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Friday, January 27, 2012

A Promise Kept

Recently a friend of mine sent me this book about a couple's journey with Alzheimer. This book is beautifully and gently written by the husband whose wife was diagnosed with Alzheimer and their journey with it for the ten to fifteen years that she lived with it. Of course it reminded me of my mother and my father and I see so much of my dad in this book. I see the love he has for my mother and how he takes care of her daily and provides only the best. One of my favorite parts from this book is when the husband said he "gets" to take care of his wife. Here is the context which is so beautiful to me written from the husband's point of view:
"The decision was made, in a way, 42 years ago when I promised to care for Muriel "in sickness and in health...till death do us part." So as I told the students and faculty, as a man of my word, integrity has something to do with it. But so does fairness. She has cared for me fully and sacrificially all these years; and if I cared for her for the next 40 years I would not be out of her debt. Duty, however, can be grim and stoic. But there is more: I love Muriel. She is a delight to me-her childlike dependence and confidence in me, her warm love, occasional flashes of wit I used to relish so, 
her happy spirit and tough resilience in the face of her continual distressing frustration. 
I don't have to take care of her. I get to! It is a high honor to care for so wonderful a person." 

These are the words I read over the past two days. I am not a reader because I don't seem to have time in my day to fit in a book. But this one, because so dear to my heart of an issue, I couldn't put down. My kids say this book makes mom cry and they would ask me are you crying every time they saw me reading it. I cry because I see my mother. I cry because I see my father so deeply caring for this wonderful person and I cry hoping one day that it's not me who needs all this care by my loved ones and my body deteriorating, unable to do everything I love doing. Thank you Nicole for this reading and thank you dad for loving mom more deeply everyday. I pray for more love and more strength as you get to take care of her. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Colorado Cache Cookbook


One of my dearest friends, who shall remain nameless because she does not like blogging her information, let me borrow her "bible" as she calls it, her favorite cook book that she lives by! So I did some page thumbing and really enjoyed it all! So I thought I would share some tips I found helpful and a fabulous corn bread recipe called Johnny Cake (Don't know why I liked this one so much!).

Hints from Golden:

  • Always Stir Rice with a fork, or toss it with 2 forks. Using a spoon bruises the grains and makes them sticky.
  • Rice will be fluffier and drier if a slice of dry bread is put on top of it after cooking and draining.
  • To keep noodles from boiling over add 1 tablespoon butter to the cooking water.
  • For fluffier mashed potatoes add a pinch of baking soda along with the milk and butter.
  • Soak raw potatoes in cold water at least 30 minutes before frying to improve crispiness.
  • Too keep cooked rice warm, place rice colander over simmering water and cover with cloth or paper towels.
  • Add a little white wine, Marsala or sherry to uncooked rice that has been stirred into some melted butter in the saucepan. Add regular amount of liquid and cook for a superb tasting rice.
  • To make lighter muffins, place greased pans into the oven for a few minutes before adding batter.
Johnnycake
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 tablespoon vinegar (or lemon juice)
1 cup minus 1 tablespoon, milk
1 1/2 cups cornmeal
3/4 cup flour, unsifted
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

8 Servings
Melt butter and set aside. Pour vinegar into measuring cup, add milk and set aside. In a large mixing bowl combine conrmeal, flour, sugar, and salt. Make a well in the center and pour in eggs and butter. Add soda to milk, stir and add to mixture bowl. Mix well. Pour into greased pan or muffin tins. Bake at 375 degrees about 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Note: This is the best when served warm. Excellent when served with butter and maple syrup.

Enjoy!




Tuesday, January 24, 2012

I Amaze Myself


(Don't be fooled by the headline...I'm not saying I am amazing...it's something every mother should say to herself every night as she ends her day...because I think you are all amazing creatures!) With that said...

Every night I hit the pillow and wonder to myself, wow, I really did all that? And I wonder how many mothers out there think the same thing at night when the house is all silent, slightly picked up or immaculately picked up and you actually can think. I've always thought about all the "mothers" around the world and how they "do" their lives. We really were created to do great things. I listen to my friends often as they talk about their days of pick-ups and drop-offs, sick children and vomit all over the place, play dates and birthdays, and family gatherings, and work, and dinners and lunches, sports, music, tutoring...the list goes on. It's just amazing what one body can do. And yet through this all we manage, we survive, and we smile. I could sit here and share my day and have you all amazed, but you all do the same thing. This thing called life, we do it. We wake up unwillingly every day to do the same thing. Get ready, get the kids ready, practice sight words on the way to school, drop off with a smile and coats and lunches and back packs, drop off at day cares, check in to work, go to play dates, lunches with friends, doctor appointments, gym, clean house, do laundry, make dinner, pick up, dance, sports, gymnastics, etc. then home again to dinner, homework, baths, teeth, clean up kitchen, make lunches for tomorrow...I'm exhausted...all this to say to each and every mom out there...You Amaze me...and I hope you Amaze Yourself! Good night...till tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Paradise

I often wonder sometimes when in the trenches of life how many times I miss the moment; where I get carried away in trying to keep a neat house, clean children, straight A's (which we don't have), laundry completely folded and put away by Sunday night, homework done, lunches packed, dance class here, gym class there, basketball over there, prepare dinner (a healthy one), monitor sugar intake, make it on time-and the moment is gone. A moment when my children show me what life is really all about. The moment captured in the picture above is really enjoyed now as I sit down in the midst of my messy kitchen counters and piles of mail to be filed, I look at these little people and their faces and how they are captured perfectly. Their innocence is beaming through their faces and their posing in this picture. It just takes me to paradise. Their fighting, their grumpiness, their lack of listening is all gone when I look at this picture. Their true personality, raw for all to see is right here in front of me and it just makes me pause and reflect on the paradise God has given me here on earth. That song by Cold Play begins with the words "There she was just a girl,  she expected the world," I was that girl and I expected the world. This is my world, more than I could of ever expected. I don't have to close my eyes because it's in my face 24/7 and one day they will have their own lives and I will be wishing for this time again. So I know we are reminded often that this time will fly by, and I always say I feel like time is standing still, I'm still here! But I am still here and trying to breath it all in, holding on to it very tight. I know my mom had these moments and held on to them very closely and her mind betrayed her and took all those moments. It crushes me inside to think about that as a mother to my own babies. Soak it all in, breath in your paradise. It will all be gone too quickly. 

Friday, January 6, 2012

Vassilopita


WOW! Where did 2011 go? I feel like we blinked and it happened...and what happened? I guess time really does fly. One of my most fondest memories is a tradition we did at our house on New Years Eve growing up. Every year, without a doubt, my dad would go and buy every piece of fresh seafood he could find from a local market and cook up a storm all day. We would eat fish on New Years Eve to ring in the year with our family and my mom would make this cake, called a Vassilopita, with a quarter inside for good luck. (January 1st is the name day of Aghios Vassilis, the Greek Santa Claus, so the cake is named in his honor. The head of the household would cut the cake and then pass one out to himself first, wife second, then the children, sons first, then daughters, then any guests). So was the tradition held up in the Dictos family household. So after we ate all our fish, and we HAD to or no cake, mom would bring it out and dad would slice it up. Now this cake wasn't fancy nor was it pretty, but it was sure tasty! No magic sprinkles on top or frosting in any color, just a sprinkle of powdered sugar topped it off. She would give each of us a slice and I remember sitting in anticipation of who would get that quarter. We all would lick our lips and sit up right, and try hard to get that fishy after taste out of our mouths!!! Now you see whoever was the receiver of that quarter would have good luck all year. That's it! It wasn't a toy, or lots of money, just a quarter that meant Good luck, that's it! But oh the excitement we would get if we were the lucky one! My mom made it so special...that's what I miss the most I think. The way she would make simple things so magical. So as we enter the new year this is one of the things I am going to work on...making the simple things oh so special. I want my kids to cherish the simple things and remember them as amazing! Thanks mom and dad for providing these memories for me...love you more!
My dad doing the honors and cutting the cake and my mom so smitten...I miss the joy in her eyes.
Here is a link to a recipe I found online.