Growing in Love, Growing in Health and Mothers Day pancakes!


Mother and Daughter, Maria and Marianna, singer/songwriters of “Growing in Love”

Mothers grow in love with their children. Sometimes it’s a bumpy ride, a Carnival ride that has you going around and around but always thrilling. My daughter is in her mid-twenties now but sometimes she can give me a look that reminds me of when she was four years old. That is when my heart melts in love.

When I reminded her that Mothers Day was coming up soon, her come-back was, “Since I made you a mother, then I should be celebrated too!” LOL! Gotta love her sense of humor!

Growing in Love

Here are some sentimental ideas to do as a family that will make Mothers Day special. Children can give mom a photo album, a collage of your favorite pictures or a blog. Moms you can give your children some inspired quotes or their own personal bible verse. My daughter’s birthday is 4/8. This is her bible verse:

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable– if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” – Philippians 4:8

When my daughter, Marianna was in her late teens, we wrote a song about unconditional love and recorded it. Our song is called, “Growing in Love” and it would make a sweet background track for your video photo album. You may catch a TV clip of my daughter and I singing “Growing in Love” on my past post, Preparing for Mothers Day, with the story of my mom and what she taught me about healthy living and glamour.

Growing In Love (Mother & Daughter song!)

*Click on to the CD picture for song sample and the link below for song lyrics


A beautifully prepared breakfast will get your Mothers Day celebration to a good start. Here’s a delicious gluten-free, oil-free Banana Pancake recipe. Dark chocolate covered raisins and goji berries are added to the recipe. Yummy!


Mothers Day Banana Pancake Recipe

(Makes 6 small pancakes one to two servings)

1 overripe banana, peeled

1/2 cup of any pancake mix (I use Pamela’s non-gluten pancake mix)

1 egg

1/4 cup milk (I use almond, soy or coconut milk)

1 tablespoon of cinnamon

1 tablespoon vanilla flavor

Blend ingredients. Pour batter on griddle. Add dark chocolate raisins and/or goji berries on top when the pancakes begin to bubble and flip over.

The extras make this an extraordinary breakfast. Besides a drizzle of natural maple syrup on top of the pancakes, I like to shake a generous portion of cinnamon over some walnuts. Then, pour a little honey and/or agave syrup over the walnuts. Sliced strawberries and/or berries with a scoop of non-fat Greek yogurt can be added to the dish. The nuts and the yogurt adds some protein to the plate and the berries are healthy and delicious. Extra virgin coconut oil spread over the pancakes instead of butter makes me think of Hawaii. Pick a beautiful rose or flower from your garden to go along with your Mothers Day breakfast and serve with a smile. 🙂

* To help keep your blood sugar stable, you can use a sugar-free syrup. Also suggested is serving a side dish of raw almonds; the protein in almonds can help regulate your blood sugar when consuming carbohydrates and sugars.

Growing in Health

At Kaiser Permanente, I work as a Lifestyle Educator encouraging our patients to exercise and eat healthfully which includes vegetables, fruits and nuts. Nuts can strengthen bones, lower cholesterol, regulate blood pressure and prevent cancer. Nuts have a lot of fat but it’s “good” fat. There is minimal saturated fat (bad fat) in either almonds or walnuts. Health nuts eat nuts!

  • Almonds have more vitamin E and calcium than most nuts, are high in fiber. Almonds can help lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease.
  • Walnuts contain omega-3 fatty acids, which help prevent inflammation and cardiovascular disease. Walnuts support immune system and fight cancer.

Do you know what this cute monkey is trying to tell you? Eat 5 portions of fruits and vegetables a day! Eating a rainbow of colorful foods will give you a rainbow of natural vitamins!


My sister, June Kuz, a certified Dietician in West Chester, Pennsylvania, made this Monkey Fruit Tree with her children.

  • Mix sliced fruit or frozen berries with yogurt or cereal. .
  • Make fruit smoothies by blending together fresh or frozen fruit, fruit juice and yogurt.
  • Add lots of colorful vegetables, such as red cabbage, carrots, and corn, to green salads.
  • Add extra vegetables, such as grated zucchini or carrots, spinach, kale, and bell peppers, to pasta sauces and soups.
  • Add lots of vegetables to sandwiches. Lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers and avocado slices are flavorful choices.

Eat wisely and don’t forget to exercise. Last month, I wrote about the benefits of walking. Have you added walking to your daily routine? While walking, your mind can work through troubling issues and clear mental clutter. Many people find it one of the best ways to reduce stress and avoid resulting headaches.

Growing as a Nation

As a nation, we feel the after-shock of compassion caused by disasters.  It was comforting to hear President Obama quote from the bible to ease the nation concerning the tragedy in Boston. “No more hurting people” was a plea from the innocent eight year old victim, Martin Richard. May his plea be forever in our hearts.

“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah, 40: 29-31

Remember to take care of each other and take care of our home the earth. My sister Linda and I are supporting organic and non-GMO food growers. Linda Eichberg remembers Earth Day on her blog: The Gratitude Life.

Always growing in love,

Maria Lauren, YourPowerfulLIFE, (aka) Maria Elena Alberici – Riccio


More gift suggestions for Mothers Day…

Beyond-Our-Wildest-Dreams-bookA book can be a good gift and escape on Mothers Day. Beyond Our Wildest Dreams brings the reader into the world of entertainment during the groovy 70’s with backstage stories of legends like the Rat Pack and over 350 pictures!


Every mother needs to relieve stress at one time or another. The CD, Relax-n-Renew contains guided visualizations and soothing music to put the listener in a state of calm. Each selection starts with a bible verse.


Maria Lauren is a motivational fitness speaker and entertainer:

Maria-Lauren-Alberici-Riccio-motivation-entertainer-fitness-You-Got-The-PowerThis is a blog about LIFE: Living, Inspiration, Fitness, Entertainment…. It is produced in my own time and solely reflects my personal opinions. Statements on this site do not represent the views or policies of my employer, past or present, or any other organization with which I may be affiliated. All content is copyrighted.

Preparing for Mothers Day!

Maria-Lauren's-mom-Dick-Clark-American Bandstand

My mom: Lillian Biro – Alberici (Stage name: Lee Richie)

Mothers inspire. Mothers teach. Mothers help. Moms are special and their children know why. A hug between a mother and child warms the soul. What’s special about your mom?

 My mom had her domestic ways but as you can see by her picture above, she had a glamorous side too. She was a sought-after singer around the Philadelphia area. In between singing engagements, she gave birth to nine children. Both mom (Lee Alberici) and dad (Al Alberici) raised us as vegetarians and made sure we all ate a natural diet and exercised daily. A few times a week, mom used a machine to grind and press juice from raw vegetables and created special candy made out of raw nuts and honey. On Easter, our baskets were filled with home-made delights. I loved her Coconut Cream Eggs the best!

 In the 60’s, mom appeared on American Bandstand as Lee Richie. I remember watching her singing on TV while fans cheered and danced. I was a young girl and seeing her like this was a curiosity. Was this the same mom who changed diapers and took care of us? Her performance took place before Dick Clark became the host. As I got a little older, I began watching Dick Clark charmingly host American Bandstand and I thought he was kind of cute! Little did I know I would be performing in several TV Specials for Dick Clark Productions when I became part of the Hollywood scene, myself.

 “If you want to stay young-looking, pick your parents very carefully.” ~ Dick Clark

Family has always been important to me and I was lucky to have a sister to join me in the Hollywood experience! My sister, Linda (Alberici) Eichberg and I wrote a book about our show biz journey called, Beyond Our Wildest Dreams. In our book, we describe our unusual family up-bringing and our entry into the world of entertainment where the Rat Pack ruled! It’s now selling on-line at Amazon and Barnes & Noble and contains over 300 pictures and lots of stories about the “Stars!” Here’s a book excerpt about watching our mom transform from “housewife” to “entertainer”:


Alberici Sisters

Maria: Who inspired us to be entertainers? Our mom was our first inspiration. I loved hearing about the stars and their shows from my mom. I especially remember my mom going on and on about Sammy Davis Jr. and how he sang, danced and played musical instruments. My mom seemed amazed at how talented he was and how hard he worked during his performances. I knew my mom was not easily impressed by entertainers, so I made a mental note. I wanted to be an entertainer and hearing about Sammy let me know at a young age that I had to do more than just sing to gain the respect of an audience, I had to be able to wow them too.”

“When mom put on a sequined gown she looked like Cinderella. She’d be around the house and just be mom doing the housework and then she would put on what we called her ‘equipment.’ She had a waist cincher, it made your waistline about four inches smaller, like Mae West. She had elegant gowns, and these hairpieces that she sometimes put on; it was definitely a startling transformation.” ~ Beyond Our Wildest Dreams (Copyright)

Enjoy this book preview of Beyond Our Wildest Dreams.

My sister and I certainly learned glamour and practical values from our mom. Both my mom and dad taught us the value of family, hard work and a healthy lifestyle. Coming from a large family there was always lots of chores to do but this prepared us for the rigors of showbiz with the opportunity of singing and dancing on television and touring with celebrities like Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra.

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work. Great ideas originate in the muscles.” ~ Thomas A. Edison

During April, we celebrate Earth Day! Will you recycle, plant trees, grow vegetables…? Doing some gardening is good exercise too. It’s the little things that add up like taking your own bag to the grocery store. What are you doing to keep our “Earth Home” healthy? Don’t forget to keep your “Body Home” fit and healthy too!

It’s also time to prepare for Mothers Day! Take a few moments to remember how important your mom has been in your life and share this legacy with your children.

“I love you mommy.” These words are music to a mothers ears. Growing in Love (That’s What a Women Does), is a song which starts out with those precious words. A few years ago, my daughter, Marianna Riccio and I wrote Growing in Love and did a TV performance. Here’s a video clip to get you in the Mothers Day mood.

Download the entire song, Growing in Love.

Wishing my readers and my WONDERFUL MOM much love and happiness!

A special thank you to my family for your comments about our mom. I know some of you are very private people but I appreciate reading your sentiments and stories and participating in my Mothers Day blog party!

Maria Lauren, aka: Maria Elena Alberici – Riccio 

Your Powerful LIFE blog

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Maria Lauren’s entertainment and fitness website: 

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Maria-Lauren-Alberici-Riccio-You-Got-The-PowerThis is a blog about LIFE: Living, Inspiration, Fitness, Entertainment. Statements on this site do not represent the views or policies of my employer, past or present, or any other organization with which I may be affiliated. All content is copyrighted.