Hello, My Name is Michele, and I am a bratty judgemental mother.

***I originally wrote this post on Dec 18, 2011. I don’t even remember it, but after taking a HUGE blogging break I just recently have felt like I needed to come back and do it again. Browsing through my past posts it is interesting to see how much of my life and perspectives have changed. I don’t know why I hesitated to push the publish button on this post almost 4 years ago, but I’m going to go ahead and do it now. It isn’t perfect, and I didn’t go through and edit it, but I think it still might speak to someone.***

You know what I’ve noticed?

Other moms are crazy.

And extremely judgmental.

And generally wrong about most things.

But so am I.

It is a vicious circle too. For instance, when you first announce that you are expecting, you get bombarded. It is a lot like trying to fit a four-year degree in “Mommy-hood Preparedness” into nine months. Especially for those of us that weren’t planning to start a family so soon, we didn’t get the opportunity to study ahead of time. At first you are all ears, taking down notes, and trying your hardest to do everything that every ‘teacher’ tells you. But soon you start to wonder.

Are they really who I should get advice from? I mean, this ‘All-Knowing Parenting-without-Fail Book’ says the exact opposite of what they are telling me. Not to mention, I would never be okay with my child acting like that. Obviously more discipline and consistency on our part as soon-to-be parents would eliminate this behavior. They seem to have taken the easy way out. I would never do that.

I would never do that. Famous last words if I have ever heard them.

Then your baby is born and a weird thing happens.

You never sleep again.

It is amazing how a sleep deprived state can cause you to come up with perfectly logical excuses for why it is okay that you don’t do all of the things that you set out to do as a fully rested/functioning adult who could still read and comprehend books above the pre-school reading level. Maybe those moms weren’t so crazy after all.

But then, it happens again. You get past a growth spurt and suddenly your baby is the happiest, calmest, most amazing baby there ever was. Too bad those new moms won’t listen to you, you have all the answers. Plus, they absolutely should not be listening to the moms of the babies older than yours, those kids are TERRORS. My child will never act like that.

Oh really?

But than they do, but now instead of the cause being bad parenting you attribute it to a phase that your little one is going through. Totally out of your control, right? But at the same time you might start to sympathize with the other mothers that tried to warn you and you try to warn the newer moms of what is coming. However, like you they just don’t get it.

Do you see the pattern too?

In simple terms, to me, the cycle looks like this.

1. Incident — Something that another mother or her child does that bothers you.

2. Denial — This includes thoughts like: “I would never do that as a mother!” or “My child will never be allowed to behave like that.”

3. Bliss – “See, I know what I am doing, that other mother had it all wrong! Maybe she should take a lesson or two from me! AKA Wonder-Mom!”

4. Tragedy – The tables turn and out of desperation you do the thing that you swore you would never do or your child does the thing that they were never supposed to be allowed to do.

5. Understanding — The Ah-Ha! moment. You realize that the other mom may have been onto something. Or at the very least you begin to understand where they were coming from when the incident occurred. Part of this phase is being judged by other moms, to whom the normal response is: “Oh, you just wait! This will happen to you/your child eventually.” Or sometimes, just a knowing smile. (Of course they are now going through the denial phase.)

But then you see another mother (or maybe the same one) doing something else you don’t approve of/ think is correct and the cycle repeats itself again. And Again. And Again.

Maybe this isn’t true for everyone, but I keep seeing it over and over again with mothers that I know in real life, on the internet, and all too often – to me. It is almost like we can’t help it. Like a part of trying so hard to be the best mothers in the world for our kids is judging others in how they are doing.

I don’t know if there is any way to completely break the cycle, but for me just knowing that I have a tendency to get sucked into it is enough for me to take a step back and give all the mothers around me a chance. To just listen to what they have to say and if nothing else file it away in my mind. As much as I don’t want to have to use it someday, there will more than likely come a time when I am thankful that I listened instead of judged.

WFMW: Quick tip to slice a mushroom

works for me wednesdays

Does anybody remember my quick tip to cut an onion? Here’s the quick refresher version:

Well, today I am back with another Ah-ha! moment in the kitchen. Forgive me if all of you have figured this one out already:

Quick Tip To Slice a Mushroom!

And it goes like this:

Step 1: Acquire super cute helper:


Step 2: Grab your egg cutter and position mushroom:

Step 3: Have a large bowl of perfectly sliced mushrooms in seconds. Voila! (Also take better pictures than I do.)

Now you can have fresh mushrooms and onions to sautee in mere seconds! Plus, I hear word that this also works well for strawberries… oh the possibilities!!

What are your favorite tricks in the kitchen?

One of my favorite things about Spring is the flowers.

Especially when you have enough to cut and put in a mason jar on the dining room table. They make a house a happier place to be. Here are some pictures of our first table bouquet of the year. Can’t believe how early our flowers are blooming this year! We are so blessed that the previous owners of our house took the time to plant all kinds of flowers all over our property! From late March til late August there is always something new blooming! They were amazing gardners. The plants are pretty hardy too, since magically Bran and I have not managed to kill them yet (even with the crazy hot summer we had last year!)

 

What are your favorite things about spring?

Care for a slice of 180 calorie chocolate cake?

Considering a normal bake-from-a-box cake is 280 calories, I don’t mind if I do!

Three ingredients to make this cake, you say? This just keeps getting better and better!

Would you believe that you can take one box mix Dark Fudge Cake Mix, one cup of Fage Greek Yogurt, and one cup of water and make an amazingly moist cake? Believe it. I did it and it was to die for! Bran loved it too and he isn’t a fan of greek yogurt. (You can’t taste the yogurt at ALL, promise!)

AMAZING! And almost guilt free.

I got this idea here. She has a bunch of other ways to make lower calorie cakes, check them out!

A Spring-ish Themed Dinner

We had our first Tornado-Warning-Worthy Storm earlier this week, and you know what that means?

It’s almost time for spring! Not that we really ever left autumn behind this winter. It has been amazingly mild. Good for stir crazy one year olds, bad for those of us that want to deal with fewer bugs this summer.

Anyways, the storm got me thinking about spring and so last night I decided to make a little bit lighter supper:

Chicken Alfredo Pizza

(Click to Print)

  • 2 packages Pizza Crust Mix (or Make Your Own!)
  • ½ cups Alfredo Sauce
  • 2 cups Chopped Spinach
  • 2 whole Medium Tomatoes, Chopped
  • 2 cups Shredded Mozzarella
  • 1 cup Crumbled Feta
  • 3 whole Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts, Cooked And Cubed
  • ½ cups Chopped, Cooked Mushrooms

1. Prepare pizza dough according to package directions.

2. Spread alfredo sauce over dough. Top with spinach, tomatoes, mushrooms, chicken and than cheese.

3. Bake at 450* for 10-15 minutes or until cheese is melted and edge of crust is golden brown.

And then for dessert:

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

(Click to Print)

  • 4 cups Diced Rhubarb
  • 1 cup Mini Marshmellows
  • 1 package Strawberry Jello (3 Oz.)
  • ½ cups Melted Butter
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1 package Yellow Cake Mix
  • 1 cup Water

1. Combine rhubarb, marshmellows, dry jello mix, and sugar and spread into a 9×13 greased glass baking dish.

2. Using a pastry blender mix melted butter and dry cake mix than sprinkle over rhubarb mixture.

3. Pour water over all.

4. Bake at 350* for 1 hour.

YUM! What are some of your favorite spring recipes?

This year for Valentine’s Day

I had a few Valentine’s Day projects this year. First I made baskets for Ade’s daycare teachers:

The hand sanitizer is because kids can be very gross. The lotion is stress relieving, and I know that if any of the other kids are anything like Ade they have plenty of stress! The little flower and chocolates are just because! I loved this little baskets, got them for $1 each at Target! Grand total came to $5 per person. Cute and simple, and here you can Pin It.

Next, I made Valentines for Ade’s eight playmates at daycare. I used this as a starting point for them. I couldn’t find the silicone heart molds ANYWHERE in town. Of course I did just look at 4 stores before finding this pan at WalMart:

Then I bought a huge box of crayons and separated out the pink/red/white ones and peeled off the paper wrappings. Broke them into pieces and placed in the pan. Set the oven for 250* and the timer for 15 min.


Fingers crossed that they wouldn’t stick and make a huge mess. They slipped right out and I had enough broken up crayons to make two extra hearts, just in case there is a kiddo that I missed by accident!

I cut out little circles and wrote “Happy Valentine’s Day for ‘Crayon’ Out Loud! Love, Adelyn” on each one and taped the crayon heart to the middle.

I love them! (Hopefully none of the other moms saw this pinterest post and made the exact same thing!) But seriously, you don’t give out candy to two year olds. Total after buying the pan, crayons, and cardstock these came up to $1.70 each. Not to bad! Best part is, that if she had a bigger class with all of the crayons I had I could have made a ton more! I would guess 30-50 depending on how much crayon bit you used for each one. If you make 50 it would be $0.34 each! If you like this idea then you should Pin It.

Last but not least was Bran’s present. I got the idea from Life. Design. And the Pursuit of Craftiness. She was selling these packages for Valentine’s Day presents. Her design is adorable, but I decided that I wanted to try and make it myself. Here is a picture of mine in Word.

I’m pretty happy with how it turned out, hopefully Bran will be too and not think it is really corny! Like this idea? Feel free to Pin It.

What did you do for Valentine’s Day? Did you make any of your presents?

Series: Please stop complaining about your water!

This is post is for all of the people who have asked me lately if the water in my town will cause them to sprout a third eye (or something similar in ridiculous-ness) and those that complain about the cost of the new Reverse Osmosis treatment. And also, for everyone that just has something ‘against tap water’. Yes, I am getting up on my soapbox (but this is the only place I am allowed to do that so give me a little bit of a break and hear me out.)
Did you know that 3.575 million people die each year from a water related disease.
 (That is equal to the population of Los Angeles.)
Except, drinking water chlorination and filtration has helped to virtually eliminate these diseases in the U.S. and other developed countries.
So why does a child die every 20 seconds from drinking contaminated water?
If we have the technology, why do 884 million people lack access to clean water? (By the way, that is equal to the U.S. population… times 3.)
How can you complain that your water bill went up (even though you can get more than 10 gallons of water for less than a penny) when people living in the slums of third world countries often pay 5-10 times more per liter of water than wealthy people living in the same city.
Did you know that by taking a five-minute shower you use more water than a typical person in a developing country slum uses in a whole day?
Turns out the average person in the developing world uses 2.64 gallons of water a day.
The average person in the United Kingdom uses 35.66 gallons of water per day.
The average person in the United States uses between 100 and 175 gallons every day.
Also, It takes 1.32 gallons of water to make just 1 bottle of water.
To make just the meat of one-quarter pound hamburger, 2900 gallons of water are used.
How about the fact that the water and sanitation crisis claims more lives through disease than any war claims through guns.
Or maybe that diarrhea, yes diarrhea, remains the second leading cause of death among children under five globally. Nearly one in five child deaths – about 1.5 million each year – is due to diarrhea. It kills more young children than AIDS, malaria and measles combined.
In just one day, more than 200 million hours of women’s time is used collecting water. This time is equivalent to the number of hours worked by WalMart, UPS, McDonalds, IBM, Target, and Kroger employees over a week’s time, combined.
 So much work put into trying to collect water (safe or not) for their families. But yet, you complain:
  1. 1.    That the chlorine gives the water a bad taste, but that is what protects you from a water-borne illness.
  2. 2.    The pipes leading to your house may deposit hard minerals into your water damaging your appliances and leaving an after taste in your mouth, but that is what keeps you from having to walk 3 miles for water.
  3. 3.    Water prices may have gone up, but compared to your income, you still pay less than a person in a developing country trying to survive on $3 or less a day.
 
You joke that the city water will kill you one day, but water around the world kills more than 4000 children TODAY.
 This is why I defend our city’s water, because we are blessed. Not just because we have a Reverse Osmosis Treatment Plant or because it is my job to tell you the water is great, but because someone right now in another country would gladly drink the water you think is disgusting straight from the tap. 

 

If you are interested, these are other posts I have written about water.


(Disclaimer: I have no problem with valid concerns about water quality. Also, on a daily basis I am not a crazy psycho person who will go off on you for saying that you don’t like the taste of city water. I get that, however I ask in return that you keep in mind that you are lucky to have the ability to complain about your clean water and choose to drink bottled water (which by the way usually comes from another city’s tap.) Also, this site is where I gathered most of my information.)

Fast food is making me fat, let’s do homemade!

Back when I was a stay at home mom, we were on such a tight budget that I would plan every single meal done to the letter (I know some of you do this.) Well, once I went back to work we started to get a little lazy. You’ve had a rough day and are already exhausted, but you still need to provide a meal, clean the house, and do the laundry. I was so overwhelmed getting back into work with all that I had to do, that before hadn’t seemed to overwhelming (most days, when Ade was cooperative of course.)

So we would get some fast food. Just to give me a break.

And soon it became a habit, and I gained a few pounds. (We are going to say few, because I REALLY don’t like the real number.)

It is time to rid ourselves of this habit! This week marks our first week of ‘planned’ meals since I made this declaration, and I am quite pleased with us. Here was the menu starting Sunday and ending tomorrow night (Click on the titles to go to the source/printable version):

Sweet’n’Tangy Pot Roast

1 boneless beef chuck roast (3 pounds)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 cup water
1 cup ketchup
1/4 cup red wine or beef broth
1 envelope brown gravy mix
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup cold water

  • Cut meat in half and place in a 5-qt. slow cooker. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. In a bowl, combine the water, ketchup, wine or broth, gravy mix, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and garlic powder; pour over meat.
  • Cover and cook on low for 9-10 hours or until meat is tender.
  • Combine cornstarch and cold water until smooth. Stir into slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 30 minutes or until gravy is thickened. Remove meat from slow cooker. Slice and serve with gravy. Yield: 8 servings.

Crispy Cheddar Chicken

Chicken:
4 large chicken breasts
2 sleeves Ritz crackers
1/4 t salt
1/8 t pepper
1/2 C milk
3 C cheddar cheese, grated
1 t dried parsley
Sauce:
1   10 ounce can cream of chicken soup
2 T sour cream
2 T butterFor directions, click on the title, she has an awesome step by step picture directions on her blog!

Avocado Grilled Cheese

There are a bunch of different grilled cheese sandwich recipes out there, this is one that I have pieced together after having an awesome lunch with a friend.
8 slices rye bread
4 slices Swiss Cheese
4 slices tomato
1 cup basil pesto
3-4 cut up Avocados
1 cup crumbled feta cheese

Toast bread on a griddle, laying one piece of cheese, slice tomato, and pieces of avocado on 4 slices of bread and spreading pesto on the other four. Divide crumbled Feta cheese over pesto bread slices. Once browned to your liking flip one pesto/feta bread slice onto the cheese/tomato/avocado slice and serve.

Meatloaf (My mom’s recipe)

 Creamy Chicken Enchiladas

2 cups Cooked, Shredded Chicken
2 cups Shredded Monterey Jack Cheese, Divided
1 can (10 Oz. Size) Enchilada Sauce, Divided
10 whole Soft Shell Tacos
3 Tablespoons Butter
3 Tablespoons Flour
2 cups Chicken Broth (low Sodium Prefered)
1 cup Sour Cream
1 can (4 Oz. Size) Chopped Green Chiles

1.  Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease a 9×13 pan.
2. Mix chicken, half of the cheese, and half of the can of enchilada sauce. Roll up in tortillas and place in the pan.
3. In a sauce pan, melt butter, stir in flour and cook 1 minute. Add broth and whisk until smooth. Heat over medium heat until thick and bubbly.
4. Stir in sour cream, remaining enchilada sauce, and chilies. Do not bring to boil, you don’t want curdled sour cream.
5. Pour over enchiladas and top with remaining cheese.
6. Bake 22 minutes and then broil on high broil for 3 minutes to brown the cheese.

Apple Pork Chops

4 bone-in pork loin chops (¾ inch thick and 7 ounces each)
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
1 large green apple, cut into thin wedges
1 large red apple, cut into thin wedges
2 Tablespoons honey mustard
1 Tablespoon brown sugar

Directions:

1. In a large skillet, brown pork chops in oil on each side.
2. Season with salt and pepper; remove and keep warm.
3. In the same skillet, sauté onions and apple wedges until crisp-tender.
4. Combine mustard and brown sugar; brush over chops.
5. Return to the skillet; cook for 4 minutes or until meat juices run clear.

Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo

½ of a 1 pound package fettuccine
1 cup fresh or frozen broccoli flowerets
2 Tablespoons butter
1 lb. skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into 1 ½-inch pieces
1 can (10 ¾ ounces) condensed cream of mushroom soup
½ cup milk
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions:

1. Prepare the fettuccine according to the package directions in a 3-quart saucepan. Add the broccoli during the last 4 minutes of cooking.
2. Drain the linguine mixture well in a colander.
3. Heat the butter in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat.
4. Add the chicken and cook until it’s well browned, stirring often.
5. Stir the soup, milk, cheese, black pepper and linguine mixture in the skillet.
6. Cook until the mixture is hot and bubbling, stirring occasionally. Serve with additional Parmesan cheese.
7. Serve with warm buttered brown and serve dinner rolls.

Did you make a resolution to eat healthier this year? What are you doing to accomplish your goal?

Ade, you can’t potty with your pants on.

Do you have any idea how many times I have heard/said this statement recently? More than a bajillion. Ever since introducing Ade to her new potty chair, that is about all that she wants to do. Especially when we want to use the bathroom.

Pinned Image

So true. And often she just sits down on her potty without taken her pants off because she is so excited. She is big you know. (We are working on it.)

For those of you who might not believe me about how much she loves her potty I have a video for you. Warning: There is an adorable little nakey girl in this video. If that offends you, then don’t watch, but she had just finished with her bath and we weren’t about to put her PJ’s on just to take them off so she could go ‘potty’.

Oh, and the first thing she says is “No, Ima goin’ potty. Bubye” and at one point she signals ‘more’ other than that you are on your own. We don’t understand her  90% of the time either.

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WFMW: Out with the Old, in with the Homemade

works for me wednesdays

Recently I have been looking for ways to replace my expensive beauty products with ones that I can make at home and save a lot of money. The added bonus of my search is that the recipes I have found (mostly through Pinterest, where else right?) are all natural alternatives. Good for the skin, bank account, and environment; doesn’t get much better than that!!

I took the recipes that I found and after trying them I tweaked them all a little bit to fit my tastes. Here is what I have come up with so far:

(At the end of this post I will link up to the original recipes)

Miracle Mask:

2 tablespoons of honey
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of nutmeg
1 teaspoon of brown sugar

The consistency should be like a thick paste. After it’s all mixed, apply the mask to your face and let it sit for 30 minutes. Wash it off with warm water, scrubbing softly in circular motion for exfoliation. I made a large batch of this and put it in a washer baby food jar so that it was ready for whenever I wanted to use it. It adds a lot of moisture to your face, which is great for these winter months. If you warm it up just a little bit it not only feels really nice on your skin but spreads a little easier.

Night Time Emollient Cream:

½ cup coconut oil
2 tsp. Vitamin E oil
A few drops of your favorite essential oil

Melt the coconut oil (coconut oil melts very easily so don’t overheat it) and mix all the ingredients together. At first they may start to separate (like a science class experiment) but if you keep mixing as the oil cools eventually they come together nicely. This is by far the best lotion/cream I have ever used! We put it on Ade too now instead of her Johnson’s baby lotion. She is super soft and I don’t have to worry about her having a reaction to any chemicals or fragrances. It works great on your face too. At first it feels a little greasy, but soon it soaks into your skin and leaves practically no residue! I am hooked!

Homemade deodorant:

3/4 a cup of baking soda
1 – 2 tablespoon of coconut oil (depending on how you like it, powdery or more of a paste)
1 teaspoon Vitamin E oil
a few drops of Tea Tree Oil (a natural antimicrobial, I also use a drop or two of this in my laundry because of this property)

Again carefully melt the coconut oil and mix all of the ingredients together. I pressed it into another washed baby food jar (these things are coming in handy) and just get a little bit out with my fingers to apply it. I really like this recipe, but it isn’t for someone who works a fairly physical job. If you tend to sweat a lot, you probably aren’t going to like it. I love the way it smells though!

Original Miracle Mask recipe.
Original Emollient Cream recipe.
Original Deodorant recipe.