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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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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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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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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Pumpkin Cupcakes with Burnt Marshmallow Icing

Were you worried I didn’t complete the challenge this month? Don’t worry, I remembered. I was quite worried I wasn’t going to so one day last week, Tuesday in fact I decided to make them. Normally I have my little one under my feet, but she wasn’t…. why? Because she was sick.

Tuesday morning when I woke up the house was chilly so I actually turned off the air (which wasn’t on) and turned on the heater. My girl woke up and she was complaining about being cold, but like I said the house had a chill so I wasn’t worried just yet. As the house started warming up, so did I. But she still kept complaining about being chilly. That’s. NOT. NORMAL. for her. I’m telling you, when the rest of us are cold, she’s just fine or even complaining about being warm. That bothered me.

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Thoughts….

Over the weekend we had our 5th Annual Chili Cookoff and silent auction to raise money for less fortunate kids for Christmas. I always hate to say it that way… I’m just not sure the best way to say it (politically correct), so for now, we’ll leave it that way.

Going into Saturday I was nervous. I was nervous about a lot of things. Worried people wouldn’t show up. Maybe that we wouldn’t raise much money at all. Who knows. All these different thoughts flew through my head.

Part of the reason I was worried people wouldn’t come was that bad weather was predicted to hit Saturday evening. Of course. A week before there was nothing but clear skies in the forecast, then it changed to severe weather predictions. Luckily it held off until the event was over and cleaned up. We sat and chatted and relaxed for maybe 30 minutes, then the wind blew. Jared asked if we felt that cold chill, and he said that meant hail was coming. I quickly said I’m outta here trying to outrun the storm and get home only to get to set under an overpass for 10 minutes waiting out the hail.

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Raising Money for Christmas {Last Three Months of the Year}

It’s no surprise that I LOVE CHRISTMAS. I do. I can’t hide that fact. Some people ask why I like it so much. This is kind of hard to put into words but I’ll try. There is something so magical around the time of year between Thanksgiving and Christmas. There is something in the air. The air is crisp, which it is also known I hate cold weather, but that time of year you know you need snow so that Santa can deliver his presents. Duh!

But there is a spirit among people. Yes, a lot of people are stressed out by Christmas and they say that the suicide rate is up around this time of year, but there are a lot of happy people around this time of year. They are out and about shopping for just the perfect present for their loved ones and friends. There is Christmas lights and Christmas music and little kids getting so excited that Santa will visit.

That is the thing though… Little kids get extremely excited about the thought of Santa visiting. Some little kids though are sad at this time of the year. Their family is going through some struggle and the thought of Christmas is far from their mind. That’s where Santa’s helpers come in to play.

There are organizations that are working year round to make sure that every little kid knows what Christmas is and knows that they aren’t forgotten. Santa’s helpers run fundraisers and ring bells, and everything else to raise money for presents for those deserving little kids.

I’m sure we all know this, right? So why am I discussing this? Well, because the last few years I have been working with one of those organizations. I have been volunteering my time to help raise money. To help raise awareness. All little kids are deserving all year round, but I want them to know my favorite time of year and have fond memories of it just like I have.

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Strawberry Birthday Cake

A slice of Strawberry cake sitting on a plate with the rest of the cake sitting on the cake plate behind it.

Today is my daddy’s birthday! Happy Birthday, daddy! I’m not sure though, that a birthday on a Monday is much fun. First off, I’m not sure of many people who like Monday’s… and secondly… read the first statement. Poor Monday does get a pretty bad rap… I wonder if people who Monday is their Saturday/Sunday hate Monday as bad as the rest of most of the world… Just a thought that has absolutely NOTHING to do with my daddy’s birthday.

Eggs

Abug and I have spent a lot of the summer learning (her not me, I’ve been teaching) how to bake. I’ve kind of created a monster really. Whoops. She wakes up a lot of mornings and asks what we are going to bake today. Haha. So I knew that she needed to bake Papa a birthday cake. I set out to decide what kind of birthday cake we were going to bake him. Little did I know, she had her own agenda. I finally decided upon a Cinnamon Roll Cake, but she changed my plans.

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