Stuffed Like A......

March 31, 2009

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I bet you were all wondering when I was going to do another food post.

Did you think I stopped cooking?

Of course not!!

Things have been just a tad crazy around here since we returned from our trip. Mortgage rates are at an all time low and Pat has been working round the clock, even on weekends. My new hire started yesterday, so I spent last week preparing things for her so I can get her trained and ramped up fairly quickly. Soccer has also started, which means practices during the week and dinners have had to be fast and nothing too fancy. So this weekend I really wanted to cook something hearty, healthy, and comforting.

At Pat's request, I cooked STUFFED PEPPERS. This is one of his favorites, and to be honest, I am not sure where this recipe came from. It is the way my Mom made peppers, so I took her recipe and added a couple extra ingredients.

Here is the recipe for my foody friends who like to try new things.

Just a fair warning though....I am one of those that does not measure when I cook, so I had to guesstimate this for you:)


8 Peppers Red, Green, Yellow, or Orange{I like to use an assortment of colors, it looks so pretty when you serve it}
2 pounds of ground turkey or ground beef{I use turkey}
1 onion
2-3 cloves of garlic
2-3 Carrots, peeled and chopped into bite sized pieces
Fresh Basil
Olive Oil{About 2 TBSP}
1 bag of frozen corn
1 Box of Rice{I love to use Abrorio Rice, but you can use anything that you prefer}
4 15oz cans of Tomoto Sauce
Cheese- Grated Pecorino Ramono or Shredded Mozzarella...or both:)


Make the rice according to the directions on the box and put aside

Take all of the peppers except for one and slice off the top portion, wash and clean out the insides. Then I put the peppers on a tray standing upright and put them in the microwave for 3-5 minutes. It starts to steam them a little bit so they are not too raw when they go into the oven.

Chop the onion, carrots, and the remaining pepper and saute in olive oil for about 10minutes. I add a little salt and pepper at this point and then add chopped garlic and stir for another minute of two. Next, I add the ground turkey. Once the turkey is cooked through, I will add 2-3 cans of the tomato sauce. Stir and add the bag of frozen corn. Then I will grab a bunch of basil leaves and tear them up into little pieces and stir those in. Let it simmer for about 10 minutes continuing to stir. Depending on your taste, you might want to add a little more salt and pepper.

Now you should have the rice in one pot and the meat mixture in another. You want to mix the rice into the meat mixture. If it is too dry looking, add a litte more sauce.

Once everything is mixed, you can scoop the mixture into the peppers and place them into a casserole dish. I usually have extra filling, so I fill in the dish all around the peppers. You should have a remaining can of tomato sauce......drizzle it over the top of the peppers. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 Degrees for about 20 minutes. Pull the dish out of the oven and add the cheese of your choice and bake for another 20 minutes.

You will love this is not too hard and it is perfect for entertaining....each person gets their own pepper. Serve it with a nice salad, some crusty bread, a great bottle of red wine, and your meal is complete.

My family likes this so much I usually double the recipe and put some away in the freezer......they store really well and make great leftovers.

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Since we are talking about things that are stuffed, I had to include this picture of Sarah. Friday around dinner time, she snuck into the candy jar{which she had to climb up onto the counter to reach} and quickly "Stuffed" two pieces of chocolate into her mouth at once........thinking she got away with it.

Little did she know, Mom not only has eyes in the back of her head....she has a lens permanantly attached to her face

She was guilty as charged and looking mighty proud of it!!

I Heart Faces- Week 12

March 30, 2009

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I know that most of you have already seen this picture, because this is not the first time I posted it, but it fits this weeks theme perfectly........POUT!!

I captured this pouty face when Sarah found out that Mommy and Daddy were heading on a vacation getaway and leaving her and Nick behind.

As you could imagine this face broke my heart......but that frown did not last too long. She was spoiled rotten in our absense....and made it through the week with flying colors.

I Heart Faces holds weekly contests that are so much fun for any photo enthusiast and in addition, their blog is a wealth of knowledge. Each week they share tutorials and quick fix editing ideas. If you have not visited their blog, be sure to check it out by clicking are sure to be greeted by many beautiful smiling faces.

Happy Monday and Have a great week!

Two of My Favorites!!!

March 27, 2009

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I stumped you all!!

As I said earlier this week, I am approaching my one year Blogiversary. In this year I have met some amazing women that I never would have met in everyday life and I love "visiting" you have all touched my heart in one way or another and for that I am so thankful. In addition, I have also won a couple of great giveaways from some very generous friends and thought that this was the perfect time to pay it forward and do my first ever bloggy giveaway.

I asked you all to take a guess as to what I was going to give away and almost everyone guessed something to do with food or photography. While those were great guesses and two of my favorite things, you were ALL wrong:(

I also love JEWELRY, and to me there is nothing like a great piece of sterling silver or two, or three, or get the point:)

Have any of you heard of Si!pada Designs???? I am sure that you have, there are women dripping in this silver everywhere you go, but if you have not you must check it out.

Last night I had the pleasure of attending a fundraiser for Autism. It was hosted my one of my best friends who just happens to be a National Director for Si!pada. She had a jeweler at her house who was letting you turn in your old 14 karat gold jewelry in order to have money to purchase Silpada's Sterling Silver. All the proceeds were then going directly to our local chapter of "Autism Speaks"

Many of you have emailed or commented throughout the past year on some of my chunky silver pieces, and I decided that this is what I wanted to giveaway......... so I spent my gold dollars on two of my favorites......One of them is about to be retired out of the line so I ordered it just in nick of time.

I hope you like them as much as I do......

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One of you will be the lucky winner of the hammered sterling silver ring and bangle bracelet. I am sure you recognize them, because I have one of these pieces on in almost every picture of me that has ever been posted on the blog. Don't worry about ring size, I have it all worked out with my friend. I ordered a pretty standard size but if we need to get a different size, she assured me it could be exchanged.

To enter just leave me a comment. I know that there are some family members and friends that read but don't comment, you can take part too, but you have to leave a comment with your email address if you don't blog:)

The contest will close next Sunday April 5th at midnight EST and the winner will be announced on April 8th....GOOD LUCK, I can't wait to see someone sporting that shiny silver!!!

And just in case you are wondering, I photographed my pieces because the new ones are on order. Looking at the picture, I can see many dings in the bracelet......just wanted to let you know, yours will be brand spankin new:)

Sticks and Stones........

March 24, 2009

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and thankfully.......NO BROKEN BONES!!

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There are days that Sarah is all girl.....frilly dresses, make up, purses, hair bows, and painted nails........but that all goes by the wayside as soon as she hits the outdoors.

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After a week away, we wanted to spend some time just relaxing and hanging out with the kids and now that the weather is starting to break, we are spending as much time as possible outside. We went to our favorite park and Sarah started climbing the big boulders and stone walls. She was collecting sticks, and little rocks she found along the way. Watching her in action made me laugh.......our little girly girl has quite a bit of tomboy in her. She can hold her own, but she does make me a little nervous. Everytime I would reach for her, she would push me away and say that she could do it. When I told her she was climbing to high, it made her want to go even higher........I think it is going to be an interesting spring and summer to say the least.

The Bahamas was fun and I enjoyed taking pictures of all the beautiful scenery, but I have to say that I missed taking pictures of my two favorite subjects......Nick and Sarah.

Hope you all are having a great week......As you could imagine, it has been a little hectic getting back into the swing of things. Soccer started tonight for Nick and he is so excited......I can't wait to capture him in action this season. It is the one time he gives me permission to take his picture:)

Next post is the big giveaway won't want to miss it!!

Anyone care to take a guess at what I am going to be giving away????

I'm Back....200th Post!!

March 22, 2009

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After a week away.......I am BACK!! I took a quick glance at my google reader and it looks like I have lots of catching up to do with you all!

Paradise was awesome and we had a wonderful trip! It is great to get away, but it always feels good to come back home and get back into the routine!! Especially when you have two little ones waiting for you at home.......we really missed them:)

The Atlantis is such a sprawling property, I couldn't believe how many different buildings were part of this resort. We were just beginning to get the lay of the land and it was time to come back home!! Oh well, now we know for next time:)

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Unfortunately, the weather was not the best....

Each morning started out sunny, but then the clouds would roll in around noon and it would storm. We had two days where we actually had to go put pants and sweatshirts on.....yes, it was that cold!!
As you can see, we didn't let a little rain spoil our fun.....
We looked for the nearest bar with a roof and pulled up a barstool!! Do you think Pat is enjoying that Margarita?

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The water was so blue and the skies were gorgeous when the sun was out!! I loved this lonely palm tree on the vacant beach.

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I tried to get up in the mornings to take pictures so that I didn't need to worry about getting the camera wet or sandy......Also, there were people everywhere!! Even in the morning when trying to get a couple of shots you were always getting a Passer by in the shot:)

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Other than palm trees, these were the only other flowers I saw on the property.....they were so pretty and vibrant.

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If you have a fear of sharks or stingrays, then this isn't the place for you......they were everywhere and they were HUGE!! The picture above is a slide that sends you right through a shark tank in a clear tube. You can see them swimming around you. Beady eyes looking right at you as you come down the slide. If the 60 foot height of the slide doesn't get you, the sharks definitely will get your heart racing!!

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Feeding time!!!! How would you like her job? Not only do you have to step into the shallow section of the shark tank to feed them, you get swarmed by seagulls hoping to get some chum before the big guys do!! If you look in the background of this picture you will see a suspended bridge. You are walking right over some very large sharks and stingrays. With every step you take, it feels like the bridge is going to give.....Especially when there is a lot of people on it...SCARY!!

Overall, the trip was perfect....some much needed R&R and time to ourselves!! In addition to the sun, sand, and water. We ate at some incredible restaurants. I had mentioned that the first night we ate at Bobby Flay's restaurant, Mesa Grill. We also ate at a very well known Japaneses restaurant, was probably my favorite meal of the trip! In addition, we ate an Italian Restaraunt called Casa De Angelo and a fabulous steakhouse, The Bohemian Club! Pat also had some major luck the last night in the casino and we left with more money than we came with......I can't think of a better way to leave:)

I still have a bunch of pictures to share and just to keep things easier, for those that want to view the rest, I am attaching them in slide show format.

Just hit play and if you want to view them in full screen mode, then click on the 4 arrows in the lower righthand side of the picture!

In other news, I am happy to report that spring is officially here and I have gotten rid of the winter header......a special thanks to Jen for the new spring look!!

And last but not least.....This is my 200th post...HOORAY!! I will be doing my first ever giveaway.....Stay tuned, it will be announced in a week or so and the winner will be picked on my 1 Year Blogiversary, April 8th!

Hope you all have a wonderful week......back to work and back to reality tomorrow morning:(

A quick note....Pat took that picture of me! It took him a couple days of practice, but he finally mastered the camera without having to use the Auto Mode!!

Paradise Island

March 18, 2009

The First Day- Paradise Island (19 of 19)
We are having a wonderful time here on Paradise Island.....the weather has been perfect and the hotel is FANTASTIC!! It has been over 10 years since I have been here last and boy has it changed!!

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We arrived Monday afternoon and went straight to the pool. After a little relaxation and a couple of fruity island drinks, we headed to an incredible dinner at Bobby Flays restaurant, Mesa Grill. After dinner it was a little gambling at the black jack table and then time to call it a night so we could get out in the sun bright and early!
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Today we explored a little....we walked the white sandy beaches and went through the aquarium. What a cool place......look at these guys! This Man of War{pictured below}was bigger than me.....kind of scary when you are standing in front of glass and it is coming straight at you.
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After a day of sun and sand, we went to the Mandara Spa for 80 minute massages.....the perfect way to end the day and get rejunvenated before dinner!!

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Pat is always razzing me that this is how I look 90% of the time, so to be honest, I have not really done a lot of picture taking yet.....just a couple, but I don't think I can hold out much longer. I think tomorrow, I am pulling out the zoom lens and looking like a total tourist.....consider this your warning for many pictures to come:)

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In addition to taking a ton of pictures tomorrow, we are going to be doing what these people are doing....renting jet skies and going parasailing!! We also hope to check out the lazy river that runs around the entire resort. You actually float through a shark tank.....of course you are surrounded by glass, but it still looks a little scary!!

Hope you all had a Happy St Patrick's Day.....we didn't find green beer, so we drank Maragaritas instead:)

I promise.....more interesting pics to come.....just wanted to let you all know that we are here and having a blast. Sometimes, you have to live life and not let it pass you by as you are looking at it through a lens!

The Next Best Thing

March 15, 2009

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When a certain someone found out that Mommy and Daddy were headed somewhere where they could "play in the sand" she was a little disappointed that she would be missing out on all the beach fun. Look at that little face.......

We felt bad and wanted to spend some quality time with her this weekend before we left{Nick is already with his Dad} Going to the beach was what she wanted to do, but being that it is March and we live in the Northeast, we had to settle for the next best thing........

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A visit to the park that has a gigantic sand pit!!! That frown was turned upside down in an instant:) She played in the sand for a long time.....and enjoyed every minute of it.

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After the sand pit, we cruised the park and on our way out, we found a Big Bell that had a long chain so the little ones could ring it. This was the very last photo I took and my favorite......I love the way the light is shining down on her and the pure look of joy and wonder on her face.

We are certainly going to miss both Nick and Sarah while we are gone......but we are really looking forward to some quality time together. We are WAY overdue!!

Okay.....that is it for now, see you in Paradise!! We are packed and ready to go...The computer is coming along so I plan to post at least once or twice.

OH... one last thing.....this is the first year we are not throwing our big St. Patrick's Day bash, but we fully intend to celebrate.....Do you think they will have green beer in the Bahamas??

Dreaming of Paradise

March 12, 2009

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This week has been just wild. Do you ever have those weeks where you feel like you can't catch your breath and your "to do" list keeps get longer and longer? Well that is the kind of week we have had. Both Pat and I have been running like mad to get all of our work done so we can go away on vacation and not think about our jobs.....Hard to do when you are both in sales, but we are bound and determined.

I have been slacking on the blog this week and don't have much in the drafts folder. Running short on time, so I figured I would just jot down some of the random things.

So here goes......

~~~Things have been so nuts around here that I have not picked up my camera in 4 days....can you believe it? So unlike me. The photos in this post were taken on Sunday. I spent the afternoon checking out some new areas for pictures and Alicia happily agreed to be my model. She is so pretty and such a joy to work with:)

~~~We just got Nick signed up for spring soccer and the season is due to start in the next couple of weeks. Nick also decided he is going to try out for the travel team for the fall 2009 season. I hope it goes better this year, than it did last year.

~~~Sarah is so off with the time change. She has been up late every night this week and as a result, she has been a bear to wake up in the morning. In addition, she has been crying when we take her to the sitter. She always went with no problem and this week it has been crying and screaming.....I want my Mommy, I want my Daddy. Making me a little nervous to leave her next week.

~~~I am blonde again. With the change of season....I was feeling like a new do:)

~~~I interviewed the final candidates for the Sales Support/Assistant job and narrowed it down to two people. After another round of interviews, I decided on one of them. I offered her the job yesterday and she is going to start a week after my return.....HOORAY!!

~~~My skin color right now is about as white as Casper the friendly ghost.....this trip will require something stronger than my favorite Bain De Soleil Number 4. Do you see sunburn in my future?

~~~I never lost the 5 pounds I wanted to lose before the trip so I will be packing coverups in every color

~~~Today marks 34 months that we have been logged in for our China Adoption. Who would have thought we would still be waiting.....and I am guessing we have another year to go. Thought this picture was appropriate.....doesn't she look like she is waiting?

~~~Last but not least.....Pat and I are counting the hours until we are on Paradise Island with our feet in the sand and a drink in hand.

Hope you all enjoy your weekend.....I hope to post one more time bfore we take off Sunday night, but if not, next post will be from the Bahamas.

Queen Of The Jungle {Gym}

March 8, 2009

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I can't believe the weekend is went by so fast, but they always do, don't they?

Saturday we were up and out early as we had my grandfather's funeral to attend. It was very sad to say goodbye, but it was a lovely service and luncheon that brought a lot of our family and close friends together. It was so good to catch up with those that we haven't seen in awhile, I just wish it had been for a more joyous occasion.

After everything concluded, we headed home......the weather was unbelievably us hope that spring is almost here!! We wanted to take advantage of the nice day and even though it was going on 4:30pm, we headed to the park for our first visit of the season.

Sarah was full force the entire time.....she still has NO fear and climbed to the tippy top as if she was Queen of the Jungle{Gym} Things have changed a bit in these last few weeks with her.....she has gone from running away from the camera, to telling me to take her picture every second. It was really funny.....She was on the swings and I was pushing her and she kept saying, "Mommy, you take my picture...please" Well the girl does not need to beg, I had the camera out in a flash and Nick stepped in to push her so she could go "High to the sky" as she says:)

SO, I have converted Sarah and now I have a little ham on my hands who wants to have her picture taken all the time, but Nick on the other hand, is not budging one bit....he said that he would go to the park but under one condition......NO pictures......he just wanted to play....and that he did!!

I did manage to steal a few shots of him this past week.....

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This was taken one day after school up in our spare bedroom.....I told him I needed a face shot because I needed a new picture for my next blog makeover....not sure about you, but right now it pains me to see snowflakes in my header......I have had enough of old man winter!! Anyway, he gave me about 10 minutes and this is what I is the only shot that turned out and I think you will be seeing it very soon in my new bloggy look:)

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Well, little Miss Sarah might have been Queen of the Jungle Gym, but on Friday night, Nick was King of the Corn Field!! We went out at Sunset and I let him climb through the fields to make his way to a creek that runs close to our property.....He loves nature and would have skipped rocks across the water all night long if I let him.

Okay....better get moving....that lost hour is killing me and it isn't even Monday yet! Have a great will be another busy one for us.....this time next week, we are BAHAMABOUND:)

Sassy Diva

March 5, 2009

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Last Friday, I took Sarah to get her hair timmed. We have been letting her bangs grow out and it has been a really long time since she has been to the salon, so we checked out a new place just for little girls......

"Sweet and Sassy"
Do you all have one of these where you live?? They are a franchise and just opened in our area....You can check them out by clicking HERE.

You should see this place......It is a spa for little girls.....make up, manicures, pedicures, pink robes, pink slippers, a fashion runway to strut your stuff, and of course......a store complete with all things girly that you can purchase to take home.

Sarah is a little young to enjoy most of the spa services. As you can see in the picture above, it was not to enjoyable to her to have to sitt still in the chair. Two minutes into her trim, the Sassy Diva was giving us the eye roll because she wanted to get down.

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A look of excitement when she set eyes on the runway.....the room was filled with more glitz and glam than she has ever seen!!

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It has been a tough week, but we have been staying busy with our everyday routines and trying to keep our spirits up. Sarah has really been helpful in this area.........I think the name on her cape went straight to her head.

She has gone from rolling her eyes to sticking out her tongue for the camera.........

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These pictures make me laugh everytime I look at them....... my Sassy girl:)


March 3, 2009

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I wanted to thank you all for your prayers and words of encouragement these past few days. This morning around 10am my grandfather passed away with my parents by his side. We are all sad that he will no longer be here with us, but feel a sense of relief that his pain and suffering has finally come to an end. He is finally at peace and being welcomed by those that have gone before him.

I have been searching for something profound to say, but my mind is blank..........

So instead, I thought I would post this poem because it has always been a favorite.

Footprints in the Sand

One night I had a dream...
I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord, and
Across the sky flashed scenes from my life.
For each scene I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand;
One belonged to me, and the other to the Lord.
When the last scene of my life flashed before us,
I looked back at the footprints in the sand.
I noticed that many times along the path of my life,
There was only one set of footprints.
I also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times in my life
This really bothered me, and I questioned the Lord about it.
"Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you,
You would walk with me all the way;
But I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life,
There is only one set of footprints.
I don't understand why in times when I
needed you the most, you should leave me.
The Lord replied, "My precious, precious
child. I love you, and I would never,
never leave you during your times of
trial and suffering.
When you saw only one set of footprints,
It was then that I carried you."

By Mary Stevenson

The picture above was taken this weekend and I almost deleted it because Sarah looked down and Pat was in the background.....I am so glad I didn't because it's as if this picture were made to acompany this poem. If only the grass were sand........

A Special Request

March 1, 2009

It is now almost routine that my Sunday posts include food or a recipe of some sort......well this week is no different, but my choice has a very special I ask that you hang in there with me on this one....

My grandfather, on my father's side, who happens to be my last living grandparent, always requested this meal if he knew he was coming to my Mom and Dad's house for dinner. My Mom has the Italian heritage and that is where all the great recipes have been handed down generation after generation, so for my grandfather, her cooking was such a treat.

He is 92 years old and outlived my Nana who passed away 8 years ago. They were one of the cutest couples you could imagine. Just to give you a visual, they walked their neighborhood hand in hand each day for exercise and in their younger years, they rode a tandem Poppop would be in the front, with my Nana in the back. Everyone in the neighborhood knew them.....they even wore coordinating sweatsuits on most occasions!! They were married for 60 years when my Nana died and were as sick in love as the were the day they met. We didn't think my Poppop, that's what we call him, would be able to live without her, but he has proved us all VERY wrong. He stayed in his house for a little while before the decision was made to move him to an Senior/Assisted Living type of environment. It was the best thing for him as he was surrounded by many people, some old friends, some new. He enjoyed all the activities and special celebrations, but he always told my Mom, that their food was never as good as hers.....especially her homemade spaghetti sauce with meatballs.

Whenever my parents had the chance to bring Poppop home for a meal, he always had a special was for my Mom's Spaghetti with meatballs or sausage. On most days my poppop ate very little, but he always amazed us with how much he would eat when you put a plate of my Mom's spaghetti in front of him.

This weekend, I would do anything to watch my Poppop eat a big plate of my Mom's spaghetti.......

He has started slipping away, and about 10 days ago, hospice was called in. I have been over to see him a couple times this week.....he still looked like my Poppop and although very thin and weak, he recognized me and was still verbal.

Yesterday my Mom called and said that as they were walking out the door to go see him, they got a call to get there wouldn't be long. I quickly jumped in the car and headed over myself......

I walked into his room and was not prepared for what I a few short days he has withered away.....He is sitting at the pearly gates of heaven, just waiting for entry.

My Poppop has been a fighter his entire life and this is no different....he is holding on and fighting to the bitter end. My parents have been at his side day and night, and my sister and I went over for a good part of the day on Saturday. As we sat with him, we all told him it was okay and he needed to let go and finally be at peace. Eventually, my parents told my sister and I that we should head home as this could go on for awhile.

I got home and realized I need to do all the typical weekend things like grocery shop. So I started going through the pantry to see what we needed and what I could make for dinner. {I know you are thinking, how can you eat at a time like this?.....well, I can eat anytime, especially when nervous or anxious} It took me about 2 minutes and I instantly knew what I was going to cook.....

Spaghetti and Meatballs......

Spaghetti and Meatballs
I know I promised this recipe to a couple of you and I will post it later this week.

Poppop, this one is for you.....I wish you were sitting at our table and enjoying this the way you always did. Unfortunately, that is not possible....but I promise, yours will be waiting on the other side of those pearly gates.

It is rare that I ask for prayers, but this is one time I am going to......

Please keep my grandfather and my family in your has been so difficult to just sit there helplessly and watch him go but there is nothing that we can do but pray that God welcomes him with open arms. In our hearts, we all know he will be in a much better place.