Menu Banner

Category: musings

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. Wednesday, January 23

    Hello from the Land of Boxes

    EmailPinterestFacebookTwitterGoogle+StumbleUpon

    Hey there! Can you hear me? Not sure if you could because I am literally buried in boxes right now (Ann Perkins!). I can barely move and am pretty sure my voice must be muffled by all the paper that is burying me alive.

    Since I am not cooking and I can’t download photos from my good camera anyway because heaven only knows where my cord is, thought I would just pop in and say hi real quick. I have a post about change brewing in my head, but it’s taking too long to get on paper and, right now, I really just need to unpack, unpack, unpack.

    So, we made it to San Diego. Barely. Four of the five members of our little family got the stomach flu this weekend…yes, the very weekend we were driving to San Diego. And, I may or may not have mentioned this (my brain is so fried I can’t remember), but the girls and I all had lice the week before that. (I paid a pretty penny to get rid of it, but it was worth every dime. P.S. Nitxies in Redwood City is AWESOME.) Anyway, my weeks of single parenthood are over, I am SO grateful that Nate’s company paid for movers, and we are in beautiful San Diego safe and sound. I wasn’t entirely sure it would actually happen, but it did! And, this morning at the park, we could smell the ocean. We are lucky people. (Shout out to all the single parents out there…you are amazing.)

    A long time ago I told you about Howard’s Piccalilli Relish, which I have only ever found in New England. I kind of love it. So, every time we go east, I buy a couple bottles and carry them home in my suitcase. Today, as I was unpacking, I found EIGHT JARS OF RELISH. If you combine a little bit of obsession with forgetfulness, you end up with EIGHT JARS OF RELISH.

    Wonder what else I’m going to find the next few days…

    EmailPinterestFacebookTwitterGoogle+StumbleUpon

  9. Wednesday, December 19

    Gratitude

    EmailPinterestFacebookTwitterGoogle+StumbleUpon

    Yesterday was a rough day, thanks to work and myriad other things going on. When dinnertime rolled around, we decided to just hit California Pizza Kitchen with the kids. When we first got there, Owen was being all grumpy-like and the girls were kind of hyper. I was feeling overwhelmed.

    Then Cate said, “Let’s play I Spy!” Honestly, my brain couldn’t handle it. I kept thinking about my to-do list, I wasn’t feeling well, I just didn’t have the energy. But Nate jumped in and proceeded to play a guessing game with the girls all throughout dinner. I sat there, watching their excitement with the game, listening to their sweet comments, gazing at their innocent, beautiful faces. It was like a healing balm. I felt grateful…grateful for Nate, grateful for those cute kids.

    Gratitude. That is what I’m focusing on this week.

    Gratitude for a 5-year-old daughter who wanted a crown birthday cake. Gratitude that I had the chance to make it for her.

    Gratitude for the work that provides us a place to live, even if it gets stressful sometimes.

    Gratitude for each moment I get to spend with my loved ones.

    I’ll survive the week. I may or may not get everything done that I’m supposed to, but that’s okay. I am grateful.

    EmailPinterestFacebookTwitterGoogle+StumbleUpon

  10. Sunday, December 16

    Week 308 Menu…Honoring…

    EmailPinterestFacebookTwitterGoogle+StumbleUpon

    Today, no menu. I don’t know, it just doesn’t feel right. I know all of us were affected deeply by what happened in Connecticut on Friday. It was all I could do not to burst into tears at any given moment on Friday, especially as I sat in my car at school pick-up watching my daughter’s classmates stream out of the school in anticipation of the weekend, blissfully unaware of the dangers in the world.

    I talked with Cate just a bit about what happened. No details, just broad strokes.  I wanted her to know a little of what happened, in case she heard talk of the event at school or in other places, which I am sure she will. I wanted her to feel safe. I wanted her to know that, despite the bad in the world, there is good.

    A quote going around Facebook this weekend really struck me. It’s from Fred Rogers, one of my all-time favorite people. “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.” I shared this quote with Cate. She got it. And we both agreed, the world is full of helpers.

    My weekly menu post is normally up Sunday morning. It was on my to-do list this morning, as it is every week. Only today was also one of our daughter’s birthday.  So there were other items on the list that aren’t normally there. Blowing up balloons. Wrapping presents. Decorating birthday cake. Surviving {barely} dinner at Chuck E Cheese. The blog post kept moving down the list. Because those other items, those were more important. Those were the moments that needed to be savored and the blog post could wait.

    Instead of menus this week, let’s focus our comments on honoring the families of Newtown, Connecticut. One of my online friends Victoria, aka VDog, lost her nephew Noah on Friday. Her tweet was one of the first I read on Friday and it broke my heart. Please comment and share words of comfort, love and support for sweet little Noah’s family and all the families affected by this tragedy. (You can click here for more info on how to support Victoria.)

    Much love to all…

    EmailPinterestFacebookTwitterGoogle+StumbleUpon

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