What? No candy lady?

Happy Halloween!

I have waited until the last minute this year to go get the treats for the trick or treaters.  I always wonder what I can get that will be a healthy choice that the kids will like.  It’s a bit of a challenge.

I can tell you what does NOT work.

gluten free pretzels – I got a LOT of hard looks that year.
pencils – some kids liked these, right?
mini bags of popcorn – What?  no candy lady?
granola bars – what is that???
apples – my mom won’t let me take this.

All major duds….

One year I gave out quarters, they did like that one – thank goodness we don’t have a TON of kids.  We live on a dud street.  It’s a lot of older people and they don’t leave the light on for you…..  When you are the only house on the block giving out treats and then you give out crap, kids remember….

So, I’m going to head out to the store today and find something that will be a bit healthier and will also satisfy the kids.

I’ll get Miss Mads her favorite fruit snacks and some veggie booty.  She doesn’t eat a lot of candy anyway ( atleast not at Grumpy and Nona’s)

Madelyn is going to be Rapunzel this year.  SHOCKER…. a princess!!

Last year she was a pirate!

Brian’s advice to me:  Just get something that cleans up easily when they throw it back at you!

Oh to be 3!!

We started off our morning with a little castle play.

I was surprised with some beautiful flowers from Grumpy and Mads!

Showing Grumpy how to use the iphone.

She told him, Come on Grumpy, let’s play football.  Football is easy.  I am GREAT at football !
I LOVE her confidence!
A trip to the park, lunch and ice cream and of course, some shopping with friends.
Mads refused to try on a fun hat.  She didn’t want to mess up her hair.
We might be in trouble….
Of course she wanted to try and get in the photo!

Of course we were tired afterwards, so a nap is always in order.

Then a little painting to end our visit.

It really doesn’t get much better than this! Oh to be 3!!

Making my life easier!

Well, I finally have really joined this century!  Not only have I signed up for online bill pay through my bank *gasp*, but I joined the iphone world!

I always said that I wouldn’t pay my bills online, I just didn’t trust it.  But, I must say, it has made my life SO much easier….  talk about quickly getting things done.  It did take some time to get things all set up and because we own rental property, I had a few accounts to set up, BUT I am amazed and saddened that I put this off for so long….. LOVE IT!

We got our new iphones yesterday.  Now, don’t get all excited, I went with the 4S instead of the new 5, I really needed a new phone and couldn’t wait for the 5 to come in, not to mention that I saved a substantial amount of dough!  Brian and I have been playing around with them.  I’ve talked to Siri a few times and actually managed to get a few things put on my calendar.  The only thing I’ve been disappointed in is that some of the apps I purchased for my ipad don’t transfer to my phone.  But, so far, I’m really liking it and it is pretty easy to use.  I just have to figure out how to use my hotspot…  I have tried everything that was listed online, but not working yet!  I’ll get it eventually!

Of course, I had to get a cute case for it – all blinged out!

 I’ll be getting a lifeproof case from Lipstick Shades eventually, but for now I’m all blingy!!!

 I thought it was really funny, as I was in the store yesterday getting my phone and elderly couple came in.  They were looking to upgrade to a new smartphone.  The man was mostly interested in how easy they were to use, the woman wanted to know if they had any cute blinged out cases for it!  I LOVED IT!

I’m always looking for ways to make my life easier and these are just two of them!

Do you have any tips for ways to make your life easier?

Third Thursday debut!

It was the last Third Thursday, boo!

We met up with friends and had a quick dinner and then we went to check out our other friend, Brian’s pictures.

If you aren’t familiar with Joplin’s Third Thursday, it is an art walk/show and so much fun!  Main Street is blocked off downtown and many of the businesses are open and a lot of people have their art work on display.  Some is for sale, some is just for show.

This was the first time Brian has shown his art.  He travels a LOT, goes to very exotic places and takes the most amazing photos.  He dives and I think his underwater photos are my favorites!!  Although, his photos from Italy were fantastic!

I hinted that one of his photos would make a WONDERFUL Christmas present…. I don’t think he picked it up!

We had a great time wondering around and checking out all the art, meeting up with friends and just enjoying the cool evening!

Sad to see the season come to an end, but so looking forward to next year!!!

Rainy Day Playdates!

Yesterday was a fun day!  Madelyn was here, that is always fun ( and a bit tiring ), but we had an extra fun day – a play date with Miss Olivia!

Madelyn was in a good mood and the first thing she did was raid my closet and came out with my big, soft scarf and was twirling around and enjoying the softy soft, as she called it.  We watched a movie ( our morning ritual) and waited a little impatiently for Olivia to get here.

Miss O showed up with her “beautiful, pink, sparkly” soccer ball.  It was chilly and a bit rainy out, so we played indoor soccer in the basement!  We also made up a game of “hula hoop throw the blue ball through”. The girls thought it was VERY funny when Julie and I were throwing the balls through and they were holding the hoop.

We had planned on taking the girls out for lunch, but GRUMPY forgot and took the car with the car seat in it, sooooo – we stayed home and made our own pizzas.

They were even better than going out and the girls had a good time making their own.

After nap, Grumpy took us out for some ice cream.  Madelyn insisted that she wanted a squirrel (swirl) ice cream, but after we got on our way, she decided she wanted colorful instead.  We weren’t sure what that meant, but apparently, it means PINK!

The kids all came over for dinner (except Meredith, she is out of town for school) and we enjoyed our time together talking about all kinds of things.  Lots of laughter and smiles and that does my heart good!  I am so blessed with a family that loves each other and cares enough to show it!

I haven’t been cooking this week, I’ll try to get caught up and back on track with my October cooking challenge!

Awesome weekend recap!

It’s been a crazy weekend!

Here’s a few highlights:

Chocolate extravaganza plate.  Couldn’t eat but a couple of bites. YUM!

Creamy Cauliflower Leek Soup from Taylor Made Wellness

Delish!

Honeycrisp apples!  Love them!
Chase ran his first half marathon and got 1st place in his age group!  Go CHASE!
Celebration dinner for Chase – he wanted pumpkin waffles.  Had to get my favorite – 

Princess vs Tomboy

Madelyn couldn’t decide if she wanted to be a princess or a tomboy yesterday!  We watched Tangled (again), sang princess songs and made applesauce.  We went to see Uncle Nick at work ( he needed his Mads fix) and then played outside.  Gathering leaves, jumping in them and climbing the big, steep wall outside and playing King of the Stump.   I think it was the perfect balance between princess and tomboy!

Collecting leaves

Jumping into the pitiful pile of leaves.  Even Nona got in on the fun!

Beautiful!

Cooking Challenge – Day 10
The applesauce is wonderful.  The whole house smelled like fall!

Slow Cooker Applesauce from Taylor Made Wellness (online)
After Madelyn left, Brian and I decided to go out amongst them!  We went for a quick massage, got dinner (sushi – yeah!) and then shopped for Brian some new jeans.  I am sorry to report that Brian is a little behind the times and was not able to find his beloved carpenter jeans.  I told him they just weren’t in style anymore, he doesn’t care. LOL!  So, we are still on the hunt!

All in all, a GREAT day!

I think today I’ll work on the balance between my inner princess and my inner tomboy!

Where is my Brain?

I kind of had a where is your brain kind of day yesterday.  I got up early, got ready for my dentist appointment, walked in the door and Susan says – wow, you are here early.  I was surprised and said, well, it’s only 5 minutes to 9.  My appointment is at 9, she says no, it’s a noon……  Luckily, they had a couple of cancellations, so I lucked out there!  It actually worked out for the best for them, now they got to eat lunch 🙂

Then I met up with a couple of my gal pals – YUM, eggplant stir fry and brown rice.  DELISH!  The best part of course, was the company.

I came home and had a couple of phone calls to make, then got to cooking!

COOKING CHALLENGE – DAY 9!

I really wanted some pasta, I was expecting sore teeth later in the day, so pasta won out!

Popeye Pasta ~ Dreena Burton ~ Eat, Drink and Be Vegan

I love Dreena Burton’s cookbooks.  I use them all the time, I’ve loaned one of them out and can not remember who I gave it to!  If I can’t figure it out soon, I’ll just have to get another copy!

Brian really liked this one and I will make it again!  As Mads says, it was TASTY!  Next time I ‘ll add in some mushrooms and peppers.

I’m still plugging along with my Tai Cheng.  It is just so different from all the workouts that I had been doing.  I miss them!  Especially my Les Mills Pump workouts!  I do feel that Tai Cheng is good for me!  So, I’m sticking with my plan.

Do you have a favorite cookbook????  Please share with me.  I kind of have an addiction!!

Non-Toxic Cleaning!

So for the Cooking Challenge, I did something just a little bit different yesterday.

I was cleaning the duplex and there was a LOT of cool homemade recipes I saw on pinterest that I wanted to try.  So, I made them and then tried them out!!!!

Homemade Bleach
1 cup hydrogen peroxide (3%)
3 Tbsp lemon juice
15 cups water
mix all togther and put in spray bottle ( it will make a LOT).
Use within 1 month.

This worked really well.  I used it on the doors and baseboard.  The people that lived there were heavy smokers and all the doors were nasty.  I sprayed them down and then got to scrubbing.  The mix would run gold from all the nicotene.  Luckily, it worked great and the doors and baseboard are white again!

Tub Cleaner
1/2 cup vinegar (heated in a microwave for 90 seconds)
pour into spray bottle
Add 1/2 cup Dawn blue dishwashing soap
shake gently
Spray on the tub and let sit for 1-2 hours
wipe and rinse with water.

I let this sit for about 1 hour ( while I cleaned the doors) and then went in to wipe and rinse.  The first tub/shower came clean pretty easily.  The second one had a LOT of soap scum built up and it didn’t clean as well.  I used a non-scratch scrubby and scrubbed the heck out of it, it still will need another round.  So, I got mixed results….

Wood Floor Cleaner/Shine
1 cup water
1 cup vinegar
1 cup alcohol
2-3 drops dishwashing soap

Mix together and put in spray bottle.

I haven’t used this one yet.  Ran out of time yesterday and will be going back to finish up on Thursday.  I’ll let you know how it works.  I’m excited about this one, since I love my hardwood floors to be super shiny.  I just don’t want to use all the chemicals it takes to get them that way!

These were all super easy to make and it didn’t take any time at all.  I know that I’ll be keeping the homemade bleach on hand for an everyday cleaner.

Do you have any homemade cleaner recipes you’d like to share?  Do you make things you find on pinterest?

We were roughing it…

I didn’t have good internet service at the lake house this weekend.  You know, we are roughing it!!

Thank goodness for the fire, it was COLD this weekend!

So, I didn’t get all my exciting life posted over the weekend. I’m sure you were going through withdrawals wondering what in the world I was up to.  AND with good cause, I was a busy gal!

Saturday brought a girlfriends birthday party!  We had fun eating, shopping and playing.  Susan is 29 AGAIN!!!!

I always have a blast with these girls!

I made a GREAT tasting smoothie Friday night and before you point it out to me, I know that it was supposed to have blueberries, but I didn’t have any and didn’t want to go to the store!  It was YUMMY!  From the Easy Vegan Meals by SparkPeople:  The No-Stress, No-Guilt WAy to Reap the Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet by Stepfanie Romine.

When I got home and got settled, I was exhausted, so Brian and Bill treated me to dinner!  Nice way to end the day!  I did manage to get the Corn and Zucchini Muffins made before I collapsed!  These are from The New Glucose Revolution Low GI Cookbook by Dr. Jennie Brand Miller, Kaye Foster-Powell, Kate Marsh, and Phillipa Sandall.   

They weren’t the prettiest things in the world, but they are TASTY!!!  Just a little dab of Earth Balance and I was good to go!

Sunday we woke up to a foggy day, it was pretty cool looking outside.  It almost looked like smoke rolling through!

We brought Judy home for the day, so I made Corn Chowder.  That is one of my favorite cold weather soups.  I tried the new recipe (to me) from Skinny Bitch:  Ultimate Everyday Cookbook by Kim Barnouin.  It was crazy good.  I did add in a little spinach at the end, but sooo good and just perfect for the cooler weather we are having!  I added in one of the corn muffins and that was a great meal!

When we got home last night, we walked in to the COLDEST house!  We didn’t even think about turning on the furnace.  It was a bit brisk to say the least, but Nick and Lauren came by and we had a late dinner with them and were able to enjoy their company!  I had to tell them about the conversation Brian and I had.

Me:  Brian, you look really handsome today.
Brian:  Thanks, you looked really good yesterday.
Me:  WHAT????  I look horrible today?
Brian:  oh no,uhmmm,  I mean……big smiles……

So it was a GREAT weekend, busy, but that is okay!