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Archive for May, 2011

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One of the first things you learn as a new parent is that “It takes a village to raise a child”. This is usually followed by a crash course in selective hearing, but that is a whole other story… You see, what they don’t tell you in this little proverb is that unlike most other life situations, for the most part you get to choose who lives in your child-raising village! It’s like you’re the mayor of Mommy-town!

 

 

You choose if you are going to let the crunchy mommies into your Mommy-town.

You can decide if you want that Tiger Mom wannabe taking up residence in your Mommy-town.

Is your Mommy-town going to be filled with trendy, of-the-moment, all the newest theories and ideas mommies?

Will I let the judgy-mommies take up residence in my Mommy-town?

 

These are decisions that we as moms have to make as we learn how to love and raise our children. The people that we allow to speak into our lives will affect how we raise our children and who we become as mommies. Within the confines of loving our children and wanting what’s best for them, there aren’t a whole lot of wrong ways to be a mom.  But there are many, many different ways to mommy your child and it can get so confusing trying to sort through the million different voices to figure out what works for YOU and YOUR family.

 

So bring alongside people who can help you raise your child. Who are on the same team as you. Who you can call when you’re having a very BAD day and have them remind you that “You can do this. You’re going to be ok. No one will notice if you haven’t swept in a month. Promise…” Maybe they practice the same style of mommy-ing as you. Maybe they’re your mom, your mother in law (you both rock, BTW) or your neighbour down the street. Maybe they have 10 bazillion kids and you have just one. Maybe they live in your computer and you’ve never seen them face to face. Maybe you’ve been friends since preschool and being moms is just one of the many things you share. Maybe they believe in Dr. Sears and you believe in Dr. Spock. But most importantly they believe in you. They are there for you when baby isn’t sleeping well and checking up on you when you haven’t been to a social engagement in weeks because your child is a terror whenever you leave the house. They’re a part of your Mommy-town and without them, being a mommy just wouldn’t be as fun or as sane.

 

Who’s in your Mommy-town? Has it been populated naturally or have you been intentional about the people that live in your Mommy-town? Do you live in anyone else’s Mommy-town?

 

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This has got to be one of my favorite meals ever for two very good reasons. The first obviously being that it is delicious and I would hazard a guess that it is somewhat healthy. The second reason is because this dinner is symbolic of the harmonious and complimentary nature of my relationship with Beardie. He is hot and spicy and I am corny *snicker* Yes, you may stop reading if you don’t like my dad jokes.
Here’s how it works: I usually lead in with “I’ve been thinking about your Chili and how good it would be.”
Beardie: Did you want me to make chili for supper tomorrow? (because he is amazing like that)
Me: Ohhhh, that would be so good. Should I make cornbread to go with it.
Beardie: Mmmmm, I love your cornbread.
Me: Not as much as I love you Snook-um Pie….
*cue violin music*
Or something like that, I am a little fuzzy on the details.
So Beardie throws together a bunch of stuff to make a pot of chili for the slow cooker. Ground beef, onion, garlic, tomato sauce, many types of beans, mushrooms, peppers, corn and spices. It is delicious. I am completely unable to make The Chili. I try. I put all the same things in. It is just plain chili. Beardie does his magic and it is The Chili. It is all in the spices. But that is his secret, not mine. There will be no recipe for The Chili.
Half an hour before we all reach the point of starvation (induced by smelling The Chili all day) I jump in with my contribution. I like to think this dinner is a team effort. It is but definitely not a 50-50 split. The cornbread is so easy that it is probably a 90-10 split (shhhh, let’s not tell Beardie! I also like this dinner because it involves very little effort on my part).
The Cornbread:

My version involves soy milk and golden Crisco due to the no-dairy but you can use regular milk and butter or margarine.

Melt the Crisco/butter/margarine. Throw in all the rest of the ingredients.

Mix it, mix it, mix it.

Maybe you have a little helper who wants to mix too. This is a good time to let her help.

Throw it in the greased pan (which you greased with the wrapper from the Crisco, right? Because that is thrifty.) Bake.

Serve warm with a bowl of The Chili, a slice of watermelon and a bit of drool.

Yum! Here’s the link to the cornbread recipe on All Recipes.
The Cornbread

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This video makes me giggle every time I watch it. That might explain why I have watched it 25,874 times. Part of our bedtime routine with our little Boo is to spend a relaxing, calming time listening to some soothing music before we tuck her into bed with hopes of a quick trip to dreamland.
Maybe this lullaby is the reason she can’t sleep at night! But it is so funny! I can’t help but watch it….

Elmo and Ricky Gervais

I sometimes wonder if the Boo is thinking as I tuck her into bed “that didn’t help Boo fall asleep at all…Mommy has done enough”

P.S. Elmo has become a household word about our place…what is it about this cute little red fuzzy guy that children love him so much? Including me 🙂

(Sorry I had to link the video instead of putting it directly onto the page….technology is driving me crazy today!!)

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The pre-made grocery list. Love it! It is so easy and no brainer it makes me wonder why I never thought to do this before. It saved me a ton of time.

Every other week I was writing out my grocery list and every week I was writing down the same essential things. Milk, eggs, bread, bananas, chocolate (I’m pregnant! It is an essential!). I would throw out my list when I got home and then do the exact same thing the next week.
Can we say repetitious much? And waste of time doing the same thing over and over again. I had thought in the past that a pre-fab grocery list would be a good idea but it just never happened.
Fortunately I stumbled upon this post over at Parent Hacks (http://www.parenthacks.com/2011/03/downloadable-grocery-list.html) I’m sure there is some sort of gizmo-y App that does all of this for you. But in my house, I am the App.

But Wow-za. All I had to do was take 15 minutes to personalize the list to what our house usually eats. Replaced the milk with almond milk, cut out all the dairy, added those PC brand Sweet Chili Brown Rice Crisps (mmmm, love them! I don’t know if they actually have any health but they taste like Doritos! I devour a bag while watching the Amazing Race every week), added lots of beans, beans, beans (our musical, healthy fruit) and the restaurant size bag of frozen blueberries which Boo eats like candy.

I have yet to see her voluntarily stop eating them, usually I put an end to her re-fills when it looks like her face is permanently shaded purple and I can’t tell if her lips are blue because they are frozen or because of the blueberries. But a right healthy, yummy snack! We also eat them in our oatmeal every morning and in our muffins (check out my Fail cupcakes, maybe don’t make those). As you can tell blueberries are our best friend right now.
Grocery list: Just make it happen one week and it will pay you back next week.
1. Download the doc. I love the format of this grocery list because it makes sense to my brain.
2. Personalize it with what you actually buy every week.

This is my neat-o list! 

3. If the organizer, list-maker Dr Jekyll side of you starts to emerge maybe re-arrange the list so that it is in the order that you usually go through the grocery store. And then try and remember what order the products are in down each aisle and micro-organize the list that way. Just in case you are a little obsessed with orderly lists. It pleased me to do this 🙂
4. Print off the list, in blue if your 6 year old printer no longer has any other color choice.
5. Laminate that beautiful list….wait a second! I ain’t got no laminator. This post is a fail. I hate Grocery List now. No, no, no. Don’t get all excited. Just stick with me, I’ll post a “secret, super-cheap, no laminator, laminator post” and we will be friends again.
6. Plop the list up on the fridge with a big, jolly magnet.
7. Use your skill to somehow attach a wet erase marker around/nearby the list. I use wet erase because the dry erase erases too easily, especially when the list goes in my purse. The wet erase is almost permanent but comes off with a quick wet wipe. I know, I’m genius.
8. Add any “not common” items either on the side or if you are particular fit them into their matching category.
9. On grocery day gallantly pull the list off the fridge, double check it for anything to add and off to the store you go. Ready to rock those grocery aisles in an efficient, orderly fashion.
Seriously, why did I never make this work before? It takes about 3 weeks of trial and error to figure out what all needs to make your “essentials” list but once you got it down. It is down. And you are golden. Then my well trained household (and me) can quickly check off “eggs” when I use the last one and the fail cupcakes don’t have to happen again.

Why work hard when you can work smart?

grocerylist

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The Process to Satisfaction: Day 3

Its day 3 of our little expedition to yumminess and I am ready for some true satisfaction, ahem, Samoas. That’s what I meant. Samoas, Samoas, Samoas.

My favourite food group is actually caramel, followed closely by chocolate and then cream cheese. I live a very balanced life I think.  Until now. Because of THAT allergy. Which Buddy Bear WILL outgrow. Because I have decided he will.  But I think you’re pretty fantastic and if I were you, I would want me to share how to finish making those Samoas that have been taunting you for the last couple of days. So, where were we?

Oh yes, the caramel.

I discovered that our local supermarket sold caramels in their bulk section for like 60 cents for 100g instead of the usual $3 for a little bag of them. I was sold and I went to town on these suckers, I think I ploughed through two pounds of these before I ever got around to making those Samoas.

 

 

Unfortunately I discovered that there are a LOT of wrappers on 12 ounces of caramels. My thumbs got a little numb after shelling all those caramels. I definitely was starting to question whether this was a good idea. But it is! You will forget the pain as soon as you bite into that first Samoa! Remind you of what they told you about giving birth? No comment…

Once the caramel and coconut was all mixed together, I definitely was tempted to just sit down with the bowl and pound through it in one sitting. I didn’t, but was it ever tempting!

I had trouble “smoothing it out” with a spatula, so I just sprayed my hands with Pam (well knock-off Pam but I won’t go there again) and squished it down onto my crust from yesterday.  And in the name of honesty, I just drizzled the tops with melted chocolate chips instead of individually dipping each square in melted chocolate. No, its not the ‘traditional Samoa’ but I don’t have any preconceived notions about Girl Scout cookies, so laziness works for me!

 

 

All your hard work has paid off. I promise you, you’re going to enjoy these. I don’t like straight milk, but I’m sure these would be delicious with a tall glass of milk. And if you want to make me some dairy-free caramel that doesn’t taste nasty so I can enjoy these, I will be forever indebted to you. Or at least until my next craving for dairy strikes. ..

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The Process to Satisfaction: Day 2

Did you manage to get a nap in the other day? I totally did not. Though my mother always told me that I wasn’t going to fall asleep if I was walking around, so it is really my own fault! So where were we?

Ahh, yes the creamy buttery goodness that is beginning of all things good and yummy. At this point you could switch gears and make chocolate chip cookies and no one would be the wiser. I think all good recipes should have an alternate ending, just in case you get bored or distracted halfway through. Or if your decide to waste 3 million hours on facebook at this point and then realize that you need a dessert in half an hour. Chocolate chip cookies are a lifesaver that way. And people will think you are a little Betty Homemaker with your warm cookies fresh out of the oven, instead of a procrastinator like *some* people…

But we soldiering on and making Samoas instead of gazing lovingly at our darling offspring.  *gag* So our recipe says to “gradually beat in flour and salt until mixture is crumbly, like wet sand.” Like wet sand? Huh? Now, having a little boy in cloth diapers I know a LOT about wet, but wet sand? We don’t have sand where I live. Dirt, yes. Grass, yes. Rocks, in abundance. But sand is the stuff of ocean beaches and tropical vacations, and definitely not snow-covered Alberta. So that is my interpretation of what wet sand should look like.

Forgive my rant, but this is what my non-stick spray looks like. I won’t name names, but it’s a yellow, store-brand spray and while it was 50 cents cheaper than Pam, it comes out all white and nasty and I have to take my pans to the laundry room to spray, otherwise my poor little Buddy Bear starts coughing up a storm from the chemicals being sprayed into the air. Not cool.

Does this ever happen to you? You’re going along all nice, making a delicious crust, and suddenly *bam!* there’s a hole in your crust! I have no idea how it happens… But its easily fixable with a little squishing and smooshing, and no one is the wiser.

During the 20 or so minutes that the crust is baking, you can wipe down your counters and pop the dishes in the dishwasher, and still have time for a quick shower. Or maybe you want to leave the dishes on the counter for your hubby and take a 20 minute shower. I won’t judge.

But, once the crust is out of the oven, you’re done! If you really wanted to, you could pop the crust and the toasted coconut in the freezer (in separate containers!) and not touch it for a couple of weeks. But, then all your work would be for nothing. So next post, we’ll assemble it all so you can finally get some satisfaction. Because nothing satisfies like sugar and butter…

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Caution, And Me, Mommy is not responsible for entire 9×13 pans of this stuff disappearing in one sitting. Not that that has happened to me. More than once.

*cough*

Well, now that we got that out of the way let me introduce you to my new favourite treat, Knock-off Girl Scout cookie, Samoas Bars from Baking Bites. Being a Canadian but mostly just a cheapskate, I have never had a real Girl Scout cookie. So what can you expect? Think buttery shortbread, toasted coconut, gooey caramel and chocolate. Yeah, I see that drool on the side of your mouth. Don’t worry I have one too…

But, you see the one thing I have learned about being a mommy, is that you can’t do anything quickly or half as efficiently as you did before kids. And there is nothing worse than looking back at your day and feeling like you didn’t accomplish anything. I know that feeling, and I have a cure.

Break down a task into little parts (i.e. sweeping, vacuuming and mopping instead of cleaning all the floors) so you can say that you have done at least done something today.

So let me help you get that feeling of satisfaction, everyday, for three straight days.

You can thank me later.

I will accept payments in chocolate…

The Process to Satisfaction: Day 1

Do you keep caramels and shredded coconut in your pantry? If not, you will probably need to go shopping today. Mark that on your to-do list so you can check it off later.

Have you ever toasted coconut before? It is actually quite humourous because when I did it, it released an ‘aroma’ or gas-like substance that was not pleasant. I’m attributing this to the toasting process and not the cleanliness of my oven. So when you make this, (and you should because it’s awesome) you can rest assured that the funny smell is very normal and you can continue on worry-free.

You can also expect to see several small divots where you tasted the coconut for quality control. Twice. I won’t judge.

Now throw the cooled coconut into a sealed container and you’re done! One day and already 2 tasks completed. You deserve a break and some chocolate I think.

Come back, for part 2 of the Samoas process!

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