Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Easy Dinner Idea :: BBQ Burger Rolls

My brother and I were suuuuuuper picky as kids. We did not enjoy most of the dinners our poor mom served. But this dish I'm going to share with you was always a winner. My mom called it "the Crescent Roll Thing." She was not especially creative when it came to naming her dinners. She has another recipe called Chicken Blah, I kid you not.

Obviously my mom did not love to cook, but regardless, we ate at the table as a family every weeknight. My mom had a homemade dinner ready when my dad got home from work, and we all sat together; held hands while my dad prayed, and had dinner as a family. Its one of those things you take for granted as a kid, but when you grow up and have your own family you're like whoa, that was really awesome. Especially now that my dad is gone, I'm so grateful for the countless nights I sat at his left and held his hand while he prayed for us. I'm determined that my little family will experience such wonderful routines too.

OK, the recipe for goodness sake! While in my mind, I call this dish 'Crescent Roll Thing,' I think "BBQ Burger Roll" is more descriptive as regards the flavor and contents. This is an easy - four ingredient! - fairly inexpensive dinner that I guarantee your family will love, since even my pickiest eater not only enjoys it but goes back for seconds.

Here's what you need:

2 lb. ground beef
2 things of Pillsbury crescent roll dough (what are those even called? Tubes? Cans?)
BBQ sauce, to taste
shredded cheese, to taste

Note: 1 lb. of meat and 1 can of dough is plenty for a family of four if your kids are young, but we like to overeat and also have leftovers for lunches, so I double it. Just FYI.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees (or whatever your dough directions say).

Brown & drain the ground beef. Return the pan to the stove and turn the heat to low. Add enough BBQ sauce to the browned meat to make it nice & saucy - not TOO saucy, but just right, like this:

Someday I will learn how to take nice photos of food at night without a flash.
But as Aragorn so aptly said, "it is not this day!"
You can be flexible and add as much or as little sauce as your peeps like. We keep ours on the less saucy side to appease pickier palates. For reference, the bottle of BBQ sauce I had was 3/4 full; I used all of it and that was just right for two pounds of meat.

Now add the shredded cheese. Again, just enough to make it nice & cheesy, but not an overload, I'd say about 1/4 of a cup, but do what you like!

Yum. Now stir it in and let it sit for a minute while you get the dough ready. First, lightly spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray. Open one can of dough and unroll it onto a cutting board. Separate it into two long rectangles; pinch the seams together and push the dough around with your fingers so its spread out a bit:

Next, move your dough to the cookie sheet; re-pinch any holes, and spoon on the meat mixture:

There is usually a little bit leftover which is perfect for tossing into a salad or tortilla for somebody's lunch the next day.

Sprinkle some cheese on top ...

And then pop open your second canister of dough. I always laugh at the warning to point it away from your face while opening. There must be a housewife out there somewhere, sporting an eyepatch due to an unfortunate crescent roll dough incident.

Follow the same directions for the first can (spreading out on cutting board, pinching etc), then lay the rectangles on top of the cheesy meat mixture. Pull and stretch the dough so the top layer comes down to mostly cover the meat.

This is obviously not the prettiest or most gourmet dinner out there. It goes without saying, right? We're using canned dough, for heaven's sake. This is America, people.

Fold up the bottom layer of dough and pinch it with the top layer to seal off all the edges.

Now for the fun part - egg wash! I am a firm believer that "egg wash" takes a meal from ghetto to presentable. "The dough has an egg wash, you see. Very gourmet." Mix an egg with a teaspoon or two of water, and brush it over the top layer. Ooooh, shiny!

If you don't have a brush, fingers work just fine; that's what I used. Dribble & smear, dribble & smear.

Now pop your adorable doughy bundles into the oven for the time recommended on the dough canisters (I recommend the longest suggested time). Use that time to whip up a nice green salad and heat up a can of corn or steam some broccoli or something. Canned dough = you need vegetable sides.

Take your bundles out of the oven and marvel at the gorgeousness the egg wash created.

Slice and serve!

Make sure to be a really amateur blogger and get a big glob of Ranch dressing in your corn and not bother to fix it before photographing your dinner. This is definitely not the most photogenic meal, that's for sure. And my kitchen is NOT good for shooting flash-less food photos in the evening. But hey, what's better than a cheap, everyone's-happy meal? And remember ....

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Apparently I'm Obese! Does it Matter?

Yesterday I went to the doctor for the first time in who knows how long. We switched our health insurance recently, so I guess you would call this appointment a "meet and greet." I shared some of my concerns (horrific Ganglion cyst on my wrist, and please check my thyroid because if its not my thyroid making me crazy then I'm pretty sure I'm peri-menopausal, etc.). The new doctor was great. We talked about my concerns; she handed me some papers and directed me downstairs for a blood draw, which I accomplished without fainting, score!

I got in my car and thumbed through the paperwork the doctor had given me. On the first page were all the random stats and boring stuff. A few pages in, however, was a recommendation for a diet and exercise plan.

Why would they put that in there? I mean, yeah, I'm pleasantly plump, but whatevs. I went back to the front page with the boring stuff and noticed my BMI. Hmm. Let's Google what a healthy BMI is.

Dudes. I won't share my BMI, but apparently I fall into the Obese catagory. I spent the next couple minutes alternating between laughing hysterically at my Obese self, and feeling pretty ashamed.

I had been planning to treat myself to McDonald's for lunch after my appointment, but instead I went home and didn't eat anything until dinner.

Let's backtrack to the start of my doctor visit. Of course the worst part about seeing the doctor is being weighed, right? And of course their scale adds pounds (the scales made for home use are worthless pieces of crap, did you know that?). I grimaced as I saw my weight, but I was not surprised. I am very aware that I am at my all-time heaviest. My glorious collection of pencil skirts are currently out of the question without Spanx - I probably shouldn't be wearing them even with Spanx. I have created a rubber-band buttonhole contraption for my favorite leopard-print skirt so that I can squeeze into it with Spanx. I have many skirts in my closet that I cannot wear no matter what Spanx/contraption I try. #funtimes.

I weigh more now than I did both times I was pregnant.

Let's emphasize this point:  I weigh more now than I did the times I had another human living inside my body.

Ever since my dad died, I have been at my worst physical (and emotional) state in my entire life. Even worse than post-partum & hormonal & leaking from all sorts of personal areas. Mostly it's because I started experiencing anxiety & panic attacks during my dad's illness, and it hasn't gone away. So every day of my life now includes a weird underlying nervousness; never feeling quite right and/or relaxed. It means dizzy spells and heart palpitations and random blurry vision. The paramedics said the anxiety makes me not breathe right, so I hyperventilate. Yeah, I called 911 one time when I was home alone; I thought I was having a stroke. I also do not sleep well, so I wake up every morning exhausted, which means I start my day with coffee and switch to Diet Coke at lunch, and then at night move on to a cocktail or two so I can sleep just a little .. and then it starts all over again the next morning. Clearly I am not in top physical shape.

But still, I do not feel obese. I am 5'5" and wear a size 14. Is that obese?! I guess according to the BMI charts, it must be! I definitely realize that I need to lose weight and that I should be exercising. But I would never call myself obese. Am I in denial?

After my Obese Diagnosis, I sent a text message to a good friend (who also struggles with her weight) to tell her my exciting news. We laughed together and sent each other photos of the garbage-y foods we were both consuming at that moment. At one point I commented that hey, we must be OK because our hubbies still seem to find us attractive.

Her reply was: "what choice do they have?"

I have been thinking about that ever since she said it.

Seriously. What choice do our husbands have? They can either a) go find a skinny girl to have an affair with, and ruin everyone's life, or b) climb into bed each night with their overweight, squishy wife who birthed their children and washes their dirty underwear and cooks dinner for them.

Don't our husbands deserve clean homes and yummy dinners AND thin wives?

Why are you hesitating? Of course they do. But, should women really need to be skinny/fit to be attractive to their husbands? Absolutely not.

I am a person who struggles to be fit. My body wants to be plump. I am not fun when I am freaking out about my gym routine and my meal plan. Nobody likes a person who has to weigh their food. I don't want to model that kind of behavior for my children.

I want to serve my family a delicious meal each night that we can all enjoy together at the table. I make our dinners from scratch, down to the lettuce for our nightly salads - I don't buy the pre-washed, bagged stuff. We get takeout or pizza maybe a couple times a month. I want to teach my boys that eating yummy food is a gift we should enjoy. We don't pig out on crap all day long and we don't starve ourselves (I've done both those things and I don't want my boys to assume that is normal behavior in females and therefore choose wives who are extreme in either area).

But I'm still obese!

And I don't like having to fancy up button-hole contraptions for my favorite skirts! What's the alternative? Diet and exercise! Ugh!

Update: I did not tell Poodie about my obese news. Until he went to the doctor the following week and got the same diagnosis. He later learned the heartburn he's suffered from for years is officially GERD. We laughed and laughed at our fat selves and said yes, its time to make some changes around here. I am not looking forward to it.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Annnnd we're back.

Obviously, its been a while. I won't go into the whole Tirade Of Why. Its just life! You understand. I am happy to announce that some things have changed around here and I am super motivated to blog!!

Things you will see on Momthentic in the future:
  • More oversharing of the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. I love my kids more than life itself but wow, they are a LOT of work sometimes. Its a good thing they're so cute & funny. My mom always said "God made babies so cute because if they're weren't, you'd throw them right in the garbage." I am a firm believer that humor & sarcasm go a LONG way towards keeping one's sanity. Sane mama = happy mama.
  • Decor and home projects, mostly involving #projectbbg (Brown Be Gone). We bought & updated this house in 2005. I was working full time and 7 months pregnant with our first child. I was tired and nesting and just wanted the Pottery Barn catalog to tell me what to do. But Pottery Barn is not our style anymore. Our home needs to better reflect our personalities; even my hubby agrees! I have a looooot of work ahead of me. Some brown things, like expensive bathroom vanities & tile & laminate flooring, will have to stay, due to the budget (which is zero since my hubby hasn't had a paycheck in five months, woohoo!).
  • Family tested recipes. My kids aren't super picky, but they're regular picky. If they like something then its pretty safe to say most kids will like it too.
  • A smidge of homeschooling. We just started with our youngest (big brother starts next year) so as a newbie I will be trying things on for size and figuring out what works and what doesn't.
My dad passed away 19 months ago. I inherited his iPad. He had a few sites bookmarked and one of them was this blog. My sweet dad ......  I always made him laugh, and he liked to chat with me about the few random posts I'd put up before he died. If anything, I've got to keep on blogging in his memory.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Update on 10 things I'd love to never do again.

Isn't it funny, raising kids? Time goes by so quickly; things which seemed like a giant trial/nuisance at the time can literally change overnight. I have theories about why, but for now I'll blame it on my boys growing up so stinkin' fast, and this rotten world changing every day. I constantly pray that I am doing the right thing by sending them to public school; and please God if you want me to homeschool them, give me the wisdom, because you of all people know what an idiot I am, not only academically but also in regards to scheduling/routine, etc.


I was quarantined at home with a sick kid today and got to read up on all the blogs I love which I haven't read in months. And then I remembered that I always wanted to be a blogger, so I visited my own blog, and laughed my butt off at my own self! That must be an indicator of a true mental illness, for reals.  Anyhoo, a certain post made made me laugh. I thought I'd repost it and add in some updates, This entry was from early 2013 I believe:

Obviously I haven't written for a while. Honestly, after what happened at Sandy Hook, I found myself with no inspiration! How could I be sarcastic or crabby about mommying while my sweet kids are alive and kickin'?

Being a mom can be SUPER aggravating at times. A lot of the time, in fact. But ever since that terrible day, I have found myself much more patient, tolerant, and grateful. Not to say I don't still go bonkers at times and freak out over stupid stuff. I totally do! But its happening less often. I find fewer things to complain about and more things to be happy about.

Having said that ...writing is my therapy! And I've been thinking lately about a few things I'd love to NEVER do again. That doesn't mean I wish my kids would grow up super fast and move out (they are seriously at the funnest ages right now, I don't want them to grow another inch). I just really do not think I'll miss any of these things when this phase of our lives has passed:
Yes, I still feel this way. So read on:

1) Touching anything with pee on it.
Sheets, tiny underpants, jeans .... having to deal with pee'd-up fabric is the WORST. Especially when nobody tells you that they laughed so hard they wet their pants and left them on the floor, and you go around the house picking up dirty laundry when suddenly, without warning, you grab wet pee'd-up denim - and of course the jeans are inside out, with the underpants entwined up in the legs, so you have to get your hands all pee'd-up to turn them around the right way and disentangle the underpants. Or you put someone to bed at night and realize the sheets are STILL WET from the night before, because they didn't tell you they'd accidentally wet the bed. So now where the heck do they sleep, since their bed is all pee'd up? I have put people to bed on dry pee sheets on occasion, I'm not gonna lie. Changing bunk bed sheets is never fun (see item #9 below), especially not at night when you are finally putting the kiddos to bed and looking forward to going to bed yourself. But when the pee sheets are still wet, off to the couch the kid goes.

Also, I am tired of scrubbing pee from toilet seats & bases, floors, and nearby walls. Being female, I obviously have no idea what its like to aim. But to look at our toilet areas, it must be impossible. I've spent hours teaching people how to simply grab a wad of TP and wipe the seat down. "If you sprinkle when you tinkle, be a sweetie and wipe the seatie!"  "That's silly, Mommy." Apparently Silly Rhymes About Peeing go in one ear and out the other.
  Update: my kids still pee all over the toilet seat. But I've got them trained enough by this point that they do their best to clean up after themselves, at least as well as toilet paper allows one to clean. And for any leftover grossness, we keep Clorox Wipes in business!

2) Making dinner.
I seriously hate making dinner. I hate thinking of what to make. I hate talking people into eating. I hate being told "I don't like this" or "I'm a vegetarian." A vegetarian who eats nuggets, burgers, and bacon? Well that's a new one. Or being asked "is this all we're having?" or "where did you find this recipe?" or "what's in this?" The kids and I would be happy having 'dang kay-sa-dillas' or cereal for dinner. But when you are trying to raise your kids to be normal people who function properly and feel like they have some semblance of a regular routine, dinner is a necessary evil. Especially when I'm on a 'program' which requires certain amounts of food at certain times, ugh! And when I have a husband who likes to come home to dinner after being gone for 12 hours. What's up with that!? ;)  Update: I still hate making dinner and am starting to suspect that I always will. I truly feel that my tombstone will read "why is cereal not an acceptable dinner?"

3) Doing anything that requires use of a baby wipe.
My boys are obviously both potty trained. But we keep wipes around. And the only time you really need a baby wipe means its something gross. Update: still applicable. Which brings me to:
4) Cleaning Mystery Stickies from between the couch cushions.
Its the worst to sit down on a leather sofa and hear a peeling, sticky noise as the cushions separate. What is it, and why is it making that noise? How long has it been there? Do I really HAVE to put my hand (or worse, my nose) down there and investigate? Did someone sleep here recently and pee (see item #1 regarding pee sheets requiring a night on the couch)? Will this Mystery Sticky require a baby wipe, or will a damp paper towel do?? Update: again, still applicable.

5) Stepping on Legos.
No description needed. Yet another aspect of raising boys which still applies.

6) Dealing with puke.
Not sure why I saved this for #6. Barf is the worst! One time my kid who sleeps in the top bunk sat up and puked popcorn all over the wall in the middle of the night. It slid down to the floor. Behind the bunk bed and onto the lower bunk, where Brother slept, oblivous to puke on his bedding. Nothing like cleaning an entire wall and floor, and dismantling a bunk bed in the middle of the night. For a moment I had a feeling of despair: "I think we might have to move." The mess was so bad, I didn't know where to start. Another time I was changing my kid's shirt when he projectile barfed all over me. After he'd had three giant dill pickles. All over my chest and down my shirt. Rotten relish in my bra, people. Unforgettable. But I think the absolute worst is when kids are still nursing, and they get sick and barf. Rotten breast milk cottage cheese. Nothing compares. Update: my youngest has been quite sick since yesterday, and tonight he barfed for the first time since June. And he gave me warning and we managed to get into the bathroom so he could do it in the toilet. I consider this massive progress.

7) Arguing & Reasoning.
Oh my word. The arguing!! Why do things need to be explained? Why can't you just listen BECAUSEISAIDSO?! Obviously I have a reason for what I am telling you. I am not being mean for the fun of it, or because I want to make your life boring. "I am trying to help you grow up to be a good person."  "But I don't wanna be a PERSON!!" Granted, a lot of the arguing is my fault. I'm sure there are better ways to explain things. But I am not one of those patient moms who gets down at eye level and quietly explains things in simple, kid-friendly language. For some dumb reason I just expect to be listened to the first time, because I am the Mom and I said so! if you have a question about what I am telling you, ask me later, or at least after you've done what I told you to do! [Listening The First Time is actually a sticker-earner on one of my boys' chore charts. I'll share the charts another time.]

The other day I was at Trader Joe's and there was a very granola mom with a little kid in her cart and an older kid pushing one of the kid-size carts. The mom one of those happy, oblivious people who has no clue what her kids are doing, and doesn't seem to care. She was actually singing loudly while she shopped. Anyway, she and her kid with the little cart were blocking the whole aisle. I needed to grab something on the shelf right behind them. The mom spent a really, really long time gently explaining to her kid that he needed to scoot along because there were people trying to get through. He was in his own world and didn't seem to hear a word she said. She made no effort to physically move him, but just kept explaining. I could have finished all my shopping in the amount of time it took her to quietly, mildly, nicely instruct her kid on grocery store etiquette. But I was so transfixed by her insane amounts of patience that I just stood there staring. My boys did too - they probably thought she was such a nice, smart mommy. Moms like that amaze me; I don't get how they can be so patient! I just TELL MY KIDS WHAT TO DO. And if they need to be physically (gently!) moved, I do it. I would NEVER hold up someone shopping because I wanted to spend three minutes explaining to my kid how to move and why. I would say "whoopsies, watch out Buddy, someone needs to get through" and if my kid didn't move promptly, I would gently move them out of the way. I'm not trying to be my kid's friend. I don't worry about crushing their spirit by telling them what to do when needed - isn't that our job as parents to teach them what is expected, especially out in public where we need to be Christian and put others first? Maybe that makes me a bad mom, and maybe that's why I feel like I am constantly arguing and explaining - because I don't spend the time to patiently, quietly, nicely teach life lessons as they come up.
  Looking back, I feel like a big jerk about this list item. Because 1) who am I to ridicule how people raise their kids? We all are blessed with free will to do what we want, and that applies to parenting. And 2) I've since discovered that this mom has kids attending my kids' school; I've seen her like 60 times since publishing this post, and my observations tell me that she is simply a super nice person. She's probably a famous blogger, for all I know. She is one of Those Moms I see every morning walking home after dropoff, pushing a stroller containing a little one, smiling happily (who in their right mind smiles happily walking outdoors, uphill, at 9:05 am?!) and either talking to the equally perky mom next to her, or to the toddler in the stroller she's pushing. What am I doing, while observing this insanity? Driving myself home to do my housewife tasks with resentment, or sitting in the school's parking lot slapping on some makeup so I can head to my 70-hours-per-month volunteer gig. Bottom line: I no longer judge those Happy Oblivious Moms. I think they've really going something goin' on.

8) Disagreeing about house rules.
Does anyone else do this too? I guess it comes with the territory of having a different background and childhood than your spouse. Here's an example: I'm cool with food and drinks around the house, within reason of course. I want to have a home where people don't feel like they have to use a coaster or can't put their feet up; this includes my kids and their friends. Juston is super hospitable when it comes to grown-ups, but he has different ideas of what the kids can have, and where. This causes constant conversations and sometimes a bit of bickering. I figure if something doesn't stain or eventually become rancid, it can be eaten anywhere! Crumbs can be vacuumed. Mystery Stickies can be wiped from leather (see item #4, above - it may not be fun, but it doesn't technically RUIN anything). That's why we have hardwood floors and leather furniture, right? Yes, you can have a Popsicle on Mommy's bed, but not on the carpet. Bedding = washable. Carpet = not so much. Yes, you can have pizza or veggies & dip in the rec room, but you have to eat on a blanket like a picnic. Blanket = washable. Carpet = not. Yes, you can eat in the car. Car = wipeable and vacuumable. Gum is the only thing I'm not cool with.

Juston doesn't particularly love that I allow the kids to do this kind of stuff. But I figure, I'm the one who is home all day to enforce the rules. I'm the one who cleans up the messes. If I felt our house/vehicle was so disgusting I was embarrassed to have people see it, I would change the rules for sure. So why can't my way of doing things apply in this area? But I'm sure he feels, I work hard all day to pay for this house and the cleaning supplies and the electricity to constantly run the vacuum, and I'd like it not to look like a bag of rice cakes exploded in here. I do see his point. So I think I just really need to work on my wifely submission in this area. Are we the only family who has this problem with house rules?
  Yep. Still struggling with this one, I admit.

9) Bunk beds - UGH!
Changing sheets on the bunk bed is probably my least favorite chore of all time. When people go to buy bunk beds, a prerequisite to purchasing should be changing the sheets on the top bunk. And a 25% discount for changing pee'd-up ones! But first you must have a tummy full of a spicy dinner, or a horrible headache, or be exhausted from a day of mommying/service/volunteering at school/chores/pee laundry, etc., or be completely gimped from killing it at the gym. And THEN change the sheets on the TOP bunk. With stickers on the ceiling to get your hair caught in - don't forget that part. If changing top bunk bedding was a prerequisite to purchasing, nobody would ever buy a stupid bunk bed again, I guarantee it. That's why they never tell you what a PAIN it is when you buy a bunk bed. My mom tried to warn me. But I didn't listen, of course. "Oh, the boys are going to share a room, we're getting a bunk bed, its gonna be so CUTE and FUN! Little boys in bunk beds, I've always dreamed of it!" WRONG. Bunk beds create annoyance, numerous times per week. See item #1 regarding pee'd up sheets, and item #6 regarding a 7-foot-long trail of hot puke sliding down the wall. We got smart and put the boys into their own rooms. So now when Barf Happens (like tonight), the parent on duty can hoist the kid out of bed by their armpits; run quickly with dry-heaving child into the bathroom, and deal with the puke in a timely, clean manner. Yay! #smallvictories

10) Feeling like other moms are doing a better job than I am.
I think comparing yourself to other moms and families is a normal aspect of parenting. And lots of times I do feel pretty good about how we're doing. My kids are friendly, they like to read the Bible, and they love vegetables, for goodness sake!! What more could I ask for?!

But most of the time, I feel like a giant failure, a jerk, and a terrible person. I will get a stomach ache or be up crying at night due to some perceived failing on my part as a mother. And you really have no way of knowing how you're doing until all the kids are grown up and by then the damage is done, and its fairly obvious who had bad parents and who had good ones. And even then, everyone will turn out the way they're gonna turn out - some kids rise above and some are just losers no matter what, so why even bother worrying or comparing? Just do your best and commend other moms for doing the same. And if your kids seem to be happy and functioning properly, then just tell yourself you are doing a great job and waste no more time comparing.

Yep. That one totally still applies, and I think always will! And having been a mother for 9+ years now, I really feel that as mothers we all have the confidence to know what is best for our children. And the moms who seem to constantly want to dish out advice are hoity toities with kids who aren't as draining as Regular Average Kids. #fact.  So there.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Summer Vacation: a list of pros and cons.

Last year at this time, we had big plans for a rockin' summer. And if I remember correctly, we had a lot of fun (obviously! I haven't posted in over a year! Yukyukyuk). The boys even created a Summer To-Do List which I wrote on our kitchen chalkboard wall:

They came up with this list on their own, but I of course did have to gently veto a few unrealistic things such as "go to Hawaii!" and "go to Disneyland!!" By the end of summer we managed to accomplish nearly all of these things. Success! ["Move boys' rooms around" is one thing we did not manage to do. But it will be happening VERY soon and I will post all progress here.]
Now, however, as the last day of school is two weeks away, I find myself in a different frame of mind. I'm not focused so much on what we'll actually be doing this summer. Instead I find myself thinking of what summer vacation truly entails.
  • sleeping in. Oh my word. Mornings are a giant struggle around here. Not needing to get up and go anywhere is pretty much my favorite.
  • staying up late. We are a family of night owls who love nothing more than hunkering down with about 5 bags of Kirkland microwave popcorn (its the best, and we've tried a LOT of kinds!) and a long movie.
  • playing outside! We live in a safe neighborhood full of kids. If its not raining, my boys are outside biking, scootering, slip-and-sliding, hide-and-seeking, and my personal favorite: running around with sticks and plastic swords and waterguns shoved down the backs of their shirts (they call this activity War Of The Worlds although they've never seen the movie - ???) trampling the grass & flowerbeds weeds with all their neighborhood buddies.
  • summer fun! We always have at least one camping trip to look forward to, and our annual convention is always a huge highlight as well (and this year is an extra special one; the boys are part of the entertainment for foreign delegates which is going to be RAD, I'll share that here later when its all over with).
  • lots of lazy days spent with family. My boys love to play with their cousins and its great fun to spend entire days together as often as possible.
  • we have energetic friends who plan lots of 'outings'. Days at the zoo, beach, or park .. BBQs .. outdoor movies, etc. There are definite perks to having extroverted friends who plan stuff. The kids have fun and its no work for me (other than the struggle to get out the door with needed snacks, gear, etc. See Cons list below).
  • easy dinners. I greatly dislike meal planning and making dinner. But summertime is so easy. Marinate some meat, throw together a big salad, boil some corn on the cob and we're set. Poodie grills for us when he gets home, we eat on the deck, and everyone is happy.
  • my boys always reconnect in summertime. They get along fairly well most of the time, but they seem to enjoy each other even more during summer, and its fun to watch how their play changes each year as they get older.
  • keeping kids entertained. Honestly, I love blank days on the calendar more than days with something filled in, but when kids are involved, relaxation quickly turns into boredom. Kid: "What are we going to do today?" Me: "Nothing. We were gone all day yesterday and the day before that. I really need to clean, do laundry, and grocery shop." Kid: "That's boring. I don't want to do that." Me: "well, neither do I, but that's life. We are doing something fun tomorrow." Kid: "That's too far away!!" It gets old by Second Breakfast-time.
  • living in Washington, sometimes we don't get real summer weather until July or later. When it rains, this presents a real problem. My boys either want to play video games (see below) or have a few neighborhood friends over to play. As much as I'd like to be, I am not that mom who finds delight in a houseful of little boys screaming and making messes and asking for snacks. I love my boys' friends but I don't love noise and chaos. Dilemma.
  • the endless struggle of video games. Why do boys love them so much?! Why do they prefer gaming over anything else? I absolutely loathe it. This summer I vow to be That Mom who sets the timer and enforces it. And use games as a reward for when chores are done, etc. Not just a way to satisfy a bored kid.*
  • feeding the entire neighborhood. I realize other moms are feeding my kids too. So I'm not annoyed at the parents. But the supply of juice boxes, fruit snacks, Popsicles, and Goldfish dwindles pretty quickly when you've got eight or more kids playing in your yard every single day, getting thirsty and working up appetites. And its aggravating to go outside and see your porch & lawn is littered with empty juice boxes, shredded fruit snack bags, and Popsicle sticks. This summer I vow to be That Mom who makes kids pick up after themselves before they go home.*
  • the hassle of getting ready to go somewhere. As mentioned above in the Pros list, we do a lot of stuff. Stuff that requires much gear and snacks. The trunk and backseat become dirty and disorganized really quickly. Nobody wants to pack or carry their own stuff; that's what Mommy is for. "Why did you bring THOSE granola bars? I hate those."  "Why didn't you bring more food? I'm STARVING!"  "I don't want to carry that! That's HIS!"  "Yes I do NEED to bring all those dump trucks. They're my favorites and I like to play with them ALL at the beach."  You get the picture. I figure, other kids at the beach are OK with snatching and playing with my boys' stuff, why can't my boys do the same? Then we'd never have to bring toys. They'd have fun while there, with new and exciting toys, and have nothing to carry home, and all I'd need to carry would be towels, the cooler, sunscreen, a blanket, camera, an umbrella, changes of clothes, many water bottles, and my chair. Ahem. This summer my boys are old enough to pack their own backpacks with their towel, preferred nonperishable snacks, change of clothes, water bottle, and toys.*
  • laziness overtakes us. When we are able to sleep in ...... we sleep in. By the time we finally are up, dressed, have eaten something halfway substantial, and begin fully functioning, its time to start thinking about what's for dinner. Its a giant waste of time. This summer I vow we will get "up and at 'em" much earlier.*
I never want to be that mom who dreads summer and jumps for joy when school starts in the fall. I could see myself easily becoming that way, so this summer I will do my best to enjoy every bit and appreciate the fact that I get to be a chauffeur packmule stay-at-home-mom and hang out with my funny, cute, awesome boys every single day.
* Disclaimer: these are what I call High Hopes and if any of these things actually happen, I will be stunned.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

A lovely way to waste an afternoon

I've had a post in 'draft' mode since the beginning of the month. It consists of a mile-long "May Makeover" list of all the things I wanted to get done around the house this month, including but not limited to: painting many walls, revamping the kitchen, rearranging rooms, moving & painting massive pieces of furniture, and lots of other ambitious things. I even posted about it on Facebook as a teaser. High hopes here, people.

Life being what it is, I've managed to accomplish laundry, cooking, working out, worship, photography stuff, and other everyday tasks. But I'm bummed that nothing that I've wanted to do this month has happened yet. So much for 'making over' this house in May.

However, I did tackle the garage yesterday (which interestingly enough was not on the to-do list; I simply went crazy), and the other day I DIY'd the daylights out of a pillow ... which is what I'm going to write about today, since I haven't done any of the other big, awesome projects I'd intended this month!

DIY Anniversary Date Pillow

I found this super cute pillow on Pinterest:

I can never resist anything with text or numbers on it, meaningful or not. I knew I could make something similar, but the likelihood of me actually sewing a new pillow is not good (for one, my sewing machine isn't working, and considering all the other things I "should" be doing around here, getting the machine fixed and then purchasing all needed supplies to make a pillow is out of the question). So I pinned it to my craft board for a Someday project.

But, the other day, I was shopping my house to "style" our bed (always a work in progress) and came across this pillow:

Its been many places all over the house, and finally shoved into the reject pile currently unused pillow stash. Its not really my style anymore, but the biggest downfall is, its totally impractical to have around, because the cover doesn't come off, so how is one supposed to wash away the inevitable kid splatters?

Remind me to tell you about the time I found poop on my white fur throw pillow. *gag*

Anyway, I turned the pillow over and looked at the back .. contemplating ..

Blank canvas! This could be the perfect anniversary date pillow! Or it could be a giant fail, in which case I'll trash it. Nothing to lose, other than time I could have spent mopping. {yeah, right.}

I pulled up Word on the computer and typed out our anniversary, changing the font until I found one I liked that would fit the space. I wound up choosing Book Antiqua. Printed out the numbers as big as I could (high quality copies here, only the best for me!) ...

.. and cut around them to make stencils.

Laid them on the pillow, got most of it positioned to my liking (eyeballed it) ..

After positioning most of the numbers, I moved the dash and the 2 to the next spots, since we have two of those in our anniversary. I guess I could have printed duplicates, but I was in a hurry. Mom mode, you know.

And started tracing!


Then, grabbed my black fabric paint and a little brush (borrowed from the boys' watercolors!).

And started painting!

I had to take about 64 breaks to do mom/housewife stuff, take Dax to swim lessons, etc. (thus the reason there are no more 'in progress' photos), but by the end of the afternoon, my pillow was done!

There were a few accidental paint dribbles which I just smeared around, hoping it would look "antiqued." Overall, I'm happy with the result! Looking back, I wish I'd not used so much paint and let the numbers look more stamped/worn. But I like it.


Ah, if only that's how my bed looked all the time. Here's how the new pillow really looks in the bedroom:

At least its not thrown face down on the floor! Real life, peeps. Would you expect anything less from your friend here at Momthentic? Bottom line, all that matters about our bedroom is that the boys find it comfy and welcoming enough to hunker down on the floor with Angry Birds and a bag of chips. The truly important stuff, right?

So, at least I've gotten one crafty/décor-ish thing done around here. Maybe I'll manage to squeeze in a few more projects before the month is out! I'll be sure to share them here if I do! I have an absolutely insane idea for the laundry room ....... {evil laugh} ...

Linking up at:

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Barf: a reality of mom life.

March and April were crazy months up in here. I volunteered to spend a combined total of 80 hours in the door to door ministry during those months. I cut it super close and wound up getting my last hours in yesterday afternoon. I breathed a sigh of relief and thought, tonight I want to watch The Hobbit with Juston and have a glass of wine. It sounded like absolute bliss. I told myself, starting tomorrow I'll get back on my old routine, the house will be clean(ish) again, laundry will be done, and I can start on all the house projects I've been dreaming of for months. But tonight I just want to relax!!

Many hours later, the kids were in bed; we opened our $6.99 Malbec and popped some popcorn. Cozied up in bed, started the movie ... and less than thirty minutes later we both were nodding off. Decided to call it a night and had lights out by 11:15 (that's early for us). Fell asleep holding my hubby's hand, feeling happy and content, and pleased with myself for having two great months, and looking forward to May.

And in what seemed like two seconds later, my mom self was propelling down the hall, spurred on by cries of "MOMMY!" coming from the boys' room. You know how as a mom you can jump out of bed and run without even being awake? And then you wake up at some point and marvel at how your mom abilities kicked in and your brain heard your kid even though you technically didn't!

Well, the smell of puke woke me fully when I got to the boys' room, and I saw my poor baby had barfed (thankfully this kid is on the lower bunk, so no puke sliding down the wall this time). "Mommy, I barfed all over my bed! Its slimy! Its yucky!!"

Nighttime barf is one of those parental duties you just cannot be prepared for. Anyone who thinks they want to have a baby (because most people never think about having KIDS; people want sweet soft lil' BABIES, but babies grow into kids who create real, stinky, human puke) should have to spend a night the way I spent mine, in order to make sure you really, truly want to be a parent.
  1. Have a really long, exhausting day, then try to have a relaxing evening with your spouse but wind up falling asleep like old people.
  2. Sleep like a log for two hours.
  3. Jump out of bed and run into a room reeking of puke.
  4. Strip a kid and a bed covered in barf; clean it all up.
  5. Waddle all over the house looking for clean blankets to make a bed on the floor for the kid. Note to self: try to keep clean folded blankets in ONE SPOT for this very reason.
  6. Spend the rest of the night alternating between dozing off and jumping out of bed to hold a bowl under kid's face so barf doesn't get all over your bedroom carpet. Very important: during the times you're dozing off, be sure to remember all the things you've completely forgotten to do in the last week. That makes it extra fun.
  7. Stagger out of bed in the morning to get the older kid off to school. Younger kid who was up sick all night is finally sleeping good and you have to wake him up to load him into the car for the (thankfully short) drive to school. Older kid is freaking out because "if he barfs in the car, I'm going to barf too!!!!!! I don't want him in here sitting next to me!!!" Et cetera.
  8. Come home and tuck Sick Kid back into his makeshift floor bed. Hop back into bed yourself, and wake up at 11am with a stiff neck and a headache. Spend rest of the day eating Cheetos, drinking Diet Coke, blogging, and browsing Pinterest to make yourself feel better, but just wind up feeling guilty because Cheetos and Diet Coke are not very fun or fit and now I'm just a hypocrite.
Barf creates a terrible conundrum for me. The responsible mom part of me just wants to clean it up efficiently; sanitize everything, and go back to bed as quickly as possible. The other part of me desperately wants to inspect the barf to see what it is. Why is it that color? Why does it smell like that? I guess the mom part of my brain needs to know that too. What made him barf? Is it the flu, or was it the half a bag of Sour Patch Kids I let him eat at 4:30? Why did he barf up something he ate hours ago? Where is all the stuff he ate after that? If I really look closely, will I barf too? Is the other kid going to wake up sick tonight too? And here's a good one: why can't barfy bedding go into the washing machine? Why do I have to rinse it all off in the tub and then somehow carry sopping wet stinky bedding down to the laundry room at 1:30am? Can't I just run like four rinse cycles to get the barf off? [Juston says NO. Barf cannot go into the washing machine.]

The barf gets cleaned up, and life goes on. The only good thing about having a sick kid is getting to stay home and be lazy, watching movies in our PJ's. I always love an excuse to sit around all day. But then the kid starts feeling better, and starts talking at their regular amount of words per minute, and the day becomes like any other, except I'm extra tired and look extra haggard.

"Can I go ride my scooter?" "Mommy, watch this part. Hey Mommy, watch this part. Mommy, LOOK! Mommy, you missed the best part!" And my personal favorite: "Hey Mommy, I just ate a toenail."