Oct 24, 2016

Baggage - Southern Style

Baggage, we all have it if we've lived any kind of life. Sometimes we carry it around, give it pretty patterns and pretend it's designer luggage. When we open it, it's usually full of dirty gym socks. You know, those things we'd rather forget. Because it's baggage, we just zip it up! Forgotten, as a classic southern woman once said, 'I'll think about that tomorrow. Tomorrow is another day.'. Only like the woman in question, we tend to hold onto things that aren't good for us. For whatever reason we just knnnoooowwww we want to keep it. (Okay, so Vivian Leigh was actually British, and Clark Gable had bad breath, but I'm talking Scarlett and Rhett here and Rhett most certainly did not have bad breath, ever. See, right here in Rules for Hot Looking Southern Men* #1 Thou shalt have never have an offensive odor, and it's cousin, #2 Breaths are to be taken and not given.) Anyway, like Miss Scarlett, we put aside those things that interfere with our desires. (You know, like the whole Ashely marrying his cousin, who is saccharine sweet and highly annoying because of it  a darling!... thing.) So those wonderfully odoriferous sweaty socks sit, and wait, and stagnate until you just can't take the stench one more minute! You hold your breath and you open the bag, and...............OH MAN THE SMELL! Socks that should have been easily dealt with are now stuck to the bag and are walking away on their own. They no longer give a damn about you, or the pretty little bag you kept them in.

So, what to do? You know, cause those gym socks are the PERFECT socks. They have never failed you, not once! Heck they make you feel alive when you have them. One, recognize, that even though they have flaws right now (aka they stink), they are exactly what you need, no need to look for new ones. They keep your feet dry, and they even make you smile during burpees, but ooooohhhh one whiff and we are ready to zip them back up and forget them again. Instead of throwing them back into the bag, look at them. Take them out, and if only for a second or two acknowledge just what they have gone through for your sake. Start shaking off some of the mud and dirt so you can see the reality again. Doesn't have to be the same day, just get the ball rollin' darlin'. Then pray. Let God lead you on the next step, sometimes just acknowledging the gym bag is all you can do, other times you are out there in the middle of a rain storm beating them against a rock to break up the years of caked on dirt and sweat that made them so hard to deal with in the first place. Sometimes those gym socks are actually abuse we have worn and we need to get all the dirt out before we can see if it's even worth salvaging or not. Sometimes it's something we have done wrong to someone else and it's eaten away at us for so long that we can't even admit it's 'a thing'. Thing is, until we deal with them we won't know the lessons we were supposed to learn. Once in awhile those socks are salvageable and we wear those bad boys with pride (Those bad  *cough* "sock"s can be a lot of fun,..... when young and stupid.) and with every burpee life throws we haul them out and smile, knowing we've been to this ball before. Other times they fall apart in the washing and just are not worth holding onto, and so we are released through no real act of conscious will. They just cease to be. Then there are the ones that we love, because they have been with us so long we have to force ourselves to walk away from them. They don't fit and they cause blisters when they rub. Those you just need to let go and walk away from. Now that the socks are dealt with, on to the bag.

So now we've taken care of the contents of the beloved gym bag, but is the gym bag worth keeping? Has it become tainted with the stains from the socks? We all know something can be long gone and still leave it's mark. So if they are gone, aaahhhhh relief, one less thing to worry about! (wine and biscotti anyone?!).......only now there's an empty space that used to belong to those socks and probably stinks. Yes, you 'can even' so don't say you can't. Same general steps as the socks. It just takes a little longer, and usually has some really gross spots. This is, after all, the pretty little package that allowed you to hide the ugly for so long. It's going to be a bit more work and it's gonna suck. Clean it, beat that mess loose, Tudor style with a bat in a stream if that's what works. If it breaks, let it go. I repeat, let. it. go. Get a new bag or live without one. You may find pieces of the old bag from time to time here and there. Toss them. If the bag is worth keeping, the very first thing you put into it is work. You worked to save that bag. It's important to you. You own it! You fill it with accomplishments and awesome socks (for heaven's sake keep them washed though, better a routine washing cycle than having to through this again!). When you are satisfied that you have done everything you possibly can to restore and repair the gym bag be at peace no matter the result. You have done your part. You are allowed to put it down and carry on without it if it serves no purpose anymore. That gym bag may be memories, that gym bag may be a parent, it may even be a spouse. Even if you don't believe in burning bridges, you still have the right to a healthy life. Hold onto that, because even the most well meaning people, people that genuinely love you, can lead you wrong, and it is absolutely okay to love them from a distance.

Now onto the environment you are in when you tackle the job. People around you may or may not know what you're going through. Some will want to help you, and others, not so much. (Hint keep the Rhetts, they can be unconventional, and sometimes they aren't even all that nice, but they are genuine, they love you, and they stay with you even when you are clueless. (chaotic good)  Lose the Ashleys, they look pretty, keep you sticking around for their own vanity, and are meant for someone else. (lawful evil) Cherish the Melanies in life. They are rare, because they see your ugly, they know how bad your gym socks are before you do, know you want theirs, and yet they love and support you anyway with 0 thought of self. (classic lawful good)) Only you and God know where you are in relation to those socks and that bag. At the end of the day you are alone with your own thoughts. Live in peace with you and with others if possible, assume the best until they are proven false. If they are not for you, or are hurting you despite their intentions, go look into the gym bag of those relationships and act accordingly. Sometimes the socks just aren't a good fit for where you are at the moment, but not without merit, sometimes the socks were great in the past, but you've outgrown them. Either way, not a bad thing, just a life thing. Do what you are led to do and have peace. Be adult enough to know peace doesn't equal ease, and don't be afraid. Peace be with you and with your spirit.

Oct 23, 2016

Oct 17, 2016

Quick and Easy Cincinnati Chili

I promise that's a tomato and not a commentary on my cooking.

I have been craving Cincinnati Chili for a few weeks now so when I saw ground beef in the freezer and spaghetti noodles in the pantry I jumped at it. Now it may not look like it by my daughter's expression, but keep in mind both kids were on their second bowl, and well, mine was empty. I realized to late that I had forgotten to take a picture of the end product. (Yes, I went and sat in blogger time out and thought about my sins.)

Quick and Easy Cincinnati Chili

1 lb. lean ground beef 
1/2 medium onion, chopped (I used green onions because they were starting to turn)
1 tbsp. minced garlic
2 tsp beef granules
2 cans beans (I used ranch style, and a can of pinto)
2 cans stewed tomatoes 
2-3 heaping tbsp. chili powder
salt to taste
hot sauce to taste (I only used 4-5 good splashes of Tapatio because, kids)

spaghetti noodles (I used Barilla Protein Plus, because it's what we had)
water for boiling noodles
good dash of salt to add to pasta water (optional)

cheddar cheese, grated
minced onion
chopped tomatoes 


Brown the meat in a large heavy bottomed pot. Try to get a little caramelization on it for flavor, but before it gets to that point add the onion and garlic. Dump the canned goods into the pot, beef granules, and stir in the seasonings. Start the pasta water and add salt. Cook spaghetti according to package directions. (Usually 8 minutes) The water will take a little while to boil so fiddle with the chili seasonings while waiting. Then take it off the heat, or leave on low, and let it sit until the pasta is done. Drain the pasta, and serve it in individual bowls. Top with the chili, cheese, minced onion, and chopped tomatoes. (For a gooey mess, that well, I love, zap the bowl in the nuker for a few seconds with the cheese on top. It gets all melty and yummy! Then add the other toppings and serve.)

To make this vegetarian friendly simply replace the beef and beef granules with tvp and vegetable bouillion. Check labels to make sure beans don't have added animal fat (lard) added.

To make it a bit more clean eating (21 day Fix friendly) use whole grain noodles, spaghetti squash, or use a vegetable spiralizer. Check labels for added salt, sugar, and additives. It can be quite difficult to find clean eating canned goods in some areas so just do the best you can. Beef can also be replaced with ground turkey. 

Oct 12, 2016

The Beginning of Finding Me

Okay, ya'll, yes that's me and yeah, it's a before and after, and yeah I'm still a BIG girl. These were taken before and after the beachbody 21 day Fix round one. I didn't lose massive amounts of weight. I didn't go through it like a hot knife through butter. It hurt. It hurt a lot that second day. The shakeology, yeah, that stuff is expensive, I know. I buy it once a month. In fact I wiggle my finances around so that I can. No, it's not some super miracle mixture that melts fat. What did that was the getting my fat butt on the ground and screaming at Autumn Calabrese that I hated her, that she was a...........well we can't print those words here. I did that for a week, then by week two I still hated her, but I wasn't swearing at her anymore, by the end of 21 days I liked her.......except when it came to burpees.......yeah, still glare at her while I attempt those. Those things are evil. What the shakeology did, and does is help me have the energy to get my fat butt up and do them, and they taste good too. And for the record I told my coach I'd not be buying it again if it didn't taste good. (I didn't get fat by eating bad tasting food. I need flavor people or it just doesn't happen, not even a little.) My first shake was nasty, but I tried chocolate and I hate (can't stress this enough) chocolate shakes. I made it with water, and it was warm. I had no ice. I didn't hold it against the product though because I don't know a right minded person that would expect a shake made with water, let alone warm water, to taste good. Day 2 caffee latte flavor with almond milk, blitzed with ice and I was sold. Then a vanilla one I'd added berries to and I was hooked. So yeah, dropped my vitamin pill and picked up a shakeology. In all honesty it works better anyway, and I don't have the gag reflex thing happening when I take anything bigger than a tic tac. Great taste, and no gag reflex win - win.

My stats (and yeah, I'm looking at the actual paperwork):

Day 1                                                                      Day 21
weight: 360 lb                                                         345 lb
chest: 53"                                                                50.5"
waist: 51.5"                                                             49"
hips: 67.5"                                                               62"
thigh - r: 38"                                                            35.5"
thigh - l: 39"                                                            34.5"
arm - r: 18.75"                                                         17.5"
arm - l: 18.5"                                                           17.5"

I did that. It was not a shakeology drink, not some super pill, not some wishful positive thinking mumbo jumbo. That was MY sweat, MY tears, MY four letter words, MY refusal to die. 

You see what prompted this was my health. I took my blood pressure one morning and it was almost off the chart. I fought with my teen son almost all day that day afterwards. The second time I took it the little card that came with the cuff said I needed to go to the ER. I didn't have the money to. I was scared. I'd just lost my best friend on July 2, 2013 to a massive heart attack. So the reality was still fresh. (Still is actually. I miss her.) She left behind two wonderful children and a bunch of heart broken friends. Her passing shook me, because she was smaller and healthier than I was/am. When I saw my blood pressure that evening I knew I was and am a ticking time bomb. I began thinking about how I got there, and I realized somewhere I'd lost me. I was mom, wifey for a very long time, homeschooler, den leader, and nursery volunteer, but outside of things and relationships to others no real clue, even my hobbies were extensions of someone else or their needs. Then with separating from a 15 year marriage (at that time), financial problems, on going anemia, and fear of the unknown I'd seized up and gotten lost somewhere almost completely. I'd had glimpses, certainly, just enough to give me the courage I needed to take a chance on me. So when this dark haired, super sweet lady, told me about beachbody I listened. I'm still listening. There have been hiccups for certain it took a long time of building bad habits to get into bad shape. I know it won't happen overnight. I don't mind. I don't even mind that since then I've only been able to lose 3 pounds and lost some ground on the inches in some places. I've had some major life changes and I count it a victory I have maintained. I know where I was. I know where I am, I know I'm getting stronger, and I know where I am going. I am finding me and reaching out to others like me.

Oct 11, 2016

What is Clean Eating?

What exactly is clean eating? I guess that depends on who you ask. If you ask my kids they will all tell you something different. I've had responses from 'food that you wash first', and 'eating food that didn't fall on the floor', to 'who cares as long as it tastes good'.....well from my kids anyway. Doing an internet search to learn for myself wasn't much more helpful. It truly depends it seems on who you ask. I kinda think my kids may actually be more right than wrong then you'd think at first glance.

When we wash food we use water, not chemicals. We now, quite often, are washing our fruit and veggies to get rid of the chemicals that are so routinely sprayed on them when we bring our 'clean' vegetables home from the grocery store. If we are lucky we are just washing off residual dirt, best case scenario is the dirt from our own gardens.

Every parent has had that 'DON'T EAT THAT!' moment when their kiddo drops a piece of candy on a questionable floor. We explain that the floor is dirty because we don't know what's been on it. Well, I don't want to eat food that has sat around in things I can't pronounce or have to wear protective gear just to handle. I don't care how pretty the food is after it's hit, for example, the sidewalk at the state fair, or even a fast food place. We have no clue what the people before us have dragged in on the bottom of their feet. Same idea, it can be the prettiest apple in the world, and still been exposed to things I really don't want to eat, much less feed to my kids.

As for the who cares as long as it tastes good........well I like food, A LOT. If it tastes nasty I might eat it if I'm hungry, but I certainly won't go back for more. I like flavor in fact I crave flavor. In my experience the best flavored foods are the freshest. (Except tomatoes, I HATE fresh tomatoes, however, squish those vine ripened bad boys, with some basil and olive oil, and put them on some pasta and I'm their biggest fan!) The closer the food is to peak freshness and the less distance traveled the better the taste. I double dog dare you to taste a bell pepper from your local farmer's market vs. one from a chain grocery store, go ahead, I'll wait....Ummmhmmmm, you're welcome.

Now, this is all true for meat also. Now if you can't afford organic, or can't butcher your own (and really how many of us can?), or hunt don't feel badly. Just get the best you can for your budget. Meat is trickier as it can be so expensive. While I lived in PA we had a local butcher that I trusted and we had farms close by that sold just about any kind of meat you can find in any grocery store, and it was often cheaper if you tended to buy the high end prepackaged meats because it was available in bulk for freezing. The trick is having the money to buy it when it was available and the room to freeze it. I'll list some websites that helped me when I first started. However, the best finds were those that only locals seemed to know about, so ask around. You might be surprised at what you find.

So simply put clean eating is just that, eating foods that have little to hide. Stay within your budget, don't go stressing that you can't afford the premium organic ultra vegan super crunchy mangos, get the stuff you can afford and keep it simple.  My go to rule of thumb is, if great grandma would have made a face at it, leave it alone....well except for nutella......hey don't judge, we all have that closet something snack, mine was nutella before it was even a thing. (Being a military brat does have some pretty sweet advantages sometimes, and well I had a smug grin until I realized I have no nutella....:P)

Oct 9, 2016

Sacred Sunday

Product Review: SUJA - Daybreak Probiotics

Where and Why: 
I bought this in the produce section of my local Wal-mart, and I freely admit it was an impulse buy. (I am sick of plain ol' water aaaallllllll the time!) I didn't read the whole label, because really with kids, who has time to read all that? I thought it looked busy and I almost didn't buy it because of the information overload. (I crave simple, just give me the basics, what you are, and what flavor.) What sold me was the short ingredient list and it's probiotic (even if I can't pronounce the type of probiotic used), and ....."ooooohhhh pretty!" (showing my total lack of reasoning skills). You would think with all the info happening on the label I'd notice cayenne........nope, not me. I completely missed it. 

The bottle front says: One Day Renewal, SUJA, Daybreak Probiotic, water, maple syrup, lemon, vegan probiotic cayenne, USDA Organic, Non GMO Project Certified, Cold Pressured Protected, fruit juice drink with probiotics............along with a bunch of other phrases like 'pucker up!' and 'can you cayenne?'. 

Nutrition Facts (if the amount is 0 I won't list it): 7% juice, serving size 1 bottle, calories 100, total carbs 25g 8%, Sugars 21g, calcium 6%, vitamin C 6%,

Ingredient List: purified water, organic maple syrup, organic lemon juice, probiotic bacillus coagulans gbi-30 6086, organic ground cayenne pepper

The directions said to shake well.........I apparently did such a fantastic job that the beverage overflowed with gratitude. So, shake well, but not toooo well (or open it over a sink). It wasn't explosive the way a soda would be, but it did take me by surprise. So heads up if you try it. I did mention that I didn't notice the word cayenne, right? Well, I took a huge, go for broke, swig, and immediately coughed, and *might* have said a four letter word. However, since I love cayenne (despite it's love hate relationship with me) I was not upset, just a bit surprised. I really liked it! There isn't a huge lemon, or maple flavor, it put me in mind of a flavored water type of thing. As I've mentioned I'm not going to eat or drink anything that doesn't have a flavor I enjoy. I enjoyed this. It actually is what gave me the idea to do product reviews. I won't say this is the most amazing thing I've ever had, because honestly that would be the margaritas I made for myself about 30 years ago when I didn't know the proper portions of alcohol to mix. (Those were amazing and to never, ever be repeated.) This drink on a scale of dirty dish water to my margaritas is a solid 8. I'll be buying this again. I feel it's healthier than more mainstream beverage options and the taste is pretty durn good too! Good job SUJA! 

It seems to be part of a recharge system they have that incorporates a noon and twilight drinks as well. You can find more information about them at their website Suja Juice 1-day renewal

Oct 5, 2016

Candle and Oxygen Experiment

Once a week I like to do something fun with the kids in our homeschool. Currently we are using the book Laura and Grandpa Discovering Science Together. (Thank you Grandpap for this gem!) We have really enjoyed the many hands on experiments within it. I recommend it for those with younger kids because it keeps their interest and makes them feel a part of the story. The materials used are common household items, or in the case of the purple cabbage experiment, cheap to get. (I know I can't be the only one that doesn't keep purple cabbage, right?)

Before starting I do suggest stressing the dangers of matches, and a reminder that this experiment, if done again, will need to be done with adults for obvious reasons.

You will need:
matches (or long handled lighter.......your knuckles will thank you if you have one available)
clear, clean glass bowl or jar
plate or saucer large enough to cover the top of the bowl/jar
baking soda

The first thing we did after lighting a candle was blow gently to see how the flame reacts. I asked why they thought the flame danced and what do they think would have happened if they had blown harder. The next step was putting the candle in a jar and blow from the same position as before. I had them describe what happened and/or didn't happen and to explain why they thought it was different.

The next step was placing a saucer over the top, observation, and discussion about the results. This is where we began learning about how fire needs oxygen to burn and what they thought happened to it inside the jar.

Because I didn't have a dropper and was tired of singing the hair off my fingers I found a glass bowl for this next step. I had one of the kids put baking soda into the bottom of the bowl and to nestle the candle in the middle. After relighting the candle I added a few small spoonfuls of vinegar to the baking soda and we discussed what happened next. We talked about how chemical reactions can also remove oxygen from an area to put out a fire. This was taken a step farther to include how this principle works for fire extinguishers*.

As a bonus when my daughter played with the vinegar and baking soda (after the candle was removed of course) she noticed how clean her hands were. I explained it is my favorite cheap cleanser, especially for cleaning the stove....needless to say she wasn't quite as thrilled with that bit of information as she had been with the experiment. I believe the response was a giggle, eye roll, and "mmmooooooommmm".

This one was our favorite so far, but the runners up would be the cabbage paper (ph and acid) experiment, and the "rubber" egg.

*For my PA homeschool friends this would be good to use for part of the fire safety requirements.

Oct 4, 2016

BBQ Fried Rice

Clean eating shouldn't be hard or break the bank. Often more inexpensive cuts and sales can be utilized in order to make quick and budget friendly meals. In this case I have used leftover barbecued chicken and a small bag of frozen vegetables.

BBQ chicken fried rice

2 tbsp. oil (olive, coconut, whatever you prefer to use)
2 c. leftover brown rice
3 leftover pieces of grilled BBQ chicken off bone and chopped up (I used thighs)
1 sm. bag frozen vegetables
1 tbsp. minced garlic
onion powder to taste
1 egg beaten
low sodium soy sauce

In a large cast iron skillet over medium heat add the oil. Once the oil is hot add the rice, chicken, veggies, garlic, and onion powder. Heat through. Add the beaten egg over the top and stir into the rice to cook through. Stir in soy sauce to taste. Serve hot.

As a side I added cucumber sliced I'd added a little vinegar to.

For those using the 21 Day Fix containers this meal uses about 1 yellow, 1 1/2 green (cucumber was 1 green total), 1 spoon per serving (counting the fat from the chicken as I used darker meat)

Oct 3, 2016

Forgiving Youself for Your Debt

To solve a problem you have to recognize your share of responsibility. If you only blame the others, you will never solve it.

So how many of us have debt? *raised hand waving wildly* I know I do. Most probably do at least to some degree. Most of us dream or have dreamed about having enough money so we never have to worry again. You wanna know something? We would anyway. It wouldn't matter how much or how little we have if we don't use what we have wisely. We would simply increase our spending to match our income if we don't control it, and quite frankly I'm getting tired of seeing mine fly out the window. Guilt is my biggest hang up. I worry to much and it literally freezes my ability to be productive. The only thing that increases is the negativity in my life, stress and blood pressure increase, fees and debts increase, and self loathing increases. Forgive. Forgive yourself first and foremost for any mistakes you have made, for every foolish purchase, and for letting the innocent down. We are human. We mess up. Know the only way to truly fail is to give up. Don't give up! Even if it's just the candy bar at the gas station today, it's money that can be put to work instead of, if you're like me, to your hips. It is a step forward, and as we all know, every journey must have one. I want to share with you what helped me to deal with the overwhelming negative feelings while adjusting to this aspect of my new life. These are the steps that helped me forgive myself so I could, and can, take the next one. I hope they help some of you too.

  • Admit you did some things wrong. Chances are if you are just starting this journey you know you messed up, maybe not big, but you know a few things could have been done differently. Don't worry about that part yet. Just admit ya flubbed up even if it's just a little bit here and there. Take a moment to pray for God's guidance and make it a point to trust Him in the process.
  • Look at the things you did right. Did you reduce the power bill? start recycling to cut the garbage cost? stretch the grocery budget? Even if it's just you didn't swing by and get that fried chicken from Jack's that's starting to sound sooooo goood right now. It totally counts! Every impulse purchase you resist is money you still have! YAY! Strut it a bit, take your time, pat yourself on the back, dance, do the Cabbage Patch, whatever you need to do, do it. I'll be here when you get back...........you good? okay, hold on to that pumped feeling, oh and grab yourself a coffee or tea. (Homemade of course! You don't wanna ruin that vibe by buying one!)
  • Look at your bank statements and balance them. (I will leave links below to sites I've found helpful from here on out.) Yeeeeaaaaah..... lots of us probably needed that coffee/tea. Take a breather if you need to and revisit the second step if you need to. Those of you that are breathing a sigh of relief, good, it's not as bad as you thought and that is always a good thing.
  • Now, this next bit was the hardest part for me, Gather all your debt information, late fees, unpaid bills, credit cards, student loans, mortgage, whatever. (Don't include monthly bills here, that's different, we are looking at the total amounts, and not individual payments.) Don't worry about getting it all done in one shot. Take a couple of days if you need it to get all the paperwork together. Make calls if you have to so that you have up to date and accurate information. Now add all those numbers together. I'll be here when you're done, take your time. The first time I did this I was lucky. It wasn't as bad as I thought. The second time I was kicking myself for not being more attentive to it. Don't make the mistake I did and get complacent. Debt is debt and it needs to be paid attention to or it can get overwhelming.
  • Now, take a deep breath and exhale. Look at the positives here. You now have a clearer picture of your strengths and weaknesses. In my case, food for both........don't judge... I can make a good tasting wholesome meal for pennies, but I do love having the convenience of making everyone happy in one shot and I do so love a good burger! Many of you have talents like couponing, gardening, bartering, diy, and all kinds of things that can help save or even earn some money. Acknowledge them, and know there are people that would love to have skills like yours. I for one, would love for a greener thumb, and better math skills. (I know, I know the math is suuuch a shock! hahahaha!)
  • Last but not least, go back to step number one. Forgive yourself. You now have the reality of the situation in front of you. You may be relieved, you may be angry, you may be on the verge of tears. Whatever the feelings, may be feel them. Chances are good there is more than one going on right now. Give yourself the gift of time to get adjusted to your financial reality and let ALL the feelings happen. Pray a prayer of thanksgiving because you know now what you need to in order to move forward. If you struggle with forgiving yourself ask God for help there too. I've had to do it more than once. This step has never happened all at once for me. It's a process. The key thing is keep getting back up and giving praise to God for getting this far. 
As promised here are the links to sites I've found helpful over the years:

Crown Financial Money Map, helped me to get out of myself and see the bigger picture
FLylady's FACE control journal, helped me to take it in baby steps 
Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University , where I cut my teeth on the reality of it 
printable check register paper, I usually buy this at an office supply store but it's good to have backup

In all honesty this is the hardest part of the process, at least for me. It isn't easy to look at the unpleasantness we did to ourselves and possibly others, and this is about owning our actions, not about our spouse or kids or whoever/whatever. This is up close and personal between you, yourself, and God. We can do this. ((((Hugs))))

Oct 1, 2016

The First Step

Every journey begins with a single step. - Confucious
About 2 years ago my life went from crazy and full to crazy and painful. My key sense of self had been completely destroyed as I learned my husband was not and could never be who I thought he was. I made a common mistake; I didn't have an identity outside of wife and mom. After trying to make things work, and failing, we decided divorce is best. He has since moved to another state and I've come back to AL. The three younger kids (2 boys 17, 11 and a girl 6) and I have reunited with my oldest son (24) and my mom in her home. Life was crazy as a trucker's wife, home school parent and a stay at home mom. I thrived on crazy. Now, well, I'm older, hopefully a little wiser and thankful things are starting to calm somewhat. I refuse to make life any harder and the goal is keeping things simple. This blog will be my sanity as the days and weeks unfold in the next chapter of our book. If you want, pull up a chair, or cozy up on the couch with your devise of choice, and set a spell. I'll give a a peek at the kinds of things you can expect here.

  1. Simple scripture/saint quote once a week on Sunday. I don't push it on anyone, but it's here for those of us who can use a reminder now and again. You will find splashes of my Christian southern roots here and there along with the Catholic faith I so love. Simply, I love Jesus, and I try to live as He would want. I fail, in fact I fail quite often, but I get up and keep trying again anyway. St. Therese of Lisieux's 'Little Way' (little things with great love) is how I try to live my life. (emphasis on try)
  2. Personal development, be it spiritual or practical will be things we talk about and share. Some of the topics I'm thinking about are personal finance, spiritual journaling, and household routines. If it helps us to grow in strength in any fashion it is on the table for discussion.
  3. Physical health will be a regular topic as well. In an effort to find me again I've gone back to the things that used to make me happy. Working out, hiking, swimming, and biking are all things I am finding again. (Albeit much more slowly.) I also want to be around to see and play with grandbabies.   
  4. Clean eating recipes and nutrition will also be on the menu. (Ha! See what I did there?....yeaaah that was bad, moving on...) It won't be 100% healthy because I'm human and, well chocolate. Bacon, bacon is good too. That said, I don't eat those things as often as I did so they won't be prominent. I do promise I don't eat bland, dull food and I won't share a recipe that I don't love. (Unless it's hilariously bad and think others would enjoy seeing a 'fail'.)
  5. Kiddos, and all the wonderful things that come with them. We will be sharing home schooling tips, crafts, parenting ideas, or even just a tender moment here or there because they are my inspiration and joy in life. I love making them smile and if something works for my kiddos, who knows, it might work for others.
  6. Miscellaneous, sometimes there might be a topic that doesn't fit any other category, but it's worth sharing. 
I'm just a girl with a blog, a family, a guinea pig and a dog, simply starting to live a simple life. I hope you join me.