October 29, 2013

Eight Reasons Why I'm A Shitastic Blogger

#1. I ate Chipotle for the first time on Sunday ... and I HATED it. 
Per Samantha's recommendation, I went with a chicken burrito bowl. I choked down ten bites then spent thirty minutes laying on the floor in pain. I'm never eating Chipotle again.
It's fine.

#2. I don't care about Red Cups.
Last year Starbucks had little foxes on their cups, and that was cute ... but I definitely don't go all gaga over Red Cups like many bloggers do. Those two words actually immediately remind me of "REDRUM, REDRUM" from The Shining.

#3. I never share photos of my family or friends here. 
I love reading other blogger's weekend update posts and seeing the fun times that they had with their family and friends. Me, though? I feel like I should have everyone sign a release form stating that I can use their photo on my blog before putting their faces on the internet. It just creeps me out, so I use Someecards instead.
I'm sorry, Dad.

#4. I've never been GOMI'ed. 
In my personal opinion, you're a blogging nobody until you've been asked to get off of the internet.
But I'll punch you in the uterus if you post about me there.

#5. I will never ask my husband to take outfit pics of me.
I prefer standing on toilets. And I document these moments because 5 out of 7 days I change back into yoga pants after I get out of the shower. 

#6. I had my first ever blate with Sami and failed.
If you're a bird I'm a bird?

#7. I've never eaten a macaron.
Honestly, which Blogger God declared 2013 the year of the macaron and chevron print? I can't wait to see what 2014 holds. Crepes and cartouche, I hope.

#8. My life is actually really boring.
We are really, seriously boring. I still can't believe that anyone besides my parents and grandmother reads this crap.

Are you a shitastic blogger, too?

October 24, 2013

Thursday Things

Bglorified Boutique is on my radar. They have super cute handmade knitted headbands, cowls and boot cuffs at affordable prices.

Are these sugar cubes the sweetest or what? They only cost $11.95 for three dozen!

Dear Husband who says he doesn't read my blog, but I know that he does - I would like these to kick around the house in. Kthanks.

I love this idea.

These only have four ingredients and I believe that they were created by the devil.

This custom necklace is only $24 - it's perfect for layering and gift giving!

I love when I find a new quote I haven't read before. This one is beautiful.

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October 21, 2013

Dinner For Two // On A Budget

One of the main things that I absolutely despise about moving two or three times per year is re-stocking our kitchen with the essentials. The ketchup and the mustard and the BBQ sauce and the salad dressings and the peanut butter and the jelly ... all of those things add up, and they add up fast.

We've kind of just been winging dinner for the past two weeks, but yesterday I decided to be mindful and create a mealplan that utilizes many of the same kitchen staples but in different, tasty ways so that I don't have to buy every single typical kitchen essential all at once.

This week's menu consists mainly of chicken, pork, ground turkey, honey, dijon, garlic, Frank's, coconut, panko crumbs, flour, grape jelly, BBQ sauce, bacon, eggs and blue cheese. All staples in our house.

(Th) Coconut Chicken / (F) Grilled Apple Turkey Meatballs / (Sa) Wedge Salad / (S) Date Night

According to the USDA's official cost of food for individuals and families (as of April 2013), a family of two spends anywhere between $378.50 to $750.60 per month on food.

Life would be much cheaper if boxed mac and cheese, bagel bites, Ramen noodles and the Dollar Menu were healthy ... but it's important to me to create somewhat nutritious meals. And as important as health, nutrition and fresh fruits and veggies are to me, it's equally important that we're stretching each dollar as far as it will go each time that I'm at the grocery story. 

Now that we're settled and TJ has officially made the team (seriously ... he came home last week with his hockey bag and I panicked and immediately asked "WTF is that thing doing here?!?") I've set a maximum budget of $125 per week for all food, pet food, cleaning products, toiletries, alcohol, and dinners out ... and I'm definitely challenging myself to stay under that threshold each week. I know that we could probably do without the wine and nights out ... but I want to have date nights with TJ, and I want to allow us to splurge just a little bit a few times per month at different restaurants in Denver.

I'm planning on utilizing grocery lists, meal plans, coupons, shopping store brands, and centering the backbone of our meals around what's on sale at Safeway and Target to stay under budget. This website is awesome, and Lauren makes couponing a breeze. I try to buy only what's in season, and we do eat some type of meat at every meal because that athlete dude of mine needs protein, and a heaping plate of legumes just isn't his thing. I mainly stick to chicken (mainly because I can't cook a good steak), and I always try to look at the cost per serving rather than the cost per pound. Rice and veggies are our typical side dish each night unless I'm feeling fancy.

Groupon and Living Social are surprisingly pretty awesome here in Denver. I always get so excited to find awesome deals on clothes, shoes, accessories or home decor at places like TJ Maxx and Marshall's, I guess it was only a matter of time before I started doing the same with restaurants and local things to do.

I'm not stockpiling 92 bottles of ketchup yet, so y'all don't have to be worried about me. Yet.

I'm curious:
What do you budget each month for food and/or entertainment?

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October 17, 2013

Thursday Things

Yes, you can.

This makes me feel awesome, haha!

This idea is the cutest. I wish that I had thought about it six years ago.

You can skip scouring Pinterest. This website lists 50 of the best pumpkin recipes. You're welcome.

Is it too early to be thinking about recreating this homemade Advent calendar?

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October 16, 2013

My Current Denver To-Do List: ✓ The Pumpkin Festival and Corn Maze

This is the story of a girl named Kym.

One day, Kym decided that she really needed to purchase a DSLR camera, because that's what all of the cool bloggers have. She found an awesome deal on Amazon and charged it to her store card because Amazon offered 12 months with no interest. Score!

Kym would read websites and tutorials and tips off of Pinterest to try and learn how to use her camera, but all of the settings continued to boggle her mind. With Instagram filters and iPhone apps being so much easier to understand than things like aperture, exposure, ISO and shutter speed, her poor camera stayed locked away all alone for an entire year.

Until one day, Kym decided that she paid so much money for that dumb camera, that she might as well just use it, even if the photos that she takes will look like something that a four year old monkey could snap.

This is what happened:

Stay tuned for next weeks chapter when Kym will finally grow a pair, tap someone on the shoulder and ask them to take a picture of her and her husband, so that she has more than just pictures of mountains, strangers, and corn fields to remember her fun times in Colorado.

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October 15, 2013

Our Baby Will Always Be Our Favorite "What If" ...

I didn't want my first post after arriving in Denver to be a sad one, but last week, Monday, October 7th was … is? ... was my due date.

Right now, in this present moment, I could be holding our sweet baby … or I could be uncomfortably bloated and still waiting to pop … first borns can be finicky and can take their sweet time, so I’ve heard.

I quietly acknowledged the day and let my thoughts wander intermittently off and on about how different my life would … should? … could be right now.

TJ and I talked about it on our drive here, and he asked out loud what I was thinking - How would we have been able to drive to Denver if I was nine months pregnant?

Simple: We wouldn’t have been able to.

It’s interesting where life takes you. When we first started trying for a baby last July, we were trying to plan for a baby that would be born in the off-season. When that didn’t happen ... and then we boarded a stressful crazy train that dropped us off in Germany, we changed our plan to try for a birth in Europe.
Well, that plan flopped ... and now we're happily back in the US this season.

So where am I at today, six months after that complete upheaval that became my life?

Well, thoughts from that German hospital still haunt me.

I felt like a specimen under a microscope that day. Yes, the doctors could speak perfect English, but the nurses could not communicate with me at all. I had no idea what was going on each time they walked into the room to touch, look, probe, draw blood, ask me to fill out forms that I couldn't read or ask me questions that I couldn't understand. I was referred to as "The American girl with the missed abortion" all day. I think some of them were embracing the opportunity to practice their English ... and I get that it's the technical term ... but no, I wasn't aborting this baby. I wanted it. And I wanted to scream each time that I heard the word abortion.

I will say that I'm thankful that all of this happened in Germany, far away from home, because I never have to pass that hospital again.

My body and my head have healed ... but my heart, my heart definitely still hurts sometimes. And I’m afraid that it always will because that’s where my baby will always remain. I guess I haven’t gone back to normal yet ... and I don’t think I ever will, because that whole chapter of my life has changed me indefinitely.

It’s weird ... some days I am confident and able to put the miscarriage behind me and look ahead to the future. Other days, randomly, it’s like someone pulled a trigger, and I grieve. Giant crocodile tears stream down my face and I can't stop them until I'm all cried out.

Most days I am happy ... but some days, I am a mess. Some days, I break. And I can’t help but wonder - is this how it’s always going to be? 

Trying to talk about a miscarriage with someone who has never had one before is difficult ... it’s not like you can reflect on tangible memories or photographs ... you can only cry and grieve about lost dreams of the future, and about an unfortunate situation that you will never fully understand.

My grief wasn’t, and isn’t, just about the baby. I grieve that TJ doesn’t get to be a dad yet. I grieve that my parent’s haven’t welcomed their first grandchild into the world yet. I grieve because my little brother told me this past summer that he thinks that it will be so cool to be an uncle, and he can't wait to have someone little to play with. He knew that I was pregnant ... and then I wasn't anymore ... and we've never really talked about what happened. I grieve because I wonder if it's confusing for him, and what he thinks about it.

I wish that there was a step by step guide about the process of coping ... but there's not. So I just roll with it and question if I'm half crazy, or if this is normal.

Am I scared to become pregnant again? 

Yes, I’m 150% terrified.
I know first hand that getting pregnant, seeing those two pink lines ... they don't guarantee anything. When I do become pregnant again, I expect to be full of fear instead of joy ... and I'm really not sure if or when I will be brave enough to handle that type of emotional rollercoaster again.

A few people have said that we can always try again. Others have told me that the next baby will be healthy, and that I will start to feel better when I become pregnant again. These words hurt - they feel like an abrasive pad against my heart.

If you've never had a miscarriage, you need to understand: Any baby is a real one. Any loss is a real loss.

Our baby was real to us. Our baby will always be our favorite "what if". We wanted it, we planned for it, we saw a future with it. It was half of my heart, and half of TJ's ... and it will never, ever be replaced. 

Today, October 15th is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. Did you know that one in four women will experience a miscarriage in their lives? Each day, over 2,000 women will lose their babies. That's over 700,000 grieving women a year, a quarter of all women in this country ... and I am a part of that statistic.

As common as miscarriages are, they are hardly ever talked about ... but I am so passionate about breaking that silence.
I want to let anyone who ever comes here who has had a miscarriage or who is experiencing the loss of their child to know that you are not alone. You are warmly welcomed into a club that no one wants to join, and the support is overflowing. I have gotten through some of my darkest hours because of complete strangers who reached out to me to let me know that they lost their babies, too. I never want anyone to feel like they should suffer in silence. Please know that you are not alone ... I am always here to talk, and I'm only an email away

Have you ever experienced a miscarriage?
Help me break the silence by breaking your own.

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Tasty Tuesday // Hawaiian BBQ Kielbasa

“This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group™ and Hillshire Brand Company but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #buy3save3 http://cmp.ly/3/8vNxcO

There aren't very many meals that TJ will eat the left overs from.

In fact, as he pointed out while enjoying his lunch yesterday, there's only one, and it's this one:

1. 1 package Hillshire Farm Smoked Sausage or Kielbasa, sliced
2. 8oz BBQ Sauce
3. 8oz Sweet Chili Sauce
4. 5oz grape jelly
5. 10oz can diced pineapples, drained

1. Fry kielbasa over medium heat
2. Transfer fried kielbasa to paper towel lined plate to absorb some of the oil
3. Transfer the kielbasa to a new frying pan
4. Add BBQ sauce, Sweet Chili sauce, and grape jelly to the pan, stir
5. Cover and simmer over medium/low heat for 30 minutes
6. Stir, cover again and continue to simmer for 30 minutes
7. Add in pineapple chunks, stir, reduce heat to low, and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes
*Note, there is a lot of sauce. We like sauce. As the sauce starts to cool it thickens (almost like a jelly)

What's awesome about this recipe is that it has few ingredients and it's super easy to make. I served the Hawaiian BBQ Kielbasa over brown rice with a side of broccoli - but you can totally eat it in a hoagie roll, add sliced peppers and onions to the mix, or serve it as a side dish rather than a main. Sometimes, I also like to add in Maraschino cherries to really play up the Hawaiian flavors. 

As is, the Hillshire Farm smoked sausage (I'm Polish, I call it kielbasa, haha!), BBQ sauce, Sweet Chili sauce, grape jelly, and pineapple flavors really erupt in your mouth and provide a delightful fusion of savory, tangy, spicy, sweet, and sour. Hello Fall.
If you invite me to a pot luck, this is usually the recipe that I always bring. It's such a crowd pleaser ... and not to toot my own horn or anything, but it's usually the first dish that is gobbled up. When I do bring it to a pot luck, instead of transferring the kielbasa to a new frying pan (step 3), I transfer it into a crock pot and simmer it on low for two hours before switching it to the "keep warm" setting so that the sauce can thicken up a bit.

With so many Fall get togethers and Football Sunday parties now in full swing on the weekends, I encourage you to try out this recipe. I promise it's a hit. If you're going to be feeding a crowd then you obviously want to double or triple the above recipe, and it's your lucky week because if you head on over to Safeway's Just For U website like I did, then you can take advantage of the current Buy 3, Save 3 offer and save $3 when you purchase any three Hillshire Farm products. Also make sure to visit the Hillshire Farm Recipe Page for additional recipe ideas - I'm definitely adding their Smoked Sausage Gnocchi, Rodeo Breakfast and BBQ Smoked Sausage Pizza to my recipe list.

Do you have a favorite Fall recipe?
Share it in a comment below!

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© Kym Fox | Our Fox Tales