March 31, 2015

Reality Check



At my new job I see a range of health issues, physical and mental. It's hard to watch sometimes, but such is life for so many elderly people these days. I am grateful that they have a facility like mine to come to instead of wasting away at home alone, or being shut up in a nursing home setting when it's not necessary. Unfortunately, since my facility is the step between them, we have to make the difficult decision of when to move them to a more skilled facility/nursing home.

We have two residents right now that are on the cusp.

After only being here about a month, I've already grown close to one of them, and I will be so crushed to see her go. She's so sweet and funny, and never gives us trouble when we need to help her do things. Honestly, I want to keep her here as long as we can. I don't think she would last long in a nursing home type facility.

The other resident, however, is a totally different story. At first he was perfectly fine and coherent, but just in the last few days he's done a complete 180. It's hard to see them be a totally different person than you are used to. This man went from gentle, calm, and generally nice to frustrated, angry, and sometimes violent so suddenly due to his cancer. I think the worst part of the situation is that his family was in denial about how bad he had gotten. Last night was the last straw for us, he had an outburst in the middle of the night that was disturbing that entire half of the building. My boss had to call his family, who was not happy about the situation and though we were lying to them, and then call an ambulance for this resident. Needless to say, he can no longer live at our facility. We don't have the man power, nor the resources to care for him like he needs.

It breaks my heart to see people deteriorate like that and there isn't anything I can do to help them or their families.

What do you do? What do you say?

Seeing all of this makes me so grateful for my (relative) health, for Hubs health, and for my family's health. It makes me grateful for the days that I do have, the things I've been able to experience, and the people I've gotten to meet. I can't put into words how much good this job is doing for me, no matter how stressful it gets. This is the Lord's work.

What are you grateful for?


linking up with
Grateful Heart w/ Ember Grey

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March 27, 2015

Conversations with...

My residents


*All names have been changed to protect their privacy*

My new job as a CMA in an assisted living facility for seniors gives me plenty of time to spend time with people up to 3 times my age. They have some pretty neat stories to tell, but they can also say some hilarious things too.

Jerry rolls out of his room and into the common area, which is unusual for him to do other than meal times. 

Me: Jerry, whatcha doin' out here?

Jerry: Well, I thought I'd come out here and sit a minute.

Me: That's nice. Why don't you go hang out with Regina and Kate, they are watching TV right now.

Jerry: Naw, I'll just sit right here and listen so I can catch up on the gossip.

Me: Gossip, huh?

Jerry: Yep. But you know what?

Me: What's that?

Jerry: The womenfolk around here don't gossip enough for my liking. *chuckles*

Me: *trying to stifle my laughter* Well I'll see if I can stir things up for you then.



Part of my job is passing out the resident's medicines. Most of the time they are pretty good about taking them, and sometimes we get little situations like this:

Nadine, my administrator, hands Iris her little cup of pills and a glass of Koolaid. (they LOVE Koolaid)

Nadine: Here you go Miss Iris.

Iris scrunches up her nose and just sits there pouting.

Nadine: I know, but you gotta take them.

Iris still doesn't move.

Nadine: *in a joking manor* You better take those or I'll stick you back in the shower!

Iris: If you do I'll kick your ass!

Nadine: I'd like to see you try!

Iris laughs and takes her meds.

Again, I'm trying really really hard to stifle my laughter.



Gold mine. My work is a gold mine I tell you! The more time I spend with my residents, the more I get to know them. I know I should try not to get attached, but it's really hard not to.

Now I want to introduce you to my two lovely co-hosts this month, Christine from The So-Called Homemaker, and Melissa from The Rambling Llama!








Share your conversations with us!


Knock on Wood Blog | Conversations Link-Up





March 25, 2015

Sisterhood of The World


This award is to acknowledge the blogging sisterhood around the world, to inspire, to encourage, and to spread the love. Today I am honored to accept and pass along the torch, and lift up my #Tribe. Huge thanks to my favorite Llama for nominating me!

Ok. Let's get to the questions from Melissa. 


Something or someone you miss from childhood?
I miss my siblings. We were all so close, and now we've all gone our own ways, making our own lives. Your siblings are your first best friends, and I feel like I've lost touch with mine. I know the phone works both ways, but it's hard when you feel like you don't know them anymore.



What do you think would be the hardest thing you'd have to give up if I said you had to give it up in an hour?
Chocolate. And don't you dare try to make me give it up!


What was the worst punishment you got as a child?
Oh gosh. Probably having to eat cooked spinach from a can. That crap was slimy and bitter, but it was a really good punishment. I sure as hell didn't roll my eyes at my mom (that she saw!) ever again!


If you had the chance to be invisible for a day, what would you do?
I really thought long and hard about this question, and I would probably go to the GA Aquarium and just wander around. Listening to conversations, watching people get excited over the creatures in the tanks. I'd probably sneak into the penguin habitat and pet one, or take a swim with the dolphins. But most of all I'd spend as much time as I wanted with the Beluga Whales. They are my absolute favorite.




Who is your favorite superhero and why?
My mom. She's a superhero so stop laughing! Wanna know why? She raised three kids all on her own while still staying fit, keeping herself presentable, and working full time. She's my hero, my role model, and the best mom in the world.


What was the last item you bought? (bonus points: convince us we need to buy it too!)
Cadbury Mini Eggs. They are my absolute favorite Easter candy and if the brand Cadbury doesn't make your mouth water you are crazy. These little wonders are melt in your mouth yummy goodness and I think I've already consumed about 16 bags all by myself in the past month or so. #dontjudgeme


If you could teleport by blinking your eyes right now, where would you go?
To Georgia. Specifically wherever my mom is at this moment. I miss her so, much. Plus that puts me closer to my sweet Llama and several other wonderful ladies I want to finally meet in person!



What is your favorite black and white movie?
This is so hard! I love old movies, especially anything with Fred Astaire or Judy Garland in it. But any version of Pride and Prejudice will always be my favorite. Including the 1940 production starring Greer Garson and Laurence Olivier. 


Would you rather be a tree or live in a tree and why?
Tree House! I would totally live in a tree! Or have a house built in and around a tree. That just sounds really really awesome.


Would you rather play on the beach or play in the water?
In the water. Tubing, parasailing, or snorkeling anyone?



Now for my nominations!

Cassie from Sage
Christine from The So-Called Homemaker
Kendra from Kenji is Here
Emily from Ember Grey
Chelsea from The New Wifestyle


Questions for my nominees:


If you had to eat a food that was your favorite color, what would it be?

What is your favorite inspirational quote?

What is your favorite piece of art in your home and why? (post a picture!!)

You're out with your besties, what song do you pick to sing for Karaoke night?

If you could have picked your own first name, what would you have chosen?

If you could plan the best weekend getaway for you and your significant other (real or imaginary) and everything was being paid for by someone else (with lots of money to spare) what would you do? where would you go?


Just some "rules" for you:

:: Answer the questions from the person that nominated you.

:: Nominate some of your blogging sisterhood. There is no set number for this, go crazy!

:: Ask your nominees some very important questions. Again, no set number.

Easy right?


What are you doing to lift up the people in your life?




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March 23, 2015

The Cutest Mug You Ever Did See



Happy Monday! It's the start of another week, and here's hoping I have a good one.

Mondays are my long days; Work from 9 am - 4 pm and school from 5 pm -10 pm. Sounds fun right? Actually, it kinda is even though I probably won't really get to see Hubs, but we decided one day a week won't hurt us too much. I am excited about the start of this new session at school. After the first week of any break, I start to miss it!

I got some awesome mail over the weekend that I want to share with you! Earlier this month I participated in a mug swap hosted by Kallie from But first, coffee. My partner was Jenn, and she was so fun to get to know. I think I have a new email buddy and I am so grateful for her! Jen doesn't blog, but you can find her on Instagram HERE, go and congratulate her on the purchase of her new house!! I sent her the cutest mug that says "Together is the best place to be" and I'm so glad she liked it, cause when I saw it I immediately thought of her and her fiancĂ©.



Oh but she picked the perfect mug for me. I quite literally squealed with delight and excitement when I opened the box. There was also this amazing chocolate from Brookside in the box, but that got devoured on Sunday while I was at work, oops. It's the Dark Chocolate Pomegranate flavor and I need to find a store that sells it here like right now.



I know Emily will appreciate the cuteness that is this mug. I mean, who doesn't love a baby elephant?? I can't decide if this will be a regular use mug or the most adorable decoration in my kitchen. I am slowly acquiring a small collection of elephants, and I'm not sad about it!


What does your normal Monday look like?
Did you participate in the Mug Swap?
And most importantly, what are you feelings about baby elephants?



linking up with

Grateful Heart w/ Ember Grey


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March 19, 2015

Pretty Nails Make Everything Better

Jambery Nails Blush Lacquer

I've been a bit of a Debbie Downer lately, but that's life right? We've got to deal with all of it, the good, the bad, and the ugly. Right now I'm trying to get my mind off everything and one thing that always makes me feel better is a fresh mani. Amiright ladies? Since Hubs won't let me go to the salon to get my nails done, I've had to learn to do them myself, and this has led to the purchase of different products to try to make it last longer. And guys, I think I found the perfect combination.

Jamberry Lacquer + Jamberry accent Wrap + Sally Hansen Double Duty base and top coat = Perfect Mani

Check out that color!! I got lucky and ordered Blush before it was discontinued, but there are some similar colors available like Flirt, Pink Lemonade, and Kiss. My Jamberry Consultant, Katie, sent me the Mad Mod wrap as an extra sample, and I loved that it went so well the lacquer. She's got great taste.

This is what I did:

1. Apply the Jamberry Wrap on my desired nail according to the directions.

2. Sally Hansen Double Duty as base coat on your remaining bare nails. Let Dry.

3. Jamberry Lacquer Coat one. Let Dry.

4. Jamberry Lacquer Coat two. Let Dry.

5. Sally Hansen Double Duty as top coat. Let Dry.

6. I like to apply another Sally Hansen Double Duty top coat the next day.




Ladies. This lasted about 7 days with no chips and 10 days with minimal chipping. So much longer than any of my other polish. I did dishes, cleaned my bathroom, and all the other day to day stuff as well. Usually after three days I've got a chip or two. And the wrap, no chipping or peeling there at all!! Just imagine having the wraps on all your nails. Plus there are so many cute patterns to choose from.

Guess what! You guys get a chance to try a wrap for yourselves! Click HERE to pick your pattern! Then, when you fall in love with Jamberry like I did, you can order all your Lacquers and wraps HERE through Katie, the bestest consultant ever. She also offers a monthly Style Box, so now you can get your manis sent straight to your doorstep.



Having pretty nails really helps to cheer me up and makes me feel put together. Does that make sense? It also makes me feel accomplished.

What makes you feel better when you've been down in the dumps?
Have you tried Jamberry before?






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March 17, 2015

Answers Sometimes Lead to More Questions

I'm exhausted. I am not used to working and my body is screaming at me. I'm kinda glad that I have this week to adjust before school starts up again next week. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE my new job. It's so rewarding, and the people I help to take care of are so interesting. I've got a hilarious conversation for the link-up later this month.

My schedule will be busier than ever starting Friday, you should see our calendar board in our kitchen. So if you text or snapchat me, it may take me a little longer to reply. Or even email... and blog comments. Yeah. Sorry. I still love you though.

In other news. That blood work I mentioned last week, well everything came back normal. Great news right? Sorta. It didn't explain the symptoms I've been experiencing, some of which started about five years ago and have gotten increasingly worse. The nurse who gave me my results consulted with my doctor and called me back later that afternoon. I can't say I was surprised by what she said; I have actually been suspecting for a while that this may be the answer. It makes sense.

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. (You can read more about it here.)

There is a really high chance that I have it. The only way to know for sure is to have an ultrasound done. My doctor wants to try one more thing before we do that though, so he put me on another medication to see if it helps.

I haven't really reacted just yet. I think my mom had more of a reaction than I did when I told her. She wanted to know for sure, right this second. I told her it was ok, and that it can wait. She said it was important. Then I told her that it didn't matter. If I had it, I had it. It's not curable. She mentioned kids. I told her it was ok, we didn't really want kids anyways.

I think she was hoping deep down that we would change our minds about that decision. I don't know if we will, especially now.

But then I started thinking about it and I'm sad and angry. Before now it was mine and Hubs' decision to not have kids, and now that decision has been taken away from us. My body has decided it for us.


I don't really know how to end this post. I sat here for about twenty minutes trying to think of something else to say, but nothing came. It probably didn't help that I was watching The Fault in Our Stars and crying into Misty's fur while writing this post. I guess I could say that I'm relieved to have answers, even if I don't like them.


March 13, 2015

Silver Linings

Looking for the Silver Lining


It's Friday and I'm trying to be in a good mood, but it's really hard for me to do that right now. I'm going to be honest with you guys, this week has really sucked, and I'm very glad that it's over.

While we got great news about Bear and got him back home from his grand adventure on Monday, he's not been doing well the rest of this week. He stopped eating or drinking, and was very lethargic. So NOT like him. He's got his next vet appointment (to check on his ears) next Wednesday, but I ended up calling them to see if there was anything I could do for him in the meantime. She said that his tummy may be upset from switching foods so quickly: home, shelter, then home again in a matter of 4 days. Pepto, plain chicken, and rice was prescribed.

He's not a fan of the Pepto, but that was expected. I did manage to get him to eat some chicken and rice around lunch time Thursday, and another portion of rice before bed. He's perked up a little, but he's still not quite himself. I'm going to continue the medicine and plain foods regimen today, with hopes he feels even better when I get home from work this evening.

If you follow me on Twitter and Insta, you'll know I was in my CMA classes Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. I had to drive an hour one way to get there and Monday, my alarms never went off. I was about 10 mins late for my first class. Doesn't it always seem like you get behind the slowest drivers when you're late? I think I found every single one in Missouri Monday.

Tuesday I was on time, but it was sprinkling and foggy. That means people forget how to drive at all. Of course there was a huge accident on the way to class that required a detour on this muddy dirt road. I nearly ran myself off the road a couple time it was so slippery. UGH. Our first test was after lunch, I passed, but I did not do as well as I wanted to. On the way home I got the call I've been waiting for about that blood work I mentioned last Friday. It was good news and bad news, and kind of a long story so I'll save it for another day. I'm not dying though! So don't worry.

Wednesday. On time. No accidents. It started off pretty well despite my thoughts being on the news about my blood work. I did well on the insulin testing and even met a delightful man at the nursing home where we practiced administering insulin. This was the day I came home to find out Bear hadn't eaten or drank anything all day. My heart was hurting so badly for him. I could barely sleep.

Thursday afternoon I get a call from my school saying that one of my classes has to be moved to another day and time with another professor. This not only messed with my school schedule, but my work and home life as well. I spend the next few hours trying to figure out what to do, while keeping an eye on Bear. I ended up changing my schedule entirely, but it worked out ok I guess.

That brings us up to today. Exhausted. Physically, Emotionally, Mentally.


Ok... the point of this post of crappyness is for me to release all the bad, then focus on all the great things that happened this week too.

1. Bear was found and returned home.

2. I passed my CMA course and am now certified to pass medications and administer insulin.

3. I still get to take both of my classes with Kaity next session.

4. Hubs was so supportive and made dinner for us Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.

5. I got my blood work results, and now have a better idea of what's going on with my body.

6. I got some beautiful pictures of the little town my CMA class was held in.

7. My new boss is totally awesome and is super flexible with my schedule.

8. I found one of the books I need for my new classes for waaaaay cheaper on Amazon.

9. The new collar we bought for Bear is working much better.

10. I have all of you wonderful friends supporting me, praying for me, and being there when I need to talk/vent.

Sedalia Missouri

Ohio Street in Sedalia, MO



How was your week? I hope it was better than mine :)





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March 12, 2015

Sponsor Takeover Q&A with Christine

Today I have the pleasure of introducing you to one of my dear bloggy friends, Christine, and her blog. The So-Called Homemaker is a blog about life at home and beyond! Christine is a WAHM and spends her days negotiating real estate contracts, cleaning, and changing diapers. On her blog you can find anything from recipes to real estate tips, book reviews to baby pictures. Lots and lots of baby pictures.

So without further adieux, let's hand the mic over to Christine. 




When and why did you start blogging?

I started blogging in December 2013 because I wanted a creative outlet. Little did I know that it would become such a huge part of my life with so many friends, too!


What's the story behind the name of your blog?

I call myself a “so-called” homemaker because I stay at home and take care of my family, but I am also a licensed realtor. So while I do things that a homemaker does, I also bring in an income!



What is your go-to dinner recipe?

Stuffed shells are my favorite!


Do you think pets are people too? Why or Why not?

Yes and no. Yes because they provide companionship and you can never feel truly alone when you have a pet around. No because I don't want my dog on my couch! Haha.


What's the best beauty tip you have ever received?

Be yourself! This applies to beauty and life in general! I don't wear makeup most of the time and I find it makes me feel more like I am me.

What's your favorite board/card game to play and why?

I love to plan Monopoly with my husband because we get really competitive and it's hilarious.

It's Saturday night and you have two choices: 1. To go out on the town with your Blogging Tribe and have a spectacular girls night. OR 2. To rent movies, pop popcorn, drink wine in your PJs at a Blogger Sleepover. Which would you choose and why?

Number two! PJs are so much less binding. :)


Such a cute family!





You can stalk Christine here:









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March 10, 2015

10 Steps to a Better Blog

So much work goes into a blog. Can I get an Amen? And Sometimes it can be a little overwhelming. Have no fear! Today, I am teaming up with Kristyn from Chits and Giggles to give you some tips to help you have a better blog.

We can all use a little love on our own blogs for those pages that we just don't think about after they are posted. I know you know what I'm talking about.

10 Steps to a Better Blog


Design

I'm sure you have read this before, but your blog design is the first thing readers see when they find your blog. You want something appealing, yet fairly minimal. Think about the reader if you are designing your own blog design. You don't want a super busy background if it will make your content difficult to read. If you hire a designer (like ME #ShamelessPlug) make sure to give them a clear direction as to how you want your blog to look.

Fonts

Pick easy to read fonts. I know the curly swirly embellishments can sometimes be fun, but you still want your readers to be able to actually read things. This goes for your Banner/Header, post and gadget titles, signatures, and the fonts you use on your images. You can still let your personality shine and use a readable font.

Colors

Get creative! But choose 1-3 MAIN colors you want to use in your overall design. Having a cohesive and consistent color pallet really makes your blog flow better. When styling your buttons and other pages you'll want to incorporate your colors in some form or fashion.

Sidebar

Oh that bar (or bars) that we all have. Did you know you probably need to update how things are layed out on your sidebar? It's true! Think about your sidebar as real estate. You want the highest things at the top (like your picture, social media icons, categories) and the lower things (like your archive list, button, and affiliates) at the bottom. Also be very intentional about what things you put on your sidebar. Don't just put things there to put them there. Make sure they add value to your blog.

Navigation Bars vs. Category Buttons

This is one of the easiest ways to simplify, but still have your favorite topics reachable. Your Navigation bar should only contain the most important pages of your blog: Home, About, Sponsor, Contact. These are must haves! If you have an Etsy Shop or do freelance work like I do, putting a link to that site is also a great idea for your Navigation bar. If you have a niche or a consistent topic you blog about (ex: Kendra and Sarah blog about their diseases), it might have a place on your Navigation bar, but everything else should be a Category Button on your sidebar.

Category Sidebar Buttons

If you have a category that won't fit well on your Navigation bar (like mentioned above), you can put it on your sidebar. The sidebar buttons are important because they help readers find content that they might have missed. If you make these yourself - like I did - make sure that you use colors similar to your blog colors. You don't have to list all of your categories here either. Be smart about what you include on your sidebar.

About Page

You need one. Your readers need a place to catch a snippet of what you and your blog are all about. Include a picture or two, and some links to your story and favorite posts, but don't go crazy! You also want to add extra grab buttons and your social media icons somewhere on that page.

The Search Bar

You need this. It doesn't matter if it is on your Navigation bar or on your sidebar, but you need one. If this is on your sidebar, make sure that it is high up - remember that high real estate we talked about above? The search bar is pretty darn high real estate. It doesn't have to be the first thing - and it shouldn't be - but it needs to be high enough so readers don't have to go searching for it.

Sponsor Page

If you offer sponsorships, you have a sponsor page and this page is just as important as your About page. From a design aspect, you want this page to be eye catching, yet informative proving that you are the blogger that brands and other bloggers want to work with.

Disclosure

I have a little section on my sidebar dedicated to Disclosure. You could also have a complete page dedicated to it. This basically tells someone that you have a for-profit blog and that you might include affiliate links in posts. It also states that the content on my blog is my own unless otherwise stated. I think these statements are important because they say very straight-forwardly what your intentions are with your blog. You are for-profit and you could use affiliate links.



Still lost?? Kristyn offers Complete Blog Consultations and can help you make some of those tough decisions. Sometimes a second pair of eyes on your blog can make all the difference. Click HERE to see more details. ( I totally did this, and she helped me so, so much. Definitely worth it!)

What else should be added to this list?


March 9, 2015

6 Tips for Better SEO on Blogger

6 Tips for Better SEO on Blogger


SEO. I know it freaks me out a little too, but it is so very important. Christine from The So-Called Homemaker recently hosted a Blogger Pow Wow and taught us all a little about SEO. However, she's a WordPress blogger and it's a little more complicated for them. Being a Blogger blogger, Google takes care of a lot of it for us, but there are a few things you can do to give your blog posts a little boost!


For your individual posts:


1. Labels/Tags

These are the easiest things to use. Just click the "Labels" option in the right sidebar of the Post Editor Screen and add some labels or tags that apply to your post (you'll need to separate each one by commas). These labels are displayed in the footer of your posts (if you have this option turned on) and can also be used for grouping together similar posts, like recipes, for a Categories button on your sidebar.


2. URL

Sometimes you have a clever title that doesn't describe your post fully. This is where the custom URL comes into play. Say you titles your post "Here's lookin' at you kid" but your post is really about classic movies that everyone has to see at least once, then you'll want to change your URL to match the theme of your post rather than your clever title. Here's how you change the URL.

In the right sidebar of the Post Editor Screen, choose the "Link" option. Chose the "Custom Permalink" option and enter the last part of the URL you want your post to have. Then click Done.




3. Search Description for Your Posts

This little gem will help you in a couple of different ways. Firstly this will be the text that will be previewed when a search engine pulls your post. You'll want to include key words and phrases in this little snippet for those search engines. This is also the text that will show up when you post or share your blog post on Facebook.

If you don't already have the "Search Description" option available in the right sidebar of your Post Editor Screen, here's what you'll need to do to get it:

From the Blog Overview page, you'll want to choose the "Settings" option in the left sidebar. Under settings you'll see several suboptions, choose "other". Make sure the following selections are chosen:

Allow Blog Feed = Full
Enable Title Links and Enclosure Links = Yes


Now you want to choose the "Search Performance" suboption. Here you want to make sure your Meta Tags have been enabled. Then click Save Changes.


Once this is done you should see the "Search Description" Option in your right sidebar of your Post Editor Screen.





Photos and Images within posts:


4. Image Titles

These are basically little titles for your photos that search engines will use to filter results. Here's how you add them.

Add your photo to your blog post, then click on the photo and choose "Properties" from the little menu that pops up.

Add the title for the image in the "title text" box using a "_" in place of the spaces.

Add the title of your post or something similar according to what your post/image is about in the "alt text" box.






5. Image Links

If you have a "Pinable" image for your posts, like for a recipe or DIY project, then you'll really want to make sure that the image link is changed to the link for that particular post. So when your readers pin the image, it will link back to your post rather than the image itself.

To change the image link you click on the photo and choose "Edit Link" from that little blue menu this time.


Then paste the URL of your post in the "Web Address" box. If you haven't Published your post yet, you can grab the URL from the "Links" menu on the right sidebar of the Post Editor Screen.






For your blog as a whole:


6. Search Description Blog

Remember when we enabled your Meta Tags? Well there was a text box there. This is where you'll want to put a very brief description of your Blog overall. Think like a Tweet type description. Like the post Search Description, this text is what will show when search engines pull your blog in a list of results, so make it good.




And there you have it! I hope this helps explain a little bit more about how you can use SEO to help your blog stand out.

Is there anything I missed??


March 6, 2015

These are a Few of My Favorite Things



There are a bunch of new faces around here, so I thought I'd share a little more about myself with you. I found this wonderful post with prompts about your favorite things in life, you can find it here, and I decided that I'd take a few and fill you in. I skipped over some of the more generic ones, like favorite color, and a picked some that I haven't answered before on my blog (that I can remember anyways).

1. Favorite pet I ever had

DUH, Bear.


2. Favorite food I’ve cooked

Cheesy Chicken Bacon Wraps. You can find a recipe for those HERE.


3. Teacher who changed my life, and why

Prof. Callahan taught my Public Speaking class last session. Because of him I am more confident and organized when giving presentations in all my other classes. Up until recently I was so terrified to speak in front of people, Prof. Callahan really helped me to be more confident in myself and believe that I can do this and that people do want to hear what I have to say.


4. The best paid entertainment I’ve ever seen

Cirque Du Soleil. I saw the Oovoo performance in Atlanta. If you ever get a chance to see one of their shows, do it. It's so amazing the things they can do.


5. Favorite hobby activity that makes me get lost for hours

Reading. If I didn't have so many other things to do, I could totally read all day.


6. My greatest skill (past or current)

Design. Whether it's arranging rooms in my house, crafting, or blog designs, I have always had a natural eye for it. I get it from my mom.


7. The best advice I’ve ever been given

My grandmother told me once "Amanda, you just gotta have faith. Faith in the Lord, faith in your family, but most of all, you gotta have faith in yourself." I even got a tattoo to remind me of this every single day.


8. My favorite flower – purchased

Tulips. They are the heart of spring time and sunshine, and they come in so many great colors.


9. My favorite flower or plant – personally grown

Hyacinth. We have some in our front yard and they smell so good when they bloom!


10. The most favorite gift I’ve ever gotten – what and from whom?

Bear. The best Christmas gift I could have ever received and Hubs gave him to me. My two favorite boys.


11. My most suspenseful moment

I am going through this right now. I've had some blood work done and am waiting on the results.


12. My most unexpected achievement?

This blog. I could never have imagined how much I have gained from this little space of mine. And now I don't know what I'd do without it.


13. My favorite paid employment, ever

I was a nanny for about a year to the sweetest little boy. I celebrated his first birthday, helped teach him to walk, and made the first attempts to get him talking. Now he's seven and a big brother to an adorable little sister. I still keep in touch with the family and enjoy seeing pictures of my sweet boy on Facebook.


14. The favorite dessert I’ve ever eaten

Ice cream will always reign supreme in my world. Extreme Moose Tracks from Mayfield is my absolute favorite.


15. The most scared I’ve been by a bug or critter

A few years ago, when I lived alone I was running water for a bath when I saw this HUGE bug on the wall above the shower head. It was too late at night to call anyone to come take care of it for me, so I had to woman up and take care of it myself. I went to the kitchen and got a glass and a piece of cardboard to catch it, carefully entered the bathroom, and sized up my opposition. I had to stand on the side of the tub to reach it, and when I went to trap it with the glass it jumped! I felt it touch my arm and I ran screaming into my bedroom and slammed the door. When I finally regained my composure I marched back into the bathroom and squashed that sucker with a shoe.


16. My favorite household chore

Is baking a chore? no? well.... How about changing sheets? Yeah, ok. Let's go with that, because there is nothing better than sliding into bed with fresh clean sheets.


17. Favorite item no one knows I own?

Oh gosh... This is a hard one. I don't have anything to hide (other than my unmentionables). I guess I could tell you that I still sleep with a teddy bear, but I'm pretty sure I've mentioned him here before.


18. The prettiest shiny object I’ve ever owned

My wedding rings for sure!! I have never seen anything like them before and I love them even more so because my husband picked them out all by himself without any help from me.


19. Favorite outdoor smell

Rain. I don't know why, but the rain always smells good to me, except on Bear... then not so much.


20. Favorite song I ever danced to and with whom?

Hubs and danced to All of Me by John Legend at his Christmas Party this past year. We never had a wedding reception, so it was like our "first dance".


21. The favorite place I have ever traveled to where I’d spend my whole life if I could?

I went to England back in 2008 and fell in love. I want to go back so badly, I'd live there if I could.


22. The most significant change I’ve had to go through and how it made me better

Moving away from my home and family in Georgia and coming to Missouri. It was, by far, the best decision I have every made for my life. Yes, I miss my family so very much, but I gained so much by coming here. I got to marry the love of my life, go back to school, and have this little family of my very own, in my very own house. I wouldn't trade this for the world.


23. Favorite environmental sound (rain, thunder, etc.)

Ocean waves. They are so soothing.


24. Best time I’ve had playing with a pet

Bear in the snow the other day has to top everything. He was so happy and had so much fun, it pained me to make him come inside.


25. The favorite picture I’ve ever taken?

I have several, but here are my top two!





















What are some of your favorite things?

Feel free to copy the prompts and post your own Favorites!

March 4, 2015

Easy Crockpot Chili Recipe

It's March, and the weather still can't make up it's mind. One day we will have spring-like temps, sunshine, and happiness. The next day we'll be freezing out butts off trying to figure out how to brighten up a grey and gloomy mood. You know what makes me happy on those cold days? Easy winter recipes that warm you up, and we're not talking canned soups here. I'm talking hearty beef/turkey/chicken chili, and today I'm going to share my recipe with you.

Easy Crockpot Chili Recipe


Ingredients

2 Cans Dark Red Kidney Beans
2 Cans Light Red Kidney Beans
2 Cans Diced Tomatoes (I usually get one plain, and one seasoned and salsa style)
1 Can Corn
1lb Ground Turkey (you can also use ground beef or diced chicken breast)
1.5 Packets of Chili Seasoning
Other Various Spices to taste (I use salt, pepper, cumin, basil, garlic powder, and onion powder)
Other various veggies you want to sneak in for the kids (like peppers, onions, spinach, greenbeens, etc.)


Tools

Large Crockpot with a lid
Skillet
Cooking utensils


Directions

Turn your crockpot on low and mix all of the canned items and 1 full packet of Chili seasoning. Add your other chosen seasonings at the time as well. While that heats up, brown your turkey or beef with half a packet of chili seasoning. Once the meat is done add it in a stir well. If you started your chili in the morning, cook on low for 8 - 9 hours. If you started your chili around mid afternoon, cook on high for 4 - 5 hours. Stirring occasionally.


Easy right? Here's a tip though. Cook your chili the day before you want to eat it, this way the spices have time to settle in the meat and soak into the beans well. Hubs makes me do it this way now since he says our leftovers are way better than fresh out of the crock pot.

What's your go-to winter recipe?





March 3, 2015

Everything is Awesome!

Awesome


It's the first Tuesday of the month. Do you know what the significance of that is? No? Well i'm going to tell you. On the first Tuesday of every month Anne, from Love the Here and Now, hosts the Awesome Link-up. To participate you make your own list of at least 10 Things that you deem Awesome. Usually I have a theme for this link-up but there are so many great things going on in my life that you're just going to get a hodgepodge of a list, ok? ok.

1. Magnus

Yep. I've officially decided on the name for my new MacBook Pro. Now that Mable is reitred, Magnus will be taking over for her and I can't wait to do a full blog design on this baby! But he has an honorary nick name given to him by Christine, from The So-Called Homemaker, Wine Ninja. So Magnus "Wine Ninja" Wood.


2. "Spring Break"

Finals are Thursday, so that means our "Spring Break" is coming up! Two weeks of no school. I am looking forward to it, but I know I'll be missing school again after the first week is over! haha!


3. New Fridge

You guys. We are getting a new and bigger fridge. Our little one now was just a tide us over cause our old one broke fridge, but we ended up keeping it for eighteen months! Too long with inadequate space! Our new one is french doors, has tons of space, has ice and water in the door too! I am unbelievably excited about this!


4. My new Top Coat

This top coat for my nails is changing my life! Seriously, I've never had one work this well! If you do your own nails, the Sally Henson, Double Duty Top Coat is so worth the $4 at the drugstore.


5. How Much Bear Loves The Snow

It may be crappy weather, but seeing how much fun he has playing in it, makes me love when it snows. Plus it's really pretty and makes for good winter stock images.


6. The Cosmopolitan Magazine Subscription Hubs is Mysteriously Receiving

This Magazine literally just started showing up in our mail box a couple of months ago. At first I thought, "Yay! Now I don't have to buy them from the store anymore!" Then I saw the name for the address of the subscriber.... Hubs. Strange. I asked him about it and he has no idea where it's coming from. Nothing is getting charged to our account, so hey! free magazine subscription!


7. Bloggy Friends

I have made so many great connections through blogging, and have graduated from online stalker friends to text/snapchat/trivia crack buddies! I'm so glad to have met each and every one of you, you truly bring joy into my life.


8. My House

All of a sudden I just really feel like my house is coming together. The decor, the furniture arrangements, paint colors (except that awful pink in the guest room), etc. I feel like a real adult living in a real adult house. Still no where near the awesome adulting status of my mom and grandmother, but I'm working on it!


9. New Opportunities

I mentioned in yesterday's post that there are some new things going on in my life. One of them is a new job! What's great about this position is that I will still have plenty of time to study and blog. And seniors have the best stories to tell, so I'm sure the Conversation Link-up will benefit from that! I've got a few more things in the works, so keeps your eyes open. I'm so excited! Things are starting to really pick up for me, and that's a wonderful thing.


10. Hubs

Last, but most certainly not least, my Hubs is pretty darn awesome. He's been so supportive throughout this entire adventure here in Missouri and gets more involved in my "silly" hobbies every day. He works very hard to keep us comfortable and so I can go to school. I just really, really appreciate him, and I probably don't tell him that enough.


What are some Awesome things going on in your life lately?


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March 2, 2015

Grateful Heart

Despite the business of everyday life, God is still up there looking after you.

Sometimes I forget that in all the business of everyday life, God is there looking out for me. The past couple weeks have really proved that. So many wonderful things have happened, some as a response to something negative.

Lets start at the beginning, with the interesting conversation I had with my mom two weeks ago. Something she said really upset me. While she said she didn't have any underlying motives, it still felt like she did. When I recounted that conversation to Hubs, he felt the same way I did about what she said. I tried to let it go, but the seed Mom planted in our heads kept growing and eventually sprouted into a pretty intense argument between Hubs and I. We got a lot of things out on the table, and you know what? It has made our relationship stronger.

I did ask my mom to explain exactly what she was trying to say, and it still came across a little offensive, but knowing her intent and her feelings behind it helped a lot. She apologized and everything is a-ok now. And funny enough, a job kinda fell into my lap as a result as well.

During all of this several great opportunities were offered to me in regards to this little space of mine. I am overjoyed to see it growing and excited to share my new adventures with you over the next few months. So be on the lookout for that!

I'm also excited to announce the latest blog design I just installed for Meghan. She was a doll to work with and I had some much fun bringing her vision to life.



If you don't know, the Blogger Pow Wow was last night and this month's topic was SEO. Christine offered up some great advice, and much to my surprise I was able to help her out with some insight for the Blogger users in our group (Christine is a WordPress blogger). Who knew I was an "expert"? That means you guys will be seeing an "SEO for Blogger blog" post from me in the next week or so. Thank Christine for that.

And finally, my new MacBook Pro is fixed and back in my possession. I am so glad that it was able to be repaired! Poor Mable (my old '07 MacBook White) just can't keep up with all the software updates anymore, and is going to be happily retired once I get all my files transferred over. I'm trying to think of a name for the new MacBook. Suggestions?

Grateful is only one of the emotions flooding me right now, but it's definitely a big one. God really does give us exactly what we need.

What are you grateful for today?


P.S. I'm also offering 25% off with the code SNOWDAY25 on the Mahogany and Chestnut ad spots through the month of March! Click HERE to take advantage of this awesome sale!


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