Saturday, October 29, 2011

Mommy Guilt

The leaves are coming down and there's a chill in the air.  It is definitely fall around here.  Last fall/winter, I struggled to "make-do" with the clothes that were already hanging in my closet.  At the beginning of the season this year, I decided to refresh my wardrobe with some new items.  I had four main targets: some new church outfits, a new coat, new jeans, and a new pair of corduroy pants.  I have found a couple new church items, but haven't yet shopped for a coat.  The biggest obstacle, by far, has been the jeans and cords.

Like most women, I am not 100% happy with my body, but I am at a place in life where I am s-l-o-w-l-y coming to accept the body I have been given.  I am not about to divulge my actual weight or pant size on the internet for everyone on the planet to see.  I will simply say that I am not skinny, but I am also not overweight.  If I do the math, my BMI is within the normal/average range (this was recently confirmed by an actual doctor during a routine exam.) Given that information, one would think that it shouldn't be too difficult for an "average" size woman to find an average pair of jeans - especially this time of year, when you can go into any store and find tons of jeans.  However, in the last two weeks, I have tried on at least 25 pairs of jeans and cords in 5 different stores.  I have seen everything from bootcut to skinny; dark washed to crazy colors; and slim fit to curvy fit.  (I even saw a style for "curvy figures" in a size 2.  Seriously, what curvy woman could wear a size 2???  Isn't that a bit of an oxymoron?)  Finally, today, I found a pair that fit.  I think I actually even heard a Halleluiah chorus in the background.  Even better, they were on sale!!!!!  So guess what - I bought two pairs!!!!!

Why then, after all that, did I literally have knots of guilt in my stomach when, in retrospect, I considered the $56.00 I had just spent on - gasp - MYSELF?????  I'll tell you why - because I'm the mom.  In general, moms are always putting everyone else first.  We worry about what our kids need and what our spouses need.  We worry about our houses, our jobs, our committees.  We worry about schedules and appointments and laundry and homework assignments.  After all that worrying, we are usually too tired to bother worrying about ourselves, even though we've been told over and over again that "you can't take care others if you don't take care of yourself first."  I even gave my daughters that same advice in my Lessons I want to Teach my Daughters post.

We moms also tend to expect perfection from ourselves.  We feel guilty if we yell too much; if we don't spend enough "quality time" with each and every one of our kids; if we miss a field trip or a soccer game; if we skip the healthy meal and opt for fast food - the list goes on and on and on.

So how do we get over all this "Mommy Guilt?"  Boy do I wish I knew!  I would write a book and be a millionaire.  Sadly, however, I don't know.  Here's what I do know.  Moms are people and no person is perfect.  We all make mistakes in different aspects of our lives.  I know LOTS of fabulous moms who, I'm sure, could rattle off a long list of things they think they do wrong (or at least less than correctly).  However, I also know their kids and their kids are all just as well-behaved (or not) and well-adjusted as my kids or any other kids.  That tells me that they are no worse at this mom gig than me or any of our other mom friends.

Moms work hard and we carry a lot of responsibility and emotional weight around with us all the time.  We all deserve an expensive, fancy coffee or a new pair of shoes or a really good hair cut or a couple pairs of new jeans from time to time without feeling guilty about it.  We just have to keep reminding ourselves - and each other - of that fact!!  
Maybe we should all get t-shirts like this!! :-)

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Chicken Cacciatore

Spaghetti is a menu staple at our house.  I am always looking for "spaghetti alternatives" that will be just as quick and easy, but also yummy, of course.  I tried this recipe the other night and it got a thumbs up from my family - well, my hubby liked it, the little one liked that there was chicken to eat, and it was pretty easy to keep some sauce separated for The Vegetarian.  In this house, that equals success, so I thought I would share!  ;-)

Chicken Cacciatore
3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into bite-size pieces
1 green pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 can tomato sauce (15 oz)
1/4-1/2 cup water (depending on how thick you like your sauce)
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
  1. Heat a little oil in a deep skillet.  Sprinkle chicken with seasoning of your choice (I used salt, pepper, garlic powder) and brown.  Remove.
  2. In same skillet, saute garlic, green pepper, onion.
  3. Once onion is soft, add tomato sauce, water, and Italian seasoning.
  4. Place cooked chicken back in skillet with sauce.  Then, cover and simmer for 45-60 minutes.
  5. According to the original recipe, you can add 1/4 lb. of mushrooms at this point and continue to simmer uncovered for an additional 15 minutes.  My family doesn't care for mushrooms, so I omitted this step.
  6. Serve over noodles of your choice, such as spaghetti.

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Monday, October 24, 2011

Drivers' Ed

Nine years, one month, and 2 weeks.  That's roughly how long it will be until Megan gets her driver's license.  Scary, huh??  Well, with all the experience she is currently getting "driving" from the backseat, in nine more years she should be a very good driver!  You see, Megan seems to be rather fascinated with the mechanics if driving (not the mechanics of the actual vehicle) and, when she is in the backseat of the minivan, she often unloads a plethora of questions and comments about the road, other drivers, and everything we do behind the wheel.  Here are some of the comments and questions I have gotten from her lately:

Why are we going so slow?
Cant you just pass that guy??
Do you have your high beams on?
What is the speed limit on this road?
How do you turn the windshield wipers on??
Do you have to turn on the signal thingy if there is nobody behind you??
Why are the yellow lines straight sometimes and broken sometimes?
"Watch out for that guy on the bike!"
and my favorite. . . "I am rolling down my window. Can you go faster???"

Have I mentioned that she has already ALMOST gotten a ticket?!?!  (Well, almost got my hubby a ticket because she was literally hanging halfway out the window in the backseat of his car!)  Have I also mentioned that she tends to be easily distracted and accident prone???

Yep - nine years, one month, and two weeks.  Watch out world, here she comes.  You have nine years, one month, and two weeks to get ready or get of the road!!!!

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Monday, October 17, 2011

A Little Blessing

My hubby and I attended a special dinner event at church tonight.  We picked up the girls from the child care room and headed home, a bit later than their usual weeknight bedtime.  On the way home, Emily told me she had made up a new blessing she wanted to say for me.  It went something like this:

"God, I like the sun and the rain and the stars and the trees.  Thank you for grown-ups like mommies and daddies.  Thank you for my friends.  And I love you."

Then she continued. . .

"I forgot, Thank you God for our food, and for my sisters, and for Memaw and Paw, and for MawMaw and PawPaw, and for our dog Sophie. . . . "

She continued all the way home.

She has an innocent yet genuine love for God that warms my heart.  I hope she holds onto that love and faith throughout her life and that it continues to bring her the joy and comfort it brings her today!

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Sunday, October 16, 2011

Menu Plan - Oct. 16-22

I have been posting these menu plans as part of a six-week challenge.  This is only the fourth one, but I think you get the picture.  So, this is probably the last one I will post.  However,  I will definitely continue to plan - it just makes life a little easier, I think.  I hope you have enjoyed these posts and that it has given you some ideas and/or some new recipes to try!

Sunday -   Make our own pizzas night!

Monday -   The hubby and I are attending a special dinner event.  Kids will likely get something on the run! ;-/

Tuesday -   Shake-N-Bake Chicken, broccoli and cheese, corn

Wednesday -   Dinner at Church

Thursday -   Chicken Cacciatore, salad

Friday -  Pork Chops and Wild Rice  (This is yummy and easy - will definitely try to post the recipe soon!), peas, cinnamon apples

Saturday -  Cookout!!  Burgers, fries (regular & sweet potato)

Tip of the week:  Use your menu planning and grocery listing to organize other things when possible.  For example, all three of my girls take lunchboxes to school and preschool.  When I plan my dinner menu for the week, I also plan their lunch menus.  Then, I can add necessary lunch items to my grocery list and make sure I have them on hand when I am scurrying to get lunches together.  (I have actually gotten my girls to plan their lunch menus for the past couple weeks and it is great - still planned, but I don't have to do it all!)

Again, I hope you have enjoyed these menu posts and maybe even learned something.  If so, I would really appreciate if you would click the link below to "vote" for my website and/or take a second to "like" The Golden Spoons on Facebook (link on the right --->).  Thanks!!!

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Saturday, October 15, 2011

A Glimpse

As I have mentioned before, I have been not so patiently waiting and waiting some more to experience the sisterly bond I was told my three daughters would have.  Well, after a somewhat trying morning (which will require an entirely separate post all its own), I think that maybe, just maybe, I finally caught a glimpse of that sacred bond.

They worked together to orchestrate this pizza picnic on the trampoline.  After I took this picture, they told me to "Go away and let them have some sister time!"  Gladly, my dears. Gladly!

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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Show Me The Money!!

On more than one occasion this week, I have felt a little undervalued as a stay at home mom.  The latest of these incidents happened during dinner tonight when my oldest daughter stated "having tea and talking" is what moms do all day.  The other "jabs" came from outside of my family, but they did still sting.  So, in an effort to validate myself - and all of my wonderful stay at home mom friends - I stared to repost my Job Description of a Mom.  Then, I tracked down the following information and thought it was even better.  I am posting it here for everyone to see - and to remind myself that stay at home parents are monetarily just as valuable as any other adult, even thought we don't actually get a paycheck.

In May of this year, published a study they had done in which they surveyed over 6500 moms and compared their work to that of people with other job titles in an effort to put a monetary value on the job of "MOM."  According to their findings, stay at home moms should ear about $115,432 per year - and well over half of that would come from overtime wages!!!

The study found that a typical stay at home mom works about 97 hours per week in the following "positions:" day care center teacher, household CEO, psychologist, chef, housekeeper, doing laundry, computer operator, facilities manager, janitor, and driver.

This quote sums it up pretty well - “We see [Mom] as the compilation of 10 jobs in one person,” said Evilee Ebb, general manager of “The breadth of Mom’s responsibilities is beyond what most workers could ever experience day-to-day. Imagine if you had to attract and retain a candidate to fill this role?” 

So there!  I have sufficiently vented and now I am going to go finish my tea! ;-)

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Monday, October 10, 2011

Menu Plan Oct. 9-15

Better Late Than never! :-)

Sunday -  Taco Soup, cornbread muffins

Monday - Pork Loin (recipe to come if it turns out well!), peas & carrots, wild rice, cinnamon apples

Tuesday -  Dinner on the Fly - I have an afternoon meeting at the elementary school and my oldest has gymnastics from 6:00-7:30, so I will probably pop in a frozen pizza or we will grab a sandwich on the way.  Might not be the healthiest plan, but at least I have a plan, right?!?

Wednesday -  Dinner at church

Thursday - BBQ chicken, slaw, baked beans, fruit cocktail

Friday -  Lasagna, salad

Saturday -  Roast, green beans, mashed potatoes, corn, biscuits (You are not having deja vu.  I planned this meal for last Saturday, but we ended up going to a cookout instead.  The roast was already in the freezer, so I just left it there and pushed this meal back a week!)

Tip of the Week:  Involve your family in the menu planning.  Ask the hubby and the kids what meals they would like to have in the coming week.  This is helpful in three ways.  1)  It takes out some of the guesswork for you.  Let's say they request spaghetti and tacos.  That's two meals that you just put into the plan and don't really have to think about!  2) It teaches them that there is some planning and preparation that goes into feeding a family.  Meals son't just magically appear!  3)  It gives them a little control and input into what they have to eat.  In my opinion, if they requested it, then they better eat it - no complaining allowed!  

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Sunday, October 9, 2011

A Havarti Laugh

My menu plan is done and will be posted later today or tomorrow - I'm running a little behind!  In the meantime, here's a quick funny for you!

After church today, we went to grab a bite of lunch.  The girls asked what kind of cheese was on my salad.  "Havarti," I replied.  Rachel said, "I've never heard of that kind of cheese."  My oh-so-dainty 4 year old, Emily came back with this witty remark - "They call it that because that cheese farts!"  Then, of course, they all chimed in repeating "haFARTi cheese!!"

Yes, for all of you who have sons, girls enjoy the potty humor, too - much to my dismay.  But, how can you not laugh at haFARTi cheese?!?!?

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Menu Plan Oct. 2-8

Keeping up with the Plan it, Don't Panic menu planning challenge!!  This week was definitely a challenge (especially Sunday-Tuesday), but here's my plan!

Sunday  - Potpourri  (No - we will not actually eat potpourri!)  Tonight we will be pulling leftovers from the fridge and "convenience" food from the pantry.  It's just one of those nights! ;-)

Monday - Taco night!

Tuesday - Dinner with my FABULOUS in-laws!!!  One of my girls has a late afternoon doctor appointment and another has an early evening gymnastics class.  Therefore, my in-laws will be helping out with some baby-sitting and supper!!!!  Yay for wonderful in-laws!!!!!!

Wednesday - Dinner at church

Thursday - Spaghetti, salad, garlic bread

Friday - Chinese Chicken, fried rice, steamed broccoli

Saturday - Roast, mashed potatoes, green beans, corn

Tip of the Week - As you can tell, menu planning doesn't necessarily mean gourmet food.  With picky kids and busy schedules, you definitely won't find anything like Goat Cheese and Arugala salad with super fancy Balsamic dressing on my menu - ever!!  Even if you don't cook at all, you can still plan.  Dinner has to come from somewhere, right???  So, as I have done, incorporate convenience foods (like frozen lasagna) and take out (or going out to dinner) into your plan.  That way, you always know what's for dinner - even if you are not preparing it!!!  
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