Friday, May 29, 2020

Life: Friday Ramblings


potted garden

I'm totally in love with the...
...potted vegetable garden my hubby and kiddies made for me on mother's day!
Since we have found some not very nice things buried in the yard, I asked my husband for something different.
I wanted a potted vegetable garden on the deck so that the plants would grow in a more controlled environment.
They did such a great job!  I think it actually looks prettier than our typical garden in the ground.
We planted Japanese eggplants, tomatoes, peppers, and colorful pumpkins for gourds.

I'm happy to report that...
...my lemon tree has grown two brand new, beautiful leaves on a once bare branch.
While the tree is blooming with dozens of Sharpie smelling flowers, it's lost more than half its' leaves.
I was afraid that it was dying, but it appears that she's going to make it through!

I'm losing sleep because of the show...
...Chuck!  We get so caught up in the show that we end up watching until crazy hours of the morning.
Whenever one of us tries to take a stance to make it an early night, the other refuses to give in.
If you're looking for a fun binge, try Chuck!  "...& at last I see the light, and it's like the fog has lifted.." lalalala

I volunteered to...
...take professional quality photographs for my daughter's dance school.
Yet another thing cancelled was their photo session in their recital dance costumes.
To make up for it, the dance school got a back drop and was going to open the parking lot for us to snap pics.
While it's a small gesture and hardly professional, the ballerinas deserve their moment to feel like a dance star.
Plus, we all dumped >$200 on the dance costumes!  The least we can do is have them wear them for 10 minutes.

We finally gave in and got an...
...inflatable pool large enough to somewhat fit our family of four.  It's a 10' diameter octagon.
While it's not a real pool, it was certainly worth the $40.  My babies are so terribly bored and I hope this helps.

Every small bit of good news has us...
...singing "I Can See the Light" from Tangled and performing ballet leaps in the kitchen!

We're still exhausted from...
...the hike we took during a visit to a Long Island nature preserve.
We decided to make another stop on our tour of Long Island by visiting a 50 mile nature preserve.
Following my 7 year old daughter, we began walking along a trail with a bird watching checklist.
An hour later, my husband grabs the map and announces my daughter led us down the 5 mile hiking trail.
We're talking uneven terrain, boards of wood over small rivers, and real life chipmunks darting in front of us!
At one point my daughter sat down on the dirt trail and said "Just go on without me".  Dramatic much?  Don't say it..
Three quarters of the way in we stumbled across a trout hatchery and learned it's the only hatchery on Long Island!
Shout out to my husband who carried our 40 pound son at least 4.5 miles of the 5 mile hike.
When we finally made it out of the woods, we ran straight home, jumped in the showers, and felt itchy all night long.

What are your Friday Ramblings?

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Recipe: Shepherd's Pie


This crazy times in our life taught me one thing, to make a dinner out of random food.
In a time when you're supposed to stay out of the store, you learn to empty your cabinets.
There's no running to the store for a missing ingredient or to pick up desired luxuries.
You learn to make do with what you have.
This is one of the few mindsets that I hope lingers with us as life resumes back to normality.
The universe will be better off with a less wasteful generation that appreciates what they got.

As my food supplies reached record lows, I relied on my creativity and Google to get us through.
The first thing I would do is take a mental inventory of what I got and then hunt for recipes.
One night I was down to the bare minimum, yet I still managed to put something healthy together.
It was also kind of good.  Good enough that everyone asked for seconds and told me to save the recipe!
We had to make minor substitutions to make the meal work, but we were fed.

quarantine recipes; quarantine shepherd's pie;

Shepherd's Pie Recipe

(1) Pound ground beef - I only had ground pork.  It worked.
(1) Diced yellow onion
(1) Pound bag of mixed vegetables - I had a bag but + lima beans.  It was fine.
(3) Pounds potatoes
(1) Stick of butter
Original, unsweetened almond milk
Vegetable Oil - Only had olive oil.  It worked well.
Onion powder
Garlic powder
Parsley
Salt & Pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Coat a large pan with a thin layer of oil.  Brown the diced onions.  Mix in and fully cook the chopped meat, frozen vegetables, onion powder, garlic powder, parsley, salt, and pepper.  I never measure seasonings so you'll have to rely on your eye ball and gut.  Once fully cooked, set aside.

Peel and boil your potatoes until they are soft enough to mash.  Strain.  Add (1) stick of butter, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and parsley.  Remember, season to your gut's content.  Fully mash until smooth.  Slowly pour in the almond milk and mix in between pours until your potatoes are the desired consistency.

Get a large casserole dish.  Put the meat mixture in the baking pan and make sure it's evenly spread throughout the pan.  This is the first layer.  Then do the same with the potatoes.  This is the second layer.  Bake for 15 minutes.  Serve and enjoy!

What was your favorite meal to make during quarantine?

Monday, May 25, 2020

List: Ten ways to motivate your employees.


As it nears my four year anniversary as an area manager, I've been reflecting.
I may have fallen into an occupational rut which may or may not have been deflected onto my team.
I still lead my team of thirty and advocate for them the best I can, but I've stopped motivating them.
Somewhere along the line I've become a leader that tweaks reports and manages numbers.
Our team calls and one on ones have disappeared, along with some of my respect for the organization.
I've forgotten what it means to be a leader and the importance of guiding my team to full potential.
Organizational values aside, these people rely on me and look to me for guidance.  They're being let down.
This year I will strive to be more motivational and to shape those who prosper to be more.
Excuse me while I brainstorm out loud with a motivational to do list..

how motivate employees; motivate workers; motivational leader; how to be a good leader; career motivation

Ten ways to motivate your employees.

1.  Carve time for reoccurring one on ones.
When you have a long list of direct reports, you may find it's easy to limit communication.
A lack of communication almost always leads to a lack of motivation.  Communicate often and effectively.
Set up reoccurring meeting requests to have one on one discussions with your individual employees.
Tip - Find the right balance.  Too often is nuisance for both parties and too infrequent is ineffective.

2.  Set clear, obtainable goals for your team.
I've always found a goal to be a form of motivation in itself.  Set unique goals for each employee.
As long as they are obtainable, you'll find your employees working hard to reach it.

3.  Offer rewards for those who reach stretch goals.
Stretch goals deserve a bigger acknowledgement than a simple thank you note.
Reward these accomplishments with a gift card, company branded gear, or even a work lunch!

4.  Always follow through and never make empty promises.
If your word isn't worth anything, then good luck motivating even the most gullible team player.
Be honest and only make promises that you have capabilities of keeping.  Being a reliable leader is key!
If you are unsure that you can deliver, promise that you will try hard to make it happen instead.

5.  Offer tuition reimbursement for college degrees.
Many employees feel pigeonholed due to their education.  A lack of a degree can limit one's career path.
An easy way to help your employees grow as individuals is to ease the financial burden of a college degree.
Set parameters that require enrollment in a program, a certain GPA, and proof of advancement.
This is a special type of motivation that will expand way beyond the parameters of their job.

6.  Recognize individuals during team calls.
Host a bi-weekly team call with your employees to highlight important information.
During this time, take a few minutes to offer kudos to employees that deserve to be recognized.
A compliment given with an audience goes a long way!  Unless they dislike attention, so know your team..

7.  Host team events.
Team events promote crew unity, break up the mundane routine, and show employees that you care.
Your employees will want to work harder because they'll be happier and feel appreciated.

8.  Create friendly competition.
Creating a little friendly competition among your team and watch the motivation sky rocket.
Their routine productivity will suddenly increase.  Add a prize and watch the productivity soar!

9.  Acknowledge birthdays and important events.
Something as simple as a birthday wish and a cake could motivate an employee.
Baby showers for men and women, wedding wishes, and work anniversaries should be celebrated.
All it takes is a 15 minute acknowledgement from the work day to mold a motivated team!

10.  Work with employees to create customized career plans.
Not everyone wants to go in the same direction when it comes to their career path.
Some may want to venture into sales, management, or even work on process & procedure.
Set career plans for your employees to help them reach their goal.
Offer to pay for certifications or classes that would be vital in their dream career.
They'll be more willing to work for you and they'll be grateful that you're their manager!
One time an employee called me a mentor and credited me with their growth.  That's career goals!

What motivates you as an employee?

Friday, May 22, 2020

Life: Friday Ramblings


smile it's friday

I did a little "eep" when...
...my husband came home from Target with a bouquet of sunflowers for me!
Sunflowers are my favorite flowers and I eagerly wait for them to come in season each year.
The sunflowers are not pictured.  I'm well aware that these are daisies.

My nail salon texted me to say...
...they purchased and installed window spaces on each nail station.
It looks almost like a bank teller window with the little slot to slide in and out your cash.
I'm sure that they won't be opening any time soon, but it was still reassuring to hear from them.
Each day I wonder which businesses will survive and which will close down forever.
Let's hope this is an indication that my local nail salon is part of the survivors.

I'm getting ready to jump back into...
...my senior year of college!  Last week began my Summer course.
This semester I'm taking self-management.  I'm hopeful it's a smart choice for a short semester.

My prince charming learned the magic of...
...the word please!  Every time my baby boy says "please" in his cute baby voice, I give in.
Within reason, of course.  Although, my hubby said I should have drawn the line on a 2nd bath..

My husband is suddenly obsessed with...
...birds!  He's taking the obsession a bit too far with making them a mini sanctuary.
He's got the hummingbird feeder, regular feeder, and now a bird bath.
I'm just trying to decide if it's his new hobby or his way of telling me to stop complaining!
I hate being stuck inside so I complain that my only friends are the birds.  So, naturally, he attracts more.

I've finally learned to...
...shut off the news.  Watching and getting updates on COVID19 was becoming an obsession.
I've been way less anxious and more productive since doing so.  Instead I get my updates from Cuomo.
The icing on the cake was the plandemic video discrediting the one man we all trusted, Dr. Fauci.
That's when I decided that watching it was not a benefit to me or anyone.  Have you shut it off yet?

My Friday Ramblings are getting...
...shorter and shorter.  The stay at home orders have me uninspired.
Hopefully this all ends soon so that we can go back to living our lives to the full potential.
There's nothing scarier than the unknown, and every day seems to be just that.

What are your Friday Ramblings?

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Life: Selfie Sticks


A whopping five years ago, the fabulous invention of a selfie stick became overwhelmingly popular.
As expected, I posted about the selfie stick here to keep you all informed. 
When I made the original post, I couldn't help but make fun of the product.
I mean, selfies scream self absorbed and narcissistic to me, but who am I to judge?

To reiterate, a selfie stick is a long stick designed to take a picture of yourself at a flattering angle.

Since 2015, selfies have only become more popular to our horror and disbelief.
The trend of snapping pictures of yourself has only heightened thanks to filters and other app add ons.
Applications such as SnapChat and Tic Tok have added to the narcissistic behaviors of some people.
The platforms available to post pictures of yourself has quadrupled in numbers since my original post.
All these factors and more grew the demand for selfie sticks exponentially throughout the past 5 years.
While this is all pathetically true, I may have something that I feel the need to own up to.

Ladies and gentlemen, I have a confession to make.
I have officially purchased a selfie stick.
Please, don't judge & let me defend myself.


With four kids & a quarantine, it's become increasingly difficult to take a decent family photo.
A selfie stick allows us to capture a good family picture without cutting off a piece of someone's head.
It's important to me to have family pictures to remember holidays and family experiences.
Every year I document these events and put them in a photo book that I gift to my hubby.
With no one available to take a family picture in quarantine, a selfie stick makes this possible.

While my feelings about a selfie stick for selfies remain the same, I have no regrets on our purchase.
I mean, without a selfie stick, our family Easter photo above just wouldn't be feasible!
Phew.  I feel so much better now that I got my secret off of my chest.

Have you given in and made the purchase yet?

Monday, May 18, 2020

List: Ten real life struggles for short people.


While walking around the block as a family, my husband had quite the scare.
I was jogging towards a large branch that probably could have decapitated me in the right circumstances.
He screamed like, really screamed, L O U D "Jax, watch that branch!!!!!!!".
He scared me enough to turn around and look at him, but I never stopped jogging.
I jogged right under that branch and honestly never even saw it until way after the fact.
Truth be told, I cleared that dangling branch by about half a foot.  I was at no real risk of decapitation.
His look of fear almost immediately turned into laughter and short people jokes.
As if I'm not self conscious enough these days with my growing biceps and butt.  Hmph..
That got me thinking.  There is sometimes a perk to being short.
You don't get knocked out by low hanging, strong branches while jogging.

short people life struggles

Ten real life struggles for short people.

1.  You can't just "hang" in the pool.
When you're 5' tall, that meme above is exactly what you look like while hanging out in the pool.
Add this to the long list of reasons why I'm not a fan of pool days.  It's low on the list, but it's there!

2.  You need large, barbecue sized tongs to reach things.
At least twice a day you can find me in the kitchen trying to reach things with my giant, metal tongs.
At 5' tall, unless an item is towards the front of the lowest shelf in the cabinet, I can't reach it!

3.  You need large, barbecue sized tongs to empty the washing machine.
Years ago I literally fell into a washing machine trying to reach the last sock lingering on the bottom.
Ever since that day, I learned to bring my handy tongs to pick up the clothes on the bottom of the machine.

4.  Your 5 year old is almost the same size as you.
Imagine hearing from your 5 year old "we're almost the same size".
My least favorite is when she says "Soon I'll be bigger than you and then I can make the rules".

5.  You look ridiculous holding any baby older than 6 months.
You know this is a very true statement if you follow me on Facebook or Instagram.
When you're 5' tall, a 6 month old baby is about half your body.  Hence my unnaturally large biceps..

6.  You're forced to submit to never seeing anything, ever.
Unless you sitting dead center in a front row, you're never going to see what's going on ever.
You'll find yourself strategically accompanied by people who will answer the question "What's happening?".

7.  You have to scale the shelves in the grocery store often.
I'm still not sure what's more embarrassing, bringing my tongs or climbing up the shelves.
When you're five feet tall, there's a good chance that you'll have to climb the shelves each grocery run.
For the record, the shelves don't feel sturdy or safe, but that's where Target put it's raisin bread!

8.  Every hug with someone over 5'6 is really awkward.
If someone isn't considerate enough to bend down awkwardly, my face gets sucked into their gut.
For the record, if you're tall and I do my best to avoid a hug, it isn't you.  It's me.

9.  When your peers or subordinates don't take you seriously at work.
When you're child sized, it's common to get people who don't think you can act like a boss lady.
Don't mistake my tiny stature for an inability to do my job.  Besides, I'm naturally really loud.

10.  You can't shop in the regular stores.
One the things I hate the absolute most about being so short is the inability to shop at most stores.
If the store doesn't have a petite section, there's no point of me even walking through the doors.
Most clothes fit me awkwardly.  I leave the store feeling extra self conscious and with empty hands.

What are you sometimes self conscious about?

Friday, May 15, 2020

Life: Friday Ramblings




I have the best babies because...
...they made sure that my Mother's Day was extra special with these cute, homemade gifts.
They made a card out of construction paper and tissue paper.  Peep the tissue paper capes b/c I'm a super mom!
They also made a flower with each petal listing a reason why they love me so much.
The grand finale was a new garden ornament.  A stone in the shape of a whale that they hand painted for me.
This was a great reminder that the phrase "it's the thought that counts" is very true.

I'm still laughing at...
...the pink petal that reads "You always make me late".  I can't get mad if it's true!
It was real cute and nice to know that they love me even with my faults, but, I need to be more punctual, seriously.

My husband thinks he's funny because...
...he gifted me a bird feeder for Mother's Day based on a sarcastic comment that I made.
I tell him that working from home sucks.  That I just sit at my desk and watch the birds fly by the window.
Well, he got a bird feeder to hang outside my "work from home" window and attract more birds.
For those of you that know me well, know that I'm petrified of birds.  The last thing I want is more of them in my yard!

I saw the light when...
...I got a message that Disney Springs in Florida will be reopening as of May 20th!
This gives me hope that all will be well for our rescheduled Disney trip in September.
I'm kind of glad it got moved b/c our vacation would've been over by now.  We still have it to look forward to.

I'm REALLY disliking...
...the changes that Blogger made to their website.  It's not as user friendly and it's harder to navigate.
It's also a less impressive draft view of the actual post.  Can we start a petition to bring back the old version?

I'm waiting for someone to notice...
...that I broke our brand new dishwasher!  It's still functioning, but the door extends past the limit of the door hinge.
I was dragging a 50 pound bag of rice across the kitchen floor when I didn't notice the dishwasher was open.
Since I was dragging it backwards, I tripped over the door and landed right on top of it overextending the hinge.
Stop laughing, it so was NOT funny!  Ok, fine, maybe it is a little funny..

I'm smiling ear to ear because...
  ...for the first time in my VERY long educational career, I made the Dean's list!
What course gave me this high honor do you ask?  It was the marketing course that I whined about all semester.
Not only was the class easier than I thought, I was actually really good at it.
My professor told me that if he could've given me a higher grade than a A+ on my final, he would have.
I took a picture of the Dean's list note and saved it to my Google Photos to remember the accomplishment.

What are your Friday Ramblings?

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Let's Discuss: "What Foods Kids Eat Around the World"


I recently stumbled upon an article published by TIME that caught my attention.
The article is titled "What Foods Kids Eat Around the World" by Gregg Segal.
Two reasons inspired my click, part curiosity of different cultures and part hunger.
I'm glad that I clicked because I spent well over an hour really dissecting the article.
Each word was read and re-read and every picture was carefully studied.
It really was a very interesting read.  If you haven't seen the article, go check it out.
Like, now.  Go check it out right now and then come right back.  Please.  :)

gregg segal; Nino Khaburzahia; american food; what type of food is american food; feeding our children; healthy diet; nutritious diet

The photographer began the project by selecting different children from around the world.
Each child was tasked with documenting a list of all the foods they consumed for a week.
Afterwards, the kids were brought into a studio to be photographed with all that food.

The first thing I noticed was the difference between the American children compared to others.
They were heavier and their food selections were mostly crap that included lots of take out.
This really impacted me because take out and delivery is becoming the norm here.

I constantly get judged for putting my children to bed at later times, typically around 9 PM.
I calmly explain to the judges that I don't get home from work until 6:30PM on an early night.
When I get home, I have to first start prepping and cooking dinner for the entire family.
Sure I could order a slice of pizza or Chinese food.  Of course I could pick up McDonald's on the way home.
I could also fill the fridge with sodas and sugary drinks and the pantry with junk and snacks.
But I don't.  I don't because it isn't healthy.  Instead I cook fresh, nutritious meals.
I'm not looking for a medal because this to me is basic.  It's how I was raised.
Instead I want others to know that it's hard, but it can be done.
It's OK to put your kids to bed a little later if it means that they are nourished with healthy, nutritious meals.

"For the first time in many generations, life expectancy in America is declining and the main culprit is empty calories."  - Gregg Segal

The second thing I noticed was the amount of "American" food in the other kid's meals.
What is "American" food anyways?  Hamburgers, grilled cheese, and fast food?  For shame...
I was surprised that countries like Germany and Italy are eating fast food pizza and french fries regularly.
It seems like the poorer countries are eating the healthiest, most nutritious meals.
Peep the boy from Sicily wearing the Captain America shirt.  Copy our heroes, not our diet, kiddies!
This is one point I'll give to the Americans - Healthy food is significantly more expensive than junk here.
I know this seems backwards, but it's true.  It's cheaper to buy a McDonald's meal than a bag of apples!

The third thing I noticed was probably the most shocking of all.
Some of these parents learned what their kids ate from watching them stage the photo shoot.
The author quoted some parent's statements of shock and disbelief at the amount of junk laying there.
As a parent, it's important for me to take ownership of what my children consume.
Call it micromanaging parenting, but I carefully plot and plan my kid's meals.
That means making them breakfast, packing a bag lunch, packing snacks, and cooking dinner.
Is this no longer the norm?  Come on, people!  Tell me I'm not alone here!!

Another great point that that author highlights for us is the amount of garbage we create.
The more takeout consumed is the more waste we are filling our world with.
Eat fresh food and limit the waste that comes with prepackaged foods.

As a proud American, I'm appalled and disgusted at our diets.
When did work and free time become more important than what we put in our bodies?
Or even worse, when did it become more important than what we put in our children's bodies?
Please, take the time to explore your kitchen and to learn how to make simple yet nutritious meals.
Limit your takeout to once a week and fuel yourselves and your children with real food.

I'll stop this unusually long post right here.  Sorry, the article struck a nerve.
Thank you, Gregg Segal, for highlighting such an important issue with such creativity.
I hope your work truly does make a difference, at least for the kids!

If you tracked your food this week, what would it look like?

Monday, May 11, 2020

List: Ten ways that I have turned into my mother.



It may be a day late, but R&W is behind at everything at the moment.
My apologies.  We are still mourning our trip here & never adjusted my scheduled posts.
I wanted to wish all the Mommies, Aunts, Grandmommies, and Daddies that fill the role a..
H a p p y  be-lated  M o t h e r ' s  D a y  !
I hope that you were sprinkled with a little extra love and appreciation yesterday.
It's well deserved.  You are fabulous.  We all know that a mother's job never ends and is certainly not easy.

While on the topic of mothers, my mother's birthday is on the 20th.
This is the perfect time to do to a tribute to Madre.  
..because Lord knows she'll have a comment or two regarding the belated celebration..
As much as I hate to admit it, I'm becoming more and more like my mother.
Admitting this may be the only way to get out of the dog house for scheduling a vacation during Mother's Day!

happy mother's day; mother's day tribute; mother's birthday tribute

Ten ways that I have turned into my mother.

1.  I hoard food for an undetermined "later" that never comes.
Growing up we always had a fully stocked cabinet that was dedicated to snacks.
This is where Madre kept all the good stuff.  The catch was, we weren't allowed to eat it.
Every time we would ask she would redirect us to another snack and say those were for "later".
Well, later never came and the stuff would go bad.  I now do that very same thing that I hated as a child!
Either I like the comfort of having the food for an emergency or I'm just going crazy.  It's up for debate.

2.  I get really upset when people touch my show towels.
There are two types of towels.  The ones that are meant to be used and the ones meant to be looked at.
If you see if a towel draped next to the sink, this is they key to know it's meant for use.
If you see obviously unused towels hanging on display, these are meant to look at only.

3.  Fingerprints on glass makes me want to scream obscenities.
If you are over the age of 3, then there is zero excuse for touching glass with your greasy fingertips.
I never understood this.  Do people just want to know what the glass feels like?  WHY touch?!

4.  Kids jumping on my furniture will get lectured.
I'm completely appalled at the number of kiddies that storm into my house and jump on the furniture.
I'm not sure what their house rules are, but in my house we treat our furniture with respect.

5.  I sometimes request a lobotomy in jest.
Madre's sayings used to get her some strange looks, but one in particular stayed in my brain.
She would walk around the house saying "Lord, please, I need a lobotomy."
At the time I would roll my eyes and remind my mother how incredibly strange she is.
Then it happened.  My family brought me to the point where I thought I'd have a breakdown.
Instead of suffering a nervous breakdown, I said it.  I asked for a lobotomy.
...then I walked away begging for forgiveness.  For shame, Jax...

6.  Cooking a meal makes me lose my appetite.
I remember when Madre would spend hours slaving over the stove to make us a meal.
We would then sit down to eat dinner as a family, and Madre would hardly have two spoonfuls.
This used to leave me confused, but now I suffer from the same imaginary illness.

7.  I will refold clothes that were folded by someone else.
No one will help me with folding the laundry, because I'm guaranteed to redo it.
I have a folding system that is physically impossible to mimic.  It's my burden that you can't relieve for me.

8.  I have this obsessive need to plan my days.
Every Sunday, I'll turn to my hubby and say "What's the plan for this week?"
That plan could blow up and that's totally OK, but not having one will leave me anxious all week.
I'll lay in bed at night frantically trying to put a makeshift "plan" together.  He humors me & that's love.

9.  I have pretended not to understand a language to eavesdrop.
When Madre was first dating The Viking, she pretended not to understand Sicilian.
She wanted the family to speak openly in front of her so that she would know their true feelings.
Flash forward to when I pretended to not speak Spanish so that my hubby would speak openly.
I pulled it off for about 6 months too until my brother sold me out at a block party!

10.  I name my plants and speak to them.
Growing up, we'd all make fun of Madre for naming her plants and speaking to them like people.
Yet, here we are in a world where all my plants have names and they are my best friends.
They know all of my deepest, darkest, juiciest secrets and they never repeat them.
Flashback to a big meeting where I had to say a speech.  Who helped me practice?  My bamboo plant..

Have you ever unintentionally mimicked your parents?

Friday, May 8, 2020

Life: Friday Ramblings



We celebrated another...
...7th birthday while in quarantine.  This time it was my daughter's BFF since a baby.
We decorated the car, blasted the happy birthday song, and SCREAMED as loud as we could.
While it's nice to give someone a birthday parade, it's just not the same as celebrating together.
This is the first year that we didn't help blow out this little girl's birthday candles.
...and yes, her mother and I both cried like babies...

I cried my eyes out even harder when...
...the governor of NY finally announced school closings for the rest of the year.
We all knew it was coming, but it was quite a blow for it to become official.
Luckily, my daughter is only in the first grade.  Imagine how the seniors are feeling this year?
FYI - Our seniors started school with 9/11 and are ending it in a pandemic.  Send them love!
To work full time and home school is impossible.  Hopefully this will be all over soon.

We're super itchy because...
...my daughter's lesson this week was all about  S P I D E R S  !!!
That means spider videos, spider books, and lots and lots of facts all about spiders.
I laughed at her nonfiction book assignment.  Every page was about a time that I freaked over a bug!

My daughter is moping around because...
...we were supposed to be in Disney this week!  I didn't think she'd realize, but she did.
Alexa decided to give us a reminder thanks to a countdown app that I forgot we set up months ago.

We're all shook because...
...my husband got sent to several major hospitals this week for work.
He took pictures of giant refrigerated tents that were all filled to the rim with dead bodies.
Want a quick reality check?  That will do it for you, trust me.

I'm trying real hard to save...
...my lemon tree!  I can't figure out why all her leaves are falling and all the lemons died.
Is she feeling the wave of defeat that took over my home or is something else wrong with her?
C A L L I N G  A L L  L E M O N  T R E E  E X P E R T S  ! !  S O S  ! !

We're anxiously awaiting for...
...the results to our antibody testing.  This will tell us if we were infected with COVID19 and didn't know it.
I think the experts are hoping for a herd immunity in NY as a last hope for this to end.
Is it wrong to secretly hope we were already infected?  Sigh...

To add to the worst week ever...
...I got the news that I have to pick eight employees to fire.
That's a quarter of my team that I'll be losing.  Who is going to do that extra work?
That's eight families that will be without their income.  Who is going to support them?
That's eight people that I'm supposed to lead, not fire over a phone without even a hug goodbye.
It's been a few days since I've got the news and I'm still shook.  No sleep and lots of tears...

What are your Friday Ramblings?

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Ideas: Mother's day gift ideas for a fabulous lady!


Since our Mother's day plans were cancelled, we will find solace in celebrating how we normally do.
Every year we go to the nursery and purchase teeny tiny little plants to fill our flower beds.
Our favorites are begonias and salvias.  The rest of my beds are already filled with roses that bloom annually.
My hubby usually surprises me with a new rose plant to add to our garden, but the bed is full.
We then fill pots with Japanese eggplant plants and tomato plants for some yummy, fresh vegetables.
The grand finale and my favorite part is putting up the hanging plants to brighten up the rock garden.

It's a simple day filled with hard work, but I love every moment of it.
I also love that it's a gift that the whole family will enjoy as opposed to something selfish.
Also, we live on those Japanese eggplants all Summer long.  Yummy!
I'll miss our annual brunch with The Viking and dinner with Madre, but am grateful to celebrate.
We'll be leaving a flowered plant on my mother and grandmother's doorstep to brighten their day too.

For those that aren't into flowers or gardening, I have some fabulous gift ideas for you too!
Here's a list of gift ideas with something for everyone that will hopefully inspire the uninspired.

Mother's Day Gift Ideas

Every mother around always forgets to buy a card when it's needed.  At least that's what I tell myself..
It's a great idea to always have blank note cards on hand and these happen to be really pretty!

My old lady may be showing, but I love a good fedora to keep the sun out of my eyes and off my face.
I love even more a fedora that I can throw into a suitcase for a sunny vacation or a my bag for a day trip.
Tip - The plainer the better so that it matches with just about anything and everything!

This is the perfect gift for all of the working mamas out there.  It's a stylish, practical way to lug a computer!
This one is perfect because it has a handle, protects the lap top, and has organized space for storage.

Normally I'm against a gift certificate, but treating mom to a nice lunch or mani & pedi is welcome!
Not feeling a gift certificate?  Then try tickets to a show or concert.  Just get mommy out of the house!

E.  Air Fryer
I heard these are the best things ever!  They make cooking a yummy, healthier meal real easy.
While we don't have one here, I would like to invest in one soon, although they can be a bit pricey.

Many mommies love a cute gift that involves bonding time with the kiddies.
These molds are cute, guarantee bonding time, and can house a yummy treat.  Plus, Mickey!

Because what mom isn't stressed at least 22 hours out of the day?  It also smells really good.
I love this product.  It does a great job of reviving skin and keeping it hydrated and glowing.

I love this for a windowsill or sunny spot of your home.  It's a cute, practical way to grow an herb garden.
Not everyone has the luxury of a backyard.  This is great for the ladies with a green thumb but no yard!

This nail polish is great for a quarantine manicure.  It's long lasting and pretty.
It's also the perfect color for that early May manicure that screams  S P R I N G  to me.

Some mommies love a nice, relaxing bath, just not me.  If that's your mommy, this gift is for her!
It's a great place to light a candle, store a book, and hold a glass of wine to ensure ultimate relaxation.

What are your Mother's Day gift ideas?

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