Category Archives: Just Living

Let’s try this again

When my blog url came up for renewal this year I thought to myself, “you’re paying for this domain name and you have this blog, why aren’t you doing something with it?”  I immediately came up with the excuse that my life is too busy and hectic to be able to sit down daily and compose a blog.  I thought about it more and more and decided that I use my name Red Oven Creations for a lot of things; Twitter, Instagram, my business; I should take the time to be proactive about my blog page.  So here I am once again deciding to post.  There will be a few changes; mainly I will not be posting every day; but I will strive to get a post out every week.  I’m also going to keep my post shorter.  I think when I do a longer post I tend to get bogged down and never finish or get it out there.  And finally, I know that people are visual and don’t seem to click with a post unless there are photos involved; but let’s face it, sometimes a photo does not apply.  So if there isn’t a photo in the blog, please forgive me, but I’m not going to stress out trying to include a photo for your adult mind.  I would love to hope that my audience has grown beyond “picture books”.

So to sum it up, my goal is to post weekly, post shorter blogs (if it needs to be long, you guys are getting multiple parts blogs), and include pictures if it’s required or relevant.  I think I’ve got an interesting point of view of this life I’m living and I hope you stick around to read about it.

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How I’ve learned to travel

It has been a very busy time in the Cork household. The month of June has consisted of nothing but travel (especially for me). I have not been home one weekend the entire month. With all of the travelling I’ve been doing I have finally figured out the best way to take the things that I consider essential to having a wonderful commute and keeping everything organized. So today, I am going to tell you some of the things that I feel are necessities.

1) The bag. It took me until the very last trip to figure this out. Up until my trip to NYC, I was taking two bags on the plane with me – my purse and my bag of electronics and camera. I finally realized that I need to consolidate these bags and save my self so grief. I decided to pack my purse with my other bags in the suitcase and put the essentials like my wallet, lotion, and makeup bags in my carryon bag. The key with this consolidation is finding the bag that is the right size and organizing it to a “T”. This is the bags that I have found worked for me.

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2) Organization. Once you have the bag you need to have a place for everything. This is when it is important to have specific places/containers so that you can find what you need at a moment’s notice. I have read about using sandwich/snack bags to place your cords for your electronic devices. I have rubber banded them and placed them in the pockets of my bag and that seemed to work for a while, but I recently found this nifty package that has become my best friend.

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I now keep it in my bag that I take to work. I love it. I purchased one for Babydoll also. I wanted to get one for Stan, but he insisted that he doesn’t need it and I should not waste my money. Any other person would buy it anyway and show him how misguided he is in his thinking; but after 16 years of marriage I have a few new things recently. 1 is that I do not need to buy my husband technology if he doesn’t specifically ask for it and even if he ask, I need to consider it carefully because he really will not use it if he doesn’t want it. I also have purchased a couple of smaller cosmetic bags that I use in my purse and my travel bag to keep things like my lipsticks (yes, I carry ALL of my lipsticks with me because I may decide the color I have on isn’t working so I need to change it), liners, mirror, blot powder, mints, etc.

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3) Neck Pillow. Have you ever had to fly an early/late flight? I have. As a matter of fact our flight to California this year was at 5am. We did not go to sleep so that we could make sure we didn’t miss our flight; so when I got on the plane, I went to sleep so fast, I don’t remember hearing the initial flight attendant safety speech. This peaceful sleep would not have been possible without my neck pillow. I know this because I forgot my pillow on our NYC trip (this happened because Stan was rushing me, I also forgot my iPod; it was a very tense 45 minutes before I was able to let it go). On the return trip home I was trying to catch up on sleep on the train from NYC to Jersey and my head was rolling and bobbing around worse than a bobble head doll. Also I think I might have had the head back open mouthed sleep on the plane. That only happens when I don’t have my neck pillow. Go to Walmart and grab you one for about $10.

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4) I think it is vital to have a good set of headphones and music for any type of plane/train ride. For me, it allows me to drown out all of the outside/surrounding traveling noise that is inevitable. I love my music and have a very eclectic music palate. I have gospel, new and old R&B, old school Hip Hop, some new school Hip Hop, Pop, I think one Country, and I don’t know what to call some of the others, I just like them. Having said that I have a great pair of headphones by Sol Republic that conceal all outside noise that allows me to go into my peace filled zone. No crying babies (I’ve traveled with a baby so I know the plane is going to bother their ears; I don’t like when parents aren’t considerate and don’t provide a bottle, Sippy cup, pacifier so that their ears can pop), no coughing/hacking passengers (that way I can pretend that I don’t hear them coughing without covering their mouths and getting a plane full of people sick), no engine noise – just peace and great music. I can read and not be distracted/disgusted.

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5) A snack. Be it a bag of nuts, apple slices, chips, a bagel, or graham crackers; having a snack will keep you from making poor airport decisions. The snacks that they provide on the plane usually only are enough to make you want more. I haven’t flown Internationally so I cannot vouch for the quality of those snacks, but Domestic peanuts or pretzels just don’t cut it. The fact that you are traveling is putting your body into a small amount of stress/shock; trying to keep your diet as normal as possible is key. So, bring something that can tide you over until you reach your destination. Your digestive system will thank you for it later.

6) Finally, a tablet/electronic reader or something of that nature. Even if you are not a reader like me, a tablet will come in handy because you can have movies, music, magazines, games, and/or books in one small device. Unless you are sleeping the entire flight or it’s a short flight (30 minutes) you are going to want something to occupy you. You could be like my husband and insist that your travelling companion talk to you; but if they have item 4 then they can block you out like I do him. So be kind to your fellow riders that may not want to converse with you on the plane/train and bring something to distract you in case they don’t want to entertain you.

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That’s my list for no hassle travel. I still have not figured out the best way to carry my camera, so I’m currently wrapping it up and carrying it with my on the plane because I don’t want to risk damage in my luggage. I’m still struggling to find the perfect camera bag (and neck strap). I have made them in the past, but I not satisfied after three or four years. I don’t want the typical black bags and neck straps because they’re not reflective of my feminine personality. I’ve seen some of the nicer bags that would be awesome to use once I arrive at my destination but they will not be sufficient for the actual trip. If anyone has any suggestions, I am open to them. What are your travel essential suggestions? Is there something that you feel is essential that I may have forgotten?

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Today I’m…

Posting on the Sugarbook Club blog site.  Please visit it to see my thoughts on the new New Adult genre.  Have a great day.

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Menu 3/10/14

Good Morning,

I just wanted to take a few moments out to let you know what we’re having for dinner this week.  I usually try to put this out on Friday or Saturday, but it was a work Friday and a very busy Saturday, so I’m getting to it today.

Did you remember to change your clocks for Day Light Savings time?  I remember to change the clock in the bedroom so that I could get to church yesterday morning, but forgot the rest of the clocks.  Let’s just say we had dinner at 6:30 last night and I thought until the end of dinner that I was doing good with my time. Smile with tongue out

Here’s what’s for dinner…

Sunday – We had…Chicken Stroganoff, Spinach, Candied Yams (that I found leftover in the freezer from a previous dinner), and homemade biscuits

Monday – Chicken and Wild Rice Soup and Boston Brown Bread (Babydoll loves this bread and she has a dentist appointment today that she was terrified when I told her about it so I want to end her day on a happier note.)

Tuesday – Fried Shrimp and Sweet Potato Tator Tots (this is assuming I make up the Tator Tots today, but I started back at the gym today, meaning I lost an hour, and I still have three loads of laundry and the bathrooms to clean – already vacuumed the downstairs.  Does anyone else hate cleaning bathrooms as much as I do?)

Wednesday – Turkey Burgers with Potato Pancakes (I think I’m noticing a potato theme this week and that was not my intention at all).

Thursday – Chicken & Waffles and some type of green vegetable.  I originally had spinach down as the side, but I cooked it yesterday, so now I’m thinking broccoli or asparagus.  Stan is not a fan, but Babydoll loves it, especially with lemon pepper and lemon juice squeezed on it, and it’s on sale this week; I can pick some up before I pick her up from school.

Friday – Fish Fry Friday…enough said.

Saturday – Last Saturday, I volunteered to work at the church and was gone most of the day.  This Saturday, I have a book club meeting and cannot say what I will do; it may be an every-man-for-himself day.

For dessert this week I decided to make brownies – two types one without nuts and no frosting for Babydoll and the second with walnuts and a peanut butter chocolate icing.  I bought some Salted Caramel Blue Bell Ice Cream to go along with it.

That’s our menu this week, as you can see besides the potatoes everywhere; we are having a lot of poultry this week.  I asked Stan if he thought we could have a menu entirely of chicken…he said let’s do it.  I settled for mostly poultry with a few seafood items mixed in just so it wouldn’t become too boring.  Maybe I’ll do a whole week of it at another time to see how it goes.  What are you having this week?

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Crockpot Save

Today I want to share with you guys, something that I feel is vital to all slow cooker/crockpot cooking.

REYNOLDS SLOW COOKER LINERS!!!

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In the past when you had to cook something in the crockpot you were happy because you knew you could cook your meal while you were out of the house; having a completed/most completed meal ready when you got home.  Then when all of the easiness is over you would have to clean that helpful tool.  I don’t know about you, but this was always a dark cloud that came shortly after my sunshine and rainbows.

Several months ago, I had a couple of coupons for the Slow Cooker Liners and bought them because they were on sale; then tossed them into my pantry bin for my food wrapping supplies.  I forgot about them until about around December when I saw them at the bottom of my bin.  I promised myself that the next time I used my crockpot I was going to whip them out.

My parents got me a new crockpot for Christmas that has the removable pot (my old one did not come apart and boy that was an even worse nightmare to clean).  I used my liner for the first time when I made pork for carnitas for Superbowl Sunday.  The clean up was easy-peasy.  Today, I made my Asian Beef and Broccoli (it was on the menu for yesterday, but I forgot to take my beef out of the freezer early enough and it was still frozen when I woke up that morning so, it got bumped to today).

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Take a look at the space between my liner and my crockpot….

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Amazing right?

I found another coupon for the liners and I’m going to buy another box or two or three (I don’t have that many coupons, but what can I say, I love these things Smile).  If you have not already tried them and you use a crockpot…what are you waiting for?  Go to the store and buy yourself some of these awesome liners.

Until next time,

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Note: the opinions of this post are not from a paid endorsement, I’m just sharing my opinion about something I have come to love. Smile

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Garden Ridge find

This year we have to buy two new Christmas trees. Our previous main tree is a 6.5’ and looks pitiful with our 10’ ceilings; I was able to get away with it for the past two years 1) the first year we had moved in the week before Christmas and didn’t have time to buy a new tree and 2) Stan and I disagreed about the right size so we didn’t get a new one last year. Stan has been adamant that we are not putting up that little tree again this year. Since the basement is close to being completed (we have walls now and the painters will be here within the next couple of days. I want to share pictures, but I also want to big reveal post also, so I’m resisting.) I am going to put the “small” tree down there and decorate it for Stan. The other tree I have to replace is the pink tree. I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned this tree, but this was a tree that my husband and father-in-law purchased thinking it would be a great tree for Babydoll. It’s Pepto Bismal pink and every time I decorate it, I sigh. It’s so pink that’s the only thing you can do. It’s probably about 9’ tall and 64” in diameter. Babydoll loves it and Stan won’t let me get rid of it for anything. It has been placed in the loft in front of the window so everyone sees it during the holidays and Stan says it brings him tremendous joy to see it in the window when he comes home (not to mention the compliments he says he’s received – that is totally due to my ingenious tree decorating skills).

Anywho…that is a lot of description to tell you about my trip to Garden Ridge. I’ve been looking at Christmas trees for a couple of weeks now because I need to get the trees sooner rather than later because I have scheduled us for family pictures the first weekend in December and I need to have my trees ready for pictures.

We took a look at the trees and I think I’ve made a decision (still need to look at a couple more places, and the pink trees are not big enough); but while we were there I took the time to look at the baskets and containers. I knew I wanted to look at the baskets, but I couldn’t remember why I needed to look for a basket. They had a sign that said all “red line” items were 90% off and the damaged items were 50% off. I just happened to look up and see a red “leather” bin on a shelf off to itself.

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I reached up (I thank God for my long extremities at times like this)and took the bin down and it had a red line through the price of $19.99. I immediately started looking around for one of the price scanner thingy so that I could check what my furiously beating heart and rapidly spinning brain was processing. I found the scanner and held the price tag under the light – I held my breath and then the price came up. $1.99!!!! I started doing a little dance, then looked around to see if anyone was paying attention to me. I hustled myself back over to the area and began my search. I found three more red bins and two black.

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I told Stan to go get me a cart while I stood guard over my find and started dancing again. Stan asked why did I need so many and I replied because they’re $1.99, duh. I bought six bins for $12.78. I took them home and decided that they would become part of my pantry organization.

This is only the beginning stage of the organization, I still need to get my shelving together and therefore you will only see the bottom.

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The rest is just too shameful. I still have two bins left, which after a week of looking at them I think I decided to use them in my master closet to store more of my purses.

I love Garden Ridge. Smile  If you have one in your town and haven’t been you should really check it out. Have you found any really good deals lately?

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Do you ever….

Feel guilty for watching television.

Hey guys, I hope that everyone had a great summer.  I took the summer off from writing and tried to get some vacation time, although I still had to work.  I’ve typed up some things, I just have not had the opportunity to add some photos to it; but I will post them as soon as I get a chance.  Anyway, back to the original intention of this post. Smile

I’ve been home now for close to three hours and in that time I have cooked a completely homemade dinner (the peas were frozen, but other than that), folded and put away two loads of laundry, washed another, somewhat cleaned my kitchen, helped with homework, ironed clothes for tomorrow, and now am attempting to write a quick blog.  It was 2.5 hours before I was able to wash my face, and I still have on the same clothes that I started my day in.  I did get a chance to change into my house shoes, but that’s as far as comfort goes.  During all of this activity, I could have turned on my television and watched it as a distraction, but something in my mind just wouldn’t let me. 

My husband came home, changed clothes, fixed himself a snack, and went to work in his office; but he has his television on.  Why can’t I work and have the television on?

Is it because I’m helping Babydoll with her homework and I don’t want to distract her?  Nope, she has taken breaks and been outside to jump rope or bounce the basketball. 

So what is it that is keeping me from turning on the television and watching a little of the Cooking Channel? 

I pondered this question as I was folding up towels and it came to me.  I am all about rewards.  I reward my self for all the little task that I do.  If I put all the dishes in the dishwasher, then I can go use the restroom.  Once I eat all my food, I can have my drink (this I know came from growing up with a mother wanting us to eat our food and not get full on the liquids – it still sticks with me to this day).  Once I get the chicken tenders breaded and resting, I can have a glass of water.  Once I get the chores done, then I can finally sit down and watch television.  It’s crazy, I know; but I haven’t figured out how to stop the craziness.  This is why I can’t just turn on the television and while I’m doing things around the house.  If I’m watching television, then I’m not really doing the things that need to be done.  I’m distracted.  I don’t do a complete job, I’m slacking, and you don’t get rewarded for slacking.  This did not come from my childhood, this is some rule I made myself. 

Like I said, this seems to be something a little wacka-do for me and something that I should probably work on fixing; but I think it will have to be something that I consciously think about correcting and do I have time to add something else to my plate? 

Does anyone else feel guilt over turning on the television and watching while they work or am I a solo boat sailing in the sea of television watchers?  I’d love to hear from you.

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