Tag Archives: motherhood

Is It Wrong To Be In Love With Your Whirlpool Duet Wash Machine?


As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about…..falling more in love with my Whirlpool Duet wash machine! I am a mother; laundry is my life. If I’m not picking it up off the floor, flung in corners near and far, I’m sorting it, washing it, folding it, ironing it, hanging it up or putting it away.

 

It’s amazing. Where does it all come from? My people try something on, change their minds and discard the offending item, in a wadded up ball, on the bed, behind the bed, next to the bed, under the bed; anywhere but in a drawer or in the closet. Everyday when Nick gets home from school he walks in the door in his undershirt (which is called an undershirt because it is meant to be worn under your other shirt), either discarding his school uniform shirt in a pile on the kitchen table, or the shirt is no where in sight because he has left it in the back seat of his car. Stripping away the chains of inhumanity by removing your tie is one thing, but what is up with taking off your shirt? Nick must think he’s got himself a….”situation.” Of course Nick’s life’s work does not revolve around GTL (gym-tan-laundry). His teenage life revolves around S-H-P90X (school-hockey-infomercial workout system…..P90X, developed by fitness guru Tony Horton, who I swear is the inspiration for Ben Stiller’s character in Dodge Ball, as the owner of World Class Gym).   

My laundry hamper is like a black hole of textiles; pajamas, school uniforms, jeans, t-shirts, sweatshirts, sweatpants, slouch pants, socks that multiply like bunnies, towels, bed linens…..and athletic uniforms and work out clothes. Amanda’s contribution to this mound is rather small. Leotards aren’t exactly a large clothing item. They can be slipped in with the regular wash, particularly as girls don’t typically smell too bad. Teenage boys however? Man smell!

When Nick first started playing hockey, he was just a baby. He got sweaty, but never really stinky. There was so little smell that he could actually air out his hockey equipment in his bedroom, without any tell tale signs (or stink). Now that he is a full grown man, however, that equipment doesn’t even make it passed the garage! We have two bins that he empties his equipment into in order to allow for a little air circulation. Poor thing, in the winter that equipment is pretty darn cold as he packs it back in his bag for a game or practice.

While we’ve solved the problem of the stinky equipment, I am still faced with the challenge of the permanently embedded stank on the sweat-wicking shirts, socks, jerseys and hockey socks….until now. Last week I made an amazing discovery; my Whirlpool Duet wash machine, which I’ve had for 3 ½ years and I have never once bothered to read the instructions, has a “sanitizing wash setting”. The cycle may have run for well over an hour, but when I pulled out the normally smelly hockey apparel, I discovered no lingering unpleasant odor at all. In fact, it actually smelled, dare I say…clean!

More stinky laundry, more smart wash machine settings, more pleasant smells…..

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It Takes a Long Time To Grow An Old Friend…


As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about…… more time with my gal pals! When your kids are little, you meet a million families, and as a parent, your hope is that your children make wonderful and lasting friendships. It’s a total bonus when you like the parents too. Well, when Nick began Kindergarten at Our Lady of Perpetual Donations Grammar School, I completely hit the jack pot. I met two amazing moms…..

We girls (and I consider us girls despite the milestone birthdays) did everything together with our kids. Of course they bounced around from house to house for play dates after school, but the real monkey business was reserved for those coveted days off.

I loved the fact that everyone was a gamer. Not a shrinking violet in the group. We would pack up for the day, hop on the train and enjoy all that the city had to offer. Amongst our (and by our, I mean the mothers) favorite spots were the Museum of Science & Industry and the Art Institute. A little learning, a little entertainment; what’s not to like? Though one such visit left the children bored to tears (real tears) so we salvaged the day and had one of our very best outings ever. We took the bus to Navy Pier and took a boat ride on the Sea-Dog (because Pluto’s a dog too……ruff!). What fun!

 

In the winter months, we were known to work up an appetite ice skating at Millennium Park. There’s something for everyone at the Food Life at Water Tower and you can never go wrong with dinner at Chicago favorite; Ed Debevic’s (and who doesn’t like to eat at Ed’s?). To me, there’s no better way to spend a summer afternoon than at the Friendly Confines. My furry son’s name is Wrigley, after all. These kids felt like big shots taking the Red Line, waiting for autographs and walking around the neighborhood.

While we always went to the Community Center pool, to the movies, out to eat and to seasonally fun outings such as the pumpkin patch, my very favorite annual tradition was sleeping over at a local hotel. We would arrive as soon as we could check in and head straight down to the pool, with our coolers full of snacks, beverages and cocktails. Who had time to get cleaned up and go to dinner when you could simply order a pizza to the pool deck? After dinner and a little more swimming, we would get cozy and comfy in our pj’s, break out the popcorn, and watch Pay per View movies (you know how much I adore Pay per View!), while the little girls had a blast doing spa treatments. In the morning the kids would swim again, after they enjoyed pancakes and hash browns, brought poolside, from Mc Donald’s.

The kids are all busy teenagers now, but we moms still get together for lunch, House-walks, shopping and birthdays. In fact, we celebrated a birthday with lunch in my home just yesterday (great new recipes coming your way next week!).

More shared experiences, more keeping up with old friends, more reminiscing…..

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Family Life; The Good, The Bad and The Ugly…


As the More is More Mom®, I am all about….. more mixing things up. When the kids were little, Chucks hours permitted for him to be home everyday by 3:15 p.m. Seriously, these kids were just finishing their afternoon snack by the time he walked in the door. Those were the days……

 

While being self employed meant that Chuck could almost never miss a day of work, much less take a real vacation, we had him for what mattered most to us, which was our everyday life. Most dads have more conventional work schedules, but Chucks suited us just fine. With him being home so early, he really got to be a part of our home life; the good, the bad and the ugly. 

You know how much I like to have fun, so the kids were forever be-bopping back and forth with friends. With a motto like mine, more of everything is always better, clearly extending to the quantity of friends as well, we always had a house full. Nick and the fellas loved to play baseball in our backyard. They wore out the grass at the pitchers mound, home plate and first base. The boys were always so sweet to allow Amanda to get in on the action too, one boy remarking to the others, “Don’t get Sis out.”She would prefer to hit off the “T” much to Nick’s distress. He maintained that she would never get any better if she didn’t take the pitch, and he was perfectly willing to pitch her a thousand balls for the sake of authenticity (like mother, like son). Amanda, of course, had no desire to ever take the pitch, forever happy to hit off the “T”, which always lead to a heated debate (otherwise known as…..the ugly). It was great that Chuck was home to umpire/referee the game before there was a bench clearing brawl.

We were lucky that Chuck almost never missed a hockey, basketball, baseball or track practice, much less games, which is a good thing because Nick always likes us to be watching. Every time he would take the ice, step up to the free throw line, approach the batters box or take his position at the starting line, he glanced up to make sure we were watching, and naturally we were. At the ripe old age of 18 his still makes sure we never miss a shift, and we never would.

Not only was he home for practices, but he was always home for dinner. Some nights we would eat dinner at 4:30pm because of Nick’s hockey practices, but that’s okay. The most important part was that we were together. As the homemaker, the only downside to ones husband always being home was that men typically like a real meal for dinner. You know the drill; salad, meat, potatoes, vegetables, dessert….. for 20 years. That’s a lot of four course meals.

Well, the other night, Chuck went out to dinner and to the Hawks game with some of the fellas. I turned to both my pals (High School students now; practically grown ups) and suggested breakfast for dinner. Amanda said, “OMG! That’s exactly what I was thinking!” Nick asked, “Can we have chocolate chip pancakes and scrambled eggs?” Sure! The sky’s the limit. How about bacon too? We got the eggs cracking, the bacon sizzling, the toast toasting and the maple syrup drizzling. While the cats away, the mice will play. It was delightful!

More comfort food, more tasty goodness, more being in cahoots…together!

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It Doesn’t Have to Wednesday to be Prince Spaghetti Day!


As the More is More Mom®, I am all about…..more pasta dinners! Some nights I feel like a short order cook. Nick likes pasta, rice and potatoes, while Amanda never met a steak or a burger she didn’t like. One of my favorite dishes is Campanelle Pasta with Broccolini and Italian Sausage, something for everyone (of course, Chuck and I eat it all mixed together, while the kids eat a deconstructed version, meaning ingredients not touching……).

 

Campanelle Pasta with Broccolini and Italian Sausage

This recipe serves 6 (or 4 really hungry people)

1 – 16 oz box Campanelle Pasta, I’m a fan of the Barilla (you can certainly use any shell type pasta)

1 bunch of Broccolini (a hybrid vegetable: broccoli and asparagus, though broccoli florettes work well too)

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 chopped onion, approximately 1 cup

6 cloves of garlic, minced

½ lb Italian sausage, remove the casings

1 ½ cups marinara sauce, home made or from a jar, I like Prego

¾ cup fresh grated cheese, such as Parmesan or a pecorino Romano

I like to prep my ingredients before I get my meals underway.

Trim the Broccolini

Chop the onion

Mince the garlic

Remove the casings from 3 Italian sausages (I grill those that remain for my kids)

Grate the cheese

Bring a large pot of water to a boil

Cook the Campanelle pasta for approximately 15 minutes (I always make a double batch of pasta because Nick loves leftovers)

Drain and mix with one stick of butter per box of pasta

Now, if you are not going to deconstruct the dish, you can add the Broccolini to the pasta during the last 3-4 minutes that the pasta cooks. I cooked the Broccolini in a separate pot of boiling water for 3-4 minutes. Drain and set aside. Any Broccolini that is not going into the pasta dish can be slathered with butter (the only way to choke down the veggies)

Meanwhile, in a skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat

 

Add the onions and garlic, cooking for 2-3 minutes

 

Add the sausage, break up and brown for approximately 6 minutes

 

Add the pasta and the Broccolini, tossing until well combined

 

Add the marinara sauce, until warmed through

 

Sprinkle generously with cheese and serve

Now my pals prefer buttered noodles, with grilled sausage and buttered Broccolini on the side. Something for everyone.

More individual preferences, more delicious dinners, more time together…..

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Filed under Entertaining, More is More Mom, Recipes

Christmas is Coming…And You’ll Find It At Target!


As the More is More Mom®, I am all about……more holiday preparations! I know I’m getting completely ahead of myself, considering I have yet to dismantle, sort, wrap and pack up my Halloween decorations. We still have a surprising amount of Trick-or-Treat candy left in our bowl, which won’t last much longer with the chocoholics that live in our home. Thanksgiving may be next on the horizon, but Christmas is calling my name…… 

Just the other day I was “grocery shopping” at the Super Target (which is clearly code for, “I’m actually up to monkey business”), marveling at all of the wonder of the season. I had hit the entertaining mother-load. Since more of everything is always better, it’s time to stock up, while supplies last….

 

Nothing sets the tone for the holidays like a little illumination. I fell in love with the soft and elegant silver and gold tones of the glass votive holders. What a great combination of crackled, ribbed and hobnail finishes. While the shimmer finish is perfect for the holidays, votive candles are beautiful year round, scattered about your home and your outdoor living space. This collection includes gorgeous and sparkly pillar, taper and tea light candles as well. There are also wonderful ornate, turned pillar and taper candlesticks. Wouldn’t these be warm and pretty in your own home, or grouped as a lovely gift? If you’d prefer to take out all of the guess work, there are fragrant winter inspired (think pine tree and pomegranate) gift candles in a mercury glass type finish, cradled in luxurious boxes.

 

 

You can certainly punch things up a bit by scattering a little holiday cheer about your home. When faced with the dilemma of choosing a Santa or a Snowman (much like the age old argument…Britney or Christina?), I am frequently drawn to Snowmen and snowflakes. While Santa is a right jolly old elf, he’s a little out of place come January. Now Frosty, on the other hand, he can hang around until the final snowfall, and if you live here in Chicago, Frosty is likely to be hopping down the bunny trail come spring. Throw pillows and blankets make any sofa, bench or bed festive! Don’t forget about Kitchen towels, hand towels and bath towels, embellished with snowmen, snowflakes, candy canes, Christmas Trees, poinsettia’s and Santa’s, all with coordinating accessories and small rugs. 

 

 

Whether you’re hosting a huge Christmas dinner for 50, or celebrating quietly with your family, there are so many festive and whimsical inspirations for your table. Cherry red and apple green are so much fun! There are darling Santa, Snowmen, Reindeer and Penguin pieces; cookie jars, coffee mugs, platters, dinner plates, dessert plates, nesting bowls, cereal bowls, placemats, napkins, table runners and drink-ware. The whole point is to have fun with it. Mix and match a few interesting pieces with your good china and crystal, or every day dishes. You’ll be surprised at what a difference infusing something lively makes, while ensuring that each meal is special.

 

Now you know how much I love a party! This is the best time to check out your inventory of entertaining pieces and add to your collection. Silver is just so elegant; as perfect for a formal dinner party as it is for serving barbecue on the 4th of July. Whether you’re serving appetizers or dessert, the two tiered, hobnail trimmed platters are gorgeous! Complete your collection with the large and small rectangular trays and the chip and dip bowl which can also be used for crudités.

 

If you’re serving a crowd, corral your barware on a tray in gold leaf, silver leaf or red lacquer. Of course, you’ll want a huge bucket for your beverages (and don’t forget to keep them on ice). When you’re not in party mode, those tubs are great for storing firewood on your hearth and collecting magazines or toys.

Don’t already have a supply of chargers? Now is the time to make the investment. The best formal and beautifully set tables start with good linens and layers. To achieve that visual interest, you’ll want to start with a charger, adding a dinner plate then a decorative salad or dessert plate to set the tone for your fancy soiree.

Christmas is just around the corner. With a few festive touches you can make your home an even happier place to celebrate the holidays!

More holidays, more decorations, more happy homes…..

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Filed under Entertaining, Family Life, Interior Design, More is More Mom