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9 Unforgettable Things My Mother Taught Me

9 Unforgettable Things My Mother Taught Me
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In this chaotic and somewhat unpredictable world, filled with the stress of daily living, every woman can face challenges every day. Like never before, women fulfill multiple roles; at home, in the workplace, and in their personal lives. I sometimes refer to the current society as the “age of the superwoman” because of the high expectations placed on women.

In honor of my mother, whose birthday would have been January 31st, I am writing about some of the basic things she taught me that continue to help me survive in the world.

My mother was Miriam Eleanor Bresnahan, born in 1920. She was first and foremost a homemaker. She raised a family of seven children and was married to my father, Leo, a railroader, for 63 years. She passed away in 2010. She was 90 years old.

    Miriam Eleanor Bresnahan

    My mom was the emotional center of our large family. Each of us told her any problems we were having, but we also shared all our joys with her. She was an amazing parent and a dear sweet wife. She lived her days unselfishly devoted to the needs and dreams of her children.

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    She raised all of us (one boy and six girls) to be independent, to think for ourselves, and to work hard. She was tough, but gentle, critical but understanding, disciplined, but free spirited. I remember coming home for college and being amazed how she embraced an ever changing world by appreciating modern music and even dancing to it.

    Miriam was born in 1920 and grew up dirt poor, but then her life was transformed when she fell in love. I watched her grow and change over the years, and have enthusiasm for every single thing her children were involved in. She was beautiful, artistic, loved decorating, collecting figurines, crafts and sewing, and most importantly, she was a wonderful cook.

    She had a magnetism that no one could resist. She was loving and was loved very deeply. She had a way of winning people over, and when someone came into her home, they automatically became, in that instant, part of the family. To say she was supportive is an understatement. She was completely devoted to her children and her husband all her life. She was amazing.

      Miriam and Leo Bresnahan on their wedding day.

      Here are 9 important things my mother taught me:

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      1. Always do your best, no matter what you do

      She always encouraged us to participate in activities at church and school. We were encouraged to try and to try hard at everything.

      2. Speak up – your opinion counts

      I guess in a large family it just becomes a way of life to speak up, otherwise you might not be heard at all. But, mom valued everything we had to say and made us feel like our opinions always mattered.

      3. If you start something, finish it

      Whatever we did, or tried to do, she made it very clear that we didn’t give up. We learned determination that guided us all to become achievers in school and in life.

      4. You have talent, so use it

      My mom delighted in finding out just what the talents of her children were. She encouraged us to do the things we were good at.

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      5. Love your neighbors and be good to others

      Growing up in a Catholic environment, it was easy to learn to love your neighbors and to be good to other people.

      6. Treat others how you want to be treated

      The golden rule was a way of life for all of us, and she made sure we understood that.

      7. Always be honest, no matter what happens

      This was a major lesson at home, which we carried out into the world. Honesty is always important.

      8. Life is too short for fighting; admit your mistakes

      If there was a conflict, we were always encouraged to be the first ones to admit we were sorry. We didn’t waste time fighting with each other.

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      9. Have faith in God and trust in His plan

      Having faith in God was something our lives were built upon. The importance of this faith is one thing I have found impossible to live without in my life. I will always trust that God has a plan for me, and this trust keeps my life in balance.

        Here I am with my mother, Miriam Elearnor Bresnahan, on her 90th Birthday.

        I honor my mother by remembering the things she taught me. I can only pray that I am as good a mother as she was. Hopefully this list will inspire other women, as well as men, to reflect upon the lessons they are teaching their children in today’s challenging and ever-changing world.

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        Karen Bresnahan

        Photographer/Writer/Artist

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        Published on July 22, 2021

        20 Healthy and Tasty Family Meals Ideas to Try This Week

        20 Healthy and Tasty Family Meals Ideas to Try This Week
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        It’s 5 p.m., and you’re exhausted. The kids are hungry, but no one knows what they want to eat for dinner. With very little energy, you force yourself into the kitchen and look through every cabinet, hoping for a spark of inspiration. Eventually, you toss a few ingredients together and hope for the best. It won’t win any prizes and falls short of what you consider “healthy,” but it fills everyone’s stomachs.

        Feeding a family can be stressful, even tiresome. It’s hard to find the energy and creativity needed to cook healthy but simple family meals. It’s easy to fall into the “anything goes” mentality. When you’ve got a busy lifestyle, meals become more about survival and less about nutrition.

        Here are 20 quick and healthy—but tasty—recipes followed by tips on making these family meals more nutritious. These recipes can help you have a healthy family meal on the table in an hour or less. Remember, swap ingredients out if someone in your family has dietary restrictions or if you avoid certain foods.

        1. Mini Meatloaves With Green Beans and Potatoes

          These miniature meatloaves come together quickly and cook faster, too. You can have a family favorite on the table, paired with seasoned potatoes and fresh green beans, in just 40 minutes.

          Get the recipe here.

          2. One-Pan Chicken Parmesan Pasta

            This classic will taste like you spent hours cooking, but the preparation and clean-up couldn’t be quicker. One-pot cooking makes this dish practical, while fresh basil, parmesan, and garlic add a special touch.

            To try this recipe, go here.

            3. Sheet-Pan Chicken Fajitas

              Skip the restaurant and make fajitas at home. The ingredients go on one sheet pan, meaning you won’t spend all night cleaning. Zesty chicken, bell peppers, and warm tortillas can be on the table in 40 minutes. Add sour cream, salsa, guacamole, lettuce, diced tomato, and any other favorite toppings.

              Check out the recipe here.

              4. Philly Cheese Steak Stuffed Peppers

                Lose the carbs but keep the cheesesteak flavors with this quick family meal. Kids will love the pepper “bowls,” and you’ll love giving them a meal full of veggies and protein to keep them healthy.

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                Try it tonight. Get the recipe here.

                5. Chipotle Chicken Quinoa Burrito Bowl

                  This veggie-packed meal adds an extra boost by using the superfood quinoa instead of rice. Flavorful yet simple, this meal makes an excellent packable lunch or dinner for your whole family.

                  Find the recipe here.

                  6. Spinach and Chicken Skillet With Lemon and Parmesan

                    The complex flavors of lemon and parmesan come together nicely in this gourmet-like dish, but you don’t have to exert the effort or spend as much as a gourmet meal.

                    Get the recipe for this dish here.

                    7. Oven-Fried Fish and Chips

                      Fish and chips can also sometimes be healthy as evident in this oven-fried version. You won’t miss the calories with this favorite family meal.

                      You can find the recipe here.

                      8. Pineapple-Teriyaki Chicken

                        Tangy pineapple and sweet teriyaki will have everyone coming back for seconds. Frozen vegetables make this simple family dish even easier to make and enjoy.

                        Find the recipe here.

                        9. Mozzarella, Basil, and Zucchini Frittata

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                          This egg dish is usually served for breakfast, but a frittata can make a fantastic dinner, too. High in protein, packed with zucchini, and delicious, there’s no reason to wait until morning.

                          Try it tonight. Get the recipe here.

                          10. Chicken and Sweet Potato Grill Packets

                            Skip the pans and throw everything into foil with this fun family recipe. Kids will love loading ingredients into their pack, and you’ll love its versatility and simplicity.

                            The recipe for this meal can be found here.

                            11. Chicken and Spanish “Rice”

                              Cauliflower takes the place of rice in this low-carb family meal, but it’s so flavorful and filling, no one will miss it.

                              Find the recipe here.

                              12. Honey Chicken Stir Fry

                                This honey chicken stir fry is the healthier version of a restaurant favorite that can be served up quicker than you can order it.

                                Find the recipe here.

                                13. Chicken Skewers With Tzatziki

                                  Greek chicken and tzatziki sauce will have you yearning for the Mediterranean, but you can make this recipe at home for your family to enjoy.

                                  This easy recipe can be found here.

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                                  14. Healthy Walking Tacos

                                    Traditional walking tacos are a party favorite, but they’re not usually healthy. However, this recipe keeps it fun while making it more nutritious.

                                    Find out how to make it here.

                                    15. Slow-Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup

                                      This classic comfort meal can be ready when you walk in the door. All you have to do is add noodles, and it’s ready to serve.

                                      The recipe can be found here.

                                      16. Cheesy Chicken and Rice Casserole

                                        This usually takes a little over an hour, but the preparation time is only 30 minutes. You’ll love how easy it is, and the cheesy rice is sure to please.

                                        Find the recipe here.

                                        17. Crockpot Rotisserie-Style Chicken

                                          Skip the checkout line and have a rotisserie-style chicken ready at home. A staple in many quick meals, you might find this family meal recipe among your most-used.

                                          Get the recipe for this flavorful chicken here.

                                          18. Santa Monica Street Tacos

                                            Named after a simple taco found on the streets of California, you’ll be surprised that something with only a few ingredients can be so flavorful. Your kids will surely enjoy them.

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                                            Find the recipe here.

                                            19. Pizza Pasta Salad

                                              Enjoy the flavor of pizza without the hassle of making a crust. Use a fun pasta shape to make this even more appealing to your family, especially kids.

                                              Try it tonight. Get the recipe here.

                                              20. Slow-Cooker Lasagna Soup

                                                Everyone loves lasagna, but it can be time-consuming and messy to make. However, this soup version has the taste you want but with the ease of a crockpot.

                                                Get the recipe here.

                                                Bonus: 3 Simple Ways to Make Meals Healthier

                                                Eating healthy doesn’t have to take a lot of money, time, or thought. Any improvements are a big step in the right direction.

                                                Here are three easy ways you can make meals healthier for your family.

                                                1. Lose the Sugar

                                                Are you looking to improve your health? Cut processed sugars from your diet—the more, the better, and that includes artificial sweeteners.[1] Why? Studies show that sugar increases the risks for weight gain, heart disease, acne, type-2 diabetes, depression, cancer, fatty liver disease, cellular aging, and low energy levels.[2]

                                                2. Avoid Highly Processed Foods

                                                Many processed foods are fine to eat. Even fresh fruit and vegetables go through some processing to stay fresh longer. However, highly processed foods have added salt, sweeteners, saturated fats, preservatives, and artificial colors. These types of food have been linked to heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure.[3]

                                                3. Replace Simple Carbs for Complex Carbs

                                                Lowering daily carbs can do wonders for your health. Studies show that low-carb diets lead to lower insulin levels, lower bad cholesterol levels, visceral fat loss, weight loss, reduced appetite, and can be therapeutic for many brain disorders.[4]

                                                When eating carbs, choose complex carbs over simple carbs. Simple carbs, such as white flour, rice, and degermed cornmeal, lack nutrients and spike blood sugar levels. Complex carbs, such as sweet potato, brown rice, and oats, are usually more nutritious and aren’t digested as quickly, giving more sustained energy and less of an insulin spike.[5]

                                                Enjoy Family Meals With Less Stress!

                                                Dinner can be enjoyable again now that you’re armed with simple and nutritious recipes for your family. These healthy and tasty family meal recipes can help you feel even better about what you serve. Best of all, you’ll have the extra time and energy you saved from cooking and spend more time with your family.

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                                                More Healthy Eating Tips

                                                Featured photo credit: Jimmy Dean via unsplash.com

                                                Reference

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