Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 ends - post 200

 This is my 200th post finally. It will be brief, but I felt the need to get it in before it was a new year. 

 On January 1st I set my walking goal for this year. I decided to try and walk 2012 miles, like so many others. It would be a challenge, but I really wanted to see if I could do it. 

 As of this moment I have walked 2881 miles. 

 I did it  :) 

  Here is how my year started 

And here is how it ended 

There weren't a lot of changes, but there were a LOT of miles. 
  I also started running this year and ran six 5ks. These were all virtual 5ks and not races with other people, but I still ran them. My best time is 29:45, which I still find hard to believe. 

here is my funniest run (not really a 5k)




Bring in the new year - stats (Nexercise)

The Tale of the New Year's Fail [Infographic]
courtesy of

Friday, December 28, 2012

Healthy Choice Baked Entrees

I belong to Crowdtap and they had an offer for me to redeem a $1.00 off coupon to try the NEW Healthy Choice Baked EntrĂ©es. They offer freshly-made pastas, crisp vegetables and wholesome ingredients that have a baked-from-the-oven taste.

 We headed to the Commissary and I chose the Chicken & Rice Cheddar Bake and the Roasted Chicken & Potatoes. The price was very reasonable, even without the coupon.

 Last night I finally tried one of these. I chose the Chicken & Rice. Instructions were simple; just cut a slit in the cover and microwave. It took less than 4 minutes. 

 Everything mixed together well after it was cooked. I enjoyed the cheesy flavor and the combination with the rice and chicken. The more I ate, the more I wanted. Why does this always happen? Sometimes I really wish that serving sizes were larger, but in all honesty I am glad for the portion control. 

 Because of the cheese, this particular meal has 220 calories. The Chicken and Potato says 180 calories. 

If you like TV dinners, and you like HEALTHY, I highly recommend that you give these a try. Heck, I recommend them even if you don't like healthy. They have six varieties, like Four Cheese Zita Marinara (310 calories) and Fettuccini Alfredo Bake (270 calories) 

You can find them all listed here:

Let me know what you think  

Thank you to Crowdtap

(these opinions are my own)

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Six Word Saturday (video)





Thursday, December 13, 2012

No more naked oatmeal for me

Have you ever tried Torani syrup? They have over 120 flavors in Regular and Sugar Free varieties. Normally I am not a big fan of sugar free, but they are my choices now when I do purchase them in the store. We started purchasing them about a year ago. I love adding a splash to my morning coffee. Our Commissary only has about 5 varieties of flavors. I can't imagine how hard it would be to choose from over 120.

This is a sponsored post for SheSpeaks & Torani. They provided me with 2 bottles of Torani Syrups plus a recipe booklet, and coupons.  How lucky am I? 


Before I go further I would like to share a link with you so that you can save $1.00 on your next purchase. You can find the link below this pretty picture. 

I have never used the syrup in a recipe, but I am very tempted after reading through some of the other blogs. I did decide to dress up my oatmeal one night with the Salted Caramel. 

 I diced up some apple, and added some raisins. 

The Salted Caramel really added some great flavor. I love how it gives it a sweet taste and is sugar free. This was the best bowl of oatmeal that I have had in a long time. I will definitely be doing this again. 

That is how I have been enjoying the Gingerbread syrup. 

Here is my Torani collection. 

Now I am going to find some recipes. 
Let me know if you have a favorite. 

Thank you SheSpeaks and Torani 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012




Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Ali is my new therapist

Ali over at asked this today:

 Question – have you ever try to push negative feelings aside? is there something for you that triggers sadness around this time of year?
Since I couldn't fit this all in the comment section I had to make my own post. 

 Dear Ali, (my new therapist)

   I do try, but I don't like holidays.
   I also have Dad issues, and Mom issues, and all that comes with it.
 I didn't feel much love while I was growing up. My mother never read me a book, we never went to the store together, she didn't teach me how to be a wife or a mother. What she did teach me was that "do whatever your husband wants and you will be happy". I took this advice into my (first) marriage, and I failed miserably. 

He was abusive physically, verbally, and mostly mentally. After five years of this treatment I gained enough strength to file for a divorce. Short version is that he convinced me that I was worthless and a crappy mother and that our children would be better off in his care. He promised that he would drag me through the mud and force our children to sit through the court hearing while he shared how bad I was. I believed him and I surrendered custody, thinking that I would enjoy my time with them often. 

 In my mind it would go something like this: He would go to work and I would have the kids during the day. We would switch off on weekends, and everything would work out great. His family had money and I just wanted my girls to be happy. Somewhere I had learned that money equals happiness. Mistake number one. My girls were 3 years old and 13 months. Oh, it still hurts my heart to say that. My baby was only 13 months old.

My plans went nothing like I thought they would. Our divorce was finalized very quickly, because I asked for nothing. I was just a silly 23 year old who agreed to whatever he wanted. All I wanted at that time was to be out of an abusive relationship. I believed that I was bad and it would be wrong for me to raise them on welfare. (yeah, that's what I thought the only alternative was) Within weeks of our divorce it was very clear to me that he thought he still had control over me. I would call to talk to the girls and he wouldn't let me. Keep in mind that this was in 1987 and our divorce papers only said "reasonable visitation", which I found out later meant if he decided that I could see them. He never decided that I could.

Imagine being so close to them and not having contact. He basically told them that I left them and I would not be back. Every day I called and he would insult me and hang up the phone. The police said they could do nothing. They told me to get a lawyer and go back to court. I had no job, no support from family, and no confidence.

What did I do? I ran far away.

A man that I had met invited me to California to visit and bought me a plane ticket. Three months after my divorce I was on a plane, running flying 1200 miles away, and I never looked back. What was supposed to be a visit actually lasted 15 years, but that's a whole other story.

I still called the house to talk to the girls and he would tell me that they were better off without a mom. I seriously thought that he had told them I had died. Looking back now I cannot believe that I didn't fight harder. It pains me to know that my self confidence was so shattered that I didn't know that there was something that I could do. If I could go back I would slap myself HARD. I would also slap a lot of other people who I think should have stood up for me. Not one person in my life told me not to give up custody of my girls. Not one person told him that he needed to let me talk to them. Everybody accepted things as they were.

Birthdays and holidays would come and I curled up into a fetal position and bawl for hours. I screamed at the top of my lungs on the shower floor, begging for help from above. Many, many hours and days were spent with tears streaming down my face as I ached to be with my girls. I did send gifts and it was reassuring to me to know that they did receive them. Many tears were cried on those presents as I crafted them specifically for my girls.

Finally a day came when I would return to Nebraska. It had been 18 months but had felt like a lifetime. During that time I was finally able to talk to my girls on the phone and my mother would send me photos in the mail after he would bring them to her house for a visit. I cherished those pictures and hated them all at the same time. My baby girls were growing up without me, just like he said they would.

So here I am now, back in Nebraska, and I call him to ask if I can see the kids. After many tries and a lot of begging on my part he finally agrees that I can come to the house and see them. And this is where it gets even sadder for me.

My sister drops me off at the house. How strange it was for me to be there again. It was probably the most excited that I had been in a very long time. I was FINALLY going to see my girls. Seeing him repulsed me as all of the bad memories came flashing back at me. I entered the house and looked for the girls to come running into my arms, but they are nowhere in sight. And he says to me:

"I have changed my mind and put them to bed. I don't want you to wake them up and confuse them, but you can sleep here and you can see them in the morning." This hurts me, but it also makes perfect sense. (sigh) The last thing that I want to do is upset my girls or to confuse them. As I am writing this I want to scream out at the young me. Why didn't I run into that house and call for them? Why didn't I push my way into their bedroom and announce "MOMMY IS HERE!!!!!" Why did I let that man control me to this point? Those answers will never be known.

I cry and I beg some more, but he doesn't budge on his thoughts. He convinces me that I should sleep in his bed and he will sleep on the couch. We wouldn't want the girls to wake up and see me on the couch in the middle of the night would we? (yes asshole, we would) I want to leave, but I am so afraid that if I walk out that door I will never gain access again. Certainly I can last just one more night, right? So I go to the bedroom; the one that had so many bad memories, and I try to sleep. My girls are so close and yet so far from me.

Somehow I do fall asleep; I imagine it is from exhaustion. The next thing I know, he is there with me. He covers my mouth and demands sex, something that he had done often while we were married. He whispers to me in his evil way, telling me that I will ALWAYS be his and that he can have me any time he wants. I am so afraid to scream. So scared that the girls will hear my muffled cries and come to investigate. I fight for as long as I can and then I surrender to him, one last time. Once again he has crushed me and I feel that I have nobody to blame but myself. I believe what so many victims believe. He raped me and yet I felt that it was my fault.

And he says..."I hope that you can't get pregnant." I know that I was already pregnant before I had arrived, and I am thankful for that.

And then he says...

"I changed my mind and I don't think it is a good idea for the girls to wake up and find you here in the morning. Help me get them into the car so that I can take you back to your sister's."


I am numb, I am confused, and I am beat down to nothing once again. Within five minutes I am sitting in the front seat of his car with my baby girl (now she is 3 years old) laying in my arms, sleeping. I am kissing her face over and over, wetting her precious cheeks with my tears, but I am not speaking a word. I want to bottle up that moment and save it forever in my mind.

Our oldest daughter (now 5) is wrapped in her blanket on the back seat. (this was before the car seat laws). He pulls up to my sister's house and tells me to get out of the car. My oldest daughter wakes up and stares at me. I will never forget the way that she says "Momma??" as she looks at me. Tears are rolling down my face as I look back into her beautiful eyes and I tell her. "Momma loves you babygirl. I will see you tomorrow." As sad as that memory is to me, it is also one of my most loving memories. My babygirl still knew who I was, and that meant the world to me.

The "tomorrow" doesn't come, because he changes his mind again and forbids me from seeing them. I am sure that my little girl thought that she was dreaming it all. What a nice dream that must have been for her. I call the police and I ask for help, telling them that he won't let me see the girls. There is nothing that they can do. I do not tell them about what happened that night in the house, because at this point I still feel that it was my fault. Oh, the things we would change if we could go back in time, right?

  (side note: Years later I called the police department and filed a report. Too much time had passed to act on it, but I could still file a report. Some time after that he admitted to me on the phone that I did say no and he forced himself on me. I think he even said he was sorry)

Flash forward to July 1990.

   I visit Nebraska with my 2nd husband, my 11 yr old step-daughter, and my little girl who was celebrating her 1st birthday. It had been another 18 months since my last visit. There had been more talks on the phone and more gifts sent in the mail. My girls were now sending me drawings and postcards in the mail. Holidays and birthdays were still very hard for me, but my little baby girl had given me new hope. I call her my lifesaver. She taught me that I really was a good mom, and that I was needed.

The asshole tried to keep me from the girls, but I had grown a backbone and insisted that he let me spend time with them. It was a brief visit, maybe lasting a week, and I had an amazing time with the girls. They came to my mother's house with us and even spent the night. It was the beginning of new hope for me. It was so wonderful to have my three girls (four, counting my step-daughter) all together. We went shopping together and the girls were such happy little girls. To this day I am in awe when I think back to that time. If people saw us together they would have never known that we had been apart for so many years.

We kept in contact much more often, although I have to admit that I didn't call them nearly as much as they would have liked. Fear of the unknown always held me back. By that I mean not knowing how he would treat me when I called. Just hearing his voice on the phone would send my head spinning with flashbacks of so many things that had happened in the past. He often belittled me and I would pass the sadness and anger onto my new husband. Every 2 or 3 years I made it back to Nebraska for a visit. He stopped trying to keep them from me, and I stopped letting him control me. The girls got older and they were able to speak up and tell him when they wanted to talk to their mom. Yes, I still cried on their birthdays and holidays. There was always something missing.

  For many years I had referred to the older ones as my "other girls" and now I am happy to say that I have not used that term for over ten years. It always made me sad to say it, but that is just how it came out when I talked about them. It was very hard to try to explain to people how I could have two daughters that live in another state and even harder to explain that I gave up custody. I am sure that I was judged by many and a lot of people probably thought that I "lost" custody. I don't really know which is worse. I made the decision to not have custody?? Really?? Who does that??

Somebody who wasn't raised with confidence; that's who. Somebody who was taught to do whatever the man said; that's who. Somebody who was told that she should just keep her mouth shut; that's who.

Let's do another flash forward, shall we?

2002 I leave California, basically running again from a bad marriage. Things are much different this time. I am older, wiser, and I do not give up custody of our child. She is 12 at the time. She would have it no other way I am sure, because I am a GREAT mom. (smiling)

Because there is a whole other story in here that is unrelated I will skip to 2004, where I move back to Nebraska, and I am close to my girls. I am there when my middle daughter has a terrible car accident and we don't know if she will survive. Her father does his best to keep me from seeing her in the hospital, but eventually I am allowed to see her. Can you believe that somebody can be so cruel? I won't dwell on that, because she recovered fully and it all turned out fine. ASSHOLE !

My girls are all amazing and I have a great relationship with each one of them. I was there to watch my middle daughter graduate high school. I don't remember if I saw her first steps, but I did get to see her walk to get that diploma, and I was so proud to be there. Both of her sisters sat with me, and I have to admit I felt a little smug as I glanced at the asshole and his family.

He couldn't keep my girls from me. He couldn't kill the love that I had given to them when they we just tiny little girls. He may have broken down my spirit over and over again through the years, but he could NEVER remove the bond that I have with my girls.

I did leave Nebraska again in 2007, when my youngest daughter graduated high school She attended the same high school that I had graduated from 25 years prior. The same high school that my mother had gone to 25 years before me. It is still hard for me to be in that state. My whole family lives there, but I just can't do it. Holidays are still difficult and I am usually the last one on the list when it's time for people to make their rounds. It gets old.

The girls are all adults now and I have spent a lot of time with them over the past 10 years. You may have found this a hard post to read, and I must admit it was pretty hard to write as well. I cried some heavy tears as I put these memories in writing, but I found it very therapeutic. It makes me sad when negative things can hurt us so many years later. There are times when I don't understand how it all happened and in all honesty I really can't believe that this was my life.

If you know anybody who is keeping their children from the other parent, please try to talk some sense into them. And if you know anybody that is going through what I went through, please tell them to not give up.

I used to tell my girls that once they turn 18 nobody can keep us apart. Yes, we missed out on a lot, but we have an amazing future together.

Ali rocks..  go check her out

Saturday, December 8, 2012

My six words


Perimenopause is really pissing me off

or maybe it's my thyroid

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


Kikkoman Soy Sauce Brine 

 I finally got around to cooking that chicken, and it was possibly my best chicken ever. Let me take you through the process .... c'mon along 

 #1 Get yourself a chicken, remove the giblets, and rinse that naked bird. A little spank on the bottom, to show him who is boss, never hurts.

#2 Since I am a rebel I did not use the recipe that I found online. I will share it with you here and tell you my changes. 

~  1 gallon of water (easy breezy right?)
~  3/4 cup Kosher salt  (I used 1/2 cup of table salt instead)
* recipe says that you can use 25% MORE table salt if you don't have kosher salt. I could not get myself to use over a cup of salt, mostly because it would have depleted my salt inventory, but also because THAT'S A LOT OF SALT!!
~ 2/3 cup sugar
~ 3/4 cup Kikkoman soy sauce (pert near the whole 10oz bottle)
~ 1/4 cup Olive oil 

#3 You put all of that in your big cooking pot and stir to dissolve the sugar and salt. Photo included in case you don't know how to stir.  

#4 Grab that chicken and give it the plunge

bye bye little chicken

#5 Make room in the refrigerator and take a nap for 4 hours 

mmmm  cupcake !!


mmmm  beer  :) 

#6  Wake up from long nap, remove chicken from it's bath, rinse and pat dry. (the bird)
#7 Prepare as usual - here is a peek at the spices I use to rub down my chicken, inside and out. 
     2 tsp salt - 1/2 tsp white pepper - 1 tsp paprika - 1/4 tsp pepper - 1/4 tsp garlic powder - 1/2 tsp onion powder

Normally I would bag the chicken and put him in the refrigerator for 4 hours before cooking, but since the little guy had already spent half the day inside the refrigerator I spared him that. 

#8 Cook at 350 degrees. 20 minutes per pound, plus additional 15 minutes for good measure. If you know your chicken, you will know when it is done. 

It will look like this when you cut into it

Can you say JUICY ??!?!?!

Can you say DELICIOUS ?!?!

Can you say...



#Recipe #JuicyBirdProject  #smiley360 #ThatsAlotOfhashtags

I received a free sample courtesy of Smiley360 
 (in all honesty, the free sample got lost in the mail, but I think they are re-sending)

All opinions written here are my own - imagine that

Monday, December 3, 2012

I've committed myself



 “5 by the 5th” 
 a virtual race series in which we run a 5k or 5 mile run 
by the 5th of each month (for time or for fun), 
from January to June, 2013.


Resolution Run and a Virtual Run Series

Registration is open!


Thank you Laura at

Sunday, December 2, 2012

six word saturday






* average time per mile=18 minutes = 152 hours = 6.33 days of walking

total for the year = 2657 miles = 33 days spent walking


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Is this a review blog now, or what?

Hey everyone !!
 I belong to a group at and they send out products to be reviewed. Since I am doing my reviews for them I figure I may as well write about it here as well. Perhaps somebody will read something that they like. you just never know. 

 Things in my life have been different over the past few months and I am really trying to get back into my routine, which seems kind of funny to me because I never really had a routine to begin with. 

 There have been a few things happening with my family and I thought that I would open up here on my blog and share those, but I find myself staring at the screen while many thoughts rush through my head, and I have not been able to share. Perhaps the time will come. We will see. 

 We have had sadness that no family should have to endure, but I believe that we are on the mend. Through it all I have learned a few things and I have seen an amazing growth in certain family members that was long overdue. I am hoping that things will continue to improve and I am keeping faith that the new bonds that have been made in my family will stay strong.  

 I would like to thank the followers/friends that have messaged me and told me that they missed me. I appreciate the time that you took to send me a message. 

 and now...  on with my little review. 

 I received a packet of Grape Seed Eye Cream and my first thought was "wow, thanks for the one application", but I had to take back my words as soon as I used it. I literally only used a couple of small dots to apply this to my eyes. It seemed a bit watery, but it also had a nice creamy texture to it. After dabbing it around my eyes I could feel a little tightening in my skin, which is always a good thing at my age. (a few years shy of 50)

After a few minutes I did notice a small amount of burning in my eyes, but I think that it may be because I rubbed my eyes a little after the application. I would warn people from doing this themselves. 

I went to the web site to check the price and I think that it is a very good price at $18.99. Normally I don't spend much money on my skin care (maybe I should), and I think that this price is very reasonable. 

My little packet is going to give me quite a few uses, and although I couldn't tell what size bottle they were actually selling on the web site, I do know that it would last for quite a long time. 

If I were shopping for an eye cream I would certainly think about purchasing this item.

I also received the new Avocado Night Cream from Nature’s Gate. Who doesn't love avocado products!?! 

 It sells for $16.99 on their web site and I was given a $2 coupon, which makes it an awesome deal.
The product is made with Avocado Oil, which is known for its high Vitamin E content, and I think most people know how important that is for our skin. 

My first impression as I applied it to my face was that it was nice and creamy and not real thick like other night creams that I have used in the past. A little bit goes a long way and my sample will last me for probably a week. 

As I was rubbing it into my face I started thinking that it was feeling a little greasy, but then it became a nice soft sensation as it soaked into my skin. I could see it improving my dry spots instantly, and that is a huge plus for me. With the colder, drier days coming, this night cream would be a great addition to my beauty routine. Hmmmm .. do I have a beauty routine?

It has a pleasant smell that is not overbearing, which is great when I am going to apply it right before bed. Sometimes I put my night cream on and when I am laying in bed the smell will bother me. With this product I will not have to worry about that. 

As I said earlier, I think that it is a very good value and a jar of this would last for a long time. The only downfall that I noticed was that I kept wanting to touch my face because it felt so smooth and I need to keep my hands off of my face so that I don't break out. 

You can find out more information about this product at their web site

 Also, you can join swaggable yourself if you like to try new products.

ta ta for now   :)

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Green Mountain Coffee Fair Trade Certified coffee

This is a review for Green Mountain Coffee® Fair Trade Certified coffee

In celebration of Fair Trade Month this October, BzzAgent sent me samples for the Green Mountain Coffee Fair Trade campaign. I was familiar with the Green Mountain name, because it is my preferred choice to use with my Keurig.

 I had not paid much attention to the "Fair Trade" information and didn't know when I joined this campaign if in fact it would be the same coffee that I was used to. After reading up on it I learned that fair trade refers to paying farmers a fair wage for their coffee for one thing, and creating more environmentally-friendly farming practices. This is important for the whole farming community. At a time when we are focusing on local businesses I found this very interesting and appealing.

 I received three boxes, each containing four k-cups inside. Inside each box there were also some great coupons that I can either keep for myself or pass on to friends. I have given a couple of the coupons away and the others have found a home in my coupon binder, just waiting to be used. 

I love seeing the name of my blog on packages, so I had to capture a picture. 

Wild Mountain Blueberry was certainly full of flavor, but not my favorite at all. My guy did enjoy it, so he was very happy to taste test it for me. He did enjoy the "burst of berry flavor" (ok, he didn't really say that, but he did enjoy it) The aroma that filled the kitchen was divine and I wanted to brew more, just so that I could smell it. 

The other three flavors were Vermont Country Blend ,Colombian Fair Trade Select, and Extra Bold Sumatran Reserve. Each one was enjoyable to me. I had not realized it before, but now I know that I like my coffee strong.

The Extra Bold Sumatran Reserve was so good. I could certainly use it as my wake up coffee. I did not add any extra creamer or sugar than I do in the milder flavored coffees. I enjoyed this coffee so much that I found myself drinking it very fast, when normally I sip my coffee.

If you are a coffee drinker with a Keurig machine I recommend the Green Mountain Coffee Fair Trade coffee k-cups.

I am not obligated by either company in supplying a favorable and/or unfavorable opinion. The product was received at no cost to me, and I am not being compensated for this review.

You can "Like" Green Mountain Coffee® on Facebook 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Nobody has ever seen this picture

One day I found a bottle of wine. 
 A month later it was time to drink it with the most wonderful man in the world. 
    He added Sprite, and it wasn't bad. 

The next day I tried to drink it "straight" and the only way that I could do it was to plug my nose.

 It really works. 

 I can multi-task like crazy, but at the time I couldn't take a picture of myself plugging my nose with my fingers and drinking at the same time so I had to do this : 

It really hurt. I wouldn't suggest doing it. 

Six word Saturday - on Sunday's Sunday
but here are my 
six words for Saturday 

I've walked 2500 miles this year !!


Returning home Wednesday after a three week visit with family. 

Super excited. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Swaggable review- Mario olives

This is a different type of post for me. I belong to a few groups and survey sites that send me free items to try. One of these sites is called

 At this site you sign up to test new items and if you are chosen they will sent you a sample to try. When I say sample, I mean sample; not a full size product like some companies. I laugh about it when something new comes to my door, but I think it is fair since a person should be able to get a feel for the product with the sample size.

 A few weeks ago I received a small envelope of MARIO OLIVES. It says right on the package that they are pitted and packed loose without the juice. I love that saying "loose without the juice"! They are seasoned with herb and spices.

I finally opened the package today to dive into them. One serving size is 5 olives and they provided me with 2 servings. The part that I liked least is that one serving size is 30 calories and the calories from fat is 30. This is the main reason that I do not eat olives in general. BAD CALORIES....BOO!

I overlooked this and did my part as a good reviewer. 

When I set out the olives on my plate I could see the olive oil glistening on them, making them very appealing to the eye. The first thing that I noticed is that they were very plump with lots of flavor. The seasonings were not overpowering at all. 

They were packed well in the envelope that they came in. Although you can see the olive oil on them, they were not slimy to the touch. I did have olive oil remaining on my lips when I finished, but I kind of liked it. 

I ate the first 5 and did notice a little zing in the flavor. There was no bad aftertaste and I was left desiring more. I had no choice but to eat the other 5 olives. Now I was really happy that they did not send me a whole jar. 

These were very tasty and I would purchase them for the occasional olive craving that I do get once or twice a year. They would be a nice addition to a party tray. (If only I threw parties)

On a scale of 1-10 I would give these olives a 10. I really did enjoy the flavor and they did not leave a bad taste in my mouth like some green olives have in the past. I am not sure if they are on the shelves at the grocery store at this time, but I do recommend that you try them if you come across them in the future. 

Stay tuned for more reviews. 
I was not compensated for this review, but I did receive a free sample.
 These are my own crazy thoughts and nobody else's.