Monday, July 28, 2014

Pineapple Lime Coolers

Have you guys seen Pinterest lately??
People have already started pinning pumpkin desserts, stews, and dishes.  All of these pins are just a reminder that summer is just about over with.  
My children go back to school in t minus 3 weeks.  Eeeek!  
This week, we will be shopping for school supplies and back to school clothes.
My daughter will be in third grade and my son will be first.  Seriously, where in the heck does the time go??  Anyway, that's all for a different post.  

As much as I have enjoyed this summer, a tiny part of me is ready for fall.  I'm ready to see the mountains change from green to orange…and I'm ready for the days to start getting shorter.  

These Pineapple Lime Coolers will hold me over until then.  I rarely post beverage recipes on the blog so I figured I'd change that with this one.  
Wanna know the best part about this drink--besides it tasting amazingly wonderful??
There's only 3 ingredients in it!
YES…that's what I wrote…3 ingredients.

I kid you not, I whipped these up in a total of 15 minutes this weekend.  It was that simple.  
I let Husband Man taste them, as well as our kids and their friends.  The verdict was the same from all of them…delish.  

These drinks are guaranteed to chase away the summer heat.  Make em' for your clan and enjoy the last few weeks of the summer season ;)  

Pineapple Lime Coolers
(makes a little under 2 and 1/2 cups)

1 (6 oz.) can of pineapple juice, chilled
1 tbsp. fresh lime juice
1 and 1/2 cups of lemon-lime soda, chilled

1.  In a pitcher, combine all of the above ingredients.  Stir until well mixed and serve.

Libby's Notes:  If you are making this for more then 3 people, make sure to double or triple the recipe.  You can also use fresh lemon juice instead of lime.  We preferred the lime ;)

Recipe Source:  From the magazine, Taste of Home: Great American Cookout/2007

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Friday, July 25, 2014

A Blessed Life {Standing at the Crossroads}

(me..baking for my mom in August of 2003)
Note: Not interested in reading this part of the blog? Feel free to disregard this post.  If you just want the recipes, check out the recipe index on the top menu bar.
If you are just joining us, I am running a series of posts of how this blog came to be.  Catch up on the first post here.

Picking up from where we left off in my last post…we learned in 2003 that my dear mother had breast cancer.   I won't go into details about this experience mainly because I wrote about it in this post a few years back.

To all who are wondering, yes…my mother is better and has been cancer free for years now ;)  I would like to think that going through that experience helped me to grow inwardly and made me examine what it was that I wanted out of life.  
                                           Mom & I in 2003                         Mom & I in 2014
Let me explain:
Her cancer was a pivotal moment in my life.  I was still working full time as a case manager at the time.  My job dealt with assisting and aiding the elderly population in our community. If they needed a way to get to their doctor's appointments, I would find it.  If they needed help with making sure their Medicare coverage was working, I was their girl.  It all equaled out to lots and lots and lots of paper work, multiple follow up calls to physician offices, and monthly home visits.  The pay was good for the area that we lived in, however, I was working around the clock, sometimes taking paperwork home to complete in the evenings and weekends.

All of the above, combined with the news that my mother was ill was not a good sign.  
How could I possibly take care of 50 clients that were assigned to me when my own mother was miles away battling breast cancer?  To make a long story short, I resigned from that job the day before Husband Man and I were due to arrive in North Carolina to visit her.  Our visit that summer completely changed me.  I'm a firm believer that everything happens for a reason.  There was a reason why I resigned from that case management job before we left to visit family that month…although it took a while to understand it all.  

I gave myself a pat on the back for having the courage to do that.  Why?  Because as soon as we came back from our trip, I found myself needing time to process what happened up north.  I had just finished visiting my very sick mother and the reality of it all hit me like a ton of bricks when we arrived back home.  My younger siblings were still in the same vicinity as my parents at the time, so they were able to see her whenever they wanted.  I was the only one who had moved far away.  

I needed time to digest it all, accept it all, and get on with my life.  The key word here was time.  And it's amazing what can transpire once you give yourself time to heal and get over things.  Some people prefer to work and keep themselves busy so they won't have to think about it all.  I chose to do the opposite.

Day by day, little by little, I found myself slowly getting over what had happened.  

Then it was like a light bulb just went off in my head one day. My mom didn't let her cancer get her down.  She fought it every step of the way…and because of her brave battle, she was still alive.  I figured, if mom can do it…so can I.  She was getting on with her life…and I needed to do the same.

I thought to myself: I have a husband and a house to try and renovate.  I need to snap out of it and get on with things.  I had had enough with sitting around the house and moping.  There was no need for it anymore.  My mother was getting better and according to her doctor, the progress would continue for months to come.  She was going to be ok.
(left to right: my brother, my sister, my mom, me, Husband Man,
 and my dad; Thanksgiving 2003)
I started thinking about Husband Man and I's financial future.  We didn't really need a second income because his military pay was enough for both of us to live off of.  However, I knew that spending my days at home with nothing to do would not be healthy for me.  I needed to get back out into the world…and I needed to do it quick.  
There was only one problem.  I had no clue what to do.   

I was standing at a crossroad and I needed some kind of direction.

To some, the answer would be easy.  I have my degree in social work, therefore, that's where I need to focus my job search.  The truth was, I found myself tired of working in that field.  I had spent three years doing paid work and a year and a half in the field doing unpaid work (internships, volunteering, etc..).  And I was completely burned out.  There was nothing anyone could have said or done to convince me otherwise.  As a matter of fact, I only enjoyed the office meetings/pot lucks we used to have because I knew there was a huge possibility that I would end the work day with some awesome recipes.  I would zero in on a specific dish that I just loved (like Cheeseball Dip and Vanilla/Chocolate Eclair Dessert…both of which originated during my years as a social worker) and ask how it was made.  

My mom's experience taught me that life is to short to stay in something that does not make you happy.  Being in social work was not making me happy.  I needed a change.
(me…2001…at a computer training at work…this was wayyy
before Facetime and Skype)
I started thinking about other career avenues I could pursue.  My whole life up until that point had been about college and working in my chosen field.  I never really gave myself time to explore what other talents and gifts I had. 

I was a twenty-something year old just trying to find what her professional niche was.  Isn't that what your twenties are all about anyway??  Having fun and trying to figure out what's going to make you happy?  

So after talking with Husband Man, I took a few weeks to jot down which jobs/career fields interested me.  Then, I pursued them one by one and went on what I would like to call a mini-career exploration journey.  My whole goal was to try and figure out which one would bring me the most satisfaction. It was like conducting my own personal internship.  I was an employee in a bakery, worked as a financial advisor's assistant, and took continuing education classes in creative writing.  I was just trying to find that 'perfect' career fit for me.

My journey ended with me working at the local library across the street.  Unlike the previous jobs, this one was promising, with room for promotion, advancement, and even tuition reimbursement if I decided to pursue a Masters in Library Science.  

Was it my passion?  Not really.  I just knew that I needed to find a job that had the most potential for a good future.  I was willing to give it a shot because of all the opportunities that it had.  I mean…come on…tuition reimbursement for my Masters Degree??  Where do I sign up??

I considered myself pretty much set for the next few years.  Finally after a year of searching, my goals were focused on a career in library science and the college that was going to make it happen. 

Yes…this is where I wanted to be and everything seemed to be in order…
…..that was until….

…I became pregnant…

(Stay tuned for part 3)
Read Part 1 HERE

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