Happy Holidays

I first want to apologize to all of you that follow my blog for not posting as promised this month. The member’s of my household were bitten by the flu bug one by one making it impossible to accomplish anything. The intention was to share some ideas for hand made gifts  that would bring back the feeling of Christmas’ past when things were simple and we focused on what they say is “the reason for the season” …true peace, love and joy.

In light of the recent tragedy in Connecticut it is hard for me to continue on and post gift ideas as if nothing ever happened. I find it hard to create anything and be joyful in giving when those families are suffering so. The idea of loss this time of year is something that is very painful and familiar to me and although my losses have been many and difficult, I have never lost a child…the ultimate dagger to the heart.

I am not saying that this holiday should not be filled with love, light and laughter. I am saying though, that we should be filled and sustained with gratitude for the things in our lives that exist already and make every day worth living…our family, friends and people we come in contact with from day to day.

We cannot  unring the bell in the Connecticut situation but moving forward I would ask that in 2013 and beyond you look strangers in the eye and see them as you would your own family and friends. A human presence that represents a beautiful soul with a purpose, whether we know what that purpose is or not. The negative and positive people and situations in our lives serve on varying scales a reason, and let us not forget that when this purpose is served we are made better because of it.

Enter this new year with gratitude and love in your heart and in doing so you have found a way to help these families in such a helpless situation to heal by knowing that their losses are not in vain but have changed the world for the better moving forward.

At this point I would like to extend warmest wishes to all of you for a wonderful holiday season. I hope to see you back next year for more family, friend and food adventures.

And remember, “Treat your family like friends and your friends like family”

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True talent can bring a smile…

I spent my morning delaying my “to do” list so I could read some truly brilliant writing by  a fellow blogger who writes about my similar preachings of recognizing what’s really important in life. The difference? His comedic spin that kept me entertained through several of his blog entries. So kick back and enjoy a truly talented writer.

From the blog of “The Return of the Modern Philosopher”

His Thanksgiving post (my favorite)

http://moviewriternyu.wordpress.com/2012/11/22/the-devil-gives-his-due/

A different take on World Peace

http://moviewriternyu.wordpress.com/2012/11/22/dogs-mice-form-alliance-should-cats-be-worried/

Pertaining to the daily grind:

http://moviewriternyu.wordpress.com/2012/11/23/the-boy-who-played-with-robot-fire/comment-page-1/#comment-441

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It’s a MAJOR Award! …or two

So after a few weeks of bullshit not so great luck I turn on my computer and realized that two awards have been bestowed upon me in one week by fellow bloggers.  I would like to tell these fellow bloggers how much this meant to me and that while we all blog for different reason’s, they hit home with the reason I do. We are all connected to each other for a reason.

I have been feeling like a big black cloud has been looming once again over my head and while I preach that “All things happen for a reason” its a gigantic freaking pill to swallow when you have to deal with it personally. But alas I say…“All things happen for a reason”.

Both of these wonderful bloggers chose to give me their awards at a time I needed to be uplifted and supported by friends. A coincidence?  I think not, so without realizing their impact I bestow upon them the “ANGEL Award”. I won’t go on and on about the crap that has been happening…but tonight I just had to respond.

We lost someone we loved very much today. Someone who probably never knew to what extent they meant to our family. She represented all that is love and passed it on to her children who in turn passed it on to theirs and fortunately for me, my child married one.

The loss of this beautiful soul will be felt for a long time and I can only hope that her family will heal and bathe in the glory of having been part of her life. I also hope that this community of bloggers and people that follow my blog know that you mean the world to me, virtual or not. Your words and actions heal and sustain all that read them and your reasons for following these blogs, mine included, make us realize that we all are part of a common cloth manufactured by a creator so much bigger than us.

With much gratitude to you and to everything that happens in life that teaches us to take a step back and realize what is important and it is in fact “On Purpose”, I am reminded to treat my “Family like friends and my friends like family”.  THANK YOU!

I have listed the two awards in the order they happened, I hope you enjoy reading…so here they are, the facts!

The first award came from “Life With The Top Down”, it was the LIEBSTER AWARD. Liebster (pronounced: leeb-stir) is a German word meaning sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing and welcome.  The Liebster Blog Award recognizes up and coming bloggers and winners that are asked to “pay it back and forward.”

The Rules for the Liebster Award are as follows: 

  • Link back to the blogger who gave you this award
  • Post the award to your blog
  • Post 11 things about yourself.
  • Answer the questions asked of you, plus create 11 new questions for your nominees to answer
  •  Nominate 11 people you think deserve the award and link them to your post.
  • Go to their pages and tell them they have been chosen

The second award came from Bohemian Spirit at http://www.bohoheart.com and she gave me the “VERY INSPIRING BLOGGER” Award and the rules for that are as follows:

1. Display the award logo on your blog.
2. Link back to the person who nominated you.
3. State 7 things about yourself.
4. Nominate 15 other bloggers for this award and link to them.
5. Notify those bloggers of the nomination and the award’s requirements

Since the second award had less requirements that would be fulfilled by the the first, I have completed the requirements of the former keeping both in mind. 🙂

O.K. so here it is… 11 things about me (because I KNOW YOU ARE JUST DYING TO KNOW!)

11 Things About Me

1. I have red hair. AND if pain is what fuels us to do what is right in life then I should be blogging about the insecurities of being teased for being a redheaded kid. At this stage it is the beginning of what what made me strong and I have forgiven my bullies.

2. I have three children, a son-in-law (world’s best) and a grandchild (also the world’s best) and I am blessed.

3. I have had two husbands that I loved and a fiance that thinks the world of me. I am blessed because I have the three angels that make me get up every morning and smile.   And before you think sheesh, what a ho! Think again. I was young the first time around and well, I got the first recognizable gift from the Big Guy upstairs that I will be eternally grateful for, my daughter Jackie who is my best friend.

My second husband taught me everything I needed to understand about family and priorities, he gave me two more angels I can’t imagine my world without and then left suddenly to go back to God, no doubt to help the world be a better place to live. I think of him everyday when I see the beautiful faces that greet me in the morning.

AND then there is my fiancee Joe, who understands and supports me in EVERYTHING I do. I think God saved him for last to make sure I saw my life’s purpose come to fruition. When I said I started a blog, he was one of the first commenter’s telling me to go, go , go! And every month he pays the bill for my storage unit…read #4 and you’ll understand.

4. I have a 10 X 15 storage unit FILLED with dishes and props that I have accrued over the last two and a half years to make this dream/purpose come true.

5. I wish I had more hours in a day to make the dream a reality, but slowly I do and surely it will.

6. I love helping others so much so I have paid to become certified to be an “intuitive career coach” using numerology to help others realize and fulfill their life’s purpose. How about that, it’s working! 🙂

7. I love to cook.

8. I love to create.

9. I love to see other’s do the same.

10. I was the 1978 Pennsylvania State Freestyle Champion in Rollerskating.

11. I changed my facebook relationship status to ” in a relationship” with HomeGoods of course…hence the 10 X 15 storage unit. Look for a blog post coming soon on that one!

Here’s where I answer the 11 things asked of me…

1.  What is your favorite song of all time?

House at Pooh Corner, it brings back good memories and reminds us to help each other.

2.  Boxers, briefs, boy shorts, granny panties, thong or the universal choice of Commando?

Hmmm, anything with an absorbant cotton crotch these days…

3.  Would you break the law to save a loved one?

Without a doubt, and I would thoroughly enjoy the cake with the file they baked in it for me while in prison…

4.  Would you go back to being a teenager, without the wisdom you have now?

NO, ‘nough said! WITH the wisdom would be a totally different story…

5.  What are you most grateful for?

EVERYTHING good and bad that has happened to me, I learned so much but most importantly how to love myself.

6.  Are you a beach or mountain kind of person?

50/50 I lived in the mountains and connected to the beauty of God there but I also feel the same about the Ocean…If I won the lottery I would have homes in both places.

7.  Reveal one of your guilty pleasures?

Wine! Although I never feel guilty, just very happy…

8.  Are you a dark, milk or white chocolate lover?

Dark for sure!

9.  If you could give a newborn child one piece of advice, what would it be?

Ummm, Go for the right side, looks like there is more milk there.

10.  What is your best childhood memory?

Laying on the couch with my mother watching TV. I LOVED her and still do.

11.  Do you act your age or your show size?

Well this is a tough one since I copied and pasted the questions from the blogger that gave me the award. I think she misspelled so I will answer both.

What I think she meant…

Do you act your age or your shoe size?

Somewhere in between…I am holding down the fort at say, 29 when I had enough knowledge but also enough money to enjoy my endeavors.

What she really asked…

Do you act your age or your show size?

Acting my age but hoping soon to act the show size that I would love to have on the Oprah channel. A huge and inspiring success “Friday Night Family”…

Here are the 11 questions I have for the bloggers I am giving this award to:

1. What is your passion? The thing you think about everyday?

2. Cook or reservations?

3. Do you ever dance by yourself? And are you awesome!?

4. Seriously, if you could be just one thing what would it be?

5. White meat or dark?

6. What is your biggest dream come true? (and be honest!)

7. If you could make millions off a dream job, what would it be?

8. What or who are you inspired by?

9. If you had a million dollars to donate to a cause what would it be?

10. What makes you feel grounded and safe?

11. Do you have faith in something bigger than you, than us? (It’s ok to answer honestly)

Once you answer #7 ask yourself why you aren’t doing it…<3

Here are my 11 award recipients:

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I was going to write something tonight as I sat down after my family left and tell you how really grateful I felt. My son was recently hit by a car and suffered some really scary side effects of a concussion. He went blind for a few hours a week after the accident and after seeming to feel fine this was a shock of epic proportions.

Someone I know and love is suffering and grappling with their humanity which makes our whole family suffer. I don’t really want to make public the other things that are going on as that would violate any trust they have in me, but I will say that no matter how bad or difficult, its all good in the end.

I got up this morning and I was alive and loved. My kids were happy for the holiday and to spend it with family. We played BINGO for lottery cards (our Thanksgiving tradition ever since Uncle Vince and Aunt Joyce came to visit, another blessing) and we walked away with a few bucks, lots of laughs and a great deal of gratitude in our hearts that we had each other today to feel safe and loved.

 

I love this blog “Life With The Top Down” that always offers a slightly different spin on the perspective we all have on life. Her writing always makes me think and laugh, which is a much needed therapy.

Tonights post however just made me think … and I hope you will read it and well…think.

I want to take the time to say THANK YOU for reading my blog and following. You may think you are getting something when you read it and that there is no need to thank you, but you give me purpose and for that I am grateful. Happy Thanksgiving, you are appreciated. Much Love, Kathy

Remember “Treat your family like friends and your friends like family”.

Life With The Top Down

In the spirit of Thanksgiving I wanted to share with you a powerful perspective on how Thankful we are to live in the country we do, even if the election didn’t go your way. Any who … I thought the excerpt below sent an important message that needed to be shared.

This is a really interesting way to put things in perspective.

If we could shrink the earth’s population to a village of precisely 100 people, with all the existing human ratios remaining the same, it would look something like the following.

There would be:

  • 57 Asians
  • 21 Europeans
  • 14 from the Western hemisphere, both north and south, and
  • 8 Africans
  • 52 would be female
  • 48 would be male
  • 70 would be non-white
  • 30 would be white
  • 70 would be non-Christian
  • 30 would be Christian
  • 6 people would possess 59% of the entire world’s wealth and all 6 would be from…

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Gift Giving and Other Stressful Adventures

The expense joy of the holiday season is almost upon us. This year I am hearing that people (and not the usual early shoppers) have already started shopping and snatching up things that seem like a good deal.  The only problem with this is when I do it,  I always forget what I bought and who I bought it for.  Inevitably this leaves me looking for some small items to “even the score” during the last week of shopping, paying top dollar just to fill under the tree. I can feel myself start to grumble about the looming bills once again this year.

What happened to the days when there were few gifts given but lots of entertaining?  When I was younger aunts, uncles and cousins came to call with gifts of homemade cookies, candy canes, eggnog and ornaments in hand.  It was more about the time spent with family and friends rather than making sure someone got the exact electronic device they put on their list.

Seriously a list?  Doesn’t that kind of negate the idea of a gift? The only person I knew growing up who had a list was Santa Claus and we were more worried that WE were on it instead of the things we wanted.  If we made a list it had better be filled with necessities.

I remember one year my brother’s girlfriend made Christmas ornaments for my mother with sequins and ribbon and they had our names on them. Since there were eight of us, this thrilled her to hang them from the top of the tree to the bottom in age order.  They were gorgeous and I can tell you if someone did the same for me I would be thrilled beyond belief they had spent the time and really thought about what they were doing.

The picture above is from a fellow bloggers page on how to make these beautiful ornaments yourself, certainly a blog worth following. Just seeing it made me think of our tree growing up. Here is the link if you want to create your own version. Perhaps you could add some names!

http://theornamentgirl.com/blog/being-crafty/fabric-ornament-tutorial/

I believe in the concept of “Real Gift Giving” so strongly that I am going to focus a few of my blog posts this month on some idea’s for homemade items that are within anyone’s talent range to make…and I am not talking about a pink bunny suit from Aunt Clara! (Poor Ralphie) If you have any ideas you want to offer up please send me some pics and I will happily post them here to share.

Given the current devastation from the wrath of Hurricane Sandy there will be a lot of people who will be grateful for our love and friendship this year during the holidays…forget the economy, its time to turn around the way we think and act.  I don’t care what religion you follow, Christianity, Judaism, Muslim or Buddhist, you want to give someone a real gift? Pack a basket with a few snacks and a thermos of tea or coffee and stop by their house for a chat.

I would love to be able to document great ideas that cost very little or nothing so the word will spread to those who need it the most. If you are reading this right now, can you do one of two things, or both?  Share the link to this page on your Facebook page or other social media so other’s will join in and if you are on Facebook, stop by our page at FridayNightFamily.com and leave your suggestions and pics there if you want.  I hate to sound hokey but this year let’s try to remember what the holidays are all about…remembering each other. As Susie Orman says “People first, money and things last!”

If you have a few ladies (young or old) on your list and you like to sew, I will post a “How To” on Eternity Scarves. They’re really easy to sew (straight stitches) and are very popular this year. I will post a few other ideas as well, some that even the kids can make.

Let’s start to take a step “back” in the right direction and keep the holidays simple. I think once you get into making some of these gifts, you’ll find a piece of happiness pie you’ll never want to go another holiday without making! And please, especially this time of the year, “Treat your family like friends and your friends like family!”

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This is my daughter Haley’s new blog, I was speechless when I woke up this morning and she told me she created one, she is 14 years old and as I mentioned before has the personality of a leader. I was even more speechless when I read it and realized my baby could change the way young girls view themselves with a little inspiration from someone their own age. I had an hour long conversation with her this morning that blew my mind. Please feel free to pass along the link to your teenage girls or any girl that may need a little inspiration from a peer. Much love to you all and remember “Treat your family like friends and your friends like family”

HaleyHere

Fashion has always been more than just looking good for me. Ever since I was little I’ve loved clothes and colors and textures and mixing it up. I was never your average kid, I was always wearing clothes that were ‘weird’ or ‘ugly’ but I liked them so I ignored the looks. As I got older I wanted to fit in more, to be like the other girls who got the compliments and were envied, and so I ditched my style and went for theirs. It only took several years to notice that I shouldn’t be trying to look like them I should be trying to look like me. So I went back to the fun, quirky clothes and the colorful outfits, and I was happy with myself.

For me fashion is a way of expressing yourself and being who you are. I don’t wear the typical, expensive, name-brand stuff…

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A personal tribute to the New Jersey shore~ Thanks for the memories

The realization that the beaches of my childhood on the New Jersey shoreline are  gone is sinking in. The magnitude of the big black hole in my heart is almost unbearable after viewing the images of the devastation.

As I sat in quiet thought a few things become clear in my mind this morning. One, although many of the people I know are suffering through this, they are safe and uninjured and have the chance to help someone who has been less fortunate. Two, this is another opportunity to care for each other and show what a strong sense of community this nation has and three, with every ending there comes a beginning.  The reset button has been hit hard and the big guy upstairs is giving us a chance to rebuild not only our homes but our hearts.

This is actually a blog I posted a while back and for those of you reading that have never been to the New Jersey coast I think you will relate to the sweet memories that are created when a family vacations together wherever that may be…

Much Peace, Love and Light is being sent to the whole East coast today.

DO ANGEL FISH AND FUDGIE WUDGIE GUYS STILL EXIST?

Ahhh, it’s the week I’ve been waiting for…vacation in Wildwood, New Jersey a place I haven’t been since senior week in high school. Wow, how things have changed!

The very first morning I got up early to walk the boardwalk and take in the view. I’ll admit at first sight I was very disappointed. This place I loved as a child was no longer the same in any way, shape or form…or so I thought.

Many of the quaint little places I remember have been torn down and condo’s stand in their place. The stores on the boardwalk still sell beachy items like shovels, buckets and hats should the mood strike you to build a sand castle with a moat. I was saddened by the many shops of the past that have been replaced by establishments offering tattoos, body piercings and adult theme T-shirts. Rooftop miniature golf places were converted into bars. What I once remember being a family environment left me struggling and questioning society’s values once again.

When our children walk down the boardwalk they are bombarded with lewd posters and t-shirts with images of the local sports mascot flipping the finger at them rather than a fudge maker exhibiting his craft, or a salt water taffy machine churning out the sweet confections we would never think about going home without.

I think the most shocking revelation for me was that there was no reaction from children or their parents as they were passing by these sights. Have we become so callused by our surroundings that we just accept what is dished out to us as acceptable? Do we not use these experiences as a tool to teach kids anymore like our parents did? “Holy Mother of Manners” people! Whatever happened to teaching our boys to hold a door for the elderly and the ladies? And teaching our girls to expect it and respond with sincere gratitude?

I returned to our room wondering how to make the best of my time on this vacation. Certainly some of the things in my memory still existed. Not everything changed, right?

By 10:30 that morning Joe and I were on the beach at the point. With our umbrella set up and a beautiful breeze blowing, we headed towards the water with fishing rods in hand. After twenty minutes or so of “catching and releasing” I felt a calmness drapped over me, the feeling of peaceful oneness with your surroundings that we always hope to attain on a vacation.  I wandered back up to sit in the shade of our umbrella for a bit.

                                  
                                Peaceful morning at the point

After a few short minutes of taking in the view I watched as a crowd formed around a man with something on his line. Everyone was smiling, pointing and talking with each other discussing all the possible sea creatures he might reel in. I felt myself pulled into the mix with camera in hand ready to capture the “money shot” of his prize.  Waiting in anticipation of his catch, I looked around at everyone gathered there…all strangers joined by one common wish. We wanted him to reel in the catch of his life. We all wanted to be a part, to feel his accomplishment and happiness. My thought bubble was suddenly burst when his line broke and a loud gasp burst forth from the mouths of all those watching him. We all laughed and discussed all the possibilities one more time before retreating back to our places on the beach.

                                            
                                    What could it possibly be???

I found a great deal of joy in thinking that this was just a ploy by the big guy upstairs to gather us together, all unknowingly for the benefit, support and happiness of another human being. My guess is…he had an “ANGEL FISH” on his line that was now swimming out with the tide to reappear somewhere else further down on the beach for another group of people who needed to feel the same joy of being a part in something good and connecting with each other.

As I laid in my chair mulling over this happy thought, I realized that regardless of our surroundings and external influences we have the opportunity to find happiness in so many little things. The sinking sensation in my gut of feeling buried in the unavoidable change happening in this world was starting to subside. It was then I heard it!

“GET YOUR FUDGIE WUDGIE HERE”

The caw of the “Fudgie Wudgie” guy!  (a.k.a. The ice cream man) He was here on the beach in the flesh, I had forgotten about him. I was in awe of his ability to draw the young and old. My heart smiled wide as I watched the little ones run to his side like the Pied Piper. His cry was music to my ears. I yearned to be brought back to my childhood on this trip and to share that journey with my kids. Since they had not yet arrived to join us, I snapped a few pictures to show them. I sat back in my chair wondering how many more things would bring me back.

                                    
                                                   The Young
                                     
                                                   The Old
                                     
                                                The Pied Piper

I awoke to the sound of the rest of our family plunking down their chairs, coolers and towels and the giggles of my two young nieces kicking off their flip flops and running to the water. Without missing a beat my own two teenagers with their cousins buried their cell phones in beach bags and starting digging a hole, building castles and burying anyone that would stay still long enough.

                                       
                                    Never too old to play in the sand
                                       
                                        She stayed still for too long!

Not very long after mermaids and messages appeared in the sand all to be wiped away with the incoming tide leaving only the memories of our day together on the beach to remain…just like when I was growing up. All was not lost.

                                               
                                                    Mermaids!
                                     
                                                    Messages…

My mood lightened as the minutes/hours ticked by quickly. The day became night and I looked forward to spending time on the dock with family having cocktails and dinner together. It was my turn to cook and I decided it was Asian night. Joe would grill Teriyaki chicken and I would whip up pasta salad and my friend Melanie’s fabulous Asian garden salad.

There was no pool at the cottage where Joe’s family was staying and since the boys had taken off for the day to another friend’s house on a jet ski I decided to take my daughter Haley and my niece Erin over to the pool at our hotel for a while before dinner. As I watched them splash and dunk each other in the water I heard what sounded like a bicycle bell behind me. I assumed it was the ice cream man making his way along Surf Avenue. As I stood up I realized it was a “Huckster” selling fresh fruit and vegetables!  This was a pleasant blast from the past that I have written about in previous blog entries. These Hucksters used to come into City neighborhoods during the summer selling their goods that had been picked fresh from the farm that morning. I quickly jumped up and snapped a picture trying to explain how cool this was to the girls. I do however think that Haley and Erin would have preferred the ice cream truck!

                                     
                                                     Huckster
                                     
             “Jersey Tomatoes heeeere!” ” Three Pounds for a dollar!”

Midweek we took a ride to Cape May, an old Victorian beach town about 30 minutes outside of Wildwood. I remember staying in Cape May only a handful of times as a child. It amazed me that all the historic homes still remained and had been maintained so beautifully.

We had lunch at Fisherman’s Warf, a well-known landmark, before returning home for my niece’s 8th birthday party that evening.

                                      
     The Wharf, where we had lunch at the Lobster house

My oldest sister Mary was the only one of my seven siblings that had a summer birthday. I don’t really remember ever celebrating her birthday while on vacation but what a wonderful and exciting time that would have been to do it at the beach.

I am happy to say my future sister-in-law Jaime recognizes the importance of celebrating her children’s birthday by decorating their rooms after they are asleep. I have always done this for my family and walking into a kitchen in the morning that is filled with streamers and balloons is always the highlight of their day. This small gesture validates their existence as being a necessary and joyful part of other people’s lives.

As we enjoyed eating cake and watching Victoria opening her gifts, I felt honored to be present for her special day and grateful that I had finally opened my eyes to witness the real gifts I was being given on this vacation. It was then I had a moment of clarity about my expectations for this trip.  I realized that my memories were mine alone to share, not to recreate for my children. Their memories will come from times like this when family is gathered to spend time with each other.

Later Joe and I walked down the dock in the moonlight and noticed a sign on the light pole about a “dock party” on Saturday evening, our last night of vacation. I asked Joe’s sister about this and she explained that every year this small water community called “Grassy Sound” celebrates one night during the summer season for no other reason than fellowship and getting to know each other. Some of the homes in Grassy Sound have been there since the 1800’s and though most have been updated, there was something quaint about those that showed their history through warped wood and peeling paint.

All the homeowners plan a theme and decorate their docks keeping it a secret until that night. Our theme was the Philadelphia Phillies of course because it would be an understatement to say Joe’s family are the biggest sports fans ever. The excitement for the kids was building all day as we decorated our dock with lights, streamers, flags and banners. We dressed up to show our Phillies spirit and tattooed our faces.

Our dock neighbors created other themes like Luck of the Irish, Halloween in August, Pirates, Chinese New Year and Super Hero’s (the best one other than ours of course!  ;0)

We spent the next couple of hours walking up and down the docks talking, eating, listening to music and socializing with everyone.  I met several new people like a lady from England who coveted my hillbilly wineglass all night, LOL and asked me to send her three of them for her friends, and there was Chris, my nephew’s friends Mom with whom I had the pleasure of talking to for quite some time about “what truly is The Good Life”.

                                      
Thou shalt not covet thy neighbors hillbilly wineglass even if it is very cool

To my amazement the people that seemed to enjoy the festivities the most were the teenagers who smiled, looked us in the eyes as they asked how we were doing…and they really wanted to know. They were not on the expensive commercialized boardwalk that night trying to be cool. No, they were fishing off festive docks, playing games and hanging out with their families. The pleasure showed on their faces and they gleamed with tremendous pride to be a part of this small community celebration.

                                     
                                      Never too old for a pinata!

This experience was the epitome of what I talk about here on this blog, Friday Night Family fun! Memories for my kids were being created right here in Wildwood, New Jersey where I vacationed as a child more than thirty years ago creating memories of my own. Some things have changed, yes, but Angelfish and the Fudgie Wudgie guy still exist…in everyone of us.

You don’t need a vacation at the beach to throw this type of Friday Night Family celebration. All you need is a gathering place where there are other people, a few driveways in your neighborhood or a common area in your apartment complex. If you do decide to do this, please send me some pictures to post and share with all my readers.

Remember “treat your friends like family and your family like friends”.

                                      
                                           Love (your pets too!)

Thank you for reading my blog, I hope that while everyone digs themselves out of this mess you will ponder the memories of your childhood vacations with gratitude in your hearts for the experience and look forward to the rebuilding of all the communities along the east coast. Take care of each other, better memories are yet to come…

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Bacon Spinach Dip

The leaves are turning colors and the air is crisp.  Very few things are better in the fall than a tray of hearty cheeses, crackers and fall fruit like apples and pears on a weekend night to bring in the season with family and friends.

This weekend we decided to mix it up a little bit by using some of the spinach we grew in the garden this summer to make a warm dip. A glass of vino certainly paired well with our cheese tray.

The crisp apple we cut up was a perfect pairing as were the chips we served with it.

A table of appetizers, a bottle of wine and your family and friends is all it will take to reconnect you to things.  And when its all said and done there’s very little clean up.  Why not consider one of these little impromptu gatherings to catch up.

The only note that I will make here is to make sure that your spinach has been completely drained so it doesn’t cause the dip to be to watery…although the extra liquid that I took off the top after it was mixed up was rather tasty.

There were only a few simple ingredients that went into this dip so the prep was minimal and I was able to sit with my guests instead of standing and prepping food during our visit.

Simple ingredients heated through in a microwave, what can be simpler?

The following are the ingredients I used but feel free to change it up and use some of the items you might already have in the fridge and pantry.

Serve with chips and fall fruit like apples and pears

8 ounces of Havarti cheese cubed

1/3 cup of a shaved hard cheese like Parmesan, I used Parrano

1 package of frozen spinach drained very well. If you are using fresh spinach use about a bag or bag and a half and process until it is almost the consistency of pesto (fine)

1/4 tsp of Herbes de Provence seasoning

1 tablespoon of toasted pine nuts – throw them in a pan and heat until slightly browned

2 tablespoons of real bacon bits. Although you may be tempted don’t add to much more of the bacon as it will get too salty.

Melt everything together in the microwave in 30 second intervals until it is completely melted, if it is too dry add a tablespoon of cream or milk and serve.

Serve warm with crusty bread, chips or fall apples and pears.

Please share this blog with all your friends and family and remember, “Treat your family like friends and your friends like family”

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Dyed eggs, they’re not just for Easter anymore!

Fun night together dying eggs

When my kids were little they loved all the preparation time before the holidays that had us crafting, cooking and baking.  We loved to make things that we could give away as gifts, sell at craft fairs and had guests oohing and ahing at the sight of the holiday table we set.

At 16 he’s into it…and I am grateful

CONCENTRATE!

They are a little older now but they still want to be involved in the messy creative stuff. Haley my 14 year old daughter came up with this one the other night. She thought it would be a great idea to dye eggs for Halloween.  I gotta tell ya, when she said it, I was ready to dive into the pantry for some vinegar and food dye right then and there.  We sat at the table mulling over ideas for fun designs and the following are our creations.

PUMPKINS!!!!

ZOMBIE egg!

Cup O Eyeball egg

Troll egg

Black Cat egg

Monster Duo

If your kids like hard boiled eggs this is a great Halloween display turned fast meal before Trick-or-Treating. Use them as a display on Halloween night when your friends are arriving and you’re getting ready for the festivities, then crack into them as a healthy snack before Trick or Treating.  Get dyeing will ya and if you do send me pics of your creations and I will share them here.

Please share this blog with all your friends and family and remember, “Treat your family like friends and your friends like family”

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Ponytails and Motorboats

Haley at 5 years old ready for her first day of kindergarten, ever so confident to start a new journey.

Like spring it’s the time of year that brings closure to one season and new beginnings of another. This year my Haley girl, my baby started high school…where has the time gone?

My long haired beauty.

A week before school started she decided she wanted to pull her hair back in a ponytail, lop it off  and and donate it to “Locks of Love“.  I asked her if she thought that was a smart idea since she was ready to start school within a week.  “New school, new friends that have never seen me before so no big deal” was her response. I wish I had been that confident when I was her age… so off to the hairdresser we went and indeed it was a good idea.

The kid can sport any look!

My sweet rosy cheeked baby, now almost a woman, left that morning for her first day with a happy spring in her step thrilled to be turning the page to the newest chapter of her life. Looking like a million bucks she walked down the driveway with her brother to catch the bus on her way to a new adventure. I on the other hand, stood behind the door and cried.

I was happy to see her so willingly accept life’s new challenges wearing a smile with no fear holding her back. On the other hand I was sad to know as that new door opened for her to pass through I stopped at the threshold behind her and watched it close. This to me was the beginning of the end of her childhood. What will be left for me to teach her? Where will she go from here?  And then it hit me…what I really meant was Where will I go from here?”

I was the one that learned a very important lesson from my child that day…look forward not back and approach each phase as a door of opportunity to a new path that is unexplored and wonderful. If it’s not fitting, then change your path with a positive heart and live life only in the moment you are in now. It really is as simple as that.

Dr. Wayne Dyer says “imagine your life as a motor boat you are moving along and you look behind you at the water and all you see is the wake you are creating”.  He asks, “Is the wake responsible for pushing the boat forward?” Of course not, it does not stop the boat either!

It is impossible for your past to hold you from your future, live in the present!

In life if you are not moving forward, it is not your past causing that to happen. Stop telling yourself you “can’t because…” There are no excuses to not live in and create your present. Nothing in your past is holding you up, you are! It is the internal motor that drives the boat forward or stops it, what has happened in the past is now over and has no bearing over your present or future situations. Right this minute is the time to create your life and look forward to all the good in the future. Haley does this well…

She is a leader in my book. As parents we all hope our children will follow in our footsteps ensuring them safety from the world. Right now I am proud and humbled when I say I will attempt to follow in hers. By the look on her face and the confidence she wears easily like a favorite jacket, clearly I have some work to do because there are some pretty big shoes to fill and no excuses left not to tune up the motor and move forward.

As I stood behind the door that day I realized that raising my children was a huge part of my past that I loved and it was time to move forward as each one spread their wings and decided to learn to fly. She just happened to be my last child, my last excuse for not moving forward to find my life purpose and fulfill my dreams.

I hope you will all take a look at your life closely and ask yourself if you are trying to let the wake push your boat or stop it for that matter.  Take some time by yourself to think it over and examine what needs to change. When you do there will be many reasons to celebrate so have a few people over and reward yourself with some down time to rejuvenate and live in the present. Tomorrow is a new day and we get another chance to start all over again. Forgive yourself and move on.

Please share these words with all your friends and family, I guarantee they need to hear it too.  Remember, “Treat your family like friends and your friends like family”

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