About Me

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Jersey Shore, United States
In case any of my friends or family members actually read this Blog, please consider all Names, Characters, Places and Incidents to be the product of the author's imagination and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or locales are entirely COINCIDENTAL...Muaaah!! Now, really, about me: I bring the crazy wherever I go, so I've been told...I make fun of myself more than anyone else ever could. I hate: the awkward silence in elevators, watches with no numbers, picky eaters, Cancer and legalism. I love: coffee, stalking Hugh Jackman, my Spanx, COMMENTS, sarcasm and writing: Middle Grade, NA, YA Paranormal and Urban Fantasy.

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

A-Z Theme Reveal

Last year was my first foray into the A-Z Challenge. I decided to buck convention and not choose a theme. Actually, I kind of chose anarchy for my theme. Believe it or not,  it really worked well for a freak like me. After lots of contemplation and tossing around a bunch of ideas, I think I have to stick to what works best for me: non-convention. So sorry peeps, but this Bird is just going to have to fly THEMELESS, once again.

I'm especially psyched for the A-Z Challenge this year because my daughter Faith (Faith's A Foodie CU) just decided to join in! It's going to be awesome to share this experience with her. She has been so consumed with activities and academics she has let her food blog kind of slip away from her. But she really loves it and thought joining in the challenge would help re-motivate her. Fingers crossed we can both cross that finish line!

Here's my little foodie in front of a French bistro she insisted we try while vacationing in Gettysburg, PA.
She loves to eat out and sample all kinds of  foods. Don't let her age fool you. This little girl has an AMAZING palette and can throw down with the best of them in the kitchen. Please don't take my word for it.
Look her up during the A-Z Challenge and see for yourself  :)

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The "Larg" Intestines

My youngest daughter has fallen into the awful habit of  punishing herself unusually hard for her mistakes. For example, she just took a test on the organs of the human body and received a grade of  98. An A+!  Amazing, right? I thought it was awesome. But guess what? She was DEVASTATED. Do you want to know why? She didn't get a 100. Frankie didn't get a 100 because she forgot the "e" when writing large intestines, so the teacher deducted 2 points. Oh man did that kid punish herself. She cried and wailed and carried on.  It was ridiculous. I told her to stop beating herself up over it, to let it go. This was crazy, she just made a silly mistake. Instead of focusing on all she did right, all she could focus on was her mistake. "How could I be so stupid mom? How could I spell esophagus and pancreas right but mess up on the word large? I've known how to spell large since first grade!!!" She went on and on and on like this...it made me so upset. Why couldn't she just let it go.  One thing I know for sure, that kid will never spell the word large wrong ever again.

This unhealthy behavior my daughter is displaying has been weighing heavily on this mom's heart. What about you? Do you suffer from a case of "larg" intestines? When you make a mistake, do you punish yourself over and over again? Do you take a small error and blow it out of proportion? Nobody is perfect, we all make mistakes. To me, as long as you learn from your mistakes, there is no reason to be so upset about them. I'd love to hear your thoughts.                      

Monday, March 17, 2014

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Hey everyone- Happy St. Patrick's Day. I thought we might be celebrating today with a parade. Instead, we are celebrating with another snow storm! My kids are off from school and at this rate, they will be going straight through until August to make up all that they have missed. Ugh.

I know I often speak about my Italian heritage, but I'd be remiss if I didn't acknowledge the wee bit o' Irish in  me as well. One of my neighbors and great friends, shows up every St. Patrick's Day, rings my doorbell and leaves two loaves of her Irish soda bread on my front porch.  Since she is no more than four and a half feet tall (on a good hair day with heels) and her family is all from Ireland, my kids say "Our favorite little leprechaun left us a pot of gold."

Honestly, her soda bread is so good it has be magical. Especially the way it disappears.**(See footnote below) Here is the recipe for my friend Stacey's Irish Soda Bread. However you celebrate St. Patrick's Day, I hope you have a great day!

5 cups of all purpose flour
1 cup of sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup or one whole stick of butter (unsalted, cut up into cubes) make sure it's at room temp
2 1/2 cups of raisins
3 tablespoons of caraway  seeds
2 1/2 cups of buttermilk
1  large egg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an oven proof 10-12 inch skillet with 2-1/2 inch deep sides (go generous with the butter) Whisk together the first five ingredients in a large bowl.  Use your fingertips and add the butter, rub in until coarse crumbs start to form.  Stir in the raisins and caraway seeds.  Whisk buttermilk and egg in a medium bowl to blend.  Add it to the dough with a wooden spoon stir until well incorporated. The dough will be very sticky.  Transfer the dough to the prepared skillet.  Smooth out the top, mounding it slightly in the center.  Use a sharp knife, dip into flour, cut an X in the top center of the dough.  Bake until knife is inserted and comes out clean. (About an hour and fifteen minutes) Cool the bread on a rack.   Enjoy. We like to eat ours with butter. But it's delicious plain as well.

** I have tried to make this recipe myself, many times. The kids and The Husband and I all agree; for some crazy reason, even though this is her exact recipe, my soda bread never quite comes out as good as when Stacey makes it. I'm telling you, it's magical. :)

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Insecure Writer's Support Group: MARCHing on!

I'm very thankful for the note that pops up on the first Wednesday of every month, reminding me to post for the Insecure Writer's Support Group! Cause even though things are crazy in my life, and I haven't been able to post regularly, y'all know I never miss the IWSG. If you are interested in learning more about this awesome group, you can check it out over on Alex Cavanaugh's site.

I am SO over you, February!!  Good riddance month of  misery, freezing cold, snow, surgery and pain! I am thrilled to be ushering in the month of March with joy in my heart, a smile back on my face and a super-sized Shamrock Shake in my hand. I'd love to tell you that I woke up March 1st  free of  my writerly insecurities but that would be a big fat lie. I am still riddled with them. (Especially since I was unable to write a blessed word the entire month of February and had zero energy to accomplish any of my writing goals.)

What I did wake up with on March 1st, is so much better. I woke up with one less tumor in my body, and a cancer free diagnosis. Praise God!  Please forgive me for this departure from convention, but I'd really like to keep my insecurity on the down low this month and expound a bit more on my positive news.

It's so hard for me, a so-called woman of words, to adequately describe the relief, amazement and burden I feel lifted today. It's almost like I haven't been able to take a full breath in months, and I'm suddenly realizing I can breath again. Ironically, the worst of it all, was not the operation itself. It wasn't the incision or all the stitches either. Although the recovery was painful; it's always a huge risk whenever I undergo any surgery because along with an auto-immune disease, I have a bleeding disorder. And ultimately, I did develop some complications. I had an adverse reaction to the anesthesia and became violently ill. Wicked migraine, shakes, fever, fainting, vomiting, diarrhea, itching, swelling...overall hot mess of misery from  head to toe, (you get the idea). But that unpleasantness wasn't the absolute worst thing about this whole ordeal either. It was the worry I put my family through.

It tore me up inside to see the fear in my daughters' eyes. My two older girls and I did a lot of talking and sharing of their feelings, in order to help ease their worry. But my little one wouldn't say too much. My girls are no strangers to cancer. You see, these are the same three girls, who just four short years ago, watched their beloved and beautiful Aunt, wither away. They saw her suffer through multiple chemo treatments and eventually had to say their good byes. Imagine the stress on my kids, hearing the dreaded  "C" word being thrown around the house again. My oldest said, "This is my worst nightmare, coming true." Ugh. I'm a momma-it's my nature to want to protect and shield them from any hurt or harm- not be the cause of it!!

Even though I was able to come home the same day as surgery, I was still pretty out of it. For approximately twelve hours, every time I picked up my head, I would get sick. At one point, I woke up and heard the strangest sound. Turns out, my little one had crept into my room while I was sleeping. She was sitting on the floor, in my dark room, trying to stifle her sobs! Poor kid. It just broke my heart. Especially since a week or so before my surgery, one of my girlfriends called to tell me that her daughter (my little one's best friend) came to her in tears, she was so worried about  me. Apparently, the pair of them were getting together every day at recess time and instead of playing, they were praying together that I would be healed of cancer! Bless their little hearts.

Whenever I write about my husband, it's usually a testament to his courage and strength. (or sometimes it's cause he's royally pissed me off, he he he) Seriously though, there are very few things that man is afraid of.  But every fearful glance passed between him and my poor mother, whenever they thought I wasn't looking broke me. Watching the stress manifest itself in my families lives, and not being able to squash their fears, was honestly the worst part of this whole ordeal. Being able to deliver the good news on that pathology report, was the best. What a privilege and joy to be able to shout, don't worry, it's not cancer!  

I am incredibly grateful, but more importantly, humbled  by the amount of friends, family members, and followers that prayed for me during this difficult time. For the positive comments, thoughts, well wishes and prayers, thank you. I'd like to leave you all with this thought: I don't know why I was spared from cancer, and my sister was not. But I do know this, I am thanking God for His grace, and I'm going to live my life like the gift that it is. I'm MARCHing on peeps. I hope my words will encourage you today.  ~ Jaybird