Friday, August 26, 2016

On the Other Side | My Depression Story

One Mama's Depression Story


This last year has been anything but easy for me. There were days when I wasn't quite sure how I was going to get through the day. An exhaustion set in that was so deep that it was almost over took me. Words have always been my friend. I love to write, and I could not find the words to write when I was in the middle of the storm. I knew it would be freeing and help, but I just couldn't do it. The words would never come. I couldn't write about me. Anything else but me.

Well peeps, I'm here to tell you the struggle does eventually get easier and there is light on the other side. The words are finally flowing. The darkness of depression has let up and once again I've found myself. It feels amazing. However, I'm careful, because I know if I look back, it's still there and could easily slink it's way back in - depression is like that. Know your triggers, peeps.

So how did it over take me? I'm not quite sure. Maybe one of life's perfect storms. Last year there were lots of life changes (professional directions for both Coach Man and I, homeschool to public, moving, etc.). I was experiencing more and more autoimmune inflammation and fatigue as well due to high stress. Plus I miss my mama more than words can say. I'm angry that she's gone from this earth way too soon. I hate that she isn't here to see my babies grow up. Grief can be a hard, hard thing. My freelance career was beginning to bloom and there were lots of new demands on my time. I had just switched from being a full time work outside the home mama to a work at home mama, juggling freelance, two busy kiddos and a busy Coach Man. There were a lot of balls to keep in the air, and I was sucking at it.

If you know me well, you know I struggle with wanting everything to be perfect. I worry way too much about crazy stuff that really doesn't matter, such as how clean my house is before I actually let friends come over. I've since realized that scruffy hospitality is an awesome thing. Yep, look it up. You'll like it too.

In the amidst of the deepest of my depression I was ashamed. I felt like a failure. How could it have gotten this bad? I pretty much felt like a horrible mom, wife, sister, friend, daughter... you name it and yep I beat myself up about it. I wanted to hide from the world and sleep, sleep, sleep.

There are a few specific moments in the amidst of the worst of the worst that I recall and just shake my head now - the depression had a deep hold. Oh and peeps, depression makes you believe a lot of stupid lies. They circle in your head and just drag you deeper every day.

I recall sitting in the pick-up line at the elementary. The parking lot was so full that day, but why? Then all these moms I knew came streaming out as the bell rang with their kiddos in tow. What had I forgotten?! The fall class parties. Oh no! I sat in the car and sobbed. How could I have forgotten that? I had said I would volunteer to help the class moms. Failure.

My routine during those horrible months was to hunker down in this one corner of the coach with the laptop daily and force myself to complete the work I had to get done due to agency deadlines. It was my biggest fear that clients would find out about my current situation, and oh my gosh what would they think?! That I was less than capable? Somehow a lesser version of myself. I let housework go. I rarely cooked. I missed family events. I flaked out on friends, but I never missed a deadline. I knew that would only make everything worse for our family. We needed the income. Somehow during it all, by the grace of God, I handled the workload, I was able to find the words for other people, but everything and I mean everything else slipped.

I remember a day when Ashley, my co-Fortville Mama, showed up at my house. She knew I was in a hard way. She knew I had been avoiding her and everyone else. She knocked on my door and stepped over my piles and forced me to let her into my world. She's a good soul and good friend. And the amazing Kara Fleck would message me frequently telling me this too shall pass, and it was okay to just do what I was able right at that moment. No more, no less. And Crystal Davis Paschal who encouraged me with her own story. Oh and Beth Pack, forever and always my biggest cheerleader and the best BFF a girl could have! They all were my lifelines, along with many other good friends that stood by myside. Oh and my sweet sisters and sister-in-law. Somehow they always knew the right day to call and push me to continue to get better. And a little pooch named Chase that rescued me, more than us rescuing him.

During the darkest of the days, this song was pretty much how I felt. Oh so worn.



Do you feel a bit worn too? Trust me, it's going to be okay. This too shall pass, but seek help. You deserve to feel better and to live life to the fullest. All truth, peeps. You deserve wellness. You really do.

It's crazy, but I felt so judged during the deepest of my depression. I felt like people were looking at me and saying, look she's failing big time. In my head they were saying things like: She can't keep all the balls in the air. What's wrong with her?! She quit her volunteer positions?! How dare she? She should be able to handle her life. She doesn't even work full time anymore!

I missed local events and didn't get things covered on Fortville Mama either. People noticed. They commented. Once again in my head - failure. Depression is full of lies, peeps. Full of lies. Don't believe them.

A full year later. I'm feeling way more like the chick I used to know. Yes, if you are curious, I did seek help. I didn't tackle it on my own. In the moment, that too felt like a failure to me. To not be able to fix it myself. To not be stronger than that. But once again, depression lies.

I'm finally back peeps, and oh it feels good! I'm humble though, and I know I have to be proactive to keep myself healthy. It's my most important job in order to accomplish all the other jobs - writer, freelancer, mama, wife, sister, daughter, friend...

So I learned a lot in the last year. Tons about myself, but a few insights that might help you too, so I'm sharing...

5 Takeaways from Depression, Now That I'm on the Other Side


  • Every yes you say to something, is a no to something else. Sometime a yes to take on a new responsibility or task is a no to your family and the time they need from you. Be careful with the things you say yes to. 
  • Me time isn't selfish. Filling your own tank once in awhile is important to be the best mom, wife, employee, daughter, sister, friend, etc. Schedule routine me time. 
  • Be still. In a life of busy, busy, busy, find time for stillness. Have that quite cup of coffee in morning and watch the leaves of the trees dance in the breeze, or find your own stillness. We're all different in what works for each of us. 
  • Be grateful. No matter what is crappy in your life, there is always someone way worse off than you. Count your blessings. There is always something to be thankful for. 
  • Savor even the hardest moments. There is always a lesson to be learned. Don't wish the hard away. Often times there is grace hidden in the hard. 
And with that... Ashley and I are on to a new cool chapter in Fortville Mama. We are upgrading to a new website. It's been the longest work in progress project! Part of that is due to the challenges I experienced over the last year. It slowed our progress. I am ever so thankful to her and her patience with me. Thanks for loving me as I am, Ashley. Cheers to the next chapter of Fortville Mama! 

Oh and to the ones I adore most, thanks for loving me through it all. 



Thursday, August 4, 2016

Artisan Thursday | Freezer Corn How To Guide

How To Freeze Summer Sweet Corn


We're in full summer swing and all that glorious local fresh is in ready supply - peaches, tomatoes, watermelon and of course SWEET CORN! Our families love eating it all! Most times they are grabbing the peaches right as I get home from the market and begging for the sweet corn for dinner that night. They definitely LOVE their local fresh from the Fortville Farmers Market (Thursdays 4-7 p.m. in the Nazarene church parking off off of Garden St or 1000N).


I've often heard people talk about freezer corn this time of year. I've wondered how to do it and truth be told, I'm a little intimidated and wonder if I'd do it wrong and it would all be no good come winter. Well, Indy Homeschool inspired me this year. She advised that it is just so yummy and really not that hard to do. So, if Steph can do it, then this mama must be able too. Let's give it a whirl.

First things first, the ideal ear of corn is ripe but not over ripe, kernels still tender, easily punctured and the kernel juice is milky.

What you need:

  • Fresh corn on the cob (Approx. 1.5 ears per serving)
  • 1 Large pot of boiling water
  • Plenty of ice
  • Vacuum food sealer or good quality freezer bags (a heavier version that protects better against freezer burn)
  • 2 large bowls, one for cold water and ice and one for the corn
  • sharp knife
  • large spoon


Here's the steps:

1. Start with fresh corn on the cob from the Fortville Farmers Market - as fresh as you can get. Really, it has to be freshly harvested, peeps, for the best freezer corn. Don't let it sit.


2. Get the largest pot you have filled ¾ full with hot water, get it heating to a full rolling boil..

3. Next, get a LARGE bowl filled with ice and cold water. You may need to buy a bag or two of ice if you are planning make a bunch.

3. Husk the corn and remove the silk.

4. Blanch the corn in the boiling water about 4-6 minutes.

5. Cool corn immediately in ice water to prevent overcooking. Drain.

6. Cut kernels from cob with a very sharp knife! A neat tip is to use a bundt pan. Just put the pointed end of the ear into the hole in the middle of a bundt pan and cut, kernels fall off nicely into the pan. You can just freeze the corn on the cob as well. However, I don't know many that do it that way.

7. If you have a vaccuum food sealer you can use that to seal in bags. If not, freezer bags work too, just make sure to get as much air out of the bags as possible.

8. Label and date the bags with a sharpie and place them in the freezer for later use. Most will last up to 12 months in the freezer, if you did a good job getting the air out.

9. When you are ready to serve the corn, pop in the microwave (from frozen) to just heat up. Usually 3-4 minutes.

May - September Artisan Thursdays brought to you by The Fortville/McCordsville Chamber of Commerce. Thank-you for your support of Fortville Mama and local family fun in and around Hancock County, Indiana. All thoughts and opinions are our own. Thank-you to the businesses that help support Fortville Mama. Your support is allowing us to make 2016 even cooler than 2015!


*** Advertising sponsorship available with Fortville Mama. Sponsor a single post or bring our viewers Mama Tip TuesdaysWandering Wednesdays, Artisan Thursdays, Fit Fridays or Hancock County Treasures blog series. Or why not be super cool and go all out and be our title sponsor? Email pamediasolutions(at)gmail(dot)com to learn more.


Thursday, July 28, 2016

Kids Day at the Fortville Farmers Market

It's Kid's Day at the Fortville Farmers Market! 


In celebration of back to school, the market is going all out for our kiddos. There will be a chance to win 1 of 9 backpacks, games, lucky ducky giveways, surprises at each booth and FREE barrel train rides. Don't miss it. 


Plus one kiddo will win a grand prize of all the back to school goodies they need to kick the year off right. 


 Plus the ice cream bus will be there! Cool treats.


See you there today 4-7 p.m. and every Thursday in the Fortville Nazarene Church parking lot off Fortville Pike and Garden Street. Follow the market here: https://www.facebook.com/FortvilleFarmersMarket




May - September Artisan Thursdays brought to you by The Fortville/McCordsville Chamber of Commerce. Thank-you for your support of Fortville Mama and local family fun in and around Hancock County, Indiana. All thoughts and opinions are our own. Thank-you to the businesses that help support Fortville Mama. Your support is allowing us to make 2016 even cooler than 2015!


*** Advertising sponsorship available with Fortville Mama. Sponsor a single post or bring our viewers Mama Tip TuesdaysWandering Wednesdays, Artisan Thursdays, Fit Fridays or Hancock County Treasures blog series. Or why not be super cool and go all out and be our title sponsor? Email pamediasolutions(at)gmail(dot)com to learn more.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Wandering Wednesday | Love in Beech Grove at Napoli Villa

A Couple Indiana Love Stories, Plus Authentic Italian

Where did you and your significant other fall in love?

Our love story unexpectedly began at Napoli Villa Italian Restaurant. My now husband knows how to impress a lady, right? His mama made sure he was a gentlemen and does things such as open car doors on a dates. After our original plans of going to the Cheesecake Factory failed (an hour and 30 minute wait), he knew where to go. The funny thing is that my now sister-in-law ended up joining us that evening too. She's been a server there for over 12 years. I ended up talking to her more then him. The next day when she went out with their parents, she told them to start saving for a wedding! She knew I was going to be family.


8 years later, 3 kids, a house, cars, dog, cat, 20 chickens and 10 ducks. We are still madly in love with one another.

Guerino Cento started Napoli Villa in 1962
I'm pretty sure love is what started the quaint restaurant where we fell in love. Guerino and Carmela Cento had a passion for Italian food that made people come back again and again. And the labor of love and passion for Napoli Villa has been carried by their daughter Antoinette Pizzi (who my kids call Mama Pizzi) she became the sole owner in 1968. The same recipes and passion is utilized today. The meatballs are made fresh daily  by hand and cooked to perfection by order. These days, Antoinette's son (Gino) and daughter (Carmelina) play a big role in operations of the restaurant. 


Who can resist a night out with your sweetie or sweeties and amazing authentic Italian?




Our babies love to eat here too. I'll never forget Mama Pizzi coming out of the kitchen with my oldest in her arms. She was in her glory with olives on the tips of her fingers.


With all the love that goes into the food and atmosphere, it makes me wonder what other love stories are within its walls. If you have not wandered down to Beech Grove's Napoli Villa you are missing out on a night to remember. Wander on over soon and give it a whirl!



May - July 2016 Wandering Wednesdays brought to you by Carmel Clay Parks and Recreation and The Waterpark. There is so much to enjoy this year! Check it out.  All thoughts and opinions are our own. Thank-you to the businesses that help support Fortville Mama. Your support is allowing us to make 2016 even cooler than 2015!






*** Advertising sponsorship available with Fortville Mama. Sponsor a single post or bring our viewers Mama Tip TuesdaysWandering Wednesdays, Artisan Thursdays, Fit Fridays or Hancock County Treasures biweekly blog series. Or why not be super cool and go all out and be our title sponsor? Email pamediasolutions(at)gmail(dot)com to learn more.



Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Wandering Wednesday | New Palestine's Frosty Boy Drive-in

Have you heard of a soda "jerk"?
My grandma would tell us of a local ice cream shop where she was a Soda Jerk. For the longest time I thought she was joking. Who would call someone a jerk?

A soda jerk made plenty of great childhood memories. A long trek on a bike was worth the ice cream that you had to lick fast on a hot summer day. Maybe it was laughing with friends because there is ice cream on your nose. 

Last week my kids did have great belly laughs with cold ice cream. The grandparents love to spoil the kids and sometimes parents too at Frosty Boy. It often brings back memories of having ice cream with my grandparents.

The pineapple whip just might have you dreaming of the beach.


You could just end up with ice cream on your nose.


Hey an Ice Cream Fu Manchu will do too. Cold treats are not the only thing the kids love at Frosty Boy. After playing at Brookville Road Church FREE indoor play place we have to stop for corn dogs. I have to get the Tenderloin. It's always cooked just right, crunchy with the perfect amount of lettuce and tomato. Oh and I have found that I love pickles on top too. Something my fellow Fortville Mama just figured out too at the recent 2016 Tenderloin Throwdown event in Greensburg! Finish it all off with a ice cold cherry Dr. Pepper, oh yeah! This makes the whole family happy after a morning of play.

So if you are in the South side of Hancock County make sure to stop at Frosty Boy. It's worth the wait and just might make a few memories. This week's whip flavor is strawberry. Yum!

May - July 2016 Wandering Wednesdays brought to you by Carmel Clay Parks and Recreation and The Waterpark. There is so much to enjoy this year! Check it out.  All thoughts and opinions are our own. Thank-you to the businesses that help support Fortville Mama. Your support is allowing us to make 2016 even cooler than 2015!






*** Advertising sponsorship available with Fortville Mama. Sponsor a single post or bring our viewers Mama Tip TuesdaysWandering Wednesdays, Artisan Thursdays, Fit Fridays or Hancock County Treasures biweekly blog series. Or why not be super cool and go all out and be our title sponsor? Email pamediasolutions(at)gmail(dot)com to learn more.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Wandering Wednesday | Backyard Bastille Day

This year we're wandering all the way to France! Well just virtually. We've gotten so many messages from readers asking about Indiana's Bastille Day celebration. The organizers of the celebration did decide to take a year off, but they were kind and provided us a fun guest blog post from Gabrielle Hendryx Parker with ideas on how you can capture the fun of Bastille Day in your own backyard! 



5 Tips to Celebrate Indiana Bastille Day in Your Backyard


Every year the French celebrates Bastille Day on the 14th of July to commemorate the start of the French Revolution (1789). The event is very similar to our Independence Day and traditionally also ends with fireworks. While our company Six Feet Up hosted the Indiana Bastille Day event for 7 years in Fortville, we are taking a break this year, so there will not be a celebration in 2016. However this doesn’t mean you can’t hold your own Bastille Day celebration at home! Here are 5 tips to have fun and celebrate many Hoosiers’ French heritage:

1 - Play French Musique

Here’s a quick and cheap way to add a French note of “je-ne-sais-quoi” (literally “I don’t know what”) to the atmosphere: just go to Spotify or Apple iTunes and search for French songs. A great playlist on Spotify can be found at https://open.spotify.com/user/a_vante/playlist/7KL36UD1OwUoSAoKc2HJmE


As a bonus, you can have your little ones draw French flags and place them around.

2 - Enjoy French Food

The French love their pastries, quiches and crêpes. All are great picnic items, which will put you in the mood for a great outdoors-y experience. Trader Joe’s is a great source of frozen French pastries such as chocolate croissants and almond croissants. And you can probably snatch some “Petit Ecolier” cookies at Target or Meijer. Just top it off with a refreshing glass of “Diabolo menthe”, a Parisian favorite in the summer that consists of a blend of mint syrup with French limonade (a kind of sweet ginger ale).

3 - Pétanque

If you go to France in the summer, you’ll surely see many people play a game of boules in parks. “Pétanque” is the equivalent of bocce balls and is played by over 30,000 people in France. This is a great way to enjoy the outdoors with friends and family and the simplicity of the game is sure to please everyone. More can be found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P%C3%A9tanque (note that you can buy petanque sets on Amazon for about $40).

4 - Lanterns

Bastille Day celebrations often include a candlelight procession at dusk. This is a fun and beautiful tradition that most children relish. You can make your own lantern using an empty and rinsed clean soda bottle (2 liter preferably). Remove the label. Cut the top of the bottle off. Wrap the body with colorful tissue paper. Pierce 2 diametrically opposed holes about 1/2 in from the top of the edge. Run a picture frame wire through the holes to make a lantern handle. Twist the ends of the wire to secure the wire in place. Then find a 2 feet long tree limb and attach the end of it to the wire using a rubber band. Drop a tea light into the sand at the bottom of the bottle. Wait for dusk and light the bottle up. The more the prettier! Then play the “Marseillaise” (the French national anthem) and have your little ones march around your block with the music. Be sure to take pictures!

5 - Fireworks

Just as the 4th of July, Bastille Day traditionally ends with fireworks. Fortunately, the French celebration takes place 10 days AFTER Independence Day, which means that fireworks are usually dirt cheap by now! Be sure to snatch a bunch and invite your friends, family members and neighbors to enjoy the show. 


And if going outside isn’t your idea of fun, what about playing “Les Misérables” on Netflix?

 - Gabrielle

May - July 2016 Wandering Wednesdays brought to you by Carmel Clay Parks and Recreation and The Waterpark. There is so much to enjoy this year! Check it out.  All thoughts and opinions are our own. Thank-you to the businesses that help support Fortville Mama. Your support is allowing us to make 2016 even cooler than 2015!




*** Advertising sponsorship available with Fortville Mama. Sponsor a single post or bring our viewers Mama Tip TuesdaysWandering Wednesdays, Artisan Thursdays, Fit Fridays or Hancock County Treasures biweekly blog series. Or why not be super cool and go all out and be our title sponsor? Email pamediasolutions(at)gmail(dot)com to learn more.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Artisan Thursday | Perfect Local Fresh July 4th Backyard BBQ

Are you excited for this weekend? Us too. I love a long July 4th weekend, especially when the weather looks as nice as it does right now! Woot! Woot!

Are you making lists and checking them twice for your perfect backyard BBQ spread? We can help! Why not think about adding a little local fresh to your table this year? The Fortville Farmers Market is just the ticket! It takes place every Thursday from 4-7 p.m. in the parking lot of Fortville Nazarene Church.



Check out 5 farmers market items sure to add a local fresh flare to your celebration.

  • Tomatoes - Think burger toppings; cherry ones for pasta salad, a layered salad, veggie trays or kabobs! Find them with Miller Produce.
  • Greens - Again burger toppings or a awesome layered salad in a trifle bowl! Gorgeous. Find it with Nana's Herb Garden or Brawners Greenhouse.
  • Fresh Local Cheese - Make those burgers extra delish this year with fresh local cheese, cube some for that pasta salad or make a cheese platter. Why not be fancy and encase some inside a burger! Find it with Blue River Natural Foods.
  • Peaches - Have you ever had a grilled peach with ice cream on top! Harker Family Farms will have some today!
  • Baked Sweets - Not a baker? Stock up on artisan sweets from the market and make everyone think you slaved away in the kitchen for days. Wink! Find it with Brooke's Cookies.



Okay we're feeling fab today, here's a bonus idea. Grab some blueberries and strawberries from the market if you find a vendor with some (if not, try Tuttle Orchard in McCordsville or Fresh Thyme in Fishers) and make our simple and awesome flag cake for your family's July 4th celebration! It's one the kiddos can totally help with! Click here for a how to blog from earlier this week. 


Happy July 4th weekend!


May - September Artisan Thursdays brought to you by The Fortville/McCordsville Chamber of Commerce. Thank-you for your support of Fortville Mama and local family fun in and around Hancock County, Indiana. All thoughts and opinions are our own. Thank-you to the businesses that help support Fortville Mama. Your support is allowing us to make 2016 even cooler than 2015!


*** Advertising sponsorship available with Fortville Mama. Sponsor a single post or bring our viewers Mama Tip TuesdaysWandering Wednesdays, Artisan Thursdays, Fit Fridays or Hancock County Treasures blog series. Or why not be super cool and go all out and be our title sponsor? Email pamediasolutions(at)gmail(dot)com to learn more.