A while back, I had a few friends tell me they started using the Clarisonic for cleaning their face.  They all loved it.  Which led me to checking it out and then *gasping* at the price.  Holy hell, I was not going to spend over $100 on something to wash my face.  Not to mention you had to replace the brushes, buy the wash, etc.  So, I stuck with my face wash and washcloth routine.

Last spring, I was running around Target (for probably the 18th time that week) and saw a similar product, the Olay Pro-X, for a less than a third of the price.  I threw it in the cart and figured, it must not be nearly as good as the Clarisonic, but oh well!

I still have not tried the Clarisonic, but I love the Olay Pro-X.  It gets my face much, much cleaner then just using a normal face wash.  There are also multiple cleaners and exfoliators I can use with the brush.  My face has felt a lot cleaner and softer.

Has anyone tried the Clarisonic?  Is there a huge benefit I am missing?  Or can I jut stick to my much cheaper and still fabulous Olay Pro-X?

Told ya there was more!  This time, I will start off on a positive note and share with you one of HJ’s new favorite dinners

806223Crock Pot Chicken and Dumplings.  He gobbled this right up and it was super easy!  The only thing I would say, is that the biscuits actually took about double the time the recipe states.

I have a glass stove top, and it typically is not spotless.  It is hard to clean.  So when I saw this

80361174571843273_VVupMeBD_cI decided to check it out.  And it did work!  It was hard to get all the baking soda off, but it looks much, much better.

Then I tried this on my legs…

tumblr_m6p1gt9OMY1r9wdo0o1_500It stated it would make your legs oh so smooth.  Good self pampering, if you will.  I noticed it just took a lot of time, and I am impatient.  And I think shaving cream has the same effect.

For a yummy side dish, try this

211528513719899408_yUOJxjwA_cBalsamic Roasted Red Potatoes.  They were a great side for pork tenderloin!  And, the left overs were even yummy (that’s a true test in my book).

And a bit of a “takes time to make, but worth it” recipe…

211528513720008464_vK5YDFLh_cCheesecake Factory Shrimp Scampi.  IT WAS GOOOOOD.  This would be a great “impress your date” dinner.  Unless of course you set the fire alarm off and burn your neck with flying grease like I did.  In which case, your date just might take over while you drink wine and wave smoke out of the house.  God, I am smooth.

It’s been a while since I have done a post on my pinterest accomplishments and failures, so here ya go!

First off, a fail!  Woohoo!  I tried this…

regrowing scallionsYou know how you buy a bunch of green onions because they come in a bundle at the store?  And then you only need 2 of them?  And then the rest go bad before you use them?  And as soon as you throw them out you say, “damn it, I need 1 tablespoon green onion for this meal!”  Yeah, me to.  So I saw on pinterest that you can just plunk the left over onions in a glass of water and they keep growing.  Awesomely enough, they do keep growing!  Not awesomely enough, after a while the roots get moldy.  And I don’t think you should eat moldy root green onions.  Even in a pinch.  So I tossed them in the trash.  Along with the glass they had been growing in…because that was nasty to.  But as I was typing this, I actually read the original source of this green onion trick, and it does say to periodically take them out and rinse the roots…whoops, my bad.  Maybe I should have read the directions first.

The next failure…

6a00e55391c48e88330105366ff3a4970cCute huh?  It seemed so easy.  For the record, mine was not a circle.  the ornaments looked horribly jumbled.  I tried the glue and everything.  Instead I wound up with lots and lots of dollar store ornaments that I have no idea what to do with.  And a bent wire hanger.

And here is a pinterest success!

35043703320207725_S2OuOlkn_cYeah, no real talent goes into this, there isn’t even a link to an original source (I swear I am not stealing this idea as my own).  But, this has come in handy when HJ has medication!  Just check off when you give it to him and then I don’t sit there and think, “have I already given him that this morning?”  Especially if your child loves medication and requests it all the time like mine does.

I had a friend over for dinner a while back and made this

Chipotle-Salad-Pizza-008-1024x768Chipotle Chicken Taco Salad!   It was yummy, the only thing is it was a bit time-consuming to make, lots of chopping!  This would be good for a ladies luncheon though.  I am not a lady who lunches though, so maybe for one of you classy people.  Also, it made a lot.  If it is just for 2 people, cut it in half…and leave the dressing off.  That way, you can just put the dressing on as you need it and you don’t end up with leftover soggy salad.  No one likes soggy salad.

Then there was this…

155726099585060939_OLqC3D7O_cHoly yum.  This cookie dough dip was freaking fabulous.  I am sure it is low in calories too, ha.  I served it with cinnamon graham crackers.  It is a bit rich, but that just means you won’t consume the whole bowl in one sitting.  That is probably a good thing.

And another “sort of” failure…

121949102379642148_5MLSqqmC_cI always have something explode on an airplane, so I followed this travel rule.  And wouldn’t you know, it worked!  However I forgot to do it to one item.  And guess what?  It exploded.

I have lots more to come!  What pinterest wins/losses have you had lately?

Recently, I spent some time browsing pinterest for Valentine ideas.  Then I went to etsy.

While on etsy, I came across THIS STORE.  And fell in love with these cute little things:

il_570xN.409728414_4nr0I immediately placed my order for HJ to hand out at daycare.  I emailed Lesley from Stuck Like Glue Crafts and she has offered all my readers a 25% discount on items from her shop.  Just enter in the code singlemama to receive the discount.

After 5 years of no vacationing, my streak came to an end.  The boyfriend invited me to go with him to Colorado, and I decided to give it a go.  Then came the realization I had never left HJ for more than 48 hours.  And I panicked.  I felt like a bad mom.

But you know what?  After 3 years of not taking much of a break, I decided I deserved it.  I also wanted HJ to know I was thinking of him while I was gone, even if I was planning on calling every 8 hours.

Before I left town, I wrote HJ a little note for every day and attached it to a small gift.

IMG_3548

IMG_3549 IMG_3553 IMG_3552The gifts were small things I mostly had lying around the house just waiting for a special occasion.  Nana said that he would ask her for his gift in the morning and had fun ripping open the packages.

What things have you done to help prepare your kids for mom or dad leaving?

Ugh.  The never-ending, on-going cycle of child support frustrations.Here is what recently happened…

HJ’s dad told me he submitted a new modification order.  Since he is not working, receiving no benefits/assistance, and has had 2 other kids since our original order was put in place 2 years ago, he will probably get his child support lowered to about $10/month.

Are you frikken kidding me?

When he told me this, I remained calm.  What I wanted to say was, “you just bought your girlfriend a frikken diamond engagement ring.  You are going on a vacation in a week.  Your Christmas tree was piled high with presents.”

What I really said was, “have you found a job yet?”

He said no, and that he isn’t looking.  His fiance and him have decided he will stay home with the kids while she works.

But the thing is, he still has another child to think about.  That is fine and dandy that they can afford to have him stay at home, but they should also be able to provide the support for his other child.  AmIRight??

Naturally, I was frustrated.  I called the child support office right away.  And like always, the lovely lady who is my contact, explained to me this…

She said as now, there is no modification order in her hands, so he still owes me the previous set amount.  Also, in May, he had said he would start paying a minimum of $200/month, which has never been received.  Meaning, his license has been sanctioned in the state of Iowa.

Great, he doesn’t live in Iowa.

The state of Nevada has 30 days left to acknowledge that they received our order.  Once that happens, his license should also be sanctioned there.

If a modification order does get submitted by him, it is likely the amount would be changed to the $10.  On one hand, that is $10/month then I am getting now.  On the other hand, WTF.  $10 does not help raise a child.  That doesn’t even cover 1/3 of a day of daycare!However, it takes a minimum of 180 days to put a modification order in place if both parties agree to it.  If I don’t agree and want to dispute it, it will take much, much longer (gotta love how damn slow the system is), meaning he will still owe me the larger amount until the judge makes it official.

But a judge will also look at the fact that he has 2 other kids to support.  And no income.  So either way, the amount is going to go way, way down.

The state of Iowa does not seek work orders, meaning that even if he owes support, they won’t ask him to get a job.  He can stay at home raising his daughters, while his fiance makes more than enough money to support them all.  While I am struggling to make ends meet for his son.

Christmas Eve morning, HJ and I woke up and ran back to nana and papa’s house to see what Santa left in our stockings.

232323232%7Ffp54357)nu=3276)68;)56 )WSNRCG=387998763632(nu0mrj 232323232%7Ffp73493)nu=3276)68;)56 )WSNRCG=387998585632(nu0mrjThe boys could hardly wait, and HJ insisted on trying to carry everything around at once.  We played with all of our goodies

232323232%7Ffp543 ;)nu=3276)68;)56 )WSNRCG=387998585732(nu0mrjand then hit the road to go to great-grandma and grandpa’s house.

The kids were all anxious to see what MORE they got for Christmas.

232323232%7Ffp5439 )nu=3276)68;)56 )WSNRCG=387998586 32(nu0mrjThat night we cuddled in at home by our tree and watched Christmas movies.

 

232323232%7Ffp73499)nu=3276)68;)56 )WSNRCG=387998588532(nu0mrj

And while we were tucked in bed, Santa came and stuffed HJ’s stocking full of goodies and left behind just what he had asked for.

232323232%7Ffp54369)nu=3276)68;)56 )WSNRCG=387998588932(nu0mrj

A pirate ship!

232323232%7Ffp73478)nu=3276)68;)56 )WSNRCG=387998588 32(nu0mrj The picture is blurry because he was moving to much, but you can see the excitement in his face!

232323232%7Ffp543; )nu=3276)68;)56 )WSNRCG=387998588;32(nu0mrj

He had fun playing

232323232%7Ffp73476)nu=3276)68;)56 )WSNRCG=387998589432(nu0mrjBut soon discovered there was more…

232323232%7Ffp54368)nu=3276)68;)56 )WSNRCG=38799858 ;32(nu0mrjHJ also learned it was fun to help others open.

232323232%7Ffp734 5)nu=3276)68;)56 )WSNRCG=38799858;732(nu0mrjHe also liked to help pick up.

232323232%7Ffp543 )nu=3276)68;)56 )WSNRCG=38799858;932(nu0mrjAfter the gifts were all open, HJ played while I got brunch ready/

232323232%7Ffp73486)nu=3276)68;)56 )WSNRCG=3879989 (832(nu0mrjAnd then we tried to get a family picture.

232323232%7Ffp54355)nu=3276)68;)56 )WSNRCG=3879989;3332(nu0mrj 232323232%7Ffp73479)nu=3276)68;)56 )WSNRCG=3879989 ( 32(nu0mrj 232323232%7Ffp73487)nu=3276)68;)56 )WSNRCG=3879989;3532(nu0mrjAfter brunch, we relaxed a little bit and then headed out the door to go to a Christmas dinner feast!

The boyfriend was cooking away at his parents house making prime rib and live lobster.  While the food was getting ready…or walking around the garage…his parents surprised HJ and myself with gifts.  HJ was so excited and immediately started playing with his new remote control car.

The dinner was yummy and HJ even tried lobster (and no, he didn’t like it).

HJ and I got home that night and snuggled up on the couch to watch one of his new movies.

I am lucky enough to be able to take off almost 2 weeks of work to enjoy the holidays.  And even better?  My last day of scheduled work was cancelled due to a blizzard.  The holidays started a day early!

We started with frosting cookies at nana and papa’s house.

232323232%7Ffp54399)nu=3276)68;)56 )WSNRCG=387997(3; 32(nu0mrjAnd yes, his mouth is covered in frosting.

232323232%7Ffp54376)nu=3276)68;)56 )WSNRCG=387997(3;732(nu0mrjAnd yes, he may have gone a bit overboard with the sprinkles.

That weekend, HJ got to spend the night with nana and papa while the boyfriend and I went to Des Moines for the Cirque du Soleil show.

We started the night with an incredible dinner at Alba, where we had martinis, a bottle of wine…oh and fabulous food.

After dinner, we caught a cab to head to the show.  It was INCREDIBLE.  I can not believe the skill that the artists have and was constantly amazed by their performances.

After the show, we hit up an arcade to play games (seriously).  I may have lost in ski ball, DDR and basketball before I insisted we go to another location.

The next morning we had bloody mary’s at the hotel pool and went to Jordan Creek Mall to do some shopping.

We finished up our Des Moines trip by meeting up with the boyfriends parents and grandma for lunch, who just happened to be driving through town.

We drove back home to help celebrate Christmas with my family.  HJ was excited to start ripping into his presents.  His cousins got him some cute Melissa and Doug puzzles that he loves doing and his nana and papa got him an imaginext batcave.

232323232%7Ffp543(8)nu=3276)68;)56 )WSNRCG=387998763232(nu0mrjThat night, we went home to rest up for the next days Christmas Eve festivities.  Yes, Christmas was 3 days long this year!

I have always been intrigued by the stock market.  How to read what is going on, making money by “guessing” which stocks to buy, etc.  But, I have always been afraid to put my own money into it and know where to make the risk.

Then I came across a virtual stock market game.  It allows you to learn about investing concepts and the best way to build up a portfolio.  Without losing your money.  Hopefully, this will allow me to feel more comfortable investing my money and giving the whole stock market thing a try.