Mom Life

Confessions From a Tired Mother of Teenagers

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I recently came across a meme that accurately describes my feelings about raising my teenagers at this very moment.

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Most of the “mom” blogs out there seem to focus on parenting little toddler children.  But what about those of us who have managed to trudge through the toddler years only to find ourselves in the quicksand of raising teenagers.  And yes, sometimes it feels quicksand-like.  I’m being pulled under by their constant mood swings, self-involved attitudes, general lack of caring for anything other than themselves.

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Take for my son for instance.  He’s 16.  He’s been driving for about 4 months now.  In that time I have looked for his wallet about 240 times.  (For those counting that’s an average of twice a day.)  Seriously, I feel like I spent the first half of my marriage looking for my husband’s wallet and car keys and now I am spending the second half of my marriage looking for my son’s.  And it’s not that I mind helping him find stuff, but it’s the attitude of it’s my fault because he can’t find something.  As if I spend the little bit of free time that I have going around the house and hiding his stuff – ’cause you know, it’s fun hunting for crap that’s been misplaced.

And it’s not just the car keys and wallet.  It’s his glasses, his calculator, his homework, his band music.  Sigh.

But the hardest of them all is my 14-year-old daughter.  I swear there should be a medal of some sort for mom’s who survive raising a daughter.  Or at the very least a t-shirt.

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Sunfrog.com

I was a sassy daughter.  My mother is a saint for having put up with me.  How she did it without causing me serious bodily harm I will never know.  I mean, when I ask her how she did it she always says she would rather raise a son 10 times over than raise another daughter.  I think I will order the above t-shirt for her.  She deserves it.

Back to my 14-year-old.

I get that she started high school last week.  I understand that she is tired.  I am sympathetic to her busy schedule.  Volleyball practice everyday after school plus band practice once per week as well as keeping up with homework is stressful.  I get it.  But man is she mouthy.  Even just the simple act of answering yes is sassy.  Mothers of teenage daughters know what I’m talking about here.  The huge sigh…the eye roll…the yesssss…mom.

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Copyright: dobledphoto / 123RF Stock Photo

Oh, and apparently, my use of silverware and how it may make a small noise while eating is just too much for her to handle. Because you know, it just so annoying!

Maybe it’s the solar eclipse that’s happening today that has my children’s moods going every which way.  I sure hope so.  All I can do is keep loving them, but man they sure make it hard sometimes.  Now I understand what my mom meant when she said I always love you, but sometimes I don’t like you. Ha!  I totally get it now Mom!

How do you handle the in’s and out’s of raising teens?  Like this post and let me know I’m not alone out here!

Until Next Time,

Kathie

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Back to School, Organization, Recipes

10 Back-to-School Lunch Ideas for the Lazy Mom and Finicky Eater

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Summer is almost over and school will be in session again soon.  And while I have mixed emotions about this – yay! for some alone time during the day – nay! for being alone all day!  I’m happy to get back to a more schedule routine for the sake of my sanity, but I’ll miss the lazy days of summer for sure.

For me, the worst part about back to school besides having to buy all those annoying school supplies, is packing lunches every. single. damn. day.  Ugh! I hate it.  Especially since my daughter gets what I like to call “school lunch fatigue.”  This is when I pack the same snack and or lunch more than 2 days in a row.  It’s a pretty serious affliction.  Symptoms include whining about what was in her lunch, complaining that her lunch was boring,  stories of the glorious and delicious lunches her friends have and uneaten lunches being brought back home.

So I decided I needed to scour the internet for interesting, tasty, and easy to pack lunches so my daughter doesn’t, you know, like, totally die from the boring lunches I make her.

Oh and I promise I will only share realistic lunch ideas.  I mean, seriously, how many kids do you know who are wanting caprese kabobs?  Not my kiddo that’s for sure! Not only would she not eat that, I’m looking for easy lunch ideas.  i.e. grab some stuff and throw it in the lunch box.

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1. Fruit and Cheese platter – Apple slices and cubes of cheese are yummy and delicious! Add some pita chips or bagel chips for some crunchy texture.  Bonus tip:  To keep the apple slices from turning brown, slice your apple (Be sure to keep the core) and then reassemble it and place a rubber band around it.

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Copyright: robynmac / 123RF Stock Photo

2.  DIY Lunchables – These are so fun and you can put anything in them!  Try some trailmix, wraps, cubes of cheese, or anything else you can come up with.  And you can get some really inexpensive containers that have compartments in them so they are super easy and fast to pack.  Like these ones from Amazon:

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3.  Salad in a Pocket – My daughter loves when I do this.  They are so simple add your favorite lettuce and veggies and your done!  I told you these would be easy ideas. You can find these in the bread isle and sometimes they are called pita pockets.  Like these ones:

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And if your child likes some salad dressing you can find these cute little salad dressing containers:

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4. Cheese Quesadillas – Ok, I admit these take a little bit of planning ahead of time.  But you can make a few up at a time and refrigerate them and then they are ready to go.  I just take a flour tortilla, spray some pam in my skillet and warm the tortilla until it is browned.  Add your favorite cheese – we like cheddar – and then fold in half and continue warming until cheese in melted.  Remove and cut into triangles.  Tada!  Your done!  And it doesn’t take much preparation time.

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Copyright: razmarinka / 123RF Stock Photo

5. The Whatever Lunch – This is something my daughter created and while it isn’t a “traditional” lunch she really likes it because it provides the variety she craves.  I take a bottle of water, her favorite fruit of the moment (last year it was kiwi), 1 pack of fruit snacks, a serving of pretzels, and a cheese stick. Sometimes I give her one of those Sargento Balanced Breaks instead of the cheese stick.  She really likes those. You can mix and match items to suit your child’s taste but while it isn’t a ton of calories she feels like she’s getting a ton of food!

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6.  The Tried and True Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich – While this isn’t always the most exciting lunch it is good in a pinch. Plus you can make some ahead, pop them in the freezer and they will be ready to throw in the lunch box whenever you need them.  They will thaw before your child eats!  It’s genius!  Of course, if you are like me and a bit on the lazy side when it comes to lunches you can always buy Smucker’s Uncrustables Frozen Peanut Butter and Jelly Sanwiches.  Plus I don’t have to cut the crust of the bread!

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7. Hard Boiled Eggs – Now this one doesn’t work for us because my daughter refuses to eat eggs!  But, it can be a really super easy and healthy alternative for your lunches. Prepare the eggs at the beginning of the week.  Peel them and put in a ziploc bag and they are ready to grab and go.

Copyright: bhofack2 / 123RF Stock Photo

8.  Cheese Stick Wraps – Oh my gosh you all! These are so easy.  1.  get a cheese stick.  2. wrap your favorite lunch meat around it. 3. wrap that in a mini flour tortilla.  That’s it.  Super easy but yummy and fun!

9.  Peanut Butter – Everything tastes better when it is dipped in peanut butter!  So send your kiddo off with a small container of peanut butter and then put different items to dip into it.  Pretzels, celery, pita chips, apples, bananas, tortilla chips, the list goes on!  And again, a nod to the lazy lunch packers like myself, you can buy single serve on-the-go peanut butter packages from Jif. No messy spoons or knives to clean up. I’m tellin’ ya peeps it’s the simple things in life that make me happy.

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10.  Nutella – Ah lovely Nutella!  It’s perfect for lunches and so versatile.  My daughter loves it in a sandwich.  But you can put it on tortillas, send it a container so they can dip stuff in it, or slap it on some bread. Not only is it yummy it’s healthy too!  And just like the peanut butter to-go- packages above, Nutella comes in single serve containers as well.

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Ok, I’m exhausted just thinking about making all those lunches in a few weeks.  What are your favorite go to lunches?  Comment below!

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Until Next Time,

Kathie

Designer Biography, Mid Century Modern

Mid Century Modern Designer Spotlight: Fred Press

I’m back again with another short informational piece about Mid Century Modern Designers – specifically those that designed giftware and housewares.

I absolutely love drinking glasses from the 50’s and 60’s.  It was so colorful and fun!

So I thought it was interesting to learn that Fred Press was also an artist who designed more than glassware.

Fred Press was born in October of 1919 in Boston, MA.  His parents had emigrated from Russia in the early 1900’s.

He began winning awards for his sculptures in the 1930’s and studied art at the Vesper George School of Art.  He and his brother founded Contemporary Arts, Inc. and many of his sculptures were reproduced and distributed through that company.

In the early 1950’s Press moved to New York City and was the chief designer for Rubel and Company.  Over the next 3 decades he held this position and really transformed the giftware industry.

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Fred Press Orange Trojan Horse @ Stone Creek Boutique

He was such a versatile and prolific designer in the 20th century.  As you can see from the drinking glasses below his designs were bold and colorful:

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Fred Press Glass Tumbler Coat of Arms @ Stone Creek Boutique

Fred Press died in 2012 at the age of 92.

If you would like to learn more about Fred Press and his artwork you can visit the Fred Press Artwork Website

You can find the items featured in this post and more at our store Stone Creek Boutique.

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Until Next Time,

Kathie

Picnics, Recipes

Retro Recipe: Dream Whip Pie

I may have mentioned before how I’m not really good in the kitchen.  I really try and I always have wonderful intentions of making something perfect and yummy and something that looks like Julia Child made it.  The vision I have in my head is this:

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Unfortunately more often than not this is the reality:

Copyright: joebelanger / 123RF Stock Photo
Copyright: joebelanger / 123RF Stock Photo

However, my 14 year old daughter has recently started showing an interest in cooking and baking and has even started watching the Food Network like crazy! Since I am her mom I figure the responsibility of teaching her how to cook falls to me.  Don’t get me wrong – I LOVE spending time with her and making memories.  It’s just difficult when I am trying to teach myself at the same time I am teaching her.

We recently stumbled upon my husband’s grandmother’s cookbook.  I absolutely adore it and love paging through and looking at all the recipes, poems, information, quotes, and more that she has written in there!

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So my daughter and I set out to pick one recipe and make it today.  We decided upon Dream Whip Pie.  The Ingredients are as follows:

  • 2 envelopes Dream Whip
  • 2 3/4 cups cold milk, divided (1 cup with dream whip, 1 3/4 cup when adding Danish Junket Dessert)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 package Danish Junket Raspberry Flavor
  • 20 graham crackers crushed
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • Fresh Raspberries

After reading the ingredients I figured it was sort of like a modern day Cool Whip Pie! Super easy to start out with. 🙂

Helping me with this baking journey is my lovely daughter, Linnea. Oh! And that’s our dog Spot.  He’s 16 years old and still kickin’!  He doesn’t help much with the cooking but he sure does like to catch anything the drops on the floor!

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First, we had to see if stores even still sold Junket Danish Dessert or Dream Whip for that matter.  To my dismay the local Woodman’s grocery store had both of them. Being a modern type mom I decided to buy the already crushed graham crackers rather than crush them all myself.  I mean seriously, I don’t want to work myself too hard!

Next I went to the next page of the recipe book and to my disbelief there were no directions!  Ok, we can do this…I think.

First we put the 2 packages of dream whip in the mixer with the milk. And I made my first mistake!  I put all 2 3/4 cups milk in with the dream whip – you are only supposed to put 1 cup.  Sigh.

Good thing I know myself and know I am bound to make a mistake of some kind…so I bought Cool Whip while we were shopping…you know…just in case!

So, I dump out the ruined mixture, put in the cool whip, add some vanilla, add the Junket Danish Dessert Mix (which is just a powdered jello like substance), and the correct amount of milk.  Mixed it all up on high for 2 minutes and stuck in the fridge to chill for 1 hour.

Next we made our graham cracker crust. Crushed graham crackers, 1/3 cup butter, melted and 3 Tbsp of sugar.  Mix that all up and put it into a pie plate.  Set that in the fridge to chill.

So far so good!  The finished product turned out Ok.  We topped it with fresh raspberries!

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While I wouldn’t necessarily call this an overwhelming success cooking wise, my daughter and I had fun and laughed and made some wonderful memories!  Thanks to my husband’s grandmother! 🙂

Until Next Time,

Kathie

Entertaining, Holidays, Organization

Epicurious Drinks Basics

I was wasting time on youtube the other day – come on now, you know you waste time on there too! Seriously, you can loose hours on there.

Anyhoo, I came across this video from Epicurious that has some fabulous ideas on how to stock and set up a home bar for your next bash.

 

Until next time,

Kathie

Designer Biography, Mid Century Modern

Mid Century Modern Designer Spotlight: Georges Briard

It’s been forever since I’ve had a new blog post!  Life has gotten in the way of, uh…well…my best laid plans.  But, I’m back with another new post and this time we are focusing on Mid Century Designers!  Specifically Georges Briard!  I love, love, love his glassware designs.

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Georges Briard Spanish Gold Drinking Glasses @ Stone Creek Boutique

If you love mid-century housewares, Georges Briard is a name you should know! He is one of the most well-known designers of mid-century home goods. He was an artist and an award-winning designer of mid-century housewares including dishware, glassware, and gold-plated serving dishes. Here is Georges Briard’s story.

Georges Briard was born Jascha Brojdo in 1917 in the Ukraine. His family moved to Poland when he was four and he then emigrated to Chicago in 1937 after he came to visit his physician uncle. He studied at the University of Chicago and the Art Institute of Chicago. While he was is Chicago, war broke out in Europe and both of his parents died. In a new country without an allowance to pay for his college education, he was granted a scholarship to finish his degree. After graduating with his MFA from the Art Institute of Chicago, he enlisted in the United States Army. While in the Army, he served on General Patton’s staff as a Russian interpreter. He was discharged from the Army in 1947 and moved to New York City.

It was in New York City that he began his career as an artist and designer. When he was first starting out, he worked with Max Wille, whom he had met in art school. While Brojdo was on a trip to Maine, he started painting metal serving trays and selling them. These trays were a huge success. He signed some of his very first pieces with the name “Brojdo,” but then started using the name Georges Briard as a pseudonym after Wille came up with it. Brojdo was also a painter and would save using his own name on his artwork, and started using “Georges Briard” as a commercial designer. He used “Georges” to sound French and “Briard” was after a breed of dog that Wille had recently lost. You will see this signature on pieces like this:

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Georges Briard Square Serving Tray Golden Celeste @ Stone Creek Boutique

His designs became incredibly popular in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s. His notable designs were first produced with Max Wille at the M. Wille Company, and then he later partnered with Philip Stetson. His signature collection of dishware and glassware was originally sold at Neiman Marcus and Bonwit Teller, and now you can buy vintage pieces here:

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In 2004, he won the Frank S. Child Lifetime Achievement Award from The Society of Glass and Ceramic Decorators. He won this award in honor of his extraordinary contributions to the glass and ceramic decorating industry. His pieces are truly amazing to collect. Pieces like these are easy to recognize by his amazing design:

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Georges Briard Serving Tray Sonata @ Stone Creek Boutique

He died on July 30, 2005 in New York City when he was 88 years old. The best way to honor this legendary designer is to enjoy and share his amazing designs!

If you would like to learn more about Georges Briard, you can read Designed & Signed by Leslie A. Pina.

Until Next Time,

Kathie

Barbecues, Entertaining, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Memorial Day, Picnics

10 Must See Outdoor Dining Tips

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Copyright: aruba2000 / 123RF Stock Photo

10 Outdoor Dining Tips You Must Know About

Dining outdoors is a great way to enjoy the beautiful weather in the summer months and lends itself to entertaining at home in a very casual and relaxed way.

Having said that, some planning is needed to provide your guests with a comfortable dining experience.

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1.  Comfortable Seating

I have to confess – I really hate going somewhere and not having a comfortable place to sit. If I’m not comfortable, I can’t relax, and if I can’t relax I won’t be having a good time.  Gosh that sounds grumpy doesn’t it?  Must be my age!

Having nice thick cushions on your patio furniture can make for a warm and inviting and comfortable space for your guests. And you can change up your look on the patio by using different cushions for different occasions.

I love these Pillow Perfect Outdoor Cushions on Amazon.  The colors are cool and pretty and remind me of the beach (which by the way I don’t get to visit often enough).

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2. Placement of the Grill

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Copyright: william87 / 123RF Stock Photo

You need to place the grill close enough to the dining area so you grill master is away from the festivities but not too close so your guests aren’t bothered by the smoke.  Always place your grill upwind from where you guests will be gathering.

3.  Skip the Tablecloth

If the day is breezy (which we all love the breeze when it hot out) it can cause havoc on your table settings and tablecloths.  Keep things casual and skip the table coverings.  Or if you like having something on your table to pretty things up a bit us a table runner and place your center pieces on top.  This beachy stripe outdoor table runner from Design Imports is pretty and will brighten up any patio table.  It’s machine washable too!

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4. Stock a Bar Cart with All Your Drink Essentials

Having enough beverages is important to keep your guests happy and tipsy! Wait, I meant to say hydrated…yes, that’s it…hydrated.

Anyway, you want to make it easy for your guests to grab drinks or play bar tender if they like.  You can read my post about the 7 must haves for your bar cart to get an idea of what to include.

Using a bar cart makes it easy to roll it back to the house for restocking too.  Something similar to the Bennet Outdoor Wicker Bar Cart is elegant and casual at the same time.

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5. Let Guests Know the Grilling Preference of The Entree

Let me just say here and now that I am a well done steak girl.  Any pink and I run for the hills.  So knowing which items are medium rare or well done is a big thing with me.  Meat grilling temperature markers take the guess work out of choosing which burger will suit your guests tastes.  These cute little markers will get the job done and will stop guests like me from running and screaming if they happen to choose the medium rare steak.

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6. Lighting

Make sure you have enough lighting if your picnic lasts until dark.  Citronella candles help with the lighting and also keep the mosquitoes away.

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7. Yard Games

It’s important to have yard games ready to go if you are going to have kids in attendance. Oh hell, let’s be honest.  At all the picnics I attend the adults are the ones out there playing the lawn darts and other games.  All the while the kids are begging for their turn. Having plenty of games should keep the kids (and adults) entertained.

8. Caddy Sets are a life saver!

Having plenty of condiments available to your guests will allow everyone to pile their burgers with all their favorite toppings.  DEI has the cutest Picnic Table Shaped Condiement Set I’ve ever seen.  It’s super cute and affordable enough to pick up more than one so you can scatter them around the patio.

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Don’t forget about the silverware.  Having the silverware in an easy to reach spot is necessary or you will spend your day running back and forth from the kitchen to fetch more for those guests who are a bit more clumsy.  Plastic cups can be used to hold your forks, spoons, and knives.  Or you can get a bit more decorative and use this Galvanized Metal Bucket Tray Set for your flatware.

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9. Keep Your Centerpieces simple

Pretty wildflowers in clear vases will add a touch of soft fragrance and casual elegance to your table.

10.  Have Fun!

Now that all the planning is done, sit back and relax.  Enjoy yourself.  Enjoy your guests. Sip your favorite cocktail and make some memories and laugh…always laugh.  It’s the key to being happy!

What are your favorite outdoor party planning tips?  Let me know in the comments!

Until Next Time,

Kathie