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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Proud Mama: Raising A Good Kid

I have the cutest story to share with you about my little boy.

This summer has been a tough one financially, I have paid nearly $1900 in electric and water since May alone, and my August utility bill hasn't come yet.

We moved, which got our spending all out of whack... moving is expensive! I am sure you know this already.

During the move, it rained like by the bucket full. Our washer was damaged and unfortunately a pile of dirty clothes...  like every shirt my daughter owned and 1/3 of my shirts were on the floor of the basement when the water came into the basement. Before I knew the basement was wet, all of said clothes had taken on mildew.

Let's refresh here. Over $1900 in city utility bills. A move. A broken washer, having to replace 1.3 wardrobes...



My son on one day, really wanted something. It was some kind of truck, which he has trucks upon trucks! I told him, "I'm sorry buddy, I only have enough money to get these things... I can't buy you the truck."

His heart sank. He had never heard me say I couldn't buy something for him. He has heard me say that I wouldn't, but not that I couldn't. He said "Let's go get money at the bank!"

I explained, I don't have any money in the bank...
He said "Get your paypal card."
Persistent huh?

I felt pretty bad that day. I moped about, I whined. I cried a little. My husband reminded me that while we might be 'broke' at the present, that we had been on a trip. Our kids have been through swimming lessons, Roo played baseball and went to Nature Camp. Our cupboards have an abundance of food in them....

Dang it, don't you hate it when you have to admit, he is right.

Well anyhow, the next time we left, headed to a store. My son ran back in the house to get something. As we got into Dollar General and selected our purchases, my sweet little boy produces a Visa gift card (it had no money on it, but he plays with it at his cash register) and says "Here Mom, try my card... want to?"

I smiled at him, his big blue eyes told me he was trying to help, I melted. It took all I had to hold myself together. I was so proud of my son and his willingness to try to help me after that day that we were broke.

My sweet little boy

Today was grocery store day. As I checked out at WalMart, Roo said "I got this card too Mom!" He whipped out a gift card and swiped it thru the machine. I winked at the cashier and said "Thank you so much Roo. You are such a nice boy!" He beamed "Yep, I am a nice boy!"

I felt like a chump that my son learned a lesson that mommy is not made of money, because I do like to indulge my kids and let them do a lot of activities. But, at the same time, I am glad that I am raising a child that is eager to try to help.

I guess it is time to start teaching the concept of cash to him and how that works with a gift card next. But, this proud Mama isn't ready to smash his good intentions of being so helpful just yet.
Monday, August 24, 2015

Sauteed Cabbage, Green Pepper and Onion

We have been taking advantage of all of the fresh foods that summer brings. Every week we hit up the farmers market in our town to get the freshest local produce possible. This week I also made a trip to the country to visit a favorite farm.

I have been trying a lot of new things with fresh produce, which is fantastic for my mission to eat healthier and get my groove back. This week I started chopping up vegetables and came up with a recipe that had mouths watering as soon as it began to cook!



To make Sauteed Cabbage, Green Pepper and Onions you will need:

1/2 head of cabbage, chopped
1/2 large green pepper, sliced into thin strips
1/2 large sweet onion, sliced thin
2 tablespoons of butter (I used I Can't Believe It's Not...)
Italian Seasoning

Directions:
Place 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet
Turn to medium heat
Add chopped cabbage, sliced green pepper and onion
Add seasoning to your preference. I used this fresh Italian herb blend that I had on hand. You can use salt, pepper, whatever floats your boat.

This will serve 3 {heaping portions of veggies!!}.

Allow this to cook, stirring every couple of minutes. I allowed mine to cook for about 30 minutes over medium heat, until some of the cabbage had a great sauteed look to it.

This was such an easy dish to make, with fresh simple ingredients, but my family loved it. It made for a great way to get extra veggies on our plates. I paired this with one crab cake per person (145 calories each crab cake...) to make a healthy low calorie meal that was packed with delicious flavors of summer.


Thursday, August 20, 2015

Dear Weary Mom, I Want To Potty Alone

Dear Weary Mom,

Guys, I want to use the potty alone.

How many times have I uttered those words in the past few years? Maybe the past few days would be easier to count. I say that a lot anymore.

The situation goes something like this every day:

I tell Roo 'keep an eye on your sister for a minute please?'
I start for the stairs.
Roo asks "Are you going to the girls room?"
I say something like 'Yes honey, I have to potty.'
He says "Are you going to the girls room to poop?"
I beg ' Please, just watch Harp for 35 seconds. I will be right back.'



I charge for the stairs, running up them like a fire is chasing me. I take them 2 at a time, finally, bladder near bursting I am near the door.... I hear little feet hitting the stairs faster than my mad dash. Before the door can close, there he is.

I say something like 'Roo, please go watch sissy?!'
He says "Harper is coming. She's right there!" He points around the corner, she laughs, I sigh.
'Guys, I want to use the potty alone...' Both kids are laughing, thrilled with this game of racing and meeting up in the bathroom. Roo declares 'This isn't a potty, its home plate.'
I say something like 'Yep, this is home plate! Now run on to first base!' I am dancing the pee dance at this point. As I finally can begin to pee, it feels so good. Better than sex pee, the plight of the woman who cannot ever enter her own bathroom.

Harper laughs as she tosses shampoo and the like in the bath tub. She jumps on the scale. She dances.

Before I can finish Roo and the dog burst in. Roo is laughing, the dog looks dejected, I hear my husband on the stairs... He says "Roo said that you and Harper were pooping."

Oh my God. People leave me alone...

I wash my hands and look at my husband. I mumble something about privacy, needs to use that room just once alone. What if I did have to have a bowel movement? Why is everyone talking about it?

Later in the day, all over again. I tell my son, "I want to go alone." He says "But why Mom?" Like I just stomped on his heart.... his big blue eyes essentially kick me in the stomach. I want to say a number of things, like I like using the potty alone. I don't like the dog in there and you always bring him in. I don't want you bringing the little one into the mix...

But I don't. I instead inquire why he would want to come. He says "I like being with you!"


Those words moved me. They moved my heart, they moved my feet up the stairs and they moved me to allow this little boy the chance to pester me. I was a captive audience after all.

At bath time that night, he told his Dad "Mommy will shower with me." I told Roo, "I am sorry honey! I have to put Harp to bed. Daddy will bath you."
 Big eyes fill with tears "But Mommy, I need you!"

My husband is frustrated that I cave and shower with Roo. But, he obviously needed that time with me. As he is getting ready for bed, he says "Close my door and sleep right here Mom!" Pointing to my side of his bed. I see how close to nodding off he is, so I snuggle him close to me. I tell him "Roo, you are a good boy. And a good friend." He sighs a dreamy sigh and replies "I am a good boy and a crazy friend!"

As he drifts off to sleep he holds my hand. I think about how many times I have muttered about some alone time lately. I think about how many times I have been grumpy over using the restroom alone. I promise to stop and savor this season when I am in such high demand, because someday, my son will run in horror at the thought of us both being in the bathroom together. He will be frustrated when I want to hang out in his room. Someday he will be a teenager, learning to navigate this life on his own.

This gave me insight on how to react to my children. While I think time alone is healthy for parents, I think that time spent cherishing the moments is far more healthy. I don't want to be that mom that looks back in 20 years on fond memories of using the potty alone. I would rather have the memory of a 5 year old boy with his eyes shining, so blue they are mesmerizing, who follows me to the girls room every time I go, just to talk to me.

I am not a perfect Mom. Lord, my flaws are overlapping. But, every time I pray, I pray for patience, for kindness, to be a better mother, to make sure my kids know I love them to infinity. Maybe giving up my privilege of private potty use is one of the ways I can love them to infinity, or maybe it is just one of the perks of motherhood....


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Harper Gets Hands On

Harper is 22 months old now. She is a busy girl. Moving, running, talking, climbing, dancing! When her brother works on a craft or fine motor activities, she wants to get involved so badly!

So last week I sat her down in her high chair, I gave her a foam shape, kid friendly glue and some like cardboard cut out things. She glued her shirt and tossed the cut outs.

Okay then. So off her shirt goes, the glue is gone. I peeled foam stickers and handed them over. She had fun peeling them off again and putting them back on.



When we were finished she was very proud of her foam sticker craft and she has been showing her brother with a question of "Like Picture?"

Harper got to experience textures, colors, shapes. She used her fingers to put the stickers on and take them off again. This gave her a chance to get creative and make something all on her own! We had so much fun with this fine motor exercise!


Sunday, August 16, 2015

All American Salad Recipe

This is one of those salads you either love, or hate! My family has mixed emotions on it, but I think it is yummy! So I make it here and there.

This is a very easy to prepare salad, it is packed with great ingredients, and it goes well with a crowd {think football season!}



Ingredients
1 small head cabbage, shredded
1 large carrot, cut into chunks
1 medium red apple, cored and chopped
Juice from a half a Key lime
20 white seedless grapes, sliced
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
3/4 cup raisins
1/2 sweet white onion, chopped
4 tablespoon mayonnaise

Directions

Simply start adding ingredients and mixing! Keep food safety in mind and refrigerate until ready to serve!

This salad is good because it has fruit, nuts, veggies and a lot of crunchy textures in the creamy sauce.
It is also different. Not many other people bring this one to a BBQ, so I like to think of it as almost a little secret I whip up.
Thursday, August 13, 2015

No Diapers? No Problem #RecycleYourPeriodPad

This post is sponsored by Poise but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

In my life, it seems like I am always in a bind of some sorts. From forgetting to buy milk at the store, running out of diapers at the worst times and of course, my favorite post babies event... the #peesneeze. Ladies, we know it happens to the best of us. Our bodies change with age and circumstance and admit it out loud or not, light bladder leakage (LBL) happens... to the best of us! How we manage our incidents is another matter.

Do you find yourself relying on a pad or pantyliner to stay dry at times? There is no need to do that anymore, you can start recycling those pads into something more useful, {keep reading to learn my diaper solution for when you run out at the worst times...} because there is a more comfortable and effective option on the market to help us handle LBL.

Are you scratching your head about LBL? 

WHAT IS LBL?
One in three women experience Light Bladder Leakage (LBL) – little leaks that can be triggered by everyday occurrences like coughing, sneezing, laughing and exercise. 
o Weak pelvic floor muscles, pregnancy, childbirth and weight gain are just a few LBL contributors.


WHAT CAUSES LBL?
Just as no two women are alike, there's no single reason that LBL happens. Some of the most common things that lead to uninvited leaks include:
Physical changes from childbirth, pregnancy, hysterectomy or menopause
Being overweight
Complications from surgery, stroke, or chronic diseases like diabetes, multiple sclerosis (MS) or Parkinson's disease
Bladder or urinary tract infections
Bladder irritants (certain foods and beverages)

HOW CAN I BEST MANAGE MY LBL?
Women deserve the best options for managing LBL. Whether you leak a little when you laugh, or sometimes have a sudden urge to go, Poise gives you one less thing to worry about any time of day or night. Our pads and liners are specifically designed for LBL, which makes them an easy choice for the 1 in 3 women with light bladder leaks.




FIND YOUR PERFECT PRODUCT
Stay fresh and confident with Poise® pads and liners. They're designed specifically for Light Bladder Leakage (LBL), which make them an easy choice for the 1 in 3 women who experiences LBL.

Designed to move with your body, new Poise Thin-Shape pads feature Super Absorbent Material (SAM) and a Thin-Flex design for extraordinary protection that’s still 3x drier than period pads*† to help you take care of leaks with confidence.
*vs. leading regular size period products, where most needed


I have a really useful way for you to #RecycleYourPeriodPad if you have a baby in the house.... Remember I mentioned earlier how I am always in a bind? Well, we ran out of diapers at the worst time, when we were waiting on a service technician! I thought there was an extra pack in the closet, only to find, nope we had used those!



Well, shoot. I couldn't risk missing our appointment so I got creative. 

I found the tightest pair of shorts my daughter has. I placed my pad in her shorts- and boom- she stayed dry until we could go get a pack of diapers! See, those pads can be used in other ways- and Poise Thin Shaped Pads can better manage your LBL!

If you want to try these for yourself- hurry over and grab your free sample!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Strawberry Watermelon Slushie

I picked up some fresh fruit this week from a local farmer and started plotting the perfect way to use my watermelon right away! What I came up with did not leave my family disappointed! My husband and I love watermelon. My daughter is interested in it, but not sure if she is a fan yet. My son normally won't touch it.

I made this Strawberry Watermelon Slushie from 2 ingredients and it was an amazingly simple, sweet summer time treat! I am giving you 2 recipes to make it also, just in case you require instant gratification. 



Ingredients
3 cups of watermelon, cut into chunks 
10 fresh strawberries (stemmed)

Directions
Place your chunks of watermelon into the freezer for about 30 minutes.
Next place frozen chunks of watermelon and fresh strawberries into a blender on a medium to high setting, blend until smooth.

Pour into a glass and enjoy!

The Instant Gratification Strawberry Watermelon Smoothie

Ingredients
4 cups of watermelon, cut in chunks
10 fresh strawberries, stemmed
1 cup of ice

Directions
Blend watermelon and strawberries until smooth, gradually adding ice to the blender.

Pour into a glass and enjoy!

Do you make healthy slushies at home as a treat on a hot summer day? They make a wonderful alternative to the gas station varieties and this one is super easy to create.


Saturday, August 1, 2015

Baked Chicken Burgers

I got a great deal on ground chicken breast at the grocery store and I knew this would be a good way to experiment with healthier recipes. I love a good burger.  But I know how bad it is for health to eat cheeseburgers and fries as often as I would like!

Baked Chicken Burgers are a pretty good option for dieting and eating something tasty.

Ingredients:
1/2 pound of ground chicken breast
1 egg
8 crackers (I used wheat saltines)
1/8 of a cup of stone ground mustard
1/8 of a cup of your preferred mustard



This recipe was super easy. I placed the ground chicken in a bowl.  I added the egg and mixed it well. I crushed 4 crackers finely and added to the mixture. I felt a few more crackers were needed, so I used 4 more. I mixed this well and added 1/8 of a cup of stone ground mustard. I then shaped patties, smaller and flatter than I normally would have made them in the past {know that I am in the know on portion sizes and all} and placed the patties on a baking sheet. I used the last 1/8 of a cup of mustard to brush on the top of the patties.

I baked these at 350 for about 15 minutes. They were a lovely golden color when they were flipped over!
Another 13 minutes or so and we had Baked Chicken Burgers.

My husband had his on a Pretzel Bun with the works, but I skipped the bread and condiments and enjoyed the chicken and  roasted cauliflower immensely.

This recipe was really good. I made my patties to be about 2 ounces each and we found them to be very filling when paired with veggies . I liked these bread free. I didn't feel bloated, sluggish, or guilty after dinner.
My daughter and husband liked them too!

How do you make your burgers healthier?