Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Top Ten Things I'm Thankful For In My Imperfect Life

I’ve been particularly stressed and cranky these days. Winter is approaching; it’s getting cold and dark earlier and I’m lacking much needed sunlight and vitamin D. Like most working moms, I’m overwhelmed with juggling work, home, mommyhood and everything else. I am more scattered-brained than ever, losing my cell phone, check book, wallet… my MIND on a regular basis. But Thanksgiving is coming which means some much needed R & R is on the horizon. Hooray! It’s also time for me to stop complaining and to be grateful for a change. Things are certainly not as bad as they seem. In fact, as I think about it, life is actually quite nice.
10) When I am in a glorious deep sleep and suddenly jolted awake by “MAAAAMMMMA!!” at 4am, I am thankful that my daughter still needs me and wants me to cuddle with her. (I shall remember and cherish this when she is a pre-teen and is too cool to be seen with me.)
9) While I normally would obsess about the extra five pounds I’ve gained (that perpetually sneaks up on me), I realize that I am fortunate to have enough good food to eat (which I really enjoy eating).
8) Speaking of food… yes, the cost and frequency of my grocery store visits has increased, as Lila seems to grow overnight (I swear those 4T shirts just fit yesterday), I am so thankful for a child with a healthy appetite who enjoys really good, high quality food (i.e. steak, exotic produce, lobster etc.) rather than the typical junky kid foods. (No boxed mac and cheese for her!)
7) Now, back to my extra 5lbs… when (in my mind) I am cursing out my trainer during TRX, Rip Trainer, or whatever other physical torture I am allowing to be done to me that day, I am grateful that I have the health and ability to move my body and exercise. (My dad sadly spent his last days as a quadriplegic.)
6) As Lila asks a million questions (mostly beginning with “why”) in the back seat of the car while I am trying to remember my mile long to do list, I am thankful for her curiosity, genuine love for learning, and the fact that she is smart and witty enough to know how to drive her mama crazy. (Uh huh. She knows exactly what she’s doing!)
5) While I have a few sprigs of grey, am referred to as “ma’am” on a regular, and no longer get carded, I am thankful that I am much wiser than I was in my 20s (thank goodness). That’s right, this ol’ broad knows a thing or two. However, I know that I still have a whole lot more to learn and I’m excited for that!
4) Although I am convinced that they are conspiring to steal my baby from me, I am totally indebted and grateful to Lila’s amazing, involved, lovin’, spoilin’, grandma and nana. Yes, I believe if they had their way, they would take me out of the equation and split custody of Lila, however, I am so fortunate to have their help, support, and free weekend child care services  when I need a break! (Thank you!)
3) I long for the days when I could spend hours chatting on the phone or over coffee with my girlfriends, but I am grateful that despite our hectic adult lives, our relationships are strong and lasting despite the distance or time apart.
2) Although my husband and I really know how to push each other’s buttons (and regularly get on each other’s nerves), I am thankful that we “get” each other and have grown from high school sweethearts to lifelong partners.
1) Our condo has seemingly become smaller and more cluttered as we have grown from a couple into a family, but I am thankful for my little tight knit family as we trip over each other in our messy but warm little home… that is all our own!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Favorite Thanksgiving Recipes from my Grandmas

As I get older, I wish I had paid closer attention to my grandmas when we were cooking together in the kitchen. Fortunately, Thanksgiving was a relaxed time in which I had more time to pay attention to what they were making, and probably the repetition of making these same dishes together year after year helped to reinforce the recipes more than others. So, I'm sharing with you two of my favorite Thankgiving recipes from two of my favorite people- my grandmas.

The pumpkin bread recipe is from my maternal grandma and the cranberry orange relish is from my paternal grandma. The pumpkin bread serves as an excellent appetizer to have out before the big meal, and this cranberry orange relish is very tart- a different type of flavor than most cranberry relishes I've tried. We often serve a sweeter cranberry dish as well, but Thanksgiving is not the same for me without this tarter version.

15 oz can of pumpkin
1 tsp nutmeg
3 cups sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup oil
4 eggs
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2/3 cup water
2 tsp. baking soda
3 cups flour
walnuts (optional)

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Beat spice, oil, sugar, eggs, and salt.
3. Add pumpkin, soad, water, flour (add water separate from flour or clumping will occur- I learned this the hard way one year!)
 4. I usually add walnuts to some of the loaves and keep some of them plain.
5. Bake for one hour at 350 degrees.
The pumpkin bread is good by itself or served with cream cheese.

2 cups cranberries (1 12-oz bag is also enough)
1 medium orange, quartered (ends removed)
¾-1 cup sugar

  1. Slice unpeeled orange into eighths and remove any seeds.
  2. Place half of the cranberries and half of the orange in food processor. Pulse until evenly chopped.
  3. Transfer to a bowl and repeat with the other half of orange and cranberries.
  4. Stir in sugar to taste and store in refrigerator of freezer.

I like to store my cranberry relish in mason jars because it 
reminds me of how my Grandma used to store it.
 I hope you get to enjoy some family recipe favorites this Thanksgiving, too.

 Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday...Ten Things Husbands Need to Know about Mom's Night Out

I've tried to explain to my husband, as dear and wonderful as he is, that mom's night out does not mean I've run out for an errand without a kid in tow. As most moms already know, mom's night out is usually the result of feeling overworked, overmomed or overtired, in need of a little private time to do something just for yourself. Sometimes, however, we still need to clarify the mom's night out concept. Tonight's top 10 should help.

It's Not Mom's Night Out If...

1. You're at the DMV.
2. You're pushing anything that resembles a grocery cart, wagon - or worse, flatbed.
3. What you're eating was storred in a plastic baggie.
4. You have a pen or pencil in hand.
5. Your outfit is spandex.
6. Your purse is a tote bag or includes a waterproof mat.
7. You didn't shower.
8. You stop at Carters, CVS or Home Depot, not even for a minute.
9. Your husband wants to come along.
10. You're sitting across from your therapist.