Sunday, November 14, 2010

Homemade Applesauce

After reading an entry in Jenn Sutherland's The Whole Kitchen blog I was inspired. I looked up several different recipes and melded them together.

I used ten apples. Peeled and cored. One of my helpers learned to peel.

I added half a cup of water, some cinnamon and a bit of sugar.

Tossed it in my crockpot for about four hours on low.

I ate some for lunch without mashing and was dying to throw it in pie crust. It would have made a beautiful pie. Last step was mashing with a fork and serving hot with a nice pork chop and mashed potatoes. Yum!

Thanks for the inspiration, Jenn Sutherland at

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Monday, November 8, 2010

The Guilt of Being Someone’s Mother

Sometimes the guilt overwhelms and consumes me. This weekend when my husband and I went to my daughter’s cheerleading competition he said, “They did well, but they would’ve done better if they had a better coach.” I heard, “You were the head cheerleader at an NCAA college, why didn’t you coach our daughter’s squad so they could win the competition.” And I felt inside, so so guilty that I had said no to this very item. Having two other children and an opposite work schedule from my husband I didn’t have a choice to say yes. As I said to the person who had asked me to coach, “I can’t watch my own two toddler boys and coach a team of 15 or 20 pre-teen girls at the same time.” Not possible. Still, the moment rankles. I know that what he said wasn’t directed at me. But it’s so hard not to hear it that way.

More and more of my life I seem to be having these guilt-ridden moments. If only I stayed home with them then I wouldn’t have to make these awful choices. Part of me says that I don’t have a choice. We live in an expensive area and although we bought a very reasonable home in the not-so-fancy part of town our mortgage is still substantial. We couldn’t afford to own our home if I didn’t work. Would we be just as happy in some basement rental with mom at home? I read a lot of blogs these days about being fiscally and financially sound, frugal living, environmental choices, child rearing, couponing, etc. Many of the women and men who write these blogs have made the choice to stay home and live with less than ideal housing situations. I am thrilled to read their articles and even more thrilled when it saves my own family more money. I wonder though if their choices are permeating my shield.
Every time I have to say “no” to my children’s school or to coaching or to something related to one of their activities it pounds on my heart. It makes the guilt sink deeper into my soul.

At work, I feel like what I do makes a difference in other people’s lives. In the past two years, I have helped twelve families rehabilitate their homes through the no interest loan program I run. I have helped the Town I work for utilize their long term capital budgeting to make prudent choices on behalf of the community of over thirty thousand people. Over the fifteen years of my professional career, I have helped permit facilities for the elderly, day care homes and centers, home occupations, in-law apartments and more. The people that these facilities affect are important too, aren’t they?
Still, the guilt rankles. Today, I’m having a hard time putting it away…

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Sunday, September 12, 2010

A Jam Packed Weekend

This weekend's itinerary included the usual cleaning, laundry, cheerleading practice, one football game and a realization.

The freezer was holding four pounds of strawberries and two pounds of blueberries. My plan for Wednesday (my garbage pick up) was to completely empty my freezer and refrigerator.

For weeks we have been making minimal purchases at the grocery and doing our best to empty out the space.

Therefore, I realized, it was jam making weekend.

It amazes me how four pounds of strawberries and six cups of sugar only makes four pints of strawberry jam.

This is the blueberry. Which I'm thinking is going to make a wicked spread this winter for the much loved pancakes.

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Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Ocean House

Recently, on a day when my husband was at work and two of my three children were engaged in their own activities, I found myself alone with my youngest son. A strange anomaly indeed.

My husband pointed out what a rare occurrence this was and told me to take him for a fancy lunch at the Ocean House.

This is not only a special place in our town but to our family as well. The night we got married my husband and I spent not in our hotel room as you'd expect but walking on the beach and dancing to Johnny and the East Coast Rockers at the Ocean House.

Because of this gorgeous beginning, I've always had a special place in my heart for this particular piece of real estate.

Lunch was a fabulous success. My date was charming, polite, and even insisted on paying the bill (with his father's credit card, of course).

He later told the tale to his grandmother and strangely what caught his fancy was the elegantly attired people playing croquet on the lawn and the "man who parked mommy's car." I guess my five year old had never seen valet parking before. Pretty cute.

Thanks to my husband for the unexpected treat. It was appreciated.

Friday, August 20, 2010

One Moment in Time

For quite some time now I've had a running list of ideas that I wanted to write about. One of them I titled, "One moment in time." The concept was to write about the different people in my life and how each of them taught me something in particular.

First, I will write about Kerry. My partner in crime. My best friend who died last month at the ripe young age of 40 and whom I am struggling to let go.

I named one of my children for her. It was my ploy to God that I would be as good a mother as she was. Kerry adopted four children. Each of them has special challenges. She not only embraced these difficulties but she met them with a great sense of humor. She was, by far, the funniest person I've ever known.

She exemplified the phrase "Live your life out loud."

In this age of the Internet, her facebook page still exists. Her email is still accessible. I still have her listed as my 'favorite' and she is.

What she taught me was how deep love can be and how much how you love someone matters.

Her love for her children lives on. The very last thing she gave them was a Daddy. Go Kerry!

Wherever you are up there, I miss you with all my heart and I won't ever be the same without you.

I know it's been raining so much because God is up there wetting himself listening to her wisecracks.

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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Dill Pickle Extravaganza

After an abundant crop of cucumbers blessed my home this year...

I decided to make pickles...

Lots and lots of pickles...


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Saturday, July 3, 2010


Today was the day my best friend was getting married. She died June 15. It was a cruel twist of fate. After years of struggling in her personal life she had finally found her one true love. It would've been such fun today to see her realize her own piece of happiness in the world.

I talked to her every night after our collective seven children went to bed. We shared our frustrations, our disappointments and our fears. It was a safe place where no topic was taboo. I miss her so completely. I am terribly lonely for her company. She could make me laugh at the end of my worst day. It was truly a gift to have her in my life. I am grateful.

At this same moment another transition is happening in my world. My mentor is retiring this Summer. The person at work who showed me how to navigate the shark infested government waters that I swim in every day. The wisdom and common sense of this person will also be sorely missed.

I am feeling rather lost right now. My own little world feels like a jell-o bowl turned upside down. Quivering, sticky and generally messy.

I know that my Mother's favorite saying, "When one door closes another one opens," has always been true in the past and therefore I declare that I am truly looking forward to the next chapter because whatever God has in store must be pretty damn good.

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Monday, June 28, 2010

Red Velvet and Dark Chocolate

My oldest child's spectacular birthday is tomorrow. Hence the reason I am up at 9:30 pm baking. I am making two cakes. A red velvet and a dark chocolate fudge both with fresh homemade whipped cream made the way my Grammy taught me.

This is my sample for tasting tonight.

Happy Birthday Baby!

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Monday, June 21, 2010

Cosmic Forces

My best friend died on Tuesday. And as a mutual friend of ours said to describe it, "Cosmic Forces are at ultimate suck level today." I wholeheartedly agree.

She was 40.

When I talked to a nurse friend yesterday she told me that some stars shine so brightly that they don't last very long. I thought it was an apt description.

I spent the last few minutes of every night talking to my friend. She made everything right in my world. Whatever had gone wrong was made better by Kerry. I won't ever forget how much she meant to me.

Kerry Halva Cash 1969-2010

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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Gateway Drug to Gardening

Recently I heard a friend quote a special from NPR that called tomatoes the "Gateway drug to gardening." So true.

I planted my garden tonight and over half of the space was devoted to tomatoes.

I planted three different tomatoes,

carrots, melon,



cauliflower, and peas.

There will also be a watermelon and pumpkin patch planted this weekend.

I can't wait to tell you the stories of this years' seeds. Reading the seed catalogs in January while it is snowing always gives me hope for the next summer of joy.

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Friday, May 28, 2010

Friday Night Food Porn

Somewhere in the depths of my brain a huge spark flickered today and started to burn brightly. I was reading a recipe for homemade Graham crackers. This was something to add to my recipe bookmarks to try. I make lovely marshmallow creme. Lately, I've been dreaming of nutella...

And thus we have "Friday Night Food Porn."

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Parenting with Love and Magic

One of the grandpas in our family always does the magic trick with the coin that you suddenly find behind the child's ear.

Today I caught my husband doing the same magic trick with our youngest.

It reminded me of how much love and patience goes into this parenting gig.

Muddy shoes tromping through the house, tired kids who can't walk another step, towels thrown in the laundry because it is too hard to hang them up. These everyday frustrations build up over time. It is hard not to feel upset that someone is spending every minute wrecking what you spend every minute cleaning.

This weekend I watched my husband pull off one of his great daddy moments. We had gone for a bike ride on a local bike path. He had two of our kids in the buggy behind his bike. The third was riding on his own. We had reached the turnaround point and it looked as though the rain was coming fast. He put all three kids into the buggy, strapped the child's bike with plastic wire ties to the back of the buggy and took off. He was now pulling 135 pounds behind him. And he was moving quickly for the parking lot.

I followed and was amazed. Strength (all 3 by bike), ingenuity (who carries wire ties in their pockets?) and well (blushing) the view wasn't bad either. The nice part of following is that it gives you time to admire the leader.

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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

One More Reason to Get Married

One night at the dinner table Daddy says to the kids, "Isn't this great? I make dinner and your Mother does the dishes."

To which our daughter replied, "I am never getting married because I don't ever want to do the dishes." We laughed.

Today, we were in a fabulous homemade ice cream shop getting our cones after a long sunny bike ride. The clerk handed me my husband's cone while he was paying her. I started licking the cone. My daughter said, "Why are you eating Daddy's ice cream?" To which I replied, "That's one of the nice things about being married."

She looked very thoughtful for a moment. I gave her another more serious example of something kind her Dad had done for me the last time I was in the hospital. It sparked a thoughtful look.

I wonder when she'll realize that being married isn't just about who does the dishes.

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Monday, May 17, 2010

Date Ride

We bought new bikes. Probably crazy. Definitely necessary. I feel so guilty for spending money on something for fun. But that's what we are having. We went for a date ride this weekend. An easy 13 mile ride on a nearby bike path. We got to talk, uninterrupted. I was very tired when we got home but I still managed to bake, sew and scrub.

I hope we'll go again soon!

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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

One's Measure of Success

A friend and colleague of mine told me today that he knew he had an enviable life. He is an attorney and works hard. If one's measure of success is money or travel then maybe he is right.

But in my head (not out loud) I was thinking, "you're kidding, right?" My face turned to my car which contains my three car seats that hold the three loves of my life. I can't imagine thinking of a complete version of my life without them. I realized too late that my colleague was telling me in an awkward way how envious he is of my life. Being a grown-up is strange.

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Monday, May 3, 2010

Wild Ride

We raced as a family last week and had such fun we did it again this week. Except this time Mom came in last place because she missed the turnaround. Oops! Great day. Sunshine. Mowing. Kids playing outside.

Planning to go again next weekend. It is one of those things were everyone complains until we get there. After the race, they are all as happy as clams. I think my youngest goes because they always have donuts.

My oldest won the children's race and then ran the adults
race with us. Several friends asked me why she isn't playing softball or lacrosse. I am not sure when we would fit it in. We are too busy running races.

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Saturday, May 1, 2010


I spent last week pouting about my bad news. I decided to start this week off with a bang. I rode the bike at the gym yesterday for 45 minutes. A cross country coach I spoke to last week told me to bike 10 minutes for every mile I wasn't pounding the pavement. Therefore I logged 4.5 miles yesterday without touching the ground.

I also queried friends for advice on foods and supplements that might help. Fish oil and Glucosamine Chondroitin appear to be contenders in the fight.

After ten days of not running. I gave up. And went back to running. Sorry doctor but I can't heed your advice.

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Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Isn't that what life is? We make a goal. Start moving towards the goal. Really feel like we are making progress. The end is within our sights. Wham! Change of course. The unexpected happens. We have to be flexible to deal with it. We have to keep moving forward and making adjustments.

Quoted from the New London Day this weekend Rev. Jill Harvey said, "You can make plans, you can set goals, but sometimes you have to move. Sometimes you have to move out of your house, sometimes you have to move out of your job, sometimes you have to move out of your comfort zone."

So because I published my goal of beating my half marathon time this year it feels even more like quitting because my doctor has advised me against the amount of my life I am spending pounding down the mileage. I have been working hard towards this goal since Thanksgiving even before I announced it as my New Year's Resolution.

So since my doctor's cautionary statements yesterday I have considered two paths. The first being to keep running and lie to the doctor. The second to change tracks, change tactics and log my time in non-impact activities.

I feel very guilty even complaining about this issue to anyone. I know I am lucky to have the opportunity to accomplish the things in my life that I have, athletically speaking. My best friend has been struggling with her serious health issues and has been hospitalized three times in the past year. So the person I do my complaining to has something real to worry about as opposed to the whining she hears from me.

And yet she still listened and empathized about my plight. What a good friend.

So here's where I am supposed to tell what I am going to do. But I still don't know what that is.

For now I'll think of what Nemo
says, "Just keep swimming."

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Promises, promises

This is to third year I have given up meat for Lent. It is a personal promise. I do not ask anyone to sacrifice with me. The 46 days give me a chance to pay greater attention to what I am eating, be more grateful for my blessings and it makes me try new things.

This year I was surprised when my husband and all of my children announced to me that they would make the promise too.

It hasn't been easy for them. I have given several of my pep talks. They go by familiar titles such as, "Quitters never win, winners never quit" and "We keep our promises." To me it is important that all of them follow through on what they set out to do.

This is how I am teaching consistency and responsibility in my home.

I am excited that this year they all know how many days it is until Easter comes. And it is not because of a bunny.

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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Love at First Flight - Part III

Six months after I had moved. I sent him an email. He sent one back. We talked on the phone. He said he was traveling to Arkansas for business and he would come and visit me. I didn't believe him.

I wasn't stupid. He wasn't going to visit me two thousand miles away because we went out on two great dates.

But he did. I remember being so nervous going to the airport to pick him up. To this day I can tell you exactly what I wore, what he did and how he smiled. We had a great weekend.

Two weeks later he came to visit again. And two weeks after that I flew to his home. And met his family.

He asked me to marry me three times. I remember walking out of the church and wondering how I had gotten there. It was as if time had passed in a dream. I threw my flowers to my friends from the church steps.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Love at First Flight - Part II

Fast forward to four weeks later. I'm walking through the airport again. I was flying out for a second interview. Truly torn about what direction my life was taking me. As I approached my gate, I heard my name. I turned. It was him. And he remembered my name. Wow. I couldn't believe it.

We went to the airport bar and had a beer. This was hysterical to me because not only do I drink very little but it was 10:30 in the morning. It was an absolute excuse to get to talk with him. He walked me to the gate. I asked him for his phone number this time. And I got on the plane and took off.

When I returned from the interview I went out with him twice. Two crazy dates. The first was in downtown Boston at Legal Seafood. Lunch. It was pouring rain. We walked for hours. It was marvelous. The second was in downtown Providence and then in Newport. We laughed and joked and I didn't want it to end. I still remember sitting next to him in the bar in Newport. Not wanting to be anywhere else. I know it is a cliche but it was magic.

Then the ultimate twist. I moved. To Oklahoma. Two thousand miles away. My life was waiting for me. The job I wanted. Nice office. Nice people. Good money. Good benefits. It was everything I had been hoping for flying all over the country looking for the perfect job.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

What's for dinner

It's not beef. That's for sure. Especially not during Lent.

Every year during Lent I give up meat. I do it for a variety of reasons.

Lately my friends and I have been exchanging more ideas for dinner. The boredom of winter cooking is setting in.

Therefore I give to you tonight's dinner plan.

Homemade whole wheat pizza crust topped with homemade tomato sauce, fresh slices of mozzarella, black olives and sauteed mushrooms.

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Monday, February 22, 2010

Vegetables from scratch

It is time to start the seeds. To sprout a little hope for the new year. A taste of Summer. My favorite season.

There is nothing to be seen at the moment but promise. The promise of a delicious mortgage lifter tomato (great story behind this one), Hale's Best melon, Jenny Lind Melon, Principe Borghese Roma's, and one other Heirloom that sounded so juicy I couldn't resist.

Last year, I planted too many tomatoes and not enough peppers. This year I hope to have too much of both!

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Sunday, February 7, 2010

Rye Bread

Today is the day. It took me several weeks to have all of the ingredients plus a day when I could be home to accomplish each of the steps to make rye bread.

One of the blogs I read had a gorgeous picture and recipe a few weeks back. I was inspired.

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Saturday, January 16, 2010

Nor Rain Nor Sleet Nor Bitter Cold

I took a one question survey about running outdoors versus indoors in the winter season today on the Runner's World website. It was interesting to read the responses of all of the different reasons people chose option a versus option b. It made me think about my own reasons of why I chose this winter to run in the house.

The snow has been continuous for weeks here and the ice isn't thawing in between. Add the raw wind and I'm done.

My lungs don't deal well with the cold. I am scared to death to run in this year's icy landscape. I have been to physical therapy several times in my life and all of those injuries have been painful recoveries. To me it is not worth the risk. One false step on the ice and I could be out for the season.

Call me conservative but this year I'm playing it safe. At least until the ice melts. I'm planning my best year ever and hoping to do everything possible to avoid injuries.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Homemade Butterscotch Sauce

My husband always talks about putting love in the food. The Italian side of his family all seem to agree with this statement wholeheartedly.

I think I may have discovered a brand new weapon in the arsenal of romance. Homemade butterscotch sauce.

It is thick, creamy and luscious. And even for me, who is devoted to the gym, it is beyond irresistable.

I got the recipe from and there's no going back.

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