The kids are grown, now what?: 2016

Monday, July 11, 2016

Once a Caregiver not Always a Caregiver

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

Depend® Fit-Flex® Underwear for Women

I don't know if I've ever told you that I was once a respiratory therapist. I cared for people in the ICU and the surgical ICU. I also cared for my father-in-law when he became ill many years ago. It's an interesting thing becoming the person that is cared for after years of caring for others. Ryan does a great job of caring for me and that's because we keep the lines of communication open at all times. Communication is the most important part of a care giving relationship. The second most important thing is that the care giver has outside resources like the Family Caregiving site at Sam's Club.

It's been a long time since I've updated you on my health. My health has taken a large downhill curve since the last time we talked. In addition to the colitis, my arthritis is wreaking havoc on my body, and remember that back surgery I had in 2014? I blew the disc above the previous fusion and I'm scheduled for another surgery in August. The pain is so bad that I have difficulty walking and that in turn means that I am walking a LOT slower. Guess what happens when you walk slow? You guessed it! You often have accidents before reaching the bathroom. Embarrassing? Yes. Is it the end of the world? Definitely not.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Strawberry Syrup

This post contains affiliate links. 
Strawberry Sauce with Ice Cream

Last weekend we hosted a baby shower for Ryan's best friend Wanda. One of the things Wanda wanted for her shower was a Sundae bar. We purchased most of the toppings but I wanted to make the strawberry syrup. It's nice to put in a personal touch whenever you can. We also made Chicken Taquitos to be served along side the Walking Tacos, (recipe coming soon). It was a great party filled with love and I will be posting photos soon.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Norm's June Favorites

This post is sponsored by All thoughts and opinions are mine and Norm's!

Norm and Eugene

Norm has been through so much in the last couple of months. Recovering from Acute Pancreatitis and a Clostridial infection is hard work and he's lost some weight because of it. He was a champ all through his illness. He played with his squeaky ball even though he tired easily. He loves sitting on the porch seeing all there is to see and smelling all the good smells.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Not a Philly Cheesesteak Sandwich

Not a Philly Cheesesteak Sandwich

After my parents divorced my father and grandmother got an apartment at Lynnewood Gardens. This was perfect because I took the bus to Lynnewood Elementary School and I could walk to their place from school. There was a hoagie shop not far from their apartment and whenever we got hoagies my father would get a cheesesteak with tomato sauce. It was delicious and I have never seen it offered anywhere else.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Last Minute Father's Day Gift Ideas

This post is sponsored, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

When I was growing up there were not a lot of fragrance options for men. My father wore Brut and I thought he was the best smelling dad in the whole world. That was a long time ago and we are in a whole new world where there are not only great fashions for men, but a world of top notch fragrances as well.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Ethan Stowell for Zulily Father's Day Contest

This post is sponsored by Zulily. I have been compensated with a gift card. All thoughts and opinions are my own. This post may contain affiliate links. 

I have to begin this post by saying; Hi, my name is Melissa and I am a Zulily addict! If you are not familar, Zulily is a curated shopping experience like no other. Every morning new sales begin and they offer up to 70% off of retail prices. There is something for everyone and one of my favorite areas to explore is gourmet foods and kitchen needs.

Finding Dory Activity Sheets and More

Finding Dory Poster

Finding Dory, the sequel to Finding Nemo, opens in theaters around the country TODAY! I am super excited about this movie. I've seen Finding Nemo more than once. It's movie about family and the unconditional love that parents have for their children. Judging from the trailer, Finding Dory is all of that and more! Check out the trailer!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

South Dakota is #OrlandoStrong

I remember the first time I had an intense crush on a girl. I had spent my summer at a Girl Scout camp called Camp Laughing Waters. One of the counselors was a woman named Betsy Brown AKA Sarge. Sarge stirred such intense feelings in me. I followed her all over camp. On the last day of camp I was lucky enough to get a goodbye hug from her. That hug made my summer. 

Saturday, June 11, 2016

New York Deviled Eggs

This post is sponsored by The Condiment Connection. All thoughts, opinions and recipes are my own.

Condiment Connection

I was born and lived on the east coast until I was 12. I lived just outside of Philadelphia but spent a lot of time in New York visiting my uncle and cousins. What I miss most is the flavors of Philadelphia and New York. That is I did until I found out about the Condiment Connection!

Friday, June 10, 2016

Slowcooker Italian Roast Beef

Slowcooker Italian Roast Beef

I love roast beef. I have wonderful memories about roast beef. My FIL used to make outstanding roast beef every Sunday. It was perfect, rare in the middle and medium well on the ends. Then he would make this delicious gravy to go with it. We would play poker after dinner. Good times.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Italian Chicken

This post contains affiliate links. 

Italian Chicken

I used up the last of those beautiful green tomatoes last night. Although it wasn't green anymore! It had ripened to a beautiful red. I won't be able to get to the Farmer's Market again until next week because Ryan has to work tomorrow and then she is going to a Hunger Games marathon at a friend's house. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Chicken Fajitas

Chicken Fajitas

Onions and garlic are two of my favorite ways to add flavor to a dish. I picked up the most wonderful spring onions and chives while I was at the Farmer's market this past Saturday. The spring onions had a slight blush of red. A gorgeous color and the flavor didn't disappoint.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Fried Green Tomatoes

Fried Green Tomatoes with Ranch Dressing

We hit up my favorite place in Rapid City on Saturday. The Black Hills Farmer's Market! I brought home a fresh and delicious haul of produce and herbs! One of my farmer's market finds was hydroponic green tomatoes. They were gorgeous!They were also delicious. I saw those tomatoes and immediately began craving fried green tomatoes. There is just something about that crispy outside and tangy inside that is so satisfying!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Norm's May Favorites

This post is sponsored by We received product in order to facilitate our review. All thoughts and opinions are mine and Norm's!  


Last month I told you about Norm's clostridial enteritis. He did great while he was on the medication. Then he finished it and got even sicker. We have him on a limited diet and another round of antibiotics. Cross your fingers that this works!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Lane Bryant Memorial Day Sale and Giveaway

This post is sponsored by Lane Bryant. I received a gift card in exchange for my honest opinion. 

Lane Bryant Logo

Me and Ryan 

Ryan and I are curvy girls who have eclectic tastes in fashion. As you can see in the photo, I like to wear combat boots while wearing a cocktail dress and Ryan loves vibrant colors. One of our favorite places to find clothes for both of us is Lane Bryant. I have been ordering clothes from the Lane Bryant web site for many years. A few years ago everything changed when they opened a store in Rapid City!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Lamb Patties with Tzatziki Sauce

This post contains affiliate links. 

Lamb Patties with Tzatziki Sauce

The weather is warming and the Black Hills Farmer's Market is on Spring hours! It's too early in the season in South Dakota for most produce although we do have one hydroponic gardener who has the most amazing tomatoes! My favorite produce stand is selling herb plants right now. Soon he will have some of the most awesome vegetable stands. And then there's the lamb. There's a local ranch that raises New Zealand lamb. I try to stock up in the fall but we never make it through the winter. Lamb is one of my favorite forms of protein. This was the first stand that I hit up! And we're going back for more this Saturday!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Pork Lo Mein

This post is sponsored by Explore Cuisine and contains affiliate links. All thoughts,opinions and recipes are my own.

Gluten Free Pork Lo Mein

May is Celiac Awareness Month. At our house every day is Celiac Awareness. When we first went gluten free 6 years ago, many people accused us of jumping on a fad. It's no fad for my daughter Ryan. We read the ingredients on every processed food that we buy. When we go out to eat we talk to the chef to find out what is safe for her. If Ryan eats gluten she gets a horrible rash on her legs, she has large amounts of blood in her stool and experiences joint pain, diarrhea and stomach cramps.It took years to discover what was wrong with her.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Pork Tacos

Pork Tacos

Do you ever have one of those days where you take something out of the freezer to thaw for dinner but have no idea what you are going to make? Yeah, that was me yesterday. I took out a pound of center cut boneless pork chops and then texted back and forth with my daughter, what do you want? I don't know, what do you want? You get it!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Dry Rub Baked Chicken

Dry Rub Baked Chicken

It's grilling season but it's not. The weather has been warming up nicely. We were in the 60s yesterday and expect to be in the high 80s by the weekend. We grilled for Mother's Day but it's been way too windy to grill at all lately. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

CF Champions, Navigating the Journey Together

This post was sponsored by Walgreens Cystic Fibrosis Services as part of an Influencer Activation by Influence Central. I received compensation as a thank you for my post.

Eli and Ryan

This is a photo of my two youngest. They were born a little more than a year apart. My chubby girl and my skinny boy. What you can't tell from this photo is that my son was very sick. He was malnourished and dehydrated and in danger of dying because they could not figure out what was wrong with him. One of the first tests that his doctor ran was a sweat test. A positive sweat test is indicative of Cystic Fibrosis (CF). Children with CF excrete a lot of salt in their sweat. Eli's test was negative.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Party, Snap, Share, Win with Oriental Trading

This post is sponsored by Oriental Trading. I received no compensation for this post.

Oriental Trading Instagram Contest

It's that time of year again, party time! Graduation parties, end of school year parties, summer fun parties, you name it, we celebrate it!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

$100 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway

Welcome to the giveaway! This post contains affiliate links.


I love Amazon. I become a Prime Member about 7 years ago. I get free two day shipping, unlimited movies and tv shows, music downloads, free ebooks, free phone apps, all due to my Prime membership. It pays for itself! Here's your chance to win a $100 Amazon Gift Card. What will you do with it?

Prize: $100 Amazon Gift Card
Giveaway organized by: Oh My Gosh Beck! (Please email with any questions.)
Rules: Use the Rafflecopter form to enter daily. Giveaway ends 5/26 and is open worldwide. Winner will be notified via email.
a Rafflecopter giveaway 

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Jenny Craig at Walmart!

This post is sponsored. I was provided a free Jenny Craig Weight Loss Starter Kit in order to facilitate my review. All thoughts, recipes and opinions are my own. 

Jenny Craig Weight Loss Kit at Walmart

Can you believe it? 

I am so excited by this! 

My surgeon told me that I had to cut carbs and lose 35 lbs. Guess what happened? Cutting carbs didn't agree with my body at all. My body is unable to digest all of those raw veggies. I became very ill. I went back to my old diet and instead of losing 35 lbs I gained 15!

Monday, May 9, 2016

Shish Kabob

Grilled Shish Kabob

Yesterday was Mother's Day and I told the kids that I wanted to grill out. Eli brought his grill over. We fired it up and made chicken drumsticks, baked potatoes,cucumber salad and Shish Kabob. It was such a delicious meal and cooked up so quickly!

Friday, May 6, 2016

Norm's April Favorites

This post is sponsored by All thoughts and opinions are my own and Norm's own.

Norm Eating

We took Norm in for his checkup the other day. Outside of having clostridial enteritis and a horrible case of separation anxiety he is in perfect health for a Great Dane of his age. He is now on flagyl for his infection and he is doing so much better.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Gluten Free Stovetop Ham & Broccoli Mac & Cheese

Gluten Free Stovetop Ham and Broccoli Mac & Cheese

This is the end of the leftover ham recipes! We started out with Orange & Honey Glazed Ham in the slowcooker. Then we had Creamy Ham and Potato Soup. Don't forget the delicious Loaded Baked Potatoes! I also made a Denver Omelet. Let me know if you are interested in that recipe and I'll post it. Now we are ending with Stovetop Ham and Broccoli Mac & Cheese. Not bad for a $9.00 ham! That's what I call getting the most bang from my food bucks!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Mother's Day Gifts from Novica

This post contains affiliate links. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

One of my favorite places to shop is Novica. I am one of those people that likes things funky, vibrant, colorful and unusual. Novica fits that bill. The best part of Novica is that all items are fair trade. Meaning you are helping an artist in another country earn a living wage when you purchase a product from Novica. And there is something for everyone!

Monday, May 2, 2016

Gluten Free Chicken Taquitos

This post is sponsored by IMUSA. I received product in order to facilitate my recipe. All thoughts, opinions and recipes are my own.

Gluten Free Chicken Taquitos

I have had the honor of working with IMUSA for the last 5 years. IMUSA makes kitchen products that make your homemade Hispanic foods taste better! IMUSA has been in business for 80 years so they've had plenty of time to make great products!

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Mother's Day with Gourmet Gift Baskets

This post is sponsored by I received a gift basket in order to facilitate my review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Logo

FedEx showed up at my house yesterday with a terrific gift from Gift Tag

The only thing I like better than getting a gift basket is giving one. I sent one to my grandmother every year on her birthday and Mother's Day. My Bubbe was a type 1 diabetic so I would send her something that she could eat. Every year I sent either a fresh fruit basket or a dried fruit basket. I hope she enjoyed receiving them as much as I enjoyed the giving.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Creamy Ham & Potato Soup

Gluten Free Creamy Ham & Potato Soup

I FINALLY made soup. This cold and damp weather has my body screaming for soup. You will not believe how quickly this soup comes together or how delicious and satisfying this soup is.This is good soup by itself. When you add the toppings it transform into a great soup. Serve it with some cheesy garlic bread and you have a delicious meal.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Loaded Baked Potatoes

Naturally Gluten Free Loaded Baked Potatoes

It's been raining and snowing for the last week. The house is cold and damp. My pain levels are sky high. When my world is full of cold, damp and pain, I want soup. Well, I didn't make soup because some of the tools that I needed to make soup were sitting in the sink waiting to be washed and I can no longer stand long enough to wash dishes. So, I did what I do so often. With Ryan's help I threw together dinner on the fly. We'll have soup tonight instead!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Starbucks Giveaway

I have an addiction. I am addicted to Starbucks Vanilla Bean Frappuccino with 2 pumps of toffee nut. Delicious! Of course I have to add some of that super yummy lemon pound cake to go with my Frappuccino. I get this combo every time we go. Of course we don't go too often. I don't want my addiction to turn into a problem!

Slowcooker Orange and Honey Glazed Ham

This post is not sponsored!

Slowcooker Orange and Honey Glazed Ham

We spend a good part of our food budget each month at Target. One of my favorite ways to save is to load up my Target Cartwheel app. Target had this incredible deal on Cartwheel, 50% off of an Archer Farms Spiral Ham. Ryan had to head over there to pick up my prescriptions and I asked her to check it out.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Sashka Co Roll On Glass Bead Bracelets

This post is sponsored by Sashka Co. I received product in order to facilitate my review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

SashkaCo Logo

I was playing on Twitter not too long ago when a company called Sashka Co. followed me. I like to check out the people and companies that follow me. I clicked on over to their web site and was wowed! Sashka Co, offers fair trade roll on glass bead bracelets hand made by women in Nepal. These bracelets are beautiful. There are so many designs and colors to choose from. The best part? These bracelets fit everyone! They roll right on to your wrist and they fit beautifully.

Monday, April 25, 2016


Gluten Free Spasagna

I love lasagna. We have not had lasagna for dinner for a long time because I have yet to meet a gluten free lasagna noodle that I like. That does not mean there aren't great gluten free lasagna noodles out there. It just means that I have to try them!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Music Transcends

Me and Leigh and Kent enjoying the 1984 Chicago Blues Festival

"You can love Prince and mourn his death without coopting Black culture to do it."

 I read the above quote this morning. It confused me. I am not really sure how loving Prince and mourning his death coopts Black culture. I have spent the last few hours thinking about it. I'd like to share my thoughts with you.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Italian Biscuits & Gravy

This post is sponsored by Disney Publishing Worldwide on behalf of The Chew an Essential Guide to Cooking and Entertaining. This post contains affiliate links. I received a copy of the book to facilitate my review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Gluten Free Italian Biscuits and Gravy

Eleven o'clock Monday through Friday mornings you will find me parked in front of the TV ready to watch The Chew on ABC. Michael, Mario, Carla, Daphne and Clinton join me in my living room making me laugh and giving me tips and ideas to spruce up my menu planning.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Pineapple Chicken and Rice Bowl

Pineapple Chicken and Rice Bowl

I am so sad. This is the last meal I made in my slowcooker. It cracked and bit the dust. I got about 3 years of heavy duty use out of it so I can't really complain but I will miss it and I need to get a new one VERY soon as I use it at least 3 times a week. I am taking suggestions on which one I should get.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

National Mobility Awareness Month

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.

I have severe arthritis in my spine. The arthritis is causing my discs to deteriorate which in turn causes pain, numbness in my legs and the occasional fall. On a good day I use a cane to walk, on a bad day I use a walker, on my worst days I need help getting from my bed to the bathroom.

Let me tell you about my Aunt Bonnie. Bonnie had polio when she was in her late teens. The polio caused paralysis and she was a paraplegic for the rest of her life. Think about this, Bonnie was a young woman in a wheelchair with very few mobility options. She ended up working her entire life for the rights of the disabled and because of her hard work Philadelphia was one of the first cities in the United States to recognize the rights of the disabled.

The NMEDA (National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association) would like you to know that mobility is not the issue that it once was. In fact, there are many options to help you and/or your loved ones get around!
SanTan Honda Odyssey

From ramps to hand controls and everything in between NMEDA QAP dealers can help you purchase, customize and modify the vehicle that fits your needs. NMEDA dealers are available throughout the United States and Canada. They can help you with the five steps to finding the perfect wheelchair accessible vehicle for you.
Did you know that there is government funding and rebates available to help you pay for your vehicle?

May is National Mobility Awareness Month and you can nominate a local hero to win one of three wheelchair accessible vehicles. Nominations can be made April 20,2016 through May 31,2016 and voting begins May31, 2016. So nominate and vote for your local hero today!

Visit Sponsors Site

Monday, April 18, 2016

Passover Haggadot

This post contains affiliate links which help keep this blog running. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Maxwell House Passover Haggadah

Who remembers the Maxwell House Passover Haggadah? Doing a little research, I found out that they are still available and you can find them online for only $2.00 for shipping and handling for each Haggadah ordered! Apparently the most recent update to the Maxwell House Haggadah happened in 2011. (I found mine on ebay about 10 years ago.) What Jewish household is complete without one?

Friday, April 15, 2016

Magic Max's Crunch Puff Marshmallow Bars

This post is sponsored by Manischewitz. I received product in order to facilitate my recipe creation. All thoughts,opinions and recipes are my own.

Magic Max's Gluten Free for Passover Crunch Puff Marshmallow Bars

When I was a little girl a Passover snack meant a piece of matzo with cream cheese and jelly, a macaroon or a couple of jellied fruit slices or a piece of real fruit. Not too many options. Even six years ago when we went gluten free there were even less options for a Passover snack much less a gluten free Passover.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Deviled Fish Cakes

This post is sponsored by Mainschewitz. I did receive product to facilitate my review. All thoughts, opinions and recipes are my own.

Gluten Free Deviled Fish Cakes

I had three grandmothers. My mother's mother, my father's mother and my mother's step-mother. After my mother's mother died my grandfather married a woman who was a caterer, her name was Esther. Esther was a phenomenal cook! She made everything taste amazing, even Gefilte Fish! Esther is the reason that I love Gefilte Fish. I know that a lot of people have nightmares about it but I have nothing but fond memories. And what I miss most about Esther is her Gefilte Fish!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Shepherd's Pie

This post contains affiliate links to help you find the best products possible to make a delicious recipe.

Shepherd's Pie

One of my favorite leftovers in the whole world is leftover lamb. There are so many things that you can do with it. Sometimes I slice it up some onions,cucumbers and tomatoes,serve it on gluten free flat bread and make up some tzatziki sauce. This time I chose to make Shepherd's Pie. Total comfort food!  Many people make this with ground lamb or ground beef, but I prefer mine chunky. Leftover Leg of Lamb is perfect for this hearty and comforting dish.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Slowcooker Leg of Lamb

Slowcooker Leg of Lamb

I love lamb. I remember when my mother would make lamb chops.She would serve them with buttered Creamette macaroni and peas. Just before the lamb chops were finished frying she would squeeze lemon juice over them. It was one of my favorite meals.


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