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New year…

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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.

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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?

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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 🎉

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A true diary of photos…

My daughter often tells me I shouldn’t post more than one photo a day on Instagram… But I always tell her I don’t care what I should or shouldn’t do… Oh to be 12 again, and to worry what my friends might think… From the very first day I discovered Instagram it became a diary of photos for me, back then, oh all of 2 years ago, Instagram wasn’t a Facebook for teens and it wasn’t about advertising your business, it was truly about your photos… And that is how I see it…

After being woken up at 4.30am this morning, I sat looking back at photos on Instagram, my children, places, things that would have been forgotten are there for me to remember, sometimes fondly, sometimes with horror, but most of all just there to be savored again and again… Sometimes people are quick to criticize the social media, the fact that as bloggers we put our lives out there, but I think for me it is like an ongoing diary of events, people and places that I would have misplaced over time, lost into the forgetful memory that I have!

I may not be 12 anymore and look at Instagram as my everything social media, but I have always loved it from the first time I discovered the app, I didn’t know many people on there and it was all new and different… To all of my family and friends who are now on Instagram… Please, please, please keep the photos coming… I totally love seeing each and every one of them and do not worry, I think we as adults are allowed to post more than one photo one day if we want to!

So please forgive me for all of my ramblings and if you follow me on Instagram all the endless photos I continue to post… For me this is my life and I get to look back from time to time and think ‘oh yes I remember that day well…’ I also love to share these memories, and share in other people’s memories too, for me this is one of the best parts of social media as we know it… No more photos put away in dusty old closets that no one will ever see… Just lots of memories out there for family and friends to enjoy!

Happy Instagramming!

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Happy New Year!

This day every year brings reflections of a year gone by… I have not viewed 2013 as a very good one until yesterday when I made a short video of a the year of our lives, as I browsed through the many, many photos taken in the last year I realized that although at times in the year things were hard and sometimes sad, there have been many days in between that more than outweighed the bad days, the days we smiled, laughed and just had a great day, the sunshine, the birthdays and the first day we had a little window into the new life growing within me… So my New Years resolution for 2014 is going to be focussing on the good things I have in my life and not dwelling on the not so good, along with my usual trying to be more organized and being better with spending money!

Christmas was a quiet affair this year, well as quiet as it can be in my house, lots of food and presents, but most of all I got the much needed rest I was craving, a few days in watching movies and catching up on a messy filing system on my computer of photos!

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So on this last day of 2013, I want to thank everyone for reading these crazy ramblings of this soon to be mother of 8 children, but most of all I want to wish each and every one a very Happy and Healthy New Year in 2014… And just remember that for every bad day there are many more good days to come in between!

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This is my 28 week ultrasound photo of a new little man in our lives… Now that Christmas is over it’s time to concentrate on his arrival into our already crazy family… I wouldn’t change a thing, maybe just a tweak here and there!

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My not so favorite things…

Menu plan for this week

California flatbread – page125 food network magazine
Green chili stew – page 152 food network magazine
Steak with spicy olive pesto – page 123 food network magazine
Big Greek salad – page 125 food network magazine
Turkey and rice stuffed peppers – page 125 food network magazine
Monday night red beans and rice – page 112 food network magazine
Spicy sausage ragu nachos with pickled onions – page 136 food network magazine

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This California flatbread was delicious, we made the pizza dough in the bread machine pizza dough recipe then instead of drizzling lemon juice over before serving I added the balsamic glaze from Trader Joes… So good, worth a try, and added a nice prelude to thoughts of Spring, coming soon!

My favorite things so far in 2013 are having my Mum here and sharing her birthday along with her, taking a photo every day so that I can look back over 2013, although some days I have forgotten (all photos can be seen on Instagram, my username is florrieflower) but I’m trying hard to keep to my resolution, my new lockable straining lid pasta pan from Costco and Trader Joes Coconut oil body butter, this is sooooo nice and so reasonably priced, after a hot shower it is wonderful to rub in over your body, the smell is divine and it leaves your skin silky smooth, something I desperately need in this freezing cold weather!

Things I am not liking so much in January is the cold snowy weather, I am so ready for spring to arrive, not being able to light a warm fire whilst we eat in the evening, due to our fireplace being under renovation, having deer standing on my doorstep when we are trying to get out our house and not having a working washing machine still… Trips to the laundromat are just not fun anymore and it is costing me lots of money, I have had friends offer me to use their machines… Thank you, but I’m not always in Madison at the moment, as you can imagine washing for 10 people can take up to 3 machines at a time in the laundromat, in fact yesterday we had 4 machines running, 2 extra large ones with dark and light colors, a red wash and then a white wash in the extra small machines, thankfully it was not busy unlike Sunday when you had to fight to get a washing machine, now that was a nightmare!

Well it’s a snow day here in a very white NJ, so after a 5.15am phone call and then a much needed lay in, I am off to put some cinnamon roll dough in my bread machine, (cinnamon roll recipe), then I am going to bake some vanilla sugar cookies… (vanilla sugar cookies)It just feels like I should be baking today and so that is what I am going to do!
Have a very warm winters Day!

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