Monday, July 9, 2012

Sweet Treat: iRewardChart

Here's another cool thing for those of you with children:  A new app my mom showed me.  I have an iPhone, she was using her Kindle so I guess that means Droid has it.  Anyway it's the iRewardChart app.  It's like a virtual chore chart and lets you or the kids keep track of what they've done by earning stars or taking them away.  You can set goals and prizes.  Use it for allowances and it's a good way to keep them motivated for doing what they are told and for good behavior.  I think things like this are very helpful.  One day I'll do a post on the chore chart I made on a huge poster board for my son last year.  Was very helpful.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

I love these little postcards.  And this one...the best.  Haha some people hate to receive feedback.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Let's Eat: Chicken Piccata

I have a recipe that is super-quick and super-easy to make and will make you feel like an Italian chef and will impress everyone!  Chicken Piccata is unbelievably easy to make.  Bear with me, I've stated before that I'm not good with measuring unless it's baking.  I just use my tastebuds to know when enough is enough or not enough.  Gotta taste good, right?  So here's what you need:  boneless/skinless chicken breasts, flour, seasonings of your choice, angel hair pasta, chicken broth, capers, garlic, 2 lemons, parsley, olive oil, and butter.

You have to beat your chicken with a meat tenderizer mallet to flatten it out.  Remember to disinfect your counter of all the chicken juice afterward.  Ugh, can't stand a nasty-ass cook. Then season it how you want and coat it with flour.
Now during this time you will have had your chicken broth, olive oil, butter, and lemon juice heating up in a big pan with capers and garlic.  Squeeze some lemon juice (to taste) in the pan and cut a few thin lemon slices in there (makes it look like you really know how to throw down).  Keep playing with the mixture of these ingredients until you get it to your liking.  Always go by taste and not measurements.  After all, it's more important that it tastes good, than how much of whatever you use.  I guess.  I mean, I'm no chef.  I just like to cook.  

Put your chicken in the pan to cook and make sure it's done! You can be boiling your angel hair pasta while all this is going on so when your chicken is done you can just set it on top of your pasta and pour the sauce over the noodles.  Yay!  You can put some parsley and Parmesan on top if you wish. 

You should totally make this for a date and make a dessert to serve afterward.  Dim the lights, burn some candles, all that! Lol :) 

Enjoy!  Next time I make this I will try to pay attention to what I do so that I can have some rough measurements.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Monday's Sweet Treat: imPRESS nails v. Nailene nails

A lovely young lady that I am Instagram friends with started posting pics of her press-on nails.  Looked good so I went out to find some.  Lucked up and got 2 boxes 50% off at CVS.  Put them on in about ten minutes. They were about $7 or $7.99 full price.  For the price, cool.  As for durability, I got about 2 days before random nails popped off.  However, I was cleaning my couches, cleaning the house, working in the yard, and working on the geriatric unit of the hospital which means a lot of lifting and cleaning.  If I was chillin on vacation or sitting somewhere looking cute, I'm sure they would have lasted longer.
Comparing them to Sally Hansen Nail Effects....well, they are about a dollar cheaper and give a shape like acrylics so that's fine if you want your nails to look "done" not just painted.  But they definitely aren't as durable as the Nail Effects.  I've left the Sally Hansen product on for 7 days or more.  That said, the imPRESS nails come with a lot of extra press-ons in the box so when one pops off you can just put another one back on.  Unlike Nail Effects strips which dry out and become unusable if you don't use them when they are opened.  If they could find a way to individually seal them, I'd be buying them all the time.  Anyhoo, imPRESS seems cool for a quick, one-time event.

Now, I'll talk about Nailene.  For these you need nail glue...which is nothing more than super glue.  I got this pack at Family Dollar for $3.  The nail shapes fit my nails better than the imPRESS nails did and they have lasted longer because you glue them to your nails  So far, I've gotten compliments on them and I think they look pretty good.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

31 Day Reset

Today I am starting a life reset program sent to me by a friend of mine.  The information for the 31 Day Reset can be found on  I will be doing it with my best friend, and we will be each other's accountability partners.  I absolutely love exercises that bring heightened self-awareness so I am very excited and glad that I will be doing it with someone who doesn't mind giving feedback to me!  The first day asks you to choose your personal mantra.  I really can't decide because there are several quotes that I repeat to myself often.  So, I'm going to stick with a good old-fashioned affirmation of things that I want to continue in my life: "I am learning.  I am living.  I am happy, healthy, blessed, and free."  Kind of long, but I think all those things are so important.  Also on the first day, you must choose a theme song for the month.  I found a link to some cool songs for motivation here: Again, I can't decide.  I think I'm going with "Lovely Day" by Bill Withers.  When he sings "when I look at you," I think of looking at my son. :)  Well that's all for now.  Hopefully this will inspire me to keep my blog updated better than I have :( 

Sunday, February 26, 2012



Seriously, Pinterest is the best.  I no longer have to copy/paste links onto the notepad of my iPhone.  All I have to do is "pin it!" or "repin it!" and it's saved, with a picture and a perfect link. idea EVER.  Love it!

Chris Brown and Rihanna--"Birthday Cake"

My Twitter timeline was blowing up last week with the release of Rihanna's "Birthday Cake" remix, featuring Chris Brown.  The majority of the people on my TL were highly upset and blasted both RiRi and Breezy.  I'm not quite sure how I feel.  And that makes me come I don't know how I feel?  I wasn't at all upset...or very shocked about it.  Should I be?  I don't only thoughts were about how mediocre the song was compared to all the hype it got.

What I do know is that when two people are in love, it takes a long while for feelings to dissipate.  The circumstances of their initial break up caused it to be a sudden break.  No closure, no growing apart.  Just one day, we're together, and the next day, we're not.  Just because someone hurts you doesn't mean feelings automatically disappear.

I don't think it's right for the public to blast Rihanna for allowing him to come to her birthday party either.  It's her party, she can _____ if she wants to, right?  I've been in an abusive relationship before.  I've struggled with the back and forth and with the break up/try again bullshit.

Lots of people were also upset to the point of boycotting the Grammys because he performed.  Is it really that serious?  I think that's where the devil's advocate in me comes out.  At what point do you give a person another chance?  At what point do you allow someone to live the rest of their life without throwing past transgressions up in their face?  I surely wouldn't want to be reminded of every mistake I've ever made everyday by everyone.  It's not like you ever forget what you do wrong, anyway.  And if people are getting on to Rihanna for being around him, then I guess that means they'll get on to any woman he ever dates in the future: "Girl, why are you with him?  Once a woman beater, always a woman beater!  Don't you know??!!"

It's just that that's not true.  I'm not speaking specifically about Chris Brown because I don't know him, what his mindset is, or anything about his life. I'm talking about the "once a ___, always a ___" old wives tale.  Maybe it's my profession.  I work with what most people think of as society's "undesirables".  The addicts, the criminals, the mentally ill.  I have seen plenty of people who don't change...but I have also seen plenty that completely turn their lives around.  And part of that comes from their support system being able to forgive.  Let's say Johnny is in and out of jail for fifteen years due to crimes that he commits to support his drug problem.  Finally, Johnny goes to treatment and does well and now he is a proud and active member of Narcotics Anonymous.  Johnny is much happier than he ever was in life.  Let's say that Johnny's wife Jill didn't receive any type of help or support during this time...she doesn't know how to deal with the new Johnny.  She's used to cleaning up the messes, covering for him, bailing him out, etc.  She's neurotic and resentful.  Whenever they have the smallest disagreement, she hits below the belt and throws up something he did ten years ago, despite the fact that he's been clean and sober for a few years now.  This just doesn't work.  If Jill is going to make the decision to stay with Johnny after his wretched past, then she has to own that decision and move forward.  Of course, Johnny has to be understanding of the fact of why Jill is so angry...because he was the cause.  However, if Jill just cannot get over what Johnny has done, then she needs to move on.  Jill deserves to heal just like Johnny had the chance to.  She needs her own support group and to realize that she got just as sick as he did, and that she too deserves a better life.  Relationships can't progress to a positive future when one or both parties remain stuck in a negative past.  Okay I'm rambling now...but that kind of reminds me of when CB was on that morning show:  they invited him on the show, right?  If you are going to invite him on to promote his new album, then that's an unspoken "you're okay with me".  And that's when it's unacceptable to bring that stuff back up.  Some questions are fine...adults should be able to remain accountable for their behavior.  But all that news reporter prodding shit...that Jim Rome/Chris Everett shit?  Bad form.

They are both young and I wish them all the best.

By the way, I do not, in any way, condone domestic violence...physical, mental, emotional, sexual, or otherwise.  There's no reason to ever put your hands on a partner.  And there's no good reason to ever threaten your partner.  It's awful, it's scary, and it's disrespectful.   It changes relationship dynamics in such a severe way and, while I don't think it's impossible to work through (provided it doesn't happen again), I think it would be extremely difficult.  Especially on your own and without couple's or individual counseling.

Ok whatever, that's enough of my babbling :)

Sweet Treat

Today's Monday Sweet Treat isn't something for me...but it's something that makes me just as happy.  I spent today buying things to put into a care package for an old friend that is serving in the military overseas.  I looked online to get some ideas for what soldiers want and need.  Haha I still have no idea if what I picked out is anywhere close, but I know how good it feels to get a package and I know that someone in his unit will be able to use it.  I even came across a site called  Very cool!

Go send out your care package today!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Making Fondant with a 5-Year-Old

Making fondant with a 5-year-old...and the mess wasn't his fault!

So I’ve been wanting to learn to make fondant for quite a while now.  Everything I’ve read about it says it’s super hard to make, but that the pre-made stuff tastes like crap.  So what the hell are you supposed to do?  Anyway, I typically don’t like pre-made stuff.   I like to know how to make things from scratch and tweak them so they fit my tastes.  I found a recipe on Pinterest (which by the way, IMO, is THEE BEST!) for marshmallow fondant.  It said that marshmallow fondant was way easy and that there was no way you could mess it up.  Sounded great for a first attempt so I gave it a shot, with my trusty assistant J  Here’s what we used:  a bag of powdered sugar, a bag of marshmallows, some Crisco, and a few teaspoons of water.  And you need a Pyrex bowl, or something else that will be able to be microwaved.
By the way, check my new apron:

Okay, I let my son pour the marshmallows into the bowl.  And I let him eat a couple, too.

Then we added a couple teaspoons of water.  We melted it in the microwave.  It takes about two-and-a-half minutes total to melt (if I remember correctly) but we stopped it about every twenty or thirty seconds to check it and stir a little. 

When it was all melted we added ¾ of the bag of powdered sugar.  The recipe I had said to pour it on top, but I think the next time I try this, I’m going to stir it in a little bit before dumping it on the counter which is the next step. 

The next several minutes will have you in a panic.  I could have sworn that we forgot something or left something out.  Like a dummy, I didn’t print it out or have my laptop up and was instead looking at my phone.  But you get so incredibly sticky with the next step that you can barely pull your fingers apart, let alone grab your phone.  Hence, no pics from this stage.  Sorry!  Anyway, slowly but surely it all came together.  The Crisco is for greasing your hands and your working surface and trust me you want them extra greasy!  Add in a little more powdered sugar, too.  It will eventually come into the texture it is supposed to be.  Then you can dye it.  I have gel food coloring and it takes a while to work it in there for an even color and not a marble-y looking thing.  Keep your hands greased and when you put it up, grease the lump of fondant and the plastic wrap you’ll store it in until you are ready to use it.  Grease your rolling pin and your surface when you roll it out.  Once it’s flat you can lay it on top of your cake.

Trim the excess.

Make something out of the leftover fondant.  We did this Valentine's Day weekend so we made a pink cake and put hearts on it.

Success!  Tastes sweet, like marshmallows.  I think my next attempt will be much better and less messy. And now I’m dying to try to make real fondant.  So I survived a completely sticky mess with my 5-year-old helper.  And when I say sticky, I mean sticky.  I couldn’t even exaggerate how sticky it really gets.  I used a caulk scraper to remove the aftermath from my counter and the chair my son was standing in.  But we had a great time making it and I would totally suggest it for an afternoon project.  We made a strawberry cake from scratch that morning to put it on.  Speaking of strawberry cake, do you have a recipe for a from-scratch strawberry cake?  Because I didn’t enjoy this one as much as I should have and I have found that it’s hard to find a from scratch strawberry cake recipe.  Let me know!


Hi guys!

It's been quite a while...I haven't lived up to my personal goal of writing at least once weekly.  :(  But I have been doing some new things!  I learned to make marshmallow fondant & I have started some interior decorating.  Lots of fun!

Again, my decorating is on the cheap.  Beyond cheap.  I've tried to get everything on sale or clearance.  And a lot of stuff is just reused or repurposed.  Like my living room furniture for instance.  I've had it since 2008.  It was stuff my parents bought in 1999.  I've painted the walls and bought curtains to match it.  I can't wait to post pictures of the before and after of all the rooms!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Sweet Treat: Jam Jar

Jam Jar Shiraz!  This is nothing new, but it’s so good.  I hate dry wine and this is sweet and definitely not dry.  It’s not too sweet, though.  Plus, it’s cheap!  Thank me later!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Sweet Treat: Sally Hansen Nail Effects

Yes, I know that EVERYONE has done some type of review on these.  So, what’s one more for you to read?  I bought two packs in November 2011—one for me, one for my mom.  I’d read about them and seen friends and strangers post pictures of them to blogs and Instagram.  I applied mine first, then did my mom’s.  They came out great.  Since then, we’ve bought several more.  

Some colors/designs come out better than others.  For example, the plain polish (no design) is much more pliable than the prints.  Sucks for me because I like funky!  The glitter lasts a long time, and my shortest wear of any was the Kitty Kitty print at 7 days.  But, I use my hands a lot.  If I was somewhere being dainty, they’d probably still be on.  Anyway, it’s still a much better deal than nail polish which chips (on me) immediately.  And way cheaper than getting your nails done every two weeks.  I paid about $10 for them at Kroger.  My mom paid $6 for some at Walgreens.

Something to note, once the pack with the strips is opened, the CANNOT be used at all.  Yes, the directions say this…and yes I still wanted to conduct my own experiment.  I keep my nails short, so what I do is only open one pack of strips (2 come in a box).  I cut them in half and use one whole strip for two nails.  That way I can keep the second unopened pack and use it later.  Turns it into a $5 manicure.  What a treat!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Sweet Treat: Starfall

Today’s Sweet Treat is a children’s website.  If you have small children (my son is preschool age), you’ll love  Completely educational, while at the same time providing annoying music and exaggerated colors to keep your little monster’s attention.  Thank or curse me later!

Friday, January 27, 2012

DIY: My Backyard

I have some DIY projects coming up around the house.  In order: Second bathroom remodel, organize guest bedroom, backyard, my bedroom.  The one I'm most excited about is my backyard.  I can't wait to fix it up so I can have summer cookouts.  I have a fairly large yard, almost half an acre, and I have lawn chairs and a grill that are begging to come out.  I have tiki citronella torches for the mosquitoes that plague us here in the Southeastern United States.  I have nice green grass and bushes and trees and flowers.  

My preparation included fertilizing the grass before it got too cold.  The last time I cut the grass before winter, I spread fertilizer and weed killer on the freshly cut grass.  It rained a couple of days later so that was good.  I have a truckload of mulch (anyone want some?  Seriously, you can have it.) to spread on the very back of my yard.  Grass doesn't grow well there because of all the trees back there.  They are old trees and the combination of their shade and the fact that they take pretty much all nutrients from the soil mean that grass just doesn't stand a chance.  

My next step is going to be to buy some sort of vegetation killer.  I have lots of vine/ivy/kudzu-type foliage growing wild in the very back, which makes things look very messy.  I'll follow up with some pictures later this week.  After that, I have to remove the remainder of an old and rusty chain link fence since my next-door neighbors put up a wooden fence.  I need new stepping stones because one is now cracked in half.

I also need a solution for this piss-poor grading job.  They graded my land so that a moat has formed around my house.  It's so stupid and it makes me mad every time I have to jump across it to reach my house in order to not get my feet wet!  My dad suggested pouring sand in a little bit at a time because he says the grass can grow up around it and that it will level the land.  Do you have any suggestions for me?

Finally, I want a vegetable garden.  I don't care what's in it.  Just something that will grow successfully.  I think I have the opposite of a green thumb so something very hardy would be in order.  I learned last year that I had two fig trees.  I don't like figs, but I am excited about having fruit trees so I will definitely pick them this year.  Who knows, I might take them up to the farmer's market and sell them!  Haha :)  I'm going to buy another fruit tree this spring, haven't decided exactly what, though.  

If you have any landscaping tips for me, or if you know of any plants that grow well in the South, let me know!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Let's Eat

I’m a single mother and I receive no child support. I “help people” for a living which means I don’t make a lot of money.  I am now an expert grocery shopper.  I’m not crazy and obsessed like those people on the extreme couponing shows, but I know my way around a bargain.  Inexpensive recipes can keep meal time interesting for picky eaters, which is important.  From time to time, I’ll share a few cheap-to-make recipes that I’ve had and some that I’ve come up with myself.  Here’s the first one (thought up by me, when I had to rely on what was in the pantry and freezer).  It doesn’t have a title; I’ll have to think of what to call it.  Anyhoo, here it is:

1 pound of ground beef or ground turkey
Some egg noodles—I’m not good at measurements so just decide how much you need.  I used one half of a bag
Shredded cheese

Season and brown the meat and drain the fat.  While you are doing this, cook the egg noodles and strain them when they are done.  After you drain the fat from the meat, add the tomatoes, corn, and okra (with the liquid).  Then, add the cook egg noodles to the pan and mix it all together!  Add the seasonings of your choice.  (I hate unseasoned, bland food). Stir in some shredded cheese and heat it on low for a minute to melt the cheese.  Yum!  

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


A couple of months ago, I watched a documentary called "Shame."  It's the story of Mukhtaran Mai, her public rape, and what occurred in the few years following the incident.  "Shame" is a very powerful piece.  After I watched it, I started thinking about how fortunate I really am.  Not saying everything about America is perfect, but how blessed are we just to have a sense of safety and security?  I mean, the worst part of my day was this morning when I had to throw out a pack of chicken that was thawing on the counter because I forgot to put it in the fridge before I went to bed last night.  So easy to take things for granted.

I vaguely remembered her story from an old Glamour magazine, but a 2-page article could never explain the depth of what she went through and how courageous she was, and still is, in the aftermath.  But that's all I'm going to say.  I don't want to tell the story because you have to see it! Go watch it!  She's definitely an inspiration.  She has achieved a lot of great things with a lot less support than a lot of us have.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Pro-life v. Pro-choice

This evening on Twitter I saw quite a few tweets about the age-old abortion argument.  Pro-life versus pro-choice.  I am, without a doubt, and unashamed to say it, pro-choice.  Let me tell you a story.  July 2006, I was fresh out of college.  And newly pregnant.  I had a lot going on.  I had gotten my first REAL job and it was my dream job.  I was about to move into a new apartment closer to the town I'd be working in.  This would also be my first place with no roommates.  I was really growing up.  I was also moving somewhere where I'd be alone and I was in a bad relationship.  None of this amounted to an ideal situation in which to bring a child.  My now-ex was the opposite of supportive.  He said he wasn't ready for a child, but that if I had an abortion, he'd never speak to me again.  (We'll discuss the mind-control issue of abusive relationships in another post).  Anyway, I decided to make an appointment at the abortion clinic.  I had a couple of good friends that were willing to help me with the cost, and my best friend was going to be my ride to the appointment.  I never made the appointment.  I just couldn't do it.  The next week I called to re-schedule.  There was no way I could have a baby right now.  Again, I was a no-show.  My next call was to Athens Ob-Gyn.  I decided that I was going to have this baby.  And he'll be 5 this weekend. 

I had a full-time job, a home, a car, supportive friends and family.  My now-ex's family and friends were also supportive and very close to me.  I had a degree and health insurance.  I had a lot of things that many people aren't fortunate enough to have.  Hell, even if a woman does have all these things, if she doesn't want a child, she shouldn't be made to have one.  Some people that are parents don't need to be parents and I wouldn't trust them with my houseplants. 

It's so much more complicated than anyone who has never been in that situation to have to make that decision can ever understand.  Nothing is more overwhelming than to realize that the fate of another human being is up to you.  Please don't judge other women for their decisions.  People are so quick to pass judgment, but how many of them would be quick to say, "Ya know what? Come move in with me and I will help you take care of your baby and be your support."  Yeah...

I remember a conversation I had with a former co-worker one time.  I was talking about my decision to become a parent and how I just could never have an abortion because I knew I'd always regret it, and that the "what-if" would play in my mind forever.  She said something to the effect of being glad that someone else knew that abortion was wrong.  I said, "Oh no.  I'm totally pro-choice."  She said, "You said you'd never have an abortion.  That means you're pro-life."  She really didn't understand.  Having my son WAS my choice.  And I can only imagine how the fear I felt when I found out I was pregnant would have been magnified if I knew I didn't have choices. 

Monday's Sweet Treat--thank me later.

Mondays are blah.  I can't even hardly enjoy Sunday because the anticipation of returning to the workweek is the worst buzzkill.  (High on life, not drugs).  I want to make your Mondays something to look forward to.  Every Monday, I'm going to share a special treat with you.  Today it's a website.  Who likes cupcakes?  Better question, who doesn't?  I personally love cupcakes.  Cake is the best thing in the world and a cupcake is a little cake, just for you.  Doesn't get any better than that.  So go here:

Best. Cupcakes. Ever. (My personal favorite is the Yummy Yammy).

Order some.  Order several.

You won't be sorry.  And, you can thank me later.

P.S. She bakes and decorates cakes, too.

Typing out my current thoughts

I believe it is completely possible to be addicted to another person.  To eat, sleep, and go through the motions of your daily life thinking of nothing but that person.  Just as substance abusers will often say the things they did under the influence of drugs, or in order to get their drugs, are not things they’d normally do.  The same applies to an unhealthy attachment to another human being.  What do you guys think causes this?  I have my own ideas.  Often you hear that it’s an easily influenced person.  Someone with low self-esteem.  Someone that didn’t have the opposite-sex parent in their life.  All that may be true in some cases.  But not all.  I’ve seen plenty of “seemingly” “together” people fall victim to this addiction.  Myself included.  I’m going to start writing about some of my views and my personal experiences, so wish me luck.  In the past, I’ve tried to write about some of this and got writer’s block like a motherfucker.  Not quite sure why.  Guess we’ll see what happens.