Monday, February 6, 2017

A Better Monday

Well it has been a week since I wrote this. 

Things didn't magically fix themselves, but I did get two consecutive great nights of sleep before the baby revolted and remembered he only likes to sleep in two hour increments.

So here I am looking at Monday again.

I started writing this post early this morning, and now the sun is setting and I am on the fourth sentence. My Monday didn't exactly go according to plan.

But it did involve an unexpected, glorious two hour nap and a surprise care package in the mailbox from a sweet friend.

Never under estimate the power of gifting a friend a nap or a pampering gift that says, "You are loved."

Surround yourself with good people. The kind of people you look forward to seeing light up your phone and your life.

I am in that awkward phase of having small children and the opportunity to get together with friends is REALLY far and few between.

But they are there, quietly going on with their own crazy lives, waiting for the sweet spot when our children are old enough to be left home alone. When we can sit down and talk without getting up to rock and chase and cuddle and coo.

They are there waiting, watching from a far and still knowing when I need them. Even if they can't be there in person, they show up in funny memes texted or emailed articles I need to read or surprise packages in the mail.

Those are the good friends to have.

That is the kind of friend I want to be.

Be that person for someone today. Send a real letter, the kind that arrives in a mailbox, that tells someone they are awesome. Send a text that lets someone know they are on your mind. Send a gift card for a cup of coffee.

Even if we don't have the time we would like to dedicate to our friends right now, whether its because of kids or work or personal struggles, we can still make each other feel special.

Be kind. Be sweet.

Be the friend you would like to have.

Happy Monday friends.







Saturday, February 4, 2017

Super Bowl Food

Lets talk game day food.

All rules go out the window on Super Bowl Sunday. If it's fried, soaking in sauce, buttered or just plain bad for you, I am game. Ha, see what I did there?

So if you're on the lookout for game day food here are some tried and true recipes I've taken for a spin and would highly recommend for this weekend!

*I was heavy handed with the hot sauce on this one, and it was oooooh so good.


*I served these at a birthday party, and they were gone very quickly!


*A pan full of bubbly, golden, baked cheese, need I say more? I've made this several times and you could even try this stuffed mushroom spin on it!


*Tried and true wings, a classic. Also, her olive cheese bread is fantastic, I highly recommend it!

*******

And just for kicks, here are a couple more links to recipes I haven't tried yet, but sound like they would be perfect for this weekend. 




Go forth and eat!









Monday, January 30, 2017

Monday


I am in a moody place right now. I am in the middle of tax preparation (makes me want to scream), kids are in post-Christmas detox, baby boy still has yet to sleep through the night, and my husband is trying to help, but I mostly want to punch him in the face.

My struggles are small in comparison to many but sometimes even the little struggles can feel monumental.

I have cried simply because I am tired, because my back hurts from falling on the ice, because I have not gotten my way, because everyone needs something from me ALL THE TIME.

I will get out of this funk. I will find the happy, and I will fight for it.

Normally when I sit down to write, I try to think about what someone may need to hear to lift them up and I usually end up giving myself a pep talk in the process.

But today there is no pep talk.

Today there is just brutal honesty. Today I am tired, I am sad, I am frustrated.

In this space, where I try encourage others, I want to let you know, that even the most positive voices out there struggle too.

I don't know your specific pain, and you don't have to understand mine, but we can lift each other up. We can be kind to one another.

Lets not waste one minute trying to fool one another; you don't have it all together, and neither do I. We are each fighting our own battles, but in sharing our struggles as well as our triumphs, we make each other stronger.

Monday can just go screw itself, because it won't stop me and I hope it doesn't stop you either.



Source unknown 

Thursday, January 19, 2017

On the Hard Days

As I ran out the door to take a hot lunch to my seven year olds classroom today, I found myself thinking, "A better Mom would have brought a vegetable."

Despite having baked four stromboli loaves from scratch, despite having been up since 4:30 a.m., despite having kept four children alive for another day, I somehow thought (however briefly) in that moment, that I wasn't good enough.

Of course half way to town I shook myself out of it. I reminded myself that it wouldn't have mattered if I brought the perfect vegetable pairing or take-out pizza or casserole from a box. The only thing that mattered was that I was going to show up.

I was going to bring a meal to a great group of kids, who could not care less what they were being fed. They were just happy to get food; kids are easy like that.

I am sharing two posts that I wrote awhile back, because I needed the pep talk today. And maybe I am not alone, maybe you need it too.

No matter who you are, no matter your battle, if you got up this morning and faced another day, then you are showing up for life, and that is a strong, and incredible thing to do.

Your failures are in your head.

How do I know? Because you got up and tried today.

Sometimes its all you can do to get out of bed and take that first step, but there is power in simply refusing to stay down.

You are not perfect. You do not have it all figured out.

But you are here, and you are trying and that is good enough.

Pass it along to someone that needs it.

With all my love...

A Little Encouragement

Truth 



Wednesday, January 4, 2017

A Recipe for a Cold Day

Its cold outside. Not just a little cold, like it dropped below zero and will not be going much higher for quite sometime, COLD.

Soup weather? I think so.

The hubs is not much of one for soups, unless they are a thick, hearty stew, that you can pretty much eat with a fork. So this is a soup I make for myself.

Literally.

I waited until every, single child, husband, attention demanding, creature in this house was in bed. Then I stayed up and made this for myself.

It's what I do to unwind.

Then I leave all the dishes in the sink to wind me up again the next day... but I digress.

I hesitate to post recipes, because I am not a rule follower. I use what I have, I use what sounds good. I rarely measure. And soup is perfect for this kind of cooking.

Soup is forgiving.

So be daring, be brave, take this recipe as a starting point and jump.

Here's a quick walk through of my version of an easy French Onion Soup with bacon!

In a large pot fry up some bacon, always a good place to start. I made this for one person, add more for each additional person you will be cooking for.

Then remove the bacon, save some grease and throw in a bunch of onions thinly sliced, not diced.

Cook the onions on low-med heat, add some butter, add some dried rosemary, throw in some salt and pepper. When the onions start getting really soft, and smelling really good, throw in some minced garlic (from a jar is fine, we are not food snobs here) a little goes a long way. The slower and longer you can go with the onions, the better. If you are in a hurry, turn up the heat a little and go faster, it'll all be ok.

Pour liquid into the pot. Use what you have. I had chick bouillon cubes that I added to some water, added a little worcestershire sauce and the last of a dry red wine sitting on the counter. But if I'd had beef stock, I would have used that instead.

Let the onions and broth simmer as long as you've got, at least long enough to come to a good simmer.

I cubed up some old bread threw it in a pan with some butter and salted it generously and tossed it around in the pan till it was toasted.

Put the soup in a bowl, top with toasted bread cubes (otherwise known as croutons), add some cheese, (if you want to throw it in the oven to melt the cheese, even better, I was in a hurry and hungry) and finally sprinkle on the crumbled bacon.

It's such a great soup for a cold night. It feels like home. It tastes like comfort.

Here is an approximate recipe for those rule followers out there.

Quick French Onion Soup

Serves 2

Four pieces of bacon. 

Half an onion, thinly sliced (Red is good, but white or yellow is fine! I like to combine different kinds.)

1/2 tsp dried rosemary

1/2 tsp minced garlic

4 cups broth

Bread cut into 1 inch cubes

1 TBLS butter

Cheese for topping

Fry bacon in a pot (a dutch oven works great). Remove, bacon, reserve 1 TBLS grease. Add onions, rosemary, salt and pepper, after 15 mins add garlic. Cook for another 5 minutes. Add broth. Bring to a simmer. Simmer for at least 10 minutes.

While it simmers add bread to separate pan with melted butter and toast them. 

Pour soup into bowls. Top with bread cubes, sprinkle with cheese and crumbled bacon. 


Go make some soup, love your people, and stay warm friends!


















Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Christmas Exhaustion

Mary must have been exhausted.

She was carrying a miracle, yes, but she was also carrying an out of wedlock baby, on a long journey, to give birth in rudimentary settings, with no family around, and no idea what would happen next.

Christmas Eve found me sleep deprived, anxious, and preparing for an evening ahead that would require more energy and happiness than I could muster.

So I sat in a church pew on Christmas Eve and cried for Mary and how tired she must have been, for how unfair it was that she would never fully comprehend the awesome power that her sacrifice would bring to the world. I cried because that one little baby would make every single one of my mistakes ok.

Maybe you are in the middle of your own exhaustion. Maybe you are carrying something wonderful and powerful, but right now it just feels like a burden. Stay strong, your burden may become a light for others.

If you are still happily enjoying the extra time with kids, and the extended bed times, and the family filling up the house, then celebrate with joy.

If you are on the flip side of things and feeling the merriment drain out, and are staring down the dreary grey of the month ahead, know that it is ok.

If you yelled at the kids today for just being so dang loud all the time, it's ok. If you had two cups of coffee before you could even look at putting on clothes, its ok. If you have been at work for the day and wishing more than anything to go back to bed, it's ok.

The baby was born, we celebrated, we drank, we ate, and now we are heading back into the world.

No matter how you mess up today, it will be ok.

You are loved, just as you are. You are loved. You are loved. You are loved.

Take those words, store them deep inside, hand them out readily.

Amid all the new years resolutions you will soon hear, might I suggest just one?

Love harder.

Love those around you, love those you meet, love the unlovable. Pass it along and watch the world around you change for the better.

You may brighten a day, change a mood, or even save a life.

Happy new year friends. You are loved.









Saturday, December 17, 2016

Christmas Inspiration


Christmas is just a week away! 

Time to get in the Holiday spirit!

  • I can read all day about Edie's love for people and hospitality .
  • A friend sent me this beautiful idea for passing on the tradition of Santa. 
  • We make these cookies every year. 
  • We have begun cutting way back on Christmas gifts for our kids, and I love what this article has to say about that. 



I hope you all have a blessed and very Merry Christmas!