November 29, 2015

Thirty Days of Thankful - Hope

As this month draws to a close, I have hope.  Sometimes it's easy to feel cynical and occasionally even a bit helpless to the way life seems to be going. It's been a trying year, that has brought tears of sadness and frustration. But I have hope!

Hope that:

  • I am enough.  A good enough sister, dog-mom, daughter, friend, co-worker and rescuer.
  • Some day, my Prince will come...
  • Sooner or later, I'll figure out what I want to be "when I grow up"!
  • I find the courage to write a book some day.
  • I keep loving blogging as much as I do now.  Views and comments aren't particularly high right now, but I love it nonetheless.
  • All the trials and tribulations of this year mean that 2016 will be much easier.
  • My rescue continues to grow and flourish.
  • That a new blog design and moving to Wordpress are in my near-ish future.  :-)

What are you all hoping for?


November 27, 2015

Thirty Days of Thankful - Family

One of the things I'm most thankful for is family.  They are the people who encourage me, make me laugh, support my crazy addiction to rescue, and occasionally, give me the reality check that I need.

While I have some wonderful genetically related family, I view family not only those people but also the friends that I've chosen to be my family.  Some of the folks that I count as family I haven't met in person - and maybe I never will.  But I know that if I'm having a bad day, that they are no further than a comment, Facebook message or email away.  And I can't thank them enough for that!

This group of people from blogging, rescue, selling Jamberry, work or being related to me are amazing and I hope they know how much I love them. <3 p="">


November 26, 2015

Thirty Day of Thankful - Thanksgiving Day

I'm sure you're all ready of the end of my month of thanks...

I'll keep it brief, I know we all have things to do.  Today, I'm thankful for Thanksgiving Day itself.  It's a labor intensive day for those of us cooking - but it's done out of love and out of thanks for everything around us in the past year.

I'm thankful for the police, firefighters, nurses, doctors and other first responders who have to rotate through working on holiday.  I'm thankful that it's illegal in MA to open for Black Friday before midnight - all of you who go shopping immediately after Thanksgiving dinner are crazy!  I love ya...but you're crazy!

I'm thankful for being forced to cook some foods that are only prepared on holiday.  As much as they aren't my favorites, it keeps family traditions alive. I'm thankful that even though I have to work tomorrow, it's likely to be a quiet day where I can sneak in a few projects of my own (shh...don't tell anyone!).

What are you thankful for this year?  Anything you've been surprised to see on my list so far...or shocked I've left off? A few more days of things I'm thankful for and you we can move firmly into December!


November 25, 2015

Thirty Days of Thankful - Knitting

By now, you've all figured out that I'm a creative type of person who, despite being painfully shy, likes to express myself.  What better way to do it than in a form that is totally reusable?!

I was lucky enough to learn to knit under the tutelage of my mom, aunt and grandmother.  My cousin Kristin and I learned early; I'm going to say somewhere around kindergarten age.  While we all had projects going most of the time, it's the holidays where we were all together and knitting that are most meaningful to me.  Over the years, our particular knitting specialties ebbed and flowed... mom and my grandmother (until alzheimers took away her ability to knit) love the large less intricate projects, while Kristin and I seem to excel with the smaller, very detailed work.

While I was on vacation last month in England I started this project.  Life has been a bit busy, but I'm hoping to get some quality knitting time this weekend so I can either give it to a friend - or maybe one of you - for Christmas!


November 24, 2015

Tuesdays at the Table - Turkey Enchilada Casserole & Thirty Days of Thankful - Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving just might be my favorite holiday.  I love that fall is firmly in place with its cold, crisp air.  The holiday is one of family and friends, without the added stress of gift exchanges and the worry I have that I've somehow picked out a gift that is less than perfect.

Don't get me wrong - I LOVE me some Christmas!  But I like having a "practice" holiday first!  This year I am looking forward to a fairly quiet day that is filled with food and love.  I have to work on Black Friday, but it will be a quiet day (hopefully) and I'll finish my Christmas shopping that evening.

This week I'm reposting one of my favorite casserole recipes.  It makes great use of all the extra turkey!

Turkey Enchilada Casserole
1 1/2 to 2 cups of cooked turkey, diced
1 package flour tortillas
1 jar (16 oz) salsa verde
1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained
2 cups Monterey Jack cheese
3 tablespoons (approximately) vegetable oil

Mix diced turkey and about 3/4 (12 oz) of the salsa verde in a bowl and set aside.

Heat tortillas in the oil, one at a time for about 10 seconds. Drain on paper towels.

In casserole dish, place a layer of tortillas. Top with ½ of turkey mixture and ½ of black beans. Place another layer of tortillas topped with turkey mixture and beans. Top with tortillas. Place the last 4 oz of salsa verde on top of tortillas. Top casserole with cheese.

Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes. Serve with sour cream and guacamole (optional).

What's cooking in your kitchen?


November 23, 2015

Thirty Days of Thankful - Travel

Am so grateful for travel and a family that has a bit of wanderlust as well.  Because my parents loved to travel, and because we had lots of out of state family, I was a roadtrip kid.

I thought everyone got put in their grandparents RV and drove from Massachusetts to New Mexico or California and back.  Or that that all the kids had been to both Disneyland and Disney World, and some of the other larger theme parks before they hit kindergarten.

Let's also take a minute and talk about the fact that my parents put me on a plane ALONE at almost 5 years old from Boston to San Diego and no one thought twice about it.  It was a different, safer world...but I felt like such a grown-up flying all by myself! (Yes, I flew back to Boston on my own too.)

I find travel so joyous and energizing - sometimes even more so than the time spent at the actual destination.  I LOVE TO FLY!  While I still have more countries I want to explore, I feel so blessed to have visited Canada, Mexico, England, Scotland, Wales, France and Belgium. (And I feel like I'm missing a country or two...)


November 22, 2015

Thirty Days of Thankful - Challenges

I have given a lot of thought to this particular one...  It's easy to see challenges as a reason to give up, or to hide and hope it just goes away.  I can't imagine that any of us have gotten this far in life without making it through at least a few challenges.

The past few years have been particularly challenging for me.  Life has taken a few turns I never quite expected. I could detail the hurdles the past few years have thrown in my path, but that's not the point... I'm thankful for them.  They have taught me perseverance, determination, to take more joy in the simple things and I appreciate the people that have had my back even more than ever.


November 21, 2015

Thirty Days of Thanks - Freedom

Today I'm thankful for living in a country where I have freedom.  The freedom to be any religion I want to be, to have purple hair and tattoos if I wanted to (for the record - the purple streak grew out; two tattoos), to speak my mind and engage in friendly (and hopefully EDUCATED) debate with no fear of persecution.

I freely admit that I don't agree with certain things about our government, but rest assured - I'd never trade our government for that of...oh, say...Korea or Iran!  That said, I do occasionally think of moving to the UK or Canada.  Anyone want to come with me?


This is a repost from November 2013 because I feel the same way now as I did then.

November 20, 2015

Thirty Days of Thanks - Cheat Days

Is anyone else surprised that I posted 20 days in a row?  Nobody?  OK...I'll be shocked over here on my own.

I'm thankful that you all are going to let me slide today with just a few of my favorite quotes about being thankful.  Though cheat days where you eat what you want are pretty good too!


November 19, 2015

Thirty Days of Thankful - My Health

Here's one that is on most people's "thankful" lists.  While I'm not in perfect health, I'm thankful for the ability to manage my asthma so that I stay as healthy as possible.

After being admitted to the hospital in the early Spring with sepsis and asthma issues, I started to take my health even more seriously...  I mean not being able to breath has always been scary, but that trip through the ER and getting admitted was a whole other level of stressful.  So I joined a gym, tried to cut out some extra calories and decided to participate in my health plan's mentoring program.

It's a process...and some days are far more successful than others.  But I feel like it's helped.  The holidays are busy and stressful and I know that no matter how good my intentions are - a little extra dessert will make its way into my life.

Who wants to come walk around the block with me after Thanksgiving dinner?! Ha!


November 18, 2015

Thirty Days of Thanks - Giving

Yes, another of my quirkier things to be thankful for.  You see, I'm not one of those people that LOVE to shop all the time.  Don't get me wrong - I'm always up for a good trip to Target, but outlet shopping or a full day in the mall?  Let's just say that I have to be in the right mood for it. I blame it on the years in my late teens and early 20's that were spent in retail.  So many disgusting experiences.  You just haven't lived until someone has pooped in your dressing room...

Anyway, I'm thankful for the feeling that I get from finding gifts that my friends and family will enjoy.  I take such joy in trying to find the *perfect* gifts for the people I care about!  I'm on track to finish my Christmas shopping by Thanksgiving.  It may not happen...but cross your fingers for me!


November 17, 2015

Tuesdays at the Table - Cinnamon Swirl Bread & Thirty Days of Thanks - Friends

I am so thankful for my friends, and I am so lucky to have made some great friendships through blogging.  While I don't have tons of friends, the ones I have are people of substance - the people I can be my geeky, introverted, sarcastic self with!  That they like me just the way I am helps me like myself on days when I wish I was prettier, more outgoing, more successful or just think I'm not as good as everyone else.

Thank you for being a friend!  Your comments mean more to me than you know!

My work friends know that Dunkin Donuts coffee cake muffins are my breakfast weak spot.  This week I'm sharing a quick bread that tastes as good, if not better than those muffins!

Cinnamon Swirl Bread

1 1/3 cups sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped and toasted
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1 egg
1 tsp. baking powder
1 cup milk
1/3 cup melted butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour the bottom and 1/2 inch up the sides of a loaf pan. 
In a small bowl, combine 1/3 cup of the sugar, the nuts, and cinnamon; set aside. In a large bowl, combine the remaining 1 cup sugar, the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a medium bowl, beat egg with a fork; stir in milk and oil. Add egg mixture all at once to flour mixture. Stir just until moistened (batter should be lumpy).
Pour half of the batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle with half of the cinnamon mixture. Repeat with remaining batter and cinnamon mixture. Draw a wide rubber scraper down through batter and up in a circular motion to marble. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack. 
What's cooking in your kitchen?


November 16, 2015

Thirty Days of Thankful - Mondays

Even though Monday is my least favorite days of the week, I am thankful for it.  Mondays for me mean a job I have to go to and work that needs to get done.  It means a weekend that has been spent with family, friends, doing rescue work, cuddling my pups and trying to sneak in a little reading and some Netflix!

Monday means I'm one day closer to the weekend and getting to relax again!


November 15, 2015

Thirty Days of Thankful - Insomnia

By this point you expect me to be thankful for off-beat things, right?  Good.

Much of the time I wish that I could sleep like other people.  Being in bed and sleep for 6-8 hours sounds fabulous! I actually laugh people (kindly, of course) who complain that they are sooooo tired after only getting six or seven hours of sleep.  That's two to three nights worth of sleep for me!

But, I am thankful for insomnia too.  It's taught me how to make my brain work harder, to get more accomplished than many people and coping mechanisms for being overtired that a lot of people wouldn't think of.  Being an insomniac is likely why I can successfully work a full time job, be co-chair of a rescue, sell Jamberry and still have time for friends, family and a few hobbies!

If you're still up at 3 am, message me.  I'll be up too! :-)


November 14, 2015

Thirty Days of Thankful - The Ocean

I feel like I should say something about the tragic events in Paris. But I just don't know what.  It feels like just yesterday that my home city banded together and got through the Boston Marathon bombing. My heart hurts for the people of Paris.  I hope they know that the world cries with them and supports them.

When my mind won't shut off or emotion overwhelms me, the ocean is one of the things that I gravitate to.  The consistency of the waves rolling in and out, the smell of salty air and the sound of the waves are calming to me.

I jokingly tell people that someday I'll pack up and leave my little corner of the world.  But the reality is - if the ocean isn't nearby, that will never happen.  I'm just not made to live in a land-locked state.  I need the ocean too much.

What is it you like best about where you live?


November 13, 2015

Thirty Days of Thankful - Random Acts of Kindness

Did you know that today is World Kindness Day?  I didn't realize it until I got to work, or I would have bought the person behind me in line their morning coffee.

As much as the news can be depressing, people can get upset or in an uproar over the dumbest things (example: Starbuck's red cups), and the holiday season can be stressful - I think most people are good and just waiting for a way to be nice to others.

So today, go do something nice!  Hold a door, buy someone coffee, compliment a co-worker on their hard work...really anything that makes you feel good and the person on the other end of your good deed feel good. :-)  When you're done, tell me what you did!  I love hearing about good deeds!


November 12, 2015

Thirty Days of Thanks - Chocolate

I's one of my sillier and simpler things to be thankful for.  But on a bad day, chocolate is second only to cuddles from my dogs in making me feel better.

If you're going to eat chocolate - eat the good chocolate!  Nothing against Hershey's, but it just can't compare to what you can find in Belgium, France, Germany or the UK.  Chocolate there is less sweet but vastly creamier.  It is amazing!

While I was in England, my last stop before getting on the plane was to the HUGE Cadbury section in Duty Free.  I know, I can get Cadbury in the US, right?  Wrong...kinda.  Technically, they use a similar recipe here, but it's made by Hershey's after they banned Cadbury's from importing directly to the US on their own. Now I have a little stash to get me through the next few months...then I have to go back to England to restock!


November 11, 2015

Thirty Days of Thanks - Military Veterans

On this day where many of us don't have work, I encourage you to hug as many veterans as you can find.  No?!  OK, just thank them!  Depending on the age/generation of the veteran, you could get reactions from a simple (possibly embarrassed) "thanks", to a deep seated pride that their contribution is being acknowledged after so many years of feeling like they were painted as Vietnam era "bad guys", to some really long and interesting WWII stories volunteered.  

If you get one of those WWII stories, stop and really listen.  So many of those men and women are coming to the last years of their lives and have so much to share with those who take the time to sit with them and really pay attention.  Some of the best stories I got as a child were those of my mom's dad.  I learned all about his time during WWII, learned some military cadences (at the time I just thought they were fun songs) and got to giggle as he joked that he "accidentally" got on the wrong ship and went to war.  

Have you read this poem before?  It's the starting point of why poppies are so closely associated with American, British and Canadian war veterans. Poppies only grow in the absence of other flowers and in fields that have been churned.  Dr. John McCrae noticed them growing between the rows of crosses of soldiers graves during WWI.

During my vacation in England, I had the honor of riding on a train called the "poppy line".  It runs through fields and fields of poppies and the train has been operating since 1887 (largely ceremonially these days).  While it was past-peak, the trip and the fields were beautiful.

I know you all don't need the reminder... the words "thank you" aren't reserved for just Veteran's Day.  Say them freely and often!  Veterans (and active duty) and never be appreciated enough!


November 10, 2015

Tuesdays at the Table - Pupper Pumpkin Muffins & Thirty Days of Thankful - Rescue

Happy Tuesday!  Thanks to you awesome people who have participated in Tuesdays at the Table since I restarted the weekly linky.  I love you all!  Please keep linking up your recipes or sharing recipes you find here that you really enjoy.

This week we're going to the dogs!  I know my furbabies haven't been featured on the blog as much as they should lately - and I'm going to rectify that.  Unless you're new here (in which case, WELCOME!!!) you know that I'm one of the co-chairs and founders of Little Paws Dachshund Rescue.  If you asked me even five years ago if I would have two rescued dachshunds and a dachshund rescue - I would have asked what drugs you were on!  But I stumbled on dog rescue one day and never looked back.  Then I got involved and found people that understand me and are just as dog-crazy as I am. (P.S. LPDR's 3rd Annual Barksgiving Auction starts on Wednesday.  Click HERE to view items now and bid, bid, bid when the auction starts!)

Rescue is never easy.  Tears flow most days... Happy tears for the dogs we've found new homes for, sad tears for the dogs we don't have the resources to help or the ones that are just too far gone and we need let go as humanely and lovingly as we can, tears of frustration, anticipation and exhaustion. But at the end of the day, I look at Paisley & Beckett - my twin terrors; two of a litter of eight pups that wouldn't be here without rescue - and know I can do it all over again tomorrow.  If you could all meet the amazing people and dogs that I get to work with and for, you'd fall in love with rescue too.  I'm honored that I'm among the people that others come to with medical, behavioral or psychological problems in hopes I can help them find solutions or at least the resources to help their beloved dogs. I hope some day that rescue isn't needed...but in the meantime, I'm thankful to be the voice for some really amazing dogs.

Pupper Pumpkin Muffins

  • 2 cups whole-wheat flour 
  • 1 cup oats
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg                            
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 2/3 cup canola oil
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 - 15 oz. can pumpkin puree
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 2 Tablespoons honey

  • Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray mini muffin tins with cooking spray of your choice.

    Combine dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.  In a separate bowl mix together the eggs and canola oil. Add vanilla, pureed pumpkin and water. Mix well. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.

    Using a small cookie scoop, fill each mini muffin tin to the top.

    Bake for 17 - 18 minutes. Test to make sure they are done by sticking a toothpick in the center of a muffin, it should come out clean.

    Cool on a wire rack for a few minutes, then remove from pan and finish cooling completely.

    Store in air tight container, or plastic zipper quart or sandwich bags, in refrigerator. 

    What's cooking in your kitchen?

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