Tag Archives: Hobbs

A Chili Return……

As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about……more homecomings! Chuck and I haven’t been childless for the past 18 ½ years, so this past week, with Nick and Amanda Spring Breakin’ it in Hot-lanta without us, was very strange indeed. The silence was deafening the first few days, but by mid-week we’d found our groove. We dug out Cheesecake Factory gift cards that we’ve had for the past 4 years (we are such losers, but in our defense, to use them would have required a few hours to ourselves to get to Oak Brook or Schaumburg, and with a busy family, who’s got that kind of time?), we had dinner with our beloved neighbors, Dr. and Mrs. Hobbs, and caught up with our dear friends the LaLanne’s. We watched movies and saw all of our DVR’d programs (I know, I know….life in the fast lane). While we really did enjoy a restful week, Chuck, Wrigley and I couldn’t wait to pick our pals up from the airport!

I can only hope it’s because Nicholas and Amanda felt safe and cared for with my mom, my brother and my sister-in-law, but they weren’t terribly compelled to talk with us the entire 8 days that they were gone. Sure, they politely answered our text messages and picked up the phone when we called, but other than that……not so much. Once they were home, Chuck and I were glad to catch up with them over a delicious, homemade, bowl of chili…..

Home-made Chili with Macaroni:

Serves 10 (who doesn’t like leftovers?)


3 lbs ground beef

4 Tbsp chili powder

2 onions, chopped

2 yellow peppers, seeded and chopped

5 cloves of garlic, minced

2 – 15 oz cans of kidney beans, drained and rinsed (more if your people like beans, mine merely tolerate them)

2 – 15 oz cans of diced tomatoes

2 cups of tomato sauce

1 cup chicken broth

2 tsp cumin

2 tsp oregano

1 tsp salt

16 oz Elbow macaroni, cooked, drained and buttered

1 box corn muffin mix, if your family likes cornbread

In a large stockpot;


Brown ground beef

When cooked through, stir in;

Chili powder

Blend well





Cook until softened, 5-8 minutes

Reduce heat to medium and add;


Diced tomatoes

Tomato sauce




Cover and cook for 20-30 minutes


My family likes their chili served over a heaping helping of cooked and buttered elbow macaroni, with a corn muffin on the side. Serve with sour cream, onions and shredded cheddar cheese if you so desire.

More restful weeks, more tasty dinners, more reconnecting…..


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Filed under Family Life, More is More Mom, Recipes

Traditions in Gingerbread….

As the More is More Mom®, I am all about…..more special holiday traditions! I’m a Chicago girl, always having lived in city apartments in great neighborhoods. Nearly 14 years ago, when Nick and Amanda were babies, I was so excited for us to move into our first home in the suburbs, to live the American dream. The very first family we met was that of Dr. and Mrs. Hobbs. Spotting their teenage daughter, I jumped on her immediately for her babysitting services, booking her on the spot. When a mom needs a break, a mom needs a break! She became our very own, personal, Mary Poppins….

For six years Mary Poppins helped me with our children; watching them on the weekends, taking them to the pool and the movies, shuffling Nick to hockey practice, and helping me with birthday parties. She became a part of our family. Amanda was in love with our Mary Poppins and watched her every move, like Gladys Kravitz, from our Living Room window. Mary Poppins is getting into the car. Mary Poppins is going for a run. Mary Poppins is going to Prom. Mary Poppins didn’t stand a chance of having a moment of privacy!

After she graduated from college, our Mary Poppins got engaged! Her wedding was so much fun; Amanda was a flower girl and Nick as an usher. However, as with many newlyweds, Mary Poppins and her hubbie were relocated, out of state, for his job.

That first Christmas that Mary Poppins was gone, Mrs. Hobbs invited Amanda and me over to decorate gingerbread houses. Mrs. Hobbs is what I like to call a “special maker.” She is all about fun, frivolity and formality. She is a wonderfully thoughtful and generous friend. We had such a nice time visiting, snacking and decorating. We brought our creation home, placing it prominently on a silver pedestal platter on our kitchen table. It was beautiful and an annual tradition was born.

This year marked our 7th annual gingerbread decorating event. Mary Poppins is now a little mama herself and hosted us in her home. Amanda and I had the nicest time, being a part of their family. We toured her beautiful home and were tickled to see our Nick’s bunk-bed in her darling son’s bedroom. Amanda immediately took a picture and sent it to Nick.


Gingerbread house decorating, 2010


candy confections!

We girls sat down in the Dining Room, bowls overflowing with red and green candies, peppermints and marshmallows. We snacked and talked. We sipped hot cocoa and created houses dripping of candy confections. Before the evening was over, Mary Poppins asked Amanda, “Do you babysit?”Ready to book her on the spot! When a mom needs a break, a mom needs a break. It’s funny; Amanda is just about the same age as Mary Poppins was when she started to babysit for us.

3 little gingerbread houses all in a row...

More gingerbread, more babysitting, more special makers, more friendship, more tradition……

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Home Depot Makes Me Happy….Who Knew?

Oh, happiest of days! Yesterday, on the most perfect of days, Wrigley and I were coming home from a quick jaunt (which we never should have done….my knee is killing me!) when I heard Michael Jackson blaring from my fanny pack (I know, totally loser, but I need to carry; money, just in case, my I-Pod, my Blackberry, and plenty of plastic bags to pickup you-know-what, and I am telling you a 92lb Labrador does a lot of you-know-what.), Let’s Dance, Let’s Shout….Shake Your Body Down To The Ground (my ring tone, and answer tone, so everyone gets to hear the King of Pop. I so enjoy it, and am always really tempted to just let it ring and listen the music….). I could see right away that it was my very dear friend and neighbor (her doggie is Mr. Hobbs, Wrigley’s very best friend in the entire world! Wrigley would walk on hot coals to be with Mr. Hobbs. He loves Mrs. Hobbs too. One day Mrs. Hobbs called me to tell me to come outside and bring my camera…..apparently, while Mrs. Hobbs was loading up her SUV, Wrigley decided he would like to accompany Mrs. Hobbs on her journey, you know, so she wasn’t lonely, and was found sitting in the passenger seat ready to go Bye-Bye-In-The-Car. Thank God he hadn’t decided to curl up in the back seat and surprise her along the way. That would have been exciting!). Mrs. Hobbs is a More is More kind of gal as well, and she was calling to tell me that the Home Depot had amazing Boston Ferns for $7.98 each and they were going like hotcakes!

Never one to miss an awesome sale, I decided grocery shopping be damned! It was time to head to the Home Depot. After a quick shower, I was on my way. Thankfully I had asked Chuck to leave me our Yukon XL for the day because Amanda needed me to transport a gaggle of kids after school for a class project. Serendipity? Perhaps.

The flowers were beautiful! It took every once of control I could muster to take a thoughtful inventory, rather than load up my cart and purchase everything in sight. It’s just so inspiring….

Fun accent plants that are also air purifiers. I mean, those are totally promoting health so I did buy two of those, but otherwise, I swear I was really good.

Gorgeous orchids! Barclay Butera (amazing designer, FYI) always features these incredibly beautiful orchids in unbelievably generous pots on his coffee tables. My coffee table however features magazines, a collection of boxes and tortoise hurricanes, so I don’t have room for orchids. Besides, they would completely block the idiot box, and you know how much I adore the idiot box.

These tropical palms were down right luscious; makes me want to save a Rain Forest.

I am totally in love with orange, which is crazy because I am red and HOT pink girl. These Orange Stars are lovely….

This was cracking me up. Scott Turf Builder is the Official Lawn Care of the Chicago Cubs. Go Cubs Go (BTW…LOVE the idea of Big “Z”, Zambrano, in the Bullpen. He is the Man!!!!!)!

Alright, you got me. I did purchase one (only one!) patio planter. But come on, they were only $14.98 each! If I was really in to saving money, I would have bought more….


Gerber Daisies….



But in the end, other than the two accent plants and the one patio planter, I only bought two beautiful Boston Ferns (well actually four, but two are for my mom and I promise I am going to give them to her).

Now I know exactly what I want to do for Mothers Day…..buy flowers!


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