dinner plans…

Howdy-Ho friends!   So glad you were able to pop-in to my little slice of the web.   Let’s talk about dinner plans for a second shall we?  And by a second, I mean like 5 minutes, so sit back and relax for a bit.   Why does meal planning have to be so hard?   Like, can I just set a plate in front of my kids and they eat whatever is on it?   I feel like I am the president of the Parents of Picky Eaters Club (PPEC for short).

We find something my kids like, and they want it again.  So we make it again a week or so later, and then the 3rd time you make it they don’t really want it again – say what?  you loved this last time, you said it was your favorite!   I read somewhere once that most families have a rotation of 21 meals that they serve on a regular basis – but I had a hard time coming up with the list below, so I’m not sure 21 is correct!

Here is a list of our “go-to” meals for our dinner meal plans.

Sloppy Joes
Chicken & Rice Bake
Chili & Noodles (childhood favorite of mine)
Cowboy Casserole (introduced to my kids by their Auntie Lyns)
OMG Chicken (pretty sure I have blogged about this before)
Simple Chicken
Grilled chicken with marinade (Hawaiian marinade is a personal favorite)
Tacos/Quesadillas/Nachos
BBQ Beef & Bow Ties
Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup
Chicken Alfredo
Ravioli Bake

An Insta-Pot is definitely on my Christmas/Birthday wishlist for this year — because baseball season is almost upon us and we will be super busy!   My friend Kathleen has so many wonderful recipes that she has shared with me, I am looking forward to getting to try them myself!

What are some of your favorite recipes for busy week nights?   Please share them!

currently…

Currently…

reading:   Once in a Great City.  I had to return it to the library and then check it back out a few weeks later after someone else was done with it.  I think I’ll be able to finish it over break.

writing:  this post, but earlier this weekend I wrote out all the envelopes for our Christmas cards.

listening:  to Jake watch The Walking Dead, and let’s be real – I’m also half watching it and half intrigued and half grossed out.

thinking:
  about everything I have to do at work this week.

smelling:  dinner cooking.

wishing:  that is was closer to Christmas break – I’m ready for 2 weeks off.

hoping: that tonight I get some sleep.

wearing:  my favorite sweatpants of Jake’s, and a tshirt.

wanting:  a sweet tea from Cook-Out!

loving:  the additions we made to our Christmas village and the tree lighting up the room.

needing:  to vacuum, to blog, to finish sealing the Christmas card envelopes….

Swagbuster Deals!

Running now through December 3rd, the cashback shopping site Swagbucks is running a series of exclusive “Swagbuster” deals that offer increased cash back (in the form of SB points) at stores, when buying gifts cards, and big SB payouts when you discover offers from different companies. You can take all of the points you earn from these deals and redeem them for gift cards from places like Amazon, Target, Walmart, Starbucks, or PayPal cash, helping you extend your holiday budget further!

The deals change every few hours, and you can keep track of what’s available by clicking here. You need a Swagbucks account to take advantage – fortunately it’s free and takes less than 30 seconds to sign up. PLUS, if you sign up through me you’ll get a bonus 300 SB ($3) if you earn 300 SB before December 1st!

Cyber Monday Deals!

You can earn money while saving it on all your big Cyber Monday purchasesThe Cashback Shopping site Swagbucks is offering big cash back – 3x or more – at over 120 different stores today only. They’re also offering big payouts on a varieties of different deals and offers from companies that would make great gift ideas. Get great deals without waiting in lines or even leaving your home!

If you’re not familiar with Swagbucks, they offer cash back in the form of points when you shop. Then you can turn those points into gift cards to places like Amazon, Starbucks, Target, or PayPal cash. You can also earn points for discovering deals, watching videos, answering surveys and more!

Click here to take advantage of the cash back, just create your Swagbucks account when prompted (it takes less than 30 seconds) and then you’re all set!

As a special bonus, if you sign up through me you get a 300 SB ($3) bonus when you earn your first 300 SB before December 1st! This site’s a great way to extend your shopping budget, especially around the holidays!

Black Friday Deals!

The Cashback Shopping site Swagbucks is offering big cash back at over 120 different stores all throughout Black Friday weekend. They’re also offering big payouts on a varieties of different deals and offers from companies that would make great gift ideas. Get great deals without waiting in lines or even leaving your home!

If you’re not familiar with Swagbucks, they offer cash back in the form of points when you shop. Then you can turn those points into gift cards to places like Amazon, Starbucks, Target, or PayPal cash. You can also earn points for discovering deals, watching videos, answering surveys and more!

Click here to take advantage of the cash back, just create your Swagbucks account when prompted (it takes less than 30 seconds) and then you’re all set!

As a special bonus, if you sign up through me you get a 300 SB ($3) bonus when you earn your first 300 SB before December 1st! This site’s a great way to extend your shopping budget, especially around the holidays!

Augusta on Ice!

I am so pleased to be working with Augusta on Ice this year, in partnership with some fabulous sponsors!   We are looking forward to going down to Augusta, which is just a short drive from Columbia, SC.    Augusta on Ice (formerly Evans on Ice) is centrally located in Augusta, GA in the Augusta Commons.  This is between Broad and Reynolds roads.  It runs for fifty (50) days between November 17th and January 6th.   In addition to the ice rink itself (with real ice!) there is Frosty’s Ice Slide, a family friendly train side and even a rinkside build your own s’mores.   Say what??  Smores?   I can eat smores and watch my kids skate – score!   Did I mention that the ice rink is covered?  That part in itself makes it even more exciting to me, because here in the south – a little rain can ruin your day – but not here!

Jake (left) grew up in Michigan, and practically was born with skates on his feet.  He played hockey throughout his youth and club hockey in college.  I’m not sure when the last time he had skates on was, but I am looking forward to seeing him on the ice!  The last time that Jonathan had skates on was at his dad’s company holiday party at a local rink here in Columbia.  That night ended with some stitches because someone fell a few too many times.   Now me, I don’t like to brag – but last time I went – I managed to NOT fall at all.  Chances are this next time I’ll be spending a lot of time on my butt!    The girls have never been ice skating before – so this will be an extra treat for our family to enjoy this time together.

It has been awhile since I got to work with a truly community focused group such as AOI, and I am pleased to hear about their community initiatives.  This year, they will be giving back to their local community through the Community Stage Spotlight.  From local schools & churches, to professional theater groups, you can see some beautiful performances all in once place.

 

 

 

Also, now through November 25th is the week of thanks!  Each night a different group of community helpers get free admission.  November 22nd is First Responders night from 2-9pm.   Thursday the 23rd is Senior Day – as a way to say “thanks for all your wisdom” from 2-9pm.   Friday the 24th is Health Care Professionals Day (from 12-7).  Saturday the 24th is Support Local Businesses day, bring a receipt from any business within the CSRA and you’ll get in the gates free!  Sunday is Girl Scouts day, and all girl scouts get free admission!   On the 21st to the 24th, you can also bring 2 canned goods you can get  get free admission or $5 off an activity pass.

Be sure to check their calendar by clicking the photo above to see other opportunities for date nights movie and skating!  Everyone needs a date night!   Maybe Jake and I will see you on the ice!    Be on the lookout for our visit on here, as well as other cool updates throughout the next few weeks!  There may even be a giveaway!

Augusta On Ice will be open from 4 to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 4 to 10 p.m., Friday while school is in session and from 2 to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 2 to 10 p.m. Friday on the school holiday break. It will be open from noon to 10 p.m. on Saturdays and noon to 7 p.m. on Sundays.

For the holidays, Augusta on Ice will be open from 4 to 9 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, noon to 5 p.m. Christmas Eve, 2 to 7 p.m. Christmas Day, noon to 12:30 a.m. New Year’s Eve and 2 to 9 p.m. New Year’s Day.   Tickets are $5 for general admission or $20 for a season pass. The activity pass is $20 for one day and $50 for the season. The activity pass includes access to the skating rink, slide and train. Discounts are available.

~Lori

five years

Five years ago, I woke up to a chilly Georgia morning.  I probably didn’t want to leave the warm bed to begin the days adventure.  That adventure you ask; packing my entire 4 bedroom house into a moving truck for our move to South Carolina.  It was hard, most of the people who said they were going to help us move bailed on us at the last minute.  I get it, people get busy and things happen.  I put out an SOS on facebook, and we had friends show up to help.  We got my van, a 27ft moving truck, my dad’s truck with a trailer attached all packed full of all my worldly possessions.   Loaded the kids up after a round of goodbyes to friends and we hit the road.

My dad and I had to go back the next day after we unloaded here for one final load.  I remember the sigh of relief that came from me when we crossed from Georgia into South Carolina on that final trip.  I was leaving behind so many bad memories, and of course a bunch of wonderful ones as well.  I was starting a new adventure in a new town, and it was going to be great.

I remember the weeks leading up to moving were hectic, and I cried a lot.  I knew things would be better once we moved, once we were settled, the kids would have their dad close again.    I could never have imagined everything that has happened in the last 5 years.  I found love – in a man I never would have met if I hadn’t moved.   I have a huge group of friends that have become like family to me.  I have students who make me laugh all the time, and are like my other kids.  I have been blessed with a series of wonderful jobs here at the University of South Carolina, jobs that have given me some super opportunities that I would have never had in Georgia.  I have found a place where I belong.

While I miss my friends in Georgia, this is where I belong.  This is home.

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the one about the BFN

If you are close to Jake and I, you know we have decided to try for 1 more baby.  So we started trying back in September once I got the lovely IUD removed.  While I realize that my body needs time to reset and recover from having that thing in since 2013, I still find it hard to not be so crazy disappointed when I get a BFN pregnancy test.

In the land of TTC, a BFN is not a good thing.  Ok, let me roll back on the acronyms for a moment.  TTC stands for trying to conceive, and BFN is a Big Fat Negative.  Others are DPO (days past ovulation) and VFL (Very Faint Line), BFP (big fat positive), and a handful of others I am not even going to attempt to tackle.   I figured that since I got pregnant 3 times already, without really trying to – that this time if I am tracking and we are actively trying to get pregnant – that it would be pretty quick and easy.  I mean, everything the last year has been so crazy hard with selling/buying a house and planning/actually having a wedding – that we should have something go easy, right?

So, Sunday marked 10 DPO, and I woke up and peed on a stick (this blog is as real as it gets people, if you don’t like it move on).  I figured it is still kind of early, but I also figured why the hell not – i mean I have this giant pack of them I bought on amazon.   Negative, nada, zip, zilch – nothing.  A slap in the face of a BFN.  Yes, I know it takes time.  Yes, it will happen when it is supposed to happen.  Yes, I know my body is still adjusting.  Yes, I know I should stop worrying about it.  Yes, we know…we know…we know.   There are things you should NEVER, EVER say to someone who is trying to get pregnant.  Just don’t do it.  Smile and wish them well.  And for goodness sake, do not EVER tell them to not complain about it because they already have 3 kids.

My best friend has been trying to get pregnant for 2+ years and due to some complications has not been able to.  I cannot even imagine the pain that is.  It hurts to have someone else say “oh we weren’t even trying” when they show you an ultrasound picture. I cannot scroll down Facebook without seeing someone I went to school with, or from our time in the Marine Corps or someone local posting an ultrasound photo, or posting their gender reveal or announcing their pregnancy.  You want to be so happy for them, you want to squeal and love on them so hard.  But your brain and your heart aren’t connecting in that moment.  You muster up a smile and say how excited you are, because you really genuinely are – but that stab in your heart hurts a bit.

I know it takes time, I know it is a process, I know that it will happen in God’s time, not mine.  But boy is it ever hard to be patient and wait.

Pre-Black Friday Sale!

As a pre-Black Friday warm up, Swagbucks is offering big cash back for shopping online at several of your favorite retailers right now! Just go to this page to see all of the deals available and get the jump on your holiday shopping.

In order to take advantage of the cash back, just create your Swagbucks account when prompted (it takes less than 30 seconds) and then you’re all set! Your cash back comes in the form of SB points, which you can redeem for gift cards to places like Amazon, Target, Walmart, Starbucks, or get PayPal cash!

As a special bonus, if you sign up through me you get a 300 SB ($3) bonus when you earn your first 300 SB before December 1st!  This site’s a great way to extend your shopping budget, especially around the holidays!

Holidays with Swagbucks

Swagbucks is offering double cash back at dozens of different stores (like Macy’s and Target) during their 2017 Holiday Sale. Just go to this page to see all of the deals available and get the jump on your holiday shopping. There are

In order to take advantage of the cash back, just create your Swagbucks account when prompted (it takes less than 30 seconds) and then you’re all set! Your cash back comes in the form of SB points, which you can redeem for gift cards to places like Amazon, Target, Walmart, Starbucks, or get PayPal cash!

As a special bonus, if you sign up through me you get a 300 SB ($3) bonus when you earn your first 300 SB before December 1st! This site’s a great way to extend your shopping budget, especially around the holidays!