Monday, July 29, 2013

Dang Good Stuff! A giveway!

My first giveaway!!!! I've partnered up with my very creative and talented friend Timarie. She has just relaunched her website Dang Good Stuff! In between her pin up modeling, doting on her hubby, and getting ready for her sweet baby girl Alice to arrive she hand makes all her own hair accessories and jewelry. She is inspired by past decades fashions, horror movies, classic cartoons and comics. She also takes custom orders! Her prices are also very reasonable! Her items make perfect gifts! She is being extremely gracious and offering my readers a $15 credit to her shop!

Here are a few of my favorites!

Wonder Woman Bottlecap Bow $5.00

Brunette Pin Up Pendant w/ 18" necklace $13.00 

Lily Munster Pendant w/ 18" silver necklace $13.00


To enter into contest please follow these steps.
1. Leave a comment below with your favorite item from Dang Good Stuff! (include your email address)
3. Follow my blog Four Wolves in the Den
4. And for a bonus chance follow on Instagram

Good Luck! You will be notified by email if you are the winner by Friday, August 2nd!


Saturday, July 27, 2013

Scooterin' and summer memories

It's Saturday. We've had a week full of playgrounds and walks, the weather was finally cool enough to hang outside. Today we just did a quick lap around the neighborhood and for the first part Olivia rode on John's old toddler scooter. I went from having a son that was a ham for the camera to a daughter you spontaneously breaks out into song and dance for complete strangers but refuses to look at the camera. It's not that she looks at me and doesn't smile. She runs away, turns her body, and always screams/growls at me "No!". It is rare that she is excited when she sees the camera point towards her or the iphone tilt in her direction. Along our route there is a house with a fence covered in Honeysuckle. My favorite part of summer as a kid. I spent the first few years of my life in the city with no grass. Just a driveway outback and an astroturf covered front porch. To explain to those not familiar with the sections of Philadelphia, I grew up in Olney. It was a nicer part of the city until the beginning of the 90's. There are still beautiful older homes but it hasn't been revamped like other parts of the city. Anyway the back of our apartment had a driverway so all the occupants could get to their own driveways. We were near the corner where there were two alley ways that took you out to the front of the streets. Along that alley way was the back of a building. It's wall was covered with Honeysuckle. So one of my favorite memories of summer is that smell. My dad taught me how you pick them and pull the little string in the flower through the bottom and it would drop the tiniest drop of nectar on your tongue. In my child mind it must have been one of those moments where I really bonded with my dad. I'll never forget it, it left such a deep imprint on my mind and soul. I will forever be a summer girl. Since we moved into this house when John was 3, I have, every single summer, stopped multiple times and made sure we hung out and talked and took pictures and ate as many as we could before he got bored and wanted to ride or scooter again. Today was one of those days it was a little hot but an enjoyable walk. Olivia was again not feeling photogenic but it made of some adorable shots of her "being angry" at me. Even her angry face is too cute and makes me laugh.



 One of my favorite photos. John was flying passed her and she screamed. Can't believe I got the shot.

Her usual camera induced grumpiness but let's appreciate her curly hair for a minute.








Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Kristin's Crockpot Chili

I made chili for the first time this summer. Decided to keep track of my recipe. It came out really good and we enjoyed it so I thought I would share how I made it. This recipe is good for the whole family because it's not very spicy.


1 pound ground beef (ground chicken or turkey whichever you prefer)
1 small-medium onion
1 green pepper
1 yellow pepper (optional, I had one so I used it)
12 ounce tomato paste
28 ounce dice petite tomatoes with garlic and olive oil
14.5 ounce can stewed Italian tomato
15.5 ounce black beans
15.5 ounce red kidney beans
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons minced garlic
sea salt
ground black pepper
cumin
chili powder

I do all my seasonings to taste. I like ALOT of cumin.

Ingredients

Seasonings 

Chop up your veggies

Brown and drain your meat

Rinse your beans

Throw everything in crockpot
Cook on high for 4-5 hours or low for 6-8

Add cheese...tortilla strips? Scoop with tortilla chips...so many tasty possibilities..


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Thoughts on writing

So I was inspired last month. A friend that I met through our mutual love of The Mortal Instruments (you know that awesome Young Adult book series) started writing a sci-fi/fantasy book of his own. He asked me to be an alpha reader (a person who reads the book while your in the process of writing it). It has been a journey, five chapters in and he is so creative. I'm learning a lot of how to be constructive with my critiquing it's hard when you love the style and writing of a book.

In the past couple of years I have gone back and forth with the idea of writing a book. In high school school and college I was a lackluster student in the English department. I just kind of coasted through my high school classes and in college I didn't know what my voice was. I ended up taking an actual "paragraph class" in college that is how bad I was lost. I think that is why as an adult I have always been scared to even try to start the process. I tried keeping a journal once a few years back and was too uncomfortable writing my thoughts down. Isn't that bizarre? I don't get it either. When I started this blog I was only a little hesitant and not nearly as scared when publishing my first few posts. Again this makes no sense to me. This should terrify me more shouldn't it?

This month I started the first chapter in my book. I've redone it about three times already and am too terrified to let anyone read it yet. I keep telling myself "it's not done. it's ok. no biggie that your not ready yet!" I'm sure I'm going to keep telling myself that. I will try to overcome that hurdle. I just keeping re reading the pages and saying it's not good enough. I keep feeling like my main character just sounds like me and doesn't have a voice of her own.

I'll let you guys know how I'm doing with it soon. Maybe I'll post the first chapter on here and just get it over with! I don't know.

Check back soon! I have some new projects going on and will have guest writers on here, some tutorials, and a giveaway!!! Yay my first one!


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Why I didn't order the steak!

When I was 12 I thought I almost chocked to death. It started out a normal hot summer day in Bensalem. Everyone was at work and I was home with my Baba (Grandmother in Ukrainian) and cousin Steve. I had just microwaved a tv dinner for lunch. BBQ Chicken Breast with mash potatoes. My favorite tv dinner! Two bites in and I start to panic. I can breath but every time I try to swallow I have a horrible pain in my chest and I can feel the meat stuck. I start doing what I hope is the international sign of hey im choking over here please save me grabbing my throat then I realize I can talk and say "foods stuck!" Right away my cousin leaps into action, only being a year older than me I look back now and realize how amazing it was. He tries giving me the Heimlich Maneuver which doesn't work. Then my Baba tells me to stick my finger down my throat to throw it up. As I try to do that I realize the food has gone down. Now I'm thinking I didn't die! I didn't die! My cousin is extra nice that day any game I want to play in the pool whatever I want to do with the rest of the day since I didn't croak. It's not until I'm 16 that this happens to me again. Hanging out with friends driving around we stop by a McDonald's I order a burger. No drink. I had no cash on me. While on our drive back to my friend's boyfriend's house I take again only two bites of the burger and oh no I'm choking. With not one drink in the car. I scream pull over I'm going to throw up. But then nothing happens. It's just stuck. I suck it up for the 4 minute drive home. As soon as we get there I get a huge glass of water and run to the bathroom. I sip and sip and it just comes right back up. Burger is still lodged in my chest. The pain and feeling like I'm about to die is overwhelming. I drink and drink until finally the burger comes back up with the water. For those little tiny bites I am in there forever bringing it all back up. Mortified in front of my cool friend, her boyfriend, and his much older and cooler brother, I feel like I need to run out of there and disappear into dorkdom forever. It's not until years later in my early twenties that I meet another person with this problem. I thought I was the only freak in the world. That something was wrong with me. I remember even as a small child I hated taking pills I would make my mom crush them. Probably because I could feel them go all the way down and sometimes stick and not go down. My friend tells me he had to have his esophagus stretched and has problems with acid reflux. Everything exactly the same. It was comforting, maybe I'm not deformed. In the next couple of years google takes off and I'm able to research my problem. It hasn't happened in so long I never take advantage of my health insurance and get it checked. Until one day out of the blue it happens in the middle of a busy mall food court. Oh no! Chinese Bourbon Chicken! Just one small bite and I'm panicking all these people a gross public restroom. I am in there for a half hour drinking soda and it just keeps coming up. The people in the stalls around me probably thinking I have an eating disorder or food poisoning. A full half hour of throwing up with my son and old man waiting on me. My son is so freaked out, he thought I was dying. How mortified I am. I'm so upset I scared him. This time was the worst broken blood vessels and my eyes looking creepy. By the time I try to schedule an appointment to get this looked at I find out I'm pregnant with my daughter and cannot have any procedures done. So 9 months hoping this doesn't happen..what if I end up with a blockage and have to go to the ER I could hurt the baby some how. Olivia is now two and a half and I haven't had any "spells". Thank God! Not having insurance right now stinks! I could go have this fixed! Every time it happens it feels like this is it! The food is never going to come out! I've learned what to avoid, to relax, and only take small pills that are gel caps. Thank the Lord for adult gummies. I can now take a vitamin without fear of feeling like I'm dying. I share this story in the hope that if someone stumbles across this blog post they will realize their not alone and someone else understands how much it sucks. Also there are treatments. I think a lot of my problem comes from GERD which is the fancy terminology that you have acid reflux damage to your esophagus. 

According to the Mayo Clinic this is what's wrong with us:

Causes

By Mayo Clinic staff
It takes about 50 pairs of muscles and nerves to accomplish the simple act of swallowing, and a number of conditions can interfere with this process. These conditions generally fall into one of two categories: esophageal and oropharyngeal. Sometimes, however, the cause of dysphagia can't be identified.
Esophageal dysphagia
Esophageal dysphagia refers to the sensation of food sticking or getting hung up in the base of your throat or in your chest. Some of the causes of esophageal dysphagia include:
  • Achalasia. This occurs when your lower esophageal muscle (sphincter) doesn't relax properly to let food enter your stomach. Muscles in the wall of your esophagus may be weak as well. This can cause regurgitation of food not yet mixed with stomach contents, sometimes causing you to bring food back up into your throat. This type of dysphagia tends to get worse over time.
  • Esophageal stricture. Narrowing of your esophagus (stricture) can cause large pieces of food to get caught. Narrowing may result from the formation of scar tissue, often caused by gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), or from tumors.

Monday, July 1, 2013

100 Book Challenge: June 2013

With May being such a lackluster month I really pushed myself in June. It helped that I had a 5 book series that finally came in on hold at the library for me. The series ended up being wonderful and left room for the author to continue on with the story and still make the 5th book feel like a conclusion. A feat I'm sure most authors cannot accomplish. Looking forward to July I grabbed a couple of books out of the "teen" section for some fun summery type reading. Didn't bother looking up reviews on these either just saw the pretty covers and interesting titles and picked them up. Hopefully they are bearable (HaHa) and I will be pleasantly surprised. I picked up the "Starcrossed Series" that way and ended up LOVING the books. Were in full swing summer over here and Little John is loving the library and the summer reading program again I hope his love of books sticks...as a child I was a pain in the butt with reading. The only book that broke through my stubbornness was Super Fudge (on another long drive to and from Maine) and then eventually at 18 I discovered Harry Potter and never looked back! Here's what I read in June and I LOVED LOVED LOVED every book :)

                    





32. Quintana Of Charyn (Lumatere Chronicles #3) by Melina Marchetta Conclusion to my second favorite series. Second only to Harry Potter. The book was heartbreaking and suspenseful. The ending exactly what I wanted. I tell everyone I know about these books starting with the first book Finnikin of the Rock I just love this series so much!



33. DarkFever (Fever #1) by Karen Marie Moning- Started this series after seeing a high rating from Book Chick City. If you like anything supernatural with adventure and a kick ass heroine you will love this book. I couldn't put them down and finished the series in a week.



34. Bloodfever (Fever #2) by Karen Marie Moning





35. Faefever ( Fever #3) Karen Marie Moning





36. Dreamfever (Fever #4) Karen Marie Moning




37. Shadowfever (Fever #5) Karen Marie Moning





38. Playing Dead by Julia Heaberlin- This was a quick read....a book I stumbled upon in the adult fiction section at the library. I love mysteries and this one had you hanging on until the final pages.

39. Unleashed (The Wolf Spring Chronicles #1) by Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguie
An unexpected beaut I stumbled upon. Not perfect but I love a good werewolf story. Now if the library had the second book in the series. Ugh that's annoying!