CONFESSION OF A CLEMENTINE ADDICT

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Ok, so it’s hard to call me an addict since my first encounter with a clementine was only a few months back.  That’s the confession.  But it’s true!  You’re all probably sitting there speechless right now, and that’s ok.  I get it.  Sometimes I still have a hard time understanding how it’s possible that I have never had a clementine.

I’m going to chalk it up to loving oranges. I figured they were just like oranges only smaller.  My thinking was “why would you pick the small clementine when you could choose the large orange?”

Had I known they were easier to peel, sweeter and SEEDLESS, I would not have chosen oranges all these years.  Seedless, that’s like a dream come true.  You know that right?  It’s like watermelon.  Who buys watermelon with seeds when you can buy seedless watermelon?  Am I Right?

So now I have consumed at least 3-4 clementine’s per day for the last 3 months.  Enter the word addict.  I can’t stop.  I won’t stop.  I can’t stop.

So then I’m told they’re in season from Oct-Feb or some nonsense like that.  What?  How can a fruit that is so perfect and seedless and refreshing not be in season during the hot summer months?!  Makes no sense to this girl.  It’s completely backwards if you ask me.    BUT since clementines are such a happy kind of fruit, I will go peel another and let it slide.

Hmmm, I wonder what other amazing fruits are out there that I’m not aware of……..

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Life is better when you’re laughing

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So this morning, I was feeling a bit sad. Not so much about anything specific, just a little down and out. Not my usual bouncy self, is all. The weather could quite possibly have something to do with it, but that’s a whole different blog post for a different day!

 So I’m sitting at work all blah-zay. Someone said something which made me laugh and I instantly felt better. Maybe it didn’t take away my gloominess for good, but for that time being, I truly did feel better. It got me to thinking. How amazing is it that laughing can do that!?!? I read somewhere that laughing helps in releasing endorphins which can bring positive changes to the mindset of a person. I also read that heavy laughter brings in much more oxygen to the lungs then normal breathing would do. Did you guys know this? It makes sense right?

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Laughter is so powerful. And I never really stopped to really think about that until today. I mean… I know laughter is good for you, there’s that wise old saying about “laughter is the best medicine. But there is so much truth to it. For me there is, anyway. It always brightens my mood. No matter what. I could be in the worst mood ever and if I laugh, I feel better. The more I laugh, the bigger the chunk of sadness gets hauled away. And you know what this means?

 It means my friends and family help contribute to my daily health and they don’t even know it! LOL

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The power of “I AM”

Two words that when put together have more power than you can ever imagine.  Think about how many times you use these two words together.   These two words consisting of only three letters make you.  Try to take notice today how many times you say “I am” throughout the day and then take notice on what words you choose to follow that up with. 

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 Are they negative and depressing?  Are are they positive, happy and upbeat?  And more importantly are they truth.  It’s definitely something to stop and think about.    

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Tasty Tuesday

One thing I love to do is try new recipes.  This one in particular is one of my favorites.  It’s great for when you’re having company over.  It’s wonderful  if you have to bring a dish to a dinner party and if you know someone who’s laid up and can’t cook, it’s a great dish to bring over. 

It’s one of those dishes where you can do a lot of the prep work ahead of time as well. And if not, that’s ok because it’s super easy to make! 

 

Chicken & Spinach Pasta Bake

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 Ingredients: 

    8 oz uncooked rigatoni

    1 T olive oil

    1 c chopped onion

    1 (10 oz) pack frozen spinach, thawed

    3 c cubed, cooked chicken breasts

    1 (14 oz) can Italian-style diced tomatoes, undrained

    1 (8 oz) container Philadelphia chive & onion cream cheese

    ½ t salt, ½ t pepper

    1½ c shredded mozzarella cheese

 Prepare rigatoni according to pkg directions.  Spread oil on bottom of 11×7 in baking dish; add onion in a single layer.  Bake at 375 for 15 minutes or just until tender.  Transfer onion to large bowl, set aside.

 Drain chopped spinach well, pressing between paper towels.  Stir in rigatoni, spinach, chicken, & next 4 ingredients into onion in bowl.  Spoon mixture into dish & sprinkle evenly with shredded mozzarella cheese.  Bake covered at 375 for 30 minutes; uncover & bake 15 more minutes or until bubbly.

 *** A big thank you from Heather Brown – from savingmoneylivinglife.com for this new favorite of mine!! 

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Resolution Failure turned ROCKSTAR!

One month into 2013 and I have already managed to fail my New Years Resolution.  You know, the usual “I am totally going work out every day”.  Now normally, I would feel a bit guilty about failing so early in the year.  But I have done something untrue to man.  This year…first year ever…I have refrained from buying Girl Scout cookies.  I KNOW!!!  I can hear you all gasping for air.  Not only do I usually buy them, but I would purchase at least six boxes in a given year.  And that’s on the conservative side.  I’m not one of those girls who can get away with buying one box and be pleased about it.  No.  I would buy two boxes of Thin Mints, two boxes of Tagalongs and two boxes of Samoas’.  All of which are consumed by me, this girl who lives alone.  I can hear you all gasping again.  So as you can imagine this non purchase is HUGE for me!  A big deal to say the least.  And below you’ll see why! 

According to my calculations there are:

160 calories in (4) thin mint cookies.  There is approximately 28 cookies per box.             This is (7) servings.    (7) servings x 160 calories per serving = 1,120 total calories!! 

140 calories in (2) Samoas cookies.  There is approximately 15 cookies per box.            This is (7.5) servings.  (7.5) servings x 140 calories per serving = 1,050 total calories!!

140 calories in (2) tagalong cookies.  There is approximately 15 cookies per box.           This is (7.5) servings. (7.5) servings x 140 calories per serving = 1,050 total calories!!

The total calories I saved from my monumental decision is 3,220.00

I don’t know about you, but when I broke it all down, I no longer felt guilty.  I felt like a ROCKSTAR! 

Now we enter into February, no more excuses.  Time to buckle it down and get in the game.  Brazilian Butt Lift here I come!! 

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My obsession with Cucumbers

I have no clue what my deal is, I  have always liked cucumbers but recently I have been obsessed with them!  I want to make cucumber everything! 

One thing I love is this version of Cucumber Salad… Very close to what my mom used to make when I was a kid. Only difference is I don’t believe she put sugar in it.  Anyhoo!  How scrumptious does this look???

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cucumbers, peeled and thinly sliced
½ cup onion, thinly sliced
¼ cup white vinegar
¼ cup sugar
¼ tsp salt
1 cup mayonnaise
1 Tbsp dried dill

In a medium bowl, combine the vinegar, sugar and salt. Whisk briskly to combine. Add the mayonnaise and dill, stir until smooth. Add the cucumbers and onions to the dressing and stir to coat. Cover and refrigerate. The salad will be ready in 10 minutes or let sit longer for the flavors to develop.

Recipe from Tasty Kitchen

**  Another Cucumber type Salad I like is one where you cut up some cucumbers,  baby tomato’s cut in half and some basil…add salt & pepper to taste and drizzle with balsamic vinaigrette.  Yum!!! 

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Then we have Cucumber Water!  Oh my god, delish!  Water.  I hate drinking water.  It’s so blah and boring.  But add some sliced cucumber and even some fresh mint…and wow!  So refreshing!!  You can also add some sliced lemon in there and some sprigs of Rosemary!  Brilliant!  It’s the only way you can get me remotely close to my recommended daily dose of water consumption! 

Finally I have found an obsession that might actually be good for me!!  🙂 

 

 

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WHAT ABOUT THE TURKEY?

What about the turkey?

 The poor forgotten turkey. Each year it seems to get skipped over faster than the year before. One minute your trick-or-treating. The very next day you find yourself watching the target lady, dressed as an elf. Fa-la-la-ing and rum-pum-pumm-ing on all your local tv stations.

 Now don’t get me wrong. I LOVE Christmas!! I mean what’s not to love! Seriously. There’s the smell of pine within our homes, the glow of holiday lights surrounding us and if you have one, the crackle of a fireplace. Just the music alone during the holidays puts joy in my heart. And even though it’s winter there’s a cozy warmth that simply can’t be denied around this time of year.

 But what about the turkey? We tend to push the turkey to the back. We must not forget about the very day we should be thankful for the smell of pine, the holiday glow, the fireplace crackle, festive music and cozy warmth.

 We find ourselves thankful for our families, jobs, health and football. Thankful for the turkey itself, the trimmings and the desserts that fill our bellies. We are blessed with pies that align the kitchen counter. Apple, pumpkin, pecan, chocolate crème. Thankful for the couch we lay upon to digest such delicious tastes we just scarfed down. And for the time off of work we received to spend with family near and far.

 We are thankful for things that go above and beyond the realm of sight and taste. And I know we appreciate them more often than just on Thanksgiving Day. Is that why we tend to forget the turkey and go right into Christmas? Perhaps. Or maybe it’s the fact that everyone panics thinking they need to get everything done before Christmas day arrives. Maybe it’s Pinterest’s fault. Or maybe, just maybe, it’s the excitement alone that the holiday season brings where you just can’t help it.

 Either way it’s not wrong. As long as you continue to remember the true meaning for these holiday’s.

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Car rides, Cornfields and Crosswords

It’s Friday.  A wonderful, sunny, warm Friday.  I wish nothing more than to leave work with excitement knowing I have some cool plans.  Maybe some cocktails with my girlfriends out on a patio somewhere.  Or perhaps a nice dinner date with my boyfriend.  Of course neither is going to happen because for one, I’m at the age where all my close friends are married or with children and can’t just get up and go as they please.  And two, I no longer have a boyfriend.  

I’ve been keeping busy for the most part.  During the week after work I go walking. This is great because it clears the head and keeps me fit.  Win-win situation right there!!  By that time I get home which is around quarter to eight or so, I start some laundry, make a quick bite to eat and watch a little TV before calling it a night.  I’ve also recently re-introduced myself to one of my past addictions.  Crossword puzzles.  I can’t seem to get enough of them!  Seriously, I used to buy the TV guide solely for the purpose of the crossword puzzle in the back and well….we’ll just leave it at that.  Anyway back to my meandering thoughts.  Because of the walking, laundry, dinner making, TV time and crossword puzzles, I haven’t had much feeling of boredom and/or restlessness.  But today is Friday, it’s gorgeous outside and it’s hitting me like a brick.  Maybe it’s because I’m reading on all my networking sites about everyone’s fun and exciting plans.   Maybe it has nothing to do with that at all.  But either way, I don’t want to sit home.   I want to go do something.  What’s there to do when you’re flying solo and still call it fun?  Shopping??  Who has money for shopping?  Not this girl.  Dinner?  Not really a fan of sitting in a restaurant eating dinner alone.  Could I do it?  Sure.  Have I done it? Yes. Do I want to?  Not so much.  If anyone has any ideas for me, I’m open to suggestions.  Otherwise I’ll be planning on taking a little ride to nowhere specific, down the country roads filled with cornfields and then back home to do more crosswords.  An exciting  finish to my wonderful, sunny, warm Friday.  Right?  Right???

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Rise & Grind

It’s Wednesday aka: HUMP DAY.  The day that helps us realize another weekend is approaching.  The day that allows us to throw Monday and Tuesday to the wind; not to be thought about again until Sunday night.

Usually on Wednesdays I would post some “Hump Day Humor”.  Tiny bits of humor to get us through the rest of the week.   Not today.  Instead I’m going to mix it up a bit and offer a piece of advice.  It’s only two lines yet these two lines pack a punch.    They are very important to the fundamentals of life.   Ready?

Follow the magic in your heart…

It’s the inspiration for your life. 

 There you have have it!  Hope the rest of your week is wonderful my friends.  See ya on the flip side!

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I AM

Poems.  I love poems.  Why, because they all have meaning.   What I love is that a poem can mean something to the person who wrote it, yet can mean something completely different to someone else and still have effect.  Poems are powerful, in many ways.

My boss came into the office not too long ago and showed me a poem his son wrote. I fell in love with it.  It was such a simple poem, yet it showed precisely just who he, Mason, was as a person.  I took it upon myself, after reading the poem, to submit it into a poetry contest. I’m pleased to say he recently received a letter stating his poem has been chosen and will be published in the National Book of Poetry.  For a 10 yr old, that is a huge accomplishment.  I hope it keeps him open to write more poetry.  What a wonderful way to release ones thoughts.

Here is the poem Mason wrote:

I AM

I am shy and intelligent

I wonder if cancer will ever have a cure

I hear my friends cheering me on

I see hope

I want to type faster

I am shy and intelligent

I pretend to be the best lacrosse player ever

I feel happiness

I touch the ocean

I worry about homeless people

I cry when children die

I am shy and intelligent

I understand that ms. Counts rules

I say be kind

I dream that world hunger will end

I try in school

I hope for peace

I am shy and intelligent

– By: Mason Keeney (10 yrs. old)

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Hump Day Humor

Ever have one of these days?  If you’re anything like me, this is usually how I’m starting to feel by the time Wednesday arrives.  If you are feeling this way…here’s a little hump day humor to give you a giggle and help you through the rest of the week.

Only a few more days until the weekend, my friends!  Keep on climbing!!  🙂

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A Moment To Remeber

Another commercial about flower deliveries, handmade pictures and breakfast in bed.  Hugs and kisses are given freely from children honoring their moms.  Celebrating all she has done for them throughout their existence, no matter how old or young they are.  What a delightful day for many.   And I will do the same.  Honor my mother for so many reasons I can’t even begin to list them right now. 

But at the same time, while I’m celebrating and doting on my mom, I will be thinking of all the wonderful ladies that for numerous different reasons, cannot celebrate.  I suppose they can celebrate their moms but they themselves cannot be celebrated.  We often forget about those who struggle with infertility, those who have a lost their child to a tragic accident or those who simply were never given the opportunity to be a mother.  And for those women, mother’s day is a very large reminder of what they don’t have.  Those hallmark commercials on TV, the endless advertisements on the radio; these could be torture for some.

So while you are celebrating with you mom or while your children are celebrating with you, try to remember the women yearning for that same moment you’re in.    The woman pumping her gas could have had her little boy taken away from her by a careless drunk driver.  The woman taking your order at your celebration brunch could have just spent her last penny on an IUI/IVF treatment that has failed her yet again.  And the woman standing in front of you at Starbucks, simply wasn’t given the opportunity to have a child.  The odds just weren’t with her.  Try to remember that even though you may be a mom (Happy Mother’s Day if you are), not everyone is.  And the slightest bit of compassion can go a long way.  ❤ ❤

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Hump Day Humor

A little Hump Day Humor to get you through the day….

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This “Green” Thing

I saw this on a social network page and figured I would share ..

Checking out at the supermarket recently, the young cashier suggested I should bring my own carrier bags because plastic bags weren’t good for the environment. I apologized and explained, “We didn’t have this green thing back in my earlier days.” The cashier responded, “That’s our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations.” She was right about one thing — our generation didn’t have the green thing in “Our” day. So what did we have back then…? After some reflection and soul-searching on “Our” day here’s what I remembered we did have…. Back then, we had “paper” bags to put our shopping in, we returned milk bottles (even collected the silver caps for the blind), fizzy pop bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles repeatedly. So they really were recycled. But we didn’t have the green thing back in our day. We walked up stairs, because we didn’t have an escalator or lift in every store and office building. We walked to the supermarket and didn’t climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two minutes up the road. But she was right. We didn’t have the green thing in our day. Back then, we washed the baby’s nappies because we didn’t have the throw-away kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling machine burning up 220 volts — wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back in our early days. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing. But that young lady is right. We didn’t have the green thing back in our day. Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house — not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of England. In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn’t have electric machines to do everything for us. When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used screwed up old newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. Back then, we didn’t fire up an engine and burn petrol just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn’t need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity. But she’s right. We didn’t have the green thing back then. We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull. But we didn’t have the green thing back then. Back then, people took the bus, and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their mums into a 24-hour taxi service. We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn’t need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000miles out in space in order to find the nearest pizza joint. But isn’t it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn’t have the green thing back then? Feel free to pass this on so another selfish old person who needs a lesson in conservation from a smarty-pants young person learns something.  😉 

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Random Thought of the day

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Girls vs. Guys

 

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Need I say more??  🙂

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The Shadows Of Yesterday

Yesterday started as a beautiful day.  Bright and airy.  The sun shining. The breeze floating through the open window screens.  Life being the same as the prior moment that just passed by.

But as the sun slowly fell below the horizon, the brightness turned to dark.  The police were rushing to the scene.  Medical personnel working hard to save a life.  Phone calls being placed to family and friends.  The life that was the same; was no longer as it was just a moment ago.  In just a blink of an eye, it all changed. 

I was reminded again today just how short life can be.  Tell the people in your life how much they mean to you.  Life has no guarantees. 

Don’t let the shadows of yesterday be the last memory you have of those you care about. 

 

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Story Time

As a kid, I enjoyed many types of books.  The Bernstein Bears were one of my favorites; as was Richard Scarry’s big book of rhymes.  But the books that took the cake for me were the Sweet Pickles books!!

I believe my mom purchased one through QVC (mom was huge on QVC back in the day).  It was one of those purchases where they will send you three books or something and if you like them, every month you’d get a few more.  I couldn’t wait to get my new Sweet Pickles book every month.  After reading the first three and seeing how the third was just as enjoyable as the first, I knew the forth, five, sixth and so on were going to be just as great!

Some of you may be asking what is a Sweet Pickle?  If you’re thinking it’s a series of books revolving around food, you will be disappointed to hear that it’s not.  Sweet Pickles is nothing more than a a fictional town. Its residents are a group of animal characters created to instill basic values, ethics and social skills to children.

There are 26 Sweet Pickles animal characters, one for each letter of the alphabet and each with an exaggerated human personality trait. They all live in the Town of Sweet Pickles, squabbling and squawking, but somehow they manage to get along — an important message.

Kids can recognize themselves in the funny little mishaps of these lovable animals. Goof-Off Goose (I would have to say she was my favorite out of them all) , Worried Walrus and Loving Lion are just a few that get into – and out of – life’s pickles. That’s why they’re called Sweet Pickles. Just because a pickle is a problem doesn’t mean it can’t be handled.

There were 40 books in the series and I was lucky enough to have every one of them!  If you have never heard of Sweet Pickles and you are an adult, I’m sorry that you didn’t get to experience these books as a child. But the ever revolving life of sweet pickles is still turning so even if you missed out, your children don’t have too!  They currently sell Sweet Pickles books on Ebay and Amazon.  YAY!!   Purchase just one and I can guarantee you’ll be hooked!!

Happy Reading!! 

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Memories and Pie

The phone rings it’s 11:30pm. My dear friend is in labor. How exciting. It’s her first child. I lay in bed thinking about what she must be feeling and experiencing at that very moment. Is she nervous? Is she scared? Is she in pain? In a few hours she is going to be known as “mommy”. Her entire life will be different from that point on in just a few short hours. How lucky!! Lucky to have the chance to teach, to love and to be loved unconditionally. Suddenly my childhood clearly consumed my mind in flashes that were so vivid that I could see the smallest of details.

My childhood was wonderful. Full of love. I had a happy family life. My mom and dad always did fun things with my big brother and I. I’m not talking large elaborate vacations, we couldn’t afford those. But every summer they would rent a cottage on the beach and my whole family would go down. Nothing like waking up as a child, putting on your bathing suit and running out the door to hit the waves. Waves that looked monstrous yet in retrospect were probably half a ft high. We’d go camping. Like, real old-fashioned camping. With a tent and sleeping bags. I liked it then, but not so much now that I’m an adult. One time while camping dad was sprayed by a skunk. The smell was so bad. My eyes were burning and watering. The smell was overpowering. It was like I could taste skunk with each breath I took. As horrible as it was we found ourselves laughing. Laughing you ask? What!?!? Here we had to pack up and leave our camping excursion you think we’d be disappointed “awe man our vacation is ruined” Not to mention we had to drive all the way home with a human skunk in the car. Why were we laughing? Because we made another memory that will stay with our family forever. I have a lot of those. I treasure them. Each and every one of them. From family picnics where I’d stand on top of the picnic table belting out “somewhere over the rainbow” and “it’s a hard knocked life” to the snow forts and tunnels we’d build when it used to snow 2′ at a clip back in the day. It wasn’t just my older brother and I. It was me, my brother and my parents. Family time. Nothing compares to it.

Memories of dancing around the living room with my mom and brother, to standing on my dads feet, my tiny hands in his, walking around the house. Sitting on dads shoulders watching fireworks. Being placed on the kitchen counter by my mom in the middle of the night after I had a nightmare. She would bring me down, sit me on the counter, make me a tiny paper cup of chocolate milk in those Dixie cups that had jokes written on them. In the process I’d forget about the nightmare that moments before had terrified me and she’d tuck me back into my warm bed.

Memories. Little slices of life that will forever be with me. Memories that no one can replace or take away from me. And in a few short hours, my friend would be able to make memories like those with her new child. Such a blessing. I hope one day to be able to provide a child with such memories. Little slices of life that in the end will make up the whole pie.

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About ME..

Me…who exactly is that??  Sandie.  Well, Sandra.  But people call me Sandie.  And it’s Sandie with an IE.  Not a Y.  That would be like calling me Annie’s dog. Some people call me Pecan, some call me Nonnee, San-San and even Sandals.  Not sure why my parents began writing it as Sand”ie” instead of Sand”y”.  I don’t think they realized how traumatized I would be as a kid when I couldn’t find stickers with my name on it.  Or when I couldn’t order that cool license plate for my pink huffy bike from the Honey Combs cereal box.  Everything I found was with a Y…never and IE.  I suppose I could have gotten “Sandra” but really who wants to be called by their real, full and official name as a child?  You only heard that when you were in some sort of trouble.

I’m a 5’3″ brown-eyed girl who has no clue what she’s doing on here.  A blog?  I’m not sure my life is even exciting enough to write about.  But I’ll give it a whirl. I love meeting new people, so if you happen to stumble across “Sandie Land” and want to say hi, please do.  I welcome all comments.  And if you’d like to indulge in my daily rants and humor you can follow my page.  Just click “follow” and you’ll be updated through your email.  Go ahead, I know you want to 🙂

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