Tag Archives: enjoy

Enjoying Improving

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Enjoying Improving

Hi! During quarantine, I have been enjoying getting to practice all of the different languages that I have been learning. I have much more time to do so and have noticed how much I’ve improved thanks to the almost daily practice sessions. On Duolingo, I am taking French, Spanish, Czech, German, and Italian. I also have been LOVING practicing American Sign Language through YouTube videos.

Recently, I began taking an online ASL Zoom class taught by the fabulous Doctor Jen. Unfortunately, she stopped doing her weekly teaches and I was left high, dry, and disappointed because I have been wanting to learn ASL for forever. Especially since teaching myself a little from books was nothing in comparison to watching someone teach you.

It was important to me to find another source to continue learning ASL with because I was doing way better than I expected. And, luckily, I landed on ten twenty minute lessons of basic sign language from a guy who looks like Steve Martin AND the one guy from Whose Line Is It Anyway? You’ll see what I mean, I promise:

^^^ And, as always, I have no rights to this video!

Although I loved learning ASL under Doctor Jen, it’s nice to continue learning even if it is with someone different. And, thankfully, Doctor Byron Bridges is a close second! Born deaf to deaf parents, Doctor Bridges has degrees from numerous different schools and is dedicated to teaching his craft.

Not only is he brilliant, but it’s impossible to not grin from ear to ear when you see how animated and in he gets to each lesson. If you’re looking for something to help pass the time, why not give a few of these ASL classes a try? You’ll be glad you did!

Where else offers ASL classes online? Which languages do you know? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Butternut Squash Risotto Recipe

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Butternut Squash Risotto Recipe

Hello! For the past few months Lil Red has spent a majority of her time indoors due to the coronavirus. When you have no access to the outside world, it is way harder than you can imagine to create daily content! Ever since lifewithlilred began over five years ago, I have always encouraged guest bloggers on my page – especially now!

This is why I am so grateful to my sweet friend, Alice, from Alice Rambles for reaching out to me with a tasty recipe for butternut squash risotto. This recipe combines a bunch of my favorite things and I am looking forward to trying it myself. After checking this post out, do be sure to give Alice’s page some love and if you are interested in guest posting on lifewithlilred, please email me at: sarah.mush6794@gmail.com .

Now, let’s get to it:

Butternut Squash Risotto

Hi everyone, my name is Alice (from Alice Rambles). Sarah has very kindly offered to let me write a guest post for her blog, and I thought today I’d share one of my favourite easy recipes – butternut squash risotto!

In the UK, butternut squash are harvested throughout summer and autumn, so this dish not only uses fresh, seasonal vegetables, but it also reduces our food air miles which is always a great thing to consider. This recipe is also easy to adapt for vegetarian and vegan diets and serves four people.

Ingredients:

  • 1kg butternut squash, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 50g butter (or vegan alternative)
  • 1 brown onion, diced
  • 300g arborio risotto rice
  • 150ml white wine
  • 1.5 litres vegetable stock
  • 50g Parmesan cheese (or vegetarian/vegan alternative), finely grated
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Handful of sage (fresh or dried)

 

Equipment:

  • Large baking tray
  • Medium saucepan
  • Large wide saucepan or deep frying pan
  • Wooden spoon
  • Ladle

Method:

  • Heat your oven to 200°C/gas mark 7. Mix your chopped squash with some olive oil, salt, pepper, and sage. Spread it over the baking tray and roast it for 30 mins, until it’s soft on the inside but slightly coloured on the outside. Mash half of the squash into a rough puree, and leave the other half whole.

  • Next, heat up your stock in the medium saucepan – bring it to the boil first, and then lower to a simmer. In the wide saucepan, melt the butter on a medium heat, then add the onion and cook it slowly until it is soft, but not coloured.

  • Stir the rice into the buttery onions, and keep stirring until the rice is shiny and the grains are starting to become transparent.

  • Pour in the wine, stir it through and simmer until it has all evaporated. Turn the heat down to low, then start adding the stock (one ladle at a time) and stir continuously.

  • Keep going until you’ve used up all of the stock – at this point the risotto should be thick and creamy, with the rice still retaining a bit of bite to it.

  • Stir the squash puree through the risotto, then add the grated Parmesan.

  • Serve, and garnish with the remaining chunks of roasted squash.

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And there you have it, so simple! This recipe is great for when you fancy a nice warming meal and, of course, you can mix it up by adding your own herbs, spices, and flavours if you wish. If you’d like to see more of my posts then do check out my blog (Alice Rambles), and let me know if you give this recipe a try!

Thank you so much again to Alice for sharing her delicious recipe with all of us! What is your favorite kind of risotto? What is one of your favorite seasonal dishes? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

3 Ways To Keep Busy During Lock Down

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3 Ways To Keep Busy During Lock Down

As the days in lock down turn into weeks and the weeks roll into months, it can become increasingly difficult to know what else to do with all of this extra time on your hands. Well, most people always wished they had more time and now that it has come, we should put it to good use. Whether it’s spending more time with the children or learning something new, it’s safe to say that this opportunity will probably never become available again. Without a firm quarantine end date in sight, check out this list of three ways to keep busy during the lock down:

Learn a New Language:

The benefits of learning a new language go beyond being able to order food while on holiday. It also comes with both personal and professional advantages. On the personal side, it strengthens your IQ, and it is also a great workout for your brain. These cognitive benefits help to ward off dementia and enable you to be more decisive and focused on the task at hand. Did you know that learning a new language also sharpens your sensory perceptions in terms of touch, hearing, sight, speech, and movement? Not many other hobbies can attest to this claim.

On the professional side of things, having bilingual skills greatly opens up your job prospects and makes you more attractive to employers. For companies, it allows for a greater ability to reach new customers in new markets worldwide. Learning a foreign language also sharpens your communication skills making you a more rounded employee.

Take Up a New Hobby:

With most people working around the clock in today’s modern societies, not much time is left for extra-curricular activities and hobbies. Yet the advantages of having hobbies are priceless. For one thing, it keeps you present in that moment. A lot of time is spent regretting the past or planning for the future that most people never truly live in the ‘now’. Hobbies can be used for stress relief as it diverts your attention to something that creates pleasure. Hobbies help you connect with people or groups with similar interests. This encourages feelings of inclusion, support, and community, which is great for your mental health.

There are many hobbies that you can consider taking up, including writing, photography, cooking, and gardening. If you think that you have green fingers, why not get out of the house and into your backyard and try to grow something a bit different than the standard household vegetables. As summer is on the way, try growing some pineberries (white strawberries) or some achocha pods. If you’re really adventurous, you could look up how to grow a luffa gourd, then have the added benefits of organic sponges for your bath or kitchen. No matter what hobby you choose to take on, it will certainly help you while away the extra time on your hands.

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Give gardening a go!

Catch Up on Family Time:

Spending more time with your family can be done in multiple ways thanks to the technological advances in video calling. If you don’t have immediate family around you, then you could link up with them via Zoom, WhatsApp, and many more similar programs. Family time is probably the most important use of our time, yet hardly any time is committed to it. Why not jump in and play some fun games online with your kids or video call your aunt or grandparents – you’ll certainly be glad you did!

Dedicating your time to worthwhile hobbies will make your quarantine much more enjoyable. Choose something you’re interested in and watch a day go by as you immerse yourself in something new!

Featured Image By: Pexels

How To Live A Calmer Existence At Home

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How To Live A Calmer Existence At Home

Our homes should be much more than just places to lay our heads at night and store our belongings. It should be the place where we recover the energy that we’ve lost during the day; it should be our retreat from the mania of the outside world. But, of course, this is only in theory: sometimes we find that our homes are just as stressful as public spaces. If you find yourself in this position, then it’s recommended that you take steps to make your home calmer. Take a look at our tips below and turn your home into the ultimate place for relaxation:

Set the Tone:

You should always try to start as you mean to go on. If you’re walking into a chaotic home, then it’ll be little surprise if your state of mind is chaotic while you’re there. Instead, look at making a few small changes to your entrance way. For example, you could look at adding plants, making the space brighter, and having a space for your coat and keys. Setting the tone is about more than getting the space organized, however: it’s about adding those touches that enhance the mood. For example, candles and incense can both make your entrance space much more enjoyable!

Clean and Spacious:

It’s much harder to live a calmer existence when it feels as if our material possessions are piling up all around us, or we’re living in an unclean and all-around disorganized space. As such, one of the best ways to create a better environment at home is to look at taking the minimalist route, and creating a clear and calm space. If you’ve been in your home for a few years, then you’ve probably got more material goods than you really need. So take a look at having a clear out. You can sell the items or, if you know that you’ll need them in the future, you can put them in climate controlled storage. You’ll find that it’s much easier to enter a calm state of mind when you’re not doing battle with all your possessions.

Tech-Free Spaces:

There’s much to love about technology, especially in the home. Who doesn’t enjoy playing video games, watching videos, or browsing the web? However, it’s important to remember that there is such a thing as too much tech in the home. Technology generally isn’t very calming, so if there’s too much of it in your home, then you might find it difficult to really relax. It’s recommended to put together a tech-free room in your house. There, you’ll do nothing but read, meditate, talk, and other activities that help to calm your mind.

Deep Comfort:

Finally, look at upping your home’s comfort levels. Things like new blankets, towels, and bed sheets can really take your home’s comfort credentials to the next level. It’ll allow you to fully sink into all of the cozy goodness that your property can provide, especially during the chilly winter months, when there’s nothing better than curling up on the couch.

Get ready, get set, and relax at home with the tips above!

Featured Image By: Pexels

Searching For The Sun In Quarantine

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Searching For The Sun In Quarantine

Hello! As the crazy times dealing with coronavirus continue, I have encouraged all of my readers to have a go at creating guest content for lifewithlilred. It gives you an afternoon of entertainment, publicity for your page, and it helps me keep daily content coming. Believe you me, it’s very hard under these stay at home circumstances!

Luckily, some very kind and talented guest bloggers have answered my call to action, including the lovely Sheryl Rose of Sheryl’s Light. She is literally the sweetest ever and her blog is filled with great content to get lost in for the evening. So, do be sure to check it out and give it some love. Now, find out how Sheryl keeps things on the sunny side during these trying times:

Searching For The Sun In Quarantine:

The last few days here in Vermont have been quite warm being in the ’60s. Growing up in California as a young girl and later on a young woman I loved to sunbath. Having a nationality of Black Irish and Cherokee Indian all the hours spent in the sun would result in a deep brown tan which I loved. As I grew older, I spent less and less time in the sun becoming more aware of skin cancer and harmful UVB rays. Plus, since moving and living on the East Coast, there is way less sun.

Since this COVID-19 started I had started counseling. I was feeling depressed because of how badly I missed my family and old friends. This was before the outbreak. I went to one session instantly bonding with my new counselor. He has a very kind face. I trusted him immediately. Shortly after, this nasty little virus came to light prompting stay at home orders. I was bummed that we couldn’t continue our meetings so he suggested video chat, instead. I was so happy. Trust me I’m getting to the point of this post.

Sure enough on Thursday at noon, I get the awaited phone call from John to let me know he sent me the link for our video chat. I click on it, put my name in the on-screen box, and presto, we were at my session. As we are chatting away I notice my little screen of myself in the corner and my face is what I think a deadly white skin tone. Yesterday, I went over to where the apartment complex storage area is and retrieved my lounge chair, bringing it upstairs. Then the clouds came suffocating that idea.

I spent some time on Amazon researching sun tanning equipment and aside from the cost, they weren’t quite what I was looking for. I looked at the spray tan kits that came with a six foot tall tent. Where would I put that?! I even looked at the tanning creams which, from experience, don’t work all that well with the streaking and darkened elbows and knees.

I decided that tanning for free with only the cost of baby oil (which I already have) was the way to go. Today looks pretty good so I’m going to give it another try outside. I took a big plastic bin out to the trash this morning so I know it’s already really warm and it’s only nine AM. I need color. REAL color and, if nothing else, getting outside will definitely be a big plus!

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This is not me, but reminds me of how I looked when I used to sunbath complete with painted toenails and anklet. Plus I dreadfully miss the beach.

About The Author:

Hello, my name is Sheryl Rose. I have three grown children, a husband of fifteen years all together who I met online, two grandsons ages three and four, and a baby hamster named Zoey. My husband and I live in Vermont. We have lived here for six years moving from Maine. I miss Maine, the seafood, and ocean. My children live out of state. One daughter in California, middle daughter lives in Florida with her life partner, and my son who is married to his wife and two sons live in Texas. My deal is, despite the trials and tribulations you can still come up smelling like a rose. Get it!? My vision is to share my journey helping others like me. Life is love. Life can smack you around but you still can rise above it all and be kind. Life is a lark, as I’m fond of saying. Let’s have some fun.

Thank you so much again to Sheryl for her charming guest post! How do you keep a positive attitude amidst uncertainty? Who always helps to cheer you up? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

What Have I Been Watching? Pt. 2

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What Have I Been Watching? Pt. 2

Hello!!! Although the stay at home order in Ohio is gradually being lifted, Johnny and I are still not comfortable yet diving into normal society. So, until we feel safe to enjoy the community again, we are okay with continuing our constant state of vegging out at home. On a previous post, I broke down all of the television and movies that are keeping my boyfriend and I sane…

Can you believe that a few weeks after posting that article, we’re already done with all of the shows that I mentioned?! Now, we’re onto the following:

SuperStore:

Johnny began watching this comedy based in a Walmart style store a couple of weeks ago and, originally, I didn’t care for it. Season one was weak and it took me a while for all of the different characters to rub off on me. When I finally started enjoying the show about halfway through season two, I did a complete 180 and now I am obsessed.

Superstore is the first thing I recommend when Johnny asks me what I want to watch. There are a few bigger names in the cast but I have not heard of a majority of the actors in it, which is kind of fun. From coworker relationships to goofy antics throughout the store, this show has kept me in stitches ever since I realized I liked it!

LEGO Masters:

I have definitely posted about LEGO Masters before but I wanted to mention it again, because it is that fun. Hosted by Will Arnett and judged by two master builders from LEGO, this is a fast paced competition show where teams of two create masterpieces out of the beloved children’s toy.

LEGO Masters follows your standard competition style protocol with eliminations and different challenges, each episode more exciting and difficult than the next. The artistic ability of every single contestant on the show was just amazing and I am crossing my fingers for a season two.

The Pacific:

My boyfriend is a huge history buff and you can often catch him at home watching different documentaries and TV shows about the subject. Earlier in quarantine, we watched Band Of Brothers, which depicted the soldiers fighting in the Easy Company division in WWII.

Now, we are watching The Pacific. Still WWII, but the soldiers being depicted are now fighting the Japanese soldiers in famous battles like Guadalcanal and Iwo Jima. Believe me, the show is intense. But, omg is it interesting. I can’t say that I am as big of a war genre lover as my boyfriend. However, an episode or two of a series per day is something that I can handle and I have been enjoying dipping my toes in the water with that.

America’s Next Top Model:

Lol, this is certainly not one of Johnny’s shows but it is one of mine! I have been dedicated to rewatching ANTM since all of the seasons got put on Hulu and revel in when Johnny ends up taking a nap so I can put on a few episodes without him complaining! Cheesy, corny, guilty pleasure TV? Absolutely. But I couldn’t stop watching Tyra Banks and that big beautiful forehead if I tried! ❤

These are just a few of the shows that have been keeping my boyfriend and I entertained in quarantine. How about yours? What are you currently or have recently been binging on? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Having A Great Day, The Safe Way

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Having A Great Day, The Safe Way

Hi! While in quarantine, there have been many special occasions that have came and passed, including several birthdays in my family and Mother’s Day. Although it would have been nice to have big birthday blow outs and celebrations, that just isn’t possible right now. However, my family always seemed to manage to have a good time, despite the obvious set backs.

For example, for my sister and dad’s back to back birthdays, Johnny and I ordered pizza and we made an evening of it at my parents’ house. And, for my brother’s birthday, we hit up a local ice cream stand and brought that deliciousness home to enjoy. We also took the dogs (and ourselves) for a walk around the neighborhood, too!

While these are, admittedly, tame ways to celebrate someone’s big day, it worked perfectly for the current circumstances. Good food and company was shared between all of the people I love and it doesn’t get much better than that. Also, Pizza Hut… Need I say more?

Although your get togethers might not be picture perfect right now, you can still make a great day with the options that are safely available. My boyfriend’s birthday is a week before mine and, while I have gifts at the ready compliments of Amazon, I am also making him something special for dinner. AKA I’m getting him Outback Steakhouse so he can have that for his birthday dinner and watch WWII documentaries a la Parks & Rec. Like I said, work with what you’ve got given the circumstances!

Enjoy your low key celebrations for now and plan for an even bigger and better bash next year. Stay safe and have fun. ❤

How are you celebrating special occasions social distance style? What is your favorite takeout treat? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah