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Spring Cleaning

Hey, do you miss not having a new blog post to poodlewalker? I’m working on some updates! I’m ready to clean up my blog and make some positive changes to it. My first post was August of 2013 and I have yet to update the look. Well, we can’t have that!  We all need to keep growing and expanding. So if you miss Sincerely Trish podcasts and the poodlewalker blog, stay tuned for a new and improved site. You are so appreciated. Thank you for caring.

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

 

 

Advice to a Younger Person

       I was recently at a luncheon with ladies who were all their in 50’s all at different career levels. One thing is for sure, all the ladies were supportive and happy just to take time out to enjoy lunch, and laugh with friends. This is the good stuff in life. Unemployment, divorce, taking care of elderly parents and loss of close family members are a few of the hits that have come along in life. Establishing and cultivating friendships are really important and it was so fascinating to hear how some of the ladies have been friends since diapers and others since their babies have been in diapers. Luncheons are so lovely, I may have to start a lunch club. Please listen to the podcast today to hear all of the ladies at the luncheon their advice to a younger person.

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I would like to offer this advice…

  1. Overlook more and focus on the bigger picture. The bigger picture is to lead a good life and to get to heaven. Don’t waste time arguing about insufficient stuff with a sufficant person. We now say this a lot…would you rather be right or happy? I’d rather laugh and smile and make a joke out of it.

  2. Jealousy is a waste of time. This world is big enough for all of us to fulfill our dreams, have all the money we can make and have all of our children become success stories.

  3. Take more movies of your kids and record their voices. You will be surprised how their voice changes. Keep your kids young and innocent for as long as possible.

  4. Make nutritional dinners and stop thinking that Oreo’s, gummy bears and Cheetos are good for your kids.

  5. Entertain more. Your house will never be perfect.

  6. Faith is crucial. Teach your kids to pray and pray with them before meals and bed. And stick to your beliefs out there!

  7. Love is everything. Say “I love you” more often. Say it over and over. Your greatest legacy is the love you gave this 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.

 

 

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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Wish List

My inspiration for today’s post is from a “wish list” I happened to see from a very special high school senior. She wrote down personal goals and the direction that she wanted to go in the New Year. At first, I thought it was going to be a Christmas wish list of gifts….Apple watch, running shoes, Kate Spade purse, even a Herschel backpack …but no, on her list was making a music play list, spending more time in prayer, seeing God in nature and spend more times outdoors. I was so touched. What a beautiful list. In a way, it is a self development list.

What is your wish list? I have asked myself that question.

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My wish list is as follows:

1. Appreciate more the people in my life when they are alive and let them know! Recognize their talents and tell them! Make your own hall of fame: induct people in their own way! Emphasize people’s talents, people’s ability to do what they do best. Simply pointing out the good in others. Our world is so beautiful and we need to thank all the people who put in the effort. If someone starts a business…congratulate them. If someone runs a race…be sure to recognize that!

2. Be more organized so that your home is always “Guest worthy”. Always have an open door policy so when anyone drops by, you can focus on them, not cleaning clutter. I know this is something I need to work on.

3.  Set priories and stop the distractions.  Focus on where you want to go. Everything in life can be accomplished with accountability, toward yourself. Get clear on where you want to go…new job, lose weight, plan a vacation, find an alternative way to generate more income, or start a blog. Invest in yourself to become a more influential person for the good…read more, take a class, learn skills, attend seminars, so that you do not become stagnant. Even the smallest step towards self development is a big step.

4.Plan and schedule more time for dinner out with friends or invite people to come to your home, and cook for them. A meal is always a time to share a peaceful couple of hours. There is nothing like connecting with friends and letting them now how much they matter to you.

5. Leading by example. You do not need to be a leader to set examples for others. You do not need a title to be a leader. Be an example to others where and when you can. Start with your family and do little things for them. It can be as simple as cleaning up after yourself, and doing things for the house. Soon it will rub off on others. Leaders know how to finish a task and motivate others. Not by nagging or commanding, simply by their example.

You will find a wish list to be much more satisfying than any material gift out there. But a Wish List needs to be something you don’t just wish but you make a step forward to make it happen.

Thank you for reading. Make that list!!

Sincerely, Trish

3 Ways to Celebrate All Saints-All Souls Day

Today dear readers,

I’m going to give it to you straight. We really have no idea how much our loved ones need our prayers. I’m afraid that our culture is moving away from the need of masses, prayers and sacrifices. We are caught up in posting about them (guilty) and not doing what is the most essential… praying for their soul.

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Save all the memorial cards of loved ones from funerals and tuck them in your family bible for safe keeping.

 

I want to share with you the….

“Top 3 Ways to Celebrate All Saints and All Souls Day”

  1. Have masses said for the beloved dead. We cannot ever presume that they are in heaven, they may be in purgatory and getting closer and closer to Heaven. Visualize being able to see the finish line but just need a little more…c’mon…let’s help those loved ones get there and have masses and simply pray for them!

  2. Visit the grave site. Fix it up. I have heard to sprinkle holy water around. Look up to the sky and pray for all the dead that are buried near your loved one. Take the time to show your children and others where family members and loved ones are buried. Imagine how much the souls appreciate your prayers. If someone helped you on earth, now we can help them by offering prayers on their behalf.

  3. Offer it Up! Doing little sacrifices throughout the day help you to get through the mundane tasks with a smile. What the world sees as unimportant is often the most important to our Lord. The tedious, behind the scenes, no accolades or honors kind of work. It’s doing laundry or the dishes when you don’t want to, it’s resisting something to eat, it’s making dinner after a long day because in making these sacrifices you can “Offer it Up” to poor souls in purgatory who are in need of our prayers. What high value is now placed our ordinary and wearisome tasks!

Thank you for reading and believing.

Sincerely, Trish

The “Healing” Power of Dogs

This past week I had the privilege of speaking before the National Veterinary Associates who held a conference here in Buffalo. An established relationship with a friend that I met during our active years at the Junior League of Buffalo, Bethany Botzenhart who knew our story, asked me to speak about our dogs. She knew the power of healing these dogs gave us from following along on my Instagram account poodlewalker1.  Bethany is a strong reminder that our associations are truly life enhancers.

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I spoke about this blog. I spoke about how I use to write Christmas letters which were always filled with laughter with stories of everything that has always mattered most..faith, and family.

It helps to look back and see that even going back to my first posts confirmed that our life was deeply rooted in our Catholic faith. Those deep roots saved us.  We needed to dig deep into our faith. We are so thankful our faith was in place. Faith does not prevent the tragedies in life but it is there to catch and save you.

Our dogs were also there. No matter how trivial it may seem…our dogs gave us immesureable comfort.

These crazy dogs Rory and Lucy held us together in a very real way. Yes, a standard poodle and a cockapoo. One a better listener, more attuned to our emotions, more obedient, with her only desire to please. The other is the one we call “Baby”, she is the one we give belly rubs and attracts children on our walks and to our home. They are quite a team and proof that size and breed doesn’t matter.

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Here is Natalie with Rory at the Farmers Market in Buffalo not long ago. They are both natural beauties and reminders of all the beauty found in nature.

The dogs became our buffer, our way of coping of the painful reality of what has happened has really happened. Each of us, my husband, son and daughter needed those dogs more than we care to admit. Each of us has an unique relationship with each dog. When we needed time to grieve alone, a dog was grabbed before entering a room. We needed their comfort. We needed to touch, and feel and we needed to pet them.

There is no question that dogs live a selfless life and dedicate themselves to their pack. They look to serve their master and are constant companions in our home.

Dogs are life coaches without trying. They are certainly not our whole life yet they make a house a home and add wholeness to our lives.

It would be so easy to stay in our house and close the shades but the dogs depended on us for walks. Going outside and walking in all kinds of weather was incredibly therapeutic. The dogs reminded us how to breath in the outside air, how to look around, pay attention to all the little details on walks, the sights and smells, and the simple joy of walking. One foot in front of the other and looking up at the big magnificent sky.

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Natalie with Lucy.

 

The most important benefit of walking was connecting again with our wonderful neighbors who are not only familiar with the dogs but also shared in watching Natalie grow up and flourish before their eyes. There was no barrier for people to stay away from us because we were out sharing hugs and compassionate conversations. To eliminate the awkward barrier was crucial. Those dogs made sure no one stayed away and our hearts are so filled with gratitude to all the examples of beautiful friendships and neighbors.

The dogs added an enormous feeling of life back into our homes. They helped us feel alive again. When you hear the dog toys squeaking, the paws pattering across the hardwood floor and the loud barking every time the mail carrier, UPS delivery or someone passed our house..you can’t help but feel on alert.

Dogs will always listen. I think that is why God created them with such big ears. Dogs never tell you what you are doing wrong, they simply enjoy that you are there. You are present. That is enough. Dogs connect us and without Lucy we would not have visitors like our dear friend Sylvia who we joke doesn’t need vaccinations because she has received so many dog kisses slobbered on her face.

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Sylvia is a frequent visitor due to her friendship with Lucy.

I get a kick out of all the vocabulary words they know and how dogs know exactly what we are saying. Dogs even enjoy when we pray the rosary. Sure, they lay at our feet quietly and know that peace is filling our hearts.

Our lives will never return to what they were and our wound is so deep, yet we know Natalie touched so many by her smile and laugh, her kindness, her joy and her discipline and willingness to help others. We all miss her in different ways.

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The dogs are looking out the front window ready to bark at any passerby.

 

It’s crystal clear to us now the more you focus on how temporary this life is the more you focus on what is important. Value life. Value each day. Love your family. Keep it together. Draw your strength together during good times and bad. Marriage is sacred. Be there. Be present. Be loyal like the dog.  Show you care, be kind to each other, don’t blame each other, be gentle. Love. And above all else..Hold onto your faith. Celebrate the life rather than the death because the fullness of life is with God Our Father and Our Blessed Lady forever.

Oh, and you know that old expression, “Live each day like it’s your last?” I think we learned that from dogs.

Thank you for reading.

Sincerely,

Trish