Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Thanksgiving Dish for the Non-Domestic Goddess

Corn casserole recipe, thanksgiving, easy recipe, cooking

If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time you already know: I can’t cook.
I have neither the talent or the burning desire to create masterpieces in the kitchen.  I WISH I liked to cook.  But I don’t.  Poor Chris.  I’ve tried to make myself cook more in the past but it didn’t last long.

So when my mother started asking everyone in our extended family what dish they’d like to bring to our Thanksgiving get-together she told me it was fine if I brought tea or rolls or paper towels.  That’s mildly insulting but I can’t really blame her.  Everyone who knows me already knows I can’t cook so it’s not like they’re expecting anything.  Nevertheless, this year in addition to my usual gallon of sweet tea I volunteered to bring a corn casserole.  It’s my kind of cooking: combine a bunch of ingredients and pop that bad boy in the oven.

If you're what I like to call a Non-Domestic Goddess like myself and need an easy dish to take to your family’s Thanksgiving meal and save yourself the indignity of supplying the paper products, it doesn’t get much easier than corn casserole:

Ingredients for a Double Recipe for thicker casserole:
-Two boxes of Jiffy yellow corn muffin mix
-Two cans cream corn
-Two cans kernel corn
-Two sticks melted butter
-16 oz. sour cream
Combine ALL ingredients into large bowl and, you guessed it, mix that stuff up.  Pour into greased 9x13 pan.  Bake that bad boy for one hour at 350 degrees.

Ta da!  Corn casserole!  Tote that 9x13 beauty into grandmother’s house with pride.
Happy Thanksgiving!

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Monday, November 23, 2015

A Collection of Short, Open Letters


Dear Alabama Weather,
Thank you for the dash of cold.  Now if we could NOT go back to flip flop temperatues this week, that would be great.  K?  Thanks.

Dear Taylor Swift,
I'm sorry you didn't win anything at the AMA's. Actually, that's a lie. Not sorry at all.

Dear Mr. President,
I'm not scared of letting three year old Syrian babies into the country.  I'm scared of the terrorists that might carry them in.  I am so tired of you.

Dear Miley Cyrus,
You've gone nude, smoked pot on stage, and danced with dildos...and still no one cares about you.

Dear Charlie Sheen,
No one is surprised.

Dear Kylie Jenner,
If your goal with the lip fillers and face contouring was to look 35, mission accomplished.

Dear Marco Rubio,
You have my vote...for cutest candidate. And maybe president. TBD.

Dear Quentin Tarantino,
Please shut up and stick to making good movies.

Dear Blake Shelton,
Everyone is shocked that you and Miranda called it quits. I’m really not surprised since you were married when you started dating her. It usually ends how it began.

Dear Clare Bowen,
I seriously dig the new cut. Now can you please work on that fake southern accent?

Dear Starbucks,
I’ll keep buying my usual hazelnut latte even if your cups don’t have pretty snowflakes on them this year. That is what the big deal is about, isn’t it? The snowflakes?

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Monday, November 16, 2015

The Girl in the Booties - Thoughts on Paris


Friday night we went to the comedy club for Chris's 29th birthday.  I didn't feel much like laughing.
I couldn't stop thinking about what was happening in Paris.  Around the time Chris and I left for the club, the Paris police were storming the concert hall in an attempt to save the hostages that were being executed one by one.  I sat at work and prayed earnestly for them to be saved, even though I knew it wasn't likely.

I was looking at photos from the sidewalks and saw all of the bodies covered in white sheets.  One photo in particular stood out to me.  In front of a restaurant there were several bodies lying side by side.  You could tell one was a woman from the heeled booties that were sticking out of the bottom of the sheet.  I could not stop thinking about her.  Who was she?  Where was she going?  Was she by herself or having dinner with a friend?  Did she have kids?  Who was going to miss her?  She was just a woman enjoying a random Friday night.  And then she was dead.  All through the show I thought about her.

While I was listening to news updates a thought occurred to me.  The world is changing.  I've always thought that if/when our civilization collapses and it descends into chaos it won't really matter to me because I won't be around for it.  But Cooper might.  That was a terrifying thought.  What happened in Paris Friday night seems like the beginning.  And it was the first time in my life I prayed for the Lord to come back soon.

Pray that our leaders make the tough decisions to keep us safe.  Pray that the right person for the job is elected a year from now (and the right person is NOT one who thinks that global warming is a bigger threat than ISIS, just FYI), because clearly the one we have is in denial beyond belief or completely stupid. This enemy is not one that can be "contained". They have to be eliminated. I was hesitant to even include the picture above, because the time for peace has passed. I'm very proud that our governor said he will not accept any refugees from Syria. THANK YOU, Governor Bentley for standing up to this insanity and trying to keep the people of Alabama safe. In the mean time be vigilant, because anyone that doesn't believe ISIS has its sights on US soil or is here NOW waiting to make their move is naive.

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Monday, November 9, 2015

Ghost Hunters Workout

I’ll be a bridesmaid in a wedding in less than a year.  Anytime you know you’re going to be in a wedding, you start thinking about your diet and looking good in your dress and in photos.  I WANT to workout.  Well scratch that.  I wish I had the DESIRE to work out.  Yes, that’s more accurate.  But I mostly have the desire to sit on the couch and watch TV when I have down time.  Then it hit me.  I can workout AND watch my favorite shows at the same time and turn it into a game.  Like a drinking game but with no alcohol and actual physical work.  So not like a drinking game at all.  We’ve been watching a lot of Ghost Hunters lately so I thought I’d start with that.  If you’re nerds like us and watch the SyFy show, I present to you the Ghost Hunters Workout.

Happy Hunting!


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Sunday, November 1, 2015

Snow White and Donald Trump

I hope everyone had a great Halloween!
We were due for a good, soaking rain Halloween night so we had to improvise.  In addition to the Trunk or Treat Wednesday night we took Cooper to a big community Trunk or Treat Friday.  Even if we didn't get to actually trick or treat on Halloween I HAD to have someone put some candy in his little pumpkin.

Is this not the cutest Donald Trump you've ever seen?  In reality only one of his parents is actually entertaining the idea of voting for him.  I won't tell you which one.

Saturday morning Cooper got in his costume AGAIN and went to work with me for the big group Halloween picture.  I was BUMMED when I realized Halloween fell on my off day but I wasn't going to miss it this year (we were in Gatlinburg last year).  I'm not even going to tell you how long it took me to do my (semi natural) makeup.  I just don't have a gift for painting faces.  These girls this year that looked amazing in their day of the dead and animal makeup?  Nope.  I have enough trouble with liquid eyeliner.


Saturday night Cooper and I hung out at Mom and Dad's for a while and he played with his little bit of loot.  If this picture doesn't sum up Halloween I don't know what does:

Cooper spent the night with Nanny and Poppie last night and since we weren't getting out in the rain Chris and I settled in on the couch to watch horror movies.  We started with The Lazarus Effect.  Pretty entertaining in a fun house kind of way and my man Evan Peters is in it.  Toward the end of the movie I said to Chris, "the lights go out a LOT in this movie!" and it was usually right before someone died.  When the movie ended we settled on an exorcism movie to buy on demand.  The movie was just starting...and the lights went out.  I latched onto Chris, and I can't be sure but I think he grabbed onto me a little bit too.  With no TV we settled for watching Grease on the laptop.

Sunday morning I got right down to business and started ordering Christmas gifts.  Tis the season!  Apparently.  Personally, I wish October was just a little bit longer.

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Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Fall Bucket List Update

Can you believe October is almost over? This month always flies by, probably because I like it so much. The trees in our yard are the most gorgeous in the neighborhood (in my completely biased opinion). I remembered back at the end of August I put together a fall bucket list and I thought I’d give an update at what I’ve checked off of it thus far:


-Visit a Pumpkin Patch with Cooper.
Check! We visited The Barnyard three weeks ago and had a merry ole time.

-Watch House on Haunted Hill at least once.
FAIL. Maybe I’ll find time one night this week. I do this every year and I’ll be disappointed if I don’t!

-Choose Awesome coordinating family costumes for Halloween.
FAIL. We all three got costumes but they SO do not coordinate. I’m Snow White, Cooper is Donald Trump, and Chris is a blow-up luchador. He gets…creative with his costumes. If I had any sense at all I would have made Cooper a dwarf. Sneezy perhaps.

-Visit Trade Days at Tannehill.
Check! Went two weeks ago with Mom, Kaylen and of course Cooper. The best part was the boiled peanuts.


-Try my first Starbucks PSL.
FAIL. I know! BAD basic white girl! But I’m determined to put a check next to this one!

-Go to an Alabama Game.
Double Check! Went to Bama vs Middle Tennessee and the Homecoming game against Arkansas. Cooper enjoyed the homecoming festivities and almost got picked up by a sorority girl.

-Eat lots of Candy Corn.
Check! I’ve kept a steady supply in my stash drawer at work.

4/7. Not bad! And there's still time to check some more off!
Tonight we took Cooper to a Trunk or Treat in town.  He was the cutest little Donald Trump ever!  He shook hands and kissed babies.  Adorable pictures to come later.  Have a safe and happy Halloween, yall!

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Sunday, October 25, 2015

All the Highs and Lows in One Saturday

Parenting is funny.  Not funny haha but funny weird.  Your kid can send you from the happiest high to the ugliest crying low and doesn't need fifteen minutes to do it.

Saturday the three of us had nothing to do but hang out at home.  Cooper has been saying the usual "da da da da" forever.  Chris loves it.  He eats it up.  After giving Cooper his bath I was getting him dried off and he said "mamamama"!  Clear as a bell!  He hasn't said it since but that's good enough for me.  That was high #1.

At lunch time I got him set up in his high chair with baby food, spoon, huge bib, and extra paper towels.  I started feeding him and he promptly started spitting whole mouth fulls out.  He's been doing this for about a week now.  After about three bites and getting butternut squash everywhere BUT in his mouth I got frustrated, gave up and fed him a bottle.  That was low #1.


After a nap, Cooper and I both got tired of being in the house so I loaded him up in his baby wearer and we went for a walk.  It wasn't sunny outside but it was still pretty.  We walked around taking pictures and went all the way to Mom and Dad's house.  I was pretty tired from toting twenty solid pounds all that way.  Mom and Dad weren't home so we sat in the rocker on the porch listening to music on my Spotify.  He fell asleep and we must have sat there for an hour and a half.  It was so quiet and peaceful and there's nothing like a sleeping baby in your arms to give you warm fuzzies.  That was high #2.


At time for dinner we got him buckled into his high chair again for another try.  A few nights ago, he was dropping his pacy out of his rock n play on purpose and I told him in my best, stern mommy voice "NO".  When that didn't work I popped his hand.  He laughed at me...all three times.  This kid is gong to be just like his dang daddy.  After ONE BITE of whatever the orange stuff was he spit it out and got it on his clothes, his hair, my clothes and my glasses.  I popped his hand again, harder this time.  He stopped and his mouth dropped open.  He looked at me like I had just lost every bit of trust I'd gained in the past nine months and those big, beautiful, blue eyes welled up with tears.  He cried and I folded like a chair.  I grabbed him up and held him and told him Mama was sorry.  His crying didn't last long.  Mine did.  He was more tired than hungry so I got in the bed with him and cried and cried until we both fell asleep.  That was low #2.  Very low.

Sometimes, like on the front porch, I think "Motherhood is awesome!  Why didn't I do this sooner?!  This isn't so hard!"  Then other times I feel like the worst mother in the world because he tries my patience and I get frustrated with him and I feel like I shouldn't because he's the best and most beautiful baby in the world ever born and how dare I get mad at this precious gift from God.

This is just real motherhood.  Every mom has highs and lows even if they don't talk about the lows.  At least that's what I tell myself.

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Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Bonfires, Pumpkins, and a Ring Box

Sunday night my family had a big bonfire/pumpkin carving party at my parents’ house. The weather was beautiful and crisp with a cool breeze. Dad grilled fifty hot dogs and Mom made hot chocolate and had laid out everything needed to roast marshmallows. It was looking to be perfect, autumn evening. When everyone got there just before sunset all twenty-seven of us lined up to take the obligatory group photo in front of the hay field. Mom set up the tripod and snapped the first picture. She went back to look at it and said “Daniel, you didn’t smile! We have to take it again!”

…and then Daniel dropped to one knee behind Kaylen and took a ring box out of his back pocket.

 She turned and saw him and in his sweet, country way said, “You know I love you. Will do me a favor and marry me?”  Even on his knees he was almost taller than her. She grabbed him by his face, already at eye level, kissed him and said “Well, put it on me!”

My baby sister is getting married!

A few weeks ago I dreamed in detail that Kaylen and Daniel got married. I saw every ridiculous detail; from the flowers still wrapped in plastic that had been picked up at the grocery store, to the pearl encrusted jacket Kaylen wore over her tea length gown. Daniel wore an outfit similar to the one he proposed in: jeans, t-shirt and a ball cap. I walked down the aisle wearing a purple dress holding Cooper in my arms. I had to stop during the ceremony to run to the bathroom which was conveniently located on the alter. In the dream during toast time I said that I had long ago accepted Daniel as a brother-in-law and that I wished them all the happiness in the world. That was the only part of the dream that was realistic.


Let the wedding planning begin!

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Thursday, October 15, 2015

Fall Weekends are the Best Weekends

The past weekend was a very busy one. But a very good one.  Yes, I'm aware a new weekend starts this evening but whatever.

Saturday was Homecoming at Bryant Denny. Dad and I had tickets to the game and Mom and Cooper drove down with us to see all the pregame festivities. He was decked out in his Alabama gear and looking very handsome if I do say so. Kaylen heard a co-ed tell her friend, “OMG look at his eyes! I just wanna smell his head! I bet it smells like Johnsons!” What can I say? College girls love them some Cooper.
In my book the weather could not have been more perfect. It was overcast but never rained a drop. The temperature was around that fine line where everyone is somehow comfortable. The game itself was ugly as sin but whatever. A win’s a win I guess. I didn’t get home until midnight and I crashed as soon as I got my makeup off.


Saturday morning after what felt like very little sleep we got up early to get ready for another full day. First was breakfast at IHop with Mom and Dad. Going against my MO I tried something new: Hazelnut Crepes with Bananas. Not bad. Not my new favorite but not bad. After that it was Party City to look for Coop a costume (we have it narrowed down between a devil or the circus strong man) and then we met Kaylen and Daniel off the beaten path at a little pumpkin patch. It was the cutest little place! There were barnyard animals to feed, a tractor ride, horse and pony rides, and of course pumpkins. Cooper pet the baby goats, rode the horse with me, and picked out a little baby pumpkin all while Mom took a gazillion pictures. And I’m so glad she did.  Plus how awesomely basic do I look in my fall flannel?


That baby makes my heart full and I’m so glad I have a family that loves him to share all these milestones with.
That’s one more thing marked off my Fall Bucket List!
Now that I've covered last weekend time to begin another one!  Happy Friday!

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Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Evenings


It’s funny how after having a baby you acquire a new normal and things that might have seemed strange or inconvenient before are now an everyday occurrence and you don’t notice or mind.

We’ve fallen into a routine in the evening that I’m pretty fond of. I leave work and go pick Cooper up at Mom and Dad’s. When we get home Chris is done or close to done cooking supper. We eat on the couch on our fold-out coffee table (that I hate the sight of but it’s served its purpose well for the past 8 years) and Cooper sits behind/between us. I say “sit” but it’s more of a roll, crawl, stand, climb situation. I try to eat with one hand while simultaneously keeping him from falling over or rolling right off the couch while he pulls himself up and climbs all over me like a spider monkey. Funny thing. He’d rather climb on me than Chris, but only when we’re eating. Most afternoons his Nanny gives him a bath but on days she doesn’t we bathe him in his tub in the kitchen sink after we eat, which is a family affair. I soap him up and when I pour water over his head to rinse him you’d think he was being water boarded...if water boarding was adorable.

When we’re done eating and bathing the three of us just hang out on the couch playing and talking until he gets fussy and it’s time for a bottle and bed. That’s when I take Cooper into our bedroom and give him his nightcap. He’s usually nearly asleep before he even polishes off the last of the bottle and when he’s done I just hold him close to me for a few minutes before I put him in his rock’n play. [Yes, he’s almost nine months old and still hasn’t spent a night in his crib.] When he’s good and asleep I go back and watch TV with Chris or just lie in bed reading next to him.

I used to dread evenings because I didn’t know what kind of mood Cooper would be in, if I was going to get to eat all my dinner, how long it would take him to fall asleep, or if I was going to get any time to relax before I had to go to sleep just to start over the next morning. Now the evening is my favorite time of day. Chris and I both work full-time (which I feel horribly guilty about) so this is our chance to enjoy him and just be together at the end of the day.

Lately every night when I turn off the light and roll over to go to sleep I find myself thinking, “today was a good day” and thanking God for my two boys.

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Monday, October 5, 2015

Serena - A Book Review

Goodreads
 Serena by Ron Rash

And the reading slump is over! This is the first book I’ve read in a long time that captivated me and left me eager to get home and in the bed to read some more. I thought I was going to be chomping at the bit to watch the movie afterward but I saw a trailer and I think I’ve changed my mind. I’m not sure I see Jennifer Lawrence as Serena and it looks like they changed the plot so much I’m afraid I’ll be left disappointed.
But let ‘s not put the cart before the horse…

The Good: SO. MUCH. GOOD. The writing is simple and effective without being pretentious, the characters are interesting and the plot keeps moving.  Serena is an intriguing character and you want to keep turning pages to see what she'll say or do next.  She's completely unlikable and she OWNS it.  The author's descriptions make it easy to visualize the rugged setting and the equally rugged supporting characters.  Plus being a Smoky Mountain lover I loved the little reference to places I've actually been to like Cades Cove and Clingmans Dome.
The Bad: The argument could be made that Serena is one-dimensional. But I like the dimension she’s in so I’m not arguing.
Bottom Line: If you haven't figured it out by now, I loved it.  Just a really great novel with memorable characters.

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Thursday, October 1, 2015

Confessions Big and Small

gold sandals, hardwood, gray comforter, confessions

-I confess that the only thing I’m going to miss about summer is the above pictured pair of sandals that go with everything in my closet.

-I confess that I went the weekend without taking a shower.  #NoShame.

-I confess that I don’t want to have any more babies because I never want to feel the way I felt after having Cooper ever again.

-I confess that someone told me some really great news the other night and I turned green with jealousy and it ate me up the rest of the evening.

-I confess that I cried ALL THROUGH Dancing with the Stars last week.

-I confess I lied through my crooked teeth to somebody Wednesday about something stupid and I'm still debating telling them the truth.

-I confess that I don’t want Planned Parenthood to get a dime of any taxpayer’s money. 

-I confess that I’m not Catholic but if the Pope was within reach I’d throw Cooper at him to get a blessing.

-I confess I really want to learn how to drive a forklift.

-I confess that sometimes I wonder if I was selfish bringing a baby into a world that's going to hell in a hand basket.

Well I feel better.
Have a fabulous FALL weekend.

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Monday, September 28, 2015

Book Lovers Rejoice - My Expereince with Thriftbooks.com

Thriftbooks.com, bookwork, cheap books, review, website

 [This is NOT a sponsored post, just something that recently made me extremely happy.]

I had been in a major reading slump all summer. After finishing Dorothy Must Die I started no less than three books and didn’t get very far into any of them. The only reason I started them to begin with was because I had them lying around. Nothing held my interest.

Then I stumbled upon Thriftbooks.com.
Oh. My. Gees. Where has this website been all my life and why hadn’t I heard of it before?

All the books you could possibly ever want to read at ridiculously cheap prices. I started adding books to my Wish List like it cool. I ended up ordering three: Serena, The Help, and Pride & Prejudice. I got those three books all in good condition for $10.59 and since my order was over $10 the shipping was FREE. FREE! For a $10 order! What is this sorcery?! Seven business days later they were in my mailbox. That made for one seriously happy Alyssa.
I will most likely NEVER buy a book from a store again. I mean, why would I when I can get them at stupid cheap prices and have them delivered?
This is why the terrorists hate us.

PS. I’m loving Serena. Review later!

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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

2015 Emmy Awards

The Emmy's snuck up on me this year!
I thought the show as a whole was pretty much a snooze fest but for the first time in a while I can honestly say I was excited about the fashion!  So many great colors and trends!  Let's just get right to it...

black trend, emmy awards, fashion, jamie lee curtis, natasha lyonne, amy poehler, julie bowen
Surprisingly black was a hot trend this year!  As was putting your left hand on your hip apparently...
Jamie Lee Curtis: the original scream queen looks fantastic.  Love the simplicity. // Natasha Lyonne: Could have been nice but instead looks like she stuck her dress in a shredder. // Amy Poehler: An arguably cool look ruined by a bad hairdo. // Julie Bowen: This is different look for her.  She looks great but I'll always prefer her in color.

pink, trend, color, emmys, samira wiley, elizabeth moss, jessica pare
Color me happy with this color trend!!!
Samira Wiley: The color looks great on her and I love the one shoulder cape. // Elizabeth Moss: I LOVE this.  She's always an odd-ball on the red carpet but I think she nailed this.  And I love the way it makes her hair pop. // Jessica Pare: Meh.  It's pretty I guess and her face is stunning but I that flower is throwing me off.

silver, trend, fashion, emmys, kerry washington, gina ridriguez, christina hendricks, sophia vergara
Kerry Washington: One word: FIERCE. // Gina Rodriguez: Love this!  So feminine and romantic! // Christina Hendricks: This confuses me.  I feel like normally I would be gaga over this.  Maybe I don’t like it on her?  Also not feeling the hair. // Sophia Vergara: If she was going to stick to what she knows she could have at least picked a more exciting color.  Zzz..

emmys, fashion, colors, trend, taylor schilling, maggie, january jones
Taylor Schilling: Such a disappointment for me because she’s had some stunning dresses!  Don’t like the cut or the color with her blonde hair. // Maggie Gyllenhaal: Ugh.  A taffeta nightmare. // January Jones: Love the unexpected color and she looks fab but I can’t get past the pants.

Jaimie Alexander, Claire Danes, Sarah Paulson, Ellie Kemper, trend, sparkle, emmys, fashion
Jaimie Alexander: Props for something so off the wall but I'm just not sure...  // Claire Danes: While I like the color and even the sparkle, I LOATHE the neckline.  Not very flattering. // Sarah Paulson: Love the dark drama of this dress!  Much like her AHS characters! // Ellie Kemper – I kind of dig this and I'm not sure why.  Such an odd print!

Ariel Winter, Emma Roberts, Sarah Hyland, fashion, emmys, bombshells,
Ariel Winter: She looks like a bombshell and is it just me or does she look 10x more confident after her breast reduction.  Work it, girl. // Emma Roberts: Gorgeousness.  Hair, makeup and jewelry are all on point but I DO wish the color of the dress was slightly less close to her skin tone. // Sarah Hyland: Love the neckline, color and casual hair.  She can't pick a bad dress!

There you have it!  Who were your favorites?  Any notable looks I left out?

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Monday, September 21, 2015

If I Had All The Time in the World

clock, necklace, clock necklace, close up, time,
Insta
I was in a conversation with some coworkers the other day about some professor or psychologist who says we all work too much and we should really only be working no more than thirty hours a week. Why this professor or psychologist believes this I have no idea. Clearly he or she has enough money to comfortably cut his or her hours dramatically. Alyssa doesn’t. Fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly, and Cooper gotta eat $30 in formula every week. We won’t get into all the other reasons this wouldn’t work for most Americans.

Anyway.

In the conversation I said something sarcastic along the lines of “wouldn’t that be nice” and someone else asked, “but what would you do with all your free time?” My knee jerk response was “whatever the heck I wanted”. Then I really got to thinking about. What WOULD I do with a lot of extra time? Plenty! Let’s spend reality for a second and pretend Chris had a super awesome job where I didn’t have to work and we could still afford daycare for baby (because ain’t nothin’ getting done home alone with him). In that make believe universe I would:

-Learn French.
-Do yoga.
-Take walks with Cooper (before I took him to daycare).
-Read. A lot.
-Drive to Tuscaloosa just to have lunch with Kaylen.
-Become the best blogger in the world.
-Have a house cleaning schedule.
-Watch all the movies on my watch list.
-Make a bunch of cookies and just give them to people.
-Cook healthy meals.

A rosy picture, is it not?
Back to reality and it's Monday so Cooper is at daycare, I'm at work, and Chris at his work that doesn't pay him enough for me not to.

And on that note, have a super awesome week!
What would you do if you had all the time in the world?

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