Wednesday, January 28, 2015

In the Wink of an Eye

I struggled this week when it came to writing this post. Let's be honest - I knew the prompts for this week before anyone else and two of the words in particular stood out to me. Over the past few days, I have let the words "ruminate." I've thought about them and tried to see how these words weave in and out of my days. Yet, nothing came to me, so I went to the internet for inspiration. (Here's a tip: if you're "stuck," pick a word and do a Google search for images of that word even if it's a word that does lend itself to images.) My search for "Maybe Images" quickly yielded a photo with this quote inscribed: 

Instantly, my mind was flooded with flashbacks of the weekend. We went to my niece's first birthday party. Her parents, my brother in law and sister in law are in that stage of life: the stage that is filled with diapers and naps, schedules and sippy cups. Their home is cheerfully decorated with toddler toys and by gates. Many of their friends in this same stage of life came into their home toting diaper bags and newborns in car seats. 

At one point, my three girls (7, 10, and 12) were enthusiastically entertaining a room full of toddlers while I was jokingly advising their parents to run while they had the chance. In the midst of tiny feet scurrying around us, I said to my husband,"Wasn't that just us? Weren't our girls that small just yesterday? When did we become the 'seasoned' parents spouting advice to the 'newbies'?" It truly seemed like it all went by in just the wink of an eye. 

That's how life is, though, isn't it? The days and stages seem long, but when we view it in retrospect, it seems that time has flown by at warp speed. 

In this year, 2015:
  • I will celebrate my 20th high school reunion (assuming someone plans it and assuming I choose to go!)
  • I will also celebrate my 38th birthday - only two years from 40.
  • My oldest daughter will officially become a teenager. (Be still my heart!)
  • David and I will celebrate our 17 wedding anniversary.
Some seem to be major milestones; some not quite so significant. All are mind boggling. 

Just yesterday I was a self-conscious teenager eager to to spread my wings; a young bride; a new mother. In the wink of an eye, it has all flown by and brought me to today.

As I look back on the past, there is definitely a sense of lamentation; a sadness for what has past. There is also a deep sense of gratitude for all the people and events that brought me to where I am today. 

I imagine the next several years will fly by just as quickly as we spiral toward our girls going to high school, college, and us becoming empty nesters (gasp!). Though right now my days can seem monotonous and long, in another 10 or 20 years from now, I will be yearning to reclaim these days of soccer games, afternoon homework, and carpool lines.

As we continue to speed through life, maybe there will be heartache; surely there will be stress; certainly there will be joy and laughter, too. And, just as much as I cherish the memories, I look forward to seeing what the future holds.  

The Golden Spoons

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

What I Cannot Live Without (#TuesdayTen}

For this week's Tuesday Ten, we are listing all the things we simply cannot live without! It's been a while since I did a video post and I thought this might be a good one! Enjoy!

Your Tuesday Ten hostesses are:


The Teacher Wife
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We hope you have enjoyed our #TuesdayTen lists! If so, please link up one of your own and share your post using #TuesdayTen! 
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Come link up next week on February 3. February is Library Lovers Month, so we'll be sharing our 10 favorite books! 
The Golden Spoons

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Dear Daughters, I Remember

My Dearest Daughters,

I remember wishing, and hoping, and praying for each one of you.

I remember the moments I found out each of you was growing inside my belly.

I remember feeling overjoyed and terrified all at the same time.

I remember feeling each one of you move inside my tummy.

I remember your daddy resting his hand on my abdomen so he could feel you, too. 

I remember him talking to you each day.

I remember choosing names for each of you; making lists and narrowing down the choices. 

I remember waiting impatiently for your arrivals.

I remember so vividly the days each one of you finally arrived. 

I remember seeing your faces for the very first time and holding you against my chest. 

I remember being in such disbelief that you were really real and you were mine.

I remember the look on your father's face as he, too, saw you for the first time. 

Rachel, I remember the first week you were here and I had trouble nursing you. I had thought it would be so easy, but it wasn't and I couldn't understand why my body wouldn't take care of you the way my heart and mind wanted it to. We got through it, though, and everything worked out just fine.

Megan, I remember knowing with all my heart and soul that you were a girl, even though we didn't find out for sure ahead of time. I remember being so nervous about how I was going to take care of a newborn you AND your toddler sister. I remember you sleeping in your bouncer seat in the floor right beside my bed for the first few months because it was the only place you were at peace. 

Emily, I remember being amazed that you were so big when you were born because, to me, you still seemed so new and small. I remember, in the hospital room during your first night, you cried and cried because you were already hungry and my body wasn't ready to feed you yet. I cried when I handed you to the nurse for a bottle, feeling like it was my first failure as a mother of three. 

I remember that being a mom with a newborn, whether it is your first or your third, is overwhelming, and exhausting, and so very hard. 

I remember, though, that it is also joyous, and beautiful, and miraculous. 

Back then, when you were all so small, and motherhood was still new to me, I didn't get everything right. I still don't get everything right. Now, however, I know that I get things right enough most of the time and that you are all growing up to be beautiful, intelligent, creative, compassionate young ladies. I was amazed by you then and I am amazed by you now. 

You don't remember those very first moments and days, but I remember them well. I cherish them - the good and the bad - because they were the beginning of you; the starting line of my journey through motherhood and your journeys through life. We still have a long way to go and I can't wait to see what is still ahead.

                                                                                            Love Always, 

The Golden Spoons

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Many Years From Now. . . . {#TuesdayTen}

Did you hear the news story about the time capsule they found in the Massachusetts State House in Boston? Apparently, the box was placed in the cornerstone of the building by Paul Revere and Samuel Adams in 1795. The box was discovered (actually rediscovered) in December 2014 while workers were repairing a water leak. A few weeks later, after x-rays and other preliminary tests, officials opened the box to see what was inside. They found five folded newspapers, a page from some Massachusetts colony records, coins, and a silver plate that was probably made and engraved by Paul Revere who was a metalsmith. (Information gathered from

I am a bit of a history buff and I found this story very intriguing. It is astounding that these men had the foresight and concern for the future to create such a collection and place it in, what was at the time a prominent place, in hopes that their descendants would find it some 220 years later. If someone had asked those men what they thought life would look like in 2015, I wonder how they would have answered? Surely, they could not have even imagined things like cars, computers, and measles vaccinations just as I cannot fathom what life will be like in the year 2235, another 220 years from now, but what would I want my great, great, great, great grandchildren to know about life in 2015? What would I put in a time capsule for them?
  1. A Letter to my descendants - The letter would explain who I am and would tell them about the other things in the box.
  2. Pictures - I love looking at old black and white photos from my family and I would definitely include photos in my time capsule. The only problem would be choosing! 
  3. A hard copy of my blog (and probably a thumb drive with it) - Not because I'm conceited (though this blog may be the only "claim to fame" I have!), but because I think by reading it, future generations could get a good sense of what life was like in 2011-2015. There are posts here that include music, information about technology, and just life in general.
  4. Newspapers - Just like Paul and Samuel, I would include some news so my grandchildren would know what was important in the world when the time capsule was compiled.
  5. The Family Christmas Book - David and I got this book as a wedding gift when we were married in December 1998. I didn't realize the significance of it then, but I have filled it out every year of our life together and it is always fun to read back over the events of each year and see the pictures on our Christmas cards. 
  6. Music - Just like the photos, the hard part would be choosing, but I would have to include a few CD's or, better yet, and iPod full of songs.
  7. Speaking if iPods, I would have to include some technology. I'm sure, in 1795, the kind of technology we have today was not even an inkling for Paul and Samuel. In another, 220 years, my great, great, great, great grandchildren would probably have a good chuckle at a rudimentary iPhone! 
  8. Money - When I started thinking about this, I really never thought about putting in money. However, when I asked my husband, it was one of the first things he thought of and, obviously, the pioneers thought it was important. I guess I would put in some coins and a few bills in hopes that, when my descendants open the time capsule, they might get some benefit from the increased value of "ancient" money.
  9. Recipes -Since I couldn't include actual food, I would put in some of my favorite recipes. I would probably include Chicken Pot Pie and Pizza Pasta Casserole. I imagine we eat very differently from the way people ate in 1795 and that people in 2235 will eat differently from the way we eat now. 
  10. Finally, I would toss in some books. I might include some biographies from contemporary influencers like Steve Jobs. I would include some novels, too. Again, if we think about how different books and language were 200 years ago, we can only surmise that it will be very different 200 years in the future as well.

How about you? For whom would you make a time capsule and what would you put inside?

Your Tuesday Ten hostesses are:


The Teacher Wife
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We hope you have enjoyed our #TuesdayTen lists! If so, please link up one of your own and share your post using #TuesdayTen!
**Go HERE for more information on the rules! 
**If you would like to be added to the mailing list without linking up, click here or join our Facebook group by clicking HERE.

Come link up again next Tuesday, January 27, when we will be talking about the things we just can't live without! We would love for you to VLOG it if you like! 

The Golden Spoons

Thursday, January 15, 2015

I'm so Excited!

Almost two years ago, I decided I wanted to take my blog "to the next level." However, I had no idea exactly what that meant. Over time, I slowly figured it out. I have built a wonderful community of blogger friends and I have become a better writer. I also had aspirations of having my work featured in other places. I have been fortunate to have success with that goal and can even say I have been published in a book! There was one platform, though, that I simply could not crack. I submitted pieces over and over and was rejected time and time again. I persevered and, today, I feel like I have finally reached the top of a mountain; scored the winning last second touchdown; seen my name up in Hollywood lights! 

Today I can officially say that I have been published on . . . . . . 
The Huffington Post

Please head over there to read my post. I would be very grateful for any comments or shares you feel inclined to give as well! 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

This Marvelous Mess

Everywhere I turn, I see a mess.

There is a pile of shoes by the front door, cast off haphazardly the very second my children enter the house. 

There are coats and backpacks strewn about the living room carelessly tossed aside yet again.

There are dishes piled high in the sink taunting me and a dishwasher waiting impatiently to be unloaded.

There are stacks of folded laundry just begging to be put away and heaps more laundry anxiously awaiting a wash.

There are beds left unmade and crumbs dropped on the floor that I try to overlook. Dust gathers on ceiling fans and fingerprints are scattered on the windows. I see papers - homework, bills, junk mail - littering almost every table in my house.

I am a person who thrives on order and organization. Sometimes, when I look at these messes, I feel so incredibly exasperated. Over and over, I straighten and scrub. Over and over, the messes reappear almost instantly. Despite my best efforts, I cannot get ahead of the clutter and mayhem. Most days, it drives me crazy. 

If I take a breath and step back for a moment, though, I remember that these messes represent all that is wonderful in my life. In the evening, when all is quiet and I finally sit down to relax, I look around at the chaos that lingers and recall all the mess represents.  

The shoes remind me of the feet that have run and played all day; the feet that carried them to school and safely home again; the feet that used to be so tiny, but now almost match my own.

The coats remind me that we are all safe and warm. The backpacks signify how much they have learned and grown as the years have flown by so swiftly. Wasn't it just yesterday that I was teaching them to sing their ABC's?

The dishes and crumbs help me to remember that we are fortunate to have food on our table; that I am lucky to put my children to sleep with full bellies each night when so many parents struggle to meet the most basic needs of their little ones.

The laundry is another symbol of our blessings; a reminder that we are warm and able to provide for their most fundamental requirements; a reminder to be thankful because we have much when many have so little.

Every fingerprint is a memory smudged into my heart reminding me how it felt to hold their tiny hands and how it still feels to be wrapped in their embrace.  

The beds are where my sweet angels rest their precious heads each night; where they keep their most prized stuffed animal possessions; where they dream and, sometimes, where they cry; where they begin and end each day.  

If I let them, these messes get under my skin. That's when I know I have lost sight of my blessings. When I am overwhelmed by the clutter and chaos of life, I have to look harder, but, if I try, I can still find them - the love and blessings hidden deep within this marvelous, wonderful, beautiful mess. And, I wouldn't have it any other way.    

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Ten Stores I Love {#TuesdayTen}

When I was younger, my mom and I ended almost every Saturday shopping. We spent the mornings cleaning and straightening the house. Then, after lunch, my brother and dad would do whatever guys do, but my mom and I would hit the stores. Sure, most of it was running errands and getting groceries, but we usually made a runt o the mall as well. Perhaps it is because I associate it with happy memories of spending "girl time" with my mom, but I have always enjoyed shopping. There are certainly frustrations like crowds and price tags, but I still relish a good shopping trip from time to time, so today's topic for Tuesday Ten is lots of fun for me! 

If you had a $10,000 to spend on anything you want, in what ten stores would you choose to spend you cash?

  1. Target - Over the course of a year, I wouldn't be surprised if I actually do spend $10,000 (or more) in Target!!!!! However, if I had a big chunk of  "free money," I wouldn't spend it on the things I usually buy at Target like shampoo and coffee. Instead, I would head to the home section and buy somethings to spruce up the house. I would probably also head over to the electronics department and grab up some iPhone accessories and such.
  2. Pier 1 - I am NOT a decorator, but I can go in Pier 1 and get somethings that add a little pizazz to our house without much effort and, since a lot of it is on display, it doesn't take an interior designer to figure out how to use it.
  3. Loft - I haven't found much in this store this season, but usually I do. 
  4. White House Black Market - I pretty much love everything they ever put on the mannequins in the store window. I have bought a couple things there before, but it is pretty pricey and would take some serious "spare change" to really take full advantage of that store. 
  5. Talbots - Ditto what I said about WHBM.
  6. Soma - I discovered Soma about a year ago. I like to call it "Victoria's secret for grown ups." Of course, they have the usual undergarments, but they also have the most comfortable pajamas on the face of the planet. 
  7. Coach or Michael Kors - I want one of those bags but simply cannot bring myself to spend $300+ on a purse. If I had $10,000 though . . . . . . . . 
  8. DSW Shoes - Because a girls can NEVER have too many shoes!
  9. Schiffman's - This is a local jewelry store. Truthfully, $10,000 probably wouldn't really go very far in there!!!!
  10. Bed bath and Beyond - I would buy placemats, sheets, a new comforter for our bed, and every little kitchen gizmo or gadget you can imagine!
Can I tell you a secret? David would probably be terrified if he knew how easy it was for me to come up with this list and spend my imaginary 10 grand in my head! 

Oh, who am I kidding?!?! He knows exactly how quickly I could blow through that money and he could probably have written his list for me!! 

The truth is that, if I did somehow end up with a chunk of cash in my hand, I wouldn't actually spend much of it on myself. Like most moms, I would spend the majority on my kids and the house. I would put some in savings and maybe pick ONE store from this list where I would treat myself to a little something special. It sure is fun to pretend, though!! :-)

If you had $10,000 "free money," what 10 stores would you choose?


Tuesday Ten is ONE year old!!!
In 2013, Rabia and I were both doing our own Tuesday Ten posts. Late that year, we decided to collaborate and turn it into a weekly link up! The first Tuesday Ten we co-hosted was published on January 7, 2014.

In the past year, we have had some super fun linkups and we have created a small, but dedicated community of readers and linkers! To celebrate and to thank everyone who has been a part of our first year, we are hosting a great giveaway! One lucky winner will receive TEN $10 gift cards - one to each of the following:

Starbucks, Amazon, Target, Visa, PayPal, iTunes, Dunkin Donuts, Chipotle, Panera, and Chick FilA

To enter, see the Rafflecopter below. The contest will be open through January 17th, 2015 and the winner will be announced on January 20th. 

Special thanks to our giveaway sponsors:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, January 12, 2015

Let's Talk About Money, Baby!

When we had our first daughter over 12 years ago and I became a stay at home mom, we quickly went from a two-income family to a single income household. I wont’t lie - at first, we made many missteps managing our “new” budget. Fortunately, we were able to overcome our mistakes and come out on the other side. We also learned many lessons from our journey down that crooked path. One of the main things we discovered was the importance of communication when it comes to our finances and managing our budget.

Today, I'm excited to be featured on Ten to Twenty Parenting for the first time! I'm sharing  my thoughts on why most parents don't talk to their children about finances and why they really SHOULD! Comments are closed here, but please head over there to read the full article and share your thoughts.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

My 5 Weeknight Go-To Dinners

I started the Sunday Supper series last year for two reasons. I was burned out (no pun intended!) with cooking meals for my family. I want to reinvigorate my joy of cooking and put some new energy into our family menus. It worked at first, but then it became stressful. I was trying new recipes my family didn't like just in an effort to find recipes I could use in my posts. Eventually, the Sunday Supper posts dwindled and, by the end of 2014 they had become very few and far between.

One of my blogging resolutions for this year was to get back to regularly posting Sunday Supper posts but  just once a month. Well, to be honest, this first one snuck up on me!! My kids didn't go back to school until January 6th and this past week was spent just trying to get settled back into a regular routine with my hubby out of town for business a few days as well. 

Alas, I have no new recipe to share with you. However, I decided that, nobody can try new recipes every night. Sometimes, you just have to go with what you know and what works. So, I decided to share with you my five go-to weeknight meals. These are the ones that are on the menu about every week; the ones I know my family will eat; the tried and true family dinners that are almost always in my pantry.

  1. Pasta - Everyone loves pasta, right? Plus, it is so easy and so customizable. You can start some homemade sauce in the crock pot in the morning or you can just open a jar in the evening rush. I usually go somewhere in the middle, making my own sauce, but with canned tomato sauce and a pre-packaged spice mix. You can do different kinds of sauces (tomato, alfredo, marinara, etc.) and different kinds of pasta (spaghetti, tortellini, ravioli, shells, etc.) Add a simple salad and dinner is done!
  2. Tacos - We have tacos at least once every other week. You can use ground beef, chicken, or ground turkey. Even my vegetarian can eat them with black beans as her main protein. I just put everything out to create a "taco bar" and everyone can customize their meal to make it just they way they like it. 
  3. Chicken - When I first got married, my husband told me he was going to start growing feathers if I didn't learn to cook something other than chicken! I did, but chicken is still my protein of choice. It cooks a lot more quickly than beef and you can make it so many ways. You can top it with BBQ or bread it. You can bake it or sauté it. It is so versatile.
  4. Baked Potatoes - I do this mostly when David is out of town because he thinks a meal requires meat, but the girls and I love to just do baked potatoes and salad for supper. You can bake the potatoes in the crock pot or in the oven. Much like the tacos, I just put out toppings so everyone can create their own. Add some salad or fruit and you have a filling, healthy meal.
  5. Breakfast - This is one I do when David is out of town for work because he is not a fan. (Weird, right?) However, the girls and I love to have pancakes for supper,but you could also do an omelet bar (similar to the taco or potato bar). Breakfast is usually easy and pretty quick, plus it is a good, complete meal. 
Another tip is to keep your freezer stocked. We have a full freezer in our basement and it was one of the best investments. I try to keep some "convenience foods" in there for the nights when I am really out of ideas or just to tired to try. I usually have a frozen lasagna, some frozen chicken cordon bleu that we like, and/or some meatballs in the freezer. There may be other things in there as well (tortellini, ground beef, etc.) We actually use a service that, for a fee of course, allows us to stock our freezer for months at a time. It is so nice to be able to just go downstairs and pull something out in a pinch.

Those are my tip! Do you have any? What are your go-to family, weeknight meals? 

Friday, January 9, 2015

Jumping on the Bandwagon - My Word of the Year

Over the past couple of years, there seems to be a new January trend - at least among bloggers. Instead of listing resolutions for the new year, many are instead choosing a single word on which to focus on for the next twelve months. This year I've seen some of my blog friends choose the words "Purge," "Free," and "Practice." In fact, earlier this week, we even considered our words of the year at a staff meeting where I work earlier this week! (Maybe it's not just a blogger thing!)

The truth is, I'm not usually one to jump on a bandwagon and, previously, I really couldn't wrap my head around choosing just one word to focus on for an entire year. But this year, as I read all those other posts and was asked to prayerfully consider what word I wanted to focus on in 2015, there was (finally) a single word that kept coming to mind. I guess you could say it "spoke" to me.

I have never been a confident person. I have always had a terrible habit of comparing myself to other people in a way that focuses on my flaws. "She is so much skinnier/prettier than I am." "She is a high powered executive and I'm just a mom." "She is such great singer. I wish I had some kind of talent." "I never do crafty things with my kids the way she does."  Over and over, I subconsciously convince myself that I am less than someone else and I need to stop. There are a couple specific areas in which I want to focus on confidence.

I did make a list of resolutions this year and one of them was: 

A couple weeks ago, my husband actually admitted to me that he is really tired of hearing me whine about "being fat." That was a tough pill to swallow but it made me realize that, honestly, I'm pretty tired of it, too. I am not a size 6, but I am also not a weight that is actually unhealthy. I will also admit that I have been dealing with some minor but annoying health symptoms that I need to figure out. I need to appreciate and have confidence in the body I have been given. It is certainly not perfect, but it has given me three beautiful children and has taken me many, many places. It's time for me to stop berating myself and be happy (or at least content) with my physical self.

Another reason I am making confidence my word of the year is that I tend to be rather indecisive. Mostly, that's because I don't trust myself and my own judgement. I am always second guessing my decisions. I weigh the pros & cons. I weigh the "what ifs." Simply put, I overanalyze. I want to work on having the courage to make a decision with certainty. Once I make the decision, I need to let go of the other possibilities and head down the path I have chosen with assurance. Sometimes, it's little choices like where to go eat or what to wear. Other times, the selections carry much more weight. I am currently trying to come to a final decision about my interim job - whether to make it permanent or not. We are also trying to make some decisions about school for our two youngest daughters. There is definitely a need to consider and compare all the options, but, at some point, you just have to take the bull by the horns, pick a path, and put one foot in front of the other without looking back. That takes confidence and trusting yourself.

What I have come to appreciate about this word of the year concept is that change takes time. It's not like making a resolution or setting a goal where, in the end, you either succeed or fail. This way, you are simply choosing a concept, a single word, and trying to improve in that aspect of your life. If I work on my confidence for the next twelve months will I get to the point of having the tenacity to say that you should vote for me for President? Probably not. Will I be closer to that level of confidence than I am today? Without a doubt, yes. 

So, that's my word - confidence. Did you choose a word of the year?

This post is part of the Finish The Sentence Friday Linkup. This week's sentence was "You should vote for me for President because . . . . " and this week's hosts are Kristi, Michelle, and Anna
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