Let’s Get Real Honest Here. #parenthood #relationships

There is a lot in my brain these days. As the warm sun shines down and I feel my head start to clear up from the gloom Winter casts upon my soul. Spring has sprung they say, but here in New Hampshire we had a few days of 70′s then Mother Nature decided to have a hormonal swing and dumped a few inches of snow on our green grass. I won’t let a little bit of snow hold me down though, I am thankful for my mind to be more at ease. I say it’s my praying that has opened my eyes but it could also be the strength from the sunshine beaming down upon me, warming my soul and allowing my thoughts to flow more wholeheartedly.

Sunshine Warms My Soul: Thoughts from a Mom

My honesty today, all starts with parenthood; I am a Mom first and foremost, that is my job that will be mine forever. I like to say until my children are 18 years old that they are my 100% priority, but in all reality, I am sure they will be my priority long after age 18. It just sounds better to know at age 18, I may get a break from my Mom job. For now, my children are 11, 7 and 5 years of age. My 7 year old is on the spectrum, my 5 year old could be labeled as ADHD if you must place a label, and my 11 year old is my only girl who is battling the hormones that Mother Nature gave us females to deal with. It’s a juggle. Every. Single. Day.

I can honestly say I adore being a mother, it’s something that I do naturally, I was apparently blessed with a very huge maternal instinct and while no parent is perfect, I think this Mom Job has to be the most rewarding one yet and I am proud to say my three children get great grades, think for their own self, know what makes them tick and they have a heart of gold. To me, I’ve done my job and will continue to do my job. I lead by example and if I am not at my full capacity of happiness, neither are my children. All day I work to raise my children, it is my job to be their parent { and their Dad’s too, of course}. I am not one of those parents who wants anyone else to determine what’s best for my children, I am the one who spends the most time with them and I am constantly observing them to see how I can work to better them and teach them how to be well rounded individuals.

My Mom job makes it so that at the end of the night, when the children lay asleep in their beds, all I want to do is one of two things; write my little heart out on my websites OR put my feet up on the recliner watching a funny show to laugh the day away. What I don’t want to do is; have another adult around me. I will be honest with you and with myself, at the end of the day, the last thing I want to do is have another responsibility placed on my shoulders to please another human being. I don’t mind having company on occasion, I don’t mind engaging in adult conversations but reality is that I spend a predominant amount of my time working from home to make money and raising my kids; the last thing I have time for is a relationship.

I am finding this to be the truth, this lack of wanting or having time for a relationship, more and more as each day comes. My middle child has not been on any medications since January 20, 2014. He is excelling. My son has come so far and it’s taken a lot of hard work on my part as well as on his father’s part. We have worked so hard to ensure that our son doesn’t need medications, it’s a challenge raising children and if you are choosing to be with someone, then it should be someone who can help balance out the juggling with you. This isn’t easy to find. I am told far too often the level of parenting I do is something few see anymore. People commend me for my hard work as a Mom and honestly that makes me more happy than anyone commending me about a relationship status.

At the end of the day I find that I just, in all honesty, do not have time for another human being nor do I want that pressure placed upon me; even if that other adult isn’t placing pressure upon me himself, it’s his presence and the title of being in a relationship that can get me down. I feel weighted and the only area that is weighing me down is a relationship status. This is crazy to some, this isn’t me saying “oh my gosh I am with a total jerk”, it’s me saying at the end of the day, I am starting to see the Light …. I am simply someone who is too focused, driven and motivated in the areas of Parenthood and Running a Business to add to that. I have always been a hard worker, never been a hard relationship worker, while I feel I worked hard to try to keep my prior marriage to the father of my son’s together, it comes down to this – I am far too busy working on my children and myself to try to work on someone else being part of that. Not right now. It just weighs me down. The fact that this weighs me down, makes things a lot more clear to me, there’s nothing wrong with the relationship per say or the other person, it’s just me. I don’t do well with relationships when I am so focused on things I find more important; my children and my work. That may be selfish, but I am so unselfish with my children that I deserve a little selfishness in ensuring I am at my best!

It’s difficult to be this honest with someone, because I have had these conversations privately. They seem to go no where. It seems I walk alone on my path of ensuring my true inner happiness is always there. Few can relate to that, for society doesn’t condone us to be individuals and listen to our souls. Society wants to push us to be with someone, we can’t make it on our own, we must bow down to the powers of having that person beside us. I don’t believe that everyone is ready for a relationship when they happen into one, but they take the risk and hope it works out. Now, I am not condoning walking away from a relationship just because of a hard day or a week long funk between the two of you; relationships take work. Love takes work. I know this. I am simply saying; I don’t have the energy, time nor desire to put forth that type of energy towards a relationship right now. I am pretty sure that’s why I said yes to the ring but opted to push the wedding date out another year; something inside of me knows I am no good with relationships while raising my children right now.

My children need me at my best, that is the one gift I can make a choice to give them, even if no one understands it right away, including my children. I do my best to be honest with others and myself and this is me pouring my clear mind and warm soul out to the world.

5 Tips to Raising Positive Thinkers

Raising children is no piece of cake, each day you are forced to adapt to a new challenge. I firmly believe my two sons, specifically, were put on this planet to lighten me up and keep me on my toes. Little do my boys realize, I have zero balance on my toes. It’s a constant juggling act around here to keep things steady. The easiest way for me to explain my parenting techniques is to share with you my personal favorite 5 Tips to Raising Positive Thinkers. These are tried and true techniques that worked for me, but let it be known, these are techniques I have done since DAY ONE. If you are just coming into this and trying it for the first time, understand it won’t be something that works in a couple of days; keep on it Mama and Daddy, things do get better!

5 Tips to Raising Positive Children

ONE - The ever so obvious first step is to lead by example; start living your life in the positive. Bills have you hanging your head low? Kids stressing you out? Learn to find that happy place, the one thing you can do for just one minute that will allow you to breath and come back swinging with a smile! For me, it’s music. Each night I decompress in the kitchen while cooking dinner and doing dishes over music, Pandora app is the chosen musical player and the genre depends on what type of day I had.

TWO – Never underestimate the power of your words; if you want your children to be positive thinkers, then you must learn to be a positive thinker. Homework a challenge? Kids ready to run and toss that homework in the trash? Total meltdown central? Allow your children, through your example, to step back from their homework. Provide your children a way to evaluate their own reasons for a meltdown, think about it, know the emotion they feel and work towards a solution that will allow them to complete what they have to in a way that is less stressful. This teaches your child to use their mind and words to solve an emotional problem with a positive outlook.

THREE – One can never have too many hugs; a simple hug as often as possible through out your child’s day never hurt anyone. A 20 second hug has also been shown to release the happy hormones in every one; whether a child or adult. So take time to hug more often because that is one way to show love and affection to your child with minimal effort. A 20 second hug can do far more to teach your children to be positive thinkers than any words you speak. Remember, actions speak louder than words, correct?!

FOUR – Teach your child how to brainstorm; we live in a very technologically driven world, social media makes it so that we don’t have to use our brains as often, please do not underestimate the power of teaching your child to use their mind. A great way to teach your child to be a positive thinker is to teach them pros versus cons lists, written with a pencil and a piece of paper. You know that old school; make a column with pros on one side and cons on the other to help you  make a valid decision based on your scenario. This old school method will teach your child to focus on the pros vs cons and in turn will allow them to eventually realize more often than not the pros aka the positives of a situation may be more beneficial than the cons aka the negative.

FIVE -  Use your words effectively; your kids have you all stressed out, ready to scream! You want so badly just to run away because your “what I can handle” meter has reached a near overload. This is okay, it happens to the best of us. We are human, remember? It is how you handle that meter about to explode that can teach your child to be positive or negative. Knowing who we are as an individual can benefit your child in so many ways, learn to use your words, learn that it is okay to tell your child that you are at your limit and need a moment to go breath. This teaches your child to use their words when feeling overwhelmed with negativity and to be able to think wisely about the words they say next. Time can make a difference in the words we use.

Well there you have it, my five tips, of course I am sure you may have some more and I would love to hear them. Please leave one comment below with a tip of positive parenting that will enable children to be positive thinkers, I will be happy to hear your tips & suggestions!

Remember, it takes a village to raise a child!

 

The Kitchen: Not Just a Place to Cook

If there’s one thing that can tear your youngsters away from their tablets, smartphones or video games, cooking might just be it. Children love working some culinary magic in the kitchen. It gives them a chance to get their hands dirty and, best of all, they can eat the results! Also, you get the chance to spend some quality time with your tots this way, and you can rest assured you’re providing them with some valuable life skills.

There are certain classics that almost all children like to cook, including pizzas, chocolate brownies, and fairy cakes. However, if you’re looking for recipes that are fun and easy to prepare but healthier, reach for your slow cooker. You can use these handy devices to cook nutritious dishes that your youngsters will enjoy creating and eating.

Children and sandwiches go hand in hand. These snacks are perfect for packed lunches and parties. An excellent version to try with your brood is slow-cooked pork. To serve six, you’ll need the following:

  • 2 pounds of pork shoulder
  • 1/4 cup of brown sugar
  •  1 chopped garlic clove
  • 1 pinch of salt and pepper
  •  1/2 cup of cider vinegar
  • 1 cup of barbecue sauce
  • 6 six sandwich rolls
  • Your own choice of salad ingredients.

To make, place the pork in your slow cooker and rub with the brown sugar, garlic, salt and pepper. Then add the vinegar plus 1/2 cup of water. Cover and cook on high for 4 to 5 hours until the meat is tender. Once removed from the cooker, shred the meat and mix in the barbeque sauce. Serve on the rolls along with a salad. Your children will love the sweet, comforting taste.

The Kitchen: Not Just a Place to Cook

For a hearty family meal, few things beat a stew and this beef version is bound to wet your kids’ appetites. For six servings, you’ll need:

  • 2 lbs of beef stew meat cut into one-inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup of plain flour
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp of paprika
  • 1 chopped garlic clove
  • 1.5 cups of beef stock
  • 3 diced potatoes
  • 4 sliced carrots
  • 1 chopped celery stalk.

To prepare, coat the meat in seasoned flour and place in your slow cooker. Add the remaining ingredients, cover and cook on high for 4 to 6 hours. The dish works a treat with creamy mash potatoes.

Whichever dishes you decide to create, leave plenty of time and make sure your kids aren’t wearing their best clothes. Children are remarkably adept at decorating themselves with even the most unexpected ingredients! Last but by no means least, remember to have fun. This is as much about the process as the results. 

“Image courtesy of digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net”.

What To Make With The Bread Ends from HomeMade Uncrustables #recipe #foodie

Cheesy Garlic Bread Sticks Recipe #foodie

Recently I shared a blog post citing that you can make homemade uncrustables way cheaper than by purchasing the store boxed brand Uncrustables. Click here to see that recipe. Today I share with you what I made during my food experiment evening over the weekend using the bread ends leftover from the homemade uncrustables I made for the week.

Cheesy Garlic Bread Sticks

Ingredients:

  • Greased 13 x 9 pan with bread ends leftover from uncrustables creations covering the length of pan
  • Garlic Powder
  • Garlic Salt
  • Approx 1 1/2 cups of your favorite flavor shredded cheese
  • Butter/margarine

How to Make:

  1.  Make sure the 13 x 9 pan is greased well because you won’t want to have any of the excess cheese baked onto the pan and you will want to have an easier time pulling up the sticks once cooked fully.
  2. Preheat over to 400 F degrees.
  3. Bread one side of the bread ends as you spread butter upon them, place one by one into the pan until you have a single layer of bread ends that fill the pan.
  4. Open the Garlic Powder and sprinkle evenly across the bread ends. Repeat this step with Garlic Salt.
  5. Sprinkle shredded cheese evenly over the bread, it’s okay if you get some on the greased pan.
  6. Bake in preheated oven for about 10 minutes, check and maybe bake another 5 minutes. Basically bake until the bread is somewhat crunchy and the cheese is fully melted.
  7. Let cool down, serve and Enjoy!

 

Making More Time for Things That Matter

As a Mom who decided that sending my kids with a school lunch from home was a more feasible and healthy option, I have found some nights that I simply do not want to make these kids lunches. The problem is that my oldest was gaining a lot of weight years back from eating school lunches, so I won’t ever go back that route. I had a dilemma, I wanted to continue to make home school lunches for the kids, but I didn’t want to be spending hours every night making all three kids lunches. What is a Mom to do?

I turned to Google after recently hearing about a local Mom saying she made uncrustables for her kids at home. This was a brilliant idea! I went off to search the Internet, I searched high and I searched low. I came across ways to make uncrustables and found some snacks that I could make too, this would save money and time during the week.

Making School Lunches From Home in Less Time

How you make Uncrustables at home is relatively simple. I made Turkey and Cheese (plain without condiments) and PB&J for the kids. I took two pieces of bread, the sandwich ingredients and a coffee cup.

  • Place one piece of bread down upon a flat surface.
  • Place the meat & cheese or the PB&J in center of the bread.
  • Place the second piece of bread on top.
  • Use coffee cup or heavy glass circle shaped household item, or a sandwich press to push and hold on the combined sandwich for about 30-40 seconds.
  • Once you have held the item to press the sandwich for the allotted time frame, pick it up and voila you have a home made uncrustable!

You can freeze these for each week ahead of time and then not have to make sandwiches every single night for your kids! It’s a perfectly awesome time saver for the week nights. I heard that you can store the PB&J ones for up to a month, so feel free to make these for a couple of weeks ahead of time at once if you have the ambition! Oh and in case you are wondering, the meat uncrustables do not taste bad at all, you wouldn’t even know one had frozen them. (I had my fiance taste test over weekend for his work day on Saturday to confirm if that turkey & cheese was a good idea or not)

Making School Lunches From Home in Less Time

Next I moved onto home made snack ideas, above this text you will see an image of funky looking apple pies. These were derived from the recipe Lunchbox Sized Apple Pies, but made into my own unique shapes.

Making time for what matters

Pictured above are the Pumpkin Chocolate Chip muffins I made as a snack for school lunches too. This is an easy to make recipe and since I had all but the pumpkin and chocolate chips at home, it was really not that expensive. I had fun making 48 muffins for the kids school week and the fiance’s work week lunches, The fiance was rather skeptical about pumpkin as he hasn’t ever had much luck with pumpkin flavored food, but he LOVED these.

Making time Efficient for School Lunch Creations

Pictured above is the home made chex mix crock pot recipe I found and decided to test out, but in all honesty, this was a bad idea. Next time we will use the recipe provided on this page, but will not use the crock pot. It didn’t come out great at all, not enough flavor spread through the mixture, but we will eat it.

To me, spending all of this time taking over the weekend while my kids were with their Dads made sense. It took up time while they were away rather than taking away from time that could have been spent with them, for those who don’t have shared visits of children, you can do some of this baking after the kids are asleep. This will keep yo from you having to do some made dash to make lunches every night and allow for more time where it matters; with the kids enjoying family time!

What are some ways you save time with school lunch prep that allow you more family time?

 

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