Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Funny How Things Work Out Sometimes...

This is an update to my preschool registration dilemma yesterday.

The 2nd school called me back yesterday and said that I needed to get in there today(Wednesday) to be put on their waiting list! All I could think was, GREAT ANOTHER WAITING LIST!

So I made my husband work from home this morning so he could go with me and our little one to put her on yet another waiting list just to get into a preschool.

We get there, I tell the lady my name and what I'm there for and right away she tells me that they were just talking about me and were getting ready to call me because they had someone drop out this morning! That meant our daughter was IN! No more waiting list!!!! I almost fell over with relief!

So we took a tour of the school, which has a very good reputation as far as preschools go (so did the 1st place we went to).

No more worrying about preschool registration! Thanks for listening to me whine about it! I just felt so bad that every place I called had a waiting list! So crazy! But we are happy! Seems like this was the place that was meant to be for her in the end.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Did I Screw Up????

I am beyond upset right now. I registered my youngest to start preschool in the fall. She will turn 4 in August. I went to the preschool over a month ago (in January!!!). They told me she would be in either 3 or 4 days program depending on how many people register, etc, etc.

So I left there telling her how much fun she's going to have (I showed her around the place). We've been talking about it a lot to make her excited about going.

Well today I decide to call the preschool to find out what program she will be in (3 days or 4 days a week). Turns out she is now #12 on the waiting list for ANY program!!!!

My heart sank in my chest and as soon as I hung up the phone the tears came. I feel so disappointed in myself for not registering elsewhere in case something like this happened. I didn't think something like this would happen. I gave them a deposit check last month, I thought she was in. The check has not been cashed yet. I am so upset.

Right away, I try to pull myself together enough to call another preschool that I thought about before after I quickly filled out an application online and hit the submit button. The lady there took my name and number and said she'd call me back to let me know about availability.

Now I am sitting here, sulking, thinking I am usually a better planner than this and I should have registered other places. I truly thought January was early enough for the following fall to register!

Either way, now I'm hoping more for the 2nd place to call me back with good news because now I'm holding a small grudge against the 1st preschool (not sure why...maybe I"m just too upset right now)

OK, vented publicly now. Keeping my fingers crossed that my little one will not miss out on preschool before Kindergarten because her mother didn't plan very well :(

Anyone remember the movie with Steve Martin (Parenthood) when he had a vision that his kid is in a clock tower at a school shooting people because he made him play 2nd base in baseball? I have had nightmares of screwing up that badly with my kids!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Fabulous After 40? Don't Pressure Me!

I celebrated my 40th birthday last month (January 29th). I had no problem with turning 40, even wrote a blog about it.

But yesterday, I came across a blog with a link to an article that said: Fabulous After 40. Then it hit me. That's me. I'm in that category of women now. Women who are told that if they want to stay in shape, we'd better be ready for a challenge because after 40 a number of things happen. The one that I have a real problem with is that our metabolism slows down dramatically! This really sucks! Now I had been under weight as a kid all the way to my early 20's. I was teased my entire life for that...people called me Olive Oil (you know, Popeye's all too slim girlfriend) in school...except I am nowhere as tall as she is. Kids find things to tease about.

Then I gained 50 lbs with my 1st pregnancy! Wow that was hard! It took me quite a while to lose all of that extra weight. But even then, things never really seemed to go back where they used to be.

Then 10 years later, I had my 2nd baby. I was diligent about exercise this time around and only gained 26 lbs. But I was 10 years older and my body just has things sagging all over the place even more now. I mean clothes honestly hide alot! And I am thankful for that!

I just don't like feeling the pressure of trying to get into shape. I know I am really putting the pressure on myself. I have been known to be hard on myself. It's not like I'm over weight. I am 5'5" and 121 lbs. But I am out of shape. Those can be two different things. It means that I have more fat than muscle.

It is hard no matter what our size. I have been blessed (ya, right) in the large behind(I'mnot talking J-Lo large, but larger than I'd like) and small breast departments. Oh yes, I do feel lucky (not). I will never undergo cosmetic surgery, it's just not who I am. But I have always had a large behind and it just seems like it would be so much easier to balance out my body if I just had bigger boobs! (sigh)

All my life, I dreamed of having bigger breasts. Not Dolly Parton breasts but at least some that could produce some cleavage! But now that I am older the thought still crosses my mind when the rare occasion comes up that I have to wear a fancy dress and have nothing to fill the top with. I look at the bright breasts and my knees shall never know each other! :) Hey, it's the only bright side I can think of!

Growing up, my Aunt would always joke and say to me, "what do you want, a metal or a chest to pin it on?" Do people say that anymore?

When my teenager was 4 years old, she took out one of my tiny bras and put it on and said to me, "Mommy, when I get big-girl boobs can I wear one of these?" To which I replied, "Sweetie, if you take after Mommy, you will NEVER have big-girl boobs but you'll be able to fill out a pair of jeans!" Of course she didn't really know what I was saying but now she gets it.

Don't we all kind of go about life feeling younger on the inside than we really are?
I kind of feel like Mulan (you know, the Disney cartoon movie?). When she sings that song: Who is that girl I see, staring straight back at me, when will my reflection show who I am inside. This was one of my oldest FAVORITE movies when she was 3 in 1998!

I find myself looking closer at my face in the mirror, searching for signs of turning 40 that I might have missed a few weeks ago. Gotta love a chin hair, too, right? I've had one for years and it now grows in white! EEK!!!! (is that T.M.I.??) All I can say is thank you to whomever invented the tweezers!

I look how I look. Some days better than other days. I'm no super model but I'm not a complete Ugly Betty either. I hope to surprise myself and look fabulous at 50. Registered & Protected

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Wine Bottle Serving Tray Giveaway...

My friends over at The Not-So-Blog Blog are giving away a Wine bottle tray.

Click the link and check it out!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Kindle 2 Available from Amazon Next Week!!!

I knew this day would come! I just didn't know when!

The newest version of the Amazon Kindle is going to be released February 24th. I received an email from Amazon last week telling me that I can order the Kindle 2 and be pushed to the front of the line for shipment when it is ready (this was an offer for exisiting Kindle owners and we had to place the order by Feb. 10th) SO I had no choice! I need it! I want it!

I have seen many a post on Amazon of people complaining that Amazon hasn't offered early Kindle adapters a discounted price on this new version. I agree with everyone who has told them they need to just be quiet!Technology evolves daily so when you purchase any kind of electronics, you should be aware that the next model is right around the corner and might or might not be better than the model you are going home with!

I am soooo incrediby excited to get this new Kindle. I did love the original one but knowing the newest model will be in my hands in a matter of days, I had no problem taking $225 in cash from a stranger who bought my old Kindle off of Craigslist :)

The 1st generation Kindle had very large next page/previous page buttons that I was CONSTANTLY hitting by accident. The cover that Amazon provided with it was not worth having since it didn't actually stay in the cover without two would slip right out.Regardless of it's flaws, I was thrilled with having it and never regretted for a moment that I spent $359 on it.

I do love to read and I have an addmitted addiction to electronic gadgets (most of which I do not NEED but could not imagine living without)! Which is why I'm happy to have sold it for as much as I did so I won't be forking out another $359 for the 2nd one!

I did have a book on pre-order with that actually came in the mail a couple of days ago (While My Sister Sleeps by Barbara Delinsky). I will admit that it is a bit different to hold a large hardcover book compared to my beloved Kindle.... I have to find a bookmark, make sure my 3 year old doesn't knock it off the table and make my bookmark fallout, get a big pillow propped on my lap so I can hold the big heavy book without tiring my hands. I know, I just love the Kindle now! This book was not available for the Kindle and I really wanted to read it. So far, I like it.

One thing I thought was extremely cool was that when I went online to my account to deregister my 1st Kindle, I was able to transfer all of my books from my account to my 2nd Kindle THAT I DON'T EVEN HAVE YET! It will arrive with my entire library already in it! Just open the package, turn it on and wella! I will see the same books I had on the 1st one! I love technology!

My sleepless nights will be spent reading books again, something I kind of put on the back burner for a few months.My love of electronic gadgets started at a young age. My dad is a computer/gaming nut. His job is computers. He wanted ME to have a career in computers and of course I did not! I wanted to be a teacher by day and a writer in my spare time! I had dreams!

My dad bought me every kind of handheld video game there was in the 80's (Atari, anyone)! He still always has the newest gaming system. He bought me my 1st Polaroid instant camera (I can't remember how old I was...I think I was 9 or 10) which just fed my love of photography.

Oh the good ol' days! Technology has come so far and I LOVE trying to keep up with it! Now if I could only find a really easy way to pay for my gadgets without my husband complaining! ;)

check out the newest Kindle here: Registered & Protected

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Ground Beef Stroganoff

I have been away for a couple of days due to a modem that stopped functioning without any warning! So now I am back with a new modem and a recipe that is so easy & much better than Hamburger Helper!

This comes from the Cooking Light 5 Ingredient/15 minute Cookbook
(although this one does have more than 5 ingredients and was done in maybe 30 minutes)

8 ounces wide egg noodles, uncooked (I use whole wheat because my family is used to it and it makes it an even healthier dish)
1 lb ground round
3 green onions, sliced or 1 cup chopped onion
1 (8-ounce) package sliced fresh mushrooms (I do not use them...not a single one of us in my house likes them!)
1 (12-ounce) jar beef gravy (fat-free if you want...I don't like anything fat-free but low-fat is better)
1 (8-ounce) carton sour cream (fat-free or low-fat)
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon dry sherry (optional but I do use it)

Prepare noodles according to package directions, omitting salt & fat.
While noodles cook, cook meat, green onions & mushrooms in a large nonstick pan until meat is browned, stirring until it crumbles; drain (I don't remember where I saw this clever way of draining but I use the butt-ends of my loaf of bread and soak up the grease from the pan without actually removing meat from the pan!)

Return meat mixture to skillet; add gravy & next 3 ingredients, stirring well. Cook over medium heat 3 to 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Stir in sherry, if desired. Serve over drained noodles.

CAL: 367 FAT: 7.6g(sat 2.4g) FIBER: 3.9g Registered & Protected

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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Chicken & Basil Cazones

I have to start by saying that my 3 year old is the 2nd pickiest eater in my house (the #1 spot belongs to my husband). I was nervous about making this dish because she always picks things out and says, "What's this?!" and proceeds to pick through to see if there is anything she thinks she might be able to tolerate.

To my complete surprise, the only thing she picked at was the pizza dough! Huh?! She did not give a second thought to all the chopped up fresh basil! I was shocked and very pleased to watch her eat the chicken mixed with the basil & cheese.

This was a very easy and fairly quick meal to prepare. It comes from my favorite place for recipes, Cooking Light Magazine.
I have never used ground chicken in any dish. The recipe calls for it but it can be easily replaced with ground sirloin, if you like. We were all very happy with this recipe using the ground chicken.
Cooking Spray
2 garlic cloves, minced (I love garlic so I used at least 4)
1 lb ground chicken breast
3/4 cup prepared pizza sauce (any you like, I used Boboli)
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper (this I left out just because of how picky my 3 year old can be)
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1 (13.8-ounce) can refrigerated pizza crust dough (I used Pillsbury)
1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 425*
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add garlic & chicken to pan; saute 5 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink, stirring to crumble. Stir in pizza sauce & pepper. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; stir in basil. Let stand 10 minutes.

Unroll dough onto a baking sheet coated with cooking spray; cut dough into quarters. Pat each portion into an 8x6-inch rectangle. Divide chicken mixture evenly among rectangles; top each serving with 2 tablespoons cheese. Working with one rectangle at a time, fold dough in half over filling, pinching edges to seal. Repeat procedure with remaining rectangles.

Bake at 425* for 12 minutes or until golden.

Calories: 459 Fat: 7.1g Protein: 39.1g Fiber: 3g

I served this with a Caesar salad and more warm pizza sauce on the side in case anyone wanted extra for dipping! It went over very well so I will be making this one again! I love it when the whole family likes my meal! Registered & Protected

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Might as Well Face It, I'm Addicted to Blog

Hello. My name is Rhonda and I'm addicted to blogging. It started out as one blog, then two, then three and suddenly I have at least four more blogs in 'draft' waiting for me to click the 'PUBLISH POST' box.

I knew about the blogging world for quite sometime now but have never looked into it too much before I started this one just a couple of weeks ago.

I check my dashboard numerous times a day for any comments that need to be moderated. I check out other blog sites that tell me how to become even more addicted to blogging a few times a day as well. Yes, I am addicted. It didn't take long. Maybe this is a good thing.

I needed something besides my children to distract me from the things that keep me awake at night. Although I have always enjoyed writing, over time I feel like I have lost a lot of my ability to be creative. I am desperately trying to get that part of me back.

I like this world so far. It was a little scary at first, not knowing who I would meet there and what they would say to a newcomer but to my surprise, I have been welcomed with open arms!

I have been sucked into the blackhole called Blogging. Rather quickly and very unexpectedly, I might add.

I was just typing this and my husband came peeking over my laptop to see what I was doing. I quickly shooed him away and blocked any glimpse he might catch of my closet obsession. The funny thing is, as he walked away he started laughing at me and said, "What, are you blogging or something?" There is no way he could possibly know! I have not told him about it at all! Unless he's been sneaky and checking out my laptop when I haven't been looking! For his sake, I hope it was just a lucky guess.

I guess I should just come clean now. But that would mean he would be reading every single word I have written and every single word I will write in the future. The fear of what the people I know and love think of my written word has been part of what held me back when I had dreams of becoming a writer in my younger days.

Should I just bite the bullet? Let him read my blog? I am 40. I am comfortable with who I am, or at least who I am trying to get back from deep inside myself. The me that has been lost somewhere between Chicago and Phoenix.

Maybe I shouldn't give too much thought to what anyone thinks about what I have to say, afterall, it's my blog and I will write if I want to, write if I want to (sung to the tune of "It's My Party and I'll Cry if I Want To")

Maybe I can use my blog as a weapon if he reads it! If he makes me mad, I'll just blog about him! :) I'm sure it happens everyday to seemingly innocent husbands here in the blogging world... Registered & Protected

Monday, February 9, 2009

Cough Cough, Sniff Sniff, Oh What an Annoyance it is...

Three out of four of us in the house have been sick the entire month of January. Now after we thought it was finally going away, it is February and we are still coughing up what seems to be our lungs.

There are tissues thrown all over every room (this is the 3 year old who takes a tissue out of the box, balls it up in her hand, wipes it ACROSS her face and then tosses it where ever she is standing!) I say to her, "Can you please try to blow your nose instead of wiping the snot across your face!" It's like talking to a, well a 3 year old! They just don't get it! Or maybe they do but they choose to see how crazy it makes the mom.

I myself have just finished with 15 days of being on antibiotics. Just a small cough hanging on.

It isn't the croup, or whooping cough. It isn't strep (I've had my 3 year old tested for it already). It's just a cough that seems to linger.

Needless to say it is making me crazy! We are doing much better but when will it end?! And what is even more annoying is that my husband didn't get one single symptom??? How did he manage to dodge it?

We are just riding out the tide and hope that we will not be waking in the middle of the night much longer to the sound of hacking up something from within.

The teenager has already pulled the 'I can't cough like this all day at school' card. But I'm the mom that sends her to school unless I see vomiting or a fever. I know, I'm mean.

I guess in the mean time, we will keep drinking our hot tea and eating cough drops by the bag full. Registered & Protected

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Quick Chicken-Corn Chowder

We rarely get a day living in the Southwest when the temp outside makes us feel like a nice warm bowl of soup. Today was open of those rare days for us.
So I made a soup that we love in my house. It comes from Cooking Light Magazine and it is sooo good and not only quick but very easy.

(I do leave out the jalapeno pepper due to the fact that my kids eat this soup otherwise I would love to add it in)

2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped celery
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups 2% reduced fat milk
2 cups chopped roasted skinless boneless chicken breasts (approx. 2 breast halves)....I take a short cut and buy a pre-cooked rotissorie chicken from the store and take the skin off
1 1/2 cups fesh or frozen corn kernels
1 teaspoon chopped fresh or 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 can (14 3/4-ounce) cream-style corn

Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion, celery & jalapeno; cook for 3 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently.
Add flour; cook 1 minute stirring constantly. Stir in milk and remaining ingredients

Bring to a boil; cook until thick (about 5 minutes).

Calories: 257 Fat: 8.1g Protein: 19.1g Fiber: 1.9g

Makes 6 1-cup servings
I serve this with a nice crusty bread for dipping! So good! Registered & Protected

Saturday, February 7, 2009


That's me. I am broken. Inside. I have been for a long time. More now than ever it seems. Going to a support group twice a month with my 13 year old daughter has shown me that we are not alone in our grief and that every single one of us is broken. Every single person in the world.

I wonder how many times I have talked to a friend or a family member and had no idea how much pain they could be in on the inside. I know that's what is happening when they talk to me. Most times I am very good at hiding it. Then there are the times when it is just too obvious and no matter how hard I try, it still shows on my face the pain I'm in.

Some days all it takes for me to break down is for someone to hug me or simply ask how I'm doing.

We experienced an unexpected death July 2008. The circumstances around that entire week have been too difficult for me and my daughter to bare. I decided to write this to see if it could help me somehow to deal with all the feelings I am having. Feelings that I never wanted to feel and feelings that I can not explain to the people who love me and want me to 'feel better'.

I have to go back to fill in some blanks for those who might be reading this and not have a single clue about me or my family or our tragedy of last summer.

My exhusband died without warning, homeless and alone. The first man I truly loved & married. The father of my first baby. Age 38.

We had been apart for 7 years and I have been remarried for 5 years now. My ex husband and I were together for a total of 10 years (we met in 1991) and have a 13 year old daughter. To make a very long story as short as possible to bring you up to present day, my ex had mental health issues that he had never really been able to get the right meds for. He had an anxiety/depression disorder and was manic depressive.

When I filed for divorce after being together for 10 years, it was not because I wanted to but because I needed to think about our daughter and the life we were in at the time. Let me try to paint a picture of my life at that time: He was never home. We worked at the same company. He would go out after work and drink, whatever, and I would pick up our daughter, do the grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning, pay the bills, help with school work, take out the garbage. I did everything. I felt like a single mother and never felt more lonely in all of my life and I was married.

When we was home, I never knew what kind of mood he was going to be in. Divorce was difficult for me (I became Catholic in 1994 and finally knew about Catholic guilt) but I knew I had to do it to make a safe home for my daughter and myself. We had been in marriage counseling for a year and a half while living separately off and on. He did not want the divorce(but neither did I in all reality) He just never seemed to get his life on track after we divorced.

He was using drugs and lying to me and everyone else he knew. There is so much but too much to type. We lived in Chicago and 5 years ago when I remarried, I moved to Arizona along with my daughter and my new husband. Since then, he had moved to AZ approx. 3 1/2 years ago but feel into drugs even deeper, much harder drugs and never even had a job while living here.

He called me one night and asked if he could come to our house because he was going to Texas(from AZ) the next day to live with his sister. So my husband and I let him spend the night in our home and say goodbye to our daughter and took him to the airport the next day. He would've just left AZ without saying goodbye to our daughter. I don't really know why I never suspected drugs. I think looking back that I just assumed it was the fact that he still needed me (which he made me feel since the divorce) and that his anxiety and depression were just out of control.

He ended up in rehab in Texas and seemed to be doing better. He went from there to a half-way house and then moved back to Chicago in 2006. He wasn't holding down a job and finally became homeless in April 2008. I was devastated for him. We both cried on the phone together because it was such a big hole he was in and I was so worried about him. I felt in my heart that he wouldn't be able to get himself out of this. I didn't see how he could survive this alone. That phone conversation, he told me as we cried together that he had been having dreams with me in them. In the dreams, he was searching for me and couldn't find me. It broke my heart. That is when I started the not sleeping cycle that I am still in now.

His family had been helping him out financially and finally said 'no more'.
He was in a homeless shelter until the end of June and then he had been staying on a couch of a friends ex-girlfriend the two weeks leading up to his death.

I didn't get a call from him for a week, I called his friends to check on him and make sure he was OK and that he was in contact with them.

We had a trip to Chicago planned in July. We were visiting family and friends for 2 weeks. He called me on my cellphone on Wed. from a payphone to see when we could get together so he could see our daughter. I asked him if he'd be able to call me the following Monday(which was 5 days from then) to go to lunch because my husband was going back to AZ that Sunday and I was trying to make it more comfortable for the 2 of them and my daughter. He was very embarrassed of his situation and I know he was going to have a hard time seeing me with my husband.

He died that Saturday, 3 days after our conversation. He died in this girls apartment. I received an email on my Blackberry from one of my cousins that Monday morning. She was telling me that she was here for me and my daughter and to call her when I saw the email. In my heart, I knew what those words meant. But how could she know something happened to him?

I called her and told her that her email was freaking me out. She thought I found out he died because my cellphone was turned off so no one coudl call me but I had it turned off because I was sleeping.

She saw someone the night before who knew my ex and they told her that they heard he had died over the weekend! I was in shock. I told her I needed to call his sisters. They should know if he died. They would be able to confirm it for me.

I called one of them and asked her when she spoke to him last. She told me it was on Thursday and that he sounded good. I told her that I had spoken to another friend of mine & my ex's the day before and that he didn't show up for a party for a friend's son's birthday. I thought that was unlike him at the time, he had mentioned to me that he was going.
I told his sister what my cousin told me. Between my cousin and myself, we found my ex was at the county morgue by calling to see if he was there. It is very shocking to find someone that way when no one knows where they are or what happened.
His family found out he was lying dead in the morgue by his ex wife. Me. I had to tell his family he died. They had no idea. He was dead in the morgue for 2 days before any of us knew. It was unreal to me. Then I had to break my daughter's heart. This was too much for me to comprehend.

I went to the morgue to ID him with his brother-in-law and my cousin because I felt in my heart I needed to see him with my own eyes before I could break the news to my daughter. I just didn't want it to be true. He was too young, only 38.

I have been filled with so much guilt. I have so much in my life and he had nothing, and he didn't even get to see our daughter before he died (he had seen her last summer when we visited). I know he was leading an unhealthy life but does that mean he was not a worthy human being? He was the father to my daughter. I always told her that just because he made bad decisions does not make him a bad person. He had a big heart and he loved our daughter and he loved me.

I had an extremely hard time at the funeral. It was held at the church where he and I were married and the priest who did the funeral mass also married us (he is a friend of my ex's family for 20 years now). I left the church in full blown sobs. All I could see was the 2 of us standing there in 1994 taking our wedding vows, so young and happy. Then our entire life flashed before my eyes. My daughter has cried maybe twice but has been acting 'normal'. I believe she is still in denial. I can't just ignore it. I know it will hit her at some point and she will explode.

I have hardly slept at all since then and feel so much pain every day. I will say that since my daughter and I started going to a support group, I have some days where I don't cry at all and feel like I can open the blinds on the windows and let the sun in. But I am still having very many days where I don't want to open those blinds or even take a shower and leave the house. I guess my 3 year old helps me in that respect. Her being here all day long forces me to do things that I might not otherwise have the strength to do.
At first I felt that everyone would question my grief because I divorced him but to my surprise, friends and even his family have been worried about me and asking me about how I'm doing and not just about my daughter. I am just so filled with guilt for the divorce and how his life turned upside down. He always made me feel like he needed me to hold his hand through life. His mother told me he was always going to need someone to hold his hand through life and that it wasn't my fault. I feel guilt for having a nice home and a good life with my new husband and my 13 year old and her 3 year old sister. I just had always hoped that my ex would find his way in this life. For our daughter's sake. I'm not sure how to deal with all the guilt I am feeling. No one else seems to understand my guilt and I don't know how to reach out to my daughter without her pushing me away. He had such a good heart, he deserved better in life. I don't think I will ever find peace in his death. He was only 38 years old.
Even though he wasn't father of the year, at least he was in the world for my daughter. Now he isn't even in the world anymore. This was so hard to write. I am just trying to get the words out. Part of me is also angry with him for putting me in positions over the past 17 years to make hard decisions that I wish I never had to make. I do believe in God however, I am not one who believes that everything happens for a reason. That doesn't mean that I believe that if anything bad happens to you or your family that it is a 'punishment' from God. I just believe that some things that happen in the world are just plain senseless. Like a friend of mine years ago was coming home one night and parked in front of her house and was pushed back in by a stranger who raped her right there in her own car in front of her house. Was I supposed to tell her that everything happens for a reason? We all know the answer to that one. Sometimes things are just senseless.
I've lost many loved ones (friends and family) over the years in death. Most of them were age 30 or below. Two people in my family committed suicide at the age of 16. There was no purpose in that. Just in their own minds maybe but not mine or anyone else's that loved them.
My ex was a very loving person. He was always trying to make people laugh even in his darkest hours when he didn't know where his next meal was coming from or where he was going to sleep at night. On the inside, he was constantly struggling in a way no one else will ever know. I know partially because of the 10 years of being with him in a way that no one else was.
The only peace I can find in his death right now is that he is in a better place where he doesn't have to worry about how to get through the day with a mental illness. It tortured him on the inside. He did not use those words ever: mental illness. But isn't that what an anxiety and depression disorder is? I could be wrong. But I think that is what a manic depressive has.

I wrote this in hopes to lighten my heavy heart. I need to be a strong mom for my daughter. I am all she has now. More stress to make sure I am here a very long time. Keep her and her sister on the right paths in life as much as I possibly can.

I know this all might sound like rambling because it probably is but I know I need to get it out and will maybe sleep tonight a little longer than I did last night.

I want to quote a portion of a song that cuts right through my heart when I hear it these days:
LOVE REMAINS THE SAME by: Gavin Rossdale

Drink to all that we have lost
Mistakes we have made
Everything will change
Love remains the same

I believe those last 2 lines more than anything....everything changes but love always remains. Registered & Protected

Friday, February 6, 2009

Cherry Almond Angel Roll Cake

This was a difficult cake to photograph well for me. So it really looks much more impressive in person and tastes so incredibly good!

I made this for my Bunco game night last night and everyone was truly in awe of the beauty of it and thought it must have been so hard to make! Plus they all LOVED it after they tasted it and asked for the recipe.
This recipe comes from Pampered Chef.

Ingredients needed:
1 package (16oz) angel food cake mix
1 package (2.25 oz) sliced almonds, chopped
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup cherry preserves
1 (8oz) container sour cream (I used LIGHT sour cream)
1 (8oz) container frozen whipped topping, thawed (I used LIGHT Cool Whip)
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
4 drops red food coloring (optional)
1 (3.4 oz) package white chocolate instant pudding & pie filling

additional powdered sugar (optional)

Preheat oven to 350*

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Prepare cake mix according to package directions. Pour batter over parchment paper, spreading evenly. Chop almonds (I used a mini chopper), sprinkle over batter.

Bake 30-35 minutes or until top springs back when lightly touched with fingertip. Remove from oven.

Sprinkle powdered sugar over cake. Place an additional 18-inch piece of parchment paper over cake. Invert a cooling rack over paper. Carefullly invert cake, remove pan. Peel parchment paper from bottom side of cake and discard. Starting at short end of cake, roll up cake in parchment paper jelly roll style. Cool completely (approx. 2 hours)

Unroll cake and place on a large cutting board. Spread cake with preserves. In a large bowl, combine sour cream, whipped topping, almond extract and food coloring, if desired; mix well. Add pudding mix and whisk until thickened. Spread filling over cake to within 1 inch of edge; roll up cake. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes. Sprinkle cake with additional powdered sugar, if desired. Slice using a serrated bread knife.

Now I had been avoiding this recipe like the plague for a few years and fianlly decided to put on my big-girl apron and just give it a try. Afterall, any recipe I have made from Pampered Chef has not been difficult. Once you make this cake, you will have renewed confidence in your baking skills!

Let me know if you attempt it! Registered & Protected