Friday, November 28, 2014

Thanksgiving recap and what I'm reading this week

Happy Day After Thanksgiving y'all!

Twas quite the oink fest at our family's gathering yesterday.  Last minute, I decided to make an extra dessert for the kids.  Chocolate cupcakes dressed as turkeys.

We bought a box of Chocodiles (chocolate covered Twinkies) to try and they were not our cup of tea.  I took one bite and threw the rest away.  But you know kids, they'll eat anything so I used 1/3 of the 'dile to make a turkey face and used some googly eyes I had left from another recipe.  I must say, there was no greater joy for me than watching my 4 year old second cousin go face first into that bad boy with chocolate ALL over his face.  He was giggling and laughing while shoving that thing in like it was the best thing he ever had.  So that made it worth it.  When the kids were gone, my grandpa snagged two for him and grandma.  My cousin snagged one and when he left it unattended his sister snatched some candy corn and his mom snatched part of the top.  He yelled at his sister and ran into the kitchen with it and ate it over the sink.  I should mention, he's 29.

I got a message from him back in October about making sure to bring my light pumpkin pie.

Knowing my cousins and how fast it went last year, I made an extra secret pie that we kept in the trunk...with two pieces missing.  Don't know how that happened.  ;-)  When it was gone, I gave the nod to the Mr and he retrieved it for them.  Pieces were taken to be saved for later with nasty notes threatening bodily harm on them.

Heck, they literally finished their plates and my cousin dug into the pumpkin pie and his sisters boyfriend dug into the apple crumb pie I made.  It went SOOOO fast that I think next year I'm going to have to make two of those as well!  Flattering though.  Everyone was raving and when most of the people left, we brought in a basket of homemade pumpkin butter and banana bread muffins for my aunt and uncle who hosted so they wouldn't have to make breakfast this morning.  They were very appreciative and I've probably just started something I'll be cursing come each holiday.  HA!

When we were done, we stopped by the only grocery store open and I saw they cut their turkeys by 50% so yes even though I already have turkey in the fridge, I've got this bad boy thawing too.

This is what FoodSavers (affiliate link)  were made for so we'll get to have some yummy turkey when the season has passed.

It was a nice holiday but also sad with Grandma needing tending to.  The holidays were always a time where she would proudly show off her less than moist bird but fabulous noodles that more than made up for it.  Its just hard to get used to seeing her and not having her personality there.  There was a point when I went to take a drink out of my water bottle and she said "no, don't do that" and put her hand out like she was going to swat it away.  So I put it down and I think she thought I was taking her drink.  My mom showed her her glass with a straw and she drank out of that.  I wasn't about to take a drink again without asking her so I asked if I could take a drink of mine and she said yes.  So I did and she said "you should've known that."  I said "you're right."  It was kind of cute but then brought tears to my eyes and I had to focus on something else.  She was good the first hour or so and then the noise was getting to her and she would hold her head like she was in pain but couldn't convey it.  I was holding my four month old second cousin for about 45 minutes and I was sitting by Grandma and she did rub her feet and hold her hand.  I wish someone had taken a picture.  It was good to see that instinct kick in to want to play with a baby.  But toward the end, you could tell she was tired and just wanted to go home.  But for about 4 1/2 hours, she did well.

But enough of my schtuff, let's get to

I didn't get to read too much this week because I was BUSY but there are a few nuggets...

7 Holiday Traditions to Rethink This Christmas  (Always important to pick and choose the traditions that mean most to you and your family and not get involved in time sucks)

Celebrities Read Mean Tweets  (These always crack me up even though they're mean the people seem to have a good sense of humor about them)

Snow Shoveling 101: How Not to Kill Yourself  (Good stuff to remember as mother nature dumped on a good portion of the country)

11 Things Men Don't Know About Their Clothes  (Pretty interesting stuff...I bet a lot of ladies like myself didn't know this stuff either)

After Facing a Firestorm, Old Navy Revamps Its Plus-Size Policies  (While that's nice, it would serve the plus sized ladies better to just bring the damn clothes back IN STORE so we can try them on first at every O.N.!)

The Making of Band Aid: Secrets and Stories From the Star-Studded Session  (Seriously, 30 years?  Interesting tidbits in there and no, I shant be listening to the new version)

Paul Rudd’s Hair In The ’80s Is A Thing Of Unexpected Beauty  (All hail the Rudd)

Fast Ways to Debloat (Oh yeah, I need this.  I did a little more carbo-loading than I planned on yesterday)

Steven Spielberg Wants to Remake The Last Starfighter But Can't  (GOOD!  I'm glad you can't!  Some things need to be untouchable and good on the dude who owns the rights that isn't caving to the Hollywood "reboot" machine!  You rock, sir!)

The Best Free Workout Videos on YouTube  (In case you need to get to working off some o' dat stuffing!)

20th Century: The Evolution of Bargain Hunting  (Wow, it actually looked quite awesome back in the early 1900s!)

How was your Thanksgiving?  Are you shopping this Black Friday?

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Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving Thankfuls

I am thankful for the desire to make good homemade food not just for holidays but pretty much every day.  It's not about "eating clean" or any of that, it's about knowing I can make something that tastes 110% better than what I can dump out of a box or can.

I'm thankful for not giving up on this whole healthy thing even if I feel like it.

I'm thankful for you guys from the new people who have found their way here to the ones that have stuck with me for the long haul!

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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Jive turkey

Yesterday I got to cooking the turkey I picked up for the Mr and I.  See back in the day, the family could do one big turkey and still somehow have enough for each family to take home some leftovers.  But one branch of my family tree have taken to procreating like rabbits so leftovers became a thing of the past.  At one point I did the turkey and they had me make it two years in a row but it was kind of a pain in the butt to lug it over so despite telling them exactly how I made it, they weren't going to take the extra steps so my aunt now does a turkey and ham.  That's fine, I still grab a turkey for us and cook him up, vacuum seal it for when the hankerin' strikes.  

Hello lover

I cleaned that bad boy pretty clean.

For some reason I couldn't help but think it resembled the vampire bat at the end of the 1985 Fright Night .  (affiliate link) 

Minus the fangs of course.

I must say the hankerin' hit pretty quickly because I couldn't smell that meaty bastard cooking all morning only to tuck it away in the freezer!  So I asked the Mr if he wanted some for dinner and his eyes widened and he smiled ear to ear which I believe translated to "hell to the yes!"

I made gravy from the drippings.  I skimmed the fat off, used a little neck meat and 1 tbsp of the rosemary honey I got from Beekman 1802 and I swear when we took a bite, we almost exploded from culinary ecstasy.  He said "your poor aunt, ain't nothing coming close to this!"  This is why restaurant food is unappealing half the time anymore because I just bust out my kitchen skills and I know what's actually going into it.  It's also why I could never open a restaurant or it would kill my kitchen passion and I don't think the Mr would like that.  Hell he even says my salads are awesome and I'm pretty sure the only thing I do differently than he does is I put half the dressing in the middle and add cracked black pepper just like in the fancy pants places.

Now I have to get a few Christmas cards ready.  I usually have them all addressed and ready to mail tonight and have for 18 years but not this year.  I haven't written a single thing.  But I do know that whenever they do go out, they'll have some awesome stamps on them!

What's the meat of choice for your Thanksgiving celebration?

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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Earth shattering, borrowed ornament and tree trimmed

You may have heard a piercing scream last night that caused tsunamis and the Earth to spin in reverse.  That would've been the Mr and I screaming at the DVR cutting off the final minutes of the Sleepy Hollow winter finale.  Twas not a good moment of the day.

My aunt got her tree up thanks to my suggestion last year.  I told her how I put it up the weekend before Thanksgiving and it was less stressful than trying to cram it in anytime after that.  She said she was going to do that this year and I'll be danged if she didn't and then messaged me to thank me because it took a load of stress off.  She's the one that hosts the holidays so she's got a lot on her plate and I was glad my suggestion helped her because if anyone needs to destress, it's her.  But then I felt like a sloth.

Sunday night when I mentioned at 10pm how upset I was that we didn't get the tree up, the Mr said we still had time so down he went to get the tree and proper accouterments.   We got the tree up and after losing a strand of lights, we got an acceptable five strands on.  It was 11:30pm and I told him we could call it a night and I would finish up yesterday.  As I was decorating, I came across our glass icicles.  The year our dog died, we couldn't find one of them.  We looked everywhere for it and it was never to be found.  We came to the conclusion that she wanted to take one with her to decorate her dog house until we pick her up one day.

So take care of it for us little one.

It was nice to have the Christmas music on and put the special ornaments on the tree.  We have so many from our travels, I had to add some to another little tree in the corner.  

But when the lights went out, it was a perfect warm, fuzzy moment.

Well, at least where the tree is.  The rest of the house?  Don't look.

Matter of fact, I need to do SOOOO much between today and tomorrow with no real plan of action.  It's not a good situation to be in so that's how I'll be spending my day...trying not to go clinically insane.

When do you put up your Christmas tree?

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Monday, November 24, 2014

Festive Hanging Tea Towel

Where my non-crafty peeps at?  What what!

People, this is seriously so easy a non-crafty dude could do it.  We're talking like my dad's whole side of the family kind of guys who say the phrase "huntin' and fishin'" as easily as I say Pottery Barn.  

You know how you see those super cute tea towels for the holidays and think you'll never use them or they're too pretty to wipe yer grubby food covered paws on?  Well, this is for those towels to be proudly displayed and this was done in 7 minutes.  

Seriously...I timed it.

Here's all you'll need:

Super cute tea towel  (mine is from Sur La Table last year so I'm not sure if they still make it or not)
A piece of trim or dowel rod (I had a stained piece of trim left from the remodel)
3 safety pins  (you read that right)

Put the piece of trim about 1 inch under the top of the tea towel.  Fold the top over and safety pin it on both ends and in the middle.

That's right, no funky glues or sewing machines needed just something probably down in the bottom of your purse!

I got this awesome ribbon at World Market.  They don't carry it long so run out and get some if you're so inclined.  Loop it big enough to fit the trim or dowel rod then sew 4 stitches like I did or glue or heck, safety pin it, I won't tell!

Slide the ribbon on each end of trim/rod to be ready to be hung.


Because it was a little long and the ribbon had holes, I just looped it in the middle and put the nail through the ribbon to hang it.  No ruining the towel if you should decide to use it in the future, no expensive frame to display it but a quick, easy craft to fill that empty spot that's been driving you nuts!

Linked up with Between Naps on the Porch, Sand and Sisal, Yesterfood,  Home Stories A to Z, Simply Designing, Mabey She Made It, Crafty Blog Stalker, Savvy Southern Style, French Country Cottage

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Friday, November 21, 2014

Chiro time, thoughtful business practices and what I'm reading this week

Last week was a rough week, culminating in a very bad Sunday in which my Mr patiently let me waste his entire day word barfing.  I was at a low between that mood, lack of faith in society and being overrun by corporate greed and my leg getting progressively worse.

When I woke up yesterday morning, I felt like my leg was super tight and the shooting pain I had in my toe was going to start hindering me.  So after 3 weeks of attempted rehabbing on my own, I called the chiro and he could see me that morning.  Of course my legs were nowhere near 'chiro feelin' up your leg' ready so I baby oil shaved my legs.  (Don't do that)  Then I got out the belt sander and started working on my calloused feet that were like I'd been walking on hardened lava for 10 years.  I slapped on my layers of rose scented lotion on my legs and feet and got on my way.  It was good to see Dr. B again and I was just hoping that the suspected cause hadn't done permanent damage.

Remember when I mentioned in our vacation recap about how I did front toe raises to Potsie singing Pumps Your Blood?  Well, those are the muscles that hurt and I knew within a week after getting back it had done more harm than good.  Dr. B confirmed I gave myself a repetitive motion injury, well, a "tweak" as he called it.   I have micro-tears in the tibialis anterior muscle and while the Mr has been so graciously massaging my calves at my request, it was basically just compensating one area then the other area would over-compensate and no healing could occur.  So I got the calves worked on very lightly and then he had me flip over and he worked on the shin muscle.  It was super tender and then he lasered me all up and down that muscle to loosen any scar tissue that may have formed after waiting a month to come in.  I've been instructed not to do my ankle massages, no foam rolling and no Mr massages on the calves for a minimum of a week.  I can do regular exercise and my light stretching for IT bands and such like we do from the Do Yoga With Me website.   He'll evaluate me again next week, "zap" me and we'll see if I need to go in for more or not the first week of December. I was so thankful to have such a wonderful chiro.  He always gives me such positive reinforcement, teaches me every time I see him and I've actually been able to help the Mr based on things Dr. B has taught me.

When I came home, there was a envelope from Ben and Jerry's in Vermont.  See, my thing is those souvenir pennies you can get at different tourist destinations.  Put in your $.50 and a shiny penny and imprint with a scene.  I'm usually trying to beat away children for the crank rights.  "Age before beauty you little bastards!"  *hip bump*  Well, after we went to the Ben and Jerry's headquarters in Waterbury, I thought I gave my souvenir penny to the Mr because my pocket was too short to hold it without losing it.  He couldn't find it and neither could I.  Now I could totally be remembering it wrong and I was the one who lost it but he's claiming responsibility.  I was bummed but forgot about it.  The Mr wrote them and asked if they could send a picture of the penny machine scenes, he could tell them which one it was and send them $.51 and a SASE.  The manager wrote back that they were so impressed by him knowing "happy wife, happy life" that they would get all of the pennies and send them to him at no charge!  Not only did they do that, they sent us coupons for 2 free pints of Ben and Jerry's!!

I swear I got teary eyed.  How friggin' AWESOME is that of a company in this day and age to do???  I mean to do it at all even with us having to pay for it would've been wonderful but to go above and beyond sending all of them, doing it for free and giving us free Karamel Sutra.  Oh...did I mention I've been frothing at the mouth for that and that's gonna be my choice.  We'll have lots of company over the coming month so we'll get to share their kindness with others.  A big ol' kudos to Ben and Jerry's for this wonderful gesture!

Now, onto the show...

Here's this past week's dinners

Stuffed flounder over thai lime rice with green beans - BBQ chicken tenderloins, garlic parm potatoes and green beans - panko breaded mahi fingers with maple braised brussels and spinach lasagna roll ups.

Here's last weeks exercise wrap up for those who aren't following on Facebook.

Sunday-  WATP Burn 30 570 cals
Monday-  WATP Firm 30 with 15 lb weights 385 cals
Tuesday-  Turbo Fire EZ 945 cals
Wednesday-  WATP Resistance Band/Free weight session 665 cals
Thursday- Turbo Fire 45  1150 cals
Friday-  TBD Cardio

Now that that's out of the way, let's get to...

This Amazing '80s Arcade Is the Best Virtual Reality Trip Yet  (courtesy of the Mr)

Jennifer Lawrence Sang On Letterman And She Was Hilarious, Obviously  (This girl cracks me up!)

3-Year-Old Girl Keeps Santa Claus Company at Indiana Restaurant  (I seriously cried when I saw the picture.  This reminds me of the Santa Clause when the little girl sits on Tim Allen's lap and asks for ballet slippers.  Video starts on landing)

Remember the Smoking Section? 15 Ways Flying Was Totally Different in the '80s  (Okay, I HATED the smoking section but the rest of it was pretty cool.  This guy has the wrong attitude, people meeting you at the gate was awesome.  You felt like a rock star and you knew people loved you enough to show up.  Now?  I couldn't pay someone enough to take us to the airport)

11 Amazing, Time-Saving Thanksgiving Hacks  (I can't believe it's 6 days away!!)

Hawaii lava flow inspires student innovation  (I am awestruck...what a great invention!)

Christmas with the Beekman Boys  (I would love to spend Christmas with Brent and Josh especially if that cinnamon honey of theirs was going to be served!  YUM!)

Russell Brand's "Note to Self"  (WAIT!  Don't skip this because you're not a fan!  Matter of fact, this will change you the way it changed me after watching it!)

How to Bounce Back After a Food Binge  (Perfect for the upcoming holiday!)

What Texting Does to Your Spine (ATTENTION ALL TEXTERS!  This will be you!)

What to Say When People Annoyingly Undermine Your Healthy Choices  (You know this is coming this season!)

23 Signs You’re Ichabod Crane From "Sleepy Hollow"  (So sad we're approaching the winter finale, part one of two coming Monday!)

19 Times Ichabod Crane Was Adorably Clueless On "Sleepy Hollow"  (OMG, make my ovaries explode which is good because I'm not using them!  Yes, I posted two Sleepy Hollow links...what?)

Grandma's Smoking Weed for the First Time  (You guys...I can barely catch my breath.  I've watched this 3x!  Sooooo funny.  Not necessarily safe to play loud on the speakers at work especially at 4:30.  This will probably be me in 25 years after the Mr retires.  I'll vlog it for you then or whatever the technology is by then!)

I think we're putting the tree and lights up this weekend.  I need to clean first but yeah, it's going up and we're watching some ball (2nd to last game of the regular season!  I'm kind of ready to have my Mr stop talking as though he's somehow on the team and practically sympathy barfing pre, during and post game!)  I think I may pre-make my apple pie crust for Thanksgiving as well.

What are y'all up to this weekend?

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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Glittering Forest Shadow Box

I am in the middle of revamping my Christmas decorations.  I've had the same things pretty much since I got married and I'm ready for a bit of a change.  Unfortunately my wallet can't sustain everything I'd love to buy but it did send me on a mission to see what I could DIY.

I ran across this link for a tree shadow box that I fell in love with.  I was determined to do it so I started checking out the links they gave and by the time I added it all up, it was just under $150!!!  So I went to a few craft stores to see how much shadowboxes were and the ones I found didn't seem deep enough to accommodate the trees.  So I went to my plan B.  A day later, an antique store posted some small drawers they had on their Facebook page so I thought we'd go check it out.  As luck would have it, the dude seriously under priced them because he thought the small drawers were pieces of crap and sold me one for $5.  Score!!  With the main piece out of the way, I began scouring for the other items I needed to make my own...

I already had on hand some Looking Glass spray paint that I never used for another project.

I hopped on Amazon and ordered Dept 56 Village Collections Bag-O-Frosted Topiaries/Trees and 20 Copper Wire LED Lights.  I had some batting on hand as well as clear glitter so those were free to me. (affiliate links) 

I grabbed my loverly drawer...okay, not so loverly yet.

I went out to the garage workshop and covered the trash can work table with plastic and got ready to spray.

After one gagging coat, I came inside to try to exhale the noxious fumes.  That spray paint is NO JOKE, if you use that particular kind, use a paint mask with filters.

When I was done spray painting and it was dry, I removed the hardware off of the drawer.

I drilled a hole through the back corner to slip the string lights through.

I fired up the lights to make sure they worked before threading it through and taping it in place only to find out there was an issue.

The end of the string lights look like this.  Why does it make me want to lick the end on a dare??

I strung it through the hole I drilled.

Luckily the drawer depth was enough that I'd be able to secure the battery pack without it sticking out.

I taped the wires randomly with invisible tape so they'd stay in place.

Then I started to get an idea of how I wanted to arrange the trees before getting to work.

But before I got down to business, I wanted mine to have a little extra sparkle in the light so I grabbed my mod podge and clear glitter and added some to the trees.

When I got the arrangement in my head, I grabbed some batting and folded it in half for a little fluff and when I knew I wanted a tree, I cut an X with scissors so I could slip the base inside.

Like so.

I repeated it with all of the trees and then I super glued them down giving each one time to dry before moving on with the next one.

All secure and ready to roll!

Then it was time to clean up the ragged edge on the front...

I folded the edge under and super glued it down in sections giving it time to dry in between.

It was time to break out the paint to pretty up the outside of the drawer.

You could use paint or if you want to put scrapbooking paper down on it or gift wrap, I would do that before get started on all of the stuff on the inside.

Because I'm a sucker for the gleam of newly fallen snow that sparkles like diamonds in the light, I put various patches of mod podge down on the batting and sprinkled them with clear glitter.

I secured the battery pack to the back of the drawer in the corner so it would be easy to grab.

It just happened to fill a blank space in our bedroom on the dresser and has been a perfect tranquil scene to look as when we're relaxing after a workout.

The lights are BRIGHT so it would be brighter than a night light but still relaxing and can be used all through the winter, not just Christmas.  I'm going to see if I can find a little retro reindeer to put in there for Christmas.

I know it's not quite as chic as the one I saw but for $24 over $144, I'd call it a success!

Linked up with Blesser House, French Country Cottage, The Shabby Nest,  Tater Tots and Jello

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