Who's socks are those?

Well, we got ourselves a wild one ya'll.  So here is the story....yesterday, while at work I get a call from Miss O's school, it's her teacher, frustration in her voice she asks me what time we dropped her off at school today.  I had no idea where this was going, but I let her know that she actually rode the bus today, and she sighs and begins to explain to me that she is going to have to send her to the office because she and her little friend showed up to class 15 minutes late again.

When her teacher asked each of the girls where they were, neither had an answer (or just wouldn't answer), but Mrs. B did know that they were found in the bathroom together, "doing God knows what".....she expressed.  Before she sent her to speak to the Mr. J, I did have a chance to talk to O.  She didn't have an answer for me to why she was roaming around on campus, just "I don't know....." was said to me over and over again, in a small meek voice.  Since this was the second time she has come to class late and been caught not being where she was supposed to be, I told her that she would be in trouble when she got home......


Fast forward to the evening and my darling daughter comes in the house, swiftly walking through the house towards her bedroom - passing by me I say "Hey girl....wait OMG who's clothes are those?"...thinking maybe she had an accident at school or something, heck it happens-she's six.  She doesn't answer me-just gives me the side eye and a "sad face", she just keeps walking quickly to her room crying a little.  But my husband, who was the one that brought her home from after school is walking through the door now and yells "THEY ARE J'S LELA, THEY SWITCHED CLOTHES IN THE F'IN BATHROOM, THAT'S WHAT THEY WERE DOING.  THEY CHANGED INTO EACH OTHERS CLOTHES, THEY CHANGE EVERYTHING LELA, EVEN THEIR F'IN UNDERWEAR & SOCKS!  WHAT THE HELL?".

I have to admit, I was a little speechless.  I mean, what?  I guess my husband saw the look on my face because he repeated himself "yeah, underwear, socks, shoes.....every single thing....I mean, look at the shoes, they are way to big...." at that point, I had to hide my laughter-keep it down because apparently the conversation with our sweet girl really pissed him off, he was HOT!  Y'all pray for that girl, lol-and pray for us!

Home Chef Review (Box #1)

Well, after consideration I decided to go ahead and give another meal kit service a try.  Why?  Hell, I don't know-I figured I might as well try a few of them before I give up all together and either stick with one or stop doing them all together.  But Home Chef seemed a bit more up my alley because they offer a six person meal service, which would work better for when all the kids are home & having plenty for everyone.  It's a bit more expensive though-but so is food that you buy at the grocery store.  I am trying to make my life easier-so we shall see if this works out for me.  The first box will come when it's just me, Billy and Olivia at home (meal box for four/only two meals).

Okay, so let's talk about what's in the box:  Blue Cheese, Butter, Fingerling Potatoes, Garlic Cloves, Green Beans, Green Onions, Sirloin Steak, Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts, Canola Oil, Chicken Breading, Corn Kernels, Light Cream, Mayonnaise, Russet Potatoes

Meal 1 - Sirloin Steak with Blue Cheese Compound Butter with Green Beans and Roasted Fingerling Potatoes



Would we make this again?  Well, let's face it-it is beef and it is sirloin.  So sure, why not.  I mean, I don't eat a lot of red meat or steak for that matter.  But when I do, I prefer a nice cut.  And Home Chef did give us four really beautiful cuts of beef.  There were plenty of potatoes & green beans-in fact we didn't even use all of the veggies or the blue cheese & butter (as I was the only one interested in the blue cheese).  So there is left overs.  I did have to cook the potatoes longer then they suggested-and they still didn't brown up but were cooked through and soft.  I think cooking at a higher temperature maybe would have helped with this.  The garlic was already pealed and ready to go, that was fantastic so I just chopped it up and cooked it into my green beans.  The recipe is easy to follow, and the food was fresh and delicious-so yes....yes we would make this again!

Meal 2 - Farmhouse Fried Chicken with Mashed Potatoes, Green Onion Gravy and Corn



Would we make this again?  Oh yes, this was a big hit at our house.  I didn't take any photos of my own-these are the photos from the website as it was to late to take pictures (Olivia had baseball practice).  It was quick to make and really yummy.  The only thing I would say that wasn't great was the gravy, it wasn't really a hit since it turned out to really be just steamed milk with onions in it.  There was plenty of food, had some left over for lunch the next day - minus the corn, they really didn't send a lot of corn at all.

Finally, let's talk about the cost.  I got $20 off each box ($80 off total).  The shipping is free, which I like-since Every Box does charge you $8.99 for shipping.  My total for 2 4 people meals was $59.60 which is $7.45 a plate.  Not to bad right?  I like that this meal box comes with the oil and butter-that is something you have to use of your own with Every Plate.

Want to try it yourself?  Here is $30 off ---->Click Here<----

Settling in.....

Sometimes it is hard to see yourself through your own eyes.  I often look in the mirror and wonder, who the hell is this woman looking back at me?  I look at her and think, how the hell did you survive all the things that should have drove you completely mad?

I think, I'm 46 now-not a girl anymore, but a woman-a middle aged woman.  I wonder what I am to old for now, I wonder what I am to young for now.

I struggle with feeling confident, and attractive due to my own insecurities and those placed upon me from my father or ex-lovers, and even current.  Am I allowed to love myself, as I am right now?  Or am I supposed to be ashamed of growing older, getting those fine lines and strands of silver.

I am a grandmother.  I am a proud grandmother, and that title doesn't make me feel older.  It makes me feel accomplished.  With Oscar's birth came survival, that of my family and my DNA.  We live on, through that sweet boy!

I've never thought I was beautiful, I never thought I was smart or really ever good enough for anyone or anything.  Having kids did give me a purpose in life, though I'm not the best at it.  I go to bed praying to not make the same mistakes every night and wake up hopeful and pray I am better at it.

I realize none of us are perfect, and I never really strive to be perfect-I just strive to not be totally and utterly shitty.  I realize we all deserve love, to give it and receive it.  And every day I learn a little something new about love, forgiveness, human nature and just how to be kinder in this really busy, really mean world.

As a girl I was bullied in school when I was young.  Girls making fun of me because my clothes were not up to their standards.  I was shy, and didn't fight back against it.  As I approached middle/high school I grew taller, taller then a lot of the boys.  So boys then would tease me because I wasn't small and voluptuous as most of the other girls.  My breasts didn't get larger until I had children.  I was shy, and still didn't fight back.  I allowed people to call me stork or tease me because I didn't have large breasts.

Sometimes, when I look in the mirror I still see that weird, awkward shy girl.  I don't feel sorry for her, or myself (yes I know I am talking about the same "person").  I just wish I could feel GOOD about myself-and not allow these ancient remarks rule my thoughts sometimes and bring me down.

I grew up just not wanting to be in the way, or to be noticed.  And I still run my life that way.  I get anxious in traffic or at the grocery store because I know that I am in someones way, causing them grief just by being there.  I don't like to reach out to friends, especially if they have not reached out to me in a while-because I figure there is a reason they are not emailing, texting or calling and I don't want to bother them and make them feel like they need to respond.  I think that makes people think I don't give a rats ass about them or that I have "moved on" but trust me-that's not the case.  I don't feel equip sometimes to have friends or strong relationships with woman, due to this.  But it is something I long for, to have a real friendship-someone I can call or that can call me and meet up to shop, have dinner-or just hang out at each others house having wine.

Don't get me wrong (man I sound like a cry baby)...I do have great relationships with my mom, my step mom, my two sisters & my husbands sisters.  But it's not the same is it?

I've sort of just started settling in.....not really being very proactive in my own life in the ways of health, skin care, career, all of it really.  I've gotten "comfortable" with being "uncomfortable".  Say what?  Yeah!  I have to get off my ass, start to enjoy this life a little more and stop being so scared to be in the damn way, or what people may think of me if they see me out there living my best life!

Anyway, here is a recent "selfie" taken just this morning-because I put on make up and thought it looked good-until I took this selfie lol!  Yay me!  But whatever-I am trying to be better at documenting-so.....consider this done :)

Weekly Meal Plan - 09/23/2019

This weeks meal plan has all been planned out.  LOL!  I maybe should try to phrase that better.  This week, our meals will be:

Sunday: Chicken Pita's (Thanks to Every Plate)
Using the Every Plate recipe (and supplies) for this delicious meal.  Now we are short four potatoes, so we'll see how we can make it work-we all seem to fight over potatoes around here.  We all love them so.

Monday:  Pasta Night with french bread
I have not decided what type of pasta we will be having on Monday.  Once I get to the grocery store-I'll know more.  I want to look at the pasta and get my inspiration at the grocery store.  I'll also bake a homemade french loaf of bread for those wanting to enjoy a warm slice.

Tuesday:  Taco's (of course)We'll be making our traditional taco dinner (beef/turkey mixture) served with warm flour tortillas, hard corn shells, lettuce, tomatoes, beans, cilantro rice, sour cream & cheese.

Wednesday: Chicken and Sour Cream RiceThis is a classic in our family, and really easy!  It consists of boneless skinless chicken breasts (or a rotisserie chicken), and chicken flavored Rice a Roni.  We will cook the chicken (boil) until cooked through and then follow the instructions on the RaR package, after it's all cooked we put in sour cream for an added creamy element-and that's it.

Thursday: Pork stuffed burgers with potato wedgesWe had this one week that the boys were not home, and well-it was that good that we want to share it with the kiddos.  So we'll be making this again just using the Every Plate recipe.  I hope I can make it as good, I've never bought ground pork before-so I don't really know what I am looking for.

Friday: Homemade PizzasThis is pretty self explanatory.  Olivia and I like veggie pizzas-so that will be super easy (mushrooms and onions for us) and pepperoni for the boys.

Saturday: Billy's chicken wings, homemade mac & cheese, roasted green beans
I'll have write out the recipe for Billy's bbq hot wings because they are delish-this will be the third time we've made them-they are certainly going into the rotation.

This meal planning stuff is no joke, it's hard to think ahead like this.  It's hard to commit to the plan and it's hard to go grocery shopping and buy all this crap.  This is week two, please someone tell me it gets easier!?

Every Plate - Review (box number 2)

{UPDATE}  I am all out of free boxes!  You can still get $20 off your first order by clicking here though....still a great deal!  ----->CLICK HERE<-----

So my family decided to give Every Plate another try-because our first box was such a hit.  So much a hit, that one of the recipes will be made again next week so the entire family can enjoy it (we just are buying all the ingredients on our own).

Okay, so let's talk about what is in our box this week:  four ranch steaks, green beans, shallots, garlic, peppercorns, beef stock, red wine vinegar, demi-baguettes, button mushrooms, linguine pasta, pork sausage, reduced-fat milk, Parmesan cheese, Yukon gold potatoes, roma tomatoes, lemons, Persian cucumbers, sour cream, chicken breast strips, Turkish spices and whole wheat pitas.

Meal 1 - Peppercorn Steak with Garlic Butter Bread sticks and Roasted Green Beans

Would we make it again?  We'd totally make this again, maybe with a pepper grinder & maybe with a better cut of steak (the steak they sent was tasty but not very tender).  The idea of roasting green beans is amazing, love it so much & will totally continue to roast my veggies from now on thanks to EP.

Meal 2 - Pork Sausage and Mushroom Linguine with a Creamy Parmesan Sauce

Would we make it again?  Probably not this version, we all like the version of this that I make better.  I wasn't a fan of the sausage, it had hard bits in it & I cannot stand eating sausage that has hard things in it (bone maybe?), which is why I opted to just have mine with some yummy mushrooms.  It was yummy, and lower calories then my version as it came with low fat milk.  I may use that part of the recipe for the future - as I didn't see much difference in the flavor.  I wish that it would have come with some veggies to go with it, maybe broccoli or zucchini, I don't know-for a chef crafted meal I thought it was missing some freshness or brightness.

Meal 3 - Greek Chicken Pitas with Tzatziki and Lemony Potato Wedges



Would we make it again?  Surprised to say, yes-we would.  Even the picky eater of the house liked it, now mind you he didn't put tomato, cucumbers or the sauce on it but he loved the meat flavor, the ketchup flavor and the lemon potatoes.  Though we didn't have enough potatoes to go around.  They should have sent us 10 potatoes - but we only received 6.  I did contact EP and they gave me almost $10 to use towards my next purchase-which is pretty generous for 4 small potatoes.

Now let's talk about the items once they are prepared:  All the recipes were pretty easy to complete.  The only thing we found difficult was crushing the peppercorns in a ziplock bag as they suggested, it tore the bag & left the peppercorns pretty intact.  I used a meat clever - and pounded the crap out of it too.  I think I prefer a grinder for this.  Loved the shallots as an added bonus with the steak and the garlic bread was amazing as were the roasted green beans (who knew).  Will we continue to get these boxes, yep.....we sure will.....we continue to love them y'all.

And finally, let's talk about the price:  For our first box, I had a coupon for $20 off which brought my total for three meals for four people to $38.90.  Our second box, this box was upgraded so we could have the steak (for our anniversary) for $2.99 more per serving.  So our total was $80.83 (average about $6.74 a person/meal)

We have decided to get a during the week of October 3rd as well, and that will include 1. Spicy Honey Butter Chicken with Zucchini and Roasted Sweet Potatoes 2. Vietnamese Steak Bows with Carrot, Pickled Cucumber and Sriracha Mayo and finally 3. Creamy Penne Gratin with Cheesy Bechamel, Mushrooms and Thyme.

(click here if you want to try it yourself & get $20 off) or if you want to try a free box-send me an email at hello@homewithlela.com and I will send you the information on that.  Happy Cooking!

Oscar | One Year

Yesterday, I got some great news from my daughter.  Her husband has been offered (and accepted) an amazing opportunity at work where he will a. make more money and b. travel about 10% for his job.  One of the places he'll be traveling first, for training is ATLANTA GEORGIA!  Which is all of 4.5 to 5 hours away from our house.  WOOHOO!  That is sooo much closer then Portland.....I could make a day trip or a weekend trip out of that for lots of baby snuggles and daughter talks/coffee!  To say I am excited is an understatement.

Not only did I get this wonderful news, but Teresa also took some amazing photos of her baby boy who is just one year old, my handsome, smart, playful and gentle Grandson OSCAR!

Check them out.....





On a different note, I edited these photos using my phone of course and the Lightroom app, which you can download for FREE!  I used a preset that I purchased from Pretty Presets, it 's from their Bohemian Collection (Dune).  I re-edited these for Teresa, she liked a more rich edit.  I used a preset from the same collection called Wildflower.  Check THEM out:





Skillet Chicken Cordon Bleu Recipe

So tonight I made "EASY Skillet Chicken Cordon Bleu" from Gina Homoloka's Cooking Blog called SKINNY TASTE.  I have been wanting to try this recipe out for a while, and just haven't had the chance. But since we are trying to "weekly meal plan" I added it to the rotation this week & tonight was the night.

What I used:

2 chicken breasts
1/2 tsp of salt
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp butter
1 1/2 tsp olive oil
2/3 cup low sodium chicken broth
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
4 slices of ham (thin)
4 slices of Swiss cheese (thin)

What I did:

I cut my two chicken breasts in half making four thinner breasts.  Seasoned them with the salt & pepper.  I then dreaded the chicken into the flour, both sides-set aside.  In a small bowl, combine chicken broth, lemon juice, mustard and 1 tsp of flour and whisk until smooth.  Then I heated up a skillet over medium-high heat to melt the butter and mix in the olive oil then cooked the chicken for about two minutes on each side.  After removing the chicken from the pan, add in the broth mixture and whisk while scrapping up any bits stuck to the pan and cook for about 2 mins (simmer) on medium-low heat.  After it reduces a bit and starts to thicken, add the chicken with a slice of ham & then swiss, cover with lid & simmer for 3-4 minutes until the cheese is all melted and gooey.  I served this chicken with some roasted asparagus with some lemon zest on them & roasted small yellow baby potatoes.  Delish!  I didn't get a photo of it, because we all ate at separate times-and honestly I was so hungry by the time I got done-I couldn't wait to try it!  We are for SURE making this again!

If you want to check out this original recipe (click here).  You won't be sorry, her recipes are THE BEST!

Fab Fit Fun (box review)

So what was in my box?





& how do I feel about everything?  Well, I basically love everything-it's all great if not fantastic quality.  But the box was huge-and the items were small.  Seemed like they could have just put it all in a smaller box & saved a lot of excess waste in all the packaging and "stuffing" they used to fill up the space. Plus it came with paper that was cut up like Easter Grass....and.  I. Hate. Easter. Grass!

The scarf is probably my favorite item (even though the Easter Grass crap was all in the little fringes).  It's so soft, and it's going to be so warm for winter (maybe it will get really cold here in Florida a few days and I can wear it).  The Kate Spade lunch bag is cute, but small.  Looks well made!  The earrings are cute too, not really my style at all-so I am not sure what I'll do with them at this point.  The lotion is nice, and my husband really liked the clean scent so he is now the proud owner of that.  The body wash/cubes smell really great-we have not tried them out yet.  I did try out the under eye gold patchy things....didn't really do anything but it was fun to have the kids look at me like I was crazy :D The eye liner is cool, and I do wear that once in a while so I'll probably keep those!  The hair stuff, we will see if we have a use for that.

Over all, I probably won't get another one since I don't really feel I'll get anything really useful, I am not really that into make up or body washes!  But if you're wanting to try out some new things here is a code for $15 off to try it out :) --->CLICK HERE<---

update: after reading some reviews-I have decided to give it another shot & receive a Winter box....I'll let you know how that goes :)

T-Ball 2019

So, it's FALL BALL SEASON and Xander has finally aged out.  Weston has long aged out.  That only leaves one child left that is under the age of 15 in the house to have the opportunity to play baseball and have Billy as their coach and that is MISS O!  That's right, little sweet Olivia is now playing t-ball.

We had our first practice yesterday, and I sure didn't remember how crazy practices can be-as I stopped going long ago as the boys got older and as Billy started to coach I wasn't really needed.  I went to the boys practices of course when they were little because Billy worked nights & I didn't want them up there all by themselves with no adult (parent). they were 4 & 5.

Anyway, me being there was a bit of a distraction for little O-so I have been banned so won't be attending any more, however I did go to her first to make sure dad didn't need help!  I helped a little, especially with the kids that were waiting for their turn to do something as they were just all over the place.  Some of the kids in her group are 3 years old (what?).

All in all, it was crazy but it went well.  Olivia enjoyed it and she even helped out some of the younger kids.  Big love oozes out of her!

Happy One Oscar!

Today is Oscar's very first birthday [HAPPY BIRTHDAY OSCAR] & this weekend (tomorrow) his mama and daddy will be celebrating this day with friends and family in Portland.  Grandma Lela (that's me) will be missing out on the festivities.  Living so far away can be hard, especially at these joyous little moments in your grandchild's life.  I sure wish I could be there to listen to his sounds of happiness as he opens gifts, and see if he'll be shy around everyone.  I sure wish I could stand near my daughter & watch her as she experiences this for the first time with her and her husband.

I hope that, well I know that, he'll have the very best day!  I know that is exactly what his mama and daddy will strive to give him as they do every single day.  I sure have enjoyed watching him grow up from afar over the course of his very first year on this gorgeous planet.  I have enjoyed every single photo, every single video, every single facetime, phone call or update.  I cannot wait to see what you do as a one year old!

 PHOTO CREDIT GOES TO HIS SWEET MAMA <3

09-11-2001

18 years have gone by since this day.  An entire lifetime for some.  I don't have many words, I just want to say-I have not forgotten the sadness felt around the world on this day & every day prior.

This is a beautiful tribute.



Home

Yesterday was particularly stressful for me at work, and I carried home my bad mood to my family.  I was not warm and loving like I can be, I was short & visibly annoyed.  Prior to my husband getting home, I had started dinner but noticed we were lacking two items for me to complete the dinner prep, so I asked him to stop after he picked up Miss O from after school.  He obliged-as he normally does.  They got home as I was just about done getting what I could complete, and Olivia and her daddy had bought me, as an extra treat my favorite drink.  Even that didn't seem to turn my mood around, sadly and looking back on it this morning I feel like such a shit head.  My husband had a meeting later that evening, so I was trying to get dinner done before he had to leave as I figured he was hungry, but instead of asking for help or anything, I just let my disapproval of him sitting in his chair relaxing get the best of me (as I had, as I mentioned a very stressful hard day at work and all I wanted to do was relax and do NOTHING).  When dinner was done, I was platting everything and he pops up and comes into the kitchen, and at that point I lost my composure and was rather nasty as I lashed out at him at how I could finish THIS up...and how he was just going to get in the way.  Did he deserve me to act like a turd towards him because he was coming in there to make his plate?  No.  I guess not, and I felt bad about it after I acted like a child-but it didn't stop me did it?

So today, as I mindlessly drive into work I notice a homeless man sitting on the side of a barrier that separated the road I was driving on from the sidewalk.  He was just sitting there, alone in the dark looking rather sad.  In fact, I normally don't feel much of anything when I see people around town, homeless or other wise - but this particular man made me feel rather shitty about myself.  Look at how much I take for granted.  I ruined for myself, a perfectly lovely evening with my entire family because I  was in a bad mood!  Shame on me.

Every Plate - Review (is it worth the price)?

So my family decided to give Every Plate a try.  What is Every Plate you ask, well they boasted on Facebook that they were an Affordable Meal Kit program, having meals at just $4.99 per person.  The meal kits can come every week, every other week or once a month-or never again, you have control over that.  They have meal kits for two or four people.  We opted to get the kit for four, since that was as high as it would go and have the kit delivered the week the boys were with their other parent, so it would be just three people enjoying the dinners.

Well first off let's talk about what we got in our box:  Two packages of ground pork, two packages of ground beef, four chicken breasts, two units of pepper jack cheese, one garlic clove, 20 potatoes, two packages of broccoli, two large zucchinis,  a lime, two packages of jasmine rice, four potato buns, two slices of bread, four onions, a halved piece of ginger, BBQ sauce, sour cream, beef concentrate

Meal 1 - Gooey Stuffed Pork Burgers with BBQ Onions and Crispy Potato Wedges

Would we make again?  Absolutely.  This one was a winner, not only did it take no time at all t prepare but it was really tasty.  We think that the boys would love this one.  I couldn't get over the idea of BBQ onions.  I mean, I love onions-I love them so much.  This recipe didn't disappoint in that department.  Once caramelized, we put in the BBQ sauce and those already delicious things were elevated to another level.  We loved the toasted buttery garlic potato buns as well.  The pork burgers had hardly if any shrinkage.  Some of the cheese did ooze out as it cooked, but I love cooked crispy cheese, so who cares right?

Meal 2 - Gravy Lover's Meatballs with Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Broccoli


Would we make again?  Totally.  This was took about ten more minutes for us to prepare and cook, but the end results were great.  The beef was of good quality, hardly any oil left over after baking them, the mashed potatoes were amazing, who knew roasted garlic would elevate a simple dish?  Not this girl, but I know now and I cannot ever forget it.

Meal 3 - Teriyaki Chicken Breasts with Zucchini and Ginger-Lime Rice

Would we make again?  Well to be honest, we never made this per the recipe.  The boys came home, and four chicken breasts just aren't enough-so we put them in the freezer.

Now let's talk about the items once they are prepared:  The recipes were easy to follow, everything was step by step.

And finally, let's talk about the price:  For our first box, I had a coupon for $20 off which brought my total for three meals to $38.90.  But if we continue to get boxes they will run $68.87 a week on the weeks we opt to get them delivered.  All in all not to bad, right?

(click here if you want to try it yourself & get $20 off)

p.s. here are a few more pics of the pork burger (just because I love onions)

Update:  I have three free meals to give away to anyone that would like to try it, just message me your email address :)  



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