31 December 2013

This Year Was.......

This year was.... a year like any other with it's ups and downs.  Even though it's ending on somewhat of a "down" for me, I don't want to write the whole thing off and say it was totally horrible.

I've had some pretty big personal breakthroughs in the last few months.
It's honestly been the hardest 3 months I've had in a long long time, but sometimes hittin a mental rock- bottom is a good thing. I still have a lot of work to do on myself but for the first time in a long time I do see a light at the end of the tunnel.  I know I'll get through it and figure it all out eventually.

As a 43 year old women who has stayed home to raise my 2 sons for the last 20 years, take care of my husband who's had multiple neck and back surgeries, I never prepared myself for the time when my role of mommy and caretaker was no longer necessary.

This year was....the year that it hit me like a brick wall!  "What do I want to be when I grow up?"  
It's basically a women's mid-life crisis.  I want change, I need change, I WILL change.  

So, for me 2014 is going to be exciting.  I've decided,  it's going to be "The Year of Tina"  

It won't be easy to put myself first and I know it will take some time to retrain my brain, but I am determined more then ever.      

Good bye 2013........Hello 2014

07 June 2013

Inspiring Inexpensive Interiors... The Series

Inspiring Inexpensive interiors burlap photo InspiringInexpensiveInteriors-burlap.jpg

I've been wanting to redo my living room for the last 5 years.  I HATE it!

The thing is, the whole living room is in desperate need of a makeover.   I'm talking new couches, tables, lamps, decor, wall repairs and paint.   It's very overwhelming.

It's not just the money that it will take to redo everything, it's the work that's involved.   With Chris not being physically able to help move around furniture or the painting, it's a lot for me to even think of doing all on my own.  So, nothing has changed.

I've thought of just buying new couches but with the walls all beat up and disgusting, what's the point?   I've looked for new pillows, new wall art, new curtains something that would jump out at me and say, "OMG this is perfect for the living room!"   Ya know what I'm talking about, right?    I found a lot of things I likebut nothing I LOVE.  I think it's just been a creative block so-to-speak.   Deep down I wouldn't let myself fall in love with something knowing it would never become a reality.      

The worst part, the stumbling block, is the wall repairs and painting.   My living room has a 15 foot vaulted ceiling.   I've just come to the realization (so has Chris) that we will have to pay somebody to come in and do that part of the job.  Believe me when I tell you it's killing him to give up on that.  He has always loved painting and is a perfectionist.  The thought of someone coming in and doing a half-assed job makes him cringe.   But he can't do it, he has accepted it.  

So, now since that's been decided, it starts..... the saving, planning and shopping.  

But where to start?  The couches? The paint color?   A piece of artwork or a fabric swatch?

That's where the idea of documenting the process of redoing the living room into a series right here on my blog.

I hope you'll join me each week as I share in my quest for an "Inspiring Inexpensive Interior."      

(Next week.... The search for couches)  


05 June 2013

Wordless Wednesday - I Miss This Kid

My oldest son Nick is spending his summer at the University of Minnesota doing an engineering research project.   He's only been gone for a week and a half.   It's going to be a long nine and a half weeks to go before he comes back home....  (boo hoo)  

He sent me the pic on the left after he bought himself a University of Minnesota hat.   I was shocked how young he looked clean shaven!!  And yes, I was "that mom" that took his picture as he was going through airport security!  SO SUE ME!    

03 June 2013

Menu Plan Monday

Not too exciting around here this week.  

I really need to find new recipes to try out. That's my goal for next week!  I'm not that adventurous with cooking or eating anything too fancy but if you have a easy, "different" recipe you can share, I'd appreciate it.  (So would the rest of my family!)      

22 May 2013

It's Coming Up Red, White and Blue This Memorial Day with Stop & Shop and #cbias

Memorial Day is this weekend and you know what that means, right?   The official start to summer and grilling season!  It also means my birthday is right around the corner.      

My family has always combined celebrating the Memorial Day holiday with my birthday.  
Just like most Americans we have a BBQ at one of our houses.   I like it that way.  

Some people go camping for the weekend. I'm not really the outdoorsy kind.   
Some people go to the beach for the day.  It hasn't been warm enough here in Connecticut to even think about the beach yet.   
I think it's the perfect time for a staycation at home with the family!  Having a get-together at my house means I get to pick the "theme" for the party.   Since I'd rather forget I'm turning another year older, I'm going to go with the red, white and blue.   And just so you know, I love me a theme.  That means anything and everything I can buy, make or craft in those colors... I will!   

Stop and Shop is my go-to grocery store.   Seriously, I'm in there two, sometimes three times a week.  
One time the lady who works at the People's bank inside told me I should just get an account there since I'm in the store all the time.   Yeah, I'm there that much!  

When I saw this week's flyer with all the great sales and extra gas rewards points, it was a no-brainer.  

I'm a list maker and coupon cutter.  Well, most of the time.  I really hate to just go to the store all "willy-nilly"  It's never good for my diet or wallet.     

I know it sounds dorky, but I always take a quick stroll through the florist department.  All the pretty flowers, arrangements and balloons make me happy.   And yes, I'll "do cake".... anytime, anywhere.  
 Is there anything better then fresh corn on the cob?  Do you remember the days of rolling the corn on a stick of butter?  I love spray butter!  Best invention!
 Shhhh.... I don't tell anyone in my family that the hot dogs I buy are lean.  They NEVER can tell the difference anyway.

Everything I need and want is on sale... and I have coupons!  Go me!

Since it was a really hot day, I decided to cook the steak and a package of hot dogs outside on the grill for dinner that night.  While standing outside grilling, it was the perfect time to hang up the bunting and put out the other Americana decorations I bought at Stop and Shop.

 Okay, so I might have had a beer while standing out there too.     I couldn't resist, it matched everything else!

We also "had" to try out the s'mores.   They are mine and Thomas' favorite summer dessert!  I mean, really, who wouldn't love graham crackers and chocolate with red, white and blue star marshmallows?

If this is making you hungry or making you think about grilling this weekend you have to see everything else I found at Stop and Shop by checking out my Google + album. 
What do you do for the Memorial Day weekend?   Do you stay home or go away?    
P.S.  If you have any good red, white and blue themed ideas you want to share with me just leave me a comment with idea or a link.  I would love it.  

Happy Memorial Day!  Happy Start to the 2013 Summer/Grilling Season!   

30 April 2013

The Blog Workshop... It's My Kinda Conference #TBWC13

I'm pretty sure that if you ask anyone who really knows me, they would say that I'm outgoing. (and by outgoing, I mean BIG MOUTHED)  But actually I'm probably more shy and insecure inside then I seem from the outside.  That's why I think I was immediately drawn to The Blog Workshop.

A couple months ago I was doing a Google search for blogging conferences in 2013.  I had come across The Blog Workshop Online Conference.  How great is that?  A conference that you can do from your home or anywhere for matter.  Don't have to worry about travel costs, hotel rooms or what to wear.   I like the idea that I can focus solely on the sessions and what the speakers have to say.  

The conference runs for 3 days from May 17th - 19th and get this, it's only $175.  Believe or not they are also offering a payment plan when you register.  What a deal for a 3 day line up of 15 speakers from IZEA, Blog-Trends, Attorney Jeneba Ghatt, Blogads, Sverve CEO Rohit Vashisht, Tap Influence CEO Holly Hamann just to name a few. With a jam packed agenda that will really help you whether you are just staring out or have been blogging for a while, it's going to be a great weekend.
But you have to act fast, the ticket are on sale only until May 10th and it will fill up quickly now that it's getting closer.  

Another awesome thing about this blogging conference is that 10% of all ticket sales will be donated to two very deserving organizations, Wellspring Living and Atlanta Day Shelter for Women and Children.

*Wellspring Living's mission is to confront the issue of childhood sexual abuse and exploitation through awareness, training, and treatment programs for women and girls.

*Atlanta Day Shelter's mission is to ease the burden of homelessness for women and children and to assist in establishing self-sufficiency by providing comprehensive education and supportive services in a manner that respects human dignity.

Are you sold yet?  If not you can check I've put a video for you to check out with a little something from some of the speakers.  It will really get you excited to sign up right away!  Also a copy of the agenda so you can see for yourself how much information will be covered.
PS.  There are also going to be giveways throughout the whole weekend.  

*Disclosure I was given free admission into The Blog Workshop Online Conference for sharing this information, all opinions are my own. 

29 April 2013

Menu Plan Monday

Happy Monday!  I am super happy about my menu plan this week.   I have just about everything I need already in the house.   You know what that means.... no big grocery shopping trip for me!  It's the little things, isn't it?  

Do you meal plan?  I'd love to check out what you make for dinner.  I'm always looking for new ideas and easy recipes.  

15 April 2013

Menu Plan Monday

Here we are at yet another Monday.   Although this week isn't too bad because Thomas is home from school for Spring vacation.   Sleeping-in.... YAY!!
We don't have any plans to go anywhere or do anything special.   I think we are going to try to relax and do a few fun things together.    

Do you menu plan?  I would love to check out your post if you do one.   I always like to "steal" dinner ideas!

07 April 2013

Hanging Out at "The Corner of Happy and Healthy" with Walgreens, #BalanceRewards #cbias

It's been a long, cold, snowy winter here in Connecticut and that does not make it easy to stay on a healthy eating or exercise plan.   But now the warmer weather is just around the corner and that means shorts,
t-shirts and the dreaded... bathing suits!   The thought of all that  puts a  fire under my butt to get back on track with eating healthy and getting outside to walk.

This year I have a little extra fuel to that fire.  I am planning my 25th High School reunion in October and would really like to look and feel my best for that as well.  

I had just heard about Walgreens new Steps With Balance Program  and how you can earn points on your Balance Rewards card that you can in turn be used to purchase whatever you want at a Walgreens store or online.  It's a win-win in my book!
It's a great way to keep yourself on track and earn a reward at the same time!

It's so easy (and free) to sign up for.   You can even do it right on the Walgreens App like I did.

Here's a quick video from Allison Sweeney, the host of The Biggest Loser explaining the program and the rewards!

As if getting healthy and earning rewards isn't enough, Walgreens is also giving you a chance to win a trip to your choice of one of the four Biggest Loser Resorts.   Wow, that could be a LIFE CHANGER!  
You can log on everyday for your chance at an instant prize.  And let me tell you, the instant prizes are no joke!  They are awesome!  

I don't know about you, but I'm heading to Walgreens right now to find some stuff to help me get going on this plan of mine!  I've only got 70-something days until Summer and about 180-something days until my High School reunion.  YIKES, I better get going! 

To check out what I found at Walgreens you can see pictures from my whole shopping trip on Google+
For other real stories by real people in the Social Fabric Community you have to check out the Fun page on AisleShare
If you want to, you can also "like" Walgreens on Facebook or "follow" them on Twitter to get the latest on everything you need to stay Happy and Healthy!  

I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™ and Walgreens. #cbias #SocialFabric #BalanceRewards

03 April 2013

Wordless Wednesday - Don't Judge Me

It's my guilty pleasure.   I LOVE this show.  Don't judge me. 


Do you have a "Wordless Wednesday" post you'd like to share?  
Head over to  5MinutesForMom.com  and link up, then go check out everyone else's.  
It's always a lot of fun! 

01 April 2013

Meal Plan Monday

Since it's been a crazy few months for me, I'm trying to get myself organized and back on to somewhat of a schedule.   The best way I know how to do this is to make lists, lots and lots of lists.

The first list of this week is my meal plan.   After writing this out I realized it seems to be all about ham and cheese!  

Instead of the traditional ham dinner for Easter, we have brunch at my mom's house.  I did go out and buy a spiral ham on sale thinking I would make it Sunday night when we got home but I just didn't feel like going through the whole ordeal.   Not to mention we were still STUFFED from all the yummy breakfast souffle, bacon, sausage, fruit, muffins and ice cream cake at brunch.

I'm making the ham tomorrow and then will use the leftovers to make two other dishes.    

Tonight we had pizza because I had to drive my son Nick back to college and didn't get back into town until after 7pm.  

The chimichangas are a new thing for me.   I love to eat them when I go to a real Mexican restaurant but I've never made them myself.   Honestly,  I'm not even sure what the difference between a chimichanga, enchilada, and a burrito is actually.    I figured I'm going to be adventurous and do something more then just  regular ol' tacos.  

Also, I'm going away this weekend with my mom and sister for my mother's 70th birthday, so I'm making easy dishes those days that Chris and Thomas can just heat up.     Sunday will be a "free for all" because I know I'll be getting home late and will be tired from the 4+ hour drive.  

Do you meal plan?  Do link up anywhere?   I'd love to check out other people meal plans to get new dinner ideas!  

29 March 2013

It's Been a Rough Couple of Months Around Here

To say this winter has been a long one,  is the understatement of the year!    

I wanted to write a post about why I haven't blogged in forever and what's been going on with me and my life.    I decided ..... nah
It's too sorted, long and just plain depressing.   I did make a word cloud with some of my feelings and going on's, but that's where I'm leaving it.     

It's time to pick myself, dust myself off and move forward.   It's all any of us can do, right?   

11 March 2013

Celebrating International Women's Day with The Walmart Bakery and Starbucks #DeliciousPairings #Cbias

Friday March 8th was International Women's Day.   I think as a women we SHOULD be celebrated and appreciated way more then we are.

Last week I was able to spend the day with a very special woman in my life, my friend Cheryl.   Between her busy family's schedule, my husband having surgery and the snowy winter we've had here in Connecticut, we haven't been able to get together in a long time.
Originally we had planned a lunch at my house to celebrate her birthday, but because of the threat of yet another snow storm we had to change it up a bit.   We decided to meet for a little shopping and lunch halfway between our two towns so that if the weather got bad, we could each quickly get home.  
It actually worked out perfect.  I was able to run into the local Walmart SuperCenter, which is like having a Walmart and a full grocery store all in one place.
Cheryl loves her coffee and baked goods, so I knew I could pick her up a little gift before meeting her for lunch.
First stop.....  The Bakery!    
 The bakery is full of yummy treats everywhere you turn and can I tell you, the smell was fantastic.  While walking around drooling over all the baked goods I came saw these Atlanta Bread Brownie Bites.    What woman doesn't love some chocolate?!
I grabbed a box of the plain for Cheryl.   I knew my husband wouldn't forgive me if I didn't bring him box of the walnut brownie bites and my son is a peanut butter lover, so those were coming home with me.

Cheryl LOVES her coffee, even more then she loves chocolate!  Starbucks is one of her favorite brands.  I don't normally go for Starbucks because they tend to have bold flavors.  I like a light roast, so it was always a turn off to me.    I had been hearing about this new roast from Starbucks called Veranda Blend Blonde.  It says it's mellow and soft.  (funny, I'm neither of those things)  So I grabbed a box of K-cups for Cheryl and a bag of grounds for myself.    From what I understand there was suppose to be a display about pairing the coffee to the bakery items, but unfortunately this store didn't have one of those.

 This is the reason I love Walmart, all in one stop I can buy coffee, baked goods, flowers and ribbon to put together a quick gift.

After a great lunch, I sent Cheryl home with her coffee and baked goods.    It was perfect we could both share a treat while snowed-in on Women's Day.

I couldn't wait to try the new Blonde Roast from Starbucks, so when I got home I brewed a much needed cup of coffee and opened the box of brownie bites.  I was pleasantly surprised that the coffee was not overpowering.  At that point I thought it tasted just as good as the coffee I had been buying until......

The next day I made my regular morning coffee and out of habit just grabbed the brand that was in the fridge.    I instantly knew the difference.   I honestly didn't think that a brand of coffee mattered that much because I add flavored creamer.   Well, I am now a convert.  

Did you celebrate International Women's Day?  Did you even know it was a day?  It's not too late, It's NEVER too late to celebrate a special women or even celebrate yourself!  Girls Rule!

I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™. #CBias #SocialFabric #DeliciousPairings

13 February 2013

Wordless Wednesday

Finally...... Back to School 
(after 5 days home from Blizzard Nemo) 

For other Wordless Wednesday posts or to link up your own, check out 5minutesformom.com 

07 February 2013

Burlap Wreath (Tutorial)

If you didn't already know, I'm obsessed with all things burlap.  I love that I'm seeing more and more of it out in the home sections of stores like TJMaxx.

I made a bunch of these wreaths back in December for a craft show.  (I still have a few left over if you would like to order one from me, you can email me at TinaVanDeusen@Gmail.com)    

These are the supplies..... A foam wreath, burlap garland, small piece of burlap fabric off the bolt,  floral pins, scissors and a hot glue gun.   (all purchased at Michael's craft store)  

First I cut a strip of raw burlap to wrap around the foam wreath.  (Just so you don't see any of the green foam)  I secured it with a dab of hot glue.

Then I took the burlap garland and just started gathering it, pinning into the foam base with the floral pins as I went along.   There is not right or wrong way to do this.   I tried to not make it look so symmetrical, more free-flowing.  The good thing about using the pins is, you can remove them and move around the burlap if needed.  

Honestly, it's as simple as that....  Done!

You can add floral pics for any season, add a wooden or foam letter for a last name.  The possibilities are endless once you have the base done.

Sorry for the horrible quality of my pictures.   I need a good camera and some photography lessons.  
(It's on my "Bucket List")

30 January 2013

Carpet One's New iPad Magazine

Beautiful Design Made Simple is a new digital home decor magazine for your iPad.
Created by Carpet One,  this quarterly magazine is packed with interactive articles, videos and slideshows with the latest tips and advice for decorating your home.

The premiere issue is filled great advice for finding inspiration.  Within the next few months I want to redo my living room.   New furniture, paint and all around design of the whole room.    I'm constantly looking at paint colors, couches and wall art hoping something will just "speak" to me.  I'm still on the hunt, but it really helped me focus on what I want and don't want.

The issue also has a great article on how to incorporate Benjamin Moore's 2013 color trends into your home for an updated look.  There is a trend for everyone's style, Artisan, Urbanite, New Traditional, and Coastal all have such beautiful pallets to choose from, I couldn't even tell you my favorite right now.

I think you need to just go check out the totally free app for yourself.   You can download it for your iPad at  

I'd love to hear what you think about it.  Did it help you with ideas for your home?

27 January 2013

Con-tact Paper....It Isn't Just For Lining Your Shelves

I have many obsessions and I'll be the first to admit that some of them are WEIRD.   My current obsession happens to be Con-tact paper.  I've been on a a kick lately, covering anything and everything with it.

It all started when I spotted this black and white shelf liner at Target.  I didn't have plans to redo any drawers or cabinets in the kitchen, I just knew I wanted it because it was pretty.  

I did use it to re-line the insides of my cabinets.

But that's not all I covered with it.....

My kitchen isn't very big, so I've always picky about what I leave on the counter tops.  I use these two cleaners so many times a day it was just more convenient  for me to leave them out.   But I couldn't stand that they stuck out like a sore thumb.  
So yes, I did cover my disinfecting wipes and glass cleaner with Con-tact paper just to match my kitchen.
And, YES I did spray paint the blue cover from the spray cleaner black so it would match too.  (I told you my obsessions were weird)  I keep the black cover and just reuse it on the new can.  I do have to recover it  every time I replace it, but it's worth it to me. (It's the OCD in me)    As for the wipes, I did buy the Target Up & Up brand only because the top was white, I refill it with what ever is on sale, Lysol or Clorox.  

But it doesn't stop there. When I went to take a picture of the corner in my kitchen to show how everything matched,  I realized something wasn't right.

Did you notice it?.... The rooster container on the shelf above my paper towel holder all of a sudden seemed yucky to me.  I keep scissors, pens, pencils and candle lighters in that, so it needs to stay.  It's been there for so long I can't believe it didn't bother me sooner. I do have roosters in other place in the kitchen, but I figured why not just cover it.

Ok, that's better.  (Sorry for the bad shot and glare)  It's all nice, neat and matchy-matchy, just how I like it!

I also used the Con-tact paper to cover some recycled soup cans, that I used as a utensil holder.  
(It was Christmas time when I did this project.  I was planning on gluing the snowflakes to each can for decoration, but decided not to after I was done) 
See Con-tact paper isn't just for lining your shelves.  You can use it to cover just about anything!  I did!

Just so you know I didn't get paid by Con-tact or anyone else for writing this post.  I do love it, use it and am happy to share my obsession with all of you!  

22 January 2013

Tackle It Tuesday

Can you believe it's Tuesday again already?   Well it is and that means it's time for another Tackle It Tuesday  task.    This week the challenge is to clean out and organize a bathroom drawer.
My bathroom vanity doesn't have drawers.  I use baskets on a shelf above the mirror for toiletries and stuff.   I had just cleaned out and organized those a couple weeks ago, so I choose to do under the sink.  

                                    BEFORE                                          AFTER

I have to say it is kinda weird sharing pictures of my bathroom stuff, but these Tackle Tuesday tasks  have really kept me motivated.    

Do you want to join in on the Clean Home Challenge?   Check out the Facebook group and start whenever you can.  Katrina keeps each week easy to handle so you feel accomplished.  

21 January 2013

"Bud Buddies".. The Gift Of Beer

I know it's been a while since Christmas, but I wanted to share with you one of the gifts I made for my brother and brother-in-law.   These are perfect to give to a guy for any occasion.   Although, I wouldn't mind if I got beer as a gift!  Just sayin'
My brother, sister and I had stopped officially exchanging gifts with each other years ago, I don't pay attention to that stuff and always get them a "little something" anyway.  
My mom and sister Suzanne are easy, I usually either make or buy some sort of Christmas decoration for their houses.   But it's always harder to come up with an idea for the guys. (Aka. my brother James and my brother-in-law Ralph)

Then it came to me scrolling through Pinterest (I know, isn't Pinterest the BEST?)   It was a six pack of beer made to look like reindeer.   Genius, I tell ya.. just genius!

I ran out to Walmart and the liquor store to get everything I needed.  When I get an idea, and a good one at that, I can't wait to get started.

I know, those aren't reindeer.  Once I started gluing on the googly-eyes I thought they looked cute and funny without everything else.    That is why I wound up calling them "Bud Buddies."  They are like little buddies to drink with.    Needless to say they were a big hit!  

Are you on Pinterest too?  Follow me and I'll follow ya back!


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