Friday, September 20, 2019

Life: Friday Ramblings

Image result for friday pictures

Friday Ramblings

I come home smiling because...
...I love the Autumn decor throughout my home.
We decorated early this year because it makes me happy.

I jumped up and down cheering when... son took FOUR wobbly steps from the TV stand to the couch.
He did it all on his own and didn't even realize what he did.

I'm real proud of my baby girl because...
...she started ballet lessons and already looks like a ballerina.
She has the rhythm and grace for it, but needs discipline as she thinks she knows it all.
I tried to show her some ballet moves and she just said "Mommy, you look like a lunatic."  Hmph!

I'm totally not looking forward to...
...all the Halloween candy that is about to make it's way into my home!
It's a month away and yet my hubby still finds the need to eat stock up on it.

I'm really, really, REALLY excited for...
...Supernatural to start in a couple of weeks!!!  Hello, Sammy baby!!
To prepare for season 15, we are watching some of our favorite episodes each night.

I'm freaking out because... family and I are about to board a plane.
It's one thing to put myself at risk, but bringing my babies along has me loosing sleep.
I'm literally having nightmares!!  It's making me wish this trip was over before it starts.

I'm a little shocked that...'s time to book our Christmas card pictures already!
I got an e-mail from my photographer that they were booked out through October.

I'm in pain and little scared because...
...I did a minor procedure on my belly button and it looks like a war zone.
I was awake for the procedure, saw lots of blood, and felt every tug!  It was awful.  Bleh gag barf!

What are your Friday Ramblings?

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Idea: Storing fresh herbs from your garden.

September is the time to start gathering your herbs from your garden.
You want to gather as much as you can before the chilly nights and your plants frost.
I pulled my herb plants (parsley, basil, oregano, and cilantro) from the roots.

The second step is to clean them.
...every single leaf...
Then lay them out to dry on a clean paper towel.

how to preserve fresh basil; freezing basil; garden basil; sweet basil; how to save basil for the winter

Next, I work on preserving them so that I have fresh garden herbs throughout the Winter.
If you told me 8 years ago that I'd spend a day preserving herbs, I'd say no way.  I'm officially o l d!!
Depending on the herb, I preserve them by either drying them or freezing them.
I dry all of the oregano and half of the parsley.  I freeze all of the basil and the cilantro.

To dry them, I wash the herbs on the stems and then hang them upside down to dry in the sun.
Tip:  Hang them inside next to a window.  I use dental floss to bunch the stems and hang them.
After 7 - 10 days, they should be fully dry and crisp.
You want to take two fingers and slide down the stem.  
All of the leaves will fall off perfectly and can be stored in a plastic container or bag for future use.

To freeze them, I remove the leaves from the stems before washing.
I then pat the leaves the dry, but don't let them sit too long otherwise they will wilt.
The last step is to lay the leaves out flat and freeze in portions.
Remember, once frozen, they are very difficult to separate without fully defrosting.
I always make sure to date and label the bags because some herbs linger like mint and cilantro.

Have you or will you preserve fresh herbs?

Monday, September 16, 2019

List: Ten games to reinforce learning with your first grader.

My baby girl just entered the first grade.
Yes, I'm crying.  Don't judge me.
To keep her brain stimulated during the Summer, we got creative with playtime.
I felt that it was important for her to reinforce the skills she learned before she lost them.
She was happy to play and we were just happy that she was practicing reading, writing, and math!

She could thank her playtime for the confidence displayed on her first day of school.
Equipped with her new Jasmine backpack, gigantic hair bow, and special dress, she skipped onto the bus.
Here's to another fabulous school year filled with knowledge, fun, and lots of laughs!

first day of school pictures

Ten games to enhance learning with your first grader.

1. Mail Man
With my daughter on one side of the house and me on the other, we pretend to deliver mail.
When one person takes the turn as the mailman, they also have to write and deliver a secret message.
This requires writing a message, reading a new message, and a whole lot of pretending.
This is by far my daughter's favorite game.  It's also mine because I can do it while cooking dinner!

2.  Restaurant
Using Mushy Face's Peppa Pig kitchen as the main prop, she will pretend to be a cook/waitress.
She's required to write down the order, sometimes cook it in a pattern, and man the cash register.
This requires writing, making patterns, and using math skills to add prices.

3.  I Spy Books
 One series of books that my baby girl  l o v e s  is I Spy.
Together we will hunt through pictures to find different items lost in a photo of a million things.
This requires reading the items and memory skills to find new ones.
These books make great gifts and come in different themes appropriate for unique occasions.

4.  Making Necklaces
First we take a trip to a craft store to buy inexpensive string and all different types of beads.
Then she's challenged to make different necklaces following the "recipe" that I lay out for her.
This requires math skills, following directions, and making patterns.
Mushy keeps asking to sell her necklaces online to get money for the ice cream man!  Anyone interested??

5.  School
My baby girl loves to take out her easel and pretend to be the teacher.
She will write out simple math problems, words with missing letters, or even mimic a calendar.
This requires math skills, reading skill, writing skills, and basically anything else you want!

6.  Cinderella
To play this game it's very important to dress up in a Cinderella costume.
Once in uniform, she'll pretend to do small chores by adding and subtracting different actions.
This requires math skills and following directions.
Bonus points for doing real chores!  Take 4 fork and 3 spoons out of the dishwasher to put away 7 utensils.

7.  Pet Store
The first step is to take out all of the stuffed and/or action figure animals in your room.
Then you put them on display, wait for a customer, and then sell away.  Don't forget to write a receipt!
This requires math skills, writing skills, and speech skills.
This game always ends with putting the animals to sleep in their "homes".  Hello, clean room!

8.  I'm Thinking Of...
This game we can play virtually anywhere because it's simply a guess game of you're choosing.
She can think of something that starts with a letter, ends with a letter, lives in a place, etc.
This requires spelling skills, science skills, and memory skills.
I love this game because you get what you make of it.  Well, until she thinks of made up words...

9.  Library
My one year old son and I will take a trip to my daughter's book shelf library.
There we will pick a special book and ask the librarian to read it to us.  Reading is fun with an audience!
This requires reading skills and learning patience with a baby that doesn't focus as your audience.

10.  Bakery
I'm constantly searching the internet for children friendly recipes and then buying the ingredients.
When we play bakery, Mushy Face has to read the simple recipe and make the item.
This requires reading skills and following directions. I get to see the bright smile on her face when we eat the finished product.  It's priceless!

What are your favorite games to enhance learning?

Friday, September 13, 2019

Life: Friday Ramblings

Friday Ramblings

handmade mosaic decor; mosaic heart with family tree; mosaic

I am absolutely in love with...
...the mosaic heart pictured above.  It was a great find from a local vendor at the seafood festival.
The artist was a very sweet lady with a display of the most beautiful, handmade items.
I have a thing for mosaic decor.  You can find mosaic pieces tastefully displayed throughout my home.

I'm constantly impressed...
...with the fun, fabulous, and FREE events hosted at our local library.
They range from arts and crafts, story times, bat walks, all the way to meeting Princess Jasmine.

I am beaming with pride because... little Mushy Face is watching TV alone and put on Scooby-natural!!
She did this 100% on her own with absolutely ZERO influence from me.  I swear!

I'm patting my back because...
I managed to create a back log of posts through the end of November.
I am having so much fun letting my creative juices flow.
& having even more fun playing with all of you!

I'm contemplating...
...asking my husband to get something from the grocery store and shutting my phone off.
"Hey, you said you wanted Barilla pasta.  What kind of Pasta?"  "Spaghetti, please!"  Click...
"Hey, there is angel hair, thin spaghetti, or just regular spaghetti." "Thin spaghetti, please!"  Click...
"Hey, there is linguine and fusilli pasta also."  "Alright, whatever you want!"  Click...
"I just realized they also have whole wheat pasta.  Want to try it?"  "No thanks!"  Click...
He comes home with a roasted chicken and totally forgets about the pasta.  The process repeats itself.
Ladies and gentleman, this is real life.

I get really aggravated at...
...people that think you need to rearrange your life to accommodate theirs.
Side note - High income jobs like a doctor or a lawyer, doesn't make people royalty.  Put the crown down.

I learned a really neat trick to...
...keep fresh, cut flowers alive for a longer period of time.
Every 4 to 5 days, cut down the bottom part of the stems about a half inch or so.
This allows the flower to keep drinking fresh water making them to live for weeks.

What are your Friday Ramblings?

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Recipe: Baked Salmon with Italian Dressing

Have you ever had guests decide to come over for dinner with only a few hours notice?
Well, this seems to happen to me  a l l  o f  t h e  t i m e.
...& by all of the time, I mean at least once a month...

The other night my in laws made last minute plans with us to come over dinner.
Between my family and his this happens often enough that I am always prepared within a few hours notice.
One of my last minute meals of choice is baked salmon, vegetables, a potato, and a salad.
In just a few hours, I can have an entire meal prepared and not even have to run to the store.

Being prepared means always having enough salmon in the freezer to feed at least a party of 5.
Every time salmon goes on sale, I run to the fish market to stock up my freezer!
Salmon is a great choice because it defrosts quickly and marinates just as fast.
It also goes well with the wine that my husband likes to purchase in bulk and hoard in the garage.
For a double bonus, there's minimal prep work and an easy clean up!

The compliments I get from making this meal should be a crime because it's so easy to make.
You're welcome.

baked salmon with italian dressing; quick fish recipe; quick salmon recipe; easy salmon recipe; italian salmon recipe, italian salmon

Baked Salmon with Italian Dressing

(2) Pounds Salmon
(1) Packet Good Seasons Italian Salad Dressing Mix
(1/4) Cup Balsamic Vinegar
(3) Tablespoons Water
(1/2) Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a bowl, mix together the Italian salad dressing mix, balsamic vinegar, water, and olive oil.  Once thoroughly mixed together, pour into a resealable bag.  Put the salmon in the bag with the dressing and move it around until it's fully submerged.  Leaving the salmon in the bag, place it skin side up on a dish in the refrigerator for a minimum of 30 minutes to marinate.
When it's done marinating, line a baking sheet with tin foil and lightly coat with olive oil.  Place the fish on the baking sheet skin side down and pour any remaining dressing over it.  Bake for 20-25 minutes.

That's it!  That's the entire recipe!  I swear I'm not leaving anything out.
Be prepared for lots of compliments and lots of questions about how you made it.
I'll leave it up to you to decide to say the truth or pretend that you dried the herbs yourself.

Bonus Tip- Keep a NY style cheesecake in your freezer for an emergency dessert.

What are your favorite recipes for a last minute dinner party?

Monday, September 9, 2019

List: Ten ways to deal with a difficult college professor.

I have been in college forever for 10 years and have never had an issue with a professor until last semester.  
I know 10 years is a long time, but it's just so expensive and I don't want loans! 

It all started when the text book rental company sent the wrong edition of the book.  I provided proof that the ISBN # was correct on the text and in the order.  Despite all this, the professor continued to insist that this was my fault and my responsibility.  Never mind the fact that it took her a month to grade my work and flag the issue.  Apparently I should have been psychic!  To keep a long story short, she gave me 48 hours to get the right text and resubmit a month's worth of difficult assignments.  From that point on she held a grudge and I had a big problem.  Without getting a B or higher I would not qualify for tuition reimbursement which could mean the end of my long college career - and I'm  s o  c l o s e  to being done.

Through hard work, perseverance, and a little brown nosing - I got my B!

Ten ways to deal with a difficult college professor.

1.  Stop and take a deep breathe.
While I may be tiny in stature, I have a giant sized temper.
It's important to calm down and really think before responding.  Once something is said, it's said!
Repeat until calm - "They control your grade.  They control your grade.  They control your grade."

2.  Identify the issue.
While it's easy to get lost in a sea of complaints and problems, it's important to stay afloat.
Swim past the nuances and find the heart of the problem(s).
Once you identify the real issue, you can find a solution.

3.  Accept responsibility and avoid deflecting blame.
It's important to remember that this is your course and your grade.
This simple fact makes everything your responsibility.  Accept it, say it out loud, and move on.
This was hard for me because I felt like a victim.  I had to remember that my grade only effected me.

4.  Suggest a solution.
There's nothing more aggravating than someone who points out problems without offering a fix.
In my world this is called whining and I deal with it daily at work.  It is definitely annoying.
If your professor rejects your suggestion, ask him/her to provide a more suitable one.  Just get an answer.

5.  When all else fails, escalate to a higher authority.
If you feel that your professor is being unreasonable, don't be afraid to escalate the case.
Keep it professional, follow the chain of command, and repeat steps 1 through 5.
Note - Once you escalate there is no turning back.  Don't do it until you know they won't work with you.

6.  Once resolved, follow the terms of the deal.
As ridiculous as the terms of the solution may be, do you're best to concede.  
Concede within reason, obviously.
If you're given a timeline, try to complete tasks early.  If you're given rules, follow them meticulously.

7.  Eliminate all gray areas.
It may be human nature to avoid your professor after problems arise, but this isn't best.
If there are any gray areas or uncertainties, question them and politely request answers.
I like to think the professor would consider the questions as a desire to succeed instead of an annoyance.

8.  Speak up.
If you feel that you're still being treated unfairly, especially with inaccurate grading, speak up.
You should continue to be professional but be direct and remember to be honest.
Try not to cry or get loud.  These are common reactions to frustration, but control yourself.

9.  Express appreciation for what they do right.
While you may feel that your professor doesn't do anything right, I promise that you can find something.
You can thank them for getting back to you, a prompt response, or even just listening to the problem.
Expressions of appreciation isn't always sucking up, but a tactic to get a better response.

10.  Work hard.
A professor can tell when you're trying to skate by or when you're giving it your all.
Because of this, it's vital that you work hard, dedicate time, and fulfill all obligations.
At the end of day, working hard should pay off!

I followed all ten of these steps and not only did I get a decent grade, but I won over her respect.  I know this because on the last day of class SHE thanked ME for my efforts and dedication.  Not only did she thank me, but she indirectly admitted to knowing that she is a beast difficult to work with.

How do you or did you deal with a difficult college professor?

Friday, September 6, 2019

Life: Friday Ramblings

Friday Ramblings

Image result for fri-nally; friday ramblings

I am fri-nally back on...
...Twitter (@JAXBlog) and am totally loving the "twitter analytics" feature!
Despite not posting for 3 years, I got a ton of exposure right away and enjoyed catching up.
For the love of God, people, STOP retweeting Trump.  I don't want him on my feed!

We finished watching the...
...X-men series and were left super confused.
How is Mystique alive in the future?  How does Deadpool still have a head?
How is Xavier still alive after being obliterated, literally?  How does Magneto still have powers?!
Just how AND WHY to this entire series!?!!

It's absolutely ridiculous that...
...a jingle from a stain remover ad is stuck inside of my brain!
...mustard squirt...on my skirt...lalala

I am very disappointed that...
...Marvel got rid of Spider man and sold the franchise back to Sony.
Their version of Spider man is the first one in the history of ever that someone got right!
...besides, I love the dynamic of Spider Man in the Avengers.  Please have a moment of silence.

Summer's ending really hit me when...
...the cooler morning weather forced me to bring my lemon tree inside.

I'm cracking up at... daughter and her friends sitting on the couch and talking about which Avenger is most handsome!
All three immediately said the same Avenger.  Let's just say, I'm very disappointed it wasn't Thor.
Bonus points if you can guess their swoon worthy Marvel superhero in the comments.

I really wish that...
...people would stop giving my babies hand me down items without asking.
I know that the intentions are good but be courteous and ask us before getting a kid excited.
My aunt recently passed down a trampoline and I'm a mess.  Every jump gives me anxiety!

I can't stop giggling at...
...The Viking's expressions of disbelief that there are bears on Long Island.
I've shown him rock solid proof from Google and he still keeps insisting that I'm nuts!

I am really, REALLY intrigued by... doctor's suggestion at an aid to losing weight quickly.
In addition to diet and exercise, he told me to consume lots of cinnamon each day!
Apparently cinnamon has properties that stop carbs from turning into sugar.
Is it true?  I have absolutely no idea, but I'm about to put cinnamon on everything.

What are your Friday Ramblings?

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Let's Discuss: Allergy Meds

For those of you that remember, I am a real, diagnosed hypochondriac.  I have gotten better throughout the years by learning to manage my anxiety.  While this is true, I still have moments of weakness.  In these moments of weakness, I google random illnesses that I convince myself that either I or my children may have.  Anyone else think you should need a prescription to get search results on health conditions?  I do!  During one of my searches, I came across the below article.

Anticholinergic Medications May Increase Dementia Risk by 50%

For those of you unfamiliar anticholinergic medications, they include allergy and cold medicines.  I have terrible allergies.  In order to keep symptoms at bay, I would take a Claritan D daily and a Benadryl as necessary.  After reading the article, I stopped cold turkey and took my daughter off her allergy medications.

Stopping the medications caused us to get a little congested, not sleep as well, and brought back the allergy shiners for my daughter.  An allergy shiner is a real thing that are often confused for bags under your eyes.  Despite the return of our allergy symptoms, we are totally more aware and focused throughout the day. This left me in a bit of a pickle.  I didn't want us to suffer from allergies, but I especially don't want us to suffer from dementia.  That's when I made a doctor's appointment.

The doctor dismissed the above article saying that the risk was inconsequential.  He believes the real risk comes from genetics.  Actually, his immediate reaction to the article was "You can try to find a zebra in the room but I promise you won't find one here!"  That's verbatim, people!

Our doctor did offer a more natural solution to ease our allergy symptoms and my mind.

Find local honey and eat a tablespoon a day.

The honey should be eaten straight, which means no tea or heating up.
When bees make honey they incorporate the pollen and other natural things that give us allergies.
A little bit a day builds up your tolerance for the pollen and eliminates your allergies.
One month in and I can finally feel a difference.
Either that or all of this is in my head, but that doesn't account for my daughter!

What is your reaction to the study and how do you handle allergies?

Monday, September 2, 2019

Life: Happy Labor Day!

For all my fellow Americans...

Chiweenie; puppy; lounging dog

Happy Labor Day!

...Enjoy the day off.
Relax and enjoy some time in the sun.
Just like my Chiweenie, Thor!

Friday, August 30, 2019

Life: Friday Ramblings

Friday Ramblings

forgetmenot flowers, forget me not flowers, forget-me-nots, homegrown flowers, friday ramblings

I smile every time I look at... homegrown Forget Me Not flowers.  I love the hundreds of little, happy flowers!
Note-These make me happy because they are in a pot.  In the ground they are like a weed.

I'm preparing for... daughter to get ready to go back to school to start the first grade!  That means picking out a back pack and matching lunch box, getting her physical, buying school supplies, new sneakers, and lots of reading.

We're watching...
...all of the X-Men movies with our babies.  We started with the first class series and will end with Logan.
Did I tell you that my husband has a giant man crush on Hugh Jackman?  Well, he does.

I'm tired of...
...The Greatest Showman soundtrack.  It was fun the first 1,000 times, but eventually gets played out.
Hugh Jackman sings 80% of this album.  Do you see the trend?

I'm a little disappointed that...
...I gained back some of the weight that I lost.  While I'm still less than my pre-pregnancy weight, I'm not where I want to be.  This means less Cold Stone and more activity.

I'm cooking...
...a new beef tenderloin recipe that is absolutely divine!  It only calls for five ingredients which makes it the easiest recipe ever.  Don't worry because I will definitely share with you all soon!

I'm completely baffled at... difficult it is for some people to remember to grab a towel before they jump in the shower.
I mean, I can't be the only one that makes sure she has one accessible before getting wet!!

I'm lost without... post its!!  A certain someone scribbled all over mine and stuck them all over the walls.

I'm laughing at... son karate chopping everything and screaming HIIII YAH like a lunatic.  This gave me a flashback to the time my then 11 month old punched daddy in the face and gave him a nose bleed.  
Maybe karate wasn't a real good idea for my little muscle man...

I'm really, really, REALLY excited that...
...we booked a date to go back to Disney World!!  We will be spending a week in Disney on May 2nd.  While we are all looking forward to it, I'm the one that's jumping up and down!!
My hubby is complaining about the money and I'm just planning what to wear to meet The Little Mermaid!

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