Tale of a Toxic Friendship

Yesterday, as I was going to get my daughter from school, there was a girl on the radio trying to get advice on what to do regarding a decade long friendship that was obviously an unhealthy one. As I listened, I wanted so badly to tell her to let that friendship go. I wanted to share with her my experience with a toxic unhealthy friendship. I didn’t call in, but decided to put it out there and pray that whoever needs to find it, will!

More than 15 years ago, I became friends with a girl I had known for a long time. We had not been friends in the years before; but now we were put in circumstances where we were able to develop a friendship. From the very beginning, many people warned me that the friendship was not a wise one. She did things right away that made me feel betrayed and left me worried that she might not be as good as a friend as I was hoping. Yet, I defended her. I said she was a different person. I said, she didn’t mean to betray me; she just didn’t know how to be a good friend because she’d never had a real female friend before. I told people she was still learning how to be a good friend. I said that she didn’t mean the mean things she said. I made excuse after excuse for her. I tried to always be available. I tried to always take her side. I tried to always be a peacemaker.

So many things happened over the years I was her friend. At least three times, I quit talking to her for several months because something she said or did was so terrible that I couldn’t bring myself to speak to her. I always forgave her, even though she never asked me to, not even once!

So, what made me finally cut ties with her? One day after she’d said something particulary cruel about me to one of my daughters and my husband ( something she knew was at the heart and soul of one of my biggest insecurities and struggles) I came to realize that I was actually being abused. She had torn me down to the point that I felt like I wasn’t good at anything. I felt like I was a bad person and a bad friend. She used my insecurities to hurt me over and over again. The more I was struggling, the happier she was. If I was feeling good about anything, she would bring up something that would immediately tear me back down.That, my friends, is the very definition of a toxic relationship! I felt like I was at the bottom of a deep hole that I had allowed her to drop me into little by little and if I ever started climbing out, she was right there ready to push me back down.

Once I realized this, I was done. I never spoke to her again. I occasionally will see her out in the town. I am cordial and that is all. I am working very hard on forgiving her. Even when that happens, I will NEVER be her friend again. I will never allow myself to be put into a situation where my feelings don’t matter. I will never waste my time on someone who is negative and nasty.


I now have a couple of wonderful friends. Women who are there for me and I am there for them.  They are women who are happy for me when I am happy, sad for me when I am sad, proud of me in my accomplishments and who would never think of hurting me to make themselves feel better. I appreciate these friendships even more because I know how special they are.

If you are in any relationship where you do not feel love or support, or where you feel like you are being torn down and made to feel negatively, then you are in a TOXIC RELATIONSHIP. You don’t deserve to be treated like that. You deserve love, support, loyalty, and goodness. Walk away. It may be hurt for a minute, but staying in a relationship like that will leave scars that could hurt a lifetime.


Buffalo Chicken Dip

My oldest daughter proclaimed her love for this particular dip not too long ago. So, after she’d had a busy and stressful week at school, I made it for dinner.

It is super easy and I know there are lots of recipes out there for this kind of dip. But here’s how I make it.

Loved in the South’s Buffalo Chicken Dip

3 10 oz. cans of chicken breasts

1 container of jalapeño cream cheese

1 block of regular cream cheese

16 oz. sour cream

8 oz. Red Hot Wing Sauce

8 oz. of habanero cheese

8 oz. cheddar cheese

Drain the chicken. Put softened cream cheeses and chicken in a large bowl. Add the wing sauce, sour cream, and the habanero cheese. Mix well. Put mixture in a greased glass pan. Put cheddar cheese on top. Bake at 325 degrees until bubbly.image

You can eat it on its own, with veggies, with chips, in a tortilla, any way you want it! image.jpeg


One of the things that I find really difficult as a teacher and parent is teaching about things that are so foreign to us in the United States, but are everyday struggles to people in other countries. It’s hard enough for me to fathom not having a bathroom facility; and I’ll admit that I’m the very worst about thinking having only water to drink is just sad. The truth is that having clean water and a bathroom are real blessings that many don’t have.

The stories in our own headlines lately about lead and other contaminants in our own water makes us appreciate clean and healthy water much more.

The reality is that approximately every 90 seconds a child dies due to not having clean water. Women and children in other countries spend hours and hours a day looking for, collecting, and preparing water for their families.

I mentioned how we are doing different things during Lent to help us focus on love and the gift which Easter brings. One of the things we are doing is learning about a need, a charity that helps provide for that need, and then doing chores or sacrificing something to make money to give to that charity.


Facts from water.org

I took 10 facts about water and put each in an Easter egg with a piece of candy and then I let the kiddos go on a hunt. When they were all found we went through the eggs and the facts together. I think most of the statistics shocked the girls. They had no idea what a crisis there is in the world regarding clean water.

It’s been nice to see them trying to think of things they could give up in order to give something back to a charity like Blood:Water or Water.org. There are a lot of charities that help with the water crisis. I pray even in our small sacrifices that we can help make a difference.

Frozen Birthday Party


Two years ago when Frozen was all the rage, we had a party for my two youngest girls. Their birthdays are only one week apart and so far, they always agree on the theme. We sent out custom invitations with their pictures on them. I like to do this whenever I can, so we have a memory of the theme of their party and what they looked like at that time.



We made Snow Capped Mountain punch. It was just blue Hawaiian punch, Sprite, and Vanilla ice cream.


We had snowballs on a different table (powdered sugar doughnut holes), the standard chicken salad and croissants, chips and dip, a fruit tray (not shown), cheese tray (not shown), Swedish meatballs, tuna salad, and two Scandinavian jellies.220

Finding the Frozen decorations was no problem, but finding the snow themed items was a lot harder due to the fact their birthdays are in the middle of the summer. My crafty daughter made many huge snowflakes. I was able to purchase several items on Oriental Trading.



We made the Frozen tree from sticks we found in our yard. We spray painted them silver and added icicle ornaments from Amazon.


Once everyone arrived, we played our unwrapping game. Basically a gift is wrapped in many layers and hot potato style it gets passed and unwrapped until the person actually gets the prize. I use all the plastic bags I have on hand at the time. It makes a lot of layers. The gift was an artificial snow making kit. It was a hit!

The kids made Olaf out of jelly beans, powdered doughnuts, mini chocolate chips, multi colored Twizzlers, and pretzel sticks.

We had a game outside where I had a bucket of ice water and items hidden inside. They had 30 seconds to grab as many items as possible. It was hilarious to watch because it was so hard to do.

There was another game where each person got an ice cube and they raced to melt it as fast as they could on a plate but they could not use their hands.

We also played trivia with facts about the movie .

                                                         “Frozen” Movie Trivia

  1. What is the name of the snowman who guards Elsa’s ice palace? (A) Marshmallow (B) Icy (C) Cold Heart
  2.  What other Disney princess is attending the coronation?
  3. Idina Menzel, voice of Elsa, is in what other Disney film?

                   (A) The Princess Diaries (B) Enchanted (C) Brave 

4. What is Anna and Elsa’s favorite food?

  1. Which Hans Christian Andersen story is Frozen inspired by? (A) The Angel (B) Ice Maiden (C) Snow Queen

6. Which of the following is NOT an ingredient for the icy force described in the song ” Frozen Heart”? (A) cold (B) winter air (C) freezing wind (D) mountain rain

7. Which character in the film comes up with the line, “I like warm hugs.”?

8. What is the name of the software that Frozen’s creative team invented to create realistic looking snow? (A) Matterhorn (B) Ice Palace (C) Blizzard (D) Everest

9.How many brothers does Hans of the Southern Isles have?

10. What time do Anna and Hans break into their song “Love Is An Open Door”?

11. A stuffed toy version of which famous Disney character makes a very brief cameo in the film? (A) Donald Duck (B) Goofy (C) Pluto (D) Mickey Mouse

12. Where does Elsa create her Ice Palace? (A) South Pole (B) Southern Mountain (C) North Mountain

13. Which animals serve as backup dancers to Olaf when he sings “Summer” (A) penguins (B) chipmunks (C) seagulls (D) squirrels

14. Who convinces Kristoff  to go back and help Arendelle?

15. When was Kristoff adopted and by whom?


I don’t have a picture of it, but we did make snow cones as well. It was messy and required more than two adults. 236234235


237 We had the movie playing while the party was going on.


The cake was one of the easiest I made in a long time. It was just three layers with buttercream icing. I decorated it with the snow looking sprinkles, rock candy lollipops (from Oriental Trading) and the figurines I purchased at the Disney Store.

I wish I had a picture of what we did to Prince Hans. We stuck him upside down in a cup of water and froze him solid. We brought him out before we had the cake and the kids thought it was the funniest thing ever!

We had a nice party. I wish I had more pictures. Now that I’m writing this little blog, I hope to do better with that kind of thing.




Daddy Daughter Dance



One of the things all of my girls have enjoyed is the annual Daddy Daughter dance our church hosts. (I don’t have any pictures on my current computer of my oldest daughter when she was going to these dances; but she went from kindergarten through fifth grade.)

Sometimes they are themed, like 50s or 80s, or even a cowboy theme, but many years they are just a dressy occasion.

No matter what theme, the best part of the night is getting to spend special time with their daddy. They love getting dressed up and having him see them and telling them how beautiful they look. They love riding in his car. They love receiving the little gift he always gives them before they head out to the dance. He loves taking them.

I’m so happy that they all get to spend these special evenings together.


Last Minute Valentines

Valentine’s Day is tomorrow and I had so many good creative plans for the first two weeks of February leading up to the big day of love. Well, it snowed; I had sick kids; and my husband was out of town for the week. So, here I am on February 13, just buying the candy and just printing out the printables.  Thanks to Pinterest and all those lovely women who make printables and offer them as free downloads (If you’re reading this know You all are a gift!)  I got it all done. If you’re in need of a quick Valentine head over to one of these sites.



Sucker printable

Sip Sip printable

Laffy taffy printable

Have a wonderful Valentine’s day!!



Keto Tiramisu {Low Carb}

My husband doesn’t have much of a sweet tooth, but every now and then he will ask me to make some kind of low carb dessert. The first dessert I ever made for him was a true tiramisu. We still both love the flavors of the Italian dessert, so when I saw the Kahlua flavored sugar free syrup, I made plans to make a low carb tiramisu-like treat. 007

Loved in the South’s Low Carb Tiramisu

1/2 stick of butter (softened)

4 to 5 packets of sweetener

1/4 cup of sugar free Kahlua flavored syrup

1 block of full fat cream cheese

1/4 cup of 100% cocoa chocolate chips

Put all of your ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream.





Today is Ash Wednesday and the beginning of the Lenten season. Easter is probably my favorite holiday. I love the meaning of it the most. It has gotten more and more commercialized over the years but has seemed to stay purer in some ways. I think the reason is Lent. I think that for many people, the time of reflection, sacrifice, and prayer leads to this fact. We don’t come up with lists of things we want or feel the pressures to fulfill somebody’s every desire. We don’t have a thousand parties or activities to attend. We tend to be stiller and more reflective during the 46 days leading up to Easter.

I have always tried to make this time one that really draws my family to the Lord. I want them to really think on what it means to be THAT LOVED. I want them to think about what it means to have owed a debt and the fact that someone thought they were WORTH THE PRICE.

This year, we are doing something extra. Right now, I have about 30 activities (I need 10 more) that we will do each day. Some are the simplest little things, like hold the door open for someone, make a dinner with everyone helping, and try not to complain all day (that might actually be the hardest one). Some require more work. One is “egging“. We “egged” several people last year and we loved doing it and the people that we “egged” loved it too.


Others are making a dinner for someone and making resurrection eggs.

resurrection eggs

photo credit: Christianbook.com

If anybody out there has some suggestions or other ideas of things to fill the rest of my days, I’m ready to hear them.


Mardi Gras

I hope this Mardi Gras was a good time for everyone. It is one of my favorite days to celebrate. Having spent a couple of years living in New Orleans, I learned to love the whole season! Ever since my oldest was a baby we have had a party. She would ride around in her little yellow and red car and throw bead necklaces at her grandparents. Over the years we’ve made masks and King cakes and homemade necklaces. We’ve had the grandparents over and we’ve just had our little family for the celebration.

I love that even as the years go by we still celebrate this day in our own way.

Happy Mardi Gras y’all!!

Prettying Up the Laundry Room (aka the second busiest room in my house)

Obviously, with 5 children, the kitchen is the busiest room in our house. It is the one room that can be sparkling clean one minute and a major disaster the next. The second craziest room in the house is the laundry room. To be honest, in every house we’ve owned this has been the case. I’ll be doing great; keeping up with the washing and folding then something like a stomach virus will hit the house and it’s game over. Another problem that persists in that room is that it becomes a drop off point for things that can’t easily find a home. For example, we have a microscope that we use a least once a week; but I don’t usually want the samples we are examining in the school room which is upstairs and more difficult to disinfect. I prefer to use the microscope in the kitchen. We keep it in its original box and up on a shelf in the laundry room. I have lots of party supplies, art, and science experiment supplies in there too.

It was looking sad and since quite a bit of my time is spent in there, I decided to spend some time and effort to pretty it up. Because this room is low priority for everyone else, I wanted to getting it looking happier, but at minimal expense.

I’m not 100% finished with this just yet, but I’m way closer than I was last week :0)


I like to keep the detergent and the scent booster in glass containers that are not easily opened by little hands. Also, the blue liquid is Dawn dish soap. I have found it is one of the best stain removers around.


I saved my Lilly Pulitzer catalogs for the prints. The prints are so colorful and happy that I just had to use them in this room. The picture frames are from Dollar Tree.


Lillian made the Lilly Pulitzer print Disney Cinderella castle on canvas for me for my birthday. She also painted the little beach scene. The polka dotted box holds the sewing machine.


I used pretty wrapping paper to cover the ugly boxes that were being stored on the shelves. All of the boxes are either open at the top or are wrapped in a way that makes it super easy to open them. The pink polka dotted box is the microscope and the one next to it is a box of old t-shirts for messy crafts or science. The basket is full of our tablecloths. The other basket has some art stuff and a huge pot that doesn’t fit anywhere else.


See the rock.


From a big box of oyster shells that I bought almost two years ago for crafts, I picked these out and hot glued them to the cabinet pulls. We painted them with a gold paint (that I bought with a 40% off coupon) from Hobby Lobby.


These rock pulls from Home Goods replaced the ugly ones on the closet doors.

Here’s the sad before pictures:

I still have a little more to do.  This project cost about $70 and a few hours of time (mostly shopping), but it does make the second busiest room of the house a little bit happier and more colorful!