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Do You Take Time to Pamper Yourself?

Do you take time for your self?

Do you take time to take care of you? Are you getting enough sleep and eating a well balanced diet? I know that sounds like some kind of health guru or Public Service announcement. Those are big questions that need to be answered when thinking about your health. Moms all around the world just answered those questions with; I do not have time to take care of myself I am taking care of everyone else. Said those very words myself too many times to count. You must take care of yourself or there will not be a “you” to take care of everyone else.

Suggestions for taking time for you. . .

Start walking, get up a little earlier and go for a walk before the rest of your house gets up and moving. I started this way and it really did help me both mentally and physically. Now, I am no Jillian Michaels or Denise Austin but I do know what I did to help myself. It is very hard some days to find that motivation to get up early when you know you have not slept or that you will get no rest during the day. Always remember how good you felt the last time you walked or exercised and remember those benefits when trying to find that motivation. Some days you may just need to take a long relaxing bath, I highly recommend this one. Try a milk bath, it makes the best bubbles and is all natural no chemical additives. Use 1/2 cup powdered whole milk, 1/4 cup corn starch, 1/4 cup baking soda, 1/4 cup Epsom salt and add your favorite essential oils (lavender, rosemary, patchouli. . .) and soak for thirty minutes. This will make your skin so very soft and it is very relaxing.

Please remember that taking care of your self is not being selfish, self care is very important for those around you too. Mom’s take on the weight of the world whether it is in your family life or even your work life. The instinct of nurturing and helping is very strong and we want to help everyone. We must remember that we cannot help everyone and that we should not try to help at the detriment of ourselves. That is a hard one to swallow and definitely out of character of most.

My reason for changing and being selfish

One of my best friends through high school and college died suddenly of massive cardiac arrest. It has been a year this month that she went on to live with our heavenly father, I am still in disbelief that she is gone. I wish I had made that extra trip to see her and my other best friend from high school one last time instead of putting it off. Do not put off taking care of yourself, you should be your top priority. Last year I took stock of myself and decided, I am going to take better care of me. I want to see my boys graduate college and maybe get married one day and have children. In order for me to be there to see those great things I have to be in better health. My hubby will be retiring sometime in the next few years and I want to travel with him and see the world.

Stay tuned as I make changes to meet my goals, I will share recipes that are yummy and good for you. I do not eat anything that does not taste good, I am just trying to find the balance in taste and good for me. There will be updates on the boys too. Those 0600 practices have started and they are looking forward to a full lacrosse season.

This is my devilishly handsome hubby and myself at the Red Sox game a few years ago









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What is One Appliance You Could Not do Without?

A little back story before we get started. . .

After selling Pampered Chef for many years I have a lot of kitchen gadgets but the ones that are getting the most use lately are not PC products. A little back story for ya. When I was growing up I had a real hard time choking down breakfast. I came from a family that truly believed breakfast was the most important meal of the day. My mom, besides being an awesome stay at home mom, sold vitamins on the side. This particular company had a protein shake mix that I loved and I started using that for breakfast. That all started when I was in the seventh grade, before that I did all I could to eat breakfast without puking. I have been using the protein shake/meal replacements ever since for breakfast.

Let’s talk kitchen gadgets. . .

The first item that is most loved and used at my house is the Nutri Bullet. (no, I am not being paid for any part of this post). Both my oldest son and myself use this little gem daily. I like a good fruit/protein smoothie and he likes a coffee/protein smoothie. I am on my second one of these because I sent the first one to college with Sprat. Recipes will be at the end of the post. Using some frozen fruit in my smoothie I really needed something that would pulverize the fruit to make a very smooth smoothie. Sprat makes his coffee smoothie with ice and instant coffee and protein powder. He needed something that would pulverize the ice. Having used many different traditional blenders or even those blender ball cups over the years I feel I am a pretty good judge of the Nuri Bullet and it wins hands down.

Who loves the soft pellet ice? ? ?

Is there anyone that does not love that soft pellet ice? I go to certain fast food places just for a drink because of that ice. You know what I am talking about. Since I have been working from home since the pandemic I have had my husband or the boys go and get me that “good” ice for my cup at home. Evidently they got tired of trecking out to find my “good” ice and they got me my very own, you guessed it, counter top soft pellet ice maker. We have had this little gem for about a year now and it is well used and loved. Sprat uses this ice for his coffee smoothie and let me tell you it is the best dog gone smoothie out there with no added sugar. Recipe to follow I promise.

How do you boil your eggs?

We got an Instant Pot almost three years ago. My boss raved over hers and how easy it was to use I decided I would try one out. Awesome appliance, you can do boiled eggs for deviled eggs in 6 minutes. Yes, I said 6 minutes. These eggs peel so easy, normally my eggs look like my dog peeled them. You can do corn on the cob in 2 minutes. You can do potato salad in your Instant Pot in 6 minutes by doing your potatoes and eggs at the same time. This is the recipe that sent me to WOW ! Almost anything you can do in a crock pot you can do in the Instant pot quicker.

Smoothie Recipes. . .

My fruit smoothie: pineapple (frozen or fresh), cherries frozen, 6 oz coconut water, thumb size piece of ginger, and 1/2 of a beet, and 1 scoop of protein powder. We use Vega protein powder (myvega.com), it is protein from plants. I blend all of this in my Nutri Bullet cup till smooth. Sprats Coffee smoothie, this is a recipe I adapted to my own from Pinterest. Dissolve 3 tsp instant coffee granules in 3/4 cup water, fill Nutri Bullet cup 1/2 way with the “good” ice, pour coffee mixture over the ice, 1/4 tsp vanilla, 2 tbs Hershey chocolate syrup, 1/2 cup milk (latte smoothie), 1-2 scoops of protein powder and blend. To make the coffee smoothie a little more decadent you could use heavy cream or half and half instead of milk.

Drink Recipes. . .

Since I have been cutting back on calories and not using caffeine I have become quite creative in my drink choices. The most recent combination I have been using is 2 oz grape juice and 6 oz diet ginger ale and a splash of lime juice. I have cut my Dr Pepper out almost completely. I still like the bubbles so I use the diet ginger ale. You can substitute cranberry juice for the grape juice if you like, I use both it just depends on what I have in the fridge. Of course this is poured over the “good” ice. When our cucumbers come in I add them to my water along with lemon and or lime slices and mint leaves from my herb bed. Nothing beats ice cold water with cucumber, lime/lemon, and mint.

Conclusion. . .

Please post in the comments your favorite kitchen appliance. Post any drink or smoothie recipes too. Always willing to try something new.

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No Longer Mother to High Schoolers. . .

Feeling a little old this week, not because of a birthday or anything, just because my youngest is graduating high school. I am now the mother of two college students and that makes me feel old. When the boys were both in school and i was no longer the mother of preschoolers (MOPS) I was sad. Today I am thrilled!! Big T will be joining his brother in Massachusetts this Fall.

Very Excited for Big T

Big T received an academic scholarship and will be going to Massachusetts to complete his Bachelor of Science in business management and minor in music and playing lacrosse with his brother. I am so excited for Big T, I must toot his horn just a bit. He will be receiving his high school diploma in a few weeks as well as an Associates degree in business management from the community college. He was also inducted into Phi Theta Kappa honor society at the community college. This boy has it going on!!

Travel Mama. . .

I can not begin to explain how very happy I am that I will get to see my boys playing lacrosse together again. The hubby and I have plans to go see them play in person this next year if we can get around this whole COVID mess. We had a major weekend planned right when this all hit in April of last year. The plan was to go to Massachusetts to see Sprat play at his home field and then drive to Maine to watch him play. I was so excited, I have never been to Maine before and I was looking forward to watching my son play college lacrosse. Knew I would enjoy the scenery on the drive from Boston to Maine and I could not wait to try the food, the food, can I say that again the food! Have yet to try a lobster roll and I want one! My fingers are crossed that we will be able to make the trip next year for a couple of games.

Lots of work ahead of Big T. . .

Big T has his work cut out for him. He wants to major in business and minor in music. I have shared how he taught himself how to play the Ukulele during the shut down. He has also taught himself how to play the bass and the piano. I know I am the mama but he really is quite good to be self taught. He does love his heavy metal but he has learned at least one hymn on the piano that is beautiful.

Graduation Ahead. . .

The hubby and I were just talking about all the things we have to get for Big T for his dorm room this year. I posted after Sprat’s second year all the stuff we bought and did not need so I feel like I have a good grasp on what we have to pick up but it is still a lot. The school has provided him with a lap top the last four years so that is something he will have to purchase. I learned from Sprat that we will not be purchasing a printer since the college gives the kids access to printers all over campus. We will have to purchase another fridge for Big T’s dorm. He will also need a new book bag, sheets, pillows, laundry bag, shower caddy, towels, and anything else I can think of.

My New Guilty Pleasure. . .

My guilty pleasure these days. .

My guilty pleasure these days, watching “The Great British Baking Show” and trying to cook some of their recipes. I have made the Victoria sponge and last week I made a chocolate coffee sponge with homemade chocolate coffee cream on top with a coffee syrup (homemade). The Hubbs loved the chocolate coffee sponge with all the extras, he does not eat sweets so when he gives a seal of approval it is a BIG DEAL. There are a couple more recipes from the show I want to try so stay tuned.

My first attempt at the Victoria Sponge

I use to cook quite a bit. . .

I use to cook quite a bit when the boys were young. As a Pampered Chef consultant I cooked and entertained at every show. Any excuse to have people over and share some yummy food. Once the wild and wonderful two came in the picture my cooking days were limited and so was my energy. Having children really does zap all of your energy.

My new found energy these days and time. .

With my new found energy and time on my hands, I have started cooking more. My new food adventures are with Mediterranean food and “The Great British Baking Show” recipes. I have always loved the Mediterranean food and have been incorporating that into our family meals for a few years now. The boys are not to fond of meals without meat but they have tried my homemade hummus and falafel. Sprat liked them both, Big T just liked the falafel they would prefer meat. The hubbs and I could live out of our garden on veggies alone.

Quinoa, corn, black beans, and edamame salad

New Found Time on My Hands, Time to Focus on Me!

Time to focus on my health. . .

New found time to focus on me, with the boys temporarily out of the house. The work schedule is still a little crazy but I am able to fit in some exercise and eating better. This empty nesting is kinda nice but, do not tell Sprat and Big T. Would not want to hurt their feelings. Do not get me wrong, I do miss those two goofballs every day. We text or talk by phone a couple times a week so I can stay up to date on things College.

Loving my exercise routine. . .

Loving my new exercise routine. On days I do not work I start out at the park at 0600 walking 3 miles. I started this before the pandemic but, decided to get serious about it after the lock down. Work became mentally exhausting and my early morning walks were my saving grace. I looked forward to the brisk mornings all by myself and the beautiful park. After my walk I do some Yoga to stretch and keep everything flexible, recently I have added some weight lifting. We have the equipment so why not put it to good use for me. Days that the sunrise is just breath taking, I take pictures to remember.

Beautiful Sunrise on one of my early morning walks
Foggy Sunrise one morning

Working on my diet too. . .

I am working on my diet while the boys are out of the house too. Sprat inspired this change, he has really been watching his diet over the last year and I decided I would too. After my walks I fix a fabulous smoothie; pineapple, cherries, coconut water, coconut flakes (unsweetened), fresh ginger, beets if I have any from the garden, and Vega protein powder. This is the best smoothie ever, no added sugar and all natural. I use fresh pineapple when I can find a good one and I add blue berries some days. The smoothie is breakfast, I eat small meals when I get hungry which is usually every three hours or so, I try not to eat after six in the evening. Cutting out sugary soda was a big effort and I am very proud to say I did it! Along with sugary soda went the daily caffeine, I do drink diet ginger ale and I will have a Dr Pepper every now and then but not like I was drinking them before the pandemic/lock down. The only other time I have gone without sodas (sugary caffeinated) was when I was pregnant with the boys. Something about being pregnant changed my taste buds and I could not drink soda at all.

A few recipes. . .

The hubbs has really out done himself with the garden this year. He managed to grow beets which I use in my smoothies, edamame that I eat by the handfuls, and a number of other tasty treats. He and I could eat out of the garden and only go to the grocery store for things like cheese and yogurt. We had zucchini coming out of our ears so I froze a good bit of it to use later and I froze multiple loaves of zucchini bread and casseroles too. One of my favorite salads is couscous, black bean, fresh mozzarella, chick peas, onion and balsamic vinegar. Made an edamame salad the other day that was really good. 1 1/2 cups edamame cooked, 1 can corn rinsed, 1 can black beans rinsed, small onion chopped, 1 cup cooked quinoa, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp chipolte, 1 tsp ancho chili, juice of 1 lime and toss. Served this cold as meal for me could use as a side dish.

Fresh Edamame out of the garden and in the pot to cook.
Edamame salad

How things Look from the Empty Nest. . .

Everyone keeps asking. . .

Everyone keeps asking how the Hubbs and I are doing with the empty nest. So far we are doing well. With technology as advanced as it is we talk or text with the boys sometimes daily. The first week or two Big T text me daily, several times a day in fact. I was worried a little bit about him being so far away but he has gotten very busy making friends and doing school work that it has been almost a week since he has text me anything. They both text and call the hubbs though to talk music or sports.

I did miss the boys this week. . .

I did miss the boys this week, it has been almost a week since I had a text from them other than I need money for clothes. Sprat has changed his major now three times and has landed in teaching, hence the clothes buying. Sprat sent me a picture of him dressed up going off to his first day of Middle School. LOL!! He looked very professional with his back pack slung over one shoulder. Have been asking Big T to send me a picture of him since we left him last month. Yes, it has been a month to the day that we left our babies in Massachusetts.

I had been bugging this kid for a picture for weeks, I needed proof of life. This is what he sends me.
Later he sends me this one, I told him I needed more than just his eyes and nose.

Not a lot has changed at the house. . .

Not a lot has changed at the house for the hubbs and I. We are both still working and hanging out. I have started walking more and the hubbs is fishing here and there. The boys rooms and bathroom has had a deep clean the likes of which nobody has ever seen and we have donated quite a few clothes. Have lost some momentum in the cleaning area, will be back at that soon though. Plan on painting their bathroom soon, excited about that.

Life for the empty nesters. . .

Life for the empty nesters is not all that different from when you have kids in the house. Clean up after meals is so much easier and my sink is not full of dishes when I get off work. Our grocery bill has gone way down since the boys left. The hubbs and I could live out of our garden with just the two of us. Sleep comes easier knowing they are not going to be baming in the doors at 1100 talking loudly and banging things around. The hubbs and I are early risers, we do still have Sweet Basil and she gets us up at 0500 every morning without fail. Getting up that early we tend to go to bed earlier too. I like that, it gives the hubby and I a chance to cuddle and the empty nest means snuggle and cuddle without interruptions and I have been chased around the house a few time by the hubbs.

Socially our activities have either been family or kids

Socially our activities have been geared to family or kids events. The hubbs and I were never that social before we had kids. The empty nest has given us a little bit of a social life. I saw a meme on the internet about going from Mother to Me again, I feel like that is what the empty nest is like. After all, it is not truly and “empty” nest my kids will always be welcome at my house any time. We have a get together planned this month with some of the hubbs old high school friends and I am looking forward to it. I hope I remember how to act and geeze I hope I have something to wear. It will be nice to visit and catch up with these guys and maybe make this a regular thing.

It Is Time to Open the Time Capsule. . .

Big T got to Open His Time Capsule this Weekend.

The Boys had their last hurrah at Grandma and Grandpa’s house this weekend before they head off to school next week. We celebrated Sprat’s birthday since his actual birthday will be while he is away at school and we celebrated Bit T’s graduation once again. The hubbs and I sealed a time capsule for each of the boys when they were about two years old and set the date they would open it as their high school graduation.

Big T and his Time Capsule, the hubby sitting beside him.

Celebration and Time with Family . . .

the boys with Grandma and Grandpa
Dad and I being Silly
Mom and I

Food, family, and fun was had by all. Mom got on my brother-in-law’s motorcycle. Now just to tell you, Mom just celebrated her 90th birthday this year and recently had hip replacement so the motorcycle thing was a big deal. Mom and Dad have always been willing to try new things and we reminisced about Dad riding my brother’s motorcycle years and years ago and going over the embankment in front of our house doing tricks. Growing up we all rode horses and I have seen both Mom and Dad thrown off horseback at one point or another. Luckily neither suffered devastating bodily injury.

How to Set Up Your Own Time Capsule. . .

We sealed each of the boys time capsules when they were about two years old. We enlisted family and friends to add things to the capsule. Sprat had an official Gerber time capsule, Big T had a make shift (mommy made) time capsule. A great time to set these up is at the child’s 1st or 2nd birthday, that way everyone is there and can add their items to the capsule. Below is a list of somethings we enclosed:

  • Pokeman cards
  • toys that were popular during that time
  • lists of what things cost at that time
  • sentimental family things
  • Special Coins: non circulated coin set from the year they were born
  • items they loved that first year of life
  • birthday cards from their first birthday
  • Sprat had some “Joe Camel” memorabilia since his great uncle worked for RJR and “Joe Camel” was no longer allowed to be used as advertisement.
  • Baby pictures, pictures from their first birthday
  • Both boys got one of their Granddaddy’s police patches and official police badge from his time of service.
  • Big T got a very special case knife from Grandma and Grandpa
  • there was a local publication that folks would put pictures of their grand kids in and Big T was in that and that was in his time capsule.

Conclusion. . .

Stay tuned we are packing both boys to go to school. More to come on how the hubbs and I will adjust to sorta empty nesting.

Road Trip with Big T for College Orientation. . .

Getting Ready. . .

We drove up to Massachusetts to visit the campus and so Big T could participate in orientation. Spent the night in Connecticut so we could get up the next morning and just have an hour to get to the school. The plan was to meet the coach and talk with the folks in financial aid all before orientation began.

Big T in the foyer of College Hall

Orientation. . .

The lacrosse coach is great, we really enjoyed talking with and hearing about his style of coaching and taking care of the players. I was very impressed by him and so was Big T. We had not met him before and had only heard about him through Sprat and Sprat thinks the world of him. Big T is looking forward to getting back on the field again. He did not play his senior year of high school due to the lack of care from the school with regard to COVID 19.

It was a stroke of luck that we were able to talk with financial aid, they found some more money for both boys to add to their already generous scholarships. It pays to go to orientation, in more ways than one. Even though Sprat has been attending this college for two years Big T had never been with us to campus, he always stayed home with the dog. This was his first glimpse of the campus and was able to see the dorm he will be in and meet a few teammates.

The College. . .

Big T cannot wait to get on campus. There is one freshman dorm and only one floor of boys and three floors of girls. Let that sink in for a bit, the boy/girl ratio of this freshman class. This is a small private college so no athletic scholarships but the boys both landed wonderful academic scholarships and I am so very proud of them. Sprat was awarded Academic All Conference two years in a row and we hope for a third.

Big T and I out side of College Hall on the balcony

The Trip Home. . .

We drove to Carlisle, Pennsylvania to the US Army Heritage and Education Center and War College for a visit. The helicopter and tank pictured below are visible from the highway and every time we have passed it my hubby says we need to go there and check that out. This trip, we planned for just that. There is a museum that chronicles the wars from Spanish American War to our current conflicts. Lots of hands on simulators and things in the museum. I tested the parachute simulator, it was pretty cool not as scary as I thought it would be. We sat inside a bunker that was being bombed and it was really LOUD. The trail around the facility has tanks, helicopters, memorials, bunkers and trenches. You cannot climb on the tanks and helicopters but we were allowed in the bunkers and trenches.

this tank is similar to the one that my father-in-law trained on when he was in the military. Check out the website for more information https://ahec.armywarcollege.edu/

The hubbs and Big T checking out the bunker
The hubbs and Big T in the bunker

Conclusion. . .

We rounded out the day with a bite to eat and a trip to the store for supplies for the dorm. I love our road trips and I am looking forward to more this Fall and Spring to see my boys take the field together again. Stay tuned for more pictures of our road trips and tales of the garden and what we are cooking.

Love and the Empty Nest. . .

Since Big T has graduated high school several people have asked, how does it feel to be an empty nester? I was not quite sure how to respond to that since both boys will be back home. True, the hubbs and I will have a few months to ourselves but the boys will be back home. The one benefit of them going to school is our grocery bill will go down. The hubbs and I could live out of the garden with the occasional rice, couscous, or meat here and there.

What will we do . . .

When my sister asked what we were going to do now that we were empty nesters my husband said he was going to run around the house naked. LOL!! I guess things are going to get interesting at my house. The hubbs and I both still work, he is moving closer to retirement, so we will continue normal weekdays but lookout weekends. I would like to do some traveling, nothing out of the country but there are some places I would like to visit in the US. We both have talked about driving cross country, I could see us doing that. We are going to Massachusetts and I am looking forward to that.

Happy Graduation to Big T. . .

Big T and the Hubbs
Brothers

Stay tuned for what happens next in the empty nest. . .

Summer Excitement. . .

The boys are officially employed for the Summer. Yayyy!! I feel very accomplished. Add this to the lists of things Mom’s celebrate for their kids. Their first official day of work is this week and the hubbs and I will celebrate with the first quiet night/day at home by ourselves since the pandemic shut down and they both came home to stay!

It is the little things . . .

My post the other day was about all the things we Mom’s celebrate for our kids, this is another one of those. It is exciting to watch the boys out in the work force earning some money for themselves. I remember earning my first income, I remember the satisfaction of buying my own clothes and going out to eat with my friends and being able to pay for my own food. That is a little sappy but still very true. My hope for the boys is that they find that feeling of satisfaction of job well done, and let’s face it the money does not hurt.

Earning their own money. . .

It is important for the boys to have a paycheck so they can open their own IRA and start saving for their retirement. Yes, I said retirement. If you have read anything I post you know that I am a Dave Ramsey fan/follower. I do not want my kids to be in debt and I have preached Dave to them so much that neither of them have credit cards and I do not think they ever will. Thank you Dave Ramsey! Big T is majoring in business so he is all about earning and saving money and he knows about debt. Both boys save up their money for items they want to buy, bless poor Sprat he saved for almost a year to buy his own gaming computer. Sprat is trying to rebuild his savings so he will have money to spend at school this Fall.

Just another moment to Celebrate the Grad. . .

Dad and Big T
Brothers, teammates, and friends. . .

Big T’s graduation ceremony was great, I do believe it was the best I have attended. One of the teachers had created a story that included all the graduates names as characters. She told a Zombie story, which seemed fitting with the year the kiddos endured their Senior year. They surprised the kids with the gentleman that was the Principal their freshman year and who played an integral part in this STEM school getting off the ground and being so successful. These kids loved this guy and had so much respect for him and you knew it when he came on the stage. The other thing that was so cool about this graduation ceremony was they gave each graduate a framed $1 and they said they wanted to be the one to give them their first earned dollar. I am so glad that Big T did not attend a traditional high school, he would not be as prepared for college as he is if it were not for this school and these teachers.

High School Graduation, I am Not Ready!

According to my son graduation is no big deal. He is not impressed about graduation and does not see what all the fuss and muss is about. I explained to him that mothers celebrate all accomplishments. I reminded him that I celebrated the first time he went pee pee in the potty and then again when he went poo poo in the potty oh and then again when he could wipe his own backside. That grossed him out just a bit but, we did celebrate.

What else do we Mom’s celebrate???

Mom’s celebrate everything: first teeth, first time rolling over, first steps, first time sitting up right, first words, first solid food, first girlfriend or boyfriend, first date, first time they drive, all first days of school. We celebrated Kindergarten graduation, Fifth grade graduation, and Eighth grade graduation. I did think those were a little bit over the top but High School graduation is a big deal it is that first big step to independence and true adulthood. It is the spring board for that journey we call life. No, I am not going to recite Prince lyrics but really high school graduation to me is the beginning of it all.

Big T does not want to go to his graduation, he refused to go to the Community College graduation ceremony and he says he is going to his High School ceremony for me. I guess I am making him go, but deep in my heart, I believe he will regret it if he does not go. This has been an ordeal and we may all be miserable during it but we are going.

I took about 25 pictures and only 3 came out decent. This is one of them.

Good luck to all the parents out there, what ever battle they are facing. We all have our issues with our kids. I love mine but they know how to press my nerves so well. Love and prayers to you all.