Alisa. 37. New Hampshire. Married for almost three years to this wonderful, funny, smart guy. Previously married. Went through in-vitro fertilization to have my five year old magical son Keegan. Stepmother to the charming Isabelle (6). Gushingly in love with our baby boy Harper(1). Policy Wonk and dreaded bureaucrat. Lover of fine cuisine, honeybees, truly romantic moments and the underdog.
Curried Beef Short Ribs

Note: I found this was more realistically four servings.

Finishing this dish with lime zest and juice brightens its rich flavors.

Yield 6 servings (serving size: about 3 ounces ribs, 2/3 cup rice, and about 2 1/2 tablespoons sauce)

2 teaspoons canola oil
2 pounds ...continue reading

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A Weary World Rejoices

Can I tell you my big weakness this time of year? It's not all the goodies and holiday parties with treats.
It's kids. Specifically kids without presents.
I know that getting gifts isn't the reason for the season. But kids always find such wonder in Christmas. And disappointed children without hope are about the saddest thing.
I have always given to toy collection bins but never felt connected to those recipients. But I did it because I knew they were out there somewhere unwrapping those toys.
Seven years ago we moved up here, I changed careers and found myself working all the holidays. My parents went away for Christmas and even Tom bailed on me to go home to PA. And I didn't think I'd mind because I was working anyway. That year a benefactor came along and wanted to donate gifts to our residence. All of the boys made out these ridiculous wishlists. Low and behold they got everything on their lists. I couldn't believe this man's generosity. They were also taken out to dinner at a nice local restaurant and all of them got dressed up for the occasion. They tried to play it cool but we all knew they were excited.
We tried to get them home for atleast a day visit for Christmas or Christmas Eve. So I spent the day shuttling them back and forth. After they went to sleep I went around to each of their rooms and hung filled stockings on their footboards. The next morning at home I opened my presents while on the phone with my family and basically felt sorry for myself. But I did stop and smile and think about how the boys would have woken up and found their stockings. Just like I did when I was kid. Just like every kid should.
That afternoon I went in for my shift. By that time all but one kid was on a visit. At first I focused on how silly it was that we were two staff having to work to supervise one kid. But then I realized if I hadn't been there to play foosball and make cookies he would have felt more alone. It turned into one of my favorite Christmas memories. The time that I got to be a part of making a real difference for kids. For kids that most people would rather forget. But tough angry teenagers are really just lonely scared little boys surviving the only way they know how. I hope they remember too.

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