I promised I would stay away from my foil magic for a while, so I will move on to other things, as much as it kills me. Lol
My six year old, Camilla eats crap. Anthying artificial, fried, laced with fillers, preservatives, dyes, gelatin and formaldehyde is her culinary delight. She swears she isn’t hungry for dinner, then pilfers, (because she thinks we are THAT dumb), a bag of chips from the pantry. But, it’s interesting, the one thing she asks me for every single week is my pesto. It’s the simplest, go-to, freshest sauce I can whip up, and in the summer with fresh basil…perfecto.
You will need:
I have done this recipe in the blender and food processor. Lately, I’ve been using the blender, but either can work.
Throw everything into the container of the blender or processor. I put the blender on liquefy, and as it’s chopping, I shake it so the ingredients move towards the blade. You probably will not have to do this in a food processor.
Make sure there is enough olive oil in the container to keep the ingredients moist, and at a pudding type texture. Once the first batch is done, take a plastic spoon and taste it. From there, adjust your flavoring, and do not go overboard with salt. The parmesan cheese will take care of that.
You can add more of any ingredient to adjust. The great part, is this can be made in the morning and just stored in a container, even at room temperature. I usually serve with penne, but Vale likes it with spaghetti. It’s fantastic for summer easiness, and served with a tomato and mozzarella salad.
Hip Mom Hint: If you are using basil that comes on a stalk, don’t be a kitchen nitpicker. Just break it all up and throw it all in. It’s all edible
So, maybe this outfit isn’t really “motherly,” but most of what I wear would not be a Talbots or Ann Taylor staple. This season, both spring and summer have given new life to an old look that impressed farmers back in the 1900s …. the overall.
This warm air cutie couple, the overall and crop was an overnight dream by a Manhattan Hollister employee, and when they showed up for work in the morning, they slapped it on, buckled, and it worked!
The overalls, are basic yet sexy, and even with a plain tee underneath can be toned down to wear to your next hoe-down. They are supposed to be a little loose, so buy them a size up, since there’s a little, but not a lot of stretch to them.
The crop is a light chambray stripe, which can be worn on the shoulder or off, the way it is here. It comes in a bunch of other colors and patterns including a really cute red bandana, which looks really awesome when you’re mucking the barn.
https://www.hollisterco.com/shop/us/p/off-the-shoulder-crop-top-9498278?search-field=627621564 They also show it underneath white shorty-alls as well.
I think I would pair this with a little sandal…do not do a tall gladiator…I just think it would look silly. I’m not a sneaker type at all, but with this playful pair, I think something like this from my fave shoe showman, Steve Madden could work
or of course, the classic which the teen and tween set love to sport,
http://www.stevemadden.com/product/EMERALD/245927.uts?selectedColor=DENIM-MULTI which also has companion slip ons in plainer designs.
So head on down to Hollister with your surfboard or a pitch fork, oh, and before you go, make sure you log on to www.hollister.com and sign up for email alerts to get your 15% OFF, Y’ALL.
I have no idea what the hell happened. You must be a prodigy because just yesterday afternoon I brought you home from the hospital and last night you graduated eighth grade. You were just wearing a diaper, and your umbilical cord was still drying … and last night I watched you sing, with professional precision, “La Preghiera” to a packed house and standing O. This has to be something for Ripley’s because you are a freak of nature … newborns are helpless and wrinkly, needy and seven pounds. I went to swaddle you last night and you were laying there in a white dress with a smokey eye and nude lip. It was weird, and I asked where the newborn was that I just brought home, and you said, “Mom, there is no newborn.” WHAT???? Who stole my baby? “Mom, that was 14 years ago.”
14 years ago. Was it really 14 years ago? Am I 14 years older? Is that suckling baby really wearing 4” Steve Madden diamond cut heels? What has transpired in fourteen years cannot be measured by time. 14 years is 168 months, 14 Christmases, 14 Easters, 14 birthdays, 14 trips to Disneyworld, 10 to Italy, but that seems so irrelevant compared to the emotion of observing, educating and nurturing a baby into pre adulthood.
I remember watching Valentina fly down the hallway in her Tinkerbell nightgown … it waved behind her like an unfurled flag on the flagpole at a naval base, and it followed her down the hall until she made a screeching left turn into her room. It was in that room that her dreams of playing pretend, singing, acting were born, and her tiny brain jammed with the flurry of imagination, was without responsibility or boundary. She has brought her childhood dream of being on the stage with her though her pre-k years until today, always working, sometimes crying, sometimes freaking about her perfection, but always nurturing and loving with endless passion, the gift the Lord gave her.
Valentina had the goods academically, but I realized last night, as I watched her accept the St. Cecilia award for musical excellence that what God has instilled in us, whether we asked for it or not, is what we must cultivate, what we must love, for it is the key to our success, what drives us, what sets us apart from others. No one has the same talent, degree of talent or capability. It is recognizing what your child beholds that is the opening act, the overture, for the rest of their lives.
I realize, too, that eighth grade is not high school, or college, but it is the beginning of a new era, which will culminate in a new adult. This fleeting moment of 14 years, because it is just that, fleeting, a blip on life’s vital monitor that on December 23, 2002, I thought would last forever, was not mine to keep with me. It was all borrowed time. But, as I watched the seed I planted start to bloom with glorious petals, I am happy, proud, overjoyed at the gift I was given, the time only appropriated to me by God’s glorious will, and now hers to take wherever she wants.
When she came running to me last night in Church after the caps had turned their tassels and been thrown into the air, and those cheap crepey gowns were now wrinkled and uncared for, asking me if she could have a few friends over, (A few was like 15), I knew her childish innocence hadn’t evaporated just yet. I could see once again, the little girl in the Tinkerbell nightgown who just wanted to play pretend with her friends. I guess the Tinkerbell nightgown will save me on her wedding day.
Congratulations, my Valentina. Thank you for every moment of every day since December 23, 2002. Your dreams, your loves, are all tangible. Make them your success. I love you.
When you have eight kids, you go through a lot of graduations, from pre-k to college and with each one comes emotion, trying to recognize and come to grips with an ending and knotting the emotional ties of that end, to the joy of a new beginning.
Sometimes your offspring graduate with a great group of kids that somehow you bonded with over the years, and sometimes you could give two @#$%S about who went where after the commencement ceremony.
One of the best things about Our Lady of Mercy Academy in Park Ridge is they offer a pre-k through eighth program, so as my first three have already done, they start building their nest early, make lifelong friends, and graduation is like a retirement ceremony for a worker has given half their life to a company. Valentina’s graduating class of 2017, holds a special place in my heart. It’s not that Devin and Brynn’s class didn’t, but I was pregnant with Valentina with a few other moms who had sibs in Devin and Brynn’s class, so it wasn’t just pre k that bonded us, but the prenatal and sibling combination.
Her class started out teeny-weeney. There were about 20 kids in the class until they entered fifth grade, and they all loved each other. Of course, here and there we must pepper life with female trials, tribulations, tears, heels and gossip, but for the most part, those who started pre-k three together clasped hands in September of 2004 never seemed to let go. Mid way through their grammar school career, a few area schools closed, and OLMA made out, bringing in students from across the border in New York, injecting Vale’s small class with new faces, towns and personalities. It was with this sudden growth I witnessed the integrity and openness of a beautiful group of children who, although had a tight bond, were warm and welcoming to a new horde of strangers from a new land.
The expansion of the OLMA class of 2017 brought with it challenges as middle schoolers became teens, but I saw growth and maturity from this group that I had not seen prior. Devin and Brynn’s graduating classes had pretty much cemented themselves from pre-k forward, and the transition was minimal. It was with Vale’s class I witness the most transition of personality and bodies, and with each step, they managed to wriggle themselves into position, still holding hands with their core, but opening themselves to new friendships and bonds.
Last night, as I tried to superimpose those little pre-schoolers who were traipsing after their older siblings on the graduates who now wore short dresses, suits, and the symbolic cap and gown on that imposing altar, I was proud, and welling up with pride not just for my daughter, but for the group of non-blood related siblings she has had for more than half her life. I have had the privilege of watching you grow, watching you create, watching you become what you might be as an adult. Some of you are great artists, scholars, actors, writers, mathematicians, scientists, cooks, entrepreneurs … the world has yet to even pry open your oyster. Yet, after you took your final walk down the OLMA church aisle as a class, you cried, hugged, never for a moment truly grasping that this was it … no school on Monday, no classes together. This was it. The end of your academic career at Our Lady of Mercy Academy. Your paths will lead you far away from the building that was your second home for your elementary life, yet, you knew the bond created was hard to sever.
So, to the amazing, talented, warm and loving OLMA class of 2017, from a mom who has watched you grow, create, fall down, get up, get dressed, cry, sing, dance, draw and love …. I am proud that Valentina was a part of your life, and you, a part of hers, no matter when you met, when you joined our community at OLMA, or in what capacity you bonded. You are a very, very different, extraordinary graduating genus, and I wish you the love you have returned and the integrity to take your heart and talents wherever you wish.
God bless all you do…. conquer it all because you can.
This is my ABSOLUTE favorite, girly-girl treasure of the summer. I am loving this high side slit maxi or tunic with shorts peeking out, and a LOT of leg screaming out. LOL
I have to admit, the top is hard to find, kind of. I did a lot of searching all over the web, and Brynn found it on some “ship from China,” website. The best part, the top was about ten bucks. So, I did some more investigating, and found similar, here: https://carousell.com/p/25210321/ - You can search high side slit maxi or high side slit tunic” and a zillion shots will come up.
The shorts were a piece of cake, (SouthMoonUnder) or from Blank NYC, depending on who has the better price. Blank NYC is usually pretty consistent with discounts if you Google. NEVER buy anything online without searching for a promo code or coupon. Even if they aren’t advertised, 95% of the time, there is something to be had, even if it’s 10 or 15%, which, if the option is retail, it’s better than nothing.
You can pair this with a bootie like this one from Steve Madden or this more strappy version with studs. Usually, the theory is to do a nude shoe to elongate your leg if you have other colors going on, rather than chopping it up, black, denim and black. But here, since the short is so short and the top is long, I felt the black shoe looked the best.
The neckline lends itself beautifully to my favorite, of course, a choker. Cotton and denim have longevity from season to season. Once that really crappy season of fall hits, you can pair the same top with a skinny jean and bootie, with a long cardigan for that forget me not summer look that you can rake leaves in.
In our house you can imagine, if something is yours, truly yours, whether, edible, inanimate, dirty, clean, plastic or diamond, and especially if it’s printed on rag paper, you need to guard it with your life. You can pull out one of the drug smugglers tricks and hide it in your underwear or other places, but chances are, just like bomb sniffing dogs, someone will find it and use it.
Every morning, I make hot tea with lemon. I use the lemons later on for my humonogo water jug. Twice a week, I cut up a few lemons and put them in a baggie because I hate slicing, cutting and chopping anything. Odd for a cook, but I love my Cuisinart. I keep a citrus based surplus in my fridge in a little baggie hidden in the crisper. One morning I did this, made my water, and hid the lemons.
And there it was, as sure as Restallyn in Kim Kardashian’s lips, the lemons vanished. And, I was pissed. Who exactly I was pissed at, I don’t quite know, but it could be any of those interlopers who freeload in my house. Was it Vale using them for a baking sculpture or to fill a lemon crepe? Was it Eva making lemon slime? Was it Federica baking a lemon layer cake? There were endless possibilities. “Who took my lemons??” They looked at me like I had aphasia and nothing was coming out.
That day, I went to pick up. Camilla walks out of the building and calmly asks me in this little whisper of a voice, “Mom, why did you give me a bag of lemons for snack?” I stopped for a second and I said, “I gave you what?” She answered “There was a plastic bag with lemons in my lunchbox.” Well, so much for multitasking. I had found my lemons, and there was a bag of pretzels in the crisper.
Camilla does like lemons though, and she thought the acidic surprise should continue. So, it was a win-win.
So, I really cannot plan a party simply. It’s just not in me. If I have to be honest with myself, I will tell you I can’t do much simply at all. Eight kids is complicated sometimes, just a little, lol, and entertaining, birthday parties, Christenings etc could become too rote if I didn’t give it that extra “UMPH.”
Enter PINK CAKE BOX, who has been decorating and deliciously adding sparkle to my parties for years.
The Northern NJ baked fantasy cake palace was started by this cute little thing, Anne Heap, in 2005. “After becoming a pastry chef and completing an internship with Ron Ben-Israel Cakes in NYC, I new I loved cake,” admits Anne. “I had finally found my most favorite artistic medium. I knew I always wanted to start my own business and it seemed like a logical step.” She admits she took on this sugary dream at 26, when we probably all think a little over our heads. “The name was a collaboration of my love for the color pink and a little blue box.”
Now, if you take a cup of coffee and just pursue through Anne’s drool over website, www.pinkcakebox.com, the first thing you will notice is that if you are looking for a yellow cake with buttercream frosting and fudge layers, well, you need to take your cannolis somewhere else. Have you ever seen a peacock cake? I have because I did it for Federica’s birthday? Or a Sephora themed masterpiece? Hmmmm…that was another Federica birthday goody. Or a Sound of Music sculpture…oh, that would be Eva’s Communion, just to name a few. We can’t stop there, because her flavors are CRAZY, and now I need a cookie….
Specialty cakes have certainly taken over from the hum drum bakery sheet cake my generation did know and love growing up. I mean, we thought Carvel cakes were a magical step up from a bakery strawberry shortcake. Today, the sky’s the limit … or really, the ganache is the limit. “When I first started in 2005, specialty cakes were just becoming popular,” Anne says. “ There were few, if any television shows and no one, including myself knew what was possible in cake! Since then, the countless tv series, competitions, decorating tools, products, etc … have completely changed the industry.”
I do adore cooking, but a baker…not so much. I have mathematical issues with measuring. But, Do I love desserts? I love them more now than I ever did…and when I was pregnant, Devil Dogs were my go to. But, what inspires this “Pink” patisserie creator extraordinaire to go beyond processed treats? “ After graduating from Boston College in 2001, I began my career in advertising. Soon, my passion for baking led me to study Pastry Arts at the French Culinary Institute. (Now International Culinary Center) in New York. While I was there, I discovered my love for cake! I began making cakes for friends and family and soon I discovered the joy my cakes brought to others.”
The New Jersey native, raised in Kinnelon, and rolling the home dough in Morristown has two children, 3 and 6, who love to watch mom bake and of course, make gastronomic, kinder delights with Playdoh. What is Anne’s most favorite, outta the “box” PCB, over the top project to date? “ Our largest, most wedding intense cake was Megan and Tracy Morgan’s a few years ago. It was taller than me! It was filled with well over 1500 hand made sugar flowers, edible gold and lace details and was built on a large structure.” Ok then, and you think my volleyball cake for Brynn’s graduation was over the top? Oh wait, don’t forget the Lego Land Cake Challenge: “it was over 7 ft tall and had a working water slide, rotating Lego blocks and lights!” The next time Gianmarco asks me for new Legos, I will be sure to call Anne for advice…NOT.
So, what does this mom/creative sculptor/baker/over the top pastry chef love to make?, “cookies,” chuckles Anne, “because I love to eat them.”
In the end, it’s always about the cookies.
Ok, ok, I promise I’ll give it a rest with the foil recipes…in September. This is similar to the paella, but just as yummy, and quick. I made this for my family, so it took longer than the 25 minutes it says in the recipe.
Turn the grill on high. This recipe serves 4.
You will need:
Toss everything together in the aluminum pan and seal with foil. A small batch takes about 25 minutes to cook. Mine took almost an hour but it was about 3x the original recipe. Opened clams and tender potatoes will be your guide.
Even if you’re hanging around your concrete pool or your kids’ trampoline, this will make you feel you are digging your toes in the sand in the Hamptons.
When Devin was in pre-k, Brynn and I would have carefree afternoons after I dropped him at school. At the time, pre-k was just that, pre kindergarten, and three days a week for 2.5 hours, unlike today, I call pre-k, pre-c, or pre college, full day, full lunch, and transferable credits for circle time. We loved waving good-bye, and of course lunching and shopping.
Time management was always huge for me, so I usually brought every activity, leisurely or not, down to the wire.
One spring afternoon with crazy haired, smiley Brynn in her booster, we were cruising in our red Dodge Durango down the Parkway from probably Riverside Square in Hackensack to make pick up for the boy. As we were driving, sunroof wide open, Brynn’s hair flailing in the wind, I was observing the various flora and fauna of our Garden State. The Parkway is beautifully lush in the spring, but horribly dead in the winter so I do notice how beautiful it can be, despite the occasional decapitated deer or dead hedgehog on the shoulder. This time, I was driving and I noticed a bird, a crow, I think, flying splendidly, but diving near my car. I was afraid he would become my front seat passenger after he crashed into my windshield, but in an instant, he seemed to disappear.
Brynn and I showed up early enough to get my parking spot right in the front. If you know me, well, let’s just say I obsess over my parking spots. I was waiting outside for the pre-k doors to open with the other parents … a mix of moms, dads and grandparents. We were just making stupid little chatter when one of dad’s approached me and said, “Hi…did you know you have a bird sticking out of your grille?” Excuse me? What? “You have a bird in your grille.” Oh shit, that’s where he went…didn’t your mother teach you how to fly?
This grossed me out, but of course the parent posse thought this was hysterical, and so did Brynn, who will touch just about anything, blood, horse poop, and dead birds. She LOVED this! Devin on the other hand who gets grossed out just peeing on a daily basis was freaked to the max. He kept saying “It’s dead, it’s dead. I’m gonna throw up.”
I called my friend’s husband to come over and remove the avian corpse because hell, that was not my department.
My IPhone was still a really hip Razor at the time, which meant no pics…. had I only known what would have made a great blog entry 15 years later. LOL