Archives for September 2012


319 | 365

I believe in…

sand between my toes and the sun on my shoulders

talking for hours about nothing and everything

the healing power of endorphins and the mental and physical benefits of a good workout

turning the radio up and singing along

clean sheet day on crisp, fabulous sheets

curling up with a good book and losing the day

wrapping my hands around a warm mug of coffee

messages “just because”


the hidden agenda of iTunes Shuffle

my daughters’ laughter

the way time with my friends restores me

not posting vague updates on social media

dangling my feet in a lake

inside jokes

big hugs

drinking water that is painfully cold

hooded sweatshirt, worn in jeans and Chucks

asking questions

finding answers

keeping some of the things in my head to myself

eating movie popcorn with MilkDuds

Sharpie markers

taking the time to be a good friend

taking the time to surround yourself with good friends

ordering pizza and kicking back on the couch

hiding behind my camera

laughing when I can

looking for hidden meaning in song lyrics

that everything that is good in my life trumps anything that is not

petting a dog is therapeutic

bookstores, coffee shops and kitchenware stores are the best places to get lost for a few hours


putting one foot in front of the other


[Edit: The thing about a list like this is that now, I want to come back and add to it already. Like! I forgot to say I believe in celebrating birthdays! And Crunchy Cheetos!]

Kitchen Through the Lens: Strawberry Shortcake

your dessert is jealous of my dessert. unless your dessert is a brownie sundae.


I really love dessert.

I also love fruit.

Fruit in my dessert? Well, let’s just say I’m not always a fan.

I know, I know… But, really? It’s just the way I’m wired.

I decided to branch out a bit with this one. Explore new dessert horizons.

Strawberry shortcake.


A rather photogenic fruit, am I right? So red and lovely and even on their own, so sweet and perfect on a warm summer day. They don’t need anything else. I’m not sure why we decided we can’t just let fruit be fruit and dessert be chocolate.


I recruited a helper-slash-hand-model from my pool of offspring. I selected the only one I trust with sharp objects.

pour some sugar on me

Strawberry shortcake is actually really easy to make. Cut off the stems of the strawberries, quarter them and add sugar. Let the sugar and strawberries work their mojo while you do the rest of the fun stuff.

just grab 'em in the biscuit

Like make biscuits. OH THE HEAVY CREAM.

This recipe called for just putting the dough-type-substance in an 8″ square pan and then cutting it into six pieces. NO WAY. I wanted actual pretty, round photogenic biscuits, baby.

These dense, very lightly sweetened biscuits made the perfect backdrop to those sweetened berries and rich (homemade!) whipped cream.

I could eat those biscuits alone, actually.

(I, uh… did, actually… the next day.)



The kids were pretty enthused with this week’s project (I excluded them from margarita night, so I had some making up to do!). These shortcakes were the final touch on a fabulous, if I do say so myself (and I do!), meal. It was one of those evenings where I felt like, Whoa. I may figure out this kitchen thing after all*…

*You may not want to bet money on that.

To my daughters the night before school starts, 2012

My sweet daughters,

I didn’t think when I wrote your letter last year that it would be something I’d repeat year after year. Maybe I will, maybe I won’t, but obviously, this year here I am sitting at my computer pecking away. I’ve tucked you both in – I can hear you both rumbling around upstairs -it doesn’t quite sound like sleep to me, ladies.

I digress.

But I think the first day of school is like a birthday in a way – a special occasion that should somehow be marked. A fresh start, a new beginning, more than a blip on the radar.

Frankly, you both are so burned out from summer you’ve both admitted how eager you are to return to your daily classroom routines and that excites me for you because after meeting your teachers last week I have to say: I think this is going to be a very good year.

Pumpkin, this is second grade for you. For second grade, I had Mrs. M. When I was in first grade, I had a split class – I went to the second grade room for a good chunk of the day, I’m not entirely sure why. And Mrs. M was the teacher I spent most of the day with – so I had her again in second grade so I already knew her. I can’t remember if it was second or third grade when I developed the crush on the cute boy who wore a retainer, but he was in my class both years. I liked horses a lot and I had a friend who drew horses really well. Her name was Tania, and weirdly enough, we both ended up moving and ended up in the same junior high years later. I really loved horses, I had forgotten that. It’s kind of like how much you love dogs. I was a horse nerd. My favorite color was purple.

Princess, in fifth grade I had Mrs. L (I think). I had transferred schools from the school on top of the hill to this new school (the other school closed down – we all had to find new schools to go to). I remember the first day of school, meeting the principal. I was a tremendous Madonna fan (yep, she’s been around THAT long) and I had these ridiculous plastic bracelets that I wore [To my friends who are reading this: SHUT UP. I don’t want to hear it.] My new school had a rule – only two bracelets allowed on each arm. I remember the principal telling me that in the meeting – I distinctly remember rolling my eyes at him. Don’t roll your eyes at your principal. Our class wrote a play that year – I played Ms. Welch, a teacher. I remember at one point my line was something like, “Girls, control yourselves!” and one of the ‘students’, played by a friend of mine who I STILL talk to on Facebook occasionally, responded with the line, “Control? You mean like Janet Jackson?” Yes, she’s been around that long too. Longer even.

It all feels like forever ago, it really does.

I’m excited for you both – you have new outfits set out, ready to put on in the morning. My sister has cut your hair and you both have cute new shoes to wear. You’ve taken your bath, Pumpkin, and you breezed through your shower, Princess, and both of you are clean and shiny and ready to go.

I feel like I should offer you some advice – but I think for the most part, you already know what I would ask of you – to be kind, to be good, to do your best, to try.

I want to add, please, be a good friend. Especially you, Princess. This is your last year before middle school. Please be the nice girl that isn’t cruel, that is gentle with her words, that can be counted on for empathy when needed. Please know that doesn’t mean you have to like everyone (far from it!) but I expect that you treat even the people you don’t like with civility, at least. You don’t have to be their BFF, or even ask about the weather, but please don’t be a mean girl.

I want you to take each day as it comes and make the most of it – try your hardest and give your best effort and know that I’m here and your teachers are there to help if you get stuck, need a bit more explanation or clarification.

Know that asking questions doesn’t mean that you’re stupid.

That it really is important to get a full night’s sleep.

Know that I’m very proud of you already for being who you are, and I’m very excited to see where this year takes you. You are both really growing into amazing people, and every day I am blown away at who you are and how much my life is better with you in it.

This is gonna be a good year, I can feel it.

I am so very lucky to be your mom. I love you both with my whole heart.