LIFESTYLE: What our Mothers Taught Us

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This was sent to me from my sister and I had to share it. It is amazing to me how generationally things don't change. I read through these lessons and I find myself realizing I say a lot of this to my own child! I guess Moms are Moms are Moms. Doesn't matter if it's 1950 or 2010.

Enjoy the funny. Also, I can't take credit for the list, and I hope the author of it contacts me so I can credit him/her. It is very funny! Well done! And Happy Early Mother's Day!

1. My mother taught me TO APPRECIATE A JOB WELL DONE.
"If you're going to kill each other, do it outside. I just finished cleaning."

2. My mother taught me RELIGION.
"You better pray that will come out of the carpet."

3. My mother taught me about TIME TRAVEL.

"If you don't straighten up, I'm going to knock you into the middle of next week!"

4. My mother taught me LOGIC.
" Because I said so, that's why."

5. My mother taught me MORE LOGIC.
"If you fall out of that swing and break your neck, you're not going to the store with me."

6. My mother taught me FORESIGHT.
"Make sure you wear clean underwear, in case you're in an accident."

7. My mother taught me IRONY.
"Keep crying, and I'll give you something to cry about."

8. My mother taught me about the science of OSMOSIS.
"Shut your mouth and eat your supper."

9. My mother taught me about CONTORTIONIST.
"Will you look at that dirt on the back of your neck!"

10. My mother taught me about STAMINA.
"You'll sit there until all that spinach is gone."

11. My mother taught me about WEATHER.
"This room of yours looks as if a tornado went through it."

12. My mother taught me about HYPOCRISY.
"If I told you once, I've told you a million times. Don't exaggerate!"

13. My mother taught me the CIRCLE OF LIFE.
"I brought you into this world, and I can take you out."

14. My mother taught me about BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION .
"Stop acting like your father!"

15.. My mother taught me about ENVY.
"There are millions of less fortunate children in this world who don't have wonderful parents like you do."

16. My mother taught me about ANTICIPATION.
"Just wait until we get home."

17. My mother taught me about RECEIVING .
"You are going to get it when you get home!"

18. My mother taught me MEDICAL SCIENCE.
"If you don't stop crossing your eyes, they are going to get stuck that way."

19. My mother taught me ESP.
"Put your sweater on; don't you think I know when you are cold?"

20. My mother taught me HUMOR.
"When that lawn mower cuts off your toes, don't come running to me."

21. My mother taught me HOW TO BECOME AN ADULT .
"If you don't eat your vegetables, you'll never grow up."

22. My mother taught me GENETICS.
"You're just like your father."

23. My mother taught me about my ROOTS.
"Shut that door behind you. Do you think you were born in a barn?"

24. My mother taught me WISDOM.
"When you get to be my age, you'll understand."

25. My mother taught me about JUSTICE.

"One day you'll have kids, and I hope they turn out just like you!"

GARDENING: Chamomile Against White Powder Mildew Really works!

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My poor Rosemary bush that I winter at my office has had a stint of white powdery mildew. If you look above, you can see the white powder on some of it's leaves. My poor bush was almost covered with this stuff. I did try to spray it with a baking soda solution. (2 tsp. baking soda, 1 tsp. dish soap and water, mix in a sprayer and spray daily) It kind of worked for a couple of days, but if I missed spraying it, the mildew would overtake it again. After reading some Jerry Baker tonics, I discovered that Chamomile is a natural mold deterrent. So I steeped two bags of Chamomile tea in a mug of hot water for 30 minutes. Discarded the bags, and poured the tea in the sprayer. I added 2 Tsp. Epsom Salt, and filled the sprayer with water. I swear after 2 days, the powdery mildew was 1/3 gone! After 4 days, the only mildew left is what I shot above. It is spotty in places, but it is almost all gone (see below). I have never seen anything work so fast and that doesn't involve chemicals. THANK YOU JERRY BAKER!

HOME: Why do Men and Women look at Home Improvement Differently?

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There is something I have observed over the years of being married and having many married friends-and that is the avid involvement of husbands in making decorating and renovating decisions. It seems I hear the same frustrations from many fellow wives when it comes to home renovating and decorating. I would not say that these observations are with the older generations, but with couples that are in their mid 30's and 40's. Older couples like my parents had more delineated roles and expectations. Women had the household, Men worked. So if women wanted to put up curtains or paint a wall a certain color, she just needed to stay within budget and she did what she felt needed to be done to make her house a home. Husbands just came home and dealt with it, eventually growing to like or live with whatever their wives did. Nowadays, Men are much more involved in their families, from being in the delivery room when their child is born to being at parent/teacher conferences. I think this interest has also permeated into "nesting". Add popular DIY shows for the masses, and they feel it is socially acceptable to add their feedback in paint colors and curtains.

So where is the rub, you ask? My frustration is in the differences in the list of house priorities that men put together v.s women. Men look at very un-cosmetic choices first, women want to paint and decorate. If you have limited funds, often making a home pretty gets put to the wayside to "wait" until you put a new window in or maintain the furnace. Men can live with unfinished rooms and peeling wallpaper. As long as the house is solid and providing it's purpose, they are fine. After doing some reading, it seems the root of the issue is how men and women look at money. This great article on quickly illustrated for me the differences with how men and women look at money, and with that, decisions on what money goes to what house project.

Some of this is hardwired into the sexes from the beginning of time. According to a article I came across, women and men historically have been very different with how they view house budgets.

Women, trained to nurture and seek acceptance, view money as a means to create a lifestyle. Women spend on things that enhance day-to-day living. Theirs is a now-money orientation.

Men, trained to fix and provide, view money as a means to capture and accumulate value. Men don't spend, they invest. Men don't want something, they need it. Theirs is a future-money orientation.

My friend Kathleen and I were laughing as we imagined the first caveman coming into his cave with his kill for dinner while his wife is busy putting up curtains to "spruce the place up!" Ruth Hayden, a financial counselor and author
of For Richer, Not Poorer: The Money Book for Couples, put it best; "Women have been taught to invest in lifestyle and children. Men have been taught to invest in things that hold value -- a house, retirement. The way that translates into spending is that women spend more money on the stuff that makes the day work. The problem with that is, most of that stuff has no asset value, no visible value."

But aren't paint, light fixtures and window treatments part of adding some value to a home? Maybe not as much as a working furnace-but a little. And what I say is hell, I could die tomorrow! I want to enjoy my home now! We work hard to have it, I want to feel good and proud while I am in it! Beyond the investment value of renovation decisions, there is also the emotional benefits as well. We all know the emotional part is better handled by women than men. So what are we women to do?

It's a challenge, no doubt. There needs to be lots of talk and compromise on the list of priorities during home renovations season. And even when you get down to decorating decisions, both sides need to work together so that everyone feels good about their decisions moving forward. It won't be easy, and evidently, Ruth Hayden agrees.
"Where people are struggling is they still have the old socialization, but they're living their lives differently. We have two people putting in eight- and 10-hour days, we have much higher standards for partnership and intimacy than our parents did, we have much higher standards for child-raising, for ourselves and our homes. Our standards have changed entirely, our roles have changed, and yet we still have this socialization model that is archaic. What couples are trying to do is to figure out new models. It's wonderful, but it's very hard."

Well, here's to forging new "socialization models!" I am off to discuss next steps in my home office remodeling project with hubby! Wish me luck!

Credits and great related articles:

RECIPE: Coca Cola Oven Chicken

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This recipe was a great Sunday meal when you have little time to devote to the kitchen yet everyone is hankering for some simple, comfort food. The sauce is made with cola, which adds a sweet, caramel flavor to the chicken. I had asked my husband to get me a can of coke for a garden tonic that Jerry Baker subscribes for spring, and he bought me a liter! (this is what happens when you send husbands to handle the grocery list-sorry hon!) So this recipe was also great at using extra cola in the house. (I might try a cake later this week! I hear cola makes a great cake.) This recipe just needs time but not effort. You let the stove and oven do all the work for you. But it needs a couple hours from start to finish, so plan accordingly.


2 Tbsp. butter
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1 large shallot, finely chopped
2 bay leaves, crumpled
2 cups ketchup
6 oz. cola
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire
1 tsp. dried mustard
2 tsp. cider vinegar
salt and fresh ground pepper
1 whole chicken, cut up (about 3 lbs.)

First, make the sauce. In a large non-aluminum sauce pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and shallot and saute until softened. Add cola, bay leaves, ketchup, Worcestershire, dry mustard, vinegar, salt and pepper. Mix well and cook on low simmer for 1 hour. Stir occasionally. Sauce will be thick and bubbly.

Preheat oven to 350˚. In a large Pyrex pan, ladle 1/2 cup or so of sauce on the bottom. Arrange the chicken (skin side up) in the pan. Spoon about 1/2 cup or more over the chicken pieces, using the back of the spoon to cover the chicken pieces completely. Bake for 30 minutes. Flip pieces over and baste the other sides with a basting brush using the sauce and drippings on the bottom of the pan. Return to the oven and cook another 30 minutes.

You will have about a cup or more of sauce left in your pan. After the hour is up, kick up your oven to broil. With 1 /2 cup of the extra sauce, spoon over the chicken pieces and broil them until charred and crispy (about 4 minutes). Flip your pieces over and take another 1/2 cup of sauce and ladle it over the flipped chicken, and broil for another 4 minutes. Chicken will have a nice caramelized char over the skin and ready to be served. Let the chicken cool down for 5 minutes before serving. If you have a little extra sauce, serve it in a small bowl in case anyone wants extra. I made a brown rice pilaf with vegetables as a side, but this would be great with corn or potato salad. It has a nice barbecue feel considering it's oven baked!

RECIPE: Whole Wheat Pasta Primavera with Leftover Chicken

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We have been having a lot of bone-in chicken at our house these days. My daughter is in a huge chicken leg craze. However, we always tend to have 1 or 2 pieces left over. Reheating bone-in chicken is not always easy or ideal for left overs. So this weekend I decided to whip up some whole wheat pasta primavera using the left over chicken. Even with a low fat milk, this was very delectable. I used veggies we had in the freezer and fridge, but I imagine that you can use whatever vegetables you have on hand (zucchini, broccoli, sun dried tomatoes, spinach come to mind) and it would be just as good. Remember, being a domestic diva means being a whiz with left overs and what you have on hand. This recipe fits the bill.


1 lb. whole wheat linguine, cooked al dente
1 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
2 carrots, diced
1 cup sliced white button mushrooms
1/2 cup frozen peas
2 cups cooked chicken, roughly chopped
5 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp granulated chicken broth
2 1/2 cups low fat milk
salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp dry sherry
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese plus more for garnish

Heat and melt the 1 Tbsp butter and olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add garlic and onion and cook until softened. Add carrots and mushrooms and cook for 5-7 minutes until browned and softened. Meanwhile, if your chicken is not chopped yet, go ahead and chop it up. We used left over bone in chicken so we cut the meat off the bone and chopped away.

Now, back to your pan. Add the frozen peas and chopped chicken, and continue cooking until peas are softened and chicken has been heated and has released some of it's juices.With a slotted spoon, pull out your chicken and veggies and set them aside in a bowl. Keep them warm. In the same pan over the same heat, melt the 5 Tbsp. butter. Add the flour and with a spoon, mix and push around the pan until a paste forms and begins to cook. Now with whisk in one hand and milk in the other, slowly pour the milk in the roux cooking in the pan, whisking as you go so no clumps form. Continue mixing after all the milk has been poured. Lower temp a little. While milk begins to cook and thicken, add the granulated chicken broth, salt and pepper. Whisk some more. Sauce will begin to thicken. When this happens, add the sherry and mix. When it is the consistency of a very loose custard, add the Parmesan cheese and mix. Finally, add back the vegetables and chicken, and whisk until evenly distributed. In your big pasta pan you cooked your noodles in, add your cooked pasta back in there and toss with the sauce until well combined. Serve with extra Parmesan cheese.

LIFESTYLE: Whatever Happened to Talking on the Phone as Teenagers?

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I was shocked today to hear the findings of a new study out that said that teens nowadays would prefer to text versus talk to their friends. ( They mentioned that they text around 100 times a day, and the only time they use their cell phones to talk is with their parents. A spokesperson on the radio said something to the affect of "texting works great because it can fit neatly and compartmentalize within the small amounts of time we have free throughout the day." It got me thinking, what every happened to teens sitting on the phone all day talking to their friends? I remember having my mom yell at me after sitting on the phone for 45 minutes talking to my girlfriends! My father used to complain daily about our phone bill, and my sister and I would fight over who got the phone next. My friends and I would talk schoolwork, boys, friends, politics, world peace, religion, etc. You name it, we talked about it-and talked and talked. I wonder if "small pockets in our day" are preventing these young people from really connecting with their peers- I mean really connecting? How will all this technology affect their social development? I guess we will soon find out as this new generation will be joining the workforce in droves in a few years. One thing is for sure, they will be fast at typing!

And how about the rest of us, for that matter? I find myself emailing and facebooking instead of picking up the phone and talking to someone. It does fit in my "small pockets of time" and I am much more efficient with all I have to do. If I have to talk to my mother, I have to figure when I have at least 30 minutes of free time in my day because my mother has the gift of GAB. The sad thing is that finding 30 minutes free is very, very hard. How did I have it in high school or college? I wonder if this technology helps me stay better connected-as all the phone ads state-or if it hinders real, true connections and relationships? I'm not sure, but I do know that I owe my mom a phone call before I get a guilt trip. Thank heavens for Moms. They help keep us real, don't they?

CRAFTS: Make a First Communion Flower Wreath Headpiece

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If you are a Catholic Domestic Diva with a second grader under your roof-you are in the throws of 1st communion preparation, like me! Well, after looking at many headpieces for my 7 year old, I decided they were all a little too "bridal" for my liking. So I opted to make a headpiece in more of a flower girl kind of feel. It took about an hour, all said and done. It was not very hard, and it was a nice feeling to have something specially made by me for my daughter for her big Communion day. Hopefully she will treasure it as an heirloom and save it for her daughter some day. Below are step-by-step instructions to help you along, should you want to give this a whirl for your little girl.

What you will need:

needle nose wire cutters
a glue gun or fabric glue

thin floral wire

floral tape
a handful of silk flowers in various sizes and shapes
(I did large white roses, smaller ranunculus, and sprays of baby's breath for texture and filler. I added smaller blue corn flowers as accents. It is good to use a range of larger focal flowers and textural "filler")
pearl edged tulle ribbon

spools of satin/silk 1/4 " ribbon in white and accent colors
4-5" wide white tulle ribbon for back of headpiece (found in the bridal section of a craft store)

needle and thread (optional)


Measure the floral wire around your child's head in a circle. Crimp and knot the ends to create a full circlet. Start with the largest flowers and use the wire cutters to cut them off their stems. Leave about 1/2 inch to 1 inch of stem to tape the flowers to the wire.

With floral tape, adhere the largest flowers evenly around the circle. I put only three large flowers because I didn't want huge flowers on the wreath. But it is up to you. Floral tape needs to be stretched as you wrap it around the flower and wire. Stretch and wrap, stretch and wrap. The stretching makes it sticky and workable.

Continue adhering the mid-sized flowers around the circle. Then use the smaller, textural flowers in the open areas, using tape.

Then add the small, accent flowers here and there, using tape or slipping the stem into tape already on the wreath. Now take the pearl edged tulle ribbon and twine it around and wrap the whole wreath tightly to cover a lot of the floral tape. Use a dab of glue from your glue gun or fabric glue at the beginning and end of the tulle ribbon so it stays put. Cut access off and save it for draping down the back.

Now for the finishing touches. Cut 32-36" (or so) of the 4" wide tulle and tie it to the back so it drapes down the back evenly. Then tie the 1/4 silk ribbons evenly over the tulle. Then if you wish, add the pearl edged tulle ribbon in a bow and drape the rest. The pearls make the bow heavy, so I added a couple of stitches with needle and thread to the bow so the bow stays put and does not loosen.

Voila! Use bobby pins to have the headpiece stay put-or you can sew some hair combs on the wreath, if you wish.
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