Places To Visit

Hi folks! I’m currently working on an adventure that is keeping me away from the keyboard. Details to follow but here are a couple of clues:

Mocadeaux wine glasses

and

Mocadeaux - shell

No, we are not drinking wine on the beach. Keep guessing.

In the meantime, I thought I’d share with you just a few of the places I like to visit in blog land. For more of my favorites, check out the blogroll on the sidebar over there 

The Enchanted Home – Tina shares ideas on decorating and fashion. She has a shop featuring all sorts of gorgeous things for the home. I always look forward to her Seven on Sunday posts in which she shines a light on her favorite things. It’s Tina version of Oprah’s “O List” and it is fabulous!  Every week I discover new Instagram pages to follow thanks to Tina’s curation.

Preppy Empty Nester – It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of my dear pal, super-model trophy-wife Katie Clooney and her hilarious stories. You will also want to check the virtual tour of her Texas and Massachusetts homes and the photos of her adorable pups, Chowdah and Chili.

Kelly McKenzie – Just Typikel – This sweet and very talented Canadian spitfire is a self-described “Quirk Magnet” who tells tales about the pickles she has gotten herself into and her adventures with her 93-year-old mum. She is also a published author having, among other things, an essay published in Chicken Soup For The Cat Lover’s Soul even though she doesn’t own a cat. Just Typikel.

You May Be Wandering – This is my very favorite travel blog. The photos make me want to pack a suitcase and go! In addition to tempting destination ideas, Sandy posts great travel tips about everything from planning to packing and all things in between. Sandy is also a fantastic travel agent who can make your travel dreams a reality. That might be a hint but I’m not saying.

Coach Daddy – Eli writes about “Fatherhood, Futbol and Food”.  (I feel a kindred spirit-ness with Eli, having bonded over our love of pizza.) I especially love Eli’s “6 Words” challenge which requires participants to craft a 6-word answer to each month’s question. It is way harder than you would imagine. I love participating for that very reason because it is such good exercise for my old and addled brain.

That’s all for now. What about you? What are your favorite places in blog land to visit?

See you soon!

Thanks for stopping by,
Mo photo signature_zps14e6c366.png


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Beef Tenderloin and Cabernet Sauvignon

Beef tenderloin is my very favorite cut of meat.

And it scares me to death.

Beef tenderloin can be culinary bliss or if cooked improperly, the most expensive mistake you’ll ever make.

So, when I recently prepared a beef tenderloin dinner to celebrate having the twins and their parents in town, I turned to the wise and wonderful Barefoot Contessa for advice.

Seriously, is there anyone better at instilling confidence in home cooks than Ina Garten? Her soothing voice. Her “keep calm and trust me” demeanor.

She is simply the best.

Ina’s recipe for beef tenderloin calls for four ingredients.

  • 5-pound beef tenderloin, trimmed and tied
  • 2 Tablespoons of butter at room temperature
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Ok, that’s the easy part.

I’ve made beef tenderloin enough to know the drill: take the meat out of the refrigerator several hours before cooking to let it come up to temperature, slather the tenderloin with butter, generously salt and pepper, place in a roasting pan and you are ready to go.

The very, very, very tricky part of cooking a beef tenderloin is the temperature at which to cook it.

A Google search for “how to roast a 5-pound beef tenderloin” brings results ranging from 250° to 500°.

Quite the range, eh?

Now you know why I turned to my culinary spirit animal, Ina Garten.

I will let the expert show you how it’s done.

Our crowd favors “rare” so I cooked my tenderloin at 500° for EXACTLY 22 minutes as Ina instructs here.

It turned out perfectly as I knew it would and we gobbled it up before I thought to snap a picture.

One little side note.

Because I was terrified of overcooking the main course, I used not one but two meat thermometers.

The standard, every kitchen should have one, old-school meat thermometer

Mocadeaux - meat thermometer

and the fancy-pants, set it and forget it, remote meat thermometer.

Mocadeaux - remote meat thermometer

Both were brand new as my old ones had gone caput within days of one another.

At the precise 22 minute mark, the low-tech thermometer registered a few ticks below 130°, just where I wanted it to be.

However, the high-tech device registered an alarming 86°! If I had relied just on that thermometer without the backup thermometer and the guidance of my mentor, Ina, my precious tenderloin would have been destroyed. Shoe leather.

Lessons learned: Always have a backup thermometer and always trust Ina.

Now, about the wine…

A dinner featuring my favorite meat needed to also feature my favorite wine – Cabernet Sauvignon.

Peter reached deep into the wine cellar and picked out two gems.

2007 Quintessa Cabernet Sauvignon

Mocadeaux - 2007 Quintessa Cabernet Sauvignon

and

2009 Darius II Cabernet Sauvignon

Mocadeaux - 2009 Darius II

Both of these beautiful wines are definitely special occasion gems pulled from the top shelf of our cellar. But you can find great bottles of cabernet sauvignon at your local wine store. Always remember to ask the staff for suggestions.

Check out my recommendations, including “Everyday Cabernet Sauvignons”Chimney Rock which always rocks and “A Red Wine Lovers List of Red Wines I Love”.

Mocadeaux - red wine list

With a perfectly cooked beef tenderloin and a thoughtfully chosen Cabernet Sauvignon, you can’t go wrong.

By the way, be sure to send a note letting me know when dinner will be served. I wouldn’t want to be late!

Thanks for stopping by,
Mo photo signature_zps14e6c366.png


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Hug The Glenview Bear

I’m a strong believer in geographic karma.

I think we each have some place that speaks to our soul like no other.

Perhaps it is a family vacation home where memories were made and traditions passed down through the generations.

Perhaps, like my blog pal Barbara, it is a place you have visited as a tourist but hope to return as a resident – if even just for a little while.

For me, the place I feel most connected is Glenview.

Mocadeaux - Glenview banner

My kind of town. Glenview, Illinois.

It’s the village in which Peter and I bought our first house, raised our children, have made great friends and fabulous memories.

Twice job situations took us away from Glenview but each time we made it our goal to return. And both times we did.

We are not alone in this devotion.  I know at least a half dozen other folks who have also moved away and come back. There is something about our little Glenview.

Peter and I settled in Glenview in 1981. With our first baby on the way, we looked for a place to raise our family.

The fall of 1981 was not a good time to be buying a home. Mortgage rates were at an all-time high of, wait for it:

18%!!!!

I’m not kidding – google it. That’s like financing your house on your credit card.

Mocadeaux - our first house

After lots and lots of looking, we finally found an adorable, small brick ranch that came with a very attractive quality. An assumable mortgage.

The sellers had a mortgage with the rock-bottom rate of 8% that we were able to assume and blend with our new mortgage so we could get down to the low, low rate of 12% making these two accountants giddy with excitement.

Those were NOT the days…

Still, we were thrilled to put down our roots in this special place.

So what is it about Glenview?

In no particular order here are just a few of the reasons that I love Glenview:

The schools – Our children were lucky to have attended wonderful schools from pre-school all the way through high school.

This is a town where education is valued. Both academic and extra-curricular activities receive great support and the schools have received national recognition because of it.

We also have a pretty fabulous library.

Mocadeaux - Glenview Public Library

The Park District – We have a tennis center and golf courses, summer camps and swim lessons. We have walking trails, playgrounds, pools, a skateboard park and fishing pond.

Oh yes, and we have a farm. Right smack in the middle of Glenview, less than 15 miles from the heart of downtown Chicago, sits Wagner Farm.

Mocadeuax - Glenview Wagner Farm cows

Now owned by the Glenview Park District, Wagner Farm is a very popular place; excellent for visiting grandsons!

Mocadeaux - Wagner Farm tractor

The Glen – For many, many years the Glenview Naval Air Station occupied over 1,100 acres of the village. Naval planes flew overhead and the Goodyear blimp parked there when it was in town.

In 1995, the Glenview Naval Air Station was decommisioned by the Navy and the land was deeded to the Village of Glenview.

Imagine, suddenly having the opportunity to redefine the landscape of 12% of the area in your town – a blank canvas. Well, not totally blank. The village had to tear up about a million cubic yards of concrete and tear down a bunch of Navy buildings, but still.

Through careful planning and execution, the area was transformed into The Glen.

Featuring homes, apartments, a new school, the park district fitness center, senior center, pond, sportsfields, a gold course, two retirement homes, Kohl’s Children’s Museum, shopping and dining, The Glen has something for everyone.

The Glen is home to some of our favorite restaurants and the fabulous shopping mecca Von Maur, where gift wrap and shipping are always free.

 

But most of all, it’s the people – Glenview’s motto is, “Hug the Bear” referring to this guy.

Mocadeaux - Glenview bear

“Prairie and Lehigh is the corner where it’s at.”

The statue, a gift to the children of the Glenview from an early resident, Ed Jackman, has come to symbolize the community spirit in the hearts of the fine folks of Glenview.

For Peter and me, Glenview is home to many of our oldest and dearest friends. Our children all grew up together here, creating family memories like moms and tots parties, slip and slide baseball, the 4th of July parade and fireworks. Baptisms, graduations, weddings.

Glenview is the place where we see familiar faces everywhere we turn. A place of great comfort. Home.

Paris is lovely but my heart belongs in Glenview.

Mocadeaux - Glenview home

What is your favorite place?


I am participating in the “Who I Am” series. This writing project is the brainchild of Dana of Kiss My List and Bev of Linkouture. Each month we are given a prompt regarding some aspect of our life. This month it is all about our favorite location. The goal is, at the end of the year, to have twelve chapters in the book titled Who I Am.

Thanks for stopping by,
Mo photo signature_zps14e6c366.png


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Parenting: That Was Then, This Is Now

We all know that babies don’t come with an instruction manual. Parenting is an inexact science figured out on the fly. Learning while doing. All rooted in love.

But ideas about the “right thing to do” have evolved over the years.

This got me to thinking about how different parenting was in the ’80s and ’90s when we were raising our kids versus now when they are raising kids of their own. And, how different I am as a grandparent than I was as a parent way back when.

Times have changed bringing new, often better, definitely safer ideas to the world of parenting.

For example, my friends and I have all experienced this one.

Mocadeaux - unsafe crib

Unsafe crib filled with taboo extras.

The crib, in which our little babies slept, was carefully wrapped up and stored with the hope and expectation that we would someday have grandchildren who would, themselves, slumber peacefully in the “heirloom crib”.

Except that the design of these cribs, with their too wide apart slats, has been determined to be a deathtrap and all the cribs had to go to the garbage dump.

Not to Goodwill, not to a garage sale. In the trash.

These lethal weapons had to be tossed out along with the now deemed dangerous playpens, jumparoos and other pieces of equipment to which we had unwittingly trusted our precious babies.

If only Pinterest had been around in those days. There would have been boards upon boards of DIY projects to turn these hazardous items into gorgeous garden ornaments or something.

And car seats?

These life-saving devices were just coming on to the scene as “must-haves” when my babies were born.

It wasn’t until 1985 that all 50 states had mandatory car seat laws. Can you believe that???

Mocadeaux - car seat

Does this look safe to you?

When our first child was born, Peter had a bit of a heated discussion with my grandmother who insisted she was going to carry her first great-grandchild home from the hospital on her lap in the car just as she had done with her grandchildren (including me).

Needless to say, that didn’t happen. But it wasn’t such a far-fetched idea based upon the times. Today a suggestion like that would cause an international incident.

Heck, when I was a kid, we used to ride in the way back, rear-facing seat of the station wagon. I’m not even sure it had seat belts. Or, we would stow the seats and sit cross-legged amongst the bags of groceries. It’s what you did.

That was then, this is now.

Nowadays, car seats are engineering marvels designed with every single known safety feature and painstakingly installed, often by a local police officer or fireman.

For the protection of our little nuggets, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

As a parent, I relied heavily on the moms in my playgroup for advice.

Come to think of it, that hasn’t changed over the years.

Our moms and tots group continues to meet (sans tots but sometimes avec grandchildren) at least once a month as we have for the past 30+ years. Now we share stories and support with a few grandparenting tips thrown in for good measure.

My kids confer with their friends who have children but they also have access to an almost infinite source of advice in the form of the internet.

Parent forums, Facebook groups and Professor Google supply a dizzying array of suggestions to solve virtually every challenge of parenting.

In my parenting days, I would have been completely overwhelmed by this volume of information.

My kids take it in stride – vetting the sources, analyzing, deciding on a course of action and, ultimately, relying on their gut to guide them.

Even with all the information in the world, parenting still comes down to trial and error and following your gut. That’s something that hasn’t changed over time.

Back in the day, we had only the PBS classics like Sesame Street and Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood to entertain and educate.

Occasionally, we would pop in a Disney movie for fun but only after spending 5 minutes rewinding the VHS tape after the last viewing.

On road trips, we would play the alphabet game or highway bingo.

Mocadeaux - highway bingo

Now there are zillions of channels on the tv, access to on-demand shows, Netflix and downloads.

These shows can be watched on phones, tablets, computers and even the old-fashioned way, on the TV.

Screens, screens! Everywhere! Anytime!

But now experts recommend limiting screen time for young kids. Well, that’s confusing.

This parenting thing has gotten a lot harder than it was when I did it…

Grandparenting, on the other hand, is one of the sweetest gigs EVER.

As a parent, I worried about every decision.

How much should they eat? How much should they sleep? Jacket or no jacket? What school is best for them? Sleepovers? Dance class? Piano lessons? How much is too much and how much is not enough?

As a grandparent, I have none of that decision-making responsibility and all of the fun. Sure, I will offer if advice but I try really, really hard to do so only if asked.

I try to stick to my Grandparent Manifesto, focusing on my duty to provide endless love and support. The little guys make my job easy.

being a grandparent

Parenting has changed over the years. My role has changed. And I’ve changed.

But the one thing that remains constant through it all is the importance of love in everything we do.


Parenting: That Was Then, This Is Now is Chapter 4 in the Who I Am Project hosted by Bev at Linkouture and Dana at Kiss My List.

Thanks for stopping by,
Mo photo signature_zps14e6c366.png


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