Thursday, October 9, 2014

One Journey Many Paths

Most of us know by now that October is Breast Cancer Awareness month.  This designation began back in 1985 and so for many young people they do not even remember an October that wasn't Breast Cancer Awareness month. Some times we take it for granted, see someone wearing pink and go on with our every day life. We don't always see what is right around us.

Everyone I know has been touched in their lives somehow by breast cancer and so when we talked about writing these posts there were a number of stories that ran through my brain.  Do I talk about my college Lil Sis who recently had a double mastectomy? Do I talk about another friend of mine who has three kids and a strong family history of breast cancer and so she is deciding what she wants / needs to do now?  Do I talk about my 97 year old grandmother who is a breast cancer survivor?

I put this all on the back burner figuring I would run some errands and that the right story would come to me when it came time to finalize this post.

So I buried myself in the activites on my to do list and started working through the hectic schedule I had set for my day.  In the afternoon I left my house on my way to pick up my son from Cross Country practice and then take him with me to a Chamber of Commerce event before joining my daughter at the high school for a Homecoming spirit week event.  But for some reason I decided that because I was 5 minutes ahead of schedule I could fit in one more tiny little errand before 5pm rolled around.  So I pulled into the Post Office and began walking to the counter to pick up some oversized mail.  I was still in the zone and I was concentrating on my to do list and all of the tasks I had not quite completed over the span of the day.

There were a couple of other people in the post office but I wasn't paying alot of attention.  I needed to pick up my package, pick buy some stamps and be on my way. Just then I heard a seriously cheery voice say my name in a most heartfilling way.  I looked up and it was a dear friend that I hadn't seen for a long time. It had been too long. I looked up at her and she gave me a great big smile and introduced me to one of the cutest dogs in the world. She was babysitting him and taking him with her everywhere.

The important part of this story that I have not mentioned yet was that she had a double mastectomy a long time ago and is now technically a Survivor. But other than small talk, you really can't get into a full on nitty gritty conversation at the Post Office. I had to admit to myself that I am not up to date on her path.  Is she fully recovered or is she living with a constant threat of this terrible disease coming back?

She was as gracious and cheerfully as anyone could ask for anywhere.

It donned on me at that moment that, of course, we know people in our lives that have been touched by breast cancer but even more important we are surrounded by people all over town that we may or may not ever know who are fighting their own silent battle every day.

We don't know their battle. We don't know their journey.



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This post is part of a group discussion inspired by the video above. So, even though I didn't talk about the mixer in my post at all, or the fact that kale is really actually delicious but really turns any mixed drink TOTALLY green, this giveaway is part of that discussion.  You can enter to win an amazing Vitamix below:


a Rafflecopter giveaway




This giveaway is part of a blogger group cooperative and not a compensated post. The prize has been donated to the group for this giveaway but no compensation was paid to any of the bloggers participating.
CLICK HERE for more info on the Vitamix mixer.

For more information on St. Agnes and for more resources on Breast Cancer awareness month visit any of these links below:

https://www.facebook.com/SaintAgnesMD

Follow the discussion on your favorite social media platform using the hashtag #ABB

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Three Top Secret Tips for the Ultimate October Party

This post was made possible by the generous #SmellsCLEAN gift box provided by SCJohnson. All the tips, opinions, and anecdotes are my own.

Shhhh.... I am about to share with you my ultimate party tips to make your October party the best one ever!

I was raised by a Party Planner extraordinaire. When I was growing up there were not professional party planners, magazines dedicated to the perfect party, or TV shows with tips for the best party. So even though my Mom did not have the assistance of a TV party planning expert or the credentials of a professional party planner, that is what she was. And I marveled at her ability to make a simple idea into a great party. She threw a Halloween party in 1969 that people are still talking about today. Seriously.

Unfortunately, perhaps, I was born a Sagittarius and was doomed to be happy go lucky. My Mom on the other hand is a Virgo and is extremely detail oriented. So I did not inherit the Party Planning gene but I still love throwing parties. So over the years I have learned a few shortcuts to making the perfect party.

Here are my top three never shared before party tips:

1. Clean your livingroom and close your closets

You may have a few nosey guests but that doesn't mean you have to open every nook and cranny of your house to everyone.

2. Food is a great addition to any party


I don't really cook. I used to cook. I used to enjoy cooking and may get back into it some day. But back when my kids were small they would all complain about my cooking. One day the most amazing thing happened. My son opened his Webelos Boy Scout handbook and part of his next requirement was to prepare a family dinner. He did this task quite successfully and it inspired his younger siblings to want to get into the act. So we decided to let each kid have one night of the week, my husband would take a weekend breakfast and Friday night would be family game night aka Pizza Night. With four kids and Pizza night I only had to cook spaghetti one night a week. (Here is a picture of one of my kiddos in his culinary school garb! I love his homework - it's delicious)

That was a long time ago and my kids are all teenagers plus now and they are really great cooks.  But I am not. So, when it comes to our big annual Octoberfest party we always have an answer for every guest who asks the inevitable "Can I bring anything?" The answer is Yes. Yes they can. I provide the polka music and our guests bring food and it works out great.

Food is essential if you are serving any adult beverages. So even if you don't cook make sure you have food at your party. 

3.  MOST IMPORTANT TIP (TOP SECRET) 

Make sure your house smells great.

This is the key to a wildly successful party.

We have a few major offenders:
  • One musty old basement. 
  • Two stinky dogs

  • Three teenage / college age boys
  • Four doors in to the house that cannot be propped open beginning in October because it is too cold.
The list goes on.

In the past I have used one secret weapon to get party ready. We would clean up the party area of the house and invite friends who can cook AND THEN... just before they arrived I would put on a pot of coffee. It didn't matter if our guests drink coffee or if the party was scheduled for 9pm at night I would put on the coffee. Somehow when your kitchen smells like coffee it smells like there is something good going on there.

But this year we have a problem with that plan. We have replaced our coffee pot with a Keurig. We love our Keurig but it did put a crimp in my party prep secret weapon.

Here is where SCJohnson has come to the rescue. We received a #SmellsClean gift box in the mail this last week and we are back in business. Our house is going to look clean AND Smell Clean. But not only smell clean - it is also going to smell delicious. We have a pumpkin pie candle for the center piece of our extended dining room table which always ends up being the center of activity for our party.


I love the description of the pumpkin pie candle from the SCJohnson website
The appetizing aromas of cinnamon and nutmeg blend beautifully with creamy notes and a touch of pumpkin pie, inviting you to linger a little longer at the friendly eatery around the corner.
This year when our guests arrive they will be greeted by the warm embracing smell of a delicious pumpkin pie. I love when our guests can linger a little longer and just relax and enjoy themselves.

Which leads me to the Bonus tip of the day:  Enjoy yourself. 

Plan Prepare and then Party. Join your own party. One of the things I always remember about my Mom's parties was the big smile on her face. She always had fun at her own parties. They might not go exactly as she had planned (but since she is a Virgo and planned for most everything even the mishaps were typically happy accidents resulting in something even more interesting than she had anticipated).

Breath deeply of the pumpkin pie spice aroma from the candle warmers, scent plug-ins, or the candle in the middle of your dining room table and just enjoy yourself. The more relaxed you are the more fun your guests will have because they can relax too.

Enjoy!

Follow the discussion on twitter by following the #SmellsClean hashtag.

This is part of a sponsored post but all of my thoughts and party tips are my own. Seriously I haven't really cooked in almost 15 years. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

It's Talk Like a Pirate Day

Here is a replay from last year but it's all the same.

September 19 is Talk Like a Pirate Day. (I'm not actually very good at talking like a pirate and I really don't celebrate this one that much but I like knowing that there are people out there who can and do).

CLICK HERE for last year's post on Talk Like a Pirate Day

And CLICK HERE for 2012's celebration post


Now Begone with ya Matey I have to get on with my swashbucklin'