BeTWEEN the lines of insanity and pride


Take heed to all Moms out there in there in Bloggy World of those beautiful babies and toddlers that I see pictures of every day.  One day, in the not so very distant future your precious baby will go grow into a very complex creature into called a Tween.

Wikipedia defines tweens as:

tween is a person who is between the ages of 10 to 12 years old.[1] The term is often described in popular media as referring to a preadolescent (usually female) who is at the “in-between” stage in their development when they are considered “too old for toys, too young for boys”.[2][3][4]

Urban Dictionary, however, sums it all up neatly three paragraphs:

A girl ages about 9-14…too old for toys, but too young for boys.

Very easy to market to, will usually follow any fashion trend set for them, will most likely go through the phase of ‘finding themselves’ as they ‘grow up’.
 LyK oMg, I aM jUsT gOiNg ThRu TeH hArDeSt TiMe Of My LyF…i RaN oUt Of EyEsHaDoW!!!!  OMG!!!! DO YOU NEED ME TO COME OVER FOR SUPPORT?!?!?!?!?!

Just like being a “new Mom”, there is no amount of preparation to being a Mom of a Tween.  Suddenly, at the blink of an eye … gone are the days where “your little girl” comes running out of elementary school, with the latest craft she’s made in class as she collapses into your arms.  A car ride home in the life of a Tween is now about the trials and tribulations about middle school, the politics of lunch rooms, the latest Shane Dawson youtube video, Death by Cinnamon challenge (WTH?)  and OMG!! I cAn toTotAllY NOT beLiEvE hoW sHe WaS tRasH tAlkInG … (all the whole while she is texting, updating her facebook status and tweeting btw)

Back the truck up… can I have this kid back instead??


*sigh*  Just another day in the life of a Tweenager.

But then just as I was about to give up all hope on ever understanding her… or at least relate to her life through the Middle School years, I woke up to a text.

It had only one line:

LouLouBell was my daughter’s nickname so I knew instantly that my daughter had bravely stepped into the land of blogging for the first time.  Quite an accomplishment for a girl, who for the most part, is an introvert.  What I was NOT prepared for was I about to find.

A blog all about her, her life plan (as much as it can at 12 lol).  Her hopes and dreams to be a gluten free pastry chef, her inspiration (me!), how she was going to accomplish these dream, a cookbook review, a restaurant review and even the beginning of an online campaign to stop cyber bullying.  As I continued to read on, I saw my very own words of encouragement to her about pursuing her dreams and overcoming her fear (which at the time was returned with the typical eye roll).   I was … and still am astounded.

As it turns out,  the tween years really are not that much different than the sweet earlier years of childhood in many ways.  Their development and maturity continues to grow with leaps and bounds… and when we think we have them all figured out, they constantly change 🙂  but in a good and different way.  I have never been prouder.


Happiness Revealed

The constant quest for happiness is something that is unique and personal to each and every one of us.  To some of us, it means power and money.  To others, it means recognition for a job well done. And still to others, it can be as simple as building meaningful relationships that make life… an easier journey to walk through .  While there is no clear answer what the true answer to happiness is, Louie Schwartzberg, does a great job in reminding us that each day is a gift.  How we choose to look at the world can truly be our own happiness barometer.

Perfect pesto

I.Love.To.Cook.  Actually, let me rephrase that.  I.Love.To.Eat.Good.Food!  A lot of people would challenge me on that, given me on my most recent weight loss but again, I attribute this to Gluten Free living.   As I mentioned earlier, I have been gluten free now for nearly two years now.  Actually, come to think about, more like 18 months.  I eliminated all wheat and modified starch from my diet in January 2012.  Since that time, I have lost 22 pounds!   The crazy part about all of this is that I really did not intentionally try to lose this weight.  It just sorta happened.  While living gluten free does come with it’s challenges and limitations, it is overall a healthier way of living.  Contrary to what the media tells you  and all of the cookbooks that are now widely available, you really don’t need a bunch of expensive proprietary ingredients to live this way either.
Case in point?  Last night’s dinner 🙂  Perfect Pesto!  If you like Tilipia, love the taste of pesto, want dinner on the table within 30 minutes and have an amazing meal that rivals your local Italian restaurant then this is the meal for you!
1 pound of Tilapia.
Prepared pesto.
That’s it.  No foolin’.
Grease an oven pan very thoroughly.  Fish sticks very easily to a hot pan. It’s not fun to have to scour a pan after a delicious meal.  Trust me on this one.
Cover each filet with a generous amount of pesto.  I think the original recipe I followed said 1/4 cup.  I never follow directions.  As a former teacher, I’m a real rebel that way *lol*.  I just made sure each filet was thickly covered with pesto from top to bottom.  Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 30 minutes.
That’s it.  Your done.  Fin.
Result?  Amazingly tender, tilapia.  The olive oil from the pesto and the basil melts into each flake of the filet into yummy goodness.
For the pasta, I used corn based pasta linguini.  Tossed it with homemade garlic oil (olive oil I had sauteed 3 garlic cloves in) and bit of parmesan cheese.  That’s it!
Doesn’t sound or look like your typical “diet food” does it?

Back to basics

So lately I have been struggling.  I am not a very patient woman.  Ha!  There’s the understatement of the year!  Well, technically I really am .. but I’m not.  I have the patience of a Saint when it comes to working in the capacity of a teacher, a caregiver or a friend in need.  I do NOT, however, have ANY patience when it comes to indecisiveness — particularly my own.  It’s even worse when life dictates that I don’t have any control of which path I choose to take in my life.  Yeh, I know what you are thinkin’… she might be a little bit of a control freak.  I’ll admit it.  Maybe I am.  But in all fairness, I don’t try to control the people around me.  I just hate being stuck in limbo without a plan.  I find it maddening at times.

This past week has been filled with many heart-to-heart discussions chocked full of emotional hurdles that we would have to overcome to make our dreams come true.  While these conversations are “the good stuff” that binds a good relationship together … at the end of the day, I still find myself overwhelmed and emotionally drained at times.  Sprinkle the additional stress of being recently laid off and an upcoming expensive vacation and the uncertainty of the future… and well, you see where my head is at the moment.

This morning I was feeling particularly blue and knew it was time to start searching for the beauty in life again. It was time to get back to the basics. As my friend, Tiffany at Life In The Making says “Go on and find what makes you happy and get to it.”  For me, that meant it was time to start by writing in gratitude journal again, being creative in the kitchen, finding beauty in nature through photography and seeking solace in the arms of my beloved… which I intend to do the moment he comes home tonight 🙂

Today I leave you with 3 gratitudes and a hopes for a much brighter tomorrow.  

1.  New unexpected friendships.

2.  My Nikon DSLR camera

3.  Unexpected romantic gestures – one year later. 

Five on Friday

So Darci over at The Good Life Blog is hosting a rather cute blog hop of sorts. 

 blog about 5 things…. things that you’re loving, things that are on your mind, etc.  Really, any five things — how easy is that?”

Since I’m a “glass is half full” kind of girl, I’ll focus on 5 things that make me happy.  


Mountains.  And boy have they ever been on my mind a lot these days.  These mountains, in particular, are the Blue Ridge Mountains, taken in the great state of North Carolina.  I don’t know what it is about mountains that bring me so much peace but I find myself longing for cool mountain breezes and a simpler life almost every waking second of each day.


This guy.  If you want to know why.  You’ll have to read yesterday’s post 😉 


Fall Leaves.  It doesn’t matter what time of the year.  Autumn leaves continue to make me smile.  It just never gets old.  


These 3 stooges who tried to hold their “disinterested teen pose” for the camera…

but failed miserably and reverted back into their smiley but old goofy selves. 


Ft. Clinch, Fernandina Beach, Florida 2013 

Nature.  A constant source of beauty that I am surrounded by here in Florida which I know I take for granted.  There are definitely worse place to live 😉 

3 sunshiny thoughts for today

I will warn you…. it’s a hot and sticky day in Florida.  Even more so than a typical summer day in the land of Sunshine and I will do just about anything to avoid finishing the last leg of mowing my yard.  So forgive me if I get a little long winded on this post.  The air conditioning is feeling a little bit too good right now.  And forgive me, if these random things make no logical sense, just blame it on heat stroke and come back and visit me on another day… please?  Pretty please?

So, as I was mowing the first portion of my yard at 10:30 this morning in the cooler part of the day (and by cooler I mean 80s), I did a lot of self analysis.  This is NEVER a good thing lol.  Analysis, at least to me, brings awareness of weakness, followed by …  acceptance/recognition of said weakness … followed by .. change.  Or at least an action plan for change.

Side note:  I will publicly acknowledge the fact that I am a “dot dot dot” kind of girl (which is just one of the million reasons why I love the movie Mamma Mia)

but alas this less than desirable trait probably will not change any time soon.   I digress.

Moving… right along…. Three things that I learned about very sweaty, dehydrated self (because I know you are dying to know *cough cough*

I despise the heat.  Well gee there’s a shocker (lol).  Wait what?  A Floridian that hates the heat?  I  have now lived in Florida for nearly two decades and still have not learned to adapt to the heat.  I’m guessing it’s the Yankee girl still left in me.

I truly love, with all of my heart, my husband.   The single regret I have is not meeting him earlier in my life.  He brings out the best in me in which I truly didn’t believe that anybody could.  He brought back a part me back to life –  that believes in the good in all humanity.  He brought my compassion.  My love for all that is good in life and how to forgive those and those things that are not.  He is the single person in my lifetime that makes me believe that I can achieve anything as he is standing by my side and that I shouldn’t settle for anything less. He is the person that completes me. I am truly blessed. .

Lastly, I still… much to my dismay… live my life based on some level of fear.  One would thing that in your fourties that you would run out of fears but it seems when you dig deep enough, the same insecurities are still there. Are my skill good enough for that job?  Can I overcome my public speaking fear for that job?  How could we possibly move across the country and overcome a ton of obstacles for that job?  What if we fail?  How could I possibly tell two sets of parents that we would be moving thousands of miles away without breaking their hearts?  My husband calls this “stinkin’ thinkin”.  Thinking that focuses on failure instead of succeeding.

So what do these three things have in common?  Cha-cha-cha-cha-cha-cha-changes…  once again, I pause and stand and face the fear head on. What changes do I have to make.  What fears do I have to overcome to live the life that I want for my family?   My question to YOU is what one fear or one change you need to make that is holding you back?  More tomorrow… as it is time to mow once again.

I leave you today with 10 quotes that Zig Ziglar claims that will change your life.  

10) “Remember that failure is an event, not a person.”

9) “You will get all you want in life, if you help enough other people get what they want.”
8 ) “People often say motivation doesn’t last. Neither does bathing—that’s why we recommend it daily.”
7) “There has never been a statue erected to honor a critic.”
6) “People don’t buy for logical reasons. They buy for emotional reasons.”
5) “Expect the best. Prepare for the worst. Capitalize on what comes.”
4) “If you go looking for a friend, you’re going to find they’re scarce. If you go out to be a friend, you’ll find them everywhere.”
3) “A goal properly set is halfway reached.”
2) “Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.”
1) “If you can dream it, you can achieve it.”