Monday, January 28, 2013

SNOW DAY!!!!!!!!

There was a time in my life - not so long ago either - when a SNOW DAY ruined me.  

Today, the call came in that the schools would have an early dismissal.  

I was actually EXCITED and JOYful!  No after school activities taxiing kids around to coordinate, all evening classes canceled (and I let that go because it usually bothers me to cancel classes) and it didn't freak me out that the pigs kids were coming home.


Yes - the "smart device" has become my new BFF.  

You see - the 3 little pigs each have a version of one now.    And they spend a LOT of quiet time with their noses stuck in them.  Reminiscent of the Gameboy era some of you may recall a bit ago...

So call me Bad Mom?  I don't give a crap.  Call me anything you want.  I-do-not-care.  I LOVE the quiet of the smart device!!!!  My kids are happy, I'm happy, no one is yelling, the snow is softly falling, the house is cozy with the fire blazing and the smell of not one but TWO soups simmering on the stove.  Soon, the Hub will be home and we will curl up in front of the fire for a little catch up on Dexter and Downton.  LOL- kind of an oxymoran if you know both those shows...  Hey - a little yin and yang in your life is good.

Speaking of soup, here's what I made today.

I have this great soup recipe that I love, but turns out I did not have zucchini or chick peas in the house.  So I modified.  It's delicious and you need to try it!  Here's the original recipe.  Great stuff if you have all the ingredients.  Try it either way!

Vegetable and Bean Soup with Pesto

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium potato, peeled and chopped
1 medium zucchini, chopped
Salt and pepper
1 (15-ounce) can garbanzo beans (ceci or chick peas)
1 (15-ounce) can white beans, cannellini, drained
6 cups chicken stock, available in paper containers on soup aisle
1 cup small, thin egg noodles for soup, any brand
1 box frozen chopped green beans

Heat a medium soup pot over medium high heat. Add extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan. Add onion, potato and zucchini and season with salt and pepper. Cook 5 or 6 minutes alone, stirring frequently, then add the canned beans and the chicken stock. Cover the pot and bring the soup up to a boil.
When the soup is at a boil, remove the lid. Stir in the noodles and green beans and reduce heat to low. Simmer soup an additional 5 to 6 minutes then remove it from the heat.
Scrape the pesto into a small bowl. Add a ladle of the soup broth to thin the pesto, then add the pesto to the soup. Stir to combine and serve soup immediately.

Only I changed it up by replacing the zucchini with cabbage chopped fine and replaced the chick peas with organic kale chopped in tiny bits.  I added a whole jalapeno pepper practically pulverized, with my handy dandy Pampered Chef chopper that I ADORE and I omitted the noodles.  DELISH!

I also was texting with my client and friend Kathy who I am food coaching and she asked me if she could have cream of tomato soup today.  I told her yes but hopefully not Campbells!  She told me she could do a quickie homemade.  Perfect.  Now gimmee the recipe!!!  

And she kind of did.  Well actually, she made it up on the fly but I made it and it's yummy.  I too, modified again and love it!

Homemade Cream of Tomato Soup

1 onion diced fine
olive oil
1 28 oz. can of diced tomatoes, roughly pureed in the blender
4 cups of chicken broth (I use Better Than Broth Organic paste)
1-2 cups of Raw milk

I sauteed the onion in the oil.  Added the tomatoes and broth, salt and pepper to taste.  Brought it to a boil.  Turned it off and added the raw milk.  YUM!  I think I will add some frozen peas just before I serve it.

So there you have it.  A cozy SNOW DAY at my house.  I am off to catch JOY in front of the fire reading my latest book, The Forgotten by David Balducci.  It's really caught my attention.  Love that!  

Happy SNOW! 

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Sometimes the Questions Are Complicated and the Answers Are Simple

My friend AND blog friend, Karen, posted something cool and fun this morning.  With her permission, I am stealing the idea.

I am:   55 years young and in complete shock over it.  When the HELL did THAT happen???

I think: I have an UNBELIEVABLE amount of amazing people in my life.
I know: the long life, health and well being of my 3 little pigs is THE most important thing to me.
I want:  to retire in a teeny, cozy cabin on a lake (or beach) with a big fireplace and a screened in porch to sleep on in the summer. 

I have:  so much to be grateful for and I need to remember that when I'm bitching about sh*t!
I dislike:   that I don't have ALOT more free time.
I miss: my Michael when he was in the first 2 years of life.  I STILL ache for that time.  It was perfect.  And I already miss when he grows up and leaves me.  You know - when he's 50?  His photo is going on the Xtra Large setting!  LOL!

I fear:  Oh NO.  You're not getting that outta me!  I can't tell you.  I do not want to put it out there - Law of Attraction and all...
I feel:  like our government and our healthcare systems are irretrievably broken.
I hear:  that the teen years will totally be worse than the first 12 with my 3 little pigs!  Read it and weep.  
I smell: roasted peppers!
I crave:  cheesecake.  I always crave cheesecake!  Just pure cheesecake.  No pumpkin, no chocolate, no salted caramel, no cherry topping, no fresh strawberries - just pure cheesecake.

I search: constantly for information to make me better at who I am.  How to be a better mother, a skilled coach, a results driven trainer, an informed and happy reader; the best way to feed my body, how to live a long, healthy life, how to avoid Alzheimers (lol - no really); how to clean the house (no seriously - give me the skinny on how to do this and not suck up my life on a daily basis), a more efficient way to organize my house;  the list is ENDLESS!  
I wonder: where exactly you go when your time on earth is over.

I regret:  not living alone for a longer time.
I love: aside from the "usual" - kids, husband, family etc., I LOVE my girlfriends!!!!
I care: about how my body looks way too much.
I am always:  looking for the "best" book ever!!

I worry:  very little.  I am one of those people that finds worrying a total waste of time.  But alas - the teen years are a comin'!  Eeeek! 
I remember: a lot less than I used to!!!  My BFF used to call me the VAULT.  Now?  Not so much. 
I sing:  like Lucy Ricardo.  It's not pretty...

I argue: way less than I used to.  OMGGGGGG - it's a family trait - trust me.  If I find myself reverting back to those days, I really try to walk away.
I write: because I LOVE to express myself.
I lose: respect for people who refuse to abide by "never talk about politics or religion".  Shut UP already.  Your opinion is NOT fact!!  Unless it agrees with mine.
I wish: I would win Powerball.   My husband and I could retire today and just live.  I could definitely live happily ever after that way.  
I listen:  every Spring to hear the first early morning birds sing.
I don't understand:  how life has gone so fast.
I can usually be found:  in a skating rink at my computer, in the gym, or lying in bed with a good book.
I am scared that I won't ever figure out how to STAY in the moment and then my life on earth will be over
I need:  more vacations.  That's not asking for much.  I'm not your - jump on a plane and travel the world type of girl - give me a stack of books, house in the sand, a condo on the ski slopes, a cabin in the mountains on a lake (don't forget that fireplace and screened in porch!) and I'm in heaven on earth.
I forget: ALOT!!!!!  But I really wish I could remember that "madly in love" kind of feeling.  I mean - there's nothing wrong with how a marriage "ages" like a fine wine.  But wouldn't it be great if you could capture that passion of the first year of life with your Babe for your lifetime?  Don't EVEN try to convince me that YOU have it going on.  I don't believe you. 
I am happy: and blessed to have SO many people in my life that are such good souls, who care about me, who I easily care about back.  They ARE my JOY.  There were many years in the past 55, when I didn't have a lot of souls in my life that were important to me.  I am positive this is where I am supposed to be, that my quest to catch JOY is my earthly mission, that LOVE is the key that opens everything. 

The End.

Seriously - choose JOY

Sunday, January 6, 2013

TCHOTCHKES (or you might know it as chotskies)

The thought of de-Christmasing the house is not a JOYful thing.  In fact, I just dread and despise it.  It takes forever.  It is 4 days later and I am still finding Christmas "stuff" here and there. fact just this morning, I took my first trip of the day down the stairs and my arms were full of forgotten Christmas glitz I happened to notice in my bathroom.  (Christmas stuff in the bathroom?  Ummm - yeaa aaa - every room gets dressed up for the holiday in this house - helloooo?)

But actually...(you knew that "actually" was coming, didn't you?), I caught much JOY de-Christmasing this year.  WHAT?????  You say?   

Ever since the three little pigs were old enough - 6 or 7 years ago - trimming the tree and decking the halls has been a less than JOYful experience.  They want to unwrap, throw place the pieces around the house, butcher hang all the get the picture.  What went from a JOYful, off times romantic, cozy experience with the fire blazing, soft Christmas music playing, champagne in hand  

has turned into a yelling, messy, picking up broken "things" kind of torture.  Add hot chocolate on the rug and voila - my unJOY is complete.  And the thing is, that I forget each year - kind of like labor - until the first Christmas Tchotchke is unveiled.  Groannnnnn...  

Tchotchke (/ˈɒkə/choch-ka)[1][2][3][4][5] is a small bauble, doodad, doohickey, gewgaw, gismo, goolyakitsch, knickknack, lagniappe, swag, thingamabob, thingamajig, toy, trinket, whatchamacallit, whosie-whatsit, widget, etc. Depending on context, the term has a connotation of worthlessness or disposability as well as tackiness,[6][7] and has long been used by Jewish-Americans and in the regional speech of New York City and elsewhere.

Well not in the sense of this definition, I guess.  I use the term Tchotchke really, to describe "stuff".  (the word "tchotchke" dedicated to my friend Missy- BTW) Not necessarily "tacky" stuff.  My tchotchkes are NOT worthless or tacky - trust me. 

So the point is - I don't really get to oooh and ahhh anymore like I did when I was a DINK (Double Income No Kids?) as I forgot, and then remembered, each piece as it came out of it's basement cocoon.  And then I'm taking everything down, husband and littles helping, and once again I'm yelling, crying, cringing, swearing and growling - like my middle child does constantly - and the season is depressingly over.

THIS year - I did the de-frock on a Wednesday.  When everyone was back at school or work.  Don't get me wrong, it was a longggggg day.  But I finally got to oooh and ahhhhh.  I lovingly took every ornament off the tree and actually squealed remembering who gave it to me and how beautiful, quirky or delicate it was.  I experienced that lump in my throat, omg, moment when I walked over to a window to put away the hand made/painted Santas that my parents worked on, Christmas after Christmas, in their retirement.  Each one unique and so much more precious, now that they are both gone.  (Funny how that happens...)

I reflected back on Christmases past as well as this past season.  I got to really enJOY some very special gifts I had not had a chance to truly appreciate yet.  It was a wisp of the Christmas spirit still in my heart.

 And My JOY gifts abounded!

Which brings me to the "end of the season" JOY and one of the points of this post.

There IS a certain JOY in putting my house back together after the holiday.  Once I get over the depression of de-frocking and re-organizing, I look for JOY in bringing my house back to the nest I love so much.  

In the process of decking the halls, I end up packing away a large number of "stuff" to temporarily make room for the glitz.  When I say large - I mean large.  Why do I have all this "junk" out???  Ok - it's not "junk".  But at some point, a thousand framed photos gets lost in the sea of me.  Do I even look at them any more???  Yea - I DO.  When I am packing them away during the Christmas season - that's IT!

So this year - I am minimizing.  Not all the tchotchkes are making it back out this year!  So along with the boxes of Christmas glitz and Easter stuff and Halloween decorations, there will be even more tubs of "years gone by tchotchkes".  Ahhhhh - the JOY of  feeling lighter already and I haven't even started it yet!

Here is my favorite gift (next to the video my daughter made me for Christmas).   

Today I will be choosing where it will live for a very long time.  My niece Erin found it for me and I am still in awe of it and how much I LOVE it and how much it means to me to see her so excited to "give" rather than get.  Her excitement brought me as much JOY as the gift.  So thank you my sweet girl.  I will think of you every time I feast on this clever JOYful gift that will not get lost in the sea of me nor be less precious until a different day.

How cool are these photos???  Afterall - it's what it's all about, isn't it?