Because I Said So…

As a child, this phrase was often uttered by my mother…often as in uttered on a daily basis (to all six of us). I swore to myself (my entire childhood infact) that I would never say that to my own children.

Funny how things change.

My step-daughter is almost twelve so the battle never ends. When asked one evening to do something and responding with the infamous, “why,” and after moments of an exhausting debate…those four words escaped my lips:

Because. I. Said. So.

Yep, my mother popped right out. And, without warning. I was mortified afterwards. But, you know, I realize now that it is OKAY. It’s not the end of the world if I turn into my mother. I have a great mother. Growing up, I showed her respect but not enough. As an adult and mother, I appreciate her more. More than I ever have. My hope is to be the best mom I can possibly be for my kids. Sure I lose my cool, I cry, I get frustrated, I have my moments, I can get overly stressed. Why? Because I’m not perfect. I’m human, but I’m doing the best I can.

And that is what I want to tell you all: You are the perfect mother for your kids. Do not allow society and the media to pollute your minds into what the ideal mother is. Honestly, I would love to be like Carol Brady or Joan Cleaver but I am not. I’m just me trying to do the best I can with the precious lives God entrusted me with. So, let’s stop comparing ourselves to fictional characters and be the best mom we can be. That’s true success.

MJ

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It’s Your Fault I’m Fat

Let’s face it, the whole “blame game” has become rather old. Yet, people continue it and even conjure up even more clever excuses as to why they gained weight. Now, this does not include those with health issues or disabilities that limit them to exercise–it is actually not their fault; I am speaking of those who willingly make poor food choices or elude exercise. Many people, mainly celebrities, blame it on pregnancy, their fitness instructors, their stylists…one celebrity even blamed God! Ha! Go figure…although I have to give her credit for that–it was clever. Yes, God forced her to shovel those extra calories into her pretty little mouth, just as my son forced me to eat a lot of Mexican food and Doritos most of my pregnancy (those were my choices). I, personally, do not see a problem with heavyweight people. Beauty is only skin deep and should not be determined on how one’s face is formed or whether he/she is muscular or wears a size 2.

What irks me is the fact people do not want to accept the fact that the weight gain is their fault and their fault alone. Sometimes, even spouses are blamed. My hubby playfully accuses me of his access weight gain. “Honey, it’s your fault because of all the good cooking. I used to fit into a size 32 before we met.” My response: “Well, then, stop eating.” LOL!

I have seen several lawsuits against fast food chains, one in which was successful. I was shocked! No one forced him to consume hamburgers and fries on a daily basis. Unless they secretly tied him up, pried open his mouth and force fed him greasy burgers and overly salted fries, meanwhile telling him that if he doesn’t eat it, he will surely die, he has no ground to stand on. And the lawsuits continue. So, in light of all the ridiculousness, I decided to compose a list of possible lawsuits, just for fun.

1. Hersheys and Tollhouse. Cause: temporary acne and weight gain due to the deliciousness they contain.

2. The companies I purchase my high heels from for making my feet sore by the end of the day and occasionally causing blisters upon purchasing new pairs.

3. Pinterest. For being mildly entertaining, thus consuming my time when I “could” be doing something more productive.

4. General Electric. For occasional fingertip burns when pulling something from a hot oven. Reason: Momentarily slight pain and suffering.

5. Icecream companies. Cause: headaches attributed to ingestion or inhalation of a cold stimulus.

6. Better Homes and Garden among my other magazines. Reason: Occasional paper-cuts due to slick edges of pages.

7. Disney. For creating magical, child-captivating movies and incorporating catchy songs that my children continuously sing and/or watch repeatedly, thus resulting in loss of sanity to parent or caregiver.

Hmm, think I stand a chance?

MJ

Homemade Cleaner

My mother and sister gave me a recipe for homemade cleaner. Since I make my own laundry detergent, I was super excited about this. Plus, all natural cleaners can be rather pricey, and I love to save money, don’t you?

What you will need:

32 oz bottle spray bottle
Warm water
Borax (you will find this in the laundry aisle–do not confuse with Boric acid)!
Dish soap (your choice)
Vinegar or Hydrogen peroxide
Hot water

Directions:

Fill 32 oz bottle part way with warm water. Combine 1 Tbsp Borax, 2 drops of dish soap, and 2 Tbsp of vinegar or peroxide. Dilute rest with hot water. Shake.

Vinegar and Hydrogen peroxide are disinfectants.

Vegetable and Bean Soup (and Sock-It-To-Me Cake for Dessert)

This is one of my family’s favorite soups. Even my meat-loving hubby and picky preteen enjoy it. Shocker!
Here is the recipe below:

Ingredients:
1 can red kidney or black beans 1 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove or 1 Tbsp minced garlic
2 potatoes, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 cup peas
1 can diced tomatoes (do not drain)
2 celery stalks, chopped (if you do not have this, that is okay)
1 can tomato soup + one can of water (if you need more water, add 1/2 cup at a time until veggies are submerged)
1 bay leaf
2 tsp basil
1/2 to 1 tsp black pepper, depending on taste
Salt (optional)

* I omit salt when cooking or baking because it is healthier.
I place this all in my crock-pot and cook on low for about 6 hrs.

Sock-It-To-Me Cake
This is absolutely my hubby’s favorite cake and is often requested by him. It is also quite delicious.

Ingredients:
1 box yellow cake mix (can be generic)
4 eggs
1 C or 8 oz sour cream
1/3 C vegetable oil
1/4 C water
1/4 C sugar

Streusel Filling
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1 C nuts finely chopped (optional–I do not use because my husband cannot have nuts)

Glaze
1 C confectioner’s sugar (powdered sugar)
1-2 Tbsp milk

Directions
Mix the ingredients together. Pour half of cake mixture into greased (make sure it is thickly coated) bundt pan. sprinkle streusel filling around the batter (that is in the bundt) and then take a butter knife and zig-zag around the bundt. Next, pour the remaining cake mixture on top. Bake in 325 degree oven for 30-45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Oven degrees and times may vary. Once the cake is done, immediately turn the bundt over onto a plate. I found the cake slides out easier if the pan is still hot. Once cool, you may ice the cake by drizzling the icing over the cake. Cut and enjoy!

Tsp = teaspoon
Tbsp = tablespoon
C = Cup

Why I Love My Crock-Pot/Slow-Cooker

Today, I will be using my beloved crock-pot or slow-cooker, as some call it. I am not ashamed to admit that I use my crock-pot quite often. Why? Because it is convenient and this Momma can have dinner cooking while she tends to other things (such as my home which never stays clean).
I recently read an article stating people rarely use slow-cookers and that they serve no purpose. Say what?! Whomever wrote it probably does not have children nor leads a busy life, but that is just my opinion because, otherwise, he/she would love it just as much as I do. Am I right?
Even before the birth of my son, I placed our dinner into my slow-cooker the night before, left it on low all night, turned it to warm the next morning and went to work. After a 10-hr shift, I was not in the mood nor could muster the energy to fix dinner, and take-out gets old, not to mention expensive, after a while.
Crock-pots aide in my multi-tasking. And, I am a multi-tasking machine…or at least I try to be. Example, as I write this, my one-year-old naps in my arms. It’s a bit awkward, but I bask in the moment because one day he will be too big for this and refuse my mommy cuddles.

Did I mention I have more than one? All various sizes of course. Do you have a crock-pot? If so, what sort of meals do you prepare in it? And, if you don’t, I suggest purchasing one.

“But She’s Special Needs…”

Today I had to take my step-daughter to the ear doctor.  From the moment we were about to depart she decided she was going to misbehave and give me nothing but attitude. She continued this behavior even after we arrived.  As soon as I corrected her, I was given evil glares by people.  Many people, these days, think that a special needs child should get away with murder. I am not one of those parents, so excuse me if I feel the need to correct my mouthy child.  Special needs or not, she hasn’t any right behaving in an inappropriate manner to anyone, anywhere nor does she have the right to disrespect me or choose NOT to listen.

She thinks she is funny when she behaves this way and sasses us.  She isn’t.  Could this behavior be influenced by peers at school? Possibly. Is it due to the fact she has been shuffled from place to place and to different families a majority of her life?  That could be it as well. But, one factor does remain:  She has been babied a majority of her life and her unruly behavior, ignored.  And so begins the journey of correcting it.  Is it an easy road? No. But, nonetheless, it is a road we must endure and travel so she can blossom and mature into the young lady she is capable of being.  And, yes, I secretly hope she comes to understand and thank us someday.

But, in the meantime, we will ignore the snorts from others, the glares, the “I can’t believe she is disciplining that special needs child. The poor kid” thoughts from others.  Why? Because we do not agree in treating her differently than any other child.  Because although she may struggle academically, her thoughts, actions, and desires are that of any other child her age because we see it. We experience it. We live with it.

Friday Funnies

My day thus far:

Jonah still grunts since this is a new and amazing sound to him. All day long, grunting. Did I give birth to a dinosaur?

He also has decided that my nose is a good place to put his fingers in, and a majority of day he has been, desperately, trying to yank my tablecloth off of the dining table. I know it’s going to happen someday, I just know it.

We are in the Family Dollar:

Me: No, don’t touch that.
No, stop that.
Jonah: Yeah.
Me: No, I said “don’t touch.” He smiles at me. While I am talking to Steven, he reaches for a package of cookies on a shelf and, of course, it happened to be the package nearest the bottom. Why not, right? Luckily, I caught him before he pulled it out, sending the entire pile tumbling to the floor. Phew.

We are now in Food City. He reaches behind him and tries to grasp for the items in the cart. Of course, his first choice are the eggs. Because, last month, he reached the stage of needing to touch EVERYTHING he sees. And, I mean EVERYTHING! He even tried to nibble on one of the puppies. LOL Sigh.

We are now home. He enjoys his walker and, since he has mastered maneuvering it in only one day (yes, only my kid), this Mommy is constantly on her toes. So, he is in the dining room, I can see him while I am cooking. He starts backing up his walker like he is backing up a vehicle, with one arm on the back seat while looking behind him. He backs into my house plant. The beautiful flowering house plant I have had for over two years, and begins to strip it’s leaves off the stems. I move the house plant into the kitchen and swerve him in another direction. Not two minutes later, I turn around and he is in the garbage! He has a dirty napkin in each hand. I snatch them both and he starts screaming bloody murder…it’s gets even louder when I get a baby wipe to clean his hands. Shame on this Mommy for attacking those germs!

So, now we need to get a taller trash can. Just because it has a lid, does not mean he won’t get in it. And, it is time to put up more baby gates around the house. I thought I had another month or two. I. was. wrong.

By the time my son is one, he is going to believe his name is, “Nodon’ttouchthat.