Corned Beef

I’ve had you boiled

I’ve had you smoked

I’ve had you slow cooked

But I like you best- baked

As an Irish American tradition, many people eat corned beef, cabbage, potatoes, and carrots, especially around/on St. Paddy’s.

Through the years, I’ve experimented in the different ways of cooking corned beef. Some people will tell you the only way to cook it is __________. Or that you must cook it fat side up. Or that the best cut is a flat cut vs. point cut. Are you using Guinness vs. water to cook it with? I’ve  experimented in curing my own corned beef and buying it already done too.

I’ve had flops and I’ve had hits.. . But what I Iike best, is gathering my family around the dinner table to enjoy tradition, love, and laughter. And when my corned beef turns out just right, and the luck of the Irish was with me, I am thankful for this meal and enjoy.

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Corned Beef

Santa Bunny

I’ve realized that the Easter Bunny has turned into something of a Santa in our house. This started because in the past, I decided to put minimal amounts of candy into my kids’ Easter baskets and instead fill them with other things like balls, bubbles, clothes, crayons, books, etc. I did that because I didn’t want my kids eating/receiving so much candy.  I don’t want to be the “wierd” mom and completely deprive my kids of  Easter candy,  but it’s against my overall view of health and wellness to give my kids candy that is unnatural in color and have ingredients that sound like a science experiment in them.

I thought it would be better to instead put stuff that they could do something with, use, or  be artistic with, in their baskets, rather than just junk food to eat.

My daughter is 3 1/2 but remembers last year’s Easter basket and all the cool stuff in it. And she’s really looking forward to it again this year. Recently, we were at Target and my daughter started telling me as we passed the Easter section,

“I’m going to ask the Easter Bunny for a My Little Pony.”

I said,  “Mila, the Easter Bunny isn’t Santa. You don’t request presents from him.”

A little puzzled, she agreed,  and we moved on.

But in the past weeks, she has continued to say things with a BIG SMILE like, “I hope the Easter Bunny gets me another Frozen book and a new necklace with a cupcake on it!”

My sweet girl.  She is so optimistic and happy. When in our lives are we so content looking forward to or possibly receiving, just a kids book and plastic necklace?

I want to bottle her up and keep her like this.  But I know talks are coming soon about being grateful for what we receive and her understanding she’s already got so much.

I didn’t mean to create a Santa Bunny. I certainly want to correct where I’ve steered wrong in my attempts to make our baskets better than just pounds of candy. It reminds me of how challenging parenting can be.  It always takes analysis to determine where we are driving and if that’s the direction we’ve intended to go.

Santa Bunny

Real Housewife of Oak Lawn

Last night I was watching Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. I know this show is not Emmy Award winning or that it will make me more intelligent, but man, it’s soapy and I love it.

It’s the one time a week (or two, if you count Atlanta Housewives) that I watch and have the television all to myself. Here’s what happens that night:

Kids are in bed-for now-check

Pajamas on-check

Enjoying my king size bed with down comforter ALL TO MYSELF- for now– check

Phone near me to discuss ridiculous scenes with friends on commercial-check

Husband almost always comes in and interrupts-check

When my husband comes in our room he always says the same thing. “This is on AGAIN!” (As if it’s not like any other show on TV with weekly episodes?)

The funny thing is a few minutes later, my husband will be semi-watching too. He’ll ask a question and reference Nene or Lisa Vanderpump- and that makes me laugh so much because he would lie or deny this to another person if they knew this about him.

Watching Real Housewives, I’m not looking for role models, inspiration, advice, or anything else when I’m tuning in. I’m simply looking to be entertained and take a peek inside the lives of the extravagant and the extravagantly dramatic women that make for good TV.

Real Housewife of Oak Lawn

Baby Teeth

My son is cutting 4 of his molars. It’s been a rough past couple of days.

I look into his mouth and they look like little snow capped mountains-the tooth just barely breaking through the surface. Poor little man is so uncomfortable. I mean, can we give this kid some Vicodin? Because seriously 1.875 ML of baby Advil isn’t doing it for him!

I have an amber teething necklace on him, given him homeopathic herbs and tinctures, icy teething toys, in addition to the Advil, but all he wants is his momma.

I am glad I can make him feel a little better just by holding him, but it is a little draining sometimes, I have to admit. Have you ever tried using the washroom while holding an 18 month old?

These are last of my son’s baby teeth to grow in. He’s getting less baby everyday and more toddler in everyway. I think when he is 15, there is no way he’ll want to cling to momma like this. So through his tooth pains, I try to love the moments we are cuddling and I’m holding him because this part of his babyhood will be over for good and all but a memory soon enough.

Baby Teeth

All’s well that ends well…

I am so happy that I finally got my SUV back after having a loaner for the past week. If you asked me 1 month ago, I thought this whole thing was going to be a debacle.

Superbowl Sunday in Chicagoland was a major snowstorm. That morning, I wanted to go to the store really quickly before the snow got worse later. As I’m sitting at a stop light, I hear and feel a THUD and I realize I’ve been rear ended.

The woman who rear ended me appears normal, apologizes, and we agree to move to a nearby parking lot. Meanwhile, I call police so they can make a report.

When we get to the parking lot, we both get out of our cars and then-

Woman: Did you call police?

Me: Yes, I’m pretty sure I’ve got some moderate damage. I’ll need a report.

Woman: Well, do we have to get the police involved?

Me: Ummm yes. I need something on the record.

Woman: Well, I should’ve mentioned my drivers license is suspended. I’m afraid if the police come that they will arrest me AND I just got of out jail a few weeks ago AND I’m pregnant so I don’t want to go through that again. I promise I do have insurance though. Let me look for the card- it’s through E-ssurance…

Me: (I say nothing-heart is beating fast-thoughts are: I’m screwed. Couldn’t I have been rear-ended by like a 75 year old woman with her life together that has Allstate? Also, why is this woman telling me about her jail time etc)

Woman: I’m sorry. I know this all sounds crazy. I’m trying to get my life together. I was on my way to pick up my daughter. I’m trying to do the best I can, but I need to drive or I can’t make it to work or to get my daughter.

Me: (Still quiet: Now I want to cry. I imagine this woman has a lot of problems, but then I imagine she is me. She is a mother. She has a child to care for. She’s around my age. She looks put together. Her car is decent, she is well spoken. We are in Oak Lawn, close to my home, maybe hers. It makes me sad. I think that even though we are similar, we are so different. What happened to her life that she’s been in jail?) All these thoughts in 10 seconds running through my mind…

Woman: Here’s my card

Me: I feel bad for your situation. How do you have insurance though, if your license is suspended?

Woman: It’s valid. PLEASE can we just settle this without police?

Me: I’m not sure. They’ve already been called. I know what you’re telling me is what you claim to be true-but what if it’s not?What if I leave here and find out there is a problem with your insurance? What if I have to pay for this? I can’t just throw $500 out the window to pay a deductible and go through my insurance.

Woman: Okay, well would you let me say that my friend was driving my car instead?

Me: Thinking  (What???? Uggghhhhh. This is getting crazy- I am not sure I can do that. I don’t want to get in trouble for this. I don’t want to get taken. I am having a crisis of conscience here-help her or is she just running a scam here…)

Woman: My friend is coming- I can still use my insurance. I will just say I was in the passenger seat.

Me: I guess I’ll go along with this. I am uncomfortable but I am giving you the benefit of the doubt. Please be truthful, or you will ruin my willingness to help others in the future.

Woman’s friend arrives…

5 minutes later police arrive…

We all go along with the friend- as- the- driver story. I am a little scared I am breaking a law-which one I don’t know-by doing this. I am concerned that this is going to be when my compassion gets taken for a ride.

Police leave and the woman thanks me. I tell her she’ll make me lose a little faith in humanity if her insurance is fraudulent or some other issue.

I leave realizing that if she went to jail, it wouldn’t change her insurance. She either had it or didn’t have it. If she went to jail I’d still pursue her insurance for repairs and if she didn’t go to jail I’d still pursue her insurance for repairs.  If she got arrested it’d mean no change for me. It would have meant a major difference for her. Was it up to me to uphold the law and report her or was it up to me to believe her trying to straighten up, try to understand her, and maybe give her a break-for today.

Well, I’m happy to report my car got fixed-everything was legit. I know I went out on a limb with her, but I’m okay with that. I’m happy I did what I did. We all need a break sometimes, someone to believe in us even when we don’t expect or maybe deserve it.

All’s well that ends well…