Monday, December 30, 2013

Weekly Ten

Ok, so I'll admit that I stole this cute little picture and idea from another blogger, but with her permission.  And I'll admit to being a "list-maker."  Always have been, most likely always will be.  I find it extremely satisfying to cross things off a list as I complete them, and it helps to keep an otherwise unorganized person at least slightly organized. 

I meant to post this yesterday, to start on Sunday, but I think that I'll post on Mondays instead.  So here first Weekly Ten!

1.  Order pictures from Shutterfly.    Monday

2.  Sort and organize my scrapbook room.    Wednesday

3.  Use my new steam mop.    Wednesday

4.  Get the Christmas decorations put away.    Wednesday

5.  Frame the cross stitch gifts I've completed.

6.  Put together and mail a package to Kim in Virginia.

7.  Sort out Brynn's books and toys, get rid of things she doesn't play with anymore.

8.  Clean the refrigerator.    Monday

9.  Mail birthday cards to Mom and Gramma.

10.  Sign up for a creative class for 2014.    Tuesday

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Summer's End

Summer is pretty much over here in western NY, so I thought I would try to get back into the habit of blogging with an easy post.  I'm just going to share a few of my favorite photos from the summer of 2013.

blowing bubbles with Gramma

riding the carousel at Charlotte with Grampa

Brynn's first dance recital in June

Mama and Brynn after her dance recital

Brynn with all her grandmothers

practicing riding her bike

a trip to Seneca Park Zoo, sitting on the lion statue

fun in the water at Seneca Park Zoo

Thursday, April 4, 2013

A to Z Blog Challenge-Depression

This is not an easy topic for me to write about, nor is it going to be easy to click the “publish” button when I’m finished.  However, I’ve realized lately that I am keeping too many things to myself, and perhaps writing about them will help me work through them.

I was officially diagnosed with depression in 2004, but I’m sure it was present for many years before that.  For a long time, I ignored it, as I have always been someone who cries easily.  I attributed it to the change of seasons and the extra-long winters we tend to have in western New York.  I thought perhaps it was due to the fact that I wasn’t getting pregnant when all the people around me were having babies.  But after a while, I was unable to ignore it anymore.  I had no interest in activities that I had once loved, primarily scrapbooking and cross stitch.  I wasn’t sleeping.  I was eating all the time, comfort foods and sweets that weren’t at all good for me.  I finally got up the nerve to talk to my doctor about it, asking her about a medication that I had read about online.  She wasn’t a fan of the one I had asked about, but prescribed another one. 

I was a new person after a short period of time.  I was happier and I was finding myself once again loving my crafts.  I was trying to deal with the fact that I might never be a mom.  I was also gaining weight, a side effect of the drug I was taking.  I can’t remember how long I took it for, before I weaned myself off.  It was at least a year. 

Since then, I’ve tried a series of drugs.  I’ve participated in a research study for a new drug.  I’ve taken medication for a while, stopped taking it when I felt better, and started again when I was feeling bad.  I’ve learned strategies to deal with my emotions.  I’ve learned the triggers for my more serious bouts with depression, and while I can’t always avoid those triggers, I can at least cope with them.  Through it all, I’ve learned a great deal about myself, and I’ve become a stronger person. 

And I became a mom!  I had stopped thinking about, wondering about, and worrying about having a baby.  That was when I discovered, in September of 2009, that I was expecting.  While having my daughter hasn’t cured my depression, it has definitely helped.

Would I recommend doing things the way I did, taking myself on and off meds without asking my doctor?  Definitely not!  Would I recommend talking to your doctor if you think you have any form of depression?  Most definitely!  It was the best thing I ever did for myself!

There are numerous places online where you can check for signs and symptoms of depression, and quizzes you can take.  As someone who has dealt with it for many years, I would also be happy to talk to anyone! 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

A to Z Blog Challenge-Country Girl

I am totally and completely a country girl at heart!  I may live in a neighborhood in the suburbs now, but I dream of living in an old farmhouse on several acres of land.  I grew up in the middle of nowhere, with grandparents who ran a dairy farm.  There were cows, horses, and, when I was younger, an old collie named Laddie.  I loved spending time there, climbing in the haylofts, riding on the tractors, feeding the cows and horses, and walking through the fields. 

Most of my family still lives in the small town I grew up in.  My grandmother has since sold the farm to my uncle, who ran it as a dairy farm for a number of years, before selling the cows several years ago, as being a dairy farmer in NY isn't profitable anymore.  Both my grandmother and my uncle still live on the property, so I still get to visit my old stomping grounds.  And no matter how long I live in the city, that tiny town will always be home!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A to Z Blog Challenge-Balancing Act

I'm sure that I am not the only one that feels like my entire life is a balancing act.  Work, home, family, my daughter, seems like the list is never-ending! 

I work from 7:30am to 3:30pm.  All day, I'm balancing multiple responsibilities, from providing direct services to the people I work with to completing paperwork and meeting deadlines to maintaining peace among staff.  There are days that I feel like I've been extremely productive, and days when I go home feeling like I got absolutely nothing accomplished.  Last week, I decided to close and lock my office door for an hour in order to attempt to catch up on paperwork.  In that hour, there were 12, yes 12!!! knocks on my door.  Each interruption was for a question that the staff person could have answered themselves.  Needless to say, I ended up frustrated and nothing got done!

After work, I pick up my daughter at school/daycare.  We either go straight home or stop at the grocery store for dinner supplies.  Once again, the balancing act begins.  She is, and always will be, my number one priority.  However, once we get home, I also have to fit in cooking, cleaning, laundry, and all the other household tasks that nobody else does.  I make every attempt to give her my full attention, and I feel bad when I'm unable to do that.  My only hope is that, once she's older, she won't look back on her childhood and feel like she was neglected in any way.

My question to everyone is do you go about balancing the multiple responsibilities in your life, and how do you fit in time for yourself? 

Monday, April 1, 2013

A to Z Blog Challenge: All About Me

So many possible topics came to mind for the letter A post today.  Apologies, addiction, autism, adultery, Argyle (tiny town where I grew up), adulthood...all things that I could write quite freely about, but none that seemed quite right for a first post for the A to Z Challange.  I'm guessing that most of the people who will be reading this blog for the next month, and hopefully longer, will be people that don't know anything about me.  That thought led me to the topic I chose for today...All About Me.  Here are some random things about me that will hopefully help you get to know me, at least a little bit!

  • I was born in northern New Jersey, grew up in the eastern part of New York, and now live in the western part of New York.
  • I have an undergraduate degree in Speech Language Pathology and a graduate degree in Special Education.
  • I have a 3 year old daughter named Brynn, who is the love of my life!
  • In my spare time, I enjoy doing counted cross stitch, scrapbooking, and photography.
  • I have worked with people of all ages, from 18 months to 84, with varying disabilities.  My favorite group to work with was children with autism.  I think I learned as much from them as they learned from me!
  • I have 3 tattoos, all of which can be covered in professional settings.
  • I am 38 years old, and starting to worry about turning 40 in 2014.

I guess that's enough for now, as I should get back to doing some work this morning! 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Tasty Tuesday-Crock Pot Mac & Cheese

Here's this week's recipe...this is a favorite in my house!  Enjoy!

Crock Pot Macaroni & Cheese

8 oz macaroni, cooked and drained (6 cups)
2 tablespoons oil
1 13 oz evaporated milk
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups shredded sharp cheese
1/4 cup melted butter
2 tablespoons minced onion

Toss cooked macaroni in 2 tablespoons oil.  Add all remaining ingredients.  Pour into lightly greased crock pot.  Stir well.  Cover and cook on low 3-4 hours.  Stir occasionally. 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Tasty Tuesday-New Orleans Barbequed Shrimp

I have decided that I'm going to share a recipe each Tuesday.  Each one will be one that I've tried.  Some will be ones I've found online, ones that have been passed down through my family, and ones that were recommedations of friends.  Today's recipe is one I found online, and is great served with earm French bread or over angel hair pasta (my preference).  Enjoy!!!

New Orleans Barbequed Shrimp

1 pound shrimp, heads off and unpeeled
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup zesty Italian dressing
1 tablespook lemon juice
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon garlin powder

1.  Preheat over to 350 degrees

2.  Wash shrimp and drain well.

3.  Melt butter in a one quart casserole dish.  Add salad dressing, lemon juice, black pepper, and garlic powder.

4.  Add shrimp to the casserole dish.  Stir gently to cover the shrimp with the mixture.  Cover and bake, stirring occasionally for 25-30 minutes or until shrimp are pink.

5.  Serve the shrimp on a large platter and place the sauce in individual bowls so that you can easily dunk bread in the sauce or pour over angel hair pasta in individual bowls.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Favorite Holiday Photos

Brynn was the perfect age for Christmas this year!  She was so excited about decorating the tree, helping to pick out and wrap presents, and preparing for Santa's arrival.  Here are a few of my favorite photos from Christmas 2012.
Christmas Eve at Mana's house, she loved Uncle Bill's train

checking out the filled stockings on Christmas morning

checking out all the presents Santa left under the tree
Brynn's's huge!  She needs the stool to be able to reach the 3rd floor, and she can barely reach the attic!

Brynn wore her Santa hat almost all day!

with Nonnie and Papa on Christmas night

my crazy family in was the first time all 23 of us had been together, including new baby Gavin, who was born in October

my beautiful niece, Aislin

Brynn and Aislin...definitely going to frame this one once I get the red eyes fixed!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Personally Yours by Tasha

This is the year I will get my business off the ground.

This is the year I will bring smiles to people's faces with handmade, personalized gifts.

This is the year I will feel a sense of accomplishment.

This is the year I will stop being afraid of failure.

Several years ago, I decided to start selling handmade, personalized cross stitch items.  I spent hours deciding on a design for business cards.  I made sure I took pictures of all the projects I completed and had given as gifts.  I set up a Facebook page and an Etsy shop.  Then I got scared.  Scared that no one would like the items.  Scared that no one would purchase anything.  Scared of failure. 

Not anymore.  I'm done being scared.  I know that I will never make enough money from selling handmade items to be able to stay home.  I know that it will just be for extra money.  But for me, the sense of accomplishment means more than the money. 

Now I just have to figure out how to promote my Facebook page and Etsy shop.  I guess this blog post is one of the first steps!

Girl's name, with hearts

Boy's name

Wedding Gift

Girl's name without hearts

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


I decided again this month to participate in the Ultimate Blog Challenge, trying to write each day in January.  I attempted to do this in October and was not at all successful, so we'll see how this month will go.  I'm not making any promises to succeed, but I will promise to make a conscious effort!

When I got the blog challenge email this morning, I immediately started formulating my post in my head.  It's something that's been on my mind a lot lately.  Who do you admire and why? 

The answer came parents. 

I have 2 younger brothers, and when we were little, they worked opposite shifts so that someone was home with us before and after school.  As we got older and became more self-sufficient, they both worked day shifts.  We took family vacations together, to the Jersey shore, rented cabins on Lake Champlain, took a trip to Boston.  They never took a vacation without us.  They made sacrifices for us, as many parents do.  They never drove new cars.  When we were old enough to play sports, they were always in attendance at our games, both home and away.  In high school, when I decided that I was interested in Speech Pathology, my dad used his connections at the hospital to get me an internship so that I could really see what the job entailed.

Money was put away to help with our college educations.  We were encouraged to find a college that fit, whether it be close to home or far away.  I remember several road trips with them, in search of the perfect school.  While living 4 hours away from home during college, my parents made sure that I knew they were thinking about me.  We'd have long, rambling phone conversations every Sunday night.  I'd get cards and care packages for no reason.  They made it easier to be away from home.

I've lived away from "home" since 1996, but my parents have continued to there for me.  When I had back surgery several years ago, my mom offered to come stay for a few weeks until I was feeling better.  When I was put in the hospital and labor was induced 4 weeks before my due date, my mom packed a bag and was there the entire time.

The past few years have been rough for my mom and dad, but through it all, my admiration for them has grown.  When my dad had kidney problems several years ago, my mom was by his side the whole time, adjusting her diet to meet his needs.  When my mom was diagnosed with cancer last March, dad slept in her room at the hospital the entire time. 

They've taken care of 3 kids, taken care of their ailing parents, and taken care of each other.  They are my heroes, my support system, my cheerleaders.  But most of all, they are my parents, and I admire them more than words could ever say!!!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

13 Things to do in 2013

Happy New Year, everyone!  Here's hoping that 2013 brings much health, happiness, and peace to your lives!  Instead of doing actual resolutions this year, I decided to make a list of 13 things I'd like to do in 2013.  Here's the list...

1.  Lose 30 pounds.  I was doing really good at eating healthier for a while, and then I got off track.  I have a gym membership that expires in May 2013, and I haven't gone in a while.  I need to get myself back in the habit of eating well and getting my butt to the gym on a regular basis.

2.  Brynn needs to finally meet her Aunt Kim.  Kim's been my best friend since junior high, and our crazy schedules haven't allowed us to see each other in years.  This needs to be the year that we get together and Brynn gets to meet this wonderful lady!

3.  Catch up on Brynn's scrapbooks.  I'm way behind with my scrapbooking and I'd really like to get her albums caught up. 

4.  Blog on a regular basis.  I tend to think that nobody cares about what I have to write, and then it dawned on me that it really doesn't matter.  I write because I like to write, I enjoy the outlet of writing about random things (hence the title of this blog!).  I'd really like to start writing at least twice a week. 

5.  Try 2 new recipes each month.  I've gotten in a rut with dinners lately.  It seems like I make the same things over and over again, and we're all bored with them. 

6.  Send cards to friends and family for special occasions, but also for no reason at all.  It's so easy to send an email, but it's also fun to open the mailbox and find something other than bills. 

7.  Finish sewing projects that have been sitting around.  I have one large cross stitch project called "The Gift" that my sister-in-law asked me to make for her.  It's a confusing pattern, so when I pull it out to work on it, I never stick with it for very long.  This will be the year that I surprise her with  the completed project.

8.  Read more books.  I have a whole library of books on my Kindle just waiting to be read.

9.  Get Personally Yours by Tasha off the ground.  I've had business cards made for a while, started a facebook page, and attempted to make a few contacts in the local area.  I also started an Etsy page, but I haven't done much else.  I'd really like to be able to sell some items this year.

10.  Be more positive and optimistic.

11.  Do more random acts of kindness.

12.  Spend more time with my family.  This has been a rough year, and we haven't been able to spend much time together.  I really miss them all, and Brynn needs to get to know her family in Argyle.

13.  Get my house organized.  There are closets that need to be cleaned, clothes that need to be sorted, and old boxes that need to be gone through.  If I tackle one area at a time, I should be able to get it all done.