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Merry Blogmas! Day 6 #shopping and Wishing Well Wednesday

We are 6 days into December and 6 days into my Merry Blogmas 30 Day challenge. Just as I mentioned yesterday, the weather is total crap. It would be a perfect day to be #shopping but I am #broke. This whole not having a job thing is definitely getting the Christmas Spirit harder to be in the mood for. Yes, I know that it’s not all about presents but I’m a giver and not really a big receiver. It makes me happy to see others enjoy a gift I’ve given. This year it’s going to be a little tough to make that happen. On a happy bright note, my kids ARE coming in for a few days around Christmas. I’m so excited!

Not only is is Merry Blogmas Day 6, it’s also Wishing Well Wednesday. Today my wish is that I would actually hear something back from the nearly 200 job applications I’ve filed in the last 3 weeks. It’s hard to find work here unless you are in retail or a shipbuilding career. I’ve started placing my applications in to retail and coffee shops. If I don’t hear something by the end of the week I’ll start putting resumes in for restaurants. I’m not being picky about where I work at this point. I just hate to see the education and experience I have go to waste. I actually have an even bigger wish for this Wishing Well Wednesday. I wish that the nonprofit that I created in New Hampshire would be revived here. There is such a need all over the country to provide job training to veterans. I’ve always believed there was healing in agriculture. The peace I saw it bring the veterans who participated in Veterans Chapel Farm, an agricultural training program that Ken and I founded in New Hampshire. I wanted so badly to see it grow into an actual US Dept of Labor apprenticeship program. With that status, Veterans could use their GI Bill to earn certification in an agricultural field. There are so many grants available to nonprofits in this sector, especially ones who work with veterans. I just don’t even know where to start. I put my feelers out to a local farm only to be shot down with a “we’ve had several organizations contact us and they all have big promises but really they are after the money.” I haven’t responded because I can’t think of a way to nicely say what I want to. I do understand where he is coming from though. We saw this in New England as well. I’m definitely not in it for the big bucks. That’s not where my heart is. But, if I could change the lives of veterans and their families by teaching them how to get into sustainable agriculture and how to apply to resources to help them, you bet I want to be involved.

So back to #shopping…..

Today isn’t exactly a day to be out in the weather, so I wanted to share some of my favorite online shopping sites. Stitch Fix would be number one. I had a subscription to Stitch Fix when I was working a professional job and needed to dress business casual. I had no idea how to pair items. I am not the fashionista in any sense. The site was really easy to navigate and I was able to fill out a style profile. My stylist did a great job because I only sent a few pieces back over the year that I had the subscription. I hate clothes shopping so it was really nice to have the items picked out. I also loved being able to try them on at home. Stitch Fix now offers shoes, something they didn’t have when I was a subscriber. I’d love to renew my subscription with them. You can even set a budget to make the items in your “Fix” affordable. http://www.stitchfix.com

Etsy- I love homemade and vintage everything. Etsy is a great place to find quirky, fun items. I’ve ordered everything from home decor to winter hats from them. It’s also a great place to showcase your own handmade items. Maybe you’re a knitter or have some mad woodworking skills? Sell your items on Etsy. The process for starting a seller’s account was a little difficult to navigate but once I figured it I had no problem listing my items. Remember they have to be handmade or vintage items. This is NOT a resale site like EBAY. http://www.etsy.com

Amazon- Ok so Amazon has become my absolute go to site! I mean you can seriously shop for ANYTHING with them and now with the Whole Foods purchase I can buy my groceries as well! It’s so easy to set up Ava’s dog food on a monthly delivery. I don’t ever have the “omg I’m out of dog food” moments now. The same could be said for those other necessary items that we tend to run out of like toilet paper, dish liquid. Why these things never seem to end up on my shopping list stoops me every time. Yet, I almost always get home and discover I have to run back out to grab something I forgot.

Wish- If you have time to wait on an item (because their shipping is iffy) You should check out wish. They have some of the most random items on their website. They also have really really low prices. Everything from jewelry to electronics are listed. http://www.wish.com

I wanted to list EBAY but honestly I haven’t had a good experience with them lately. I used to sell my girls fancy dresses on them. One time this lady who got angry over something completely stupid blasted me in the ratings. I didn’t sell anything for awhile after that. Reviews are everything on EBAY so you want to make sure you keep people happy. On the flip side, I like that I read reviews and get an idea on who I’m purchasing from. So take Ebay as it comes. It survived the 90’s so that has to mean something right?

Time for me to brew myself a cup of tea. This weather has me just wanting to grab a book and curl up with my tea. Even Ava isn’t feeling it today.

Merry Blogmas everyone!

Oh and I had promised to snap a finished picture of the Lamb Roast. Unfortunately my parents loved it so much that they couldn’t even wait for me to take a pic and literally were pinching pieces of the roast off while I whacked their fingers with my wooden spoon. But seriously, that’s one you should make!

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Alabama Gulf Coast · Christmas · divorce · dogs · Gulf Coast · Pets · Sailboats · Sailing · Travel · Uncategorized

Merry Blogmas Day 5: #TodaysTemperature

I am sitting outside in the swing drinking a glass of iced tea. Does this give you an indication of what the current temperature in south Alabama is today? It’s warm, slightly humid but in a pleasant way. There have been passing clouds all morning eluding to the fact that a major cold front is just to the west of us. Tomorrow our high is only in the 50’s, which for here is chilly.

Weather like this makes me slightly reminiscent and homesick for winter in New Hampshire. Well, at least this time of year. It’s Christmas time and there will be no snow or sleigh bells here in the sunny south. I guess I’ll have to settle for the sound of the rigging tinkling on the sailboats. Santa is going to require a margarita instead of hot chocolate this year! I miss the snow right now. I miss the way it smells, so fresh and clean. I couldn’t get over how quiet the world is when it snows. It created such a beautiful sight that captured what my childhood idea of Christmas was supposed to look like. Postcard Pretty.

With stormy, chilly weather on the way, I decided to make something a little special for dinner tonight. I headed to Whole Paycheck, erm, I mean Whole Foods (just kidding this is my FAVORITE grocery store) and to my happy surprise lamb was on sale. LAMB folks! I love, love, love lamb. I had never had it until I moved to New England. I tried lamb chops for the first time and it was so incredible! Sadly, it’s usually so expensive I can’t afford it. I certainly couldn’t afford to feed a family of five on it, but now that it’s just me I can splurge a little. Besides, it’s more than one meal for me. If I split it up as leftovers than I can justify it. I snapped up the lamb, grabbed some red potatoes, and my favorite Seaweed snacks that just so happened to be on sale as well. SCORE! So tonight we are having Slow Roasted Rosemary Garlic Lamb Shoulder. Literally my mouth is watering as I type this. The roast is accompanied by onions, carrots, and I’m going to make Crunchy Roast Potatoes and a salad. Wish I had a glass of wine to go with it……

I’m hoping the weather will roll in just as the roast is rolling out. I love stormy weather and eating a nice meal and then curling up listening to thunder sounds just about perfect.

Do you have a favorite weather related meal?

Here is the recipe for Slow Roasted Rosemary Garlic Lamb Shoulder. I hope you’ll give it a try sometime! I’ll post pictures of the finished roast tomorrow 🙂

2-3lb Lamb Shoulder Roast

3 cloves of garlic

3-4 carrots

2 Onions

8 Sprigs of Rosemary

1 tsp Black pepper

2 tbsp. Olive Oil

1 tbsp. Salt

1 tbsp. Black Pepper

2 tbsp. Parsley flakes

Preheat oven to 425. Place onions and carrots in bottom of roasting pan. Slice garlic horizontally. Take a sharp knife and poke 12 holes in roast. Place garlic slivers and rosemary sprigs inside punctures. Rub salt, pepper, and oil over roast. Place in dish on top of veggies and cover with lid or tightly wrapped double layer foil. Reduce heat in over to 320 and roast for 3 hours. Let roast stand at least 20 minutes before serving but can stand for an hour.

There you have it! Easy!

I hope the weather where you are is something you enjoy, whether it’s sun or snow!

Mery Blogmas Everyone!

Alabama Gulf Coast · Christmas · divorce · dogs · Gulf Coast · Pets · Sailboats · Sailing · Travel · Uncategorized

Merry Blogmas Day4 #Joyous: Learning to find joy

My 30 day blog challenge presented a bit of a problem today. #JOYOUS is the theme and honestly, joyful, joyous, jolly don’t exactly describe where I’m at presently in life. Marriage is ending, children have left the nest, I’ve been unemployed for 2 months now with not a great deal of luck in the job market. I’ve felt extremely alone the last few weeks despite hanging out with family. It’s a tough season in my life right now.

Here’s the thing though. You have to find joy sometimes. Life goes on whether you want it to or not and it’s our choice to live it joyfully.

I was out on my afternoon walk with Ava when that thought hit me like a ton of bricks. I have to find joy? Yes! And sometimes it’s going to come from the most mundane or unexpected places. I really began to consider what I have to be joyful about. I unclipped Ava’s leash and she leaped, did a full back roll, grabbed a stick and ran around as fast as she could. That my friends is joy. I smiled as I watched her run with complete abandon, saw her tail wag and thump the ground as she begged me to play fetch just one more time. When we finished the game, she touched her cold, wet nose to my fingers and looked at me with her head tilted as if to say “See, it’s all going to be ok, Just live!”

I realized that I feel joy when my kids text or call. I miss them so incredibly much but knowing they love me and are thinking of me brings a smile to my face. My middle daughter, Kendall, sent me a picture that she’d snapped of herself today. That picture made my heart swell ten times! What a blessing my kids are!

You see, sometimes you have to stop and re-examine your thoughts. It’s really easy when you are already feeling down to let your thoughts pull you in even further. Being in a destructive cycle sets a pattern in your brain that cause negative thoughts to often become negative emotions like anger, anxiety, and stress. Sometimes my thoughts are so dark that it feeds my depression. One of my favorite Bible verses of all time is Phillippians 4:8 ” Whatever things are true, Whatever things are honest, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there be any virtue, if there be any praise, think on these things.” If I think of all the negative things in my life, I will be negative. If I stop, re-examine my thoughts and find good things, lovely things, then yeah the negative things still exist but I can find joy despite them.

Find joy in small things, the cup of coffee you have in the morning and how it brings warmth to your hands, a happy conversation with an old friend. I know some days that’s so hard. There are days when literally the best I can do is repeat to myself over and over “this is just a season of sadness, there will be joy” I have to find it in things like the wind and how it whips my hair when I’m out on the boat, or watching the dolphins as they dance around the bow. I find it in my silliest Kate Winslet “Jack I’m flying moments” as I lean over the bow and dip my hands into the water below. This is life. This is feeling alive and you know what sometimes that includes all those negative things I feel too.

So, get out there and be #joyous

Merry Blogmas!7d0dfeeb20981c0f13576b45a55ebbba

Alabama Gulf Coast · Christmas · divorce · dogs · Gulf Coast · Pets · Sailboats · Sailing · Travel · Uncategorized

Merry Blogmas: Day 2 #FavoriteHolidayMovie

Good morning! Ok, so I know I technically missed a day, but I have a great reason why! Merry Blogmas Day 2 is #FavoriteHolidayMovie. When I really started thinking about what my favorite holiday movie was, I realized I hadn’t watched these movies in years. So yesterday was spent in my pj’s,  binge watching Christmas movies with my Mom. She hung in there until we hit The Polar Express and then decided she’d had enough.

My favorite Christmas movies aren’t exactly “Christmas” per se, but they take place during the holidays so that has to count right?

1) The Holiday-   I love, love, love this movie. I can TOTALLY RELATE to the characters! To the point that I’ve dreamed about doing what the leading ladies did in this movie. I just need some gumption! The movie is sweet, full of hope, and will make you fall in love with little old Jewish guys and piano playing nerds.

2) Love Actually- The multistory line in this movie had my head spinning. If you are an anglophile like me, you’ll appreciate the cast (Hugh Grant, Colin Firth, Alan Rickman, Liam Nielson, Kiera Knightly etc etc) Although not every story line ends happily ever after, this movie will give you all the warm fuzzies of a great romantic comedy tapered with some true realities when it comes to love. I’m really loving the whole Prince Harry/Meghan Merkle memes that are currently all over the place. Watch the movie and you’ll understand!

3) The Polar Express- Ok so there is ONE real Christmas movie amongst them! The Polar Express became a family tradition for me and the kids. On Christmas Eve, we let them open one present, which was always Christmas Pj’s. Then we’d make hot chocolate and peppermint popcorn and snuggle while we watch this movie. The songs bring me to tears every single time as it captures the innocence and magic of Christmas.

There, you have Day 2 in the books. I highly suggest all 3 of these movies!

Share your favorite holiday movie with #FavoriteHolidayMovie

Merry Blogmas everyone!

Alabama Gulf Coast · divorce · dogs · Gulf Coast · Pets · Sailboats · Sailing · Travel · Uncategorized

Merry Blogmas Day 1 #YOURVIEWTODAY

Merry Blogmas Day 1 is in the books. Today’s challenge was #YourViewToday. Yesterday I was hit with the news that my husband had finally filed for divorce after complete radio silence for the last 8 months. To say that I took it hard would be an understatement. I guess I knew it was coming though. I slept in till nearly 9am, something I don’t normally EVER do, and pretty much just felt sorry for myself all morning. Around 10am, Ava began whining to go out. I’m thankful that she did because I don’t know that I would have gotten out of bed. That’s how depressed I felt.

The sun was shining and the landscape was dotted with tiny yellow flowers. They looked like a carpet all along the seawall. Ava trotted happily along, glad to be outside and promptly found a stick to chew on, quite possibly her favorite pastime. There was no wind and Mobile Bay stretched out like a glass surface. It was peaceful. That peace was interrupted by my phone ringing. My mom, who was very concerned about me, had decided to take the rest of the day off from work. She asked me to tag along while she did some Christmas shopping and I’m glad she asked me to go. It was a crazy, happy mess. We went to Home Depot, Hobby Lobby and finally Walmart. The holiday cheer was scattered across aisles. We finished our shopping and I felt slightly better.

My mom decided to make one of my favorite childhood dinner, Taco Salad and my friend called and asked if we could do a little night fishing. So I’m off to catch the big one! Hope you all had a great day! Share #YourViewToday on Twitter and Facebook! @WayfaringWagger

Alabama Gulf Coast · divorce · dogs · Gulf Coast · Pets · Sailboats · Sailing · Travel · Uncategorized

30 Day Blogging Challenge: Merry Blogmas Kickoff and Dinner Last Night

As promised, I am kicking off my Merry Blogmas Blogging Challenge today! 5BB3380E-1BA8-4707-B1CC-54DAE3082D66

A huge thank you to acontenthousewife.com and Pinterest for the list above. As I scroll through the list, I am already formulating a plan to blog/photograph the events. I will post the photos on Twitter and Facebook with the hashtags that correlate to the list (ex. #YourViewToday or #Nighttime) I would love for you to add your own challenges by using the hashtags and by tagging me @WayfaringWagger on Twitter.

I can see there are going to be a few challenges to the list for me, but I’m really excited to do this. I’ve never participated in a blog challenge before and if you read my post from yesterday you know the reason this is so important to me. I really hope more people will read this blog and that you will give me ideas to write about. I definitely want to get back into travel writing or even some DIY with the Sailboat.

Speaking of the Sailboat, my beloved SV Rialto Zephyr, made her way across Mobile Bay yesterday and has found a new home at the Beachcomber’s Marina. I’m really excited to have her so close again. I can’t wait to start working on her, well, that is as soon as I find a paying job again! That’s proved to be more challenging than I thought. The job market here is pretty specific and if you don’t have a skilled trade (pipefitting, welding, shipbuilding) or a human resources degree, well then have fun flipping burgers at McDonald’s. Right now I’ve submitted my resume to everything from office work to retail. I’m either overly qualified or don’t have the education required for the position. I’ve been seriously considering going back to college. Ok, I’m completely off topic now. I was talking about the boat. Yesterday my Dad and his friend David sailed the Deja Vu, Dad’s boat and the Rialto Zephyr across the Bay. While bringing them across they ran into a pod of 20 bottlenose dolphins. My Dad took a video and it is absolutely incredible how they broke the waves on the bow and surrounded the boat. They are such interesting creatures, so intelligent! I can’t wait to get out on the water again and see them. I think I might post the video to Twitter and Facebook if I can get ahold of it.

Dad and David got in at about 6pm from their trip. Daddy called and asked if I could have dinner ready as a thank you to David for all of his help. I’m glad he asked me to cook because it got me out of the funk I was in. I drove to Walmart and was pleasantly surprised to find my favorite tea in the entire world! If you’ve never had Harney and Sons Hot Cinnamon Sunset, you are not living my friend!! It’s really hard to find and I would have never thought that I would find it here. It was all I could do not to buy up the entire lot.  I settled for one tin and went on about my shopping. I decided to make Lemon Chicken Pasta Bake. It turned out really well, but I would tweak the recipe just a bit if I make it again. I wanted to share it with you because honestly, it’s probably one of the easiest and fast dishes I’ve made in awhile. So here ya go!

1 lb. Chicken breast, boneless,skinless (psst sometimes I use thighs because I like them better)

3 cloves of Garlic

1/2 Lemon

1 sprig of fresh parsley

1 Yellow onion

2 14.5 oz Cream of Chicken Soup (Ok so here’s where I’d tweak it, the pasta came out a little dry so I would add some sour cream or maybe another can or two of the soup)

1 tbsp. of Lemon juice

1 lb. Pasta. ( I used bow tie)

Salt and Black Pepper (Plus any other spice you enjoy! I used an Italian blend and it was great)

3/4 cup of Milk

2 tbsp Parmesan cheese (again a tweak! I used way more than 2 tbsp!)

Instructions:

Boil the pasta for five mins.

Cut the chicken up into bite size pieces

Cut up the onion, garlic and place into a bowl with chicken pieces

Drain pasta and add to bowl, set aside

Heat up the soup and milk in a sauce pot. Whisk to a thin consistency and then add to chicken mixture.

Squeeze lemon juice and add spices

Pour into a greased baking dish and cook for 45 mins at 450 degrees.

Sprinkle with cheese, parsley and lemon slices

Place back in oven and cook for 5 minute or until cheese is melted. (I actually broiled my dish for 5 mins and it gave it a nice crispy top)

And there you have it! Voila! Easy dinner but looked great and tasted fantastic too.

I hope you will join me in my Merry Blogmas Challenge. It would mean so much to me to gain new followers or have interaction from those of you who currently suffer through reading this.

Merry Blogmas Everyone!

Alabama Gulf Coast · divorce · dogs · Gulf Coast · Pets · Sailboats · Sailing · Travel · Uncategorized

Wishing Well Wednesday

Happy Wednesday everyone! Today is Wishing Well Wednesday. I decided to do something a little different this week. We are entering what I affectionately refer to as my least favorite holiday of the year, Christmas. Now before I start getting hate mail and name calling like Scrooge and Grinch, I should explain there are several reasons why I really am not a huge fan of Christmas and yes, most of it has to do with the cliche “it’s all commercial.”

Christmas for me as a child was a fairly happy time but it was always a time of year that my parents were noticeable more sad. My Dad was always concerned that his teacher salary didn’t allow them to shower us with gifts. My Mom was concerned about this as well, but she also had the deep hurt over her father passing away near Christmas. I mean I think it means something when your Mama’s favorite Christmas song is “Please Come Home for Christmas” by the Eagles, quite arguably one of the SADDEST Christmas songs EVER. (Sorry if you’re reading this Mama but it’s true!) Despite all of this, I still think fondly of our Christmases. As an adult Christmas wasn’t much happier. We were a Navy family so typically we were far from home. It was a time of year that I would be more homesick than imaginable. I would shellac on the smile for my kids and sing about it being the most wonderful time of the year, while on the inside I just wanted to crawl into bed and sleep through it all. That seems really crappy, however, it gets even better. This year for Christmas I am home but due to my family completely dissolving before my eyes, I’m more than likely not going to even see my kids. Yes, they are grown and in college with the exception of my youngest, but the reality that this is the first year we’ve not been together for the holiday has completely crushed what little Christmas Spirit I had.

I’ve decided I need something to spice the blog up and possibly keep my mind off the fact that this is possibly the saddest Christmas I’ve ever had. So I’m going to be doing a 30 day photo/blog challenge. I really don’t have too many followers on this page but I’m going to ask, no BEG that you share this blog, my twitter and Facebook and follow along. I want/need feedback. I’d love to hear how you are getting through the Holidays or maybe even a response to the challenge for the day. Tomorrow I’ll post the list and the challenge will start on December 1st. I have to admit I’m a little excited to do this. I’ve never participated in a challenge and I’ve certainly never done one involving photographs.

This is my Wish for Wishing Well Wednesday: I wish that not only will I complete this challenge, but that it will maybe spark a little Christmas Joy in my life and despite my rather bleak outlook, I’ll have a change of heart. I wish to gain more followers and to find out more about all of you that have taken time to read my blog!.

Happy Wishing Well Wednesday!! What’s your wish for today?