Super healthy Turkey, Bean and Veggie Soup


This is so “adapted” that I’m calling it my own at this point, even though it started out from a pin 🙂

  • 1lb ground turkey
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 4-5 carrots, peeled & diced
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 bunch kale, ribs removed, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp Herbs de Provence
  • Salt + Pepper to taste
  • 1 can butter beans drained and rinsed

Saute onion and carrots in a tbsp of olive oil in a large pot about 5 minutes. Add ground turkey and cook through until mostly white. Add all seasonings except salt & pepper and mix until combined. Add broth, water and beans and cover and allow to simmer for 10 minutes.

Add kale and simmer for another 10 minutes. Add salt & pepper if desired after tasting.


Onion, carrots & turkey cooking.


Kale, washed & chopped.


Brothy mixture.

20140505-181851.jpgAfter 5 minute with the kale in the pot.

Since I had grabbed the low sodium, organic broth I did end up adding salt & pepper rather generously. however, this being my first attempt at using kale I must say I was pleasantly surprised and how nice it tastes after cooking!

Also, for a Monday night dinner, this was not a problem at all given how lazy I can be 🙂 Sure, there was some chopping but not too much and the fact that it all ended up in one pot to wash always makes me happy. The flavors blended quite nicely too.

And? The teen liked it! Even with all those healthy, leafy greens!!

The Dog Pound Rocks




Check out the new addition to my LinkedIn profile!

Yes, I managed to earn enough writing points (by essentially selling enough posts) to get up to Level 5. Wahoo! I originally hoped to make it there in June, but I’ve continually surpassed my writing goals these first 3 months. This will come to a crashing HALT in June thanks to a weekend flag football passing league tournament and then a trip to San Jose – but I still think I should reach Level 7 by the end of the year.

Why does Blogmutt work so well for me?

First of all, because there’s NO *requirements*. I can write as little or as much as I want. I’m averaging out to a little more than a post a day (89 days since I started and I’ve written 95 posts). The only person it impacts if I don’t write for several days is me since I am paid by the post and nothing else.

Secondly, there are SO MANY customers to choose from that there is no way you will get bored. I write about VIN reports, whey protein, CPAs, Bookkeeping, interviewing, web design, outdoor kitchens, area rugs, skin care treatments, fitness coaching, and many more topics. It is so interesting to do research on things I’ve never heard of before, but are actually quite useful!

Thirdly, I love the format. 300-400 words on a topic chosen by the client. Go to their website to get a feel for their product and the overall vibe. Check out prior accepted posts and comments they have made and also check out the rejects to see what I should avoid. Find some recent, relevant articles on the topic to learn more and use as a launching off spot for my own post. I tend to match up well with customers looking for something pretty simple and organized and clear. I’m not a terribly fluffy or imaginative writer. Some of the other mutts are! Oh man, are they creative and fantastic! But, I know my skills and my weaknesses so I have spent my time matching myself up with clients who want my style.

The best part? It’s all anonymous! We have no direct contact with the customers at all. Sure, when the posts are purchased, they get published on the web without our names attached (no official byline), but I really don’t care about that! This arms length system means that a rejection has minimal impact other than to be annoying. I take nothing personally at all. Of those 95 posts, 7 have been rejected. The really cool thing is that once a post is rejected it reverts back to being the writer’s property, and I can repurpose it for another client with similar keywords.

OK, I lied, anonymity is not THE best part – nope, that would be the Dog Pound aka, The Writer’s Forum. That is where all of the writers can post questions and advice and encouragement to each other. Tips and tricks are shared constantly as are challenges to fill up customer’s queues each week. Those writers are just a fantastically supportive bunch.  It’s awesome because it COULD be competitive as there is a bit of an aspect to the process that means we are sometimes writing for the same client at the same time, and one writer’s post could be bumped down in favor of another. But honestly I have never felt a bit of that! There are so many opportunities with so many customers that you just move on to the next one that catches your eye.

I credit the BlogMutt owner’s for that. They have made it rewarding (with the points levels) and fun. They respond to questions and requests quickly and really stick up for the writer’s when needed. They also keep a good balance between an available customer pool and the total number of writers. In fact, if anything right now we need MORE writers because they have been going gangbusters at signing on new customers!

So, this is my recommendation and an appeal – if you have ever thought about doing any kind of freelance writing to make a little extra $, then this is the place:

You will have fun, learn a TON, become a better writer and have some gas money. When I send my invoice this weekend that will put me at an even $600 since I started. Do the math – that’s a tank of gas a week.

Or, in this case, the invoice I will send out will end up paying for the football cleats that I ordered for my son this week.

Yup – mama’s buying him a new pair of shoes with her BlogMutt earnings!


Ever pack 3 days into one?


I’m pretty sure I did that on Thursday and again today.

Today I had 8 things on my To DO list – some fun, some chores, some money making blog work. I did 5 so that’s not too bad when you consider I also spent time with the boyfriend.

Anyway – my whole money saving goal was a) blown out of the water this week and b) a life saver when I needed cash and had to shut down my bank accounts on a Friday night! (possibly to be explained later, but everything is OK now).

So yeah, I’m at $3  in coins right now, but it will all be replenished if not next week, then by 4/15 for sure (and then some, there’s another teaser that I cannot explain just yet either!)

Exercise mid week went MUCH better! You saw the routine that I posted – I did that VERY diligently for the first hour & a half of Biggest Loser and that ended up being more than 30 minutes of course (damn commercials!) I did the same routine again while watching TV Wednesday night though not quite as long. Still, my abs HURT after two nights of all that!

I’ve begun the last step in my volunteering journey. Going out in a blaze a glory as a co-parent liaison for the varsity football program at the high school. We met Thursday with the coach and outgoing liaison and I have another meeting tomorrow morning because we have to launch right into planning for the first spirit wear website setup and sales and the budget for next year. That’s my main role – finances – which is right up my alley of course.

Speaking of football – so remember that 16 had a bum knee last summer? Well, let’s be honest – not just last summer – pretty much since he was 11 or so only it was never bad enough, long enough for him to complain and request a doctor visit. Last winter/spring he finally did and went through an MRI and then physical therapy and a regimen of icing/ibuprofren and continued stretches to try and get the knee cap to get back on track without surgery. A year of that which included the two months of complete rest with the concussion and there is still no change.

Tuesday, he has arthroscopic surgery. Two small incisions and they will look around to see if the MRI missed anything and also check to see if there is anything physically keeping the knee cap from resting in the right groove. If so, they will clean that up. They may also perform a lateral pressure release which…I cannot entirely remember! Anyway, just 45 minutes supposedly though he will be under anesthesia and he will end up with a pretty painful and swollen knee for a few weeks. BUT – once that heals, the ortho is saying he will be good to go and play football one last year. And that’s the whole goal isn’t it? As I said when we were there for a visit in early Feb – “Doc, bottom line, he has one more year to play football. Senior year. He can start if he’s healthy.  This is what he has been dreaming about for his whole life – to play varsity football for the Falcons. What can we do to have him ready to play flag football with the team in May, get back to weight training and be full speed in the summer?”

Check in time is 6:30am – umm..say what? Is there a bed for me to sleep on? 🙂

Oh! I’ve picked up a writing gig to hone my skills and earn a wee bit of cash (for the play money fund most likely) $8 per purchased blog post. You search through the client list and find keywords and craft a 300 or so word post. If the client likes it and buys it – $8! I sold one this week and have 6 in the queue. 3 have been reviewed and are scheduled to be bought 3/21 – they get pulled every Thursday. It’s a fun challenge! You can either pick keywords that you know like the back of your hand such as the two I wrote last night on sports blogging and excel 2010, or you can try something totally different and take some time to research it a bit. I’m really loving it so far. I wont make Big Money with this company, but I will learn a TON. It is almost like landing an internship in copy writing/content writing. You have to cater to different companies across a vast spectrum of topics and style types. One company my LOVE your stuff and one might reject it. What I’ve learned from chatting in the forum with other writers is that once you find clients who like you and build up a rapport, you can almost count on them giving your posts 5 stars and moving them up in line to be purchased next.

First though, I need to have more than an hour at the end of every day to focus on it. In fact, I was supposed to block out some time today to do that, but it fell off the list. And now it is late….heck..really it is TOO LATE because we Spring Forward tonight! Yipes! That’s good though – it means I can run after work again instead of just on the weekends. Speaking of which, since I have a coffee meeting for football tomorrow I wont be joining Renee for the 3+ hour marathon. So instead, I joined her today out at Lake Hodges for a mere 90 minutes and 7 miles. Running out there the day after rain? AMAZING!

Lake Hodges



Dear Shirley



The weekend did not go as planned. Mother Nature not only didn’t listen to my plea for calm weather, she essentially threw a righteous temper tantrum that effectively canceled the Super Seal Triathlon. No cheering for my friends. No pictures. No cowbell. Just lots and lots of cold cold wind and rain and even hail. Consequently we treated our no running/no racing depression with lots of beer & high calorie food. OK, so that part wasn’t so bad 🙂  I just want to say that I highly recommend both blueberry beer (can be found in your grocery store) and the Bloody Mary Brunch at Small Bar.

As an added treat,  I also found a lovely little surprise in my in box this weekend.

It’s been ages since anyone passed on a bloggy award to me. I guess that actually, you know, updating the blog now & then means more people might stumble across it and play along? 🙂 Shocking eh? I should really pass the award on to 15 since he has largely been the inspiration for writing (for better or worse!) Of course, he might not be so thrilled about that eh?

At any rate, I would like to send out a huge thanks and hello to new blog friend Scott at Raising a Realist for passing this along. He’s one of those YOUNG parents with an adorable daughter but he also has the added JOY of being a high school teacher. IOW, he really gets to spend his days with the likes my own Mr 15. Poor sap 🙂

So, the rules for accepting the award are:

  1. Thank the award-givers and link back to them in your post – DONE!
  2. Share 7 things about yourself. HAH – since my about me already has a few more than seven this might be difficult but for the newbies I will figure it out.
  3. Pass this award along to 15 other bloggers. 15?! Ack!
  4. Contact your chosen bloggers to let them know about the award. Will do!

Seven Things About Me

  1. I absolutely cannot handle violent movies. Images stick in my head way too easily and way too long. Why then, you ask, do you watch all the CSI’s and Criminal Minds and Gray’s Anatomy? Easy – at home on my TV I can look away easily and those are still somewhat tame compared to an HBO type show or a movie in a theater.
  2. Speaking of the theater… I have a very hard time NOT typing spelling that as “theatre” I learned how to read and write at a Montessori school where the teachers were all from Sri Lanka and had learned proper British English. Consequently there are still a few words in my brain that are spelled differently. I am not always aware of them, it’s just something that comes up as I am reading or writing now and then.
  3. My summer/early college jobs were a) Wild Animal Park food worker (traumatized by the site of maggots in a particular side dish has ensured that I will never eat that side dish again) b) Avon sales gal (HATED IT!) c) Office assistant at a periodontists where I filed charts and insurance forms. Just as boring as it sounds and convinced me I wanted nothing to do whatsoever in the medical/dental fields. IOW – all of those early jobs taught me exactly what I would NOT want to pursue as a career. Good process of elimination there considering I didn’t just automatically know what I DID want to do.
  4. (This is a lot harder than I thought to some up with these!) It’s been 12 years since I last made a car payment.
  5. I am the rare girl who does not like to shop for clothes. I’d estimate that the majority of the clothes in my closet are over 5 years old. Some are easily 10. There may even be items that I still wear occasionally that are pre-15 🙂 Same with shoes. Sure, some of it is money but even when I might have had a more generous clothing budget I still didn’t shop much.
  6. Home or garden stores though? Oh yeah – let me loose!! There’s a frustrated interior and landscape designer inside me, I swear! Maybe that’s why I have no trouble doing content writing for a DIY pergola site 🙂
  7. (dear gawd, how happy am I to see that 7 pop up finally?!!) I’ve reached the age when, if I don’t write it down, it aint gonna happen. Well, it *could* be age, or it just could be the nature of how much I have to juggle but whatever – it’s my reality. And I’m talking some incredibly basic things too. Like remember to pick UP the dry cleaning you dropped off. I have to make a To Do list every Saturday morning for the upcoming week or I am lost. I love that my new phone has Siri because I’ve already asked her while driving to remind to do something when I got home (Put new pack of gum in car, take chicken out to defrost etc etc). Without Siri or my own To Do list notes I am pretty sure I would just sit in front of the computer reading and writing and watching videos and then wonder why my gas tank is empty, I have no clean clothes or food and for gawds sake why are the cats howling like that?!

And now, paying it forward:

The following bloggers are in my Reader or Subscription list so that means I liked their writing enough to not want to miss a single post, ok? OK! So give them a click please.

  1. Diatribes and Ovations
  2. Be Gay About It
  3. Child’s Play x3
  4. Juggling Life
  5. Mel, A Dramatic Mommy
  6. Miss Music Nerd
  7. museikchik
  8. My Imperfect Truth
  9. Old Blue Socks
  10. Broken Condoms
  11. The Unintentional Mother
  12. Dinosaurs Can’t Eat Pizza
  13. Visionary Gleam
  14. Three Cat Yard
  15. The Journey

Hey, it was easier to come up with the 15 than it was to come up with the 7!

And if you read all the way down to the bottom of this letter Shirley, I applaud you. Also? Cross your fingers for me OK? This is the afternoon that we go to the Dee Em Vee to get both 15 and 26 on the road to being fully licensed drivers.

I am still not entirely sure how I feel about that!!

But I am sure I will need a blueberry beer when I get home.

Love, me

One more stat from last year


Check out those top searches. Now, that first one makes sense of course. So does Halloween & peregrine falcon (gotta admit that’s pretty cool!) But….CLEANING? VODKA? Oh….lovely. One that like just about anyone else I loathe doing, avoid it unless it is absolutely necessary and I’d say my house is in need of it 99% of the time.

As for the other…well…..I suppose I should just own it….

Memo to my fellow bloggers – don’t be scammed!


Funny how things work out. I’ve recently been helping out a friend with something that should make us both some extra money. It’s taught me a whole bunch of new stuff about web marketing and search engine optimization and back linking and Google rules etc etc. Stuff I knew NOTHING about just 3 months ago. Now, as part of this process my friend has nudged me a bit about optimizing this blog – you know – optimizing potential revenue – and I reject that since this is basically my diary or just the random spewing of my mind, not something I want to feel pressured into updating.

(and….speaking of spewing – my cat just barfed so hang on…..SIGH…..)

So about two weeks ago I received an email from someone who had used the contact portion of the site asking me if I wouldn’t mind allowing a guest post. With a link to a site which they PROMISED was totally legal and not X rated and that I would have full editorial rights to the post if I wanted to change it and..oh hey…the would pay me!

Hmmmm….out of the blue? When I have been rarely if ever posting anything in here other than boring tales from my life and my kids in order to keep my mom happy? 🙂

Turns out that due to this site being around for so long and having previously been featured by WordPress and also having enough popular images and it maintains some sort of decent overall page ranking. I was intrigued and wondered how much it would pay and could I get more info…. here was the reply:

Here is how it normally works:
1) We first agree on a fair compensation/post. Normally $100/post on a site like yours. 
2) I create and submit a guest post to you (or just send a link and anchor text if you prefer to write the articles).
3) After you review the post you let me know if there are any edits that need to be made and if you plan to publish the post.
4) You send me the URL of the published article and I submit payment to your PayPal in 1-2 business days

Remember, you will always have full publishing power over any post I send you and can always just send it on back if you don’t like it. After all, it is your site and you can do whatever you want!

Emphasis mine – sounds awesome right? Easy peasy! I host an article for them with a link to their vendor’s site – upon my pre-approval of the post and heck I could even write the article if I wanted as long as I embedded their key words and that all important link. Then – 1 or 2 days AFTER they see that the post is live – they send payment to my Paypal. $100/post! Sounds fantastic right?!

So..I then ask if they can send me a sample article, if there is a minimum amount of time the post needs to be up and is that perhaps why it takes 1-2 days to receive payment, and do they mind that I sometimes post barely once a week but then sometimes I get a flurry of inspiration and post daily pushing any recent posts (perhaps theirs) down a notch, but that I can control the posts and keep theirs as a Sticky of Featured one for a couple of days….


What had been a next day response turnaround became….SILENCE.

Because she could tell I was onto their scam – get me to post something – ride the traffic for those 1-2 days – let’s say at least 2 since it would take a lot for folks to remember to check their paypal daily right? After two days you email them and receive dead air….but you might politely wait a day to hear back…so even if you then remove their post they have had 48-72 hours of riding your site’s traffic and you have received – SILENCE.

So my fellow bloggers who ALL get way more traffic than I do –  if you receive an email from someone at – just delete it.

I mean – if you really WANT to pay me $100 to feature your site on mine – hey now, I’m all for it! Of course, considering that I just embedded a sentence in here about a cat barfing, maybe you want to reconsider. And if you don’t, well…then I gotta admit it kinda feels like I might be the one pulling off the scam!