Thursday, December 18, 2014

New Recipe Book

I'm a hoarder. I hoard recipes like it's nobody's business. I clip them from magazines, newspapers, websites, etc. Before I had a scanner I kept them all in a photo album. Once I got a scanner I started scanning them into the computer. Well, recently I have had to open up the computer, go to my recipe folder, and hunt for the recipe I was looking for. Especially when it came to our all time favorites. I'm slowly building up this recipe book with our favorites new and old. Some are recipes that my mom grew up on, that she gave to us kids, and now my boys are growing up on them...Banana Bread, Gingersnaps, etc.

So, while running around Pinterest I found a recipe book made from a 5 x 7 binder (which I had on hand along with page protectors).  This recipe book was a wonderful idea, because I had a ton of scrapbook paper on hand to use up. I also knew that this book would only hold our tried and true recipes that were our absolute favorites or recipes handed down.
The cover
 The title page I just put a 1" circle of the scrapbook
paper so that it would be easy to find.
 
 Then a strip of the paper would be cut and pasted to the edge
of the recipe so you know which section you are looking at
 
 
 I will add pictures of the boys helping to make the recipe
or just pictures of the process or after product.

I'm really liking the book and I'm sure it will be around for a long while that the boys will get used to seeing and enjoy looking at for years or even their wives and children when they get older as they want a certain family recipe.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Organizing Bug

I am not sure what happened other than maybe I've been bite by the organizing bug. I've been working on each room in the house and right now I am tackling the kitchen. It is a large, space wise, kitchen, but counter space is practically non existent, so I need to make sure things are very organized. That and it just makes life so much easier to deal with. I can grab things easier instead of them all being stacked on top of each other.

At the back of the kitchen is a wall of cupboards and a small bar. Inside the cupboards was a total mess...now it's all cleaned up. Goodwill is going to have so much fun because I've had some glasses stashed away for probably our entire marriage and finally just figured to let them go...we've never even used them. I can't wait to do some cooking and baking in my newly organized kitchen. I'd love to have Raul build me a new bookcase for my cookbooks and tupperware stuff. Right now it's in a really flimsy, blah looking cubby type of shelves.
Before:
After:



Then the cupboard by the stove holds my pots and mixing bowls. This is my hard part because the bowls get all jumbled so I need to be more attentive to putting them away correctly.
The other side of the stove has another cupboard that holds the pans and baking dishes. This side wasn't too bad, but I like the change.

Above the stove is cake pans, pie pans, and the weight (which I use to measure out meat that we buy in bulk into one pound bunches).

Everything is coming together. I hope to get to paint some time this winter...maybe while it's winter break and we have nothing else going on. I would love to do something awesome in the boys room or their playroom, but those will have to wait until Auntie Sissy can come to visit since she is the artist...not me.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Sunburn Remedy

A few weeks back I went to a splash park with the boys. I sat under the sun canopy the entire time except for a couple excursions to see what they were doing in the sand or to splash my feet in the water. I wore shorts and a tank top. I didn't think anything of it. When I got back home that night I was horrible sunburned. Lobster red and whoa did it hurt.

I had been raised on the usual Aloe Vera and White Vinegar to help with the sunburn. They never really worked much so I needed to find a new remedy. I started searching around for Essential Oil recipes that would help. Let me tell you something...I found one. Not only did I find it...it worked so amazingly that it will be all that I use on myself or my family from here on out.

Recipe:
1/2 cup Coconut Oil
10 drops of Lavendar Oil
5 drops of Peppermint Oil
Store in a glass container (I used a 4oz canning jar)

Directions:
Apply to sunburned skin once a day (I applied mine at night before bed).

Results:
Within three days I had perfect brown tanned skin and I never peeled. AMAZING!!!

(Picture is from Pinterest...there was not a website to link back to)

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

For Me (and my babies)

A month ago I quit my job. I tried very hard to stay upbeat, but it felt as if I were being crushed on all fronts. My boys weren't used to being home with me. I'd lost my desire to plan meals like I did before. When I wanted to leave the house my husband wanted to stay home. I lost contact with a very dear friend, maybe for the best, I haven't wrapped my head around that one yet. But I found myself crying more than I ever should have. I had no desire to do anything. The house was a mess, the yard work non-existent.
All of the sudden the main question I was asked every single day was, "Mommy...Are you happy?" I am still asked that, but not nearly as often. I was on the brink of pretty horrible depression. I tried to find my way out, I tried getting together with other moms, I tried keeping the boys busy, I tried to just give myself one more day. Nothing helped. I didn't even want to talk to my family. I tried to get off the phone as fast as I could and still be polite. In all aspects I wasn't really prepared to be home with my children again. What was I to do?
I laced up my shoes and said "Let's Go!!!" I walked three miles every single day to and from the closest park to our home. The boys would walk or ride the stroller along side. Once I hit the park the boys would take off like little crazy boys and play at the playground. This particular park has a crushed gravel trail surrounding it. I picked up one foot and put it in front of the other and kept going until I was running. I am now on average running nearly an 11 minute mile in only four weeks. My outlook is amazing. I feel happier. I don't cry anymore. My family is happier. My husband even suggested the Austin 1/2 Marathon next Spring as a goal to put in front of me.
I realized I have to do this for me so that I can be the best wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend that I can be. I am currently running three days a week, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Tuesday and Thursday I still walk three miles and play at the park with my youngest son. I am also doing four 30 day challenges consecutively. I know it sounds like too much, but I am doing those at the park after my run or walk. The best part. Someone I hadn't seen in three weeks told me I look like I have lost weight. No not really, but everything is starting to fit looser, which says something.
I refuse to go back to where I was a couple weeks ago. I refuse to cry my eyes out and feel sick to my stomach over things I can't control or change. I am going to focus on me so that I can focus on them. 


Saturday, August 2, 2014

Am I "Just" A Mom?


I am writing this because someone asked me to explain how being a stay at home mom could be boring or fun...

Let me tell you a little bit about my journey as such...when I found out I was pregnant in March of 2008 I wasn't even sure about staying home. I'd picked out a daycare even. We really needed both paychecks that we had coming in. When I was five months pregnant I made the decision to stay home with my baby boy when he arrived.

I knew I'd made an amazing choice when he was born and as he began to grow and explore his small world. I NEVER missed a single milestone. We met with friends and went to story time weekly, sometimes twice a week. We lived five minutes from the park, which in turn had me buy a jogging stroller from a neighbor's sister. In that I found my love for running. Running brought me a sort of peace. Why would I need peace? you ask...well, things weren't easy...Raul worked long hours, most weekends, and my amazing little boy never slept for more than an hour. I was severely sleep deprived and it showed. At a year he should have been sleeping through the night...all my friends babies were sleeping and eating just fine. Mine, never slept unless I held him and eating could take forever. So, we decided to bring him to our bed. I never once thought co-sleeping would be an option, but I was desperate and that night and every night after that he slept for over eight hours straight.

When he was 14 months old we closed on our land here in Elgin. We wanted to build a house and thought we could easily do that while living on the land, so when he was 16 months old we sold our home in Kyle and moved to the farm. Things didn't always go as planned. We found out we were pregnant again in May of 2010. We were thrilled, but now the building a house would have to wait. We ended up purchasing a manufactured home and it was set up on the land in September. A few short months later Matthew arrived.

These two boys are my life and I always had so much pride in what I did for them from cooking to cleaning up after, and making sure they ate mostly home cooked meals. I spent every waking moment and most nights as well with them.

While they were both still very young I was able to get them both down for a nap and then I would go outside and clean up the toys we'd played with, the balls, and any tools that had been left around. I'd jump onto the lawn mower and mow the lawn. I carried the monitor with me everywhere I went in the yard in case one should wake up. I kept the yard well maintained. I had to...this was where I played with the boys.

We spent the past two summers hitting as many parks and splash pads as we could manage. We started Geocaching, which is an amazing way to get outdoors with the kids. We did art projects all of the time. I baked and cleaned. I read to them most of the day. I felt a great deal of joy in being home with them, but then there were the ones that would start to tear at that joy by saying I was just a mom who stayed home with her kids. I had no idea how hard it was to work full time and manage a home. All of the sudden the joy of being the best mom I could be was no longer good-enough...I was no longer good-enough. It didn't matter that my boys were both super healthy, my home was clean and well maintained, that I inspired my boys creativity, played doctor to their wounds, the chef that made green scrambled eggs, and tie dyed toast. No one noticed that I had to make sure we stayed on budget at all times. I was just a mom, not a working mom.

I went out and found a daycare and a job. I now worked full-time and still ran my house. I liked my job...I really liked it...but something else was happening. My boys were sick more than ever, 104 degree fevers out of the blue, ear infections, sinus infections, pink eye, and strep throat. I started to miss work more often to care for them. I stopped doing crafts with them as often. I was tired and I was starting to get sick more often. My kids no longer had home cooked meals, it was fast food grabbed on my way home from work. Instead of reading all day to them, they had a story or two at night before rushing them to bed.

Now, I didn't want to give up on my job. I was really good at it. I worked well with my co-worker and partner-in-crime, but my family needed my full attention. So, I turned in my resignation to be home with them again.

Here I am back home with my boys. Am I just a mom? If you think that, maybe you should look at yourself in the mirror and ask what you do.

My oldest will be starting Kindergarten in three weeks. I get to go on field trips, join the PTA, volunteer in his Kindergarten class. I get to make home cooked meals, teach Matthew all his stuff and work on his speech, work on getting my family back on track Spiritually, the crafts get to come back. In the Summer we will go and explore all the pools, museums, and nature trails we can find. I will once again focus on my running. I would like to build up to a marathon soon.

So, you see, I'm not just a mom? I am a creative person that has to juggle so much and keep things balanced. I am the most important thing to my children and I can not get back any time lost by being away from them.

For other moms that stay home...you truly have the hardest job out there. It's not a matter of whether or not you get a break...it's that you are putting your time and effort into the future. You didn't just have your children to claim the title of mom...you knew the work what that would go into it.

For the moms working outside the home...YES...you have a hard job as well. I've been there. I've done both...I don't really favor either one, but I am sympathetic to the mom at home. Why? Because the moms that work and tend to beat down the ones that stay home aren't the single mothers, they are the ones that have the family support system or have never stayed home with their kids longer than a day or two when they were sick.

We are all working moms...I don't believe that one works harder than the other. It all just has to do with what your family situation is. Mine is different than most. I tend to take on more than I should so that when my husband comes home from work he doesn't need to do much of anything with the farm and can focus what short time he has with the boys before they head off to bed.

My goal this time around is to not let the "just a mom" comments bog down my happiness in being with my boys. I will find and hold onto every ounce of joy we create in our walks to the park, the story times, the crafts, the adventures in cooking. I will make this time the best time of my life. I will be the best mom to my two little boys and I will prove that I can be just as happy as anyone else.

Because I AM MORE THAN JUST A MOM!!!

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