Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Apron Love

I made an apron to give as a hostess gift at the New Years Eve Party we are attending. I want to keep it for myself. Really really badly! Its so fun and cute.

See my little toe peeping out there. Flip flops in December....Florida baby!

I am officially obsessed with making aprons. It's unnatural, but I am cool with it. Take a look at the baking post from a few weeks ago. I made the aprons in that post as well. I want to make another now, but its late and I have to work tomorrow. Oh well...there is always the weekend.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

This just in....

My husband is too sweet....

Just to tell me that he knew I was missing Ohio this Christmas but that he was enjoying the time with me.
Flowers just to cheer me up! And only two days before Christmas! Either a last ditch effort to get on the nice list or just a really nice husband.

And here they are in front of the sink. Definitely makes washing dishes easier.

Monday, December 22, 2008

PJ Day - My Holiday Hustle Reward and Carries version on the Night Before Christmas

Just a few days before Christmas
And there was much celebration
Carrie was taking a few days off
Finally, some much needed vacation

The day of nothing was planned
For days ahead she stayed up late
It had been such a long time
Since she had an unscheduled date

It was a day to relax
Nothing left on the list
Shopping - done, cleaning - done
Wrapping, well you get the gist

She could do what she pleased
For she had nothing else left to do
Read a book, take a nap
watch a movie or two

She had scurried and hurried
Giving herself deadlines to meet
Planning ahead to be sure
The holiday crowds she would beat

The packages were shipped
The menu was set
List upon list
So there was nothing to forget

In her PJ's she stayed
Comfy slippers on her feet
A cappuccino was drank
As a mid-morning treat

Seven days were still left
From work she would stay away
She was relaxed and calm
The way she hoped it would stay

For Tuesday again
Was a day to just chill
Get a pedicure, bake a pie
But in that she found thrill

Christmas Eve would come soon
And bring great elation
Jim and Carrie were planning
Gingerbread house creations

While they would miss the Christmas Eves
That had come in the past
Together they would celebrate while eating
Reubens and fries.... oh such class

Then Christmas Day would arrive
And they were hosting a brunch
Carrie had it all planned
There would be no time crunch

The friends would arrive
Great company on Christmas Day
It would help ease the sadness
Of missing friends and family far away

And now as for me
I am off to just sit
Another cappuccino? Perhaps
I think I deserve it

So as you scurry and scamper
And you are out and about
Remember to enjoy and be thankful
That's what it is all about

Take a moment or two
And remember the true reason
We hustle and plan
And celebrate this great season

*Update - Those are my favorite pjs (I love polka dots and I love pjs)
**Update #2 - The day got even better - I got a new crock pot and was taken out to dinner - Red Lobster in fact! Woo Hoo!!!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Goodbye and Good luck Joey

Its back to Cleveland for Joe. And, yes in the middle of winter. It's like 14 degrees there right now.

Joe is a great friend and we will miss him a lot!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Totally Random - Eight Things

Jennifer did this, and I thought I would play

Here they are in no particular order

1 Blue colored foods creep me out. Candy, drinks, gum, frosting...anything edible and blue is odd and I won't eat it.

2 I can't stand Jello. I don't trust the way it moves (first person to tell what that is from, I'll send you a prize). Really though, I just don't like it. The taste, texture, any of it.

3 I can not stand folding laundry. I'll sort it, do it, put it away, but I dread folding it.

4 I love to chop onions and garlic. I never said I wasn't odd

5 If I sleep in past 7:30 on the weekends I feel like my whole day is wasted.

6 I was the " VFW Buddy Poppy Queen" in our towns parade when I was like 4.

7 I STILL have the dress I wore in the parade when I was the Poppy Queen.

8 I don't know how to swim. Yep, I live in Florida, 20 minutes from the ocean and I don't know how to swim. Jim keeps telling me I need to take lessons, but I just don't see myself in the little minnows class. I do have some pride.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Writers Workshop - Its all about Christmas

This weeks prompts should be easy enough, but I am struggling

1 A letter to Santa
2 Describe a favorite winter memory
3 You're snowed in with your family, what do you do all day
4 The best gift you have ever be given or gave
5 A Christmas tradition you have started with your own family

We only have to pick one, but its tough.
1 My letter to Santa would probably make me sound shallow because, while I am all about peace, love, and happiness, somewhere in there would be a request for a Coach Madeline Tote Purse. Then there would be me asking you to put Florida and Ohio a little closer, an afternoon with my mom, and oh yeah, a matching wallet for the purse.
You get the point
If you want some great letters, check out this post I did a while ago. Go here if you want to see them

2 Can a winter memory be from like three days ago. Here is what I remember, I was carrying about ten boxes into the post office to ship and I wasn't freezing, I didn't have on a hat, scarf, or gloves, and in fact was wearing flip flops. In other words 30 years of Ohio winter makes this winter cozy, just without the frostbite. Oh, the joys of Florida life. Did I mention I am wearing flip flops?

3 Jim and I are kind of boring. We would get up, have a yummy homemade breakfast (waffles or pancakes or a dutch baby), go back to bed, take a nap, watch a movie, I would sew or finally re-learn how to knit, he would play a video game. I should strike boring, because its fun and relaxing for us

4 That's a tough one. Really. I am very blessed and I know it. I can't name a best gift ever.

5 OK, I am kind of cheating on 5. It's just Jim and I. We long for the day when its "Us and the baby, or Us and the kids", but that is another story for another day. And I get that we are a family, but I guess I just always think of kids when I think of a family. The point is, I am trying to justify the fact that Jim and I don't really have our very own Christmas tradition. Are we horrible? We are making gingerbread houses together on Christmas Eve this year. Maybe that will start a tradition. Who knows? I do know this....My house is going to totally kicks his houses butt!
Our families do have traditions though, and I am going to share them (that's the cheating part)

My side of our family: My dad wears a Santa hat and passes out presents. Nothing too unusual there. However, before you receive each and every gift you have to say HO!~HO!~HO!
There are usually about 20 of us at the house and it's funny to watch as each person gets their gift. If you forget a HO!~HO!~HO! the present is snatched back from you. The little ones aren't even able to speak and can't say Mom or Dad, but they say HO!~HO!~HO!. I think Alyssa once snatched her sweet great-grandmas present back from her for not saying HO!~HO!~HO!
I don't know when or how it started, but it's fun!

Jims Mom: I could be wrong, but I think this one is thanks to my sister in laws husband Jon. Its the holiday cracker
These are so much fun. You pull them open and there is usually a joke or fortune, a toy, and a festive paper hat. They are now a must at every holiday gathering. As you can see here:
The holiday dinner with friends in 2006. Ummm...where are Jeff and Allison?
And a dinner I hosted with the family around the holidays, also in 2006.
The cracker king is the guy in the middle on the left
These also lead to an interesting encounter at World Market last week. We are having a few of our friends over for Brunch on Christmas Day ( I swear I am keeping it simple). Well, I can't have a holiday gathering without these, and I can usually count on World Market for them.
So I headed over to pick them up. I couldn't find them and started to panic. Finally I decide to just ask, and since I assumed everyone MUST know what holiday crackers were the conversation went like this:
ME(M): Hi, where are your Holiday Crackers
EMPLOYEE named Erin(E): Weeelll, we don't have a like special holiday cracker section, but there are all kinds of crackers back in the market section
M: No, I'm sorry, I mean Holiday Crackers that you break (demonstrating how they open)
and they have fun stuff in them
E: (puzzled look) What do you mean? What stuff in them, like a filling
M: Well, they kind of remind me of dynamite sticks and you pop them open and they have
toys and a paper hat in them. I should have been more clear. They aren't edible. Not like food crackers
E: They explode?
M: You know, I am probably not doing a good job explaining what they are (again, I am
demonstrating the pulling them apart action as if it is going to help at all). Is there someone
else we can ask, or maybe I can just keep looking.
E: Hey Lisa, do we have Holiday Crackers (I am STILL demonstrating as she yells over to
Lisa, don't ask me why)
Lisa: Sure do, behind you and to the left.

And there, not more than a few feet away is the display of Holiday Crackers. I am so excited and tell Erin that my brunch would not have been the same without them and try to show them to her. She is so over it and says simply "Can I take these to the counter for you while you shop"
Poor Erin.

Jon also brought Jaffa Cakes to the family and I am eternally grateful. I am a proud member of the Secret Order of the Smashing Orangey Bit. Actually, thats not true...I can't get the jaffa cake launch. And I spent a LOT of time on it. Trust me.

Jims Dad:
My special cd. I like country music. My secret is out. Every year Jims Dad makes me a cd with the top 20 country songs of that week (or weeks around Christmas). I love it, it's just for me and its personal. I was worried I wouldn't get one this year since we are staying in Florida. I should have know better. I got it. And I love it!!!!

Those are a few of our family traditions. I am sure Jim and I will start our own, but I will always look forward to these. And this year, I will dearly miss them.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Bake and bake and bake

Remember the post about the baking weekend?

Before I started, I got in all in order:

Apron? Check

Cappuccino? Check

Christmas Music? Check

My baking buddies? Sadly, no check.

I am here, they are there. I would have totally would have been the cool aunt and busted them out of school for it though. OK, probably not, but I would have taken them for the weekend and put them to work. I mean...look at them! They don't need me for too much, they can measure, wash and dry dishes, perfect specimens I tell you!

So, it all began Friday morning and was a full time doing until Sunday night. This was the result:
Sadly, I was not clearly thinking and didn't get any other pictures of the final results, but there were literally hundreds of cookies, and by Tuesday they were all gone.

By the way Mom, I totally get why Mini Nut Tortes were a once a year thing now. (but they are so worth it)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Lucky girl, segment #2

I am blessed, touched, and yes...I cried.

Jim and I are not going to Ohio for Christmas this year. The decision was logical and thought out. We went up North for Thanksgiving and well, beyond the reasons we already have for staying here, airfare and a car rental wasn't happening for both holidays.

I have kept myself busier than normal (more on that to come), and surrounded myself with Christmasy fun and so far I am doing good. I do have my moments though. Some sadness is to be expected I would think.

We will not have Alyssa for crazy picture night or to keep us apprised on whats cool (like is it uncool to say cool). Kara won't be there to help me win at games and get super excited over every gift. (pencils to ponies she is excited. the queen of the gift recipients). And without Meredith who will administer CPR to Elmo? I'll definitely miss pretending to forget to get dads annual present. (a trick he never falls for).

The list goes on.

So, imagine my surprise when the doorbell rings and there before me is a box for me. And it just happened to be the day after the great eyelet debacle in my last post.
I nearly ripped into the presents inside, however, being the lady I am I looked for a card or note and found it
The darn picture WOULD.NOT.ROTATE. The letter says
On the first day of Christmas, my true friends sent to me....You are gonna have to wait to find out.
It then went on to say that this was one of FOUR boxes I would be receiving, each containing three gifts. The gifts were labeled with a date to open and began on Saturday the 13th.

My friends just wanted to make sure I knew I was thought of and wanted to send some holiday cheer to Florida. Jealous? Well, they're mine, all mine!
Jessica, Trish, Allison, and Ang...You rock, I love you and miss you all! I am so grateful I can't even say it. I will however, show my gratitude by not re-posting the picture you all hate. Blog readers can see it here and read about these awesome girls.

In case you were wondering:
Here is my day 1-3 loot

#1 12/13/08
Jim is equally excited over this because I can't find it ANYWHERE here in Florida and I threatened to move back to Ohio because of it. It is the key to component to Grandmas recipe for what I like to call little bits of caramel heaven. So, now we can stay AND he gets the yummy stuff.
#2 12/14/08
I love cute holiday socks. And look, he is the PERFECT Florida snowman. He is wearing sunglasses. I actually wore them today

#3 12/15/08
A hand towel. Its hanging on the little holder in the guest bathroom as we speak.

Nine more to go! I am loving this, and them!!!

Monday, December 15, 2008

It happened...like it always does

It happens every year. This time of year is always bittersweet for me. Usually its a whole lot more sweet than bitter, and that is a good thing. It doesn't matter because every year, I have my moment. The moment that I allow myself to give in to the bitter, the sad, and the painful. After years of fighting it, a few years ago I told myself to stop and let the emotion take over. The thing is, I can't plan it. Its not like I say "OK Carrie, cry, sob, get angry and move on." It just happens. And this years culprit were these:
Eyelets. What seemed like millions of them!
I spend most of this season like this guy....

However, after making A bajillion and three Christmas cards, I was tired, stressed and beginning to feel more like this:

It had been a long week. It don't think I stopped going going going for over a week at the point. I hadn't got to blog, my body ached and the Grinch was starting to creep up. I decided to call it a night and head for bed.
So, when I spilled the container of them all over the tile floor, I was done. I sat down on the floor of the dining room at 1:15 in the morning and sobbed. Like a baby. And the truth is...It had nothing to do with the four hundred and seventy thousands eyelets scattered around. I needed to do it. To grieve for the part of this season I long for every year. To feel the pain I think I am entitled to once in a while. To miss my mom and want her here. To miss the family and friends I still have that are not in Florida to celebrate with. To ask the questions I never ask. To let all that I hold in out. I let it out. And you know something? After a few minutes it did feel good. Then, I laughed because of how ridiculous that scene must play out in others minds. Now that that is over with....

The following day, I was still feeling a little homesick. Something arrived that would change that. Stay tuned.....

Saturday, December 13, 2008

I am so over it (I think, probably)

I know, I know...I have been gone for two weeks and the two people that read (or at least comment) on my blog probably miss me. Later I will post all about what I have been doing, but right now, a quick post on this:

OK, I am pretty sure I am so over Greys Anatomy. You are all probably reading thinking I am so shallow for posting about a television show, but if that is the case, then come back tomorrow. : )

Really Seattle Grace, I am done. (I think)

First, there is the constant whining and complaining of the cast. Lets think about this shall we...
A You have a job
B Above job is in an industry that is very difficult to break into
C People who dream of acting would turn cartwheels for the opportunity you have
D You CAN get out of it if you are so unhappy
Get over yourselves and shush. I don't want to hear it anymore.

Second, and the prompting for my being over it. The Denny/Izzie saga
Denny is dead. Remember Izzie? Um, you were there. And trust me, I totally get talking to people that aren't alive. I even get crying and laughing to/with those people. I've done it, but heres the thing, I have never actually went shopping with or had coffee with the dead. I have merely received a few blank stares from people around at Starbucks when I giggle and don't realize I am using by outside giggle because I remembering a funny moment, or seeing something that I know my mom would think was funny. I totally grasp that she isn't sitting there with me in Starbucks. If she were however, I would totally make her pay for my latte. Are you following me here?
So yeah, looking for signs, believing certain things that happen are signs from the loved one you miss, chatting and laughing to/with the not alive loved one (I hate saying DEAD loved one) I totally get it. But really, doing that with him and allowing it to jeopardize the Karev relationship. Who is btw...HOT with a capital H. Its annoying!
She misses him (of course), she feels guilt over moving on (of course), but come on....
Can the writers allow just one story to be happy, can they let just one character have a successful, happy, loving relationship? Is that too much. And don't even mention Meredith and Derek. I am just waiting for the other shoe to drop with them (and personally, find it an unhealthy annoying relationship anyhow).

So there you have it....
Alive Izzie + Dead Denny + Stuff that would make for a R movie rating = Carrie being pretty sure she is so over it

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Baking without the stress

I am very excited for this weekend. I took Friday and Monday off work to bake cookies, and get all of our gifts shipped. I have just two things to pick up and I will be done done done with our shopping. I even have it all wrapped already! I am quite excited.

If you have read this from the start, you will know that I love to bake and cook, so taking off two days from work to bake is like a fun mini-vacation for me. While it may never be that way for others, I would like to offer some tips that can help get you through the baking stress free.
Remember...I am not an expert, but follow along and you can survive the holiday baking bonanza!

1 Repeat this phrase:
It's the thought that counts, and this should be fun. Seriously, if you hate to bake, then don't. Find a different way to spread the holiday cheer. Make fudge (eagle brand recipe is EASY), or try this cute, simple recipe. Instead of baking, make a cute simple craft, or tell your friends and family that instead of baking you are using the money you would have spent to make a donation to a local food bank or other charity.

2. Know your audience:
Are you sending these to family members? If so, maybe there is a cookie that is a family favorite, or has a fun memory associated with it. (like maybe one year when you were really little you added 1 C salt instead of 1 C sugar to the russian teacake dough on accident. just hypothetically speaking).
Are the cookies going to friends or family in college? They will be happy just to get a care package so don't worry too much about fancy cookies.
Are you shipping to a soldier overseas? Items like banana bread and muffins that are very moist can mold very quickly in the hot, humid climates. They may have buddies that don't get packages (its sad, but a reality), so larger quantities to share would probably be appreciated. You may be able to make a lot more chocolate chip cookies than the fancier cookie you were planning for.

3. When it comes to time, overestimate, and bake accordingly:
The recipe time is probably based on optimal time and lets face it, we don't have someone measuring, setting up and cleaning up for us. You also have to remember to allow time for cookies to cool before storing. If you only have a few hours to bake, go for easier recipes (like the ones in #1), and use your old standbys. You don't want to experiment with a new recipe when it may be the only chance you have to bake.

4. Beware of the fancy new recipe:
The magazine makes it look so simple, but it may not be. Judge yourself, but from personal experience, I am a little more critical of my baking when its going out to others. For this reason, I don't try new recipes for my holiday baking unless they are variations on recipes I am familiar with (this year I am trying a vanilla sugar cookie, instead of plain sugar cookies).

5. Look back on years past:
I think I made cut out gingerbread cookies for three years in a row before I stopped. I don't enjoy decorating cutout cookies. AT ALL. I get this grand idea in my head, and usually they don't work and by the third cookie I am bored. No more. I am baking and, as I stated, I should enjoy it. Therefore, if you get a plate of cookies from me for Christmas, it won't include decorated cut out cookies. Deal with it. : )

6. Read, re-read, and read again:
It's frustrating to make up your dough, be ready to bake and then see that it has to chill for 2 hours before baking. Read the entire recipe all the way through to make sure you are aware of all the steps.

If you have never had to run to the grocery in the middle of baking for 1/2 tsp of cinnamon then congratulations. However, things like flour, butter, and sugar add up quickly when you are making several recipes, especially if you are doubling recipes. I actually compile all of my recipes, and list out how much of each item I need in Excel. You can laugh at how crazy this is, but I will have the last laugh since I won't be running to the grocery for missed ingredients.

8. Helpful tools:
Parchment paper: You can re-use it until it gets pretty brown or starts to crack. Great for ensure cookies don't stick and saves cleanup time.
Cookie scoop: This one is pretty self explanatory, but they are great and you can get them almost anywhere (even the grocery) for pretty cheap
Extra timer: You may need to cool something for a certain amount of time before moving to cooling rack, while something else is baking. An extra timer is great during this times.
Stackable cooling racks: Really great if you have limited space

9. Did I mention this should be fun?
Put on some soothing music (I will be playing my Christmas CD's)
Wear comfy clothes
Invite friends, or don't if you are like me and like the kitchen to yourself
Treat yourself to a latte before you get started
Whatever you can do to enjoy, do it. Don't be afraid to skip it. Baking isn't what Christmas is ALL about. For me, its an enjoyable part of the season, but if it isn't fun for you then you should find another way to enjoy the season.

Whatever you do to get in the holiday spirit, have fun!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Just for Aunt Kim

Since she specifically told me "No more posts that make me cry"

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Monday, November 24, 2008

What not to say/do installment #2

Dear man flipping me off and yelling at me as I pulled to the side of the road -

Here's the thing - I am from Ohio, but I am pretty sure the rules on this are the same everywhere. When an emergency vehicle with sirens blaring and lights a blazing is coming down the road, you pull over to the side.
Its common courtesy, I believe even the law. My brother is a fireman so I'll double check with him. Yeah, my brother is cooler than yours.
I realized moments later why you were in such a rush as I saw you pull into Burger King. The nerve of that person in the back of that ambulance to get between you and your flame broiled goodness.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Lucky girl

I am blessed. This I know. I posted recently about some amazing friends I have. Today, I post about family.
I was fortunate enough to have parents that love me, a brother that loves and usually likes me, and extended family that I know I would be lost without. I have nieces and nephews and cousins galore, aunts, uncles and grandparents that I am pretty confident would move mountains if I needed them to. And I didn't even have to "find" them. I was just blessed with them as family.
When I married Jim in 2002, I didn't just become some "in law". I married into a family. A family that welcomed me from day one. I am even pretty sure I am now Grandpa Andersons favorite.
So many times we go about our lives knowing what we need and who we count on is just there. A phone call, email, or plane ride away. It sometimes takes a scare, or moment of pain to appreciate who and what you are a part of. I recently posted asking for prayers and wishes for my Grandpa. He is doing improving, and after I arrive in Ohio, we will be making a trip to Michigan to visit him and my Grandma. I am eager to see them, and prayers, thoughts, and well wishes are still welcome and appreciated.
If you would like to take a few minutes of your day to meet a part of my amazing family, grab a cup of coffee and take a peek. This is the Sovas. My moms side of the family. I will introduce you to the Smalleys, the Andersons, and Richmonds soon. Take care and take a moment to remember the blessings you have. Even in the downs of family dynamics, there is something and someone to appreciate, cherish, and be grateful for.

Click to play The Sova Slideshow
Create your own slideshow - Powered by Smilebox
Make a Smilebox slideshow

Click to play A photo album sneak peek
Create your own scrapbook - Powered by Smilebox
Make a Smilebox scrapbook

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Why oh Why?

So here I am. Finishing up my packing and going down my list checking things off one by one. Then I get to it....pack coat, hat, and gloves. And I ask myself "Why do we live in Florida and go to Cleveland in the winter?

It is but for a fleeting moment though. We go make for friends and family, and memories we love.

After all, could you stay away from this for long?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Shannon rocks!

Like the Fall look? Thank Shannon at Eight Crazy Designs, blog designs. It is free and she is offering Christmas looks as well.
After Christmas, I plan on purchasing one of her designs. She offers pre made blog templates, or will work with you to create a more personalized look.

The best way to thank and recognize her is to view and purchase her blog makeover services. If you are looking for a blog makeover, shop HERE!

Thanks Shannon.

What not to say/do. Installment #1

I notice a lot of situations where I think "That probably was not the best thing to say or do." I am no etiquette expert, but I like to think I could teach these folks a thing or two. In this light, I bring to you an ongoing segment called "What not to say/do"
In today's lesson Carrie is buying a bottle of wine at Publix. The cashier is in high school (I know this by the conversation he was having with the boy bagging my groceries). The cashier cards Carrie, who is 31. She is flattered momentarily:

Dear High-School boy that was my cashier at Publix -

At first I thought you carded me to buy the bottle of wine out of obligation. You know since a lot you wear that we card EVERYONE button. I quickly realized that you, in fact, thought I was underage. I was flattered, at first. I would like to say that in the future when you card a 31 year old, look at her ID and realize she is 31, the best response is probably NOT
"WHOA - I didn't think you were that old. You don't look THAT old!"
There are a lot of acceptable, flattering responses to make the same point (some even still use WHOA).

Here are four:
1 WHOA - I would have never guessed you were 31!

2 Well excuse me. You don't look old enough to drive without a licensed driver in the car, yet you have been of age to buy wine for 10 years now.

3 Hmmm....31 eh. I can only hope I age as gracefully as you.

4 The simple, yet highly acceptable...Thank you maam!

The 31 year old you carded.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Take a moment

If you will for this guy. My Papa Mitt.
If you pray, say one for him
If you send happy thoughts, send one his way
And Grandma could use it too.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Workshop Wednesday

This weeks prompts were tough. I went with
1 Write a haiku about what you see out the window.

Here it is

Palm trees and sunshine

No snow, mittens, hats, or scarves

Florida Winter

And, here is proof of what I see. I think I deserve extra credit for that!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Carrie Bradshaw aint got nothing on me

I never really watched Sex and the City when it was on HBO. No concrete reason, I just didn't. I do however, watch the reruns on TBS. Recently, the episode where Charlotte marries Trey was on. At the end of the episode, Carrie says "It's hard to find people who would love you no matter what. I was lucky enough to find three of them." And I thought to myself, well guess what Carrie Bradshaw, I have five. So take that!

Nicole (Nik) and me. Memorial Day weekend 2006

Allison, Ang, Trisha, me, Jessica - May 11, 2007

It's true though, I am blessed. I have five people in my life who accept me, my flaws, and all that comes along with me. These girls aren't simply people I call to gossip with, or go shopping with. They are the people who I count on, trust, and feel safe with. They each represent something in me, in my life that is unique.
To quote an actual author (as opposed to the fake author Carrie Bradshaw), Anais Nin "Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born."
Imagine for a moment what your best friends bring to you. What piece of your puzzle they make fit. Think about how your life changed when that friend became part of it, or how it would changed if they were no longer around. The reality can be pretty harsh. I owe a lot of who I am to 5 women.

Trisha came into my life at it's roughest point. It had just turned 16 and my mom had passed away just a few months earlier. I was pushing away the people and things that were there before my moms death because, in all honesty I was in an awful place of denial and grief.
Trisha and her family were amazing to me. My dad let me stay at her house whenever I wanted and her parents, who were strict about a lot of things let me stay there on school nights, weekends, whenever. I even hung out with Trisha when she was grounded (which always seemed to be around school holiday breaks). I had a safe haven with Trisha and her family. And for me, that was worth everything.
It may be difficult to understand, but life just feels easier with Trisha. She is fun, kind, compassionate and understanding. We talk on the phone everyday and often to our husbands dismay, more than once a day. For the record, it has nothing to do with distance. When I lived 20 minutes away it was the same. We would meet for lunch and shopping, head home and be on the phone an hour later. I laugh until my sides hurt with that girl and I feel a little lost if I go a day or so without talking to her. She keeps you is good spirits, and makes life fun.
So, in short: Trisha brought fun to my world when I was sixteen and she still does today

Allison and I became friends my junior year of high school. I was friends with her older sister and she somehow got stuck keeping my entertained for my birthday so my surprise party wouldn't be ruined. Doing a favor for her big sister led to an amazing friendship.
Allison is funny, sincere, thoughtful and dependable. She listens. Its a quality I think is underrated. When I had my second miscarriage Allison was the first person I called after Jim. I was alone in the car. I was trying to get home to be with Jim, and now I barely remember that drive. I remember calling Jim, then Allison. I feel terrible about it now, but I made her tell the other girls. I couldn't do it that day. I called her for lots of reasons, but the main two were that I knew she would take care of telling everyone and that I could tell her what happened, ask her to make the calls, say I didn't want to talk and hang up. I didn't feel guilty or worried that it would hurt her feelings. I just knew it would be ok. She came over and just sat there with me. I think there was a lot of silence that visit, but it was ok, and a few days later she came back with girlfriends, girls movies, pizza and snacks. It was what I needed and wanted but felt bad asking for. I didn't have to ask with Allison though, she just knew. I hate to sum up the way I feel about our friendship through that pain, but its a big example of what she means to me and has done for me.
We don't talk on the phone a ton, but it always rings with Allison on the other line at just the right moment. I really need to call her more.
If it weren't for Allison, I would not be as sensitive to people around me, and not as in tune with others feelings. I am grateful for her because of it.

I honestly don't remember exactly how or when Jessica became the friends we are now. We started school together in sixth grade, but it was not until high school that we became close friends. Jessica is caring, thoughtful, warm, dependable, and logical. I know logical sounds like an odd way to describe a friend, but it just fits. If you have a problem, you call Jessica. When I need something, a problem solved, an opinion on what shoes to wear, I want to complain about something, etc., I think of Jessica first. Getting married? Planning a baby shower? Going on vacation? Just call Jessica and viola! its organized.
And thoughtful....well in my opinion it is her best quality. Jessica has saved me so many times, and she probably doesn't even know it. Days when the weight of things seems to hold me down, I open my email, and there is an ecard from Jessica. She organized a birthday dinner for me one year, and ensured my husband didn't forget to throw me a 30th birthday party. I told Jessica one time (maybe a few more), that if I wasn't pregnant by my 30th birthday I wanted a wild and crazy (which by most peoples standards is pretty tame) birthday party. Well, the party happened. As for wild and crazy...there were martinis AND karaoke. Top that! I dare ya to try. Jessica has a way of putting her friends first. Its an amazing quality.
Jessica reminds me what is means to be a great friend.

Angie (Ang) and I met through friends the year after I graduated high school. We became quite the duo rolling around in her purple truck with big white cap (it was a smooth ride). We hung out for a few years and decided to get an apartment of our own. Her mom was a surrogate mom to me.
Ang is funny, kind, thoughtful, and easy going.
Ang and I got an apartment together when I was 21 and she was 20. It was a weird stage for me. I was not a girl, not yet a woman. OK, all kidding and Britney Spears references aside, I was a little lost. I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life and I had just had my heart broken. So, we ventured a full ten minutes from home and got an apartment. It was one of the best experiences of my life. I am so glad I had that time. I was on my own, figuring things out, and independent. I was a little dependent on Ang, but you know what I mean. We had so much fun together. She helped me get over the heart break, which got worse before it got better, reminded to have fun, and ensured I didn't take life too seriously. She made sure I felt good about me because of me, not anyone else. I love my life now, but there are moments when I miss the days in that apartment.
Ang reminds me that my joy is always up to me to.

Nicole (Nik) is my soul mate in a way.
I didn't get to meet Nik until 2001. I took a job that I ended up hating and she worked for the company. I know the day I met Nik, but I will still tell you I don't remember becoming her friend, because it feels like we have been friends for a lifetime. She married Jims best friend Sean. We are somewhat responsible for that. Jim thought a set up was a bad idea, because it could mess up our friendship if something went wrong. So, instead, we ensured they were both along on a group outing. But this isn't about Sean (sorry buddy)
Nik is understanding, patient, sincere, and warm. You feel comfort just being in her presence. The moment you walk into her, Sean, and now Fionas home, you feel at ease.
Nik makes people feel special without even trying. She remembers you mentioning a book you loved in passing, or that you don't like tomatoes. A birthday cake is served on a glass cake stand, after your favorite dinner. A meal you mentioned you loved maybe one time. She knows your mood, your feelings, and your thoughts before the words come out of your mouth.
Its difficult to explain here, but Nik is responsible for helping me reconnect with the some of the memories of my mom. My mom gave me my passion for cooking and baking, but I never fully nurtured it until I saw it all in action though Nik.
Nicole brought safety and comfort to my world. It is a gift I could never repay.

I know it is cliche, but I have read the saying that "Friends are the family you choose yourself." If that is true, then I think I should be pretty proud of my decision making skills. In my opinion though, I think they chose me, and I am forever grateful.

Speaking of grateful, no complaints on the pictures ladies. Unless of course, you would like to email me a picture of your choosing and I will review and post.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

What I've Done

From Megan
You bold the things you have done on this list of 150

01. Bought everyone in the bar a drink
02. Swam with dolphins
03. Climbed a mountain
04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
05. Been inside the Great Pyramid
06. Held a tarantula
07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone
08. Said "I love you" and meant it
09. Hugged a tree
10. Bungee jumped
11. Visited Paris
12. Watched a lightning storm at sea
13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise
14. Seen the Northern Lights
15. Gone to a huge sports game
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa
17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
18. Touched an iceberg
19. Slept under the stars
20. Changed a baby's diaper
21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
22. Watched a meteor shower
23. Gotten drunk on champagne
24. Given more than you can afford to charity
25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment (I still blame Jen for that one)
27. Had a food fight
28. Bet on a winning horse
29. Asked out a stranger
30. Had a snowball fight
31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can
32. Held a lamb
33. Seen a total eclipse
34. Ridden a roller coaster (won't be doing that again anytime soon)
35. Hit a home run
36. Danced like a fool and didn't care who was looking (anytime I dance, I look like a fool)
37. Adopted an accent for an entire day
38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment
39. Had two hard drives for your computer
40. Visited all 50 states
41. Taken care of someone who was drunk (too many times to count)
42. Had amazing friends (still have them)
43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country (Jim was there too!)
44 . Watched whales
45. Stolen a sign
46. Backpacked in Europe
47. Taken a road-trip
48. Gone rock climbing
49. Taken a midnight walk on the beach
50. Gone sky diving
51. Visited Ireland
52. Been heartbroken longer than you were actually in love
53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger's table and had a meal with them
54. Visited Japan
55. Milked a cow
56. Alphabetized your CDS (who doesn't)
57. Pretended to be a superhero
58. Sung karaoke
59. Lounged around in bed all day
60. Played touch football
61. Gone scuba diving
62. Kissed in the rain
63. Played in the mud
64. Played in the rain
65. Gone to a drive-in theatre
66. Visited the Great Wall of China
67. Started a business
68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken
69. Toured ancient sites
70. Taken a martial arts class
71. Played D&D for more than 6 hours
72. Gotten married
73. Been in a movie
74. Crashed a party
75. Gotten divorced
76. Gone without food for 5 days
77. Made cookies from scratch (is there any other way)
78. Won first prize in a costume contest
79. Ridden a gondola in Venice
80. Gotten a tattoo
81. Rafted the Snake River
82. Been on a television news program as an "expert"
83. Gotten flowers for no reason (I have a sweet hubby)
84. Performed on stage (and nearly got thrown out of Howl at the Moon because of it)
85. Been to Las Vegas
86. Recorded music
87. Eaten shark
88. Kissed on the first date
89. Gone to Thailand
90. Bought a house
91. Been in a combat zone
92. Buried one/both of your parents
93. Been on a cruise ship
94. Spoken more than one language fluently
95. Performed in Rocky Horror
96. Raised children
97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour
98. Passed out cold
99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn't stop when you knew someone was looking (I'm in my car, its actually kind of rude to stare by the way)
103. Had plastic surgery
104. Survived an accident that you shouldn't have survived
105. Wrote articles for a large publication
106. Lost over 100 pounds
107. Held someone while they were having a flashback
108. Piloted an airplane
109. Touched a stingray
110. Broken someone's heart
111. Helped an animal give birth
112. Won money on a TV game show
113. Broken a bone
114. Gone on an African photo safari
115. Had a facial part pierced other than your ears
116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol
117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
118. Ridden a horse
119. Had major surgery
120. Had a snake as a pet
121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
122. Slept for 30 hours in a 48 hour period
123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. States
124. Visited all 7 continents
125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
126. Eaten kangaroo meat
127. Eaten sushi
128. Had your picture in the newspaper (hey, the Rural Urban is a newspaper)
129. Changed someone's mind about something you care deeply about
130. Gone back to school
131. Parasailed
132.Touched a cockroach
133. Eaten fried green tomatoes
134. Read The Iliad and The Odyssey
135. Selected one "important" author who you missed in school, and read
136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
137. Skipped all your school reunions
138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
139. Been elected to public office
140. Written your own computer language
141. Thought to yourself that you're living your dream
142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care (kind of)
143. Built your own PC from parts
144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn't know you
145. Had a booth at a street fair
146. Dyed your hair (and not just the time things went bad and Ang and I ended up with purple hair)
147. Been a DJ
148. Shaved your head
149. Caused a car accident (the dog, I couldn't hit the dog)
150. Saved someone's life (thank you Mr Lengel. 10th grade Health class came in handy. I remembered and used the Heimlich)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Dear Pepperidge Farm

It's 9:00, do you know where all your bread is?

Well, I do.

I located all 786 loaves of bread. I considered myself an expert on knowing how many items are in a container. Why, you ask? Well, it just so happens, I have won not one, but two guess how many jelly beans are in the jar contests. That ought to count for something.

So take a look..... click on it if you want a closer shot

That's ALL bread. Loaves and loaves of bread. Is there some weird form of trick or treating I missed here in Florida? Is someone starting an anti Atkins diet? Imagine if you toasted all that bread and made it into stuffing in the back of that truck. How big of turkey would you need to actually stuff the turkey with all that stuffing? I digress...
This just struck me as odd. And gave me another reason to carry my camera with me at all times. This is from my phone, and it isn't the greatest. Of course I was so nervous the guy was gonna catch me taking it, it wouldn't have mattered anyhow.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

A little captain in ya!

The parents want to assure you that no alcohol was consumed by the below three and a half year old in the making of this adorable picture.

Meet Lexi. She is the daughter of our friends Trish and Steve. More on her another time when I introduce the kids in our life. Until then, Lexi says AARRRR and please trick or treat responsibly.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Brace Yourself

Writers Workshop Wednesday

Deciding was tough this week,

But first, I invite you to my existence in Junior High. Which led to a life changing moment in High School

Picture this...
The year is 1990
You are in the middle of seventh grade.
You have lots of friends, your mom just scored you a Guess Sweatshirt and a Swatch watch. You have perfected the puffiest bangs possible, secured with lots of Aqua Net Hairspray. You are rocking it everyday, due in part to a wide array of Wet and Wild cosmetics secured neatly in an amazing teal and purple Caboodle.

No one even makes fun of you for your braces, because the invention of colored rubber bands makes them nearly cool.
The biggest problem facing you is becoming a cheerleader for eight grade.
Then it happens, and its ok to laugh, because trust me you will want to.
The school nurse calls your folks with the news that you, my friend have scoliosis. And no, not a minor curve and a slight malformation. A doozy of a curve. One that requires this:

It was as scary as it looks.
Meet I am here to ruin your teenage years. AKA The Jerk

The jerk was awful.
I couldn't put it on by myself, and my mom wasn't able to help. So, here I am, 13 years old and my dad or older brother are putting this contraption on me everyday.
I had to wear old man tshirts under it so I wouldn't get a rash.
I had to wear it for 23 hours a day. TWENTY THREE HOURS!!!
It tore little holes in all my clothes.
There was no hiding it. Ever, at all.
I wasn't permitted to play any sports, because, (wait for it) - The school was concerned I could hurt someone if they ran into me.
It was hot, really hot.
And, after two and a half years (Um yeah, freshman year of high school as well), it did nothing. In fact, my scoliosis got worse. They say it had to do with my growth spurt, but whatever. It didn't work.
Before I move on to the surgery, lets just lay it all on the line- It was junior high. Kids are cruel. Yes -they made fun of me. Not all of them, but a lot. Was I surprised...Of course. Back then anyway, I was surprised, and hurt. Today, I know that its wrong, but its kind of how the system known as growing up works. I know it will be a very grim day for my kids if I find out they are picking on someone like that. I also know, that it is very likely that day will come. I hope that our future children and my nieces and nephews are the kids that stand up for the picked on kid. I hope that they are never on the receiving end of the picking on. However, I am realistic and logical. Growing up is rough, no matter who you are or what you do or do not have. I truly look back at this brace and laugh. It didn't make me jaded or taint my junior high memories. In fact when I read the prompt "Explain your junior high years", I had to think for a minute before I even remembered the brace. I like to remember the moments in my life as little things pieced together to mold me into who I am today

Now to the surgery...That is one of the best things to even happen to me.
The brace wasn't working. Like, I said my spine was actually getting worse. So, we went back to the doctor and he explained surgery was the only option. My spine was so curved it looked like a sideways horseshoe. Slightly straight at the top, a horseshoe curve in the middle, slightly straight at the bottom.
The surgery was scheduled for Dec 1st 1993. We showed up at the hospital (all 10 of us, because I like to arrive in style. That kid from Entourage ain't got nothing on me), and the doctor informed us that he had to have an emergency root canal. Fine by me, no way was I allowing a doctor to perform 12 hours of surgery on my freakin spine if he wasn't in tip top shape for it. Two days later, it happened. I went to the hospital, and 12 hours of surgery later, my spine was straight.
To put it in perspective, my spine was so jacked up that when they straightened it, I grew 2 1/2 inches.

Cool surgery tidbits:
Literally, in a matter of hours I grew 2 1/2 inches.
In order to measure how much movement they could make on my spine, they placed tiny needles in my ankles, wrists, and head. Before putting me under the doctor had me look at my hands. Using the little contraption he made my fingers wiggle. It was cool and freaky at the same time.
There were 9 people that sat in the hospital waiting room for over 14 hours while the prepped me and did the surgery. I have a very close family. My dad, however, nearly strapped my grandpa Jerry to the chair in the waiting room. He is a pacer.
Instead of my hip, because of the recovery time, the doctor used one of my ribs for the bone graft and fusion.
The doctor was amazing and my scars are barely visible.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

An open apology to Pumpkin Spice Latte

Dear Pumpkin Spice Latte -
I am very sorry I strayed from you.
Sure, you waltz in and out of my life for a few short months every year, but you have commitment issues. I get it. Or thought I did.
Sure, I am disappointed every year when I come to see you in December and you are gone without so much as a warning or a goodbye.
So, naturally it felt good to walk into one of three St@rbucks at Gardens Mall and order something else. I'll show you, I thought to myself. I even glanced at the poster advertising you as I ordered "A grande, soy, hazelnut hot chocolate with no whipped cream please" Because, even though I was cheating, I still use my manners. I had won, or so I thought. Maybe this would be the move that made you change. You would petition the St@rbucks execs to keep you around all year.
It was good, that hot chocolate. Not too nutty, the chocolate was rich and creamy. I was in heaven. About to start a new life with the drink of my dreams. As I sipped though, I thought, this isn't better, its just different. Something was amiss
And then it happened....
The grass, I learned, really isn't always greener on the other side. True, my new drink offered me stability and comfort that you could never offer. It wouldn't leave me all sad and alone right at the start of the holiday season, causing me to stroll the mall looking at the decorations and lights all alone. However, it also offered me double the fat and calories. DOUBLE! That is a compromise I am not willing to make. A risk, my 31 year old, not nearly as forgiving as it once was Midwesterner now living in Southern Florida body couldn't take.
I know, soon enough you will be gone again. On to bigger and better things. I only hope you come back next year and that we can pick up where we left off.

Two worlds collide

Chili and spaghetti? Together? You're not from around here, are you?

It does exist people. Its a Cincinnati thing that became an Ohio thing. Take a look

Might I suggest waiting to start any diet plans until after you eat this. If you are entering a weight loss contest, perhaps you should try it right before weigh in. Really, there is no healthy way about this.
Skyline Chili can't really be duplicated (or so, I have heard). And if you are Skyline Chili lover, there is no substitute for it. Just ask the Sullivans. This recipe comes close though. It was good. Really good.

One note - This chili isn't thick. Its soupy. You aren't messing up if its soupy. It is suppose to be that way.

Jim goes with red beans and onions. I skip the onions. I mean, I'm watching my weight.

Cincinnati Chili and Spaghetti
2 T veg oil
2 onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T chili powder
2 T sweet paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 1/2lbs ground chuck
1 6oz can tomato sauce
1 cup diced tomatoes
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 C water
2 T chopped unsweetened chocolate
1 T cider or red wine vinegar
2 T Worcestershire sauce
12 oz cooked spaghetti
1 19oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
Grate cheddar cheese
Oyster crackers for serving, optional. Cuz you can never have enough carbs with chili

Heat the oil in a medium dutch oven or heavy pot over medium heat. Add half the chopped onions and garlic and cook until soft, stirring, about 5 minutes. Add the chili powder, paprika, cumin, all spice, coriander, cinnamon, cayenne and cloves. Cook, stirring, until mixed and fragrant. Add the beef and cook the mixture, stirring until beef is no longer pink.
Add the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, bay leaf and 1 1/2 cups water. simmer the mixture, uncovered, stirring occasionally until slightly thicker. Add the chocolate, vinegar and Worcestershire and cook uncovered until the mixture is thickened some, but still soupy. About 15 minutes.
Discard the bay leaf, and season the chili with some freshly ground pepper. Divide the spaghetti among bowls, and top with chili, beans, remaining onion, and cheddar.

Friday, October 24, 2008

To Kathy, Emily, and Jennifer

This is just for you three, and you know why! My mistake did create a good excuse to search Elf movie clips though - I love this movie!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Meet Reid

Congratulations to our friends Jessica, Drew, and big brother Braden.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Why I didn't make the bed today

It seems the sides are split on making the bed. I personally like the bed made daily. I actually need it to be straightened before I get it. Its my little quirk, just roll with it.

Anyhoo...This is Cooper. She likes to burrow herself under the covers, in fact some days after the bed is made, you will go in and see a lump in the middle of the bed. That would be Cooper. So today, I go to make the bed and look what I find. I let her stay, and skipped the bed making.
I'm a rebel sometimes, what can I say.
And yes I love her and our other cat Cagney but no, I am NOT a crazy cat lady. I have two cats people. Two.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Carrie wins, Browns....not so much

It was Lobsterfest at the Browns Backers of the Palm Beaches on Sunday. I won a raffle, but that was where the luck ended. Browns lost 13-10.

Explain to me how the Browns could lose when I was cheering them on wearing these shoes

Oh Canada....How I love thee candy!

I won a bet. This candy more than fulfilled the bet. Thanks for letting me win Derek!

Let me tell you...Those Smarties you see are NOT the little bits of powdery sugar lumped together in a disk like they are here. They are, as we Andersons call them "The rich mans M&M"
And Mr Big....O M G. Kit Kat like wafer, coated in caramel, peanuts, and rice crispies and then covered in chocolate. So good that I am hoarding them from Jim.
I think one of each is perfect acceptable and well balance dinner...eh?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Writers Workshop Wednesday

This week was tough for me. Really tough. I struggled with what to choose and how to write about it. And even still, I don't think its my best work. It was a tough week for me.
  • I don't really recall anything I did in my like to really get noticed.
  • I don't like playing the rearrange your life game. Mainly because I try to enjoy what life is now for all that it is. And I really believe that changing one thing, changes lots of other things, and then you are on a slippery slope. I know I know, its just a writing idea, but still I am just making my point.
  • I wish someone told me....I don't know about that one. I don't look back and think that there was something I really should have known. The few things I do think of are kind of sad, and I am not in a sad place.
  • What do you love to create.
So, here I am. #4 it is

Have you ever baked someone a birthday cake?
Taken a casserole to a friend or neighbor who is a little under the weather?
Handed a co-worker a plate of fresh cookies?

Do you remember their reaction?
I do, all of them. Every single one...

I remember being excited when random co-workers would stop by the department to see what was fresh baked for them to snack on.
I hold on to the thank you note from a friend who was grateful I dropped off dinner after her and her husband brought home their new baby.
I take pride in hearing people say "You should open your own bakery"
I smile ear to ear when Jim's co-workers call me the cupcake lady

I would say that I love to create food and that is this absolute truth, but you can't take away from the feelings and memories tied to it.
You may eat your cupcake and go about your day never thinking of it again. And that's fine, but I enjoy knowing that maybe for just a minute, I made someone a little happier.
That something I created, something I worked on made a difference. Even that difference was just a short lived sugar rush.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A moment to reflect

Today is International Stillbirth and Pregnancy Loss Remembrance Day.

Chances are, you know someone (or of someone) who has suffered through the pain of loss of pregnancy. Please take a moment to think of and prayer for them today.

Also prayer for the women in your life who are pregnant and about to embark on the journey of motherhood.

If you are struggling with loss, or what to do or say to someone coping with loss, check out this site which is directory of sites that may help.

I also want to share this quick note from an article I read in Parents magazine, called Say the Right Thing. I should reiterate a point made in the article, and say that I truly believe that people are most often well intentioned and not sure what to say. The comments that can sometimes hurt most are usually said with the intent of helping a friend and easing their pain.

When a Friend Has a Miscarriage
Lisa Bertrand, of St. Louis, felt sad and alone after her pregnancy ended at nine weeks. Her friends and family tried to be supportive, but some of their remarks were piercing and painful. "One friend said, 'The baby must have had a lot of problems,'" she recalls. "To me, it sounded like she was saying, 'It probably wasn't a perfect baby, and so what's there to be so upset about?'" What helped was talking to a friend who cried with Bertrand when she told her the news. "That friend really understood how I felt, and I ended up being the one reassuring her, saying, 'Don't worry; I'll be okay,'" Bertrand said.

No matter how clunky their reaction, most people genuinely want to make a friend who's lost a baby feel better. "Even the most insensitive things that pop out of their mouth are usually motivated by an impulse to make everything okay," says Ann Douglas, author of The Mother of All Pregnancy Books. With a miscarriage, what often gets minimized is the depth of the loss -- or at least that's how it can feel to someone who is hurting. "Even a very early miscarriage is the loss of a baby, and that causes grief," Douglas says. In addition, a woman who loses a pregnancy often feels guilty, as if it's somehow her fault. Friends who don't acknowledge what happened can compound that feeling. "If you aren't sure what to say, just say, 'I'm so sorry,'" suggests Douglas. "It might seem generic, but in most cases, it's the most appropriate thing to tell someone." If she wants to share details of the situation, she will, otherwise don't pry.

Don't say...
"It just wasn't meant to be." It's easy to be philosophical when it's not happening to you.

"Are you going to try again?" When some one's grieving the loss of an unborn child, she doesn't really want to think about another just yet.

"At least you know you can get pregnant!" Right. But she also knows she can lose the baby. Not something she wants to be reminded of.

"I just know everything will work out next time" Actually, you don't

Do say...
"I'm so sorry to hear about what happened."
"I'm here if you feel like talking about it."
"Can I run any errands for you? I'd like to help in any way I can."

Monday, October 13, 2008

Easy Peasy Pork Chop Dinner

In the last two days, two of my friends told me about this yummy pork chop recipe they made with apple pie filling and stuffing. I don't make pork chops that often since neither Jim or I are big fans, however, I thought I would give it whirl.
It was yummy, and easy. Thanks Jen and Ang for a new way to make pork chops.
Here is what I did

4-6 boneless pork chops (you can easily adjust to feed more of less). I used 4
1 6oz package stuffing mix (I used savory herb)
1 21oz can apple pie filling

Preheat oven to 350
Prepare stuffing according to package.
Light season pork chops with salt and pepper. Brown pork chops in skillet. You don't want to cook them through, just brown them.
Spray 9*13 pan with cooking spray. Spread apple pie filling in bottom of pan. Place pork chops over apples, layer stuffing over pork chops. Cover with foil.
Bake 40-50 minutes, until pork chops are cooked through.

***The tops of the mounds of stuffing will get a little dry. I like that, however, if you don't, place a little water, broth, or even a dot of butter on the stuffing mounds during the last ten minutes of cooking to moisten them.

I served the stuffing on the side, topped the pork chops with apples, and served green beans with slivered almonds on the side (cuz I'm fancy like that)

Jim will never be the guy that goes crazy for pork chops, but he liked this (which worked for me). I thought it was really tasty, and would make it again.

By the way...I am pretty sure Bon Appetit won't be calling me to do food arranging or photography for them anytime soon:

Friday, October 10, 2008

Happy Birthday Grandma (Oct 10th)

Happy Birthday Grandma (she is the one we call Grandma Foxy)

Five Fun Foxy Facts
  1. She loves to tell the story of the time I ripped her houseplant right out of its planter (to my defense, I was a just a baby)
  2. She warms your plate before serving dinner. "You don't put hot food on a cold plate"
  3. She makes the best salsa and strawberry jam you will ever eat.
  4. She participates in the Relay for Life Event for The American Cancer Society Every Year
  5. She is an amazing, kind, caring woman who I love, adore, and think of every day (often more than once)
  6. She once exclaimed "Carrie is by far my favorite grandchild"