Menu Banner

Category: musings

  1. Thursday, September 25

    Why My Birthday is More Than a Birthday

    EmailPinterestFacebookTwitterGoogle+StumbleUpon

    Right now Owen’s birthday cake is in the oven. I will be attempting to shape it into Ripslinger from Planes a little later today. (Heaven help me.) Owen is sitting at the counter playing with a few of his Thomas trains while we wait for the cake to bake, chatting merrily away to himself, creating stories of near misses at the countertop’s edge. I am feeling beyond grateful for this moment.

    owen's 3rd birthday and thoughts on motherhood from @janemaynard

    Three years ago Owen was born on my birthday. Without a doubt it was my best birthday ever and Owen was the greatest birthday gift I could ever have dreamed of. Three years ago was also, without a doubt, the most traumatic day of my life. After a calm morning of labor, suddenly things changed. And, before we knew it, Nate was alone in the labor and delivery room and I was in an operating room being put under general anesthesia. Neither of us would witness Owen’s birth. Nate met him 15 minutes later. I met my son 2 hours after his birth.

    thoughts on my son's birth by @janemaynard

    I will never forget every last detail of that day. For nearly a year I would cry just at the slightest thought of those events. Now I just cry once in a while, usually when I least expect it. I always cry on my birthday, though. I can’t help it. I am just so grateful, it’s overwhelming. Grateful to have this greatest-of-all birthday presents in my life, playing with trains and asking me to play the Planes soundtrack yet again.

    thoughts on my son's birth by @janemaynard

    When I was being wheeled from the delivery room to the OR, I was a complete basket case. My anesthesiologist was a saint who talked me through the whole experience, with a calm and loving voice. The thing I was so fixated on was that I would not see Owen born like I had the girls. I couldn’t stop saying that over and over. As I look back it almost makes me laugh. There was so much on the line in those 6 minutes between discovering the problem (prolapse cord) and Owen’s birth. And the only thing I could think about was that I wouldn’t get the happy birth moment I had envisioned and experienced before. I didn’t think once about Owen’s mortality and, honestly, I am so grateful my neurotic brain didn’t go there, that I was protecting myself from those thoughts. I’m even more grateful that everything turned out okay in the end. We were so lucky.

    owen's 3rd birthday and thoughts on motherhood from @janemaynard

    I joke with people that Owen ruined my birthday. Not only did he steal it from me, but he turned it into my #1 PTSD trigger! Seriously, though, I love sharing my birthday with this amazing kid and I know that it is miraculous.

    Life is good. It does not always go as planned. Sometimes it is more than we can bear. But it is always beautiful.

    Happy Birthday, Owen.

    EmailPinterestFacebookTwitterGoogle+StumbleUpon

  2. Thursday, September 18

    Beginning My Quest!

    EmailPinterestFacebookTwitterGoogle+StumbleUpon

    Have you ever undertaken a quest? I have not. I’m not a huge goal-making kind of person. I like seeing what opportunities arise in life and just going with it. Nate once asked where I saw my career in 5 years and I felt like hyperventilating! Making plans and goals is not my thing.

    setting goals and review/giveaway for "the happiness of pursuit" - from @janemanard

    That said, I’ve decided to fight my natural instincts and undertake a quest. Set a goal. Accomplish a monumental task that I have actually planned on accomplishing ahead of time. And, to be honest, it’s a little scary. And telling you about it is making it even scarier.

    I have a literary agent. She is fabulous. To not work with her on a book would be a crime, so I’m totally going for it. Except, I’ve been going for it for 4 years. She is very patiently waiting for my book proposal to hit her Inbox while I’m off having babies (done!), moving a few times (done!) and going through about 20 different ideas for a book, none of which I liked. But the stars are finally aligning. My agent and I have settled on a theme for the book that we are both really excited about. I am in a place in life where I can carve out time for writing a book. I’ve done a lot of the groundwork with my blog that I need to do before an agent goes out to sell my book. Basically, it’s time. I’m starting my quest.

    My quest is simple…well, simple to describe, at least! I am going to finish writing my book proposal. It needs to happen. I need to know I gave it my all and then see where it takes me, see what my agent can do with it. Whether or not I end up as a bestselling author is beside the point. I want to know I tried, that I took advantage of this opportunity placed before me.

    Today’s post is sponsored by Random House in support of the new book The Happiness of Pursuit by Chris Guillebeau. Chris had a quest – to visit every country in the world by the time he was 35 years old. Chris’s book talks about his quest as well as the quests of many other people he met on his journey, people he calls strivers. As I’ve read through the book and seen what makes these strivers tick, it’s been great food for thought. Bonus: his thoughts and suggestions are making me feel less scared of the journey!

    Do you have a quest you’ve been putting on the backburner? Have you completed one? Are you still finding your quest? Please share your thoughts with me. I need moral support!

    One lucky commenter will win a copy of The Happiness of PursuitComments must be posted by Wednesday, 9/24 at Midnight PT, one entry per person, and the winner’s book must ship to a U.S. address. Good luck! Can’t wait to hear about your quests!

    Comment #6 Ellen Patton was the randomly-selected winner of this giveaway. Congrats, Ellen!

    EmailPinterestFacebookTwitterGoogle+StumbleUpon

  3. Friday, August 1

    Friday Show and Tell

    EmailPinterestFacebookTwitterGoogle+StumbleUpon

    Happy Friday! Happy August!

    la natural history museum by @janemaynard

    I don’t have anything particularly awesome to share today because I just spent three hours getting new tires on my car. Because I drove over a construction tool on the way home from the beach on Wednesday. And, you know what? As much as it all was completely inconvenient and expensive, I never freaked out. I remained surprisingly calm. On a related note, a few nights ago I got pulled over for not stopping completely at a stop sign and, again, was calm and collected. My friend Barbara said I was “cool as a cucumber.” (In the end no ticket, luckily!) So, I guess my big share today is that maybe I’m getting a little more zen than I used to be. Maybe. I am trying. Because, honestly, even when the crappy stuff happens, what do I have to complain about? I got to hang out with my kids this week, work at jobs I love, go to the beach, look at stuffed animals (literally) at the natural history museum with little people who for some reason just really love taxidermy. It’s all good, popped tires and all.

    Okay, time for some fun food links!

    On Babble, my kids and I tried another one of the Dishes by Disney recipes:

    And all kinds of yumminess on Cosmo:

    Please share your own thoughts/links/blog posts/accomplishments/anything!

    EmailPinterestFacebookTwitterGoogle+StumbleUpon

  4. Thursday, February 13

    “Where there is love there is life”

    EmailPinterestFacebookTwitterGoogle+StumbleUpon

    Yesterday Nate was reading ESPN.com and there was a giant ad for Tiffany & Co. Of course I asked if the computer was showing him that ad because he had just bought me something from Tiffany for Valentine’s Day, to which he replied, “Oh yeah, I bought you tons of presents for a made-up holiday.” And then we both totally laughed. Yeah, we’re romantic like that. Don’t get me wrong, I love celebrating Valentine’s Day with our kids and I honestly don’t have anything against Valentine’s Day per se. In fact, any excuse to make pretty cookies and give them to friends and neighbors is fine by me.

    free printable gandhi quote from @janemaynard

    Valentine’s Day aside, I have been thinking a lot about love lately, for many reasons that I won’t get into. You know the Beatles song All You Need is Love? That line has become cliché by now, but I really do think all you need is love. I can’t help but imagine how different the world would be if everyone loved first. Now, I know life isn’t always that simple. But I can’t help but think if we did love first that we’d all be kinder, more patient, more giving, more forgiving. At least I know I would be. Sometimes it’s not easy to love, but that’s what makes it all the more powerful. Nate and I teach the 16- and 17-year-olds at our church each Sunday. There is a lot to think about in this life, especially when you’re becoming an adult and navigating those often choppy waters. But I am surprised how often, when I am teaching them, it all comes back to loving others and serving without judgment. It’s so simple and yet one of life’s greatest challenges.

    Nate’s Gram Maynard lived a life of love. We all knew she was amazing and most certainly the kindest person we had ever known. She knew what it was to love unconditionally and was a great example to me. When she died, we were all heartbroken. The world needed Gram. At her funeral there was time set aside for anyone who wanted to speak to do so. It was beautiful (and not at all surprising) to hear stories from people we didn’t know, sharing how Gram had served them and touched their lives in profound ways. We knew that she had loved. We knew she had served. We just didn’t know how much.

    gram maynard | love | @janemaynard

    I recently saw this quote from Mahatma Gandhi somewhere and it really resonated with me: Where there is love there is life. When I think of Gram, a pure example of love, I can’t help but think of the full life she lived. A quiet life, filled with quiet acts of love. Her life was unremarkable by the world’s lofty standards. She was from the South Shore near Boston and lived there her entire life. She raised five children. She stood by the Red Sox through thick and thin. She had the most marvelous accent, once telling Nate’s mom she could find the fox in the dishwasher (10 points if you can figure that one out). She hardly ever cooked, but when she did it was always for others – I don’t know how many tins of her chocolate chip cookies were carried by postal workers nationwide. I don’t even think she ever flew on a plane. And yet, her love filled so much more of the world than just the South Shore. Her love made ripples that have been felt far and wide. She filled the world with life by simply loving. She was more remarkable than anyone could probably comprehend.

    Like I said, lots on my mind lately. But I keep clinging to this word: love. I need to let it fill me the way it did Gram. I need to let it spill over.

    If you click here or on the quote at the beginning of this post, you can download a pretty pdf of the Gandhi’s quote. Happy Valentine’s Day!

    EmailPinterestFacebookTwitterGoogle+StumbleUpon

  5. Friday, May 3

    Be Enough

    EmailPinterestFacebookTwitterGoogle+StumbleUpon

    It’s been a rough week. There is a good reason I’m telling you this. I am not seeking sympathy and I am not trying to draw attention to myself. I just want to keep it real. And here’s why. Well, actually, before I get to the why, I need to give you a quick synopsis of some of the talks from Big Traveling Potluck last weekend. Stay with me through what will seem like a random string of thoughts. It will all come together in the end.

    btp

    Melissa Lanz (who is completely wonderful) spoke about having a personal mission statement. She shared the story of her life journey so far and it was sweet and inspiring. Watching her husband watch her speak might have been one of the more tender things I’ve witnessed in some time. Anyway, during her talk she mentioned a friend who has the personal mission statement “Be Better” and how that friend is constantly striving to, well, be better each and every day.

    Next…

    Matt Armendariz (who is also completely wonderful) spoke about creativity and shared his story of how he got to where he is today and how he keeps the creative juices flowing. I loved getting insight into his thoughts and his day-to-day life. There was one comment he made that made me pause. Someone asked if he ever turns things away and he essentially said, “No, I’m a freelancer, I can’t afford to say no to projects.”

    Next…

    One of my best blogging buddies Helen Jane spoke about overcoming creative blocks. One of her core messages was that you don’t have to do it all. It’s easy to feel like you have to do it all, but you don’t. It’s not realistic. Focus on what you’re good at and find success that way. And, by the way, success isn’t always about the millions of followers, millions of dollars, millions of any of that.

    Next…

    Ree (a person I am so blessed to know) shared the top 10 things she’s learned about food blogging. Buried in all the funny, witty, thoughtful things she shared was a moment of vulnerablity. A moment where she told us that in 2011 it was all too much, that she was a shell of a person, that she was forced to change the way she was doing things and stop doing so much. Ree is the epitome of the mom who “does it all.” Hearing here admit that she actually can’t do it all was the most inspiring thing she could have said and it was one of the more powerful moments of the weekend.

    Next…

    My dear friend Jeannine (she works for ONE and she is the BEST) and I were talking one night about one of the big problems with blogs, and Pinterest for that matter. When you read blogs, you see all the good in the blogger’s life but rarely (if ever) the bad. You don’t see the grumpy days, you don’t see the ‘Happy Birthday’ bunting that did NOT come out perfectly, you don’t see the cake that failed to rise. You see all the beautiful parts of people’s lives. Which isn’t to say that the beauty isn’t real. It is. But the beauty is all the more beautiful because we also have the ugly in our lives. When you look at blogs (or Pinterest or Facebook status updates or whatever!) that only show the happy-go-lucky side of life, there is danger of feeling bad about yourself and thinking you are not enough.

    Next…

    I also had a heart-to-heart with Deb from Smith Bites (another choice human being). We talked about how wonderful the conference had been, how great all the talks were. And then Deb brought up Melissa’s friend’s mission statement. She essentially said, “I’m not feeling it. ‘Be Better’ assumes you are not good enough. But you are. I think the mission statement that resonates more is ‘Be Enough.’ ” We talked about how we completely understand why Matt says yes to all the projects that come his way, but that it really is okay to say NO. And we talked about how you don’t have to to be good at everything. And that is OKAY. And you know that beautiful lifestyle blog that you read every week where the mom is always stylish and the kids look like J. Crew models while they are planting organic basil in the backyard that is later perfectly chopped for the salad that the kids actually eat for dinner? Yeah, even that blogger’s life does not look like that everyday. And that’s OKAY!

    disneyland with girls

    So, you would think after all this inspiration I would have had a great week, right? Monday morning we got some crummy news. We were supposed to move to a house on a horse ranch in June. We were just going to be renting it, but it was close to work, in the same amazing school district we’re already in, there were horses all around, lots of light and lots of space, and 360 views from the top of a mesa. I was going to rename my blog “Pioneer Woman Junior” and it was going to be AWESOME. There was a lot of work to do on the house, but we were excited and ready for the adventure. And then it was unexpectedly pulled out from under us. And that just about did me in. The stress and uncertainty were just too much. By Tuesday I was feeling better, more optimistic. Then I went to Disneyland on Wednesday with my beautiful daughters and forgot all my troubles. Then…Thursday. The reality hit harder than it had all week. Even The Vampire Diaries couldn’t bring me out of my funk. (Yes, I just admitted I watch The Vampire Diaries. We’re keeping it real today, folks.)

    Last night I realized that my public persona this week was all roses and Mickey Mouse ears. The sadness and the frustration and the downright crappy feelings were nowhere to be seen. Not on Facebook, not on Instagram, not on my blog. Which isn’t to say that the happiness wasn’t real. It WAS. And the happiness and moments of fun and gratitude for my amazing life and the people in it kept me going. But, you know, I also had a day this week where I felt like I was in a thick fog and could barely get anything done. I don’t want to be one of the bloggers who only portrays the pretty things. I want to us to connect, to realize we’re all in the same boat, a beautiful boat that sometimes gets rocked.

    This is why I’m telling you it’s been a rough week. Because I want to keep it real. This week my “enough” changed from day to day. One day I was Supermom with more energy than Richard Simmons. The next day I felt nearly useless as a mom, certainly neither fun nor patient. But that day I at least made dinner. And that was enough, enough to get me through.

    Be Enough. It’s okay. Sometimes enough is amazing. Sometimes enough is just enough. But it’s always enough.

    owen sleeping

     

    EmailPinterestFacebookTwitterGoogle+StumbleUpon

  6. Thursday, May 2

    My Budding Food Bloggers

    EmailPinterestFacebookTwitterGoogle+StumbleUpon

    Yesterday my girls and I went to Disneyland (thanks to the Babble team for a fabulous day!). The day was perfect. Today I am basking in the glow that is the light of my daughters, so I figured it was a good day to share two quick stories about them.

    anna recipe share web

    A couple of weeks ago I was playing with Owen in his room when Anna came walking in with a recipe card. She had found a Halloween food and craft book somewhere, had spent some time combing through the recipes and settled on one to share with me. She handed me the card and said, “Mom, this recipe is perfect for your blog. It’s easy to make but really cute!” Anna hasn’t even read my blog but she seems to have my messaging down pat! I still can’t get over the fact she was looking for content for my blog. So ridiculously cute. I will in fact give this recipe a try at some point and let you know what we think!

    Last Friday when I went to Big Traveling Potluck, Nate had to make dinner for the kids. Cate suggested they make english muffin pizzas, which was perfect for the occasion. She was excited all week about dinner that night and couldn’t wait to teach everyone how to make the pizzas. She even wrote up directions.

    cate recipe 1 web

     

    cate recipe 2 web2 quick notes. First, I love the after thought “Oh, get plates” at the top of the page. Second, why is she having us split the english muffins with a fork? She’s been hanging out with her dad too much.

    I love these girls.

    Also, it appears that I am raising future food bloggers. Look out, world!

    EmailPinterestFacebookTwitterGoogle+StumbleUpon

  7. Friday, April 5

    Karma Keeps Me Humble and Cream of Tartar Is NOT Immortal

    EmailPinterestFacebookTwitterGoogle+StumbleUpon

    Remember that time when I started writing for Babble and was feeling pretty good about myself and all cool and stuff and also suddenly had to create content for that site in addition to maintaining my own blog so I decided to do a post a week on Babble sharing my most reliable and favorite chocolate chip cookie recipes because that would be a service to the world at large and because I’m totally obsessed with chocolate chip cookies and I decided for the first recipe I would share the Amish Chocolate Chip Puff Cookie recipe that was maybe my most reliable chocolate chip cookie recipe to date and I wanted to make them again so I could shoot a new photo for Babble and because they are so darn good but then I procrastinated and made the cookies the day I was scheduled to publish the post and then the cookies came out flat as freaking pancakes and not puffy and Amish-y at all and I realized karma was making sure I didn’t let things go to my head and karma also made sure a mom from school who I had just met and who had just found out I had a food blog was there to witness my awesome kitchen skills?

    Yeah, I remember that time. Just like it was yesterday. Wait, it was yesterday.

    I may have a food blog, but apparently that doesn’t mean anything. Just so ya know.

    P.S. I made the cookies again today, with cream of tartar purchased today instead of 7 (8? 10?) years ago and, turns out, it is a fool-proof cookie recipe! Apparently cream of tartar is kind of important to this recipe AND it does in fact stop working after years and years and YEARS of sitting in the spice cupboard.

    P.S.Again. I did end up getting a nice, new photo of these yummy cookies and wrote about them today on Babble. It’s a great recipe, be sure to check it out!

    EmailPinterestFacebookTwitterGoogle+StumbleUpon

  8. Sunday, February 17

    Week 317 Menu

    EmailPinterestFacebookTwitterGoogle+StumbleUpon

    On Wednesday this past week my grandfather passed away unexpectedly. He was 91-years old and was a happy man to the end. We are sad but he didn’t suffer and lived a long life. You know, I don’t think I’ll ever get used to this death thing. It’s just so strange. And unexpected deaths, well, I don’t like missing the chance to say goodbye. I just hope Grandpa Wallin has been hearing my thoughts all week, as I ponder his life and think about what I would have said to him one last time if I’d had the chance.

    I am grateful to my grandfather and my grandmother (who died in 1995) for having the courage to move to the United States all those years ago, setting into motion the events that lead to me sitting here today.

    We are staying with family all this week, so no menu for me. My meal plan is to enjoy lots of meals with people I love!

    Please still post your menus for the week so you can inspire one another! And, your homework this week (well, besides planning a menu!)…pick up the phone and call a loved one you haven’t talked to in a while.

    Have a great week, everyone!

    EmailPinterestFacebookTwitterGoogle+StumbleUpon

  9. Thursday, January 31

    Happy 6th Birthday, TWFD! And a KitchenAid Giveaway to Celebrate!

    EmailPinterestFacebookTwitterGoogle+StumbleUpon

    Today is the 6th birthday for This Week for Dinner! Happy Birthday, Blog!

    It’s funny, looking back so much has happened in that time: two babies, a few moves, career twists and turns, lots and lots of food. It almost feels like it’s been a good decade or so! I have loved writing this blog and I look forward to many more years of doing so! I also want to thank all of you for your support. A blog is a unique thing because the readers actually take part and truly shape the blog’s personality. I am thankful to you for your comments, conversations, interactions. And, if nothing else, I get to steal your menu plan ideas every week!

    In celebration of the blog’s birthday, I have a spectacular giveaway for you today! One of you VERY lucky, randomly-selected commenters will win a KitchenAid 13-Cup Food Processor! You even get to pick the color! (Retail value $249.99. U.S. shipping address only, please.) It’s wicked cool (shout out to you New Englanders!), with externally-adjustable slicing, a second 4-cup mini bowl, ultra-wide mouth tube with 3 size options, and three speeds. Bottom line, it’s the top of the line. It’s beautiful. It’s awesome.

    I have been wanting a food processor forever but never pulled the trigger. The other day when I was watching the America’s Test Kitchen homemade pizza episode, they recommended the KitchenAid as their favorite food processor. I was SO happy that’s the one they picked cuz I gots friends at KitchenAid. I went a-begging, telling them I wanted to do something FUN and BIG for the blog’s birthday. Next thing I know I have a beautiful, empire red food processor in my kitchen and another one to give away! A very happy birthday, indeed. Big thanks to KitchenAid!

    I did in fact make the America’s Test Kitchen pizza (more on that tomorrow) and the food processor was fantabulous. (Side note: Spell check accepted fantabulous as an actual word.) I have a new pizza sauce recipe that I can’t wait to share with you tomorrow (that post is now published, click here!). It will be the perfect recipe for you to try out on your new food processor…but you have to enter the giveaway first!

    Here’s how to get yourself in the running!

    All comments must be posted by Midnight PT on Wednesday, February 6.

    Good luck to everyone and thanks again to KitchenAid!

    Now, go eat some chocolate. That’s how the blog wants us all to celebrate. It is the blog’s birthday, after all. We should listen.

    EmailPinterestFacebookTwitterGoogle+StumbleUpon

  10. Sunday, January 27

    Week 314 Menu…and Using Beautiful Things

    EmailPinterestFacebookTwitterGoogle+StumbleUpon

    Hello! I think I just might be ready to get back in the groove! Our house is still a mess of paper, boxes and piles, but we’re getting there!

    This morning I discovered that the dishwasher is basically useless. {Insert sarcastic “Yay!”} Cate and I rewashed and dried everything and had a nice time together. I don’t know if or when the dishwasher issue will be resolved, so I think we have a lot of dishwashing in our future.

    I am a firm believer in using beautiful things. For example, the cutting board that I bought at the Ferry Building in San Francisco. Part of me wants to set it aside, put it on display, never let a knife hit its surface. But it is a cutting board, you’re supposed to cut on it! And because it is so beautiful, that elevates the everyday, mundane task of cutting things up. Even daily tasks can be beautiful and inspiring when looked at in the right light.

    I have been hiding away a stack of embroidered dishtowels that my grandma gave us when we got married. Embroidered dishtowels were her standard wedding gift and heaven only knows how many towels she embroidered over the years. This morning when I discovered we would be washing a lot of dishes, I decided to take these special towels out of the linen drawer. I took photos of each towel in their white, pristine state. And then I officially put them into the regular dishtowel rotation. I’m going to enjoy the towels, look at them everyday instead of once every few years when I reorganize the linens. I’m going to think of my grandma every time we use the towels. And I’m going to create memories with my children. These towels will become a part of my children’s history, just as the towels my own mother received on her wedding day are a part of my history and memories of childhood. These cute, embroidered duckies will forever remind my kids of hours spent washing, drying, talking and getting to know one another better over the kitchen sink.

    And now, a real menu for the Maynard family!

    SUNDAY (today):
    Steak
    – Roasted fingerling potatoes and zucchini

    MONDAY:
    – Chicken, zucchini and corn enchiladas
    – Guacamole and chips

    TUESDAY:
    – Chicken Masala (using TJ’s simmer sauce)
    – Rice and a veggie

    WEDNESDAY:
    – Leftovers

    THURSDAY:
    – Homemade hamburgers

    FRIDAY:
    – Takeout

    SATURDAY:
    – Breakfast for dinner (probably waffles)
    – Fruit

    SUNDAY:
    – Chicken Noodle Soup
    – Homemade bread

    Thank you all who have so stalwartly posted weekly menus over the last month of crazy in my life. I am so grateful for your inspiration every week! Looking forward to seeing what you have planned for this week! And remember to bring beauty into your everyday!

    EmailPinterestFacebookTwitterGoogle+StumbleUpon

Martha\\\'s Circle
Eat Less Meat
SocialLuxe
ONE