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Dear Husband of a Menopausal Woman ~ Here's What She'd Like You to Know

Dear Hubby of the woman who is going through Menopause, here are some things that your wife would like you to know.  Menopause is a very difficult time in a woman's life.  We are going through a lot of physical changes that sometimes leave us feeling like we're going crazy and we're all alone.  Sometimes we're sad, sometimes we're angry, sometimes we're actually in a good mood.  The thing is, we never know how each day is going to affect us or which mood we're going to be in at any given minute.  Add to that, all of the hot flashes (flushes), the itchy skin, the dizziness and sleepless nights, and a whole host of other weird things going on and we can be quite a mess.  But, when we got married, we both said "for better or worse" or something to that effect.

Here's the thing. . . . we don't like this any more than you do.

It's frustrating for us, and we know it's frustrating for you.  We know that most men just want to help "fix" things, but there's not always an easy fix for this.  We promise to try to do everything we can to feel better, but we need your patience, because it's not always going to happen just like that.  It might take some trial and error on our part.  Just, please be patient and try to be empathetic.   And please, please, keep the lines of communication open.

When I asked a group of women who are going through perimenopause and menopause, what they would like you, dear hubby, to know, these were their honest answers.  I hope you take these into consideration.

"The real me is still in here somewhere."  ~~~  This woman said that she had flipped from being a confident, outgoing woman to being nervous, jealous, lacking confidence, and always needing reassurance.  Thankfully, she is now back to her "old self" again.  These things don't last forever.  We know they are hard as we're going through them.  Most people tell us that there's a light at the end of the tunnel and we must believe them! 

"She's sorry." 

"I love you."

"Please try to work as a team. Both parties are hurting here."

"I feel like I'm losing my mind and myself."

"Please don't be so critical. I've dealt with some of your issues. Now, it's time for us to deal with mine. Please be open to communication with me and work with me to get through this."

"Please don't try to blame everything on menopause. Sometimes, I'm right and you are in fact, wrong."

"Please ask the question, 'What can I do to help right now?' Maybe start a time that we can talk about each other's needs without assigning blame. Maybe start with, 'Here is what I need. How can we figure a way to make that work?'

"I didn't ask for this and it's completely natural. For better or worse is here. Please be patient."

"I'm not sure who I am right now, but I'm working very hard, every minute of every day to figure it out and be stable."

Also dear hubby, we know that a lot of us aren't quite as amorous as we used to be.  Our sex drives are low.  Sometimes, we have a lot of pain and dryness in our vagina. Yes, I said it. Vagina.  Your wife is NOT making this stuff up just to avoid you.  It is real and it is painful and a lot of times it makes us feel bad. And old. And it makes us feel a lot of things that we can't even put into words.  But there are ways to deal with it and we are all learning how to deal with it.  See, the thing is that this isn't talked about a lot in the mainstream.  But now, we're talking.  And we're trying to figure it out.  And we NEED you there with us, being patient, and kind.  We promise it won't last forever and if we continue to communicate, we can come out of this a much stronger couple.

We also received a lot of suggestions from women to watch this Netflix documentary on menopause with their husband :

Love, Sweat and Tears. 

My hubby and I still haven't watched it, but I'm putting it on our to-do list. 

That Time My Hubby Told Me to "Just Bleed Already"

Before I begin this, I should let you know that now that I've been in menopause for 4 months, I feel a little more stable and I'm not as moody anymore.  After that little bout of sadness back in September when I realized that my child-bearing years were over, things have gradually gotten better.  For the most part, there is no more sadness or anger.  But before I hit full-blown menopause???
                                        THIS is what was happening.


There are times during perimenopause when you don't quite have a handle on your emotions, your feelings, your temperament.    About 6 months before I finally hit the end of perimenopause, or if you want to say it another way, 6 months before I hit full-blown menopause, I had moods. . . . . yeah, let's call them moods.

They were not good moods.  They were dark, angry moods.  They were . . . pulling the fiber of my being as tight as it could go before breaking moods.  Those moods when you are so far on edge that absolutely nothing seems like it's going right and nothing makes you happy.  In fact EVERYTHING does quite the opposite of making you happy.  The tension.  Good grief, the tension.   Like your mood is a tiny little string that's fraying in the middle and just holding on by that small little thread and you can see it fraying even more until the point when it just breaks and then there's nothing to hold onto and you fall over backwards.  But, when you fall. . . . . you just want to lie there. . . and maybe the floor would just swallow you up so that you don't have to hear anyone else breathe anymore.  Because even the sound of other people breathing is enough to send you over the damn edge.  You know those moods when the "F" word is your best friend, even when you never usually use that word in your everyday language, but for some reason, it just makes sense with what you're going through and it seems to pop into your head more than it ever has in your life, because. . . . .grrrrr

I was having a week like that.  Apparently.  Because that man. . . . . yes, that man who calls himself my husband. . . .opened his mouth and said,

"Why don't you just bleed already?"  or get up in there and scratch that stuff out.  

and my face, it looked like

And if you can believe it. . . . . my head did not go flying off my body.  It is in fact, still attached now.

And my husband is still alive. 

I'm not sure how, because I was standing in the kitchen with lots of pointy, sharp objects at my disposal.

But we somehow both survived.

And the moods,
they subsided.

I, in fact, did NOT just bleed already.  Ever again. It had been 6 months since the last time I had, and I never would again.

Time passed.

Moods got better.. . . . . . . well, until that sadness in September, but in July we renewed our wedding vows and celebrated our 15 year anniversary.  We survived the raging hormones from perimenopause. . . . . . . . and his reactions to them. . .

Now, we're dealing with other issues, but at least for the most part, the moods have evened out. 

And that's good.  Because on most days, I kinda like my hubby.

This Aging Thing is for the Birds!

So, Instagram, Twitter, and the web in general is loaded with all kinds of people telling us that aging gracefully is the way to go.  And we should accept ourselves and love ourselves no matter what!  If YOU don't love yourself, why should anyone else?  Self-love, self-acceptance, self-care.  It's everywhere! Although I really, really want to grow old. . .I mean, age, gracefully, I've gotta tell you. . . . . . . .I am NOT loving this time of my life.  Well, not all of it anyway.

The truth is, there are some days that I look in the mirror and just want to cry and slump my shoulders and slink away.  I do NOT love the neck that's getting wrinkly and crepey.  I'm not in love with the crows feet and the sunken, black circled eyes.  I don't love the fact that I can't find any face makeup that works on my face anymore.  I don't CARE that I "earned" those wrinkles!  I mean, did I really earn those wrinkles???

I KNOW that it's shallow.  I KNOW that there are many, many, many other things going on in the world that are SO much more important.  I KNOW that I should just accept it.  I KNOW that what's on the inside is more important than what's on the outside.  And really, I don't think about how much I dislike my "new" face that often.  But, when I do see it and realize that it's changing, I'm just not happy about it. (Thankfully, I don't look in the mirror that often.)

Intellectually, I KNOW that all of those other things are more important, but emotionally, geez. . . . why can't everything just stay where it's supposed to be? I mean, what are these jowels supposed to be all about?   What are they trying to prove? Knowing that other things are more important still doesn't help me feel "okay" with all of these changes.  And I know that it's a privilege just to be alive and there are many things to celebrate. And truthfully, I love finding joy in the small things. . . . . . . . as long as those things are nowhere near my mirror. . . .

I see my young daughter, with nary a line or wrinkle on her, and see her vibrancy and excitement about everything and I know she has so many things to look forward to!  And I'm excited for her!  I just wonder if I squandered my own youth.  Luckily, every day is a new day and blah, blah, blah, blah.  There are enough other websites out there to tell you that stuff!

I just wanted to put it out there. . .  that, you know what???? If you're feeling this way, too, you're not alone.  I don't love aging.  There.  I said it.  And I don't love my skin now.  And I don't love my wrinkles.  I don't love what I look like in a tunic sweater. Maybe it's time to hide all of the mirrors and just go out "as-is."  Hahaha!  Like I would ever do that.  . . . . 😉 . . . . . . for more than a day.

Or, maybe it's just my hormones today.  Who knows???  Guess I should go find some positive affirmations to do.  Do you ever feel this way?

What an Odd Stage of Life! #Menopause when You Still Have Middleschoolers at Home

So, I'm at this really odd age and place in life.  It's like I'm stuck between several different demographics, but don't really "fit" into any of them!

Here's the thing. . . . I am in full blown menopause. At 47.  About 5 years younger than the average age to reach menopause, which is 52.  And I got there naturally, so it's not like I was forced into early menopause because of anything else going on in my life. Most articles that I click on that say "early menopause" (which I always am hoping to glean information from), the women are in early menopause because of having to go through chemo.  God bless them.  I wouldn't want to be in their shoes, and prayers go out to anyone having to go through it.  They are definitely not coming from the same place as me and there's just no way for me to relate to what they've been through.

Also, I began having kids a little later in life.  Not really late like I had my first kid at 40, but I was in my thirties when both of my kids were born.  I was considered AMA (Advanced Maternal Age) with my second one.  But, I don't feel like I'm THAT much older than a lot of moms who have kids the same age as mine, except now for this whole menopause thing, which is making me feel older!  Just for reference, my kids are 11 & 13 right now.

I've been trying to find other midlifers recently to form bonds with, especially women who have already gone through menopause.  To do that I've been trying out different hashtags on Instagram and Twitter that have to do with midlife, which truthfully, I'm not really happy about having to use!  I mean come on! Midlife? How in the heck did that happen?

Thankfully, most of the women I've found have been making midlife look good.  Awesomely good!

I've found a few very fun women to follow!  But I'm wondering if most of my fashionable new #over40 and #over50 pals are in different stages of life than me!  It seems that a lot of them are already emptynesters.  It all just leaves me feeling like I'm in this blank space where there are very few of us who are going through the same things at the same time.

I am the first in my group of friends to hit the "pause" button.  Two of my three closest friends were right  along with me when we were going through Perimenopause, but both of them are still "Peri" now.  We all go at our own pace. . . . . . and hey! look at that! It's a race I finally won!  Haha!  😜 😜😜  I was gonna say "A race I finally won without peeing my pants". . . . but nope, been doing a lot of that lately with this cold, too.  Like, every time I cough or sneeze.  Geez!

It's a weird thing when you talk to people about being in Menopause.  The most common comment is "At least you don't have to worry about your period anymore."  That's true!  And that is great.  BUT, I would gladly exchange having my period again for NOT having the symptoms that I've been ladened with.

In the past 6 months, my vision has become bad. . . yes! I finally need the dreaded bifocals or readers.  That's a very odd thing.  One day you can read fine, the next day. . . . it's like, "What the heck has happened? Why is everything so freaking blurry?"    Also in the past 6 months, I've had 2 major yeast infections and kind of an ongoing, lingering, almost on the edge of yeast infection most of the time.  And then I've also had a urinary tract infection that was bad enough that I actually had to get antibiotics, which I hate doing.  AND don't even get me started on the eczema spots that make me want to crawl up a wall.  And hair that has become limp and lifeless.  And dull, lackluster, dry skin everywhere. Everywhere!  I'm telling you. . . . my vagina is like the Sahara.  Oh yeah . . . . and apparently sleep apnea.  That's a thing for me now, too.  And truth be told, all of those symptoms are why I started this blog.  Women need to know that these symptoms can happen.

Everyone is out there talking about hot flashes (flushes), weight gain, and memory loss, but they're not talking about all of the OTHER things!!!   It's very rare that the other symptoms of menopause get discussed!

Anyway, back to that being in a weird space where there seems to be no other people like me. . . .

and those hashtags. . . . .

When I was trying to find more hashtags for midlife women, I did finally find one post for hashtags to use. . . . .

Here are some of the ones that were suggested along with #midlife. . . .

#midlife #over40 #over50 #aarp #emptynester #emptynest #babyboomer #genx (thank you!)
#oldschool #aging #seniors #crisis #retire #freetime #grandkids #teenagers (again, thank you!)

But do you see it?  I mean #aarp???  I'm not quite there yet.  And I'm hoping that it's at least 12 - 15 years before I have #grandkids.  #crisis ???  #freetime ???  Nope, not yet.

I guess I'm just having a hard time finding my online "tribe."  I know it's silly.  But, what a weird time in my life!!!   Menopause when you still have middleschoolers at home.  Just weird.

Which stage of life are you in?  How do you feel about it?

This post might be linked to any one of the parties listed on my Link Parties and Communities Page

Thrifted Chic Style Challenge Starting Tomorrow | Who's In?

I saw this challenge on Instagram and it looks like fun.  I'll have to check to see if there are any rules for specific days, since I'll be traveling.  Check it out and get in on the thrifted fun!

I told you guys that I was going to try a no-shopping challenge this year.  I'm proud of myself for already making it 2 weeks.  Hahahaha!  Not that I would have bought anything in these two weeks anyway, but now that I've challenged myself NOT to shop, it seems more tempting.  😉

This challenge might be fun to show off your ability to make what you already have work. . . . or to showcase ways that you've been eco-friendly on the fashion front.

Here is the hashtag to use on Instagram   ~~ #thriftedchicstylechallenge

Starts  Monday, January 15-19 Here is the info from the post on Instagram:

❄️Join the fun and show us your #restyled #thrifted #secondhandstyle ❄️jump in and shop your closet, remix, and share your looks!

Please follow co-hosts @asksuzannebell @seechele_styles @chicandcheaplifestyles @jtouchofstyle @pixieandcurls @frugalandfabulous_houston and our sponsors @caseapp @leggybecs to be eligible to win our fabulous #prizes!!!

We can't wait to see your looks, accessories and home decor 💕 #stylechallenge #winterfashion #stylechallenges #januarystylechallenge #thredup #poshmark #therealreal #consignment #shopsecondhandfirst #secondhandfirst #shopsecondhand #upcycledfashion #donate #giveback #ecostyle

Ginger Lime Sweet Potato Noodles and Salmon

We've been eating the heck out of sweet potatoes.  For the first time in my hubby's life, he has finally decided that he likes sweet potatoes.  He surprised even himself!  😉  This experiment turned out yummy!

So, now that my hubby is in a sweet potato phase, I buy more sweet potatoes and I probably wouldn't be lying to say that we eat them every day. Every. Single. Day.

The amazing thing is that we haven't turned orange yet!

I thought that I had seen people make sweet potato noodles before, but I wasn't absolutely positive.  So, a quick check online and . . . . . . . . YES!  People have actually made sweet potato noodles before.  I wasn't going crazy!  It's a thing, y'all!

Since I have a spiralizer, it was pretty easy.  It was time consuming, but not very difficult.  The hardest part was peeling the potatoes.  It is not as easy to peel a sweet potato as it is to peel a white potato.  And truthfully, that's the part that took the longest time. The spiralizing itself didn't take too much time.

I thought the noodles would be good with lime and ginger and I happened to have limes in the house.  Actually. . . .having the limes in the house is probably why I thought it would be good. It's not like it just popped into my head.  The limes were in front of me. 

My hubby doesn't actually like ginger that much, so I only used a little in this. . . although I used a lot more than I planned to use.  I planned on using a "pinch", but decided to use an 1/8 of a teaspoon.

Here are the ingredients that we used.

Let's talk about the "dressing" first, because this is actually what MADE these sweet potato noodles amazing (in our opinion).

1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
Juice from 1 small Lime
1/8 tsp ginger powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
salt & pepper to taste, we used about 1/2 tsp of each

4 small salmon fillets
Image Source

4 small to medium size sweet potatoes, peeled and spiralized

Tips ~~ it's easier to peel a sweet potato that is less ripe.
             It is also easier to cut the sweet potato in half so that there's a larger flat spot to attach to the "holder" end of the spiralizer. It gives the holder more to grab onto.

I saved all the bits and pieces that don't end up being noodles for another purpose, although I'm not sure what that is yet.

Preheat oven to 425℉

Whisk  together all of the Ginger Lime Vinaigrette ingredients.

Place your sweet potato noodles in a 9x13 baker.

Place your salmon in a separate oven-proof baking dish.

Drizzle the vinaigrette over the salmon and the noodles.

Toss the noodles to make sure all noodles are covered.

Bake in oven for 10 - 15 minutes. All ovens vary, so check at 10 minutes.

I set my timer for 12 minutes and figured the salmon needed about 3 more minutes.  You'll know the salmon is done when it is no longer translucent and it flakes easily with a fork.

At 15 minutes, the sweet potato noodles still had a lot of crunch, which was good with the ginger lime dressing.  It would probably be REALLY amazing with some sliced toasted almonds and scallions mixed in.

We ate our Ginger Lime Sweet Potato Noodles and Salmon with steamed garlic green beans.

It was a nice, fresh, clean meal.

Have you ever tried to make sweet potato noodles before?

New Year, New Challenge | No Clothes Shopping for a Year!

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So, I'm always one to make quick decisions.  One of my quick decisions today is that I'm going to try to NOT buy any clothes this year.  Whaaaaaaaaaaat?  Yep. No Clothes. I hope to make it the whole year, but I might not.  I always love a good challenge, though!

I love clothes and I love fashion. . . almost as much as I love Sweetart Jelly beans.  Hahaha.  I have loved fashion since I was a pre-teen when my grandma got me a subscription to Seventeen magazine.  I used to pore through the August issue every year over and over again.  I used to sit in my room and draw outfits.  When I was in college, I didn't start out as a fashion major.  I went through about 5 other majors before I landed on fashion.  I just have way too many interests to choose just one!  In hindsight there are a lot of things about college that I would have done differently and a lot of things I would have done differently with my career.  But, hindsight.. .

Since getting older, I find myself wanting to be more eco-conscious.  I would love to be one of those bloggers who tries to get you to buy all of the new fashions.  I would have fun doing it too!  And I know that some of those bloggers are probably making good money with affiliates.  I could be that person!

But, here's the thing.  I can't in good conscience do that.  I'm trying to not spend money.  I'm trying to not buy so many  "new" things so that I can be more eco-conscious.  So, why would I try to get other people to do the things that I'm trying to stop?  It just doesn't make sense for me.  That doesn't mean that I poo-poo the people who do!  I love seeing the new fashions as much as the next person.  I just can't let that be me anymore.

Last year, I tried Project 333 in the Summer and did pretty well for about a month. Maybe a month and a half.  And then I failed.  I didn't fail miserably, but I didn't make it the whole 3 months with only 33 items.  So, I WON'T be doing that again.  As of right now, I'm not getting rid of any of the stuff that I currently have in my closet.

What I'm going to try to do is just work with things that I have in my house already.  And skip the thrift stores.  And skip the online shopping for clothes.  These are some of my photos from Project333 last Summer.  My fashion posts will be a LOT like this, this year.  .  . How I'm managing only using what I have without going through horrible boredom and without losing my mind. Hopefully!  

I do have some designs that I've started in Teespring, so I will be promoting those things, because I'm not going to lie. . . . I still like inspirational tees, sweats, etc.  and I've already bought some of my own designs last year. So, of course I'm going to promote those.  I will just be sticking with the ones that I already own this year and not buying any of my new designs.

And, since I already have some fabrics and patterns in my house and I think my sewing machine is currently working, I might be sewing some clothes if I get bored enough to do it!

The things that I wouldn't mind promoting on my blog are any eco-conscious companies, and any companies that recycle or upcycle things.  You catch my thrift. . . I mean drift, right?

This will DEFINITELY be a challenge for me.  I DO love going to the thrift store and picking up something "new to me."

What do you think?  Could you stop shopping for clothes for a year?
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