Tuesday, October 24, 2023

We didn’t know how good we had it.

Back in the day I relied heavily on my circle of blog friends to slog with me through the trenches of early motherhood. I maintain that I may not have actually survived the chaos of raising 3 boys, 3 and under, if it wasn’t for some of the most amazing women I’d ever meet, yet, unbelievably, never in real life. 

Try explaining that to your teenager while also telling them, that under no circumstance, are they allowed to chat on Discord with strangers. I think we’d say that’s the “pot calling the kettle black?” 

My boys would probably say, “that’s cap.”

My boys. Wow. How time flies. They’re 13, 11 and 9 now. It’s been a while since I’ve come back to this space. 

The days of sleepless nights swaying with a baby on a hip or crammed in a bed with two toddlers sprawled out between my husband and I are long gone. Nobody asks for a bedtime story or twelve, everyone can make their own lunches (and even a dinner or two) without assistance and I can actually leave all three of them home alone for hours at a time. 

If you’re wondering, why yes, that is precisely what freedom sounds like. The light at the end of the tunnel that so many of us yearned for in the early days of motherhood.

I’ve arrived.

But ask any mom of a teenager (or two) or one of us smack dab in “middle motherhood” and we would tell you without skipping a beat that we’d go back in time if we could. 

Because as much as I hate those, “just wait until” moms… just. wait. until. 

Mothering big(er) kids comes with bigger worries. Bigger problems. Bigger hurdles. The wins are huge! But so are the hurts. What’s worse is that these hurts can’t be soothed with a pack of fruit snacks and a paw patrol bandaid. Believe me, I’ve tried.

And oh the attitudes. Give me angsty toddler sass 18 hours a day, I’d roll around in it. Bathe in it, even. It’s the “I’m 13 and know better than you” that makes my head spin. And if I hear, “nah, bro! that’s cap” one more time? I’m going to scream. 

Not like anyone would hear me though. They’re too busy wearing AirPods all over the house. 

We didn’t know how good we had it. 

It’s the blows to their self confidence while you sit idly by and wish to absorb as much of their hurt as you can while your own heart is breaking in two- watching them steel themselves, pick themselves up off the proverbial ground and try, try again that, I think, stings the most. Letting them fail is one of the hardest lessons of all, even to learn as a mom, especially to teach as a mom.

Take me back to the long days spent pushing a double stroller around the park, packing more snacks and bribery treats than that weird middle aisle of Walgreens. The constant juggle of multiple schedules, dinners eaten in the car and on sidelines and in bleachers and email exchanges with my husband updating calendars while we sit side by side on the couch… all in an effort to raise well-rounded miniature adults…. is almost too much.

Is it too much to ask? 

Take me back to the Paper Crown Years. ❤️

Coming soon, friends. Coming soon.

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Saturday, July 27, 2019

More Cheese, Please! - Tillamook and #MeltyFest come to Baltimore!

This post is in partnership with Tillamook. All opinions expressed are my own.

If you follow along on Instagram, it's no secret that I recently had the chance to attend the menu takeover at The Food Market to celebrate Tillamook coming to Baltimore. It was my first time at The Food Market, much less the "secret" private dining room in the basement. 

Owner and head chef Chad Gauss treated us to an incredible menu full of smoky, savory, cheese-y goodness. In fact, my mouth is starting to water at the thought of the delicious meals he created. Not one to keep anything to myself, you too, will have the chance to sample these amazing meals THIS WEEK at The Food Market, Baltimore as well as try out some of Tillamook's world famous ice cream at several of the Baltimore Ceremony Coffee Roasters locations. Not sure where to find Tillamook? Click here to see where it's carried in your local grocer!

Back to the good stuff...

Chef Chad is a pretty cool guy. Super chill and down to earth, really appreciates hospitality and making people happy through food. It's no wonder he's so good at what he does. His plan for our intimate Tillamook dinner was to "make food to make the cheese pop rather than the other way around. It's almost a sin to manipulate Tillamook in a way, the cheese is just that good."

With my glass full of expertly paired Boordy Vineyard wines, I was more than ready to begin this extraordinary food journey. 

It all started with our own personal serving of Habanero Crab Dip. If you know anything about us Marylanders, you know we sure do love our crab. Prepared with Tillamook's Extra Sharp White Cheddar, this dish was the perfect balance of creamy and spicy. 

We then moved on to my absolute favorite course of the night, the Reuben Charred Salad. Growing up in New Jersey, the best place to get a Reuben is the local diner. There are so many emotions tied to this one simple sandwich for me. Eating at the diner with my Dad on Saturday mornings, bringing my Nanny there on special holidays and gathering there after every school mixer, formal and social event. 

Chef Chad's spin on this traditional staple was to die for. The charred cabbage lent a smoky element that complimented the melty swiss cheese and corned beef perfectly.

Oh but wait. Then came the scallops and if you know anything about me, you know that if there are scallops on the menu, I'm ordering them. These scallops arrived over a bed of the creamiest, savoriest risotto prepared with Tillamook white cheddar, tomato butter and charred zucchini. If I wasn't so sure I'd ruin the scallops on my own, this would most definitely be a dish that I try to recreate at home. 

Chef Chad's take on grilled cheese "steak" was nothing like I've ever had before. Wagu beef over a grilled slice of Tillamook Sharp Cheddar was simply amazing. Straight forward and with a side of vinegar shoe string fries, much of the table enjoyed this course the most. 

Whether it's savory or sweet that you desire, Baltimore's Melty Fest has something for everyone. You can find these meals at The Food Market or if it's ice cream you're after, Ceremony Coffee Roasters will be dishing out delicious nitro ice cream floats. Bring your girlfriends, bring your family, it's something everyone can enjoy!

Looking for a way to bring Tillamook cheese into your home? Here's Chef Chad's famous recipe for Beer Cheese Fondue, typically served with their house made Amish soft pretzels: 

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Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Because Feeding Your Kids Dessert for Dinner Doesn't Count in the Summer... Right?

Thank you Tillamook for sponsoring this post. Visit your local Costco today to bring Tillamook Ice Cream Sandwiches home to your family this summer!

Out here in Maryland we're closing in on the final days of the school year. It was touch and go for a while- having lived through a terrible case of "May-cember" buried under last minute field trip slips, Sign Up Genius party supply lists and lost library books. I know it's a touch dramatic but there were times I wasn't sure we'd make it out alive. Now that it's June though and the last day of school marked by a giant red heart can be found at the end of this week's calendar row, I'm happy to report that summer is so close we can almost taste it. 

These last couple weeks haven't been without struggle though and I know fellow parents will feel me on this one. Bedtime is near impossible to enforce when the sun's rays are beating down through my kids' windows at 7:30pm, heavier than the beats dropped by the Jonas Brothers on their new single. When the kids are out in the yard playing nicely together for, what feels like the first time in 2 years, you can't bear to call them inside even though it's so late they'll have to go to bed without showers (that's what all those leftover baby wipes are for when they get older, right?) And God help me if one more kid tells me they can't find their uniform shirt, I swear I'm sending them to school half naked. (Wouldn't that be a fun phone call to home?) It's bad enough we're already down to a rotation of two presentable shirts (and two that look like they've been drug through the streets of Baltimore by a rabid dog), we've just got to make it through Friday.

But like I was saying. Friday is right around the corner and just like the Little Engine That Could, "I think I can," "I think I can," make it to then. Summer is so close we can taste it and if it tastes anything like these ice cream sandwiches I fed my kids for dinner last night? It's going to be the bomb. 

Wait, did you think I was kidding? I really have waved the white flag. My kids are going to bed later, dirtier and occasionally having sometimes eaten ice cream for dinner. I feel pretty good about myself those nights considering these Tillamook ice cream sandwiches are made from only the highest quality ingredients. There's no high fructose corn syrup in them and the milk comes from dairy cows who haven't been treated with artificial growth hormones. It doesn't get much better than that! But, oh it does. The cookies they use to make the sandwiches are made with REAL butter and brown sugar. You know sometimes how the ice cream sandwiches taste a little bit like the wrappers they're packaged in? Not these babies. They're absolutely indulgent from start to finish. 

When I'm not feeding my kids dessert for dinner, I can promise you they'll be a staple at our house this summer. We're constantly getting together with our neighbors for impromptu BBQ's and while they're almost too good to share with the kids, I'll be sure to head to Costco to pick up an extra box (or two, or twelve) to have on hand for when they arrive en masse. 

Until Friday though, this box is for me. After all, nothing goes with a side of lost library books like a fine Pinot and an ice cream sandwich.

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