I guess we should go away

ACT 1 Anxiety sets in, cue Clark Griswold

Scene 1: Friend: We should take the kids to New Hampshire one weekend this summer.

Me: Yeah that would be fun! (Inside me: OMG, this can go really bad or very good, no telling. My friend is going to hate us.)

Me and Friend make plans to drive up to New Hampshire with our families and enjoy the great outdoors, get away from it all.

Scene 2: Cringe. Leaving the dog with a dog sitter I never met before. She was not very rainbows and sparkles. Kids are crying, they have that gut feeling he is going to doggie heaven. You know what they say about kids, they have very good intuitions when something doesn’t seem right. Me driving away trying to calm them down, meanwhile my inner self is, “Bitch, I better get my dog back in the condition we left him in.”

Scene 3: Mentally prepping for the 4 hour ride.

Scene 4: Stop at the first liqour store once we cross the border. Fast forward $239 later, we are good shape for a while.

Scene 5: Are we there yet?

Scene 6: Destination reached, lunch served. Outdoor dining was beautiful, but surrounded by a plethora of flowers. Guess who loves flowers? BEES. Guess who hates bees? KIDS. Multiple scenes made in the restuarant by kids jumping at the pure sight of a bee, but the 2 glasses of pinot I drank helped make it less deafening for me. Maybe not for the poor patrons around us. Who the hell needs all those flowers outside in the dining area? Seriously!

Scene 7: Stop at a candy store. Spent $30 on gummies and shit I could have bought at the dollar store for less than $5. It’s the experience right? But those red licorice shoeslaces, OMG! I haven’t had those since I was a kid.

$30 gummie worms

Scene 8: Stop at a local swimming creek, scouting for bears and googling what to do in case we get charged at. Water was refreshing, one kid almost got swept away, rescue mission successful. Thanks to my husband, 2 kids saved and someone’s croc. Enter scene: Rain. Big drops of rain. Mountain rain. Kids were okay with it though. I mean they were already wet. Mom, dad, and friends stand under a tree covering ourselves with towels while the kids enjoy themselves. Walk back to the car soaked.

Scene 9: Hotel. Mix up with the reservations. Slight moment there when we thought we had to rough it in the car because “There’s no more rooms in the valley” according to our ever so curteous desk clerk. Luckily it was straighted out and we got the “last room” available supposedly.

ACT 2 Note: In all scenes and in between, we are wearing masks and trying to stay far away from others, hoping not to bring The Rona back home. Masks in 90 degree weather.

Scene 10: Next day head up to Cranmore Mountain Adventure Park. $29 a person. As I prdicted, the 8 year old chickened out on every ride. The rides were not scary at all, I mean 4 year olds went on them. My kid however is afraid of her own shadow. Imagine what it was like taking her to Disney last year and loosing multiple Fast Passes because of her. Good times. Thank God Disney was so accomodating.

Scene 11: After enjoying the adventure park, we continue to the ski lift which takes you up the mountain for a scenic view and there’s alcohol up there! The 8 year old proceeds to scream and run away from me as I try to force her on. Not even ice cream could entice her. People are staring, wondering if I am her mom or her kidnapper. I yell, “You have no choice!” Friend continues to make that the quote of the weekend.

Pissed and worried about the ride down.

Scene 12: Another swimming creek. Enjoying my kids making memories with their friends. The whole time I’m thinking, I never got to do this when I was a kid. Happy moment and grateful they get to have this experience. Because parenting is about giving your kids the experiences you never had, right?

Scene 13: Next day, planned on visiting the outlets to do a little shopping, maybe some “mom time”. Nope. Can’t shop in peace. Cue the kids, “Can we go to another store?” So I bring them to the stores of their preference, then I hop in the car and head home, irritated and empty handed.

Scene 14: I could not get home fast enough. Husband was driving. He will drive in an empty 4 lane highway with one person in fromt of him and won’t think to switch lanes. I on the other hand, like to play this game called, “Beat the GPS.” I shaved off a few minutes, yes, and proud of it.

Scene 15: Pick up the dog, inspecting him all over, hoping Cruella didn’t give me another dog and play it off as my Otis, looking for painted marks, or scarring. He did smell awful but he was in one piece so I decide to be kind and thank her for her service.

Scene 16: My home. My shower. My couch. My bed. My memories made. And my friend is still talking to me.

Rotten Banana Drop Cookies

Bananas, it’s a love hate relationship in this house. I likely spend $96 a year on bananas just to throw them out. All of sudden your kid or your husband asks why you don’t buy bananas anymore, you finally go to the market to fulfill their grocery wishes, and they only eat one from the bunch. Annoying. Myself included, I buy bananas to force myself to make healthy choices when it comes to snacking, but I accidently end up with a glass of pinot. It does has grapes in it though.

So a favorite I like to make is my rotten banana cookies, because any fruit tastes better in a cookie.

Ingredients:

  • 4 overriped bananas
  • 2 1/2 cups of uncooked oatmeal
  • 8 oz dark chocolate chips
  • 1 tbsp of cinnamon

Preheat oven for 350. After peeling the bananas, place them in a large bowl and mash them until creamy. Some lumps are fine. I like to use a potato masher. Add in oatmeal, chocolate chips, and cinammon. Blend well together. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. Or you can just spray a cookie sheet if you don’t have parchment. I place a generous spoonful drop of batter about an inch apart from each other. Bake for 15-18 minutes. Yummy served warm. These cookies don’t have a long shelf life, so I suggest consuming within 3 days. They just taste chewy after a few days.

I love making these because I don’t feel I wasted money on bananas, I just repurposed them if you will. These also make for a healthy snack. No flour, no added sugar and they say dark chocolate is good for you, right?

Pardon the picture, the family ate most of them before I could snap a shot.

Curly Cue

If you are like me and you have thick, curly, wavy, frizzy, or out of control hair, you need to get this curl cream. Us Italian girls are blessed but also cursed at the same time with wild hair. Most people pay big money for those curls, but I usually pay big money to straighten mine. We are never happy with what God gave us, are we? At 43, I don’t bother for the straight look anymore. I really have no one to impress. Once in a while, I switch it up but now I usually just go o’naturale. I continue with my Kerotin treatments a couple times a year just to tame the beast. It’s a nice treat. When I’m wearing it down, I highly recommend Marc Anthony Strictly Curls Curl Cream. I have tried a lot of curl and frizz free products but I finally I found my match. Using it over a year now, and it never disappoints.

Apply a good amount to wet hair. I also apply a little conditioner too. The key is just let it air dry. The dryer is my worst enemy and it causes the hair to look dry and frizzy. I think I’ve used my hair dryer a handful of times since we’ve been home. When you step out of the shower, don’t dry your hair with a towel too much. Your hair will dry better almost drenched, a tip my lovely hair stylist taught me. Run fingers through your hair once applied to start defining where you want your curls to sit. Kind of like molding it around.

Pros: Smells nice, light, doesn’t weigh your hair down, seperates your curls and waves giving them definition, very inexpensive. $6.99 at Target.

Cons: I really can’t think of any? They do have it in a Lotion but I am not a fan of it. I think the cream is way better.

Believe it or not, without Strictly Curls I’d look much worse.
Don’t mind my grays, I don’t have a solution for other than my stylist Staci.

145 Days

Worst. Year. Ever.

145 Days. It’s been 145 days since March 13th. That is almost a whole school year. March 13th, preparing my students for the worst but hoping for the best, because I knew it was coming. My principal, at the school I teach in, begins his announcement over the speaker. He never makes announcements unless it’s really important. Cue. “Boys and girls, before you leave today, please take all your personal belongings home with you. Your teacher will give you your computer to take home. We will not be returning to school at least for a couple of weeks.” Boom, and just like that chaos erupted. Like during the Cold War when the sirens went off and it was a “duck and cover” drill or something. A couple of weeks led to a couple of months. A couple of months led to the rest of the school year. All of us diligently planning, learning as we go, and surviving.

Mom’s Diner Open 24/7

145 days of being home with my 2 girls and a dog. 145 days of worry. 145 days of refereeing. 145 days of making macaroni and cheese and ramen noodles (which we never even had a package of ramen in this house up until 145 days ago). 145 days of Roblox. 145 days of explaining to my kids why they might not be going back to school. 145 days of yelling at them to pick their wet towels up off the floor. 145 days of letting the dog in and out 100 times a day. 145 days of limiting our adventures outside the home. 145 days of disrupted routine. 145 days of grocery bills and utilities rising. 145 days explaining to my husband how my day went. 145 days without any normalcy.

But I need to thank COVID at least for one thing. I need to thank COVID for those 145 days where I literally witnessed my children grow. 145 days of hearing their laughter. 145 of being their personal teacher. 145 days of more movie nights. 145 days of slime making and crafting. I am taking the bad with the good and I will always appreciate these 145 days of time well spent. I learned a lot through these 145 days. I learned to have patience. I learned I am actually less stressed. I learned a lot about my kids and who they are. And a lot about myself.

At the start of my career, I was a substitute teacher working on my Masters degree in Special Education, working my ass off to a get a full time teaching position, with benefits. In the meantime, my children were babies. I had to wait tables to supplement the income, because subbing alone wasn’t cutting it. I lost a lot of time with my babies. Now my girls are 8 and 10, not babies anymore, and granted, the days are far from easy around here, but I’m so glad to be making up for that lost time. So thank you COVID for the 145 days.

We must have killed dozens of masks to pass the time.

Caprese Omlet

I was out for breakfast one day catching up with a family member I hadn’t seen in a while. Usually when I go out for breakfast I get the same thing, egg whites, avacado, and wheat toast. Exciting, I know. The funny thing, that’s pretty much what I’ve been eating for breakfast at home for the past 2 years. Creatures of habit we are.

I said to myself, “Self! We are going to live it up today! A tomato, basil, and mozzarella egg white omlet it is!” (side of fruit, no toast or potatoes) I was so glad that self decided to be different, because this has been my new go to in the morning. Packed with protein and low carb.

Farm to table, almost……

I am so fortunate that my husband is into gardening. Even though I really have nothing to do with the growing and caretaking, I do enjoy the fruits of his labor. All kidding aside, if I wanted to grow a veggie garden myself, it really isn’t all that difficult. I’m managing to keep my lemon tree alive for now. But, if there were 2 things I absolutely had to plant, it would be tomatoes and basil hands down! Nothing beats a garden tomato and the smell of fresh sweet basil in the house. No comparison to store bought.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of eggs whites. I personally like the whites from actual eggs but liquid whites will do just fine.
  • 1 tomato diced.
  • 2-3 leaves of fresh basil chopped.
  • A handful of shredded mozzarella.
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste.

Heat a small omlet pan on low heat, making sure to spray the pan first. Pour egg whites into the pan, followed by sprinkling in your tomatoes and basil, topping off with the shredded mozzarella.

Now here’s the tricky part,,,the flip. Don’t worry, you got this. If I can do it, anyone can. Let the edges form a bit. With a cooking spatula (I love fish spatulas, especially for omlets), edge around your omlet loosening it a bit off the pan. If it’s not runny, fold your omlet over with the spatula. Let it cook about a minute or so on each side. Egg whites cook fast, so this will be done in no time.

Another thing you can make with caprese omlet ingedients are mini omlets! These are so cute. This is an awesome meal prep idea, perfect for busy mornings. I make these with my Pampered Chef Brownie Pan. Yes, it’s not just for brownies. I keep these tucked away in the fridge for those hunger stikes that creep up on me. It makes a healthy snack or even an awesome brunch dish. Either way, you can’t go wrong. Bring these to your next brunch outing, I promise they will go fast.

  • Preheat oven @ 350
  • Spray the brownie pan.
  • Fill each cups 1/2 way with your egg whites, then sprinkle in the rest. You will likely have to double up on diced tomatoes, chopped basil, and mozzarella when using the pan.
  • Bake for about 10-12 muntes until the tops become a little golden.
  • Let cool before removing yje mimi omlets from the pan.
  • Again, edge around each omlet with a small spatuala to loosen from the pan.
  • The beauty of this pan is they come right out. Easy, peasy.

And If anyone needs a Pampered Chef consultant to grab one of these pans or any other PC product, contact my beautiful friend Angela. She is amazing and knows her stuff.

https://www.pamperedchef.com/pws/angelavescera/pws-contact-me-id

Please say, “Please and Thank you”, Thank you!

The other day, I was at Dick’s Sporting Goods (Anyone else hate the name of that store? My kids chuckle everytime I say it.) I was waiting patiently in line to purchase my items, making sure to follow the 6 feet apart policy. I notice a woman pushing her cart, almost hesitant to walk in front of me. I can see she wants to get around me through the tight quarters. She politely squeaked out an “excuse me,” because she needed to get behind me in line. She apologized for walking in front of me, explaining she didn’t want me to think she was cutting the line. The woman looked so scared, like I was going to lash out at her. I of course happily moved over so she could get in line with her cart, and I then told her there was no need to apologize. She looked like a frightened kitten. Then she proceeds to tell me how nice I am and how people are so mean lately. All the while, I’m thinking, “Lady, all I did was let you by.” Afterwards, we had a quick friendly conversation talking about the impurities going on in the world right now while we were waiting to check out, PATIENTLY.

This just tugged at me, and I thought about this nice woman all day because I too have been encountering the same experiences as she. It was eerily relatable. My question is, what’s wrong with people? What did someone say or do this poor woman to condition her in being afraid of me or others? I mean, I know I don’t look very approacable, so maybe that was it? 🙂

Rememeber 9/11 during the “Never Forget” days. We stood united. People were nice to each other. Complete strangers helped other strangers without expecting anything in return. There were lines at the blood banks, men and women enlisted in the military to defend our country, divorced couples got back together, and we held our friends and family a little tighter during those days. THAT’S when we were all indeed in this together. The good old days when we showed kindness. It took a tragedy like 9/11 to make us realize what’s important.

Fast forward almost 19 years later, and we could not be more divided. A very different tragedy has blindsided us. But we rise up, right? Not exactly, not this time. People have their own agenda. They are all in a race to be first, in a rush to go nowhere, they want to be better than you, they make their own rules now and they pick who gets to play on their team. You look at someone the wrong way accidently, and you get mean mugged. People walk around in the markets like total zombies, with these pretentious smugs underneath those masks, even though covered, we can see right through. And since when are we all entilted to something? Did I miss the entitlement memo? Of course, this is nothing new. It existed in the post 9/11 days up until the pre-COVID era. But now my friends, 2020 has unleashed a fury in people like no other.

What does it take to be a decent person nowadays? It doesn’t cost a thing. What happened to “Please” and “Thank You?’ It almost kills some to even utter it. Why are people so mean? I’m sure most of you weren’t raised that way. What would your mother think!! What legacy will you leave when your time is up? Let that sink in a little. Because the last time I checked, no matter how much better you think you are than others, all our graves are going to be the same size in the end. Also the last time I checked, you are entitled to NOTHING. You are entiltled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Anything else, well, we need to put our big boy and big girl pants on and work for it.

So don’t be the person that makes others fearfull or intimidated. Be the person, be the reason why someone smiles today.

The Reviews Are In!

I feel like the spokesperson for that Neutragena commercial where they talk about the “wrinkle cream graveyard.” There’s probably $200 worth of product in the photo above. Some work, some don’t, some are…ehh, ok.

You know we all have 5 mascaras that promise longer fuller lashes. We have shampoos that say we’ll have hair like a Pantene model. Weightloss products that don’t help us lose a pound. And anti-aging creams or serums are a joke. Let’s face it (no pun intended), I’ve tried everything between the $20 cream and the $100 cream. You know what works best?…..BOTOX. I actually did like this cream I was using for a while but it was quite pricey. I couldn’t keep up with it.

The purpose of this page is to save you time and money. I’ll be sharing different products that I love and are worth pulling out your wallet for. You welcome. I do not get paid for this, there are no affiliated links. Just my honest and real opinion. 🙂

Dirty Girl

I picked up this find at Marshall’s of all places, one of my favorite stores. I was thinking of getting a professional scrubdown at a spa to get rid of dead skin, but I opted for the $6 DIY plan instead. If you ever come across this, grab it! I have been using the salt scrub since early this year. Initially, I was just using a regular wash cloth. The other day, I splurged on the $4 exfoliating shower gloves. Check the glove out. Isn’t it gross? This is what’s on our bodies! Eww. It definitely got rid of dead, sun damaged skin, and left it super soft and smooth. I was shocked and totally wasn’t expecting to see all that residue. Was I always this dirty?

Pros: Cheap, smells nice. Cons: The salt is very coarse, and very abrasive. It may hurt if you are a rough scrubber like me.

Lily’s Gooey Smores Cake

Lily’s Smores Cake is not really a “cake” per say, but this is what Lily named it so we will go with that. I think of it as more of a Smore’s casserole. It was created accidently but let me tell you, that’s how the best things are created- accidently. My daughter Lily who is 10, has been experimenting in the kitchen like most 10 year olds do. She wants to be on Kids Chopped one day which is actually kind of comical seeing that she cringes at the sight of a vegetable. One night, she begins gathering all these ingredients we happened to have in the pantry. My first thought, “What mess do I have to clean up now?’ Well, it was well worth the clean up. The Smore’s cake is super easy. Obviuosly a 10 year old can do it. Full disclousre: Ladies, if it’s that “time of the month”, this hits the spot.

Ingredients:

  • 1 sleeve of graham crackers. (We use honey, but I’m sure any flavor will do)
  • Nutella
  • Peanut Butter
  • Marshmallows
  • Cinnamon
  • Milk
  • Small pan (6×8) ish….
  • Pan spray

Preheat oven to 350. First, add 1 sleeve of peanut butter, graham crackers, and 1/4 cup of milk into a food processor. (I love my Ninja). Process until well blended. Spray a small pan, (she used a meatloaf pan aprox. 6 x 8). Spread the mixture throughout the bottom of the pan, making sure to press down for a thick and even coat. Next, layer and spread nutella over the graham cracker mixture with a spatula. Finally, layer marshmallows throughout the top layer, making sure to cover up all that goodness underneath. Place in the oven and let it bake for about 10 minutes or until the top of the marshmallows are a light golden brown.

Why is she getting so big!!!! 😦