Playing with my boys

Playing with my boys
They keep life interesting :-)

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Buh-Bye Summer!

With Labor Day just days away, its time to acknowledge the inevitable.  I realize I'm in the minority, especially in these parts where most people dread the winter, but I am ECSTATIC that summer is ending and Fall (or as I like to call it, THE MOST GLORIOUS TIME OF THE YEAR) is upon us!

I have just two words for you: Pumpkin Muffin.  Dunkin Donuts makes my favorite season of the year the tastiest too ;-)

Seriously though...I LIVE for Fall in New England.  Nothing in all the world compares to it.  People can post pictures of tropical beaches and umbrella drinks all over Facebook, Instagram, Twitter to their heart's content, but nothing beats a pumpkin patch, apple orchard, or a giant pile of crunchy fallen leaves ready to be jumped in!

I've always loved Fall - forever my favorite.  I love dressing for Fall - jeans, boots, sweatshirts, scarfs...its just such a comfortable season.  I love decorating my house, inside and out, with pumpkins, hay bales, corn stalks, warm rustic colors all around.  Lighting candles and the fire place, baking all kinds of treats, but especially homemade apple pie.  Crockpot cooking, soup, hot chocolate, pumpkin spice coffee (another Dunkies treat), fresh warm cider donuts from the apple orchard's farm stand - and one cold treat I can only have in the Fall, Dairy Twist's Fall special Pumpkin Oreo ice cream - its a season full of gastronomic delight! 

Having kids makes my favorite season even BETTER (hard to believe that's possible, right?!?).  Playing in apple orchards, picking our own pumpkins, carving and decorating them, baking and eating our pumpkin seeds, baking apple pies with their "help", preparing for Halloween and stepping inside their imaginations to make their costume exactly what they hoped, celebrating Thanksgiving and all that we are grateful for - my two children being right at the top of that list. 

Seeing things through their eyes just makes everything that much more beautiful.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Italian Sub Stoup

A number of people have asked me for this recipe.  Rachael Ray gets all the credit though.  I have her 365: No Repeats cookbook, and while I haven't made a ton of the recipes in that particular book, this is one I keep going back to.  I love it!
Italian Sub Stoup - thicker than a soup, not as thick as a stew, as Rachael Ray says.
I make a few tweaks to R.R.'s recipe though, because I love pasta.  I'm kind of goes without saying.  The recipe calls for only 1 cup of dry pasta.  I add a whole box - 1lb of pasta.  In order to cook all that pasta, I have to add more liquid.  So, instead of adding only 3 cups of chicken stock, I add about 7.  This winds up being absolutely, perfectly delightful :-)

We are not a family that's big on super spicy food - mild Italian sausage adds just the right amount of flavor for us.  But, if you're looking for more heat, go for the HOT Italian sausages...and throw in some crushed red pepper flakes while you're at it!


The term "school" has been thrown around a lot lately.  Aidan hears his Daddy talk about school, and having to do homework every night.   He hears adults ask me "When is Aidan starting school?"  He has heard his friends and their parents talking about school starting up, back-to-school shopping, planning for the big day, etc.  The other day he asked his Daddy "When can I go to school?"

Aidan is not going to preschool this year.  He is three years old.  He won't be 4 until the end of December.  He can't start Kindergarten until September 2015 due to the age cut-off being Sept. 1st.  He will start preschool next year. 

I am a SAHM and we are living within very limited means.  Sending Aidan to preschool for 2 years is just not in our budget.  But regardless of budget, I just don't see why I should send him to preschool for 2 years.  Other moms totally have their reasons (be it work schedules or simply for their own sanity), and I respect their choices.  But, delaying 14 years of school, not taking college years into account, for one more year is my gift to my little 3yr old.  Its one more carefree year of being under momma's wing, sheltered from growing up any faster than he needs to, and having fun with his brother at a time when their relationship has yet to reach a point of hostility, jealousy, or a constant need for a referee.  I love being able to stay home and raise my children.  I love watching his imagination in action as he runs around the house and yard pretending to be a fireman, rescuing all kinds of people and animals from danger.  I love when he asks me to read him a story, and one story becomes twelve.  I love that he still naps in the afternoon and I get a little (and yes, much needed) break just about every day, but I still get to be with him otherwise.  I love that he gets to go to a 2 1/2 hr drop-off gym class once a week, where he gets to play and have fun, and experience a little separation from me and Liam too, because I do understand the importance of that independence. 

He's so eager to learn new things.  Its seemed for the longest time that he's had no patience for learning letters/numbers, but lately has really begun to express interest.  He has a preschool workbook one of his aunties bought him a couple years ago that has been tucked away in a closet until yesterday.  With all of his inquiries about school, I thought it was time to try some of the lessons in the book (we've tried learning letters and numbers in various other ways with limited success).  We sat at the table together and page by page started working our way through the lessons, practicing tracing different kinds of lines, then moving onto shapes, then colors.  I told him this was his homework - and he's been "doing homework" since. 

"Aidan, come upstairs so we can get ready to go out." 
"Mom, I'm doing my homework!"


Despite all that, I still feel a little twinge of guilt that he's not going to school this year.  Like I'm harming his odds of being successful once he does start school - like I'm starting him off with a disadvantage because all the other kids have been in preschool for YEARS!  I start thinking these things and immediately just have to tell myself to shut the hell up.  He is a brilliant little boy.  Preschool for even just one year is still optional - not mandatory.  His one year of preschool will be AMAZING!  He is going to love it.  He's going to have so much fun learning and meeting new friends.  He's going to come home from school eager to share with me all that he did, right down to what he ate for a snack ( he's a growing boy, afterall), and I will have a big, giant smile on my face watching my little sponge grow and learn under someone else's wing.  My pride will soar as I see him mature further into his own little person, and my heart will simultaneously ache as I see less and less of my "baby", and burst with excitement for the boy he's becoming and adventures he'll have!

Its going to be wonderful - next year.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Its Happened...

Its husband's annoying habit of quizzing me "Who sings this song?" when we're listening to the radio has unfortunately been directed toward its next victim - our 3 year old. 

Aidan, brace yourself.  This is only the beginning.  My advice to you, in addition to deep sighs and heavy eye rolling, is to respond with: "Some 80s hair band."  I promise you will be right 98% of the time.