Baseball Season again

Baseball came around really quickly this year. Which is surprising since this winter lasted about 19 months, and registration was about halfway through. As you may recall from last year,

The beloved bat (by both of us, I'm almost ashamed to admit)

baseball is not my favorite sport to watch. It’s slightly boring, the games last forever, and I always get distracted about halfway through and have to keep asking the people around me what the score is. I’m hopeful this year will be different though- Elijah has a different coach, one that rotates the positions, there are less players which means more playing time for EVERYone, not just the ‘All-Stars’ of the team. I mean the whole point of pay-to-play sports is to teach sportsmanship, how to be part of a team, how to lose gracefully, and how to have fun playing sports. Elijah’s not the best player, but he’s smiling the whole time he’s out there because he loves being part of a team and playing the sport. Even when he gets out he’s smiling all the way back to the dugout. I think the real reason of sports sometimes gets lost behind the desire to win so badly, and there are some people who act like it’s the pros. And it’s not.

But with baseball season comes warmer days, and the smell of spring in the air, which I’ll take any day, especially after this long and brutal winter we had. School will be ending soon and the hot days of summer will be close behind. I’m trying to not let last years experience taint this years before it even starts. That’s not fair to the coach, Elijah or myself. So I am going to go into this year with a clean slate, eyes wide open, ready for anything. I will plan on enjoying this season more than last, because I know that this is something Elijah enjoys doing. I don’t want him to remember me as the mom who griped about all things baseball, but the one who was there to support him in all his endeavors.

Chicken and Gnocchi Soup

I love Olive Garden’s endless soup and salad, and their chicken and gnocchi soup is my absolute favorite. This past past week I was thinking about making something new, and that soup popped into my head, so I scoured the web for a recipe and hoped it would come close to my beloved soup. I found several, and the one I used (from the Food.com) comes pretty darn close I think. And even better was it was super easy, and it made a lot, so it’s perfect for a crowd!

Ingredients

    • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
    • 3/4 cup celery, chopped fine
    • 3/4 cup onion, chopped fine
    • 1/2 cup carrot, grated very fine and chopped
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic, minced
    • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
    • 3/4 cup heavy cream
    • 3/4 cup milk
    • 4 cups chicken broth or 4 cups fresh chicken stock
    • 1 1/2 cups cooked chicken ( white meat works best)
    • 3/4 cup fresh spinach, julienne cut
    • 16 ounces gnocchi ( potato dumpling)
    • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
    • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
    • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt

 

Directions

  • Melt butter in a large heavy saucepan.
  • Add onions, celery, carrots, garlic and sauté until soft.

 image

  • Add flour mixing well, cook for 3-4 minutes ,stirring frequently.
  • Add heavy cream, milk and chicken broth mixing well.
  • Cook and stir until mixture thickens and comes to a boil.
  • Reduce heat and stir in chicken, spinach, gnocchi and remaining seasonings.

image_5

  • Adjust seasonings to taste.

image_6

image_7This soup was perfection. It was think, rich and very filling. It was perfect with some garlic bread sticks- the only thing that would have made it any better was some salad, Olive Garden style. This would have been perfect to throw in the crock pot and bring into work (which I’ll do next time), but I’m totally fine with just giving it away too.

What’s your favorite copycat recipe?

 

What are your 5 greatest accomplishments?

iStock_000003635594XSmall-accomplishment_crop380wAnother addition to the 30 things page. This has taken me way longer than originally planned; I was thinking two months, and I’m afraid to say how many months we are going on now. Also, I don’t really remember how long it’s been since I started this venture. All I know is I need to finish what I started.

1.) Moving to Chicago ‘on my own’- When I graduated high school, I enrolled in college, dropped out, enrolled in a nanny school and three months later moved to Chicago all by my lonesome to become said nanny. I was scared to death to go out there and had no idea just how much Chicago would end up changing  my life (for the better!). I was a small-town girl dropped into the heart of the city, and was in culture shock for the first few weeks. The first time I rode the subway alone it was an express (unbeknownst to me) and I ended up a few stops down the line, freaked out at this train barreling past all these stops. Eventually I learned my way around, made some friends and got my own place (with a roommate). It was scary, I hated to leave my family, but I did it and I survived.

2.) Being a Single Mom- Being a single mom is one of the hardest things I’ve done. It’s also the most rewarding. I wasn’t ready for children when I got pregnant, but I wouldn’t change it for anything in the world. I was a little rocky starting out, but I think I’m a pretty damn good mom now. I would do anything for Elijah, and he knows that. He knows how much I love him, and that’s what matters. I’m enjoying creating memories with him, happy memories. Looking back on my childhood I don’t remember a lot of happy times with my mom, nor do I remember just being care-free. I want Elijah to look back on his childhood and remember all the times we laughed, all our inside jokes, and all our silly times. I also want to give credit where credit is due and thank my parents for all of their help- I wouldn’t be able to do half of what I have done without their continued support.

3.) Graduating College- When I first enrolled in college, I was fresh out of high school. I never even made it to the first day before I dropped out. (Don’t judge- I did go to nanny school instead). I tried again a few years later in Chicago, but quit after two semesters when I got pregnant and moved peanuts-accomplishmentback to Ohio. The third time I went back Elijah was 5, and I was working full-time at the airlines. 6-years later, I finally graduated with 2 Associates’ Degrees and no inkling of a job. Even though it took me so long, and there were times I absolutely hated school, I kept pressing on. I hope that I showed Elijah how important education really is and through hard work and dedication you can accomplish anything.

4.) Learning to ‘make it on my own’- While I sometimes have more out than in, or some months where we literally can’t do anything ‘extra’ outside paying of the bills, I’ve made it on my own. I’ve got a sense of responsibility, what it actually means to be grown-up… and I get it. I’m working to barely make ends meet, and I understand my parents just a little bit more, what it must have been like for them when we were little. I appreciate them and their hard work all the more.

5.) Not being afraid to ask for help- I’ve finally reached the point in my life where I have stopped being afraid to ask for help. My pride no longer gets in the way when I need to admit to myself I can’t do something on my own. I used to get so upset and nervous when I would have to ask my parents for help, I’d be nauseous and near tears. No more do I feel that way. I’ve told myself 100 times that were Elijah in the same boat and needed help, I would help him. It’s what family does- we stand by and help each other. I need help in a couple other areas in my life and am now seeing a counselor and a psychiatrist- something I would never have admitted to anyone a year ago, let alone felt comfortable enough to just go ahead and get help.

While these may not seem like a big deal to some people, these things have made me who I am, and shaped and molded me into the person I am today. What are some your your greatest accomplishments?

What is your dream job, and why?

It’s been a while since I have done a 30 things post, so I better get back on  my game. I think this question is going to be easy to answer. My current job is my dream job. I may be making far far less than I wish I could be, and making ends meet sometimes is next to impossible, but I LOVE my job. I love going into work, I love the people I work with and I feel like family with them. Not only do I get challenged with my scope of work and am almost constantly learning new things, I’m having fun while doing it. We laugh we have fun, we break out in Nerf gun wars sometimes – it’s almost always a happy place to be. My bosses are more than that, they are my friends (but yes, work first). There are so many people who are so unhappy with their job, and allow it to make them miserable, but I am so glad that I do not fall into that percentile. At the end of the day, I feel pretty satisfied with where I am on a professional level.

Back in the day

I don’t know if any of you have ever heard of Groovebook before, but if you haven’t you should check them out. And if you don’t have it installed on your phone, you should get it. Pronto. It’s awesome. Basically for $2.99 a month you upload 100 pictures to a website, and they send them to you in nice little book. Everyone I know takes pictures with their phone, so it’s an app that will be used time and time again. And the pictures are good quality. In any case, I’m not here to advertise the app (although I kinda sound like I am – I’m not really). I’m here to show you just how cute my kid was when he was a baby. Because everyone wants to see pictures of MY son when he was a baby, I know. You can’t help but want to, it’s natural really. So in my quest for pictures to upload to Groovebook, I came across a few of my favorites from when Elijah was a wee one, and ohmygosh was he cute:

Just chillin' in a watermelon cat bed. No big deal

Just chillin’ in a watermelon cat bed. No big deal

He was either yawning, or very startled- not sure which.

He was either yawning, or very startled- not sure which.

Blowing a kiss... so sweet

Blowing a kiss… so sweet

My personal fave... his million dollar smile AND my favorite jammies ever.

My personal fave… his million dollar smile AND my favorite jammies ever.

The last two pictures- those were my favorite ages. I loved his constant smiles and wanting to be held (which got old when he was a little older and only wanted me and like 3 other people), and his sweet chubby cheeks and soft curly hair. Now I look at him and still see that baby he once was, but I can see the young man he is becoming, and while I am happy he is growing and maturing, I miss  my baby, my cuddlebug. Elijah is going to be a teenager this year (a teenager!!), and I can’t believe how time has flown- there are nights I can remember thinking would never end, and phases I wished would pass by so quickly. If I could take it all back and do it again, I’d treasure each smile, every laugh, and stop and smell the roses just a little bit more.