Tired of Pumpkin Pie?

Apple and pumpkin pie

My favorite Food Network chef is Ina Garten better known as Barefoot Contessa. Ina’s meals are not always low-calorie, but you can believe they’re definitely worth tasting. In the following video, Ina prepares a Pumpkin Banana Mousse Tart – this is an alternative to the traditional pumpkin pie for the upcoming Thanksgiving Holiday.

Barefoot Contessa – Courtesy of the Food Network Channel

Pumpkin Banana Mousse Tart
Total Time: 3 hours 20 min
Prep: 30 minutes
Inactive: 2 hours 30 min
Cook: 20 minutes
Yield: 10 servings

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Run Out of Birthday Gift Ideas for Your Spouse?

Birthday Gift Ideas

Today is my wonderful husband’s birthday.  We have been married for ten beautiful years. Anyone who’s been married that long – knows that marriage takes work.  We don’t always agree on everything; but we do agree that we will at times disagree.   I have a short list of gift ideas below:

Watch – but he never pays attention to time, because he’s always running late.  I always said, “You’ll be late to your own funeral”. Time is of no essence.

Tool set – never uses tools, he’s too busy working and would rather call a repair man to make necessary home repairs.

Cologne – I’ve purchased for him the likes of Cartier’s “Declaration” and Gucci’s “Guilty Intense”, but he rarely remembers to spray them on, so the pretty cologne bottles just sit there.  If I were not a woman, I would spray some on every now and then.  They smell really good.  No kidding.

Since I don’t think he’ll do anything with the gifts listed above, I’ve decided to surprise him with a wonderful dinner at his favorite restaurant.  Lone Star Steakhouse, yes this is where he truly feels like he’s king.  Men + meat + potatoes + beer = Great combo and definitely puts a smile on his face.  Lone Star it is!

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Are Your Kids Driving You to Drink?

I have never been much of a drinker. However, at weddings and parties I may sample the house wine and sip one or two glasses, but that’s it. But, have you ever attended a party or an event and watched the ladies drink like they were sailors? I have – actually I was just at an event recently where the woman sitting next to me drank until she was completely inebriated and couldn’t even drive herself home. I listened to her as she belted down each drink and she was extremely upset with her daughter. Her daughter had recently “unfriended” her on Facebook. This apparently didn’t go over to well with the woman sitting next to me, by the name of Sandra.

Sandra was really pissed off at her daughter for no longer wanting to be her “friend” on Facebook and no longer speaking with her. Sandra said, “It’s been three weeks since that Bitch has called me. Three long weeks and I will not call her until she picks up the phone and apologizes to me!” So, I asked, “Why should she apologize to you?” Sandra said, “…because I carried that little witch for nine months and all because I said one mean thing about her boyfriend, she stops talking to me? I can’t believe this crap.” So, I said, “Why don’t you give her time to cool off and wait until you hear from her? She will eventually come around.” By this time, Sandra was so drunk that she started repeating the “B” word over and over. I told her, “It doesn’t make any sense to stay angry at your daughter. You are giving her boyfriend exactly what he wants. If your daughter is aware that you have issues with her current boyfriend, then voice those issues – but NOT on Facebook. You need to tell her privately how you feel. Give her a chance to digest your feelings and understand your point of view. But don’t ever call your daughter out on Facebook. That was a bad move.

I think as drunk as the lady was, she heard me loud and clear, but a friend of hers ushered her outside and drove her home. So, I am hoping she deletes the nasty Facebook messages and talks one-on-one with her daughter. Give your kids the same respect you’d like them to give back to you. It’s embarrassing to have your mother post something nasty about your boyfriend on Facebook. I think that’s what ticked her daughter off. But, there is always a “cooling off period” and after that blows over her daughter will call her and hopefully they can talk like adults, without using Facebook to get their message across.

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Studies Show Women Talk Three Times More Than Men

Women talk an average of 7,000 words per day more than men. Do you sometimes wonder why your husband or boyfriend is always quiet? Your lips are constantly moving, while he just sits there and pretends to listen. In “The Female Mind”, a book by Dr. Luan Brizendine she says women devote more brain cells to talking than men. Women also talk faster than men.

Dr. Brizendine, runs a female “mood and hormone” clinic in San Francisco.

I wonder if that means that women are smarter than men?

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What’s Your Take on the Peanut Butter and Jelly Debate?

When I was a kid growing up in Los Angeles, other than visiting the beautiful beaches of Santa Monica on the weekend with my parents, the only other thing that put a gigantic smile on my face was a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. One-half peanut butter and the other half Welch’s grape jelly – delicious. The peanut butter would stick to the roof of my mouth and the jelly was sweet. I’d have a glass of cold water nearby so that I could chew and sip interchangeably. Oh those were the days. So, why on earth would a school impose a six-year ban on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches? Well, the answer is not a simple one. It will leave you wondering both why and why not – but you may end your tune with why?

A student in Arkansas was just about to open wide and take a big bite out of his peanut butter and jelly sandwich when his teacher swooped in and grabbed the sandwich right out of his hand. The teacher was honoring the current ban on PB&J sandwiches which the school had in effect for six long, agonizing years. The teacher took immediate possession of the sandwich and assisted the student in getting a new lunch. She then wrote a short note to the kid’s parents explaining why she confiscated the sandwich and replaced the child’s lunch with something that was more acceptable. She sent the infamous note home with the student.

After reading the note, the child’s mother, Denise Clifton-Jones went ballistic. Clifton-Jones took to her Facebook page to discuss the peanut butter ban that was imposed by the school and strictly enforced by the teachers and that’s when things got heated. Everyone all over the world chimed in about why they were for the ban and why they were against it. Seemed each side had very valid arguments. However, I think the side I would concur with would be the side that supported the ban on peanuts. Before, you get all huffy and puffy, let me explain why.

According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, about 2 to 2.5 percent of Americans suffer from food allergies, including allergies to peanuts and peanut products, such as peanut butter. Allergies to peanuts and peanut products are extremely common and often manifest during a child’s first years. While some people eventually outgrow food allergies, most never outgrow peanut allergies. This can be a dangerous allergy, in addition to fish and shellfish, peanuts (and tree nuts) are most likely to trigger anaphylaxis, a serious reaction.

Anaphylaxis is a serious allergic reaction that is a rapid onset and may cause death. As a parent, if I am aware of the fact that other children, who attend the same school as my child (ren), may suffer a life-threatening illness or reaction to peanut butter, then I would certainly agree with enforcing the ban. Remember, we are talking about children and their exposure to a life-threatening allergic reaction that could result in death. Worldwide 0.05–2% of people are estimated to have anaphylaxis at some point in their life and rates appear to be increasing.

Fact, children have actually lost their lives while in school, due to peanut exposure. It’s all about protecting our children and if that means adhering to a ban on peanuts so that ALL children can be protected, then I support it.

On the other hand, why should we impose a ban on ninety eight percent of the population, by making other children suffer (by preventing them from being able to enjoy something few considered harmful many years ago?) It’s two percent of kids, versus ninety eight percent of kids – that’s a no-brainer, majority wins. However, not in the case of this particular school in Arkansas; whom although the minority, were the victor. We should do everything we can to protect ALL children. If one child is at risk, then I absolutely support NUT-FREE ZONES in our schools. No pun intended.

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Blended Families

Many of you out there have blended families and sometimes it’s difficult to show favor to all of the kids, particularly when the child is not your biological offspring.  Many of you have gone through the baby-mama drama with your boyfriend’s, husband’s or fiance’s ex and it’s caused major turmoil in your relationship.  But, how can we not show too much favor to our biological children, which sometimes makes our stepchildren feeling left out or not as important as our own?  Well, this is not an easy situation.

After I was married several years ago, I wanted to be a stepmother to my husband’s three beautiful children.  But, his ex-wife was not having it.  She made it impossible for my husband to have visitation with his children and when we tried to ask her for monthly visits, we got the door slammed in our face.  So, it’s been hard for me to develop a relationship with my stepchildren.  I would like to treat them like my own blood, but how can I when their biological mother is insecure about my relationship with her children?

I never thought blending my family with my husband’s would be so difficult.  But, it has been an uphill battle since we said, “I Do”. His ex-wife set his kids against him, they rejected his telephone calls, said they wanted nothing to do with their father; all because he’d moved on and remarried.  His ex-wife’s anger took over and she made it impossible for us to grow closer to his biological children.

Now, several years later I wonder if it will ever happen?  If I will ever have a close relationship with my stepchildren.  I long for a special relationship with them.  I really do.  But, it looks bleak for me and possibly for some of you.  But, I would like to hear your comments.  Please post them here and let me know if you were able to have some sort of relationship with your stepchildren.  Did the ex-wife, ex-girlfriend or ex-fiance ever put her feelings aside and put those feelings of the children to the forefront? Tough question.  I am curious.

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Where Helicoptermoms Unite

Helicopter moms care so deeply for their children, that in the midst of their hovering they sometimes cause more pain than happiness in the lives of their children.  I know, because I am a helicopter mom and I have a seventeen year old son, whom I love dearly.  But, sometimes I have a difficult time letting go and allowing him to grow up and become an independent, young man.  As mothers we want our children to become productive contributors of society.  We would like to see them succeed and of course, we don’t want them to endure the growing pains that we ourselves have endured in the process of maturing and becoming adults.  We’ve made mistakes and learned some very harsh lessons from what I call the errs of life.

We want to protect our children, by completely shielding them from the misery and suffering that ultimately fosters growth. I am hoping that as a mother who is currently experiencing this phenomenon known to many as over-parenting, that I can tell my story and help other mothers voice their personal struggles and experiences as self-confessed helicopter moms.  Through this forum, we can come together and help one another.  I have been a helicopter mom since the birth of my son almost 18 years ago.  I started law school and didn’t finish because I feel the need to hover over my son to ensure he does not have so many problems I see teenage boys his age experiencing.  So many parts of my life have been placed “on hold”, because of my need and desire to control all aspects of my son’s life.

However, I want to stop trying to control his life and relinquish the reins to him, because he will be 18 in February of next year and if I don’t stop now, I am afraid I will do more harm than good.  I’ve watched many helicopter moms on talk shows like Dr. Phil, Anderson, Oprah and Good Morning America.  I don’t want to be one of those helicopter moms that ruins the relationship with my son and his future family.  Therefore, I need and want help and I’m hoping that by opening up this platform I can help other mothers who suffer from the “helicopter mom” disease.

We’ve gotta cut the umbilical cord and allow our children to grow up.  Yes, it may be difficult at times but we must learn to trust their decisions and trust they’ve learned the valuable lessons we’ve taught them.  If we don’t get help now, unfortunately our actions will have a profoundly negative impact on the lives of our children.  The children we love so dearly.

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You are Not the Boss of Me

One day I woke up and realized that my entire life was centered around my son. I found myself focused on him from the time I woke up until the time I went to bed. So, I began to research this “phenomenon”, that many around the world call “helicopter parenting” and that is when I discovered that I may have a serious problem. The term “helicopter parent” was originally coined by Foster W. Cline, M.D. and Jim Fay, in their 1990 book entitled, “Parenting with Love and Logic: Teaching Children Responsibility”. According to Cline and Fay, like helicopters, mothers hover closely to their children, never being too far away or out of reach (whether the child needs them or not).

It’s like having a boss who “micro-manages” his employee. Nobody likes to be micro-managed and if you work for someone who monitors every aspect of the business process and pays extremely close attention to every single detail – then guess what, you’d quit!The one common thread that helicopter parents and micro-managers have in common is CONTROL. The definition of control is “the power to influence or direct people’s behavior or the course of events.” Well guess what, this describes me to a “T”. My problem is that I always want be in CONTROL. However, as mothers unfortunately we cannot control our children. We must teach them right from wrong and pray that the values we have instilled in them as parents over the years, becomes apparent in the decisions they make throughout their lifetime.At what point do I let go and allow my son to become a self-sufficient, contributing member of society? I keep asking myself this question and it continues to be an uphill battle for me, because I keep wanting to protect my son from life. I say this because I want to protect Arthur from any and all disappointment, hurt, suffering – anything that will cause him pain or grief. Why, because I only want the best for my son. I want to see him happy.

I don’t think there are very many moms who want to see their kids sad.The only problem with this way of thinking, is that my son will not always be happy. In order for Arthur to grow, he must unfortunately experience disappointment, pain and suffering. Arthur will not truly experience life and grow as a young man, unless and until he experiences life. Life comes with the good, bad and the ugly. Being a helicopter mom for the past 17-years, it’s been difficult for me to allow my son to make mistakes, learn and grow from those mistakes. I keep wanting to be there to prevent the mistakes from occurring. Sometimes, I wish I had a remote control device that could literally control all of his actions and emotions. This way I could ensure that Arthur made all the right decisions and avoided any and all mistakes.Biology is the study of life and scientists have had a very difficult time defining life because life is a process. It took me over 18 years to realize that life is a process. And through that process, one must experience growth. The definition of growth is “development from a lower or simpler to a higher or more complex form; evolution”. Growth involves experiencing all that life has to offer in an uninhibited world.

However, as a helicopter mom, my son has been experiencing life in a very controlled environment. This unfortunately, will do nothing but prevent his personal growth. My behavior has not been beneficial to my son. Yes, I have protected him and shielded him from the world, but I have indeed stunted his growth. My son has even told me things like, “Mom, please stop treating me like a 5-year old”, or “Mom, I am almost 18, I can walk to the store by myself”.

So, since my son is realizing that I am an over-bearing, helicopter mom, why is it so hard for me to stop? That is the question that I must find the answer to. Let’s explore this phenomenon and let’s try to find the answers to the questions, that many moms like myself need answered.

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The Watch

All I can say is “The Watch”, you gotta go see this movies.  I am still in stitches.  Loved it.  Hilarious.

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Family Time is Important

One day each week my son and I take time to either go see a movie or just visit with family and friends.  He is currently enrolled in Summer school in order to recapture lost credits and once he completes these Summer school courses, he will be on track to graduate high school next year.  I am so excited but at the same time saddened.  Because he is growing up so fast and I will miss him when he goes to college.  I am so used to seeing him everyday and talking about his friends and school activities that when he goes to live in the dormitory next year, I will truly miss him.

Since tonight is a school night, he and I are planning to attend the movies this Friday.  Not sure what he would like to see, but just will enjoy his company.  Mommy and son time, it’s precious!

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