Monthly Archives: April 2009

Pasta in a flash

I made this baked pasta dish for Margaret’s birthday gathering on Sunday. It was so easy, and delicious. I used ground turkey instead of ground beef, and I added an onion, sauteeing it with the ground turkey and mushrooms.  I added a bit of sugar to the sauce, as I like my stewed tomatoes a bit sweet (thank you, Dad, for teaching me to put sugar on my stewed tomatoes.)

And how did I find this magnificent recipe? I went to and typed in “Easy Pasta Recipes”.  I’ll share it with you now, so that you can skip that tedious step:

Easy Baked Pasta with Ground Turkey

I served it with Italian bread, and a green salad with blue cheese, mandarin orange slices and walnuts, with a homemade dressing of olive oil and balsamic vinegar with a 1/2 tsp. (ish) of sugar (more sugar…it’s becoming a theme!). 

And cake and ice cream. And wine. (For the adults.)


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A letter to Margaret

Dear Margaret,

How did you get to be three years old already? It was just yesterday that you were newly home from the hospital, orange with jaundice, wearing those horrible bilirubin lights. (Note: we didn’t know that you had jaundice, as you didn’t look orange to us. We thought you looked perfectly normal. Of course, we laugh at the photos now, as there really was no mistaking the fact that you were totally orange.) 

And now you are three, newly potty-trained (well, mostly. As long as you’re thinking about it).  You are my fearless one, my gymnast, my child who laughs in the face of discipline.  And my parrot…your favorite phrase is, “Mommy. Listen to me.” You are stubborn and willful and funny and smart. And I love you just as you are, my baby who isn’t a baby anymore. 

Just so you know, I’ll be 62 when you graduate from high school.






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What do the swine flu and broken escalators have in common?

There’s nothing that freaks me out more than the words “global pandemic.” (Deep breaths, deep breaths.) It freaks me out so much, in fact, that I’m tempted to stop reading newspapers, watching television or surfing the net (and putting my hands over my ears and chanting “la la la” really loud) so that I can avoid thinking about it.  I hope that the CDC and Baxter Healthcare know what they’re doing, and can avoid a major global catastrophe. Notgoingtothinkaboutitnotgoingtothinkaboutit…

But the swine flu headlines got me thinking about other things that freak me out:

1. Snakes. Even non-poisonous ones. I try to avoid that section of the Shedd Aquarium, and if I have to go into it with the kids, I walk with my eyes straight ahead so that I don’t see anything in the cases.

2. Worms. Just little tiny snakes, in my book.

3. Any sort of mechanical thing that has an “out of order” sign on it or otherwise appears to be broken. This can be toilets, showers, escalators, elevators. Doesn’t matter. I have no idea where this fear comes from.

4. Ferrets. Anything that can squeeze itself into really tiny spaces…freaky.

5. Armageddon, the Book of Revelation, or anything that mentions Nostradamus.  Thankfully, I’ve modified my religious beliefs so that I don’t believe the Book of Revelation to be factual, and I don’t believe that Nostradamus was all that. But Armageddon still freaks me out.

6. Anything by Steven King or any movie where the devil inhabits people. (Probably related to number 5.)

Anyone have any really interesting or strange things that freak you out?


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What’s the going rate for teeth?

David lost that loose tooth today. Twisted it and twisted it until it came out.  And now he looks like a boy instead of a pre-schooler.  He’s up there with his head on a “spare” pillow so that the tooth fairy can more easily reach under his regular pillow and exchange that tooth for money. Kind, thoughtful boy.

It’s been a week of turning points.

In addition to the tooth business, David started soccer, his first organized sport. He actually might be okay at it, despite the fact that he doesn’t have a competitive bone in his body. At least he wasn’t out there picking flowers (unlike a certain now-15-year-old in the family who shall remain nameless, who picked flowers through the entire season – one season only – she “played soccer.”)

Margaret is wearing panties and not pull-ups. (Thanks to Joan, our wonderful, amazing day-care provider who decided that it was time to make Margaret go commando, as the pull-ups were not encouraging anything.) Margaret’s doing well with it. Not perfectly. But well, given that it’s only been a couple of days. 2 days, to be exact.

So I feel like we’ve turned a corner, somehow. Graduated to a new level. I have not a trace of sadness over the fact that the baby days are gone. I’m ready. On Monday, in honor of Margaret’s third birthday, I’m throwing out all the sippy cups.

But first, I have to go dig up $5 to slip under a pillow.

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Rainy days and Mondays

Yesterday morning was one of those mornings.  I can laugh about it now. Maybe it was because it was a Monday, or maybe because it was rainy, or maybe because it was a rainy Monday.  But for whatever reason, everyone was crabby, including me. 

David was upset because of his loose tooth. His first loose tooth, to be exact. I’m not sure he realized that his teeth were going to get loose and fall out. (I don’t think it’s happened to any of his friends yet.) So the whole concept of having a loose tooth totally skeeved him out. He was moaning continously, asking unanswerable questions like, how many more days is it going to be before my tooth falls out?

Margaret was wanting me to hold her. Lying on the floor, yelling, I can’t get up! Every time I put her down, she screamed until I picked her up. Which was long periods of time, given that I needed to shower and get dressed for work.

So between the moaning and the screaming, it was quite loud.  (The kids were making a lot of noise too.  Ba dum dum.)

I had a moment of panic where I imagined that I’d never actually get out of the house. That Emma would come home from school at 6:00 and I’d be sitting on the floor, holding my knees, rocking back and forth, chanting, putonyourshoesputonyourshoesputonyourshoes.

Then I had another moment of panic where I imagined that every morning would be like this for the rest of my life. Or, at a minimum, the next year.

But get out of  the house we did. Wearing clothes, shoes, and even coats.

And today was a better day. We got out of the house with a minimum of fussing, procrastinating, and crying.

And we have 6 whole days until another Monday.

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Filed under Family, Parenting

Easy appetizer that appears fancy

I made this appetizer last night for a family gathering. I’ve made it before, and each time, everyone raves about it and thinks it’s fancy. And that’s my goal – fancy.


1 Frozen Pepperidge Farm puff pastry sheet, thawed

1 Round of brie cheese

Preserves (can be apricot, peach, or if you want to be really fancy, something exotic like balsamic sweet onion preserves, which I get at the local gourmet shop.)

Townhouse crackers


Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Flatten the puff pastry shell on a baking sheet and pinch seams together.  Place brie on puff pastry, top with some spoonfuls of preserves (maybe 1/4 cup?). Fold the pastry sheet over the preserves-topped brie so it’s sealed.  Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes or until pastry is brown.  Serve with Townhouse crackers (you could use other crackers too, but the buttery taste of the Townhouse crackers  goes well with it.) Get a few sharp knives so people can dig in.

Your guests will rave about it.

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Bang, bang

David and I had this conversation in the car last week:

David: “Mom, we can’t have guns at school, only at home, right?”

Me: “Well, David, we actually can’t have guns at school or at home or anywhere.”

David: “That’s okay, Mom, I can just make a gun with my finger.”

Now I assure you, we do not now, nor have we ever, had guns in our home.  I’m not aware that we allow David to watch TV programs that contain guns or shooting. (Of course, there is the random commercial that comes on virtually every station.)

My friend Lin, who has two boys, warned me of this years ago – that it doesn’t really matter whether you buy them toy guns or not, they’ll just use a Popsicle stick or an index finger. It’s funny and frightening at the same time.

I realize that we live in a culture of violence, and because it’s everywhere, it’s difficult to shield children from it. But I also think that males are hunters. Just as you don’t need to teach a racehorse to run fast, you don’t need to teach a male child to shoot things (or pretend to, at least.) I’m not suggesting that we give up and give every male child a gun.  I will continue my prohibition of toy guns in our home.

I don’t know the point of all this.  Just that it’s complex, this issue of guns.


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