Mom of the Week from Mount Airy, Maryland

Posted by Tara Dunsmore in Blog, meet a mom, Mom of the Week, recipes on Wed, Aug 15, 2012

Mom of the Week

Name: Laurie Jo

Hometown: Mount Airy, MD

Meet the family: I am married to Christopher Neary, I have 3 daughters, Elizabeth (16yrs), Aubrey (7yrs), and Natalie (4yrs), and one Mini-Schnoodle, Oji.

Occupation:  I am a Medical Coder Mon-Friday, a Team Leader with the Pampered Chef, and an Independent Consultant with Pure Romance.


Home Base definite “Must Do’s”: If you come to Mount Airy, you NEED to go to Jimmy Cone!

Downtown Mount  Airy is AWESOME, cute, quaint with quirky stores

Passions and Interests: After I was diagnosed with stage 3C Breast Cancer at 35, I started making a bucket list and slowly ticking each one off as completed. I am currently working on my Vertical Fitness (A.K.A. Pole fitness) at A Pole New You in Urbana, MD

Most controversial thing about you: The most controversial thing about me right now is that I Pole Dance, I even have a pole in my basement. Most people would not believe the amount of strength one needs to dance on a pole. Some might only think of a profession that requires me to un-cloth. I like to think of it as more Cirque de Soliel.         

Biggest pet peeve: Eating with your MOUTH OPEN!!!    

One major goal you’re striving for: To become a successful business woman. I am currently running two businesses, Pampered Chef and Pure Romance. I would like to be able to make these my full time business, so I can spend more time with my kids and have them in daycare less.      

Favorite blog/website:

Best advice you’ve ever received: When it was meant to be, everything just falls into place.

What are you reading? What is your favorite book? I am currently trying to get through 50 Shades Darker, my favorite books are the Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon.

Favorite kid friendly restaurant: Ci-Ci’s Pizza in Frederick!! I love that the kids can get all they want!

What is your go-to family dinner? Grilled Chicken Penne Al Fresco by the Pampered Chef.

Preparing a tomato-garlic sauce from scratch in the microwave will fill your kitchen with the aromas of an elegant Italian restaurant. (to see Laurie Jo’s full recipe, scroll to the bottom of this page.)

What types of activities do you like to do as a family? We are Linganore Lancers at the core, so we enjoy the Football games!!

What do you do when you have some alone time away from the kids? I love to go to the movies and a nice (quiet) dinner :-)

How did your family spend summer vacation? We went to the Lake Winola in Pennsylvania. It was a nice, too short trip.

Want to be featured as our Mom of the Week?

Have a friend who you think deserves our attention? Tots2Tweens wants to meet you! I’m in search of moms, all moms! Tell me about yourself. What kind of mom are you? What do you have planned with the kids this summer? Whatever you have to share, I want to hear it! Tell me about yourself here. You can also submit your favorite crafts and recipes for publication on our site!

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4 garlic cloves, peeled
2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes
3 cups uncooked penne pasta
3 cups chicken broth
¾ cup dry white wine such as Chardonnay
½ tsp each salt and coarsely ground black pepper
1¼ cups lightly packed fresh basil leaves, divided
1 oz Parmesan cheese, grated (about ¼ cup packed)
2 cups diced grilled chicken breasts
Additional grated fresh Parmesan cheese
and coarsely ground black pepper (optional)


  1. Spray Deep Covered Baker with olive oil using Kitchen Spritzer. Slice garlic into baker using Garlic Slicer. Add tomatoes. Cover; microwave on HIGH 4-5 minutes or until tomatoes begin to burst, stirring after 2 minutes. Crush tomatoes using Mix ‘N Chop. Add pasta, broth, wine, salt and black pepper. Return baker to microwave; cover and microwave on HIGH 16-18 minutes or until pasta is tender, stirring after 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, coarsely chop basil with Chef’s Knife. Reserve 2 tbsp for garnish. Grate cheese using Rotary Grater.
  3. Carefully remove baker from microwave and remove lid, lifting away from you. Add remaining basil, cheese and chicken to baker; mix well. Garnish with reserved 2 tbsp basil, additional Parmesan cheese and black pepper, if desired.

Cook’s Tips:

  • An additional ¾ cup chicken broth can be substituted for the wine, if desired.
  • Any tube-shaped pasta requiring 9-11 minutes cook time, such as rigatoni, can be substituted for the penne pasta.
  • To grill chicken in the Grill Pan, season 2 chicken breasts, about 6 oz each, with salt and black pepper. Heat Grill Pan over medium-high heat 5 minutes. Spray pan with oil. Cook chicken 4-6 minutes or until grill marks appear. Turn chicken over; cook 4-6 minutes or until center of chicken is no longer pink and Digital Thermometer registers 170°F.   
About Tara Dunsmore

Tara is a single mom from Frederick, Maryland just trying to keep up with her crazy life. When she's not at the park with her Boo Boo you can find her either at her day job right here at Tots2Tweens or at her second job as a Jamberry Independent Consultant. Tara spends her days at Tots2Tweens searching for fun family activities and interesting content to share with our readers. Events, recipes, parenting articles and resources…if you live in MD/DC/VA/PA Tots2Tweens is the place to find it. She spends a lot of time on Pinterest and Facebook sharing her finds with our followers. Tara also volunteers her time as the Administrative Coordinator for the charitable photographer's network, Shoots for a Cure.You can read more about Tara's crazy life on her blog i heart my crazy life or follow her on twitter: @heartmycrzylife.

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