Family

Where Does Your Strength Come From?

My strength comes from God but he gave me an amazing momma to help me along the way…..

Have you ever wondered where you get the strength to go on? Or how you can be strong when others would have thrown in the towel?

I never really thought of myself as being strong BUT I knew my momma was…….despite LOTS of struggles, she came through it.  She continues to shine even on her worst days.  She instilled a sense of faith in me very early.  I know it is her faith which kept her going on the worse days.  Despite my bad choices and in my darkest days, I knew no matter what God had his hand on me and would take care of me.  I am grateful for the lessons she taught me.

Today is momma’s birthday………..

I won’t disclose her age but she DEFINITELY doesn’t look it. The last year has been tough but she has continued to remain strong.  It is her inner strength which continues to guide her even on the hardest days.

Let me tell you a little about this AMAZING woman… I have to admit, I’m grateful for years of blogging since I struggle to remember….

Growing up, Mom was always there.  She made sure our home was always open to my friends – I mean we were the house to go to after a basketball game or when there was no place else to go.  I may not have been thrilled but I was grateful I could pick up the phone and say – I am on my way with 2, 10, 25 or more people.  The house was always stocked with snacks.  After my Junior Prom, my parents made breakfast for over 300 kids.  Yes, the parade of non-stop kids through the house was a little more than this teenager was ready for but mom stood strong.

Off to college I went and there were struggles.  Freshman year, my parents divorced and it wasn’t easy.  I was in Rhode Island while mom was home holding down the fort.  Scrimping pennies to make sure I had a home to come back to.  They were tough years but we had fun.  She often traveled to Rhode Island for a weekend where we toured the mansions of Newport, shopped in Fall River and she even camped out in my dorm room.  After college, I headed home to work locally, moving back in with mom.  We spent countless nights walking the boardwalk in Ocean Grove.  Fast forward to my move to Egg Harbor Township and more years of rough roads.  In my addiction, I admit I pulled away and mom practiced some tough love but our relationship survived the test.  Along came Belinda and in the beginning there were struggles but through it all – mom was there.  She helped emotionally, financially and physically.  Despite some differences and hiccups in the road – she was there.

When Belinda left for college and I moved to Brick, it was a rough time for both of us.  Lives changed – I had a new hubby and the one hour drive to visit in Mays Landing felt like an eternity.  Then came my relapse and again mom was there.  She was there to help me through those early rough days.  Day trips to Mays Landing were done about once a month and there never seemed to be enough time.  Juggling travel up and down the parkway, MS issues, medical appointments, and life always seemed to throw us a curve ball.

Fast forward to 2020, when after a quick unexpected sale of the condo in Brick, hubby and I moved to Mays Landing.  Finally just 20 minutes away. Grateful to spend the holidays together, cooking in our new home.  Now I can actually stop by whenever I want or help out when something is needed.

My memories may be gone but in my heart I know I learned A LOT from my mom. She taught me: how to be strong when life is rough, how to save and budget (okay, so this lesson took longer to learn),  the importance of family and about being a mom.  She reminds me to believe in myself (you would think I would know this by now).  I can honestly say my mom is one of my best friends.

When you think about your qualities – strength, perseverance, or faith – have you thought about where you got them from?  We usually think they are a result of the bumps in the road, and they do help build strong character traits. BUT our family – parents, siblings, extended family – help to shape us as well.  They are the ones who help to mold us into the person God would want us to be.  Remember to thank them.

Mom, thank you for all you have done, continue to do and or always being there.  I love you!  Hope you have a blessed birthday!

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Family, Relax, Reflect, Recharge

Fun Family Winter Activities

Don’t let winter get you down! Even if you live where the weather is frightful, there are plenty of delightful activities for you and your family to do. We compiled a list of some of our favorite ideas here, along with a few tips and useful products to help you get the most out of your experience!

Outdoor Activities with Snow

  • Build a snowman or a snow fort
  • Go sledding or snow tubing
  • Go skiing
  • Make snow angels
  • Have a snowball fight
  • Snow paint (see details below!)

How do you snow paint?

All you need is empty spray bottles, water and food coloring! Rinse out the bottles, fill them with water and add 20 drops of food coloring to each bottle. Start with 1 bottle each of red, blue and yellow. If you have more bottles, you can create more colors by combining them (just like in art class)!

  • 10 drops of red + 10 drops of blue = purple
  • 10 drops of red + 10 drops of yellow = orange
  • 10 drops of blue + 10 drops of yellow = green

Your kids will love spray painting snow men, snowballs or just drawing pictures on that big white snow canvas!

Outdoor Activities (No Snow Required)

  • Rent a cabin in the woods
  • Go on a self-guided holiday light tour
  • Collect pinecones and small evergreen branches to create a centerpiece
  • Take a hike through the woods
  • Blow bubbles and watch them freeze (below 32° F)
  • Set up an “ice gem” treasure hunt for the kids (see details below!)

What are “ice gems”?

Ice gems are simply ice cubes that have been made with food coloring. Fill an ice tray with water, add 2 or 3 drops of food coloring to each compartment and put it in the freezer. Use different colors to represent different types of gems (rubies, emeralds, sapphires, etc.).

Indoor Activities

  • Build a cozy blanket fort with lights
  • Set up an indoor scavenger hunt
  • Bake cookies
  • Make paper snowflakes
  • Make bird feeders (see below for details!)

Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter (softened)
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped nuts, if desired

Steps

  1. Heat oven to 375°F. In small bowl, mix flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  2. In large bowl, beat softened butter and sugars with electric mixer on medium speed or with spoon until fluffy.
  3. Beat in the egg and vanilla until smooth. Stir in flour mixture just until blended and dough is stiff. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts.
  4. Drop rounded tablespoons of dough 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheet.
  5. Bake 8-10 minutes or until light brown (center will be soft). Cool 2 minutes. Remove cookies and place on cooling rack for about 30 minutes.  

If you would like to add this recipe to your collection, download the Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe card.

This blot post was courtesy of Thirty One Gifts. Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Family

Happy 4th of July

According to Wickapedia “Independence Day, commonly known as the Fourth of July, is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain”.

This year, the 4th seems to be a bigger struggle than last year….there seems to be a few more memories missing as a result of the MS.  I went on a hunt to find some pictures to go with the post and struggled to remember.  I pulled our the scrapbook I made for Belinda for her 16th birthday and was overwhelmed.  The pictures looked familiar but the memories of the experiences have slowly slipped away. It is times like this I am glad I started blogging before things were too bad because it helps me to remember at least a little bit….

Hubby and I were just talking about life in Ocean Grove  and how we would love to live there again.  The 4th of July was always a whirlwind of fun and excitement filled with July 4th parades and bar-b-ques with family. Sitting on Main Street waiting for the parade and the barrage of candy thrown by the floats as they traveled down the street. Grams worried Belinda would get too close to the  trucks. Belinda hiding and covering her ears as the fire trucks came by – her sensitive ears were always a concern for Grams.

Then came the years Belinda was in the parade in an array of costumes. Costumes made by me – Ariel (The Little Mermaid), Pocahontas, Peter Pan… are you getting the Disney theme? Yes, we were obsessed with Disney and we wore out many VHS tapes before DVDs came around. Then as Belinda got older, it was decorating her bicycle. Cards in the spokes to make the flipping sounds – okay, am I really showing my age now? Red, white and blue shirts, shorts, and hats…

Life in Ocean Grove was fun and is filled with many memories.  I am grateful for scrapbooks – mostly since Belinda was born but at least there are some.  There was actually a time when ALL of us lived in Ocean Grove on Broadway – Edythe, then Grams, Pop-pop & Elsie then closest to the beach was mom and I. Okay, so it was BEFORE Belinda but it was always a lot of fun. Yes, I squirreled!

Best wishes for a ThirtyOne-derful day with friends and family. Enjoy the moments and treasure them….

Celebrate and Connect, Family

Celebrating the 4th of July

According to Wickapedia “Independence Day, commonly known as the Fourth of July, is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain”.

For me, the 4th brings up bittersweet memories….. I’m grateful for them since living with MS has robbed me of many of them.  The many pictures I have of these celebrations allow me to reflect and remember.

Life in Ocean Grove over the 4th of July was a whirlwind of fun and excitement. I can remember many July 4th parades and bar-b-ques with family.  Belinda was always in the parade in an array of costumes. Costumes made by me – Ariel (The Little Mermaid), Pocahontas, Peter Pan… are you getting the Disney theme? Yes, we were obsessed with Disney and we wore out many VHS tapes before DVDs came around. Then as Belinda got older, it was decorating her bicycle. Cards in the spokes to make the flipping sounds – okay, am I really showing my age now? Red, white and blue shirts, shorts, and hats…

Sitting on Main Street waiting for the parade and the barrage of candy thrown by the floats as they traveled down the street. Grams worried Belinda would get too close to the  trucks. Belinda hiding and covering her ears as the fire trucks came by – her sensitive ears were always a concern for Grams.

Life in Ocean Grove was fun and has lot of memories for us. I mean there was a time when ALL of us lived in Ocean Grove on Broadway – Edythe, then Grams, Pop-pop & Elsie then closest to the beach was mom and I. Okay, so it was BEFORE Belinda but it was always a lot of fun. Believe it or not, I miss living in Ocean Grove… Yes, I squirreled!

Want to check out a GREAT “Christmas in July” sale?  Stop by my Thirty One website to grab some awesome deals.  The sale goes through July 11th.

Best wishes for a ThirtyOne-derful day with friends and family celebrating today…