What’s For Dinner This Week ?

Please don’t judge me based on my eating habits. I try to keep everything as healthy and balanced as possible- but sometimes a girl just needs her bon bons and Cheetos right?

I am so excited for what is going to go in my belly this week!  Some of these items literally have my mouth watering. I’ve mentioned before that I like to use Pinterest to curb the eating boredom. It is so easy to get stuck on the same foods week after week. I also use it so that I stick to my grocery budget! Another score this week! So if anything here suits your fancy, head over there and check them out for yourself. My food Board is labeled Dinner Time.

Friday: Brazilian Stroganoff with Brazilian Rice

Stroganoff: Basically I take 2 cans of chicken and saute them with a little bit of butter and half of a boullion cube. I season with oregano, salt and pepper. When it is hot, I add two cans of creme de leite, and a can of corn. I let that heat up but not over cook. Serve over rice.

The Brazilian Rice is super easy too. I dice a few cloves of garlic and saute with oil in a pot. Then I add the rice and saute that together. When the rice is loose ( not stuck together ) I add enough water to cover the rice ( about two cm) . We use salt to taste. Let it boil. Then turn it down low, and cover the pot until it is the density you want!

We top this dish with shoe string potatoes. It’s the american substitute. It works!

Saturday: Taco Salad : Pretty Straightforward it’s like a taco in a bowl. We just add brazilian rice.

Sunday: SUPERBOWL – which means I will end up in a junk food coma by Sunday Night.  Michael is in charge of feeding us then, and he is not a planner.  I am excited to see what we have!

Monday: Quinoa Stuffed Peppers: Pinterest 

Tuesday: Salad with grilled Chicken, Avocado and honey and lime vinaigrette: Pinterest 

Wednesday: Brazilian Rice and Beans : So I am pretty lazy when it comes to beans. You can make them with a pressure cooker, but these days I just open three cans of black beans! I always saute garlic, onion, and sausage in a pan first though. Then I season to taste. If I am feeding a large crowd then the pressure cooker is the way to go. In that case, Ill add a bay leaf in the mix too. We serve it over Brazilian Rice- Instructions Above. Some days I’ll add a salad, or fried eggs to the combo. Yum Yum Yum.

Thursday: Vegetable Fried Quinoa : Pinterest

Friday: Tilapia, Baked Brussel Sprouts, and Smashed Potatoes : Pinterest 

I want to know:

What is on your dinner menu this week? Or do you forgo all the planning and like to wing it? My mom has the most amazing deep freezer and food pantry. I could make a killer meal out of there for a whole six months without planning ahead.  Now THAT is the life. Please comment Below!

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Stealing From The Grocery Budget

It’s that time again to count our pennies for our Honeymoon Jar.  It is so fun to see the little jar grow each week! Perhaps soon we will have to switch our humble jar out for a bigger one soon?

This month was a little harder to steal from the grocery budget than last. The kids were home from school a lot which means they ate more. I guess winter and pure boredom will do that to you! I also needed to replace cleaning supplies ( whomp whomp ) and do our bi -monthly Costco run- which is known to do some serious damage initially and then the payoff comes later.

Oh if only we didn’t need to clean or eat! I would be a very rich woman.

Being strict with the menu that I make every month, and limiting our trips to Chipotle and Starbucks have helped tremendously. Those are my weaknesses, but it’s getting easier. I was dying to have Chick-Fil-A so that was our big splurge a couple of weeks ago. It was well worth the expense, just ask Lili! She got to experience it twice!

Apart from our honeymoon jar , we have some big financial goals this year, and I know that the only way we are going to achieve them is by sometimes saying no to the extras.  I will say though, that I am looking forward to 2015. Every dollar counts, and I know that we will be thankful next year that we were careful with our spending now. It is so exciting to have a plan for our finances, even if it’s not always very fun in the moment. Who am I kidding? It’s never fun in the moment!

Bella and I counted up the honeymoon jar together. It wasn’t my intention to teach the kids how to save through this rather lofty goal, however that is exactly what is happening. They are learning that it takes sacrifices to reach bigger goals, and sometimes we have to wait a long time to get what we want. In this case it may take an exceptionally long time!

On that note, how much do you think I managed to save this month? Last month our total was $63!

Drumroll Please…..

 

Our Grand Total so far is $97.16!

I am that much closer to sipping Pina Coladas poolside! I want to know. How do you save some extra cash? Do you have some financial goals for 2014? How do you plan on reaching them? Comment and share!

MnDOT. I hate you.

So maybe that is a bit harsh.  I really don’t hate MnDOT. Not at all. But I need someone to blame for my terrible morning, and they appear to be a good enough culprit.

If you were lucky enough to miss all the drama on my facebook today, it took me nearly two and a half hours to take my kids to school. Usually it only takes me 25 minutes. In those two and a half hours, I did not see one single snow plow or salt truck. Not that it would have made any difference. The road was so grid locked that I’m sure they were all stuck in traffic as well.  But I couldn’t help but think those plows were just at home tucked in their bed.

Precisely where I wanted to be.

I know we Minnesotans like to pride ourselves as being tough drivers. Snow doesn’t scare us. But the roads were not just kinda bad. They were really really bad. The roads were being dumped on and I could barely see in front of me. About an hour and a half into it, I was ready to turn around, cry chicken, and go home. But then I missed my exit, and the older two began fighting like two puffed up roosters.  Which ultimately sealed their fate. The roosters were going to school. Even if it took me all day to get them there. I kinda felt like Pa in Little House on the Prairie. Except it is 2014, and my Passat is my horse and carriage.

You should know that I am not a fan of driving in the snow. Living in Minnesota, has forced me to grit my teeth and just suck it up. But HELLO Minnesota. If there is a wintery advisory warning – Cancel school. Or at the very least- give us a late start so the plows have time to do their jobs. Next time I am going to call it myself .

By the time I walked the kids to their classes and got back to the car, the windshield was filled with ice. A lot of ice. I scraped as much off as I could, turned on the car, and flipped on the windshield wipers.

Nothing.

I tried again.

Nothing.

Cue the cursing.

I may be becoming a skilled Minnesota winter driver. But a girl can NOT safely drive in a Blizzard without windshield wipers.

Michael called VW and they told him that the repair was most likely going to cost us $600. Do you know how many Carmel Mocha’s that is?!

I utterly lost it.

Crocodile tears and shudders, snot pouring down my face- lost it. It wasn’t pretty. I didn’t care.

Michael, ( bless his heart ) met me at the service station that I crept fearfully to, and with the spoon he found in my car ( don’t ask ) , he chipped off all the ice. Smart guy had the foresight to open the hood of car to get better at it. See why I need him so much?

Still. The windshield wiper’s motor kept silent.

It seemed as if we were to be $600 poorer.

Michael graciously gave me his car to drive myself home and I left him with mine. Which only caused me more anxiety, I hate driving other people’s cars.  I feel so stupid driving Michael’s car, especially with five inches of snow on the freeway. I was sure that I was going to end up in a ditch somewhere.

Minutes later Michael calls  to tell me that the windshield wipers on my car are miraculously working and he orders me to head to Starbucks so he could buy me a coffee.

That was the exact moment the sun came out today. It was also the moment that it stopped snowing, and I stopped crying. Seriously.

He really knows the way to my heart.

Then it gets better ( or worse ) , only time will tell…

As I am leaving Starbucks to finally go home,  the little girl who has been sitting in the car for four hours pipes up, ” I ate the chicken.”

Me alarmed, “What chicken?!”

Little Girl, “The chicken in the Chick- fil- a  box.”

A long pause…

People- We had Chick- fil a- two weeks ago. TWO WEEKS AGO.

I could do nothing but laugh.

Oh Boy.

Amy Glass. I can’t help but feel sorry for you.

I tend to stay far away from Mommy Wars that seem to be running rampant all over the web. Honestly,  I find them useless and utterly obnoxious.

However, I feel the need to address this woman who has upped the anti and declared war on Stay at Home Mothers and wives everywhere. She has no tact nor mercy – not even for her own poor mother who she degrades publicly.  (Someone please go give that Mama a hug )

In writing this I want my readers to know that I have deep respect for professional single women, stay at home moms, for moms who work from home, and for moms who work outside the home. I sincerely love you all, and am proud to have close friends in each category. I don’t believe that success, happiness or joy are only found in marriage or in motherhood. I also know that you can be an amazing wife and mother while at the same time being a wildly successful professional. On that note:

Dear Amy Glass, 

I was one of the unfortunate ones that stumbled upon your blog the other day. 

I am not going to bother trying to make a case for stay at home mothers. I don’t have to. My position as a SAHM speaks for itself.  Your post does not demean nor does it intimidate me. I am a young wife and a young mom. I LOVE my life. I wake up everyday with purpose. My husband is my best friend, my love, and my team mate. My dreams and professional ambitions were not laid aside when I chose to be married. Quite the opposite actually. I am content, and feel peace knowing that all the sacrifices my husband and I have both made, have been made willingly, out of love. I wouldn’t be the first stay at home mom to declare that my accomplishments are largely due to the support and encouragement of my husband and children. He doesn’t just take care of me. We take care of each other. On equal footing. 

 No- I don’t have to defend my choices in life.  But it seems as if you have the desperate need to defend yours. So desperate in fact, that you attempt to rip apart even the woman who bore you, accusing her of having no identity outside of being a wife.  You should be ashamed. You talk of  weakness. You know what I teach my children? The bully on the playground, is the weak one. 

You either are a very sad and lonely individual, or a wise business woman who knows that calculated, controversial posts will produce hits. For your sake I hope it is the latter, and in that case, congratulations. You have managed, on a much smaller scale, to do just what Miley Cyrus’s shameless twerking has done; gained the attention of the country, and piss off a whole bunch of mothers. Wow – what an accomplishment. 

I hope that one day you can swallow your pride, and your mean spirited posts. Perhaps one day you will fall in love and marry and realize that there is joy in partnership, and that you are able to love someone else more than yourself. Perhaps one day you will hold your very own little boy or girl in your arms and realize that motherhood isn’t such a normal, everyday thing. It will be the day that your heart grows three times it size, and suddenly is able to feel both joy and pain simultaneously. The day that you will see  your professional successes dim in comparison to being a mother. 

Your post does not evoke anger in me, nor do I look down on you because of your grossly sad and misinformed judgements. No. Instead,  I feel a great deal of pity for you. Those judgments may keep you from ever knowing the honor of serving someone else other than yourself and your own gains.  I pity you because I know that people who set out to intentionally hurt others are a by-product of hurt themselves.  I can’t help but wonder what led you to this point, and I feel sad for you. 

You have succeeded in carving an identity for yourself as being spiteful and mean. An incredibly easy task, that literally anyone can do.  As a writer who prides herself in being an advocate, a voice for women, you have accomplished the opposite. All I saw in your words was hatred for women who chose a different path than yours. A path that you know absolutely nothing about. Also,  you will NEVER be exceptional by being a bully. In fact, a bully will always, only be less than average. And in my opinion- you have more potential than that. 

 

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We can’t be friends.

Moms,

See that picture above?

Thats my life. 90% of the time- that beautiful mess is my life. Despite my best efforts, it is crazy, chaotic and absolutely unorganized.

I like you. I think you are sweet, and fun to hang out with. But let me give it to you straight. If I have to clean for three hours before you come over…

We can’t be friends. We just can’t.

It’s just way too stressful, and trying to keep my home perfectly neat in this stage in life is impossible and overwhelming. I used to be more put together, believe it or not, I am naturally organized ( and a little OCD) . But then my kids became mobile, they ganged up on me, and my life and time were no longer my own.

If you do come over, and I really want you to, I won’t pretend that I have it all together. Simply because I don’t. I believe real, authentic relationships are more important than an organized linen closet. One day those closets will be organized again, but today a four year old wants to play candy land, a seven year old wants to show me his latest paper plane, and my nine year old needs to go to dance.

So, if you can push aside the piles of clothes that need to be folded, sit down with me among my chaos, with a hot cup of coffee, I know we can be good friends. Even better, FOLD those clothes as you share your heart with me, and we will be the best of friends. I promise.

On the flip side, if you are cleaning your house like a mad woman before I come over… for the love, stop doing that! Just stop it! You really don’t have too. I love you, just for you. And I want to get to know you. The real you. I have a feeling that underneath all  those facades us women are SO good at creating- you are such a beautiful person.  You don’t have to try to impress me,  I know you are a good wife, a great mom, and an amazing housekeeper. Besides those crumbs on your counter make me feel at home.

xoxox

 

Update: After a lot of thought ( and courage ) I wanted to try to clarify a few things . Please hear my heart. 

I stayed.

The other day as I was tucking my daughter into bed for the night, I lingered a little longer than usual. She had her arms wrapped tightly around my neck and her cheek was pressed to mine. I could tell that she was reluctant to let me go. The sweet scent of mint and baby shampoo was euphoric to my mommy heart.

So I stayed.

I had a million things on my mind, a kitchen to clean, and homework questions waiting for me on the other side of the door…and, and, and…I was tired.

But despite all that I stayed.

I closed my eyes and breathed her in deeply.

She sighed.

Her little frame in my arms, I could feel her entire body relax.

Minutes went by and soon I forgot all about the dirty dishes…

Her soft whisper broke the silence in the darkness.

“You are my favorite. ”

I’ll admit- nine years into this Mommy gig- I’ve been a little slow at actually getting the heart of my job description. I spent a great deal of time in my earlier parenting days absorbing every parenting book I could get my hands on. I sopped up advice from the pedetrician, the mom next door, and the newest mommy blog.  But it’s just recently that I am actually understanding the core of what my children want.

It’s not all about the clean house. The perfectly decorated nursery. The organic produce. The trendy new toy. The private schools. The vacations to disney. The college fund.

They want me.

They just want me.