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WTF Jack Frost

In Humor by JenLeave a Comment

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something. Please check out my disclosure policy for more details.

I am having flashbacks to the polar vortex of 2013. It’s frickin’ cold up in here! A windchill of -25 should not be a thing! As a single mom on a super tight budget, turning up the heat ain’t an option, but here are a few of my favorite things that make hell freezing over a little more…”pleasant.”

  • Hot chocolate…heck yeah! Smooth, creamy, and hot…definitely HOT…in a super cute mug. Delish! Top with adorable snowman marshmallows and call it done!
  • Thermal underwear – Layering.is.key. Adding one under my clothes really makes a difference! “Long Johns” are da bomb!
  • Flannel sheets – Jersey…ugh. Polar fleece…nope. Flannel sheets is where it’s at. If you really want to go full on warmth, pair with an electric blanket. Turn that baby on a half hour or so before bed and experience true bliss. There is nothing like snuggling into a warmed bed.
  • Slippers – These little piggies are not going to the market when it’s this damn cold outside! I NEED my slippers! My absolute favs are Acorn. They are so warm and comfy! A bit pricey, but made to last. I have had mine for years. LOVE ‘EM! 
  • Sorta homemade chicken noodle soup – There is nothin’ better on a WTF winter day! It’s quick and easy to make, which is sayin’ something coming from me. I did not get my mom’s cooking gene.Just grab a rotisserie chicken, medium egg noodles, chicken stock, carrots, celery and onion. Chop the carrots, celery and onion and sautee them for a few minutes in some butter. Next, add them to a large pot with two cartons of chicken stock along with pieces of the rotisserie chicken and bring it to a boil. Last, add the noodles and continue to boil until they are tender. Voila!

Mother Nature…it’s time to kick Jack Frost to the damn curb! I’m ready to trade in my Sorrels for sandals!

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Bonding Does Not Require Big Bucks

In Bonding, Parenting, Single Mom by JenLeave a Comment

As a little girl, I never imagined my adult life to be what it is. College degree, but a menial job. Two failed marriages. Single mom to a chronically ill child. Bankruptcy. Loneliness. Depression. Anxiety. It’s been difficult, painful and paralyzing sometimes.

My daughter is the reason I keep fighting. She is almost seventeen now and I am so lucky that she is mine. Her strength, courage, kindness and empathy for others makes me proud.

Being a single mom, I often feel like there is too little for my daughter. Too little time, too little money, too little happiness. Her friends seem to have much more or at least that was what I thought.

Each Saturday, we go to a local bagel shop and get two bagels, one chocolate chip with chocolate chip cream cheese and one apple crunch with caramel apple cream cheese, to go. We then order a large Diet Coke for me and large unsweetened ice tea for her at the McDonald’s drive thru. Then I drive to our Holiday Inn where we park, eat our breakfast and talk before running weekly errands.

On one of these Saturdays, she said that she had told her English teacher about our “Saturday morning tradition” and how her teacher hoped she would have a relationship like ours when her son was older. I had never thought of this as a “tradition.” I also never realized how much our Saturday mornings together meant to her.

It changed my perspective on what is really important and what she will remember. It does not take expensive vacations to make special memories together. It’s easy to lose sight of that when you are a single mom.

 

 

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Winning Again With WalMart

In Saving Money, Saving Time by Jen10 Comments

Save Money. Live Better. This is WalMart’s slogan. Tru dat! I love the WalMart. We have spent our Sunday mornings together for like the past decade, but now we are breakin’ up…sorta.

I have discovered a way to spend less money AND time while never setting foot in WalMart again…unless I want to. WALMART GROCERY…have you heard of this?

I have been intrigued, but had not taken the time to investigate…until now and it is life changin’! First, I downloaded the Walmart Grocery app. You select your store and reserve a pick up time for your order that can be scheduled out several days or next day like I did.

Then it’s time to shop! Talk about easy! I quickly checked off the items on my list working my way way through ONLY the departments I needed items from. I wondered if it would be difficult to find the products I normally buy. Nope. Every…single…one was available. Equate brand make-up remover wipes…got it! McCormick coarse black pepper grinder…uh huh! Kind almond butter breakfast bars, honeycrisp apples, Great Value purified drinking water 35 pack and Cool ranch Doritos…yep x 5. It was a-mazing!

When I was ready to check out, the total surprised me. It was much less than I normally drop each week. I saved, because I was not distracted by all the wonderful, beautiful things that line the aisles that somehow find their way into my cart.

Like most weeks, I forgot something. Problem…NO WAY! Once your order is placed, you are given a certain amount of time to add to your order. That was super easy too! I know, since I had to update my order 3 times!

The next morning, I simply checked-in on the app that I was on my way. I arrived at WalMart and pulled into one of the designated spots for pick-ups. Within a minute or two, a friendly associate named, Erica, was at my trunk loading in my groceries! She let me inspect my meat and produce items for issues. There were none.

I then signed my name on her device and I was DONE and I never stepped foot in the store. It…was…awesome! I will certainly continue to shop like this. We moms are super busy and if I can save an hour or two on Sunday morning…I’m down!

Have you tried WalMart Grocery? Let me know what you think!

 

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I Got My Nikes On, But Just Can’t Do It Today

In Divorce, Humor by Jen12 Comments

“Life is divided into the horrible and the miserable.” – Woody Allen

Yep, that about sums it up. In the last 24 hours, I found out my car needs a repair that will cost me over a $1,000.00, had to pick up mail delivered to my old house that now belongs to ex-husband #2 and my
anti-depressants will now cost me $70.00 more a month with my new health insurance. Sweet.

My Friday was goin’ great…it was Friday after all. I decided to stop on my way home and get an oil change and tire rotation. After a few minutes, my super cool mechanic girl, Sheila, says I have a steering fluid leak. WTF! She does the diagnostics and my Friday quickly takes a really bad turn. Major repair…which requires money…that.I.don’t. have. JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR! I cried all the way home.

Saturday morning, my daughter comes downstairs and tells me she got a message from one of #2’s daughters that some mail addressed to me came to my old house. C’MON! I avoid my old neighborhood at all costs. It’s been five years since the divorce and it is still too painful. That was my damn dream home! It was our happily ever after. Yeah, well I don’t think happily ever after is ever going to be part of my life.

I text #2 and tell him to please (yep, I said please) put the mail in the mailbox and I would drive over to pick it up. I also said thank you. I know, I am surprised myself. Thankfully, we live in a large enough city that running into one another has only happened once and our daughters attended different schools. Our blended family never did.

The closer I get to the house, the harder it is to breathe. All the memories come flooding back. I pull up to the mailbox, grab the mail and go. I can’t even look at the house. I wonder if they were watching, laughing that I am driving the ten year old car, while Daddy has his shiny new one in the garage. That my daughter and I struggle every day, while their lives changed for the better having the entire house to themselves now and money is never a worry.

I pull into the pharmacy drive-thru. The clerk tells me it will be $103.00. What the hell? That can’t be right! I hand him my new insurance card and he double checks. Yep, $103.00. JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR! So, I take my happy pills and do what you do when you can’t deal…I bought doughnuts…lots of doughnuts! I have eaten three of those muthas already.

I totally get this is not the best way to handle stress, but today I really don’t care. I’ll try harder tomorrow.

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Creating Pins Using PowerPoint

In Pinterest by JenLeave a Comment

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something. Please check out my disclosure policy for more details.

Pins are Power
There are many products that can be used to create killer pins for Pinterest. My fav is PowerPoint. I had no idea you could even use PowerPoint to create pins until I took a super great eCourse called The Perfect Pin: How to Create Viral Pinterest Images from the BTOP (Breaking The One Percent) boys, Ben and Jeff.

This course is terrific if you’re a beginner (like this gurl) or if you have been using Pinterest for a while. Using text and video, it walks you through six sections and includes additional bonus resources.

You will learn:

  • What Pinterest is and what it isn’t
  • How to create a Pinterest account (for new users)
  • Why you should use PowerPoint to make pins
  • About free stock photo resources
  • Where to find killer fonts and how to install them
  • The importance of Calls To Action (CTA) pins
  • Considerations when choosing stock photos
  • The rule of thirds
  • How to brand, size and add text to your pins
  • Why Pinterest group boards are critical to your success

You will also receive course printables to help you along the way as you start to implement what you learned.

I am sure you are waiting for the price, right? I get it. I have hesitated to purchase some more expensive eCourses, because I felt it was just too risky. Would I really find I benefited from them after I drop a $100+?

Well this course is $47, but use the code GET20OFF to ya know, get $20 off. I totally understand that is more than a couple bucks. Being a single mom I have to budget, budget, budget, but I am really glad I invested in this eCourse.

This is not a one and done either. You’ve probably taken those eCourses where you jot down notes as quickly as you can only to find you have no idea what any of it means afterwards. That seriously BITES!

Having access to the course AFTER I completed it really helped me. I have went back and re-watched sections several times.

These boys get it done! So, if you feel more confident using PowerPoint over other tools, check this eCourse out!

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Milwaukee Gave Me Back My Mojo

In Courage, Divorce, Humor, Travel by Jen10 Comments

I just took an important trip. Since splitting from #2, I feel like I have lost my confidence. It is difficult when you don’t have “your person” anymore to rely on, to feel safe. I’m more anxious with tasks that I relied of #2 for like home repair and car maintenance. Being a single parent is overwhelming much of the time.

My daughter has become a talented photographer. That is her medium at the art high school she attends. This year, three of her photographs were entered in a competition. The regional entries totaled over 3,500. She found out in January that ALL THREE of her pieces were chosen for an award! She was over the moon…I was so proud!

The photo that received the highest honor was going to be part of an exhibition at the Milwaukee Art Museum. The Museum’s collections of decorative arts, prints and paintings are among the finest in the county. This…was…HUGE!

We missed the award ceremony, due to a snowstorm. Really?  WTF Jack Frost! Disappointed? Damn right! So, we  planned to travel to Milwaukee to see the show the next weekend. Now Milwaukee is MUCH larger and MORE urban than my current lo-cal and the traffic…anyone remember Frogger? THAT is how I feel driving in HEAVY traffic. It is NOT…MY…JAM!

I was so excited to make this trip with my daughter, but I was STRESSED, ANXIOUS and PARANOID! I considered renting a car since my car has over 100K miles and I worried about the car breaking down. I didn’t. I decided I was more concerned about the possibility of the rental car getting hit, keyed or stolen. Yeah, not real logical…I KNOW.

I scoured hotel websites looking for a great place, which was hard since I have never stayed in Milwaukee before.
Pics and Google Maps can only get ya so far. Fast forward to me discussing hotels with one of my 9-5er coworkers. “You should try Hotwire,” she said. “I have gotten great deals before staying at the Pfister for 85 bucks!” Now the Pfister is a Milwaukee hotel icon! It celebrates it’s 125th anniversary this year. Rooms will run you a few hundred dollars a night.

Hmm. Well 85 bucks for the Pfister vs. La Quinta Inn sounds killer! Maybe I’ll give Hotwire a try. As you may or may not know, for these super deals ya don’t really know where you’ll actually be staying until AFTER ya hit the button and a non-refundable charge hits your credit card. So I threw caution to the wind and searched for a 4 star hotel in Downtown Milwaukee and crossed every part of my body that I could and a GREAT deal came up! With sweaty palms, I hit “book now.” The result…Potowatomi Hotel and Casino. Uh oh. At least there’s free valet…

I knew once I got us into the city, I DID NOT want to drive around in it. “Mom, we’ll just take an Uber or Lyft.” Ok, I’m not totally out of it, I know what Uber and Lyft are, but I have never used them. So, I did what we do now with the disintegration of our society and downloaded the apps to my phone. Then I planned our escape from a moving car if we were taken hostage. Yeah, again not real logical…I KNOW.

Saturday arrives. I silently reminded myself not to outwardly show panic. My daughter struggles with anxiety and I knew if I showed fear it would cause her to panic and that would ruin the trip for her. I tell myself “you.got.this” and recited some “Roar” lyrics into the bathroom mirror (thanks Katy Perry)….it’s go time. So, we dropped our pups off at puppy jail, aka the boarder, I took a deep breath and we hit the highway.

I am blessed. The relationship my daughter and I have is one that not every mom is lucky enough to have. We are very close. Our drive into Milwaukee was filled with lots of conversation. She was a great navigator and after a slight detour, we found our way to the parking ramp adjoining the hotel.

With check in time a few hours away, we parked the car and took our first ever Lyft ride to the Milwaukee Art Museum after the Uber app failed. SOL Uber! After our first ride, I knew this is the only way to see the city! No need to call for a cab, you just key in a destination, hit a button and in what seemed like a nanosecond a car appears to take you wear you want to go.

Our time at the Museum was something I will cherish forever. To see the pride and excitement my daughter felt as she stood next to her work in an exhibition in the same museum with Andy Warhol’s art was wonderful. He is one of her art heroes. She was beaming! We toured the Museum and had a blast! What a beautiful place!

We caught our second Lyft of the trip to head back to the hotel and check in. Our driver, Christopher, was great! In our ten minutes together, we found out that this super cool 20-something left his home in LA to drive alone cross country to pursue his dream job. He’d been in Milwaukee for only a month, but had just found out HE GOT THE JOB!

We got to our room on the 10th floor. The view of the skyline was stunning! We hit the jackpot…pun intended! The room was lovely, so we decided to enjoy the evening there binge-watching Fixer Upper. We even ordered room service…another first!  It was pure bliss!

Day two began with breakfast in bed. The blueberry pancakes were delish! We lounged around a little bit longer to enjoy a few more minutes in our beautiful room. We had one more stop before we headed home…the Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory.

This place is amazing! There are three large domes that houses different types of plants. The first one we visited was the tropical dome. You felt like you were dropped into the middle of the rain forest. Although the dome is less than 15,000 square feet it contained over 1,200 species of tropical plants as well as tropical birds. There was even a banana tree! A-mazing!

Dome two was the desert dome. The deserts of five countries is represented. The collection of cacti and succulents is world class. Fuzzy cactus…who knew! Mind blown!

In the last dome there was a special exhibit called Railroad to Wonderland. This was absolutely adorable! Miniature Alice in Wonderland vignettes scattered around beautiful flowers and plants with model trains running throughout. I enjoyed watching the excited children scurrying about with parents running behind them.

We were “lyfted” back to our car and began our trip home. My daughter slept most of the way leaving me to my thoughts. This trip had a lot of firsts. First time driving into the city. First time taking a Lyft. First time visiting a true art museum. First time staying in a four star hotel. First time ordering room service. First time visiting “The Domes.”

It was truly a wonderful time and I did it…I.REALLY.DID.IT. I put aside my stress, anxiety and paranoia and conquered the unknown and that has made all the difference. I feel much more confident in myself and what I can handle on my own without having a husband around. Thank you, Milwaukee. I got my mojo back, baby!

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12 Single Mom Quotes When You feel Like Flipping a Table

In Humor, Quote, Single Mom by JenLeave a Comment

I don’t know who wrote these quotes. What I do know is they kick ass!

  1. Some people just need a high-five. In the face. With a chair.
  2. Sometimes I have to tell myself it’s just not worth the jail time.
  3. Not my circus, not my monkeys
  4. If someone points at your black clothes and asks who’s funeral it is, you just look around the room and answer “Haven’t decided yet.”
  5. Hello Jesus…I’m ready to come home People on Earth be trippin’.
  6. I want a closet casket funeral. However, towards the end of the service, please have the organist play “pop goes the weasel” over and over until everyone in attendance is staring at my coffin with silent horrified anticipation.
  7. Here’s to another day of outward smiles and inward screams.
  8. I don’t think there will be enough middle fingers for this Monday.
  9. It’s been like one of those days for like 3 years now.
  10. I hope the bus you threw me under swerves to hit you on the sidewalk.
  11. Underestimate me. That will be fun.
  12. I like storms. They let me know that even the sky screams sometimes.