CGjenny

Friday Favorites–Homemade Granite Cleaner

Because I like stuff… a lot

Friday Favorites

This is the first time we’ve ever had granite countertops in a house and…between you and me? I don’t love them. 

For starters, I hate how unforgiving they are if you accidentally set a glass or a ceramic bowl down too hard on them. Crack. 

I also hate how you can’t tell if they’re dirty. Now, believe me: I’m the queen of pretending that things are hunky-dory, but when it comes to the cleanliness of my kitchen counters, I place “Ick and schmutz and crumbs and germs and salmonella” under the NEED TO KNOW file of kitchen cleanliness. And maybe this isn’t true for all granite, but with our countertops, you have to look at them from an awkward angle or catch the light just right…or, typically have important guests over who are about to touch your counters, and that’s when you can see the peanut butter and jelly smears the best. 

So, I’ve tried a few different products for cleaning granite countertops and hated how most of them left a film. I don’t know about you, but I’m a one-and-done kinda gal when it comes to wiping down the counters–meaning I don’t want to have to endure a 2-step process of wiping and then polishing my countertops. 

In a fit of frustration, I consulted Dr. Pinterest and piecemealed a couple of different homemade granite cleaner recipes together and came up with a solution that works fabulously–I’m thrilled to share it with you today. All you need is rubbing alcoholDawn dish soap, essential oils of your choice, water and a spray bottle.

Continue reading “Friday Favorites–Homemade Granite Cleaner”

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Rebuilding your spiderwebs

 

I’m thinking I might ditch the “On The Wagon Wednesday” concept and just keep Wednesdays open to posting whatever seems fitting. How do you feel about that? Chime in in the comments and let me know how you feel…

Now that the weather is changing, I’ve started walking Angie on the hiking trails that snake through our neighborhood. The trails are remote in parts and closer to civilization in other parts, but they afford Angie an opportunity to sniff all manner of interesting critter-scents while giving me the opportunity to appreciate the scenery–all without having to dodge traffic. 

Rebuilding your spiderwebs

One obstacle that we encounter daily on the trails are spiderwebs. Every day, there are new, mostly-invisible spiderwebs that stretch across the trail–right at face-level. 

 

spiderweb-in-your-face
Truth

There’s nothing that gives me the heebie-jeebies more than walking through a spiderweb…and then I’m just sure that I can feel a spider crawling on my back for the rest of the walk.

But, the thing that strikes me about these spiderwebs is that, although I (inadvertently) destroy their carefully-crafted webs every day–the following morning, there are new, larger and usually more spectacular webs stretching across the trail in the same, exact places.

These spiders are nothing if not tenacious, y’all. 

This got me to thinking about our own “webs” that we build and how every day, there are things that chip away at and destroy our webs. Your “web” might be your self-confidence, self-respect, body image or sobriety and these things are torn down, snagged and penetrated every day–but we must do the hard work to rebuild everyday–rebuilding stronger for the next day’s assault. 

Every time our “web” gets torn through, maybe (just maybe) it’s those micro-tears and even the catastrophic, complete, tear-downs that force us to come back better and stronger…ya think?

And, in some cases, if your “web” is repeatedly getting torn down, over and over, maybe it’s time to move it to a new trail–a trail with less opportunities for destruction? A trail where you can build, coddle and nurture your web a little before it gets threatened? 

Tell us about your webs…

cheers-jenny

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CGjenny

7 ways that sober friends are cooler than drunk friends

Not to disregard the appeal of a good, old “drinking buddy.” But also to remind you that, just because someone doesn’t drink, doesn’t mean that they’re not friend material.

7wayssoberfriends2

1.We will probably never vomit in your car. Unless we have a legit stomach virus (and, in that case, all bets are off on us also shitting our pants in your car) or we’re pregnant.

2. We really do “love you, man.” If we get sappy and slurry and tell you how much we “really, like love you a really whole lot” it’s likely due to hormones or authentic feelings and not just the booze talking.

3.Your secrets are safe with us. We’ll not only listen to your deepest secrets and thoughts, but also remember them (and possibly tease you about them, at a later date).

4.Three words: Built-in Designated Driver. You can rest easy on Girls’ Night Out, knowing that you have a built-in DD who won’t relinquish her duties halfway through the night, when the creepy dudes at the bar order a round of shots for the “pretty ladies at the table in the back.”

5.Expert check splitter. When the check arrives and everyone else blearily tries to focus on the check and do drunken math to determine their portion, your sober friend can quickly calculate (or, if you’re like me, deftly maneuver her calculator app) how much each person owes. This will save you money in the long run and keep you from over-tipping out of drunken convenience.

6.Low-cal companion. If you’re watching your caloric intake, take us to lunch with you. We won’t encourage you to get that sugar-laden, fruity, tropical rum punch nonsense, like your wasted girlfriends will. Unsweetened ice tea or water with extra lemon over here.

7.Morning people. There’s no shame in texting us before 10am on a weekend. Not only are we already up, we’ve taken care of business and we’re totally game for whatever you want to do. Hangovers suck, man, and they rob you of precious weekend mornings.

This isn’t to say that your non-sober friends are no-good, but don’t discount your sober friends as being “sticks in the mud” and don’t assume that they don’t want to go out and do stuff with you that might include alcohol.

show-me-your-friends

Do you have sober friends in your tribe?

cheers-jenny

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CGjenny

Friday Favorites–Radiolab

Friday Favorites

Since I’m (typically) nothing if not behind the times, technologically-speaking, I’ve just recently discovered a podcast that I’m obsessed with. Have you heard of Radiolab

radiolab
Radiolab hosts, Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich

Produced and aired via NPR, Radiolab is (according to their website) “a radio show and podcast weaving stories and science into sound and music-rich documentaries.” 

Simply put, each podcasts focuses on a snippet of life. Some of the podcasts delve into a specific news story (past or present) that always has an interesting twist. A recent Radiolab podcast that I listened to discussed the evolution of humans on a cellular level (I listened to this one, entitled, “Cellmates,” expecting an Orange Is The New Black-type of topic but ended up learning a lot about our cells–which kind of blew my mind). 

Radiolab never fails to disappoint. I often listen when I’m walking the dog or have a long car trip ahead of me. Most often, the podcasts are family-friendly and I always learn something. The recent podcast, “Playing God” was like a punch to the gut. So heart-wrenching and left me with so many questions. 

Give Radiolab a listen. Consider it an opportunity to think outside of your box every now and then. 

cheers-jenny

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CGjenny

Overcoming your fear and doing the right thing

…even when it scares the shit out of you.

Overcoming fear

My daughter, Anna, is the most animal-loving creature that I know. She routinely goes out of her way to rescue roly-polies, grasshoppers and spiders. Dogs and cats aside (which are, obviously fan favorites in our house as well) this girl loves all creatures great and small.

With one exception. Flying, stinging insects…of the bee, wasp, yellow-jacket, hornet variety. Anna is terrified of being stung by something. I feel compelled to add that she’s not allergic to insect stings. 

So, you can imagine her reaction when she discovered a bee in the pool last week, exhausted and struggling to stay afloat. My Anna is nothing if not a conservationist, so she fully understands and respects the vital role that bees play in our ecosystem–she just doesn’t want them buzzing around her.

She was immediately fraught with conflict. She knew that the right thing to do would be to save the bee’s life, but she was so fearful of the bee that this left her in a sticky wicket indeed. Should she ignore the bee’s plight and save herself from a potential sting or face her fear, do the right thing (by both the bee and the Earth) and risk a sting?

She called me over to help and I gave her a pool noodle to use to let the bee crawl on. Then I deposited the bee into the grass, where he dried his wings for a bit then flew off to continue his important bee work. Everyone survived unscathed.

This incident got me thinking about how often we know what the right thing to do is but we’re too scared to do it.

For instance, I knew for many years, leading up to my sobriety, that I needed to ditch alcohol but I was scared. And I approached the idea with a very Scarlett O’Hara ideology: “Fiddly dee dee, I’ll think about that tomorrow.” I knew that I’d one day have to face this issue head-on, but, for a number of reasons, I ignored it time and time again. Once I decided that I was ready to do something about it, not only did I begin to change but the universe began to change for me. Good things began to happen. The clouds began to part. It was like I was being rewarded for doing the big, hard thing.

I’ll never tell you it was always easy–because it wasn’t. But it was always worth it.

 

what's right

I was really proud of Anna for facing what she fears in order to do the right thing. What do you fear doing that you know is really and truly the right thing? 

cheers-jenny

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CGjenny

On The Wagon Wednesday

Every Wednesday, we’ll do some deep thinking and challenge ourselves. The weekend looms on the other side of Wednesdays and it’s important to plan ahead for stumbling blocks and challenges that might present themselves in the weekend ahead. Let’s link arms and lean in…

OTWW

No matter what wrong choices or bad turns you’ve made in your life, every day; every hour; every minute is an opportunity for a “do-over.” You’re not stuck being the same person you were yesterday. It’s your right to change your course at any point in the journey. I recently read this in Barbara Bradley Hagerty’s piece for NPR,

 “Second chances present themselves all the time, if you’ll only keep your eyes open.”

everyday-is-a-second-chance

What would you like to have a second chance at? What’s keeping you from having a “do-over?” 

It’s never too late, you know…

cheers-jenny

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CGjenny

5 things I do every morning

I like to write the kind of posts that I enjoy reading. I always love to get a glimpse of a blogger’s ordinary life–call me a voyeur, but it’s what I like.

So, in the spirit of voyeurism (this should amount to some super-strange Google traffic) here are the 5 things that I do most every morning. 

5 things I do in the morning

 

  • Apple Cider Vinegar/Lemon Juice cocktail: I drink a full glass of water with about a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar mixed in, as well as a few squeezes of lemon juice, first thing when I walk in the kitchen, after waking up. I had a trainer at my old gym who first turned me onto apple cider vinegar years ago. She claimed that it’s a miracle, cure-all. Judging by her perpetually glowy skin and taut body, I went along with her advice. I’ve read that ACV lowers blood sugar levels, which wards off diabetes–among many other health benefits. I’m going on about 7 years of drinking ACV every day and it’s the first thing that I crave when I’ve been away from home and am settling back into a routine. As for the lemon juice, I’ve read a lot about the benefits of lemon juice–especially for those of us with Type A blood. So, just like the ACV, I figure that it can’t hurt. And it’s important to hydrate upon waking, so I feel like I’m killing 3 birds with one stone. (But I love birds, so I’d never kill one, of course)

lemon coffee

 

  • Coffee with coconut oil: After my ACV/lemon juice concoction, next up is my cup of coffee with a teaspoon of coconut oil in it. Again, another tidbit harvested from Dr. Pinterest, but I’ve read that coconut oil speeds up your metabolism and boosts your immunity. Plus, it tastes good. Bonus: my lips get a nice glossy-look, thanks to the coconut oil. 

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  • I make our bed. I have to make the bed for a number of reasons. If I don’t, our room looks that much messier. Also, I can’t stand to get into an unmade bed at night–sheets all wrinkled and tangled. (First world problems, fo sho) Besides, it’s rare that there’s not an animal snoozing on our bed at any given point in the day, so I like to keep the sheets clean and fur-free by making the bed first thing in the morning.

 

  • I empty the dishwasher. We run the dishwasher at night and my least-favorite morning chore is unloading the dishwasher in the morning but, if I don’t, our whole world falls apart. We don’t eat off of paper plates in our house, so we use–and thusly–dirty-up lots of plates, bowls and cups at each meal in this house. If we forget to set the dishwasher to come on before bed, then the next morning is a bust, so it’s important to me to stay on top of the Managing of the Dishwasher. 

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  • I walk the dog. Angie is a Weimaraner, which is a “sporting breed” (although, if you could hear her snoring and farting, while sleeping on the sofa with Judge Judy on the tv right now, you’d beg to differ) so she needs a good bout of exercise daily. I’ve found that, if I walk her at least 2 miles a day, she’s calmer for the rest of the day and doesn’t get into as much mischief when left alone. The walk is good for me too. During our daily dog walks is when I dream up the majority of these blog posts and get all of my good thinking done. 

On any given school day, all of these activities happen before 8am. Morning is my favorite. Mornings are way better now that I don’t drink. I don’t ever take mornings for granted anymore.

Tell us about your morning rituals.

cheers-jenny

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CGjenny

Friday Favorites–Cook Smarts

Because I like stuff. A  lot.

Friday Favorites

I believe that I first saw mention of Cook Smarts on Instagram. And, in a fit of meal-planning frustration, made even more difficult by navigating the ridiculous food aversions/picky eating habits of my offspring, (Anna won’t eat potatoes, because she deems them “too potato-y”) I was very close to throwing in the towel on meal-planning. 

cooksmarts

Enter Cook Smarts. Cook Smarts is a weekly meal-planning service.  Unlike other meal planning/food delivery services, Cook Smarts only sends you the menus–the grocery shopping is all on you. I pay about $8 a month (less than Netflix) and have access to, not only new meal plans every week, but a grocery list generator as well as an exhaustive archives of additional meal ideas, if I’m not feeling the menu for the week or if I need to add in some extra meals. 

The idea is fairly simple: Every Thursday, I get an email from Cook Smarts, with 4 meal ideas. Depending on how busy our week is, I typically plan to make at least 2 of the menus (but have also made all 4 weekly menus, some weeks). Then, I can modify each recipe to account for servings (say, my mother-in-law is coming over for dinner, so I can bump up the servings on Thursday’s meal to 5, instead of 4). Then, I can modify each recipe to make it gluten-free, Paleo or vegetarian too. Once I have the servings and modifications in place on each meal, I can then generate a grocery list. 

Cook Smarts grocery list
The hand-written items are things that we needed, not included in the meal plan. We eat a lot of Goldfish, y’all.

 

Then, after the shopping is done, Cook Smarts also gives you options for weekend prepping, where you’re advised which veggies you can go ahead and slice and dice and then store before cooking, later in the week; what meats can be tenderized and/or marinated a day or so before, etc. This prep-time has proven to be invaluable now that school has started and our before-dinner routine is chaotic, at best. 

When it comes to the cooking day, the recipes are easy to follow and many even have tutorial videos that show you specialized kitchen techniques–from cutting to sauteing. 

cooksmartscollage
L-R Philly chicken sandwiches, Black bean sweet potato tacos, Cumin beef noodles, Thai chicken salad with mango/pear smoothies

 

Another helpful feature is the Cook Smarts Facebook group (Cook Smarts Kitchen Heroes). People often post photos of which menu items they’ve made, with helpful suggestions; likes, dislikes, etc. I’ve found other people’s experiences and advice extremely helpful and I try to post photos and tips as well. 

You see, I’m a decent cook–I mean, I can follow a recipe like a normal person–but what I lack is creativity. Cook Smarts has given me the opportunity to introduce my family to some new flavors and foods. Also, since I’m buying for specific recipes at the grocery store, I’m saving money. I used to go to the store and grab items right and left thinking, “I’ll grab this chicken and this broccoli and these beans and I’m sure I’ll come up with some way to feed this to my family,” only to end up throwing half of the items out, after they sat unused in the fridge for a week or more.

The very best part of Cook Smarts though? When dealing with my absurdly difficult, picky-eating children, if a Cook Smarts recipe is a flop, it’s not all my fault anymore! “Sorry, guys. Cook Smarts told me to.” 

Go to www.cooksmarts.com and sign up for 3 free meal plans to try. 

cheers-jenny

(this post contains affiliate links, that help to off-set the expense of running this website.)

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CGjenny

Meet the pets–Tino

Today is our final installment of the “Meet the Pets” series…that is, until we get another pet. 

Tino

 

Meet Tino. Ah…sweet Tino. He’s a mess (and yes, his tongue is always sticking out).

Tino, (short of Valentino–which was a tad too prissy for life in our house, so we shortened it to Tino) is a highly-bred Persian, who came to us–along with Stewartwhen a family member got into a position where he couldn’t care for them anymore (alcohol: it’s a bitch).

We took these two fancy-pants boys in and have really enjoyed having them here. (Well, most of us have enjoyed having them here. For some reason, Tino has a personal vendetta against perfect little baaaaby Gary and makes it his mission on the daily to stalk and terrorize baby Gary.)

Tino is about 13-14 years old, is deaf and partially blind (we think) but as soon as you come near him, his motor starts up and violent purring ensues. He’s really a lover, albeit a tad misunderstood. Anna particularly loves Tino. Those two have had a special bond since day one. He looks gruff and mean, but I mean…can you really take him seriously with that tongue? 

Tino
It’s “Tongues Out Tuesday” er’day for Mr. T.
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CGjenny

On the Wagon Wednesday

Every Wednesday, we’ll do some deep thinking and challenge ourselves. The weekend looms on the other side of Wednesdays and it’s important to plan ahead for stumbling blocks and challenges that might present themselves in the weekend ahead. Let’s link arms and lean in…

OTWW

When I quit drinking, I think that I pissed some people off. Not because I did anything TO them or said anything TO them. I feel like I disappointed people. Mostly, I think it was because I made them take a good, hard look at their own drinking habits. But also, people viewed me as less fun when I wasn’t drinking.

yourlifeisntyours

Being a people-pleaser by nature, it was hard for me to do something that I knew wouldn’t be 100% well-received by everyone in my life. But knowing that it was the best thing for me was what pushed me through. I had to quit worrying about what others were thinking about me and do what I knew in my heart was the right thing to do.

Do you remember “Fun Bobby” from Friends? He was an old boyfriend of Monica’s that everyone thought was so fun, then he got sober and he wasn’t “Fun Bobby” anymore. I feel like that’s me. It’s true. I am probably less fun sober than I was drunk. (One day, I’ll tell you the story of drunken Jenny, wielding a gigantic, red dildo at my best friend’s 30th birthday party.) But, the older I get and the further I get from that last drink I took, I’m learning to just be. I can’t make everyone happy all of the time, but I can strive to take care of myself and my family as best I can. I can choose to be in the moment. To be present and to accept myself as I am.

It’s your life–not anyone else’s. What do you want to do with it? 

cheers-jenny

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