It's the most wonderful time of the year

I love Christmas time, it's my favorite time of the year, and has been as long as I can remember.  I love December for that matter, maybe because my birthday is in December, but who knows. One tradition I stick by is putting our Christmas tree up, and all of the decorations when we get back from West Virginia for Thanksgiving.  When I was a kid, it was always on Black Friday, but given we aren't home that day, it's whenever we get back.  Anyway, this year was very interesting.  Seeing everything new through Baby Diesel's eyes, brings joy to my heart.  He got excited from the moment we took the boxes out of the basement, until we lit everything up.  Each time a box would open, he loved whatever was in it.  He ooohh'ed and aww'ed over the ornaments, the bows, even the garland.  It was precious!  Here are some pictures of our tree.

Helping daddy 
The finished tree

We let the little boys decorate a little tree anyway they want, the ornaments aren't spread out evenly, but it's cute because they did it all by themselves.
Little man was the biggest help, he stayed out of the way.
I can't wait to see his excitement next year.
Of course Da Freakout had to pimp, sad to say the glasses didn't make it much longer after this picture, baby Diesel destroyed them.

So far we only have lost two ornaments, one brand new one that never even made it to the tree, and a bulb, that was mistaken for a ball.  All in all, I look forward for the month to come.  It is the most wonderful time of the year!  

Hope you all have an Amazing December, and I look forward to seeing your month of celebration. 

Happy Holidays!  Love, BJ


What ever happened to Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays everybody! I hope that everybody had a great Thanksgiving holiday. I sure did. It was spent with my family, the food was great and I even had the opportunity to harvest a deer. How does it get any better than that. More often than not after Thanksgiving, people who do not have much sense seem to set out from their homes to add some darkness to an already black Friday.
It only takes a minute to realize how dangerous bargain hunting can be. It seems like there are more bargain hunting accidents than animal hunting accidents these days; and its sad. In a L.A. Walmart, one woman decided to mace a crowd of people waiting for their X-Box. Folks I've been maced, and it sucks, this lady was lucky however she strolled right up and purchased her item and walked leisurely out of the store. Only later to realize that Walmart has eyes in the sky and soon she was being hunted herself as video was pumped out on the TV stations. She later turned herself in. At least she has her X-Box to trade for her crack rock when she gets out.
That story was Los Angeles. Growing up in West Virginia I still like to think that stupid people like this have been quarantined in larger metropolitan areas. You could only imagine the horror I experienced when I read about all of the West Virginian's that stepped over a 61 year old pharmacist as he died in a local Target. However a group of nurses did witness what happened and rushed to his side to perform CPR until the EMT's arrived.
I am glad that my industry is sheltered from ridiculous scenes like this. I have recently endured another black Friday weekend from behind the gun counter. I must applaud my customers; they were no less patient than any other day of the week at a place where you must pull a ticket and wait to be served. Maybe it is because our customers belive that they would get shot if they acted stupid. I have another idea though, it's probably true but my customers have grown up in the rural big city of Columbus and are decent people who work hard for what they have and would most likely help you out if they had to. If the lady with the pepper spray would have pulled a stunt like that she may not have enjoyed this Christmas at all.
Be safe, act decent, and Merry Christmas.



Thanksgiving coloring placemat

Here's a pretty simple idea for your little one to entertain him while sitting at the Thanksgiving table.  All you need is your computer, some paper, printer and crayons.

Draw a Pilgrim and Indian, to the best of your ability
Scan it with your printer
Use your word or pages and type: I am thankful, you can even put your child's name and the year.
If it doesn't get too dirty, you could even laminate it and save it for years to come.
Here is how mine turned out
Da Freakout can color it tomorrow, and write what he is thankful for, or draw it.
Simple, and fun!  I hope everyone is having an amazing day, and have a very Happy Thanksgiving!
Love, BJ


Cranberry Salad

You still looking for a yummy recipe to complete your Thanksgiving meal?  Well here it is, my Aunt Mar's perfect Cranberry Salad.

What you'll need:
 2 boxes cherry jello
1 1/2 cup boiled water
2 cups sugar
1 can crushed pineapple drained
1 cup diced celery
 2 cup ground cranberries
1 cup nuts chopped
1 T lemon and the zest of an orange

Boil water and add jello
Add the sugar
Add the celery, cranberries, nuts then add the drained pineapple
Last add the lemon and zest of orange
Mix all together and enjoy

Happy Eating! Love, BJ


Simple Hotel Sleep Solutions

Have you ever slept in a hotel only to be woken by sunlight through the blinds, light peeking through the bottom of the door or people crashing through the halls.

Look familiar??  I'm sure the sunrise is beautiful.

Here is a few hours later about 9 or 10 am when the sun is in full force.

Well this may not be a problem for everyone, but for me I occasionally work nights that require me to check into a hotel anywhere from 1 am to 6 am.  Checking in at these times only means that it will be difficult to sleep past noon.  There are a few things that I do upon check-in that help aide me in getting a good nights rest and may help you in the future.
Always ask for a room at the end of a hall.  I don't care about the walk, but I make sure I am away from the elevators and ice/vending machines.  I also make sure I am not placed near the house keepers laundry room or storage closet.
Next tell the front desk attendant that your room will not require cleaning and to not call or knock on the door.
When I finally make it to my room, one of the first things to take care of is those pesky curtains.  A simple solution is to take a pants hangar from the closet and pinch off those curtains.

There's was no point in taking a picture with the room light off since you'd see nothing but darkness!!!

When it is time to turn in for the night, roll up an extra bath towel and place it at the bottom of the door.

This keeps all light out from the hall.

Now that we have the room dark, how do we eliminate the noise.   The only two things, other than room placement, is to run the bathroom fan and wear earplugs.  The bathroom fan is easy.  If you have never worn earplugs to bed, it may take a little getting used too.  When you're laying there silent and still, with earplugs in, you will hear your heartbeat.  Odd to say the least but you will definitely block out all noise this way.

No point to this picture, just some ugly curtains.

Hopefully you will try some of these simple solutions and make your rest period at a hotel more peaceful.



Vampire cocktails

With Breaking Dawn coming out tonight, and I LOVE the series, I thought I would share some cocktails to celebrate!

I've shared this one before, but it's too good to pass up!

Vampire's Delight

2 oz rum
1 banana
2 scoops vanilla ice cream

combine the rum, banana and ice cream in a blender. Swirl the grenadine around in two champagne flutes so that it coats the inside and pour the banana mixture into the glasses.

Vampire's Blood

1 ½ oz vodka
½ oz black raspberry liqueur
cranberry juice

Pour the vodka and black raspberry liqueur into a cocktail shaker with ice and shake well. Strain into an old fashioned glass and top up with cranberry juice.

Have a fangtastic day, and cheers to Breaking Dawn!  

Love, BJ


Dried Beef Dip

Are you needing a yummy appetizer recipe for Thanksgiving?  Here is a delicious cheese ball that you are sure to enjoy!

What you'll need:

1 large cream cheese, softened
2 Tbsp. milk
1 small jar dried beef
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup chopped pecans
2 Tbsp.  butter
1/2 tsp salt

Mix cream cheese and milk until well blended.  Add dried beef, onion flakes, seasonings; mix well.  Fold in sour cream.  Spread mixture into bottom of small pie plate.  Saute pecans in butter while sprinkling salt over them.  Drop pecans over ream cheese mixture and bake at 350 degrees fro about 20 minutes.  Serve hot with favorite crackers and enjoy!

Love, BJ


It's that time a year again....

It seems that everybody has just skipped right over Thanksgiving lately. All that you need to do is to walk though just about every department store and there are no turkeys, pilgrims or cornucopias. It is kind of disheartening. I love Thanksgiving! It is a time for hunting and eating; two of my favorite things. This Thanksgiving will be the first anniversary of my dads hunting accident. I am thankful that he was able to get help and live to see another Thanksgiving.
Thanks to my dad I have something to blog about. I think that a basic survival kit should be an everyday carry item. They are simple and can be packed in everything from Altoids tins to Tupperware tubs depending on what they will be used for. Today I will be covering everyday carry. I have broken down what you will need into a few simple categories: fire and light, signaling, water and food, knives and tools, personal protection, and medical.
Fire and light:
I have listed these items first because I believe them to be the most important. I carry a good flashlight and spare batteries everyday. I can't tell you how frequently I use my flashlight; it seems that everyday in some situation I think to myself "dang I'm glad that I have a flashlight." It does not have to be a super expensive blindingly bright light, any reliable light will work. Always carry extra batteries because they seem to die at the time of most need. You never know when the lights in your parking lot will go out and you will have to walk to your car alone in the dark. Alone and in the dark, that situation invites to many bad guys, and a flashlight may be all that you need to stay safe. In addition to my trusty flash light I carry some simple things that I could use to start a fire. You never know when we may need to start a fire whether it is to keep us warm or signal for help. I always have a couple of lighters on hand and a flint and steel. My belly button, and pockets always have an ample of amount of lint to use to start fires, lol.
Most people overlook this simple but useful part of my kit. I have a whistle and my flashlight  to signal for help. Screaming your head off to get people to notice you would get old after awhile and the screeching of a few loud whistle blasts will turn peoples attention to you quickly. If it is dark sound would be useful to notify people that you may be in danger but light will let them pinpoint your exact location much more easily. My old man would have been in a much better situation if he had these items during his descent down the mountain with a broken leg.
Water and Food:
You won't make it long with out food, and without water your timeline becomes even shorter. I always carry my one liter jug in my pack; even if I don't drink it I feel more comfortable having it in there. You won't find any skittles in my satchel but there is hardly a time when you will catch me with out at least a box of raisins and a granola bar. I know that it isn't much but if you think about it, if your place of work were to be locked down or if you had to be stuck somewhere for an extended period of time unexpectedly its nice to have a snack and a drink.
Knives and tools:
I have a strange fascination with knives, I carry at least 3 of them on me or in my everyday carry bag ever since I watched the Today Show about hiker that had to use a dull knife to cut off his own arm. I use my knife everyday for simple tasks and feel naked without it and hopefully I never have to use to cut my own arm off. Another standard in my pack is my multi-tool. I use my leatherman just about as much as I use my knife. It has screwdrivers, pliers, wire cutters and a plethora of other gadgets that I use to do everything from repairing my spectacles to fixing my jeep. It is a must have!
Personal Protection:
Personal protection is a major component to my everyday survival pack. I don't just carry my firearm, because if all that you have is a hammer, everything becomes a nail. As I have stated I do carry a firearm; I also carry a spare magazine just in case. Pepper spray is also a vary viable solution to one's personal protection needs. It will cause tremendous pain, greatly impair your attackers vision and gives you a fighting chance to escape. Tasers are also very useful, they allow you to shoot two barbed projectiles into your attacker and then apply a healthy dose of electric current to them rendering them in most cases helpless. The pocket knife listed above is a great edged weapon if you are in a life or death situation and the flashlight makes for a great striking weapon.
shazam, instant ice pick.
Carrying a dose or two worth of whatever medication you take is an essential. If you are unable to drive home due to bad weather, you will soon realize that your prescriptions are worth packing. As a diabetic it is not an option to go without these items. I also pack some Tylenol and some tums. Something else that you may want to think about is a spare pair of glasses. Depending on your vision a broken pair may leave you stranded. I don't buy multiple sets of glasses, I merely use my old sets. Even if my prescription changes, my old prescription is more than satisfactory for a short term solution.
You may think that this is overkill, and in a way you are right. I have at least two items from each category on me about everyday. I guess it is the boy scout in me. Its just my nature; overkill rarely fails. Since there are several cases in which we have items that fit into multiple categories you could go with a bare bones kit. I would not go with less than a flashlight, pocket knife, lighter, whistle, your meds and a spare set of glasses. Needing something and not having it is much worse that having something and not needing it.


Thankful Journal

I think we all forget how thankful we are throughout the year for everything we have, but at least we can recognize our thankfulness, and teach our kids to be thankful throughout November.  This project will be able to help not only help our children to remember to be thankful from December to October, but also ourselves.

All you need is paper and old magazines.

Print the alphabet out from A-Z
Print out a front page reading My Thankful Journal or Your child's Name in place of My
This is a great opportunity to help your children with their cutting and gluing skills.  I drew a line around the picture he chose, then let him cut on the line, then he glued the picture down.

It is really cute to see what your child is thankful for, and there are so many options when they chose a picture for each letter of the alphabet.

I love this one!
When they are finished, they have a book to look through, throughout the year to remind them of all they have and are thankful for!
Be sure to put the pages in a protective cover or laminate the pages for years of preservation.

Have a wonderful weekend friends!

Love, BJ


Spiced Tea

Here's a little something to warm you up on these cold days to come!

What you'll need:
 1/2 cup instant tea
9 oz jar
1/4 tsp. clove
1/4 tsp. cinnamon

Mix all together well.  Use a teaspoon of this mix to cup of hot water.  Enjoy

Have a warm and lovely day!  Love, BJ


Pilgrims' Soup

Here is a simple soup that's healthy and simple, two of my favorite things.

What you'll need:
6 cups low salt beef broth
1/4 cup potatoes, diced
1/2 cup carrots, diced
1/2 cup celery, diced
2 T. onion diced
1/4 cup uncooked macaroni

1.  Bring beef broth to a boil
2.  Add potato, carrots, celery and onion. Cover and simmer for 30 mins.
3.  Add macaroni and simmer 10 more minutes

Serves 6

Hope you enjoy! Love, BJ


Deep Fried Turkey

Yes it is that time of year where the holidays come fast and furious and we need to start preparing for Thanksgiving.  At this point Thanksgiving is only 2 1/2 weeks away.  We need to get out and start getting some of our supplies and foods we will need for our Thanksgiving feast.  Last year we waited and found ourselves running around trying to find some of the classics everyone uses.  The biggest and best thing to start looking for is a Turkey.  You have to decide how many will be attending your dinner and what size Turkey to get.  Better yet, how will you prepare that Turkey.  Getting up at 3 am to start cooking the Turkey is not for me or anyone in my house.  The best way to cook one is to Deep Fry it.  Average cooking time is anywhere from 2 1/2 to 3 minutes per pound depending on the size of the Turkey.  So a 20 lb Turkey will cook in 1 hour.  You only need 3 things to do this.  The first is a deep fryer.  The prices have come down and one could be had for around $30.  The second thing you need is some Peanut oil.  Now be careful if someone has a peanut allergy but this is the best oil to use as it will not burn the Turkey (if you watch the temperature).  The last thing is the Turkey.  Make sure the Turkey is totally defrosted before putting it in the oil.  Many fires began where people put a frozen turkey into the hot oil.
To prepare the Turkey, there are many options.  We like to inject ours with some kind of Cajun seasoning.  These are found at every store and come with a needle for injecting.
To get started, set up your fryer away from the house.
Fill the pot with peanut oil about 1/3 of the way.  Another way to make sure you have the correct amount of oil is to put the Turkey (in the bag) in the pot and fill with water.  Take the Turkey out and notice where the water level is.  Empty the water, dry the pot and fill with oil to the level you observed prior with the water.
Start the flame and slowly bring the temperature up to 300 to 325 degrees.  When the temp reaches 325 degrees slowly lower the Turkey into the oil.  The temperature will fall but monitor it to ensure it returns to 325 degrees.
Start your timer when the Turkey is submerged and enjoy an adult beverage or two.
When the time is up, turn off the flame and remove the Turkey.  At this point it should be a beautiful golden brown.  Carve and enjoy!!
This is the most moist and flavorful way to cook a Turkey that I have ever found.  As the Turkey is submerged, the oil seals off the skin and allows the juices to stay inside and cook the Turkey. 
Whatever way you choice, I hope you get the chance to try some Deep Fried Turkey.  You will never go back to putting one in the oven.



Red Hot Apple Cider

Good Morning all!  Just thought I would share with you one of my favorite fall drinks to warm me up on these crappy cold days!  All you need is:

Apple Cider
1 box Red Hots

There are three ways to make this.  If you just want to make 1 cup for yourself, add some red hot to the bottom of a coffee mug, pour your cider over top of it, and put it in the microwave for 2 mins, stir after 1 so get it heated through.  After the 2 mins stir, and enjoy, it gives the cider a little something extra, and it is sooooo yummy!

If you would like to make more, put the red hots in the coffee section of your coffee maker, and put the cider where the water goes, make like a pot of coffee, and enjoy.  Be sure to clean your coffee pot out with water and vinegar after this method.

If you don't want to attempt that way, the final way is, putting the jug of cider in a crock pot with a box of red hots, let it heat up, and enjoy.   Anyway

Anyway you make it, it is delicious!

Try it out, and let me know!  Have a wonderful day!  Love, BJ


Harvest Popcorn

For a nice little fall treat, here is a yummy quick and fun recipe!

What you'll need:
10 cups popped popcorn
30 dried apple rings (1 lb)
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon cinnamon

Mix together sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl
In a large bowl or plastic bag, toss together popcorn, dried apples and sugar mixture