Let Us Begin and Begin Again

In the parlor of Hathorn Hall

In the parlor of Hathorn Hall

Hey, y’all! Welcome to Sweet Sorghum Living–a place to sit a spell with a good cup of coffee and enjoy good conversation about everything from gluten-free goodies to handmade goodness. Today on the blog, I am chatting about my outfit of the week and why it is special.

Normally, I do not blog about fashion–for a lot of reasons. Mainly, because I do not like having my photo taken and because I struggle with finding my style. I have read so many blog posts that tell people to dress however they want at any age, but I am very Southern and very rooted in looking sweet and classy with a touch of sassy. Besides, I really have no desire to shop in teen stores, and I do not want to wear a graphic tee that says “You Got More Issues Than Vogue” or “He’s Got the Pole I’ve Got the Bobbers” (even though I am digging the saying of the last one–and I don’t even fish–I did a few times when I was a kid….).

What I am saying is…I like the fact that I am over 40 because that means I survived my 20s and 30s. I don’t want to go back to those days, and and I do not want to look like I am trying to. I just want to be sweet and classy with a touch of sassy *wink*

Mattie and I just sitting a spell on the porch swing.

Mattie and I just sitting a spell on the porch swing.

Do I sometimes think about the body I had when I was younger or the face that I had that was fine-lines free? Sure. But then I think about how far I have come as a person.  And I am happy with who I am and where I am going.

20150518_164207_resizedAs I have mentioned before, I have lost a good bit of weight since my Celiac diagnosis. And because of this, I have been able to shop in my own closet for clothes, and that feels good. It is not that I am a clothes hoarder, but I have kept a few items over the years that I really love…hoping that either I could wear them again or that Abby would add them to her ever-growing vintage collection. I am happy to say that I am wearing those dresses, skirts, pants, and shirts again. So, today on the blog, I wanted to show off one of my favorite dresses from the past + sport my new custom necklace by Lisa Hamilton of beadsoul.

I love my new charm necklace from beadsoul because it reminds me that I did have the courage to begin, and there are no limits to how many times I can begin again. So, today, let us all begin…to do something we have been putting off…to repair that relationship that is broken…to open that Etsy shop…to start writing that book…but let us BEGIN *big smile*

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Giving Mommy sweet kisses because Mattie is a Sweetie Wheatie *smile*

Giving Mommy sweet kisses because Mattie is a Sweetie Wheatie *smile*

Sometimes, Mattie and I just chat about the meaning of life and what new bows she wants from

Sometimes, Mattie and I just chat about the meaning of life and what new bows she wants from CuteNCurlyBowtique on Etsy.

I am still not sure if I am fully comfortable with having my photo taken, but I am getting there. If I managed to conquer the selfies, I can surely conquer posing without a selfie stick *wink*

20150518_164410_resized_1Thanks so much for sitting a spell with me today. If you decided to begin a project or  new career or anything else that you have been wanting to do–please let us know in the comment section because we would love to say a big congrats and be your cheerleaders *big smile*

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Thanks to some sweet encouragement I finally had the courage to begin my Etsy shop. A big thanks to Tracy of Sincerely Yours by Tracy for designing me some sweet thank you notes, story cards, and tags for my shop!

Thanks to some sweet encouragement, I finally had the courage to begin my Etsy shop. A big thanks to Tracy of Sincerely Yours by Tracy for designing me some sweet thank you notes, story cards, and tags for my shop!

Fabulous Finds Friday: A Few of My Favorite Etsy Shops

Mattie is happy that y'all have decided to sit a spell with us today *smile*

Mattie is happy that y’all have decided to sit a spell with us today *smile*

Hey, y’all! Welcome to Sweet Sorghum Living–a place to sit a spell with a good cup of coffee and enjoy good conversation about everything from gluten-free goodies to DIY projects. Today on the blog, we are chatting about a few of my favorite Etsy shops. With Mother’s Day and graduations right around the corner, this blog will help narrow down that shopping list *smile*

IMG_20150313_134529I wish there were a scratch-and-sniff button because y’all would be just as in love with HOLLYBEEZ as I am! Here are my favorite things that she currently has in her shop. Don’t wait long because these darling candles won’t be there long!

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Scarf by ForgottenCotton and Summer Bucket List notepad, coffee time stationery, and Dream It card by SincerelyYours by Tracy

ForgottenCotton is my go-to shop for scarves. Recently, I got a pretty blue-striped one that is lightweight enough to wear during spring, but still has enough weight to keep those blustery days from making me chilly! What I love about ForgottenCotton is they are a husband and wife team who create all of their items in their shop in Wyoming. They do not outsource any of their process to factories or outside manufacturing. They are 100% quality Handmade in America. You just can’t beat that! To learn more about this fabulous Etsy shop, check out Abby’s VIP interview here and Sixteen & Successful interview here.

I love my coffee themed stationery by SincerelyYours by Tracy!

I love my coffee themed cardsy by SincerelyYours by Tracy!

Tracy of SincerelyYours has totally inspired me to get my writing on + her notepads have helped me organize all the sticky notes I have stuck everywhere! This darling Etsy shop offers personalized notepads, stationery, thank you notes, baby notecards as well as custom greeting cards, gift tags , business stationery and so much more! To learn more about Tracy, check out the Sixteen & Successful interview here. Once you visit her shop, you will be ready to get your writing on *big smile*

I cannot wait to share with y'all the darling things that Tracy designed for me for my online shop--which is coming soon *fingers crossed*

I cannot wait to share with y’all the darling things that Tracy designed for me to use in packaging my art pieces for my online shop–which is coming soon *fingers crossed*

I recently discovered an adorable Etsy shop–CuteNCurlyBowtique–how adorable is that name! This cute “bowtique” has the most adorable bows–yes, they are hair bows–but I got Mattie one for her collar, and it is perfect. Yes, I am that dog parent *wink*

Mattie is a huge fan of handmade, and these bows are 100% handmade with love.

Mattie modeling her new bow.

Mattie modeling her new bow.

Thanks so much for sitting a spell with me today as we chatted about a few of my favorite Etsy shops. What are some of your favorite Etsy shops and why? Be sure to let us know in the comment section!

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Tips for Keeping Your Sofa Looking and Smelling Like New

Lucy (who sheds enough for three dogs) and Mattie (who doesn't shed at all)

Lucy (who sheds enough for three dogs) and Mattie (who doesn’t shed at all)

Hey, y’all! Welcome to Sweet Sorghum Living–a place to sit a spell with a good cup of coffee and enjoy good conversation about everything from home renovation to handmade goodness. Today on the the blog, we are chatting cleaning tips.

I am often asked how I keep my furniture looking like new and smelling so fresh when there are three furbabies running around and living inside my house. My tips and tricks are actually pretty basic and easy to do.

Mattie taking a snooze break on the sofa in the master bedroom.

Mattie taking a snooze break on the sofa in the master bedroom.

You will only need four items to keep your furniture looking new and smelling fresh–vacuum cleaner, lint roller, baby wipes, and Febreze. For best results, clean your sofa and fabric chairs twice per month. I clean mine more during “pollen season” and when it is wet outside.

Just a few items and a little bit of time to keep your furniture fresh.

Just a few items and a little bit of time to keep your fabric furniture fresh.

Check out my quick tip video for more details on how to keep those fabric sofas and chairs looking and smelling like new.

Step-by-Step Cleaning Guide

1. Vacuum the entire piece of furniture. Be sure to remove the cushions and get in all the nooks and crannies.

2. Go over the chair or sofa with the lint roller.

3. Wipe the sofa/chair with baby wipes. Go in one direction and then another. It may take several wipes to get it all clean.

4. Spray the sofa/chair with Febreze being sure to follow the instructions on the bottle.

To protect my sofa/chairs, I toss quilts/blankets on them. I realize that a lot of folks out there are frowning upon the fact that I allow my dogs on my sofas–but they are more than “dogs” to me. They are members of my family, and they enjoy lounging while watching Big Bang *wink*

Ziva taking a little nap on the sofa in the family room.

Ziva taking a little nap on the sofa in the family room. Notice the quilt that is covering the sofa. When it gets dirty (because those giant paws are going to get something dirty), I simply wash it. Sofa protected and momma happy *smile*

Thanks so much for sitting a spell with me today as we chatted about tips for keeping those fabric sofas and armchairs looking and smelling like new.

Do you have any special tips or tricks for keeping your furniture looking like new? We would love to hear about them, so please feel free to post them in the comment section.

Are you keeping up with us on Facebook and Instagram? If not, be sure to go like and follow us now  because you don't want to miss a moment of the randomness *smile*

Are you keeping up with us on Facebook and Instagram? If not, be sure to go like and follow us now because you don’t want to miss a moment of the randomness *smile*

Snow Days in Johnson City, Tennessee + Mattie (Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier)

Snow sprinkles on the front  porch swing

Snow sprinkles on the front porch swing

Hey, y’all! Welcome back to the blog! I am sorry that it has been a bit since I last posted. Y’all know how crazy life can be + all the snow and snowy mud has kept me busy mopping and bathing furbabies *smile* Thankfully, the snow is all gone, and we have had a few warmer, sunnier days. I don’t know about y’all, but I am soooo ready to get out in my yard and do some cleaning and gardening. *daydreaming moment*

20150224_102932_resizedBefore I share some of the snow days pictures, let me explain why it has been such a big deal and shock to my system. I am from the Deep South–the very heart of Mississippi. I have never seen so much snow at one time–much less for so long. This year, I saw my first snow plow and experienced negative temperatures. It was crazy cold, and everywhere I looked–I saw white. After experiencing all the snow, I have decided that it is just not me…it is pretty for a day or two…and those negative and single digit temps–definitely not for me!

I must admit that I whined a lot to the hubby about the snow and cold. I am not proud, but I just didn’t know how to act being trapped inside wearing all my sweatshirts and monitoring the temperature in the basement–hoping the temperature sensor wouldn’t sound. Any who…enough of my silly complaining. It is time to sit a spell with a good cup of coffee and look at snow days photos *smile*

Mattie had a really big time playing in the snow.

Mattie had a really big time playing in the snow.

Mattie is the only fan of snow in our house.

Mattie is the only fan of snow in our house.

Mattie taking a break from playing big.

Taking a break from playing big.

This photo of Hathorn Hall was taken on the first big snow day.

This photo of Hathorn Hall was taken on the first big snow day.

View of the front yard from the porch

View of the front yard from the porch–I love how pretty the bottle tree looks in the snow *smile*

Mattie's tracks in the snow *smile*

Mattie’s tracks in the snow *smile*

Bless poor Sugar's heart--it was her first big snow!

Bless poor Sugar’s heart–it was her first big snow!

This is the back parking pad and alley way.

This is the back parking pad and alley way.

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A view down the street

A view down the street

I had to capture this photo because I believe this is the first big icicle I have ever seen. We are not going to talk about how old I am--let's just say I am over 40, but less than 50 *wink*

Just had to capture this because it is the first big icicle I have ever seen. We are not going to talk about how old I am–let’s just say I am over 40, but less than 50 *wink*

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Abby and Mattie doing a little photo shoot in the snow for the Vintage Inspired Passionista blog.

Abby and Mattie doing a little photo shoot in the snow for the Vintage Inspired Passionista blog.

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Mattie working it for a close-up

Mattie working it for a close-up

Mattie growing tired of being still and wanting to play in the white fluff.

Mattie was growing tired of being still, and she was wanting to play in the white fluff. Be sure to head over to KM Designs on Etsy for absolutely adorable handmade dog collars.

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Mattie is done working for the day. Time to play *smile*

Mattie was done working for the day. It was time to play *smile*

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Thanks so much for sitting a spell with today as we took a look back at the snow days in Johnson City, Tennessee.

It's about 1:30 am here in Johnson City, and it is bright outside--not from the moon or street lamps...but from the reflectivity of the snow--which is on the ground and falling from the sky. The streets are covered in snow...with only a hint of tire tracks from a couple of cars that went by an hour ago. Looking out my window, everything looks so peaceful, beautiful, and clean. There's a crisp, fresh smell in the air and no noise. It is like God is speaking through it all saying "Be still and know...."

“It’s about 1:30 am here in Johnson City, and it is bright outside–not from the moon or street lamps…but from the reflectivity of the snow–which is on the ground and falling from the sky. The streets are covered in snow…with only a hint of tire tracks from a couple of cars that went by an hour ago. Looking out my window, everything looks so peaceful, beautiful, and clean. There’s a crisp, fresh smell in the air and no noise. It is like God is speaking through it all saying ‘Be still and know….'”–from my personal Facebook page on February 26, 2015

 

 

 

I Am That Parent

Mattie loves having her picture taken.

Mattie loves having her picture taken.

Hey, y’all! Welcome to Sweet Sorghum Living–a place to sit a spell with a good, hot cup of coffee and enjoy good conversation about everything from gluten-free snacks to DIY projects. Today on the blog, I wanted to share my fur babies with y’all–my distractions *wink* When people ask me how many children I have, I tell them one child and three fur babies–known as “The Girls”…bless the hubby’s heart…he is the only male in the house!

Ziva (Giant Schnauzer on the couch) and Mattie (Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier) were exhausted after their shopping trip to Pet Smart.

Ziva (Giant Schnauzer on the couch) and Mattie (Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier) were exhausted after their shopping trip to Pet Smart. Head over to the Instagram to see a video from their Pet Smart adventure.

The hubby and I are parents to an only child. And because of this, we have been asked a million times over the years when we were planning on having another child. Our response has always been the same–“We feel very blessed to have one healthy and happy child.” This, however, is not a satisfactory answer to the majority of those that have interrogated us about the baby topic. Bless, it all started when Abby was a toddler…and she is almost 19 now.

And they sleep...so sweetly.

And they sleep. Yes, I allow my dogs on the sofa…I just put quilts on the cushions…it is a win-win.

I don’t normally get into the real reasons why Abby is an only child. But let’s just say that my pregnancy was not an easy one…Abby was born about 5 weeks early…and she weighed a whopping 8 lbs and 13 oz. I was miserable and unhealthy the entire time I carried her. She is a miracle…it is a miracle I survived carrying her.

We have all seen Steel Magnolias.

I am not a selfish person–I try very hard not to put my needs above those of my little family’s. Abby needed a mom more than a sibling. And if people want to judge me for making that call–so be it. But don’t call me selfish because I didn’t want to risk my life and health for what others deem “normal” or “traditional”….

The hubby and I agreed that we were happy with one child–this decision was made with lots of prayer–and it was made between God, the hubby, and myself.

Look at the sweet face!

Look at the sweet face! Ziva is the needy one–but she keeps us entertained *smile*

It really boils my blood…actually raises my blood sugar…when women judge other women about having babies. Seriously? It is each woman’s choice on how many children she does and does not want to have or adopt. Yes, I have been told way more times that I want to think about–that the hubby and I should consider adoption since having a baby wasn’t an option. I think adoption is fabulous. But we did not want to adopt. We discussed it. We prayed about it. And believe it or not, we were happy being a family of three.

Lucy, who is almost 18 years old, has been with Abby almost her entire life. Abby dressed Lucy up, strolled her around, and had many conversations with Lucy.

Lucy, who is almost 18 years old, has been with Abby almost her entire life. Abby dressed Lucy up, strolled her around, and had many conversations with Lucy. And to this day, Abby makes time for Lucy–where they sit and chat about life.

I think that we as women are too quick to snap at other women about their decisions. For instance, I did not breastfeed *gasp…call the firing squad* and once again, I was called “selfish” because I was not doing what they considered best for my baby. No one ever asked me why…nope. I was just accused of being a bad mother because I wasn’t in the breastfeeding club. Did I ever try to explain to the judge and jurors why? No, because they had already made up their minds about me and my choice.

For the record, I have nothing against breastfeeding mothers. I admire and respect them. But at the same time, breastfeeding mothers shouldn’t have anything against moms who use formula + bottles. Love and respect for all *smile*

Mattie checking on Lucy after Lucy had a coughing spell.

Mattie checking on Lucy after Lucy had a coughing spell. About four years ago, the vet told us that Lucy would be lucky to live another six months. She proved him wrong…really wrong.

I hope y’all don’t think I am whining about my life and the well-meaning people that thought I should have had more children. I just wanted to share why my fur babies are so special and to let other women know that it is their decision on how many children to have or not to have…to let other families that do not fit the “norm” or “traditional” family model know that it is okay. Better to be happy than normal *wink*

Ziva is very proud of her new coat.

Ziva is very proud of her new coat. Notice the toy stuffing on the floor *smile* We got Ziva about three years ago for Abby because she really wanted her own puppy, and we needed a “guard” dog. I am not sure if Ziva has ever spent the night outside. She prefers beds, blankets, and fluffy pillows…but she is very alert and protective of her little family *smile*

It is in my humble opinion that we should not be quick to judge others because we do not know what they are going through….We as women should not criticize other women for deciding not to breastfeed or choosing to have only one child or no children. We should support each other…and be kind *smile*

Mattie showing off her new tutu.

Mattie showing off her new tutu. We all refer to Mattie as “the baby”–she loves to be held, snuggle, and give kisses. She makes a bad day better *smile*

Mattie working it for the camera.

Mattie working it for the camera.

"Is this my good side, Mom/"

“Is this my good side, Mom?”

Mattie know she is cute and has been milking her adorableness since we put the tutu on her.

Mattie knows she is cute and has been milking her adorableness since we put the tutu on her.

Thanks for sitting a spell with me today as we chatted about something that has been bothering me for a long time. It is my hope that we will be more supportive of families–no matter how many children are in them…that we will be understanding of women who have difficult decisions to make about having babies or breastfeeding…or staying single….It is time to stop the judging and start the healing.

P.S. I am super proud of my only child and all the things that she has accomplished. For more on the happenings of Abby, check out her blogs Vintage Inspired Passionista and Sixteen & Successful.

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Here and There with a Bit of This and That

A quick trip to Birmingham, Alabama with Abby for the Home + Remodeling Show.

A quick trip to Birmingham, Alabama with Abby for the Home + Remodeling Show.

Hey, y’all! Welcome to Sweet Sorghum Living. Today on the blog, we are chatting about lots of different things–from where I have been to what will be happening on SSL this week…”Good Lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise” *smile* These days I hate to make carved-in-stone plans because I never know what will come up to change them…sometimes good things like family coming to visit…sometimes not-so-good things like my AC unit freezing up and creating a small pool in the basement. No matter what happens, focus on the good and pray a lot!

Last week we had family come for a visit, so I took a little break from blogging to spend time with them. It was great to share the front porch and to sit a spell. During their visit, we all attended the John Cowan concert at Down Home in Johnson City. It was fun for all…However, I do wish they had a dance floor because I love to move around…I only like to sit for a spell…not for a couple of hours *wink*

Abby with John Cowan--be sure to check out her blog for more details.

Abby with John Cowan–be sure to check out her blog for more details.

This weekend my family added a new member, and we are very relieved that mommy and baby are doing good. Baby girl made an early appearance…and everyone is excited to have a baby to spoil! I am just upset that I did not get the door hanger finished! Tomorrow I will be back in the studio to wrap up a few projects *fingers crossed*

Last week I spent a lot of time in the studio working on custom projects and new items. I am debating on opening up an online shop...can I handle the post office? *wink*

Last week before company arrived, I spent a lot of time in the studio working on custom projects and new items. I am debating on opening up an online shop…can I handle the post office? *wink*

Have you ever had one of those weeks that was long, busy but good? That was mine last week, and to top it off, the hubby, Abby and I made a quick trip to Birmingham to attend the Home + Remodeling Show. I will have more on that later in the week + Abby has fabulous interviews coming up on her blog. So, y’all stay tuned because you don’t want to miss out on the fun and SSL’s top picks from the show.

 

Matt Muenster of DIY Network's Bath Crashers and Abby at the Birmingham Home + Remodeling Show.

Matt Muenster of DIY Network’s Bath Crashers and Abby at the Birmingham Home + Remodeling Show.

Abby interviewing Todd Wilbur author of Top Secret Recipes.

Abby interviewing Todd Wilbur author of Top Secret Recipes.

The little family and I stayed at The Tutwiler in downtown Birmingham. It was absolutely stunning and charming, and I totally recommend staying there!

The little family and I stayed at The Tutwiler in downtown Birmingham. It was absolutely stunning and charming, and I totally recommend staying there!

Look at this doorknob from The Tutwiler! I love details like this...and old buildings!

Look at this doorknob from The Tutwiler! I love details like this…and old buildings!

Whew! It was a whirlwind seven days, but I would not trade them for anything *smile* I have all kinds of goodies planned for y’all this week–gluten-free top picks (featuring some local baked goods), top picks from the Birmingham Home + Remodeling Show, an update on a few of the projects happening at Hathorn Hall, and the fall leaf report. If there is any time left, I will go shopping for fabulous, junky treasures *smile*

This is one of the fabulous finds from last weekend's junk adventure. This vintage office chair is the perfect shade of orange. I don't know why, but I am on an orange kick lately! Must be the fall air *smile*

This is one of the fabulous finds from last weekend’s junk adventure in Jonesborough. This vintage office chair is the perfect shade of orange. I don’t know why, but I am on an orange kick lately! Must be the fall air *smile*

Thanks so much for sitting a spell with me today. Be sure to check out all the social media for updates and happenings…and selfies with Mattie *wink*

selfie with Mattie...she dreams of being an Instagram star haha

selfie with Mattie…she dreams of being an Instagram star haha

 

 

SSL’S Gluten-free Top Picks: On-the-go Breakfast

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Hey, y’all! Welcome back to Sweet Sorghum Living. Today on the blog, we are chatting about SSL’s top gluten-free picks of the week–which are all about making breakfast gluten-free, easy, and healthy. Now, grab a good cup of coffee or nice glass of wine and sit a spell with me.

If y’all are like me, there is little time for a fancy breakfast. I’ve tried making the casserole the night before, popping it in the oven the next morning, and cooking it while getting dressed. Yes, dancing around the kitchen with birds chirping outside…serving my family a delcious, homemade breakfast dish made with wholesome ingredients and love.  Haha! Not in this lifetime *wink* Yes, I tried the cooking while getting dressed breakfast ideas…let me just say that we ate cereal instead of a fancy casserole.

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My favorite go-to breakfast item is Pamela’s Whenever Bars.  They are super delicious, gluten-free, and non-dairy with 150 mg of OMEGA 3 Fatty Acids and a good source of fiber. Most contain gluten-free oats, coconut,  eggs, and almonds–so, if you are sensitive to these ingredients, you might want to avoid the snack bars. My personal favorite is the Oat Blueberry Lemon…yummy for the tummy! I keep a nice variety of these in a basket in my snack drawer. Easy to grab and go.

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Who wants muffins for breakfast? Well, ginnybakes has the perfect gluten-free muffin mix. All you need is the mix, one egg, butter, Greek yogurt, and flavoring of your choice (like vanilla). The ingredients are simple and preparation is fast. I usually bake mine the night before because I’m not a morning person…and cooking is not what I want to be doing at the crack of dawn!

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The “peace love & crumble” muffin mix is certified gluten-free and kosher. It contains organic shredded coconut, organic dried apples, and organic Medjool dates. I give ginnybakes muffins five stars *smile*

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Cookies for breakfast?!? Absolutely!! The “coconut oatmeal bliss” cookie mix by ginnybakes is not only easy to make, but also healthy and hardy enough to eat for breakfast. Make the cookies the night before, pop one in the microwave for about ten seconds, and pour yourself a glass of milk or cup of coffee for a quick breakfast that makes you feel like a kid again + the kids will think you’re the greatest for giving them cookies for breakfast!

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A great on-the-go breakfast is trail mix. I make my own because of all my crazy diet restrictions + it’s fun *smile* My best advice is to read the ingredients of everything carefully. If you are adding dried fruit(s), check for added wheat or gluten. See examples below.

P.S. I learned this lesson the hard way!

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Just read those labels carefully and give yourself extra time to shop so you can read labels and ask questions. It’s your health…your life…don’t take chances or make guesses *smile*

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Once I’ve mixed up my trail mix, I put it in either sandwich bags (because I can never remember to buy the snack size) or cute containers.  Those are then placed in my trail mix/snack food drawer. Yes, I’m that dedicated to my trail mixes and on-the-go snacks *wink*

Where did I shop for my gluten-free items?

Pamela’s Whenever Bars–Publix in Trussville, Alabama (also available on Pamela’s website)

ginnybakes–The Fresh Market in Johnson City, Tennessee

trail mix items–Earth Fare and The Fresh Market in Johnson City, Tennessee

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Please keep in mind that what doesn’t bother me–might bother you–so be extra careful when trying new foods. Read those labels! *smile*

Now that you have super easy and delicious breakfast ideas, you can hit the snooze button a few extra times *wink*

Thanks for sitting a spell with me today. I’m off to walk the girls…Bless their sweetness! They’ve been so patient while I chatted with y’all *smile*

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