If I talked to you on the phone tonight, here’s what i’d tell ya!

Ok, don’t you just love blogging- I feel like I’m just yacking it up with my friends but I don’t have to repeat the story! BTW, if you are not interested in hearing from me via the blog, please email me and I will remove you from the email list. If you enjoy it, or know someone else who would, please forward them a link- and you can subscribe yourself by hitting the subscribe me button on the sidebar.

So WordPress sent me a nice recap of my blog from last year, thought I’d share

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 2,900 times in 2010. That’s about 7 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 25 new posts, not bad for the first year! There were 396 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 1gb. That’s about a picture per day.

The busiest day of the year was September 11th with 146 views. The most popular post that day was I guess we’ll have to talk about it. 9/11 that is..

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were facebook.com, mail.yahoo.com, mail.aol.com, webmail.aol.com, and mail.live.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for gladiolus marching band roxbury ny 1950, howie taphouse, lucy crifasi wtc, sigrid wiswe, and debratap@world.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


I guess we’ll have to talk about it. 9/11 that is. September 2010


Happy birthday Ed, Rob, Robert, Bob, Sticky Taphouse! September 2010


What do you say to taking chances? May 2010


Arrivederci to Mrs. Mary Pagnotta September 2010


What’s a Guatfest and how did I end up at one? October 2010

SO – what I really wanted to tell you about was an easy, healthy recipe I got from Andrew Weil, tried it out tonight with Carlitos, and he rated it the best dinner EVER!

Stuffed Potatoes – Dr. Weil’s Healthy Kitchen.

So it’s basically baked stuffed potatoes with broccoli mixed in. Of course I altered his recipe slightly, replacing the olive oil and grated cheese with sour cream (it’s my favorite) but really, 3 potatoes and 2 stalks of broccoli makes 6 servings, and they were really excellent!

I’ve gotten a little wacko with the couponing research, went to Walgreens twice already- hey they are GIVING the stuff away!

Remind me to tell you about acupuncture soon, I’m hoping my acupuncturist will start her own blog already so I can link to her.

Thanks for listening!


Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Crazy coupon people?

Hey, have you heard about these crazy coupon people? Who can got to the supermarket and walk out with a cart load of stuff for 2 dollars? Of course it’s 47 bottles of A1 sauce on the buy one get one and they got up at 4am to scour the neighborhood recycle bins on garbage day for coupons for each and every one of them, but hey, they have enough for the church BBQ!

I don’t know, in this economy, people are trying things they wouldn’t normally, and I am a bit of a freak of number crunching, so I thought I would try it. Plus I enjoy the thrill of a bargain hunt. When I went to the Guatfest in October I got a business card for two Moms who have adopted kids from Guatemala that run a website called Stockpiling Moms. Check them out here:  http://www.stockpilingmoms.com/

They have a Stockpiling 101 section where you can get some information on how it works and the lingo. Apparantly you have to get the coupons each week, but don’t cut them up and take just the ones you like, you keep them in a folder, and when the items come up on a BOGO (buy one get one) or at a great sale price, you combine that with the coupon, and get a super deal. They alert you via email on the good deals each week. There are coupon clipping services where you can buy coupons, and all sorts of places to print them out. Of course in the beginning I think it takes a little longer to get the hang of it, plus sometimes they’re referencing coupons that I didn’t save because I hadn’t started.  I also found another website called Iheartpublix.com, since the ladies from the other website are in another state and don’t match up to the same stores.

So I went to Publix on Sunday, and here’s what I got:

  • 4 (large size) boxes of Honey nut cheerios (Carlitos’ favorite) on the BOGO, and I had $1 off 3, plus a $.55 off 1 – so at $4.99 per box, I paid $8.45 for 4 boxes.
  • 2 boxes Barilla plus pasta BOGO at $2.19
  • 4 Boxes Poptarts (which I would never usually buy, ok, here’s the slippery slope, I swear we are going to save them for snacks) BOGO plus a coupon $1 off 3.  So net $.95 per box.
  • 2 Quaker Oatmeal on BOGO plus 2 $1 coupons- net paid $.42 a box!
  • 2 6 packs of Motts single serve applesauce, BOGO
  • 2 Yakisoba teriyaki noodle dishes (BOGO at $.79, with a $.50 off – net $.15 per box!
  • Plus:
  • 1 gallon of milk
  • 1 savoy cabbage
  • bananas
  • 4 boneless pork chops
  • 1 roast beef
  • sour cream
  • and a $3 package of finger lights to entertain my assistant. He was good.

I had a coupon for $5 off your $50 purchase from Albertsons, which is accepted at my Publix, they are considered a competitor. So all of that for a grand total of $40.38.

At the bottom it tells you your savings, which was $37.28, so I saved 48%! Wow!

Yesterday I went to CVS and Wags (oh, don’t you know, that’s what we call Walgreens, we stockpilers, hehe). That is slightly more complicated, I’ll tell you about it another time.

All in all, it was fun. I can see myself getting a little compulsive, in search of just one more coupon, but it definitely suits my number-crunching, bargain hunting self. I don’t know if it fits with my goal of decluttering and simplifying things here, I guess I’ll just try not to get carried away. And I’ll have to work on a deal on paper and ink if I’m going to have to start printing out a whole lot of coupons now 🙂

What do you think? Anyone out there super-couponing?

Posted in Fun stuff, Stockpiling, What's for Dinner? | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

I love the New Year!

New Years is one of my favorite holidays! Not for the party so much anymore, more that I love getting rid of all that Christmas stuff, and clearing things out, decluttering and having a cleaner outlook for a fresh beginning. For the past couple of years I’ve spent New Year’s day with my friend Laura, looking at the previous year’s accomplishments, and making plans for the future as well- making vision boards and thinking about the direction I want my life to go in. I also love when it falls on a weekend so you have chance to get things set up, and Monday the WHOLE NEW LIFE begins! ( I say this every year, don’t get too excited)

I got an email with an idea from my Lifecoach friend Christine Kane- she suggests picking a Word of the year to be your theme instead of a list of things you want to do. She’s got a worksheet with some questions you can answer for yourself, here’s the link if you want to check it out:  http://christinekane.com/blog/resolution-revolution-a-better-way-to-start-your-year/.

I thought I’d give that a try this year, but I have to say it was tough to pick a word. I went through many before I came up with my theme for 2011 –  Embrace



to take or clasp in the arms; press to the bosom; hug.

to take or receive gladly or eagerly; accept willingly: to embrace an idea.

to avail oneself of: to embrace an opportunity.

to adopt (a profession, a religion, etc.): to embrace Buddhism.

to take in with the eye or the mind.

to encircle; surround; enclose.

to include or contain: An encyclopedia embraces a great number of subjects.
–verb (used without object)


to join in an embrace.


an act or instance of embracing. 2. adopt, espouse, welcome. 3. seize. 7. comprise, cover, embody.

So to me it means being open to and accepting things, people, situations, and not only being open to the way they are but embracing them. And embracing myself- who I am, what I love, and stepping out and trying things that I have learned and say I think would be great. Putting ideas into practice- embracing the life I want to lead. Embracing my son’s current love of stuffed animals and the nightly routing of lugging them all upstairs to bed and back down again in the morning.

And so for example, I am always talking about how I’d like to get on an earlier schedule. Lately we go upstairs at 8:30p (ok, sometimes 9pm) and by the time Carlitos is done with bath, teeth, pjs and books, he’s not asleep till 10pm. And then I end up staying awake till 1 am or so, straightening up, watching a tv show or two, and checking Facebook and email. And then we get up at 8:30am.

So the new plan is shifting things at least an hour earlier for him, and me staying upstairs, catching ONE show and going straight to bed. Then in the morning I get an hour or two before he’s up.  The hard part is trying to not let what I feel like get in the way of what I want. Every night I feel like vegging in front of the tv or computer. What I want is to get up earlier so I can do some writing, reading, Flylady routines and be ready for the day when Carlitos gets out of bed.

For the last couple of years I’ve been thinking about going to concerts- not the major superstar/rock band concerts with drinking and dancing in the aisles I’ve gone to in the past, more single vocalist or orchestra concerts, where you sit back with your eyes closed and enjoy the music. So when we went to the aquarium last over the holidays the Sarasota Orchestra played a free holiday concert, and I really enjoyed it. I might have enjoyed it more if I didn’t have Carlitos chattering next to me and fidgeting around. So this morning I bought tickets to go see the next show the Orchestra is doing called Espana- classical music in a Spanish theme with guitar, flute and vocal solos. And I called the babysitter I’ve been wanting to try for months- I’m pretty excited! 

And finally I want to get some reading done. I love to read, I got an e-reader for Christmas, but I am backed up about 50-100 books over the last 3-4 years. I buy them, but don’t make time to read them since you know who has arrived I guess.

So I am going to embrace the reading or give them to Goodwill and enjoy the idea of blessing someone else with them. Maybe I could try and read a book a week for the year? Hey, wait a minute, that sounds like a resolution. Ok, maybe 1 theme word and 1 resolution? Ha, ha, here we go.

Happy New Year Everyone!

Looking forward to embracing YOU when I see you in 2011!


Posted in Embrace, LifeCoach, Vision Board | Tagged , , , , , | 12 Comments

Happy 1-1-11 !

What happened? I meant to post alot over the holidays, our best Christmas ever, and it didn’t work out. Well, I was busy! Looking back, I was alot more organized than in years past, but still got overwhelmed in the end, oh well. How did I ever do this when I had a full time job?  For me, Christmas is about the whole month prior to the day, and once it gets here I’m ready to have a drive through dinner, take a nap and snap my fingers and hope the undecorating fairy arrives before I wake up.

I was a little over-ambitious, wanting to do the Advent calendar every day of the month with a special themed event and make alot of my Christmas gifts. It didn’t happen quite that way, but we had alot of fun! We did have Grinch night, a train ride with Santa, made a gingerbread house, baked cookies, watched many Christmas specials together and  nights driving around looking at lights. I hope your holidays were everything you wished for, and you took some time to enjoy and reflect. This time of year is when I really miss my friends and family that are out of state, but with Facebook, Kodak Gallery, the phone and blogging, it’s a whole new world of staying in touch that makes it so much easier to not be together physically.

We saw Santa so many times though, I wonder what Carlitos thinks of it. It hasn’t dawned on him yet to even ask about it.

I did some crafting this holiday- I made each of the kids a collage of themselves with their favorite characters, and some family memory treasure boxes. I got the idea for those from Family fun magazine last year and finally did something with it.

I bought unfinished wood treasure chests at the craft store, finished them and decorated them, and stuck in a poem and some “Santa surveys” for the kids to fill out every year- about themselves. They should be fun to look back on as they fill up over the years.

I think that was my theme for the holidays- making memories. There are so many things I remember from my past holidays- sitting on the ice cold vinyl in the back seat of the station wagon on the way home from Christmas Eve in Astoria, singing Christmas carols along with 101 WCBS FM, Mom’s swedish meatballs, sharing the bright red lipstick with my aunts and cousins, the thrill of excitement coming downstairs on Christmas morning to a wonderland of toys under the tree.  Well, I gotta get back to Candyland, play-doh and train sets. See you in the New Year!

What kind of treasured memories did you make this year?

Posted in Family, Friends, Fun stuff, Good Things, Living it up! | Tagged , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Mimma Turriziani’s cauliflower pasta- who’d a thunk it?

When I got married I spent a lot of time in Italy, staying with my in-laws. I learned a few things about Italian cooking while I was there. This was one of my mother-in-law’s recipes that I really enjoyed. Who would think to mix cauliflower and pasta together with tomato sauce? One of the secrets she gave me is the idea for tre gusti- three flavors. If you want to make a simple and delicious sauce, limit yourself to three key flavors. (This doesn’t include the tomatoes!) Carlitos was actually grunting and shouting while he ate this tonight- I served it with leftover frigadellas from last night, that’s another post entirely!


1 onion

1 head of cauliflower (sometimes I use brocciflower!)

1-2 tbsp olive oil

1 can crushed tomatoes

ditalini- or any small pasta

fresh basil , grated pecorino romano for garnish

I use the big frying pan for this. Chop the onion and start to saute in olive oil. Clean and chop the cauliflower into bite size pieces. Add to pan and let saute a couple of minutes. Add can of crushed tomatoes, and let cook for about 10 minutes covered, stirring occasionaly.

Usually at this point I remove about 1/2 of the sauce and put it in a tupperware to freeze for another time. This is best fresh, the pasta tends to suck up all of the sauce in the fridge and turn mushy. 1/2 the recipe here is enough for 4 people served with a salad or as a side dish to accompany meat. Then I sprinkle the pasta on top of what’s still in the pan (a little less than 1/2 a box) and add some water to cover, give it a stir,. and cook until pasta is al dente. Serve with a sprig or two of basil and some grated cheese, and your kids may be screaming for more too. My friend Kim calls it italian mac and cheese. Buon appetito!

Posted in What's for Dinner? | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

So when is it worth the standoff?

As you all know, I am the mother of an almost 4 year old boy. We are working on figuring out what works for us in the discipline department. Usually I use time outs, taking away priveleges or toys when Carlitos acts up, and I try to remember to praise and remind him that no matter what he does I always love him. It’s the action we’re focusing on, not the person. I am really working on controlling my temper and not screaming at him, which I am sad to say I should probably apologize now to the neighbors, because sometimes it is me making more noise than him.

Sometimes it astounds me what he takes to heart and really listens to me about. He told me the other day “you have to brush top and bottom, front and back or your teeth will rot and fall out and really hurt”.

So last night I was cleaning up from dinner and we were gearing up to watch the Grinch for our “2nd” day of Christmas advent calendar event, when things went a little haywire. Carlitos likes to walk through the kitchen and pull things off the counter as he goes to see what they are, what I am doing, etc. He is very curious- alot of times he tries to break things open to see what is inside, which drives me insane. Of course I remember trying to break open the etch-a-sketch on the basement floor myself, and my brother biting a hole in his Stretch Armstrong doll to see what was in there, so I guess he’s pretty normal.  

So he finishes his sweep of the counters and moves on to the pantry, and decides to take out a scoop of dog food. I tell him, “Carlitos, put the dog food back, it’s not to play with”, maybe 4-5 times. He ignores me with a little smirk, and drops 87 pieces of kibble on the floor. Ok, no big deal, I tell him to clean it up.


Well, Mommy is not even done cleaning up from dinner, and I am not cleaning it up. There will be no Grinch until it’s cleaned up. This turns into a monster brawl with things being thrown, people being carried to the time out corner, and me one by one taking the holiday stuffed animals (Carlito’s new favorite things since we pulled out the decorations) and putting them on top of the refrigerator where he can’t reach them. Each one is like a dagger to his heart, he stumbles around the kitchen screaming NO NO and calling me stupid.  3 year olds are like schizophrenics- “I want a hug, no no no, I don’t want a hug YOU ARE STUPID MOMMY, I need some help, not RUDOLPH, oh yeah, I am taking your STUPID DECORATIONS, I NEED A HUG, don’t touch me!”All the while screeching.

I finish cleaning the kitchen, I have left out the dustpan and the broom. I sit down in the living room, he wants to watch the Grinch. Not until the dog food is cleaned up.

I CAN’T DO IT!!! He’s rolling around under the Christmas tree, trying to knock things off by shaking it.

“Just get started and I will help you”.

I DON’T KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS, GET STARTED! I need a drink, I’m firsty.

Oh. Okay. Pick up a few, then I will help you. Eventually he goes and gets the dustpan, gets 15 of them in there, and I praise him and begin to release the hostages. Grinch first, then Rudolph, the rest of the reindeer, Herbie the Elf, and the alligator. It is amazing how long it can take a child to do something I could have completed in 60 seconds. Between the fight and the actual clean up, it is well over an hour.

When all is said and done, there is no time to watch the Grinch, I help him carry a dozen “friends” upstairs, it’s pajamas and read some books, and he passes out almost immediately.  

I talked to my cousin today, and she is laughing and laughing while I tell her this story- someday he will be in therapy talking about when I used to hold his animals hostage on top of the refrigerator. He made a point of telling the neighbors the other day that I took his blue turtle and put it in the garage.  

I hate those standoffs! Lately we have both had a cold and cough, it feels like it’s been happening more often. maybe we’re grumpy because of the cold? Maybe it’s a phase?  I don’t remember doing this when I was a kid, or how my parents may have handled it.

So tonight I am making popcorn and we are going to snuggle up and watch the Grinch together. I hope he stays out of mischief so we can! It’s tough to know if you’re doing the right thing. I really don’t want to prolong the fight and have us both miss out on enjoying each others company for the evening. Should I just have cleaned it up? Any suggestions?

Posted in Family, Friends, Parenting | Tagged , , | 10 Comments

Thanksgiving Traditions

I love family traditions- new ones, old ones, and it all starts this weekend. I grew up with a large extended family that got together every year for the holidays in New York. Thanksgiving Day was usually at our house- I remember my Mom setting out loaves of bread to get stale on top of the refrigerator for stuffing, and watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade while eating pumpkin bread for breakfast. Being told not to make a mess in the house that morning- it was all cleaned up and waiting for company. Back then I was the potato peeler- and let me tell you, that was alot of potatoes to peel!

Setting out bowls of nuts with a nutcracker, black olives and Mom’s famous onion dip with potato chips. Mom would send us out to find some nice fall leaves and pinecones for a centerpiece (or was that just to get us out of the house?) 

The wait for my cousins to arrive was endless- Grandma would always arrive first with her aluminum pots filled with creamed vegetables- creamed onions, creamed spinach and creamed carrots and peas. When she passed away I took a few of those pots, and last year I brought the creamed onions to my sisters house in it. I love that.

Me with Grandma's onion pot

Last to arrive would always be my cousins that were my age- I remember calling them to find out when they were coming, and they’d be waiting for Uncle Howie to take a bath. TAKE A BATH?! Come on already, it’s Thanksgiving!

Finally they’d all be there, and the fun would begin. The kids would all be down the basement, having pile ons, playing pinball. Our house was pretty cool, my Dad used to take me and my sister to auctions for old pinball machines and fix them. We had a regular arcade going in the basement. We older cousins would be hanging out in my room, listening to Marshall Tucker or Led Zeppelin music. Usually someone would get to stay and spend the weekend, which never included anything called black Friday. It usually meant going to the movies or roller skating, playing monopoly until late at night. One year my cousin Danny brought us all a stomach virus- one by one we went down with it over the long weekend. It was bad enough I still remember, yuck!

Things have change over the years, but some things remain constant. Now that we’ve moved to Florida, it’s a different crowd. I miss my cousins and we usually talk to them at some point on the phone. It’s still quite a crowd, I think my sister said 25 this year. Now half of them are relatives, and half friends. The more the merrier for the holidays! I bake pumpkin bread and we have it while we watch the parade. I’ve been in charge of pies for the last couple of years, and usually someone sleeps over the night before to help me bake.

I bought a bag of mixed nuts in the supermarket this year, but I don’t think I have a nutcracker. Oh well.

Last night while we were baking the apple pies I found a fossil of a baked potato way in the back of the oven- I had company for dinner last weekend, I must have had too much wine and didn’t count them when they came out. That’s a new one for the story collection of Thanksgiving past!

Last year's Thanksgivng table- seemed like a mile long!

Most importantly on Thanksgiving no matter who is there or not, there is an overall feeling of welcome and love in the air- the kids are enjoying themselves, running around in a gang, the grownups are all milling around, enjoying drinks and hors douvres, talking about what they brought, plans for the holidays, and the kids. I love being able to share these things with Carlitos, this being part of a family.

I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving, full of love, laughter, turkey, mashed potatoes, and whatever your family traditions are!

Posted in Family, Friends, Fun stuff, Good Things | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments