When the holidays are over…

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I know what you’re thinking – holidays over?  They have barely just begun!  I do love this time of year, the hustle and bustle, the happy smiles despite stressful times.  As much as I enjoy the holidays, when they end I do breathe a little sigh of relief.  Then time passes, and I miss the meet ups and seeing friends and celebrating.  Here are a few holidays you can celebrate – I think they are a lot of fun!

January 4th is National Spaghetti Day.  What could be better on a cold winter night than some pasta, tasty sauce, some meatballs and maybe even some garlic bread?  Sounds like a tasty excuse to get together with friends.

You can also celebrate National Pie Day on January 23rd.  Pick a house to get together at, each person you invite bakes (or buys) a different kind of pie – with coffee, tea and hot chocolate – you’ll have another nice night with friends and family.

February 4th might be cold, but it doesn’t have to be if you celebrate National Homemade Soup Day.  This special day does specify “homemade” but your family and friends might not be cooks, might not feel like cooking – yet they’d want to have some soup.  Again, pick a place to get together – everyone brings a different soup.  You can add to it by everyone also bringing an add on, an add in – saltines, bread, rolls.  Doesn’t a night like this sound fun?

Five days later you and your friends can celebrate National Pizza Day on the 9th.  Who doesn’t like pizza?  Again, order a few pizzas, get a few drinks and have a party.  Or go out and celebrate at your favorite pizzeria.  Pizza is good, it makes people happy – some say it should be it’s own food group.

March 1st is National Peanut Butter Lovers Day.  You can celebrate this day in many different ways.  Your party can include tea sandwiches cut into nice shapes with different kinds of peanut butter and jelly.  Your snacks (healthy ones) can be peanut butter and celery logs.  Look online – you will be amazed at all the recipes you can make with peanut butter!  And of course, have plenty of Reese’s around.  I think they are the favorite candy of many people (at least most in my family).

Celebrate March 19th – National Poultry Day.  Chicken tenders, chicken wings, chicken noodle soup.  You can even have a small turkey with all the trimmings.  With poultry, the possibilities are endless.  If there are a lot of recipes on line with peanut butter, wait until you see how many there are for poultry!

Spring is coming, and on the 30th of March gather a bunch of friends and family and meet for National Walk in the Park Day.  You’ll have a great time seeing your friends, you’ll get some exercise and some fresh air you haven’t been able to take advantage of during the winter months.

April 11th is National Pet Day.  Most of us celebrate our pets every day of their lives.  Besides their birthdays, make this a fun day for your cats or dogs.  Give them extra loving, extra treats – and maybe even treat them to a more deluxe meal than they normally get.  Have a good time spoiling them rotten!

Spring is in the air, and on May 24th – you can plan a Scavenger Hunt!  There are all different kinds of plans for these games online.  You can do it for fun or for fun and prizes.  Don’t forget to have several of the participants taking pictures.  They are so funny to look back at.

June 8th is time to celebrate National Best Friends Day.  Use this day to do something special with and for your best friend.  Something that both of you enjoy.  Of course, we always celebrate our best friend’s birthday.  This is the day you can celebrate your friendship, and all the good things it brings into your lives.

The 21st of July is the day we celebrate National Junk Food Day.  Preparations for this go without saying – think of whatever you, your family and your friends refer to as junk food, and have a party with plenty of it.  Of course, this is not healthy – but once a year, a junk-food-pig-out can be a lot of fun!

Celebrate August 25th by enjoying National Banana Split Day.  If you’re good with thrifting (finding items in thrift stores) you may even be able to find those specific banana split dishes.  Have plenty of bananas, a few different ice creams, some whipped cream, sprinkles and of course cherries.  Take pictures of the masterpieces that everyone builds.

Remember and honor September 11th – the victims, their families and friends.  Spend part of this day honoring your family and friends in the way that the victims cannot.  Realize that we are lucky to have who we have and what we have.  Hug your loved ones and do something to make each other happy on this date.

Celebrate on October 27th with a cold one – it’s American Beer Day.  Grab yourself some friends, and a Budweiser, a Miller or a Coors Light.  Have some good food and good laughs.  Enjoy each other!  Drink up!

November 16th is National Fast Food Day.  No matter which chain is your favorite, make sure you go to a fast food place that day and have your absolute most favorite guilty pleasure!

Find time to celebrate National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day on the 18th of December.  There have been lots of parties celebrating these unique sweaters.  Now you don’t have to buy a legitimate ugly sweater at Goodwill – you can purchase new uglies brand new in stores.  Again, this is an event that requires pictures.  Lots of them!

And there you have it – some reasons to celebrate with your friends.  Some will say they are excuses to be silly.  I don’t think there is anything wrong with that!

 

 

Be thankful…

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I belong to a lot of groups, pages and lists on Facebook.  One of the groups recently had a 26-day long gratitude posting – each day members were to post what they were grateful for, corresponding to a letter of the alphabet.  I only found out about this challenge when it was more than half way done.  I started thinking of what I am thankful for.  Some of my letters are personal, and some are general.

A is for Amanda and Alex.  Amanda is my daughter-in-law, married to my son Kevin.  She’s also the Mom to be of my soon to be born grandson, Blake.  Alex is my oldest son’s fiancé.  She and Michael will be married next June.  I am thankful that my sons found the perfect women for them.  I love them both.

B is for Bre and Baby Boy Blake.  Bre is my youngest son Chris’ fiancé, and she will become our daughter-in-law next weekend.  The two of them grew up together, from in-love teenagers to soon-to-be newlyweds.  Watching them grow together has been a pleasure.  Baby Boy Blake – our up and coming grandson, our first grandchild.  I love him already, even though we won’t be meeting him until April.  He is due around the 22nd, and with his birth I will be getting the best birthday gift I ever will have gotten.  B is also for Boris.  He is one of our eighteen-month old kittens.  He is all black, with a tiny tuft of white under his neck.  He is a carnivore – he loves ham steaks, and also crunchy noodles from the Chinese restaurant.  He is also one of the funniest cats I have ever seen.  B is also for Beavis.  He is thirteen years old, extremely good looking and the best behaved cat ever.  I don’t think he has ever gotten in trouble for anything.  He is perfect.

C is for Chris and Christine.  Chris is my youngest son.  He has always been a good boy, and we are very proud.  From a very young age, he was mature and had a good head on his shoulders.   Christine is my very best friend.  I am lucky to have someone who has always been by my side and has always had my back.  I love them both.

D is for Dan, my nephew.  I remember the day we got the phone call saying he had been born, and now he is an 18-year old college student.  He is a good and kind kid, and he’s already an amazing cook – he’s studying to have this be his field, his chosen profession.  We are very proud of him.

E is for Ellie.  Ellie is a dear friend who helped us out when we first moved back from Florida.  She gave us a place to live.  I have only known her for a little over three years, but it feels like a lifetime.  We are lucky to have her.

F is for Fan, and G is for Gratitude.  I have been a fan of many things in my life, most notably WWE wrestling and recently hockey and the Stanley Cup Champion Tampa Bay Lightning.  Being a fan of both these things have given me wonderful memories of good times.  I enjoyed hockey due to the influence of my father, and with Michael and Christine have made many wrestling memories.  I am grateful for being a fan.

H is for Happy, because that is what I am.  I have a wonderful family, perfect friends and a great life.  I is for Inspirational – I am lucky to work in a hospital where it is absolutely inspirational to see the caring that these people we call medical professionals (and I call them coworkers) possess.  They are Incredible!

J is for Jeanmarie and Jeff.  Jeanmarie is my sister and Jeff is my boyfriend.  I have known Jeanmarie for almost fifty years (her birthday is coming up) and Jeff for not even three years – yet he is the love of my life.  I am beyond lucky to have the two of them.  I feel fortunate to know that they both feel the same about me.

K is for Kevin.  He is my middle son.   Kevin was born happy and has remained that way for his entire life.  He is also extremely kind.  He is going to be a wonderful Daddy to Blake.

L is for Lexi.  I should really say aLexi, because that is her name – though we never call her that.  She is our beautiful two year old cat.  The girl has a lot of nicknames, but my favorite for her is the Queen.  That is what she is.

M is for Michael and Malenky.  Michael is my oldest son.  He was an easy baby, the perfect little person to teach me to become a Mom.  He is beginning his career as a sixth-grade teacher – if children ever get back into a classroom.  Malenky is one of our eighteen-month old kittens.  I found him in our basement – he could barely walk as he came to me.  He was three weeks old.  I fed him, trained him and took care of him as best as I could.  We learned together.  He is perfect, and we love him very much.

N is for Nik and Natasha.  Nik is two years old and is Lexi’s brother.  He is a big boy, and he is studly – except when he sleeps.  When he sleeps, he looks kind of like a bunny rabbit.  Natasha is the third of our eighteen-month old kittens.  She is pretty and quiet – very timid.  She’s the perfect compliment to her older sister, the Queen.  Natasha is the Princess.

O is for open-minded.  It is what I strive for.  I want to consider all points of view before I make my decisions or an opinion.  P is for patience.  Having seven cats in your home takes a lot of patience for sure.  P is also for peace.  We really need more of it in this world.  Q is for quality of life, and I have got it good.  We are in the middle of moving to a beautiful new place.  R is for real.  Like people say, I keep it real.  I am not fake and I am not phony.  I am proud of that.

S is for Stanley.  He is our other thirteen year old cat.  Stanley is very vocal, and he does not mind dancing to Bee Gees songs with me.  He is very attached to me, and he loves his family – even if we sometimes refer to him as a grumpy old man.

T is for Tom.  Tom has been a dear friend and coworker of mine for many years.  He is like the little brother best friend I never had.  T is also for the Tampa Bay Lightning, my favorite hockey team and current Stanley Cup Champions.  They replaced the New York Islanders in my hockey-heart, something I never thought was possible.  But, they did it.

U is for unique.  I am thankful for being unique – it is a bit unusual to be a grown woman who is a crazy cat lady AND a professional wrestling fan.  I have had great life experiences because of both these interests.  I also try to be upbeat, because it is always better to look on the upside.

V is for valuable.  I have many valuable attributes – my love for my family, my friends – and my absolute concern for our patients.  W is for the WWE – as I’ve mentioned, wresting is very important to me and I’m very grateful years ago Michael convinced me to watch the broadcast that one evening.

And then there is X, Y and Z.  These were hard ones – some days I feel like my life has that X-factor, things are good – like wow!  I want to say Yay, Yippy and Yahoo!  I do wish for more days when I have more Zip and Zest – I get tired sometimes!

Now you know my ABCs…

Ancient Chinese Secret…

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By using that title, I truly am dating and aging myself.  For those of you who are young, that was a line from a famous commercial for a detergent in the 1970s.  But I digress.  Lately my coworker and I have had a fairly regular routine of ordering Chinese takeout – we have it delivered to us at work.  We get a lot – enough that it lasts us for at least two meals.  Besides the food, I also order a package of Chinese crispy noodles for Boris, one of my seventeen-month old cats.  And we also order extra fortune cookies.  We have had quite a few good ones lately.  Some are serious, some are profound and some are just silly.  I thought I would share some of them with you today.

  • If something is worth fighting for, fight,
  • Now is the time to pursue a new hobby.
  • Confidence of success is almost success.
  • Your modesty will shame those with lesser knowledge.
  • A stranger is a friend you haven’t met yet.
  • Do what you wish, as long as it does not harm anyone.
  • A good evening is one spent in good company.
  • A man without aim is like a clock without hands. As useless if it turns as if it stands.
  • You will enjoy razor sharp spiritual vision today.
  • Your future is right next to you.
  • Blank. No words at all. Just lottery numbers on the back.
  • My personal favorite – You like Chinese food

What funny or relevant fortunes have you gotten? Please, share!

 

Frustration – in every way!

 

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We are living in frustrating and annoying times.  Recently, at work we had one of the most frustrating days EVER.  I won’t get into too many of the details, but let’s just say we had a patient who had requested to make many phone calls.  And when I say many, that is exactly what I mean – many.  Our call counter was down, but in an eight-hour shift, this person asked us to make literally hundreds of calls for her.  It was irritating and annoying, and it prevented us from doing our work.  Every time the line rang and the computer showed it was her room calling – we wanted to pull our hair out from our heads.  After a while, we had to laugh because it was becoming funny.  Well, almost.  I thought about frustration and how to deal with it – how you can get through things more easily (and with some hair left on your head).

Breathing – deep breathing – is a good thing to do to calm yourself.  You need to take a deep breath, counting to four as you inhale and then to four again as you exhale.  This should be repeated until you feel yourself calming down.

Easing frustration can come when you accept others (and a situation) as they are (and as it is).  Once you are calmed down, think of the person – is how they were acting just “how they are” or is there nothing you really can do about it – say, if you were stuck in a traffic jam.  I have never been a fan of the saying “it is what it is” but when you think about it, it really does make sense.

Try to avoid being a perfectionist or judging about a situation.  Give up your preconceived ideas of how you think things should be.  Go with the flow.  Unlike above, I have been a fan of the phrase “consider the source.”  If you do that, you may find things flow through you a bit easier.

Live in the moment of where you are right now.  Don’t regret the past or fret about the future.  Deal with what you have right now at the present time.  You may not find answers if you are stuck in the past, and the future hasn’t even happened yet.

Another saying I’m fond of is “this too shall pass.”  Things usually do.

When you’re in the middle of a frustrating or annoying time, if you can – get away.  If you are able – take a walk.  A change of scenery often changes your outlook.  Work to free and clear your mind.  Once that happens, you may be able to think about things more rationally – and you might even end up feeling better.

Force a smile.  Many years ago, at one of my first jobs we were at a training session.  The position we were training for involved being on the phones.  The instructor told us to smile as we spoke.  It seemed silly to those of us in the class.  But her reasoning was that if you force a smile, you sound better.  When you sound better, people will react to you better.  Smiling releases endorphins, which can make you feel happier and can also reduce stress levels.

A big stressor at this time is the Pandemic.  Things have changed in ways that we never thought were possible.  I hear a lot about Corona stress and Covid worries, both at work and through my future daughters-in-law.  Wear masks, don’t wear masks.  Stay home, go out and live your life.  Worry, don’t worry.  I think the biggest problem with this Pandemic besides the fact that it is such a terrible illness is the unknown.  It is unknown when we will have a vaccine.  It is unknown as to when we will be able to travel again.  It is unknown when and if children will be going back to school.  It is unknown if and when everything will get back to as they are calling it “the new normal.”  This is frustration at the highest level – because our hands are tied.  We do not have the answers we are looking for.  In order to combat these frustrating times, I think we need to do a few things.  First, we have to think about this rationally.  Going through this is no fun; however, it could be worse.  Things could (usually) always be worse.  It is important to give yourself a break from time to time.  Even if you’re not physically getting away, a mental vacation from the thoughts and frustration is a really good thing.  Keep your chin up and be as positive about things as you can be.  And then – stay active, stay safe, and live your life.  Things may never go back to what we knew before, but for the most part – if we are lucky – cue the saying above – this too shall pass!

 

Help, I need somebody…

people inside building during nighttime
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…help, not just anybody.  Help!  You know I need someone…help!”  Anyone who knows me knows that I really am not a Beatles fan (sorry to those who are) but I couldn’t help but think of this song when I decided to write this post.

I need some help.  I need help from you, my small group of loyal followers.  I need help from you to spread the word about this blog.  For many different reasons, I would like to take this site to whatever can be the next level.  It would mean a great deal to me and would help me out greatly if every reader forwarded this website to one friend.  If that happens, my audience would double in a very short amount of time.  That would be a huge accomplishment for me!

My life (and everything in it) is something I really enjoy.  I am at a place where just about everything I’m involved with is good, happy and positive.  My family and friends are wonderful.  We have got the seven best cats on earth (at least we think so).  I am very happy with my job – with the work itself and my coworkers.  I like thrift store shopping, saving money and taking care of myself the best that I can.  I have my strengths and weaknesses like anyone else.  I read other lifestyle blogs and think “wow, that sounds like me” or “I never even realized that.”  I am hoping in reading what I write that others can relate to what I go through, and hopefully even enjoy the words.

Others in the blogging world have been very kind to me with their comments.  I appreciated the advice they have given me.  I have learned quite a bit from them.  I have made some changes since I started writing these posts – all the way back in early 2018.  That was before we even left Florida!  With help from readers and others, I feel like I can go from how I started out as a pre-school blogger to a college graduate blogger.

And so, quoting the Beatles again…”we get by with a little help from our friends!”  Thanking you all in advance!

Saving Money on Beauty Products

 

assorted cosmetic lot
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Anyone who knows me knows that I like to save money.  Also, anyone who knows me also knows that I like to buy a lot of products.  I have used many strategies over the years to acquire a large collection of all kinds of cosmetics.  I also have tips and ideas that will stretch products I have without having to buy more, and to repurpose certain items to use for things that they weren’t necessarily intended.

Did you know you can create lip gloss by mixing a bit of blush and some petroleum jelly?

To save money, research websites of the companies of brands that you often buy.  You may find coupons and special deals.

Go to Dollar Tree for your beauty basics.  They have great products that will come in handy and the best part – they’re only a dollar.

If you need concealer, you can mix your moisturizer with equal amounts of light blush or face powder.

When you decide it may be time for a treat, don’t do it before you check out sites like Yelp, Groupon and Local Flavor.  You can sometimes score a certificate that may get you up to 50% off on certain services.  Reading reviews from other customers can also help you decide if you do in fact want to spend any of your hard-earned money at these places.

If you once in a while like to use more high-end products, consider a monthly service like Ipsy.  You’ll get a bag sent to you each month with samples of products that may be too expensive to try on a whim.  Currently, the cost is $12 per month – I just started my subscription up again after being gone from the service for quite some time.  When I feel as though the items are no longer interesting me, I will cancel or suspend my account.  Your bag each month is personalized according to a survey you fill out indicating your likes.

Creamy baby oil can be used as a makeup remover.  It usually has such a nice smell, too.

If you’re like me and your roots seem to come in way too fast, you can use the basic hair color dye from Dollar Tree as a touch up.  If you don’t want to use that and you don’t have one of those touch up spray cans handy, eye makeup in a color similar to your hair will work nicely to cover grays.  This seems to work especially good with hair near your temples.

When you are in T.J. Maxx, Burlington or Ross, stop by their makeup/accessories section.  I have found very good deals on all kinds of makeup for what seems like a fraction of their regular retail prices.

If you find yourself without any blush, and you don’t want to be pale – you can put red or pink lipstick on your finger and apply it to your cheeks.  Just don’t overdo it or you will end up looking like a clown.  The key is to blend well.  Really well.

Hair conditioner can double as both a smoothing serum for your hair (put a very small bit in your hands, rub them together and tame your fly aways) and a shaving cream for your legs if you don’t have any of the traditional kind.

And there you have it – ways to save $$$ and still look good!

Time to be a little silly…

 

happy woman with fresh mask covering eyes with patches
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These have been some of the hardest months to deal with in a very long time.  Sickness and civil unrest are not fun topics.  There have been too many sad and unfortunate stories being reported on in the news.  One day I was reading an article online, and it gave a listing of supposed new guidelines and recommendations to care for yourself during this pandemic.  As usual, my mind wandered and I started thinking that there should be guidelines for how to have fun, and directions to make that happen.  My mind then wandered into random thoughts, and with the help of BestLifeOnline.com, ReadersDigest.com, Parade.com and Facts.net, I found a bunch of random silly thoughts that made me smile, made me think, and also had me scratching my head.  I thought when reading these – who knew?  Certainly not me.

DID YOU KNOW THAT…

Americans spend an average of $1,092 on coffee each year?  That comes out to about $92 a month – and about $3 per day.

Psycho was the first movie to feature a toilet that flushed.

Fruit Loops are all the same flavor – they all taste the same, only the colors are different.

Dolly Parton once lost a “look like Dolly” contest.  She lost to a drag queen.

WalMart has a lower acceptance rate than Harvard University – only 2.6 percent of applicants get into WalMart compared to 4.5 of Harvard applicants.

The blob of toothpaste that sits on the end of your brush?  It’s called a nurdle.

Barry Manilow didn’t write the song “I Write the Songs.”  Someone else did, and Barry didn’t even like it at first.

Q is the only letter of the alphabet that does not appear in the name of any State.

The tiny pocket near the other side pockets on a pair of jeans was initially intended to store a pocket watch.

# – this symbol isn’t called a hashtag nor is it called a pound sign.  The proper name for this is octothorpe.  Jim Thorpe, American gold medalist and athlete is involved with the naming.   Jim Thorpe had a town named after him in Carbon County, Pennsylvania.  I personally have been there many times.

A fan once dedicated his obituary to the Cleveland Browns football team.  He wanted six players of the team to be his pallbearers so “they could let him down again.”

Four Corners is an area of this country which is the only place where you can stand in four states at one time.  Those states are Utah, Arizona, New Mexico and the great state of Colorado (ok, I’m partial since I lived there for six years).

The five colors on the Olympic flag were carefully selected.  This is because each of the colors can be found on every flag of countries that participate in the Olympics.

Ketchup was once used as a medicine.

Sean Connery wore a toupee in every one of the James Bond movies he starred in.

There are more plastic flamingoes than real ones in the United States.

M&M’s?  That name came from the last names of the candy’s creators – Mars and Murrie.

Judge Judy makes forty-five million dollars per year.

Cats spend 70% of their lives sleeping.  Hmm.  I know two of three little ones that do not adhere to this.

And there you have it.  My silly and mindless list of things that, for me – at least for a little while – took my mind off the seriousness of today’s world.

“…Lord, I was born a ramblin’ man…”

hands with latex gloves holding a globe with a face mask
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“…tryin’ to make a living and doing the best I can…”

These are crazy times, for sure.  What is going on right now is something we’ve never seen before, nor did we ever think we would see.  Normally, I am a fairly positive person, and I try to see the good in people, things, in a situation.  But now, with this – it is hard.

When I say “rambling” I am referring to the thoughts in my mind.  I have been all over the place lately.  Jeff and I went out to a very nice local restaurant on Friday night, to celebrate his birthday.  We had a very nice time, the food was delicious and I would say the night was an absolute success.  Yet, we had to decide whether we wanted to be outside,  in tents/gazebos – or inside, with tables spaced further apart than anyone would have liked.  Here in Scranton, we are in the middle of a somewhat heat-wave, so we opted for inside.   Me, being the one who is always warm (even in winter) – we opted for the table near the air conditioner.  Yes, we were cooler than others – but we didn’t hear the piped-in Italian music as easily as if we had been seated elsewhere.  It is what it is, right?  Yes.  We ordered dessert to take home, and as we were leaving – we posed at their outside area, by a beautiful fountain.  The waitress who took our photo asked if we wanted to remove our masks, and we probably should have, for photo-views, but we didn’t – we kept our masks on, because this is the time we are living in.

My nephew was supposed to have graduated high school on June 9th.  Of course, that did not happen.  He was supposed to have a rescheduled Prom on July 30th – that too was cancelled.  As of right now, his graduation ceremony is scheduled for August 4th, outside – with social distancing, so – some of our family will not be able to be there.  We have our fingers and toes crossed that this will happen, but at this point we are more hoping he will be able to start his college classes on August 31st.  He is going for a Hospitality Major.  If they cancel on-site classes, he will either be unable to start college, or he will have to totally redo his entire schedule.  Is this a mess or what?

And then, we have my youngest son, Chris and his soon-to-be bride, Bre.  These two kids, well – they are young adults now, turning twenty-five this year – have been together for nine years.  They literally grew up together.  Their long-awaited wedding is this Fall, at the beginning of November.  We have no idea if the area where their wedding is being held will be free of restrictions by the time they take their vows.  It is truly a nerve wracking time.  What other choice do we have but to be as positive as we can, and just hope things happen on time?  As it stands right now, they will barely be able to honeymoon anyplace – Bre is an RN taking care of Covid patients daily, and her hospital has even more strict travel restrictions in place than local, state and federal officials.  All we can do is say a prayer, cross our fingers and hope for the best that things go the way we all want them to.

The one absolute miracle happy moment for our family is Leroy!  I fostered him on a Wednesday afternoon, and took him to my son and daughter in law’s right away as I was going there to celebrate Kevin’s birthday.  They didn’t know I was coming with him, but the minute they saw him – it seemed like within seconds – they were in love.  In that moment he became theirs, even if they didn’t realize it at the time.  Amanda is very observant, and she noticed something more was wrong with him than the chest cold and the healing back leg.  They ended up bringing him to their Vet, and he was diagnosed with a diaphragmatic hernia.  This is a very serious condition, and he was very young – he was less than twelve weeks old at the time.  There were a lot of back and forth conversations, vet visits, many tears and worry beyond words.  There was a car ride back to Scranton and a transport to Cornell University Veterinary Medical Center.  All this ended up with the most beautiful outcome – Leroy is just fine!  He went home to his Mom and Dad the other day.  He will have to stay kind of still and quiet in a cage for a few days.  He is not happy about that.  He wants to be a kitten!  He is a little miracle, a big fighter for his tiny size.  We are thrilled with him, and just look – isn’t he perfect?  We think so!

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Easy Peasy Snack Time

red eat neon sign turned on
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I am a snacker.  I always have been and I always will be.  I have had a bedtime snack each night for as long as I can remember, and I don’t see that ending anytime soon.  Besides night time, I snack all day – I pretty much graze.  Like a cow.  I like snacks to be easy, to have them ready – so when the feeling comes over me, I can just grab one.  I have a list of easy ones – that are fairly healthy and don’t involve just opening up a bag of candy or ripping open a package of chips.

This is a snack my cousin and I enjoyed when we lived together.  We would each get a bowl and on one side we would put a lump of peanut butter – for this snack, we used the crunchy kind – and on the other side, we would use a portion of jelly – and for this, for some reason we always used strawberry jelly.  The go to dippers were either pretzel rods, or those honey wheat pretzels – the ones that are a bit thicker, and don’t break as easy.  It was a nice alternative to ranch or French onion dip.  It would be even healthier if we used all-fruit spread or low-sugar jelly – but usually we did not.

A quick snack (though you almost have to “cook” it) is cinnamon toast.  You would toast two slices of whatever bread you like, and then once done – butter them, with as much as you feel like having.  While the butter is still warm and melty, get out a jar of cinnamon sugar and sprinkle on both pieces.  If you want to make them a bit more fancy, you can cut them into wedges, triangles, long slices – whatever you want.  I have found that the more odd the shape, the more of a treat these seem to be – rather than just eating them like a regular piece of toast.

I like to have Pasta Salad on hand.  I usually make this with the tri-color rotini noodles.  Lately I have used actual spinach noodles and noodles made from carrots and tomatoes to perk up the healthy.  And for the third color, I have been using whole wheat or protein pasta.  It’s very simple but it is very good.  These pastas get boiled and drained, and depending on what I have in the house – I will put in some grated carrots and shredded cheese.  I toss it lightly with some Italian dressing and let it chill.  Pasta is always a treat to me, and making it this way makes me feel less guilty about eating it – because it really IS healthy this way.

A party treat to me is Deviled Eggs.  Yet there is no reason to wait for a party to have these.  They are pretty easy to make and have some on hand in the refrigerator.  All you have to do is hard boil a few eggs.  Peel them, and slice them in half lengthwise.  Scoop out the yolks and put them in a bowl.  Chop the yolks, mixing with mayonnaise, mustard, some seasonings.  Make this mixture smooth, and then spoon it back into the egg halves.  I usually sprinkle paprika on top – for decoration.  My mother always did them this way, and now I do too.  I usually do six eggs which gives me twelve halves – just enough to have without getting tired of them.

I like peanut butter roll ups.  The way I make them is to first take off the crusts from pieces of (usually white) bread.  I will roll the bread flat, with a rolling pin if I feel like getting it out – if not, I’ll just use one of our pint beer glasses.  Once flat, I will lightly cover the bread with a thin layer of peanut butter and then a thin layer of jelly.  And then – I just roll them.  I try to do them tight.  If you put too much peanut butter or too much jelly, you’ll get a mess.  You can either leave them in one long roll up, or chop them up into bite-size pieces.  Tastes delicious either way.

Another good, easy snack is trail mix.  I custom make mine from time to time, though I have also bought pre-made.  You can create a trail mix that is really healthy or not too healthy – it is up to you.  Most of the time, mine comes out more like a middle of the road mix.  I like to use Cheerios as an almost-base.  I will include some raisins and maybe some peanuts.  If I have chocolate chips, I’ll put those in as well.  For some salt, I might break up some pretzel sticks or throw in some of those little goldfish.  And that’s about it.  I usually don’t have seeds on hand, thought I know they are included in a lot of trail mixes.  It’s fun to use yogurt-covered raisins or craisins, or for color – you can use M&M’s.  I’ll make up a batch of this, and then maybe put them into little individual baggies so they’re easy to grab and go.

The other day I went to Dollar Tree and they had a large box of Fruit Loop-type cereal.  I don’t each much cereal, and even when I did, when I used to – I never liked these with milk.  I do however like them as snacks.  I did the same with the Fruit Loops that I do with the trail mix – I made snack size bags of them so they are also easy to grab and go.  This isn’t totally unhealthy, as even sugar-filled cereals are fortified with vitamins and minerals.

Frozen fresh fruit is good – take a bunch of grapes and freeze them.  They are fun to eat when frozen – you can make a game out of eating the skin/peels off them as you eat them and they melt.  You can also peel a banana, make banana circles and freeze them too.  It takes a lot longer to eat frozen fruit than it does to eat fresh fruit.  Your snacks last longer this way.

Have a bag of stick pretzels at your disposal.  You can have a bunch of them, a decent size portion for not that many calories.  With a glass of water (or diet soda, if that’s what you drink) you can get filled up fairly quickly – maybe saving you from eating things that would end up being worse for you.

I also recommend having microwave popcorn on hand.  Lately I have been enjoying Kettle Corn.  I like the combination of both salty and sweet.  You can eat the whole bag – you’ll be full for not a lot of guilt.

There is always a jar of salsa in my refrigerator.  Salsa goes good with any kind of chips you have laying around.  It even tastes good with plain old Saltines.  You can make some rice in the microwave, add some salsa when it’s done, sprinkle some shredded cheddar on and have a quick Spanish/Mexican snack.  There are so many different varieties available – I usually resort to plain old mild, or maybe medium.  Maybe.

What snacks do you like?  What ideas can I try next?

 

20 Questions…or thereabouts

 

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The other night, I was struggling to stay awake – because I was filling out one of those Facebook quizzes.  Why I felt it was so important to give my answers instead of getting sleep, I don’t know.  The post said something about posting this stuff so people can get to know little things about you.  So, I have decided to do that here.  In no particular order I present answers to some questions.

My favorite movie of all time is Austin Powers Goldmember.  I laugh myself silly every time I watch it.  And I have watched it many, many times.  So many in fact that I can almost recite it word for word as I watch.  My sister and my nephew are big fans of it as well.  When the three of us watch together, it is just too funny.  I quote sayings and lines from it daily.  I really do.

I like a lot of different toppings on pizza, but I would have to say that my favorite really is mushroom.  Since most people I know don’t like mushrooms, when we get pizza with a crowd I guess my choice would be pepperoni.  And I do like ham and pineapple on pizza.  Not all the time, but every once in a while it is a nice change.

My favorite foods are Chinese and Italian.  Currently, I would say that Chinese is winning out as my top choice.  This is only because I can somewhat copy Italian food in a decent way – though nowhere as close as to a good Italian restaurant.  I have tried making Chinese dishes, and while they were good – they weren’t authentic.

I like all fresh flowers (so does cat number three, Nik) but if I had to choose which kind, I would pick carnations.  Roses are beautiful, but I like how long carnations last and stay fresh.  Plus I like the fact that they are reasonably priced.

My favorite non-alcoholic drink is iced tea – either the Crystal Light kind or fresh brewed.  Due to the fact that I have kidney issues, I can’t drink too much of it.  I also enjoy coffee – lately I’ve been having just cream (and I always put ice in to cool it down), or at Dunkin I will get it with a raspberry shot.  My favorite alcoholic drink is beer.  My favorite is Molson XXX but I regularly drink Natty Daddy.  A lot of people make fun of it, but I think it’s good.

“As Long As You Love Me” by the Backstreet Boys is my favorite song.  My favorite musical group is the Bee Gees.  I could listen to their music for hours at a time.  Thankfully I found the New York Bee Gees – they are a tribute band that when you listen to them, you think you are listening to the real, authentic Bee Gees.

I have liked many television shows over the years, but right now my favorite is “Homicide Hunter with Lt. Joe Kenda.”  It recently ended a long run on the Investigation Discovery channel.  I am very thankful for on-demand watching, recording options and You Tube.  I became a fan of his way too late.

When I want to buy a candy bar at the checkout stand, my first choice used to be Snickers.  Now I lean more towards a Hershey’s bar – mainly because my mouth is in poor shape.  Snickers has too many pieces of nuts that get caught in between my teeth.

Years ago, if someone asked me my favorite flavor of ice cream I would have said chocolate.  Now my answer would be vanilla (out of those two).  I also enjoy Friendly’s Chocolate Chip and any kind of Butter Pecan or Butter Almond.

My favorite color in clothing would be shades of blue.  My favorite overall color is magenta.  That has always been my favorite for as long as I can remember – I always chose it first to use when I got a new box of 64 Crayola crayons.

The nicest celebrity I ever met was Sheamus from the WWE.  He has been my favorite for a long time.  He is kind and polite and funny and friendly.  The worst celebrity I ever met was also from the WWE – Brock Lesnar.  He was rude and he was condescending.  I dare say he was even nasty.  What a horrible person – and we met him at a Tribute to the Troops where you think he would have put out some sort of effort.  He didn’t.

“Follow your passions” was the best advice I ever got.  It was said by the very wise Dr. Phil when he was appearing on the Oprah Winfrey show.  He reasoned that as long as your passion didn’t hurt anyone or cause trouble, there was no harm in following it.  So, because of Dr. Phil I have pursued my interest in professional wrestling with no guilt whatsoever.  It’s given me way more memories and good times than I ever could have imagined.

I lost both of my parents to cancer.  The days of both of their deaths were awful and they were horrible.  Their deaths were expected, however.  I took my beautiful JB to the Vet one day after weeks of allergic episodes and nasal issues.  Never in my wildest dreams did I think he would be diagnosed with cancer and that he had six months to live, if that long.  I don’t know how I drove my car home.  That night, after Jeff left for work I cried.  I cried hard and long.  I cried so hard my body shook.  I never thought something could hurt so bad.  And I never thought you could feel your heart break inside of your chest.  But you can.  His diagnosis was so surprising, so unexpected.  That night was the worst night of my life.

When I am listening to the radio, I will never turn off songs by Michael Jackson or Queen.  However, as soon as Bruce Springsteen comes on – the station gets switched.  I used to like him – I thought the fact that he could live anywhere in the world but still chose New Jersey as his home was very loyal to where he grew up.  I don’t like his antics as of late and so that is why he gets two or three notes out before the channel gets turned.

I do not enjoy anything about the Winter, and my favorite season is Summer.  I like not having to worry about getting all dressed up and ready to go outside.  In summer all I need is my purse and my keys and I’m out the door.  Fast.

I enjoy Christmas, but I can’t say I’m one of those people who has “Christmas fever.”  I enjoy most things about the holidays, and I especially enjoy being with family.  But then again, every holiday for us usually involves family.  People have suggested that I like Christmas because I like shopping.  That could be true, I suppose.

Passing time – I like to watch You Tube.  I have been known to binge watch both Bee Gees and hockey videos.  However, my favorite way to pass the time is to scroll through Facebook – which prompted me to write this post….

What would your twenty answers be to twenty questions?