Tag Archives: Mother’s Day

Chocolate covered strawberry hangover

Yesterday, I made it very clear that all I wanted to do for Mother’s Day (in between going to church in the morning and serving at church at night) was to sit by the pool with a book in one hand and a margarita in the other.

I totally got my wish. And it was fabulous.

I also treated my mom to chocolate covered strawberries and to lunch at our favorite little cafe. My kids spoiled me with some new jewelry and a heavenly chocolate mousse that has become somewhat of a tradition. My stepson gave me a sweet origami flower he made (you stepmoms probably understand how huge it is to receive any kind of gift from your stepchild!  I almost cried!). And I replenished the chocolate covered strawberries we’d been snacking on all day with new ones because they were just so dang good.


By the end of the day, I was full of chocolate, kissed with a sunburn, and happy as a clam.

This morning I woke up totally dehydrated and feeling like I wanted to die. Seems I kind of forgot about drinking water yesterday.

It was almost noon when I started to feel somewhat human again. Before then, I was haunted by images of chocolate covered strawberries, and I swore I would never eat one again, so help me God. Instead, I sipped on my coconut water in a furtive effort to rehydrate with the nasty tasting liquid. One can later, and I think I’m going to survive.

And I’m dreaming, once again, of chocolate covered strawberries….

P.S. The above strawberries are super easy to make. Melt some chocolate chips (the darker, the better, IMO) for 1 minute in the microwave, stir, then for 30 seconds more. Dip washed (and dried!) strawberries in the chocolate and then rest on a covered baking sheet (parchment or wax paper works best. We were out of both, and foil worked just fine too). Melt white chocolate according to the package – careful not to overheat because it gets gross. Dip your spoon in, let a bit drizzle down, and then whip it back and forth over the strawberries (I whip my spoon back and forth!) to create the desired effect. Refrigerate strawberries until chocolate hardens, about 15-30 minutes or so.

In the meantime, find various other items to stick in the leftover chocolate – bananas, peanut butter, your finger… The kids and I hate to see good chocolate go to waste, so this is probably our favorite part. 🙂

Hope your Mother’s Day was fantastic….and that you remembered to drink plenty of water!

Foolproof gift for Mother’s Day

Me (center), my mom (left), and my mom-in-law (right).

For weeks I’ve been receiving emails from various companies and bloggers telling me they know the secret behind what mom really wants for Mother’s Day.  One blogger thinks what Mom really wants is a good, stiff drink.  Another thinks Mom just wants chocolate.  Rubios thinks you should skip the flowers and give her a fish taco.  Jewelry stores think Mom wants an ugly and expensive charm bracelet.  I’ve received tips for coffee makers, electronics, furniture, books, movies, and more.

And these are all mostly great gifts, except for one thing – they don’t really convey personal appreciation.

Lets face it. Mother’s Day is really Kids Day in disguise. Think about it. We spend the whole day making sure the kids are happy, from their clumsy attempts at breakfast in bed to every activity that is done that day.

And if you have young kids, you realized this about two years in. Even more, you accept that fact, and even love it.

Most days, Mom’s time is spent keeping the schedule in order, making sure the family is fed throughout the day, acting as carpool to the whole neighborhood, performing the magical feat of being in three places at once, gluing tiny pieces together on a science project that is due in 12 hours, folding endless amounts of time folding t-shirts of a baby who has a better wardrobe than the adults in the house, making a dollar out of 50 cents at the grocery store, being the official master of snacks because her house has become the neighborhood hangout, being the cool mom, being the worst mom in the world, loving fiercely even when her child says ‘I hate you!”, having her heart broken over the good stuff and the bad, being her child’s biggest fan and advocate…

A mom’s job is never done.

And then there are the moms who are there for the kids who aren’t even theirs. I’m sure you know who these people are in your lives. I know I do.

– Crissy Mansfield, the mom of 4 boys, who has been my saving grace at the baseball field by taking my son with hers to every practice and game we have.

– Claudine Bibeau, who is always enthusiastic about my son coming to her house after school and considers my son like one of her own.

– My Grandma Elsie, who has allowed her house to be homebase to my son after school every day, and who has been a major inspiration and source of comfort to me.

– My mother Nancy, who has become my friend in my adult years despite my being a horrible teenager.

– My mother-in-law Joan, who is the kind of woman who says it like it is and is unapologetically herself, a courageous trait I admire fiercely.

This Mother’s Day, there are many ways you can honor the mothers in your life.  You can give mom a gift, handmade to expensive trinket at the store. You can make her an elaborate breakfast of burnt toast and runny eggs or take her out for an overpriced, crowded brunch with the rest of town.

But most importantly, you should let her know how much she means to you – even in ways that cost next to nothing.

Send the moms who have helped you out a heartfelt note of gratitude. Pick up the phone and call. Set up time for a coffee date, or treat her to a movie. Spend the day as a family. Clean the house top to bottom (trust me, this one ranks high on the gifts list). Take her out to dinner. Let her know how much you care for all 364 days she has taken care of the family, because most likely she’ll still be doing it on the day we’ve set aside to honor her. And yes, dads, you should definitely be honoring your wife. She may not be your mom, but she is the mother of your children, and likely the caretaker of the whole family.

And if you’re really stuck, just fix her a stiff drink and get her that damn fish taco.

Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms (and you single dads too!). May your day be filled with love and family.

Crissi Dillon

4 Tips to a Perfect Mother’s Day

After my recent Mother’s Day post, you either:

A) think I’m a terrible mother and looking to throw gruesome comments my way in every blog I write hereafter (Welcome! You can join your comrades over to the left).
B) think I’m a terrible mother and no longer read this blog (enter cricket chirp here).
C) hope your kids get you something better than that lopsided ashtray they gave you last year (seriously, don’t they believe in money? Like for buying something?).
D) have actually experienced a few disappointing Mother’s Days and think you might spend this day pretending to be sick in bed.

If you can relate with option D, don’t draw the shades yet. Sunday is supposed to be a glorious day, and I’d hate for you to miss out on it. But what can you do if you have little ones swirling around your feet, a husband who hopes to catch a few rounds of golf on such a sunny day, and a house that needs a little bit of TLC in the cleaning department?  No, you cannot trade them in.  But here are a few other tips that might help…

Ask for what you want
It sounds like a no-brainer – unless you’re a mom. I mean, as moms we’re not accustomed to making our needs known beforehand. We’re planners, not askers. But this is the one time your family WANTS to know what YOU want. After all, the day is meant for you. So let your family in on your desires. Wish to have a day at the spa? Make a list of some of your favorite places. Looking forward to a day spent with the family? Share some great family-friendly venues with them. Hoping for some time alone? There’s no shame in it, just be sure to tell your husband or babysitter with plenty of advance notice. Prefer a homemade gift over a gift bought from the store, or are hoping for a certain store-bought item? Ditch the pride and tell it like it is. Trust me, if you expect your family to be mind-readers and “surprise” you, you’re going to be sorely disappointed.

Manage the day
Alright, I know. It’s your day. But if you want a day off you might need to put a little bit of effort into it a few days before. Stock the fridge with the foods you’d like to be served in bed. Enlist the kids’ help in cleaning the house before Mother’s Day. Give a few craft ideas to adults that can help your kids make gifts for you. Sure, it seems a bit counterproductive creating the day meant all for you. But trust me, when you see how pleased your kids will be when they present you with the perfect breakfast and gift, and your house is sparkling clean, you’ll have nothing left to do but enjoy your day.

Single Mom tips
Some of you are going it alone, and don’t have another adult around to help spoil you on this day. That doesn’t mean you can’t have a perfectly wonderful Mother’s Day. However, it does mean that a bit more planning needs to be put in place to make this a special day. Plan on spending the day with the extended family, like grandparents or aunts and uncles. Or invite a few of your other single mom friends for a fun outing that day. In the days before Mother’s Day, swap kids with one of your friends so that you can help her kids with a gift, and she can help yours.

And most important…

Leave all expectations at the door
You’re a mom. So you know things just happen. Sometimes the juice spills in the bed. Sometimes the clay vase they made at school breaks before it gets to you. Sometimes it rains, sometimes the beach is closed, and sometimes kids are cranky and fighting with each other more than thanking you for being their mom. Not everything is perfect, but it’s how we choose to handle situations that dictate just how good or bad it will be. If you find things not going the way you planned, take a deep breath and change course. And with determination, have a wonderful Mother’s Day!

Mother of the Year

 A couple years ago, my kids were intent on giving me the best Mother’s Day ever. We had plans to visit the San Francisco Zoo, a trip all of us were looking forward to. But before that could happen, they had secret plans to serve me breakfast in bed.

So naturally my job was to lie in bed and pretend I was asleep. (Also, I had to be sure to set up the coffee pot the night before so that I could be served coffee with my breakfast.)

My eyes may have been closed, but I could distinctly hear them going through the cabinets. I could also hear them lightly bickering in the small kitchen as they worked around each other. Soon their voices rose up the stairwell, catapulting off the walls and into my ears, followed by the distinct sound of them walloping each other to a pulp while my caffeine headache set in and my stomach complained.  It was now an hour past my breakfast time. I could feel the tension mounting inside as they continued to beat each other up instead of pampering me. I couldn’t help but think about all I did for them throughout the year…and they couldn’t even get me a lousy breakfast in bed as a gesture of appreciation. Forgetting my required task of laying in bed and relaxing, I sprang up and called them to my room. And when they were standing in front of me, I laid into them – telling them how disappointed I was, about how I sacrificed everything for them and their rottenness made me regret it, and how going to the zoo no longer interested me because all I wanted for Mother’s Day was to sit in bed and be left alone.

“Thanks a lot, Taz,” my daughter muttered darkly, shoving him right in front of me. And if they thought I was mad before, they hadn’t seen anything yet. I became a screaming banshee, my eyes practically rolling back in my head as I lost all sense of control, my words becoming one long and shrill sound that no longer had any meaning at all. And the kids shut their mouths, realizing it was better to just let me howl instead of making it worse with any excuses or blame-shifting. When I was done, I banished them from my room so that I could wallow in my misery.

And while it started out with resentment that they couldn’t even stop fighting on Mother’s Day, I was left with a sense of disgust at myself for even expecting that this day was supposed to be all about me.

One of my favorite poets, Billy Collins, came up with a poem titled “The Lanyard”, where he describes the great deeds his mother did for him and his meager way of repaying her. Here’s an excerpt:

She nursed me in many a sick room, lifted spoons of medicine to my lips, laid cold face-cloths on my forehead, and then led me out into the airy light and taught me to walk and swim, and I, in turn, presented her with a lanyard.
Here are thousands of meals, she said, and here is clothing and a good education.
And here is your lanyard, I replied, which I made with a little help from a counselor.

What can a kid actually give their mother as a Mother’s Day present in exchange for years of hard work and countless giving? An ornament with glue and glitter that holds their school photo? A lopsided clay ashtray for a non-smoker? A coffee cup that says World’s Best Mom? Was my mom moved by the countless crappy gifts I gave her each Mother’s Day, thinking to herself that it was all worth it because I had served her burnt toast and spilled OJ in bed? Not likely. But my 8 year old self didn’t know any better as my mom raved about the present I had worked on in class, and how breakfast never tasted so good. See, it wasn’t about her, it was about me – her child. Even on Mother’s Day, she was still a mom.

And me in this moment? Not exactly Mom of the Year.

The kids sheepishly entered my room 10 minutes after my outburst. Breakfast was placed on my lap, along with a present they both had made. It was wrapped in homemade wrapping paper full of apologies for fighting and ruining Mother’s Day. And I apologized back to them for acting like an ogre and a tyrant when we all deserved a good day together. We decided to have a do-over for the day. We laughed over all the pictures and writing on the wrapping paper, shared breakfast, and then got dressed and left for the zoo where we had a fabulous time.

It would be nice to get a day off on Mother’s Day, to be a day when everything goes right and children are perfectly behaved. But is that really what motherhood looks like? No. It’s full of miracles and runny noses, laughter and frustration, praise and disappointment, triumphs and mistakes. And there are plenty of lessons learned along the way. My lesson was that I’m not really being a guiding force when I’m in less control than the kids, and no one wants to serve breakfast in bed to a banshee. Yet, my kids still did. And I saved that wrapping paper as a reminder that Mother’s Day is less about perfection, and more about celebrating a bond that helps us move on from bad mornings and still have a really great day.

I hope everyone has a Happy Mother’s Day, even the perfectly imperfect moms like me!