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Seasons of Change

The nest seems bigger now. There’s more room. It’s quieter. The straw stays where you put it.

The baby birds have grown and left the nest. They know the direction they are going but, Momma Bird feels lost. She stays on her perch. She watches for them. She sees them sometimes, darting here and there. Occasionally, they will flutter by the nest. The seasons have changed. Momma Bird is learning that there is joy in watching them fly.

My own baby birds have grown and flew. I cried each time. I still miss them being home, safe under my wings. I can’t stop the seasons from changing. Change is happening. I look forward to the birdies swooping into the birdhouse from time to time for a visit.

It’s time to relax a bit, find happiness where it lands and enjoy the mate that’s still in the nest.

Table for Two

The Evolution of Grocery Shopping

I have recently realized that a trip to buy sustenance now is a whole new experience.

I used to have three teenagers at home. Their teenage years found me rushing out a couple of times a week to purchase enough nutrients to keep my hungry caterpillars from going into a percieved state of malnutrition.

I would reserve the big shopping trip for the weekend. I would rush to get the shopping done so I could get home in time to clean, do laundry, make dinner and drive the kids to whatever event was on their agenda. I never had time to clip coupons, plan dinners or make a list. I went through the store trying to recall what we were getting low on, consequently forgetting something important, like salt. I would drag an unwilling kid or two along to help. In retrospect, this was probably not a wise choice. I once looked for an item on the shelf only to turn around and find my youngest son had put 32 bottles of Hershey Syrup in the cart. My kids always really needed something from the electronics department that would be detrimental to their life without it that I hadn’t planned on buying. It was concerning that it was time to start thinking about getting their driver’s license and still my heels got ran over by the cart. The actual shopping part was a stressful endeavor of its own as I balanced nutritious options with Hot Pockets and Doritos. In a short amount of time I had to strategically plan ingredients for dinners, items for packing lunches and snacks to take to practices. I had to make a careful decision on what my teenagers would be willing to make for themselves for breakfast two minutes before walking out the door. I had to plan after school snacks that didn’t include me cleaning up the kitchen when I got home from work. Staying in budget never happened. But you know what did happen? In some unfortunate twist of fate everytime we got home one or more of the kids had to suddenly go to the bathroom, got a massive headache or a charlie horse in their leg so painful they could not possibly help carry in the groceries. I hope I never forget these times I spent with my kids. I also hope I never have to buy Fruit Roll Ups again.

I’m finding grocery shopping to be a bit relaxing now. I have time in the evenings to make a list and jot down needed spices for a new recipie! Dinners are meticulously planned for two weeks at a time. I can get up early and shop before my husband is even awake if I choose to. I don’t have to rush. I sometimes go to three different stores just strolling along before I return home. I could stay in a budget now with just me and my husband at home, but I don’t. Having a spare tub of butter is an unexpected luxury. I have willingly replaced the money spent on Gatorade with the brand name fabric softner that I could never afford. I smell my spring meadow scented pajamas and think that my kids would probably also like to have spring meadow scented pajamas. Then I remember the charlie horses and decide that for now the local laundry mat works fine for them.

Introduction

Hello! My name is Barbie. I am the wife of a wonderful husband, who makes my life complete. I am the empty nester mother of three grown children ages, 26 ( boy), 22 (girl) and 19 ( boy). I am happy to share my experiences, a bit of humor, and some real day to day feelings with you.

I hope that I may be of some help or a speck of hope for others on their journey with the seasons of change!

Table for Two

Gone are the days of wondering who ate the whole family size box of Cheezits the same day I came home from the grocery store. Gone are the days of being able to blame the kids if I did it! It is not easy to go from a big family to cooking for two. I still make way too many spaghetti noodles. One thing I have learned is that casseroles are my friend! I can make one casserole and it lasts for two dinners! Here is one recipe my husband and I really like. Credits to Delish.

Chicken Bacon Ranch Bubble-Up Bake

yields: 8 servings.

Prep Time: 0 Hours 10 Minutes

Total Time: 0 Hours 50 Minutes

My Personal Tips:

I buy pre cooked bacon. I buy steamable frozen broccoli florets. I add a bit more milk to stir into the flour. I precook my biscuit pieces until semi done before adding to casserole.

Ingredients:

cooking spray

6 slices of bacon

6 tbsp. butter

6 tbsp. all- purpose flour

3 cups whole milk

3 cups shredded cheddar cheese

2 large heads broccoli florets

3 cups cooked, shredded chicken

1 (16.3-oz.) can refrigerated biscuits

2 tsp. ranch seasoning mix

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9″-Ɨ-13″ baking dish with cooking spray. In a large skillet, cook bacon until crispy, about 8 minutes. Drain on a paper towel lined plate. Wipe the skillet clean.

2. In the same skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Whisk in flour and cook until bubbly, about 1 minute. Gradually stir in milk and bring to a simmer. Cook until thickened, about 2 minutes. Whisk in cheese and cook until melted, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper and stir in broccoli. Remove from heat.

3. Spread broccoli mixture into the bottom of the baking dish, then top with chicken. Cut each biscuit into eighths and scatter on top of chicken. Chop bacon into small pieces and scatter on top of biscuits then sprinkle with ranch seasoning.

4. Bake until biscuits are golden and cooked through, about 25 minutes.

Try some togethernessā¤

You and your spouse now have each others undivided attention and nothing to talk about. You may just sit in a room together in akward silence. So now what? It’s time to reconnect! From my experience ( as in yesterday) measuring and hanging drywall in the basement with your husband is not the way. It is definitely not conducive to kind words and building a happier marriage. Don’t do that! That being said , make a plan to do something you both enjoy. My bet is when the kids left the house they took all the fun stuff with them. See what all the teenage arguments were about. Go buy your own gaming system. You’re never to old! Make it fun ( the Loser gets to do all the laundry)! My husband and I have enjoyed alot of competitive sports games on our Wii. The kids will be really suprised when they find out what you’ve been up to. They may even want to stop by for a gaming session with mom and dad!