Rock Solid Knowledge.

Have you taken the quiz created by Blue Nile? It's called Rock Solid Knowledge. Apparently diamonds aren't my best friend. I only scored a 2/7 when I took it for the first time! How lame is that. That's okay, I prefer puppies! ;) It does have some interesting facts about our engagement/bridal culture. It's a quick quiz & shouldn't take too long. So why don't you go ahead & find out your own score? Can you beat my crappy 2 out of 7? I'm pretty sure you can!

Oh & after you complete the quiz. Don't forget to head on over & enter to win these beautiful Blue Nile Earrings in my Grand Blogiversary Giveaway!


 

Blog Button Design Battle?




Hey you all! I'm so darn honored to be able to participate in Peacoats and Plaid's Blog Button Design Battle this week! I've never entered a contest like this before. I'm so excited! Anywho, the Blog Button Design Battle needs your votes! 

Voting is so easy! No sign up required. Simple click the ♥ in the upper right corner & your set! I would really love it if you all voted for me! ;)




This week's participants include:

Diane from Vintage Zest
Krys from Sunshine & Rain (that's me!)
Jacquelyn from justjacq
Robyn from Sea Rewynd Make
Lanaya from Raising Reagan
Eva from Snappee Turtle
Lena from Root & Blossom
J Lenni Dorner from Blog of Author J Lenni Dorner
Deanne from Hot Mess Mama


Thanks so much for stopping by! Make sure to enter my Grand Blogiversary Giveaway while you're here!

I try to keep my cool...

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Usually, I try to keep my cool. Even when things get frustrating. I'm normally the calm collected one telling Mr. B to just breathe. Yet, yesterday, I blew up in Target. The Target Pharmacy to be exact. I dislike when people are lazy & when they clearly have not done their job. I will try to explain this as clearly as possible.

For the past two weeks, well actually longer than that. I would say that a good part of the last four months, I have spent waiting for the pharmacists at Target to get something right. I set up my auto-refills on their oh so nifty auto refill service. You know, the service they boast about, the service that is supposed to make it easier on you. Ha! Several times my prescriptions have been booted off of the service for no reason at all. I hate making extra trips, so I always set up my prescriptions to be refilled all at the same time. I can't quite wrap my head around the fact I feel like I am standing in line at the Target pharmacy counter three to four times a month. This should not happen, but I keep my cool & try not to let it get to me.

However, two weeks ago, on my third prescription pick up for the month, the lady at the counter tells me that I have no refills left on half of my prescriptions. I know this to be a lie because the bottle in my purse, next to the word refills, in bold, is the number 5. I have six prescriptions being filled at this pharmacy & everyone of them had at least one refill left. I kept my calm & told the lady that it was fine & if she could please call my doctor's office to request refills. After all, part of this oh so nifty auto refill service was the convenience of the pharmacy contacting the doctor when your refills are up. This is already in her job description. It's nothing above & beyond her call of duty. She tells me she will & I tell her I will come back later to pick them up.

Fast forward a little over a week later & I receive an automated phone message telling me that I had a prescription to pick up at the Pharmacy. They continue to call with the automated message twice a day, everyday. I had to wait until Mr. B was off from work so that we could run & pick up my medication. At this point, I've already been out of the medication I take for my PCOS for three days. 

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So yesterday, I run in really quick to pick up my prescription. I am greeted by the same woman, she asks my name & pulls out a target bag from behind the counter. She pulls up the piece of paper with the bar code & name of the medication. It's not the medication I needed. They called my doctor & some how managed to refill an old prescription that I did not need. I told her the name of the medication that I was actually there to pick up. I even brought the empty bottle so she could see it. She looked at the bottle I was holding & then looked inside the small target bag & told me she doesn't see it there...

What? Seriously? She just stares at me, like that solved the problem. I tell her again, that it should have been ready to pick up. So she huffs a bit, like how dare I tell her to do her job. She gets onto the computer, & then tells me for the second time in two weeks...

There are no refills left on that prescription.

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I was so beyond angry at that point. I couldn't not hold in my words of frustration & I let it all out. I told her how upset her incompetence has made me. She clearly had not done her job, not once, not twice, but three times. Her co-worker offered to call my doctor, now that I was clearly making a scene & letting everyone know that they were not fit to dispense medications. I told her not to bother. I am now in the middle of transferring my prescriptions to Walmart. I am also looking into filling a complaint higher up the Target food chain. Medications are not something to mess around with & having been screwed with repeatedly, I won't be returning to that Target for quite a while. Mr. B prefers Walmart anyway. ;)

Swimsuit Shocker.

Something quite wonderful happened this weekend. I bought a swimsuit! Okay, this might not seem like a big deal to most of you. But I have not had a swimsuit since high school. Mr. B & I don't own a pool & I usually wear swim trunks & t-shirts when we go to the river, so I never really had a need for one. But, Mr. B & I had plans to visit a friend of Mr. B's on Saturday, where there would be swimming. So Saturday morning it was decided that we would go to Walmart & see if we could find anything I liked. 

When we first arrived at our local Walmart, I immediately got discouraged. Our Walmart is so disorganized & with it being just within city limits, it's fairly urban. I searched through the racks of swimsuits to find that the only ones in my size were bright florescent pink or wide zebra striped. Now, I understand that someone somewhere would love to embrace her more to love figure with such bright & obnoxious prints. But I on the other hand, prefer to be a little less bold & a little more classy. 

With that being said. I eventually found a suit that I liked. However, it was a size smaller than what I wanted to originally try on. My heart sunk. I was never going to find something in my size in a print that was flattering. Mr. B suggested that we go to Lane Bryant, but with us being on a fairly tight budget I knew eighty dollars for a swimsuit was out of the question.

I threw the suit that I liked into my cart & told Mr. B that I was going to try it on anyway. I was assuming that I needed a larger size than a 2x, but I didn't know for sure since I have not worn a swimsuit in over seven years. I went into the changing stall, & slipped into the swimsuit & watched it fit me perfectly in every way. Not only did it fit me correctly, it slimmed my apple figure, felt extremely comfortable, & looked amazing!

I have never loved a swimsuit in my entire life. But that changed the minute I walked out of that changing stall. I felt confident wearing it out by the pool & it left me feeling confident about my body ever after I took it off. It was almost as if a light flicked on & made me realize that I could love my body for the way it is & not hate it for what it is not. After all, the swimsuit didn't change who I was, but it did change how I saw myself.

Not bad for a $25 swimsuit, eh?


Hello Weekend + Happies & Crappies ♥

Hello beautiful weekend ♥. You are finally here. Normally, you are just another two days for Mr. B & I. But not this weekend. This weekend you are four days long. Four days with Mr. B home & not at that big orange box store that he calls work. Not only will Mr. B be home, but there is supposed to be absolutely no rain this weekend. Halle-freaking-lujah! Granted, it is going to be in the 90's. *gulp*

However, it's officially summer & honestly, I am loving it. I hated this past winter! I promised, out loud, that I would not complain a stitch this summer & I am going to try my best to stick to my word. I know that there is a large majority who hate summer more than winter, & true, there is only so much you can take off. However, you get to wear flip-flops in the summer & that to me, is a win! Anyone who knows me, knows I hate shoes (& socks!!) with a passion. I'm a total hippie at heart. No joke. 

I am so proud of myself this week. This week, I put together a giveaway, created, cooked, & photographed three recipes, took care of Mr. B, & cleaned the house all while suffering from an absolute awful summer cold. I am so thankful that I am feeling 100% better for this weekend! I really did not want it to ruin our plans.

The Vintage Modern Wife: Happies and Crappies Link Up




Now from some Happies & Crappies, I'm linking up with The Vintage Modern Wife! Check it out!



Happies:


  • My cold is gone, Hoo-freaking-ray! Like seriously, I really do enjoy breathing through my nose.
  • Mr. B is off from work for four days! 
  • Summer is officially here & we actually have plans this weekend. That never happens.
  • This afternoon shall be spent by the pool. Mr. B's friend & co-worker invited us over for a BBQ. I'm super excited!
  • The Giveaway for my very first Blogiversary went live this week. I can't believe I have been blogging for a year now. Time-freaking-flies.
  • I figured out how to use my brand new pizza stone. After only three tries. Practice makes perfect!
  • The radishes in my garden were finally ready to pull. :)
  • Mr. B & I are going fishing!
  • Our horrible neighbors moved out. I did a little party dance when I found that out.
  • The new neighbors seem nice.
Crappies:
  • I couldn't breathe, at all, this week. I do believe I nearly died. Okay, maybe not. But still.
  • Mr. B has been working crazy hours & I feel like I have hardly seen him all week.
  • New neighbors moved in, already. We were looking forward to having it empty & quiet for a while.
  • Comcast's internet connection has been crazy slow. We pay too much for this shiiiz.
  • Technology didn't like me this week. My laptop's hard drive is giving me an error, it's battery needs to be replaced & my cell phone only has been charging when it wants to. 
I hope you all are having a terrific weekend!

Sunshine&Rain Grand Blogiversary Giveaway!

Hooray! The day has finally arrived! Today we are celebrating Sunshine & Rain's 1 year blogiversary! I'm excited, are you? Okay, yes, technically my blog turned one a few weeks ago. But it takes time to plan these things guys! 

Anyway, I just want to say that I never would have thought that my little blog would have come so far in this past year. I honestly went into it not expecting anything. It was just for me & if people started to follow me, than awesome-sauce! Then I discovered some blog giveaways, & blog hops, & link-ups, & suddenly I was thrust into the awesome world of bloggerdom. I started 'meeting' some really great people & have enjoyed reading their posts & getting a taste of their world through words. I have learned a lot, not only about blogging & designs, but I truly learned a lot about myself too. I discovered my passion for a written word not found in books. The word of true life experiences. I have laughed, I have cried, & I have been scared with you as I read through the thoughts you put down on the page. And, I just want to say thank you all for doing what you do.

I find the words come easier for me since I have started blogging. Sometimes a little too easy. lol. But that's not too terrible, is it? 

Well, that's not why you are here today! You are here to enter to win some loot! I must admit that I am jealous of you guys, I totally want to win my own giveaway. ;) You know those beautiful earrings I reviewed a few weeks back? Yep, a pair of those are up for the taking, along with the MySpiceSage spices used in my Homemade Pizza, Pasta e Fagioli, & Slow Cooker Apple Crisp. Awesome right? But that is not all! I have teamed up with fellow bloggers to make this giveaway even more awesome! One lucky winner takes all! Are you ready?

Enter the Rafflecopter below! False entries will be deleted, so don't waste our time & yours by trying to cheat. Good luck! :) 


a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Now for some legal mumbo-jumbo. Giveaway begins Friday June 21st, 2013 at 12am & ends on Saturday July 6th, 2013 at 12am EASTERN time. 1 random winner will be chosen and announced on Sunshine&Rain. Giveaway is open only to legal residents of the United States ages 18 or older. The winner will have 48 hours to respond to the winner announcement e-mail, or the prize will be forfeited, and a new winner will be chosen. Giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Bloglovin', Blue Nile, Sally Hansen, Amazon, or Starbucks. Sunshine&Rain is not responsible for all of prize shipments. Entries will be checked. False entries will be deleted, so don't waste your time & ours, & please be honest. 

Slow Cooker Apple Crisp. {Recipe}


I sure hope you saved room for desert! The final of my three recipes, I find is my absolute favorite. Though there has to be a better way to peel apples! It's 2013, shouldn't we have some magic laser device that zaps the skins off of fruit? Someone get on that, okay? Anyway. There are so many great things about this recipe, but best of all you can throw everything into the slow cooker & in four hours you have not only an amazing desert, but a terrific smelling house.

But that is enough of me yammering, you're here for the recipe right? You know you're adding apples to your list as we speak! ;)

Here is what you will need:



Ingredients:
  • Flour, 1 cup.
  • Light Brown Sugar, 1/2 cup.
  • White Sugar, 1/4 cup + 1/4 cup.
  • Salt, just a pinch.
  • Margarine or Butter, 1/2 cup.
  • Granny Smith Apples, I used 8, peeled, cored, & diced to desired size.
  • Old Fashioned Rolled Oats, 1/2 Cup.
  • Cornstarch, 1 tablespoon.
  • Apple Pie Spice, 1 teaspoon + 1 tablespoon. (It's a must!)
  • Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract, 1 tablespoon. (This stuff is amazing, like liquid gold!)
  • Cooking Spray such as Pam.
  • Whipped Cream or Oh! I bet Vanilla Ice Cream would be amazing!. (Optional for topping.)
Supplies:
  • Mixing Bowls.
  • Measuring Cups/Spoons.
  • Slow Cooker.

Here's how it goes down!

  1. In a large bowl mix together 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup light brown sugar, 1/4 cup white sugar, 1/2 cup rolled oats, 1 teaspoon Apple Pie Spice, & a pinch of salt.
  2. Cut 1/2 cup margarine/butter into flour mixture with a fork until coarse crumbles form. 
  3. Set aside.
  4. In second large bowl mix diced apples, 1/4 cup white sugar, 1 tablespoon Madagascar Burbon Pure Vanilla Extract, 1 tablespoon Apple Pie Spice, & 1 tablespoon cornstarch.
  5. Spray slow cooker with cooking spray, so that the apple crisp doesn't stick to the sides. 
  6. Add apple mixture evenly into the slow cooker.
  7. Top apple mixture with the coarse flour/sugar crumbs.
  8. Close lid & cook four hours on low or two hours on high.
  9. Crack lid open slightly for the last hour of cooking so that the crumbles crisp up.
  10. Serve warm with your favorite topping. We used light whipped cream.
  11. Enjoy!

Mr. B & I are totally guilty of finishing the rest of the Apple Crisp cold for breakfast & we find that it tastes even better that way! I highly recommend that you visit MySpiceSage.com & at the very least purchase the Apple Pie Spice. It is truly amazing, I have sprinkled it in pancakes & I have even added a dash to french toast. It's so much better than cinnamon alone.

Don't believe me? Well you will just have to try it yourself! Stick around for a chance to win the MySpiceSage spices used in the recipe as well as my Homemade Pizza & Pasta e Fagioli recipes! :)

This recipe has been linked up with Create It Thursday, Thursday's Favorite Things, & Weekend Wanderings.

*The amazing people at MySpiceSage supplied samples of their product in return 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.

My take on Pasta e Fagioli. {Recipe}


Pasta e Fagioli. Sounds so wonderful in Italian doesn't it? Pasta & Bean soup on the other hand, not so good. However, no matter what you call this soup, one thing doesn't change. It sure is delicious! There are so many variations of this soup floating around cyberspace. That's what is so fantastic about Pasta e Fagioli, as long as you have Pasta & Beans in your soup, you are on the right track. lol.

From doing a bit of research I found out that Pasta e Fagioli was originally a peasant dish & was traditionally meatless. Admittedly, mine is not meatless. Though, I am sure if you wanted you could omit the meat & use vegetable broth instead of beef.

This is my first shot at making this dish & I already have mentally made a few changes for next time. Mr. B & I both agree that the next batch will include fresh chopped garlic & peeled/petite diced potatoes. Other than that, we loved it & we hope you do too! 

So let's get this show on the road, shall we?



Here is what you will need.

Ingredients:
  • Celery, 3 stalks, diced.
  • Baby Carrots, about a handful, sliced. (You can use full size carrots if you wish.)
  • Red Onion, half, chopped. (Any onion will do, we just prefer red onions.)
  • Red Bell Pepper, 1 small, chopped.
  • Lean Ground Beef, 1 pound.
  • Light Red Kidney Beans, 1 15.5 oz can, undrained.
  • Great Northern Beans, 1 15.5 oz can, undrained.
  • Diced Tomatoes in Juice, 1 can or 3 cups, undrained. (I buy a huge can at Costco, so I just used 3 cups.)
  • 1 tablespoon of Organic Better Than Bouillon Low Sodium Base. 
  • 3 cups water. (You can omit the Better Than Bouillon & water & use Beef Broth instead.)
  • 8 oz of small pasta, I used Mini Farfalle, cooked.
  • Garlic Powder, 1 tablespoon. (Add more or less depending on taste.)
  • Tomato Powder, 2 tablespoons.
  • Italian Seasoning, 2 tablespoons.
  • Salt & Pepper to taste.

So now that we know all the ingredients, let's get down to putting them all together. It's super easy peasy, are you ready?

  1. Brown 1 pound of lean ground beef. You may drain off the grease if you want. I use the very lean ground beef from Costco, so there really wasn't much to drain off. So I usually just leave the little bit there is.
  2. Add the carrots, celery, onion & bell pepper. Saute for 10 minutes or until onions become translucent.
  3. Next stir in your spices, diced tomatoes, beans, water & beef base. 
  4. Let simmer one hour, stirring occasionally.
  5. During the last 15 minutes of cooking, bring a medium saucepan of water to boil. Once boiling add the 8oz of pasta. Cook until tender & drain.
  6. Mix into your soup, cook for another ten minutes.
  7. Stir & serve with garnish of your choice. We chose a little fresh Parmesan Romano cheese.
  8. Let cool, as it will be super hot! Enjoy!

*The amazing people at MySpiceSage supplied samples of their product in return 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.

Delicious pizza at home... *HINT* It's not delivery.


It's not delivery & it's not Digiorno either! It's a delicious homemade pizza that you could feel good about eating. Yes, I dared to say you can actually feel 'good' about eating pizza. True, it is still pizza with the traditional bread dough & olive oil, however, you know exactly what you are eating when you make it at home! Not to mention, it's fairly cost effective! 

I don't know about you, but Mr. B is a pizza snob. I say this because he has a strong dislike for the 'chain' pizza places & frowns upon the $5 large pizza deals you can find at Domino's or Pizza Hut. Which means that whenever we are in the mood for pizza, we are usually out of $30. Ouch! That can & has hurt our budgeting in the past. For $30 we usually end up with two meals, dinner that night & cold pizza for breakfast in the morning. But in today's economy we find it really important to get the most bang for our buck, or in other words, as many meals as possible for our dollar.

So when a tight budgeted pizza snob is in the mood for a slice, what other choice do we have?

Happy Monday!

I know, things have been super quiet around here lately. But I have a really fantastic reason for that. I have a few fun things planned for you this week! Kicking off the celebration of my dear little blog turning one this month, I will be sharing three great recipes with you! So be sure to stop on by & check those out.

Also, Friday will be filled with a fairly large giveaway with the help of a few blogger friends of mine. Be sure to drop in & get your entries to win gift cards, spices, ad space, earrings, shop credits & more! It's going to be great & I can't wait to get the ball rolling on that!

Thank you all so much for sticking around through my quiet spell. I'm hoping to get back into my groove soon! Very soon!

But then he smiles.


Sometimes I have my doubts. There are times I get weighed down with all the struggles & what if's of daily life. Sometimes worry, like a wave during high tide, washes over me & leaves me feeling lost in a lack of self confidence. I find myself unsure of not only myself on a physical level, but on a mental level as well. I fear that my eagerness to become something so natural, something so normal, something so primal, will be far superior than my ability to do so. And I frequently question the sturdiness of the road we want to travel upon.

But then he smiles, and most of my worries crumble. He is stronger than he thinks, for when he takes my hand, he's pulling me up from the rising waters of my self doubt & I can be at peace. At least for a little while. Men & women have traveled upon roads similar to the one we wish to take since the beginning of time. Our journey might start differently than most, but the destination is still the same. In the end, a new life will be brought into this world & our us will become a we.

So many thoughts have been rushing through my mind as of late. Jealously has been quite a companion these past weeks as I've seen one friend after another become something I want so desperately. These things happen so easily for most, even when they are not planned or yet even wanted. I find myself frustrated that I will have to try so hard & that my story will be different from the perfect normalcy of others. But then, I realize that it is my own perception of normalcy that is the problem. The worldy norm changes daily. What is best for one person, might not be the best for another. That is what makes us individuals. 

Yes, my story will be different. Yes, my road will be a bit more ridged than I would like. But, it is my story. The blood, sweat, scars & tears that go into writing it will be even more proof of my determination. Life is hard & the struggles make the ride exhausting. But even the shiniest of the fairytale carriages hit bumps while on the way to a happy ending.

Okay for a Tuesday.

The weather has been just awful the past few days. One thing I am 100% sure of is, humidity & myself do not get along. However, today it is absolutely beautiful outside! The humidity has dropped, the temps are perfect & I am loving the breeze blowing through the house this morning.

This month I have decided to join in on the fun of Fat Mum Slim's June Photo-A-Day Challenge. Though I am sharing my day-by-day photos on my personal Facebook page, I am planning to do a June wrap up at the end of the month with all of my photos. Are you participating in the challenge? I would love to see what you come up with! :)

A few days ago I came across a blog by pure chance & I can honestly say that it has changed the way I feel about certain things. The blog is called Plus Size Birth. The blog is meant to encourage, empower & uplift women who have more to love & are wanting to start families. This blog touches base on PCOS, TTC, plus size pregnancy & birth stories, OBGYN & clothing issues, & more.

I am absolutely in love with this blog & can spend hours reading their stories, watching their videos & looking at their pictures. As a plus size women I find so much strength in knowing that what I want most in life, can happen for me. I do not have to feel depressed, ashamed, or helpless because I am overweight. This blog breaks the ties between size & health. You can be overweight & still have a happy & healthy pregnancy. Not only that, but you can embrace your baby bump proudly & be amazed by what your body is able to do no matter your size. It's really worth a read, if you ever have the time.
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