Tag Archives: Pino Grigio

Cocktails Anyone?

As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about……….more cocktails before game time! When you have kids, your time is never your own. Like a doctor (while I don’t play one on TV, I do pretend to be one in real life. My customary response is, “In my expert opinion, you’re fine.”), parents are always on call. Can you drive me here? Can you drive me there? Tell him to stop touching me! Tell her I don’t want her in my room! I have nothing to wear (oh wait, that’s me)! Where are my shoes? Where is my homework? Can I have friends over to watch the Super Bowl tonight? And, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

However, when opportunity presents itself, we parents have to rally. We totally have to be prepared to take full advantage, even when we’re eaking out a whopping 60 minutes to ourselves. Saturday night, Nick was scheduled to play his very last hockey game, of his High School hockey career, of the regular season before playoffs. The pre-game ritual usually consists of me whipping up a quick pasta dinner (you know; carb loading) before packing up the car for parts unknown. Before we can leave, he has to get his bag together. Have you ever seen or smelled a hockey bag? It’s big enough to conceal a dead body and it reeks of decomposition too. He stick handles to loosen up, packs a few bottles of water (good hydration is vital), grabs a banana and when he’s feeling it, packs a PB&J just like Sydney Crosby. We’re exhausted before we pull out of the driveway.

Our game was in Niles at 8pm, Saturday night. Woo hoo! Chuck and I dropped Nick off at the rink at 7; we had an entire hour to spare. I suppose we could have popped into a Starbucks for a warm caffeinated beverage, but it was a Saturday night (or as the Bay City Rollers would say S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y Night!).  Surely, we assumed, we could find a cocktail in Niles. We were right next door to the Golf Mill Mall for Heaven’s sake.

We pulled away from the rink and headed down Milwaukee Ave (apparently in the wrong direction). Surely, we thought, we would run into a strip mall with an Outback Steakhouse or a Chili’s (with a pleasant little bar. You know, hockey games are at their very best when fueled with alcohol), but the more we drove, the less we saw. We’re not quitters, but I was about to give up hope of ever finding a glass of Pino Grigio. As we wound our way back to the rink, Chuck spotted a sports lounge, which sounded promising.  


We pulled into the parking lot of Lucky Magee’s and made our way to the front door. Never in my life have I seen so many cigarette butts! People, huddled outside, in the sub zero temperatures, having a smoke. I was about to enter…the Twilight Zone. Clearly, I live under a rock, because I’ve never been to OTD, otherwise known as Off Track Betting.

A total sucker for old movies, I felt like we were on the soundstage of the Robert Redford/Paul Newman classic; The Sting. There were cocktail waitresses, betting windows, racing forums, TV screens; wall to wall, floor to ceiling, all featuring horse races. I’ve never seen anything like it.

All I can say is, “Thank God for OTB!” We enjoyed a cold beverage, a little conversation and a few moments to ourselves to reconnect before game time.

More family life, more stolen moments, more Off Track Betting…….

Leave a comment

Filed under More is More Mom

Girlfriends Celebrating Girlfriends….

As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about…..more girlfriends celebrating girlfriends! While we love, love, love our families, there is nothing like the kinship we share with our closest gal pals. We look to one each other to bare our souls, cry, laugh, support and toast one another. Quite frankly, that is exactly how we make it through the day. Well, that and a good, stiff drink (or glass of Pino).We support each other in good times, bad times, happy times, sad times and silly times.

Last week I was reminded just how much I cherish my friends (not that I really needed a reminder). A gaggle of us were attending a beautiful Christmas luncheon, which happened to occur on my birthday. All of the sudden, a group of girls broke out the props and into song….all for me! My dear friend Jess made up the sweetest and silliest song about “Vanessa” and how I do it all with “f-anessa”, shouldn’t “str-essa”, I “con-fessa”…..I think you get the picture. The props were fantastic; an apron (trimmed in red marabou), dish-washing gloves (trimmed in red marabou), a tiara (trimmed in red marabou), a red beauty queen sash featuring the words; Organized Hoarder (they know me so well!), a marabou scepter and a leopard trim necklace that said “Blogger Star”. I truly can’t remember the last time I felt so special.

That’s the point….feeling special. What can we do to let our loved ones, family and friends, know just how much we cherish and adore them?

This past weekend my dear friend Molly had a milestone birthday. It’s funny how you get to know people. Molly’s daughter Coco and my Amanda have been the closest of friends since the moment they met in first grade…nine years ago. Like daughters like mothers, Molly and I shared an instant, special kinship, too. In fact, all four of us girls share a special bond. We are all in the December Birthday Club. I am the 2nd, Coco the 3rd, Molly the 5th and Amanda the 30th. Our connection had been pre-determined by the stars: 2 x 3 = 6 x 5 = 30. Isn’t that totally freaky? Our friendships were destiny….. Every year, the four of us get together to celebrate December Birthday Club. We shop, we eat, we see movies, we see sights. It’s the perfect way to be together and we look forward to it every year.

Anyway, the question became, amongst Molly’s friends, “What is the best way to honor a wonderful friend’s birthday?” She doesn’t like fanfare. She doesn’t like attention. So, Molly’s very best friend in the entire world had a fantastic idea: Since Molly loves her fabulous porch and celebrating Christmas…..why not surprise her by putting up a gorgeous Christmas tree on her front porch and asking her dearest of friends to contribute personal sentiments and ornaments for the tree?


What a simple, yet unbelievable, idea! Ornaments came pouring in from across the country, state and town. Each person attached a personal note to each ornament honoring Molly and their friendship. The evening before Molly’s birthday, as soon as she left for the evening, the tree went up and a group of us got together to trim the tree. As soon as Molly returned home, her group of girlfriends (and some spouses) descended upon her to surprise her for her birthday. At midnight, the corks were popping, and we toasted our dear friend and wished her the happiest of birthdays!!

More friendships, more thoughtfulness, more special times, more being together….

1 Comment

Filed under Entertaining, Friendship, More is More Mom

Sinfully Delicious Chocolate Mousse Recipe…

I don’t normally indulge in dessert, save for the occasional handful of the hard to resist M n M’s. I usually save my calories for Pino Grigio. My Bastille Day Feast, however, was the exception. As the More is More Mom®, I made the most sinfully delicious…..Chocolate Mousse!

 Fancy desserts can be intimidating, but this one is really rather simple.

 In a small sauce pan, melt;

¾ cup raspberry jam (jam, jam, here comes the jam)

Stir occasionally. Remove from heat once smooth.


1 Tbsp raspberry liquor or orange juice (I chose the OJ because I later in the recipe I choose the brandy. Once liquor, shockingly, seems like enough)

Set aside to cool.

In another small sauce pan, over low heat, melt;

3 ounces semi-sweet chocolate (I am partial to Ghirardelli)

1 ounce bittersweet chocolate (I tried Nestles and it was yummy)

Stir until smooth and remove from heat.

Stir in and combine well;

2 Tbsp honey

1 Tbsp brandy or orange juice (this is where I went with the brandy…she’s a fine girl, what a good wife she would be….If you’re as old as I am you can name that tune in 7 bars.)

1 Tbsp heavy whipping cream

Transfer to a large bowl and set aside.

In a chilled large mixing bowl, beat;

2 ½ cups whipping cream

1 Tbsp pure vanilla (imitation is not the sincerest form of flattery in this instance)

2 Tbsp sugar

Beat until stiff soft peeks form.

Set aside 1 cup of whipped cream for garnishing (garny is as well suited to dessert as it is to appetizers and entrees. It just makes everything feel more special.)


Stir ½ cup of whipping cream into chocolate mixture.

Fold remaining whipped cream into chocolate mixture and you’ve got yourself one amazing dessert. For the official unveiling;

Evenly spoon mixture into 6 stemmed wine glasses or dessert dishes (I selected a wide mouthed, footed dessert dish, with a charming hob nail trim)

Top evenly with reserved whipped cream and raspberry sauce.

Draw a vegetable peeler over remaining chocolate squares, creating lovely, shaved curls on top of the whipped cream.

Cover individually with plastic wrap and chill for 1-6 hours, or overnight (always my favorite method)

Treat yourself and your guests to a more special and decadent dessert!


Filed under More is More Mom

Chicago Blackhawks Win the Stanley Cup…Need I say More?

Imagine that you are enjoying the musical stylings of the Fratellis playing Chelsea Dagger (or link here now):

Philadelphia Flyer, Chris Pronger, is to the Chicago Blackhawks as Syracuse Bulldogs, Ogilthorpe, is to the Kansas City Chiefs (in other words….he’s a real meanie! Can you tell we’re in ACT prep mode? By the way, you have seen the best sports movie of all time, Slap Shot, haven’t you?).

To quote Frank Valli and the Four Seasons, “Oh what a night…..” Vince Vaughn on the glass, Jeremy Roenick all choked up and misty eyed, Duncan Keith toothless, Patrick Kane with the game winning goal; Chicago Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup!!! Finally Eric Fergusson can shave his beard and Kathy Hart can shave her armpits (of Chicago’s WTMX Eric & Kathy fame). The only thing better would have been to win it at home.

17,951 days have passed since the Hawks have won the Stanley Cup, and there are so many people to thank; Joel Quenneville for his fabulous coaching, Niemi and his mad goalie skills, Big Buff’s big hits, Olympians Seabrook, Keith, Kane and Toews, and Marian Hossa’s showing at the Stanley Cup Finals, on three teams, in the past three years (I guess the third time’s the charm!). What could be more exciting than seeing the 22 year old, team captain, Jonathon Toews winning the Play-off MVP!?!

In keeping with hockey’s greatest tradition, each player is allowed 24 hours with the Stanley Cup, to do with whatever they see fit. As the More is More Mom®, if I had 24 hours with the Cup, I would fill it to the rim with Pino Grigio and we would visit every TJ Maxx and More in the tri-state area. As a hockey fan, a hockey mom and a native Chicagoan I couldn’t be prouder and happier for our Chicago Blackhawks!


Please click on the link below, and view my audition for “Your Own Show” on the OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network).  Vote early and often…that’s the Chicago way!

Vanessa’s Audition: Vanessa – The More Is More Mom – OWN TV http://myown.oprah.com/audition/index.html?request=video_details&response_id=5227&promo_id=1

Thank you for your support!! I truly appreciate your help and friendship!

Leave a comment

Filed under More is More Mom