Coffee Time Already?

It’s a glorious fall morning on this particular Saturday. I may be a lover of the warm weather, but there is nothing like bundling up with my fleece jammies on and fuzzy socks and enjoying a hot cup of caramel brulee coffee under a blanket. It’s soul soothing in a way.

This time a year ago, I was spending my time in the hospital with my beloved mom. Yesterday was the 1st anniversary of her hemorrhagic stroke, a day that would change my life forever. When I was called by my daughter, I was told that grandma was in the ER and my husband and I went straight there. We never imagined what we would find. As I headed to the room to see her, still not sure what had happened, I was told I could not go in. I was still calm despite my fears.

My dad and brother were already there, of course. I’m the last one to be called since I have a family of my own and my brother is single. The boys, as I call them, are very close and very similar to beach other. I’m the girl, and mom and I were always close, very close. She was my best friend. 

We were shuffled off into a little room so that the doctor could talk to us about the stroke. The fact that mom was coherent when she came in and the cardiac workup was negative but that she started to lose her cognition and deteriorate rapidly finally led them to know it was a brain bleed, and unfortunately it was a big one. She was put on a ventilator and received what we referred to as a brain drain to keep the pressure down in her brain.

She amazingly started to recover slowly. I was so happy even though I knew, being a 20 veteran nurse, that she would never truly be exactly who she was before, but she was doing so well. She was sitting up and eating and talking after a long week. But then everything changed. 

Little did I know in October 21,2015 that on November 25,2015 at 12:38AM my beloved and blessed mom would leave this world. She fought and fought hard, but she had too many complications that mounted up against her. 

There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about her. I don’t cry as often, but I do still cry. I can’t tell you how much I miss her. I miss her laugh, our long talks, her hugs, her advice wanted and unsolicited, her smell, her little cough, her hands. I miss everything about her. 

The pain is still there, but not so raw. I don’t think you ever get over the death of your mother. Not truly. Sure we move on and learn to live life again, but life will never quite be the same without her here. The good thing is, I know I have a angel watching over me because I know my mom has to be in heaven. She was the most beautiful and holy person I knew. I thank God for being blessed with such an awesome mom for all the years I had her here. If you still have your mom here, go give her a hug today. You never know when it will be the last hug you will get.

Muffins Aplenty

I’ve been in the kitchen a lot lately and I’ve been in the mood for making muffins. I really love baking from scratch and my family loves when I do. Sometimes I start with a box mix and doctor it up, but most of the time I make things from scratch.

Lately, I’ve made pumpkin crumble muffins with a cinnamon crumble in top. Yummy! These were such a big hit that next time, which may be tomorrow, I’ll make them by adding chocolate chips in some of them for the kids. They’ll gobble those right up! And they couldn’t be easier. 

Another one that got big kudos from my kids was my all time favorite muffin, Apple cinnamon strusel muffins. These are loaded with tiny chunks of apple and cinnamon. It only takes one Apple and they are so simple to make. My kids probably would like less Apple but that’s my favorite part. 

Nothing beats the homemade variety of this one, but you can also use the box of cinnamon strusel muffins and add one finely diced and peeled Apple. Depending on which recipe you use, you will have delicious muffins within 30 minutes! Fresh and hot out of the oven to go with a cup of coffee or a tall glass of milk. What could be better. 

There are so many recipes out there and do many things you can put into a basic muffin recipe. I’ve decided to simply be creative. Of course, now it’s pumpkin season and my family loves their pumpkin so we will have lots of those for a while. I love fruit in my muffins so I’ll make peach, strawberry, blueberry, zucchini, lemon, raspberry, you name it. The sky is the limit! Nothing is better than a little muffin made with love!

It’s a Birthday Coffeeshare Weekend!

I celebrated my birthday on Friday and what great friends I truly have. My friends took me out for dinner minus one of my besties who was trying to get her pool closed for the year as well as not feeling great. We had a blast! The 5 of us are out hearts out, fixed all the world’s problems over food and good wine and just had such a good time together it was hard to say goodnight when our evening was over. I am so truly and utterly blessed to have the very best friends in the world. Thanks to my T for managing to throw it all together and make it a memory that will surpass some of the other birthday memories that were not nearly so pleasant. 

Earlier in the day, I was blessed to go pick up my beautiful daughter from school and take her out for lunch at a great diner! What a truly fabulous gastronomic adventure! If you are ever in St. Louis and looking for a superior diner atmosphere to partake of, look no further than the loop. Fitz’s diner is phenomenol! The burger and the fries! Plus homemade sodas and floats that will absolutely bust a gut! We shared, and did not finish, a black forest float made with their black cherry soda and rich chocolate ice cream! Yummy! 

The best part of that was spending time with my girl! I missed her do much! Catching up on everything is so important in the grand scheme of life. A bond between a mother and her children can not be broken. Well, not in my case. My oldest sweet daughter even came home.

I didn’t get to see her until yesterday, but it’s so much fun to hug my girls. I miss them so much. She bought me the cutest clock and it matches my living room colors perfectly! 

I always say I will always love my kids even if I don’t always like what they do. I say this often to my youngest when he is driving Hubs and I crazy in the evenings over the old homework issue. Most of the time it’s been a lot better, but there are those nights when he is just so tired and we have both worked all day. When that happens, homework time leads to a screaming banshee child and it just stinks. Homework generally gets deferred to 6 am the next morning with me and then he’s like a brand new kid. This weekend he’s been terrific though. He even spent the night at his friend’s house and had a wonderful time doing so.

I have been on a baking kick lately. Its all about muffins. Cinnamon apple muffins more precisely. I make them from scratch. Although I prefer larger pieces of apple in mine, the family prefers the pieces to be diced very small. The tops are dipped into butter when the muffins come out of the oven and then into a mixture of cinnamon sugar. My 15 year old have me the greatest compliment ever. He said they were the best thing he had ever eaten. How cool is that for a mom to hear, especially when it’s not heard very often from a picky eater!

So that’s what going on in my neck of the woods. What’s going on in yours? You know I love to hear from you. Today I’ll be making homemade granola and some pumpkin muffins for the family! Family and food. What more could you ask for? Well… Maybe hockey and football…but that’s another story for another day! Take care and have a great day!

A Beautiful Day for Coffee

Such a lovely time of day when the birds begin their song in the wee hours! I wasnt always a morning person. I used to stay up till the wee hours and sleep in when I was younger. Now days, my sleep habits have changed and I have reverted back to my childhood days of early mornings. 

What could be better than having a warm cup of coffee in hand and just relaxing or praying/meditating in those hours when all is quiet in the house and all that can be heard outside is the sound of nature? I love being able to hear the sound of the crickets transform into birdsong as the sun slowly rises. What a joy and miracle to behold. 

Watching the sunrise is another bonus that many don’t enjoy. I can’t say I have the best place to watch it rise, but it is such a wonder that we, as inhabitants of this beautiful planet, get an opportunity to watch this miracle each and every morning, just as we can watch the sun set each evening. 

Yesterday, our family were lucky enough to watch an IMAX movie called Beautiful Planet. Watching this incredible movie I was amazed at the views from the space station and the realization that we really do need to care even more for our planet. We have come a long way, but We take so much for granted in our world. We have been blessed to live here. This is our home and we have a responsibility to care for our home. Let’s make a difference and keep our planet beautiful. 

It’s About Time for Coffee

Good morning all! I’ve enjoyed a relaxing morning so far and am so glad you’ve made it here for coffee. I’ll admit, I started my coffee early this morning, as I seem to be awake very early these days. Hubs thinks I’m crazy to wake up as early as I do but he’s a VERY good sleeper in the early mornings. He doesn’t sleep well at night and needs his sleep. Me? I am out like a light these days. It’s nice for a change.

Coffee gets my motor running in the morning. I don’t need a pot. I just like my 1 or 2 cups unless I have company. Marz, my BFF neighbor, often shares coffee with me once the kids are at school. It’s wonderful. We can share the worries and joys of our world’s as well as solve all of the world’s problems all over a cup of joe. 

Whenever my oldest BFF and I go shopping, we have to have one specialty coffee somewhere. This, again, allows us time to solve all the world’s problems over our special java. Since we’ve known each other nearly 30 years (scary thought) we’ve solved a lot of problems, dried many tears and laughed over many funny stories over coffee. It never gets old.

When I lived up north, I used to share coffee by the potfull. I had a beautiful sister-in-law, Amy. We were well known for spending many hours drinking our cafe with cookies on my old porch or her basement. It was just what we did. We went to a family restaurant to escape the world and drank carafe after carafe. Amy passed away 3 years ago and I miss her still. When I see butterflies, certain flowers and hummingbirds, I think of my dear friend. I miss those hours but treasure the memories deep within my heart. 

Coffee in our American society is a social gathering. It’s a means of friendship and communication. In my Irish family, we drink tea. Many hours were spent with my mom over a cup of tea and cookies or biscuits, as it were. I’m missing my mom and will be thinking about her a great deal over the coming months. 

Thursday. The 15th, would have been mom and dad’s 56th wedding anniversary. It was the first one without her here. We all went to dinner with dad. He said he’s forgotten “that was today”. This week is his birthday and onward we go with birthdays and holidays. 

Family and friends should be cherished. Life is shorter than we think it is for we know not the time or place when this life will end. I’ve learned and relearned, assessed and reassessed things in my life over the last year and the one thing that is clearer than anything is that we truly need to love one another. Treat those people in your life gently and with care. Treasure them and tell them you love them each and every day or as often as you get a chance. Never let the opportunity go by to show them how much you care and appreciate them. I’m not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but I’m doing my best. 

A Better Life

What a beautiful morning to be alive. No, the weather isn’t perfecr, although the temperature is lovely. The sky is somewhat overcast, but I began my day early this morning As I seem to do more often As I get older. 

 As I sit here drinking my cup of coffee, I marvel in the small gifts we’ve been given in this life. So many gifts. Even those with much less than me have something to be grateful for and that makes me smile. Just the thought that the less fortunate can be so grateful for what they have in this life. Yet there are so many with more than I have who are always wanting and expecting more. They are never satisfied with what they have simply because they are searching for happiness in materialistic items instead of seeing the true blessings which surround them daily.

I have been richly blessed. I have a truly loving family, a home to live in which always requires some maintenance or another, good on my table and clothes on my back. I wouldn’t say I couldn’t use a little more of this or that, but we have what we need. Truly, in the darkest times, God always provides for us.

Recently, hubs and I went to a Cardinals game and as we were headed home, a panhandler was approaching cars. One look at her and you could see that something was not right with her. Hubs and I talked about her misfortune. How sad for her because she was someone’s child, possibly sister or mother. Now she was there in the streets begging for money. I prayed for her. She did not approach our car, as the light turned, but my heart ached for her. 

Most of the time in our city, we are panhandlers in the same spot. They get in and out of a van and scam people on the same street corners, but my heart told me this was different. U felt that the best thing I could do for her though, was pray. Other cars had given her something. I pray she got some good and didn’t drink it or buy drugs with the money she got. 

The old saying goes, everyone has something. My thought is that this is more true than one realizes. Over the summer, when in was so sick, there were several times in was afraid I would die because I didn’t feel like I was getting any better. I can’t imagine having something worse, but there are many loving with much worse. So today, I choose to cherish my life and make the most of my days, each day. Life is so short and only God knows when he will call us home. I’m a very different person now than I was last year at this time.

Now, go out and make the most of today. Don’t let a day go by without seeing or talking to those you love. Let them know they have impacted your life. They may not know it. Don’t let another day go by without doing that one thing that you’ve been putting off forever. Take the trip, eat the cake, but if nothing else, tell them you love them and don’t end on a sour note.

Fathers and Sons

When the kids drove your spouse crazy and you don’t know what’s going on, it’s like a bomb has gone off in your otherwise peaceful home. At least that’s what it feels like I’m mine. Life happens when things get crazy sometimes. My house is no different than anyone else’s. 

Tonight was one of those nights and my husband’s temper flared. All I know is that while I was in the bathtub, my 9 year old came and poked his nose in to tell me dad was mean and a big dummy. Meanwhile I heard more interesting comments coming from my husband’s direction aimed towards the boy. What is a mom to do? Well, calm the boy and yell that the hubs is not saying very nice things.

Lord give me strength to get through this. That’s my prayer for these little occasions and somehow I always find the strength to muddle through and figure out what happened. Tonight was different though. I enjoyed my bath and let them get through it without meddling too much. I have no idea what the madness was about and furthernore, I don’t care. I’m chalking it up to hubs being tired and therefore cranky and the boy, well, he’s just a typical 9 year old boy.

I suppose for many, myself included, it’s so difficult to be that strong parent with the golden touch when you’re tired. Some people are just naturally prone to being tired. Luckily, I’m usually not one of them, but I have my moments. Sometimes we’ve just had a bad day and unfortunately sometimes our kids just know which buttons to push. I know my 9 year old certainly does. Luckily though. He is resilient like most kids. The two resolved their issue without me which makes me so happy. Then move my hubs has for his son is immense. If only kids realized that love earlier. I think they get it sometimes, but it’s hard in this extraordinarily busy and crazy world we live in. 

The moral to my story? Well, I suppose as mom’s we try to fix everything. Its just what we do. Sometimes it’s okay to let them fix their problems all by themselves without getting involved. They can do it and it will strengthen their relationship in the long run.

Love and Care for your People

Ever worry about people you care about that don’t live with you? I do. Sometimes we don’t see those people all the time and if you’re like me, you worry. You worry needlessly, or perhaps because they need to be worried about because they do silly things like go on roofs to check them out at 80 years of age or go up 30 feet in the air on ladders to paint with no one to watch them while their up there the whole time. Regardless, I’m a worriwart. 

That’s where my faith comes in to help me out, but what about those who have no dai faith? What do they do? I have often wondered about this. I pray for my loved ones’ safety. I pray that God will watch them and keep them safe when I know I can’t. I used to be a home health nurse and drove hundreds of miles each week in all kinds of weather. I prayed each day to keep me safe so that I could come home and care for my family at the end of each day.

These are some of my rambling thoughts that come about due to several terrible accidents recently. One was of a nurse who was leaving for vacation with her husband and 3 year old daughter. I never knew her, but from what I was told, she was perfect. A lovely person, perfect mom and wife. She lost her life as their rv rolled over. Her husband and daughter walked away. 

Another terrible crash happened recently in our area when a semi truck and trailer rear ended a can killing the 2 small children in their car seats. The parents walked away. The van looked like it had been a sedan after the crash. Not a can at all. 

I know this is a depressing post, but love your loved ones and hold them close. Only God knows the day He will call them home. Also, don’t let them do dumb things alone. My dad will be 86 next week and hasn’t been on any roofs lately that I know of, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t doing silly things. He lives alone and is rather cryptic sometimes in what he’s been up to.  So, love them, visit them and talk to them. That’s my advice for today!

It’s Coffee Time

Oh how I love this time with you in the weekend! This weekend let’s sit down for some cookies with our coffee. Fresh, warm cookies just out of the oven. I baked than just for you!

What have you benn up to this week? I had a relatively interesting week myself. It wasn’t too much out of the ordinary until the end of the week, but sometimes those are the best weeks to have. 

Most of this week I’ve been working on homework with the boy. Let me tell you, a 9 year old boy with ADHD and a bunch of homework is not a good mix for harmony in the home. We manage somehow and I’m sure 4th grade will get easier in a few week’s time. At least that is my hope. He is on medication and we are trying to adjust it to his optimal level. He is my work in progress and we will get there as a family but it takes a small suburb to raise this one and get him a good education. 

Work is progressing well. I’m working less at my newer job. I’ve had to relearn everything since returning a couple weeks ago. I do like it but I do miss seeing my little patients very much. I miss the autonomy I had with my old job but I don’t miss the stress or the crazy long hours. Once I know how to do this job well, I will love it. That much is sure.

My week ended in great fashion. A family wedding! What a wonderful celebration of love to be sure. It was simple and elegant. The church ceremony, a Catholic ceremony, was absolutely beautiful. You could see the couple beaming throughout the mass. They even took part as Eucharistic ministers during communion. What a truly lovely touch.

In between the mass and the festivities of the reception, we had 4 hours to kill and 2 college kids who just so happen to go to school down there. They needed a Target run. 

We piled into the minivan, had my dad and brother meet us at a restaurant near campus and had some lunch at Pickleman’s Deli. Yum! Delicicious subs and not too huge either. Well prices too! After lunch, we walked to the kids’ dorm and they checked us in to show grandpa and Uncle James the dorm. What a good time, especially since my dad went to the university in 1955 for his ophthalmalogy residency. Great chats ensued and fun was had as my brother and I reminisced about how easy these kids have it compared to our dorm rooms that didn’t even have air conditioning and were the size of postage stamps! And remember the party lines for the telephones?

We parted as dad and James drive around campus and we went off to Target. Hubs and I stayed in the car. Relaxation time for us. The kids, however, were in the store forever! An hour and a half later they emerged with there loot. Then back to the dorm to drop it all off. Then on to the reception. 

The reception was a blast! So many relatives, so little time! We introduced my daughter’s boyfriend to many of them who all remarked on his great height. He’s 6’5 and that side of the family averages 5’6. He was definitely the tallest one there. The kids and I danced, we visited, we are really well. And there we’re the famous pizelles. My Irish aunt, as we are all Irish, married an Italian and learned to make these delightful cookies. My favorite. I know the girls must have made them. They were scrumptous and even though there was a table full, Hubs and the boyfriend and my daughter’s wanted mine! Can you imagine? Shocking. Stealing one’s pizelles. No way unless I offer you one. Would you like one by the way?

Ugh! Calgon Take Me Away!

Ever have a day, a week, a year where you just want a do-over? Or maybe just hit the delete button for so many things that have happened? This year has been it for sure and although I’m not feeling like hitting the delete button today, I could sure use a bubble bath, candles, some expensive chocolates, wine, a vacation lodge in the bahamas. 

Oops, sorry, I meandered off for a moment. The point being that we all have those times where we need to destress! 

I’m not sure about you, but my life is hectic enough with just my 2 remaining kids at home, working and the house. But so much more is added on to us nowadays it seems. There’s carting everyone around and work and… homework.

Homework takes up my evenings with the boy. It just never seems to be finished. It isn’t for lack of trying either. I seem to lose him just when it’s time to pick up the other kid! Grrr. Getting him back to task is nearly impossible!

On days there’s lots of homework it makes getting dinner nearly impossible! Did I mention the ADHD issue? Today is one of those days and somehow homework is relegated to me because I have better luck with him, but not when there is this much.

I’m not sure how my mom did this, but I do know that my brother and I were independent. We did our own homework. When did this change for kids? When did it change that husband and wife couldn’t spend any time together because of homework? Calgon please take me away! I need a vacation and it’s only the second week of school!