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What the What Wednesdays

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Anyone that knows me, knows that there are things that bother me. Sometimes it is small pet peeves, sometimes it is how someone in my life is acting, sometimes it is how someone is treating someone else, sometimes it is a general frustration in my life that I need to work through. I know I am not alone when it comes to the need to vent your frustrations about life. So I am making Wednesdays….. What the What Wednesdays!

What the What Wednesdays will be my day to vent my frustrations which is fitting because Thursday is Thankful Thursday. So I will vent on Wednesday, let it all go and be Thankful on Thursday for what is in me life.

So who is with me on having days that you just need to vent about life or people or things going on? Right now, I know for me, I need to release some of the frustrations going on in my life because the longer I bottle it up, the more pressure builds up and then I will explode. Anyone that has been on my receiving end of my explosion knows it is a scary, scary sight so the release is necessary.

Needing a release from stress and frustrations is for everyone. This release needs to be a healthy release like journal writing, yoga, exercise, blogging (this is my release), talking to friends or many other healthy ways. I encourage each of you to find your healthy way to vent and release your frustrations to keep a healthy mind, body and soul.

My Vent For the Week: At this moment, my frustration is my husband and his need to clean my stuff or unpack my stuff. I am an artist so I live in a state of organized chaos when it comes to all of my stuff. I know where all of my (ok most of my stuff) is and do not like any of it to be touched. This is where my control freak comes out because I like my stuff where I put it so I don’t need anyone else organizing for me. He is driving me up the freaking wall with touching my stuff! Ok vent over… for now haha!

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St. Patrick’s Day Quote Sharpie Mug DIY

Irish Quotesharpie mug

One of my favorite holidays is St. Patty’s Day because there is so much more behind the day besides green beer and dressing in green. This day began as a celebration of Christianity arriving in Ireland with a day of feast. Since the first St. Patty’s Day, this holiday has become one of the most celebrated around the world. It is celebrating the luck of the Irish, the good fortune life has brought into our lives and looking forward to the greatness the future holds for us.

Now, I am not Irish or at least that I know of but my 3 older children are Irish on their father’s side so I have embraced celebrating this holiday for them. I love to make brisket and cabbage with soda bread. I am not a beer drinker but I will do enjoy drinking some Bailey’s Irish Cream in my coffee. Of course, we dress in green and decorate the house in a fun Irish way with shamrocks and rainbows.

I LOVE and collect fun coffee mugs but haven’t found one for my St. Patty’s “special” coffee or one that was affordable (sorry I won’t pay $10-$20 for a cool mug unless its keeping my coffee hot for hours). I decided to take matters into my own hands and make my own Irish inspired mug.

Something else I love is quotes which includes Irish Blessings. I have some Irish Blessings that are displayed in my house year round because they have a special meaning that I cherish. These blessings are so beautiful and inspiring that I wanted one on a mug for the special day for my special coffee.

I grabbed my sharpie markers and bought an affordable, white mug from Walmart to do this Sharpie Irish Mug project. A lot of people prefer to use Sharpie oil-based Paint Markers but regular markers will work just as well and less of a mess for kids to make a mug of their own. The difference in the permanent marker and paint marker is you will want hand wash the permanant marker whereas you can put the paint marker mug in the dishwasher,

I chose “May Your Day Be Touched With A Bit of Irish Luck”which started on one end of the mug and wrapped to the other end. Then I added a shamrock, a rainbow and a pot of gold. I wish y green sharpie would have been brighter but it was still cute.

This is the tricky part… for permanent markers set your mug on a cookie sheet in the oven THEN turn the oven to 350 degrees. Once the oven reaches 350 degrees, bake the mug for 30 minutes. After the 30 minutes, turn the oven off but DO NOT take the mug out of the oven until it is completely cooled so that the mug doesn’t crack from cooling to fast. I usually keep the mug in the oven for at least an hour. For Paint markers, you will want to do the same instructions EXCEPT the oven will be set to 250 degrees for 30-40 minutes depending on how thick you applied the paint.

Now its time to wash your mug, enjoy some special coffee and celebrate St. Patty’s Day!

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Our Moving Adventure

Our Moving Adventure

 

Yes, I am still alive and didn’t just disappear into the dark side. No, I didn’t abandon you, my loyal readers, for a blog free life.

In a few past posts, I have talked about the stress of finding a new place to live especially because we have a dog in our family. Renting an apartment or house with a dog is extremely hard because landlords are fearful of the damage they will need to repair when the dog family moves to a new location. Thing is, not every dog family is a bad family or have a bad dog. Thankfully, we found an owner willing to allow our dog child to live with us in an apartment. This was one of MANY hurdles we had to overcome recently with moving. (There will be other future posts about the struggles of being a renter)

Once we were given the keys to the new apartment, the move began. One huge problem was that I didn’t pack fast enough….

In my defense, I had a 7 week old beautiful baby girl who needed my attention and cuddles which took time away from my need to pack our entire 3 bedroom with a packed basement house. I packed when I could between taking care of Evelynne and Danyella, homeschooling, pumping every 3-4 hours, eating and trying to find time to sleep.

Emotionally this was a hard situation to keep pushing myself forward because this became our home. This was where Danyella set up her room and we buried her precious Hannah (her first rabbit). This is the home we took Evelynne home to after she was born. This is the home I thought we were going to buy until the original landlord screwed us over (more on that in a near future post). I began shutting down at times while packing which was my depression kicking into high gear (or low depending on how you look at depression).

Thankfully my family and Doug’s family were great at helping us move. They helped Doug move the big items. My mom and sister helped me pack especially on Saturday when I still had a lot to pack and had to be a dance mom all day for competition dress rehearsal (bad timing but it all worked out). We would have never been able to do this move without their help.

From Thursday until Monday morning we packed and moved nearly everything. It was the most stressful and exhausting 5 days of my life. The stress definitely put a strain on my already delicate marriage. I don’t look forward to doing this again in a year but we now this move is only temporary. Honestly, with this knowledge, I want to leave everything in boxes for the next year to make the next move easier!

Then, it was focusing on setting up everything and the dreaded UNPACKING! NOOOOOooooooo!

Slowly but surely I am going box by box, room by room trying to get everything organized and put away. Downsizing from a 3 bedroom house to a 2 bedroom apartment has been a challenge but one great thing is our walk up, finished attic. This attic will become my business room once I am finished unpacking the downstairs. I finally found my laptop over the weekend so I could get back to blogging. I still can’t find the bag that houses my panties so I am hoping they didn’t end up in storage (never too much TMI on this blog!).

It has been a struggle with packing, moving, unpacking, celebrating Danyella’s 11th birthday, being a stay at home mom to a 8 week old baby, homeschooling and being a dance mom but thankfully our family and friends have been a great support system. Poor “Christina” has listened to me bitch, complain and cry through this entire process and I am sure there will be more to come.

Now that I have complained…. I am thankful for Danyella’s Elite team’s First Place win in their category this past weekend at Beyond the Stars dance competition, ordering all my supplies to start making my soaps and lotions again and that we are out of a house that caused me so much stress and anxiety!

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Congrats to 5678 Dance Elite Mini Team for their 1st place win and showmanship/choreography award AND Congrats to the Petite Team for their Third place win and Girl Group Judges Award!
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Utilizing Rain Checks for Grocery Shopping

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Yesterday, for the first time, I went to customer service at my local grocery store and asked for a rain check. I have never done this and didn’t even know it was still a thing some stores do until someone talked about it in my couponing group. Rain checks are still a thing so how and when do I ask or use them?

Typically in my shopping adventures, if the store is out of something on sale then I won’t worry about it. This week was a different story because I went to Shoprite twice for my Creamate French Vanilla creamer and they were out. The creamer was on sale for $1.66 so I wanted to stock up on it because I go through creamer now that I am back to drinking coffee everyday.

 

With my coffee, I am a creature of habit either French Vanilla or Pumpkin Spice (I could drink it all year long if they would make and sell it) or Peppermint Mocha (only in December before Christmas). If I wanted to drink coffee that tasted like Cookies and Cream or some other gross flavor (sorry if I offended anyone) , then I would have gone home with creamer. I just couldn’t do it.

 

After I was done checking out, I put on my big girl panties and went to customer service to ask for my rain check. For some reason, doing stuff like this makes me nervous and shy. So I stumbled over my words when I asked for a rain check and the girl needed to know exactly what I wanted it for. I didn’t realize she needed the exact flavor… whoops.

Eventually, I was able to find my big girl words and walked away with my rain check for my french vanilla creamer! A little more success for my shopping trip!

After some research, I found out that my local grocery stores will issue rain checks. As far as I know, Walmart and Target do not issue rain checks for any of their grocery products. I will now be using this knowledge to help in my future shopping trips to save money and you should too!

If you or your family have products that you love and they are out of stock when they are on sale, then I encourage you to ask for a rain check because it can help save you so much money especially if you end up getting a coupon for that product in the future! Double win!

This week’s trip was small because we are moving over the next 2 weeks and I don’t want to stock up on to much and have to move even more stuff. I spent $30.73 and saved $87! My only complaint is that my $2 digital coupon for diapers didn’t come off so I will be going to customer service this week to get it fixed. Diapers are expensive as it is so saving an extra $2 is helpful (it is enough to purchase my creamer with my rain check!). Instead of paying $3 for my diapers, I spent $5…

My free items this week were the detergent bottles, scent booster, stain fighter packs, bananas. Halos  were $2 (I bought a bag of these earlier in the week as well), Raisin Bran Crunch $.50, Kellogs and Frosted Flakes were $3 for both, pasta $1.50, Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream (not my fav chunky monkey sadly) $1.50, bacon $2, ground beef (3 pounds) for $6 and the water was 3 cases for $6.

I definitely missed stocking up on some stuff but still grabbed great deals. I plan on splitting the ground meat into 1 pound bags to freeze and use in the future for pasta meals. We plan on packing our kitchen over the next couple of days so we will be eating lots of easy stuff like cereal so thankfully the cereal was a great deal. Even though we won’t go through 3 cases of water before we move, I couldn’t pass up this deal because at Walmart you buy a case for over $3 a case for their brand.

Have you used rain checks? How was your shopping trip this week?

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My Failed Drizzle Pretzel Rods Lesson

THE 10 BESTBRIDALBOUQUETS
*This post is not sponsored or paid for by the companies featured in this post. This is just my experience shared with my readers.

Cooking and baking has taught me many lessons including that I love to try new foods, baking is therapeutic and that not everything I make needs to be perfect. This week’s Feed Me Friday is all about my failed drizzle pretzel rods and the lesson that not all short cuts are going to work and not everything I make is going to be perfect.

Danyella and I found these cool Candy Melt drizzle packs that we wanted to drizzle over pretzels to make chocolate covered pretzels. They were only $1.50 a pouch so we decided to try them out. I got pink and she got red. We had pretzel rods in the cabinet at home and decided to decorate with sprinkles. We were all set to make our drizzle rods.

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The directions stated to microwave the pouch on 50% heat starting at 1 minute, knead to encourage the melting process then continue to heat in 30 second intervals and knead the pouch. I kept doing this process for a total of 3 minutes. The pouch got hot and it felt like the contents were melted.

This is come up with the failed portion of this lesson…..

I begin to try to drizzle my rods with the melts and it just come out in globs! No drizzle to be found. Now that I opened the pouch, I can’t reheat it to melt more so I keep trying to drizzle my globs. Once the pouch is empty, I attempt to melt them more by heating the rods and globs in the microwave. After a total of 2 minutes worth of 30 second intervals, the globs just wouldn’t melt!

At this point I just transferred the rods and globs to a plate and sprinkle with red sprinkles. I ate one and they still tasted good just don’t look as pretty as I wanted them to be. I guess that is life, some moments are great and look ugly which is where you adjust your expectations and enjoy the sweet side.

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What cooking/baking fails have you had that still tasted wonderful?

 

 

 

 

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I Found Christina to My Meredith

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Have you ever met someone and instantly knew that you were meant to have that person in your life? I don’t mean a romantic partner but your person, your friend that is meant to be in your life. Yes, you will hear all kinds of Grey’s Anatomyreferences in this post because we both love Grey’s. I found the Christina to my Meredith and I am so thankful for her being in my life.

I met my Christina before I actually met her because our daughters go to the same dance studio so we know the same dance moms. I briefly met “Christina” during recitals in June but didn’t really get to know her. I know that Danyella loved getting to know her daughter during our downtime backstage. I know that her daughter was trying out for elite but didn’t think much of it when I heard of the mom at auditions (Danyella was auditioning for the current Elite team during makeups).

Both of our girls made Elite, Danyella made Minis and the “Christina’s” daughter made the newly formed Petite team. From the time of boot camp, “Christina” and I hit it off and talked the entire time we were sitting in the studio. It was like we were the same person with how much we had in common. We parent our children the same way. We talk the same way. Yes, we both say curse words but what can you expect… We are Jersey Girls. We like the same things, especially our tv shows. Even our husbands are very much alike. We just are so much alike it was almost scary.

One weekend we were talking and I was saying how I was getting married on Monday (our last-minute wedding ceremony). In one little conversation, we found out “Christina” knew my step father, future in-laws and…… has known my husband for years! WTH…. I known the world seems small at times but this blew my mind. It was all to funny to me because all of these stories I told her about my boyfriend turned husband, turned out she knew him. I swear that revelation made us even closer friends.

Since we found all of this out, she has become my go to person to talk to about things going on in my life. When I need to vent about things going on in my life, I text “Christina”. When I need a shoulder to cry on because of a horrible message, I text “Christina”. Each time I thought I was going into labor, I text “Christina”. After Evelynne was born, I text “Christina” the photos of my baby girl. When “Christina’s” daughter is acting up, we talk about how our girls are cut out of the same cloth. At 6:30 in the morning, “Christina” checks on me to see how I am doing.

Today, I couldn’t imagine what my life would be like without “Christina” or what was my life like before our dance mom lives crossed paths. Our daughters are connected at the hip whenever possible and that is how we have become when we are together. She is the Auntie to Evelynne which Evie knows her voice like she knows mine.

I have had friends come and go in my life but “Christina” is one that will stay in my life. I am so grateful for the friendship we formed over coffee on Saturdays at the dance studio. I am grateful to feel like there is someone in the world that gets me. I am grateful for all the times she has given me a shoulder to cry on. I am grateful for all the laughs that we have had.  I am grateful for her talks that bring me out of my darkness or talks me off the cliff of doing something rash. I am grateful to have found my “Christina”.

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Last Days To Get Her Something Special Valentine’s Day Edition

Last Days to Get HER a Gift

Yes that is a mouthful of a title but how else can I get your attention when you have a week until Valentine’s Day to get your special lady something she will love! Thank goodness for Amazon Prime where they will ship with 2 day shipping so you still have time to get your special lady that lovely gift for a lovely day.

This post may contain affiliate links. See our disclosure page for more information.

1. State Stamped Necklace: If your girl is like me, we are proud of where we come from and love to show that pride to others. (Jersey Girl!)

State Necklace, Personalized Small State Shaped with Initial Heart on Disc Charm Necklace, Texas California State Outline Jewelry

2. Mommin’ Aint Easy Wine Glass: For the girl who is a Mommy too!

Mommin’ Ain’t Easy Stemless Wine Glass, Mom Gifts, Gift for Her, Mother’s Day, Christmas – SG20

3. Spa Gift Box for Her: Give her time to relax in the comfort of her own home with a Spa box

Spa Gift Basket Refreshing Rose & Jasmine Fragrance, Beautiful Wooden Gift Box with Mirror, Perfect Wedding, Birthday or Anniversary Gift, Bath gift Set Includes Shower Gel, Bath Bombs and More!

4. Lucky Penny Keychain: Let your lucky lady know you feel you are lucky to have her today and everyday with this keychain!

Lucky Penny Key Chain

5.Bring Me Coffee Socks: What woman can use a cute pair socks especially when they are in need of a cuppa coffee!

Luxury Cotton “Bring Me Coffee” Funny Socks – Perfect Valentine’s Day Gift for Him or Her, Hilarious Novelty or Gag Gift Idea for Wife or Husband – Best White Elephant Present For Coffee Lover

All of these items can be purchased with Amazon Prime’s 2 day shipping service! If you don’t already have Amazon Prime then try it for 30 days by clicking this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial

I hope this helped you find a last minute gift for your lovely lady and that you both have a Loving Valentine’s Day

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Organize Your Shopping Trip to Save Money

Spaces

 

If you are anything like I was, you would mentally have a grocery shopping list but didn’t write anything down. If I had coupons, it would be a couple and not on sale items. I had no plan which ended up costing me three times the amount of money because I impulse shopped.

Impulse shopping is one of the worst things for a person/family living on a budget. You end up buying thing you THINK you need instead of buying what you KNOW you need. For over 15 years this is how I shopped but not anymore!

Going into the store with an organized game plan was a game changer for my spending habits and budget. I am going to show you my steps to Organizing My Shopping Trip to Save the Most Money….

1. Set aside a block of time to organize every week. Gather your coupons, coupon binder, flyers, meal plan and 2 sheets of paper to make your list.

2. Cut and organize your coupons into your binder. Don’t forget to throw out the expired coupons you have in your binder.

3. Time to make your grocery list!

  • With your meal plan and 1 piece of paper, go through the flyer and write down the items you need that are on sale.
  • Add to the list the items you need for your household
  • Now, with your coupon binder out compare your list and flyer to the coupons you have. One thing I have learned with my couponing is that the coupon inserts or coupons from coupons.com coincide with the weekly flyer so that you can maximize your savings.
  • This is where I get my 2nd sheet of paper out… In order to keep my shopping on track and stay on budget with my list, I reorganize my list to follow my way around the grocery store. Depending on what store I am going to depends on what section I start in. Shoprite (my go to grocery store) starts at the produce than bakery then meat, deli, dairy, frozen and so on. Walmart starts on the opposite side of grocery so once I get through the rest of the store, I start with household then dairy, meat, pantry, frozen etc.
    • Organizing my list by section has been super helpful in staying on track. Don’t get me wrong, I have still impulse shopped when I see a sale I might have missed in the flyer like the popcorn that was on clearance plus I had a coupon for so I got the box for $.70!
    • I prefer starting in the produce and meat sections because those are items that go by weight and if I need to skim my budget then I would rather take a pantry item off my list then a core item.
    • I organize my coupons by section as well so that I can easily pull them out and check the details of what I need to purchase for them.
    • I always have my binder and coupon binder with me in case they are out of something I need then I can get a rain check or chose something else and see if a coupon will work.
  • I always calculate what I am spending as I shop so that I am staying on track because with the weighed products, you can easily get off track. My most recent trip, I had calculated that I was going to spend $46 but when I got down checking out my total was only $38 because some items were a lower price then I had calculated. You can’t beat spending less than what you calculate and walking out with more money in my pocket!

**My weekly trip takeaway: Total Spent $38.56

Big Savings: Razors $0, Chobani $0, Gogurt $0, 2 boxes of cereal $3.50, coffee $4, diapers $4, blueberries $1, hummus $1, eggs $1.70, 2 boxes of waffles $2, sausage $1, 2 packs of wipes $1, Ghiradhelli brownie mix $1.50, vegetable oil $3, popcorn $.70 and alot more savings. Total savings $65!

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Spent $38 Saved $65!
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Instant Pot Chili Recipe with printable

With the Super Bowl only a few days away and my beloved Eagles playing for their first win, chili is a must to eat while we watch them play. Add my must have chili with my new Instant Pot with all its cool features and I had to try out a new function to make my recipe. With this recipe, I used the sauté and slow cooker functions!

Notes on the recipe: I prefer using ground turkey but any other ground meat will work. Also, I typically add diced peppers to my chili but you will notice in my photos that I omitted the peppers because my husband doesn’t like peppers and I had to feed him.

Instant Pot Chili Recipe

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A delicious winter meal to share with friends.

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Credit: mogulmomartisan.com

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds ground meat
  • 1/2 diced onion
  • 1 diced pepper
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 clove diced garlic or 1 tablespoon diced garlic from jar
  • 1 (14.5) ounce can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 (14.5) ounce can of tomato sauce
  • 1 bag of kidney beans soaked and cleaned or 2 cans of beans
  • 3 tablespoons of chili powder
  • garnish of your choice (I like cheese and sour cream)

Directions

  1. On saute setting, add the oil and brown the ground meat with the onions, peppers and garlic. Drain if preferred.
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  3. Add the tomatoes, sauce, beans and chili powder.
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  5. Change the Instant Pot setting to slow cooker (4 hours) and stir when needed (this setting doesn’t seal the pot closed).
  6. Enjoy with the garnishes of your choice!

What is your favorite superbowl food_