Carrot Cake – Thanksgiving Dessert
For this carrot cake recipe, it was a real winner for Thanksgiving. I found this recipe at AllRecipes.com. This is one of my go-to sites for recipes. A few tweaks to the recipes I omitted the coconut. I love carrot cake however I am not a fan of extra ingredients like coconut and raisins. The finale of the cream cheese frosting which is absolutely delicious.
The recipe is as follows:
- 2 cups white sugar
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- 3 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- 2 cups grated carrots
- 1 cup flaked coconut
- 1 (15 ounces) can crushed pineapple, drained
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 (8 ounces) package cream cheese
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
Click the link above for the rest of the recipe. As you can see I covered the remainder of my walnuts around the cake. A baking confession: After I poured the cake batter in my three cake pans I forgot to shake the pans to evenly spread the cake batter. Once the baking time was over I realized that two of my three cake pans were uneven. Frosting hides blunders and the walnuts was a nice added touch. I hope you enjoy as much my family!!! This is now my go-to recipe for CARROT CAKE!
Parenting a Teen
This is the challenge of raising a teen son who has literally written the book on everything called life. There are days when parenting is no bowl of cherries. What happens between infancy and the age of thirteen? I swear I am living with an unpleasant clone. It is bad enough the communication skills go out the window with a teen. Most of our conversations are filled with short one word answers, yes or no. I really believe my parenting is based on the moon, because on certain days of any given month he will actually sit and have a real conversation. I have look around like who is he talking to because there is no way this is happening.
In the past two years, I have drilled into him about getting a summer job. I was trying to encourage him to get some experience under his belt to build a resume. Mostly, it was a way for him to stop eating me out of a house and home. Secondly, to get off the sofa and find something productive to do during the summer. I was fed every excuse in the book, online applications are too much, I applied and never heard anything back, etc. Then I had to ask well did you follow-up? The first interview did not go well. Although, I was not present it was a hunch in light of the fact is was over in twelve minutes. My follow-up was probably more in depth than his interview. I asked him how it went and of course the invasive person he is just glazed over it. My next questions were whether he did research, did you ask questions, etc, etc. I guess I can say one down and more to come.
Money, Independence, and Experience
After more discussions on getting a job, he walks into a local business and gets a job on the spot. I wish I could take credit but it a discussion with one of his friends who suggested he get a job. Let me point out she’s been working since May. No better way to get experience than to get hired on the spot and start working three days later. His summary of working is his job is far more difficult than what I do every day. I am loving every moment of his week as he sees how working with the public is not for the faint at heart. The one silver lining is he is actually looking forward to going in each day. We must hear about how messy customers are, how rude some can get if their orders are not right, all the cleaning he is expected to do. I must preface all of this with the fact he is only working part-time 20-22 hours a week.
Teen Lessons Learned
He is actually excited about earning his own money and is motivated to get to work. A summer job has provided a sense of purpose and way for him to set goals for next year. He is already planning where to apply for next summer. I guess as much as my teen balks he does hear some things I preach.
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Who knew spending my day off in law library would mean one step closer to divorce. As I look back on hiring an attorney for my divorce, I realize I made so many mistakes due to lack of knowledge. I filed for divorce in the Fall of 2008 and moved out of my home in 2010. It was far too long. I had no idea that every segment of the time with my attorney was timed and billed. This meant every email, phone calls, mailings, time in court, and filing documents. In addition, to my divorce, she handled all the paperwork for child custody. The custody agreement was a waste of time as it was in effect for one year. As two years passed and there was deliberate defiance with trying to sell the property -I wanted out of being married any longer. It was senseless to go back to court and spend more money to sell a property. I started thinking about my insurance policy and the fact I was still legally bound to this person. As a spouse, I was responsible to some extent for the other party and vice versa. The worst thing imagined is having this individual make any decisions related to my health. I made the decision to be completely honest with my attorney on the need to save on my legal costs. My costs were quickly inching up to 5 digits and counting and she suggested her paralegal assist me with filing the remaining paperwork moving forward. I scheduled a day off from work and spent my entire day in the law library in the municipal building in Chester County.
I made the decision to be completely honest with my attorney on the need to save on my legal costs. My costs were quickly inching up to 5 digits and counting and she suggested her paralegal assist me with filing the remaining paperwork moving forward. I scheduled a day off from work and spent my entire day in the law library. My plan B was to tackle filing the remaining paperwork on my own. I scheduled a day and spent the entire day in the law library. Shortly, after I arrived in the library I learned none of the paperwork was available electronically. I had to look for the forms in the respective law book and manually type each form. This was extremely time-consuming but necessary to close that chapter.
After typing the forms, making copies, going to the prothonotary for a time stamp and mailing- the clock begins. I did not expect to receive a counter to the divorce. When I received a call from the paralegal to let me know I was missing a form, I thought I had to start all over again. The paralegal was concerned the judge would not accept paperwork with different filing dates. She filed all of the paperwork and the judge signed off on the divorce in December of 2012. I received my divorce decree in the mail in January of 2013.
I applaud my attorney for trying to settle with the property. In amicable settlements, this is standard. Unfortunately, this was not the case for me. After two failed attempts in court to get the house sold, I gave up. It was more important for me to get the divorce finalized even if I missed the opportunity to sell the house. The one lesson I learned is that the will to get something accomplished far exceeds holding out for material goods. A divorce is tricky but time is of the essence and the least amount of time spent the better mentally and financially. The wedding is less than an hour but a divorce can last for years. My issue is the hold it puts on moving forward. You are legally bound to a person you want to sever ties with permanently. This was a bone of contention for me as I wanted to rename my emergency contact, list my children as beneficiaries for investments and insurance. I wanted to know all of these areas were covered by individuals with a vested interest in my well-being.
In some cases, there is a struggle with settling finances, property, investments, pensions, 401K, etc. For me, I had to forgo the fight to properly sell my marital property, which ended up going into foreclosure. The seven-year mark on my credit far exceeds still being legally married. If the time is dragging, be proactive with your attorney and discuss options. It is difficult to move forward if you are still married. When you say “I’m divorced” it is a true sign the past is behind you legally.
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A total solar eclipse happens every 38 years. The last one for me was in 1979 as I was headed to 5th grade. It’s summer but how cool to learn about such a major astronomy event. Kids are so lucky today in terms of access to the web for learning about different areas of science. Science is so fun and interactive now with all the technology to capture historical events.
What is a solar eclipse? A solar eclipse is when a new moon moves between the earth and the sun. It prevents some or all of the sun’s rays from reaching the earth-hence the darkened skies. The path will run from Salem, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina the skies will darken. The moon will cover the entire sun for up to two minutes and forty seconds.
Check out this wonderful video from National Geographic for a full explanation:
In order to view safely, you must use CERTIFIED eclipse glasses or make your own. A DIY link is here:w
What you will see from your zip code
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It’s August and the countdown to back to school has arrived. Here are some of our back to school staples each year. Target has everything we need each year and it is nice to shop for everything in one place. We have three more weeks before school starts and I just realized we do not have our school supply list.
New relationships after divorce are not a competition. It should be a thought provoking decision based on reality, not fiction. After divorcing I feel like the amount of advice was overwhelming and on occasion, filled with utter stupidity. I had an unnamed person tell me I should get married(remarried)! My first thought was for what reason? Is this a competition of some sort? The statement was so irrelevant to the conversation. I also must point out the statement was filled with contempt. It made me realize being happy and content after divorce is obviously an issue for some people. One thing I do know is that any decisions I make that impact my happiness will never be made in haste or to compete with another person.
One of the best lessons after divorce is to be very strategic in all decisions that impact my well being. A relationship sounds like a good idea, however, finding a suitable partner who shares the same values, goals, and lifestyle is challenging. While the choice to settle for less is very easy this brings so much unnecessary stress. One of the best advantages to being single is the ability to enjoy life independently and to be in charge of my well being. Personally, I know the worst mistake I made was thinking a relationship(s) was a replacement for a failed marriage. A failed marriage has you questioning a lot of things. I needed to take the time to evaluate what is needed in my life before including another person to share my time and space. This was eye opening because what I thought was necessary was more work than I need right now.
I believe it is important to stop trying to make up for the time spent in a failed marriage. The best thing I can do is focus on making better choices and living my best life. I am enjoying my time alone and being in charge of my decisions. One of the best parts is taking my time to make the right choices when it comes to the right person and a relationship. The art of weeding out the wrong one to find the right one becomes easier and easier. I am not phased with attention especially if it is not the right attention. After many lessons, the best advice I can offer is to discover you again, use the time to make yourself better, learn to enjoy you, love your self every day no matter how small or large, do not look for someone else to save you, make a conscious effort to try something new, take care of your temple, travel, start a things I want to do list (not a fan of bucket list).
I hope to continue to live the best life possible on my terms and if it is meant to share with someone else it will happen. It feels damn good to look forward to planning things I put on the back burner for so many years. As someone told me, it will happen because I refuse to settle. The words to live by are never settle and no regrets!
Brownies are the best for dessert. The only thing sweeter is adding a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream. I started baking when I was ten and it has become a hobby for stress relief. If you’re a chocolate lover like me, you will love these brownies. These brownies are chocolate overload with chocolate chips, chocolate buttercream frosting, and more chocolate chips. I am now convinced that homemade from a recipe is far better than a box mix any day. My brownies have to be fudgy from the first bite and not like cake. The recipe credit is from Hersheys.com. If you are looking for a recipe using chocolate this is my go to site.
- Additional HERSHEY’S SPECIAL DARK Chocolate Chips or HERSHEY’S Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips (optional)
- 3/4 cup HERSHEY’S Cocoa
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 2/3 cup butter or margarine , melted and divided
- 1/2 cup water boiling
The rest of recipe can be found here
Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
Baltimore- Spring Break Day Trip
Baltimore is an easy 2-hour drive for a day trip. During spring break, our plans were to plan day trips to NYC and Baltimore or DC. After long drawn out discussions, we finally agreed on a day trip to Inner Harbor to visit the National Aquarium. It was easy to purchase tickets online and d directions to the parking garage with validated parking. I always like to find a good eatery in a city. I found Mis Shirley’s Cafe and the menu looked absolutely delicious.
Miss Shirley’s Cafe Inner Harbor
Health – Taking Care of Ourselves Inside and Out
Health is important beyond what you see on the exterior. While the old adage, “Black Don’t Crack” sounds good, are we taking care of the internal part of our temple?
Each year I am focused with scheduling the kid’s annual well-being exam. My only concern was to schedule my annual OB/GYN exam and my mammogram. My company sponsored healthcare plan offers a covered preventative office visit during the calendar year with a credit incentive in the next calendar year. Just in time for the end of the year, I was able to schedule an appointment. In addition to my physical examination, I also had a lab request for blood screening.
Before my physical examination, the physician assistant discussed my eating habits, exercise regimen, stress level, and sleep. My physical examination included checking my lungs, reflexes, flexibility, breast exam and
During the holiday break, I do find myself overindulging in sweets and foods I try to resist during the year. My lab work showed my Vitamin D and B12 levels were low as well as elevated triglyceride levels. Fast forward to the pharmacy for prescription strength Vitamin D for 6 weeks(to recheck my numbers) and then OTC Vitamin D for a month. Vitamin B12 for a month and addition of a fish oil capsule at mealtime.
Next steps include reducing and limiting carbohydrates, fat and sugar while increasing my fiber, fruit, and vegetables. Also continuing my exercise regimen. This is a clear example of no matter how we look on the outside we must take care of our internal health. We cannot compromise our health by putting others first. I had no indication these deficiencies existed so it is extremely critical to check schedule a physical each year. Although I try to include some form of fitness it is senseless to exercise if my body is not functioning properly. This is why it is a good idea to consult a doctor before starting any fitness regimen.
Meal planning is the biggest challenge. I find that we waste more food than we consume. There is also limited time on the weekend to prepare meals. I just wish there was a way to prepare a variety of delicious and healthy meals for three and filled with flavor. This will be my daily project for the next few months.
Lifestyle Goals for 2017
- Physical Exam and Lab Work (check)
- Meal plan for healthier eating