New year…


I’m not sure it really feels like New Year to me yet, for the first time ever I slept right through it, getting stomach flu on vacation was not quite the plan but it happened anyway, hot, cold shivers, violent headaches, stomach pains, nausea and the dreaded run to the bathroom, all led to me wanting to just sleep in bed for three days, but I didn’t, you are only on vacation for such a few days and I wasn’t going to let this thing keep me from getting out and enjoying Arizona, but I did let it allow me to sink into bed early each night and sleep on and off through each evening and night, including New Years Eve… so there were no tears of something lost and happiness of something new this year, just sleep and then more sleep.

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Although I was still kind of out of it on New Year’s Day, feeling a little better but not even 75%, we spent the day in one of the most beautiful places I have ever been privileged to go to… Sedona AZ… if ever you are lucky enough to travel to Arizona make sure Sedona is on your places to visit list, well that’s if you don’t decide to just stay there for a few days… everywhere you look the views are just stunning and surreal, sit in Starbucks sip coffee and the views are phenomenal, grab lunch at one of the many places to eat and the views are out of this world… my only criticism would be that some of the places are a little too touristy and the shops tend to be a little generic, but I wasn’t there to shop, even though we did do a little, obligatory teenage girl Sedona sweatshirt shopping, Mom and Florrie got handmade healing necklaces, oh and an unexpected find of summer Harlem pants… to just sit relax and take in that fantastic scenery that just surrounds you everywhere you look is just amazing and so calming.


I don’t know why but I always feel a little apprehensive at the New Year… the thought of what a New Year can bring, has had me a little depressed this year. It is silly because really it’s just another day, but it really seems such a big deal… I was reading all these positive New Year posts on social media and I had to stop and give myself a good talking too, although last year was tough with my Mum getting sick there were lots of positives… three of my older sons all have good jobs now, we have had three vacations, one was unplanned to see my Mum, but we still got to see family and friends and see the new regeneration of a town we grew up in and our older children grew up in, our children are all doing well and are happy, Paul and I are in a really good place with our relationship right now and my Mum is through her chemo now and on the other side, she is the bravest person I know and I am very proud of her. So I think I need to start looking at New Year in a new light from now on… how exciting is this year going to be?


No resolutions from me this year, another first… just intentions to be a healthier more positive me… I want to continue my healthy eating campaign… get back to the cardio and yoga I was doing until I damaged my ankle, no more excuses though, more meditation and learning to relax… and over this winter I want to stay in the warm hibernate by the fire and fuel one of my passions photography, I want to improve my skills, more reading and practicing, I want to be as good if not better than the talented people of the photography Facebook groups I follow.

But for now I am going to enjoy my last two days in Sunny Arizona… relax in the warmth, soak up as many rays as I can because on Saturday when we arrive back home it will be freezing and I need this warmth to last through until Spring… Happy New Year everyone 🎉


Pumpkins, boots and a touch of homeschooling…

I have to say I love everything about Fall, pumpkin flavored everything, cooler but not cold weather, wearing cardigans and sweaters old and new, and soups, hot and creamy… But, you knew there had to be a but, BUT I hate the thought of cold, cold winter on its way… The solution… Move to a warmer climate all year round! Easier said than done, but I’m working on it…


I would love to live near the beach, hot summers and cooler winters are perfect by the beach… I see myself in an old house with my family living happily with the ocean not too far away, but for now we have to live and dream on… I would just like life to slow down a little bit, the last few back to school weeks seem to have been crazy, all ideas of routine and organization have flown out of the window… But I need to get back on track!


Yesterday I had a very interesting conversation with a lovely lady at Mabel’s soccer game… It was so weird usually when you tell people how many children you have they are aghast, but this lady lives on Long Island and has many friends with large families, 9, 10, 11 and even 12 children… Obviously I need to live there! We started our long conversation about people’s attitudes to breastfeeding and extended breastfeeding, how everyone feels they have the right to have an opinion on whether you should or should not breastfeed and especially on the subject of extended breastfeeding, most people make it very clear that extended breastfeeding is not the norm and as such should not be done… But I like to be my own person and do things my own way! She then started to tell me that she home schools her four children, well actually her eldest daughter is now married, she got her masters degree by the age of 18, and she was home schooled… Very interesting to me, because I have been researching homeschooling my two babies, but again this is a subject where because it is not the norm of society most people frown and do not agree… Like my older children, it has been a subject for discussion in my house for many weeks now… Now I’m not sure if the negative attitudes are jealousy because they would have liked this option or just because they think I would be an awful teacher, as it has been said several times recently!


Now before all the haters of home schooling start shouting, I am only thinking of this option, looking into the logistics and weighing up my beliefs and reasons for wanting to do this… Believe me I could change my mind, but events in the past have started me thinking maybe this would be a good option going forward… We will see, but for now I have started a little home schooling with Florrie… Reading, writing, the letter A for Apple is this weeks letter of the week… and just lots of fun!


Fall to me means time to crochet, knit and sew… Cooking warm comfort foods and baking scrumptious goodies… In the coming weeks I am hoping to slow life down a notch or two, get back to basics and enjoy some time reconnecting with my sewing machine, hooks and needles… I have some gorgeous soft cotton yarn that is crying out to be made into hats for my babies!


Menu plan for this week…

Lots of fruit smoothies, brownies, muffins, oatcakes and cookies!

pork goulash

Beef pot roast

Sausage and pasta pumpkin soup

potato and bacon soup served with garlic breadsticks

Home made pork flatbreads with roasted veggies

Chicken dumpling stew

Home made pizzas

Everything I make these days, and I mean everything has added nutrition in the form of flax seed, chia seed and wheat germ… I use gluten free oats to add thickness to my casserole sauces, it cooks and thickens without anyone knowing I’ve added all this goodness! My other shout out is coconut water, I use it in as many dishes as I can, stews, casseroles, soups and smoothies, this is a wonderful ingredient, almost tasteless when it’s added, but oh so full of good nutrition and fantastic for your digestive system!



Love and the library…

There is definitely an art to be an organized person… Organized in your personal life, organized with your money, organized with your children and organized within your home… All skills that need constant work by me to achieve, but this year, this is my goal, to be very organized and enjoy more free time in the process!

To achieve this skill I have created a few lists to work from… Oh how I love lists…
List number 1, a daily to do list, list number 2, a budget plan, list number 3, daily chores, list number 4, a grocery shopping list and of course list number 5 my menu plan for the upcoming week, with all these lists on my iPad I’m creating confusion as to where I’m looking for what… But the upshot of all the lists will hopefully lead to a more organized me and more free time for Florrie and I!

Have I told you about the Sparta Library… Well, I’ve always loved our library in Sparta, it’s so friendly, clean and very cute. It won an award for one of the best libraries in New Jersey, it is a privately owned library by the town, we get free movies, games, kindles, iPads, and games machine rentals, oh and of course I’m forgetting the wonderful books, in addition to that they provide free passes for a whole list of attractions across New Jersey… I cannot say enough good things about our library, well that was until recently when I discovered a whole other side to the library here in Sparta… Groups, clubs, meetings all completely free and a lot of fun… Now I am totally in L O V E with the library all over again, Florrie and I have been attending Monday and Friday story stop mornings, you just stop by for a story and then a small craft, my baby girl loves it so much, so now I have registered for mommy and me yoga this coming Friday and then a craft morning next Tuesday… We will see how those two sessions go before we venture any further! Well enough about our library, next stop for Florrie and I is a brand new baby and toddler gym opened just 10 minutes away from our house, Tuesday and Thursday mornings are free play sessions for $10 Florrie gets to run wild for up to 2 hours, no commitment just turn up and see what happens… Sounds good to me!