Lookin' for love - Guest blogger: SWF

Online dating…the phrase kind of makes my lip curl.  Not in the sexy Elvis way, more like the reaction one might have to taking a tentative whiff from a milk carton you’re not quite sure has turned sour:  this could be really bad, but maybe you’ll be pleasantly surprised and actually get one more breakfast out of it.

OK, that was a weird analogy, but online dating is kind of a weird experience for me.  I mean, love should just happen, right?  Isn't finding romance online only for losers? Well...what happens when you wake up in your early 30's and realize you're not meeting people like you did in college and you realize the last place you want to be on a Friday night is a bar trying to meet people? What happens when the thought of dating anyone at work is just awkward and you've reached that point in your life where you don't really want to expand your social circle but you're ready to settle down?  You join Match.com, that's what.

So here goes.

I've halfheartedly browsed Match and eHarmony a couple times in the past, but always, ALWAYS, find something not to like about potential guys.  I'd create Rules in my head looking for ways to eliminate them:

* that one listed his income and that's just gauche
* this one listed that book I hated as one of his favorite things, so obviously we'd never get along
* that one doesn't know the difference between your/you're/their/there/etc, and no, we're not all perfect, but show some effort, right?

So, this time, instead of finding reasons to dismiss guys, I'm going to make an actual effort to go on some dates and at least get out of  my solitary comfort zone.  It's been a little less than week and I've emailed with two guys so far, and have a date scheduled with one of them in a couple days.  The other one?  Well, he might have broken a Rule in his last email, so we'll see if I email him back.  Hey, don't judge...I'm taking baby steps. ; )



Cowboy Caviar Recipe!

A great alternative to salsa if you're looking for something new and it's healthy!  Bring it to a 4th of July BBQ this weekend!

Click on the picture of the recipe below to print:


Happy Father's Day - My Dad

Father Maguire Park in Lowell
I remember my Dad showing me how to tie my shoes; letting me sit on his lap and "drive" while he pushed the gas/brakes (YES..that is true.  the good old days); "closing" his eyes and letting me tell him which way to turn while he was driving (he's sounding like a dangerous man! haha). I remember when he was supposed to give us a bath and instead let us bring soap outside in the rain to take a "shower".  I remember him helping me with my homework; playing dodge-ball, catch, basketball - every night after work; telling my Mom and Me that we looked beautiful EVERY TIME we got ready for anything (still happens!).  I remember him writing me a very thoughtful card, only from him, for my 16th birthday. I remember how he clipped every newspaper article when my brother was mentioned for football or tennis; or when he taught me to drive a stick shift. I remember when he gave me advice on what direction I wanted to go in while I was in college; and when he helped me get ready for my first interviews. I remember his face when my brother got married, how proud he was to be the best man, and how happy he was to bring Katie into our family. I remember when he started buying me Christmas presents just from him; I remember when he gave me my "last" piece of jewelry before I got married and it was no longer his "job" ;-), I remember when he walked me down the aisle and how he got choked up giving the speech at our wedding.  I remember how he fell in love with my son the second he saw him..and has been obsessed with him ever since.

My Dad showed me that raising kids and taking care of a house is an equal partnership.  He cooked, cleaned, and did laundry..and when we were big enough, made sure we pitched in too. He taught us that you had to work hard for anything we wanted.  He taught me how to pack a suitcase..I can now fit 5 days in a carry-on.  He just taught us...whatever he knew, he took the time to teach us.

I watched him get so excited as my little cousins were growing up..taking time to teach them how to turn an old wrapping paper roll into an amazing sword, or use an acorn top to whistle; I watch him now do all the same with my son.

I wish my Dad the best Father's Day ever and love him with all my heart.


iPhone Accessory - Must have

If you have an iPhone you need this!  The pocket-sized backup battery goes in your purse/man-bag ;-) and it's great when you're out, away from a charger and your battery is going to die. You just connect it where you would typically put the charger and it'll boost your battery. Runs about $32 at amazon.  I bought the car version which is the item to the right in the picture to the left. It allows you to attach a charger cable and charge both the backup battery and your phone at the same time.  Then I throw the battery in my purse. They both have that functionality but I think of grabbing it more often when I see it in the car. 

Check it out at Amazon here.


Southwest Chicken Stew

I made this on Sunday and I've been bringing it to work for lunch.  It's low in calorie and filling.  Recipe below:

Southwest Chicken Stew

3 boneless, skinless chicken breast (about 1.5 lbs)
1 14.5 oz can College Inn Chicken Broth - Fat Free & Low Sodium - Chicken Broth
1 bag Frozen pepper and onion stir fry vegetables
2 medium potatoes
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp oregano
Hot sauce, salt and pepper to taste
optional - crushed red pepper

Use a large pot to cook the chicken.  Next, add everything else (except hot sauce, salt and pepper) and let simmer on medium to high heat for about 60 min.  Add hot sauce, salt and pepper to taste.

I like things hot but if this stew is feeding other mouths it's best to leave the hot sauce/crushed red pepper and let people add it to their own bowl if they want it.

Let me know if you try it!  Enjoy!


"I swear he isn't usually like this."

Dr. Jekyll - throwing himself on the floor at the end of our trip last week.
  We all know our kids have both Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in them.. why is it that the Dr Jekyll side comes out at the worst possible times?!?

Will is usually a very good kid.  Pretty chill..listens great most of the time and is very social (after an initial 2 min bout of shyness).  Well a very good, old friend came home from Denver for a visit this weekend and I was so excited that she was finally going to meet Will!  I couldn't wait for him to talk her ear off and drag her around the house showing her all his toys and how well he "shoots the basketball!".
Mr. Hyde - laughing and hiding in his built in with his basketballs.

When Lauren arrived Will started crying and yelling "I want Mommy!!".  I laughed it off and told her that "sometimes he does this... in 2 min we won't get him to stop talking..".  She chuckled gracefully and we went on with catching up. He was quiet because I was holding him.  Well... I tried to put him down so I could finish making the guacamole I had started and he'd have none of it. Started crying so loud. "I want Mommy I want Mommy!!".  I just put him down and told him that was enough, I just needed to finish in the kitchen before we'd come sit with him.  He proceeded to stand there, leaning up against me, wailing.  I was mortified.  This is not my kid..why is he doing this right now??  What the heck is Lauren thinking??

We finally got some time to talk as he ate lunch and then I put him to bed.  The whole time I'm saying, "he isn't usually like this.", "He's just been so out of routine with us going up north for a couple of days and then his Papa stayed with us and he just hasn't had a normal day in a while.", "Poor kid, he's so tired..", "Not sure why he's not falling asleep..he's soo tired.  That's why he's acting like this."  Excuses excuses.  Most of them are probably actually reasons he was so off but why did I feel the need to keep giving excuses to a friend that was obviously not even phased by his behavior?

Maybe because we want our friends and family to see the best of our kids.  We put so much hard work into teaching Will good behavior and good manners and we have so much fun with him every day - it was killing me that his one meeting with Lauren was going to be like this. 

Thankfully after he rested he was a lot more friendly and she had an opportunity to see a little bit of the Will we know and love. I'm sure Lauren was just happy to be here, spending time with us. It was probably more annoying for me to give an excuse every 5 minutes than it was for Will to cry to sit with me.

This phase ends soon right??


What does your guy want for Father's Day?

I reached out to the Dad's I know across the country and polled them on what they'd want for their special day and got some great responses.  At first I was feeling bad that I got started on this post so late as I wanted you to have time to shop...not to worry.  What they want, you don't need to buy...unless you want to hit Victoria Secret to spice it up. ;-)

Yup, you read that right...  I have to keep these anonymous but just as I did for Mother's Day, I'll share some of my favorites and then give you the list.  I do, however, need to change some of them to protect the innocent.  hahaha!

OK.. my top four favorites:
1. Sorry, but I'm going to take the 5th. 
2. My answer is x-rated
3. How clean do you want this?
4. A crazy night of good loving and a flat screen T.V.

Awesome.  Ladies, looks like you need to step up here.  haha!  OK, just kidding, but now you can certainly save on shipping costs.  Just grab a bottle of wine and..well...you know.  C'mon Father's Day comes once a year!  hee hee..

Enjoy reading through the guys responses!

1. I always want to spend some time with my kids and wife. After that, I would love a fishing trip with the guys. That would be fun.
2. A day at home with my family, where i can putz around my yard, and drink beers out back
3. A quiet day without a deadline to meet and nowhere I "had to be" at a particular time. Also, a pair of Spinners tickets and a new Red Sox shirt.
4.  I expect nothing and I'm not upset if I get nothing. However, I would be a liar if I said I would not be thrilled with a crazy night of good loving and a 46 inch LCD TV.
5. No presents.  Just a day without plans made by anyone else and a promise of no looks, sighs or guilt inducing comments/actions once I decide what I want to do or not do.
6. Golf in the morning, lunch/drinks with the boys after golf, Nap time on the couch with my daughter, A Filet Mingion on the grill with a caprese salad with a 05 Duckhorn Cabernet Savignon with the wife, and an outdoor fire with a fine cigar - after that it gets x rated



Sleeping Will...

I've always been obsessed with watching my 2 yr old sleep (best invention: video monitor) and sometimes he sleeps in the funniest positions.  I started taking pictures when I see it, flash (sorry buddy) and all.  Here are some classics..(I included some baby sleeping pictures too for fun)..

New baby Will

macho man

snuggle doggy

Yup..that's right.  Sneakers.  My friend was babysitting him and he cried that he wanted to wear his sneakers to bed.  She thought, "what's the harm in that?" and "Sarah is going to think this is hysterical." She was right.

Keeping Rex and Doggy warm

No description necessary


Some help getting your toddler to have their veggies

 Will used to eat whatever we put in front of him, it was great.  As he got older and he started to assert his independence at dinner.  It wasn't that he didn't LIKE the food, it was that he wouldn't even try it.  No rice, no pasta and green beans were the only veggies he'd try.  But he'll eat an organic veggie souffle?? Yup.  Oh, and if the pasta was in the shape that he liked, he'd eat that.

Point is I felt like he wasn't getting the veggies he needed in his diet and was worried that he was going to turn into a green bean; then a friend introduced me to Ella's Kitchen Veggie Pouches.  They're great and Will devours them.  They're a mix of vegetables and fruit blended with no other added ingredients to the consistency of applesauce. Some of the blends don't sound like they are appetizing at all but I've tried a taste of every one and they are good! You can find this brand at Target for around $1.80 per pouch but you can order them online, a pack of 7 for $12.80. 

They are also super convenient.  I keep a few in our diaper bag so when he needs a snack he can eat one and I can get him his fruit/veggie servings.  Also very easy to just hand it back to him while I'm driving.

You'll see this on the site:

Inside me you'll find:

  • NO added sugar, salt or water
  • NO additives or thickeners
  • NO E numbers or GM 
  • NO gluten, wheat, dairy or lactose 
  • NO lumps or bits and nothing artificial 
  • JUST yummy organic food for babies
  • Contains naturally occurring sugars


Chicken Enchiladas

I've mentioned in the past that I'm trying to use my cookbooks more often.  Recently I decided to make the Hungry Girl 1-2-3 Chicken Enchilada Casserole. I really like the Hungry Girl in general for light versions of my usual favorites! Check out her site www.hungry-girl.com

One thing you should know about me is that sometimes I can be completely anal and OCD and type A about things...and other times (mostly since I had a baby!) I'm super flightly and unorganized.  So, I started to make this recipe and for some reason  forgot it was a casserole.  I know..it's in the title, shut up.  So I put the canned chicken in the bowl and then dump the entire bag of vegetables in too.  Something strikes me at this point and I look back at the recipe and see that I was only supposed to use 2/3 cup of vegetables.  Then I started thinking about how a casserole didn't even sound that good to me.  I called a recipe audible and just made enchiladas with all the same ingredients. I mixed the ingredients and filled them into the tortillas and baked them at 350 for about 25 min. They were delicious and low cal!  My husband wished that I added more chicken but I liked them as is.
 Here is the original recipe:
  • 10 ounce can of 98% fat free chicken breas
  • 10.75 ounce can 98% fat free cream of celery condensed soup
  • 2/3 cup frozen mixed veggies
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • six 6″ corn tortillas
  • 1 cup shredded fat free cheddar cheese, divided
preheat oven to 350.
in a large bowl, combine chicken, soup, veggies and salsa.  mix well and set aside.
spray an 8 x 8 baking dish with non-stick spray.  break tortillas into pieces and layer half of them along the bottom of the dish.
top with half of your chicken mixture and spread evenly.  sprinkle 1/2 of your cheese on top.  lay remaining tortilla pieces on top, then the rest of your chicken mixture and the rest of your cheese.
bake for 35 minutes or until brown and crispy.
let cool a few minutes to allow sauce to thicken.
serves 4

PER SERVING (¼ of casserole):
260 calories, 4g fat, 1,166mg sodium, 27g carbs, 4g fiber, 3g sugars, 27.5g protein

Is it just me?

I have a crazy thing about toilet paper.  I'm not kidding.  I need it a certain way at all times...no, to a crazy extent.  Like if I'm in your bathroom and it's the "wrong" way - I change it.  I mean, not in a public bathroom or some random person's house (ok, maybe then) but NOT a public restroom.

Which way do you put your toilet paper? 

I'm an option B girl!  And funny enough..as I was looking for pictures of toilet paper (I'm just starting to realize how weird this post is. ha!) I found this....

....which clearly shows that I am right.  I'm just saying.