Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Create yourself

Inspiration can come from many things. But a dish towel? 

Yes, a dish towel. This adorable dish really spoke to me. 

I once had a bustling career with hopes and dreams of what I could achieve.  Then motherhood hit me, and I gave it all up to spend every waking minute with this miracle that is my child. As time went by, I began  to wonder, what the heck happened to me? I used to have dreams and goals for myself; a career that gave me purpose. Now I'm just living for everyone else.

I recently heard someone say, "Let your children see you have a passion for something. Be a mom first, but don't lose who you are." OK, wow.

For a while now, I've been thinking I may have lost myself and my passion. Then I see this cute dish towel, and it reminded me I haven't lost myself, I just haven't created a new me.

So, who do I want to be?
First, I want to be a mom.  The best mom I know how to be.  As I see it, a wonderful opportunity is given to each of us who are raising children.  Yes, it's hard.  Mentally draining at times, but what job isn't? I'm sure there are other noble professions out there that sometimes make you feel as if you're slowly being pecked to death by a chicken. But how many jobs let you play an integral part in raising good and kind human beings? 

Second, I want to make a difference in the world. The founder of Cookies for Kids' Cancer quoted Gandhi when she said, "We must be the change we wish to see in the world." Her son was diagnosed with cancer. She created an organization to help change the future of pediatric cancer research. But it doesn't take ginormous efforts, even the smallest things can bring about change. So with this in mind I will continue to give where there are needs. Raising money for pediatric cancer research. Check. Helping out at the local food bank or nursing home? Check. Trying to inspire others to give back as well? Check. 

Last, I want to turn my creative passion into something worthwhile. Have my own restaurant? Maybe. Open a yarn shop? Hmmm... Become a writer?  All these things are passions of mine, so I'll be searching until I find what I'm looking for. But in the meantime, I'm showing my son I have a passion for something. It took time for me to figure this out, but while I was busy being a Mom, I have created exactly who I want to be.

Sunday, June 13, 2010


FLASHBACK: It's the last week of school. Your schedule is packed. So much to do, so little time. It's kind of out of control, but you keep your eyes focused on what's ahead. Summertime...

Summer always arrives in the nick of time. Just as you are about to run out of gas, life refuels you with summer. Schedule-wise, things aren't much different: obligations don't disappear in the summer air, and in an effort to keeps our kids from driving us crazy getting too bored, we fill their days with camps, sports, swim lessons and play dates. But there's something about summer that breathes a sigh of relief and brings respite from the monotony and fast pace of the school year. 

At our house, summer means hot days and lots of dips in the pool. In the evening, it's warm enough to eat dinner outside and linger until it gets dark and the air fills with the scent of jasmine and honeysuckle. We spend more than just a weekend at the beach. All the hard work we've been pouring into our garden begins to pay off. And my kitchen gets a little break as the grill takes over.

Summer food. Oh so good, and one of my favorite signs that summer is here. Last night's dinner was amazing. Fresh swordfish, grilled on alder wood planks and topped with a mustard sauce that left us at a loss for words. A bowl of vine ripened tomatoes, tossed with a bit of balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil, sea salt, pepper, and lots of fresh basil.  And since we had just picked about 5 pounds of peaches, peach lavender cobbler for dessert.  

What do you love about summer?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Chef in the making

If you've spent any time at all reading my blog, you know I love to cook. For me, good food can take you out of yourself and transport you to a different place. Cooking is in my bones, and probably in my DNA.  My dad is an incredible cook--a natural; I never saw him use a recipe, but grew up watching him concoct delicious meals that looked as good as they tasted. My comfort food memories are gifts from my Mom. Warm pudding, mashed potatoes, and the best lasagna, turkey soup and apple pie I've ever had. 

I guess it goes without saying that I want my son to experience all the joys of cooking I have come to love. I want him to be shaped, in part, by a passion for good food; to have taste memories that take him back to a certain time and place.

Earlier this spring, I discovered a friend was opening a cooking school for kids. Just a hop, skip, and a jump from our house. I was giddy, to say the least. It wasn't even a question I would sign my son up. To my delight, he was very excited about his summer "cooking camps." Today was his first class, and in his small eyes it was a huge success. He loved everything about it. So did I. The Boerne Cooking Cottage is set in a quaint old house, immaculately restored and designed with the young cook in mind.

"Chef Lauren," as the kids call her, is a treasure. She has amazing teaching skills and patience, plus a dash of fun, which provides for an awesome kid-friendly cooking experience.  My little chef hasn't stopped talking about his "beautiful and delicious banana pudding" all night. We are LOVING this cooking school and can't wait for the next class. If you're local, please stop by and visit The Cooking Cottage. Sign your children up. You won't regret it. The gifts they'll gain will last a lifetime.