Category Archives: Just Living

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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May Madness

The month of May has to be one of the busiest months of the  year for me.  There are end of the year events that I need to attend or plan for.  The Babydoll’s birthday is in May, I have several friends and family members who’s birthday is also in the month.  We are usually trying to plan our family vacation during this month, because we always wait until the last minute to plan for a vacation that we know we are going to take each June (Why do we do this you ask?  Every year we plan to be better but we always find ourselves hustling at the last minute to make plans.  It’s such a nuisance Sad smile)  My book club is usually trying to prepare for our annual trip to the Lori Foster Reader Appreciation Weekend the beginning of June.  There is also Mother’s Day in May (that is a huge deal to me because I LOVE my mother and I’m truly grateful for her being in my life so I really like to try to honor her).  This usually marks the end of the school year and Stan and I are thinking furiously about summer camps and having in-depth discussions with Babydoll about what type of camp she would like to attend. 

Why do I bring this up in a post, you ask?  I am currently feeling the month of May rush.  It’s only going to get worst.  I always say to myself, if I can just get through this week everything will be cool.  Then the next week I say the same thing again and the next week I say it again.  It’s a vicious cycle. 

Luckily, I’m partially done with month.  I’m almost there. Smile  I think we have finally chosen a destination for our family vacation (we just have to book it. Winking smile) and several of Babydolls events will be this week (just a few more to go).  I can see the light at the end of the tunnel; and I’ve begun to do some research for next years vacation.  Hopefully this time I will follow through sooner rather than later.

Do you have a stressful month of the year in your life?  Let me know, so I can have someone to commiserate with.

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I’m making a promise

I really like posting, sharing my thoughts, ideas, crafts, and great cooking ideas.  But if you are following me you have probably noticed that I’m not consistent.  Sad smile  I can tell you that I’ve been busy as all get out, but that’s just an excuse.  Yeah, I’ve been busy but I’ve always been busy.  I can take a few minutes to give a word.  Actually I’ve had the time to write things up, I get lost with adding the pictures. 

Well I’m going to make a promise…I will work extra hard to post at least two…yeah you read right TWO post a week. 

If you are a follower and you notice that I haven’t posted twice during the week, send me a tweet saying, “Yo chica, what’s up with the post this week.” 

Here’s to consistency.

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Happy New Year

Happy New Year!

I pray that God has blessed you to begin this new year healthy and happy. How was your New Year’s Day? Did you spend the day recovering from a night of celebrating with friends and family or did you lounge around enjoying the day off?

We at the Cork household did the later. We (Stan and I) actually were awake for the ringing in of the new year. Sasha ran from our bedroom to the loft barking at the fireworks and gunshots that began around 11:35pm. We couldn’t figure out why things began so early but oh well. We didn’t start moving around the house until around 10am. I got up made lemon cranberry scones and breakfast bowls for breakfast and started laundry. My babydoll never got dressed, but I did make her brush her teeth (not until around 3pm, but she brushed them. Smile)

Usually the beginning of the year brings with it the desire to make resolutions that can include getting in better physical condition, eating healthier, giving up a habit, and becoming better organized/removing clutter from their lives. I’ve never been one to make resolutions. I don’t know why, I set goals for myself instead. Would that be considered a resolution? Okay if so, this year I’m going to write it in the blog so that we can see how successful I am at reaching my goals for this year. Let me preface my list by saying that most of my goals are concerning my home. Personally, I’ve been working on them since the summer so it’s more of a continuation than a new goal. Okay…here we go.

1) Get my house painted. Last year when we moved in, I didn’t feel the need to put paint on the walls because I didn’t know what colors I wanted. I felt that I had to live in the house for a while to see what colors the rooms told me they wanted to be. I wanted to see how we lived in the house, how the high traffic areas took their wear & tear, make sure Babydoll didn’t change her mind after 6 months, see what furniture pieces we purchased. What have I learned? My entryway will most likely be grass cloth wallpaper because the pup gets excited when the doorbell goes off and her paws do something terrible to the wall right beside the door. Babydoll did not change her mind about the paint color for her bedroom, but I changed mine THREE times about the color for her bathroom. I want a treatment (I’m envisioning some type of silver glaze) for my one wall in my office. My bedroom is going to be a cool blue/grayish blue. The dining room needs a high chair rail before being painted gray and white (gray bottom, white top – I think it’s called a picture or plate rail). I’ve concluded that my loft/upstairs hallway is still up in the air because I can’t see how to separate the spaces and I we want to change out the furniture up there. So this year to decide was needed. I’m not allowed to paint because my husband is a paint perfectionist, so this is something that I will probably hire out.

2) Get the basement started if not completed. We’ve begun the process getting estimates and ideas from professionals. It’s not a huge area, about 700 sq. ft., but we want it to look nice. We have a very blank canvas – no walls or flooring to work with. We’re not looking for a “theater room”, but another place to hang out and relax. A place where Stan can go to watch his football on the projector screen and use his popcorn machine. We figured we would do it in phases so that we aren’t overwhelmed with construction and cost. Hopefully the phases won’t take too long.

3) Install the water feature in the backyard. A coworker was nice enough to give us a shell to make a pond in our yard. We didn’t get the opportunity to put it in last summer because we spent the beginning of the summer trying to get the fence and patio done. Once that was done we took our family vacation and then Stan was working a lot because we knew he was going to have surgery the beginning of August. It was more important to get as much business work done as possible so that he wouldn’t feel any undue stress during his recovery period. Babydoll asked me yesterday if we were going to actually get the pond in the back yard. I was like “Of course”. There is a home and garden show this weekend that we’ll attend to get some ideas(it’s funny to think about going to that when we have so much snow right now, but we’ve learned that you should make your plans in February and March if you want to get it done by May).

4) Organize my closet. We have a nice sized master bedroom closet. It’s not wide, but it’s long. I knew I wanted to install some type of closet system because the white wire system wasn’t going to work in the long run. We had decided that we didn’t want to clutter up the bedroom with dressers so we wanted to maximize our closet space. Currently we have the three drawer portable storage containers that we keep our underclothes and sleepwear in. I’ll be looking for a system that will allow us to have a couple of drawers, shoe storage, purse storage, tie storage, sweater storage, and then the two levels for pants & shirts. Maybe have a jewelry drawer. Reality my hit me when I actually begin the design process, but I want to utilize ALL of the space. Even the space above the hanging space – maybe I can use that for purse & sweater storage and have a small step stool to access it. I mentioned to Stan about us buying the system and installing it ourselves and he said we can purchase it and have someone install it. Business has been very good for him lately, but it doesn’t leave a lot of extra time for projects. I could try and tackle this project myself, but I’ve heard it can be a dozy. I’m going to do a lot of research; I would like to have it done in a weekend. Is that realistic?

5) Complete the decoration and organization of my office and Babydoll’s room. With my kid becoming a crafting queen, we need shelving to organize all of her crafts. I made the craft table for her and purchased some shelves and other organizational stuff from IKEA, but she’s already gone through the shelves and has stated she needs some more. I’m a big fan of going up when you run out of floor space so I will definitely indulge her on that request. The most important thing is making sure that it looks good. I want her room be something that she can grow into – hence allowing the colors purple, black & white with tons of bling as her color scheme. As for my office, with the exception of paint, a filing cabinet that doesn’t look like a filing cabinet, a stool for my craft table and the reupholstering of my reading chair I’m done. That’s not much huh?

I’ll try to keep you guys aware of the projects as they start, during the process, and the completion. 

So how about you, do you have any resolutions or goals for the new year?

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This is 40

This year I turned 40. It wasn’t a heartbreaking event. To me it was another birthday. I don’t think I’ve ever had a birthday party so the thought of having one this year didn’t come to mind. My husband later revealed that he had intended on giving me a surprise party, but it was during the patio construction and we all know how that worked out, therefore it didn’t happen.

My friends kept asking me what did I want for my birthday. I mean according to them, turning 40 is a big deal and shouldn’t be taken lightly. I thought about it and the only thing I could come up with was the small television for my office and another tattoo to mark this momentous occasion. I thought I would really need to think about it some more. So my birthday came and I got my television for my birthday and I was happy. I haven’t gotten the tattoo because I can’t decide what I want. I know the location of the tattoo, just not what I want (although I’m getting really close to narrowing it down.) As time went on, I would purchase things for myself (or Stan would purchase them for me) and I chalked them up to gifts for myself because this was a major year for me.

Then one day it hit me. The 40 Fabulous Gifts For My 40th Birthday. I had a year to purchase for myself (or others could purchase for me) 40 fabulous gifts. Things that I could gaze upon or use and feel really good. At first I thought the forty gifts would be shoes. Ya’ll know how much I love my shoes. But regardless if it was my 40th birthday year, my husband was not going to allow me to purchase 40 pairs of shoes in one year.

So what are 40 fabulous things? Well, I’ll tell you what I’ve gotten thus far and then I can list a few things that I have in mind, but they still do not equal to my forty, so the list is going to expand as the year continues. I mean I have until June 2013. Okay my gifts so far…

· Of course, my television for my office/craft room

· My new anniversary band. I wear gloves a lot and my original ring was either getting caught in the gloves or had me having to take ring off and I didn’t want to risk forgetting it in a lab coat.

· The Nook HD – I will be dedicating a full post to the review of this new acquisition.

· I’ve purchased ten new pairs of shoes – these have not been full price purchases of course, because that’s not how I do things; they have come from coupons and a couple of bogo’s from Shoe Dazzle, a crazy good deal on Hautelook.com, and of course the clearance rack at DSW.

· I got a trainer – I know I needed to take my workouts to another level. The problem with that was I’m not the type of person to subject myself to extra strain if I don’t have to. So usually if something hurt I would stop doing it; and that’s not that effective. My trainer, Thomas, makes me push myself; by telling me I can do it and me not wanting to look like a loser.

So that’s 14 things so far. I still have twenty-six to go. Now you’re wondering what I could still need to get. Here’s what I’m thinking….

· My tattoo – I’m leaning towards a peacock or peacock feather, because I really like the colors.   Something similar to this without the moon and stars and maybe not as flashy because it’s going on my foot.  But I love the premise of the design.

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· I want a light meter for my camera because a conversation with a professional photographer suggested it to improve my portraits.

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This is not the model nor manufacturer that I’m interested in because I have no idea where to begin with this purchase, but I just wanted to give you an idea of what I’m looking at.

· A new cell phone – I’m leaning towards the Samsung Galaxy 3S or Galaxy Nexus. I can’t upgrade until March so I have some time to think about it. I will have to go with a phone that doesn’t have a tactile keyboard so I want it to be as big as possible. Plus I may be more likely to have apps like Instagram if I don’t have to squint or enlarge the images.

· A spa day – do I need to explain this?

· Without a doubt I foresee more shoes in my future – did you not read the “About” page?

· I want to buy some fabulous clothes once I lose the slight pooch that I acquired after I had my daughter (you know it’s sad that that was eight years ago. Smile with tongue out).

The rest of my forty things will probably come to me during the remaining six months of my year. I’m the type of person who it’s easy to shop for; because I let everyone know where my taste stand and everything doesn’t have to be name brand as long as the quality is good and it looks good. I really go by how things feel (when determining quality), you can feel when it’s junk. I mean as much as I love the look of Jimmy Choo shoes, they don’t agree with my feet (the same goes for Franco Sarto); but Jessica Simpson’s shoes are fabulous (that girl knows she can design a shoe) and I can wear them all day and run in them (the running reference is because I tend to love 3 inches or higher).  I’m not saying Jimmy Choo is junk, I’m saying it’s like the old Digel commercial ‘I love Jimmy Choo, but that don’t love me, get yourself some Jessica Simspons’.

So tell me…have you ever giving yourself a year of fab gifts and what was the occasion that brought the gift on

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