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Monday, December 27, 2010

The Beauty of it

A reflection from the author Mark Nepo:

"If all I have is Now,
where will I look for Joy?"

Without hope for the future, without hope that things will change, with no hope of finding what's been lost, with only the risk to crack open all that has hardened about me, what will I do with what I have?

At first, this might seem scary or sad, but as a tired swimmer comes ashore surprised to find pearls washing through his legs, I lift my tired head again and again to find all I need is right where I am.

But being human, I stray and dream of lives other then my own, and soon I am busy wanting something else, somewhere else, someone else, busy imagining something just out of reach to strive for.

It leads me to say if you are unhappy or in pain, nothing will remove these surfaces. But acceptance and a strong heart will crack then like a shell, exposing a softness that has always been, exposing a soft thing waiting to take form. It glows. I think is the one spirit we all share.

This is from the book, "The Book of Awakening:Having the Life You Want By Present With the Life You Have" It has daily meditations and exercise to help bring you back to the present moment. I really liked this one about how the things you have are the things you should want. Makes me chuckle a little because when I get frustrated about the situations in my life I have to remember that this is what I wanted at some point, my life right now is the life I always said I wanted....Taking time to ponder this, helps you return to your true self. It is a good reminder of how to be thankful in the present moment. The things I have are the things I want...

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Music

I have really been enjoying Christmas music this season. It is basically all I listen after Thanksgiving, it never gets old to me and I never get sick of it. In the mornings on the way to work or at home by myself all day I LOVE it. We always had Christmas classics playing in our house growing up such as Nat King Cole, Andy Williams, and Frank Sinatra...I would wake up on Saturday mornings to these carols playing throughout our house.

This year I feel like I can't get enough Christmas music....It is really the only thing that has helped my Christmas spirit...It has helped quiet my crazy whirlwind thoughts and offered me an overwhelming feeling of peace. The 3 most played CD's in my house this year have been

1. Josh Groban Noel...My mom bought me this...when I listen to it it makes me feel close to her


2.  Sugarland...of course!

3. My Favorite this year is Jackie Evancho...She is a 9 year old that was on America's Got Talent....Her voice is what I think the Angels in Heaven must sound like....amazing! Check it out!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Exciting!!!





Well here it finally is...It took FOREVER to get my acceptance letter in the mail. I was told the latest I would get it would be the end of November, so when Dec 1st rolled around I started getting slightly nervous. But it came...with a big fat Congratulations!!! I was so excited to see these words...to see my student ID number, log on and enroll in classes. It makes it REAL! It's not just me saying "yea I wanna be a Nurse Pracitioner one day" it is me saying " I will be a Nurse Practitioner in 2013...a Pediatric NP" That feels AMAZING to say. Back in the summer is when I started to get serious about these thoughts...my boredom of the everyday go to work, come home, repeat x a million days...I just felt like something was missing. I needed some challenge, I needed something to work towards. By no means do I know everything about Neonatal nursing, how could you ever? It is ever changing, but it was time for a change for ME. I want to be in charge in my career! When I started exploring, I noticed the deadline date was Sept 15...I panicked. After a few weeks of deliberation, asking millions of people millions of questions, a few tears and some very meaningful words of encouragement (Thank Tiffany) I submitted my application! Next came the interview...talk about nerve wrecking. They asked me numerous questions I had no idea how to answer, but I pulled something out of rear made some educated responses and kept my fingers crossed because they only take 20 people. And here we are...Starting January 10, 2010...as I was on Campus today doing numerous tasks, I had my binder in hand, 3 pages of notes and directions because I had no idea where I was going, trying to act like I belong...and I was so lost...I just had laugh and remind myself that I wanted this! What a sight to see! It is going to be an adventure, it is going to busy and stressful but it will be so worth it! Here I go...







Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas Dinner

We had some of our closest friends over this past Saturday for a Christmas Dinner. It was nice to sit around a table and share a meal, relax, drink and laugh. It was a nice reminder for the great people Mark and I are surrounded by. I'm thankful my husbands college friends picked such wonderful spouses!



Bailey getting in the Christmas Spirit

Tree and mantle all lit up!

The Boys! From Left to right...Tommy, Michael, Dave, Scott, Mark, and Conrad.
Mark and I in front of the tree, with Bailey of course!


The Girls! Ashley, Lauren, Me and Katie! Love these girls!!! Heather left before we got this picture!!


We had a great time...hoping we can make this a new tradition! I finally have some free time this week...I am hoping to start finish my Christmas shopping, start wrapping and get our Christmas cards sent.  I'm feeling slightly anxious about all I have to do, but trying to give myself small reminders about the real meaning of the season...I find some small moments of peace when I do this. Hoping your Christmas season is going peaceful and stress free....

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Decorating the Tree


We got our tree this weekend and I LOVE it. Our house smells so good! I decorated the tree this afternoon. Turned up the Christmas tunes and went to town! The best part about decorating the tree is that last year my mom gave me own box of ornaments...let me explain... Every year since us kids have been born, my mom has given us an ornament with our name and the year written on it. Each year we would decorate the tree together and get our new ornament. Last year, my first year with my own house, my mom gave me box of ornaments. So today, I went through all the ornaments, remembering the years I could and looking at my favorites. They made me feel nostalgic for the past, but reminding me of good times. This is a tradition I look forward carrying on with my own kids.


My very first ornament 1985...
We loved this one! It had a glass of milk on it but it has since broken off!
Obviously I was in "Brownies" this year!

We got this one last year for our first Christmas as a married couple!

Mark's Dad got us the collectors edition of Ball State ornaments

Here is our tree, I have no idea why it is blurry...

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Guess What....

Is out on DVD FINALLY....


I have been waiting for this( In case you have forgotten I'm pretty cool)...I rented it on Red Box tonight and hoping to find this in my stocking Christmas morning, if I can make it that long without buying it.....I'm in love! I think I am going to read the books again and then watch the movies and then become obsessed again...trust me, don't ask me about them unless you want to hear my gush...I feel like a teenage girl all over again and I love it! Ok going to swoon....

Friday, December 3, 2010

Leftover Turkey

I made this for dinner this week..using my left over turkey from Thanksgiving. I didn't have exactly everything the recipe called for so I used what I had and it turned out just fine. I used frozen vegetables and mixed in some fresh I had. I didn't have any pastry dough so I used biscuits and it was just as good. Mark enjoyed it and I had the leftovers for lunch the past 2 days.
Courtesy Picky-Palate

Cheesy Turkey Pot Pies

3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 1/2 Cups white onions, finely chopped
1 Cup finely chopped carrots
1 Cup celery
1 Cup frozen peas
1 Cups steamed broccoli
2 Cups baby red potatoes
2 Cups cooked shredded turkey breast
1 Tablespoon fresh minced garlic
1/2 Stick butter
1/2 Cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
3 1/2 Cups chicken broth
1 1/2 Cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 Sheets Puff Pastry Thawed for individual pies, or 1 sheet for casserole style

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Heat oil in medium dutch oven over medium heat. When hot, saute onions, carrots and celery, for 8-10 minutes or until softened. Add in peas, broccoli, and potatoes. Stir and cook for 5 minutes then add in the garlic; cook for 1 minute then add turkey breast. Reduce heat to low.

2. In a medium saucepan melt the butter over medium high heat; whisk in flour salt and pepper for one minute. Slowly whisk in chicken broth until thick and creamy, about 3 minutes. Once thickened, stir in cheddar cheese until melted. Pour sauce over turkey and vegetables.

3. Divide filling into 6 2 Cup ramekins for individual pies. Cut puff pastry into 6 rounds and place over ramekins. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until puff pastry is golden brown. You can also pour all filling into a 9×13 inch baking sheet and lay whole puff pastry sheet over top for casserole style. Bake time is the same.

Picky-Palate



Monday, November 29, 2010

Christmas Traditions

We got out our Christmas decorations this Sunday...It made me semi-excited for the holidays. I have to work Christmas so I'm pretty much boycotting it in my mind. Our house does look very pretty with the garland, lights, wreaths and candles. We still have to get our Christmas tree, I demand we get a real one...I feel strongly that it is the only way to go. It makes the house smell so good and love something living and imperfect in my house. I tend to feel nostalgic about Christmas...we had so many traditions growing up. We did the same thing every year and now that we are all grown up and married it makes it harder and harder to have the Christmas we had as children. I guess that's part of life and more and more I'm learning that change is inevitable. I have such fond memories of our Christmas traditions that I am determined to keep them going in my own family. Mark thinks I am slightly insane, but over the past 4 years he has become fond of them as well. I thought I would share with blogger world some of our traditions...

1. The beginning of the Christmas season always began with the first week in Advent in the Catholic Church. Advent is a 4 week season in preparation fro Christmas. It is a time of waiting, watching and preparing for the real meaning of Christmas. This is symbolized by using an advent wreath in the home. Ours was always on the kitchen table and we would light it before dinner each night. It has 4 candles, 3 purple 1 pink symbolizing each week. I remember fighting over who would get to the light the candle and then my brother Matt would always fake sneeze and try to blow out the candle and my parents would get so mad! The best part about our advent wreath was that we placed a bowl in the middle of it, wrote out the names of family and friends on a small piece of paper, placed them in the bowl and then eachpicked a name and that was the person we prayed for that day. I remember picking a name each day before school and praying for these people. It was such a nice way to remember family and friends. Of course us ornery kids would secretly place the names of our siblings "boyfriends and girlfriends" and we would be humiliated picking their names...I continue to do this in my house. Our advent wreath sits on our breakfast table with a bowl of names of people to pray for. I think Mark has started to enjoy this and it is a way to remind us of the importance of prayer in our lives.


2. Our second tradition was always going to pick out our real tree. We were all forced into our mini van and to listen to Christmas music we hated at the time (now we all love). We would pick our tree and bring it home. Of course nothing could go easy with our Christmas tree picking. I remember the tree falling off the top of the mini van when my dad turned too fast and we had to go down into a ditch and hall it out. One year my dad forgot it was on top of the mini van and drove straight into the garage, smushing the tree beyond belief. And I can't count how many times we were woken up in the middle of the night because the tree had fallen and there was water and needles everywhere. A real tree is a must in our house!


3. Another favorite tradition is our Christmas Eve meal, by far better then any Christmas day meal. We eat no meat on Christmas Eve...instead we eat fish, potatoes and the famous periogies (cheese and cabbage stuffed ravioli's) yum yum! Before we eat we participate in something called "breaking olpatek" here is what it is:

The Breaking of the Oplatek

One of the most beautiful and most revered Polish customs is the breaking of the oplatek. The use of the Christmas wafer (oplatek) is not only by native Poles in Poland but also by people of Polish ancestry all over the world.
The oplatek is a thin wafer made of flour and water. For table use, it is white. In Poland, colored wafers are used to make Christmas tree decorations. In the past, the wafers were baked by organists or by religious and were distributed from house to house in the parish during Advent. Today, they are produced commercially and are sold in religious stores and houses. Sometimes an oplatek is sent in a greeting card to loved ones away from home


The father or eldest member of the family reaches for the wafer, breaks it in half and gives one half to the mother. Then, each of them breaks a small part from each other's piece. They wish one another a long life, good health, joy and happiness, not only for the holiday season, but also for the new year and for many years to come. This ceremony is repeated between the parents and their children as well as among the children; then, the wafer and good wishes are exchanged with all those present, including relatives and even strangers.
 
 
This is a very meaningful time as usually we all end up in tears, but look forward to it every year.
  4. After we eat, Santa always makes a visit to our house. We all get to sit on Santa's lap and get one present. We have pictures of the same thing every year.
  5. On Christmas morning, before we are allowed to open any presents, we take baby Jesus (who has been removed from the nativity scene) sing Happy Birthday and place Him in the manger. A nice gentle reminder of the real meaning of the season.
 
So these are some of the traditions we had growing up that I have continued in my house as I am "adult."  What are some of your family traditions?!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving

I think I have wrote almost 4 or 5 blog posts this past week trying to sum up my thoughts about life now...I even published one not knowing that I did...It was supposed to be for my eyes only, so sorry to those who caught it  in the 8hrs it was posted. It was a mumble jumble of brain. I have been trying to think of something positive to write, but every time I finish and go to re-read I realize it is not positive at all. As I sit here in my bed the only the thing coming to my mind to be thankful for is my husband, Mark. Don't get me wrong I am very grateful for my parents, my siblings, my nieces, nephews and close dear friends, but Mark deserve a shout out. By far, the past 2 weeks have been the most difficult weeks I have experienced in my life to date. It has been a whirlwind of emotions, I have been brought to my knees in tears only to find Mark there picking me up. He is truly one amazing person.  The past week has made me cherish my marriage vows, for better or for worse, in good times and bad, in sickness and health...sounds cheesy I know but those words hold more meaning now then ever before. His big strong arms wrapped around me is the most comforting place in the entire world, what power he is in my life. Thank you God for letting such a wonderful man be apart of my life. I am thankful for his understanding and patience, for letting me cry, for letting me complain, for letting me lay in bed for as long as I want, and loving me unconditionally. I am thankful for his ability to make me laugh, his desire to make me happy and his ability to make me happy. I don't even know where my life would be without him. So on this Thanksgiving, when I am struggling to feel anything besides numb, I can feel the love I have for Mark. And I am grateful for that, genuinely 100% thankful.  I wish tomorrow I would wake up and feel like my old self again...the old self I have been trying so hard to rediscover the past couple of months, but what I realize is that, that old self is gone now, with recent events I have no choice but to  let myself continue to grow and mold into the self I want to be...it is not easy...it is constant hard work...I want to give up, throw in the towel, but that is not me. I am strong now matter how weak I feel. I will figure  my path out, I will figure out this so called plan of His...and slowly with time I will begin to be myself again...

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

CD's=Cassette's= Records?????

Ok so does it make me sound old that I still like to buy CD's...I like them better then downloading from ITUNES or using an MP3 player...now if only if I could find my discman from High school I would be set...I love listening to CD's in may car...I love to jam out and pretend I am in concert. So I don't care if that makes me sound older or not as hip..It makes me happy... My latest purchase...

The new Sugarland CD...love this duo. This lady's voice is amazing and not your typical country. They are fun and unique and their music lyrics actually have some purpose. I feel like even if you don't like country you can still like and appreciate this woman's voice. This has been in my CD player the last 2 weeks...I know all the words...yes I know I'm cool...it is AMAZING!
Check out one of their new songs...





Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Do you ever feel....

like your house is so disgustingly filthy you don't know what to do?! I was talking about this with a friend who was expressing your unsettled feelings about her house and the new invasion of baby stuff and how she hates the clutter....I came home to my house and felt the exact same way. I have barely been home the past 2 weeks on my days off, and the days I work FORGET it...nothing gets done! So today, I woke up and was on a mission....I put 30 minute increments on the timer and set to work and I scrubbed and scrubbed, and dusted, and washed, and scrubbed and vacuumed..ok you get the point...I went nuts...and now the disgusting feelings have lessened, but it also brought to my attention the fact that I have been neglecting my house and my organization. I know all the moms out there are probably laughing at me because I don't have kids and I'm sure it only gets worse, but I need to get some stuff done around here!!!   Time to kick it into gear!

Also, with the start of talk about the Holidays I officially have started feeling like the Grinch....because I work Thanksgiving, the day after, Dec 23 and Christmas....talk about BLAAAHHH! I told myself I was going to boycott the Holidays and not go crazy like I have in previous years...BUT today my family decided to come here for Thanksgiving, which makes me extremely happy. I will still be at work but at least I will be able to see my parents, siblings, nieces and nephews...pretty sweet! So now it is off to work on planning the Thanksgiving dinner, who will be responsible for what and getting my house ready for visitors....Tis the season...

Do you ever feel like your house is filthy? How do cope?
What are you doing to plan for the holidays... Here are a few things I have come across for Holiday Planning

Organizing your way is a great resource with ideas, free printables and ways to get organized! She talks about preparing your home, meal planning, Christmas Card list, and everything else you can think of. We made our gift list last night and jotted down some ideas for each person, I already feel ahead. Check it out

Really wish I could have a Thanksgiving Tablesacpe like this....AHHHH Maybe one day!


Monday, November 8, 2010

A Fun Weekend...

I had a nice long weekend which was much needed after an emotional week at work that hit me out of no where. A long time family friend of ours got married in Cleveland Ohio. I had the joy of making the trip with Matt, Lauren, Lilly and Diana. Have I mentioned how sweet they are? Well if not...they are the SWEETEST girls I know!  Friday night I got to spend some time with a dear friend Jess, who is just an amazing woman all around. She is a full time lawyer, about to make partner and mother of 3 beautiful kids. Sometimes I wonder how she does it, she is like another "sister" to me and always gives such sound advice. It was great seeing her!

The wedding was lot of fun. I got to spend some quality time with my sister Mary Beth, felt like I haven't seen her in forever. I felt good to catch up, laugh and reconnect with her. There is nothing more comforting then sharing a bed with her just like I used to when we were little...she just relaxes me, crazy I know! Here is a picture of Mary Beth, Lauren and I courtesy of Lauren.


Our friend who got married is a HUGE Ohio state fan...as a surprise his parents hired some of the Ohio State Band members to come play at the wedding. Everyone was going CRAZY! I felt right at home! They played about 4 songs and it was AWESOME! Lauren was able to capture some video so enjoy! My mom is a real character







On Sunday, we were able to go visit my Grammy Bajorek. She is a nursing home with Alzheimer's. It is never fun to their, quite depressing, but of course we all want to see her. She looked pretty good, She always recognizes my dad, but I like to think she recognized us because she smiled and started crying. She can't really talk and goes in and out. It is heartbreaking to see the once animated and lively woman, with this debilitating disease. I would like to think we brought some joy to her. She loved meeting Lilly and Diana and they brought a lot of happiness....








This woman, Philomena, my Grammy is an amazing woman. We all hate seeing her like this and can only hope she felt some love on Sunday. I love you Grammy!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Free Holiday Cards

I saw THIS link on a blog I follow....TOO good to pass up. Shutterfly is offering 50 free Holiday cards if you are a blogger....SIGN UP! They are all photo cards and there are some super cute ones! Looks like we won't be paying for Christmas cards this year! WHOO HOO!!!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The problem with...

Identical nieces is that it is so very hard to tell them apart. I thought I was doing good until I posted a picture and named her the wrong name! So here Lilly...I really hope this is you! You are adorable and sweet and please start looking different then Diana.


It is Saturday morning and I am curled up under a heated blanket drinking my cup of coffee and sitting here in the quiet of my house...it is wonderful. Mark is at a golf trip sales meeting and I have nothing on my schedule for the day. I love my alone time...have I ever mentioned that before?! I'm catching up on laundry and trying to decide what my next house project will be. I'm thinking it is going to be the office. We want to make it our "Ball State Room" It will need to be painted, I will need to get Mark's jersey framed (Mine is already) and I will have to start sorting through pictures for the photo wall. I want action shots, shots with teammates, pictures that really capture the 4 years of JOY our college experience was. I want to bottle up all the things I feel about Ball State, basketball, my teammates, college so I can share them with my children. I want people to understand how important those 4 years were into making who I am today. I feel like it will take me awhile to sort through all of our memories and find what I want! I think this will be a good winter project.

The next couple weeks will be busy and I feel like Thanksgiving will be here before I know it. I am already dreading the Holidays since I work Thanksgiving and Christmas...I am going to have to work on my attitude so bear with me.

Like I mentioned I have been feeling in a "funk" this week...I would like to attribute it to the changing weather. I miss the sun and the warmer weather already. I miss the windows open and taking long walks with Bailey. I hate the cold weather. I think I just need to stop feeling sorry for myself and just give myself a kick in the butt. I need to reconnect with the present moment and be thankful for my blessings. I'm hoping that I will be able to use today to organize me thoughts and reconnect with me. Here's to hoping. How do you reconnect when you feel in a funk?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Good Stuff...

I saw THIS post on Clover Lane, a blog I love to read. This quote really hit home to me, especially this week, when I have been feeling in a funk! Sometimes you have to stop, breathe and remember to be in the moment instead of worrying about the past or future...


Fear less, hope more,

eat less, chew more,

whine less, breathe more,

talk less, say more,

hate less, love more,

and good things will be yours.


Swedish Proverb



Here is what I got to last weekend...babysit my nieces...can't get enough of them!

UPDATE: Apparently I am the worst Aunt ever, because I thought this first picture was Lilly and in fact it is Diana...SERUOUSLY! I could have sworn this was Lilly, until Lauren pointed out my mistake! I SUCK!! SO these two pictures are of Diana!

Diana NOT LILLY!

Diana




Monday, October 25, 2010

Dining Room Update

We finally decided on a paint color and started painting. I won compromised on the paint color so now we have to come up with another color for the office. Here it is....



 Mark suited up to get started



A work in progress


Everything put back together and with new curtains



I LOVE the color and the curtains help tie in the rest of the house colors.... Now all we have left to do is the wainscoting on the bottom...it will bring it up another notch, but still looks very elegant in there! Crossing it off the list...WHOO HOO!!!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Menu Plan Monday


Back to planning our meals since Mark is back from his 2 week work trip! I am going to be trying a few new things this week. Here is what is on tap for us!

Monday: Crispy Baked Chicken broccoli and mashed potatoes

Tuesday: Italian Hot Bake and Garlic Bread

Wednesday: Chicken Pesto Pizza and salad

Thursday: Leftovers

Friday: Chicken Noodle Soup

Check out Organizing Junkie's link up for tons of recipes....

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Thing's I love RIGHT NOW

I love this long cardigan sweater from Target....so cute with leggings!




As we are gtting closer to getting our new bedroom furniture...I am eyeing this and thinking about putting it on my Christmas list


Check out the AP Poll for College football to see who #1 is... I'll give you a hint


video



This Subway Art that is all over Etsy.com


Friday, October 15, 2010

Candy Corn Wreath

I saw this wreath on the Cover of Women's Day magazine...I love this magazine...a nice easy read with lots of fun tips! I decided to go for it with this wreath and I am so happy how it turned out...super cute!

I started with a Styrofoam round wreath

The magazine suggests using black duct tape to cover it,  I started using ribbon, but ran out so I scrounged up some Crete paper I had and used that...simple enough...



Next using a hot glue gun and bag of candy corn I started glueing the candy corn down in circles, rotating their directions


Continue until covered. I took a black ribbon as my wreath hanger and hung it up



I felt like it was missing something...I had found this sign at the dollar store and hadn't put it anywhere...TA DA!!! Love it





Oh yea here is the Woman's Day Magazine cover...



Thursday, October 14, 2010

Babysitting the Boys

So I got the chance to go babysit Alex and Evan last Thursday....of course I take every chance I can get. Honestly, one of the best days in a long time! I love these kids so much...they made me laugh all day. I had so much fun!!! I took in every minute, chased them around the house all day, spent way too much time in  a tent, got told by Alex how to make his snacks, got to snuggle with Evan after his nap, taught Evan how to say Cioci Becca (Aunt in Polish, pronounced CHUCHEE, or Chucky by Alex) We did puzzles, watched Dr Seuss movies, swang on the porch, went on a long morning walk, colored, and played some make believe games that I will not divulge for my embarrassment purposes. These kids are awesome...so much joy!  My pictures stink, Alex didn't want his picture taken and Evan wanted my phone!






Then Alex, Evan, Lilly and Diana spent the weekend in Columbus with my parents and these were the pictures my dad sent out....They said all the kids were good hmmm.


LOVE THESE KIDS!!!!!!!!