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pesto tortellini salad

July 5, 2014

pesto tortellini saladSeveral summers ago, it seemed to be the summer of potlucks and barbecues. Every single one I went to were laden with tubs of store bought potato salad or gooey mayonnaise-laden pasta salads alongside endless bags of chips. I really wanted to find something that would be different, healthy, and could withstand sitting on a hot picnic table for hours without potentially giving my friends food poisoning.

I can’t exactly remember where I nabbed this recipe from – if it was in one of my many recipe card collections, or something I stumbled across in one of my cooking magazines, but it has become my go-to recipe for summer salads, potlucks, or just a quick and hearty dinner.

For this meal, you’ll need:

1 – 9 oz package of tortellini (you can find it in the deli section of the grocery store or in the freezer section), cooked to package directions

1 – carton of grape or cherry tomatoes

1 – 6 oz jar marinated artichoke hearts

1 – 6 oz tub of pesto (also found in the deli section, usually next to the packaged tortellini)

1 – large broccoli crown, cut into bite sized pieces

Parmesan cheese, to taste

Salt & pepper, to taste

And this is my favorite part: dump all of the above ingredients into a big bowl and mix together. You can serve up right away or refrigerate. I find that it’s delicious when the tortellini is still warm, but it’s always better the second day.

Do you have a favorite summer barbecue side that you always serve up?

 

5 must haves for every mom

July 3, 2014

Don’t we all wish that motherhood came with a manual? Sure, we’ve all tapped in to every motherhood resource out there, from What to Expect When You’re Expecting to every blog on Circle of Moms, but there are some parts to motherhood that seem to be elusive details of this secret society.

Shortly after Alissa was born, my sister delivered a care package that included an eye mask, a bottle of stool softeners and a subscription to People. Having put in three years in the motherhood club at that point, she said to me, “these seem like weird gifts, but you’ll understand.” Within a week, I had used every item she had brought me.

I have since continued to pass the torch with all of my new mom friends.

The thing that’s been missing for me, however, is the secret mom kit for the period when your kids get older and are on the move. The items you want in your super mom tool belt for those harrowing days when your kiddo decides that today is when they are going to kick off their stunt double career, they have to get from school to gymnastics practice, you just didn’t get enough sleep last night, or you would rather lock yourself in the linen closet and cry your eyes out.

Thankfully, I’ve discovered a few things that I will always have handy in my super mom holster.

#neoready #TLCVoxBox #GelatoLove #Sudlife #avonAnew #passthepuffs #fuelrewards

1. Neosporin® Neo To Go! I’ve learned to accept that my apple didn’t fall far from the tree. In fact, I’m convinced that the apple didn’t even fall off the tree. Alissa is her father’s child – every bit the daredevil, but with the extra bonus of her mom’s clumsiness. Hence, I carry a half dozen band-aids and the Neo To Go with us everywhere we go. With us, you really never know when you’re going to need it. I may or may not have been the one that needed the first aid kit on occasion.

2. Ivory Soap. This has been our standby since Alissa was a baby. When our pediatrician told us that the commonly gifted baby soap in the yellow bottle was about a step away from pure lye, I found something that would be less irritable on Alissa’s skin. Turns out, it’s also makes for great homemade laundry detergent as well as a super fun playtime!

3. Puffs To Go. Between allergies, cold season, and just your regular alligator tears, Puffs have long been my favorite brand for facial tissue. Unlike other tissues, I don’t get the rawness on my face from constant wiping and dabbing. Plus, they are super thick and soft. What’s not to love?

4. AVON Anew Reversalist Express Wrinkle Smoother. Honestly, I don’t have wrinkles. I know that most of my friends would probably slap me for saying that. But I have found that this stuff is AWESOME as a primer for my eye makeup. You know, so I can hide the bags under my eyes when I’m dropping Alissa at school at 6:30 in the morning before heading in to work.

5. Shell Fuel Rewards Network Card. I’ve participated in the grocery store discount programs for years. It’s always nice to save 10 cents a gallon on gas, especially this time of year when fuel rates are inflated for summer travels. What’s different about the Shell FRN is that you can attach your debit and credit cards to your account and rack up savings that way. In June, our 25 cents a gallon reward worked out to a $5 saving when we filled up Dale’s truck. The way I see it, I can now justify my Starbucks habit.

Bonus: Breyers® Gelato Indulgences. I am so happy that Breyer’s added this to their lineup. This is, by far, the creamiest, richest gelato I’ve ever had! It’s true what they say about ice cream being the cure to everything. Whether it’s to cheer up a kiddo or to reward a tough mom day, this is the way to go.

These are products that I recommend all moms add to their tool kit. What items can you not live without?

Disclosure: I received all of the above items complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes. All of the opinions are my own.

 

musings.

June 7, 2014

Untitled designOkay, so I kinda blew it on this posting every day in May thing. Perhaps I was a little too ambitious in my goal of jumping back into blogging with both feet. I should have known better. When it comes to habits, I am terrible at sticking to the good ones.

Even so, I’ve got a lot going on and a lot to share with all of you. I feel like my life is in an incredibly exciting place and I look forward to blogging about the change that I feel swirling all around me.

I’ve spent a lot of time recently thinking about intentional living and it’s been so freeing to realize that when you make conscious choices, life just feels so much better. I choose happiness each day, and while that doesn’t mean that I spend time with a smile falsely plastered on my face all the time, it does mean that even in the difficult moments, I can still be content with where my life is headed.

I’m looking forward to what the future brings, but until then, I’ve got some stories to catch up on from the past few months.

 

Sargento Ultra Thin

May 7, 2014

20140607-105525-39325952.jpgWhen I first picked up this product from the store, I was trying to think of how relevant this product really is. I am not a calorie counter and I have no qualms about eating an entire block of cheese in one sitting. So the selling point that it’s only 45 calories per slice doesn’t resonate with me. I need a better benefit for paying $4/package for this product.

For me, that selling point was convenience. I love the convenience of sliced cheese for all sorts of things – from sandwiches to snacking, it is a convenient product to buy and use. But on my sandwich, I don’t like anorexic cheese slices. This was TOO thin. I had to put twice as much on my sandwich to have a good cheese-to-meat ratio and harness the flavor of the cheese (the plus side: I really felt like I could enjoy the true flavor of the cheese with a thinner slice). If Sargento could find the happy medium between this slice and their regular slice, it would be perfect.

(note: I was the recipient of a complimentary package of this product as a member of the Sargento Ultra Vox Box campaign from Influenster)

thirty five.

May 6, 2014

ImageI’m not exactly sure what it was about this birthday that has been challenging me. I was apprehensive about it a good six months ago, and even now, almost three weeks in, I’m still not sure I fully accept it. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve hit another half-decade milestone or if I had some subconscious expectation of what my life would look like at this point that has yet to be met.

All I know is it’s been hard.

Physically, although in decent shape, despite having two bad shoulders thanks to two (unrelated) acts of clumsiness, I just feel old. My body aches, I don’t recover from exercise as well, and when I get sick, I am down for the count (thank you, Norovirus for a wonderful hellish week in January). Emotionally, I’m dealing with a lot of grown up things, from family drama to financial woes and work worries. But none of it is unmanageable by any means. I can still rise each day and put a positive outlook on life – even if I’m aided by medication to be able to do so.

I’ve begun to be more intentional in what I eat, who I spend time with, and even what I do in my downtime.

So I continue to be perplexed as to why this birthday is so bothersome for me. Hopefully I can put a finger on it. Maybe you can help me shed some light with your comments.

#10. Go to Fenway Park

May 2, 2014

Dad and me atop the Green MonsterI am a huge baseball fan. HUGE. It is by far my favorite sport. As with most baseball fans, I hope to visit every baseball stadium in the country at some point. This year, I ticked off a big one.

This particular ball park is one of  my 101 goals because Fenway holds a personal spot in my heart for a few reasons. First, we share a birthday. Granted, Fenway is 67 years older than I, but it’s still cool. Secondly, that’s my dad’s hometown team. He’s always told me stories of being a teenager and getting tickets in the upper deck, since that was all he could afford. Back then, the Sox were so bad that each inning, he was able to sneak a little closer until, by the 8th inning, enough fans had lost all hope and left the park that he could grab seats in the lower deck bleachers and watch the end of the game.

When we went to Boston last month, I was able to arrange a private tour of the park for my dad, thanks to a connection I made through work. I had told my dad that I was trying to arrange it, but when we landed in Boston and I still hadn’t heard anything, we both figured it wasn’t going to happen and made other plans. Fortunately, my contact came through and we dropped everything to be at 4 Yawkey Way right on time.

My dad hadn’t been back to Fenway in decades, so this was a special treat. We were met by our fabulous tour guide, Oscar, who took us around the park, telling us a lot about the history and the team. We had the distinct fortune to be able to be there a week before opening day, so it was exciting to see all the hustle and bustle of the grounds crew getting the field ready as well as rehearsals for the ring ceremony. It was really neat being in a place that holds so much history (of course, that was true for all of Boston).

Sadly, the championship trophy was out on tour still, so we didn’t get to see that in person, but we did get to see a bunch of other awards the club has earned over the last century. It was a wonderful experience to be able to stand atop the Green Monster with my dad. He was beyond excited just to be there. Hopefully the next time we’re there, we can catch a game.

Dad and me atop the Green Monster

blog on…

May 1, 2014
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committing to blogging each day in mayI’ve got to be honest. I really have missed blogging. Writing has turned out to be quite the therapeutic way to process the happenings of my world. But I sort of abandoned this space after the information I shared was used as a means to hurt me and the people that I cared about. I’ve since realized that is the risk you take when posting your most personal feelings on the Internet. The upside to that is that through blogging, I have made some very dear friends, many of whom I have yet to meet IRL. The benefits in this case, far outweigh the negatives.

I started this blog almost 10 years ago when I first moved to Denver. Heck, it was before blogging was even cool. I’ve always been an early adopter like that. At first, it was a place for me to keep life happenings for my family and friends to read up on. Then Facebook came along and it turned into a place that was more of an emotional outlet and support group.

When I decided to start blogging again, I wasn’t sure if I should keep this blog or start a new one. It seems that what this blog once was isn’t what I see it as any longer. After much debate, I chose to heed the advice of my very wise friend, Kim, I decided to keep this blog and let it continue to grow and change with me, as it truly is a reflection of who I am and the journey I have been on in this world.

So as part of living my word of this year, CREATE, I want to write more. I want to create a space that will be my own and will continue to be a very random collection of items that are a reflection of the eclectic life I lead. It starts with getting back in the saddle. If it really takes 30 days to make a habit, this is kicking off what will hopefully become a very fulfilling habit, both for me and for you.

In addition to growing this space, I plan to be more intentional with my content. Naturally, I will always have the random blog posts, but in the end, I want to really use this space to do the things I do well: share knowledge and connect people. As such, I invite you to join in my community by leaving comment love below.

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