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Thanksgiving Weekend

November 26th, 2018 Comments off

It all started with a sore throat on Saturday (11/17) evening and it escalated from there. By the time Thanksgiving (11/22) rolled around I woke up feeling pretty bad, and to ensure I didn’t pass my sickness along to my family, Joe made the sides we brought with us to dinner – cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, and sweet potato casserole. I finally gave in and tried a netipot which actually helped a lot, even IF I did have a minor meltdown thinking maybe something was growing in the distilled water jug which had been open for a few months. And the kicker? The following day I discovered an unopened jug in the pantry! Ugh!

Anyway, we had the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on in the background while we perused sale ads. They really do tempt you to buy stuff you don’t need. That being said, we’re considering getting a soundbar for the TV and getting rid of the 7-piece system we have now that we rarely use. Most likely we’ll make that purchase at Costco so we can easily return it if we change our minds. After the parade we watched the National Dog Show before getting ready to head to my parents’ house.

We arrived just before 5 but B didn’t get there until 6:15 well after we had eaten dinner and dessert. R didn’t accompany him, though. My mom decided that this year for Christmas we’ll be doing a Secret Santa exchange so we drew names for that. I got J and Joe got R… and I think R got me but I’m not positive. Either way it should be interesting.

We played a game of Aggravation before taking off just after 9 pm. Despite getting home at a reasonable time I didn’t get to sleep until nearly 1 am and then couldn’t sleep past 5:30 am. The joys of being sick! I did feel much better compared to the day before, at least. I had finished all the day and night medicine on Thursday and decided not to buy any more unless absolutely necessary.

Friday (11/23) I made a candied apple pie cheesecake, oatmeal chocolate chip cookies (Betty Crocker which were not nearly as good as my homemade ones), and we also had a pumpkin pie we got from Target. We brought it to my parents but only B took a piece.

Right before putting the turkey in the oven, we ran to Walgreens for some 2-liters of soda and I found a cute silver bottle brush tree and a pack of three pair of fuzzy socks (which are turning out to be awesome) while Joe got some beer at a great deal. My items rang up 30% off thanks to a coupon in the Walgreens app which was nice. I have a whole silver theme I’m planning for the decor this year which includes trees and a really cute reindeer I found at Home Goods recently. I think we’ll be decorating the house for Christmas NEXT weekend, however.

The kids arrived just after 5 pm. E brought his girlfriend but K didn’t bring her boyfriend because he’s sick. We had turkey, gravy, stuffing, sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, corn, mashed potatoes (which E devoured like usual), crescent rolls, and cranberry sauce. I didn’t really care for my cheesecake (and none of the kids wanted to try it), so I won’t be making that again. E did have some of the oatmeal chocolate chip cookies even though they were inferior to mine. Hopefully I won’t be too sick on Christmas to make those since they are a big hit. I’ll probably make the chocolate peanut butter pie I made for Joe’s birthday as well. And I need to make macaroni and cheese since E was disappointed it was missing. We played Aggravation and Uno Attack before everyone took off around 9:30 pm.

Saturday (11/24) was a lazy day, for me anyway. Still wasn’t feeling 100%. Joe swapped my car’s floormats, removed the pathway lights for the season, covered the A/C unit outside, and put up the Christmas lights. We ran to Aldi for some bread (gotta make turkey sandwiches with the leftovers) and to Costco in the late afternoon to get gas for my car and pick up allergy meds (an entire year’s worth of generic Zyrtec for $14? Yes please!). We also wanted a rotisserie chicken but they were completely out! I grabbed a set of three silicone baking mats for $13 that I had been eyeing for awhile, though.

I like that there’s markings for baking cookies and the small one fits in the toaster oven since we use that to bake salmon twice a month.

I also got a set of aluminum baking sheets with an oven-safe baking and cooling grid for $20. I think it would be great for making bacon without it sitting in it’s own grease. It would probably be great for baking chicken too after seeing it done that way on FlavCity, my latest obsession.

We looked at their soundbars but can’t seem to pull the trigger. We don’t want to pay too much since we don’t really need one, plus I’d like to stick with Samsung since it would work best with our TV, also a Samsung, but their bar is rather ugly with a hard plastic exterior. On top of that, it has a little display screen in the middle which I think looks stupid. So for now we’re going to wait until we see something we really like.

Saturday night after watching Incredibles 2 (1st viewing for Joe and 2nd viewing for myself, which I enjoyed even more), I decided on a whim to check out the Netflix mini-series, The Haunting of Hill House. Oh… my… god… was it good! So good, in fact, I was cursing the fact that we started it at 9 pm because I didn’t want to turn it off to go to sleep. I managed to grow some semblance of will power and turned it off after episode 3. We picked it up on Sunday afternoon and finished the entire series that day. I wasn’t entirely pleased with how they chose to end it, but overall it was one of the best things I’ve seen in a long time and I highly recommend it even if you’re not into horror (which I am not).

The only other thing we really did on Sunday (11/25) was go shopping in the morning at Walmart. I found a pair of soft fleece Christmas leggings to add to my collection (it has penguins on them and who can pass that up) which brings me to three pair for the holiday season. I also discovered they are selling fur-lined leggings in black but they didn’t have my size so I’m going to have to check again next weekend.

Haven’t done much today (11/26) other than my usual upstairs cleaning. I glanced at the Cyber Monday deals but nothing really moves me. We’re considering getting a cheap Chromebook, but we’re not even sure about that. Joe would like a new laptop so he can start playing Warcraft again but would need to spend at least $800 for a decent machine which he doesn’t want to do. Which is funny, when you think about it, because we can totally afford it. I don’t know what happened, but I feel like the more money we have the less we want to spend it, at least when it comes to stuff we want but don’t need. I’ve been hanging onto my iPhone 6 going on four years now even though I could easily buy the biggest most expensive new phone Apple has to offer. But I just don’t want to, at least not yet. Next year, definitely, because at some point the phone just won’t work well.

I did, however, buy this Bissell Little Green Portable Carpet Cleaner on Thanksgiving from Amazon since it was on sale for $60 (list price is typically $90).

Wookie keeps vomiting on the rug which I always spot clean as best as I can but I need something that can really wash it thoroughly. It was delivered yesterday so I’m going to try it out today. Cross your fingers it gets the color of the carpet back to normal!

Categories: Family, Holidays, Shopping Tags:

Free Comforter & Wookie’s Pet-Sitter To Be

November 19th, 2018 Comments off

What’s better than a brand new King-sized grey/white comforter for only $40? How about a free one?

I spotted this on Groupon today and decided I was tired of our old comfortable which has always been too small and not the shade of purple I expected when we bought it online NINE years ago (where the f does the time go?)! I used our Discover cash back to get $50 in Groupon bucks so it didn’t cost us a cent out of pocket which makes me feel better in case it doesn’t look as nice as the photo. Crossing my fingers it’s great, though!

This weekend was pretty low key. Joe was in Denver again and came back late Friday night.

Saturday (11/17) we did our annual big shop at Target to take advantage of the deal where you buy $50 of groceries and get a $10 gift card. So we did that … twice! Got a turkey, cranberries, lots of other things including my favorite Vitamin water on sale, and should be fully prepared to host Thanksgiving on Friday for the kids and their significant others. I will be making some of the sides on Thursday to bring to my parents’ since the sweet potato casserole is huge and can feed many people (and I don’t think Joe’s kids will touch it which is why I’ll also be making mashed potatos on Friday). I’m pretty excited because I love Thanksgiving! I’m also excited to make homemade cranberry sauce again this year.

Saturday night we finished off the Lou Malnati’s deep dish pizza we had ordered earlier in the week (I had frozen the leftovers since Joe was out of town). We got the munchies that evening though and found ourselves at Baskin Robbins buying two quarts of peanut butter chocolate ice cream for $10. Better than paying $6.50 for a single one or $3.50 for a single scoop of ice cream. Well, better for the wallet, not necessarily my waist line! We ended up stopping at Taco Bell too SMH.

Sunday (11/18) we went to K’s house to hang out a little and also left Wookie with her for two and a half hours to get used to her house since she will be our pet sitter when we go out of town. We ended up going to two different malls – Northbrook Court and Old Orchard. We didn’t spend much time at the first one because it’s all high end stores. Old Orchard was a bit better but honestly I just can’t justify the prices at Lululemon, Aritzia, North Face, and even the Eddie Bauer outlet. Plus they didn’t have what I’m searching for – fleece-lined leggings or jeans, and a long black down alternative jacket in black with a removable hood and inner pockets. Eddie Bauer did have the fleece lined jeans but they were $40 on sale (normally $80) but were so unstylish I might as well just keep wearing my Cuddle Duds under a larger pair of jeans. It’s not ideal but definitely cheaper and more attractive. Stupid Walmart no longer sells the fleece lined leggings but they do sell fleece lined jeans that may just work and they’re only $25 so I might order a pair to try out.

We had lunch at Shake Shack in Old Orchard. While good, it wasn’t all that for the price. The burgers look like In-N-Out but taste like Culver’s. Two single burgers and an order of fries was $15 whereas we could have gotten kids meals from Culvers for $6 each and they come with drinks and a scoop of frozen custard. What a deal!

Anyway, Wookie is definitely comfortable in K’s house when we are there and will even go into different rooms and look around which she was too scared to do when she was younger, but once we left apparently she sat by the door for ten minutes and then spent the rest of her time laying under K’s kitchen table. She was overjoyed when we came back and I felt bad that she seems to shut down when we’re not around. Hopefully she’d eventually chill out if she had to spend more time there. I really don’t want to her to be miserable but I also want/need a vacation! I’ve been toying with the idea of taking one for my birthday since January birthdays suck in the Midwest as it is. I wouldn’t mind going to Arizona but Joe’s dad now lives with Joe’s sister so I think we’d have to get a hotel room. If Disneyland wasn’t a) a 4+ hour flight and b) hella expensive because the hotels on property aren’t plentiful like in Orlando, I would totally book a Disneyland vacation as I’d love to go there, although I’d prefer a fall trip so we can see The Haunted Mansion done up as Nightmare Before Christmas. I just want to go somewhere warm!

Considering how cold it has been I’m shocked our current gas bill was only $45 this past month. We’re not on a budget plan either. I guess gas prices are low??? It has already snowed 2-3 times this month and I’m already over it. I’ve got a pork roast in the slow cooker right now and I hope it comes out good! Seems like the perfect meal for a cold wintery day even if it’s still fall for goodness sakes.

Categories: Pets, Shopping Tags:

Court & Wookie’s Birthday

September 25th, 2018 Comments off

Friday (09/21) Joe worked from home and we went down to the Bridgeview courthouse to look into how to stop getting a $36 annual fee for old child support accounts that are still open with the state. Apparently even though the terms of the orders were fulfilled, you have to appear before a judge to have the account closed. Of course, trying to even find out WHERE to go has been an exercise in frustration because you can speak to three people and each will give you a different answer. We had been convinced, thanks to a conversation Joe had with someone, that we needed to go downtown. Luckily I called the number on the paperwork and was instructed, in not the nicest manner I might add, that we needed to go to the court where the order originated, which would be Bridgeview. I wasn’t 100% convinced that was true, but figured it would waste a lot less time and money going there and being wrong than heading into the city.

Luckily that information was correct. We had to fill out some very complicated and not self-explanatory forms, and then file that same information online on computers they have set up for that purpose. That process, too, was not easy whatsoever and required an employee to stand with us to show us every step. Your tax dollars at work!

FINALLY, after much back and forth, he had his court dates. Yes, that is plural, because when his pain in the ass ex originally filed for child support it was before they were divorced (and she was awarded LESS money than he was already giving her (that’s what she gets for being greedy)), and then a new order was opened when they divorced since it also included alimony. The original order wasn’t closed, however, and because one is strictly child support and the other divorce related, he has to see two different judges on two different days because certain cases are only heard on particular days. Fun! Again, your tax dollars at work.

I have no plans on accompanying him to either court date because a) I will be at work for one of them and b) I have a difficult time hiding my disdain for this entire ridiculously convoluted process.

Observations:

They really need to stop hiring people who hate people in general, because the woman I spoke with on the phone was pretty condescending, not to mention stupid. She told me since the accounts had a $0 balance there was nothing we needed to do despite the paperwork stating otherwise. And she works in the department that handles these queries on the regular!

It makes no sense that the automated process knows when to stop deducting child support from his checks but you still need to appear before the judge to officially close the account and stop getting billed an annual fee for account maintenance. Just another way Illinois tries to get money as much money as possible out of people!

Anyway, I was more aggravated than Joe was once we left the office. We stopped for some breakfast before heading back home so he could do some work and I could clean the house. I did a quicker job than I usually do since I wasn’t really in the mood plus didn’t have as much time to get things done.

Friday was also Wookie’s birthday so we gave her some special treats and new toys to celebrate.

Wookie’s Birthday Presents

I also ordered this cute Chewbacca treat jar a couple of weeks ago from Petco since it was only $8 and practically has her name on it.

Star Wars Treat Jar

We also took her to the dog park before the regular time most people go since she prefers to be alone to sniff all the areas without being bothered. It worked out well since we met up with our friend, D, for dinner at Culvers followed by miniature golf. After golf we ended up at a dive bar where her friend was hanging out and had a few drinks and played pool. By the time we got home it was around 10 but I wasn’t able to get to sleep until after 1 am!

Because of that, we got up later than usual on Saturday (09/22). I wanted another Acai bowl from Costco so we headed there for breakfast. This time we each got our own. I just wish they had put more granola in there.

Costco Acai Bowl

We also stopped at Walmart for a few things and ran into our friend SL there. I found a pair of Halloween themed leggings that are super cute too.

Halloween Leggings

Later that afternoon we also took a trip to the library which we haven’t done in months. Having free On Demand movies through Joe’s work has eliminated the need to borrow any, but I did want some books and Joe wanted to check out the new music releases. I want to state for the record that having access to movies via On Demand is really convenient, but at the same time I miss the excitement of going to the library to see what good stuff you might find in stock. It’s just not the same when everything is so readily available.

Sunday (09/23) morning we finished our breakfast leftovers from Friday before heading to a charity dog show nearby. It was held in the same place as another dog event that apparently lost funding and ceased after several years. This new one was sponsored by a local animal hospital and the turnout was even worse than the aforementioned festival. There were far less booths, only two food trucks, and no place to sit and enjoy the various contests going on (such as waggiest tail, best costume, etc). The festival would have bleachers which is a must because this park is just littered with goose feces. Ick! I told Joe that if they hold the event again next year we should bring our own chairs so we can stay longer. We were there for about two hours anyway, but it was such a nice day out I would have liked to have stayed longer.

Monday (09/24) I headed to Savers but it was a bust. Did see this very unique Deadmau5 artwork, however.

Deadmau5 Artwork

I also went to Target where I ended up spending $55 on fall and Halloween decor! They had a spiderweb tablecloth that I wanted, plus a matching table runner, and by that point I figured I’d re-buy some black pumpkins to get the $5 off $30 deal and then return the original ones from my receipt earlier in the month. I also spent a lot of time digging through the disorganized Bullseye Playground section as well and found some cute fall things although I’m starting to rethink the light up leaves as they aren’t as cute as I originally thought.

New Fall Decor

Note: The pumpkin lights aren’t from the cheap section.

Categories: Food, Friends, Pets, Shopping Tags:

Cheese Days & New Halloween Decor

September 17th, 2018 Comments off

Friday (09/14) as I was getting my stuff packed for our Saturday day trip, I picked up my sunglasses and they snapped. Great. It’s very hard for me to find decent fitting sunglasses with my small head. Off to the mall we went to check out the sunglasses at New York & Company since that’s where my current pair had come from. Luckily I found a pair that was similar, although not quite as comfortable, but they were good enough, and on sale for only $7, so I grabbed them. Crisis averted!

Saturday (09/15) R (my brother’s g/f) came over to keep an eye on Wookie while we drove up to Monroe, Wisconsin with our friends K&E to attend Green County Cheese Days. It was so hot/humid that I didn’t eat nearly as much food as anticipated, though. In fact, I only ate half my beef sandwich when we stopped for dinner at Beef Shack before heading home. The main attraction, deep fried cheese curds, had such a long line that we didn’t end up getting any, although we did have fried cheese with maple bourbon syrup (yum), a grilled cheese sandwich made with brick cheese with some type of green mustard and rye bread, and a Kona ice slushie (I got peach flavor which was ok but had a bit too much syrup in it). My friend and I met Wedgie the Cheese and got a photo with him which was funny.

Before leaving we picked up some fudge and I got a Hip Klip to try out for those times when I don’t want to lug a purse around. So far I’m not entirely loving it but it might work in the winter when I’m wearing my thick leggings at work and don’t have pockets for my phone. I hope so since it was $35 and I really hate wasting money!

Notes for next time we attend this fest (which should be the year 2020 since they do it every other year):
Get there a little earlier
Get in line for the deep-fried cheese curds right away since the line only gets longer as the day goes on
After that, go on a dairy farm tour before it gets too hot and no one feels like going
Don’t expect to have any cell signal (unless using Verizon)

Sunday (09/16) after getting gas at Costco we split an Acai bowl that Costco recently starting carrying in their cafe.The acai (pronounced ah-sah-ee) berry is considered a superfood. Since it hails from Brazil, it’s typically only available in the U.S. in puree form and can be on the pricey side. So $5 for the bowl, which contains acai puree, strawberries, blueberries, and granola, isn’t bad. It was really tasty too and we thoroughly enjoyed it. I could see myself getting one about twice a month for breakfast.

Afterwards we did a little shopping and I couldn’t resist grabbing more Halloween decor from Target. I was so excited they finally put out the Halloween stuff in the seasonal section. They’ve had some Halloween stuff available for awhile in their Bullseye Playground but I wanted to see what else they had this year and the black pumpkins did not disappoint.

The bat lights up purple, and the sign, which was only $1, is reversible.

As much as I love my fall decor, which I ended up putting up Labor Day weekend, I can’t wait to put up my Halloween stuff. I plan on waiting until October 1st if I can. Although most of my fall stuff will end up going back up after Halloween for Thanksgiving since it’s very pumpkin-heavy which works for that holiday too. If it wasn’t for the colder weather and earlier sunsets, I’d love fall even more than I already do.

Categories: Excursions, Friends, Shopping Tags:

Dog Days & Old Stuffed Toys

September 12th, 2018 Comments off

Friday (09/07) we went to Costco to look at some fake candles they had for 50% off in their ad. In person they were way too yellow for my taste so that was a big fail. I’ll probably just end up using the candles I picked up on clearance from Target since let’s face it, my mom is going to think they smell like my house no matter what I do. I made chicken taco soup in the crockpot which ended up feeding us all weekend.

Saturday (09/08) was dog day at the arboretum. Our friend, KD, couldn’t join us but we still had a good time because the weather was nice and cool but not cold. We spent two hours just walking around and seeing all the other dogs. We also bought Wookie some homemade treats. It was such a perfect day!

On the way home we stopped at Willowbrook Wildlife Center so I could give them some dog food donations and picked up food four ourselves from PDQ. Their zucchini fries are so delicious! If they were closer to home I know we’d be eating there more than once a year. After lunch we ran back out to pick up two pairs of Joe’s shorts from the cleaners. The owner, Mi, does tailoring and try as I might I wasn’t able to sew the buttons back on his shorts without it coming right off again so we paid Mi $4 to do it. I know they won’t ever come off now because she reinforced the clasp on a pair of dress pants I used to wear to my old job all the time and it’s still like new. We also grabbed some stuff from Aldi.

Sunday (09/09) morning we did some shopping at Walmart but not before a quick stop at Dunkin Donuts. I tried their new apple crisp donut and I gotta say – meh. I’m looking forward to visiting Sonny Acres in the next month or so and grabbing some fresh baked apple cider donuts instead.

We found ourselves at Target later that afternoon and I picked up a cute black glitter tree for Halloween. It’s in storage until the end of the month though since all my fall decor is out at the moment.

Monday (09/10) Joe flew to Denver for work. I did my regular cleaning and worked on rearranging the hall closet a bit to accommodate some of my home decor that I don’t want to store in bins in the garage. It’s amazing to me that I’m still finding stuff to donate/sell during this process but it feels so good to get rid of stuff. I wish I could just stop myself from acquiring new home decor (my weakness).

I also went through six years worth of Kraft Food & Family magazines, posted the ones I want to try to Pinterest, and put them in the recycling bin.

I rearranged some magnets on the refrigerator and accidentally broke the one from Milwaukee Zoo. :(

It was rather hard to part with them but they had been taking up space in a free-standing cabinet in the kitchen. We’re not using that space to store some of Wookie’s most frequently used items and we removed her crate from the kitchen. She prefers sleeping in her bed under my desk so we don’t lock her in the kitchen anymore.

Speaking of decluttering, I recently took photos of my old stuffed toys I found in the garage. Without further ado, below is my Popple, Pound Puppies, and Fluppy Dog.

Categories: Pets, Photos, Shopping Tags: