Giving Back

I have always been close to my family. My parents instilled in us the importance of family and having a relationship with my grandparents. I was able to spend the week of Thanksgiving in my Colorado with my grandparents.

While I loved spending the week with them, it was an eye-opening experience. I spent the week taking care of two old people. Cooking for them, running errands and helping my grandma when she shook so bad her pills would dump on the floor. Family is important. I got to give back to two people who always had my back growing up. 

I cooked Thanksgiving dinner for them. Their first home cooked holiday meal in about 4 years. It broke me heart to leave them. 

On a positive note; Colorado is gorgeous. Here’s a few pics of my trip. 

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Aren’t We All a Little Mad?

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Life can be so freaking hard. Like really hard. The kind of hard that makes you wonder if you will ever recover, catch a break, or be free. And it seems lately, life just keeps getting harder. It shouldn’t be this hard to just survive each day. However, sometimes it takes everything in me to just get out of bed.

I am a full time mother of three kids. I work full time. I attend classes at the local college full time. Dating? Who has the time? And lets just be honest, guys of this generations (not all but most I have found in this region anyways) still act like they are in high school.

Last night I mouse paid me a visit in my bathroom. I screamed, he screamed and we both ran in opposite directions. Sadly, I don’t think I am going to come home to a clean house or a new dress. Or dinner on the stove. Okay that was a rat, but still. I will be coming home with mouse traps, however.

Every day offers a new set of challenges. I have two starting middle school this week. Challenge 1. I have a 5th grade girl. Challenge 2. I am juggling working at a middle school, while raising middle school kids, while taking a full class load. Challenge 3. The list goes on. With each new addition to my overflowing plate, I being to think this is all impossible. How can I possible juggle football practice, school (for all of us) household chores, being a mom, working, being a daughter and hell just being a woman! It is impossible.

We must all be a little mad to be able to get through this life with a sense of humor and be able to laugh at it all. My plate runneth over. My mental capacity is reaching its limit. Exhaustion overload. The Mad Hatter may actually know a thing or two about life. Yes we are all a little mad. And yes, it is only impossible if you convince yourself that it is.

Take a few lessons from the Mad Hatter. Drink some tea, celebrate a half birthday, pull up your big girl (or big boy) panties and get to it. We can rest when we are dead.

Banishing the Winter Blues

Adventure

The month of January is usually a hard month for me. While it’s gives me the opportunity to start a new year fresh, there is still residual insecurities from the year that has past. The colder weather and cloudy days certainly don’t help any. Even here in Northern Florida, we have cold mornings and lots of rain. With that being said, as I begin to shake off what was and let go of the expectations that did not come through, I plan for this year. New adventures, new trips, new relationships. Not really a new me, I am pretty content with what and who I am at the moment, but perhaps working towards a slightly better me.

Each year I am lucky enough to take my three kids on a trip. One year was to Busch Gardens in Tampa, FL and that fall a cruise to the Grand Cayman’s and Cozumel. The next year was to Universal Studios and mini weekend vacations. This year holds some big adventures.

First, my youngest daughter has hit double digits. It’s a big deal in our house. And my oldest is hitting the teenage years this summer. Another really big deal. But, the biggest adventure¬†we have planned, and this is HUGE for us, is our very first trip to Disney World. While I know this is not a big deal to a lot of people, but for this single mom struggling to make it each month, this is GIGANTIC! Spring Break is going to be great adventure.

While personal things are also making life a little more of an adventure, I am ecstatic to give my kids this opportunity. Adventure is out there. Stop waiting for the next best thing, and make your life the best that there is. Start small with little weekend getaways. Save every last penny in a jar designed for your trips. Make a plan and stick to it. Research and look for ways to explore your destination without costing you a fortune.

It is possible to have amazing vacations without breaking the bank. Some of our favorite trips where little camping trips we took. Even a few nights away from the daily grind can refresh your soul. Take some “you” time. If you have the ability to travel, why aren’t you? What is holding you back?

Throw your hands up in the air, and let adventure take control. Shake off the winter blues, get that calendar out, and start planning!

Around the Dinner Table

  
Life moves so fast these days. In the age of fast food and smart phones, we neglect the most simple pleasures we have in this life. Julia Child summed it up perfectly. Sharing a meal with those you love is a delight. Despite the craziness and those relatives you don’t really care to see, something happens the moment everyone is gathered at the table. Life pauses for just a moment. Take a deep breath, and a sip of wine, and take stock of what is set before you. 

Sharing a meal is the most intimate expression of love without any strings attached. Confessions are made, plans are set in motion, love is declared and life is celebrated all over a meal shared together. 

Today, being the day we give thanks, take a small amount of time away from the TV, smart phones and distractions. Look around your table and really take the moment in. Indulge in life’s most simple pleasure; sharing a meal with those who really matter. (I know this repetitive but sometimes we needed to be reminded.)

Give thanks that not only do you have a meal set before you, but that you have someone to share it with. Because deep down, we all need the love and support of those we love. Take nothing for granted and in all things, give thanks.

Words of Wisdom from Julia Child

I love to cook. I love to try new recipes, making up my own recipes, collaborating with others to come up with new recipes, and cooking family favorites. It is one way I take care of my family.  When I am short on gift ideas, I cook. When my brother and his wife had babies, I cooked. I invite my parents over for dinner once a month to just say thanks for all you do. I cook romantic meals and simple ones that I know my kids will love. I cook for them as much as I do for me.

But as I was reading this quote, it dawned on me. Food is part of every big or small event in our lives. Parties and celebrations to funerals and break-up sessions, food is involved. Now, some of the food I understand is restaurant foods, but for the most part, it has involved someone preparing the meal.

There is nothing more loving or nurturing than preparing a meal for someone you love. Even if it just chicken noodle soup for a sick child, cookies for a friend who needs a pick-me-up or an elaborate meal to celebrate a holiday, it shows an act of love and sacrifice.

So the next time you share a meal with someone, thank the cook. They are putting a little bit of love into every dish. And what better way to show love than to cook for someone else.

Take this holiday season to enjoy not only the food, but those who prepared it. Savor those moments. Some of the best memories are made around the dinner table.