Friday, September 30, 2011

Pinterest: My New Obsession

Earlier this week, while checking the "traffic" for my blog (yes, I check where my readers are finding me) I stumbled across Pinterest.

I have been scrolling through its thousands of "boards" ever since.  The boards are filled with some of the best ideas and desserts I have ever seen.

Pinterest is simply an online system to organize sites and stuff you love.  You create boards for your home (and pin your dream kitchen), your oven (and pin the above cookie bar) and dream dates (and pin Bradley Cooper).

You get the idea.

You can pin as much or as little as you want, and you can follow other "pinners" and see what they are pinning. 

When I look at the pins, I am inspired to do more than I do now.  To bake more, craft more, organize more.

I can only stand to pin and repin for so long because it could go on for days.  The pinning would never ever stop.

I encourage you all to cruise over to Pinterest.  Be prepared to spend your next hour overwhelmed.

And amazed.

Or save this activity until tomorrow, and spend your whole weekend "pinning" and "repinning" everything you love.

Your Hubby will be thrilled.

Mommyhood Footnote:  The above picture is from Recipe Girl.  Click over and check it out!  Anyone wishing to follow me on Pinterest, I'm Jodiem22.  Happy pinning!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Sweet and Salty: Bite Sized Chocolate Pretzels

These little pretzels are bite sized perfection.  They are sweet yet salty, easy to make and stay fresh for days.

They are ideal as a gift as well.  They are hardy enough to fill a jar and perfect in a holiday tin.

I have no idea who to credit for this recipe, because I have seen these delightful little pretzels a few places.  But regardless, the recipe is worth a share.

Bite Sized Chocolate Pretzels

1 bag Hershey's Kisses
1 bag bite sized pretzels (any variety)
1 bag M&M's (peanut butter flavor are an excellent twist)

Heat oven to 250.

Unwrap kisses.  This is by far and away the most tedious part of the whole chocolate pretzel making process.  A phenomenal job for little munchkins.

Place pretzels on baking sheet.  Top each pretzel with a Hershey's Kiss.

Place in oven for approximately 3-5 minutes.  You need to make certain the Kisses are soft enough to top with M&M.

Carefully top each Hershey's Kiss with M&M.  Or two if you desire.  I like to place the "M" face down so it is not visible.  I'm all about appearances.

Let chocolate set before attempting any packaging.  I place mine in fridge to quicken the process.

I would suggest making these this weekend.  They are sure to please the football viewing crowd.  They are sure to please any crowd.

Mommyhood Footnote:  Don't forget to make these when the holidays roll around.  Make a few hundred and buy decorative tins or jars.  They are an ideal hostess or teacher gift.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A Wednesday List

1.  Today it's raining.  The house is quiet and I just finished one of my quickest, easiest sweet and salty desserts to post tomorrow.

2.  I would post them today but the chocolate has to set before I take pictures.

3.  I still need to grab a shower and make myself human looking.  I have to run to Target to buy model magic for a project and some pencil grippy things for my left handed Gymnastics Queen.

4.  She is sporting that unsightly bump on her middle finger where she presses her pencil.

Ah the memories.

5.  While at Target you can bet your button I will be indulging in a Mocha Light Frappucino.  Maybe Venti.  I haven't decided.

6.  I have spent $20 in the past week on Mocha Light Frappucinos.

7.  Today I'm getting a manicure/pedicure from a lady named Hoa. 

8.  Hoa works from home and apparently does everyone's nails in town.  Every time I admire a friend's manicure they say they went to Hoa.  When I tell them I've never been to Hoa, their eyes get really wide and they gasp as if I've missed a major life experience.

I refuse to be a "Hoa Virgin" any longer.

9.  I have made a light attempt to potty train Moopa this week.  Light meaning no diaper from 8am-10am.  We have had a pee in the jammies every morning and one poop on the rug.

I am pushing back the potty training until its below freezing outside and I have no desire to go anywhere.

10.  On that note, I'm ending this list on ten and grabbing my shower.

Happy Wednesday everyone!

Mommyhood Footnote:  Hoa was everything I dreamed she would be and more.  My nails and all my waxing needs have found a home.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

You Can't Win 'em All

This year, my son is on a "winning challenged" football team.  

They are a young team.  They are still working out the kinks and they don't have any "star players".  They are all good players.  Winning will come from never giving up and continuing to forge ahead as a team.

When I look at the situation objectively, they are winning.  They are gaining experience and character.

It's easy to win.  Of course teaching sportsmanship is important, and how to be a teammate.  But winning is fun.  You feel like your hard work is paying off.  You see the results from all the time at the field and you enjoy going to practice.

Losing is not fun.  Losing every game is even less fun.  It's disheartening.  When the games get tough, you really have to dig deep and find it in yourself to get out there and play.  And when a win is out of reach, it takes determination to simply finish the game.

You have to dig even deeper to sacrifice free time and hit the practice field. 

You will forever appreciate the hard work that goes into losing.  And you will forever appreciate winning even more.

Most importantly you will learn how to be a good winner, because you know what it feels like to lose.

It's a lesson that is learning by LIVING it.

And so today I want to blog a big shout out to everyone who has ever played for a team that was "winning challenged".

A winner is someone who gets off their tushie and plays the game.

Here's to all the winners out there.

Monday, September 26, 2011

How To Make a Blog Header on Blogger

When I started my blog, I was completely clueless how to make a header, a signature and how to "operate" a blog in general.

I'm still clueless. 

Regardless of my general lack of "know how",  I "Google" until I find a way.  And while I am no expert, I realize there may be hundreds of new bloggers who would love their own blog header.

And they are just as "non computer savvy" as I was.

Step by step, this is how I create my blog headers:

1.  To determine what size your header should be, right click on the current image that is your blog header. 
A box like this will appear.
There is an option "view image info".  Look under "dimensions".  This is an excellent guide to size your blog header.

My header is 1000 x 250 pixels.

2.  To create my header, I use Paint.NET.  While this program is a tad annoying to learn, after a few hours you will have the hang of it.  I prefer it because I find it easiest to use, and it's FREE.

Download Paint.NET.

3.  Using Paint.NET, go to File, and open new.  This is where you will need to know the pixel size you would like your header.

4.  Now you will need the images or pictures you want on your blog header.  I like to edit and size my images in picmonkey, another free online program.

5.  Open your pictures in Picmonkey, and resize and edit them.  This is an excellent program to add text to your pictures, create frames, etc.

When resizing your pictures, REMEMBER the size of your header!  I make my pictures approximately 200 pixels high because I like to save room for text above or underneath them once they are on blog header.

You may want to save them twice, as two different sizes.  This way if you place one on header and it doesn't quite work, you don't need to start over again in Picnik.

6.  When finished editing, save and reopen Paint.Net.

7.  I like to place my images on header first, and once in place work around them.  You can do this however you feel most comfortable.  If you need to move them around, click "undo" under the Edit tab.  You will "undo" many times, trust me.  Just keep reoworking the pictures until they are where you need them.

HOWEVER, once you are finished with your text on Paint.NET it cannot be changed.  This is where it gets toss-the-laptop frustrating.

An easy way to avoid frustration is saving your header after each step.  If your text needs adjusting, find the file right before you added it.  

To upload your images in Paint.NET, go to "Layers", and select "import from file". 

Drag and drop images where you want them on blog header.

8.  To add text, click on "T" icon in toolbar.  You can adjust size, font and color (use color wheel for color).  If you can't find the color wheel, you can open it by selecting "Window" across top.

Make sure to include your blog title and description in your header.

9.  When your blog header is the way you like it (this may take hours or days) save as a JPEG (click "save as" and select JPEG). If you simply save it will save it as a "pdn" which will not work when you go to upload your header!

10.  Open your blog.  Under "Design", click edit for "Configure Header".  In box, you will see "Blog Title"  "Blog Description" and "Image".

Upload your image.

Underneath, in "placement", select "instead of title and description".

11.  Save your changes.

12.  Click "View Blog" and gasp at your gorgeous new header.  Or scream because you need to start over.

For us "non-computer-savvy" peeps this is a tough skill to master.  A blog header takes much trial and error.  But once you teach yourself you will have wonderful creative freedoms.

Good Luck!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Happy People Make Me Happy

This weekend was quite full and quite crazy.  A full weekend with four munchkins usually equates to a crazy weekend.

They are one in the same.

One reason this weekend was more chaotic than usual is that I worked an extra shift.  I was running drinks and steaks Friday and Saturday night.

While I am an optimist at heart, the food service industry has opened my eyes to some real cranky pants.  There are nights they come out in droves.

And Friday evening, my tables weren't "happy".  The cranky pants population was out and about in my neighborhood.

My customers weren't awful, they just "were".  And their "blahness" (excuse my word creation) ruined my mojo.

Tonight I discovered how much I truly appreciate happy people.  I had customers who were patient, and they weren't looking to complain.  They were easy to talk to and they wore smiles instead of frowns.

Servers love smiling faces.  No one wants to approach a table of sour pusses and take a drink order. 

Well maybe someone does but that someone certainly isn't me. 

Happy people make me happy.  And I'm thankful for them because happiness truly is contagious.  

Wishing you much happiness, and many happy encounters this week!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Homemade Apple Oatmeal

Apples, apples, apples.

I still have enough apples left from our apple picking excursion for a few more recipes.  Until my kitchen is apple free I have decided to inundate my readers with apple anything.

How many times can I type apple in this post?   

I now present apple oatmeal.  A fabulous fall treat for hungry munchkins.  And hungry parents.  And hungry anyone.
Apple Oatmeal
Makes 1 cup (180 calories)

1/2 cup diced Golden Delicious Apple
1/3 cup each apple cider and water
1/3 cup quick cooking oats, uncooked
Dash cinnamon and nutmeg

Combine apples, cider, water and seasonings, bring to a boil.  Stir in oats and cook another minute.  Cover and let stand several minutes before inhaling.

Happy weekend everyone!  Go get yourself some apples!

Friday, September 23, 2011

An Elementary School Grammar Lesson

We are finally getting into the "back to school" swing of things around here.  We've had a few forgotten folders and had some lunch issues but we keep trucking along.

As my munchkins get older school gets more intense.  When I help them with homework I must admit I need a review in some areas myself.

I need a review in MOST areas myself.

One area (er, math) I pass right along to Hubby.  I gave up math at the third grade level.  I have only retained what was necessary.

The rest a calculator takes care of beautifully.

This week my Sports Fanatic had his second grammar test.  My schooling (and love for Language Arts) came flooding back to me as we studied his grammar.  The wheels, though squeaky and covered in rust, began turning.

And I am now happily brushed up on subjects and predicates.  I am still a school nerd a heart.  

To share:

A complete sentence has a subject and a predicate.

The subject is what or whom the sentence is about.

The predicate tells something about the subject.

My munchkins are happily sleeping.

Subject: my munchkins  Predicate: are happily sleeping

I would love to continue and dive into simple subjects and simple predicates, but I don't want to hurt myself.

Baby steps.  Always baby steps.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Waitress Diaries

This post will be brief.  I have had a crazy busy few days and my eyes are rather tired.

I'm also waffling on whether or not to dive into a bowl of ice cream in a few minutes.  As well as whether or not to set the alarm to run in the morning.

Life's burning questions are constantly plaguing me.

Tonight was my regular night to work.  I am very grateful for the job I have because its social.  And the money is better than any job I ever had in retail.

I would also much rather push dessert than store credit cards.  And I would rather clear empty glasses than refold the same shirt a hundred times in an hour.

Retail is no walk in the park.  It's predictable though.  The hours are set and the pay is always the same.  The dressing rooms are always a pigsty and the customers love to dig through a freshly folded pile. 

Working in a restaurant, there is much uncertainty before every shift.  I can never be certain how busy I will be or who will be "on" (waitress speak for working).  I don't know what station I'll have or how late I'll be serving.

Customers have a knack for arriving five minutes before the kitchen closes.

But I can be certain of one thing every night I leave for work.

I will always return home with hair that reeks of hamburger.

This never fails.

And the cleaner your hair when you go to work the more it will smell when you get home.

My life lesson for today is that clean hair absorbs kitchen stink. 

Use this information wisely.  And have a very happy Thursday!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Homemade Applesauce

One of the many pleasures of apple picking is the abundance of apples that follows.

Apple crisp, apple pie, applesauce, apple oatmeal, apple crumb....

The possibilities are endless.

My favorite starter to an apple baking fiasco is applesauce.  It's simple and the simmering apples make the house smell divine.  

And it makes me feel like Diane Keaton in Baby Boom. 

If you've never seen Baby Boom you're missing a major feel good movie.  Put it on your "to do", along with everything else.

As always, my recipe is rather easy.  No need to complicate applesauce. 

Homemade Applesauce
8 medium apples
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon (plus extra to taste)
dash nutmeg

8 servings

Peel and cut apples into chunks.  Place in large saucepan, add small amount water as well as cinnamon and sugar.

Cover and cook over low heat until tender, about 20 minutes.

When apples are soft (and begin to fall apart when stirred), remove from heat and either use hand mixer, food processor or blender to achieve dsired consistency.

Told you I only posted easy.


Mommyhood Footnote:  Applesauce is a phenomenal substitute for oil when baking.  Replace the amount of oil called for in recipe with applesauce.

Another fab reason to make applesauce this fall.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Gymnastics, I Thank You

There is much I owe to gymnastics.
Gymnastics has given my daughter confidence.


It has given me better time management skills, because I now need a steady income.  But that's a whole 'nother post.

My daughter has always been quick and athletic.  But she had a hard time with soccer.  She didn't like that people "ran at her".

She was also not a fan of dance.

Despite her tough personality, I was fairly insistent she participate in something.  My insistence led us to her first gymnastics class.

And she cried the whole way there.  She is not fond of the unknown.  This personality trait can be quite frustrating.

But she came out of that class with a smile.  And she has been in gymnastics ever since.  While it is very time consuming, the rewards are well worth the time involved.

She is physically and mentally strong.  She has a phenomenal work ethic.  She has learned how to perform in front of people.

And she doesn't have much time to get into trouble.

Her free time is spent lounging, doing homework and playing outside.  

Despite her love for gymnastics she has her moments.  She still whines on Saturday mornings that she doesn't want to go to practice.  There are nights she would rather watch the Disney channel.

But she goes to practice. 

And she never leaves that gym unhappy she decided to go.  She leaves the gym talking a mile a minute about all her new accomplishments.

Another valuable lesson courtesy of gymnastics.  Deciding to do something is usually the toughest part.

And so along with a part time job and a hectic schedule, I have a daughter who is gaining life lessons and confidence. 

And so gymnastics, I thank you.

Mommyhood Footnote:  These pictures are from a small town festival this past weekend.  Her gymnastics school gave a tumbling demonstration.  The weather was perfect and the girls tumbled their little hearts out.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Apple Picking

This past weekend we hit up the apple orchards.  The weather was phenomenally fall like and we had an open morning to get out and enjoy ourselves.

We wasted no time.

At the orchard we fueled up with fresh cider donuts and skipped the hayride.  We prefer to walk because we prefer to fuel up with cider donuts.

Life is all about balance.

The munchkins scampered among the apple trees in search of perfect apples.  I strolled behind them and snapped pictures.  I also practiced my veto powers over all apples they brought back to the apple bag.

LLG tried to sell me on his "smiling apple".  While I agreed it was thrilling, it didn't make the cut.  That apple could smile at me all day and it wasn't coming home in my apple bag.
Before we headed home the munchkins roamed the country store and we visited with the farm animals.  Farm animals never disappoint.

One of the sheep was old.  He walked slow.  And he had an itch.
And so he scratched it.  A few times.

I must say my mother and myself found him rather amusing.  We find much humor in the little things.

I am now embarking on another week with a house fully stocked with apples.  I have already made applesauce and apple oatmeal.

And sent apples in lunch sacks.

At this rate I'll need to go apple picking again by Saturday.

Have a fabulous Monday everyone.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

How to Package Baked Goods

This weekend I have to bring baked goods to a few places.  We have a tailgate, a bake sale and an afternoon of football watching.

Since I am passionate about bringing desserts to every event I attend, I prefer to package them easily.  And it's easier to package in something I don't need back.

No need to chase my plates and containers all over town.

While many mommies are aware of this packaging trick, many are not.  And everyone had to see it somewhere.

I first saw it from one of oldest and bestest friends, Becca.  I owe her much of my early baking experiences.   I also owe her my current packaging method for my desserts.

I trust all my best baking to the good ole' shirt box.

Cupcakes and cookies fit snugly inside and no icing gets "smooshed" and destroyed.  The lid keeps the baked goods safe and you don't need to wait around for anyone to return your plate.

If you're really feeling fancy you can decorate the box to jazz it up and make it more presentable.

Or you can just grab it, line it with wax paper, and place baked treats inside and run like I do.

Whatever tickles your sweet tooth.

Happy Weekend!

Friday, September 16, 2011

My Middle Munchkins

Yesterday I had an epiphany.

It involved my middle munchkins. 
Bless their hearts.

My epiphany began with my Moopa, bless her heart as well.  Moops now has hours of uninterrupted "mommy time".  Amazing how quiet and manageable the house becomes once 75% of my munchkins are at school all day.

There is little rushing.  We walk at Moopa's pace.  We spend mornings at home and take our time in the store.

I even brush and style her hair.

This is a luxury my middle munchkins rarely experienced.  Their reality was preschool pick-ups, carseats and propped bottles.

My Sports Fanatic also had hours of uninterrupted "mommy time".  His reality was a tad different than Moopa's, but just as lovely.

We picked him up when he cried.  He never had a wet tushie.  His clothes were (and still are) always new and he never needed new shoes.

His snacks were homemade and he went to playgroups.

These are more luxuries that are quite foreign to my middle munchkins.  Playgroups were rendered unnecessary when they were toddlers because there were munchkins to play with at home.

Hand-me-downs are always ready and waiting in the attic and snacks are whatever I toss into my purse.

My middle munchkins share a strong bond. They share a similar "middle child" existence.

This existence has made them adaptable.  And laid back.  They are more outgoing than my oldest and they are extremely quirky.

They have mastered the art of waiting their turn and they play independently.

Sometimes they need more of my time, and it forces me to slow down.  They need an extra few minutes before bed or a pep talk before practice. 

There are times their behavior commands me to be a little more patient. 

And they deserve it.

Because Lord knows they have been patient with me.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Nots Anymore Dots

 Google image
This will be brief. 

Yesterday I was enjoying a snack pack of Dots candies.  I had eaten the two reds and decided I would finish off the pack even though the remaining two were orange.

No need to waste good Dots.

With one orange Dot to go, I noticed the one I was currently eating was crunchy.  I immediately spit it out into the trash.  My mommybrain assumed it was a defective Dot.  A lump of sugar in an otherwise heavenly gummy treat.

Approximately ten minutes later it dawned on me that 50% of one of my molars was missing.

I immediately dug through my trash and located the other 50% of my tooth.  I examined it.  How dare that orange Dot destroy such a perfectly good, immense white filling? 

A red Dot would have never pulled such a stunt.
My experience is a first hand example for my munchkins.  I've offered up my teeth to teach them a valuable lesson about gummy candies.  The warnings are no lie.  Teeth are best preserved through thorough brushing and avoiding sugary snacks.  The latter has never been my strong suit.
Good thing I adore my dentist.  I'll be visiting him first thing this morning.

I will nots be eating anymore Dots.

For now anyway.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A Baking Tip From an Unprofessional Baker

Earlier this week I posted about sugar cookies.  And cookie cake.  I also posted about football and how to grab shoes if you can't make a tackle.

Only the sugar cookies are relevant to this post.  I was just providing a quick "post recap" for any readers who aren't up to speed.

My friends, family and beautiful blog readers (B.B.R.) know I love to bake.  I have a deep and sincere love for simple sugars.

I take my simple sugars seriously.

A quick tip for perfectly shaped sugar cookies is to re-cut the cookie right out of the oven with the cookie cutter to create crisp edges.

Even the best sugar cookie dough will produce cookies with a "soft" edge.  When I want my cookies to be uniform (such as the 40 football cookies I made this last Saturday), I re-cut the cookie right out of the oven.
Trimming up your cookies makes for very clean, neat, uniform sugar cookies.
It also produces lovely cookie scraps for snacking.
I gave these bowls to my munchkins who were all pleading for chunks of raw dough and salivating over the cookies fresh from the oven.

I have mastered the art of appeasing munchkins while not really giving into their demands.  It's a tricky but necessary trade only years of "mommying" can teach.

Happy Munchkins = Happy Mommy.

For a no fail Sugar Cookie recipe,and more great tips for delish sugar cookies, read Perfect Sugar Cookies!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

When All Else Fails, Grab a Shoe

In junior football, the coaches spend weeks teaching technique.  Practices start the first week in August and the boys practice five nights a week until the first day of school.

I always tell my Sports Fanatic not everyone has it in them to play football.  You have to really love it.  Football is exhausting and time consuming.  You have to wear full gear in August heat and wipe icicles from your nose in early November.

It ain't no joke.

When the teams practice defense, there is much talk about who can "hit".  Not everyone hits hard.  A good tackle is low.  It's strong.  You wrap them and take them down.

But the perfect tackle isn't always there.  And we have long told my son never to give up.  If the ball is in sight, grab anything to take him down.  Grab at his jersey, wrap his ankles, go for the shoe.

Don't ever give up because you can't wrap him.

This past Sunday, my son did exactly what we told him all these years.  The guy with the ball was just out of reach, he couldn't quite catch him.
My Sports Fanatic then dove and grabbed anything he could.  What he got was a shoe. 

It wasn't the most graceful tackle I'd ever seen.  It wasn't even really a tackle at all.  But he got the boy down.

I would say life is much the same.  You don't have to look good as long as you get the job done.  Make no excuses when there is a task at hand.

Try your hardest, and when all else fails, grab a shoe.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Football Cookies

This past weekend was our football "season opener".  After six weeks of practice the boys were dressed and ready to play.

The game didn't exactly go as we would have hoped.  But you can't win 'em all.

With Hubby assistant coaching and my Sports Fanatic playing, I wanted to bring something for them to share with the boys after their first game.

I also wanted to have something for us to enjoy at home while we watched the NFL.

After some thought I went with football cookies, and a football cake.  And because I like to multi-task, both were accomplished with one recipe.

I love the two birds with one stone thing. 

I whipped up my sugar cookie dough, (recipe HERE) and rolled out 35 football cookies.

Since rolling out sugar cookies gets old after the first two batches, I took all remaining unrolled dough and pressed it into a lightly greased 9" round baking dish.

I had my heart set on a lovely sugar cookie cake.   

I baked it for 20-25 minutes, at 350, until center was just done.

While the cake cooled I frosted and decorated the sugar cookies.  I made them funky fun style.
After I was done with the cookies, I frosted the sugar cookie cake and decorated with some cookie cutouts from the cookie batch.
The players enjoyed cookies post game and we devoured cookie cake while watching NFL.

And everyone was happy.

If you are bake sale baking, tailgate baking, or baking for your child's team, I highly recommend investing in the All Star Cookie Cutters.  They are fan-tab-u-lous. 
I use them every year and they make very cool cookies.  And in the mom circle cool cookies means you're cool.  

That's what I tell myself anyway.

Have a fabulous week.  The rain has finally left the station 'round here and I'm loving the fall sunshine.

Mommyhood Footnote:  I don't list decorating "supplies" because I am a firm believer in making due with what's in the cabinets.  All you need is the cookie ingredients and frosting.  Decorate with sprinkles, chocolate chips, cookie crumbs, licorice, candy or anything else you have on hand.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ten Years Ago

Ten years ago, I was just married a year.  That morning I was watching my four month old son play in his exersaucer.

I'm pretty sure we were watching cartoons.  Hubby had gone to work an hour earlier. 

It was just another day.

The world was quiet. 

What I remember next is watching the news coverage of the attacks.  I remember sitting and watching, confused and horrified.

I remember watching people running frantically and the plane hitting the second tower. 

I remember Hubby coming home.  And we watched together as they fell.

It was a moment that will forever be ingrained in my memory.  And I will never forget watching my baby son, all smiles and laughs as he played. 

He was completely unaware that his world just changed forever.

Today I send thoughts and prayers to everyone who lost someone on 9/11. 

We will always remember.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

My 11th Anniversary

Today is my 11th wedding anniversary.  I would say my wedding seems like yesterday, but I would be lying if I did.

I can't remember my life before Hubby, and I say that because so much of my life began with him.  The life I lived before him is a distant memory.  I don't even think I'm still the same person.

Pieces of me remain, but I'm so much better today than I was when I met him.  I think so anyway.

I wear more pajamas but I'm much less selfish.  I have less tolerance for idiocy but more patience for munchkins.  I have less time but more compassion.

I've evolved because of the family we've built.

While our marriage is in no way perfect, it's perfect for me.  We bicker, we disagree.  But we manage to manage all the munchkins and the house is still standing.

There are days I want to scratch his eyes out.  And I know the feeling is mutual.  But the dust settles and all is right by morning.

There is one week every month I'm near impossible to be around and there are afternoons he needs to be left alone.

And we are more than happy to hide from each other when necessary.

But we have many laughs.  And amazing memories.  We have a mutual love for a casual lifestyle and we both have just enough weird.

And he knows how I like my ice cream.

Yesterday I decided to be cute and crafty and make a bag for my anniversary gift.  Due to my occasional struggle with spatial relations the end result was not what I had in mind.
But I ran with it.  I had no desire to start over.  It required effort; it was different.  And most of it was just right.

It worked.

Just like me and Hubby.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Life is Complicated

Life is complicated.  And when you have a big family, it just gets more complicated.

One of the biggest challenges of having mucho munchkins is managing schedules.  There is never enough time for everything we want to accomplish. 

When Hubby arrived home from work today, I squeezed in a 3.5 mile run.  The rain has been relentless here and because of the flooding we had no school today. Needless to say hittin' the pavement for a run early morning has not been possible.

Alas, when I had a one hour window this afternoon I grabbed the bull by the horns.

After my run Hubby left for football.  He does this four nights a week.  He leaves at 5:30pm and they roll in about 8:30pm.

With Hubby on football duty, I tackle gymnastics duty. We must always divide and conquer.

Tonight I packed the little guys into our beast of a vehicle an hour early because there was basketball sign ups.

From basketball sign ups I brought my Gymnastics Queen to gymnastics.  The two smallest munchkins ran wild in the waiting area while I attempted to observe back-handspring progress.

After football, Hubby dropped our Sports Fanatic off with me at gymnastics.  He was meeting friends at a bar downtown to watch "the game".

But not before I made him stop at the store and buy butter. 

Tonight gymnastics was over at 8:30pm.  I immediately hit the drive thru and grabbed twenty McNuggets.  The three munchkins that can communicate were all crying there were starving.  And Mama was not fixin' food at 8:45pm.

We arrived home at 9pm and after showers, books and teeth brushing they are all in bed.  It's 9:35pm.

This is when I switch laundry, organize lunches, set out clothes and straighten the kitchen.

I then make my extra large ice cream with sprinkles and slip into a sugar coma.  I happily lay in bed, with sprinkles sprinkled across my jammies, and watch television.

It's heavenly.

And now, with a semi-detailed description of my "complicated" evening over, the freezer is callin' my name.

Happy Friday!  The weekend is always welcome here at Mommyhood.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Shortbread

This past weekend I needed to make a dessert to bring to a barbecue.  I waited until last minute like all good planners do. 

I envisioned making giant cupcakes for all the munchkins.  When I gathered everything I needed I was missing one very important thing I needed.


Eggs are pretty much a necessity in every dessert.  I assumed I had them.  One should never assume when cupcakes are involved.

The only dessert I could whip up last minute without eggs was shortbread.  I added chocolate chips because I add them to everything.  I added oats for health benefits.

The shortbread came out delish.  And it's so easy my two year old could make them if she knew how to operate an oven and a mixer.

Keep this recipe on hand (or just bookmark it) for when you assume you have eggs and your fridge fails you.

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Shortbread
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups oats
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add vanilla.  Gradually add the flour and oats.  Stir in chocolate chips.

Press into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Prick with a fork if desired. 

Bake at 325 for approximately 30 minutes or until lightly browned on edges. 

Cool at least 15 minutes before cutting.

An important Mommyhood tip:  DO NOT OVERBAKE.  No one wants a dry crumbly cookie. Dry crumbly cookies make people cry.

Happy Thursday!

Mommyhood Footnote:  These cookies come with a disclaimer.  You must love shortbread if you plan on enjoying these cookies.

My 1 year "BlogAversary"

A few days ago was my official "One Year Blogaversary".

I had planned on writing a post to commemorate my one full year of blogging.  But I'm a mom and I have many good plans. I'm excellent at making plans.  Time is what screws them up.

My first blog was on September 3, 2010.  It was the first day of school last year.  I remember sitting with my laptop, sporting my super cool mom jammies, feeling nostalgic.  I felt this incredible urge to document the feeling.

I continued to document day after day after day.  And my blog was slowly born.

I was very soon addicting to blogging.  The blog was mine.  I had "carte blanche".  Free reign.  My blog could look like I wanted it to and I could write what I pleased. 

My blog was as refreshing as a cold shower after a long run in the middle of August.

It still is.

I want to thank everyone who takes the time to stop in and read what my mommybrain loves to write.  It means mucho much.

I read your comments and I peruse your blogs (if you have them).  I am eternally thankful that my blog is worth your time.  Truthfully it's pretty awesome.  Time is a luxury many of us parents don't have. 

And so thanks to everyone who reads Mommyhood, you rock. 

*Muah* (that's Mommyhood for a big kiss)

Mommyhood Footnote:  
Munchkins 1 year ago:
Munchkins yesterday:
Wiping a tear... (sniff, sniff....)

Thanks for sharing in my journey!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

1st Day of School

Today was the 1st day of the new school year.  This day creates conflict inside of my mommybrain.  I am thrilled to have the house quiet once again, but I am sad my munchkins are growing older.

Every year they get on that bus a year older than the year before. 

It's positively devastating.

But then the bus pulls away and it's quiet. 

It's positively thrilling.

This day was no different.  The only change from previous years is that we had a two hour delay due to last week's hurricane.  Which meant a leisurely morning.  No rush to get ready.

There were pancakes.
And then there were no more pancakes.
There were clean, smiling back to school munchkins.
Then the bus came and there were no more clean, smiling back to school munchkins.
The bus pulled away, and I walked into my peaceful house.  I stood and I looked at the Moopa.  She looked up at me and we shared a moment of "what do we do now?".  We haven't been faced with so much possibility in months.

I gathered some fruit snacks and a juice cup, and then I put her in the car.

And I went to the one place every mommy goes when they once again can shop in peace.
"Happy Back to School" to all the mommies and daddies out there!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The New York Renaissance Faire

Every year my family sets a date to attend the one and only New York Renaissance Faire.  Planning begins weeks in advance because we try to accommodate 14 adults.

And this is just my parents, siblings and their significant others.

Finding a day that works for everyone in my large strange family is nearly impossible.  Unfortunately this year was one of those years.  The family was down four members:  my brother and his lovely new wife, my sister who moved to Chicago, and another fab sister-in-law.

Yesterday the remaining family members dressed in Renaissance garb and we took the Faire by storm.  Many of the actors and Faire regulars know us well by now.
I'm not sure that is a good thing.

We are firm believers in dressing for occasions.  You go big or you go home.  We go as Scotsmen, peasants, fairies and gypsies.
The men in my family love this day.  For them it means beer and bustieres.  They throw knifes and Chinese stars.

The women, not so much.  While the day is always an adventure, I am usually threatening to leave Hubby there by late afternoon.

I can only take so much beer and boobs.

But the munchkins thoroughly enjoy themselves.  They watch shows and play games.
It's a day they get to believe in magic and play with wooden swords.

Yesterday was a lovely end to an eventful summer.  I had planned on movie night with Hubby, but he as passed out with his glasses on and remote still in his hand by 9pm.

A definite sign of a day well spent.

Happy Labor Day.  Hope its magical!
Mommyhood Footnote:  The highlight of my morning was when I pulled out the costume bin and Moopa reached in and grabbed a bright pink, ruffled dance recital dress I wore 26 years ago.

"This Mama!  This!" is all she had to say.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Well Hello There...

As I was headed up my front walk after work tonight I saw a blob in my path.  I wasn't certain if it was alive, dead or feces.

One can never be too sure.

I slowed and saw what was the most perfect frog, or toad, I have seen in years.  He was plump, grumpy and couldn't care less that I was examining him.

He even waited for me to grab my camera.  He was in no rush and felt quite comfortable in my presence.
He just sat on my walk completely unamused by my amusement.
He made one lazy jump and continued to hang out front of my house.  I'm fairly certain he would have changed his tune if my munchkins were awake to scare him half to death.

My munchkins tend to do that to small animals.

I'm sure he will be long gone by morning if he knows what's good for him.  I'm glad I have photographic evidence of my grumpy friend.  My munchkins will get a kick out of our little visitor.  I know I did.

What a snazzy way to end to a busy Friday.

I love snazzy.