October 25, 2014

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month: What Do YOU want ME to Know?

What do YOU want ME to know?

The 2014 Niche Parent Conference was in one word:  AMAZING.  The conference was inspirational, informative and just beyond words awesome.  I met so many amazing writers including Tomika Bryant, the author of My Mommy's Neighborhood.  I have to preface the story by saying Tomika and I signed up as volunteers for the conference and I was so looking forward to her because it was the first time I'd ever met anyone with the same spelling of my name.  I was thrilled to meet her and find out the origin of her name but as luck would have it we never got around to that discussion because of all the other fab happenings of the weekend.

One day, we were chatting with some fellow writers just waiting for the day's events to begin and she excused herself saying "I have to take this call.  A friend of mine has breast cancer and is having surgery today and I asked her to call me once she came out of surgery."   When she returned I told her I was writing a series of posts about Breast Cancer Awareness Month and asked her the question I've been asking survivors all month long: October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month: What Do YOU want ME to Know? 

Tomika shared her story of being diagnosed with Triple Negative Breast Cancer in 2013.  She explained various types of breast cancer diagnoses and the role of estrogen in breast cell development.  There's an irony in the role of estrogen in breast development and breast cancer development but Tomika explained it in a way that blew my mind. She shared things I never knew about the disease and it's effect on the body.  Her diagnosis was not just a diagnosis for her but she was a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, a friend and this obstacle in her path of life wouldn't be met without a fight.

She wanted me to know she knew women who died from breast cancer.  This disease still ravages families.  A breast cancer diagnosis is not a time to sit around singing Kum Ba Yah, it's a time to fight.  Tomika shared stories of women, both young and old, she knew who didn't win their fight.  She is determined to make a difference by telling the world BREAST CANCER STILL KILLS.  Money is needed to fund the research needed to combat this disease and women of all ages are dying every single day.  Tomika's correct.  According to BreastCancer.org, 40,000 women will die from breast cancer in 2014 and 85% of new diagnoses will occur in women with no family history of the disease. (http://www.breastcancer.org/symptoms/understand_bc/statistics)

Tomika didn't asked to be a part of this "sorority" as she calls it.  She actively participates in fundraising campaigns to fund breast cancer research and just recently completed the Tour de Pink and posted about her experience in a recent blog post:  http://www.mymommysneighborhood.com/i-rode-with-a-warrior-2/ 

In the post she shared a selfie of her and another Tour de Pink cyclist with the words "Today she announced via Facebook that the doctors have given her weeks to live and I am asking for you to keep her in prayer."  My heart broke when I learned the cyclist, Kara Guzzetti, passed away yesterday from a form of metastatic breast cancer.  Wake up people.  Wake up!  Wake up!! WAKE UP!!!  

Tomika wanted me to know
Breast Cancer kills and more money is needed to fund the research necessary to combat this terrible disease.

Leftover Salsa Beef Stew Made with Love From MY Kitchen

Last week the most amazing thing happened.  I met someone with my name.  I know it may not sound like anything all that special to you BUT when your name is Tomika, spelled T-o-m-i-k-a, it's pretty special.  Yep, that's my name.  Tomika.  
Feeling a little Rumplestiltskin-ish huh?  Been wondering what "Tomi" was short for all these years.  

With a name like "Tomika" you won't find many personalized items but times have changed.  Thank goodness for the internet now I can practically have anything personalized with MY name on it including *drum roll* including recipe labels.

Now that the weather is cooler and the holiday baking season is near, I am looking forward to sharing homemade goodies with my beloved family and friends.  I like to prepare foods for some of the elderly members of my church from time to time and this year I am sharing some fab soups. There's nothing like bowl of hot soup to warm you up on a chilly Fall day and this is something different I'm sure they'll enjoy.

Soup is one of those foods you can add your own personal touch to a basic recipe and make it completely your own.  If your soup doesn't have the flavor you're looking for you can add a little of this or a little of that and voila you've got a masterpiece.    

I had a few leftover cups of salsa in the fridge from a visit to one of our fave Mexican food restaurants and decided to use them to add a little zing to my quick and easy beef stew recipe.  I can whip a pot of beef stew in 30 minutes or less.  It's an easy recipe and I can sneak in tons of veggies so it's nutritional as well.  Winner!
Leftover Salsa?  Make Leftover Salsa Beef Stew.


  • Leftover salsa
  • 3 12-oz bags of frozen veggies 
  • 1 14-16 oz. can of beef broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 lbs. beef (I use sirloin steak, sliced into strips fajita style)
  • 2 tbsp. flour
  • 1 tbsp. oil (I use olive oil or vegetable oil)
  • Onion (OPTIONAL)
Additional ingredients (add to your liking.  Be mindful you may need to add more water to make stew to your desired thickness)
  • Beans
  • Onions
  • Cilantro
  • Oregano


1.  Pour leftover salsa, frozen veggies, beef broth and water into large stockpot and turn on low heat
    Leftover Salsa?  Make Leftover Salsa Beef Stew.
    2.  Heat skillet and add olive oil.  Allow oil to heat before adding sliced beef.  
    3.  Brown beef on all sides.
    4.  Add flour to browned beef and stir to coat 

    Leftover Salsa?  Make Leftover Salsa Beef Stew.
    5.  Add beef to stockpot and stir.  
    6.  Bring to a boil for about 10 minutes and reduce heat to a simmer until veggies are of desired tenderness.   

    This recipe makes a lot of stew and after I let if cool down a bit, I fill up containers, slap on a Kidecals personalized label and share my creation with family and friends.  The labels are waterproof so if I spill a little soup on them I can just wipe it clean.

    Check it out.  
    Kidecals Personalized Labels
    Next time you have a little leftover salsa from your fave Mexican restaurant, don't toss it.  Save it and add it to your favorite dish to create a one of a kind dish for your family.

    What do you do with leftover salsa 
    from your fave Mexican restaurant?

    Joyce Meyer Reminds Us to Start Living Courageously

    A few years ago, a friend of mine introduced me to the ministry of Joyce Meyer.  In addition to standing room only venues throughout the world, Meyer's ministry includes an arsenal of TV shows, radio broadcasts, internet presence, daily devotionals, CDs, books and more.  In fact Joyce's show Enjoying Everyday Life airs every single day and in some areas the show airs 2-3 times a day.   Meyer is a powerhouse of practical wisdom and scriptural reference.  I guess that combination of practicality and scripture references is one of the reasons I enjoy her ministry and reading her books.  Check out my review of her latest book Living Courageously.

    Her latest book, Living Courageously, was a welcome read.  I often say "Fear is not of God", yet there are times when my fear of taking a chance overwhelms me and complicates my decision-making.  It's a feeling echoed by some of my friends who stay in a comfortable position of complacency because we are unwilling to trust God and step out on faith.  Yet when you read the stories of successful people, they often mention how their success came as a result of no fear and just doing it.    

    What They Say:
    "Fear commonly affects our ability to live fully, holding us back from what enriches our lives and the lives of others. But our quality of life will improve when we learn how to be courageous in the face of fear.

    In LIVING COURAGEOUSLY, Joyce Meyer explains how, as Christians, we can overcome the paralyzing power of fear by calling upon the Lord. "Fear not" is written throughout the Bible. God knows His children will be confronted with fear, but He can help us resist it.

    It is your inherited right as a child of God to live life to the fullest and to enjoy it. Joyce will encourage you to be expectant as you learn to conquer fear, become all God wants you to be, and do all He wants you to do. With a blend of personal insight and inspiring Scripture, this book will help you employ the power of God to overcome fear and achieve your best." 
    My Thoughts:  
    Meyer's book Living Courageously is the reminder some of us need to push forth through our fears.  Some of us *points finger at self* need that reminder.  Stepping out on faith was a mantra I heard from nearly every presenter at a recent conference I attended.  Presenters shared their stories of overcoming simply by doing something they'd never done before.  The act of stepping out on faith changed their lives.  The book coupled with their stories was the push I needed to face my fears and wrestle up the courage to make a few changes in my life.  Look out world!  

    Buy It:
    Living Courageously is available at bookstores nationwide and also on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other online retailers.  Click here to locate a retailer near you.

    Are your fears holding you back from living courageously?  

    Disclosure: Many thanks to the the Hatchette Book Group for providing this book for review. Visit http://threeboysandanoldlady.blogspot.com/2010/01/advertisecontact.html for the Disclosure Policy of Three Boys and an Old Lady blog. The opinions expressed above are 100% my own. I received a product in exchange for this review and post. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC's 16 CFR, Part 255: \'Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

    October 23, 2014

    Brighten Someone's Day with Flowers... Just Because

    Remember the first time your little one gave you a flower?  When Los Tres Amigos were little they would burst out the church doors on Sunday mornings, snatch up dandelions from the ground and run up to me saying "Mommy, I got this flower for you."  Oh, I miss those days.

    Nowadays I only get flowers for special occasions like my birthday or anniversary and  honestly I almost forgot how much joy there was in receiving flowers just because.  

    October 21, 2014

    V.C. Andrews' Coming Soon: Christopher's Diary: Secrets of Foxworth

    The eagerly anticipated CHRISTOPHER’S DIARY: SECRETS OF FOXWORTH (Pocket Books; October 28, 2014; $7.99) by V.C. Andrews® will be the perfect respite for those counting the days until Lifetime’s 2015 movie releases. An ideal addition to “Dollanganger family reading”, CHRISTOPHER’S DIARY broadens the perspective of story in Flowers in the Attic…and reveals the answer to one of the major mysteries surrounding that seminal work.

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