Friday, December 6, 2013

Elf of the Shelf

I don't get it. Why is this thing everywhere you turn?

There are pictures on Facebook, pins on Pinterest with ideas for him and bloggers are blogging about him so fast that I can smell the smoke from their keyboards over here.

So what's the draw? Beats me. In fact, here are a few reasons why I don't and won't give in to the "Elf-mania".

  1. Because... hello... I don't want this staring at me:
  2. Because I have watched one too many scary movies in my day and that thing will surely come to life and kill you while you sleep.
  3. Because I don't understand why, if you are teaching kids to be nice and good by pretending to "spy" on them (which is apparently only important in December), why is said "Santa Operative" doing naughty things every night? Shouldn't he be being a better example? If it's "cool" for him to be naughty, isn't that what the kiddos are picking up on? But maybe I'm reading too much into it. (I realize they aren't all naughty, but most seem to be)
  4. Because he's uber creepy
  5. and most importantly,

    I mean, seriously, how do people have time for all of that?
With all that being said, I did see a friend who is using the elf to promote good with her kids. Every morning her "Elfie" is holding a note with a good deed for the kids to do. I do think that's a great idea, however, as I have stated before, I don't get passionate for much. So, Senor Elf, I have no time or passion for your antics.

to the moon and back,

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Basking in my food coma

Here I sit, bloated, uncomfortable and semi-motionless due to crashing from my carb laden sugar-high, but with no regrets. 

Did I eat too much? Absolutely.

Did I consume enough calories to feed a small nation? Quite possibly

Would I do it again? Most definitely!

Food and coma aside, I love Thanksgiving. I'm a nostalgic person (in case you haven't noticed here and here and here) so having a day steeped in tradition is a-ok in my book.

The smells, the sounds, the sites. 

Watching my mom prepare a meal that I used to watch my granny prepare makes me happy. Being able to help out, is something that I was looking forward to all week. It seems silly to spend days and hours preparing a meal that will be eaten in about 20 minutes (and munched on off and on for the next few days) but that time preparing is quality time spent with family. 

I remember being at my granny's house watching her work feverishly at getting everything done in time. My papa sitting on the couch pretending he doesn't want to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. I remember all of my aunts, uncles and cousins accumulating at Granny's and chowing down. I remember the laughter, the love, the sarcasm, the feuds, the good and the bad. The point is we were together every year. I miss that. I love what we had today, but I miss the days of everyone coming together.

As such, today I am thankful for memories. New memories, old memories, memories yet to be made. 

I hope you all had a great day and made lots of new memories and are in the process of enjoying your very own food coma as you read this!
to the moon and back,

Monday, November 25, 2013

Why is it so difficult?

Here is a picture of happy coffee because I my brain isn't functioning
at 100% and I can't come up with a creative one to suite the topic.

Here's my question, why is it so difficult for me to spend money on myself? I'll buy stuff for Moose, for Jon, for my family for my friends, but when it comes to me, I feel terribly guilty.

Especially if its a big a purchase. So, why?

Why can't I treat myself?

What if I spend a lot of money on something and then don't use it? What if it's not what I really want, but then can't return it? What if it doesn't last? What if it doesn't work? I could use that money on something more important. It would be selfish if I purchased (insert product here).

How could I spend good money on a yoga membership, or a pedicure, or a new (used) car, or a new computer, or a facial, or new clothes, or a haircut/color when we need a new roof and we need to remodel our master bath, and we need to redo our utility room, and we need to repair my car and Moose would love more toys and Jon would appreciate more bike stuff and I could put that money towards bills and I shouldn't be irresponsible, blah, blah, blah and this and that and so on and so forth....

I wish that just one time I could do or get something without feeling a ridiculous amount of self-inflicted guilt. Would it kill me to be slightly irresponsible? Probably not, but then again, what if something comes up and we could have used that money for something else?

Ugh.... I'm done venting now... Thanks to you, my loyal readers for listening while I have a "poor me" moment. :)

to the moon and back,

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


Shameless confession: (Yes, shame-less, as in "one without shame".) I didn't go to college. Well, that's not entirely true. I went to college, for a year and a semester, but no college degree, so I amend my original statement to reflect "I don't have a college degree."

Shocker? I know right? You'd think with my mad writing skills that I was trained in the art of literary... uh... stuff. So, uh, yea, I can't even come up with the correct adjective to accurately describe the art in which I put my thoughts to paper computer screen. Art is subjective, right?

Anyway, one nice thing about me not "really" going to college is that I have never experienced the burden that is known as a student loan! That's right, folks, I am now and always have been student loan free! Which means that I was not scrambling to find a job before the repayment process started.

Instead, I explained to my parents that I was going to take some time off from college (because I really didn't know what I wanted to study anyway) to visit my then fiancé (now hubby) in Germany for just short of 2 weeks as a graduation gift from his parents. Imagine their delight....

That "time off" turned into a job, which turned into a career (a pretty nice one at that). I quickly moved from receptionist to "Membership Director" to "Director of Membership & Special Events". The latter title did not suit my actual position witch also included AR/AP, committee liaison, customer service, etc... This later ended in a bitter parting of ways (which I elude to here).

I've been many things since opting to not finish college, some of them have served me well and padded my bank account, others have made happy and some not so much.

So, here I am, an adult, with a husband, a son, responsibilities and such and I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up. I've never regretted not finishing college. Which also means I never got a degree that I later regretted. I know I've talked to people who have gotten a degree in something and after a few years, hated their field of study. I feel like that would have been the case for me, mainly because I have a short attention span.

If I had followed some of my "dreams" here's the short list of careers I would have embarked on...
  • Horticulturist
  • Something in the field of Criminology
  • Nutritionist
  • Photographer
  • Et cetera, Et cetera, Et cetera
So, I'm making a good living cleaning houses and doing sales and marketing for Dapper Snappers and I'm being paid in all of the love and hugs I could ever want (and if you know me, you know it doesn't take much) being a mommy and a wife, that's more than enough for me.

I admire anyone who had the dedication and motivation to get a degree (especially those who went on to get their Bachelor's, Master's or Doctorate's), but I honestly don't regret not getting one for myself. Nor do I feel like it adds or takes away from my worth. 

to the moon and back,

Saturday, November 2, 2013

I am made

i am made for smiles
made for laughs 
made for giggles
i am made for hugs
made for snuggles
made for wiggles
i am made for dirt
made for rocks
made for balls
i am made for scrapes
made for bruises
made for falls
i am made for running
made for jumping
made for biking
i am made for digging
made for building
made for hiking
i am made for soaring
made for flying
made for reaching
i am made for loving
made for caring
made for teaching
I am made for helping
made for doing
made for giving
I am made for serving
made for aiding
made for living

to the moon and back,

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Consider it Joy

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." James 1:2-4

Not just joy, but pure joy. Why? Because trials make you stronger. 

It's hard to look at it that way when you are in the midst of what seems like a life-changing trial. We don't find the joy, we worry, stress, rehash, dwell, complain, etc, etc...

At least, I do, or used to. I'm trying to be better. 

What good does all that worry and stress do? It doesn't, it just robs us of our joy. It robs us of our happiness and then there we are wasting a minute, an hour, a day, a week of our time. Time that we aren't guaranteed, anyway. Tomorrow isn't promised, so do you want your possible last day to be filled with worry and doubt?

Worrying isn't going to change anything, it won't fix anything. I'm guessing more often than not, it makes things worse and in the end, doesn't matter anyway.

So, here's me, vowing to worry less, and live more. How about you?

to the moon and back,

Wednesday, October 2, 2013


I'm not a hugger. I'm not touchy-feely. Physical contact takes work for me, it doesn't come naturally. I even feel like I have a limit to how much physical touch I can take.

Well, last night at dinner, Moose was making it his personal goal to see if he could help me reach that limit. He could not stop touching, hugging, kissing me. He would rub my arm, climb in my lap, put an arm on my shoulder, place his head on my lap, and hold my hand. I love that he is so affectionate. I wish I was that way, but last night for some reason, I was about at my limit. I wasn't mad or upset, but I was feeling a little stifled. We were laughing and making a joke about it and he thought it was hilarious.

Then today it hit me, I need to cherish those moments because I am blessed enough to have them.

I would have been due with baby #2 this month if I hadn't miscarried back in March. That's a baby that I'll never touch, hug or kiss. I will never be able to rub his or her arm, hold them on my lap or hold their little hand. I will never be able to "reach my limit" on physical touch with that baby. You don't comprehend how attached you can get to someone that you never met. It's the loss of what could have been.

It's hard to think about that but it hits me every now and then and realize how luck I am to have a happy, healthy, beautiful boy. Not everyone gets that opportunity. My heart breaks for friends of ours who haven't been able to have kids and who are struggling through the ridiculous Florida DCF trying to adpot.

I realize that even if we don't have another child (yes, we are going to try again, but it's ultimately up to God), we are beyond blessed with what we have. I will relish every squeeze, every eskimo kiss, every butterfly kiss, and every smack to my (in his words) "beautiful spankable bottom" (thank his dad for that).
October 15th is Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance Day. In October 1988, President Ronald Reagan Proclaimed October as National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. “When a child loses his parent, they are called an orphan. When a spouse loses her or his partner, they are called a widow or widower. When parents lose their child, there isn’t a word to describe them.”

Here are events to get involved with and here are ways to show your support.

Friday, September 27, 2013

I can't even...

I love a good movie. My dad did his best to instill that in me. We spent countless weekends indulging in Chinese food at the local buffet followed by an afternoon matinee. We watched animated movies, horror movies, dramas, comedies, you name it.

I've seen my fair share of bad movies, some so bad they are good, some just bad, bad. Now, you may say my taste in movies is questionable because I do enjoy a good rom-com aka chick-flick. However, I am willing to admit most of those are terrible and lead to unrealistic relationship standards as they never show what happens after the guy finally wins the heart of the girl when he drives her crazy with his clothes on the floor or trash placed not in, but next to the trash can.

Having said all of that, I am going to talk about an upcoming piece of cinematic ridiculousness that will probably cause my husband to shake his head at me. He loves a good "shoot 'em up - bang" movie as he calls them (think "Expendables" & "Transporter". No plot, no story, just guns, fights and explosions. I think he will agree with me, though, that this movie just looks terrible and I can't even imagine watching it.

Don't get me wrong, I know that it is made to be "bad" and over the top, but I think it's gone beyond that. I'm just shaking my head as I watch the commercials for it tonight while Jon watches the fight. It's gratuitous, for gratuitous's sake. I can only imagine the language and nudity in it. In fact, I was looking for just the movie poster to post as a pic for this blog and I couldn't even find a "clean" one. Seriously, the movie has a girl with a gun bra...

I guess I just don't get it, but maybe I'm a hypocrite because I love The Walking Dead which has it's own gratuitous amount of bloodshed. It doesn't, however, have the needless nudity or cussing just to cuss.

to the moon and back,

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Irrationally Emotionally Attached

This is how I feel every time I look in my closet or dresser. I hate everything in both of them... except that super cute new dress and pants from BFree Clothing.

Everything is mediocre and nothing makes me feel very put together. One quarter of it is ill-fitting and makes me looks homeless, one quarter makes me feel old, another quarter is yoga pants and t-shirts that I wear for work and the last quarter may not even be from this decade... (This doesn't include my shoes, some of those are pretty fabulous.)

Here's the bad part... I can not seem to part ways with any of it. Stupid clothes and my stupid irrational emotional attachment to them.

This is what happens, I try on numerous items, hate all of them, curse at my closet, vow to purge all of it's contents, pull an item off the hanger, aim for the trash bag and all of a sudden I am riddled with guilt. Then I start thinking, "Oh, it's not that bad, I'll wear it again one day." or "but I can't toss this, I remember buying it to wear to my husband's co-workers wedding." or "but I bought this when we were on a cruise in the Key's when I was 20lbs lighter and It might fit again one day."

Oh, then there are my jeans... the ill-fitting ones. The ones that after about 30 minutes of wear give me that ever attractive droopy butt and those other ones with the hole in the knee (not for fashion, but from actual wear) and all 3 pairs (yes, I only have 3 pairs, I'm terrible at buying jeans that fit right) look like I am carrying my cell phone in my back pocket at all times (even when I'm not).

I'm also attached to a too small t-shirt that says "8675309", but I have to keep that, right? Because my name is Jen, get it? Ah, forget it. My wardrobe is helpless.

The worst part, is I don't even know how to shop or where to shop anymore. I feel like I'm too old to shop at some places but definitely too young for others.

I just want Melinda Gordon's closet...

First world problems, I know. I should just feel blessed to have clothes on my back...

to the moon and back,

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Relationships are hard... and stuff

I debated whether or not to write this post because it's a touchy subject and I tend to censor myself because I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings. However, I feel like this subject has come up quite a bit lately and I think because Jon and I are so open about the issues we have had, people feel they can talk to me. The taboo topic??? Marriage problems....

I will preface this by saying that I am not judging those who are divorced. If you feel as though I'm calling you out, then you may have a guilty conscience. I am only referring to my own personal experience.

Around 2007, Jon and I were going through a very rough patch. Although, I'd have to say it was more me than him. I'm a bottler, I bottle up all of my feelings inside and shove them down into a black hole and try to go on as if they weren't there. I had gotten to a point where that black hole was full. Full of anger, disappointment, frustration, hurt feelings, and so on, and so on... We had become roommates, who just co-existed. To the world, though, we looked like the perfect couple. The acting was exhausting.

I was done, I couldn't do it anymore. I told him I wanted a divorce.

  • "You want kids and I'm not sure I do and I can't take that from you."
  • "You deserve someone who will love you as much as you love them."
  • "I don't want to hurt you anymore."
  • "I don't want to keep you in a relationship that I'm not sure will work."
Those were mostly true, but not the real reasons, but for me, it was easier to ask for a divorce than to actually tell him what I didn't like about him anymore. Looking back, I realize how selfish I was being. I was taking the choice away from him. Maybe he wants me more than he wants kids, maybe he want's to know what I wasn't happy with because he'd be willing to change. Maybe he was done, too. Regardless, I wasn't giving him a chance.

It was just easier to walk away.

He asked me to try, really try to make it work. He begged for me to talk to him. We cried, we talked, we listened, we were brutally honest. We talked more in the following 2 weeks than we had the previous 7 years. How sad, but we learned an important lesson, communication and prayer is key.

Another lesson that I have learned since then is that we need to learn to lean on God more to fulfill our need for love. He is the only one who loves us with a sacrificial love. When we expect that kind of love from our spouse alone and expect them to fill our every need, we are doomed to always feel alone because they will never fill all of them, nor are they supposed to. 

However, having said that, it's way easier said than done. Jon and I didn't talk (really talk) for a very long time and it almost lead to divorce. The problem is that communication and truth can hurt, so we tend to avoid it. I'm not saying we are perfect now, far from it, but we are so much better than where we were. 

Relationships are hard, they take work. They are not these fairy tales we see on TV and in movies. I'd even go out on a limb and say every relationship takes work, and if you say it doesn't (ie "Our relationship is perfect and we never have any problems. We are soul mates who love each other unconditionally!"), I might even go as far as to call you a fibber, either that or you are still in the "honeymoon" phase. :)

Anyway, I share this here so that maybe someone gets a little comfort in knowing they aren't the only one. Everyone goes through rough patches (to varying degrees) at some point.  Hang in there, fight for it, pray for it, communicate for it. Keep in mind you loved your spouse enough to marry them in the first place.

to the moon and back,

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Easy Peasy Chicken Pot Pie

A few of my friends get together once a month or so and trade freezer meals. This is really nice, because if 5 people do it, then you end up with 6 (counting the one you make) homemade freezer meals to use on those hectic nights.

The last two that we have done, I have made chicken pot pies. For one, they freeze really well, and for two, they are super easy to make.

I have had a few people ask me for my recipe, so here goes, try not to get lost in the uber complicated directions... ;)

Chicken Pot Pie

2 Chicken Breasts (Boneless)
1 Bag Frozen Mixed Veggies
Self Rising Flour
Chicken Broth
Refrigerated Pie Crust
Salt & Pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350. In a large pot, fill halfway with chicken broth and salt & pepper to taste. Then place the chicken breasts in the pot. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium and boil until the chicken is cooked thoroughly. remove the chicken and add the mixed veggies. Cook on a low boil until veggies get tender. While they are cooking, take a fork and shred the chicken into small pieces. Add the chicken back into the pot with the veggies.

Now, in a small cup, add 2 tbsp of flour and add water and mix to make a slurry (looks like milk) and then add to the pot. Let it boil for a bit to thicken. Repeat the process until the sauce is as thick as you’d like it. Take a nine inch pie pan and place one of the pie crusts on the bottom and trim the excess off the edges. After the chicken mixture has cooled a little, begin spooning it into the crust. Don’t overfill it. Then add the other pie crust to the top and seal the edges and trim excess. Place in the oven and bake until crust browns. Enjoy! (you may have enough mixture to make 2 pies, just freeze the extra one)

See? Easy peasy lemon squeezey (as moose would say)!

to the moon and back,

Thursday, August 22, 2013

I wore a bikini to the beach...

Ok, so two questions probably came to your mind when you read the title:
  1. Why?
  2. Why are you telling me about it?
I'll answer both of those for you (you probably have many more than that, but I'm not a mind reader).

I didn't wear a bikini to the beach because I look like a super model. I didn't wear a bikini to the beach because I have a perfect body. I didn't wear a bikini to the beach because I have super high self esteem and I didn't wear a bikini to the beach because I love every inch of my body. (I have never met a woman who does love every inch of her body, we all have a hang up or two.)

I wore a bikini to the beach because I wanted to prove to myself that I could (plus this pasty white tummy was just screaming for a little color). I'm insecure. I'm a girl, I think we are all born with at least a little insecurity bred into us, the media helps take care of the rest of our insecurities. I have stretch marks and cellulite. I have freckles and uneven skin tone. I have a belly, sagging skin and my thighs touch. I'm not photoshoped or air brushed... (I know, shocker!) Even the medical field adds to it, according to their BMI calculators, I'm currently over weight and have been obese most of my life.

But here's what the bikini doesn't show (or my BMI for that matter)... I can do 90 minutes of hot yoga without stopping. I can bike 14 miles at a 12 mile pace. I can jog a 5k. I can spend the day doing manual labor. I can keep up with my 3 year old (most days). I am fit, even if my body doesn't show it. 

Want to know what I learned from this experience? No one ran from me in sheer terror. No one pointed and giggled. No one stared and whispered. No one even gave me a double take. I'm not sure what I thought would happen, but it was ridiculously uneventful. Well, aside from the fact that I opted for no sunscreen because we had a canopy up and I got fried, on that pasty white tummy that I am sure has not see much of the light of day.

Now, on to why I am telling you about it. Well, because if I can do it you can do it... conquer your fear that is. Your fear may not be a bikini (and by the way, it was very tasteful suit, no tiny bikini's), but it can be conquered. I'm not saying that it has to be a huge fear that you conquer, start with the small ones. Then the big ones don't seem so unattainable.

I know I sound extremely superficial and/or narcissistic, but if you ask my hubby, you'll see what a real fear this was for me. No matter how confident I come across in person, I am a big ball of self doubt at home. I am working on just loving me.

I even remember the first time I felt heavy. It was Easter and I was about 7. My great-grandma gave me a cute, stuffed, yellow Easter bunny with fluffy white cheeks. She said that she got it for me because it reminded her of me, chubby. No, she meant that in the most loving way, but that's what sticks with a 7 year old girl. I'll have to find the picture of me from that year to share.

Let me know what fears you want to conquer... :)

to the moon and back,

Saturday, August 10, 2013

I'm not a hugger

I'm not a hugger, never really have been. I don't think I got that gene. I read an article about the benefits of hugging and I thought to myself... "Meh... whatever..."

I think most people are born with an innate ability to appreciate hugs. Not me, I'm not touchy feely, just ask my husband, it drives him crazy. I feel like I should be a hugger. It would probably make things so much easier, especially since my hubby's love language is physical touch.

"What's this 'Love Language' you speak of?" Well, if you have to ask, then, apparently, you haven't read the "5 Love Languages". The basic idea is that everyone "speaks" a different language when showing their love. So if your love language is gifts and your spouse's is quiality time, it doesn't matter how many gifts you give him, he won't see it as love. It's like speaking English to someone who only speaks French. The 5 love languages are:

  • Acts of Service
  • Physical Touch
  • Words of Affirmation
  • Quality Time
  • Gifts
My primary language is Acts of Service. Fifth on my list? Yep, you guessed it, Physical Touch. I don't know why I am that way, I just am. It's probably because I didn't come from a huggy family. Generally, if you got a hug, it was at a funeral or on a holiday. 

I have gotten better about receiving hugs, especially after having Moose, but I'm still definitely not a giver in that respect (except for with Moose). I think it's because I'm an awkward hugger. I'm not a good judge of when it's a good time to hug and what type of hug is appropriate. Should I go in for a full hug? A half hug? A half hug with a pat on the back? A hand shake hug? There are too many choices and quite frankly, I'm too indecisive for that mess.

If I do decide to go in for a hug, I end up switching the type of hug mid way and I sorta come across as creepy or grabby.

I am not above personal growth. So in an effort to teach myself how to be a hugger, I scoured the internet for tips. Here's what I found:

I think that's a good starting point. I like #6 the best. I think I can pull that one off.

Moral to the story, if I don't hug you, it doesn't mean that I don't love you, I'm just not a hugger. Just think you could be caught up in a super awkward half shake, kiss on the cheek, full on hug and no body wants that. However, if you hug me, I will hug you back or kick you in the shin, it's a toss up.

to the moon and back,

Friday, August 9, 2013

I am called to love...

I am called to love
I am not called to judge
There is no grey area
Your sin is no greater than mine
I am called to forgive
I am not called to hold harbor anger
You need the same forgiveness as I
You were given the same forgiveness as I
I am called to be satisfied
I am not called to be jealous
Material things are not lasting
Our rewards will come
I am called to accept
I am not called to condone
My heart is open all
But I am not here to enable
I am called to love the person
Regardless of race
Regardless of sex
Regardless of sin
I am called to be like Him
He who ate with tax collectors
He who did not judge the prostitute
He who died for all sinners
I strive to just love

These words have been swirling in my head the last few days.

to the moon and back,

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Pasta-less Lasagna Recipe (sort of...)

Ok, I know I'm not the only one who loves Italian food but doesn't want the carbs from pasta. Soooo, I threw together a recipe using no pasta. I use the term "recipe" loosely because as anyone who knows me knows I never follow a recipe to the T and if I'm winging it, I don't write it down. It drives my husband crazy, because we never get the exact same meal twice.

Here's how I feel, though, food is a feeling, you just have to go with it. I find that I improvise a lot depending on 1. my mood and 2. what's in my pantry/fridge/freezer....

Anyway, I came home from work and I knew that if I didn't use the eggplant that I got the other day, then I'd be throwing it away. Jon has been asking for pizza lately, so I thought lasagna was a good compromise. This could also easily be a vegetarian meal if you omit the ground turkey.

So here it my best attempt at a recipe (this makes 4 generous servings could be 6 if served with a salad or something):

Pasta-less Lasagna

Sauce Mixture (throw it all in a skillet minus the sauce and cook until meat is cooked thoroughly, you may need to add a splash of olive oil for a little fat. Once the mixture is cooked, add the sauce and heat through.)
1/2 lb Ground Turkey
1/2 Medium Onion Chopped
4 oz (or 1/2 package) Sliced Mushrooms
1/2 Chopped Frozen Spinach (or 1 Cup Finely Chopped Fresh Spinach)
1/2 Chopped Broccoli Florets
1 Jar Classico Tomato Sauce
2 Cloves Minced Garlic
Salt & Pepper to taste

Cheese Mixture (while the above is cooking, mix all of the following ingredients together in a mixing bowl and set aside.
1 Cup Low-Fat Shredded Mozzarella (set aside about a 1/4 cup or so for the top of the lasagna)
1/2 Cup Part Skim Ricotta
2 Cloves Minced Garlic
1/2 Tbsp Basil (I used the stuff in the squeeze tube found in the produce section)
Mrs. Dash Tomato Basil Blend, Oregano, Salt & Pepper to taste

Pasta Replacement
1 Medium Eggplant Peeled and Sliced into Faux Lasagna Noodles (not too thick)

Preheat oven to 375. Take a baking dish (I used 9x9) and add a layer of the sauce mixture, then a layer of raw eggplant "noodles", then smear a layer of the cheese mixture on top of the eggplant then another layer of sauce. Repeat until you have either filled your pan or run out of ingredients. Top with a final layer of sauce and a layer of mozzarella cheese. Bake until cheese is nice and brown!

Ok, here's a secret, you don't want the eggplant sliced to thin because they will over-cook and be to mushy, but you downy want it sliced too thick because it won't get done. There's a fine line, but you do still want it to have a little bite so it mimics al dente pasta. It's also nice because this lasagna recipe doesn't get watery which is sometimes a problem with lasagna.

Enjoy and feel free to improvise! Live a little!!

to the moon and back,

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Most Days I'm OK

Most days I am ok, lots of days I'm great, but some days my miscarriage still gets to me. I guess that's normal, it's only been a few months, but some people seem to move on so easily. Or at least on the surface they do, I guess I don't know their heart.

Anyway, some days it doesn't even cross my mind, and some days I think, I'd be almost 7 months now which means we would have definitely known what we were having. Some days, I wonder what it would be like.

Those days are fewer and farther between than the beginning, but on those days I beat myself up a little more. Was it the theraflu that I took when I was 4 weeks along because I felt like I was dying from the flu? Did I work out too much? Was I too unsure about it? Was it because I wasn't bonding with the baby or was I not bonding because God wouldn't let me?

I have gotten to where I really love babies, but on those few days, I don't want to talk about babies or baby things. I don't want to hear people complaining about their babies (even though on a normal day it's perfectly fine, moms need to vent).

I don't like having to answer the question "So, are you going to have any more?" by someone who doesn't know. I then feel some absurd need to explain to them how we had tried but I miscarried and now I need a little time. They don't need to know that and I'm sure it makes them feel bad.

Mostly, on those days, I feel bad for feeling bad. I get this little voice in the back of my head that says "Why are you even sad, there was no baby? No baby even developed." Now, I know that regardless of whether there was a baby or not, I was almost 10 weeks at the time and my body was pregnant, but on those days, Satan, gets a foothold and tries to pull me down.

I know that some of these thoughts are still hormonal changes, and to help with that I am doing some natural remedies (acupuncture and Chinese herbs) that I'll blog about later. I know that these are normal thoughts (or at least I think they are) and yet, that doesn't make me feel better at the time.

I'm feeling this way a little tonight, but it will pass. Like I have said before, this blog is more for my therapy, than it is for anything else.

Thanks for sticking around even when I'm gloomy! :)

to the moon and back,

Tuesday, June 25, 2013


Ok, this may come as a shock to some of you, but I'm not a very passionate person. I greatly admire anyone who is, but me, meh...

It takes a lot of time and energy to be passionate and lately, I haven't had much of either, but that's besides the point, my attention span is much to small to be passionate.

I love people who are passionate and utterly and completely committed to a cause or way of life. Well, as long as it's positive, there are some pretty passionate hateful people out there. You know, like the KKKK, Ku Klux Klan for Kats, if you watch Glee you get it (not that I watch Glee much, but that part cracked me up and so did the line about Dolphins being gay sharks...). I just can't for the life of me understand how people can put sooooo much energy into hating someone or a group of someones. If I don't like someone, I'm like "meh..." and I move on. I have too much going on to focus on no liking them.

Anyway, I have a friend who is passionately against Monsanto and GMO's (I know that sounds negative, but if you read about GMO's at all, you'll see why it's a good thing and why you can't eat anything anymore).  Anyway, I look at her and I'm like, "I don't think I could ever be that passionate about anything." Not only is she passionate about it, she lives it. She's unwavering and I think that's awesome.

There have been occasions where I have been moderately passionate about a topic, but here's what happens, I get really excited, tell everyone about it, try to convince everyone how great (insert idea, product, supplement, TV show here) is and then I sort of forget about it. Then inevitably someone asks me, "Hey how's (whatever it was) going?" and I'm like, crap.... "Who are you, my accountability partner?" Well, not really, I wouldn't actually say that, but that's what I'm thinking because no matter how great whatever it was is, I eventually get to the point of "meh."

That's terrible, I know, but "meh." I can't even get passionate about not being passionate. :)

to the moon and back,

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

My thighs touch

Life gets heavy (as my cousin-in-law states in her blog) and I feel it's been extra heavy lately, so I am here to lighten it up a bit, at least metaphorically, because I'm talking about thick thighs and technically, that, too, would be heavy...

Last night, I had planned on writing this blog but switched topics when our dinner out was derailed by an oblivious mom. So, even though you were probably hoping I forgot, I am going to take on this highly controversial topic because I am a giver. Guys (if there are any guys who read this), you can stop reading here. You won't understand and it will probably make you uncomfortable.

And now... without further ado here's what I think about my thighs touching...

I hate it, but probably not for the reason that you think. I don't need that gap between my thighs that uber skinny girls get to validate my existence. (If you have the "gap", yay for you, I ain't hatin') Also, I'm not saying that I am fat (10 or 20 lbs heavier than I'd like to be, yes, but fat, no). (Note: this post is riddled with sarcasm, it's who I am, people!)

Reasons why I hate that my thighs touch:

  1. It that means I can't actually wear running shorts to run. Why? Because A. my shorts creep up (yea, I know TMI, but you asked) and I'm constantly fighting a losing battle to keep them down and B. because running, with thighs that touch, with out some sort of chaffing cream or ointment (ugh, that word grosses me out) is super uncomfortable and jeopardizes future runs because of injury. So... it's yoga pants or running capri's for me.
  2. I can't wear my running shorts when biking. Why? See the answer to #1. Believe it or not it happens while biking too.
  3. I can't wear shorts any shorter than mid thigh, which is generally appropriate in most situations, however, when I go to the beach, shorter (not micro) shorts would be nice so I can get a little sun. Why can't I? See the answer to #1.
  4. Summer dresses are uncomfortable. Why? See the answer to #1B. That means that pantyhose (nasty invention) or some sort of spanx are in order to prevent chaffing and then, really, what's the point? Summer dresses are supposed to be cool, and all of those undergarments kill that idea.
  5. Corduroy pants are out of the question... Can we say "friction fire"? Ok, so there haven't been a lot of corduroy pants that I just couldn't live without, but I'd like the option in case I want to try to fit in with the preppy set of the 80's or the grunge crowd of the 90's.
That's all I can think of for now. I don't actually sit around all the time criticizing my thighs. All of the points above actually came about from a conversation with friends the other day. 

And finally, Taylor, this one's for you...
to the moon and back,


Ok, so tonight I was going to blog about how my thighs touch (ridiculously obvious after our bike ride tonight), riveting stuff here, I know, but then we had a late dinner and we witnessed an utterly oblivious mom. Jon and I just sat there, speechless. (Quite frankly, I'm amazed that Jon didn't offer to teach her how to discipline her children. I can only imagine the amount of restraint he practiced.

It started when we were walking in, the mother of a teenager and 2 younger (maybe 7 & 2) girls was walking in before us. She looks down at the youngest and says "Ugh, where are your shoes? You can't go in without shoes." Ok, that's not bad. I see how that happens, especially with Moose's tendency to lose his flip flops.

After we order, we decide to sit outside (mainly because it was like a meat locker inside). The teenage daughter was already sitting outside with the two younger girls. The teenager was texting or facebooking or something, regardless, she was completely ignoring the girls who were playing in the bushes, pulling off limbs (not just leaves) and throwing them in the outside dining area.

Soon the mom made it out and put their food on the table. The youngest immediately grabbed her moms bowl of food and dumped it on the table. The teen never even looked up and the mom yelled at the little girl. The mom went back in and got more food and came back out. She sat down and started talking to the teenager. While she was talking, the youngest wast literally climbing up the pole of the big umbrella cover our 2 tables. The middle child was dipping her fingers in her sour cream and was painting her whole side of the table. The youngest sits down and starts crumpling up napkins and throwing them across the area.

The mom kept talking to the teenager, never even looked at the little ones. The middle child asked the mom a question about 5 times and the mom never even acknowledged that she was talking. The middle one then said "I just don't know why you can't answer me." The youngest came back to the umbrella pole and continued climbing. Then the middle child walked to their car and the youngest followed. This time the teenager yelled for her to stop (she didn't) then chased after her, brought her back, tossed her on the moms lap and said "Here's your flippin' kid".

At this point, the mom was doing something on her phone and refused to look up for anything. The youngest was bouncing from table to table, trying to follow her sister back into the restaurant. Once or twice the mom called her name and asked her to stop without looking up from her phone. At one point the youngest was walking back to the outdoor dining area from their truck by herself while her mom was still on her phone at the table. No one was watching her at this point. Then she sat back down and started breaking up her chips and throwing them on the floor while the 7 year old was flinging her food with her fork.

We were completely in shock. I mean, I totally understand being overwhelmed and frustrated, but this woman didn't seem like that at all, she was just oblivious. Whatever was on her phone was more important that even the safety of her kids. Maybe I'm just a helicopter mom because I don't take my eye off of Moose when we are out and he certainly isn't allowed to go anywhere without us out in public.

I know, that there are two sides to every story, maybe she was having a bad day, maybe she was texting about something very important (I doubt it though, because a couple times she mentioned the "drama" she was dealing with from earlier), but for the sake of those around you who have also paid to eat out, please keep an eye on your children and try (or at least pretend) to keep them under control.

I'm sorry if I sound unreasonable and/or judgmental, but you just had to see it to grasp the ridiculousness of it.

to the moon and back,

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Getting Dolled Up

I don't really remember playing dress up much when I was little, which isn't surprising because I don't remember much of growing up. At least not on my own, anyway. When some one says "Hey remember when we use to play band in your living room and you played the laundry basket drums with books for cymbals?" I'm like, "Oh, yea, I totally forgot about that!" But heaven forbid I have to recall something on my own.

Anyway, back to dressing up...

I may not (or lets face it, may have) played dress up much as a child, but now I love to dress up. There is nothing better than an amazing pair of heels with a fierce dress, or a cute pair of boots with a dark colored skinny jean and a trendy top, ahhh if only I was rich with an unending wardrobe.

I like feeling girly and I like feeling pretty. Who doesn't? When I look good and am dressed up, my day seems to go better. I can take on the world with a sass that is just unrivaled. Look at me all looking good and stuff, oh yea.

I often wish that I lived in an era where it was appropriate to leave my house dressed to the nines just to go grocery shopping. I would have been that 50's housewife in my a-line skirt and apron. Super sexist, ultra un-feminist, ehh, so what. It is what it is, or rather, I am what I am.

With all of that being said, I am not naive enough to think that if I actually lived in the above described era, that I wouldn't get tired of dressing up all the time and want to live in an era where it's perfectly acceptable to leave the house in yoga pants. I also know for a fact that I am just too lazy to dress up and do my hair and make-up, and shave, and blah blah blah.... Every.Stinkin.Day.

Do you see my quandary? I need to be fancy and cute and girly, but my want for an extra 15 30 40 minutes of sleep far out weighs that need.

to the moon and back,

Wednesday, June 5, 2013


In between my morning job and cleaning job this afternoon, I got a call from my mom. "Jen, I'm in the ER with your dad, can you come get Moose from me, he's getting kid of restless." Umm... excuse me? ER?

Now, a little background on my mom. She's a rock in situations like this, real even keeled. Me, not so much (I don't do well in emergencies). Anyway, mom gets through these situations and is super strong, then when they are over, she takes her moment to break down.

Me "Why is dad in the ER?"
Mom "He was lightheaded at work and having problems remembering things and he kept zoning out. It might be mini strokes."
Me "Ok, I'll be there right away. Is he ok?"
Mom "He seems to be, they are running tests."

So, I rearranged my day and headed to the hospital. My dad is going to give me a heart attack, this isn't his first emergency.

I called Jon on my way there, I was a mess on the phone. I couldn't stop crying. I was praying, crying, texting, praying, crying, facebooking. Not my safest trip somewhere, but I needed prayers for my dad.

I got to the hospital, made my way to his room, rushed in and gave him the biggest hug and just lost it.

They had already done an EKG and blood work. They still planned on doing at least a cat scan. He was also hooked up to an IV with fluids because of mild dehydration. They weren't sure what had happened, but they mentioned mini strokes. My dad was hoping it was just anxiety from dealing with the end of the year inventory at the school. Mom said that he was very disoriented when she got to the hospital, but by the time I got there he was much more lucid.

After the cat scan they decided to do an MRI. The doctor also ordered a sonogram to look at his carotid arteries and an echocardiogram.

And so we waited... and waited... and waited. The nurse came in at 3:30 and asked if the doctor had talked to us. We said no. She replied "Oh, well he was supposed to, but I think he's gone for the day now." What? Really? I mean I guess it wasn't life threatening, because I assume he would have come in, but really, who knows.

My dads friends, Tom & Sandra, came by to pray with him and I can't tell you how much that meant.

The nurse informed us that they were going to keep my dad over night for observations and to get those other 2 tests done. My dad wasn't thrilled, but we didn't give him a choice. She also told us that they were having a neurologist do a consult.

They moved my dad up to a room and the neurologist came in and did a few memory tests and a few physical tests (for strokes). He passed both tests. (I even had a hard time with the memory one!) The Dr said that it could have been a mini stroke which would have effected his memory and made him light headed and spacey; however, he's know more after reading the MRI.

So now we wait... and wait... and wait for answers. I pray with all my heart that it's something minor that can easily be fixed.

I know that I'll never be ready to lose him, but I'm really not ready, yet. He's still so young and has many, many, many more years left.

So, for now, I leave you with this poem I wrote for him for his birthday years ago:

Dad you’ll never realize
The times I cherished being with you
It was late night plays, weekend matinees
And Chinese lunches, too
It was baseball games
Those many nights
Arena football
And hockey fights
It was actions, cuts and strike the sets
It was props and wardrobes , too
It was Dracula and the Pajama Game
And just spending time with you
It’s the way you’ve always loved me
Whether I deserved it or not
You make me feel so grateful
That I thank God for what I’ve got
I hope you have a great day
Celebrating your birth
I hope that at least one person
Tells you how much your worth

to the moon and back,

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Letters from a Wanna-Be Runner

See what I did there? Pretty clever, huh??

While you run, do you write imaginary letters to people, places, and/or things? No? Is it just me then? Hmm, ok, well, it makes the time go by faster for me. So here are just a few of letters I wrote in my head tonight as I ran...
By the way, as I am writing these letters in my head, I picture them being written down using a fancy pen and calligraphy.

  • Dear Old, Beat-Up, Broke Down Chevy Pick-Up:
    Thank you for spewing that thick cloud of black smoke for me to inhale. My run wasn't quite challenging enough.
    *cough cough*
  • Dear Extremely In-Shape Old Dude Who Lapped Me Like 20 Times:
    Quit showing off...
    Dying over here
  • Dear Shadow (yes, my own shadow):
    Pick up the pace. You seem to be moving at a much slower pace that I am.
    Apparently, I'm Barely Moving
  • Dear God of the Shoelace:
    While I'm upset that you allowed my shoe to come untied, I thank you for watching over me as I was running down the bridge and not letting me trip and tumble head over heals to my all but certain death.
    Almost Falling for You
  • Dear Technology:
    What have I ever done to you? I have been nothing, if not nice to you. I always charge my phone and try to shut down apps so that they aren't running in the back ground. Also, I always hang the chest strap for my heart-rate monitor up so that it can dry out. I put the watch that goes with my heart-rate monitor in a safe place so it doesn't get damaged. And what do I get as thanks? Well, on a night where I needed all of the motivation I could get, my hear-rate monitor kept losing track of my heart and the app I use to track my run crashed a little over a half mile into my run.
    Almost Gave Up and Quit
Weren't you absolutely riveted by that glimpse of what goes on in my head while I'm running, that is while I'm running by myself. If I'm running with someone, I'm usually talking because I can't handle the silence and I'm working on my lungs... yea, that's it, lung capacity.

to the moon and back,