Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Looking Back - Memories From My Childhood

Memory is a funny thing. Personally, I'm great at memorizing lists of facts and, then, spitting them back out. It's one reason I made good grades in school. However, I'm terrible at remembering names. If you introduced yourself thirty seconds ago, it's likely that I have already forgotten your moniker. I might remember that it started with a particular letter, but the whole of it escapes me. 

Likewise, I'm pretty good at remembering schedules, but would really have to concentrate to remember what I ate for lunch yesterday. I could rattle off a list of all the birthdays of my closest relatives and friends (and it's a lot!), but I always double check recipes for fear that I will forget some key ingredient even if it's something I have made hundreds of times. 

When it comes to long term memories, things get even trickier. Some long term memories can be extremely vivid. However, time makes some seem fuzzy. There are still others we remember one way and then discover that perhaps we are remembering them incorrectly.

The memories I have of my childhood are all those things- some vivid, some fuzzy, some that I remember differently from others. I'm certain there are some things I have forgotten altogether, but these are some of the things I remember clearly despite the passage of time.

I remember playing with my dolls - lots of dolls. They were my favorite toy and I had lots of them. I can remember all four of the Cabbage Patch kids I had and all their names as well as a few other favorite dolls and their names. I remember the cradle that sat in my bedroom for years holding my dolls. I remember lining them up just so every night when I went to bed leaving just enough room for myself right in the middle.

I remember playing. I played grocery store. Sometimes I was the mommy pushing my doll through the store in our kitchen in a toy shopping cart. Sometimes I was the cashier, ringing up the "customers" who came through. I loved dressing up and wearing my mom's shoes.

I also remember playing shoe store, lining up my mom's shoes and taking her play money as she paid for the shoes she had chosen (again).

I remember riding my bike in endless circles around our driveway as I listened to Alvin and the Chipmunks sing the Beatles on a cassette that played inside my Walkman. I also remember riding repeatedly through my brother's makeshift basketball court one day and him throwing the basketball at my bike causing me to wreck and skin my knee. I still have the scar. 

What are you favorite #ChildhoodMemories ? @TheGoldenSpoons
I remember playing wedding consultant. I have no idea why I was so interested in weddings (other than the fancy dresses) because it is not something that gets me excited now. However, then, my mom had bought me several Bride magazines. I had notebooks and some of those carbon copy receipt pads that I used to take notes on when I met with my imaginary bridal clients in my office (i.e. my bedroom).

I remember sledding down the big hill when it snowed and trudging all the way back up so we could go down again. I often rode down on my dad's back or sharing the sled with my brother. I remember my mom making us hot chocolate and tomato soup when we came back inside.

I remember sitting around the Christmas tree every Christmas Eve night reading the story of Jesus' birth from the book of Luke together as a family. (A tradition I continue with my own family now.) I also remember peeking out from my bedroom door down the hall toward the living room on Christmas morning to see if I could make out what gifts Santa brought. My brother and I would wait impatiently for the clocks to get to the time when we were allowed to wake our parents and find out if our gift guesses were correct. 
This picture is terribly blurry and I have no idea what that is I was clutching under my chin, but, obviously, it was something I treasured at the time.
I remember going to my MamMaw's every Saturday - going with my dad to pick her up at the hair salon from her weekly appointment because she didn't drive, herself. I remember she always let me pick out a treat from the candy shelves at the checkout of the convenience store that was next to the "beauty shop." I remember her house- the brown couch, the orange-y rug, and the black rotary phone. 

I remember my PapPaw's house, too. The classic 70's shelves that let you see through from the den to the kitchen. I remember how I loved to walk through his garden with him and pick the ripe vegetables - especially the cucumbers and the "Tommy-Toe" tomatoes as we used to call them, even though I didn't (and still don't) care for either of those veggies. 

I remember family dinners and family TV nights watching the Cosby Show or the Dukes of Hazard. I remember laughter and love. Some other memories may have become blurry or dim over the years, but these memories are strong ones that I carry with me everywhere I go. They have shaped me and guided me through my 38 (almost 39) years. They have made me the parent I am to my girls and, therefore, the parents my girls will be to their own children. 

Some memories fade, but some stay forever ingrained in our minds and our hearts.

What are your most vivid childhood memories?


This post was written as part of my friend Dana's Who I am Project. Head over to her blog to check out the project and link up your own post! 

Monday, January 25, 2016

Currently . . January 2016

Back in December (2015), I wrote a "Currently" post out of desperation because I had a One Word post that needed to be published, but it had been a difficult week. Despite the sadness  surrounding that post, it was something I enjoyed writing. I think of it as a bit of a journal entry - an online diary, if you will. So, I have decided to try and do a "currently" post once a month in 2016. If you want to join me, you are welcome. I haven't made it a linkup or anything (yet!), but you can just copy the words I have used and fill in your own thoughts. You don't have to use all the words I used and/or you can substitute any others you choose! (Here is a great list.) 

Currently (5:00pm on Sunday, January 24), I am . . . . 
  • Enjoying - Some relaxing snow days at home. Thanks to Winter Storm Jonas, the kids were out of school on Friday and will be again on Monday. Some people dread snow days, but I love them. We've slept in, played board games, and just hung out together. It's been awesome and a wonderful change from how I was feeling about a week ago.

  • Feeling - Happy, relaxed.
  • Reading -The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. It is SO GOOD!!! It was recommended to me by many and I'm so glad I added it to my list of books to read in 2016.
  • Listening - The last  song I downloaded are "Hello" by Adele. I'm also loving Ketih Urban's latest, "Break On Me" and Thomas Rhett's "Die A Happy Man."
  • Wearing - Yoga pants and a sweatshirt with my hair in a ponytail and no makeup on. I haven't left the house in three days, y'all!
  • Thinking - That Princess Sofia has and inordinately large head in proportion to the rest of her body.  Like I said, it's a lazy day and Emily is watching TV while I stir here typing. 
  • Wishing- I had put something in the crock pot earlier today.
  • Questioning - What I should make for dinner. I had planned to fix spaghetti, but I'm feeling lazy and thinking we might just do what I like to call a "Pantry Potpourri" in which everyone picks whatever can of soup or box of macaroni they want to fix themselves! 
  • Eating - Comfort food. Friday night we had Chicken and Dumplings. Saturday night, we had my mother in law's chili and cornbread. For lunches we've had pizza, chicken tenders, and mozzarella sticks. Plus, Rachel made chocolate cupcakes! Needless to say, when we thaw out, I'm going to have to hit the gym!
  • Worrying - About getting my daughter's high school applications submitted. It's crazy that going to high school is almost like going to college around here! She is applying to two different magnet high schools that require essays, transcripts, and recommendation letters!
  • Wanting - To finish this post so I can get back to my book! :-) 
  • Loving - Snow Days, snuggles, comfort food, and relaxing! 
Like I siad, I'm not making this monthly "Currently" posting a linkup (yet!), but would love for you to join me. If you write your own, leave me a link in the comments or on my Facebook Page.

What are you currently doing, thinking, feeling, or wishing? 

Friday, January 22, 2016


If I were a crayon, I would probably choose to be purple. Purple has always been my favorite color, though I'm not really sure why. I prefer a medium to dark hue of purple, but I also like lavender and lighter varieties. 

I'm not really sure what else I can say about my love for this particular color, so here are a few facts about purple you may or may not have already known.
  • Purple is a range of hues between red and blue, which is why you must have some red and some blue to create purple. 
  • The color purple is often associated with royalty. This is because, there is very little purple that naturally occurs in nature, so, long ago when dyes were made from natural products, purple was very difficult and expensive to create. Therefore, only the wealthy and the royal could afford purple cloth.
  • Originally, the color came from the mucus glands of a tropical sea snail known as the murex. (Gross!!!) The Latin name of the murex is purpura, which is where the word "purple" comes from. 
  • According to, purple is the most powerful visible wavelength of electromagnetic energy. I'm not really sure exactly what the means, but it sounds very scientific, huh?
  • In some cultures such as Thailand and Brazil, purple is a color of mourning.
  • Purple is a very uncommon color for flags. Also according to, there are only two nations flags that contain the hue. However, according to, only one country, Dominica, uses the color in their flag.
  • The Purple Heart is a medal awarded to American soldiers for demonstrating supreme bravery.
  • The film Purple Rain, released in 1984, won an Oscar for Best Song Score. The film, The Color Purple, released in 1985, was nominated for 11 Oscars, but didn't actually win any.
  • March 26th is Purple Day. The day was created by a nine year old Canadian girl in 2008 because purple is the color that represents Epilepsy Awareness.
  • It has been said that there are no words that rhyme with "purple," but that is incorrect. "Curple" is the strap under the girth of a horse's saddle and "Hirple" means to walk with a limp. (Let it be noted, though, that if you try to type either of these rhyming words, autocorrect will repeatedly change them to "purple." Repeatedly.)
  • Samuel L. Jackson said, according again to The Fact Site, that he would only play the part of Mace Windu in Star Wars  if he could have a purple light saber.
  • New Hampshire's state bird is the purple finch.
  • Do you remember these well-known purple children's characters?


O.K. One last thing. Apparently, there actually has been some scientific-ish study regarding what your favorite color says about your personality. According to one highly reliable source (i.e., if your favorite color is purple you are:
A wee bit off, but it your own special way. People who are drawn to purple are sort of hippy-like in the way they impractically tackle the world with their utopian ideals. They tend to favor mysticism to reality, and prefer to see the world through violet-colored glasses in a way that can be difficult for those around them. It's probably best that they set up a Tarot card reading shop stat, and just get it over with already.
Um, well, that description could not possibly be farther from the truth about me. In fact, that description might actually be the complete opposite of my personality. So, who knows if color preference really has anything to do with personality. I think I'll go what the theory of purple representing royalty instead!! 
What is your favorite color and what do you think that says about your personality?

This post was written as art of the Finish The Sentence Friday Linkup and this week's sentence was "If I were a crayon . . . " hosted by Kristi and Alyssa

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Hanging on by a Thread

Y'all, I'm at the end of my proverbial motherhood rope.

There. I've admitted it "out loud."

I've got a 13 year old who oozes negativity. The world is awful. HER world is somehow miserably boring yet extremely stressful. Of course, nothing is ever fair. Good natured, happy moments and productive conversations with her are few and far between.

My 11 year old is like a lanky, female version of Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. One minute, she is the jovial, happy-go-lucky kid she's always been. The next minute, without warning, she is a hormonal mess of anger and tears. 

Then, there is my 8 year old who is precariously teetering between a desire for independence and a yearning to hold on for dear life to the last shred of "I'm the baby" that is left. I often hear the paradoxical statement of "Put down your blankie/doll so you can do your multiplication problems and vocabulary" echoing from my mouth across the kitchen table in the afternoons.

The truth is, I love them dearly; with my whole heart; more than anything else on the face of this earth. But, they are driving me mad.

Add to all of this  . . . . . 
  • my part time job (that I love even though it sometimes feels more like full time)
  • the groceries that must be bought (because, I swear, these kids are ALWAYS hungry)
  • the laundry (that, apparently procreates overnight while we sleep)
  • the dishes (that simply refuse to jump into the dishwasher all by themselves)
  • the schedules (riding lessons, piano lessons, school performances and meetings, appointments, family gatherings . . and the list goes on)
  • and the countless miles I drive getting everyone to everywhere they need to be . . . . 
and, well, I'm drowning. I'm furiously kicking and flailing in an attempt to tread water, but I'm barely staying afloat. Just barely.

So, then, I become another part of the problem. Exhausted and short-tempered myself, I get frustrated, snippy, and disengaged. 

Then, comes the guilt, engulfing me wholly.

It's a vicious cycle, really.

Today, I'm at the end of my motherhood rope, but this too shall pass. @TheGoldenSpoons

I keep telling myself, "This is the season you're in - you just have to wait it out" and "This too shall pass." And, it will pass. I know it will.

I've told myself all those things before. I said it when I was in the throes of potty training and temper tantrums. I said it when I had three girls under six. I said it when they were all in school all day for the first time. 

I said it would pass and it did.

Now, I'm saying it again.

I survived all those other "seasons" and I will survive this one, too.

Someday in the future, this house will be quiet. I'll miss the activity and the noise. I'll look back on these days and, even though I will remember that they were hard, I will think of them fondly and wonder how it is possible for time to fly by so fast. 

Someday. A week or a month or a year from now. It will pass and seem like just a blip on the radar. Someday. 

But, today, I hanging on by a thread.

How do you get through the difficult "seasons?"

This post is part of the Finish the Sentence Friday Linkup hosted by:
Kristi of Finding Ninee

This week's sentence was "In the future . . . . "

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Cheesy Chicken Bacon Ranch Rice Casserole - Sunday Supper

Maybe it was the holidays or the fact that, since the kids were out of school, I actually had a few mintues of "down time" here and there over the last two weeks. Maybe it was just that I'm tired of always making the same old recipes over an over. Or, maybe it was all the holiday baking and eating! Whatever the reason, I've been in a  Pinterest-y mood lately and, for me, that usually means perusing recipes trying out a few new ones. Sometimes, in the process, I stumble across one that simply must be shared with all of you.

This is one of those recipes!!

It has chicken, cheese, bacon, and ranch - what more should you ask for?!?! 

This one really was a hit with my family. It was pretty simple to make and it made a huge pan full. I've added in a fe little tweaks of my own and decided it might be the perfect addition to you menu this week, too! Enjoy!

Cheesy Chicken Bacon Ranch Rice Casserole

~2 cups uncooked rice
~12 oz raw chicken, cut into bit size pieces (about 4 boneless breasts)
~1 can condensed cream of chicken soup
~8 oz. sour cream
~1 packet ranch dressing mix
~1 cup shredded cheese, plus extra for topping
~1/4-1/2 cup chopped bacon (about 6 slices)
~1 medium onion, chopped
~1/2 cup chicken broth or water

Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9X13 baking dish with non stick cooking spray.

Step 2: Cook the rice according to package directions.

Step 3: While the rice is cooking, heat some oil in a skillet, season your chicken with salt & pepper, and brown until cooked through. Using a slotted spoon, remove chicken from pan and place in a large mixing bowl.
**You could skip this step and use leftover chicken or rotisserie chicken.

Step 4: In same skillet, add bacon and cook until crispy. Using slot spoon, remove to bowl with chicken. 

Step 5: In leftover bacon grease in same skillet, add onion and cook until tender and translucent. Use slotted spoon to add to the large mixing bowl.

Step 6: In mixing bowl with chicken, bacon, and onion, add soup, sour cream, dressing mix, 1 cup cheese, and broth.

Step 7: By now, your rice should be finished, so add it to the bowl as well and str it all together. Then, transfer to your prepared pan and top with additional cheese.

Step 8: Bake in your preheated oven 20-25 minutes.

Step 9: Serve and enjoy!

What's on your menu this week?

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Books to Read in 2016

It surprises some to know that, even thought I am a writer and lover of words, I have never been an avid reader. However, one of my 2015 resolutions was to read at least six novels. In February of last year, I made a list of books I wanted to read and actually read seven during the year! Seven may not seem like a lot to some people, but going from zero to seven was a big accomplishment for me. 

I've really enjoyed reading and want to keep it going. One thing that helped a lot last year was having a list at the ready. So, I decided to make another list this year. I asked for suggestions on my Facebook page; checked out suggestions from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Goodreads; and read book reviews from my reading hero and blog friend, Dana to come up with this list of 10 books I hope to read in 2016.
  1. After You by JoJo Moyes - This book is the sequel to Me Before You which I read in 2015 and LOVED!
  2. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah - The story of two Parisian sisters, each on their own path of survival in WWII occupied France. I've been told this book is brilliant and it has been highly recommended to me by multiple people.
  3. Passenger by Alexandra Bracken - This is one I chose based solely on the online synopsis. A little bit of historical fiction; a little bit of time travel; a little bit of romance; and a little bit of mystery all rolled into one.
  4. Brooklyn by Colm Toibin - The story of Ellis Lacey, who grew up in small town Ireland after WWII and then is given an opportunity to come to America where she finds work and love.
  5. Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff - The truths and secrets of a marriage from different perspectives over a twenty-four year period.
  6. City on Fire by Garth Risk Hallberg - set in New York City, 1976. A diverse group of people who are all somehow tied to the mystery of a shooting in Central Park.
  7. Every Day by David Leviathan - I was intrigued by Dana's inclusion of this book on her Top Ten Books of 2015 list. The story of a man who wakes up in a different body, a different life every day.
  8. The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom - To quote Goodreads, "This is the epic story of Frankie Presto - the greatest guitar player who ever lived - and the six lives he changed with his six magical blue strings."
  9. Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson - Recommended by a friend on Facebook (Thanks, Teresa L.!), this is the story of a woman, Christine, who loses her memory every time she falls asleep.
  10. The Martian by Andy Weir - Before it was a Matt Damon movie, it was a novel about astronaut Mark Watney who finds himself stranded and completely alone on the surface of Mars. I'm not usually a sci-fi fan, but this one seems to have just enough "real life," humor, and suspense to be interesting to me. 

My 10 must-read books of 2016! What books are on your list? @TheGoldenSpoons

Hopefully, by Dec. 31st, I can come back and report on my success in getting all the way through the list and maybe even add some reviews! 

Have you read any of these? What did you think of them? What books are on your list for 2016?


This post was part of the One Word Blog Linkup hosted by, Janine of Confessions of a Mommyaholic and me! This month, the word prompt choices were Never, Old, and Brilliant. 

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

New Year's Resolutions I Wish My Kids Would Make

I'm not usually a big resolution maker, but, last year, I did make some resolutions as part of our Tuesday Ten Linkup. Even though I wasn't super excite about cranking out goals for 2015, I took it seriously and really tried to be conscious of my goals throughout the year. I even reviewed them at the end of the year to see how I did. I thought about making some new resolutions for 2016, but, in reality, my goals for this year should be very similar to my goals form last year. So, instead, I started thinking about my three daughters and decided that, this year, maybe they are the ones who should make a few resolutions for this new year! 

1. Can't we all just get along? Seriously girls. Please, please, please resolve to stop the incessant bickering! Otherwise, 2016 might be the year I actually lose my mind.

2. A little more Dr. Jekyll and a little less Mr. Hyde - I know most of it is hormonal and, therefore, somewhat beyond your control (Lord, help us all!), but the mood swings around here are ridiculous. One minute, it's all happy-go-lucky and the next it's tears, slamming doors, and rolling eyes. I just never know what will be the trigger that flips that switch!

3. Actually waking up when the alarm goes off on school mornings would be a wonderful resolution to add to the list!

4. Speaking of mornings, packing your own lunches would also be a fabulous addition to their goals!

5. I would love for you girls to read for joy rather than because it's homework and minutes that have to be logged for a grade.

Pack your own lunches, clean up, and stop bickering. #Resolutions I wish my kids would make for 2016! @TheGoldenSpoons

6. For the love, children, PLEASE clean up after yourselves! You are 8, 11, and 13 - all old enough and perfectly capable of throwing away your food wrappers, putting away your laundry, and scrubbing your toilet without being told and reminded five quadrillion times.

7. Also, if you could resolve to stop complaining about homework that would be just great. After all, I'm not the one assigning the homework, so why are you whining to me anyway?

8. Stop growing. Ok. I don't really want them to stop growing because that would mean they aren't healthy. However, they are already outgrowing the "fall/winter" we just bought a few months ago. There was a time when I looked forward to being able to share clothes and shoes with my daughter, too. I just didn't think it would happen before they were even in high school.

9. I would really appreciate it if they would stop watching ridiculous, over-acted "tween" shows on TV. Honestly, it's sad that there isn't anything better for them to watch. They are too old for Dora and Doc McStuffins, but too young for The Big Bang Theory and reruns of Friends. I'm not sure I cant stand them reciting anymore lines from Austin and Ally. Maybe let's resolve to Netflix some Little House on the Prairie and Growing Pains.

10.While all of these would certainly be great, what I really want for my girls in 2016 (and always) is to be confident in who they are, but always learning and open to possibilities; to be kind, courteous, thoughtful human beings; and to search for joy in a world where it can often be hard to find. 

Do you make New Year's Resolutions?

The Tuesday Ten Linkup is hosted by The Golden Spoons and The Liebers. Join in the fun by linking up your list of 10!


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