my time as a SAHM courtsey of 1,000 snow days

We have had 1,000 snow days here in Boston. This is not an exaggeration…well maybe a little. Boston and the surrounding area has just been hit hard by Mother Nature this winter season. One winter blockbuster storm after another pummels the area and leaves us all cozied up in our homes and covered in a white blanket of snow (this blanket is now VERY thick). Most Bostonians are at the end of their patience with Winter 2015 and begging for the Spring thaw to begin. And when it comes to how the winter has impacted my life at work, I am in this camp. It is hard lesson planning for classes that do not meet, reworking curriculum over and over again to fit into the ever shortening schedules, and reaching out to students remotely. This dilemma is just par for the winter course though and we are tackling it as best we can up here in New England. At the same time though, I am loving these snow days.

They feel like an extension of my much too short maternity leave. Henry was born in July which meant that my maternity leave was also my scheduled summer break from school. I had a terribly short 8 weeks home with my newborn and 8 weeks to heal and get myself back in order to face full days at work. It was SO hard. I cried every day and felt aches and pains but had to just deal because that was all I got with a summer baby. These snow days have given me more time to love and cuddle my son full time and I have to selfishly thank Mother Nature for this. It has been an incredible blessing in my home to be able to squeeze in more time with my family, more cuddles with Henry, and more bonding overall. Gosh the bonding alone has filled me with so much revitalized energy. I feel like I really understand Henry’s routine and needs and not just what he is like in the evenings and on weekends when I try to read signs and cues. Being a working mom or a SAHM comes with a multitude of pros and cons. Parents on both sides of this issue could fill pages upon pages with their joys and their challenges. But, right now with these extra 6 days home with my son and husband I feel completely renewed, relaxed, and happy. All year has felt like a sprint from one class to the next to lesson planning to grading to trying to fit in quality time with family and friends to never having any time for myself. I wish I had been able to have a longer maternity leave but I am thankful to have gotten these snow days.

paella & pregnant winters

The Winter is a beautiful season in New England. Snow covers the trees, streets, and yards of every home, while people huddle with loved ones and friends to stay warm. The sun shines brightly most days with clear blue skies, but the temperatures remind you that winter prefers for you to stay indoors or to layer yourself.  I like to pretend sometimes that I live in the North Pole when the banks of snow are higher than my thighs. How rugged are we? I say as I take Buster and Bella out back to carve a path. This winter has been particularly snowy.  Snuggling indoors with David, we cook solely belly-warming meals like paella. Yet, this winter has turned me a bit against it. Part of me has started to ache for warmer temperatures and springtime rains. Perhaps being pregnant contributes to this a bit. Snowy streets are treacherous for me now. I worry a lot about falling down and what that could mean for the little one. Thankfully (knock on wood) I have avoided this seasonal hazard so far. This morning though, I was in a panic as I tried to climb the hill to my school and found myself sliding backward more than moving forward. While I definitely don’t want to “wish” winter away, I am getting ready for the Spring thaw to come our way.

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fresh bruschetta

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On snow days, I am all about comfort food. Give me macaroni and cheese, meatloaf, or a hot minestrone soup. My belly demands the warm comfort of rich, savory foods. This last storm though was a little different. While David shoveled us out of almost twelve inches of snow, I diced up some tomatoes tossed them with some oil and vinegar and toasted a baguette.  Dinner was light, cool, crisp, and clean and the bruschetta was just delicious (even if it wasn’t my usual macaroni and cheese)! I  burnt my finger a little while toasting the bread because I was over-zealous is my desire to eat this up immediately, so be careful when you flip the toasts.

Ingredients:

2 cartons of red cherry tomatoes

2 cartons of yellow cherry tomatoes

balsamic vinegar

olive oil

garlic

basil

salt

pepper

red pepper flakes

baguette

In a frying pan, toast 5-6 cloves of garlic in olive oil until they are golden brown. Transfer the garlic and oil to a medium size bowl.  Slice the tomatoes in half length-wise and add them to the bowl. Bunch basil together on a cutting board and slice into thin strips, add these as well to the bowl. Sprinkle some salt and pepper and red pepper flakes into the mix. Toss in about 1-2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar. Mix everything together and taste.  Add whatever you feel you want more of.  Set aside to let the bruschetta juices mix together and become amazing. Then slice the baguette. In the same frying pan that you browned the garlic, add a tablespoon of butter and place the slices of baguette into the frying pan to toast. Flip the toasts after 1-2 minutes to brown both sides (add more butter if necessary so as not to burn the toast). Transfer to a serving plate. Enjoy!!

soy-braised short ribs with sugar snap peas

I love three day weekends!  It would be amazing to have one every weekend. Three days is just enough time to fully recharge one’s battery, check off items from the to-do list, and, for teachers, have time to grade without having to compromise on time with a loved one.  I had such a good weekend of all of this. And, of course the time spent with friends and David was the best. How did we tie together this delightful winter treat?  By cooking up a delicious crockpot dinner by Real Simple.

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