Friday, March 22, 2024

Fly On The Wall In The Spring Of New Beginnings

Welcome to another edition of  Fly On The Wall group blog postings hosted by Karen of Baking In A Tornado. Today, three of us are opening our homes to give you a glimpse of what goes on behind closed doors. 

While the past month has been tremendous fun, it did have its difficult moments. We had to say goodbye to another one of our pugs---an unexpected ending that felt like a terrible gut punch. Brewski was just shy of his 13th birthday and the first pug pup we ever adopted. He started having gall bladder issues and before we knew it, he was at the emergency vet clinic, diagnosed with cancerous tumors on his liver. The prognosis was not good and the poor baby was in pain, so we had to make that devastating decision once again to let him go (only 1 1/2 years after losing our sweet Savi). The grief is still fresh but I'm trying to keep busy and focus on the good stuff.  We have one pug baby left---Yoda, who is seven, but I don't see any more dogs in my future after going through so much pet loss trauma.

We've also been spending more time with friends to stay busy and avoid feeling sad about Brewski. We are incredibly blessed to have such wonderful, caring people in our lives.

On a lighter note, one of the highlights of this past month was our weekends at the Renaissance Festival.  We didn't attend as much this year (wasn't up for it after losing Brewski), especially since I noticed a BIG shift in the crowds. Mac and I are the old farts there watching all the "youngsters" getting wild and crazy. Damn, that used to be us....WHAT HAPPENED?? Still had fun though with the family and of course, met some interesting characters......

However, the best part of the month is spending time with my grandbabies. They are growing up TOO fast---12, 5, almost 3, and a 4-month-old baby. PLEASE STOP THE CLOCKS! I truly hope I live to a ripe, old age because I need to see what these kids will be doing in 20 years. 

And of course, there was our annual St. Patrick's Day celebration with the family and the neighbors. I made the traditional corn beef, carrot, cabbage, and potatoes in memory of my mother, who always spent the holiday with us. Not only did we wear green, but also served green beer and green champagne to our guests! Yeah, I'm weird with my enthusiasm for ANY  holiday.....

The next day we hopped on our tandem bike to burn off the green calories. Why do people laugh at us when they see us pedal around the neighborhood???

Lastly, I've been busy planning several RV trips this year since we finally have our "Lucy." I feel like this is the beginning of a new chapter for us, and I'm pretty excited! I finished decorating Lucy so she is ready to roll! But I don't know if the Florida Highways are ready for The Doyle mobile. A friend actually gave me a sign for our RV that reads, "If this RV is rockin', don't come knockin'!" Would the Doyles have it any other way??

***Want more Meno Mama? Check out my latest grandparenting advice column for Yahoo Life HERE and my recent essay on AARP/The Ethel about the 2 words that help me through life (you can read it HERE). If you like movies that feature the power of female friendships, I have an article about it on AARP/The Girlfriend ( you can read it HERE) and one on easy 4-ingredient meals HERE.

Be sure to visit the sites of the other bloggers participating in this month's Fly On The Wall post. They always have something fun going on!


Baking In A Tornado                      

On the Border                               

Friday, February 16, 2024

Fly On The Wall In February, The Month Of Love

Welcome to another edition of Fly On The Wall group blog postings hosted by Karen of Baking In A Tornado. If you read my January FOW post, you know I was a little down with post-holiday blues, but that has all changed now because there has been some really cool stuff happening around here. 

So today, there are three of us bloggers welcoming you into our homes to see what goes on behind closed doors. However, since February is the month of love, you might want to knock first before entering our houses.....! 

Yes, love is in the air while the Valentine's Day celebrations continue. And what an extraordinary month it has been so far! February is Super Bowl month and usually I'm not a football person, but when the KC Chiefs are playing, I AM ALL IN!! We are huge Chiefs fans here since Hubs is from KC and I went to college in Missouri (plus I'll admit I have a massive crush on Patrick Mahomes!) and, of course, the whole Kelce--Taylor Swift thing is always fun to watch. I thought the 9'ers would win, but Mahomes did not disappoint in the last three seconds of the game, making football history. We hosted a Super Bowl party here, so I'm sure the entire block heard us screaming. 

February is also the month that the Florida Renaissance Festival begins here. I haven't been yet this season (GASP! I never used to miss a weekend!!), but I plan on going this Saturday. After all these years, I still dress up, but my desire to fuss with fancy costumes is getting less and less as I get older. Right now, it's all about comfort and removing my undergarments efficiently to use the portable bathrooms!! Luckily, there are always some weird people in even weirder get-ups at these events, so I'll be sure to post some pics in my next Fly On The Wall post in March. 

Another reason February has been an extraordinary month for us is that we finally pulled the trigger and bought into our 40-year dream of owning our very own RV! YES, we did it!! And she's a beauty! 

For those who enjoy RVing, this small travel trailer is the perfect size for the two of us at 18ft. We got a really sweet deal on her and cannot wait to take her out for her first road trip. She has all the modern conveniences we could ever want, and I'm having a blast decorating her the way I imagined my first RV would be. Her name is LUCY, and she will be a part of our family for a long time. The kids are already arguing over who gets to go with us first on a camping trip, but I'm rooting for my fur babies! 

If you read last month's FOW post "Year Of The Wood Dragon," you already know the exciting news I shared about my new job as a Yahoo Life columnist (yes, I am still writing for AARP as well....gotta pay for that new RV somehow!). My first column came out a few weeks ago, and I am thrilled to say it was super successful--it went viral! I am so grateful for the opportunity to do this job! The 1st column focused on babysitting grandkids, and ohhhhh man, there are some disgruntled grandparents out there who are unhappy with their family situations. Next month's column will address "bratty behavior" in some grandkids who have been raised by "permissive parenting" and what a grandparent should do (or NOT do) about it. Stay tuned...... 

I hope you had a loving Valentine's Day with lots of hugs, smooches, and chocolate---there better have been some chocolate!! As always, be humble, be grateful. Hubs and I have a favorite quote from poet Robert Browning that we live by: "Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be!"

***WANT MORE MENO MAMA? Catch my debut grandparenting column for Yahoo Life HERE. Over at AARP, I have a recipe piece on libido-boosting foods (just in time for the month of love) that you can read HERE. You can also find other AARP articles on perfect one-pot meals HERE and easy, beautiful desserts HERE. Enjoy!

Now go check out these other blogs participating in Fly On The Wall today...but remember to knock before entering!!

Baking In A Tornado                      

Menopausal Mother                        

On the Border                               

Friday, January 19, 2024

Fly On The Wall In The Year Of The Wood Dragon

Welcome to another edition of Fly On The Wall group blog postings hosted by Karen of Baking In A Tornado. Today, Karen and I are opening our doors so that you can see what has been going on in our homes this past month.

I'm not a huge fan of January....I always get a little moody once the holidays are over. Taking down my Christmas tree and the house decorations always makes me sad. Time is passing by so quickly, but it reinforces my belief that every moment we have on this planet should be cherished....even the mundane stuff. Hey, at least in Florida I'm not dealing with snow-mageddon like most of my northern friends. Last month, we had our share of the Kringlecane experience. 

I really enjoyed my 2 weeks off during the holidays when I didn't have to worry about deadlines---the only thing on my mind was eating cookies and visiting friends. But here we are, back to counting calories and writing assignments. HOWEVER, something pretty cool happened right after the Chinese "Year Of The Wood Dragon" started: I was approached by the head editor of Yahoo Life who found my work recently on several websites and asked if I'd like a part-time job writing an advice column for grandparents! Say WHAAAA? It won't interfere with my job writing for AARP, either, as I have the freedom to pick my own hours. So of course, I said YES, because this is yet another dream job! My first column will appear later this month and I am so stoked (but also bracing myself for internet trolls who will undoubtedly disagree with some of the things I say.) 

Anyhoo.... I haven't had a chance to let the pesky fly eavesdrop on funny conversations with the family, but I do have holiday photos to share. Please indulge me while I relive the holidays...and beyond.....

Three of my sweet grandbabies on Christmas morning

Stealing snuggles from my oldest son

Poppi giving grandson Sage a big smooch
...also having him watch a Chief's game. GO CHIEFS!

Look what Santa brought me! For years I've wanted a tandem bike to ride with Mac! Off we goooooo!!!

My adorables on Christmas morning!

Spiderman in the house!

Celebrating Christmas morning with the entire family--my
youngest boy arrived first.

My 4th grandbaby just turned 2 months old. Sweet boy!

In my happy place.......

New Year's Eve celebration at our favorite restaurant. Happy Year Of The Wood Dragon!!!

***Want more Meno Mama? Check out my latest for AARP/The Ethel---it's all about my special soup recipes to warm you up this winter! You can read it HERE 

Be sure and check out what the fly has been doing at Karen's house at BAKING IN A TORNADO to see what she has been up to this month!

Friday, December 22, 2023

Fly On The Wall During The Holiday "Kringlecane"

Welcome to another edition of "Fly On The Wall" group blog postings hosted by Karen of Baking In A Tornado. Today, Karen and I are inviting you into our homes to see what a fly sees---all the fun stuff that goes on behind closed doors.

The fly at our house has been all abuzz about the newest member of our family--a grandson who is now over a month old. In case you missed it---I shared the announcement and photos in last month's November Fly On The Wall Goes Camping  post. Mateo is such a cutie and a blessing to our family!

It has been a very busy/festive holiday month so far, but for awhile, we thought Christmas might be cancelled due to an unusual weather occurance which Floridians are now calling Kringlecane 2023.
 We had nasty weather for four days very similar to hurricane conditions. The famous Ft. Lauderdale Boat Parade was canceled for the first time ever in over 45 years, but luckily, the storm did not interfere with any of my party plans. We have been enjoying all the sights and sounds of the holidays and embracing the blessings God has given to us.

I also created a new tradition on social media of sharing an "ornament of the day" each day this month. I share a photo of a special ornament and then ask the readers to send me pics of theirs that are similar in theme (oldest, newest, memorial, most sparkly, vacation-bought, heirloom, anniversary, etc.). The response has been great and I'm really enjoying this new tradition! 

I'm happy to say that my decorating, shopping, baking, and gift wrapping is finally done and I plan to just RELAX this weekend with friends and family to soak in all the holiday goodness. I'm like a little kid when it comes to Christmas morning---seeing everyone gathered around the tree, and this year, we have a houseful (my house is SMALL...yikes!) but I can't wait to see those beautiful, smiling faces! 

So here are "some" snapshots of our holiday fun so far.....get ready for a massive photo dump!! And don't mind the pesky fly buzzing around---he's probably drunk on my special eggnog! 


***WANT MORE MENO MAMA? Here's where you can find me this month: AARP/The Girlfriend--Holiday Cocktail recipes HERE Holiday Regifting Rules HERE and Holiday Side Dishes HERE. Then on AARP/The Ethel, you can gobble up my famous Christmas cookie recipes HERE Lastly, if you are looking for good, inexpensive wines from Trader Joe's, check out my latest article for Family Minded HERE

Now go buzz around Karen's house at Baking In A Tornado to see what she has been up to over the holidays!


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