Monday, April 23, 2012

Fresh Direct House Party

 I was lucky to be chosen as a House Party host for Fresh Direct.  I was really excited to do this for a number of reasons.  I love to cook for my family and friends and I like to explore ways to make my life easier.

I was given a set amount of money I could spend online at Fresh Direct, plus favors for the guests: recipes, reusable shopping bags and note pads, a coupon for Fresh Direct.  My original plan was to have a party at my house this past Saturday.  When I realized that the only people who could attend on this weekend were my co-worker friends, I decided to bring the party to them!

I ordered my groceries Friday evening from the comfort of my couch and they arrived promptly Sunday morning within my selected delivery time.  I was able to get a LOT of groceries for the amount of money spent.  The produce was super fresh and the meats looked great!  For ground beef lovers, they carry Pat La Frieda meats.  Vin said the hamburgers I made Sunday night were the best ever, and he is a better judge than I!

3 of the 4 boxes
Beautiful produce

 Sunday afternoon I prepped a few things, made a couple others and baked yummy Butterscotch Bonanza Bars.  I packed everything in the boxes that my groceries came in and Vin carried them to the car for me Monday morning.  I had kindergarten lunch duty today so afterward I went back to my office and set up.  It was easy enough since I had prepped yesterday.  My friends came in and I explained what House Party was and how EASY Fresh Direct was.  We then all made our own sandwiches so they got exactly what they wanted while I was on panini duty.  Unfortunately my griddler stopped working in the first outlet and I ended up having to move it.  That is to be expected in our building, but I feel like I owe the first few people new paninis so they can see what they are really supposed to taste like!

My friends at work come from all backgrounds and some of us are moms and some are not.  The one thing we all are is busy, especially at this time of the year.  I think we all appreciate the ease of shopping at home and having it delivered to you.  An added bonus?  Fresh Direct has a plethora of healthy choices available, even in the prepared foods section.

I really hope that everyone enjoyed their lunch and had fun!  I know I did!

Lunch Meeting Menu
Stacy's pita chips with Fresh Direct Cucumber yogurt dip

Fresh Direct Chicken salad with artichokes and feta
with romaine lettuce, red onion and cucumber yogurt dip on whole wheat pitas

Paninis made with Fresh Direct grilled artichokes, tomatoes, and peppers with shaved parmesan reggiano cheese

Green Goddess Rice

Butterscotch Bonanza Bars (originally from a book I read)

Saturday, April 14, 2012

My daughter and her chubbalicious thighs

Even before I became a mom I was aware of how a mother's actions and words can affect her daughter's own self image.  As a preschool teacher I encountered many a young girl who thought she was fat, when really she was just how she should be.  Young girls have soft, pudgy-ish bodies.  Even when they are lean, they have soft bellies and thighs.  They are squishy and cuddly and perfect.

I was heartbroken to hear a young student of mine say how big her belly was as she grabbed it and complained that her thighs touched.  When I later spoke to her mom about what I witnessed, she cringed as she realized that her 4 year-old was mimicking what she herself has done in the young girl's presence.  All you have to do is google "mothers and daughters and body image" and you will see numerous articles on this very subject.

So here is the thing, as a grown woman who has more belly fat than I would like at this time, I am so tempted to do that very thing.  There are times when I am getting dressed and I am so frustrated at myself for not losing the weight already that I want to rant about it.  Out loud, very loudly, not silently.  But Lilly is usually right there next to me, my little shadow that she is, and so I tell myself to shut the hell up.  It is a little inner argument I have with myself.

I can totally picture it:  I grab my belly/thighs/arms and say, "Ugh, why is my (insert body part) so big?  Why can't I stick to a diet?  This just looks gross in this dress/shirt/pants."  Lilly overhears me and looks down at her belly/thighs/arms.  She sees how her belly sticks out a bit or notices that her thighs jiggle as she jumps up and down like a lunatic to the Fresh Beat Band.  She starts to wonder if maybe her belly is too big...

Research backs this up:
Throughout the daughter's childhood, Fuerstein says, mother and daughter become like mirrors for each other's sense of self. The daughter, in particular, tries to fit into her mother's view of her. In a family with several sisters, for example, one daughter is often seen as the responsible sister while another is the popular sister. At the same time, the daughter is influenced by her mother's own self-image. This last is called modeling, Fuerstein says. When mothers have a realistic self-image, the modeling is healthy. But mothers who are unhappy with some feature of their body or personality can produce daughters who see themselves through the same distorted mirror. For example, mothers who constantly talk about how fat they are are more likely to produce daughters who feel fat as well—even if neither is overweight. - Laura Arens Fuerstein to write "My Mother, My Mirror" (New Harbinger, 2009)

How can Lilly know that her chubbiness is the most beautiful thing in the world to me?  I am still amazed, 4 years later, that we made that skin, that my milk nourished her body for so long.  I tell her all the time how beautiful she is.  I squeeze her and kiss her and rub lotion in to keep her skin as soft as it should be.  I tell her how much I love her thighs, belly, heinie, face, feet, hands...I tell her how smart she is and proud I am of her when she overcomes her own little struggles.  I do not want there to be any confusion in her mind that she is a beautiful girl, no matter what she weighs and looks like.  I do not want Lilly to ever think or feel "less than" because her thighs touch or she does not have a flat belly.  Deep down inside I am trying to convince myself that I am beautiful even with jiggly thighs and a big belly; that I deserve to love myself.  But until that happens, until I know how beautiful I really I am, I will fake it.  Fake it till you make it is an old saying I have heard many times.  I will fake it so that Lilly can make it.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter Renewal

Homemade carrot cake
This year we celebrated Easter twice.  We spent "PrEaster" at my in-laws in the Poconos and Easter Sunday at my parents.  Lilly was amazing at Mass and Blue was amazing both at my in-laws and at my mom's.

For the usual holiday weekend illness, Lilly's allergies were very bad, making me question whether it was allergies or illness.  Claritin cleared it up so I am sticking with allergies.  (We have a bad habit of spending holidays in the ER.)  For the mandatory craziness, our kitchen sink faucet started spraying water all over the place, necessitating that we turn the water off under the sink.  It just adds a new dimension to cooking and baking.  :)

Though I may not be as regular a church goer as I used to be, or maybe even as I would like to be, I do believe that Easter is a time of renewal and hope.  When I was in church yesterday I prayed not only for God's blessings, but for my heart and soul to be open to all that God has in store for me and my family.  This year has been a tough one, but through our challenges we can and have experienced growth.  I really  felt very strongly for the first time in a long time that God has something wonderful planned for us in the coming year.

I know this may sound a little pie-in-the-sky, but I do believe that fear can hold you back from receiving the blessings that God is ready to bestow on you.  Fear is a very powerful emotion that is often a good thing: parents need to have a healthy fear in order to keep their children safe; children should have a fear of the street; my fear of being late to work makes me get out of bed.  But fear unchecked can inhibit you, hold you back.  I have been becoming more and more aware of what my personal fears are and how they might be holding me back.  Add to that the overwhelming feeling I had at Mass yesterday to shed my fears, and I really felt true renewal of hope.

I hope everyone was able to experience their own renewal of hope on this beautiful weekend.  


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

It's (not) my party and I'll cry if I want to...

Sometimes I have a lot on my mind about which I would love to blog.  But then I remember that I can be an over-sharer.  (ahem, last Friday evening....sorry girls.)  I also remember that people actually read this sometimes, for which I am grateful, but makes writing everything that pops into my head a bad idea.

Here is a subject that I tossed around in my head for a bit, wondering if I should write about it or not.  By default (too many other taboo topics) it won.  Hooray!  Let's talk about birthday parties.  I love a good birthday party.  Growing up we had great birthday parties.  Epic even.  They were at home, the food and cake was homemade and we gave out goody bags containing hard tootsie rolls and impossible to do plastic maze things in which the tiny metal ball could not get into the only partially punched out hole.  And by we, I mean my generation, not necessarily my family, though we had some great ones.

We are in a season of birthdays right now and I have never felt more inferior than I have about these darn parties.  Seriously, they are beautiful and fun and I wish I could throw one for Lilly.  She was in heaven at the last one at Parteaz.  They make me a little sad and a little upset that I cannot do something similar.

Or am I?  I have had 3 birthday parties for Lilly, all at home, but all much bigger than originally conceptualized. Truthfully, we cannot afford an expensive birthday party this year.  Also, throwing birthday parties at my house make me super stressed out.  I spend more money than planned, boss everyone around and I sweat like crazy.  Not an attractive look, let me tell you.  And, for instance, if I threw a tea party at this place, I would still have to host a family birthday party.

And in case you did not know, Lilly's birthday is May 7th, mine is May 9th and Mother's Day generally falls somewhere around there too.  Yeah, crazy.  In fact for the first two years/birthday parties, they were held on my birthday and then Mother's Day was the next day.  At first I didn't really mind, who needs birthdays anyway.  But the older I get the more I think I should celebrate my birthday.  I am going to be 37 dammit! Get me a freaking buttercream cake!  Or any other cake from Natale's Bakery.

Here is my plan for this year:  See the in-laws in PA at their house to celebrate Lilly's birthday and Mother's Day at some point on some weekend.  (After my father-in-law's recent illness, I think it is easiest for him.)  See my family, most of who live much closer, on another day and have pizza and cake.  Bring cupcakes and maybe goodie bags to school - always fun times.  And the weekend before her birthday we are going to spend some time with her 2 BFFs who happen to be brother and sister.  We will do a playdate thing together, dads included, and have a great time.  Less money, less stress, but more good times.  We have many years of birthdays ahead of us when I will be able to spend lots of money that I will then have. And we will thoroughly enjoy the beautiful parties to which we are invited! But oh, what a beautiful fairy princess my Lilly makes...
Lilly and the birthday princess

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