Lifestyle Smonday

Yes, you read correctly I did say smonday. You are probably asking, “What is smonday?” Well, smonday is the moment when Sunday stops feeling like Sunday and Monday kicks in. We all know too well how much that feeling just straight up sucks. This is the time of day where I sit and mentally prepare myself for the start of a new week, new opportunities, and new beginnings.

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[My daughter Giulia. Her smile warms my heart so much!]
This week was a hard week for me. It really hit me off guard and I feel as if I have been chewed up and spit back out. I tend to replay memories over and over again in my head. Like my life has a constant replay button. This is one of the many consequences to being a perfectionist. You always strive for the absolute best you can be. Everything has to be organized, every conversation has to be perfectly spoken with no slip ups.

Over thinking everything can wear you down and physically exhaust you. One of the many events that happened this past week was that classes started up for me again. This is my final semester ever in undergrad and can I just say how happy I am to finally be graduating! I have been at the same school for the past 7 years. A degree that should have been in my hands in 4 years has took me almost 3 extra years to obtain. But, I do have great reasons for why it has taken me so long. Between my father passing away, working two jobs, having a child, trying to keep a social life, rehabilitating wildlife, and the ups and down of having a relationship. The heat is on to get into vet school and to get my life on a roll.

What I am trying to say is that even though your week is going to be busy crazy do not let that get in the way of your goals. Organize your week to creep closer to achieving your goals and stay focused. Do not get discouraged when things don’t go as planned. Just go with the flow; roll with it! It is hard to get anywhere swimming against the tide.  Failure is something that stops so many people from getting to where they want to be. You can have it all as long as you believe you can. As this week comes to a new start I want you to keep in mind that all things are possible with kindness, positivity, and a giant, strong cup of coffee.

Stay Happy, Stay Beautiful

-Renea

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Do High School Sweethearts Still Exist?

Love, it is the thing that everyone in the world is after. Even if you say you do not believe in true love or you have given up. Deep down inside you are still looking for that special someone, or waiting for your love to find you. Some can say that they have already found the person they will spend they’re whole life with. But, how often can you say that you are still with the person you fell in love with in high school? It’s not very often someone can say that they are high school sweethearts. I can happily say that I am one of the lucky few to still be with their first love.

Let me give you some background. Although I am not married yet; emphasis on the ‘yet.’ I have been with my boyfriend, Mariano, for 10 years. We have been dating for so long that we don’t even say we are boyfriend and girlfriend anymore; we just considerhighs ourselves to be engaged to each other. I met my boyfriend when I was 15; I was a sophomore in high school. Mariano was 16 and a junior. I liked to stay out of everyones way so how Mariano and I came to meet is something I will always be intrigued with. When talking about high school popularity groups you could say that we were categorized as the ‘mall rats.’ Every friday night around 6pm we would hangout at a local mall and just walk around. This is where we fell in love.

Our relationship grew through aim instant messenger. This is back when aim was popular as well as myspace, razor flip phones, and limewire. Many of you might not even know what any of those things are. I say it everyday, it’s crazy how fast things change. I remember so many things like our first kiss and how he asked me to be his girlfriend and believe it or not I also clearly remember our first date. He took me to a Champs restaurant. I wish this restaurant was still there because we would go there all the time if it was. I remember ordering a cheeseburger because I always told myself that no guy every wants to see a woman order a salad on a first date.

We haven’t had a perfect relationship. No relationship is ever perfect and if they say it is then they are lying. Every relationship has it’s ups and downs and little arguments here and there. Sometimes big arguments and break ups and get back togethers. The most important thing, and the secret to a healthy and happy relationship is never giving up. Just because an argument happens that does not mean its the end of a relationship. Don’t just throw in the rag. Love is something you have to put work into and a lot of TLC.

So, the question is do high school sweethearts still exist in todays world? The answer is absolutely yes.

Waking Up Early

It is 7am on a Sunday as I write this. I’m usually not up this early but when my daughter, Giulia, is up then so am I. On the typical day I get to sleep until 8am, sometimes 8:30am. But, because I had to get up an extra hour early I am finding it a little hard to get the day rolling and all I can think about is sleep. Oh, how wonderful it would be to sleep in a few extra hours. Swimming in a sea of warm, soft, cuddly blankets on top of a cloud of relaxation. It may just be one of the best things in the world.

I am stuck between the mature adult that loves to wake up early and get things done, and the inner child that wants to sleep all day and wake up whenever she feels like it. I have to say that I do love mornings. Sunrise is my favorite time of day! If you have ever had the pleasure to sit outside and watch the sunrise in the middle of summer, than you know why. The world is quiet, animals are all about, a beautiful pallet of colors is painted across the sky. There is nothing like the fresh start to a new day and new opportunities.

Sleeping all day sure is a privilege that many don’t realize they have. That feeling of being refreshed and wanting to face the world. A slow start to the day just gradually making it into the kitten for a wonderful breakfast to add to your perfect sleep. Yeah, well every parent can relate when I say enjoy it while you can because before you know it, life happens!

In the end, that smile on my daughters face that she gives me the minute I walk into her room to get her from her crib gives me a feeling that is indescribable! Even though I hate waking up early especially when I’m really tired, it does have its perks.

Perks of waking up early:

– Reduced stress levels.

– Get better grades.

– More optimistic.

– More family time.

– Sunrise.

– Breakfast.

– Proactive.

As much as I would love to go on and on about each individual reason on why waking up early is a good thing. I have a date with a hot cup of fresh coffee. So, as you wake up today keep in mind how blessed you are for a fresh start to a new day.

How To Amaze Friends With Cookies!

Hey everyone! I hope by now that all of you, are up to your eyeballs in holiday joy and merriment! Before you know it, 2018 is going to be here and you are going to wish that you pigged out on that piece of cherry pie. But oh, too late. Your new year’s resolutions have already started. News flash! 2018 is not here yet and that cherry pie is just waiting for you to eat it! Can you tell that I’m craving some cherry pie?

In the hectic craziness that happens just a few days before any major holiday, or family gathering; I always seem to find myself rushing around trying to finish everything last minute. Checking the time constantly, spilling things because I’m in such a rush. Hopefully it wasn’t my coffee I spilt. I’m going to be needing that. With Christmas just 2 days away I decided to get ahead start on my holiday cooking. img_2248

I’m not that good of a meal chef but hey, dessert I can do. I like to add a few things to the dessert table every holiday. Usually I make cream puffs, thumb print cookies, or pie. But, in addition to all the usual dessert this year I am switching it up a bit and experimenting. Experimenting can always go two ways. It can come out to be super amazing and delicious, or a complete disaster and a never make again. Lets hope for the first outcome. So, I will be experimenting with some cookies this year. Cookies are really easy to make and its really hard to mess them up.

Today, I started ahead of time and made some of the cookie dough in advance. This way when baking time comes, the dough will be all ready to go and will just need to be thrown on a pan and shoved into the oven. Baking time is of course Christmas eve, this way Santa will have some cookies to curb his hunger when he stops by my house!

One of the cookie’s that were prepped today was a sprinkle swirly sugar cookie dough. I’m sure there is an actual name for them but this will do. It pretty much sums up what the cookie is, and that is a swirly sugar cookie covered in sprinkles. This recipe is so easy and literally took me a half hour to make and throw in the fridge.  These cookies are going to be so pretty and look store bought. It will look like I slaved over the oven all day just to make them. These are for sure going to wow all your family and friends.
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Below you will find the recipe that I used for these sugar cookies. But, I’m sure youcould use any sugar cookie recipe and it will work exactly the same. I decided to get a little adventurous and make a three colored swirl instead of the play it save two colored swirl. This required you to cut the dough into three equal pieces. The recipe below will tell you to cut the dough ball into two equal halves, but don’t stop there! What is life if it doesn’t have some risk in it? It’s boring, that’s what it is. When it comes to making each piece ‘equal’, now thats the hard part. One piece is huge, and one is way too small, while the middle one is the perfect size. Either way, I’m way too lazy too roll the dough back up and try again so I left it just how it was.

After you have rolled your dough out, and you finally have it the perfect size and shape. Step seven requires that you to take your rectangles and place them on top of each other. This is one of the most important steps in the whole recipe. One major

img_2253.jpgtip that I will give you is to make sure your refrigerate your dough before you do this step. Otherwise there is a very good chance that you will drop your dough, or it will rip and there will be no coming back from that disaster! So I’ll save you some aggravation and tell you to refrigerate your dough. I left my dough in between the plastic wrap and wax paper and threw it in the fridge for 5 minutes to let it harden up a little bit. This way when I went to peel the plastic wrap off I wasn’t peeling off chunks of dough with it or having my dough flop all over the place. It lined up nice and easy and was mess free! Every mom’s dream, mess free.

So, I have my log of dough covered in sprinkles sitting in my fridge just waiting to be baked. All I have to do is preheat my oven, slice up my log and done! I will be sure to vlog the finished products in an upcoming video. This has got to be one of the easiest cookies to make, ever! Even though this is an easy recipe it is guaranteed to make someone say, “Did you buy these?”

 

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Ingredients: (for 16 servings)

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 8 tablespoons softened butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • food coloring

Directions:

  1. In a bowl, mix together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  2. Mix in egg, vanilla, and salt.
  3. Mix in flour.
  4. Make the dough into a ball and cut into two equal halves.
  5. Add food coloring to one half of the dough, working it until evenly mixed.
  6. On a cutting board covered in plastic wrap, use a rolling pin to roll out each piece of dough to make two equal rectangles. Tip: To prevent the dough from sticking to your rolling pin, place a piece of wax paper over your dough while rolling.
  7. Take the colored dough rectangle and place over the other rectangle. Tip: Refrigerate dough for 5 minutes to make this step much easier.
  8. Use the plastic wrap that is under the regular dough rectangle to help you roll the two rectangles up.
  9. Fill a baking pan with sprinkles and roll the dough around in it until the outside of your log is completely covered.
  10. Refrigerate for at least two hours or until firm.
  11. Preheat oven to 375’F.
  12. Slice your log into 1/4-inch slices and place them on a cookie sheet.
  13. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until cookies are no longer shiny.
  14. ENJOY!!!!!!

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DIY Salt Dough Ornaments!

Salt Dough Ornaments          Winter if finally here and that means that playtime at the park has come down to once a week. What do you do the other 6 days of the week? Since my daughter will be two in January I thought that she was finally ready to help mommy with a little Christmas craft.

The holiday season always brings family and friends a little closer together making happy memories start to stack up like the pile of Christmas cards on my kitchen table. To add to one of those happy memories I decided to start a tradition of making cinnamon salt dough ornaments. The cinnamon smell always reminds me of a home made apple pie cooking in the oven on a snow day. Salt dough is every parent’s best friend because its cheap to make, non toxic, and easy to clean up.

What you will need:

-1 cup flour -1/2 cup salt -1/2 cup cinnamon -3/4 cup warm water -parchment paper           -cookie cutters -pattern material (ex: doily, bottom of cup, stencil)  -drying rack                   -cookie tray

Directions:

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Mix all ingredients together in the same bowl; cutting in with a fork until all the dry ingredients have come together in to a clay consistency.

Sprinkle some flour onto the table that you will be working on to prevent the dough from sticking to any surface. Using a rolling pin, roll out your cinnamon salt dough to the desired thickness. Keep in mind that the thicker you make your ornaments the longer it will take them to dry. For this reason I made sure to keep my ornaments thin so they would dry quicker. Take your doily and press it into your dough using the rolling pin. Remove your pattern material slowly to prevent any holes from forming. Press your cup or cookie cutter over the pattern to make the shape img_2104that your ornament will be. Next, you want to take a spatula and place your ornament onto the parchment paper that is in your cookie tray. Believe me, you want to use the parchment paper or cling wrap or else your ornament will stick to the cookie tray and break causing a giant mess and upset children. I will do anything to keep the tears away!

Finally, its time to add the finishing touches to your ornaments. If you have a straw laying around, grab it to make the hole that your string will go through in your ornament. No straw? That’s okay, grab a pen cap and that will work too! Another great thing about salt dough is that you don’t necessarily need to bake them. Many salt dough recipes want you to bake them, but i found that when you air dry any salt dough craft that they always come out better! Of course baking is quicker, but for better quality I defiantly recommend air drying. It will take approximately 24 hours for your ornament to dry.

When finished drying you will have a beautiful, hand crafted ornament that will last forever. This will be something that I plan to do with my daughter every year.

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