On Saturday mornings in my house, you will find the 9 of us getting our chores done to the music of Louis Prima. Never heard of him? I hadn’t either, until my husband started playing Louis’ upbeat, sometimes funny, Italian-influenced songs to get us up and moving.  There is a song he sings called “Angelina.” The song is about a waitress named Angelina, who works at the pizzeria where Louis goes and orders menu item after menu item so that Angelina will come visit Louis’ table over and over.  He sings at one point, “And I’ll join in matrimony with the girl who serves spumoni, and Angelina will be mine.” And thus for a few years now my husband has called me Spumoni.  I am a wife and a mother of 7 children, for whom I am daily grateful. I have a thoughtful and supportive husband, who has always encouraged me to chase my dreams, which is one of the reasons I am pushing through the anxiety this new adventure brings to me and starting this blog.  I enjoy cooking, baking, gardening, playing tennis, almost any movie with British accents and costumes, good chocolate, and spending time with my family. I married into a Disney-loving family and was quickly converted, and wish I was at Disneyland most days of the year.  I am also grateful I get to stay home with my children. Before I was married with children, I attended culinary school and there are few things I love to do more than cook, bake, and present food.  I want to create a place where I can share recipes, tips and favorites things.

I believe there is beauty all around if we have the eyes to see and hearts to feel. That being said, life is not always beautiful and some days are survived and hopefully forgotten with a good night’s sleep. Yesterday, I spent a few hours baking cinnamon rolls.  I thoroughly enjoyed myself and took pictures along the way to share with the recipe.  While the cinnamon rolls looked beautiful, my house afterwards did not. I share this because it is real.  You may see my picture of the best looking roll from the pan on a pretty plate, and assume my whole life is as beautiful.  We all, as humans, are attracted to beauty.  There is an entire industry for marketing and making pictures and products look attractive and eye-catching.  This is okay with me, but I also know that a close up is rarely the whole picture. If we only put our best foot forward and share just the great times, we may miss out on deeper, more meaningful relationships with those around us who want to know ALL about us and the things we have in common.  So, we appreciate the good, talents, and beauty in others around us, yet we deepen our relationships and feel closer to them when we share in their trials, hard days, and times when life is anything but beautiful.

I have a friend who has some real challenges in her family.  As she posts on Facebook about her life, she is often positive and looks for the silver linings. But I also appreciate when she is open with her struggles and willing to share honestly  of her hard times as a mother.  We can feel isolated and lonely when we think all the women around us are debt-free, at Disneyland, with their clean-faced, perfectly coiffed children, wearing their skinny jeans and fresh-from-the-beach, wavy hair. To say nothing of their attentive, rich and handsome husbands.  There is danger in believing that when we see a snapshot or a closeup, that must be the whole picture. I recently shared on Facebook a cleaning routine I use with my children, that I have found works for us. I shared it in hopes that if someone needed help, they could possibly find it through what has worked with my family.  Later that day I received a text from a dear friend who had seen my post and said it made her want to cry because she is struggling getting her kids to help clean the house.  The text was sent with a picture of her living room, which was clearly lived in. I quickly responded that my house looks that same way each day.  That is most of our reality with children (and adults) living in a home. Some women I know have a real talent and gift for cleaning, organization, and preventing clutter. I visit their homes and feel peace and see beauty. I sincerely admire these women. I haven’t necessarily developed all those talents yet, but like the rest of you, I try.  I also know women who have talents and gifts of creating, baking, sewing, writing, reading, and giving of their time and friendship. Some are artistic, others are quiet and comforting.  I believe we all have something others admire and need from us.   So keep that in mind, and I will try to put BOTH feet forward as I share on this blog.