Monday, September 28, 2015

Tonight I'll Hold Her Hand

Tonight, I'll hold her hand
My daughter has always been spoiled. She's the youngest child, and the only girl. My husband and I have the only kids in the family, so she's the only granddaughter as well. Being the baby of the family means she got held a little longer, cuddled a little more,  and coslept well beyond when my boys did. I had my tubes tied when she was born, so we always knew she would be the last, and we tried to cherish every moment. And she got quite spoiled along the way. Not with material things, but time and attention. She was this perfect little angel we just couldn't get enough of.
But, eventually,  we wanted her to become a "big girl" and do things on her own. Like sleeping. She started kindergarten a month ago, and until then, had nearly always slept with us. She has her own bed, and most nights she would start out there. But she always found her way to our room, and we didn't put up much of a fight. Since starting school, she has grown so much. And now she stays in her own bed all night.
With two dogs and a husband, my bed was anything but empty. Yet I found myself missing those late night cuddles and sleepy smiles. I dare not wake her, though I often slipped in the doorway to watch her sleeping peacefully alone. I knew I would miss cosleeping, just as I had when my boys outgrew it. But this was She was my baby, and now was happily sleeping, going to school, and enjoying life without my constant aid. I was proud, though sad, at her budding independence.
Then tonight, I got a little piece of my baby back. I was lying in bed and heard crying doen the hall. She had a bad dream and was frightened, needing her mommy for reassurance. And I happily obliged. I picked her up and carried her to my bed, where we talked it out and calmed down and cuddled for a while.
She took her place beside me in the middle of the bed, and grabbed my hand. She clung to it as she dozed off,  and held on tight even as she snored into the night. And I put up no fight.
My arm was asleep, I lay in a terribly awkward position,  and I cared not. My child needed me, and I needed her. And we were at peace. Many times over the course of motherhood,  I've read articles and blog posts that tugged at my heartstrings and made me grateful for every moment with my children. I would hold them a little tighter, and remember how lucky I am to have them.
Then, after only a few hours, I would lose my new found appreciation. Tossed in the throes of parenting, I would lose my patience and quickly forget everything I was so thankful for. But not tonight. Too often we get wrapped up in the daily grind, and lose sight of the magical journey we are on, together with our children. They are learning to grow,  and we are learning to let go.
So tonight, I will not pull away. I will not worry about my aching body and numb fingers. I will not stress over her independence or my lack of personal space.
Tonight, I will hold her hand.
*disclaimer: I typed this one handed from my tablet, please excuse any typos*

Friday, September 25, 2015

Feature Friday: Stephanie Dube

Gourmet Baked Macaroni and Cheese Recipe

This Gourmet Baked Macaroni and Cheese Recipe is for those times when you want something that reminds you of a simple comfort food, but with an adult, more complex-tasting twist. It’s a delicious creamy meal with three types of cheese, artichoke hearts, garlic, olives, and capers. The unique mixture creates a delicious taste. Of course, this recipe is completely modifiable, so you can add or subtract any ingredients pretty much!
I used to make a plainer baked mac & cheese a lot when I was younger. But the dish always tasted … well … plain. Today I had some free time and I loooove to de-stress by cooking, so I decided to experiment, throw a bunch of ingredients together, and see what happened. What resulted was pure deliciousness!
Gourmet Baked Mac and Cheese Recipe

To make this concoction, you’ll need the following. (And don’t forget, there’s a recipe card at the end of this post where you can print or save a simple recipe version!)


1/4 onion
5 garlic cloves (to taste — add more or less)
Olive oil (3 to 4 tablespoons, however much you need to saute the onions and garlic)
1/4 cup green olives with pimento
1/4 cup artichoke hearts
1/4 cup capers
2 to 2 1/2 cups of penne pasta (I use whole wheat penne, but you can use macaroni or whatever pasta you like)
2 cups 2% or non-fat milk
3 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons butter + a little more
1/4 cup white wine
1 “dash” of dijon mustard
Garlic powder to taste
1 dash of red pepper flakes
Salt, black pepper, Italian seasoning to taste
1/4 cup each of feta, extra sharp cheddar, parmesan


Preheat oven to 350.
First, chop the onions and garlic cloves. Saute in olive oil on low to medium-low until the onions are soft and translucent. Add the garlic towards the end of this process, so it doesn’t get burned. Chop the olives and artichokes and add to the saute mix, sauteing with the onion. Add the capers too. Keep on low while you’re cooking the penne and the sauce.
Baked Mac and Cheese - Saute
Boil the penne according to instructions. Set aside.
Make the sauce. You’ll start out by creating a “roux” with the flour and butter. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter on low. Then mix in the flour until it’s all congealed. Then slowly add the milk, with the burner on low to medium-low so you don’t burn the mix. This will take awhile. Keep stirring periodically and keeping a close eye on the sauce. Let it heat and stir until the mix sickens to a mac-and-cheese sauce consistency. Add the white wine. (You may need to add a little extra flour if the wine thins out the mixture too much.) Add the mustard (3 quick squeezes), garlic powder, pepper, salt, red pepper flakes, and Italian seasoning to taste.
Make sure the sauce is really hot, and then add the cheese. This will further thicken the sauce. Stir and stir until the cheese is completely melted into the sauce.
The sauce for baked mac and cheese

Pour the saute mixture into the sauce and mix it up well.
Now, pour the penne into a baking dish. Pour the sauce on top and mix it all up really well. It will look like this:
Baked Mac and Cheese Recipe
Sprinkle Panko on top and then either pour a little melted butter on top of that or spray some “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” on top.
Bake in the oven on 350 for 15 minutes. You’re done and ready to eat a delicious meal!
Gourmet Baked Mac and Cheese Recipe 

About This Blog

I went through numerous iterations picking a name for this blog. I considered "Trial and Error," something about cats, something about sparkles... "A Blog by Dube" pays homage to my old blog, Dube's World. It's also my nickname. :) You'll find writing advice, recipes, lifestyle tips, and articles about women and TV here. Enjoy! 

Friday, September 18, 2015

Feature Friday: A Fresh Start On A Budget

How I motivate myself to get things done

Do you have trouble getting motivated to put ideas into action?
Such a great question and I’d answer it this way. If I want something and it’s important to me I will be motivated. To be honest I like to make myself happy and that’s ok. So if I want it the motivation is there. The struggle comes when I need to do something that I don’t really want to do and then I have to figure out how to make myself motivated to do it. So really quick I want to share my little tips to doing things I don’t want to do and finding motivation. There are plenty of days I just want to do nothing and on those days I have to push myself a little harder.
How I motivate myself to get things done

1. Switch off the tasks with someone: If I really don’t want to do something then I try to find something my husband needs to do and doesn’t want to and see if we can trade. That way things still get done.
2. Break into time chunks. For me this is the best way to get myself motivated to do big tasks around the house. I will do it for 20 minutes then I get a break and then another 20 minutes and so on. During the breaks I do something fun like read or go online to relax and then get back to it. Most things don’t seem so bad if I break it up like that. Even things I dread like cleaning Bella’s room or putting away laundry.
3. Get what’s most important done. Not everything is going to be accomplished in my home but not everything is a priority to me either. I focus on what is and that takes some of the pressure off which motivates me to get things done.
4. Make a list. I use to write them before my hand stopped working but now I keep lists on my blog and in evernote on my ipad and phone. It’s great motivation to mark stuff done. Especially when I make them private like on my weekly to do post.

5. Going public about projects as well as lists. If I tell someone that I’m going to do something that is great motivation to actually get it done. I know I will get asked about it either online or by people in my real life. So I want to make sure to work on stuff so I can say what I’ve been working on.

About Me!

I’m Karissa and you’ve found my blog, let me start out by saying how glad I am that you are here. I love my blog and even more than that I love my readers. Since you clicked over to this page then I guess you want to know about the women behind the blog. So I’m in my early 30’s, I’m a wife of 11 years to my high school boyfriend, I’m the mother of a wonderful 8 year old daughter named Bella and hope for more kids one day. I am a San Diego native and am a part time blogger hoping to go pro in the near future.
Here is my family!
My blog is a positive and upbeat place, full of tips and advice. The reason I started my blog was because I was in a bad place. I was 25 and had a stroke. My recovery was long and isolating so I got into reading blogs. This lead me to want to try writing my own. I discovered that I had a love of writing and that I love the blog community and readers.
So I have wanted to create a place of helpful advice and encouragement to other women and bloggers. I also host a weekly blog link up full of positive and motivational quotes to help my readers start their week of right and also to help create a place for sharing our posts and supporting each other.

You can check out A Fresh Start On A Budget here. 

Friday, September 11, 2015

Feature Friday: The Life Jolie

Blueberry Buckle

I love blueberries. Seriously. They’re so healthy and incredibly delicious. When I was a kid, I would eat them like they were going out of style. Some things never change, this is still the case. While I’m normally quite frugal, I will pay big bucks to have them around to snack on. And one of my favorite ways to enjoy blueberries is in a Blueberry Buckle.
This Blueberry Buckle whips up super quickly. This moist cake is bursting with sweet, juicy blueberries with the most incredible streusel topping.
My sweet Grandma Eve has been whipping this up for as long as I can remember. Looking back, I can think of many a happy summer gather ending with this simple confection, on a warm night around my parents kitchen table. If I was lucky, my parents might even allow me to have a small second piece!
This Blueberry Buckle whips up super quickly. This moist cake is bursting with sweet, juicy blueberries with the most incredible streusel topping. This Blueberry Buckle whips up super quickly. This moist cake is bursting with sweet, juicy blueberries with the most incredible streusel topping. This Blueberry Buckle whips up super quickly. This moist cake is bursting with sweet, juicy blueberries with the most incredible streusel topping.
This is the quintessential summer dessert. It whips up super quickly, making it an excellent candidate for that last minute get together.  The results of this simple dessert are moist delicious cake, bursting with sweet, juicy blueberries with the most incredible streusel topping to add a bit of crunch. I like to enjoy this at all hours of the day, if it lasts that long!
This Blueberry Buckle whips up super quickly. This moist cake is bursting with sweet, juicy blueberries with the most incredible streusel topping. This Blueberry Buckle whips up super quickly. This moist cake is bursting with sweet, juicy blueberries with the most incredible streusel topping. This Blueberry Buckle whips up super quickly. This moist cake is bursting with sweet, juicy blueberries with the most incredible streusel topping. This Blueberry Buckle whips up super quickly. This moist cake is bursting with sweet, juicy blueberries with the most incredible streusel topping.
Blueberry Buckle
Source: Eve Repp
  • 3/4 of a cup of sugar
  • 1/4 of a cup of softened margarine (I used butter)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 of a cup of milk
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1 tsp. of baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. of salt
  • 1 cups of blueberries, rinsed and well drained
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
Grease and flour a 9″ x 9″ square pan (I usually only grease it).
Mix sugar, butter and egg thoroughly. Add milk and mix to combine.
Whisk together dry ingredients and add to the sugar mixture. Mix until everything is combine and stir in blueberries. The dough will be sticky (somewhere between a batter and a dough) and not seem wet enough but it is just as it’s supposed to be, so don’t add any more liquid!
Spread the batter carefully to cover the bottom of the pan. Top with the streusel topping (recipe below) and bake for 45-50 minutes.
Streusel Topping
Source: Eve Repp
  • 1/2 of a cup of sugar
  • 1/3 of a cup of flour
  • 1/2 of a tsp. of cinnamon
  • 1/4 of a cup of soft margarine (I used butter)
Mix all ingredients thoroughly until it gets to be a crumbly consistency. Serve warm (though this is also delicious once it has cooled!)


Hello there. Welcome to The Life Jolie. This is my place to document living this Pretty Life.
What is the Pretty Life, you ask? It is an idea that drives me. The idea is quite simple; life is beautiful. It’s ups and it’s downs and everything in between are so very pretty. We are here for such a short time, and often times we focus on the stressful, negative things. I’ve certainly been guilty of this all too often in my life. No more.
This blog, this place, is a call to action for me to celebrate this Pretty Life that we live. To find the joy in the little, every day things that present themselves. To see the positives and the blessings in each day. To document the various parts of this Pretty Life, in an honest way. And most of all, to be grateful for all aspects of it.
Who am I? My name is Jessy. I live in Western New York with my husband, Justin. We have a daughter Alice and a dog Macie. We have a house that we purchased in 2013. It’s not large or fancy, but it’s our home and we love it.
J and I enjoy a simple life. I love spending time with our friends and family, working on our home, traveling and now exploring our new journey of parenthood. I have a sense of humor that can be dry, sarcastic, and a bit raunchy at times; I love a good laugh. Cooking and food are a passion of mine and a favorite way to show my love. I try to be crafty and the results are definitely a mixed bag. I’m also trying to decorate our home, slowly. It’s coming together.
Grab a seat and stay a while.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Feature Friday: Homestead Wishing

Simple Tips for Natural Cleaning


White Vinegar Spray: 1 part vinegar, to 3 parts water

This is what I use on my stove top. It is a wonderful degreaser! You can also use it to remove hard water stains. I put some in my dishwasher to clean the build up off of the coils! I basically use vinegar for almost everything. Not to mention that it is only a few bucks for a gallon! Then I also dilute it. I save lots of money by using vinegar to clean! Here is a list of ways I use it to clean in my home.
natural cleaning
Photo credit: Artist Sumodaz

The Natural Cleaning List:

  • Toilet bowl -Add a little vinegar and a little bit of baking soda
  • Countertop – spray on and let it sit for 5-10 minutes, and then it wipes clean with minimal scrubbing
  • Stovetop – same as countertop instructions
  • Fabric softener/odor remover – Put 1/4 cup vinegar into your washer to soften clothes
  • Bug repellent – I am currently working on a recipe that works (I will share when completed!)
  • Dog bed cleaner – My dog is extra stinky. I take the inserts from her bed spray with my vinegar spray and lay in the sun to dry. Works great!
  • Vegetable/fruit wash
  • Clean dishwasher – Fill a small bowl halfway with vinegar and run a full cycle
  • Wood floor cleaner – Vinegar 1/p to water 3/p plus 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • Microwave – Fill a small microwavable bowl with vinegar, and cook until the vinegar boils. Do not open the door, let it sit there for 5-10 more minutes. Then wipe clean!
  • Walls/baseboards/door handles/light switches – I just wet the rag with the vinegar spray and wipe away. For spring cleaning add some soap to your rag.
  • Bathtub Cleaner – 1 cup vinegar, 1 cup soap, 1 quart water, 2 TBSP baking soda
natural cleaning

Other cleaning tips…

Coffee Pot – Old school hack ~Clean that decanter with Ice, salt and lemon! Swirl it around for a few minutes let it sit, swirl it around again. Repeat until stains are gone! 
Homemade Laundry Detergent recipe.
Kitchen sink – I like to wash with soap and water, but for a deeper clean I will put some baking soda in the sink and scrub it really well.
Bathroom odor control – If you place just a little of baking soda around the bottom of the toilet. Just on that little lip where the bolts are. I have all boys and lets face it, they MISS! Baking soda not only deodorizes the pee smell but it also soaks up some of the miss. When I clean the bathroom I just sweep it off clean it up and apply more. I know it is gross. That is life with boys.
Well, I sure hope that this helps you. I am super happy to not be using really strong chemicals. I have been cleaning for many years, and I swore by the nonsense of harsh chemicals. I really thought that was the only way to really get things clean. I wish I had known about vinegar and it’s magical powers then!
Thank you for stopping by!

Do you have any favorite natural cleaners you use?


You can check out Homestead Wishing here.