10 Helpful Thanksgiving Tips

Can you believe that Thanksgiving is less than a week away?!?! This year has flown by!

Thanksgiving is by far my favorite holiday. I have had the honor of taking over hosting from my grandmother who did it for over 50 years. And I wanted to share a few of things I’ve learned.

  1. Keep it simple! This is not the place to get super high brow on your family. Stick to the faves and if you want to add 1 new dish or 1 new dessert to your repertoire that’s cool, but this probably isn’t the time to test out any new techniques you saw on Iron Chef.
  2. Break up your grocery shopping. A few weeks before buy all of your pantry items like the potatoes, onions, frozen veggies, canned goods, etc. Then the Sunday or Monday before, grab all of your perishables and any last minute items. I promise this will make your life much less stressful. While you might think it’s a hassle to make two trips to the store, trying to get everything on your list in one stop is daunting. I guarantee that you will forget something and inevitably have to make another trip to the store anyways.
  3. On Thanksgiving day, all you should be preparing is the turkey and gravy. I know so many people who wake up at 4 am to start prepping for this gigantic meal. But here’s the thing, potatoes, stuffing and green beans are very sturdy sides and can easily hold up for a day or two in the fridge. I make all of my sides and desserts on Tuesday and Wednesday. Then on Thanksgiving Day, I am freed up to hang more with the family and I feel less overwhelmed.
  4. When cooking for a large group, use two birds that are a bit smaller than one giant turkey. It will take less time to cook assuming you have a double oven, and since the bird is smaller it is much juicier.
  5. Dust the turkey with sweet paprika right before you toss it into the oven. This gives it a nice brown crust.
  6. Always pat the bird dry and let stand at room temp 30 mins before putting it in the oven for 15 mins/ lb.  (375 is my preferred temperature)
  7. If you make your own whipped cream, which really is a must: sweeten with confectioners sugar: I️t contains cornstarch which will act as a stabilizer.
  8. Do not reinvent the wheel. Coco’s or Marie Calendars can bake way better than me! So do the semi-homemade hack; buy the pie and make the whipped cream.
  9. I found that the little ones are not big fans of pie, so I always have an alternate dessert like ice cream or chocolates for the kiddos.
  10. Remember, at the end of the day this holiday is about and enjoy spending time with your loved ones above all else. Hiccups will happen, but that’s life!

    (A few pics of past Thanksgiving dinners.)

Are there any tried and true tips you have? I would love to hear them!

Have a wonderful holiday friends! xo Betsy

And That’s a Wrap on Summer (Thank F’ing God!)

“The time has come for the little ones to head back to school, I am so sad that this summer is over!” Said No Mom EVER.

I remember as the school year was ending in June talking to some mommies who were like, I can’t wait for summer! We get to sleep in and spends lazy days at home. Listening to that I thought my head would explode. Don’t get me wrong, props to these mom’s whose children who can sleep past six and play happily together without trying to kill each other within 5 minutes. But that ain’t my house.

When I think of Summer I think about the fact my otherwise well-behaved kiddos become Ipad hungry cranky little trolls who live to drive me crazy. Then there’s camp. Nothing like driving all over the city paying an ungodly amount of money to hear my children complain about wanting to stay home. Hey A-holes, mama’s gotta go to work!

Ok, Ok, it really was a fun summer.

We snuck in a fun staycation at the beach for Max’s birthday, spent a lot of time with friends, and made it to Disneyland twice. We even managed a little time relaxing.

We did find some time to be lazy!
And quite honestly the Summer really did fly by and I am not quite sure that I am ready to see my baby march off to Kindergarten tomorrow.

But I am ready to get back to our routine. All the summer fun definitely has its price. Especially on my pant size. Will probably have to wear those Maxi dresses and yoga pants a little longer before I switch to jeans and sweaters. Thank god it’s still hot as balls in San Diego.

It is such a dichotomy really. I love those boys so much sometimes I think my heart will explode. Other times they literally try my patience to the nth degree. I love being their mommy, it’s my world but I need Betsy time. I need routine. I need order. I guess it’s a fair trade though. 9 months on, 3 months off. I can handle that. And I know sooner than later they will need me less, and I will need them more. Time truly does fly.

I need routine. I need order.

I guess it’s a fair trade though. 9 months on, 3 months off. I can handle that. And I know sooner than later they will need me less, and I will need them more. Time truly does fly.

Sigh.

Anywho, we wrapped the holiday weekend up with a pool party at my mom’s house, today is school orientation, and Wednesday their first day! (F’ing FINALLY!)

Time to start thinking about apple picking, candy corn, and Halloween costumes, ya feel me?

xoxo

Betsy

Did You Miss Me?

Hey there! It’s been a minute since I’ve been on my little bloggie. We’ve had a LOT going on around here the past 2 1/2 months. Lots of changes, and thankfully all positive!

The boys are fantastic! The school year flew by, and we are looking forward to lounging by the pool, and of course a little adventure to our happy place!

But the two biggest changes are:

1) I am back to work full time.

I left the classroom exactly a year ago. After 12 years of teaching elementary school, I made the decision to resign. This was not an easy choice but I was no longer being fulfilled with what I was doing. I knew if I didn’t take that leap and walk away, I would continue going through the motions and end up miserable. I am still working with kiddos but in a much different realm.

After I left my job I struggled to find my groove. It was a very uncomfortable time for me. I have always been a person who measures her self-worth by the number of items crossed off my to-do list each day. Without the routine of a regular work schedule, I really began to flounder, and stress eat!

There’s a saying: “If you want something done, give it to a busy person.”

That. Is. Me.

Not that having 2 children didn’t keep me busy, but I needed something that was my own, and I crave routine. It was a very hard transition, and while terribly uncomfortable, it was much needed.

About a month into my new job, I had a sort of a-ha moment.

I immediately called my mom (of course) and shouted into the phone: “I’m back!!!” After a very long hiatus, I finally feel like the old me.

2) The scale is FINALLY moving in the right direction!

I definitely feel that when I started focusing more on what I needed to feel fulfilled, things started falling into place, that including my wellness journey. I am not yet all the way to where I want to be but I am a helluva lot closer than I was six weeks ago. Booyah!

So yea, that’s what I’ve been up to. Any big changes in your life?

Talk to you soon!
Betsy

4 Quarters or 100 Pennies?

Have you seen this quote making the rounds on Facebook recently?

Over the past weekend, it made me think…

My baby Wyatt turned five on Friday. He was so excited and we had a jam-packed weekend of celebrating him. We ate dinner at Corvette Diner, and spent the weekend at Legoland with family.

A few days before his birthday I ran into a momma from our previous nursery school. During the conversation, the topic of Wyatt’s birthday came up. She asked me if I was having one of my “famous” blow out birthday parties.

You see, I have garnered quite the reputation for having over the top parties for my kiddos.

When I told her I just wasn’t up to it this year, she gave me a look of disappointment.

This made me think about whom I was throwing the party for and why I had absolutely zero desire to plan one this year?

Which brings me back to the subject of 4 quarters versus 100 pennies.

This goes to the fact that I have spent way too much time and energy in the past trying to impress others. I was killing myself trying to make everything “perfect.” Details and particulars that my son, the birthday boy, the person who it should all be for, could care less about.

I’m over it.

This was the first year that I focused my energy completely on my son and enjoying him and our little family. Honestly, it was one of the most delightful birthdays we have celebrated together.

This isn’t to say that I will never throw another party, but the focus will not be on whether I have fantastic goody bags and Pinterest-worthy decorations.

This is not an issue of mommy wars or mean girls, this is just ME coming to the realization that I am done doing things for the wrong reasons.

This goes beyond birthday parties. It’s about cutting the fat and not giving into the social expectations put on us.

What I’m saying is, from now on I will do me, and you do you, ok? Cool.

So happy birthday kid, may we all be a little bit wiser this year.

Do ya feel me? Have you had any a-ha moments like this recently?

Talk to you soon!

Betsy

Vegas, We Meet Again

I think this is my first true photo bombing!

Hey hey hey! Happy Monday! How was your weekend?

We just got back from Las Vegas for the PAC12 college basketball tournament. It was a total whirlwind 48 hours! Last year I posted what it was like visiting Vegas as a mom in her thirties (you can read it here) as opposed to a college student or a bachelorette. I have to say I prefer visiting Vegas with a slightly more sober lense. Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy a few cocktails, but I wasn’t stumbling back from Drai’s at 5 am mascara raccoon eyes and my shoes in my hand (not that that has ever happened when I was younger

I have to say I prefer visiting Vegas with a slightly more sober lens. Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy a few cocktails, but I wasn’t stumbling back from Drai’s at 5 am mascara raccoon eyes and my shoes in my hand (not that that has ever happened when I was younger ??) I digress.

I want to share a few highlights from this year’s trip with you today:

First and foremost, hanging with these guys all weekend!

In front of the Bellagio fountains.

We haven’t seen them since they moved to Tucson around Christmas time, and it was a much-needed bromance/ bestie visit.

The Caviar Bar at the Bellagio:

my husband LOVES caviar. I was always kinda icked out by the idea of eating fish eggs. Let me tell you, with all the accouterments (and a cocktail) it is ?.

This breakfast:

Eggs Benedict of my dreams.

Mon Ami Gabi is Gina’s favorite Vegas brunch stop and last year we weren’t able to make it. The food was excellent. The French fries, probably the best I’ve ever had. I really can’t pass up on eggs benedict, my Achilles heel. Definitely a place worth checking out when in Vegas.

Blowouts and Dirty Shirley Temples:

Dry Bar Las Vegas

There is a fairly new Drybar inside the Miracle Mile shops in Planet Hollywood, which was right across the street from our hotel. Only in Vegas does Drybar have a  DJ spinning music and a bartender at your fingertips. I love nothing more than having someone else wash and blow dry my hair. Blowouts are not something I indulge in regularly, but when in Vegas right?

Basketball:

At the game.

Although my beloved Bruins did not make it to the championship game this year I will always love watching live basketball, and the fans. I love die-hard college sports fans. Not often nowadays can you turn around and hug it out with a complete stranger simply because you share a love for the same team. So refreshing to see that kind of kinship out of complete strangers. It gives me all the feels.

The best part of my trip by far would have to be;

Time with this guy:

My Love.

 Weekends like this are an excellent reminder of the time we spent as a couple before the kiddos were around. There will come a time when it will just be the two of us in the house. I don’t want to look at my husband in 15 years and say, hey, now what?

Personally, the trip was a great opportunity for me to refocus and re-center. Getting away from reality for just a few days clears my mind of those everyday little things that can seem so big at the moment.

Friends, food, basketball, and booze. I would say that all in all, it was a fantastic weekend.

Did you do anything fun this weekend? How do you relax and recharge?

Now on to preparing for my Wy man’s fifth birthday!

Talk to you soon! xoxo

Betsy

Why We Ditched Gluten

My youngest son Wyatt had quite a health scare when he was 2.

We just assumed that his fussiness with certain foods was age appropriate. He seemed to only want typical kiddo junk food like mac and cheese. He loved milk, yogurt, apple sauce. Basically anything soft and easy to eat.

But one night just two weeks after his second birthday Wyatt was super fussy and refused to eat any dinner. I was frustrated but figured he would eventually get hungry enough to eat.

Continue reading Why We Ditched Gluten

Holiday Comfort Meal aka Paella a la Betsy via Gwyneth Paltrow

Chicken Paella
Chicken Paella

It finally feel like winter! At least for San Diego standards. I thought this would be a great time to share this amazing paella recipe I adapted from Gwyneth Paltrow’s book “It’s All Good.” The recipe is hearty, filling, and gluten and dairy free. This recipe makes SO much food is ideal for serving guests over the holidays

Continue reading Holiday Comfort Meal aka Paella a la Betsy via Gwyneth Paltrow

Ready. Set. Clip.

My husband Jeremy likes to keep his hair, lets just say, short. Like, “honey you didn’t tell me you were planning on enlisting” short.

In the past I would give him his haircuts myself with his old set of clippers, but they were always so hard for me to handle and I would inevitably goof up. So every 3 weeks he heads to Supercuts, and let me tell you those $20 buzz cuts add up!

But recently Andis sent me one of their DIY hair kits to try.

Continue reading Ready. Set. Clip.