Thanksgiving week

clip-art-thanksgiving-turkey-free1It’s Thanksgiving week here in the United States which means that most of us are either getting ready to cook, travel or host visitors. We’ll be having turkey day at my brother’s house so it will be my big ol’ family all together in one house – that’s my parents; my brother, his wife & their 2 girls; my sister, her husband & their 2 kids and then The Professor, myself, Busybee & Babybee. Not to mention two cats and a Great Pyrenees. Thankfully my brother’s house is sizable and can handle the crowd.

The women in my family all divide up the dishes so that not one person is in charge of cooking everything. It makes it nice to share in the duties and we all get to visit & look at Black Friday ads while we’re cooking. The men generally watch football during this time. You know, typical American family activities.

I always make the sweet potato casserole because it’s everyone’s favorite. I’m not even gonna lie, it’s ridiculously good and frankly should just be in a crust because it might as well be a dessert. But my favorite is my mom’s cornbread dressing and I can’t wait to get my first bite of it. So what’s your favorite Thanksgiving dish? 

Here’s my sweet potato casserole recipe…

4 cups sweet potatoes, peeled & cubed (2 large cans)
2 cups sugar
4 eggs, beaten
¾ cup melted butter
1 cup evaporated milk
1 tsp. Nutmeg
1 tsp. Cinnamon
2 cups marshmallow
1 cup coconut

~Praline Topping~
1 ½ cup crushed corn flakes
½ cup brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
¾ cup melted butter

Preheat oven to 400°. In large bowl, mash potatoes. Mix in sugar, eggs, butter, evaporated milk, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Fold in marshmallows. Add coconut. Bake 20 minutes.

Mix the topping ingredients in a small bowl then crumble onto the casserole and bake an additional 10 minutes.

The micro story

This commerical is the best thing I’ve seen on TV all week.

First off, let’s face it. It’s hysterical. We’ve all been there, right? We’ve all had those days when the narrative in our heads does not match the day we’re having. In fact, sometimes, it feels like that’s every day. (Particularly any day that involves vacuuming.)

But the other thing I love about this commericisl is it’s such a perfect micro-story. It’s reminder to me–as a writer–that stories are everywhere. That telling a story is not enjoyable, it’s a window into someone else’s life. It’s a way to instantly create a connection between two people.

That commericial is also a reminder for me about the power of vulernability. We see this woman on an off day. We see her at her most vulnerable. We love her for her human frailty, not her perfection. Sometimes I feel like social media forces us to perform ever more daring feats of perfection. We are constantly trying to present the best, most perfect version of ourselves for the world. We’re showing off the cutest pirate outfit we made for our child’s Talk Like a Pirate Day or the darlingest Penguin Cupcakes we made for the school bake sale. (As if it’s not enough that we made cupcakes, they have to be tiny works of art as well.) Sometimes, it starts to feel like everything is a competition and we forget that the easiest way to create a bond with someone is not through perfection, but through humanity.

And it’s also just a really funny commerical.


When It’s Cold Out, Special Memories Can Warm You

It’s a BRRRRRRRRRR kind of day here in typically sunny Florida.

Okay, so I know there are people snowed in up north. Kids are off from school. Some offices and businesses are closed. Folks are already skiing or sledding or building snowmen.
Florida Winter
But down here in the Sunshine State—land of sandy beaches, waves lapping the shore, seagulls drifting on the wind—winter jackets don’t make it out of the closet too often.
So, when I say it’s a “bitter 41 degrees” outside this morning, that bitterness is relative. I’ve got friends in the northeast corner of the US who’d love it to be 41 where they live as they bundle up and head out the door. Another friend lives in New Mexico and she’s posting pics of her snow-covered house doing a darn fine impression of a scene on the front of a Christmas card. I got shivers just looking at her post.
But while this Florida girl isn’t too keen on living in a snowy, icy, bone-chilling place, I do think it’s fun to play in the snow. And I wouldn’t mind spending a day on the ski slopes, then heading back to a warm cozy lodge for hot chocolate and a blazing fire in the fireplace. I’ve been known to plop down on the snow and make a snow angel or two. And my family has risen to the challenge when our neighbors pounded our door with snowballs—a definite call to arms initiating an intense, laughter-filled snowball fight in our front yards.
With Thanksgiving around the corner and December holidays not far behind, my nesting instinct starts kicking into high gear. Baking, gift buying, gift wrapping, family get-togethers, gingerbread house building, carol singing, mugs of hot chocolate, old memories shared, new memories made.

Can you tell I’m a big fan of the holiday season? Not because of the shopping and present buying, though I do love to gift giving and bringing a smile to someone’s face. But because it’s a time for families and friends to spend quality time together. A time for fun, frolic and smiles.
I won’t ask about December holiday traditions—that’s an entire blog for later—but instead, I’d like to know what’s the one thing you’re looking forward to the most during the Thanksgiving holiday?

In this high tech world of social media and tweets and Snapchats and Instagrams and all the other apps I’m not cool enough to have heard about yet, there’s still nothing that can beat the feel of two hands held together in greeting. Or two arms wrapped around you in a welcoming hug. Or two lips pressing an I-missed-you kiss on your cheek.

For me, I’m most looking forward to when my family and I’ll gather around the table, clasp hands, and give thanks we’re all together. That’s when I’ll close my eyes, take a deep breath and give the hands I’m holding an I-love-you squeeze.
And even if it’s just for that briefest of moments, all will be right in my world.

So what’s your special moment, memory or tradition this time of year? I’d love to hear what you’re excited about!

Wishing you and yours many many many blessings! And a warm place to snuggle with your loved ones. ☺
couples holding hands.

Ode to Beverly Goldberg

Over the years I’ve seen numerous features on TV and the Internet about “Favorite TV Moms”. There are certain moms that always make an appearance this list. June Cleaver and Carol Brady come to mind. They’re always cheerful, dignified, lovingly concerned and you never, ever doubt their devotion to their children. They are the epitome of motherhood. And they always so wise, offer the best advice, and…well, I never heard June or Carol holler at their kids or let a curse word slip.

They’re heartwarming characters, but…I don’t really relate to them so much. My favorite TV mom? Beverly Goldberg. Anyone watch The Goldbergs?

Beverly Goldberg 3
I love Beverly. Beverly lakes me laugh. A lot. I relate to Beverly. Why?

Beverly unabashedly loves all three of her children, but…we get to see the human side of Beverly. She loves to watch them sleep. She gets wounded when one of them rebuffs her (very persistent) affections. She plays “favorites”, giving the last of the Boo Berry Cereal to whoever hasn’t hurt her feelings that day. She attends all of her kids’ important events (even when they don’t want her to). And she shamelessly interferes in their lives. Oh, and she snoops.

Beverly Goldberg 1

AND, best of all, since it’s the 80s, she wears fab outfits featuring shoulder pads, decorated sweaters and yes, even parachute pants.

Beverly Goldberg 2
You may be horrified by all of these things, but they only make my love Beverly more. Other than the fashion choices, I’m a lot like Beverly and Beverly’s a lot like me.

Who’s your favorite TV Mom. Do you relate to her, and why?

Veteran’s Day, Every Day

Today is a special day.

A stop-and-contemplate-the-sacrifices-others-have-made-for-you day.

If you aren’t aware of it: Today is Veteran’s Day.

The day we remember those who served our country and those who continue to do so.

The day we should take a moment to thank a veteran.

The day that, as Americans, we need to recognize the sacrifices others have made so that we can do things like:

run into Target for some cool new gizmo we probably don’t need but want,

swing by the mall for an outfit that, as a woman, I might not be able to wear
in another country,

stand on the side of the road waving a sign proclaiming our candidate of

gather in front of our President’s residence and voice our opinion,

send our daughter’s to school knowing they won’t be persecuted for it!

The thing is, I think every day should be celebrated like it’s Veteran’s Day. Every time we see a veteran we should stop and thank him or her.

I grew up as a Navy “brat.” Was an Air Force wife for over two decades. Prayed for and continue to pray for active duty family members.

So I ask all of you, wherever you are, when you see a military member, please make a point of letting him or her know you appreciate their service. Whether or not you agree with a specific military operation isn’t the point. The point is that American men and women fought, served, died so that you and I can live as freely as we do here in the US. Their bravery, their heart, their blood, sweat and tears were given for the rest of us.

Today, everyday, we should be thankful.

So, to
dad navy
Jackie military
JD military
Jeanie military
JEANIE and all the other military members in my family, I am beyond proud of you and awed by your bravery.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!