The one with the Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas my fellow bloggers & blog readers! I hope you all have a fantastic holiday! Oh, and for those of you who might not celebrate Christmas... I hope you have a terrific day! Today, I will be attempting to make a whole Turkey for the very first time! How exciting right? And by exciting I mean terrifying! 

But first I will be spending the morning with the Mister, opening a few gifts, & perhaps heading out to Valley Forge to look for Deer. It has kind of become a tradition for us... & Odin too!

We will get back to more blog posting later on this week (especially now that I have a story about what happens when your toe plays chicken with a coffee table!), but for now I wish you a very happy holiday & an even brighter new year!

xox

Violet VoxBox Review


A few weeks ago I received my very first VOXBOX from Influenster. I then proceeded to take pictures of the items & then completely forget about it. Ah, well. Better late then never I suppose! What is a VOXBOX? Well, I honestly could not tell you what the term "voxbox" stands for, but I can tell you it means that you are getting a goody box of stuff sent to you to review from influenster. If anyone actually knows what voxbox stands for, do tell! I'm sure I could google it & further my procrastination of writing this post, but I won't. Anyway, I can also tell you that getting selected for a voxbox is exciting. It's exciting for a few reasons, 1.) you never know what exactly is in the box until it arrives. 2.) it's free stuff for you to try, & you might just find yourself buying these items again & 3.) not everyone gets selected! So if you are chosen, it feels like a great honor! Haha.

Anyway, let me show you what I found inside of the #violetvoxbox.


Holy free stuff Batman! Inside was a small bottle of Not Your Mother's Clean Freak Dry Shampoo, a cranberry SOYJOY bar, a bottle of  Sally Hansen's new Triple Shine nail polish in the color "Dive In", a Goody athletic ouchless headwrap, & a red clay fabric face mask by Montagne Jeunesse.


Let's start with the Red Earth Clay Spa fabric face mask, by Montagne Jeunesse. The application was easy enough. Slide fabric mask from package, place on washed face & "relax" for 10-15 minutes. It actually smelt quite pleasant & it felt amazing on my skin. It was very cooling & my face felt amazingly soft the rest of the day. However, it will stain your clothing. Luckily I had an old sweatshirt on at the time, so no harm done. The mask itself made me laugh as I pulled it out of the package. Remember being a kid & biting holes out of your bologna to make a face? No, just me? Well that is what it reminded me of. Or maybe that is what I was making myself think about when I put it on, instead of the fact it felt a bit creepy (Bloody Face, anyone?). Haha!


And on to the Goody athletic(que) Ouchless headwrap. I've actually only worn this one time since I received it. I used it when I was wanting to keep my hair back when applying the bologna... I mean red clay, face mask. It did it's job. My hair stayed nicely behind the wrap. I will probably use it more once the holidays are over & I'm back to busting my butt on my exercise bike. I like that it is adjustable.

This is probably one of my favorite things out of the Violet VoxBox. It is the dry shampoo from Not Your Mother's. I was just talking to Mr. B about looking for a dry shampoo. Whenever I get my haircut, my hair hardly goes 12 hours before it starts to get greasy. I'm not sure why, but it does it until it grows out a bit. Then it's time to get my haircut again & the cycle continues. This really helps add a little life back into my hair when I don't have time to wash my hair twice a day... I mean, who really has time for that? Not to mention, it's not very good for your hair.

Anyway! One morning I woke up & had nearly no time to get ready & my hair of course, looked terrible. I decided it would be a perfect time to try out my new friend here. I love it. It smells kind of like hairspray, which would be my only con here. You have to make sure you spray it far enough from your scalp, or it will leave the white powder. I'm sure that is probably true with all dry shampoos though. It lasted for a few hours, allowing me enough time to run out to do errands & come back home where I would get a real shower. It took nearly all the grease away & left my hair looking & feeling pretty darn shiny. How does hair feel shiny, well I guess you just might have to try it out & see!

I went to find a larger sized bottle of this. I'm thinking this would be great to keep with our camping gear. I was sad to find out that our local Walmart doesn't carry it, or any dry shampoo for that matter. So I have not bought a new bottle yet, thinking CVS might be a better bet. If not, there is always this wonderful thing called the world wide web. Someone has to have it!

Next up. Sally Hansen's Triple Shine nail color... the color I received is called Dive In. It's a shade that I actually have never bought, for fear of how it would look. I've been buying Sally Hansen's Complete Salon Manicure nail polish for about a year now. Reason for this, the flat brushes! They make it so much easier for someone with a not so steady hand. So needless to say that when I opened up the bottle of Triple Shine to find that wonderful flat brush, I was thrilled!

The color went on so smooth. One coat would have been good enough, but I usually put two just to get that bold solid color. It's lasted a bit too, it's been a good two weeks & my toes nails are still just as shiny as the day I painted them. I will be buying this again in other colors for sure! Keep making the polish with the flat brush, & I will be one happy camper!


This cranberry SOYJOY bar was gone as soon as it arrived. I couldn't wait to try it! I absolutely love cranberry! I never had a SOYJOY bar before this one, so I was a bit nervous that I would hate it, like most protein bars. But, I was pleasantly surprised that I really liked it. My only real con would have to be the size of the bar, it's quite small & I would have loved to have a couple more bites. But, hey, that might just be the fat girl in me. The texture wasn't too bad for me, but I could see how it might bother some. The flavor was really good, it wasn't too sweet, nor was it dry. It actually tasted smooth & creamy to me. I like the fact that they are all natural, made with non-GMO Soy & are gluten free. I would grab one of these in a pinch, if the price was right.

And that was it. My very first voxbox, complete with my very first voxbox review. I look forward to my next one! Are you on Influenster? What has been your favorite voxbox so far? If you aren't on Influenster yet, let me know... I still have five invites to you. :)


And of course, I must mention that these products were given to me for free to sample/review by Influenster & the companies who supplied the products to them. Or in their words... "I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes."

South Park Christmas...

This year I decided I wanted to paint our large window for Christmas. I have not painted in a very, very, very long time. Think elementary school. And never have I painted on a window.

Well that has changed. This year, I painted a South Park scene & I honestly think it turned out better than I thought it would. Haha!

Next years will be better, but for now... I'm pretty darn proud of myself. :)
Outline.
Finished.
Lit up at night. :)

Ancient... like a dinosaur.

Mr. B's ancient, think Bedrock Fred Flinstone, computer finally decided to give up the ghost last night. His monitor burned out completely & I find it really odd as I was just telling you guys that I had hopes for a new computer making its way into our house.

Kind of spooky ain't it?

Anyway, we talked about replacing just the monitor. The computer still runs even though it gives us every problem in the world. It must be close to 15 years old by now. We entertained the thought & searched for deals. It seemed the best we could do was just a tad under $100. That to me seemed ridiculous, especially when we're not even 100% sure that it would connect to his stone age system. So I decided to just look & see what there was out there in terms of bundles. It is the season for that you know! Couldn't of been a better time to replace it. We found a HP computer with Monitor, Mouse, Keyboard, & an HP Wireless All-in-One printer for under $500 at Walmart. Problem solved. His current printer is just as old as his computer & it has been finicky about printing for the past year or so. On the credit card it went. Of course we are completely broke now, but who isn't this time of year?

What's on your Christmas wish list this year? Aside from that $500 million dollar lotto ticket? Haha.

Snow Day, 2013.

I'm sure everyone's news feed & blog feed is filled with images of snow... So, you won't mind a few more! ;)



Last year we didn't get snow, I mean it "snowed", but nothing stuck. It melted away as fast as it came. But this past week, we got about 5 inches of snow. Love it! This is Odin's first real snow, & I think he has totally found his element. :)


Back from the edge of the Earth...

So, I am back from the edge of the Earth. Or at least that is where I have seemed to fall off of. I really had no intention of abandoning my little blog for so long, but it seems that I must have needed a little vacation from the blogger world. I'm not going to lie, some of my absence is due to my laptop running so entirely slow. Hopefully in the future there will be a new computer in our household where it won't take two hours to open Google Chrome. Or, I will just have to get faster at typing with my Nexus Tablet & write more through there. The later is probably closer to reality

Life has not been too interesting or exciting since I have been gone. The Mister spent time here at home while on the mend from his clavicle fracture. We decorated for autumn & spent quite a few days out & about with Odin. We caught up with a lot of old television shows on Netflix. In general, we spent time together. Which was really what we all needed more than anything. Odin, Kora, & Apollo all bonded with Mr. B while he was home. I noticed it more after he went back to work, as Odin waited at the door for his Daddy every time he left. It was a tad bit heartbreaking, but it was more sweet than anything.



We decorated our porch for autumn this year. I loved how it turned out. We even carved pumpkins, though I never really got a decent picture of how they turned out. Either way, we had a lot of fun & have decided that we will buy more than two pumpkins next year.



Thanksgiving was quiet. I decided to make a Muscovy Duck for the very first time. We bought it at a farm out near Kutztown, Pennsylvania. I had never made duck before, & was even less failure with the Muscovy Duck. I Googled it for weeks before Thanksgiving before finally deciding the just roast it as if it were a chicken. Most people can't decided or even agree on how to cook Muscovy, as the Muscovy duck is actually a perching waterfowl & is leaner than other ducks. Anywho, about two hours after putting the duck into the oven, & worrying about ruining it. It turned out amazing. The Muscovy meat was odd though. The legs & other 'dark' meat pieces were like wild turkey, yet the breast meat tasted & looked like roast beef. Either way, it was amazing & the Mister declared that every Thanksgiving will be celebrated with Muscovy Duck. After dinner I plucked what meat I could from the bones & found that there was quite a bit left over. I decided to use it up in Duck Fried Rice. Yum!



















This year Mr. B's work is giving them Turkeys for Christmas. So, I guess I am making Turkey! Time to start Googleing. We normally don't go for Turkey, since it's just the two of us. But who is really going to say no to free? Certainly not I. Leftovers are always welcome. It's a great way to make your dollar stretch. I look forward to my first Turkey cooking experience, just as I looked forward to the Muscovy. I got this! Ha.

Anyway. just playing catch up. Thank you all for sticking around, even when I jumped ship for a while. Will write again soon. :)

It's in the little things...

Like car rides & walks in the sunshine with Mr. B & Odin. ♥





Hello, October. {September Recap}

I sure hope you are kind to us. As September was kind of a witch! ;) Well, things can only get better right... right?!? Hey, why are you laughing? The Mister & Me's new catchphrase should be, "If it weren't for bad luck, we'd have no luck at all." September was mighty crazy & I can honestly say I am happy for it to be over. 

But aside from a slightly-kinda-major thing, times weren't all that bad. I got to spend three weeks with my Mister home. I got to try hard cider for the first time, & Mr. B actually was home for his birthday this year. We also got to see the oldest of the Noland girls (The Mister's Nieces) get her first car at her sweet sixteen party. We got to try out a delicious salsa, & I even tried a simple but new recipe. I had the pleasure of participating in the Aloha Friday hop, & have seemed to capture a few new readers. (Hello you lurking new hitchhikers! ♥ Thanks for joining us.) And of course we can't forget that I let my geek side show with my new friend/love affair.

So bring it on October, you beautiful month you! I'm ready for hoodies, changing leaves, new Netflix arrives & all the apple treats you have to offer. Sorry, you pumpkin lovers, it's all about the apples! ;) I never could get into the pumpkin trend, but that's okay... more pumpkin for you, right!? 

Let's see where October takes us... I do hope you will all stick around. :)

I'm cheating on my laptop... Google Nexus 7 Tablet {Review}


Say hello to my new little friend. Okay, it's not that little.

This is the Google Nexus 7 tablet, second generation. Ain't she a beaut?


I couldn't wait to get my hands on this gorgeous seven inch tablet. I, in all honesty, expected it to be smaller. Instead I was pleasantly surprised that my expectations were blown out of the water.

Before we get into the nitty gritty of what I love about the Nexus 7, let's talk about the specifications & product info, you know, all that technical mumbo jumbo.


The Google Nexus 7 II tablet has a brilliantly bright 7" 1920x1200 IPS LCD high-resolution display with a 10-finger capacitive touch screen. It is said to have up to 10 hours of battery life for web browsing, video playback or reading with the 4.2V1 Li-Pllyner battery. It comes in both a 16GB & 32GB. The Google Nexus 7 II is powered by the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro 8064 1.5GHz processor & Android™ 4.3, Jelly Bean Operating System. It has two cameras, a 1.2MP front facing camera and 5MP rear camera that shoots photos and video. It comes with 802.11 a/b/g/n (that's wifi) and Bluetooth v4.0 built in. It comes pre-loaded with Google Search by Voice 2.1, Gmail, Contact Sync, Calendar Sync, Talk, Maps, Street View, News & Weather, YouTube, Movie Studio, & of course the Android Market. It also has a built-in microphone, SlimPort, headphone jack, & two high quality stereo speakers. The accessories included are an adapter & power plug, user manual and warranty card. When purchasing the Google Nexus 7 tablet from Staples.com it comes with a 1 year MFR limited parts and labor warranty.

For more of the technical & specific mumbo jumbo, please visit Staples.com.

I was very impressed with the Google Nexus 7 tablet as I removed it from it's vibrant covered box. As I removed it from it's packaging, I was a bit curious as to why there wasn't an owners manual. But I quickly left my curiosity behind as I pressed & held the power button to boot up the tablet.
The screen is absolutely beautiful. All I could keep saying to the Mister is how pretty the darn thing was. On initial startup, it prompts you to select the language you wish to continue in. From there it takes you to your wifi set up. 

Don't mind the dust. My house has issues. lol.
 Here is where I ran into an issue. I could not for the life of me get my pretty new friend to connect to my wifi. After trying for over an hour & a half working with my wifi settings & having no joy, I decided to wait & take it to McDonalds in the morning where I know they have free wifi. In the mean time I decided to google to see if people have had similar issues with wifi connection & I was over whelmed by just how many people were having the same, if not similar issue as me. Not wanting to get to discouraged, I decided to just wait it out.

At McDonalds, while sipping down my $1 iced coffee, I got the tablet to connect right away to the free wifi. Once it connected to the wifi, it prompted me to sign into my Google account. From there I went in to the system settings & updated the tablet. Completely hoping that the update would fix whatever it was that was keeping it from connecting to my home wifi.

I arrived home & instantly attempted to connect to the wifi. No joy, again. So back into my modem/wifi settings it was. After reading everything I could about how to fix this issue, I nearly gave up. I decided that I didn't really have anything to lose, so I went into my own modem settings & restored the entire thing back to factory settings. BINGO. That worked. My tablet connected no problem. Apparently something in my own modem settings was keeping me from connecting. So it really had nothing to do with the Nexus 7 tablet at all! So anyone who finds this post, because you are having issues connecting your new friend to your current wifi, try resetting your wifi settings by accessing your modem through your ip address. It worked for me!

Once I was in & connected. I found the owners manual, Guidebook. Guess where it was!?! On the tablet itself. It made sense once I thought about it. Ha! (See how brilliant that screen is!)


The tablet came with a few things installed. A lot of Google apps were already installed. Gmail, Google Play & Google Maps to name a few. I do believe I had to install Facebook on my own, but it wasn't hard to do. I easily was able to download all my favorite Google apps. Those who have never had a Android, might take some time to get used to it. I've never owned an Apple product to be able to compare the play stores

The buttons on the Tablet seem to be pretty comparable to any standard smart phone. Headphone jack, volume buttons, power button, charging port, & a camera on both the front & the rear.

I found it extremely easy to type in portrait mode. For me it was not so easy in landscape. Either way the buttons are perfect. I have fairly large fingers & I don't think the buttons are too small, or spaced awkwardly.


Although I wasn't really too impressed with the camera on the Nexus 7. The video camera wasn't too bad.  Here is a short clip of Odin playing fetch to give you an idea. Make sure you change it to 720pHD.


I also found that you can get quite nice pictures with the Nexus, if you download a different camera app from the Google Play store. My first Play store purchase, when I first got into this Smart Phone Android business was the Pro HDR Camera. The greatest part, you buy the app once & it is good for all compatible Android devices.

Nexus 7 with the Standard Camera
Nexus 7 with Pro HDR Camera












Gaming is fun on the large screen. Yes, my fellow Candy Crush addicts... You can play Candy Crush on this beautiful tablet! 


I downloaded Candy Crush almost right away. Along with Triple Town, I love this game. I actually paid the $3.99 to unlock all levels! Bubble Witch Saga & Bejeweled Blitz were two more I had to have. I had these on my HTC Evo, but I could only have one or two at a time because of space issues. With this 16GB tablet I have all the space I could ever need!


And because you have all that space... You can take advantage of all the books & magazines that Google Play store has to offer. I currently have my eye on Crochet Today! magazine. I downloaded a few freebies to get started. Catching Fire, The Time Machine, & Pride & Prejudice are just a couple of the free books that have made their way to my Tablet. Eat that Kindle! ;) You can also watch movies from the Google play store or your Netflix Queue. Not to mention clips on YouTube or music on Pandora. 

There is so much you can do with this beautiful 7 inch tablet. I know I use the word beautiful a lot in this review, but I really feel that word best describes it! Battery use is pretty decent. I am able to use the tablet most of the day without needing to charge it. And when it does charge, it doesn't seem to take very long at all. 

I'm quite fond of my new friend. I've had it for over a week now & I've honestly been neglecting both my laptop & my HTC Evo. But I don't feel too bad about it, being that I can do tons more on my Nexus. I've replied to emails, checked Facebook, played games, pinned on Pinterest, shared photos on Instagram, commented on blogs through Bloglovin, watched movies on Netflix, listened to music on Pandora, Googled recipes, checked the weather, used a calculator, & have even looked up actors & movies on IMDb.


It was love at first tap.

Do you have a tablet, kindle, or maybe an ipad?  What's your must have app?

To learn more about the Google Nexus 7 Tablet & other items carried, visit Staples.com

*Disclaimer: The awesome people at Staples &/or Staples PR Team sent me a product to review for my expressed interest in their company. I was in no way paid for my opinions. As always, the opinions expressed in this post are 100% my own and were in no way influenced by the company providing the product.

Still sewing in tails...

So, I am still sewing in tails... but I have finally finished my large granny square blanket! This is the largest crochet project I have ever finished. I love it! Though, next time I will remember to sew in the tails as I go. Seriously. What a pain.


Anyway, it is the first time I have ever tried the Continuous Join Method & I don't see that I will ever try to sew them together again. It was so easy once you got the first couple rows done. :) The best part is, it lays completely flat. Unlike ruffles, it has no ridges! ;)

Now I have to find another project to start... perhaps I will give knitting another go. Tis' the season!

Fast Faves: Italian Sausage & Peppers


Italian Sausage & Peppers has pretty much been a staple in our home this month. Some days, we get busy, we've been running around or just trying to accomplish things, & I just do not want to cook. This is my favorite, I don't want to cook meal. It is so simple & delicious. I really is as easy as 1, 2, 3. Mr. B loves it & that works for me!


What you need. Sausage. Any type would be fine I am sure. We use Premio brand sausage that we buy in bulk at Costco. We switch between the sweet Italian & the hot. You also need, Bell Peppers, an Onion, Olive Oil & Sandwich Rolls.


Remove skin/casings from sausage. To do this you just simply slice lightly into the sausage top & peel off casing. Heat on medium about a tablespoon of olive oil in a large frying pan. Add sausage to pan & brown both sides, two to three minutes each side.


Once sausage is browned on both sides & is mostly cooked. Add sliced onions & peppers to pan. For heat I like to throw in sliced fresh jalapenos & garden salsa hot peppers from my garden. I cook peppers & onion until al dente. We like our peppers to still have a crisp to them, if you don't, cook them until desired.

Easy peasy, right?

I then serve the sausages on steak rolls. I top them with the peppers/onions & we usually add a bit of ketchup on top. It's a huge hit here at home, & many times Mr. B & I have thought about making them without the sausage. Though, we have not tried it yet. ;)

We are having them again for dinner tonight. ♥ What are you having?

Time Flies + September's Final Aloha Friday

Ever look at the calendar & realize that not only has an entire week passed, but the month has flown on by as well? That is totally what has happened to me this month. If there ever was a month for phone calls, it would be this September for me. With the Mister's injury & dealing with his companies HR center, as well as Workers Comp, I would bet that I was on the phone more this month, than I have been all year. 

The Mister was supposed to be home for quite a few more weeks. He wasn't supposed to be back until December first. But after seeing the doctor that our Workers Comp case worker sent us to, he has already been returned to work. Mr. B is not a happy camper. He started back on Tuesday & after arriving home, he is miserable & in so much pain. I feel so bad for him & I am so extremely angry that he was not given enough time to heal. 

I am trying to keep a positive look on things. I am happy to have had three & a half weeks with him home. I honestly thought that I would have been excited for him to go back to work. Instead, I cried. And then I felt stupid for crying. But I couldn't help it. I was not ready for him to go back to work. I almost think that I took it harder than he did. 

The worst part is watching Odin wait at the door when the Mister leaves for work in the morning. After three weeks of his Daddy being home, he's not sure what to make of him leaving. He waits by the door for quite a while before eventually moving on to doing what dogs do. It's heartbreaking, really.

But, life must go on. If only that winning lottery ticket would find it's way into my pocket, so that the Mister would never have to return back to work & he can stay home with us. Dream big, eh?

So with it being September's final Friday, let's get hoppin' with my final Aloha Friday! It's been great linking up with all you wonderful people this month. I apologize for being so quite this month. As you can see, we've been quite busy in the Mister & Me household. 

Don't forget to leave a comment to say you were here so I can follow you back! :)

Happy Friday!

 
Happy Aloha Friday!
Your hosts
Hey there people and a very Happy Aloha Friday to you all! Welcome to the most hoppingest of all hops - The Aloha Friday Hop :) This week we have a special welcome to say - welcome to our new host Angie :)
Co Hosts
Our September team are a fantastic bunch of bloggers - they are so enthusiastic about the hop! I know you're going to love them. Just don't forget to head down to the linky to click and follow them when you link up your own lovely blogs :) Our hosts and co-hosts links are always the first you will see, so it's easy for you to click and follow.
Aloha Hoapili Grab a button and link up below! If you'd like a different sized button click here.
Don't worry if you already have Jean's lovely Aloha buttons on your blogs - switch if you'd like to. Or choose one of Jean's buttons here.
The rules are the same as before and are posted below. The Aloha Hop is one of the most hoppingest hops of the week, attracting over lots of linkups on the regular. Let's keep that blogging tradition going people!
If you'd like to host future Aloha Hops with us then please get in touch at our swanky new email address alohahop@gmail.com
We're all set for October and November with lots of lovely co-hosts but feel free to get in touch about December onwards.
The rules
If you'd like to spread the love even more, why not tweet and twitter all about it? Just click the pic below :)
Tweet this Hop
Here's the extra special addition to our lovely hop. It's an oh-so-easy opportunity for you lovely participants of the Aloha Friday Blog hop to get some exposure to your blogs!!  What do  you have to do to enter?  Just link up to the Aloha Friday Blog Hop Below!! It's that easy!!  No extra forms or hassle, just link up!  Each week we will pick a linker to featured at random and invite you all to say ...
Aloha Hoapili Grab a button if you were featured this week!
Aloha Hoapili translates as Hello Close Friend. So, without further ado let me introduce you to this week's featured friend ...
Danielle at Kalamity Jane
Danielle blogs all about makeup, beauty and day to day calamities. Want a little taste of her blog? Check out these posts to find out what you've been missing:
Now let's start hoppin'! Click on the links in the linky to visit some lovely bloggers and make new friends. Oh, and don't forget to link up yourselves!
Aloha and have a great day people!
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