Apple Pie Cupcakes

I bet you thought I forgot, didn’t you? Well, truth be told, I didn’t forget but I did. The end of November snuck up on me like BAM! I’m here. It’s over. Neener neener neener. What the heck. I went to Orlando, I met a book deadline, Thanksgiving, and then WHAM! It was over. It was more so, I didn’t forget but I just ran out of time.

Okay, Nicole, what are you talking about? Haha… my Cupcake Challenge to myself. Remember that Food Network Magazine in January that started this whole thing? Well, it’s been lost many times. I’ve spilled crap on it. I’ve written all over it. But yet it still keeps coming back. Yey! I think I’m going to tear out those cupcake pages and put them in a book somewhere. If nothing else, for nostalgia purposes. Maybe to prove to myself that I was able to do it and surely I learned something about cupcakes, right?

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Thanksgiving 2017

Thanksgiving feastDesserts at my Father in Law's house - Thanksgiving 2017

Thanksgiving 2017 is on the books. It was a bit of a sad Thanksgiving this year as it was the first Thanksgiving without Grandma W. That first Thanksgiving is always awkward. Awkward and sad. This proved to be no different. And it was strange because my Father-in-laws house is always booming with people. Not this year though. There was still a fair amount of us, but still, it was different. (more…)

Hallmark Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanksgiving table

I saw a friend posted on Facebook yesterday (I think it was) a question asking if everyone had that perfect, Hallmark Thanksgiving Dinner. Then she asked what about those who had no one. I am paraphrasing. I guess I never really thought about it truthfully. We have Thanksgiving whether it’s my extended family or just my close family, either way, we celebrate it. In 2011, hubby and I made our first Thanksgiving meal. Prior to that we just attended Thanksgiving at family’s house.

I always had a goal to make a turkey. In 2012 we made our first Bacon Wrapped turkey. Yum! I think having a turkey is the only “traditional thing” we do. We play with sides. We play with turkey recipes. We’re not traditionalists. I remember one year at my aunt’s house she said we were having a “grown-up” Thanksgiving meal. It was good, but the only traditional part was having a turkey. I wish I was into taking pictures that Thanksgiving (as I am now) so I had a memory of what we actually had… I remember steamed green beans, roasted potato chunks, and that’s about my recollection of that menu.

But… do we have that Hallmark Thanksgiving Dinner? Good question. Here’s what Thanksgiving looks like at our house, give or take….

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Black Friday

Sitting pondering life drinking a cup of coffee

Guys, I’ve never been a “Black Friday Shopper.” Not in the sense of Black Friday shopping anyway. I’ve never stood in line hours or even the night before to get into a store. I’ve never been in a fighting match over the last hot item, etc. Truthfully, the reason is… I’m lazy. I like my sleep. The older I get, the easier it is to get up early, but I just flat out love my sleep.

Now don’t get me wrong, I usually do venture out on Black Friday, but my morning doesn’t start until closer to at least 7 am. And that time is pushing it. That might be my roll out of bedtime…

But these days I listen to the ads on tv and they talk about getting Black Friday prices NOW. Now happens to be 2 weeks or more before Thanksgiving. So It makes me wonder, are they going to do something special for Black Friday? Or are the days of true Black Friday shopping over?

I know people who are in the stores on Thursday night when they open. Roaming, looking for just that perfect deal… In fact, someday I may be one of them if need be to get my kid just what she wants. Truthfully I hope I’m not that person. Again… I like my sleep.

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The Keurig and a Wednesday Night

View of the coffee cup and the floor

I’m newer to the coffee scene. In fact, it isn’t my go-to drink, but I do like it sometimes. When hubby and I were first married, we got a coffee pot. One that made 12 cups. And he’s in the same boat on the coffee drinking as I am. So at that point in time, when we first started drinking it, we’d make a 12-cup pot for 1 cup that we split between the two of us. It was sad really.

Then we finally got a Keurig. That was the best thing for us. After that, we went on a mission to find our favorite type of coffee. We’d buy variety packs, etc. Okay, so now moving to current days….

Keurig 2.0

Since that first Keurig, we now have a Keurig 2.0. Not because we wore the other one out, but we got the 2.0 given to us. Technically, we now have 2, but just use the one. Anyway… This new one cracks me up. I swear it is the “nicest.” It tells me to “Add water Please.” Please. People can’t even say please but here’s my Keurig being nice. I giggle every morning I use it when I see the politeness of the machine.

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Horses are related to Skunks and other musings

Horse on one side of the fence from a group of horses

Horses are related to skunks. If that title doesn’t make you giggle or seriously question my sanity, I’m not sure what does or will.

Why on earth would I compare a horse to a skunk? Well if you haven’t been around horses much, you’re in for quite a surprise. My mornings consist of the same things… wake up, answer emails/read blogs, go outside and turn horses out, start the rest of my day. Not always in the same order and sometimes not for very long on any of the above, but one thing is always certain… I’m going to turn the horses out.

Why not? I mean, they enjoy the great outdoors, right? So… I still haven’t answered that question… why am I comparing the horses to skunks? My horses are trained. I walk in the barn, open the back door, open each individual stall door, and they walk themselves out the back of the barn. Then I close the back gate, get the stud and throw a rope around his neck (because most days I’m too lazy to put the halter on him), and walk him out to his pen.

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Talking/Feeling like an Idiot

DEMA entrance at the Orange County Convention Center

While we were in Orlando, gosh 2 weeks ago, I had an opportunity to speak with a lot of professionals in the SCUBA diving industry. Not only did we stop and have a visit with our SCUBAPRO Rep, Scott, but we spoke with guys from SDI, the SCUBA diving group that we are certified through.

Plus, Deb paid a little extra for the two of us to be able to sit in on any and all session conferences. Let’s just say, I spoke with diving professionals from all over the world. I remember Australia, Denmark, Fiji, Mexico, and some places I can’t even remember.

Deb and I played a game for the opportunity to win a trip to Fiji. I doubt I won that… especially because it’s been two weeks and they haven’t notified me. They did contact me through email to tell me about some really great packages they offer. We’ll add that to my bucket list along with Greece. I want to go to Greece, so why not dive while I’m there.

I hit up the dive master’s that we dive with in Cozumel for pictures (he’s owed me since May), a recipe (which he rattled off but I couldn’t write down so he said he’d email… still waiting), and told him I wanted a sponsor for the underwater photography festival in April (worth a shot, right?).

But the one thing that really bothers me is… When I was talking to one of the guys from SDI, I felt like a complete moron. When I walked away from the conversation I felt like I was trying to impress him with my blog/SEO/etc knowledge that I probably don’t have.

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Orlando, Florida: What to Eat, Where to Stay, What to Do

So my husband and I got to attend DEMA (Diver’s Equipment & Marketing Association) 2017, Go Dive Now. This is a yearly show that bounces between Las Vegas and Orlando, although I’ve heard a rumor that they are adding New Orleans into the mix in a couple years. But this was the year that DEMA was in Orlando. That means we hopped a plane with Deb and Grady and flew to Orlando, Florida.

Where to Eat

The first question is…. Where to eat in Orlando. Oh gosh. We were there at the Orange County Convention Center on International Drive. Let me just tell you there were gobs of GREAT places to eat, but here’s what we chose… And let’s just say, YUM!

Dunkin Donuts

7440-A International Drive, Orlando, FL 32819

We actually had a Dunkin Donuts almost right outside our hotel room. Not quite but pretty darn close. In fact, we had a lot of breakfast places right in that area. The first day we were there, hubby and I chose to walk here and get breakfast. Good choice!

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