Sunday, August 24, 2014

I Respectfully Decline

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The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. I knew I would be nominated eventually. Ice buckets have spread like wildfire in the social media sites. I understand what and why people are doing this for ALS and I respect it, I really do. I also must respectfully decline to participate. I am in no way trying to be a party pooper or unsupportive. Please allow me to explain.

I volunteer all year for causes close to my heart and my world. I help my family whenever I can. I volunteer at my childrens' schools and in the community as often as my life allows me to. I bake cookies for The Aliveness Project during their Holiday Basket Program, upwards of sixty dozen each year. I hold a food drive at my home each November. I have also recently taken on a project for an amazing local couple that I am friends with who just had their ten year old daughter diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. Any money that I have to spare, which is not very much as a family of seven on one income, at this time will be focused on preparing meals for them as a family and organizing a fundraising charity event for them in the very near future. I am at my limit of what I can do.

If you or someone you know has or is battled/battling ALS, I am so very sorry and I wish you the best from the bottom of my heart. I am glad someone has shed more light in recent days on your struggles and that you are finally getting the attention you deserve. I just can't help you right now. My plate is full and I am tapped. I hope you understand.

I don't even know if anyone will read this but I have one more thing I would like to say. Look around your life, your community, your personal world. Not just today when a cause is thrust in your face and smothered across the interwebs. Look every single day. You may know someone or have a friend of a friend, a co-worker or even a neighbor that could use your help too. Not just at Christmas time or around other major holidays. There are people, families and organizations out there that could use a little help all year long. Find something or someone that truly means something to you and see how you can help. It doesn't take much and your efforts would really go a long way. I am not telling you all of the things that I do during the year to brag or to toot my own horn. I am purely giving you an example of how you too could make a real difference all year long. And it is so easy. I guarantee that someone out there is waiting for you. Just look. Don't wait for a challenge. Challenge yourself.

So, thank you for the nomination but I hope you understand why I must decline. Peace and Love to you and yours.

Monday, August 18, 2014

10 Things I Want My Teenaged Son to Know Now That He is Dating

My first born, my oldest son, soon to be sixteen, officially has his first real girlfriend. I got this. I have been mentally preparing myself for this for most of his life. Otherwise, I might just have been a wreck. I know deep down in my heart that I have raised a good boy, a good person...a really good man. But, I am a mother to the core so now that the time is in the here and now, of course I have some last words of wisdom for him as I send him out into the world for his next chapter of life. These words are for him.

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Remember the Little People

New love. Young love. So easy you will fall. Into it. Deep into it. Just remember that there are still other people in your life that need you and love you. Balance the times with your girlfriend and with the rest of your family and friends as best you can. You will not be able to spend every single day with her and that needs to be okay, with both of you. Time apart will be good for you both and the relationships you already had in place need to be nourished and cherished too. You will still have school and homework, sports and other extracurriculars, mutual and different friends. Perhaps a job soon, too? Be balanced.

Don't Forget Who You Are

Stay true to who you are. You are good and you are decent. Do not try to change for someone else ever. Do not allow someone to cause you self doubt. You will both have things in common and other things that are not. It is okay to not enjoy all of the same things together. That is what everyone else in your life is for. Share your time and your interests with many and all of your relationships will flourish while not losing yourself in the process. Be you.

Your Happiness Matters Too

You get to be happy too. Your gut reactions will be to make decisions based on her: what she thinks, what she is doing, who her friends are, what they will think and say. It may feel like it at times but please remember that she is not the Sun and you are not the Earth that revolves around her. Do what makes you happy and continue to do so. Maybe you like adventure movies and she likes romantic comedies? Take turns choosing what to see. Be happy.

Don't Feed the Drama

I was in high school and I remember all too well what it was like. Sometimes the Drama Monster rears it's ugly head. Do not feed that monster. That monster will eat you alive given the chance. Focus on what is important and real. What you can and cannot control. Who you do or do not trust. Remember what you value and hold onto those things. If someone truly cares about you they will not drag you unwillingly into the clutches of the Monster. Be strong.

Don't Be a Creep

This one goes both ways really. Do not try to control her or change her. When you speak to her do so with kindness and compassion. Don't go through her phone or stalk her Facebook profile. Without trust in each other you have nothing. Trust her to talk to other guys and have guy friends. Feel secure with your place in her life. Never lay a hand on her in anger, no matter how frustrating teen aged girls can be at times. Be in control of your actions and your words. No means no and patience is a virtue. Be virtuous.

Stand Out

Anyone can do dinner and a movie and sometimes it's the perfect date. But, sometimes you can do better than that. Stand out and apart from the other guys. Have fun and try new things together. A picnic in the park or laser tag? A hike in the woods or a day at the water park? Cook her dinner all by yourself. You are young and this is your time to have fun and be silly. Life is short and grown up responsibilities will sneak up on you in a flash. Enjoy your youth. Be creative.

Chivalry is Not Dead

It's 2014, I know. Times have changed more than I can say but that doesn't mean old school is a bad thing. Bring her flowers and open doors for her. Carry her books and borrow her your jacket when she gets cold. Rub her feet and hold her hand. She can be as independent as she wants to be but a little love, attention and care from the guy she's into will mean a whole lot. Be that guy.

It Might Not Last

No teen wants to hear this, I am aware. I was there once upon a time. But it is the truth just the same. You may get your heart broken. This may actually happen many times and it is completely and totally normal. Yes, some first loves make it and live happily ever after and that is sweet and special in it's own way but most likely there will be many girlfriends and loves throughout your life. Each will be it's own thing and teach you new things about yourself. Your heart will break and become well again, with time. I will be here for you each and every time with a dry shoulder to cry on, a Hershey Bar in hand and an open mind. You will probably get your heart broken. Beware.

Love Your Future Children

And my future grandchildren, to be frank. We've had the talks. I have been preparing you for years. You are a good boy and I know it in my heart. But, love is blind and sometimes all consuming. Remember these words. I prefer you abstain from sex. I am not saying abstain until marriage because sex is too important in a marriage to not be sure. But before you go there you need to be pretty darn sure that she is the one for you. Birth control, and contraception in general, are not 100% effective. Think of the life you wish to give your future children. Think of the life you wish to lead. Think of the girl you love and whether or not you would trust her explicitly to raise your children with all of your same values, principals and wishes. If you have any doubts, I beg of you, do not have sex with her. There are soooo many other things you two could do besides real sex. Protect, respect and love the children you will have someday. By being responsible in this way you are already one step ahead in the game of parenting. And if you absolutely can not wait, trust me to listen, understand and send you out the door with what you need to do things safely. Be prepared.

Someday, Someone WILL Love You More Than I Do

I have always heard the opposite but I do not agree. Some say that no one will ever love you as much as your own mother. For you I hope differently. I adore you. You are everything to me. I am proud of you. I live my life for you and your four younger siblings. But, someday you will find the one. I hope for you all of the love and happiness a guy could have. Someday you will leave home and some other day you will make a home with someone else. You should be so lucky to have the love and adoration of an amazing woman and wife. A blessed life. A true partner forever. I hope she loves you more than I do. Be loved.



Monday, August 11, 2014

Toddlers & Soup

I enjoy making different kinds of homemade soups and stews. With Fall right around the corner I already find myself making them more often. But when it comes to feeding my twin toddlers soups and stews it can get quite messy. I do not enjoy messy all that much. So, I have a new system now and I thought I would share.

From Scratch Chicken Noodle Soup

It's all about the butts. Bread butts that is. Often times, when I make soups, I make a loaf of bread to go along with it. Sometimes it's cheater loaves (frozen and baked), sometimes it's homemade bread and other times it is just butts from the loaf of bread in the cabinet. Any way you slice it, save those butts for the toddlers if you can.

Cheater loaf of White Bread

Ladle the soup, stew, chili or what have you onto a bread butt (or thick slice of bread). The broth will soak right into the bread and the noodles, veggies and meats will all be on top. This is a very easy way to get the little ones to eat their soups. Much less mess and no need to make them an alternative case that's what you do. Hee hee. My boys like this kind of meal very much.

Hope you have found this tip useful! Have a Happy Monday!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

What's That?

What's that? To the right of the screen. Is that an ad on my blog? Why yes. Yes it is.

I have been blogging for two and a half years now. I have not allowed ads on my blog, until now. For a few reasons:

1. I do not like clutter. I am a neat freak and this is not something that a mother who has five children, a husband and three pets in the home can usually control. But my blog...well, the blog is all mine. I can keep it as neat, tidy and clutter free as my heart desires.

2. I have visited many other blogs, mom blogs in particular, and have noticed that some of them are completely overrun by ads and links and the like. The screen just gets too "busy". I understand it but at the same time I want my blog to be more about the actual content than the ads. I want my readers to come here, feel at ease and not be bombarded with so much in-your-face advertising.

3. I have done my research. I have looked into ads over the years and hadn't found one yet that I could really stand behind. I was contacted via email by The Bouqs Co. earlier this week and before responding, I had to look them up and see what they were all about. I liked what I saw. A lot.

Image from The Bouqs Co. website. Their "Confetti" bouquet

So, who is The Bouqs Co.? An online flower shop! I know, I know, there are tons of flower shops. So why The Bouqs? Firstly, they are sooooo reasonably priced. When I was still a working gal, one of my duties was to order and send flowers whenever an employee had a baby, retired, lost a family member and so on. On average, a decent bouquet cost anywhere from $45 to $70 or even more, not including delivery fees. At The Bouqs a standard bouquet, as seen in the picture above, is $40 and includes free shipping if you have an account. An account just means you sign in with your email address and password. Pretty harmless, right?

What makes The Bouqs flowers different?

Like I said, this is something I can get behind. I absolutely love receiving fresh flowers. It is one of my favorite gifts and I actually don't get them very often. I will be receiving one free "Confetti" bouquet delivered to me this Friday and I am so excited to see them in person. If they are anything compared to the pictures and reviews I have seen and read then I know I am in for a real treat. I will be taking pictures and doing a review of my own after I receive them and I am looking forward to it very much.

So, what does this mean for you? Well, that depends. If you also like what you see here then I will ask a favor. Next time you need or want to send someone amazingly beautiful eco-friendly flowers, please come here to my blog and click on the ad. Easy as that. Bookmark this post if you would like it to be even easier and I would appreciate it very much.

Thank you to The Bouqs Co. for trusting me to represent your product. I am looking forward to this project!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Some Days...

Some days...they really try my patience. I try not to loose my cool. I take deep breathes. I step away for a moment. I redirect their energy. I talk in a sing-song happy voice. I do it all. Sometimes I snap.

I raise my voice. I might slap a hand if there is danger. I put on my angry face. Sometimes they persist. Sometimes it feels like there is nothing more I can make them happy. To make them get along. To make them stop the high pitched incessant screaming. Timeouts be damned.

So, I take them to their room. Mommy needs a break. They need a break. My brain needs a break.

Suddenly, I begin to bake cookies. It will make them happy. It will make me happy. And if they aren't...then I'll know it's not me. 'Cuz what kid doesn't like some freshly baked cookies?! At that point, what more could I possibly do? And at least then there will be cookies.

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Thursday, August 7, 2014

Julie & Julia: Narcissism With a Slice of Humble Pie

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The movie Julie & Julia is one of the reasons I started blogging. I watched it for the first time the summer before I began writing my blog and it resonated with me in a big way. I watch it over every now and again because I love the way it makes me feel and also to refresh my memory on why I began this writing journey in the first place. If you have been here with me from the beginning, you may remember that writing was one of my Tangerine Dreams. One of the things I loved to do but never carved the time out for myself to really do it or have the confidence that my words would not be complete rubbish. Life gets hairy every once in a while and I unwillingly step away from the blog for a bit and when I do I miss it terribly. I do understand this is just how life works sometimes, though. It seems that life is beginning to cooperate more nowadays and I am excited for the possibilities. If you are a new reader, I want to give you a heart felt welcome and also say that I hope what you read here makes you want to stick with me and keep coming back for more.

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For Julie, in the movie, she takes on a specific project with her blog, deciding to cook every single recipe from Julia Child's cook book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, in one years time. The movie tells parallel stories, bouncing back and forth between Julie and Julia's lives lived many years apart. This is all based on Julie's real life journey and I absolutley loved the whole concept very much. She goes though her ups and downs, her trials and tribulations. Finding out about herself and her relationships all along the way while finally feeling proud of something she had done and actually saw through until the end. It was beautiful and inspiring. This story will stick with me forever.

When I wrote my first couple of posts years ago I did not really think anyone would read them. You know, besides my Mom or my besties and so on. I was doing it for me and that felt really  good. I rarely did things for myself. I mean, come on, I'm a mom. If you are a parent you can relate wholeheartedly, I am sure. Everything I did was for them. This is not always a bad thing but if you let it go on for too long, like me, you might start to feel pieces of yourself slipping away. This blog was exactly what I needed to start bringing the real Ginny back to life. Now here we are.

Blogging does seem to embrace a level of narcissism. Putting yourself out into the world, sharing the nitty gritty details at times. I am not always sure how I feel about this. I do my best to not come across as shallow or feel like I am bragging, ever. I try to keep my writing as close and as true to real life as I possibly can. I do my best to incorporate the goods and the bads. I have always been a caretaker by nature and I feel that my blog helps me express this to anyone who decides to drop by, even if only for a while. I guess only you can be the judge on whether I am getting it right, in that respect. When I write, I think a long time about my words. I make sure that I say what I mean and that I mean what I say. I don't want to misrepresent myself in any way.

When I share something with you on my blog it will only be for a handful of reasons. Writing out my thoughts allows me to work through some things in my life. Sometimes it allows me to put certain things into perspective or helps me to cope with something difficult or trying. Other times I write because I know that I am not alone. There are millions of people in the world just like me and maybe by sharing something here I can help them in some minuscule way. Just maybe. Lastly, sometimes I write about doing things that I really just love to do. I enjoy being a mother with my entire being. I cook and bake. I sing and play a little guitar. I dabble in the arts, making and creating different kinds of things. And, I love planning and hosting events for my five children and extremely extended family. These things are my happy place and this blog was all about helping me find the happy places that were pushed under the rug in my measly attempts to be a Super Mom. What I have discovered so far is that you can't be a Super Mom if you are not completely happy and true to yourself. For me this is a constant work in progress but I am getting there.

So, to all of you new readers, that is what I am about. This is why I started and how I got here, so far. I hope you enjoy your time with me and I look forward to the journey ahead. Thanks for stopping by and please come again.

** Here are some other posts you might enjoy...

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Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Best Ever Coleslaw Recipe

I am kind of a snob when it comes to coleslaw. I hate everyone else's coleslaw but mine. Well, when I say "mine" I mean the coleslaw I was raised on. My Grandmother (rest in peace) made it for my Dad when he was little and he, in turn, made it for us. It is my favorite coleslaw EVER and everyone who eats it here, loves it too.

The great thing about coleslaw is that it goes with so many different foods. If you are looking for that perfect yet simple side dish for dinner or a potluck, look no further. This may turn out to be your go to food.

Best Ever Coleslaw Recipe


1   16 oz bag tri-color coleslaw (or you can shred your own head of cabbage, green, red or both)
1 - 1 1/2  cups mayonnaise
3/4   cup sugar
3 Tbsps   cider vinegar

1. Place the slaw into a large bowl, preferably one with a lid.

2. Add the mayo, sugar and vinegar. Mix very well.

3. Taste it to see if you would like more mayo, sugar or vinegar. Add some if you do, little by little.

4. You can eat it right away but I prefer to cover it and place it in the fridge for at least 15 minutes or so, sometimes longer. It will get a little soupier and the flavors will incorporate better. Give it a good stir just before serving.

I make sure to use it up within a day or two, keeping it refrigerated in the meantime. If you like onions, try adding a small amount of finely chopped white or red onions. It's pretty darn good that way, too. Gives a nice little bite to it.

Happy eating! Let me know if you give it a try.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Fresh Salsa Recipe

Mexican food and I are BFFs. I can't get enough and the more authentic, the better. I probably cook something Latin themed once a week; be it tacos, nachos, enchilada lasagna or what have you. Tortilla chips and salsa have been a staple in my home for at least twelve years. My second job, as a teen ages ago, was at a local Mexican restaurante that is no longer with us, Chi-Chi's. Not authentic really, more Tex-Mex style, but that doesn't bother me. I am an equal opportunity enjoyer of foods originating South of the border.

So, let's talk salsa. We were going through a ton of salsa, buying it every time I went to the grocery store. My husband and I decided to try making our own and it turned out delicious. We never buy jarred anymore. If there is a jar of salsa in my home, someone else brought it over. The homemade stuff is just too good, has no preservatives and we feel is slightly more cost effective. We took what we knew about salsas and combined it with with my experience from watching salsa being prepped at Chi-Chi's and this is what we came up with.

Fresh Salsa Recipe


1   10 - 14.5 oz. can of diced tomatoes with green chilies
3 - 4   Roma tomatoes (or tomatoes of your choice)
1 - 2   medium onion(s)...We usually have yellow onions around but white or red would be tasty               too.
1/3 - 1/2   of a bunch of green onion
1/4 cup   chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 - 1/2 cup   sliced jalapenos, depending on how spicy you like your salsa (I used jarred jalapenos                       but you could use fresh ones, making sure to remove the stem, seeds and veins.)
1 Tbsp.   sea salt
2 Tbsp.   minced garlic

1. Pour the can of diced tomatoes into the blender.

2. Quarter the tomatoes and onions and add them to the blender along with all of the other fresh ingredients. I layer mine just a little.

3. Add the jalapenos, garlic and salt.

4. Blending speed will be up to you. Some people like their salsa chunkier and some like it soupier (That's a word, right?) I personally prefer mine a little chunkier so I use the pulse blending feature in order to have more control. I watch to make sure the veggies are getting pulled down into the blades. If they are not, I take the pitcher off the motor and give it a couple good shakes to mix the liquid and the veggies better and then pulse blend again until it is the consistency I like.

5. Now dip a chip in it and see what you think. Mmm. Good, huh?

That is basically it. I pour mine directly into an airtight container. You can keep this salsa in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Although, you may not have any left by then. (Insert wink here.)

You may have noticed something about my recipes, which are a new addition to my blog. To me, cooking is playing. I understand that when you are baking something it is important to stick to specific amounts of ingredients, like baking soda and such because some of those ingredients have very specific jobs or cause needed reactions that are imperative to having a cake, or what have you, turn out just right. When you are cooking, there is much more room for playing or improvisation. This is where cooking gets fun!

I won't always give you strict guidelines and amounts for ingredients. Only you will now if your family loves more cheese or more sauce or less green peppers. Cooking doesn't have to be hard. Recipes aren't the end all or be all of the food world. Get into the kitchen and play. You might just be pleasantly surprised at what you can come up with. And if it doesn't turn out any good...order a pizza and try again tomorrow ;-)

Love, hugs and other good stuff.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Easy Peasy Mini Pizzas Recipe

MY KIDS LOVE PIZZA!!! My Mom used to make us these mini pizzas when my five brothers and I were kids and I have been making them for mine since they could chew. This is one of the easiest dinners I make for them and goodness knows I love easy!

You can play with the ingredients for this recipe to make your family happy. Topping choices are endless and only you will know which veggies and meats your child(ren) will eat. Make the pizzas your own and have fun with it. Your kids would probably love to help you out in the kitchen, too.

Easy Peasy Mini Pizzas Recipe

Preheat oven to 350°


1  pack of English muffins (6 count)...I really like the Sourdough ones but any will do.
1  14 oz. can or jar of pizza sauce
12 - 18 ozs.  shredded cheese of your choice
Any toppings you choose (optional)

** Note: If you are using meat, cook it up before hand. For example: ground beef, grilled chicken, Italian sausage, etc. If I am using ground beef, I brown one pound and season it to taste, sometimes adding minced garlic or diced onions, oregano and so on. Whatever I fancy that particular evening.

1. Open all of the English muffins and lay flat on a baking sheet, 12 pizzas total.

2. Spoon sauce evenly onto each English muffin.

3. If you are using any meats or veggies, add them now :-)

4. Pile 2 - 3 tablespoons of shredded cheese onto each pizza.

5. Bake in the oven for @ 10 - 15 minutes or until cheese is melted.

So easy! Sometimes I like to do a BBQ chicken version. Instead of pizza sauce you can use BBQ sauce. Add grilled chicken and garnish them with chopped cilantro and red onions. It is amazing!

Have fun in the kitchen with this one and please feel free to comment or share with me when you do! Peace.