh treat himself? That’s pretty easy. He likes a good bottle of Bourbon, Scotch or Whiskey. So, once a month he finds a bottle to add to his ever changing collection. Recently he bought a new pair of shoes! There’s even been talk of him crashing the mani/pedi party and getting his nails done!

Lizzy has very similar TYS tastes like me. <3 She’s also at the age where she’s getting interested in jewelry and handbags!

Bernie- new furriend – Thumper and Sebastian at the Gentlemen’s Club

Even the PUGS have recently had a TYS moment. What happens at the PugSpa stays at the PugSpa. BOL!!

It’s not a work hard play harder mentality… it’s an earn it and appreciate it way of life.

SO… what do you do to treat yo self? I wanna know!

I want to Rent a Finn

2019 has begun a year of personal change and challenge; personal growth and acceptance. Creating goals and more importantly, having dreams.

It’s good to dream. Having dreams is just a gateway to making things happen.

Happiness does not come from searching for it, but by living. – Finnish saying

I’d like to think that I live a happy life. Working on fulfilling my goals; and reacquainting myself with some long lost dreams.

Somewhere along the way, I’ve shelved that bit of ambition, and have somehow masked my internal drive for the things that I’ve long forgotten… and focused more on everyone else. Partly a mom thing, partly a me thing: fear of succeeding, or fear of failing.

Now it’s more a fear of do-ing, coupled with laziness, and a bit of lack of direction.

Happiness is a place between too little and too much. – Finnish Proverb

I believe that I am right there, in the in-between.

Now, how to make sure it’s the right place?

Finland has been voted as the happiest country in the world for the second year in a row. There’s even an interesting “Visit Finland” travel campaign happening right now.

Part of our 3 year family plan, is to start gathering information about all the places we would like to visit once we are in a position to “WORLD SCHOOL” during part of LP’s upcoming high school years.

Because of this, I’ve somehow entered into a vortex of interesting opportunities, via the internet.

Finland is known as a place of beauty and nature, and a slower, more deliberate pace of life and interacting with others. Sounds good to me.

Back to renting a Finn… so here’s another really interesting opportunity that I’ve happened upon and well, WHY NOT APLPY to this 3 day travel sabbatical?

The details: there are 8 different hosts that are opening up their homes, to entertain and educate some lucky chosen guests to learn more about the Finnish way of life and living. Travel and accommodations are covered, all else would be on our own dime. This might be a solo jen-cation, or a family thing. I think it would be a really cool experience either way. (And a great way to test the waters of international travel- which we’ve all been chatting about at the Sherman house since the beginning of the year.)

I’ve been compiling a list of about 100 cities all over the world that we would all like to learn about, visit and experience. And yes, Finland (Helsinki, Archipelago and Rovaniemi – Santa’s hometown) is actually on our list of places to see; this would definitely be amazing opportunity.

Finland is big on nature: there’s snowcapped mountains, northern lights, blue flowers (bluebonnets like Texas) seaside locations, clean lakes, forests filled with lush tall trees coupled with nature and wildlife. It just looks so picturesque and peaceful. *and midnight summer sun? That seems like something to see!

Suburban life here in ATX has afforded us a lot of amenities, and is an easy lifestyle of abundance and accessibility. Everything is super convenient. Right now I’m searching for a different kind of abundance, the kind that money can’t exactly buy, but that can fill our hearts and minds with experiences and memories.

On my list of things to do this week: create a 3 minute video and submit my application. Anything is possible!

A sea of blue amidst the hills in Texas

Springtime in Texas is so pretty.

Fortunate for us, we home school, so taking time to actually stop and smell the flowers, is part of our science lesson plans. Our primary focus this year is to learn about the state we live in, visit places along our journey, and add some science and agriculture information!

One of my favorite things this time of the year, are the blue bonnets.

photo by josh: Texas boot

Scattered all along the road side, across the towns, and among the hills are the prettiest little blue flowers. These lupines are not just spotted here in Texas, but can be seen in many parts of the world. I just love that Texas has made sure to encourage the densely seeded landscape that blankets the hills so close to Austin.

Makes driving so much more pleasant. You almost don’t mind all the traffic.

josh took this one: that’s me, taking a picture…

I really don’t remember seeing this many wild flowers back home in Florida. And wildflowers are really important to our ecosystem. They’re not just there to look pretty. They help the bee population, which are useful for pollination of other plants, and to make honey.

photo by LP – honey bee at work

Of course we don’t just have bluebonnets dotting the roadside. So many pretty wild flowers blossom and bloom during springtime. There are fields with white poppies, red Indian paintbrush, wine-cups, pink primrose, yellow star, lantana and thistle. (just to name a few)

Since we’re trying to get outdoors a bit more, and enjoy this beautiful weather, we decided to take a little family road trip to visit some of the pretty bluebonnet fields. It was a great time, just chatting in the car and visiting a few small towns along the way.

Texas is so big and vast, there’s so much to see and experience. Definitely can’t see it all in a day! LOL

Along the way we spotted cattle, steer, longhorn and even spotted Bison grazing in a field next to a road stop. Of course we tracked a path to take a snap. Texas has so much farm and ranching land. I like to see the livestock out roaming. along the way we also got to see cattle roaming freely in the fields speckled with white and blue.

We each took many photos of different areas. Spent the majority of our time in an area called the Willow City Loop – Texas Hill Country Trail. It was a near perfect day. The weather was so nice, and we disconnected from our phones (except to navigate and snap pics), and experienced a lot of fresh air.

I’m hoping we can plan a few more days like this, now that the weather is starting to warm up a bit and the flowers are popping up.

Lent 2019- the half way mark!

We are officially at the half way point of LENT, so I wanted to do a little check in to let you know how it’s going.

Yesterday, I threw in the towel, I’m off the wagon. I went to McD’s and got a cheese burger. I’m not going to say that it’s been an easy challenge for me, not at all!

I will say that I’m still going to attempt to eat less meat over the next few weeks, but I know I’ve not completed the challenge or task at hand as a complete success.

So yes, I failed. (and I’m ok with that.)

Here’s what’s been happening at the Sherman House:

For starters, the whole reason we decided to go meatless during lent was brought on by just being in a “food rut”. I was bored with cooking dinner, and pretty much fell into making the same kind of meals. Nothing horrible, but also nothing exciting or noteworthy. This eating vegetarian thing was merely a way to get way out of our comfort zones, to HAVE to find new things to prepare for dinner… and get a few new ideas on what to make.

THANK GOODNESS I FOUND A LOOP HOLE.

SO although this was to be a 30 day meatless challenge, as you probably read in my previous post, we chose to do this challenge during Lent since it gave us a definitive beginning and end point. Lent is 40 day, so we thought an additional 10 days of eating meatless wouldn’t be too difficult. THEN I DID THE MATH… The season of Lent is actually 46 days.

The loop hole: Sunday is a feast day.

We began our vegetarian journey on Wednesday 6 March 2019.

We ate meatless for our anniversary on 10 March… opting for a delicious spinach salad (minus the bacon) and it was really good. Of course I would have loved a steak, and had I known about the Sunday MEATDAY loop hole, then that celebratory meal could have been a bit more bacony!

Fast forward to Sunday 17 March and LP and I finally utilized said loophole and got some actual meat. We went to a local bar where I opted for a burger, which was lackluster, and she wanted chicken tenders. Nothing major, but I did add bacon to the burger, which was the highlight! That evening I opted for chicken pad se-ew and that was pretty darned tasty.

Then back on the vegetables!

By the middle of the week LP was done. THURSDAY 21 MARCH, we decided that she could opt out and go back to her more normal eating habits.

Sunday, 24 March, I had a few chicken nuggets for dinner. Nothing major and they weren’t delicious like the ones from Chick-fil-A…

Then more non meat foods… until yesterday!

Now that it’s the midway point, I’m not happy. I’m kinda cranky. Others in the house are a little more crankier than usual. I don’t want to point that out, and site that they probably would be a bit happier if they would just eat a damn burger- however, I foresee him managing to get through all the way to lent without issue.

Now for the positive stuff. Here’s what we’ve learned from this challenge.

My new favorite protein for taco night is a “meatless crumble” from a company called LightLife. It also makes one heck of a believable faux-meat-loaf. Also fried rice with tofu, although a lot of prep work, is a family favorite. Our friend raises chickens, so we’ve been buying eggs and making a weekly quiche and that’s been a hit.

We have another 3 weeks of Lent, and since one of us is still eating meatless, I’ll be making dinners as a meatless meal, and have meat, at lunch if I have a hankering for it. Hopefully a few new favorite recipes will be added to our ever growing dinner ideas.

It’s definitely been a little extra work in the kitchen, but it’s been an interesting experience. Just not for me.

I think, If we weaned ourselves off meat, but cutting one protein out at a time, or gradually went meatless every other day, I would have had a more successful outcome. But I knew this was going to be difficult. The headache yesterday still lingers. Maybe I need another burger.

Truthfully though, I’m ready for it to be done. I’ve actually gained 5 pounds with all the extra beans and rice + a bit of bloating… totally not a fan. I also have been noticing that I’m craving more snack foods, especially salty stuff… again adding to the water retention and my increased weight gain.

Main take-away is we’ll be making sure to continue sourcing more meatless meal ideas; and will be eating meatless (hopefully) 2 days a week.

So if you’re reading this and have tried going vegetarian or have some meatless meal ideas, feel free to share with me! 🙂

Beauty can Morphe you into something beautiful!

Morphe Cosmetics is a beauty brand that offers quality products that garner the approval of many makeup artists, at a price-point anyone can afford.

What began as a makeup brush company, Morphe has literally morphed and created a full beauty line. Between makeup artists and beauty influencers, Morphe has become a well know makeup brand and has amazing brushes. They have collabed with some mega youtube famous makeup gurus, and presented some awesome – super sought-after items. HOT HOT HOT!

Want your makeup to look great? You need great brushes. Yes, I’m a firm believer in make-up brushes. I never liked those little sponge tip applicators. Want to FEEL like a makeup artist? Then your face is a blank canvas, awaiting a brush to stroke on some color! GET TO IT!

Want eye shadow that blends so smoothly? LIKE BUTTAH!! You need to get your hands on a Morphe palette STAT. On the market and hard to find (always sold out) is the James Charles #sisters “Release Your Inner Artist” palette. I have one in my hot little hands! YEP- one for me, one for LaPetite, and a few extras to sell.

This eye shadow palette has some really great colors. Lots of variety, and creativity can happen, thanks to James’ genius color story and tutorials on line. I really like the palette as a whole, I can create some great evening looks, and can play around with some wilder looks. I do wish there were just one of the larger pans dedicated to a light nude matte color. I’m older now, so I don’t use shimmer all over, I don’t need to be seen from outer space. LOL

They also have lip color. While I do adore their color selection, I feel the glosses don’t have the staying power I’m used to with other products. Their lipsticks go on super rick, and have great pigment. But, the price is right for either product!

Their cheek palettes are great too. I love having options. There’s cool or warm palettes in 3 or 8 color combinations.

Morphe JUST RECENTLY launched a 55 shade foundation and concealer line. It’s pretty amazing, they have really paid attention to their consumers and have a great selection of foundations for EVERY SKIN TONE.

I think as a parent, getting the kiddo into makeup that is on trend, and affordable is the way to go; skip the walgreens and cvs – and order from Morphe!

*Morphe has not sponsored this post, however if they’d like to contact me to do a more in-depth product review of their stuff- HIT ME UP! 🙂

Frankly darling, hit the deck Scarlet!

Deck of Scarlet, a curated makeup palette subscription. If you’re always looking for a palette that “has it all in one place” then this is for you. I jumped onto the Deck of Scarlet product the month it was launched. There’s been a few tweaks along the way, and their products are never the same. In a good way though! Each month (their subscription began as an every other month service) a newly curated makeup collection is presented. You choose which ones you would like to have delivered, and which to skip. You have options! 🙂 (You can opt for a monthly subscription, or every other month selection, and choose to have a palette delivered or to skip a palette.)

The price? Just 29.95 a month! Not too shabby.

Now what do you get and how about the product itself?

EVERY palette in their collection contains:

  • 3 eye shadows
  • 2 cheek/face colors (blush, highlighter etc)
  • 2 lip colors
  • sometimes there’s an added *bonus item (like lip liner, eye liner, glow gloss)

Many of these collections are curated by different online makeup artist, usually found on Youtube. Some of the looks are bold, daring and I’d dare to say avant-garde. I really like the eyeshadows as a whole, the colors go on smooth, and blend pretty well. Texture of the cheek colors is nice, the lip gloss can sometimes be a little thick.

What I’ve noticed is that, the 3 eye colors are usually ALL medium toned, so for me there’s not a lot I can accomplish with the palette, being fair skinned. I have a few different collections, and so for as excited as I am to see them and use them, I feel they sometimes miss the mark with presenting a color story that can be used 100% without a few things from my personal collection. I do sometimes use the cheek color on my eyes, to make-do.

What I really like about DoS is that they’re always putting out a new collection, so there’s variety. And although the monthly makeup palettes are “exclusive” many are still available for purchase after the month has passed. Every month you can have a different look, and really get out of your makeup rut with some fun and interesting looks.

They also have some good tutorials on their site to help you create the look! For the price, it’s really great! So I’m always intrigued with each palette. Best of all, I can decided what to get sent my way, and what to pass on.

So, if you’re intrigued, and searching for a palette use my referral link and get started for 29.95. With summer fast approaching, you’re bound to be traveling somewhere, and the DoS palettes are a great thing to take along. You’ll have pretty much a complete look at your fingertips in one handy little palette!

Homeschool SPRING BREAK 2019

Spring Break is something ALL kids are excited about. Yes, even homeschool kids.

Many people think that homeschooling is just sitting around in your PJ’s all day playing video games with your on line friends.

Sure, for some homeschooling families, that’s life… but not us.

We’re pretty much focused on doing lesson plans, there’s 170 of them. Similar to a traditional school system. Our focus is on Reading, Writing, Math, Language Arts, and Spelling. History and science is usually covered in our reading plans. We’re also learning about our state, again, part of our reading lessons- and part of our “outings and field-trips”.

There’s a misconception that homeschoolers are “always on vacation” and that they don’t have to do any real work. Sure I’m not big on diagraming sentences, because that’s just ludicrous… I mean when are you going to be sitting around with friends, or at a job, and NEED to diagram a sentence? That’s just silliness; but the kiddo knows all the parts of a speech and can label the hell out of a sentence!

Do we have spring break? Well, sometimes yes, and other years no. It really all depends on what we have going on at the time. That’s part of the beauty of homeschooling, having the freedom to school when you want to, and to take time off when you need to.

This year, Spring Break 2019, the kiddo has been learning about the land and animals. She’s been spending time in the great outdoors, at a friend’s farm, helping out. So even though she’s getting “time off from schoolwork” she’s still working and having fun, it’s still a learning experience.

BONUS= fresh air and animals!

So, what do you do during spring break to keep busy, have fun and always be learning?

Wake up, grab a brush and put a little makeup!

Here are a few of my general “rules” for using
color on your skin. Your face is a blank canvas.
Like a great painter or makeup artist, it’s a
good idea to understand a little bit about
color theory.

Things to remember:

  • light colors bring things forward
  • deeper tones set things back
  • matte works best in the eye crease
  • not everything needs to be shimmery
  • learning to blend is important
  • contouring can alter how you look, over contouring can make you look like a clown
  • find a good blush, I lean towards something neutral
  • brows are important
  • don’t forget to line your eyes

I know, it all sounds like an awful lot of little things and steps to do. Putting yourself together can be done in under 5 minutes. Really, my every day look is to wear a tinted moisturizer, prime and powder my eyes, a little liner, mascara and brow gel, and swipe a bit of gloss. This is not my look to get me free drinks, it’s my look to not scare everyone that I’m a walking “mom-bie”!

Eye shadow and trying to “figure it all out”… always 
begin with eye primer. Your shadow colors will look more true 
and primer reduces creases. In fact on lazy days, a little primer and a swipe of powder will help you look more rested!

I think cheeks & lips need to walk hand in hand. That
basically means, cool cheek color = cool lip color… 
warm cheek = warm lip. Makes sense. 

About cheeks, as I’ve gotten older and my face is a bit rounder, blush placement is less on the apples of my cheeks. I set it back a bit and a little higher. Gives a more “pulled back” and youthful look.

Liner… line your eyes (I like a soft brown for my no makeup look) top line and bottom line. Smudge it out so you don’t have a harsh line. Lips, Using a shade just one shade darker than your natural lip color and a little lip color will brighten your face. I like something that’s a true lipstick, nothing too matte, otherwise your lips will look dry. Gloss is great, Dab a bit in the center of your bottom lip, press and go. It always makes me feel pretty.

Foundation, I usually lean towards a tinted moisturizer for my face. Just something that will do a little color correction for my completion. I’m not looking to wear a full face of makeup every day, and when I do it’s usually not a full coverage foundation. Most important thing it to find a product that also offers a bit of sun protection!

Tools, yes like a great painter, a makeup artist usually has tools. Think of applying makeup like paining a canvas. Using decent brushes can make a BIG difference. One thing to remember, dirty brushes are bad for your health and won’t give you the best results when applying your makeup. wash them! I do mine weekly.

Ok of course there’s so much more to makeup. You have to do what works best for you. Just remember, practice makes perfect!


MEATLESS for Lent

Those who know me, are aware that I like to eat. I love a good medium rare steak. Josh makes delicious marsala chicken. Oh sushi, how I’ll miss you. I can sear scallops that would make chef Gordon Ramsey a very proud man. And then there’s BACON, Oh bacon how I adore your salty yumminess.

We’re not overly religious, however we ARE always up for a mini challenge. SO… the family is going meatless for Lent.

  • What about our anniversary dinner? NOPE!
  • What about corned beef for St Patty’s day? NOPE, NOPE.
  • And pizza night, no pepperoni pizza on Friday? NOPE. NOPE. NOPE…


I know, what are we thinking? No meat for 40 days and 40 nights?


We’ve decided to take on a challenge of going meatless, and since Lent is right around the corner, we figured it would be a good time to coordinate.


We’re not taking this challenge on for financial or medical reasons, however I know that once we start doing some more traveling in the upcoming years, there will be meatless times. This will be a good test for us to see if we can do it.


It’s going to be an interesting challenge. Over the next couple of nights, I’ll be using up most of the meat in the freezer- while planning out the next 40 nights of our torture  meal plans. LOL 😉

This means: no secret burgers, secret sushi, or secret BBQ of any kind. Did I mention we live in TEXAS? Once Lent has passed, we’re smoking a big brisket!

If you have an amazing meatless main course, please share in the comments below. I’m looking for some good recipes for the next 40 days and 40 nights! <3

**EDIT-  on 3/12 I just learned that the Lent season
is actually 46 days! Oh no!! However, every Sunday
is considered a "feast day." This means we can have
meat on Sunday if we choose, which will definitely
make it a little easier to be "mostly meatless"
But now this has me thinking back to when I was a
kid and gave up sweets for Lent.
Had I done the math, I would have seen an error
in the numbers!! :p

Outlook Good! #manifest

Month #2 is nearing an end. Goodbye February, you’ve been grand.

WOW 2019, so many new doors and opportunities, combined with a new goals and projects, have graciously presented themselves to me over the past two months.

Whether one or 2 or three, or even NONE of these gifts ever come to fruition- it’s nice to have a reminder that it’s more than OK to dream.

So where to begin?

This year I’ve been taking an abundance mentality, and looking to view things in a positive light. I’m manifesting what I want. Asking the universe to give it to me. Sure… I’m still waiting for those winning lottery, powerball and mega millions numbers to land in my hand, but until then, I’m winning at the game of life.

It sounds like crazy talk, right?

It’s not, I’m definitely not certifiable, and no drugs or daily meds! I’m just honestly envisioning how I want my life to go, and opening myself up to all the possibilities that are offered along the way. Which is sometimes… eye opening.

Manifesting!

Earlier in mid January, I came across 2 articles/blog posts – that gave me a brilliant idea.

APPLY! (so I did)

So what on earth have I applied to?

One application is for a summer sabbatical in Grottole Italy. OMGosh, I have visions of me as an Italian version of Belle in Beauty and the Beast… singing in a quaint village. There’s hills, red wine, olive groves, bees and sunflower fields, some guy named Andrea that is hosting this thing, oh and nonna Rosa- who will teach me how to make pasta athentico! It would be an entire summer drenched in the Italian sun. Wishful thinking, but dreams can come true. Only 4 people out of like 30K applicants will be selected.

Have I mentioned any where that 4 is my lucky number?

Grottole, Italy

Around the same time, I read about a TAP (Travel Access Project) Gap Year grant. This is a $3K grant to be given to 10 selected applicants. This project is open to anyone regardless of age or student status… so why the heck not! The money can be used towards a travel project of my choice. Of course if all the stars are aligned and I were to be selected for BOTH– well then that would be like winning the lottery for sure. If Grottole isn’t meant to be, then I’d use the TAP for a family trip to DC in the fall.

Even my abundance and manifesting mentality is shared by Josh. He’s sent in his Ycomb application, and this time he’s doing it solo! I was so surprised, proud and amazed with his application video. This time, it just feels right. (Third time’s a charm.) My fingers, toes and eyes are crossed that he will be selected for the interview and be offered funding this session. Of course it would mean he would be in California for the summer, working on his platform, business and product… but how amazing would THAT be? Josh would finally be building his company!!! (p.s. I KINDA miss palm trees and the salty sea air.) #S2019

Yesterday, a possible PT job opportunity was offered. Pay is more than minimum wage, and I’d be working around 15- 18 hours a week. This position would be 2 or 3 days a week, from 2:30-8:30pm. I’d be missing dinner time and stuff, and I would have to tighten up my availability and schedule for EVERYTHING else in life. That extra money would mean paying off the SUV even sooner. I’m definitely considering it. But if it doesn’t work out with scheduling, it’s not a big deal.

I wasn’t looking for a job, but maybe the universe is trying to tell me something? SO I’m remaining open to all options and possibilities. I have a few new projects that I have begun and right now I’m considering everything. Wondering how I can best manage my time to do everything.

Grottole and TAP and Ycomb – should they ALL happen – would be great gifts from the universe. Wouldn’t that be FABULOUS? It would a “pazzo serendipitous trifecta!”

What a life changing summer it could be for us all.

Until then, I have 4 months of staying focused on life, budget, goals and yes, dreams. <3