Monday, June 30, 2014

5,000 Question Survey {Part 1}

The 5000 Question Survey! That's a whole lot of questions. This is part of my 101 Things in 1001 Days Challenge.  I decided to break it up into segments. This first one will be 20 questions long.

1. Who are you? 
  •      I am a daughter, sister, wife, mother, granddaughter, niece, cousin, aunt, student, home schooler, reader, writer, blogger, sports fanatic.  

2. What are the 3 most important things everyone should know about you?
  • I am fiercely loyal to those I love.
  • I am an emotional and empathetic person.
  • I am always real. I never try to be something I am not.

3. When you aren't filling out 5,000 question surveys like this one what are you doing?
  • Wife duties, mothering, writing, reading, studying, listening to music, watching television.

4. List your classes in school from the ones you like the most to the ones you like the least

(or if you are out of school, think of the classes you did like and didn't like at the time).
  • I am in college. I can't really rank my classes. My favorites are usually those that deal with psychopathology (abnormal psychology). My least favorite were environmental psychology and industrial/organizational psychology. Please do not ask me to remember high school. That was almost 20 years ago and my favorite classes changed year to year.

5. What is your biggest goal for this year?
  • I already achieved my biggest goal which was to finish my Bachelors program. My next biggest goal is to finish my novel. 

6. Where do you want to be in 5 years?
  • Finished {or at least close to finished} with my doctorate. 
  • Living back in Louisiana.
  • More stable financially.

7. What stage of life are you in right now?
  • What stage of life? According to lifespan psychology theories I am in the Early Adulthood stage. Otherwise, I don't know. The wife/mother/graduate student stage?

8. Are you more child-like or childish?
  • Child - like.

9. What is the last thing you said out loud?
  • "What are you doing?"

10. What song comes closest to how you feel about your life right now?
  • Oh, goodness. I have no idea. I don't think there is a song close to how I feel about life right now.

11. Have you ever taken martial arts classes?
  • No.

12. Does your life tend to get better or worse or does it just stay the same?
  • It goes through stages.

13. Does time really heal all wounds?
  • No.

14. How do you handle a rainy day?
  • Sleep.

15. Which is worse...losing your luggage or having to sort out tangled holiday lights?
  • Losing my luggage.

16. How is your relationship with your parents? Will you miss them when they are gone?
  • Strained. I probably will.

17. Do you tend to be aware of what is going on around you?
  • Most times. 

18. What is the truest thing that you know?
  • That Karma is a b*tch!

19. What did you want to be when you grew up?
  • Oh, lots of things. Teacher, actress, president, CEO, nurse, doctor, physical therapist, police officer, lawyer, judge, writer, social worker, firefighter. 

20. Have you ever been given a second chance?
  • Yes. I probably didn't deserve it but I am glad I received it. 

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Sunday Social: Random Silliness

1. What was your college major? Did you ever change majors?
Change majors? A million and one times! When I first went to college after high school, I was a science major, then liberal arts, then criminal justice. And that was all in ONE semester! And that was the only semester I attended then. When I went back to school in 2008, I spent 2.5 years as an Accounting/Business Management dual major. I then switched to Psychology and that is what my bachelors degree is in. I am going back for my Masters of Psychology in September.

2. What is the best purchase you’ve made lately?
Probably my recliner/loveseat combo.
  photo lr_luv_11201011Cody-Espresso-Reclining-Console-Loveseat_zps4075ad3f.jpeg 
{Photo Credit}
I love this thing! I have even managed to fall asleep comfortably in it. However, my touchscreen laptop is probably a very close second.

3. What is something silly we don’t know about you and go…
I cannot stand the sound of someone scratching fabrics (clothes, sofas, blankets, etc.). It drives me absolutely insane. 

4. What is your favorite Holiday?
I just recently did a post about this! Mardi Gras!

5. What is the first thing you do when you wake up?
Ummm... Check my phone. Apparently that's when all the spam email gets sent....

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Wanna Drive me Insane?

Well, here's a pretty good road map to do it. 

Ten of My Pet Peeves:

1. Misspelling/Grammar

2. Someone calling my name and then saying "Never mind" when I answer.

3. People sitting at a red light and continuing to sit there when the light turns green because they're on their cell phone. 

4. People who honk in front of a house instead of getting out of the car and ringing the doorbell. 

5. When people call me but are talking to someone else when I answer and I have to wait until they stop talking. 

6. People at a store/supermarket who wait in a long checkout line, and then when they finally need to pay they take forever to find their checkbook/cash/credit card.

7. PeOpLe WhO tYpE LiKe ThIs. 

8. People who say "axe" instead of "ask".

9. When someone with a full cart of groceries gets into the 10 items or less line.

10. Unsolicited parenting advice.       

** This is a part of the 30 Things My Kids Should Know About Me Series 

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Friday, June 27, 2014

Just a Little Bragging...

I have achieved a few things successfully of which I am proud of. Some may seem trivial to some, but to me they were a big thing.   

Here are 5 that I consider my own personal accomplishments. 

  1. Graduating High School  
  2. Having Children
  3. Earning my Bachelors Degree
  4. Learning to Cook
  5. Writing 10,000 words of my first novel

Graduating High School: Of course this is a big thing. I finished high school. I graduated with honors (I want to say a 3.8 GPA). I was a member of the National Honor Society. I wish for all my kids to finish high school. They don't have to be as smart as me. They don't have to beat my GPA. I just want them to do the best that they can and finish.

Having Children: I had my oldest when I was 19. I was scared. I didn't think I could make it through the pain. But I did. Then I did it again. Then I realized that I was going to have to birth not only one, but two the third time around. And I did it. With very minimal pain medication. When I was having the second set of twins, I found out after almost 24 hours of labor that I would be getting a c-section. I didn't think I would make it through that. Then when I had the last baby, I didn't think I would make it through another c-section. But I did. And I have 7 of the most beautiful and wonderful (most of the time) children to show for it.

Earning my Bachelors Degree: I just recently accomplished this. At first the thought absolutely terrified me. I don't know why. But, now that I have it, I am so proud of myself. It may have taken me this long to do it, but I did it. I will be working on my Masters beginning in September.

Learning to Cook: I have heard so many people say that they wished they could cook or that they had learned to. I was never taught, per se. I just kind of taught myself through trial and error. I didn't spend much time in the kitchen with my mom to learn anything. I just collected recipes all through my teen years and then taught myself as an adult. I may not be a gourmet cook but I do know how to cook relatively well.

Writing 10,000 words of my first novel: It will be even more an accomplishment when I complete it and publish it. However, getting to 10,000 words after putting this goal to the side for many years is an accomplishment for me. 

I will accomplish many more things in my life. But as of right now, these are 5 of my accomplishments. 

** This is a part of the 30 Things My Kids Should Know About Me Series
 photo 30Things_zps8a319447.png

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Your Story Blog Hop: Your Food

This week Kriselle at Livin' and Lovin' asks:

This is more than your typical "what's your favorite food" post. What kinds of food did you eat growing up? Do you still eat it now? If you ate any cultural foods, what did you eat? Tell us about it!

I am kind of glad that this isn't a post about my favorite food. Quite honestly, my favorite food changes frequently. It all depends on my mood. Sometimes naming my favorite food seems as impossible as naming my favorite child. It's just not possible to do.

Growing up, I ate a variety of foods. Some were "cultural". My paternal grandmother's side of the family is Italian. Therefore, we ate a lot of Italian foods. I also lived in the "South" and we ate a lot of Southern food: fried chicken, baked macaroni and cheese, etc. My dad's family were also big fishers and hunters so there was always fish or venison (deermeat) to eat. I, personally, cannot eat venison. Tried it once, swore never again. But, I loved eating fried fish and shrimp and crab. I still eat all of this as an adult. Seafood is still one of my favorite "foods". I also love Italian food and it is one of my favorite cuisines to cook. I don't fry foods though so fried chicken is a luxury when we go out to eat.

{I don't fry chicken. But, I make Oven Baked Fried Chicken. The seasoning on it tastes similar to Kentucky Fried Chicken and the inside texture is exactly like KFC. Recipe here.} 

As I got older, I learned more about food and cultures. I'm not a pro by any means in Chinese cuisine but the few dishes I can cook are awesome and taste better than any take out I've ever had. I also lived in southern Louisiana for a couple of years. I learned to cook Cajun and Creole cuisines which are also some of my favorites to cook. 

{Red Beans and Rice. Recipe here.} 

I love food. I really do. I've been collecting recipes since I could read. I've been cooking since I was a teenager. And I've been inventing recipes since then as well. My children are exposed to what I ate as a child. I expose them to a variety of foods. There are still some things I want to try that I haven't yet.

There are some foods that I absolutely associate with my childhood. They include roast beef (with potatoes and carrots), homemade chicken noodle soup, and my mom's homemade french fries. Roast beef has some positive memories and some negative memories for me. I came to hate it because my mom fixed it once a week (and sometimes my grandmother fixed it for Sunday dinner so that made twice a week some weeks). It took me a long time to be willing to eat it again much less cook it. However, the positive is that when my grandmother made it, it was associated with family togetherness. I do fix it on occasion now. But, not even close to once a week. I LOVE my mom's homemade french fries. They are better than any fries I have ever eaten. I would pay for her to come to me and cook them once a week if I could. 

One of my life goals is to own a restaurant. With my love of the art of cooking, is that really a surprise?

Livin' and Lovin' Blog

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Is Technology Making Us Lazy?

Over the weekend we went to Sheetz. While there we noticed that one island of 8 gasoline pumps was having a problem: it wouldn't accept credit/debit cards outside. Now, you could walk in and pay before hand but were not able to pay outside. We (it was just the me and the husband) had gotten our dinner to go and had just stopped there to get a smoothie but we decided to eat our dinner before going in for the smoothie. So, we sat there and watched these 8 gas pumps while we ate.

And do you know what I learned? Technology has made us lazy. We saw probably 30 cars pull up to these pumps. And for the vast majority of them, it was the same scenario. Swipe card, look confused, swipe card again, still look confused. We saw them glance up at the directions screen and then walk inside while grumbling {I must interject here that I went up to a pump and read the screen. It said "Please Pay Inside" from the get - go}. Now almost every person began the way I described above. There were a few that you could see were paying cash so they had to go inside anyway. But, the actions of the majority completely baffled me! Instead of just walking inside and paying for the pump they were at, they would drive to another pump and try the process again. If they stayed at the same island, the results were the same. If they were lucky enough to get a spot on the second island, they were able to pay at the pump. Of course, the ones who went to a different pump on the same island would repeat the process again. Then walk inside grumbling. What?

When did we become a country that was so lazy that walking inside a gas station was an inconvenience? Literally, an inconvenience. One person even drove off instead of going inside to pay. I was completely confused. Maybe it's because I never pay at the pump to begin with. Is it so much more difficult to walk inside the store, stand in line for maybe a couple of minutes, pay, and then get the gas? Are we becoming a lazy country or just one that is so busy that we can't even take two minutes out of our life to run inside of a store. 

Maybe it wouldn't have been so bad if people didn't try to repeatedly put the card in the reader the second, third, etc times. Seriously, in the amount of time it took to try and force the machine to work or to get in the car and drive to another pump to repeat the process, you could have gone inside, paid, and already began pumping the gas. What made it even worse, was the fact that all 8 pumps had the "Please Pay Inside" on the screen. One glance at the screen on any of the 8 and you would know what to do.

To me, it's completely sad that we are becoming a world so dependent on technology that we don't know how to function without it. It also saddens me that we have become a world that because of technology, have become lazy.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Random Silliness... I am Bored.

Listening... My playlists on Spotify.

Eating... Nothing. It's almost 1 am.

Drinking... Again, nothing.

Reading... Talk to Me by Clare James.

Wearing... yoga pants and a T-shirt


Needing... a vacation.

Wanting... more time in a day.

Thinking... about my blog post for tomorrow (Wednesday).

Enjoying... the few happy thoughts I am having. 

See, most people look at me and say, "Wow! 7 kids! I bet there's not a boring moment in your house." But, honestly, I find that I am bored a lot. I don't know why that is. Then again, I finished these questions at 1 AM.

Monday, June 23, 2014

I'm beginning the 101 Things in 1001 Days!

I have seen this floating around everywhere for years. I always said I was going to start my own list, but never have. Until now. My 1001 days begins today!

I have a page up top with my full list. But, I will also add my list here. The page will have my updated list.


1. Finish my Masters Degree.
2. Join HSLDA.
3. Attend my Graduation.


4. Blog every day for a month.
5. Complete the 30 Things My Kids Should Know About Me.
6. Create a schedule for my blog topics each month.
7. Complete the 31 Days to a Better Blog exercises.


8. Complete a 365 day photo challenge.
9. Take a picture for each letter of the alphabet.
10. Take a photo of a place through all four seasons.
11. Take a self – portrait every week for a year.
12. Take a photography class.


13. Write a novel.
14. Answer the “50 Questions That Will Free Your Mind”.
15. Make a list of 101 quotes that inspire me.
16. Write 5 letters to 5 people who changed my life.
17. Keep a “My Day in Six Words” journal for 6 months.
18. Complete NaPoWriMo each year of the challenge.
19. Complete all NaNoWriMo activities each year of the challenge.
20. Complete Writing 101 on the Daily Post.
21. Complete the 5000 Question Survey.

Movies, Books, & Music 

22. Watch the 10 highest – grossing movies of 1978 (birth year).
23. Watch 26 movies I’ve never seen starting with each letter of the Alphabet.
24. See 10 classic movies I’ve never seen.
25. Ask 20 friends to suggest one book, and read them all.
26. Listen to 26 bands I’ve never heard of, each starting with a different letter of the alphabet.
27. Re-read all of Edgar Allan Poe’s works.
28. Read 5 classic books (no Poe and no Shakespeare).
29. Read the complete works of Shakespeare.


30. Visit the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
31. Attend the Coca – Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
32. Attend WWE Raw or Smackdown.
33. Attend an Atlanta Braves home game.
34. Attend a NASCAR race at Darlington.
35. Attend one Saints game (home or away).


36. Visit Biltmore Estate.
37. Visit the Fort Sumter National Monument.
38. Visit Charleston, SC.
39. Take a trip to Myrtle Beach, SC.
40. Go on a cruise.
41. Visit 10 museums.
42. Make a list of 50 places I would like to visit in my lifetime.

 Health and Fitness

43. Lose 25 pounds.
44. Start exercising regularly.
45. Complete a 30 Miles in 30 Days Challenge
46. Do a Couch to 5k running plan.
47. Complete a 100 Pushups Challenge.
48. Complete a 200 Sit – Ups Challenge.
49. Complete a 200 Squats Challenge.
50. Log food and exercise for a whole year.
51. Drink the recommended water intake each day for a month.
52. Go without soda for a month.
53. Go without chocolate for a month.


54. Learn Italian.
55. Make a list of the top 5 people who have positively influenced me and write them letters.
56. Tie a note to a balloon and let it go.
57. Read through the Bible in a year.
58. Write a personal mission statement.
59. Write a letter to myself to open in 10 years.
60. Create a memory jar.
61. Create an inspiration notebook.
62. Create a list of tiny dreams, big dreams, bucket list, favorites, and challenges.
63. Go camping.
64. Call/email/message my brother.
65. Get my passport.
66. Learn sign language.
67. Send my Grandmother flowers.
68. Name a star after each of my 3 angel babies.
69. Log purchases and incomes every day during the challenge.
70. Learn 50 new things by clicking the random article button on Wikipedia.

Cooking and Food 

71. Cook one new recipe each week of the challenge.
72. Make a list of thirty recipes I want to cook and cook them.
73. Try Sushi.
74. Eat at all Cajun restaurants in my city.
75. Buy ten cookbooks; make one recipe from each.
76. Create one recipe a month.
77. Buy a big cookbook and make a recipe from each section.
78. Bake something from scratch.
79. Learn a new recipe from 15 different countries.
80. Make a custom recipe book.


81. Get a new tattoo.
82. Buy more dresses/skirts and wear them! 83. Get my ears re-pierced.
84. Buy a piece of jewelry each month.
85. Replace my make – up collection.
86. Buy a new bottle of nail polish a week.
87. Whiten teeth.
88. Dress up once a week for a year.

Being a Happy Homemaker 

89. Learn to knit.
90. Fall back into the FlyLady habit.
91. Complete 5 Pinterest crafts.

For Fun 

92. Complete a coloring book.
93. Buy a lottery ticket when the jackpot is insanely high.
94. Learn a new word every day for a month.
95. Attend an author event as a reader.
96. Attend an author event as an author.
97. Create a business plan for my dream restaurant.

The End 

98. Donate $5 to charity for each task I don’t complete.
99. Inspire someone to make a 101/1001 list.
100. Save $5 for every task I complete.
101. Make a new 101/1001 list.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Sunday Social: Movies, TV, Books, Music, & Internet

1. What’s your favorite scary movie?
Honestly, I cannot think of one that is my "favorite". I watch scary movie. I like scary movies. I wouldn't necessarily call them scary since none really "scare" me. I really don't know the answer to this....
2. What is your favorite weird TV show you think no one else watches?
Again, I am at a loss. Maybe Chrisley Knows Best? I love that show. So much better than that Kardashian trash. I also like Flip or Flop on HGTV, but I don't know any other person who watches it.
3. What is the song you can sing all the words to without any music?
Ummm... Far Away by Nickelback comes to mind.
4. What is your favorite book to re read?
Gone With the Wind.
5. The one website you visit more times a day than others?
Probably facebook. Unfortunately. But I run a Book Review Blog page so I spend more time on that part though.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Being a Teen Mom?

Teen mom. Unfortunately it's a term we hear a lot about these days. When I was in high school, I knew very few teen moms. I could, literally, count them on one hand. I think back when I was in school, everyone pretty much accepted teen pregnancy as a pregnancy in any female of teen years still in school. But, then when I looked at the real definition of teenage, or adolescent, pregnancy I learned that simply it is a pregnancy in any female aged 19 or under.

I was 18 when I got pregnant the first time. My pregnancy lasted barely 10 weeks and resulted in a miscarriage. No one considered me a mom after that, much less a teen mom. I had just turned 19 when I got pregnant the second time. I had my daughter two months before my 20th birthday. By definition I was a teen mom, even though it was a brief time.

When I had my daughter, I never thought of myself as a teen mom. I guess it was because the misconception I had of the term eliminated me from it. But, in reality, I was a teen mom. My life wasn't as glamorous as that seen on television. In fact, I lived with my boyfriend. I may have been lucky in the fact that he didn't leave me and is in fact my husband now. But, I didn't have built in babysitters. I didn't have family that let me live with them. I had my own bills that I was responsible for. We had to work to support ourselves.

It wasn't easy. I don't regret my daughter, but I wish I hadn't been just 19 when I had her. I wish I had finished college and had a career. It would have made things a little easier. Being a teen mom isn't all it's cracked up to be, at least by some. I found nothing glamorous about it.

Society needs to stop glamorizing teen pregnancy. Even those teens on 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom get paid to be on the show. Of course, they can provide nice things for their kids. They are making more than some parents in their 20s and 30s. How is that showing the reality of teen pregnancy? Sure, some of the situations (single parenting, co-parenting,finishing school) are real but how can someone who works part time as a waitress afford rent, bills, and providing necessities and extras for a child? I couldn't and I was a full time waitress and the father was working construction.

Glamorizing teen pregnancy just adds fuel to the ever-growing epidemic.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Product Review: Sheetz

** DISCLAIMER: I received coupons for 1 free Sheetz M-T-O item and 1 free Sheetz Drink from BzzAgent. **

I have been a customer of Sheetz for years; however, I have never purchased any of their M-T-O items. When BzzAgent sent me the information for this campaign, I was eager to sign up. It's always easiest to try something new when you don't have to take the risk of wasting money on it. 

I decided to use the coupons I received on a day when I would usually be buying lunch out anyway. Ordering at Sheetz is E-A-S-Y! Upon walking into the store, you walk up to touchscreens. On these touchscreens, you go through the ordering process. The process is easy and you are walked through every aspect of ordering your food. The running total of your order is displayed on the right of the screen to easily keep track. In this ordering method, you are responsible for the accuracy of your order being typed. I, personally, think all fast food restaurants should go to this method. After printing out your ticket, you go to the main counter and pay for your order before picking it up.

On this visit, I chose to purchase a 6" steak sub with extra meat, extra pepper jack cheese, caramelized onions, herbed mushrooms, green peppers, black olives, and mayonnaise on wheat. I also chose the Orange Cream Smoothie as my beverage. My husband also used a coupon and ordered a 6" steak sub with pepper jack cheese, diced onions, salt and pepper on a pretzel roll. He also got the Orange Cream Smoothie. 

I really enjoyed my sandwich. In fact, I thought it was better than some comparable "fast food" sub shops. The sandwich was adequately filled with my choice of fillings. The 6" was more than enough for a meal especially when paired with some fries (we paid for a bucket of fries to share). The smoothie was very good. I will be going back and trying other variations of smoothies. I just tried this one because it was recommended on the ordering screen. My husband enjoyed the pretzel roll and it is now his favorite for sandwiches.

Sheetz has always been one of my frequent stops since I am a member of their rewards program and love the deals I get there on other products. Sheetz will now become my go-to place for quick lunch and/or dinner as well. 

I give this product ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

** Disclaimer: All opinions expressed in this review are mine. I was given a free product to try in exchange for an honest review. **

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Sunday Social: It Comes in Fours?

1. 4 favorite phone apps
     Have you seen my phone??? I have 150+ apps on the phone; that I remember anyway. My four current favorites are my Kindle app, Spotify, Toshl Finance, and Tick Tick To Do List.

2. 4 favorite Summer TV shows
     I don't watch much TV especially during the summer. The only two shows coming to mind are Graceland and Master Chef.

3. 4 things you would NEVER do
    This is a hard question! I seriously cannot come up with an answer!
4. 4 items you carry with you no matter what
     phone, money/debit card, gum, and pen/notepad.
5. 4 blogs we should follow 

YOU!! :) {Leave your blog link in the comments so we can all meet and follow (?) you}. 

Saturday, June 14, 2014

The "Perfect" Family

That was what my family looked like at one point. Not the family I have now, but the family I had when I was little. We looked like the perfect little family. Dad, Mom, daughter, and son. On the outside we looked like the perfect family. But, on the inside we were far from it. 

I'm not saying I was abused. I wasn't. I'm not saying I was neglected. I wasn't. But, the relationships between father/daughter and mother/daughter I saw my friends having, I didn't have. I think at some point every little girl wants to be "Daddy's Little Girl". I know I did. But, I never was. Not from the years I remember. I like to pretend that maybe I was Daddy's little girl in the years that I can't remember. 

I remember my friends were able to talk to their mothers about their problems. I remember my friends talking about going places with their mothers for fun. I didn't have any of that. I felt like my mom would belittle me and my problems. We never went anywhere for fun except a handful of times in my life.

I wish I had those close relationships with my parents. Sadly, I still don't. Everyone thought my brother was the black sheep of the family. But, in all honesty I feel like the black sheep. I feel like I don't belong, like I don't measure up. Measure up to what, I don't know. 

I haven't talked to my dad in years. I have talked to my mom a lot in the last couple of years but it was mainly about my brother; never me. I don't let it bother me though. I have my own little family. I have my own kids to nurture and care for. I realize I may not be a perfect parent, but I try not to make the same mistakes my parents did. I don't want a single of my kids to look back years from now and wish they had a better relationship with me. I want them to have a great relationship with me now and in the future. 

This is #21 on my list, "30 Things My Kids Should Know About Me"

Friday, June 13, 2014

Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler

This post is the answer to #23 of 30 Things My Kids Should Know About Me. I will also be linking up with Hoda and Kriselle on the Your Story Blog Hop.

What is your favorite holiday and why?

I struggled with this as a child. I could never find a holiday that was truly "me". For awhile, it was Thanksgiving. I liked the fact that it was all about family being together and not about gifts like Christmas was.  As I got older, I started liking Thanksgiving even less. I want to say that after both of my maternal grandparents died in 1995 and 2002, we stopped having the family dinners much less holidays. And my paternal grandfather passed away in 2004 and that kind of took away the few family events I did have left. 

 photo Floats_zps92906aa7.png  
{Photos © Crystal @ The Italian Bella Diaries}

In 2009 I went to Houma, Louisiana for my husband's job. It just so happened that it was right in the middle of Carnival season. I fell in love. Literally, I fell in love with the "holiday" known as Carnival. Most people call it Mardi Gras but in reality Mardi Gras is strictly the name for Fat Tuesday. The entire season from January 6th until Mardi Gras Day is known as Carnival Season.

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{Photos © Crystal @ The Italian Bella Diaries}

Growing up Catholic, I celebrated Ash Wednesday (the day after Fat Tuesday) and then the Lent season that followed. I learned that there are a great many Catholics in southern Louisiana (duh, right?). And I learned that the Mardi Gras I always saw depicted on television was false. Who would've thought, right? Of course, I know that things get a little crazier in New Orleans which is why I chose not to go to parades there. But, in Houma, the atmosphere was just right for me. 

 photo IMAG0132_zps004b12fc.jpg 
{Photo © Crystal @ The Italian Bella Diaries}

Now, why do I like "Mardi Gras"? Besides it's the only acceptable time to indulge in King Cake? It's the togetherness. Friends and strangers alike together having fun. You know the saying, "I've never met a stranger"? Well, that's how I feel during the parades. Talking to people, making new acquaintances, dancing in the streets...

 photo MiscMG_zpsab605e54.png 
{Photos © Crystal @ The Italian Bella Diaries}
Maybe, the togetherness reminds me of what I remember as a child. In my experiences (since I have been to more than one year), there is no expectations. Just good old fashioned fun. 

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Thursday, June 12, 2014

Growing Up is Hard

Today I am answering Question 13 of the 30 Things My Kids Should Know About Me.

What’s the hardest part of growing up?

Growing up? The hardest part? To me it's going from carefree to responsible. My mom always told me when I was younger, "Don't be in such a rush to grow up." I never understood what she meant... Until I grew up. When I was younger, I had no concept of bills and major responsibility. I relied on someone else to meet my basic needs. Now, I have to worry about bills getting paid. I am responsible for the running of my home.

There are days I want to sit around and let someone else worry about my problems and bills. But, I can't. There are the days that I want to be carefree and leave all my responsibilities to someone else. But, I can't.

My advice? Enjoy your youth. Wake up every day and have fun in your life. Don't sweat the small stuff. It'll all be trivial when you're an adult. Looking back there were things in my childhood/teen life that I stressed over. And now? It seemed like a waste of time. The time I spent stressing could've been used doing something more productive.

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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

It's Not That I Don't Care...

{Photo Credit}

You can spend your whole life trying to help someone. You can give advice, pay money, sacrifice, but sometimes it feels like you are getting no where. You get yelled at because they want you to leave them alone to make their own mistakes. Then when you do, you get yelled at because you were supposed to keep the mistake from happening. You feel caught. You feel strongly for this person because they are family.  You feel bad that their choices put them in bad predicaments. But, what can you do? They made the decisions they wanted and damn the consequences. Until the consequences were more than they could handle. 

While you feel miserable about the situation they are now in, they decide to up the stakes more. Now they say you don't care about them because you didn't stop the situations from happening. But, perhaps the truth is just too much for them. Perhaps they just can't see the truth. The truth of the matter is I DO CARE. I do care, that's why I tried to give you advice. I do care, that's why I tried to help you. It's not that I don't care; it's that you didn't care enough to help yourself too.

Financially, you are not my responsibility. I am not required by any law to care for you physically. It is not my role to keep your job for you. However, you are a grown adult. It is your responsibility to take care of yourself financially and physically. It is your responsibility to keep your job. If you can't even attempt to take care of yourself, why expect me to do it?

The hardest thing to do is to walk away. The attitude they throw at you is toxic. It brings you down. But, you can't handle the attitude, the blame, the accusations of everything being your fault. You care but at the same time you have to give up. You can't support them. You can't suffer and sacrifice anymore. 

I will continue to care. But from a distance. You are on your own.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Where Have I Been???

I haven't written in this blog since January! Crazy! So, where have I been?

Studying, studying, studying!!

And it is now all over! I did it! I am done with my bachelors degree. I officially completed my Bachelors of Science in Psychology!

I am now on a small break before beginning my Masters degree. I won't be going back until September.

Since January:
  • Updated my Psychology Website, Into the Depths of the Human Mind
  • I participated in, and completed, National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo) These poems can be found here: NaPoWriMo 2014
  • I participated in, and completed, Camp NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) April 2014. I wrote 10,000 words for my current novel.
  • I have been reading and promoting books for other authors.
  • We got a dog. She is a 2 year old chihuahua. She is the laziest dog ever!

I have so much more that I hope to complete before September!
  • I will be participating in Camp NaNoWriMo July 2014. My goal is 50,000 words.
  • Finish my long list of ARCs (Advance Readers Copy; these are provided by the author in exchange for an honest review) and reviews
  • Plan out the kids curriculum for next year.
  • Plan out the girls' badges for American Heritage Girls for next year
  • Do a "case study" type paper concerning Dependent Personality Disorder (only *I* would be doing this on a break from school, right? I have my reasons.)
  • I ultimately want to complete at least a first draft of my current novel by September.
  • Complete my drafts, as well as the 30 things my kids should know about me list, for this blog
  • And of course, get myself all registered for my Masters Degree.
Hopefully you will see me around a lot more for awhile!

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Sunday, June 8, 2014

Sunday Social: Free Time, Weaknesses and Strengths, and Shopping

It has been a long time since I have done one of these.

1. When do you take time for you?
     Honestly, I don't really. I am a wife, a mother to 7, a homeschooler, up till the end of May I was an undergraduate student. I have very little time to even consider as time for myself. However, I do take some time out late at night to do some work on my novel. Which is what I should be doing now, but instead, I am blogging.

2. What do you find to be your biggest weakness?
     My heart. I have a huge heart. I am very empathetic. I feel other people's emotional pain. I hate it. But, it is who I am.

3. What is your biggest attribute?
     My loyalty. I am fiercely loyal to those I love.

4. What is your favorite place to shop online?
     Fleurty Girl! I could seriously spend all my money there. I really could. I love all things New Orleans. This was my collection of shirts (I also have jewelry from her stores) back in early 2013.  photo IMG_1996_zps3c270878.jpg 
I've gotten more since then! And I have a HUGE wishlist from there too!

5. What is your favorite place to kill time?
    Honestly, and sadly, Chris' work truck. We will sit in there in the parking lot just to have a quiet place to talk. It's hard to find a quiet minute to have an adult conversation in a house of 7 kids! Outside is our only chance at a quiet conversation.