Jaime Loves Stuff : 2014


Cranberry Vanilla 7UP Holiday Drink

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Dr Pepper Snapple Group. All opinions are 100% mine.
Cranberry Vanilla 7UP- Perfect for Holiday Get Togethers!

I love the holidays.  This is the time to get together with family and friends and just enjoy each other’s company.  Now that I am older, having nights in is what I call a good time.  I am an avid board game junkie and love having friends and family over for food, games and drinks.  

No Bake Peppermint Cheesecake and Marie Callender's Pot Pies

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #EasyAsPotPie #CollectiveBias


No Bake Peppermint Cheesecake Recipe

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas holiday.  If you don't celebrate, I hope it was a good few days for you! Ours was wonderful but whoo, it's exhausting.  I have been in recuperation mode the last few days and that means, I don't wanna cook.  That's right. I don't wanna cook! I just want to eat no bake peppermint cheesecake, Marie Callender's pot pies, and watch movies with my daughter.  That's all.  I don't ask for much, do I? Hee hee.  I didn't think so.

Marie Callender's Pot Pie & Peppermint Cheesecake #EasyAsPotPie #Ad


Marie Callender's pot pies have always been my favorite.  Their cornbread, too but we aren't talking about that today.  Today, it's all about the homemade gravy, mixed vegetables and all white meat chicken within a golden flaky crust.  Each bite warms my soul.  I have never been able to make a good pie crust at home and popping a Marie Callender's pot pie in the oven or microwave is just as good as making one from scratch.  I have always loved comfort food and a pot pie is the ultimate comfort food.  Yum.

Staying Connected Through the Holidays with the Lowest Priced Unlimited Plans

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #HolidaysAreCalling #CollectiveBias



The last time I  saw most of my siblings was in June 2013 for our dad's funeral.  I hadn't seen most of them since 2006, when I was back home for our mom's funeral.  When my mom's cancer became terminal, my daughter's brain injury was fresh.  It was extremely difficult to travel with her.  We tried to talk as much as possible but at that time, we had cell phones with limited minutes and if you went over, it was expensive.  Since then, mobile plans have come a long way and Walmart offers the lowest priced unlimited plans that make it really easy to stay connected.


 
2006.  My dad with some of his grandkids at my mother's funeral.

Freedom to Be Spontaneous: 5 Must Haves for Women Returning to the Dating Game

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #TheMoodStrikes #CollectiveBias



 I have been single for a very long time.  I have shied away from the dating game for a few reasons but the biggest reason has been that I haven't been ready.  I've said a few times that I want to date again but in reality, I just haven't been ready.  I have had so much on my plate that I just never felt I could give enough of myself to any relationship.  However... I am ready mentally and emotionally.  My daughter is older and I have more freedom to be spontaneous in my life! 

As I am getting in "single woman" mode, these are the five MUST HAVES for women returning to the dating game.  Especially us lovely foxes in our 30s and have motherhood under our belts! 

Mini No-Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake in a Jar

Mini No-Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake in a Jar  

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #TasteTheSeason #CollectiveBias

Mini No-Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake in a Jar  #TastetheSeason #AD


I have been seriously craving cheesecake.  Not plain cheesecake but pumpkin cheesecake and peppermint cheesecake.  What can I say- 'tis the season! I was also thinking how cute it would be to make mini cheesecakes in mason jars and give as gifts to my neighbors. 

However, I have a wee bit of a problem.  I melted the lid of a Pyrex baking dish all over the inside of my oven.  ALL OVER IT.  

Food Blogger's Wishlist: Canon at Best Buy

The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free


When I first began blogging, I used an old Canon Point and Shoot.  The camera did what it was supposed to do- take photos.  In the years since then, I started taking blogging much more seriously and a few years ago, I decided to take the leap and bought a Canon Rebel T2i (DSLR).  With a DSLR, you have greater control over the quality of your images.  You manually set the shutter speed, the aperture and with investing in lenses, your photography goes to a different level.  Quality photography is an important part of photography and with readers being visual, it's worth it to invest in a quality camera.  

Welcome 2015! Wait... what?



This past week I have been knocked down sick with bronchitis.  I haven't had bronchitis in years! Boooo! The worst part? This was supposed to be my last week at my job (well, Wednesday was to be my last day and have a four day weekend to play catch up at home) and then start my new job on Monday.  I had a ton of plans but none happened. Oh well, I guess if I am to get sick, this was the time but woe-is-me. 

I am really excited to start my new job on Monday! Everybody seems amazing.  I also will only work four days a week and that leaves me extra time to focus on my personal, professional and business goals.  I was so exhausted mentally, physically and emotionally to get done what I wanted to get done.  My intentions where there but my energy wasn't.

Life changes and better choices with V8 Protein

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #LoveV8Protein #CollectiveBias



I have some pretty exciting things in my life right now.  I start a new job on Monday that I am over the moon excited about.  I have been making some headway in regards to exercising, eating better, incorporating new V8 protein in my routine, my home and just my overall life.  I am really pleased where things are going personally and professionally. 

All I want for Christmas is Guardians of the Galaxy

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #OwnTheGalaxy #CollectiveBias


Guardians of the Galaxy Gift Ideas

I am such a huge Sci-Fi geek and Guardians of the Galaxy is on my must own list.  It has it all- laughter, action and tears.  However, the laughter is top notch.  Oh and the wicked awesome dance off and soundtrack? Top notch.  The movie drops in stores tomorrow on Blu-Ray and DVD and how awesome would it be to have the ultimate Guardians of the Galaxy gift for the Star-Lords, Rockets, Gamoras and Groots in your life?

I have a 9 year old nephew who is a bundle of energy and loves action.  Wait.  Let me correct myself- he's not my nephew, technically he's my GREAT nephew.  Apparently, I just want to age myself a bit.  Ha.  Really, my niece (his mom) and I are only three years apart.  When Guardians of the Galaxy came out, it was something I knew he would love.  the action figures are out of control awesome.  

Give Extra Thanks to a Teacher!

This shop has been compensated by #CollectiveBias, Inc. and its advertiser #ExtraGumMoments. All opinions are mine alone.

Do you have any VIPs in your life? People who do the little, thankless things that you really appreciate? I have a few that I love to be able to give extra thanks to show how much they are appreciated!

I love my daughter.  She's absolutely loving and wonderful and sweet and... a tween.  A tween with a brain injury.  A brain injury that has caused her executive functions to be... um... well, they're struggle.  She can be quite a handful in her very hard headed, shenaniganizing way. Did I also mention she's very sweet and loving? She is.  All her teachers, bus driver and after school program staff are totally VIPs in our life! They have so much patience and truly want her to succeed.  Even when she says ugly things to them (a minute later she's saying I love you!).

Silent Sunday: Maya Angelou Free Printable.



Would you like to print this? I created this printable here.

































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December Bloggy Moms Blog Hop is live!



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Don't forget Duracell this Christmas! (or you'll be facepalming!)

This is a sponsored post for SheSpeaks/Duracell



Don't forget Duracell this Christmas! (or you'll be facepalming!)


Last Christmas, I bought Em a Baby Alive doll.  She's been a bit baby crazy the last two years.  I've cringed because she's said the whole brother/sister craziness to me and I don't know how to explain to her that I can not have more and besides... I kinda sorta need a partner.  Also, I'm getting up there in age.  Frankly, this is not a conversation I am ready to have.  She ADORES babies.  ADORES them.  Her face lights up when she seems them but when she gets to HOLD a baby? Pure jubilation.  



Christmas Reindeer Cookies


Christmas Reindeer Cookies

Are you ready for Christmas? I'm almost! I am mostly done with Christmas gift shopping.  I don't do Black Friday and I do most of my shopping online.  Emma's soooo excited because we finally put up our Christmas tree.  We're not done decorating it but I'm loving how it has turned out.


 




Silent Sunday: Lao Tzu

Lao Tzu Quote





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Establishing & Sticking to a Reasonable Budget



Establishing a budget is incredibly important. You know that. I know that. However, I have failed my budget plans more times than I can count. 

I've spent the last few years recovering from major financial devastation from events that I happened 10 years ago.  When my daughter was injured (read more here, here, here, here and here.) I had to stop working.  Bills went to the back burner and my credit tanked.  I had to fight so many judgments from creditors on top of taking care of my disabled child.  In 2007, I went back into the workforce on a part time basis due to my daughter's heavy medical and therapy schedules.  In 2009, I was finally able to return back to work full time.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Designed by Freepik

Just wanted to pop in and quickly wish each and every one of you a happy and safe Thanksgiving.  For the rest of the world- have a beautiful day!!!

I am thankful for all your support!






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Thankful For The Lowest Priced Unlimited Plans

This shop has been compensated by #CollectiveBias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #Thankful4Savings


I have to say- 2014 has been an interesting year.  I have had some ups and some downs but thankfully, more ups than downs.  Life is full of changes and I have had my fair share of them.  All positive, in my opinion! I switched positions at my day job (and I will have an exciting announcement soon), I have steadily been growing my blog, growing my freelance writing, and most recently, becoming an ambassador for Walmart Family Mobile and talking about their lowest priced unlimited plans.

There are so many things I am thankful for and as we get closer to Thanksgiving, I am further reminded of the bumpy road we have traveled and all the amazing opportunities afforded to me. 

The Family Dinner Project #familydinnerforward

This post represents a compensated editorial partnership with The Family Dinner Project. All storytelling and opinions are, of course, my own.


Did you have family meals growing up?
8 out of 9 kids.  I'm the baby

Better Writer Series: Inspiring Quotes for Writers


Image credit: Unsplash Edit: Me


There are times I don't want to write.  I am blank.  I am uninspired. I am lazy.  I am kind to myself and give myself a break from time to time.

Thanksgiving Feast- Buca di Beppo Style!

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Buca di Beppo®. All opinions are 100% mine.



Have you ever had a nightmare for Thanksgiving? I mean nightmare like…. Gravy the consistency of glue, a turkey drier than an Arizona summer or… your turkey was still frozen solid- on Thanksgiving morning.  I’ve been there.  It always makes me think of “A Christmas Story” where the dog snatches the turkey and they have to go out to eat at a Chinese restaurant on Christmas day.  Ha! Been there. Done that.

Tips to staying healthy during fall and winter with immune support


This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias and its Advertiser. All thoughts and opinions are mine and mine alone and should not be construed as medical advice.#CollectiveBias #24HourEsterC 

Tips to staying healthy during fall and winter #24HourEsterC #ad


Guess what?! It's 74 degrees today! Time to break out with the sweaters! Ha ha! We're pretty much late bloomers here in Phoenix (well, you all from the Southeast all the way to the Southwest totally understand this).  It's time to open windows, get outside more and it also means, preparing for fall and providing more immune support for my body!

Since my daughter is brain damaged, I not only have to protect her health- I have to protect mine. As a single mom, I carry all the weight on my shoulders.   


Tips to staying healthy during fall and winter

TV Crush! LG OLED TV at Best Buy

I have been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free, however my opinions are still my own.


Last year, my old LCD TV went kaput.  It had a good run and served it's use.  I bought it at a great price (floor model) but it was small (like 19", I believe). Last Christmas, my brother so generously bought Emma and I an LG LED TV (a gorgeous 39") and it's absolutely stunning. However, I may have to move that one to my bedroom because I have a crush.  A SERIOUS crush on the LG OLED TV at Best Buy.

PERFECT Cocoa Muddy Buddies



One of my FAVORITE snacks are cocoa muddy buddies.  As a kid, we made them at church and ate them like it was our last meal.

You can call them Reindeer Chow, Puppy Chow or just muddy buddies but regardless... they're delicious, they're fun and easy to make!

Journey To Becoming a Better Writer Series

Image via Unsplash.com


Last week, I wrote a post about why I almost quit blogging and I have to say your comments, emails and tweets really, really opened my eyes.  You shared with me the same struggles you have faced, the feelings you have felt and the desire to just leave it all behind but guess what? We're still here! Yay! Go us!!! We ALL deserve a virtual high five.

Silent Sunday: Thich Nhat Hanh




Get well soon, great teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh.






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Recipe: Slow Cooker Brown Sugar Pineapple Ham

This shop has been compensated by #CollectiveBias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.#ChooseSmart
Recipe: Slow cooker brown sugar pineapple ham #choosesmart #ad

It's wild how fast the holidays are upon us once Halloween hits, they come back to back like tidal waves.  I love it but it always seems like there just isn't enough time to get it all done! I love to cook but since I work full time, I simplify as much of the cooking process as much as possible along with being able to cut some of my costs.  Who doesn't love a simple recipe?

Humans of New York


Have you seen Humans of New York? If not, you need to follow this page on Facebook.  It's beautiful.




Brandon, the founder, has been capturing the raw side of New Yorkers and has brought so much humanity and beauty to Facebook.  Not only has he captured New York, he has traveled the world and brought us Humans of the World.

His work has brought smiles, tears, and laughter to the millions of people who follow HONY.  Most of all- he has shown the world the other side of life.  That homeless man on the street? His wife was murdered, his daughter murdered and his mind died with them.  He gave up hope.

Why I almost quit blogging (and why I changed my mind)



Last week I was sitting on the pity pot.  I wanted to scrap this blog and just give up on blogging all together.

I felt like I had nothing to give.  I haven't posted much lately and I haven't felt very inspired.  I wondered WHY do I blog? Is it for me? Is it for my audience? Do I really have anything of any kind of importance to share with the world? Does anybody actually care?

(Please do not feel that I am seeking any attention or any kind of reassurance from you.  These are questions I asked myself.  These are questions you should ask yourself when you think about blogging)

Silent Sunday: Emily Dickinson Quote

Emily Dickinson Quote








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Peanut Butter, Chocolate, Banana and Bacon Grilled Sandwich

I received compensation and information and/or free product from The Hershey Company and/or Collective Bias. All opinions expressed within are my own.#AnySnackPerfect #CollectiveBias
Peanut Butter, Chocolate, Banana and Bacon Grilled Sandwich #AnySnackPerfect #Shop

Did I ever tell you that I listen to Elvis Presley from time to time? I can listen to "Suspicious Minds" over and over.  The funny thing is that whenever I listen to it, the movie "Lilo & Stitch" starts playing in my head and then I think of peanut butter and banana sandwiches, which was supposedly one of Elvis' favorite foods.  After THAT pops into my head, I then daydream about a little sandwich cafe my sister and I went to that had a peanut butter, bacon and sprouts sandwich on toast (which was surprisingly delicious! I was blown away!).  Isn't it funny how one little thing will trigger a memory that triggers another memory?  

Silent Sunday: Virginia Woolf

Virginia Woolf Quote







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Slow Cooker Pineapple Green Chile Pulled Pork


Slow Cooker Pineapple Green Chile Pulled Pork

The other day I wanted pineapple pork tacos.  Then I wanted green chile pork tacos.  I then thought to myself that pork, pineapple AND green chile can go together.  A little sweet, savory and spicy? Yes, please.  So, I made this slow cooker pineapple green chile pulled pork.


I've been eating it for a week because it's DELICIOUS.

Eating it on tacos.

Eating it in a burrito.

Eating it over rice.

Eating it over salad.
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