Thursday, March 26, 2015

Why I Am Eating Quaker Steel Cut Oatmeal

** I received a free product, from BzzAgent and Quaker in exchange for my honest opinions. All opinions are my own. **





We are long time Quaker junkies here, I've been eating their yummy bars and cereals since I was a little kid. (Way to long ago!) I've been buying their products since I moved out on my own and started having my own children, because, I trust this brand.

I've been a BzzAgent member for a few years now and although I haven't received many campaigns, I am ecstatic when I receive an email with an invitation! So, naturally, the Quaker Steel Oats invite was an instant moment of joy!


I received coupons and oatmeal in my little BzzAgent kit and I went right to it! (Fruity oatmeal is a weakness of mine and I will partake, any time of the day and night!)


My pantry is typically stocked with Quaker Dinosaur Eggs, Strawberries and Cream, Blueberries and Cream, Maple Brown Sugar, Apples and Cinnamon and for snacks, a rather large variety of granola bars and cookies! I think it's the wholesomy (is that a word?) goodness and the memories of being home as a kid and the ingredients that really make a pantry stocked with Quaker products, everybody's favorite place to be.


I didn't think that this new box of Blueberry and Cranberry Steel Cut Oats, (Oh yeah, it's INSTANT too!), would exceed my expectations. I mean, it's so hard to beat Strawberries and Cream!) I think I jumped into this review with a bit of a stubborn attitude, because, I have my favorite breakfast foods, oatmeal, cold cereal and yogurt with granola. and I didn't expect to make this oatmeal, a new favorite.


One thing that really won my heart, was the amount of real fruit pieces in just one pouch!! You are going to get one or more juicy (yes, seriously, they are juicy and pleasantly plump!), chunk of fruit in every single spoonful!

 


Yes, yes, this certainly made my eyeballs pop out! I always enjoyed the tiny strawberry pieces in my favorite Quaker oatmeal but, this, this was just so much more then what I expected! I know, fresh fruit, add your own, etc etc but when you're in a hurry or you don't have ripe, fresh, sweet berries on hand, this does the trick!


Before I forget, check out the ingredients list!!

 


Quaker has always been pretty exceptional with ingredients in my book, but, it's always a bonus when you can pronounce every single ingredient!


One thing about instant oatmeal, has always been the price. It seems to be slightly higher then what I would like to spend. But, with the availability of coupons and sales, I stock up and make sure we're solid and stocked until the next round comes up. I recently scored a few boxes of each of these babies for $1 a box after a sale, in ad coupons and manufacturer coupons!! (Each box has 8 single serve envelopes so, you get an awesome deal!)


So far, you can dig in to two flavors. Blueberry and Cranberry and Brown Sugar Cinnamon. I like them both but I always prefer fruity oatmeal. I am crossing my fingers for the possibility of new flavors and definitely more fruit flavors. Blueberry and Cranberry will do fine for now.


We all know by now that oatmeal is heart healthy. Indulging in Quaker Steel Cut Oatmeal, won't just make you feel all warm and cozy inside and fill you up, but, it may also help reduce the risk of heart disease.


What are some of your favorite Quaker products? Have you tried their new, Steel Cut Quick 3 Minute Oatmeal? What flavors are your top choice? Oh and don't forget to share any recipes or stir in additions you have ;) I would love to know what you think!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

No Pain No Gain?



It's funny how pan/chronic pain works. Sometimes, a new layer of pain just hits you out of nowhere and you wish for it to subside a bit or just go away for good but it usually always just sneaks up on you again. (If it disappears.) It's like having a new "demon" and just when you think you can not handle anymore, BOOM! Here comes more pain layers, just to prove you wrong unsure emoticon
Your first thoughts are, "When will this go away?", "Why is this happening?", "I can't live like this!"
and then, you go to get your xrays, mri's, ct scans... sometimes they come back and say maybe it's just getting worse. Maybe it's just hitting the next level. Or, oh, there seems to be more going on in there. Your plantar fasciia ruptured, (or fill in the blank with whatever bone/tendon/joint/tissue).... and the horrific words, "There really isn't anything we can do but help manage the pain."
Depression sets in and you hate yourself and everything makes you sad. Your kids say, "Mommy, I thought they were going to fix your ankles and feet so you can run again?" and you just collapse and hobble to the bathroom to cry without anybody looking.
That typically lasts for a few days, maybe a week.
Then you start to get stubborn and refuse to accept it. You Google search as much as you can, is there anybody out there who can fix me?
You laugh and say it doesn't matter because it isn't going to hold you down and you refuse to accept that this is just the way it will be.
Then, you try and focus on the fact that, "Somebody is always worse off." and you even see FB posts of those who are worse off. It's not that it helps you feel better. I don't wish for anybody to suffer. But, it puts my life into perspective and reminds me to stay strong.
So, you end up realizing finally, that you're not going to get better. This is it. Meet the new you.

 "Hello, new pain. It's nice to meet you. I hope to gain something out of our time together. Possibly you will teach me new things or make me aware of something I never knew?"
No, usually the new pain doesn't answer. But, it'll always let you know it's there. The throbbing, burning, searing, electrical shock, stinging, cramping, cracking, popping, pounding signals that always lets you know, "You're still alive!"
Sure, there will be days when you just want to sit and cry. There will be days you wish you could wear shoes, take your kids to the playground, play soccer in the yard with your kids, walk through a store without needing a cart or shelves to keep your balance and all of those other fun things other people get to do.
There will be days when you just want to hide and not have to go outside only to be stared at because of your enormous, elephant legs, or your huge ankles or the stupid clothing you have to wear because everything hurts when it touches your skin.
Then you start wishing you could buy the newest, brightest sneakers that came out, shave your legs regularly and maybe walk like a regular person does.
But, after a few bouts of crying, wishing, hoping, praying, you have no choice but to get right back up and fight.
There aren't any choices anymore. You just HAVE to deal with it and there isn't anything anybody can do to take it away.
Just accept that this is you and count your blessings now.
It makes me laugh when people ask, "Why would you get such a stupid tattoo? Why on earth would anybody want Pinhead on their back?" LOL well, after laughing and replying with some smartass comment about how it is none of their business, if the person is still listening or shows some kind of interest...(this maybe happened 3 times LOL) then, i'll start to explain the reason. (Not that it's any of their business, but sometimes people are just curious.)
 I always did love horror movies, especially Hellraiser. Pinhead has always been the coolest horror dude out there lol, (to me at least.)
I always thought it would be the neatest tattoo ever, (and I can't wait to be able to get finished!) but, since my dilemma with chronic pain/RSD/bones/tendons whatever else is on my "list" on my medical papers, the movies, the story, the meanings behind some of my favorite Pinhead quotes, lol, made more sense. Maybe they are just my meanings, since some of the meanings seem to have changed to more inspiring things, that fit my battle to a T.
As stupid as it sounds to people, it has helped to inspire me and helps my outlook on life and where I am and who I am today.
I used to laugh at the Nike quote, "No pain, no gain" but over the past 10 years, I've found that to also have new meaning too. I don't know if Nike meant to do that. But they did. Even if I can't wear their sneakers lol.
So, now, I'm in this place, sure it's very painful and it hurts in more ways than one. But, I accepted it and will focus on gaining more strength, mentally and physically. I found new hope, maybe it's ridiculous.But, I will be focusing more on my left side, hoping for some surgical procedures, injections, etc and the left can be my crutch for now. Well, when and if I can manage to get it on track.
I will not sit in a wheelchair just yet. I firmly believe I have millions more steps to take and I won't give in to these disorders/ortho issues, at all.
I know there are many, many people who have no choice and I also know there are people who are bed ridden and I am very sorry for them. I wouldn't wish any of this on my worst enemy.
All I know, is that for me, I won't go down without a fight and I will continue to make whoever it is who keeps throwing these hurdles at me, really angry.
I also won't let sadness and depression get the best of me. I just don't even have time for that, at all. Sure, I am sad quite a few times a day and some days are better then others but, I can't let go of that thread of sanity that connects me to the rest of the universe.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Madonna's Rebel Heart Review

** I participated in the Madonna Rebel Heart album review program as a member of One2One Network. I was provided an album to review but all opinions are my own.**


“Rebel Heart explores two very distinct sides of my personality, the rebellious renegade side of me and the romantic side of me” commented Madonna recently in Billboard.

I have been a Madonna fan since as early as I can remember. (Yes, I was around for Borderline, Material Girl, all of those fun songs from a long, long time ago.) Of course Madonna was "cool" back then, she was actually pretty rad. She brought a new, unique style to the scene. (Or I guess made her own scene?) I think "back then" or back in the old days, you know, the 80's? It seemed we had a lot of different music and so much to choose from.

When Madonna popped up, there was a lot of other cool music out and she kind of made it known at that time, that she was, Madonna, AKA untouchable. The funny thing is, (and this is opinion of course, but the opinion of many..)that, it has been how long now? and who has stepped up and became the "new Madonna" of the decade? Nobody ;)

There have been and are contenders out there, but just like in boxing, nothing comes close to her chameleon like style, able to adapt to anything and everything, naturally and make it look so simple. She certainly made her mark, remarkably so and I really can't imagine anybody in the future coming close to the same phenomenal status as Madonna has. Maybe I am biased? But, in all honesty, even if you aren't a fan, you have to admit, she has been one of the most talked about, thought about, sought after artists of our time.

Oddly enough, as I was thinking back over the years, trying to find somebody who I could even put in her category, male or female, since I'm a boxing fan, I instantly thought of Mike Tyson. Love him, hate him, but one thing is for sure. He is one of the greatest of all time.

Interestingly enough, Mike Tyson is at the beginning of one of Madonna's new songs, Iconic. How fitting!! (By the way, Iconic is one of my favorite tracks off of her new album!) No, don't roll your eyes just yet.... she is not singing about how perfect and magnificent she is. As a matter of fact, the lyrics to this song are quite inspirational. Who else would you want to give you tips on, "Show (ing) the world who you are" ? Madonna and Mike Tyson, probably.

I'm sure by now we have all seen and heard about the infamous fall recently. I think J.K Rowling said it best... "Are you the type of person who gloats when they see a woman fall, or the kind that celebrates a magnificent recovery? #TeamMadonna"

On Youtube, when you listen to Rebel Heart and you start with, "Iconic", the next track to play will be another of my favorites, "Illuminati".

Some of you may be familiar with the "Illuminati", some may not. Those who are, I hope you check the lyrics for this song! Her detailed description of who she believes the Illuminati to be, is astounding! I must say, I agree. Conspiracies are fun, sure. But, sometimes, you are either reading to much into things or maybe not enough.


A few of my other favorites from this album... "Devil Pray" is a very personal song and I enjoyed learning about this side of Madonna.


"Veni Vidi Vici" is another one of my personal favorites, maybe even my first favorite, not sure yet. (I know it's tied for first!) This song features, Nas and again, offers a fascinating look into Madonna. I don't know what the coolest part is? The clever way she intertwined old song titles into this track or the look back to the beginning of her career and how she ended up where she is today? 


Now, I can only guess what exactly was running through her mind when writing some of these songs, but I can tell you how this album review and Rebel Heart's lyrics somehow managed to tie into my own personal life, all at the same time.


Not that I can relate to Madonna, her life or anything she has accomplished in her time. Or can I? Maybe not on the same scale but most of us have been through the same or are going through the same trials and tribulations in our own lives. Maybe this album brings some comfort?








Of course I recommend Rebel Heart to any Madonna fans. There are 19 tracks and you should have no problem finding some new favorites and you will definitely get all sides of Madonna! 


Some slower songs, some dance songs, breakup songs, songs that will remind you of classic Madonna, some new style Madonna. Chances are, even if you have been Madonna's biggest fan, you are going to find a new side of her that you didn't know existed before.


If you never were a big fan but decided that you kind of like one of the songs you heard somewhere lately, I would suggest picking up a copy of, Rebel Heart. I think you will end up surprised and find that Madonna isn't just about sex and making sure the whole world is talking about what she is doing. You may be surprised to find that inside all of that tough girl exterior, is just a little girl who also once dreamed (still dreams) of being a princess and living a fairy tale life.

You may find that she is really just like you on the inside.


Want a copy asap? Click here to buy Rebel Heart on iTunes!

You can find more Madonna on her website....

Keep up with Madonna on Twitter!

and Youtube

and of course, on Instagram!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Knock Me Down I'll Just Come Back Running...

That has been my motto for many years, well, as long as Tool has been around ;)
I try my best to live by this, no matter how hard it gets and it really does get hard some days. Being positive and grateful for what you have, is just one of those little things I learned as a child. I try to teach my children the same, I think I'm doing ok...

I recently started a couple of other blogs so I could use one as my "pain diary" and maybe use the other as an extension of this blog but maybe slightly different, more for personal opinion about current events and such. I have so many notebooks, filled with thoughts, opinions, viewpoints, dated with notes on specific events, anything and everything that pops into my head. But, this pain diary blog is constantly trying to get into 1st place lol.

I keep putting it off, I don't like to dwell on negative things. Especially when I feel like I am dwelling on my own problems and drama and I know so many people are going through so much.

There is always somebody worse off than you... (That is just another one that keeps me going.) Even though it makes me more sad than anything. I don't like to see or hear that anybody is suffering, it is to depressing. But, it also sure puts your own life into perspective.

The ups and downs are usually evened out but it seems some days that everything just goes downhill. Yep, and it also seems to hit all at once! I swear, when to many things are going right, I am just sitting on edge, waiting for that one "bad" thing to happen and like dominoes, everything will start to topple over. It doesn't have to be that way though, right? There is always that silver lining?

Friends and family are often rolling their eyes at me because I am always able to find one thing, even if it is super tiny, there is always something that we gain from everything that happens to us through our lives.

I know, this post is kind of all over the place, lol, but I have a point somewhere, I think. Maybe I'm just trying to find that silver lining right now and writing helps me with that. If I put my thoughts on paper or draw an outline or type, something comes up and my mind starts going towards the "good side". I guess I am trying to find that right now.

Ok, so, I recently found out that I have a tendon issue, again. That icky, stretchy rubber band like thing that connects your heel to the rest of your foot, the "Plantar Fascia" is the medical term for it. Well, it ruptured and I live with chronic pain/nerve pain/bone/joint/everything pain on a regular basis. This new pain, is a bit above what I have had to deal with so far. I'm shocked to be honest. I mean, I have counted now, about 56 different layers of pain with all of my ailments and all of a sudden, here comes something new and something I haven't experienced yet. I have had a ruptured achilles tendon in my left foot and that was eye watering and was enough to knock me down. BUT, I got back up.

I can't see it this time, I don't know why. Maybe because this rupture is in my "crutch", my "better foot". Now, I don't have a crutch. (Unless there are walls around.) I feel so sorry for anybody who has to endure any amount of pain and I wish there was enough information out there to maybe help chronic pain patients. It seems it is easier for doctors to give us a whole new face and body then it is to treat chronic pain, successfully. Sometimes, I wonder if maybe somebody who isn't a doctor has the ultimate answer to this pain dilemma.

Originally, when all of this started happening to me, I thought it was to slow me down, force me to spend more time with my family and make me stop working all of the time and just rest and relax and stop moving 24/7. I am still a very busy person, even busier then before. But, I am at home with my family a lot more and able to do a lot more with them. I have been blessed with a pretty sweet husband who helps a ton and also is able to provide for all of us so that I am able to work online and grown my business and work just once a week at my job. Or vacation as I call it :D I do get out of the house once a week and work and it is a bonus since I don't have laundry, dishes, cooking, kids screaming, fighting with each other, or 3000 things to do al at once. I do like that though, it's my "normal" and if 3000 things aren't happening all at once, I start to go crazy.

Every time I start to accept my new "normal", something else starts or something goes wrong or something breaks, tears, rips, ruptures, spreads, but, after it's all said and done, I end up enjoying my new "normal" and I find a way to figure it out. We find a way to figure it out. 

I have been learning so much, maybe that's the goal here? I'm not sure. But, if so, I am actually anxious to see what I am going to learn next! I spent the last decade, learning and researching and studying so many things! Everything from weather, to making a lot of our products, blogging, social media to organic and all natural lifestyles, to new cooking and baking tips and tricks to reading lots and lots and lots of good books! We make so many crafts and so much of "our own" everything at home and we have a lot of fun doing it. Maybe something else will pop up and end up being my new hobby or my new project that I try to turn to my new "expertise"?

Accepting the pain, no matter how bad it is, seems to be the way I can manage to live with it. Unfortunately, I have lost faith in anybody helping me to alleviate any of the pain, at least any more then it is already managed right now.

While I would give anything to get rid of some of this pain, I would never, never trade anything in the world, for what I have learned over the past 10 years.


Enter To Win The Urbini Dream Nursery Instagram Contest

“I participated in a Blog Blast Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Urbini. I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation.”



Urbini recently added a new line of nursery furniture to it's lineup, including one of my all time favorites, wooden cribs! So, to celebrate their new furniture, they decided to celebrate with you!

 If you share a photo of your nursery with the hashtags #UrbiniDreamNursery and #Contest on Instagram and enter on the widget below, you have a chance to win a super fabulous prize! When you post your picture, write a caption, telling Urbini why you should win an Urbini Dream Nursery and share, share, share!

One very lucky winner will win a visit from Rachel Dacks, the designer of the new Urbini nursery furniture and of course, she will be bringing some goodies to create your very own dream nursery! (They aren't skimping on any prizes by the way.)

Rachel Dacks, will bring the grand prize winner: 1 Urbini crib, 1 Urbini changing table, 1 Urbini 6 drawer dresser, 1 Urbini Cubi play yard and a custom room design. Nope, the grand prize winner list still isn't over! Your custom room design will include paint/wall decor, window treatments, area rugs and accessories! This is sure to make a new mommy and daddy ecstatically happy! (Oh and your new baby!)

Don't worry, if you aren't a grand prize winner, you still have a chance to win! Second prize: an Urbini crib
Third prize: an Urbini Cubi Play Yard
Sweepstakes winners: Each day, one sweepstakes participant will be selected to win a $50 Walmart gift card.

You can find all of the rules and regulations and entry information here.


" To enter the Urbini Dream Nursery Contest to win the Grand, Second, or Third Prizes, contestants must post an Instagram photo of the room they want to redesign to their personal Instagram account tagging #UrbiniDreamNursery and #Contest. For all other entry information, including entering to win the daily $50 Walmart Gift Cards, please visit www.UrbiniDreamNursery.com."


You can find Urbini on Instagram!
and on Facebook....
and Urbini on Twitter  
and last but not least, on Pinterest!


 Urbini Dream Nursery

Snap A Shelfie With Your Favorite Wild Oats Products And Win!












Have you heard about Wild Oats?

If you haven't already found them at your local, Walmart, make sure to go check them out! Affordable Authentic Food is their claim and they have been doing quite a spectacular job in the busy organic market!

One of the coolest points to make about, Wild Oats, is that they are affordable. (They really are!) They manage to stay very reasonably priced so that everybody can afford good, quality food for their families. Quality is also something they don't skimp on. Wild Oats has a pretty rad lineup of products, ranging from rice to granola bars to pasta sauce to hummus, I mean, you can fill your cabinets, pantries, freezers and refrigerator with Wild Oats products. They are a regular staple at our house!


We aren't very close to a Walmart, however, we do make at least one monthly run just to stock up on Wild Oats! (We use Wild Oats frozen fruits, vegetables and eggs the most!) I haven't tried all of their products yet, because I was only recently introduced to this brand right before our colder, snowier and icier than normal, winter. But, I can honestly say, we haven't had a product that did not exceed our expectations.

If you already have any Wild Oats products in your pantry, grab your phone and pose for a shelfie. Just be sure to include your favorite Wild Oats products in the picture, (Hence, the word, shelfie was created :)

You can read more about this contest and read the rules, here.

Oh, one more thing! Make sure to hashtag, #WildOatsMission and #WildOatsShelfie with your shelfie and post on Facebook and/or Twitter.

I would love to hear about your favorite products! Please comment below with any recommendations and of course, your favorite recipes!



** I received free products in return for my opinion and promoting the Wild Oats shelfie contest. Receiving free products and samples does not change my opinion or views. **