Tuesday, June 29, 2010


under construction...this blog's a mess! please excuse...j crew mama has been playing around and doesn't have time to clean up her mess...
bad mama...

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Twelve years.

Today is twelve years.

Last year, I posted about the day my dad died. Every June 15th, that day comes back to me with a flood of tears.

Today, my sister and I are trying to remember the little things about him that are starting to fade.

His laugh. His hugs. The way he'd brush our hair when we needed some Daddy time.

But, with each year, it's harder to remember.
My sis was twelve when he died. So this year means that she's spending more of her life with him gone that she did with him here. She remembers even less than I do.

His laugh is hard to remember, but I remember that it was mostly silent. Like one of those laughs that's more airy and sort of wheezy. It was even that way when he wasn't sick. I guess my brother's is kind of like that, when I think about it.
He had these perfect hands. He could be a hand model. He always kept good care of his fingernails.
It's funny, when I see his face, my brother looks so much like that picture in my head. Even the way that he rolls his eyes and shakes his head at things when they're funny and sort of ridiculous reminds me of my dad.
But there's not much. I don't remember what it was like to hug him or have him hold me. The only touch I remember is how his body felt when I first saw him after he died, in his hospital room. I remember falling into his lap and holding on, wanting him to hold me. I remember how still his legs were. I remember the feel of his knees on my one elbow. And his lifeless abdomen on my other.
I want to remember much more than that. So badly.

I knew that this day would come. I knew that one day, it would have been so long that I wouldn't remember what it was like when he was a part of my life.

I just want to remember so much more of what it was like when he was.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Yum yum...and good for you, too!

One of my favorite things about cooking is when you can pull off something that tastes like a treat, but it's actually good for you.
I've had a couple of requests for the recipes of oatmeal bars (good for you) and black bean brownies (not great, but way better for you than traditional brownies!).
Here they are:

Oatmeal Bars

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix the following in a large bowl:
2 1/2 cups rolled oats (not the "quick" kind)
1 cup walnuts (roughly chopped, I like to leave big chunks!)
1/2 cup or more dried cranberries (or raisins)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Then, in another bowl, combine:
2 cups milk
1/3 cup honey (you can use more or less; I've made it with none and they're still good and wholesome-tasting!)
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla

Mix the two bowls together and then pour into a greased or parchment lined 13x9 pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the corners are golden-brown. Allow to cool and cut into rectangles. These also freeze nicely. I like to wrap individually in plastic and then grab one (or a bunch for the kids) from the freezer in the morning. They're perfectly thawed by lunchtime!
Also, these are great with a plop of vanilla yogurt for breakfast! They're soft and filling!

Black bean brownies

This recipe is a little more informal. I am not sure where I first heard of it, but I definitely didn't make it up myself. I'm not that creative.
You take a boxed brownie mix (bonus if it's organic!), and a can of plain ol' black beans. Drain the beans, put them back into the can and then top off the can with water. Place them in a food processor and puree them until you can barely see bean skins. Mix them with the boxed brownie mix, replacing anything that the box says to add.
Then, follow the box directions for baking.
That's it! Extra fiber...never a bad thing. And from brownies.
PS: No one will ever know what's in these unless you tell them. Honest...

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


Wow, it's been a long time since my last post.

That can only mean one thing: it has been insanely busy here at the J house. We had double duty last week, while soccer was still in full swing amidst the first week of swim team. Phew...
I am thankful that we celebrated the end of soccer this weekend and are in full pool mode. We spent the entire day swimming yesterday. My oldest two have the hot pink backs to prove it. (Bad Mommy assumed that they lubed themselves up while I was covering the three little ones in sunscreen! Oops!)

Just in this past week, Emily and Kaleb are improving so much in their swim skills. They have spent the last couple of years on the sidelines cheering on their buddies. This year, they're part of the team for the first time. Last Monday, Emily was in tears, confessing that swim team is "WAY harder" than she thought it would be. Yesterday, she swam about 25 laps "just for fun".

The weekend was strange, though, and I found it difficult to truly relax. My family in NY is mourning the loss of my mom's sister, who passed somewhat suddenly last week. At 48, she leaves a daughter in her 20s and two grandkids who will rely just as much on stories of their Grammie as on memories.

I must have mortality on my mind more than I realize, because I have been having those crazy dreams where someone I love is gone, only to wake and remind myself that I haven't lost them. It's awful. I spent at least an hour this morning trying to snap out of it. Assuring myself that all is okay in my house. My kids are safe. My husband is healthy. I mourn my aunt, and thank Jesus that I have who I have.

It's funny how death does that. You go to a funeral, you come home and hug your kids. You love your spouse a bit better.

Even if I lost all of my earthly possessions, I lack nothing. I am blessed.

Even when life is busy and the kids are screaming, I am blessed.