Tuesday, October 23, 2018

A book that might suck you in: "My Russian Grandmother and Her American Vacuum Cleaner"

I finally had a chance to read My Russian Grandmother and her American Vacuum Cleaner by Meir Shalev. I was so excited to pick up the book because I had never really read a memoir before. The title seemed so interesting and I really wanted to know what made this guy's grandma and her vacuum so amazing that it needed to be written about. There were so many positive reviews about the book that I was excited when I picked up my copy of the book.

My Russian Grandmother and her American Vacuum Cleaner is about exactly what the title says it is. Meir's grandmother and her vacuum. The book also talks about how his grandmother treasured the vacuum cleaner. 

I feel almost everyone has a family member who's like Grandma Tonia, who cleans all the time and isn't very friendly. But relating to Meir wasn't enough to keep my attention.  While yes it was about grandma and her vacuum, but it also jumped around a bit. It felt like every other chapter repeated itself. I'm not sure if that's how most memoirs are, but this isn't a book that I enjoyed.

This book wasn't very entertaining or interesting to say the least. It was hard to finish and couldn't keep my attention long enough. If you like memoirs and want to take a chance by reading this book, just heed my warning a little bit. This book will not suck you into it

Sunday, October 21, 2018

For the Love of Breakfast Bowls: A breakfast bowl update

Earlier this week I talked about the mix and match meals and promised that I'd make my own to prove that it was as easy as I claimed for it to be. This morning and for dinner, I did that exact thing. I actually made myself a breakfast any time bowl. Believe me the mix and match recipes that are found online really do work and they make such an amazing meal that I wished that I thought about making more of these mix and match meals in the past.

3 Tips about Making Your Mix and Match Meals   

🍎It's okay if you don't have an ingredient: If you're missing a minor ingredient, don't make a big deal over it. I forgot to buy apples and my bananas weren't ready yet. The bowl was still delicious. 
🍎Buy a couple different options: If you get bored easily when it comes to foods, mix it up a bit. for instance, instead of making a breakfast bowl with oatmeal  and coconut make it with brown rice and raisins or brown rice and coconut. 
🍎Try to find a second mix and match meal if you can: Try to get enough ingredients so that you can make a second or a third mix and match meal if you can. It doesn't always have to be the same mix and match meal idea. I have the ingredients to make a mix and match cereal bar if I really wanted to. 

How the whole process went

I was so excited to make my breakfast bowl this morning, I couldn't wait to use the ingredients I bought form the store, that I almost felt like a child at Christmas time. All I wanted to do was grab my ingredients and go to work on my project. While I love breakfast, and breakfast foods, breakfasts and I haven't been on the same page for a little while. This was an amazing.

There was nothing difficult about making the breakfast bowl. Everything seemed to have it's place, the almonds gave it a nice crunch (along with protein), the almond milk along with the syrup both gave it a bit of sweetness in fact I'd prefer it over breakfast cereal any day. I really don't know why I hadn't tried this exact recipe before!

What I used

1/2 Cup of Quaker Oatmeal
1 cup of Vanilla Almond Milk
2 tbsp of almonds
1 tbsp of raisins 
1 tsp of Maple Syrup

My ingredient list was a little bit different from what is pictured below, only because the banana wasn't ripe enough as of yet. But I did use everything else pictured. I also changed some of the ingredients from what was listed on the breakfast bowl chart such as using regular raisins instead of golden raisins and vanilla almond milk instead of unsweetened and it went absolutely great.  

What I thought about my first bowl

Breakfast and I are soon to be friends again! I think what turned me away from a good breakfast, was finding something that tasted good, and wasn't a sugary breakfast cereal. This bowl and the other bowl I plan on making tomorrow are going to be a staple at breakfast time for me. I may even venture into adding green tea to my bowl soon instead of almond milk. I do have green tea after all! 

Saturday, October 20, 2018

5 lessons learned from YouTube

Has YouTube ever taught you anything valuable? My whole life pholosophy has been to learn new things as often as I can. Life is all about learning things, and teaching others. Now with YouTube I've learned things I never new possible! With that said I wanted to share my top 10 lessons that I've learned from YouTube. Have you have any lessons from YouTube? Leave your answers below! I love hearing what you've learned.

I was going to do a few lessons from Good Mythical Morning, but that felt like cheating to me, because. I could really do a whole blog post about all the lessons I've learned from Good Mythical Morning. I have learned a lot by Rhett and Link's daily shows. They took all of the guess work out of what happens when you put stuff in bleach or if you can make butter out of Starbursts. But to make it tougher on me I limited this list to my top lesson from Good Mythical Mornincg.

1. Frogs Leap and Toads Hop From Snake Discovery
As much as I love frogs I had no clue one main difference that should have been obvious to me was that frogs leap and toads hop. In all honesty the whole video was a brilliantly put together video of all the differences between frogs and toads.

2. Spending $10 a month on food is actually possible. One Cute Couponer
I was skeptical about spending only $10 a month for food. Like all of you, I thought, "This girl is crazy there's no possible way." But it can be done! I don't know why I haven't attempted to do something like this in the past. Sure I remind myself that I live in the middle of nowhere, and there's not many stores to choose from, but come on! I have a Dollar General, Family Dollar, Dollar Tree, Meijer, Walmart, and a few local stores. They all take coupons! I can do it too if I try!

3. Make Each Day Awesome Brian Barczyk
There's actually not an exact video for this lesson. It's something that appears at the beginning of Brian's videos, that he also mentions a lot during a lot of his videos. It's just one of those lessons and reminders that I do need to try to make each day awesome. There's no reason why someone shouldn't try to make each day awesome. We all have our bad days, and we all get depressed, but that doesn't mean that we shouldn't make each day awesome!

4. People are actually afraid of their home. It's called nostophobia. Matthew Santaro
I don't have nostophobia, nor would I ever want to be afraid of their home. But realizing that there is a fear like that out there, and that people actually have a fear like this, makes me feel more sympathetic towards people and their fears. All of his videos about bizarre fears are interesting, but nostophobia, is one fear that really interests me.

5. People give away some weird stuff on Craigslist Good Mythical Morning
This is the one Good Mythical Morning Lesson that I promised. I learned that people can get some weird stuff on Craigslist for free. It makes me want to search my local Craigslist, to find something weird. I don't think I'll ever find a free heart stool, but it's pretty cool!

Friday, October 19, 2018

8 Cute No Carve Pumpkin ideas to get your creative juices flowing

Did you know pumpkins are members of the gourd family? A gourd is a plant with thick fleshy skin that's usually eaten. I'm one of those people that's not a fan of pumpkin spice, and I'm not a fan of craving Pumpkins. Oh don't get too worried about me, I'm not afraid of losing my Halloween and fall spirit. I have a different plan when it comes to pumpkins. I want to decorate them.  There's tons of no carve Halloween Pumpkin ideas, so many in fact, I'm sure there's something that I could get inspiration from, or anyone else who wants to fallow suit might get ideas from.

Here are some of the cutest No carve pumpkin ideas that I thought were totally adorable, so cute that it makes me happy seeing some of the amazing talent that people have when it comes to no-carve pumpkin decorating!.

1. Ice Cream Pumpkins
Summer has faded into fall, but that doesn't mean that it's too late to have ice cream. Well maybe not this ice cream. It's melted into a mess all over the ground! Can ice cream be a new piece of Halloween decor? I so hope so!
Tragic ice cream cones - a GREAT DIY no carve pumpkin idea!
Smart School House
2. Bubble Gum Pumpkins
If you're not a fan of ice cream, you may be a fan of bubble gum! This idea is so adorable. To be honest, I might forget that this was an actual pumpkin, I'd try my hardest to use the gum ball machine, just to realize, "Oh yeah, it's not a gumball machine, it's a pumpkin!"
My Cherry Topped Life

3.  Candy Apple Pumpkin?!
One of my favorite things about Halloween and fall is the candy apples. The caramel and the apple always go great together, especially when they're on a stick covered in candy. But because I'm trying to watch what I eat, even during Halloween time, this might be a better idea!
4.  The Pumpkin King Himself
What's Halloween without The Nightmare Before Christmas? It's my favorite movie of all time! Plus he he looks so easy to make I could actually decorate a pumpkin like this. Take a chance and roll the dice! I mean take a chance and make this cute little Jack Skellington pumpkin
As The Bunny Hops
5. Doughnut Gourds 
A gourd is a pumpkin and a pumpkin is a gourd, but did you know a gourd can be a doughnut? it can? It may not be a sweet or edible doughnut, but it's a doughnut! With 12 gourds, you can make a dozen doughnuts, a dozen gourd doughnuts!    
Miss Malot
6.  BB-9E 
Fun fact: This isn't even made out of real pumpkins! It's foam pumpkins! That means your BB-9E won't rot, and you don't have to throw it away after fall is over! It's so cool! 
BB-8's dark side counterpart, BB-9E Pumpkin
Desert Chica
7.  Emoji Pumpkins
Imagine being able to express yourself through pumpkins? If you love Halloween, you can make a heart eyed emoji pumpkin. If you think about being flirty during Halloween, make a winking emoji pumpkin. There's so many emoijs to choose from!
No Carve Emoji Pumpkins. Kid friendly pumpkins that are SO fun and so easy to make for Halloween.
8.  Batty Pumpkins
I saved the battiest pumpkin last! They are really batty because they are batty pumpkins! Black batty pumpkins of doom! Maybe not doom, but they are cute pumpkins nonetheless! 
Family Fun Go

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Tag Thursday: Spooky Halloween Tag

Time to get spooky! We're only 13 days away from Halloween! I can't wait. Halloween is one of my favorite holiday's not because it's spooky, not because I can dress like I normally do and people ignore me, and it's not just because of the candy. It's because we're not worrying what to get our mom, dad or children for a "Halloween present," and because I'm able to dress up like a dinosaur and people aren't looking at me like I've lost my mind.

But on the second thought, I love the spooky, I really do! I love the movies and the candy. I love Halloween and I wish that we could actually make every holiday Halloween, even though I love holidays. It's quite the conundrum. It's just like me to think about Halloween and all the reasons why it's my favorite holiday! Since it is Tag Thursday, I found one of Mama Kat's YouTube tags but written by Simply Kenna. So the utmost respect goes to both of the lovely women.

The Spooky Halloween Tag Questions:

1. Favourite horror or Halloween-themed song?

It would definitely be They're Coming to Take me Away by Dr. Demento. I don't want the song to be confused with the Butcher Babe's cover of the song. I love the original. 

2. Name something you wouldn’t want to run into in a dark forest or in an abandoned building?

A spider. Yes, a spider. I don't mind the thought of ghosts or any animals jumping out after me, but I'm going to admit I'd be frightened if I saw a spider. Even in my apartment the thought of spiders scares the ever-living daylights out of me.

3. Have you ever played with a Ouija Board?

I actually have. It was a Mini Ouija Board. It was back in the 90's and early 2000's when my grandma had a Mini Travel Ouija board. And... I know people wanted to hear some horror stories about what happened when I used it. Sadly, I don't have any, the only thing scary about using the board was the day we used it, the sky got cloudy for a few moments. That's it, nothing too scary.

4. Favourite horror monster or villain?

Sam from Trick 'R Treat. He's so cute, and yet plays the horror monster roll very well. If you don't follow the rules of Halloween, bad things will happen and Sam will make sure of it.
See the source image

5. The creepiest thing that’s ever happened while you were alone?

It wasn't too long after my grandmother passed away that I was starting to miss her. I went to the living room of my family's house to see her sitting on the couch. I at first chalked it up to my imagination playing tricks on me or perhaps I walked past the picture frame that was on the wall of my grandparent's bedroom. But when I realized there was no picture of my grandma sitting how she used to sit on the couch, I was sure to chalk it off to my mind playing tricks on me.

I went to grab my phone, from the area where I saw my grandma, just for the battery of my phone to shut off. My phone never shut off like it did then, almost like the battery of my phone died, but I just charged it. To make things a little stranger. I remember looking over at my cat who was staring right where I saw my grandma at with a weird look in her eyes. Needless to say, it wasn't scary as much as it was mind boggling. 

6. If you were dared to spend the night in a “haunted house”, would you do it?

Yes, I'd love to do it.  I have always wanted to ghost hunt. To be alone in a house that's supposed known to be haunted would be a playground for me. Unlike a lot of people, I don't want know told too much about what happened in a haunted building, or stories about what people see or hear. I want to experience it myself. 

7. Are you superstitious?

Not at all. I used to be, but realized the things people say are superstitions are kind of silly. For instance, I'm not going to believe that a black cat crossing my path equals bad luck, when other countries see it as good luck. I feel that people like to put too much emphasis on superstitions than they should. I don't know how many times I accidentally broke a mirror or whatever if may be. 

8. Do you ever see figures in your peripheral vision?

I have many of times. It's not the figures that I'm more concerned about though. My husband and I have both seen what we call the "shadow cat". The cat has been known to show up a few times. While yes we have cats, we have two cats, but this cat is of a different size than the cats that we have. That to me is quite odd. 

9. Which urban legend scares you the most?

La Llorona "The White Lady" scares me. I don't know if it's just a motherly feeling I get when I hear the story, or just some sympathy for the woman. But to think that misfortune comes to those who see and hear her. I wouldn't want to know if the legend holds any truth. 

10. Do you prefer gore or thrillers?

Gore is my first choice hands down. I love blood and gore. I think when it's done correctly. While I'd love to justify my reason a little deeper, I just can't. I don't think that I can you?

11. Do you believe in multiple dimensions or worlds?

I actually do believe in multiple worlds or dimensions. There so many different scientific theories going around and to think about it. There was even an article on Nova's website that was talking about the whole theory of multiple dimensions. Because I have yet to see a dimension. I'm not going to even guess much about how they act. I do believe that there has so be something else out there. 

12. Ever made a potion of any sort?

I have not made any "potion of sort" while I do have some books on my bookshelf that explain how to make potions. I don't know how to do them. Not saying that I wouldn't ever make a potion. I just don't need to nor do I really know how to something like that.  I do have some cute Halloween potion bottles around the house though! They're petty cool!

13. Do you get scared easily?

I don't get frightened easily, but if someone were to jump out in front of me or something jump on to my bed I get scared at least for a second. It isn't like if I saw a ghost that I'd be running around like Scooby-Doo and Shaggy run.

14. Have you ever played Bloody Mary?

I have not. This is one of those games I just can't do. I am actually afraid to have a mirror in my bedroom at night because it gets dark and all I can think of is Bloody Mary. Even now as an adult, I know that it's all a wives tale, children's game, but it still scares me.

15. Do you believe in demons/the devil?

I believe in evil entities. But I don't know if I could ever slap a label on them or say that "That's the devils's workings." or "It's the demons." I don't have capacity or the knoweldege about evil things to even try to understand something of that magnitude.

I guess the best way to answer it is that I don't know if "The Devil aka Satan" exists, but I am aware of the things that people label as evil every day.

16. You’re home alone but you hear footsteps in your house, what do you do?

If I'm home alone and hear foot steps I'm not going to get too scared. I do live in an apartment building. There's people around us. I've learned that most of the sounds I hear when it comes to footsteps are not anything paranormal or scary.

17. If you got trapped in one scary movie, which would you choose?

Because I stated it before, and because it's my favorite Halloween movie, my choice would be Trick 'R Treat  and I sure hope that I wouldn't die. I now how to follow rules. I've always had Halloween spirit.
See the source image

18. If you could only wear one Halloween costume for the rest of your life, what would you be?

I would like to dress up a sugar skull. Yes a sugar skull. I love the idea of painting my face white, adding temporary sugar skull tattoos and dressing up just to be like one of my favorite things about Halloween.

19. would you ever go to a graveyard at night?

Yes I would. The scariest thing about graveyards at night are the spiders. I haven't seen any graveyard ghosts act malicious or anything of the sort. During the day there's families of the dead that scare me more.

20. In a zombie apocalypse what is your weapon of choice?

I'm trying not to think of weapons used on the walking dead, a lot of their stuff is great an all, but I need something that I know would help, that wouldn't get warn down by chopping up zombies. My weapon of choice is the sledge hammer. It's not going to dull every time I kill a zombie and the weight enough should be able to knock it down first before I kill it. 

21. Would you rather go to a Halloween party or go trick or treating?

I'd rather go trick or treating. I get tons of candy if I go door to door! Who wants to stay at one house and play games and get little teeny tiny bits of candy? Not I. Sounds like a waste of time. Oh and walking from door to door can get me some well needed exercise! It's a two for one deal!

22. You’re in a horror movie. Are you the final girl, the first to die, the comic relief, the skeptic, the smart one, or the killer?

I'd be killed first. I don't think I'd make long at all. I'm not smart enough to understand horror movies, but then again I'm not stupid enough to do what all the dumb girls do in the horror movies do. It's one of those type of things I guess I'd find out what would happen if my life was a horror movie.

23. Do you have to watch something happy after watching a horror movie so you can go to sleep?

Nope. I don't get that scared after a horror movie. I really can't think of any horror movie that scared me that bad. I love horror movies. They don't scare me like they scare other people for some reason.

24. While watching scary movies, are you the person who yells at the characters, the person with their eyes covered the whole time, or the person who falls asleep?
 Neither, I'm not going to be hiding but I'm not going to fall asleep. Who the heck yells at the characters anyway. The most comment I make during the movies is that the character is an idiot and they'll soon be dead. I actually did that while watching Friday the 13th. I Yelled at the characters because they knew they'd be killed. Then for some reason I lost all sympathy for the character.

25. Are you the one who gets scared, or the one who does the scaring?
I'm the one that gets scared. If I was the one that did the scaring, I'd probably scare myself. It has to be people who know me really good to scar me, as I'm sure it's the same for most people who being scared.

26. Favorite scary book?
I'm quite a strange human being but when it comes to scary books I still stick to R.L. Stein I loved the Fear Street series. Those books were the books that scared me a lot. I don't know how many times I was actually firghtended after reading one of his books.
See the source image

27. How old were you when you saw your first horror movie?
I was 6 when I saw my first horror movie. The first horror movie that I saw was Child's Play. My sister loved Child's Play. Now here I am years later wanting to own my very own Good Guy Doll.

28. What was your first Halloween costume?
I think it was the typical pumpkin. Most kids were pumpkins for their first Halloween if I remember correctly. I don't think I have any photos of my first pumpkin costume but I do have a photo of me in a pumpkin costume when I was 3. So it was the first time I actually trick or treated. That's cute anyway!
Image may contain: 1 person

29. What are you going to be for Halloween this year?
I actually have a list of ideas as of right now that I want to try out. I hope to eventually have an answer by Halloween. I will give a bit of hints along the way! So be prepared!

30. If you could have a spooky Halloween pet (black cat, owl, bat, rat, wolf), what would you pick?
They saved the best for last. I'd love a pet cat, rat and bat.It'd be hard to pick which one out of the three that I'd pick. I love my "Halloween Animals" all year long. But if I had to pick one at knife chainsaw point, it'd a big beautiful rat.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Why Mix 'n Match Meals are my favorite Meals

Do you know what I dislike about recipes? Not having enough freedom to chose what I want to put into my recipes. I like to have fun, change my recipes up a bit, that's why I'm happy that internet has mix and match recipes. Mix and match recipes that actually taste good, so that I don't have to try to make something all on my own. Oh and the coolest part about all of this is that once you can tailor it to the way you like it and make your own recipes inspired by the suggested mixing and matching.

Why I love Mix and Match

I love cereal bars, but unfortunately, the location I'm in doesn't really have many healthy cereal or granola bar options. Most are pumped with sugar, gluten and are really not worth the stomach pain later on during the day, but with a little bit of a guide I have new options, and if I shop smart, I can make a few different combinations.

This Mix-and-Match your own Bar from Prevention is a good example of what someone can do with a Mix and match recipe. Choose your favorite from the first three categories and stir them up! The recipes aren't rocket science, and if you have to you can change the original recipe on the page from wheat flower to arrowroot flower or use brown sugar instead of honey.  

Who doesn't want their own chocolate chip, hazelnut cereal bar with berries or a granola bar with mangoes, cashews and coconut? There's a whole new world of taste that you can create all your own, with very little help. 
Mix and Match Energy Bars

It's great for children 

If you're a parent and your kid wants to pack their lunch for school, but you don't want to do the whole sandwich and fruit thing, there's even mix and match school lunches for your children like this one for a whole grain bowl from Parent's Magazine. I myself actually want to make the brown rice, spinach, green peppers, and tomatoes, with beans and salsa!

You can even include your kids into designing their own meals and offer them a choice ingredients, that they're actually going to enjoy! Mom to Mom Nutrition has a great go to wrap recipe for your children to create some of their favorite combinations! 
Need a little variety in your school lunch packing routine? Change up your weekday wrap sandwich with one of these mix and match recipes! 

Buying in Season

If you're short on cash or want to save money, buy the foods that are on sale when you make your mix and match recipes. Another recipe that I wanted to try was the breakfast bowls from Prevention and I really want to save money by buying what's on sale at Meijer, but of course you can do it with any mix and match recipe and whatever stores you have in your area.  I already have rice, oatmeal, brown sugar and maple syrup, so it's going to make my breakfast bowls a whole lot cheaper.

My in season breakfast bowl idea:
  • 1/2 Oatmeal
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • grated apples
  • 2 tablespoons almonds
  • 1 tablespoon golden raisins
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
The apples are on sale and so is the coconut milk, the only things I need to buy at full price are the raisins and the almonds and I have my self a breakfast bowl that will last me and most families at least a week or longer. It's simple and it's cheap.

It's a great idea for "bar ideas"

If you're having your own get together and are unsure about what the serve, find one of the mix and match recipe lists, grab ingredients from the list, and nobody is going to be the wiser. If I went to a party or get together and they had options like building your own rice bowl with ingredients from a list, I would have no clue! The only difficult part of that get together will be the clean up! 

I don't know why it's taken me so long to get on board with the whole mix and match recipe thing, but now that I know that there are so many mix and match recipe ideas out there, I know that they're going to be a very important part of my journey to eating healthier and feeling a whole lot better, while saving my money.