Posts made in November, 2010

Giving Thanks

Posted by on Nov 24, 2010 in Mom Moments | 1 comment

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday! I love it because it’s all about the gratitude and not about the gifts. It’s the only holiday where presents aren’t pushed and giving thanks is embraced. It’s a time to be with your family and friends to celebrate the joy of living and love for each other. My wish for everyone is to have a day full of peace and a season of goodwill. Happy Thanksgiving!

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Holiday Cookie Recipe

Posted by on Nov 18, 2010 in Easy Organizing, MomSources™, What You Need & Where to Put It | 6 comments

Years ago, I was a hugely loyal fan of Southern Living Magazine. For years, I received a monthly subscription and there were several years where I purchased the holiday book that contained wonderful recipes. Fast-forward ten years and I no longer have the subscription or the books (part of my moving decluttering…sorry, Southern Living), but I did save one of my favorite holiday cookie recipe that, for years, I looked forward to making and sharing the cookies with friends and family. Here it is…

Fudge Joy Cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup quick-cooking oats

1/2 cup cocoa

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup butter or margarine

3 (1-ounce) squares semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

2 large eggs

2 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup finely chopped flake coconut

1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped

Combine first 5 ingredients; stir well, and set aside.

Combine butter and chocolate in a small saucepan; cook over low heat, stirring often, until melted and smooth. Remove from heat. Transfer mixture to a large bowl; cool completely.

Add sugar to chocolate mixture, beating at medium speed of an electric mixer until well blended. Add eggs and vanilla; beat until smooth. Gradually add flour mixture, beating well. Stri in coconut and almonds. Cover and chill dough 1 hour.

Drop dough by rounded tablespoons onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets; remove to wire racks, and cool completely. Yield: 3 1/2 dozen.

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Where the Fack is My Pack?

Posted by on Nov 15, 2010 in Featured, Mom Moments, Travel & Lifestyle, Where I’m Going, Where I’ve Been | 4 comments

We got the Pack!  Just three days after being asked to participate in the “Where the Fack is My Pack” Experiment, the Pack arrived on our doorstep. Cody, our Pug, was immediately curious and kept sniffing the box as I opened it, then stood by patiently  as I took a photograph. The Pack came to us from Lulu, a black lab whose owner is Liz Jenkins, another organizer whose company is called A Fresh Space. She lives and works in Tennessee. The Pack came to her from the brilliant mind behind the Where the Fack is My Pack Experiment, Delanie Neville of Quesnel, British Columbia, Canada.

The Back Story on Cody: For years, we’ve wanted a dog. If my kids had their choice, we would have had an 80 to 100 lb. dog about five years ago, but I kept putting it off because I somehow knew that the brunt of responsibility would fall on me. And, let’s face it, dogs are like toddlers because they never grow up and take care of themselves. Good news: You can leave them home alone. :-)

Anyway, it was important for me to choose the right time and the right breed. December of 2008, I met a Pug. Prior to that, I didn’t have an experience with Pugs and although our neighbor down the street had three Pugs, honestly I had no interest. The only thing I knew about Pugs was that they snorted a lot and potentially had breathing issues. Oh, and they drooled a whole lot too. Icky. But the Pug I met in 2008 didn’t drool and rarely snorted. He did snore, but it was endearing. I fell in love!

Months later, when that particular Pug was no longer in my life, we had the neighbor’s Pugs to play with. When their owner would walk them down the cul-de-sac, we’d run out to greet Taz, Sophie and, the newest member to the trio, Monty. It was a Pugapalooza! I expressed my interest in having a Pug to my neighbor and wouldn’t you know, within a week, he reported back that a woman in town was looking for a home for her 3-year-old fawn female Pug. We managed to track down her phone number at the pet store and gave her a call. Turns out, it was a two and half year-old black male.

I made arrangements to go see “Otis” (That was his name when we got him. I’ll explain the change later.) that week, but wasn’t feeling well on the Friday. On Sunday, I called the Pug owner and she told me that she had given the Pug to someone else (the thought of that now just breaks my heart) and they were picking him up that week. I was disappointed, but wrote it off as one of those things that happens for a reason. Perhaps the timing wasn’t right afterall. Well, Friday evening rolled around and I received an unexpected phone call from Cody’s owner. She explained that the couple (in their early 20s) who took Cody “returned” him because he wasn’t getting along with their other dog and she wanted to see if we were still interested. I immediately said, “Yes, of course. Can we come tomorrow?”

Saturday came and I loaded the kids in the car and off we went to meet Cody. It was the day before Mother’s Day 2009. The agreement was that we would take Cody overnight to see how he melded with our family. But, honestly, I knew as soon as we left that he was ours. He became part of our family instantly! That evening at home, he snuggled up with me on my bed, which is where he sleeps 95% of the time. He’s the most easy-going dog and at 25 lbs. (kind of big for a Pug), he’s the consummate lap dog and our best friend!

The Name Change: Otis is a great name for a dog. Ever since the movie Milo & Otis, we’ve met many pets with those names. Otis, however, is not a name I’d want to utter in my house on a regular basis. It’s a nickname of someone who is no longer a fixture in my life (a human!). Therefore, we came up with a name close enough (his previous owner called him “Oty”) so it wouldn’t confuse the dog and close enough to many other names in our family so it would confuse them! :-) (With many, many names in our family that begin with a hard “c” sound, we all wind up calling each other by someone else’s name, so I figured why not throw another one in there!)

The Pack: We experienced a bright sunny November day in New Jersey yesterday, which was a great time to take Cody for a walk on the boardwalk with the Pack! As you can see from the picture, the pack is a bit big for a 25 lb. Pug. We actually thought he might do better “in” the pack, but we made it work. He seemed a bit bothered after about 15 minutes, but he’s a “go with the flow” kind of guy, so he tolerated the experiment. We’re pleased that we were able to take Cody, and the Pack, for a walk on the boardwalk in Spring Lake, New Jersey.

So, the Pack is now headed to Eugene Mah in Charleston, South Carolina.

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Sushi’s Not for Everyone

Posted by on Nov 13, 2010 in Featured, Travel & Lifestyle, Where I’ve Been | 8 comments

Sushi’s Not for Everyone

Natsumi

For many, the word “sushi” alone conjures up all sorts of weird feelings and facial expressions. I happen to be in the group of people who adores sushi. It wasn’t an immediate love affair, by any means. One of my best male friends who I’ve known for, gosh 26 years now, took me for sushi about 24 years ago. We went to a restaurant in NYC, or was it Morristown, NJ. I can’t remember. We spent a lot of time in the city too, but I’m remembering Morristown for some reason. Anyway, I went home hungry and with no desire to revisit the sushi thing again…for many, many years.

My next experience with sushi…hmmmm….had to about 11 years ago. It started out slowly with California rolls, the novice sushi. The sushi that’s “real” not sushi made of cucumber, avacados and cooked crab meat and, of course, rice. So for those who like their fish cooked, this is a great way to get started if many of your friends are hounding you to join them!

Sushi became a weekly ritual for me about five years ago when my daughters would go spend a night during the week with their dad. It was my night to not cook and eat whatever I chose, and I regularly chose sushi. I began experimenting with tuna, salmon, and even eel, which is incredibly surprising since the thought of snakes just makes me cringe.

One of my favorite places to go when I’m in NYC is Natsumi. My first visit was about four years ago when I spent a long weekend with friends and we were waiting in line to get discounted tickets to Wicked. My friend darted off and returned with sushi rolls for us to eat while waiting. That was just an appetizer. After we scored tickets, we went to Natsumi for a complete dinner. For non-sushi eaters, I guess you could liken the communal sushi-eating experience to a clam bake or oyster roast, or even a tail gating party before the big game. Everyone participating understands each other’s love of raw fish, rolled into bite-sized pieces, the wasabi and ginger, green tea and saki (for some). The fullness you feel afterward and the knowledge that you’ve eaten clean food. Yum!

Natsumi, 226 West 50th Street, New York City

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Holiday Countdown: My Favorite Movies & Things

Posted by on Nov 10, 2010 in Holiday Organization, Mom Moments, Travel & Lifestyle | 0 comments

Generally I’m not one to countdown the holidays, but this year I’m actually excited about Christmas. I’ve done a little shopping, thinking about the Christmas tree and all the fun and funky ornaments we bought last

year. I have my favorite Christmas movies that I watch several times throughout the holidays. No, not really an It’s a Wonderful Life kinda girl. My Christmas movie faves are little more modern: Love Actually and The Holiday. Although I’m not a big Hugh Grant fan (but I love him in About a Boy too), the cast of Love Actually is stellar and, even after watching the movie a hundred times, I always laugh out loud! The Holiday has become a favorite because Nancy Meyers’ films always have such wonderful cozy set designs. Even in the monstrous California house that Cameron Diaz’s character lives in, there’s a warmth and coziness about it that just makes you want to crawl up under a blanket and watch a movie or cook something delicious in her kitchen.

So, here are some more of my favorite things about the holidays:

  • The excitement on my children’s faces…even if Big Chick knows S.C. is me!
  • Wrapping gifts…everything from choosing the paper to tying the ribbons
  • Baking cookies…my favorite recipe is scrumptious fudge cookies
  • Seeing family and friends
  • Christmas morning breakfast, smelling the bacon cooking on the stove
  • Having to tip-toe through the living room after all the gifts have been opened
  • Watching a parade on Christmas morning…in the warm, cozy comfort of my own home
  • The Christmas morning phone calls
  • Wearing something new that Santa has put under the tree. Okay, so maybe I do a little Santa shopping for myself so I don’t feel left out :-) And, yes, I do wrap the gifts for myself!

Holiday

What are you favorite things?

Here some additional {previously published} blog entries to help you get organized and enjoy the holidays:

Less than 90 Days…Strategies for a Stress-free Holiday Twenty Strategies to make the most of the holidays

Create a Fun Family Holiday Card

Santa is Coming to Town What to do before you start shopping

Out with the Old, Making Room for the New Pre-holiday decluttering solutions

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