Love Letters

Love Letters, A Literate Passion

‘The frankest and freest product of the human mind and heart is a love letter,” wrote Mark Twain in the introduction to his autobiography.

Read More

How To Host Your First Christmas, For Newly-Weds

How To Host Your First Christmas, For Newly-Weds

I remember it like it was yesterday. Geoff and I volunteerted to host our first Christmas in 2014. Tradition and family are important to both of us, and to show our appreciation to our families, Geoff got the idea that we should volunteer to host Christmas. At first I was hesitant. We’ve been married for four years now, but back then we had only been living in our new townhome for ten months and it still didn’t look like  home, it was mostly empty and the walls were still white. We were just starting out. So my first thought was “Can we afford to host Christmas?” If you’re afraid that you might have gotten yourself in a situation where you might not deliver on Christmas as hosts, here’s how easy it really is to do:

Simple Meal

When planning the Christmas feast, whether you are serving lunch, dinner, or something in between, think simple. We thought about what foods and dishes we like and what we’ve always wanted to try.

Start with the main course: usually meat. 

  • If you don’t share the same taste, try something new like we did. I like lamb, but Geoff doesn’t. We took into account what our families like and decided to pick a universal favorite: beef. We took a recipe I had always wanted to try: lamb stuffed with leeks and chestnuts. We subsituted lamb with beef. Simple solution.

Appetizer: Just One

  • Having soup and salad is great, but they also make you full faster. To make it easier for you and your spouse, and to ensure that your guests don’t get full too soon, pick either a soup, or salad, or an interesting antipasto.

Pick 2 side dishes

  • We decided on mashed potatoes and Normandy vegetables. Vegetables are good for you and your guests, and who doesn’t love mashed potatoes? Pick sides you know well but don’t be afraid to try a recipe you’ve never tried before. Find out from your husband what are some of the favorites side dishes his family likes. Picking sides that both families likes is not only considerate, it’s smart.

Dessert: Just One

  • The fun part of only picking one dessert is that there is no guarantee that everybody is going to like it. However, it makes it easier on the hosts, and it doesn’t overwhelm your guests. As someone with a sweet tooth, I love parties where there are over a dozen desserts to choose from, but too much dessert is not healthy. Also, some people don’t really like sweets, so keep that in mind too.

Beverages 

  • We let our guests know that they could bring their own bottle of wine, but we made sure we also were well stocked. For a party of seven, we served an apperitif before appetizer, got through one red wine for the main course, and served a delicious almond champagne for dessert. We had two whites, and a red on reserve, just in case.

Accept Help

If your guests ask if they can bring a dish to contribute to the table, take them up on their offer. This helps you not go over budget and saves you time in the kitchen.

I want to give a shout out to both Geoff’s mom and my mom for their contributions. 💖

Also, if a guest asks if they can help you out in the kitchen, accepting their help doesn’t discredit you. You and your spouse are going to be Superman and Wonderwoman that day, so remember to watch out for eachother and work as a team. Having one person have everything on their shoulders is not what marriage is about.

Create an Ambience

Think simple, don’t think that the whole place has to look like the inside of a catalogue. For any party on a holiday, like Christmas, Hanukkah, Easter, etc., the important thing is to have the main symbol for that holiday. We had the Christmas tree all decked out, lights on the windows of our house, and the table cloth was red and green.

What really helps creates the ambience is the music. We had iTunes radio playing in the background Christmas songs and it not only did all the dj work for us, it made everyone feel happy.

Each year you can add to your Christmas home decor arsenal. A part of what creates the ambience for a great party is how the hosts feel. If you love your home, it’s going to show. People remember how you made them feel, they’re not going to fault you for not having an entirely Christmas-ized home. Especially if you’re just starting out. Don’t be insecure, the point of parties is for everyone to be together.

Enjoy

You know you’re going to be running around on Christmas as hosts, so it’s important to remember to join the party and enjoy what you’ve created. Sit back and relax from time to time, socialize with your guests. Breathe! There’s a reason there are people who enjoy giving parties. Not only are you giving people a good time, think of yourselves as kids in a candy store. It’s all up to you, you two get to choose everything and make your party as fun and creative as you can. Enjoy it while it’s happening!

Merry Christmas and Happy Hosting!

The Plight Of Beautiful Moms

The Plight Of Beautiful Moms

Recently I wrote about how and why aging ramps up for us moms after childbirth and it got me wondering, what if you’re a mom who stays beautiful, who without trying stays looking somewhere in the twenty-five years old hot zone? My first thought was “it’s greener on the other side.” It must be really enjoyable not having to struggle with your looks, right? Well, I put on my philosopher’s hat and started to dig deep. I found in my research that in fact it’s pretty lonely being beautiful.

Think about it; let’s say you as a beautiful mom make some moms feel inferior, jealous, threatened. You might have to work harder to make friends because everyone thinks you’ve got it all going on in your life, like you’re so in demand. This all creates a force field of sorts keeping you lonely unless you put in a lot of effort to maintain relationships. You need to show that you’re not perfect, you need to prove that you won’t steal someone’s husband or that you don’t have a big ego, etc. This looking perfect or steps above in the looks department in the end doesn’t sound as enjoyable as I once believed.

And guess what, I’m not making this up. Did you know there is such a thing as a fear of beautiful women? It’s called caligynaephobia. There are countless phrases and sayings that make beauty out to be this painful thing you have to suffer for, like ‘pain is beauty’ or ‘the beautiful and the damned.’ And this article poses this whole argument that with beauty comes loneliness. Believe it or not it’s not a rare idea. “The prettiest girls are usually the loneliest” comes from a Two and a Half Men episode in which Charlie explains to Alan how the prettiest girls are usually the loneliest because guys are afraid to talk to them. The more common idea in culture is that attractive people come by friends and all things easily. But the opposite is another side of culture that we don’t hear enough about. It’s been written about not as extensively as other phenomena, but enough to prove that there is in fact a downside to being beautiful.

Men might fear rejection, but for women there is either fear or self-loathing that manifests in others by either being mean or distant to said beautiful mom. Tessah Schoenrock writes in What It’s Like To Be A Pretty Girl “You won’t have many girlfriends; that much should be obvious.” For a mom trying to make mom friends it must be hard to overcome the cruelty or avoidance of other moms, your own gender group denying you support you might really need or making you feel like there’s something wrong with you.

No wonder some people believe that “the prettier a girl is, the more nuts she is” (from the movie Blue Valentine). Have you ever found attractive people to act odd around people? I notice it with some, and most often than not it’s probably from not wanting to make a mistake so they act shy, nervous, or super reserved around new people. And in turn they keep themselves in the force field bubble more in doing so, because people will interpret their behavior as not interested in them or self-involved.

After reading this you might now see how it can be quite a catch-22 being a beautiful or attractive mom. Maybe I’ve opened your eyes about this often dismissed phenomena, or maybe this whole article hits home for you because you are a suffering beauty. So often we get stuck in a bubble regardless of how we look because we’re so focused on taking care of our families that we forget to take care of one of the most important needs we have as human beings: connection.

So if you’re a beautiful mom or not, remain open to making friends, keep an open mind, and keep trying to forge connections with other moms. No one knows what the the person is struggling with, but we can make it easier on each other if we remember we’re all struggling in some way. We’re all moms, so let’s try to focus less on what makes us different from each other and instead focus on the support we can give each other.

Read More

Join The Tinley Park Moms Facebook Group

Join the private Tinley Park Moms Facebook Group where moms can ask for help, questions, and tips, while other Tinley Park Moms provide their knowledge and support. Click here to visit.

Follow Me On Instagram