Google Dollops of Diane: April 2014

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

I Could Never


After reading in the Listen To Your Mother show last weekend, there was something I heard repeatedly from people - "I could never..." I could never share something so personal. I could never stand in front of all those people. I could never write something like that. I could never. I could never.

It's something we hear from people in different aspects of our life. It's something we probably say to others, too. Well I'm here to tell you (yes, YOU) that you can do it. You can do anything.

I'm a pretty average person. I'm okay at a lot of things and good at some. I don't have any superpowers. We are all pretty average yet we can do extraordinary things. We can do anything if we put our minds to it. You just need to believe in yourself and you can succeed at anything -and it always helps when you have others who believe in you, too.

There is something so empowering about setting a goal (big or small), working towards it, and completing it. It may not be easy but it might just be worth it.

Today is the beginning of anything you want. What are you going to do with it?

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Isabelle's First Red Sox Game

Last week, my husband took our six year old daughter, Isabelle, to her first Red Sox game. It was one of those notorious April days full of rain and raw, coldness. Luckily, the rain stopped and the excitement of the experience kept her warm that night.

The next day, she wanted to document every.single.thing that they did. It's clear we are related, right? So per her request, I wrote down her experience word for word. So without further ado, here is Isabelle's take on her first Red Sox game:

"Me and Dadda got in the car. We drove, and drove, and drove until we parked at the King's parking garage in Boston. We went up floors 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and then we parked on 6. Then we walked down all the stairs until we got to floor one. Then we walked on the sidewalk and crossed the street. Then we went to "Woody's Restaurant" where we met Jeff and Dadda's other friends. Me and Dadda drank big glasses of water. I got a kid cup of orange juice. We ate cheese pizza and then walked to Fenway Park. We showed the guy our tickets and the guy used a scanning wand on Dadda to make sure Dadda didn't have anything he wasn't supposed to. Then we pushed through the spin-ny thing with our hands. Then we walked up to our seats and saw where they were. Dadda took pictures of me close to the field. Then I got an ice cream that was half vanilla and half chocolate swirled. Then we got napkins and sat down at a table. I gave Dadda a bite of my ice cream. I got to keep the baseball cup that it was in. Then we went to our seats and watched the guy who won the marathon throw the first pitch. Then we watched, and watched, and watched the game. Then Dadda got hot chocolate and I had a few sips. I sat on Dadda's lap and then we left. Then we rode in a carriage with a bike on it and the guy pedaled on it. He took us back to the King's garage. We went inside and took the elevator back up to our car. I had a fun night and I liked it. I want to do it again with Dadda!"

Clearly, she was super into the actual baseball game and not just focused on food and drinks ;) Like mother, like daughter!


Sunday, April 27, 2014

Listen To Your Mother - Show Recap!

Saturday was the big day...Listen To Your Mother - Boston! I started the day like all "celebrities" do - battling dust bunnies under the couch in search of lost toys and returning overdue children's library books. The hubs and I then headed into Boston. The weather was NOT cooperative. Although I froze in my raincoat, I was at least smart enough to bring flats and change into my heels at the venue! The day was rainy and cold but there was a brightness in the Old South Church that not even Mother Nature could compete with.

The cast arrived early to do microphone checks, calm each other's nerves, and inhale pizza. Then just like that it was show time! I felt so very lucky to look out in the audience and see familiar faces. Nothing helps to calm the nerves like seeing people from all different parts of your life under one roof there to support you. It was pretty magical.

Luckily, I was the third speaker so I didn't have to wait too long to go on. And by wait I mean listen to my heart beating out of my chest. I hadn't been nervous at all but I feel like no matter how confident you are, your nerves will be tested when up in front of a couple hundred people! So I read my piece - heartfelt words about my mom.

I was so very honored to share my story with others and listen to the words of the other amazing cast members. Everyone really rocked it!

Following the show, we headed to the after party where I was so glad to spend time with family and friends who could join us as well as cast mates. The day went by in the blink of an eye. Isn't that always the case with special days in our lives?

I'm not going to lie though - I felt pretty special all day long. So to all of the real life attendees of the show and all the people who wished me well from afar - THANK YOU! Your support means the world to me.

****You can read the piece I read in the show by clicking HERE!****

Sunday, April 13, 2014

World's Greatest Weekend?

We had one of those weekends that spring time dreams are made of. There was sunshine, smiles, and only limited tantrums. Friday's highlights were Isabelle being the Mystery Reader at Henry's school (read about that HERE!) and her scoring a goal at her soccer game that night. Isabelle really nailed it on Friday.

Saturday morning, Henry helped lead the town baseball parade with his fellow PeeWee teammates. He was SO excited to be in the parade!

Does it get any cuter?
Following the parade, Henry headed off to his first baseball practice of the season. Isabelle, Daniel, and I played on the playground before heading over to the town Common for the annual Easter egg hunt. Conveniently, Henry and Tim finished up practice just in time to head over and join us.

Isabelle and the Bunny pre-hunt!
Daniel came home with the most loot since he still gets to go in the one to three year old hunt. Nothing says bag full o' candy like a big three year old navigating through just learning to walk one year olds!

Daniel loving every minute
We finished up Saturday with a whole lot of outside time at home. The icing on the cake was that Tim and I got to escape for a night out at a friend's party as well. Seriously, could the day have been any more perfect?

Sunday morning we were up and out bright and early for church. The kids were making their debut performance in the church choir and were very excited. All three of them did a great job! As if that wasn't enough, the church had a "donkey" that led the procession to the church while the congregation followed singing with palm leaves. I say "donkey" because apparently they couldn't get a donkey so it was actually a miniature horse with fake ears on it - ha! I'm not going to lie, when I heard this was happening the just-switched-over-Catholic in me thought it was crazy but you know what? It was really cool. There's something powerful and inspiring about a community joining together like that.

From this distance that horse totally could have been a donkey!
So there you have it - another great day in the books. Now I'm looking forward to dinner out tonight with some of my favorite blogging friends. Woot woot!

Hope your weekend was as great as ours!

Friday, April 11, 2014

A Very Special Mystery Reader

Every Friday morning, Henry's preschool class has a Mystery Reader where a parent or grandparent comes in to read a story to the class. Today, we mixed up the routine and had Isabelle be the Mystery Reader for his class. I had signed her up a couple of months ago and she's been eagerly awaiting this day. She picked out a book and we practiced her reading it out loud. In all honesty though, she didn't need the practice. She could have nailed that book with her eyes clothes and didn't have an ounce of nervousness at all. Meanwhile, I was a nervous wreck for her!

So I dismissed her from school (which she thought was super awesome) and we headed to Henry's school. When we got there I asked her if she wanted to take a look at the book before we went in. She said no and began running towards the class. Jeez, even I review the book before I'm the Mystery Reader. Clearly, she's way more skilled and confident than I am!

In the classroom, they have the kids sit on the rug with their eyes shut while the Mystery Reader sits in front of the class. When Henry opened his eyes to see Isabelle he was a little confused at first and then excited. He had a smile on his face during almost the whole story. Of course, his smile may have been outdone by the one that was beaming from my face. Now I've heard Isabelle read a million times before but today was different. She was sitting in the same classroom that she started school in as a three year old. Just last year she was on that very rug being read to and this year she is the one doing the reading. She was loud, proud, and confident - all the things I could have wished for.


I couldn't wipe the smile off my face. It was just such a great moment. So great, that I took my couldn't-remove-smile and her to Dunkin Donuts for her to pick out a treat before returning to school. While there I said, "Wow, Isabelle. A Mystery Reader, a chocolate donut, and it's pizza day at school? This is kind of like the best day ever." She said, "It is! Can we make a scrapbook about it?" Ahhh, that's my girl!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Healthy Habits Kitchen: Balance Meal, Balanced Life!


At the end of the day sometimes the last thing I want to think about is dinner. I mean I'm busy all day. You're busy all day. We're all busy. Just the thought of cooking up a nice, healthy dinner can be exhausting. And in all honesty, some days I'm not too busy - I'm just lazy. Sshhh...that's our little secret! So I was super excited when I was approached by Healthy Habits Kitchen to try out some of their make ahead meals.

Healthy Habits Kitchen creates fresh, wholesome food made ahead of time from scratch. You can then pick them up at their location in Wellesley, MA or have them delivered right to your door. On a night when you need them, you just defrost them and cook them up. What I enjoyed is that it was really easy to cook them on my own. There weren't a ton of steps I had to take - just simple things like to pour a marinade over the meat and bake. Viola - a meal in just 10 - 30 minutes! The best part is though that you can feel good about eating them since each meal contain a maximum of 400 calories per serving, with less than 30% fat and no more than 800 mg of sodium. Convenient and healthy? No way...WAY!

Of course the next question would be how do they taste? Well we tried out a chicken, a fish, and a beef meal and they were all delicious. I actually had a hard time choosing which meals I wanted since they all sounded so good! These aren't your typical frozen meals - these are meals like you'd order in a restaurant. They're serving up dishes like Pomegranate Walnut Chicken with Brown Rice and Salmon Florentine with Creamy Polenta. Don't let the delicious names scare you though - you just follow the simple instructions and they come out perfect. Even a "bad" cook could do this!

You can also choose between small meals which serve 2-3 people or large which serve 4-6. I went with the small since we have some of the world's pickiest eaters here. Their loss was my gain! Oh, and I also cooked up an extra side of vegetables with our meals because I'm trying (so very hard!) to incorporate more veggies into my life.

So in case you can't tell - I'm really digging Healthy Habits Kitchen. If you'd like to try it out for yourself, Dollops readers can take 15% off their first order by using the code DOLLOPS at checkout.

Another cool thing they offer is gift certificates which could be a nice gift for someone in need of a meal (new baby, illness, or just a pick me up) but you're not sure of their taste preferences. Although I'm pretty sure you could order anything on the menu and they'd love it!

So go swing by their website and Facebook page and see what they're cooking up!

*Disclosure: I received complimentary meals in order to faciliate this review. As always, all opinions are my own.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

My One Year Boot Camp-iversary!

Today marks the one year anniversary of the day I started boot camp. Like with everything, it seemed to go by so fast. In this case, I honestly can't believe I've stuck with it for this long. I have just never been a worker-outer. I don't like to get dirty. I don't like to sweat. I don't like to exert myself. Can you tell why it's a mystery that I've lasted this long?!

There's something about this boot camp though that forces me out of bed several days a week at 4:45am. Maybe it's the insanely petite and encouraging instructor (Hi, Carrie!)? Maybe it's the super nice people I've met there? Maybe it's the thought of some "me" time before the morning rush? Maybe it's all of the above?

What I do know though is that taking the first step to sign up for this class last spring was HARD. I actually didn't want to sign up but a friend convinced me. I hadn't worked out in years and years and I was petrified of the first class. I somehow managed to not vomit during it and survived that week by popping Advil and then never looked back.

One year later, I love how much stronger I feel. I love that I know what I am capable of and that I strive for more. I love that when one of the kids asks to race me from point A to point B I don't have to even hesitate to know that I can actually run that distance (even though I still hate running!). I love that working exercise into my life also made me make other healthy lifestyle decisions. I eat better. I drink better. I live better. So today, I'm thankful that one year ago I pushed fear to the side and went to that first class. At the time, I really had no idea how life changing it would be for me and the amazing people I would meet along the way.


Just hammering the morning away
Do you live near Foxboro, MA and are thinking of taking the exercise plunge? Click HERE to find out more about The Extreme Challenge Boot Camp! We'd love for you to join us!

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