Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Lessons from Girls Weekend

As you know by know, I love getting together with my girlfriends. I'm a firm believer that taking time for yourself on a regular basis makes you stronger in all the other areas of your life. By this I mean taking time to do the things you enjoy ....like taking a walk, maybe taking a yoga class, having dinner with a friend, and yes, even going on a girls weekend.

Recently I went down to a friend's house on the Cape with 3 other girlfriends. On our itinerary were just the basics: relax, read, knit, take a walk, eat some good food, and oh, yeah, have a little wine too. Well, we pretty much covered all of those activities, although some more than others. All in all, it was a very relaxing weekend filled with lots of laughs and great conversation.

I think we all learned some things along the way too. I thought I would just share a few of those lessons with you, in case you can benefit from them in the future. Things like:

When you are going away for 1 1/2 days and you find yourself with more than 3 packed bags it might be a sign that you have overpacked, or that you really needed this weekend because it looks more like you are running away.

When you think you have brought enough wine, you probably haven't. Lucky for us we also brought fixin's for other fun drinks.

When you are planning to take a walk on your girls weekend, you should definitely remember your sneakers. Boots and clogs don't look good with yoga pants....and aren't fun to walk in....especially on the beach. However, they are better than athletic socks and flats. That is just a bad look.

When you find yourself bellying up to the bar 2 minutes after the restaurant opens, you might want to consider loitering on the street a few minutes longer until someone else sits at the bar. That way you can avoid hearing the words "Here come some boozers!" from the bartender. Even though she was joking, it still wasn't fun to hear.

When you or your friends find yourselves saying "Is this my third or my forth?" that's a sign you should drink some water.

You should definitely follow your gut to go shopping before you go "boozing". We did...but we heard from the cashier at the store that others have not followed that sage advice.

However, you should not try on clothes that you wished you fit into after eating a late lunch. Stoopid.

If four of you can't figure out how to download a song from iTunes and customize your ringtone, you might need to consult your kids. Or you can just secretly film each other on your phones and have a good laugh. Lucky for us, we like each other...otherwise that would have ended up on YouTube.

There are a few lessons in this gem so listen up. You might not want to do chinese jump rope....in your socks...on hardwood floors....after drinking martinis....and wine. I'm just sayin'.

What I'm really saying, though, is there is nothing better than a fun girls weekend. When was the last time you had one? What are you waiting for?! Call up your friends and plan one today!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Yarn On Your Head

Yesterday, I sat down on the train and realized the guy in front of me had something stuck to the back of his head. Let me back up. He was bald, although his head was stubbly. It was in need of a good shave.

There were a long black something on the back of his head. Initially, I thought it was a scar but it was furry. Then I thought maybe he had one, long black piece of hair. But, when does that happen??

Then I realized it was indeed a piece of black yarn. Stuck on the back of his head.

So, I did the only logical thing you could do. I took a picture. I casually took my phone out of my pocket, took a picture, and texted my girlfriend. She immediatley responded with how awful it was. I wasn't sure if it was awful that I took the picture of awful that he had yarn stuck to his head.

Come. On. I wasn't making fun of him. I was just noting how funny it looked. He had a large piece of yarn stuck to his head...at 5 pm. Where did he work that he came in contact with yarn?? Maybe a school or daycare?? I actually would have welcomed a conversation about it.

I then texted Mimi and she said "I dare you to take it off." Can you imagine?? I once found myself saying to a woman (on the train) "Don't freak out but you have a big bug on your shoulder and I'm going to brush it off." You have to say things like that very calmly and with a smile so that she doesn't freak out and smack you in the face in a moment of sheer panic.  But "Excuse me, but you have a big piece of yarn on your head and I'm going to pick it off." Naw...just not gonna happen. With a bug, I'm saving lives. With yarn, not so much.

Did I leave there without saying a word? Absolutely. My friend texted "How are you going to feel we he gets home and realizes he has yarn on his head and you never said anything??" Let's review how I'll feel....Uhm, I don't know him and he would have no idea when the yarn hitched a ride. So, I'm not going to feel badly at all.

It's like when your boss or co-worker has a bat in the cave or their zipper is down... and you are conflicted on whether you should say anything, for a variety of reasons. So, you say nothing and they either come back with "Dude, why didn't you tell me...!" or no one speaks of it ever again.

I'd rather be told so don't every feel bad telling me the trutth!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Boy vs. Girl Night

I love having alone time with my kids...although not on weekends when about 2 feet of snow falls and I have no idea, nor any interest, in working the snow blower. Tim has been away since Thursday and we have eaten out every night, eaten in the living room watching tv, and have spent alot of time lounging on the couch. Not at all things that we typically do. I think when there are 3 "slackers" in the house, I feel responsible for keeping the progress moving. When there are only two slackers, and they are small, so they really only equal one person, it feels okay to relax a bit.

As much as I enjoy the time with both kids, what I have found really interesting is the individual time I have spent with each of the kids recently. I can attest to the fact that a night alone with your daughter is definitely different than a night alone with your son. Neither one is better than the other, just completely different. Oddly, when the three of us are together, we tend to want to do the same things. But, take one person out of the equation, and the experience is very different.

The boys went to a Providence College basketball one night recently and Mimi and I were giddy. The minute they left we snuggled on the couch and debated what to have for dinner. I had leftover soup and she had cheerios. We had some chocolate while we debated what we should have for dinner.

Then we snuggled up under blankets on the couch and toggled between hours of House Hunters, DVR'd episodes of Ellen, and Say Yes to the Dress. We chatted about Luke Bryan (he was on Ellen)...we both think he is cute. Let's just stop there for a minute. It's really weird when you start having conversations with your daughter on who you think is cute. She reminded me I was married....yeah, I know...and I took note of what her future husband is probably going to look like. We chatted about clothes she wants to buy, things going on with her friends, and how much more she thinks the cats love her than me (which is not true). We laughed so hard we cried, spoke in a lot of silly accents, and ate a dessert of raspberry sorbet drizzled with chocolate sauce.

Recently Jack and I had an opportunity to hang out together and, whenever I hang out with the kids individually, I make a point to let them do what they want. This time, dinner was steak and cheese subs...and apparently you should try and eat these as fast as you can, although I don't suggest that because of the inevitable heartburn. We ended up on the couch, not snuggled up, but on completely separate ends of the couch, watching sports. We talked about athletes I have never heard of, their contracts, injuries, and potential futures. It was like listening to a foreign language but I loved that Jack felt I understood what he was saying and/or didn't care that I had a glazed look in my eyes.  He never stopped moving - I think he has Kramer's jimmy leg. He farts and burps loud and proud. His feet smell. In fact, we decided to see whose feet smelled worse. We both agreed it was the other who had the smelliest feet. And then all of a sudden he comes over and gives you a quick hug. Just when you are relishing the moment, he disappears to play basketball in his room for 20 minutes...which sounds like a herd of elephants coming through your ceiling. Then he comes downstairs again and the whole cycle starts all over again. On his way to bed, he said the night was "cool". I think that was good, right?

I have started to think about my kids getting older and turning into young adults. How much more time do I have of us snuggling on the couch, smelling each other's feet, and hugging it out? I'd like to think it will never end but I know it will. It's part of life. I can't remember when I have sniffed my mother's feet lately, or ever. Or the last time I snuggled with her on the couch. Of course, our relationship was different when I was little, and certainly now as an adult, but I think there is something to be said for the moments when you could just be a kid with your parents. As a child you can't appreciate it, but as an adult with your own children, you realize how precious those moments are.

It's little experiences like these that I remind myself that being present and living in the moment is the most important thing.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Taste Testers

In my last post, I told you about the new recipes I was going to try this week. I thought I'd give you an update on how they all worked out. At the end of each dinner when we've tried a new recipe, we vote to see if it is a "keepah". Here's how the new stuff rated this week:

First,  the cinnamon breakfast bites were a huge hit! I actually didn't think they would last five minutes after coming out of the oven. They are even good heated in the microwave days later. Well, two days later...that's as long as they lasted. They were easy to make too.

The breakfast potato bites didn't turn out as well. Mine looked nothing like the pictures and I'm guessing they didn't taste as good either. Mimi did like them but they are not going back on the keepah list. They were a pain to make and we weren't "in love" with them.

Conversely, the chickpea tacos will mo def be going on my keepah recipe list. Holy smokes, they were good and very filling. I've had them for lunch the past 2 days and everyone at work has been asking what I'm eating. I have made a taco with lettuce, guac, and cheese with my chick peas but you could really put on whatever you want. Jack and Timothy both liked them too. I have one day left and I can't wait to gobble them up again.

The butternut squash risotto is on tap for tomorrow night. I have been dreaming about it all week. I have made it many times so I know it is yummy. Can't wait!

I did also make a honey bbq chicken recipe tonight in my crockpot but I won't share the link because I didn't love it. The chicken was dry and the sauce wasn't as flavorful as I expected. It was okay, but not a keepah.

The rest of the week is just "regular" stuff - breakfast on Thursday and pizza on Friday so nothing exciting to report.

I'll keep you updated on other recipes I try though. Feel free to share your favorite keepah recipe with us!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Whatcha Makin'?

I have always loved to cook. I love to try new recipes and experiment. In the fall and winter, I spend hours cooking on Sunday. I'll prep stuff for the week and make stuff to freeze. Over Christmas break, I spent two days cooking and freezing. I just ran out of the freezer food this week. It was great to be able to just pull stuff out of the freezer during the week and have a yummy meal ready for lunch and dinner.

Thanks to Pinterest, I try about 3 new recipes a week. For the most part, we love almost all of the recipes. It's pretty risky...trying new recipes for the majority of the week....with some pretty picky eaters. I will say, I think they have become less picky and are more open to new things. As a kid, I was a very picky eater. My mother stuck to the same 10 or so recipes and didn't try new things. As a result, I was not adventerous in my eating. I wanted my kids to be more open to trying new things. Jack is now addicted to brussel sprouts and Mimi eats any soup with a bean in it. Maybe that isn't unusual for your kids, but it is for mine.

Today, I made The Pioneer Woman's corn cheese chowder for dinner and served it with yummy garlic bread. I'm kindof addicted to her show and blog at the moment. Well, I have been addicted to her blog for awhile and I love her recipes. Here is the link to the chowder: http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2011/10/corn-cheese-chowder/. I highly recommend it!

Last week, I made one of our fav recipes - Parmesan Honey Pork Roast in the crock pot, totally yummy! http://www.sixsistersstuff.com/2011/12/slow-cooker-parmesan-honey-pork-roast.html.

Tomorrow, I'm going to cook a few things. For breakfast, I'm going to try Baked Cinnamon Breakfast Bites:  http://lacreativitedelafille.blogspot.com/2012/07/baked-cinnamon-breakfast-bites.html and Breakfast Potato Bites: http://blogs.babble.com/family-kitchen/2012/05/24/breakfast-potato-bites-to-go/. I'll let you know how they rate with the fam.

For lunch, I'm also going to try making Chickpea Tacos: http://www.coffeeandquinoa.com/2013/01/chickpea-tacos-with-guacamole/. I was going to make them for dinner but the troops weren't that interested. One night for dinner this week, we are going to have my new favorite Butternut Squash Risotto with a salad. I will admit, the kids don't like that so they will be having something more kid-friendly. I highly recommend the risotto recipe though....I could eat it every day! http://www.skinnytaste.com/2008/10/butternut-squash-risotto.html#more. For this recipe, I made a bunch of the butternut squash puree and then froze it. One batch of puree has made about 4 meals.

What is your favorite recipe?