Happy New Year – 2015 baby

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Hey There Readers….I admit I’ve been MIA. So many important events happened in 2014 and I’m hoping they blossom into something bigger and better for 2015.  I know many people create resolutions for themselves but I’ve just decided there are a few things I would like to work on this year.  The past two and half years have been life changing for me.  I am so proud of the changes I’ve made.  YES…..they took me longer than expected but they are happening.  I hope everyone is ready for an amazing year…I know I am.

National Dog Day – Everyday is dog day

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So I noticed today is National Dog Day.  This day was founded in 2004 to honor the dogs who protect our families and streets.  That being said Happy 10th Anniversary to National Dog Day (click the link for more info).  On that note I tried to get some pictures of my beautiful puppies but they were just not having it today.  I have been through a lot with my two little companions Sky (black and white husky) and Jenna (red and white husky).  They have been my inspiration to keep trying and moving forward on especially tough days. 

I have had Sky aka Sky-Mc-My since he was just 6 weeks old.  Oh what an adorable puppy he was and a pretty well behaved one minus the shoe fetish.  I have forgiven him for all the nice shoes he destroyed.  It’s funny he would never go after the $2.00 Old Navy Flip Flops.  It was always the shoes I paid decent money for….guess he has expensive taste.

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Sky is now 5 years old and will be 6 on Christmas Day.  He has so much personality and is extremely smart.  Everyone who meets him just loves him.  He is really my little buddy.  Tonight we watched the White Sox game together (he loves baseball).  I also bonded with him while brushing him outside (he is not a fan of the brush).

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Jenna is my beautiful red and white husky.  I acquired her through a military family.  She was extremely thin when she came to my house for the first time.  She immediately latched on to me and Sky loved her instantly.  When he allows anyone to go near his food bowl you know he loves them and he shared with her right away.  She is different from Sky but has quite the personality of her own.  When she howls she sounds like she has smoked a pack a day for years hehe.  She will kiss you until your skin comes off if you let her.  She is pretty sure she is a princess and acts like one.  She would probably not approve of this picture today but it’s the only one she would take.

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These dogs have lived with me on the hottest of days, the toughest of days, a 2000 mile road trip across the country, moving in with my parents and all of us living in my bedroom and yet they still love me unconditionally.  They are two AMAZING little angels and I can’t imagine my life without them.  I love you my fur babies. 

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Tasty Tuesday – Mexicorn

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Tasty Tuesday’s feature recipe is called Mexicorn.  We absolutely love it at our house and really can accompany most meals.  Since I am sick I had the assistance of my father who originally showed me the recipe.  I refuse to cook for others when I’m sick, I just would not feel sanitary.  I’m sure that will change when I have a husband and kids of my own to feed but until then it’s still a rule.  Anyway….here’s the recipe.  ENJOY!!!!

Tonight’s menu includes Grilled Barbeque Pork Chops, Mexicorn, and Rice.  I chose this corn recipe because corn is in season right now in Illinois and when it is in season it is GREAT!  We tend to buy a ton of it and freeze it.  (more to come about that later)  I’m sorry all of the steps aren’t pictured for this recipe.  I STRONGLY encourage you if you can to buy fresh and buy local.  It really does make a difference.  This onion we cut tonight was so strong we were all crying and laughing at the same time and the corn was so sweet and flavorful no salt necessary.

MEXICORN

4 SERVINGS      PREP TIME: 15 MIN.       COOK TIME: 15-20 MIN.

Ingredients

  • 1 Small-Medium Red onion
  • 1 Medium Green Pepper
  • 1 Medium Red Pepper
  • 1 Jalapeno
  • 4 ears of corn
  • 2 Tbsp. of butter
  • salt to taste

Directions

1.  Slice open your green pepper and red pepper and remove the seeds and veins. 

2.  Dice the green pepper and red pepper and mix them into a prep bowl.

3.  Remove outer layer of your red onion.

4.  Dice red onion into similar size pieces as your green/red pepper. Place in a separate prep bowl.

5.  Slice your jalapeno in half and remove ALL seeds.

6.  Dice up into smaller pieces than your green/red pepper and onion. 

7.  Mix jalapeno into the pepper mixture.

8.  Shuck corn of the cob and remove silk (I use my pampered chef tool) and then remove corn from the cob.  You will want to use a deep bowl for this or else the kernels can make a mess.

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9.  Heat your butter in your skillet until it melts in the bottom on low-medium heat.

10.  Place red onion into the skillet and cook on medium heat until translucent.

11.  Once the onion is translucent and sautéed, add your pepper mixture to the skillet and cook for about 3-5 minutes.

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12.  After the flavors of the pepper and onion have melded it is not time to add your fresh corn to the mix.  Leave on medium heat and cook for 5 minutes. 

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13.  Serve immediately in a festive bowl of your choice.  Let your guests salt to taste.  ENJOY! 

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THANKS DAD FOR YOUR HELP TONIGHT….YOU ROCK!!!!!!!!

YIELD: 4

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Miserable Monday

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Not much to say today.  I promised myself I would blog everyday for at least 90 days straight.  I’m unfortunately not feeling well and the one thing to make my day was my Groovebook came in the mail today.  It made me smile looking at some of my favorite pictures taken recently.  Here are a few of my faves. 

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The Cover of my FIRST Groovebook

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Our trip downtown Chicago.  We took a boat on the “Chicago River” while our parents met.  It was a great day!

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Jenna was staring outside at a bunny.  Her face is just so stunning.  She is a beauty.

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This cracked us up.  We are at my cousins house and there was a torch behind us.  His face and flaming hair CRACKS ME UP!

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Those dimples…that sweet face….body language.  We are crazy about each other.  By the way do you see the torch in the background from the previous photo (hehe). 

I hope this cold goes away quickly and my poor sweet caregiver from the weekend – Dan.  My poor hardworking man…I hope this doesn’t turn out as bad for him as it did for me.  Good Night Readers, sorry it wasn’t that interesting.

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Sunday Fun Day – Tradition with my man

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Sunday’s are a day of tradition with Dan my man.  Every Sunday it is our last day together until Thursday.  We started a little tradition which are Sunday night dinners together.  I love our Sunday night dinners together.  It is our time to share great conversation and enjoy good food with one another.  Tonight we had salad, Garlic Chicken, steamed carrots, and organic citrus angel hair pasta.  Having small traditions that you share with your loved ones are so important, they are moments that are cherished and something I often look forward to.  What tradition do you look forward to during the week?

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I am dealing with this awful summer cold still and Dan picked out some beautiful flowers for me.  I’m not sure what kind they are….Does anyone know?

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By the way my parents love to spoil my puppies (full grown Huskies that I still consider puppies).  I came home to find my male husky named Sky begging for meatballs.  What a GOOF!  I LOVE my fur babies. 

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This weekend went by WAY to fast. 

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SATURDAY DATE NIGHT – WEBER GRILL

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Saturday – woke up at 4:10 a.m. and couldn’t stop blowing my nose for the life of me. This summer cold is kickin my butt.  Nothing a little Dayquil won’t help though.  So I popped a couple of those and worked our Farmer’s market with the Curly Q Crew.  I’ll talk more about our farmers market stand we run and our little company later.

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Tonight went out on a double date with Dan’s parents to Weber Grill to celebrate the a new beginning for me.  I have been hired as the 6th, 7th, and 8th grade Health teacher at a middle school.  We first started with a celebratory drink at the bar.  I chose a Mango Mai Tai…YUMMY.  If you like sweet drinks then you would enjoy it.

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Drinks were following with dinner and nice conversation. I had the Tuscany brick grilled chicken with garlic mashed potatoes.  It was good but I think I can make this for half the price and just as good If not better at home.  Of course I had to get pictures of us because I’m a girl and that’s what we do (He loves it too). 

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Who wouldn’t want their photo taken in front of a huge red grill?????  After that we stopped at Caribou for a little conversation and after dinner hot chocolate.  This man really knows the way to my heart.  I love him to pieces. 

By the way I couldn’t stop sneezing so he called me “”Little Sneezer” instead of Little Ceasar.  What a GOOF!

Hope you had a fun Saturday Night

 

FIVE FANCY FINDS – UNDER $5.00

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Let me clue you in on something in case you don’t already know….SUMMER COLDS SUCK!  I woke up with one this morning.  head throbbing, scratchy throat, ears clogged and runny nose.  From 8:30 this morning until 2:00 p.m. I had already gone through approximately 40 of my 120 count Puffs Plus (w/lotion) tissues.

As you can see my company supplies us with tissue but at the rate I’m blowing my nose I would already look like Rudolph.  I’m so thankful for tissue with lotion in it.

Any-who today’s feature is 5 fancy finds under $5.00. I’ve either purchased thrift shopping or at estate sales recently.  I start a new teaching job in a couple of weeks (yes I’m very excited) and I’m looking for some basics/neutrals that I can pair up with at least 3 outfits.  I recently read somewhere (I can’t remember where) but there is a rule of 3.  If you can’t dress it up 3 different ways you probably don’t need it in your closet (something I’m working on)….I myself added to the rule unless you are just in LOVE with it.

FRANCO SARTO – TAN CROSS BODY BAG  I’m pretty accustomed to carrying BOHO style bags (big ones that can hurt your shoulder).  I recently found this Franco Sarto cross body bag at Goodwill with the tags on and wallet included.  I wasn’t a huge fan of the shade of tan but it has grown on me.  I am a fan of how useful it can be when walking around the Zoo, downtown, basically anywhere where I need a wallet, my phone, gum, and lip gloss.  I usually do not travel without these items.

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RETAIL PRICE: $49.00       GOODWILL PRICE: $4.75 (W/ 5% COUPON)  WHAT A STEAL! 

CALVIN KLEIN – BROWN LEATHER PUMPS – AMAZING STAPLE ITEM TO ANY GIRLS WARDROBE.  A GOOD PAIR OF PUMPS NEVER GOES OUT OF STYLE.

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RETAIL PRICE: $69.00       GOODWILL PRICE: $4.99

VINTAGE AVON  UNICORN PIN- Long story short one of my friends calls her boyfriend “the unicorn” in which this will make a fab little thinking of you gift.

unicorn  YAY!

SELLING PRICE ON EBAY: $8.00 – $12.00       ESTATE SALE PRICE: $2.50

RUBBER STAMPS MISC. – I am a teacher and stamps are cheaper than stickers in the long run.  I teach Middle school but what age doesn’t love little colorful celebrations of accomplishments on their returned work.

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RETAIL PRICE RANGES FROM: 2.99 EACH TO 3.79 EACH     GOODWILL PRICE FOR ALL 6: $2.94  It’s like Buy 1 get 5 FREE!

GREEN, BLACK, AND WHITE A-LINE SKIRT – This skirt has a great shape for my figure as well is a cute little teaching number.  I’m really excited about this cute addition to my wardrobe.  Sorry it’s wrinkled, didn’t wash and iron it yet.

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RETAIL PRICE: $29.99      GOODWILL PRICE: $3.99

What fancy finds did you have this week?  Can’t wait to hear all about them.  It’s time for me to sign off and spend some much needed quality time with my man.

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Teachable Moment Thursday – Show Your Appreciation

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Have you ever left someone on a bad note or been afraid to tell someone how you feel?  Do you ever think to yourself I should have thanked them for all the help and love they give me unconditionally?  I do, all the time.  I am in a situation where my parents have really helped me out a lot lately.  I sometimes feel that they do not think I appreciate them and everything they do for me.  So I decided just because to get them some flowers tonight.  I was really hoping it would brighten up their day, it seems like they needed it. 

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Life is truly precious, we never know what each day may hold.  I have a few rules of my own that I really try to maintain (I am human though and rules do get broken) however I absolutely try my best.

1. Never leave angry….You don’t want your last lingering words to be something that scars the heart.

2.  Always Kiss goodnight.  Sealed with a kiss is not just a phrase for me it really seals the end of the day.  I love getting smooches from my man to end the day.

3.  If you can’t be there for someone’s big event send a card via snail mail.  The truth is people LOVE getting MAIL.  Real mail not e-mails.  Try sending a care package once in awhile.  Care packages are my favorite.  They don’t have to be anything expensive just a little something to brighten their day.

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What do you do to show others you are thinking of them? 

OH YEAH don’t forget to do something nice for yourself once in awhile as well.  My treat to myself today was the new DIY magazine for Fall.  YAY Can’t wait to read it over for new ideas. 

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Good Night!

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Whatcha Wearin Wednesday – Thrifty Deals

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I don’t know about you guys but I LOVE a good deal.  In college I was introduced to thrift stores as a way to shop for inexpensive clothes for our themed mixers (YES I am a sorority girl – AOII).  It wasn’t until 5 years later when I met the art teacher at the middle school I was teaching at in Yuma AZ that I realized how great thrift stores were.  She has such great style and always receives compliments.  I finally asked her to share her secret in which she divulged I get everything at different little boutiques all over Arizona.  She busted up laughing and admitted that great little boutique is known as Goodwill.  I didn’t believe it until we started making a weekly trip together. We would browse the racks for new/lightly used clothing, chatchkies for the house/classroom, furniture to reupholster or paint,…the list goes on.  Her mother in-laws NUMBER 1 rule is never tell anyone you got it at GW (our slang name for our favorite store).  Boy, do I miss that woman (Love you Jahan)!!!! 

I, on the other hand don’t mind sharing the fact that I shop at Goodwill – GW (most people don’t believe me when I tell them or say they would never step foot in one of those stores).  Hell, I love most thrift stores (my boyfriend loves them too), estate sales, garage sales, auctions….I am a deal hunter.  If I shop at department stores I always love riffling through the clearance section.  The thrill of the hunt and getting a great find at a low price is what really gets you hooked…so be careful because it can become addicting.  Whatever you do, do not become a hoarder.  A great rule to follow is if you bring something home…eliminate something from your closet (to be discussed in a post later).  So today I am featuring a few items I’m wearing that I found for a couldn’t pass up price.  I unfortunately do not have someone to photograph me so I just took pics of the items.

Today I’m wearing a J. CREW cream and black striped top, black leggings, black cardigan, black Franco Sarto Wedges, and Natasha Couture Cross w/ leather strap bracelet (I was feeling very neutral today).

The J. Crew striped shirt I found on the rack at Goodwill – NEW with price tag still on it.  It is black and cream striped with a 2 inch ruffle at the waist.

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PRICE TAG: $48.00        CLEARANCE: $29.97        GOODWILL: $3.99 YAY!

Next, is one of my favorite bracelets – Natasha Couture .  It is very versatile and really adds a little something to every outfit.  I picked up this pretty little bracelet at Ross – Dress for Less originally sold at Dillards.

CROSS LEATHER BRACELET

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PRICE TAG: $28.00       ROSS: $4.99

Another favorite find are my Franco Sarto Andies Wedge Pumps.  They are black peep toe suede wedges.  I wear a size 5 1/2 shoe and it can sometimes be a daunting task to find shoes in my size.  I live in the Chicagoland area which means I can only wear these for a couple of more months.  These sweet little wedges were a GW find.

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RETAIL PRICE: $79.00       DSW: $30.00        GOODWILL: $4.99
Are you wearing anything today that you scored a great deal on?  I would love to hear. 

HAPPY HUMP DAY!

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TASTY TUESDAY – UNGER RINGS

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SO I think most American’s love their fried food.  I know what you’re thinking….FRIED FOOD, I CAN’T EAT THAT.  My opinion is everything in MODERATION.  So what if you induldge once in awhile, it’s not the end of the word.  I am also working towards a healthier ME however I have been dying to make my own homemade Onion Rings so that is exactly what I did.  When I was little (yes smaller than my 4’11 self) I called them Unger Rings and that is what this recipe shall be called.  I don’t know about you but I love the aroma of onion rings and the crisp crunch when you bite into them.  YUMMY!!!

Tonight’s menu includes Burgers (pretzel buns my fave), fresh farm stand sweet corn on the cob (Tom’s farm stand in Streamwood – not pictured), homemade potato wedges and homemade Unger Rings from yours truly.

UNGER RINGS

8 SERVINGS      PREP TIME: 10 MIN. + 30 MIN. SOAKING      COOK TIME: 10 MIN.

Ingredients

  • 2 large sweet onions (Vidalia)
  • 2 -1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 Tbsp. water
  • 1 -3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • OIL for deep-fat frying (Oil of your choice, I’m used Vegetable oil since that is what was already in the fryer)

Directions

1.  Cut onion into 1/4 inch slices then separate into rings

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2.  Place in a large bowl; cover all onions in buttermilk and soak for 30 minutes.  Stir the onions twice during the soaking process.

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3.  In a shallow dish, beat eggs and water to make an egg wash.

4.  In a separate shallow bowl combine the flour, cornstarch, salt, chili powder, cayenne, sugar, garlic powder, and cumin.

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5.  Drain onion rings ( I use a cooling rack for this process right over the sink)

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6.  Then you want to coat each onion ring in egg mixture and then roll in flour mixture.  Do this until all onion rings are coated.  Place the onion rings over a cooling rack on a baking sheet for any excess flour to fall off.

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7.  I will be using my fry daddy (to fill line) for this process otherwise you can use an electric skillet (1 inch of oil).  Heat oil to 375 degrees.  Once oil is heated, fry onion rings a few at a time (be careful not too over crowd the skillet).

8.  Fry each batch for 3 minutes flipping them half way in between (1 – 1 1/2 minute each side or until golden brown).

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9.  Drain on paper towels and serve with your favorite dipping sauce.

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YIELD: 8

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