Friday, November 21, 2014

Bad Luck Bre

I've been busy, busy, busy!!  Unfortunately, it's not really been with fun stuff either.  Two years ago we bought Sabrina a used Chevrolet Cavalier and it's been nothing but trouble ever since!  Every time we think it's running good, it goes right back down.  I have a friend who's a service technician for Chevrolet and we had him look over her car and fix what the biggest issues were.  We get it back and the very next day:

- a kamikaze deer decided to attack her car in the middle of the night.  It ended with her having a small crack in her windshield and her driver's side mirror ripped off.  The next day, in the pouring rain, her car cut off while she was driving it to work and she couldn't get it to start back up.  We found out that she has a short in her wiring which was draining everything we had just replaced; alternator, battery, starter, etc.  Her car now needs a whole electrical wiring job, which is going to have to wait a little while.  

Only having one vehicle and two adults working and in school means I'm constantly behind the wheel of our car.  I start my day driving at 7 am and don't stop til 9:30.  My housework has fallen behind and my poor projects are almost nonexistent.  Every few days, I get a little break though, like today.  I don't have to drive until 4:30 this evening, woohoo!!  Projects, blog post and housecleaning on my list!

Now Bre has had some exciting things happen lately as well.  She went from blonde to auburn hair and absolutely loves it.  I think it really makes her stand up and look more mature.  She's always looked young for her age and it does make it difficult when she's in classes with adults.



The blonde picture was taken in July and the auburn picture was taken this week.  Huge difference and she obviously prefers to take selfies in the car :D.

She also became adult and infant CPR certified last night and received her AED and First Aid certification as well.  AND she did her first blood collection almost perfectly! The new hair color and all the certifications really make me wonder where my baby went?  She's really growing up but luckily she's still living at home while she gets her schooling and career started, I don't mind one single bit!!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Taste Test: Betty Crocker Salted Caramel Cookies

I'm not a fan of pre-packaged cookies but my hubbie is in love with anything salted caramel. So when I saw these I decided what the heck? 

They were really easy to make requiring only one egg and 1/2 cup of butter. Stir, bake for seven minutes and ta-da you have cookies!

Surprisingly, these were really, really yummy! I mean I was totally amazed at how these pre-packaged, one egg cookies turned out. Hubbie was in love and with 15 minutes tops for yummy cookies, I was too! Needless to say they didn't last long at all. 

I will say though, I'm now excited to find a "from scratch" recipe. But overall these were an exciting thumbs up find, so go get ya some!

*I was not reimbursed in anyway for my opinions, which as always are completely my own*

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Super Happy Days

Wow, I swear I'm not regressing to my teenage years.  I really don't know why that phrase is fitting but I can't explain it any other way.  Fridays and Saturdays are super happy for me.  Even when I was going through the really bad depression, Fridays and Saturdays were still relatively good.  Everyone loves weekends but I really LOVE weekends.

Friday and Saturday mornings, there's no need for alarm clocks for the most part.  Both hubbie and I wake up without an alarm and we get snuggle time.  Just laying there waking up together starts my days off so much better.  Fridays are also my weekly lunch dates with my father-in-law.  He's diabetic and has lost a leg due to diabetes.  As of yet, he doesn't have a vehicle he can drive so I run him to his weekly diabetic appointment and then we grab lunch somewhere.  We usually eat in the car just because it's easier for him than running in everywhere as he's in a wheelchair whenever he has to go more than a few feet with his cane.  Just being able to talk with someone familiar outside my household is really nice for me.  Every other Friday, we also pickup Shalyn to have her for the weekend.  Having the house full of kid stuff, laughter and yes, childish bickering just fills my heart.  I also try to find fun stuff for them to do over the weekend so that they're entertained by more than electronics.

Saturdays are nice sleep in days and full of fun, household chores and family time.  Yes, household chores make me happy.  We have a small house full of a lot of people which makes it so hard to keep everything in its place.  So getting the house back in order after a busy week makes my OCD self very happy.  We snuggle on the couch in our jammies, we bake, we clean, we watch movies as a family.  There's just nothing better!

I'm off to fold socks that we've been throwing in a sock bin all week, in my jammies of course!  Have a terrific weekend.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Beauty Review: Vasanti BrightenUp!

Oh look!  Better pictures :D.  Okay, you know the drill.  Birchbox is a monthly beauty subscription for $10/month.  I love my Birchbox samples.  One of these days, I'll do a Birchbox vs. Ipsy with the finer points because each are important to me for different reasons.  If you'd like to read more about Birchbox click here.  Below is the October 2014 box I received:

My October 2014 Birchbox
So today's product review is on my 20 g sample of Vasanti's BrightenUp! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator.  It's an exfoliating cleanser that I'm absolutely in love with.  I'm so in love with it, I gave it to Sabrina!  WHAT?!  Yes, I love it so much that I gave it away!  Sabrina, Dustin and I all suffer from horrible cystic acne.  You can't tell so much with me anymore, I only really get those wonderful monthly breakouts now.  But Sabrina has serious scarring.  We've tried everything including ProActive and prescriptions, they haven't worked.  I tried BrightenUp! and my first reaction was that it wasn't going to be able to do much to my skin.  Then I started scrubbing and ouch!  Be careful with this stuff.  The formula isn't powerful (that I noticed) but those micro-crystals, oh yeah, they do the job!  They are micro, they feel like very fine grain sugar but they work.

The smell is usually the first thing I comment on and there's not really anything outstanding about this one.  Not great, not bad, it's face cleanser, I can stand it.  Especially for the amazingness of this product.  I used it for the first time yesterday morning and my skin is still silky soft and smooth.  And I only needed a tiny bit but like I said, scrub softly, don't go all power massage like I did!

$34.00 for 4.23 ounces

Okay so the details.  A 4.23 oz. tube sells for $34.00.  It's very worth the money and I'm putting my November subscriptions on hold for both Ipsy and Birchbox to get Sabrina a full tube of this.  I have a $40/month self-given budget for beauty supplies so that's going to eat it up this month.  But once again, it's worth it!

How it works:

"This powerful exfoliator mimics the results of professional microdermabrasion, minus the potential for redness and sensitivity. First, papaya enzymes break down dead cells while evening out your skin tone. Next, dermatologist-approved microderm crystals fade the appearance of fine lines and acne scars, leaving skin smooth and free of imperfections. Finally, aloe vera, coconut, and vitamins B and E nourish fresh skin to keep it free of irritation."

How to use:

"Three to five times a week, wet your face and massage a pea-sized amount of product into skin, concentrating on trouble zones. Rinse away. Used consistently, a single tube will last you four to six months."


Aqua (Water), Aluminum Oxide, Cetyl Alcohol, Decyl Glucoside, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Glycerin, Propanediol, Panthenol, Emulsifying Wax NF, Glyceryl Stearate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe) Leaf Juice, Tocopheryl Acetate, Papain, Parfum, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol

If you'd like to try Vasanti's BrightenUp! for yourself you can order directly through their website.

***I am not reimbursed in anyway for my product reviews. Opinions are completely 100% my own***

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Halloween Happenings Part 2

So months ago I found this picture on Pinterest and fell in love with it. Unfortunately, I can't find the original page this was actually posted on to give credit.  Shalyn, being a 9 year old girl, loves Hello Kitty and I knew she'd absolutely go nuts over it.  After explaining to her that it wouldn't light up, it was a go.

We started off by spray painting with a white semi-gloss.  I think she may have had more fun playing with paint than she would've scooping out pumpkin guts.

The hat, eyes, ears, whiskers and nose were all cut out of felt.  I made the bow out of ribbon.  I used a hot glue gun to put dots of glue on the pumpkin and then she placed the pieces.  I did the pressing to make sure they stayed cause that glue is hot and I didn't want her burning herself.

She absolutely loved the end result.  She took it back to her mom's house where friends and neighbors went nuts over it.

Of course, I couldn't let her get away without getting all goobery!  She helped Sabrina and Dustin empty out another pumpkin.  Zakk was sick this day, so he didn't join in.  He stayed home from school for three days, trying to get better before Trick or Treating.

We worked on his pumpkin Friday afternoon while everyone else was at school and work.

Curiosity almost gets Tye a bath

Tye had to get involved as well after I joked about putting him into the pumpkin for pictures.  If I thought I could get away with not having to bathe him afterwards, I would've done it!  Zakk's pumpkin finally finished.  He drew on the face and I did the cutting.

Every year, the older two say they're not going to dress up and then the day of they change their minds.  Every single time.  Of course, this late in the game, they can't find anything decent so they end up creating their own costumes.  I prefer them to make their own so I love seeing what they come up with.  Sabrina cut ears out of the felt we had leftover from Shalyn's pumpkin.

Dustin pretty much just dressed normal, lol.  The only difference was he carried his guitar around all night, playing the entire time we were trick or treating.

Zakk choose to be a ninja warrior and had a great time trick or treating.  He brought in quite the haul tonight.

Shalyn went as a Monster's High skeleton.  I'm so glad she choose something other than the Mermaid costume.  Even though we're in the South and 66 degrees may not be cold to some, it's cold to us!

Us adults even managed to get some treats of our own.  I'm pictured here (no makeup again, after two miles of walking in what I see as freezing cold) with my husband's cousin and his sister, holding our treats.  I had to fight zombies to get to that wine dang it!

I hope everyone else had a wonderful Halloween and now I'm off to sleep off this sugar high.  Tomorrow night, I'll enjoy my wine, I think I've had enough sweets for one night!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween Happenings Part 1

Little witches, Elsa's and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will be out in droves this evening filling treat bags up with chocolate, gum and the ever present pencil from the dentist down the street.  We've always made Trick or Treating an event for the entire family and with small kids excited to scour the neighborhood, I've stopped buying Trick or Treat candy for our house.  I used to then I realized we were never home to pass it out so it ended up as an extra five pounds on my hips.

The entire week of Halloween, we are usually busy with pumpkin patches, Fall festivals, carving pumpkins and costume shopping (or hectically finishing costumes up).  We started out our Halloween week with some awesome news from my husband's God-Brother and wife who are our closest friends. After years of infertility, they had a successful IVF treatment and are now expecting twins.  They did their gender reveal on Tuesday and I am so excited for them!!

Twin Girls!!

Dallas, Cricket and Jager are their dogs and will be acting as protective older brothers I'm sure!

We had a Fall Festival at Billy and Shalyn's church last weekend where the kids enjoyed earning candy for winning games.  The church youth group ran the games and we got to have a costume dress rehearsal.

Zakk the Ninja Warrior and Shalyn the Mermaid

Billy Goat and his girlfriend Bailey Cat

Shalyn covering her mom's arm in face paint.
On Wednesday, we picked Shalyn up from school and headed out to the "Pumpkin Patch".  Tons of photo ops while we were picking pumpkins.  I think the kids finally got tired of posing for me though!

Tonight, we'll dress up again and head to our uncle's house.  He always throws together a nice dinner and fun treats for the adults.  The entire extended family will gather there and our little group cousins will have fun running through the neighborhood together with tons of glow necklaces and bracelets.  Part 2 will feature the Shay's Hello Kitty pumpkin and this evenings happenings.  Hope you have a great Halloween and be safe!

Dustin's first detailed carving

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Beauty Review: Warm Love Pumpkin Mask

So first off, excuse the pictures.  No matter how brilliant the light bulbs are that I put in my room, it still gives this warm tone that I can't get rid of, even with editing.  So let's just pretend that I put a pumpkin filter on them.

I received Warm Love by Albertini International (.05 ounces) in my October 2014 Ipsy bag.  Never heard of Ipsy?  It's a terrific monthly subscription for $10.  Every month they send four to five beauty samples, the bag is always (so far) valued over $10.  Below is the complete shipment I received.

Sabrina also gets her own subscription and we never, ever open them without the other present.  That way we can trade if we'd like.  Her October bag is pictured below.  I'm going to talk her into doing a guest post every month to review her bag as well.

If you're interested in learning more about Ipsy, check out their website:  And if you decide to sign up, make sure to use that link.  I'd love for them to know I sent you, because I receive points for referrals.  No shame here!

So anyway, back to Warm Love.  I'll admit, when I first read the name, I was wondering what in the hell Ipsy was sending me.  I was thinking maybe it was like the KY warming lubrication and was a getting a little nervous.  I felt all sorts of relief (no pun intended) when I realized it was actually a beauty product instead.  Specifically, it's a pumpkin exfoliating mask.

Smells are always important, so that was the very first thing I did (after breathing a sigh of relief that it was a mask anyway).  I opened it up and smelled it.  The smell was like a craft store in the fall.  For those who don't partake of craft stores, think dusty fake flowers and pumpkin spice.

I'd been working out in the yard today, so I was happy to try it out after my shower.  I washed my face, then applied it per instruction.  The first thing I noticed was that it was WARM.  I use an exfoliating cleanser to wash my face, so my skin may have been a little sensitive, but it was almost too warm.

I'm not an oompa-loompa I promise! #pumpkinfilter

The mask goes on clear, the picture is just using that pumpkin filter we spoke about eariler.  I massaged it in for 3 minutes and then rinsed.  After my face fully dried, I didn't notice any difference, either in look or feel.

"Albertini’s Warm Love Pumpkin Exfoliating Mask removes old skin cells and stimulates new cell growth. Warming and fragrant, this mask uses pumpkin, papaya and pineapple enzymes to purify, exfoliate and brighten skin. You will experience imitate improved skin smoothness and texture with your first application."

After another hour, my face felt greasy so I was glad I had forgone the moisturizer to fully try it on for size.  I'm not sure if the makers wanted you to be able to go without moisturizer, but their instructions say to use before moisturizing, so I doubt it.

"To Use: Use Warm Love pumpkin exfoliating mask after cleansing your face, and prior to moisturizing, 1-2 times a week for improved skin texture. Apply mask to clean, dry skin. Distribute approximately the size of a quarter over your entire face, avoiding contact with your eyes. Dampen hands and continue to massage for 2-3 minutes, enjoying the intoxicating fragrance and the warming effect. Rinse thoroughly with tepid waster. For increased benefits, wait 5-10 minutes before rinsing."

 I wasn't impressed and for the price of $23 for 5 oz., I won't be buying it unless the rest of this sample produces some amazing results, quickly.


peg-8, glycerin, zeolite, kaolin, glyceryl stearate, cucurbita pepo (pumpkin) flake, cucubita pepo (pumpkin) powder, titanium dioxide (c177891), propylene glycol, jojoba esters, steareth-21, ppg-15, stearyl ether, cucubita pepo (pumpkin) seed oil, lactobacillus/pumpkin ferment extract, papain, bromelain, hydroxypropylcellulose, cetyl alcohol, tocopheryl acetate, fragrance (parfum), annatto, ethylhexyglycerin, caprylyl glycol

5 oz. $23.00 

If you'd like to try out Warm Love for yourself, buy it directly from Albertini's website:


So I guess I've started a blog.  I've always loved writing.  I love putting my words down and having them heard.  In a social arena, I'm the listener.  I take too much time to think about what I'm saying to be a talker.  I've always expressed myself so much better with the written word than I have with the spoken.

For the past year, I've been following some awesome bloggers that have me feeling that I might actually be able to do this.  I've had some website or another for years and I taught myself HTML, back when that's how you wrote websites (dating myself here).  My first website is so embarrassing to me.  It was based on the EA Games Petz program.  Not only did I create a website off that game, but I also learned to how code within that program.

That expanded to me rewriting the code for a few computer games like Diablo II, for my sons.  I've had a ton of blogs, but those were all for family members to follow the going-ons of the kids.  This time, I'm doing it for me.  I want a public blog where I can talk to adults, about adult things.

Chicken Caprese made with homemade, homegrown Basil Oil

I love to bake and craft so I plan on it featuring those two things heavily.  I also plan on featuring beauty product reviews since I've gotten into both Ipsy and Birchbox.  I love receiving those sample products every month and for those who don't have subscriptions, maybe introduce you to new items or keep you from making a mistake.

October 2014 Birchbox

Right now, the blog does not display my vision of itself.  I'm not happy with the look and I want to be able to categorize my posts better. I want those who just want to see the beauty reviews to not have to deal with my posts about life and family.  I can be a tad wordy at times so it's completely understandable.  My Facebook friends have had to deal with my very frequent, very wordy, very picturey (no, that's not a word, but for today it is) posts and maybe this can help relieve their agony.

How I spent my day today

So thank you for coming and hang in with me, it's going to get better.  I promise.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014


I have a horrible ability to adjust to things easily.  Most people would see this as a good thing and honestly, most of the time it is.  I adapt to new situations without much struggle at all.  It's terrific really but what's not terrific is the fact that my body adjusts quickly as well.  

Over the last 20 years as I've been treated for this and that, I regulate to my doses extremely fast.  My last doctor would switch me between medications every three months because of it.  I thought that since it had been so long since I had been on medication, I'd take awhile this time.

Nope, not even close. 

My RLS is worse.  My muscle spasms are worse.  And the back pain is back.

I have an appointment with my doctor on Monday, but it really sucks!

But onto more interesting stuff.  Monday, Sabrina started her Phelbotomy classes, woohoo!  She's loving them and came home tonight with specimen tubes, needles and a tourniquet.  She's been going around all night practicing with the tourniquet.  Wrapping our arms and pointing out the veins: cephalic vein, basilic vein, median cubital vein.  Then she practices her one-handed removal of the tourniquet.  I'm so happy she's enjoying it that I even volunteered as her first guinea pig.  See?  There's my arm in the picture.  The gorgeous, young thing is Sabrina.  You'd let her practice on you, right?

Saturday night, Zakk stayed with his cousins at his grandparents house and they all went out for pizza.  He and my nephews were so excited to go, they all piled into my brother-in-laws Tahoe way before everyone was ready to leave.  So in Zakk's boredom, he decided to buckle himself into my youngest nephew's car seat and was in quite a hurry to get out of it before I could get a good picture!

The next day while Dustin and my brother-in-law were being nice and doing an emergency brake job on my SUV, Sabrina took Zakk and the nephews to Steed's Dairy.  

Zakk, Corran, and Brennen

After they came home, I snapped a quick pic of the face paintings they had done at the dairy.

Zakk, Brennen, Corran

Today, I finally finished weeding my garden and thinning out the radishes.  I had been almost done on Saturday when Zakk begged me to take him to Grandma's and wasn't being patient at all!  I also trimmed up my basil and since I had lost three broccoli plants, I filled in the bare spots with garlic.  It's really the only thing that can be planted this late in the fall and I wanted a full garden, so now we will have 26 garlic bulbs to dry out and enjoy come summer.

I went out in the early afternoon hoping to avoid the mosquitoes this time but it didn't work out that way.

All that was after taking Dustin to the doctor, I thought he had strep after loosing his voice over the weekend but it was bronchitis.  I'm not happy with him but that's because I'm probably going to end up with it.  

I don't let the kids have soda except for special occasions and the rare treat.  Grandma's doesn't count.  But I drink soda nonstop, trying to keep the kids from developing the habit, and Dustin will pick up my glass and take a long swig off of it.
Good thing I don't drink alcohol often and try to disguise it!  I kept telling him to knock it off because he was getting sick and he'd shoo me saying it was just allergies.  So if I get sick, it's completely and totally all his fault!

And what did I do with all the basil I harvested?

I made basil oil and then topped baked chicken breasts with it, tomatoes and mozzarella for some yummy Chicken Caprese.  It was a hit!!  Incredibly easy and incredibly delicious, basil oil is awesome!  I had never tried it but I think it's going to become a staple around here.  In fact, next planting season I will have to at least double the amount of basil plants.  I made mine without straining the basil out afterwards because I like the color and wanted a stronger flavor, but a lot of people like to retain the look of the oil.

Basil Oil

2 cups fresh basil leaves, tightly packed
1 cup good quality extra virgin olive olive
salt and pepper to taste


Blanch leaves in boiling water for one minute.  Remove and place immediately into an ice bath to stop the blanching process. Dry leaves with paper towel.

Place all ingredients into a blender or food processor (I used a smoothie maker just for convenience), pulse for one minute.  Let rest for 30 minutes to let the froth die down then either pour directly into storage jar or strain the basil out, then store.

Oil will last up to one week in refrigerator, but let it warm to room temperature before use.