I'm thankful that it is the holiday season and Husband got our tree early. It is so nice to come him and sit next to the fire and smell the fresh pine in our house. It's just what I need right now!
I got to take this cutie shopping for her 7th birthday this weekend and we had a blast. It was just days after her mom passed away so it was tough to have Thanksgiving and her birthday without her mom, but I'm grateful I got to spend the day spoiling her and letting her know that she has tons of family that love her very much.
I can't always count on my little sister to send me messages like this to brighten my day. It has been a tough couple weeks but every day, I get sweet or funny messages from Caitlin. She always knows how to put a smile on my face :)
I got to see my "boyfriend" last week and it was great! Husband loves Kanon and the little guy is so much fun to be around. Got a couple of good pictures like this one and I got to get plenty of Kanon hugs!
So when I stayed with my sister, Cate, a few weeks ago, her husband created this amazing Greek salad. We wrote down things we wanted in the salad and he made a masterpiece. Though I can't tell you EXACTLY how he made it, I've created something very similar. Now the dressing is mainly based on taste so I haven't included measurements (sorry to those of you who prefer that kind of cooking). Basically, I throw in a lot of the flavors I like best (garlic, basil) and balance out the dressing with everything else. It is actually kind of like inventing something each time!
Red wine vinegar
Basil chopped very thin
Clove of pressed garlic
Kalamata olives (cut very thin)
Peperoncini (cut very thin)
Chicken cubed (I used deli chicken cut into thick slices and cubed that)
Provolone cheese cubed
Chickpeas (one can)
Feta cheese (to taste)
First mix together the dressing. I usually like mine a little strong because the salad flavors will dilute it a bit. Make about half a cup worth depending on how much chicken and provolone you use (I used about 2/3 lb of each).
Then, cube the chicken and provolone and in a separate bowl combine it with feta and chickpeas.
Next, pour the dressing over the chicken and cheese combination and mix so that it is evenly distributed.
Serve over lettuce or spinach and cut the cherry tomatoes in half for the topping. Feel free to adjust the dressing to your liking.
The best part of this recipe is that you can save it and the flavors will blend overnight! Just keep the lettuce and tomatoes separate from the rest!
Husband and I made our first major appliance purchase this Black Friday. Our fridge died on us two weeks ago and with all that was happening, we put off buying on and plugged in my tried and true college dorm fridge. Amazingly, it still works like a charm!
Since our fridge was the second hand-me-down fridge to die in as many years, we decided to invest in something new that met all of our needs/wants. Though it was definitely a pretty penny, we made out great thanks to my amazing parents. We were out of town on Black Friday but my parents found us an amazing deal and ordered it to arrive the day we got back!
It is perfect and I'm still learning to appreciate how easy it is to access my fresh food and not have to dig through the fridge to find what I want to eat. Check it out. I won't be embarrassed if you say it is kind of sexy ;) you won't e the first...
I hope everyone had a restful Thanksgiving. Ours was as restful as possible considering all that is going on. Husband and I made sure to get a little nap in after dinner on Thursday. Now starts the countdown till Christmas. Yay! How did you spend your holiday?
Our sweet Carrie lost her battle with breast cancer this past week and we have all had a tough time accepting it. She was 38 years old and brought two beautiful girls into the world.
The last couple years have been very tough on us all but especially on Carrie. She never once stopped fighting and her strength showed through until her very last breath. We will miss her terribly but I know that she is in a better place and no longer suffering. It's about time she felt better - it has been a long, hard journey for her.
In preparation for the Thanksgiving holiday, I feel it is important to thank God for blessing me with such a beautiful cousin/sister/friend both inside and out. I'm also thankful for the love she had for everyone around her. I'm thankful she is no longer suffering and I'm thankful for the support I've received from family and friends during the last two weeks while I've dealt with the loss of two girls close to me.
My sweet Meg passed away yesterday and I was absolutely distraught. The feeding tube didn't work and she just got sicker and sicker over the weekend. It was heart-breaking to hear her cry out and by yesterday morning, she couldn't even sit up. I knew it was time to let her go and I cried and cried until the vet opened. It was one of the hardest decisions I ever had to make yesterday, but I know she is no longer suffering and can be in peace now. Husband took off the day with me and buried her under the St. Francis in our garden. We planted catnip over her and put some sweet decorations around it. I cried on and off all day long and the house seems so empty without her. I've had her since she was just a couple weeks old and she passed away at 15 1/2. Most of my life I've spent with her at my side and it will be tough to learn to cope without her. Thanks to everyone for your prayers and your calls/texts/messages yesterday. I really appreciate it! I found some good pictures to put on here to help you see how much joy she brought. Unfortunately, I don't have any of her when she was younger because those were the days before digital cameras and camera phones! Hope you enjoy!
My dear little Meg is having surgery today at 3:15. Please pray it goes well for her and that the surgery helps her feel better!
This has been an extremely stressful week for me because Meg has been so sick and I've felt completely helpless. She didn't eat or drink all weekend long and when I took her to the vet on Tuesday, I was told that she has renal failure and her feline leukemia is acting up. She had lost 2 lbs in two months and is now 6 lbs instead of the 9-10 she has been her entire life. Because of the renal failure, her kidneys aren't processing nutrients and they make her feel awful. Because of this, she has become anorexic and refuses any sort of food.
Needless to say, this all hit me pretty hard. We put her on a prescription food diet and gave her some IV fluids which helped her feel a little bit better. Unfortunately, she refused the food so all week, I have had to force feed her and she HATES it. I feel awful shoving a syringe down her throat and making her swallow the food that makes her little tummy hurt but it's the only thing we can do to keep her going. She began drinking water which was great and the last few days, she has spent more time being social (though she is still very lethargic).
The only bad thing, is that the vet said if she wasn't eating on her own by Thursday evening (yesterday), we would have to give her a feeding tube. The closer we got to Thursday evening, the more I researched cat feeding tubes and became very discouraged. Everything I saw was outrageously priced and since her renal failure is progressive, I didn't know how much time we could actually buy her with a feeding tube. Honestly, I couldn't afford upwards of $3,500 if it wasn't even guaranteed to save her! Yesterday, I felt awful. I was so scared to call the vet and hear my poor baby's fate. When we called him, I was distraught. Husband took over the call and then we waited anxiously by the phone to get the quote.
Let's backtrack to Wednesday night...
My lovely little Kanon (you've seen pics before because I call him my little boyfriend but he's really my friend Kim's boy), had decided to include Meg in his bedtime prayers (sorry everyone else who was praying, I really, really appreciate your prayers too but this story is just too sweet!). He asked his mom how I was doing and she told him that my kitty was sick and not doing well and that made me sad. He was worried about her and wanted her to get medicine so when he went to sleep and said his prayers, he made sure to mention us.
Apparently, little Kanon's prayers paid off because our vet gave us a quote that we could not turn down. It was such a relief to know that I could pay for Meg's feeding tube and even if it doesn't work (I REALLY hope it does!), at least this mama knows she has done everything she can to help her little baby!
Husband is on his way to drop Meg off at the vet and she will spend the day there getting prepped. We pick her up at 6:30 and I'm going to be one anxious mommy until I see her. This weekend, my little angel will be pampered and cuddled and hopefully this surgery will really help her feel better! I know she's old but I just can't imagine losing her! Fingers crossed she makes it through this hiccup and begins to gain weight and feel better for a long, long time!!
P.S. I immediately called Kanon to tell him thank you for his prayers and that they really helped Meg!
This week I'm so thankful for my sweet, beautiful cat Meg. I got some really bad news from the vet on Tuesday and it's been so hard to accept that my darling girl may not have much longer with us. The last few days, we have had to force feed her and try to make her as comfortable as possible. Last night, she drank on her own and this morning, she was walking around some (which is much more than she has done all week). I just pray she begins to eat on her own and she can regain some strength. She has been in my life for the past 15 1/2 years and I am so grateful to have her today.
My dear little sister Caitlin knows just how to brighten my day when I'm having a rough time. Several times this week, I have woken up to hilarious pictures from her. Unfortunately for her (not me!), I learned how to snap pictures from the snapchat app she had me download. Now I get all sorts of embarrassing pics I can share ;) This one pretty much encompasses her great personality. I'm so thankful to have her in my life and know I can rely on her to cheer me up just when I need it! Love you, girl!
Last night, I met up with my sorority sister, Fran, and got to meet her sweet little boy Jacob. I hadn't seen Fran in 5 or 6 years (since before Jacob was born!) and I was ecstatic to finally meet him and catch up with Fran! It was soo good to see her and reconnect. It almost feels as though no time has passed! She is welcoming another baby boy next week and I pray everything goes smoothly and I can meet him soon. I'm thankful that I have great sorority sisters and can meet them after years and years and feel as though nothing changes!
My husband has been incredible this week. First, he went out of town last week and left little candies around the house for me to find and think of him. I love when he does things like that to let me know he is thinking about me. This week, he has taken such great care of Meg. He is spoiling her rotten and doing everything he can to make sure she is warm and comfortable. He's such a good dad :) He has also been very supportive of the news I received from the vet. There have been a couple mini-breakdowns since Tuesday and he completely understands. I know Meg is so appreciative of how much he is taking care of her and I'm so grateful to see that side of him.
I found this recipe on pinterest and it sounded absolutely amazing. Last week, I decided to tweak it just a bit so that Husband and I could eat it for a meal. He LOVED it. It was so flavorful and filling!
Spaghetti Squash and Tomato Bake
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Spray a 11 x 9 casserole dish with non-stick spray.
Spread about 1 cup of spaghetti squash on the bottom.
Top with a layer of sliced tomatoes. Sprinkle with kosher salt and spices.
Add half the chicken
Top with 1.5 oz of cheese.
Add another layer of squash, then tomatoes, spices and cheese.
Add the other half of the chicken.
Top with a final layer of squash.
Top with the last 2 oz of cheese and sprinkle with the spices one last time.
Bake for 30 minutes uncovered.
Top with some fresh cut basil and cut into 6 serving sizes about 3×3 inches each.
I received Love Anthony by Lisa Genova from Goodreads a little while back. Since life sometimes gets in the way, I haven't had a chance to read this until now and I'm so glad I finally did! When I saw the book description on the Giveaway section of the Goodreads page, I was immediately intrigued. This is how the book is described:
From the award-winning New York Times bestselling author of Still Aliceand Left Neglected, comes a heartfelt novel about an accidental friendship that gives a grieving mother a priceless gift: the ability to understand the thoughts of her eight-year-old autistic son and make sense of his brief life.
Two women, each cast adrift by unforseen events in their lives, meet by accident on a Nantucket beach and are drawn into a friendship.
Olivia is a young mother whose eight-year-old severely autistic son has recently died. Her marriage badly frayed by years of stress, she comes to the island in a trial separation to try and make sense of the tragedy of her Anthony’s short life.
Beth, a stay-at-home mother of three, is also recently separated after discovering her husband’s long-term infidelity. In an attempt to recapture a sense of her pre-married life, she rekindles her passion for writing, determined to find her own voice again. But surprisingly, as she does so, Beth also find herself channeling the voice of an unknown boy, exuberant in his perceptions of the world around him if autistic in his expression—a voice she can share with Olivia—(is it Anthony?)—that brings comfort and meaning to them both.
Once I started this book, I could not put it down. Some of it was extremely sad and my heart hurt for the two women as they struggled in their marriages and getting on with their lives but I loved how their paths crossed and how each of them overcame hardships through Anthony's help.
There were really three stories in this book -- Olivia's, Beth's, and Anthony's. Of all the stories, my favorite was Anthony's. It was amazing how Beth gave him a voice that he has never had and whenever I read his thoughts, I could truly feel a connection with him. I felt his hardships and his happiness. I felt the love he had for his mother and the innocence he saw in the world.
There is a bit of divine intervention in this book as Olivia prays for answers and Beth's life seems to cross hers. When Beth decides to write a book about a boy with autism, she has no idea why the inspiration comes to her. Years before, Beth had seen a little boy who inspired her (Anthony) and she draws on this memory to begin her book. She becomes superstitious about when and where she can channel the story and just allows her thoughts and dreams to flow onto the paper. It becomes less about her thoughts and more about writing the boy's story that he is sharing with her.
I feel like the book's strength comes from the different perspectives throughout the story, especially between Olivia and Anthony. Olivia struggled so much to understand her son and do everything she could for him. Despite the fact that she did not get him or how he thought, she never quit trying even when she wanted to. She loved him so much. Hi life gave her so many questions that she felt were unanswered but she never gave up on him even after he died. When Anthony's voice comes to life, it allows her to find some answers to her questions as well as some questions she never even realized that she had.
Sometimes, when Olivia thought back to certain experiences, she had no idea how to handle them or what came of them, but Anthony's version made it seem so simple - so black and white. Since most people do not see the world in such black and white terms, we question things and sometimes make them harder to understand. Reading Anthony's version makes things seem so simple.
All-in-all, I thought this was a wonderful story. I cried a little and felt for the characters but I left feeling like I gained something from the book and I'm so glad I read it. It was well-written and truly hit a soft spot in my heart.
Loving and learning a little more each day.