November 30, 2013

#sidebarlove {November}

Now that Thanksgiving has come and gone and everyone has given thanks, the Christmas trees and decorations will be pulled out of the attic and the search will be made for all the perfect gifts.  But before we jump into Christmastime just yet, this month I asked my sponsors a few questions about Thanksgiving traditions.  

1.  What is your favorite Thanksgiving tradition? 
2.  Do you go Black Friday shopping?  Why/why not? 

1. My favorite thing about Thanksgiving, although not a tradition really, is that my family pretty much stays casual or even in their PJs all day.  It’s great having a small family and no extended family in town sometimes, I don’t feel like I have to look perfect and fancy for anyone!
2.  I don’t usually venture out in to stores too much, but I have been known to do it from time to time if there’s an especially great deal on an item I am looking for.  I’ve mainly been one to do the online thing!  You can seriously find great deals online without even leaving the comfort of your home or your PJs.  No crowds!  I think I may go out this year mid-morning on Friday.  I assume most of the hardcore Black Friday shoppers will be fast asleep in their beds by then!

Rachel @ Can't Google Everything
1.  I like the traditional foods we make every year!
2. I do not go shopping, its too much craziness and stress!  I'd rather go on my own time when it's less crowded!

Brooke Lyn @ Babbling Brookelyn
1. does stuffing count as a tradition ? Because that is my favorite part of thanksgiving other than the family part :) Also, the past three years I have spent thanksgiving with Brad's (the boyfriend) family and every year they have a family football or soccer match (think F.R.I.E.N.D.S.) and this trophy is what is being played for besides bragging rights. Frightening I know.
2. have shopped in the past, but my sanity is starting to outweigh the idea of saving money, so many crays out there. I still can't believe people went out Thursday night !! 

1.Getting together with our families and just being together!
2. Absolutely not. This is the first year that I am not working retail (in a loooong time) and I have seen to many crazy people running after silly sales. My boyfriend is a store manager and had to work Thanksgiving night and Black Friday morning. It just isn't worth losing that family time to get a sale.
1. My favorite "tradition" is entirely too untraditional. I'll be the first to admit I'm not a huge fan of Thanksgiving food. Stuffing just doesn't do it for me...who ever created it and why is became a Thanksgiving staple is quite possibly beyond me. Taters and gravy are DELISH but that's about the only think I'd eat. So our tradition is a Mexian Thanksgiving. This year was fajitas that were quite amazing if I say so myself. Marinated over night...yes ma'am. 
2. Back home we would always go Black Friday shopping. This year was a little different because I didn't have my momma for my shopping buddy. Joe did however camp out at Best Buy yesterday afternoon for a new TV once I went to work. I'm still trying to get used to these 55 inches of LG LED...thats what she said right? Right? I do apologize this post is enhanced compliments of Dos XX. 

Tiffany @ My Safe Havens
1.  I love spending time with my family, cooking side dishes and pies, and hunting through the black Friday ads with my sister in law.
2. I have gone every year since I was pregnant with my little bear! The girls of the family usually go now, while the boys stay at my parent's house and entertain the kids. There are some steals out there! I always come out of it with a feeling of accomplishment knowing that the majority of my Christmas shopping is over and done with. But I'm not all hardcore about it or anything. We usually only pick 1 store and we are done. I did the mall one year and never again. Complete insanity!  Oh, and you could not pay me enough to ever walk into a Wal Mart on black Friday.

1. We have spent many, many years having Thanksgiving with our best family friends. We haven't been able to in recent years, but it has been my favorite part of Thanksgiving without a doubt.
2. I do not! I need to not spent much money in general (even on deals like on Black Friday), plus it is hard for me to do a lot of walking with my bum joints.

Now go check out my wonderful sponsors!  And if you are interested in becoming a sponsor, click on over to my Advertise page! Use the promo code CYBERMONDAY for 50% off all ads until December 5th!

Post Thanksgiving Thanks

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and is bursting at the seams with turkey and other leftovers!  In the spirit of the holiday, I wanted to post a few non-traditional things that I am thankful for. 

I am thankful that I don't go to this bar.

If you love the city Nashville, watch the TV show Bar Rescue, or listen to the Wayne Mills Band, I'm about to rock your world.  Bar Rescue is one of the shows Bobby & I watch together and the most recent episodes have been in Murfreesboro, TN, so we were just hoping they would do a rescue on a bar in Nashville.  Of course we were hoping it was a bar we had never gone to since most of these places are absolutely disgusting.  Well this past weekend the new episode "Music City Mess" was supposed to air, but they ran a rerun during the normal slot.  I found the new episode showing later that evening, recorded it, watched it and didn't think too much about it.  Until I googled what was going on with the "new" bar now.  The rescue was on a bar called Boondoxx and had been changed to the Pit & Barrel.  When you google Pit & Barrel now you will find tons of news articles about the owner shooting (and killing) Wayne Mills.  Apparently dude has a temper and claimed "self-defense" when the singer was smoking in his new bar. 

The show Bar Rescue chose not to air the new episode right since the death happened the night before, but apparently did not catch the late night episode and Wayne Mills Band fans were outraged.  This dude is a complete idiot.  His bar was about to become nationally famous and the same weekend his show is going to air, he kills someone.  Such a tragedy. 

I am thankful that other people cook for me on Thanksgiving.

I didn't get to go to Alabama and spend the holiday with my family, but I couldn't view pictures of turkey all day long without getting in on some of the action.  And if you've ever cooked a turkey, you wouldn't willingly volunteer for that shit.  So I decided a long time ago I was going to go to Boston Market.  So I rolled out of bed on Thursday, put on a pullover and some tennis shoes with my sexy pajama pants, let Duke come with me, and headed to the Market.  Now I thought I was just going to head through the ole drive-thru and call it a day.  Hence why I looked like this:

But when I got there, there was a big ugly sign on saying "drive-thru closed, please come inside".  I had to park in the parking lot behind the Market because the place was so full and marched my hungry, turkey-loving ass inside.  The line was wrapped around the store!  And I stood there, in my pajama sexiness, for over 30 minutes, among families eating their Thanksgiving lunches.  It was quite embarassing. 

But it was totally worth it.

I am thankful I get to drive towards this view every morning.

Tonight the city of Indianapolis had their Circle of Lights tree lighting.  Apparently the event draws around 100,000 spectators and is televised.  Instead of standing out in the cold, I watched it on TV.  Smart, I know.  The local IBEW creates a tree out of lights around the Indiana Soliders and Sailors Monument.  It is has been listed as one of the top 5 must-see Christmas trees in the US.  And each morning when I drive into work at 6am, I will be driving directly towards this light up beauty!  And when Bobby comes up for Christmas, we will be visiting and getting a closer look (and getting more pictures to share, duh). To learn more about the Circle of Lights, click here!

What non-traditional things were you thankful for this Thanksgiving?

November 22, 2013

Meet Tiffany!!

Tiffany is one of my Lucky Dog sponsors and she blogs over at My Safe Havens.  Because of our similar medical histories, we have became great friends!!  I asked Tiffany a few questions so you could get to know her too! 

1. What's a typical day like for you? 
A typical day for me consists of waking up before my alarm goes off, which sucks! So I check my email and make a mental list of everything I have to get done for the day. Alarm then goes off so I roll out of bed and let Little Miss Sunshine outside (our 6 month old Basset Hound) then I get Baby Bear up. She usually asks for more sleep, so I let her. Who can say no? Then comes the getting her dressed part. Gah! Sometimes with multiple wardrobe changes, sometimes with a fit thrown by her (really depends on the day) she is supposed to put her socks and shoes on while I get dressed, which happens most of the time. I fix her hair, pack her lunch, all while listening to her whine and argue with Little Miss Sunshine.  Real fighting, just like with a sibling! Sunshine gets put up, and we go to walk out the door and Baby Bear just HAS to have the perfect toy to bring into the car. We finally make it to the car, and I walk her into school. Give lots of hugs and kisses and I head to work and get to sit in wonderful Houston traffic! I work my butt off, dodging practical jokes at work, taking whatever the bossman throws at me, and did I mention I love my team and my coworkers? I then come home, cook dinner, work on sight words and counting with the little one, get her fed, bathed, and then I get to do my school work!  All while maintaining a clean house, laundry, my social life, etc. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

2. What do you like about living in TX? 
I really like the warmer climate, and dare I say the humidity? It does wonders, really. Go live in a drier climate and tell me different. Dry, cracked skin- No thanks! The people, places, and culture is pretty good too. Oh, and the food! We're pretty diverse in that too.

 3. You've been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis.  Can you explain what it's like living with that disease?
Imagine being sixty at 30. Ha! Umm it is hard to explain, but I will do my best.

I wake up stiff and sore, sometimes hunched over and I feel I am much too young to feel this damn old. Some days it feels as though I have all the body aches from a really bad flu. And some days I feel as though I have been in a really bad accident and ran over a few times. There are many times it feels like my fingers and skin is badly bruised- on the insides. I have also felt the inflammation first hand where it feels like all of my joints are on fire and everything burns. I think it is much more tolerable since it has been diagnosed. If you think I'm a hot mess now, you should have seen me a year and a half ago! Mine started in my eye. I was diagnosed with scleritis, and honestly I would take this any day of the week over my I want to shoot my eye out pain. You can find more information on that journey here.

I am currently taking Methotrexate (low dose chemo) and Humira. People get to stab me with needles on the regular! My coworker does my Humira injection, (i think she secretly likes it a little too much) and my hunny does the other. My immune system is so low now. It took me almost 5 weeks to get over a common cold that everyone else bounced back from in 2 days.The Humira is supposed to stop the crippling effects of the disease. Just google images of RA! You would be taking it too. (Oh wait I just did it for you) 

Sometimes we take things for granted. Such as cooking, fixing your daughter's hair, holding a paper sack with your fingertips, or even holding a pen. Some days I just simply do not have the gripping capabilities. I can never hold a paper sack from the top with my fingers; even on a good day! My wrist cramps, I start shaking, and the technique is simply no longer there. I feel numbness, shaking, and cramps even when I do it without holding anything. Stirring a pot of chili, or pasta is even out somedays because  And I would have never thought there would be a day so soon that I physically could not put my baby's hair in a ponytail! Pointing my toes and even walking at times is a challenge to me. I just don't point my toes, but I always walk!  

So in a nutshell life with RA is a rollercoaster. You never know when it's going to hit, or if you're going to have a good day or bad. Good thing I have a high tolerance for pain, huh?

4.  You write about your adventures with Baby Bear alot on your blog.  How old is she now and what is your favorite thing to do together? 
She is 5, going on 20 lol 
We love doing arts and crafts, decorating, reading, and watching movies together.  She really loves sleeping in my bed, and I secretly love it too! She loves cuddling and being my snuggle bunny,  which I also love!  We are the biggest goofballs together and are just plain silly.

5.  How would you describe yourself to my readers?
I am the nicest person you will ever meet, unless you cross me, or one of my friends. I have a killer sense of humor. You can't always take me too seriously; unless I am being serious.  I'm basically a sassy smartass with a heart of gold.

 I am also the clumsiest person you will ever meet. Unknown bruises and scratches are the norm for me. Baby Bear inherited it too. We have fun laughing at each other over this.I am also spontaneous, and at times I don't even know why I do the things I do. Sounded like a good idea at the time? I am also the biggest goofball you will ever meet.

6.  What are you 3 favorite posts so far?
I have yet to write them on this blog thing, but they will be coming. Things will be getting real and personal.  

Now add Tiffany on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram then go visit her blog and show her some love!! 

November 21, 2013

What's in my shopping cart: 2

Awhile back I told you guys what was in my shopping cart. And you seemed to like reading about it.  Either you guys are foodies like me and wanna know about new and interesting products out there or are just plain nosey.  I don't really care which, because here I am again today to show you again what's in my shopping cart!

Peanut Butter Multi-Grain Cheerios:  I'm a cereal fanatic.  I love a over-flowing bowl of cereal with cold milk.  But I am cheap, so I always try to find cereals with the most bang for my buck.  Cheerios definitely offer that.  Plus they are heart healthy.  Then add multi-grains?  Fiber! Bam!  Now they are adding peanut butter to actually give them taste.  But it actually doesn't give it much taste.  So don't get your hopes up too much.  But add a sliced banana in there and have a healthy breakfast.  If you want to eat a cereal that really tastes good, stick to Lucky Charms.

Oh and don't mind the missing Box Top for Education... I remove them as I put up my groceries so I don't forget to take them off and I send them to my 9 year old niece!  If you don't collect box tops for a school, feel free to send them to me and make me the even cooler auntie ever!

Dip & Squeeze Heinz Ketchup packs:  I fell in love with these little guys at Chik-fil-a.  And who doesn't love a Chik-fil-a?!  Am I actually going to buy the box of them from the grocery store?  Nah.  Does Bobby?  Yes.  Because he eats his weigh in ketchup and loves taking them to work.  Will I happen to take an extra one home from the restaurant and stockpile them?  Never....

Yogurt-covered raisins:  These little boxes make such a fast yummy treat for a college kid on the go.  This picture happened to be taken as the box was falling out of my backpack... opened... and empty.  Guess where those yogurt covered delights are still today?  Yup, you got it.  At the bottom of one of the compartments of my backpack.  So while these treats are handy and yummy, they definitely aren't sturdy.

Velveeta Cheesy Skillets Singles:  Cooking for one person just SUCKS.  So I usually don't do it which means I tend to eat a lot of easy prep food (ramen, easy mac, frozen dinners, etc).  I found these little guys one day with a coupon stuck to them and became intrigued.  They take one minute to cook and have a cheesy packet you add to them.  I'm sure they aren't super healthy but who looks at nutrition labels, but they are pretty tasty for easy convenience and being under $3. I continue to pick up the Chili Cheese Mac each time I go to the store!  

Kraft Fresh Take Cheese & Breadcrumb Mix:  These guys are my new favorite thing ever!  If you haven't discovered them, go visit your local dairy cooler and find them.  Now.  They are a modern take to shake & bake and are so freaking good.  My personal favorite so far is the Smokey Mesquite BBQ, it makes your kitchen smell like a southern bbq heaven.

The cheese and breadcrumbs come separated in a pouch and when you are ready to make it, you undo the separator and mix together and throw your meat in the bag one piece at a time and shake. And you can use pork, chicken or FISH!  Mom made Shake & Bake and I helped!

I used pork chops just because there are sooo many recipes you can do with chicken but it seems like pork chops need a little help sometimes.  The cheese doesn't stay on too well, which causes it to burn in the oven before the meat was cooked (or maybe because I'm lazy and use aluminum foil to cover my baking sheets so I don't have to clean them every.single.time... don't ask me, I'm not Betty Crocker).  So hopefully you have a meat thermometer - you should get one at the store when you go pick one of these up if you don't already have one - just to ensure that your meat is done.

The mix made the pork chop so juicy and tender that I didn't even need a knife.  And you could see that I got 3 good-sized chops out of the bag which allowed this single woman to eat a "real" meal instead of ramen for a few days!  #winning

What are some of your favorite grocery store picks?  Would you want to try any of these items?

November 18, 2013

Ornament Swap

I know, I know... I said I couldn't deal with Christmas before Thanksgiving. But when Jennifer from Bubbly and Buttercream asked me to help her host a Ornament Swap, I love meeting new bloggers so much (and getting gifts in the mail) that I couldn't say no!

The rules are simple:

Once partners are matched up, the two weeks should be spent getting to know a little bit about your partner so you can pick out an ornament that fits your partner's style or interests. Feel free to make handmade ornaments, but they should be in ADDITION to a store-bought ornament. 

If you are interested in signing up, just comment with your email below or send me an email to

We will host a link-up on Tuesday, December 17th to check out everyone's ornaments,  so grab a button! 

November 17, 2013

Review: Ice Cream Magic

I scream, you scream, and I scream again for ice cream.  So when the makers of Ice Cream Magic sent me their product to review, of course I was more than willing.  I believe this product is geared more towards kids, but yeah, I don't even care. 

I viewed the product and at first look thought - no way is this going to make enough ice cream for me.  But then I realized that it is geared towards kids and is probably a "suggested serving size".  Darn standards.

To make any flavor of ice cream, you need to put ice cubes, salt, and water in the bottom cup.  Luckily these were all ingredients readily available in my kitchen.  It does require 4 tablespoons of salt for one batch of ice cream, which I thought was pretty excessive.

There was a recipe book included that offered so many suggestions of interesting ice cream flavors.  The common ingredient in most of them was whipping cream which was something I had to pick up at the store.  I decided to make basic vanilla which only required whipping cream, vanilla extract, and sugar.  I mixed the ingredients and added them into the freezing bowl. 

I put everything securely together and shook the container for 3 minutes.  Let's just say major arm workout!  After 3 minutes, the ice cream directly touching the bowl was a great texture.  I mixed the ingredients and shook for another minute to thicken the rest of the mixture.  The final product was consistent with softened ice cream that had been out of the freezer for a little while.

To get a good concept of how much ice cream was made, I had some ice cream cones in the cupboard and moved the ice cream to the cone.  The ice cream tasted great!  But I haven't really met an ice cream I didn't like.  I liked knowing exactly what was in my ice cream and 4 minutes is actually pretty quick for homemade ice cream (I had one of those noisy machines once and it took 30 minutes+).  I believe it would be a fun activity for kids and the containers are very easy to clean.

Even though 4 minutes is quick for homemade ice cream, sometimes you have those rough days at work and need immediate gratification.  I would still need to keep a pint of Ben & Jerry's in the freezer for those days.  It also produces a small yield for the work put into it, but maybe that's actually a pro considering we probably all should be watching our portions more.And should be doing an arm workout before eating ice cream, amiright?!

PROS:  ability to control ingredients, quick for homemade ice cream, portion control container can be used for homemade or premade ice cream, easy to clean

CONS: small yield of ice cream

WOULD JENN BUY?  For $9.99, I believe it would be a great gift for an ice cream lover or someone that is health conscious and concerned about ingredients.  It would also be a fun activity for children! 

I was given this product in exchange for my review.  All opinions are my own. 

November 15, 2013

Pinteresting: Easy Fall Wreath

It's been awhile since I've posted a Pinterest fail.  Why not post a fall wreath a few days after the first snow in Indiana?  Winter's here!  Let me show you how I made my fall wreath!  Better late than never I say.

When you finish this wreath and are beaming with pride that you finished a Pinterest project and start sending pictures of your wreath hanging on your door to all your friends, you will get comments like:
"Eh, it's okay.  It looks a little plain" and "Look at the one I did" followed by a picture of a wreath that looks like it was bought at a florist.  Now if that doesn't make you proud, I don't know what does!

Follow me on Pinterest
Original Pin Idea: Sunflower Wreath

What you need:
Approximately 8 yards of wired ribbon of your choice
Twig Wreath

I made this wreath for less than $10 in about 15 minutes (took awhile because the bow kicked my butt).  I made sure to get the ribbon and wreath both on sale.  I chose a 16 inch twig wreath and a gorgeous orange wired ribbon.  I don't recommend doing this project on your bed like I did.  You will end up having to change your sheets. 

1.  Wrap the ribbon around the wreath.

2. Without cutting the ribbon, start folding the ribbon back and forth to make the bow.  You can choose how big the folds are and how many folds you make.  If you're like me, this part was the hardest because I was folding it the wrong way.  So if it isn't working, reverse your folding.

3.  Make a small center fold

4. Without cutting the ribbon, use the remainder of the ribbon to secure the folds by wrapping the ribbon around the folds AND the wreath. The ribbon will go through your small center fold.  This would be alot easier if you happen to have floral wire hanging around to secure the bow.  Of course I didn't and was too cheap to buy any.

5.  Ta-da! 

I would recommend adding wooden letters or flowers to your wreath so you don't get the comments I did.  But hey, rock your cheap easy fall wreath and be proud!

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