Thankful for Life and Death #ThankfulThursday

Be Thankful For Life and Death#thankfulthursdayAs today is the last day of August, most people look forward to September to start them off with fall’s with its crisp, cool air, leaving turning and falling, school starting and the start of everything pumpkin. For me, September is a time of mourning those that I have lost this month. These people are ones that have had a huge impact in my life and I take the time to mourn them every September.

It has been 16 years since I lost my first person in September. I will never forget 9/11, where is was, what I was doing and what I was supposed to be doing but instead I was glued to TV watching the horror unfold and awaiting to hear that people who I cared about or know where safe. Then I found out 3 days later that a close friend of mine, a firefighter in the FDNY, had been trapped in one of the towers when it collapsed and they never were able to recover his whole body, just parts. His mother was devastated and so was I because I never thought that I would lose a friend in a horrible way like this. He is someone who had been through some of the worst times of my teen years with me and his death changed a part of me that may never be fixed because I still see myself push people away when they get to close in fear of losing them as well.

The next person I lost has been the hardest death I have ever experienced because it was my little brother. Another situation that I remember that day like it was yesterday when it was 9 years ago. Being the oldest of my siblings, I had to be the one to keep it together for my family when I was mentally losing it. The little brother that I used to torture as a child, was gone and I could never say I am sorry for not being a better big sister. His death is the one that I learned what drugs could do to a person and their family. When people make a joke of drugs and what they use or have used, I explain that my brother didn’t think they would take his life until one tragic day they did. This is the death that has affected who I am today the most because it has taught me to love those in your life and be thankful for everyday you get to spend with them because you never know if it could be your last.

I went from losing one person to drug addiction to losing an on again/off again boyfriend to his addiction to alcohol. After seeing the horror that my family went through with losing my brother, I thought that I could save my ex boyfriend from his alcoholism. It took me nearly 2 years to realize that he had a problem because we all drank alcohol. In the beginning, we had a blast drinking and having fun until I realized he didn’t know how to be sober unless he was at work. There were so many signs that I ignored because I loved this boy (he was not yet a man) and didn’t realize alcohol was his problem in life. As time progressed and he couldn’t live without a drop of alcohol in his house to the point where he would drink cooking sherry just for a buzz then it started to hit me. Add that to the mental, emotional and (at times) physical abuse I endured, I began to see his problem but the rest of this friends and family wouldn’t see the problem until it was to late. I still remember the last thing I said to him was to never talk to me again. Well my wish/nightmare came true because exactly a week later he died driving off the side of cliff on his Sunday alcohol run on his motorcycle. His death taught me not to say things you will later regret because you may never be able to say your sorry.

The last person that died was at the same time as my ex boyfriend but I was never able to meet her… my daughter’s heart stopped beating before she was ever able to be born and meet me. I was 16 weeks pregnant and just found out it was a girl when the Ultrasound tech all of a sudden stopped talking, went to get the doctor, who came back in the room to tell me that her heart had stopped beating a few days before the scan. I had to carry her around inside of me for another 2 weeks, attend my ex boyfriend’s funeral, and wait for my body to miscarry her. My body decided that on the anniversary of my brother’s death that it was time for her to leave my body. I went through a depression like no other after this and it took time and therapy for me to feel like me again. After her death, I never thought that I would have another baby but I am so grateful that I am expecting Baby Evelynne in just 18 weeks or sooner.

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In reality, I never became me again because these deaths all changed who I was in different ways. I have learned how to get past some of my fears or recognize when I am escaping back into my fears when getting close to other people. I have tried to use my experiences of loving someone (family and significant other) to teach others that if they love someone with an addiction, they need to want to fix themselves we cannot fix them. On the flip side, I have also tried to scare addicts or “recreational” drug users that they are not invisible and can die from what they are doing whether it is just once or millionth time.

For years, September became a month that I would push everyone away just to deal with myself and my feelings because I didn’t want people to see me be week but as the years have gone on, these deaths have made me more grateful for the life I have to live everyday and to not take the people I love for granted, though I am only human and have my moments. I still mourn in September but this is the month that I try my hardest to find the things that I am grateful for because each and every day is a blessing to cherish. Please hug and love your loved ones today and everyday!

 

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Best Christmas Movies List

Best christmas movies to watch

Yes, I know that I am about to talk about Christmas Movies and it is only August but having a baby due around the Holidays, I just can’t help but already get into the holiday spirit! I started watching Hallmark Channel’s Christmas in July movies (starting July 1st) and thought I was past my Christmas obsession until the other day…

I have been binge watching Grey’s Anatomy (bad, bad idea when you are pregnant!) and they had a holiday episode on the other day and I started crying (hormone overload) about how I wish it was Christmas time. Partly, this is coming from the fact that I keep overheating and would really love the cold winter air. Partly, this is from working on my gratitude journal and the realization that most people only have that thankful spirit in November and December instead of the whole year. The last part comes from the fact that Christmas movies just make me happy and I want to feel happy!

Today is 117 days until Christmas and I posted yesterday a meme on my Instagram and Facebook baby support group that was Elf and said 118 days until Christmas. It sparked a whole discussion about favorite Christmas movies. So, Danyella and I complied a list of our favorite Christmas Movies and classic TV shows to share with all of you.

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This is a PDF version you can download and print to keep track of which ones you watch this holiday season! https-www.facebook.comkaellaboutiqueposts146643746677789

That is our list which some movies are classics, some are black and whites, some are kids and all are just wonderful. What are your favorite Christmas movies? Did I miss any that need to be added to the list?

Importance of Sticking to A Schedule when Homeschooling

The Benefits of Providing a Schedulefor yourkids (1)

When I woke up this morning, I really had no idea what I was going to write about today but I did know that I wanted to start a series on homeschooling since that is now our life. The good, the bad and the ugly of homeschooling since homeschooling has a stigma attached to it.

When I homeschooled Danyella before and would go out in public during the day, the looks and questions we would get were enough to make me snap… which at times I did because I refused to send my child to a shitty public school and not learn anything when I can provide her with a useful education at home.

Something that I learned when I homeschooled Danyella before was that she is the child that needs the structure of a schedule. If I let her take a million breaks or get up and walk away from something to many times, it became a game to her. One that she used to push-off her schoolwork as long as possible. Not this time!

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A comment on my Instagram post of Danyella and Max while she was doing her schoolwork and Max looked sad that his buddy wasn’t playing with him really bothered the hell out of me last night and this morning so that is where this post is coming from. The comment was kinda asking, kinda implying that Danyella should get lots of breaks in the beginning to start homeschooling…. ABSOLUTELY NOT!

When public school kids go back to school, do they get lots of breaks to start their year off? NO! Most come home with homework for both themselves and their parents. Just because she is being homeschooled doesn’t mean that we just fly by the seats of our pants. We have a daily schedule of what happens from 8am-5pm everyday. We have meals, chores, school and other activities scheduled throughout our day.

Yes, she does get some free time like kids get recess BUT it’s not multiple times through the day and it is not to play with the dog because he is lonely. Teaching my child structure and a schedule is important because as adult we live by structure in order to be successful (or at least the successful adults that I know do). As parents, if we do not structure our schedules and our children’s schedules then we have chaos and chaos leads to negativity which leads to unhappy, disconnected children.

Danyella is a dancer, a competitive dancer, and is taught a schedule and structure for each of her classes and her competitive team. Each teacher has a different style for their structure but the child thrives in class when there is structure.

Whether your child is a toddler/preschooler and you are teaching them at home or if they are older and you are homeschooling, a schedule is key to keep them on track and you sane. When a child wakes up, knows what they need to do for the day and at what times, life just runs smoother and happier for entire family.

Benefits:

  1. Schedules teach structure which is important to instill for adulthood
  2. Schedules keep the expectations of the child in focus
  3. Schedules help the child understand that School is serious not a game
  4. Schedules keep parents sane
  5. Schedules help families stay on track with their life goals
  6. Schedules make for happy children which make for happy parents

What are your thoughts on keeping your child on a schedule (whether you homeschool or they attend a school)?

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Countdown to Good Things #motivationalmonday

Countdown to Good Things#motivationalmonday

It is Monday morning and I can’t think straight right now. I need some of the motivation that I am about to talk about just to get myself going for the day. One of the best ways to get myself going in the morning is to think about something that I am looking forward to and counting down the days I have left until the event happens.

My current countdown is to starting college again. First day of class begins September 5th so I have 9 days left. Then there is the countdown until my brother’s annual balloon release where we celebrate his life. I have 27 days until that event. Then we have birthdays and holidays and my due date! So much to look forward to this fall.

Each day you wake up is another day closer to a wonderful event that you are looking forward to in your life. Whether the event is small like your weekly nail appointment or big like a vacation, it is something to get you motivated in the morning. Each morning that you wake up is another day closer to your special event to help you make the day go by faster.

I love that my calendar is marked by special events going on so when I wake up and get my planner out for the day, I can see that I am another day closer to that special day I am looking forward too. I even downloaded an app for my phone last year that you can plug-in special dates and it gives you the countdown until the event happens. It was favorite moment every morning to see the countdown for my Vegas girls trip go from months to weeks to days!

Everyone has something special to look forward to which is an additional reason to wake up and get going in the morning. What are you counting your days down til?

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Birthday Month Freebies

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If you are anything like me you love to celebrate your birthday for as long as possible and love getting FREE stuff! This post is all about how to get FREE food and other cool things just because you are another year older and another year wiser.

I can’t remember when the first time I signed up for a birthday freebie but my first one came from Starbucks (which oddly enough I never got this year!) because a free latte or cappaciono from a my favorite coffee place was the best birthday present ever!! Their birthday coupons last until the end of the month, which my birthday is on the 4th so I am not sure if they make it longer for those with later birthdays.

The emails or mail coupons typically come anywhere from a week to a few days to the day of your birthday. It is so exciting to see the word Birthday in the email notification and open it up to see what free item you just got. It is like winning the lottery!

Coffee (because I cannot live without it):

Starbucks  Free treat or drink plus other perks when you sign up with the rewards program

Dunkin Donuts  Free drink plus other perks when you sign up for the perks program

Food/Restruants:

IHOP FREE full stack of our world famous Rooty Tooty Fresh ‘N Fruity® Pancakes

Applebees FREE entree with purchase of an entree

Ruby Tuesday FREE Burger or Garden Bar (I have to opt for the Garden Bar or I will pay for it with tummy aches)

Olive Garden FREE dessert (wish it was free salad because I LOVE their dressing!)

Friendlys FREE Ice Cream Sundae

Perkins FREE Magnificent 7 Breakfast (its ALOT of food)

Ben & Jerry’s FREE scoop of ice cream (only at shop locations which I wish we had)

TGI Fridays FREE Dessert (wish it was an appetizer)

Shopping:

Kohls Free $10 credit towards a purchase of $10 or more (basically you can find an item for $10 and get it for FREE!)

Disney Store 25% off coupon (great to gear up for Halloween or Christmas or your favorite disney characters!)

Payless Shoes 25% off coupon (because who can’t use some discounted shoes or bags!)

Old Navy 15% off everything coupon

Ulta Beauty FREE Birthday Palette (it is great and I love it!)

Movies:

Regal Cinemas FREE small popcorn

I know that there are other Birthday freebies out there so please share with us what Birthday freebies that you love! 


 

21 Weeks and Feeling the Kicks

We are having a baby girl!

Every week that this baby stays inside her little oven and “cooks” a little longer is a blessing. I had my big anatomy scan this past Wednesday. It was amazing to see how our little girl went from the size of a bean at her first Ultrasound to the size of a Pomegranate at this Ultrasound!

According to the various apps, Baby Evelynne has starting producing meconium aka the first poop substance. The first poop is super weird and yucky and looks tarry for the first few poops until they get breast milk or formula circulating through their system.

Evelynne weighed 13 ounces according to the Ultrasound tech which is right on course for how far along she is because in the next few weeks is when she will begin to store the fat cells to gain the cute baby look.

This is the first time I ever got to experience a 3D ultrasound because when I was pregnant with Danyella, 3D ultrasounds were just coming out and most hospitals didn’t have them yet or only used them for special occasions. Of course Evelynne didn’t want to cooperate with the picture and kept putting her hand in front of her face so this was the best picture the tech could get. I happily placed it in the picture frame I received in my Bump Box this month!

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The doctor came in to talk to us after the Ultrasound to tell us that there is evidence of contractions and make sure I take it easy because we need her to stay in longer. It is scary to think about having her so early because she needs to be at least 24 weeks to be able to live outside of the womb and even then it is super scary.

Now for the kicks…. This child will either be a dancer (like her big sister) or a gymnast because she flips, kicks, twirls her hands around day and night. It is like she on the go 24/7 especially after I eat (because she loves that I am feeding her different cravings) and when I go to lay down to sleep (whether a nap or bed). Oh and she moves around when she hears the Puppy running around and barking like she is trying to keep up with him. The one time she stops moving…. when Doug puts his hand on my tummy to feel her kicks. I think she is mad at her Daddy already (haha).

Each week I have found a new book to read or app to follow about this pregnancy. This week I am reading Belly Laughs by Jenny McCarthy. She talks about Pregnancy from a  funny point of view but beware she is extremely honest and outspoken about pregnancy. Also, since she doesn’t hold back there are parts and words that people who aren’t me may be offended by. I am from Jersey and at times talk like a trucker so it doesn’t bother me but could bother more conservative peeps. I love how honest she is and am really enjoying the book. You can find the book on amazon for Kindle or paperback (click the image to be taken to the Amazon link)



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Feed Me Friday Baking Failure

Feed MeFridayBaking Failure

Let me preface this post by saying this was in no way shape or form the amazing recipe’s failure but my own failure so please click the link below to the recipe and try this out!

Have you ever dealt with a temperamental oven? If you haven’t and want to try please come to my house and use my oven! She, yes my oven, (yes everything is either male or female and can change depending on its mood or my mood) decided, in the middle of baking this amazing recipe for Strawberry Cheesecake Brownies, that is was not going to light anymore.

What does that mean? It means that my gas (which I HATE with a passion) oven would no longer light to keep the oven hot enough to bake. In the past, if I gave it a little time then it would re-ignite but not tonight!

I was so super excited to find this recipe from a fellow blogger, Incredible Mini Strawberry Cheesecake Fudge Brownies, that I made sure to save the fresh strawberries that I froze a couple of weeks ago just for when I was up to making this recipe. I went out and got all the ingredients and was set to make these at night when the temperature dropped so the oven didn’t make my house even hotter than it already was from the summer humidity.

I began my journey into making these cheesecake brownies with one exception, I didn’t have a mini cupcake pan so I was making the bigger version. I learned how to make a strawberry puree from fresh strawberries. Which I saved the strawberry chunks to put on ice cream later! I made the brownies and had them in the oven. They baked just the way I needed them too. While they were baking, I made the cheesecake portion which hurts the arm when you are using a hand mixer! (A stand mixer is going on my Christmas list this year!!). I took the brownies out and began to assemble the cheesecake and swirl the strawberry liquid. I couldn’t wait for them to be done!

I adjusted the time to cook for the larger pan and waited, impatiently, for the timer to go off to check them. They looked pretty wet still so I figured they just needed more time. I set the timer for an additional 10 minutes. Check again and they are still very wet. So I upped the temperature just to see if it was the oven….

It didn’t light… SHIT!!!

I am in a frantic, panic mode because I want to eat these cheesecake brownies NOW! I keep trying to turn the oven off and on, hoping it would light. Nope. I turn it off for a few minutes and try again… click, click, click and nothing. Then I eye my little toaster oven, grab one of my other cupcake pans to test out the size. If I keep the door open, I can fit 3 rows in the oven at a time… this could work!

So I give it a try and they start to become golden brown on the top. I toothpick them and they come out clean…. or so I thought! I bake each side of the pan and hope that it works. I take them out and let them cool for about 20 minutes on the cooling rack. Then, I try to take them out of the pan…. they are not cooked and still very gooey. I try one after another, after another and they are all the same way. It wasn’t the cheesecake part but I guess the oven must have shut off during the brownie baking so the middle of the brownies were still raw.

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I was so upset because after 3 hours of mixing and trying to bake, my oven failed me. To make the matter worse, when I thought that the cheesecake brownies were baking, I made dinner on the stove top which never has an issue. Since we are moving and really don’t have a landlord that will come out and fix the problem with the oven, I will have to try again or borrow my mother’s kitchen (if she will let me lol) to make these again because every time I see the picture my pregnancy cravings hit full speed and I begin to drool!

Please try to make these yourselves by Clicking here: Incredible Mini Strawberry Cheesecake Fudge Brownies and let me know how yours turn out!

Here is a good laugh for your Friday: e58d7cea20078d50c469b64698683fbb