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Sparkling Water or Plain…Which Do You Prefer?

One of the things that I kept coming across in my search for clean eating plans was the inclusion of sparkling water. Now I understand the need to stay hydrated. Water is essential for our bodies to function correctly. Because we are told that soda is bad for us flavored waters have flooded the market. When you start reading their labels, you will find that many flavored waters contain sugar substitutes and those are to be avoided on when trying to eat clean.

The clean eating movement has embraced sparkling water and we are being inundated with flavored sparkling water in every flavor you can think of and many more that you wouldn’t have come up with if it was up to you to do so. Even the soda companies, such as Pepsi and Coke are in the sparkling water business now. One of the reasons that people are drinking it is because the bubbles make you feel full and you don’t feel hungry if you are watching your calories. Others say that it is a replacement for soda and anything that moves you away from high calorie high sugar soda is a good thing.

My son has been a fan of sparkling water for the last year. He tried a few before settling on one that is grapefruit flavored. If you were to give him and actual grapefruit, he would not eat it, but water is different. We have purchased different brands of grapefruit flavored sparkling water, but he always says that he prefers the first brand. We have also purchased a variety of sparkling water in different flavors thinking that my husband and I would try them out to see if they would be something that we could drink. We have tried the following:

Grapefruit–My son’s choice (pictured)

Coconut sparkling water—Ugh no!

Plain sparkling water—No

Berry sparkling water—No

Tangerine Pomegranate sparkling water—No

Strawberry sparkling water—No

Watermelon sparkling water—No—and why does it taste like the green rind and not the sweet melon?

Orange Vanilla sparkling water—No

Cherry Lime sparkling water—No

The one thing that I just can’t get past is the amount of carbonation in the sparkling water. My son actually asked me why I was having such an issue with the carbonation since I do drink soda once in a while. I explained that usually a can of soda is rather flat when you open it, so there isn’t a lot of carbonation. Actually, the soda industry should look into why the sparkling waters are able to retain their carbonation while their sodas don’t. My husband has declared an end to the sparkling water experiment. My son will continue with the grapefruit flavor and I will continue with my plain water.

What do you think about the sparkling water trend?


Scanning Project Surprises

The scanning of family photos that my husband made his winter project came to an end shortly before the remodeling of the man cave/media room began. Once all the photos were scanned, my husband brought up a packet of photos that I realized I had never seen before. It was several photos of he and our son taken in California when our son had joined him for a long weekend while he was on a two-week business trip.

The photos were of the two of them at Legoland. We had told our son when he was younger that if we were ever near a Legoland, we would take him there. I had originally thought we would find time to visit the one in Florida when we lived in the south, but things had never worked out. So here were photos taken when my son was 17 and his dad took him to Legoland, fulfilling a promise made a long time ago. While my son was too big for many of the rides, they still had a great time. They also weren’t the only father/older son there. Looking at the photos, I saw two happy people and realized that it was probably the last time the two of them were in a photo together.

We have gotten away from taking pictures together and use our phone most of the time to capture events in our life. Very few of those are of more than one person in the picture. And even fewer have my son as a part of them. While cell phones are great to capture a moment, we should pull out an actual camera to capture family times that we can  look back on and remember everyone together. Time is too precious and there are too many memories left to make.

Winding Down From the Holiday

Christmas is behind us and New Year’s will be here in a few days. Looking at our tree, it looks so sad with all the presents gone. I love looking at the lights, especially at night if we have a fire going in the fireplace, but we haven’t really been cold enough for a fire lately. We didn’t have any snow for Christmas this year and that has been the case since we moved to Maryland. Snow seems to come in little bits until February. That’s when we get a lot…should I mention last year and the 3 feet plus snow storm that we got in one day?

cubsMy husband and sons (both human and furry) gave me a Cubs throw to keep me warm when I curl up on the couch and snuggle down to read. Go Cubs!!!!

Our pug only managed to get one present out from under the tree. He somehow managed to sniff out one of his new squeaky toys from among all the wrapped gifts. It was cute to watch him stretch his little body under the tree. He kept his back feet on the carpet and used his front paws to bat the package closed and then he tugged the string holding it together. After all of that effort, my husband and I let him have his toy. There is something so precious when a dog gets a new squeaky toy. He is just so exited and happy. He wore himself out playing with it. I was worried he would try to find his other gifts, so we moved them up higher.

suv-hooksMy husband also gave me one of the best gifts. It is a hook that attaches to the headrest of a vehicle. It holds my purse and that means it doesn’t get tossed around the backseat of the car when we are together. It also means that I don’t put it on the floorboard when it is wet. I can hook it behind the seat, his if he is driving, and I can reach for my phone or wallet. I never knew I needed it, but now that I have it, I wished I had it sooner.

Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday!!!



All Through The House

When I was planning what goodies to make for the holidays, I asked my husband and son what they wanted. My son wanted his usual oatmeal cookies and my husband wanted his usual sugar cookies with vanilla frosting. I usually make one or two new cookies each year, so I found two recipes that I wanted to try. One was for German chocolate sugar cookies and the other was for a cheesecake cookie. Both sounded delicious. In addition, I usually make white chocolate covered pretzels and chocolate fudge too. Yes, we do like to indulge a little extra during the holidays.

I planned to try to get all of my baking done in one weekend, but coming down with a cold that lingered for several weeks made it a little difficult to bake everything in one weekend. I kept wanting to take a nap, so I started with the cookies and made 10 dozen oatmeal cookies, which were placed in individual baggies with a dozen each so I could ration them for my son. Normally he would just take the container with all the cookies and he would come back a couple of days later with the empty container. So this year, I am making them last. He has grumbled about it, but that’s normal.

I then made 9 dozen frosted sugar cookies, which my husband has been rationing. He said I made them earlier than I usually do, so he wants to make them last. Next up were the German chocolate sugar cookies and they were actually easy to make and taste so yummy. They do not have a strong chocolate taste, but are just chocolate enough. Even my husband likes them and he is not a big dark chocolate fan. I will definitely keep this recipe to make again. I went to gather the ingredients for the cheesecake cookies, but didn’t have enough brown sugar, so I decided to make those next weekend for a New Year’s eve treat.

After work yesterday, I came home to a large box on the front porch from my mom. It was a box of Cheryl’s Gourmet Holiday Cookies. Faced with all the additional cookies, my husband said he didn’t think we needed to make the chocolate covered pretzels this year. I did make the fudge though. I love a cup of hot chocolate with a piece of fudge in front of the fire. The hot chocolate melts the fudge and it is so good. If it were snowing that would be even better. We don’t have any snow this year yet, but I know it will be here before long.

fudgeAnd now, I think it’s time for a little cookie break. Happy Holidays everyone!!!



I Just Want A Pillow

PillowsAround the time that we moved to Kansas, I started having problems sleeping. Growing up, we always had our windows open and a fan pulling in the air to keep us cool at night. When I went to college, I had a fan on most of the time to help drown out the noise of the neighbors. After getting married, I would keep the television on and the fan to break the silence when my husband was deployed or away for training. When he was home, the fan was used to stay cool because he puts off a lot of body heat and I don’t sleep well when I’m hot. When we moved to Kansas, the weather was cool, the fan was making it cooler, but I started having problems sleeping. Trying to figure out why was a lesson in futility.

I have always been a light sleeper. I wake up at the littlest noise and too much silence makes it hard to sleep. As soon as the sun starts to lighten up outside, I am awake. Room darkening drapes do nothing for me. So when I couldn’t sleep even with all the normal things in place, I began changing those things that I could. We got a new mattress. I bought softer sheets and I bought pillow after pillow to find one that would allow me to sleep. I have purchased pillows that were supposed to be highly recommended and the “Perfect Pillow”. For me, I tossed and turned and the pillow ended up on the floor. I keep my old one close in case I need it, which I usually do. For me, if I can’t sleep with it or it isn’t comfortable, it goes in the closet. My son is amused by my pillow shopping. He also benefits the most when I buy one. He only needs to open the closet and select one when he wants a new pillow or if he wants more than one.

I currently have three pillows lined up next to the bed. Each have been tried, used a few times and tossed aside. Last night I tried one again. It lasted maybe twenty minutes. I went back to my current one, which is rather soft and doesn’t keep it’s shape. By morning it is usually scrunched up and pushed into the space between the mattress and the headboard. My neck is usually sore and I’m tired. I’m open to suggestions if anyone has a pillow recommendation. Or if you need one, barely used, you can probably find it in my closet.

Jury Duty…Why Not Me?

So jury duty. It is probably the one thing that most people fear and try to get out of, but not me. Nope, I want to get selected for jury duty. When you register to vote, you are eligible for selection for jury duty. I have always been fascinated by law and the judicial process. I wrote before that at one time I wanted to be a lawyer. In college, I took legal and criminal justice courses. One of my classes required us to sit in on open court cases as a part of the course work and write a paper on the different areas of the judicial process. I enjoyed watching the way things were presented and the back and forth between the lawyers and the judge.

One of my previous jobs was a very short stint working in the office of a county attorney in Kansas. You might wonder why it was a short stint and the answer would be that the pay was horrible and I became disillusioned. One day, I arrived at work to find a large box, approximately 3 feet high and 3 feet wide filled with the files of third or greater DUI and drug cases. This meant that each individual case in the box represented a person that had been arrested and charged for their third or more DUI (driving while intoxicated) or third or more drug offense. And there were hundreds of files in the box. I was told that I had to prepare letters stating that the County Attorney was declining to prosecute. The reason they weren’t prosecuted was that the statute of limitations had passed. Or in simple terms, the county attorney’s office had waited too long to go to trial.

The letter that went to the defendant, and the victim if there was one, was signed by the Assistant County Attorney. The letter that went to the police officer that made the arrest was to be signed by me. Once the letters went out, the office was overwhelmed by calls from the victims. We never heard from the defendants. And as for the police officers, well, they worked in the same building as we did, so they made personal visits to the office, angry and frustrated that they had done all the work and the people were not being prosecuted. I understood that their anger wasn’t really towards me, but I was bothered that the judicial process appeared to be broken. So I began looking for another job and left as soon as I could.

That experience didn’t stop me from wanting to be picked for jury duty. One day, several years later, I received my notice that I was selected for jury duty. In Kansas, you have to call the night before the date you are scheduled to appear and see if a trial is expected and you have to appear or if the trial is canceled and you don’t have to go. I called in and was told not to come. The same thing happened to my husband, so no jury duty for either of us.

When we moved to Maryland, we were registered to vote when we received our Maryland driver’s license. My son also registered to vote for the first time. And I waited to get selected for jury duty. After being here for about a year, I received a jury summons from the Federal Court in Kansas. Hmm…that meant a big case. A federal case and I now lived in Maryland. The directions said to go online to answer the jury questions. I couldn’t get past the first one, which asked which county in Kansas I lived in. The online form didn’t give you the option of “I no longer live in Kansas.” I had to mail in the form. One of the questions was how far do you live from the court house. My answer was 1,013 miles, one way. I received a letter back that it appeared that I lived too far to commute back and forth for a trial. They asked for a copy of my Maryland driver’s license and then excused me from appearing.

Last year, my husband received a summons for jury duty. He called the night before and was told that he had to appear the next day. He then spent most of the next day waiting with about 80 other people to see if they would be needed for a trial. He also spent most of the time sending me text after text of what he was going through and amusing stories of what was going on around him, mainly the people who were complaining about wasting their day. He ended up being release after 6 hours and getting $20 for his time. A few months later, my son received his summons, but was told not to come when he called. Yesterday, my husband brought in the mail and began swearing up a blue streak. Yep, he got called up for jury duty again for the second time in a year. As for me, I’m still waiting and waiting.

Does It Relieve Stress If It Causes Stress?



Before the holidays, I was discussing with my husband that I wanted to find things that I could do that would help to get rid of stress. I have been getting headaches and normally do not get them, so no matter how much I tried to say they were caused by the weather, I knew they were actually caused by stress. I tried some stress relieving tea, but I have never tasted anything as awful as that. I like to read, but sometimes reading doesn’t help get rid of stress, and depending what I’m reading, it may actually stress me out more. I read about the popularity of coloring books for adults as stress relievers and I told my husband that I used to love coloring when I was younger.

So for Christmas, he and my son bought me a couple of coloring books and several different sets of colored pencils. Pick a picture and color your stress away. It should be instant stress relief right? Uh, hmm, not so much. I couldn’t decide what picture to color first. And then when I finally decided on a picture, I hesitated over how to start. Do I want to do bright colors? Or dark colors? Do I want to stay within a color family, such as all blues or all pinks? Or do I want to use many different colors? What if I choose the wrong color and I end up not liking it? I can’t just erase it and start again. So it seems like my coloring books for adults are actually stressing me out. That’s not how it’s supposed to work.

My son keeps asking me if I’ve colored anything yet and I keep saying no. But I may have found a solution. I found an Adult Coloring App for my Kindle that lets me pick what picture I want to color and then, if I don’t like a color, I just click the back arrow and it erases the color. Yea!!! I’m not stressing over the colors, and if something doesn’t look good, I just start over. Little steps, but it works for me.

So today, when my son asked me if I colored anything yet, I not only said yes, I emailed him one of my completed pictures. He just laughed and saved the picture to his phone. I told him that was only fitting since I have storage boxes filled with pictures he colored for me when he was younger. He wasn’t sure how to take it when I asked him how big his memory card was in his phone. I’m thinking I have a lot of catching up to do.

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