Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Recipe: Chicken & Sweet Potato Soup

I've always been a fan of cooking soups, especially during the colder months.  They are filling, refreshing, and real easy to freeze as meal prep for future meals.  Every year I try to add another soup to my cookbook that way we have a nice variety.  Repeat recipes lead to an outplayed soup, and no one wants an outplayed soup.

Last Autumn I found a recipe in a magazine that checked off my soup non-negotiables.  Soup non-negotiables are- hearty, healthy-ish, no milk or cream, & easily freezable.  I dissected the original recipe found here and recreated it into something of my own.  After a few tries, I can finally say that I found the perfect formula for a freezable soup that we all love!

how to make homemade chicken soup with tortellini

Disclosure: This site contains affiliate links to products.  We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. Please note that I would only recommend products that I would use myself and all opinions are my own.

Recipe:  Chicken and Sweet Potato Soup

(3) Pounds Boneless & Skinless Chicken Thighs
(2) 32 Oz Container of Chicken Broth
(3) Pounds Sweet Potatoes, Peeled & Sliced into 1/2" Medallions
(6) Garlic Cloves, Minced
(1) Tablespoon Ground Ginger
(2) Tablespoons Dried Parsley Flakes
(2) Pounds Tortellini
Salt & Pepper

Clean the chicken thighs and place them in a large pot with the chicken broth.  Refill one 32 ounce container with water and pour it into the pot.  Add the garlic, ginger, parsley, salt, and pepper.  Bring to a boil.  Lower the heat and simmer for another 10 minutes.  Add the sliced sweet potatoes to the pot and let simmer for another 20 minutes.

In the interim, bring another large pot of water to a boil with a dash of salt.  Boil the tortellini until al dente.  Follow the package instructions, but do not over boil.  No one wants mushy tortellini, trust me!  Strain and leave on the side.

Once the soup is done cooking, remove the chicken thighs and shred the meat with two forks.  If done correctly, the chicken will shred very easily.  Place back into the pot and stir.  Taste test and add additional salt and pepper as needed.  Add the tortellini and serve.

Note - I put half the pot into a Rubbermaid container BEFORE adding the pasta and freeze for a future meal.  Freezing with the tortellini is a terrible idea because it ruins the pasta and sucks up the broth. You have been warned.

Did you ever recreate a recipe?
Monday, October 26, 2020

List: Ten simple chores to task young children with to teach self sufficiency.

I remember my childhood filled with lots of playtime, family time, and laughter.  I also remember having to do my chores before being allowed to partake in the more enjoyable things.  To be clear, having responsibilities as a child did not in any way negatively effect my childhood.  The chores that were required of me were minimal, but were required nonetheless.  I remember vacuuming on Saturday mornings, changing laundry, setting the table, and drying dishes.  Like me, my brother had similar chores that he was expected to complete before doing what he wanted.  Also like me, he has zero negative feelings towards our childhood because of this.

The reason for this ramble is because recently a family member of mine made a judgmental comment.  Yea, I know.  I'll say it with you.  What else is new with my family?  Sigh..  According to this family member, I expect too much of my daughter at only seven years of age.  I do expect her to participate in minimal household chores before playtime.  I do expect her to have responsibility and complete tasks to the best of her ability.  I do expect her to establish a sense of value for hard work and show a little independence.  While that's all true, I also expect her to ask for help, to make mistakes, and to learn along the way.  Doing chores may not be fun, but I believe that it's an important part of growing up.  I'll stop my rant now and just get to the point of the post.

what chores are ok to give children

Disclosure: This site contains affiliate links to products.  We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. Please note that I would only recommend products that I would use myself and all opinions are my own.

Ten chores to give your young child today.

1.  Setting the table.
This one is a great place to start.  It's simple and harmless enough if it goes wrong.  The biggest tragedy could be a misplaced fork, assuming that you don't use fine china on the daily.  It's also a good routine to start because it eliminates the hassle of the dinnertime roundup.

2.  Emptying the dishwasher.
In my day, this simple childhood chore was drying the dishes.  It's since evolved to emptying the dishwasher.

3.  Organizing their room.
Every Saturday morning my little girl starts the day with organizing her room.  She'll put away her toys, cleans up her vanity, fixes her bed, and rearranges the closet spillage.

4.  Bringing their plate to the sink.
After a child is done eating, they must get into the habit of clearing their space for themselves.  I remember when Mushy turned 4 and her preK teacher schooled me.  "I'm not clearing 20 dishes for every child that wasn't taught to clear their table setting!"  It's also important to see mommy, daddy, and siblings clean up after themselves too.  This helps them realize that it's everyone's responsibility.

5.  To care for something living.
This simple childhood chore could be as simple as watering an indoor plant weekly or watering an entire garden.  It could be a little more complicated such as feeding a pet fish, hamster, dog, or cat.  As they age, you can up the responsibilities to weeding and/or walking the dog for exercise.  As much as I'd love to include caring for a younger sibling, maybe that's going a bit too far at this age.  Whatever it is, your child will learn that with care and responsibility a living creature can grow and prosper.

Idea:  For Valentine's Day a few years back, Cupid brought my daughter an indoor herb garden kit like this one.  She really enjoyed caring for it and watching it grow.  Flash forward four years later when she is the main caregiver to our vegetable garden.  She enjoys it so much that she doesn't even think of it as a chore.

6.  Cleaning the floors.
I wouldn't task them to mop at age 4, but they can start out slow and steadily progress.  At age 5, my daughter would use the Swiffer Sweeper to pick up residual dust and dog hair.  At age 7, she's graduated to vacuuming smaller spaces and using the vacuum extension periodically.

7.  Polish the low sitting furniture.
We don't polish our furniture as often as we should, but we do a deep clean about once a month.  Mommy and Daddy do the heavy scrubbing with chemicals while Mushy polishes the table and chair legs.

8.  Putting their clothes in the laundry basket.
My kids and husband love to leave their dirty laundry right where they took it off of themselves.  Mommy no longer picks this up.  Everyone must pick up their own clothes and put it in the hamper.  If they don't, it get tossed into a pile behind the bed where it doesn't get washed!

9.  Snapping the string beans.
It's important to give kids small tasks in the kitchen otherwise they'll never learn how to cook.  I task my little princess with snapping the string beans or putting together the caesar salad kit.  She's recently graduated to cracking eggs and making pancakes!  & totally thinks she's a master chef..

Idea:  Last Christmas, my daughter was gifted with this child friendly cook book.  It's really done a great job of motivating her to help out in the kitchen and make simple meals.  On really good days, she puts on a "cooking show" for her baby brother.

10.  Maintaining their studies.
There is no playtime or fun time until ALL homework is done.  It's their responsibility to use their agenda to log assignments and check off when done.  I'll gladly monitor and help when needed, but I do expect a sincere effort before asking for assistance.  While it's not really a chore, it's definitely a responsibility.

What chores did you do as a child?
Friday, October 23, 2020

Life: Friday Ramblings

things to do near villa roma

Life:  Friday Ramblings

We had a really good time at...
...Villa Roma!  This is one of the few trips we make each year that's actually relaxing.  There's no crazy itinerary to follow although I did suffer with that and no need to wake up at the crack of dawn.  Instead you go around leisurely and really get to enjoy the time spent.  My favorite part was spending the week with my grandparents.  This is the first year that I felt their age and it made me appreciate it all the more.

I'm super impressed with... daughter's ability to talk to turkeys!  The video above has been replayed about a million times by her as shows off her new skill to everyone who care to listen.

I'm still laughing at... husband and my son's conversations!  Every time my son is looking for something my husband yells out "Ohh, Arturo!!".  Finally I asked who is this Arturo person you keep calling?  He says, "You know, the little Mickey Mouse tool in the show?"  The poor guy thought Toodles name was Arturo.  Yup, still laughing as I type this!

I cried my eyes out when...
...a baby American Goldfinch flew into our sliding glass door and passed away.  While the bird was nowhere near our feeders, I still feel like I should take the blame.  The little guy probably wouldn't have been anywhere near our home if it wasn't for the feeders.  I haven't felt this guilty about something a in a very long time.

I double and triple checked...
...that our bird feeders meet the recommended guidelines of being less than a foot away from a window to eliminate the risk of getting hurt if flying into it.  I also ensure that shades are pulled halfway down to indicate to the birdies that there is a glass barrier in front of them.

I am completely infuriated with...
...the hybrid schooling system!!  My daughter has learned NOTHING since the first day of school and continues to fall farther behind in mathematics since we are unfamiliar with common core.  Mondays are a virtual learning day.  Her class was three minutes long.  I'm not even exaggerating a little bit.  All the teacher did was say that she missed them and that she had a meeting to attend so she couldn't linger.  I reached out to her to see if there were any opportunities available to give my daughter extra help if you want to call it that on the math that they aren't teaching.  The response was "With COVID19, there is no extra help at this time."  Is anyone else banging their heads against the wall as you watch your child suffer at the failed educational system???  Sigh...

What are your Friday Ramblings?
Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Book Review: The Poet by Michael Connelly

 After finally finishing The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott, I was able to get back into my reading list and knock off a few books that I was actually looking forward to.  A friend of mine recommended the author Michael Connelly since I was a fan of the TV show, Bosch.  Michael Connelly wrote the book series that the Amazon TV show is based on.  Eagerly, I added The Poet by Michael Connelly to my reading list and finished the entire novel in less than a month!

The novel is titled The Poet by Michael Connelly.
The book is read by Buck Schirner.
The unabridged version is 15 hours and 24 minutes long.

is The Poet by Michael Connelly a good book

Disclosure: This site contains affiliate links to products.  We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. Please note that I would only recommend products that I would use myself and all opinions are my own.

Book Review:  The Poet by Michael Connelly

The Poet by Michael Connelly is a crime thriller novel with so many twists and turns that you won't know what's about to happen next.  You may recognize this author as the creator of the famous fictional detective, Bosch.  If you haven't heard of the books, maybe you heard of the Amazon TV series.  Like the Bosch series, there's lots of murders and mysteries in The Poet that need to be solved by the main characters.  Additionally, there are some crossover characters which is a fun surprise for those familiar with the other series.

The novel is based around the leading character, Jack McEvoy.  Jack is a successful reporter with a cushy gig at a local newspaper.  He specializes in covering murders and providing a unique perspective on those stories.  The Poet starts with the death of Jack McEvoy's twin brother.  Using Jack's investigative skills as a reporter, he uncovers the truth about his brother's death which eventually leads to the truth of several other murders.  Working hand in hand with the FBI and his new, suspicious love interest, he solves the mystery of his brother's death.  Every time the story progressed and I thought I had things figured out, there would be a twist or turn that had me shook.  Throughout the book, the author shifts gears to a serial pedophile, telling a related side story from this character's sick and demented perspective.  As horrified as I was by these shifts of the novel, they really made me think.  It made the book unique and stand out from the other crime thrillers that I have read.

The Poet by Michael Connelly was an overall great read.  Unlike previous novels I read, this one had me wanting to continue the story.  I found myself lingering in my car far more times than I care to admit just to hear this story unravel.  Most books get into my brain and put me through a broad range of emotions.  The Poet got into my brain, but I didn't experience a range of emotion.  Instead I became a wannabe detective and my mind became consumed by solving the crime before the narrator!

Would you read other books from the series?

If I'm being honest, not right away.  As much as I love a good crime thriller, I enjoy long breaks in between them.  It's fun to play detective, but I prefer a story that teaches you something other than a pedophile's self pity and twisted view on the world.  I also prefer a story that makes you feel a wide range of emotions.  When I'm in the mood for a quick read and a mystery, I would dive into another one of the series.

I would highly recommend The Poet by Michael Connelly.

If you're interested in this novel and want to learn more, click here for information on the audio book version and click here for the Kindle version.

Do you like crime thrillers?
Monday, October 19, 2020

List: Ten essentials to pack for a trip to a water park.

This past August we took a trip to Kalahari in Pennsylvania to celebrate my husband's 30th birthday.  We went as a family of four with two kids, ages 7 and 2.  While I won't reminisce about the trip again, one thing I did regret was our packing list.  We went totally unprepared and Kalahari was ready for it.  They saw "SUCKER" written across our foreheads and sold us what we needed at about triple the price.

Don't believe me?  Here's an example.  I accidentally left our son's box of diapers next to our front door.  When we got to the resort, I realized what had happened and ran to their general store to get some.  Well, they sold diapers in packs of 3 as in three individual diapers for over $5 a pack.  Flash forward to September when we ventured to RI and I asked the hubby about six times "We did remember the diapers, right?".  Lesson learned.

To help you avoid the same struggle, here's a list of ten essentials you'll want to remember when packing for your trip to a water park.  I'm going to skip the basics here, but please don't forget your bathing suits!

what to bring with you to a water park

Disclosure: This site contains affiliate links to products.  We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. Please note that I would only recommend products that I would use myself and all opinions are my own.

Ten essentials to pack for a trip to a water park.

You may have some things that you'll be uncomfortable leaving behind at your table.  To avoid this, remember to pack a water proof travel neck wallet that's large enough to carry your phone and cash, but small enough to wear comfortably around your neck.  Even if you rent a locker, some things you'll want on you like a phone to snap some pics!
Can be found here.

While it's easier to remember water shoes for the kiddies, it's common to overlook the same need for an adult.  Water parks are frequented by a lot of people.  Basically, it's not a place you'll want to put your bare feet and the floor could be slippery.  Instead of falling in public chasing the kids in flip flops, invest in an inexpensive water shoe/sock for the entire family.
Can be found here.

When visiting a water park, you're going to want to bring a cooler to use while you're there and during the ride.  Pack your cooler with things you may need upon arrival such as cold water bottles, dairy free milk, or even medications.  Once at the resort, put those items in the fridge and use the cooler to transport items from your room to the park.
Can be found here.

Tip:  The food that's available at the park is most likely super expensive, unhealthy, and not the most tasty.  Stop at a deli before heading out to the park and fill your cooler with sandwiches.  You'll save a boat load of money and calories.

If you can't skip this part of your makeup routine completely, don't forget to pack a waterproof mascara for your trip.  Ever go to a water park with regular mascara?  You'll look like a zombie in under a minute and be temporarily blinded just as quick.
Can be found here.

Instead of spending >$100 in bottled water for the family, invest in a couple of these inexpensive reusable water bottles with a filter.  You'll be able to drink tap water without being skeeved and eliminate the hefty price tag that comes along with bottled water at a resort.
Can be found here.

Whenever we go to places that I know are going to be overly crowded and chaotic, I always bring a pen and liquid bandages.  I write my phone number on my kid's wrists and then protect it with the liquid bandage.  If for whatever reason and I hope to God it never actually happens, we get separated, they are taught to approach another mother with children for help.  That mother can then reach me with the phone number.
Can be found here.

A water park is mostly water rides, slides, sprinklers, and other play items.  We rarely think of large pools of water, but they're there.  Remember to pack goggles for your children because they're going to want to dunk and the chlorine in a water park is really strong.
Can be found here.

This inexpensive swim vest is perfect for the kids because it's thin and comfortable.  Most water parks supply community swimming vests, but, ew.  We brought arm swimmies for my son thinking that we were ahead of the game.  Little did we know that swimmies are insufficient for the younger kids in a water park.  Instead of using the community one, we bought one at the park for triple the price!
Can be found here.

The amount of chlorine used in a water park means that your eyes burn without even touching the water.  After a few slides you're going to wish that you remembered to pack your eye drops because the resort's store sells them for the price of gold.
Can be found here.

When packing for your trip to the water park, don't forget to throw a small, portable charger into your bag.  You'll be away from a private outlet for extended periods of time and you'll never know when you'll need a quick charge.
Can be found here.

Have you ever been to a water park?

Friday, October 16, 2020

Life: Friday Ramblings

Friday Ramblings

We're still upstate enjoying...
...the mountains and some leisurely family time.  We all chipped in to rent two timeshares so that the entire extended family could enjoy in the fun while getting away from the crowds, congestion, and traffic.

I've been going upstate for Columbus Day since...
...I was born!  Every Columbus Day, we would spend a long weekend in upstate New York to visit our great great Aunt Carmella.  She passed away a few years back at the age of 102, but we still continue to go every year.  Because of Corona Virus, we decided to extend that long weekend to an entire week.  I love that this is something my mother did since we was a little girl, something that we continued all throughout my life, and now something that MY kids look forward to.  Aunt Carmella would be so proud!

I apologize for the short Friday Ramblings but...
...I hope that you're having a FABULOUS weekend and are participating in some Autumn fun.

What are your Friday Ramblings? 

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Review: MadisonReed Professional Hair Color

Brace yourselves because I'm about to share a deep, dark secret.  I have a patch of gray hair on the right side of my head right above my ear.  It's not just gray.  It's thick, coarse, gray hair that doesn't want to take any dye.  I've tried all the name brand boxed dyes and have even dumped over $100 at the hair salon.  The best result I've gotten was turning that patch of gray hair into a patch of blonde hair.  I was about to admit defeat and get blonde highlights to blend in the grey, when a co-worker saved me.  Or, at the very least, she saved my hair from the 90's trend of dark hair with yellow streaks...

She recommended MadisonReed Professional Hair Color!

Because of my history with all hair dye, I was skeptical to even waste time trying it.  Luckily, she convinced me to give one last product a try.

madisonreed hair color does it really work

Review:  MadisonReed Professional Hair Color

MadisonReed supplies professional hair color that is free of toxic chemicals and easily applied at home.

What is the order process like?

The order process is surprisingly simple!  You access their website at, select the "at home" option, and answer all of the questions honestly.  After filling out the questionnaire, the website will recommend the product that best fits your needs.  For me, this was coverage of my color resistant grays.  I got Ravenna Brown (3.5NNN) Darkest Brown for resistant grays as pictured above.

How expensive is this product?

My first order was $26.50+tax.  To subscribe, it goes down to $22.00+tax.  While this is expensive for a box dye, it's significantly cheaper than the hair salon.  The kit also comes with more items than the typical box does.  My kits came with hair color, color activator, gloves, a cap, petroleum jelly, a makeup remover wipe, shampoo, and conditioner.

What is your favorite part about the product?

As you all know and are probably sick of hearing, I have terrible skin allergies.  With my sensitive skin, it was comforting to know that this product is without any harsh chemicals.  That means it is free of ammonia, PPD, resorcinol, parabens, phthalates, gluten, SLS, and titanium dioxide.  Where it's lacking in harmful ingredients, it's bulked up with keratin, argan oil, and ginseng root extract.  Without going all hippie on you guys, I have to say, the more natural the product, the better!

Did it really cover your stubborn grays?

YES!!!  It totally DID!!!  Sorry, just a little excited over here..  As pictured above, the gray patch above my ear completely disappeared and matches the rest of my hair.  Usually with a dark dye, the gray hairs turn into a blondish color at best.  With MadisonReed hair color, the grays were fully covered and completely matched the rest of my head.

So, you were completely, 100% satisfied with the product?

It's the best product that I've used to date, including the hair salon color.  That being said, I would say that I'm 95% satisfied with the product.  MadisonReed advertises that your hair will be left feeling "healthy, conditioned, and shiny".  While it didn't damage my hair, it was definitely left a little dry and coarse compared to what I started with.  I slept with coconut oil overnight and after a second wash the texture of my hair improved.

Are you going to subscribe for regular shipments?

Yes.  I already subscribed for shipments once every 5 weeks.  If this isn't enough, I will modify it.

I would highly recommend MadisonReed Professional Hair Color.

Did you ever use boxed hair dye?

Monday, October 12, 2020

List: Top ten favorite fall decor items for the interior of your home.

With the change of seasons comes the change of home decor plus a deep clean.  For the first day of Fall, we put away our glistening mosaics and pops of teal.  We replaced them with golden hues and subtle indications of harvest.  While we'll put out a darker piece or two as a nod to Halloween, our goal here is to decorate for Autumn.  With a similar mindset, you can easily create a festive space that looks like an Autumn wonderland.  In this post, I'll share with you my favorite tips and tricks for this seasonal decor swap.

how to decorate your home for autumn to look like a magazine cover

Disclosure: This site contains affiliate links to products.  We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. Please note that I would only recommend products that I would use myself and all opinions are my own.

10 Fall decor ideas to transform your home for the season.

1.  Lanterns with Seasonal Fillers
One of our favorite pieces of decor that's become a staple in our home no matter what season are our two lanterns.  They're tall, off white, with four see through walls.  To transform them into Fall decor, we fill them with glass balls, artificial succulents, and gorgeous porporri balls made to look like Fall foliage.

2.  Decorative Golden Pumpkin Fillers
I have a supply of golden decorative styrofoam pumpkins in the attic that I take down every season.  I use them to fill the bowl on the coffee table, as a pop of color in the curio cabinets, and as a finishing touch to our cornucopia.  This simple idea sticks with the Fall team and the golden hues.  It also helps to tie together multiple pieces since they are scattered throughout the home.

3.  Glass pumpkin with Lid Filled with Candy Corn
Our glass pumpkin jar may look plain and boring, but once it's filled with candy corn, it turns a beautiful shade of orange and is quickly eaten by the kiddies!  For the Month of October, give a nod to Halloween with slipping some fake spiders in there that visitors can peep through the glass.

4.  Seasonal Dish Towels
With the change of season comes the change of our dish towels.  To go with our Fall decor, I have a show dish towel draped along the handle of our oven.  Additionally, we have solid colored dish towels that we actually use draped on a handle next to the sink.

how to decorate the interior for Autumn

5.  Display a Seasonal Cookie Jar
In the center of my long kitchen counter is always a beautiful cookie jar filled to the brim with the best candy!  Autumn is no exception.  I carefully pack away my regular cookie jar and put out a tasteful one in the shape of a pumpkin.  It's a simple swap, but the perfect piece of Fall decor to give the kitchen a mini makeover!

6.  Golden Sign For Centerpiece of Mantle
As part of our Fall decor, we swap our regular centerpiece for a wooden sign with gold writing that reads "Blessed" in script.  It's a beautiful piece and appropriately rustic for the Autumn season.  I also feel that the message is a simple nod to Thanksgiving.

7.  Fall Themed Lumbar Pillow
Another piece of decor that gets swapped for something seasonal is the lumbar pillow that I have displayed on the center of a decorative bench.  To go with our Fall decor, our regular lumbar pillow is replaced with a rustic looking one that reads "Grateful" in a golden colored script.

8.  Fill Vases with Artificial Fall Colored Leaves on Stems
Every Autumn I pack away my artificial flowers and refill my vase with artificial leaves with stems.  These leaves are gorgeous fall colors with hints of gold to match the rest of our Fall decor.  This simple swap transforms any vase so that it looks like it was made specifically to go with your Fall decor!

9  Display Ceramic Pieces that are Fall Themed
No interior Fall decor would be complete without a few festive ceramic pieces thrown in, tastefully, please.  My favorite place to display these pieces are on our fireplace mantle.  We have several blown glass pumpkins that match everything perfectly.  Additionally, we have our gold colored ceramic turkey and a ceramic pick up truck carrying an Autumn harvest displayed on our mantle.  These pieces are the most fun and the most unique to the season!

10.  A Cornucopia Filled with Gourds
It's tradition to display a cornucopia as part of your Fall decor.  You can choose to display a cornucopia that's filled with fake, ceramic gourds or you can choose a gorgeous one that's empty and fill it yourself.  We go with the latter.  We have a traditional Lenox cornucopia that I absolutely adore!  We fill it with dried gourds that I bought in bulk years ago.  The extra gourds are scattered throughout my home and used to fill other places such as candy dishes.

 We have learned over the years to use decorative items that can be transformed throughout the seasons like our lanterns, vases, and lumbar pillows.  This allows us to simply swap out items instead of rearranging everything.  Additionally, we learned to have recurring themes.  To simply say "Fall decor" is not enough.  We go with golden, harvest themed Fall decor which helps to make all rooms flow nicely.  This is especially important in homes like ours with an open floor plan.

No matter what you do, have fun with it and HAPPY DECORATING!

What is your favorite Fall decor?

Friday, October 9, 2020

Life: Friday Ramblings

outdoor harvest decoration ideas with hay

Disclosure: This site contains affiliate links to products.  We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. Please note that I would only recommend products that I would use myself and all opinions are my own.

Friday Ramblings

We're packing it up and getting ready to go to...
...Callicoon, NY!  We have vacation time to burn before the company eats it so we decided to spend a week in the mountains.  We'll be hiding from drama, chaos, and the hustle of life.  Every year we take the drive for the weekend, but this will be the first time in a long time spending an entire week there.  We're looking forward to it!

We went pumpkin picking...
...and ended up hauling home a lot more pumpkins than we anticipated.  The cashier accidentally rang us up for two bales of hay.  She couldn't give us a refund for the second one because of COVID, so we were told to take pumpkins equal to the value of the hay.  The end result was the above display.

I'm a little sad because...
...the heel to my favorite boots broke off!  They had a good run of at 8 solid years, but they were super comfortable and stylish.  I'm hoping that my father can save them so that they last a few more seasons.

Baby boy is looking forward to...
...a drive through Jurassic Park display!  I'm hoping that it isn't a dud because the ticket was $60 and Prince Charming would be really disappointed.

I'm absolutely ecstatic that...
...the fiscal year end is over.  I had so much work to do for the entire month of September that I was working from about 7AM to 2AM, including weekends.  To stay I am burnt is an understatement.

I'm totally IN LOVE with...
...this new lipstick!  I decided to ditch my typical lipstick of Outlast by Cover Girl because it was leaving my lips dry and peeling.  My husband surprised me with a new tube of lipstick in a brand I've never heard of.  The color is perfect, it stays on for hours at a time, AND it leaves my lips feeling moist.  Sometimes you need a push to break routine, but I'm glad he pushed because I'll now be loyal to Eternal Cosmetics!

What are your Friday Ramblings?

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

DIY: How to keep away hornets and wasps naturally.

Those of you that have been here a while know that I am  P E T R I F I E D  of bugs.  We're not talking about the average fear of bugs that most people suffer from.  I'm talking about a fear that I may throw a baby, scream in public, and run at the sight of one.

To keep my fear under control, we hire an exterminator to come at least twice a year.  He sprays the perimeter of the house, the lawn, and the bushes.  He even sprays the roof!  Seriously..  No matter how much spraying he does, there isn't much he can do about flying, stinging creatures.  He told me to do research on landscaping to act as a deterrent for hornets, wasps, and bees.  For the most part it worked, except for these GIGANTIC, jet black, ugly hornets.  They love our wood deck and would come to sunbathe on it all day long.

When all else failed, I decided to go to the all knowing gurus of all things.  I made a post in the local mom's group to see if they had any ideas.  Most of the mom's just sympathized and followed the post to see if there was an answer.  But, one mom, my new favorite mom BTW, had a little golden nugget of wisdom to share!

natural method to exterminate wasps; chemical free method to get rid of bees

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How to naturally deter hornets and wasps.

Wasps and hornets are territorial creatures that won't enter another hive's turf.   This means that the easiest and most natural way to keep them away is to fake them out. 

Not Fun Fact- Hornets are just another type of wasp.  They're bigger and fatter, but still a wasp.  

After doing some research, I found this mom's advice to be absolutely true.  The best way to keep wasps far away from you is to hang a decoy wasp nest.  The wasps will think that the area was already claimed by a different hive and leave it be.

Originally, I thought I would save a few bucks and ask my great aunt to knit me a fake nest.  Flash forward to when my exterminator told me it looked like a coconut.  It failed, miserably.

I didn't give up.  Instead I decided to do a little more research and found some realistic looking AND AFFORDABLE fake wasp nests.  To start, I only purchased one and hung in the far corner of my deck area.  Problem solved.  I waited two solid weeks and didn't see one single hornet or wasp.  After the initial two weeks, I purchased two more.  One I hung up near my feeders since they unfortunately attract all sorts of stinging things and the other I hung up near the front door.

Ladies and gentleman, I did not see any wasps for the rest of the season.  For the first time in a long time, I was able to sit outside and enjoy family time.  I got to play in the pool with the kids and I was able to eat on the deck in peace.  It was honestly the best investment that I ever made and it was a hell of a lot cheaper than an exterminatorI couldn't believe that after all this time there was such a natural, effective, and cost efficient way of keeping wasps and hornets away.  It makes me wonder why this method isn't more widely know.

I plan to leave it hanging all Winter long that way I don't miss the first bee that flies by next year.  I'll update the post at the point to let you know how it survived the Winter.

Please note, the decoy nest does not work on honey bees, bumble bees, or yellow jackets.  I still had all of the above visiting my plants and flowers.  Luckily, our visitors were mostly honey bees and bumble bees which really don't bother me.

Have you ever used a fake wasp nest?