Sunday, January 31, 2016

Coffee Blunders

image from pinterest

I am a coffee lover but even I have my screw-ups. I'm sure you can relate..........right??

~Pouring the water in and setting the timer for the next morning, but forgetting to measure out the coffee grounds

~Measuring out the coffee grounds and setting the timer, but forgetting to pour the water in

~Measuring and pouring but forgetting to hit the “start” button, only to find out 10 minutes later when going to the kitchen, anticipating that warm brew OR forgetting to set the timer for the next morning

~Somehow screwing it up enough where water and coffee grounds are all over the place

And don't even get me started on the Keurig blunders!!!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Tip of the Day

~ Always remember to turn your stove burner OFF after use


~ Do NOT put a pot holder on top of the burner even if you think it's turned off!

Guess I'll be adding this one to my "Kitchen Blunders"

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Did You Know Part III

 And yet more things you may not know
about me.............

I love to cross stitch and am pretty good at it, but I cannot sew a button on anything correctly!
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I have to make my bed every morning. I cannot start my day without doing that!
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I've been to college three times but don't have a degree.
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I absolutely cannot drink warm (or even luke-warm) milk or soda. GAG. Has to be SUPER cold!!
 image from www.123rf.comfr

 What are a few of your most loved, or hated, things??

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Shop Local!!!

I love to support small businesses! I am a small business owner. I run a home daycare, I sell Mary Kay products and teach piano. I support the local diners and “mom and pop” restaurants as well as grocery stores (ie, Castlewood Cafe in New Hartford, Crazy Otto's in Herkimer, Mohawk Meat Market, etc).

One of my best friends, Tina Sanders, recently opened a store in Herkimer, NY called “Affordable Babies”. No, she isn't selling babies, ha ha....I mean, that would be illegal! She is selling baby clothes, food, furniture, toys and more!

image from Affordable Babies FB page

The ambiance of this store is great; cozy, bright and welcoming. The customer service (the owner, Tina) is outstanding. Tina makes you feel completely welcome when you walk in, big smile and very friendly. If she doesn't have what you're looking for, she does anything she can to get it. Suggestions? She'll take them. She also does commission sales so if you have things you want to sell, she'll sell them for you on commission.

I interviewed Tina this week so you can get to know a little about her and I'm hoping you can support her business by shopping there instead of the big corporations, as well as spreading the word!

Q: When did you know you wanted to open a store?

A: I have wanted to open my own store since I was a little girl. My grandmother had her own store when I was growing up. I spent my summers with her and learned a lot. Most retail jobs don't care about ideas or suggestions that you might have. Some employers are dishonest too and I don't want to be associated with any kind of negativity or such.

Q: Why did you want to open this kind of store?

A: As I said, I always wanted to open a store, but figuring out what kind of store was probably one of the hardest decisions. I always thought of a variety shop, but those are everywhere. I considered a pet store, but the responsibility of taking care of animals 7 days a week, in addition to my own, was going to be too much. I finally decided on a baby store since I love babies and there will never be a lack of need for baby items.

Q: Did you think it could really happen or just a dream that wouldn't come true?

A: Both. I always said some day it would happen, but then I was never in a position in which I was able to for many reasons. Because of the support I received from my husband and a few friends, I was able to make my dream a reality.

Q: What was the motivation or thing that got you to finally start? 

A: Honestly, I just got tired of working for other people. I wanted to be able to take the skills I've learned from my previous jobs, my grandma, and life in general to be able to do my own thing. Live my dream. I have a family, and family should always come before work. Sometimes that's hard when you work for others, especially big corporations.

Q: What will you be having in the future as far as selling? Keep up to 12 months or eventually get into toddlers? 

A: I hope that in time I will outgrow the space I'm in and expand into a bigger storefront. I would like to be able to carry a bigger variety of baby items such as furniture for nursery's as well as items for toddlers.

Q: Why should people shop here instead of a big corporation store like Walmart/Kmart?

A: For starters, its a local small business. Keep your hard earned money local. I also offer competitive pricing on many items and even lower prices on some things. I am not making the huge markup that Walmart or Kmart make because I'm trying to help people. I am also trying to earn a living but I don't need millions in the bank to be happy. I would rather make a little less on a sale and have that customer continue to come back and promote my store to others rather than trying to make a huge profit on one sale.

Good interview, Tina, and thank you for your time!

Would you rather fight the crowds in Walmart and get crummy customer service or shop at a small store and get not only great deals but wonderful, personal customer service? Would you rather eat at Denny's and wait an hour for runny eggs and soggy toast or eat at a local diner and get great tasting food and great, personal customer service? You decide who you support!

Would you rather give money to big corporations and make the owners even more rich, or support a small business and help put food on a small business owner's table?

Please support local small businesses like Tina's store, small diners, etc. Visit her Facebook page and SHARE SHARE SHARE!! Visit her store and buy something for your little one or a friend who has, or is having, a baby!

Supporting our local small businesses is needed. Small businesses are what makes a town feel homey, where people know each other by name and support each other in hard times It's the way things used to be. It's the way things should be now!

image from Affordable Babies FB page

Sunday, January 10, 2016

They're BACK!!

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My husband and I love “mom and pop” restaurants/diners. We are all about small businesses and even though the food at some chain restaurants is good, we prefer the taste of home-cooked meals at the “mom and pop” places.

Our all-time favorite restaurant is Castlewood Cafe in New Hartford. Years ago they closed down their establishment because of tax issues. We were devastated. I have fond memories of “date nights” with Joe, family time, and lunches with friends when I worked up nearby. When they closed, we were forced to find another place and ended up at a chain restaurant, Ninety Nine. We liked the food there and the waiters were very friendly but it was loud, a television in every corner, and of course a bar in the center of the restaurant. That's fine once in awhile but when you want a nice night out and want to be able to hear the other person speak to you, those are not the places.

Castlewood Cafe re-opened recently and are still located in New Hartford but now they are in a plaza on Champlain Ave. (down the road from St. Luke's Hospital). It's hard to find them if you don't know where they are because the sign is small and they're nestled in between two other small places; but if you can find the Bargain Outlet shopping center, you'll find Castlewood.

Castlewood has a wonderful wait staff, excellent food, and cozy ambiance.  Two of my favorite meals are their Chicken Riggies (with their "secret sauce") and the Philly Cheese steak with fries.  They also have excellent coffee!!

If you live in the area, I encourage you to check them out sometime!
image from

Friday, January 8, 2016

Keep on Writing

Publishing my first book (children's book to be exact) was (in my opinion) my best accomplishment and gave me confidence to keep writing other things that I've started.  Even if people think my book is awful, the point is that I did it.  It was hard work but I followed through.  And though at times there were frustrations, I didn't give up.

I want to move forward and do more writing and advertising for my books because a second children's book is coming out very soon, hopefully by Spring, so I created a Facebook page called "As Real as it Gets".  This page will include my latest blog posts (except for this one because I feel that would be silly), updates on my writing, etc.

Please feel free to share my blog address and Facebook page with your friends!  And if you've ever done any writing yourself, I encourage you to keep at it even if you don't think you're any good!  Writing is awesome therapy and can be fun!!

Thank you for your support!!

Friday, January 1, 2016

New Year, Special Beginnings!!

Happy New Year, everyone!!!  2015 was a pretty good year for me but 2016 is starting out awesome.  I just published (via Amazon, Ebook) my first children's book called "Hammy's New Home"!!!  I'm excited about this because I've always loved to write and it took me a long time to finish this first book.  

Why did it take so long to finish?

First, I had to write, re-write, proofread and edit.

Second, I had to have other people look it over for second, third, fourth pair of eyes (thank you to my husband and friends Chris and Laurie Strange!!).

Third, I had to get illustrations done (Chris Strange) and after he drafted them I had to approve, then he had to finalize them.  That takes time!

Fourth, the illustrations had to be scanned to the computer (thank you Laurie!!) and then I had to incorporate the illustrations AND words on Adobe Elements and do more editing, proofreading, etc.

Fifth, the process of finalizing took quite some time. Cut, paste, delete, add, etc etc etc.  I had to walk away several times during this process.

FINAL was publishing the book and getting it online as an Ebook.  Final hard copies will be coming out in the near future but the first step was to get it published as an Ebook to get it out there.

I am proud of my accomplishment but I couldn't have done it without help and support.  First and foremost my thanks goes to God.  A lot of prayer and guidance went into writing and finalizing this book.  Second, thanks to my wonderful husband, Joe, who supported me and pushed me to do this.  Third to our friends Donny and Hope who had a pig named Hammy and my book idea stemmed from that cute little pig!  And last but certainly never least, a huge thanks to Chris and Laurie Strange, our good friends!!  Chris did a wonderful job on the illustrations and Laurie helped to guide and push us both to reach the deadline!!

I'm excited about this book and the next children's book which is already in progress!!!  See this book on!!  Hammy's New Home