Whenever someone is sick my mom makes what she calls her kitchen sink soup. She calls it that because every time she makes it she puts everything and anything in it.  Recently I have started making it to clean out the fridge of left over veggies or when someone is sick.  This week Miss J had an ear infection and Pneumonia and I have a nasty cold!  What is better on a super cold winter night then a nice big bowl of soup.  

Carrots-2 Cups Rough Chopped
Zucchini Cups Chopped (You can use whatever veggies you have in the fridge)
Onions-1-2 Cups Rough Chopped
Two Boxes or Four Cans of Beef/Chicken/Veggie Broth
1 Pound Ground Beef/Turkey
1 14oz can of beans (I used black in this recipe but you can use kidney, navy, chic pea, etc)
2 Cups Dry Pasta
Seasoning to Taste (I use Tastefully Simple Garlic Garlic and Pepper)
Olive Oil to coat the Pan (1-2 Tablespoons)
Water on Hand to De-Glaze the pan


1.  Brown Onions in a large pot still softened and brown-Deglaze pan as needed.  Deglazing pan often helps with the flavor (add a little water and scrap off brown bits on bottom of the pan)
2. Add Ground Beef and cook till browned.  Deglaze pan again.  

Onions and Beef
3.  Add chopped veggies (carrots, zuchninni, whatever you have to get rid of )

See I really do mean rough chopped-I am too lazy for a fine chop

4.  Next add the beans-I drain the beans but then add a little water to get the last of the bean out of the can out and add that to the pot.  Then add the boxes of broth. 

I do love Goya Organic

5.  Bring the pot to a slow boil and cook the veggies till they soft

What is all looks like when boiling

6. Add the pasta-I went with Shells.  Boil till Al-Dente 8-10 minutes usually.  
Look how cute they are!
7.  Serve with a crusty bread and a sprinkle of Parmesean Cheese (the classic Italian Way)

The finished Product 

This is a soup that my kids and hubby love-I do too.  It hits the spot and for those following weight watchers the pot comes in at six servings (which is huge-huge bowl) for six points each bowl.  

If you try the recipe let me know how you like it!
So I admittedly may have a thing about Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt-and yes it is in that order.  Eleanor then Franklin.  I took a class last summer on FDR and through the book that I was assigned to read I feel more in love with the Roosevelts.  My plan for fathers day this year was actually to take a daddy daughter trip to Hyde Park with my dad as I have never been-Maybe I will still go-maybe.

Anywho-I fell in love with all things Roosevelt.  I loved the fact that for all intent and purpose they had a true partnership in a marriage. They not only dealt with FDR's horrific illness but also the fact that as they aged and grew as individuals their marriage changed.  My personal opinion is that if this was modern times perhaps they would have divorced....or maybe not as they would have been a family in the political spot light.

What I love about the story of the Roosevelts is the fact that each of them were allowed to achieve success in their own right.  I loved that in a era where women were not really allowed to be leaders, Eleanor was one in her own right.  Not in the classic sense that way I man was in this WWII era, but a leader never the less.  I loved reading especially about her struggles to define herself outside of motherhood and being a wife.  I think as a working mother who is very educated I often struggle with the question of who am I-Eleanor did too.

Now in terms of new information this book only had a few things I didn't know about the famous couple-then again I took an entire graduate class on FDR and Eleanor so that is why.  I think this is a great non-fiction read for anywho who is interested in this famous couple.  The books reads just like a normal biography would just instead of being about one person, it is about their relationship.  How they worked together as a team and also how they allowed each other to be individuals with their own desires and interests.  When looking up the link to put in for the book I saw a few more options on Amazon that lets be honest I will probably buy too!  I would highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to get an in-depth look into he Roosevelt's relationship.   Five Stars on this book from me!


                                        *Contains affliate links*

I recently read two really great articles on grief and loss.  One was from the New York Times and the other from facebook that a dear work friend (I believe I have mentioned her before-Miss Sassy Pants I think is her code name).  They talked about how there is both the expectation of grief and how others see/help.  Then there is reality.  Reality around here sucks folks.

I wish my blog didn't have to turn into this emo place about me talking about how life sucks right now, but you know what-that is f-ing life for me right now.  I have had sympathy for people who have lost a loved one before.  I have felt really bad, and in some cases heartbroken.  Good friends, students, co-workers have all lost very close loved ones.  I felt for them, I tried to help in any way I could.  It wasn't until I have experienced my own "real" loss that I have realized my sympathy wasn't really "getting" it.  I thought I could empathize with them.....I was wrong.  Now looking back at those people in my life who have lost loved ones-Miss Sassy Pants, My Sister Wife (who works with my husband), other co-workers, and students-I don't know how they did it.  They made it look easy-like they were ok.  Now what I am realizing is they weren't ok-they were doing what I am.  Faking it.

I spent a lot of time in therapy working on embracing my feelings and not trying to cover up my feelings.  Well right now that is sort of what I have to do in order to function.  I have to have some sort of wall up-a protection from the full brunt of this loss.  Almost like a band aid or padding on a huge wound. Even with it on there, there are movements where I move the wrong way the pain strikes-fierce and sharp.  There is no way I can take the bandage off right now-its not healed enough.   The pain would be too much to handle-little bits here and there I can take-but its not ready for no padding yet.  When-I don't know, but someday.

Sometimes those movements come when having a flash back of my ride to the hospital or what happened there, sometimes its seeing a picture of my dad, or its seeing the last text message he sent me on my phone that I can't bring myself to delete (it was a wonderful picture of Dylan from his last soccer game), or often its when my children say how much miss they their grandfather.  

I sometimes feel just like my daughter Miss J.  Today, like many days when my mom comes to bring the kids to school.  Miss J wakes up when the dogs bark to of course notify us that my mom is here.  She frantically calls for me-looks at me and ask me ever so hopefully who is here to bring her to school.  When I answer Noni and Aunty Betty or Grandma and Papa she looks instantly heartbroken when she realizes that Grandpa isn't here (for those who don't know my dad has brought the kids to school or taken care of Josie almost every day of her whole life).  It breaks my heart to tell her my dad isn't here-its like I am ripping off her band aid and its ugly. Reality for us right now is just that a letdown-its ugly and not pretty. 

In a way I feel bad for all those people who I thought were ok after experiencing their losses-because they seemed fine.  Well in theory I am fine too.  I get up, I go to work, I talk to friends, coworkers, family, I am a mom to my kids, I lead a somewhat productive life.  I am able to do this because I keep my wound very tightly guarded.  Unfortunately it makes me feel distant-from my husband, friends, coworkers-especially those who do not "get" this loss.  

It makes interacting sometimes hard-as I can only fake it so much.  It make quiet time hard for me.  I have to read in bed until the moment I am ready to fall asleep-otherwise I won't sleep.  Christmas vacation was tough because I wasn't busy enough to make myself tired enough and I had time to be quiet and reflect.  Letting down the wall a little was good-but hard.

I am sure it is hard for those who love me to know how/what to do with me.  I seem somewhat ok-but they know I am not.  I guess to those in my real life I would say hang in there.  I still need you in my life.  Maybe I just need you in a different way.  Maybe I need you to cut me some slack.  I need you to be patient in that it is hard for me to make decisions because I have a hard time thinking.  I often feel child like in my inability to act or do things that I could easily do.  I need you understand that right now I need happy things, light things-I can't really do drama or negativity.  Hell I can't read or watch things-its like hitting the wound.  To actually deal with hurt or negativity  in my real life is unmanageable at best.

The reality of this whole thing is overwhelming and hard to manage.  I hate to say but I think a lot of this blog is going to be me rambling my way through my grief.  I get if people don't want to read it.  I wouldn't want to....then again I never got it until now.  Reality is shitty folks.  But this is mine and I am managing my way through it the best I can.  


So as you can imagine I am sort of over 2014.  I stumbled across and amazing website called The Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans .  I have read stuff by them before here and there but I really fell in love with what they were gearing up for the new year.  They are reading a great book that I am reading now called 52 small changes. 

  (Click on link-It is free for Prime Members-Which is a great deal in my mind)-Where you focus on one change a day for 52 weeks so you are not overwhelmed by change, they are doing an instragm piture a day based on this, and they also suggested rather than a resolution or goal for your 2015 that you pick one word.

You all know I love to talk so that was hard to think about just one word.  I think my word for 2014 might be F-You (oh wait that is two words).  Maybe I will write about my holiday and new years...but maybe I need to move on too...who know.

Anywho....one word for 2015.   I always make resolutions and either don't achieve them or break them quickly.  So I thought long and hard about my word.  At first the word was SURVIVE.  With vacation and the holidays happening right after my father's death I figured I felt that is what I have been doing.  Then I realized I don't want to just survive-that is not what this word is about.  This word is what I want to use to inspire me.  I wanted a word that would help me both in my physical and mental journey I want and need to take this year.  So I finally figured out what my word would be....what I needed most these past few month and will continue to need....STRENGTH

I need STRENGTH to continue on in my journey of living without my dad, I need STRENGTH to put the mental energy into loosing weight.  I need STRENGTH to accomplish my fitness Goal for 2015.  So this years word is STRENGTH.  I plan to use that to help me when I am feeling like I want to give up.  

So what are your thoughts on a one word Mantra for the New Year.  What would your's be?