February Already!!

 

I can’t believe February is here already!  January is always a month of recovery from the craziness that December brings (three birthdays in our house, Christmas and several other family birthdays), but not this year!  This year, I hit the ground running and started another dream team with my fabulous writing teacher, Christina Katz (www.christinakatz.com).

Writing classes started last week and they are stretching me to become a better writer.  In one class, we are currently focusing on memoir writing and that has been incredibly draining.  I see potential there, but it is definitely draining.

The thing I am most excited about is that my work is getting published.  And not just getting published, but CONSISTENTLY.  Last month Oregon Family ran one of my pieces and this month I am featured in both Westchester Parent and Parenting Plus magazine.

I am thrilled to finally see results in my writing again.  I know that hard work pays off and I am working harder than ever to keep it paying off!

Thanksgiving Recipe: Nana’s Apple Pie

Apple PieMy mom makes the best apple pies in the world, hands down.  When I was a little girl, I would sneak a few of the raw apples coated in cinnamon sugar to snack on.  To this day, the smell of her apple pie baking in the oven is one of my favorite things in the world.  I used to be the one standing next to my Mama in the kitchen helping to roll out the pie crust, but I’ve been replaced my precious five year old.  Grace loves to bake and Nana loves her help. 

Nana’s Apple Pie

 

Ingredients:

  • Two recipes for pie crust (Nana uses Pillsbury Ready Made Refrigerated Pie Crusts)
  • 8-10 Granny Smith Apples (sliced thinly)
  • 3/4 cups white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons sifted flour
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Combine sugar, flour and spices and mix together with apples. 
  3. Line 9-inch pie plate with pastry.
  4. Fill with apple mixture (piled high).
  5. Dot top of apples with the butter
  6. Place top crust on top of apples and seal.  Pinch edges of pie crust.
  7. Make a few slits on top for escape of steam (or make a decorative design on top of pie crust….again with some cuts allowing for steam to escape) 8.  Sprinkle the top with cinnamon sugar or plain sugar ( I use cinnamon sugar ).
  8. Place pie plate on a lined cookie sheet.  Bake at 400 degrees for 50 minutes or until done

Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Note:  Nana suggests using Granny Smith Apples for best results.

For a pdf of this recipe click here: Nana’s Apple Pie

Homemade Cream of Crab Soup

cream_of_crab_soupToday was a half day of school for the big girls.  Generally Madison chooses to eat lunch at home on these days so I decided to do something special for her.  I made cream of crab soup.  It was amazing.  I looked around online and saw some recipes, but none of them was what I was looking for.  I combined a few different recipes to make mine and I hope you all will have the opportunity to enjoy it as well!

 

Mama Beth’s Cream of Crab Soup

Ingredients:

 

  • 1 medium onion finely minced
  • ¼ c. butter
  • ½ c. sherry
  • 1 lb crabmeat
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. pepper
  • 1 tsp. old bay seasoning
  • 1 tsp. parsley
  • 1 tsp. flour*
  • 4 c. heavy cream and 2 c. milk or 6 c. half and half*

*If you choose to use half and half instead of the cream, increase the amount of flour to 1 ½ tsp.

Instructions:

  1. Add the butter and minced onion to the pan over medium heat.  Stir often to prevent burning.  Cook until the onion is translucent.
  2. Add the sherry to the pan and reduce by about half.
  3. Add crab meat to the pan and cook until the meat is warmed through.
  4. Add the salt, pepper, old bay and parsley to the pan.  Add the flour and mix in thoroughly.  Cook until it comes to a simmer.
  5. Pour in the milk and cream (or half and half) and stir.
  6. Simmer on medium low for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  7. Serve with bread or crackers.

For a PDF of this recipe visit: Mama Beths Cream of Crab Soup

What I Have Learned So Far About Daily Blogging

This month I am participating not only in NaBloPoMo and posting to my blog every day in November, but I am participating in #thankful as well.  It is amazing to me that, eight days in, I am still sticking to it!  It hasn’t been easy to remember to post something that I am thankful for every day (even though there is so much to be thankful for), but I’m doing it!  The act of remembering to Tweet it, share it, use the right hashtag and actually the thought out there is what I struggle to remember.

That intentional act of sharing gratitude has made a difference not just between my ears with the thoughts that I have running through my mind, but with the way I deal with my children and teach them gratitude as well.

Blogging daily challenges me constantly and there have now been two days where I’ve doubled up so as not to forget the following day.  I love writing.  Getting my words onto paper every day is a habit I have been sorely forgetting in recent months.  My writing teacher, Christina Katz, has a challenge called “21 Moments” that I am participating in this month in order to stretch my writing.  And a stretch it has been!  In the best possible way.

I think I have gotten more words into my computer this month in just eight short days than I have in the last year!  I am so excited!

I am really working on that list.

This afternoon, I am planning to do some serious self-care before I pick the kids up and then spend some time helping Maddie get ready for her first middle school dance.  I am psyched for her!

I hope you all have a fantastic Friday!

Taming Entitlement

Grace's "stormcloud" face.

My Gracie girl has tendency to pout when she doesn’t get her way. But she’s learning!

Today, an epidemic threatens American children.  Encouraged by parents who fret over their supposed delicateness more than they challenge their inherent strength, these children may be doomed to remain children forever.  Where sixty years ago, the greatest generation overcame the odds and pulled themselves up by their bootstraps after the Great Depression, kids today show signs of becoming generation “me.”

A few years ago as I sat folding laundry for four for the first time, I woke up to this stark reality.  I realized that I was not empowering my daughters to become the successful adults I know they can be.  Instead, I coddled them in a childlike state where, I realized, I kind of wanted them to remain.  That isn’t REALLY what I wanted for them, but in the moment, it was what felt good.  To care for them and protect them.  To do nice things for them.  To give of myself for the people I love.  These actions in and of themselves are not detrimental, but the day can easily come when, in doing these things, we deprive our children of their independence.

I realized that it was time for me to rethink how I approach parenting.  There are so many things that I want my children to be, do and have but I can’t do it for them.  They need the skills to do it themselves. It starts with being appreciative of what we have so that our children will be appreciative of what they have.  None of us is perfect, but we can all do better.

What is one way you are working to tame entitlement in your children?

Turn around twice…

Today already seems to be fraught with emotional time bombs and eggshells that need to be carefully navigated. This morning has already included explosive arguments with two people who are important to my life and couple that with the lack of sleep I’ve had the last few days and anyone would understand why I’m ready to throw in the towel before the clock even strikes 8.

But I can’t. And I won’t.

I have four little people who count on me and they need a Mama who is present physically and emotionally. When they’re grumpy or having a rough day, I stand them up, turn them around twice and tell them that it is time to start the day over. Sometimes it works on the first try, but we keep on going until they chandler their attitude. Generally resulting in laughs and giggles.

So I am going to post this and then I’m going to stand up, turn around twice and start this day over with a better attitude.

Because I can.