Finally Stay at Home Momma

Family, Home, Life

Book Review–Hidden Under Her Heart

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Hidden Under Her Heart is a story about abortion and courage. Maryanne Torres tries to gain validation and love by giving more in each relationship than she takes. Her boyfriend, Lucas Knight believes his reason for existence lies in becoming a triathlon champion. An unwanted pregnancy forces Maryanne to examine her past while Lucas is torn between concern and bitterness. Meanwhile, a tiny life hangs on the balance. Is it worthless because it is unwanted? (Summary from Rachelle Ayala‘s site.)

My Review

When I first started reading the book, I thought this was going to be man falls in love, woman falls in love, man saves woman, and they live happily ever after.  I was wrong.  This book has twists, turns, ups, and downs.  It is about a journey for Maryanne and Lucas on their own as they try to come together.

This author allows the reader to see the raw emotions of the main characters.  The characters’ past plays a major role in the plot.  I feel this book is relatable to people as our past always plays a part in who we are.  People have to come to terms with the past in order to move on in the future.

I would recommend this book.  There were a couple of times I wasn’t sure if I could finish reading the book (especially in the beginning when I thought Lucas would “save” Maryanne), but once I was able to get past that, I didn’t want to put the book down.  I will be reading this book again.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.



I was a teacher for 15 years before staying home.  I taught fifth grade for a total of eleven years and middle school for four years.  That equates to quite a few students entering my life.  Thanks to social media, I have been able to reconnect with some of them.  I have former students that are working, going to school, being parents, etc.  They are all so awesome and working hard to be productive adults.

I will admit that there are some students that have always held a special place in my heart.  I give them advice, they give me advice.  I cheer for them, they cheer for me.  It is wonderful seeing these students as adults.  I no longer consider them former students; I consider them my friend.  I cannot explain in words how much these relationships mean to me.

I received a message on Facebook last night that one of these adults was leaving a hair bow she made for my daughter on my doorstep.

Hair Bow

It is absolutely beautiful!  It is for epilepsy awareness.  I love how I am able to spread awareness, and I have these wonderful people helping me spread awareness as well.  Tink loves it as well as Martha.



What can we change?

This was the question Tink asked me as soon as the news sunk in to her EEG coming back normal.  (I still smile every time I think about it.)

 I know she is tired of reading food labels over and over again.  There are times I forget to check when I am at the store so she has to check and double-check at home.  Just becasue a product didn’t contain artificial sweetners before doesn’t mean it stays that way. I know when a friend offers her candy, gum, and/or treats she just wants to eat it.

Aspertame is a trigger for her seizures.  We found this out the hard way, but at least we found out.  

When researching epilepsy, I tried to stick to medical sites and not message boards.  Every case is different and everyone has differing opinions.  At the time, there were no medical studies on the effects of seizures and aspertame.  I had to venture to message boards.  I learned Tink is not alone with this connection.  Hubby and I decided to cut out aspertame in her diet (I love, love, love Diet Dr. Pepper so it isn’t out of mine even though she gives me a look every time I drink it).  

I never realized how many products contain aspertame.  I was so overwhelmed at first.  Tink was 8 when we started looking at labels.  I taught her what word to look for and had her practice in front of me reading labels.  I knew she had to take ownership of this so I wouldn’t worry (as much) when she wasn’t with me.  She did and continues to take ownership.  She has been known to ask her teachers to read the ingredient list if they pass out fruit snacks.  She reads the syrup lables when she goes out to breakfast, and if there aren’t any labels present, she asks if there is any way she can see the label.  To her no label means no syrup.

Tink was out to breakfst with my sister one morning and ready the syrup label.  It had aspertame.  She told my sister and the waitress, “I can’t have this syrup.  It has this word, and I can’t have it,” as she was pointing to aspertame.  They were both amazed, and my sister called me later on to wonder why I didn’t tell her about this.  Oops!

How did I answer Tink’s question?  Nothing.  We can change nothing right now because it is working. 


Dinner #3 No Grocery Shopping

This was easier than I thought.  I had chicken in the freezer, green beans and corn on the cob in my refrigerator, and scalloped potatoes in my pantry.  This dinner is definitely a keeper except next time I will make the scalloped potatoes and not use a box mix.



I grilled the chicken on my George Forman grill after I put some seasoning on it.  I cooked the scalloped potatoes according to package directions.  I sautéed the green beans in a little oil and red pepper flakes then simmered for about 45 minutes.  I put the corn in boiling, salted water for 15 minutes.

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Dinner #2 No Grocery Shopping

Martha is sick.  I hate it when one of my girlies is sick.  When one of the girls is ill, hubby and I let them pick what they want for dinner.  Martha decided we can all make what we want for dinner.

This was easy for me.  I didn’t have to come up with anything creative from the pantry, freezer, and refrigerator.  Remember, I love to have recipes to follow.

Martha decided to heat up refried beans and tortillas to make bean burritos.  Tink decided to do the same.  Hubby wanted nachos.  I ate a bowl of cereal.

Not every night has to be a fan-fare meal.  There is something to be said about relaxing evenings where everyone eats what they want.  Everyone is happy.

Now to start thinking about meal #3.

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Favorite Place

I absolutely love Gatlinburg, Tennessee.  I remember going there when I was 10 or so with my mom, grandma, grandpa, and sister.  I remember walking in downtown Gatlinburg and riding the Sky Lift.

When my daughters were younger, we decided to take them there.  It was special to me because of the memories I had, and my mom was going with us.  We went in the summer.  We had so much fun.  We rode the Sky Lift, drove through the mountains, went white water rafting, and visited Ober Gatlinburg.  The memories we made were priceless. i fell in love with the Smoky Mountains during the summer all over again.

Last Thanksgiving, we decided to make a trip to Gatlinburg again.  I had only been in the summer before so this was new to me.  I didn’t think it would be that different.  I was wrong.  Gatlinburg transforms to a magical winter place to visit during this time.  The lights, music, and atmosphere are magical.  Walking through downtown at night was more than I could ever imagine.

Martha and I decided to ride the Sky Lift.  On the way up the mountain, we were so excited.  We were talking about what pose we were going to do once we reached the top since they always take your picture.  We were talking about how cold it was.  On the way down, we were mesmerized by all the Christmas lights and the lights from the town.  It was truly beautiful.

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Dinner #1 No Grocery Shopping

This first dinner was easy for me to cook.  It is not hard, and you probably have everything in your freezer and pantry like I did.

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 can of corn (undrained)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1 can tomatoes with green chiles
  • 2 cups water
  • 8 oz macaroni noodles uncooked
  • Salt and pepper

Brown ground beef and add onions while beef is cooking.  Once meat is browned add corn, tomato sauce, tomatoes with green chiles, and water.  Stir and let come to a boil.  Add macaroni noodles, and turn heat to low.  Cover and let simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until noodles are tender.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Here is the final product


The verdict from hubby, Martha, Tink and myself–This is a keeper!  It was good and filling.  We liked it.  I might tweak it by trying different spices.

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