Motherhood on Mother’s Day

my daughters at Lake Winnipesaukee 2010 and a rose
The girls, Lake Winnipesaukee – 2010


When I first began writing for hire, a seasoned editor advised me not to get caught up in “mom writing.”

I knew what she meant and did my best to follow her suggestion. Later I was told to write about what I love and what I know best. If that’s the case – then motherhood is my muse. Yesterday was Mother’s Day. It was an intentionally quiet day and I took the opportunity to reflect. My thoughts went to gratitude – first for having a wonderful mother who helped me be the mother I am today and second for having two wonderful children who have allowed me to embrace motherhood in a way that no one might ever have guessed I would.

When I was young, I wasn’t drawn to little kids.  I never babysat and I never oohed and aahed over babies like some of my friends and sister did.

Becoming a Mom

When Julia came into my life, a switch flipped. Eighteen month after Julia, Ally joined the party and motherhood has been my obsession ever since. Not in a helicopter parent kind of way, OK maybe sometimes, but in the way that there’s nothing I’d rather be doing than taking care of my girls.

I don’t like to go on and on about it, but motherhood fulfills me in a way that nothing ever has. Yes, I’ve pursued a writing career to fill my time and justify my two degrees, but I often say that I could be totally satisfied just being Julia’s and Ally’s mom. Whether I work a little or a lot or not at all, they are my top job and I really enjoy what I do.

When I first became a mom, my dad noticed how engrossed I was in the role, he said “Beth, I never thought you’d be a mom, never mind a good one.” I laughed so hard at this sideways compliment, but fully understood his sentiment.  Motherhood changed me in a lot of positive ways.

Of course, it’s not always easy, but nothing great ever is. When I look at the featured photo and think about the six years that have passed since then, I know that time is precious.

It Goes by Fast

At the risk of being cliché, this year has flown by at record speed. I can’t believe we are nearly midway through 2016.  I was warned that as the girls got older time would move more quickly.

I feel it happening and I’m not sure if the rush scares me or thrills me. Either way, I’m holding on tight and doing everything possible to enjoy the ride.

To all the moms out there, Happy Mother’s Day – yesterday, today and everyday!

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New to Instagram – Sharing, Learning and Getting Inspired

Instagram photo - Mother Day flowers in shades of pink
Pretty in Pink – a view from above.


The fact that I have an active Instagram account is nearly as shocking to me as it is to my daughters.

For the most part, I don’t know what I’m doing when it comes to technology today.  There was a time, oh so long ago, when I might’ve said that my technical skills verged on savvy. Yes, two kids and 15 years later, I’m in the elite group of folks, 40 and over, who don’t have a clue about social media.

When it was suggested I start “Instagramming” for 3 Olives & a Twist, I burst out laughing at the thought. I can barely manage Facebook and this blog. How in the world could I possibly handle Instagram? What would I post? My mind immediately went to selfies – NO, just NO!

Being new to Instagram, I quickly learned that this photo-sharing application is actually much more than selfies and the seemingly popular “look down at your shoes” shot. Here’s one…

white shoes stepping on wood
There are a lot of these on Instagram – I don’t get it.


In fact, it is full of amazing imagery, as long as you know what to look for.

The Beauty of Instagram

I’m a very visual person and I love pictures – when I began searching hashtags of interest, I stumbled upon a veritable feast for my eyes. Stunning photos of food, interior design, architecture, landscape, botanicals, travel and, of course, cute pups have all stopped me long enough to warrant a [icon name=”heart” class=”” unprefixed_class=””].

Many photos are posted by professional photographers. I marvel at their talent and eye for interesting subjects and have begun to draw inspiration from what I see. As much as I struggle to take a decent picture, Instagram has actually helped me with angle ideas, filters and cropping options.

The simplicity of Instagram is also appealing. There aren’t a lot of buttons to tap and interaction is as little or as much as you want it to be. I’ve found myself mentally transported to beautiful countries through posts from all over the world. It has opened my eyes in many ways and when something questionable pops ups, I shut those eyes tight and quickly move on.

At the end of the day, I’m having fun with Instagram. It has become a tool in fueling my creative energy.

Instagram and Me

On behalf of the blog, I try to post things to the 3 Olives & a Twist Instagram that make me feel good. I love pictures of dogs, shoes, jewelry and just yesterday, I posted a pic of two lovely frozen margaritas in honor of Cinco de Mayo.

Happy Cinco de Mayo!!! #picoftheday #lifestyleblogger #cincodemayo #celebrate #cheers

A photo posted by 3 Olives & a Twist (@3olivesandatwist) on

Though I’m still new to Instagram, with each picture I take and post, I’m learning. Learning to take a better photo, learning how to use social media in a way that is not scary to me and learning that, indeed, an old dog can learn new tricks.

Today my #picoftheday is something that always makes me happy… flowers. I hope you enjoy the image and thank you to my wonderful family for sending me my Mother’s Day bouquet early.

Follow 3OlivesandaTwist on Instagram for more photos. If you love pictures like I love pictures, you too may find Instagram to be a fun place to share.

Do you Instagram?

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Greek Easter – A Peek at Being Greek

Koulourakia (butter cookie)  - Greek Easter tradition
Koulourakia (butter cookie) Great with tea!


My Big Fat Greek Easter

On Sunday I celebrated Greek Easter. Julia posted an Instagram pic entitled “My Big Fat Greek Easter.” Yeah, it’s kind of like that. This is the one holiday when all of my aunts, uncles, cousins and their children come together with my immediate family. My sister, Karla, and her husband, Bob, host and it’s always a feast of food, family and frivolity.

Greek Easter Traditions

While our current day festivities are memorable, my most significant memories of Greek Easter come from my youth. When I was a kid, our Easter celebration took place after midnight liturgy. At church, we held burning candles and processed outside into the dark of the night.  Back in our pews, we’d wait for the chilling moment when all candles were extinguished and the packed house stood in total darkness and silence. Before that, we could always count on at least one person fainting due to heat, claustrophobia or, according to my dad, staring too long at the flame of their candle. Whatever the case, that thud of someone dropping to the floor, the pitch black church and the cloud of smoke and incense that engulfed us was unforgettable.

What I loved most, however, was leaving church and heading to my YiaYia’s to celebrate. It felt wild to be up until 4:00 am playing with my sister and cousins.

But as traditions go, this one changed and we began celebrating Easter during the day. I still miss the midnight meal and mayhem, but many of our traditions have remained and some have even taken a modern day turn for the better. To begin, Greek Easter would be nothing without certain foods and never do we take a bite without a rousing rendition of the Christos Anesti (Christ is Risen) hymn. And just like when I was little, the kids giggle and make faces at each other while the adults sing passionately in Greek.  Who am I kidding? I still giggle.

Greek Food

As for the food – here is a pictorial of some family favorites.

Dolmathes (stuffed grapeleaves), Kalamata olive and feta, Pasticio (Greek lasagna), Leg of Lamb
Dolmathes (stuffed grapeleaves), Kalamata olives and feta, Pasticio (Greek lasagna with noodles, beef and bechamel sauce), luscious Leg of Lamb. Not shown, but always an all time favorite – Spanakopita or “pita” (spinach pie with filo).


Kourabiedes, Baklava, Mavrodaphne - Greek wine
Kourabiedes (powdered shortbread cookie) and Baklava (nut, honey, filo pastry), Mavrodaphne – Greek wine.


Greek Games – Egg Cracking Contest

One tradition that has held on for as many years as I’ve been alive is the cracking of the red eggs. Greeks dye all of their eggs red in honor of the blood of Christ and we play the game of Tsougrisma (egg tapping). Cracking the egg symbolizes the breaking open of Jesus’s tomb. The game was simple when I was young. You’d randomly find someone with an uncracked egg, hit eggs and the person with the uncracked egg went on to find someone else to hit until there was only one good egg left.  Bragging rights were the only prize.


Red eggs for Greek Easter Tsougrisma
The eggs.


Today, the stakes are higher. Egg cracking is now a contest that includes tournament brackets, a trophy and memorialization on the Easter plaque. If friends stop in, they too join the fun. This year, the new girlfriend of a young family friend went all the way to the final round. If that poor girl had won there might have been a mutiny from those of us who’ve waited a lifetime for the title (John and Suzie, we’ll have our day). Instead, Auntie Carolyn took home the prize and no one could be more deserving!  I know the coveted Ultimate Egg Trophy will hold a special place in her home until next year when we do it all over again.


Greek egg cracking and "The Ultimate Egg" Trophy
The cracking of the eggs and The Thomas Family “Ultimate Egg” Trophy.


I can’t wait for more Greek Easter traditions. Christos Anesti!

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Fredrick’s Purple Velvet Cake – A Purple Pleasure

Frederick's Pastries Purple Velvet Cake
Frederick’s Purple Velvet Cake


This week the blog took a turn toward food and drink, so it seemed fitting to finish off with something sweet.  Food Network has a show called “The Best Thing I Ever Ate.” If I were on this show, my best thing would undoubtedly be Frederick’s Pastries’ Purple Velvet Cake. My mouth waters for this supreme confection.

I do consider it a special occasion treat, since whenever we’ve had it for a birthday or otherwise, I find myself hovering over the leftover portion with a fork and an endless appetite for more.  It is honestly so good that I can’t stop myself and I don’t want to. However, I can’t do that on a regular basis. Instead, I hold out and crave it until the next reasonable time I can find cause to celebrate. Hmmm, what shall my next excuse be? Mother’s Day of course – just a week away! I’m counting the minutes. Frederick’s does offer it’s purple velvet creation in cupcake form, if you choose to indulge more frequently.

What Makes Fredick’s Purple Velvet Cake So Delicous?

At first I thought it was the frosting that had something particularly special about it. But when we last enjoyed it for Julia’s birthday, I slowed down a bit to dissect the flavors. A mouthful of frosting alone assured me that the frosting was second to none.  It’s sweet, but not overly so. A bite alone of the pretty purple velvet cake then made me realize that the spongy perfection was really as delicious as the frosting. At that point I just dove in and continued to enjoy the full combination of flavors.

If you’ve never tried this divine dessert, go for it – it’s worth every bite.


slice of Frederick's Pastries purple velvet cake
A sweet slice.


Frederick’s Pastries has locations in Bedford, NH, Amherst, NH and North Andover, MA.

Not new to Fredrick’s amazing creations? Share your favorite cake or dessert in a comment below.


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Sancerre Wine is the New Pinot Grigio

Cuvee des Moulins Bales Sancerre wine - Sauvignon Blanc 2014
Cuvee des Moulins Bales Sancerre Sauvignon Blanc 2014


In keeping with Monday’s food post, I thought it might be nice to share with you what accompanied my meal. It was a nice, crisp glass of Sancerre wine that has become a new favorite.

As you may have guessed from the name of my blog, I’m a martini drinker. My go-to order is Grey Goose with, you guessed it, 3 olives and a twist of lemon. That’s just the way I like it.

On Monday, however, I was craving something with a little less punch and what better to go with a tasty chicken stew than white wine.

When it comes to white wine, Chardonnay is often the popular choice, but no matter which one I try – I just don’t like it. I’ve always preferred Pinot Grigio.  It’s light, crisp and easy for me to drink. The problem is; when I’m out and I order my Pinot Grigio, while every other lady at the table orders Chardonnay, I feel a bit unsophisticated.  Damn Ramona Singer of the Real Housewives of New York for giving Pinot Grigio a bad name! Let’s face it, there are a lot of wine snobs out there and Pinot Grigio is one they love to hate. I guess the fact that you can drink it like water is kind of the problem – it’s more like water than wine. Whatever, I’ve always liked it and still do.

Even though I enjoy Pinot Grigio and feel no need to conform, I challenged myself to try something new. With Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio out, my obvious next choice was Sauvignon blanc.  I like the sound of that, so I stopped into my favorite local wine shop, Wine Connextion, to see what they’d suggest for white wine. I was shown a bottle of Sancerre wine, a French variety of Sauvignon blanc.  I’d heard this name tossed around – is it a place, is it a grape? I think Sancerre is the place and Sauvignon blanc is the grape, but to read up on it is like diving into a full set of encyclopedia. I just can’t.

Wine knowledge aside, Sancerre rolls off my tongue even better than Sauvignon blanc, so this seemed like the perfect choice. I picked up two bottles and gifted one to my friend, Lisa, who’d helped me out with my schnauzer, Sir Oscar. Just yesterday she mentioned how much she’d enjoyed it. She’d never tried it, and neither had Tony (hubbie) or I. We all gave it a big thumbs up, which led me to the conclusion that Sancerre wine is now my new Pinot Grigio. But don’t worry my Pinot friends, I’ll still happily be part of the PG club when a bottle is poured.

For more wine, food, and fun, follow me on Instagram – @3OlivesandaTwist. Hope to see you there!

What’s your favorite wine and why? Comment below and tell me about it. Cheers!

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