Do you really heart boobies? Or are you just saying that?

So.  I am just going to come out and say it.  I am a breast cancer survivor.  Ick.  I really don’t even like typing that.  Don’t get me wrong.  I am VERY glad to be here.  I just hate being associated with the disease.  And I don’t heart boobies right now.  At all.

My boobs have seriously let me down.  What once were my most prideful assets (they looked good, people) are now the source of so much pain and stress.  One now looks WAY different than the other.  They used to look great in a bikini, fed my kid, and were the source of well-received compliments.  And now I wish I never had them.  (Sigh.)

I have been cancer-free since July 25, 2011.  Six months out.  So I am a newbie to this whole breast cancer thing.  It still hurts, but day by day I am getting through it.  My hair is growing back and I am slowly losing the weight I put on from treatment.  It threw my seven-year relationship with my husband through a massive loop but we are slowing putting our lives back to together.  Happy hour is in my vocabulary again and my two-year old likes me (today).  So life is good.

But.  I need to address the t-shirts.  Oh the t-shirts.  I feel like there are so many!  I Heart Boobies, Boobies are Rad, Save the Ta-Ta’s.  I get it.  Don’t mess with the boobies.  No one knows this better than me.  These shirts were designed as a way to positively communicate about breast cancer to young people and to create awareness about the disease.  Funds from shirts purchased go to independent scientific research and grants to be awarded that conduct such research.  I’m okay with these shirts.  They’re funny and  do good things.  I just want to be sure that people understand what they mean as it’s very easy to make light of something that has the word boobie on it.  Just sayin’.

This post was inspired by a conversation with a teenager I saw in line at Target.   This was at the end of my chemotherapy treatments, and before radiation.  He looked like your typical teen hipster youth, probably not older than 15 years old.  He looked like he had something better to do than be at Target.  I looked terrible.  He had an I Heart Boobies wristband on so I commented on how I liked his wristband and that it was good that he was supporting such an important cause.  Let’s just say the conversation wasn’t fruitful.  He looked at me like I had a disease (well, I did), mumbled something, and then turned the other way.  (Another big sigh.)

Granted, this was a young kid and I am probably being too hard on him.  Bald grown-ups probably don’t talk to him that much.  So I probably startled him.  My point is, to me, as a survivor,  these t-shirts and wristbands make a powerful statement.  So much that I need to know the story behind it.  If I see someone wearing one, I wonder, does their mom have breast cancer?  Does their Grandma have breast cancer?  Does their best friend’s aunt have breast cancer?  Do they really just like boobs?  What’s their story here?  Why are they wearing this shirt?

Bottom line is, if you wear one of these popular shirts or wristbands, please do so with purpose as they were created to serve a very important cause:  Boobies are nice and we need to take care of them.  We also need to remember to  take care of someone whose boobies weren’t so nice to them.  They would really appreciate that.  Also know if you are wearing one of these shirts, someone will probably want to talk to you because it does have the word boobie on it.  So you should probably know what that means.

In the spirit of being pink, here is a recipe for some delicious pink lemonade (courtesy of Ina Garten).  We can pretend like it’s spring, right?  Helpful hint:  Don’t forget the vodka.  Add as much as you would like.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (5 to 6 lemons)
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup superfine sugar, to taste
  • 1 cup crushed ice
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons grenadine
  • 6 maraschino cherries
  • Vodka

Place the lemon juice, sugar, ice, water, and grenadine in a blender and process until completely smooth. Place a cherry in the bottom of 6 glasses and pour the lemon juice mixture in the glass.  Add vodka. (Insert sigh of happiness.)

Why I love work, and why work (hopefully) loves me.

The alarm goes off.  I remember when this used to make me scrunch even deeper into my nest of covers and groan.  But instead, I roll over, feed my Facebook addiction (I mean, something could have happened during the 7 or 8 hours I have been asleep!) and get out of bed, not a complaint to be heard, near nor far.  I tame my nest of curls, wash my face, get dressed, and, if I am super organized, make a nice hot soy chai to drink in the car during my (gasp!) 10 minute commute.  Madame President is usually still asleep at this time, another bonus.

So why all this compliance?  Why do I never experience a lame-ass case of the Mondays?  Because I work part-time.  And I don’t work Mondays.  Hah.

Yes.  I have it pretty good here.  And I am not writing this to brag.  I am writing this in the hopes of sharing what works for our family.  I work 3 1/2 days a week, instead of the usual obligatory 5.  The thought of working 5 days a week  now makes me shudder.  Does this make me a bad employee?  I think not.  This actually makes me a GREAT employee.

I now LOOK FORWARD to going to work most days.  I get to the office with a dang smile on my face and I am happy to be there.  I have an annoying bounce to my step and am productive with my work assignments.   I can focus on my tasks at hand and not worry constantly about my mommy to-do list.  Why?  Because I am not burnt out.  I am not tired (most of the time.  And if I am, it’s usually my own fault because I had one too many at happy hour. Or Madame has given me the rare 5 a.m. wake-up call).  I have had an extra day off to spend with my kid and get my shopping done (usually).  I have been able to have a playdate with a friend without cramming everything into one Saturday.  Being able to work 30 hours a week with a young child has given me enough time at home (although I would like more but let’s be reasonable), and enough time outside of my house to make me feel like a productive member of society.  And I really like it.

I realize that this is not  a possibility for most working moms (or dads).  Which sucks.  Many organizations do not offer part-time employment or parents have to work full-time because of financial obligations.  My employer has supported my need to work a reduced time-base and as a result, I can be at my best in both my worlds.  But, my husband and I have made sacrifices to make this feasible for us.  We live in a modest house (no McMansion for us!) and drive modest cars.  We take our lunches most days and I have become no stranger to the Grocery Outlet and other bargain venues I never dreamed I would be stepping foot in.  But to me, the small sacrifices are worth my sanity.  And my family and place of work reap the benefits.

To keep with the theme of busy families, I would like to share a great recipe that can either be prepared the night before and popped in the oven right when you get home from the office, or put together very easily about a 1/2 hour before dinnertime.  (We even had this tonight.)  I usually serve with rice pilaf and green peas from the freezer or steamed ready-cut broccoli.   And a bottle of  delicious $5 wine from Trader Joe’s (no more $15 weeknight bottles for us!).

Parmesan Dijon Chicken

1 cup bread crumbs

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/3 cup melted butter

2/3 cup Dijon mustard

3 tablespoons Vermouth

4 whole chicken breasts (cut in half)

In a shallow pan, combine bread crumbs, cheese, and butter.  In another shallow pan, mix mustard and wine.  Dip chicken in mustard/wine mixture, and then in bread crumb mixture.  Arrange chicken pieces slightly apart in a greased (cooking spray is fine) baking dish.  (At this point you can cover and refrigerate).

Bake, uncovered at 375 degrees for approximately 30 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink in center.  You can garnish with parsley and lemon if you are feeling fancy.

Serves 4-6.  Great leftovers too!

A new year, a new blog.

I am still in a bit of a champagne fog from last night’s festivities (read: mustache party and game night with Big Ry and in bed by 10) and my hair looks like one of the male cast members from Jersey Shore (you know, the tan one), but good morning 2012!  Mamaknowszest is my new home to dish about all the glamour that comes along with being a new mom (and the wine that is consumed as a result).  I also will be sharing a little about my addiction to all things homemade, simple (read:  easy), and delicious. Here’s to a new year and a new blog to gossip about . . . . I get to vent, you get a recipe, so why not?  But first things first, a girl’s gotta post her New Years Resolutions.

Top 5 “I Will Not” New Year’s Resolutions:

1.     I will not post on Facebook that I have a husband for sale, no matter what he does.

2.     I will not justify that a glass of wine counts as a serving of fruit as it is made from grapes.  Especially if I have had more than one glass.

3.     I will not buy my 2 year-old (from here on out known as Madame President) a $5 balloon every time we go to the grocery store (even if she is perilously screaming in the check-out line).  But if someone insists on buying one for her, that is okay and I will thank them profusely.

4.     I will not cringe when it is my husband’s turn to make dinner and it consists of fish sticks and cereal.  I will eat it and enjoy it because I did not have to make it.

5.     I will not judge the Kardashian sisters.  They have feelings too.  Even if they don’t look like it because their faces don’t move.

 Top 5 “I Will” New Year’s Resolutions:

1.      I will go to Zumba once a week, even though I look like an injured bird trying to take flight in my attempts to belly dance.

2.     I will take balloons out of our family budget (see # 4 above).

3.     I will actually clean the couch instead of just flipping the cushions over every few weeks.

4.     I will get off my dang iPhone and pay more attention to my kid and husband.

5.     I will smile, nod, and muster a positive response when people say crazy, inappropriate things in passing conversation (instead of wanting to wring their neck and then gossip about them for the rest of the day to my poor husband).  This frees up time to bake something I shouldn’t be eating.

And, as promised, here is a recipe for a yummy and easy appetizer to bring to any lingering after-holiday parties you may have on your calendar.  Thanks for reading the long-awaited first post of mamaknowszest. . . . See you in a couple weeks!

 Sausage Stars

  • 1 pound cooked crumbled turkey or pork sausage
  • 3 cup grated Colby jack cheese (or any cheese you may have on hand)
  • 1 cup Ranch dressing
  • 1 (2.25 ounce) can chopped ripe olives
  • 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 package fresh or frozen won ton wrappers

Blot sausage dry with paper towels and combine with cheese, dressing, olives and red bell pepper. Lightly grease 2 muffin tins and press 1 wrapper in each cup and bake 5-7 minutes at 350 degrees until golden. Remove won ton cups from tins, place on baking sheet and fill with sausage mixture.

Bake 5 minutes at 350 degrees or until bubbly.  Makes about 4 dozen.