Spreading A Little Christmas Cheer

This Flash Mob dance routine to Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas” made me smile!

Dean College Flash Mob


Making the Most of Leftovers – Sweet Potato and Black Pepper Biscuits

I love, love, love Thanksgiving leftovers! The turkey, gravy, stuffing and cranberry sauce all smushed together, melts in my mouth as I ascend into a warm, dreamy haze before the tryptophan has a chance to kick in.

But, after your fourth turkey-hash induced coma in 48 hours, even the most devoted Thanksgiving Dinner disciple needs to find a way to spice it up. This year, in my quest to use all of our leftovers in new and exciting ways, I stumbled on this recipe for Sweet Potato and Black Pepper Biscuits. I’m not known for any sort of baking prowess, but these were pretty simple. I had just enough leftover sweet potatoes for a healthy-sized batch, and they were a perfect complement to my savory turkey pot pie.

My First Try at Sweet Potato and Black Pepper Biscuits
My First Try at Sweet Potato and Black Pepper Biscuits

If you want to try these for yourself, check out the recipe from the Green Crane at Allrecipes.com.

100 Years Young

Earlier this week, my great-aunt, Marie turned 100 years old.

She is an amazing woman. She came from a rather small family. She never married, nor had children of her own. She had one nephew (my father), and one niece. They in turn provided her with 15 great-nieces and nephews, and even more great-great nieces and nephews.

It’s hard to fathom living for 100 years. Just think, she was 5-years old on Armistice Day, and she remembers it. She also remembers that when she was very young, they spoke German in her home, but her father forbade it once the U.S. entered World War I.

She worked for decades for Metropolitan Life in New York City. During the era of TV’s “Mad Men”, she was one of the “girls” in the office pool. (Though I doubt she was ever up to any of the antics portrayed by Don Draper’s girls.)

She traveled quite a bit. While she traveled to Germany and Ireland, she treasured her trips across the U.S. – to Pike’s Peak, and the Grand Canyon.

When we were young, she drove a 1974 Green Dodge Dart. I loved that car. It took us on countless trips back and forth from our home in Vermont to my grandparent’s home on Long Island, New York. She would always take me, my siblings and cousins on little jaunts to Manhattan during our summer visits. She took me to the Museum of Natural History for the first time – where I was in awe of the big blue whale hanging from the ceiling. She and one of her friends took me to visit Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, with a side trip to Gettysburg, PA when I was twelve. I will always remember that trip (in part because I came down with a nasty case of the Chicken Pox on the way home).

Last weekend, those of us who still live in the Northeast came together to celebrate her 100th birthday. We had a lively lunch (everything in our family is lively), and somehow managed to get Aunt Marie to wear a 100th birthday crown while we sang Happy Birthday. She laughed, and was a bit embarrassed, but she blew out those candles with no effort at all.

I’ve attached a little video photo album we put together for her.

100 Years of Aunt Marie from Mary McVeigh on Vimeo.


Aunt Marie – Happy Birthday, and we love you!!

To My Daughter- For Her First Day of Kindergarten

I am NOT a Poet – but what the heck …

You’re off to Kindergarten, and you’re quite well prepared.
Your Tinkerbell backpack is fully packed
With classroom donations of paper and paste,
And a shiny new lunchbox to hold every snack.
The princess’ new clothes are laid out with lace socks,
New shoes and a polka-dot frock
A headband with a bow is the final touch.
Kiss your dolly goodbye; you’re out the door with no muss.

Off to Kindergarten
She’s off and running!

Kindergarten is a doorway, beyond its threshold your classroom awaits
With chunky pencils, glue sticks, safety scissors, and crayons of every shade.
You will write, your will draw, you will cut and you will paste.
There will be learning centers to explore how things work,
From lego-built forts to clock hands to shoelaces and boots.

Just a few words of advice before you bolt through that door,

Stand neatly in line; don’t push and don’t shove.
Try something new, each day
Don’t give up, ‘til you’ve mastered the task.
Share your pencils and snacks
Ask questions – your friends might just be glad that you asked.
Be daring and bold, and unafraid to fail.
Stand up for yourself, and for your friends too.
You know right from wrong, remember that too.
Solve problems; don’t start them.
Be patient. Don’t whine, some things just take time.

Don’t forget – your teacher will teach, but the learning is up to you.

The School Bus
Kindergarten – Watch Out!

Why Parents Must Speak of Unspeakable Things

My 7-year old started summer day camp this week. With the recent verdict in Pennsylvania as an unfriendly reminder of the small number of real-life monsters out there, ready to prey on children, I made sure I revisited an uncomfortable discussion with my little boy. When it was done, I felt only a little relief, and a lot of sadness at having to peel away at yet another layer of his innocence.
This blogger captured my feelings exactly. Read her post about uncomfortable but necessary discussions with our kids.

A Big-Family FAQ

So, like most people (at least I think like most people), who I am today is largely the result of a precise blend of nature v. nurture. I definitely inherited plenty of traits from my parents and grandparents, but my perspective on life was certainly shaped by my childhood, and the boisterous, hectic, big-a$$ family of mine.

Mind you, we’re not as big as the famous “Duggars”, but we give them a run for their money. I have the honor of being the oldest of 13 (yes 10 + 3) children. It was a wonderful way to grow up, and though this surprises some, we were downright normal. We played Little League, went to public school, had family vacations, and though we might have been on a tighter budget, we didn’t suffer.


Often I am asked “what was it like?” (All 13 of us get this question, and many others.) so, my witty and eloquent brother Dan posted the following: “Since You Asked: 20 Things You’re Dying to Know About My Huge Family.” Head on over to his blog “Speak of the Daniel” and check it out!


A Tomboy Raising a Princess via Pink Hat Sports

Over on my other little blog, Pink Hat Sports, I’ve added a post about taking my 5-yr old daughter Fenway Park for the very first time. I had no expectations that my little princess would have any interest in watching the Sox battle the Indians, but to my delight, she loved it. She’s officially hooked … please read on!

So I Am Cheating on This Blog…But It’s All Good

I apologize to you, my blog, for abandoning you these last few weeks. I admit it, there is another. I have been cheating on you, neglecting you, but it had to be done. While I was away, I gave birth to a brand new blog, a bit different than this blog, but I love it all the same.

So, today dear readers, I am making an unabashed plea to you to pretty-please check out this new blog o’ mine, Pink Hat Sports. Unlike my Odds ‘n Ends blog, which has become a wonderful journal of sorts for me, and still is, Pink Hat Sports has a bit more focus. As you can guess by the name, Sport is at the core of the blog, but it will not grow into your typical sports blog. I hope to make it a well-rounded and informative, the perfect resource for the casual fan to know what’s going on in Boston Sports, but also a place for buzz, gossip, and commentary on women and girls in the world of sports.

Like I said, this blog-baby is brand-spanking new. It’s barely let out it’s first weak cry, but I hope to see it grow and mature, and I hope you can come along for the ride.

To start, let me share a post that tells you a little about my thoughts on being a sports fan, and wearing a pink hat….

We Can’t All Be Diehard Fans

Celebrating My 100th Post

 At the beginning of 2011, I began this blog, and joined the WordPress “Post A Week” Challenge. Nearly 14 months have come and gone, and now WordPress tells me that this is my 100th post!

Hmmm, how should I commemorate this important occasion?

Should I revive some of my more memorable posts (memorable for me, anyway)? I could bring back the one I wrote about my mother last Mother’s Day – 13 Things You Should Know About my Mom. Or I could remind you of the love story I told about my grandparents around Valentines Day – Step One: Get the Girl. I could even resurrect the blog post that somehow managed to hit the Freshly Pressed Radar,  Mom, I Know Lots of Words,  about my son learning to read. Dear God, I was gushing with pride then, I’m almost a little embarrassed by it now.

Kindergarten Homework
Kindergarten Homework













When I look back at my posts, I realize that there is a lot of variety in my blog. (Translation: I have no direction!) I’ve shared some sappy stories about my kids, and family, as well as one or two Bad Parenting Moments.

Bad Parenting Moments Logo







I’ve thrown in a few travel posts, mostly about my family vacation. I tried, once or twice, to give some advice on SMART goals, and business skills…as if I know! I’ve even shared a few recipes, like the one for my Kahlua Chocolate Chip muffins. Those things should be illegal!

Maybe I should use my 100th post to give you a list of my blogging resolutions, or some of my plans for upcoming posts (as if I have some).

However, what I should really do is come up with some fresh material.

A “Challenging” Morning – Who am I Kidding? A “Craptastic” Morning!

Today, I had “just one of those mornings”, and really I have no one to blame but myself. Here’s how it went down.

  1. “Thud!” That would be the sound of my feet hitting the floor 30 minutes later than they should have, also the sound of the first domino in the chain-reaction-disaster that was my morning.

  2. I beg and plead with my almost-7-year-old son, and my almost-5-year-old daughter to pretty-please hop out of bed and get themselves dressed in a flash. (The background here – my husband has been away for 2 weeks on an overseas trip, and I am playing the role of single-parent. This means dragging the kids out of bed at 5:30 a.m. during the week to shuffle them off to Grandma’s and school, so I can start my 90-minute commute to work. Fun times.)
  3. I hop in the shower. Just as I lather up my hair, my daughter walks in to argue with me about what she’s wearing. The weather forecast is for 84 degrees and she wants to wear her fleece pants, rather than the “weather-appropriate” outfit we picked out the night before. I am in no mood to argue, and a tantrum ensues.
  4. Still washing my hair, I give her some other clothing options just to get her out of the bathroom. The tantrum lingers, and I “sternly” tell her to go get dressed, and remind her that she is letting all of the steam out of the bathroom.
  5. BIG MISTAKE. My son hears the comment about the steam. NOT good. (More background – the kid has legitimate, real anxiety about fire drills, and steam from our shower has, on occasion set off our smoke alarm.) So now, my son is standing in his underwear, in my bathroom in a full-blown panic, sobbing and hyperventilating. He won’t leave because he thinks the smoke alarm will go off is he opens the door. I BEG him to leave the bathroom – promising him up and down that the smoke alarm will not go off. I won’t get out of the shower with him there, either. (I figure a smoke alarm going off would be much less traumatic than having him see is Mom in her birthday suit.)
  6. In the meantime, my daughter’s tantrum continues on. The next thing I hear is her little voice, through tears saying, “Mommy, I peed.” Of course she peed! She just woke up, has a full bladder, and is having a tantrum.  So now I have both children in the bathroom with me, one with pee running down her leg. Me, I’m stuck in the shower trying to think of an escape plan.
  7. So I use the only tools I have: My Lungs. I stick my head out of the shower and YELL!  (Thank goodness we don’t currently have tenants living in our upstairs apartment.) I order my son OUT of the bathroom! I manage to grab a towel, and begin to clean up my pee-coated daughter.
  8. I regain my composure, and ask my daughter if there are any pee-puddles I need to address. Just “a little bit in the hall” she tells me. So, once I’ve thrown on my clothes, I go to inspect. Yep, there’s a little one in the hallway by her bedroom, and six more little puddles running down the hallway to the bathroom.

So, my over-sleeping managed to turn a normal morning of getting the kids up, dressed, teeth brushed, attending to the dog, and out the door, into a thoroughly CRAPTASTIC morning – full of tantrums, panic attacks,  and unexpected janitorial duties.

Thankfully my kids, for the most part, are rock stars. After all the stress of the morning, this evening could not have been better: not a single balk at doing homework; they cleaned their rooms without asking, and were just plain delightful. I also rewarded myself for getting through this day with a big ol’ dish of ice cream and chocolate sauce. (Yes, for those of you who follow this blog, the giving up chocolate for Lent thing went right out the window today!)

empty ice cream dish
Glad that my day is like this bowl of ice cream - DONE!