Tag Archives: mom

happy happy friday!

19 Jun


i’m excited for this weekend.

first,  ROF comes home after being gone all week traveling on business.  (yea!)

second, we are taking my mom on an overnight trip here to celebrate her 74th birthday and mothers day.  i treasure this special alone time with ROF and my mom.  we’re going to get facials and massages and maybe float the lazy river.  maybe not that last one.

you might remember when the three of us went to chicago a couple of years ago and had a blast:

Screen Shot 2015-06-19 at 9.50.35 AM Screen Shot 2015-06-19 at 9.50.52 AM

yep, we’re celebrating mom on father’s day which is totally appropriate for us!  you can read more on that here.


have a great weekend!  XXOO

appreciating disappointment

20 Dec

i appreciate my sister-in-law, Susan,  for being so honest:

every one of us has something that we hide, something that we are
ashamed of.  and every once in a while that thing becomes exposed and
we either lose something that is precious to us, or our self esteem
takes a serious blow or we hurt someone who we would rather die than
hurt.  sometimes it can be repaired and sometimes important things are

i have told my kids that it is fun to be their mother.  i can say, oh
yes, he won the election, was chosen,  plays D1 football,  has an
amazing job, is beautiful and smart and doing exactly the kinds of
things that mothers are proud of.  but obviously they have  
disappointments and do things that hurt themselves and others and of
course i talk much less about those things.

recently, i finished one job in order to start another and the
situation at the job I was leaving deteriorated in a way that i am not
proud of at the very end.  i was ashamed and exposed in front of my  
family but i did not hide it from them.  it has been so important to
me, every single day that i have had the privilege to have my
children, that i am a good mother.  i felt that this time, being a
good mother would be letting my kids see my mistakes and talking to
them about being human, which means not only triumph but making
mistakes, learning from them and trying with all your might to move
forward smarter, more humble, more ready for the next thing that life
sends your way.

this week, my child had a bitter disappointment and feels remorse, as
is appropriate, and my mothers heart is broken for everyone involved.
i must say… this is life, good and bad, you are human, you will heal,  
be humble, take responsibility, please God, learn from your mistakes.
and even in setback, appreciate.

christmas lessons to learn

3 Dec

the holiday season while i was growing up

was always a lot of fun for my family.  we had many traditions and the sense of family was so strong that if i ever wanted to feel warm and fuzzy, i thought to this time of year.  it’s why 4Q (or 4th quarter) is my favorite time of year.

my family lived in several cities.  cincinnati, dayton, cleveland, troy, boston, grand blanc, brookfield, naperville and then southlake.  but in every  one, we had the same christmas decorations that followed us from place to place.  opening the boxes of stuff was like saying hello to an old friend and decorating the house was something that a busy mom with three young kids in a new house probably didn’t want to do but she did.

my lovely grandma always came during this time of year too.  i wish i could go back to the day she arrived and capture that excitement and anticipation even for a minute.  it was overwhelming!  i wish she was still around.  her hands were so soft and wrinkly and smelled like triple lanolin hand lotion.  she had a tuft of tissue peeking out from the bottom of the arm of her sweater.  grandma’s are so cool.  maybe i should go to the old age home and adopt one.  the great thing about my grandma was that she very much “told it how it was” but in a sweet way.   she had a very strong POV, which come to think of it – so do I and so does my mom.  thanks, gran!  having her around the house to talk to and have fun with was always a sign that christmas was near. 

one year,

my mom and grandma decided to wrap all our presents downstairs in the basement together.  i think they had some music set up, perhaps a little hit of chardonnay and a ton of gifts.  we were older – i was a freshman in high school and katie and jim in grade school.  my parents kind of went all out on christmas.  they were really generous.  we had a ton of presents to open typically.  so this wrapping job was intense and an all day affair.  well they didn’t get through it all in one day so they put one piece of scotch tape across the basement door at the top as a “safety” so they could tell if any snoopy kids went down there, and they left it for the night.  well, no one IS as snoopy (to this day) as my sister, katie.  however, i don’t remember her being a part of this escapade.  i knew that i was going to get some of the popular clothing for christmas- all the preppy stuff.  this is when preppy was really huge and i had my handbook and was following it.  izod, pappagallo handbags, topsiders, argyle, wide wale cords – you name it.  didn’t you read:

i truly thought it would help mom out if i were to try on some of the clothes before she wrapped them so that if they didn’t fit, she would have time to get the right size before christmas.  so that night, i peeled back the tape and slowly descended the basement stairs.  carefully i avoided the second to the last stair that had a creek to it when you landed on it.   and wouldn’t you know it – i was right!  clothes all over the place.  excitedly, i stepped in and out of pink, green outfits, tried on grosgrain hairbands and penny loafers.  however, the one benetton  sweater that i probably would have just used to throw around my shoulders was a bit too big.

i thought long and hard how to bring this up to my mom and gran.  i knew that i would be scolded for going in the basement but probably rewarded for finding out early that the sweater was too big and saving them time at the mall in that horrible post-christmas rush to return it.  so i approached it carefully.  both my mom and grandma had (and have) a way at looking at you – a bit sideways with upturned eyebrows – to let you know instantly that you made the wrong decision.  i got one – no two – of these looks.

needless to say, this did not go over well with gran and mom and come christmas day, there was no benetton sweater to be opened at all.  i learned my lesson but good.  it’s ok to look but not tell. 


best spaghetti, buttery breadsticks & mom

8 Sep

today’s guest recipe blogger is my mom. 

if you don’t know her already, you can read about her here.  Or click the “wednesday story” to the right!

i’m joan krause, mom of “the appreciator”.  she invited me to supply a favorite recipe and story.  my absolutely favorite thing to make and to eat is spaghetti.  who knows, maybe it’s because of the lycopene in the tomatoes. 

 according to wikipedia:

 “lycopene is not an essential nutrient for humans, but is commonly found in the diet, mainly from dishes prepared from tomatoes. When absorbed from the stomach, lycopene is transported in the blood by various lipoproteins and accumulates in the liver, adrenal glands, and testes.”

hello?  testes? well, i’ll tell you one thing, they have never found lycopene in my testes and that’s a fact!

i truly think i’m a spaghetti-a-holic.

when I turned 16, my mother gave me a surprise birthday party.  i’ll never forget it.  she told me that i had to babysit my cousin on my birthday and i just couldn’t understand how a mother could ask her daughter, on the most important birthday ever, to babysit.  when i got home, mom asked me to go in the basement and get something out of the old chest freezer. i went downstairs, there were all my friends and i was surprised!  i, obviously, forgave my mom.  plus, she fixed spaghetti for us all.

then, on our mom and dad’s 25th anniversary, i was around 22 and my sister sally was 18 or 19.  we decided to give them a party (much to my mother’s dismay).  our mom was quite the entertainer, so losing this control was not easy for her.

side view of our house in cincinnati - wish i could find the front view - darn!

what did we decide to cook? 

spaghetti of course – not necessarily my parents favorite dish, but it was mine.  my parents were out on our beautiful long front porch having drinks with four other couples.  meanwhile, sal and i were busy in the kitchen and i’m carrying the spaghetti pot from the old chambers stove to drain the water.  sally said, “don’t drop it!” which i promptly did.  spaghetti was everywhere.  we were literally skating on the starch and sally was laughing so hard.  i shouted, we’ll laugh later, these people have to eat now!

my mother

walked through the closed swinging door from the dining room – had her hand over her mouth and not saying anything, turned around and went out to the porch.  needless to say, the cocktail hour was extended, more spaghetti was made, and the guests were finally able to come to the table.  we heard that it was the best party ever.  hmmmmmm …could it have been the extended cocktail hour?

mom, sally & me (mom is turned around and Sal to her right)

oK, i’ve changed my mind – everyone has their own favorite spaghetti recipe.  i’m going to give you something you can make that is so easy and always goes with my spaghetti and everything else.

hot dog breadsticks

i have passed this recipe on so many times and i feel it’s a real winner.  this was my mom’s recipe.

take a package of hot dog buns – cut the buns lengthwise, so that each bun makes 4 breadsticks.

take 2 sticks of BUTTER – not margarine – and melt in a frying pan.

get a cookie sheet lined with foil ready.  dip one of the sticks in the butter till coated and put on foil lined cookie sheet.  put them close to one another.  after all have been dipped and warm from the butter,

take parmesan cheese, out of the shaker container, and heavily coat the sticks. 

then sprinkle lots of poppy seeds on top – you can shake a little garlic salt on top if you want. (I don’t do this – but you can).  now, if you’re making a lot, you might have to melt more butter.

i have cooked these several different ways – fast oven and a slow oven.  The main thing is that you have to watch them.  They brown fast.

400 degrees for 15-20 minutes and watch – could take longer

325 degrees for 30-40 minutes and watch – could take longer

a couple of variations are that you substitute cinnamon and sugar for the parmesan cheese.  douse them in the butter and shake the combined cinnamon and sugar heavily over the top.  or douse in butter and put any kind of finely grated cheese on top.  so good!

you can do ahead and freeze then warm in the microwave. Great for large parties – everyone always asks about them!

final wednesday story

24 Aug

wednesday will still continue being a part of the week, but this story ends today. 

if you’ve missed any of the previous postings and want to start from the beginning, you can click on the list over to the right  or click here for the beginning.

as you can tell, the story has a little more to it than what people thought.  the experience has taught me so much.

#1.  don’t live off of gossip, hear-say and half stories.  remember everyone’s story has probably way more to it than you can imagine, another viewpoint and a little more depth.  don’t be one of those petty people that just passes on bad news.  i learned this from the hurt i felt from one comment from one pretty insignificant person.  thank you.  i now know how not to act. that goes for your feelings on cancer, old people and divorce.  just because everyone goes through it doesn’t lessen the blow.  it’s still painful.

#2. be open to peace.  i once asked my mom how she could forgive karen.  how unusual of a reaction that was.  she told me “i prayed for peace and God gave it to me”.  i don’t understand – what does that have to do with anything?  “because of what we went through with dad dying, i just wanted peace and i felt like i could go be bitter and angry and making matters worse or forgive.”

#3.  everyone, everyone has a story.  and we liked karen’s.  we all love karen like she was a part of our family.  in fact, my mom and karen are very, very close.  they both built houses in a retirement community (hello, swank, i might add!) and travel together and attend family functions together.  they don’t advertise their background to everyone and consider it funny because they both have the same last name and people always say “are you SURE you’re not related?”  i would love to hear karen and mom’s story together.

#4. ask for forgiveness.  you might just get it and a new best friend after all.

#5.  remember the little stuff every day.  it will stay with you for the rest of your life.  when someone has such a profound impact on your life – it is hard wrapping your mind around not “doing life” with them any more.  i can still remember holding my grandma’s hands and feeling the softness of the tips of her fingers and the ridges around her knuckles.  i can still remember my dad’s hands big and strong and then weak and painful.  i can feel it like they were both right here with me now.  thank god i got 9 months with my dad.  to laugh, to cry, to allow him to say “i’m sorry” .  i feel more blessed because of the situation than to have gone on life hating karen and my dad and feeling sorry for my family.

i end this story with one more very private admission.  well, when i drove to whole foods with my mom and found out dad had died and we were racing back down lemmon avenue  – the same road i was on when i found out dad was sick –  my vision turned technicolor.  it was so bright i could barely see.  the green grass was florescent, the sun bright yellow.  i wasn’t dreaming this, it happened.  it was a feeling of comfort and peace like i’ve never felt before.  i know dad is in good hands.

i finish this story with this picture. 

if i had to pick one picture of my dad and i this wouldn’t be it.  but it is a close second.  this is my dad real proud of me.  is there anything quite like the feeling of your dad being proud of you?  there are certainly substitutions, especially if your dad is an a-hole.  but for me, this was what it was all about.  here, in my ugly 90’s outfit (must have been about 22) and bangs.

thank you for letting me share my story.  And thank you to mom & karen for letting me.  i love you.

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