Thursday, December 30, 2010

End of another year....

As the end of 2010 approaches, I look back at what has been a difficult year. Pain has been my constant companion since March. Knee surgery in April and a fall in August has kept me down for the majority of the year. It has been unsettling and disheartening to say the least. When you are a mom and told "to stay off your feet", you can't help but laugh at the pure ridiculousness of that statement!

I have come through some dark days and sorted through some major feelings. I am ending the year on a hopeful tone. There are brighter days and that is a truth I can believe now. I can also see the light at the end of the tunnel, I will feel better and better each day. My knee will never be 100%, but at least I can walk and that is more than what some people have. Empathy for others in pain comes easy to me now. It is definitely something you can't understand unless you have been there.

My kids have been an enormous source of pride and happiness through this. Grace is so ready to cheer me up or help me around the house. All the while keeping her grades up and turning into quite a young lady. Dylan is my source of laughter! You can't be down long with him around! Both of my kids have a special purpose in this world and I love watching it unfold.

Cal, I would be lost with him. God was competely amazing for placing him in my life.

This year has been filled with new adventures, new pains, exciting news, and honestly, I wouldn't change a thing. Even through bad patches, we learn something for the future.
My New Year's Resolution: Be better (better Mom, Wife, Daughter, Sister, Friend, etc..) Get stronger (never give up on myself, mentally or physically) Judge less (God just may put you in their shoes and then what?) People do what they can with what they have. Be forgiving (even of the people who seemingly don't deserve it in our eyes)
That's alot, I know. And I am sure I will fail a time or two (or twenty) but the point is to make yourself aware and try. All we can do is try. If we fail, try again. If we succeed, then who knows what can be accomplished!


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Baking

If someone makes German Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies for you, they REALLY love you!Tasty and festive cherry-cranberry pie....yum!
Merry Christmas everyone!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Savory Sides

With the holidays approaching, I have been searching for new ideas for side dishes. And I have a WINNER!! Roasted Cauliflower with red bell pepper, roasted garlic and Parmesan cheese.
It is light but filling and the red bell pepper gives it a festive look
1 head of cauliflower
1 red bell pepper
2 or 3 cloves of garlic, roasted (drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil, place in foil and roast at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes)
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

Cut up cauliflower into florets, chop bell pepper and place both in a 11x7 baking dish. Chop garlic cloves and add to dish. Salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Roast at 400 for 15 to 20 minutes, or until crisp tender. Top with cheese and bake an additional 5-6 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Celebrate and Decorate!

I love Christmas, I love the lights, the sounds, the smells....all of it! Mostly I love baking and cooking special recipes to delight my family and friends. I look for new things to try, as well as, new twists on old favorites.

For our annual "tree party" (that's what my son calls it when we put up the Christmas tree), I wanted to make something special, something that would make everyone say "Wow!"
I found inspiration from The Proud Italian Cook, you can find her blog here:

Eggplant Timbales - little packages of yumminess made with roasted eggplant and filled with small pasta, sauce ( I used some of the Cacciatore sauce I made) and Parmesan cheese....
The main dish I chose was Chicken Cacciatore.......this is heavenly! The sauce is amazing filled with green bell pepper, onions and zucchini
Serve with spaghetti and asiago cheese bread...they definitely said "Wow!"

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Never Forget

It has been six years ago today that I gave birth to my son Spencer Thomas. He never took a breath in this world and I will always miss him. Cal and I were still in the first year of out marriage when we found out we were going to have a baby. The excitement was overwhelming! The plans we made, the dreams we had. After Thanksgiving I just didn't feel well. I went to the doctor alone. He couldn't find a heartbeat. (I was unaware of this at the time) He said he wanted something double checked and I went to the imaging center for an ultrasound.
By this time I was in panic mode and had called my mom. Cal was at work and a little part of me still believed everything would be fine.
It wasn't. The doctor told my mother and I that the baby had died. Apparently a blood clot had blocked the umbilical cord.
I was in the hospital 4 days, being induced into labor. Cal never left my side. I will never forget dancing to Brenda Lee's "Rocking Around the Christmas Tree" with Cal the night before. Or the fact that my father-in-law never left Cal's side. It was so important that Cal have that support.
There are so many little memories tucked away. I will never forget.
It is important to remember Spencer, he brought Cal and I closer together in a way that can not be explained.

Every "even" year we buy an ornament for Spencer to add to the family Christmas tree....

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Giving Thanks..... shouldn't be limited to one day. Today I am thankful for my health (hey, it could be wayyy worse), for my family, and for my home.

This morning after we took hubby to the bus stop, the kids and I returned home to see 3 fire trucks, 2 cops and an ambulance on our block. There was smoke and distraught heart sank. The fire was put out fairly quickly and no one was injured. The damaged was somewhat contained in one area. Not sure if they will be able to stay there tonight, the smoke damage and smell may be too bad.

Christmas time is upon us and now this family will have to direct their funds and energy into clean-up. They have 2 kids and my heart hurts for them. These are hard and stressful times, without adding something like this to it.

Too often we forget to STOP and look around at all the blessing we have been granted. I urge you to do that today. There are so many that do without daily, so many that are going through the worst time of their life right this minute. Give Thanks and Give to Others.....we reap what we sow.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Brighten Your Day with Cranberries!

Nope, not the band, although they can get you moving at times too. Cal is working late today, due to first-of -the-month stuff, so I wanted to bake something to make the house smell yummy and his tummy say "Oh yeah...."

This works well with my mission to find new desserts, salads and sides for Christmas. Cal loves when I am on a mission :)

Cranberries scream Christmas with their beautiful red color....

Cranberries, pecans and sugar line the bottom and a yummy filling of melted butter, sugar, flour and vanilla top it off
Dylan is helping to cool off the tart :)
Hopefully this will brighten Cal's day and be a contender for the holidays!

Happy Holidays!!