Monday, September 26, 2016

{ Crocheting again }

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I almost feel like tapping the Mic and saying "Hello, testing, one two".

Boy has it been a while since I've managed to sit down and compile some sort of post about my life, current going ons or just plain came in and said hi.

So, here I am, saying hi :)

You have no idea how many times I've thought about blogging, thought about a post I wanted to put up, or some photos I wanted to share, and then I end up caught up in my busy life and forgetting all about it.  Worst party?  Time is not our friend and stops for no one, it just keeps on chugging and before we know it, it's been weeks, months or even years.

I don't want to sit here and whine and complain about our current issues.  All I'm going to ask is that you please send up a prayer for us, for my husband's next job to come along and for God to get us through this rough patch we're about to hit.

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This is my husband's last week of work before he is laid off.  I'm sure many of you out there know exactly how it feels, and have probably gone through it or have a family member or friend going through it.  It's a very scary thought.

But, I'm choosing to stay positive and I'm choosing to leave it all in God's hands.  We are going to do our side of the work and the rest is up to Him. 

Right, now with that out of the way, lets talk nicer things, like crocheting, shall we?

I just recently picked up my crochet hook again.  I can't even believe it's been so long since I made anything, but I wasn't feeling it before.  A couple days ago, I got the crochet itch again and I knew I wanted to make something easy, something that I wouldn't have to concentrate too much on, or count stitches or keep track of anything.

I decided to go with Lucy's Cosy Stripes Blanket.  Perfect!!!

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I'm using a 4mm hook and whatever yarn I had on hand.  I do seem to gravitate towards certain colors and this palette came about purely by accident.  The result though?  I'm absolutely besotted with it.

It's working up so incredibly fast and it relaxes me, makes me take my mind off certain things.

I also started a Hexagon Crochet and have made a few, but I have to admit that I shamelessly added it to my WIP pile so I could work on the cosy stripes.

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Also working on some cute little owls for a friend, need to finish it and mail it off.  I should have finished them by now but again, it's one of those where I need to pay close attention and count the rows and stitches and my mind is NOT in the right place for that.

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Now let me take outside though, I want to show you some things.

First and foremost, if you don't like spiders, this next picture might make you gag.  Hahaha

I have never, in my entire life, came across such huge spider webs until I moved to Texas.  The more traveling I've done between Texas and Oklahoma, the more of these I've seen on all the trees and they freak.me.out.

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Like WHY?  Why on earth is this even allowed to exist?  I keep looking at it and thinking about the size of the spider that made that, is it the size of a dog, a cat, a buffalo?

Geez Louise, it's just terrifying.

But here's some beauty for you, I don't even need to say anything cause the pictures speak for themselves :)

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Guess what???

Life sucks at times, but if we just keep pushing, we will get through the rough patch and come through on the other side, brighter than ever before.

Or, you can just eat cake, or bake a cake like I did this afternoon.

I still am at my most happiest when in the kitchen, and maybe that's the part of me I need to focus on and hold tightest too.

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Homemade Carrot Cake, with real carrots, and not from a box. Yes, real homemade and homemade cream cheese frosting, cause if you're going to do it, might as well go all out.

If you want to make it for your family, the recipe I used is posted on my food blog. BAM!!!!

That was literally the sound of heads exploding everywhere with the sheer shock that I've posted a recipe. LOL

No, but really, I did, go on and check it out, and if you make it, let me know how it turned out :)

Now I'm going to sit on my bed and catch up on some shows before I fall asleep, which shouldn't take too long since I'm already yawning.

Happy Homemaker Monday - 09/26/2016

Oh my friends, I am so sorry there was no Happy Homemaker Monday last week.  We were without internet for about 5 days.  You know you never really understand how much you need internet until it's not available, I think that so much of our daily lives are connected to online, aren't they?

Anyway, feels good to be able to come back and get on with our Happy Homemaker Monday.  Let's see what the week brings.....



On the weather front:::
We've had some crazy rain the past weekend, enough to cause some major flooding in some areas.  The temperatures have finally dropped, we're going to be in the high 70's the whole week and that makes me incredibly happy :)  Hello Fall!!!


On my bedside table:::
Cup of coffee
Bible
Kleenex


On my TV:::
The Voice Portugal
Portuguese Soaps
Vlogs
60 Days In
Paranormal Witness
Ghost Hunters

 
Thinking and pondering::::
This is my husband's last week of work until he is laid off.  We are both surprisingly calm about the situation, and I think it's because we know that something else is on the way.  I am a huge believer in that things happen for a reason, and that God has us on the path which is best for us.  For some reason, my husband is not supposed to keep working either in this position or with this company, at this moment in time.  We don't know why, but it's ok, we will follow through with whatever He has in store for us.  If you are of the praying kind, we would appreciate some prayers sent our way :)


Listening to::::
Watching The Voice Portugal while I type this post up.


Favorite Youtube Video last week:::
The youtube channel I'm sharing with you today, is actually Portuguese, so I apologize to those that can't speak the language, but I just have to share it with you.  Maristela Moreira de Freitas, is a stay at home mom, homemaker, baker, and she just makes me smile.  I absolutely love her vlogs.


On the menu for this week:::

I'm hoping, really hoping that I can take this week to jump back into my food blog.  I'm wanting to at least get some photos taken of our meals every night and start sharing that.

Monday -  Ham Steaks, Mashed Potatoes, Salad 
Tuesday - New York Style Pizza 
Wednesday - Smoked Sausage Alfredo, Olive Garden Breadsticks
Thursday - Pork Chops and Potatoes
Friday - Steaks, Fries, Salad
Saturday - In OKC
Sunday - Chili Dogs


On my To Do List:::
Laundry
Housework
Homeschooling



Looking forward to:::
A quiet, peaceful, uneventful week


What I plan on doing for myself this week:::
I took up crocheting again, I know, crazy since I haven't done any in such a long time, but I'm loving it.  I started a blanket and I will take some photos to show you and add them in another post later today.  Yes, I said another post because I do plan on getting one up.  I'm a terrible blogger, I've really fallen off the bandwagon but I want so badly to get back on. 


Favorite photo:::
These two are so in love, they've been together for 2 years and their love just continues to grow.  They send me constant selfies throughout the day which makes me so incredibly happy :)





Lesson learned the past few days:::
I think it's a lesson that we all are forced to relearn over and over, and that is to just enjoy life as it comes.  To take every single obstacle, every problem, every good or bad moment that comes our way, and make it the best we can.  Stop struggling, stop trying to control everything and just go with the flow. 


Devotionals, Scripture Reading, Key Verses:::
 



Thursday, September 22, 2016

The Goodbye Year by Kaira Rouda - TLC Book Tour

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Paperback: 312 pages
Publisher: SparkPress (May 3, 2016)

Melanie, a perfectionist mom who views the approaching end of parenting as a type of death, can’t believe she has only one more year to live vicariously through her slacker senior son, Dane. Gorgeous mom Sarah has just begun to realize that her only daughter, Ashley, has been serving as a stand-in for her traveling husband, and the thought of her daughter leaving for college is cracking the carefully cultivated fa├žade of her life. Will and his wife are fine-as long as he follows the instructions on the family calendar and is sure to keep secret his whole other life with Lauren, the woman he turns to for fun (and who also happens to have a daughter in the senior class).

Told from the points of view of both the parents and the kids, The Goodbye Year explores high school peer pressure, what it’s like for young people to face the unknown of life after high school, and how a transition that should be the beginning of a couple’s second act together-empty nesting-might possibly be the end.

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About Kaira Rouda

Kaira Rouda is a USA TODAY bestselling, multiple award-winning author of contemporary fiction that sparkles with humor and heart including HERE, HOME, HOPE and IN THE MIRROR. Her latest novel, THE GOODBYE YEAR, will be released in May of 2016. Her modern romance novels are set on beaches, including the Laguna Beach series, the Indigo Island series and coming soon, the Malibu series.
She lives in Southern California with her family and is at work on her next novel. After living in Columbus, Ohio, for most of her life, she now enjoys the beach whenever possible.
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Connect with Kaira

Website | Facebook | Twitter


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My Thoughts:

Oh my friends, I have to tell you that this book touched parts of me I wasn't expecting.

I have been talking lately about how hard it is watching my children growing up, knowing that they don't need me as much as they used to, and how much I miss them being little toddlers.  My daughter is a senior this year and next year will be leaving home, moving to another city and going to college.

As parents, we all know this is part of the journey, part of growing up, part of doing our job successfully and reaping the rewards of that as we watch them become responsible, amazing adults.

But there's the other side, the side that cuts straight to the heart. 

This book was so well written and touched on all of those feelings and thoughts that go through the parent's mind, but also brings in the story told from the children's point of view.  The struggle of trying to figure out what to do after school, the fear of leaving home coupled with the excitement of doing just that, and also figuring out exactly what to do in college.

From my perspective, this book brought forth some of my own feelings towards the impending Empty Nest syndrome. 

I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Happy Homemaker Monday - 09/12/2016

Good morning friends, welcome back to another Happy Homemaker Monday.  We didn't have one last week as it was Labor Day here in the States, but we're back on track today. 

Let's see what we have going on shall we?



On the weather front:::
The temperatures have dipped and mornings we're seeing dew on the grass.  Makes me happy, I like summer but I'm ready for cooler temps.  Only thing I'm not too happy about is that it seems we're having rain the whole week including the coming weekend, which will be a big no no since the Air Show is going on and we really want to go.  

On my bedside table:::
Cup of coffee
TV remote
Devotionals
Nail polish

On my TV:::
Watching my Portuguese soaps. 
General Hospital
The Chew
 
Thinking and pondering::::
About my husband's job situation.  Still praying that it gets resolved and we know soon what is going on for sure.   

Listening to::::
The TV.

Favorite Youtube Video last week:::
I recently came across another channel from an Army family currently stationed in Alaska,  The Life of the Cassels.  Check it out when you get a chance :) 

On the menu for this week:::
So this week I'm cooking for just 3, as my Jasmine is currently away visiting her boyfriend and his family. 

Monday -  Tacos, Chips and Salsa 
Tuesday - Slow Cooked French Dip Sandwiches, Pasta Salad
Wednesday - Spaghetti Casserole
Thursday - Portuguese Steak, Egg, Fries
Friday - Chicken Tettrazzini
Saturday - Air Show so will grab something to eat there
Sunday - Beef Curry


On my To Do List:::
Schooling with my boy
Housework


Looking forward to:::
Air show this weekend
Getting my girl back after 2 weeks, I miss her so much


What I plan on doing for myself this week:::
I have no clue, I am trying to take it easy, relax, and do the things that bring me join.


Favorite photo:::
These two are so in love, they've been together for 2 years and their love just continues to grow.  They send me constant selfies throughout the day which makes me so incredibly happy :)




Lesson learned the past few days:::
I'm learning to let go and get used to the idea that my kids are growing and one day, very soon, I'll have to face the fact that it will be just the hubby and I.  It's so hard and I don't know if I can even begin to get ready for this, but I have to.


Devotionals, Scripture Reading, Key Verses:::
 



Sunday, September 4, 2016

First Star I See Tonight by Susan Elizabeth Phillips - Book Tour


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• Hardcover: 384 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow (August 23, 2016)

A star quarterback and a feisty detective play for keeps in this sporty, sexy, sassy novel—a long-awaited new entry in the beloved, award-winning, New York Times bestselling author’s fan-favorite Chicago Stars football series.
Piper Dove is a woman with a dream—to become the best detective in the city of Chicago. First job? Trail former Chicago Stars quarterback, Cooper Graham. Problem? Graham’s spotted her, and he’s not happy.

Which is why a good detective needs to think on her feet. “The fact is . . . I’m your stalker. Not full-out barmy. Just . . . mildly unhinged.”

Piper soon finds herself working for Graham himself, although not as the bodyguard he refuses to admit he so desperately needs. Instead, he’s hired her to keep an eye on the employees at his exclusive new nightclub. But Coop’s life might be in danger, and Piper’s determined to protect him, whether he wants it or not. (Hint: Not!) If only she weren’t also dealing with a bevy of Middle Eastern princesses, a Pakistani servant girl yearning for freedom, a teenager who just wants of fit in, and an elderly neighbor demanding Piper find her very dead husband.

And then there’s Cooper Graham himself, a legendary sports hero who always gets what he wants—even if what he wants is a feisty detective hell bent on proving she’s as tough as he is.
From the bustling streets of Chicago to a windswept lighthouse on Lake Superior to the glistening waters of Biscayne Bay, two people who can’t stand to lose will test themselves and each other to discover what matters most.

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About the Author:

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Susan Elizabeth Phillips soared onto the New York Times bestseller list with Dream a Little Dream. She’s the only four-time recipient of the Romance Writers of America’s prestigious Favorite Book of the Year Award. A resident of the Chicago suburbs, she is also a hiker, gardener, reader, wife, and mother of two grown sons.

Visit Susan at her website, susanelizabethphillips.com, like her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

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 My thoughts:

Well I should tell you right off the bat that this book is the 8th in the Chicago Stars series by Susan Elizabeth Phillips.  I should also tell you that I haven't read the previous books in the series and at first I thought it might affect the story telling, or I may feel like I'm completely lost.

Luckily for me, I think this did a good job of being a stand alone read which means I didn't feel like I was missing out on anything.

It pulled me quickly in with it's funny one liners, the humor from the characters and the bantering back and forth between Piper and Cooper, it was quite hilarious at some points.

The dynamic between the feisty take no nonsense Piper and the almost arrogant and smug at times Cooper was fascinating to read, it was almost like a game of cat and mouse to see which would up do the other.

But as with any good romance story I've read, there comes a point where the feelings are no longer able to be held back and people are left having to make a decision.  In this case, Piper seemed to be the one afraid of the commitment and what it meant.

Fun read, for sure :)



Thank you to TLC Book Tours for providing me with a review copy.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Motherhood.....the changing tides and parenting a child with depression and anxiety!

I've been meaning to type this up for a very long time, but it just never seemed like the right moment, or I didn't have the right words or felt like there was more to think about before I could put it into words.

However, this morning I felt moved to actually sit down and try to get my words out, if nothing else than in a way that I can maybe help myself deal with the struggles of being a mother and especially now that my children are both teenagers.

When we have children we have all these dreams and hopes and thoughts of what they're going to do, of how they're going to act and the people they will be.

I used to fall into the trap of the "my children will never do that"...."my children will never behave that way"....."I won't ever make them eat this or that."  At the time I was so sure that I meant what I was saying and that all those parents I saw struggling with kids had to be doing something wrong, maybe they weren't strict enough or maybe they just weren't cut out to be parents.

Oh how wrong I was and today I'm the mom sitting in the corner quiet giggling when I hear a young woman or man proclaim exactly what I use to.  Truth is, they have no idea what they're in for.

I'm not going to talk about motherhood or parenting in general because you all know it's one of my greatest treasures on earth, I love my children with every fiber of my being and I wouldn't trade the life I have or the children I have, for anything in this world, and yes I include even the tough moments.

Just a warning, this is going to be a very long post and I apologize for it, but there is so much I need to say.


I want to talk about her, this gorgeous girl above, the light of my eyes, my mini me.

Jasmine is 17years old and very much a typical girl her age, except for the part where she struggles with depression, anxiety and eating issues.  She's not bulimic, she's not anorexic but she has never been one to eat much or properly at all and has always been extremely thin and tiny.

When she turned 12, as her body started changing and her hormones kicked up, things changed and since then she's been trying to deal with the normal challenges of growing up but added in the difficult struggles of depression and anxiety.  For the most part she could keep in under control, until about 10 months ago.

She's been in a relationship with a wonderful boy for over 2 years and just like normal relationships they have their ups and downs, unfortunately the fact that it's a long distance relationship also adds in more stress.  If you remember end of last year they had a horrible break up, and around that time she was going through a pretty dark patch in her life.

You have never known worry and fear, until you see your child suffering and not knowing how to help her or even understand what she is feeling or thinking.

She became extremely withdrawn, she wouldn't leave heoooooooor bedroom, she would stay in bed for days on end, she was irritable, she sobbed at the drop of a hat, she was clingy and needy, she stopped caring about school and fell behind to the point where I didn't know if she was going to finish her school year, she wasn't eating, she started passing out randomly, she started lying and being manipulative.  She wasn't my daughter, she wasn't the sweet little red headed girl that we had raised, the happy go lucky, full of life child that I knew.

There was so much going on, and I immediately knew that this was serious.

The worst part as a parent who doesn't suffer from depression or anxiety, is not knowing how to help or how to reach out, and so I began a long process of figuring out what set her off, when to speak to her, when to leave her alone, when to reach out, when to hug, when to walk away, and most importantly NOT to take what she said in her moments of anger, to heart.

That my friends was the hardest part for me.

Small little things that I learned to look for, like for example, I would walk into her room in the morning and say hi and she would be her old self, hug me, and be happy to see me and talk to me......I would walk out and if I walked back in 30 minutes later, her demeanor and reaction to me would tell me whether I could proceed to talk or just close the door and give her space.

I quickly learned how to be there for her when she wanted to talk, and how to leave her alone when she didn't.  My husband on the other hand had a very hard time and they did not get along at all.

He is retired military, he is a tough guy, he is all about protecting his children and if there is a problem, solving it.  When he saw her struggling his instinct was to hug her and hold her, but in those moments where she was having a really bad anxiety attack, she didn't want to be touched, she didn't want to be hugged, she wanted no one around her and so it became a power struggle.....with me in the middle.

Between December and May of this year, I was in a haze.  Not many knew, only a very select few close to me would know what was happening, or at least to some extent, and the deep dark place I was in.

I cried, I prayed, my husband and I had marital problems to the point where we came close to divorce, I felt pulled and  in the middle of my daughter and my husband not quite knowing how to help either one while at the same time trying to support each individually.  I felt so alone, I felt misunderstood, I felt helpless, I felt like nobody cared about me or how I was dealing with it all.

I withdrew myself, I didn't want to go out, I stopped caring about myself and my house and anything that wasn't relating to my daughter.

Worst of all, I was in complete denial, I mean how could a 17 year old (16 at the time), have depression or anxiety?  Stupidly I kept thinking it would get better, it was a phase, it would pass.  Until one day, early morning, my daughter sent me a text message from her bedroom saying "Momma, I need help, I need to see a doctor, I need medication, please!".

And that was it, it hit me like a ton of bricks.


The first thing I did was cry and then look for answers, stupidly enough.  What did I do to cause this, what did my husband do, what did anyone do?  If and If and IF.

I dropped to my knees and God immediately set me straight.  "Pull yourself up, you did nothing, your husband did nothing, no one did anything wrong.  No one is to blame, it just is, but what you decide to do from now on is what matters".

And so I did what I was told, I got up, I wiped away my tears, I walked into my daughter's room and gave her the biggest hug ever and right then and there made a doctor's appointment.

A few months have passed, she's on medication for Depression and Anxiety and has been seeing a Therapist every week.  The change I have seen in her is like nothing I could have imagined.

She is back to her loving, happy self, she has put on 3 pounds, she is eating and enjoying eating, she is back on track with school, she just got her driver's permit, she is planning on college and what she wants to do, she knows where she wants to go, she is out of her bedroom and spending time with the family, she is doing well with in her relationship, matter of fact he is picking her up next week and she will be spending a whole week at his grandmother's house.

I'm so proud of her and looking forward to her future. 

Not to say that she still doesn't have a bad day here and there, she does, and I think she always will.  Medication is not meant to make her feel nothing, but it IS meant to take balance it all out and help
her function, so that on those odd bad days, she is able to deal with them easier.

In the middle of all this, I'm also having to learn to go with the flow and to embrace the changing tides of parenting.  She is no longer a little toddler or a small child needing my full attention 24/7, she is a young woman and in a few months probably moving out and moving away.

It's hard to think of that moment, not just because she will be out on her own, but because of her depression and anxiety and knowing that I won't be there every day helping if needed.

You know we go our whole lives protecting them, shielding them, trying to keep them from things we know or fear will hurt them in any way, but the truth is that they need to grow and spread their wings, and learn on their own.

I hope that the morals and values we have instilled in her and my son, stay with them for the rest of their lives.  If we take every decision out of their hands, or try to stop them from making mistakes or continue to shield them from everything life has to offer, we are only hurting them in the long run.

Because when we are no longer there, I need to trust that they will make the right decisions on their own, and if not, that they will learn from whatever the outcome may be.

This has been one of the hardest posts for me to write, funny enough I seem to be having a few of those lately , bare truth, open, nothing held back. 

But God led me to write this, I don't know why or who will read it, who it will help, or if it is meant for someone in particular who may be going through the same and no exactly knowing what to do, or seeing that there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.  Trust me, there is.

At first I questioned why this was happening to us, why did I have to go through this, but I trust God and I trust that this is for a reason and that I'm being taught a huge lesson as a parent, and really I am, I have learned so much about myself and my child, and the bond we have is something that will never be broken. 

On my birthday, she posted this message:

"Happy birthday to the best momma in the world. Thank you for being there for me through everything, even if you don't agree with or understand certain things you still try to and that's what matters. You've supported me through everything and I really can't thank you enough. I love you mama, I hope you have an amazing day. :3c".

And that is when I knew.....I'm on the right path, I've done my best.  To have your 17 year old say these things to you is the best feeling in the world.  I am ONE lucky mom!

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Is Fall just around the corner?

Signs of Fall

Well folks, last year I felt like fall was taking forever to arrive, matter of fact I don't even remember seeing any leaves turning or the trees changing color until much later in the year, and by later I'm talking middle of November.

This year it seems to have arrived much sooner, I took a walk around my front yard a few days ago and was shocked to see Fall staring me right in the face.

I grabbed my camera, snapped a few pictures and thought I would share them with you today.

Maybe you're neck of the woods is experiencing an early Fall too or you are longing for cooler temperatures, whatever it may be, I hope this post brings you a smile.

Signs of Fall

Signs of Fall

Signs of Fall

Signs of Fall

That's one of the perks of country life, at least for me, being able to step outside and be completely surrounded by nature.  No cars, no buildings, no loud crazy noise, just birds, grass, trees, butterflies and stillness.

See, sometimes I need that stillness to calm my soul from all the craziness that seems to ensue behind the home walls, the responsibilities of homemaking, the child rearing, the day to day worries and struggles.

Signs of Fall

Signs of Fall

I highly recommend you just step outside once in a while, throw everything off your mind and just sit in the silence.  Don't think, don't worry, don't fret, just BE!!!

Signs of Fall

Signs of Fall

Signs of Fall

I'm looking forward to Fall, I won't say it's my favorite season like for some, because if I have to be honest, I like every season, I think each one brings it's own beauty and appeal.  But that's just me.

Well I hope you enjoyed these few glimpses of fall.  I have to get ready to leave and pick up my husband from work.

Being a one car family is frustrating at the time, but we don't want to get into any more debt and so we make do.  It works for the most part, I only really need the car every two weeks for groceries and then I try to get all my errands done the same day....OR if there is a doctor appointment or something come up. 

Anyway, I have to get going so I best end this here.

Have a wonderful Wednesday :)