Valentines

fa11020.jpg“Ouch,” my husband groaned miserably as something metal jabbed him in the side.  “It’s like sleeping on a motorcycle.” It is 1:30 in the morning and we are still wide awake.   

The intention was admirable:  Joan, my father’s girlfriend, had insisted they buy this pull-out couch specifically for visits like this one.

The week before, my father had been diagnosed with early Alzheimer’s.  When I got the call, a chill snaked through my bones, so powerful that for a moment I couldn’t breathe. “It could go slow,” I was told, “ It could go fast, or it could stay the same for the rest of his life.  No one knows.”

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COOKIES.valentine.xoxo I do love a good holiday and any holiday that gives me an excuse to bake with a theme is fine by me. This year, dinner is at home with my four boys (M is included as he is in fact still a boy). Making all of their favorites; grilled lamb chops with a delicious marinade (parsley, basil, garlic, shallots, and coconut oil), asparagus tart, stuffed tomatoes, and chocolate lava cakes for dessert.

Now that my family is taken care of, I couldn’t let their teachers and some of our favorite people go unnoticed. Isaac has the greatest teacher this year and not only is she going to get a huge box of Sees Lollypops (her favorite), but she is going to get a selection of both butter-sugar cookies and these cocoa shortbread cookies. There are countless other teachers and staff members that will also be getting a neat little box wrapped in ribbon. Each box will represent how much we adore and love each and everyone of them.

On this Valentine’s Day, I will hug and kiss my kids and tell all my boys how much I love them. Yet, come to think of it, it really doesn’t have to be Valentine’s Day to say and do these things; it pretty much happens everyday!

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paris.jpg I met my husband Mike in Paris, and, no, it was not like that.  He was visiting his sister and I was a friend of hers traveling through Europe.

Well, one day we convinced him to go shopping with us. I needed something to layer in because it was a cold summer and there was this nearby shop that made elaborate and exquisite batik sarongs that can double as wraps, scarves, whatever the need (this is pre Pashmina).

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ooey-gooey-browniesIf you love decadence in your dessert...THESE BROWNIES will do the trick. 

Since Valentine's Day is right around the corner, it's time to make a meal plan that says "love" through food. I always think Valentine's dessert should be a little over the top. These definitely fit the bill. Just look at them.

I refrained from adding nuts because my kids don't like them in brownies but if I made them for myself, walnuts be in there too.

My inspiration for these was a half a jar of caramel I found in the fridge. It needed a new life.

What could be better than a warm, gooey brownie......maybe winning the lotto, but this is more of a sure thing!

I know you will enjoy these!

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cupid-with-tamborine.jpgLooking back fifteen to twenty years ago, I am amazed at the weighted significance I placed on Valentine’s Day gift giving.  It was forever the holiday filled with potential of making or breaking a relationship.  Those feelings all seem so ridiculous and childish now, but then, with very little relationship maturity under my belt, it all made logical sense.

When it came to giving the “right Valentine’s gift” I placed a lot of energy and time concocting my gift giving plan of attack.  I completely lost sight of what the celebration was about. Love. Right?

I distinctly recall dating a “certain guy” at the young and clueless age of twenty.  We had only been going out for a short time and Valentine’s Day was quickly approaching.  I know…the pressure.  There is nothing worse than an impending holiday like Valentine’s to put a young relationship to the ultimate test of failure or success.  At least that’s what I thought.

I was of course ecstatic.  I made this “certain guy” a very clever card, had a picture of us framed, made him my, “Yes, you will fall in love with me Chocolate Chip Cookies” and bought him a shirt.  I know the shirt sounds lame, unimaginative and pathetic, but believe me when I tell you it was a very cool shirt.  It. Really. Was.

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