First of all

Friday, November 16, 2012

Forgot to share contest to win a years supply of groceries! Crock-Pot® Seasoning Mixes

I forgot to share a link in my slow cooker stew post that could be your ticket to a years supply of groceries. How nice would that be, groceries are such a major part of our household bills, ah definitely right after mortgage or rent!
Here is the link to enter.  And excited slow cooker fact: did you know you can make corn on the cob in the Crock-Pot?  Neither did I!  But I now know how and I'm going to share it with you:

Wrap 4 ears of shucked corn individually in fiol. Place in a 4 quart Crock-Pot cover and cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4!

Crock-Pot® Seasoning Mixes: Thx Crock-Pot® 4 my free #CrockPotMixes - Enter for a chance to win a years supply of groceries *Thanks again to Smiley 360 for the free sample of the Crock-Pot seasoning!

Enter the contest! I hope you win!

Over the river and through the woods to Grandmother's house we go!  Are you traveling to your turkey? Or are the turkeys traveling to you?

Monday, November 12, 2012

The time has arrived...

Can you even believe that Thankgiving is next week?  Me either, but it is!  Now I love a good thankgiving feast almost as much as I love Christmas Vacation. 

In fact, right now I have a turkey breast slathered in Roasted Garlic Infused Oil and Rustic Herb Seasoning slow cooking away for my Taste-Test Tuesday at the Cafe.  This turkey is going to be nice and juicy unlike poor Catherine's overdone bird. 

Such fun to cook when you have time during the holiday season. The crock pot really can be the busy cook's bff.  Because I am the proud owner of a real Crock Pot, thanks to my mom who picked up this bad boy at a rummage sale for me, I was invited to participate in a Smiley 360 mission for Crock Pot's new seasoning mixes. 

Saturday I tried out the Beef Stew Slow Cooker Mix. Here is what I did:
1. 2 lbs chuck roast cut into cubes.
2. 5 cups veggies of my choice chopped.  I did a couple of cups of portabella mushrooms, cup of celery, potatoes and onion.
3. 1 1/3 cups water, wisk in the dry mix and pour over the veggies and meat in the crock pot.  Then cook on low for 8 hours.

I did this overnight, so Tom woke up to enjoy some fresh hearty stew. 

Me=Super easy.
Tom- he would have liked more flavor
Kids-they loved the meat and the potatoes.
Yes I know adding the mushrooms was going out on a bit of a limb...but they were on clearance and I like mushrooms in a beef stew!

Overall, definitely worth doing again!
Disclosure: I rec'd a free packet of the stew mix to try out and agreed to blog about how we used it. All my opinions are my own!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Good luck Anna!

Anna is running for 3rd Grade Class President and the election is tomorrow. She says it's so scary because you may get picked or someone else may get picked. So wish her luck!

Recently Anna wrote a story about a dragon:

"This is a fire dragon. It would be my guardian. I would love it with all my heart. It would drive me to school every day. It would make my lunch everyday. If anyone would try to hurt me, she would hurt them. She would lay eggs and I would help her take care of them.

It would be the best dragon in the world. Her name is Anabell. She is very big. She is very smart. She has a Job as a nurse for dragons while I'm at school.
Then when my Mom or Dad comes home she would hide and I would be sleeping.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Who says there are many many great opportunities out there?

(sarcasm alert ahead)

I don't know why people say they can't find a job, why I get emails ALL the time with great offers!  They find my info online at and they contact me with such great jobs!  It's so great that these wonderful legitimate opportunities are out there for people. So many people have been looking for months and months to find a job, it's great that wonderful employers are offering quality work.

Look at this great offer a minimum of $700 per week!  And I get excited when I get a bonus check from Tastefully Simple for $630 for a whole month! Clearly I need to get on board and snag this position.

Dear Customer,

Join us and be part of a growing family of nearly 100,000 people with their eyes on the future and we are glad to announce our decision to fill the position of a Microsoft Agent. Please note that the job is not office-based, which means applicants can work at home. The job is both part- and full-time. In order to be eligible for the said vacancy, have a continuous and unlimited access to the Internet. EARN the minimum of $700 per week.

Apply Now

Thank you for being a valued Microsoft Agent.


Sunday, October 7, 2012

Trail Mix settles on a Halloween Costume

Anna wants to be Medusa for Halloween! I love it! Tthis costume choice was all her idea and so much better than a lame old super inappropriate type costume such as Target or Walmart has lining their shelves. Holy run on sentence Batman! You know what I mean, though I am sure.

Yesterday we found her dress, at a yard sale. I did not notice it at the time, but on further inspection the dress has built in leggings. Total bonus!

Around here due to the rural nature and mountain roads, Halloween trick or treating is done on the town square and businesses set up booths and hand out candy to the kids. I could set up a booth... But I'm not going to, I want to enjoy this holiday with my almost not kids anymore kids.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Smiley 360 Missions to share with you! Woolite® COMPLETE Friends Mission

I'm a member of Smiley360 which gives social media people such as myself the opportunity to try new products, share our opinions and often share discounts or giveaways! To that end, I offer today a little survey from Woolite Complete and the chance to win $200!

Woolite® COMPLETE Friends Mission: Take a brief survey from Smiley360 and enter 4 a chance to win a $200 gift card! Take the survey at *Please remember the FTC requires you to mention that you received a free sample courtesy of Smiley360 when sharing.

And for fun here is a silly picture of Mr. P and Trail Mix outside Golftopia.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Roctober is here! Let the Holidays Begin!

Oh it's all a big fun downward slide into the holidays now!  I'm thrilled, this is the most wonderful time of the year for all of us Tastefully Simple consultants throughout the land!  I'm busy, busy busy! I'll be at the Blairsville Sorghum Fest and the Hayesville Pumkin Chunkin this month.

 Additionally I'll be doing some home taste-testings and my monthly Taste Test Tuesday on 10/30 at the Cafe Touche in Hayesville.  Busy times mean more meal planning. 

When you are the busiest is when meal planning can save you the most time and money! I've got some great recipes I found in Food Network Magazine,  and in the coupon section of the paper. I'll be heading out to the store tonight with my pocket full of coupons!  One recipe I'll be trying is here:

Easy Lasagna Rolls:

2 tbsps Mama Mia Marinara
1 28oz can crushed tomatoes.

Mix the above and simmer for 15 minutes while doing the below listed steps.

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
15 oz Ricotta Cheese
1/2 cup chopped spinach
Salt and pepper to taste or better yet: Seasoned Salt
Pinch of basil, parsley and nutmeg
12 lasagna noodles cooked
Basil (for garnish)
Grated Cheese

In a medium mixing bowl, combine cheeses and spinach; season with Seasoned Salt. Add basil, parsley and nutmeg, blend well.

Lay lasagna noodle flat on a cutting board. Place 2 tablespoons of the cheese mixture on the end closest to you. Carefully roll half way, flatten a little with a gentle pat and then continue to roll to the end. Repeat this with the remainder of the cheese mixture and pasta.

Place 3 rolls on a dish, microwave on high for 1- 1/2 minutes. Repeat with the remainder of the rolls. Pour sauce over each roll and garnish with parsley and cheese. Serve with a green salad.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


Today's Fall into Blogging Challenge is to share fall pictures from your neck of the woods. So I am going to share pics from Hayesville, NC and our old hood, Chi-Town.

The kids October 2009

October 2011 view of our old backyard

Football=Fall 2012

Picture from this morning taken from the parking lot of a church. This church is right on the lake, gotta love that!

And this is a picture from the Chamber of Commerce Website. Lake Chatuge in all it's fall glory.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Falling Back into Blogging, School Memories

Today is the first day in the weeklong blogging event run by The SITS girls. I'm happy to participate in this fun challenge. Today we have a writing prompt centered around school memories. 

This is a bit problematic for me, as it turns out I am not one of those people who remembers much about their school days. I am one of those people that looks at a picture posted on facebook and thinks:

"Wow, obviously that is me in that picture, and yet I have no recollection of this occassion at all."

Here is a prime example, I was either a freshman or a sophomore.  I am in the picture, I recognize who I am with, and I don't remember this day at all.

 So which camp are you in when it comes to the good old days?  Do you remember your HS locker number? When you lost your tooth in 3rd grade at school?  What school lunches were like in JR High?

Or is it all a blur with a few notable moments?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Is it Smokey Mountains or Smoky Mountains?

I know all I would need to do is google and I could know the possibly definitive answer to that very question. I'm not going to google.

 I wanted to actually write that last sentence as: I'm not going to though. However, we all know that is a dangling dangle of a sentence ending, so I restrained myself.

It was chilly last night, maybe as low as the high 40s and I swear the leaves changed a bit overnight.  So it appears that right on time, Fall has arrived. Excellent!, I say.  I also say, no hurry to turn on the heat, let's enjoy some sweater weather and throw another blanket on the bed if you are cold.  Better yet, take one of my dogs, they warm up a bed.

Thinking of blankets and cool temps reminds me of socks.  This in turn, makes me think of my boys and their always dingy white socks.  That last thought leads me to a coupon I have coming to me via Vocalpoint.   You could get a coupon for the new Vivid White from Tide too, if you were my facebook friend.  Click here if you'd like to do that, and if you already are, just check my page for the coupon link.  OH I have high hopes that this will help my laundry! I'll keep you posted on the results!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

#Wordless Wednesday

Here in my too lazy to get out of the car pic showing why they are called the Smokey Mountains.

Monday, September 17, 2012

A letter from Bryce to his family

Date: November 1492

Dear Family:
Life aboard a ship is hard. The food is awful. It's hardtack and we have no fresh food. Good thing I brought my own food. I think I have scurvy from the lack of fresh food.
So I brought spices. If the captain finds the food he will use cat o nine tail which is a whip with glass on the end. My duty is to fire the cannon. My quarters (room) isn't very nice.
Bryce H

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Good Smells, Good Smells.

As you know, I'm a bzzagent.  That means that I take lots of surveys and share my opinions on a variety of different products and sometimes I qualify for freebies!  Recently I qualified for a campaign for Glade  Expressions.  This was very exciting, because with 3 kids 2 dogs and an old cat. Wait, let's not forget The Man, he can be smelly too!  Well with all of them, I need multiple smell enhancers.  For example, right now we have a Scenty Wax Scenter going right now up in the family room, I'm burning a candle downstairs and each bathroom has a spray at the ready.

Clearly, I know the need for air purification options.  I also have learned the hard way, that generic gets you a whole lot of nothing.  So I go for name brand products for the day to day and pretty party-plan products for my special occasions. Good thing, Glade gets me.  Glade offers a nice variety of seasonally scented products, and they aren't skimpy with the coupons! 

In conjunction with the current Glade Bzz I got a pack of high value coupons to share as well as a couple of free coupons for me to try the new Glade Expressions.  I went to my local Ingles Market and I got the refillable  Glade Expressions Mist. This is the pretty refillable fancy spray.

I have to say in all honesty, I was super, super surprised on how long the scent lingered with just a small spray.  It's a great value.  I purchased the Cotton and Italian Mandarin scent.  It was lovely, I forgot we had smell kids and pets for a few hours.  You can't put a price tag on that kind of bliss!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Why do I TGIF?

Tis Friday.  Wahoo! Do you have exciting plans?

Today I was thinking it really makes no sense that I'm excited it's Friday.

Why is that Victoria?

Well on one hand I am excited, I perceive myself as having relaxing free time on Saturdays and Sundays.

 On the other hand, the reality is I work on the weekends.  Now when I say work, I don't mean cleaning the house, though I *really* need to do that too. 

What I am talking about is a typical weekend for me:

1. After work go to bank, pick up kids and deliver Tastefully Simple order.
2. Watch Nephew (unless his Nina and PawPaw are doing it).  Watching the B man is fun, if only we could bottle up that boys energy!
3. Take calls in my basement home office for a special call center project.
More call center calls in the basement
Sat night take Anna and her cousin to a piano concert.  Technically maybe you say, that doesn't sound like work, that sounds like some quality cultural time.  Right I get that, the only reason it's not relaxing for me is I have to leave the house and can't wear PJs.
Morning call center calls in the basement.
In the afternoon I am going over to a large retail store to do a merchandising audit. Then I'll need to file the report.

Well now I'm feeling a bit tired. Busy weekend ahead for me. I'm going to hold on to one thought, a little ray of sunshine in a busy/busy/busy life. 

I get to sleep in tomorrow.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

3rd Grade Spelling Word Sentences and an Ice Cream Bar Sweepstakes.

Anna H.

1. I can't believe next year I will be in fourth grade.
2. I left Illinois to come here.
3. I said can you please help me get up when I fell.
4. I have many shoes.
5. I am very good at back bends.
6. I've been and seen a shelter.
7. Being three is easy.
8. I leave school at 3:00pm.
9. Ms. Bettis is my teacher and she is between nice and country.
10. I have went to the sea.

Magnum Ice Cream - Belgian Chocolate Covered Ice Cream Bars

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


Cooking. Beef/Chicken Toasted Sesame Stirfry  w/pea pods, a sliced orange pepper, onion and mushrooms.  Easy Peasy Courtesy of the Tastefully Simple Fix It Fast Collection! 

I had a fairly productive day.  I did work out, I didn't eat junk food and I got out my latest client newsletter!  Do you get my newsletter?  Click here to be added to my list!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Dance Moms Hayesville

Have you seen Dance Moms? It's a ' reality show' about seriously crazy moms and their kids who love to dance. Most of the show features the dance instructor and the moms yelling at each other.

Anna loves the show. She loves it so much she wanted to take dance classes. So here I am sitting outside the class, with some other moms as well as , the father of Shelly the dance instructor.

Why am I sitting out here when I could be at the grocery store or better yet at working out at the Rec Center?

Well as you may recall Anna has been having major school anxiety. I made a deal with her that I would stay here, just like the Dance Moms if she went to school all week. I figured this was a much better deal than money or treat bribery.

As for the moms here? So far everyone is getting along--haha. Kidding aside, well, they are talking about pet squirrels. Apparently, The pet squirrels are a species from Australia and make great pets.

See, it's true, you do learn something new everyday!.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

#Wordless Wednesday

This is Mothra the giant moth that was stuck in a spiders web by our back door. I took the pic and then we took a broom handle and freed the moth from the spider's web. You can see a bit of the web on the bottom south quadrant of the pic.

Tastefully Tuesday? Tuesday Tidbits

As you know, I'm not good with creating catchy post titles.  I wanted to blog today, and I'm feeling kinda random, so that doesn't help much with the title creation. It's Tuesday is maybe the post title I should have used.

In any case, I'm a bit worn out mentally lately. This is due to Anna.

(Anna on the hay ride at the Crane Creek Vineyard Tomato Fest--where we didn't see any tomatoes but we, tom and I, drank some good wine.)
Okay so back to the Anna issue.  The girl has developed a major school anxiety.  She makes herself upset enough to throw up every morning. Today she cried her way into staying home.  I was at a Tri-State Business Women's meeting, so she was with The Man. When I finished my meeting I went home, and after much crying by Anna and much cajoling by me she went to school.  Albeit two and a half hours late, but she did go to school.  I imagine now you have a few questions:
1. Is she being bullied?
2. Is she sick?
3. Is she struggling with the work?
No. no bully.  I'm fairly well-versed in bullies due to Patrick and Bryce having dealt with them in previous school years.  She sits with three other kids and likes all of them. Kaitlyn is her 'best friend' and she has a crush on the little boy that sits next to her.  She likes the school lunches and when we were there last night for the Teacher Open House she ran off and played on the playground with some other girls and didn't want to go home.
Is she sick?  It's possible. However, she isn't crying and saying her stomach hurts on Saturday or Sunday mornings, only school days. That is why I've concluded that it's anxiety, not a virus. The Man still thinks a virus is a possibility.
The workload seems fine, she isn't crying about the work.  This morning she said:
1. She misses me.
2. She is afraid that I or her dad might die during the day while she is at school.
3. She is afraid that someone will break into our house and steal our dogs.
Sounds like some general anxiety, don't you agree? In any case, mornings are tough right now. I'm a bit at a loss on what to do, I thought it would have gotten better by now since it is the third week of school. Additionally, yesterday Patrick was all upset about going to school. On the bright side,  I am used to his dislike of school and his constant efforts to 'get' to stay home 'sick'.  Anna was the one who loved school. Now, not so much.
This means that next Tuesday I may have a real struggle on my hands.  Who wants to go back to their job after a 3 day weekend? No one. Most kids feel the same way about school.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

MMMmmm meal pics...

Temps have been dropping down into the 50s at night. So although,  it's still August, I went ahead and made some chili last night for Miss Anna.  Anna has been feeling pretty nervous and anxious about her new school, so if a little chili for dinner puts a smile on her face...well then.
Here is 1 pound of ground turkey with 3 tbsps of our Wahoo! Chili Mix. Yes that is my Pampered Chef mixer thingy; it's great for mashing up stuff.  Oh! I also added 1 tbsp of Garlic Garlic.

Next I added tomatoes and beans.  Anna loves beans especially butter beans, so I always add a can of butter beans to our chili.  I went with a small can of diced tomatoes but later on I found that it needed more tomato-ness, so I chopped up 2 fresh tomatoes and added them.  Why fresh tomatoes?  Because they were getting ready to go bad, so I was glad to get them used up. In a perfect world I think I would have just used the 28oz can of diced tomatoes that is sitting in my cabinet.

In addition to the tomatoes and the beans I like to add some fresh vegetables. What vegetables?  That is determined by what I have in the refrigerator.  Last night,  I went with one diced green pepper and 3 stalks of celery chopped.

Celery, my old cutting board, and the very dated kitchen cabinets in our kitchen.

Look at those pretty colors! Then I added about 1/2 cup chicken broth and let it all simmer for 20ish minutes.

And here we have Anna's Chili.  With Wahoo! Chili, it's an amazingly easy dish to make.  I should have just had Anna make dinner.  Chili is also pretty forgiving, you don't need to worry too much about the ingredient measurements.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

When I really love it a book...

You know how you hear people say, "I loved XYZ book, I couldn't put it down!" I do the same thing myself. If I like a book, I'll blaze through it pretty doggone fast.

But if I love a book, it takes me ages to finish.  I put it down, I walk away for a few weeks, I resist the siren calls.  Super counter intuitive, right? 

Here's the thing, when I love a book, I don't want it to end, I don't want to say goodbye to the characters. I miss them, life get drab. Coming from me, there is no higher praise I can give a book than to say, it took me a long time to finish it.

Up Jumps The Devil took me ages to finish.  I loved it, no wait I floved it.  I hated having to say goodbye to John Scratch. Michael Poore did such a fantastic job of  giving the devil his due.  Oh sorry about that cliche, I tried not to go there, but I had no control.  The devil made me do it. Alright, I'm done.

I cannot more highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys flawed protagonists.  Michael has really created a fantastically sympathetic anti-hero.

 He takes a bit from old tales of the Devil (ie Robert Johnson, The Devil and Daniel Webster, etc) and does something amazing. The Devil has such hope for humanity and we let him down again and again. 

The book begins with Satan as the host of a Reality Show and then moves forward and backward through time in dreams and memories and current moments. I let that sit with you a moment, Satan is the host of a wildly successful reality TV show.  How perfect is that.

From the opening pages where The Devil is shot we follow him through a timeless love affair he has with an Angel and the love affair Satan has with humanity. 

Up Jumps The Devil is a love story, a history lesson, and a road trip story wrapped up in a leather duster smelling of pipe smoke.

And the ending is wonderfully satisfying. 

Curious?  Want my copy?  Too bad, you can't have it, I'm going to keep it--and I don't keep books.

It's available on amazon and other fine book selling establishments.

Click the book for the Amazon link.

Located in

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

#Wordless Wednesday Dinner Time!

1 lb cut up boneless skinless chicken breast browning in a tablespoon Roasted Garlic Infused oil. Along with 2 tbsp of our new fantastic Rustic Herb Seasoning.

Add like 3 cups chopped red potatoes and 1/2 cup chix broth and simmer for about 10 minutes.

Then add in about 2 cups chopped green beans...
2 cups chopped green beans


Simmer/saute for another say 8 minutes

And Dinner is done!

FourSquare you disappoint me.

FourSquare, in case you aren't aware, is an app for your smartphone and with it you 'check-in' to places and it rewards you with points.  The points are completely meaningless, and yet still I love to see my points!  There is some benefit to using FourSquare  as some businesses have specials that are only revealed when you 'check-in' via FourSquare.

On the app, people can add a location if they want to check in somewhere that doesn't already have a location.  For example I made one called:  "The Hamel Lakehouse." 

It should come as no surprise that people try to be funny and/or creative in naming places.  My Big Comfy Bed is a place you could check into by our old house in Hickory Hills.  Out here in Western North Carolina, you don't even need to come up with funny name because long ago, the forefathers of this area went to great lengths to give  the surrounding mountains, valleys and roads funny and/or creative names. The best are funny at the 6th grade immature boy level.
You may recall a while back, I posted a picture of Peckerwood Road, which is located right by a golf course. This is a popular street sign to steal, natch.  However there is an even better area around here, and I wanted to 'check in' from it on FourSquare. Much to my dismay,  it isn't listed as a spot to check into via the app.

  FourSquare, you've let me down how could you *not* have Smackass Gap listed!

Yes that's right Smackass Gap, see it's right there.  I am sure there is some story that goes along with the name probably something about a stubborn mule, but who cares!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Baby you're a Firework!

Dear Sir or Madam:
Thanks ever so much for the fireworks show last night. When I went to bed at midnight, fireworks right outside my backyard at 1AM were certainly the last thing on my mind.

It was super thoughtful of you to wait until 1AM to have your show. What a great way to ensure everyone around you would wake up and pay attention to the noise and lights, I know I did!

Thanks again for your amazing display of thoughtfulness! Our dogs went crazy during your show!

All the best!

Ps if it happens again tonight, I will hunt you down.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

#Wordless Wednesday Wine!

Sat we went to a local Winery.  Lovely place. Lovely wine.
Here's the stream next to the grapes and a bit of Patrick.

The boys and one of the owner's dogs.

Cabernet Franc Grapes.

Eagle Forks Vineyards Chardonnay. Yum.