Changing up Our Thanksgiving Routine

Travel Man and I enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving Day with 17 or so of our family around the table for dinner.  It’s so much fun when we get to have all of our kids with us at home for a big sit-down dinner. It’s quite a feat getting everyone to the table on time, but we did it and had so much fun.  I’ve been known to get all mushy with my toasts of thankfulness. My grandson Evan always likes to pipe in and tell a joke to the entire table. It’s priceless and always makes us laugh.
Our old dining room table, with a total of 8 leaves, comes in handy for this time of year. I’ve written about our dining room table before it’s got quite a bit of history to it.   This year my wonderful husband put together a table extension that will now allow us to seat 20 people at the table for any particular festivity.

This is my professional table-setter,my grandson Evan.  He’s taken on the roll of helping me get the table ready for the past few years.  He was upgraded to “professional” status this year!


Normally our entire Thanksgiving weekend would be spent around the house with our kids and grand-kids.  This year we decided to switch it up and go camping for the rest of the holiday time after the “big dinner”.  We took off for our destination in the early afternoon on Friday, and we headed back home Monday afternoon.  We’re so lucky that Travel Man had some vacation time to use and that his job allows him to have the flexibility to plan for this type of trip. We’ve had such an enjoyable time relaxing, resting, reading, watching movies and playing Monopoly! And of course I brought some of the Thanksgiving dinner leftovers.  We had to get our fill of turkey sandwiches.


A few of the sights from our holiday weekend.

Now we’re thinking that maybe next year we’ll host Thanksgiving dinner right from our trailer (I meant to say our “glamping” residence).  We’ll see about that in a few months. I’m such a traditionalist at holiday time I’m not sure if I could do that.  Thoughts to ponder.

I’m hoping everyone had an enjoyable Thanksgiving holiday. I know I’m looking forward to the upcoming holidays and spending more time with family.  Cheers!

It’s Someone Special’s Birthday Today…

Today is our granddaughter’s 3rd birthday.  Miss Madison is becoming quite the young lady/tomboy.  She loves to paint her nails with her Auntie Hilly, and she also loves to play with matchbox cars.  It’s quite a combination.  I remember so distinctly the day Madison was born.  Our entire family, including my parents were at our house for dinner waiting for “the call”.  Once we got the call that Madison had arrived we celebrated with whoops, and hollers and hugs.  A fun celebration, and a great memory.

Madison has been working on her photography skills this year.  She loves to take her “selfies”, with some little kissy lips mixed in. So being the wonderful Grandma that I am I couldn’t help but share some of her selfies mixed in with some of my favorite pictures of my favorite (and only) granddaughter from this year.

Happy, Happy Birthday Madison.  May all of your dreams come true.

maddys 3rd bd

diabetes has Struck Again!!-Part 2


Chocolate oh beautiful chocolate…

My first post about my personal journey with diabetes became slightly long-winded, so I wanted to finish up my story with a Part Deux.  

When I think about my kids’ reaction to letting them know I had been diagnosed with diabetes, it just makes me let out a huge sigh.  We’ve been through a lot of diagnosis’ over the years; diabetes, cancer, leukemia, cancer, and now diabetes again.  Ugh.  I was not looking forward to telling my kids what was wrong with me, but I must say they all took in stride, and have been very supportive.  My brother’s reaction was so heartfelt and caring.  When I told him what was going on with me he immediately got out of his chair and gave me the biggest hug ever.  He’s such a great guy, so much like our Dad was.

Zachary, my youngest son, had the best reaction though.   He told me, “Mom now I can bug you about checking your sugar, just like you had to do with me for so many years.” He was being loving and sincere.  He’s my baby boy and we’ve always had a way with words, with each other.

The interesting thing for me at this point is I already knew the dietary changes that I was going to need to make to be healthier.  But being the fathead that I am, again, I immediately put up my food shield, and cried UGH!!  This diabetes  thing is probably a big part of the reason I struggle with my menu planning each week.  A menu tied to a low carb diet tied to me being diabetic.  I must get out of my menu planning rut.  I think I hear my Mom’s voice in my head right now.  Just try one new recipe each week.  Find something that you think you’ll really like and then add it to your repertoire.  There I have said that for the record.  My food journey needs to be to discover new, low carb recipes that are delicious, and good for me and my family.  Boom!   

brownie-bites_fkRowUd_It is weird though when you are told there are certain things you cannot or should not eat. When you are in the infant stages of the diabetes diagnosis all you can ponder is the food you’re not supposed to be eating. Cookies, cake, ice cream, chocolate (that’s a big one for me).  Sure you can find sugar-free options, and sugar-free recipes, but in the beginning I was not willing to work on any of that (fathead syndrome).  I wanted to eat those sweets, and I wanted them like yesterday, and at every meal!   In diabetic terms this is referred to as “carb cravings”.  In Renee world when I was first diagnosed it was a way for me to feel sorry for myself.  Wah I can’t have sweets anymore, wah!!!!

Nowadays, I’m starting to do a little bit of baking again.  I’ve gotten used to the fact that I need to stay away from the sweets.  I’m getting better at trying out lower sugar recipes, and looking forward to creating some sugar-free treats for myself, and my son this holiday season.  There’s a lot to learn about being diabetic, and a lot to balance with just your eating and exercise.  Everyday’s a new day, and everyday I work on staying healthy and reminding myself how much better I feel.  

diabetes Has struck Again!

It is true, since becoming a Domestic Goddess a few years ago I have discovered a fondness for writing and sharing my life stories with the world.  On April 30th, 2014 my own life path took a bit of a drastic curve as I was diagnosed with Type II diabetes.  To say I was stunned and overwhelmed is a major understatement.  I was feeling both of these things plus a whole lot more.  Words like seriously (!!), unreal, unbelievable, and dumbfounded all came to mind.

diabetic-testing-meter_GyHdoLO_This is one of those stories that I have hemmed and hawed about telling because it’s very personal, and concerns my own health, not one of my family members.  However, it is important to me to share this with all of you just in case you have had or are having a similar experience.  I am 54 years old and last year I was diagnosed with Type II diabetes (ugh).  If you have been a follower of my family stories you know that my youngest son is a Type I diabetic.  He has been diabetic since he was 6 and he just turned 24.  Diabetes is not a new issue or challenge for me, except now I also have Diabetes of the Type II variety (ugh).  The story of how that diagnosis came about is a rather interesting one and it’s the main reason I feel compelled to share this discovery with all of you.

In the summer of 2013 I had gotten what I thought was a cut or scrape on my right ankle. It was taking some time to heal, and then it started to get a little itchy.  It took me awhile to decide to go to the doctor to get this checked out.  What I thought was a simple scrape had turned into a circular sore that was simply not healing 100%.  I had been applying Neosporin to this ugly little spot (about the circumference of a small coffee cup), and the first reaction from the doctor was , “Well you must be allergic to the Neosporin”,  because of the way it had spread.  At that point it was determined that my boo-boo was of the fungal variety (aka ringworm), and that I needed to apply some anti-fungal cream.  So I did, and shortly after that visit I saw a dermatologist who also confirmed ringworm, via a biopsy. (ugh-not fun)   The spot on my ankle continued to heal so slowly, the itching subsided, and I just “let it go” for a few months.  Now we’re into November of 2013, my Mom went to a dermatologist for an annual visit, and she really liked the doctor.  She encouraged me to make an appointment to see him since my ankle had still not healed 100%.  Of course being the fathead that I am I put off doing anything about it until after the holidays and then some.  

Now roll around to 2014, and in February of 2014 I finally go to the dermatologist my Mom had seen.  He was great.  As soon as he saw my ankle he said to me, “That looks like a skin tag.” I reply, “A what?”.  A skin tag in my case was a discoloration of the skin where I had the open sore.  It was still quite red, and had some occasional itchiness.  The dermatologist ordered the necessary blood tests and a second biopsy on the boo-boo site, and it was confirmed that I did indeed have Type II diabetes.  (ugh!)  I got a referral to a wonderful endocrinologist, and was thankful to know I would be on the road to finally feeling better.    

At this point knowing that there was something physically “off” for me gave me a sense of relief.  I know that may sound strange, but it’s because there was a definitive issue I was dealing with, and I would have continued to fight an uphill battle if I had waited any longer to get my boo-boo checked out.  This explained some things for me too.  I had been having trouble dropping those extra “holiday pounds” in January of 2014.  I was so, so tired all of the time.  I blamed the stress and tiredness on the loss of my Dad.  Now I know it was diabetes rearing it’s ugly head, and in my case it is genetically manifested.  At some point in time diabetes was going to be in my life for a very long time.  After my diagnosis the urge to run home and tell my other kids to get tested for any indicators of diabetes was overwhelming.  



Feeling Great-40 pounds lighter!!

Feeling Great-40 pounds lighter!!

I don’t really remember when I started to actually feel better and more energetic again, but it didn’t take long.  All in all so far I’ve dropped about 40 pounds from diet, exercise and getting my metabolism in order. I feel so much better.  No sluggishness, not dealing with weight gain, and feeling so much better.  Did I say that already?

Discovering my diabetes and finding my way towards a healthier lifestyle was an incredibly easy path once I knew what was going on.  I wanted to feel better.  And I will admit to you all that I was not really paying attention to me, and how I was truly feeling.  I was feeling pretty crappy.  No energy, could not lose a pound to save my life, and oh so moody which was totally not my character.  My life lesson here is do not wait to go the doctor if you’re not feeling right, or if you have a boo-boo that’s taking forever to heal. Listen to your mother (love you Mom!) and take good care of yourself.

This post linked to the BlogShareLearn linky party.

The Animal Dance

Right now we are in the middle of a huge living room / dining room remodel project.  Our house is slightly askew with some of the living room and dining room furniture squished into our family room.  So we’re a little crowded, and some days claustrophobic.  We like doing the work ourselves (I’m a DIY-er at heart) so it’s taking awhile.  I’m ok with that.  I can put up with the disarray and the out of place-ness knowing that the end result will be amazing.  However, the animals in our house do not like their  routines and normal sleeping and lounging spots being disrupted.  They are all a little out of sorts.  

Let me introduce the cast of characters;

Tiger- The queen of the roost.  She is the oldest of all of the animals, turning 14 this month.  She has not been a happy camper with the living room disruption at all.  Her favorite window perch has been torn apart so she prefers to lay anywhere on the floors where she is in a “traffic” path.  You know where we have to step over her constantly.


Clyde – Our resident doggie.  He’s 11 years old this year, and is still wary of Tiger after all this time.  He has taken up sleeping in my office which is down the hallway from the remodeling noise and mess.  He likes to have his quiet space, and it is not in the family room right now. Poor guy.  He has been a trooper letting Lucy follow him everywhere too!

2015-04-17 13.49.04

Storm- He’s the teenager in the crowd.  He’s three and likes to be a pest to Tiger.  He tries to challenge her authority all of the time.  Wouldn’t you think he’d get tired of that?  He’s a great mouser cat though, and he’s even caught a few gophers in the back yard.  He earns his keep.


Photo by B.Juedes


Lucy- She is the baby in the crowd.  She’s just a year old, and is staying with us temporarily while her house gets fixed.  She’s been here for a few weeks, and is finally getting to know our routine, and learning how to live around the cats!  She loves to tease and chase Storm and vice versa. They are really funny together after dinner chasing each other around the back yard.


Photo by E.Bettencourt

Now here is where this cast of characters gets interesting, and sometimes annoying. I call this the dance.  The dance in this case is the morning and evening routine we go through when the animals are fed.  Here’s my take on it, and it somewhat reminds me of having a small working farm!  When I get up in the morning I head straight for the coffee pot, and get it started.  While I’m doing this Tiger is meowing at me to be fed and she does this incessantly.  Clyde is outside with Storm, and Lucy. Clyde loves to stand at the patio door and stare in at me while I’m enjoying my first cup of coffee.  I imagine he wants to say, “Hey remember me, you left me outside, with the cat!”  We call his glaring at us his Snoopy pose.  Lucy is so humorous, she is Clyde’s shadow right now.  She follows him everywhere.  She jumps at the patio door to get my attention.  I imagine she’s saying, “Look at me, look at me.”

Tiger gets fed inside, and I don’t let any of the other animals in while she’s eating.  Tiger gets her quiet time all to herself, her “alone” time.  Once I have my first cup of coffee in hand, and have had a few wake me up gulps I head out onto the patio to feed the rest of the cast of characters.

I have discovered through trial and error that it’s best to feed Lucy first, then Clyde, and last but not least Storm.  Storm is late for every meal.  I’m pretty sure he mooches from one of the neighbors, but I’m not sure which one.  I feed the animals in the morning around 7, and then again at 5pm.  The menagerie of course always has water available, although Tiger thinks she needs to drink out of the toilet.  Ugh!

Here’s what happens in the afternoon; I’ll be working in my office for a while and then stroll out to the kitchen around 3 or so.  Miss Tiger thinks it’s time for dinner already!  She is always pushing the dinnertime button and trying to get fed earlier than usual.  At this point I remind her that she is not the boss of me, and dinner is always at 5pm and not a minute sooner!  She is quite relentless though and meows at me every time I walk into the kitchen between 3 & 5.  

This group has had a tough time with their normal sleeping places disrupted.  But have no fear, the living room remodel will be coming to an end soon, and then some of these things will be getting back to normal.  I’m sure Clyde will be relieved, he’s had the toughest time of all.   Once the living room is back together it will be nice to have the pet patrol back to “normal”.  Everyone will have their favorite “spots” back where they like to slumber.  The slumbering spots are always in the path of the foot traffic through the house.  Does anyone else have this problem?

This post linked to the GRAND Social  and the #MidLifeLuv Linky Party.


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