I haven’t been feeling like much of a superwoman of late. I recently underwent elbow surgery on my left elbow and have been out of commission longer than I thought I would. I have never been one to not be busy doing something and all I’ve been able to do lately is be in the house and feel helpless. I never knew how much I depend on my other arm and now that it’s in a sling for 2 weeks, I am learning fast to depend on others to help me. My husband and oldest daughter have been my biggest helpers. My daughter helps me by preparing dinners and helps me with my hair. My husband should definitely be called a superman, because that is exactly what he is. He’s such a wonderful support for me.
Did I ever tell you how stubborn I am…ok, well I’m a little stubborn.
It’s when the swelling started to prohibit me from closing my left hand, is when I decided it was time to take the prescribed meds from the doctor. I don’t like taking medicine when I don’t have to. We all see the commercials, the side-affects are twice as long as what the medicine cures. So I was pretty adamant about not taking them, but we all know there comes a time when you have to bite the bullet (in this case the pill).
So i’m on the road to recovery, taking my medicine and getting better every day. I look forward to having my left arm back so it doesn’t take me one hour to write another blog!
My husband has a very finicky appetite so whenever I can make something that he loves and will eat for several days…I’m all for it. Homemade lasagna with salad and garlic bread is his favorite and I’m sure, if it were up to him, we would have it more often. I want to share my recipe with you for making a delicious lasagna that will have your family coming back for more.
1 – 1lb box of lasagna (approx. 12 noodles needed for recipe)
1 1/2 pound of hamburger
1 roll of Italian sausage
1 tsp (or so) brown sugar
8 ounce of ricotta cheese
1 package of mozzarella cheese
1 package of mild cheddar cheese
2 1/2 – 7oz jars of marinara sauce (I used Prego however homemade is even better)
- Cook hamburger and italian sausage together in skillet (drain excess fat). Set aside.
- Add marinara to pot over medium low heat. To the sauce, add about one teaspoon of brown sugar, hamburger and sausage. Stir to combine. Let heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- While the meat sauce is heating, cook lasagna noodles according to box instructions.
- Drain noodles and lay flat on aluminum foil that’s been sprayed with a nonstick spray (this stops the noodles from sticking together.)
- To a medium bowl, mix together cheddar, mozzarella.
- In your 9×13 glass pan, add a small amount of your meat sauce to cover the bottom of the pan. Add 4 noodles on top of sauce.
- Slather (I hate that word, but it’s appropriate for what you need to do) a thin layer ricotta cheese on the first layer of noodles
- Add a portion of the cheese mixture on top of ricotta cheese
- Add more meat sauce
- Add another layer of noodles and continue the layer process until you have 3 layers of noodles
- Top final layer with meat sauce and remaining cheese mixture.
- Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes – uncover and bake for an additional 15 minutes.
- Add a nice rich garlic bread and leafy green salad and there you go…a delicious meal!
In the household category, my first August love is the Pledge Multi Surface Everyday Cleaner. I use this on pretty much everything in my home, even on my mirrors and electronics. There are so many reasons why I absolutely love this product, but the top two reasons would have to be because it’s 99% natural and it’s not an aerosol. Having one product that I can use on so many things is great and saves me space and time.
My second love are the Seventh Generation Disinfecting Wipes. I don’t think I could ask for more with these wipes. They kill over 99.9% of common household germs and I can use them on my food preparation surfaces – without needing to rinse. I was told about the seventh generation wipes from a good friend who sings the company’s praises for making good earth-friendly products. As I have stated before, our family used Melaleuca products in our home for over eleven years, so now being able to shop locally for good earth-friendly products is awesome!
In the health and beauty category of my August favs, my first loves are my Cetaphil Cleanser and Moisturizer. I have been using these on a regular basis since the beginning of the month, and I must say I am very pleased with how my face feels. I love that the moisturizer is light and after it’s applied I don’t realize I’ve put anything on. Another perk about the moisturizer is it has SPF15.
My next August loves come from one of my favorite companies…Lush. I’ve watched several YouTube videos about the Lush hair care products. I’m a true believer of their line of body care products but had never tried their hair products. Before I left for Florida, I purchase three products that I felt would work best on my hair type: R&B – hair moisturizer, Curly Wurly – Shampoo for dry hair, and Retrend – a leave in conditioner. I have been faithfully using all three products ever since I purchased them. The true tell-all came while on vacation, after being at the pool all day in the hot Florida heat, my hair would be totally dried out by the end of the day. After shampooing and conditioning my hair, it felt so soft and full of moisture and no breakage. One of my favorite things about these products, but Lush products in general is they’re made with all natural products that are good for your hair and skin.
My last (and definitely not least) favorite product is my Juicy Bamboo Facial Wipes by Kaia. I used these to remove my makeup – even mascara. I received these as part of a mail order subscription – as a sample, and I’m in love with the way they make my face feel! The wipes contain plant-based essential oils, organic honey and vitamins, and doesn’t have any alcohol, fragrance or parabens. I use them every day, even when I don’t wear makeup. I must confess that I didn’t just buy these this month however I did begin to use them on a regular basis starting this month. : )
DISCLOSURE: I am not a sponsor in any way for any of the above products. I’m only promoting these products because of the personal enjoyment and satisfaction I get from using the products.
Back in the Flow
The gift basket conference I attended in Orlando was great. Everyday I learned something new that I can implement in my business. My daughters and granddaughter (we left all the boys at home) joined me in Florida after the conference was over for a special girls-only week. I enjoyed the time I got to spend with my girls, but I did miss the boys too.
Coming back home from vacation to find that my husband and son cleaned and ate all the food I prepared for them while we were gone, is the best welcome home I could have received. I made sure I cooked enough for at least the first 4 to 5 days I would be gone, the other 4 days they had to wing-it. My hubby can cook so it’s not like he would have starved, but cooking was my way of showing them how much I love and would miss them. I’m glad we decided to come home a few days before having to go back to work, I don’t think I would have been able to pull that off otherwise.
School, School, We Love SCHOOL!
The kids started school this week, so life is getting back to a normal routine. It’s so fun to get up on that first day of school with butterflies, excitement and curiosity mixed together inside your belly. My daughter started middle school, so we had the anxiety with the locker and changes classes to get over. We were on vacation on locker day and you would have swore that the world was coming to an end because she couldn’t decorate her locker with her friends (She forgot all about that while she was having fun on vacation). When we landed back home, we made sure her school was the first place went went so she could experience all that great frustration of trying to open a middle school locker for the first time.
My son, who got his first car last month is excited to be able to drive to school instead of riding the dreaded yellow bus. He’s also looking forward to this being his last year of high school. He’s taking some hard classes to bring up his GPA for college since he has some lofty goals he wants to accomplish this year. Over all, both the kids are working hard to make this a great year, and my hubby and I are so very proud.
It’s Been a Hard Night Sleep
We got our new mattress after a long bout with the mattress company. My hubby and I were so excited to finally be rid of the memory foam bed, however I think we got a little too excited and now we have a really nice, expensive bed that feels like we’re sleeping on concrete. Instead of calling the mattress company back for another (which would be the 4th) mattress, we’re going to invest in a mattress pad and call it a day.
Our new mattress was finally delivered yesterday after weeks of back and forth conversations with the company. Now that the bed is here, I’m thinking it may be too firm, YIKES! This is now our third mattress and I’m not even sure I can sleep on this one for ten to twelve more years. So instead of calling the company back and looking like a complete idiot and to save face, I will buy a memory foam mattress top, which hopefully will give me that small amount of softness I’m looking for along with the firmness of the mattress – which I need for my aching back.
As I stated in a recent Week in Review blog post, we have had two memory form mattresses and after a short period of time, I was not able to get out of the bed! My back would lock up – it was just a bad situation all around. Now that I have what my back needs, I think it will just take some time to get used to. My husband says it feels like he’s sleeping on the floor, so I know I want to give him some relief by getting the mattress pad very soon. So as for now, there will not be a part four to this saga, but…you never know.
Last night around 7:30pm – my husband and I realized there were no children outside as far as our eye could see. You can tell school is back is session around my neck of the woods when you don’t see or hear kids laughing and playing after dinner time. Having my kids home with me over the summer is loads of fun, and we always have a great time together as a family. We try to make sure we take mini vacations, vacations and experience things around our own areas too. But, there comes a time to get back in the swing of things and that starts about one week before the kids go back to school. Below are my 5 top reasons why I love when my kids hit the books again.
1. Structure – This is number one for me (even though I’m not putting them in any order). I love having structure, my it’s a huge part of my personality. While the kids are out of school it’s hard to come by, especially since I work from home and I’m not available all the time to bring structure where chaos has taken over. Even though there are pieces of it while the kids are out of school, I long for the structure that comes with them in being in school.
2. Grocery Bill – My 17 year old son could be a professional sneaky eater. Don’t know what that is? That’s the kid that says “I’m not hungry” and then comes down after dinner and eats everything in the refrigerator. I can’t forget about my 11 year old picky eater, she doesn’t eat a lot of things, but the things she does eat…she eats! Our grocery bill almost doubles while the kids are home over the summer.
3. Brain Refuel – I try to keep the kids noodles (brains) in working order over the summer, however they really don’t get the time needed in the books like they do in the classroom. I look forward to hearing about what new things they’ve learned and how they are going to apply what they’ve learned in everyday life. Even better, it’s fun to see them apply something they’ve learned even when they don’t think they’ll ever use it in “real life.”
4. Me Time – Since I work from home, I’m always accessible to my children which I love – that’s the reason I wanted to work from home. But like any parent, we have to make sure we find time for us or we’re no good to anyone. Now that the house is empty during school hours, I have plenty of time to get everything I need to get done without any distractions or interruptions. Once the kids get home, I only have about 1 hour left to work and everything I need done, is done.
5. Early Bed Time – Yes…yes…yes…I – I mean the kids get to go to bed early, Yea! Since both kids are gone from the house before 7am each day, I want to make sure they are getting enough sleep because neither of them are morning people (that also includes my hubby). It’s a job all in itself trying to make sure they are up and doing what they need to do in the mornings. So that means if they are up and at it, I need to be up and at it too.
I’m back from my 9 day business/vacation and I must say it was a blast!
The first part of my trip was for business. The National Gift Basket Convention was held in Orlando this year, which was perfect for me since we have property there. The convention was for two days and it’s always full of great information for us to take back to implement in our businesses. The best part of the convention for me is getting a chance to speak with new entreprenuers who are excited and ready to start successful business. I have been in the gifting industry for over 11 years and I must say it’s been a wonderful journey, so when ever I have the opportunity to encourage someone else, I jump at the chance. I too get a boost and recharge while there, I learn so much about the latest trends, and simply just how to make my business better.
Second leg of my trip was simply family fun. When I originally found out about the convention being in Orlando, I told my husband that we should turn this into a family vacation. Unfortunately, my husband’s work schedule prohibited him from being able to go and also my two sons were not able to go due to working and sport committments. So I decided to make it a girls getaway with my two daughters and granddaughter. Unfortunately, I can’t say I got a lot of rest, but every outing was so worth it. The freedom to get up and go where we wanted to each day, to eat at some great, delicious resturants, and of course…SHOP! We really had a great time together.
Now that the pixi dust has settled, life has returns back to normal.
Packing has begun for my daughters (and granddaughter) and I to head to the wonderful world of Disney! I’m very excited to be able to be spend some quality time with each of them and get some much needed relaxation. With the the hustle and bustle of school being just weeks away, what better way to get ready than to spend some relaxing time at the most magical place on earth. Even though, the first three days will be business for me, the the rest will be memories in the making.
I must confess, I don’t like packing for trips, it makes me anxious. I’m always worried I’m going to forget something, so to help me take the edge off, I make lists. Making lists keeps me focused on what I need and stops me from over packing or packing things I don’t need.
When making my lists, I break them up into categories: carry-on, purse, and luggage, once I have my categories, I can then branch off that list to make another list of things I need to buy. Finally from that list, I make my shopping lists (for each individual store – since normally I have to go to more than one).
Below are my lists for this trip:
- Computer w/charger
- Travel pillow
- Camera w/charger
- Extra memory cards
- Work (if traveling for business)
- Extra pen and machancal pencil (with extra lead)
- Itenerary (maps, directions)
- Car rental confirmation
- Hotel or resort information
- Keys to car – at airport
- Vitamins and any medicines
- Extra femine products
- Note pad
- Idea books – I now have two books, one for my blog and one for my business. I write down any ideas I have for blog posts, gift basket designs or marketing strategies that come to mind.
- Crossword and Sudoku puzzles (comes in handy for layovers)
- light weight jacket or sweater
- Small shopping bag (reusable)
- TSA approved liquid items: lotion and hand sanitizer (inside ziplock bag)
Purse: There are other items inside my purse, however these are items I make sure I have.
- Wallet (with extra cash for tipping)
- Lip balms
- Gum and mints
- Femine products
- Pen and machincal pencil
- Ear plugs
- Comb and brush
- Business cards – always need to be prepared.
- Outfits – I always make it a rule of thumb to bring two more outfits than days I’m staying. I will be gone 10 days so I’ll pack 12 outfits. I also pack at least one pair of nice jeans – even if it’s hot weather.
- Under garments – the same rule applies for these as my outfits.
- Shoes – I try to keep this very simple since shoes can take up lots of needed space. I make sure I take flip flops and a pair of tennis shoes no matter what season or reason I’m traveling in.
- PJ’s – I don’t typically take a set of pj’s for each night (I don’t own 10 pj sets!)
- First aid kit
- Poncho or rain coat
- Hair care products
- Flat irons and/or curling irons
- Bath products
- Face cleansing products & makeup (also makeup remover pads)
- Shower gel
- Shaving cream
- Toothbrush & toothpaste
- Stain remover wipes
- Belts & scarfs
- Hair scarf
- Lint roller
Since I’m traveling with my 11 year-old daughter, I perform this same process for her as well. I use my list above as a master and delete items she does not require. If my husband were going, I would modify this list to suit his needs as well.
This month, I have several products I’ve tried and fallen in love with. I must say I concider myself to be a loyal shopper, that means when I find a product I love, I will buy it until they stop making it. Now granted I do try new things, however I will hold on to my old faithfuls. So this month, I decided to share what I found to be three of my new favorites.
EOS Lip Balm:
As for lip balms, I’m addicted to carmax (I already know what you are going to say…), I have several tubes throughout my home, purse and car. When my daughter went to camp last month, I bought her a few of these EOS lip balms to go in her camp survival kit and she raved about how good her lips felt. A few weeks ago I purchased Lemon Drop for myself with a coupon I had. I really like it, not only does it make my lips feel great, I feel good about wearing it since it has SPF 15, it’s PABA-free and has vitamin E.
ECOS Laundry Deteregent:
A couple weeks ago, I wrote a post titled Getting Down and Dirty ~ A Healthy Comparison where I compared the ECOS and Clorox Green Works laundry detergents. Well, I have washed load after load with the ECOS detergent and I think I can finally say, I have found our families new laundry detergent!
Talenti Caramel Cookie Crunch Gelato:
I’m surely not a gelato connoisseur and really can’t compare this to any other gelato I’ve tasted since this is the first. But what I do know is right now this is my one and only (gelato) guilty pleasure. I was even at a loss just trying to pick which flavor I wanted to try, since Talenti has over 20 flavors to choose from, but this month it was all about the Caramel Cookie Crunch!
DISCLOSURE: I am not a sponsor in any way for any of the above products. I’m only promoting the above products because of my personal enjoyment I get from using them on a consistant basis.