Monday, November 30, 2015

Review: Apple & Eve Organics

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{Photo © Crystal @ The Italian Bella Diaries, 2015}

I was given the chance to try these Apple & Eve products through Influenster. They sent me a 33.8 oz Orange Pineapple Juice and 3 6.75 oz juice boxes (flavors - Razzberry Apple Splash, Fruit Punch Burst, and Berrylicious Lemonade). 

The first thing that caught my eye was the word Organics on the front of the container along with the official USDA Organics seal. 

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{Photo © Crystal @ The Italian Bella Diaries, 2015}

I am trying to eat mostly organic these days so this was the best I could do without actually making the juice myself. I also like that it was labeled as gluten free since I have to eat gluten free now for health reasons. The juice also contains no added sugars, preservatives, or artificial colors. 

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{Photo © Crystal @ The Italian Bella Diaries, 2015}

Nutritional information is also important to me. For an 8 oz serving of the orange pineapple juice, it is 120 calories and 30 g of sugar. However, the high amount of sugar naturally occurs from the fruit juices.

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{Photo © Crystal @ The Italian Bella Diaries, 2015}

The ingredients list is another important factor in choosing my fruit juices. This particular container of juice has organic 100% juice from apple, orange, pineapple, carrot, mango, and banana concentrates or purees. To be honest, you couldn't even taste the carrot in the juice so it would be a nice way to sneak in a vegetable. The fruit boxes do not have any vegetable juices or purees listed in the ingredients.

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{Photo © Crystal @ The Italian Bella Diaries, 2015}

My kids tried the fruit juice boxes and loved them! They immediately began asking when they could have more of them. I went to my local Walmart and could not find the 33.8 oz container of the juice. I also couldn't find the organics quenchers but could find the regular 100% fruit juice in the juice boxes. They retailed for 32 juice boxes for $9.96 (approximately $0.32 a box).

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{Photo © Crystal @ The Italian Bella Diaries, 2015}

I will definitely purchase these juice boxes when I need them (and can find them). I will be searching again soon to see where I can buy them in my area.

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{Photo © Crystal @ The Italian Bella Diaries, 2015}

** I received these products for free from Influenster in exchange for an honest review. All photos and opinions are mine. No other compensation was made. 

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Recipe: Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Cinnamon Butternut Squash, Pecans and Cranberries Salad

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{Image from the Web}

Thanksgiving used to be my most favorite holiday ever. It is now my second favorite, but that is beside the point. This year I decided to do the whole big home cooked meal for just my little family. I planned the menu over the course of a month and bought things here and there to put away for the meal. 

Our Menu:

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I was pleased with how the meal turned out. We also began a new tradition where the day before Thanksgiving, I begin cooking while we watch Gone With the Wind. Gone With the Wind is my most favorite movie ever and I am glad that my kids finally were able to watch it.

I have also decided to print off all my recipes for this menu and creating a Holiday Meal Recipes folder for each of the kids. 

A new thing on the menu was the Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Cinnamon Butternut Squash, Pecans and Cranberries Salad. I don't eat mashed potatoes or corn so I chose this as something I could eat in its place. It turned out really good.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Cinnamon Butternut Squash, Pecans and Cranberries Salad

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{© Crystal @ The Italian Bella Diaries, 2015}

  • 3 c. Brussels sprouts (ends trimmed, yellow leaves removed, and sliced in half)
  • 1 lb butternut squash (peeled, seeded, and cubed into 1-inch cubes)
  • 2 c. pecan halves
  • 1 c. dried cranberries
  • 5 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • Salt, to taste (I used Pink Himalayan Salt)
  1. Preheat oven to 350*F. Lightly grease foil - lined baking sheet with 1 Tbsp of olive oil. 
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the halved Brussels Sprouts, 2 Tbsp olive oil and salt. Toss to combine. Place onto the foil - lined baking sheet, cut side down. 
  3. In a medium bowl, combine cubed butternut squash, 1 Tbsp olive oil, maple syrup, and cinnamon. Toss to mix. Place in a single layer on baking sheet. 
  4. ** Both can be cooked together. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes. Turn butternut squash half - way through baking. During the last 10 minutes, turn Brussels sprouts over. 
  5. In a large bowl, combine the Brussels sprouts, roasted butternut squash, pecans, and dried cranberries. Stir to combine. 
  6. For added sweetness, add a couple of Tbsp of maple syrup and toss to combine. 

Friday, November 27, 2015

Invite Me to One More Online Party...

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{Photo Credit: SomeEcards}

There has been a huge boom in "direct sales businesses". I guess that's a good thing for those who sell these items and rely on its income. But, why is harassing me about products and online parties a thing? I mean asking me, "Hey, Crystal! Are you interested in buying Product XYZ?" is ok. But, if I say "No." Then that should be it. 

But, when I wake up and see I have been added to several different online parties and then they have proceeded to post several messages in those parties, I am annoyed. A lot. I wasn't even invited just automatically added. 

I don't take to well to having my freedom of choice taken from me. And what is worse is that I once took myself out of one of these parties and they added me right back! I mean, really??

Now, I have some friends that do sell these various products. And those people have not all treated me this way. But, some have. And I don't want to end my friendships over a stupid party... or two... or three. 

But, I don't use ItWorks, Younique, Jamberry, Origami Owl, or anything else. That should be enough reason to not add me to online parties.

Even when I say "I'm sorry, I don't use Product XYZ and have no interest in the product", I still get invites or added.

The ItWorks complaint is completely different. There are no parties per say. But there is a bombardment of pictures and ads on facebook and instagram. Sometimes scrolling through the insane amount of posts just to see what's going on in my friends' lives is crazy. I'm your friend BECAUSE I WANT TO BE YOUR FRIEND. I want to hop on facebook and see your kids, your dog, even what you had for dinner. Not how ItWorks worked for random people I don't know.

I'll like your "business" pages. I'll share your name with someone who mentions they are looking for a representative for a particular item. But, that doesn't mean I want to be added to ten different parties a week and recieve hundreds of notifications before I realize I am in all these "parties". 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Wednesday Hodgpodge {Vol. XIII}

1.What's something you wish you knew how to do, but feel like it's too late to learn?

There's a lot of things I wished I knew how to do. Speak Italian is one, but it's not too late for that. I wish I knew how to sing but I don't have the natural talent for that. Maybe dance? It's probably too late to learn that at my age. 

2. Your least favorite thing to shop for? Why?

Anything! I swear I hate to shop. Grocery shopping is the worst. People seem to lose all common sense when they get to the grocery store. I really prefer to shop online and even then sometimes I hate it. 

3. How has the celebration of Thanksgiving today changed from when you were growing up?

When I was growing up we learned about the First Thanksgiving in school and had a Thanksgiving play where half of us were pilgrims and the other half were Indians. Then on Thanksgiving, we visited family and ate a meal and spent time together. Now, I'm not sure what is learned in school about the First Thanksgiving. I home school so of course my kids learn about it. People eat a quick meal then start planning their Thanksgiving Night/Black Friday shopping plans. It has become more about buying stuff than about family. This saddens me. As for my little family, we eat the traditional meal at home, watch football/TV, and keep our butts at home until Friday night. No Thanksgiving Night/Black Friday shopping for this girl. 

4. What's something that when other people see it, reminds them of you? Explain.

Hmmm.... I'm going to say Pepperoni Pizza Lunchable. Back when I was around 18 or 19 me and my best friend, the other Crystal, would buy them late at night for a snack. I guess she would remember me by that. I'm sure there is a million other things that could go here, but I am really drawing a blank. 

5. If you could guest star in a TV show, what would it be and why?

The Walking Dead. I already have the story line planned out. But, I can't write it here or someone might steal it. :) However, it would be an awesome story line, I promise!

6. Have you ever farmed or spent any time on a farm? Are there farm stands in your little corner of the world and do you make it a point to shop there? If so, what item do you particularly like to buy from a roadside stand or farm shop?

I grew up on a "farm". I use quotations because it wasn't a true farm. There were no cows or pigs. My great - uncle who lived on the property did raise chickens. The extent of farming was just planting/harvesting crops. The highlight of my poor, simple, little life was getting off the school bus and then riding on the tractors/combines with my Granddaddy. My uncle and dad did the farming thing too when I was little. But by the time I was getting ready to be a teen they chose different careers. 

We have a fabulous farmers market where I live. I love shopping there. I would really like to find a local farm that has grass - fed beef and free - range chicken for a good price as well as organic produce. I would really give them business. I prefer my meats/produce this way. 

7. What's something you've experienced recently that made you feel a sense of awe or wonder?

Listening to my children as they learn and explore. I am always amazed on what they seem to learn on their own, the ideas they dream up, etc. I guess I have a sense of awe that I helped create these fabulous little humans and teach/guide them. 

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Gone With the Wind is playing on AMC today. This is my favorite movie of all time. I will definitely be watching; despite my kids not wanting to. I absolutely love this movie!

Friday, November 20, 2015

The Man Behind the Blog {Vol. III}

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Once a month, I {try to} participate in a monthly link up hosted by Heavens to Betsy and According to Laura Jean. In the Man Behind the Blog link up, Chris has a chance to answer questions so that others can get to know him as well. 
1. What sports did you participate in as a child? What sports did you watch growing up?

I participated in basketball, baseball, and bowling. I continued the bowling through adulthood. 
I watched football, baseball, basketball, bowling, NASCAR, and a little hockey. I still watch most of them whenever I can. 
{Blogger Edit: I even know his favorites. ;) Football is New Orleans Saints for pro and University of Miami Hurricanes for college; baseball is Atlanta Braves; basketball is Chicago Bulls; NASCAR is Jimmie Johnson; hockey is Detroit Red Wings. I'm one of those weird women who loves to watch sports myself}
2. If you could line up your ideal Super Bowl, who would be facing off, where would they play and who would you pick to win?

Saints vs Patriots in Foxboro. Saints for the win. I want to see the Saints beat the Patriots in their house just because it is the Patriots' house.
{Blogger edit: He says it'd be a blowout if he had his way, like 49 - 0.} 

3. Do you prefer the summer or winter Olympics? If you could participate in one Olympic sport, what would it be?

Summer if I had to pick one. If I had to participate in an Olympic sport it would be basketball. 
{Blogger edit: We're not really Olympic people. Although I think it would be hilarious to see him participate in curling.}

4. What is your favorite food to eat at a sports party (ex: World Series, Super Bowl, Stanley Cup, etc.)?

It's gotta be pizza. 
{Blogger edit: I thought for sure he'd say chicken wings.}

5. Who is your all time favorite athlete and why?

Michael Jordan. Because he just is. 
{Blogger edit: I knew he was going to say Jordan. But all I could get out of him for the reason was literally 'Because he is'.}

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Wednesday Hodgepodge {Vol. XII}

1. What's surprised you most about your life, or about life in general?

The amount of kids I have. When I was younger, I wanted no more than four kids. I ended up with seven. They drive me nuts a lot but I wouldn't trade a single one for anything in the world.

2. Among others, these ten words were added to the Oxford English Dictionary this year...awesomesaucebeer o'clockbrain fartbuttdialcat cafe(apparently this is a real thing), fatberg (gross-read the definition here)fat shamehangryMx (gender neutral), and skippable. 

Your thoughts? In looking over the list, which word do you find most ridiculous? Which word would you never in a million years say out loud? Which word would you be most likely to use in conversation?

I haven't heard of some of these. I'm apparently not into the new lingo. I do use awesomesauce a lot in a day. It's one of my favorite words. I've heard of brain fart, buttdial, fat shame, and hangry but don't use them often.  And I did look up fatberg; I wish I hadn't.

3. Do you like gravy? Is there a food you'd rather not eat unless it comes with gravy? Do you make your own or buy the canned or store-made variety? Turkey and gravy, sausage gravy, mashed potatoes and gravy, country ham and red eye gravy, biscuits and chocolate gravy, pot roast and gravy...which one on the list is your favorite?

I do like gravy. However, I have to come up with a Plan B for me since I can't have gluten and of course gravy is full of gluten. I love(d) mashed potatoes and gravy as well as turkey and gravy. I don't eat potatoes anymore so that isn't something I eat now.

4. Do you have a plan? Do you need a plan? Have you ever had a plan fall into a trillion pieces? Explain.

I need a plan and am developing a plan on moving out of here. I am sick of this place, it has gone downhill fast, and I just can't take it anymore.

5. November 19 is National Play Monopoly Day. Do you own the original or some version of the game? Do you enjoy playing Monopoly? How likely is it you'll play a game of Monopoly on November 19th? Ever been to Atlantic City? Ever taken a ride on a railroad? Is parking in your town free? Last thing you took a chance on?

I used to own a Monopoly game. I forget which version is was but it was a newer version. I do not have the attention span for Monopoly. I get bored after 15 minutes. I will not be playing Monopoly on November 19th. I've never been to New Jersey at all, much less Atlantic City. I have never been on a railroad. It depends where we are if the parking is free in my city. Some places are; most places aren't. Last thing I took a chance on was moving to NC. Big fail!

6. A song you like that has the word (or some form of the word) thanks in the title, lyrics, or meaning? 

Because You Loved Me by Celine Dion. I have always loved this song. It was sang at my high school graduation as a tribute to the graduates' parents.

One line of the lyrics is "I'll be forever thankful baby".

For bonus points it also has grateful in the lyrics. "I'm grateful for each day you gave me."

7. In keeping with this month's theme of gratitude....what is something you're taking for granted that when you stop and think about it, you're grateful for?

Life itself. I think the majority of people take life for granted. But, in the end we need to be grateful for each day that we have.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Thanksgiving is next week. Next week! Where did the year go? It seems like it was just January. I'm cooking my usual Thanksgiving meal on Thursday. We'll probably be eating turkey and the fixins' for a couple of days just like last year. We're doing a little something different for Christmas this year because of some big changes we have in the works in life in general. But, I'll discuss that later. 

Friday, November 13, 2015

World Pancreatic Cancer Day

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Pancreatic Cancer is one of the deadliest cancers. 

Fact: Fourth leading cause of cancer - related death in the United States. 

Fact: Eleventh most common diagnosed cancer in men and the eighth in women. 

Fact: An estimated 48,960 Americans will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer with an estimated 40,560 will die. 

Fact: 72% of pancreatic cancer patients die within the first year. 

Fact: The only major cancer with a 5 year survival rate of 7%

Fact: By 2020, it is estimated that pancreatic cancer will bypass Colorectal and Breast cancer to become the second leading cause of cancer - related death. 

Pancreatic cancer impacted my life in a way that ripped my heart out. To see the post I wrote last year, click HERE. I hope and pray that advancements will be made in diagnosing and treating this horrible disease. 

There are no early detection methods for pancreatic cancer. There are no proven biomarkers, or clues in the blood or other fluids to indicate the presence of a tumor. 

Most patients are diagnosed in the late stage of the cancer. More than half are diagnosed once the disease has spread to other locations in the body. Only 9% are diagnosed when the cancer is only in the pancreas. 

For the most part, the cause of pancreatic cancer is unknown. There are a few risk factors (family history, smoking, obesity), however more research on these factors is needed. 

The symptoms of pancreatic cancer include:

* Abdominal or back pain
* weight loss
* jaundice
* loss of appetite
* nausea

This post is not sponsored. I was not approached by anyone to do it. This is something I do every year in memory of my grandfather. 

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{© Crystal @ The Italian Bella Diaries, 2000}

This was my granddaddy in 2000. Just four years later he would be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and pass away from it all within a month and a half. 

For more information on the disease or to volunteer visit HERE

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Never Forget Where You Came From...

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{Photo from Wikipedia}

"Never forget where you came from."

I hear this said all the time.

But, truth be told. I want to forget where I came from. I come from a small town, city, depends on the year we're talking about. But, in all honesty, I hate it. When I was younger and in high school, I kept saying "I'll live here forever. This is who I am."

I left there seven years ago. And you know what? I learned that place is toxic. That place is like a leech sucking everything out of you. I couldn't see it until I was out. It's like you're brainwashed while you're there.

Do I miss my family? Absolutely! Do I miss my friends? Yes! But, do I want to live there? Not in a million years.

Recently something happened back home that I watched unfold on the ultimate dirty laundry site - Facebook. I was appalled by the situation. I was saddened by the way the situation was handled. But, it all reminded me why I left there.

These days when I meet new people and they ask where I'm from, I never answer "Franklin, Virginia." My answer is usually "Houma, Louisiana." I claim another place as where I'm from.

I was once the one who said that I hope that people never forget where they came from when they became famous. But sometimes when I look at my own hometown, I understand why some do choose to forget. I know that the majority of the time I choose to forget.

Maybe it's not always healthy to associate yourself with where you come from. And maybe if it comes down to someone being mentally healthy by associating themselves to some other place, then maybe that's what they should do.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Wednesday Hodgepodge {Vol. XI}

1. In two or three sentences tell us what Veteran's Day means to you?

Veterans Day is a day to honor and salute all the veterans of the armed forces. I honor and respect them for what they have done because the military life is not one that I could live. The veterans that have defended all of us so that we can live the way we do deserve our utmost respect and gratitude. 

2. What's your favorite film with a patriotic theme woven into the storyline?

The Patriot. I very rarely like movies with war plots, but I did like this one.

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{Photo from Amazon}

3. Flu shot-yes or no? If you answered no, do you plan to get a flu shot? If not, why not? Have you ever had the flu?

No, I have not gotten the flu shot. I will not get it. I have never gotten a flu shot. I have had what I thought was the minor flu but I don't know for sure. I do not discuss vaccinations here on the blog. 

4. I've seen lots of people posting pictures of their Christmas trees up and decorated. Many stores have had Christmas on display since well before Halloween. Red cups are back at Starbucks, sans the holiday decor, and that has some people up in arms. What are your thoughts on all the holiday ruckus this second week of November?

This is one thing that irritates me. I am a Thanksgiving person. I don't mind a small section of a store having Christmas things so that people can buy things, but I am a supporter of one holiday at a time. And I prefer Thanksgiving over the commercialization of Christmas. So, I would prefer to  celebrate Thanksgiving before I have Christmas shoved down my throat. As for the Starbucks cups - I don't drink Starbucks so it makes no difference in my life. 

5. What 'critter' are you most afraid of encountering unexpectedly? Why that one?

Snakes and spiders. I hate both and they terrify me to no end. 

6. Do you like building things? What's the last thing you 'built'?

Not really. I am more creative in writing than building things. As for the last thing I built, I helped my kids build these jets at Home Depot last weekend. 

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{© Crystal @ The Italian Bella Diaries, 2015}

7. In keeping with this month's theme of gratitude...what are you most grateful for that brings beauty to your daily life?

My kids. They drive me absolutely insane most days, but they are the best thing I ever did and they bring beauty into my life every single day. 

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

I am so ready to move. I would love to move away from where I am altogether but what I really want right now is to  move out of the building I am currently in. It is driving me crazy, affects my mood, and depresses me. Come on January so I can start looking to get out!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Halloween 2015

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{© Crystal @ The Italian Bella Diaries, 2015}

We are not a big Halloween family. At least, we weren't. But now, I think Halloween is one of our favorites now. Not sure how the change occurred but suddenly we are all into the holiday. About two weeks before Halloween, the kids decided that they wanted to dress up and attend the home school group holiday party. I searched around and found some other events like trunk - or - treats and we went to see some friends and trick - or - treat around their neighborhood. 

So, we compiled a list of what each child wanted to be and planned how to pull it off for the best price. For all 7 kids I spent $175. I feel like I did a pretty good job. I'm going from youngest to oldest below. 

CJ as Military Man

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{© Crystal @ The Italian Bella Diaries, 2015}

CJ's costume was the easiest and cheapest to put together. 

Shirt and Pants - $0 (Already Owned)
Beanie Hat - $1 (Dollar General)
Camo Bookbag - $1 (on sale at Dollar General)
Gun - $8 (Dollar General)
Knife - $3.99 (Party City)
Face Paint - $2.99 (Party City)
Total - $16.98

Court as a Bride
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{Photos © Crystal @ The Italian Bella Diaries, 2015}

Court kept changing her mind between ideas. At first she wanted to be Dora the Explorer. Then a zoologist. I was having trouble finding the stuff for the zoologist outfit. I was going to begin searching for the Dora outfit when I passed this child - size veil at Party City. When I asked her if she wanted to be a bride instead, she quickly said yes. 

White Dress - $2.79 (Goodwill store)
Veil - $9.99 (Party City)
Flower Bouquet - $7 (Dollar Tree; I bought the flowers and ribbon and put it together myself)
Ring - $3 (Dollar General)
Total - $22.78

Chey as Beth from The Walking Dead

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{Photos © Crystal @ The Italian Bella Diaries, 2015}

Chey really wanted to be Beth from the Walking Dead. After deciding she wanted to be the Beth from Season 4 when she was with Daryl, I set out to put her outfit together. I wanted to find the majority of her outfit from the Goodwill store since I would be ripping the jeans and smearing fake blood on the shirt. The sweater I ended up finding had faux fur around the collar but we tucked it under. She carried one of CJ's small toy knives since Beth's weapon of choice was usually a knife. 

Jeans - $2.79 (Goodwill Store)
Yellow shirt - $1.79 (Goodwill Store)
Sweater - $10.99 (Ross)
Fake Blood - $1.99 (Party City)
Total - $17.56

Charlee as an Angel

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{© Crystal @ The Italian Bella Diaries, 2015}

Charlee's costume was a Party City costume. If I had began costume hunting earlier, I would have put it together myself because I hate those pre - made costumes. I was also finishing up my last weeks of a class in grad school and had no time to really piece together each costume. I bought a pair of leggings for her to wear under it since it was see - through. 

Angel Costume (dress and halo) - $9.99 (Party City)
Angel Wings - $6.99 (Party City)
White Leggings - $3.67 (Walmart)
Total - $20.65

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{© Crystal @ The Italian Bella Diaries, 2015}

We were going for the good conscience/bad conscience thing here since they are twins.

Caitie as a Devil

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{© Crystal @ The Italian Bella Diaries, 2015}

Caitie's costume was also a Party City costume. I could've done much better had I had more time. But, hey, it is what it is. I also bought her a pair of red leggings to wear under the dress. 

Devil Costume (dress, collar, belt, and horns) - $9.99 (Party City)
Pitchfork - $3.99 (Party City)
Red Leggings - $3.67 (Walmart)
Total - $17.65

Carly as Maggie from The Walking Dead

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 photo C88938D8-6249-4AD7-9B0F-13BC04101FFB_zpsidalfgdg.jpg
{Photos © Crystal @ The Italian Bella Diaries, 2015}

Maggie, and the actress that portrays her (Lauren Cohan), are Carly's idols. Buying her costume wasn't as easy as it seems. She wanted boots like the picture of Maggie but that wasn't in the budget. I made the "gun holster" using cardboard, fabric, nylon straps, and parachute hooks. I used the tutorial from here as a basis.  She used one of CJ's toy guns. 

Jeans - $3.99 (Thrift store)
Burgundy T-shirt - $8.97 (Walmart)
Belt - $3.99 (Thrift Store)
Knife - $5.99 (Party City)
"Gun Holster" - $6.44
Total - $29.38

Tina as a 1920's Flapper

 photo 847510C7-274F-4A86-9C47-1C1FE2D264EA_zpssr7fnkkl.jpg
{© Crystal @ The Italian Bella Diaries, 2015}

Tina's was the most expensive and bought completely at Party City. She wore one of my sweater because it was a little chilly. I wished I could've found a dress in a thrift store or vintage shop, but again time was a factor. 

Flapper dress and headpiece - $29.99
Gloves (came with a rhinestone bracelet) - $9.99
Pearl Bracelet - $3.99
Pearl necklace - $2.99
Ring - $2.99
Total - $49.95

I like how all the kids all looked. I especially like how the ones I put together came out looking despite the time constraint. We have already started planning next year's Halloween. This way we can be looking throughout the year for the items we need and the majority of the costumes will be "homemade" rather than pre - made from a store. 

Sunday, November 8, 2015

November Goals

The last Goals post I did was in February. Which means, I have failed miserably at making goals and completing the ones I did manage to make. 

A lot has happened in the past few months. As some may know (if you've read here before), I was in grad school working on my masters in psychology. I have five classes left but I got too burned out and had to take a break. So, I now have time to complete things I had to put on the back burner. I also have more time to devote to the blog.

So, here are my goals:

November Goals

  • Finish my NaNoWriMo novel.
  • Blog 3 times a week here.
  • Read 2 books on my ARC list. 
  • Complete 3 tasks on my "To Do on my Six Month Break List"
  • Continue working on The Walking Dead project me and the Teen2 are doing. 
I'm starting off slow on my goal posts because it's taking me some time to get into a routine without schoolwork to do. Plus, NaNoWriMo will take up a lot of my time this month.


Saturday, November 7, 2015

Project Tell Their Story, Week 5

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Ashley at My Angel Lives came up with this awesome challenge to talk about our angels this month. The month of October is Pregnancy and Infant Awareness Month. Her challenge is set up to have one prompt per day for the month. However, I am going to do mine a little different. I will post a week's worth at a time. This post will contain Days 26 - 31 of the challenge.

Day 26: My Angel's Legacy Is...

     My angels didn't have enough time to impact the world. But, they impacted me. They have impacted me in ways that I can't even put into words.

Day 27: I Want My Angel to Know...

     I want my angels to know how much I love them and think about them all the time. I want my angels to know that I wish they were with me here on Earth. I want my angels to know how much they mean to me and how much they have always meant to me.

Day 28: Dear Genuinely Caring People - Please Don't Say ... Instead Try ...

     Please don't say:

  • Everything happens for a reason. 
  • It wasn't meant to be.
  • At least you have other children.
  • There was probably something wrong with it. 
     Instead, say:
  • I'm here for you. {and mean it}

Day 29: I Want the World to Know That Living Without my Angel is...

     Sad. These angels are the babies I never got to know. It is also hard. I love the children I have here with me, but I often wonder what my angels would be like. It's been eighteen years since I first experienced loss and it involves emotions that I don't always keep in check or hide. There are times something makes me emotional. These triggers could be anything. These are the feelings that I have to live with every single day of my life.

Day 30: My Advice to Those Who Will Gain an Angel Baby Is...

     Remember that you are not alone. Unfortunately, there is a large family of pregnancy and infant loss parents. These parents can be your strongest support system after a loss. Never turn down genuine support. Find a way to remember your angels, even if it is something private for just you.

Day 31: Declare "My Angel Lives" and Share How the Project has Impacted Your Life...

     My angels live!!! This project has made me think a lot about my angels, what they mean to me, and what I can do to make sure their memory lives on forever.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Project Tell Their Story, Week 4

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Ashley at My Angel Lives came up with this awesome challenge to talk about our angels this month. The month of October is Pregnancy and Infant Awareness Month. Her challenge is set up to have one prompt per day for the month. However, I am going to do mine a little different. I will post a week's worth at a time. This post will contain Days 19 - 25 of the challenge.

Day 19: What I Loved Most About my Angel was...

     I'm not really sure how to answer this one. I never got to meet my angels. I guess what I loved most was that they were mine. They were my babies, a part of me. They are a part of me I can never get back yet will always be with me.

Day 20: My Angel Has Inspired me To...

     First, my angels inspired me back in 2001/2002 to help in the goal to have October 15th recognized. My angels inspired me to study psychology; to study how to help others deal with their grief. Third, my angels inspired me to take a greater interest in making sure October 15th is recognized nationally. And finally, my angels have inspired me to take into serious consideration beginning some sort of foundation to help grieving parents.

Day 21: My Time With my Angel Was...

     Very brief. I never even knew about my angels until it was too late. I never saw them on ultrasound. I never heard their heartbeats. I wish I had a story to tell. I wish I had felt them move. Or seen even the smallest blob on a screen. Or heard a heartbeat. But, I don't have any of that. And this is the part that hurts the most.

Day 22: Telling my Angel's Story Makes me Feel...

    First, it makes me feel bittersweet. I am happy that I am at a place where I can talk about them; yet, I am sad that I have to talk about them. 

     I also feel cautious. Some people don't think they should be talked about. This also makes me sad because they deserve to be remembered as well. 

     I get scared when I talk about them because I never know who I am going to offend with my story. Or if anyone really cares about my story. I have kept it all in my inner circle for so long that I get scared to bring it up to others. 

     But, most of all I get sad and weepy. These sweet angels were a part of me. Even though I only had them inside the womb for 6 weeks or 12 weeks, they were mine. I shouldn't have to live my life without any of my children. 

Day 23: I Wonder if my Angel...

     I wonder if my angels would be like my other children. I often wonder if Ashleigh would be like her living twin. I wonder if I would still have the children I have now if I had carried my angels to term. Would I still be a mom of 7 living children or would I be the mom of 10 living children?

Day 24: My Angel Message From Heaven Is...

    If my angels could speak to me from Heaven, they would tell me several things. First, they would tell me that they love me. They would tell me to continue being strong and to live each day to the fullest. They would tell me to treasure their living siblings. They would tell me to continue to be a support system for other angel moms.

Day 25: In Honor of my Angel's Life, I Currently...

     When I still lived in Virginia, I had a special place for all of my symbols for them. However, all of that stuff is still packed up in storage in Virginia. I continue to be a source of support for other mothers. I have decided to plan some PAIL (Pregnancy and Infant Loss) events to raise awareness (this is in developmental stages and I will be putting it into action in early 2016).

** Part 5, Days 26 - 31, will be up on 10/31