Fab Friday Five - VACAY NEEDED

If this morning was any indication as how to how the remainder of my day will be, then I'm screwed.  I opened up Aria's car door at daycare (7 minutes early I might add) only to discover that I had forgotten her sneakers on the living room floor.  Sure, I've got plenty of Crocs in the car, but they're not allowed at school.  I quickly called my boss (and subsequently woke her up) and informed her of the situation...I'm pretty sure she chuckled at me...then I drove to the other side of town to go to my parent's house and grab a pair of Aria's shoes there as it was closer than driving all the way back to Grovetown.  Upon arrival, I struggled with the locks because, unfortunately for me, my key wouldn't even go in the stupid things.  So I got back in the car, started out the driveway, and called dad to find out if he had changed the locks when he was screwing with the locks not too long ago.  He hadn't changed the locks, but found it odd that my key wouldn't fit.  As I got ready to put my car back in drive after having reversed all the way out of the driveway, I realized my problem:  I was using MY house key on MY PARENTS house.  Dad's laughing, I'm trying to figure out how to get the phone to switch back from the bluetooth in the car to the actual phone itself so I can get back out and try the appropriate key to get in the damn house (after finding the magic sweet spot because the locks are ridiculous) so I can grab Aria's shoes and head back to school!  Needless to say....my 7 minutes early turned into 30 minute late.  Stupid shoe rule!

I was so flustered I realized I had forgotten my lunch in the car and had to turn around and get it steps before entering the building.

From this, Aria and I have created a new routine:  when she gets home from school on a day that Dave picks her up, she's to take her shoes off and immediately take them upstairs to place on her bed rail where I put her clothes for the next morning.  I'm also contemplating keeping an extra pair of sneakers in the car just in case!

Anyway...I've decided that I SERIOUSLY need a weekend away BY MYSELF!  No kid...no husband...no anything.  Just me, a comfy bed, a place all to myself with no chores, a bottle of wine, and a book.  
Yep, that's exactly what I need.  

Wanderlust has been high on my Pinterest searches again this week....no specific locations listed today...just beautiful pictures.  None of them are mine, I must say...but you can visit my travel Pinterest board for the specific links to the pictures.

Coincidentally, three of these pictures are from Greece (Santorini and Mykonos)....I'll get there one day!

sit and reflect.

Santorini, Greece

✮ Wooden Steps going down to the Beach and the Sunset

Santorini, Greece---Will renew our vows here in 2 more years at 20 years of marriage. Can't wait. It's been too long.

Mount Rainier reflected in Tipsoo Lake at sunset, Washington (by alan howe )

And one more for good measure....

Caldera steps, Oia, Santorini , Greece


1/2 Healthy

Of the six lives that are in my household, only three of us are "healthy".

Dave had testicular cancer (and will be going for another CT scan next month, FYI).
Fifi (the cat) has asthma and requires quarterly-ish prednisone shots.
And now Sophie (the dog) has cataracts and could soon be on her way to glaucoma.

She went to the vet last week Thursday for a chronic rash that we've been unable to get rid of.  She was chewing and licking on her paws (completely unheard of for her) until they were red and raw and her eyes (which are always PRISTINE) turned bright red and developed a brownish colored crust accompanied by mild hair loss on her forehead (thanks to scratching).  She's always had sensitive skin, but anything we see on her typically clears up on it's own in a few days...this had been going on for nearly two months (the ear thing was new).  Hypoallergenic wipes seemed to soothe her, but didn't get rid of the problem and a hydrocortisone spray seemed to relieve the chewing, but only for a few days.  So off to the vet we went!

Turns out, she had environmental summer allergies (which started the itching and chewing).  The itching and chewing opened up the skin enough for bacteria to enter.  Bacteria weakened the immune system enough for a fungal infection to move into her ears.  So my poor baby got sent home with an antibiotic, anti-fungal ear drops, steroid, and medicated wipes.  On top of that, she got her annual checkup and vaccines, so her poor little legs were so sore she could barely walk up the stairs (a common thing for her after shorts...her legs are just little).  Since then, it's been steroids twice a day (switch to once a day today), ear drops once a day, antibiotic once a day, and wipes once a day...for the next two weeks.

Her ears are looking great and back to their normal light pink color.  Her feet are slowly healing and she's chewing and licking on them much less.


We noticed on Thursday that her left eye was looking cloudy...like an old dog.  The vet didn't mention anything about it that day.  It has steadily gotten worse since then.  Dave called the vet yesterday to find out if he could bring her back in on Wednesday (his only day off this week).  They said if there wasn't any sort of drainage, whatever it was could wait until Wednesday...but if she developed any kind of drainage, she needed to come in immediately.  Naturally, when Dave got home yesterday, poor Soph Soph's left eye was swollen and crusty and goopy and she could barely keep it open.  Back to the vet!

The crusty goopy yuck was most likely caused by the infection...something related to the illness got into her eye and irritated it.  There was no corneal scratch or any other abrasion-related injury present.  They did a pressure test on her eyes and noted that the right eyes was "15" and the left eye was "21."  Then he looked in her eyes with the light and noticed that my poor baby has cataracts in both eyes, the left eye worse than the right.  The kicker here is the pressure.  A pressure of 21 is on the high end of normal and is of concern to the vet.  He wants to monitor it closely as pressure that gets too high will lead to glaucoma.  He also will refer us to a Veterinary Ophthalmologist in Athens (he said "the cheaper one is in Columbia, the better one is in Athens") to get a better handle on exactly what is going on and to make a plan of action that will mostly likely lead to surgery to remove one or both of the cataracts if she's a good candidate.

She's in the rare group of dogs that gets cataracts before the age of five.  She was apparently predisposed from birth as her eyesight has always sucked.  She has NEVER caught food in her mouth (literally, we've never seen it) and she won't jump up on the bed at night until we turn a light on for her.

Because she's so young, doing surgery to remove the cataracts was a pretty easy decision.  We've discussed it with the vet and decided that we may opt to only correct the one cataract (the worse one) and let the other eye just run it's course.  Full eyesight in one eye is plenty for a dog, the vet said, especially because we don't use her for any type of work or anything.  She already can't catch anything in her mouth and needs a little guidance getting on to the bed, so having vision in only one eye won't be much different.  The surgery is very costly, so we'll most likely just be able to do one eye.  Maybe at a later date in a few years we can look at doing the other one.

We'll learn more when we go back on Saturday for another eye pressure test.  Until then, we've got eye drops to give her every day (three times a day) along with the rest of all her medicines.

Needless to say, my poor pup got rewarded with a cheeseburger for dinner last night and was ultra happy about it!  She also got a few bites of Aria's burger and some of Aria's fries, too....and half a bag of treats that Aria gave her while helping with the medicine.  That dog wasn't hurting for love, that's for sure!

Sophie was my baby that I got when I was unable to have the baby I wanted.
She filled a void that I was unable to fill until I found her.
This whole thing just broke me.

Soph Soph's first picture on her first day with us!


My Magnum Opus

I know it's Friday and I'm supposed to bore you with five things I've found on Pinterest this week.  But, surprisingly enough, I haven't actually been there all week long!

I made that cheesecake for Dave's birthday...and let me tell you...that thing was a bitch!  It wasn't exactly hard, but very tedious.  It required lots of time and lots of precision and I learned lots of lessons!  That thing was my baby...my magnum opus...and unfortunately I made it so well that Dave wants it more often.  He even said I should make another one this weekend for the fam (I might not get to it this weekend, though....it was a pain in my rear!)

((see my FAB FRIDAY FIVE - CHOCOLATE post for the link to the recipe))

Baked Oreo cookie crust
I remembered as I pulled the crust out of the oven that I had wanted to take pictures of my progress...so we're starting here at the already baked crust.  Before this happens you have to struggle a little with your spring-form pan because, for some magical reason, the bottom won't line up with the grooves the first 4 times you try to close it.  Also, prior to baking your crust, go ahead and wrap the bottom and up the sides about halfway with foil.  You'll see why later. (the recipe, I might add, doesn't say to do this....so this was a lesson I learned the hard way).  Anyway...at 8 minutes, the crust was a little over-done for me, so I'll do it for 6 minutes next time.

4 softened blocks of cream cheese
The recipe calls for 2 pounds of cream cheese...that's 4 blocks.  Let them sit out on the counter for a few hours...they should be real soft...super soft.  Also, I had to google this because I always struggle with deciding which attachment I'm supposed to use on my stand mixer....use the paddle attachment, not the whip.

melted chocolate, cocoa powder, 4 eggs, powdered sugar
Your eggs should be room temp (same as the cream cheese).  I'm horrible at cracking eggs.  Without fail, 1 out of every 4 eggs will be a mess.  I also have to fish egg shells out of the eggs every time because, well, like I said, I'm horrible at cracking eggs.  Because I know this about myself, I always crack my eggs into a separate (dark) bowl rather than the bowl I'm working in.  It's just easier that way.  You need 10 oz of bittersweet chocolate, chopped.  The bars of Ghirardelli bittersweet are 4 oz for about $2.80, but the bags of bittersweet chips are 10 oz for about $3.50.  Buy the bag.  Toss it in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time, stirring at each interval.  If you've never melted chocolate before, here's a tip:  chocolate holds it shape when melted until disturbed.  So don't take it out, look at it, decide it still looks like chips, and toss it back in.  Actually stir it.  And use oven mitts...that bowl will be HOT!

Ready to bake!!
Once everything is all mixed together, it will be thick...real thick.  It'll be difficult to pour.  Pour into your pan (with crust still in it) and smoosh it around to be smooth.  I apparently sucked at that, as is evident in the picture above.  Also, tap your pan on the counter a few times (kind of hard) to dislodge any air bubbles.  If you don't do this, you'll end up with a hole in your cheesecake that you had no idea was there....also learned this from experience.  Plan time for the baking...it bakes for an hour.

Fresh out of the oven 
The recipe said an hour to an hour ten minutes.  I baked mine for an hour, decided it was done, and took it out.  It had cracks, y'all.  Not a big canyon, but definite cracks.  Because it was still hot, it was still puffed up, so I could see the cracks around the edges.   That crack in the middle there...that happened after it cooled.  Those cracks, however, were small enough that I knew the ganache topping would erase them from existence.  Something else that wasn't in the recipe:  put the pan (wrapped in foil...hint hint) in a shallow pan with some water in it.  This is called a water bath.  The water not only helps to keep the temperature around the cake even, but also adds some moisture into the air to lessen the chance of cracks across the top.  Before putting it in the fridge for night, run a thin knife between the cake and the pan to release it from the sides.

Puddle of grease
Remember in the crust picture when I told you to go ahead wrap your pan in foil?  This is why.  The spring-form pan is not...NOT...leak proof.  Cream cheese has a fair amount of oil in it.  When baked, that oil looks for a place to go.....like the vulnerable bottom of the pan!  After I put the cheesecake in the oven, I took Aria upstairs for bedtime.  She went back downstairs to tell Dave night night, came running back up and said that she could smell the cheesecake and it smelled good!  So of course, as I'm walking down the stairs I'm waiting for the sweet aroma of chocolate cheesecake to fill my nostrils.  Instead, I'm greeted with the smell of smoke and burnt oil.  What the hell?!  I go to the kitchen, which is smoky, turn on the oven light, and notice that the entire oven is full of smoke!  My thermometer was still reading 350, so I knew the oven wasn't burning too hot or anything.  As I removed the cheesecake from the oven when it was done, I noticed a few drops coming off the bottom of the pan.  That's when I saw it:  the puddle of oil at the bottom of my oven (that says, no doubt, "do not use foil on bottom" so cleanup is NOT a breeze).  I had found the source of the smoke ...but was infuriated that now I had to clean my oven before dinner tomorrow and I was extra nervous that the cheesecake would taste like smoke and burnt oil.  So lesson learned:  wrap the pan in foil and place in a pan of water...the foil will catch the oil, and if it doesn't, the pan of water will!

Making the ganache
Making ganache is actually easier than the name suggests.  It's just heavy whipping cream and chocolate melted and stirred together on the stovetop.  Invest in a heat-proof non-metal whisk (if you have non-stick pots)..,it'll come in handy here!  I made this the next day after the cheesecake had sat in the fridge overnight (still in the pan!) and properly cooled.  Let the ganache cool on the counter top before pouring over your cheesecake.  After you pour it on, use an offset spatula to spread and flatten it out.  Spread it all the way to the edge of the cake until it drips down the side.  When your cake cooled, it should have constricted and pulled away from the sides a bit leaving a small gap for the ganache to fall in.

Finished product
So after you've let that bad boy cool in the fridge again, it's time to serve it (or garnish it and then serve it).  To be honest, I think I would have preferred to leave it like this.  It's just so pretty and shiny!  Go ahead and release your spring-form pan and pull that bad boy off.  Ta da...a cheesecake!

I put chocolate curls on mine, but I'm not sure what sort of crazy hybrid chocolate bars people use to make curls, but my curls were teeny tiny.  AND...when you shave all your curls onto a styrofoam plate, and then pick up the plate to dump on top of your dessert, there's some crazy static field that pulls all your chocolate shavings off and onto your work surface.  So keep that in mind!

This bad bay was super rich and decadent, but not in a sickeningly sweet sort of way.  One piece is too much for me.  Just too much.  It got Dave's seal of approval, though! (And of course Aria loves it!)

Have a great weekend, folks!


Fab Friday Five - CHOCOLATE (mmm!)

I've spent an awful lot of time lately looking at dessert recipes (check out my dessert board on Pinterest!!) in hopes of finding two PERFECT recipes for Dave's birthday next week.  Yes, I'm making him TWO birthday desserts....he's so spoiled!  He first asked for a chocolate cheesecake, and then later decided that he didn't want to share it with anybody, so I had to make another dessert to bring to birthday dinner to share.  He chose chocolate cream pie.  So I'll be buying an awful lot of chocolate at the store this weekend!

Naturally, knowing that I'm baking with a lot of chocolate this weekend, all I can think about is...you guessed it...chocolate!

If you are a real chocoholic, love cheesecake and are an Oreo addict, then there is only one solution for you, the decadent Triple Chocolate Cheesecake with Oreo Crust.
Get the recipe >> HERE
So this beauty is the cheesecake I've decided to make for my man's birthday.  Holy moly...look at it! It's got an Oreo crust, chocolate cheesecake filling, chocolate ganache topping, and chocolate curls on the very tip top.  OH MAN HE'S GOING TO LOVE IT!  I've recently discussed my *difficulty* with cheesecakes and the canyons that form when baking them goes awry.  But I'm going to give it another shot...maybe I'll even take pictures and post a "how-to" entry.......maybe.  If you don't see one, you know it was a disaster!

Chocolate Cream Pie recipe
Epicurious' Chocolate Cream pie >> recipe HERE
This chocolate cream pie will be the "shareable" dessert for Dave's birthday.  The pudding in the middle is home-made....the cream on the top is home-made...and, of course, you can't go wrong with an Oreo crust!  Actually, it uses chocolate wafers, but I don't know where to buy them (I've never seen them at Kroger), so unless I happen to stumble upon them, Oreos it is!  One for me....one for the crust... and so on and so on :)

Smash 1 pack Oreos, add 1 block cream cheese, form balls, dip in melted chocolate. Do it with mint oreos
Oreo Truffles >> recipe HERE
OK folks...this one I've actually made...and made it a LOT!  It's so easy and generally already messy, so even kids can help.  All you need is a package of Oreos, a food processor, a block of cream cheese, and chocolate (white or brown) meant for melting/dipping.  Pulverize the Oreos in the processor until they are the consistency of dirt...a super fine dirt.  The finer, the better!  In a bowl, combine the Oreo dirt with a block of softened cream cheese and mix it together with a hand mixer until it looks like mud...super tasty mud.  Next, scoop out spoonfuls of the mixture and roll out into balls (this is where it gets messy...MESSY) and place on a wax-paper lined pan.  This is great for the kids because it doesn't matter what size they balls are...so if your kid is making smaller balls than you made, no big deal!  Melt the chocolate (in a microwave...or on the stove if you're an over-achiever), plop the balls in a few at a time, make sure they're covered completely in chocolate, then fish them out and put back on the wax paper tray.  Put in the fridge to cool for a few hours...and voila! The texture is wonderful (hence why I said "The finer, the better") and they taste like little balls of chocolate Heaven!  Leave them in the fridge, though...they'll start to get melty if left out for too long.

recipe >> HERE
I realize this may be hard for some people to wrap their head around, but hear me out!  I've recently discovered (like, in the last two years) that I really enjoy goat cheese (especially when it's warm and creamy in texture).  I used to HATE goat cheese!  In fact, I hated to eat lasagna because I said the ricotta cheese in it looked like it came out of a goat and was just "sooo gross".  I now know the difference between goat cheese and ricotta cheese, and find both quite tasty.  Anyway, goat cheese is really tangy in flavor and can be really overpowering, so it needs to be paired with something sweet and equally fierce in flavor so both ingredients can stand out.  Case in point:  goat cheese and raspberries.  Both very strong flavors that, when paired together, will compliment each other making for a scrumptious combo.  And of course...combine both ingredients with chocolate...yum!  If you're feeling adventurous, give this try....and let me know how it was before I attempt it!

Quick and Dirty Chocolate Espresso Cinnamon Rolls
Quick and Dirty Chocolate Espresso Cinnamon Rolls >> recipe HERE
But Allysa, I thought you said this entry was about chocolate...what's with the cinnamon rolls?  DUH, there's chocolate in them, calm down!  The owner of this recipe (Joy the Baker) has my FAVORITE blog!  I've got so many of her things pinned and have both of her cookbooks on my Amazon wish list!  She makes such tasty looking things with such beautiful pictures.  Seriously, go check her out >> I'm not kidding, click on this link!  These cinnamon rolls are filled with espresso powder (you can leave it out if you're not into that), cinnamon + sugar, cocoa powder, and chocolate chips.  I'm not going to lie, I would use mini chocolate chips and I'd definitely toss more in than she did.  Bake them up, drizzle with some glaze...and look, chocolate for breakfast :)

If you didn't have a chocolate craving going into this, I bet you do now!  You're welcome!  Have a great weekend and send me good vibes for my cheesecake that I'm both excited about and dreading at the same time!


BOOK REVIEW: The Luckiest Girl Alive + The Best of Me

I've been listening to/reading a LOT of different books lately.  My problem has been, however, that I'm getting bored somewhere in them and it's taking me so much longer to finish each one.

I WAS reading In Her Shoes at work during lunch, but put it aside to read JAWS during Shark Week (I LOVE Shark Week).  In the midst of that, I had attempted to listen to Never Let Me Go on Audible, but it was just moving too slow for me (and I don't care for the narrator) and had to leave it for a while.  I also started to listen to Broken Dreams, but it's getting a bit ridiculous and had to leave it for a bit, too.

BUT...I did manage to get through two books recently...
one was pretty great and the other was so predictable that it quite pissed me off.


Saw this one mentioned in a blog post over at Bubblegum Chic and I thought to myself:  yep, that sounds like something I should be reading!

It's been compared to Gone Girl, and I guess it is sort of similar in that the lead character is a bit of nut job (actually, she's a HUGE nut job)...but in this story, we learn WHY she is the way she is...as opposed to Gone Girl where the woman is just bat-shit crazy for no reason.

At first glimpse, you're thinking "Geez, this lady's a stuck-up, shallow, rich bitch", but then once you get to know her and learn the events that led up to her current life, eventually you change you're opinion to "Geez, this lady's a stuck up, shallow, bitch...but at least she's legit!"

It gets dark and dreary...and then it gets darker.  There are some hard-hitting issues in this book that some of the reviewers on Amazon said "exploit this nation's tragedies"....but it's a novel...a work of fiction..so get over it!

Right in the first chapter, you get a sense of this woman's inner monologue (and the fun writing):
"Bickering.  It's so much uglier than a heated, dish-smashing fight, isn't it?  At least after that you have sex on the floor of the kitchen, shards bearing the braid of the Louvre pattern weaving an imprint on your back.  No man feels very much compelled to rip your clothes off after you inform him, bitchily, that he left one lone turd floating in the toilet."

A great read, a great story.  Pick this one up, you'll enjoy it!  

(SIDE NOTE:  There's a LOT of foul language in it...so if you get the audio book, do NOT listen to it in the car with your kids!)

I'm a sucker for Nicholas Sparks.  But I tend to prefer the movies over the books because the books tend to get a little...too much, you know what I mean?  

I can handle predictable movies...I cannot handle predictable books.  This particular book was predictable.  It was so plainly obvious what would happen to the two main characters (long lost lovers reunited...surprise surprise Mr. Sparks) and it was even more obvious once the end came near as to what would transpire.  I remember even telling a coworker of mine that if the book ended the way I suspected it was going to end, I'd be pissed.  Well guess what? I was pissed!  It ended exactly how I knew it would.  Stupid book.  

The movie, by the way, was different than the book, but ultimately the same outcome.  Cute movie...but if you've read the book, no need to see the movie.  The movie was, in my opinion, a let down...not the actor's fault...I was already biased to not liking the story.

I'll let you know about JAWS when I finish it.  I'm telling you now, there are definitely weird things in the book that are not in the movie (thankfully).  


Fab Friday...One

OK, so I know it's Friday and I'm supposed to give y'all five things.  But I'm just going to give you one thing today (because I'm LAZY).  I'm making this for dinner tonight (picture taken in Kitchen de Makler) and it is DELISH!  I don't even like tomatoes...but I went back for more tomatoes :)

The recipe I found online had the chicken and tomatoes served over some sort of linguine.  Well, I don't like long pasta (I hate to slurp noodles), so I didn't use that...I used orzo.  Let me tell you, that stuff was a pain in my ass!  It stuck to my mesh strainer and then hardened itself like rice and I had to scrape it to get it off.  So yeah...I won't be making that again.

But tonight I'll be making it with....some other sort of noodle (I honestly can't remember what I bought)...and it will be phenomenal!

A couple tips about cooking this......
1.  Don't skimp on the garlic....you cannot have enough garlic!
2.  When it comes to basil....see tip #1!
3.  Cut your chickens in half so they're thinner because otherwise this will take way longer to cook than the suggested 8-10 minutes.
4.  Use little cherry/grape tomatoes and cut 'em in half...the skin on every piece is nice to have.
5.  Maybe this is common sense, but I didn't know it....place the chicken in the oil AWAY from you so that when the oil splatters all over, it doesn't actually splatter on you!

So without further ado.....

Tomato Basil Chicken 

  • 2 chicken breasts, sliced in half
  • kosher salt + black pepper
  • 2 T. EVOO
  • 2 C. cherry/grape tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 2 t. minced fresh garlic (or more...so much more....)
  • 4T. cold butter
  • 1/2 C. fresh basil, cut into ribbons (more or less is fine)
  • Freshly grated parm / romano / asiago (or just use the pre-shredded stuff from the store)

  • Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper.
  • Add olive oil to skillet (large skillet) and crank up the heat to high
  • Once oil is HOT (like, smoking hot) add the chicken breasts and cook about 4-5 minutes per side (or more or less depending on the size of your chickens)
  • Add the tomatoes, basil, butter, garlic, and more salt and pepper, stirring together to "marry" the ingredients
  • Now that your chicken is done, turn down the burner and let everything settle in and get cozy together
  • When the sauce has thickened to your liking, you're finished...yay!
  • Cut it into chunks and serve over pasta...or really, just eat it however you want with whatever you want.  If you like healthy things you'll probably pick more vegetables to have with it....more power to you, but I'm sticking with pasta!

Have a good weekend, folks, and make this meal...soon....I promise you'll thank me for it!


Life Lessons

I was reading something yesterday about friendships and letting people go.  We've all had those friends that ..... try....us.  And tons of people look at those friends after a certain occurrence and say that they just can't do it anymore and they let that person go.  They "wash their hands of them", so to speak.  They find a way to shut that person out of their life and pretend they never existed...saying "I don't care what happens to them."  Some people can do that...I can't.  Most who know me know that I'm not the "letting go" type.  I can't just shut a person out of my life, no matter what has transpired in the past.

The reason  for this is because I hold people close to my heart.  Whether a close friend, a significant other, or just an acquaintance, people mean a lot to me.  Every person that has touched my life has taught me something....how can somebody just let go of that and pretend another human being never existed?  I even still care about my past boyfriends....not because I'm some weird creeper who just can't move on, but because I genuinely care about who they are now and what they've made of themselves.


All this got me thinking about people in my past.  What surprises me the most is how many lessons I've learned from people in my life, especially those lessons learned from people other than family. I've learned a LOT of lessons from a lot of people over the years.

My friends from high school taught me...
Popularity doesn't matter....the quality of people you choose to surround yourself with is what matters
No matter what, there's ALWAYS time for creativity...art, dance, and music are in all of us
There's no shame in being book-smart (and it's OK to whine about not getting all the extra credit on a Mr. Manly test)
Be yourself, all the time...don't waste your time on being somebody else...that person sucks anyway
Being a mean girl is no fun and often times ends up hurting you as much as the person you hurt
Love who you love...we're all just people....same as everyone else...religion, race, and gender aren't recognized by the heart
Hold your friends close, for you never know when they may leave this life

In college, my friends taught me...
Judgments you passed in high school have no place in the real world
Girls don't pay for their own .... herbs
The person you thought you were and the goals you thought you had can always be changed
It's a perfectly natural thing to have more than one "love of your life"

Even each of my relationships taught me something...
The boy in high school who I was so enamored with (because I still couldn't believe that he picked me) that I was too terrified to kiss him for fear that I didn't know how taught me that when you sit back in your fears instead of being brave and just going for it, you end up losing something that may (or may not) have been great.

The boy I met through friends at work the summer before my senior year of high school taught me that sometimes its OK to break rules...that this life we have can only be lived once and sometimes you've just got to do what you want, with who you want, without fear of the consequences.  He also taught me that Savannah is way more fun without parents...and a movie and cheeseburger from Huddle House are the perfect ways to unwind from a busy night scooping ice cream for the masses.

The brother of a boy I worked with taught me that there is a difference between breaking my parent's rules and flat-out disrespecting my parents.  He also taught me that sometimes the bad boy isn't all that bad and standards can be changed from "I would never date a guy who smokes" to "yes he smokes, but that's not who he is...that's just something he does."

The boy I dated for three years after high school taught me that the grass is not always greener on the other side...and once you go looking, just to check it out and see for yourself, you've changed and can't come back.  He also taught me that hurt, deception, and mistrust are two-way streets...so don't dish it out if you can't take it.  Heartbreak is a hard lesson to learn...it's even harder to learn once you grow up and realize that you did the breaking first and the outcome was ultimately your fault and you should never have behaved the way you did...not during...not after.  This boy humbled me and taught me to get over myself.  He also taught me that its OK to play around and have fun, even when you're an adult.

The man I married has taught me the most about myself than anybody else.  He has taught me that I matter.  He has taught me that I'm STRONG.  That no matter what life throws at me, I will find a way to persevere.  I have the ability to push through even the hardest of circumstances and come out on the other side.  I may be slightly weathered and beaten when I come through it, but I will come through nonetheless!  He has taught me to trust in myself and in my abilities.  He still can't manage to teach me self-esteem, but he tries...often.

Pay attention to the people in your life, folks.  
Those people are teaching you things without you even realizing it.
You'll see it one day...just you wait and see!

Value Of A Moment


Convos With My Kid

My child has been extra inquisitive lately, which, of course, isn't really different from any other day. 
 Pair that with her normal loquacious self...and you get a 4 year old little girl going on 25 (also knowN as MY CHILD).

A Lesson on Growing Up
A:  Mommy, when I grow up, I'm going to have to move.  I'm not going to live in this house anymore because I'll be a grown up.  But I'm still going to live in this neighborhood, OK?  Maybe I'll even be one of your neighbors!
M:  Well that's nice honey, I'd love for you to be one of my neighbors.
A:  But you know...I have to find an empty spot first.  I have to find an empty spot to live on and then build a house on it.  So I might not be able to live in this neighborhood and be your neighbor.  But I'll be able to live in Matt and Graham's neighborhood.  So whenever you come visit me, you can visit Matt and Graham, too!
M:  Well OK...that would be nice, too!

A Lesson on Likes and Dislikes
A:  What are we having for dinner?
M:  Spaghetti and meatballs.
A:  Well mommy, I'm not going to eat that.  I don't like spaghetti and meatballs.
M:  OK dear...
A:  I'll just have plain noodles with no sauce, some meatballs with no sauce, and some melty cheese on top.  Lots and lots of melty cheese!!
M:  So you want spaghetti and meatballs but with no sauce?
A:  Yes!  I LOVE spaghetti and meatballs!

Lessons on Learning that Mommy IS NOT as Smart as She Thought She Was
A:  Mommy, why is the sun pink today?  I thought the sun was way up in space and was always yellow....why is it pink?
** Cue me trying to explain to my four year old the concepts of space.  Followed by my child asking "Mommy, what if I want to be an astronaut when I grow up...how do I become an astronaut?"

A:  Mommy, why did all of that water and steam come flying out of that can after they boiled it?
** Cue me trying to explain to my four year old the few concepts of thermodynamics that I (vaguely) remember Mr. Manly teaching me in high school.

A:  Mommy, why do the flowers fall off the tree?
** Cue me to trying to explain to my four year old about plant science and also about flower-presses which she now, of course, wants one of her very own to press and save her own flowers and leaves.

I'm supposed to look these up later and get back to her....

Mommy, why do wasps sting?

Mommy, why is today NOT a weekend?  Who said Wednesday's can't be weekends?

If you're thinking about having children (or are already preparing for the impending doom looming in the next 1-9 months), you better brush up on your smarts...you're going to need them!!