Saturday, January 2, 2016

Do You Have a 2016 Reading Wish List? I Do!





Every year, I add a bunch of books I would like to read onto a yearly "To Read" list. As it happens, I never actually read them all, but it forks for me to keep some sort of guideline.

Do you do anything similar?

Here is my list for 2016:


  • Audrey Niffenegger - Raven Girl
  • Abigail Tarttelin - Golden Boy
  • Anthony Marra- A Censtellation of Vital Phenomena
  • Kate Avelynn- Flawed
  • James Patterson- Private Berlin
  • Jenny Milchman - Cover of Snow
  • Mark Owen- No Easy Day
  • Linda Lafferty- The Bloodletter's Daughter

  • Jay Asher- Thirteen Reasons

  • CS Lewis- The Screwtape Letters
  • MArgaret Atwood- The Handmaid's Tale
  • Jodi Picoult - The Storyteller
  •     - The Pact
  •     - 19 Minutes
  • Tatiana de Rosnay - Sarah's Key

  • PC Cast - Destined and  Hidden
  • Truman Capote- In Cold Blood
  • Diane Setterfield - The Thirteenth Tale
  • Mark Hadden- Curious Incident of the Dog in Night Time
  • Lauren Grodstein- A Friend of the Family
  • Nicholas Conde- The Religion
  • Jonathan Safran Foer- Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

  • Wally Lamb - I Know This Much Is True
  • Lois Lowry- The Giver
  • John Boyne- The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
  • Ishmael Beah- A Long Way Gone
  • William Faulkner- The Sound and the Fury



You will notice, most are not newer books. In fact, my list is generally a reminder of books I have missed out on reading.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Little Known Amazon Hacks - Maximize Your Shopping





Amazon is such a vast marketplace, that in searching for what you need, you may be missing out on some key features!  Some will save you money and some will just add some great perks to your experience.

Many of you may be familiar with these, but for the rest of you here are some great perks:
  • Coupons- yes, Amazon has coupons in their grocery section! To be sure not a ton of them, but wuite a few make for some great deals. Check them out when you log in. They do change often.
  • Box Tops For Education Shopping- You can find all products that offer Box Tops in One Location
  • Use your credit card's cash back to shop- I have a Discover card and Amazon allows me to use my earned cash back to pay for my purchases.  This can be done with American Express, Chase Ultimate Points, and Citi Thank You points.
  • Amazon Smile- Use this as your default Amazon Search and when you make a purchase, a portion goes to the charity of your choosing! 
  • Subscribe & Save- When buying basics for your home such as Toilet paper and Laundry Items (among thousands of other items) see if they are Subscribe and Save eligible. You will save money and can either tweak your shipments or cancel.

Don't forget, you can earn Amazon Gift Cards just for searching the internet using Swag Bucks! You are going to search anyway. Might as well get something for it!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

It Has Been A Week of Downs - Seasonal Affect Disorder




Lately, I have been walloped by Seasonal Affect Disorder (SAD). It started earlier this week and slammed me like a freight train. All at once, I was experiencing depression, self doubt, isolated feelings, and insecurity.  Yes, I have suffered from this for many years. Honestly, I do not remember not being effected.

This year it was different. This year it all hit me in one day! Thought I was just having a bad day. I sat in my car on my lunch break shaking and in the midst of a panic attack. No reason. Anyone who has an anxiety disorder understands there is no need for a reason.  The the "all I want to do is go to bed" feeling. At 2 O'Clock in the afternoon no less! And finally, the crying jag. What????? What is wrong with me?

I thought I was getting a cold, my migraine was bad that day, you know reasoning it away. Something WAS wrong, pain and getting sick. Nope, two days later, the feeling is still here. And I feel lonely. I am missing hubby more than usual. It is no new thing working shifts that makes seeing each other almost impossible. We have dealt with it our whole relationship. But damn I really miss that man!

I already take Paxil for anxiety. For the past year, I have taking half a dose in the morning and half at night. And it has worked beautifully. I take 2000iu of Vitamin D.  As of tomorrow, I am using UV Spectrum lights, upping my Vitamin D, and taking a full dose of my Paxil in the morning!  I will give these changes a month. If I do not feel much stronger, I will discuss with my doctor.

Some people may say, turn yourself around. Others, don't let things bother you. And still more may look at me like I am weak and displaying a weakness.  To that my reply is fuck you! I am stronger than you could ever imagine! I wake up every day and do what needs to be done no matter what.

I have survived molestation and come out stronger! I have Asperger's and believe it has given me it's best. I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and persevere. I have a migraine every fucking day; and have for 16 years and I have Fibromyalgia. AND I GET THINGS DONE! And I am a giving, loving, selfless person- IN SPITE of all of this.

Do not ever think I am weak. Not for one second.  This is illness, just like everything else. And guess what? I will STILL do what needs to be done and do it damn well!

I just want to get this out there, no stigmas, no judgments.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Tie Dye Coffee Filter DIY Wreath




I have a ton of coffee filters I bought over the Summer for the pure reason as they made me money as overage on a coupon at the Commissary. We have a reusable filter in our coffee pot (and if you don't I highly recommend one!). I looked at them the other day, and decided to use some dye we have from our handmade tie dyes on them. I had no idea what I was going to use them for, but hey not risking any money, why not?

Well, I found out what I would use them for, when I spotted a foam wreath form at Dollar Tree! Of course, I hopped on Pinterest to see just how I might go about this. I found so many tutorials that I was able to "wing it" in my own way!

For the first step, I decided to use some leftover ruffle yarn I had from a scarf project, and wrap it around the form.  I wasn't sure how the foam would hold up to constant use of my hot glue gun, so I wanted a barrier.

After that was secured, I tied a loop of the yarn, so I would be able to hang the wreath.

From there on all I did was fold the filters in quarters, pinch the bottoms, and fluff them up a bit to give an almost flower effect. I did a bunch at a time.

I then put a small dab of hot glue on the pinched end and pressed the filter onto the form. Put A LOT of them in there to give a full effect!

You can see here how it looked halfway through:





And the finished product:


This was such a fun project! And I was able to finish it (other than the drying time for the dye) in about 1 hour.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Lessons From My First Craft Fair




Recently, my friend Maria and I ventured onto a new adventure - a craft show! Neither one of us had ever done this before, but we had received many compliments on our tie dyes at the company picnic this year. Many suggested we sell them. So when the opportunity to do just that at a charity craft fair, we jumped at it!

We started right away with building an inventory, but it wasn't until we signed up for a second craft fair next week that we decided maybe we should do some research. Um, can you say overwhelmed! Between a crash course in  pricing, booth design, business cards, packaging, and phew even starting the bare bones of an Etsy shop, we felt like our head's were spinning!

I think we did an amazing job with the time we had! The picture above shows our set-up today. Looks pretty good, except our measurements were a bit off and we should have brought two tables. Less clutter on the table and better use of space! 

Here are some lessons we learned:

A craft fair is not always busy. Actually this one was very slow. Not that many people came. It was not the fault of the coordinator. It was well advertised. It's just that we had a gorgeous day and there were more outdoor events going on in the area.

Bring something to do! Even better if it is in your power to work on some of what you sell to replace what might sell. Now we sure can't tie dye at a craft show, but a book would have been nice.

Do not take it personally if your items do not sell as well as another crafter's. For THIS fair, your items may not be what the majority are looking for, bu next time might be your opportunity! Kinda goes along with you can't please all of the people all of the time.

Do not wait until the last minute to prepare! This is pretty self explanatory. We were pretty exhausted today.

Get a brand. Make what you do stand out. OK, so tie dye pretty much stands out all on it's own, but everything else should go with what you are hoping to represent. Notice the table cover, sign, etc.

Socialize with the other crafters! We got so much encouragement from others there today. And we learned about their crafts, processes, and of upcoming fairs! We met some lovely folks and it made the event a bit more fun.

Did we do well today? Not really. We only made $36. We sold a baby onsie, 2 towels, a candle holder, and 2 child's shirts.  Traffic was slow, what can you do? The fact that items DID sell in a low traffic environment, when others around us did not make any sales was pretty encouraging.








Friday, September 19, 2014

I Thought Pressure Canning Was Faster





As I sit here at 11:00 PM, I am still waiting for the chili I started preparing from scratch at 7 O'Cock to be done in my brand spanking new Pressure Canner! It took me a about an hour and a half to chop, dice, simmer, and all that other jazz. And then the canner.....

You have to heat it up, vent it for 10 minutes, put on the weight, wait for it to rock, regulate the temperature and THEN you get to start timing! In this instance AN HOUR AND A HALF! What? Yeah, you read that right.

I still have 35 minutes left! I am tired. I want to go to bed. Yeah, so I am not a wild and crazy thing up until all hours on a Friday, so what? You probably already figured that out by the fact that I am canning homemade chili on my Friday evening anyway.

My day started at 5:30AM. I walked the track before work and put in my full 8 hours. I went to Target after work.... and then THE CHILI....

I thought this thing worked faster than this! Should have done some major homework. I mean pressure "Cooking" is known for it's time saving qualities, right?

All I can say is this better be some damn fine chili! (OK I know it will be as I always make it this way, but you know what I mean).

I did manage to get some crafting in, so the whole night has not been devoted to the chili!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Most Intimidating and Exciting Gift Ever! I Have A Pressure Canner!




Last week was my Birthday and hubby surprised me with a pressure canner! I have wanted one for years, but would never spend the money. In my eyes, there was always something we, as a family needed more. Yes, I know, in the long run a pressure canner will save us a bunch, but it was always that initial investment that held me back.  Our income is about half what it was 5 years ago and we do feel the pinch!

I tried a small batch of pears I got free, as hubby's friend has a pear tree. I figured if something went wrong, no big loss.  I will tell you, my heart raced throughout the entire process.  It was not the smashing success, as 2 jars did not set. But, that was my error. I did not leave enough head space and the liquid got on the jar rims. But, nothing blew up either!

I am already planning a huge batch of chili this weekend. I cannot wait.  This is going to be fun! And what  better, more hearty meal in the winter? Plus all we will need to do is grab a jar and heat it. Perfect for when it is my son's night to cook.

Anyone have any hints or fantastic tips for me?

I have read the instruction manual at least 3 times and am scouring Pinterest right now.