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Mom’s 75th Birthday

I finally have a day to relax. I have been so busy this week. My sister and I and with some help from the other women in the family planned a 75th birthday party for our Mom. It was quite a task. There was food to bake and cook. There was the setting up of the amenities room at my sister’s condo complex. There was the invitations that were made by my sister and her daughter. There was the gift. Which took us a couple weeks to all agree on. Then there was the fact that we didn’t want Mom to find out any of the details. We did have to let her know that we were planning a family dinner.

So, Last week I took on a project that I thought would be easy. Well, it was easy but very time consuming. I was going through my google reader and checking on some of the craft bloggers I read daily, and I saw something that I thought would make a great party favor for all the women that came to the birthday lunch we had planned.

I was on the Coterie Blog and saw this post and loved the idea. So I made a list of all I would need and headed out to get the supplies. Instead of Banana bread I did cake mixes. My list was simple.

  • 35 4 inch pots
  • 8 cake mixes
  • ribbons
  • sparkly things

Sounds easy right? Not so! I had to find the pots. Gregg came with me and we went to Wal-Mart and found 16 there. Then it was over to Home Depot, they had none. Then we drove to Rona and got all we needed. After that it was off to the Dollar store for ribbons and decorations. And finally to Save-on Foods to get the cake mixes and eggs and oil and powdered sugar.

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I started with washing all the pots. I ran them through the dishwasher. The next morning I decided that I would white-wash them all. I found some white paint and watered it down and gave them all one coat. They dried and got another coat. That took up most of the day. At about 3pm I started with the decorations. I finished 27 pots by 7pm.

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The next day I started with the baking. I did a test run to see how many pots I would need per cake mix. 4 pots worked well. The baking went pretty good. I only messed up on one pot. Each set of 4 pots baked at 350 c for 35 minutes. Then I pulled them out and put in the next 4pots. While those were baking I removed the cakes out of the pots and let them cool. I washed the 4 pots and started over.

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I then took the cooled cakes and put them into the decorated pots and labels them on the bottom so I knew what flavor it was. I kept rotating between the 2 batches of 4 pots I was using to bake with. All together it took me 6 hours to finish all the baking.

I took a break, had some dinner and a shower. I then started on the icing. That took another 2 hours to do. Then I realized I still needed to get a layered salad ready for the party. I thought my night would never end!

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I finally finished them all. 32 pots decorated and ready to go. In the end it was all worth it. Everyone loved their potted cakes.

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There was a ton of yummy foods to eat. My sister made 2 different fruit punches. We ordered a birthday cake from my Niece’s friend that makes special cakes. We got her to put a big ring on top with all of us 5 kid’s birth stones. Mom didn’t really see the cake until we pointed it out after she has opened the box with the gold family ring we got her as her present. She was so happy I thought she might even cry.

At about 3pm almost all the ladies had left. Then the family started to show up for the BBQ. We all relaxed and a good time as a family. We all laughed and enjoyed the rest of Mom’s day.

Today is her actual birthday. So I called her to wish her a happy day. She is having some friends over for coffee and to eat some more of that yummy cake.

Face Creams

For the last 2 months I have been searching for a new face cream. I was using Olay Total Effects For the past year and really liked it, but ran out. I also noticed that my skin was looking a bit dull. So that’s why I was hunting for a new one.

Since I have picked Clinique as my makeup, I did look at getting their creams. I checked the ingredients and tons of reviews and for the most part their line of creams are good, but not what I was looking for. I then found out that Costco was selling a few different brands. I trust Costco with a lot of  brands they carry. Well, they have signed a deal with Borghese and have the “Costco Signature Borghese Collection. At Christmas time I had bought the makeup brush set and I just l love it. So I figured, it’s Costco, I can return it if I don’t like it, I bought the day cream.

After 3 weeks of using it, I returned it. Not that I didn’t like it. I really think its a great product, but it’s not for my type of skin. I have very oily skin and this actually made it worse. I had so much oil on my face it was producing blackheads and making my skin itchy. I didn’t get back to Costco right a way, so I ended up using a sample set from my Sister-in-law. She sells BeautiControl and swears by the stuff. I figured I would try it.I really wanted this stuff to work for me. It just doesn’t do it. My skin broke out with little white heads and was itchy and the fragrance wasn’t nice.I don’t want to say that this is a bad product, it just isn’t right for me.

Cause I have IC, I have to be so careful with the products I use. Using the set of samples from BeautiControl, my IC flareup with in 2 hours. I was not happy. I tried it for 2 more days and my IC got worse. The pain was horrible. I stopped using it and the pain was bearable. I took 4 days off from all products so I could get rid of this flareup I was having.

It finally went away. I got Gregg to take back the cream to Costco and told him to just grab me a bottle of the Olay again. I knew that I could handle that one and it would be ok with my IC. Instead, he calls me from Costco and says they have a new cream in stock and it was on special and asks if I want to try it. He told me it was Elizabeth Arden. I said sure. I’m such a sucker for a new product.

Well, I have been using it for over a week now. It has cleared up all the black heads and the whiteheads. No more itchy feeling. It’s cleared up all the problems from the other products I tried. Plus my skin feels soft and not greasy. It seems to be working well. The price was great. With the coupon it was under 30.00 for 2 jars. These will last for a year or so. It does have a very faint fragrance(which smells very nice), but its gone with in a few minutes. What I really like, it that its a very simple cream. It only has 6 ingredients in it. No extra crap added.

ALLANTOIN, VITAMIN A, GLYCERIN, PANTHENOL, OLIVE OIL, BEES WAX.

So I plan to use it for a while and see how my skin feels after a month. I have a feeling that this will become my regular cream. I’ll update in a month.

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Pink Shirt Day

Slow Pace

This week is a bit slow. I’ve been home doing my workouts and house work and crap like that. So nothing new. Making sure Gregg and I stick to our diet plan. I’m slowly losing weight and Gregg is too. It’s better to take it off slowly anyways. Too fast and it will just come back twice as much. I have noticed a difference in my waist since I started doing yoga. Its getting a bit tighter. Which makes me happy. I really like my Wii Fit. It’s really easy to use and I like that it keeps track for me. I think Mom should get one. I bet she would love it.

What else? Survivor started last week and so did Amazing Race. Both are shows that Gregg and I watch together. We like to pick apart the shows and say that we could do better…lol. I have other shows I watch while Gregg does his homework. Lost is back on too so I’ve been watching it. Waiting for Prison Break to start in April.

I did hear a rumor… Dippy might be moving soon. I can only hope and pray that it really is true and will happen before summer is here. Supposedly, he has been approved for a mortgage and is looking for a place in Chilliwack. If this is true, I hope that they sell the condo to some nice older people with no kids.

Oh,  Matthew and Bree have moved into their new condo and they have invited us for dinner this Sunday. This will be a first. I’ve offered to bring dessert, just have to figure out what to make. I’m looking at low calorie recipes today.

Well, that’s whats happening around here.

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The Mad Butcher

As you know I want to make Arrachera for dinner on Saturday. Well Gregg had to go to a butcher and order it since its a cut of beef that most stores don’t carry. In the past, we have tried the Mad Butcher and we didn’t like it. Why? Well, the old building they were in was just that, old. Everything about the place screamed POISON!Its was dirty and dingy. The lighting was terrible and the freezers were rusty. We weren’t impressed. I guess that is why the meat that we did buy there turned out to not taste so good.

Anyways, Yesterday afternoon They called to let me know that the skirt steaks were in. So I walked up. Lucky for me its only a 10 minute walk. (It was nice to get out of my condo since if was filled with pot smoke from Dippy below). I got there and was surprised. They had moved to a new building on the other side of the parking lot form the old place. I got to the doors and they swooshed open. No need to touch, that was nice. I walked in and looked around. The first thing I noticed, the lighting, it was bright. THen the cashier, smiling at me and wanting to help me.

So I asked about my order and she walked me over to the butchering area and grabbed it for me. I quickly asked if it could get cut into strips and he said sure but it was already cut thinly.We agreed that I would use it as is and let him know how it turns out. So walked around a bit looking at prices and meats. They have a tiny coffee counter with sandwiches and such. There was also a section of breads and spices.

I was very pleased with everything I saw. I admit that I will go back. Now that the place looks like a real butcher shop. The floors and freezers were spotless. The whole place felt friendly. Plus I like to see the butcher area. If I can’t see the butcher working then I don’t trust the meat. I think thats why I only buy meat from Costco or Save-on Foods. You can see what they are doing.

I bought some marinated chicken while I was there and we will be having it for dinner this evening. Tomato and basil sauce, I hope its yummy!

 

What am I Doing? Arrachera

Well I am cleaning. Doing the laundry and then do my workout and after that I will have a shower. Gregg went out yesterday to the local butcher up the road and ordered some skirt steaks that I have to pick up tomorrow. I am planning on making a Mexican meal for Valentine’s Day. Your probably wondering what I plan to make. Well let me tell you.

When we were in Mexico, we noticed a steak that was served almost at every restaurant. Its called “Arrachera” which means flank or skirt steak. Its actually a simple meal. I think its all about the spices and how long it marinates. Anyways, we really enjoyed it. So now I am going to make it for us. We drove into Vancouver on Saturday and stopped by a Mexican grocery store and found the spice we need.

The recipe is very easy, all you do is marinate the meat in the spices for 1 day. Then grill and serve.

Season both sides of meat with GOYA seasoning and lime juice. Cover entire meat with lime and season lightly.
Once the meat is limed up and seasoned you roll it up, like a sushi roll, nice and tight and place all of the meat all rolled up in rolls in a deep dish and pour beer on top making sure it gets all over. If you marinate your meat with beer and you don’t roll it up, you wash off all of your seasonings.
Cover the meat with plastic wrap and leave it in the fridge over night, but 2-3 hours works just as well.
Then just grill each side for like 5-6 min less if you like it medium. The meat will be tender, juicy and full of flavor. Enjoy

I’m really curious if this will taste the same. I hope so! I have been wanting it for a while now. Here is a picture of what we had in Mexico at H&C restaurant/butcher. You get the steak, a baked potato, half an avocado and lime and a hot green pepper. Gregg and Glen both gave me their avocados.

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And with steak you must have a tasty beer to wash it all down.

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The only problem with this, is that I can’t get Leon Beer here. It doesn’t get exported out of the Yucatan. So Gregg will have to have something else. A cold glass of diet coke with a twist of lime on ice sounds good.

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My Makeup Bag-Clinique

As you know I tried some different types of makeup over the last year to see what I was going to go with. I did a lot of searching and reading. I ordered samples and got samples from stores. I finally decided what to go with. Clinique.

I really wanted to be able to go with a mineral makeup, but every one I tried felt heavy on my skin and made it itchy and break out in acne, plus my eyes got sore and puffy. Not sure why this happened. I must be allergic to it. So after all the samples and even buying a few small items I gave up on the mineral makeup. I’m not saying its bad, its just not for me.

I’m no longer going to buy any drugstore junk. My skin has changed over the last few years. Wearing  CoverGirl, Maybeline, Revlon or any of the cheap brands just isn’t going to do it anymore. All those brands turn orange on my skin. I might use eye liner from them but not much more.

This Christmas Mom gave us all some money as a gift and I took some of it and decided I would buy new makeup. First, the reason I am going with Clinique. Its allergy tested, fragrance free and they don’t test on animals. These are important to me. I don’t think animal testing is necessary. This company has been around long enough that I trust they know what they are doing. Second thing, I hate it when I can smell my makeup. YUK!  And the third thing, I don’t turn orange! That’s right, the foundation doesn’t turn orange on my face. I knew then that this would be the makeup for me.

I know that the Clinique makeup costs a bit more and I figured I would be spending about 200 dollars. So Gregg said “why not look on Ebay?” Hmmm, so I did. Instead of buying at full price at the store I bought it for a quarter of the cost on Ebay. I is happy!

What did I get? Well, I got all of this…

Clinique makeup
8 lipsticks and 2 mascaras. 3 of the lipsticks were doubles. The colors are “Beauty, Pink Beach, Rose Spectrum, A Different Grape and Raspberry Glace.

Clinique makeup
This little 6 pack is perfect! I love all the colors!

Clinique makeup
And I had to go buy my foundation. I didn’t want to buy it on Ebay. I needed to try colors and find the right one for me. I didn’t want to buy the wrong one.

What did this all cost me? Well, the foundation was 32.00 including the taxes. The rest came to a total of  62.58 that included all the shipping too. If I would of bought this at the store I would of paid about 180.00. I think I got a pretty good deal. The only things I still need are blush and moisturizer. Which I will buy on Ebay if I can find a good deal.

Now what do I do with all my old makeup?LOL

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Ikea with Mom

This past Saturday I woke up feeling really good. What I mean is, I felt normal for the first time in months. Usually when I wake up I sit on the edge of my bed and wait for my brain and eyes to settle and see what kind of day it will be. Well, turns out my brain and eyes were in sync for the first time in a very long time. It was a great feeling. For my new readers I have “vestibulopathy”.

My day started off great. Had coffee with Gregg and then went to shower and there I thought about what to do for the day. I do a lot of my thinking in the shower. I got out and told Gregg I would love to hang out with Mom. He said sure. So I called Mom and asked if she would like to go to Ikea. Yup, and the plan was made.

We picked her up at 1pm and headed out. Ikea is about a 30 minute drive from home. We got there and I could see that Mom was excited. She hadn’t been to this big new Ikea. We started in the showroom area and followed the big blue arrows on the floor. Mom got a bit confused a few times as to what direction were headed, but I kept telling her “follow the blue arrows”.

I think she was a bit overwhelemed. There was so much to look at. Plus 100’s of people. Normally it would be me getting confused and dizzy. We both saw a couple items we wanted. She even picked up a mirror for her new condo.

We stopped at the cafeteria for a drink and to rest our feet. We then headed down to the checkout. We paid and got out of there. The three of us decided it was dinner time and off we drove to the Cactus Club 2 blocks down the road. When we got there they told us we would have to wait about 15 minutes. Instead Gregg saw a table open in the bar. Off we went!Chicken Rice Bowl

The Burger

The Burger

It just so happened that it was Hockey night and the bar was very loud and full of people. It was a bit hard to talk. We each ordered a drink, yes, even Mom. and then ordered our food. It was all very good. We were there about an hour. Afterwards, we headed back to Mom’s place.

Once there, we relaxed and watched the DVD we brought over for her of all her slides we had scanned into my PC. I could see that it brought back a lot of memories for her and me too. Its not see to see Dad in them. It must be really hard for Mom to see her whole life with dad in those pictures. But she held it together and didn’t cry. We finally were ready to leave and had a group hug and said good night. It was just after 9pm when we got home. I was still feeling good. 🙂

I am so thankful that I had this day with Mom and Gregg. I don’t get many good days like that anymore.

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My Birthday Day

Yesterday was my 41st birthday. Yes I am officially in my 40’s. I had a great day. Gregg bought me a beautiful set of makeup brushes from Costco. I tried them out already and love them. So soft. The big brush on the end has mineral shimmer powder in it. I put it on and I had glitter all over me. Have to be careful when using it. Good part is, once its empty I can fill it with whatever I want.

After my morning coffee I was checking my emails. I signed up at a few sites the day before and was waiting to get email back. I got email from Red Robin‘s telling me to come get a free Birthday burger and Dairy Queen saying I can have a 16oz blizzard for free. So my lunch was planned!

We got dressed and headed to Red Robin’s for lunch. I ordered a Guacamole burger with fries.

Birthday Burger

After that we drove down the road to Dairy Queen where I got a Fudge brownie cookie dough with Reese’s peanut butter cup blizzard.mmmmmm! We took our blizzards and headed back home. Gregg gobbled his up right a way. I still have half of mine in the freezer. I was stuffed from the burger. So I get to finish it today.

Birthday Blizzard

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