Posted in About Me, About Me, Blog, Family, Travel

Get-a-way not far away

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#greatsouthernroadtrip

Hey there! Come on in! Let me get you some Tea. When is the last time you’ve been on Vacation? I need one, maybe two back to back. I really need to get away. But there isn’t any time for that! It is an everyday struggle to get a moment to myself, let alone a couple of days. I have way too much going on to leave the City.

Speaking of which, have you ever researched your City to see what is hiding within the concrete? There are always places to run away and hide for a couple of days. If you are anything like me and my family, it is crazy around home, all the time. There is hardly ever any peace and quiet, and when there is, it’s very minimal. My husband and I, as you know from previous posts, have been together almost fourteen years. We have a huge family. People are always coming and going at the family home.

Every now and again, just to get away, Hubby will call on friday from work, and tell me to pack us a weekend bag. I get all excited! I know we going on a get-a-way, not far away. You know, the Hotel across town, or over in the next town and hour away. We disappear all the time. It gives us time to be alone, and be on vacation, while still close to home in case of an emergency. I love our getaways! The alone time in the rooftop pool, the room service at two am, the nightclub downstairs. Just a couple of days, one night even, can be so rejuvenating. dsc_0740

I especially love the one day trips, to explore the city. I hear people say all the time, “There is nothing to do in Birmingham!” That is so not true. Birmingham has so much to do. There is such a thing as Google, and the internet. That search thing, it works wonders! We have a Zoo, Museums, dozens of Parks. The nightlife is awesome too. I love my city.

I especially love this place outside the city, Turkey Creek. I found this place from an elderly Lady at the gas station. I told her I needed a place to go swimming. She ultimately told me of Turkey Creek. She told me of how she enjoyed it as a child. Intrigued, I researched it. Located in Pinson, Alabama, only 15 miles north of Birmingham, Turkey Creek Nature Preserve is a great place for couples, or families, to get away and go for a picnic on the grass, swimming in the creek, or tube down the natural falls. Go bike riding,  hiking, fishing and so much more. We have been going here for years. We never knew it existed before that conversation. After a day here, I always feel like I’ve been away on vacation when I get back home. Even though it is technically near the city, it feels as if you are so far away.

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I want to challenge you. Take a few moments, and research your city. Open your mind to the millions of possibilities that your city has to offer. Find places that interest you, and take a day away from it all. Just disappear. And it doesn’t always take money. Most of our Museums are free. Make precious moments with those you love, your children, your spouse. Plan a date with hubby, let him pick you up at the door, and go on a real date! How awesome that sounds.

Take the time to enjoy life. Often times, we can go through life day to day, in and out of time, just like robots. There is no excitement, no joy. Make a point to enjoy your loved ones while they are here. If you can’t do a whole day, start small. Surprise hubby for a picnic on the grass at his job. It’s amazing what one hour of conversation and alone time can do. Tomorrow is not promised to any of us! Enjoy life, enjoy your city. Enjoy each other. A relationship can only withstand the time put into it. It takes effort and attention. Speaking of attention, my glass is empty again. Must refill! Until the next glass of Tea, stay blessed, stay Southern.

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COPYRIGHT © 2016 SnoSouthernLife

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Posted in About Me, About Me, Blog, Family, Self Help

I love my life, do you?

Hey ya’ll! I know, I know! Why has it taken me so long to write? Well, hunny, let me tell you! Sit on down, let me get you a glass of Tea! Where should I begin? Life. I am in love with my life. The ups, the downs, my husband, my friends and family. I am so full of Joy!

Life can be so funny, so demanding. One day passes you by, then two, then the next thing you know, a whole week has gone by. Life is what we make of it. I believe that with all my heart. If we constantly focus on what we want, or what could be, instead of what is, what we have, we will be forever stressing, worrying, striving for that happiness, that truthfully may never come. But to have Joy? There is a difference. Happiness is an emotion, from an event in our lives, whether good or bad. Joy is an inner peace, that no matter the circumstance, it never waivers.

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I thank God everyday for my husband. I am not bragging on him, but yes I am! God has truly blessed me. A couple of days ago, we got a letter from his job, and July 1st will be his last day of work, yet again. They are going out of business. He has been laid off three times in the last six years. Twice within the last 6 months. Just frustrating!

224Let me tell you about hubby. My husband is a man of integrity, honesty, hard-working, and dedicated to whatever he puts his mind to, including his family. He loves to work, and never calls in, ever. He has had an award for the last 10 years for perfect attendance, at all of his jobs. Babe worked at the McWane Cast Iron and Steel plant 25 years, up until 2010. They went out of business due to the Economy. Now while unemployed for almost 9 months, he never gave up. I worked, and he was the best hubby ever. My husband did what all women dream of. He cooked, kept the house spotless, and even did laundry! Imagine that. The entire nine months of unemployment, it did not affect his happiness at all. He never gave up hope. We lost our home, got behind in bills, credit went down the drain. Not one time did he complain. He kept paying his tithes out of his little unemployment check, (which was not near what we were bringing in). He never became angry or upset at our situation, always full of joy.

He did eventually get work, underground to the Coal Mines. He did not complain, never called in, and was considered a very productive employee. As a matter of fact, life became so good, he told me to quit work, due to my health, and focus on getting well. “Just take care of you and the house. I got the rest!” I told you he was a good husband didn’t I? Even though my husband made good money, really good, he never let it go to his head. We did not buy the fancy cars, a big home. We prepared ourselves for that day when…..

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Now, six years later, the mines went out of business. Some Obama thing about cleaner coal, or something. That’s another story. Any ways, another 4 months without work. This time, we are both unemployed. But he never wavered. He found another job, at a significant pay cut mind you. He worked three months, and then we get this letter. Really!? Ugghh!

Life can be so mean at times. There are ups and downs. Life can take you through some things, that would cause a normal person to have a stroke or become ill, if they let it. My husband and I, we live a life of simplicity. At the same time, making sure we are productive. We do like the nice things, but what we don’t want are “things”.  Our home is small, but it is comfortable. It is a nice home, just for us. Our cars, are paid for, no notes. Those things are material. They are just not at the top of our list right now. I, we, would rather live a life of Joy. A life with stability in knowing, what ever we go through, he will be there. We, will go through it together, no matter what!

My husband is a giving person. Never meets a stranger. He will give the shirt off his back if you are cold. Always blessing others. Sometimes, he actually gets on my nerves with it. Hubby is a man of God, who knows, the more we bless others, God will in return bless us. I am happy with what we have, where we are, and where life is taking us. I am happy with the life we have built together as a family. If more comes my way, I am waiting with open arms. Until then, I am full of Joy!

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So I just want to encourage you today. I want to slip a little Tea into your life. If life get’s you down, just hold on. Don’t waste one minute! Keep pushing, and never look back to what could be. Life may take you places where it seems you can never recover from. Do not let go of that dream, that hope. A better day will come. Some storms are worse than others. Whether big or small, eventually, the sun has to come out. The sun always shines brighter, after the storm. The clouds clear, and the sky is crystal blue again. Now let’s fill that glass! Until next time, stay blessed, stay Southern!

Posted in About Me, About Me, Blog, Family, Self Help

Family isn’t always Family

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Why hey ya’ll! How’s it goin? I am blessed and cool under this shade tree with my Tea! I just love those cool days when I can sit under the tree, relaxing, with not a care in the world. Just me, the shade, and my tea. Not for long though. I can always count on my two little ones, my dogs of course, to interrupt me. They come running, jump up on the hammock, all excited, and then just plop right there and go off to a nap. Why do I have to move to make you comfortable? They are the epitome of family.

188643_5408811085_4787_nYou know?! The one who always gives out a great big hug just when you need it. Or the cousin who makes you laugh at nothing funny at all. Some of us have that Aunt that always wants her way or no way. Or that Uncle that is always drunk at the family holiday, asking for money from the kids. I have a brother like that, well used to. Now he’s going to be upset me writing this, but it’s ok. I love my family with all my heart. But sometimes you have to just get away. Or move away in my case! I just left, moved to Alabama, because I could not take the selfishness and in-consideration for others any longer.

Please allow me to be specific. At the time, 14 years ago, my brother was an Alcoholic. I say was, because he is no longer, and has been sober for quite some time. It took him years to get himself together, to get support of those willing to endure his attitudes, his countless disappearing acts, his anger. But he did it, and I am so proud of him.

That brings me to the title of this blog. Family isn’t always family. If it was not for my brother’s best friend, and in-laws, (ie; sister and brother in-law), I am not sure where he would be. I had been through enough with my abusive ex-husband for the last ten years. I did not want to endure another ten. I was trying to get myself together. My life was a mess, my self confidence, my attitude towards men, everything. So when I had enough of family, I packed up and left.

We are still in contact. Just spoke to him two days ago as a matter of fact. We have mended old wounds, and are rather close I would think. We still have our differences, but nothing will ever break us apart completely except for the big D.  But now the roles have changed. No, I do not have an addiction. Well, maybe chocolate. What I mean is that I am now down here in Alabama, with no family, except my husband’s side. I love them all, but there is nothing like your own. I miss my family dearly. However, I do not miss them enough toquotes-about-family-in-hd-wallpapers-family-quotes-admissionpk- leave Alabama. No, I will stay right here. But the circle of friends that I have are awesome! I have made myself a family through non-family. We are closer than most of my real family. Like I said, family is not always family.

I love the South. There is nothing that would or could pull me from here. For a long time I was a transient of sorts. I could not sit still. Just could not find my place in this big ol world. But now, I have, and I am in love with my life. I am in love with a great husband, wonderful children, and five awesome grandsons, and one precious granddaughter. All of which, are not my blood, but my husband’s children. I could never birth my own. I love  them like they were my own, and I believe they love me! Holidays are the biggest ordeal with us. So, why would I leave? It is ok to get homesick once in a while, but that’s it. After a point, reality has to set in, and get back to our lives, whatever that may be. Speaking of which, I have to get up and go cook dinner. We cook every night in the south. Whether big or small, dinner is always on the table by sundown. And ya have to have a Desert! It’s a Southern thing I think.

So, in the meantime, think on the important people in your lives. Tell them often how important they are to you. Blood or not, family is family. It is rare that we find others we can rely on in these days and times. Someone to listen, without judgement, and be there to pick us up, without question. Make sure your “Family” knows just how much they mean to you. Do not let too much time slip away, or it may end up being to late. Until next time, fill your glass, be blessed, stay Southern!

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Microwave generation

Hey ya’ll! Come on in! What has been up with you since the last time we spoke? Me? I just been thinking about my childhood. Do you remember when we were young, everyone was in Church on Sunday morning, Wednesday Bible study, Friday youth group. We did not have a chance to get into any trouble. My Mother kept me busy with homework, and Church. Especially in the South! In the South it’s like a golden rule that Sundays you have your butt in Church, and we have fried chicken for dinner after.  Society was laid back, in slow motion back then. It was cool to get our first paper route at the age of ten, or lay in the grass in a field, and look at the clouds, naming shapes out of them.

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Today, however, we are a diverse generation of chaos and instant pleasure. Our youth are lost. Mainly because the parents raising them are children themselves, however, the grandparents are not assisting either. Back in the day, it took a whole neighborhood to raise our youth. If I got a spanking, yes with a belt, at someone else home, I got another when I got home, for embarrassing my parents! I mean, I have had plenty of spankings, and I am still alive and well. I knew better than to cut up on my parents. I would rather be teased by my peers than to face my mother. By no means, do I agree with Child abuse. Let’s just be clear. But I do feel a small tap on the bottom every now and again just to remind them who the parent is, never hurt anyone.

These parents today do not want anyone spanking their children. Most of our youth of today  have never had a spanking. Ever. That, in my opinion, is the issue. There is no kind of consequence, no discipline. We just let our children do what they want as little ones. They sit around when “Grown folks are talking” as my mother used to say. We allow any kind of music and language in their presence. Then when they grow up, with an attitude, we want to get angry at them. Not good at all.

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Now there are still old school parents around, who do teach their off spring the importance of responsibility, respect, and life in general. They believe in spankings, punishment, and the responsibility for our actions. Their children flourish with education, and prosperity. I applaud you. There is nothing in the world like watching your teen walk across that stage on Graduation day!

Most everyone has a microwave in their kitchen. You know, you throw your food in and in five minutes or less, we have a dinner that normally takes thirty minutes or an hour on the stove. That is our generation of today. A microwave generation. Has been for a while. We want it, and we want it now. And we will do whatever it takes to get it.

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Our youth today have no respect, no desire for an actual job, or respect of life. We don’t know the meaning of earning anything, hard work. There are those parents, mostly younger, who allow their children to, one, raise themselves, or two, watch their parents lead a bad example, then to only to follow in their footsteps. It’s almost a generational curse.

It saddens me to see our youth plunging downhill. I have stopped watching the news all together. Every time I turn it on, nothing but violence and crime. Our prisons flourish with young men under that age of 25. Most of the crime is on our Senior citizens. Picking on those who can not even fight back. Shame on you! Let’s get ourselves together people. If we do not wake up, and get our youth back, we are going to see our government raising them from afar. There are many ways to discipline. It does not have to be spankings if  you disagree with hitting. We do need to start when they are young. We do need to do something to get our youth back to a generation of respect and prosperity.

What are your thoughts on our youth? Do you believe in discipline? I would love to hear the thoughts of how and when to discipline. In the meantime, my glass is empty again. I need Tea. Until we meet again, be blessed, stay Southern.

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Discipline by Maxwell Maltz March 14, 2013 at http://www.verybestquotes.com/self-discipline-quotes-the-ability-to-discipline-yourself/
Letz go to church at http://quotesgram.com/funny-church-lady-quotes/#f6yPgP8v4X
Poll by BBC 21 September 2014  “Understanding black America and the spanking debate” at http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-29261462

 

Copyright © 2016 SnoSouthernLife.com

Posted in About Me, Blog, Family

Do you date or hook up?

Hello my Southern friends! It is good to see you again. I’m just pouring this tea, getting ready to sit up under the stars with hubby on the porch.  After 14 years, my husband still dates me. Whether we get dressed up and go out to dinner and a movie, or a walk after midnight in the park, or for a ride down a country road on the motorcycle, I love our alone time. We are still best friends after all this time!

223 This is my favorite picture of us taken in 2007. We still have the same bike, the same color. I look at other couples in our life, other women friends of mine, and it amazes me how people don’t spend time together anymore like in the old days. I see the women constantly out with the girls, or the guys out with the guys, but never together. Hubby and I went to a gathering about three weeks ago, and a guy friend hugged me, and asks “where is hubby? I know he isn’t far, your always together!”.

Today’s generation of dating, and marriage is so different from when my parents were young. Of course we can expect change and growth in society, but what happened to dating? What happened to a man picking you up for a date? or opening a door for a lady? I appreciate my Mother-in-law so much. She passed away in 2007, rest her soul. The man she raised that is my husband today, was taught the manners of old school. He opens doors, he is trust worthy, a man  of his word, and is well-respected by everyone who meets him. Now I am not bragging on him, but in a sense I am. Our marriage is one of the same characters. We have communication, trust, integrity, and God. But most of all, we LIKE each other. We are best friends.

I remember my ex-husband, when we met, I knew him two weeks, ran off and married him. I know, I know. What was I thinking? I wasn’t, that was the problem. By my twenties, I had become a hard-headed naive girl who believed everything a man told me. I found out the hard way that I should have dated him first, got to know what I was getting into. (That is another blog, maybe tomorrow). If I had taken my time, I would have saved a whole lot of heart ache and bruises.

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However, the choices I made then, are why I am the person I have become today. I am stronger, wiser, and more reserved on my choices. I take time to analyze, and pray for guidance. I do not regret one minute, even the bad stuff. It has taught me a lot about myself, and who I really am. I truly am just now enjoying my life now, more than my younger years. I was always told my twenties would be the best time of my life. I feel like my forties have been the best. And the older I get, the happier I seem to be. All with thanks to God and my husband of course!

My husband is a humble and patient man. Completely different from my ex. That man dated me six months before we finally committed to each other significantly. He actually always told others he was gonna find me  a good man. We were just friends, who fell in love. He took the time to show me what kind of man he truly is. He made it so I could not help but to trust him with my heart. He made it easy to fall in love, and boy did I fall hard!

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My point of all this? Take your time ladies. Slow down and make him date you. If a man truly is interested, he truly wants to get to know you for more than your outer appearance, for more than 1 date, he will be patient. He won’t mind waiting on the goodies, and take appetizer’s until you become everything to each other. And if it does not work, then that is not God’s chosen for you.

I could go on and on. Once I start talking there really is no end. I just want my girlfriends to have what I have. I wish I could sell the honest pure love that our marriage has, in a cup. I’d be rich! But right now my cup is empty, so I need to refill, on sweet tea that is. So until the next time, keep calm,move slow. Respect yourself enough to date, and not “Hook-up”. Until the next glass of Tea, stay blessed, stay southern!

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One Hope Picture BY · AUGUST 11, 2015 at http://onehope.com/slow-down/
Posted in Blog, Family, Self Help

Frugal or Just Plain Cheap?

Hey ya’ll! How has your day been? I have spent the entire day cutting my coupons and organizing them. Oh yes! I didn’t tell you? I am that frugal, crazy coupon lady with the big book of coupons, holding up the line for fifty cents. I am all about saving them coins. My last grocery bill, I knocked off from $187 at Winn Dixie, down to $43 after coupons. I know right! How did I do that? Glad you asked.

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Let me tell you, the way the economy is at the present time, a person needs to save all the money they can. Have you ever wanted to learn how to coupon, or even tried it on your own and just could not grasp the concept? Well, I am here to tell you, that I can teach you. That’s right, no matter where you are, near or far, you can learn how to use coupons, and be good at it!

Don’t tell me you have no interest in saving money? Everyone wants to save money. Unless you are just so rich it doesn’t matter! Couponing does take time and organization. What exactly is Couponing? As described by The Coupon Wizards, ” couponing is a strategic method used by a shopper to get their normal monthly groceries and toiletries for less money.” Now we are not speaking of your mother going into the store with one or two coupons cut from the Sunday paper like back in the day.  Coupons do still come in the newspaper, but it is deeper than that. If you want it to be, couponing can be a lifestyle, everything savings all around. Or it can be for just certain areas of your spending, like groceries. If done correctly, a person can save a whole lot of money in the household.

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I can teach you all of that. The key is to set certain days of the week, even just a couple of hours, to cut and sort. The hardest part is finding sales. However, the Web has made it so easy with all the apps and websites, most of the work is already done for us.

Interested? Awesome sauce! Have you ever heard of Periscope? It is a live streaming app,  owned by Twitter, once downloaded to your I-phone or Android, allows me to live stream a class, with anyone I choose to invite, for a private attendance. Now of course, there is an option to just stream public, but what fun would that be to constantly be interrupted by trolls, disturbing class?  The wonderful thing about this class is that it is interactive. You can ask questions live, and I can answer them, live.

Still interested? So, here is how to get in on the next session. First, if you have not done so already, download Periscope, and register and sign in with your Twitter account. (If you do not have a Twitter, you will need to create an account there as well). Periscope is owned and operated by Twitter. You may follow me on Twitter (@snowwilson2) and search my Tweets for any Periscope tweet, and click on it. That will take you directly to find me on Periscope.  Once in, take a look around, watch different live streams to get the feel of it. Be careful not to watch too late at night. You know who comes out after dark.

Second, if you still can not find me, hit the search icon at the bottom right, and type in “Snowwilson2”. You may follow me on both Twitter and Periscope if you like. When I create any scopes, you will get an instant invite. I will go public first to give a reminder of the class. Don’t worry though. If you miss the scopes or class, they are still available for twenty-four hours after. And I will save the video, so I can email the video to you if need be. Of course, replays do not allow live chatting. You will be able to see the other viewers questions however.

The next question I am sure you have, is how much? Great question! The private class is $10 per person, which includes a 2 hour class, plus an email of the beginner’s guide to couponing. If you would like, for an extra $10, I can mail you a starter kit, with a coupon binder, set up and ready to go, with all the info you will need to get started.

extreme-couponingI feel you will truly enjoy couponing as a new lifestyle to save money! But be careful, it is addicting! Once you see your grocery tab drop from $150 to $34 right at the register, there is no turning back! I hope to hear from you soon. Now, let’s get to saving! Be blessed, stay southern.

COPYRIGHT © 2016 SnoSouthernLife
Posted in Blog, Family, Travel, Uncategorized

“Free” is never Free!

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Hello! It’s me again! I am so missing ya’ll!  My life is so hectic right now I had to run away on a Cruise my husband and I recently took to the Bahamas. We recently were told we won a “FREE” three day cruise, and decided to take it on our Fourteenth wedding Anniversary. It was so relaxing, I didn’t want to come back!

Now let me tell you, like I said, this was supposed to be a “FREE” cruise. Of course “Free” is never actually free. We were offered this all inclusive package, and it sounded so good I had to get it. Hubby and I had never been on a cruise, and wanted to try it out. All I had to do was pay the port fees, or so I was told. Then when it came closer to departure time, they called and offered a discounted room for 2 days, before the cruise, for a “low” price of fifty dollars for 2 nights, all meals included. So again, I added it. 20160426_163713

Let me just spill the “Tea” on how this ended. Mind you we had an awesome time! We truly enjoyed the alone time. Hubby and I met some awesome friends, and ate so much till we had to roll o ff the ship! I think I took a hundred plus photos. The weather was amazing the entire trip, and the view? Wow! like I said earlier, I did not want to come back.

However, we arrived at the airport in Fort Lauderdale, only to find the hotel an hour away, and a Taxi ended up Forty-five dollars. Hotel transport you ask? No, they did not have any transport for this “Resort” at all, not even to and from the airport. We felt abandoned. it took 2 hours to get to the hotel, another hour to check in, and get settled. Now we were offered a third “discount” before leaving home, for a rental car. It was only One hundred ten dollars for the whole week, which would be parked while we sail, and be there when we get back. We would be renting on days we did not need it, plus pay outrageous parking fees at the airport. No thanks! Although after paying the taxi’s fees for these two days, we should have rented that car! Remember, we had to get to the ship, which was forty-five minutes away, and back to the airport at the end of the vacation. 20160427_153111

Again, the Ramada “Resort” was nothing but a hotel, deep in the heart of Fort Lauderdale, thirty minutes from anything. No restaurants, no beach, nothing. There was a Publix across the four lane highway, which we would have had to cross on foot. After hanging at the pool, which was extremely clean and in excellent condition, we met some people from New York. So we split the cost of an Uber the next day and hit the beach! It was so beautiful, and finally felt like a vacation!  This was of course, after the four hour Timeshare presentation that we had to attend in order to get the tickets to the “Free” cruise. And they did give us a free ride to sell us something. Go figure!

The meals at the hotel were ok, nothing to brag about, but we did not go hungry. Now it is time to cruise! I was excited, thinking at least I can relax now. Honey, wow! The day of sailing we were told if we sit on on another presentation, we could get a VIP pass to board the ship ahead of the lines. They were still trying to sell us stuff! No, I don’t want it, give me my tickets please! The VIP we did not even need. There were no lines when we arrived, so we were allowed to board right on, along with everyone else, no special VIP treatment at all.

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Now this is where it get’s interesting. Day one. So, before boarding we had to place an on-board credit, just in case we bought anything while sailing. After getting on board, which was late in the afternoon, we head to the main pool. A guy hands me a drink, I tasted it, he says I now owe him fourteen dollars. Wait I thought this was a free cruise! “Water and juice is free”, he says. The ship was old, but beautiful. It was actually an older Carnival boat purchased by this underdog of a company, Holiday Cruises. The state room was large, immaculate, and our Concierge, Jimmy, was awesome! He took really good care of us! There were two salt water pools, two hot tubs, and a kiddie pool with a slide separate from the adults.

The food. I have to mention the food. This ship, the Grand celebration, had a twenty-four hour five course buffet. Every girls’ dream is to be able to eat without judgement! Yes, girl! They had a bar for salad, fruit, breads, main course, sides, and desert. They each had their own bar. The desert was not just cookies either. Oh no, it was stuff like key lime pie, and lemon meringue, and ice cream. I ate so much I still feel full a week later! And, there was a second buffet out by the pool, with unlimited pizza, hot dogs and hamburgers.

20160428_210637The night life on board, was just as nice. they had five or six bars, a nightly show, and a casino. The Music was great! So many choices. They had a live band, a Disco with today’s Hip Hop, another with 70’s vibe, and then even a Hispanic bar. I actually gambled a little, but don’t tell anyone. I won two hundred dollars, then gambled it back. I think that is common practice.

Day 2, we chose a day at the beach once the ship docked in the Bahamas. This again was not free but yet another thirty-five dollars each for the van ride to the beach, which was thirty minutes from port. I mean, who comes this far to not see the beach? They have really got this thing figured out to make you spend money over and over again. If you did not want to spend money on an excursion, then there was no other choice but to stay on board. After all, the port is yet again thirty minutes from anything but customs. When you exit the boat, all you see is water, dirt, and a building, all with a huge fence around it. I felt like we were going to prison, not that I have ever been. There were locals to chase you as soon as you get outside customs, before we hit the bus to offer “Native” items. Didn’t I just see that dress at CVS?

Now the Bahamas are so exotic, and relaxing, once we got to the tourist side of the Island that is, we forgot all our troubles for a couple of hours anyways. A swim up bar, the white sands on the beach, the sun beaming down, and the water was so relaxing! I could stay here forever. Of course, we couldn’t. I had to get back to life. 20160429_133406

Day three. After packing the suitcase all night, we wake up early thinking we can beat the lines to get off the ship. We thought wrong. Customs had an overflow of docking Cruise ships, and we were in line five hours. Yep! We tried to get off the ship at ten o’clock in  the morning, and finally got outside at one o’clock in the afternoon. Mind you our flight is at three, and we have to check in at two o’clock. Luckily, our new friends offered to rush us to the airport in their rental car. Yes, the one we refused.

We did catch our flight. And again we did have an awesome time. But after all the fees, and side money spent, we could have just paid for a whole cruise for a little more without all the hassle. Oh, I didn’t tell you about the on board credit! They charged for fuel ($18), really?! Gratuity ($25), each drink that was not water or juice, the bus ride to the beach, and the bottles of water in our cabin. Soda was twenty-five dollars for unlimited drinks, each.

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Free you say? If I knew all of this when I heard them say free, I would have never taken this offer. So you see, when someone calls and says, “You have won a FREE” whatever it may be, HANG UP! Do not take it, do not patronize them, just hang up. It sounds so good you will buy it by the end of their long speech. Nothing in this world is free. I don’t care how good it sounds, there is always a catch. It is up to us to be smart about our choices, have discernment about our decisions, and choose wisely on when to say yes. Would I go on a cruise again? Yes, I would. Just not this particular ship. Carnival and the other larger Cruise companies have no hidden fees. Now that I know what to expect, we would just pay up front, reserve our own hotel, and enjoy.

One thing I can say, is that after all of this, like I mentioned earlier, we came out with new friends! We all exchanged contact info, and are going to make it a point to travel at least once a year. I look forward to meeting up with them again later in the year in Las Vegas. There is hope for a successful vacation after all. It is always nice to have something to look forward to.

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Look at me?! I have rattled on and on about our trip, without ending.  I hope I have not detoured you away from going on a cruise. It is something everyone should do at least once. Don’t let life pass you by. Plan that vacation, save up a little at a time if you need to. But just do it! Life is too short not to enjoy it! Well, my tea is empty again. I am going to fill up, lay back and get ready for this thing called reality. I look forward to our next conversation, which will be soon. Vacation is over, time to get back to work. Be blessed, stay Southern.

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Images © copywrite. Owned by Sue Wilson. Taken on Vacation 2016.
Image created at https://imgflip.com/
Posted in Blog, Family

My dog thinks she is human!

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Hello! I’ve missed you! I must get better at this writing thing. My goal  is to blog everyday, although it is very difficult when a person is as busy as I am with a zillion things going on at one time. This week I have been super busy, well all the time, but this week seems more hectic than usual. It is mostly due to an addition to our family.

In the past, I used to be that person who laughed at pet lover’s and how spoiled their “family member” were. However, after getting a puppy for my birthday two years ago, I now understand. I am totally in love with my dog Button, a Chihuahua mixed with a mini Pincher. A “Chipin” they call it. Button, is now 2 years old, and I swear she thinks she is human! She has her own little personality, and thinks she is as huge as the neighbor’s Pit bull! She is our little killer who is afraid of everything she shouldn’t be, and brave to things she should be afraid of. I was told it is called an inferior complex. She knows she is small, so she growls like she is huge thinking that will scare what ever it is. No ma’am, sit down.12936657_10153343530826086_2969339280052039931_n

Of course, I spoil her rotten like any self respected southern woman does. Button eats what we eat, she sleeps with us in the bed, heck she tells us when it is bedtime! Just like a child, at 9:00 pm every night, she climbs up on my husband chest and looks him straight in the eyes, like she is trying to tell him something. It took us three days to figure out what she wanted. Freddie takes her outside, nothing. He gives her some fresh water, nope. “What does she want?” he asked. I said, “it’s her bedtime”, as serious as I could be. Of course, he laughed, and then laid down on the couch, covered himself with a blanket, and what did Button do? She crawled right up next to him, and went to sleep! I swear she thinks she is human.

Two days ago, I took Button to Bath, Barks and Bubbles downtown Birmingham. She loves going there, to her “doggie spa” to get a haircut, her nails clipped and painted. I spend more on my dog than I do myself. Anyhow, while there, I was asked if I wanted another dog? My first reaction, no! But, of course, I had to see him.

Lucky was brought in to the shop in January I believe she said, and they never came back. Now, I am praying that nothing happened to them, that they just could not take care of him. But Lucky has been living in the shop for three months. The owner started to put an ad in the Newspaper, but didn’t because she wanted to make sure Lucky received a good home. He is so adorable, and sweet. Needless to say, yes, Freddie and I just could not leave him. We went back the next day and picked him up.

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Button? Button is the queen of our home. She is in charge. My children, when they come to visit, they ask where is Button. My neighbor speaks to her every morning on her way to work, through the window, (we sleep with our windows open in the south).  The whole block knows Button, and she knows them. So you can imagine when Lucky came, she did not like sharing her attention. She is not happy with us! As a matter of fact, she is giving us the silent treatment. At first, if Button was in my lap, and Lucky tried to come near, she would growl at him. It has been about three days, and she is getting used to him now. Although, I just realized tonight that Lucky is eating his food and Button’s. So, I am going to give him to my mother as a birthday present. Button will one day be queen of our home again!

Until then, I must deal with not one, but two dogs, a part of my family, who think they are human. Lucky has quickly adapted to Button’s routine. He to, has a regular nap time, and bedtime. Meal times are excitement running through the house, thinking they are both going “to get what ever that smell is she is cooking”.  While I am sitting here writing about them, of course, they are both right at my feet. It is past their bedtime, and they are waiting on me to go to bed! So I guess I will end here for the night. I could go on and on about my “children”.

So tomorrow, on to the next task at hand, whatever that may be.  I will definitely keep you updated on both of my little ones. Until then, keep spoiling, be blessed, stay southern!

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Do you have pets in your home?  Tell me about them! I would love to hear your stories.  Post your pictures. Animals are precious and must be treated as such.

2012 – 2016 Icehouse Crafts. “My dog’s not spoiled, I’m just well trained”. http://icehousecrafts.com/item_330/My-Dogs-Not-Spoiled…Im-Just-Well-Trained-Sign.htm#.Vwx7g6QrK00
AllPosters.com. “A spoiled rotten Chihuahua lives here”. http://www.allposters.com/-sp/A-Spoiled-Rotten-Chihuahua-Tan-Lives-Here-Wood-Sign-Posters_i9560929_.htm

It’s Dinner Time, What Ya Cookin?

Hey ya’ll! Come on in! I’m glad you came! I was just cooking something up for dinner! You hungry?

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If you are from the south, That is probably what you will hear if you show up to someone’s house around dinnertime. And us Southerners, we love us some fried chicken. Well, any chicken really, but fried? Oh yeah! I mean the smell of the grease, the whole crusty, seasoned, spicy, juicy bite of it all! I’m making myself hungry just thinking about it.

The only drawback to all this Southern fried food? It’s so fattening! Recently, about three to four months ago, I made a decision to not eat anymore fried foods. I have been successful, for the most part. I slip every now and again. I just can’t help it! It smells so dang good when chicken is frying in all that grease!

Have you heard of JJ Smith? How about this new craze, the 10 day Green Smoothie cleanse? JJ Smith is a Nutritional counselor, popular for her Smoothie cook book “The 10 Day Green Smoothie cleanse”.  I have one, and you can get one to on Amazon.com, or in Walmart book section. (3) JJ Smith is awesome if you need encouragement to get healthy. She has a Facebook page and she also emails out recipes all the time.

10-Day Green Smoothie Cleanse: JJ Smith: 9781501100109: Amazon.com: Books

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Now I must tell you, I hate vegetables with a passion. However, I knew I had to do something to lose some weight. But I also knew I can not do another fad diet. I must change my eating habits. So a friend of mine mention these green smoothies to me. First look, they look nasty as heck! A green smoothie? I manned up, I tasted it, and wow! This is really good! I can do this! And, not only are veggies good for us, but the drink in itself, if done correctly, will jump-start your weight loss, increase your energy level, clear your mind, and improve your overall health.

So 2 weeks later, I have actually stuck with it for Breakfast and lunch everyday with a nice, healthy dinner. Now, I have heard some people say they drink nothing but the smoothies and healthy snacks for 10 days. I don’t feel as though this might be healthy. I mean, yes, the smoothie is all greens and fruit. Yes, it is good for your body to increase veggies, but to go without solid food, may be rather difficult for some. And when it is over, you must, ease back to solid food, or you will need to keep a toilet near by. You have pretty much Detoxed your body from everything you have ever eaten. Well, if you eat like I love to, that might not be such a bad thing. The key is to cleanse in moderation.

Which brings me to tonight’s meal. Of course, I am making Chicken! What did you think? But, it’s not just any chicken, its BETTER than fried Chicken. It is called Almond Crusted Baked Chicken, one of JJ’s recipes.

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Once cooked, it looks and smells amazing! It is covered in almonds, which  is going to bake into a golden crust. Then the herbs and spices used taste so delicious. Almonds are a really good source of protein and the egg whites instead of the whole egg, cuts cholesterol.

I have included the recipe below in case you want to try it out. There is a print or share option as well. So get to cooking, and fill up your home with the awesome smell of a good southern home cooked meal! Pour up a big glass of sweet tea, and stay southern!

Almond Crusted Chicken

INGREDIENTS:
– 15 ounces of chicken breast tenderloins
– 2 egg whites
– 1 cup of almonds
– 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
– 1 Teaspoon thyme
– 2 Teaspoon oregano
– 1 Teaspoon sea salt
– Sprinkle of black pepper
– Parchment paper

DIRECTIONS:
Preheat oven to 350 °F.
Create the coating: Add almonds, oregano, parmesan cheese, sea salt, black pepper and thyme to the food processor and process until it is an evenly textured consistency.
Put chicken on one plate and the egg whites on another plate and the coating on a third plate. Gently roll the each piece of chicken in egg whites, then in the coating, and put it on the parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for about 25-30 minutes.

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Reference: Copyright © 2011 Adiva Publishing  J.J. Smith – Discover Surprising Weight-Loss Secrets to Lose Weight Fast and Keep It Off!