It's been about 3 weeks since hurricane Irma came through and kicked us out of our homes, forcing us to make decisions no one should ever HAVE to make. With the severity of the storm that was to over take us, many of use were left wondering if we would even have houses to come home to- we wondered if our home would be there when the sun rose on Monday morning.
Late that Friday night I started packing, things like medications, water & emergency food supplies, flashlights & batteries were a given. By early Saturday morning I stood looking around my house, trying to think about what I really needed and what I could do without for a few days, but it went beyond that. It wasn't as if I was going on vacation, I had to make decisions within a matter of hours of what things would I be hurt to lose, what of all my belongings would devastate me to no longer have.
My husband of course gathered his game systems, for me it was some momentos of lost loved ones- and treasured items from others still alive- a picture my grandmother colored with me and had signed her name to, a stuffed llama a family friend had given me, a Disney World frame that reminded me of all our family vacations, a blanket that kept my mother warm through her battle with cancer (that she had one) and that had seen me through the good & the bad in my life. But then the time came to have my son pack his posessions. Even at 5 I wanted him to know that there was a chance we wouldn't have a home to come back to and he should gather the toys the meant the most to him.
We left Saturday afternoon, thankfully a friend of the family had offered her home in a much safer and stable location that allowed us to take our pets, But loading up the car and driving away from my home was one of the hardest things I'd ever done, it was such a heart breaking moment, and in that moment my security was shattered, my thoughts were consumed with the idea that I may never return home.
Through Saturday night, and Sunday we did our best to keep busy, as the weather worsened we kept watch on the storm, with baited breath every new update about the storm we wondered what was going on back home. As the storm made it through, and night turned to day, we felt tension lifting, news from family that had stayed behind that our homes stood their ground faithfully allowed us to breath a sigh of relife, coming home, climbing the stairs, and opening the front door was such an amazing feeling. Looking through my house - though without electric- I was able to see that minus a small leak we had made it through unharmed.
We were the lucky ones, we didn't have electric, but my parents (who live right across the street) did, so we stayed there for the next 5 days until the electric came back on. There were others who didn't fare so well, others lost their homes, and others still lost their lives. Even though our homes & lives were spared, it was a traumatic experience for all involved. I've heard from countless people who were overly tired, unable to focus, and some just an overall feeling of sadness.
3 Weeks later and I feel like things are FINALLY getting back to normal, stores are now getting steady streams of eggs, bread and milk again, all our evacuation supplies & momentos have been put back where they belong, I've finally gotten a decent nights sleep, and my house is feeling like home again. For our Florida friends and family, if you find yourself still feeling tired and worn down, allow yourself to rest, and allow yourself time to heal. We will come back from this, we wil be FLORIDA STRONG!
To help those affected by hurricane Irma, please consider donating to your favorite reliefe charity organizaion.
(And lets not forget to continue to pray for an support not only Florida, but also those affected by Harvey & Maria.)
100lbs to Disneyland-
In case you haven't heard, We are ending into week 3 (or is it week 4?) of our 100lbs to Disneyland Journey, Mama Dawn seems to be leading with an 10lb loss so far, I believe mama Carol is down 5lbs or so, and Mama April has seen her plane go back and forth a couple times, by getting off track a few times. But we're all still in the game. Mama April has her menu plan for the week prepared and is ready for the week, and is hoping to get back to the gym.
If you haven't seen our video, you may be wondering what the heck does "100lbs to Disneyland Mean"? - Well for us, it's the 3 of us (Mama Carol, Mama Dawn, & Me - Mama April) on a journey to lose 100lbs, with the end goal & reward being a trip to Disney Land! We have a map to mark our losses where every 5lbs lost we get to move our plane a little closer to the Original Happiest place on earth! If you want to follow along check out our 100lbs to Disneyland Introductions video, and stick with us as we check in, share some slimmed down Disney recipes, and share our love for the mouse!
Meal Prep - 6 Meals for $10.00
This weeks lunch is Teriyaki Chicken with Cauliflower Rice, Stir fry vegetables, and pork pot stickers. And it comes in at right under 200 calories! It's full of veggies!!
With all the unicorn craziness going on, it's hard not to be inspired by these beautiful creatures. Why settle for boring old crispy rice treats when you can make them colored! Beautiful purples & pink make these some magical treats worthy of a princess (or prince)!
Divide ingredients into 3 and Follow steps 1-3 (3) times:
Maybe it was the thought of impending summer, maybe it was watching the Disney World vacation videos and seeing all the pineapple whips, or maybe it was watching Moana for the 15th time, but at some point during the past few days I got a crazy craving for pineapple. Then while browsing the frozen section of the local grocery store, my eyes fell upon the new limited edition Cheesecake Cool Whip and I knew I had to buy in and find a use for it! Not wanting to heat the house I settled upon an idea for a no bake pie.
Want to make it yourself? Here's what you'll need-
1 3.4oz box cheesecake pudding mix
(and 1 1/2 C milk to mix in the pudding.)
1 container cheesecake flavored Cool Whip
1 9oz ready made graham cracker pie crust
1 Can pineapple (blend 1/2c in your food processor)
Be sure to check our youtube channel for this recipe and many more!
The other day We 3 Mason Jar Mamas found ourselves sitting in the waiting room of a doctors office (Don't worry we're fine it was just a normal check up for Mama April & her asthma). As per usual there was a tv showing the local news, and our ears perked up as Gayle Guyardo's Guide To Pinterest come on, and this week they were featuring Mason Jar Salads. Imagine our excitement when one of our salads (and our most repinned recipe.) was shown front and center during the segment!! We all looked each other and squealed with excitement.Check out the video segment here!
And for those of you who haven't pinned, favorited, or shared our recipe, here it is, again:
A few days ago was a day like any other, until we looked at the calendar and realized what day it was. Perhaps more important then birthdays and holidays, it was a day that 29 years ago we never thought we'd see. Mama Carol celebrated 29 years cancer free!! If you want to read her entire cancer survivor story click the link below. In order to celebrate this amazing mile stone here on the page we are also rounding up our best Breast Cancer Awareness posts so far!!
Carol's Story- Click Here
Free Planner Stickers- Click Here
Pink Puppy Chow Jars- Click Here
Free Pink Ribbon Kiss Stickers- Click Here
Pink Ribbon Chips & Hummus- Click Here
October may be the official breast cancer awareness month, but around here it's every month.
Don't forget to do your monthly self breast exam!
The first time I had a pretzel melt was at a restaurant inside of an Atlantic City casino. That was about 15-20 years ago. Ever since then pretzel melts have been a favorite quick & easy meal that my whole family has come to love. From Ham & Cheese to fried eggs they can be made to accommodate even the pickiest of eaters.
Hot Ham & Cheese Pretzel Melt
1 Pretzel (I used Walmart's Bakery Bavarian Style Pretzel)
2 Slices Sargento Thin Slices Cheddar
5 Slices Thin Sliced Deli Ham
1 Tsp Yellow Mustard
-Preheat oven to 350-
The hardest part of this whole recipe is cutting the pretzel in half. But it can be done! Take your time.
Once you have 2 slices spread one side evenly with yellow mustard, top with ham, cheese, and finally top with the other half of your pretzel. Brush with water and sprinkle on salt.
Place on a greased baking sheet and bake for 3-5 minutes- letting the cheese melt and ham get warm.
Remove from oven & serve.
As New Jersey natives, the Mason Jar family LOVES A good Italian Sub, and sadly they are hard to find here in Florida. So forgoing the bread we decided to deconstruct a sub and throw it's ingredients into a mason jar. What we created turned out crisp & delicious and will last a few days just chillin' in the fridge til you are ready to eat.
For each Italian Sub Salad you will need:
2 tbs low fat Italian dressing
3 Slices Tomato
2 Thin Cut Slices Ham
3 Thin Cut Slices Genoa Salami
2 Thin Cut Slices Sargento Provolone Cheese
1 1/2 C Lettuce (more or less depending on jar size)
1 tsp Italian Seasoning
3 Pepperochini Peppers Sliced
5 Diced Olives
2 tbs Italian Croutons
Layer all ingredients as listed from top to bottom except the croutons. Place croutons in container or small ziplock bag to keep them crunchy, tuck them into the top of your salad filled jar, put on the lid and Just Screw It ;)
When you're almost ready to eat, I like to take out the crouton container, replace the lid, and leave the salad sitting upside down for a few moments and then giving it a good shake before pouring the contents into a bowl, this allows the dressing to cover all of the salad without needing more dressing.