peaceMost days laughter and frank observations do the trick for me. Some days, I get a bit deeper. As we evolve in life, the scales tip and balance and tip so today, I bring another side of me.

First and foremost: I’m not perfect. Never have been, never will be. I’m a work in progress. I don’t know everything, in fact, I barely know anything. I’m (I hope) about half way through my life and I’ve learned through experience, some bitter and some joyous. I am emotional. I take things to heart. Trust, compassion, honesty and loyalty are important to me. I don’t like mean. These days, (and this has been a work in progress for 40yrs) I try to take things in stride. I try to give the benefit of the doubt. I try to forgive. I try to #liftasisterup and not tear her down. Sometimes I am successful. Sometimes I fail miserably.

On this crazy life journey I have to remind myself to step back and pause. Sometimes “nothing” is the right answer, not that there isn’t an answer, just that the answer may be to pause.

Some choose not to pause because it often forces self reflection. Questions like: Am I happy? Am I calm? Can I just be? Can I do “nothing” and be content? Am I right with me? That is scary stuff. It’s hard to ask those questions of yourself and even harder to answer thoughtfully and honestly. Do I love me? Pause.

In ten, twenty, thirty and maybe even forty years. I want to look back and know that I have been kind, compassionate, a good mother, wife, sister, daughter and friend.  In the mean time, right here, right now I stand, open and empty handed. “Arms wide open to whatever and whomever comes next” (thanks Glennon). I am responsible for my own actions. I can choose to be empty or full. I am right with me.



The Importance of the Outer Circle.

heart in handsMy heart is heavy. I feel uncomfortable in my emotions. I’m sad and I’m not alone. My friends around here keep telling me they feel the same. We are heartbroken.

A young mother from our small community passed away due to complications from a routine surgery this week. Gone. She was 38yrs old, healthy, had two children, a husband, her own business. Her name was Lori and I although didn’t know her super well, I knew her enough to occasionally work out with her if we found ourselves at the squat rack together where we’d quietly discuss school stuff and high level life in general. We’d wave when we passed each other driving and we’d see each other at mutual friend’s houses. We were friendly, but we weren’t girlfriends and that’s ok.

Given that we weren’t close I initially felt embarrassed at how profoundly the news of her death rocked me. I felt like I didn’t deserve to mourn for her. Certainly some of my friends knew her way better than me, they had lived here longer, had gone to costume parties with her, served on the PTO with her, hosted a jewelry party for her, went to her church. They knew her better. They deserved to mourn for her. I didn’t feel like I had that right. But I’m so, so sad.

She could have been me.

And that’s it, right? The sorrow we feel for this vibrant young woman who was at the same stage in life as us, is about a sisterhood that no one really thinks about and no one really talks about but it’s there and it’s primal. Woman. Mother. Wife. This deep sorrow that so many of us are feeling is not only for the tragic loss of her life, but the gaping hole she has left in the live’s of her family. In imagining how they will continue on without her, I’m imagining how my family would cope if it was me. You are thinking the same, I’ll bet. She was the mother, a wife, a sister, daughter – so many important roles that we also hold, and she is leaving behind so many people who depended on her.  How will her daughter ever recover from the loss of her mother? Who will buy bra’s and talk about love and sex and all that personal mother-daughter stuff? How will her son learn all the important lessons she hadn’t taught him yet? How will her husband carry on without her at his side, doing all of the things she did to keep the family running while he commuted each week? And then I think…….how would my daughter ever recover from the loss of me? How would my son cope? How would Dub carry on? The thought is just awful and the pain it brings to my heart is a fraction of what Lori’s poor family is feeling right now.

Empathy. “She” could have been “Me”.

It doesn’t matter if we know someone well or in passing, the pain we feel when a fellow mother, wife, neighbor passes resonates and sends shock waves. We all put ourselves in her shoes, we hurt for her babies, her husband, her family. We come together and lean in, just as we would if we were best friends. We are the “Outer Circle” and we are there to quietly do the little things to free the “Inner Circle” up to grieve and take care of her family. We drop the meals off in the cooler on our assigned night, pick up groceries, walk the dog, mow the lawn and do the mundane things that need to be done. We do whatever it takes and we do it willingly and without any fuss. Our grief is real and it’s coming from empathy. We feel terribly sad. Our hearts hurt. We do these things to show we care. To do something. And we know that if it was “us” and not “her” she’d be doing the exact same thing.

Lori, we are here. We are watching. We are praying for your babies, your husband, your family. We are the Outer Circle and we are leaning in. May God hold your hand, girl. #liftasisterup


Forty is my Forté

welcomeSo. Forty.

I’ve been thinking about what I could write about my birthday. I’ve read a number of pithy little posts, from talented mama’s about their imminent 40th birthday. Lots of self realization happening. Lots of great writing. Funny stuff. But it’s all been done. What will I say. What can I add?

And then I realized. It doesn’t need to be witty (although it probably will be, I mean, you know me) and it doesn’t need to be polished or well written. It just needs to be honest. Be me.

And, you guys, here’s the deal. Here’s what 40 has brought me…….I’m happy. I have love. I have health. I have family. I’m in love with my Dub and Dublets. I feel satisfied, fulfilled and proud of my company and career of choice. I feel like I’ve worked my way here. I have wonderful friends, all over the world whom I value and respect and cherish. I have parents who are all kinds of supportive, I have a sister whom I adore. I am me. I’m also all out of fucks to give about what people think of me.

If you’ve read any of my past posts, you’ll know a lot (a LOT) about me. You’ll know that I have lived through fertility issues, the miracle of our daughter and then our son and his illness that nearly took him from us (http://thankgodforwine.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=85&action=edit). I’ve lived through my own life threatening illness (http://thankgodforwine.com/lets-talk-about-boobs) and ALL of the emotions that go along with ALL that stuff. You also know I have been a fierce advocate for girls and women and I’m passionate about laughter. Lots of laughter.  You’ll also know that I recently met and said goodbye to sweet Ida Clementine, my God Daughter and niece  http://thankgodforwine.com/hello-and-goodbye/ . It’s been a short and busy 40 years.

My life has been, in the words of Glennon Melton Doyle of Momastery; Brutiful. It’s been a mix of brutal and beautiful. It took me 37yrs to love me. I’ve been happy in my skin for about 3yrs. 40? I can’t wait. I want to savor my children and my husband. I want to love them with all of my being. I want to hug and squeeze and be joyous with them. I want to laugh. I want them to think of me and think of hugs, laughter, kindness and silly. Granted, right now at 4 & 6, they probably associate me with rules and jobs and not being allowed to watch Netflix day and night, but I have high hopes they’ll rally.

Lately as I’ve been thinking about how I can do my best and how I can be my best self, I’ve been faced with some mind numbingly stupid situations. Situations that have reminded me that the (figurative and literal) “mean girl/boy/person” still exists and some people will hate you, no matter what you do. Situations that have made me feel angry. Situations that have made me want to totally withdraw because I just can’t be bothered dealing with such inane “bleurch”. But, because my life is brutiful, I’ve showed up. I’ve showed compassion and I’ve stood up for what is right. I’ve let go of the what if’s and held my head high. I’ve made the conscious decision that I won’t be a part of the bullshit, I’ll be part of the solution. I will show the negative’s that I will still be positive. I will #liftasisterup and I’ll show my kids that I can do hard things. I will show compassion and kindness no matter how horrid the situation. I’ll show myself that I can do it, no matter what. I’ll be held accountable only by me. Because, you know what? Life is hard. Life is wonderous. Life is brutiful and this Mama ain’t got tiiiiime for haters. That. THAT is what the last 40 years have shown me. As I said. I’m all out of fucks.

And this is MY (partial) list of learning: Show up. Show compassion. Don’t be a dick. Know you can do hard things. Be a good human. Take care of your body. Think of others. Put yourself in their shoes. Strive to be physically and mentally strong. Tell the truth. Do the right thing, not the easy thing. Don’t engage in bullshit. Answer the question, even if the answer is “I’m not sure”. Know it’s OK to pause before you answer the question. Know it’s ok to remove yourself from the situation. Don’t jump off the bridge with the others – unless it’s Karaoke, then jump off no matter how painful it is. Be open. Smile (I hate to smile). Know when to stop. Trust your gut. Know it’s ok to spare someone’s feelings. Don’t beat yourself up. Know that you don’t have to be friends with someone. Don’t talk shit. Don’t let pride get in the way of right. Have an opinion. Ask the hard questions. Love yourself. Promote and encourage others. Pause. Pause again. Be still. Get uncomfortable. Say “I’m sorry”. Say “I was wrong”. Make the effort. Be open. Learn what you don’t want to be. Say “I love you”. Exit gracefully and always, always find the humor.

My sister told me this a few years ago, and it’s stuck with me. “I cannot control what is put upon me; all I can control is how I respond”. Quite possibly, THE wisest words I’ve ever heard…………….Well that and, “always close your mouth when you’re scrubbing the toilet”. Here’s to 40, bitches.


Hello and Goodbye

heart in handsMy heart is broken. It’s broken for my sister. It’s broken for my brother in law. It’s broken for my family. It’s broken for me.The loss of a child is something I had never given much in-depth thought to. It was ugly. It was yuck. It was something I found terribly uncomfortable to imagine because I immediately would put myself into those shoes. Continue reading

The Monkey

imageOK, sorry. I’ve been a tad quiet for the last few months. Life has been tough. It’s been good. It’s been fine. But it’s been tough.

I’ve been struggling. Teetering on depressed, I guess. And when I get like that, I tend to zero in. I focus on the now, I focus on the day. I focus on the hour and when that gets too much, I focus on the minutes and my breath. I’ve been focusing on my breathing a lot lately. You see, my kids have been assholes. And it’s my fault. Well it’s our fault, Dub and me.

We shouldn’t be surprised, really. We uprooted them and plonked them down in a new state, town, house, school. They had to make new friends, learn new routines, get used to new weather and geography and all of this while behaving too??


I found myself lost, grappling for normal and being the cheery cruise ship director for a 4 and 6 year old. We found a few parks, geocaching, the library and the gym but days were largely filled with….well having to entertain ourselves. And at 6 and 4, when you’ve left all of your friends and your beach behind and Daddy is at work, you have each other and Mummy…..and TV.

We’ve always kept a pretty tight rein on the amount of screen time the Dublets get, keeping it to the pre-recorded shows we’ve selected and movies. But I’ve always known that TV is an excellent babysitter. I can completely understand why some parents have it on all the time. It’s not the right strategy for us, but I get it. The kids love it! They are entertained and quiet and I don’t have to get the beads out or the scissors or the glue or the glitter or clean up any of it. I don’t have to answer the endless questions and referee the fights. I get time to myself. I get peace.

So one 30 minute show in the morning at our house went to two shows in the morning and then #1 learned how to work the remote and…..they we’re quiet for a long time. So maybe it went to three shows (…….). Afternoon, rinse and repeat. And then there were the weekend mornings (oy vey!) And that was all fine and dandy…until I noticed what happened when I removed TV from the activity lineup. Arma-fucking-geddon. These kids were physically jonesing for TV shows. And the tantrums that ensued when they couldn’t get their fix were awful.

It had become worse when #1 started school and #2 was at home with me in the morning. One day I had let him play a game on my iPad while I took a quick shower after the gym. It was an educational sight words game and he sat happily on our bed playing. The next morning he wanted more and he asked if I could “dumpload” a game. And before long he was playing Strawberry shortcake nail painting games and the sight words were forgotten. He’d even ask me if I wanted to take a shower each afternoon, too. Then one morning I didn’t let him play……ho-ly-shit.  And so began the currency of media. My kids had the monkey on their backs.

A few nights ago, I realized that something had changed in our family for the worse. Something was affecting our happiness as a unit. We were in rough shape and it bothered me greatly.  I was grumpy, Dub was grumpy, I was sad, kids were sad, everyone was yelling at some point during the day and a lot in the evening. So Dub and I decide it was time we made a change. This wasn’t us. We don’t do this. Time to stop this shit and regain control of the empire. But what?

Then it occurred to me. The only thing that had changed in our family dynamic (other than all the physical location stuff) is the amount of screen time these maniacs were getting. We unanimously and immediately agreed. Media. We had facilitated our kids addiction to digital media.

So the TV shows were cut back to 1 a morning and one in the evening. One hour of television a day. The iPad was removed from the lineup all together, and the behavior train got back on track. After detox. Some pretty wicked detox.

Every family is different and every kid is different but I know this, Media IS a great babysitter, but it comes with strings attached. Yes, it will keep your kids entertained and quiet and happy. They’ll even learn a lot if they’re watching the right stuff (PBS has awesome shows and I can see they are absolutely learning things they’d never learn in school), but it sneaks it’s fingers around their brains and before you know it, they are hooked….and you are too. That peace I get is just as addictive as the shows they’re watching. And was just as hard to be deprived from. But they deserve more and so do I.

So now the empire has been righted. Chores are to be done and they are to be ready for school in every way before any TV can be watched. Fortunately for me, my kids a) take forever to get anything done and b) take forever to eat so the actual amount of time they get is now about 15 minutes. After school homework is done first and then outside play (trampoline, bikes etc.) , then dinner and only then can they watch a show. It has actually turned out to be a great motivator (ironically).

Now before anyone gets all excited and judgey about our screen restrictions, I do think kids should learn how to interact with different types of media. I do think they should be competent and fluent in the technology, I even truly believe they can learn great things from some of the shows AND that it’s ok to sometimes watch TV just for the sake of watching TV…(even if it’s junk TV). I just know that there are too many things to be addicted to and they’ll be exposed to a lot of them as they grow up. I know that they become better at interacting and socializing when they play together or with other kids. I know they have to use all of their brain when they are engaging in ANY other type of entertainment. I know they become better problem solvers when they play “the old fashioned way” with their toys in their rooms. Their creative and imaginative side is exercised when they have to think up and act out the game. And they do. They do all of this……but they wouldn’t if they had free rein on the remote. That’s for damned sure.



cali mdWell. Here we are. The last few months have been a whirlwind of living without Dub, wrangling Dublets and preparing to move our household across the country. Yep, we’ve gone left to right. West to East. As of last Saturday, we now live in Maryland. It’s been 6 days.

I haven’t written for a while and I thought it was because I haven’t had time. And that’s true, I haven’t really had time to write. But I feel like the spark went out when I found out we were moving from Dana Point. I’ve never been so happy in a place and it pained me greatly to leave. I didn’t want to write about how sad I felt. I didn’t want to be “Debbie Downer” who was wallowing. The truth is, I don’t know how to do this.

I’m sorry I haven’t had a smile on my face this past week. I know it’s annoying to hear someone be down about something. It’s human nature to do the old “buck up camper” to someone who is “sulking”. Yep. I know. Who wants to be around someone with their bottom lip out? Come on! Life could be worse! Cheer up! Be thankful! Stop wallowing! Yep. I know. It’s hard to explain, this kind of sorrow. I find the people who are saying “get over it” or “adapt” annoying too.

I know I’ll adapt. I know I’ll get over it and I’ll be happy again. I know. I think I’m allowed to feel sad to have left a place where people go to have their vacations. I laugh when I hear other’s perception of California being expensive and terrible traffic and fake people and movie stars. My life didn’t involve any of that. I lived in a climate that was largely sunny and about 70o every day. I lived two minutes from the Pacific Ocean, where we could build sand castles and swim and surf and paddle board and find starfish any time we wanted to. I made wonderful friends, who were smart, kind, funny and real. I made friends who care about being healthy and fit and growing good children. I made friends who loved yoga and beaches, humor and wine. I made friends who cared deeply about others, who embraced me and made me feel welcome from the minute I landed. I think I’m allowed to miss that. I’m allowed to mourn.

Now in Maryland, I know there are great things ahead, some of these same things I will find. There are positives already. I know. I’m delighted to live near friends we lived across the street from in Denver who we knew we really liked but we were all so busy having kids we didn’t really have time to enjoy. I am really happy to have a lovely house to make our home. I’m looking forward to my kids getting a great education and catching the bus to school. I’m glad they are learning how to be flexible and make friends wherever they go. I’m intrigued that we now drive past cows to get to our house. I think that’s kind of cool for a kid to experience. I’m happy there is a farmer’s market on the road to our neighborhood. I’m happy our sales tax just dropped 2 points. I’m thankful Trader Joe’s is here on the East Coast. I’m happy a number of my clients have asked me to continue working with them long distance. I’m glad we are about an 8hr drive from my parents and about 10 from Dub’s family. I’m looking forward to exploring Washington D.C. and experience all of the museums, memorials and history that surrounds it. See? I’m not sitting in a dark room, sulking. I know there are many great things to experience here in Maryland.

It’s just all a bit….raw….right now. I haven’t even met a neighbor yet. The only reason I can find my way to the supermarket is because there is only one road to the highway from my house and the supermarket is on it. I’m missing my friends and my beach and that is OK. It’s still OK to be sad and I don’t need cheering up. In fact, I’m pretty sure if you try to talk about positives I’ll get annoyed. Nope. I’m certain.

Here’s to change…….and that wasn’t a thumb.

P.S. there is a California, MD. Who knew?


In Plain Sight – Originally Posted July 8, 2013


swimIt’s taken me a few days to write this. Mainly, because I’m utterly horrified at myself and I’m struggling with the “what if’s” and also the “don’t make a big deal about nothing” monkey chatter in my mind. Well, guess what? I DO WANT TO MAKE A BIG DEAL ABOUT IT. I WANT TO SHOUT IT FROM THE FUCKING ROOFTOPS if it will stop it happening to someone else’s kid.

During our fun Independence Day BBQ/Pool Party, our beautiful son, my darling, precious, sweet baby boy almost drowned.

THANK GOD my sister just happened to look up and notice he was underwater. My beautiful, wonderful, amazing sister jumped into the pool and dragged him out. She saved our son’s life.

He. Almost. Drowned.

His eyes, panicked and open wide, the only thing above water. Arms and legs working frantically, spinning around in circles but unable to get his nose above the water line.

I had taken off his floaties to change his swim diaper and while he was sitting in the lounger, warming up, Dublet #1 had asked me to get her a hotdog. Instead of specifically telling Dub or my sister or any-fucking-one that I wasn’t watching him, I went inside to get her food. I ALWAYS hand him off. I ALWAYS watch them like a hawk in the pool. But I went to get a hotdog.

I looked out the kitchen window when I heard the commotion, to see my sister, soaking wet with a coughing, spluttering little lad in her arms. It took a second for me to realize what had happened.

He was and is absolutely fine. But to this very minute, I know how fucking quickly he could have died. I can feel it to my core. We could have lost him and it would have been solely our fault. All because of a bad hand-off between Dub and me. Bad, bad, bad parenting.

The most frightening thing is that he didn’t make a sound. Silent. No splash, no gasping, no nothing. Silent. And without anyone noticing, and we had about 10 adults and about as many kids right by him in or near the pool, he had gotten up from the chaise and walked to the side of the pool where he had stepped onto the first step. Second step. Thir- he couldn’t reach the third step and had sunk, silently right off the edge. The pool is not even deep, but it was deeper than his height. Not. A. Sound.

This is where the imagination is a powerful teaching tool. I don’t need to explain any further to any parent, or in fact any person. I know you get it. My son could have died. Because of his stupid mother not sticking to protocol. I will never forgive myself and I’m eternally thankful to my sister and God.

Keke. You are amazing. I can never repay you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

P.S. My kids start their survival swimming lessons in August.  We have been planning on it for the last few months and it somehow kept on getting pushed to the back burner. Idiots.

P.P.S. Here is an interesting article on Water Safety and tips on how to keep your kids safe near the water. Also here is the CDC link about unintended drowning deaths. Please be careful with your little one’s around the water and remember that drowning is silent and the water can be as shallow as the bath tub, a paddling pool or a bucket. Don’t let it happen to you.

Testing…testing – Originally posted September 18, 2012

Before we moved to California, our dear friends gave Dublet #1 a pink….princess….amp and microphone (Dub and I nervously glanced at each other, wondering how this was going to pan out.) She was DELIGHTED and rightfully so! Who wouldn’t want to have their tiny 4yr old voice amplified to perfection on the pink plastic wonder? In the days following, we learned a LOT about the capacity of a tiny mind and the inventive ways you can get true bang for your buck out of this kind of toy. Thanks Pat & Andy!

Continue reading

Channel Your “Dinner Zen”.

inner zenWow. It seems my dinner ideas are being pretty well received! Great news! I’ve heard from women all over the country, in fact, the world telling me how much this has changed their lives. So exciting.

Here are a few more….and first for my staple. Rob Vech’s Red Sauce, or fondly called “Missa Wob Sorse” in our house.


1 large can of tomato sauce. (Ha. That’s not all.) 1 large can of water.1 small can of tomato paste, 4 cloves of garlic, 1T Italian Seasoning, 1/2 small onion – chopped, 1 pack of fresh basil – chopped, Salt and pepper.

Dump all ingredients into slow cooker. Set on low for 6-8hrs.

Do you have one of these?



If not, you should consider buying one. They are amazing AND you can pick your color. I have a canary yellow one. My Dad gave it to me. Actually, come to think of it, my dad gave me my rice cooker too…..and my electric corkscrew….he’s a good man.

Anyway, whiz everything up with your immersion blender while it’s still in the slow cooker. If you don’t have one, you can do it all (minus water) in the blender and then dump it all in to the crock pot and add the water. End result, no lumps.

Note: Rob would shake his head and chastise me for not sautéing the onion and garlic in olive oil for a bit first. You can do that. Sometimes I do if I’m dying for extra cooking. Otherwise, proceed as instructed above. He’d really shake his head if he knew that sometimes we are out of onions so I don’t use one…..and sometimes we don’t have basil on hand, so I use some old (moldy) pesto I found in the fridge…I scraped most of the mold off….

Cook for 6-8hrs on low and stir occasionally.

Buy a bag of Foster Farms Homestyle turkey meatballs at Costco. Cook in sauce, make spaghetti…..voila!

OK, now for the rest of the meals….This time, let’s leave the chicken whole. Stand back, I’m gonna break some rules here……

Thaw the whole bag of frozen chicken. 6-10lbs, adjust number of dishes you make accordingly. I don’t know what kind of chicken, Tyson uses but I swear to God they are the size of cats. Kind of grosses me out. Use whatever chicken you want.

Get a gallon zip lock bag, insert one chicken breast push the air out and seal the bag. Beat the SHIT out of it with your meat mallet or rolling pin. OK, I know you’re angry, but not until it is paper thin and disintegrated, but until it is about 1/4″-1/2″ thick. Remove from bag and put on a plate in a pile and continue until all chicken is flat. Make sure any fat is trimmed from the meat. Cut the large, flat chicken into normal sized pieces. This may mean cutting each breast in half or quarters. You choose.

Whip up the two eggs in a bowl. Pour the breadcrumbs into another, separate bowl.  Dip each piece of chicken into the egg and then into the breadcrumbs.

Spray a cookie sheet with Pam and lay each piece of breadcrumbed chicken on it. Bake in oven for about 30 mins at 400F. Turn over at about 15mins. (You can pan fry it if you want, it’s just more labor intensive, which is why I bake it all at once.)

Take out of oven and cool. Then store in gallon bags with paper towels or wax paper/parchment paper between. Lay flat in freezer. Yep. I just re-froze thawed chicken. (Note: make sure you do cook the chicken to 160F before you eat it).

So that is your base for dinners. You can make this one below on the fly, any night from the freezer.


Thaw the amount of chicken you want to cook for about 1hr before (or zap it for 1 minute in the microwave. Check and then 1 more minute. Only until it’s not rock hard. DO NOT cook it at all in the microwave. Microwaved meat is disgusting. (Unless it’s bacon. Then it’s wonderful.)

Heat some olive oil in a large frying pan. Not too much, just enough to make it sizzle a bit when you cook. Cook chicken, turning regularly, until golden brown. Lay it on paper towels when you take it out of the pan. Serve with salad. Yum.

You can make the following from the pile of cooked, breaded chicken you just made. The reason I bread and cook it first is to avoid it being wet and losing all the juices into the meals you’re making.


The amount you want of your cooked breaded chicken breasts, 1 large jar of pasta sauce (or you can make your own like I do, which is super easy and delish) 1C shredded mozzarella or fresh mozzarella (from Costco 2 for $7).

Use a Pyrex large enough to fit the chicken so it’s touching if necessary but not layered. Spray dish with Pam or a little olive oil, spoon tomato sauce on top of each piece of chicken, sprinkle cheese on top (or layer it on top if using fresh). If you’re making tonight’s dinner, bake another 20-30 mins at 375F until cheese is bubbly and the chicken is cooked and warmed through (to 160F). If not, cover in Press n’ Seal and freeze. You can even make this from the frozen chicken you made, just add it to the dish, add the sauce and cheese and freeze or bake.


The amount you want of your cooked breaded chicken breasts, 1T taco seasoning, I jar of chunky salsa, 1C shredded Mexican cheese blend, 2 chopped tomatoes, 1 chopped green pepper, 1 diced fresh jalapeno if you want, finely chopped green onions and sour cream.

Use a Pyrex large enough to fit the chicken so it’s touching if necessary but not layered. Spray dish with Pam or a little olive oil and lay chicken in. Mix taco seasoning with salsa and spoon on top of chicken. Top with cheese and if you’re making tonight’s dinner bake 20-30 mins at 375F or until cheese is bubbly and chicken is cooked and  warmed through (160F). If not, cover in Press n’ Seal and freeze. You can make this from the frozen chicken you made, too, just add it to the dish, add the sauce and cheese and freeze. Save the fresh tomatoes, onions, peppers and sour cream until you are making it to eat that night and toss ‘em on top of the finished product with some sour cream.

So, there you have a few more meals to add to your arsenal! Enjoy!




What’s For Dinner Part Deux.

devil says she's upOk, so let’s storm this shit. Here’s some more. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, see “What’s For Dinner”. http://thankgodforwine.com/whats-for-dinner/ We’re not going to half ass this. Stop your excuses, get your apron on and fill that freezer like a BOSS. No more sniveling, cranking open cans of Chef Boyardee. You DOMINATE at this whole “feeding people” shit. Get to it, Mama’s (and Dads if there is one who does this bullshit). Continue reading

Down Time

relax by poolIt’s been a while since I took some time for myself. Oh, I’ve had my 98 minutes each morning between the time I drop Dublet #2 off and pick #1 up, during which I clean the house, run errands at break neck speed in a desperate attempt to get these tasks done sans kids, but this is different. Continue reading

How to Raise a Kid Who Isn’t Whiny and Annoying” by Lyz Lenz – Huff Post Parents

whinyI detest whiny and annoying kids and I am doing everything within my power to make sure mine aren’t either of those things. They have their moments. I really enjoy reading posts by “like minded mothers” and this one, “How to Raise a Kid Who Isn’t Whiny and Annoying” by Lyz Lenz, posted on Huff Post Parents, is great.


Enjoy and stay strong. You’re the boss.


PS. If I don’t hear “YOU’RE A MEAN MUMMY” or “YOU’RE THE MEANEST MUM IN THE WHOLE WORLD” at least once a day, then I consider myself to be “underperforming” that day.




Pavlova Magic

pav 2It’s a rite of passage, really. Learning how to make your first Pavlova. All Kiwi’s know what I’m talking about and there are some that never, ever get it. My Mum is one of them. She decided early on that making a Pavlova wasn’t her gift, so she transformed it into Pavlovette (I’ll include recipe in the future) and it’s my husbands absolute favorite. She makes him one whole Pavlovette. You read right, one whole one for himself. Everyone else has to share the other one between us all. He sits there eating it with his eyes closed and a goofy grin on his face. It’s somewhere between cute and creepy.

I, on the other hand, somehow managed to learn the magic of making Pavlova and turn out these amazing pillows of air. It’s a sight to behold, the silky, soft peaks. The whirring of the Kitchenaid, the whisper of the sugar mixing into the egg whites and the delicate art of forming it on the baking sheet. So I thought I’d share so others can begin enjoying the magic.

Step one. Get a Kitchenaid mixer. If you don’t have a Kitchenaid, skip all future steps and make Pavlovette.

Step two. Here’s the recipe. Every step is critical, don’t try and make adjustments or you will learn as I did over Thanksgiving that even the most gifted Pavlova wizard can turn out a pile of shit.


6 Egg whites

6T cold water

1/2t salt

2C white granulated sugar

2T cornstarch

2t white vinegar

2t vanilla essence

Heat oven to 350F.

6 egg whites. I use either room temperature or straight from the fridge, I haven’t noticed a difference but there can be absolutely NO yolk in them or it won’t work. None.

Beat the whites until stiff peaks form. This is where most people fail right off the bat. I beat them for about 10 minutes on high speed. You can’t time this, the are done when you lift the beater out of the bowl and the egg whites form stiff peaks from where the beater came out.

Add 6 Tablespoons of cold water. Mix for a few minutes.

Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Mix for a few minutes.

Add 2 Cups of white granulated sugar THIS IS IMPORTANT, one tablespoon at a time with a mixing interval between each addition. Keep the mixer running on high speed the whole way through the process. This step can take as much as 20 minutes or so.

Turn mixer speed to slow and add 2 Tablespoons of cornstarch, 2 teaspoons of white vinegar and 2 teaspoons of vanilla essence. Blend until mixed in. Turn off and scrape around the edges to get any unmixed cornstarch. Blend again on low for another minute.

Spray a round cookie sheet with cooking spray. Turn mixture out onto the middle of the tray and form into a circle, about 3″ high and about 8″ diameter. It should look like a shape of a cake.

Place in 350F oven for 15 mins with door shut.

Turn oven temperature to 300F for 45 mins with door shut.

Turn oven off and open door. Leave to sit until oven is cool.

It should look now a little bit spread out with crispy meringue on top. When it’s totally cool, transfer very carefully to your serving platter (use a large pancake spatula and you might need another pair of hands). Store in cool, dry place (not in fridge) for one day maximum. When you are ready to serve, whip a small or medium carton of fresh cream (can be done in advance) and cover Pavlova. Don’t add anything to the cream, no sugar, nothing. Add diced kiwi fruit, strawberries, raspberries (any, all or none) on top. You can store in fridge, but it will begin to lose a sticky clear sugary fluid if in there for too long.


Things that will make your pavlova fail: Opening and closing the door (think soufflé). Including any egg yolk in the mix. Not whipping egg whites for long enough. Not mixing for long enough to dissolve sugar. Oven too hot or letting the raw mixture sit for too long before baking. Also, no using Cool Whip or Ready Whip. Nope.

Tip: measure all ingredients over another bowl or the sink, not over the mixing bowl, so you don’t inadvertently add too much.