Monday, June 18, 2018

Better Spaghetti & Dog Belts

Having grown kids isn't so bad, especially when you can count on them for good ideas.

My oldest son is living in New York and frequents Italian restaurants where he learned why my spaghetti always had water pooling on the plates with the noodles. Seems my over-draining was the problem.
According to a pasta professional, the best way to serve pasta with a tomato sauce is to leave a little of the noodle water on the noodles. Add the sauce to the noodles and mix. The starch from the noodle water thickens the sauce.

No more watery sauce!

My youngest son showed me how to improvise a dog leash. Our dog slipped her collar and ran away. My son ran her down, but didn't have a leash to walk her home, so he used his belt. I know I've had to walk run-away dogs home bent over dragging them by the scruff of the neck more than a few times. Not once did I think to use my belt.
A simple belt...
Can become a leash in a pinch.

And here's a tip you probably won't want to use. My husband's old car and was looking a bit raggedy. He decided to give her a fresh coat pf paint.
The old girl's paint was oxidizing, so...
$21 in cans of spray paint from Wal Mart and...

she's fancier than any of the 1994 Nissans in the salvage yard!

Monday, June 11, 2018

IRL Tips for Staying Sane

The other day, I was feeling sorry for myself (again? don't worry, this is a more upbeat post!) I was driving home to an empty house for the weekend. No one to cook for, no one to watch TV with, no one to talk to or play games with. It was awful! Wah, wah, wah.

Then, as I changed radio stations, I heard three songs referring to being ALONE!! I thought that only happened in movies. I had to crack up--actually LOL!

As Liz said last week, time has flown. My middle son just graduated high school as well and is joining the Army, but he was a ghost his whole senior year - except when he crashed stuff and needed rides. *eye roll*

With active teens flying the coop (pun on my son, Coop) there will be many lonely days ahead (husband doesn't count, but that's another post) Empty Nest Syndrome is real! Though some of you may not know what I'm talking about yet, I know there are days where you find yourself with unexpected, unplanned extra time on your hands and wonder "What do I do now?"

So here are my... Tips for Making the Most out of Alone Time!

  • Reconnect! - And I don't mean get on Facebook and look or even just texting/messaging. In Real Life Face-to-Face time!! Do it! We used to have play dates that were just as fun for the Moms as for the kids. No matter how busy our lives get, we need our friends.
  • Do something! - A job or hobby or volunteer work is a great thing to keep us active and social and sharp. Being alone, I can get loads of neglected chores done, but I start to get down if I'm alone doing thankless tasks for too long...
  • Go somewhere! - It's tough to find time to reconnect. We can't just sit around and wait. Try doing something by yourself! Shopping and taking a walk are awesome and not so bad to do by yourself. I'm going to try hiking again, something I used to love before kids. I also suggest eating out or going to the movies, worth a shot to get out of the house!
  • Travel! - Go further than your part of town. Spend some time with relatives or friends you haven't seen in a while. I'm going all by myself, driving 8 hours to visit my parents next week and see a bunch of my friends. I can't wait! So excited!
  • Do something for you! - Above I mentioned a few things to keep you busy. But this one is all about you. Writing is for me, but I'm trying to turn it into a job... And I can't do that all the time, so I turn to my Wish List - not for things I want, but of things I've been meaning to do, and it's a mile long. I love to organize, so purging closets and our basement always needs to be done. Scrapping/organizing my boys' sports memorabilia is another item that gets pushed aside. ETC!
It's funny--I've been complaining about not having enough time to do things most of my life with kids. Now, I can see the readjustment coming when the kids will be gone--thank goodness they're never really gone and they still need us sometimes!

Have a pleasant week!

Monday, June 4, 2018


My baby, boy #4 Conner, graduated from high school on Thursday. A storm moved the ceremony indoors, so it was miserably hot and a bit crowded. It was a moment I'll remember as fondly as the day he was born, which I'm pretty sure was only a few months ago. 

I've decided there is some sort of hiccup in the time continuum. Perhaps time is shaped like a bell curve. The whole growing up and becoming an adult portion of life seems to take forever. Once you reach that top, it sets off a free fall of days. 

I don't have any scientific research to back up my claim, but 9 out of 10 moms agree with me, so it has to be a truth. 

Conner Adam Seckman
To celebrate, we had Conner's graduation party this Saturday. Nothing fancy, just a backyard BBQ. I was tired of the usual potato salad and pasta salad, so I made mozzarella potatoes. They turned out good enough for Mr. Seckman to hide himself a bowl in the fridge for an after-party snack. 

These were super easy, of course, because you all know I only do easy!

Mozzarella Potatoes

2 bags frozen, shredded hash browns
16 oz. shredded mozzarella
2 large cans of cream of chicken soup
8 ounces sour cream
2 sticks of butter
2 tsp. onion powder

Preheat oven at 350 degrees
Pour the hash browns into a large baking pan (I used a large disposable roasting pan)
Slice butter on top of the hash browns and stick in the oven to melt butter
Mix together the soup, cheese, sour cream, and onion powder
Stir the cheesy mix into the potatoes
Bake for about an hour or until bubbly and a crispy crust forms on top

*This is the crowd-sized version of this recipe. To make a smaller batch, simply cut the recipe in half.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Dealing with Disappointment

I hate being sick!

I went the whole school year without getting sick, until the last day... and WHAMMO! I got a Mother of a Cold. Ugh. It's going to take my body a week to recover from all the coughing and sneezing...

But I'm not here to complain about that. I'm going to complain about something else...

After working as a long-term sub at the same school for almost a full year, I applied for an open position--and I didn't get it. But the worst part about it was the principal wouldn't tell me why someone else was chosen over me. I was so angry and disappointed. I felt used and helpless. How could they do that to me? And to top it off, she let me suffer through the last work day, avoiding me when she'd already decided--the coward, as I listened to all the teacher wish me good luck, hoping I'd get the job.

For a couple of days I was sick and depressed--I couldn't even have a drink cause I'm sick, dad-gum it! As a realist, I kept myself open to the possibility that I wouldn't get it. I've been screwed over before. But this was worse, especially after all the praise and encouragement I'd received. Early on, I told myself if I didn't get it, I would be done with teaching. At my age, this was my last shot. I guess it wasn't meant to be. It's their loss.

Some things in life we can't control. So I decided to act on the things I can control. Like, I won't sit around and wallow, feeling sorry for myself. I need to find a new direction. This is just a transition. It's not even a failure or a setback. I was a damn good teacher, but that chapter of my life is over. It's time for a change.

So that's where I am. Healing physically and psychologically. I'm ready to step up to the next challenge. And praying for strength and guidance along the way. Time to move on to bigger and better things.

Please DO NOT feel sorry for me. I'm over it.
Writing about it helped a ton - I highly recommend it.

You can't keep a good woman down - and don't forget it!
Have a SUPER week!

Monday, May 21, 2018

Dr Mom - one of many titles, and a Blog Hop!

Fellow writer and blogger, Chrys Fey, is helping her mom spread the word about her children's book. Tara and I decided to join this hop and share a little about our own awesome moms. 

Meet Cork. (Elizabeth's mom)

My mom passed away last year, but her memory and her lessons live on. My mom was never the average mom. She preferred time at the casino over time doing crafts. She was the queen of the off-color joke, and reality was often her biggest enemy. My mother was a dreamer and that was her greatest gift to me. My mom taught me to think scoff at reality and create new ones with words. She also taught me that a person doesn't have to be perfect to be perfect. The quirks we try to smooth out in life are often the things that are most missed when we're gone. 

Caroline Rose Hartman

And this is DORIS (Tara's Mom)

I was lucky enough to have my mom (& dad) visit me this weekend for my middle son's graduation. I don't get to see my mom very often because we live so far apart. But she makes up for it by sending encouraging and supportive cards and notes throughout the year. My mom is creative, sweet, and caring beyond belief - she doesn't even know how much she inspires me! She is the best example of how to persevere through tough times I know and I wouldn't have made it in this world without her!

And now, Chrys Fey's awesome Mama with her own book!

Title: Doctor Mom
Author: Elaine Kaye
Genre: Picture Story Book
Ages: 5-8 years

BLURB: It’s Saturday, and Gregory Green can’t wait to have fun with his dad on the riding lawnmower, but something is wrong. Sammy, his teddy bear and best friend, won’t get out of bed. Gregory is worried when he sees Sammy’s left leg is torn. This is a case for Doctor Mom! Can they fix Sammy? And just how did Sammy get hurt in the first place?


"Doctor Mom is an adorable story that shows how Moms can fix anything--even a torn limb on a beloved teddy bear! Children will enjoy the lovable little bear who needs a stitch or two and his boy who plays dress-up as a doctor." – Wanda Luthman, award-winning author of Little Birdie Grows Up

"A sweet and heartfelt tale kids can easily identify with, and all of that with a wonderful touch of magic." – Tonja Drecker, reviewer at Bookworm for Kids


Elaine Kaye, author 

Elaine Kaye first created Gregory Green after her son, who loved her homemade pea soup, thus inspiring the story Pea Soup Disaster. Doctor Mom is the second book in A Gregory Green Adventure series and highlights something all moms and children can relate to; a beloved stuffed animal in need of a repair.
Kaye has worked as a library assistant and teacher's assistant in elementary schools in the Sunshine State. She currently lives in Florida, but she has called Michigan; Honolulu, Hawaii; and Okinawa, Japan home.She is a grandmother of three boys.
Website / Etsy Shop / Goodreads / Amazon / Instagram / Facebook

Thanks for stopping by!
Liz & Tara
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