Monday, January 30, 2017

Handy Dandy Sassy Tips

I know you're going to enjoy this week's guest, the super sassy Susan Swiderski!

It's a real honor to be here with y'all today, but before I share some appropriate (and okay... some inappropriate) handy-dandy tips with you, I feel it is my civic duty to issue a warning. One of the ladies who runs this blog is... now how shall I put this delicately?... a tad underhanded. (gasp!) I know. Shocking, isn't it? When inviting me to serve a stint as guest blogger here, Tammy called me... sassy. Yeah, sassy. Not saggy... sassy. How in the world could an old broad like me possibly say no when she threw a word like that at me, I ask you? It's been quite a few years since anyone associated that word with me, so I'm just gonna wrap it around me, and savor the feeling. Yep, that's me... classy, sassy, and a bit smart assy. Okay, not entirely true. But I am a bona fide smart ass, so you'd be wise to take what I'm about to tell you with a handful of salt.
Okay, ready for some nifty neat-o some-of-'em-even-work time-saving and money-saving tips?
  • Most of the things you waste time worrying about never happen, so cut it out! Worrying causes stress, gives you wrinkles, and wastes valuable time you could be using to do something much more worthwhile, like eating ice cream or sucking face with your fella. Besides, worrying never changes a darned thing. Never.
  • Clean up messes as they happen. I know it's tempting to ignore that mini-mountain of cereal you just knocked onto the kitchen floor, but don't. An even better alternative? Have at least one dog and one cat in your home. Believe you me, pets make an unbeatable clean-up team. Plus, cats with a propensity to arf provide you with the perfect incentive to clean your floors and carpets... one small area at a time.
  • To cut down on mildew, wipe down your shower walls and tiles after each shower. If you have a shower curtain, give it a couple good whacks to knock off excess water, and then leave the curtain closed to allow it to dry more quickly. Better yet? Join a gym. Then you can take all of your showers there, and let somebody else worry about mildew. As an added bonus, you can even spend a minute or two exercising while you're there. Might as well. Or you could do it my way... I do lots of diddly squats around the house every day. 
  • If you insist on wasting money and water by continuing to take your showers at home, rather than join a gym as I suggested, you may eventually notice the shower head isn't quite as squeaky clean as it used to be. I suppose you could go all Martha Stewart and scrub it with a toothbrush or something, but how about this? Secure a plastic baggy of vinegar over the head overnight, and ta-DA! Just like magic, all of the residue disappears. (Even though you want to be frugal and all that, I wouldn't recommend re-using that vinegar in your next salad... it's a tad on the soapy side.)
  • When lemons and/or limes are on sale, buy extra. Squeeze the juice out of some of them and freeze it in ice cube trays. Once it's completely frozen, you can store the cubes in a plastic bag. One cube equals about a tablespoon of juice. 
  • Some recipes call for buttermilk. I don't know about you, but we don't drink that stuff, so it'd be a waste of time and money to run to the store to buy it for a particular recipe, when I know the rest of it would just end up down the drain. No problem. I don't have to go to the store, and neither do you. Just add a tablespoon of vinegar per cup of good ol' normal milk. It's a perfect substitute.
  • Planning a dinner party, but hate the idea of wasting money on fancy after-dinner mints? So don't! Freeze a colorful tube of toothpaste, and then cut the tube open, and slice the paste into wafer-thin treats. Instant fresh breath!  PLUS, everyone saves time by skipping the usual after-dinner tooth-brushing routine. Win-win!
  • If you're in a hurry, or have somewhere you absolutely have to be, never ever make eye contact with your spouse while eating a banana. 
  • Need to drop some pounds in a hurry? Eat raw pork or rancid tuna. You can lose up to twelve pounds in only two days, without having to fork over one red cent on any of those dangerous diet pills. 
  • To save money on toilet paper, borrow it from work. Not whole, unopened rolls, mind you. Just rolls that have already been started. No one will ever notice. And, um, I'm using the word borrow facetiously. No need to return it. When you get down to the empty cardboard roll, you can put that to use, too. If you cut it lengthwise, you can put it around a roll of opened wrapping paper like a cuff. Keeps the rolls looking much neater. If you care about such things. If you don't, just throw it away. No skin off my nose.
  • Wanta save big money on your electric bill? Turn off the lights. Yep, all of them. If everybody wears a miner's hat, there's absolutely no need to turn on a lamp.
  • While we're saving money, here's another handy tip. Don't waste any money on one of those little address books for friends' addresses and phone numbers, either. Don't you get free phone directories? There ya go!  Just cross out the names of people you don't know. 
  • Here's a reeeeeeally big money-saver. When you go out with friends, leave your wallet at home. You can save yourself a bundle! However, you may eventually have to find new friends. 
  • And finally: be nice. Really. Going out of your way to be nice, especially to your spouse, will save a lot of time that might otherwise be wasted in argument. Most of the time, being kind is much more important than being right. (If all else fails, reach for a banana. Make eye contact at your own peril.)
Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.
Best wishes from Susan, long-time housewife, and visiting SOB
(Sassy Old Broad)

Susan and her husband transferred from Maryland to Georgia in 1971, and have lived in the same so-called starter home ever since. (Too lazy to pack up all their stuff!) She was a stay-at-home mom, and after the kids all flew the coop, she was perfectly happy to continue being a kept woman full-time homemaker, as well as a perpetual you-name-it-and-she'll-do-it volunteer. Since her hubby Smarticus retired fifteen years ago, they've been enjoying plenty of spur-of-the-moment adventures. (With the right attitude, everything is an adventure!) She has written one novel, Hot Flashes and Cold Lemonade, and helped put together a poetry book for charity called Old Broads Waxing Poetic. She blogs most Fridays at I Think: Therefore, I Yam

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Key Lime Pie, Cheesecakes, & Cupcakes - A Love Story

Today, I'm saying to heck and hades with my diet. I've been craving key lime like nobody's business. When my cravings get this serious, it's time for me to cave (if only to prevent any potential homicides, I swear.).

And when I want key lime, the hardest decision to make is key lime pie vs key lime cheesecake. And then, do I make a whole pie? I really don't need to eat the whole thing. And I totally will. So enter my favorite solution to my favorite craving:

We love key lime pie so much we
had it for our wedding cake :-)

These bad boys have been a hit every time I've made them, AND it gives me an excuse to keep just a few for myself and get the rest of them out of my greedy, grubby hands.

1 muffin pan (with 12 cupcake liners)
1 box vanilla wafers
2 limes
2 8oz packages philly cream cheese(softened)
3/4 Cups granulated sugar
1 8oz tub cool whip
1 can Reddi-whip

  • Prep the muffin pan by placing 1 liner in each muffin cup and then add 1 vanilla wafer to the bottom. Set aside.
  • Squeeze the juice from 1 lime
  • Mix softened cream cheese, sugar and fresh lime together w/hand mixer on low, until well blended. Taste the mixture to determine if there is enough lime flavor to your liking. If you desire a stronger lime flavor, add more fresh lime juice 1 tsp at a time.
  • Gently with a cake spatula fold in the 8oz tub of cool whip until all mixed in.
  • Fill the lined muffin cups to the top with the mixture, then refrigerate at least 1 hour.
  • Serve chilled with a dollop of reddi-whip and garnish with a thin slice of lime curled on top (optional).

Now go forth and make cupcakes! And send me pictures so I can drool over them :-)

Monday, January 23, 2017

"Supper" Heroes of the Kitchen

It's 2:13 PM on Sunday as I'm finally sitting down to write this and I'm pretty well beat; I've been in the kitchen since around 10:30 this morning doing meal prep for the week. My feet are screaming at me, but I don't feel bad for ignoring their whining considering I've now got 12 meals in the fridge ready for grab-n-go this week.

I'm going to pat myself on the back for a moment - I'm still *mostly* sticking to the diet  healthy way of eating (WOE) we started at the beginning of the year (it's pretty much halfway between paleo and Mediterranean), and trying to stick to that WOE has drastically changed the staples that I used to keep in the kitchen for quick meals. The hardest change was slowly emptying out our cheese drawer and ditching the assorted pre-sliced cheeses. I might have cried a little, but the occasion Babybel gouda mini-wheels have kept me from going on a dairy-deprived rampage. If you haven't had these, you're missing out on little pieces of heaven.

Other changes haven't been nearly so hard:

  • I've swapped pastas for zucchini and eggplant (the spiralizer comes next week!).
  • Red cabbage slices make shockingly delicious salsa scoops with the right amount of crunch.
  • Marinated cucumbers are seriously good on everything. EVERYTHING.
  • So is sliced/shredded turkey breast. Getting whole smoked breasts (1-3 lbs) on sale then slicing/vacuum bagging/freezing at home has given us a great source of fast protein that goes in everything from salads to wraps to stews and saved a bunch of money in the process (suck it, Geico.)
And last but not least:
  • My favorite hero to replace sugar/sweet sauces in entrees: frozen no-sugar added orange juice concentrate (FoC from here on out). Buy this. Keep this in your freezer. It's a game changer for flavor AND it cuts out refined sugars in favor of natural sugars.
I can't tell you how many times I've pulled out the FoC when recipes called for either sugar or something else syrupy, and it ALWAYS tastes better. It also adds a major flavor boost when you need a little zing. Here are just a few of the ways I've used it:
  • Homemade vinaigrette recipe calls for half a cup of sugar? Ditch it. Use a single tbs of sugar and add two tbs of FoC instead. 
  • Citrus chicken/pork marinade - 1 cup plain greek yogurt plus 1/4 cup FoC. Throw in curry/coriander to taste.
  • Hawaiian Ham glaze - Ditch the brown sugar! Thaw 1/2 cup of FoC with pineapple (still no-sugar added) and simmer with 1/2 cup of honey on the stove top until it has an even texture, then you're ready to glaze the ham! Note - I like to spear the ham with pineapple chunks when I make this recipe.
  • Zesty sandwich dressing - 1 tsp of natural mayo blended with 1 tbs of FoC. Great on turkey or ham sandwiches.
  • Quick-pickled red cabbage - add 1 tbs FoC to 1 cup vinegar (I prefer white wine vingar), pour over finely-chopped raw cabbage until covered, and keep in the fridge for great salad, wrap, hot dog, or burger toppings. 
Honestly, if sweet is what you're craving and you can imagine citrus going well with it, this is a really fantastic way to soothe that sweet tooth without blowing up your refined sugar count for the day on your calorie tracker. You even get a great dose of vitamin C while you're at it. So, basically, it's totally here to save the day... from the flu.

Now it's question time! I've let you in on my favorite "supper" hero secret. What are you favorite healthy trade-offs?

Friday, January 20, 2017


Happy Friday everyone! It’s my last day here at the TRRH and I am so grateful for the time spent. Talking with women, with real people who connect over similar experiences, or even just emotions, this is the kind of stuff that I love.

Today, I want to introduce you to #FridayFavorite. It’s something I started two years ago on my blog because I realized that I was constantly writing about things that stressed me out, or things that I had to learn to overcome, but I wasn’t ever giving straight acknowledgement to those things from the week that made me happy. And the more I thought about it, there is a lot during the week that makes me happy. So, I began blogging about something new each Friday, a song, a moment with my daughter or husband, a movie, a book…you name it. Whatever made me happy, that was my #FridayFavorite for the week.

Well, this might be a week late, because the Golden Globes were two Sundays ago, but I cannot ignore Ryan Gosling and the fact that beyond the downright handsome face, straight-from-the-gods abdominals, and quirky sense of humor, he is also a woman’s man. A man who would stand in front of his peers and the rest of the world, and thank his partner for being the rock that made it possible for him to have it all: a family and a successful career.

"You don’t get to be up here without standing on the shoulders of a mountain of people…While I was singing and dancing and playing piano and having one the best experiences I've ever had on a film, my lady was raising our daughter, pregnant with our second, and trying to help her brother fight his battle with cancer….If she hadn't taken all that on so that I could have this experience, it would surely be someone else up here other than me today…Sweetheart, thank you." 

My. Lawd.

I burst into tears, immediately searched every plaque, meme, quote board with this thank-you speech on it, and have referenced it at least twice a day every day since the actual event. Because…YASSSSS! Thank you, Ryan Gosling, for acknowledging what was important: your life partner; the woman who keeps the homestead running so there is a home, and a family, to come back to. The woman who was NOT at the award ceremony receiving accolades, but at home, nursing a new baby, and reading stories the oldest daughter. The woman whose own career can’t exist the same way as yours when she wants to be the kind of mother she does.

You, Ryan Gosling, are the next several Friday Favorites, not because you made a public show of loving your wife—but because you publicly acknowledged a mother’s work, and just how darn important and life-changing it can be, despite the lack of awards ceremonies for it.

Tell me your #FridayFavorites from the week, beautiful people. I can’t wait to hear about them.

Kristen Kehoe is a wife, mother to a four-year-old girl and four-month-old puppy, teacher, romance author, and captain of the crazy train. Nice to meet you ;-)

Thanks for being here this week, Kristen, and sharing your insights and advice. It's been awesome getting to know you and learning from your experiences!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Happy is the First Step to Healthy

Hello again! Thank you all for having me back.

It’s confession time, Ladies. I don’t cook. At all.

Sometimes, I think about learning, watch Giada or the Ranch woman with red hair whose always making something yummy, and I think, I got this. And then reality by the name of the smoke alarm or food poisoning sets in and I go back to remembering that coffee is my one and only culinary quest. The rest, thankfully, is my husband’s.

And to answer your unasked question, yes, I look to the sky and give thanks for this amazing gift of a husband who cooks every day ;) But, while I have no crockpot recipes to give you (another confession? I cried the last time I tried to use my crockpot—I’m that scared of the kitchen), I do happen to have some health tips. Not because I’m a healthy person who has the golden ticket to health and happiness—the direct opposite actually: I understand what it’s like to want to be healthy and stand in my own way. Once I recognized what I was doing, everything changed.

  1. Being healthy isn’t attached to a specific weight—it’s attached to how we feel about ourselves. The power of positive thinking is a real thing. Don’t just make goals, make affirmations and read them.
  2. Try new things. I am a college athlete who thought running and lifting for hours a day was the only way to exercise. This was false. In fact, the more out-of-my-comfort zone I get, the happier I find myself, and the more charged my body. Right now, I’m doing the BeachBody Country Heat dance videos. I feel like an idiot each time, I still have no idea what a kick-ball-change is, and I often look like an uncoordinated colt learning to walk, but I sweat, and I smile at the end.
  3. Do not keep a food diary. This is something a counselor recommended to me a long time ago when I was struggling with my weight—write down everything you eat so you can recognize what’s positive and what’s negative. All it ever did was make me feel like I was heavy, disgusting, a failure. I write nothing down and I do not weigh myself. I set steps, and I make goals: a healthy breakfast, a timed amount of physical activity, replace one meal a day with a salad, and one splurge item a week (it’s almost always pizza).
  4. Do not attach your confidence to your image. What we look like is only part of our package; it’s the wrapping paper. We have to love who we are and what we can do more than we love that outer part of us. This takes time—more than dieting and working out does, but those results…they are the game changers.
  5. Finally, don’t be afraid to find a friend who understands your journey, and ask them to take it with you. I found my supporting cast in an online happiness group—I’m now supported by and supporter to women I’ve never met before, but who understand what I’m doing. This is, perhaps, the greatest tip. Don’t rely on those you’ve always known—sometimes, it takes the support and understanding of a stranger to give you what you need. 
Emotional health is just as important as your physical health. Do something for you, without strings or expectations of weight loss or image building, and find the happy that will make your healthy. If you need a friend for your journey, find me on Facebook at Author Kristen Kehoe I would love to support you.

Until next time, here’s to finding happy.

Kristen Kehoe is a wife, mother to a four-year-old girl and four-month-old puppy, teacher, romance author, and captain of the crazy train. Nice to meet you ;-)

Monday, January 16, 2017

#MondayMusings - Living in the Moments

Today we welcome Kristen Kehoe to the House - she's got some common sense tips for happier living!

Hello ladies of The REALLY Real Housewives and everyone else! Thank you for having me.

Before with worry
Yes, captain. I suffer from what I’m starting to understand as the mom illness, AKA I have to do it all, be it all, know it all, and I better be efficient while I’m at it.

What does this mean? Well, it means I like to worry about anything. Everything. All of it. Why? Please see above for the aforementioned illness.

Honestly? I want to know that what I’m doing is enough—for my family, myself, my career…I also like to make lists ;) I’m organized in my crazy.

But, lovely people, in my thirty-two young years (seriously, I adore my thirties), through the people around me, experiences I have had and those I’ve observed, I’ve learned that worry is not the key to a good life. Living is.

What’s that, you say? What is this thing called living, and who has time for it? Trust me, I hear you.

We all have bills to pay, work to stress over and complete, housework to contend with, a spouse to communicate with, maybe even spend alone time with, and children to feed, scold, praise, feed, cuddle, nurture, educate, love, etc. We all have those things, whatever they are, that we do every day to make sure we can keep our lives functioning. But living isn’t just about those necessary things that keep us going, however much they consume us; it includes stopping, looking around, and being in this moment (even if this moment includes going insane from cabin fever while the school dares to cancel for ice and snow again. Don’t they know we just had winter break? Another game of Candy Land or Connect Four or, sweet baby jeebus, BARBIES, will kill me).

For me, living in these moments means turning my phone onto airplane mode, or Do Not Disturb, and resisting the urge to check my steps for the day, or my book rankings, or sales dashboard, or reading the latest blog post about finding more readers and greater success. It means resisting the urge to scroll through my Instagram feed and compare myself to every other crafting-DIY-CrossFit mom who has five times the number of children and projects as me, and ten percent less body-fat and wrinkles.

  • Living means putting on rain boots and taking my puppy and daughter for a walk, even when she’s whining and the dog is chewing on her leash trying to walk herself, and I’m half-crazy by the end of those two miles.
  • Living means accepting that my body is thirty-two, not seventeen, not twenty-five, and the marks and curves (fine, lumps) it bears are those of life, not just age.
  • And living means looking at myself in the mirror instead of the Instagram filter, and knowing that happiness is mine for the taking—if I’m willing—and it is not dependent on flawless skin, great lashes, or smooth hair (read: everything I would have to purchase in order to have).

After letting go of worry
It’s not ground breaking, but if there is any advice that I might be qualified to give (and trust me, the jury is still out on that) it is that for a few moments a day, we have to stop, look away from the never-ending stack of “to-do” and “worry-about” and “status update,” and embrace the moment.

Kiss your cat, your kids, your dog, your partner, your spouse…heck, kiss your kindle and the book boyfriends that live in it and just live. We often look for happiness in those big moments—but life is made up of small moments, insignificant moments, that all paint that one chaotic and brilliant picture. So live today, right now, over your first or fifth cup of coffee. We can go back to worrying in just a minute.

Until next time.

Kristen Kehoe is a wife, mother to a four-year-old girl and four-month-old puppy, teacher, romance author, and captain of the crazy train. Nice to meet you ;-)

Friday, January 13, 2017

Sushi Bazooka - How It Works

I was SO excited when my co-workers told me about this new product called a SUSHI BAZOOKA. But, unless you like sushi, excuse me, I mean LOVE sushi, you probably don't care. But you should. Because sushi doesn't need to be made of fish. I use chicken or tuna in some of my recipes. The world is your oyster!! OOPS...that's a seafood.

Anyways, I got it "for the kids" (I really got it for me). And my lovely daughter was ever so kind to take a video of my tutorial. And not only that but she took it from the loving angle down below being the shorty she is. So if it "appears" I have a double chin - I do not. Sorry to disappoint!

And now here is my video we did after a few test runs with the mechanism on a Saturday night! Enjoy my usual sweatshirt/pants weekend wear :)

Sticky rice recipe is 1 serving of steamed rice (1cup rice/2 cups water). In a pot add 1/2 cup rice vinegar, 2 tbs sugar, 2 tsps. salt. Heat, mix, and then stir into rice. Takes a few seconds and instant stick fest!


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Scheduling a Crisis


Wouldn't it be nice if Murphy would schedule his visits in advance? You know, like maybe he could send an itinerary in January to cover the whole year? Then we could (maybe) plan ahead? 

As my grandma always said- if I'd known you were coming I'd have baked a cake. A double chocolate one...and I'd eat the whole damn thing myself! 

But then, maybe it's best that we don't know. Knowing all the bad that's on the horizon would only rob us of the good times...and that much chocolate cake would surely lead to diabetes. 

So, I suppose we deal with it as it comes and always know we can phone a friend in the midst of the turmoil and they'll send us cake. 

*This is Elizabeth posting for Tammy because Murphy decided to visit her this morning and knock out her Internet. 🍰😘

Monday, January 9, 2017

How To Achieve Steps, NOT Goals

In the New Year, the norm is to think of goals you want to achieve, and then work on them through the year, and then be super-duper proud of yourself that you did ABC. But then reality smacks you in the face and you do said goal for maybe a quarter of the way and then realize WHO CARES anymore, and you go on to your old ways doing DEF.

BUT ... what if you COULD actually achieve something this year without any goof ups or fallbacks? It's possible!! And I'm going to show you how...

In order to actually achieve a goal, you have to achieve steps.. You can't just get there, you have to learn how to get there. So for this example, I'm going to use the old "I'm going to lose weight" cliché goal.

Here is the formula:

1st STEP:  Decide your end point. (ex: Lose weight...period.)
2nd STEP: Make a list of things to do to get that goal achieved. (ex: eat more greens, drink more water, go for walks, smaller portions, get a gym membership, etc)
3rd STEP: Pick one. (WHAT??? Only one???) Yes...only one. (ex. drink more water)
4th STEP: Jot down what you do now, and a good amount you would like to get to; the key is, is to not shoot high, shoot average (ex. 16oz now, would like it to be 64oz)
5th STEP: Make an attainable measure for this step. (ex. 64oz of water drunken every other day)
6th STEP: Track it (ex. happy faces on a calendar every time 64oz is drunken)

I'm going to let you in on a little secret, I do this kinda stuff at my work for 13 clients. The ones that actually take it serious are almost too successful and we have to come up with new steps to achieve or they exceed their number of days/times they need to complete the step.

Here are two more examples of setting steps based off the formula above:

1. Go to Hawaii (I wish!!!)
2. Look up prices, find hotel, save money, lose weight for bikini
3. look up prices
4. no prices written down - would like 6 different traveling packages to compare
5. each day will look up 2 traveling packages and get in-depth info
6. write down the details for the traveling packages on a spreadsheet to compare prices better

And once you complete that step...move on to another!! Such as saving the money.

3. save money
4. no money saved - according to package need $1000
5. will put aside 200 from each paycheck
6. tracking to be done by savings account ledger

Goals are easy to make, but it's all about how you get there, and if you can get there one step at a time, then you can complete a goal.Ok, now YOU give it a try!!

**Come back Wednesday where I have a video tutorial on the Sushi Bazooka!!**

Monday, January 2, 2017

Happy Wishes for 2017 from THE Housewives

2016 is finally over. There were ups and downs as in every year, but the last couple of months seemed to roll down a hill and never hit the bottom for us to climb back up!

Thankfully, a new year has connotations of a new beginning. And we at the House would like to share some joy and fond wishes with you all... Plus some fun memes you can take with you!

Ashley - feeling judged for her Crazy Cat Lady
Ugly Christmas Sweater by her bird Clio.

"I wish everyone books that whisk them away to magical worlds, moments that inspire and motivate them to change the world for the better, and the time to enjoy the happiness they build for themselves." - Ashley

Liz is in the corner in green - she's had to deal with a lot of crisis this season, but is persevering!

"My hope for 2017 is to appreciate the small things and to be mindful to count blessings." - Liz

Tammy's Happy New Year card!

"My good wishes are to do more in 2017 than I could in 2016. From my writing, to fitness, to kid activities to even putting my foot down more. Haha!" - Tammy

Tara in her wrapping station... busy little elf!

"May strength and wisdom be with you in 2017!"

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