A Grace Full Life


Why I Gave My Sick Friend Flowers in a Snowstorm #ILookToHer

I am surrounded by some amazing women in my life, near and far.
Women whom I look up to, respect and love deeply on many different levels. 
So when FTD approached me a few weeks ago about their #ILookToHer campaign, I was intrigued.
Here was the deal: they wanted me to hand deliver a bouquet of their flowers to a special female in my life; a positive role model, someone whom I look up to.
After asking if I could hand deliver the flowers to myself first I AM KIDDING, I knew exactly who I wanted to deliver my flowers to.

When people bring up the word "role model", especially when referring to females, many start to talk about careers or being driven which is really great.
But this post isn't going to be one of those "she is taking Wall Street by the balls" articles.
Rebecca is a role model on a different level because I am damn sure that she could take Wall Street by the balls if that was something that she set her mind to do but her mind wasn't set on doing that.
I have written about my friend so many times on this blog, that I sometimes think she is a silent partner here.
In case you are new, head here for the Cliff Notes version of our friendship and head here for the Egg Rolls.

But since I first met Rebecca in 1994 on the sales floor of a Kohl's in suburban Chicago, I have looked to her for many things.

I have watched her stay calm even in the presence of complete chaos. 

I have watched her mother her own. 

I have watched her mother mine. 

I have watched her love my mom. 

...and my mom love her. 

I have watched our families become one. 

I have had a front row seat to her beautiful marriage. 

..as well as a front row seat to watching them create their beautiful family. 

I went through college with her.
And apparently we were kicked out of that family up there. 

I've asked her to make me her egg rolls.

Too many times. 

It's okay, I can make them by myself now.  But they aren't as good as hers. 

I went through short hair with her.

And long. 

She has even helped me paint my house. That is love. 

We have been through almost 22 years of what life hands you and she is as close to what I think a sister feels like without sharing an actual blood line.

So I picked out this pretty little lady on the website and it arrived at my house on one of the crappiest days of winter.

I was planning on having Rebecca over for lunch the following day to hand deliver these to her, make her a special lunch, woo her, if you will but February bit her in the butt: she was really sick.
But I had flowers that couldn't wait for her to get better so I needed a new plan.
I texted her to see if I could drop "something" off at her house the next day.

Get to working on the bouquet of chihuahua's FTD. 

I think she likes it.

I have looked to Rebecca for many things over the past 21 years.
Everyone should have a Rebecca in their life.
I love you, my sister.
Next time, I am totally getting you a bouquet of chihuahua's.

I was provided a bouquet of flowers to send to my friend.
I was not compensated for this post. 

All words are my own because FTD doesn't even know Rebecca. 


Dear Diary, Why Was I So Pathetic?

While I was KonMari'ing the crap out of my home a few weeks ago, I made a discovery.
My high school diary. 
I didn't have to ask if it brought me joy because the gems inside, oh boy. 
If you ever need to do a check to see if you have evolved?
Read any material that you have ever composed before the age of 17. 
It really does loads for your self esteem.
Speaking of low self-esteem, let's read my diary! 

I should state that as of late, I have been feeling a tiny bit disconnected from my teenager.
Like we aren't on the same page.
Nothing major just little things that normal teens and parents go through but the discovery of this diary was definitely a morsel dropped down from the Lord himself.
Like a guidebook from Heaven as to show me that I too also had no developed frontal lobe and that bad decision making isn't just a way of life, it is also apparently genetic.
Allow me. 

Disclaimer: the blurred words are not to protect any bad words I have written.
I have no problem sharing that on here as you well know.
No, those are last names of people I didn't want to give publicity to. 
Because I really didn't think my sophomore year friends wanted their secret crushes aired for all of the world to see some 28 years later.
Or maybe they do in some weird Love Connection thing I am not going to be a part of, hence the blurred lines. 

First, I loved a lot of men in my 10th grade year.
Not in real life.
Oh hell no.
Only on paper and from across the room all stalker-like.
For ten or so pages I would profess my love for these "men" who really weren't men at all.
Menchildren really.
I would stare at them in the halls, drool over them in study hall, actually convince myself that they probably liked me too and even believe when my friends said, "I TOTALLY HEARD HIM TALKING ABOUT YOU IN SIXTH PERIOD WORLD HISTORY!! SIGH!"
Then I would go home and draw big puffy hearts and profess my manchild love.

I would say in approximately 100 pages of this diary, 50 of them had the above written.
About ten different menchildren.
In one month I had three different menchildren I was squiring and when I say "squiring" I mean, looking at from afar in the lunchroom while eating my Nutty Bar. 
I lived quite the exotic life. 

Four pages of being sick.
Why did I find it necessary to take up four pages to write this?
I. Am. On. The. Edge. Of. My. Seat.

Whew, I am so glad I am finally on the mend.
How can I possibly hate school after not being there for an entire week??
If you have lost count, I am on manchild number five and we are only in February.

I feel another sick day coming on......
I need to show this to my teenager.
She has no idea what sheer boredom is.
Oh I know what it is.
It is when you have to actually WRITE it in a diary.

Fast forward to May because I was really, really boring.
By the way, I had to blur out manchild #7's name because he is now a prominent eye doctor back home.
But he WAS a dick in 1986.
Moral of the story: never let a dick get in the way of a good time.
That came out wrong. 

I guess I needed time to think about it. 

I finally danced with a "real" guy.
What was I dancing with before then??

And in the WORST anti-smoking campaign ever:

What. Tha. Frack. 

I should have been a liner note writer for Whitesnake, WHAT IN THE FRESH HELL IS THIS??

There is a reason I only kept one diary in all of my childhood.
I wasn't good at it.
If you excuse me, I will be apologizing to my teenager for being less understanding.
And I will have MY diary under my arm. 


Kicking Off 2016 With Some Balls

Lots of them, in fact.
Balls as far as the eye can see.
Oh come on, who doesn't laugh when the word "balls" is mentioned?
If you are one of those kinds of people who turns up their nose at conversations like this or says TMI and plugs their ears at these types of jokes, YOU ARE NOT WELCOME HERE.

Are they gone?
Okay now we can let our balls hang out.


I don't know when it started, all I know is that for most of my life I have had the humor level of an elementary age child.
Farting is funny.
Burping is funny.
Balls are funny.
Now, I do have decorum, don't get me wrong.
There is a time and place for everything and I am raising my children to be decent human beings but the above is and can be funny when you are in certain situations.
Life can be really funny and it is too short to be so damn serious.

Apparently I love me some balls if you look at my Recipe boards.
So much so that I created a board solely dedicated to balls.

       Follow Kari // A Grace Full Life's board Let Your Balls Out on Pinterest.  

Some of my favorites are Spinach Balls. 

photo courtesy of the kitchen is my playground

Loaded Mashed Potato Balls. 

photo courtesy of 16th and bliss

Or these spinach and artichoke fried balls.

photo courtesy of tablespoon

Apparently I like spinach in ball form. 

Those are all fine and good but my real favorites are my family and friends tried and true ball recipes.

My mom has made Buckeyes since I was little and I am sure even before that.
It is an Ohio Christmas tradition and we love them but personally, it is too much peanut butter for me.
I end up eating all of the chocolate then throwing away the rest of the peanut butter.
I realize this is a character flaw for some of you out there but I am not alone in this, I just know it.
When my parents came out for New Years, my mom brought along these Peanut Butter Balls she had made.
Just like her normal Buckeyes only completely covered in chocolate but with an added twist: Rice Krispies in the mix for crunch.
That is just what it needed!

Even doggies love balls. 

So we decided to make more while everyone was here.
Because I ate all of them before everyone got here.
And even though my mama made the balls and brought the recipe up with her, somehow along the way, these became known all weekend as "Betsy's Balls".
All because Betsy was put in charge of the chocolate dipping process.
So the entire weekend, these phrases became the mantra:

"Oh boy, Betsy's balls are so good!"
"Damn Betsy, what do you put in your balls??"
"I could put three of Betsy's balls in my mouth!"


So "Betsy's Balls" are really "Sara's Balls" but no matter, you will want these balls for yourself.
And when you make them, you will text me, call me, write on any of my forms of social media and say, "I have your balls in my mouth right now and they are so deliciously crunchy."


Really Sara's Balls (The Artist Formerly Known as Betsy's Balls)

1 cup crunchy peanut butter
1/4 cup margarine or butter, softened (we used butter)
1 cup powdered sugar
2 cups Rice Krispies
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 Tbsp. Crisco

In large electric mixer bowl, beat peanut butter, butter and sugar on medium speed until thoroughly combined. Add cereal, mixing thoroughly. Portion mixture using rounded teaspoon. Shape into balls. (will be messy but it is worth it). Place each ball onto wax paper covered cookie sheet. Refrigerate for at least an hour so it is less sticky and get hard. Hard balls are best.

Melt chocolate morsels and Crisco in double boiler over low heat, stirring constantly. If you don't have a double boiler, you can make your own: a glass bowl placed over a saucepan filled half way with water. Easy! Once the chocolate is melted, spoon one teaspoon of the chocolate over each peanut butter ball. Refrigerate until firm. Store in refrigerator to harden the balls.


I honestly don't know where my ball obsession started.
Maybe it was the Christmas Eve meatball tradition that has been in our family ever since I can remember.
See? We have been ballin' for years.
Old school ballin'.
So I come by it honestly.

My dad's meatballs cooking on the stove. That is Lionel looking on. Jealous of our ballin' tradition. 

I can't give you my Dad's famous meatball recipe or I would have to kill you.

The above picture is my mom, Vikki, Betsy and myself doing a little ball rolling on New Years Day.
For sport.
We were making cheesecake balls.

Now that I think about it, maybe it started with my Grandma's porcupine ball recipe.
It sounds painful, really, but they are the most delicious balls you will ever eat.
Savory and delicious balls.
Moist too.

Grandma's Porcupine Meatballs

1 pound ground beef
1 egg
1 slice of bread soaked in a little milk
1 onion, diced
1/4 cup uncooked rice
2 cups of tomato juice
salt and pepper to taste

 Mix all ingredients together and make into balls.
 Place into a greased 9 x 13 pan and pour tomato juice all over balls.
Bake at 350 for 1 hour- 1 hour 15 minutes.
I usually bake for closer to 1 hour 15 minutes.

These are amazing served with mashed potatoes.

While we are still on the subject of balls, let's not forget Rebecca's Oreo Truffle Balls:

And how could we ever forget Shannon's bourbon balls.  
I don't have a picture of the bourbon balls so enjoy two pictures of me enjoying Betsy's Balls, which are really Sara's Balls.

A little too much.

So there ya have it folks.
Balls to the wall, I gave it my all.
Enjoy some balls this winter.
Because it is just fun to say, eat and you can't be too pissed off at Mother Nature if you have some balls in your mouth.


New Year, New Netflix? #StreamTeam

Each new year, I have good intentions like the majority of you do.
Lose some weight, try some new things, maybe get a new haircut, maybe even look at life from a different perspective.
I swear I had good intentions on January 1.
Enter the week of January 20.

For example, I had some really cool stuff I had planned on watching on my Netflix list.
I was gonna be all smart and worldly in 2016.
Hang with the big dogs.
Know what is in the food I eat and junk.
I had loads and loads of documentaries that didn't involve the Filipino lead singer of Journey WHICH IS A TOTALLY INSPIRING STORY, BY THE WAY.
I even had the British Baking Show because, you know, British.
I even added The Grifters because I have never seen it, John Cusack and smart people seem to love crap like that.

Have I watched any of those?
Okay so I did watch one half of an episode of The British Baking Show with my seven year old over Christmas break.
Only because she was watching it with me.
She makes me smarter, honestly.
If I am alone?
I can sit and watch Kartrashians for HOURS.
I need help.

First, I got stuck under Making A Murderer.
So there is that.
Thank you for that, by the way, Netflix.
I still haven't forgiven you for that one yet.
I think I still have an eye twitch that won't go away for the all nighter we pulled to watch that the week after Christmas.

Second, I get distracted because there are so many choices.
Is it just me or can you spend a solid two hours going through all of the selections and adding them to your list?
THEN you realize that it is 10 at night and you are sleepy?
So then I need to go up to bed.
Then I get to bed and I am no longer tired after getting into my jammies and brushing my teeth, so I put on Netflix again.
Do I put on the smart documentary about saving the planet?
Man V. Food because I just know he is gonna puke this time!!

I suggested to my teenage daughter the other morning that I want to start watching a show with her.
Because I need her to help me stay focused.
I realize I am asking my teenager to help her grown adult mother to stay focused but I also love the bonding that comes along with it as well so the benefits are two fold.
She looked at me like I had lobsters coming out of my ears.
No, she looked at me as if I had asked to tag along with her and her friends on their Friday night hang out at Bdubs.

I can do this.
Intelligent dramas.
Documentaries that teach us something.
Socially responsible sitcoms.
Oooh! Lookie!!
Degrassi has a new show!!!

I am a member of the Netflix Stream Team. Meaning, for the next year, once a month I will be writing posts about how my family is using our Netflix. They provided me with a Roku and a voucher for my Netflix account.

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