Monday, November 19, 2018

Weekly recap: 11/19/2018

It's getting to be holiday season, friends! American Thanksgiving is this week; I have everything I need to prepare and take to my mother's on Thursday. This has always been my favorite holiday; the food and family togetherness (and the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade!) brings back warm childhood memories of helping my mom prepare a meal for twenty or more people every year. I still like to show up early and help her put on the finishing touches, and my daughter might like to be put to work this year! She enjoys helping in the kitchen whenever possible.

This week was a busy one; I feel like I barely had any productive downtime whatsoever. My daughter only has a month left of the fall session of preschool, and then she'll be off until February, so that'll be a nice break in all the rushing. I'm very much looking forward to that!

Let's get started on recapping my week, shall we?


This was about the busiest day of all this week!

I started off the day with a lot of right hip pain (I'm finding it seriously helpful to document my pain here. When a doctor asks how I've been doing, it's really nice to be able to say, "Well, this day was good, but these days were bad," so I'm going to keep this up). After doing my basement chores of scooping the litterbox and refilling the Air Washer, I took out the trash and recycling, then swept and mopped the living room floor. My daughter and I ran to the Dollar Store for bleach and a spray bottle, and then at home, I ran the empty dishwasher with a cup of bleach in the top rack. We'd been growing some...mold? fungus? Something gross, and I wanted to kill whatever it was off before wiping it all down.

While that ran, I took out the bathroom trash and cleaned off half of the kitchen table (the other half is covered in a pile of my husband's stuff; I'm not touching that!). I tidied up a little of my kitchen pantry shelves; a bunch of my husband's stuff has been piled up in front of them for ages, making them difficult for me to get to and put stuff away in. I carried the bread machine, extra bleach, and the giant stock pot downstairs to the laundry room where I store it, and I brought back up a giant overstuffed basket of clean laundry on the way back.

My daughter and I folded those two loads of laundry (she loves to help!), and then I put them away in their proper places. I grabbed the other load of dirty laundry and took that down to the laundry room, where I got it going in the washer. By this time, my back hurt pretty badly. :(

Along with helping to fold laundry, my daughter also loves to decorate our cats.

The dishwasher had stopped by then, so I sprayed the doors and bottom with a bleach/water solution and wiped away the whatever-it-was until it looked sparkly clean. I switched the laundry, took out more recycling, and during naptime, I did a gentle yoga video. Afterwards, I restarted the dryer (I REALLY need to get that dryer vent cleaning kit- the store is in a place that makes it difficult to get to during anything other than early morning hours, and I haven't had the time to get there lately) and got my PT exercises out of the way for the day. When my daughter woke up, I gave her a bath and clipped her nails, but while she was playing in the tub, I took advantage of the time and wiped down all the flat surfaces in the bathroom and scrubbed the toilet. I cleaned her entire room AGAIN (it took about 40 minutes), and then it was time to pick up my husband.

After dinner (leftovers), I cleaned up the kitchen, took the garbage and recycling to the curb, and made a batch of Rice Krispie treats. I folded and put away another two loads of laundry, ran the dishwasher, and then watched two episodes of Supernatural with my husband before bed.



Not a good day for pain. I had a deep bone ache on my right side that persisted throughout the day.

In the morning, I unloaded the dishwasher, gave my husband a ride to the train, and dropped my daughter off at school. Immediately after doing that, I stopped by the Dollar Store to pick up the dish soap that I'd forgotten the day before, ran home to plop some beans into the Instant Pot, and read my library book until it was time to pick my daughter up again.

After I scarfed down lunch, I prepared a black bean/chickpea/pinto bean and sweet potato chili in the Instant Pot, and then it was time to head off to a check-up with my spine doctor. To be honest, it was kind of a pointless appointment, as there's really nothing they can do for me. "Just keep doing what you're doing," was what I got, and then we drove the half hour back home. I helped my daughter clean up her toys and she and I farted around a bit around the house until it was time to pick up my husband.

I dozed a little in my chair after dinner, and did my PT exercises that evening before watching two episodes of Supernatural with my husband and going to bed.


My day started when my daughter's bedside Frozen table started singing at 4 am and I had to get up and move the stuff that was pressing the button that makes it sing. GOOD MORNING!!!

Not a great day for pain here, either. I had a lot of pain all across my lower back that was a little sharper at bedtime.

I made out the grocery list and did my basement chores, cleaned up the kitchen, started the dishwasher, brought in the trash and recycling cans, took the recycling out, swept and mopped the kitchen floor and the living room, sprayed down the kitchen counters, used the Dust Buster on the stairs and the shelves where we keep our shoes, and then it was time to drop my daughter off at school. After that, I drove to Aldi, where I picked up the extra things I needed for Thanksgiving. I drove home, put the groceries away in the house and in the garage freezer, and then it was time to pick my daughter up from school.

We stopped by two other grocery stores, and I think I'm all stocked up on frozen veggies for a while. (I think. That's a little bit of the problem of having the freezer in the far back of your dark, unheated, unattached, horrifically messy garage; when it gets cold out, it's difficult to inventory). At home, I put all the other groceries away, emptied and refilled the dishwasher, and during naptime, I did a yoga video.

I ended up dozing in my chair for a little bit, as I was completely exhausted (those 4 am wake-ups aren't all that fun!), and then I made a batch of dough for Double Chocolate Chip Brownie Cookies (I used enough oil for one batch and then tossed in some defrosted pumpkin from the freezer; this worked out quite nicely!). I made a cheesecake in the Instant Pot, then I cleaned the kitchen and ran the dishwasher again. I put the leftover soup and chili on the stove to warm, and then it was time to pick my husband up.

After dinner, I unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher, wiped out the bathtub and bathroom sink, baked the cookies (the dough has to be refrigerated before cooking), scrubbed out the kitchen sink, and did my PT exercises.

I exercised; the cat watched PBS's Nature: Squirrels. No joke, she watched the entire show.

And my husband and I watched two episodes of Supernatural before bed. The cat wasn't as interested in that. ;)


A pretty decent day as far as pain levels go!

I cleaned my daughter's room, started a load of laundry, cleaned off my kitchen island, vacuumed the rug under the kitchen table (somehow my mom got the vacuum to clean a lot better. I have no idea how, but I very much appreciate it!), and managed to braid my daughter's hair. I'm not great at doing hair, but I'm trying to get better and so far, it's turning out okay. She said the girls at school liked it. :)

I switched the laundry and drove her to school, and then I had to drive to the bank to cash a check that had been sitting on the kitchen island for a bit. After that, I drove to the library, where I picked up a book from interlibrary loan, and by that time, I only had about 35 minutes before it would be time to pick my daughter up again, so I settled into a comfortable chair to read and watch the snow fall. 

She enjoyed watching the snow falling too. "Snow TV," we call it. :)

During naptime, I started dinner prep on One Pot Spicy Thai Noodles. I didn't have mushrooms, but I added some red peppers and baked tofu, and I tossed some sesame oil and extra soy sauce in the seasoning. I kind of had to prepare this in parts, working on it here and there throughout the afternoon. It's super delicious and really good cold the next day, too. Highly recommended! :)
Seriously, zucchini take like FOREVER to cook. Why is that???

In between cooking, I ran the dishwasher, did a yoga video, folded a load of laundry, unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher, cleaned up the kitchen, and did a 10 minute abs/core workout that always makes my abs hurt the next day (which obviously means I need to do it more often!). When it was time, we picked up my husband. I read a little of my library book, then put dinner away and cleaned up the post-dinner mess. I picked up my son at school from the field trip he'd been on, and my husband and I watched an episode of Supernatural before bed.


My pain level was okay in the morning, but increased throughout the day.

I did my basement chores, loaded and ran the dishwasher, swept the living room, and then dropped my daughter off at school (Friday isn't a normal schoolday for her, but this was a makeup day from a few weeks ago). I got gas, then came home and did two short yoga videos, about 26 minutes total. I'm trying to do at least around 30 minutes on the days I can fit it in, and I'd like to add some cardio into my schedule....

I picked my daughter up from school, and at home, I registered her for the spring session of preschool and then spent some time reading about cast iron skillets in preparation for being able to use mine. I've never owned one before, so this is all new to me. I unloaded the dishwasher, organized my kitchen island, and made a Christmas gift for my mom (she doesn't read my blog, so it'll still be a surprise). And then it was off to the doctor- AGAIN!

This was just a regular yearly checkup with my family doctor. I need to schedule an appointment with an ophthalmologist for an ongoing issue I've been having with my eyes, and I have to stop by the walk-in clinic for bloodwork (which I'll do on Tuesday of this week). I got my flu shot, and when we talked about my SI joint dysfunction, my doc said, "Yikes, that's really painful, and really hard to treat." Never good to hear, is it?

At home, my daughter had received some swag from the lovely folks at Nature Cat in recognition of her Nature Cat Halloween costume


I'd known about this for a few weeks after they contacted me via Instagram, but I hadn't told her, so she was delighted by the surprise, and stuffed Nature Cat has gone on several adventures with her so far. Huge thanks to the people at Spiffy Pictures for the swag and the great show! 

I tried to schedule my ophthalmologist appointment, but the website wouldn't let me (HUGE exercise in frustration! I hate talking on the phone, but the website almost never seems to function), I heated an Aldi flatbread pizza, and then it was time to pick up my husband. We raced home to scarf down dinner, and then it was off to the library, where we attended a program by The Frog Lady (what she calls herself!), all about amphibians and reptiles. SUPER cool and interesting, even if snakes freak me out like no other creature. For real, I was having hot flashes during the show.


This guy was cool, though. I liked him.

At home, my husband and I watched two episodes of Supernatural before bed. 


Pain was moderate throughout the day.

The day started off snowy. It was a heavy, wet, slushy snow, and it fell most of the morning. It didn't cover anything for too long, but it was really pretty to watch. My daughter had gymnastics, so we did that. When we got home, she wanted to play outside, so my husband took her out and I cleaned all the things that needed to be cleaned around the house, straightening things, picking up random things that cluttered flat surfaces, cleaning up my daughter's room, using the Dust Buster on the stairs and in corners, just all those fun random things that eventually have to be done.

During naptime, I did a 40-minute yin yoga video. I really enjoy the yin yoga style, as it's slow and great for deep stretches (which I need. Apparently SI joint dysfunction is responsible for tight hamstrings, which is nice to know, because I always blamed myself for just being crappy at stretching. It's nice to know that it's not actually my fault!). My cat likes it as well. During the long pose holds, she assumes I'm furniture and hops up on me, which had me laughing. :)

Afterwards, I finished a library book and started another, and I threw together a batch of breakfast sandwiches for dinner. I did my PT exercises and swept the living room floor, and my husband and I watched two episodes of Supernatural before bed.


Another day, another new hairstyle for my daughter.

She really liked this one. :)

My right hip bothered me all throughout the day. Hmph.

We went for lunch and a visit at my mother-in-law's, where I chatted and knitted my scrap yarn blanket. When we arrived home, I'd wanted to do a yoga video, but my husband took a nap, and I didn't want to close the door and lock the sleeping cat in, because the cat would throw a fit- you know cats and closed doors- so instead I ran the dishwasher and settled down to work on this post. ;) 

My sister-in-law and her son came over to hang out, and we talked over the screeching of our kiddos as they played. We had takeout from a local restaurant (mine wasn't very good!), and I picked up my son from his friend's house. He asked me for help with his Music Theory homework and I said of course. The assignment was to begin transposing a Christmas carol (changing it from one key to another), and I figured that would be no problem for him, but...I discovered why he's doing so poorly in the class. He apparently has some MAJOR gaps in his technical knowledge, gaps that I didn't think he had.

So, when my son was in sixth grade in Tennessee, he signed up for band- it was the first year that it was offered, and he was really excited. He played my old flute and he loved it, like LOVED it. This kid lived for band class, and his teacher loved him right back. Band was his thing. Seventh grade was the same, he adored it. We moved halfway through the year, and that's when the downfall happened. Up here, band starts in fourth grade, and the programs are much more intense. He was in class with kids who had been playing for years already, when he had just started the year before. To say that this killed his confidence is downplaying it. Band actively began to make him miserable, and it broke my heart to see him so unhappy over something he had loved so much. He finished out band in eighth grade and switched over to choir for high school.

Nowadays, choir is absolutely his life. He loves it, loves singing, loves music, loves the friends he's made there. He's super involved in the entire choir program and was really looking forward to taking Music Theory this year (it's all I heard about this summer). But he's struggled in the class from the beginning. I thought it was just because it was a difficult class, but after sitting down with him tonight, I realize that he's missing a TON of musical foundation knowledge. So much so that it's obvious why he's doing so poorly, and I'm ashamed that I missed it. Once I explained the basics of transposing- how and why- he got it, and he was able to write out the notes without my help. But we're going to fix this. I'm going to head off to the library sometime on Monday to grab a few basic piano theory books and start cramming his head full of that. He's in this class with kids who have been intensely studying music since they were nine (the class is for juniors and seniors), so he's got quite a bit of catching up to do, but I think I can help him get to a more level playing field. It's going to take a LOT of work, and so after I helped him, I sat down to start reading through the copy of Piano for Dummies that I bought him last year for Christmas. I highlighted some pertinent information that I thought might help him, and I'm going to go through the highlighted parts with him at a later date. We can do this. :)

I also did my PT exercises before bed.

And there's my week! Despite this being a holiday week in the US, it's actually looking to be not as busy as this one was for me, so that's nice. We'll get our Christmas tree up at some point (which means me crawling into the crawlspace, EW), after Thanksgiving, of course! I'll do a post about our tree when that happens. We've got some seriously great- and weird- ornaments on it.

To all my American readers, I hope you have a happy Thanksgiving, and for those of you outside the US, may you have a fantastic Thursday! ;) How did you do this week?

Sunday, November 18, 2018

A new twist on Gift In A Jar!

My mom likes to travel. Not internationally, just around. When we lived out of state, she got over her fear of driving long distances by herself and learned to navigate the open road, and we visited a ton of cool nearby stuff with her- places in Kentucky, South Carolina, and Tennessee, all thanks to my mom and her newfound sense of adventure.

Even though we live in the same state again, about an hour apart, my mom still likes to travel, and so we've kept up the tradition, visiting nearby locations and exploring what's fun. And this year, I'm giving her a Christmas gift that speaks to those trips.

In 2017, we traveled to Traverse City, Michigan, a place I'd always wanted to see. It's a beautiful, charming town and I loved it there. If you haven't had the pleasure of strolling its gorgeous downtown and relaxing on the shores of Lake Michigan, consider making it a goal to get there, because it's absolutely worth the trip. My daughter still had some sand and a bunch of rocks in her sand bucket when we left, and so I took that sand and saved it in a pickle jar. It now sits on top of my bookshelf, a cheerful reminder of the fun we had on that trip, and it makes me smile every time I see it.

This past summer, we visited Door County, Wisconsin, and of course we had a wonderful time. Already thinking of the future, I saved a little bit of sand and some rocks while we were there. They've been waiting for me in a little red bucket, until I had time and materials, and today, as I was cleaning out a few things from my kitchen island, I found the perfect jar.

It's a small jar, but that will work perfectly for my mom. Once I get a detail brush, I'll paint DOOR COUNTY 2018 on the lid. And voilĂ , a perfect Christmas gift that will evoke memories of a wonderful family vacation for years to come.

My mom will love it, and I'm so excited to give it to her this year. :)

Friday, November 16, 2018

Friday thoughts: 11/16/2018

Woohoo! Unexpected snow yesterday made me happy. Nothing huge, not even enough to cover the ground, but it was gorgeous coming down. There's just something about falling snow that makes me feel so elated, yet peaceful at the same time.

I've got a bunch of links this week, so let's get this show on the road!

*What Experts Want You To Know About Being In An Active Shooter Situation*

This is where we are now in the US.

I'm not getting political, this is just reality. And the reality is, I have a friend who survived a mass shooting. I have a friend whose child survived a school shooting. I used to post on a parenting messageboard with a lovely woman whose child did NOT survive a school shooting (these are two different shootings here). I have a friend who was supposed to be at that Vegas concert but who ended up skipping it and was so grateful that she did. My son's high school, which is also my daughter's preschool, had two separate threats of violence just this week. This is just the reality of life these days, because we've tried nothing and we're all out of ideas, to quote the Simpsons. I'm just one single person, but I'm connected to multiple people who have experienced a mass shooting or were slated to have been at one- there is something very, very wrong with that.

So here's a good article that may help if you find yourself in such a terrible situation. The first two, I already do. I had a political science teacher who was once a building inspector, and post-9/11, she gave us a speech about always being aware of your surroundings and being aware of the fastest way to get out wherever you're at. And my doing that is partly her advice, partly my anxiety- these days, I've added 'find a hiding place' to that list (which also makes the article), never know.

*'Pure joy': refugees fleeing conflict delighted by first snow in Canada*

This is beautiful!

Two children, born in Eritrea, experiencing their first snow in Canada. They're absolutely delighted with it, dancing and jumping and twirling around (I'm with you, kids; I love the snow!). How wonderful for them that they can play outside and have these experiences, and that they can grow up free from whatever strife it was that they were fleeing. May this joy they're feeling dancing in their first snowfall remain with them, always. Welcome home, kids. <3

*6 Reasons Congressional Orientation Is Basically College Orientation All Over Again*

Again, not a political post; this is an old article.

I never knew this!!! I mean, it makes sense when you think about it; of course, the new congresspeople have to start learning the ropes and setting up offices and figuring everything out, but I had no clue they had such an organized orientation to go through- how cool is that? And in elections that are too close to call when orientation starts- BOTH candidates have to go to orientation! I don't know, I just find this really neat. My congressman-elect is going through this now (someone in a local Facebook group shared this link so we'd all understand the process, which is how I found it), as is the congresswoman-elect from the next district over.

They really should teach these things in school; if nothing else, it's a cool bit of information that might have some kids go, "Huh. What else is cool about this? What's next that I can learn?"And that would be wonderful. :)

*Researches In Switzerland Are Playing Led Zepplin To Cheese*

You read that right. And I typed it correctly.

They're checking to see whether different sound waves affect the taste of cheese.

The cheese- Emmental, apparently- won't be ready to taste until March 14, 2019, and I'm insanely curious to know what the results will be. We've all seen those science fair experiments on things like "Does Playing Music to Plants Stimulate Plant Growth?" that some kid inevitably did every year (I think I did mine on feeding soda and coffee to plants. Side note: I hated the yearly science fair. Not because I disliked science, but because my anxiety made presenting the project to the judges a terrible experience. Also there were the 30 page papers my private school started making us write in the fifth grade. No, I'm not kidding or exaggerating. We had to have a table of contents, a bibliography, a Roman-numeralled outline, the whole works. While it taught me well how to organize a paper, it was more than a little stressful for a ten year-old back in 1990. And typing all that out on an electric typewriter? Again, not a fun time for a ten year-old, nor do I really think it was a developmentally appropriate activity), and they always used houseplants- maybe the next great study will come on blasting Nirvana or the Beatles at edible crops. Maybe my salad will one day have rocked out to the Rolling Stones or the Brandenberg Concertos before it arrives on my plate, if we learn that cheese enjoys a good polka or epic rap battle. ;)

And that's it for today. I have one other link...but it's so applicable to me, and so in-depth, that I think I want to write an entire post about it, so that'll be coming soonish, whenever I get a chance. And I still have a recipe to put up. I need more free time! :D

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend in store. What caught your eye online this week?

Monday, November 12, 2018

Weekly recap: 11/12/2018

Monday morning and time to start another week! Hopefully I'll make it through typing all of this- you'll see why in a little bit. Ouch!

It's been what felt like a quiet week around here, mostly due to my procedure in the middle of the week; that broke the week up in a weird way. Hopefully more will get done this upcoming week! The cold weather has arrived here with a vengeance, and I'm really thankful for the heated throw my mother gave to me. It's been really nice snuggling under it (and the cats love it too!).

Let's get started recapping the week. :)


I started off doing my basement chores (scooping the litterbox and refilling our Air Washer), then attempted to schedule flu shots for the kids and me. Our medical practice is seriously strange when it comes to this; they want everyone to get their flu shots, obviously, but there are never any appointments for this! I spent ages on hold, only to have the nurse sigh in exasperation over the system and let me know that someone would call me back when they figured everything out (which I was trying to avoid in the first place). Alrighty then!

I emptied the dishwasher, cleaned the kitchen, and took out the trash and recycling, and then it was time to take my daughter to her dentist check-up. Everything looks good; we need to floss her molars, and we'll be back in six months. Hurray! Back at home, I unloaded the dishwasher, cleaned the kitchen again, then prepared a cauliflower/tofu/green bean/carrot/potato curry dish with rice for dinner. I did two yoga videos, and afterwards the doctor's office called me back. I scheduled a check-up with my regular doctor for me (where I'll get my flu shot), scheduled my daughter's flu shot for right afterwards, and then they said they'd call me back- again- to schedule my son's. Told you it's a weird system.

I picked up my son from his Monday a capella group practice and read my Kindle book before picking up my husband from the train. I ended up dozing on the chair before putting my daughter to bed, did my PT exercises, then watched two episodes of Supernatural with my husband before going to bed. :)


NOT a great pain day.

Over the past two years especially, I've developed a deep dislike for pants, especially jeans (and if you remember where the pain comes from with sacroiliac joint dysfunction, you probably understand why!). And dressing for the pain helps. Some days that means sweatpants; in warmer weather, long skirts are nice. Other days, I can pull off something a little cuter:

Basic? Yup. Comfortable? Also yup.

The pillow on the floor in the above picture? It was slated to be thrown out, and then the cat started sleeping on it, so I felt bad and just left it there for him to nap on. I had to move the mirror onto it to get a better picture, but it's back in place now (on top of the box of replacement ceiling fan, which has been slated to be replaced for...two years now? Not my job, so not my problem!) and the cat has resumed napping on the old pillow. :D

I had already voted by mail a few weeks ago, so there was no need to run out and do that. I started a load of laundry, ran the dishwasher, tidied the kitchen, and then my daughter and I ran errands. We stopped by the grocery store to pick up a bag of cheese (their prices beat Aldi this week and this was the last day of the sale), and then we stopped by the thrift store and their election day sale, where I purchased some books- mostly for the kids, but a few for me- and a long gray cardigan and a dark green sweater dress. I don't often buy clothes for myself, so this felt pretty nice!

At home, I switched the laundry and started a second load, which included those thrift store clothes. During naptime, I unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher and prepared dinner, a delicious lentil loaf and oven roasted garlic Brussels sprouts. The sprouts I'd bought last week were so large as to be ridiculous:

Quarter for reference. Isn't that nuts???

I switched the laundry, then grabbed the blankets off the couch and chair and threw those in the wash. We picked my son up from school, I switched the laundry again, roasted the sprouts (I waited to do this until closer to dinnertime so they'd be crispy!), rescheduled flu shots for my son and daughter for the next day (FINALLY!!!!), picked my husband up from the train, ran the dishwasher again, and finished a book from my Goodreads list. I put the blankets back on the couch, did my PT exercises, and watched two episodes of Supernatural with my husband before going to bed.


I scooped the litterbox, then got all the ingredients for French bread into the bread machine for my son, who needed to take something to his school's World Language Night dinner. I then spent the rest of my free time deleting a bunch of unnecessary pictures from my phone- you know the kind. Blurry shots, things I'd taken a picture of as a reminder but no longer needed, etc. At just before 9, I left to drop my daughter off at school, then drove to Aldi. I didn't need much (but I *did* find a drawer knife holder, which frees up some much needed counter space!) and I got through the store quickly enough that  I was able to run to a second grocery store. I didn't need much at all at either and I was able to get home with just enough time to put the groceries away, including out in the garage freezer, and then I had to pic my daughter up. At home, I got the bread rising on the stove top, and during naptime, I made a vegetarian cabbage roll soup at my daughter's request. I cleaned the kitchen, ran the dishwasher, and baked the bread. 

And then it was time to take the kids for flu shots. My son was fine; my daughter, who has usually been pretty stoic about it, burst into tears and wailed. Poor kid. :( But it's much better than getting the flu, or giving the flu to someone else. My son has asthma, so we do what we can to minimize risk to him, along with risk to my parents, who are getting older and my father's already immunocompromised, so it's important.

We picked my husband up, and then I had to drop my son and his friend (and the bread!) off at World Language Night. At home, I had just enough time to shower and put dinner away before needing to pick my son and his friend up again. I was in enough pain that I skipped my PT exercises for the night, and my husband and I watched two episodes of Supernatural before bed.



My husband had the day off, so we took my daughter to school and stopped by the library afterwards, where I picked up some light reading.

Light. Heh. Already finished one of them!

I started reading but dozed off in the chair until it was time to pick my daughter up. I visited with my mom for a bit until it was time to leave, and then it was off to get my SI joint injections.

To say I was nervous was an understatement. Painwise, I was around a 3-4 level, depending on what I was doing. My entire right side hurt with a burning and deep aching pain, which traveled down my right leg to my foot, and that was when I was just sitting there- so, a pretty normal day for me. They took me back and I changed into the peekaboo gown,but got to keep my sweatpants on, and then they started the IV. My veins are tiny and they roll, so it took two tries, because the first...didn't work out so well.


Once it was my turn, I walked back to the surgery room, where I had to climb onto this kind of narrow table and lay on my belly, and the nurse yanked my pants down. AWKWARD. Over the table was a moving x-ray device; they would use this to locate my SI joint and inject the meds (which contain a steroid) directly into the joint. Fortunately, they knocked me out first! I woke up in a different area- a totally jarring feeling!- and was able to go home soon afterwards with instructions to take it easy for the rest of the day. The office said they'd call the next day to check on me and schedule the second series of injections.

At home, still woozy from the anesthesia, I napped on the chair for a bit, then read my library book and relaxed.That evening, I cleaned the kitchen (because THAT never ends!), tidied the living room, and watched two episodes of Supernatural with my husband before bed.


There was a definite reduction in all-over pain when I woke up this morning, and it was our first snow of the season!

So pretty!

Due to a busted pipe at the school, neither kid had school today (it would've been a make-up day for my daughter, but nope!). We attempted to go to a church yard sale, but I learned later that the newspaper had misprinted the start time, and no one was there when we got there. HUGE disappointment, but oh well. We stopped by Mariano's to pick up the past two weeks of Free Friday Downloads (yogurt and dried potatoes), dropped my son off at his friend's, and then came home so my daughter and I could play outside. BRRRR. I don't mind the cold all that much, but this was a windy, bitter cold, and fortunately she was okay with not spending a ton of time outside. But while we were out there, I talked with my pain doctor's office and scheduled the second series of injections for the end of November. 

I was bitterly cold when we came inside and I snuggled under the heated blanket until I'd warmed up sufficiently. I closed about half of the storm windows- the other half were too difficult for me to get down, and I ended up kind of wrenching something in the upper part of my back's right side, because hey, what's a day without back pain, right??? I ran the dishwasher, made guacamole, cooked the topping for bruschetta (since I had leftover bread slices from the bread for my son's World Languages dinner!), put an eggplant in the Instant Pot, and unloaded the dishwasher.

When the eggplant had cooked and cooled, I made baba ganoush, cleaned the kitchen, and took a phone call where I had to reschedule my next appointment with my spine doc (fortunately, this actually works out really well and makes next Friday WAY less complicated for me). Afterwards, my daughter and I went to the library and picked up my husband. I baked the bruschetta at home and did my PT exercises (slowly and carefully!). My husband and I watched two episodes of Supernatural before bed.


My daughter had gymnastics, so I read my library book while she did that, finishing it later on that day. We went out for ice cream as a family, and then I got ready for the evening in my new thrift store sweater dress. I emptied and refilled the dishwasher and tidied the kitchen and living room. My mom showed up, and she and I went for dinner at a local restaurant, then picked up my son and his friend to attend a performance of the musical All Shook Up at their high school. The school's Fine Arts department is superb and every performance we go to there is fabulous. We had a great time and didn't get home until after 10 pm, when I came home to clean up the dinner dishes my husband left strewn all over the kitchen!


My mom had spent the night, so we got up, got ready, and grabbed coffee at a local coffee shop. And afterwards, we went to a... It's kind of a combination craft show/Scandinavian festival/housewalk kind of festival at a's not exactly a campground, but it's a campground/park that's home to all these little privately owned cabins, which was originally owned and populated by the local Scandinavian community. They hold this event every year where you can visit many of the tiny cabins, which are filled with vendors selling Christmas and Scandinavian themed wares. I picked up a copy of Eventyr For De Minste for a dollar, which made me really happy!

My daughter was getting hangry (she does that!), so we stopped for lunch at Olive Garden, then came home. I was exhausted; the campground is located in a really hilly area and the ground is intensely uneven. I wasn't in severe pain, but standing long amounts of time is still difficult for me, and my hips were just tired, so I read my library book while my daughter and husband played and watched Frozen. I cleaned up some of the kitchen that evening- I'm going to have to bleach the dishwasher and we're out of bleach, so that'll be on Monday's list of Things to Do, so I couldn't run it- and did my PT exercises, slowly and carefully. My husband and I watched two episodes of Supernatural before bed. :)

And that was my week! Not a fantastic one in terms of getting things accomplished, I feel. We'll see what this week brings. I've got two doctor appointments- spine doc on Tuesday, regular doc for a checkup on Friday- and we're going to an amphibian show at the library on Friday night. I've got a LOT of cleaning to do, though, and my left hand is really sore from that IV that didn't take, so it's going to be interesting. Hopefully it'll feel better in the next day or two; I have a lot of stuff that I want to get done that I haven't had a chance to do at all lately!!!

How was your week?

Friday, November 9, 2018

Friday thoughts 11/9/2018

Good morning! As I write this, our first snow is falling. It's actually coming down pretty good right now. I don't know how long it'll last, but it's sure gorgeous! I love snow (I don't always love cold!), and my daughter let out a big gasp and said, "SNOW!!!" when she woke up this morning. We're pretty excited. :)

I had my right SI joint injection yesterday. I'll write more about it on Monday, but so far, it seems like there's definitely a reduction in pain, so let's hope this trend continues!

And now, Friday thoughts.

*U.S. Marine families battle mice, mold, and powerful private landlords*

This is a long article, but one you should definitely read. When I read through it the first time, I found myself nodding along, because my ex-husband was in the military, we lived in government housing, and that place was pretty awful.

Not all military housing is awful. The new housing built up the hill from us was gorgeous- nice sized kitchen, stylish layout, looked great from the outside, carpet. In comparison, our condo-style place had hard tile floor like you see in Walmart, all through the house, and underneath it was asbestos. When it got hot (we had no air conditioning), the floor would sweat. I once slipped and slid a good two feet while holding my newborn; I thought for sure I was going to fall and squish him (I also fell down the slippery, super-waxed stairs when he was eight weeks old, but fortunately I wasn't holding him, and now I'm wondering if that's how my back problems started, because it's not uncommon for SI joint dysfunction to start with a fall). We had rats out front, and the entire downstairs was absolutely overrun by mice. They'd run all over my counter, the utensil drawers were full of poop, they'd run into the living room when I was on the computer. We'd call the housing office and they'd come and...put down traps. That was it. It got to the point where I didn't want to cook because I was so afraid of making my family sick with some sort of mouse-borne illness, because mice were crawling over all our stuff. At one point, we had the housing people come out for a problem under our sink, and they ended up yanking up a board underneath and there was a dead mouse in a trap under there- this was right after we'd moved in and before we'd put down any traps, so, uh....yeah.

This is a disgrace beyond words. Military families sacrifice a LOT. You miss most of everything back home, you miss time and special events with the family you make, you're constantly moving and don't have the ability to put down real roots, and all of that comes with the possibility that the military member may eventually be killed in the line of duty. It's not an easy life, and forcing these families to live in such conditions is despicable (and it's not as easy as, "Oh, they can just move!" Where we lived, rents started at more than what we made each month, and the housing allowance that members were afforded wouldn't even come close to paying for it. We definitely looked but financially, it absolutely wouldn't have worked). It's one of the reasons when I hear people scream, "Support the troops!!!!", I always think, "What exactly are you doing to support the troops?" Because I don't think the families in this article feel all that supported. I'm hoping that this article gains some traction and shines a light on this serious situation for people who can actually make a difference, because truly supporting our troops is making sure that they all have a safe, healthy place for them and their families to live.

I'm also curious if this happens in other countries. If you're not in the US and you know what your country's military housing is like, I would LOVE to hear what you know about it.

*An Australian Man Has Died 8 Years After Eating A Garden Slug On a Dare*

Uh....So....Don't do this, kids.

The headline basically says it all. A guy ate a slug on a dare from his friends (WHY? WHY DID THIS SEEM LIKE A GOOD IDEA???). A few days later, he started feeling ill. They thought no way could it be from the slug...but it was. Turns out the slug had been infected with a rat lungworm, and before long, the guy was quadriplegic, eating and breathing through tubes, suffering from seizures, and basically living a miserable life for nine years, until he finally passed away.

It's a terrible, tragic story, and a frightening one at that, because I don't know about you, but there have been a few occasions where I've found slugs on produce (the article specifically states to wash and check your produce thoroughly, and if this isn't incentive...). I'll definitely be upping my produce-inspecting game, but yikes. What a devastating consequence for what was supposed to be a harmless prank. Who knew that slugs could actually be so deadly???

*A Slave Mother's Love in 56 Carefully Stitched Words*

A hand-stitched cloth sack was discovered in Tennessee, with this message:

She was sold at age 9 in South Carolina
it held a tattered dress 3 handfulls of
pecans a braid of Roses hair. Told her
It be filled with my LOVE always
she never saw her again
Ashley is my grandmother
Ruth Middleton
And luckily, it fell into the right hands, people who began to investigate where it came from, who stitched those words, and who Rose and Ashley were. And they were indeed real people, a mother who was a slave, and whose nine year-old daughter was indeed sold and whom she never saw again.

Just thinking about that makes me want to scream and never stop. What was WRONG with people that they did that to others??? How could they have done that? Where was their humanity, and how could they not recognize the humanity in these families that they callously ripped apart? The very idea of owning a human being turns my stomach, and even the smallest thought of what people like Rose and Ashley suffered is enough to bring tears to my eyes. And unfortunately, I'm seeing too much of this mindset in people I actually personally know these days, people I grew up with, who are all too quick to deny the humanity of others, who race to 'other' people and claim that since those people are different than them in some way, they're not worthy, they're not deserving of love, fair treatment, compassion, or kindness. It's horrifying to me.

I'm glad this hand-stitched bag survived, to remind us of the horrors suffered by far too many. (Are you aware of the term 'historical trauma'? Go forth and learn, my friend!). We need to be reminded of this, of the damage that 'othering' our neighbors does- at least, I can think of some people who do. And I'm sure you can as well. May the descendants of Rose, Ashley, and Ruth find comfort in their family's story being told, and may they know peace and the care and love of the community around them. And may we all be quick to offer love, compassion, and understanding to everyone, and not just those who look, think, and believe like we do.

In a little bit, we're off to a church yard sale in a nearby town! Hopefully it'll yield a few treasures. My kids are out of school today, due to a burst pipe at their school, which puts the school musical in jeopardy for this weekend- I'm sure they'll reschedule if they have to cancel, but what a bummer for the kids who have worked so hard to be ready THIS week, you know? (My son was part of the scenery crew. His work is long done, so he was happy to be missing a day of school!) Crossing my fingers that the repairs are quick and the show can go on, because I'm really looking forward to seeing it!

I hope you have a fantastic, relaxing weekend! :)

Monday, November 5, 2018

Weekly recap: 11/5/2018

Has anyone else noticed that fall is particularly gorgeous this year? I don't have any pictures, but I've been in absolute awe as I've driven around town this week. The past few years have been overall disappointing, but man, it seems like there are super gorgeous trees of every autumn hue every few feet. I overheard someone say it was because we had such early cold weather. I don't know if it's true or not, but it's been an absolute joy to see. :)

A mixed bag of a week for me, so let's get down to the recap, shall we?


I emptied and refilled the dishwasher before my mom showed up to babysit, and then it was off to everyone's least favorite place-

the dentist.

Ugh. (My apologies to any dentist reading this.)

It was a good appointment; no cavities and everything looks fine, but I haaaaaaaaaate going to the dentist. My first pregnancy destroyed my teeth and I spent several years getting the damage repaired (not a joke, I had a dentist appointment every four or five weeks for almost two years, plus three root canals, plus an extraction and bridge replacement. Don't get hyperemesis gravidarum, kids!), so I've developed a deep fear of the dentist. I still go every six months, though, and I floss and brush like crazy. It was a relief to hear the dentist say that everything looked good, so I scheduled my next checkup and floored it out of there.

Mostly so I could go home, change clothes, throw some black beans in the Instant Pot, and head off to physical therapy! It never stops around here. We kept it light and easy since I haven't been feeling great lately. I picked my mom and daughter up afterwards and bought my mom a birthday lunch at Panera Bread.

I had the modern Greek salad with quinoa. SO good.

We had enough time for me to swing by Walgreens to pick up a prescription, and then we had to drive to the high school to pick up my son and his friend from Monday's choir practice. At home, I threw together beans and rice for dinner (it's my go-to meal on days when I don't have time to cook anything else!), and then I took my daughter to the library like I'd been promising I would. 

That evening, I cleaned the kitchen, put away dinner, took the trash to the curb, did my PT exercises, and my husband and I watched two episodes of Supernatural before going to bed. Phew!


After I dropped my daughter off at school, I ran to Walmart for cat food and litter. While I was there, I checked out the prices of dry milk- HOLY COW, has that gone up!!! I like to keep some on hand to bake with (so I don't have to use up the milk the kids are drinking), but not at THAT price. It's actually cheaper for me to use liquid milk than it is dry. So weird. After that, I ran to the Dollar Store for a card, more barrettes (I swear, my daughter goes through these things like air), and a hairbrush (since whenever my husband does my daughter's hair, he leaves the hairbrush wherever he is, forcing me to have to comb out my wet, tangled hair with an open hair clip after I get out of the shower at night and discover the brush is missing...). And since I had time, I stopped by Mariano's to pick up the free ketchup I'd downloaded a coupon for the Friday before. Free ketchup is always good. ;)

I picked my daughter up, ran the dishwasher, and threw the ingredients for bread in the bread machine before making us lunch, and during naptime, I made a lovely batch of Potato Cauliflower soup at my daughter's request. It's her absolute favorite and she asks for it all the time (I'll put up a recipe soon, I have all the pictures for it! Not great pictures, but still, pictures!). When that was in the Instant Pot, I did a yoga video, baked the bread, and then, as I was blending the soup, a muscle on my right side in my back started spasming like crazy. OW. It did that on and off most of the rest of the week, too. HMPH.

I unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher, then we had to drop my son off at school. As there wasn't really enough time to go back home, my daughter and I hung out at the library until it was time for my husband to arrive, which was a good thing because I had a book that was in. :)

My daughter put this together. She said it's a chair and was very proud of it!

After dinner, I did my exercises, picked my son up, and my husband and I watched two episodes of Supernatural before bed.


Happy Halloween!

I dropped my daughter off at school in full Nature Cat costume and ran to Aldi, where I picked up groceries and a pizza for dinner. I drove home, put the groceries away, cleaned up the kitchen, and then it was back to school to pick up my daughter, who had decided six hours before trick or treating that she wanted to change her costume.



But I did get the chance to quickly discuss having a playdate with another parent, whose son apparently really loves my daughter, so we're going to try to schedule that coming up soon. I'm looking forward to this, I desperately need more human interaction!

We ran to a second grocery store, where my daughter was SUPER excited about my purchases of...cabbage and Brussels sprouts? Not the norm for a four year old, but my daughter is anything but normal. ;) (And yes, she happily eats both. The last time I had Brussels sprouts, she pitched a fit because I said we could share them. She wanted her own- and she ate every last bite when I gave her her own bowl!) 

At home, I put the groceries away, swept the floor, did two yoga videos, and managed to mop the floor before my mom arrived. She goes trick or treating with us every year, which is pretty special. :) I picked my husband up early, we got my daughter ready, and then it was time for trick or treating around the neighborhood.

Cutest Nature Cat ever! You can't see it, but she has a tail.

Of course, everyone thought she was Robin Hood, but that was okay. :)

We had SUPER gorgeous weather on Halloween. It was cool and crisp, but not cold, just absolutely perfect for walking around the neighborhood. I was fine up until the end, when that stupid right-side-back muscle started spasming and my hips REALLY hurt. It was a relief to get home and sit down with that Aldi pizza...and maybe a piece or two of candy. ;)

Trick or treat!

I did some- not all- of my PT exercises that night; I figured with all the walking, I should be careful, and I stayed away from anything that didn't feel good. I read my Kindle book before going to bed. 


I did my basement chores (litterbox, refilling the Air Washer), cleaned the kitchen, and filled and ran the dishwasher before heading off to my last day of physical therapy. They sent me home with a packet of exercises I can do to work all the different muscles that act like jerks because my skeleton is an even bigger jerk. I'm glad to have my days back to myself again, but I'm going to miss all the physical therapists' elbows jamming into my spasming muscles! (That's not sarcasm, that actually helps so much!!!)

For dinner, I made Instant Pot Baingan Bharta (Mashed Spiced Eggplant), to which I added cooked lentils and some spinach I needed to use up, and I served it over rice. Now, I love love LOVE Indian food- it's my favorite cuisine, hands down, but I don't feel like I'm great at cooking it. Eventually I want to find a really good Indian cookbook (vegetarian, of course), and work my way through it, because a lot of the time, I'm disappointed by my attempts to cook Indian food at home. Not this, though- this was really good, and it was extra awesome because I'm really picky about how I like my eggplant cooked. This was FANTASTIC, and I'll absolutely make it again!!!

I unloaded the dishwasher, cleaned the kitchen, and then it was time to run out and...pick my son's best friend up from detention. ;) His grandma, whom he lives with, was at home with her mom and the home healthcare worker, so we ran over to the school and grabbed him and dropped him off at home. And then my daughter and I went to the library, again, where she played and I read my Kindle book. I cleaned the kitchen after dinner, loaded and ran the dishwasher, read more of my Kindle book, and my husband and I watched two episodes of Supernatural before bed.


A local church was having an indoor yard sale, so my daughter and I headed over there early in the morning. She got a stuffed My Little Pony and a stuffed Peppa Pig (the small, Beanie Baby-sized stuffies; she actually does play with these a LOT, so I had no qualms about bringing these home). I picked up a kid's chef hat/apron set, which I'll give to my daughter for Christmas; two children's sewing patterns; a baking sheet; a snap fastener tool; and two metal water bottles, which I'll give to my son for Christmas. For all this, I paid $4.25, which I thought was an extremely good deal!

My daughter had been asking to play at a library in another town, and I had a book from there that I needed to return, so we went and did that. Afterwards, I dropped off some paperwork at my pain doctor's office. When my daughter went down for a nap, I read my library book and rested for a bit. 

He likes to rest with me sometimes. Occasionally on me.

I unloaded the dishwasher, cleaned the kitchen, and for dinner, I made a batch of Velvety Vegan Alfredo Sauce to go with linguine. I usually make this with broccoli, but since I was out, I threw some spinach in there and it was awesome- I think I'll make it like that from now on!

After dinner, I attended an interfaith Shabbat service here in town. The congregation is attended by someone who lost family in last week's synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh, and it felt extremely important to me to attend this healing ceremony. They had set up seating for 700 people, and it was standing room only, a beautiful testament to the strength and love that exists in our community. Among the attendees was the guy running for my House district (he wasn't campaigning, just attending as a normal citizen; I merely recognized him. Not attending was the incumbent, which didn't surprise me at all, because he's known for basically fleeing his constituents every chance he gets). It was a lovely, moving service, with speakers not only from the Jewish community, but from members of the local Muslim community, and from many branches of Christian churches as well. I'm so glad I was able to attend, and I deeply hope that another service like this is never again necessary.


This morning was dedicated to everyone's other favorite experience:

the DMV.

*cue horror music*

My son was getting his license (*CUE MORE INTENSE HORROR MUSIC*), and he finally understood all the jokes about how awful the DMV is (anyone else remember that scene from Zootopia? He finally got why the character working at the DMV desk is a sloth and he laughed the entire way home). We got in the first like at 7:50 and didn't leave until almost 11:00. We stood in ten different lines while we were there (why yes, it was painful! Thanks for asking). He got a paper copy of his license, and the hard copy will arrive by mail in a few weeks. I was so exhausted and pained from all that standing that after I ate lunch, I fell asleep in the chair while my husband and daughter watched Puss In Boots.

After that, I drove my son and his friend to the high school football game (their team had made the playoffs), and came home to read my library book. It wasn't too long before my son called; the game was going SO poorly that they didn't want to see the season end in a massacre, and could I come get them. Yes, I could, and I did. Back home, I finished my library book, unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher, and folded my basket of laundry. That night, I did my PT exercises, and I watched three episodes of Supernatural while my husband snored on the couch next to me. ;)


I was COLD in the morning! For whatever reason, I couldn't get warm, so I snuggled under my heated blanket and read my Kindle book.

While the cat sat and stared at me for like ten minutes. What the heck, man???

And then...I cleaned up the kitchen and proceeded to attack the leftovers of the apples we still had from apple picking. I had let everyone in the house eat what they wanted out of the bags, and it seemed like some of the apples were starting to spoil (we did indeed lose a few, which went into the compost), and then it was my turn. I spent from 11:00 am until 3:00 pm canning apple pie filling. Last year I made a ton of jars of apple pie jam (we still have quite a few of these left), so I wanted to try something different this year). This seemed a lot easier and slightly less sticky.

12 jars total.

I also started a batch of apple cider vinegar. I don't know if this will work for me; I'm considering it more of an experiment, so we'll see how it goes. I'm entirely expecting it to turn into a disgusting moldy mess, so if anything else happens, I'll consider it a happy surprise.

I still had a little bit of pie filling left over, and I didn't want to open another pack of jars, so I grabbed my Fannie Farmer cookbook and turned to the pie crust recipes. I made a double crust and tossed the leftover pie filling in there, then baked it. No pictures, because my pie crust always resembles a Picasso painting, but they always taste good. :)

I did get some reading/snuggling under the blanket time afterwards, and we ended up with Chinese takeout for dinner. I could have cooked, but honestly, I was pretty worn out and my hips hurt after standing for four hours already. After getting my daughter into bed, I picked my son up from his friend's house, did my PT exercises, and my husband and I watched three episodes of Supernatural (at this point, I think it's a toss-up what gets Sam and Dean in the end: demons, or all those concussions. Not to mention the condition their backs must be in after being throw into walls and bookshelves and across the room all the time, ouch!) before going to bed.

And that was it! It's already shaping up to be a busy week here. My daughter has a dentist appointment today, I have my SI joint injection procedure on Thursday (they'll be knocking me out for it, so at least I get a nap out of the procedure, right?). Friday, my daughter has school to make up for not having school on Tuesday (I already voted, yay me!), so hopefully I'll be feeling up to doing drop-off and pick up. Saturday, my mother and son and I are going to see the school musical, and Sunday, we're going to a Scandinavian-themed local festival.

I already need a nap thinking about all of this! Hopefully I'll be able to squeeze some work in on some projects here and there. I have a few things I'd like to make for Christmas, so I'll do my best, but it's going to be a tight squeeze this week!

How did you do last week?

Friday, November 2, 2018

Friday thoughts: 11/2/2018

Just a quick post today, I'm stopping by in the middle of other things! I hope you all had a wonderful Halloween; we had a great time trick or treating, even though everyone thought my daughter was Robin Hood, instead of Nature Cat! :D

*Simone Biles Gets A Vault Named After Her Just 24 Hours After Going to the ER With a Kidney Stone*

Well then.

First off, Simone Biles is downright amazing. She's so strong and powerful and hardworking and she's an absolute joy to watch. I can't even imagine moving my body the way she does, and she makes it all look so effortless (when you know it's not!). I grew up watching gymnastics on TV and I still get a thrill when I see a competition televised.

Part of me is really bothered by articles like these. Is it amazing that Biles did this? Obviously. But I worry that articles like these end up setting an unachievable standard for the rest of us. It reminds me of an article I read once about a woman who ran an entire marathon while in labor, and of course there was some moron in the comments (and of course it was a guy) asking why more women weren't like this marathon-running lady, why we all complained so much while in labor if SHE was doing just fine (I REALLY wish I'd had the presence of mind to post back a picture of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and ask why more men don't have bodies like him, since obviously The Rock could do it). It's great that she felt well enough to run 26.2 miles while a child was actively trying to make its way out of her body, but just because SHE did that doesn't mean that it's something everyone can do. I worry that it sets the standards like "This person did this amazing thing while suffering, so YOU can come into your terribly-paid retail job while you're suffering the same ailment." And this mindset affects me; I can't always do all the things I want, but if the idea is out there that someone else with a similar problem did (fill in the blank with something wild, like composing a symphony while skydiving, or bench-pressing three schoolbuses using only her feet), then there's no way I could actually be suffering so much pain from standing up to get off the toilet (entirely threw my back out that way once. Not embarrassing at all...). Does that make sense?

I'm not trying to distract from Biles's accomplishment at all here, merely looking at the precedence this sets for the rest of us.

*Hot Cocoa M&Ms with Marshmallow Centers Exist Because Diets Are Stupid*

And now for something lighter.

I have to say I don't care for all these new, weird-flavored M&Ms.

The peanut butter-filled ones are the exception. THOSE THINGS...are not allowed into my house. Because they're one of the few things I can't control myself around. A bag of those comes through my door, it's going to be empty quick. I swear the centers are actually filled with crack. I make a conscious choice to not buy them, simply because I love them so very, very much.

I've tried most of the other ones- my husband gets curious and will purchase a small bag- but absolutely none of the new flavors have tasted good to me (and the peppermint ones were downright nasty). I was super, super disappointed with the coffee ones, and a few other flavors I haven't even bothered to try because they sounded so disgusting. Strawberry? Birthday cake? Nah. Not my style. I'll stick to the traditional kind. Just keep those peanut butter-filled ones far away...because otherwise, I might bite your hand off trying to get to the bag. ;)

What are your thoughts on this? Do you like any of the new M&M flavors?

And that's all for tonight. I'm about to run out the door to pick up my son, then home to fix dinner, and tonight, I'm attending an interfaith memorial service for the victims of last week's synagogue shooting. I've already got tissues in my purse and I'm pretty sure I'm going to use most of them.

Wishing you a peaceful weekend. Stay well, friends. <3