December

Happy New Year!

2016 has been...interesting, to say the very least. I'm not sure about you, but I'm ready to wrap up this chapter and welcome 2017. 

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Me Time During the Holidays

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If your calendar is anything like mine, the month of December is full of fun festivities. But as a mom, I know who will be racing around organizing, planning and transporting kids to all of these activities and, frankly, it just makes me want to lie down and take a big ole nap!

It’s important as the holidays get underway to remember to make a little “me time” for yourself every day. Some of you may be laughing at me right now thinking “yeah, right, every day!?” But I assure you even taking 10 minutes to yourself can help recharge those batteries so you can dart out the door to the next fun thing you have planned.

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Melting Moments: Recipe of the Week

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Fave Cookie for the Holidays – Melting Moments 

When I think of the holidays I have fond memories of baking cookies with my Mom. We would take over the kitchen counters every Christmas with pounds of butter, sugar, eggs, and flour --- baking a huge assortment of our favorite cookies. Being in a family with six children, everyone had a different “favorite” cookie. Mine were Melting Moments. These cookies are very delicate and “melt” in your mouth as the name implies. The secret to the melting, delicate flavor is in sifting your ingredients to achieve a silky texture. 

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Ask Amanda: New Year's Resolutions

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Q) How do you make a resolution you can actually stick with? Last year, I didn't even make it to February before giving up. I really need to make a change this year, but don't know how to get started.

With only 8% of the population actually succeeding in achieving their resolutions, you're definitely not alone in your struggles. Over half of the population does make it past the month mark with their resolutions, so there's hope for you yet!

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Watergate Cake: Recipe of the Week

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Favorite Holiday Dessert, Watergate Cake

Have you ever heard of Watergate cake? To those who were baking (or eating) age in the 1970s, this pistachio-pudding-mix-packed cake may sound familiar. Why call it Watergate? Turns out, it was the product of fortuitous timing. The late 1960s and early 70s was an era during which cakes made with pudding mix reigned. Who knew? Not me, until I did a little research. Try googling “Better than Sex Cake” or “Sock It to Me Cake”; they’re not as dramatic as they sound, but are known to be quite tasty.

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#WCW: Camille Blunt

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This month’s #WCW is Legislative Director for the Office of the Mayor. Camille Blunt caught our attention for being named one of the 40 Under 40 by the IBJ in 2016.

Blunt joined the new administration of Mayor Joe Hogsett in January after working 14 years at Bose Public Affairs Group, where she left as the second vice president specializing in lobbying for education and health care clients, including the Indiana Urban Schools Association. A member of the Indianapolis Public Library board, Blunt now oversees the city’s relations with the Legislature.

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Win Tickets to The Nutcracker!

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Last year I started on the hunt for a great kid friendly Nutcracker performance... I know ballet is not for everyone, but I feel like The Nutcracker is!  A great holiday tradition for you and your littles to enjoy!  

Every year when I was younger my Grandma, a dancer herself, would take us to the Fort Wayne Ballet's presentation. It was always magical. We'd get dressed up in our Sunday Best which included party dresses and patent leather shoes, and we would go soak up the music, the tiny ballerinas dancing on air, Clara running from the Mouse King with the Nutcracker Prince, and of course her whimsical journey to the Kingdom of Sweets. I remember sitting in the seats at the Arts United Center where you would enter from the sides, and the doors would all close at the same time and you were transported to a magical realm filled with fairies, snow, and dancing of course!
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Sriracha Brussels Sprouts with Cashews and Garlic: Recipe of the Week

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While many people approaching this time of year may be inclined to indulge, I have resolved to eat clean, drink less alcohol, and exercise even more. Mainly because I have overindulged in general for about 11 months, and I am starting to see and feel the impact on my waistline. If you are like me, you might enjoy this post. 

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New Year, New You…The CityMoms take on 2016

There is something so damn refreshing to me about opening a new calendar. All of that blank space, all of that potential, a year just waiting to unfold—a year of joy and surprise and yes, maybe a little disappointment. A new calendar, a new year, a new me.

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I know that resolutions are the ultimate cliché, but I still love making them. My track record is admittedly less than stellar, but the simple process of contemplating the upcoming year is so therapeutic that it’s an accomplishment in and of itself. Yes, it is just another year, but the passage of time deserves to be marked and celebrated. So here are my resolutions for 2016:

 1. Be Smarter.

I feel like I already have a great start on this resolution with my Merriam Webster Word-A-Day calendar I requested as a Christmas gift. Generally speaking, I would like less television and more literature; less Facebook and more actual books; less mindless recreation and more mindful engagement. I have always loved school, so I will pretend to be a student again, sans the debt and ramen noodles. 

2. Be Present.

I will turn off my cell phone when I walk in the door from work. I will make eye contact during conversations. I will uni-task. I will not respond like Pavlov’s dog when I hear the chirp of email or the ding of a text message. And for the love of god, I will only drive while driving.

 

 3. Be Kinder…to myself.

Okay, this is a thinly veiled resolution to lose weight, but it is also so much more. I will treat my body well. I will only eat food that is either good for me or so incredibly scrumptious that it is worth the splurge—hence my lofty goal of giving up all fast food for the entire year. I will not cringe when I walk by a mirror. I will not constantly suck in my stomach or lift my boobs to their twenty-year-old position on my chest. I will accept compliments without deflecting. I will treat my body in a way that will make it want to stick around with me for a long while.

 

 4. Be Slower.

I am rarely not in a rush, which might go without saying for a working mother of two young children. This ever-ticking clock ratchets my anxiety up to dangerous levels, so I will accept tardiness. I will stop and listen to my daughter’s story in the morning instead of rushing her out the door. I will not schedule every single one of the 31,536,000 seconds of 2016 (it’s real—I googled it). I will allow for days of leisure and lethargy without feeling unaccomplished or lazy.

 

 5. Wash my face and remove my makeup every night.

Not the loftiest resolution, but it just feels like such an adult thing to do, and it’s so great for your complexion :)

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These are my top resolutions for 2016, but as always, I look to other women for inspiration, and I found nothing less when I asked other CityMoms what they resolve to do in 2016. I hope they inspire and motivate you, as they did for me.

“To shop local more.”
Christi, Mooresville

“Make time for fitness.”
Bryna, Whitestown

“I do a project goal for the year. In 2016, I plan to sort, edit, and back up all of the pics on my computer, in addition to getting caught up on our yearly photo albums and improving my Photoshop skills!”
Bekky, Carmel

“To be more in the present and to be kind. Volunteer more. To remember that I don't have to be perfect, but that I can work on being a better version of myself. Smile more, laugh more, and to be silly with my kids more. Oh, and to stop squishing spiders. They can't help it that they creep me out. I'll put them outside.”
Danielle, Fishers

“Allow 30 minutes for fitness each day...I use laundry and other tasks as an excuse to put it off.”
Sarah, Indianapolis

“To remember to take better care of myself. That a healthier me (mind & body) is better for everyone. Committing to the workouts I have blocked time for but find excuses not to go, staying better organized in the important aspects of life, and to be present more and try not to be so concerned with controlling the situation (this may be the hardest one!). I want to enjoy life and not weigh myself down with things that are currently negative and are not completely in my control.”
Jenn, Fishers

“I will not buy clothes because I have too many. I will spend less on food. In doing so, I will pay off a student loan and credit card.”
Joli, Indianapolis

“Maintain the communication and happiness in my marriage. Try to be a better, more patient, more kind mother.”
Clare, Beech Grove

“I will focus on my husband and boys and less on the family who does not live in my house.”
Joanna, Indianapolis

“Become a financial grown-up...make a will, start and stick to a budget, and start college savings.”
Jen, Fishers

“Begin our adoption process!”
LEA, Fishers

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Keep Music Alive

I want to like classical music in the same way that I want to like caviar and in the way I want to actually be able to differentiate between a $10 bottle of wine and one that costs ten times as much. Going to the symphony communicates to me a cultural affluence and worldliness that I find desirable. And if I am being totally honest, classical music pretty much always makes me cry. I find the music so raw and moving that I am usually immediately choking back tears trying not to embarrass myself in front of a crowd of unsuspecting symphony-goers.  “No, sir, I don’t know why I am crying three bars into Bach, but I am, good day sir.” I am certainly not an aficionado, mostly an appreciator. I probably can’t name more than five composers, and the terminology was forgotten after my last music class in school, but I do know that music is good for the soul, and I like the way it makes me feel.

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Unfortunately, my champagne, caviar, and classical music dreams are often put on hold: cue my two children, husband, full-time job, and gazillion other obligations. And while I love my life, I can’t always reconcile domesticity and culture. And let’s be honest, I get a little lazy. So, when I found out that I would be taking my three and half year old daughter and eleven month old son to the Carmel Symphony Orchestra I got a little nervous. Yes, I really want to expose them to music and art, but I also really don’t want to be that frazzled woman getting the side eye from a room full of concert-goers when her darling children are wiping boogers on the velvet theater chairs and crying through an otherwise serene adagio.

 

Alas, two words describe our first family symphony outing: relief and wonder. First, let me say just how family-friendly the Carmel Symphony Orchestra really was. I was visibly excited when I saw other children.  In my parenting experience, misery does love company, so if my kids were going to be little heathens, at least I would have other parents with which to exchange that knowing glance. This of course was not the case, but I was nevertheless relieved. The volunteer ushers were so wonderful, making an extra effort to show my daughter her seat and tell her about the show. The bass instruments were whimsically adorned with Santa hats, and the trumpeters wore reindeer antlers. I felt welcome and at ease with my children, even more so when the conductor announced to the audience, “We love it when babies cry.” Oh thank God.

Now, back to Wonder. I mentioned that I normally cry when I hear classical music, right? Now add a sweet little girl up on her knees, craning her neck to see the musicians. Imagine an infant boy with wide eyes squeezing his mother’s arm when the tempo builds. The lights were magical, reflecting off of the mirrored ceiling. The music, conducted by David Bowden was a beautiful and seasonal arrangement of various Christmas and Chanukah songs. So yes, there were some tears. Watching my children experience something for the first time gets me in that deep down mommy place in my heart.

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It wasn’t all perfect. We might have annoyed the older couple at the end of our row on our fifth potty break. My daughter had a hard time not playing with the theater seat that reminded her of a monster trying to eat her, and the kids got a little squirmy right before intermission, but all things considered, I would say it was a cultural win for the family.

Overall, we had a great time, and we will be definitely be going back on January 31st at 3pm for a special Family Fun! performance. Children will be allowed to visit the stage with the orchestra while they are playing and will be given the chance after the show to experiment with the different instruments. My daughter is already debating: harp or violin. Decisions, decisions.

 

What: Carmel Symphony Orchestra

Where: The Palladium 

When: Multiple dates, but be sure to check out the Family Fun! Concert and Instrument Petting Zoo on                 January 31st at 3pm

How Much: Youth passes are just $5, and adult admission is $20

Why: David Bowden, conductor and artistic director said, “Making music changes lives.” I can’t really                think of a better reason than that!

For more information visit www.CarmelSymphony.org

 

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