Monday, October 24, 2016

Random pics and facts

Happy Monday, you sassy people you!

Hey, did I mention the cabin we stayed at had a built in abandoned house AND cemetery on site?

Did I mention that growing up on 80's slasher movies means if this had been mentioned at all on the listing, we would not have stayed there given I do a good enough job freaking myself out have actually had to leave cabins before!?  Thankfully, no Criminal Minds kind of shizz went down in the house and all inhabitants of their graves seemed to stay put.

So we're going to clear that image with a puppy.

I apparently had a dorky look on my face when looking at these because I caught the cashier dude looking at me with a smile on his face at the smile on my face.

Christmas glee radiates from the inside out, yo.

Sometimes when you say "I have a mountain of laundry," you mean it.

What did you guys do this weekend or random thought would you like to share?

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Friday, October 21, 2016

What I'm Reading This Week #42

It's Friday...woo hoo!!  

Let's cut to the chase and get right to...

A New 'Naked Juice' Lawsuit Claims the Drinks Aren't As Healthy As They May Seem  (In case any of you drink 'em)

20 Heart-Healthy Fall Meals  (Yummy!)

10 Organization Tricks to Make Your Vanity Feel Twice as Big  (The two tiered basket thingy is awesome, now I just need to find one small enough to fit in our space!)

The Secret Ingredient For Maximum Results  (Wish more people would get this instead of trying to force their chosen lifestyle on others.  What works for you may not work for me and that's OKAY!)

The Crazy-Common Thing That Makes Your Morning After Pill Ineffective  (This is SUPER IMPORTANT for any overweight/obese woman who should find herself in the circumstance of needing it!)

JoJo: ‘I Will Never Have a Thigh Gap and It’s All Good’  (Good on ya girl!)

Mom Takes Disabled Husband To Olive Garden, Then Stranger Leaves Rude Note About Their Looks  (To the person who left the note...may the fleas of a thousand camels infest your armpits)

These NSFW Photos Get Super Real About the Before and After of Extreme Weight Loss  (Again...NSFW but yeah, kind of nails it.  Losing a ton of weight is nowhere near the end of the journey!)

Flight Attendant Adopts Dog That Waited for Her Outside Her Hotel  (Aww, welcome home nugget!)

25 Awesome Halloween Candies You Need to Know About  (Those Sweet Tarts bones remind me of those Mr Bones Candy Coffins from back in the day!)

We've Unwrapped the Calorie Counts of Your Favorite Halloween Candy  (And now to kill the joy)

Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies and Quick Peanut Butter Cookies  (In case you need a few cookie recipes for the upcoming baking season  ;-) )

The heartwarming reason why a N.M. boy asked his mom to pack 2 school lunches  (Hope for the future!)

I seriously almost wee'd watching this  (Don't drink anything while watching it)

No clue what's going on this weekend, it'll depend on how I feel and if I can taste or not.  I think the Mr wants to watch Pet Sematery so I think we'll likely do that since Halloween is practically upon us and it's time to break out the 80's scary movies.  (Especially since our cabin stay is over and I don't have to worry about creeping myself out.  Did I mention there was an abandoned creepy ass house AND a cemetery on the property!?  Yeah...NOT in the brochure!)

What are you into this weekend?

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Thursday, October 20, 2016

Extra souvenirs

It's been quite a week.  I came home with an extra souvenir from Virginia...a version of a black death cold that started the day we left.  So you can imagine with a serious flu looming that driving up and down hills was not conducive to a comfortable drive home for me.

By the next day, it had me so weak it took me 30 minutes to get from the bottom of my bed to the top after a bath.  I was then in bed for 16 hours unable to eat or move except to put ice packs and heating pads on aching joints.  My meals consisted of Belvita crackers samples and dry Cheerios because I was so nauseous.  I had to skip workouts Sunday and Monday because I had zero ability to do so.  This was especially irritating given for the first time EVER on vacation, we exercised every single day.  I was super proud of us for doing so.  The Mr was able to workout so he did while I mouth breathed and shared a blood supply with the couch or bed.

As if being sick wasn't enough, the legs did not appreciate the hikes the few days we were out as well as keeping up with the exercise.  I've now taken to calling my ankle my "yankle" because when I went to get out of the bathtub, it yanked so hard I cried for 10 minutes.  It is VERY frustrating to go on what I used to consider a pretty easy hike and have it pull me back progress wise.

I have a chiro appointment today and am going to talk to him about giving me specific exercises to do in between appointments because I need to move this progress along especially if the tissue as a whole remains healthy and I didn't do any damage.

So it's been kind of a crappy week of recovery on many fronts for me this week.  I'm still sick and almost always go for a full 10 days when I get sick so I'm about at the halfway point if past colds are any indicator.

I'm pretty sure I picked it up at Luray Caverns where everyone around us was hacking.  You couple that with the lack of eating consistent fruits and veggies daily like I usually do so I don't have any vitamin C, the immense stress I was under in the month leading up to it and doubly so hoping all was pulled off as planned that week to lack of water (AGAIN!  WHY is this such an issue for me when traveling!?) and my system was pretty much doomed.

I will absolutely take my Airtamer Travel Air Purifier with me on future trips and just tuck it into my scarf so it doesn't look like some detonator around my neck.  I cannot risk getting sick over Christmas and this has always helped with long travel days.  I should've known better and taken it at the more touristy places like the caverns and Monticello where we were herded in with multiple groups of people.  I'll also make sure we keep hand sanitizer ON us instead of just in the car.  I'll definitely have to order my favorite, lavender hand sanitizer from AKL Maui since it doesn't dry my hands out like the regular stuff.  I also said we'll need to make sure we buy some navel oranges and have at least one a day.  Good Lord man, after a zillion trips under my belt, you'd think I'd plan for potential cold/flu going into the season.  DERP!

I'm going to be heading into a crazy work schedule so I need to try to take care of myself.  I'm hoping to feel much better next week so I can get a jump on a lot of that.  I hope my editor is ready to bust his hump.  *ducking*

Do you usually get sick on vacation?

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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

I know I've said it before but... Lord am I glad I own a FoodSaver!  It was glaringly apparent this trip when after researching the town about 30 minutes away from us that we were going to be in for nothing but sodium laden mediocrity if we relied on restaurants.  Or it meant I'd be cooking...all...the...time.  Just like at home. No thanks.  But the prospect of "heat and eat" was fine with me or at least heating half and making the other half.

So, I used the trip as an excuse to get some recipes made for the channel (coming in the next few weeks!) and Food Save some for the trip.  I made a batch of turkey chili split into two bags so we could have it for dinner two of them being the first night.  After a day long drive, I wouldn't have more in me than heat and eat.  So I packed up some shredded cheese and our low sodium oyster crackers pre-portioned and even made cornbread.

I made some pecan crusted chicken breast to put over TJ's pumpkin waffles and we brought our light syrup in a smaller bottle and it made for an awesome breakfast before heading out to the park.  WAY better than anything we'd get at their restaurants where you're hostage to what's available.

I also made meatloaf and I made it with lean beef and pork and tons of veggies.  I've always liked to top it myself since I like ketchup on mine and the Mr likes A1 on his so I don't make it with glaze or anything.  I brought corn from the freezer and roasted red potatoes and it was sooo good!  I just had to tend to the potatoes every now and then but no biggie.

I made my MIL some banana bread and since I knew one normal sized loaf would be too much for her alone, I split them in two of those paper loaf pans so she could have one and we would take the other.  I wrapped it tightly, froze it, FoodSaved it and moved on!  We had it with 2 eggs and some organic sausage.

Even the birthday boy's pancakes were frozen!  I made them with his M&M's, froze 'em, Food Saved 'em and then birthday morning, cut a slit in the bag and microwaved for 45 seconds and they were fresh and fluffy as the day I made them!  Score!

The one I was really hoping turned out well was his birthday dinner.  We sometimes go to the Cherry Hut in Beulah MI for the 2 weekends per year they serve apple pie and cinnamon ice cream along with his Thanksgiving dinner, there was pressure.  Well, I made a tutorial for the turkey and Food Saved what will be our leftovers and enough to bring to the cabin.  I premade and froze the stuffing and reheated that and even the homemade turkey gravy!  The only thing I had to make were the mashed potatoes and that was just boiling the taters and then mashing them with a little skim milk and a few pats of buttah.  I was relieved when he told me no offense but mine was way better (but we'll always love Cherry Hut!)  He also heavily hinted at cake all throughout the day but I had other plans.  Since he told me he wanted me to make him a chocolate peanut butter pie for his birthday this year I said I would.  I lied.  Instead I had our favorite pie place ship 3 mini pies...2 apple crumbs and of course his chocolate peanut butter pie he requested.  I even made sure I found cinnamon ice cream and put the little cheese wedge on the side just like Cherry Hut.  We may not have been there but it sure was close!

We brought some frozen Chicago dogs to roast over the fire from TJ's and I made caramelized onions and FoodSaved those too so all I had to do was microwave them and put them on top of our dogs when the fire made 'em sizzle and it tasted just like eating a Maxwell Street Polish.  (You Chicagoans know what I'm talkin' about!)

That thing saved our trip!  I did not even mean to make a pun like that...I have more class than that.

No I don't but still.

I have used mine so much and it's lasted 10 years but this black Friday I'm going to get a new one because I think it's going to peter out on me soon and I don't have time for that!  I got a great deal through their website using Ebates for my aunt and uncle last year.  They use that thing CONSTANTLY not just for their own meat since my uncle is an outdoorsman but they use it to make meals for my grandma and her husband so they aren't constantly eating junk and she'll even make chicken for salads and meals for my mom too.  So it's definitely getting the mileage this year!

I even use it to pre-make cookie dough about a month before holiday cookie baking time to save a little sanity where I can.  Just pull the dough to the fridge 2 days before and boom, ready to scoop!

This post isn't sponsored by FoodSaver or anything like that even though there are affiliate links if you're interested in buying one.  I linked to the one I like the best that is middle of the line price wise.   But seeing what a major time saver it was to make sure we ate not just good food but better options than we would've had at restaurants and that I now have confidence that Christmas travels will be in the bag (okay, I meant that pun...regret it), I feel a LOT better about it.  I will say that flattening the food will help because we got one of those RTIC coolers and that thing has very little room so I need to make every inch count!

So if you're ever thinking of investing, do yourself a favor.  Now that I've used it for travel purposes, I love it even more!

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Tuesday, October 18, 2016


I've been keeping a secret for about 4 months.  The Mr thought we were going on one trip but I had planned another.  He's been saying for 25 years that he wanted to someday take me to Shenandoah, where his parents took him as a kid.  I don't know why but it was always something I kept putting off because it wasn't high on my list of vacation hot spots.  But...mama ain't gettin' any younger and given the way my legs are, who knows when they're going to give out completely on me so I figured no time like the present.  I didn't tell him until we were ready to leave after our breakfast on vacation departure morning.  I gave him a hint or two and he guessed and off we went!

Once we got to Shenandoah National Park, it was time to drive to Skyland and some of the turn outs showing the great views.

The beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains.

On our way on the trails!

Sadly, this was the most color we saw, everything was still green.

In Sperryville, we made a stop at Cooter's in the Country from Dukes of Hazzard.

We made a stop in Washington which is a beautiful small town.

Our s'more game was strong at the cabin.

We had a nice time walking the Luray greenway.

Dream lake at the Luray Caverns.

Yep, the back of the nickel looks the same in person, just less shiny.  (Monticello)

On our way out of VA, we made a side trip to Roanoke to Black Dog Salvage...the TV show.

It was a nice week away and I'm glad I was able to cross off his final vacation spot on his wish list for me to see.  He seemed to really love the surprise and I can say with all confidence that I will never plan another "surprise" vacation again!  While it was all fine and good, there was just way too much stress, pressure and wondering if he was going to be mad thinking he was going one place and going elsewhere to put myself through it again.  I'm glad I got the opportunity to do it once in my life and almost pulled it off as planned but yeah...I can cross plan a surprise vacation off of my bucket list!  HA!

Oh and if I may, I have a great audio book recommendation.  A Little Thing Called Life: On Loving Elvis Presley, Bruce Jenner, and Songs in Between is what we listened to for almost 8 solid hours and we're only just halfway through it!  It is a great listen and while I wanted to wait until our next trip to finish it, we're listening to it as I type.  It's fascinating!  (Oh and if she is half as full of kindness and integrity as she portrays (she was always my favorite Hee Haw girl), then we need more people like her.  Wow!)  But if you should get the audio book, beware while driving because her voice will soothe you to sleep!  Whoops never mind, she did it.  The Mr is out.  You're not safe anywhere.

Have you ever planned a surprise trip for someone?  How did you pull it off?

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Monday, October 17, 2016

Note to 2016 Christmas self

Repost from last year as my reminder for this holiday season.
Hey you, it'

I know that you're going to get that little butterfly of excitement for the holiday season when October comes around.  You'll have had a year between holidays to forget how ugly it got last year.  It's kind of like childbirth..."a pain you forget" like they all say.

Well, I'm here to remind you that if you don't take some precautions, you're going to be doing a repeat of last year.  That included lying in your bed on the 22nd, sobbing, unable to breathe through your nose from snot, screaming "I don't want to do Christmas this year.  Cancel EVERYTHING!" and considered vacationing alone for Christmas this year.

Here are some lessons learned and things you can hopefully do to make this year more manageable because you and I both know you're not going to slow down during the holidays unless you're physically unable to do so.

1.  Freeze your doughs at the end of October or November.  Trying to do that in December is a lot to do even though it only took 2 days.  They're going in the FoodSaver so the taste won't be affected.  However, remember anything with brown butter does NOT freeze well and loses the flavor you worked so hard for so make those brown butter chocolate chip cookies within a day or two of baking.  Not only will those lose the brown butter flavor, they flatten out once frozen.  Remember you can also pre-make icings and run them through the FoodSaver so you don't have to do 4 different kinds for different things on baking day.  Consider pre-rolling some doughs if there's room then freeze.  Refer to this freezing guide now.

2.  Freeze 2-3 meals that you can have the Mr warm up.  You tapped out on dinner a few times and it resulted in some ugliness.  So to make sure everyone is happy, a few frozen meals could go a long way in not killing each other and not resulting in a fast food run or eating cookies for dinner in a moment of "eff it."

3.  Sleep on it.  There will be times in the middle of the chaos you want to tap out and make extreme decisions about people and what you have planned the next day.  80% of the time your spirit was renewed the following day.  For the other 20%, tread lightly, think ahead and if it still sticks then go with your gut.

4.  When people say and do stupid sh*t, step away from the situation.  Depending on what your stress meter is at when said stupidity rears its head, you will either grin and bear it, give fair warning they need to back off or tear the hell out of someone.  Remember when your heart rate went to about 177/120?  You took a walk and felt better.  Do that even if you have to walk out in the middle of a conversation with an offender.  Your sanity and staying out of jail are more important.

5.  Stop trying to make holiday memories with people who could care less.  It's their loss, spend precious December days with people who appreciate your efforts and time.  If they don't make merry themselves, they don't have time to make idle people merry.  (Sorry, I lapsed into A Christmas Carol ...Patrick Stewart version)  Take a hint and save your money.

6.  Pre-bag cookies for delivery people.  Every time you saw a mail or delivery person, it was too late to throw together a bag for them because they're on a schedule.  Pre-bag, press and seal them and have 'em by the front door in the little reindeer bag.  Then maybe the mail lady won't try to steal your printer next year.

8.  Don't feel guilty for taking Christmas back.  I know you are going to feel weird initially about not being with your family Christmas Day and you're probably going to get a lot of crap for it from family. (Which at that point it will be easy to say "see! This is what I'd be missing!  No thanks!")  Try to remember what the last few years have been like that day.  The hosts are visibly tired, stressed and just want the house back to themselves.  The rest of the visit is seeing who gets the "short straw" on tending to Grandma the whole time while her husband ignores her or complains to anyone who will listen about what a task he is choosing to take on.  Top that off with people who may or may not be under the influence of substances and will corner you no matter how far you try to run.  This is not how anyone should spend Christmas.  You will still see them a few days prior, you will still make merry with your mother.  Get back to the reason for the season and enjoy a break this year.  You're losing your Christmas were not put on this Earth to be a Grinch.  There are too many people already in line for that job.

9.  Stop trying to make cinnamon rolls from scratch for Christmas morning.  Look, I know the bakeries around you suck for cinnamon rolls but what's worse is when you put that pressure on yourself to make them and fail to get the taste you wanted.  You and yeast don't mix.  Get the memo.  Buy them elsewhere and doctor if necessary.

10.  You were so frazzled from this holiday, you forgot to list a #7.  This illustrates why things need to change.

(Who just scrolled back up to see if #7 was missing?)

11.  Don't buy EVERY bag of Christmas candy out there, your stocking was ridiculous and you ate it ALL!  You threw away the Crunch bells when you realized the chocolate tasted off but yeah, you went WAY overboard and you both felt like you were going to barf for 5 days between the stockings and cookies.  Remember the Mr's sugar migraine?  Remember doing a workout and you sweat sugar cubes?

12.  Don't EVER be too lazy to change the channel on the Music Choice Sounds of the Season channel.  You actually hated Do They Know It's Christmas by the third week of December.  This especially applies when Justin Bieber or Clay Aiken comes on.  You need to exercise.  Stop what you're doing and change that crap!  It filled you with hate.

13.  Water is CRUCIAL!  For whatever reason, you stop drinking it almost altogether every year and you pay dearly for it.  Remember those gross chapped, dehydrated lips?  Remember your uh...'issues' in the lavatory?  Don't be an dork...hydrate!

14.  Take your probiotics!  Another thing you skip out on is taking these and your immune system takes a hit every time and you spend the holiday or New Years Eve sick and unable to celebrate.  BE SMART!  This and water should help keep you healthy even if your eating schedule is off.

15.  Don't forget to re-read this about mid-October next year.  Seriously, you will thank yourself.

If you want to see what you wrote to yourself last year, here's the link to the original post.

What would you tell your 2016 holiday self that you learned from this year?

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Friday, October 14, 2016

Friday Halloween Poll

Unfortunately there's been no time to read much of anything this week so let's do a fun poll instead!  We're knee deep in the goodness of autumn and trick or treat time is just around the corner so that will be our theme.

Credit: bradsearles/Flickr  (Flippin' classic!)

Name the 5 treats you were most anxious to get in your trick or treat bag as a kid?

1. Reese Cups
2. Snickers
3. Double Bubble Gum (what was it about that package!?)
4. Candy Corn packets
5. Smarties

Name the 5 items you would throw away as a kid.
1.  Mini box of raisins
2.  Bit O' Honey's because I thought they were old people candy and now that I'm old, I love them
3.  Peanut Butter Kisses- Same candy but with peanut butter and again, now I love them!
4.  Anything with coconut like Mounds/Almond Joy
5.  Those God awful black licorice flavored hard candies

Did you use a trick or treat bag, a plastic jack o lantern or pillow case?

I think I might've used a jack o lantern as a really small kid and then graduated to the plastic bags you bought at the store.  Never did a pillow case.

Describe what trick or treating was like when you were a kid:

When I was a kid, there was always the possibility that if it was cold enough, it could flurry so the snowsuit or winter coat could go over your costume which stunk.  We always got a pumpkin flashlight at Kmart or similar stores so I could light my way and I was let loose into the apartment complex(s) to collect my loot.  We might stop by Grandma's house too to show off my costume.  With the advent of the whole "razors/needles in the candy" crap back in the 80's, we just kind of held up the wrapper to the light or bit into half the candy gingerly if we bothered at all.  Sometimes you didn't care and just played candy roulette and hoped you didn't become an urban legend.  Then I took out what I didn't want and my mom would take it and I'm sure a few rogue pieces of my favorites I had too much of like every mom!

What candy do you give out now as an adult?  (And do you buy candy you like so if there's any left, you'll have some or do you purposely buy candy you DON'T like so you won't be tempted to eat it?)

We've tried to give out full sized candy bars like Snickers or Milky Ways (not that they're very full sized anymore yet still have the same is this possible!?) or a bag of something we like but no kids ever come here so we save a few for a high cal day or send them to the Mr's work. We have bought crappy candy before to not tempt us but then we just want to eat a few pieces anyway if they're fun sized so that doesn't really work for us.  :-\

What are the biggest differences you see from Halloween when you were a kid to now especially if you have little goblins?

Well, we didn't think they DID trick or treat anymore despite the news always showing the times for it.  We literally have an entire neighborhood waiting to give out treats and I know at least 5 kids that live here so they could make out like bandits but no one in over 15 years!  I hear they do "trunk or treat???"  That just sounds sad.

Your turn!  Can't wait to see your responses to these questions!

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