Saturday, May 30, 2015

New Recipes

I read a blog (can't remember which one, of course) that suggested homemakers try a new recipe everyday. That is totally unrealistic, so perhaps I misread. It's unrealistic because of the amount of ingrediants needed for new recipes, and everyone should have their go-to meal plans. Mine is pasta. Of various varieties.

Roasted Garlic and Eggplant Soup
Found on

From Issue 4 April 2015 of All You (that family/mom/homemaker/busy wife magazine, found only at WalMart- or by subscription)
Ingrediants: for the Buttermilk Brownies
8 tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter - I used margarine
6 oz. bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped- I used semisweet Kroger chocolate chips
3/4 cup (or 12 tbsp.!) packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup (or 12 tbsp) cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
Ingrediants: for Oreo Cheesecake Swirl
6 Oreo cookies
4 oz room temperature cream cheese
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tbsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. kosher salt

1) preheat oven to 350• F. Line an 8-inch square metal baking pan with foil, draping foil over edges. (I used a foil pan).
2) In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Remove pan from heat and stir in chocolate until melted and smooth. Let cool.
3) In a large bowl, whisk together sugars, eggs, vanilla and salt until smooth and pale, about 30 seconds. Stir in cooled chocolate mixture and buttermilk. Stir in flour until just combined, then pour batter into baking pan.
4) Bake until a toothpick inserted into brownies comes out clean, 40-45 minutes. Transfer pan to a rack and let cool completely. Lift brownies out of pan, remove foil and cut into 12 pieces. Wrap brownies in plastic wrap and store at room temperature for up to 5 days.
To add the Oreo Cheesecake Swirl:
Stir in 3/4 cup quarted Oreos (about 6 cookies) with flour. (I smooshed my Oreos.) In a small bowl, stir 4 oz. room-temperature cream cheese, 2 tbsp. sugar, 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract and 1/4 tsp. kosher salt until smooth. Scrape into a small ziplock bag. Snip off 1 corner of bag scissors, then squeeze cream cheese mixture in a swirled pattern over the batter in pan. Add cooking time- 55-60 minutes.
My cooking time was about 70 minutes.

Thursday, May 28, 2015


I have made a decision that I need to be focused on the kids when they are awake. No more looking at my phone, no more half-assly being a part of their activities. So what if the house doesn't look great? It doesn't look that great all that often anyway.
Being really involved in their activities will make me feel like a good productive mom.

I asked The Boy if he wanted to cook or craft, and he chose cook. So he sat on the counter and helped me stir the brownie mix. It was Ghirradrli Double Chocolate. He got to lick the bowl.
This morning I asked if he wanted to craft or go outside. After some minor scrambling, we went outside and hung out and I blew bubbles. It was invigorating to just relax and be with them and not worry about the finished product. The boys love bubbles!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day

At my church service yesterday, the sermon was about memories and remembering and taking time for family. And remembering the fallen soldiers, and making sure they didn't die in vain, or without those to remember them.

I am terrified of forgetting. I make lists for shopping trips and vacations. I try to journal after events and photograph during them. Many things I would love to forget, but those experiences and thoughts have been burned into my brain. However, I find myself seemingly to forget important things, things about my kids. I find myself having trouble filling out The Baby's baby book. Documentation of my life is a near-obsession with me, but I do feel like I live in the moment as well. I hope I do.

Let us live in the moment and take an opportunity to remember our soldiers. Not the reasons of the war, or what is must mean to make a decision to fight in them...but let us take a moment to remember the soldier (or Marine or Seal or whatever) as a person, to remember their hopes and thoughts and ideas. Let us remember, so we may not suffer that pain of forgetting.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Cosley Shutterfly

I'm having a hell of a time ordering my freebie prints from Shutterfly. I get a lot of photos printed, and a lot of photo projects made. Most of my gifts are 'free' (just pay shipping). I think it's worth it. Except when it is fucking difficult.

We went to Cosley Zoo today! With my dad and stepmom. The kids got in free, my dad got senior pricing, and The Hubs and I were $5. Totally worth it. It's a bit of a drive, but we saw birds (owls, some kinda heron, cardinals, and others). There were ducks (and an awkward duck-sex situation), sheep, cows, bulls, llamas, and a few reptiles. The Boy really liked a spider on a fence.
I was so pleased to finally make time for my dad and the kids. My dad lives far enough away that it takes serious planning to see him, but not far enough to be impossible.
We also went out to eat, which was surprisingly lovely.

Our routine was totally thrown off today and it made me realize that we are more scheduled and more reliant on our routine than I thought. I'm proud of that. Structure can be good.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Toy Story

We let the boy watch part of Toy Story sometimes. In the evening, before bed. I like to snuggle with him and watch it too. Sometimes it makes me cry!

I had to take my father-in-law to a doctor's appointment today, and I got my beloved step dad to watch the kids. I could only schedule the appointment during Naptime, so it was a blessing my stepdad could come by. He knows how to care for young children, and I totally trust him, but as I was leaving I started to see all the nuances of the stuff my kids do. The Boy's language is good enough so that I almost always understand him, but I'm the only one. And there are all the little additions to our routines that only Mama can do, like extra snuggles.

On Facebook, on saw (and read) two articles about kids that I think are noteworthy. One was a horrific article on child killers - kids who murder other kids- and the part that disturbed me most was the one about two 10-year-olds who abducted a 2 (!!) year old, tortured and beat him, then tied him to train tracks. My boy is 2 1/2, and to imagine him in that situation is terrifying. I cannot understand such cruelty. My only reprieve is to know that had the boys been supervised it probably would not have happened. What had the older kids seen or done to make them think their actions were ok?
The other article was about parents treating their kids on Facebook. It was pretty funny because I still feel young enough to identify with the kids, but as a parent, I hope I can have that kind of humor and wit regarding my kid's social media antics. Although it is likely I won't understand the newest social media they might use. What the hell is Twitter?

The Baby needed extra hugs today, because it appears he does not like my uncle-in-law. Go figure.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Vattman Park

We stayed at the house until about 3:30, when we piled in the super-hot car to go to a park in Wilmette. It was a really well planned park; I could see The Boy pretty much everywhere he went. He climbed a wall-ladder and tried the monkey bars for the first time!
The Baby ate puffs and climbed on me and used the stroller to hold onto while he stood. I love his progress!
I met up with my friend and her baby and realized there was too much going on for us to have a actual conversation. Which was a bummer, because I really like talking to her.

While I was giving The Baby his first bottle of the day, we locked eyes, and I felt that 'in love with my kids' feeling. It was really intense, but I welcomed it because it solidified my life choices and it kept me in the moment and I was able to stare back at him. I hope he felt similar intensity. You know, in a baby way.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

The E.R

My boy fell down the stairs and he fell with sickeningly thumps. There was a noise uttered by my father-in-law and The Boy that made me feel that this was an emergency.
We went to the ER and two women in waiting room were really nice and helped reign in the chaos. Thank God for those people and their small blessings.
As per usual ER trips, we were in there for almost five hours. The Boy had a concussion and busted his perfect button nose.
The frazzled-ness of going to the ER takes a while to wear off.
All three of my boys are sleeping. Guess I should be too.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

How Do I Do This?

In the movies, the mommy bloggers write about what it all means, the inherent joy of children, how hard it is (the job of mothering) but how important and/or wonderful the job is. I read a blog written by a SAHM who wrote about the weather, her grocery list, her kid's schedules, and other kind of minutiae that us tedious to read unless one is a real voyeur. I think this blog will be a mix of my thoughts (centering on my crafts, homemaking, and kids) and a journal of my activities. Perhaps I should have done this at the beginning of this series.

My father-in-law is here. He thinks I hate him so I decided to make a cake. It was a boxed cake with Duncan Hines frosting. After baking all that stuff from scratch, this stuff seems to taste processed. I still had a piece. And I want another one. I'm happy I made an effort to make my FIL something he can snack on.

I did a 23 minute yoga video and it was invigorating! That's why I had that cake.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Mom's Night Out

I finished watching a movie called Mom's Night Out. It started out being a flighty comedy about the disorganization of being a modern day mom. The protagonist wants so badly to be a loving mom, a diligent blogger, and a wonderful wife. The story was full of stereotypes and gender bias, and at the end there was a lot of God and Jesus talk. Sometimes I feel comforted by stuff like that, but I prefer to know if I will be watching a Jesus movie. I felt blindsided, and I felt like it was supposed to be a 'Christains are cool' movie. I actually really liked the movie. Despite the cheesy-ness of it.

The Baby is sick! He has a cold, an earache, and a little pink eye. He spent a lot of today being tired and congested. At his doctor's appointment he couldn't get his vaccines. Yes, I am a vaccinating mom.

Friday, May 8, 2015

DIY Homemaking

While I was reading about DIY homemaking and homesteading, The Hubs went out and got me a milkshake from Burger King. It is what it is.

I made cookies! Two batches and one batch was doubled. There are festivities coming up and I want to be ready. I also finished up the handmade gift I have for my mom. For Mother's Day, obviously.

Still reading Homeward Bound- Why Women Are Embracing the New Domesticity by Emily Matchar. It is very intriguing and well-researched. With her perspective, which I like.

For dinner I was going to have my bland, homemade potato and onion and bean soup. I even made the stock! I really didn't want just soup for dinner, and while I was giving The Baby his bottle, I suddenly thought of using the pie crust! So I made a calzone-shaped pot pie. I added cheese, paprika and some other kind of spice. It was pretty good! And I'm pleased about my creativity.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015


I found a new recipe. I like to cook more now than I ever have before. I'm better than I used to be, but far from a great cook. My father is (and probably has always been) a 'throw together cook'. He puts in what he has and doesn't sweat the details. I'm the same way. I'm always substituting and omitting and adding and hoping. I found a recipe on
Called Cranberry Orange Bread. It involves mandarin oranges (which I bought in bulk and then realized they were about to expire) and sour cream. Whoa. Ended up good though. The Baby, The Hubs and I like it. The Boy says he doesn't.
I will say that substituting cranberries for raisins is not recommended.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Homeward Bound

I got an email from the Skokie Public Library stating that my book I put on reserve was ready for pick-up. So we headed to the 'libo' to 'play with some kids' and see the fish. And pick up my book. The book I requested is called Homeward Bound- Why Women Are Enbracing the New Domesticity. 
The book is all about homemakers, the reclamation of domestic duties, the mom blogger, and history. I love it so far! My only concern is that it might cause me to over-think my life choices, that I might become more obsessed with projects and less with my children's experiences and cleaning/organizing.

I needed some chocolate earlier today so I busted into my clearance Easter M&Ms. I had to share some with The Boy and he pointed to the 'M' and said
"Mama. Mn'm"
I said,
"M is for Mama and M&Ms?!"
I'm pretty sure my boy is a genius.

The Baby puts his head on my shoulder when I pick him up. He grabs ahold of me. And he smiles so broadly when he sees me come in the room. I love it. Warms my heart.

At Walgreens we saved 45% just by purchasing stuff on sale. The formula was b1g1, at 6.7 cents an ounce. And the milk was $2.49.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Homemaking Books

The kids went to bed pretty easily. The Boy only woke up once because his night-light went off and he wanted some extra bedtime stuff. The Baby had only one bottle. Even though he is nine months and I know the threat of SIDS is behind us, I check on him at least twice a night. I don't check on The Boy as much because we close his door. When we open it, it makes a popping, cracking noise and I'm afraid it will wake him up. We close his door because he is afraid of the cats being in his room.

A woman at church with older kids said she doesn't work outside the home. I couldn't ascertain if she works at home, for direct pay, or if she is a stay-at-home mom. She is interested in having coffee with me...perhaps I can convince her to meet me at a park so I can bring myself a budget-friendly thermos.

I finished Everything's Eventual, a collection of stories by Stephen King. And I am almost done with my first impressions book. So I requested a homemaker book from the library. I read a blog entry that said that with new jobs and/or new life choices one should do some research. My sister said that sounds stressful.

Saturday, May 2, 2015


My parents were blessedly active with us. They took us on walks and sledding and swimming. We weren't a sports family but we weren't couch potatoes either.
I want to be the mommy that can play in the park and pitch and be goalie and do all the activities my boys need me to do. I noticed that my body feels tense and awkward. I'm pretty sure it's because I haven't been doing my yoga. It might also be because I'm getting old.
The need for exercise is upon me. I really need to schedule it into my day. Along with everything else, including my good intentions.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Ten More Minutes

We went to Gallery Park. On a Meet Up. I approached a mom, and we chatted for a few seconds. Nothing came of it. I had a sudden fear that I would never make a new Mommy friend.
 I heard a very odd domestic while I was changing The Baby on a park bench. A couple was walking down the sidewalk, next to the park, when he yells out,
"You fucking bitch!"
She said something inaudiable, possibly in a normal tone of voice. He said,
"I don't want to calm down! You ruined my fucking life!"
They walked away while he was still yelling.
There is a fountain at Gallery Park, in the summer it's super-crowded. Today it was just The Boy. Luckily I had a change of clothes for him.
Finally I chatted with another mom! She is an over-sharer like myself. Her kid is adorable, and very tank-like. Sadly, she talked a lot about 'beer-cations'. Which I am not at all into.
When I told The Boy we had to go because it was almost Naptime, he said,
"Mama, ten more minutes!"
I was really surprised, pleased, and kind of annoyed.

The Baby sits up now! It makes bathtime so much easier and more adorable. And he was able to sit in the sandbox today. Thank goodness!