Tag Archives: FAmily

They Say It’s Your Birthday…..


As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about…….more birthday celebrations! While this year I may be celebrating the 15th anniversary of my 29th birthday, Tuesday, my Nick turned 19! It’s so weird. It really seems like it’s been about 5 minutes since we brought him home from the hospital, and now, all the sudden he’s fairly well grown up and celebrating his first birthday away at college; without us.

 

When I was little, my mom always made a big fat deal out of our birthdays; so naturally, I am of the belief that birthdays should be celebrated like it’s Mardi Gras. Over the years, we’ve had some pretty rockin’ parties for Nick. All sports all the time has, of course, been a recurring theme. Amongst my favorites, however, was Nick’s 5th grade party. It’s not easy to come up with an idea that isn’t so “been there done that”. I stumbled across the Chicago Bulls/White Sox Training Academy (which is pretty stinking painful for those of us diehard Cub’s fans). Their deal at the time was you rented the Chicago Bulls replica basketball court, equipped with a working scoreboard, buzzer and referee, at $150 for an hour. The number of invitees was unlimited, so, since more of everything is always better, we included a total of 20 kids to help us celebrate.

 

Rather than waste our precious hour picking teams, we sent out two invitations; one requesting the recipients wear a white t-shirt, and the other requesting the recipients wear a blue t-shirt. When the boys arrived, all they had to do sit on the bench, shouting, “Put me in coach; I’m ready to play!” After the game, we went out for pizza, and as a party favor, gave each of the boys a mini basketball. It was awesome!

 

Over the years, we’ve celebrated with several golf outings, but last years was my favorite. We surprised Nick with a huge breakfast in our home (yummy scrambled eggs, bacon and chocolate chip pancakes) with a dozen of his closest friends; pals he’s collected from Pre-school to high school. After breakfast, the boys headed over to one of Nick’s favorite courses to play 18 on his 18th. He had the very best day!

 

This year was certainly an adjustment. I wanted Nick to feel that even though he’s away, his birthday is still a day of celebration, but how could I make a small, but thoughtful gesture? Of course there were presents, but I also packed a few packages of Hershey’s Drops and made one of his all time favorite family desserts; chewy bars. To create a feeling of festivity, I packed crazy straws, party blowers, water guns and silly string. I hope he and his new friends are racing up and down the dorm room halls having fun and acting silly. That’s exactly what a 19 year old should be doing.

More birthday celebrations, more fabulous festivities, more family traditions, more missing Nick on his 19th birthday…..

 

To schedule and Interior Design appointment, a Life Style consultation or a speaking engagement, please email me at moreismoremom@aol.com

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Last Friday Night…..


As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about…….more Friday night’s! In all four of Nick’s years at the Be All and End All Academy, Chuck and I went to exactly one football game. Most weekends found us be-bopping around from ice rink to ice rink at all hours of the day and night. However, there was one beautiful Friday night that we were able to sneak over to the stadium to catch the big game, seeing our dear friends, the LaLanne’s, son as starting quarterback. It was a rah-rah good time!

 

With Nick off to college, we no longer have hockey to occupy our weekends. Thankfully, Amanda’s a true champ and she’s stepped in to fill the void. Since her retirement from gymnastics, she has devoted herself to training for the heptathlon, but the school year has been reserved for…..cheerleading.

 

After spending 20 hours each week at the gym, Amanda’s never had the opportunity to participate in school spirit until now. She’s never even played volleyball, so that wasn’t an option. In fifth grade she tried basketball, but she hated the shoes, so that didn’t sound too promising.  With Amanda’s mad tumbling skills, cheerleading sounded like the obvious choice. Great girlfriends, cute uniforms and school spirit; what’s not to like?

 

Chuck and I were really looking forward to our very first St. Feels Right for Her football game and it was a blast! We loved watching the game, catching up with long time friends from Our Lady of Perpetual Donations and rooting along with the adorable Spartan cheerleaders. We sat next to the student section and couldn’t help but be swept up in all of the excitement.

 

The best part of the night was seeing Amanda having fun, cheering for her school and pal-ing around with friends. I can’t think of a better way to spend a Friday night!

 

More school spirit, more cheering for the home team, more Friday nights, more high school memories…..

 

To schedule and Interior Design appointment, a Life Style consultation or a speaking engagement, please email me at moreismoremom@aol.com

 

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Rockin’ It Out With Katy Perry!


As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about…..more Teenage Dreams! What a way to end the summer; Katy Perry, live in concert! We were sooooo disappointed when she canceled her concert due to “food poisoning” in July, but I must admit, she was totally worth the wait. In our second annual pop music pilgrimage, Amanda and I joined our cousins, hosted by Nurse Terri (who is like my sister), for an evening of wild fun and entertainment. Rendezvousing at the Giordano’s for pizza and Pino Grigio was the perfect start.

 

The party atmosphere extended all the way to the parking lot. Girls dressed in glitter, sparkles and candy confections. Never have I seen so many blue haired ladies (and I’m not talking about your grandmother and her girlfriends)! The bright blue wigs were all in homage to Miss Katy (Snoop’s lady) and her outrageous personal style. Little girls, teen-age girls, girl friends, mothers, daughters, grandmothers; dressed to the nine’s and ready to rock it out!

 

Now, I just love, love, love Russell Brand, so I was hoping to feel the same way about his bride. Katy Perry is absolutely adorable; a mix between a squeaky and sexy Betty Boop, a lovely and soft spoken Glenda, the Witch of the North and a bawdy Bette Midler all rolled into one.  

 

Surrounded by Willie Wonka-esque candy land confections, she totally delivered! Up on our feet, we danced and sang along as she belted out hit after hit after hit. This wasn’t just a concert; it was an extravaganza of costumes, dancers, fireworks, bubbles, glitter. Florenz Ziegfeld would have been proud!

 

 

After two rock solid hours of rip roaring entertainment, we made a pit stop at the B96 party van. Why sit in parking lot gridlock when you can continue to dance? While we didn’t make it home until 1 in the morning (on a school night no less), this night was totally worth it……a Teenage Dream!

 

More screaming teenagers, more singing, more dancing, more family fun and memories…..

 

To schedule and Interior Design appointment, a Life Style consultation or a speaking engagement, please email me at moreismoremom@aol.com

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It’s All Greek To Me……


As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about……….more Mediterranean dishes! I’m sorry, but there is little tastier than fresh herbs and garlic (and creamy, melt-y cheese), though repeated flossing is very likely necessary. This is the perfect menu for an outdoor dinner with family and friends. And if you like lamb, you’re in for a real treat!  

Shrimp Saganaki

Greek Salad with a homemade dressing

Lamb Kebabs with Feta Sauce

Steakhouse Kebabs (why not add shrimp and chicken!)

Corn on the Cob (for the kids…..)

 

Shrimp Saganaki

This is so delicious; you’ll pray for leftovers that you can toss over a plate of pasta!

 

3 Tbsp olive oil

1 large onion, sliced thin

1 ¼ lbs tomatoes (approximately 6 small), chopped

Course sea salt

Crushed red pepper flakes

1 ½ lbs shrimp, shelled and deveined, sliced in half lengthwise

½ cup pitted Kalamata olives, chopped

¼ cup fresh chopped dill

1 cup feta cheese

In a large skillet, heat the oil over a high heat until it shimmers.

Add the onions, continuing to cook on high until the onion starts to get soft and a little bit brown, approximately 5 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, seasoning with salt and crushed red pepper flakes (a couple good shakes should do)

 

Cook the tomatoes until they are soft, mixing and crushing them a bit as you go, cooking for about 5 minutes

 

Add the shrimp and olives, continuing to stir until the shrimp are cooked through, about 3 minutes

 

Stir in the dill and about ¾ cup of the feta cheese, until the cheese is hot, approximately 1 minute

 

Transfer to a serving bowl

Sprinkle with the remaining cheese, serving with pita chips or baguette bread

Greek Salad with Homemade Dressing;

 

Of course, quantities depend upon how many people you’ll be serving, but this is a great salad for a small group or a crowd!

Dressing;

7 Tbsp red wine vinegar

2 cloves garlic, minced

½ tsp ground mustard

Cracked black pepper to taste (I like a good solid shake)

1 ½ tsp fresh oregano (which goes a long way in a dressing)

2 cups olive oil

1 Tbsp sugar (heaping)

Mix all of the ingredients together in either a cruet or a bowl. The dressing will stay fresh in your refrigerator for several days.

For the Salad;

 

In a large bowl, combine;

 

Romaine lettuce, chopped

Cucumber, peeled and chopped

Grape or cherry tomatoes

Red onion, cut into thinly sliced pieces

Kalamata olives, pitted

Feta cheese, crumbled for sprinkling

Toss the salad with the dressing and serve

For the Kebabs;

I always marinate the meat the night before, and then all that’s left to do the following day is to thread the kebabs and toss them on the grill.

Between the two recipes, I had about 36 kebabs. They make awesome leftovers!

For both the lamb and the steak kebabs you will need;

Skewers, if using bamboo, soak in water for at least 30 minutes

3 lbs New potatoes for each kebab recipe (I made 6 lbs for 2 recipes), boiled for 30 minutes or so, until they are extremely tender. Drain and cool on a tray or foil lined cookie sheet until cool enough to handle. Once the potatoes are cooked, they are fine left at room temperature for quite a while.

1 pint grape tomatoes

1 red onion, cut into 1” pieces for the lamb

1 white onion, cut into 1” pieces for the steak, chicken and/or shrimp

Lamb Kebabs with Feta Sauce;

3 ½ lbs boneless leg of lamb (which you may need to plan ahead and order from your butcher), cut into 1”-2” cubes

Marinade

In a bowl, mix together;

2 cups olive oil

1 tsp lemon zest

½ cup of lemon juice (fresh or bottled)

8 garlic cloves minced (hence the dental floss)

2 Tbsp fresh oregano (more dental floss)

In a large re-sealable baggie, combine lamb and marinade, refrigerating overnight.

Feta Sauce;

¾ cup crumbled feta cheese

1 ½ cups Greek yogurt

6-8 garlic cloves, minced (once again…..dental floss)

3 Tbsp olive oil

1 Tbsp lemon juice

If you like it lumpy, simply mix in a bowl and refrigerate

If you like it smooth, pulse in the blender and refrigerate

 

Steakhouse Kebabs;

Both Nick and Amanda like lamb, but he is a chicken fanatic and she likes steak and shrimp. I made a huge helping on marinade and used a separate Zip-loc baggie for each the chicken, the steak and the shrimp.

 

1 – 1 ½ lbs of chicken breasts or tenders, cut into 1”-2” cubes

1 – 1 ½ lbs of beef (I used boneless NY strips), cut into 1”-2” cubes

6 shrimp for Amanda

Marinade

In a bowl, combine;

2 cups olive oil

¼ cup soy sauce

¼ cup Worcestershire sauce

2 Tbsp parsley, chopped

1 Tbsp thyme, chopped

Salt

Pepper

Divide the marinade amongst the various baggies and refrigerate overnight.

Threading the kebabs is easy, but it takes a little time. I like to get that all ready before company arrives, by threading and storing in large Rubbermaid containers in my refrigerator.

Threading;

On each skewer, thread a piece of meat, potato, a few onion slices, tomato and repeat

When ready for dinner, heat grill to medium high

Place kebabs on grill for a total of, approximately, 12 minutes

 

 

After your guests have nibbled on their Shrimp Saganaki, put out the salad, the kebabs and corn on the cob. Opa!

More shrimp, more feta, more Kalamata olive, more Mediterranean dining…….

To schedule an Interior Design appointment, Life Style consultation or speaking engagement, please email moresimoremom@aol.com

Greek Shrimp Saganaki

Mediterranean Lamb Kebabs with Yummy Feta Sauce

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Going Banana’s for Banana Cream Pie!


As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about………more homemade desserts! While I may be a complete and total chocoholic (candy, cookies, brownies, cakes, ice cream……), Chuck has leanings towards a greater variety of desserts. Other than fresh fruit (which is so not a treat, it’s one of the food groups), Chuck has a soft spot for pie. Yesterday, I noticed we had two very nice ripe bananas, so I decided to whip up a quick Banana Cream Pie.

When I was a girl, the only place to get pie was at Poppin’ Fresh Pies, which today, you may know as Baker’s Square. Making pie is so much more intimidating than cakes or brownies, but you’ll love this recipe because it is super easy.  

Banana Cream Pie:

This should be made at least a day before you plan to serve it, so the custard has time to firm up.

Pre-heat oven to 350®

Put aside a 9” pie plate

2 ripe bananas, sliced into ½” slices, put aside  

 

Crust:

In a small bowl, mix together;

1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs

¼ cup sugar

6 Tbsp melted butter

 

Press the graham cracker mixture into the pie pan on the bottom and on the sides

Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until a light golden brown

Remove and cool

For the Custard:

3 egg yolks

1 cup sugar

3 Tbsp cornstarch

¼ tsp salt

1 ½ cups of milk

1 Tbsp butter

1 Tbsp vanilla extract

2 cups heavy whipping cream (one for the custard and one for the topping)

Vanilla and sugar to taste

In a saucepan;

Beat the egg yolks

Mix in;

Sugar

Cornstarch

Salt

Stir

Add;

Milk

Blend well

Over a medium heat, stir together

After a minute or so, add;

Butter

Stir until the butter melts and the custard starts to bubble and thicken

Cook for 5 minutes or so, being careful not to over cook (and curdle)

Remove the pan from the heat

Add vanilla, mixing well

Transfer the custard to a bowl, covering with plastic wrap (to eliminate the chance of a thick skin forming) and refrigerate for at least 2 hours

In a large bowl, using an electric hand mixer, whip together;

Heavy cream

Few splashes of vanilla

2 heaping Tbsp or so of sugar

Beat until stiff peaks form

 

Add the refrigerated custard to half of the whipped cream, beating until well combined

(Reserve the other half of the whipped cream in the refrigerator)

Take the pie pan with the graham cracker crumb crust

Arrange all of the banana slices, evenly around the pie crust

Spread the custard filling evenly over pie

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or over night

To Decorate;

Wilton has the coolest decorative baking accoutrements. You can buy decorative tips for frosting at your local craft store and pastry bags too. However, a Zip-loc baggie works just fine as well. Using a scissors, snip off a corner of your bag and insert your decorative tip of choice, securing a tight fit. Fill the bag with the reserved whipped cream.

 

Remove the pie from the refrigerator. Squeeze decorative dollops of the whipped cream around the pie. Refrigerate allowing the whipped cream to set.

Slice, serve and enjoy!

More bananas, more pies, more homemade pies, more tasty goodness……

To schedule an Interior Design appointment, Life Style consultation or speaking engagement, please email moresimoremom@aol.com

Going Banana’s for Banana Cream Pie

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