Post Easter Post

The baskets

Easter is one of my favorite holidays, having somehow escaped the drama and bad memories with which  many of the other major holidays are fraught  for me.

Although the bunny is now known to be Mom and Dad by both kids, we continue the traditions that we started when they were little. We fill a basket (or receptacle of some sort) for each  one and have an egg hunt. In the leaner years we used chocolate pirate coins to fill the plastic eggs for the hunt, otherwise we filled them with cash.

In the baskets? Candy, of course, gum, Tic Tacs, beef jerky (for the boy), lip gloss (for the girl), gift cards…things like that. What was not in the baskets? The dreaded plastic Easter grass, banned after the year that Dad was still finding it in various household crevices in December. :)

We were lucky to have a nice day weather-wise: sunny and in the low 70’s. The day before and after Easter it snowed! We had dinner with family, got to visit Dad at work and bring him some dinner, and still got home early enough for a normal bedtime for the tween (it was, after all, a “school night”).

Hope you all had a nice day too!

What this woman got: Valentine edition, part 3

First order of business: skip the gym.

White chocolate chip, chocolate chip, and craisin cookies for bake off

My husband and I had planned to celebrate the day during the child-free hours we had, from 7am until about 3:30pm (the school day). There was a medical appointment (mine) at 10:30am, but that was quick and we didn’t let it mess up our day.

Which was good, because there were other things ready and waiting to do that.  My daughter’s school is having a bake- off today and we thought that the cookies she was entering had to be there by 2pm Tuesday. Wrong. She called me at 9am to say the cookies actually had to be there by 2pm Monday, the day before.

Valentine’s Day. The day of our date. So, I scrambled to get the dough made before my appointment, then rushed home to bake them after my appointment. Got them to school at 1pm, ahead of the deadline, but that left us only a little part of the day to celebrate.

We had lunch a quick lunch at Jake’s Seafood on route one, then headed to the Harbor Candy store where (surprise!) they did NOT have any chocolate dipped strawberries, which was my purpose for going there. I was on a mission! That was the thing that I wanted. :( Plus, it was a little disconcerting to see that they had more Easter candy for sale than Valentine’s Day candy. Huh? When is Easter, anyway? (Hel-lo? It’s more than two months from now!)

Dark chocolate dipped strawberry from VFM

I always get a dark chocolate covered cherry and eat it at the counter when I go to Harbor Candy, but today was an exception. I was too annoyed. We left without buying anything, and we went into the Village Food Market in Ogunquit (just a few doors down) and (hurray!) they had a whole tray of them! Something finally went our way. They were even dipped in dark chocolate, my favorite, but  Bill? not so much. I swear I’m going to convert him to the dark side, but my efforts thus far (with the dark side of candy, at least :)) have met with failure.

Next, to Ogunquit Beach to look at the ocean. Can you believe that it was 51 degrees at 2pm on Monday?? That was the best gift of all, dont’ you think?

Then we were headed home with about an hour left before the tween got off the bus from school when (surprise again!) she sent me a text saying that the after school activity was canceled and she was on her way home.

I mean, are you kidding me?

After homework, supper, laundry, and tween bedtime we  got into bed to watch our Netflix movie: Glee: Season one: Disc one. Well, I laughed, I cried, yada yada. But hey, really, what better way to end your Valentine’s Day than a little Glee in bed? Ha!

Today was  a day where not much went according to plan, so not the best Valentine’s Day ever, but that’s okay, because I have the best Valentine ever: my husband!

P.S. It’s day 5 but my bouquet is still looking great!

What do women want? Valentine edition Part 1

Maybe you’ve been happily married for many years, and have successfully navigated several Valentine’s Day holidays. Maybe you’ve had some great successes with figuring out what your spouse might like, and then actually being able to deliver it.

One thing that you can do for your female significant other that will almost definitely be well received is to take her out to (read: spare her the chore of making and cleaning up from) dinner.

Varano’s in Wells will have a special Valentine’s Day menu (sorry, no prices included on the website). They open up at 4:30p and really, you can’t get a bad meal at Varano’s.

Duffy’s in Kennebunk (currently hidden behind all of the bridge construction) is offering a 3 course dinner for $29.99 for two that includes a shared appetizer and dessert and two main courses (choose from 3). This is available Saturday and Sunday as well as Monday, so if you are working on the actual day, or just an overachiever who wants to get a jump on things, this may be a good bet for you.

If you are not the most punctual sort of suitor, all is not lost: Angelina’s is having a special Winter Wine Dinner for $65 per person on February 24th at 6pm. Same sort of idea with a fixed menu from which to choose but with wine (hence the additional cost) added. They are also open on Valentine’s Day but no special menu is mentioned in their ad.

So, if going out to eat is your idea of a great date, there’s plenty of choices to entice you to venture out into the freezing, freezing cold dark to get some great food.

You, Mii, and Wii

Hate exercise? Mii too.  Well, I do if you are referring to

  1. Going to the gym
  2. Jogging
  3. Stairmaster
  4. Shoveling

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you are not shocked by this admission. I do to practice yoga and like to hula hoop, but getting exercise is a byproduct (for me) of the activity, not the goal.

Enter Christmas. Enter the Wii. Now, when I used to go to Curves, some of the older (than me) women would talk about how much they enjoyed exercising with their Wii Fit games. I was interested in their stories, but not motivated in finding out any more about it.

Then I went to my brother’s house for Christmas and they were using their Wii and the kids were having so much fun that I thought, “Hey, maybe there is something to this…” When my 12-year-old niece persuaded my brother to get off the couch and dance to “Viva Las Vegas” with her, I made up my mind to get that game for my family.

I’ve never looked back. After I bought the console to play the games, which came with one controller and one nunchuk, I sprang for an additional controller and nunchuk. You need two of each to play against each other in boxing, and my daughter wanted to box with me (should I read anything into that??).

It’s really only me and my tween daughter (and her friends) using the Wii right now, but I’m hopeful that my husband will join in at some point (hey, virtual boxing with your spouse could expel a lot of demons, don’t you think?). I made a “Mii” for him already (and he’s a hunk!) so he’ll be all set to go.

Can’t wait to knock him out.

:)

My new year’s word: Part 2

I finally did choose my one word for 2011; my word is:  EDIT. I’m loving this word for many reasons.

  1. I can actually remember it! It works its way up from my unconscious with very little effort on my part. Bam! It’s there, remember to ‘edit’!
  2. It applies to my Pantry Project: use the food I have already before going out to buy more food. I’m editing my pantry (and freezer and fridge) contents by using up what’s there already. Today: Chicken Orzo Soup in the crock pot; all ingredients already here in the pantry (orzo, bay leaf, parsley, chicken broth, onions, garlic) and freezer (chicken thighs, end of a block of parm cheese) and fridge (tomato paste, carrots).
  3. It applies to my book: I finished the book and now am working on the editing.
  4. It applies to my (and everyone else’s too, actually) closet. I’m working on whittling the contents of all of them (hint: do the tween’s closet when she’s not at home) so that we have more space. :)
  5. It applies to my diet: I’m trying to eat less. Editing the choices that are readily available makes eating better more likely (hel-lo….can’t eat the cookies at 10pm if there aren’t any in the house). Full disclosure: this one is one of those obvious things that my husband pointed out to me.

How’s it going for the rest of you with your new year’s word/resolutions?

My New Year’s Word

I’m sorry, but I have to ask: is there a more thankless job than deconstructing Christmas? I mean, touring the house, scavenging all the nooks and crannies for the little Santas, Nutcrackers, and whatnots that have been stashed hither and yon, all in the name of festivity, inevitably finding one or two refugees after all of the boxes have been packed away in the closet, back under other things?

Does anyone like taking the decorations off the tree?

And then there’s the back of your mind, New Year’s Resolution thing lurking, lurking… I don’t typically make New Year’s resolutions, actually. I make birthday resolutions, a plan for the coming year that begins and ends with, you know, me (as in, “it’s all about me”). When I heard about a twist on the resolution thing, choosing just one word, rather than making one list, to focus on in 2011, I was interested. One word? That seems much easier to remember and actually do than one list. But what word? “Focus” was the first one that came to mind…then about a billion other words joined it. It wasn’t pretty.

One of my goals for 2011 is “REDUCE” … as in CLUTTER (and WEIGHT, too, come to think of it, and TIME-WASTING…). Hmmm, I guess that might be a good word…it just sounds so negative, though.  Guess I’ll think about it some more, maybe try on a few of those billion other words on for size to see which one is the best fit…maybe “DECIDE” should be my word? :)

If you’re interested in doing this too, here’s the website: myoneword.org.

I’d love to hear what words any of you choose if you decide to try it this year.

New Year’s Eve, tween style

Today was a “Girl’s only” day for me and my tween. We had originally planned to go shopping to spend gift cards received for Christmas (both for her and for me) but then changed the plan to include a movie with a friend. (We never did go shopping with the gift cards, come to think of it…)

She and her friend went back and forth for a few days about which movie to see, Yogi Bear or Gulliver’s Travels.  Neither movie received great reviews, from the critics nor from her older brother, so as far as I was concerned, it was a toss-up. In the end, they chose Gulliver. I braced myself and we settled in for the show.

Well, from a parental standpoint, it wasn’t too terrible (except for when Jack Black was showing his “plumber’s crack” in the beginning. Eeew.). There were a few laughs, and the cast was likeable. The tweens gave it “two thumbs up!”  however, and those are the opinions that really matter, right?

After that, we did a quick food shopping (hey, Hannaford’s was right next door; why  make a second trip?), then back to the house. The girls had a few laughs playing Wii sports, Zsu Zsu pets, and listening to CD’s while I put away the groceries, paid the bills that came in today’s mail (ugh), and wrote quick book blog post.

Then we brought her friend home and came back to make supper: linguini, turkey, roasted red peppers in garlic, butter, and olive oil…pea pods added to Mom’s. After supper, we played a quick building game with magnets, thenwe finished the day with a little couch time, watching iCarly. I promised to wake her up if I am awake at midnight, but the odds of that are VERY SLIM. :)

Linguini with roased red peppers and turkey

...and pea pods added for Mom

One of the Best Christmases ever

Our tree!

I originally thought that this would be one of the worst Christmases ever.  It had three strikes against it before it even started:

  1. I had to work late and wouldn’t get home until 8:20PM Christmas Eve.
  2. My husband had to work early Christmas Day, leaving at 5:10 AM, and would be gone the entire day and night.
  3. My son had to work Christmas Day as well. He was home in the morning, which was nice, but then couldn’t come with us to have dinner with relatives.

We tried to make the best of it. The kids each opened a couple of gifts with Dad on Christmas Eve while I listened in from work over the phone. My husband and I had a little time to exchange our gifts Christmas Eve.

Christmas morning, after Bill went to work, I stayed up and baked some bread and then put our traditional Christmas morning breakfast (cinnamon buns) into the oven. We opened up the gifts, then got ready for our (mostly separate) day.

We stopped to see Grammy and Papa before heading to my brother’s house for Christmas dinner…which may well have been one of the Best Christmas Dinners of all time. We played Wii games between dinner and dessert, rationalizing that we’d have more room for tiramisu (was that wrong?).

Then we brought some dinner to my son and his girlfriend Lauren at work. Unfortunately, we didn’t get there until 6:30PM…oh well. The food was worth the wait! My sister-in-law Andrea is an excellent cook!

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Gratitude

Simple Abundance Journal

I’ve been keeping a gratitude journal this year. A long time ago, I read Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach and decided to give the “keeping the journal all year” thing a shot. 

It was an easy enough premise: write down at least three things that you are grateful for each day. That’s it. It starts off fairly easily, but as the days, weeks, and months go on, it can get more difficult. I did it though, and completed the journal on December 31, 1998.

A few years ago, I found another one of these hardcover Simple Abundance Gratitude Journals at a yard sale for a buck; I bought it.  It had one or two entries in it, but I figured that I’d just wite them out and write over them. I brought it home, put the journal away, then promptly forgot all about it.

Fast forward to December 2010: I found both that journal, and the one I kept in 1998. I decided to start the journal January 1, 2010, and I have kept it up all year. Periodically, if things were especially happy (or alternately, tough) for me in 2010, I would look back to 1998 to see how I was doing on that day twelve years ago. There were lots of ups and downs in 1998: I was expecting my second child, and my father died from cancer that year. It was difficult to read some of the entries. Turns out that the emotions may be different, but feel every bit as strong all these years later as they did back then when it happened.

Today, I was thinking that things hadn’t been going that well for the past few days, and it was looking like 2010 was not going to end on a high note. After I finished my journal entry, I decided to look back to see what I had written on this day last year. One line stood right out: “I am grateful for my life.”

It’s as true today as it was twelve years ago when I wrote it. Thank you, past self, for reminding me of this tonight, when I needed it so much.

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