If you are like me, you read the heading to this post and started singing White Snake. If you’re not like me, I feel sorry for you because your inner soundtrack is obviously missing something… TOTAL AWESOMENESS!!! Every time I here that song, I have to break out the air drums and smile. When I actually listen to the words I have to laugh a bit because the last time I was alone on my own was about 9 years ago. It lasted for like half a minute before I met my husband, got married and started on what is now a family of four, count them FOUR amazing kids. Still, the song makes me want to surge forward and do all the things I love that get pushed to the side with the day to day of being a stay-at-home mom.
On that note, I will admit that I am attempting Kids Clothes Week Challenge (KCWC) put together by elsie marley. The challenge is to spend an hour a day sewing kids clothes for 7 days! I am already a little behind, but I do have some pieces I am working on including a cute circle skirt for my Pork Chop and some more pants for Moo. It’s daunting but exciting because although I really love to sew and create, it’s often hard to find the time.
On top of that I’ve been back to bentos with the kids’ lunches. This year I have three in school! I had conferences with my kindergartner’s teacher and when she showed me that he was having trouble recognizing some of the letters in the alphabet, I suggested that I make flash cards at home. “Even better,” she said “would be to make him letter bentos! We love the lunches you send with him every day!” I have to admit, I was a proud mamma at that moment. I came home and told him that it was totally worth it to put together those lunches. I was of course cursing that notion this morning when we were all running late and I was trying to be creative yet healthy…
It’s a busy life but today I wouldn’t trade it in for anything!
So what have you been up to lately? I want to hear all about it!
I’ve mention Pinterest in a previous post and I’ll say it again, if you haven’t checked it out, you are totally missing out!! I’ve recently added a “follow me on Pinterest” button on my sidebar, so please feel free to click it and check out my pins.
I’m proud to say that I’ve actually tried out some of the things I’ve found on Pinterest including this recent success:
Donuts from biscuits These insanely easy to make donuts were insanely delicious! Just get packaged biscuit dough (any kind but flaky) I found a pack of four for less than $2. Cut out a hole in the middle (don’t forget to save the little pieces for donut holes!), fry in veggie oil (watch them carefully because they brown quickly) then dip in butter and cinnamon sugar, sprinkle on powder sugar, or even make a glaze (I made some odd approximation of a maple glaze) and go to town! I didn’t really like how they tasted the next day (a little like stale cake donuts) but oh my gosh my family devoured a TON of them the day we made them!
- The Pork Chop
As you can see, everyone enjoyed the donuts! A Pinterest Win if I do say so myself 🙂
Many families today are struggling with too much month at the end of the money and my family is no exception. My husband and I have what I view as a very American mentality about spending: “If I want it, I deserve it so I’ll get it and worry about it later”. It’s frustrating because we never seem to have money for the things we really want, or the things we really need.
Need vs. Want… it’s a concept I try to teach my kids, but that I’m not very successful at myself. I’ve made a decision and starting today I’m going to put my wallet on a diet. I’m going to choose to forgo the WANT for the NEED. Big talk, I know.
One of the first steps is going to be in the area of groceries. I don’t know about you but I am a habitual impulse shopper. I try to write a list, but then I get to the store and fill my cart with all kinds of things that don’t belong there. I love cool packaging (it’s a downfall, I know) and although I have nothing against buying generic, pretty packaging often finds its way into my cart.
I’ve been doing some research on feeding my family inexpensively and one area I’m going to try to cut down on is cereal bars/oatmeal bars. My kids love having a granola bar or oatmeal bar as a snack and so I buy boxes of them. I’ll be looking for a good recipe to replace the processed version (bonus benefit – healthy snacks!). I’m also going to get out my sewing machine and sew up a couple of re-usable snack/sandwich bags and save on the cost of ziplock bags for the kids’ lunches.
Another way I’m going to start spending less is the entertainment part of our lives. Friday Funday has become an automatic fast food meal and video. Why can’t I start cooking with my kids and playing board games?
I’m excited about this, but scared too. What will it mean to change these ingrained habits? Can I do it? Will I be able to bear the complaining from my kids (that’s assuming they complain, which who knows? They could surprise me!). Can I still give my family a full stomach with a skinny wallet? I’m willing to give it a try!
The whole family
If you’ve read my blog with any regularity you know that I suffered from a car accident, a pregnancy and subsequent birth of the Pork Chop last year. 2011 has been filled with craziness including a scary run in with Hurricane Irene. With everything that’s been going on I’ve hardly had a moment to myself. I took to my journal to really look at what my life had become. I realized just how unhappy I’ve been. While I love being a mother, not spending any time pursuing a hobby or interest has made me pretty one dimensional. If I do anything it’s for my kids or my husband, not for myself. My body is certainly showing the after effects of my pregnancy and depression in the form of 40 lbs that need to take a hike. I easily turn to junk food and picked up my bad soda habit again. Writing this out for anyone to see is difficult because it showcases everything I don’t like about myself lately.
The upside to this is that I decided to finally do something about. I wrote a list of three specific large goals and broke it down into easily accomplished steps. It was inspiring!
And then I let it sit there for three weeks.
I didn’t do anything. I kept eating junk food, I kept burning myself out on trying to be super mom, I moaned and complained when I looked in the mirror.
That all changed today and I couldn’t be more excited. I got off my butt, threw on my running shoes, strapped the Pork Chop and Bubba into their seats and drove to the gym! Well, first I drove to KMart to get a new lock because my old one was clamped to the side of my gym bag and I couldn’t remember the combination because it had been over a year since I last used it. But then I went right to the gym! I dropped the kidlins off in the child care room and hit the treadmill. My completely awesome playlist and my Kindle kept me busy and the next thing I knew, 45 minutes had passed! I decided to stop there not wanting to overdue it on my first day back. I felt so good to just walk and walk and walk. I didn’t have anyone crying or saying “heymomheymomheymomheymomheymom…”. I had a smile on my face when I saw the kids again. I went home and ignored the soda and poured a nice glass of water instead. It’s a promising start and I’m ready to get back to a happier, healthier me.
I love roadside stands. There is something so comforting about buying produce right from the farm it was grown on! Today I packed the kids up and headed to a favorite roadside stand looking for something special… green tomatoes!! Not to be confused with ripe green heirloom tomatoes, I wanted crisp, unripe green tomatoes. Why? Because I’ll be frying those suckers up tonight! Now, you may be familiar with the book/movie Fried Green Tomatoes, but if you’ve never had them to eat, I highly recommend it. A favorite in the South, I had them for the first time during my trip to New Orleans last summer. This summer I wanted to make some of my own. I lucked out and found a whole pile of fresh green tomatoes as well as juicy blackberries, blueberries, plump onions and crisp green beans!
If you’re in the mood for something fresh and local, try googling farmers markets in your area… or just go for a little road trip – you never know what you may find!
I used to hate feta cheese. I thought the word “feta” sounded too much like the word “fetid”. Anybody with me on that? Anyway, I’m not quite sure what the turning point was, but I have come to believe that feta makes everything bettah! I’m not a fan of goat cheese and I can’t stomach the thought of blue cheese, but feta – it’s soft and sour and wonderful.
Here are just a few ways to add feta to your meals:
On hotdogs – Skip the ketchup and mustard and try something new! Sprinkle a little vinaigrette on your hotdog and top with feta cheese and fresh cilantro!
Italian Crostini Pizzas – Cut a few slices from a loaf of your favorite crusty bread. Spread with cream cheese, pesto (you can buy this at the grocery store or use this recipe here) and add cut up artichoke hearts. If you’ve got some leftover bbq steak chop it up and throw it on. Then cover with a nice heavy dose of feta and pop into the oven at 350 for about 5-10 minutes (or until bread is crisp)
Corn on the Cob with Shallot butter and Feta – Make up a batch of my delicious shallot butter by finely mincing half a shallot and mixing it in with about four tablespoons of butter or margarine spread, add some lemon pepper to taste and chill. Now cook up some sweet summer corn and put a healthy helping of the shallot butter, then top with feta cheese. Delish!
Add feta to your spinach salad, throw it in your scrambled eggs or on top of your bagel. It tastes good on chicken, adds oomph to pasta salad and on top of your Hawaiian pizza it’s fantastic!
Try it today and you may be adding feta to your weekly menu!
I love baking (as you know if you’ve read some of this blog) and I’ve been dying to try out some of the cupcakes from the book Hello, Cupcake. I received this super fun cupcake book for my birthday and have been waiting for an opportunity to see if making these creative treats was as easy as they make it look in the book.
This weekend’s deck party inspired me to bring some of the beautiful (and complicated-looking) butterfly cupcakes.
The showpiece topper of the cupcakes are the butterflies, made from candy melts. I had never worked with candy melts before and I was a little apprehensive. However, by following the easy, clear instructions in the book, I soon created a plate full of wings and antennae.
Bits and Pieces
It’s convenient that these can be made in advance and stored in a cool, dry place before use. When working with candy melts, I do recommend making small batches of parts as the candy hardens quickly!
The next morning I baked up a batch of double fudge cupcakes, frosted them and started my assembly. The book showed piping chocolate frosting for the center of the butterfly, but since I didn’t want to whip up a batch and I had plenty of chocolate melts left, I just used that to pipe down the center. It seemed to work better in my opinion, helping the wings to hold their position. (the m&m’s underneath each wing didn’t hurt either!) With just a little time, I was able to create these amazing cupcakes!
My only other advice would be to keep these in a cool, dry place until you are ready to serve them. On the short walk from the house to the car in 90 degree heat, the delicate antennea melted. Soon after the wings started to droop. However, as soon as I got them inside again, the candy melts firmed right up.
Candy melts can be found at many baking supply and craft stores. They come in an wide variety of colors and these cupcakes would be amazing with rainbow hued butterflies.