15 Things I've Learned from Knee Surgery

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Some of you may be wondering why you haven't heard too much from this Harris Sister lately. Personal friends and those in contact via social media know that I had surgery on my left knee in early April. 

The surgery was to correct a severe meniscus tear that I got late last September on our trip to Disney World. It wasn't diagnosed, however, until well after I had written my four-part series on Disney World: The Basics, What to Wear, Freebies, and Halloween, which is why those posts don't mention it (not that I'm a doctor or could give advice about those things via a blog post.)

Anyhoot, I have been on the mend since April 1, and the recovery is very slow going. And in that time, I've learned a few things that I thought I would share with you - everyone could use a dose of inspiration, right?

Even with as much information we could get from the doctors, their estimates for initial recovery ranged from 2 to 6 weeks. Oftentimes, the answer would come buffered with "everyone is different." 

This (of course) was very frustrating for someone trying to plan time off from work, arrange for back up people to cover for me, plan for two boys' schedules, and plan for a husband to take over the majority of my shopping, errands, housework, etc. But, I also knew that I couldn't let that affect my decision to have the surgery. 

In the days immediately following surgery, I think this one is pretty self explanatory. :-)

But not all days have been bad; I have been able to shuffle around like Igor, Dr. Frankenstein's assistant, although admittedly with not as much panache and probably not as quickly. Oh, and it hurts like a bugger. But, every little thing's gonna be alright.

And that shuffling? That's progress. (At least I hope it is.)

I trust this is true.

These two kind of go together in my mind. Because I can't get around so well, I'm not all over every inch of the house as per usual. It MIGHT look like a tornado hit it in some areas. BUT, I'm choosing to focus on what's going right when it goes right and I realize that if part of the house looks like a tornado hit it today, a year from now, I won't even remember (hopefully).

Here's another one for you - happiness is a choice. You definitely have to choose happiness when your knee hurts so much. And happy girls shine brighter!

And as I head into the first of many months worth of physical therapy appointments, I will remember the words of Will Rogers, knowing that fixating on the "good ol' days of when my knee worked" won't be all that helpful in my recovery now.

And neither will settling for a knee that won't work correctly . . . 

I'm sure so much physical therapy seems daunting at first, but I've had to do it before after a car accident, and I will do it again. Nothing is too hard if you put your mind to it.

Oh, Dr. Seuss! I had no idea that you were talking about learning how to walk (again) at the ripe old age of 38! :-) That is my current mountain to move, and I plan on moving it.

And just so you don't think I've gone completely soft, I'll leave you with this Oscar Wilde quote (that may as well have been via the Golden Girls). Even though I can't hobble to my favorite stores just yet, I've done just fine with the Interwebs at my disposal - after all, I've had Easter outfits to plan. :-)

Hope these brightened your day! Check out these and other inspirational messages on my Words to Live By Pinterest Board.

One Man's Trash - Vintage Handkerchief Banner

Monday, April 14, 2014

As much as I wish I could take credit for this idea or even the creation of this beauty, I cannot.  But, I am in love with this collage of vintage hankies, so much so that I am happy to share the idea with you, because I think it would be so easy to recreate for those of you who may be interested. 

I see vintage ladies handkerchiefs all the time.  And I am always drawn to them, although I never quite knew what I would do with them once I got them home, so I usually just pass.  

But once I saw this upcycled banner made from vintage hankies, I knew exactly how I would use it.  I found this creation on Etsy, from a shop called ReKindled Pleasures.  She also has a Facebook page that she updates regularly to show off her creations (and spark ideas)!  In case you can't tell, I'm already a fan!

I did, in fact, purchase this banner, and looky where I choose to display it.  We are updating our guest powder room, and I thought it would make a lovely addition as a window topper.  As it turns out, I was right!  Every time I see it, I smile all over again!!

This particular banner is made from seven old hankies, but you could use any number and make it as long or short as you like.  In this case, the hankies are uncut and simply secured with a button on a folded over edge of each handkerchief.  This way, they also freely slide back and forth on the garland they are attached to, so you can also space them as you see fit.  

I thought this was a super cute idea and such a wonderful way to display pretty handkerchiefs or napkins.  I hope this sparks some creative ideas in you.  It sure did for me!  Enjoy!

My Week in Pictures: April 11, 2014

Friday, April 11, 2014

Happy Friday, everyone!!  In case you are just tuning in for this week's "My Week in Pictures" post for the first time, this is a new column that I will be writing each week.  It's just a fun little summary of my week, as documented mostly by cell phone pictures.  :)  You can check out all the "My Week in Pictures" posts here if you want to catch up.

But back to this week.  Here we go...

This week started off with a trip to the Nashville Farmer's Market to check out their awesome selection of plants and flowers.  We always shop there each spring, and usually score some really good deals.

This year was no exception.  Here is part of what we got, and no this isn't another table at the farmer's market.  It's the back of my car!  Eeek, looks like we are in for a lot of work!!

On our way home from the market, looky what we saw just riding down the road.  Your eyes aren't deceiving you.  That's a Texas Longhorn right here in Middle Tennessee!!  According to the side of this truck, apparently there is a Texas Longhorn farm just down the way in Pulaski, TN.  Hmmm, I sure would love to go check out all those steers for myself.  

Back at our own ranch, we got busy planting some of those flowers from the Farmer's Market.  We didn't get it all done, but thankfully, the weekend ahead looks lovely- perfect for more planting in the yard.   But this was a good start.  Here, you see marigolds, gerber daisies, and pansies.  We have had lots of luck with all of these varieties over the past several years.

Now that the weather is warming, our fish are starting to stir around more, and we have started feeding them again this week.  They actually don't eat during the winter months.  They "hibernate" in a manner of speaking.  The cold water temps slow down their digestive systems to the point that it would be dangerous if they tried to eat anyway.  So usually their last feeding is somewhere around Thanksgiving or so, and then we start them up again each spring.  And they always do just fine. Mother Nature sure is a curious thing, isn't it?

We did squeeze in some time for a date night this week.  Live music, college hoops on the big screen, and fish 'n chips in our favorite local bar.  

Oh, and did you know it's free coffee week at McDonald's?  It is indeed, and it lasts through this weekend, so go get yourself a cup on the house!  I managed to stop in one morning on the way to my weekly doctor's appointment.  No worries, they brew up a mean cup of decaf too!

And this was a pleasant surprise.  Hubbie brought home a "just because" bouquet last night.  I do love flowers brightening up the kitchen!  Such a sweet gesture, and it just made my day!

So, here's the latest shameless selfie.  This was actually taken this morning, on my way out the door to the office.  I went in to shoot a couple of videos for the company website.  Exciting stuff, let me tell you!!  In any case, Peanut is in her 37th week now.  And at this week's ultrasound, they estimate she is one tick away from 7 pounds!  Oh my, little girl, it's almost time!!

And on that note, I will leave you with my other precious baby, sweet Izzie Lu, and your weekly dose of preciousness.  No, she doesn't normally sleep under the covers.  However, she does sleep in our bed, and pretty soundly might I add.  So much so that if I plop the covers over her, she usually doesn't bother to move, not even with the camera going off in her eyes.  Some might call this lazy, but not me.  No, I get you, Izzie.  We do love our sleep.  Two peas in a pod we are. 

So that rounds out another week.  Here's hoping your week is on the up and up, and you are gearing up for a fun weekend ahead!  Make it a good one!

How to Start Seeds with K-Cups

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Every year around late February, the boys and I start our garden project for the Spring. I have always used this opportunity to teach them two things 1) how you can turn a few small seeds into an entire garden with just a little work, some water, and sunshine and 2) the value of recycling.

The recycling part always comes into play with the containers we've chosen to start our seeds. In years past, we've used egg cartons, yogurt cups, applesauce cups, and other containers that we've fished out of the recycling bin and cleaned for the project. THIS year, however, we used K-cups and got the added bonus of using the coffee grounds for our compost! Here's how you can too:

Begin by saving K-Cups in advance of your project. The number that you will need will be dependent on the number of seeds you'll want to start and the size of your garden. (Because not every seed sprouts, I always recommend starting more seeds than you think you'll need.) Once you've saved enough K-Cups, gather them along with the other materials needed for the project:

  • Used K-Cups (enough for the amount of seeds you want to start)
  • Seed packets
  • Scissors
  • Spoon (not pictured)
  • Plastic grocery bag (not pictured)
  • Potting soil or seed starting mixture (not pictured)
  • Permanent marker (not pictured)
Use the scissors to cut a slit from the hole in the foil to the outer edge. The K-Cup should now look like this:

Peel the foil off the top of the K-Cup:

Use the spoon to scoop out the coffee grounds into the grocery bag, and repeat the above steps for each K-Cup. (Note: if desired, you may also remove the filter from the K-Cup as shown below. But I had so many to do, I only removed it from one and decided to not remove it from the others.)

Once K-Cups have been prepared using the above steps, fill them with potting soil or seed starting mix and plant seeds using package directions. Label the K-Cups using the permanent marker. Add the coffee grounds to your compost.

Let seeds germinate as per usual, making sure they have access to plenty of sunlight and watering at regular intervals. Within a couple of weeks, you should have sprouts for your garden!

Decorating for Easter and Spring

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Well, we are only a few short weeks away from Easter Sunday!  Hard to believe; this month is just flying by!!  But I do love this time of year.  The weather is starting to warm.  The trees are blooming, the early spring flowers are poking up in the yard, and it's time once again to decorate for a new season!

I have a few new pieces that I have added to my Springtime decor this year, so let's start there. 

These sweet little salt and pepper shakers came from the Vermont Country Store.  They are new, but are modeled after a vintage pair.  They look very 1960's to me, and I love them!!

Also new for this year, are these "tea for one" tea pots.  In case you aren't familiar with tea for one pots, the top part holds hot water and your tea bag.  You let it steep and pour it into your cup on the bottom.  Each pot holds a cup or two of tea.  I actually purchased two of these- one for me and one for hubbie.  We both love hot tea, and I plan to use these all year long- not just at Easter.  However, their sweet bunny and garden theme makes them perfect for my springtime table!

I also snagged these Peter Rabbit napkins for this year.  Aren't they just adorable?

And this jelly bean jar came from Etsy.  Of course, I filled it with jelly beans, and not just any jelly beans- the original Brach's jelly bird eggs.  These are the jelly beans of my youth- all the standard flavors including those licorice-flavored black ones.  I don't eat those, but I love all the rest of the flavors.  Nostalgia at it's finest!

And I almost forgot that I scored these sweet Lefton chicks last year at one of our little antique stores we frequent.  They are old stock, and lovely.  I have them in the dining room this year.   

Oh, and a couple of other new pieces for this year- these foil bunnies were a birthday present from John's parents this year.  Don't they look just like big chocolate rabbits wrapped in Easter foil?  Love them!!

And if you have followed our blog since last year, you might also remember some of these familiar favorite decorations, starting with some vintage- inspired Easter cards that I displayed on my fridge this year. 

And then these sweet little party chicks perched high atop the fridge.... 

I found this small planter on Etsy several years ago.  He graces my kitchen table this time of year.

Same with these egg cups.  I have a set of four that I found on Etsy a couple of years back, and I love bringing them out each year. 

But, these may be my favorites.  These little lamb and chick cups are also old, and I have had them for several years myself.  I love them so much!

And finally, here's a full look at the kitchen table all duded up for Easter.  That's my prized Humpty Dumpty cookie jar front and center, and you will see glimpses of many of the other pieces I have already pointed out. 

So, that's the nickel tour.  Spring has definitely sprung here at our house, even if it's just on the inside!  The outside will catch up soon enough.  :)

How to Remove Tough Carpet Stains

Monday, April 7, 2014

Now, I know you're thinking "how in the world does a family with two young boys AND a dog not own a carpet steamer?" Well, the short answer to that is that we did, and about a month ago, while we were using it a part broke off of it. Since it had a few years on it (and the last time we took it to be repaired they said it would probably be simpler/easier/cheaper to replace it), we got rid of it.

Fast forward about a month after that incident and I came home early from work due to inclement weather. Ryan was already home with the boys because he works about 30 minutes closer to home than I do - and it turns out that he had no problem letting the boys drink sugary colored drinks over carpeted surfaces. :-)

So, my research began:

If you look here, you will see that the stain we were dealing with was red (egads!) AND it had already soaked in and dried by the time I started my research. It was on fairly light colored carpet. Score!

These are the items you'll need to combat the stain:

  • Baking Soda (enough to cover the stained area)
  • 1 Tbsp Dawn dishwashing detergent
  • 1 Tbsp white vinegar
  • 2 c hot water
  • White rags (one pictured here; you will need a lot of them)
  • Vacuum (not pictured)
  • Heavy object (not pictured)
First, cover the stained area liberally with baking soda and let sit for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, vacuum it up.

Mix together 1 Tbsp Dawn dishwashing detergent, 1 Tbsp white vinegar, and 2 cups hot water. Pour this mixture over the stained area. (Note: If you have a very small stained area, you may not need to use the entire mixture.) Use the white rags to blot up the mixture, changing rags as they become wet. Your carpet will look like this once you've blotted up as much of the mixture as you can:

Hooray! The stain is gone! Well, most every piece of information that I read stopped here, but I didn't trust that the stain was truly gone. After all, my carpet steamer would have pulled the moisture from the carpet pad beneath the carpet, and I didn't think that my blotting (as thorough as it was) could compare with that. 

So, please move on to the next step:

Cover the previously stained area with one or two layers of white rags and then a heavy object that you are OK with getting wet or at least a little damp on the bottom. Leave overnight.

Remove the heavy object and look at all of the "red" that was pulled up through the "clean" carpet and onto the white rags:

And here's the after shot just so you don't think my carpet is pink now. :-) 

Let the carpet air dry, and you're all set.

If you like this tip and are looking for other handy uses for Dawn dishwashing detergent, give these posts a look: