What Veterans Day Means To Me

I was a Navy brat.  I was born on the Army base in Fort McPherson in Georgia.  My dad got transferred  and we lived in the state of Washington until my daddy retired in 1965.  We moved to Kansas City where my family was from.  There were always stories of my daddy’s Navy days, being on the ship, the different tours he was on.  He was a Korean and Vietnam veteran.  My dad was proud to have served his country, and he let you know it.  He was proud to be an American too, and that’s the way he raised us, to be proud to be Americans.  You didn’t speak ill of the United States military in his house, you respected the uniform and your responsibility when a family member chose to join the military.  

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Two of my brothers, two nephews, two great nephews and a great niece have all served in the military.  My husband spent 34 years in the Army, retiring in 2010.  I met him while he was stationed in my hometown at Sam’s Club, he was in uniform.  I love a man in uniform, the look so official, dignified.  I’m proud of how my family and husband have served this country and the sacrifices they made.

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I’m grateful, humbled and proud that all veterans have served  and sacrificed their lives so that we may enjoy our lives and the be free.  Thank a veteran today.

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Decoding Teenagers

If you have teenagers in your home then you think, I can do this, I’ve been a teenager.  I’m still apologizing to my mother because well I’m getting it with these teenaged ladies I have at home.  The blank stares, the crazy looks they give me then say they aren’t looking at me crazy.  

 My girls are smart, respectful, kind and very loving and love school, but they are teenagers and I have to decode them on occasion.   If I sense something is wrong, I ask them, “what’s wrong?”  They always say, nothing.  I’ll ask again and if it’s nothing again, I leave them alone until they are ready to talk to me.  I try not to push.  I think it’s school or friend related and I try my best to let them work out the friend issue.  If they ask me or tell me about a friend, I’m honest with them, explain about true friends and I leave it alone.  Sometimes I truly want to ban those friends, but it’s not my choice.

They both love their room and actually respect one another’s space.  I had to ban eating in their room this week because they just won’t bring crap out of there when they are finished.   When I saw 3 half empty cans of soda, a open bag of hot Cheetos and a fork from Lord knows when, I had to ban it.   The other room had 5 or 6 empty water bottles laying around.  Really girls???  That just doesn’t make sense to me, this was a big no when I was a teenager.

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Both of them accumulate and hold on to everything, so you can imagine the clutter.  My youngest and I were talking one day and I told her that if she didn’t do better with her room that I was gonna remove her door.  She actually said or asked me, isn’t this my room???  Excuse me???  Yes it’s your room, but this (say it with me) is MY HOUSE.  Boy did she get it twisted that day, but she’s cool now.  

 

 When the Miley Cyrus twerking controversy came out, I told them that if I ever caught them twerking in public that I would twerk in front of their friends.  They both just about died!  When we are together, I pretend that I’m gonna twerk and they get so embarrassed.  I’ll start singing about twerking in the car and they beg me to stop!  They are not dancing queens so I don’t think I have that one to worry about but you never know.

I thought I had the answers to this teenage thing, but some days I’m clueless.  I try to keep up with what’s going on on social media but that only goes so far.  They both keep asking me for Facebook accounts but that answer is no.  They have Instagram and that’s enough, and yes I monitor their accounts.  It’s my job.  More parents should take this job as serious as we do.  

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Meal Times With My Family

Dinner time at my house is a smorgasbord.  I have a vegetarian, a “if it don’t look right I don’t eat” picky eater and a husband that eats everything in the kitchen.  I cooked two meals Monday, smoked neck bones, green beans and potatoes and a tuna casserole and some corn bread.  My vegetarian does her own thing, she eats veggie burgers, hot dogs, pasta salads, fruit and granola bars.  I eat both, so I had a choice.  I don’t profess to be the best cook, but I can put my foot in food and have my favorite dishes.  Last week I cooked some shrimp boil and don’t you know no one would eat it but me?  My husband swears he never heard of it, amazing.  He said it didn’t look thick enough, wanted me to put some clam chowder soup in it.  Lesson learned, the next batch will be cooked just for me and watch them all want some then.

I know I created this with the girls when they were little, if they didn’t like it I didn’t make them eat it.  I learned to cook basically what they liked and I got in where I fit in.  It was so easier for me to keep weight off when I was a single woman because my husband can eat everything.  He is starting to put on a little weight now, but I can’t hang with him.  I just can’t.  He can eat chicken every day, EVERY day.  I can’t, as a matter of fact I can probably eat it twice a month or so.   He buys fried chicken at least once a week because I don’t fry a lot anymore and the man loves it.  

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The casserole is in the middle with the foil item on it and the smoked neck bones is in the big pot at the bottom.  They don’t do leftovers well either.  I can only eat so much of the leftovers, I hate wasting food.  I throw away food every week, it’s awful.  Food gets one week in my refrigerator and then it’s out.

As a family we love going to brunch.  It can be expensive, so we go maybe once a month after church.  We go to church at 7:30 so we have brunch about 10:00, enjoy our meal and we are headed home.  When we go out to brunch, I don’t normally cook a Sunday dinner, we eat left overs or something quick.  When I cook on Sunday I try to cook something that everyone likes which includes a vegetable dish so my vegetarian can enjoy it. 

My mother is shaking her head at me I know because she didn’t operate this way, but hey it is what it is.  I am teaching them how to cook so they will be able to cook those vegetarian only, picky, ketchup only meals.  This is my fault I know….smh.

How are meal times in your home?  Do you cook every night, or do like me?  I cook enough for a few days.  

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Fun At The Universoul Circus

I love taking my girls to the Universoul Circus.  Ok, I like going too.  It’s so much fun, mainly because of being around a group of people just like you.  If you’ve attended the Universoul Circus, you know what I mean.  The music, atmosphere and interaction they have with the audience.  Last week we went and had a ball!   This year the guest ringmaster was Carl Anthony Payne II, Cole from the show “Martin”.   We enjoyed every aspect of the circus, my daughter got cotton candy, funnel cake.  My oldest and I opted for popcorn.  We sit and watch every year like it was our first time going.  It was good to get out with my girls and enjoy the afternoon, it wasn’t hot so that made the afternoon even more enjoyable.   

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Boy did I spend some money that day, but it was worth it to have fun and enjoy ourselves.  I would look at them just to see the amazement on their faces as they watched the different acts.   The last few weeks have been the best therapy,  I’ve been able to stop and truly enjoy what this life is all about….living.  Can’t wait until the Big Top comes again next year!

 

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What’s Brewing at The Cafe

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Hey everyone, it has been a long week.  Coffee is good this morning and I’m sitting here with so much on my mind today.  Summer has kicked in, it’s finally hot and people are planning vacations or staycations.  We are planning something in between, long weekend trips that are close.   We are four hours from Kansas City, Chicago, Memphis and Indianapolis.  I wanted to hit all four places this summer, but we’ll get in what we can.  My husband has a long weekend every six weeks, meaning he gets Friday-Sunday off and next weekend is his long weekend.  That means he’s off for the holiday, yay!

After everything in the media this week, Paula Deen, the trial for George Zimmerman, the health of Nelson Mandela and several other things locally, I am tired of bad news and how we handle or conduct ourselves accordingly.  I was so tired of it, I posted this to my Facebook page:

I am not perfect, but I need to say this. The hatred that I’m reading is very disturbing. It doesn’t matter if you are talking about the George Zimmerman trial, Paula Deen or President Obama. I have my personal opinions about all three and they are just that, opinions. We all have them, why can’t we just respect that we are entitled to our opinions and at times we will disagree with one another? Why do we have to cross lines, use the internet to bully or show pure ignorance? #thinkbeforeyoupost
Much to my surprise, people liked the post and one even shared it.  I’ve decided to search and find something positive to share with you all and on my social media outlets.  There’s plenty of hate to spread around, so I’m gonna start searching the internet for something positive, a story that will give us hope and show the good side of people.  Life is too short to focus on negative ALL the time.  I’m not saying it has to be super sweet and fake, just something good happening in our world right now.  Let me know what you all think and you can even share stories with me or your story.  I would be happy to post it here.  I follow Michell Pulliam’s blog Prowess and Pearls and she has a feature/link up every Wednesday, called “Doing You Well”.  Positive is what we need, so I’m gonna do my part.My daughter accidentally threw away the blade to my Ninja Master Prep blender, you know the one that makes smoothies real good.  That’s why I bought it, we make a lot of smoothies.  That’s another area where I’m OCD challenged.  I will tear the house up and look, look and look until I find something.  Well after I almost went into a complete frenzy (almost), she admitted that she threw it away.  I was too tired to get mad but I did tell her that she will have to pay for the replacement.  It’s only $20, but she’s 17 and should pay more attention to what she’s doing.  She said she poured out what she was making and that included the blade.  I just left it alone, I had so many questions after she said that.I finally understand why people can’t wait until their teenagers get their drivers’ license.  I have been running them around like crazy the last few weeks and the summer is just beginning.  It will be a few years before my oldest is ready to drive, she just isn’t ready.  She wants to drive, but I want her to concentrate on other things first.

I almost forgot to remind you all that next week Google is removing their reader.  Please follow me on Bloglovin, there is a widget on the right.

Next week is my birthday, I will be 51 years old.  I think it’s amazing to be able to share my life and tell you all that I am proud to be turning that age.  No fanfare planned, would like to go to dinner with the family, and maybe an adult evening out with my husband.  The girls and I want to go see a local production of “The Wiz”.  Thanks to cable they’ve seen it and really like it.  I think it will be fun.   One year I will make it to the Essence Festival.  What are your plans for the holiday weekend?  Have a great weekend everyone!

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Quiet Reflections

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 Image courtesy of James Barker/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

Ever sit down and take yourself out of the world and just meditate, think, pray and spend time to reconnect?  I’m so busy these days that I miss some of the activities that I did a few years back, like..

  • Making jewelry.  I love to make jewelry and I’m gonna set aside time once a week and start working on different projects again.
  • Reading.  I enjoy getting lost in a good novel, taking the characters and making them my friend or enemy and following their story.
  • Playing Bid Whist.  My parents played all the time when I was growing up, so you know we had to learn how to play.  I missed it so much, I have an app on my iPad.  It’s ok, doesn’t take the place of the parties my parents had though.
  • My family.  I love living in St Louis with my husband and kids, but I miss my family and friends from Kansas City.  I also miss all my family that are no longer here.
  • Girls Night Out.  My friends from AT&T, we used to have a ball!!  We partied, celebrated birthdays, went to plays, dinner.  Most of the time we would kick it at each others house, those were the best times.
  • My girls when they were babies.  So sweet, full of energy and girly girls.

Those are good  thoughts, nothing sad.  Then I think about where I am now in life and I reflect and thank God for my life…

  • I am truly blessed.  I have a family I love, roof over my head,  everything I need and most of what I want. 
  • I love mornings….
  • That I haven’t hurt one person while I’m graciously going through menopause.
  • I am able to be ME, express myself through my blog, share with others, learn from others and hope to encourage those that need encouraging, because we all need it every once and a while.
  • I recognize that I make mistakes and it’s ok to forgive myself.
  • I am able to work from home and help provide for my family.
  • Material things come and go…don’t get so attached to them.
  • As of yesterday, I have two teenagers in the house.  My youngest turned 13 yesterday.  I have a large bottle of Ibuprofen.

Yesterday, today and tomorrow….living my life like it’s golden.

 

 

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What’s Brewing at The Cafe

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Coffee is good this morning and I have quite a bit to share with you all today.  Let me get this one off now and get it off my chest.  There is an alderman here in St Louis that sent a letter to some of his constituents and friends asking for assistance with his daughter’s tuition. She attends St Xavier University in Chicago and he was asking for $14,000, that’s what he was short of her $38,000 total.  You can read about it here.  This was major news around here, all the news stations were trying to interview him, he had no shame and said it was nothing wrong with what he did.  He has now said that he will not take any money.  My husband says he has been an alderman since   True, Alderman Bosley didn’t break any law, but the letter started with “This is Alderman Bosley”.   St Louis politicians are truly an interesting bunch, I’ve never lived in a city where there were so many municipalities and how they all waste money.   I normally don’t talk about politics, but I wanted to mention this because it was a hot mess.   

My daughter is smitten with a boy from our hometown of Kansas City.  She reunited with him on our brief stay there last year.  They have stayed in touch and guess what??  He’s coming here with his mother next week to visit.  I. Am. Not. Ready.  For.  This.  She is so excited, made him a friendship bracelet and wanted to buy him a gift.  I told her I thought the bracelet and a nice card was enough.  I’m going to speak with the mother to get a good understanding of the visit and what their plans are.  I need to know exactly what the plan is so I can go with them.  I don’t know if you all think I’m being over protective, but this is my oldest and she’s still awkward with relationships.  She has come a long way, she’s able to socialize much better, she is such a loveable person, but she has wanted a boyfriend since she was 15.  She told me yesterday she was in love with him.  I almost fell down, but I played it off and just talked to her.  I will definitely keep you all posted on this.  She has come up to me almost every hour to talk about it.  The young man is also autistic, but they seem to be pretty good friends.  We’ll see.  My baby is growing up and she reminds me of that all the time.

I wanted to put a warning out to you all about a company that has been emailing bloggers about advertising on their blogs.  I received an email from a company named Media Discovery from the United Kingdom.  I get skeptical when I receive random emails from another country (with the exception of Canada).   The email went straight to the business, asking if they could advertise on my blog, nothing about reading and enjoying my blog.  That put the red warning signs up for me.  I went to the BLM group on Facebook and posted the question, and someone suggested that I Google the company with the word scam next to it.  Well they aren’t necessarily a scam, but they advertise for gambling sites.  Oh no way, gambling is a touchy subject in my family (more on that later), and I don’t want anything on my blog advertising for a service or product like that.  They also offered to pay upfront $120 for the year.  I deleted the email but wanted to warn you all about this company.  

I have a date tonight with my husband!  We are going to the banquet for our church’s 20th anniversary.  I haven’t decided what to wear yet, but I’m not buying anything new, gonna shop the closet tonight.  I would like a new pair of shoes, but I’m passing on spending any money other than what we put out for the tickets.  My husband doesn’t want to wear a suit, bless his heart.  I’m not gonna push him either, but ya girl will be cute, lol.  We are having dinner, jazz musician, a gospel comedian and then some grooving at the end.  I love my church, Shalom Church ~ City of Peace.  Pictures next week.

I am a contributor for Kokoa Magazine’s June issue.  I would like to thank Kita, the editor and founder for the opportunity to write for her magazine.  Go check it out, it’s a great online magazine with articles for everyday women like us, no fluff and pretense.  Congratulations Kita and continued success.

Have a good weekend everyone and enjoy this unusual cool late spring we are having.  

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What’s Brewing at The Cafe

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Welcome to The Cafe and happy Friday!  Hope you all enjoyed your short work week.  No Scandal update for you, what are we gonna do?  I did watch Tyler Perry’s “The Haves and the Have Nots”, not trying to get addicted to another soap opera style show.  I didn’t really like it, very predictable and I it didn’t really hold my interest.  I try to support his efforts, I don’t get caught up in the negative talk about him.  We try to go see some of his movies and I’ve been to one play.    I didn’t even watch the sitcom, I don’t care for those at all.  

Last Friday when we were on our trip, we took the girls to Rue 21 to buy a few pieces for summer.  So we go to the shorts, they are buy 1 get 1 for $1.  I like that, they were no more than $20.   They go to the fitting room and both have on shorts that are way to short for my husband and I.  I know that at times with children, you have to pick your battles, but this is one battle I couldn’t let them win.  Those shorts were 1/2 inch from cheek area, nope not having it.  I was surprised that both were disappointed when we said no, but I guess I shouldn’t be.  My youngest said the famous, “all the girls wear them that short”.  I answered with, “that’s their momma’s problem”.  When they went to take off the shorts, I head over to find shorts for them that are a little more appropriate for my husband and I.   We came to an agreement on four pairs of shorts, several tops and left the store as a happy family.

I’ve been pretty busy this week, my contract work is picking up and I’m working on a few things regarding the blog and other opportunities to earn income.  One thing I’m learning with brands and companies approaching you for sponsored posts is you have to sit down and carefully review if the company or brand is someone you want to work with and not a quick way to make money.  That is where I am this week, reviewing and making decisions.  Not all money is good money.  I’ve heard that all my life and I truly understand it now.

Just found a great new website for online deals. Daily Deal Superstore pulls together all the best deals into one search engine.  It’s super easy to use – just set up a profile and then quickly find deals, with no email clutter or unwanted updates.  And then you can actually earn money by sharing it on Facebook.  This one takes online deals to the next level. 

Have a good weekend and never give up on your dreams and aspirations!

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Family Holiday Weekend

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Happy Tuesday everyone, it was a great weekend in my world, hope you all had a great one too.  My husband wanted to take a day road trip to one of his favorite restaurants, Lambert’s Cafe in Sikeston, MO.  It’s a two hour drive south of St Louis.  It was a beautiful day for a drive, and we were prepared, girls had a movie and their electronic devices, and I had my iPad and my Essence magazine.  He did all the driving too, which I was more than happy to let him have the wheel.  I do about 90% of the driving in the family so it was time for me to ride, relax and catch up on some reading.  We arrived about 2:00 and the place was packed.  There were people from Missouri, Tennessee, Indiana and even Kentucky.  My husband went to get us a number, they were serving number 106 and our number was 154.  They told him it was about a 45 minute wait.  It went by quickly, I started taking pictures and preparing in my head what to write about this place.  Funny, the first thing my husband said is you need to blog about this, I’m two steps ahead of you dear.  In a bloggers mind, everything is a possible post!

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Lambert’s is a family owned restaurant with a lot of history, memorabilia and a nice gift shop.  My husband was too excited about the stove, I think my aunt had one similar, it was white.  The staff wears jeans, white shirts and red suspenders.  They throw their dinner rolls to customers, the best hot homemade rolls.  Just raise your hand and be ready to catch.  We all caught our rolls, one was overthrown and the whole restaurant lets out a “awwww” when you miss your roll!  The food was good,  everyone enjoyed their meal.  I had the meatloaf, I wasn’t that impressed with it.  I make a pretty good meatloaf, so you gotta make it better than mine.  The shrimp dinner was delicious, that’s what my oldest daughter had, my husband had a chicken gizzards dinner and the youngest had a very big cheeseburger.  The servers walk around and serve you unlimited side dishes in addition to your meal, black eye peas, fried potatoes, cucumber & onion salad to name a few and the endless mouth-watering dinner rolls.  This is NOT the restaurant to go to if you are trying to lose weight.  Even the salad is served in a big bread bowl, huge and you will leave with a to go container.

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The prices were moderate, the average about $12-13 per meal.  More for steak and the shrimp was $15, but she got plenty.  We left with a dozen dinner rolls, a very sweet cinnamon roll and to go containers.  We stopped at the outlet mall and did a little shopping.  I stayed awake on the way back, ok I dozed off at the end.  I think we all went to bed by 8:00 Friday night.   

The rest of the weekend was shopping, working and church.  My husband became the grill master yesterday and I was his humble assistant.  He get so into grilling, pretty intense.  I stay out of the way and try to keep the kitchen clean.  I can’t stand things to be all over the place in my kitchen, drives me crazy.  It’s my job to season the meat, fix the side dishes and clean the kitchen.  Here’s the hubby doing his thang.

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He cooked enough food to eat off all week, but that will only last for two days.  They will consume most of it and it’ll be time to cook in a few days.  Time for salads, fruit, eating light and plenty of fruit.  Can’t wait to buy our first watermelon.  How was your weekend?

 

 

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A Challenge of Love and Marriage

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Hey everyone, happy Monday.  Today I’m gonna share with everyone that you don’t always need to spend a lot of money to have fun.  This past Friday was my 1st wedding anniversary.  My husband took the day off so we could hang out and spend the day together.  The finances were very low because the week before it was Mother’s Day and we just didn’t have it.  We decided to take advantage of some good old fashion sight seeing.  I was excited, because I still haven’t seen everything here in St Louis and I’ve been here almost 3 years.  

I mentioned Friday at The Cafe about how we went down to Laclede’s Landing and the Gateway Arch, didn’t cost us a thing other than parking which was $1.00.  This location is downtown and we were on the Mississippi River, so we walked and enjoyed the scenery.  It was the first time in a long time there were no expectations, stress or disagreements about anything.  No distractions such as bills, jobs or other people and their problems.  I had also mentioned that we went to lunch afterward, so let me be more specific about where we ate.  It may have sounded like we went to a restaurant, when actually we went to White Castle.  I don’t eat there much and he LOVES that place.  We drove through the city, picked up our food and went home to watch a movie.  Sleep hit us both before we actually put the movie in and the girls were home from school then.

We spent a total of $14 for lunch and parking.  We laughed, talked and I remembered why I married him.  I asked a lady if she would take our picture and that’s the memory we made.  I made a promise that when things get rough to remember why we are together, and not to give up.  Money comes and goes, situations causes finances to change, but we are in this together.  

I started this 30 Day Marriage Challenge just to see if I could do everything on the list.  Actually, it’s not anything on the list that isn’t hard, but certain things that I have neglected as a wife.  I’m joining Joi at Rx Fitness Lady on her 7 day blog challenge, I may not do all 7 days, but I will participate as much as I can.  The button is on my sidebar on the right, please join us and have some fun.  Today is about solving a problem.  My problem solving topics is how to have fun on a limited budget and my 30 day marriage challenge.  Sometimes in life, it’s all about simplicity, we make things so hard.   Have fun, enjoy one another and respect your marriage and/or relationships.  Have a good day everyone!

 

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