My 18th Birthday

Say Uncle

The holidays haven’t been the same since 2012. It has taken me a long time to decide if I wanted to write about any of it, but writing is therapeutic for me and since I just renewed this blog for another year, I think I should put it to good use.


In 2012, my Uncle Sal decided he no longer wanted to be part of our family. It was a long time coming.

My grandmother adopted my mother in 1957 with the intent of having one child and one child only. She did not want to have a biological child and chose to adopt. When my mother was around nine months old, my grandmother unexpectedly became pregnant with my Uncle Sal.From the minute my uncle was born my grandmother made sure he knew that she never wanted him. Yes, she told him that. My grandmother also enrolled him in ballet and piano lessons even when he expressed disinterest in both. To say my grandmother was a bad mother wouldn’t be entirely true, but it wouldn’t be false either.

Without airing all of our dirty laundry, I will just say that for years my uncle resented my mother for being treated differently. Similarly, my mother felt that my uncle was treated differently. She would be told to do all of the chores while my uncle practiced the piano. Suffice it to say, both children grew up to harbor resentment toward each other and their mother.

Many many moons ago with my cousins

Many many moons ago with my cousins

My Pop-pop was one of the greatest men I have ever known and he never uttered a single bad thing about anyone. However, he used to say he knew that one day when he was no longer around to keep the peace, my uncle would explode. It seems my Pop-pop was psychic…

I can’t pinpoint the exact moment that set everything into a spiral, but there was a series of unfortunate events that led to one big explosive argument. We all said things that we shouldn’t have said. We all did things we shouldn’t have done. We also never imagined that it would go on this long and we would never see him again.

You see, my uncle was a father figure in my life. We went on trips together and he was with me during some of the biggest moments in my life. This is the fifth holiday season without my Uncle Sal ( and subsequently my cousins  too) and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t sad. Every Christmas Eve Uncle Sal would come over. Sometimes he would come early if Christmas Eve fell on a Tuesday or Wednesday, when he was off work. Other times he would arrive closer to 8 or 9 and we would save him a plate. He always wore his trademark red sweater/sweatshirt. He would bring his keyboard over and we would sing Christmas carols. Sometimes we would play cards or board games. It just felt like family. Dysfunctional, maybe, but family.

One of our Medieval Times trips

One of our Medieval Times trips

Now I have a husband who has never met my uncle. He has never experienced Christmas with him. When I look at the piano in our living room it’s a constant reminder of what could have been.

Over the last five years we have tried reaching out, to no avail.

So just in case he does read my posts, here it goes:

Another Medieval Times Trip

Another Medieval Times Trip

Last April I attempted to communicate with you. Your reply was “Do you remember?”  I wasn’t exactly sure what you meant by this, but then it dawned on me you may have meant do I remember when you told me to run as far away as possible from my family. Sure. I remember.

Opening gifts on xmas

Opening gifts on xmas

Wii Golfing

Wii Golfing

You know what else I remember?



I remember big family dinners where we made sure to save you a plate when you got off work and I couldn’t wait to hear your jokes. I remember when you played the piano at the Ramada and we went to support you. I remember going on long car trips like Niagara Falls and Luray Caverns. I remember telling you that you were like a dad to me, because you were. I remember you teaching me how to drive. I remember the Big Red in West Virginia. I remember Lancaster. I remember going on the Ferris wheel with you at the Mt. Carmel festival.  I remember a lot of things.

West Virginia

West Virginia

So if you meant do I remember all of the negative moments? Sure. But I choose not to dwell on them. I choose to forgive. I choose to live my life positively, because it’s the exact opposite of what my grandmother does and did. I choose to be different and to not hold grudges.

Do you remember not wanting to be anything like her? Do you remember?

Family Dinner

Family Dinner








Social Addict

I have a problem and it’s time I come clean.

My name is Jennifer and I have a social media addiction. The first step at fixing the problem is admittance, right? The thing is, I didn’t realize I had a real problem until a few weeks ago. I was sitting at my doctor’s office when we started to discuss my medications. I have mentioned before that I take medicine for anxiety and have taken it for years. Recently, I have been trying to slowly wean off the medication so my husband and I can try to have a baby in a year or so. My doctor has been trying to help me with this process, so he asked me if I noticed what gives me anxiety.


Ahhhhh so anxious

Ahhhhh so anxious

I stopped and thought about it for a minute and realized, it’s me. I give myself anxiety and most of it is due to social media. I allow social media to negatively affect me and constantly put pressure on myself.

  1. The Pressure to be the perfect wife

Every night women across the world post pictures of dinners they have prepared for their husbands. Some of them are even garnished with parsley and served on beautiful china. I see posts from women about cleaning their house from top to bottom, posts with women my age with adorably dressed children posing in beautifully decorated homes and I wonder how they have it all together. I often come home from work and decide to order pizza or get Saladworks because it’s been such a long day and I am tired. I will go weeks without fully cleaning the house top to bottom and instead just spot clean as I go. When I hop on social media and see all of these posts I automatically feel pressure to make new recipes and to decorate our house to look Pinterest-worthy.

A typical dinner since I didn't have time to cook

A typical dinner since I didn’t have time to cook

2. The Pressure to look perfect

This one is mostly related to Instagram with thousands of “Instagram models” posing with perfectly tanned, unblemished skin, wearing next to nothing, with perfect hair and makeup, garnering hundreds of thousands of likes each day. Not to mention all of the posts people take at the gym while they’re “crushing” their daily work outs. Makeup tutorials are also clogging up news feeds with ladies trying to achieve the perfect cat eye and sculpted brows. If you aren’t a professional makeup artist AND a gym rat, while also being born blessed with genes of a goddess it’s easy to feel pressure to try all the latest fad diets and splurge on expensive make-up and self-tanner, or at least feel bad about yourself for not caring enough to do any of the above.

Trying to contour my face quickly before work

Trying to contour my face quickly before work

3. The Pressure to have the best social life

How often do you see posts from people on the weekends about hanging out with “great friends” or enjoying their “happy place,” wherever that may be. It’s easy to sit around and feel as if your life isn’t as good as everyone else’s when you’re comparing it to social media. I have realized more and more as I talk to friends that we really do not know what is going on in the lives of others, but we think we have it all figured out by what they post. The thing is, people usually don’t post action shots of an argument or of them feeling disappointed by someone or something. They only post the positive images that they feel should be photographed, unless you follow Bunmi Laditan on Facebook. Then you get a nice dose of reality and feel a little better about your lackluster life.

Napping: my happy place

Napping: my happy place

4. The pressure to have enough money

If you’re on instagram then you will understand this one more than my Facebook friends, most likely. Designer clothes and accessories, pricey vacations, new cars, and fancy dinners are all common posts on Insta, and are often seen on Facebook and other social media sites. I often wonder how people can afford all of these wonderful perks if all they’re doing is documenting it all on social media and seemingly never working. This one will always be a mystery to me until I muster up the courage to ask one of these frequent fancy posters how they have the funds to enjoy such a lifestyle. I don’t always feel pressure to have an expensive purse or clothes, but I do often feel like I should be going on vacations and seeing the world more when I see these posts from others.

Probably the last tropical vacation I'll take until I win the lottery

Probably the last tropical vacation I’ll take until I win the lottery

5. The pressure to be the best teacher

This one is personal, but I often feel pressured to be the “Teacher of the Year” on a daily basis. I see colleagues posting about their latest volunteer projects, their latest classroom blog, classroom decor pics, and events they attend on weekends and during the summer dedicated to teaching and I feel like I’m doing something wrong. When I am sitting around enjoying my Saturday and I see posts of colleagues attending Saturday workshops or doing a run to raise funds for my school, I feel like a bad teacher. Like maybe I’m not invested as much as everyone else. I feel guilty for enjoying my family time. Then I feel guilty for thinking about working while I’m with my family and the cycle circle continues.

My glittery desk at work

My glittery desk at work

I realize that I’m letting social media do this to me, but I feel like I’m not alone. We seem to be judging and criticizing each other on a daily basis on social media instead of lifting each other up. So I’m going to try to post only positive or funny posts starting now. I will try my hardest not to criticize on social media ( except my Yelp restaurant reviews lol).  I will also try not to compare myself to others on social media. That’s a huge part of the problem for me and I hope I can work on this in the coming year.  Stay tuned…




5 Reasons Why I Can’t Wait For Summer to be Over Already

I know many of you read the title of this blog and thought I must be crazy. I am a teacher who does not work during the summer, so I have been off since mid-June. I can pretty much do whatever I want for two and a half months. How can I possibly dislike summer? Well, here’s why:


  1. Everyone ELSE in my life is at work

My husband is a prosecutor who works Monday to Friday, so I am home alone all day every day. Since he’s basically my best friend, it’s boring not having him around. Sure, I like the occasional day to myself, but after a few days in a row, it get’s old. My girl friends are all at work too, so I text them and have to wait for them to be done doing something work related to answer. I send them funny videos of my puppy or links to Youtube and they text back that they can’t watch until later because they can’t use sound at work. My mom is the only other person I can hang out with and she has to take care of my grandmother so she can’t stay out late or be gone for long stretches of time. So I am often left feeling lonely and bored at home, which brings me to blog1my next reason.


2. Social Media

While I sit home alone on the couch scrolling through Facebook and Instagram, I see everyone swimming in pools, going to the beach, going on vacations, strolling the boardwalk, making campfires and s’mores, and going on day trips. It makes me start to feel depressed. Sure, I have a house down the shore, but we rent it out in order to keep it going, so we didn’t get to enjoy it once this summer. I don’t have a pool and none of my friends do either.blog2

My mother in law’s pool in her 55 and over community is only available to me if I go with her and see #1 for why that isn’t something I can do often. Many of my Facebook friends have kids and they take their kids to amusement parks and the zoo and aquarium, while I sit home in my childless splendor wishing I had a kid to take somewhere for just a day to give me something to do with my time. It’s hard to explain, but after I have read my 10th book of the summer, watched all there is to watch on TV, and played my 5th round of catch with my dog, it gets monotonous.


3. The HEAT


I cannot stand the heat I have no problem stepping out of the kitchen (Get it? No?).  This summer started out beautifully. I was training a puppy the whole month of June and July and there weren’t a lot of days where I could really complain, but August hit hard. It has been so hot and humid there are moments where I am just sitting outside, not even moving, and the sweat is dripping down my face. There is no article of clothing in the world that can make this extreme August heat and humidity feel tolerable. It makes doing things outdoors uncomfortable and puts me back inside on the couch, scrolling through social media and watching people as they get their relief from the heat in a nice swimming pool or in a totally different state where it’s not boiling hot.

4. Food

In April my husband and I eblog4mbarked on a weight loss journey. I have lost 29.8 pounds thus far ( can I just say 30?) and have been trying to change my mindset about food. Unfortunately, this means that a lot of the activities I used to get pleasure from are no longer optional and I realized just how much emphasis I put on food in my life. Going out to breakfast in the summer was always a big thing for my mom and I. We would go to a local diner and just relish in the fact that we were out to breakfast on a random Tuesday; something we can’t do during the school year. Going out to lunch was also another activity we enjoyed since we don’t get to do it Monday to Friday during school. Sure, I can still go out on to restaurants while I’m on Weight Watchers, but it’s tricky and not as enjoyable to order a grilled chicken breast on a bed of lettuce. I also used to go out for ice cream multiple times a week in the summer and head to Ocean City for boardwalk food. Now that I am trying to make a shift in my habits, I realize how boring my life can be without food as an emphasis. Food as entertainment is something I grew up with and it’s very hard to change that mindset.

5. I Miss My Job

I know this may sound crazy, but I miss my job. I miss having a purpose. I miss feeling like I am a motivated human being who is making a difference. I miss my daily meetings with my coworkers, where we try to solve problems and help each other. I miss feeling needed by my students and colleagues, even if it’s just for a band-aid. I miss the consistent schedule. I miss the kids faces when I say something funny.  I miss knowing I have to go to the bathroom at 10:40 or I won’t be able to go for another two hours. I miss the routine. I miss the music on my ride to work. I miss the steady paycheck ( I’m being honest here). I miss getting into bed at the end of an exhausting day, looking forward to Friday. I miss texting my husband and telling him that I can’t wait to get home to give him a hug. I miss learning new things. I miss walking down the halls to get my Fitbit steps.blog5


Summer break was made to make me appreciate every exhausting, stressful, “Why did I choose this profession” type of day. It makes me remember exactly why I chose to be a teacher and it makes me remember why I LOVE September!





What I’m Eating: Part I. Breakfast

If you follow my blog and/or social media accounts, then you know I joined Weight Watchers on April 9, 2016 in a quest to lose 100 pounds. I have lost 29 so far and have brought my cholesterol and glucose levels down, as well as my BMI. I am getting healthier so that I can eventually try to have a baby, but also just for life in general.

One question I get asked quite often by those who are not Weight Watchers members is, ” What are you eating to lose weight?” and the answer is kind of complicated. You see, on WW you can pretty much eat whatever you’d like, as long as you count the points and it fits into your daily point allotment. I started with 46 points a day, but I have since moved down to 41 since I lost some weight. The lowest the points go is 30 per day, but you also get what are called “weeklies,” extra points to use throughout the week or to use on one big cheat meal. For the month of July I have been going over my weeklies A LOT, so that is why my weight loss has been much slower. Summer has proved more difficult for me than I anticipated. With that being said, I want to share what I typically eat for breakfast when I am following the Weight Watchers plan with those of you who have inquired.

I used to eat a big bowl of sugary cereal with organic skim milk every day, with a splash of half and half. Blame my grandmother for getting me in that habit, as she used to splash my cornflakes with half and half when I was five years old and I LOVED it and started doing it as an adult. On the weekends my husband and I would either make a big breakfast consisting of eggs with cheese, home fries,maple bacon, and cinnamon sugar toast, or we would get fast food breakfast or takeout from the diner. My breakfasts have definitely changed since April. Take a look:

I discovered Smart Ones Smart Beginnings early on when I knew I needed to replace my sugary cereal with protein. Sure, this is a frozen meal and it’s processed, but to get me started on Weight Watchers during the work week, it’s a lifesaver. blog1 They have ham and cheese with potatoes, which you see below, and another type just with potatoes. I like them both and I eat them with a slice of Schmidt Old Tyme 647 White Bread, which is 1 smart point. I started out eating the toast dry, but sometimes I add some I Cant Believe It’s Not Butter spread for another point. Now, this isn’t the healthiest option since, again, it’s processed, so let me show you more.






Another great option for the work week is oatmeal. You can make it homemade, which is optimal, or do what I do and buy the little packs of Weight Control Oatmeal in my favorite flavor, Banana Bread. blog2 I then add fruit to it like strawberries, blueberries, and bananas. Sometimes I add a little skim milk, but it depends on the consistency of the oatmeal.  It’s extremely filling for long days and only 4 points, since fruit is 0!







For the days when I need a change or a reboot, I like to make protein shakes. You can use any powder you prefer, but I most recently like Quest because the flavors are magical.blog3My favorite flavors are the Peanut Butter, Salted Caramel, Banana Cream, and just plain chocolate. I always add a frozen banana and skim milk, but it can be made with just water and ice if that’s how you roll or if you need a 1 point snack. The shakes are very filling and taste almost like a real milkshake…almost. I also make sure I always have frozen bananas on hand by sticking the bananas that are going brown right in the freezer, but make sure to peel them first ( that’s a funny story for another day).





Another breakfast I have recently discovered is avocado toast. blog6 Avocado makes it a little higher in points, but it’s healthy and delicious. I take one slice of my Schmidt Old Tyme bread and add mashed avocado with salt, pepper, and some garlic or basil if you’d like to kick it up a notch, then I poach an egg and add tomatoes to round it out. You can make your avocado toast however you’d like, this is just my preferred method. It’s about 7 points – 4 for the avocado, 2 for the egg, and 1 for the toast, but it’s delicious!


On those days when I am craving pancakes and waffles, I sometimes make Eggo waffles with sugar free syrup for 7  points. blog4However, we recently discovered Kodiak Cakes, a high protein pancake mix that comes in regular, peanut butter, and dark chocolate flavors. My husband made me blueberry pancakes last week using the mix and it was delicious! I added a little bit of Reddi Whip to make it restaurant style and they were amazing. If you follow people on Instagram who are on any type of weight loss plan you will almost always see their posts about this mix. It can be purchased at some grocery stores, Target, and on Amazon.

Of course, if you’re a Plain Jane, you can never go wrong with just plain old eggs and fruit.

blog7 I often make myself scrambled egg beaters or egg whites or a regular poached egg and have it with a light English Muffin or my stand-by 1 point toast.

Need more options?  A few other breakfast favorites are the Jimmy Dean turkey sausage, egg whites, and cheese English Muffin breakfast sandwiches and the Sandwich Bros turkey sausage and cheese pita pockets, both good for when you’re on the go and don’t have more than 50 seconds to spare. Finally, if you are from the Jersey area and are a Wawa fan, the turkey sausage, egg white Sizzli is only 10 points, which is pretty  low for a bagel breakfast sandwich. I often get one of these after my Saturday Weight Watchers meetings.

All in all, it’s definitely better to make your own real food rather than eat the frozen processed stuff.   For someone like me, this is a HUGE step up from what I was eating before and over time I do plan to try to phase out as much processed food as possible. Little steps forward result in big rewards.

If this post helps even just one person, I will consider it a success! Stay tuned for Part 2: Lunches soon!










4 Things I Can Do Now, That I Couldn’t Do 25 Pounds Ago

If you’ve been following my weight loss journey since April, then you already know that I have been doing Weight Watchers for the past thirteen weeks and it is changing my life. I have at least 150 pounds to lose to be a healthy weight, but I am taking this journey ten pounds at a time.

The first big number goal for me was to lose 5% of my weight, which was 15 pounds. Along the way I also have goals to get out of the current “decade” I am in, so for instance, if I weigh 280 I want to get out of the 80’s and be in the 70’s. I am currently 273.4 as I write this, down from 301 when I started on April 9th. I knew the last 25 pounds I gained these past three years took a toll on my body. I never felt like I was being held back from normal daily activities until these past 25 pounds. I didn’t realize how that weight was negatively impacting my life until I lost it.  Now, I see that simple things I couldn’t do before, or things I had to do before that weren’t necessary, were all due to my weight.

1. Getting on the floor

Since I am not ( or was not) a parent, I never really had to sit on the floor these past few years. Sitting on the floor is reserved for kids, teens, college students crammed in a dorm, or hipsters who like to sit with their laptop, earbuds shoved in their ears, busily typing away while sipping their Starbucks trendy drink of the month. It has been years since I have been somewhere with a lack of chairs, so I haven’t had to sit on the floor. When children want to play with me I sit on the edge of the couch, crouching to be closer to them, anything to eliminate a strain on my joints.

However, there was at least one incident in the past six months when I sat on the floor. I noticed it wasn’t as easy to cross my legs into a pretzel, or “Indian Style” as it was called in preschool. I also felt achy after a short while on the floor and getting up off the floor was an embarrassment. I would roll to my knees and then brace myself, creaking and aching as I slowly would rise off the floor. I began to avoid situations in which sitting on the floor may be a possibility, telling people I didn’t need to sit and would much rather stand.


Now that I have a puppy I am constantly sitting on the floor playing with him. I sit on the floor and place him in the center of my legs to brush him nearly every morning. I do it without even thinking about it. It doesn’t make me sore and I can jump up with ease compared to my former slow motion style of gripping the sky for assistance.

2. Getting into bed

I remember the first time I walked into our bedroom after the Raymour and Flannigan delivery truck had left. Our bed was SO HIGH! I went on the bench at the foot of the bed and crawled up the first time. Then I ran a little and jumped up the second time. The third time I just hoisted my leg around, like mounting a horse, and crawled the rest of the way up. After about a day, I brought a stool upstairs. I used a stool to get on my bed every night so I wouldn’t hurt my hip or get sore.

One of my friends came over to see our home for the first time and inquired about the stool. Since she is the same height as me I was surprised at her laughter and shocked exclamation of “Seriously!?” when I told her it was to get into bed. I didn’t think there was anything really wrong with needing a stool since I am only 5’2. That is, until the stool broke one day. My foot went right through, scraping my ankle. I couldn’t believe I broke it and I blamed it on stepping on the same part every day. I purchased a new sturdier stool, but heard a loud crack only a few weeks after purchase.


For the past month I have stopped using my stool. Once we brought our puppy home I placed pillows on the floor in case he fell off the bed. I couldn’t use the stool with pillows there so I climbed up. It has been almost a month and I realize now getting into bed is simple and perhaps my problem was my weight more than anything.

3. Going up the stairs

When I lived with my mom our carpets were extremely plush. Running up and down the stairs was fairly easy on my joints, although I still avoided it because going up one flight would sometimes make me flushed and out of breath. When I moved in with Steve our staircase is wooden, and going up and down the stairs the first few months made the bottom of my feet burn and my knees ache. I avoided the stairs like the plague. If I had a book upstairs I wanted to read I would just not read it if it meant I had to make an extra trip.

Fast forward to losing 25 pounds, I now go up and down the stairs multiple times a day. I am constantly moving about and I actually enjoy moving. Sitting still too long bothers me and makes me feel sluggish. I never thought I would ENJOY moving, but I do! I look forward to it, even!

4. The Things I carried…

Being extremely overweight means anything extra I carry makes me even heavier. It adds strain to my joints and makes me feel like I am dying, mostly because I slowly am, or was. When we moved into our house I had other people carry my heavy bags upstairs because I just couldn’t take it.

Now I carry bags of mulch and 50 + pound buckets myself and while it is still a lot of weight, it’s manageable. I carry in all the bags from grocery shopping, going up the porch steps without my knee caps burning. It’s truly amazing what 25 pounds can do.



When I joined Weight Watchers I was asked a big question; what is my “Why?” Why did I join the program? Why is it important for me to get  healthy? I cried as I wrote down “To have a baby.” I knew if I couldn’t do it this time it would make the rest of my life that much harder. I knew my chances of having a healthy pregnancy was pretty small if I couldn’t lose the weight. I was putting myself and my future baby at risk. However, if I was able to have a healthy baby despite my health, I would have difficulty getting on the floor to play. I would have trouble lifting him or her to go up the stairs or carrying the car seat. Not to mention, would I live to see my child graduate from high school?

Now I don’t have to worry about these things as much and the more I lose the more my “why” becomes a reality. I also discovered that my why has become a list that has gotten longer. I want to go to a sporting event and comfortably fit in the seats with my husband beside me. I want to go on a roller coaster again. I want to go to Hawaii one day and climb a volcano. I want to really truly live life and enjoy more than just the food.


Want to join Weight Watchers and come along this ride with me?

Click Here and receive $20 in free Weight Watchers merchandise for joining with me!






How My Puppy Is Preparing Me For Motherhood

It has been ten days since my husband and I picked up our little bundle of fur, and our life is already completely different. I have realized my anxiety has picked up a LOT, as I constantly worry about our puppy son. I have also had crying fests where I cry because Lenny is just so cute and I can’t believe he’s ours. Am I crazy? Maybe. Hormonal? Definitely. However, I do think there are some similarities between becoming a new puppy owner and a new parent. Read on and then tell me if you agree, or agree to disagree.

Constant Worry

I am a worrier. When I have a child one day I am going to constantly worry if he’s eating enough, sleeping enough, too hot, too cold, breathing right, clean enough; You name it, I will worry about it. It’s just how my personality works. If I am not worrying about something, then I feel like I am not alive. Upon bringing Lenny home he threw up about eight times in the car due to car sickness and nerves. I was upset because I was hoping he was a healthy dog, but I also had an instant connection to him since I also threw up due to my nerves on the way to pick him up. It’s like we locked eyes and understood each other on some strange puppy/human level. From that moment, I felt like he was my kid.




Baby Proofing

Before Lenny came home to us, I swept and swiftered all the floors in our house. I vacuumed every rug. I picked up all my shoes and threw them in the closet. I made sure there weren’t any crumbs of food anywhere in the kitchen. I picked up little loose threads that were stuck to corners of rugs and pillows. What I didn’t plan for is that I can’t completely baby proof the outdoors.  Lenny shoves mulch in his mouth, nibbles on bunny poop, and likes to munch on grass. He grabs sticks and leaves and dirt in his mouth and makes his mommy go fishing in his little puppy mouth to yank it all out before it’s consumed. I am so paranoid about him choking on something that it’s a wonder I don’t cut his tiny soft training treats in half too.

Lenny's first stick

Lenny’s first stick

Child, err…Puppy Care

For the past five days, we have had a sitter with Lenny. Our reasoning is, that 1. Lenny is very small and cannot hold it for more than an hour or two right now. 2. If we have someone there to let him out whenever he goes to the door and rings his little bell, we will have him trained more quickly and effectively. 3. It would only be for six days until I am done school for summer. Turns out, having a sitter with Lenny has helped him get exercise, learn potty training extremely fast, and given us peace of mind.


That faaaace

Lack of Sleep

The first night that we had Lenny, Steve and I looked at his little face and we were wrapped. We couldn’t stand to lock him in a crate all night. We did attempt to crate him but his little cries broke our sensitive hearts, so since we were afraid he would pee in our bed, we both slept on the couch all night while he slept in his little bed on the floor. The next day we were exhausted.  We decided we would sleep in bed with him and I would wake up at 12, 3 and 5 with him and take him out. It’s only been ten days and already Lenny is sleeping through the night. Steve takes him out before  he comes to bed around 11 and I wake up at 5 and take him out. I am sleep deprived, but it’s worth it to snuggle with our Lenny at night

Sleepy Time

Sleepy Time


One thing I will admit is that having Lenny has made me realize that I am not ready just yet for kids. Steve and I used to snuggle on the couch at night and watch TV without a care in the world. Now we are constantly wondering if Lenny may need to go out or could be hungry. Once Lenny grows up a little things can go back to being a bit more carefree and I do love having the freedom we have, or had.




It’s time to face the truth though that we will never be just the two of us again and I’m perfectly okay with our house being a little bit noisier and filled with even more love.



An Open Letter To My New Puppy

blog2Dear Lenny,

Tomorrow we will finally meet you and I seriously cannot be more excited. You see, I have wanted you for a very long time. Let me tell you the story about how you picked us to be your mommy and daddy.

It all started when I was seven years old. I wished so badly for a Bichon Frise puppy. I even wrote to Santa and told him how deserving I was of a new puppy to call my own. Being a spoiled, only child, it was a given that someone would get it for me for Christmas. That Christmas I was ecstatic, cuddling her and never once letting her out of my sight. Unfortunately, like anything else you give a seven year old, I eventually lost interest.

I always loved Sparkle, taking her for walks occasionally, playing with her, and giving her food, but I never properly cared for her. My mom was the one who gave her all of her baths. She slept with my grandmother every night and snuggled with her all day. Eventually when I turned 14 and moved she stayed back with my grandma. She basically became my grandmother’s dog.

As I got older and saw how my friend’s dogs lived, I realized how I did wrong by Sparkle. Sparkle never wore a collar. She was trained to go to the bathroom inside of a large crate in the sun room, however she had accidents, a lot. She eventually ruined the whole carpet and we had to get a new rug. Sparkle got into my grandmother’s Hershey Kiss stash so many times it’s a wonder she lived to be 12 years old. She eventually developed cataracts, diabetes, and had to have nearly all of her teeth pulled. I blame this on myself. I was not knowledgeable. I had no idea what I was doing despite promising Santa that  I would be a responsible dog owner. I wanted another chance to right my wrongs. That’s where you come in, Lenny.


My husband, your daddy, has always been a dog owner. In fact I can recall one time when we were getting to know each other via text that he asked me if I was a dog person. He is so sweet and gentle with animals it makes me emotional. So it’s no shock that we would eventually get a dog after things settled down. We discussed waiting until we were in our house for at least a year. During our house hunting stage, we would always look for a home that would accommodate a dog. Daddy wanted a large Labrador Retriever to chase after tennis balls and I wanted a small, cute fluff ball to dress up in little doggy outfits. We figured we’d discuss it all when the time came.

Finally, after getting married in November 2015, we decided the next step would be getting a puppy. In January we were house sitting your puppy cousin Sadie and the experience was so wonderful. We snuggled with Sadie and took turns caring for her. We eased into life as puppy parents beautifully and I couldn’t wait until we had one of our own. I began begging your daddy for a dog, but he wasn’t ready. We weren’t ready. April 2016 would be a year in our house. We agreed to push it off even further until I was off for the summer so I could properly train our puppy.

So for the past six months I have studied everything there is to know about you. I have studied crate training, potty training, bell training, and watched a ton of Cesar Millan. I also spent multiple times a week showing your daddy pictures of dogs that looked like you. He wasn’t having any of it though. Your daddy wanted a big dog, despite mommy’s allergies. In his words, he wanted a dog that looks like a dog. Every single Shih tzu, Maltese, Yorkie, Morkie, Maltipoo, Shihpoo, I showed daddy, he didn’t like any of them. Until he saw you.

I found you on Wednesday May 25th during my lunch break. I showed your daddy and he thought you were pretty cute. He rarely said that about any of the other little dogs. I asked him if I could call about you and he said yes. I was shocked! I called the nice lady who was taking care of you and she said I was just a little too late. Another family had already called for you and they seemed interested, but something in her voice gave me hope. I wasn’t ready to throw in the towel. I told her to please let me know if they were definitely taking you but I got off the phone feeling a little down.

That Saturday, your Grammy Salvati took me shopping for your collar, leash, harness, toys, food bowls and pee pee pads. She had a feeling you’d be coming home to us soon, just like we did. Unfortunately, as we were checking out at Petsmart, the nice lady called me and said the other family was coming to get you on Wednesday June 1st. I nearly cried. In fact, I did cry, later at home. We still went through with the purchases because deep down I think we all held out hope.


Over the weekend and the days following I looked for a dog that looked like you and I found a couple that came close. I showed daddy and he wasn’t having it. He didn’t like any of them because they weren’t you. I debated calling about a puppy once, but decided to wait. What if? I have heard of many no-shows for puppy appointments before. It could happen.

On Wednesday June 1st, I was walking around my classroom helping students with an assignment. I had just reached my desk when my phone lit up with a familiar number. I NEVER answer my personal phone in class, but I explained to my students that it was an important call and I would just be a minute. It was your breeder! The people never showed up and I was told that you were ours! I cried. I jumped up and down. I made a spectacle of myself. I told the breeder that I just knew you were ours from the minute I found you.

So now we go pick you up tomorrow! I am extremely excited but also nervous.Your Mimi, my mom, got you your bed, food, treats, toys, shampoo, and even a stroller and I hear your Aunt Jackie  got you some toys too! We are all so excited to welcome you into the family.


As for me,  I want to be the best mommy you could ever want and more. I promise to keep you well fed and hydrated. I promise to brush you regularly. I promise to train you properly to go potty outside. I promise to give you an abundance of toys so you never get bored. I promise to keep you warm when you’re cold and cool when you’re warm. I promise to give you treats when you deserve them. I promise to bring you home my extra filet mignon and daddy’s leftover rib eye when we go out to dinner. I promise to give you a bath when you’re smelly and get you groomed when your hair is too long. I promise to take you for walks and take you places to explore. I promise to give you awesome puppy cousins to play with regularly. I promise to keep all the foods away from you that are bad for your health. I promise to watch your weight as well as I am currently watching mine. I promise to one day give you a brother or sister for you to protect too. I promise to cuddle you during thunderstorms and shovel a path for you when it snows. I promise to give you the best life you could imagine.

Most importantly, I promise to love you unconditionally. I cannot wait to meet you,






5 Reasons Why You Should Try Home Chef



If you have been following my blog lately then you know my husband and I started a journey to become healthier about seven weeks ago. We joined Weight Watchers and have since lost a combined weight of 44.2 pounds! We both have a long way to go, but we are heading in the right direction now at least.

Since I am the chef in this marriage, I hold a lot of the responsibility to make sure that what I cook is healthy and a decent points value for our daily points limit. Steve, being a guy, gets a bit more points than I do, so he gives me some wiggle room. I spent the past 10+ years navigating the kitchen and learning to make delicious meals. Unfortunately, I learned that delicious meant fattening. Steve and I were going through two sticks of butter or more a week from cooking.  I never used oil sparingly, olive or vegetable. I didn’t care about serving sizes and often made an entire pound of pasta for us both. There were leftovers, but I can assure you we did not eat just a serving each. Since I am new to this whole healthy cooking game I started doing some research. I used Pinterest to look up healthy recipes and started following other successful Weight Watchers users on Instagram to see what they were eating. This helped me start getting ideas for what to buy when  I went grocery shopping. Unfortunately, the first few weeks I was buying a lot of processed foods. A lot of the folks I follow swear by Trader Joes packaged items and turkey hot dogs and sausages. Despite the points being low, I knew these foods weren’t ideal. I wanted to try something new.









Our good friends Jim and Kelly had subscribed to Blue Apron a few months earlier and received a promo to gift friends with three free meals. We were one of the lucky recipients of one of their free weeks. We checked out the meals on the site and noticed they were all very…eclectic. Meals ranged from such cultures as Indian, Moroccan, Thai, and British, to name a few. We are not picky, but when it comes to meals we never heard of, we were a little wary. So, we waited until one of the weeks menu’s seemed a bit enticing and we redeemed our free week. That week we chose General tso’s chicken, a molasses pork roast, and a salmon salad. A box arrived at the door with at least 5 huge ice packs. All the produce was fresh, the meat was nicely packaged, and every individual meal’s ingredients were packed separately with exactly the amounts needed to make two servings each. I was impressed!

Cooking the meals took slightly more involved prep than I am used to, but it was about the same amount of time I normally take to cook. The servings were smaller than I usually make, but perfect for Weight Watchers. The points were easy to calculate because all of the ingredients were simple and fresh. The meals were really delicious too!

Steve and I were hooked! We went online to check the following week’s menu and were disappointed when we did not like anything. We looked at the following three weeks that were listed and again did not like any of the options.

A totally different, albeit similar, site called Home Chef had popped up on my ads on Facebook multiple times and I had perused their site previously. I went back on their site and showed Steve. He immediately showed interest and we placed our first order. So, here’s the 5 reasons why you should try Home Chef and I have a present for you at the end!

1. The options are really delicious and diverse

Our first week trying Home Chef we did Grains of Paradise Crusted Sirloin with mashed sweet potatoes and zucchini, Bone in- Pork Chops with Hazelnut Gremolata, roasted asparagus, yellow squash, and a lemon caper aioli, and Berebere Chicken Thighs with apricot almond couscous and green beans.  The Grains of Paradise are native to West Africa and the Berbere is Ethiopian. I really thought I wouldn’t love either, but after trying them I can honestly say, used sparingly, they enhanced the dish! They were two spices I had never even heard of before, but now I am glad that I have. 1












2. Prepping Food is Fun

When I was little I always liked to pretend I was on a cooking show. Home Chef sends all these cute little individually packaged ingredients. So when the recipe calls for sherry wine, you simply pour the little container of sherry wine that they send and viola! It literally feels like I am Julia Child, sort of. I especially enjoy doing food prep I never tried before like hitting hazelnuts with a meat tenderizer to coarsely chop them.  Or smacking the Grains of Paradise over the bottom of a heavy pan to “crack” the pepper. It gets out a lot of pent up aggression and anger too, if you’ve had a rough day.blog13












3. Eating Healthy Is Simpler

When signing up for Home Chef you can choose if you’d prefer low calorie, low carb, soy free, vegetarian, gluten free, dairy free, pescatarian, red meat free, or pork free meals. Each recipe card shares the nutrition information as well. All of the meals also contain fresh ingredients. I also like that they are pre-portioned, which avoids waste.















4. Convenient…just not McDonald’s level of convenient

If you’re like me, you sometimes plan to make something specific for dinner and then come home and realize you are out of an ingredient. The best part about Home Chef is they send you every single ingredient in little individual bags with the exact amount you need. For one of my recipes I needed three pats of butter, and that’s EXACTLY what they sent. Everything is laid out for me and I don’t need to measure or make sure I have enough of anything. The only requirements thus far have been olive oil, which all cooks should have on hand, and certain pots and pans. Sure, would it be easier for me to go to Wawa and grab a sandwich? Yes. But then I wouldn’t get to try all this yummy food and feel like a pro chef at the same time.


5. Cost effective

So I will admit that Home Chef and others like it aren’t cost effective for everyone, but my husband and I are currently childless and we tend to dine out quite often. We are using Home Chef as a replacement to dining out frequently. Each entree costs around $9.95 per person. Since we had a coupon for our first order we only spent $30 on three meals! Considering they all contain vegetables, meats, and special spices I think it’s a pretty good deal. There’s also no waste, which is common in our household.

Next week we are going to get Tex-Mex Turkey Taco Salad, Skinny Chicken Mozzarella, and a Bone-in Pork Chop with Alabama style slaw. Can’t wait!

Want to try Home Chef for only $30?!! Click here !!




Motivation is What Gets You Started…Habit is What Keeps You Going: Week 4 and 5 and Beyond



I am officially in week six of my weight loss journey and down 13 pounds according to my WW scale weigh ins and I am noticing some  differences. I can move a little faster and my clothes fit better.  I put on a shirt the other day that didn’t fit well a month ago and cried as it easily slid over my hips. I can’t believe I am doing this! I really believed for the longest time that I just could never lose weight but, it’s happening, guys!

One thing I have learned over the past month is that this is a lifestyle. This isn’t a diet. This isn’t something I am going to do just for a few months or until I hit a certain goal and then STOP. I can never stop eating healthier. I can never go back to eating the portions I was eating every day. I can never drink sugary drinks at every meal again. This journey is teaching me about moderation.

Switched my beef meatloaf to turkey, traded in mashed potatoes with butter to steamed potatoes with no butter.

Switched my beef meatloaf to turkey, traded in mashed potatoes with butter to steamed potatoes with no butter.

Unfortunately, I still love soda. I still love cake. I still love cheese fries. I was hoping I wouldn’t love those things any more, and maybe after time passes  I won’t, but right now I still do. I still associate going to the boardwalk with food. I still associate birthdays with cake. I was raised in a very Italian household where food was used as a form of entertainment. Eating is part of life experiences and there are just some sit’s toons where I will indulge. I have learned over the past month that indulging doesn’t mean you need to have massive quantities of the food.

Celebrating a co-workers birthday with some Pineapple Angel Food Cake a la WW and water!

Celebrating a co-workers birthday with some Pineapple Angel Food Cake a la WW and water!

This is Artic Zero ice cream on top of bananas with a Weight Watchers teeny tiny chocolate cake, peanut butter, and whipped cream.

This is Artic Zero ice cream on top of bananas with a Weight Watchers teeny tiny chocolate cake, peanut butter, and whipped cream.

I “indulged” in one of my favorite ice cream flavors by measuring out exactly 1/2 cup, adding fresh strawberries, and fat free whipped cream and I think I appreciated it even more than I would have had I had multiple scoops. I also had Arctic Zero low glycemic ice cream but by adding peanut butter and other toppings as seen in my picture it was perfect and made me feel like I was really “cheating” when I wasn’t.










I do notice that when I eat something out of the ordinary my stomach isn’t a huge fan any more. I think that’s kind of cool because it means my body is appreciating eating healthy now and it has become a habit. I also no longer crave fast food as often. I can go into Wawa and see the donuts and the chips and candy and walk right on by.

Life isn’t going to stop though. The celebrations are still going to happen. I just need to learn how to navigate them all and still remain focused. This past weekend we had a wedding to attend in Atlantic City. I sampled two of the butlered hors d’oeuvres and only ate half my dinner. I sampled the desserts and wedding cake, splitting them with my husband. I also had my first soda in six weeks. It still was delicious, and I was hoping I would hate it, but I had only one and that was it. I opted for a soda instead of alcohol, so that was my poison for the evening.

Weddings call for adorable tiny food

Weddings call for adorable tiny food

On Sunday we went to my great aunt’s viewing in New York. We had to stop for dinner at a rest stop, much to our chagrin, due to time constraints. Out of Popeyes, Sbarro, Burger King, and Nathan’s hot dogs, we opted for Sbarro and I had a slice of veggie pizza. The worst part is, it wasn’t even worth the points and I would much rather had a grilled chicken breast, but onward and upward.

No matter what the scale says this week, I know I am doing great things. I recently took a picture of my stomach and compared it to a photo I took a month ago. The differences are insane in such a short period of time. I would love to post it, but since I am a teacher I have to watch what I share.

Perhaps I will eventually post a before and after edited stomach picture and it will inspire my students ( if they even know I have this blog)  to care about and love themselves too! I have a long way to go before I get to that point, but I am definitely on the right track. Do before and after photos offend you or do you like to see the work people have done to get where they are? Let me know. Maybe you will motivate me to share!




The Snack That Saved Me: Week 3


Week three just ended this past Saturday and I was a little surprised. I followed the plan, tracking everything I ate. I even left a few points each day, never getting down to zero. I hit my Fitbit steps twice, which is more than I could say about the previous two weeks. I was sure I would lose 1.4 pounds, exactly what I needed to reach 10, according to the Weight Watchers scale.

Imagine my surprise when I got on the scale and I lost 1.2! That’s right, a couple shy of ten pounds! I was a little glum, but then my meeting leader pointed out that I had to get weighed with clothes on and my Fitbit alone probably weighed close to 2 ounces. Not to mention I wore a full face of makeup, which definitely could set me back half an ounce. She gave me my ten pound stickers and I felt better. I also received my week four charm, since Weight Watchers counts the first meeting you attend without even starting yet your first week.

I did notice I ate a bit too much processed food last week.

Trader Joes Haul - lots of processed goodies

Trader Joes Haul – lots of processed goodies

It’s easy to get caught up in the low fat processed foods hype when you follow other Weight Watchers social media users. They post all types of meals they make that come straight from the freezer. I have decided to try to make more of an effort to eat cleaner, after all of the processed foods we already bought are finished of course lol.

A processed veggie burger, processed cheese, processed fries, processed turkey dogs.

A processed veggie burger, processed cheese, processed fries, processed turkey dogs.

One thing I noticed about this week is I am no longer having extreme cravings for foods. I used to crave constantly. I would think about food all the time. If I had time to think about something other than work or chores, it would be food. I think I still do that a little bit, but I am usually thinking of a rice cake or an apple. In the past I thought of fast food or dining out constantly. Now I don’t feel as addicted. I can’t believe I could change my mind like that in such a short period of time. I never realized if I stuck to it, it would happen a lot faster than I imagined.

This past Saturday was cheat night, and I left feeling kind of empty. Don’t get me wrong, I was full, but I didn’t get any fulfillment from eating whatever I wanted like I did in the past. This is SUCH a good sign for a self-proclaimed sugar addict like myself.

One thing that helped me last week on a particular day when I was starving was a snack my husband and I blog2discovered together. He was perusing Shoprite and stumbled upon Valley Produce Company’s Crackerthins Australian Watercrackers.


Six of these very thin crackers are only 1 Weight Watchers point. Using a one point Laughing Cow Creamy Swiss Light wedge, I spread some of the cheese on the crackers and voila!, a perfect little light snack.


Sometimes carrots and celery just don’t cut it and something more substantial is needed.

So, I am going to be sharing some foods from time to time that we enjoy, but I am also still going to be sharing some of my fave beauty products like I did in the past. So stay with me and follow my journey, I promise it will be interesting.

My goals for May are to lose five pounds ( for a total of 15), drink more water, discover new recipes, and hit my steps goal three times a week every week.blog6


Praying for a two pound loss this week, but whatever happens I will be positive no matter what!






Day 1 to the beginning of Week 4

Day 1 to the beginning of Week 4