I’m Surviving Empty Nesting and You Can Too!

My younger son is in college, so here we go with the dreaded Empty Nest Syndrome. After twenty-five years of diapers, Legos, birthday parties, soccer games, band concerts, family vacations then proms, suddenly all that activity grinds to a halt. No more last-minute cookie requests. No more hearing the night before an assignment is due, “Mom, I need a poster board.” And no more sweaty, soccer socks and cleats taken off in the car making my eyes water.

university

My alma mater, Mercyhurst University, Erie, PA.

I admit, I was the typical mother dropping off the child at college then crying all the way home. I cried whenever I walked past their empty rooms and waited every day for their call or text to make sure they were eating and getting their sleep. But by the time they were home for Christmas and I could see they were healthy, getting good grades and making mature decisions – I forced myself to relax. My husband and I raised two wonderful sons who are confident and will make good lives for themselves.

I don’t have to ‘hover’ over them constantly anymore. I can sit back and enjoy hearing their news and accomplishments and be there whenever they have questions or need a pep talk after a bad day or disappointment.

phone

I’m so proud of them that I can enjoy this time for myself without guilt.

Here are 6 things I would recommend:

  1. Get a pet or two – If you are feeling unneeded, the best thing to do is to get yourself a pet buddy. Be sure to select the best pet for your lifestyle and that you can commit yourself to the life of that pet.

    cats

    A couple of weeks ago we adopted these two adorable kitten sisters.

  2. Take up a hobby – usually with work and all the activities that come with children prevent you from too many hobbies. We’ve all said, ‘That’s something I’d like to try when I have more time.’ Well, now is the time. I have my puzzles, books to write and creating miniatures. I may even get out my cross stitch projects again.

    beach house

    This is my mini beach house I’m currently working on.

  3. Rediscover your love life – Use this time to rekindle or increase your love life. Weekend trips can feel like mini-honeymoons without all the kids jumping on the beds and demanding supper.

    camper

    Our romantic weekend home.

  4. Volunteer or get involved with a charity – find a worthy cause that interests you and then get involved. Volunteer hours at a thrift store, use your accounting talents to help children organizations or serve on the board of a nonprofit cause. Being involved with people and/or children can fill some lonely hours.
  5. Read more books – With an empty nest, you will have some extra time to read more books. Read in the bathtub without kids yelling outside the door, read in the evening since there is no more homework to do and read on a rainy afternoon before taking a snooze on the couch.                                                                    beach-reading
  6. Go naked whenever you want 🙂 – That’s right, you can now lounge around and do housework totally nude, if you want. As long as you don’t answer the door or dance in front of a large living room window no one will know but you. Revel in your new-found freedom.

So, let’s hear from other empty nesters. What keeps you sane during this adjustment period?

 

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Flower to Genre Matching Game! — Mysteristas

I love flowers. So when I came across this fun post, I had to share it with you.

 

The word blossom brings to mind a rosebud slowing unfurling, one tender petal at a time, until it turns to face the sun as a glorious, fragrant bloom. Of course, not all blooms are roses. The top ten ugly plants, according to the Daily Telegraph, include “the stinky squid” (first discovered in Pittsburgh), the corpse […]

via Flower to Genre Matching Game! — Mysteristas

Let Feng Shui Make Your Wedding Lucky

Do you have a wedding planned for 2016? Is this the year you will “tie the knot?” If so, here are some simple ways that the Chinese balance of energy, Feng Shui, can help make that wedding lucky and lasting.

Plenty of natural light

Be sure to have the wedding and reception in a place with plenty of natural light to signify the bright future ahead for you and your spouse. If you’re having a beach or garden wedding you will probably have the natural light taken care (as long as the weather cooperates).

wedding at the beach

wedding at a botanical garden

If your nuptials will take place indoors, then shoot for lots of windows rather than the harsh, overhead fluorescent lights. Churches usually have beautiful, stained glass windows but if you’re stuck with a dingy, basement reception hall because your dear Uncle Fred is an elk or moose or something – don’t fret. A warm atmosphere can be created with light-colored tablecloths and decorations. If possible, candles give off a softer more natural light than the dreaded overheads.

No clocks

Even though everyone has the time on their cell phones these days, be sure there are no actual clocks at the reception, because you want your union to be timeless.

Round or oval tables

At your reception, try to arrange for round or oval tables to signify the endless union of the ring and to encourage socializing and harmony among your guests. If you must use the standard, rectangular renter tables cover them with tablecloths to soften the edges.

wedding reception

Lucky color schemes

  • Red – Red creates a strong atmosphere of romance and love. Just what a wedding is all about, right? Chinese women’s wedding dress may be red, but if you are not comfortable with that, having the bridesmaids in red and groomsmen in black suits with red accents is a great look. wedding dress with red sash
  • Purple/Violet – This color scheme is best for the smaller more intimate wedding giving off plenty of sexy vibes. Imagine a spring wedding with the bridesmaids in soft violet dresses. Very pretty.
  • Black & White – Think yin and yang. Black and white represent a strong balanced relationship. This color scheme gives weddings elegance and style. yin yang symbol
  • Blue & Green – Nothing promotes calmness more than blues and greens. Think of the tall, green trees swaying in the breeze or the blue of a lake or ocean. So calming. If you are concerned with battling family relations, maybe using this color scheme will help smooth the troubled waters. This is also the color scheme suggested for a 2nd wedding.
  • Orange – If you will have a wedding of 250 guests or more, than an orange color scheme will promote a sense of warmth among your large gathering.

When you leave your wedding, consider having your guests:

  • Blow bubbles – this would bring the water element into your wedding. Water is the most powerful force in nature and will bring flow and freedom to your wedding.
  • Throw flower petals – this always looks nice especially rose petals symbolizing love.

rose petals

 

If you want to dive deeper into using Feng Shui to plan your wedding, even to the point of picking the perfect date, there are websites and books available.

For instance: Wedding Feng Shui: The Chinese Horoscopes Guide to Planning Your Wedding by Laura Lau & Theodora Lau

Websites to learn more about Feng Shui:

Chinese.weddings.com

Fengshuiforreallife.com

If you have any advice from your own wedding for someone planning theirs – please comment below. Something that worked extremely well or something you wished you had done differently.

Feng Shui Resolutions for 2016

As the year dwindles out, my thoughts turn to the new year and resolutions. A brand new year can be a fresh start. A new beginning. A new you.

clock

If you’ve read my Feng Shui posts before, you know a little bit about how it works. If you haven’t, click here. Or check out the websites listed at the end of this post.

What do you want in the new year? A new love?

couple on a bench

If what you want in 2016 is a new and lasting love – concentrate in your bedroom.

  • Is your bedroom cluttered? Is your closet so jammed packed you can’t even close the doors? Is you bed practically held up by everything you have shoved underneath it?
  • Is any art work or knickknacks in your bedroom of singular persuasion? In other words, do you have a picture hanging above your bed of someone walking on a beach alone? Or a ship in a storm? Or a single cute little giraffe statue on your dresser?
  • Do you sleep with whimsical bunnies on your sheets? Or dangerous jungle animals?

To attract love, you need to have an uncluttered bedroom with decorative items in pairs and “room” for that new someone. Make room in your closet, leave space on both sides of your bed and have matching night stands.

bedroom with 2 nightstands

 

Do you want a new job in 2016?

If you are seeking new or better employment – concentrate on your front entry.

  • Is your front door obscured by shrubs and overgrown trees?
  • Has the light above your front door been burned out since Reagan was president?
  • Is your inside entry cluttered with shoes, coats and bags?
  • Is your entryway dark and shadowed?

With a well-tended and brightly inviting front door opportunities will come knocking. Trim the plants around your door and mend any broken steps or pathways leading to your door. Make sure your front step is brightly lit and welcoming, inside and out.

painted front door

 

As with all resolutions, they can become overwhelming. If you can only do one thing, resolve to clear out the clutter in your home. Clutter signifies “baggage” both physical and emotional, that can interfere with our quality of life. You don’t have to do it all in one day. Start small. Start with one room then move to the next. You’ll be surprised at the changes in yourself and your life.

cluttered garage

Have you made any resolutions? If so, what are they? Could Feng Shui help you achieve those resolutions?

For information, tips and suggestions on Feng Shui, check out these websites:

http://www.fengshuidana.com

http://www.msfengshui.com

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Victory

This week’s Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge is victory. To celebrate a win.

One of my greatest wins is being married 30 years this past July! To celebrate that win, my husband and I went back to Niagara Falls where we originally spent our honeymoon. In this day and age, it certainly seems a victory when any marriage lasts longer than 10 years. It’s a sad but true fact. Marriage takes A LOT of compromise and forgiveness but is well worth the effort 🙂

IMG_2544

This is on the American side. The blue spots are people, just to give you an idea of the size of these falls!

Close up to the American Falls

Close up to the American Falls. You can see the Canadian tour boat in the top left corner.

I encourage anyone to visit Niagara Falls, both the Canadian and the American sides. Besides the breathtaking views and activities at the falls, there are amusement parks, museums and shopping galore on each side. Loads of fun.

If you want to take part in the Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge, click here.

To see my last entry in the weekly photo challenge, click here.

Has anyone else been to Niagara Falls? You can view more photos and the activities on my Getting Wet at Niagara Falls post.

6 Nontraditional Places to Have a Romantic Wedding

I had my wedding traditionally in a large church with a long aisle but more and more these days people are branching out with wedding venues. Although the possibilities are unlimited, this blog post and my time is not 🙂 So we will look at 6 nontraditional places to have your romantic wedding.

engagement ring

1. The Beach – I love the beach; the sand, the sun, the waves, the messy sea gulls (well, maybe not them). Weddings on a beach can be very romantic and have lost that wild hippie label. You can make it formal with a full bridal party and chairs or more relaxed with just close family and friends in beach wear.  My friend’s son got married on a beach in Virginia and they used large rocks to outline a circle in which the ceremony was performed at sunset. What could be more romantic than that? (If you are having it on a public beach be sure to check any rules/ordinances that may apply.)

wedding at the beach

2. A Fire Station – Say what?! This is basically any job or hobby related venue. If the groom is a fireman, you could have the wedding at the station or take a truck or two to an offsite venue. I’ve seen weddings where the bride and groom stand under an archway made by the extended ladders of two firetrucks decorated with ribbons and flowers. It can be very romantic for someone who puts their life on the line to help others. This can also include police, plane jumpers, musicians or military themed weddings.

wedding at fire station

3. State Parks – If you are like me and love to camp and hike in the state parks then this wedding venue is for you. A few years ago we camped at Letchworth State Park in New York (beautiful park! a must-see) and they had 3 weddings in that weekend. Taking your vows with a backdrop of trees, trails, waterfalls or scenic views can be romantic indeed. A few things to remember, your guest will probably have to pay the day rates of the park, many parks are alcohol free and there may be some restrictions on fires and decorations so check with the park office.

wedding at a state park

Letchworth State Park

(This is one of the three waterfalls at Letchworth State Park.)

4. Botanical Gardens – What could be more romantic than love and flowers? Garden weddings often have a picturesque fountain, glass-walled atrium, lily ponds or landscaped pathways to make your wedding photos beautiful and uniquely yours. Not only will you have flowers in your bouquets but all around you (do watch out for bees).

wedding at a botanical garden

5. In a Barn – Were you born in a barn? Well, maybe you were or maybe you just love the farm life or horses. A wedding could be a lot of fun in a barn setting, especially the dancing:) My niece had a country-themed wedding where she and the bridal party wore cowboy boots. Maybe the bride could arrive on a beautiful stallion or the whole wedding party could arrive in a horse-drawn carriage decked out with flowers and bows.

wedding in a barn

6. Winery – If you are big wine tasters or like me live in an area conducive to grape growing you may consider having your wedding at a winery. Many wineries are in old, historic buildings which along with the vineyards would make very romantic photo memories. You could arrange for wine tasting and tours at the reception.

winery

Wherever you decide to hold your wedding, know that outdoor venues are subject to the weather. Perhaps you will want to arrange an alternative rain option just in case 🙂 Your wedding guests will tend to be less accommodating when soaking wet. Although a little rain during your wedding day symbolizes wealth and good fortune, so don’t stress it, if it happens.

If I ever decided to renew my wedding vows, I would most likely choose a state park or botanical gardens.

Which would you pick? Or if you had a nontraditional wedding venue, where was it? I’d love to hear about it!

Check out some of my other posts involving weddings:

Crazy, funny marriage proposal

Would you wear a wedding pantsuit?

6 Feng Shui tips to make your wedding lucky