<![CDATA[Her Heirloom - Home]]>Fri, 22 Jan 2016 12:02:27 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Planning My 2015 Trip : Post 2]]>Sun, 26 Jul 2015 22:35:45 GMThttp://herheirloom.weebly.com/home/planning-my-2015-trip-post-2We decided where we are going this winter.

<![CDATA[First Cucumber Harvest]]>Sat, 25 Jul 2015 19:19:00 GMThttp://herheirloom.weebly.com/home/first-cucumber-harvestWell, here I am. 

I haven't wrote in awhile, which is totally my fault. I just kind of stepped away from writing for a bit. Please forgive me. 

Last week, I plucked a few cucumbers from the vines in our garden and yesterday I plucked a few more. Let the canning season begin! 

Last year, whatever recipe we used (I think we just wung it) did not work. The pickles were bland & didn't taste well at all. So this year, I tried a new recipe. At this time, I had enough cucumbers to can 3 of my quart jars. 

Here is the recipe I used:
Don't be like me & rush through this process. It's going to take some time, but you'll feel so accomplished in the end. By rushing, you might miss adding the proper amount of salt like I did. I ended up finishing the whole thing, only to notice I added 1 tbs of salt, not 1/4 cup. I had to re-open my jars, add salt, & re-boil. I still might not have added enough salt. Who knows how this batch will turn out now. FIngers crossed, that all will be fine. 
We will be canning more cukes later on in the season, so I will label these with the dates & mark with a color maybe, to reference which recipe we used to make these 3 jars. I will also have to make note on the salt incident, so I know that these had an oops moment in the making. We're still trying to find the *perfect* dill pickle recipe, so we will be trying out a few this year. I hope to get a batch of Sun Pickles in! But I'm happy with the way these look...
<![CDATA[Book Review : Zombie Zone Zero 1 & 2]]>Thu, 20 Nov 2014 17:28:34 GMThttp://herheirloom.weebly.com/home/book-review-zombie-zone-zero-1-2
I cannot believe I actually read something outside my "bubble."

Usually, I'm all about romance novels; Nicholas Sparks, Catherine Anderson, etc. etc.

Little did I know, I was MyFitnessPal friends with the co-author of these 2 books, Cindy Bouchard.She runs a fitness challenge I am in, and made a post about her book being free on Amazon in recognition of Halloween. So I stumbled over to Amazon and downloaded the book.

I started reading it, and I was hooked! I kept wanting to turn the page... more and more and more. I finished it fast, and moved on to the sequel. I was scared the sequel would be not-as-good because sequels tend to do that. Now, I have a major soft spot for the first one, but the sequel was very good!

The first book follows a mans journey through the start of the apocalypse. He befriends a rebellious man, who is the father to the main character of the second book. I appreciate that these 2 books are connected in that way. I won't get into any more detail, as I hate spoilers.

There is so much action & a little steaminess in both these books, and I think that's why I enjoyed it so much. I would not let my kids read these... they can read it when they are 20+ (haha!)

I read both books in a month, and I am sad there isn't a 3rd, but I'm going to assume it's in the making. When it comes out, I will read it, guaranteed!

Thanks to these books, I was introduced to a whole new genre that I wouldn't typically explore. Now, I'm open to read many more styles of books!

5/5 stars for the duo.
<![CDATA[Fleas Update]]>Wed, 19 Nov 2014 19:07:10 GMThttp://herheirloom.weebly.com/home/fleas-update Well, it's been 5 days since my last post about fleas. The night I wrote that post, Jim & I ended up going to Wal-Mart and bought Jack some flea drops, a flea collar, and some carpet powder to kill fleas. I just want them gone! The mere thought of fleas being in my home freaks me out. Jim says I am over-doing it. He says everyone experiences fleas once in their life, probably more, but they aren't that bad.

I try to keep that in mind, but I still spaz when Jack tries to jump up on the couch.

So we put the collar and the drops on him that night, and sprinkled the powder all over the carpet. Maybe I'm wrong, but I thought the fleas would no longer be an issue after that.

But I seen one last night.

My room was pitch black, and my phone jingled and lit up. I looked down, and the flea must have been attracted to the light because there he was, chillin' on my screen. Then he hopped away.

Tonight, I plan on picking up the bedroom, followed by a good vacuum session in there. Let's hope the drops & collar kick in soon!
<![CDATA[Fleas & the Bissel Powerlifter 1413]]>Fri, 14 Nov 2014 19:06:18 GMThttp://herheirloom.weebly.com/home/fleas-the-bissel-powerlifter-1413 I've had my new Bissel Powerlifter 1413 vacuum for about a week now, so I don't feel I am quite ready for a full review. I've used it 3 times so far, and it has been doing a WONDERFUL job. 

The first time I vacuumed with the Bissel, I only did my small, carpeted living room. I had to empty the canister 3 times! Gross, but I feel like this vacuum really got down into the carpet & dug out all the icky stuff. My Lab, Jack, rules the house & he sheds on the floor a lot. I felt like, with all the hair this vacuum sucked up, I could have made another Lab. 

I would have made a girl Lab to be Jack's girlfriend & I would have named her Pearl. But that's not going to happen & I'm weird for even thinking about it. Moving on...

And then the unthinkable happened. My baby boy Jack got fleas. HOW? Well, there's a new neighbor in town & they let their dog run & it, of course, comes over & gets close to Jack & gives him fleas. I know it's this dog because I looked at it, and sure enough, fleas were having a fiesta on this poor pooch. 

Jack has never had fleas before, so this was all new to me. It started with him itching more than normal. I looked at his fur & it just seemed like he had a bunch of dirt on his skin. Odd... so I gave him a bath, and cleaned his kennel. 

But he never stopped itching, & the black dirt was still on his skin. I saw 2 little, tiny, hopping bugs on my couch blanket. Okay, they must be fruit flies. So I washed the blanket.

2 days later, there were 2 more little buggies on my freshly washed blanket. I wandered into Google-land & discovered those little specks of dirt on Jack, & those little "fruit flies" on my blanket were not what they appeared to be. They were FLEAS. 

Puke, vomit, throw-up, gag. 

I hate bugs. 

First, I had Jim replace the hay in Jack's dog house. And I vacuumed the carpet. 

Second, I included Jack in my shower. Time for a scrub-down with his oatmeal body wash. When I got out of the shower, I got wise & ran to Pinterest. They told me to try another bathing option...

Third, I pushed a reluctant Jack back into the shower, this time with Jim. Jack was probably thinking "3 baths in one week? What did I do so wrong?" Well, Jack, you got fleas - that's what. Pinterest told me to bathe Jack in Dawn dish soap mixed with a little apple cider vinegar. So, peering over the top of the shower while standing on a chair, I directed Jim to do so. He lathered Jack up and scrubbed on him for about 10 minutes. Even after the first minute, fleas were dropping like flies. Did I just say that? It's working!

Fourth, Pinterest told me to douse my carpet in salt. So I took Jim's beloved canister of salt (he loves salt) & sprinkled it liberally all over the carpet, on the couch, & on the rugs. I was then directed to leave the salt there for 1 whole day. Walking on a salty, gritty, carpet made me cringe.

Fifth, I washed all the blankets that Jack may have came into contact with. And sheets. And couch covers. And towels.

Sixth, I tried another odd ball trick - fill a dish of warm water with some soap & put the dish under a lamp in an area where fleas might be. I did this overnight & when I woke up, no fleas were in the water. Either this didn't work, or we sucked up all the fleas with the first vacuum run. 

Seventh, Right after work the next day, I vacuumed up the salt &, hopefully, the dead fleas. Again, my canister filled up a couple times doing this. Either Jack shed a lot more because of the baths or it was all the salt/fleas. 

Eighth, I checked Jack's fur. Then I checked him again. No fleas. I checked Jim, & he checked me. No fleas. 

Have we defeated this tiny army of monsters? Well, this all wrapped up yesterday, so I'm going to give it time before I decide we've won. But I'd like to commend my new Bissel for powering through this journey with me. I cannot help but be shocked at all the dirt & hair this vacuum sucks up! Way to go, Bissel. 

Now, I am crossing my fingers & toes that these fleas are done for.
<![CDATA[Review : Nikon Coolpix L28]]>Fri, 14 Nov 2014 19:04:54 GMThttp://herheirloom.weebly.com/home/review-nikon-coolpix-l28 I'll be honest: I wanted a camera, and once I went on Ebay, I found one and bought it. I usually do more research but I've been in that kind of mood lately. See. Don't think. Just do.

After almost 2 weeks of using my new Nikon camera, last night I returned it in the mail. It was just not the camera for me. Here's why:

Batteries: I did not like how it was powered by AA batteries. I want a camera I can plug into the computer and the battery charges. My previous camera had a chargeable battery, and it was nice. On trips, I could just charge the camera in my car if the battery was getting low. With this Nikon, I will need to lug around spare AA batteries for fear of running out of power.

Must Shut Down: I have noticed, that if I have the camera on for 15-20 minutes, it needs to be shut down. I Googled this problem, and I read that it is because the camera gets too warm, and must take a break. I did not have this problem with my previous camera, so I am a little disappointed in that. What if I'm somewhere, let's say the Grand Canyon, where I could be there for hours taking pictures? Then what? 

Slow: The whole camera seems to be slow. When I am about to take a picture and I push the capture button, it takes a few long seconds til it actual takes the picture. Then after the pc is snapped, I want to review it right away so I push the Review button and there is a quick pop-up that comes onto the screen that says something like Please Wait While the Camera Finishes Capturing the Photo. Then after a few long seconds, I get to review my taken photos. Odd, that a this-day-and-age camera has to pause to catch up. And I think I may know why...

Megapixels: I feel duped. When I was searching online for a new camera, I figured the more megapixels, the better. My previous camera was 12 megapixels & I figured that's why some of my photo's have pixelated faces. I must need a higher amount of megapixels! So I looked on Ebay & it seemed to me that 20 megapixels was a lot & that would solve my problem. So I bought this Nikon with 20 megapixels. Once I realized I didn't like this camera, I Googled megapixels & how they "work." Turns out, it's really just something companies trick you into thinking you need more of. I had a 12 megapixel camera & here's this 20 megapixel camera - it must be better! My pictures did seem clear, but that's not only going to happen with a 20mp camera. For that reason alone, I was mad & felt played & wanted to return my camera. 

Quality of Pictures: When I took selfies, the pictures were very clear & crisp. I really liked them! But I tested out my camera by taking pictures of an apple in not-so-good lighting, and the pictures were not what I was expecting. They looked just like the pictures my old camera took. I tried taking pictures of my dog, Jack. He's a Lab & he's always on the move, but I figured this new camera could handle it. Nope. It seemed like he had to be frozen to get a decent picture. I think this has something to do with all those un-needed megapixels. I could be totally wrong, but that's what I'm going with. 

Would I recommend this camera?

Well I returned it, so there's your answer - No. Why buy something that makes it seem like it's better than it really is? I feel like someone played a dirty trick on me. I thought all these megapixels would be awesome! But turns out, it just made the camera slow, didn't do well in bad lighting, & couldn't catch a good picture of a dog on the move. 

I'm going to wait & get my refund back, do some RESEARCH, & purchase a different camera.
<![CDATA[Planning My 2015 Trip: Post #1]]>Thu, 13 Nov 2014 19:26:38 GMThttp://herheirloom.weebly.com/home/planning-my-2015-trip-post-1
 Okay, it's Novemeber & it's time to start narrowing down where James & I want to vacation in January 2015. 

Since July of this year, I have been getting daily notifications from Kayak.com sent to my inbox, informing me of some trip prices. I picked out a few destinations & signed up to recieve updates on them. Once I get the email from Kayak, I look it over & then save it in a folder so I can keep track of when prices were high & when prices were low. Here's a look at one of my first e-mails from Kayak this year:
 And here's my most recent email from Kayak:
 As you can see, I've added a lot more possible vacation destinations. Now I know that July was cheaper to book then November for some places. I have this saved so I can look back and re-learn that when seriously considering a destination. 

---> Key West, Florida <---

As of right now, the destination I've looked into the most is Key West, FL. Why? Because it's in the continental U.S - meaning, it's a cheaper option to fly to. Why cheaper? Because I paid off my car this year. Because I was jobless for a month & a half in between jobs back in May/June. Because our 2014 trip to St. Croix was one of the more expensive trips we've taken (although we got wonderful deals!). Because James did not do as well trapping this year. Because I am cheap. Hello, penny-pincher!!

Key West seems like a good place for James & I to explore. We realize it's probably the most expensive destination in Florida, but we think we can swing it by pretty well. We love to just drive on our trips, and driving from Miami to Key West would be an adventure in itself. We also love beaches, and nice weather, and walking, and good vibes - which we think would be bountiful in KW. 

I am not solely interested in JUST staying on Key West. I would prefer to stay in Key Largo, Islamorada, Marathon, Big Pine Key, AND Key West. Maybe one night here, one night there... When James & I go on trips, we go like we aren't ever going to go there again. We had 7 days in Puerto Rico once, and I think we seen more than what everyone would figure. We seen the North side, the South side, the West side, the East side, and some in between. We put on A LOT of miles on those rental cars. Thank goodness for unlimited miles! (Which is a must for us when booking a car rental.) Some people advise not to travel like this, but we do. We want to see it all, but not blow all our money in the meantime. We like how we travel, & I don't think we'll change much. 

I have been doing a decent amount of research on Key West & surrounding areas. I use TripAdvisor like no tomorrow. I want to delve into the destinations I look at and see what there is there that James & I would want to possibly do. 

First things first: start a Google Sheets document. Why Google Sheets? Because you can access it from any computer with internet access. Sometimes I look at it at home, sometimes on my phone, and sometimes at work. I can edit it from anywhere. So here's a look at my Key West Google Sheet:
 I put down activities I find interesting, look at prices, add notes, and save links. This helps me discover how much things might be in KW, what we might want to see, and I can refer back to it. We might book some things in advance this year, because a lot of these items are cheaper when you book online. We might do some of these things, we might not do any of these things. It's just an idea list, not an itinerary. 

I also make a list of possible Stays, their costs, any notes I have on them, and links. See here:
 These lists are new lists. I have only recently been putting things down on "paper." I still have tons & tons of research to do. Most of my research actually goes into flights.

My Priorities When Researching

Once I find "the" place we are going to, here is how I begin:

2. Stays
3. Car Rentals
4. Maps
5. Acitivites

But I am not even close to that yet. I need to narrow it down on WHERE we are going.

---> Las Vegas/California <---

When I look at the Kayak emails I get, I make sure to notice the cheapest destination. Usually, it's Vegas. I have been to Vegas once in my life, & I was only there for a few hours, & I was only 20, & I was with a toddler. Not my toddler, but a friend's toddler. We were staying in Kingman, Arizona at her friends place because we were visiting someone at their Basic Training graduation. 

Vegas was... busy. There were people everywhere & so much going on. We did not plan to go there, so we really just walked down the strip & left. I did not get to experience it much. 

I think Vegas would be a fun stop for James & I because there is so much to do there. We could go there for a couple days, see some shows, see some casinos... then we could hop in a rental car & road trip it to Cali. I know, it seems like a lot to do in one small trip, and it is, but we really just want to experience somewhere. If we get to go back one day & spend more time there, great. If not, we can say we've at least been there. 

Our trip would start with flying into Vegas. We would either stay there 2 days now, or stay 2 days at the end of the trip. We would get a rental car there and drive towards Cali. 
Once in Cali, we  could stop at anything interesting on the way to the coast: see some big, tall Redwood trees, stay at a hot springs resort, hike in one of the national forests, hop on Route 66, stop at Bottletree Ranch, explore a ghost town, and grab some strawberry shakes at a diner. 
We would eventually hit the coast. Maybe we'd aim for Long Beach, or Santa Barbara, or Newport Beach... my goal is to walk in the sand. I don't even care where we do it at. We could stay at the coast for a few days, and make our way back. Or we could fly out of LAX... who knows.

So there you have it. Those are my top 2 desination ideas at this point. I might find something completley different in the meantime, or I might set my sights on one of these places. Getting off American territory is a little far-fetched at this point. We don't have our passports yet, and we could be traveling as soon as January 1st. We are leaning towards doing a U.S. trip this year, and going all out next year & stepping off U.S. soil. We shall see!
<![CDATA[My Penny-Pinching Traveling Style]]>Thu, 13 Nov 2014 19:12:48 GMThttp://herheirloom.weebly.com/home/my-penny-pinching-traveling-style
---My travel style is simple, really.---

I Heart Penny-Pinching

My biggest rule when traveling: Penny pinch where you can! My friends & family & co-workers & all those in between always are very curious on how I manage to swing these trips all the time. Do her parents pay for her trips? Does James pay for her trips? Does she put all her expenses on a credit card & wallow in debt? No, no, & no. Here's the short answer: I put my heart & soul & tons of my spare time into planning trips. And all my pennies.

Here are some places I've been recently:

  • Florida : Tampa, Clearwater, Sarasota, St. Petersburg, Jensen Beach...
  • Puerto Rico : all over!
  • Minnesota : Duluth, Park Rapids, Minneapolis, St. Paul, Lake City, and a bunch more places in Minnesota - duh, I live here!
  • Oklahoma City, OK
  • Omaha, NE
  • Some small towns in Wisconsin : Ellsworth, Arcadia, Hager City...

James (my travel partner/boyfriend) and I usually think the same way about trips. Before I met him, I thought you needed to plan every inch, minute, move, & detail. He's taught me to just book the essentials: plane, stay, and rental car, I agree on that now. (Unless you're talking about our first trip together to Florida, but I'll write about that one, later.)

We book those 3 major things ahead of time, and the rest when we get there. We are such laid-back people that we pretty much just want to sit on the beach or drive the whole time. We don't book the jet skiing or sunset sails or ATV tours ahead of time. We wait til we are at our destination and the first thing we do when we step off the plane is gallop to the tourist desk. Grab those brochures - they are filled with coupons & ideas on things to do! We grab them every chance we see them. 
And sometimes we get lucky... we were in St. Croix & we heard, from locals, about some hermit crab races. We went to one and we ended up winning a sunset sail for 2, a kayaking tour for 2, free meals at local restaurants, and more! All because we waited & were patient. AND LUCKY. 

---> Flights <---

My main focus starts with the flights. I always, ALWAYS, have alerts coming to my inbox from Kayak. I just enter some destinations I think could be a possibility for our next trip, and sign up to get daily alerts on their prices. Once I get the email, I save it to a folder to keep track of when prices are up or down.
 My alerts range from Flagstaff, to Vegas, to Peru for our 2015 trip. The great thing about doing this is that I can set them all to have a home airport of MSP (Minneapolis). Each day I get a new Email from Kayak, I take notice of the ones with green lettering. Those are the ones whose prices changed since the day before. Then I drag my email to my VACATION folder for my records. 

This is such an easy thing to do, I recommend it to all. 

I also look at Skyscanner, Hotwire, Orbitz, Spirit Airlines, and more. I seem to find new ways of booking my flights every year. 

A lot of work goes into booking my flights. I'm not kidding. A LOT. I search many travel sites, search many airline sites, search other home airports around Minnesota (like South Dakota, Iowa, Wisconsin), and I even cross-book - for example: For St. Croix, I used Spirit to get us from Minnesota to Florida & back, used Orbitz to get us from Charlotte to St. Thomas & back, and used Hotwire to get from St. Thomas to St. Croix & back.

I would NOT recommend this method for travelers with checked bags. I can see that getting quite messy. But James & I only bring carry-ons, so for us, it worked out wonderfully. I used this method because for one segment, Orbitz had the better price. Hotwire had the better price for the other segment, and Spirit had the better price for the other segment. Make sense? No? Yeah, it's complicated.

Doing this method involves a lot of work because:
 1. You're searching dozens of travel sites for the best price. 
2. You're having to take into consideration their baggage fees, if they have any. 
3. You MUST work around each flights schedule. If one plane is landing in Charlotte at 2pm, you're going to want the outgoing plane to be leaving no sooner than 2:30pm. Timing is key. 

But I've booked flights entirley though one website before, and that's so much easier. Do you want easier or cheaper? They don't usually come hand-in-hand. I want cheaper, and I'm willing to stress out over it. 

When I was looking at one travel site & only one travel site, if I put in Minnesota to St. Croix, I was getting totals in the thousands for ONE person. By doing my method of cross-booking, all in all, we paid $530.89 each to get us from Minnesota to St. Croix. Cha-Ching!

Some day, I might look into getting a credit card that gives me miles for flights. That, like everything else in my life, takes time to research & figure out what the best option is. 

---> Stays <---

I title this one "Stays" because I cannot title it "Hotels" because we don't always use hotels. What?! I know, right. 

Lasy year, I discovered this lovely website called Airbnb. It's a site where you stay at someone's personal property like their home, condo, or apartment. You can search with the option to have the entire home to yourself, a private bedroom for youself, or a shared room with the owner. 

james & I preffered to have an entire place of our own, so we searched the properties in that category for our trip to St. Croix. We ended up staying at an condo complex, where a man named Duane owned several condos he rented out. We got the entire condo to ourselves!! He provided us with towels, bedding, TV, lawn chairs, plates, silverware, appliances, toiletries, and even some breakfast items like a jug of OJ, some milk, some bread, and a carton of eggs. And booze! And chocolate... we had it made in St. Croix. PLUS, Duane even gave us a deal for booking with him and getting to know him through emails beforehand. That's the way, uh huh uh huh, I like it! Uh huh uh huh.

A friend of ours went to St. Thomas shortly after our trip to St. Croix. They ended up paying over $1200 for 2 people at a hotel near the beach for 5 days. We ended up paying only $335 for 2 people at a condo not far from the beach for 8 days. Bata-bing, bata-boom. 

If Airbnb is not an option at my destination, I also look at VRBO, Hotwire, Orbitz, FlipKey, Roomorama, & more. Again, just like flights, this takes TIME & PATIENCE. You have to look at travel sites, look at hotel-alternative sites (like Airbnb), look at the actual hotel website, and maybe look at websites like LivingSocial where you can book your hotel along with some activites.

---> Car Rentals <---

We have gone to destinations where we figured "Let's just rent a car when we get down there..." Don't be like that. Book ahead of time, and you'll get a better deal. Look at travel sites like Hotwire or Orbitz, look at sites like Kayak, look at Airbnb (because some Stays come with a car rental), and look at actual websites of small car rental businesses. 

I searched so many websites for the best car rental prices... We ended up finding the best deal at a local car rental place on St. Croix island. We had everything filled out online, and my mouse clicked "Book." It was too late. All their cars were already taken. Dang it! But we ended up finding a good deal on Avis.com

If we had gotten our crap together sooner, we could have rented from a small business on the island & got a better deal, all the while supporting a local business! I guess booking a major trip only 39 days out isn't always the best idea. But we still managed to get a great deal as long as we were willing to put in the work to do some research. 

                                                                                    - - -

There are so many methods I use when booking trips, it's insane. And I cannot simply write them all out on one blog post, but I think I gave the general gist. Soon, I will write about some of my trips, including the one I mentioned a bunch of times in this post - St. Croix. I will even begin to write on my progress on booking our 2015 trip! You can see the process I go through when booking & planning trips. Here goes nothing! - - -
<![CDATA[Salsa Chicken Soup]]>Wed, 05 Nov 2014 00:41:56 GMThttp://herheirloom.weebly.com/home/salsa-chicken-soupWell, it's night 4 without Jim and am I ever lonely. I miss my man! But I don't miss the tornado of a mess he causes in the house. But I miss our chats and our cuddles...

Okay, enough of that - you get the point. 

So to comfort myself, I was thinking a good, warm soup would do me justice. 

My goal was to eat healthier while Jim was away. It's easier to do that because I can choose what I make, without having to guess what he's in the mood for.

As I've said before, I am a lover-of-chicken. It's my F-A-V-E, fave! 

So I had 2 things down:
1. I wanted soup.
2. I wanted chicken in that soup.
3. I missed Jim.

Okay, there was 3, but the 3rd has nothing to do with dinner. 

Now, for a look-sy into my cupboards... beans... what kind of beans do I have too many cans of? Black beans! Perfect!

1. Soup 2. Chicken Soup 3. Black Beans in the Chicken Soup

After scanning some recipes on Pinterest, I found one I could work off of. (Thanks, Gimme Some Oven!)

That recipe called for masa flour and enchilada sauce... 2 things I did not have. And I am trying to use up what I do have, so no runs to the store for this little soup-maker. 

So here's what I did:

Salsa Chicken Soup
You'll need:
  • 2 cups shredded chicken
  • 1.25 cups salsa
  • 1  15oz can Black Beans
  • 1 small white onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tbls olive oil
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup flour (corn or white)
  • 1 10oz can diced tomatoes and green chilies
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1.5 - 2 cups shredded cheese (I used mozzarella, or you could use cheddar, pepperjack...)
Prepare chicken if you haven't already  (boil chicken breasts in water until internal temp of 170*, then shred with 2 forks).

Heat olive oil in a deep skillet. Add the diced white onion and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the chopped garlic cloves, and cook another minute. Stir in the flour for 1 minute. 

Add 1.5 cups chicken stock to the flour mix and stir in well. Then add the rest of the chicken stock along with the chicken, salsa, black beans, cumin, and the can of tomatoes and chilies. Mix it all together well. 

Simmer for about 5 minutes, but keep stirring so it won't burn. Stir in your shredded cheese choice until melted into the mix. 

Scoop yourself up a bowl. I ate mine with a side of salsa and chips, and I added a few chunks of block colby jack cheese to the top. 

I curled up on the couch with my bowl and enjoyed some episodes of "New Girl." This is a very comforting soup! And I have plenty of lefovers for me, myself, and I.

(340 calories per bowl, about 1.5-2 cups)
Jim is doing his first check in at home tomorrow! I get to see him and hold him and kiss him for a few hours, then he leaves again. Alas...

AND... guess what I did today?

I voted! It's important to get out there and vote. This country needs good, quality, Christian leaders, and it's up to us to vote them in! Make sure to vote when you are given the chance!

Over & out...
<![CDATA[Just Bought... Bissel Powerlifter 1413]]>Sun, 02 Nov 2014 19:03:44 GMThttp://herheirloom.weebly.com/home/just-bought-bissel-powerlifter-1413 Ahh, when it rains, it pours.

At least, that's how I'm feeling.

My camera was on the fritz so, after owning it 5 years, I recently purchased a new one.

Then, I was minding my own business, about to do some vacuuming, when another electronic failure occurred. I hit the start knob on my vacuum, she purred right up, but there was a red light blinking on her. I shut her off, and tipped her over to have a look.

I don't really know what I was looking for. I am not a vacuum repair woman. She looked fine to me, so I tipped her back up and turned her on. That's when I noticed her bristles weren't turning. Darn! So I figured she needed a new belt.

Jim! I need your help!

He comes in, like the hero he is, and takes a look. Nope, the belt is just fine. He tips, and he turns, and he peeks, and he gets to the point - she's done for. Her motor is shot.

What?! She isn't even a year old!?

And then I got a tiny lecture about buying things on Ebay... "You get what you pay for," I hear.

We did not want to pay to get her fixed, so we decided it's time to buy a good vacuum. A really nice one, from an actual store. Jim gave me $100 (because I paid for the last one) and told me to choose wisely.

I was planning on going to Wal-Mart to purchase one, and then my mind turned to Ebates. Boy, would it be nice to get some cashback on a vacuum, eh?

Walmart.com it is! And so that's what I did. I searched on their website, read many reviews, and chose this beauty for $88.00:
 Now, with Ebates, I get 2% cashback for this purchase by going through their website first. I use Ebates on EVERY AND ALL my online purchases. It DOES work!! On initial sign-up of Ebates, they even sent me a $10 gift card. I've been getting checks in the mail since! I even used that gift card on this vacuum purchase. So that brought me down to $78. Then I had $1 on another gift card, bringing me down to $77. After shipping, I ended up being charged $83.11 for this high-rated vacuum. If I did my math right, I should be getting around $1.76 cashback, too! Score!! (Every little bit counts!)

Let's hope all the high reviews on this vacuum were right!

Full review to follow soon!