Thursday, January 29, 2009

Waking up 40

Today I woke up to the big 4-0! I am fine with the number. It doesn't bother me. Especially since I have experienced the loss of many friends & family before some made it to 2o, 30 or 40 themselves. I should be grateful to be here on this earth to have another birthday and I am grateful.

I am 14,610 days old. What did I do with all of those days? So many things. Some I remember and some I don't. Some things are worth remembering and some are not.

What really sucks about today is the fact that I have been fighting this upper respiratory infection since last week. I started taking the Z-Pak (which is a 5 day antibiotic) on Monday and I should be feeling better by today but I do not. I just want to be able to use both nostrils to draw air in and out of my body instead of just one.

I went to open the blinds in the living room when I got up this morning and when I looked out the window, I noticed some balloons in front of the bushes. What was that?! So I go outside, looking like I just rolled out of bed because I did with my nose red and crusty from sneezing continuously, wearing cropped sweatpants a jacket and slippers.

Turns out my husband made up signs for my birthday all on his own. I was a bit surprised. He's never done anything like that before. I guess I'm not thrilled with the idea that the entire neighborhood and everyone who might drive though it today will see my name and my age as big as day right in front of my house! However, I think it was very thoughtful of my husband to do such a thing. I guess he really does love me or does he...depends on if you think it is cruel to put up such things in front of ones house.

We have reservations at one of my very favorite restaurants tonight but I don't know how much I will enjoy it since I am really pretty sick. My mom is here visiting from Chicago and we are having a party with friends at a nearby restaurant this weekend. I just don't know when I am going to start to feel better!
I did realize yesterday while filling out papers at the doctors office that it was the very last time I could put down '39' next to AGE on the form. 30 anything for that matter. Now I will write the #4 first for the next 10 years!

I grew up when the first VCR was introduced and I remember people talking about Betamax and Pac-Man & Donkey Kong. Heaven knows how much time and quarters I spent at the arcade back in the day. I also remember when CD players came into the world. I spent $400 on an Onkyo one-disc CD player back in the late 80's (I know the memory is always the first thing to go!) That is unheard of now of course! But it was the new technology, something which I have ALWAYS been drawn to.

There is one thing I do not like about aging. The fact that my parents along with my aunts & uncles are all aging too. I don't want them to leave me. Ever. I will never be ready to let my parents leave this earth. No matter how old they are and no matter how old I am. I know this is the circle of life and we can not stop it from happening but I don't want to face it either.

We all feel younger than our calendar age on the inside, right? It's the mirror that reminds us that we aren't as young as we used to be or the falls on the ice when trying to ice skate with our children that we realize that fall is much farther from the ground than it used to be and much more painful than we remember!

I do remember when I was maybe 10 years old and my mom was in her early thirties. I recall telling her how old I thought that was. I look at my kids now and wonder what they see when they look at me. Their mom. Do they think I'm old? Do they think I look old? I don't know and I am definitely not about to ask them! Kids can be brutally honest and honestly is not what I need from them in regards to my appearance!

With age comes wisdom (and the desire to make my hair even blonder) and I do sometimes think if I only knew then what I know now! If I could go back in time and tell my 18 year old self anything it would be this: I know you are feeling a lot of pain but you are stronger than you think. You don't need a man to be happy. You might not fulfill all of your dreams but you will do good with your life. Oh and BTW...when you are 35, you will FINALLY meet Rick Springfield! :)

Not much advise I could go back and give myself I guess. If I went back in time and did that, it might change everything and I don't think that's what I want because all of the mistakes, all of the love and loss and everything in between is what made me who I am today, good, bad, right or wrong. Plus I might still have two kids but they wouldn't be these 2 kids and I love these 2 kids that I have.

I have been reflecting on my life quite a bit for the past 6 months. Mostly because of the unexpected death of my ex husband in July 2008. He was only 38 years old. We have a 13 year old daughter together. It has been more than I can bare along with our daughter. He was never father of the year but he loved our daughter. He also loved me. This much I knew of him. Looking back at when we met and dated and our marriage, we never saw how much our lives would turn in such different directions. It is unfortunate but we can't change it.
When you get to a milestone birthday such as 40, try not to look back and think about what you could have done differently. I am desperately trying not to do that. Instead, look at what you have accomplished, look at what you have learned from your mistakes. Push forward and plan for the future no matter what life throws at you. We all make mistakes as children to our parents, as students to our teachers, as parents to our children, as husbands/wives to our spouses and just as human beings trying to find our place in this beautiful & cruel world.

Age is nothing to be afraid of. I can embrace 40. I just wish I looked 25! Registered & Protected

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Mustard-Crusted Pork Roast and Browned Potatoes

So I have had a couple of books sitting a shelf for quite sometime. They were both given to me as gifts and I like them but just never pulled them out to try a recipe, mostly because I have become a Cooking Light Magazine snob and rarely cook anything that doesn't come out of there!
So one day around Christmas, I took one of the books down and found a recipe that I thought sounded too good not to try. Why didn't I see it before? It is in the book entitled: Christmas with Southern Living 2002. Yes, that's right. I said 2002! So it was about time I actually tried something from it!
The best part about this recipe is that it all cooks in one pan in the oven. Easy-shmeazy!


1 (4-5 lb) boneless pork loin roast(note...I buy a couple of these at a time when on sale for $1.99/LB)
1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/2 cup coarse-grained mustard (what is that?! I found Grey Poupon Coarse ground mustard and it worked fine for me)

8 garlic cloves, minced

3 tablespoons olive oil

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary

2 lbs new potatoes

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

Garnish: fresh rosemary sprigs (optional but really impresses people!)

Place pork in a roasting pan coated with cooking spray. Rub with 1/4 teaspoon each salt & pepper. Combine mustard and next 4 ingredients in a small bowl; spread evenly over pork.

Peel a crosswise stripe around each potato with a vegetable peeler, if desired (I didn't do this). Cut each potato in half length-wise. Toss potatoes with 2 tablespoons oil, 1 tablespoon chopped rosemary, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Add to roasting pan around pork.

Bake at 375* for 1 hour to 1 1/4 hours or until thermometer registers 160*. Let stand 10 minutes. Transfer roast to a serving platter. Surround pork with potatoes. Garnish, if desired. Registered & Protected

Not just a mom?

I am more than a mom, right?

I remember when I was pregnant with my now 13 year old. I was 25 years old and almost 6 months pregnant that Christmas. I was also still newly married (we divorced after 10 years together in 2001 and he actually passed away unexpectedly in July 2008 at the age of 38).

My husband(at the time) bought me a Christmas present. Looking back, I know he had the best of intentions but it was not at all a gift I expected OR wanted. He gave me a foot spa. You know, one of those things that you put water in and plug it in and put your feet in. It was because my feet were getting so swollen and sore with the pregnancy. I didn't mean to seem ungrateful but I really felt like being pregnant that I was somehow losing the person I was before I was pregnant.

Don't get me wrong here, I was ecstatic about being pregnant and couldn't wait to be a mom but there were still things I wanted to do with my life someday. I was ready to put dreams on hold of course, which I did, however, I couldn't help feeling like everyone I knew was now only looking at me as a 'mom'. Not that this was wrong necessarily but I really wanted to be MORE than a mom. Plus I was still only 25 and really kind of wanted something romantic from my husband, little did I know that most men are not as romantic as us women would like without a little help from us! I just still wanted him to look at me like I was sexy and 25.

Now, I am remarried for almost 6 years and have a 3 year old too. I will be 40 this week and let me tell you that having a teenager and a toddler makes me truly feel my age. I still want to be more than a mom on the inside but I know that on the outside, I look like a mom, I talk like a mom and I react like a mom. I felt much more beautiful when I was pregnant with my now 3 year old. I was 10 years older than the first time I was pregnant and knew more about what to expect.

My 13 year old's friends look at me and call me Mrs..... That truly makes me feel old but I also know that it goes with the territory of being an adult, something which I am whether or not I feel like an adult on the inside or not...we all still have the kid in us deep down.

So I guess I am trying to find myself again. The person who could still dream and make it happen instead of dreaming and thinking it's too late. Age is just a number after all or at least that is what I have heard since I turned 30 and now again that I am turning 40. It is not a barrier for keeping us from things we still feel in our hearts that we would like to do. Who says that a 40 year old mom of 2 can't do something else or better yet, something brand spanking new and unexpected by everyone who knows her.

I guess at 40, I know more of who I am but am still trying to find my 'place' in the world. Am I making sense? Not sure. I'm a mom, true. I am also a wife and a daughter but I am also a woman. But a mom most importantly.

When my kids are fully grown and leave me to make a life of their own, I will have to be more than a mom, like it or not because I know I will be lucky if they call me or answer the phone when I call to check on them 10 times a day! I will want them to come home and visit often because I know that our family dinner table will not be the same unless they are sitting there with my husband and me. So when I am forced to be more than a mom at that time, I will still be expecting them to say to me, "Mom, I'm coming over, what's for dinner?" Registered & Protected

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Try something new and you just might like it

I will start by telling a bit about myself. I am a SAHM of two girls ages 3 and 13. I became a SAHM when I had my 3 year old so it has been quite an adjustment.

Before I married my husband, I was a single mom, working fulltime and never had time to cook. When I married my husband and moved to Arizona almost 6 years ago, I really started to make dinner time a family time. My daughter was 8 years old and we were all adjusting to a new life with each other in a new place without any family or friends.

I made it a rule that we eat dinner together every night. Something my daughter and I did back home but usually out somewhere and not in our own house. I was a newlywed so wanted to find meals that all 3 oof us would enjoy eating and make sure they were healthy and easy to make.

Cooking Light Magazine became a staple in my house. I started to make new recipes all of which turned out fantastic and most all 3 of us loved. I was trying a couple of new recipes every week and after awhile, we were eating a bunch of them on a regular basis. I still try new recipes from the magazine as much as possible and I really have learned to love cooking. I am not a person who can create a recipe on my own but really need a recipe to follow and I can be a bit of a perfectionist, especially when it comes to the meals I make.

I am also an avid scrapbooker so it is only natural for me to take pictures of my food.....I take pictures of the things I cook and I take pictures of some of the food I eat at restaurants, especially if it really looks beautiful! So I will post pictures here as well as my favorite recipes.

I hope to use this blog to share MY personal favorite recipes from Cooking Light Magazine and tell the world that they should pick up the magazine, try a bunch of recipes and soon you'll be eating healthy and loving it! I will also post great recipes that I make and love from other sources that I make into a healthy version by changing it up just a bit just by changing to low-fat items, etc.

So please be nice and bare with me as I dip my toe into the world of blogging.

I am in no way affilated with Cooking Light Magazine, I just LOVE them! Registered & Protected