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Sunday ponderings

I attended my first-ever Functional Training class on Friday and I am STILL SORE. Like, so sore where it hurts to sit on the toilet or climb in bed or lift my fork to mouth. Who knew thirty minutes could be so killer?! If you’re not familiar with FT, it’s a type of fitness that is similar to CrossFit (if you’ve heard of that). Basically it’s both cardio and strength in a circuit-style format, using things like yoga balls, Bosu balls, kettlebells, stairs, ropes, heavy bags, medicine balls, and other similar things. You alternate 1 minute running with 1 minute of one of those exercises. It’s really.hard.and.sweaty. But I loved it – it was just 30 minutes and I felt like I did SO much more in that 30 minutes than I do in an hour and a half at the gym.

Exhausted after FT

I also did some shopping for bathing suits yesterday (all together now: grooooooannnnn). I think this is something every woman dreads on the 364 days of the year when we’re NOT bathing suit shopping. I tried on a bunch of those plunging neckline one pieces and y’all, I’m sorry, but they give you pancake-boobs. You’d have to either have some remarkably resilient implants or some really great double-sided tape to make it work. Or, have her boobs:

No pancake boobs here

Finally I settled on a Ralph Lauren tankini. This is kind of a milestone for me. I swore I would never buy a tankini as I kind of think they’re for post-pregnancy moms, but one pieces SUCK to put on, take off, and the tan lines are stupid. And I will wear a bikini some days at the beach, but this isn’t my year, I don’t think! Haha. At least not until I get a really impressive tan going. This is what I ended up with:

Ralph Lauren tankini

So, I have this salad dressing that I’ve been obsessed with for a few years. It’s the simplest. Just mix up equal parts tahini, water, and either tamari or soy sauce and enjoy! It’s creamy, nutty, salty, and satisfying. Here’s a delightfully huge salad I made with it recently.

Topped with leftover Israeli salad (below) and cannelini beans

Another staple of mine is Israeli salad, something I discovered when I lived in Manhattan, above a Turkish restaurant. Really it’s a canvas of goodness for you to paint upon, but I like it basic. This one had to many onions.

Simply chop up 1/2 red onion, 1 tomato, and 1 cucumber, add salt and pepper to taste, top with olive oil and lemon juice. The restaurant often added mint which was a great touch. So I had that leftover and threw it on top of my spinach.

I’m feeling like a nap is in order. It’s really cloudy and gray, and I’m sleepy…….. happy Sunday everyone!


Quick and easy, gluten-free Sunday night supper

Still nursing a cold, and after a long day of crafting and doggie playing, I wanted something warm, quick, and easy for dinner. And I stumbled upon this.

Blender Black Bean Soup.

I love Black Bean Soup! I love it! It is so flavorful and healthy and light but filling. And gluten free. Hey girl.

So off I went to the store, bought two cans of black beans, trusted in Jesus I had some salsa at home (which I did!), and knew I had some cumin. I didn’t have stock, so I boiled up two cups of water and threw in some chicken bouillon cubes (check labels to make sure what you are using is GF), followed the directions, and before I knew it, I had the easiest, tastiest, simplest soup ever.

I also baked up some tortilla chips. This is one of my favorite things to do. I keep gluten free corn tortillas on hand at all time. These got a little extra-toasty because I was on the phone chatting and forgot about them. Standard Natalie-ism.

Homemade tortilla chips

 Super Easy Homemade Tortilla Chips:

Corn Tortillas (up to you how many)
Cooking spray or olive oil
Salt and desired seasoning

  • Preheat oven to 425.
  • Cut the desired number of tortillas into triangles of the desired size (this portion is two tortillas cut into 8 triangles)
  • Spread foil (optional to save clean up time) across a cookie sheet.
  • Place tortillas on sheet in a single layer.
  • Spray with cooking spray (or toss with olive oil, but this is just easier).
  • Sprinkle with salt and chili powder, or the desired seasoning. I like them spicy so I use chili powder. Garlic powder is also good!
  • Bake until lightly browned. You can flip them halfway through if you’re not lazy. I rarely do that.

So by the end of dinner, we were whooped and it was bedtime.

Today will be a work day… a little working from home, a little office time, some meetings, teaching a voice lesson and then teaching a class… all with half a voice! Boo! At least it’s warming up here in Central Illinois.

Here’s wishing you a happy, happy Monday!

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Folding Screen – Before/After, How-to, and the Final Product!

Lunch today was makeshift, which usually uses the best stuff! I had some leftover white rice with soy sauce, edamame, and my favorite apple and peanut butter sammich (I think I saw this on Pinterest) with some peanut butter granola (recipe from

So, the folding screen. In the previous post, you can see the fail version, if you’re curious.

Now, the final before and after. I love it!

I am really happy with it. This room is big time in progress (and I hate our beige rental carpets and I hate our dark molding, sorry, I just do), but this is a step in the right direction. It hides the clothes and adds a fun pop of color annnd a cool pattern!


  • Mine had dowels that held up the panels, in the top and the bottom, and fit tongue-and-groove into the frame of each panel. I had to tap them with a screwdriver to push them out. I also removed the four hinges before I painted.
  • The painting is pretty obvious, but I’m super lazy and didn’t sand it or prime it. I bought a small paint sample at Lowe’s of the color I decided (rather haphazardly) I liked and magically it was just enough for a lot of coats. I used a foam brush I had lying around to apply it and didn’t do a great job.

For the NO-SEW! panels:

  • First, I measured dowel-hole to dowel-hole, and it was 58″. I also measured the width of the interior of the frame, which was 14″. My fabric was 45″ across so I just divided it into three 15″ panels with the assumption I’d add about 1/2″ of a “hem” to each side, and 3″ to the top and bottom of each panel. So, each panel ended up being 15″ x 64″. I am sure this varies from screen to screen.
  • Then, I used Liquid Stitch (readily available at any craft or sewing store for about $5-$6/bottle). I flipped each panel so that the reverse was facing me, working one panel at a time.

  • Then, working in sections, I started applying the Liquid Stitch about 1/2″ from the edge (no precision is necessary) and kind of spreading it out with my finger, like the bottle told me to do. ***Please ignore my chipped manicure. Too much crafting.***

  •  I folded the edges over, using the pattern as a sort of guide.
  • Some doggies like crafting, too.

  •  Then I did each end, measuring 3″ and marking it (where the fold will be), folding it, and gluing the entire end down.

    I also kind of used my fingers to pop up the loop and make it round.
  • Then, repeat with all your panels and load ’em onto the screen the same way the old ones came off!

The left panel here is too long, which is why it billowed. I need to shorten it. How'd that happen?!

My color choices!

The Impatient DIY-er and the Resulting Folding Screen Fail

Sigh. I have such good intentions with DIY projects.

Some history to this one:

A couple weeks ago, when Mr Timothy was out of town, I took it upon myself to “fix” our “guest room” which at the time was more of a closet. We live in an old house and our closets are truly terrible, so we had installed wire shelving to make the whole second bedroom a kind of dressing room. We just did a bad job. We put it in the most intrusive, ugly place. We also had literally no space for a guest! In our guest room!

So, tired of giving up our bed (and heated mattress pad!) for guests and sleeping on an air mattress, I decided to do something about it. This generally elicits uh-oh’s from anyone who knows me. I am very impatient and also somewhat lazy about projects. I’d rather get it done quickly and am always convinced I know exactly what to do to make it go faster. So I decided to move the wire shelving.

Little did I know, I was trying to drill into brick. Guess what? It doesn’t work.

Mr Timothy returned, dismayed at the holes in the first wall AND the second. But I painted the whole room a beautiful green! Finally, we decided on some tension rods and that solved the problem, but still left us with exposed clothing.

Then, Mr Timothy found this gem on the side of the road:

Diamond in the ROUGH

So, naturally, I see loads of potential and my genius starts to truly shine.

And yet, I battle my impatience. I knew I wanted to paint the frame a nice coral color, and I also knew I wanted a bold geometric pattern for the fabric. So off I went to Joann’s. They just didn’t have anything that I loved, but I found a black and white floral that was okayish. The fabric just seemed kind of cheap, and I am also not a floral person at all – more of a clean lines kind of a gal.

But, being ever the optimist and ever the impatient, I bought the darn fabric. I don’t sew, so I used Liquid Stitch to “hem” the panels. And here was the finished project:

...and she thought, "Hmm..."

Now… I don’t hate it. I LOVE the coral (which took like 80,000 coats of paint, y’all – again with the laziness, I neither primed nor sanded – I’m an idiot), but the fabric… just… it’s so not me.

So off I went to Hobby Lobby, after several man hours of making those gosh darn panels.

And I walked in and I saw this:

Greek key-inspired pattern

Exactly what I wanted

Bold, graphic, clean, sophisticated, modern… it’s exactly what I wanted, and at $8.99 a yard, I had to get it! (In the top right corner, you can see the other one I considered but nixed due to the off-white background. I love the pattern though.)

So I’ll let ya know how that works out.

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Peanut Butter Oats and Daylight Saving(s)

Happy Daylight Savings!!! I wish I could explain how happy this makes me. After my first winter in the Lakes Region (which I’ve been told was “very mild” – *ahem*, this Southern Belle thought it was horrid), I need sunshine and I need warmth and I REALLY NEED the wind to quit. If I could have just one day of still air, it’d be great. So, Daylight Savings (I will continue to call it this, even though KLG and Hoda said the other day its Daylight Saving, singular) means longer days, which means longer amounts of time to soak up Vitamin D, thaw out, and get closer to SUMMER!

I found this picture on Pinterest when I searched daylight. I am this flower! Strettttchiiiing for the sun!

Warm me UP!

So, what’s going on with me? Well, unfortunately, I’m getting over a weird cough. I teach voice lessons and musical theatre classes for kids, plus I’m in meetings all day at work and everyone’s little germies got to me I guess. Oddly, my mom, across the country, has the exact same thing. Sympathy cold? I don’t know!

It’s breakfast time here in the house. Mr Timothy is out of town, so it’s just me and Finnegan. One of my favorite breakfasts for chilly mornings is peanut butter oats! Simple and filling and warm and wheat free/gluten free (****if you eat oats and they don’t affect you – some people react to the gluten in oats — and also make sure to check your peanut butter label).

Peanut Butter Oats

  • 1/2 Cup of quick oats, rolled oats or old-fashioned oats (which is what I use)
  • 1-2 tsp of peanut butter (to taste)
  • 1 packet of stevia or 1 tsp honey

Prepare oats as instructed by the package. After cooking, add peanut butter and stevia or honey. You can also add fruit, like banana chunks or apple slices!

All that goes in!

Doggie stalker not essential to recipe