Saturday, January 11, 2014

My Biggest Parenting Mistake

We have all made one.  Let's be real.  Let's be honest.

I believe as a parent, there is always a part of you that feels as if you are failing....maybe you are failing your kids, your expectations of yourself as a parent, or you are just failing life.  Chances probably aren't!  Nobody does it perfectly and nobody gets it just right.  If you think you are, you are fooling yourself and nobody around you.

I think of the scene from Sex and the City.  Charlotte had it all.  It was perfect.  Until her daughter put her grubby little handprints on her white pants...on the butt!

 Charlotte broke down, went in the pantry, and had a good cry.  Luckily the nanny came.  Realistic?  Who wears white pants around kids under the age of five?  I live in Minnesota, not New York.  Plus, I can't afford a nanny.  I have in-laws.  Not realistic in that sense, but the point is, not everything is always perfect.  You need to have a good "crying, while pulling out your hair, with a glass of wine in the other hand" type moment.  That's ok.  You are human.   You are a mom.  We all do it.

An example...Last week, I was sick and my kids were eating cereal for dinner with re-heated bacon and using large soup spoons, because nothing else was clean.  My worst parenting moment?  No... but I felt pretty crappy.  Way to start of the year.

This actually leads me up to my worst parenting moment thus far.  It happened right before Christmas.  Now, if you aren't familiar with my life, I have two kids.  Natalie is six and Eli is three.  Eli is going through the "I don't have to listen to you, I'm just going to take down my pants and fart on you stage."  He's gross.  I still love him though.  Except on the day I am about to tell you about.

Dealing with holidays,  Christmas break, lots of fighting, trying to "get over" depression and family issues, I was already feeling stressed and tired.  My husband was working a run of night shifts, so he was sleeping.  It was 11:00 a.m. and I already wanted to trade my kids in for a couple of gerbils.  Then it happened.

They were supposed to be playing.  I heard a crash.  Ran from the kitchen, to the living room and what do I see?  The goldfish flopping on the wood floor, the clock across the room, the fish bowl with a  hole in the side and rocks and water spewing onto the nearly dead fish.  I lost it!  But first!...I grabbed a bowl and saved the fish, then I lost it some more.

I yelled at Eli in a way I have not yelled in a LONG time.  I was hoarse afterwards.  What were you thinking, I asked?  He told me he climbed up the stairs to grab the clock off the wall and he dropped it on the fish bowl by accident.  I knew it was an accident.  I couldn't help myself though.  I needed a release and he was the only one there.  I yelled so loud, I woke my husband.  Ross went into Eli's room, who at that point had been punished and all Eli could say was "Momma's really mad at me."

I of course calmed down and we both apologized, but as of late, that is my biggest parenting oops.  I don't like being angry at my kids like that.  I love them.  I want to enjoy them.  Most days I do enjoy them.  I enjoy them, because they make me happy!  They make me smile.

Last night I was going on 14 hours straight with a migraine.  I was lying on the couch in tears.  What do my kids do?  Natalie gets an ice pack and they both crawl up on me and give me hugs and kisses and tell me they love me and tomorrow will be so much better.  Little stinkers.  I'm doing something right!  The sense of compassion they have for others!

Being a mom is tough.  No joke. I am a stay at home mom and it is the hardest thing I have ever done.  If men could be pregnant and push out a baby, I would let them, so we could share some of that responsibility (mad props single dads), but we all know why they can't.

Just remember, we all have those days.  You are not alone.  Cheers to you parents!  It is a tough job, we chose to do it and just be thankful that you end everyday with your kids still alive!   That, my friends, is a good day!  A good day to me is getting out of sweat pants!  Just keepin' it real!  

What is your worst parenting moment?  Share below!


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Quesadillas and Fiestaware

In the above photo, there are three of my favorite things.  Can you guess?

1.  Homemade Salsa
2.  Homemade Cheese Quesadillas
3.  Fiestaware Dishes

I have already shared the salsa recipe and my mom was kind enough to tell me that my food photos looked crappy on my brown dishes.  Cue my Christmas present...Fiestaware!  I have the fancy Canon camera, now I have the beautiful dishes too!

Finally, the quesadillas.  So easy, you are probably wondering why I am even sharing the recipe.  Cheese and tortillas right?  Right!  I also wanted to show off my new dishes :)  Quesadillas are a "go-to," family favorite that guarantees my kids will be cleaning their plates.  Lunch or Dinner, either way, the perfect meal that tastes good and is good for you!

All you need is a hot pan, two tortillas (whole-wheat works great) and your choice of shredded cheese.  If my husband and I are eating, I fry up some chicken and onions too, making them taste even better!

Once the cheese is melty and the tortillas are crispy, you can top the quesadilla anyway you want.  We choose to eat them with lots of veggies, sour cream, and salsa.  In this instance, we had corn and black beans!  So good!

Whats your "go to" meal that is easy and everyone loves?


Monday, January 6, 2014

Arctic Freeze 2014

The Great Arctic Freeze of 2014
Done Minnesota Right!

When I woke up this morning it was -24 below zero.  That is not in the positive, people.  When you mix the air temp with the wind, it actually will feel like anywhere from -40 to -50 below today.  That's cold.  How cold?  The Governor of Minnesota called off school for today....on preparation for this cold snap.  A Governor hasn't done that in our state since 1996.  Brrrr......

To give you an idea, for you lucky SOB's who live in a warmer climate, when you walk outside and step on the snow, the snow actually sounds like styrofoam.  When you breathe, after roughly ten seconds, your nostrils stick together....Gross.  Another sign it's cold?  Your jacket makes that crinkly noise.  Or?  Your car just doesn't start.
So, what do we do to beat the cold on a day like today?  Number one?  We stay INSIDE!  Except when the dog has to pee and I can honestly say I have never seen her pee so fast :)  Number two?  We get creative!  So far today, we have played Tinkertoys, Play-Doh, built a fort and I actually took a shower...all before 8:00 am!

Number three?  There are always the every day activities, such as laundry and cleaning.   We will also toss in some baking, some CindyBlue Designs work, puzzles, reading time, I am distressing a shelf...who knows!  A nap sounds nice too!!!

What are you doing to beat the cold? heat? boredom?


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Top 10 Christmas Movies...For Kids!

In my house, the kids and I have been watching Christmas movies since July.  We love Curious George Christmas and nothing cools you down faster, on a hot August day, than Mickey Mouse trying to save the day before Christmas.

I consider myself, almost an expert on all things kid movies and this gave me the idea of compiling our first Top Ten Movie List!   Without further adieu....

Natalie and Eli's: Top Ten Christmas Movies

10. Barbie:A Perfect Christmas...Not my Choice :)
9. Prep and Landing
8. Mickey's Once Upon A Christmas
7. Mickey's Christmas Carol

6. The Polar Express
5. A Garfield Christmas...An Oldie but a Goodie!
4 .Curious George:A Very Monkey Christmas
3. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Animated)

2. Frosty the Snowman and Frosty Returns
1. The Santa Clause...We Can't Get Enough of It!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Bacon Cheeseburger Soup

Did I just say bacon?  Did I just say cheese?  Um...yeah!


Trust me when I say, my husband is NOT a soup eater...until...I introduced him to my homemade, bacon cheeseburger soup!  Living in Minnesota and considering that is it -8 right now, and the ground is snow covered, I like to eat hot and hearty meals.  Chili gets a little old, so I needed a recipe to expand on.  I have shared my chili recipe, my enchiladas, and now for the soup!  Comfort food at its finest on this cold Sunday!!!


Bacon Cheeseburger Soup

1 Pound Ground Beef-Browned and Drained...Set Aside
4 Strips Bacon-Fried to Crispy and Crumbled...Set Aside

3 Medium Carrots...Peeled and Shredded...Hint...Food Processor!
2 Stalks Celery...Diced
1/2 Medium Onion...Chopped
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried parsley

6 Large Potatoes...Diced
3 Cups Chicken Broth
6 Tablespoons Butter...Divided
3-5 Tablespoons All-Purpose Flour

1 1/2 Cups Velveeta
1/2 Cup Medium Sharp Cheddar...Shredded
Fresh Ground Pepper
1/4 Cup Sour Cream

It seems like a lot of ingredients, but trust me...they go together quickly! In a stockpot, brown the burger.  Drain and set aside.  Next fry up the bacon, until crispy.  Crumble and set aside.

In the same stockpot (we want all those great meat flavors!), you are going to melt 3 Tablespoons butter and sauté the carrots, celery, and onion.  Also add the basil and parsley.  Saute the veggies for roughly 10 minutes, until they are tender.

Add chicken broth, potatoes, bacon, and ground beef to the vegetable medley.  Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes.  You want the potatoes to be tender and soft!  No one wants to eat a semi-hard potato!

While the potatoes are cooking, in a small saucepan, melt the remaining 3 Tablespoons of butter.  Add equal parts flour.  Using a whisk, stir mixture for 3-5 minutes, until the flour mixture is smooth and bubbly.  Add this to the potato soup.

Stir.  Bring to boil and reduce heat to low.  Mixture will thicken.  Stir in the remaining ingredients (minus the sour cream).  Stir constantly until cheese is melted.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Remove from heat.  Blend in the sour cream.

Serve with crackers, croutons, or fresh baked bread!
You will want to add this recipe to your winter-dinner rotation!!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Baked Caramel Corn

Looking for a new Christmas treat?  Something different for the next cookie exchange or gift for teacher?  I have been making this recipe since I was seven years old!  It is one of my family's favorites!  I only make it during the Christmas season, so it is an extra special treat!!!  Like most of my recipes, there are few ingredients and it is very simple to make.  I hope you enjoy our favorite Christmas-time goody!!

Baked Caramel Corn

6 Quarts Popped Popcorn-spread out on 2 cookie sheets, remove unpopped seeds

1 Cup Unsalted Butter
2 Cups Light Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup Light Corn Syrup
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Vanilla

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.  While making caramel sauce, keep popped corn warm in preheated oven.

Melt butter.  Stir in brown sugar, corn syrup and salt.  Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.  Boil without stirring, on medium heat for five minutes.

Remove from heat.  Remove popcorn from oven.

Stir in baking soda and vanilla to caramel sauce.  Pour over corn and evenly coat.

Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.  Remove from pans immediately, once hour is up.  Enjoy!  Sprinkle in peanuts or M&M's to make it extra nummy :)

Friday, December 13, 2013

Struggling Through Depression::Baby Steps

Baby steps.  That is how I plan to get through this.

Baby steps.  One day at a time.

Baby steps.

Since I first posted about my struggles with depression, I have had a lot of time to just "think."  Tuesday was a really tough day for me and my husband came downstairs to a blubbering mess on the couch.  He asked the basic question of what's wrong?  What can I do?  What makes you so sad?  I had no answer.  I didn't know.  That is when I realized I needed some serious time to think and pray to Jesus.  The next question he asked...will you dance with me?  I of course declined.  Nope.  Would.Not.Do.  He swept me in his arms and as we moved back and forth to no music, he whispered in my ear "I will get you through this funk.  I love you too much not to."

I have so much to live for.  I have no reason to be depressed, but yet I am.  That is the crazy thing with depression.

Baby steps.

I called my grandma, who has suffered from depression since my grandpa died.  I needed to talk to someone who truly understood.  She told me some great advice...
-do something for me.  Not something that is best for the kids or my husband.
-what makes Marianne happy.  Even if it is only ten minutes.
-yoga? crosswords?
-pray baby girl

Baby steps.

Yesterday morning I received the most loving email from Ross' grandpa.  He told me this, "Grandma and I sincerely love you and respect the person you are...You are a capable wife and mom.  You are experiencing the process all of us go through for God to mold us into the person He created us to be.  It is not a comfortable process, but a good one...I urge you to yield yourself to him and allow Him to have His way in your life.  His is always the best.  We think we can work things out, but He is better at working things into our lives."  Cue the tears.  What an amazing reminder.

Baby steps.

Here it is, now Friday.  I have had some great conversations and time to contemplate my situation, my life, my family and what I need to get through this struggle.  Depression is tough but it doesn't have to be forever.  This is what I have come up with for my baby steps:

-Pray.  I may not be involved in a church right now, but that does not change my faith in God.  When I pray, I am at peace.
-Cook.  I find joy in cooking.  I find joy in providing.
-Reading.  I love to read and this is something I would like to do more of.
-Treat myself to a hot bath.  Simple, yes!
-Surround myself with positive people who want to better my life and my situation.  Steer clear of the negativity and what makes me angry.
-Light a candle.

Baby steps.