Saturday, December 15, 2018

Day 1 - Arrival in Aruba!!

So I got up at the crack of dawn… 3 AM this morning… and I was off to Pittsburgh International Airport. Today's the day I begin my vacation! I hadn't even gotten to the airport and I was already missing my babies…


Once on the plane and spent the rest of my flight time watching episodes of The Office. I was laughing out loud the entire trip!  I swear that show gets funnier the more you watch it! 

Next thing I knew we were getting ready to land… This is the flight tracker that was on my screen on the plane…

 And this is the view out my neighbors window… I had the aisle seat and he was kind enough to let me snag a picture out the window.   My neighbor on the plane also travels for work and he paid for his trip with his points also. We both determined that it's a pretty good trade off… LOL! 

 I had to post these pictures. My rental car the first two days is with National because I had two free days rental that I wanted to make sure that I used. On Monday I return it and swap it out with Hertz. The car that National gave me is almost too scary to drive… LOL!  Before I even put the car in drive it said it needed an oil change and then it was giving me a tire pressure air. It's covered in dings on the outside. I ran back in to make sure that this was not a problem and they said no it's fine to drive. I have to say I'm really happy that in two days I will take this back and get a real rental from Hertz!


Ugh...seriously?! Ha



 I saw this beautiful home on my drive from the airport to the hotel. Could you imagine how amazing this place can look if someone bought it and fixed it up! It is amazing looking now… I'm in love with Aruba! 

Apparently it is fashion weekend here in Aruba! They are here doing runway is on the pier through Sunday. I kept looking for the Kardashians  but I did not see them LOL!

I  walked across the street after I checked into my hotel and had dinner at a super cute restaurant on the water called The Paddock! This was my view for my meal.   Just a little trivia… The ship in the background is called Aida Perla (it is owned by Carnival) and it has a nudist only pool on the 18 floor of the ship.  Don't ask me how the people here know that but it is a fact. I googled it to see if it's true! Ha!

This was dinner! Ribs were the special with a delicious pasta salad and side of potato something. I can't remember what the waiter called them.

This little crab was walking down the pier as I ate and then he slipped back into water!!! Sooo cute!!! I am glad I got ribs and not seafood! 

Here us a tour of my room… This is the view when you open the door.

This is a view of my bathroom… Love the shower!

Super awesome toiletries are always a plus exclamation

And this is a really great mixture of complementary toiletries!

 Two robes in my closet… I think I'll be swapping these out! Anyone else like to wear the robe in a hotel? Just makes me feel fancy - ha ha! 

This is the view out my balcony… I can look at other peoples balconies and the hallway. Can't complain when you're getting your room comped for hotel points.

 My bed and my little sitting area… Please excuse the mess I had already moved in. 

 And the view of the other side of the room which is the TV in the dresser…

 So Saturday night after I got settled in the room and went to dinner I came home to review my day tomorrow. I found a note they had put under my door inviting residence to spend a free $25 in slot play at the casino. It was early so I've ventured over… I came across this tree on my way in our lobby.   So pretty… There's my Christmas tree! 

 I gave them my name and got my $25 in free slot play and guess what? After about 10 minutes of playing my machine had me up $126. Then it started going down again.  I kept thinking it was going to get lucky again so I kept playing until I got down close to 100. I finally forced myself to cash out at  $100.75!!!

So I quit while I was ahead and left a winner! I really made $100 because it was their $25 in free play and I spent! I'll probably lose it by the end of the week but I feel like a winner tonight!

 I hope you all had a wonderful Saturday! I'm exhausted and I am off to bed… Hopefully I'll be able to sleep in  A little before breakfast tomorrow! Tomorrow morning depending on when I get up I plan to go to the island and I have the catamaran and snorkeling tomorrow. I'll get lots of pictures! 

 Have a great night y'all! Thanks for reading! 

 Do you gamble and play slots? Do you quit while you're ahead or just play until it's gone? Do you have a favorite machine? 

Friday, December 14, 2018

Friday Favorites / Five on Friday

Hi ya'll!!! Welcome to my blog! I am so happy to write this post today!!

Here it is...Friday again!

Yippee!!! 

Friday this week means that I am off work for the rest of the year!!! What?!?!? Yup!!! You read that right...the rest of the year!!! Wowsa - I am so thankful for this MUCH NEEDED break! I will not return to work until after the new year! Yippee me!

I am starting out my off time right by heading to Aruba for a long awaited vacation with MYSELF!!! Yes, you read that right too! Myself! I will be traveling alone and I am sooo happy about it! I take a family vacation every year and that is always awesome and I took a Hawaii vacation this year with my Mom and that was awesome! But now, I am truly looking forward to having no one to answer to except me!! I get to do whatever I want, whenever I want!! SO EXCITING!!! Then I will return home and spend Christmas eve and day with my family!

If you are a robber and are reading this and thinking..."yippee"...don't try it! Or, I guess you could it just wont end well for you! HA!


I have a cat sitter/house sitter, I live in a secured condo building on the second floor and I have cameras! So, try it! LOL! Also, I have the worlds best neighbors and I am sure they will stop you if if the cats, cat sitter or cameras don't. Just one of the bonuses of owning a condo I suppose!

So, onto my five this week!!!

Here are my five top things I will be doing in Aruba next week...

I have booked this half day Jeep Safari tour. The tour company website says "Ideal for those who want to discover the wild side of the island without spending a full day on tour. Be your own driver in a 4X4 Jeep that will show you some of the most beautiful sights on the island. Fantastic guides will keep you entertained all the way in this off-road adventure."


Next I booked this Beach Hopping / Snorkling Tour.  The company website says A new snorkeling adventure with an  open air bus. Visiting the hidden secret Mangel Halto for a snorkeling stop, afterwards moving towards the famous Baby Beach for another snorkeling stop.


Then I booked this Snorkel Adventure with a different company. The website says See Aruba from a new perspective, aboard the spacious Palm Pleasure, a 70-foot-long and 40-foot-wide catamaran. You'll get treated to 3 snorkel stops, open bar, lunch and beautiful views.





Another thing I cannot wait to do is attend this Aruba Fashion Week!! It just happens to be there during my stay so I am planning to definitely check it out!!

And lastly, I will do more of this next activity than anything else!! I am planning to RUN to my favorite local beach and run to set myself up at my favorite little pagoda!!! Fingers crossed - it is still there and waiting for my arrival...Arashi Beach here I come!!! Oh how I have missed you Aruba!


I promise to blog about the adventures as much as possible so that it will almost be like you are there with me! Happy Holidays to you all! I am so very grateful for each and every one of you that takes time out of your day to read my blog and show interest in my life! Hugs to you all!!!!

I will also spend my time on the beaches reading your blogs so please keep posting I need all the reading material I can get!!!!



Thursday, December 13, 2018

Thankful Thursday

This week I am joining Rebecca Jo at Knit By God's Hands for her Thankful Thursday!


Even though she is having struggles after surgery she is still hosting this week...way more of a trooper than I would be under those circumstances!! Please send her your prayers and blessings!!

This week I am thankful...

- That I am booked on a flight to Aruba in two days!!! I am so excited to escape this Pittsburgh weather!!! Ready to be in the steady 88 degrees that is One Happy Island!!!  Ahhhhhhhhhhh...

- That I have the world's best cat sitter and house sitter ever!!! This woman is amazing and she loves my babies as if they are her own! She was always so tolerant of my dumb requests to send pictures and videos (until I got the cameras) and she really loves them as much as I do! I have very skittish cats that don't even really come out for my family members and they crawl all over her and her husband!! It is great to know that my home and pets are well cared for - there is NOTHING like peace of mind when you are away!!!!

- That as of now I have a job. This next year I will be learning a new job function and I am really looking forward to it!!

- That my last "lady" doctors visit I told her about my hot flashes and she thinks she has something that will help. She has prescribed generic Prozac (Fluoxetine -Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitor) for me?? At first I was like....what?!?! Then she explained that this is what they are using in place of hormone replacement (since it has been shown to cause breast and ovarian cancer). I am not starting the new medicine until I return from my trip since I don't want to have any negative side effects while out of the country! HA! I will keep you posted on how it works. She also mentioned that is an appetite suppressant so it may help in the diet arena too. WIN WIN! HA HA!

- And, as always, for my family, friends (real and bloggy) and God! You will ALL always be on my gratitude list!

I hope everyone has an amazing rest of their day and I can not wait to go see what everyone else is thankful for!!!!!  Hugs!!!

Any one else dealt or dealing with hot flashes? What are you doing or taking to minimize them? Do you have someone watch your house when you are away? What do you do with your pets? What are you thankful for??

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Wednesday Medley

This Week's Questions for the Wednesday Medley...



Here is a medley of questions you may choose to answer on your Wednesday blog.  There aren't any rules and there is no obligation. Link up if you want to with Terri at My Friend From Florida.






1.  National Ding-a-Ling Day is observed across the United States each year on December 12.  Ding-a-Lings on this day call the people they haven’t heard from in a while.  It may be an old classmate, co-worker or neighbor from years ago.  Or perhaps a call will go out to the child who used to mow the grass during the summer.  How about that couple who carpooled for soccer. There are all sorts of people in our lives who manage to slip out of our lives who would love to hear the ding-a-ling of a call from you or me.  So tell us who you want to call today!

This is awesome but I am a firm believer that God will put people in AND OUT of my life when they are supposed to be there.  I don't really go looking to find people from my past. In recovery, we do an eighth step which is making amends to those we harmed. In order to do this we search out those people and sincerely apologize and ask if there is anything we can do to right the wrong we did and then we move on. So, after that I don't really search anyone out now. God seems to be really good at moving people together when they need to be and apart when the lessons have been learned. That probably does not make sense to anyone but me...HA! BUT...If you call me, I will answer!!! Hugs!


2.  Each year on the 12th day of December, people across the United States recognize National Poinsettia Day.  I am including this "National Day" too because my neighbor's poinsettia from last year is blooming beside their house!!  Have you ever tried to plant a poinsettia outside?

No, I have not. Me and poinsettias are NOT really friends. They look pretty and every year I get one to keep on my desk at work around Christmas but they are poison to cats so none will ever make it anywhere near my home! Here is my desk poinsettia this year (with all the adorable nieces and nephews in the background)...



3.  Do you believe in Bigfoot?  I do - I love to think that there are many undiscovered life forms out there and not just humans and animals. I also believe in UFO's and aliens!!  As amazing as this Earth and space is; how could we be the only ones?!?!  What size shoe do you wear and do you have trouble shoe shopping? I wear a size 8 1/2 and no; normally I can find my size unless there are only a few pairs left in the store and those are usually 10's or 11's.

4.  What is one thing you refuse to share?I can't think of anything.  If you ask nicely I will share anything!

5.  Are you finding that this Christmas is stressful? Nope! Not at all! I started preparing early since I knew I would be leaving on vacation the week before so I am done and ready to fly out of this cold weather.  I decorated my condo and put lights outside but I skipped the tree this year since I knew I would not be home and I can enjoy my parents tree when I go up there.  The only issue I am having is that my oldest sister and her family can only be at my parents through the weekend and since I fly back home on Saturday; I am only going to be celebrating Christmas with my family on Sunday.  I will miss all the festivities on Friday and Saturday.  Oh well, it is all good! Nothing I can change about the trip now, right?  More or less than last year? About the same.
6.  Tell us something random about your week so far! As I think you all probably already read ... I won another basket raffle! This one is a Google Home! WOWSA! After multiple people suggested buying lottery tickets; I got a few scratch-offs. They were all losers so I guess that is it for luck - HA HA!

I hope everyone has a great rest their week!!! Happy Hump Day!

Do you have poinsettias at home?  Does anyone else do the pickle in the tree thing?? Anyone else wish there was someone you could hire to fill a stocking for an adult that lives alone?? HA HA

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Candy Making 101

Happy Tuesday!!!

I wanted to make sure to post about my candy making! This is another tradition for me every Christmas.  My Mom used to make it when we were kids and now that I am an adult I have tken it over! It is my favorite oliday sweet!!!

I made old fashioned holiday hard tack every year for friends and family.  It seems that people either hate it or love it! LOL!

Here is where I get the oils  Lorann Oils...I do not like the fruit flavored ones; I always select minty flavors. I normally make four flavors every year...cinnamon (seems to be a lot of peoples favorite), clove, anise and wintergreen.




Here is my setup of supplies... you only need oil flavoring, sugar, light corn syrup, water and food coloring to differentiate flavors.




Here is the recipe.... soooo simple!! If you can boil water, you can make candy!

And I always made the double batch...this is the amounts to use of everything for double batch...



So, here is what I do.  I put 1 cup water, 3 3/4 cups sugar and 1 1/2 cups light corn syrup in a large pot on the stove.  Turn heat under pan to medium and mix with a wooden spoon until the sugar starts to dissolve. Then attach a candy thermometer to the pan and let it rest in the syrup.  That's it for a while!  Once the syrup reaches 260 degrees on the thermometer you add 10 - 20 drops of food coloring (I do red for cinnamon, blue for clove, green for wintergreen and yellow for anise). Allow the bubbling to mix in the color-do not stir. The once it reaches 300 degrees you remove from heat and once the bubbling stops, you add the flavoring. For the double batch above, you add two bottles of flavoring (2 drams).  Then stir in that flavoring very well. I usually mix it in for at least 1 minute.

Have two 9 x 13 pyrexs (spray well with oil) ready and well greased. Dump the hot candy into the pyrexs quickly before it starts cooling.  Wait about 4 minutes and score the candy with a pizza cutter in a checkerboard fashion.  After about ten minutes start breaking the candy into small bite size pieces. Drop the pieces into powdered sugar and coat well.

Here is my first batch completed...anise



 And when they are all done I put into labeled bags for friends and family...

 Tada...

Close up of the candy...

And...you will never believe this...I won this at the work raffle!!!! WHAT!?!? Crazy right?? I don't even know if I am going to use this or give it away since I am not sure I want it sitting around listening to me...LOL!  If you all have any experience with one of these please let me know what you use it for??? LOL!

And...this happened!!! WHOOP!!! Living in recovery One Day at a Time I had 22 years on December 9th!!!! So awesome and such a great life today!!!


Do you have a Google Home or Dot?  Please let me know what you use it for.  Anyone else winning things this holiday season? Done with your shopping? Do you like hard tack?

I hope you all have an amazing Tuesday!!!! 


Monday, December 10, 2018

Weekend Recap-Breakfast with Santa

Happy monday ya'll!!!

As of this morning when I left for work, the dishwasher appears to be running! YEA!!! Maybe this new Bosch will work out - yippee!!!

Saturday morning I volunteered at Breakfast with Santa for work! Every year they have a breakfast with Santa for employees and the proceeds benefit United Way! It only costs $15 a person and they breakfast, gifts and a picture with Santa. It is always awesome and I volunteer since I have no little kids to take!

If you saw my Halloween Party post HERE...you will recgonize a lot of this...we leave a lot of the decorations up from Halloween and the Breakfast with Santa theme is the same...so here it is ...Star Wars!!!

This is the building entryway...


The hallway...

Another hallway...

There are a ton of cute crafts for the kids to complete for free. This is a sand necklace and there were about six others to choose also.

Food galore...cupcakes, scones, donuts as well as bacon, eggs and hash browns!!!

There were over 50 donated baskets they were raffling off...that was my job at the breakfast...to sell raffle tickets.

 Another view of the baskets...

Just like for Halloween we did the pumpkin decorating...we decorate Gingerbread houses for Breakfast with Santa. That is mine on the right...right next to the Millennium Falcon star ship!!!  I had no chance! LOL!!!

Chewbacca was there...

And Santa of course!!!!!!

My friend Kathy got a pic with Chewy!!! HA HA

Santa and Mrs. Clause in the photo area!!!

Here is a close up of the cookies...sooo cool!!!

Oh, and C3PO made it!!!

A little Chewy and a Storm-trooper...

It was a great day and the kids were all so super adorable!!! Thanks to work for another great event~~~~


Day 1 - Arrival in Aruba!!

So I got up at the crack of dawn… 3 AM this morning… and I was off to Pittsburgh International Airport. Today's the day I begin my vacat...