How to Deal with homesickness

2 Nov

Before we delve into this topic, let me say, I’m still dealing with it.  I’ve always been a homebody.  I was a momma and daddy’s girl from the very start.  When I was a little girl, people called me my father’s shadow because I’d be stuck to his leg!  My parents and I have always had a very close relationship.  To me they were always the cool parents; and I love spending time with them.  I have one brother and one sister; each with a boy and a girl.  My nephews and nieces light up my life and it’s hard not to watch them grow up.  homesick-1

I’m sure you can imagine how bittersweet it was when I fell in love with a man who lived four states away (that’s about 9 hours driving!).  Moving truckNaturally my family was completely supportive because the husband/man wowed them and showed how much he loved lil ole me.  Still, it was hard packing up all my things and moving so far away.  I often have moments when I’m missing them so much it hurts.  I decided to make a list of things I’ve done to help combat my homesickness and maybe it’ll help you too.

  1. Accept the fact that you are homesick and that’s OK.  Sometimes I would try to “busy” myself into believing I wasn’t homesick.  FAIL!  It didn’t work and made the tears fall harder.  Accepting and embracing it helped me to deal.
  2. Stay in Touch.  I have a large family and a host of friends.  Staying in touch can be easier said than done.  Here is where technology can be your friend.  Text messaging, emails, and phone calls will definitely help keep you connected.  In my case, I can add this blog to the list.  I’ve found it’s important to continue to share your everyday life with those you don’t see often.  It makes that connection stronger and more alive.
  3. Visit often.  The husband/man and I try to get to FL as often as possible.  My parents don’t fly, so when they visit us they drive.  I work from home so I have a bit more flexibility in my schedule.  I’ve gone back home without the husband/man at times only because my schedule affords me that flexibility.  While I’m there, I make the visit count.  I don’t overload the visit with seeing too many people, because cramming too much in one trip is exhausting.  I spend quality time with those I love.
  4. Hold on to memories and memorabilia.  I have pictures all over the house of my family and friends.  It makes me feel better to see them there.  It’s like bringing them into my world here.  I have pieces of jewelry, clothes and keepsakes that were given to me by family and friends and I keep them safe in special places so I feel connected.
  5. Embrace your new location.  After we were married, I was so excited yet homesick at the same time.  While I didn’t realize it at the time, I was subtly rejecting my new city.  I lacked desire to get our and explore it and I felt like I was cheating on Jacksonville if I enjoyed Richmond.  Once I let go of that feeling and got out and roamed, I started to enjoy the differences this place had to offer.   I was eager to get out and try new things.  And guess what, I found out I really like it here.
  6. Initiate new friendships.  This was a toughie for me!  I have incredibly substantial friendships that span my lifetime and quite honestly, I was good there.  I didn’t have a strong desire to open myself up to new people.  I created this lonely bubble when I first arrived.  Thankfully, I’ve made great strides in breaking that.  Now I’ve made some wonderful friends here that have warmed my heart.  Plus I’ve learned there is room for all of the people I love.
  7. Give it time.  Homesickness doesn’t disappear, but it does get better.  In truth, I still miss my family and friends just as much as I did when I first arrived.  However, I’ve learned how to cope.  I’m coming up on almost four years of being in VA, and I feel like I’ve grown so much.  But it took time.  Be patient with yourself.

Well there ya go! My list of tips for combating homesickness.  This list is by no means exhaustive.  Please feel free to leave your tips in the comment section.  I’d love to hear them.

Ice Cream and Balsamic Vinegar is Tasty!

27 Oct

Ok, ok, before you frown and moan, just go with me here.  I was doing my usual blog reading on my Google reader and I came across one of my favorite foodie bloggers Jessica at How Sweet Eats.  Seriously, ya’ll need to check her site out; I stalk visit it regularly.  The recipes are easy and delicious.  I would love to hire her as my personal chef!  Jessica recently posted about Fustini’s Oils and Vinegars.  Naturally her enthusiasm about the product made me curious.  I perused their website and got a suggestion from her on which products to try.  I purchased the blood orange olive oil and the vanilla bean balsamic vinegar.  The web page has suggestions on how to use the various oils and vinegars.  They suggested using the vanilla bean balsamic vinegar on ice cream.  Strange I thought, but what the heck, let’s give it a whirl.  Here we go in pictures…

Plain Vanilla Ice Cream

Plain bowl of vanilla ice cream

Fustini’s Vanilla Bean Balsamic Vinegar

Vanilla Bean Balsamic vinegar

What do you get when you combine a plain bowl of vanilla ice cream with the sweet/tart tastiness of vanilla bean balsamic vinegar?

A bowl of heaven that’s what!

ice cream plus balsamic

Seriously this tastes amazing!  Don’t let the vinegar in the title scare you away.  This is a must try!  It was the perfect balance of sweetness with a little kick.  Trust. Me. It’s good!  Thanks to Jessica for the great suggestion!

Carter Mountain Orchard

24 Oct

Hi friends.  This past weekend was absolutely as close to perfection as I could ask for.  It’s been a long time since the husband/man and I have had everything fall into place in one weekend.  You know life happens and it changes your plans all the time.  However, this past weekend everything went our way.  The weather was simply gorgeous;  blue skies and bright sunshine.  We met up with our good friends Troy and Shelby and drove up to Charlottesville VA to visit Carter Mountain Orchard. The drive up the mountain was a bit dicey.  There were as many people were driving up the mountain as were coming down.  We were on a tiny road with no barriers.  You could literally see straight down!  The husband/man did a great job of getting us safely up the dirt road.  The view was AMAZING!

View from top

See!  I told ya.. Gorgeous!  Down below was the apple orchard where you could pick your own apples.  They also had many bushels of apples that someone had already picked.  Guess which one we picked?  We didn’t want the generous soul who had already picked some apples to have done all that work in vain.  We picked the bushels.

Wine Barrel

We visited the winery and enjoyed tasting the wine selection.  There were six white wines to try.  Our favorite were the Rapidan River Semi-Dry Riesling and the Rapidan River Sweet White Reserve.  They were simply delicious!  The husband/man and I both scored that 5/5 stars!  Both ended up in a box for purchase.

Port Display

Next up were the reds.  Of the six reds, I loved them all!  Seriously, the Cater Mountain Harmony was the best; and most expensive bottle.  It’s supposed to have less sulfates so you shouldn’t get the ‘red wine headache’ that plagues many.  We settled on two bottles of the red.  The Carter Mountain Merlot (mainly for me because I simply heart Merlot – and this one had a vanilla bean undertone).  We also got the Sweet Red Reserve.  The port was one of the best port’s I’ve ever tried.  The dark chocolate with black raspberries made it so intensely smooth.  As you can imagine, it was a bit pricey.  I think it would make a great present. Hint Hint…

After the wine we tried the hot apple cider – DELISH! And the famous Apple Cider doughnuts.

IMG_0712

I forgot to take a picture before I took a bite.  Just imagine that’s a regular sized doughnut.  It was that good!  I think we snacked on a few one.  Combine that with hot apple cider and you have a winner my friends.

US

Troy and Shelby

Smiles all around!  We finished off the day in the local store and brought home a jug of the apple cider, a jar of apple butter and caramel corn.  Definitely a great day!

Ode to the Dishwasher

21 Oct

Sleek, smooth, compact, and efficient.  If I could hug my dishwasher I would.  Growing up there was no dishwasher in the house.  My brother, sister and I were the dishwashers.  I can remember when I was “old enough” to share in this monumental task.  My older brother Terrance naturally took the lead in washing the dishes.  My sister Melanie had the job of rinsing all the dishes.  Then there was me.  I was the baby so I got the job at the end.  I had the duty of drying and putting away the dishes.   I was significantly shorter so I was fortunate to have a chair to stand on so I could place the dishes in the proper cabinets.  Can you picture it?  All three of us standing in the kitchen working hard toward a common goal.  That goal was not to feel the wrath of my father if we didn’t finish our chores.   Eventually, as we grew, the roles changed and as the last child left at home, the dishes became a full-time occupation.  Dishwater is hard on the hands; my nails and cuticles suffer greatly.

When I moved into my first apartment, there was a standard dishwasher in the kitchen.  Nothing fancy and quite frankly it was pretty outdated.  I think I used it once and decided it wasn’t for me.  I had to re-wash most of the dishes!  There was no time savings to be found with that thing.  I swore off dishwashers after that.  Yes, I know that’s harsh – because not all dishwashers are created equal.  How close minded of me : – ).

Earlier this year our landlord purchased a new dishwasher for our townhouse.  And let me say this … Ahhhhhhhhhh!  I actually sang that as I typed.  This beautiful GE1machine has added such value to my life.  The inside is so full you could fit a small child in there.  Of course I would NEVER do that – that is abuse people!  But it’s pretty big and I’ve made it my mission to see just how many dishes I can fit inside.  It still amazes me how the two of us can use so many dishes in one week.  But I guess the husband/man and I really like to open cabinet doors and reach for new, fresh, clean dishes.

Anyhoo, where would I be without my dishwasher?  Still standing there breaking my back over the kitchen sink and spending far too much money at the nail tech trying to restore my cuticles.  Who knew a machine could add such value to my quality of life.  Thank you landlord and thank you GE!  You simply ROCK!

Chicken Soup for the soul..

19 Oct

One of my favorite things is to cook.  Since I’ve been married, it has turned into a true passion.  I think it’s because now I finally have a kitchen all my own and I can do the things I want and set it up how I like it.  Gone are the days of sharing the kitchen with my folks, brother and sister .. and no more roommates.  My husband has his “man cave” space and the he says I’ve claimed the rest of the house.  A fair trade I think.

The weather is changing and it always changes how I cook.  I bought a whole chicken that had been cut up.  It’s been in the freezer while I was deciding what to do with it.  Yesterday I decided.  I pulled out one of my favorite wedding presents, my 5qt crock pot (thanks Kimmy).  I clean the chicken, added the regular salt and pepper.  I cut some fresh rosemary and thyme Chicken Stew from my herb garden and added some veggies – carrots, celery, onions, the works.  And let me tell you.. the HOUSE. SMELLS. DELICIOUS.  Dinner for tonight is DONE!  Since there is only two of us, that big pot will go a long way.  I’m going to make some long grain rice to accompany it.  Until then, here is a picture of all the delicious crock pot goodness! YUMMY!  If you put your face to the screen I’m sure you could smell it.  HA!

Who is Nickijay?

15 Oct

A question I’ve been pondering for a while.  I know who I used to be – the good and the bad.  Now, I’m establishing who I will become.  Easier said than done, sure; Still, very much worth the effort.  I’m hoping this blog helps me to free a lot of creative energy that’s been stuffed inside.  What I do know today, at this moment, I’m excited to share all facets of Nickijay with all of you.  Hopefully you won’t throw virtual tomatoes.  So please be nice – thanks in advance!

In a nutshell, I’m a 30-something maneuvering through life one day at a time; or one cookie at a time depending on the day.  My passions include the love of my life, the affectionately named, Husband/Man.  I am engaging in a new love affair with our puggle Clifford – he’s been with us four months.  Last but certainly but no means least I have a slightly irrational love of all things Florida Gators.

What can you expect from this blog?  Any AND everything!  I mean it.  Friends, family bewLet's Get Crackinare, nothing is off limits.  HA!  Can you imagine how their faces dropped reading that sentence.  I kid!  While I do intend to be open with you, I plan to keep some things private.  I’m sure you understand.  That means no crazy twitter type updates; no you will not be updated when I brush my teeth, stub my toe or if I have a headache.  Those are what I call over-shares.  I plan to provide you entertaining and humorous commentary of my life.  Please poke around, tell me what you like, or don’t tell me – totally your prerogative.  And pretty pretty please come back for me any time your little heart desires.

Nickijay

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