For Which I am Thankful!

Where were we?

Oh, yes! I was extolling the wonderfulness of the signs of spring. Since then, the roller-coaster car of life has taken a nosedive, climbed back up, and did one of those sideways loops. Tis now chugging along, yet I await the next loop-dee-loo en route to my happy place.

When faced with a seemingly endless all-you-can-eat buffet of trials and tribulations, it can be exceedingly difficult to see beyond the offerings right in front of you.  So I've been focusing on the positives in my life, which are numerous, and wanted to acknowledge the most important ones.


Shiloh tells me every day (not for much longer, I am aware!) "You're the best Mommy in the whole world!" I must disagree, because that mantle belongs to my mother. A shoulder to cry on, a punching bag when I needed to verbally jab-cross-jab-roundhouse about something(s) that pissed me off, and, on occasion, a money lender. This woman does it all - and has never asked for anything in return, except for undying devotion. Which I am happy to give. Even though I have called to check in, or shoot the poop, more often then not it was just to kvetch. The balance of that scale will be reversed!


As I mentioned here, yoga is a permeant fixture in my life now. Given the limited offerings of which I could partake between my two yoga DVDs, I hit a wall. Classes are out given the cost. Then I came across this article whilst skimming my Twitter feed one day. Since I'm a sporadic Twitter-feed reader, the universe definitely had a hand in this.

Ali Kamenova's genius Interval Yoga system is everything I've been looking for - not only in yoga but exercise as well! She incorporates high-intensity intervals into yoga practices. She also has straight high intensity interval body-weight cardio classes, Pilates, the whole thing. But mostly yoga. And every class on her You Tube channel is free! She does offer subscription packages on her website, which, when the time comes, I'll be only too happy to sign up for.

With the exception of Shiva's, I haven't used any of my workout DVDs since discovering her channel. I'm stronger, more flexible and now able to deepen my practice more than I ever thought possible at home! The class below is one of my very, very favorites!


"You're a good man, Charlie Brown."

Even though things have been rocky, especially before yoga pulled me out of my dark place, he's been there. If not for him, Isaac, Shiloh and I wouldn't have this charming abode with my Barbie dream kitchen, and the sprawling backyard that the children mostly ignore. Because of recent multiple car troubles, he's also become quite the mechanic. He's replaced my oil pump, and both of the break lines on his car. Now he needs to fix my break issues! F* if I could ever to that! Muchas, muchas gracias, my dear!!

Ben's first selfie with Isaac at the Red Sox game right before I-man's b-


Each month I participate in a 21-day fitness challenge. This has helped reinforce my commitment to exercising daily - and now I'm endeavoring to make it twice a day. There are different groups that are split up into different teams. You take a photo of a healthy meal and one of your exercise (I upload the screen shots of my Interval Yoga workouts, other people take selfies at the gym, some pics of the DVDs, you get the idea.) The healthy photo pic is worth one point, the exercise pic worth two. There are opportunities for extra bonus points that are listed on the page, and points for each team are tallied up each week. There is a prize drawing each week as well. Participants are encouraged to comment on everyone's pictures, and share any fitness tips at their disposal. 

Since I've been a solo-flyer on my fitness journey because I abhor going to the gym, it was quite a delight to receive the support and encouragement of so many. It's a truly wonderful environment. If anyone it interested in joining, let me know!


Holding my H2O bottle for "Water Wednesday
extra bonus points pic during last month's

Fashionista 1

Fashionista 2

On a walk.

Revolutionary War play.

On subway en route to Fenway.

Having some fro-yo at Kool Moose on Isaac's half day.


The Middleboro Public Library is the best! Miss Amanda, who runs the children's section, is awesome! The weekly Story Time I take Shiloh to is always busy. She has a theme for each, reads 3 - 4 books, and then there is a craft pertaining to the theme. Every Tuesday night is Lego time from 4 - 5. As long as the Jeep is working we now attend. And since it's less than a mile from Isaac's school, he now walks there when school lets out. Shiloh loves playing there, which makes it a great place to hang out. I can read a book, or write while she plays and not feel guilty for not paying attention to her! 

I also met a writer's group. I responded to a flyer on the entrance billboard. When I responded it was comprised of two ladies who'd been part of another group that disbanded because other members had the good fortune of becoming too busy because they got published. They've given me great pointers on my novel, which I am in the process of changing the point of view. Since I joined, two others have also;  and it looks to be a good gang! My aspiration is to have the POV switch complete and to start shopping the manuscript around before the end of the year! BTW - can you believe the year is six months gone?!

I also met a wonderful friend there, without who I wouldn't be able to attend my writer's group. I leave Shiloh with her Tuesday mornings. Since she home-schools, Shiloh actually learns new things and make projects.


I was pondering on whether or not I wanted to include this, and nearly didn't. Then yesterday afternoon, Shiloh showed me "an itch that hurt" in the center of her upper back. It was a swollen, red, circular area. I took a pic and sent it to Mumsy. She thought it was a possible spider bite, but since, at that time, it didn't look like a target, she didn't think Lyme disease. My natural tendency is to jump right to hysterics. My pressing concern was how the hell was I going to get her to an emergency room with the Jeep not working again?! Then I took a breath and remembered: Shiloh's doctor's office is open until 8 on Wednesdays and Ben will be home before then so I can take his car. But because of Mass Health, not once did I worry about how I was going to pay for any of it, because the kids are completely covered, including all medicines!

I was able to get an appointment for 7:15. By the time the doctor saw us, the circular area had definitely morphed into a target. She has Lyme disease. Since not everyone presents with this telltale rash, I've spent a good amount of time thanking the universe she did. I shudder to think how much worse off she'd be if it progressed to the other symptoms that could also be anything. She needs to take 4.5 mL of amoxicillin three times a day for the next 21 days.

After I got the script filled, I read what it was and proceeded to hike back up Hysterics Hill and called Mumsy yet again: "Amoxicillin is penicillin, right? Are allergies heredity? Ben had a horrible allergic reaction to penicillin and was in the hospital for three months when he was younger than Shiloh!" After she suggested I give Shiloh a dose of children's Bendryl along with the night time does, then give her the morning does by itself and watch her for a rash, Mumsy also suggested I call the doctor and have them give me a prescription for Zanax.  Think they'd do that??

Shiloh was a little lethargic and warm this morning. But I gave her the amoxicillin and some Tylenol, and a dose of Finding Nemo. Then she at a bowl of cereal and is now watching cartoons on Netflix. The rash seems to be clearing up. In other words, she's doing fine. But I HIGHLY recommend everyone in a tick area read this article!!!!


A couple of ideas were percolating for this section, then I saw the below pic and will save them for 
another post.


Cheesy, melty goodness!

I love pizza. You love pizza. We all love pizza. I HATE paying $30 for delivery, and while there are some respectable frozen brands, it's just not the same. So I found this pizza dough recipe (I've also discovered that pretty much all pizza dough recipes are the same) and this pizza sauce recipe and haven't looked back! It's taken a few times, but I now don't see going back to delivery any time soon. The instructions for the crust are abbreviated from the King Arthur's Flour website. There they take into account wanting to make the pizza the next day, as well as different sized and shaped pizza pans. I just make one 10-inch pizza the same day I make the crust. Given how fast the pizza goes, I need to get some extra pizza pans so there are enough for everyones lunches the next day!



Pizza Crust:

2 teaspoons active dry yeast or instant yeast
7/8 to 1 1/8 cups lukewarm water*
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups flour (I prefer King Arthur's Bread Flour)
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
*Use the lesser amount in summer (or in a humid environment), the greater amount in winter (or in a dry climate), and somewhere in between the rest of the year, or if your house is climate controlled.

If using active dry yeast, dissolve it, with a pinch of sugar, in 1/4 cup of the lukewarm water. Let the yeast and water sit at room temperature for 15 minutes, until the mixture has bubbled and expanded. If you're using instant yeast, you can skip this step.
Combine the dissolved yeast (or the instant yeast) with the remainder of the ingredients. Mix and knead everything together—by hand, mixer or bread machine set on the dough cycle—till you've made a soft, smooth dough. If you're kneading in a stand mixer, it should take 4 to 5 minutes at second speed, and the dough should barely clean the sides of the bowl, perhaps sticking a bit at the bottom. Don't over-knead the dough; it should hold together, but can still look fairly rough on the surface. 
Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover and allow it to rise till it's very puffy. This will take an hour using instant yeast, or 90 minutes using active dry. No worries if it takes longer! 

While the crust is rising, you can get caught up on your correspondence, check your family for ticks, cut your toenails - or make this perfect pizza sauce! I use two 28oz cans of crushed tomatoes as opposed to the three 15 oz cans in the original recipe. This is enough for three pizzas. I separate it into Tupperwares and freeze it.


Perfect Pizza Sauce
1-2 tbsp olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup of chicken broth
1 tsp of dried oregano leaves
8-10 fresh basil leaves, chopped


Add the tablespoons(s) of oil to a hot pain over medium-high heat. Toss in the garlic and onions and give them a stir. Add the chicken broth after onions have softened, about five minutes. Whisk to deglaze. When the liquid has reduced by half, add the crushed tomatoes and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper, then add the oregano and basil. Stir again, reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes.



1 tbsp and 1 tsp olive oil
3 turkey sausage links (hot or mild, whichever your pleasure)
8 oz mushrooms, cleaned and chopped
2 medium tomatoes, sliced
4 oz of baby spinach
4 oz of Feta cheese
1 small package of either mozzarella or Italian pizza blend shredded cheese
Garlic powder
Kosher salt


Preheat oven to 450.

Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Remove sausage from casings, add to the pan and break into pieces. Toss in the mushrooms and sauté together until the sausage is cooked, about 10 minutes.

Spray a 10-in pizza pan with cooking spray, then evenly spread the dough to the edges. Bake for 10-11 minutes. Remove then drizzle 1 teaspoon olive oil in the center and spread all over the crust with a pastry brush. Sprinkle plenty of garlic power over this. Then ladle on a generous amount of pizza sauce and spread out, leaving about a 1 inch edge at the rim of the crust.

On one side, evenly distribute the sausage-mushroom mixture. On the other side, layer the tomato slices evenly, top with the spinach, then the Feta cheese. Blanket the whole pizza with the mozzarella or Italian pizza blend shredded cheese. Sprinkle kosher salt around the edge of the crust.

Return to the oven for another 10 - 12 minutes, or until golden bubbly!


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