One of my Favorite People

Today is the birthday of one of my most favorite people in the whole entire world, my grandmother. I call her Mema (pronounced (me-mah) which was something little Allison made up I guess when she couldn’t say grandma and made a hybrid with grammy or mommy or something like that. Who knows. BUT Mema stuck and now it’s what all the grand kids call her. I am the oldest of all of her grandchildren so I am the trendsetter he he.

As I was saying… HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MEMA!

This woman has always been a role model to me for so many reasons. I don’t think I know a more caring, loving, and sweet human being. She has worked so hard her entire life and hardly ever complains and continually just gives so much of herself to helping other people. Her unwavering faith in the goodness of others and her persistence in helping the community at large is truly amazing. Heck, she was named “Person of the Year” in my town (no joke) a couple years back. She runs the food pantry day and night in our town and never stops volunteering to help those in need. I see what she does for others and how she has lived her life and its impossible to not feel the intense desire to emulate all the good that she radiates.

I was lucky and both sets of my grandparents were major parts of my life growing up. My grandmother whose birthday is today, my Mom’s Mom, has lived a mile from my own front door for all of my life that I can remember. She helped raise me and at least half of my memories growing up involve her and my grandfather. We’ve always been wicked close. When I think of “home” in Massachusetts, their house is just as much a part of that as my own home.

Screenshot 2013-02-22 at 10.40.35 AM

You may have seen this picture already on my “About Me” page but this is my stepdad, mom, sisters, grandparents, and myself over the holidays.

She taught me how to say my prayers, how to eat healthy snacks, how to play Chinese checkers, how to be thrifty, and how to make a pie, most importantly- she influenced such a major part of my character and who I grew up to be and the values that I find the most important in life.

Not to mention, she is so beautiful. If I get to be her age and am even half as lovely, accomplished, and not jaded but so so so kind- I will consider myself beyond lucky. Her laugh is infectious and genuine and just thinking about it makes me smile. Her hair is the most glorious shade of gray I’ve ever seen (I’m crossing my fingers I have her genes there!). She jokes about her wrinkles, but she’s aged so gracefully and when I see her I still think- damn, she IS a looker. But it’s more than just appearance, it’s who she is that always shines through.

She has always been a good reminder to not care what anyone else thinks of you. Growing up of course kids feel like the adults in their life are embarrassing sometimes with either how they dress or act or whatever. She has always seemed so strong in her reserve and in who she is as a person- she basically couldn’t care less what the world thought of her (appearance and otherwise) if she was confident in what she was doing and felt good about what she was doing. I always thought that was so cool.

My grandparents being fairly young, I was also blessed to have two very active grandparents. We always went for walks, played outside, raked with my grandfather, rode bikes in the driveway, and we were always encouraged to get off the computer (once that became a thing). My sister and I spent a lot of time in their house, sure, but we also spent a lot of time outside doing stuff with them that didn’t involve technology. My grandmother was always into fitness and I can remember her taking some classes at a nearby place. They both never made me feel guilty for being overweight whatsoever, but they encourage me to be more active and to get outside.

My grandmother, like me now, also holds a “common-sense” approach to healthy eating. No food was ever off limits but things always felt healthier at Mema and Poppa’s house. She always had whole grain bread (even if I chose the white bread she had on hand anyway), always had fruit, always had veggies, and always made recipes that weren’t crazy healthy creations- but they were good for you and delicious. Our snacks (while sometimes influenced by the cookies my grandfather was pushing) were peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on crackers, sliced bananas in a bowl of milk, and cheese sticks (but I hated cheese sticks- those were for my sister). In hindsight, I really feel like she had the perfect balance of eating right, but also being a human being who loves sweets, down pat. Everything in moderation- everything in balance. She definitely represents that to me.

I could go on an on an on for days weeks years eternity about this woman and I still wouldn’t even cover everything she is to me and to everyone around her. So again I say, Happy Birthday, Mema! You deserve everything good.

When thinking of what to give her for her birthday, I got a little stumped. But then I remembered the company Harry and David. They apparently have the best pears in the country? I didn’t know of their existence until I joined the blogging world and started seeing them pop up on peoples blogs. They essentially deliver pears and other fruits/goodies. The more you know. SO I sent her some pears hoping they’d be as sweet as her 😉 cheesy, but accurate. Plus, as a healthy role model in my life and nutrition and all that jazz being such a big part of my world these days, I felt they were appropriate.

Screenshot 2013-02-22 at 10.40.59 AM

And this is one of the funny pictures that we took the same night. We were yelling out to do random faces right before the camera took our picture and this was our mean picture face.

I want to share with you one of her recipes in honor of her birthday. Seeing as its still chilly outside and spring isn’t walking into our lives anytime soon, I thought her apple crisp recipe would be a good one to share. Yes, definitely more of a fall/holiday time recipe but let’s be real- apple crisp is always good. And hers is even better than good- it’s amazing. I’ve talked it up before. Her and I both have pretty serious sweet tooths too so I feel it is only appropriate that I share a dessert recipe.

It’s warm, easy, cozy, and delicious. It’s best served with cool whip or vanilla ice cream (or if you’re like me and dig it, frozen cool whip). Plus, it’s not all that calorie-licious for those of you concerned.

Apple Crisp

(Makes 9×13 pan)

  • 10 cups sliced apples (cored and peeled)
  • 1/2 cup margarine
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon and 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 3/4 cup flour
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Spray pan with buttery cooking spray like Pam
  3. Place apples in pan
  4. Mix dry ingredients and then cut in margarine with a pastry blender or two forks
  5. Sprinkle over apples evenly
  6. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly
  7. Serve warm or cold (it stores great in the fridge and big batches even work well being stored in the freezer)

She also recommends halving the recipe and just baking it in a smaller pan or pie plate (for people like me who live with less than two people- the big recipe above is best for my BIG family)

Keep it wicked healthy xoxo


10 thoughts on “One of my Favorite People

  1. Happy Birthday Mom! You pretty much summed up how truly awesome she is and said everything I’m feeling too. Maybe we can try and make today an official holiday in her honor?! But maybe Mema wouldn’t like that because of all the wonderful adjectives you can use to describe her, humble is one of them.She does what she does without any desire to be recognized or praised. She walks gently and gracefully through life helping and changing others lives selflessly. Mom you are amazing! Love you !

  2. Your grandmother sounds like a lovely person inside and out. I love how she played such an important role in shaping you, Allison. I have such memories of my belated grandmother too.

  3. Sorry we’re keeping her overlong this time, down here in Florida. We had baked pears for dessert last night. They were major yum! I thank you for the pears, your Mema for baking them, and your cousin Sarah for the recipe..

    And didja know my earliest memory was in the living room where we grew up, me and Uncle Tom (18 months older) looking out the window for your Mema’s bus after her school. I was probably 3 or 4.

    And by the time I went to kindergarten, I knew how to read. Your Mema taught me how to. So yeah, she’s been a major influence on my life, too, a wonderful role model, big sister, great nurse and great citizen, too.

    I made her a lemon meringue pie for her birthday. First time I ever saw her throw modertion to the wind… she ate TWO pieces!

    She is a great gift to everyone.

    -Uncle Kevin

    • I couldn’t agree more about her being a great gift to everyone. Thank you for sharing your early stories of her- she’s fantastic. Also, thank you for making her a lemon meringue pie for her birthday- I was hoping someone made her something tasty 🙂

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