Tea for Two

Today I am sad that I won’t be celebrating my sister’s birthday with her. She would have been 80 years old today. While we didn’t have celebrations growing up, we started our own tradition of going to tea on her birthday as adults. One of our favorite teas that we helped plan was the “Children’s Teddy Bear Tea Party” for the Historical Society in Ohio. What fun! After our children were all grown up, we moved in together. Thus, began the neighborhood tea parties—where we tasted exotic teas with our friends and talked about “Downton Abbey.” We became the toast of the neighborhood, when we received postcards from Hugh Bonneville, a gift from her son Ken. Ever thoughtful, Ken used his contacts to make sure we received our coveted prize. Our last tea and most lavish was at the Ritz Carlton—a place that we had dreamed about for years. I wish I could share my Mrs. Patmore Pudding Tea with her today. Raise your cup with me to celebrate Marianne Miller. Happy Birthday Marianne!

Lots of Love,

Ellie

Best Gluten Free Pasta Ever!

From the moment I sat at my table at Tuscan Kitchen, I was treated like family. It was like going to my friend Gigi’s family for Sunday dinner. My server Paula greeted me and went out of her way to make sure that I had a fabulous lunch. I started with the Tonno salad. Tuna seared to perfection with greens (dressed in a light vinaigrette), artichokes, olives and tomatoes. And, then Chad (the chef) brought me the best gluten-free, dairy free pasta that I have ever eaten. Since forming allergies to gluten and dairy 7 years ago, I have eaten gluten-free and dairy free pasta in every restaurant in the area that serves it. It has been over cooked mush or sauces so bad that I could not choke them down. Thanks to Paula and Chad I will be back for more. I can’t wait to see what Chad makes next!

Is it really a Junk Box?

Today I heard a wonderful story about Nicholas who lived in the spirit of St. Nicholas. His daughter Susan remembers his delightful Junk Boxes that he gave to everyone on Christmas. Spending weeks gathering boxes, cookies, candies, toys and all sorts of special surprises, he secretly assembled each Junk Box especially for his children, grandchildren, friends and family. In each box, he placed a little piece of his heart for them to take. And, though he is no longer with us, all of those little pieces of his heart are still carried by his children, grandchildren, friends and family. To honor the spirit of Nicholas, I am going to start making Junk Boxes for those I love. Will you join me?

Find a Happy Place

When my son was a baby and toddler, he was so sweet and happy all of the time. Since entering school, we have had one struggle after another with him. Today was a particularly bad day for him, and he has been upset all afternoon. After the first hour, it was getting difficult to listen to him. So, I found a happy place. Memories of that bubbly baby laughing all of the time danced in my head. A smiling toddler was looking up at me saying “I wuv you Mommy.” And, for a little while the angry frustrated little boy was a distant sound. What is your happy place?

Hidden Treasure

Four years ago, my husband and son decided to take Taekwondo together. We visited all of the Studios in the area, and found Master Seo at Kian Taekwondo in Salem, NH http://www.kiantkd.com/. Nestled between a bakery and real estate broker, this Taekwondo studio is a hidden gem. A gifted children charmer, Master Seo turned my son from a scared deer in the headlights into a confident and respectful young man.

In addition to the changes in my son, I witnessed a handicapped man get his yellow, orange, green, blue and purple belts to standing ovations every time. Along with this miracle, I watched an autistic boy achieve his black belt. Because of Master Seo’s belief that he can help everyone through Taekwondo, he has developed a unique program that allows every student to achieve the physical, mental and spiritual benefits of Taekwondo.

Observing the life altering leadership of Master Seo, I was inspired to start the Kian Taekwondo Scholarship Fund to make his teaching available to children in need. Through the Scholarship Fund, we watched a shy bullied boy come alive and learn self-respect and dignity. When I thought that I couldn’t be astonished any further, I saw all of the children in the studio work long hours to help raise money for scholarships to support the children in their community.

Invested in the success of each and every student, Master Seo motivates them to be all that they can be. Because he shines as a Master, he teaches them all to shine in their practice of Taekwondo. Building the next generation of Taekwondo one student at a time, Master Seo has indelibly changed the face of our community for the better.

Share and Share Alike

Since my son started school, he has been sharing school supplies and consequently germs with all of his friends. And, being a generous child, he shares the germs with us when he comes home. Serving up the latest infection from school family style this week, he has infected the whole house. Given lack of sleep and the misery of the infection, it has not been pretty at my house. How are you handling the diseases in your house this season?

Does hard work pay off?

If you ask my friend Kathy, she will finally say “yes it does!”  She has worked hard during the last couple of years, and it final paid off this weekend. Placing in a competition, she can finally see the benefits of all of her hard work. The toughest part of the process was the beginning when she was struggling and couldn’t see the results yet.  But, continuing to get back up (literally as a horse rider), she finally started mastering the maneuvers.  I am so proud of her.  Join me in raising your glass to Kathy. Way to go!