The Life of Bon

Friday, May 22, 2015

My name is Bonnie and I like diet coke.

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. 
All opinions are mine alone. 
#ShareYourSummer #CollectiveBias

Were any of you guys confused about what my favorite drink is?

It's diet coke!

Are you wondering what drink I would drink if I could drink any drink of all the drinks?

It's diet coke!

One more time... just to make sure everybody's on the same page...

I like diet coke!  
And I drink A LOT of diet coke!  
Possibly more diet coke than is legal!  
Certainly more than is healthy!

I drink diet coke...
In the morning, as a perfect companion to my breakfast
During second period when lunch still seems so far away
With a sugar cookie when I'm watching mindless reality tv
When I am laying by the pool
When I am taking a bubble bath after a busy and stressful day
When I go play tennis
On the beach
With pizza and breadsticks- it goes down so smooth!
While I am working in the yard, putting in sod and planting my vegetable plants (more on that next week- my yard is totally coming together!)

(Also if my students are less than five minutes late to class I let them erase their tardy if they come bearing diet coke.  Some days I get four diet cokes in a day! It's a sweet sweet life.)

DC makes everything about life a little bit better. The only thing that I don't love about diet coke is that they never have my name on any of their drinks.  RUDE!  I searched high and low at Wal-mart for a bottle with Bonnie on it.  No can do. (The searching was actually quite easy.  Wal-mart has coolers in the front with an organized display to make your drink name hunting a piece of cake.)  Daniel. Check. Elizabeth. Check. Natalie. Check.  NO BONNIE.  I guess my name is too old fashioned for coke. (One of my favorite comments after I had June and announced her name on instagram was someone who responded, "I love that you gave her a little old lady name like yours!"  Uh... thanks?)

I couldn't find a Bonnie.  Or a Greg.  Or a June.  But I DID find a Rebecca, which is June's middle name and my mother in law's name so I called it a success!

Coke is awesome too.  When you're into something a little more hardcore, you know?  Greg drinks a lot of coke so our house is always stocked with both coke and diet coke.  I use coke to make one of my favorite recipes of all time- sweet pork.  It is the easiest and yummiest recipe so I will share it with you in hopes that your coke can be put to good use.

(Adapted from Fav Family Recipes)
  • 2 pounds pork (boneless pork rib meat is what is recommended, but it can be tricky to find.  I have made it countless times with the bones- you just have to pull them out before you shred the meat.  Annoying, but the taste is still the same)
  • 3-4 cans Coke (NOT diet) (You can also use Dr. Pepper, but Coke is better)
  • 1 ¼ c. brown sugar
  • dash garlic salt
  • ¼ c. water
  • 1 small can diced green chilies (I like mild)
  • ¾ (10oz) can red enchilada sauce (Again, I go with the mild but if you want more oomph, by all means, go spicy)
  • OPTIONAL:  Dash of cinnamon.  
  1. Put the pork in a heavy duty ziploc bag to marinade. Add about a can and a half of coke and about ¼ c. of brown sugar. It tastes the best if you marinade it overnight, but if you forget, you can marinade for a few hours in the fridge.  (Also, I like to up my sugar on this step- I usually put in closer to 1/2 c. of brown sugar.)
  2. Drain marinade and put pork, ½ can of coke, water, and garlic salt in crock pot on high for about 3-4 hours (or until it shreds easily, but don't let it get TOO dry) or on low for 8 hours. Remove pork from crock pot and drain any liquid left in the pot. Shred pork and remove bones if there are any.  If your meat is hard to shred, that means it hasn't been cooking long enough.  It should easily tear apart from each other
  3. In a food processor or blender, blend ½ can Coke, chilies, enchilada sauce and remaining brown sugar (about a cup, you can add a little more or less to taste..). If it looks too thick, add more Coke little by little.  Here is where you can add your cinnamon if you so choose- gives it a sweet and unique taste.
  4. Put shredded pork and sauce in crockpot and cook on low for 2 hours. That's it!
  5. Use pork for any of the following- tacos, enchiladas, quesadillas, or even barbeque sandwiches.  I love to add a little bit of barbeque sauce and stick it on a bun. This pork keeps great- I'll make a huge recipe and we'll eat a form of pork for three or four straight days.  There is no one who doesn't love this recipe.  Everywhere I go I make this and the people love it! 


  • If you are like me and have a "little old lady name" or a name that isn't quite as common you can check here to help you find a bottle with your name on it.
  • And here is the hub for more fun share your summer ideas and conversation

I'd love to hear how you make coke and diet coke a part of your awesome summer life.  Got recipe ideas or craft ideas?  Let's face it- you know I'll always have diet coke on hand to try anything you might suggest!

Stay classy and enjoy your long weekend!

I'm on a boat!

With three days left of teaching for me, I can't help but let my mind wander to what I will do during the summer.

10 weeks off!
In a row!
No work!
But I still get a paycheck!

It is this time of year where I once again decide that I absolutely made the right choice when it comes to my profession.  No one in this world can argue with summers off.

One of my favorite summer activities in the world is this.

Unfortunately, I do not own a boat.
Also unfortunately, I do not own a wakeboard.
Or a jet ski.

Basically I own nothing for the water.

When I was in college, this wasn't a problem.  There were plenty of boys around who had daddies who owned boats and my girlfriends and I satisfied all of our boating needs by making friends with the right people.

The greatest boating trip of my life was the summer after I had come home from my mission.  I was 23 and life was easy.  I went with my three best friends and probably 50 other strangers.  We stayed on a big house boat and knew nothing of responsibility, work or stress.  No cell phone, no social media, nothing to distract us from just living the good life.  I don't think I've ever had a better week in my whole life.

Nowadays it's a little harder for me and my friends to find boys to take us out on their boats.  Between the four of us we have four husbands and six kids.  I don't know why single boys aren't interested in taking me and my husband and my baby on a ride on their boat anymore!  How rude!

That means if I want to see a boat this summer I need to take matters in to my own hands.  This is where boat selector comes in.  I don't even have to own a boat to make awesome memories on the water this summer.  Boom baby.

One day I hope Greg and I are rich enough to own our own boat and plan huge week long boating trips for our family and friends.  Do you want to come with?  I'll invite you!  And since Greg and I are both teachers, I'd say wealth is definitely in our near future!

In the meantime, I'll be using this bad boy to satisfy my boating needs.  I can't wait to hit the water this summer.  Who's coming with me?

This is a sponsored post written by me in behalf of Discover Boating.
I get paid a small amount every time you click on one of the links within this post.
Thank you so much for supporting this blog and my family.
May your summer be filled with boats!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

AP Lit reading list- what books should I teach next year?

 This time of year my brain is filled mostly with school's almost out, lesson plans, school's almost out, grading papers, school's almost out, do we have any food in the house, school's almost out, and did someone take out the garbage?  Trust me, it's very fun to be inside my brain in May.  A very small percentage of my brain (the responsible and sometimes very annoying part of my brain) starts worrying about what I'm going to be teaching next year.  I like to make sure I read over the summer any new books I'll be teaching come fall.  I let my brain do this relaxed, summer thing where it has the book in the back of everything and slowly starts to come up with fun activities and lesson plans to go along with it.  My brain is kind of stubborn.  It doesn't like to be rushed.  If I try to read a book and think of fun lesson plans in September by brain will absolutely refuse, screaming "I can't work under this kind of pressure!"

I have my junior curriculum pretty much down at this point.  Next year will be my sixth (SIXTH!) year teaching juniors.  With all the district, state, and national testing that juniors are required to do (SAGE, ACT, SRI, CFA.  The testing madness never ends when you're 17) I barely have the time to fit my favorite books in there, so I don't plan on having time to adding anything new for next year.  (Junior books I read: Excerpts of Scarlet Letter, The Crucible, Of Mice and Men, The Great Gatsby, The Things They Carried, and Tuesdays with Morrie.  If I change anything next year it will be not teaching The Crucible.  I enjoy teaching it less and less each year.)

With my junior classes pretty set and stone, my brain is focusing on the AP Literature curriculum.  Teaching AP Lit is a dream come true for someone like me because I get to just let the kids read book after book after book.  In my normal class I worry that we spend too much time on books and not rhetoric, vocabulary, argumentative writing, etc, etc, etc.  Basically there is so much you have to cover in a regular class but AP Lit is like this little gift from God saying, "You want to teach books and poetry?  TEACH NOTHING BUT BOOKS AND POETRY.  WRITE ABOUT NOTHING BUT BOOKS AND POETRY."  And to top it off, I get to pick the books I teach!  As long as they are of significant "literary merit" I can teach whatever my little heart desires.  It is seriously my wildest dream.

So, here's what's on the docket for next year.  In AP Lit I try to cover two books a quarter- eight in all.  Choosing books to teach is very different than choosing books to read.  The books have to be interesting to seventeen year olds, move at a decent pace, have lots of topics for discussion and writing, be of "literary merit", and due to time constraints, be relatively short.  (I usually don't teach a book if it's over 300 pages.)  With all of that to consider, here are the books I am for sure teaching in AP Literature next year and why:

Lots of symbolism- the conch, the fire, the glasses, the "Lord of the Flies"
Very interesting study of human nature, social systems, how people work (or don't work) together.
Due to ^^^ there is LOTS to write about in a potential AP prompt
Students dig it- 12 year old British boys killing each other on a deserted island?  What's not to love?
Short book
(Cons to teaching this book- starts a little slow, lots of description can weigh students down.)

Very easy to read, feels like you're talking to a friend
A great study of "coming of age" and the complexity of people- what you see on the surface isn't always the real deal.
Holden Caulfield is my literary boyfriend
Funny and interesting book to read- Holden's voice is entertaining to most readers.
Allows for great discussion on the use of slang, profanity, the purpose of language, how we use language for our own needs, etc.
Students get to read a classic without feeling like they're reading "a classic."

(Cons- you either love Holden or you hate him.  Some students definitely hate him.  And in conservative Utah, the profanity and over all "bad attitude" closes some students off to the book.)

I feel like in a literature class I absolutely need to teach at least one or two Shakespeare plays
Iago may possibly be the best villain of all time
Race issues, power issues, etc.
Emilia is one of the my favorite minor female characters- strong and brash- the only person who can give Iago a run for his money.
Makes for terrific writing prompts.
It's not as often taught as Hamlet or Macbeth which can make it a little more interesting to graders if students choose to write about it for an AP prompt.

(Cons-  It's Shakespeare, which means it's more difficult.  Anytime we do Shakespeare in class we read the whole thing in class and that eats up a lot of time.)

All the same Shakespeare reasons as listed above.
Hamlet is a fascinating character to study- is he really mad? Does he love Opehlia?  Why the hesitancy to get his revenge? MAKE UP YOUR DAMN MIND!
Like most of Shakespeare's plays, the true strength is in the characters- so many people with so many issues to write about... Gertrude, Polonius, Opehlia, Laertes, etc.
To be or not to be speech... I feel like I am robbing students if they take a literature class with me and don't study maybe the famous literary speech of all time.

(Cons- It is the longest Shakespeare tragedy and it certainly feels that way.  I get really tired of Hamlet sitting around and whining about what he should do.  When you have to read the whole thing in class, it can really drag.)

One of the few books we read that is about a woman!
One of the few books we read that is written by a woman or a person of color!
The dialect is hard for students to get, which provides an extra challenge, and I like that.  They really have to focus to read it. Kids are really proud of themselves after having read and conquered this bad boy.
Great topics for discussion- The institution of marriage, the treatment of women during this time, the treatment of black women during this time, etc.
Short chapters- students always are in to that.

Cons- Some students want to give up on the dialect right away.  If they can stick with it, most students really enjoy this book but it's hard talking them through those first few chapters.

Books I taught my first year of teaching AP Lit that I won't teach again:

JANE EYRE BY CHARLOTTE BRONTE- too long, not interesting enough to students, Jane is kind of a boring protagonist, not enough to write about for possible AP prompts.  It makes me sad because this was one of my favorite books in high school, but when I tried to teach it it just didn't have the same magic.

DEATH OF A SALESMAN BY ARTHUR MILLER- This one I'm on the fence about.  I don't particularly enjoy teaching it, but it could be I just didn't do the right activities with it.  It is one that has the potential to be very interesting, as well as lots of possible discussion and writing topics.  But then again, maybe it's just a weird play?

Books I am considering teaching next year:

THE AWAKENING BY KATE CHOPIN- it's pretty much on every suggested AP reading list.  I read it in college but literally don't remember a single thing about it, which is a bad sign for me.

IN COLD BLOOD BY TRUMAN CAPOTE- One of my favorite books, fascinating for students, and is nonfiction which is a bonus as all of our other reading is fiction so far.  I worry that it might not have enough "literary merit" to justify teaching.  Will it yield enough discussion/ possible writing topics?

HARD TIMES BY CHARLES DICKENS- I feel like I should read some Charles Dickens with students, but most of his books are so long!  Hard Times is one of the shorter ones.  I read it in my AP class in high school and enjoyed it- I also know it's on all the AP suggested reading lists.  I just don't know if I like Dickens enough to teach him.  Also I get tired of teaching all the books that are written by white British dudes.

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE BY JANE AUSTEN- I have no love for Jane Austen, but I wonder if it's because I read this in high school and the satire and wit was lost on me.  I've heard Austen is very witty and very funny.  It is possible I was always reading her at face value.  I would consider teaching this, but then I also worry that the boys in the class would just hate it.  The other part of me thinks, screw you boys, sometimes you have to read books about women too, you know.

1984 BY GEORGE ORWELL- Again, it's on every single AP reading list.  I liked it in high school, but when I cracked it last summer I only got about 30 pages in before I was bored to tears.  I never make my students read book I myself am not interested in.  Maybe I didn't give it a fair chance?  Big brother and the dystopian society- pretty crucial to literature study.

MACBETH BY WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE-  Lady Macbeth is one of my favorite female characters ever.  And the witches are so fun.  And there's ghosts!  Who doesn't love ghosts?!  But if I teach this then I will have to take out either Hamlet or Othello because I am certainly not teaching three Shakespeares.  Teaching Macbeth in lieu of Hamlet is tempting because it is significantly shorter, but then am I robbing my students of the Hamlet/ To-be-or-not-to-be experience?  Also I have great lesson plans for Hamlet and zero lesson plans for Macbeth, so it would be more work for me.

FRANKENSTEIN BY MARY SHELLY- I haven't ever taught this, but my student teacher did last year.  The regular classes hated this book because they said it was too boring and descriptive, but I wonder if AP kids would take better to it.  The themes of nature v. nurture are fascinating but I don't know if it makes up for how hard the book can be to get through.

MORE BOOKS BY WOMEN- any great suggestions?

(I would consider teaching Of Mice and Men, The Great Gatsby, To Kill a Mockingbird and Scarlet Letter in this class, but most students will have just read those the years earlier.)

I am always interested to hear what you all say.  Any books you read in your AP classes that you loved?  A book you think would be great to study in a classroom study?  Books that you absolutely hate and should never be taught in a classroom?  Give me all the suggestions!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

In this post we're going to talk about our periods. Boys, go away.

This post is sponsored by U by Kotex, but all opinions are my own.

Are we really talking about periods on a very public blog?  Yes, yes we are and trust me- no one is more embarrassed than I am about it.

After 18 months of not having a period, (praises be to pregnancy and breastfeeding!) I am trying to prepare myself once again for a world of unwanted monthly visits.  I don't think there's a woman in the world who likes her period, but there are a few ways to make what is miserable a little less miserable.

Introducing the 3D capture core feature from U by Kotex.  Basically it's a pad different from any other out there because it has a center that locks away the wetness and helps to stop leaks.  No more worrying about stains when you are wearing your favorite white pants, a short skirt, or worst of all, your bathing suit!  I think we've all been there and if you haven't you either A) haven't lived long enough or B) are way better at being a woman than I am.  If your answer is B, congratulations!  That must be awesome to be you.

^^^I put lipstick and gum in this picture so that maybe you would forget about how much you hate your period. Look how sneaky I am.  (Did it work?)

The whole idea behind the new 3D Capture Core is that we are going to "save the undies."  Kind of like when you save a damsel in distress but less kissing.  Basically we're tired of having to get rid of cute and expensive underwear because of leaks.  Don't fear, you stressed out, poor females!  U by Kotex is here to save your underwear stressing day and turn you all into UnderWarriors!  (See what we did there with that little play on words...?!?  Really.  This is too fun.)

^^ Disclaimer.  That is not my underwear.
(OR IS IT?!?)

The best thing about this entire post is that everyone who has stuck it out to the end is getting something for free.  Ellen Degeneres style.  (Really I wish I could give you all a car for reading this slightly painful and very awkward post, but I can't because I can barely afford my own car, let alone all of your cars. BUT I WOULD IF I COULD)  You are all going to get a free sample of this product.   Just click the "order sample" button and fill in your mailing address. Then you can try it out for yourself and confirm that the 3D Capture Core really is incredible at stopping leaks.

Go here to get your free sample.  I know it ain't no car, but it comes from the heart so that means something.  And it fits easily in your purse... bonus!

Bachelorette Premiere Recap: Let's get this debacle started!

Ladies, grab your popcorn , take your seats because it's Bachelor season!  Can you believe it's time already for us to once again indulge in rose giving, hysterical crying, and over the top dates that mirror real life exactly?  Me neither!  My, how the time flies!

This Bachelorette season, of course, is different from most.  Instead of one Bachelorette that gets to choose her man, ABC decided it was a little too dangerous to give that much power to a woman.  You don't know what she'll do with it, after all!  So they switched it back, giving the power again to the men- the woman doesn't get to choose her 20 men, the men get to choose their one bachelorette from Kaitlyn and Britt.  The first night then, is completely turned around.  Instead of 25 men fighting for the one bachelorette, now two women are fighting desperately for the 25 men.  It's so fun to have that power dynamic switched!  We don't want women to ever feel too comfortable, after all!

The episode starts with both women explaining why they think they should be the Bachelorette over the other girl.  Britt highlights her own strengths in a beautiful, princessy type way.  Kaitlyn, however, accidentally let's it slip what she really thinks of Britt.

I am a sincere person... and we're really different.

Kaitlyn and Britt both look like 100 bucks standing waiting for their men, but I do think Kaitlyn wins the dress contest with her dark sequins.  Britt is wearing a a white, high slit number.  I can't help but think that this was deliberate by ABC.  Angel and devil?  Kaitlyn as the dark horse, Britt as the sweetheart you'd bring home to mom?  

In perhaps the most awkward placement of all time, ABC has the two women stand about twenty feet from each other.  That way the men getting out of the limo must deliberately choose who they want to say hi to first, obviously showing their preference. The other must lamely look on, either trying to not listen to the conversation, or trying to somehow be a part of the conversation from 20 feet away.  It's uncomfortable for us all.

The men exit out of their limos.  It may be the worst looking bachelor crew of all time.  One man is "studying for the bar" (translation: failed the bar and now has to retake it) and to help pay off those expensive law school loans has resorted to exotic dancing.  I don't know about you, but I sure like to see my lawyers stripping at night!  Kaitlyn is on to him right away. 

When I see a guy whose hips move like that, there's no doubt that he's a stripper.

There is a handsome red head from Idaho (I may be partial to gingers), a "healer" who claims he gets a very good vibe from Britt, a bunch of guys from Tennessee and Kentucky, and an "amateur sex coach" who literally drives up in a hot tub.  And he's driving the hot tub.  I have a lot of questions.  Why amateur?  Why the hot tub?  WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?

Meanwhile, in the mansion, the men are getting anxious to spend more time with their ladies.  Except for Ryan, who is absolutely off his rocker drunk.  I know these are grown adult men, but shouldn't ABC kind of limit how much they drink?  When I was a server there were very strict rules as to how frequently we could serve alcohol to someone.  Maybe Utah is just very severe with their alcohol rules but at one point doesn't the guy at the bar say "Yah, you should hold off a minute..."

Anyway, no one has limited Ryan on his alcohol consumption even a little bit, including himself.  He is out of this world drunk, pretty standard for Bachelor first night antics.  He starts spurting wisdom.

I'm all horned up everyone!

I apologize for nothing!

I'd love to take that girl out for a nice steak dinner and never call her again!

Back on the driveway we continue with the arduous process of men meeting both the women and the women feeling of less value based on who the men greet first.  Britt, during this whole process has had an epiphany

I think some guys are here for me, some are here for Kaitlyn.

FINALLY, the women have greeted all the men and it's hard to tell at this point who the favorite is.  Britt appeared the front runner at first, but you know how ABC loves to throw a good twist at you.  The women enter the mansion to greet the men and Kaitlyn, true to form, starts off with a joke:

Knock knock?
Who's there?
Two bachelorettes.
Two bachelorettes who?


The men laugh while Britt looks on disapprovingly.  This is no time for jokes, Kaitlyn!  Her future husband could be in this room!  She tries to change the mood with a speech about how she is looking for her best friend. Half the men look on adoringly.  Both women seem to have accrued their own little fan clubs.

There are a lot of uninteresting conversations that follow.  Britt calls a guy a dick who gave her tissues when he met her because of how much she cried last season.  Normally, as the bachelorette and person in control, Britt would have this prerogative, but remember, oh Britty Boo, that you are now vying for these men's approval not vice versa!  You can't do anything that might show your true personality.  Keep that thing under wraps if you know what's good for you!

At this point I'm mostly just mad at ABC because I really like Kaitlyn and I'm afraid she's going to get her heart broken.  Again.  Couldn't you have just chosen one bachelorette?  I want Kaitlyn to be the next Bachelorette so badly that I am afraid my enthusiasm and intensity will turn it for Britt and I'll be left with a boring season of an insincere Bachelorette.

As I am thinking all this, the men are voting for their preferred bachelorette by dropping roses in big cedar boxes.  Some have their minds clearly made up.  Drunk Ryan, who by this point has taken a swim in the pool in nothing but his underwear, grabbed Kaitlyn's butt, and again emphatically declared that he's "all horned up", crashes into things in the decision room and attempts to throw a dart to decide who he's going to vote for .  The body guard comes in, takes Ryan to Chris Harrison, where Chris tells Ryan he's outta here.  Because you can shout obscenities, drink yourself sick, and grab women's butts all you want, but when you threaten to ruin expensive stuff, that's where ABC really draws the line.

At this point there is a small little notice that comes on the bottom left side of the TV.  BACHELORETTE 2 NIGHT PREMIERE RESUMES TOMORROW.  

Tomorrow?!  TOMORROW?!?!  Is this some kind of horrible trick, ABC?  You've already taken two hours of my life, now you want two more?  Why didn't you tell me it was a two night even before?  Oh, because then you knew I wouldn't have watched the first part?  You sly little devil, you.

The votes are all counted up, Chris Harrison (who drunk Ryan has been referring to as Chris Hansen) comes out and declares there is a winner.

And then the show ends.  TO BE CONTINUED.

Oh, ABC.  I think I hate you.

So, what are your thoughts?  Who's the next bachelorette?  And do we even care about any of the men?  Please no spoilers!  You spoil this for me I will haunt your blog until the day you die.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Lime Ricki Swimsuit Giveaway (Also known as: for the life of me I can't think of an interesting title for this post and you can't make me)

Greg and I are back from a little getaway to St. George for the weekend.  St. George is four hours from where we live and it is a land of sunshine and red rock and everything that is perfect in this world.  Except for in July.  Then it's 110 degrees and basically Satan's bedroom.  But October through May it is a little pocket of heaven.  This weekend it was rainy and windy where we live- in St. George it was perfect 74 degrees all weekend long.

June got to stay and play with her grandparents for the weekend while Greg and I felt like a couple of young college kids living the crazy life. We slept in until 11:00!  We saw a movie in the daytime!  We stayed up until 3 am playing cards!  Is this what 23 felt like?!?

The weekend was good for Greg and I.  Sometimes I think we need to kind of just hit the pause button and go live a different life for a few days.  We are in the last few weeks of school here and our days have taken on a somewhat manic feel to them.  School, shopping, plays, auditions, blogging, cleaning, baby, etc.   It's a life I love but it's a life of responsibilities and deadlines and work.  And sometimes I like to not have any of those things.  So I take a vacation.  Maybe one day I won't need vacations?  When I was visiting my friend in California last month I mentioned something about how much I was looking forward to a few vacations this summer.  She said something like, "I honestly don't feel like I need vacations because I feel like we live on a vacation."  She lives in beautiful southern California and literally five minutes from the beach and that's when I said, "Thank you for that, I will now shoot you in the head."  (But not really.)  (But really)  One day I hope to be a in a place in life where I don't need a vacation because my daily life is a vacation, but I promise you, that day has not yet come.  Goals, people.

And now, PICTURES.

^^ One of my greatest loves in this life is tennis.  Like most things in my world, my enthusiasm for it far surpasses my ability.  Oh boo.  Sean and I were on the same team.  He was the net monkey and I tried to clean up anything that made its way past him.   Emphasis on tried.

^^ Greg and Zac were our challengers.  They lost.

And then Greg and I proceeded to take these very elegant pictures...

These two lovebirds got married nine days ago.  NINE DAYS.  You can read it all over their faces, can't you?

The tennis courts were within walking distance of where we were staying, but why walk when you can ride scooters?  Scooters are a sure sign that summer is on its way and that everything is right in the world.

I was really hoping that we would catch some pool/ tanning/ laying-in-warm-sun-and-reading-while drinking-diet-coke time.  But a few things deterred us:

1)  The weather wasn't quite warm enough to call for swimming.  At seventy four degrees with a slight breeze it was perfect for just about every outdoor activity imaginable except swimming in non heated pools.

2)  The weekend was spent with four gentleman and two ladies.  Usually adult men don't really have a strong desire to go swim in a pool together.  If there are kids, sure.  Diving boards, absolutely.  Hot tub?  No doubt about it.  But just 30 year old men hanging out in a four feet deep pool didn't sound that fun to all the guys on our trip.  I tried to convince them by reminding them of the awesome game MARCO POLO but surprisingly they didn't take my bait.  Then I attempted to lure them by telling them that it would feel amazing to just bask in the sun and read trashy magazines while drinking soda but they were like "Uh it's not warm enough to bask in suns and those magazines are the worst."

3)  Even though the weather wasn't quite warm enough and my gang not quite excited enough I think we still would have managed it, but the pool that belongs to the neighborhood didn't have a hot tub, and it was out of the way, and we weren't 100% sure where the key was.  So at that point I gave up my dreams of poolside action.

BUT.  There was a random reservoir down the street.  The water looked disgusting at best, toxic at worst, but there were a few people sitting around the water, staring, fishing, planning to throw bodies in there, who knows.  Greg said he'd go with me to lie in the red dirt and enjoy some sun for a few minutes.  I told him I really did want to swim and would get in the water and everything but then I saw the water and was like yah no that's not gonna happen.

But here's the reservoir anyway.

Seeing these pictures I kind of understand why all the models and celebrities do photo shopping.  If my thighs were just a little skinnier.  My legs just a little tanner. But then I have to turn that part of my brain off because my body made a baby and continues to feed that baby and so I can't be the least bit ashamed of something as stupid as my milky white legs.  My body doesn't deserve that kind of criticism from me.

^^ Do you believe me now about the water?!?

This swimsuit is from Lime Ricki and it is pretty much the best swimsuit ever.  It offers lots of coverage for my baby feeders and has got a bottom that doesn't show half off my butt cheeks while still looking cute and stylish in the process.  And it's totally affordable.  Win win win!   You can find the one I am wearing here- use LIFEOFBON for 15% off your order through June 1.  And if you want a chance to get your swimsuit for free99 check out my instagram Monday afternoon- Lime Ricki will be giving away one free suit to a lucky reader.  We're really getting wild around these parts, aren't we?

My favorite part of the suit- double straps in the back. WHAT NOW?!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Let's Plant a Garden

This is her "get this dog away from me" look. 

Hello blog readers.

It's been sponsor city around here the past week so I figured it was time to check in and let you all know that there is a real life Bonnie here behind all these posts.  Sponsored content for blogs is so weird.  It comes all at once.  This winter I couldn't pay to do a campaign  and then all of a sudden I have a flood of opportunities.  I hate having multiple sponsored posts in a row, but I also don't feel like I am in a position to say no to great opportunities and extra income for my family after we have had such a drought.  I guess when it rains it pours?

I should let you know that there will be a few more sponsored posts coming up in the next week.(Including a post for this product.  Yes, I have sold my soul to blogging is the only way I can explain it).  I have long given up in the idea of balance for this blog, but maybe if you read long enough all the posts will kinda sorta balance each other out?  I make no promises.  Either way, I feel very grateful to have these opportunities and to do sponsored campaigns.  It helps me to be able to stay home part time and so I thank you for reading my blog and supporting me when I have three sponsored posts in a row.  Getting paid to write from home is a dream for me.  THANK YOU.

In other news, I went a little wild today trying to find some garden plants for my backyard.  It started this morning when I made some phone calls about purchasing sod.  The plan was to lay the sod this afternoon when Greg got home from work.  I reminded him six bajillion times because I had a feeling that putting grass in our backyard wasn't going to be of the same obsessive importance to him as it was to me. (And I was right, just for the record.)  I figured I'd call a few places this morning to figure out pricing, how we get the grass, etc.  Turns out you have to schedule your sod pick up in advance.  WHAT IS THIS WORLD WE LIVE IN WHERE YOU HAVE TO MAKE AN APPOINTMENT TO BUY GRASS?  I am a sod virgin so I had no idea that this sort of thing requires planning and forethought was overall just super bummed when the guy said the earliest time we could get the sod would be in a week.  My afternoon working in the yard plans were totally ruined.

Sometimes when I have something on my mind I just won't quit.  My mom is the same way.  My dad used to say when she got this way that she had a "burr under her saddle" or some other idiom that no one uses anymore today.  Basically we just can't quit until what we want is done and finished.  I settled on waiting a week for the grass, but decided to get a hard start on my little patio garden.  I called my mom to ask her how she did her grow boxes and she said silly Bonnie you can't do grow boxes on cement, you'll have to plant your vegetables in pots.  Obviously I know nothing about planting things.  I'm a first timer over here!

I headed down to my mom's so she could help me and give me a few gardening tips.  She was generous enough to offer me two of her old pots (one pot even already had a tomato plant in it!) and she even had a bag of soil in her garage that she gave me.  (My mom has a huge garage in which she seriously stores ALL OF THE THINGS.  50 pack of toilet paper?  Check.  Easter baskets, Christmas tree, and fireworks?  Check check check.  Twelve thousand dollars worth of gold bars?  CHECK!)  (That last one was a joke.)
(Or was it?)

 At that point June was spent and ready for her nap so I figured I had achieved enough for the day.  I came home to put her down and Greg had just gotten home from work.  Lucky me!  June went to sleep and with Greg home to watch her, I was off on more gardening adventures.  I checked the little nursery close to my home, but when the price for a plastic pot was $69.99 I was out of there real quick.  I wanted to buy all my pots, all my plants, and all my soil in one quick trip.  To Wal-mart it was.

I love nothing about Wal-mart, for the record, except for their low prices.  Unless I go first thing Monday morning I avoid Wal-mart at all costs.  But when plants and soil and pots are two or three times as much at the local nursery, you just kind of have to buck up and go in to Wal-mart.  Or buck up and pay two or three times more.  You can't have it both ways, people!  The service at Wal-mart was about what I expected- the cashier in the gardening section played on her phone and knew not one answer to my questions.  As I was wrestling with clay pots trying to find the price tag, a lady came up to me and asked me to help her find hydrangeas.  I was like, lady we've got the blind leading the blind here.

By the time I was done at Wally's I spent $100 on dirt and pots so that I can have give of my own little vegetable plants.  Whoever said planting a garden is a good way to save money is a straight up liar, but I am hoping that my little plants at least yield something so it's not a true and total waste.  If it is, I might have to come raid your garden... You won't mind will you?

My hands are antsy to get those plants planted outside, so I am going to sign off here.  If any of you have had success with vegetable gardening in plants, I welcome your suggestions.  I have five pots- two tomato plants, two pepper plants, and a squash.  I wanted to plant some onion but that plant looked way too confusing to me.  I'm a first time gardener, I gotta ease in slowly, you know?

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Sweet Potato Fry Nachos

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. 
All opinions are mine alone. #SpringIntoFlavor #CollectiveBias

It's usually about this time of year that I just want to quit completely when it comes to providing meals for my family.  I feel burnt out from school and the last thing I want is to order a greasy burger or pizza.  I feel like I have no idea what to feed my family.  I want something quick and easy, but not something that is going to a) taste disgusting b) be totally unhealthy and c) cost a bunch of money.  This week I found Alexia's fries while doing my grocery shopping at Wal-mart and it has been a perfect solution to my problem! The fries are high quality and there are so many different varieties.  And they're made with all natural ingredients- winning! 

I tried the Rosemary fries, onion rings, and sweet potato fries.  I have a very real and enduring love for sweet potato fries so I decided to just really go wild and see if I could make those fries in to an entire meal.  And I did!  And now, I share it with you!  You're welcome!

Sweet Potato Fry Nachos  


All natural Alexia Sweet Potato Fries with Sea Salt
Shredded Cheese (I use a Monterey Jack/Cheddar mix)
Black Beans
Sour Cream

1.  Cook sweet potato fries according to directions on the package.  (Package calls for 425 degrees, 25 minutes if you are cooking the full bag and half that amount of time for half the bag...  I found that for half the bag a great mount of time was about 18 minutes.  12-13 minutes didn't quite do it for my fries.) 

2.  For even cooking, put one oven rack at the very top of your oven and one oven rack at the very bottom.  Start your fries on the top oven rack and halfway through cooking, move the fries to the bottom rack.  This will ensure that the tops and bottoms of the fries are cooked evenly and will give a nice crispy feel

3.  Remove french fries from oven and change oven to high broil.  Add black beans on top of the nachos and cover with shredded cheese.  Put nachos back in oven for 2-3 minutes.  (WATCH NACHOS CAREFULLY ONCE THE CHEESE HAS BEEN ADDED!  They only need a couple of minutes- long enough to melt the cheese.  I left mine in for three minutes and it was too long- the cheese was totally hardened.  BOO.)

4.  Add sour cream, cilantro, and avocados to the nachos.  This recipe is flexible- anything you love on original nachos can be added- tomatoes, green onions, etc.  The sky's the limit!   

For more yummy fry recipe ideas check out:

Alexia Foods website
Alexia Foods on facebook
Alexia Foods on pinterest

Monday, May 11, 2015

How to Grill a Perfect Steak

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Char-Broil for IZEA
All opinions are 100% mine.

Greg and I are both steak fanatics so as soon as the weather starts to warm up all we want to do is grill steak, grill steak, and grill some more steak!  This year Greg is convinced he has perfected the art of grilling the perfect steak.  And you know what?  I think he may have!  These steaks are juicier and more delicious than any steak I've ordered- even at a restaurant!


1.  Type of steak obviously matters.  When Greg and I are feeling filthy rich we splurge on filets.  We can only get these about once a month because that meat is expensive!  At Costco you can find filets for $16/lb- anywhere else they are over $20/lb.  If we can't afford filets we go with sirloins or New York cuts.

2.  Grill the steak the same day you buy it, or close to.  Don't freeze it!

3.  Prepare your steak with steak rub and butter.  Brush a bit of melted butter on both sides of the steak and then rub on that rub!  Greg and I just picked up a generic rub at the grocery store (McCormick Grill Mates Steak Rub) but our friend swears by Bad Byron's Butt Rub.  You have to order the butt rub online (Amazon) which is why Greg and I are still using the generic grocery kind.  We love the flavoring, but this weekend we are grilling with friends and going to try out that Bad Byron's Butt Rub.  We'll see if it's as good as its name!

4.  Sear the steaks!  There are a couple of ways to sear.  If you have a searer on your grill, use that- it's the best way.  Crank up the heat all the way and put your steaks on for ninety seconds on each side.  (Set your timer!  The timing is crucial!)  If you are using a pan, crank up the heat all the way and cook each steak for sixty seconds on each side.  Searing your steaks helps to keep all the juices inside the steak---  no precious juice is wasted dripping down the grill.

5.  Put those steaks on the grill.  Greg and I both like our steaks medium.  For perfect medium steaks, we cook them six minutes on each side.  Don't cut into them to see if they are done- use a thermometer!  (Rare steaks=135 degrees, medium rare steaks= 145, medium steaks= 160 degrees and well steaks= 170 degrees)

6.  Pull steaks off the grill and wrap them in tinfoil for five minutes.  This step is crucial!  It allows all the juices to stay in the steak so that when you cut into it all the juice doesn't run out on to your plate.  This is the first year we have tried the tinfoil after grilling trick and we are hooked for life.  It really does make a huge difference!

Of course, to grill these perfect steaks you will need a perfect grill.  May I suggest the Char-Broil Kettleman Grill?


Stuff you should know about this grill:
  • Char-Broil Kettleman Grill is a NEW charcoal grill from Char-Broil.
  • You can buy it at Lowe's or online at
  • This grill gives you more control over temperature, flare-ups and clean-up.
  • The grill has a removable ash pan, wheels, a no-fall-through grate, a removable ash bowl and a hinged lid.
  • Oh, and don't forget about the super- sized damper and lid-mounted temperature gauge.
  • Very affordable- $139.
  • Makes charcoal grilling easy!
If you are looking for an inexpensive but effective grill that will get your steak job done, this is it folks.  You can learn more about the Kettleman grill here.

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