20 Years Ago

20 years and 2 days ago were like any other days. Families hugged and kissed goodnight. Fell asleep in the safety of their homes and awoke the next morning like usual. Coffee and breakfast were eaten, “see you laters” were said and then the unthinkable happened. What started out as just another ordinary day, turned into anything but ordinary.

I was sitting in my eighth grade science class. We just switched out of home room to our first period. I remember each classroom was equipped with a TV monitor for watching Channel 1 News anchored by Maria Minounos. The science teacher was starring, mystified at the monitor watching the horror unfold.

I remember thinking that something must be happening. The teachers on the team were coming across the hall in a flurry checking in on their colleagues. But my innocence had the best of me and didn’t allow me to fully understand what was truly going on until much later.

The students were called for an emergency assembly and I think we may have even got out of school early that day. My mom picked me up and then immediately got ready for work. She was called in early because the hospital where she works offered to take incoming survivors who were recovered from the rubble. I remember my mom standing in the driveway telling me that she might not be home until the next day—they weren’t sure what they were dealing with.

I know each generation has a memory of where they were when [blank] happened. I know that everyone has their own ideas of how our country should be run. But the one thing that stands out in my mind was how unified we were as a country in the wake of a massive tragedy. I don’t wish another great tragedy upon our country, but I hope and wish every night that we bolster the unity needed to become “…one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” No more red and blue divisions. No more black and white separations. Just people helping and caring for other people. Lifting each other up instead of trying to put one another down.

When I think of the future of our children, I often wonder if we are helping or hurting their chances of finding and holding on to peace 20 years from now, 40 years from now.

What is one thing we can do today that is going create a more peaceful tomorrow? Maybe we can start to change those “I remember when…” moments to “I helped change….” victories.

Men are Fickle

Listen up, ladies and gents….I’ve an announcement: Dating in the modern world—the post-COVID world is frustrating, mind-blowing (not for the reasons you might think) and dangerous.

I want to start with a quick trip down memory lane when dating seemed so easy.

12 years old: He’s cute….ohhh I think he’s looking at us! Oh my gosh! Instant crush!

16-17 years old: You wanna go to the fair this weekend? Sure! Pick you up around 7? Okay! When you get to the fair, you walk around and start holding hands like you’re an item. Dates at the fair become dates to the movies or the mall. So simple…

21 years old: Guy buys you a drink at a bar….make small talk….dance and have fun! You see him out while you’re having a great time with your friends and see if you can link up afterwards.

24 years old: The search for THE ONE is on….but don’t be fooled, there are a lot of almosts or flat out DUDS out there. Commence swiping left or right on these apps.

25 years old: The age I’d dreamed of being when life really came together for me. Also couldn’t be further from the truth….Still dating on and off….maybe I’ll try one of those paid subscriptions…..those work, right?

26 years old: When you find someone and you “click”….but then your parents don’t approve….(this happened A LOT)

28 years old: You’re finally in a relationship, everything is going well. You feel safe and secure and have a vision of where its going. Then BAM! That relationship ends….and it is soul crushing. Everything you thought you knew about love and life left when that relationship ended.

29 years old: Swears off dating. Focuses on self for a while. Also, gets a dog!

30 years old: Starts dabbling in online dating again…but super critical of the choices. This one is too skinny, too dorky, doesn’t have a job listed, has kids, what? doesn’t like dogs NEXT! This one seems okay, but is sending pictures from the waist down—ewww!

Still 30 years old: Conversations don’t go as easily as the last time I was doing the online dating. There are so many that try to hook you with some kind of sexual innuendo or cheesy one liner….my patience for having the same conversation 10 times with different folks is waning—FAST. Hoping that maybe ONE will actually say something unique or be eye catching….also me–I forget what I tell people…more added fun for me.

31 years old: Meets several duds….mind-blown over the level of stupidity that exists in the world. Seriously contemplates being single forever. What do I really need a man for anyhow? Also, why was it so easy to date five years ago and its so hard now?

32 years old: Meets someone and interestingly enough, my parents like them. There are definite things I proceed with caution on but others that check the boxes…overall seems like he’s decent. Same person throws a fit every now and again or sometimes straight up won’t talk “I didn’t feel like talking today” Okay…..so what about the last 3 days? Or will throw out this one liner “I don’t think we match” Well, we are not the same person—so of course, we aren’t going to match.

33 yo/Present day: Still heavily considering the single life as the way to go—FARRRRR fewer headaches and less frustration caused by anybody else. Also, still trying to wrap my mind around the last one…I was always told, if someone wants to leave, then let them go. Don’t chase after them. If they leave and come back then maybe it was meant to be—but think carefully about letting them back.

So, the opportunity knocked again, when said person started spewing reasons we didn’t match….how we clashed “We don’t like the same music” “You want a high end car…I want an old muscle car” “You would rather sit by a pool….I would rather go camping.” Correct me if I am wrong—this is not clashing. This is merely differences in interests–which are entirely OKAY to have in a relationship. Clashing would be a character flaw that stood out each and every time. Like: He was so full of himself—he couldn’t even acknowledge anything beyond himself and his world. Clashing would be constant argument and never able to reach agreement on anything–big or little. We never clashed—in fact, we always had a great time when we were together. But he started looking for a way out, so I opened the virtual door and invited him to leave.

You either want to be with me or you don’t. You either love me or you don’t. You either appreciate all that I am and all I bring to the table….or you don’t. I am at a point in life where I am a-okay just going on by myself. I have everything I need. I have a career that pays me. I have a roof over my head. I have the companionship of a fun-loving dog. I have the love and support of a tight-knit group of family and friends. But I don’t have the desire to chase anyone. So if you truly want to be with me—you will find a way not an excuse.

Need a Side Gig?

Happy New Year—yes I am late to the party! Per usual….some things NEVER change!

You guys, I am so excited to share THE BEST deal with all of you!!

Pampered Chef is offering DOUBLE IN FREE to all January Hosts….what is double in free, you ask? When you host a party, Pampered Chef offers you, as the host, rewards. When your party qualifies, you earn 60% off any one item or set of your choice. Additionally, hosts can earn money in free to spend on anything they would like to buy starting at $25. This month is extra special–when your party hits $650 in guest sales, you earn DOUBLE IN FREE!

The deals don’t stop there!

If you have been eyeing an air fryer, a kitchen tool that can get a meal on the table in a fraction of the time or maybe even a new blender—one that even cleans itself (not exaggerating…there is a heated wash setting!)….I’ve got a deal for you! This month only, you can get any of our small appliances for 25% off! I can help you score even a bigger deal off any one of these, too!

Last, but not least….raise your hand if you are reviewing all the holiday spending this month and have a bit of sticker shock?! Its okay, be honest! I am in the same boat. This month only, Pampered Chef is offering a no-frills new consultant kit for—get ready for this—$20.21!!! When was the last time you bought something for $20 and it had the ability to make the return on your initial investment? I can’t think of anything I’ve bought recently that had that kind of power!

For $20.21, you will get everything you need to launch your own business and jumpstart your success. We will host a party under you—so you not only earn all the makeup but also earn all the commission from the party, too!

You’ve got nothing to lose—give it a try for 30 days and if its not for you, simply stop. Simple as that!

Click the link to join today!

Steals and Deals

I am in disbelief that Halloween is just two weeks away. I was just dreaming of crisp, cool mornings during the dog days of summer. This is yet another reminder of how time passes so quickly.

If you follow me on my social media outlets (The Spice of Life with Christina on Facebook, Christina F. Borger also FB or cfborger on IG) you might know that have been busy in the kitchen and revving up my chef skills with my newest business venture!

I became a Pampered Chef consultant over the summer while I was home day in and out and picked it up as something of a hobby. I really wasn’t sure if it was going to be something that would stick for me, but here I am—5 months later and hungry for more.

With the holidays fast approaching, there’s no better time than now to host a party and stock up on some holiday necessities for the kitchen through host rewards! Hosting is completely free! I create a party group on Facebook. You invite your friends and family. I take care of all the posts and virtually everything else. The more your friends shop, the more host rewards you earn—-simple as that!

However, I also know that the holidays are a stressful time for many simply because of the financial burden that comes with them—between all the holiday cooking and baking and then gift shopping—-your wallet has probably seen better days. Now might be the perfect time to earn some extra cash to offset the holiday costs.

You guys—you can PC like me for as little as $59!! The most basic kit is ordinarily priced at $99, but since Pampered Chef doesn’t want to party alone–they’ve slashed $40 off each of their consultant kits for October only!! This is HUGE!!

When I first joined, I bought the Ultimate Kit (duhhh, because how could I say no to the most amount of goodies for the kitchen?!) for $269. This month only—you can get the Ultimate Kit for $229. Did I mention that the Ultimate Kit comes with the Deluxe Air Fryer, the Rockcrok Everyday Pan, the Quick Slice, Manual Food Processor, Silicone prep bowls, Santoku Knife, and so, so many more items! If you are eyeballing the air fryer alone—this is THE best deal you can get on the products and a $1,100+ value of products, at that!

Pampered Chef is currently celebrating their 40th Anniversary and they want all of you to celebrate with them! Whether this is the month that you decide hosting a party is right for you or you decide to jump into an opportunity to earn a little extra money—there is something for you!

I am personally running a challenge this month! I am sending out 40 catalogs to 40 hosts! We can hold a catalog party where you pass around a catalog and try to collect 4-6 orders that total $300 in sales and in turn, you earn at least $25 in free plus some half price items OR turn your catalog party into a virtual party and we will party together on Facebook for a week with all your friends while you earn all the same host rewards and more! All hosts who agree to help me reach my goal will be entered to win an extra $25 in FREE on me!

Comment on this post to get your catalog today or send me an email: cborger@yahoo.com.

If you want to hear a little more about what exactly these Pampered Chef consultants actually do, we have a group called Behind the Apron on Facebook where you can attend or watch the most recent replay and be entered to win a kit rebate of $25! Information is FREE! Let me know if I can help you!

If you prefer to just browse on your own, here is my personal website!


Gotta Read the Specs!

I was annoyed at myself that I forgot to get cups at the store the other day. I was also annoyed at the thought of having to pack up and leave the dog, yet again, for my stupidity of forgetting cups. I was going to be damned if I had to go back to the store for a single item.

So, what did I do?

Cued up Amazon and I had cups at my doorstep within two days. BOOM. DONE.

Or, so I thought.

Let’s rewind back to the moment when I furiously took to Amazon and searched cups. I thought I was finding an awesome deal when I found a package of 150 plastic cups AND it was reasonably priced AND would be here in two days. I thought I scored a better deal than what I would have found, had I gone to Stop and Shop.

Now, let’s hear about what arrived. I did receive cups. They are indeed plastic. And they are a 150 count pack.

Ladies and Gents—they are also 3 oz bathroom cups. This is not the first time something like this has happened to me—in fact, its almost a sad reoccurring theme.

A few years ago, I went on Overstock or Wayfair and ordered a tan burlap tree skirt. I really liked it and imagined adorning the bottom of my Christmas tree with it. Until it arrived in the mail, that is. It was a mini tree skirt…only 18 inches in diameter. Not only would it not fit under my Christmas tree it would hardly fit anywhere unless I got creative. It now is the middle of the table skirt that I layer with some other decorations and seasonal potpourri.

Another incident: I wanted decorative reindeer for my living room on either side of the fireplace. I found some on a similar website and waited for their arrival. I was a bit thrown off when I received them in a tiny mailer box that fit inside my mailbox. I was expecting the decorative reindeer size reindeer—like the size you would place outside with lights on it. Curious, I opened the box and lo and behold, there were two miniature reindeer in there–the size you might place in a dollhouse. Now, I use them on the mantle or on the table or hide them away in the closet.

I really need to start reading the specifications of products. This has happened far too many times. And yes, it is quite laughable at this point!

Dear Future Students

Dear Future Students,

Welcome to Kindergarten!! I am so excited to be your teacher and welcome you to school! We are going to learn, play and do so much this year–but the truth is, I am uncertain of how we will manage to do it all.

You see, this school year is drastically different than any one I have ever prepared for since I started teaching. There wasn’t a class when I was in school to become a teacher on “Teaching Through a National Emergency: What You Need to Know” or “Survivors Guide to Teaching through a Pandemic,” or “How to Ensure the Health and Wellness of You and Those Around You in the Primary Classroom.”

The unknown is scary. I am a planner and like to know whats coming down the pike so I can be prepared. What I have discovered is that the rules are being created as we play the game this year and it makes it hard to know what move comes next.

Here is what I can tell you about this year:

I am very excited to meet you and learn your likes and interests, but I am also very nervous and scared for my own health. Meeting new people is usually exciting, but it also poses new risks that I have been very careful to avoid since we came home in March.

I am confident that we will have a great year together—but be prepared to be flexible! I do not think we will be in-person in the classroom together the entire year. We will likely be on the hybrid plan and fully remote at some points. But I am certain that we will be able to make readers and writers and mathematicians out of you yet!

I am hopeful that your parents have taught you a little bit about personal space and wearing a mask and washing your hands. It will make school go a lot easier if they did—but if they didn’t, it’s okay. I have a plan for that! Sort of—truthfully, I am still in the primitive ideas of it in my mind, but fear not—a plan I will have to help get the most out of our instructional time together when we are in the classroom.

Here is the BIGGEST thing–and I am a mix of emotions about this…Kindergarten has always been the place where I teach you how to be a student and how to be kind and how to make friends and what good friends do and say to one another….this is going to be a challenge, though not impossible, just different and challenging. This year, we have to try NOT to share our supplies. And we have to try NOT to share the toys we are playing with (at least until they get cleaned and then someone else can play with them) And the hardest one—try NOT to get too close to others because it might make them uncomfortable. I know at home, you probably play and share and hug and all the things—but our classroom is going to be VERY different.

So, Future Students of mine, I hope you are as excited, nervous, happy, sad, and scared as I am to start school in just a few short weeks! No one said it was ever going to be easy, but they did say it would be very worth it in the end.

Let’s Talk About Stoneware

Tell me about the pans in your kitchen. Are they the standard metal ones? Light and dark, heavily used—maybe brand spankin’ new?

How do you like them? What is your favorite thing to either bake or cook in them and why?

I recently put my large bar pan to use and I was pretty impressed.

I hadn’t owned a piece of Stoneware until recently. Truthfully, I wasn’t sure what it was capable of—and just thought it might be a fancy holder of food while it cooked.

Boy, oh boy—-was I wrong!

So let me tell you a little bit about Pampered Chef’s Stoneware collection. You may even have their classic pizza stone in your kitchen somewhere. The Stoneware collection is designed using all natural clay found in the US and fired at 2000 degrees. Each piece is hand finished—meaning that no two pieces are exactly the same.

All Stoneware is non-stick–in fact, the non-stick “seasoning” builds the more you use each piece. There is a saying, “the darker it looks, the better it cooks!” Each piece wicks away oils, odors and stains of the foods you make in it. Truly unique is how it draws moisture away from the food, letting it cook and crisp to your preference!

Stoneware has excellent heat retention and the best part is that there is no need to pre-heat your stoneware prior to use. Just place your food in the dish and pop it in the oven. It is microwave, freezer, conventional and convection oven safe.

When it comes to cleaning it, spare it from the dishwasher, please. A simple hand washing will do just fine and help preserve your Stoneware!

Okay—so I mentioned that I recently tried out my large bar pan! I decided to make chocolate chip cookies on it. Per the accolades, I did not grease the pan nor add anything to boost its non-stick surface. I scooped the cookie dough onto the pan and popped it in the oven.

Let me describe the last time I baked cookies using my ordinary metal cookie sheets. This past Christmas, I made cookies and noticed that the bottoms of the cookies came out a little darker than I would have liked. When I altered the time, the cookie centers were doughy. Of course, I made it work by juggling the time and temperature and time left on the pan before transferring it to a cooling rack.

Ergo, the large bar pan—I followed the recommended cooking time and temperature and the cookies came out to perfection. I am not exaggerating. I have never before in my entire life managed to bake a batch of cookies and have the bottoms come out light and crisp. This pan wowed the oven mitts right off my hands!

If you are at all curious and want to check out the collection for yourself, visit my site!

Pancakes and Syrup

Yesterday morning as I was making breakfast, I had a thought. Well, truthfully, the thought came to me as I used the last of the pancake mix and realized that I would no longer be able to find the pancake mix in the familiar box that I held in my hand.

So, when breakfast was finally served, I took a picture because I knew that one day—likely 50 years from now, I will look back and think about that “crazy year we had back in 2020.”

This past spring, our country faced a major divide—and honestly, it still continues to face the same divide even as I write this—where systemic racism was brought into the spotlight and history repeats itself.

I will spare you from my dissertation about what I think (its nothing outlandish or in opposition)….but as I was munching on my blueberry pancakes I couldn’t help but think that the innocent, happy, grandmotherly-like woman smiling on the box of Aunt Jemima pancake mix and syrup will be forever changed. I grew up looking at the packaging and, (*maybe* its due to white privilege) never once did I arrive at the conclusion that the image on the packaging was representative of an era in history when black women served white families and perpetuated the idea of the marginalized or was symbolic of anything more than a brand and great pancakes.

I often wonder where do we draw the line? When is enough enough? Why do we have to go through great lengths to change or literally erase the images and statues –that in some cases represent history. It seems as though if someone feels slighted in some way, as a society, we are pulling products off the shelves at stores or removing statues or changing the names of things. Where do we draw the line in the sand?

Here is where I will get real with you. I don’t believe that changing the packaging to pancakes or removing the statues or renaming your sports teams erases the pain of the oppressed. It only makes it less visible. Just because its less in-your-face does not mean it is any less real. I do not think it is helping us as a society to recognize and understand the oppression that those around us faced or sadly continue to face by just covering it up and continuing on until the next victim comes forward.

What I do think would be valuable is to offer awareness, hold town hall meetings where people can share the history of their family, share experiences, where others can try to understand the pain and create a resolution for going forward.

I think our goal as a human race is not to erase the past, but celebrate those who have lived and lost before us, learn from their mistakes, recognize the struggles and live with more empathy and understanding for those around us. We truly never know what battles others might be fighting–lack of visible battle wounds does not mean nor guarantee a pain-free life.

Oh, My Poor Feet

Usually each summer, I treat myself to a much needed (desperately needed) pedicure. I don’t enjoy having my feet touched, massaged or scrubbed by another human being, but I usually allow myself one visit where I can tolerate the experience and come away with — dare I say, pretty toes.

Well, given the state of the universe and what with COVID– literally–in the air, I have refrained from many “extras” I used to treat myself to—I know, its probably terrible that I am not supporting small businesses and should not be surprised if the next time that I do return, they have permanently closed their doors, BUT….there are some things that I do not yet feel comfortable or safe resuming. Nail salons are one of them!

So, I embarked on a journey to create the salon experience at home. I took to Amazon and snagged a few essentials: a bubbling and vibrating foot bath, a unoffensive sugar foot scrub, and just for kicks, I threw in a foot mask.

The foot bath was DELIGHTFUL! I had a pumice stone/cheese grater/sandpaper/brush tool here already that I used. The sugar scrub went on easily and wasn’t sticky or offensive….the only potential issue I noticed was that the pink exfoliating beads stick to literally EVERYTHING! The foot bath, the sink, the floor—don’t even ask me how they got there!

One notable feature of the foot bath is how you can regulate the temperature of the water. I did not realize this upon the inaugural use of the bath, so I poured in pretty hot water—which then, only became hotter once the bath was plugged in and powered on. Lesson learned—although, I presume I would have known that had I stopped to read the directions that came with said food bath prior to jumping in! Whoops!

My own curiosity got the best of me when I decided to use one of the foot masks. They go on like socks and they are filled with a substance that smells rather minty. The directions said to keep them on for 60-90 minutes, remove them and rub in the moisturizing agent that remained on my feet. Seemed simple enough!

The foot mask seemed innocent at first—and it was. I even doubted that it really did anything at all.

A couple days went by and all of a sudden…..

You know how snakes molt? Yeah…..uh-huh…..my feet experienced the same phenomenon…It was surprising, to say the least.

Upon further investigation of the packaging, I discovered that the mask works to soften and remove the toughest skin, and the effects could last anywhere from 10-14 days! YIKES!

At first, the bottoms of my feet were peeling for days on end. I tried to scrub and soak them, but I swore it only produced more shedding. It was not at all what I expected!

Then, the tops of my feet became leathery and cracked like the desert. No amount of lotion seemed to cure it—so I grabbed the foot bath and scrubber brush and got to work.

The next day I was greeted by the skin between my toes shedding—I was starting to think I was developing webbed feet before I caught on to what was really going on…

Needless to say, I was looking for the salon experience where you treat yourself for a couple of hours and come away feeling and looking better than you went in.

My feet look like they’ve been through the ringer—and I haven’t even gotten to paint them yet! Let’s hope this week brings prettier toes and feet that don’t look like they’ve been loaned out by a gargoyle.

Calling all Connoisseurs of Squash

Hello there, Ladies and Gents! It is, I, Christina coming to you with a slight dilemma.

You see, every year since I have owned my house, I have planted a vegetable garden. And every year, I plant the same general things:

  • corn
  • beans
  • squash
  • zucchini
  • tomatoes
  • pumpkin
  • eggplant
  • peppers
This was taken in May or early June….everything was nicely spaced out.
This was taken July 13, 2020….everything is healthy and growing quite large! No extra space to be had!

I also try my hand at some miscellaneous items like attempting to grow fruits. Last year I grew watermelons and cantaloupes. This year, I planted 3 cantaloupes and only one took. Luck of the draw, I suppose.

NOTE: if you do elect to grow fruits of the melon variety, be warned. They like to creep and sprawl out. They need their own area, otherwise they will overtake your garden.

So, I bring you my dilemma.

I planted 16 or 17 eggplant plants, 3 yellow squash plants and 6 zucchini plants.

I have squash coming out of my ears!

The eggplant hasn’t yielded fruits yet, but I see some emerging, so I will soon have the same problem with eggplant!

Throw me your best recipes for what to do with all the squash and things to do with eggplant! I am all ears!

Also, if you happen to make squash flowers, please send a quick recipe my way for those, too!

I want to hear from you!

Happy Summer and Happy Gardening!