Sunday, September 15, 2013

Week 12: What Being A Mom Looks Like

1. Being a mom is messy. When your children are little you have puke stains, boogers, baby food/milk, and possible poop on you. Don't lie and tell me you have never had your baby's poop on you. Being a mom is messy, because there are some days when it's 11 at night you realize that you haven't showered for the day yet.

2. Being a mom looks like a library full of parenting books. I can't begin to tell you how many parenting books I've read and how contradicting the "experts" can be. Every day parenting advice is being published and it can be overwhelming. However, I think a full bookshelf shows you are trying to do your best as a mom. Just remember the most important instructional book, the Bible.

3. Being a mom looks like cuddles. My children, despite how big they are, still love to come over and cuddle with their mommy.There is just something calming and reassuring about your mom's arms and being cuddled by her. It just feels like everything in the world will be ok.

4. Being a mom looks fun. Just the other day, my kids made a fort in the living room and camped out. It is so fun, bringing out your inner child and playing with your children. I loved going into their fort and exploring their wonderful creation and remembering how much fun being a child is. 

What does Motherhood look like to you? Can you relate to any of these?

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Week 11: I Said I Would Never

My blog has had no purpose lately, as you can tell I haven't been keeping up with my 52 weeks of blogging with purpose. So here I am trying to play catch up, but hey, life gets busy and that is OK. We've been having fun!

I've honestly thought about this one and all I can come up with is:

1. Give my children formula. Christian was a pig. I also worked part time and I could tell you stories of trying to pump and work and keep up with the little munchkin. So unfortunately he had to go to formula. I was devestated and did better with my second one. 

2. Allow them to have nasty snotty noses in public. I was always big on having clean children. I had extra clothes packed in car and wiped their noses with the first sight of boogers. Well, Christian was a very sick kid. He was constantly having a runny nose due to teething, ear infections, colds, whatever. His poor nose was so raw that I just let go of the snot thing.

3. Let them stay up past midnight. Funniest story: It was New Year's Eve 2007. We were getting ready to join the Army (Active Duty). Ashlee had just turned two and my family was over at our house, ringing in the new year. It was tradition that we ordered pizza, had smoked sausage with cheese and crackers, chips, and soda. (And we wonder why we gain weight over the holidays...ha ha). Anyways, I bought the kids pop, for the first time. I thougth orange soda was caffine free. Long story short: Ashlee was awake until 3 am, orange soda DOES have caffine, and caffine mixed with a two year old is not a fun combination. 

Dairy Free Mac n Cheese

I am so excited that I finally found a easy and delicious dairy free Mac n cheese recipe that I just had to share A.S.A.P! 

I just searched Pinterest this afternoon and found it. It looked easy, compared to a lot of other ones I've tried, but I really doubted the taste. Well, I made it for dinner....and.....the critics approve! Ashlee didn't even know it was dairy free cheese and she's my Mac n cheese fanatic. 

I may be making a big deal about something so insignificant, but you seriously don't have any idea how frustrating this dairy free thing can be sometimes. I'm so grateful for the world we live in today, with all these specialty foods. 

So here it is:
1 (16oz) package of elbow noodles
2 packages of dairy free cheese (I used Daiya brand-1 mozzarella and 1cheddar)
2 1/2 Cups of dairy free milk (I used unsweetened So Delicious Coconut milk)
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

1. Preheat oven to 350
2. Boil noodles for 5 min. (No longer)
3. Bring milk to a low boil and then add cheeses and salt/pepper. Stir constantly until cheeses have melted.
4. Drain noodles and put into a greased casserole dish.
5. Add cheese mixture to noodles 
6. Bake for 30-35 min.

Enjoy this! If you don't do dairy free, I'm sure regular cheeses would taste just as good. Also, gluten free would just swap out the noodles, for gluten free ones.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Homemade Refried Beans

Canned food never bothered or concerned me before, like it does now. I've become more self conscious of what we eat after discovering Christian's casein and msg intolerance. 

I read labels on EVERYTHING! You should too. If you can't pronounce it or it has more than 5 ingredients-you probably shouldn't eat it. I believe very strongly that the different health issues we face today can be reversed if we watch what we put into our bodies. Ok- enough lecture. Here's te recipe for the refried beans. I only post a recipe once I have reached satisfaction with the tweaks I make. 

Refried Beans
Dry refried beans
5 Chicken Boullion cubes
1 1/2 T garlic salt (divided)
1/2 of a medium Sweet onion
1/2 C of butter

-In a 5 qt. crockpot, place 2 inches (3 cups) of dry (rinsed and washed) pinto beans. Fill the crockpot nearly to to top with water

-Then add:
5 Chicken bouillon Cubes (I will eventually post the recipe for homemade bouillion cubes) 
1 Tbsp. of garlic salt
1/2 of a medium sweet onion. (Do not chop the onion, but simply place it onto the beans)

-Cook on high until the beans are soft. 

-Strain the beans, pour off excess juice......BUT SAVE ABOUT A CUP of the juice. I add the beans to my food processor along with 1/2 cup of butter (we use vegan butter) and a splash of the juice. Feel free to add as much juice as you desire, but add just a little at a time. I personally like my beans thicker. I also add about 1/2 T of garlic salt. 

If you do not have a food processor, a blender, or even a potato masher will work. When I first made these I mashed them by hand with a potato masher.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Week 10: Survival Tips To The Expectant/New Mom

1. Follow your instinct. I remember with my first one, I was so nervous and so scared of him that was very unsure of every decision I made. In fact, I remember pulling my mother aside on his first birthday saying, "He's still alive!, I did it!". She chuckled and said to me, "yes he is, you are good mom Stephanie".

There were moments when my instinct didn't kick in and I had no clue what was wrong with him, then I would rely on my mom or other's for advice.

So when that "gut feeling" or "instinct" kicks in and you know with your heart and every fiber in your being that something is wrong, or you know a solution, or whatever it may be....GO WITH IT! 9.9/10 times you are right!

2. Enjoy your baby/babies. Take every opportunity to video tape, or capture moments on camera. They go by so fast. The dishes can wait until they are in bed, the laundry can be folded when they are napping. A semi-cleaned house will have to do when you have children. I sent too much time focusing on a "perfect house" and "perfect appearance",  that I missed some great opportune moments with my only go back in time.

3. Don't be obsessive. Schedules are important for babies and for your sanity. I believe in schedules but not to the point where you turn into the wicked witch because the schedule is off. Don't allow them to control your life, but rather to set the standard and realize that there will be days when the schedule will be completely thrown out the window and that's ok. It's all how you react to it, that will influence your entire day and your baby.

4. Rock a bye baby. I know that babywise and other books out their say to put your baby on a schedule and allow them to self sooth themselves to sleep. I'm telling you to snuggle that baby. I rocked both my kids to sleep in the evenings until they no longer would allow me. I think Christian was 1 1/2 yrs and Ashlee was younger, perhaps 10-12 months old. She was quite the wiggler. However, those are some of the most precious moments with my children. They sleep great now and I do not regret it, not once.

Here are my babies shortly after Ashlee was born. Christian was being a good big brother and cautiously caring for his sister. He was so sweet. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Week 9: Goals for Motherhood

So I fell a little behind last week. For some reason last week was torturous for the kids and I as they experienced their first full week of school. We were all lacking in the sleep department and had no desire to attend to homework what-so-ever.

This week is proving to be much better, however, it is only Monday! ha ha ha.

So my Goals for Motherhood are:

1. Be in the moment. As a young mother I became so busy with "tasks" that I didn't spend enough time just being in the moment and enjoying my children. I realized this a little too late. Although I never think that anything is too late.  When my children were babies I was too wrapped up in "the list" rather than just enjoying them. Perhaps some of it was because I was acting a single parent, being that my husband was deployed both times. There are moments that I cannot remember when Ashlee was a baby. It makes me really sad and regretful, I wish I could travel back in time and know what I know now. It's never too late though and I try to embrace every moment I can now.

2. Raise children with a Christian Worldview. Our world has become so full of other religions and thoughts. I would like my children to know and share with others that we are created by God, who created the world. That is the truth. Plain. Simple. We are made in his image and should try to live as Christ lived: loving others - despite their lifestyle choices or decisions they've made, being kind even when others don't return the kindness, give to others who are less fortunate.

3. Raise confident children. When I was younger I was not very confident. I followed others and their opinions. I want my children to be "set apart" and be confident in who their are, what they believe, what they value, and not let others take advantage or persuade them otherwise.

4. To let my children know that it's okay to make mistakes and I love them no matter what. As a perfectionist, I have realized that I have tried to impose the same "perfectionism" on my children. They apologize for the smallest things (especially my daughter) and I've realized that sometimes I set the standard too high. The Bible says that no one is perfect. So why do I try to be? and Why do I try to make my kids perfect? I think after discovering our son was autistic, I learned that there is no "perfect" way of doing things. We are different and unique and that is OK.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Cream of Whatever

On our journey to be Dairy Free, I discovered this amazing recipe for Cream of Whatever. I make this anytime a recipe calls for cream of chicken, cream of mushroom, cream of celery (you get the idea). In addition to being a dairy free option, it is also healthier - since it doesn't come from a can.

Cream of Whatever
3 Tablespoons of Butter
3 Tablespoons of Flour
1/4 teaspoon of salt
dash of pepper
1 1/4 Cup of Milk (liquid)

Melt Butter in a saucepan, stir in flour and seasonings. Cook over medium heat until bubbly. Add liquid slowly, using a wire whisk. Cook until thick.

Makes 1 Cup (or 1 can of condensed cream of whatever)

CREAM OF TOMATO - Use tomato juice for liquid. Add dash of garlic, onion powder, basil, oregano
CREAM OF CHICKEN - Use chicken broth for half the liquid. Add 1/4 teaspoon of poultry seasoning or sage.
CREAM OF MUSHROOM or CELERY - Saute 1/4 Cup of mushrooms or celery (chopped) and 1 Tablespoon of minced onion in butter before adding flour.