Don’t Forget Small Business Saturday!

small business saturday
It’s been years since I’ve engaged in the Black Friday insanity. I don’t like crowds, I can’t stand in long lines,  and I’d much rather order online and have gifts shipped to my house. If they don’t have free shipping I choose in-store pickup, which is typically fast and easy. This year I’m making several of my Christmas gifts – hopefully I’ll have everything done in time!

But the few things I will go out and buy, and many things that I purchase online, will be from small businesses.  When my sons were younger I’d bypass ToysRUs for a small neighborhood store called Playthings. Their entire inventory was carefully selected to be long-lasting and encourage imaginative play. Last weekend I went to a holiday bazaar and met men and women who’d made the most beautiful up-cycled hats and neckwarmers, personalized ornaments, and gorgeous jewelry. Several years ago a friend of mine made scented candles in mason jars and sold out of them as fast as she could make them! Etsy is home to many small business owners, and every single thing I’ve purchased through them has been magnificent!

This year Michael and I have our own small business, sharing Nerium anti-aging skin care products. If I didn’t already have a head-to-toe supply coming every month it would absolutely be something I’d put on my Christmas list.

If there are readers on your list let me recommend a few independently published local authors:
Lisa Tapp (young adult)
Leslie Lynch (contemporary)
Mysti Parker (humor and children’s)
Joan Kayse (historical)
There are many more, but that should get you started!

I’ll be buying myself a gift of aromatherapy from doTERRA, since the pain relief from one dose of their products gave me immediate pain relief that lasted for hours. MakeUpBeGone has chemical-free makeup remover cloths that will save your eyelashes, washcloths, and pillowcases. How many people do you know who sell Thirty-One merchandise, Pampered Chef must-haves, or lovely silver jewelry or candles? Remember those people this Saturday. You’ll be buying a wonderful gift and helping people in your community.

When you buy something from a small business this season encourage others to do the same: Post about it on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter using the hashtag #shopsmall. And when you do order online please place your order through an affiliate link (like the Amazon link on my sidebar). It won’t cost you any more, but the bloggers who have taken time to recommend products from those companies will get a small percentage of all sales through their links.

I am Gandolf! (sort of)

— 1 —

My lower back has been extremely painful this week. Changing positions is the worst, but I’ve found myself holding my breath because even breathing is painful. And, of course, I showed up at my doctor’s office for a scheduled visit only to find out he’d called in sick that day. And it’s not like getting rides to and from doctors’ appointments is an easy thing for me, so I’ve been in pain and grumpy. I’m currently using a pool cue as a cane until Michael can pick one up for me from the selection at my grandmother’s house, so I do look a bit like Gandolf sans beard.

— 2 —

 The day before the pain hit I took John and made a Kroger run. About halfway through I was miserable, so when I got to the pharmacy at the far end of the store I was spoiling for a fight. This is one of the many reasons I didn’t realize for quite some time that the pharmacy tech was hitting on me! That did perk me up a bit, and since he’d guessed my age as ten years younger than my date-of-birth proved I have him my Nerium card :) He hasn’t bought anything yet, but who knows?!

— 3 —

Since the pain has severely limited my activities I’m savoring the small happy moments – like watching The Walking Dead and Talking Dead with my sixteen-year-old. I think I may enjoy the after-show more than the show itself, mainly because the host, Chris Hardwick, reminds me so much of both my sons. His dark yet goofy sense of humor is right up my alley :)

— 4 —

John and I also watch Face Off, and have every season. This was the first year that we both had a favorite from the very first episode . . . and it’s the same person! Dina, or as we call her, “cake girl”, quit her job decorating cakes to compete on the make-up effects show. She’s doing really well, and we may have to throw a party if she wins!

— 5 —

In other competition show news (yes, I am spending a lot of time lying flat watching TV or reading) I was very sad to see Chris March get the boot on Project Runway All-Stars. I just love him and his over-the-top designs, and wish his solo show would have lasted more than one season.

— 6 —

John learned an important lesson this week. He usually has pretty good manners – he opens more doors for me than Michael, by far. But when he had a friend come home on the bus with him this week I was completely embarrassed. John came in the door, told me, “I have a ton of homework,” and headed for his room, completely ignoring his guest. I limped around, getting the young man a snack and giving him passwords for the laptop in the living room so he could work on his own homework. Then I read John the riot act about never running off to leave a guest to their own devices, no matter what is going on. I insisted that he do his homework in the living room so as to be in the same room and be sociable, or in the dining room if they both needed computer access. He argued, but I think I got through to him how important it is to be a considerate host as well as how to be a considerate guest if the roles were reversed.  After all, haven’t we all been in that position? We have a guest over, but there are things we simply have to do? It’s a hard one for many adults, so if he learns it now it will hopefully serve him well later in life. We’ll see.

— 7 —

Then, this morning, I got a text from John that he’d forgotten to turn in some homework. He can do this by using turnitin.com, and even gets confirmation.  Seriously, how much easier can it be to turn in homework? But he’d forgotten, so I had to log onto his computer with its blue-painted keyboard, find the assignment, and send it. I would have been grumpy, but when I initially logged onto his computer this is what greeted me:
jdesktop
At least the kid doesn’t have self-esteem issues!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Imgur + Grocery Mistake = Delicious Supper!

John loves Imgur. I’ll hear him giggling away in a corner of the sofa and it’s almost always something he’s pulled up on Imgur.  I Haven’t been sucked in yet, but I was interested when he showed me a sort-of recipe that involved crescent rolls, refried beans, and hamburger. It looked like something that could be put together in less than fifteen minutes (which is about how long I can stand without my back pain becoming more than I can tolerate) and that we’d all like.

So I made a grocery list and John and I went shopping. Michael has been doing most of the grocery shopping lately, and he got into the habit of shopping on the way home from work each evening. You’d think this would be fabulous, very European. The freshest fruits and vegetable, bread hot out of the oven, meats carefully wrapped by the butcher. Not so much.  We ended up heating up canned or frozen meals most nights, and I’m not entirely sure he ever visited the produce section.

This led to my shopping trip with John. I needed something green in my diet, and something that didn’t involve cardboard or cans. The problem was that the grocery was busy and at about the halfway point (Mexican and Oriental aisle) my back was killing me even though John was pushing the cart and doing all the lifting. All I had to do was walk and point, but it was too much. I really, truly felt the need to just sit on the floor and lean against a refrigerated case. So I told John we needed to pick up the pace. I grabbed at what I thought was a package of taco mix. It wasn’t – it was a package of enchilada sauce mix. So here’s what we had for supper (a pain pill and a long rest later). The guys loved it so much I didn’t have the heart to tell them it was a “mistake meal”!
imgur supper
2 pkgs refrigerated crescent rolls
1 can refried beans
1 lb ground chuck, cooked and drained
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 cup shredded chopped cheddar
1/3 cup picante sauce
1 cup enchilada sauce mix
toppings of your choice (sour cream, guacamole, lettuce, tomatoes, etc)

Preheat oven to 375.
Once meat is drained stir in enchilada sauce packet and set aside.
Roll out one package crescent rolls on cookie sheet sprayed with non-stick spray.
Press seams together to form large rectangle.
Spread refried beans on rectangle.
Top with beef.
Add onions and cheese.
Add picante sauce.
Roll out second package of crescent rolls on countertop and seal seams.
Place on top of other ingredients and seal edges with tines of fork.
Bake 30 minutes, or until golden brown.
Slice and serve with your choice of toppings.
Serves four.

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Anything worth doing can be done in jammies!