Thursday, October 10, 2019

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Two things:

Even if it's just $10.  Please!  She had triple negative just like me and it's back again and that is a nightmare...for every cancer survivor who went through hell to get healthy again, and for every mother diagnosed with cancer, especially a cancer like triple negative that is aggressive. 

Wearing a pink ribbon isn't enough.  We are all aware of breast cancer.  This is the way to help.  To support someone just like you, who is going through hell.

Don't think it can't happen to you, like I did.  I had NO risk factors, the opposite of risk factors.  I had a clean mammogram.  I never did breast checks because I didn't 'have' to.  And I was always pregnant or nursing too so it seemed silly.  My lump grew from undetectable in January to golf ball sized in October and STILL I only felt it when I lost 10 pounds.  I am SO lucky I caught it when I did and truly it is LUCK.  I was only 48 years old.  No family history. 

And I only am a "survivor" by pure luck.  I did nothing to survive, nothing anyone else wouldn't have done.  Showed up for chemo, and cried my way through it.  Got thrown on the cancer train one day and stayed on till they let me off a year later.  I was lucky that I had people encouraging me and the best friends ever and parents who offered to trade places with me and served me hand and foot and a doctor who I loved who didn't let me jump off that train even one cold day in January when I said I was done and not doing it anymore. 

Survivor?  I deserve no accolades for it and feel guilty when I hear that word.  Luck.  Period.

I don't know that I am ready to write about it all because I still live in fear and gratitude and anger and trauma and it seems like ages ago and then something will trigger it and it floods back.  Did this really happen to me?  I was going through Abbey's art work trying to find a picture to frame and I saw the photos she took of me and I look like hell, a stranger.  That was last week and I am still shaking from just seeing those photos.  My little Patrick-he takes it the hardest, and it was so scary for him.  For all the kids.  It does change your life and it does make you see more of the little things-that is the good part but not worth it.  I was a grateful mom anyways.  I didn't "need" cancer to see the little things.  It's just plain unfair all the way around.

There are lessons in hardships-I know that for sure.
I know I can survive anything.
I know that cancer is more than a rah-rah ribbon and pink t-shirt and booby jokes.
It is shitty.  That's the only word I can think of to describe it.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

An Etsy Shop and More...Bucket List Check Offs

I finally opened my own Etsy shop-something I've always wanted to do, and rented a space in the coolest vintage boutique in my small town.

It is funny and weird and one of those meant-to-be sort of things the way it all came about, but the most important thing is I am loving it all.  Well not all, like when I overwhelm myself with projects and have no time to blog or keep my house the way I want it and homemade dinner plans fall through, but I am learning to pace myself all over again.

I am just starting out but... is my Instagram where I plan to sell online besides at Etsy.

(Social media is NOT my favorite thing and never will be..we will see how it goes...still working on a Facebook business account and trying not to swear as I figure it out.)

And Etsy.

I have so much more to add, but all in good time.  If you are local stop in to Vintage Groves on Louisiana Street in downtown Perrysburg.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Easy Pumpkin Pull-Apart Bread New and Improved Recipe

So I made it again...and I didn't burn it this time.  And took more photos.  And I made the frosting...and changed the recipe slightly...and it was HEAVENLY.

So easy and so good.

Pumpkin Pull-Apart Bread Rolls
12 Rhodes Dinner Rolls (in frozen food section), thawed but still cold
1/3 cup melted butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Rum Glaze:
3 TBS butter
2 TBS brown sugar
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla flavoring
3 TBS Kahlua liquor

Spray a loaf pan, or an oval Pyrex.
Once thawed, but cold, slice the bread rolls in half.  Melt the butter in one bowl, and mix the sugar and spice together in a another bowl.  Dip each 1/2 in the butter, and then in the sugar mixture.  (I put all of them in the butter, and coated, and all of them in the sugar mixture and coated well. Sprinkle any butter or sugar over the top.

Put the bread pieces in the loaf pan or Pyrex, and cover with a sprayed Saran wrap.  Let sit till double in size.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes, but cover with foil half way through so the top doesn't burn.

Meanwhile mix together the rum glaze ingredients well.

When the buns come out of the oven, spread or drip the rum glaze on the bread.

Eat when warm...they are incredible.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Encouragement For The Week

What if we just tried contentment? What if we accepted our homes as they are, linoleum, old cabinets, tiny closets, squeaky doors, hand-me-down sofa, and worked with and learned to love what we have right in front of us? I think our grandparents did this much better than we have ever done. Most of them lived in the same home for their lifetimes, and took such good care of what they had, whether it was the "in" thing or not.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Easy Pumpkin Pull-Apart Bread


I might have to admit it's fall because's October.  But you know I will stretch summer as long as I can and heck here in Ohio it still feels like summer.

But I did have a little craving for pumpkin I made this...and it was delicious.  Even though I burned it.  So much for cute photos, but it's also real life, so that makes up for the lack of cute photos.

Pumpkin Spice Pull-Apart Loaf with Rhodes Dinner Rolls

12 Rhodes Yeast Dinner Rolls
1/3 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Glaze: (Which I didn't put on because I didn't have a chance before everyone attacked the bread)

2 TBS butter
2 TBS brown sugar
1 1/2 TBS milk
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp rum flavoring (I am sure you could omit-I couldn't find at grocery store anyways.)

Let rolls thaw but not rise.  (They took about 2 hours out of freezer for me.) . When they are thawed, cut each roll in half.

Combine sugar and pumpkin pie spice in a bowl.

Dip each oval in melted butter and then in sugar.  Line them up in a sprayed 9x5 loaf pan.

(Just a note-once I cut the rolls in half, I put them ALL in the butter mixture and coated them, and then ALL in the sugar mixture, and then put that in the loaf pan-I don't have time or patience for lining things up nicely.)

Sprinkle remaining butter and sugar on top of the slices.  Cover with sprayed plastic wrap and let rise until double in size.

Remove wrap and bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes, covering with foil halfway through to keep from over-browning.

While baking, combine the butter, brown sugar and milk in a saucepan and bring to a boil.

Remove from heat and add the powdered sugar and flavoring.  Drizzle over slices after baked.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Encouragement For The Week

Yesterday is gone.  Tomorrow is yet to come.  We have only today.  If we help our children to be what they should be today, they will have the necessary courage to face life with greater love.
Mother Theresa

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Revisit-Motherhood and Our Attitudes

I have this quote taped to the inside of my household binder which holds a collection of recipes, homemaking ideas and tips, gift ideas, and most importantly, notes to myself that I've made every few years that I label "rules of life". 

Lately I've been thinking so much about how this quote applies to motherhood, and how our attitude shapes our children's lives and our experiences as mother.

Our children don't have a choice about how they are cared for, but we have a choice when we become mothers about how we are going to embrace our new role.  We have a choice about our attitude towards motherhood and that attitude will make our life and our children's life and our spouse's life stressful or wonderful.  Over the last twenty one years of parenting, I've observed many different attitudes towards mothering and I think attitude truly is more important than circumstance, money, giftedness, skill, education, or appearance as it can make or break a family.  

By definition attitude means "a settled way of thinking or feeling about someone or something, typically reflected in a person's behavior". I think in this day and age we must be purposeful in cultivating a good attitude through our thoughts and feelings about motherhood as our culture today doesn't send messages that support us.

We've been told, unlike past generations of mothers, that in so many ways raising children can put a cramp in our style, make daily living inconvenient, ruin our careers, drain our finances, and surely we have better, worthier, things to do with our time, energy and talents. We are expected to have and do everything all at once-we are bombarded with materialism and live a faster-paced life then years ago, the opposite of a "settled way" of being. When we realize this way of life is lie, that it is impossible to have and do all, it can easily allow resentment to build. If we expect our children to fit in on the sidelines of our life, and when we demand that they to conform to that lifestyle, they retaliate by being unenjoyable and needy, and we throw up our hands in frustration. Or maybe it's just simply the posturing trend today towards comedic sarcasm and self-pity-a "these darn kids" eye-rolling stance-that can permeate our way of viewing of parenthood if we allow it.

I've had times in my life when I had to remind myself to find some time to step back and take the time to switch my brain from heading down the wrong attitude path. I have attempted to jot down some of the things that have helped me over the years, and some of the characteristics and lifestyles of fabulous mothers I have observed over the years who have maintained a beautiful attitude towards motherhood and family life.

I think cultivating a beautiful attitude towards motherhood means truly surrendering ourselves with a purposeful attitude of gratitude towards our new role.  By that I mean, allowing ourselves to fall in love with our babies, letting ourselves be reformed into something new and start on a brave new learning journey of reshaping our old lives to build a joyous family life together.  It requires letting go of keeping up, shaping up, showing off, moving up, getting away, going out like we did before we became responsible for another's life and it requires giving our energy to something far more important than worldly desires-the child we brought into this world.

Our attitude really comes down to embracing and accepting hard work because motherhood requires this during all stages of parenting. "Work is love made visible" says a famous philosopher.  We must find a way to make this hard work enjoyable and if not, to just do it, knowing we will bear the fruits of our labor. Sometimes it helps just to expect that we will always be required to do hard work and stretch ourselves beyond what is comfortable at all stages of our children's development. We must know and trust that nothing in this world is more more worthy than our service.  It is okay for us to serve our families-sometimes serving them means showing them how they can help us, and other times it means just that-doing the work that is needed to care for our families. 

It comes down to developing a tender connection and a deep bond-knowing mother is important and irreplaceable, and that which there is no substitute-which takes the gift of time given freely, and sacrifice for many years. We must change our lifestyle so that our babies and children are able to flourish and thrive, and we accept that it's not just about what is best for us anymore. 

It comes down to guarding our hearts carefully every day-by that I mean rejecting the sarcastic attitude that makes parenthood seem like a long tortuous journey of interrupted sleep and sticky fingers and too long summer breaks. There's a child on the other side of that sarcasm wondering why he's thought of as a curse instead of a blessing. We must attempt to avoid this attitude like we would avoid the co-worker who constantly zaps everyone's day with her complaining negativity and pessimism. We must choose carefully who we spend our time with as mothers and what we allow to creep into our brains. Attitudes are catching. We must search out positive affirming messages about motherhood. We must find what fills us up, not what tears us down.  

"I get to do this" is a phrase that changes every task from a bother to a blessing.  Whether it be to rock a crying baby in the moonlight, soothe a frustrated toddler, help a slow learner with homework, or stay up late talking to a moody teenager, we must recognize that there are many fellow women whose hearts break daily because they desperately want to be given the gift of motherhood and some that have had it ripped away from them.

I've told the story before of a young mom who lost her toddler in a terrible accident while on vacation-she had said that before she left she was mad about the hand prints left over the newly washed windows and walls that gave her one more thing to do during the hectic time before the trip, and how when she came home without her daughter she searched everywhere to find just one beautiful, precious hand print to treasure. She shared this story to say, stop, slow down, strive to be grateful.

I have had a friend who had to work for the first year of her daughter's life tell me through tears that she had an acquaintance who complained to her constantly about how difficult her days home with her children-"warning" her against her desire to be home.  But my friend cried often when she pulled out of her driveway to go to work, wondering how she could desire so badly what someone else took for granted-somehow that made it hurt more.  Finally the day came when she was able to be home and she rejoices every morning when she doesn't have to rush off and appreciates being the one to see her children change and grow and learn all day long, and says she soaks it all up, thanks God for the opportunity, even if it is indeed hard work.  "I get to do this" is her attitude-an attitude of appreciation and thanksgiving.

Each of our children is a wonderful blessing from God and we are being entrusted with this little being to raise-and receive joy and love and affection that will never be found elsewhere in that process.  It comes down to reminding ourselves to possess overwhelming gratitude towards the gift of being able to raise a child, and to do that we must slow down and unwrap that gift daily with care.  

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Encouragement For The Week

I don't recall now whether the ironing was always finished early in the week, whether we had pie or cake for desert, whether the dusting was done each day, or whether Mother canned five or five hundred quarts of fruit, but I do remember that she took "time out" to play with us.

July 1937.

The Farmer's wife 1930's Sampler Quilt
Laurie Aaron Hind

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Our Favorite Craft and Art Supplies

A few of our tried and true favorite simple and easy (not messy, no prep) craft and art supplies.  These are the things I say "Go do..." when I hear "I'm bored".

I've mentioned this before-so fun to use, like glue sticks but glide on with color-no stickiness or mess.  We have given these as gifts several times and they are hits!


Great inexpensive art case-I bought one each for Patrick and Janey and they use them all the time.  (And so do I.)

This has always been a favorite (you can see how old and beat up it is) and is NOT for little fingers, but as soon as kids can learn to be careful, they will spend hours cutting book marks and all sorts of things.  For $7.99 it is worth the time of occupation it buys!  I've only had to replace the blades once.

For stories and illustrations.

Fun activity books.  
This is Janey's (7) and she loves it.

These are smaller (6x9) so perfect for toting around to soccer games and football games etc..
Patrick keeps one next to his bed.

Mentioned these a dozen times but love them.

My parents gave me a little set of chairs and a table when Isaac was young two decades ago and we have used that set into the ground.  They seem to contain more than an easel and have a multiple of uses.  (I garbage picked another table because Janey needs extra space for her "work".)

7 Rules

7 Rules Of Life, motivational poster print

Life is good, even when it doesn't go our way, or is difficult or has obstacles you'd least expect to have.  No one chooses hardships-but I have found that those who don't experience them aren't very deep people.  In other words, the hardships in life make you-they make you real, just like the Velveteen rabbit story.  They make you compassionate and happier, and more content, and more empathetic and easier to talk to and more genuine and loving and forgiving.  And they do that by putting you through hell first and when you walk through that, one tiny baby step at a time, you become.

Gratitude is always the way out of darkness.  Noticing the littlest things and being so so grateful for them-sparkling eyes of children and the smell of babies, and gorgeous nature everywhere and to taste and smell and see and hear and walk and talk-if we can do any of those things, we are lucky.  We are all lucky to be alive experiencing life, there are many people who would trade a day with us.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Ordinary Days

My favorite month-September.  Quiet days, and fluttering leaves and brilliant sun, and cool mornings.  What is there not to love?  (Allergies?)

This is Ohio in September-beautiful!  (Thanks for the photo Jillian.)

From my garden.

I love this place.

Aren't these grocery store roses gorgeous?   Why don't brides just buy these and cut them and put them in pretty vintage containers and call it a day for a billion less than they usually spend?  (Why didn't I?)

Lots of birthdays around here.

Apple pie instruction class.


This is SO SO true.  Why does everyone ask me where things are before they even look?