Day 5: but seriously



I don’t want to brag, but my grandma made the best pancakes.  How did she make those silver dollar yummies?  They were crispy along the edges and soft in the middle.  Teeny tiny little pancakes made for teeny tiny hands.  And on a Sunday, you could find piles of them waiting for you in the microwave.  Everyone knew they were there and we all helped ourselves.   Continue reading

Day 4: SO FUN.



I’m writing for the Two Writing Teachers March Challenge


It’s been a long day to day the least. Being awoken way too early by a not feeling well husband only to find I was the one who couldn’t fall back to sleep is not the best start. I quietly waited for McK to stir but she decided today was the day she would sleep in. We missed her weekly tumbling class but her BFF wasn’t able to go anyway. Phew. No need to feel guilty.

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Day 1: Getting Cozy

slice-of-life I am writing for the Two Writing Teachers March Writing Challenge


I’ve always been a morning person…in the fact that I haven’t slept well in longer than I can remember.  Therefore, waking up in the morning has never been an issue for me because I probably wasn’t sleeping anyway.  Now, pulling myself out of bed has always been a feat unto itself.  I don’t like to leave the comfort of my pillows and blankets and cozy PJs.  I don’t like to feel the cold floor on my feet or the wait for the shower to warm.

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5minutefridayTeam. I’ve never really been good at teams.

 I’m woefully unathletic. I’m seriously clumsy…like I was worried I would fall on my face while walking down the aisle on my wedding day kind of clumsy.

I’m completely type A. Control freak to the core. Probably why being on other teams can be so hard for me. I try to micromanage everything. It’s probably my very worst personal trait. I can’t help myself. And it’s only gotten worse over the years. At least I am aware of it.

But…I am a good player for one team. My little family of three. I’ve used my micromanagement skills to budget the hell out of our finances over the last few years. Those of you who remember the frivolous spending of my single youth, please don’t laugh. It’s true. Just ask the other half of the team, my husband. He will tell you that I actually do the monthly budgeting, the house hunting budgeting, the house renovation budgeting, the furniture fund budgeting, the meal planning budgeting…the list goes on. It’s something I’m pretty proud of considering my youthful monetary indiscretions.

I jumped on the Dave Ramsey train. I drank the kool-aide and am better for it. Well, our team is better for it. I miss out on some things due to strict budget matters: a girls’ week’s this year, a postponed romantic getaway last year, pricy gifts for each other at the holidays. But our team looked at the big picture and decided that our plus one requires us to be a little frugal for now. We are okay with that because we know it won’t be forever. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. We can almost see it, in fact. And when it’s so bright we have to put on sunglasses, maybe we can treat ourselves some tropical vacation.

Until that time, this team I’m on will keep the belt tightened just a little extra for the greater good. Don’t worry friends, I’ll be back out there soon enough on your team, again. Until then, have fun doing what you do and save a me a spot for the next girls’ trip.

I am participating in FIVE MINUTE FRIDAY.  Today’s word is:  team


The rules are simple. Write for five minutes flat. There is no extreme editing; no worrying about perfect grammar, font, or punctuation. It is unscripted. Unedited. Real

Memory Monday: Taking Comfort

It’s been along time since I wrote for Memory Monday.  Of course, being Tuesday, I am still a bit late.

There are just those things I find most comforting.  I’m sure it is the same for everyone.  Some of my favorites include

  • the delicious scent of a pot of soup on the stovetop on a cool afternoon
  • cozy PJs in a bed with clean sheets–bonus if it was made by Marcella the super cleaning lady
  • the buttery decadence of family recipe known as Susie’s Favorite
  • and thunderstorms…

Well, it used to be thunderstorms.  As you can imagine, I lost my love of thunderstorms shortly after the flood.  I slept so soundly the night that the house flooded that I often wonder if I had woken earlier would anything have been different?  You cannot live with the shoulda, coulda, woulda‘s.  It’ll drive you batty.  Since the flood, I have been less than comforted by raindrops against my windows.  A storm now brings anxiety and stress…

…that is, until last night.  For some reason, snuggled up with the hubby, I was once again comforted by the sounds of the rain.  Maybe it was because I was just that exhausted.  Maybe it was because I finally have put it all behind me.  Who knows.  But when we went to bed at 8:00 last night…yes–8:00…I drifted off into a peaceful sleep waking only to lulled back again by nature’s lullaby.  I would like to imagine I had a lazy little smile on my face but that would be silly.  I was probably mouth breathing and drooling a bit.  Regardless, last night, I was comforted once again.

This weekend I indulged in another comfort, the infamous Susie’s Favorite.  I am sure that it was designed to feed a lot of hungry mouths for not a lot of money.  Most people are a little boggled by this bizarre family pasta that brings me back to the house on Ridgeway with the tiny kitchen.  I remember having it most often on Friday’s during lent or Saturday afternoons at Grandma’s house.  It could be made without milk–which I am sure we were always out of with 6 kids gulping it down at every meal.  I would guess that it has more bang for your buck over a few boxes of mac and cheese.  Nevertheless, it is the taste of my childhood.  Having introduced some childhood and college friends to this yummy dish, I am sure we were the craziest family out there to pass this off as some sort of normal meal.  I put it up there with those tomatoes with bread: an acquired taste that just reminds you of home.  Although I never asked {damn}, I am sure that the one-pot-wonder was named after my Aunt Sue.  I imagine that us 6 McKenna kids turned our noses up at this orange colored, mac and cheese wannabe.  Then I am guessing that my mom called it Aunt Susie’s Favorite.  Who could argue with that review?

Susie’s Favorite

1-8 oz. box of small pasta (my mom always used elbows while grandma’s house usually had shells–I like the shells better but will settle for whatever is in the pantry)
1 can tomato soup
1/2 stick butter or margarine

Make the noodles according the the directions on the box.
Drain and return to the pot.
Add the can of tomato soup and the butter–NO WATER…trust me!
Stir until the butter is melted and serve immediately.

Birthdays PM

Mom's Birthday 2009 Wildfire:  Oakbrook, IL

Mom’s Birthday 2009 Wildfire: Oakbrook, IL

Birthdays PM (post mom) pretty much suck.  I had my 37th birthday a mere 3 weeks after my mom died.  I wasn’t exactly in a celebratory mood.  I remember my dad asking me if I wanted to go out to dinner.  I told him that I just wanted to make dinner like a regular Thursday and forget the day had some sort of significance.  Honestly, with exception of my wedding, honeymoon, and very few other joyous events, I would have liked to have forgotten that my 36th year even existed.  I wanted a redo.

Growing up, we never really had big birthday parties.  We celebrated with a specially chosen meal…cooked by mom…and maybe a tub-o-icecream or box-o-popsicles.  With so many kids running around, who had the time, money, or energy to put together an actual party.  As we grew older and the boys started spending time with my dad fishing, golfing, and doing whatever else boys do with their dads.  That’s when my mom realized the girls needed a little bonding time, as well.  That’s when our birthday outings came about.  Each year, on our birthdays, we would do something fun with just the girls.  We would go to the show or get mani/pedis.  We would have a nice lunch or go for massages.  Sometimes all of the above in one day if we were feeling ambitious.  Nothing crazy, but a little time to ourselves and a little treat to each other.  I have so many fun memories of those special days:  dinner at Wildfire, seeing Sex & the City, lunch at Cooper’s Hawk, shopping at Light House Mall, spa day at Nicole Richards and so many more days I cannot even begin to describe.  We always laughed:  usually at the expense of one of the sisters.  We always ate:  one of the things us girls did best together.  We always had fun.

My sister C’s birthday is tomorrow and I know how much that first birthday PM can really suck. I’m so glad we got to spend time together today downtown just like old times.  We lunched, we chatted, we shopped.  It was a little sliver from the past.  A bit of my mom’s celebration.  And although she wasn’t there with her extendo finger divvying out her little snippets of advice, no one could deny her presence.  She was all around in our shared laughs and knowing smiles.  She was digging into a slice of cheese cake and picking off our plates.  She was having passion fruit iced tea and a chicken salad sandwich.  She was with us.