Sunday, September 15, 2013

50 Completely Random and Useless Things About Moi

I wanted to help any new (or even old) readers learn a little more about me. So here is 50 completely random things about me. 

1. Where were you 3 hours ago?- Probably cleaning. So much fun, huh?

2. Who are you in love with?- My husband.

3. Have you ever eaten a crayon?- Maybe as a kid? I don't remember.

4. Is there anything pink within 10 feet of you?- Yarn, pencil box, make up bag, headphones, book, pen, water bottle, the socks on my feet. My favorite color is very obviously pink, right?

5. When is the last time you went to the mall?- March.

6. Are you wearing socks right now?- Yes. See #4.

7. Does your family have a car worth over $2,000?- Yes.

8. When was the last time you drove out of town?- Technically yesterday since everywhere I went was technically out of my city.

9. Have you been to the movies in the last 5 days?- No.

10. Are you hot?- As in temperature? No. As in looks? To me, no. 

11. What was the last thing you had to drink?- Water

12. What are you wearing right now?- Black stretchy pants, black and blue UFC shirt, pink socks.

13. Do you wash your car or let the car wash do it?- Husband washes

14. Last food that you ate?- Pepperoni pizza rolls 

15. Where were you last week at this time?- Right here. Boring life.

16. Have you bought any clothing items in the last week?- No

17. When is the last time you ran?- LOL Too long ago 

18. What's the last sporting event you watched?- Live? Nets @ Hornets game in February. On TV? Watching football and racing today.

19. What is your favorite animal?- Dolphins

20. Your dream vacation?- Italy

21. Last person's house you were in?- My brother's.

22. Worst injury you've ever had? sprained ankle

23. Have you been in love?-Yes

24. Do you miss anyone right now?- Yes. Many of my family that have passed on. 

25. Last play you saw?- I don't think I have ever seen a true play. I saw one that my high school did many, many, many years ago.

26. What is your secret weapon to lure in the opposite sex?- My a$$? Do you know how long it's been since I have had to lure in someone?

27. What are your plans for tonight?- Clean, blog, write, laundry.

28. Who is the last person you sent a MySpace message or comment?- Seriously? I haven't used Myspace since late 2008! Sheesh!

29. Next trip you are going to take?- Unknown at this time. 

30. Ever go to camp?- Girl Scout camp when I was a kid. 

31. Were you an honor roll student in school?- Yes, in high school.

32. What do you want to know about the future?- Nothing. Prefer not to know.

33. Are you wearing any perfume or cologne?- No

34. Are you due sometime this year for a doctor's visit?- Haven't been since my 6 week check up in 2010.

35. Where is your best friend?- Don't know. Not their secretary.

36. How is your best friend?- Assuming they are fine.

37. Do you have a tan?- No. Just the slight dark skin I naturally have

38. What are you listening to right now?- TV and my kids.

39. Do you collect anything?- Shot glasses, pens. 

40. Who is the biggest gossiper you know? - Not naming names.

41. Last time you got stopped by a cop or pulled over?- Been a long while. 

42. Have you ever drank your soda from a straw?- Yes

43. What does your last text message say?- "COME HERE please" to my brother. Needed a favor. LOL 

44. Do you like hot sauce?- Yep. Tabasco. 

45. Last time you took a shower?- Shower? Forever ago. LOL I don't take showers. I take baths. In that case, this afternoon.

46. Do you need to do laundry?- Yes. Doing it now. 

47. What is your heritage?- 1/4 Italian, the rest is English/American (?) LOL

48. Are you someone's best friend?- I hope so

49. Are you rich?- Financially, no

50. What were you doing at 12AM last night?- Sleeping. LOL

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

September Goals

It's been forever since I've done a monthly goals post. So, as you can imagine with no accountability, I have been doing horrible! I am starting fresh in September!

September Goals
- Time management for my schoolwork as well as the kids' homeschooling
- Write 6,000+ words of novel
- Lose 10 lbs
- Eat better
- Cook at home 6 days a week
- Blog more frequently
- Read 2 non-school related books

Monthly Goals

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Product Review: Lysol® Power & Free™ Multi-Purpose Cleaner and Wipes

Photo Courtesy of BzzAgent

What the Company says about the product:

Powerful cleaning that’s family friendly You clean to help keep your loved ones healthy, so why use cleaning products that require an evacuation of kids and pets from your home? Just to get things gleaming? Lysol® Power & Free™ delivers more cleaning power than bleach on tough grease and soap scum — without the harshness! The cleaners are powered by hydrogen peroxide (which turns into water and oxygen as it attacks tough stains), so you get a pristine home that’s free from harmful fumes and chemical residue.

  • Uses hydrogen peroxide to release thousands of micro-bubbles that penetrate and dissolve tough stains 
  • Requires no gloves, masks or protective eyewear (you don’t even have to open the windows to clean!) 
  • Kills 99.9% of viruses and bacteria when used as directed. 
Cleaning is hoping you’re killing germs. Healthing is knowing it. At Lysol®, the company believes in protecting the ones you love, and Healthing is just part of their larger Mission for Health. With new mom programs, healthy habits initiatives in schools and disaster relief efforts, Lysol® is dedicated to doing more for everyone’s health. This mission is fueled by passion and backed by the company’s expertise in killing germs. So when you use Lysol® at home, you’ll know you’re a part of something bigger. For a healthy family and more, visit Lysol.

My Opinion:

 I would show you before and after photos. I really would. But after cleaning with these products, I would be ashamed to after seeing what my cleaners were missing! Suffice to say, my previous cleaners were NOT cutting it! First, the Multi - Purpose Cleaning spray worked fantastic on all my counter and cabinet surfaces as well as my walls. I also loved the citrus fresh smell of the spray. Instead of my kitchen smelling like it's been disinfected, it smelled citrusy. Second, the disinfecting wipes did work great for cleaning fixtures and switches. The only downfall of the wipes is the scent. I was not fond of the Oxygen splash scent. Overall, both products worked perfectly. I like that there are no fumes and gives my home a fresh smell. In fact, I have already bought a couple more bottles of the spray as well as purchased the bathroom products in this line (those reviews to come later).

I give this product ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

** DISCLAIMER: I received both products as well as coupons for products in exchange for an honest review through BzzAgent **

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Book Review: Bare Assets

** Disclaimer: I received a free advance reader e-copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. **

Book: Bare Assets
Author: M.L. Stephens
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Release Date: August 5, 2013

     With nothing but shattered dreams and a busted heart to fuel the way, Angela Fletcher drove out of Arkansas and never looked back.
     Six years later, the new and improved version of the girl she used to be steered clear of romance, love and late night promises. The only pillow talk Angela engaged in these days, was making sure the person on the other pillow knew to lose her number as soon as he left the bed. She only had room for one love in her life and that was Bare Assets, the gentleman's club she poured her heart and soul into.
      Dean Murray was the devil in disguise and had left behind enough broken hearted women to populate a small country. Angela would know. She was an expert markswoman who was skillfully self-trained at shooting down the good, the bad and the ugly of all masculine targets. After all, as the owner of the most successful strip club in Dallas, Texas, it was her business to know men.
     Just as she begins to fall for Dean's silky words and passionate ways, her past and present unexpectedly collide and a meticulously planned future turns into unpredictable chaos. Is the smooth talking, denim wearing devil responsible for the chaos? Or have the secrets she left buried in Arkansas, coming back to haunt her?

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My Review:
     I have been a fan of M.L. Stephens since I first read Love You More. When I was given the opportunity to read Bare Assets before release, I jumped on it. And I am glad I did. It is AMAZING. M.L. writing outside her comfort zone was a major success! This is my favorite book by her (thus far). This book was so good that I had to finish it in one sitting. This book had me smiling, angry, and gasping throughout. The characters were well written and it was easy to understand their stories and "bond" with them. The twists and turns in the plot were unpredictable through the entire book. The sexy scenes were sensational and tantalizing. As usual, M.L. distracted me from all that I should be doing and got me tangled up in others' lives. I encourage everyone to read this book and get caught up in the world of Bare Assets!

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About the Author:

I'm always clicking away at the keyboard, but when I'm not, my family, two dogs, and a very peculiar cat keep me on my toes! There's never a boring moment at my desk! Besides my obvious love for coffee and all things caffeinated, I love to travel. The occasional tourist stop is fun, but I'm a back road kind of gal. Take me off the beaten path. I want to meet the ordinary people behind the culture. My crazy family includes a husband, four kids, two grandbabies, two dogs and a cat. That's right. Life is totally insane, and so I write. Speaking of writing, I've been spinning stories around the campfire since I can remember. Poetry was second nature and as a teen and young adult, short stories were constantly being penned. I'm an avid reader who loves almost all genres. Let's face it! A good read is a good read, regardless of whether it takes place in the future, the present, the past or with ghosts.  

Where to find M.L Stephens:

Where to Buy Bare Assets:

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

It's a Bloggy Life

{1} How did you come up with your blog name?
       Italian Bella was my childhood nickname. My blog was/is a diary of sorts. So, it's The Italian Bella Diaries.

{2} Where do you go to find inspiration for your posts?
        Whatever is speaking to me at the moment. Sometimes a recipe.  An occasional link up.

{3} What are you favorite link ups?
        This one, Sunday Social, Pour Your Heart Out, and What I Learned This Week. I don't always participate in them, but they are the ones I do occasionally.

{4} How do you decide if you want to follow a blog?
       Something in common with the blogger, like the style of writing, a needed blog (recipes, homeschooling, etc)

{5} If you could change one thing about your blog what would it be?
       I just wish I had more time to devote to it. 

Incognitus Scriptor 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Why I Switched to Almond Milk

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Image Via
Back in October, I switched from whole milk to almond milk. I use almond milk in my protein shakes as well as drink it alone. I am also starting to cook with it more over whole milk.

First, compared to whole milk I felt it was a better nutritional fit for me.

Whole Milk (8 oz)

Calories: 146
Fat: 8 g
Saturated Fat: 5 g
Protein: 8 g
Cholesterol: 24 mg
Carbs: 12 g

Almond Milk (Unsweetend; 8 oz)

Calories: 40
Fat: 3 g
Saturated Fat: 0 g
Protein: 1 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Carbs: 1 g

The only downfall of Almond Milk is that it has considerable less grams of protein than whole milk. However, I make this up with other sources of protein. 

Almond milk is proven to have high nutritional value. In fact, the only nutrient that is higher in whole milk than almond milk is protein. Almond milk also contains high levels of antioxidants. And almond milk is good for gluten - free diets. I am on a mission to reduce gluten as much as possible in my diet. 

One thing to avoid in almond milk is CARRAGEENAN. I researched this and this is what I found:
  • Carrageenan can cause inflammation. Chronic inflammation can lead to conditions such as heart disease, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and cancer. 
  • Carrageenan is used to cause inflammation in order to test anti-inflammatory properties in medications. 
  • Lab mice exposed to carrageenan for 18 days developed a glucose intolerance and impaired insulin action. This can lead to diabetes. 
  • Carrageenan is an irritant to Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). 
  • Carrageenan can cause stomach problems. 
All of these are conditions I wish to avoid. I have found 3 brands of almond milk that do not contain carrageenan. They are:
  • Silk
  • Friendly Farms (Aldi's store brand)
  • 365 (Whole Foods store brand)
Why did I choose Almond Milk over Soy Milk?

Some people choose soy milk when cutting whole milk out of their diet. I, however, did not like the soy option. The cons of soy milk:
  • Soy compromises the body's ability to absorb protein and minerals. Soy contains protease inhibitors. These inhibitors block the enzymes that digest certain proteins. 
  • Soy contains high levels of goitrogens. Goitrogens prohibits the thyroid's ability to utilize iodine. 
  • Soy contains plant estrogens. These raise estrogen and lower testosterone. This can cause problems for those in the reproductive years. 
  • While most nutritional information is the same as almond milk (or close to it), soy milk does have twice as many calories as almond milk. 
  • Research is still being conducted on the relationship between soy and breast cancer. 

I made my decision based on the information I learned through research. You do not have to make the same decision as me. I feel that the pros of almond milk outweigh the "pros" of whole milk and soy milk. 


Sunday, June 16, 2013

Sunday Social: Pet Peeves, Fears, and Dream Dinners

1. What is your biggest driving pet peeve?
People who pull out in front of me and don't even attempt to get up to the speed limit. People who don't use blinkers. 

2. What is your biggest blogging pet peeve?
Word verifications on comments. Even though I have them enabled on my own. I understand and respect the reason for them but they are annoying. 

3. What is your biggest general pet peeve?
People who disrespect others because they do not get their way. 

4. What is your most irrational fear?
Spiders, Snakes and Bridges. I have panic attacks over all three. 

5. Name 3 celebrities you'd want to have dinner with.
The New Orleans Saints (Yes, the whole team counts as 1 in my book), The Rock, and Tony Stewart. 

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Linked up with: 

Sunday Social

Sunday, June 9, 2013

FYI: The Low Down on my Blogging

1. How did you come up with your blog name? 
Italian Bella was a nickname I had as a child. This blog was supposed to be a diary of sorts. So, The Italian Bella Diaries was born.

2. What is your favorite thing about blogging? 
Meeting new people. 

3. What is one thing you have discovered because of blogging and now can't live without? 
Blogging itself. Sharing stories, information, experiences with others. 

4. Facebook or Twitter? and why? 
Hard choice. I use both. Twitter is good for short things here and there. Facebook is good for posting longer posts. As far as which reaches more, it's a toss up. Some people have a facebook page and not a Twitter account. 

5. If one celeb read your blog who would you want it to be? 
I really don't know. If this was my sports blog (that's a different one) I would say the New Orleans Saints football team. For this one, I don't really know. 

6. What is something you want people to know about your blog?
It's real. I don't sugar coat. I say what is on my mind. 

Sunday Social

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Grilled Brown Sugar Pork Chops

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This is one of the easiest things to make. And the flavor is so so good.  

Grilled Brown Sugar Pork Chops 


• 3/4 c. brown sugar, firmly packed
• 3/4 c. apple juice
• 3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
• 4 Tbsp. soy sauce
• 1 tsp. ground ginger
• pepper, to taste
• 11 boneless pork chops


1. Combine first 6 ingredients in saucepan over medium heat.

2. Place chops in large bowl or dish. Pour sauce over chops and cover. Marinate for 30 minutes.

3. Grill chops evenly on both sides until done. 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

7 Things You Will Never Find in my Kitchen

I have, by no means, the perfect eating habits. I never claimed to. But here are 7 things you will never find in my kitchen.

  • Boxed Macaroni and Cheese: We used to eat it. Up until about 3 years ago. I was in the mood for something with a better taste than the boxed stuff. So, I set out to make my own. And ever since, the boxed stuff taste like cardboard - tasteless. Making mine really takes no more time than the box stuff. Boil the noodles and then about 5 minutes for the cheese sauce. 
  • Boxed Hamburger Helper: Another boxed meal we used to eat a lot. We bought some about 2 years ago. It was edible. It was just tasteless (I'm starting to think that everything in a box is tasteless). I went on a search for how to make homemade hamburger helper. And I have succeeded. No more cardboard taste here.
  • Boxed Suddenly Salad Pasta Salad: Chris used to love this stuff. He wanted it almost every day after working in the hot, humid temps. It was good. Then it started to lose its taste. Then, I decided I wanted to figure out how to make it more healthier. So, I learned to make it myself using no more time than the boxed stuff.
  • Canned Veggies: We all know the order of veggies from best to worst, right? {Home grown, Farmer's Market, Fresh produce at store, frozen, canned} Yep, I don't do canned veggies. It's usually fresh or frozen. 
  • Packaged taco seasoning: Something about the taste threw me off. I found a recipe for oven fajitas where they made their own seasoning mix. I adapted it to my own tasting. Is so much better than the packaged mixes. 
  • Soda: When my husband went back to drinking strictly tea at home (kids too. I am strictly water), we stopped buying sodas altogether. We do occasionally treat ourselves to a 20 oz here or there. But, we do not buy them and keep them at home. 
  • Jarred spaghetti sauce: I don't think I have used this in over 10 years. For anything. Even recipes that call for a jar of sauce. I have and always will make my own. The same holds true for alfredo sauce. 
I am also in the process of cutting out gluten. Long tedious process of changing brands over. I also changed my milk from dairy milk to almond milk. The rest refuse to give up drinking cow's milk. I do plan to start cooking with almond milk over dairy milk. 

What changes have you made in your overall diet? What products would I not find in your kitchen?

** Note: The following recipes may find their way to the blog soon: Macaroni and Cheese, Homemade Hamburger Skillets, Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad, Taco Seasoning Mix, Alfredo Sauce. **

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

What Best Reflects Me?

Here in North Carolina, about 20 miles away from me, there is a town called Trinity. However, I first learned about this story on the New Orleans news channel that I still keep up with. So, how did a town with a population of 6,600 make the news in New Orleans?

Simple. A teen sparked controversy in that little town. Caitlin Tiller is a teen mother. Her son just turned one year old. She completed her senior year early and is now in college and working part time. What did she do wrong? The school told each senior to bring in a "prop" that best reflects who they are to take a picture with for the yearbook. Some students brought their parents, siblings, grandparents, pets. Some students brought books, sports equipment, band instruments. Caitlin brought her son. The school told her that her photograph could not be used because it promoted teen pregnancy. Personally, I don't see how it promotes teen pregnancy anymore than watching "16 and Pregnant" on TV. Unfortunately, teen pregnancy is a big problem in the country today. But, making this poor girl feel like she will cause others to intentionally get pregnant is wrong.

At 17, I have no idea what I would have taken in for this type of photo. Probably my nephew because he meant everything to me when I was 17. But, now if you asked what I would take a photo with that best reflects who I am it would, undoubtedly, be my kids. I AM A MOTHER. No matter my age now or when I first became a mother, I am a mother. My kids reflect who I am. Period.

I am assuming the same holds true for this young girl. She had sex as a teen. She ended up pregnant. She has faced the consequence head on. She deserves to have a picture of her and her son in her yearbook just as much as the student who brought their pet. After all, eighteen years from now she will still be a mother to this little boy. Some say that if she wanted a picture with her son, she should have pictures taken on her own. But, why make her treat her son like he is a shameful thing? Sure, he didn't ask to be born to a teen mother. But, he was and she has chosen to do the best she can by him. I would never treat my children like they are a shameful part of my life. This little boy deserves the same consideration by others.

Places to find this story:
Teen's Yearbook Photo With Baby Banned
Wheatmore High School Bans Teen's Yearbook Picture Taken with Baby

I am Linking up at:

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Fifteen Years Ago....

** I am a day late writing this. This may also get a little long. **

Fifteen years ago, I looked down into the eyes of a beautiful baby girl. This precious baby was going to be the first person to ever call me Mommy.

I found out I was pregnant in September 1997. I had just suffered a miscarriage 6 months before. I was scared. I was nervous. I was happy. The range of emotions at the time was off the charts. I will admit that the timing was off. Way off. Chris was just 18; I had just turned 19. We were in a big world trying to make it on our own. And failing. Miserably. But, this was my baby and there was no way I was ever going to give him/her up.

I remember hearing the heartbeat for the first time. It was an amazing sound. I remember seeing the ultrasound for the first time. Those pictures were my most prized possession for a long time. My pregnancy was easy; too easy. I never looked pregnant until the end. Days of maternity clothes weren't in the cards for me. I continued to wear regular clothes until about month 8. I didn't get many ultrasounds done. At the 20th week growth scan, the legs stayed shut. I felt like I was having a boy so I picked out the name William Michael. I was confident that it was a boy and I never even considered a girl's name.

At 30 weeks, I started cramping a little. I was put in the hospital for observation. I was released the next day because the "contractions" had stopped and I had no dilation. Pregnancy was a cake walk the rest of the time. I had a few times that I went in to be checked because I thought I was having labor contractions. Turns out I wasn't. But, how did I know? I was new at this.

The night before my due date I went to the ER for contractions. It was customary for them to send you straight up to the Labor and Delivery floor and bypass seeing an ER doctor. They wanted to keep me overnight since I was contracting and had slight dilation. The next morning, I was still contracting and had not dilated any further. The decision was to send me home until I progressed further. I went into the bathroom to change and felt a gush of liquid between my legs. I told Chris to page the nurse; that I think my water just broke. The nurse came in and argued with me saying I peed on myself. Like seriously? I may have only been a 19 year old kid, but I knew that I did not pee on myself. She agreed to use a test strip on the fluid. It came back as my amniotic fluid. The doctor wanted me back in the bed. So, the long boring labor begins. I got started on pitocin. Around noon I asked for an epidural. I was having intense back labor. I was in and out of consciousness until around 5 pm. I had Chris and our neighbor, Vicki there as my coaches. At 5:30 pm, my doctor came and told me that if I didn't start progressing more then he was going to order a c-section. A few minutes later, I started pushing. And I pushed. And I pushed. For 2 hours, I pushed. At 7:57 pm, I delivered an 8 lb, 11.5 oz baby girl.

But, one problem. I didn't have a name for her. I was serious. I was convinced I was having a boy, so I didn't have a girl's name picked out at all. I was clueless. So, I let Chris name her.

Crystina Leighanne
May 14, 1998 @ 7:57 pm
8 lbs, 11.5 oz; 21.5" long
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Interesting Things About This Pregnancy:
Due Date: May 14, 1998
Actual Birth Date: May 14, 1998
Vaginal or C-Section: Vaginal
Pain Meds/Epidural?: Yes
Pregnancy Cravings: Twinkies and Mt Dew
Found Out the Sex or Surprise?: Surprise but not by choice

Crystina Through the Years
(Years 2001 and 2011 are missing)

1999 - Age 1
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2000 - Age 2
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2002 - Age 4
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2003 - Age 5
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2004 - Age 6
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2005 - Age 7
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2006 - Age 8
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2007 - Age 9
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2008 - Age 10
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2009 - Age 11
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2010 - Age 12
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2012 - Age 14
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2013 - Age 15
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Sunday, May 5, 2013

May 5th is International Bereaved Mothers Day...

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Image courtesy of Jordans Treasures

 May 5th is recognized as International Bereaved Mothers Day. This day is special to me. You see, I am a bereaved mother. I have three babies who live in Heaven. But, I am still their mother.

Today, I send my sympathies out to all the bereaved mothers in the world. It's a sad way to be connected but we are. Connected through the loss of a child.

One by one, I plan to share my stories of my children. Both those here with me and those who live in Heaven.

Are you a bereaved mother? If you are, please know that send you the biggest of hugs as we live each day without our babies.

For more information, visit the International Bereaved Mothers Day facebook page.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Where Is Home?

"Someone suggested that there's an incomplete part of our chromosomes that gets repaired or found when we hit New Orleans. Some of us just belong here." ~ John Goodman 

I've been out of Louisiana since August 2010. I knew it wouldn't be easy when I left Louisiana. In fact, I knew it was going to be one of the hardest things I had ever done. I spent the first 30 years of my life in Virginia. In the place I was born. The place that was supposed to be "home" to me. For 30 years I pretended that I belonged there. Then I stepped foot in Louisiana in December 2008. And I found home, the place where I belonged. In less than 24 hours, I knew there was no other place I'd rather be. We were there for 2 weeks before we had to come back to Virginia for the holidays. I was sad, fearing that I'd never see my precious Louisiana again. But, on January 5, 2009 I was back home... And I knew 100% without a doubt that I never wanted to leave it again. In March (2009), I had the option of staying behind in Louisiana for a month and a half or going to Washington DC. I chose to stay behind. When my husband's job in Louisiana was done, I was faced with the biggest dilemma ever: Trying to figure out how to stay behind alone with the kids, or leave. I had to do the only thing that I could at the time. I packed up to leave. But, a few nights before we left, I was promised that I would be able to return back to Louisiana as soon as possible. I left and cried until somewhere in Mississippi. I spent a week away and then when Chris got laid off, we took our savings and he took me back to the place I loved so dearly.

It was in Louisiana that I found out I was pregnant again with my 7th child. A child that a doctor swore 2 years earlier that I could never successfully carry. I conceived that very same child in Louisiana. My son was born in Louisiana. During the year I was in Louisiana before leaving for Maryland, my feelings never changed. Louisiana will always be my home. Not just because that's where I'm connected to via my son, but because it's the place that has my heart.

Louisiana gives me a sense of peace. A sense of belonging. In all honesty, it gave me the sense of being CRYSTAL instead of just wife and mother. I was happy, cheerful, full of life... This point was further evidenced in February of 2012. After a year and a half, I went back to Louisiana for a two week vacation. I was happy. I was cheerful. I was even pleasant to be around for two weeks. It was confirmed. Louisiana is my home; where I belong. Soon, I will be back there for good. And I will finally be home...

"She is a New Orleans girl, and New Orleans girls never live anywhere else and even if they do, they always come back. That's just the way it is. This is where she belongs. End of discussion." ~ Chris Rose

Monday, April 29, 2013

A Blogger's Dilemma: Changes

But, they're good changes. I think. When I first started my blog, it was a place to write my randomness. Over time it came to include reviews, recipes, and link ups. I hadn't really blogged much since it came to all that. Just sporadic here and there. I was getting to the point that I didn't even want to blog because it was Tuesday and it was this linky day, etc. I just wanted to be me and talk (well, write) about what I was feeling or what spoke to me right then. Now, don't get me wrong. There are some link ups that I love. One is Pour Your Heart Out at Things I Can't Say. Another is Monthly Goals at My So-Called Chaos. I will still participate in these. Monthly goals is just once a month; no problem. And I'll participate in Pour Your Heart Out when my heart speaks to me to.

Another problem in my blogging world is my need to compartmentalize my life. It's hard to explain. I just like for my life to be contained in, I don't know how to explain it, but organized little compartments. I was getting anxiety every time I posted a recipe because it wasn't a part of what I had envisioned for this blog. I didn't want my home school stuff to be on this blog. I wouldn't subject you to my non-filtered mouth when it comes to sports. And so one. So, I began creating new blogs focused towards certain areas of my life. Do I write in each one every day? Nope. And I never intended to write in each one every day.

So, with that being said, this blog is going back to where I originally wanted it. Just my random thoughts at random times. I have about 10 drafts on my dashboard. I will complete them in the very near future. My recipes are being moved to In The Kitchen with Crystal. I will not be posting every day there. I will link that blog to various Tasty Tuesday link ups each week.

So, welcome to the slightly changed The Italian Bella Diaries.

{I am adding a page to the top listing all my blogs and their purpose.}

Thursday, April 25, 2013

A 'Lil About Me: The Don't Ask, Don't Tell Tag

This intro is going to be a continuation of sorts of yesterday's post, Why I Don't Vlog. While I do not vlog, I enjoy watching others' videos and learning about them. One particular vlog (she also has a blog), BabyBellyKelli, began the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" tag. While I think it is a good tag, I just do not vlog. But, I still wanted to participate. So, instead I am going to do it here on my blog.

Her rules for the tag were:

1) Disable ratings. (We don't have that here for blogs)
2) Disable comments. (I will do that. This is to see what my feelings are on issues not to spark a debate)
3) Not to explain or try to persuade viewers (readers).

So, with that being said, here we go....

1) Are you a democrat or a republican? I guess republican. I think I would be considered more of a constitutionalist. 

2) Be honest: Did you vote and who for? No. I was not registered in my new state yet.

3) Pro - gay or anti - gay? I am pro-love whoever you want. I believe they should have rights like any other couple. However, I believe it should be called a civil union and leave the term marriage for religious ceremonies.

4) Pro - life or pro - choice? Pro - life unless for health reasons.

5) For or against vaccinations? We do not vaccinate. Your choice may be different and I respect that.

6) Sugar before the age of 1? In certain things, I guess so (although I can't really think of anything).

7) TV before the age of 1? It has always been on, but the kids never sat there and stared at it. Still don't.

8) Cloth diapers/disposable diapers/both? I have always only used disposable. 

9) For or against circumcision? I did not circumcise my son.

10) Home School/public school/private school? We home school.

11) Spanking or no spanking? No.

12) Cursing in front of children: Good or Bad? Bad but it happens sometimes.

13) Do you believe in God? yes

14) Cry It Out or No? No

15) Organic or Non Organic? Right now non organic. I really want to start on organic. I have been cutting out gluten though.

16) Fast Food for Kids? They get it once a week as a treat (AKA Mom's night off in the kitchen)

17) Co sleeping? Yes

18) Breast or Formula? I tried with all of my kids to breast feed. I had a lack of support for the first 6 (not from husband but from the medical community, etc). I ended up formula feeding. For the first 6, they did get breast fed for 2 - 4 weeks.

19) Natural or Epidural? I had epidural with the first 2. With my first set of twins, I had it put in but they came before they could get the meds in me. Last two pregnancies were c-section. 

20) Rearfacing until 1 or 2? All of my kids are over 2 now. The norm was forward facing after 1 and 20 lbs. and I hadn't heard about Extended Rear Facing until my youngest was 18 months old. 

21) Brand Name or Off Brand? I am a brand name snob on certain things. But, mostly we buy off-brand.

22) Hand Me Downs or Brand New? Hand Me downs are fine. I do like to buy them brand new outfits for special occasions.

23) Pop or water for you and kids? I drink water. I get a lemonade or diet soda once a week. Kids drink sweet tea.

24) Ok Dating Age? My oldest is almost 15 and has not had a date. Maybe it's time for me to really think about this question. We always told her 30 but I guess that's not a legit answer. It really depends on maturity not age.

25) Do you consume alcohol? If so, how much? Yes but not regularly. Since June of 2009 (right before I got pregnant with my son), I have had maybe a beer. And that is it.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Why I don't Vlog

There have been several changes in the social media world. And I don't just mean Myspace and Facebook. When I first entered the online community in 2001, the craze was websites. We spent hours personalizing our websites. I remember mine was HUGE. This was back when Yahoo offered Geocities free. Slowly, I noticed websites phasing out. The new thing was Xanga, which was like present day blogging. It was just more simple. I noticed that Xanga still exists, but I can't remember my login information for anything. After that Myspace and then Facebook took over. Then, it was the great blogging evolution. Blogger and WordPress became common terms. Obviously, I entered the blogging evolution. But, the newest thing out there is vlogging - video blogging. Now, why haven't I entered this craze? Well, I have my reasons. 

First, I hate my voice! It's awful. So, why would I subject people to have to listen to it frequently? I wouldn't. Second, I think my life is too boring to video for the world. Trust me, it is. Third, I never have the time to video anything that doesn't involve kids running around me like wild animals. Seriously. Fourth, I have absolutely no idea how to edit. And there would have to be some major editing done on my videos. 

I love watching other people's vlogs. It's just like an extension of the list of blogs I read. But, I honestly don't think vlogging is for me. I have made some videos. Nothing spectacular. But, I have never published them. Honestly, I probably won't. I think I'll consider myself happy here in blogger world.  

Monday, March 11, 2013

Like, Seriously? It's a website?

I was three weeks into my Social Psychology class. I had just turned in my second paper and was gathering my sources for my portion of the team project so they could be instructor approved. I found one journal article to use. I also planned to use my current textbook. However, each person must have two different sources (a total of 8 sources combined) and I was pretty sure our text was a given. I decided to use the textbook I used in my Principles of Psychology, Intro to Psychology I and Intro to Psychology II classes in community college. I submitted the article and my past textbook for approval. I got a response: "Article is approved. The other source is not. It is a website. You must have peer reviewed articles or textbooks to be approved."

This is NOT a textbook y'all but a website?
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I didn't take it to heart. I figured maybe my facilitator had the title confused with a website. I replied back that this was in fact the textbook I had used in past classes. It was not a website but a physical book. And I had possession of not one but two editions of this book in physical form. I continued working on another assignment because as far as I was concerned, my two sources were within the requirements. I noticed my week two grades were posted and I noticed I had a reply back on this matter. I chose to look at my grades first. I did not do as well on paper as I hoped. I knew I was having points taken off for lateness, but there were more points taken off. I read the instructor notes and saw she deducted points for using the above book as a source. She still maintained that it was a website. I went and read her reply back on my sources assignment. Again, she told me that Psychsmart would not be approved because it was a website. I was irate then. I didn't know how else to convince her that it was a book, in my hand right then, and not a website. 

I emailed my academic advisor. I explained the whole situation to him. I waited for a response. Later the next afternoon, when I had no response, I called him direct. I explained it to him and he got me out of that class. Thank goodness! I hope I never see that facilitator's name on my schedule again! I have to begin Social Psychology over again on 3/19. Here's to hoping I don't have the same problem....

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Sunday, March 10, 2013

March Goals

I was on vacation from February 21st - March 9th so I did not get this post done in time. In fact, I have not done a post in over a month. I so suck at blogging regularly. Maybe I will just blame it on the packing and preparing for the vacation and then the vacation itself.

Here is a recap of February Goals:

February Goals 
 Better time management for school. Like seriously. FAILED. This is another blog post altogether.
Write 6,200 words of novel. FAILED. I wrote maybe 50.
Lose 5 pounds. FAILEDLost none. In fact I gained a bit on vacation.
Finish vacation plans and take vacation. COMPLETED!
Cook at home 6 days a week (except on vacation). SUCCESS!
Blog at least twice a week (baby steps here). FAILED!
Read 2 books. SUCCESS! I read 10 books {maybe that's why I haven't blogged}
 Complete 2 Pinterest projects/crafts. FAILED. Completed none.
Complete Photo A Day Challenges on Instagram. FAILED! Quit about 3 days into it.

March Goals
  • Better time management for school. I start my new class on 3/19.
  • Write 6,200 words of current novel (Far Away).
  • Background Research for next novel (Sparks Fly) for Camp NaNoWriMo.
  • Lose 5 pounds.
  • Cook at home 6 days a week.
  • Blog at least twice a week.
  • Read 2 books.
  • Complete 2 Pinterest projects/crafts.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

February Goals

Yep, it's that time again. Goal time. But, first here's a recap of January.

January Goals 
  • Better time management for school. Didn't even come close.
  • Write 21,500 words of my novel.  Didn't even write 1 word. I suck. 
  • Lose 9 pounds. Semi-fail. I lost 6 lbs in January. Not bad. 
  • Plan and finalize vacation plans. Started to but then stopped when vacation got pushed back.
  • Try one new recipe a week. SUCCESS!
  • Blog more consistently. Once a week or so is all I managed. 
  • Formulate and begin the traditions I want to begin within my family. This didn't even cross my mind!

February Goals

  • Better time management for school. Like seriously.
  • Write 6,200 words of novel.
  • Lose 5 pounds.
  • Finish vacation plans and take vacation.
  • Cook at home 6 days a week (except on vacation).
  • Blog at least twice a week (baby steps here).
  • Read 2 books. 
  • Complete 2 Pinterest projects/crafts.
  • Complete Photo A Day Challenges on Instagram. 

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Food Project 365: Week #5

Day #26: Chris cooked for me. We had steak (with mushrooms and onions), baked potatoes and salad.
Day 26 photo IMG_1510_zps835d34c5.jpg

Day #27: Pancakes and bacon (another Chris meal)
Day 27 photo IMAG0821.jpg

Day #28: Steak and Cheese sandwiches, french fries and green peas.
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Day #29: Honey Balsamic Chicken, fried rice and green beans
Day 29 photo IMG_1517_zpsa7db7d67.jpg

Day #30: Cheesy Beef Taco Skillet and peaches
Day 30 photo IMG_1521_zps9225d43e.jpg

Day #31: Grilled Porkchops, cheesy potatoes and green peas
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Day #32: Sweet and Sour Chicken and fried rice (Chinese take out) 
Day 32 photo IMAG0869_zps925e1784.jpg

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Food Project 365: Week 4

Day #19 (1/19): Pizza

Day #19 photo IMAG0620.jpg

Day #20 (1/20): Cheeseburgers and chips

Day #20 photo IMAG0623.jpg

Day #21 (1/21): Red Beans and Rice

Day #21 photo IMAG0626.jpg

Day #22 (1/22): Oven Baked Chicken, macaroni and cheese, and corn on the cob

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Day #23 (1/23): Roast Beef, potatoes and carrots

Day #23 photo IMG_1505_zpsb8f3dcda.jpg 

Day #24 (1/24): Chili and cornbread

Day #24 photo IMG_1507_zps410b5d16.jpg 

Day #25 (1/25): McDonald's

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Saturday, January 19, 2013

Food Project 365: Week 3

Day #12 (1/12): Pizza
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Day #13 (1/13): Hamburgers and Pasta Salad
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Day #14 (1/14): Pancakes
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Day #15 (1/15): Cheeseburger Macaroni Skillet and Fruit Cocktail
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Day #16 (1/16): Ranch Porkchops, Bacon Ranch Potatoes and corn
Day 16 photo IMG_1465_zpscec214a0.jpg

Day #17 (1/17): Cheesy Beef Taco Skillet and cornbread
Day 17 photo IMG_1473_zps09b18325.jpg

Day #18 (1/18): McDonald's. I was really bad today. Snowy weather makes me want to eat. A lot.  photo IMAG0617.jpg