Friday, October 23, 2015

Things I'm Digging This Week

Here are a few things I'm digging this week:

My new Harry Potter box set:
My husband got me this box set for our 8th wedding anniversary, which was earlier this month. I was really excited to have the books with the new artwork. This was such a perfect gift because a) I LOVE to read, and b) I am a huge Harry Potter fan. I grew up with the series, and am very emotionally attached. I ugly cry every time I re-read the ends of Order of the Phoenix and Half Blood Prince, and throughout the entire Deathly Hallows book. 

Munchkin:
I love this game! It's not new to us, we've been playing Munchkin for a few years now, but we played it for the first time in a while last weekend and had such a fun time. Munchkin is a "kick-in the door" game where you have to fight monsters to progress in level and win, while also collecting treasure items to use or wear. Oh, and you're also supposed to screw-over as many of your opponents as possible. The cards are hilarious, and the game has a ton of expansions so the replay value is good (we have the original and zombie munchkin expansion). I can't wait to get the next expansion that I've had my eye on for a while: Star Munchkin. 

Delectable Hand Cream:
I got this hand cream in my October Ipsy bag, and it's my favorite item this month by far. It may be my new favorite hand cream in general. It smells..well....delectable. The scent I got was coconut and cream, and I absolutely adore it. And, just in case my best friend Haley is reading this.......no I did not taste it. I still think you're a horrible b*tch for that time you convienced me to taste that Jessica Simpson Dessert body butter from Bath and Bodyworks in the mall when we were in high school. That crap did NOT taste like sugar cookies and I still haven't forgiven you for that. But I totally would have done the same thing to you given the chance, so I still love you. 

Owen's Tie Guy Diaper:
Isn't it cute!! I pre-ordered this bad boy back in July, and just got it yesterday. It's a cloth diaper from Nicki's Diapers , specifically a one-sized pocket diaper. Buying from Nicki's is fun because they have a huge selection and their store brand is simply fantastic. Also, every time someone buys a Nicki's brand diaper Nicki's Diapers donates a diaper to an organization that assists people in diaper need called Giving Diapers, Giving Hope. This non-profit organization helps provide free cloth diapers to families in need, because let's face it: disposable diapers can get very expensive. So whenever I get a Nicki's diaper I feel good knowing that I'm also helping contribute to GDGH. 




Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award


Recently I was nominated by DarkenCoul for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers award. She, like myself, is a newbie blogger just trying to make it on the mean streets of the Internet. If you get a chance check out her blog, A Nightshade Dreamer. The award is for new and upcoming bloggers out there and it's purpose is to connect new bloggers and help grow your audience. The rules are simple, you must a) thank the person who nominated you and post a link back to their blog, b) nominate 7 bloggers for the award, c) answer the 10 questions posed to you, d) come up with 10 questions for your nominees to answer, and e) display the award on your blog.

These are my responses to the questions posed to my by DarkenCoul:

1. What is your best childhood memory? 
I don't know exactly why this memory sticks out so strongly for me, but here we go. When I was little my mother was a single parent. She was a nurse and she worked all kind of crazy, long hours. A lot of the time the only chance she had to get housework done was either really late at night or early in the morning, or in other words while my brother and I were asleep. Some mornings I would wake up early, while it was still dark, to the smell of blueberry muffins baking. I'd hear the muffled sounds of my mother doing dishes or cleaning the floors while the muffins she baked for our breakfast would be in the oven. I'd sneak down the stairs, breathing deeply (b/c muffins, hello?), and I'd watch her. Now sometimes when I can't sleep I get up and do laundry, and bake blueberry muffins for my tinys. 

2. If you could only keep five possessions, what would they be?
I would have to say I'd keep my wedding rings, my e-reader, my favorite coffee mug, my photo albums, and the outfits my sons came home from the hospital in. 

3. What is a moment in your life that you believe truly defines you?
Easy: the moment I became a mother. The very moment my son was born it was like the world shifted for me. I am a stay-at-home mom, so motherhood is literally my job right now. It is what drives me crazy, and what motivates me to be the best mom that I can be every day. 

4. If you could spend a day in the body of someone else and live their life for 24 hours, who would it be and why?
Uhm..........I guess the Queen of England. Here's why: a) I've always wanted a corgi, b) I'd get to try on all the crown jewels, c) I would have access to secret places tourists can't go and I'm nosey so you know I'd be checking them all out. Especially the Tower. 

5. If you had to live without one of your five senses, which would you give up and why?
If I HAD to give up one I guess it would be my hearing. I couldn't willingly give up sight b/c if I couldn't read I would go crazy. And before you think "just listen to audio books" let me stop you. They are NOT the same. I wouldn't want to give up taste either because good food is part of what makes life worth living. I need smell to taste food, so that would need to stay too, and I would want to keep touch b/c without it I'd feel numb or nothing all the time and that would be miserable.

6. If you could live in a book/TV/movie universe what would it be?
If I could live in book universe I'd probably choose the Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter series universe because of the sheer number of possibilities. In Anita's universe the monsters are real, so there are vampires, wereanimals, trolls, fairies, mermaids, etc. Creatures of myth and legend are not only in existence and acknowledged by the general public, but some of them even have legal rights. I love fairy tales and mythology so a world where they are real would be extremely interesting for me. 

7. What animal best represents you?
I'd have to say penguins. I love penguins, and I've always felt like if I would have been born as an animal, it would have been as a penguin.

8. If you could change one law, what would it be?
Jeeze........a tough one. I'm going to skip the obvious ones/most controversial ones that most people would choose because I'm not in the mood to get my soapbox out of storage. Instead, I'm going to choose a law I'd change at the state level, because it's a state issue and not a federal one. If I could change a law, I would allow certified nurse midwives to become licensed and practice in the state of Arkansas. Coming from a state that allows CNM's (Virginia) and moving to a state that only allows lay-midwives I was frustrated and dismayed. When I had my second son I was forced to have an OB because CNM's aren't allowed to practice in Arkansas. There is nothing wrong with OBs, but I wanted to have a midwife. I think that midwifery is over-due to make a major comeback in the US.

9. What's your silliest story?
One time I legitimately tackled my boyfriend (now he's my husband).I think I was 16 when this happened. What had happened was....I had gone to the store to get my husband's friend a danish for his birthday (it was his friends favorite) and I decided to grab a 6 pack of energy drinks. My friend and I promptly sat down and drank all of them, consecutively. We went a little bugnuts. We were running all over the place, screaming, carrying on; basically being crazy teenagers. My boyfriend's car pulled up to my house and he and his friend got out of the car (if I had been paying attention I would have realized that his dad, *my future father-in-law*, was driving and watching as we spazzed out in my front yard). I saw my boyfriend, screamed his name, and then tackled him. He.went.down. I then stood up, yelled "WE GOT YOU A DANISH", and threw the danish at my boyfriend's friend. The rest of the night is a blur. My boyfriend left though, bruised and confused. He still married me in the end though, so it worked out in the end. 

10. If there was one skill you could magically be a master of, what would it be?
*sigh* Math. I can't math. Everyone in my family makes fun of me because I'm so bad at math. If it's not basic addition and subtraction I'm probably not any good at it. No matter how hard I try I just can't understand it. When my husband uses small words and speaks very slowly in an attempt to teach me how to do algebra or trigonometry it's like he's speaking in tongues. I'd like to be able to master math so that I can finally get my family off of my back, plain and simple.

My nominees are:
Caffeinated Change
The Rambling Post
Once A Runner...
Mabe, With Love
Little and Loving It
Mama By Fire

My questions for my nominees are:
1. How did you meet your significant other?
2. If you could pick up and move to any foreign country, which one would you choose and why?
3. What is your best memory from high school?
4. What inspired you to start blogging?
5. What was your favorite childhood cartoon?
6. If you literally had to walk a mile in someone else's shoes, who's shoes would you choose?
7. What's your favorite scary movie? (I couldn't help myself, lol)
8. Who was your favorite teacher, and why?
9. What is your favorite show to binge watch on Netflix?
10. Of the three Deathly Hallows (the elder wand, the resurrection stone, or the cloak of invisibility), which one would you choose to keep and why?  

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Fantastic Autumnal Recipes

Autumn is my all-time favorite season. I love everything about it. Cool nights, brisk breezes, the smell of burn piles, pumpkin patches, trick or treating, scary movies, apple butter, sweaters, boots; there is nothing about autumn that I don't like. I particularly enjoy fall cooking. There's something about the stick-to-your ribs, hearty, home style meals that reappear on our fall menus that make me want to enjoy them while snuggled up with a good book.
I wanted to take the opportunity on the first day of October to share some fantastic pumpkin recipes with you.  Pumpkin: it's not just for pie, ya'll. The first recipe that I'm going to share is one I got from my bestie over at the Geek and Glam blog for Pumpkin Chili

Pumpkin Chili
Ingredients:
  • 1 tbs EVOO
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cans (15 oz) black beans, rinsed
  • 1 lb ground meat (your choice, but ground beef and ground turkey work well)
  • 1 (15 oz) can pumpkin, or 15 oz fresh pureed cooked pumpkin
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1/4 cup coffee
  • 2 tsp dried parsley flakes
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
Directions:
  • Heat oil in large pan. Brown ground meat, and drain. Transfer to a slow cooker.
  • Add all other ingredients, mixing well. Cook on low for 5 hours, or on high for 3.
  • When done serve with desired toppings, and warm crusty bread. 


The second recipe that I wanted to share is one I came up with myself. I had roasted and pureed 2 pumpkins (I saved some for pie, some for chili and I had about 1 cup leftover). I also had some apple butter leftover that I canned last Fall, and needed to use. So, voila! I came up with a recipe for Pumpkin & Apple Butter muffins. They've been a huge success at my house, and I hope you enjoy them too!

Pumpkin & Apple Butter Muffins

Ingredients:
  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup butter at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 12 oz pureed pumpkin
  • 4 oz apple butter


Directions:
  • Pre-heat your oven to 375 and grease/place muffin cups into your muffin pan.
  • Cream your butter and sugar together in a mixing bowl. In another medium sized bowl mix together your flour, salt, baking soda, and spices.
  • Add your eggs and vanilla extract to your creamed butter and sugar and mix well. Add your pumpkin and apple butter to your wet ingredients, and mix.
  • Add half of your dry ingredients to your wet, and mix until blended. Add in the second half of your dry ingredients and mix until well blended. 
  • Spoon your mixture into your muffin tin. This recipe can yeild either 12 large muffins (what I chose to do) or 24 regular sized muffins.
  • Bake at 375 for 20 min or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.