Last week … I lost my funny, pretty, feisty little girl Ming Toi. Ming came to me a few weeks after my father passed 14 years ago and provided a much needed distraction during a horrendous period in my life. I was blessed to have her for her first 3 years and then again in her last few months. It’s amazing what dogs and animals,in general, can bring to your life. A sense of peace, laughter, distraction and an over all fulfillment. Ming … my little little girl .. you were so loved and so cherished. You will be missed ❤️
This week I love: Halloween!
Halloween has always been one of my favorite time of the year. I have to admit that my dad was the one who made it extra special. His love for Halloween and all things spooky meant he put A LOT into Halloween Festivities.
Every year – my parents would throw us a big Halloween party – complete with pumpkin painting, bobbing for apples, and pizza and cake. But of course – for it to be a real Halloween party it had to have a “walk” through. My father would take the whole month of September to transform the woods behind my childhood home into a spooky forest! My mom would then tell us a ghost story and lead us into the woods for a tour.
Because we attended Catholic School – the day after Halloween – meant no school! All Saints Day !! So naturally after the walk, we cozy up in our pajamas and watch a horror film. It didn’t get much better than that!
Halloween has always been a special day in my life. Now – I celebrate it with spooky movies and costumes on my dogs. But the thrill has never left. It’s once a year that everyone gets to pretend they’re something else for a day. It even lets you escape the monotonous hum of the work day. Everyone knows work is a tad better on Halloween! And …. who doesn’t like that?!
What are your favorite Holidays? Do you like Halloween the most of all?
Let me start off with the very true statement = Chicken Math is 100% a real thing. I always say to Nick, that to me, raising baby chickens seems like it might be like child birth – without the excruciating pain, of course. It seems like such an amazing idea to bring them home with their fuzzy bodies and their lil peepers – peep peep peeping. A few weeks pass, fuzz fades and THEN you want to jump off a bridge. They start getting bigger, and dirtier and smellier. Of course, by the time you put them outside in the coop, you forget the smells and poop. And that’s why ….. you end up getting new babies- every …single…. year.
It’s a never ending cycle of love, annoyance, aggravation, and relief.
Prior to my new, fancy coop being built and much to the chagrin of my nostrils, I always kept my chicks in my dining room for about 2 – 3 months. Now, thankfully, we have a grow out pen: right in the coop. That makes it easier on the nose and the transition for the chicks.
Is it all worth it? Stinky smells and all? Absolutely. Im sure any chicken owner would tell you the same thing:
Big Reg! King of the Farm.
All that hard work and stinky smells are a thing of the past the first time your have your very first fresh egg.
This year Nick built me a new run/coop where everyone can be safe and stretch out. We’ve also added 7 more pullets to the flock! Two Silver Spangled Hamburg’s, a Colombian Wyandotte, A Silver Laced Wyandotte, Blue Laced Red Wyandotte, Ancona and a White Conchin! What a crew!
Overall, chicken keeping continues to amaze and entertain me. The girls (and Reggie, of course) bring so much to our family. We have so many laughs – I couldn’t imagine my life without them.
Call it Kismit
Every once in a while you come across people and things that are just meant to be in your life. I’ve pretty much resigned to the fact that majority of the things in my life – are results of pure kismet … maybe even Divine Intervention. Meeting my boyfriend, clicking on Petfinder the day Harley was first posted, even finding a small ad in the news paper for an Open House were all signs of things that were meant to be. I’ve always been a firm believer in making sure I never regret anything.
I was married for nearly ten years – and I don’t regret a minute of it. Though the breakup was difficult, I learned a lot about myself and gained a good friend. That marriage was meant to be as well.
I make an attempt at embracing whatever life may throw at me – good and bad. Being religious, it is easier for me to put my faith in God and know that He has my best interest at hand. But, I realize that life isn’t always a rose garden – I lost my dad when I was 25 to lung cancer, my grandmother at 25 to heart failure and my Godmother at 26 to lung cancer. I didn’t understand it at first – and it hurt immensely – but those deaths were also to play a huge role in my kismet – preparing me for other positive experiences about to happen in my life. The point is – I believe we are all destined for something and the people we meet and experiences we experience are all meant to be. I wouldn’t trade my life for anyone else’s.
What is your take on fate, kismet and destiny? Do you feel things in your life were meant to be? Please comment, I’d love to know!!
Recently, I was contacted by a company called Pack Leashes to try out their assortment of leashes, collars, etc. Pack Leashes is a great company that started from a chewed up leash and some hiking gear. It grew into a company with a great mission – not only to sell people quality leashes, but to provide shelter dogs with food. Being an avid walker/light hiker myself – I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to purchase a sturdy leash with a strong clasp. Especially, when Harley spots a deer!
After speaking to Charlotte about the company and Harley becoming a model – I decided to go ahead and purchase one of their leads. I opted with the Python – 3ft lead. It arrived a few days later and, honestly, I couldn’t have been happier. It is the sturdiest, well made leash I have ever used. The only issue I found with the lead AND IT TOTALLY WAS MY FAULT – was that I had ordered too short of a leash. Perhaps, I was ordering hastily or just not paying attention, but I would have liked to order a 7ft leash instead. One of my favorite things about the leash is that is PETA approved and vegan (though I’m not a vegan – I do like to keep my animal based products to a very bare minimum). The clasp and leash are both solid and strong. I never feel like I’m to loose control when walking the dogs – which is really a change.
I absolutely love Packleashes and am looking forward to buying a new one in the near future. If you’ve got an over zealous pup or just like a strong leash when walking – I honestly don’t think you’ll find a better one on the market!!!
7 Things You May or May Not Know About Me
Q: Why did you choose the number 7, Susan?
A: Because it seemed like a nice number between 5-10 that wasn’t 6,8,9.
- I’m a devout Catholic. My faith is my number 1 priority. So much so that I had considered entering the convent intermittently between the ages of 14-25.
- I used to hate cooking, but now I love it. I love feeding my boyfriend all sorts of different foods. He’s a great sport about it too, and never complains. He may have even gained a few pounds here and there 🤔
- I’m divorced (WHAT !?! you just said you’re a devout Catholic, Susan!) . My first marriage didn’t work out so well. It bothers me because I am such a devout Catholic, but alas – things happen. We’re still good friends and can share a laugh or two. I think it’s fair to say that we’ve learned a lot about ourselves and our relationships with others. I wouldn’t have traded that experience for the world.
- I don’t teach anymore. I taught for 14 years and really enjoyed working with kids. Unfortunately, I got really sick unexpectedly and was told I’m just not well enough to work anymore. 😦
- My mom is my very best friend. My mom are 38 years apart and are super close. She is my support, my reality check, my comedian, my rock and I couldn’t ask for a better mother.
- I am a first degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do. I gave up doing what I loved more than anything in the world – riding and showing horses: to practice martial arts. I can’t lie – it was very challenging for an 11 year old girl to spar with boys much bigger than me, do one armed knuckle pushups and break boards with a round house kick. But my dad was so proud sending and watching me kick butt every week that I just couldn’t give it up! It turns out I’m pretty tough and even broke some concrete bricks with my hands AT 13 !!!
- I am a Reiki One (Shoden). That basically means that I am a First Degree Student of Reiki. Reiki is the practice of using hands to channel energy into other living beings. EVEN PLANTS! I am firm believer of the healing power of energy and after getting opened and aligned with Reiki energy – I found that I was able to make a huge difference in the quality of life for my pets, friends and family. I can even do it to myself – which helps with a lot for my chronic illnesses. Anytime you’re around and want some healing all you have to do is ask!! I love to practice ❤
Relishing those Reenactments
Reenactments, Going to Events, Living History – whatever you may call it, I miss it A LOT. A few weekends ago, I had the chance to go a Revolutionary War – Event near my home. If you’re friends with me on Facebook you might have seen my “Flat Stanley” pictures!
Going to a Reenactment brought back a flood of emotions. I remember going to my first one as a kid and just being so floored by History being brought to life right in front of my eyes. It didn’t take me long to realize that I wanted to participate in the hobby. When I was 13 – I bought some books, talked to some people, did some research and was all ready – until I realized I didn’t have a soul to do it with. Imagine the woman’s (who I spoke to when I was 13) shock when I called her at 21 asking her if she still participated in Living Histories particularly the Civil War. My best friend at the time was beyond excited and willing to participate with me! So, we invested hundreds of dollars in clothing, a tent, cooking ware and travel expensive. But truth be told, as expensive as it was, I spent some of my best moments all done up in 9 layers in the hot Virginia sun.
But alas, time went on – my dad passed away, my job took up my time, I got married and basically fell out of touch with reenacting connections. Over time, there was talk about going back to the hobby, but it cost money that I did have. Plus, to be honest – I most certainly don’t fit in the dresses I bought at 21 years old. Again, the ideas went by the wayside.
It wasn’t until the recent reenactment – that I did begin to consider going back into the hobby all together. The thought of parking my pup tent under a shady tree and spending my day knitting on a blanket in the shade just seems like heaven.
What may have even been more special though – is watching the boys and their 1st event!
I NEED that …. Vol. 3
My boyfriend and I always joke about me and my NEED for things. I say it so much that there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t say I need SOMETHING. Truth be told – there are some things I really want and then other things that are really a necessity. Some of the things on this list that I genuinely NEED. As for the extravagance of the products – that is open to debate.
1./2. We’re updating one of the bedrooms (finally) for Nick’s boys. So they’ll have a legitimate bedroom of their own when they come stay with us. I’m so excited that they’re staying with us AND that I finally can do something with this mess of a farmhouse! I’ve been doing tons of research online and found some really cute decorating ideas. I’ve been trying to keep with the theme of rustic/farmhouse and found some reasonable and adorable ideas. I really love the sports themed prints – on amazon.com. They each have an inspirational message written on them! I live for Amazon and I especially like the idea of Amazon Smile. Since I order so much from there – it’s comforting to know that a portion of my purchases goes to a good cause. My cause is a local animal retirement sanctuary (like a retirement home) for dogs: Marty’s Place. Another decorating idea that I found was wooden ruler growth height chart. I first noticed it on the Pottery Barn website, but wasn’t too fond of the price. Now that I’m not working – I’m always looking to make things stylish but on a decent budget. Amazon once again came through with a wide variety of wooden growth charts! The one above can be personalized and I just love it’s rustic style.
3. I take pictures. Lots and lots of pictures. And while my past time has created a plethora of memories – it has also taken up most of my hard drive and memory. I’ve known I would need an external hard drive for a while, but it wasn’t until I couldn’t start my computer and spent a 1/2 hour on the phone with a tech from Apple – did I realize that I need one immediately. The girl from Apple told me I would do best with a 1 or 2 TB external HD. The Seagate Backup Plus Slim 1 TB External Hard Drive seems to me to be a sleek and appropriate tool for what I need.
4.) Lastly, and most importantly – I need a new refrigerator. Technically, I’ve needed one for a year – but just when I think: “that’s it! I can’t take it! I need a new one!” my fridge begins to work again. Which only leads me to: ” fine. I really can’t afford a new one right now, anyway. I’ll save up and get a new one when it actually breaks” However, it’s gotten to become a relatively big problem. We’ve gotten to the point where we can no longer buy frozen foods because they just spoil. When, in the past the freezer would perk up after a week or two – teasing me with its sassy ways – it no longer perks up. She’s just sitting there – teasing me with a temperature anywhere between 2-4 degrees. Now, that we have boys staying with us – it’s helpful if we could have some quick breakfast and lunch meals to keep in the freezer. So baby – it’s time to go. I’ve been pricing and looking up various products and I’m going to try and hold out until Memorial Day – but I keep coming back to the Miele. Years ago, my ex husband turned me on to Miele when we first purchased our vacuum cleaner and I really haven’t looked back since. It’s a reliable product, well made and long lasting.
So, these are my needs (and wants) for this week. What are your opinions? What are some needs and wants you have for yourself?
To Diet or Not to Diet? That is the Question …. (and one of my healthy recipes)
The number one, first thing I hate when I decide to shed a few pounds – is people telling me “Oh please … you don’t need to loose any weight. You’re nuts.” If I’m deciding to put myself through the woes of dieting – I have a reason whether no one may see it or not.
No one likes to diet – it’s a pain in the butt. Weighing yourself on the scale daily, just to notice that you haven’t lost any weight is frustrating. Exercising daily (especially when you have RA and Fibromyalgia) can be challenging. But I have gained over 20 pounds in 7 months and knew that if I didn’t do something quickly – shedding more than 20 pounds would be even more challenging and daunting. So, I recently invested in NOOM – a weight-loss app that does more than count your calories.
It’s a whole new approach to dieting using psychology and personalized coaches that text you every few days. So far I’ve lost 3 lbs in about a week, and overall I’m pretty happy. Plus, it works in conjunction with my Fitbit® and Qardio® blood pressure cuff. Most of all, what I like best about this app is their food logging system. Food is easy to find and they give you a fair amount of calories to work with throughout the day. I’m very rarely hungry. It also is just encouraging me to eat healthy – the way I used to eat before I got married. I’m aware that NOOM comes with a post weight-loss program as well – to help people maintain a healthy weight, but I think just eating healthy for a few weeks/months could inspire me eat healthy again. Which is nice. Which is why I thought I’d share a relatively delicious lunch I’ve been making for myself as of late.
**Feel free to add more or less of an ingredient. My recipe is based on a specific calorie intake.**
Cucumber and Ham Pita Recipe
2 slices of Deli ham
1/2 of Whole Wheat Pita Pocket
1/2 of Organic Cucumber
1 tablespoon of Sabra Hummus (though I also really love Wegmans)
1 tablespoon of Helmann’s Light Mayonnaise
Salt and Pepper to taste
This is seriously the easiest sandwich you’ll ever make, but it tastes so good.
1.) Mix hummus and mayo in a bowl and spread 1/2 on the inside of the pita. **You can also just spread the hummus inside the pita and save the mayo**
2.) Slice your cucumber into thin slices and pack them into the pita leaving just enough room for your ham.
3.) Take your deli ham and pack on top of cucumbers.
4.) Top with hummus/mayo mix or just mayo.
6) Season with salt and pepper.
Please note that I have no affiliation with NOOM®. I am purely writing based on my personal experience with the app to which I pay a monthly fee.
If Finders are Keepers then – I’m a Real Loser ……
I lose EVERYTHING. I lose things while I’m in the process of looking for other things. The biggest and most regrettable thing I lost was my engagement ring from my first marriage. It was a beautiful ring and I know that it was picked out with love. My most recent things Ive lost are a stack of important money saving receipts and my FitBit. My FitBit is super important because it helps me keep track of my sleep. The funny thing is – I know it’s in my house and I distinctly remember taking it off while I was all dressed to go to a wedding two weeks ago.
So, why do I keep losing things? What is the best way to keep track of my lost things? Apple® came up with Find My iPhone – which I swear I use on a daily basis. Tile® is an amazing tool to find your keys, wallet, phone or even your child and it’s reasonably priced. Click N’ Dig® has the same premise and is even cheaper. But what about the rings? Fitbits? and receipts of the world? I’ve been trying these tips to help me stay organized:
- I’ve tried putting things in a special designated area. I suppose I need to become more disciplined, because it always seems like it’s that one time I don’t do it – that I lose it. So, what’s a girl to do? Maintain order – keep your designated areas clean and clutter free. I’m a clutter bug – so this part is always a work in progress. Make sure I ALWAYS use the same designated area and when I get too lazy remind myself how much I owe to Saint Anthony.
- I started using a bulletin board in the kitchen. Even though it gets crowded quickly – it reminds me not to forget things that are due. Bills, meal prep calendars, cleaners tickets, and doodles all make it up onto the board. I like having everything in one place. I’ve been keeping my calendar up there as well – and color coding it. I feel like the less things I have to remember – the less inclined my crowded brain is to lose or forget something.
- I also know that mindfulness plays a big key in not losing things, too. Staying focused and in the moment – consciously aware of where you are placing something is key. It’s tough, but crucial. I know that there are times when I “focus” on doing something – knowing it is a fantastic place to put something. Then when I come back to it – I realize i was neither truly focusing on it nor was it a fantastic place to put it. Working on my mindfulness skills is not only helpful with me keeping track of things but emotionally too. Staying in the present moment – is proven to lower stress and anxiety
- As silly as this last one is going to seem – stop taking things off even when I think I’m going to remember it. It’s as if the country song Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off by Joe Nichols was written about me. I’ve lost my engagement ring to a wedding reception bathroom – because I took it off to lotion it. I’ve lost countless pairs of sunglasses because I’ve taken them off and placed them God only knows where. I lost my fitbit when I was changing for a wedding. Keeping organized and track of my things is important – but keeping them on my body is even more important.
Hopefully some of these tips can help you keep track of your things! What are some things you have lost? What tips do you have to keep track of your property? I’d love to hear from you!!!