Home Alone

KeysHow would you answer this question? Do you enjoy being on your own?  My answer is an emphatic and passion filled “NO”. I hate being by myself. I always have.  I’m not sure where this goes back to in my life, but I think it has to do with the fact that I think my parent’s home is haunted or possessed. One of my earliest memories is a warm summer evening, with everyone in the backyard putting up a new swing set. I’m probably five or six. I have to head inside to use the facilities, only to be greeted by a man telling me to get out of his house. Can you say freaked out? That was me.

Or, when I was in college, home for the winter break, alone on a weekend night wrapping presents— A sudden BOOM in the basement had me in tears and locking the door between the upstairs and the basement while frantically calling one of my brothers and boyfriend to come and save me! They told me to call our neighbor to come and check it out, so I did. I have another vivid memory of sweet Tommy Thompson, weighing about 150 sopping wet, charging across the street with a baseball bat to save the day.

One that day, when my Mom got home, we learned that the furnace was faulty, and made a weird booming noise sometimes when turning on.  The first experience, during the summer,  is still not resolved for me. I have no idea if it was a real man, a ghost, or just a vivid imagination. 

Consequently, when my parents are out of town, and I’m in charge of the plants/mail, etc., I never go over by myself. I always drag one of my kids or husband – like any of them could really protect me. I know it’s goofy, but it makes it possible for me to enter without complete and sheer terror.

This same fear, though, applies to most any house I’m in alone—particularly at night.  During day light hours, I’m often home alone, and it’s fine. In fact, that kind of alone/quiet I can find somewhat peaceful most days.

This fear of being along has been on my mind more this week, since for the past few nights, everyone but me, and the dogs, are away. This pile of keys is sitting on my desk in my bedroom. I know in my head that if there actually was someone in my house, having this pile of keys, and being behind a locked flimsy bedroom door, isn’t going to do diddly to save me. And yet, I do it. Every time I’m the only one sleeping at home, even if the rest of the fam is just in the backyard, I go around taking the keys off the tops of the doors, and laying them down inside my bedroom walls.  I hunker down in my bed, with music blaring, and curtains not closed (to let in light), wondering if my dogs would even bark if someone, or thing, made a noise outside my door.  Sometimes, my crazy thoughts mean no, or at least, stilted sleep. Other times, I can convince myself that all is well in my corner of the house, and sleep, although not particularly deep nor long lasting, sleep does come and visit.

As I get older, I worry about being alone someday. I’ve never lived on my own for more than a few days. I moved from my parent’s home, into a dorm room, into my husband’s and my first apartment. I have no idea if I could even do it. Will I end up living with one of my kids? Growing up, my great grandmother lived with my grandparents. I always thought that must have been really awful for my grandparents, particularly my grandmother. She never really spent more than a few days of her married life away from her own mother.  How horrifying. Hmmm, maybe not from my great grandmother’s perspective. Maybe she too didn’t like being by herself. Instead, being close to her family brought her deep comfort and joy. Perhaps I’ll find out one day, but I really hope that I don’t have to.

Red Gold’s Summer Grilling Giveaway

rg_summer-grillingSummer is now in full swing. I love how meals are more laid back during the summer. I wish it would be like this all year long. Some day I really need to move to a warmer climate!

I’m happy to have had Red Gold along with Laura’s Lean Beef contact me to see if I’d help promote their annual summer giveaway. From now until July 22, Red Gold will be giving away a large Big Green Egg each week! as well as 800 insulated tote bags. I got one of these tote bags from Red Gold, and it’s great for putting groceries in and for using for when we pack dinner to take to the pool.

Red Gold sent me a gift pack along with some great ideas for summer grilling. We’ve tried out the grilled chicken fajita skewers and roasted corn. Both were amazing!  Here’s the recipe for the grilled chicken fajita skewers. 

Grilled Chicken Fajita Skewers

Ingredients

red gold grilled chicken skewers1/2 cup fresh cilantro, leaves, finely chopped
1/3 cup lime juice, about 6 limes
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 pounds chicken thighs, (or chicken breast) cut into 1 1/2″ chunks
2 (14.5 ounce) cans Red Gold® Whole Peeled Tomatoes, drained
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1 1/2″ pieces
1 large green bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1 1/2″ pieces
1 large sweet onion, peeled and cut into 1 1/2″ cubes
wooden skewers, that have been soaked in water for 30 minutes or longer

Directions

  • To make the marinade whisk together cilantro, lime juice, olive oil, garlic, brown sugar, salt, black pepper, and cumin in small bowl until well combined.
  • Place chicken cubes in large resealable plastic bag and pour in marinade. Remove as much air as possible and seal. Place in fridge for 1-5 hours.
  • Thread skewers by alternating with chicken, tomato, peppers and onion until all ingredients are used.
  • Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Place skewers over direct heat and grill 3-4 minutes per side until chicken is cooked through and veggies have a nice char. Remove from heat and let rest 5 minutes before serving.

And here’s a link for all of the great recipes. My son is really looking forward to making the pizza recipe on the grill. That looks both fun and delicious. Be sure to like Red Gold and Laura’s Lean Beef on Facebook, and be really sure that you sign up to win in their summer giveaway!

Disclosure: I received a gift pack from Red Gold and a coupon from Laura’s Lean Beef. 

Okayest Mom in the World

World's Okayest MomI saw someone post a photo of a coffee mug this week with this on the side. I feel that it fits me, and my role as a mom.  I didn’t actually think I was going to be a mom. I was married for 12 years before we had our first child — it just didn’t seem to be in the cards. But, I always wanted to be a mom, and I’m so thankful that I am. 

Some days, actually, many days, I feel completely clueless about being a mom – what I’m supposed to say or do, be, think, act. I know for a fact, mom, or not, I stink at cleaning and cooking. I don’t have much patience, and I regularly jump to the wrong conclusions. I have high standards and expectations for everyone in my life (husband, kids and dogs included – cats are out. Too free spirit for me to try to control). 

I know that becoming a mom has taught me infinite patience. Compassion. Sorrow. Joy. Forgiveness. I have loved deeper than I would have ever thought possible. I believe that loving my kids has taught me how to love not only them, but how to love my husband more as well.

The main thing that I’ve learned in being a mom over the course of the past 12 years, is that in reality, the quality isn’t so important. It’s the time. My presence, my willingness to just sit, and listen intently (even when I really don’t want to), is what my kids need/want from me. 

The making of special traditions, and therefore memories, is high on my list as well. Things we do regularly–making homemade pizza and then eating it in the living room while having a Friday night movie night in the winter; road trips specifically to just go buy donuts; and spending as many summer evenings as possible at the pool are just a few of things my husband and I consciously try to schedule. We make them appear random to our kids, but I know/hope when they’r adults looking back they see and appreciate the efforts made for them to have a great childhood.

I know I don’t want to , and would fail miserably, being a Martha Stewart pinterest crazy crafty I make everything from scratch and it’s awesome mom. That’s not me. I’m proud to be one of the world’s okayest moms. 

Happiest of Mother’s Day to all Mom’s out there.