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It seems it gets harder and harder to get the family together for dinner between work, school, and sport schedules. However hard, I think it’s so important to at least come together for 30 minutes.  You get to catch up on your day, hear & solve problems, and learn about accomplishments of the day. I know the last thing I want to do when I get home is to cook an elaborate dinner. I have found some recipes that my family likes that you can cook ahead of time so you can actually enjoy your family time.

Chicken Pot Pie

Frozen Pie Crust

3-4 Large Chicken Breasts

Family Size Mixed Vegetables

2-3 Cans Cream of Chicken Soup (low-fat or fat- free)

Seasonings of choice

Preheat oven to 375. Cook & season chicken. Cut cooked chicken into bite-size pieces. In a large bowl mix chicken, vegetables, soup, and seasonings. Pour into pie crust and place 2nd pie crust on top. Poke holes on top crust using fork. Back 1 hour.

chicken pot pie

 

Chuck Wagon Casserole

1 lb Lean Ground Beef

1 Can chili beans (15 ½ oz)

½ Cup Onion & Green Bell Pepper Chopped

¾ C Barbecue Sauce

1 Can Mexican-Style Corn Drained

1 Package(8 ½ oz) Corn Muffin Mix

Preheat oven to 400. Chop onion and pepper. Cook ground beef, onion, and pepper. Drain. Stir in chili beans, barbecue sauce, and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Spoon into 9” baking dish. Prepare corn muffin mix according to package directions, stir in corn. Spoon over meat mixture. Back 30 minutes.

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#FinalRide

One Heart Source Event

One Heart Source Event

My Husband and I started to watch Sons of Anarchy seven seasons ago. I was pregnant with my oldest daughter making the first episode hard to stomach but 6 years later we are still watching every week. A few months ago I got the opportunity to meet Kim Coates from Sons of Anarchy and his family. I was standing out front waiting for them to arrive when Kim rolled down his window and popped his head out. Since I don’t meet famous people very often all I could think is, “Wow, he looks just like he does on TV!” Since he is in such an amazing show I thought that he wouldn’t talk to me much. To my surprise they are the most amazing and gracious people and they made me feel like we had been friends for years.

Kim Coates

Kim Coates

Kyla Coates, Kim’s daughter is the educational Programs Manager for One Heart Source, “a non-profit organization designed to empower young people through education, and to provide high quality education and care for vulnerable children in Tanzania and South Africa.” She said she went to Tanzania with school and just was amazed by what she saw. Kim Coates and his wife Diana visited Kyla while she was in Tanzania and that was when they came up with the idea for the “Hogs for Hearts” fundraiser.

group one heart source

I attended One Heart Source’s charity event on October 11th and meet the cast of Sons of Anarchy for the 3rd Annual Hogs for Heart fundraising event. The event was very limited in the amount of people that could attend so it gave everyone the opportunity to meet the cast. We got to take pictures and meet Charlie Hunnam, Kim Coates, Tommy Flanagan, Mark Boone Jr., Theo Rossi, Emilio Rivera, Drea de Matteo, Dayton Callie, Michael Ornstein, Niko Nicotera, and Jimmy Smits.

Group at One Heart Source

Group at One Heart Source

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I LOVE Halloween!

When my first daughter was born 14 years ago, I could not wait to share this wonderful holiday with her. I dressed her in the cutest little pumpkin costume, but since she was only just over a month old, I figured we would just enjoy handing out candy to all of the children in our Camden community. I worked in the Camden leasing Continue Reading »

It’s really the most wonderful time of the year! You start to feel the change in the weather and see seasonal items on the shelves while you shop. You get that special twinkle in your eye, or maybe that’s just my eye. But do you ever get the itch to decorate for the occasion? Maybe you’ve decided to have Thanksgiving at your house this year or host this Christmas’ ugly sweater party. Whatever you choose, make your apartment home reflect the occasion and decorate! It doesn’t have to cost you your arm and your leg, just browse the online retailers that I’ve listed below for those one-of-a-kind home décor pieces that your family and friends are sure to notice! They’ll be impressed to know you didn’t pay full price, either!

Zulily.com – This site started out for only mothers and children, and has since expanded to selling home goods and furniture among otherBlogShop categories. Boutiques stay open for only a certain period of time before they close so you can check daily for new boutiques and take advantage of the site’s inexpensive pricing. You can make multiple orders within a day and only pay one shipping fee. The best part is their customer service.

Hautelook.com – Similar to Zulily but tend to carry higher-end brands. You’ll find an assortment of home décor and furnishings at a discounted price. Instead of ‘boutiques’ they have ‘events’ for particular brands and categories that remain open for you to shop for a period of time. Joining the site is free and I don’t think you’ll regret joining. Don’t worry, they don’t send any spam mail like most retailers, either.

Overstock.com – The website says it all. The site sells overstocked items at a discounted price. They even have a specific home décor buying guide on their site that can help you decorate like a pro that explains everything from how to choose the best area rug for Christmas to directions on arranging a bookcase. Join their club and get even better deals than they already offer. And, they carry a lot of name brand items if that’s important to you.

Wayfair.com – They’ve branded their site as offering a “zillion things home,” so you’ll find high-end brands to everyday household brands for your apartment home at affordable prices. Pay attention to their daily 70% off deals before they sell out! You’ll also be able to find Décor Buying Guides to give you plenty of ideas if you want to recreate a look off the items they sell.

So whether you’re getting ideas from your home décor pins off of Pinterest or picking a décor theme that matches the accent wall in your apartment home, you can be sure to find good deals online to put those ideas to life without giving up your arms and legs. I know you don’t want to leave the comfort of your Camden home, so why not try out these online retailer’s today? It just might become your new addiction.

Photo courtesy of www.blueapron.com

Make this meal!  Photo courtesy of http://www.blueapron.com

When I worked at Camden Tuscany, I had a resident that used to get a perishable delivery from Blue Apron.  When he came to pick it up he raved about it as a food delivery service that he couldn’t live without.  It sounded neat but I figured this was something I could never afford and how nice to have food delivered to your door.  Eventually after hearing about it a few more times I realized that I wanted to give it a try.

The cost is $60 per week that makes three Continue Reading »

A Little Kindness Please

SF Paddle BoardNot too long ago, Mr. Perfect suggested we buy tickets to the Broadway Series at the Straz here in Tampa. Imagine how excited I was. Very. This was also quite a surprise because Mr. Perfect would probably rather be fishing, or kayaking or paddle boarding!

We went to our first show this week, Cinderella. It was great, the music was wonderful and it was done with humor, a nice touch. My favorite part was when the guests at the ball played a game of “Ridicule”. So funny. At one point the evil stepmother and Cinderella were paired against each other. When the evil stepmother insulted Cinderella, Cinderella responded with a compliment. The evil stepmother was floored. It happened over and over. Although the rest of the guests were initially confused, eventually they liked the compliments! Everyone began to say nice things to each other. Of course soon Cinderella married the nice prince and they began to rule the kingdom with kindness. It all started with sweet Cinderella.Dahlia
This morning I got to thinking about how this happens in our real lives day to day. You know when you’re going through the drive through to get a coffee and then you get to the window to pay, you discover the person in front bought your coffee. Then you are just so happy, you probably pay it forward. Like that.
Not too long ago while at Red Rock Stadium in Denver I was behind a guy about 45 yrs old in line who had ordered beer and hotdogs for his whole group. When he went to pay he was told they only take cash! Never fear, a very sweet 23 year old girl said “no problem I’ll get that”. He was so surprised, told her thank you so much. It was a really nice thing to witness. It seemed so effortless for her to give and for him to show genuine appreciation and that was it. No biggie, just a normal way of life. I bet he treats others with kindness and generosity too, because he understood what happened so instantly.
A few weeks ago, Mr. Perfect, our best friends and I rented a houseboat and toured the Trent Severn Waterway in Canada. Great vacation! While there we fell in love with Canada and the people. They are so flipping nice! The way the whole houseboat thing works on the Waterway is that you boat through lakes and rivers passing through locks. You can tie your boat off on any island (that doesn’t have a house on it) at any of the locks or at a marina (you pay for this). Mostly we stayed at the locks. They had lovely parks, clean facilities and it seemed like an adventure. There are lockmasters at every lock – we enjoyed talking with them. All along the way they gave us tips and advice about where to go and how to get the best out of our trip. One of them even offered to take us to the grocery store! So nice. When we gushed about nice they all are, one lockmaster told us he was from Newfoundland. He said Newfie’s are really friendly. If we were visiting there and stopped to ask where the closest B & B was located, the Newfie would probably offer to take us home to stay in the spare room. It’s a way of life there. Ca na daThe Canadians told us they think Americans are friendly. It looks to me like one of us is nice to other, which makes the other want to be nice to us – it’s a big kindness circle!
Every turn I take, there is some new person in my life who has a giving heart. Our Camden Cares event this year was for an organization called Starting Right, Now. A true angel, Vicki, started SRN after having a life changing moment. Through her vision, hard work and the generosity of others she has made this very impressive home to help homeless and unaccompanied youth. SRN provides a stable home, they teach financial literacy, life skills and promote educational achievement. While all our Tampa employees were painting their house, landscaping and just cleaning up the exterior, I met Antionette walking her dog. She stopped to tell us thank you for doing such a wonderful thing for the community. She has just moved to Tampa working with a group that helps homeless veterans get into a home and back on track.
I see kindness in my home. Mr. Perfect is always so patient and tolerant, available for whoever needs him, anytime he can. Very non judgey. His example makes all of us in our family better people.
A large part of my life is spent at work with Camden people. So I am also fortunate enough to be around good people every day at work. We are a family, we support each other, laugh with each other, cry with each other. We hug. I love hugging.Lizzette & Me

So I am convinced, this is the new norm! Oh yes, there are bad things that occur. But I see that most of us choose to be happy and to extend kindness to our fellow man.
Life is good, be happy and nice to others, it is the gift that keeps giving!

Peace,
Cindy

Honest food that tastes really good. Photo courtesy of True Food Kitchen.

Honest food that tastes really good. Photo courtesy of True Food Kitchen.

True Food Kitchen recently opened their first Texas location in the Houston Galleria area. Having eaten there before in both Arizona and California, I was totally stoked. I’m not a health food nut in any way, shape, or form. Honestly, had someone else not taken me there, it’s probably not a restaurant I would frequent on my own. After having tried the food and some of the cocktails, I can admit I’m hooked.

Here’s what True Food Kitchen has to say about their menu:

“You don’t have to be a die-hard Yogi to dine at True Food Kitchen. You need only a desire to give your body nutrients, and your palate something memorable. The basis for the anti-inflammatory diet isn’t meant to deprive a healthy body of great flavors, it’s meant to take popular trends in cuisine and pair them with healthy living.”

Photo courtesy of True Food Kitchen.

Photo courtesy of True Food Kitchen.

I highly recommend taking a detour to try out the new location and its great fare. It’s just a hop, skip, and a jump away from our fabulous Camden Post Oak location!

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