So as a busy mom of two kids I realized that I need to work on my week night meals.  My goal for this new year is to be really focused on my health and one of those ways is making sure that I have good healthy food to eat.  So here is one of my recent go to meals.  Mainly because pork loins were buy one get two free at the store I had a small stock pile of them.  So below is my recipe for a super easy crock pot meal.  It isn't the prettiest but it sure is tasty.  

So first up-The ingredient list
Apple Cider-Enough to coat the bottom of the crockpot I would estimate about a cup
Apples:  I used this whole bag because they were starting to go.  The kind that are too yucky to eat but perfect for baking on applesauce
Pork Loin-You can use any size this was just your standard grocery store variety

Oh and that is it!  (oh and yes i was doing that at 6am)

Pork loin in the bottom of the crockpot 

Apples peeled and chunky sliced on top with cider to cover the bottom

And the finished product.  I cooked mine on low (my crock pot runs high-for about 8 hours) This is the entirely of the crockpot.  For my family this was one nights dinner and lunch the next day.  If you want two meals you will need two pork loins or maybe a pork roast.

Now a serving suggestions....My kids favorite veggie broccoli and a little mac and cheese for the kiddos.

According the recipe builder the Smart Points value of this meal (not including the mac and cheese) would be 5 smart points for a sixth of the crock pot.  I also think you could measure it as 1/4 cup of cider and whatever the ounces of pork you choose to eat.  Which I think would come out to be about five.

Hope you enjoy this as much as we did!

Its been a long time since I posted....things got well holiday crazed around here that is for sure.  I was having some medical issues that hopefully I will get around to posting about then just getting ready for the holidays with two small children is always crazy.  Plus if I am being honest I was having a real hard time without having my dad around.  

Now up until the week before Christmas I was doing ok with everything.  Work was good, kids were good. weight watchers was good.  Then all the balls up in the air started to fall and well.....hit me on my head! 

A long time ago someone said to me as hard as the first holiday without your loved one is hard-the second one is worse.  I definitely don't think it was worse just more permeant in a way.  Just the reality of him being gone as really begun to set in.  It is almost as if I head my breath for the whole first year dealing with all of those firsts but now it is the reality of the loss is starting to set in.  Its not harder it is just different.  Sometimes the gravity of the loss is really hard.  Lately Josie has been talking about my dad and how she misses and her memories of him.  Thankfully her mentioning him doesn't bring me instantly to tears....but it does hurt at the thought of how much he is missing each and every day.

The holidays round these parts were good.  We had a nice time celebrating with family and friends and the kids were spoiled rotten.  Mainly what I am looking forward to is some quiet time with the family at home.  

I didn't even take that many pictures this year....not because I didn't want to but because I was busy enjoying.  If one thing the loss of my dad has taught me.....life is far to short to spend my time doing things that don't bring me joy.  

I hope you and your family enjoyed your holidays!  

So this vacation I brought no work home.  All of my grading is done and I knew I would be spending a few days in NYC and then want to be with my kiddos for the rest of the vacation.  Well I was fighting a cold before school got out for the holidays and it has only gotten worse.  I even went to the Dr's on Monday to make sure it wasn't something serious.  Thankfully just a nasty cold and cough.  I was so sick that I cancelled a much look forward trip to NYC with friends for one night and the hubby another.  

So that has left me home with no grading, no plans, and no graduate classes to complete.  I have seriously found myself wandering around my house.  I am so used to being busy...to the point that when my dad died I signed on to sell Jamberry wraps to ensure that was always busy with selling them.  

I have been reading, cleaning, and organizing a bit.  Since I am sick I haven't felt up to doing much else.  We took the kids to see two movies (The Good Dinosaur-which I slept through and Star Wars).  
I figured as hard as it it for me to sit around and not do stuff I think that is maybe just what I need to be doing.  Taking time to just be with my kids and family.  Make myself sit and reflect.  I am trying to be focused on myself and take some me time.  That is one of the new focuses on the new weight watchers program.  Taking me time.  That is really hard-to just take time and be....

For me when I am not busy sometimes that means I am left to deal with my emotions.  Me dealing with my emotions is not an easy thing for me.  This is why I have eating issues.  To ignore my emotions I eat or keep busy.

Like I said I am not good at relaxing and not being busy but maybe this is exactly what I need to be doing.  

So although I have been working my weight loss program for a few weeks sadly I am not that skinny bitch I really want to be.  Tonight while trying no clothes (I am currently doing GwynnieBee) and I caught a glimpse of myself in my mirror.  Typically, I just look at myself at the floor length mirror at the end of the hall in my house.  But I got a real good look.....maybe good isn't the word to use.  

What is interesting is this wasn't one of those self hatred moments....mostly it made me sad.  It made me upset that I have let me body get to this point.  I know exactly where that 25 pounds I put on went.  It hit me in that moment just how big I have let myself get.  I have always been a big girl...no secret there.  But I am the same size I was after I had both my kids....I am sad that I have not taken care of myself and this is the result.

It was also highly motivating.  It made me realize there just can't be anymore BS.  For the most party I have tracked every point and need to get back to adding in regular exercise.  Although most days I walk at least 10,000 steps I need to do more not only for stress management but to get this weight off.  I don't have to do anything radical just do something.

I won't lie I am sad....not the usual I hate myself.  Just more taking that feeling in and realizing I need to change.  I also promised myself to give the new weight watchers program my all.  For another 47 weeks since I am one week five now.  Its not running a marathon it is sticking to a plan to help myself.  Otherwise I may need to consider other option because what I saw in the mirror was the one thing I can't afford to be and that is unhealthy.  I no longer have the luxury of saying.....well my parents are fat but they are healthy.  I don't get that anymore-I get a parent who died at 64....that right there my friends is some serious shit that needs to be dealth with.

So yes, I am a bummed and sad-but sometimes I think we need reality to bitch slap us across the face to motivate us.  

So hello to that time of year!  So I went to weight watchers last week even though I knew I would be up.  Any male readers...avert your eyes now.  Ladies we know how it goes you could eat twigs and berries and drink three gallons of water and still be up ten pounds from water weight.  That was me.  I promised myself this time around I would really commit.  I would work the program, I would go to meetings and I would track.  With the exception of the two days after thanksgiving (I tracked on Turkey Day) I have tracked every day for almost a month.  

This week I went and weighed in and was down almost all the weight I gained the week before two days after Thanksgiving.  So I will take that and run with it.  Would I have liked it to be more...yup but I know its not always about the number it is about being better for me and my family.

So I am off to track and watch the mid season finale of Walking Dead. Hope everyone's holiday was great. 


So after a really great weight watchers meeting I decided I needed to comit to the process.  I promised myself that I would track every bit of food that entered my mouth.  The good, the bad, the ugly.  There were some ugly days.  Days I ate way more than I wanted or intended to.  Then again it was life.  I didn't work out as much as I had hoped.  I also tried to embrace some aspects of the program that I haven't done in a long time. The meeting topics.  I was really trying to take some me time and treat myself better.  I signed up for an outfit delivery program to help with making myself feel good inside and out.  You know what happened.....I lost 2.4 pounds.  I haven't lost that much at weight watchers in a long time.  I think I sort of realized I need to embrace this more fully. Now this week has been rough so far.  I have stuck to my comitment to track all the things that come into my mouth.  It was hard-I was tired after a crazy week and we ordered out chinese and that points for that were through the roof and I forgot until I went to add in all the points.  I have gone to yoga and today I worked out at home.  Baby steps people-that is what I can handle now.  

I think there is something to say for realizing that I can't just do this my way. My way hasn't really been working.  So I hope to put some fun stuff up on the blog.  I made a fun new pork crock pot recipe that I want to post and also a review of my outfit delivery service!  Hope you are all well!


I think I have been quiet around here-I have truly been in survival mode.  This past month was the one year anniversary of my dad's death.  I was doing really well after spending a lot of time working on myself and spending a lot of time in therapy this past summer.  Then the crazy stress of month two of school coupled with the anniversary really had a rough affect on me.  

Although I took care of myself mentally this summer I realized sometime in the last few weeks that I haven't been taking care of myself health wise.  I haven't been eating well and haven't really been exercising since hurting my ankle early in the summer.  So I have had enough with the extra 20 pounds I gained in the last year and a half.  I decided to go back to weight watchers and commit to really trying.  Not just half assing it.  As of today I have tracked every day even the last two days which were not that great but I tracked them anyways..including the tasty yet not good for you cookie dough that I ate right out of the container earlier tonight.  

I also signed up three weeks ago to go back to yoga.  I went once and realized how much I love it.  I wasn't able to go the last two weeks once because I was sick and once because Ryan was.  The exercise is harder to get in but at least I am getting 10,000 steps a day in which is also a goal.  

I also have been taking more opportunities to take care of myself.  I am not allowing myself to get so stressed about money.  I try and only go in do the bills every few weeks so I don't get so stressed.  I have been treating myself to a few things every now and again.  I even just signed up for Gweenie Bee as a treat to myself.  I need to feel good at this size-smaller or bigger.  That is essential to my mental health. 

So I also committed to try and blog a bit more about my journey....I sometimes shy away from this place but realize once I come back that I feel so much better after I ramble a bit on here about my thoughts and feelings.  

How is everyone else doing out there?? Update me!

So the folks at Ted's Montana Grill were so kind enough to offer my family another visit to Ted's in honor of the upcoming National Bison Day!  If you are reader of my blog you will remember what an amazing trip we had over the summer taking a look at Ted's summer menu.  If your new to the blog let me recap the awesomeness that is Ted's!  First of all everything is Fresh-that is such a huge thing to me.  Nothing is premade its all made fresh on site.  Which also means if your like me with food allergies or concerns they can modify a lot of the meals for you (they even have a huge-and I mean huge-Gluten free menu).  Second although in our area the restaurants are in fancy areas they are super kid friendly!  On this visit the hostess greeted my kids, asked them questions, and gave them their Wikisticks as soon as they menionted how much they loved them.  The third reason I am in love with Ted's they are working very hard to support local farmers for their in season items and they also try and get all their other ingredients and meat as local as possible. 
The main reason we lover Ted's-its so good and also fairly affordable.  I feel that the kids menu prices are comparable with other "kid friendly" chains. The adult faire is a little pricerier then a chain if you are getting a big meal but thier sandwiches are evenly priceded with other places.  

So lets talk about getting down to the Bison here!  So we decided that in honor of National Bison day we would try a lot of the Bison that Ted's had to offer.  Dylan was the only one who went rouge and did Chicken Tenders with Fresh cut fries.  OMG-those are so good. They are seriously the best fries and hands down best chicken ever.  I typically don't love fried chicken but this was so so good! Dylan approved by eating his entire plate.

Now on to the Bison.  I chose to have Bison Pot roast and it was wonderful.  The pot roast was tender and not fatty (which sometimes pot roast can be).  It hard a hearty pan gravy with it that ensured the meat was juice and not dried out.  Instead of the mashed potatoes it came with a opted for a dry sweet potato because of my dairy issues.  All these switches were made without hesitation. 

Next Ryan opted for the Bison Pot Meatloaf. Ryan loves meatloaf and he swears the Ted's Bison meatloaf is some of the best around.  He got a few nice sized slices with mashed potatoes and a squash casserole.  Ryan has said that the squash casserole is almost as good as the one his mom makes which is probably one of his top ten favorite foods of all time.  

Lastly my little meat loving lady chose to have the Bison sliders.  Now every time I go to Ted's I am torn between "real food" and a burger because their regular burgers are so good.  These sliders were so friggin good.  Ryan and I split one of Josie's sliders and were like "we need to come back just for a Bison Burger".  The meat is so flavorful it just make what was already an amazing slider (on their homemade biscuits) even more tasty 

I know some people shy away for Bison but it really is the cow's even more delicious cousin.  In fact this was weekend were at a local zoo and happen to be with a friend's Italian exchange student.  At the zoo were Bison and as soon as we saw it the young lady said "I know its bad to say-but when I see them all I think about it how tasty they are" and you know what I was thinking the same thing.  

Ted's obviously thinks so too. Part of the reason it was created was to help revive what was a dying industry in the US because we didn't have a use for them.  Ted's has helped to revive this industry and the US today has thriving Bison industry with a huge national herd of Bison-all tasty and ready to get in my belly-ok just joking!  I eat meat and its only fair that we know where our meat comes from!  

So if you are looking for a good place to eat here in CT you can visit Ted's both at Evergreen Walk or in Hartford on Front Street.  If you aren't from CT you can always see if there is a Ted's in your local area by clicking here.

So again thank you to Ted's for allowing my family and I to come in and enjoy a nice meal on you-although my meal was free these are my honest opinions (and can you tell I love it).  I will leave you with this little nugget of wisdom from our coaster!  Have a great day all


So in case anyone still reads this blog-Yes I am alive.  I had a great summer that was much needed to help me deal with some stuff.  School started for me about two and half weeks ago and for the kids about a week ago.  It has been a crazy but good time.  I am still trying to feel my way around a new school year and get into my groove which makes it hard to find time to do anything else.  

My goal in these up coming weeks is to be sure to take some time for me.  Over the summer I went back to weight watchers and lost a few pounds over the summer and that was good but with the new school year and soccer game schedule attending meetings is a bit harder.  I have decided to continue to do that at home and try and take some time every day to focus on me and my health.  I have read a great book called What you can When you can and I will share more about that later.  That deserves a whole post.  I am really trying to work on the no shame thing.  Feeling bad about how much a weigh isn't very productive for anyone-it also doesn't motivate me.  

So to all my teacher friends or those moms with kids in school-Cheers to a new school year!  I hopefully will be checking in a wee bit more!

A few weeks ago I finished a book I had been wanting to read for a long time.  The book is by the lady I refer to as "The Bloggess".  One of the bloggers that I have followed off and on for years.  Her sense of humor is great but she is also very honest about her struggles with mental illness which I love and appreciate.  I came across her book at a library book sale last summer and did not get around to reading it until the end of the school year.

Now I will be upfront and say that her sense of humor isn't for everyone....but I loved it.  I think she is a great character in a story (yes I know this is an autobiography).  She is funny and flawed-you know like a real person!  She jokes about her unconventional upbringing and these amazing situations that she finds herself in often.  For example she talks about how her dog died and she had to bury him...morbid yes....but the situation she finds herself in is uniquely funny.

If you are looking for a funny, quick read then this is the book for you!  

Yesterday would have been my dad's 65 birthday.  It makes me sad to think that he never made it to what many consider "official senior citizen" status.  On the other hand I know my father feared being and old man.  That is not to say that he wanted to go this soon, but I know he never wanted to be old and in a home.  

So my original plan was to get up early and go to the cemetary and visit his grave and bring him an angle statue that I bought.  My father loved filling his yard with all sorts of angle statues.  A few months ago I bought two matching Angle statues one for my garden and one for his grave.  I felt that way there would be a connection between my garden and him (my father grew some of the most amazing flowers).  Then I started to think about it.  What did my father like to do on his birthday. He loved to do the things that made him happy.  He often would say "Its my birthday I am going to do what I want".  If we were up at the lake-which we often were.  He would go out early and go fishing, we would go to breakfast, and then maybe have dinner out.  He was a big fan of buying himself his own present....or presents!  Many of which my mother didn't know about.  So I started to think hanging around the cemetary being sad wasn't really the best option.

So yesterday I got up early and ran to Dunkin to get us all doughnuts.  My dad would get the kids doughnuts once a week when he brought htem to school (ok it was more than that until I told him he could only do it once a week).  In the summer he would often call us early and say he was metal detecting and could he stop by-doughnuts for the kids in tow (and sometimes a coffee for me)

Then since my father's favorite meal was breakfast we had breakfast for dinner to celebrate.  I also took some time during the day to spend some time doing something I rarely do during the day ever-which is read a book.  I finished the book I was reading and lounged around for a good part of the day.  

I felt that a day like that was a better tribute to my father than sadness and tears a grave.  I think going to the cemetary has its place.....but for some reason I am just feeling that is not where he is.  I can't quiet put into words what I mean...but it just didn't feel right going there.  

It was a nice day...although there were moments where I was sad....that is every day.  

So to my dad-Happy 65th.  I miss you today and everyday.  

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I was approached by the Mamma Chia company a few months ago and was asked if I wanted to try their Granola and other chia products and do a giveway on my blog.  I heard the word giveaway and said yes...but I was still a little nervous I love granola and sometimes things made with Chia are.....well they can taste like I am licking a chia pet!

When my granola came I was first impressed with the selection of flavors. A lot of healthier granola's don't have many options for flavors.  I recieved Wild Blueberry, Vanilla Almond, and Cinnamon Pecan.  I immediatly went for the Wild Blue berry.  I made a lactose free yogurt and granola parfiat.  It was amazing.  The chunks of granola were great either to eat as a cereal or as a tasty snack.  Over the next two weeks I also tried the other two flavors.  The blueberry still remained my favorite but the others were also really good.

Now here is the deal with the granola-It has 10 grams of protein so its stuper filling, 5 grams of fiber to keep things moving, and no soy or dairy.  Also in terms of granola the calorie and fat content were not bad.  In fact it was only 3 points per serving which is low for granola in terms of weight watchers.  The product is also organic!!!  My only critque of the product is this...if you love buttery granola the kind that is like 1000 calories per quarter cup...this is not that granola.  It is a great healthier option.  It is sweet without being over poweringly sweet.  It has amazing crunch-even in milk.  It doesn't have what I call the bark taste either.  We all know super healthy cereal sometimes tastes like we are eating friggin tree bark....none of that here.   

Mamma Chia also has two new products Chia Squeezes which are like apple sauce pouches for adults and Mamma Chia drinks.  I was give several coupons to try them but I haven't made my way to whole foods yet to try them (I will review them when I do).  But I didn't want to wait any longer to get this giveaway going.

The folks over at Mamma Chia wanted to get the word out about their amazing products so they are offering a Super Chia Package for one of my readers to try!!!

One of my readers will win the exact amazing package from Mamma Chia I did.  The Winner will receive the following:

One Variety Pack of Organic Chia Granola Clusters (one of each of the 3 flavors)
7 Chia Squeeze Vouchers
7 Vitality Beverage Vouchers

So if you want to be entered to win...comment below.  Contest will run from July 27-August 3.  Tell which product you would want to try most.   Also stop by the Mamma Chia website for all their amazing products!  

So apparently I am a go big or go home kind of girl...yet I don't really think out if I would really be ok with going home.  So I had said previously that my goal was to run a 10k by the end of the summer.  Well I didn't realize that most 10K running programs suggest 12 weeks to bump from running 2.5 miles to the 6 needed.  Well hello I am not even doing a mile fully running right now and the race is 7 weeks away.  I am not giving up or quitting but I think I may change my race to the 5k with a goal of running it fully and with a decent time.  My new more realistic goal will be to run a 10k by the end of the school year.  I am a big girl and want to run long term so if I go to much to quick I am nervous I am going to injure myself.  As it is there are some runs that I need to have more than one day recovery for my calfs and ankles.  

It also makes me a little sad because my overall goal that I never really talked about was the run in the Hartford Marathon this October as a tribute to my dad.  I really wanted to cross that finish line.  I think it is more realistic to have the goal of a 10k by next spring then train for the half marathon over the summer.  Most half marathon training programs are 12-14 weeks.  

I often find I put so much pressure on myself to achieve (whatever that goal is) that I often get discouraged and quit.  Well not this time.  I don't think there is anything wrong with looking at my goals and saying....guess what its still a goal but just a different time frame. Sort of like my weight loss.  It doesn't have to happen over night...it just needs to happen!

So I will keep you all updated on my 5k training.  My last run I did 20 minutes without stopping and that was good but my time is still super slow.  Hoping that if I faithfully do the couch to 5k program I will get that time better than the last time I rushed the program!  Who else out there is training for something fun?

As I talk a lot of my loss and my children's loss I often don't talk about those other's who lost someone when my dad died.  My uncle's lost a brother, My grandmother lost another son, my godfather lost his childhood friend and cousin, my "aunt's and Uncle's" lost a friend, and my husband lost his other dad.

My husband lost his partner in crime when on vacation with my parents.  He lost the man to hang out with and talk about nothing with, he lost the loving go to caretaker of his children, he lost the man who would always spoil his Son in law at Christmas and Birthday's with fun Christmas gifts not practical gifts and clothes.  He lost a lot....we all did.

In the past few months I have leaned heavily on my husband-something that I haven't been that good at.  Ever since his struggle with depression began I have really run the show (in the beginning by necessity and once healthy by choice)...especially these last two and half years that he was going back to school.  My father died right at the height of my husband's final set of classes for his masters.  He was always there.  Sometimes in the background silently he would be the support we all need, sometimes he was only parent because all I was was a body sitting there.  I wasn't there, I was checked out.  He was there the day my dad died as I screamed and sobbed and just held me up when I couldn't stand.  He walked my mother and I through picking a casket and planning a funeral.  He helped the kids deal with their grief knowing all to well what it is like to loose a loving grandparent too soon.  He did this all while dealing with his own loss and his constant struggle with depression

A lot of people who haven't walked the walk with a loved one having mental illness don't know what a delicate balance life is when someone is working every day for their mental health.  People think...oh they are fine now so everything is fine everyday.  People don't get that my husband works everyday on his health and sometimes that is easier than others.  Yet, during these last nine months he has figured out how to manage his depression while living in a home filled with grief and sadness.  Anyone who struggles with Depression knows that it is very hard to be around negativity and sadness and not have it affect you.  

I think people looking from the outside of my life, even my closest of friends don't see or know what it has been like in our house.  I put on a good face...all the time.  It looks like it always has....me running the show Ryan doing his thing.  Even friends might hear a complaint about "ugh my hubby did this" but that is force of habit and what wives do.  

I don't go around saying...."hey guess what my husband did....He helped my daughter who was hysterical and crying for her grandpa while I closed my self in the bathroom and cried because I couldn't handle it."  Those stories of of him being the rock around here don't get told because to tell them means I show how messed up things were and sometimes still are.

It is hard for a girl like me who typically makes all the decisions in this house for me and for the kids to be so overwhelmed that I can't make decisions.   Ryan has stepped up, quietly without my asking, to take the lead when I couldn't.  This wasn't a comfortable place for him or for me but we have figured out this new step in our relationship.  

As I am coming up on my 11th anniversary with Ryan I thought it was time to say out loud (or at least online) how much his love and support have meant.  Thankfully he has been here for all the good years and is walking with me as I find my way out of this shit hole called grief.   I am thankful that despite being the other one who lost my dad he  have been able to stand next to me holding me up when I couldn't.  

Love you Schmoopy-Happy Anniversary I will forever be grateful for your love and support!

Three months ago I read an article in the New York Times that was discussing the new trend of adult coloring books and how they are a new trend and that adults gravitate towards them for lot of reasons but mainly for the stress relieving aspect of just zoning out and coloring.  Well I immediately went on Amazon to order that coloring book but it was sold out.  Then later that day I got an email asking if I wanted to review an adult coloring book....SWEET!!! Of course I did.  The only issue was because of the New York Times article the coloring book was sold out and I was going to have to wait till they ran another printing.  Well it was worth the wait (Ironically I bought myself another coloring book to color with Miss J and this one came in the mail that day).

Well the book is beautiful to say the least.  It contains all hand drawn designs that are both beautiful and detailed.  Also since they are the Mandalas they are all these interconnected circle designs.  When looking at them it is hard to decided where one flower starts and the other ends.  There is something almost meditative in even looking at them and contemplating which part of the design is one flower.  

I bought myself new pencils, markers, and pens to color with-because frankly I didn't want to share my coloring book or my coloring utensils with the children.  I loved doing it and it was super relaxing.  

The book suggests coloring for 30 minutes with relaxing music which is a lovely idea but one of which my mommy self just laughed at because....if I had 30 quiet minutes to listen to music I would be sleeping not coloring!

I would highly recommend this book it retails for ten dollars but it is currently on amazon for under six!!!! (Affiliate Link Here)   and it also comes with the ability to download more designs online that did not make it into the book.  I feel it is well worth it....especially for mom's who can now have a fun coloring book that doesn't involve cartoons!
So now that it is finally summer I finally feel like I can finally take a breath and look around.  I sort of have put my head down and just did the every day stuff.  Got up, went to work, took care of my family, went to bed.  I honestly did not spend much if anytime taking care of myself or allowing my self to grieve.  Of course I have cried-but I would often take a deep breath-push that down, and keep pushing forward.  I even began a little side job to keep myself busy (as if i wasn't busy enough already).  I did it because if I was busy I wasn't alone with my thoughts or sadness.  Lets be honest I knew this wasn't healthy but it was survival.  Now that summer has hit I have time...and as much as I really would love to continue to push this sadness away and not acknowledge what is my new reality I can't do that anymore.  Its not healthy for me or for my family.  I have gained about 15 pounds in the last few months because I am not taking care of myself.  I was just pushing pushing pushing.  

Well not anymore.  I need to deal.  I need to start clawing my way back.  I was in a good place in the fall before this happened.  So those are my goals.  Here they are
1.  To deal with my shit
2.  To run a 10k

So odd these two things may seem but they are sort of one in the same.  My goal is to spend time this vacation dealing with all that comes with grief.  This is not to say that I am dellusional and think that this will all instantly be better. I just need to take time to grieve and be sad and work through some of this shit.  I also need to take care of myself.  I think now that I have nothing but time I can start to focus on that a bit more. Which is why I picked goal number two.  Running is hard for me....it sucks but in a way it helps me sort out my thoughts.  I said once that I am often to busy trying not to die while running that I can't think about all the other crap in my head.  So I picked a goal (and this will be a hard one) and registered for a 10K the day before we go back to work.  I am scared that I might not make my goal but I go out almost every other day and get one step closer to that goal.  Its hard and sucks but you know what sucks...loosing my dad.  So running isn't really that hard in comparison.  

So I hope to keep you updated on these goals. Do you have any summer goals or hopes?  

Today is my first father's day in the 2.0 version.  Most new versions of operating systems of technology are newer better editions.  Well my 2.0 isn't better....its sort of this odd new shitty version.  
What can I say....I miss my dad.  I loved my dad and he loved me and my kids with a fierceness I can't even begin to comprehend.  Its very hard not to get sucked into the darkness of not having my dad here.  Yet, I won't indulge myself in a more than a minute or two of sadness.  That is my present to my dad.  He would never want me to be sad or devastated.  He would insist he wasn't worth those tears.  I also promised myself and my kids and my dad on the day he died that I wouldn't let this ruin me.  That I would use his death to help inspire me to get healthy.  I have been in survival mode and haven't been attending to myself.  So my gift to him won't be tears...it will be the motivation I need to get myself moving back to a healthy heart and mind.

So to my dad....You were the greatest dad a girl could ask for-Happy Father's Day.  I love you, I miss you, and I will every day of my life.  

I wanted to post a quick update and say that I promise I am here and I am hanging on.  Even if by a thread I am still here.  I am struggling as any teacher does at the end of the year.  I must grade all the things, clean my classroom, and attend events both for my students as well as my own children.

I have big plans for this summer....I can't wait to have time to share them with you.  So stay tuned.  I have lots to talk about, lots of books to review, and fun products to post about.  I am hanging in-not doing great but getting by and that is good enough for now.  Three more days I got this!

During vacation I was lucky enough to get asked to come into Ted's Montana Grill and try some of their new items and see what they had to offer.  First of all I was excited because....hello-no cooking for me!!!!  So we decided to make a day of it and bring the kiddos for lunch during their vacation week to Ted's in Evergreen Walk in South Windsor.  

First before I get to far I need to talk about the staff.  We first were greeted by an amazing hostess who was super sweet to my kids and not only covered the formalities but also chatted with us.  A great touch is when she noticed the kids in addition to getting our kid supplies-she also made sure to take the steak knives out of the utensil roll ups which is a huge plus!    What I loved was I noticed her doing this with every customer not just me-the blogger writing the review.  Next we got to meet Connor the Manager who was amazing.  Not only was he super nice-and funny-he had so much to share with us about the company. You could tell that he really loved his restaurant and took great pride in this location but the new location on Front Street in Hartford.  Our waiter was not only attentive but super knowledgeable about the menu and was also great to the kids.  This was a recurring pattern I noticed-Ted's was great from the kids.  I sort of had the impression that since it is in EvergreenWalk (which if you know it we can be honest it is an upscale outdoor shopping venue) that Ted's was not kid friendly-I couldn't have been more wrong.

This was not my first trip to Ted's but it was my first trip in a long time-Also it was the first time with both kids with me.  When looking at the menu I was pleasantly surprised.  Although my go to with them is always a burger they had a large selection of food that was not burgers.  There were a variety of sandwiches and meals.  There were tons of fresh lighter options if you wanted to lean towards a lighter lunch.  When selecting our meals we got to nosh on their amazing pickles-that are cut by hand.  I asked there is totally a dude who is in the back slicing up the pickles every day....there is totally some bad joke there!

These almost empty pickle bowl that our great waiter refilled three times-We have a thing for pickles.  Also note the wikki sticks-why cooler than crayons and more fun for the kids!

The menu-Smaller sandwiches, salads, and kid menu on the left-Burgers and larger meals to the right.  Also the kids meals were extensive and even included fresh vegetable options and grilled chicken 

Josie had chocolate milk and Dylan had lemonade.  No pre-made chocolate milk here-Fresh made it looked so good!  Of course Ted's is known for their fresh squeezed lemonade.  My father swore they had the best lemonade.  

Josie playing with those wiki sticks I mentioned 

So I don't know about the rest of my family but I had a hard time deciding what to get.  There was an amazing roasted chicken that was calling my name-but I figured.  Hey I am here to try new things...let me go outside my comfort zone.  Boy was I glad I did.  Below are the pictures of our meals!

Miss M had the sliders.  Which were three mini burgers that were AMAZING!  No seriously they were so good I almost stole one.  Too bad my girl put away all three and only gave me a bite.  

This is me outside of my comfort zone-A fish sandwich.  The waiter said I would like it and that it was super fresh fish (from City Fish) and lightly battered.  The batter was so light it almost tasted baked.  With amazing fries to boot!

The hubby had a meatloaf meal.  It came with mashed potatoes and a tasty baked squash casserole.  He almost licked the plate clean it was all so good.  I am not a huge meatloaf fan but the was really good flavored and that casserole could have been a meal on its own. 

Dylan had homemade macaroni and cheese.  With being lactose intolerant I did't have any but he ate a huge portion at lunch and finished it for dinner.   This was no kraft in a box-homemade cheese sauce!

While we finishing our dinner Connor the manager came over to chat and while discussing how great my fish was we chatted about how Ted's prides itself on the freshness of the food.  They do not get anything pre-made.  Everything is made from scratch.  The pickles and french fries are hand cut every day.  The meats and fish are delivered daily.  Desserts are baked from scratch.  Connor also told us this is why they are able to cater so well to those with allergies and sensitivities.  Thankfully I am only lactose intolerant but I know eating out is hard from those with food allergies.  He said that all meals are fresh made so if you are allergic they can easily work with you to create a meal that you will enjoy and feel good safe eating.  

I can't lie and say that my kids Mac and Cheese and fries is healthy-but there were healthy options.  Also when everything is fresh you know you are getting good food! 

Now lets talk price-because as a mom that is important.  I wouldn't say that Ted's is cheap-but it certainly isn't expensive.  Now if anyone has been to a certain ice cream peddling restaurant lately you all know unless you are going on Kids 1.99 day-that place can get pricey-and the food stinks.  It is gross and pre-made and the only good thing is the icecream.  Our meal would have been the same price as those "family friendly" places.  If you got full meals, with drinks, and appetizers you would be more than a typically family meal out but then again my days of three hour meals with drinks and apps is long gone people!

Also, lets talk about this-A friend at work has raved about this dessert and I know why.  Homemade strawberry shortcake!!!!  So stinking good!!! Of course I could not eat the ice cream-but the homemade biscuit and strawberry sauce.  This would be why I would go back-maybe with a lactaid in hand for next time!
Lets talk about the glory that is this dessert!!!

Fun Facts we learned about Ted's

1.  The paper straws that they use actually saved this American owned company from going out of business.  How great is that!  Even if you hate the straws (which I do) you sort of feel good using them.  Not only are they environmentally friendly they are American owned!

2.  They have a newer (its been open almost a year) Front Street Location in Hartford, CT.  Although some of you may be putting on a frowny face about Hartford it is within walking distance from the Convention Center and Science Center Parking Garages.  Also, lets be honest people.  Anyone who has been to Evergreen Walk know that parking there is a nightmare too-its probably easier in Hartford then in South Windsor!

3. Speaking of Science Center-Did you know that Science Center Members get 15% off at the Front Street Location. Hello-Kid friendly, good food, allergy friendly restaurant with 15% off!!  We are already so excited about that!

4.  They are beginning a partnership with local farms to bring in more local produce.  Since as I said above they pride themselves with the freshness of their ingredients-so why not have more local produce.  This is just in the beginning stages and I am so happy to hear that!

5.  Totally my most exciting of the list...well its tied with the 15% off from number 3.  You can get your burgers pre-made from the restaurant and pay per burger.  As I said I love the burgers now I can get them at home!  You just call ahead and let them know how many and they will have them fresh for you the day you need them-AWESOMENESS!!  

Overall I would highly recommend going to Ted's.  It is a great option for families and I was so pleasantly surprised to find out just how fresh their food was and how kid friendly they are.  In fact we already have plans to check out the front street location on our next visit to the science center!  
Check out their website here http://www.tedsmontanagrill.com/ 

**Please note the Ted's gave us a free meal in exchange for my honest review of their restaurant***
I am blown away that today will mark six months since my dad died.  Six months since I was sitting in my desk watching my student teacher teach and then getting a text from my mom.  I remember every single second of that next three hours.  Every moment of that hour drive to the hospital, the moment I realized I was walking into a chapel and not a hospital room, and seeing my dad at the hospital.  Every single second-I remember.  I wish I didn't.  

So it blows my mind how it has been six months worth of seconds since that day.  It amazes me how in one breath six months feels like six seconds and on the inhale and six years by the exhale.  Some days it feels so fresh and new that I can't even bear it. Then other days it feels like years since this happened.  

Six months.....the longest I have ever gone without seeing my dad was the first six weeks of college when I made him promise he wouldn't come get me no matter how homesick I was.  The longest I have ever gone without talking to him-maybe a week.  Since I had the kids the longest I have gone without seeing him was the week I was in Florida last year at this time.  Now six months has gone by.  Half a year.  

Part of me wonders if it should hurt less by now.  That is shouldn't take my breath away when I realize he is gone or when I take a cute picture and go to send it to him and it hits me.  Then the other part of me doesn't want it to stop hurting like this.  For it to stop hurting means I am getting used to it.  I don't want to get used to it.  I want to scream and swear and cry just like I did when I rounded that corner and saw I was going into a chapel not a hospital room.  

Yet, I know He would be crushed to know how much life is just hard for us right now-all of us in our own way.  Then again he never would have left us had he the choice.  So just like he didn't have a choice to stay-I don't have a choice to keep going.  

My husband gave me his words of wisdom yesterday when I lost it and was crying.  I said it sucked.  He said no it doesn't suck it just is.  In a way to say that it sucks means to suggest that you can change it, or fix it.  This isn't something that can be changed it just is.  

Maybe I need to realize that this won't be about marking time since he left-maybe it will just be as a coworker said to me-The before and after.  Maybe that is easier to think about.   

When it rains it pours around here that is for sure.  In the last three months we have had some major financial disasters in the house.  Our furnace leaked (because it was dying), ruined our floors in the basement.  Insurance covered the floors to be redone-but not the new furnace.  While taking out the floors it was discovered the toilet had broken and had been leaking-fixing it was over 1000.00.  Just as we managed to pay for all that-I was flossing (yes flossing) and broke a tooth.  It needed a crown for 1300.00 that was not covered by my craptastic dental insurance.  Then last week we noticed the basement was oddly hot-figured it was a setting on the new furnace called the plumber/oil company out.  Nope-there is a leak UNDER THE HOUSE!!!!!!!  So the only way to fix it without ripping up all those new floors I just had put in and drilling under the house is to create a work around.  Thankfully this was not as expensive as I was expecting and will be about 1000.00 when all is said and done.  So for some quick math-1000 for the toilet, 1000 for the tooth, 1300 for the furnace (we took a loan for the rest), 1000 for the leaked pipe.  Four thousand dollar-although we had some-we didn't have that on hand.  So we had to put it on a credit card.  Without giving giving out all the details we already have a lot of credit card debt.  More than makes me comfortable to have considering we both have jobs. It adds up random stuff like Josie's bedroom set or a cash advance during one of those storms to take down dangerous trees.  It kills me that I spent two years paying down 5000 in that debt only to put it back on.  Money is what stresses me out the most.  I hate having debt-mainly credit card debt.  

I am trying to remain positive-these are things that needed to be done.  We will pay off the entire credit card new stuff and all in about three years.  Its not that horrific it just gets me all stressed out. 

Then I remind myself-I need to be kind to myself.  This is a hard time for me-A lot of the panic and worry I feel is just anxiety that is related to my life situation right now-not actually anything to do with the situation.  

No one is sick or injured.  It is just money.  There are times I will have more of it and times I will have less (A lesson my dad tried to always impart on me).  Ryan is much more calm.  He tells me its only money-we will be ok.  I am thankful that I have that.  

So lately I have been trying to not focus on the above-but to let that go.  So that is what I am doing.  A wee ranting to let it go.   To focus on the happy spots in my life.  

For me it was a vacation at home with the kids-Relaxing and doing some much needed stuff around the house.  To focus on our health, our time together, and just the ability to appreciate what we have and not worry about what we don't.  


Other than being an emo space to deal with the death of my father-I am lucky that I get use this place to test out new products.  About a month and half ago I got offered to try a new product-Pasta Chips.  I of course heard the word pasta and instantly said yes.  Then after I said yes-I started to worry-Why and how would they make pasta into chips.  I started to pictures eating uncooked seasoned pasta and breaking another tooth (I will fill you in on that one later).

So my pasta chips were delivered and let me tell you it made me even more nervous because the box most likely could fit Miss J in it.  Inside the box were two bags of the following flavors

Marinara, Alfredo, Sea Salt, and Garlic and Olive Oil.

They looked tasty and I had tons of them!  So we busted in right away on the Sea Salt ones....they were oddly delishious.  I think what made them so unique was the texture.  They looked like a cracker but were crispier and lighter-Almost of if a Pita Chip and a Wheat Thin has a tasty baby together.  They were excellent-but I didn't exactly think pasta when I ate them.  The picky kid and the hubby loved them so anything that gets past both of them is a win!

Next we opened the Marinara and Alfredo-I was scared of the Marinara but it was good.  It had a sun-dried tomatoey taste to it that was oddly delicious.  The Alfredo-Damned if it didn't taste just like Alfredo (I didn't eat to many because they did have dairy in them).  To me the most interesting aspect of these flavors was how much like pasta they tasted.  The texture of the chip paired with the flavoring it was very pasta like (you know hence the name-PastaChips)

Lastly we tried the Garlic and Olive Oil-We loved these.  Only issue-they are super garlicky.  Like you will need to brush, floss, mouth wash, and have some gum garlic!  So good yet so bad!

We really loved these and the price point when I saw them at the grocery store would make them as a nice item to serve at a party (I did serve some of mine at Miss J's birthday with hummus).  I don't know if I would get these for everyday snacking in the kids lunch.  The bag is ok sized but the chips break kind of easy so they aren't really good in a kiddos lunch bag (Mine were fine thought).  I think of these as more of a special cracker/chip to serve with parties or a mom/dad snack post kiddo bedtime.  This is not to say my kids didn't love them-In fact Master Dy asked for them by name and wanted to know if the company was going to be sending another box because he liked them.  

Overall-I think this is a fun new chip.  The texture on the chip is amazing and they really do taste like pasta-so for this carbaholic girl they are certainly tasty.  

PS-You want to try them-head over to the PastaChips Facebook Page and there is a 1.00 off coupon. Which is a great deal because these chips were under 3.00 at the local market in my town.  Also for any and all nutritional information check out their website