I have a tendency to “monitor” my  daughters online activities. I know that’s not unusual but I often find this beautiful little soul so captivating, and can hardly believe that I had anything to do with how great she is turning out.

I can’t believe what an amazing person I’ve had the pleasure of raising! My daughter Brianna is 14, and yes she wears make up, and yes she can have a teenage attitude now and then…but I more often find her laughing, smiling, and just plain having fun. She deserves that.

This is what it looks like when your going for the parenting win lol!

Love you Bri!

A little warm spice on a cold day

For some reason snowy days make me want to bake. I like the cold still quiet coupled with a warm oven and then smells of fresh baked cookies and bread.

We got a light snow over night and slick roads mean my husband is out plowing snow and salting walkways. Leaving me home to work on laundry, binge watch Sons of Anarchy, and do some baking!

I decided to make ginger snaps, a crisp cookie full of warm spices, perfect with a cup of coffee on a cold day. 

I’m still working my way through the Betty Crocker Red Book so I utilized Betty’s recipe. A pretty standard blend of cinnamon, cloves,  and of course ginger! The choice of shortening over butter and two tsp of baking powder spoke to the historically crispy texture that this recipe would produce. 

Ginger snap recipes go back to colonial times. The term snap describes the crispy almost cracker like texture of this cookie. A derivative recipe of gingerbread this was often a dessert saved with tea or coffee. The cookies originally made with molasses instead of refined sugar because molasses was more readily available and much less expensive making this recipe accessible to many financial classes of people. 

So there’s a little history for you, and now the recipe! Stay warm and Enjoy!

OK Instagram…Let’s have a talk…

I swear lately when I get on Instagram all I see are these stupid giveaway loops! Stop…stop… just stop it! I don’t want you to buy my friendship with Home goods, sephora, raedunn, and other super trendy stuff!!!

I seriously went on an “unfriending” frenzy one day when it took 14!! posts to get to an actual instagram post! What!

Win me over with your amazing use of grown up filters instagram…not this cheap attempt at buying my love. Lol!

Fancy little beads

I have been seeing these simple wooden beads everywhere! They are cute in a rustic kind of way. The creativity of use though! I’ve seen them on coat hooks, mantles, vases, as drapery tie backs, tray decorations, candlestick decorations…and the list goes on! Some people are leaving them as raw wood, some stain them, and some paint them and add patterns. I think I even came across a decoupage version on Pinterest!

 Bravo folks, on making this simple little trend so interesting! Pics are c/o @luvewant, @downshilohroad, @inspiredbycharm, and @casabeads


The pains of lost luggage

So as I mentioned in my recent post we just returned from a short trip to Las Vegas. I also mentioned that my luggage unfortunately did not make the trip with me.

So let’s talk about expectation vs reality of losing your luggage. I am not the kind of person who gets easily upset or loses her cool. I have the ability to really take things in stride…

We arrived at the baggage claim to find that my bag does not arrive. The claim office verifies that indeed all bags were removed from the plane, and begin the process of writing up my claim form. The representative was friendly and calm and stated that they will have my bag to me as soon as possible. The next flight in however was not until 11:30pm…it was noon…my response “OK no problem we’ll work it out”

The representative also stated that she would call Detroit to request shipment of my bag and that she would call me to verify that  they were sending it out. So naturally my expectation is that I would be getting that call within the hour.

At 1:30pm I called to see if she reached them.. No answer, I left a message requesting a call back. I did that again at 2:30p, 3:20, and 5:50p. No call backs. At 6:20p I finally got someone to answer the phone! Only one problem…”they haven’t received any positive information regarding my bag”…wait…what? What does that mean? You can’t reach them, or they really lost the bag? Nope they lost it…completely lost it. Although they continued with their vague game playing and never said they lost it. By this time I’m getting ticked.

I was told I could pick up any essentials that I needed to get by and they would call as soon as they had more information.

I’m going to fast forward now. I never got my bag back!

I spent over $300 on essentials to get me by. I am now at the mercy of the airline as far as compensation for my losses. I had to send a notarized list of my belongings by certified mail, along with my original boarding pass, itinerary, claim check, a copy of my license, all receipts for my incurred expenses along with an itemized list of those things…which they reserve the right request that I send back to them…what?! Also the receipts from any item in my lost bag valued at more than $50 regardless of how long ago I purchased them… my first born, the neighbors dog, and my best friends pillow case *can you feel the sarcasm. I also provided a timeline of the 20+ calls I made to the airline, and letter of disgust for their lack of customer service. My claim is for over $1000, and I’m asking for reimbursement of my prepaid baggage fees. I’ll post updates as I get them…let’s hope Spirit Airlines provides me with a happy ending to this story…I am so far unimpressed with their customer service efforts.

I hope my bag is somewhere warm and sunny enjoying it’s destination…more to come!

A quick get away

As I mentioned in my intro blog. One of my favorite things to do is travel with my family. We have been to Jamaica, Mexico, the Bahamas and all over the US. My all time favorite place to go though is Las Vegas!

I love the energy, the weather, and the give your all entertainment value!

This past weekend my husband and I decided to take advantage of some warmer MI weather (which means a slow work week for him) and head out to Las Vegas!

This might not be the post you were expecting though…

I promise I will give you some amazing tips and tricks in a later post, but this trip was SO different!

First off it was a quick get away in every sense. We flew out via Spirit Airlines on Saturday morning and arrived in Las Vegas around 12pm just one problem….my luggage didn’t make the DIRECT flight with me! You heard that right it was a direct flight no layovers no changing planes…no weird flight delays…they just didn’t put my bag on the plane. They stated it should come in on the later evening flight. OK….off to the hotel!

We stayed at Harrah’s hotel and casino this time. A much older resort compared to some that we have stayed but it’s in a great location center strip! We arrived and we’re checked in without a problem. Arrived to our balcony room. The room was small and the balcony is standing room only lol…but it’s always nice to be able to open the door for some fresh air.

Upon further inspection the safe in our room was not working…we travel with cell phones, extra cash, and a laptop so the safe is important. We called the desk and within minutes the staff arrived to attempt a fix. Unfortunately the part needed to fix it was unavailable and so we were promptly moved to a new room with a working safe. The staff was exceptionally nice and worked without delay!

The second room was identically set up, and the safe was in working order. Harrah’s is indeed in need of a make over though. They have a new tower opening soon with newly renovated rooms but this was not it…there were dents in the walls, stains on the carpet, and stains inside the dresser drawers (more than one). Not 5 star accommodation for sure. The bathroom was small and there is a dark colored shower curtain and no lighting in the shower stall itself. Even with the bathroom light it was like showering in a cave lol.

And at one point even the cups we were drinking from were leaking! Seriously!

So what were the positives…

#1 the staff, always friendly, courteous, helpful. Top notch better than some of the nicer places I’ve stayed even!

#2 the location, you can’t beat the location of this hotel!

#3 Fulton Street Food Court, excellent food 24hours a day at good prices

#4 the piano bar, a fun interactive entertainment opportunity

#5 Toby Keith Bar and Grill, live music nightly and excellent specialty drinks! Try the Georgia Peach it’s awesome!

We shopped…mostly for clothes since mine never arrived…you heard that right! My luggage is still missing and I am now home! But picked up a couple nice gifts for the kiddos too…

We visited the Bellagio Gardens, ate at Nacho Daddy, and Enjoyed the night life and knocked another item off our list by riding on the high roller, a very large Ferris wheel/ observation ride. It’s also awesome, and a great way to see the city!

We did a little gambling and rested up for our busy Spring schedule ahead…it’s amazing what a weekend away can do for you! Even if you only had 3 outfits to choose from lol!

Here’s to Vegas, and hopefully getting positive reimbursement from Spirit Airlines after this debacle…I’ll blog some about that later…Happy Travels everyone!

Something Special

​As promised I made a “special” meal in honor of my blogaversary. So tonight’s dinner consists of…Taco Salad! Seems a little anti-climatic but I asked my daughter what my very best dish is and she didn’t even hesitate. So, this must be darn good lol. 

I have an unusual secret ingredient in my taco salad that really makes it sing. And putting together the layers in a clear dish makes for a great presentation. So I guess there are some special things about my taco salad after all. 

So what’s the secret? Glad you asked, creamy French dressing! Who knew right?! The dressing compliments the spices adds a little tanginess and elevates the whole dish. Here’s what you’ll need for this fabulous meal.

1 lb ground beef

1 md. Onion

Salt and pepper

2 Tbsp. Taco seasoning

1 can Black beans

1 pkg precooked Mexican rice, I like old El Paso brand

2 c. Mild cheddar cheese

Nacho flavored Doritos

2 c. Sour cream

1/2 c.Creamy French dressing

1 head of Lettuce

2 Roma Tomatos

In a medium sauce pan brown meat and drain add black beans, salt, pepper, and seasoning and heat through. Pour into bowl.

Heat the precooked rice and pour on top of the meat. Add about 1/4c. Of cheddar cheese on top of the rice.

I add a thin layer of lettuce next and top with crushed doritos

Layer in the sour cream and dressing, another thick layer of lettuce, and top it all off with tomato, and remaining cheese. 

That’s all there is to it! 

But this is a special occasion! Which means dessert! I chose lemon bars with a little twist. I used the Betty Crocker lemon bar recipe you can find it here
But before adding the lemon mix to the crust, I added 1/2c. of unsweetened coconut! 

Lemon bars will always hold a special place in my heart. They were one of the first dessert recipes I ever made and I made them with my Grandma Sammie. A great memory for sure! Hope you all enjoy some of my faves! Happy Cooking!