These 4 Words Will Change Your Life


I know I’ve touched on this before, but I really can’t stress enough how important it is to have a great circle of friends in your life.  I’m not talking about good girlfriends. I mean sister-friends. 

And on top of those friends, also family that act like your friends as well.  We don’t choose our family.  That is bestowed upon us.  So family doesn’t always have to be friendly to you, but there will always be that connection.  I’m blessed to have family who are just as awesome as my great friends. 

Last week, my circle showed up AND showed out!  I was in the final stages of planning my daughters Sweet 16 party.  The Monday prior to the party, I ran into a scheduling hiccup at the party location.  Because of a misunderstanding, I had to rearrange my party prep on the day of the party.  Immediately my heart sank to my shoes.  I began hyperventilating, because I had a plan.  I couldn’t see straight.  And NO, I am not being extra.  I had been planning this party for over a year, so this was a major bump in the road for me.  I reached out to my circle and EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM ASKED “How Can I Help?”.  There was no stuttering.  No mulling around for me to ask them.  They didn’t hesitate to ask those four words. 

Now I am a person that really doesn’t like to take help from others.  But the way my stress was set up, those words….that phrase felt like a breath of fresh air.  And I hopped on the offer.  I actually delegated!  Me.  Mrs. I can do it by myself.  Captain “No, I’m good”.  By the end of the day, I was able to lessen my load and I didn’t feel guilty about it. 

Now my second oldest daughter had been battling the flu since Sunday.  I tried my best to quarantine her, so she wouldn’t get the rest of the house sick.  I mean I did have a party to host.  Unfortunately, she went downhill and ended up in the hospital.  My party was on Saturday.  We were discharged Friday afternoon.  I lost 2 whole days of getting last minute items for my event.   But as we packed our belongings to leave the hospital, I closed my eyes and said “welp, I’ll just be working overtime to get stuff done”.  That would have been great, if I didn’t come down to the hospital garage to find out someone had broken into my car.

As I drove home from the hospital, freezing because of the busted window, I started to doubt that I was still sane.  It was like everything was crumbling before my eyes.  I really wanted to scream.  But the messages on my phone started pouring in with those four words again.  How Can I Help? 

So after my husband worked his magic with insurance and the rental company, I was set up in a nice minivan and out tackling the rest of the things I needed to do. 

The day of the party, I was leaving to pick up my daughters friends, and when I pulled off the driveway, all the meatballs flew in the trunk.    Are YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME!?  I had to pull over and call to my husband to help us out.  It took 45 minutes, 290 sheets of paper towels, 100000 gallons of water, and 5 bottles of cleanser to clean that mess up! ( I may be exaggerating) Plus I lost half my meatballs.  But my husband was a TRUE miracle worker.  He cleaned that car like he cleaned cars for a living! He was my knight in shining armor!

Once that was cleaned up, I headed to get her friends and realized I forgot to pick up the darn cake!  AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!  So I had to head back to get those items.  It was a complete mess.  When I got there, no one was working the bakery, so I ended up getting frustrated.  I saw my cake on a cart in the back of the bakery, and I sashayed inside and grabbed it.  I didn’t care if security saw me.  That was the bakery’s problem.  So after 20 mins, I was back on the road. 

I got the girls to the nail salon, and treated them to manicures.  Then took them to my mom’s house where they were getting ready.

When I arrived at the party location, my circle was there WAITING!  They were ready to be put to work.  I even asked one sister if she could grab the 200 wings I ordered, and she came through! 

When we started decorating and setting up, it was so heartwarming.  Everyone was working really hard.  Like, if I had the time, I would have just cried.  I did get weepy at the end of the night, just thinking about it all. 

I also enlisted another friend/family in my circle, my cousin, to help with transportation for some of the kids that needed rides to the party.  He came through like a champ.  No hesitation.  He and my husband were Uber drivers for the night.  I also had a sister pick up the birthday girl and her friends, to bring them to the party so she could make her grand entrance!

Honestly, I literally don’t have the words to describe the love I have for everyone that helped make this event so wonderful.  They went above and beyond.  They showed what it meant to be a real friend.

I also could not have made it without the support from my mother.  She was driver behind this entire party.  She started a Pinterest board and used that as inspiration for her creative genius when it came to the décor.  She went above and beyond.  I’m almost certain we would have been celebrating at ChikFilA’s ball pit if it wasn’t for my mom. 

So to my circle, I LOVE YOU!  You saved my sanity.  You were my rock.  Not only by what you did this past weekend, but also what you do continuously.  God placed you in my life for a reason.  I am grateful for that.

I tried to look at the silver lining in everything that went wrong:

Party Venue Misunderstanding

The location was gifted to us.  I appreciated that.  Plus it was a misunderstanding, not anything done out of cruelty.  Shyt happens!

Daughter in hospital

I’m glad it happened sooner, than later.   She was able to attend her sister’s party.

Car broken into

The minivan rental had much more room than my SUV.  I was able to haul so much more, and it worked out to be a good thing.

Meatballs flying

I’ve got nothing! LOL

Cake detour

I dunno!

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DinDin

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This year, my oldest baby turned 16.  We threw a big party for her, to celebrate the momentous occasion.  Every kid gets a favorite meal cooked in honor of their special day, and my 16 year made sure she put me to work.  She requested baked macaroni and cheese, oxtails and cabbage.  What my baby wants, my baby gets!

                                                        Mac & Cheese 

(note I tried something different.  This isn’t my normal recipe, but it tasted great!)

1 box of macaroni

1 8oz bag of shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1 8oz bag of shredded cheddar cheese

1 8oz bag of shredded mozzarella cheese

1 jar of Old English cheese Spread

1 cup of milk

Salt

Pepper

Garlic powder

Boil the macaroni until tender.  I season my water so the macaroni is nice and tasty!  

In a separate pot, combine all other ingredients (minus the mozzarella) and heat until thoroughly melted.

Combine the macaroni and the cheese sauce.  Pour half of the mac/cheese mixture into your baking dish.  Spread half of the bag of mozzarella over the mac/cheese.  Pour remaining mixture on top.  

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.  Pull out and sprinkle the remaining mozzarella cheese on top. Bake for 7 minutes or until browning slightly.  

Serve and enjoy!

                                                                             Cabbage Steaks

1 large green cabbage

Salt

Pepper

Olive oil

Slice your cabbage about one quarter inch wide.

Place the cabbage out on a baking sheet.  Drizzle olive oil, and then sprinkle salt and pepper to taste.  

Cover with foil.

Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

                                                                                    Oxtails


2 -3 tablespoon cooking oil
1- 2 pounds oxtail cut up medium pieces
1 onion chopped
2 teaspoon minced garlic
1-teaspoon fresh chopped thyme
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon ketchup /tomato paste
1 Whole Scotch bonnet pepper
2 green onions chopped
5-6 Whole pimento seeds (allspice),
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1-teaspoon curry or more adjust to preference
15 ounce can butter beans, rinsed and drained
1 teaspoon browning (optional)
1 Tablespoon bouillon powder or cube (optional)
Salt


Season oxtail with, salt and pepper. Set aside

In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat, until hot, and then add the oxtail saute stirring, frequently, any browned bits off the bottom of the pot, until oxtail is brown. If desired, drain oil and leave about 2-3 tablespoons

Add onions, green onions, garlic, thyme, allspice, Worcestershire,smoked paprika, stir for about a minute. Throw in scotch bonnet pepper, tomato paste, bouillon and curry powder, stir for another minute.

Then add about 6 cups of water and bring to a boil and let it simmer until tender (depending on the oxtail size and preference) about 2- 3 hours, occasionally stirring the saucepan.

About 20-30 minutes before you remove from the stove add broad beans. Adjust thickness of soup with water or stock.

Season with salt according to preference.