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Category Archives: Family

The Cincinnati Experience

        Somehow I was granted the privilege of being a chaperone for 10 Nardin High School young ladies along with Stephanie Malinowski and Rosalie Sperrazza.  In two mini vans we headed to Cincinnati, Ohio to give a week of service to others.

 

           I cannot tell you the amount of people who said to me, why Cincinnati? We have so many opportunities to help people right here in Buffalo. True enough. But staying in your own city fills you with distractions, and you stay in the safe zone, and the unknown tends to bond with the group together.

 

           The best reason to go on a service retreat is that you see the world differently and you see each other differently too. You really grow in admiration of each other. New friends. New perspectives. And you become so grateful for what you have waiting for you back home. A family, a home, a comfortable bed, a dog, a school you are proud to attend, and the list goes on and on.

 

Please watch the movie to better understand.

 

        Our world was expanded in the city of Cincinnati. Driving over the Ohio River into Kentucky a few times, all the hills, all the stairs, the trains, and the historic row houses. We over came fear and we had a boost in our confidence that we can return home and paint a deck for someone too. We discovered the positive difference you can make in someones life. You witness immediate results and see the smiles on their faces. The young ladies saw the good in their own city of Buffalo too. Little things that they took for granted like our beautiful view of Lake Erie, walking along Canalside and the cooler temperatures. No matter where you go, you always stay loyal to your hometown and getting out of town just reinforces that.

 

 

 

 

          We lived in simple housing, cell phones were restricted, mirrors were hard to find in the house, and meals were prepared together.Each day began and ended in the chapel for reflection and prayer. What a peaceful way to live.

 

 

         We all have opportunities to mentor, to share our talents, to influence for the good , to life people up, to love and encourage each other, to believe and help others. I hope that Ava, Amelia, Adrianna, Caroline, Isabella, Leah, McKenzie, Melanie, Shannon, and Tori all realize how much I care about them and see their goodness and light shine so bright.

 

           Thank you to the City of Cincinnati who opened our eyes to the amount of non profit agencies that we don’t have to help people along when they need it most. The generosity of it’s residents is so impressive.

 

 

          See the world differently. Leave our distractions behind and go on a service trip. You will return home in a new light.

 

Sincerely, Trish

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://franforthepoor.org/

MacKenzie Childs Barn Sale

On a 85 degree, no clouds, no shade kinda day in the thick of the summer, with 15,000 of your closest friends, there’s nowhere you’d rather be than the MacKenzie Childs’ Barn Sale. Holy Checkers!  For Buffalo people, this is Aurora, NY on Cayuga Lake about 2 hours and 20 minutes away. It can be confusing because Buffalonians have East Aurora as a suburb and the Town of Aurora. To repeat, this is Aurora, NY. In the Finger Lakes. Plan your road trip accordingly. It’s not 20 minutes away!!

 

 MacKenzie Childs is located on a 65 acre farm as peaceful and picturesque as any fairy tale. They started selling their unique and whimsical handcrafted ceramics in 1983. It’s pricey. Sticker shock is real. But so is the desire for something unique, a couple treasured objects, the sport of hunting for a bargain and a lasting memory. As crazy as this seems, this is an annual tradition for so many. The vast majority of the crowd was female but there are always the guys that are really into decorating or the helpful husbands who run back and forth to the car with bags, chairs and coolers. It’s crazy because the wait to get in is a couple hours or more. The lines are insanely long. This is in the heat of the summer. So yes, pack water. But yes, also enjoy meeting others in line, discussing the past sales, what you are looking for this year and time passes quickly. Everyone has a story. Everyone traveled here. People will pull out lists and lists of presents they are buying for Christmas, and you realize the joy and excitement people are feeling in that moment, transpires to different holidays and homes across the country.  Soon the paper bracelet of the day is applied to your wrist, the specials of the day are announced, you are given brown paper bags with handles, the music plays and in you are on your way to tent 1, 2, 3 4, and more. It’s impressive the vast amounts of merchandise there is and also the large amount of easily identifiable staff working the sale in the turquoise Tshirts.

This is our first experience and I have a few tips.

Timing is Everything – we decided to go first thing on day 2 of the sale. I have heard that Day 1 is a mob scene but quite frankly, so was day 2. I think the absolute worst time to show up is at 10 or 11 am because you will have your longest wait. Go early and later. I also think that the last day Sunday is a good choice. There are further mark downs and maybe a little less people.

Stamina – you will need it. You will be standing, hunting, talking, and many people coming up to you and admiring something in your shopping cart and saying “where did you find that?” You will need water if it’s hot out (another reason we chose the morning hours). Also, on the topic of shopping carts, don’t grab one until you are in the barn sale- they will take it from you while you are in line. I’d bring a wagon if you want your own caddy.

 

Please watch the video. It will make you feel as though you were there.

 

Goal- People come with a goal or a list and many get all their Christmas gifts at this sale. People go through catalogs and have long plotted out their plan. Also, have a budget. You could really go crazy and blow a lot of money. People tend to over load their shopping carts and thought out the tent sale there are restocking shelves for you to place if you decided not to purchase something you grabbed. There’s a lot of stimulation. It’s easy to over grab, so make a list and stay focused, but also have fun.

There are not that many things that are unique experiences anymore. So many friends do this annually. They make a memory of it. If something asked me right now..what was the best memory for you in the summer of 2017 ? I would hands down say….The Mackenzie Childs Barn Sale. It was because I was with my daughter Caroline. It was because we made a trip out of it. It was because we stayed in Seneca Falls and enjoyed our stay there. We swam, we visited a winery, and we discovered such delicious dining places. The Finger Lakes are God’s fingers on earth. Just taking a couple days to be together to laugh and escape is invaluable. It was a new and exciting experience. It’s easy to criticize and say “look at all those suburban women with money buying more stuff,” but it’s so much better to see the greater vision of this small town with artists who inspire and make you feel like you can create anything by mixing patterns and crazy designs. I can’t help but admire these artists who created this pottery and made this town famous for the black and white checkerboard design.

And just like anything in life, you need to experience it for yourself. Someone can give you a checkerboard MacKenzie Childs piece and you’ll be happy, but it is just so satisfying to wait the two hours to get into the sale and find your own checkerboard piece…now there is a story behind it. It’s just like money, someone can hand you money, but when you earn it yourself it simply means more and is more valued.

Keep making memories.

Sincerely,

Trish

Family Reunion Time

If your family is fortunate enough to have an annual family picnic or reunion, it’s easy to roll your eyes and think of other things you would rather do. It’s probably that little voice inside you that says…no one cares about me, i’m not doing anything exciting, and maybe even thinking you don’t matter. Don’t listen to that voice. Listen to the voice to appreciation that someone even rallies to make the effort to organize a reunion. Listen to the voice to makes you want to bond, make memories, and learn more about your families past and set goals for the future. There are always so many little known facts about someone. There’s always a cool cousin you always admired. There’s always an aunt that gives you a big hug, there’s always an uncle you need to learn more about. The great thing about reunions is sitting down and talking and suddenly and idea pops in your head from your conversations. You have new chances to learn. New chances to excite each other, and gaining a new perspective.

This year we made it a point to attend my husbands family picnic. It made me fill up with thoughts and reflections about how important it is to gather together and connect with your family. My husbands uncle and his wife were celebrating 67 years of marriage. Think about that. Think about the message that sends loud and clear to the family members…to be the example, to commit to marriage, to give and and to take, that the benefits of staying together far outweigh any little annoyance we all have on others.

 

Please watch the video below. You will appreciate the gardens planted from past generations. A family reunion has a higher purpose than you might imagine.

 

 

Marriage is a union between  a man and a wife and I use to think of that in the flesh only. Yes, children are an immeasurable gift of marriage but it’s much more than that. It’s uniting ancestors and his family becomes yours and yours becomes his. It’s has a much higher calling to unite under God, this earth, this society, and your family to give of yourself for the sake of this world. It’s seeing the good, it’s seeing the benefits, it’s praying for the souls of those who planted the seeds for us. It’s not only learning about ancestors and what they did on earth but asking their help so we can contribute positively while we are here on earth.

 

Chances are you will pick up a new recipe at your reunion, and you’ll share some laughs, but hopefully you’ll pick up a new purpose to carry on in life with more meaning and accountability to one another.

 

Sincerely, Trish

 

 

 

Sincerely, Trish

Scratch the Surface

We stayed at the beautiful Dearborn Inn that Henry Ford built. I’d drive 5 hours to swim in the outdoor pool again.

 

This past weekend, we ventured to the Detroit, Michigan. Detroit sure has a lot of nicknames…The Motor City, Motown, Hockeytown, The Comeback City, and the list goes on.  Don’t you find that people and places with a lot of nicknames tend to be colorful and likable and are distinguishable in certain ways? I almost didn’t mention to some people that we were invited to Detroit because the reputation is not of a vacation destination. Crime, poverty, unemployment, just a bleak place is an unfair reputation that is cast upon Detroit. We need to be reminded that reputations can be unfair.

 

Scratch the Surface. Visiting Detroit. Wanting More. from Poodlewalker on Vimeo.

What kept popping into my mind was the simple thought…I have just scratched the surface of this city. We think of beaches for vacations, but why not great American cities with roots and history? We only scratched the surface. The Henry Ford museum went far beyond my expectations. It was simply a celebration of America. Seeing all the old Ford plants and the turnstiles you could close your eyes and see and feel the many thousands of former plant workers piling into work.

There was so much more we wanted to learn and discover about Detroit. Again, I kept thinking how much more meaningful and impactful are life is when we deep deeper and not just scratch the surface.

Nothing matters more than our relationship with Our Creator. If you want more substance, spend more time in prayer, refection, reading, and of course in church. No matter where you go, He is there with us waiting and wanting us to enter into a deeper relationship with Him. Thank you Abe and Clare for inviting us to Detroit. It’s an amazing place and you guys are a big reason. It’s so apparent that together you are making people around you better by your example.

 

You know I like to capture life now with little movies. I hope you’ll give it a viewing.

 

Sincerely, Trish 

Easiest Dinner Ever

Are you looking for something easy, fast, inexpensive, healthy and delicious to make for dinner? Folks, I have the answer. Motivated by an Instagram comment on my photo of this dinner, the comment read …recipe please. Really? OK. It’s almost too easy and too good to be true. How about this…a bag of frozen chicken breasts, a bag of frozen peas and a jar of Tikka Masala from Aldi’s. That’s it.

All you have to do is in a casserole dish, throw in a bag of frozen peas, and add frozen chicken tenderloins on top of the peas.  All you have left to do is open a jar of Tikka Masala sold at Aldi’s for $1.99 and pour it on top and throw it in the oven.  I’m almost embarrassed to admit how little I do. I add a little water to swish out the ingredients in the jar. I have also purchased and used the Masala sauce at Trader Joe’s. I bake it in the oven for an hour at 375 degrees because I like things really cooked and bubbly. Delicious!

I’m always on the hunt for these sauces at Trader Joe’s and Aldi’s.

I simply pour the sauce over the peas and the chicken.

 

Tikka Masala for dinner! Press here…

 

 

How easy is this? Bake in the oven for 375 for an hour and serve over rice with a salad on the side. Also serve Basmati rice and Naan bread. You get all the flavors by just opening up a jar! A lot uses fresh chicken and cook it on the stove and add green pepper, onion, pineapple and serve it over rice. You can do anything, the key ingredients is the Tikka Masala sauce. It’s the new soup recipes from your grandma!

This is my plate…I should serve the chicken over rice with naan bread on the side…this is the slim down version.

My dear friend and neighbor Pam has a “go to” meal with her laughs and calls her “Chicken surprise”.

It’s just chicken tenders cooked on the stove top in a little oil and salt and pepper. She adds two cans of cream of celery soup (or cream of….whatever!!) and adds a little milk. She doesn’t stop there. Pam adds vegetables and cooked rice. Toss & turn and mix & heat and you have it…chicken surprise!

I have another friend who will just add a jar of salsa to boneless chicken breast in the crock pot. She puts it on low for the day and the comes home and pulls out the tortilla wraps and adds the cooked chicken to some cheese, lettuce and tomatoes for her quick “go to” meal.

It’s my “go-to” meal. It’s so easy. Oh, you can always cook it in the crock-pot too.

Sincerely,

Trish

 

 

Middle School Hero

How did we ever get through middle school? The exclusions, the awkwardness of growing up, and the strong desire to fit in with our peers. How did we as parents ever hold our tounge and not tell off the kids and parents of the kids who hurt our kids? Please refrain! Nothing comes across worse than an angry parent getting involved. Let the kids work it out and you’ll be glad you did. They will be friends again and you can never take back angry words. Friendships are more important than losing your cool.

In the middle school years, the kids are still kids but need to act cool because they are growing up. All they want to do is fit in and being left out of a party or social gathering is very hurtful especially when it’s splashed all over social media. Kids want to dress cool and certainly don’t want public praise. That’s mortifying. Remember, kids this age just want to fit in and not called out on stage. Whoops, we had to make an exception and call out a 7th grader onto the stage.

Colleen in the middle of our family. Parents of Colleen join us to the right. Congratulations!

Our family is so honored and humbled to have an award named after our daughter Natalie that is given to a 7th grader in the Buffalo area Diocese who demonstrates dedication to bring happiness to people through acts of kindness. The first award winner is Colleen Hennessy of Immaculate Conception School of Allegany County.

Most Reverend Richard J Malone, Bishop of Buffalo joins Colleen Hennessy for a photo.

Listen to Colleen.

Colleen could not be more adorable with a big smile and a beautiful essay written by her principal, Mrs. Nora Burdick, that would make her blush. When you meet a gem like this girl, you just want to hold her tight and thank her for making a difference. There were 2 things that jumped out at me that made me think of what she has in common with Natalie. Colleen is described as wise beyond her years and always there for the parish to altar serve. Natalie would also see things that others normally wouldn’t and was always available to altar serve at St. Rose of Lima parish the funerals that would take place during school hours. She enjoyed serving and hearing about the life of the deceased and I look back and think how this gave her wisdom in how fleeting life is and to not waste a moment doing good.  I wonder if Colleen has any idea, or if anyone of us has any idea, how much influence we have on others by all our little actions. Folks, it doesn’t take much…just a simple smile, a little compliment, or asking if you want to join in on a project. Congratulations Colleen. Keep it up. Kindness can change the world.

Sincerely,

Trish

 

 

Drop the Scorecard

Welcome to January, one of the longest and certainly the coldest month of the year.

During these long days of January chores can become burdens. How often are we adding “scorecards” to our marriages, work relationships, and friendships?

In our home, we all like to walk the dogs on the beautiful sunny days, but when the wind is whipping, the temperatures drop and the days are grey we start up with the “scorecard.” I have been know to exclaim to anyone who wants to listen “It’s your turn to walk them, I walked them twice already today”.

 

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Who wants to walk the dogs when it’s cold out? If you have the ability, be the one!

 

Sincerely, Trish…Because folks, what else matters but love? Listen here.

Poor me. Recently, I heard my friend say..”this is it, I’ve had it with entertaining. I have hosted this person several times and she has never reciprocated. That’s it.” Keeping score. Yikes, made me think, who has invited me places that I have not reciprocated?

Folks, keeping score is petty. There is no such thing as 50/50.  Keeping score holds us back. Keeping score pits person against person. Be on the same team. Be the person who does more and that is your greatest reward. When you invest in your relationships, you invest in love. What else matters? Who cares who empties the dishwasher and hangs up the coats? If you have the ability, do it. You win by giving. Love is an investment. There is nothing out there more important than love.

 

Sincerely,

Trish

 

Happy New Year 2017

Before we get into our new resolutions or goals, it’s important to reflect on the 2016 and give ourselves some credit for things that went well. I pushed myself to entertain more, travel more and celebrate important dates in our lives. I started out having a dinner party a month but once summer hit, so did my motivation. But, I picked up on traveling. The Hotel Hershey, Montreal, Quebec and Bermuda were all part of 2016. Celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary was done in grand style. I’m pushing myself but I know I need to push harder. This blog and podcast also been consistent for over a year now and I want to add improvements to this too!

Today I bring back one of our favorite guests- LIZ!- because she is so bubbly and is a mother of 5 children.  She stays organized despite different schools and activities and is always trying to create fun space in her home to help her children thrive. Lately she has really enjoyed the added lights of the Christmas season and lighting candles at dinner. You’ll have to listen to her list of goals.

 

Liz talks New Year Goals. Press Here.

 

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Liz is always a source of why not you? …and has such a good spirit.

 

My list of resolutions seems to just come so easily for me now. As I try to live each day to become the best I can be, I feel what helps me the most is to trust more. To simply trust in the promises of my faith and believe in the ever after life. I draw so much strength from prayers and quiet reflections. I try to go to daily mass and that helps me so much in drawing closer to our Lord and the saints, especially the Blessed mother.

So for 2017 and beyond…Here is my list.

Eat less

Move more

Play sports

Buy less

Learn more

Complain less

Laugh more

Travel more

Plan a new activity a month

Organize

Worry less

Compare less

and most of all

Trust more

One step at a time, one day at a time.

Sincerely, Trish

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Hug more, Love more, encourage more…all lessons learned from the way Natalie lived.

 

 

Green Goodness

      There are certain people in all of our lives that makes us look better. They contribute a lot by sharing their thoughts, introducing you to new things and doing things for you that no one really knows about. But you do. And you know no one can take their place. My daughter Caroline is that person who definitely contributes a lot to my life and introduces me to wonderful things. For example, she recently introduced me to…vegenaise.

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Buy some vegenaise!

 

      Wait, what is vegenaise? It is a mayonnaise without the guilt. It is an mayo using only expeller-pressed oils. It has the smooth creamy texture of mayo without any of the artificial ingredients, trans fats or preservatives.

You cannot help but notice how much Gwyneth Paltrow likes to use it either.

In her cookbook “It’s All Good” , Gwyneth says “basically cannot live without vegenaise – it’s a little out of control.” She even admits to schlepping it with them if they are going somewhere that doesn’t have it.  Ok, I’m game to try it. It’s tasty too.

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Here is the recipe folks!

 

She calls for it in her green goodness salad dressing. My, my. It’s a lot of gathering up of fresh herbs (basil, chives, cilantro, parsley, & tarragon), scallions, avocado, vegenaise, raw honey, lemon, olive oil, water, and salt and pepper. Mix all that in a blender and puree till it’s the green goodness masterpiece for your salad, or your cut veggies.

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Yes to green goodness homemade salad dressing on my lunch today!

Here is to a healthy you. Here is to a healthy new salad dressing. Here is to 2017.

We all feel so much better when we feed our body the good green stuff.

A homemade salad dressing is so worth the time to make.

Try some vegenaise! And thank you Caroline and Gwyneth for your contributions. Cheers.

Sincerely, Trish

Against the Grain

This time of year is so sweet- I mean literally. Sweet. It is full of delicious treats combining decadent flavors, that are hard to resist. Why would anyone choose to eat healthy, not drink alcohol and lay off sugar, carbohydrates, all dairy and processed foods during the holidays?

It just came to me. Go against the grain.

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Caroline prepared this amazing pasture raised roasted chicken with radishes that was simply delicious.

Advent is the time to prepare for the birth of our savior. If we are going to live our mission this season to truly prepare for His birth,  then why would we over indulge, gain weight, put junk in our bodies, feel uncomfortable in our clothes, drink too much and strain our internal organs?  A time of preparation, directing my thoughts to when I was preparing for the birth of my own children, and how I took no chances during my pregnancy. When a woman is expecting a child, she would not drink alcohol and fill her body with processed foods. A future mom will eat nutritious foods, fruits, greens and proteins, water, and vitamins . She will carefully ponder what to eat. I want to unite my heart with the Blessed Mother’s and eat like I would if I were expecting a baby, I want to prepare for our Savior’s birth the same way.

Inspired by the thought of uniting myself to prepare for the birth of our savior, I thought YES, I will change my ways this Advent. I will feel good about what I eat. I will connect with my body. I will eat sensibly and say no to daily multiple temptations out there.  I will refrain from starch, pizza, muffins, bread, crackers, cheese, candy. I will eat lean meats, lots of fruits, vegetables and salads. I will cut out all fried food and butter. I will practice portion control and drink 8 to 10 glasses of water a day. I will say no thank you when handed a drink and say yes to a sparkling water. I will feel the best I can inside. I want to prepare myself mind, body and spirit for the new born king.

 

Press Here to listen to Sincerely, Trish

Christmas Episode. Eating less before Christmas.

 

 I will say yes to Christmas decorations. I will prepare my heart, my home, and my body for the coming of our Savior. After all, the greatest gift I have, my life, my freedom to practice my faith, all come through Him, and that is the best way I can honor Him.  After all, a man who sacrificed all for us, deserves to be prepared for this way.

Shouldn’t we all be doing this? By choosing to eat good for you foods, you avoid bloating, regret and embarrassment. Shouldn’t we all prepare ourselves physically, spiritually, and emotionally for the birth of baby Jesus? But our society teaches us and children all the opposite. Most of us gain 5 to 10 pounds in 4 weeks.

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Lean meats, salad, golden beets…oh so beauty the bounty of nature.

Now, I am not a Grinch here, I am excited to enjoy some of the treats this world has given us. I love the colors of decorated cookies and all the sights and fragrances. I love the family recipes and the traditions of making the same treats each year. There is a time to indulge in gingerbread flavors, peppermint ice cream, and Christmas cookies…it’s on Christmas Day! The celebratory day, the birth of our Lord, the reason for my being. I will celebrate then, happily, like I do for my own children’s birthday. It will feel special, whole, and worthwhile.

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Yes you can make delicious meatballs without breadcrumbs and cheese….grind the herbs and ground turkey together…delicious!

This advent my spirituality is heightened. And it’s because I chose to prepare myself from the inside out for the birth of our savior. It’s an invitation open to all of us. All women, if they have experienced motherhood or not, can feel a connection to Our Blessed Lady by uniting with her during this time of Advent. Men also, out of respect for fatherhood and in regards to the sacrifices made for them by their own mothers, can unite in this holding off indulgences ( or even some) until Christmas Day!

Check out my Instagram, (poodlewalker1) I have been posting of my carefully prepared means. I started the hash tag #greensgreensproteins, weight came off, energy picked up, I felt more beautiful inside and that made me look better on the outside.

Sounds crazy to prepare your body for the birth of our savior. But folks, He is our savior for all of us, why not clean up our body for his birth? Goal setting and preparation just adds to the joy on Christmas Day.

Sincerely,

Trish

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