Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Best of Pinterest: Thanksgiving Edition

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!  I know it seems passé to talk about “that other holiday” right now since Target has had their Christmas decorations up since mid-October.  Before Thanksgiving becomes a memory clouded by the flurry of Christmas cheer, I wanted to share another Best of Pinterest post with you, a mash up of photo tips and recipes. (Pinterest, I love you more and more each day)! (Also, please feel free to follow me on Pinterest since that is where I spend 75% of my time).

 Last week, Iwrote a post at Detroit New MichMoms about the meaning of the non-traditional dessertsI make at Thanksgiving.  Here are some glamour shots of the food.  (Or where I pretend that I am a food blogger).

This is my gluten-free creation inspired creation.  I took this recipe created by Living Wright atHome that I found on Pinterest, but instead of using cookies (which contain evil gluten), I made some cinnamon roasted pecans for the crunch.  Dee-lish!

I think my gluten-free aunt looks happy.
And that makes me happy.  Win for everyone!

These chocolate chip cookies are the most moist, delicious cookies I have ever made. I used this recipe by Apple a Day.  These are my new go-to cookie recipe.

This is my favorite Thanksgiving dessert of all time.  Coconut cream pie: it is tradition.  Thanksgiving would not be Thanksgiving without it.

How did I make all these photos look good enough to eat?  I read this super helpful post byHello, Lidy about photographing food.  Very helpful, yet easy for a Photoshop novice, such as myself.

Have you found anything awesome on Pinterest lately?  I would love to hear all about it!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Ever since Marie and Thomas started school today, I feel our days have been slowly building this momentum that has transformed into a whirlwind.

Well, I’d like to blame it all on the kids, but that is not totally the truth.  I have some developments happening in my life that have me feeling excited yet completely nervous.  I am working up the nerve to write about it, because even though they have been in the works and swirling around my head for quite some time, once I write it here, it is for real.  And that is scary.

I think the holidays have me feeling a bit preoccupied, too.  A lot of my recent posts have been about restructuring boundaries and finding the courage to do what is right for me and my family.  Nothing like constant barrage of family gatherings to put all that work to the test.  Luckily, most of these functions have a wonderful spread of food so that I can sufficiently eat my feelings.

Instead of facing these stressors in an honest and healthy way like going to yoga or meditating, I have been running as fast as I can away from them.  I have found an unhealthy obsession with Photoshop has been the perfect medium for my avoidance.  I stay up late working on photos for a Christmas project, and then I get up early to work out (because I want to prepare myself for the nervous eating that will inevitably take place).  And then I work on some more photos while Thomas eats his breakfast and watches some a lot TV.

It’s hard to stay present when I’m feeling anxious, but looking back at this year’s photos, I am reminded how grateful I am for my children.  Raising these little people is not easy.  In fact, it’s the direct opposite of easy.  Every day presents its own challenge usually centered on some sort of patience endurance exercise.

But I am grateful for those challenges because they have given me the courage and the strength to try and become the person I have always hoped I could be.

I feel softer around the edges, yet stronger in my core beliefs.

I am still a planner, yet I understand the importance of spontaneity.

I am learning how to shelf my ego, and I have a greater understanding of myself.

I am grateful that these two little people have transformed me in ways I never knew I could.

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

My Intolerance for Intolerance

Alternatively titled: Baby Jammies New Friend

Hey, did I tell you about the time when Nathan and I went to Ikea for some pre-birthday shopping?  Probably not.  It was a pretty average visit: I picked up a super sweet chair for my office, I got some Christmas coasters, and Nathan picked out a new baby doll so Baby Jammies would have a friend.  Here he is with his babies:

Such a good daddy! 

I didn’t write a post about it because it seemed as interesting as telling you that I ate breakfast or went to the grocery store. 

But in the light of the presidential election, I was reminded that not everyone is color blind when it comes to race.  The day after the election, there were some rumblings at school that a few of the kids had some very hateful things to say about President Obama.  Not just differences of politics views, like tax cuts and health care (which I am sure that every elementary school child has developed through research and critical thinking).  No.  These remarks made by young children were disgustingly racist. I don’t want to type what I head because I would never ever want to be associated with such hateful comments; however, the general gist was that certain races should not exist.  There were also some comments about President Obama’s alleged lack of religion thrown in there, too.  (Which is a moot point since there is this thing called separation of church and state).

I am not so naïve to think that racism doesn’t occur in this country.  Hatred is a sneaking, pervasive snake that is constantly slithering and attacking.

However, I do think I was naïve to think that people would have enough sense to not spread their ignorance to the next generation.  If an adult would have said what these children were saying, it would have been considered a hate crime.

I am sick, angry, and sad that people my age still judge based on skin color.

I am infuriated that they are passing their prejudices to their children.

I know that learning about the world, both good and bad, is a part of growing up and going to school.  I think I took the bubble of I created for Thomas and Marie for granted, especially when I see how ignorance and intolerance is infiltrating my little ecosystem of acceptance.

I have been trying to teach my kids the importance of practicing patience, kindness, and respect, and I think the election was a perfect teachable moment for this.  Having said that, I do feel like a hypocrite when I say that I have no tolerance for intolerance and ignorance.

And I think I am OK with that.  Taking a stand against intolerance, whether it is based on race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation, is important to me, and I am doing my best to teach acceptance to my kids.

Have you run into this kind of thing?  How do you handle it?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Election Day and Faded Craft Time Memories

Election Day was not only the day I performed my civic duty (and wrote about my feeling of politics and motherhood at the Detroit News MichMoms blog), but it was going to be a cozy, fun day with both of my Babes home from school circa late 2010 when were always home together.  We were going to snuggle on the couch and do fun holiday crafts.

The day was going to be lovely.


I started out my Pinterest perfect morning (after voting, of course) by making chocolate chip pancakes.  But that wasn’t enough for Thomas.  He also wanted mini frozen pancakes and waffles.  Only slightly defeated, I fulfilled his wish.  I wasn’t going to let a little hiccup like that ruin my day.

After I cleaned up, Marie played on the computer while I played games with Thomas.  We were harmoniously humming along until it was Thomas’s time to go on the computer.  He wanted to go on a website I didn’t like, and then when his time was up, there was an explosion of temper.  How could this happen?  I gave him extra time and plenty of warning!

Trying to stay positive, I shifted gears thinking that he would like to make his Christmas list for the grandparents who want to get an early start.  I was disheartened when he said he wanted everything.  Ev.ry.thing.

I started to feel my happy train becoming derailed, but in a valiant effort to prevent the inevitable, I made each Babe whatever they wanted for lunch. 

Which of course was not the same thing.  That would’ve been easy. 

So I made both macaroni and cheese and chicken nuggets.  I like to think they were extra delicious since they were sprinkled with extra love and good intentions and not the bitter resentment of a dismantled day that I was choking on.

When I cleaned up (again), we sat down to do the Thanksgiving Tree Craft that I had seen on Pinterest.  (Side note: Pinterest did not have the*exact* tree and leaf template I wanted, so I made do with tracing my own arm and tracing an old foam leaf sticker.  I feel it gave it that extra homemade look).

When it was time to write down the things they were thankful for, Thomas didn’t want to do the craft.  He didn’t want to use the glue stick.  Then he delivered the lowest of all blows.

He said that he had nothing to be thankful for.

WHAT?!  Nothing to be thankful for?! 

I snapped.

All day long, I felt like I was spinning and giving in and moving forward.  I was exhausted.  And now sad.  I didn’t expect him to express his gratitude for all things motherhood that I perform on a daily basis for him, but I just wanted something to go right.

I could hear Thomas sneaking in and climbing on to the bed.  He whispered that he was sorry that he hurt my feelings.  Of course I accepted.  I was disappointed, not heartless.

There are several lessons learned on Election Day: often memories look better after they real and harsh corners have faded a bit.  Also, I need to get a handle on this demanding phase Nathan is currently experiencing.  It can really dictate how well an activity or a meal or an outing goes, and I don’t think it is fair that the whole world needs to revolve around him and his whims.

Do you struggle with how things used to be and how they are now?  How do you handle a demanding child?  Clearly, I need some help.

"Yeah.  I'm not feeling this."

She powered through the tantrum
and had a blast.  I wish I had her ability
to tune out.