I brought a little box of goodies to work today to share with the sweet people I've been working with the past couple weeks. It was all such a big hit, I just may bring another box tomorrow.
For a little over a year now, I've been a member of the National Consumer Panel. (I'll try to come back and do a post about it later, and explain what it actually is.) Several weeks ago, I received an email telling me I won a prize of my choice from a list of about 10 items. I chose a Kindle Fire HD. That was quite a while ago, and I never heard anything else about it. I actually had to call their customer service number a few days ago for something else, and while I had someone on the phone anyway, I asked about it. I could no longer find the original email letting me know I won, and I wanted to know how much longer until it would arrive. The woman who was helping me said she saw no record of any such prize being awarded. Needless to say, I was really bummed.
I've been toying with idea of getting an iPad for about 6 months now. I actually was saving the reward points from my credit card to get one. When I got that email about the Kindle, I was really excited because I figured now I wouldn't need to get the iPad. When the woman from NCP said she had no record of it, I was really unhappy.
Imagine my surprise when I got home from work tonight and found a couple packages on the table. One was my coffee order from Green Mountain Coffee (YAY!) and the other was....
THE KINDLE FIRE HD!!!
Not only was the Kindle in the box, there was also a leather case! SWEET!!!
So now, I should get off this computer, and open my new toy!! Although, I've gotta tell ya, the Mommy in me is thinking maybe I shouldn't open it at all, and maybe give it to Stud for Christmas. His father and I bought him a computer on Cyber Monday (it was a great deal!), but I could probably return it, and give him this instead. (That money could definitely be put toward a bill or two) Then again, there's a part of me that thinks, "Hey, YOU did all the work to win this, and YOU deserve it!" I'm a little torn. Maybe I'll hold off opening it until I sleep on it.
...and I'm exhausted. I know I disappeared again. I'm sorry. I have no excuse for the beginning of the month, but for the past couple of weeks, I've actually been working. Ok, ok, don't get too excited. My sister was able to get me some seasonal work with her company. You may remember I worked with her a while back as a Perfume Ninja. I actually worked another day with her last month at the Bloomingdale's on Michigan Avenue. Now, she was able to get me a few weeks worth of work for Christmas. Believe me, I'm very grateful. But, I'm just not used to being on my feet that long anymore. Plus, the store I've been working at is not that close to my house (Bolingbrook, for my local friends) so it's making for long days.
Today was probably the last day I'll be off until after Christmas, so I used it to do some baking and treat making. I had intended to start yesterday, but just as I was getting started, I got the call I wish for every day. Monkey Day!!! How can you resist this face?!?!
Today, I met my Monkey, her daddy and my mother for breakfast, but then I stood firm and didn't let my brother suck me into wasting the day. He tried really hard to get me to go to Costco with him, but I was strong! Instead, I went straight home and got to work. Here's a little peek...
I made about 36 dozen cookies. No, I'm NOT exaggerating. This is just a small sample of what I made:
Then I made a couple batches of peanut butter fudge:
A couple batches each of chocolate fudge, both with AND without nuts:
A couple batches of chocolate mint fudge (and, yes, it's as incredible as it sounds, if I do say so myself!):
A couple batches of toffee bars, one with nuts and one without:
And three batches of peanut brittle:
I really wanted to make more, but I think I'm done for the night. I've actually been Skyping with Brian, Stud's friend from Hong Kong who stayed with us senior year, while I've been trying to post this. It's been a tad frustrating, as Brian's internet connection keeps screwing up. We had to give up on video chatting, and now we're just IMing. I started this post more than an hour and a half ago. It's WAY past my bedtime.
I will share one more thing, though. Stud has been working like a dog over at the Golden Arches. That's a post for another day, so I'll complain later. But, today, he was supposed to work until 4pm. After he clocked out for the day, he was sitting in the break room, eating the lunch he never got to eat during his 8-hour shift, when his manager came and asked him if he'd be willing to clock back in, and do them a favor. Look!
He was SANTA!!! And, a mighty adorable one, at that! (And, yes, there's a pillow stuffed under there. hahaha!) There was some sort of mix-up, and a different manager forgot to arrange for a Santa for an event they had planned for tonight. I know he loved every second of it, as he adores little kids. He actually brought home a letter some little girl gave him. It was so sweet, it brought a tear to my eye. Clearly, Stud was moved by it, too, as he saved it and brought it home. It said something about how Christmas is about family, not about presents. It was much more touching than that, but you get the idea. He said most of the kids tried to give him letters, but he told them to hang on to them, and to leave them out on Christmas Eve, alongside the cookies and milk. He's too cute!
Ok, I just signed off with Brian, and I must sign off from here, too. Long day tomorrow. If any of my local Bloggy Buddies are near The Promenade of Bolingbrook tomorrow, stop in at Macy's and say hi!
Today was a wonderful day. I was able to enjoy some very simple pleasures. The day started with church, as always. I really enjoy the fellowship we have with the other members of the church. I truly love our pastor, as well, and always get so much out of his sermons.
After church, I got my jiggly behind back to the gym, after a long hiatus (shame on me!). I had a really great workout, and caught a couple of interesting shows on TV during my 65 minutes on the elliptical machine.
From there, I went home, took a quick shower, and headed off to meet a good friend for dinner. She called me last night, before I headed out for the movie with my other friend, and asked if I wanted to join her for dinner tonight, her treat. She said she had a Groupon, and wanted to use it to take me out. Isn't she sweet? We went to this neat little place called Wok 'N Fire. We had dinner there once before, about a month or so ago, which was my first time there. Apparently, she goes there often, as her kids love it.
We had a very leisurely (and delicious!!) meal, spending way more time talking than eating. Truthfully, I think our server was a bit annoyed with us, since we were probably there almost an hour before we even ordered our entrees. (We ordered an appetizer about 30 minutes after sitting down, just because we felt bad that she kept coming over to our table, and we hadn't even looked at our menus. Although, to be fair, I DID tell her when we sat down that we were going to be doing quite a bit of talking, and that she shouldn't hurry back, since were going to need some time to order.)
After we finally decided we sat there long enough, we walked across the street to Starbucks for some coffee. My friend wouldn't even let me leave the tip at the restaurant, so I had to convince her to let me treat us to coffee. She only relented because she had a half-priced 'thingy' for Starbucks that expired today, and said I had to use it.
I got to try something new there, a drink she had mentioned to me before. She told me a while back that she is completely hooked on Starbuck's chocolate chai tea latte, which I had never heard of before. She was right, it's good!
I passed on my usual Pumpkin Spice Latte (basically the only thing I've ever ordered at Starbuck's) and tried a gingerbread latte. (I picked it off the short list of special drinks for World Aids Day today. A donation is made for every drink purchased off the list.) It was delicious.
Sadly, I remembered one of the reasons I don't care for Starbuck's. Even with the half-priced deal, I still paid over $7 for two medium coffees. Oy!! But, it was worth every penny when I focus on the hour and half we sat at Starbuck's talking, and enjoying each other's company.
Now, I'm home, in my jammies, sitting in bed, checking in with my Bloggy Buddies, while the Hallmark Hall of Fame movie is playing in the background. (Is anyone else watching this?! It's a bit of a tear-jerker.) A day filled with the simplest. What could be better?
We went to see Best Man Holiday. It was awesome!!! I laughed. A LOT. I cried. A LOT. I may have even drooled. A LOT. I mean, come on, have you SEEN the cast! Yum!!
It was really great to hang out with my friend. I really miss her. I hope we start doing this more often.
So, NaBloPoMo is over for 2013. Even though I know most of my posts were basically fluff, it was good to get back to posting every day. I can't promise that it'll continue in December, but I'm going to really try.
Just in case I don't get a chance to come back tonight, I didn't want to miss writing the very last post of the month. I'm about to go see a movie with an old bestie, who I recently reconnected with, which makes me very happy. I'm going to try and be back with a "real" post before midnight. =)
28 years ago today, at this very moment (7:30 am), I first laid eyes on Magnum. (The date was actually November 28th that year, too!) Most of you know the story, so I won't rehash the whole thing here. (Those of you who don't are welcome to search the archives. Go to the label "ex" and/or "Thanksgiving" for the scoop.) Over the past 28 years, I have wondered many times how different my life would be if only I hadn't volunteered to work the opening shift that day, or if he hadn't volunteered to work, or if that dirty old man hadn't encouraged us to talk to each other. I'd be lying if I said I hadn't sometimes wished none of it had happened. It definitely would have saved me a lifetime of being on this emotional roller-coaster I call my life.
But, then I remind myself that if none of it had happened, I wouldn't have my beautiful Stud Muffin, and HE is worth every second of whatever "drama" I've endured.
Baby, as we embark upon the 29th year of being in each other's lives, I want to thank you for giving me the greatest gift I'll ever receive. I love you just as much, if not more, than I did almost 3 decades ago. Happy Thanksgiving, and Happy Anniversary!
Shopping for tomorrow - check
Taffy Apple Salad made - check
Attend inspiring church service - check
Stuffing made at mom's, and crammed into the bird - check
Stop and see Bestest Friend - check
Put on jammies, and get in bed - check
Get this posted before midnight - check
Ok, ok, I know you're DYING for me to finally post all about my Monkey, like I've been promising for days. :P
The other day we went to visit Stud at work, and Monkey was playing 'dress up' before we left. Naturally, she needed to stay in character!
The reason we drove there was because she was overdue for a nap. We all know what car rides can do to solve that problem. About 3 1/2 seconds after I took that first picture, she looked like this...
Sunday night, Monkey and her daddy were visiting over at Grandma and Grandpa's. She had on some new shoes, and her mommy had put on a matching shirt. She loved them, and she looked so darn cute!
As always, she was a barrel of laughs all night, and entertained the hell out of us. I was so busy enjoying her in the moment, I kept forgetting to whip out my phone and record it. (Gee, can you imagine, just living in the moment?! How unusual, right? :-/ )
She has a new song that she's been singing lately. She had already sung it 4 times before I decided to capture it for Magnum, who was home sick. By the time I got my phone out, she was SO over it, so this is not her best performance. Trust me, she really does know this song, and nearly every single word. I was completely blown away!! (Can you tell her mommy is a HUGE Blackhawks fan?!)
I got Monkey all to myself today. At one point, I noticed she was in my bedroom "playing," and when I went in to see what she was doing, this is what I found...
That's her pillow, which has a matching fleece blanket, that she uses when she naps here. That handsome fellow is her skeleton, which I got her before Halloween. The reason I picked it up for her is because a couple weeks before Halloween, I accidentally came across this video on YouTube, and she instantly became obsessed.
She learned the words and the movements in about 3 minutes. The next day, I went to the dollar store and found that cute blow-up skeleton. It was PERFECT! I thought I had a video of her from back then, but I can't find it.
Anyway, we had TONS-O-FUN today. When it was time to go, I remembered the cute Monkey hat I had bought her a few months ago. She loves it, and I love how it covers her cheeks and neck.
I LOVE looking into my rear-view mirror and seeing this...
And, there ya go!! Was is sufficiently boring for you? I can't even apologize, since I personally can NOT get enough of this kid!!!
I hope you're all staying warm tonight. It's been below freezing here all day. You know it doesn't bother ME at all. I was still walking around in my hoodie today. But, I don't like it for my baby. I'm so thankful I have a remote starter on my car, so she can get into a nice, warm car when I drive her around.
Well, Magnum just walked in the door, so it's time to get dinner served. It's a chilly night and a CHILI night. =)
Back on November 6, which just happens to be Stud's birthday, I entered a give-away over at my Bloggy Buddy Tiffany's place. And, wouldn't you know it...I WON! I like to think the fact that it was on Stud's birthday is what brought me luck. =)
I'm SO excited about this prize. Check it out.
How awesome is this!? Most of my bakeware is stuff that I got at my wedding shower, which was 23 years ago. And you guys KNOW how much I love to bake, which means my stuff gets a lot of use, so I really could use this. And, it arrived just in time for holiday baking. :D
Thanks, again, Tiffany!!
When the FedEx guy dropped this off, he also handed me a smaller box. I had NO idea what it was or where it came from. When I opened it, it contained a can of Libby's Organic Pinto Beans, a can of Libby's Mixed Fruit packed in 100% Juice, and a can of Libby's Mixed Vegetables, along with a reusable canvas shopping bag with the Libby's logo. Clearly, LIBBY'S sent this to me, but I have no idea why. There was no other papers or information in the box. I must have signed up for free samples or something. However it came to me, I appreciate it. My brother will be the lucky recipient of the organic beans, since he's all about eating organic. Magnum will probably take the fruit to work, since it's packed in juice, not syrup, and he usually eats fruit with his lunch. I'm not sure what I'll do with the mixed veggies, since I don't really care for canned vegetables. (They're too mushy for my taste.) Maybe I'll throw them into some soup or something. I'm most excited about the bag. I can never have enough bags when I go shopping.
Wait, I haven't told you the BEST part yet!! A few minutes after my goodies were delivered, I was sitting at the kitchen table, checking email. I happened to glance up at the window, and suddenly felt like I was in a snow-globe!! YAY!! It was snowing!!! I tried to capture it for you, but my phone bites,
I told you last night I would be boring you with Monkey "stuff" today, but clearly I decided to bore you with other stuff instead. But, don't worry, I'll be back with the Monkey stuff tomorrow.
Today was really a great day. Well, except for the fact that Magnum is still sick. :( He didn't even come to church today, which is HUGE. He went to bed at 6:00 last night, and basically stayed in bed until almost 9 this morning. He still feels pretty crappy, but he'll be going to work tomorrow.
Anyway, I went to church alone today, which sort of worked out for the best, since I went straight to a friend's from there. One of my bestest buddies had a Mary Kay/jewelry open house-type party. (She sells Mary Kay, and her mom makes beautiful jewelry.) Because I was alone, I was able to go straight there, instead of having to go home and get my car, etc. It was so great to see my friend, as well as her family, and other friends. I ended up staying longer than intended, but it was so nice to catch up and visit.
I had just enough time to get home, check on Magnum and Stud, and get changed, so I could head back to church. We were packing up boxes of food for needy families, and then delivering them. I teamed up with a woman who attends of Bible study group. I was pleasantly surprised to see her at church this morning (she comes to our Bible study, but usually attends another church on Sundays), as I didn't know she was going to be participating in the distributing of these boxes.
We also brought along one of the young men from church, Michael, to be our muscles, and do the heavy lifting. =) I could probably do an entire post about how much I adore this boy, and I just may. His family is very active in our church, and at 17, he is the oldest of 3 boys in the family. He also attends our Monday night Bible study. The funny thing about that is that his father leads a Bible study group in the church library, also on Monday nights. I suppose it's not all that surprising that a teenage boy wouldn't want to be in a group run by his dad, is it? I've really gotten to know him well over the past few months, and like I said, I just adore him.
A few weeks ago, he was able to convince his mom to stay, along with his two brothers (Samuel, who's 13 and Daniel, who's 11), when she was going to just drop him off. It was the first time I really spent any time around his two brothers (other than seeing them at church on Sundays), and they're just as sweet. Every since that night, the both of them go out of their way to greet me when I see them, and I get hugs all the way around. This morning at church, I was telling their mother how wonderful I thought her boys were, and she said, "Well, they just love you guys, too!" I thought it was so sweet. Michael has said more than once that he wants Magnum and I (and Stud, of course, but he's not very interested in hanging out with his PARENTS right now, let alone "strangers"!) to come over and hang out one day. He wants to watch a Bear's game with us. He's just so cute and sweet!!
Oo, cute little side story....he told me today, when he was helping me carry in the food I brought for the food drive, that he "got a girl's phone number yesterday!" It was so cute! Then he told me that he didn't even ask for it, and that she just gave it to him. (Wow, girls today are WAY more forward than we would have ever dreamed of being!!) He had gone to Menard's to apply for a job, and she works there. Now, let me tell you, Michael is freakin' ADORABLE, so I really wasn't surprised a girl would want to give him her number. When I went back later to pack up the boxes and make the deliveries, the first thing he said was, "Well, I found out that girl from yesterday is TWENTY! So, uh, I guess that's the end of that..." He said he told her she's too old for him (!) but they could be friends. Do you love this kid, or what?!
Hmmm, good thing I was GOING to do an entire post about Michael at a later date, huh? Sorry, I couldn't help myself. Believe me, I could go on and on, but I'll spare you. For now...
After finishing the deliveries assigned to us, I dropped Michael off at home, and headed over to my parents' because my brother was there with my Monkey!!! Since I went on and on about Michael already, I'll spare the Monkey stories. Besides, I need something to write about tomorrow. ;-)
Well, so far, Magnum still feels icky. My migraine has subsided, thank the Lord. I'm kinda hoping we just have a quiet, lazy day around here. Stud doesn't have to work, and with not feeling well, I'm hoping Magnum lets himself just relax and do nothing today. I'm sure he's working right now, as I type this, but as long as he stays in bed on the computer, and doesn't leave the house, it's all good.
It's been a weird day around here. I was basically up all night again. Stud had to start work at 5:30 am, so I basically stayed awake all night because I was afraid he wouldn't get up at 4:30, like he needed to. Right around 5:15, when he was leaving, Magnum got up, so I didn't go to sleep right away. I ended up putzing around, watching my favorite morning news show (WGN - too funny!) I finally fell asleep around 11, only to have the phone wake me up at about 11:30. Oy!
I watched some mindless TV for a little bit, in between doing a few little things around here, but I was just dragging. I made the mistake of thinking I'd be able to watch a movie around 4 o'clock. Yeah....I got about 10 minutes in, and I couldn't keep my eyes open. I went and started dinner, low and slow, on the stove, and gave in to the nap. Unfortunately, it didn't make me feel any better. I woke up about an hour later, feeling groggy and disoriented.
Magnum came home sick today (he's been fighting something since Monday, actually) so he went straight to bed, not even having dinner. After Stud ate, and I cleaned up, I basically did the same thing. I'm lying in bed right now, hoping I'll be able to go right to sleep, but I don't think that's going to happen. Right around 9:30, I migraine started kicking in, and it's a doozy. I'm hoping to pass out before it becomes unbearable. Wish me luck!!
I'm really tired today. My sleep has been out of whack the past few days, I've been MAJORLY stressed, and I'm praying for menopause right now, if you know what I mean. On top of all that, I hated the prompt for today, so here's a couple giggles.
I'm not feeling the prompt again today, so I'll just share a couple funnies I inadvertently left off yesterday.
Do you think I could start a bakery based on these?
I think I may have posted this before, but even if I did, it still cracks my ass up!
That's all I got tonight. I'm exhausted. It's FINALLY 10:00, so I can go to bed. I've been up since 5 am on MONDAY! For some reason (maybe the coffee I drank at 7:30 last night at Bible study?) I could NOT fall asleep to save my life last night. I LITERALLY NEVER SLEPT. And, naturally, because of that, Monkey's mommy texted me around 7:30 this morning to see if I was available to babysit. Well, DUH!! I don't' care if I haven't slept, I would NEVER pass up a chance to spend the day with my Monkey!! I was hoping to nap with her, but guess who refused to nap today. Yeah....
I've been awake 39 hours now, and I'm finally hitting my wall. Stud just walked in the door from work, safe and sound, so I'm officially off Mommy duty.
Good night, sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs bite!
There were some "issues" that delayed my sister in picking me up, so we ended up getting to Bloomy's much later than we were supposed to.(No worries, we still LEFT at the time we were supposed to! :D ) At one point, I texted my uncle's girlfriend, who is a police sergeant in the city, to tell her we were there, because the store is in her district. She ended up coming to the store just as we were finishing up. Long story short, we went to dinner with her, at one of my favorite restaurants downtown, Quartino.
We had a FABULOUS meal! I usually tell people who have never been to Quartino that it's kinda like an Italian tapas bar. If you click around their website, you'll see what I mean.
My sister's friend drove in to work with us, so naturally she came to dinner with us, but I'm afraid Quartino was NOT for her. She will be the first to tell you, she has the most unrefined palate. Ok, that sounded bitchy. Let me quote HER..."I'm freakin' IRISH! All I eat is potatoes!" She usually eats a candy bar, or a bag of potato chips for dinner. (She's single, and doesn't have children, so I suppose she can do that, right? Is it wrong that I'm a little jealous?) She seriously wanted to run into McDonald's to get an order of fries for her dinner, instead of going to a nice dinner at a beautiful restaurant. But, to her credit, she sucked it up, and came on the adventure.
My sister and I ordered a bunch of plates to share with each other, and my uncle's girlfriend, of course. Here's what we had to share:
Dates, stuffed with Gorgonzola, and wrapped in Panchetta(TO DIE FOR!! I could have eaten 100!)
Polenta Fries (one of the main reasons I love this place!!)
Escarole and Fagioli (escarole and beans)
Baby Spinach, Walnut, Pear and Ricotta Salata salad
My sister also order eggplant parmigiana, and my uncle's girlfriend order pasta. I had ordered meatballs, and it didn't occur to me until I started writing this, that they never came! Shoot! It was fine, though, since we were stuffed. But, man, I really wanted those meatballs. :(
My sister's friend ended up ordering a pizza, cheese with a little sausage. Thankfully, she liked it!
Now, here's the crazy part. The restaurant comped us the entire meal!! It was a bit embarrassing, actually. They did it for my uncle's girlfriend, since most places in the city are very generous to cops. But, I didn't think they'd comp the entire bill!! Man, that waiter made out, because we ended up leaving him a 50% tip!
It was really a nice way to end the day. Then, we even got a ride to the train from Sergeant Girlfriend, which was great, because it was raining. Actually, by the time we got home (our train stop) there was a raging storm going on. The rain was coming down sideways, and it was windy as hell. I wish I had video of the three of us trying to walk across the parking lot to our car! It was too funny.
We're supposed to keep having stormy weather today, too. They're talking about possible tornado activity. Poop. I'm supposed to go to lunch with a friend after church, but I may have to reschedule. I guess we'll have to wait and see what it's like in a few hours when we come out after the service.
On that note, I'd better go get ready. I hope everyone enjoys a relaxing Sunday!!
Well, I'm off to work with my sister again. It should be
interesting. Today, we will be at the Bloomingdale's on Michigan
so I apparently never finished this before I left, nor did I post it.
Well, that's probably because my day was much longer than anticipated.
But, it's all good. I'm going to tell you all about it for tomorrow's
post. (See what I did there?)
Friday, November 15, 2013
If you could quit one bad habit instantly without difficulty, which would it be?
Hmmm, this is harder than I thought...
I could say making poor eating choices. Although, for the most part, I try to keep it under control. Thank God, or I wouldn't have been able to maintain the weight loss I've had this past year. However, I've been maintaining, as opposed to actually losing any more, and I think it's because I've lost some of my drive and motivation. But, that's a post for another time....
Another bad habit I'd like to get rid of is my tendency to procrastinate. But, I'll tell you about it later...