Monday, September 15, 2014

We all have secrets

A little story I am working on.

  In my small bathroom, hidden behind the locked door, I freed my wounds and stared at them. These were the same hands that had zealously gathered blackberries with my grandpa and had been toughened by the thorns. My "giftly tools". Nightly baths would soften my tender tips so that the morning sun could take me back to my grandpa's side in the garden.Helping on the farm had prepared me early for disappointment, as well as the importance of patience. I thought back to the planting of my first tree.

 "But grandpa, you said it would grow! You promised!" I stammered with shaking lips and wrinkled brows. Blonde curls stuck to my forehead from my sweaty attempt to be a tree grower. I looked first at the two foot tree that I had watched daily for weeks, then up at my grandpa's face to wait for his answer. His callused hand rested on my shoulder and he was close enough for me to smell his hard working body.

 "Listen, Little One." And he stayed quiet like he always did when he wanted to be sure I was paying attention."You have the seed, right?" I looked down at the ground and nodded my head, but refused to speak. My eyes swelled up behind the lids with determined tears, and like the big girl that I was, I held them in. "And I gave you the tools, correct?" I sighed and nodded my head again. "The rest is up to you. It won't be 'your' tree unless you do the work. And it won't grow overnight."

My  young body slumped as I realized that even if my grandpa did have a secret tree growing method, he wasn't sharing it with me. My grandpa didn't hear my final words that day because I had whispered  them just low enough so that he couldn't hear me.

 I repeated those words now into my mirror with those same swelled eyes. "We all have secrets, grandpa."

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

It's never as good as the first cup

Shuffling my songs and using the first line as my writing prompt.
Song = Bubbly
Artist = Colbie Caillat
First line = "I've been awake for a while now. "
The alarm goes off at 5 am and he rises from our bed, leaving me snuggled under the blankets for 15 more minutes. After he dresses and prepares our morning toast and coffee, he wakes me with his soft words. "I have coffee for you, my love." The same seven words that wake me every morning. The seven words that I will never tire of hearing. 

We spend about 30 minutes together before he leaves for golf. Some days I am not far behind, as I head downstairs to my job. Today is not one of those days. Today I will relax and give my back one more day to heal. I will refill my coffee cup and smile as I think of him and wonder why the second cup never tastes as good as the first. It must be his touch that makes it so special and unable to replicate.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Cottonelle’s Summer Clean Care

Last month I was chosen for the Cottonelle Clean Crew — Sample And Share sampling.

I wasn't sure if I was ready to talk bums with anyone, but I know that I was ready to receive some Cottonelle products !

The party kit items arrived quickly, and the ladies at the front desk were all wondering what I received. I had a feeling I knew what I would find inside, so I gave them a little peek.

Once I arrived home I was able to take everything out of the box and check it out.

FOR ME: Cottonelle Clean Care 4 Pack   I love the ripples on this toilet paper. It reminds me of tiny little pillows. As soon as I put the first roll on, I noticed that I did not have to use many squares to get the job done. In the past I have been guilty of using too many squares, so it has become something that I am very aware of now. Here is my Instagram post. Feel free to follow me at RonaleeAKArose

I have to admit that Cottonelle is not my normal choice of toilet paper. I have been stuck on another leading brand for many years, and really never thought about changing until now. I think that Cottonelle TP is durable and soft. I don't worry about tearing when I use it. Did I mention how soft and thick it is?  I like having the confidence when I wipe, and there are no worries with Cottonelle.

Because my normal brand has not failed me I will probably start price comparing and purchase the one with the lowest price. The luckiest man in the world may be more stubborn, so we will see if I start buying his and hers, to go with our his and hers bathrooms. (don't be jealous)

I also received the Cottonelle Fresh Care Flushable Cleansing Cloths Dispenser

I had a coupon for this when I was on my last shopping trip, but I thought it was too big. We are used to the smaller container, and we sure don't like change around our home. I used my coupon for refills, and got a great deal on those. (Thank you Cottonelle !)

Now that I have received this new dispenser, it doesn't seem too big at all. I showed it to the luckiest man and he thought that it should play music when you opened it. (bring on the toilet songs)

Not only did he like this new dispenser, but somehow it ended up in his main bathroom. (Notice the manly stuff and the paper rolls under)

It looks like I will be using my new coupon for a tall dispenser of my own. Personally, I think it looks better in my bathroom. (Notice the woman's touch, and the paper rolls over)

I also received Cottonelle Fresh Care Flushable Cleansing Cloths Portable Soft Pack and $1.00 Coupon for myself. The soft pack is going into my purse for that next girls night out, and the coupon will be used very soon.

FOR MY FRIENDS: (2) Cottonelle Fresh Care Flushable Cleansing Cloths Portable Soft Packs (2) Save $1.00 Coupon on any ONE (1) dispenser or refill of Cottonelle Flushable Cleansing Cloths (42 ct. or larger)

I just had to give one of these to my co-worker Marilou. We were talking about toilet paper, when I told her that I had received this sampling pack, and she told me that her boyfriend doesn't even use toilet paper. She informed me that he only uses the wipes.         
      This is normally when I would say "Too much information!", but I did start the conversation. The next time I saw her at work I gave her a coupon and the soft pack. She hasn't said what her boyfriend thought of them, but I didn't really ask either. How do you ask a question like that? "Hey Marilou, how's your boyfriend's wiping going?"

The other coupon and soft pack, went to Jack. Those that read my blog and my reviews already know that Jack is my go-to person. He has been using wipes for years now and it made perfect sense that he should get one of the gifts. He says that he would never go back to just wiping with TP again. Yes, he uses both. No, I didn't ask him how he used the soft pack. I do know that he bought a refill pack at the commissary, with his coupon, because he told me what a great deal he got.

Crowdtap has been very generous with this sampling. I wish that it wasn't so crazy at work right now, so I could dedicate more time to my review, but work is money, and with money I can have more Cottonelle !

I really do like the Cottonelle brand. I am surprised how much I like the toilet paper, and like I said earlier, I will purchase it if the price is right.

We have been using the wipes for over a year now, thanks to a previous sampling from Crowdtap. I don't know if I would have ever thought to buy them for myself before, but they are an item that you will always find in our home now. I like the feeling of being fresh, and the Cottonelle wipes give me that feeling.

I have seen other uses for the wipes, other than on our bums, but I have not used them for anything outside of the restroom.

 How comfortable are you when it comes to #LetsTalkBums conversations?
 How does you paper roll?
 Ever tried the wipes?

This is my honest opinion and I have not been compensated for this blog post.


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Kleenex and Crowdtap

     I was selected to sample Kleenex tissues this past month from Crowdtap. WOOHOO !!! A few months ago I got flagged, so it was a nice surprise to get this chance to redeem myself.
 I remember when I picked up my box from the front desk and I told the ladies how excited I was to get the Kleenex. I mentioned that I had a cute cover that I had crocheted years ago and that the box would fit perfectly under that cover.

Isn't this cute??

When I got home and opened the package I realized that it was actually one large Kleenex box instead of two smaller boxes.

Well, that's not going to fit

 At first I was a little bummed out, but the box was so BIG I couldn't help but be happy. Wow, 210 Kleenex in one box !

One of the first things that I noticed was the Box Top points on the box. I was sure to clip that and put it in my collection. My friend sends them to her daughter, and I am always eager to share mine with her. Box Top for Education is a great organization for our schools.

The second thing that caught my eye is that the box is made from 100% recycled paper. Three cheers for helping our environment !! I am proud to use products from a company that takes these extra steps.

  With one quick tug, I pulled out my first tissue. Immediately, I could feel it's softness, which is a big plus with tissues. We don't want roughness on our faces. First, I did a little strength test to see how durable it felt and it definitely passed the test.  I didn't have a runny nose or anything, but I slid the tissue across my nose to test it's softness. It passed that test as well.

For days, the box sat in it's place, on the table, and waited to be used. I knew that my time was limited for sending in a report, but I just didn't seem to have a reason to use the tissues. Where are the allergy symptoms when you need them? My Crowdshare postcard had a few suggestions for me, like "clean a makeup brush", "make a paper wedding veil for your daughter", and "cover up a sudden sneeze". I waited for the time to use a tissue, and it just didn't come.

Crowdtap notified me as the deadline neared and I began to panic a little. I had mentioned the sampling to my co-workers and everyone seemed too busy to discuss tissues with me. July is not the time to idle chit chat in the hospitality business. Our ten hour days were really making this a hard challenge for me to complete.

Saturday came, and so did the allergies. I stuffed a few tissues into my pocket and I prepared myself for the itchy eyes and the sniffles. The sneezes came, and I captured them in my Kleenex tissues. It wasn't much, but I smiled because I finally had a reason to use a tissue. I told my co-worker how lucky I was to have my Kleenex ready and she said that she really liked Kleenex. It wasn't much talk, but I smiled, knowing that I did get to talk about the sampling again. I just remembered again how soft the tissues were when I used them.

Sunday came, and it was an emotional day for me. My youngest grandson turned one year old. He lives 1200 miles away, so I wasn't able to be with him for his birthday. I made a phone call after I had gotten home from work, and I sang to him on the phone. I am not even sure if he heard me, or if he was eating the phone, but it made me feel good to know that I tried.

My daughter and I talked, and before I knew it, I was in tears. I won't go into details, but things were brought up that made me sad. Oh, how I tried to not cry, but the tears had a mind of their own. I miss my daughter, and I miss that little guy.

After our phone call I sat down on the couch and I cried a little more. I reached for the Kleenex and I covered my face while I tried to calm myself. My nose started running, as well as the tears, so I dabbed at my eyes and I blew into that tissue.
 My instagram video - via twitter, because I couldn't get it to upload to blog.
Three tissues later I felt better. Not only did the Kleenex tissues come in handy to dry my eyes and to clear my nose, but they also got me to laugh a little.
 I had FINALLY gotten the chance to use my sampling and I liked it !
The tissues really are soft, strong, and absorbent, like they claim to be. When I shop for tissues in the future, I will definitely consider the Kleenex brand.

Thank you Kleenex, and to Crowdtap for choosing me to test these tissues. I will be spreading the word !

I was not compansated for this blog post. This is my honest opinion.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Ten things I never told my mom

Today I am sharing a few secrets that I never told my mother.
In no particular order.

I puffed on my first cigarette when I was about 10 years old. My friend took one from her grandma's pack and we smoked it in the back yard.

When I was in junior high I thought it was neat that I got attention for having a sprained ankle, so I rubbed my ankle against the edge of our cement stairs and tried to make it sore enough to need an ace wrap. (it didn't work)

 Once, I took $10 from my mom's purse, and I let my brother get blamed for it.

In 9th grade, at our last gymnastics meet, I told the coach that I was sick, because I was tired of only competing against one other girl in competitions. It ruined my chances of getting acknowledged at the year-end athletes banquet.

When I was a cheerleader, the captain approached me and said that the other cheerleaders complained that I smelled bad and maybe I needed to wash my uniform or take a shower more often. I was crushed.

One time I got so mad at a family down the street that me and a friend snuck out, when she was spending the night, and dumped a whole bunch of kitchen spices and condiments into their gas tank.

  When I was in high school, I joined some classmates at Godfather's pizza after a football game. Weeks later I found a nasty note in my purse that some of the girls had written to me that night, in my own notebook.

When I was left at a concert in 11th grade I got into a van with some "roadies". I thought they were going to take me home, but the driver got on the ramp to the Interstate and was heading out of town. They stopped and let me out of the van after I started freaking out. I ran, in the dark, for nearly a mile (or seemed like it), to a hotel, and called my father to pick me up.

I used to smoke in my bedroom and blow the smoke out through the window screen and when that got old I just took out the window screen and climbed out to smoke on the front porch.

My father had a collection of dirty paperback books that he kept in the bathroom cabinet, under the sink. I used to take them to my room and read them. This is how I learned to speed read.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Buffalo Pork Meatballs


Today I saw a recipe for buffalo chicken meatballs, but I altered it so much, I ended up with a brand new recipe. These meatballs are delicious !! 


prep time : 10 minutes
cook time : 20 minutes (350F)
yield : 36 meatballs


1 pound ground pork
1 egg
3/4 cup breadcrumbs
1-2 carrots
1/4 onion or more
1 small yellow squash
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup hot sauce, divided  (recipe at bottom)
1 tablespoon butter


Preheat oven to 350F
Line cookie sheet with foil and coat with nonstick spray
Cut the carrot, onion, and squash into large chunks and place in blender or food processor
Pulse into small bits
In a large bowl, combine the vegetable mixture, pork, egg, breadcrumbs, garlic powder, salt, and 1/2 the hot sauce Gently fold together to combine, but don't over-mix
Form the mixture into small meatballs. The recipe I saw said 24, but I was able to get 36
Bake for 20-25 minutes
Add the butter to the remaining hot sauce. Add more butter if you want a milder sauce. Use this to drizzle over your meatballs when serving.


Hot sauce :
2 Tablespoon cayenne pepper
1/3 cup vinegar
3 tablespoons water
1/4 teaspoon salt

mix well

Refashioned some pajamas

 I had such a good day today, doing something that I have not done in ages.

 Today, I sewed.

A few days ago I went to Kmart and found some Joe Boxer pajamas on clearance for $1.99. I decided to buy three sets, but since I live in sunny (usually) Florida, and because they were extra large sizes, I knew that I would have to alter them a bit.

Today I didn't have to work, so I got right down to business.

Here is a photo of the pajama bottoms. A little big don't you think?
(added photo again after it was deleted somehow)

I tried them on, inside out, marked them, and made my first cut. There was no turning back now !

I got out the iron, and pinned the hem in place.

They were now perfect in length, and it was time to tackle the waist and sides.

It felt so great to try them on and see how well they fit. Ta - Da !!


I had a few options for making a top, but I really couldn't decide what I wanted to do, and I wasn't ready to cut into that remaining checkered fabric. After looking through my sewing box, I came across this black turtle neck that had been in the closet for years.

I know it looks like my shorts are uneven, but they must have been bunched up.   whoops !


Photo: Shhh, don't tell Jack that my new top used to be his turtle neck shirt.

I cut off the sleeves and used the bottom cuffs of the bottoms to add a little trim.
I got rid of that turtle neck and did a quick blind stitch around the neck line.
I also took the shoulder seam down a few inches.

 Loving my new lounge wear !

Photo: Whipped up a top to go with my new bottoms. So comfortable!

I have a lot of material left to play with, so stay tuned.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

2014 5K series

Thanks to a friend, I have found out about a 2014 5K series.

The dates for the races are on the following weekends:

  1. March 22-23 
  2. April 26-27 
  3. May 24-25
  4. June 21-22
  5. July 19-20
  6. August 23-24
  7. September 20-21
  8. October 18-19
  9. November 22-23
  10. December 20-21
You can find all the information RIGHT HERE

Are you going to join ?


Friday, January 10, 2014

Starting Over – 100 Word Song

Every stinking time I leave a comment on a blog post the Google thing wants me to share my last post and it is downright depressing because the previous post is nothing more than a blah blah blah post about ranch dressing (no offense Kraft).

 It was past time to write something new, so here it is.

Tonight I found myself on this blog called My blog can beat up your blog. You know you would have clicked it too.

I do love a challenge and there was one staring at me.

My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog

"You have 7 days from NOW, to write 100 words inspired by John Lennon’s Starting Over. Use the medias that are social to tell a friend or 100 about your post. With the new year upon us, let’s get more people to play 100 word song. Have fun."

Here is the song, and my 100 words will follow. Follow the link and join in if you dare. You only have 5 days now.

Starting over?

No thank you, John Lennon. I don't want to.

Things are perfect just the way they are.

If it's not broken, don't fix it, isn't that what they say?

He says that our love is special; hasn't it always been?

Ten years of growing with him at my side. 

Yes, time does fly by so quickly, but it also stands still.

That touch. That look. That smile.

Time stands still.

My wings are clipped. Nowhere to fly.

 Forgive me world.

I am preoccupied right now with his love.

Absorbed with being in love with him.

Not starting over.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Crowdtap - Hidden Valley® Ranch Fest

Blogger is giving me errors, so this will be quick. Why does this happen when I am on a deadline?


  Many weeks ago I received my Hidden Valley® Ranch Fest party pack through Crowdtap. My original party was scheduled for mid-November, but it had to be changed because the package had been delayed. It included a Hidden Valley Team Ranch T-shirt, that I thought was way too small for any of my guests. It was quite a surprise when I realized that it fit me. I'll even share a photo later to prove it. Me, a small? I'll take it !

The party pack was full of goodness. A bottle of Hidden Valley Ranch Original Dressing, which arrived just as we were running out in the house. SCORE !

 As Crowdtap would say, "It's time to tap that."

Look at all that yumminess.

There was a packet of Hidden Valley Original Salad Dressing and Seasoning Mix, a packet of Hidden Valley Original Ranch Dips Mix, packets of Hidden Valley Farmhouse Originals Italian with Herbs Dressing, and a party insert with activities, recipes, and a coupon. It also came with samples for my guests, inserts with coupons, and a surprise gift. The surprise gift were two very handy chip clips. The luckiest man in the world even commented on how sturdy they were, and he knows his chip clips.

 (shown here with my carrots)

As I already said, my first scheduled party was canceled and I was a little bummed about that. We were having a luncheon at work and the boss was letting me bring my ranch party there.

It was getting closer to the deadline for this gathering and I just couldn't get anybody to commit to coming. People sure are busy during Christmas time, and it made it a bit hard to get them together. There was food to be made and fun to be had, so I whipped up some snack ideas and invited my peeps to stop by for a taste.

First we had the traditional carrots and dip and chips and dip.


I didn't have a lot to offer for salads, so I displayed the items in a fun way. Yes, I play with my food. Three of my guests ate the "faces" and left the salad plain. I tossed mine all in the bowl and smothered it with added ranch dressing.


I tried two different ideas with potatoes. I sliced a few, coated with oil, and baked in the oven. They were topped with salsa, sour cream, and cheese, and of course dipped in ranch dip.

These were a big hit.

The guest inserts included some great recipes, so I gave those a try as well.

Original Ranch Roasted Potatoes
1/4 cup vegetable oil
    1 package Hidden Valley Original Ranch Salad Dressing & Seasoning Mix
     2 pounds small red potatoes quartered

Place the potatoes and oil in a ziploc bag. Shake. Add the salad dressing mix and shake again. Bake at 450 for 30-35 minutes.

I used russet potatoes and they came out delicious !


Here is the other recipe that looked too tempting to pass up.

Seasoned Popcorn
Sprinkle buttered popcorn with  Hidden Valley Original Ranch Salad Dressing & Seasoning Mix

Super easy and I can't believe that I have never tried it before. It is a new favorite of mine.

Everyone seemed to like the popcorn. I came back to take a photo and this is what I found.

You can find more recipes on their site.


Dear Crowdtap, The next time I have a party I promise to invite people who love the camera as much as I do. Spoil sports !!

I received my Hidden Valley® Ranch Fest party pack through Crowdtap. This review contains my honest opinions, which I was not compensated for in any way.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

It's my first time - Ketchup With Us

 Ketchup With Us
I am joining in this week  with Michele and Mel, who do a great job keeping me entertained. You should really check them out.
'KETCHUP WITH US' - Prompt 32 
 Please link up a holiday post, old or new. 
Piece of cake. But not fruitcake. 
Here is my flashback from around 1996. This is my youngest daughter. You have to excuse my singing, but her expressions make it worth it in my opinion.

I had no idea what she was doing.
 To understand a little more what "ketchup with us" is about you can go here.
Come 'Ketchup With Us' on the 1st and 15th of every month in 57 words or less. We look forward to seeing you there!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

I took it to the beach


I am in the middle of a new Mamavation two week challenge. You may remember me talking about mamavation in the past. I can't remember how many of these challenges I have done, but they have always given me a great boost. Click the link if you are interested. There is so much information about food, health, and fitness.

Tuesday is my day off from work and it was day two of the challenge. I watched the clock move through the day and yet I didn't move off of the couch. Morning came and went. The afternoon came and was going fast. It was very easy for me to think of reasons why I could not workout.

Finally, around 3pm, I dug in and decided that I was going to do it. Not only was I going to get this workout done, but I had a brainstorm to do it on the beach. It had been days since I had been out there.

 The luckiest man in the world was home sick with a cold, so I kissed his cheek and prepared to head out. My head was spinning as I tried to think of what I needed and the best way to take it with me. Perhaps I was procrastinating a little.

With my backpack filled, I was ready to go.

 As soon as I started the 1.5 mile walk to my favorite place, I was regretting my decision to do this. The backpack felt like it weighed 15 pounds, although I knew it could only be half of that. Each step brought me closer to my destination and just a little more excited to do this.

 Here is the view that I had when I arrived.

 I emptied my backpack on the wall and stalled  took inventory.
Immediately I realized that I had left the cheat sheet at home that I had so carefully prepared to take with me. How would I know what my workout was without it? A part of me was excited that I wouldn't be able to do my workout. Can't possibly do it if I don't know the moves right?
There it was, still at home, waiting to be picked up. 
 My phone does not work very well when I am out on the beach, especially when I am trespassing on Air Force land. (fist pump and much love to the Air Force and all military) I figured it couldn't hurt to try, so I crossed my fingers and tried to log into the mamavation site. 

 What a bummer nice suprise to see that it worked and I was able to download the workout. Now I was truly excited and rather proud of myself for getting it. I even took a screenshot of the page, in case I lost Internet.
The workout started with foot fires for 90 seconds.
My naked toes love the sand.
There is a wall that stands about 3.5 foot tall, and that is what I used for the pushups and triceps pushups.
I only brought my 3 pound weights with me (I'm not crazy). Because of this I actually did 2 variations of the shoulder presses and dumbell curls.


 By the end of the three sets I was feeling GREAT !! I took a few more pictures and then I took a little run. (and by little, I mean I set up the camera and ran a big circle)

The sun was setting fast, and I knew it would get colder and dark soon, so I gathered up my things and headed back. Instead of putting the weights in the backpack I carried them in my hands and it made for a very nice extra boost for the 1.5 mile walk back home.
 I am so glad that I did this workout on the beach, and proud of myself for not getting distracted by the scenery.
Farewell sun; see you next time.
* today I did the same workout at home, using my 6 pound weights, and it felt pretty darn good.