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What are Your Favorites for Thanksgiving?

Memories of Thanksgiving. . .

Thanksgiving brings all sorts of memories for everyone. I remember going to my Grandmother’s and all of the most wonderful food. When I was younger I did not eat everything like I do now, I was a little picky. Eating mostly vegetables and sweets, I was thankful for a family full of wonderful cooks. There was always a large table full of the most delicious cakes, pies and cookies.

Some of my favorites. . .

Aunt Mildred made the best coconut cake followed by: banana pudding, chocolate chip cookies, and my moms pecan pie/tassies. I always loved the veggie tray with dip and my grandmothers’ dressing. We did not do stuffing this was dressing in little squares like cornbread. Mom still makes it just like grandmother did, stale bread, cornbread,Pepridge Farm seasoning, onion, chicken stock, celery, and all kinds of spices.

A little out of sorts this Thanksgiving. . .

I am a little out of sorts this Thanksgiving, my boys will not be able to come home this year. Sprat is completing his student teaching and it is just not feasible for them to drive two days to spend one with us and drive back. We are very sad they will not be here but it is completely understandable and unavoidable.

I am Thankful this Thanksgiving. . .

I am thankful for a very kind family who is taking both boys in for the holiday. Sprats’ friend text me to ask for recipes for the foods that the boys had suggested??? I have to laugh about my kids they are so funny and have the best friends. I sent an email with recipes of their favorite foods that I make. We are blessed beyond measure by those that surround us.

A few little tidbits. . .

Fresh garlic butter: I use Brumel and Brown butter and press 3-4 cloves of garlic and cream together.

Homemade Mac & Cheese

1 box whole wheat elbow pasta cooked to package directions. 5 Tbsp butter melted with 2-3 Tbsp flour whisked to avoid lumps, pour 2 cups whole milk or heavy cream and whisk to avoid lumps. After mixture is blended add cheese aprox 2 1/2 cups shredded cheddar add a handful at a time and whisk till smooth. Once all cheese is added, drain pasta and put in large casserole dish and pour cheese mixture over pasta and serve. You can top with some extra cheese if you like.

Horsey Deviled eggs

1 dozen boiled eggs, I like to use the instapot, peeled and separated. Mix 1/2 cup mayo, 1/4 cup sour cream, 2 tsp creamy horseradish, 1/4 tsp salt, 2 tsp dill and cream together with your yolks. Stuff your whites and sprinkle with some paprika and serve chilled.

Conclusion. . .

There are a few more recipes I sent but I will not tell you everything at once, so stay tuned.

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How Do You Sleep when You Work Non-Traditional Shifts?

How do you sleep when you work a non-traditional shift? I work 2000 to 0800 the next day, I usually try to get a quick bite of something before crawling into bed. Black-out curtains are my best friend along with some lavender linen spray for my bed. Some of my co-workers use melatonin and Benadryl to help them sleep.

I use melatonin sparingly because I do not want to build up a tolerance. I have never used Benadryl except when I thought I was having an allergic reaction to something I had eaten. The lavender spray is very relaxing paired with a little meditation before I lay down. Magnesium is also a good supplement to take right before bed, it helps your leg muscles relax so that you do not get the “jimmy legs.” There is also a magnesium spray that you can spray on your legs, do not spray right after shaving your legs. It will burn like the cuts of a thousand razor blades and you will definitely not sleep.

I make my lavender spray with Witch Hazel, Vodka and lavender essential oil. Vodka and Witch Hazel evaporate quickly so there is no concern for mold or mildew when spraying your linens. The Vodka and Witch Hazel have no aroma so when you mix these with lavender all you get is the wonderful lavender smell. Use a 2 oz bottle and fill 3/4 with Vodka the rest with Witch Hazel and 10 drops of lavender.

The lavender spray above I take with me when we go on trips. I spray the bed and pillows in the hotel before we get in the bed. The Vodka also acts as a disinfectant. You can also use it as a body spray, the Vodka gives it a cooling effect so it is great for Summer.

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Do You Work a Shift other than Traditional 8-5?

Do you work a non-traditional shift?

Do you work a shift other than a traditional 8-5 day shift? I do, I work nights 2000 to 0800. My first job out of college was midnight to 0800 five nights a week in a lab. Not only did I work nights but I also was a hostess during the lunch rush at a local Mexican restaurant. In my twenties that was not a bad job to have, I had endless energy and I slept by the pool. I could eat whatever I wanted and never gained weight. Today I could walk past a plate of potato chips and gain ten pounds just like that.

When I was part- time at my job I have now I was able to manage a workout schedule and lost 20 lbs. I was so excited and so happy and felt pretty good too. My diet was much better and I ate on a schedule, it was not sporadic like it is now. When I went full-time everything went to pot, I did not feel like I had enough time to workout and do food prep.

Making a concerted effort to do better for myself. . .

Earlier this month I decided to make a concerted effort to do better for myself with regard to my diet and my workouts. I love Mediterranean spices and food and I have followed a Mediterranean diet very liberally for several years. My husband is very quick to respond with regard to the Mediterranean diet about how the Mediterranean people travel either by foot or bicycle. In other words, he is saying that it is not the food they eat that keeps them healthy it is all their daily exercise. I am trying to eat better/healthier and also exercise daily in some form or fashion.

You are what you eat. . .

You are what you eat, how many times have you heard this one? It is true though, you eat nothing but junk and you are going to feel like junk. I am not an extremist and do not endorse any extreme measures to lose weight. Realist, I am a realist. Smoothies are my addiction, I love my fruit smoothie I fix in the mornings for breakfast. Number one smoothie: pineapple, cherry, spinach, beet, ginger, coconut water and some protein powder and blend. This one is designed for reducing inflammation, increasing circulation, and it is very yummy. This one gets me my fruits and some of my vegetables for the day.

The hubbs and I joke all the time that we could live out of our garden except for the occasional animal protein. We both love veggies the hubbs likes his animal protein more than I. A typical dinner for us looks like this: avocado sliced with fresh lime juice sprinkled, a couple boiled eggs sliced, peppers and onions sauted with a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I love asparagus and my dear hubby planted some for me, below is the first harvest with some sauted spinach.

When my schedule gets hectic, that is when my eating goes awry. I will be planning more for my meals on days I know I am going to be working. Planning my exercise may pose a more interesting problem. I prefer to walk in the mornings but my regular place to walk is doing some construction so my “flow” is messed up. Have been riding my exercise bike and lifting weights but it does not give me the same satisfaction as my walks. My walks are not only for my physical health but for my mental health too.

Conclusion. . .

This is an on going journey to a better me. Stay tuned for recipes, tips, tricks and updates on results. I would love to hear from my readers, any recipes or personal stories.

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Did You Fail Your Kids? I Have. . .

I failed my kids. . .

I love my boys more than anything, some days I love them so much it hurts. You want your kids to be successful in life and to be good humans. Recently I read a post about teachers humiliating students and it struck a cord with me. I posted about my son and his being humiliated by a high school football coach, someone that was supposed to be a leader and a role model. My son is in college now and upon graduation plans to teach history, he also wants to coach lacrosse. He will be a good coach, goodness knows he has had plenty of bad coaches to learn how not to coach. I am thankful for the few encouraging coaches he has experienced and no shock that they were all lacrosse coaches.

Saddened daily by the state of our education system. . .

Both of my boys were bullied and humiliated by coaches, teachers, and students they thought were their friends. It saddens me more that my kids did not share this with me until after the fact. They were good at putting on a good face. I prided myself on being open and approachable. Some things they did talk to me about but for things they knew I would go to the mat over they kept to themselves. I found out too late to do anything about the turmoil they went through so, I am sharing my humiliation as a parent that did not stand up for my kids.

The high school and middle school teachers, coaches and administrative staff have a responsibility to educate our children and not beat them up. Their responsibility is to act like adults and be mature in dealing with students. Teachers should not be demeaning students or shaming them for anything, they should be trying to bolster the students’ self esteem. Some children only get negative reinforcement at home and need that positive influence elsewhere. Some students are looking for someone to say; “good job,” or “I knew you could do that problem” or ” way to go on that test.” They do not need someone else saying ugly things to them and embarrassing them.

I had my fair share of humiliation. . .

I had my fair share of humiliation in high school from teachers. My best friend and I were taking an advanced math class and our teacher would put these very difficult problems on the board and then say that his daughter could do this one and she was only nine years old. How helpful is that to students? I remember distinctly one day going by after school to try and get extra help on an assignment and his response to us was: ” you two are dumb and I do not know how you will ever graduate college.” This is why I majored in biology and my friend majored in history. My friend and I walked away and we never said anything about him acting like that to the administration, I cannot remember if I told my mom and dad or not. Probably not. My friend and I still talk about that day and how bad we felt after being told we were dumb.

Conclusion. . .

My friend graduated college and so did I. She has just retired from teaching and I know she was an awesome history teacher. The students that she had always reach out to her to tell her how glad they were that they had her as a teacher and they share their successes with her. I pray daily for our teachers because I know it is no easy job. It scares me terribly to think of Sprat teaching but, I know God is moving him where he needs to be. It is never our plan but God’s plan for our lives and God does not make mistakes.

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What does True Love Look Like?

Have you ever thought you were in love?

Have you ever thought you were in love before? Maybe you thought the funny feeling in your belly meant you were in love. Did someone send you flowers or chocolate on a special occasion? That is very nice and my hubby did that for me when we were first dating and in our early married years. As the years go by that seems wasteful and cliche. Do not get me wrong, I am not bashing those wonderful tokens of love. I enjoyed every one I ever got.

This is what true love looks like. . .

This is what true love looks like after thirty years and two kids together. True love is when your spouse lets you sleep in on a morning that they have to get up early and you do not. True love is when your hubby does your grocery shopping so that you do not have to go out during a pandemic. My hubby has gone out to get me chocolate when I have had a particularly terrible day, he has gone out to get me the “good” ice for my soda when I have been working from home. Bless my husband, because he is the best. He has, on more than one occasion, made me an egg sandwich for lunch when I have been working and could not take a break to fix myself something to eat.

True love is not always showy, it is not always glamorous and flashy sometimes it is very quiet and simple. It is a man that plants brussels sprouts and beets for you and he does not even like them. It is the man that will put a ginger ale in the fridge so that you will have a cold one when you get up after working night shift. So ladies do not discount the man that does not like the showy holidays like Valentines. It does not mean he does not have love in his heart or that he is incapable of love it just means he has a more unique way of showing that love.

If your hubby or significant other has showered you with love in a unique way leave me a comment. Let’s hear it

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Ever had a Gut Feeling About Something???

Have you ever had a gut feeling?

Have you ever had a gut feeling about something? Maybe it was to go a different route to work and there was no clear reason why you went that different way but once you arrive at work you find out that there was a terrible wreck on your normal route. Whew! catastrophe averted. That is what I mean by a gut feeling. I think mothers get those feelings more often than most.

My gut is never wrong. . .

One day we had a really big snow, the boys were little and the hubbs and I decided to take them sledding one night. I love those snowy nights when the air is crisp but not too cold and you can hear every little sound. When it is cold the hubbs hands shrink and so his wedding band becomes very lose in the winter. That ring flew around our house for several weeks every time he would make a gesture with his hands you could hear ping, ting, and then a gasp from both of us.

I asked the hubbs to take off his ring and leave it at home while we were going sledding. He insisted that he would not lose it, he was wearing gloves after all. You guessed it he lost his ring at an old Church near our house in the snow that night. There was no hope of finding that little gold band in all of that snow. In thirteen years of marriage that ring had not been off of his finger and now here he was with a naked ring finger on that left hand.

He went to work the next day and every female he came in contact with asked where his ring was and if we were separated. I guess nobody could imagine him just losing it or misplacing it, it had to be some catastrophic end to our marriage. My hubby is quite handsome and he is quite the catch if I do say so myself. Luckily we have relatives in the jewelry business and I set out to get him a new band ASAP!

We celebrated twenty-nine wonderful years together this year and the one thing that keeps us together is a good sense of humor. The hubbs went almost two weeks without a wedding band and I decided this band needed an inscription. I had his cousin put “I told you so” on the inside of his band. This is because I told him to leave his ring at home so he would not lose it in the snow.

Another shinning example of that gut feeling. . .

The gut really bothers me when it is in regard to my boys. It will sure enough get all tied up when there is something not right with them. One day when Sprat was about eight years old he had ridden his bike down the street to the neighbors to play. I was out working in the yard or playing with Big T in the yard when my gut got a little twangy. I looked down toward the neighbors where Sprat was playing and there were all the boys in the neighborhood lining up to do some dare devil stuff on their bikes. Off I went down the street right before Sprat was going to jump the driveway on his bike with a make shift ramp and everything.

Do not distress I did not embarrass him I told him I was going to take he and Big T for milkshakes or ice cream or something to that effect. He never knew the real reason I came to get him. Right after we left the neighborhood the next kid went to do the jump and crashed and broke his collar bone. Thank goodness for my gut.

I know boys will be boys but, if I have a gut feeling mine will not be doing those sorts of things. Not to say mine have not had their injuries over silly stuff they should not have been doing but when the gut rears it’s ugly head I react very quickly.

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Updates and New Recipes. . .

Updates on the Boys. . .

The boys are back in Massachusetts in school. Sprat starts his student teaching this semester so look out Yanks you are about to get educated in History with a Southern accent. I hope his teachers and students will not be too hard on him about his Southern drawl. Big T has changed his major and seems to be enjoying his classes so far.

Sprat was going to have his birthday after we took them to school so we decided to celebrate before they went back. We had a nice dinner and we went to a baseball game.

Big T hates having his picture taken by me so he intentionally frowns and makes ugly faces. His Daddy used to do that too when he was younger and still does sometimes. Sprat of course was thrilled to be out having a nice steak.
Uncle C was nice enough to take us out to the ballgame and some hotdogs and hamburgers.

Updates on the Home Front. . .

We had a bumper crop of Figs this year and I could not eat them fast enough. Decided to try my hand and caning, it was not too daunting, and they turned out fabulous. Canned them in three different batches and I did small batches only three pint jars at a time but it worked out great. I used equal part figs and sugar and added one lemon sliced and cooked for two hours before putting them in jars. This recipe did not call for any pectin and I liked that. We also had a great crop of cantaloupe and they were delish.

These are my figs cooking for my preserves

Stay Tuned, Work is a Little Crazy. . ..

Stay tuned, I know it has been awhile since I last posted but work is a little crazy and sleep is about all I do. Trying to get back on track with my eating plan and my exercise plan. I am trying some new recipes that I will be sharing and some new exercises too. Funny thing happens when all you do is eat, sleep, and work; you gain weight. Yuck! Not only do you gain weight but you feel bad too.

If you have these problems stay tuned I am going to try and get a handle on it, maybe you would like to share your story.

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How and Where Did You Meet Your Love?

How did you meet your love?

How did you meet your love/forever person? I have talked with the boys many times about how I met their dad, the love of my life. Do not remember how the subject came up the first time but since the boys have been in college we have talked about it more. Our story is not all that exciting but it is somewhat unique. In fact I was telling Big T about our second first date on the way back from dropping Sprat off at the airport the other day. It is always good that your kids know how much mom and dad love each other.

How we met. . .

Que the pomp and circumstance music as I had just graduated college and secured my first official job with my college degree. I would be working nights in a lab doing bench tests for doctor’s offices and hospitals. One of my good friends from college was working in this same lab so I felt pretty good about the whole thing. In fact we would be roommates until the hubbs and I were married. The night manager introduced me to my lab partner ( Hallmark sappy music ). Yes, it was my future husband and he was a strapping young man in his white lab coat. When I was introduced to him I reached out to shake his hand and yes, my heart dropped to the floor when our hands touched. (I am not making this up)

The Courtship. . .

Our Courtship was quite unique since we worked together, you really get to know the real person when you work with them ten hours a day. You cannot hide your true self in that situation. Our very first argument was over whether what I considered our first date was indeed our first date. According to my hubby it was not. I ask you, if the boy picks the girl up and takes her to a concert and boy pays for everything, is that not a date? The hubby does not believe this to be true and proceeded to announce it in front of everyone at work one night.

First fight, first date?

The hubby picked me up and we went to a concert and hubby did not believe this to be a date. To this day his idea of a date is a mystery to me. I was mortified in front of everyone when he announced that was not a date. It would be three months before there would be mention of a date again. The hubbs did ask me out for dinner and a movie, this was apparently his idea of a date. I was very excited because my heart did still skip a beat every time we were together even though he had made me furious earlier.

The Date. . .

He picked me up and we went to a local restaurant that offered horse and buggy rides out front. I had to stop and visit the horses for a bit before we went in for dinner. The restaurant was very crowded so we had a few drinks in the bar while we waited on our table. We enjoyed a wonderful meal and great conversation and he asked if I would like to go on a horse and buggy ride. I could have turned cartwheels I was so excited. No one had ever done anything so romantic for me. Our bill came and my dear hubby did not have enough money to pay the bill. Being the lady that I was raised to be I offered to help pay. I looked at him quite sadly and asked; does this mean I do not get my horse and buggy ride? He simply replied, No, we will have our horse and buggy ride.

The Horse and buggy

We drove to an ATM, this was before true debit cards and the hubby did not have a credit card, to get cash for the horse and buggy. It was quite chilly that night for a buggy ride but I would not have missed that for the world. We were the last ride before the precious horses were put to bed. They took us around town and had a blanket to wrap up in since is was quite cool. This is what my husband calls our first date and I guess I will go along with it. He is a true romantic after all.

Stay tuned you might hear more about our true romance. . .

The hubbs and I a few months before he popped the question.
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Do You Embarrass Your Children?

Do you embarrass your children?

Do you embarrass your children, apparently I do. According to my youngest my blog embarrasses him. So, I guess I will not mention him as much as I have in the past on my blog. The reason I blog is not to embarrass my kids but to remind them how much they were and are loved. I want them to be reminded of all the fun things we used to do when they were little. Like the water gun fights at the end of the school year, the many trips to the beach and to grandma’s house. The pictures I add so that they will always have those as well. In this digital age my paper photographs may get tossed out with the trash after I am gone.

I talk and write about my children all the time. . .

I talk and write about my children all the time. I love them and am so very proud of them, I guess I want everyone to know what great kids I have. My blog is sort of a diary/journal about motherhood, my struggles as a mom and my struggle raising two wild and crazy boys. The boy mom struggle is real, especially since I did not have younger siblings (nobody to practice on).

Apparently being a cheerleader is embarrassing too. . .

Apparently being a cheerleader for your kids is embarrassing also. Big T told the hubbs and I, at the first game we went to see them play, we could not yell and cheer for them. LOL!! The kid has no clue who his mama really is. I held my tongue and did not yell or holler for the boys during that first game and I looked around and all the other parents were yelling and cheering for their kids. I think I may have to pull the old, but all the other parents were doing it. Big T was really afraid I was going to embarrass him in front of his teammates and friends. Sprat did not care I guess with age he has realized us yelling/cheering is our sign that we love and care for them.

Mama is a cheerleader. . .

This mama is a cheerleader, I have cheered these two goofballs through all sorts of things. I cheered when they rolled over in the crib the first time, when they crawled, first steps, first teeth, eating solid food, first school day, last school day, report cards, and of course all sporting events. I am a Mom and that is what I do, I cheer on my kids. My cheering has nothing to do with embarrassing my kids, I do not really want to embarrass them but I guess sometimes I get over zealous. I have only been a cheerleader since I was old enough to walk, that is a hard habit to break.

My blog is essentially my way of telling stories. . .

My blog is my way of telling my boys stories of when they were younger and all the cool stuff we did with them. I want them to know how hard their daddy and I tried to make things cool and interesting while giving them a little education along the way. I want them to know all the funny things they said and did and how much they were and are loved.

Here is a picture of pancakes my hubby made. When the boys were little they always got their letter of their name on top of their pancakes. Even Basil and Frito got a letter to enjoy. This was last month when hubby decided to do breakfast for dinner.

Stay tuned as this crazy mommy journey continues with parenting adult children, the hubbs and the B. Oh and I am still a Cheerleader!

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I Have Learned so Much from My Kids. . .

My Children teach me something new daily.

My children taught me so much when they were little, they taught me: I could do great things with only two hours of sleep, I did not need a bath every day, and I could make a bed while they were in it and not wake them up. I also never knew I could love someone so much even before I knew who they were.

I went into pre term labor with Big T at 24 weeks and I was so scared. I had no idea what was going on. I never had true labor pains with Sprat. They induced me with him and had tremendous back labor but no true abdominal contractions. Big T was determined he was ready before we were, and he wanted OUT! Sprat had welded himself in and law, I would probably still be pregnant if they had not done the C section. They both showed me I was much stronger than I gave my self credit.

the hubbs, Sprat, and Frito reading a story before bed
Sprat and mommy at the Zoo, we made our picture at this same spot every time we went to the
zoo.


Big T celebrating a B day at pre school. Love those cheeks!
Big T feeding the baby calf
So we were supposed to be scared in this one but Sprat is obviously to cool for that.
Big T and I trying to stay warm at an early season Baseball game for Sprat
The boys reminded the Hubbs and I how to be kids again too. Big T Halloween Clown

As teenagers they taught me patience

Both boys tried my patience as teens, neither of them wanted to drive and I could not understand that. When I was learning to drive I looked for every opportunity to drive; going to the store for mom, and I even took up playing tennis just to be able to drive to the park. Prayer was my comfort during these years and I learned that they would drive when they were ready and that I should not push them. They were both about seventeen before they got their driver’s license.

Big T even got to get behind the wheel of my T Bird recently

Approaching their twenties and late teens. . .

Approaching their twenties and late teens I have enjoyed talking with the boys over different subjects. It seems life’s cruel joke is just when your kids get interesting and fun to hang out with and talk to they find their own lives and do not want to hang out with you. We try to stay connected to the boys as best we can, they are off doing their own thing and we are very proud of them.

Sprat did teach us some new stuff in the kitchen since he has been home from college. He had raved about the air fryer and the hubbs had points built up through his work and he got an air fryer. I was very apprehensive about it at first but I have to tell you it is very cool. Sprat is teaching us how to use it and new recipes to use in the air fryer. We have made: Brussel sprouts, broccoli, tater tots, chicken nuggets (homemade), falafel, and I made homemade mozzarella sticks. The mozzy sticks were the bomb! I love using the air fryer and things that would have really heated up my kitchen I can do in the air fryer really quickly and no over heating me.

Battered and headed to the freezer for an hour Mozzy sticks
Out of the air fryer and ready to eat Mozzy sticks

Stay tuned for more air fryer fun and recipes from King Arthur baking. . .

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Have You Ever Wanted to Make Your Fur Baby Homemade Treats?

I made the B some treats. . .

I made my sweet Basil some homemade doggy treats. We picked up a mix at the King Arthur baking company when we were in Vermont last month. This is a doggy biscuit mix and it came with a cute little doggy bone cookie cutter. Check out King Arthur baking company for this mix you can order online. Kingarthurbaking

These are my biscuits I made for the B

The B loved her Biscuits

The B loved her biscuits, she even came in the kitchen to help out as sous chef. These are vegetarian biscuits and very easy to make. According to the package no artificial colors or flavors and non GMO. This package made so many cookies that I froze most of them and they did beautifully. When I am ready to set some out for the week I just pull them out of the freezer and set them on the counter and the are thawed in a few hours. Before anyone has a fit about the possibility that this sweet baby is over fed, she gets small bites of the cookies. She does not eat a whole cookie at one time, it usually takes about a week to eat a whole cookie.

Basil loves her cookies, this face does not lie.
Basil is very happy with her new treats

Have you ever heard the term GWL?

Have you ever heard the term GWL? GWL stands for gifted word learner. Yes, Basil is a GWL, she knows many words and phrases of the English language. Cookie is by far her favorite word of the English language along with chicken, daddy, and let’s go out. She also knows that if I shout an expletive in the kitchen food is on the floor and she better hurry or it will be cleaned up. Basil also recognizes when the music on TV gets intense and she looks to see what is happening, prepared to defend us from what might be coming.

Our little GWL Basil

Stay tuned for more King Arthur recipes. . .

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Flash Back Friday. . .

Cue the 80’s music and White Rain hairspray

My Freshman year of College
Working at the Drug Store on the Fourth of July Senior Year High School
Sister, Mother, and myself at Christmas I think my Senior year High School
Me on one of Best days beside when my babies were born.
Junior year college and lots of hair spray
First job out of College in the lab, Hubby took this one, not knowing what his future held.

Have been rummaging through old photos of the kids and I. Decided I would share some oldies but goodies from back in the day. Feeling a little nostalgic after looking through everything. I realized that I love taking pictures of my kids and our pets. May have to share some of those later. I will leave you with one last winner, I did not take this one but it is my very sweet boy and me riding in the State Fair. Love and miss him so much he lived to the ripe old age of 40 + years and never had a bad day. He went home to the Lord on Easter Sunday 2010.

This was me and my sweet boy riding in 1983, Whew! that was a long time ago. This was in the paper before one of our local shows.
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How Does Our Garden Grow?

The hubby is getting our garden ready. . .

The hubbs has already started our garden and we have spinach and asparagus galore. I am loving the asparagus, he is of course being a little stingy with it so I do not cut it all. My favorite way to fix asparagus is to sautéed it in olive oil and a little balsamic vinegar with fresh garlic and onion.

This was my first offering of asparagus and I sautéed some spinach with it.
This is our spinach bed
Our sprigs of asparagus, this is our second year for them.

Spinach is very versatile. . .

Spinach is very versatile, I use it in salads, sautéed as a side, and I even add it to my smoothies in the morning. Yes, I add fresh and even some spinach that I froze to my smoothies in the morning. Spinach freezes beautifully and it is easy to add to smoothies this way. To freeze your fresh spinach; wash and spin it dry and then put it in a freezer safe baggie and pop in your freezer. My favorite spinach smoothie is: frozen or fresh pineapple, cherries, coconut water, fresh ginger, spinach, coconut flakes (unsweet), and protein powder. Blend well and enjoy.

Hubby Likes to Cook. . .

My hubby likes to cook as well as garden. Usually he sticks to the grill but sometimes he likes to get out the crockpot. He made an amazing roast the other day with dry ranch seasoning and dill pickles. I love pickles so this sounded great to me. We added some pickled jalapenos too for a little more zing. This cooked for about 6 hours on low and was delish. This roast is so tender it just falls off the fork.

Roast after we threw everything in the pot
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Easter Break with the Boys in MA. . .

Spent Easter Break with the boys

Drove up to Massachusetts after working the night before, I slept most of the way. Stopped at the casino at the Mohegan Sun at the Poconos to spend the night. The hubbs and I have not been to a casino since before Big T was born, in fact, Big T came home with us from Vegas. Yep, found I was expecting again only a month after our visit to the City of Bright Lights. We had a blast and the hubbs is one luck devil, he won that night and the next morning at the slots of all things.

The hubbs eating breakfast after his big win

We Did steal the boys away for a quick visit

We saw two good lacrosse games while we were visiting and went to dinner and lunch the next day with the boys. I did have another lobster roll but nothing will ever compare to that first one. Enjoyed chocolate truffles from Chocolate Therapy, these were handmade chocolate truffles that were divine.

My boys at lunch

We headed out to Montpelier, VT. . .

We headed out to Montpelier, VT that afternoon to do a little sight seeing. Stayed at a very quaint little hotel in downtown Montpelier, we parked our car and walked everywhere. Montpelier is the capital of Vermont and is the smallest State capital of any of the US capitals. I loved this little town, I could most definitely live there if it were not so very cold in the winter.

The Capital building across from our hotel
Coming in to Montpelier, VT

We had a day to sight see before the next game.

We had a day to sight see before the next lacrosse game and we drove to Norwich, VT to visit the King Arthur Baking Company. If you like to cook and or bake this is the place to visit. I had the best time shopping and the hubbs did not mind to much. He has told everyone that the Governor of VT was standing outside when we left to shake my hand because I had boosted the local economy. Check out their website http://shop.kingarthurbaking.com there will be more about what I purchased later in another post so stay tuned.

Took a ride to the Morse family maple syrup farm and that was great too. Check out their website to learn more about maple syrup http://morsefarm.com. There is a difference between real maple syrup and some of those brands sold in the stores. Look for 100% maple syrup not maple flavored syrup. We learned that it takes 40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of maple syrup.

Maple Syrup
Morse Family Farm Norwich, VT
The inner workings of the maple syrup farm

Last but not least we watched some good Lacrosse

We watched two good games of lacrosse this visit. Sadly, we lost both of them but the team played well. They are a young team and are just getting in their groove together. I see great things for this team in the next few years.

the line up to start the game
Big T in red and white facing off first play of the game against the #1 team in the conference. He won 3 face offs and we scored off one of those wins.
Big T
This is one of my favorite pictures of Sprat whispering words of wisdom in his opponents ear.
One of my favorites of Big T

Stay tuned for updates on our travels and recipes from King Arthur Flour company.

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Things I Learned in Boston. . .

Driving that fourteen hours is not easy

Driving fourteen hours in one day is not easy. It would most definitely be bad if you did not like the person you were trapped in the car with. Luckily I was trapped, I mean ridding with my hubby. He drives all the time for work so, he is a pretty good driver and does not tire of it quickly. I did pitch in for the last little bit of the drive home.

The Verve. . .

The Verve was the name of the hotel we stayed in this time. It was 80’s themed and it had some very cool 80’s memorabilia scattered throughout the hotel. There were old arcade games, an old phone booth, motorcycle, art, and 80’s music playing over the PA system in the hotel. There were a set of TV’s mounted to the wall playing 80’s commercials, these were hilarious. The Flintstones advertising Winston cigarettes, if you can believe that.

Pac Man, and yes it worked for .25 cent
My hubby playing Astroids in the lobby
this old telephone booth was in the lobby of the hotel too. It had the Terminator playing on the video screen.

Riding the T/ subway system in Boston is easy. . .

The hubbs and I rode the T into Boston one day while the boys were in class. Parking was easy but trying to buy that Charlie pass was a bear, especially if you do not know what your are doing. We were grateful to a very kind young man that helped us out. We were the country bumpkins come to the big city. Very proud of both the boys for mastering this mode of transportation, I am pretty sure I would not have been able to do it at their age. Once downtown Boston there was much to see. The architecture of the old buildings were beautiful. We walked down to the Aquarium and checked out the harbor.

My Devilishly handsome hubby
The infamous lobster roll, I have been waiting on this one since 2018

Now on to lacrosse. . .

We got to see two good games of lacrosse. They lost the first one but it was still a good game and they won the second game in high fashion. It was great watching this young team come together. I have high hopes that Big T will be off the injured list soon and hopefully get in the game. There are a few on the injured list and I hope they will be back and game ready soon also.

Sprat #55 pole white shirt
My motley crew
Sprat in #55 Burgundy. thankful for local parents to snap these pictures.
I think this one is my favorite of Sprat
Big T on the sidelines due to injury

Wrap up. . .

We had a wonderful time getting to meet the boys’ friends, teammates, and families. So thankful for the local parents taking care of the team. Heading back up for two more games and we hope to see Big T on that field. It would be fabulous to see brother D poles on that field.

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Have You Ever Wanted to Make Your Own Meatballs?

Homemade Meatballs. .

Homemade meatballs, I am not talking about those tiny little ping pong balls you get in the freezer section of your grocery store. I am talking about lacrosse ball size meatballs. Homemade sauce with these great big beauties that I mix and roll by hand. To make your sandwich you have to cut these gorgeous things in half to put them on the bread.

How about some sauce for those meatballs. .

Only homemade tomato sauce will do for these beautiful gems. I love when our garden over produces tomatoes, because I can make sauce and freeze it for later. This past season we had an abundance of tomatoes and peppers and the hubbs decided to roast them and blend them for sauce. Great idea and very tasty. Saute some fresh garlic, very important to use fresh garlic, it has much more flavor than the powdered stuff. The essential oils are very beneficial too. I saute in olive oil and a little white wine, once your garlic is smelling your house up add your sauce. If you do not have homemade sauce add a couple cans of your favorite brand of sauce, it does not hurt to add some tomato paste too.

I like to season my sauce with: cumin, thyme, oregano, cilantro, onion powder, dry mustard, and a little rosemary. If you need a little liquid you can add: water, vegetable broth or beef broth. I used vegetable broth for my most recent batch and they were wonderful. Let this simmer for a bit while you mix up your seasoning for the meatballs.

The Balls. . .

I used 2 lbs ground beef, I like to use a more lean beef. 1 cup breadcrumbs, 1 egg beaten, splash of milk, 2 tbs parsley, 2 tsp garlic powder (yes I use powder in the meat), 2 tsp onion powder and mix well by hand. Form into Lacrosse/ tennis ball size meatballs.

The cook. . . Slowly on the Traegar. . .

Heat your Traegar up to 150 degrees once heated place your pan ( I use an aluminum foil pan) on your grill uncovered for an hour. I do baste a little bit of sauce so the balls do not dry out. By leaving them uncovered you allow the smoke flavor to really permeate the meat. After the initial hour of cooking I pour my sauce over the meat balls and cover my pan with foil. Turn up your heat on the grill to 225 and cook for 6-8 hours.

These beauties getting ready to go on the grill for six hours or so

How Do you Serve your Meatballs?

I like to serve my meatballs on french bread toasted. I put my oven on broil and toast my bread for a bit to dry it out. Once the bread is starting to get some color I pull it out of the oven and rub the bread with a piece of peeled garlic. This is better than garlic butter. Place a piece of your favorite cheese on your bread. The hubbs likes swiss and I like fresh mozzarella. Cut your meatball in half and place them on top of your cheese then pop your sandwich open faced back in the oven on broil for a bit longer. This last bit in the oven is to finish the browning of your bread and to melt your cheese.

This is an old picture but is what my meatball subs look like.
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My Healthy Journey Continues. . .

Let’s talk about food. . .

What we put into our bodies has everything to do with our health. I have been on this good health journey for several years. Trying different foods and adding supplements here and there. I was telling my husband one day about the Mediterranean people and what they eat and how they are so much more healthy because of what they eat. This is how the Mediterranean diet came in to fashion, it is not a “diet” like weight watchers but is a healthy way of eating a lifestyle. His response was; “they also walk and ride bikes everywhere they go, they are more active than people in the US.” This is very true, you have to not only change your eating but increase your activity in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Let’s talk inflammation. . .

Inflammation is the body’s way of fighting off infection and healing injuries, this is good inflammation. There is inflammation that happens without infection and injury and that is not good. This is the kind of inflammation that contributes to heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and even Alzheimer’s. This inflammation is the one I am fighting every day through diet and exercise.

My Health Scare. . .

I had a little bit of a scare several years ago when my vision suddenly went “wonky” and I went to the doctor because they thought I was having a stroke or something. Very thankful and fortunate that was not the case but my blood work came back showing inflammation. I had noticed some joint swelling, tightness and soreness in the months prior to my little scare so I decided to do my research into how to eat and exercise my way out of this pickle.

I love to eat. . .

Let’s face it we all love to eat, I am no different. I also enjoy cooking and trying new recipes so I have been reading a lot on the Mediterranean and anti-inflammatory diets. My protein smoothie is my go to breakfast and in my research I found that pineapple and cherries are top anti-inflammatory fruits. This is where I began making my smoothie with frozen fruit instead of juice. The most fabulous protein smoothie recipe: frozen pineapple, cherries, blueberries, fresh ginger, coconut water, shredded coconut (unsweet), and my vegetarian protein powder and blend. When our garden is in season I add fresh beets to my smoothie. I can tell a difference in my joints when I do not have my pineapple smoothie. Since I have been following this diet and adding exercise I have not had another episode with my vision.

I had much rather eat good food and take vitamins than take medicine. Growing up we did not eat out hardly at all and we rarely ate fried food. Mom always had a garden and we ate what she grew. I firmly believe that is the key to health and longevity. All of the anti-inflammatory diet information I have read is basically eat like your grandparents. Fast food is the devil!

Recipe. . .

This is a new recipe I tried, Sweet Potato frittata, I found this in; The Complete Anti-Inflammatory Diet for Beginners by Dorothy Calimeris and Lullu Cook. I have changed the recipe around a little.

  • large sweet potato peeled and chopped into 1 inch pieces
  • 1T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small red onion chopped
  • 1tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 8 large eggs beaten

pre heat oven 375 and recipe says use cast iron skillet I used a stone baking dish and brushed with oil added sweet potatoes and onion and drizzled olive oil and baked. Recipe says bake 10-15 mins mine actually took about 40 mins in the oven before my potatoes were fork tender. Add your thyme and top with your beaten eggs and cook for about 15 minutes. Eggs should be firm with a slight jiggle. Let cool 5 mins then serve.

Sweet potato frittata

Stay tuned for more Mediterranean and anti-inflammatory recipes. . .

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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.