DON’T LEAVE YOUR PET IN THE CAR!

I recently read a story about Walmart firing an off duty employee for telling a man that she would call the police if he left his dog in a hot truck during the Summer.

It inspired me to make this meme…
pets in cars WARNING

It is neglectful and abusive to leave an animal or child in a hot car on a warm day… parking in the shade or cracking the windows does NOT help! It only takes minutes for the inside of your car to become deadly.  Heatstroke or being cooked alive is a pretty shitty way to die!

Don’t think for one second that I won’t smash out a window and then call the police… of course I won’t have a clue who broke your window, and you will be fined or arrested for neglect and abuse.

Leave your pet at home where they can stay cool and safe, and if you don’t wanna take your kids into the store, get a freaking babysitter!

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Super Easy Spaghetti Sauce

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This is a quick and easy, semi homemade marinara sauce that can be used for spaghetti, lasagna, ravioli, or anything else you see fit. 

Ingredients:
-Ground Beef (1 to 1.5 lbs of your choice of ground beef or turkey. If you wanna mix it up a bit try this, 3/4 to 1 lb. ground beef, 1/2 lb. ground Italian sausage)
-Pasta Sauce (I use the Walmart Great Value brand – Chunky Garlic & Onion Pasta sauce in the glass jar)
-canned tomatoes (I use the Great Value brand died tomatoes, Italian flavor)-drained.
-fresh onion – chopped
-chopped (or canned) mushrooms and diced bell pepper, optional
-spices (I use garlic powder, onion powder, salt & pepper, Italian seasoning blend, and a pinch of white granulated sugar.)

Directions:
Brown your ground meat with the fresh onion (and bell peppers if you choose to use them.) and some garlic powder and salt & pepper. Drain the fat.
Add the pasta sauce and can of diced tomatoes, and use the seasonings to taste… don’t be stingy with the garlic and don’t forget that pinch of sugar!  (Also, use a couple tablespoons of water to swish around in the sauce jar to get it all out, this will also help thin down this thick and chunky sauce a bit.)
If you choose to use mushrooms, add them to the sauce as well.
Reduce the heat and let simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Enjoy with your choice of pasta. Top with grated Parmesan Cheese.

It makes me cry every time…

I was just sitting here watching the video slideshow from my wedding (made by The Sweet Spot Photography) and of course I started crying… I cry every time I watch it!  Then I think to myself, “Carolyn, why are you crying?  This is a happy day, you’re in love, you’re incredibly happy, you look beautiful, and you are looking at the gorgeous pictures that make this day live on forever… so why so sad?”

Well, let’s see… I have never really danced before, but that night I danced with the love of my life, my favorite uncle, and my father. I got to spend a couple weeks with my mom and grandmother. I got to spend real quality time with people I really care about and every one of those moments meant the world to me.  …Knowing how much Ceelyn wanted that day to be perfect for me and exactly how I pictured it… it was. It was like a dream come true.  During our wedding day, I tried so hard to hold back all the emotions… I didn’t want to cry and mess up my make up!!

Now when I watch that video it’s like I am just overwhelmed with the emotions I was feeling that day.

There is one part, a close up shot of my bouquet with a photo of my sister hanging from it, that really chokes me up. Between the love and beauty I’m seeing in all these photos played with a gorgeous and fitting song that starts tugging at your heart strings from the beginning, and also missing loved ones, there’s so much that starts going through my mind.  There was so much love in the air, my wedding was romantic. But looking back, I really just wish my sister could have been there to experience it with me, and be in those photos. Then I get angry at all the people that could have been in those photos that aren’t, like my little brother, who wasn’t ‘able’ to take off of work… even though he had a year’s notice. This was a one time, once in a lifetime, fairy tale love story kinda day… it’s something you want to remember forever! I guess the things that are important to one person, just aren’t so important to others. But, the problem is regret. My sister is dead, and I have less than a handful of pictures of us together in the last 20 years. That’s sad. And it just hurts me to think that some people mean more to me than I do to them. People that promised they’d be there with me, but didn’t even seem to TRY to make an effort… with a YEAR’S notice! Grrrr!

And then I watch that video and I’m just so happy. I see how much Ceelyn loves me. You can see how much I love him. You can see how happy we are. And the people that wanted to be there with us, were there. It’s like a big pot of mixed emotions boiling around in my head and my heart when I watch that video.

…maybe I’m just sad that the day had to end?! It’s like, everyone went home, the party is over… but I don’t want it to stop. I don’t want everyone to go home. I don’t want the party to end. I want that love and happiness every single day!

The bottom line is, I had an awesome wedding day, and I get to relive it every time I watch this video. I’m gonna go watch it again and this time I WILL NOT cry …only smiles!

And you know what else, this video serves as a great reminder… I am very lucky! I have a wonderful husband that loves me more than anything in this world. I am so lucky that the one person I need will always be there for me. ❤

My Start in Bowling

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My dad is a Senior PBA bowler. My brother bowled on several leagues. Heck my grandma even bowled for years. My husband was a PBA bowler more than a decade ago, but stopped bowling due to injury. …it’s really odd to me, now that I think about it, that I didn’t start bowling sooner!

For quite some time, my husband Ceelyn talked about how much he missed bowling and that he would love to get back into it. And since I was determined to get a new hobby, preferably something we could do together, bowling would be perfect.

Other than a couple games throughout my childhood, I had never really bowled before. So… I did what any rational person would do 😉
I joined a league, I went and bought a starter set (ball, bag, and shoes), got a lane for an hour and practiced a bit (even though I had no idea what I was doing!), and went and bowled in a league for the first time the next night.
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I finished my first night in league with an 86 average.

Luckily on my team I had my husband and another seasoned bowler (Wayne) to help me out.
Ceelyn has been my “coach” and he’s a great coach! 🙂

For the first couple weeks Ceelyn just let me bowl and get comfortable, while watching what I did naturally.  The first two things he learned is that I (a) have great form and a smooth release at the line, (b) could put the ball on any board he told me to (meaning I would be able to “hit my mark”), and (c) threw a “back-up ball”.

The first thing I had to do was practice walking a straight line. For some reason I wanted to drift left, but I quickly corrected myself. The next thing was to decide whether I wanted to throw a back-up ball or learn to throw a hook. We got a small nerf football so that I could practice the motion at home, then we took it to the lanes. I did well. I throw a nice smooth hook, and would be considered a “stroker” bowler. However, bowling like this seemed so uncomfortable and unnatural to me, I quickly decided I was going to stick  with the back up ball. From there we got me some real shoes and a real ball!
B927-1-434x260__63982.1288724913.1280.1280 Rising StarA Roto Grip Rising Star and black and gold Dexter SSt8’s. I also got a cool shirt to wear! Now I felt like I kinda knew what I was doing. hahaha

Throughout the season I learned quickly. (all while people told me I’d never be a good bowler throwing a back-up ball. …people also seemed amazed by the way I threw too, and how much rev and hook I put on the ball.) My average jumped from 86 to 132 by the end of the season, with a high game of 169! I also won several awards along the way, including Bowler of the Month in December 2011.

That summer Ceelyn and I did a doubles league with 4 game sets. I had a great time! During the 9 week summer league my average had kinda plateaued (132 average), but I did have several good games along the way.  During the summer I also got invited to the Bowler of the Year Tournament (since I had gotten bowler of the month back in December) and I won 1st place!

We recently finished our second winter season on Wednesday Night mix. (the same league I joined when I started bowling.) It’s a 33 week league, from August to June.
During this league I shot my first (and a couple since then as well) 200+ game! 178122_10151235383359905_2138569965_o (my first 200!)
And finished the season with several good games under my belt and a 152 average.

Last month (June, 2013) I went to my first USBC National Bowling Tournament in Reno, NV. (This being the weekend after our wedding it doubled as a honeymoon!) I actually bowled below average, but I had a wonderful time, and it was a great learning experience. Hubby and I also had a blast enjoying Reno for 5 days too! 🙂
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I know I have a lot to learn and a long way to go, but I love bowling and I plan to continue bowling for a long time! Who knows, maybe one day you’ll see me on ESPN!! hahaha 😉

Fried Apples

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Easy and Delicious!

(I should warn you that I never measure anything, so these portions are just an estimate for you to go by.)  
Ingredients: 
Apples (I use about 6-8 Fuji apples)
Brown Sugar (about 1/2 cup, more or less to taste.)
Butter (I used Country Crock Churn Style – about 4 tbl spoons)
Cinnamon (don’t be stingy! -I used about 4 tbl spoons)
Granulated white sugar (about 4 tbl spoons)
*Optional- ground/dried  Ginger & Nutmeg  (about 1/2 tsp each)
Thickening agent- a couple table spoons of flour or cornstarch a little water or apple juice and maybe a dash of lemon juice and vanilla extract

Directions:
If you choose to peel your apples, do so now. I peel mine. They cook quicker and I simply prefer them that way.
Slice and core your apples. (the thinner your slices, the faster they cook- I slice mine fairly thin.)
After cutting your apples (I like to ) put them in a strainer and give them a good rinse.
Mix the white sugar, cinnamon (and Ginger & Nutmeg) in a small bowl.
Also mix your Thickening Agent ingredients in a bowl- it should be a soupy consistency, like runny gravy.
(I get all the ingredients ready to go & put ’em in separate bowls so that when I start cooking, it’s easy to add ingredients. Plus, this gives me an opportunity to clean up the mess I’ve made so far!)
Get a large, deep frying pan (with a lid) and melt the butter and brown sugar over medium to med-high heat. Add the apple slices.  Toss the apples to make sure they are coated in the butter mixture and simmer them covered for about 5-10 mins, stir them every few minutes, as you notice they start to cook down a bit. Then you add the Cinnamon/Sugar mixture and stir. Then add your thickening agent and stir. Lower heat and simmer a few minutes until the apples reach the desired texture.  (If you  make them too thick, just add a bit of water or apple juice. )
Serve warm. Makes a great side dish for any meal, or even a light dessert. 🙂

Oreo Surprise

Oreo surprise
A super easy and super delicious desert. It’s perfect to take to cook-out’s or pot luck.

Shopping List:
1 package Oreo’s, regular or double stuffed (I use the Walmart brand, Great Value – Double Stuffed Twist & Shout)
1 large container of Cool-Whip (again, I used the Great Value)
2 boxes Chocolate pudding (the regular sized boxes that require 2 cups of milk)
Milk (I use 2%)

Directions:
Prepare pudding (put 4 cups of milk into a large bowl and empty both packets of pudding mix into it and blend well.)
Add 3/4 of the Whipped Cream (saving a little bit for garnish), stir lightly.
Crush Oreo’s (I crush them by hand a few at a time, into a bowl, then pour them into the mix)- Remember to set aside a couple handfuls for garnish.
Add crushed Oreo’s to the pudding/whipped cream mix. Stir lightly.

Now gently add the remaining Whipped cream and smooth over the top, then sprinkle the rest of the Oreo crumbs across the top.

All finished!
Refrigerate for a few hours then enjoy with a tall glass of milk. 🙂

Our Secular Wedding Ceremony

After searching online for an example of a ceremony to give to our Officiant (Kim Bashor from Hitching Hearts) of how we wanted our secular wedding to be, and basically coming up with nothing that we  liked. Nothing seemed to say what I wanted to say and since Ceelyn and  are both Atheists I decided to write our ceremony myself.

Feel free to use it if you are having a hard time with your own ceremony.  🙂
Note- our ceremony lasted about 15 minutes.

Opening:

(Kim)
Welcome everyone…
We are here today to celebrate the marriage of Ceelyn and Carolyn. We come together, not to mark the start of a relationship, but to recognize a bond that already exists. This ceremony is a public affirmation of that bond.

Ceelyn and Carolyn, marriage is a precious gift; a lifelong dedication to love and a daily challenge to love one another more fully and more freely.

May the sun bring you new energy by day.
May the moon softly restore you by night.
May the rain wash away your worries.
And may your lives be long and full of happiness.

Let your love be stronger than your anger.
Learn the wisdom of compromise, for it is better to bend than to break.
Look for the best in your beloved, rather than the worst.
Confide in each other and ask for help when you need it.
Remember that true friendship is the basis for any lasting relationship.
And say “I love you” every day.

The Vows (Kim) You may now exchange your vows.
[Ceelyn]… There are more stars in the cosmos than all the grains of sand on Earth, every footstep taken by every human who has ever existed, and every word ever muttered, COMBINED. …and I was lucky enough to find you in all of that!

Carolyn, I love you. It’s not just one thing, it’s everything. It’s the little things. You’re the most loving, compassionate person I’ve ever met. You take care of things… you take care of me, and I appreciate it.

Today you become my wife. And from this day forward I promise to be the best version of me that I can be. I will always be the one you can count on. I promise to love you faithfully and unconditionally, until the last breath I take.
[Carolyn]… I never knew it was possible to be so in love with someone, until you came into my life. I really do feel like the luckiest girl in the whole universe! You are the half that makes me whole, and without you I couldn’t function.

Ceelyn, I love you. I love everything about you! You are the smartest, most talented person I know. I love how passionate and focused you are. You are my best friend, and the one I want to grow old with. I’m so proud that I get to be your wife!

From this day forward, I promise to be the best version of me that I can be. I will always be the one you can count on. I promise to love you faithfully and unconditionally, until the last breath I take.
The Ring Exchange:
(Kim)
May I have the rings please? These rings are a symbol of the unbroken circle of love that the two of you share. Freely given; love has no beginning and no end. May these rings always remind you of the love you share and the vows you have promised to each other.

[Ceelyn] This ring symbolizes my desire that you be my wife from this day forward. Will you accept it? (Carolyn) I will.
[Carolyn] This ring symbolizes my desire that you be my husband from this day forward. Will you accept it? (Ceelyn) I will.
Closing and Announcement:
(Kim)
Nothing is easier than saying words, and nothing is harder than living them day by day. What you promise today must be renewed and re-decided each and every day. Real love is something beyond the warmth and glow, and beyond the excitement and romance of being in love. It is caring as much about the welfare and happiness of your partner as you do about your own. It is looking outward in the same direction, together. Love makes burdens lighter, because you divide them. It makes joys greater, because you share them. Love makes you stronger, so you can reach out and become involved with life in ways you dared not risk alone.

Your love is as the sea, constant and ever-changing. Your love is as the wind, rapturous and all encompassing. Your love is as the earth, solid and firm. Your love is as a flame, illuminating your lives and warming your hearts.
Yet your love extends beyond the sea, wind, earth and flame. It is greater than who you are and meaningless without you. It is more powerful than your past, yet the foundation for your future. It has brought you here today to become one in the eyes of your family and friends, for all the days to come. Your love is the essence of your lives.

Ceelyn & Carolyn, I would like to share with you, a quote by Dante Alighieri…

In that book
Which is my memory
On the first page
That is the chapter when I first met you
Appear the words
Here begins a new life.
Carolyn and Ceelyn, It brings me great joy to say,
By the power vested in me by the State of New Mexico, I now pronounce you husband and wife.
Congratulations Ceelyn, you may now kiss your bride!

Ladies and gentlemen…it gives me pleasure to introduce for the first time, Mr. and Mrs. Ceelyn Patterson.

Before the ceremony we had beautiful orchestra music playing. It was from the different Final Fantasy soundtracks, performed by Tour de Japon. For about 30 minutes before we started the ceremony, as people were arriving, we played Dear Friends, Fisherman’s Horizon, Theme of Love, Love Grows, Zanarkand, and Aerith’s Theme.  Then I edited a clip from The Main Theme of FF VII to walk down the aisle to.
(all these songs are available for purchase on Amazon.)
If you need to edit music, there is a great program you can download for free called Audacity.